October 4, 2008
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Greetings, Friends in Tübingen!
My name is Carol Kappus. I am the new secretary of the Ann Arbor – Tübingen
Sister City Organization on the Ann Arbor side. I am actually a French teacher but my
ancestors came from your area about 150 years ago and my husband’s family mostly
lives in the area now. So we both love Tübingen and volunteered to work on increasing
communication between our two cities through our organization. To do this, I’ll be
writing to you every month or so to let you know what is going on in Ann Arbor, and I
hope someone on your side will write back to us here in Ann Arbor with news from
Tübingen, too! I do speak German but pretty badly so I’ll be writing to you in English.
Sorry about that!!!
So, here is your first news report from Ann Arbor:
September in Ann Arbor, Michigan - Back to School Time!
September in Ann Arbor means the end of the lazy days of summer and the return to
the bustle of the school year. Yellow school buses lumber around town picking up kids
with shiny new back packs and new uniforms for the private school kids or t-shirts
sporting the name of their school – Pioneer, Huron, or the new high school: Skyline.
Even more of a change for us is the return of the University of Michigan students. Gone
are those summer days when you could easily find a parking spot or a table in our many
popular restaurants. Move-in week at the end of August brings cars, vans and trucks
loaded with all worldly possessions of many of the U’s 40,000 students which are then
lugged into dorm rooms and apartments as students repopulate “their world”. The first
few weeks of September feature big groups of young people wandering around town,
chatting, grinning, talking on cell phones, and enjoying their first experience at
independent living away from their parents. After about three weeks, when the reality of
the first round of tests hits home, this decreases, of course, but for those first couple of
weeks, the town crackles with the energy and excitement these young people bring. And
then, of course, there is FOOTBALL! For 6 Saturdays in the Fall, football invades Ann
Arbor. 109,000 people – students, alumnae, fans, football fanatics – swarm into town
heading for The Big House (our football stadium!). If you don’t have to go near the
stadium on a football Saturday, you don’t! You almost can’t! Many roads are blocked
to facilitate moving all those cars and people into the stadium area and traffic is fierce!
In parking lots near the stadium the big thing is Tail Gating. This tradition consists of
coming to the parking lot several hours before game time to prepare and consume a large
and elaborate picnic. Originally these picnics were consumed off the “tail gate” or open
back-end of one’s car but now they are often very elaborate affairs with barbeque grills
and tables groaning with food and drink. Some fans actually arrive a day before the
game in their large RVs (recreational vehicles sort of like a house on wheels complete
with bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen, living room). They pay something like $100 to park
in the lot across from the stadium where they spend the night and next day partying!
Some people don’t even bother going to the game – they just PARTY! Fortunately,
Mother Nature has been very kind to us this year, giving us great weather for almost
every day in September – sunny days with temperatures in the 70s and cool, crisp nights.
Perfect for football and also for BIKING, a favorite activity of many Ann Arborites,
including my husband Peter and myself. Peter is an old pro at it, often joining in special
rides of many miles through the beautiful countryside that surrounds Ann Arbor, which
are organized by the Ann Arbor Touring Bicycle Society. I am a novice so I’m happy
when I make it to Chelsea, a beautiful little town not far from here, for lunch at Zou
Zou’s Café and back! But on a perfect, sunny Fall day, pedaling through the rolling
farm lands, forests, corn fields and horse farms all around Ann Arbor is a pretty great
way to travel. And over all this, in the back of our minds, is this little voice saying:
“You know this great weather won’t last. Pretty soon it will be cold and rainy and then
the SNOW will start……” So we enjoy it while we can.
So, that’s a little picture for you of September in Ann Arbor. Now October is starting
and I’ll write to you soon about that. It’s one of my favorite times of year!
I hope you are all enjoying a beautiful Fall in Tübingen. Live well!
A Tail Gate Recipe for you to try: Artichoke Dip
1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
2 8oz packages Cream Cheese, softened
1 14 oz can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 Cup grated parmesan cheese
Garnish: sliced green onions and chopped tomato
Preheat oven to 375 degrees (medium hot). Lightly grease a large, shallow oven-proof
casserole or pie pan. Combine Mayo and cream cheese until blended and creamy. Mix
in spinach, artichoke hearts and Parmesan cheese. Spread evenly into prepared pan and
bake about 20 minutes until hot and bubbly. Serve with “dippers” like tablespoon sized
slices of bread, crackers, tortilla chips and/or cut-up raw vegetables. Careful! It’s HOT!
