Memories from 2011 about Christmas and some other Subjects

Following is something I wrote in November 2007 and I published it in 2011.  It sounds like I could have written it today.

“Time is running out? . . .  how much time do I have left? With every year time seems to be getting more precious. Whatever I still want to do in life, I should be doing it soon, very soon. There is no need to panic. It is just this feeling in me that I ought not to waste time; in other words, I should make the best use of it I possibly can. Making time for reflections as I do right now, I do not regard this as a waste of time. It nourishes my soul, it makes me look forward to spend the day in a productive way. There are the Christmas preparations to consider. How can I keep them to a minimum with that special Christmas Spirit in mind? Some spiritual songs usually help me along to get into the mood. Even in shopping centres the odd Christmas song can bring about temporary elation, a feeling of peace and comfort in a buzzing shopping centre! And even if this sort of mood happens only for brief moments while doing the shopping , it is still appreciated and helps to cope with the mad commercialism that surrounds us everywhere.

The special food at Christmas I like very much. On the other hand I hate it, if food is being wasted. I rather have not too much food of everything. How awful, if food has to be thrown out because we cannot keep it fresh enough in the Australian heat once it leaves the fridge. There may be one and a half dozen people at our family gathering. People bring food along. I would like to keep the food that I am going to provide to a strict minimum. Unfortunately I know already that this is an impossibility at Christmas time! I suppose I’ll just have to grin and bear it. I am determined to make the most of the Christmas Spirit where-ever I may come across it and enjoy the closeness of family and friends. Indeed I am looking forward to a Joyful and Happy Christmas. I did not always feel joyful and happy at Christmas time: There are some happy memories about Christmas, but there are also some very unhappy ones . . . . May the truly happy hours at Christmas time be plentiful and greatly outnumber the sad and lonely hours! This is what I wish for everyone.

This is the link to some more posts I published in 2011:

These posts from 2011 have the following titles:

Daddy’s Anger:


After the War (1945):


Post W W  II:


In Love with Leipzig:



My Family’s Reaction

So the following is still something I did publish in Decermber of 2011:

“5th of December, our second daughter’s birthday; the youngest daughter’s birthday is coming up in four days. The two girls are exactly twenty years apart!

Tomorrow, Tuesday, is Thai Yoga for beginners with Chaija Noradechanunt from the University of Wollongong. In the pamphlet it says:

‘Enjoy stretches, breathing work and relaxation practices in a women only place.’

On Tuesday, the 13th December, is going to be the last class for this year.

I like these Thai Yoga classes. I hope they’re going to continue next year. For the Thai Yoga I go to Coniston, which is two trainstops away from where I live.  The Older Women’s Network hire the Community Hall in Coniston for these classes. They say:

‘You’re in good company with Illawarra OWN Wellness Centre. What is a Wellness Centre?

A Wellness Centre provides older women with a different model of health and wellbeing. We offer a holistic approach to improving and maintaining health and coping with illness by providing a variety of choices for healthy living. The Wellness Centre provides an informal, friendly and supportive environment.

We are committed to:

.  Flexible, “drop in” attendance

.  Learning from each other, as well as from health professionals

.  Consumer involvement & participation

‘Social isolation is a threat to the well being and health of us all. As women tend to live longer than men, they are more likely to feel isolated. Being on a limited income further restricts many people and decreases our ability to lead full and productive lives. To enjoy healthy senior years our minds and bodies need to be active and we need to do all we can to ensure we foster a willingness to stay well by keeping active.

An older woman is generally considered to be 50 years and over. Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Women aged 45 Years and over. All are welcome at the Wellnes Centre.’

Thursdays I usually go to a class here in Dapto. It’s a gentle exercise class with Marta Venegas. This class is to improve core strength and balance. I  like these classes. Marta always brings stimulating music along. She sees to it that we keep up with a bit of dancing and also some more serious fitness training. Some of the exercises can be done sitting or standing. This class is breaking up next week. The break lasts to the beginning of February! I must aim at going to the swimming pool more often to maintain some kind of fitness.

My laptop is playing up sometimes. I think I need to take it for another service.”


Good Santa


German children used to be very scared of Santa, who was called ‘Weihnachtsmann’. Every little German child used to learn this verse:

“Lieber guter Weihnachtsmann,
Sieh mich nicht so böse an,
Stecke deine Rute ein,
Ich will auch immer artig sein!”

