Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas in Germany...

...was actually more fun than I thought it would be. I did miss my family though (and the first white christmas in 5 years in Kansas which was actually a blizzard that shut down our annual christmas eve celebration).

We did have a bit of snow here. Made for some pretty pictures.

Nora's back yard

We met Daniel's parents, brothers and the Trautner family for a goose dinner on the 23rd. Here's Daniel with Nora and Walter.

Christmas eve we did our last minute shopping (the line for the checkout at REWE grocery began at the front door and snaked around the store) and then headed over to Nora's. Here's an ornament on her tree - Daniel drew it when he was 11 years old.

The major drama was when Chou Chou attacked Carl's hand.

The victim

The perp

When all the guests arrived, we did our gift exchange. I ended up with a basket of homemade goodies from Nora's friend Hardi and Daniel got a Vanessa Paridis CD from Nora's friend Doris. Ruth's daughter Rebekah got Daniel's gift of chocolate and Helga's son HW got my gift of dessert tea, hot chocolate and a mug. Then we had fondue for dinner.

Florian, HW, and Daniel relax after the meal

Christmas day we hosted a lunch for Daniel's father Micha, stepmother Mietzie and all 4 brothers. I made sweet potato cassarole, baked potatoes, and brownies and Micha made steaks and brought salad. We had drawn names for this gift exchange and we opened them youngest to oldest and I took a picture of each.

Frederick (and a good view of our tree!)




Steffen (with his Zombie from Daniel)


(according to Daniel, Mietzie does not want her pic to be posted, so I am honoring her wishes)

Next Christmas, Frederick will be in pilot school in Phoenix so not only will I be home for christmas but we might just bring the whole German crowd with us again.

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and thanks for reading my blog this year.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Birthday Dad!

We love you! Hope you had a great day despite being practically snowed in.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Last christmas..

Just wanted to share a funny photo from last christmas day at my father's house.

That's Hans (with the bow) and Sydney on christmas day after they've ripped into all the wrapping paper. Silke wanted no part of the action and sat on Sandy's lap. Wild dogs!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Busy December

There is always a lot going on in December, hence the lack of updates.

Monday the 10th we went to the "leaving Franfurt" party of my former boss at Ogilvy, Folker Wrage. Folker is German but he is one of the few German copywriters that I have met here that can also write copy in English. He was a copywriting mentor for me at my first copywriting position and I learned a lot from him. He's not going too far - just to Hamburg.

On Wednesday and Thursday (Andrea's birthday) we were over at Andrea and Oli's to visit them and little Levi. Daniel totally monopolized Levi's time.

Friday I went to Neue Digitale's christmas party. My first ND christmas party was 5 years ago and it's amazing how much has changed. At that time there were 40 employees and now there are 150 in two locations. There are only about 7 people (including me and Roanne - below) that were around 5 years ago. The dinner was delicious and the company amusing - but since it was a private party, smoking was allowed which I am totally not used to anymore.

Roanne and me

On Saturday we visted Daniel's father and stepmother in Wiesbaden and we went out to Hausen to eat rabbit at Daniel's mother's place. There were two big pieces. Nora, Daniel and I ate one. Then we went to look at christmas trees. We picked out a small one and Henning (the employee there) cut it down for us (soooo sad!!). Nora picked out hers and we drove back. Then we discovered that we had left out the other piece of rabbit and the dog had eaten it. Oops!

On Sunday we went to Butzbach to visit Daniel's friend Florian and his wife and twin sons. Daniel is their godfather. Florian has a cafe there where parents can have a drink while their children play. Daniel did the logo for him (as seen below). I tried to get pictures of the twins, but they were just too fast for me.

Daniel was in the hospital for three days for a routine surgery. He got out yesterday is kind of puttering around now, but is happy to be back at home.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

La Coruna, Spain

Last weekend we went to Spain to visit Weina who works there at Zara Home designing rugs. Daniel had a cold so we didn't do much on our first day, besides flying in on Iberia (Friday).

Saturday, Daniel felt somewhat better. We went to the main shopping street in La Coruna and walked around. Then we went to the beach for lunch and a walk around. There was a kitten there who was all over us trying to get our food. We took many pictures of it which are hilarious!

Weina and the cat

Daniel on the beach

Sunday we went first to a place to eat Churros - donut like pastries that you dip into hot chocolate.