October 31, 2008
Greetings, Friends in Ann Arbor!
We from the Friends of the City Partnership Tübingen – Ann Arbor appreciated hearing from Carol Kappus and especially reading her wonderful depiction of September in Ann Arbor. At our annual membership meeting on October 20 we decided to take up Carol’s suggestion to exchange news on a monthly basis. We also planned to make the www.tuebingen-annarbor.de website a place for lively interaction. Please mail our new administrator Aaron Noetzel your comments and suggestions under ’feedback’! And look for our newsletters on the website!
Today marks 4 days before the American presidential election, an election being followed by everyone in Germany. On the evening of November 4 the German-American Institute Tübingen will host ’Sleepless in Tübingen’ - Election Night Party, at a local movie theater. Panel discussion, movies and food and drink will be provided. Returns will start coming in about midnight. It promises to be an exciting night and to draw a hugely interested crowd!
For election coverage in Germany, in German or English, check out SpiegelOnline www.spiegel.de.
History in Tübingen: On October 21, in Tübingen’s Französisches Viertel, Lord Mayor Boris Palmer dedicated the Site to the Unknown Deserter, commemorating the German soldiers in the last years of World War II who refused to obey orders to continue to fight and were summarily executed. Fellow soldiers had to accompany the executions. Every trace of these executions and the persons executed had been erased until the careful research of Tübingen city historians and journalists was able to bring to light this piece of Tübingen history during the Nazi regime. Local citizens worked together to find a name for this site that would be a reminder to generations to come of a silenced group of individuals who died without a name or a grave.
Tübingen’s Weihnachtsmarkt will be December 14-16. Our group will be inviting the UofM students participating in the Junior Year Abroad program in Freiburg to join us for the market and to watch the film ‚Die Feuerzangenbowle’, annually shown in Tübingen’s Winter-Open-Air-Kino http://www.tuebingen.de/1564_16682.html.
This last day of October the red and yellow leaves continue to fall, sparsely, but steadily. Americans here, and German friends, are looking forward to a Thanksgiving-away-from-home the end of November.
More on that in November!
Freunde der Städtepartnerschaft Tübingen – Ann Arbor e.V.
Friends of the City Partnership Tübingen – Ann Arbor
October 31, 2008
Dear Friends in Tübingen,
We’ve had a very beautiful October here in Ann Arbor. The weather has been generally warm and dry like a wonderful, month-long Indian Summer. The leaves have been especially beautiful this year (I think I always say that!) and where I live, just west of Ann Arbor, many roads have a dazzling canopy of red and gold, in some cases like a tunnel. The fields have changed from green to gold, many dotted with huge round hay bales or bright orange pumpkins. Pumpkins! The symbol of October. They are everywhere now, on porches, in windows, decorating homes and stores. Some are carved into whimsical or scary faces but many just sit, displaying their glorious orange selves! Today is Halloween so this evening, armies of kids will swarm through the neighborhoods in their disguises demanding goodies. When I was a kid, we wandered for miles calling out: “Trick or Treat ! Smell my feet! Give me something good to EAT!” Now, parents are much more cautious and often accompany their little ones, stopping only at “safe” houses where they know the owners. On Main Street and State Street in Ann Arbor, costumes get very creative as students go out for an evening of fun to break the stress of studying. A popular costume this year is a reflection of the terrible economic times with things like a “Wall Street Banker”: Kids dressed in pin-striped suits with a piece of gold cloth over their heads to represent the “Golden Parachute”, which is what we call the ridiculously huge bonuses and lay-off payments these guys got even though their companies went bankrupt. And I imagine there will be lots of Barack Obamas and John McCains wandering the streets tonight. Last year my UofM daughter and her roommates dressed as the “Spice Girls”. Everyone will find some way to get out and enjoy the last blast of warmer, gentler weather. As the leaves fall, we all know in the back of our minds that soon it will be time to get out the winter coats, scarves, mittens, boots. Oh well. That’s life in Ann Arbor!
