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September 17

Written September 25

Dear Friends and Family,


OK, this is another of the "catch-up" diaries, nothing too special. I do this because we do need to have help in remembering things once they have drifted into personal history - and it seems the drift is faster nowadays. A few days after an event and it's hard to remember if it was recent or a year ago; hence, these quick notes.


The house needs repairs, just a few years after restoration. The plaster in many areas is falling off and needs stripping and replacement. The joys of being an old home owner. Ever since this damage along the lower part of the house started becoming visible, I have noticed that it is almost universal around here on old structures. Supposedly it has to do with ground chemicals seeping into the porous sandstone. Whatever, it's ugly for now.

Good news! We have had a couple of visitors. Marianne's cousin Bonny, from LA (more or less), came with her buddy Trish on their great European tour. They stopped by between visiting Bonny's son Dean in Geneva and catching a boat tour over to Budapest. We are glad they did!

We did our standard tourist visit to Bamberg, always worthwhile. If you want to see ALL the things we saw, just look though the dozens of Bamberg pictures we already have, but here is current proof that we did a visit with Bonny. (Trish was behind the camera!)

The highlight of their visit turned out to be a spontaneous stop at a local "Kirchweih" celebration. Local villages commonly celebrate the founding of the local church every year and the scene is generally one of eating, drinking, and carnival rides. I'm not sure how religious it all is. This time, we also got to see the erection of a "kirchweihbaum", kind of a church birthday candle.

We have seen these things in villages all over, but we had never seen one put up. The step-by-step process was slow and methodical, more methodical than I thought a bunch of beer-drinking young men could be. They did seem to worry about being crushed by the tree.

Bonny & Trish, come back any time!

The other everyday happenings include another of my periodic sessions as a bachelor. Marianne has flown off to California to catch up with her family. She'll be able to spend some time with her mom in Fresno and with Gabby and Mamal in Los Gatos. And, I almost forgot, with Ava and Sam, the grandkids. So, while she's having fun with kids, I am on my own.

Part of "on my own" includes my time working in Frankfurt. I do it less nowadays, but still enough that the Offenbach Best Western hotel is a second home. I remain comfortable with the "big" cities, both Offenbach and it's larger neighbor Frankfurt. (The hotel is literally on the border between the neighbor cities and the Main River connects them .)

Most of the time, my Offenbach life is just working, eating, and sleeping, but I occasionally get a chance to catch the subway and enjoy whatever is happening in the big city. On this particular day, I tried a photo experiment of documenting my entire trip, as mundane as that sounds (and was.) I have been trying to get back to more picture-taking practice and all the books simply say: go out and take pictures. So I did.

The hotel door I have walked out a zillion times
My AREVA office, cross the street in "Omerg Haus".
The nearest subway station, a couple hundred yards/meters away.
The new subway ticket machines. I hope they are more reliable than the old ones.
The new screen is more complex, but was easier to use than the old buttons!
Train coming.
Nice, empty train.
And here I am at my crowded destination. Why are these folks here? That's the next story

Take care. Look around, and take pictures if you want.





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