A while back I posted a commencement address by Admiral William H. McRaven.
Each month in a local paper, our daughter Kathryn posts an article on Population Health. When I read the article, I got all chest puffy and proud of my daughter’s material as well as learning that a family Sunday Night gathering was remembered. I feel Admiral McRaven and my daughters post kind of go hand in hand.
In case you didn’t see my McRaven post, here is that excerpt. Here is a part of the commencement address to the graduates of The University of Texas at Austin on May 17, 2014 by Admiral William H. McRaven.
Every morning in basic SEAL training, my instructors, who at the time were all Vietnam veterans, would show up in my barracks room and the first thing they would inspect was your bed. If you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack — that’s Navy talk for bed.
It was a simple task — mundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle-hardened SEALs, but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.
If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.
And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made — and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.
So, I grew up in Connecticut, one of three children of a State Trooper and a nurse. One of my best memories was of Sunday nights. My dad would work on preparing for the week. My dad would get out his badge, his belt buckle, and his rank. He would then ask us all to get our shoes lined up. We only got one pair of shoes at the beginning of the school year, and they were usually leather.
My mom would get her white uniforms out. He would lay all his uniform parts out on the floor. He would get out the ironing board, take out his brass cleaning kit, his leather kit and proceed to wax, polish, and iron. He would shine his brass until it glistened, polish our leather shoes until we could see ourselves in the toes, and then iron his uniforms and my mom’s.
Sometimes he would teach us how to do it, other times we just sat and talked with him about our day. It was a labor of love, and also pride for himself and our family. When I joined the Air Force, I continued that ritual, polishing my boots, ironing my uniform…. Today, I still polish my shoes and iron my clothes, preparing for my week.
We are all so busy. We move throughout our weeks driven by kids, family, jobs, community commitments, friends, and so much more. We rarely get a minute to breathe. What I have found, is this simple act of taking time to prepare makes a difference and allows some of life’s chaos to turn into calm. Taking a break to plan can have a positive impact on our well-being. It gives us time to pause and look ahead.
What if all we were able to take a pause, one day a week and prepare? What could we accomplish? We could plan a few lunches or dinner meals at home, avoiding fast food drive-throughs for a day. We could plan time to talk a walk, exercise at the gym, ride a bike, maybe spend time with family or friends. We could even make time to plan for our health. We could schedule an annual physical, a mammogram, flu shot, or much-needed colonoscopy if we need one? What about a few minutes to check any prescriptions and make sure they aren’t about to run out?
Think of how much money we could save, the stress we could lower, health we could improve. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” What would it hurt, to stop wishing for life to slow down, and instead, plan for it? Maybe try it this week, stop for 15 minutes and write down one thing you plan to do for yourself, then DO IT. Let me know how it goes!
As most of you know, granddaughter Samantha, Captain, USAF, currently lives in The Netherlands and works for NATO in Germany. It’s kind of like living in South Jersey and working in Philly, you just don’t need to cross the Ben Franklin bridge to get there. Sam’s husband, also a Captain, USAF and a pilot is stationed there with her. To maintain their family unit, their four children are there for the European experience as well.
Once again the lazy writer in me is using a recent post of Sam’s to share with you. I’m attempting to get a blog out every Sunday or Monday. Thanks Sam for making that possible this week. I’ll gather up an occasional picture or two and some links along the way. I’ve got to contribute something to the blog, right?
A Weekend Away
Zed and I had the amazing opportunity to spend a few days together in Europe. His parents were out visiting to help with the kids as I was away with work. Zed was gracious enough to drive me down and take the scenic route. In total we visited 8 countries in under 48hrs.
Our journey began in the Netherlands, as that’s where we live. We quickly entered Belgium where we passed through Liege, Bastogne, and Arlon. I love living in a place that holds so much history. When we first moved here we watched Band of Brothers to give us a brief history lesson. Then it was a quick stop through Luxembourg, which is smaller than Rhode Island.
France is where things became new. As soon as we crossed the border we saw the Maginot line, which I got no pictures of because my phone was away.