October 31, 2008
The other news from here is, of course, our up-coming presidential election. Ann Arbor is a liberal area so lawn signs for Barack Obama are everywhere. There seems to be an especially high interest in the election this year and with many U of M students voting for their first president, excitement is high. Obama headquarters in Ann Arbor, at the corner of Liberty and 1st Street, is hopping, with lots of volunteers manning the phones, canvassing, registering new voters. The energy is fantastic and many of us are hopeful that after eight bad years, we will finally move our country in a positive direction. November 4 will be a big day for us all and we’re happy to see that you will be following this so closely in Tübingen too. Now, here’s Peter, who is much more knowledgeable about politics than I am, to give you some information.Carol Kappus The big issue in the U.S. is the sorry state of the economy. The unemployment rate in Michigan, mainly because of automotive industry problems, is nearly 9%. Banks are very reluctant to make loans. The Federal Government has set up a $700 billion fund to buy bad, so-called “toxic assets”, from the banks. These mainly consist of over-valued home loans. That will make the Federal Government a part owner of most banks. That sounds like Socialism to many Americans. Fully 18% of all mortgages in the U.S. have a principal that exceeds the value of the home. That means it’s cheaper for the home owner to stop paying the mortgage than to keep paying. When that happens it’s called fore-closure and those rates are higher than they’ve been since the Great Depression. Some of the big differences between Obama and McCain seem to be how long the War in Iraq should have a big U.S. troop presence (Obama wants combat troops out by the end of 2010 and McCain is non-committal), tax cuts on incomes over $250,000/year (Obama wants to increase them, McCain wants a cut), and abortion (Obama says leave the law as it is and McCain would work to criminalize most abortions). The good news is that both candidates finally want to provide some kind of effective healthcare to most Americans. Economically, there is some good news- gasoline is down here to $2.29/gallon (It was $4.30/gallon last May.) and, good news for Americans traveling to Europe; the dollar is looking better against the Euro- $1.31/Euro last Friday.
The prediction for next Tuesday’s election is a win for Obama by a comfortable margin. However, there is a fear that people, during a pollster interview, will express a willingness to vote for a black man; but will vote for the white man in the privacy of the voting-booth. This happened about 10 years ago when the heavily favored black mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley, lost the California Governor’s race. This so-called “Bradley Effect” could spell the difference next Tuesday. We shall see……
Carol Kappus of the Friends of the City Partnership Ann Arbor - Tuebingen shares Impressions of the election in Ann Arbor :
November 9, 2008Dear Friends in Tübingen!
What an exciting week here in Ann Arbor and all over America. We have a new president! I can never remember so much excitement over a presidential election or so much emotion and hope that America has made a fresh start and will now move forward to a brighter future. I have also never seen so many Americans reduced to tears of happiness and hope as the election results came in. President Elect Obama's acceptance speech in Chicago's Grant Park just before midnight on the night of the election was a moving historical moment we will never forget. I am sure you have seen news reports of the election and reaction of the voters, but if you would like a taste of what went on in Ann Arbor on that eventful night, here is a link to a story in the Ann Arbor News:
Also, here is a link to the daily Ann Arbor News in case you are interested in viewing what is going on over here:
Almost a week after the election, the wave of excitement and hope continues like a tsunami. We all look forward to great things from our new president.
Filled with hope!
Ann Arbor journalist and historian Grace Shackman shares her thoughts on the Obama win:
November 9, 2008Dear German friends,
I promised to share my thoughts on the Obama win, so here goes. I know that you all followed it and know the basics, so I’ll just cover it from my perspective, which is admittedly that of an early Obama supporter.
During the campaign period it was fun to see so many people get excited about Obama. I kept finding among people I knew unlikely Obama supporters - neighbors who were non-political and even some actual Republicans were into his campaign. Obama signs sprouted up in very traditionally Republican areas. One day while walking home and I passed a bunch of black teenagers shoving each other and acting like inner city punks, but when I passed them I saw they were all holding Obama clipboards and had been out registering voters.