Then we went to Santiago de Compostela where we visited the church and sat in on the end of the service. A nun was singing and the acoustics were amazing - what a special experience. Here's the outside of the cathedral, an UNESCO world heritage site:

By the time we got back to Weina's apartment that afternoon, I was feeling quite sick. I stayed in and watched a couple of movies from her collection - Hollywoodland, Casanova and Star Dust - while Daniel and Weina went out with a few of her friends.
Monday we flew back with Iberia, and this time we checked in one bag of stuff we bought in Spain (on the way there, we were strictly carry-on) and prayed they wouldn't lose it. Iberia has a very bad rep for losing luggage, so we were wary (Weina's luggage has been lost 5 out the 10 times she's flown with them). Fortunatly, our bag made it. Not that I would book on Iberia again unless I had to.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


I haven't posted in a while for 3 reasons:
1. On Monday November 26th, my 4 1/2 year old HP laptop gave up the ghost
2. From Nov 30-Dec 3rd, Daniel and I were in La Coruna, Spain
3. I am sick with a nasty flu - fever, cold and the whole works

Hope to be back soon :)

In the meantime, I do want to congratulate the Mullins family on the birth of their 3rd daughter Miriam and Andrea and Olli on the birth of their son Levi.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A day in Dusseldorf

I had to go to Dusseldorf to buy some clothes at the Tommy Hilfiger Denim store there so that I won't look so terribly out of place at their Fall/Winter 08/09 line opening in January. Daniel and I decided to make a day trip out of it, taking the opportunity to look in a few other stores as well - it is a great city for shopping. We had a delicious lunch at an Italian place on the Koenigsallee and went to the K20 art museum which has an awesome collection of Paul Klee's work (in addition to other 20th century artists).

The Christmas market was also already in full swing. Daniel got his favorite - roasted chestnuts and I got mine - cinnamon stars.

Heisse Marone - get 'em while they're hot

Zimtsterne fresh from the oven

The mulled wine stand lights up the night

Friday, November 23, 2007

Giving thanks for thanksgiving

Tracy and Marshall had us over for the 4th year in a row. This year, Marshall's mother came over from the states and we still had a full table despite many of the regulars leaving this past year. We have always been really thankful to have a place to go on Thanksgiving - and this may be the last year as Tracy and Marshall will most likely move next year.

Daniel did placecard drawings for everyone again this year.

And there was a feast! Marshall makes a great Turkey (coated with bacon) plus there were all the other thanksgiving staples like stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, biscuits, pumpkin cheesecake, and my contribution - the sweet potato casserole.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A strike, a new chair and free rice

Well, I think I am finally over my jetlag (they say it takes one day per time zone crossed). That is one of the things I don't look forward to on my trips!

Friday we were supposed to go to the dentist. I saw beforehand that the train strike would affect our route so I picked a train that was supposedly still running. When Daniel and I got to the station, we got our tickets and went up to the platform only to discover that our train was not on its full scheldule and our train wasn't coming. With no alternate way to get to the dentist (Florian had borrowed our car) we had to cancel. Surprisingly we were able to sell our tickets to some Swiss guys - so at least we didn't lose our 4 Euro.

Saturday I finally bought a decent chair for my home office. It's an Aeron chair by Herman Miller - stylish and super comfortable. My cheapo IKEA one was breaking my back by the end of a long day.

Last night we went to Turm Palast, the only English movie theater in town, to see Atonement. I really enjoyed the novel so I was quite excited to see it. BUT, the Turm Palast really knows how to put a damper on your movie going experience though. The staff is usually surly (not uncommon in Germany to be sure), many seats are broken or have gunk on them (the last renovation must have been right after WWII - ha!) and last night the print had a big green line down the middle and the sound was ear-piercingly loud. There is always the rumour that they'll finally tear this junk pile down and rebuild which is sorely overdue. Of course where will we see films in English in the meantime? I don't want to have to resort to seeing dubbed films.

And finally, let me introduce you to my current Internet addiction:
For each vocabulary word you get right, they donate 10 grains of rice to help end world hunger. I always hover between a vocab level of 43 - 46. Some of the words in the upper levels are insanely obscure.