From that point on I always had it within easy reach and turned the auto camera function on. We were also greeted into France by seeing nuclear power plants. Their water towers are also some of the most unique I’ve seen (a funnel, a castle turret, and a mushroom). By this time we need some food. We like to visit the local McDonald’s to see what interesting things they have on their menu. We were let down, no unique menu items. Moments away from our next country we came to a border checkpoint. When they asked us if we had anything to declare I held up the McDonald’s bag and Zed said just fast food. I’d like to think we livened up the officer’s shift.
Switzerland was up and is a country of tunnels. In 2hrs we journeyed through a minimum of 20. I lost count. So far it has been the country Zed and I both agree we’d like to ex-pat to, if we were rich enough to do so. Their homes are unique and there are ranches everywhere.
The homes have huge roofs (guessing to manage the snow), numerous
windows, and carefully decorated gables. They even decorate the under
side of the roofs.
While in Switzerland we were also able to participate in a Latter Day
Saint Temple Session. The Bern Temple was the first built in Europe.
Liechtenstein was a surprise for me. It was also our first passport
stamp since being here, we did a few euros to get it. Our goal was to
see Sir Ulrich von Liechtenstein (from the movie A Knight’s Tale),
instead we walked into their Carnival parade.
Now it was time for Austria. We ventured through a 8.5mi long tunnel
that allowed us to bypass a mountain pass. One of the most interesting
things we saw was a car from Swaziland. How it got there we’re still
wondering. There were also wooden huts scattered throughout and we never
could research a good answer as to what they were.
Germany brought us to the end of our journey. We stayed at the base of Neuschwanstein Castle and Zed dropped me off at my work location the next morning (another blog post will be coming on that). We were able to see the Zugspitze (the tallest point of Germany) and a few avalanches.
The trip was amazing. A great time to spend together and see new things. We were blessed with safety and clear roads both in weather and traffic. Enjoy the few pictures I took and stay tuned for more adventures. -S
NATO 101 with Sam and Zed
I had the opportunity to go to a course in Southern Germany to learn more about NATO and it’s interactions with different nations. I learned a ton, but the best part was having a class made up of 26 nations, and not all were NATO members. To learn how Ukraine views current world issues versus Denmark is just one example. Throw in my US mindset and a Dutch opinion and dinner conversation was never dull.
Part of the course allowed the opportunity to independent study. I used the opportunity to sight see.
My trip to the Disney castle was worth it. Unfortunately pictures inside are not allowed. It is worth the ticket price. Interesting note, the castle has been a museum since 6wks after King Ludwig’s mysterious death.
I also visited Kolfel mountain in Oberammergau, Germany where the story of Hansel and Gretel comes from. The story goes that a witch lives in the mountain and there are numerous documentations of kids going out to play and never coming back.
is a unique village situated in a valley. When the village was hit with
the Plague the town promised God that if it would stop spreading and
spare lives they would always do a Passion play. The Plague ceased and
the people have put on the Passion play every 10yrs following. This is
the longest running Passion play in the world. It has become so largely
attended that only those born in Oberammergau or those who have lived
there for a minimum of 20yrs are allowed to be actors.
The opportunity to learn more about my job, but also other nations perspectives is one I am so grateful to have gotten. Not bad to get it, and see Neuschwanstein either. -S
In order to put more information out in the Electronic Hemisphere, I’ve adapted to sharing loved one’s posts from the Netherlands. Thanks to granddaughter Samantha who gets to live there for a few years with husband Zed, ( I call him Sir Zedsalot), and their 4 Children, she provides me with ammunition of the written word to use. Sam has provided some great travel info and photos in this post, enjoy. Happy New Year all! theRooster
Though the title only really applies to one lunch Zed and I have
had over the past 2 weeks it also explains our holiday break pretty
well. We tried a little of a lot and saw some new things. Enjoy the
long, but fun post to follow.
