Tuesday, May 30, 2006
A short video clip
A number of people have asked me about the current picture on the top of this photoblog template.

It's a photograph I particularly like and I felt it represented the way I was feeling especially during the final months in Germany. The feeling of being on the outside looking on and not being able to reach home. Feeling lost and in a difficult transition. I just related strongly with the image.

The female in this famous photograph is 31 year old Chloe Sevigny.

I'll probably change it soon because now I'm back in America and things have altered.

*****

I found out how to post embedded personal video footage. So I thought I'd share a 16 second video clip of Percy traveling on the Subway Friday night. (if you listen closely you can hear the comments of the spectators. For some reason, Percy just gets everyone's attention. Perhaps because it's illegal to bring your pet onto the subway and place him on your lap, but we figured we could pass Percy off as a very ugly child. It worked.)


 
posted by Clarity25 at 12:19 PM | 17 comments
Sunday, May 28, 2006
New York, New York
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Thursday morning I took the train into Manhattan to visit my sister and her boyfriend.

Here are some photos I took during my walk to their apartment building

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When I reached the apartment, Percy was the first one to greet me. He ran up to me the minute I stepped out of the elevator. His whole body trembling with excitment, tail wagging and tongue lolling. I missed the little guy.

Unfortunately, He was feeling under the weather later because he tore open and ate an entire bag of Gummi-bears. Here's a pic of him on his sick bed.

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It was so great seeing my sister again. We went shopping together, and then had some sushi and Saki in the late afternoon.

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when we returned home, Mr. Big bought champagne and made dinner. (Steak, Asparagus and Salad) he's quite the cook. *I heart Mr. Big.*

We drank, talked, laughed and played card games until the early morning hours.

I woke up the next morning to the sound of cooing... I slowly blinked open my eyes and saw two pigeons perched on the fire escape staring blankly at me. The window was open and the sunlight was streaming in. I was laying on the futon in my sister's livingroom. I felt this complete happiness at the realization that I was home in the states with my family again. I'm living here now and it's not just a visit. It suddenly hit me fully.


******

Eric, this next part is for you.

While I was walking to my sister's apartment thursday morning, a woman on the street outside the Adidas shop handed me a flyer. I didn't really bother looking at it until I was standing at the corner waiting to cross the street.

The flyer read: "Meet the German Soccer team, FC Bayern Munich tomorrow at 3 P.M. A rare American appearance. Talk with the members and get their signatures!"

Now for those that don't know. Eric is a big soccer fan. Everybody in Germany worships soccer. It's huge in all of Europe. This year the World cup is taking place in Germany. it's beginning about 3 days after Eric has to leave Germany and join me in America. So Sadly he's missing the huge event.

When I saw this flyer, I was pretty excited about meeting the most famous soccer team in all of Germany and getting their signatures for Eric. What are the odds of them being here in New York only 5 days after I left Germany?!

So we were there on Friday and we saw that the line for signatures stretched around the entire store! it led upstairs and to a part we couldn't view. We just saw camera flashes and reporters going upstairs. After a long wait, they announced that a lot of people would NOT be able to see the team and that the time is out. We were right near the stairs and we just made it in before the closed off the line.

We ran up the stairs and we were able to meet the team. I have all of their autographs! (well, minus Oliver Kahn and Michael Ballack, of course. They're in Switzerland.) They were so sweet, friendly and funny. Some of them were flirting, winking and joking around with me and my sister. The whole experience was really exciting.

Honey, I wish you were there! But here are a few pictures I shot. Sorry they're blurry, I forgot to turn on my flash.



those two were really funny... I have some pictures where they're laughing with us, but it's a complete blur because they never stayed still.

As we left, we saw some crazed fans running up the escalators that were going down. They were frantic to get signatures and determined to catch the players before they left. We saw them leave on their tour bus five minutes later while a crowd on the streets watched.

But we have two signed posters. Tell K. that one is for him.


****

It was a nice trip to Manhattan.

Here is a picture of Percy traveling on the subway system. He's sitting on Laura's lap. He was enjoying the ride.


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For the record, Percy is a big shot in Manhattan now. Everyone on the street knows his name and stops to pet him. He gets so much attention just when you take him on a walk. I think it's getting to his head a bit. he wags his tale and walks all proudly.