PS - Happy birthday Florian (Daniel's brother)!! Scoot on over to Daniel's Daily Drawings to see the wonderful present Daniel did for his dear brother.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

VIP Tori Amos experience: Lawrence, KS

One week ago, Nick and I had the pleasure of meeting Tori Amos for the first time after being fans since 92. I was lucky enough to snag Platinum VIP tickets (only 24 total available) so we got to sit in on a portion of her soundcheck & meet her and have something signed (+ we had 8th row center seats and got a VIP bag, hat and tour booklet).

This is what went down: we arrived at 5 pm and got wristbands and our loot. Tori was running late so she had just started soundcheck when we got there. The doors were so heavy that we couldn't hear much through them but we did recognize that she was doing Clyde (introspective doll)'s songs so we knew we'd get her (a relief for me since I did not want political Isabel for the third time out of three shows). I also heard a bit of Sugar which was exciting and gave me hope that I would finally hear this favorite live.

It was after 6 pm before we were finally able to go in. Nick and I got seats in the front row and then she came out. She explained a bit about soundcheck and then played Spark and Concertina for us. She messed up on Concertina, but otherwise it seemed more like a private concert than a soundcheck - very cool.

Next, we were ushered into a back room to meet Tori. By this time my low blood sugar was kicking in and I felt faint from not eating anything since a light lunch. When she came in with her bodyguard, we also got a glimpse of her 7 yr old daughter Tash. Tori asked Tash if she wanted to say hi to us and she got a little shy. She gave Tori a hug and skipped away. Tori then turned her full attention to us and people went up 1 or 2 at a time to talk with her. Nick and I were mid-way through the line so we snapped a few pictures while we waited. Here's one (that is a wig btw):

Finally we were up. We talked with her for a few minutes about her music (I told her Winter had been our father/daughter dance at my wedding) , that our first concert had also been in Lawrence back in 96 (she said "You seem really young to have been going to concerts back then"), about Neil Young (apparently he wants to tour with her) and then I requested Beulah Land and asked about Velvet Revolution (she wrote them on her hand and said "Well, they can come out again"). She then signed my copy of her book Piece by Piece and Nick's tour booklet. We also posed for this picture:

Before the concert, Nick and I just had time to go out and grab a pear (me) and granola bar (Nick) and check out the Phelps protesters (they claim Tori Amos is a "gay enabler" because she has many gay fans).

Opening guy was Yoav again who is growing on me - I do like the song Club Thing quite a bit.

Then Tori as Clyde comes out with

Bouncing off Clouds
Little Earthquakes
Juarez *
Little Amsterdam
Beauty of Speed *
Girl Disappearing *

Tori as Tori's set was
Big Wheel
Sugar *
Cornflake Girl
Mother Revolution *
Caught A Lite Sneeze
Frog On My Toe *
Mother *
Virginia *
A Sorta Fairytale
Code Red
Precious Things
Hey Jupiter

* Songs I heard live for the first time!! Amazing considering this was my ninth show, 3rd this tour. She really does change it up.

Nick and I both adored this show - definately the one I enjoyed the most this tour. A lot of fan favorites plus a couple of rarities and FINALLY hearing Sugar which totally rocks live.

Got the bootleg ( already!

Friday, November 16, 2007

once again in Wichita

Sorry that I haven't managed an update in two whole weeks! I am back in Frankfurt now recovering from jetlag and my Wichita visit was such a whirlwind. A week just isn't enough to catch up with family, friends, American tv and Tori Amos (more on that last one in an upcoming post).

This trip I was able to spend quite a bit of time with Grandma Billie - she was the first one I visited after my dad picked me up from the airport. I also went over two other times and met her and the most of the rest of the family (Aunt Marilyn couldn't make it) for lunch at On the Border on Sunday afternoon. Aunt Linda has great pictures of this event over at her blog.

Plus one of mine for those of you too lazy to click over:

Dad and I also had our quality time together - we looked at laptops (I bought a new one), used books (one of our favorite activities) and spent a lot of time downstairs in front of his huge TV with Sandy and the wild dogs. I watched NCIS for the first time, House in English for once and the movie Shooter.

