17th April 2010


I don’t generally have my camera with me at the grocery store, but since I was already carrying it (didn’t want to leave it in the car), I decided to embarrass myself by taking pictures.  :laughn1:

One of the neat things about this store is that there is often a little shopping cart available.  Zora loves to use it, and it makes me happy to see her enjoying it because it brings back memories to me of pushing a similar cart around Buhler Market when I was her age.  (and those are books in the cart.  This Dillons has a public library branch attached to it.  I needed to return one book, and as per usual, we came back out with more than we took in there.  We are book hounds around here).  The balloons were a bonus this trip…the florist offered one to each kid, and they were really excited about it.

Even though she knows she won’t get it, she still has to ask.

and ask…

I don’t want to mislead you…although I am making an effort to change us to a more healthy diet as a family, there was a bottle of juice and some macaroni and cheese in the cart under all that broccoli, spinach and cauliflower.  lol  (but there were no bakery items other than the bread, simply because the smell of them drives me crazy)

posted in Autistic Life, Shopping, Zane, Zora | Comments Off

3rd January 2009

The Depots: Home and Office

Zach and I need some stuff for a project, so we split up. I took Zora to Office Depot, Zane and Zach went to Home Depot.

Zora inherited some “skipped a generation” genes for shoes, because as we are walking into Office Depot, she got really excited just SEEING the Carnival Shoe store next door and wanted to go in to look at shoes. This did not come from me.

Zane loved Home Depot. He walked through every door, opened a bunch of windows, and studied the staircase railings, rang all the doorbells (a note here…the store was empty), loved the sinks and bathtubs, looked over each refrigerator (decided he wanted the kind with a water and ice machine in front) and as they were walking down another aisle, he told Zach “Daddy, let’s build a house”. Very cool.

posted in Autistic Life, Language Development, Shopping, The Kids | Comments Off

1st January 2009

Welcome to 2009

I went to Towne East Mall today. It has been a while, and in my absence, they installed carpet all over the second floor. It looked good, which means it is probably pretty recent. lol. Helped a lot with the sound.

Found some good sales, although I couldn’t buy much. I went to see what was at Old Navy, but it was eerily empty to the point where I wonder if they are going out of business at this location. The few things that I saw online that I wanted were not marked down in the store, so I left with only one pair of fleece pants for Zora (boy’s fleece pants because girls are too wimpy for snow). I did find some shirts at Dillards for Zach for work. (His Hawaiian-style shirts are not working for winter for some reason) Nothing like $40-50 shirts for $11-$14. I got 3, which pretty much tapped me out so I headed home.

While away, Zach and the kids had fun. A little bit of soccer and then Zora wanted the camera.

~ Photography by Zora ~

We really need to think about getting the girl her own camera. It makes me nervous to hand over mine, but I enjoy seeing what she does.

posted in Photos by kids, Play, Shopping, The Kids | 1 Comment

24th August 2008

A little more shopping

Did you know Aldi is from Germany? 



Shopping carts


Want a Wii?  They actually have them in stock, something I have yet to see in person here in the States.  For $249 Euros, you can own one.  (with PAL, so they won’t do you any good here at home)


Zane would have been crazy for these:




Dad, I found the store you would frequent.  We kept seeing tractors driving down the city streets here.  You would think a bunch of Amish lived here.  lol.


In the toy stores there was a drool worthy amount of Haba.  There was also a lot of Lego and Playmobil.  I was really wishing I could have bought out the stores.  lol.



posted in Attendorn, Germany, Shopping, Travel | Comments Off

18th August 2008

On to Bonn, to search for Yarn

We did not discover until partway through our trip home that if you set the automatic navigation system to “short route” it is different than “fast route”. To us, shortes route is the fastest route, so we didn’t think much of it when we set it initially. What we ended up taking was truly the scenic route, weaving through the countryside and small towns. It was nice and showed us that Attendorn is a pretty typical smaller town here in Germany. We went past lots of old churches as the roads wound through the rolling countryside. We enjoyed watching small town life as we puttered through the streets. At one intersection, we saw a bridal party being chased and honked at by a line of cars. (it was cool to see they do that here too and it isn’t just an American thing to do) There were trees everywhere. My biggest impression of Germany is probably how green it is and how many trees tower over the roads and countryside.

Eventually, the architecture started changing slightly and the towns along the way became a little denser and gradually looked more and more urban, until we found ourselves driving in a large metropolitan Bonn.