We spent an entire day in Maastricht, NL while the kids were at
daycare. If you’ve been to Georgetown, MD imagine a European version and
that’s Maastricht. Their Christmas market was still going, but
everything was on sale! We rode the Ferris Wheel, walked the shopping
district and ate at a small burger place named FAB
(Famous American Bistro). Sharing 5 sliders and some deep fried Mac
& Cheese we felt a little piece of home, except for the glass
The church on the left has been restored from the 1700s to its
original painted color and structure. The church on the right is from
View of Maastricht from the top of the Ferris Wheel.
Another view from the Ferris Wheel of the two really old churches.
This book store has taken up residence in an old church. The vast
cathedral houses three stories of books in a multitude of languages.
Zed and Ana went shopping at Rammstein, aka as American as you can
get in Europe. They saw Mary Poppins, bought discounted Christmas
decorations, and visited Bastogne.
New Year’s Eve Day, we stayed local as I had about 5hours to play in
between my shifts. Heerlen is where our ward building is located, but
also a really neat town close to home. We enjoyed the site, shopping,
and some yummy sushi before I headed back in to work.
These bricks are found in the sidewalk outside of buildings Jews
lived in. They say the name, the birth year, when they were deported,
when they died, and the camp they were sent to.
During the winter a sledding hill and ice rink are set up in the square.
Pock marks from bullet holes can be seen in the bell tower left over from WWII.
New Year’s Eve was quiet inside our home, but the Dutch sure know how
to celebrate. The firework display was a 360 degree show that lasted
from 11pm to 3am. This display was put on by everyone, but us. We were
not aware that to live in the Netherlands you are obligated to set off
fireworks on New Years…we have learned for next year. The fireworks set
off also are not able to be purchased in the US. The rockets are large
and fuses short.
Jan 2nd brought another date day where we got to test out our new
GoPro at the indoor ski slopes. Completing 12 runs in two hours, we were
pretty tired and ready for some lunch. Back to Maastricht we went to
enjoy some Fish and Chips at Jack White’s.
Here is where the title of this post comes in. We enjoyed gourmet fish
with a tray of five different sauces to choose from. Zed ordered the cod
battered in the traditional seasoning. I got Mackerel battered in
various herbs. Our tarter sauces consisted of traditional tarter, curry
lime, spicy beetroot, mango, and garlic. The mango was our favorite and
the garlic made an amazing dip for the chips. It was at this restaurant
we learned the best way (cheapest) to drink out is to order the largest
water they have and split it. We also stopped in a costume shop to begin
our Carnival costume planning. Here’s what Zed is considering.
The 3rd, on a whim we went to Trier. This is the oldest town in all
of Germany with many Roman ruins still present. We ate in a historic
cellar that displayed numerous crests from the region. Unfortunately
both of our phones were unusable halfway through the day so we didn’t
get pictures of everything…guess we’ll just have to go back. We intend
to bring family as they come to visit because we enjoyed the town so
One of the many churches in the town. I am standing at the opposite
side of the square in order to capture the full height…at least 12
Better lighting and side view of the same cathedral.
Inside the Constantine Basilica. The most interesting thing to me
here was the history of the church. In the history it explains how many
times the church was rebuilt (at least 5) due to different ownerships.
The most recent reconstruction of the Basilica was due to “the necessary
consequences from the Nazi era”. The altar is the place of the previous
Roman Emperor’s throne. It was the plainest church we saw in Trier, but
according to the guide “it has been divested of its former pomp and
splendor. Marble and treasures have no place in it.” The guide made us
wonder who was responsible for writing it due to the blunt nature of the
Ironically, this is connected to the back side of the Basilica.
Covered in pink paint, gold leafs, and Roman statues the electoral
college had ownership of the building at one time. This opens up into
what I can imagine is a gorgeous garden in the spring and summer time
complete with fountains and reflection pools.
Porta Nigra. The one remaining port entry gate from the Romans, there
were a total of 4. This is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. My first
ever to visit.
After this picture my phone died. We also saw the amphitheater which
felt much life a Division 1 football stadium and the main bath house.
Oh, and we did some shopping of course.
