Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Goodbye Sutton's Bay, Hello Stars

For a few months now, I felt like my blog design needed some work. I loved my picture of the beach in Sutton's Bay, Michigan (you should go there if you ever have the chance!). But it did make for kind of a busy look.

My problem is that I'm not a very visual person. Design and I just don't mix.

And then I noticed a tweet from Operation Awesome, a website with resources for writers, interviews and writing contests (highly recommended!).

Most importantly, I saw the tweet at exactly the perfect time—meaning I was fast enough to win!

Leandra Wallace from Operation Awesome created a new header for me, and I changed the rest of the blog design to match. I'm pretty happy with the new clean look. And the sci-fi geek in me loves the stars!

So, thank you, Operation Awesome and Leandra Wallace!

PS - if you'd like to win a graphic from Leandra, I heard she might do another giveaway in the future. Follow them on Twitter to keep an eye out for the next contest! 
Operation Awesome on Twitter
Leandra Wallace on Twitter

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sundays in Germany - A Love/Hate Relationship

The past two weeks have been sunny with just the right amount of rain, so the hedge next to my parking spot has exploded with growth. Add to that a fully packed calendar, and I haven't had time to trim it. Two days ago, one of my kids could barely get in the car.  Yikes.

image by Wayne Stadler via Flickr - not an actual picture of the state of my yard ;-)
Today is Sunday—the first day I had time get out the hedge clippers.

BUT—today is Sunday, and I live in Germany.

It probably depends on where you live in Germany, but where I live, Sunday is quiet time. Seriously, quiet, like to the point of having to pay a fine if you're reported for doing something loud like mowing your lawn. In addition, there's no shopping (stores are all closed on Sundays!). No washing or vacuuming the car. No repairs around the house.

On the one hand, this forced quiet time can be nice. At least once a week, you're guaranteed a day of downtime. Take a bike ride to a biergarten. Drink coffee and eat cake with friends. Maybe go out to a matinee with the kids.

On the other hand, it means any work you need to do on a weekend all has to be done on Saturday. Grocery store aisles are packed, store parking lots are even worse. Then there's mowing the lawn and trimming the yard, fixing the bike, washing the windows, etc. All packed in on Saturday.

A lot of farmers live in the village where my husband grew up, and if a person rides by on a tractor on Sunday, you can bet someone in the family will go to the window to identify who dared to do that. One of my neighbors said she's been chastised by others in the neighborhood for doing yard work on a Sunday.

So here's me, an expat with this knowledge, standing in front of my overgrown hedge on Sunday. I know next week will be hectic once again, so I went ahead and trimmed the shrubbery (with manual clippers! I wouldn't dare use electric ones!). In the twenty minutes it took to do that, no less than five neighbors walked or drove by my house and eyed my quiet, yet verboten work. No one said anything. And I kept it short.

So that was my Sunday, living dangerously during quiet time.

Bonus pic: proof that using Sunday for coffee and cake can be worthwhile :-)

All pics by me or my family if not otherwise indicated.