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National Breast-Cancer Awareness Month

34b5f6540e508393217ce7b781dca114.jpgOctober 2007 is breast-cancer awareness month, and I am especially aware of it because my mother-in-law was recently diagnosed. She is undergoing chemo-therapy and lost all of her hair because of that.

I strongly believe in the power of moral support and positive thinking. Which is why I shaved my head today, to show my support for Nancy and all the other women, who are fighting against breast-cancer right now.


No TÜV - yeah!

All motorized vehicles in Germany face a tough technical inspection every two years, very old vehicles might even have to undergo the ordeal each year. The almighty organization doing these inspections is called TÜV (Technischer Überwachungs Verein). If your vehicle doesn't pass the test, you must fix it within 30 days - or you are not allowed to drive the old junker anymore.

Indiana, like several other States, doesn't care what shape your car is in - as long as your lights are working and you're not a threat to other motorists.

So, when the last four feet of our Geo Tracker's tail pipe rusted off, Tom just tied the remainder of the exhaust up underneath the car - using an old wire clothes hanger. 34574129e5ba044e2205fb9f0aa9513b.jpgWorks like a charm, and the car isn't as loud as it used to be either. 




By now I know, that pedestrians are an endangered species in the USA. Most roads don't have sidewalks along either side. And when they do, these sidewalks are narrow - two people would have a hard time passing each other. Some very nice and promising sidewalks also tend to abruptly end at intersections.

But then there's also a few very funny looking installations, where it seems like somebody thought pedestrians' lifes should be made easier and safer. By providing a pedestrian crossing, for example. One of those very considerate crosswalks is on Union Chapel Road, just across from the Maplecreek Middle School.

The entire length of Union Chapel has no sidewalks anywhere. That particular crosswalk takes you from somebody's back yard, across the road, over a fancy little bridge, to the other side of a ditch - right up to the school's fence. The white lines are shiny. The crosswalk is well maintained, and it is clearly marked with bright yellow PED XING warning signs in both directions.58a0a18829e1a295a0c4ffef37b2e6d0.jpg   


homemade strawberry ice cream

Our July 4th Holiday was a very relaxed one this year. Tom had to work for six hours in the morning, so I decided to work too. Feels different, being a freelance consultant for my former employer in Germany, and picking my own hours.

In the afternoon we had Nancy and Beth over, to enjoy some hamburgers and hot dogs on our new *hybrid* = charcoal and/or gas grill. 5ff9d230f3d8495e5a231b4a8e567511.jpgFor dessert Tom made delicious strawberry ice cream, from scratch, in a machine he had bought at the auction where we recently got our pool table. This was the most perfect ice cream I've ever had in my life! Smooth, creamy, not too sweet, with little chunks of strawberry melting on your tongue - I don't think I'll be eating any store-bought ice cream anymore, if I can avoid it.

Later in the evening, when it was finally dark enough, Tom and I lit half of our fireworks. We'll keep the other half for Mollie's birthday, since she didn't get to see them. She is staying at her uncle's house for this week.    


the bulletproof gas station

If you're unfamiliar with an area, and would like to find out if it's *safe* or *rough*, here's a very simple test you can perform. Just visit a gas station in that area - during day-time.

I just went to play the lottery on my way home from work, at a gas station where I usually wouldn't go for gas, because of their prices. medium_bulletproof_1.JPGThe cashier was behind a bulletproof window, with a speaker/microphone in it, and a secure transaction tray - something I haven't seen in most banks, much less a gas station.

It felt a bit weird, and I caught myself uneasily looking back over my shoulder, trying to figure out if the guy waiting in line behind me carried a gun. I wouldn't have been surprised, if he wore a ski-mask.

Of course, nothing happened - but that area of Fort Wayne is considered *dangerous*, at least after dark. Even with the bulletproof glass, you might want to step backwards a little, if you're working in one of these gas stations.