We put some miles on our shoes, checked a few stops off the bucket
list, and enjoyed some quality time as a couple. Because of these small
trips, Zed and I have realized we need to make a list of places to visit
based on driving distance so as we have a random day or long weekend
off we can hop in the car and go.
I’ll be sure to have a phone charger in the car and the GoPro always
prepared from here on out so you don’t miss any of our travels.
I love when Sam writes a post and I get to share it with my readership. It certainly makes my Blogging easy. 2017 saw Zed deployed to the Gulf and Sam and the children nestled down in Allen, MD with Pappy & G. (That would be Jeff & Kathryn) Today you get to see the family from a distance 3896.60 miles away. When we spoke with Sam yesterday she said it was a balmy 60 degrees. Enjoy our distant Grands and Greats
Merry Christmas from Germany…well the Netherlands. Live in one country and work in another, pretty cool concept.
We would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
This was our first year recording the chaos thanks to an early gift,
1.5hr of opening gifts and a full day of lounging and playing with them.
I tried to upload the pictures in progression of the events.
It’s Christmas Eve put the computer away, is what she said to me. But I have friends out there waiting to hear from me. Well wait until later before you go to bed, unless you hear the bells, on Santa’s sled.
I’ve got to send greetings to those who follow me, this is one day I just can’t let pass. Well right now we’ve got to get ready and, get to Mass, there is someone more important to who we must thank, and before church we need gas in the tank. So I log off the keys and clean up my act. If we don’t hurry, we’ll stand in the back.
We fill up the tank and drive to the church, I’m driving too fast, and we stop with a lurch. We’re greeted by the Priest with a skeptical stare, I’m thinking he saw us, speeding in there. We find us a seat and just settle in, as the priest and the Alter Boy’s march does begin.
The opening prayer is on Christmas and the birth of Christ, it’s the season of Joy and, everyone’s so nice. The theme of the Homily is to go forth and be kind, I turn to the wife and just start to smile, I’ve been kind to the woman for quite a while. Fifty-three years together are we, I shut my eyes and our first Christmas Mass together I see.
It was 1966 in New Jersey, a cold winter’s night when the two of us walked through thunder and snow. It was 8/10 of a mile to the church, the wind gusts were blowing 25 knots or so. There was something so special with everything white, I remember that walk, like it was this Holy Night.
Back at my grandmothers home after Mass, we were offered Mogen David wine, in a fancy cut glass. Joining us there were Aunt Maude and Uncle Jim. When I was little, every time they would depart, he would give me a dime. Those memories way back to a long-ago time, bring genuine joy and, I remember the Homily, Be Kind! theRooster, 2018
There are many great memories of Christmas with our families. While living in Connecticut, we would have Christmas Day at home and then in a day or two drive to New Jersey and Delaware to celebrate with our respective families there. This, of course, was a grand time for the kids when they were young. Santa seemed to always leave a few out of state gifts for our three, what a treat.
That first Christmas Mass together was attended at Holy Maternity Catholic church in Audubon, NJ. We walked the 8/10 of a mile from my grandmother’s house at W. Pine and 4th Ave. You can check the weather at the Wunderground site below. Twas, not a night fit for man or beast, but we were young, so what the hell.
An excellent remembrance for me was a Christmas Eve I had to work many years ago. I was a young State Trooper and my assignment on this eve was I-84 between Rt. 32 and the Massachusetts State Line. It was called the Upper Patrol. On this night I exchanged my big grey Stetson for a red floppy Santa’s hat, big white tassel on end and all.
If my memory serves me correctly, it was a relatively quiet evening. I would make a few stops, give some verbal warnings. I would hand out candy canes to those I came in contact with and wish them a Merry Christmas and ask them to please drive safely as they continued their journey. After the shift was over, I’d enter our home quietly, my lady was waiting up, and we would have a bit of quiet time and last minute wrapping together. Those were the days my friends.
This past week saw us journey North to CT to visit our son and his family. We would take a leisurely route and cross into NY via the Bear MT. bridge.
A stop at the 202 diner in Cortlandt provided nourishment.