****

So now we're all here together as a family for memorial day weekend. I have to log off, there's a lot I need to do today.

Eric, I miss you so much!!! Call me when you read this! Only 8 more days until we're together again!
 
posted by Clarity25 at 12:42 PM | 14 comments
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Back Home
I'm home in New York.

I had a safe flight and I'm adjusting to everything. There are a lot of changes.

I'll have a longer entry this weekend with pictures.

Just checking in to let you know that I arrived.

I'm back in the U. S. of A.
 
posted by Clarity25 at 4:18 PM | 28 comments
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Goodbye Germany...
Our Green Card interview went smoothly without any problems. It turns out that it was not only important that I was there with him for this, It was entirely necessary! We needed to sign some documents together in front of a witness and raise our right hands to swear that all the information we provided during our interview was the truth.

I would have had to fly back into Germany if I took that flight last week. I made the right decision when I opted to stay.

Eric will be receiving the documents he needs to travel into the U.S. in two weeks.

I have a ticket home. I'm leaving tomorrow for America!

******

Here are a few more pictures of our town...

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We found a picture of the street we used to live on...


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But I was confused when I saw it. "That can't be right!", I said "All the buildings look entirely different! Our apartment building doesn't look the same at all. How can that be?"

But opon further investigation we found THIS photo taken in the 1940's. It's the same street from a different angle.

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Apparently our street had been bombed and rebuilt in the 1950's. The only thing that remained standing was the church...

I passed our old flat today. It was so strange not having the key to the front door and seeing that someone else now lives in our apartment.

I slowly walked by.

*****

But regardless, I've had a good time here in Germany in this wonderful town cloaked in mystery.

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But to quote Dorothy. "There's no place like home"

This chapter is over and a new chapter is beginning.

Goodbye Germany.

If you ever decide to visit this town out of curiosity, be sure to go to the Cafe Wunderbar. Sit on the faded leather booth seat in the back underneath the chandelier. That's our favorite hang out cafe and our favorite spot to sit. Have a cup of coffee for me and order the "Einfache fruhstuck"
 
posted by Clarity25 at 10:50 AM | 11 comments
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Yesterday and Today
Today was a beautiful day. Eric and I went into town for a cup of coffee at the cornershop bookstore. We saw a book on clearance filled with old images of this little town we live in. I was absolutely captivated by the images. I've always been fascinated by historical pictures and looking back at how things used to be in another time.

I was also curious to see just how much things had changed.

"well, lets get this book and then take a walk through town. We'll compare how things are now to how they were back then. It would be interesting to see the subtle and not so subtle differences." Eric suggested.

So we did.

and of course, I took pictures.

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There were differences in the store names, some of the architecture. But some things haven't changed much at all from the late 1800's!

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The horse and buggy carts were replaced with automobiles..

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What's interesting is that if you look closely, the Haus der Technik building has a banner on it celebrating the 150 year anniversary.


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It's so strange to be standing there in the same location an old photograph was taken. You look at the changes and it's like a trip through time. A glimpse of how things once were. It gave me chills.

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It's amazing how in only 3 and a half years. This town has become a real home to me. Since I walk everywhere, I know it inside and out. I'm attached to this town, the memories I have and the feelings it brings out.

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I'm going to miss it here

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I took this photo standing where the tree with those people in it once stood. Obviously it was chopped down years ago and replaced with a small children's park.

I have a couple more images that I might post in a new entry. Also a few people have asked me about the name of the town I live in. I kind of skirted over the question for privacy reasons and because I don't want this personal photoblog to come up in Google searches when someone types in the town's name. It's not a big city like Berlin or Frankfurt. I haven't met another blogger that currently lives in this town. I know some USED to live here, but it's hard to find anyone else.

But I'll give you a hint. There is a now-famous and very unusual conspiracy theory surrounding the town in Germany I live in. I'll share the article in my next entry. It's kind of funny, since my blog proves it wrong.

Tomorrow we're taking a road trip, we'll be back on Friday night. During that trip we'll be going to the American Embassy for our Green Card interview.

Wish us luck

And thank you to everyone that ordered a Charcoal portrait (previous entry) or expressed interest in ordering one. That completely made my day and helps us more than you know. Thank you so much for reaching out.
 
posted by Clarity25 at 10:04 AM | 17 comments
Monday, May 15, 2006
Charcoal portraits
A lot of people have suggested I offer portraits to raise the funds for my ticket home and to help us out of this financial hole we're stuck in.