One of the more unsettleing things is that the road share the same space as the trains in places. There wasn’t any choice but to follow the roadway, but dang, it made us nervous. As we got into town, the lanes of traffic split, with the rails in the middle, so you were right up next to any passing trains. The trains were really short too. I am used to freight trains, miles long at times. This is maybe two up to six cars long, painted brightly with advertisements.

Our first blip with the navigaton system came when we were in the middle of heavy traffic in downtown Bonn. The voice suddenly announced “You have reached your final destination area” with no further explanation and we were like “Where?” We are in the middle of traffic and no sign of the specific store we are looking for. We decided it might be on one of the side streets and maybe you can’t drive there. (a weird phenomena we have noticed around here. On the older, super narrow streets, they often block off all automobile traffic and you are only able to walk). We found a parking garage just before the train platform (and what appeared to be a giant outdoor escalator) and went down into that, hoping we would be able to figure out how to pay for the dang thing. lol. Faced with multiple directions we could go, pointing to, presumably, different streets above, we kept going left. We ended up finding a parking space about 5 spaces away from one of the exit doors down a level. I had to get out of the car so Zach could park because the space was so narrow that I would have not been able to get out.

We ended up next to an elevator, and when we came up to the street, we discovered we were across the street from where we went down. lol.

That was odd. It was the first time I can remember being in a group that big crossing a street. It was a wall of people and bikes pushing forward to the other side. We walked away from the train platform, trying to figure out where exactly it was that the navigation system abruptly announced we were there. As it turns out, we overshot it a few streets, but we did eventually find the street we were looking for.

Along the way, Zach was amused by the fake birds on the sign.

The shopping area itself was really amazing, although the crush of people made me know this is not a place I would ever want to come with Zane.

Zach is the one who spotted the place first. I was dazzled by all of the shops and not looking up at signs, but suddenly there it was, the meca of German Yarn: Wolle Rodel. (I don’t know how to put those little circles above letters, so pretend they are there) Oh.My.Goodness. Now THIS, my friends, is a yarn store. Whoa. The selection was dizzying. I read someplace on the internet that their in store brand is pretty good, but I ended up picking out things like Regina, and Lana and other magnificent brands. It was about half the price that I would pay for it in Kansas, and considerably more than the dozen or so various colorways I have ever seen IRL before. It was Yarn Nirvana. I had fun. They had all kinds of yarn there, but I was focused on the sock yarn because I don’t feel like spending the kind of cash I would need to if I were to make my plus sized body a sweater, but socks I can handle. lol (I will take pictures of the stash later, but they are in the car trunk at Zach’s work right now)

After the yarn, headed back to the street, we noticed Beethoven’s house and museum. We stopped there to look in the shop and at the building, but didn’t really want to spend the time going through the house, and especially not pay to do it when we had plans of going to the art museum in Cologne. (Had it been Bach, or Vivaldi, or especially Mozart, we would have spent more time there despite our other plans, but the desire to see a Monet and Rembrant IRL was overwhelming my desire to see Beethoven’s house on the inside)  I did, however, pee there. So, I can now say that I peed at Beethovens house. lol.

So, for those of you who found this blog searching for where to shop for yarn in Bonn, Germany, find Beethoven’s house and on the other side of the street, a few shops up (away from the main driving street), you will see Wolle Rodel.  On the street we drove in on, there was a big McDonalds on the corner across the street from the walkable shopping area.

We grabbed a quick snack and cup of coffee before going back to our car, with my wool sitting at my feet.  We had cheesy bread and some pastries with bavarian cream in them.  We decided that “hey, I think these are what toaster pastries are supposed to taste like”

Along the way we came across a group of American (by the accent) college age girls all giggly trying to shuffle around and take pictures of eachother. I asked if they wanted me to take a picture of them all together and they were giddy. lol. I think afterwards it might occur to them…”hey…she spoke English”, but they were so focused on what they were doing at the time I don’t think it registered.” lol

Getting out of a parking garage is sort of weird. The “out” bar area isn’t manned. On your way to retrieve your car is a vending machine type thing. You put your parking ticket in there, then start putting in Euros until you have paid it. It stamps it and spits it back out at you. Then you find your car, follow the Ausfahrt signs (our nemonoic, of sorts, to remember which is “exit” is “the Fahrts exit out the Aus”) and find your way to the street. When you get to the exit bars, you slide the stamped ticket in and the bars raise up (and you sigh in releif that you figured it out)

This is where the navigation starts getting weird and you remember why you need to bring a map, a compass, your common sense, and a sense of humor with you on the trip. Right outside the parking garage we set the navigation for Cologne/Kohn.