Speaking of TV, why is it so much better in the US? I hardly ever even bother to turn on my set here. And it is sad that I can't take advantage of all the Internet streaming of episodes over here ("this service is not available in your area"). I streamed two episodes of Lost from last season (all I had time for) and two of new show Chuck with Nick.
An evening at Rachelle and Josh's was also capped off by my first ever viewing of the Office and 30 Rock. Josh cooked an amazing dinner which I can't praise highly enough: butternut squash soup, chicken and potatoes. Yum!
I was also up in Topeka to visit Grandma Dugan (who knew she knew us and pretended to know our names - I think she thought I was her Aunt Lenore) and in KC to visit Andi. We tried out Le Peep for lunch and her kids, Phoebe and Eliot, certainly enjoyed their Chunky Monkey smoothie:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Delray Beach, Florida

3 1/2 fun filled days in Florida. Great friends (Sommer and Will and kids Eleanor and Harriet + 1 on the way), perfect weather (warm and breezy, not too hot), and delicious food (home cooked meals + great little Italian place on the boardwalk for girls night out + Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream).

Som and me

In addition to frolicking on the beach and experiencing a Pastor Will sermon, I also got to attend 2 of Eleanor's softball games. The first game they won with only 5 girls against 10 and the second game... well let's just say it wasn't their night.

El in her uniformTabby treasuring his secret garden

Friday, November 2, 2007

The D.C. experience

On Saturday morning, Heather and I went to brunch in Georgetown (crabcake sliders!) and looked around in the shops a bit before Kelly and Steve came to pick me up. When they came, we went for a short hike on Theodore Roosevelt Island.

Kelly and I next to the fountain on Roosevelt's Island

I hung out with them until I had to take Kelly to the airport on Monday at 5 pm for her diplomatic trip to Sri Lanka. We had a blast. I loved seeing their highly-closeted new apartment, marveling at the planes flying taking off right over our heads at Gravelly Point (Reagan national airport), going to Kelly's church to hear Tommy (who I met at her wedding) preach (we chose church over the Spin Doctor's who were playing for free in Crystal City at the same time) and engaging in a professional level pumpkin carving.

After dropping Kelly off at Dulles, I drove two hours south to Charlottesville to visit college pal Gina and her husband Curby. I hadn't gotten to see Gina in years so it was a real treat. Both Gina and Curby were such gracious hosts despite her being 6 months pregnant with twin boys and sort of on bed rest. Curby made some delicious meals and we compared notes on Ecuador. Gina took me on a University of Virginia tour and to Jefferson's residence (Monticello) - both are UNESCO world heritage listed. Edgar Allen Poe's dorm room at the university is still preserved - here's a picture -

For Halloween, I was back in D.C. at Heather's and we went out to a great mexican restaurant (I will look up the name and post it soon) that serves the best guacamole ever. They prepare it fresh in front of you with big, ripe avocados. I am still thinking about it days later.

We also went to Mt. Vernon and saw the movie "Michael Clayton" (we went to movies a lot together in Frankfurt - just like old times). And so, after a very social and activity packed week in DC, it was off to sunny Florida...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Made it to D.C. & Tori Amos Concert

When I woke up at 4:45 yesterday morning in Frankfurt, I checked the status of my flights to DC only to discover that they were cancelled. When I called Delta to ask what was up they told me Air France (my carrier) was on strike and then they booked me on new flights which would get me to DC at 5 pm if everything went right (but how often do things go right on the airlines these days)? I was originally supposed to get in at 1:30 pm and Heather and I had gotten tickets to the Tori Amos concert which would start at 8 pm - so you can imagine my concern.
One advantage of my new flights was that they left later so I could sleep longer and Daniel was able to take me the airport to see me off. But I would only have 1 1/2 hrs in Atlanta to get through a) passport control b) getting my bag, going through customs and rechecking my bag c) going through the security check and d) getting to A terminal from E terminal. And then my flight landed 20 min late! So I was thinking I was doomed. But much to my surprise, there were no lines at a) and c) and my bag b) was one of the first to come. d) was no problem and I arrived at my gate right at boarding where I also found out I was upgraded - though first class on a 1 1/2 hr flight only means a larger seat, tea in a real china mug and a bag of chips when coach got nothing to eat.
Weather in D.C.? Pouring down rain. Heather picked me up at National airport and we took the metro to her apartment. We ate some hummos and crackers and then headed off to DAR Constitution Hall. Unfortunately for me, Tori opened her set again as the political doll (saw her in Frankfurt) so out of the 4 possible dolls, I have seen 1 twice. Wouldn't be such a big deal, except that her set was almost identical to the Frankfurt set - though I did get Scarlet's Walk for the first time.
Highlights of Tori's set for me were Hotel, Leather (first time seeing it live if you can believe that), and the aforementioned Scarlet's Walk. I did get quite a few repeats from the Frankfurt show and I did not get Sugar or Northern Lad (my faves which I still haven't heard!!) but her voice was really on and it was a great performance. Heather really enjoyed it, though we both were really tired by the last songs. We ended up leaving during the last encore to beat the crowd to a taxi and get home to sleep.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Andrea's Baby Shower

Roanne and I hosted a baby shower for Andrea Gr at my apartment on Sunday. It was supposed to run from 2-4 pm but no one showed up until 3 pm - even the guest of honor was late (so don't believe it when you hear that Germans are always punctual).