Even with all these good signs, in the days leading up to the election, I, and almost everyone I know, found ourselves very nervous. While the polls looked good we couldn’t quite believe it and the price of an Obama loss seemed too great to contemplate. Not only was the idea of a McCain-Palin administration scary, but I thought of all the Obama supporters among people who usually feel disenfranchised and worried that they would drop out of politics again.
I loved the way that during the campaign Obama never played the race card, never said vote for me because I’m black. Instead he appealed to everyone’s common humanity, saying I’m a real person just like you, I have a wife and two kids, and my family on my mother’s side went through what other Americans did. But of course, without saying it, it was a real turning point to elect him. Most black politicians win elections only in areas where there is a large black population. Since the U.S. is only about 13% black, his victory showed that a black can be seen as representing everyone’s interests.
Another plus is that Obama showed that you can win running a clean campaign. If McCain-Palin had won with their ridiculous smears, it would have shown something sad about humankind and set an even lower standard for future campaigns. (Footnote: Bill Ayres, the former terrorist that they kept trying to link Obama with, lived in Ann Arbor in the 1960s and I, and quite a few people I know, knew him then.)
Another bad campaign practice that I hope the Obama win has put behind us is appealing to voters on emotional issues like abortion or gun control so that folks will vote against candidates who agree with them on everything else. I think Obama made headway into that kind of thinking, winning votes in areas that are strongly religious right by saying “let’s work on those things we do agree on.” I also think that children of the religious right may not be as rigid as their parents.
The American south has been a solidly Republican area ever since Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights legislation in the 1960s. Obama also made headway there, taking Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, and coming close in a few other states such as Georgia.
Now that he has won, we have no idea of how he will do, but I think he’s up to the task. I love the way he is so smart and thinks for himself. If any of you haven’t read his book, “Dreams of My Father,” I recommend it highly. I love the idea of having a president who has a diverse background and has seen the world from other perspectives.
November 30, 2008,
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Dear Friends in Tübingen,
November is here and as I write to you I look out my window as snow is pelting down! Indian Summer weather went on and on until suddenly it turned cold over night about two weeks ago. The leaves rained down from the trees like a blizzard and suddenly we looked through bare branches at gray, leaden skies. Now the snowy weather is here in earnest and we expect 4 to 6 inches tonight.
After the excitement of the presidential election, Ann Arbor has gone back to normal. Students are well into the semester now and serious studying has replaced the party mood of the early Fall. UGG boots and puffy winter coats and scarves are now the costume of the day as students rush back and forth to classes. On Main Street and along Liberty, the Christmas lights are out as the bare trees now sport thousands of tiny fairy lights. It's a magical look and I always love walking under these sparkling trees. On Wednesday, the town cleared out as students headed out for the Thanksgiving break. For many of us, this is our favorite holiday - four days to do nothing but eat, take it easy and enjoy being with family. And, of course, Christmas Shop! The stores are worried this year as the economy puts a damper on the usual Christmas shopping frenzy. People are shopping but in much more moderation than in recent years. During the four days of Thanksgiving break, the campus area seems strangely deserted. For four days, the "Townies" take over and revel in plentiful parking spaces and short lines at restaurants. But tonight the students come back armed with bags of clean laundry and a strong resolve to study hard in this last few weeks before exams begin.
For those of you who would like a taste of our Thanksgiving Feast, here is my favorite Pumpkin Pie recipe. It is more of a mousse than the usual custard or cheese cake base and is spicy and delicious. The quintissential taste of Fall. If you have a place to get pumpkin, give it a try!
Combine: 1 1/3 Cup flour
1/2 Cup butter
3 Tablespoons sugar (being Americans, we do this in a food processor!) until course crumbs form
Add: 1 egg yolk Blend until dough roms a ball. Press into pie pan or springform pan, bake and cool.
Soften 2 envelopes of gelatin in 1/4 cup water
Combine: 1 1/2 Cup canned or cooked pumpkin puree
1/2 Cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3 egg yolks
Heat slightly until starting to bubble. Add Softened gelatin. Cool
Beat 3 egg whites. Add 1/4 Cup sugar if deisred. (I do.)
Fold together pumpkin mix and egg whites
Put in baked shell. Chill. Serve with sweetened, whipped cream. (Pile on the Schlag!) Enjoy! YUM!