In English it means something like this:

Dear good Santa,
Don’t give me these scary looks,
Do get rid of that stick of yours,
I do promise, I’ll always be good!

It was very important that a child was able to recite this to the Weihnachtsmann”: If they could not say it they would be smacked by Santa! Or at least they believed he was going to smack them with his stick full of branches. This stick was Santa’s “Rute”. No child could imagine Santa without a “Rute”.

Older children were expected to recite a longer poem. Learning a poem like this by heart would keep me busy during the weeks before Christmas.

I think as a nine year old I learned to recite:

“Markt und Strassen sind verlassen . . . .”

I loved this poem. It spoke to me of a very calm and peaceful night, the night of Christmas.

With Love from Gaby, Dave, Bonnie & Clyde


Gaby came down with poliomyelitis on her fourth birthday. That was in 1961. When she was 32, in 1989, she left institutional care and moved into her own home in Merrylands West, a Western suburb of Sydney. David (Dave) became her full time carer. But as a quadriplegic with breathing difficulties who needed to sleep in an iron lung, she needed several people to come in on a daily basis to look after her diverse needs.

Anyhow, Gaby was happy to leave the home for disabled people and move into her own home. 40 year old David did for nearly twenty years a marvellous job in doing whatever he could for Gaby. But in the end his health deteriorated more and more. It became impossible for him to the the things for Gaby he would normally have to do as her carer. It was a rather sad situation. Gaby knew that David needed help but she did not know how to provide this for him.

Gaby and David both loved animals. Soon after moving in Gaby acquired a companion dog provided by the people who train dogs for blind people. Dave liked that dog too. They called her Bonnie. A cat named Clyde became Bonnie’s companion. Gaby just adored her animals. They were like her children. She always saw to it that they had everything they needed.

Gaby with Bonnie
Gaby with Bonnie
Gaby with Clyde
Gaby with Clyde
Bonnie and Clyde in front of the gas heater
Bonnie and Clyde in front of the gas heater


Bonnie is being spoiled!
Bonnie is being spoiled!

I happen to have still a Christmas card from Gaby and Dave with a calendar for 1998 in it. The card came with a book: A Tolstoy biography by A.N. Wilson, first published in Great Britain in 1988. This is a great reference book and a great read. Gaby chose this book for me as a Christmas gift. She did choose very well. She always took great care to choose gifts for all the family for birthdays and for Christmas. Of course her funds were limited. So she always looked for bargains. Quite often her choices were astoundingly good.

This is the outside of the card.
This is the outside of the Christmas card.
And this is the inside of it.
And this is the inside of it.
Gaby moved her electric chair with her chin, she used her mouth stick for phone and computer.
Gaby moved her electric chair with her chin, she used her mouth stick for phone and computer.
Here she looks like having grown up a bit more.
Here she looks like having grown up a bit more.
Here she is in her bedroom getting ready for the day.
Here she is in her bedroom getting ready for the day.
After Gaby lost Clyde, she did get a new kitten.
After Gaby lost Clyde, she did get a new kitten.
Blackie, the kitten, grew into this.
Blackie, the kitten, grew into this.
Gaby is having fun seeing Father Christmas.
Gaby is having fun seeing Father Christmas.

Sadly Gaby lost Bonnie. She was lucky that after some time she was given a replacement dog which she called ‘Honey’.  Honey was quite skinny at first but soon filled out a bit.

Gaby can celebrate Christmas 2003 with companion dog Honey.
Gaby can celebrate Christmas 2003 with companion dog Honey.


Diary before Christmas 2013

The job is done: We managed putting up the Christmas Tree.
The job is done: We managed putting up the Christmas Tree.

This was yesterday when we put up the tree. Today is Tuesday, the 17th of December 2013. I went for an early morning walk past Brooks Creek and then along Cambridge Road. Bear with me, I took some more flower pictures! And then I discovered a house decorated with lights and a lot of Christmas themes. I hope we can take a little walk tonight and have a look at this house when they put the Christmas lights on!







DIARY, Wednesday, 11th December 2013

I am  off the Hook!

I do not need blood pressure tablets anymore!

