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A New Year

January 9, 2011

Written January 9

Friends and Families ,

I can remember years when we took this first-of-the-year diary and did the obvious: discuss New Year's resolutions, what would we resolve to do. Then, in later diaries, we documented all the resolutions we met. Or not.

This year, I'll start with resolutions I will NOT make:

-- Lose 50 pounds. Should I? Yes. Maybe I'll just resolve to not gain.

-- Exercise and get in shape. Should I? Of course. In the last year, I have noted a loss of conditioning, but is this just aging and unavoidable? Probably not, but I'll limit my resolution to do a bit more walking.

-- Learn German. Honestly, we've been here nine years and my language skills are embarrassing but, realistically, I won't become a native speaker. Hopefully, I'll speak a bit better, or at least not go downhill.

-- Save enough for retirement. Earlier today, I saw a website that said we needed TWO MILLION dollars saved up. Won't happen. Never would have. Without a Lotto win, never could have. I think I will simply resolve to not go to such websites - and maybe buy a few Lotto tickets.

That's it.


So, how is the new year starting? Not too bad. After over six weeks of a white backyard, we can now see green grass. We are very grateful for the warm weather and the decreasing piles of snow. Sure, it's just early January and we can count on more snow, but I can't imagine another month without seeing grass. We'll see.

Meanwhile, out in the shallow valley behind us, we have a new lake. This valley floods from time to time, but this is the widest we've seen the water spread. The neighbors have assured us that our house is safe, but it does make us wonder.


Finally, we've included pictures of the traditional visit by Wise Men, smallish men but undoubtedly wise. Thursday was Epiphany, the day commemorating the visit to the child Jesus by foreigners. Here in Pommersfelden, we have a shortage of foreigners , so kids stand in for the traditional visitors.

Part of the tradition is for the front door to be marked in white chalk:

20 * C - M - B * 11

What does this strange equation mean? Simply that the three wise men — Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar — followed a special star to Jesus, the Son who became man 2011 years ago. The CMB conveniently also stands for the Latin prayer Christus mansionem benedicat, may Christ bless this house.

And now we start our new year. Work promises to be busy, as usual, and uncertain, also as usual. Marianne will spend most of February in California visiting family. We both hope to do more family things this year, both us visiting America and having family (and friends) visit us here in Bavaria.

Have you made your plane reservations yet?


John and Marianne



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