At first I was hesitant. But my resistance has been pounded to shreds, partially by all of your caring letters and I can't see an argument anymore if you guys could really look at this as a business transaction and you really would like to have a portrait. I decided to give it a shot because that would help us so much right now: I will take fundraising portrait jobs.


So I imagine you'd like to see an example Charcoal portrait. (so you don't think I'm going to send you a stick figure drawing)

Here you go:

This is a portrait I did for Kristina of her little girl.

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Here are a few more examples

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All the portraits are 11 x 14 and done with charcoal pencils + vine charcoal on Strathmore paper. It's sprayed with a protective coating after completion so it wont smudge.

I originally wrote a longer entry with a whole bunch of unnecessary information. I've decided to keep it short and simple. If you're interested in commisioning a portrait, just send me an E-mail at Clarity_new@yahoo.com. The paypal account is just set up to receive payment for a portrait assignment.

. Thank you so much in advance to anyone that orders a portrait and helps us out. It means the world to us.


*****

By the way, Believe it or not, Eric is still working on answering 3 questions for his next Guest entry. He's just having a problem choosing. I'm sure he'll figure it out. I suggested he just do it in chapter installments on a weekly basis.
 
posted by Clarity25 at 4:23 PM | 13 comments
Sunday, May 14, 2006
The Final Stretch
"Should I stay or should I go
If I go there will be trouble..
If I stay there will be double"

"I always thought the phrase "If I stay there will be double" meant that there'll be two of them, that they'll be together, doubled up. Hmh."
-Acorn

I had never interpreted it that way before. It made me think.

I'm still in Germany.

I decided last minute not to take that flight back to America.

Everyone had urged me to be persistant with the airlines and it finally paid off. I received a partial credit that can go towards my next airline ticket. After calling so many times and pleading so much I jumped on the offer. Finally someone had compassion and was willing to bend the rules a little due to my circumstances.

So I'm staying in Germany for our Green Card interview. There were incomplete forms, we couldn't find an English notary and I can't mess up something this important. I need to make sure my husband can immigrate into America with me. As much as I was looking forward to seeing my family, It was the responsible thing to do. Our entire future depends on this interview.

I'll be flying home next week. I just have to raise the extra money for the difference in the price ticket. This calls for some ingenuity, but we have each other and I know in my heart I'm doing the right thing. It makes the most sense.


****

I have a massive headache due to a little accident this morning. My head is still throbbing and I'm dizzy. I have a nasty huge purplish swollen lump that is painful to touch and I need to lay down. I'll write about it tomorrow when I'm feeling better. It's easier to laugh about incidents like this in retrospect when you're not in pain.

****

On a closing note...

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

You deserve only the best on your special day, I wish I could be there with you right now. I can't really describe in words the depth of my love and appreciation for you. So I'm not even going to attempt it in a photoblog. You know that you are my bestfriend, That never changed and never will.



I'll be home soon, Mom. I love you

Today is also my Sister's birthday

What is so amazing about my sister is that we can be apart for months but when I see her again, it feels as though no time has passed. We just understand eachother. She lives life fully and I'm so proud of her. (she just won a literary award and completed her first novel)



So happy Birthday, Sis.. I saw this video and thought of you. "The Pixies" + sisters + camera. It's good to know we're not the only ones that do this. It made me laugh and reminded me of our times together in Germany.

We would blast "Where is my mind" and crowd around the bathroom sink cracking eachother up. There is nothing that can replace the love and understanding between sisters. You can strip off your mask, let go and be your truest self. We can lay around like sloths with knee-high striped socks and pink wigs. Watching Sex in the City, drinking champagne and eating Happy Hippo snacks like it's going out of style. (only stopping in-between bites to complain about how we're gonna get fat) Who else in the world could I EVER do that with? I can't wait to see you again

Only 7 more days.

When all of this is over and I'm on that plane home, I'll be filled with such relief. It will be cause for a huge celebration with my family. This is the final mountain to climb here in Germany, Then we can start our life TOGETHER in the United States.
 
posted by Clarity25 at 1:33 PM | 11 comments
Friday, May 12, 2006
Should I stay or should I go
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That's a photograph of Eric (in the middle of snapping the photograph of those tadpoles he posted in the previous entry) at the swamp close to his childhood home last weekend.

