Sunday, May 27, 2007

Roses are Red ... and White, and Yellow

This is going to be a very flower and picture heavy post.

About 3 miles from where I live is a smallish castle called Schloss Wolfsgarten. Normally you can't visit there, as it's private porperty, but on two weekends in May the gates are open and you can go in and visit the lovely park and look at the castle (though only from the outside). The family that owns the castle is related to the British queen and I've heard that she actually stayed in Wolfsgarten a couple of times while she was visiting Germany (though probably before I moved here).
The gartens are famous for the rhododendron that's growing there, though this year most of the blooming season is already over, and only a few bushes still had fresh blossoms.

Now, for some pictures:

The small lake in the park with the bridge (reminded me of pictures by VanGogh)

Somebody living in the lake



And, (for the title of this post for today) some roses

As you can see, I've given my new camera a bit of a workout and I'm really, really happy how the pictures turned out.

Update on the stitching front:

Medieval Tiles - I skipped one of the smaller squares as I've decided to use the recommended GAST Midnight thread after all. I've ordered it, now I have to wait for it to arrive.

As I've got the next week off - *yeah*- I've got back to King Tut. I hope to make quite some progress on him over the next couple of days (though, I've got loads of other stuff planed ...)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Home, Sweet Home

Got home from Japan pretty much okay, except that we had a delay of 2 1/2 hours. This time, I couldn't sleep on the plane and 11 1/2 hours can be pretty damn long when you can't do nothing but sit around and wait for the plane to get you to your destination. The plane was also somewhat fuller than on the flight to Japan, so I had less space (though, luckily, the plane was not completely full and the middle seat was still free)

So, here's the update on the pictures from last week.

Mariner's Light:

I think it turned out really pretty and I will frame it soon to have it go together with the other picture from the series. Though I probably will try and couch the long stitches in the background map down a bit more. In the stitching frame it looked okay, but now I can get them to lay straight.

For Japan I took along a set of small kits I've got over the years.

The top three I've got in New Zealand, the knot pattern I got last year in Scottland, and I think I've got the border collie in South England a while back.
I did finish the Kiwi bird and the penguin in Japan and started out on the border collie, but didn't get very far. I just did not have that much time while I was there.

And a quick peek at the new traveling project: Medieval Tiles from Dracolair

I finished the upper left square today and started on the next one. Loads of blended colors and many, many quarter stitches - a speciality I've seen in several Dracolair designs (this is the fourth pattern I'm stitching)

My DVD burner seemed to have died on me - I was in the middle of the process of burning a DVD when the program stopped and now the computer doesn't even know there's a second DVD drive on the computer. Can't open it either. Ah well, here's a chance of getting something newer and faster.

I also switched from the old Mozilla browser to SeaMonkey - with the Firefox Mozilla browser I couldn't blog anymore. Every time I tried to open my dashboard, the program crashed. No problem so far with the new program, though I need to find out how to import my bookmarks. I've tried, but obviously I'm making something wrong *shrug*
I'll work on this next week, when I have more time, and am not quite as befuddled by jetlag.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Please Order Hope of Cleaning

or: Big in Japan, part 2

The line I've used as the title comes from a little, laminated card that I found in my room today (actually, I probably has been here all week, but only tonight I've noticed it). The full text goes like:
"Please order hope of cleaning to the front desk between 2:00 p.m from 9:00 am"

(anybody any idea what this might mean ....?)

I just thought I let you in on some of the things I've notes here in Japan over the last couple of days.

First of, one thing I really like about Japan is that here I have the feeling that I'm actually tall. With a height of 5'4ish, I'm at the shorter end of the scale when I'm in Europe or the US. I usually don't mind too much, but here, here I enjoy it in a way that half the people on the train at shorter than I am :)

Speaking of trains - usually the trains in Japan are not quite as crowded that one seen on the tv. Yes, sure, at rush hour in Tokyo you might get a little bit closer to your neighbor than you'd like, but I for once have never seen any guys with white gloves pushing the crowd in so they can close that door.
And, normally, the trains are very punctual - I was quite shocked then I saw that the 21:50 train from Kumagaya was 20min late (at least that what I think is what happened - it was past 22:05 and there was a sign that the next train is the 21:50 and there was something, something 20 something written in Japanese. Which I don't read very well (hmm, who do I kid - I can identify maybe 2 to 3 symbols, and it's only because I know the second symbol in Kumagaya is that little house with the funny roof, that I know which train I have to pick)