It was only a three-day visit, but it was grand to be with those who are near and dear to our hearts. We had a meal at our favorite haunt when visiting Tolland, Camille’s. I got to spend a few hours with an old member of the Thin Blue Line, #467. We drank coffee at Dunkin Donut’s and told war stories for a couple of hours. I spent time with a brother-in-law, talking clocks and wine racks. He’s quite a Woodworker.
Yes, Christmas time is great for bringing us together. I thank the good Lord for giving me and the little women good health to travel and the ability to wish all of you who take a gander at the Blog from time to time a very Merry Christmas from our house to yours.
As I close, remember the theme from the Homily at Mass, BE KIND!
Yesterday we found ourselves at daughter Kathryn’s house for an early dinner of Chili. We also got a free meal the previous night and played some single deck Pinochle. Jeff and the Rooster were partners and we got our butts kicked two games to one. One of our losses was by more than 100 points, 120 is game, ouch!
This blog is not about Chili, Pinochle or eating at the daughtersthough, it’s about something fishy. With Jeff off to work in our nations capitol for a few days we extended an invite to Kathryn and granddaughter Abigail & cousin Rachael for dinner tonight. We do that a lot when Jeff’s out of town and traveling.
So, Kathryn asks, “what’s for dinner Granny?” Me wife says, Cod Fish. Kathryn asks why do we put fish after the Cod? “Well, it could be Cod Cakes I say”. We also put fish after, Cat, I mean, would you ask someone to come to your house for cat? We put the fish after Tuna, Sword and Gefilte, don’t we? This led me to realize we put Brazilian & Sea prior to Bass. Should you be eating Drum, it’s color coded, Black or Red? Eldest daughter comes out with some strange thought provoking stuff now and then. Do I have you thinking? Are these prefix and suffix foods?
Tomorrow morning I’m having Bacon Pig with my eggs for breakfast, chicken eggs of course. What are you having for dinner tonight? Are these prefix and suffix foods I ask?
As long as we have the La carte de vins the girls will be happy, bon appétit.
4 cod filets, about 1-inch thick
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for baking dish
1 c. cherry tomatoes
1 lemon, sliced, plus more for garnish
2 garlic cloves, smashed but not peeled
2 sprigs thyme
2 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400° and pat cod filets with a paper towel until dry. Season all over with salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl, combine olive oil, cherry tomatoes, lemon slices, garlic, and thyme.
Brush a baking dish with olive oil. Pour tomato-oil mixture into dish, then nestle in cod.
Bake until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork, about 15 minutes.
Serve garnished with parsley, more lemon juice, and pan sauce.
Yesterday Jeff & Kathryn invited us to join them at Ruth’s Chris Stak House for dinner, with family and a few friends, we would celebrate Abby’s Birthday. If you’ve never been to one of these dining venues, you must try it once. Mary Agnes and I would each have a steak of different description. Fabulous sides complemented a meal over several hours of great conversation to celebrate the growth of a fine young lady.
“Hmm, how do we attack this”.
We gather to gether to ask the Lord’s Blessing and to wish Abby a very Happy Birthday.
From the fingers of Captain Samantha Davies, USAF
Once again Samantha has made things easy for me to put out a Blog, thanks Sam. Enjoy Sam’s first week in Germany as she continues to share her adventure.
It also brought learning the base and getting some initial inprocessing completed. Tuesday was a house hunting day and we picked up our Saturn from the processing center. We also got German cell phone numbers! Wednesday was Ana’s first day of school at AFNORTH and my first interaction with my fellow branch heads and wing commander. Thursday was a failed attempt at school lunch by Mia. She did a great job standing up and ordering it, but did not like their version of Mac n cheese and hotdogs. We also toured 4 homes. Friday was spent with my family while Zed did more inprocessing. I was able to learn the city center of Geilenkirchen, parking rules, and where the biggest grocery store is. Saturday (today) we slept in, only about an hour, and Zed set out with two kiddos on a continued house hunt.