It's Clarity again. It's been a while since I've updated here. The truth is I haven't had much of a motivation or desire to post photos of my daily life. I've been feeling pretty low. We've kind of hit a financial rock bottom and for the first time I felt real fear. It's been a rough week.

As you probably figured out from Eric's guest entry we FINALLY received our interview invitation for the Green Card.

Unfortunately it was later than promised. I had a ticket already booked to return to America tomorrow and the interview is scheduled for next week. The ticket is non-refundable and I've spent most of this week pleading with the airline company with little success. I've been beating myself up about this, calling everyone and trying to fix this situation. We can't afford to lose this ticket. I have to get on that plane but if I take this flight I leave Eric in a precarious situation.

I have to find an English notary this afternoon for some new documents I need to sign in front of a witness for the consulate. We're having a hard time. I'm filled with fear that something will go wrong next week, that I should accompany him as we had planned. What if something goes wrong and I'm forced to fly back into Germany?

When circumstances arise that go against your orginal plan, you have two choices. Go with the new circumstances or swim against the current. Swimming against the current takes a courage and financial means that I don't have. We've struggled enough, maybe it's time to just let go. I have no other option.

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*****

This afternoon we were sitting together on the city hall steps in town trying to figure out what to do.

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"Should I stay or should I go?"

"How does that Clash song go?", Eric asked

"Should I stay or should I go...
If I go there will be trouble
If I stay there will be double."

I guess that answered my question. My bags are packed.


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Tomorrow I'll change my photoblog profile from Germany to New York. My days in Europe have come to an end. If I get sentimental about this, I'll only start to cry again. I've said all my goodbyes.

Sometimes you have to just give up. But before I do, I'm going to call the airline company one last time to see if I can change the ticket date. Then I'll surrender entirely to the circumstances and pray.

I hate leaving Eric like this right now and having him attend that interview alone next week. We've waited 5 months for this, if something goes wrong... we would have to start it all over again. I have a bad feeling about this.
 
posted by Clarity25 at 10:29 AM | 18 comments
Monday, May 08, 2006
My Apologies
Dear fantastic question engineers,

Hey it's Eric again. I am so sorry that you guys already had to wait so patiently for me to answer your intriguing questions. I really must say I didn't expect such a great turn out and that makes me feel real guilty for not having gotten around to provide your well-deserved response.

But our life is really hanging by a thread right now. Of course it's always to be expected that every once and a while one hits a rough spot. "In every life expect some trouble...if you worry...you make it double..." (drums on stomach and whistles tune. Tune dies out into a long exhausted sigh)

But damn! When you hit that rough spot! It doesn't matter how much you prepare. You can tell yourself that you're not materially attached every day of the week and sure you believe it. You can play the Buddha on the mountain top when everything is just fine and dandy but when someone pulls away the carpet under your feet it just knocks the wind out of you! (I think it's just supposed to)

So you're wondering what happened?

Where shall I begin? I was still standing on my feet when this Embassy thing kept dragging on...and on...and on... We calmly moved out of our flat on two weeks notice, throwing away 90% of all we ever owned. We moved into our bosses.."bomb shelter". Without a word of complaint, we then gave up that little underground dwelling to move to a place where foxes and hares tell eachother goodnight. I became a five year old again under the watchful eyes of my dear guardian mother who hasn't noticed that I aged a bit...

We dealt with the idea that we couldn't leave this country together and the fact that our money was is so tight that we have to turn every penny around twice and it seems like this city is already closed down for us. But when every source of income is removed and we discover that our interview is scheduled a week after the date of Clarity's nonrefundable ticket to New York. That was the straw that broke the camels back.

Its just when there is nowhere to move and control is taken out of your hands, the panic sets in. The last inkling of illusion that there is still something one can do is removed, and the last step to letting go, to give up, to just give yourself into the flow of the river that you fell into is just ever so scary. I still feel that this moving season is a precarious time and that I have to make sure everything goes like clockwork. I just haven't quite understood yet that everything does take care of itself and there never was any control.

Deep inside, I know however that the worst of times are the best of times. After all: anything else I had, anything else that I've been trying to control was nothing but a distraction from what is really important. It's like a heavy curtain is opening up in front of me and on a stage with all props removed is the one thing, the one person who is important to me, waiting for me. And the play that is on is the next act of my life. And it hasn't been written yet. Not even in sketches.

