relaunching this blogging lark with a whimper in the night

Watching baseball in the middle of the night with a newborn in one arm and scattered thoughts running through my brain, I’m reaching for a decent explanation of why my digital scrawling is worthy of your (or even my) attention.

For the last several years I haven’t bothered sharing my life’s minutiae, as I did when social media was a shiny novelty. Periodically, I’d amble over to twitter or google+, before the latter was finally given up for dead, and like old times I’d try to mix just the right quip with an uploaded photo of my lunch. Or some attempt at a clever observation that easily washed by in the stream of my followers’ feeds.

Even ridiculous terms such as Twitter followers and the idea of my once having been mayor of Rotkreutzplatz on 4square, makes it abundantly clear to me that accusations of this all being pretentious nonsense was closer to home than I liked to face.

What changed? The easy answer is the above mentioned infant. Major life changes normally coincide with an assessment of one’s behavior, and a baby can easily be considered both a logistical as well as philosophical shift.

Somebody recently told me you don’t truly know German culture until you watch your kid go through the Teutonic educational system. As with most thing related to raising children, my first reaction is that some people take this whole parenting ordeal gravely seriously. It’s understandable, and perhaps this will finally be that life alteration which makes me grow up and approach at least one area of my existence with some maturity.

Hopefully not too much, though.

My second reaction, you ask? After I’ve let the observation settle and considered it came from someone who’s been here in Germany as long as I have, has teenage children and clearly speaks from experience.

Do I really want to know this culture better? Wouldn’t I rather continue to go off half cocked? Isn’t it easier to knowingly shake my head and mutter, ‘Damned Krauts,’ when I run into something that perplexes me?

Yes, probably.

Oh by the way, the baby’s been fed and has drifted back off to sleep. My second favorite baseball team is up a few runs in the fourth inning in Boston, and I’d like to get back to watching this game.

Relaunching this blogging lark with a whimper in the night. Anyone out there listening?

German baseballers go for glory

Here’s Douglas Sutton‘s article in The Munich Eye about baseball in Germany:

German baseballers go for glory.

Thanks Douglas. Great article.

You didn’t even know we had baseball over here, did you? I’ve written about the game before, because I associate it with both my dad and my Nana. It’s one of the only things I miss about living in the US.

Play ball!

always fifty-five

my Nana when she was only sixteen

To me she’ll always be fifty-five. Isn’t that odd? When I was a certain age, my Nana was fifty-five. And no matter how much older she got, she was somehow still fifty-five to me. Now she’s died and memories of her are swirling round my brain, but there’s still a part of me that thinks of her as being fifty-five.

It’s too easy to say trailblazer, but that’s what she was. She got a PhD in sociology (ABD, but still) when that just wasn’t done…being a woman and all. She quipped her whole life that she married my grandfather during the war, when the only young men available were cripples and preachers. I know I shouldn’t say cripples, but it was her word. Seems weird the very thought of editing her at this point. Like the least I can do is actually use her words faithfully.

So she married a preacher, and they pastored quite a few Methodist churches in West Texas back in postwar America (the one he started in Midland, St Luke’s, is one of the biggest in the region). They’d do a stint for several years in some tiny place and then when everything was relatively stable, they’d be sent on to the next community that needed a church. The funny thing I remember being told was that my Nana didn’t silently grin and bear it when things weren’t to her liking.

When she was displeased about some aspect of being a small town preacher’s wife, she was very vocal about it. I could say it was some sort of Texas thing, but from my perspective it was so much bigger than that.

She loved baseball. She was a fan of the Dodgers until they left Brooklyn. Then she had cable television early on, and we spent summer evening after summer evening watching the Cubs. I’d somehow forgotten how I became a Cubs fan. It was entirely a result of those nights at her place in Kerrville, where if I had the audacity to ask what was on, there was always only one answer. ‘Baseball.’



You know, I could spend the rest of my time here talking about my grandmother and how she spoke her mind. How beautiful her life and even her death were. Yet here I was last night after spreading her ashes in the Guadalupe River, and my niece and I sat together watching baseball. She asked me questions that I asked my Nana. To be candid, questions about baseball weren’t much appreciated, but she’d tolerate them. Begrudgingly.

My niece might’ve had a bit easier time of it. I was likely too eager to make this odd, antiquated game appealing to this little girl of the twenty-first century. But she was genuinely interested. I explained the count, and then spent most of the rest of the game quizzing her, ‘What’s the count?‘ Her brain is always working and she likes having a task. She got the hang of it early on, and thrived on answering each question correctly.

Some Bavarians (not all of them) have a phrase that’s called a Schöne Leiche. Translated literally, it’s a ‘beautiful corpse’, but that’s not at all what it means. If someone had a great life and their family comes together to celebrate rather than mourn, the party afterwards is said to make a Schöne Leiche. That’s certainly what we had.

I’m carrying it with me out of here. I refuse to let it go.