Friends of the City Partnership Ann Arbor - Tuebingen
December in Ann ArborFrom Carol Kappus
So, December is here. It won’t surprise you to hear that it is COLD and snowy. It reminds me a bit of that story we had to read in German class at U of M: " Der Viele, Viele Snee"!! But in spite of the cold, Ann Arbor is cheerful and full of the Christmas Spirit. Restaurants are full of people celebrating together and store windows are decorated. At our house, all of our treasured German Christmas decorations are all around and the place looks so beautiful. Since pictures speak louder than words, here are some sights of the Christmas season here in Ann Arbor. Froeliche Weihnachten!
State Street and Liberty:
Rosie and Santa:
Lots of Lebkuchen!:
December 18, 2008
Dear friends in Ann Arbor, from Dr. Ute Bechdolf
What an exciting year - and now it is almost over.
In Tübingen, we experienced the thrill and the enormous hope that the election of Barack Obama inspired in us all. On November 4, we waited for the results all night long, and when Obama spoke at 6 am in the morning our time, we were deeply moved. I have to admit, I even cried a little, because I had cheered Jesse Jackson in his campaign at the same spot, in Grant Park, more than twenty years ago (during my year abroad at the University of Iowa). At the German American Institute, the d.a.i, we will now accompany THE CHANGE with a series of lectures and other events. www.dai-tuebingen.de
What else has been going on?
At the end of November, more than 80 members and friends of the institute and the Tübingen-Ann Arbor Verein, celebrated a huge Thanksgiving meal at a local restaurant, Ludwigs.
December is also a great month in Tübingen. This year we’ve had snow several times already. From the six-day Chocolate Festival to the Christmas Market (in Tübingen, with handmade goods only), people enjoyed the winter atmosphere in our medieval streets and on the market place. If you want to know what is going on on the market place, here is a webcam address:
Now I wish you a wonderful Christmas and a Happy 2009.
Let's keep in touch!
German-American Institute Tübingen
Künstlerbund Tübingen e.V.
"Bilderreisen - Reisebilder"
6.12.2008 - 17.1.2009
Galerie im Alten Schlachthaus
Ein Bilder – Bericht
Gudrun von Funck
Der Künstlerbund Tübingen ist eine Vereinigung professionell arbeitender regionale Künstler. 1971 gegründet, besteht er heute aus 48 Mitgliedern. Ganzjährig werden in der Galerie Künstlerbund Ausstellungen von Mitgliedern, aber auch von eingeladenen Künstlern, gezeigt.
Seit 30 Jahren gibt es zu jedem Jahresende eine große gemeinsame Ausstellung der Mitglieder. Sie wird von der Stadt Tübingen unterstützt und vom Oberbürgermeister eröffnet. Die Orte wechseln im Laufe der Jahre, diesmal der kleinst-mögliche Rahmen, Galerie Künstlerbund und KULTURHALLE.
In diesem Bericht will ich nur auf unsere Präsentation in der KULTURHALLE eingehen und einen Eindruck dieses Raumes vermitteln, da hier auch im Sommer 2010 unser Besuch aus Ann Arbor, 5 Künstlerinnen der Washington Street Gallery, ausstellen wird. (9. – 31 Juli 2010)
Unser Thema ist dieses Jahr "Bilderreisen - Reisebilder", es bezieht unser Galerie-Jahresthema 2008 mit ein und eröffnet uns Künstlern die Möglichkeit über Koffer, Kisten und Körbe Erfahrungen von Reisen darzustellen und auf kleinem Raum zusätzliche künstlerische Arbeiten zu zeigen.
Ein Rundgang durch die KULTURHALLE
Gerhard Walter Feuchter
Fernziel, 2007/08, Acryl/Papierguss
G.W.F. arbeitet seit vielen Jahren auf selbstgegossenem Papier. Hier werden Bilder in einer Kiste präsentiert, die ihm vor Jahren zum Transport einer Ausstellung in Ann Arbor diente.
Vergessener 4, 2008, 34,5 x 28 cm, Acryl auf Papier auf Holz
J.K. übermalt und überarbeitet alte Fotos unbekannter Personen. Wer sind sie? 6 Portraits in zarter und verblichener Farbigkeit.