Baby showers are rare here so most of the guests had never been to one. We played two games - the baby picture guessing game (though only half brought a baby picture of themselves) and the baby food flavor guessing game (who knew that baby food was so ... not tasty?).

My favorite photo from the shower is of Roanne and Andrea checking out the baby photos:

In other news, I am off to the states again on Friday. I will be in DC to visit Heather, Kelly, Steve and college buddy Gina, then Florida to visit Sommer and family and then Wichita for a week visit with all my family and friends there. I will post updates when I can. And yes, that means I will spend my very first Christmas in Germany this year.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Passina and Anuga is live! Daniel developed the corporate identity and logo and designed the website. I wrote (most of) the copy. It was launched just in time for the Anuga trade fair (food and drink fair) which we attended on Monday in Cologne.

The fair was of course very different than the book fair - we were in the hall with all the fruit juices and energy drinks so free drink samples were everywhere.

Daniel looking the part at the Pimp Juice stand

We also explored the gourmet food hall a bit where I was excited to see American products such as pastrami and twisslers. I also really liked this new Smooze fruit ice - made with coconut milk so it is lactose free. Yummy.

Passina had hired a band to play at the stand starting at 6 pm and it attracted many dancers and onlookers. After that came to an end, we went to have dinner with the client. I learned many interesting facts about fruit - that's for sure!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Frankfurt Book Fair Day 5

Sunday is always the most exciting day in terms of getting books (free and otherwise) because it is the last day and all the publishers are packing up to go. This year was no exception. I arrived with Charlotte L at 9:45 to meet Tracy (15 minutes late because C's glasses broke and she ended up having to wear a pair of my contacts even though she is -6 and I am only -4) and we walked straight to Hall 8.0.

At Harper Collins they told me that any ARCs or uncorrected proofs I found I could have for free and all other books were 75% off the cover price. Charlotte and Tracy went into a buying frenzy and I went into a ARC frenzy - I got 5 ARCs, 4 children book mock-ups and bought 1 book. I also lucked out at Faber and Faber, getting 4 ARCs (including Junot Diaz' "The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao" which I am very excited about and the new Peter Carey "His Illegal Self") and Hachette Book Group where I got 4 thriller ARCs and a free hardback copy of Stephen Colbert's new book "I am America (and so can you)". I also got a free Lonely Planet East Africa guide for a possible future trip.

Daniel met us later, bringing pretzels and bakery goods and went off to look at design books -he got a few at really great prices.

In between all of our scavenging for books (I really could have gotten WAY more, but at some point, you just can't carry any more...), we kept Wes company at the PowerHouse book stand. Andrea, Silke and her friend came by at one point and we had to take a picture - it looked like the "party" stand!

As soon as the closing bell rang, we were out of there. Charlotte, Daniel, Wes and I ate at Coa and then Charlotte left to catch her train back to Bremen. We then had dessert at a cafe next to the old opera house and brought Wes back to our new place to check it out.

From my point of view it was a very successful book fair - I have a ton of books to read after only spending 5 Euro (plus the price of my entry ticket - 43 Euro) and I got to hang out with many dear old and new friends.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Frankfurt Book Fair Day 4

Being Saturday, this was the first day that Daniel could come with me to the fair. We had to get there by 11 am since I had agreed to host an informal SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writer and Illustrators) get together. Only two members showed up, but we spent an hour talking about children's books and how to best take advantage of the fair.

The next thing we wanted to do was go to a book signing from Manfred Deix - another famous German cartoonist that Daniel likes. There we bought two of his books and had them signed - one for Daniel's father 65th birthday and one for us.

