Ruins of Castle Hanstein near Bornhagen, Germany

Visiting the ruins of Hanstein takes us back to medieval times - Castle Hanstein near Bornhagen, Germany in 2012 More »

Vietnam War protestors demonstrate - Wichita, KS, 1967.

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Solingen, Germany after the bombing, November 1944. - Stadtarchiv Solingen

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My grandmother Grete with her sisters in the early 1920s in Germany.

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B17 Bomber above German Airfield in WWII

U.S. Bomber flies above German airfield in WWII. More »

 

Category Archives: healthy living

What I Truly Wish for in the New Year

Had you asked me a year ago whether I’d expect a lot of surprises in 2017, I would’ve said no. However, last year brought a lot of change, some fun, some difficult and some shocking. Let’s do the fun part first. My new novel, Surviving the Fatherland, received several awards and became a #1 bestseller in the Amazon historical category. But it’s just a category, not the NY or USA Today bestseller list, you say. Correct, though this particular category is large and contains many famous writers. In any case, I was humbled to be in such company.

moving container with furniture

Our container before take-off in the U.S.

The difficult part was our move to Germany. After spending 30 years in the U.S., my American husband, daughter and I reduced the contents of a four-bedroom house to fit into a 20-foot container. This project lasted several months as we agonized over what to keep and what to give away. Luckily, we sold our house in a day. When the sale fell through because of financial issues of the buyer, we sold it again—in a day. Finally, at the end of August we took a one-way flight to my hometown, Solingen.

Woman and man in front of a wall smiling

Celebrating New Year’s Eve

The initial move-in, German bureaucracy and arranging technology was trying, but we managed to get settled into our new apartment without too much fuss. Then came the shock. In early November, my husband suffered a stroke. He was not a candidate but a fit, normal-weight man who loves riding bicycles in the mountains and has blood values, most people would kill for. With this new diagnosis, our well-laid plans evaporated. Within three weeks my 88-year old father also suffered a stroke and I moved into the twilight zone.

old dog lying on her bed

Mocha waiting for her man to return from the hospital

I realized I had been very lucky until now, our family mostly being spared serious illness. This new reality made me face our fragility as a couple and a family and pose the question, what would be next. It was uncomfortable to say the least. As I drove to the hospital every day, my moods swung between anger, sadness and worry.

I’m happy to report that as of the New Year, both men are doing quite well and are back on their feet, albeit with lingering numbness. We hope that the continued rehab will speed up their recoveries. For me, I’m grateful—grateful that the strokes weren’t worse. Grateful, I had friends and family close to support me. But I’m also hopeful that 2018 will offer a chance to settle into our new lives, but more importantly health and peace.

And that’s what I wish you, dear readers, for the New Year: health and peace and that you accomplish what you set out to do. Finally, I want to express a heartfelt thank you for reading my books and supporting me!

 

Bicycling Away the Lethargy of Summer

Last night I went for a bike ride. Nothing special except that I hadn’t been in the saddle since May. While my husband was chugging away the miles and training for a triathlon I’d found excuses not to ride. It was too hot, I was too tired, laundry was piling up, I had to walk the dog, there was writing and editing to do.

Watching my thighs descent into jiggle mode, I finally decided it was time. The wind blew hot and steady like a hair dryer, but I bravely climbed on the seat. Even more bravely, my husband volunteered to go “slow” next to me. The first round—we ride a circle through our neighborhood—about two miles felt as if my legs were filled with lead. On each small hill, the route meanders up and down, I’d almost come to a stop, frantically shifting into smaller gears, while my husband easily passed me up.

Riding Around the Neighborhood while Remembering the Ploener See in Germany

Riding Around the Neighborhood while Remembering the Ploener See in Germany

In round two I decided my bike was broken. Gears rattled and my chain ground in protest. I was destroying the bike, my husband commented dryly. No, I insisted, it was definitely the bike. In round three, things were becoming smoother, I was a little faster and didn’t have to shift as much. By round four, the grinding and rattling had stopped.

By the time I finished and my husband began his “real” ride, I was smiling (thanks to the dopamine). I’d successfully overcome the lethargy of summer. Soon it’ll be time for another ride. Got to get those legs in shape.