All in all the week went smoothly. Thankfully my mom and grandmother were around. They made dinner each night and helped with bath time. I was in no condition to maintain survival of the kids or myself and Zed was about the same. So grateful for the help.
We’re still learning the time change and it’s been a little difficult to match up with those back in the States. We do have What’s App and that’s the best way to get in touch with us. Marco Polo is another fun one and more video messages rather than text messages. Keep following and I’ll keep posting.
Bright and early on this past Wednesday, 0400 hrs., EDST, (Eastern Daylight Savings Time), my awakening text from the German travelers informed me they were on a train headed Aachen. Don’t they know I’m sound asleep. Ben, my Black Poodle stirs, “What, What’s up Rooster”?
I’m told today is a down day from House hunting. Several rental homes to visit are on the schedule for Thursday. We best see some sites, say the girls. So they gather themselves and head to the place every German traveler goes when they want to change locations.
The Railway Train
I like to see it lap the miles, And lick the valleys up,
And stop to feed itself at tanks; And then, prodigious, step
Around a pile of mountains, And, supercilious, peer
In shanties by the sides of roads; And then a quarry pare
To fit its sides, and crawl between, Complaining all the while
In horrid, hooting stanza; Then chase itself down the hill
And neigh like Boanerges; Then, punctual as a star,
Stop – docile and omnipotent – At its own stable door.
Located at the border of Germany – Netherlands – Belgium, Aachen is a German city with a long-standing connection with the country’s history. Thanks to its many sulphur-laden springs, this historical spa city has been a site where the German Kings were crowned. Residence of Charlemagne, Aachen is one of Europe’s most important cities. The city itself has many historical sites that are worth visiting. Check out some of the best things to do in Aachen @ https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g187367-Activities-Aachen_North_Rhine_Westphalia.html
A beautiful gothic cathedral like one should be. Situated in the old town of Aachen with hundreds of nice shops & restaurants and cafes all around it. Definitely worth the trip.
Aachen: cathedral city of Europe.
Kathryn’s image capture
Aachen is a city that lives and breathes Europe. It is practically Europe in miniature. Aachen, on the border with Belgium and the Netherlands, has encapsulated the spirit, value and ideals of Europe since the days of Charlemagne. Indeed the Charlemagne Prize for services to European unity has been awarded at Aachen’s town hall since 1950.
Aachen Cathedral is both a local landmark and a monument to Europe’s illustrious past.
After starting out life as the imperial palace’s chapel in 800 AD (the year of Charlemagne’s coronation), the completed building became the first cathedral in northern Europe and for many centuries served as the church of coronation for nearly every German king. The term ‘completed’ is open to interpretation, however, since the cathedral has been extended numerous times, including the addition of the great chancel in 1414 – a Gothic masterpiece whose windows reach an impressive 27 metresin height, making them the tallest ever at that time. The cathedral’s treasury is the most important north of the Alps and features precious artefacts such as the Cross of Lothair, a silver and gold bust of Charlemagne and the shrine in which Charlemagne was supposedly interred in 814 AD. Both the cathedral and its treasury are among the highlights on the Charlemagne Route, the historical path that winds through Aachen. The route takes in a series of eye-catching buildings, including Haus Löwenstein (a former residence and inn) and the Büchelpalais, which until 1752 served as the local corn exchange. Every checkpoint on the route focuses on a different topic: history, science, Europe, religion, power, business and media. It’s a wonder there’s not an equestrian-themed checkpoint, given how passionate the locals are for this noble sport. The annual Concours Hippique International Officiel is among the leading equestrian tournaments worldwide. It’s just one of numerous major events in the city, many of which are held in the equestrian arena before a crowd of 50,000 enthusiastic spectators.
Aachen is also renowned for its relaxed atmosphere, best experienced on a stroll through the historical streets. There’s a charming contrast between the grand old buildings dotted along the Charlemagne Route and the lively buzz supplied by 45,000 students from all corners of the globe. They give the city a vibrant yet laid-back character that everyone seems to be enjoying wherever you look – evidence of Aachen’s cosmopolitan flair and yet another reason to wander around the city centre, walking back through the centuries.