Charlotte L came down from Bremen and arrived at just after 2 pm, so we met her at the entrance and Daniel took her luggage home while Charlotte and I explored the fair a bit more. We walked around the German literature publishers and at one publisher, S. Fischer, I observed the reps giving out books to a couple of girls. I then asked the girls what they said to get the books and they said they were students. I marched up to the counter and asked if they were giving out copies and she asked me if I was a student. I said "No, but I am learning German". We conversed a bit about me being from the US and then she gave me a book which she really likes - "Family and Other Accidents" by Shari Goldhagen - in German translation of course. She gave me her card and said if I wrote to her after the book fair, she would send me a book from a German author - so let's see what happens!

I asked at a few more stands for books but no luck. We had to head home anyway to get ready for Micha's birthday party in Wiesbaden. We got there a little after 6 pm and stayed until nearly midnight.

My favorite picture of the night (because it is so typical of them) Florian, Frederick and Daniel looking in different directions

The birthday boy with Alice, me and Charlotte

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Frankfurt Book Fair Day 3

I didn't have any events to go to on day 3 so I wasn't sure I would even go, but Lin decided she wanted to go so we met at 1 pm, picked up some lunch and headed over. Andrea's program (which I borrowed and never gave back - sorry....) led us to a book signing of a German children's book author Philip Waechter. The publisher, Beltz, had sent out vouchers for free books for the signing. Of course since neither of us have anything to do with publishing or book selling, we did not have vouchers. But a very nice rep from Beltz gave us each a book anyway. Philip then signed our books - Lin's for her daughter and mine for Daniel :)

We also went around at looked at the design books in 4.1 and collected magazines. The Economist was free. The Spiegel was free (sadly Daniel had already bought the issue). Focus was free to take only if you signed up for a nine week subscription, but I told her (in my best "broken German") I could only read one in 9 weeks, so she just gave it to me. Stern had a huge stand filled with copies but they wouldn't give any out at all.

After all our walking around, we just wanted to relax a bit, so we found comfy seats in the FAZ (Frankfurt newspaper) forum. They even brought us free water!

I then had to go pick up Pete (who we know from virtual tourist) in Hall 8.0 to go out to dinner and Lin left.

Daniel met us at the Fressgasse ("pig out alley") at a German restaurant where we ate lots of spatzle - yum!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Frankfurt Book Fair Day 2

On Day 2, my objectives were to attend a couple of children's book events. The first was in the film forum at 11 am - a panel discussing the multimedia possibilities for children's books. It was all very Web 2.0 and the bulk of it was about an author Andy Briggs who will utilize viral, web, and mobile marketing to build up interest in the launch of his new book series. Since I do a lot of work for multimedia agencies, it was nothing new to me, but I do think his book project sounds interesting and he says he plans to do a "making of" video (along the lines of what Peter Jackson did while he was making King Kong) so we could follow him through the whole process of writing, marketing, etc.

The second event I went to was in the Reading Tent at 2 pm. It was advertised as a discussion of writing good children's books but... I got nothing out of it. Oh well.

I also visited Florian's girlfriend Alice at her stand in Hall 4 briefly (she is working at a Swiss publishing house in Zurich right now) and walked around in Hall 3 looking at German children's books. I happened to walk past the Langenscheidt stand and saw that they distribute bags on the hour, every hour. Since it was nearly time, I joined the small crowd that had gathered - I mean these were "high quality" plastic - not just paper like other stands were giving away. After a few minutes, a sales rep came out and dumped a whole bunch of bags on the floor and ran away. That's when people began pushing and shoving from all directions trying to get at the bags!!! It was unreal. I did get a bag and a couple of bruises as well. If I had known it would go down like that, I would have just watched from a distance.

After that, I just wanted to get home quickly, but had to walk all the way through the hall to get to the subway. I happened to see that German publisher Goldmann was giving away reader's copies, but it didn't look like something I would read (especially since I have only ever read 2 novels in German). I asked the rep if it was easy to read and he said that I shouldn't read that one since it was translated from English and he gave me a book from a German author Leonie Swann. It's published in English as "Three Bags Full - A Sheep Detective Story". Looks pretty interesting - and free is always good :)

In the evening we went to a children's book launch at a gallery here with our new neighbor who has a baby, Jonah. It was a joint Spanish/German effort and since they just moved to Frankfurt after living in Barcelona for 3 years, I thought they might enjoy it. The illustrations were quite nice, but they story itself was rather bizzare. We left after an hour since Jonah was getting restless.

Daniel, Kerstin and Jonah with book illustrations in background