Öl auf Leinwand, je 50 x 60 cm
Hamburg aus der Vogelperspektive. Eine vielschichtige Malerei in Öl, aufgetragen mit einem Holzspachtel, vom stark farbigen Grund hin arbeitend zu einer herunter gestimmten Farbigkeit.
Im Vordergrund sehen wir Arbeiten von Roger Aupperle
Reise ins Revier, 1996
Anthrazitkohle in geglühtem Stahl, 10 x 9 x 9cm
1-2, o.T. (Rosen aus Marokkoko), 1997
Ausflug ins Gebirge, 2008
Mixed Media, Wandarbeit ca. 150 x 100 cm, Bodenarbeit 150 x 120 cm
„Ausflug ins Gebirge“ heißt ein Gedicht von Franz Kafka. G.W. hat Worte und Zeilen dieses Gedichtes in alten Drucklettern buchstabiert und gewogen, daraus ist ein Diagramm entstanden, ein „Wortgewichtsgebirge“. In Variationen wird dieses nun bildhaft dargestellt als Gebirgsketten, Gipfelbilder und Papierlandschaften.
Prazeres I-IV, 2008
Acryl auf Leinwand, je 60 x 40 cm
Thema von A.J. ist der Friedhof Prazeres in Lissabon. Sie schildert ihre Eindrücke sowohl malerisch auf Leinwände umgesetzt, als auch in Form eines Buches mit Fotos und Zeichnungen. Begleitet wird ihre Arbeit von dem Text „Lissaboner Requiem“ des Schriftstellers Antonio Tabucci.
Gudrun von Funck
am Kreuzberg, 2005, (17.10.04, 17:30 Uhr)
Öl auf LW, 100 x 130 cm
Diese Arbeit ist entstanden nach einem Foto am Kreuzberg bei Unterjesingen. Die kleinste Form des Reisens, ein Spaziergang, dient hier für ein Motiv der malerischen Landschaftsdarstellung.
Marterl; 19 Grad; Petri; Pelzweiberl; zurück in die Thaya
Aquarellkreide auf Papier, je 25,5 x 25,5 cm
kreuz und quer durch Weikertschlag, 2007/08
Pappe, Fotokopie, 78 x 50 x 46 cm
S.H. arrangiert Zeichnungen vom Sommerurlaub in Österreich, im Waldviertel. In Form eines Kreuzes thematisiert sie das dort häufig anzutreffende „Marterl“, allerdings mit Skizzen ihres angelnden Mannes, ausgenommener Fische und Landschaftsskizzen bebildert.
Kohlezeichnung auf Papier, 200 x 150 cm
F.H. beschäftigt sich seit einigen Jahren u.A. mit Tier-Portraits, die er in großen Kohlezeichnungen anfertigt. Hier das Bildnis einer Giraffe, ein sonnengelbes Quadrat zur Seite.
Axel von Criegern
Casa; Kleiner Strauß; Tea time; La valle; 2008
Acryl auf Leinwand, je 70 x 50 / 50 x 70 cm
5 kleine Aquarelle
A.v.C. zeigt mit leichter Hand gemalte Sommerskizzen aus Ligurien.
a. d. Serie "Der Lauf der Dinge", 1998-2008
Acryl auf Leinwand, je 30 x 40 cm
Einen ganzen Koffer voll gemalter Orte, Plätzen, Situationen von überall auf der Welt, hat A.J.nach Tübingen mitgebracht. Es sind Erinnerungen, unbunt wie alte Fotografien.
January in Ann Arbor
Winter has definitely come to Ann Arbor. This is the time of year that always makes me think of the famous poem by Christina Rosseti: In the Bleak Mid Winter. The first stanza goes like this:
In the bleak mid winter
Frosty winds made moan.
Earth stood cold as iron,
Water like a stone.
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow.