Since the parking garage exited out onto a side street, we had to first get back on the highway and followed the instructions of the lady in the machine as we wound around the streets. At first, all seemed well, but as it kept telling us to “turn right/left at 100 meters”, then “turn right/left NOW” and it was directing us to turn into buildings, we first thought it was because we don’t have a really good feel for what “meters” is because we think in feet and yards, not the metric system. It seemed like it had us going in circles, and then, we as we pulled up to the exit of the parking garage, we discoverd it had, indeed, directed us in a circle, we pulled over and laughed heartily and tried to reset the navigation system again. It did it again. We decided maybe it thought we were on the highway above, so we pulled farther away and reset the system again. When it tried to take us back to the parking garage, we rebeled and found our own way back to the street. At this point, the navigation system is having her own little meltdown because she thinks we are lost, lost, lost, and keeps insisting that we are “off road” and “New Route, Make a U-Turn” in a sing-songy voice. After hearing this a while, when we are clearly back on track, we decide the lady in the navigation system is autistic, and very happy Zane is not in the back seat to pick up the phrase “New Route, Make a U-Turn” in a sing-songy voice over and over again when we pass something he wants to go to. lol. Eventually we get the navigation system reset and all seems well for the trip to Cologne. It still has us taking side routes instead of the Autobahn, which confuses us, but we can see on the map and with the compass that we are going the right direction, so we live with it.

On to Cologne/Koln

posted in Autistic Life, Bonn, Food, Germany, Knitting, Music, Shopping, Travel | Comments Off

17th August 2008

The Only Saturday we are here, and What a Saturday it was!

When we walked into the hotel room at the end of the day we decided that it was the fullest and most fun day we have in our lives, with the exception of our wedding day and the birth of our children. Wow, what a day!

We got a late start, at least later than we have been waking up since we got here. We were up late talking to people online back home, and went to bed later than usual.

We left the hotel room intending to just find an ATM to get some cash, grab a roll from a bakery, and get on the road to Bonn and Cologne/Koln.

When we walked towards the bank, we discovered that Saturday is Market day. Lining the shop filled streets (no car traffic any time) were vendors of all kinds. Everything from fruits and veggies, to sausages, to flowers and plants, to garden ornaments, to clothing, to suitcases and purses. It was amazing.

When we went to the bank, we were amused to notice that one of the other people there, looking almost as confused as we were at the multiple type of atm machines (and trying to determine which one to use) was speaking in French. 

While we were struggling with figuring out the bank machines with our phrase books, a choir formed outside.  We stood and watched them for a while.  They appeared to be a high school or college singing group. Pretty good too!

We sat down for some breakfast at one of the many outdoor cafe/bakeries.  I was really excited to notice that they had a version of poppyseed rolls.  Although they resembled the flavor of my grandma’s poppyseed rolls, it feel short for me.  Still very good, excellent in fact, just not like Grandmas.  It was still pretty neat though.  Zach enjoyed his croissant with fruit filling too.

Walking back to the car still parked at the hotel, we saw a chalk drawing of a house on the side of a building.  We enjoyed seeing a display like this…reminded us of our favorite son.

 We filled the tank up and Zach showed me two quick sites on the way out of town. 

First, the jail.  I wouldn’t want to spend any time there, but a really nice looking jail, as jails go.

And, just down the road, the restaurant his coworkers took him to the first day of work

And, with that we were on the road for a day of adventure.

posted in Attendorn, Food, Germany, Music, Shopping, Travel | Comments Off

17th August 2008

The “Unsuccessful” Search for another Yarn Store

Almost every house has a garden of some kind.


Wouldn’t it be nice if all “unsuccesful” journeys were so pleasant and peaceful?

posted in Attendorn, Food, Germany, Shopping, Travel | Comments Off

15th August 2008

How to make my heart flutter in anticipation

Steps away from the hotel I see this window.
German Sock Yarn. LOTS of German Sock Yarn
An entire STORE of German Sock Yarn.
(for those who don’t know, German sock yarn is the top of the line in sock yarn)

You wanna know how to make me want to cry?