And when I look at that image I realize that nothing is more exciting then an empty stage with my wife...waiting for me to play.

So I hope you forgive me for not answering right away, I'm still busy picking up my shell-shocked pieces while Clarity is dangling on the other side of the bridge's railing only held by my tight grip.

Since this IS a photoblog, Here's some photos I took far away from where the action is.








No comment.
 
posted by Clarity25 at 6:34 PM | 16 comments
Friday, May 05, 2006
Throw me a question
Hey this is Eric.

I'm sitting sitting in the only internet and sporting bets cafe in this part of town. The door is open with a warm breeze coming in. Clarity is doing some cooking lesson thingie with Gutrud (How-to-make-a-Frikadelle) and wanted me to write today's entry but my brain is kind of lazy from this summer wind and the birds spell binding chants outside. There is some Turkish music mixing in with it all. I really can't think straight.

So here is an offer, since I love to lecture and answer questions here is an opportunity to hear it from the horse's mouth.

If you ask some questions, I shall answer the three most intriguing ones. Meaning what I find intriguing...not by what is intriguing by objective standard since that is obviously impossible! So if by some freak accident there should be MORE than three questions don't get insulted if I don't pick yours. It does not say anything about how intriguing you are. But do see it as a creative competition!

so ask away.

Have a good day.

-Eric
 
posted by Clarity25 at 11:14 AM | 26 comments
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Herman the German
On Tuesday we took a road trip to Detmold with Gurtrud to visit the German "Statue of Liberty"


Herman the German a.k.a "Hermann's Denkmal"(read here if you don't know the history, there is also a smaller version of this statue in New Ulm, Minnesota)


It's larger than I imagined it to be. This monument is a symbol of Germany's unity and independence. The sword in his hand gives it a different feel than the statue of liberty though..


We bought a ticket to travel up to the top of Herman the German. The view was beautiful. There was a strong wind and a feeling of quiet peacefullness. We just took it all in. It's not something you get to see every day..

Here are two pictures of the view we had.

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Afterwards we drove to open air archeological site. I'm fascinated with historical homes and structures. Some of the homes were authentic and shipped in from different areas of Germany. Some were re-built with original material. It was like entering a fairy tale.

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Walking through this village was similar to taking a trip into the past. Eric and I were the only ones there because we arrived just before closing time.

Well besides this guy who was wandering around and making a lot of noise..

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You can walk into all the homes. Peering at the old furniture, pottery and tools you can't help but wonder about the daily lives of our ancestors. What they did, felt inside and thought about the future. Life was so simple back then. It was all about the basics for survival.

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What would they think if they could see what our lives are like now? Computers, cars, planes, skyscrapers and technology. Are we really more advanced or have we just collected more stuff to distract us from what really matters in life?

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*****

I realized something this afternoon while I was sitting on the balcony with Eric and his guardian mother. I realized how amazing Gurtrud truly is and how much I needed to get away from the city for a while. When you're stripped of all outside influences, electronics and communication devices you're forced to just observe nature. You notice the beauty around you and reflect on the direction your life is heading

Gutrud's kindness, love of life and hospitality really floors me. I think at first I was intimidated and I was trying so hard to do everything right by her. I felt that I couldn't measure up and I wanted to show her that I could be the "perfect German hausfrau". But the truth is, she doesn't want me to change or be anything other than who I am. She's showing me a different way of living but not making any demands. She just accepts me and loves me. It took a while for me to grasp this because I was too busy jumping through hoops and careful with every move I made. I just knew how much Eric loved her and I didn't want to do anything wrong.

But I realize all of this isn't necessary. She said she's just so happy we're here. This has been a beautiful week so far. I'm really glad we can spend it with her.

We played "Super Rummy" again last night. A few people had mentioned that they call it "Rummykub". That is what Gurtrud calls it as well. The box she pulled it out of had the title: "Super Rummy Spiel" which is why I referred to it as that. I was surprised to discover that other people have played this because I had never even heard of it before this week!

****

Okay, I have to sign off because I'm having a coffee with Eric at an internet cafe and my time is running out.

****

 
posted by Clarity25 at 10:03 AM | 21 comments
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