Japanese people, on priciple, are pretty much living by the clock. The bus, leaving the station to go for the factory, leaves at 8:50. Not at 8:49 or at 8:51, and if you are there 10 seconds too late, you can bow all the way you want, the driver will not stop and let you in.
Or at lunch time: it's at 12:00, so you drop whatever you do and go to lunch - never mind that half the fab is also going and there are long lines to the food. Would you go 10, 15 minutes later, there's no line and everything would be much more relaxed, but, no, 12:00 is lunch time, and it's at 12:00 you're going to stand in line for your Ramen soup of whatever there is today with the rice.
BTW, the other half of the factory goes at 12:30 - perfect repeat of the first round.

Japanese food, by the way, I do love. It is not as expensive as one would think - though, of course, there are ways to spend loads of money, if you want. And normally it's also very good. Of course, if you don't like fish, it might get a bit more difficult to find something, but there is plenty of other stuff than Sushi and Sashimi. What I love is to order (or rather point at the pictures of the menue and holding up fingers on how many of whatever you want) loads of little stuff and then share around. Most stuff is brought at the same time (no matter if there's enought space on the table or not) and you just pick and choose what you like. Sometimes, you might get something you don't like (like Nato ... brrrr), but if you're lucky somebody else at the table is more than willing to take it.

There's a lot more stuff on Japan, like the three store parking garage next to the hotel I'm in, which is only for bicycles, or my pondering that only a man could have designed the school uniforms for girls - really, those mini skirts can't be healthy - but for today I think this is enough.

Ah, one more thing. I've finished the little Kiwi bird last night and started on the Penguin.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Big in Japan

Sorry about the picutre less, short blog.
I planed on an updated on Sunday, but for some reason I just couldn't log in. Every time I've tried the web browser died on me. Well, just a very short update
- I finished 'Mariner's Light' on Saturday (while watching the Eurovision Song Contest with friends). I still need to frame it though.
- I started on 'Medieval Tiles' by Dracolair (originally I planed on something else, but the fabric hasn't arrived yet)
- for the Japan trip I pulled out five small kits I've bought here and there (three in New Zealand and two in UK). I've started with 'Kiwi' from Rose Alma Designs (logically bought in NZ), but didn't get soooooo much done. Who would have thought that the plane to Japan was 2/3 empty and I actually could stretch out across three seats and get some sleep.
- My new camera has arrived *big, happy grin* and I couldn't be happier. It's a Nikon D40x, a sweet little D-SLR camera and I'm sure some pictures will make it to the this blog, eventually.

Sayonara from Japan

Sunday, May 06, 2007


We Germans have the funny habit of stringing nouns together to form long words. We really enjoy doing that - I remember it as a game when I was a kid.
The word above is an example of this - translated it would go like parade of the fleet of the steam schips of the (river) Elbe. Just, it's only one word (and it is allowed in German grammer rules as well) *grin*

Well, there was a parade of the fleet of the steam schips of the (river) Elbe on May 1st in Dresden. It's sort of like the opening of the season. The ships of the fleet all go up the river Elbe from Dresden to Pillnitz and back. On the ships they have music groups, normally playing Dixieland music. Getting on the ships is ney impossible - they are booked out long in advance, but you always can watch it from somewhere at the river. I choose a bridge that is known as the 'Blue Wonder' (one of the first steel construction bridges of this size built 1893) and had a lovely view.

To fit under the bridge, the steam ships (at least the bigger ones) needed to tilt their main chimney over, which I thought was funny.

As the weather was perfect and I had the day off anyway, I headed up river a bit more and went to see Koenigstein Fortress, a mountain top fortress near Dresden. As you can see there's a great view all around and the fortress itself was also quite interesting.

On the stitching front, I've worked some on Mariner's Light, so a progress picture on that.