Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Hither shores instead of whither weather

This blog, though themed, is of course more personal than generally informative. When I created it, I already had in mind to use it for my personal travel journal on the trip I have planned. Now, with less than two months to departure, I will depart from the theme occasionally to report on travel preparations.

The trip is to take me around the world, though that sounds like something of more scope than it actually will be. I will be touching three continents in six weeks: Europe is my starting point, of course, but I will be here only at the beginning and end of the journey. The first half will be spent visiting family and friends in North America, starting with eastern Canada; then midwest US, both north and south; then Hawaii - which is USA, though I'm not sure it can be technically called North America. From there I fly to the next continent - well, to New Zealand first, then to Australia, for the extravagant part of the journey. I am very much looking forward to seeing the other side of the globe, watching the stars in the southern hemisphere - and getting a glimpse of Middle-earth!

Today I bought the most important piece of luggage - a backpack with wheels, very versatile in all kinds of situations. Now to plan my wardrobe and stuff so that I get it all in there!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Record highs

I'm not sure if this extremely hot, sunny weather still qualifies as "Kaiserwetter", but if so, the old fairy tale suddenly makes sense - the emperor would certainly feel most comfortable wearing the new 'clothing' made by those rascally tailors!

Now that football is no longer the general conversation topic, we are back to the weather, and it does provide plenty of stuff for chatting with others. When meeting other dog owners on the (admittedly brief!) walks in the early morning or late evening, we exchange information about how our pets are surviving the heat. Other garden owners tell of the problems their flowers and produce are having and how much watering it takes to keep the lawn alive. One neighbour informed me that his gooseberries are not ripening on the bush - they're actually cooking in the sun! Unfortunately, that does not improve their flavour, apparently.

We humans wanted sunshine, so I guess we shouldn't complain - it is nice to have summer weather, though it's hard to get much work done. This week is a vacation week for my family; no need to travel - the patio and back yard are as nice as any beach could be, with more shade than most, and have the advantage of close proximity to the refrigerator for cool drinks.

We are all wearing just enough clothing for modesty, though still too much for comfort. I have my long hair pinned up - a style I don't consider flattering, since I look like a prim schoolmarm that way, but vanity must take a back seat to practicality.

As my computer and sewing machine are located on the top floor of the house, I'm not spending much time here, understandably. I'll be back more often when it cools down; thunderstorms are predicted for today, but it's never certain that we will actually get rain in our area, and all that's happening so far is that the air is getting very humid and muggy. Of course, if it really does storm, that will mean keeping the PC switched off, so don't expect me till you see me...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

"Kaiser" weather

"Kaiserwetter" (emperor weather) is an expression for clear, sunny days. I suppose it dates back to the 19th century, when Germany had an emperor, but it seems to hold true for a modern "Kaiser" as well. For whatever reason, probably several, the former football player and now manager who was responsible for getting the World Cup to Germany this year, Franz Beckenbauer, has the nickname "Kaiser Franz".

One of the things that cannot be planned or organized for a four-week-long event is the weather - we are prone to have summers that are distinguishable from the winter merely by the milder temperature of the rain. But the past month was almost entirely sunny - too warm, even, for the players, but very conducive to the outdoor public viewing that made the World Cup so much fun for the spectators outside the stadiums. I'm sure the guests who came from more southern countries felt more comfortable because of the warm days, and the positive mood which swept over Germany certainly owed a lot to the sunshine.

Now how did "Kaiser Franz" manage to accomplish that?!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Temperature drop

Yesterday's thunderstorm brought temperatures down from overwhelming mid-30s to more comfortable lower 20s - a good and welcome change.

The let-down of the temperature of football fever is harder to enjoy - like Icarus, we've been flying high and gotten too close to the sun. The wax has melted, and though the fall isn't fatal, it's definitely produced a hangover-like headache.

I guess that means the conversational opener will go back to the weather condition rather than sharing the excitement of having seen our team win the game on the previous evening...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Blue, blue, the world (cup) is blue

After the collective euphoria of having a home team unexpectedly capable of winning games, yesterday's loss has Germany mourning collectively. It's sad to lose in the last two minutes of a game that went into overtime, just before the draw would have made a victory by penalty shoot-out possible. However, the Italian team did keep our goalie much busier; thank luck and Lehmann for keeping the loss down to less than it could have been. At any rate, all are determined to be good losers and good hosts for the rest of the tournament, even though the Germans are reduced to playing a meaningless game for third place on Saturday, instead of fighting for the championship on Sunday.

Congratulations to the German team for getting farther than anyone had expected four weeks ago!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Too busy enjoying the weather... blog about it! We are having the perfect kind of summer days that turn Germany into a Mediterranean country, even without the World Cup, which definitely adds to that feeling. It's much too hot to walk in the afternoon - even the dog prefers to lay in the grass under a shady tree - so I do my walking early in the morning, heading for the pleasantly cool nearby woods.

In the afternoon, I try to be outside on the patio whenever possible, in the shade until the sun is low enough to be bearable. A good book gives me the feeling of being on vacation somewhere. As my computer and sewing machine are located upstairs, my online and quilting time are of necessity limited. Not to worry - there'll be enough cold, dark, rainy days to catch up, I'm sure. For now, I'll make hay (so to speak, having fortunately survived the hayfever season with a minimum of discomfort) while the sun shines!