Aachen Town Hall, built on the site of the old imperial palace in the 14th century, is another firm favorite for sightseers. It was later converted into a grand baroque palace during the city’s prosperous heyday. Just next door is the Postwagen, a refined restaurant that has been welcoming visitors through its doors for centuries.
Over on Pontstrasse, inside the Grosses Haus – believed to be the oldest residential block in Aachen – you’ll find the International Newspaper Museum featuring many fascinating exhibits. The museum now explores the wider media and its collection includes more than 200,000 newspapers and other printed matter from all over the world and in (almost) every language, demonstrating the transience of history and how today’s headlines become tomorrow’s chip papers. Whereas at the Ludwig Forum for International Art, the works on display are always contemporary, with genres ranging from pop art to photorealism. Throughout the ages, however, one thing has remained constant in Aachen: its European ethos. You can’t fail to notice that when you arrive in Aachen, you arrive in Europe (From the pages of Trip Advisor)
The girls got back to Geilenkirchen just in time to learn that Abby (Kathryn’s youngest daughter), got to take a tour of the new office she will be working out of next month. The young recent college graduate will be working in an off site Neurological practice of PRMC.
We’ve officially been here for 2 full days…all 4 kids are enrolled in school and medical, We have 1 of our 2 vehicles, have a German cell phone number, have 3 additional IDs, have a Rations Card, toured 1 house, and I have had my first funny international encounter.
Italian – “Hello I’m Grandpa”
Me – “Hello”
Italian – “You’re going to die”
Italian – points to the car behind me that is trying to back up!
What is a Ration Card, you might ask.
Because of host nation tax laws, some items are rationed in the Commissaries and Exchanges. Gasoline is a big one. Other rationed items include cigarettes, distilled liquor, and coffee. You will be issued a ration card. You will need your ID card to obtain the ration card and must present the ration card and ID card anytime you buy a rationed item. Separate cards are issued for each adult family member authorized privileges and should be more than adequate for your needs. DO NOT abuse the privilege. Using your ration card to purchase items for someone not authorized privileges, except as a bona fide gift, is a violation of both military regulations and host nation tax laws. A result of abuse may be loss of privileges, fines, and disciplinary action.
Gasoline is VERY expensive on the economy. The NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) allows the sale of fuel to authorized members of the NATO forces free of local country taxes, on a controlled basis. When your register your vehicle, you will receive a certificate which conveys your gasoline allowance and is used as your ration document for gasoline.
At the southern edge of the Heinsberg district, where the B 221 (Aachen-Kleve) and B 56 (Bonn-Sittard/NL) trunk roads cross, lies the modestly sized town of Geilenkirchen. Surrounded mainly by rural countryside, the town has a population of over 28,000. Geilenkirchen owes its traditional key position in the daily life of the surrounding region to its convenient location and easy access.The face of the town centre has dramatically changed in the course of extensive renovation work. The extension to the Town Hall and the redesign of the Market Place put the final touches to this phase. Without a doubt, the town has benefited tremendously from this facelift.
The town centre is surrounded by dozens of well-maintained villages that pride themselves on their cleanliness and are home to a particularly easy-going lifestyle. Geilenkirchen offers its inhabitants a high standard of living and above average leisure time activities. Apart from its excellent shopping facilities, Geilenkirchen has the full range of educational institutions and a whole range of social and care institutions – a modern hospital, old people’s homes and nursery schools. Making good use of one’s leisure time is hardly a problem here, with sport centres and gymnasiums, swimming baths, both indoor and outdoor tennis facilities, indoor riding, gliding and model aeroplane aerodromes and numerous recreational and sports grounds round off the options.Those in search of peace and quiet will find the town in the valley of the River Wurm – nestled between hidden castles and stately homes, old water-powered mills and impressive farm houses – the ideal choice. A particular attraction is the nearby Teverener Heath.The pleasures associated with this town are appreciated by, among others, the German Army and NATO, whose soldiers are stationed close to Geilenkirchen. Relations between the local population and these “visitors” are extremely convivial.