January 3rd, 2016



I finally finished reading The Goldfinch today...I'm probably the last person on the planet. It was REALLY good, and hard to put down, while I was supposed to be hanging out with family I never see. I thought about it all the time I wasn't reading it; definite sign of a good book! It's our book group book for January but we're not meeting until the 21st, so I should probably write down some of my thoughts about it, since my memory is sieve-like these days.

We got home last night after another grueling day of driving. We left rather late after having breakfast in the Ferienwohnung at 8, packing the car and stopping at John's to say goodbye, so we didn't get home until well after 11 p.m. And my family is all thoroughly trained that a trip isn't over until the bags are emptied and everything is put away and amazingly, that was done and I fell into bed at 12:30. Today has been laundry load after load, grocery shopping, cleaning, reading, and catching up. I'm about ready to go start dinner.

It was such a nice way to spend the mellandagarna (the days between Christmas & New Year's)...a road trip down to southern Germany for a week with John and Simone and the boys. Jakob is talking up a storm and apparently remembered us as he was very welcoming and not at all shy. Samuel is so big and totally into Star Wars (despite never having seen the movies) and superheroes (despite never having read a comic book) and they both jabber away at us in German while we smile and look confused and ask them to say it in English.

The weather was crazy warm...actually 16 degrees the day after we arrived! We went for a 5-hour (!) walk around Hohenschwangau and the lake next to it. I've been to Füssen many times now and STILL haven't been inside that castle, though I've done Neuschwanstein twice. The line for the tour was insane, so we skipped it and walked instead. Gorgeous day! The whole week was beautiful, right up until New Year's Eve when the clouds came in and the temperature dropped, but still no snow. We went to the BMW museum in Munich, most of the family went swimming one day, we went to a crazy little junk collection house called the Kutschenmuseum, we visited the market in Kempten and went shopping. We played games at home and hung out and walked and talked. The last night we took everyone out to dinner at Hotel Christine, in the little village just past the fields (between John's place and our rental), which was fantastic. Definitely not the best Weightwatcher week, but it was great food all the time. New Year's Eve we all struggled to stay awake, and lit firework fountains behind the house (Jakob: Heiß! Heiß!) and watched the fireworks all around us at the foot of the Alps. It was beautiful and very, very cold.

On the way home, John called us just before we got to the ferry to Denmark after 8 hours of driving, and told us we had to turn around and come back: Simone had broken her leg and he was at the hospital. !!!! She was running up a skateboard ramp, at a little park about a mile from their house, with the kids, and slipped and fell. A very bad break: ankle and both bones in her lower leg. She had 3 surgeries last night (3.5 hours) and will be in the hospital for at least 7 days. Good thing their neighbor was out jogging near the park right after it happened and was able to call the ambulance right away! Can you believe it?? At least we had actually left before one of them went into the hospital this time!! I offered to turn around and fly back down for the week, but John told me not to bother. Simone's mom is coming to help and he'll take more time off work. She won't be mobile for 6 weeks!! Don't know how they'll manage with the two little boys. URGH.

For more pictures of what we did: Martin's photo album on Facebook

And still ahead, another week off: WHEEE!!!