In the bleak mid winter
Not only do we have deep snow everywhere but we also have an enormous crop of icicles. They are enchantingly beautiful but dangerous, since big ones can be like a medieval sword when they fall and all of them can cause melting water to back up under house roofs, leaking down inside walls. This has happened to us many times, including last night! As the winter progresses the only people who continue to rejoice in the snow are the skiers and the school kids, who get a day off of school – a “snow day” – when ever the roads are too snow covered or icy for the school buses to travel safely. The rest of us are already yearning for Spring and looking longingly at ads for vacations on sunny beaches in Mexico or the Caribbean!
This is the season of indoor fun. We flock to movie theaters and malls and, one of my favorites, high school basketball games. The school where I used to teach French has an especially good team this year and whenever they have a game, the gymnasium is packed with spectators. About a third of the stands are filled with students who stand through the whole game, packed together, and leading the ferocious cheering. It’s warm and fun and sometimes wildly exciting.
The best thing about the Bleak Mid Winter this year, though, was January 20 – the Inauguration of our new president! After weeks of bleak, gray weather, January 20 dawned clear and sunny here in Michigan and over much of the country. It was like a wonderful omen of good things to come. During the Inauguration, anyone who could was glued to a TV set watching the festivities.
Many tears of hope and happiness were shed. Some of my favorite images of the day were: Itzhak Perlman’s quartet, which symbolized so well our multi-cultural nation with a Jewish American, an African American, an Asian American, and and a woman, playing the famous Shaker tune, “It’s a Gift to be Simple”, especially Yo Yo Ma, ,who radiated joy as he sawed away on his cello; the 2 million people who braved the cold to pack into the Mall in Washington to be part of the occasion; President Obama and his wife, Michele climbing out of the protection of the presidential limousine and walking hand in hand down Pennsylvania Avenue, smiling and waving to the crowds; and best of all, the President and First Lady’s first dance at the many Inaugural Balls, as Beyoncé, glowing with happiness, sang the perfect song that echoed so many of our thoughts: “At Last”. It was a wonderful day I will not soon forget. Such a contrast to the Inauguration of 2005 where huge protests made clear that half of America could barely stand the idea of four more years of George Bush. So, At Last, we have a new President and we all hope that a new day is dawning for America.
Hello Friends in Tübingen!
by Carol Kappus, March 5, 2009
Here in Ann Arbor we are still shivering in the intense cold . Our highest temperatures have been around -6 degrees Celsius and we’re all pretty tired of it! However the end must be in sight since we begin Daylight Savings Time this Saturday. And finally the snow cover, which we had for two months, is mostly gone. I’m sure we will have more snow but at this time of year, we hope it can’t last long!
So, what do we do in Ann Arbor when it’s too cold to go out? For me, you can’t beat the corner of Liberty and State Street for indoor pleasures. We usually like to start at Border’s Books, where I can spend hours selecting just the right book. Then we walk down to the corner and have a little meal. On the corner is Potbellies, a fun place to go for soup and a sandwich. They have delicious cookies too.
We also like Cosi, across the street. Cosi also features soup and sandwiches but they are all made with their special flatbread, which is delicious. My favorite thing at Cosi, however, is dessert. At Cosi you can get Indoor S’Mores for 4. S’Mores are a delicious treat invented by the Girl Scouts. Usually you make them in the summer over an open camp fire, but at Cosi, you get a cool little platter with a small, flaming grill in the center. Around the grill are the ingredients for S’Mores: Marshmallows, chocolate bars, and graham crackers. You spear the marshmallow on a sort of fondu fork, and hold it over the flame until it is hot, gooey and golden brown. Then you lay a piece of chocolate on a square of graham cracker and using another square, you squash the hot marshmallow into the chocolate. Ideally the heat of the marshmallow melts the chocolate a bit and the finished “sandwich” makes such a delicious treat that you always want “Some More”!! Therefore the name: S’Mores!
After dinner we usually check out what is playing at the two movie theaters at this corner: The Michigan Theater, which usually features an interesting selection of art films and international movies, and The State Theater, a tiny theater which was once the balcony a large cinema, now made into two small theaters. This is where we went to see Slumdog Millionaire when it first came out.
After the movie, we always have to stop off at Starbucks for a Latte or a hot chocolate. Yum! All this within one block of the parking lot! You still have to brave the cold but only for a short dash! So, I hope you are enjoying many indoor pleasures too as we wait for Spring to finally make it’s appearance.
March 5, 2009