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New Year's Celebrating and Resolving

December 31 , 2007

Written January 1, 2008

Dear Friends and Families,


We surprised ourselves and made it 'till midnight! I'm not sure what happened except we were eating and puttering when, suddenly, it was 11:15 and we knew we might as well tough it out to midnight because, in Germany, nobody stays asleep at the magic hour.

Sure enough, a minute or so before 12, the fireworks started. Across the other side of our valley, the show was quite impressive, in part because the village of Muehlhausen was starting their 1,000-year anniversary celebration. That may have been an official show, but every other village around was full of incendiary amateurs, as is the local tradition.

In our corner of Pommersfelden, neighbors broke out rockets, flares, firecrackers, and sparklers. I managed only a few photos, but our memories can supply all the missing flashes and bangs.

Neighbors (on the left)

Neighbor (on the right)Vanessa

All in all, New Years is a great German tradition.


John and Marianne.


PS: Another tradition: 2008 Resolutions

As usual, I have resolved to be a better person. I have further concluded that the key to improved goodness is improved planning, so I am embarking ona scheme of rigorous time allocation for all the things I need to do every day.

- Exercise - aerobics: half hour. Any less doesn't get the old heart going long and strong enough.

- Exercise - weight and strength: half hour. Any less doesn't build the muscle mass necessary to counteract the aging process.

- Exercise - aerobics: extra half hour. This is to help the weight loss problem. When I am trim, I can shift this to free time.

- Eating: 90 minutes: Any diet will tell you that eating slowly helps avoid over-eating.

- German studies -One houron weekdays, 2 hours weekends: I am embarrassed by my German skills and only time and hard work will change my linguistic skills.

- Yard work: two to four hours(weekends). Our mini-farm takes effort almost all year. Peak periods in Spring and Summer need twice the effort.

- House work: one hour on weekdays, twice that on weekends. Just because Marianne is retired shouldn't mean she does EVERYTHING. What kind of modern husband am I?

- Website maintenance and improvement: two hours. This website is getting dull and routine and I'll not reach the next level of glitz and dynamics just by putting in a few hours once every couple of weeks.

- Photography: half hour weekdays ,one-and-a-half hours weekends. I really want to reach a more sophisticated level of picture-taking and, besides, we've found a wonderful way to have large pictures printed onto canvas and I just MUST try a few for home and office decoration.

- Travel and travel planning: hald hour. A major reason why we love Europe is that there are so many places to visit, but, in 2007, we just couldn't get around to the travel, so I figure the answer is BETTER PLANNING.

- Letter writing: one hour. Of course email makes this easier, but my list of people that I'd like to write to just gets longer and longer. There is no other answer but to plan a specific period, every day, for correspondence.

- Commuting:one-and-a-half hours (weekdays). The problem with my 25-minute commute is that is depends on the autobahn being empty, which it often isn't. By allocating enough time, I'll be able to enjoy the quaint Bavarian side roads.

- Employment: 9 hours (workdays). I get paid for eight hours, but staying within one hour of that minimum will require discipline.

- Sleep: 8 hours. All studies point to the need for people "of a certain age" to get plenty of sleep and, having reached that age, I need to comply.

- Free time:one hour. Any decent work plan needs to expect the unexpected, however, it is clear that I can not have more than an hour unprogrammed each day or else the planned and required tasks won't get done.


Piece of cake


John T.




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