We leave Attendorn either the 20th or 21st (can’t remember) to spend our last night in Frankfurt for an early flight out. (and, if you will notice, that is our hotel in the reflection, that is how close it is)
Now I need to figure out how to say “Where can I buy Sock Yarn” and “Anyplace else?” *sigh*

posted in Attendorn, Germany, Knitting, Shopping, Travel | 3 Comments

12th August 2008


Germans apparently love yogurt.  This is the yogurt selection at the small grocery store we went to yesterday.  (probably a bit bigger than our local Aldis or the Buhler Market I grew up with, but smaller than any Dillons I have been in since about the 80s)

A few meats and cheeses.  There was an amazing amount of sausages and sausage like things.  I should have taken a picture of the meat counter.  Compared to the meat counters in Kansas, it was the opposite…almost no beef, but huge cases of various kinds of sausages.

And yes, there was a LOT of chocolate.  We took pictures of it all because one of our friends grew up here and wants us to bring him back some chocolate and we want to know if he recognizes any of it from when he was a kid.  This is one of about 5 or 6 pictures.  lol

Am I reading this right?  Do they actually put Flouride in Salt?

posted in Attendorn, Food, Germany, Shopping, Travel | Comments Off

11th August 2008

Sunday Evening

We did end up sleeping for about 4 hours in the afternoon. We just couldn’t take it any more. Being up for 24 hours on only 3 hours of sleep is too much.

When we woke up we decided we needed to try and find the gas station were the guy showed us how to get gas because they had food in there too. On Sundays nothing is open except restaurants and, apparently, the gas station. We looped around a few times before we figured out where it was, but we did eventually find it. The selection was pretty slim, made slimmer by the fact we couldn’t really read anything and only wanted to guess so much since we knew we would get to a grocery store on Monday night after Zach gets home from work.

We gathered our items and they didn’t give us a receipt automatically. I hadn’t thought to memorize “I need a receipt”, so we just gathered our stuff and left. (they didn’t put it in a bag either)

Went back to the hotel and went to find some supper. The hotel restaurant was closed by then, but a little shop near it was crowded with 20-somethings, which is a good sign that it is not too expensive and tastes decent. It was a good guess. Ordering was interesting though. I did discover why so many people who visit the US order pizza…it was the only thing that we could decipher easily. We couldn’t tell what the toppings were mostly, but “Pizza Italiana” looked like a good bet for Zach, and “Pizza Margaritta” is a good guess for me. We assumed the Italiana one had onions, but were wrong. Not only did it not have onions on it, but it was wonderful. I was expecting a white sauce pizza with tomato slices on it because that is what it is in our area. It was a cheese pizza. It was good too. They didn’t have a lot of sauce on it, which was great for us since I didn’t know how to say “light sauce”.

The main hitch was that we assumed by the low price (5 Euros) that it was a tiny, personal size pizza so we each ordered one. This is what came:

At the end of the meal we obviously needed to take home the leftovers.  We used our little phrase books and found “I need a bag”.  However, after saying it about 5 times to the guy and having that “what the heck?” look on his face, we handed him the book and pointed out the phrase to him.  He was still confused as heck and after reading it a few times, tentitely reached for a plastic bag and we said yes.  So, we stacked our pizza in a plastic grocery bag.  lol.  Looked wierd, but it was close enough.  It was better than carrying it back to our room in our hands, which we would have done because it was delicious and worth the embarrasement.  After that, we were afraid to try and ask for a receipt.  lol

With the pizza, we also got a Coke.  The cans were really tall and skinny. 

When we got home we finally were able to talk to the kids and my folks via the webcam.  Zora was excited.  Zane seemed annoyed, probably because he wanted the computer back to play a game.  Mom said they were doing well and had been wanting pancakes and waffles.  lol.  Everybody looked good, which was a relief.

We flipped through the channels on the tv in the evening.  It was weird to see NCIS and CSI charaters in different voices with German accents.  There was a dubbed Brad Pitt movie on too.  We ended up watching the Olympics, eventually with the sound turned off because the sound didn’t matter and it was so quiet it felt wrong to have the tv going.

posted in Attendorn, Food, Germany, Shopping, Travel | Comments Off

  • Zane's age

  • Zane is 22 years, 5 months, and 2 days old
  • Zora's age

  • Zora is 18 years, 5 months, and 6 days old
  • Random Quote

  • go to work, send your kids to school
    follow fashion, act normal
    walk on the pavements, watch T.V.
    save for your old age, obey the law
    Repeat after me: I am free
    — Graffiti on Philip St, Bedminster, Bristol, UK

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