Well, this is a long story. It actually started the day I had my Carpal Tunnel Release operation.  On that day at six o’clock in the morning I was allowed a cup of tea and a very light breakfast. Then I had to wait for more than twelve hours before I could have as much as a glass of water or a cup of tea. I was told ‘nil by mouth’ before the operation, which was to last for only a short time, maybe twenty minutes. Unfortunately I was the last one on the list. Which would have been all right, if everything had gone to plan. However there were some unforeseen delays during the day, which meant my operation was postponed for many hours. I sat in the hospital waiting room, waiting, waiting, waiting.

Finally, well into the evening, it was my turn. What a relief! A lot of precautions, needles stuck into me here, there and everywhere while I was lying on the trolley waiting to be let into the operating theatre. The anesthetist thought I was very relaxed. Then my surgeon came out to greet me. After a little while the doors opened and I was rolled into the room where the procedure was going to take place. There was some background music which I thought wasn’t soothing at all. However I didn’t complain. The surgeon must have felt that this was not my kind of music. He asked me what kind of music I liked. All I could think of saying was: Something ‘classical’. Whereupon the lovely surgeon saw to it that ‘Sound of Music’  with Julie Andrews was put on.

I had been given local anesthetics only. So I could listen to the music during the whole operation. Everything went smoothly, except as they later told me, my blood pressure went up a bit much. They advised me to see my GP (General Practitioner) about it.

To cut a long story short. I did indeed see my GP. My blood pressure went sky high that night when I saw the doctor after many hours of waiting. He did consider to put me into hospital. Luckily the blood pressure came down a bit after a little while. So the doctor let me go home. He prescribed blood pressure tablets and even valium. Peter and I did get my prescription drugs at a close by late night chemist, which delayed us getting home by another half hour. I took the blood pressure tablets as prescribed, but not the valium. I really felt relaxed enough by the time I got home and had no trouble going to sleep.

The GP had asked me to see him again the next morning so he could check on me whether I was all right. By the time I got there at 8 am, there were already eight patients in front of me. So I had to wait again. The tablets turned out not to agree with me. They made me feel sick. Eventually the doctor  organised a 24 hour blood pressure test for me. This test showed that my blood pressure was up only slightly during the day, and during my sleep it was absolutely perfect.

Yesterday I did get the marvellous news that I did not have to take the tablets anymore. The doctor said to me, on a day when I felt under a real lot of pressure, I may perhaps take a valium tablet. But not to do this too often for these tablets can be addictive.

After he said all this we wished each other a Happy Christmas and I left his office in a really great mood! 🙂

December 1st. 2013, first of Advent and Start of Summer in Australia

On Sunday, 1st December,  our Family met at this Club.
On Sunday, 1st December, our Family met at this Club.








Here comes the food:






Ebony showed Lucas the display about an Austrian village at Christmas time. There was a moving train and a moving ski-lift. I took the pictures. I’m sorry that the quality of my pictures isn’t very good. But the display looked beautiful and Lucas looked at it for quite a while. This display was just part of the Christmas decorations in that German/Austrian Club where we had lunch.

We took some pictures with the whole family outside the club as we were leaving to go to the car-park.









Santa’s Mail Box, seen 45 Days before Christmas


I wonder what sort of mail Santa would receive. Walking for a bit through a major shopping centre today we became quickly aware that business for Christmas has already started. Festive decorations everywhere and the specialty shops exhibiting the most beautiful things for your home to celebrate the Christmas season.

For afternoon coffee we went to see Monika and Mark. Monika was in the process of finishing a lovely large fruit tart.

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Tash and Roxy are also happy to have their picture taken in the kitchen
Tash and Roxy are also happy to have their picture taken in the kitchen
Lucas with his Dad and Great-Granddad
Lucas with his Dad and Great-Granddad
And here are four generations sitting together
And here are four generations sitting together
Lucas gives Peter an olive to eat
Lucas gives Peter an olive to eat
And he spies some crackers that he can eat himself
And he spies some crackers that he can eat himself
Time to eat the Torte
Time to eat the Torte

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1994 to 2001 in Pictures

This picture is probably from early 1995
This picture is probably from early 1995


One of the twins with Natasha
One of the twins with Natasha
I think this is two year old Roxy
I think this is two year old Roxy
Ryan with Tashi,  Roxy, and Justine. Tristan in the foreground.
Ryan with Tashi, Roxy, and Justine. Tristan in the foreground.

I think this last picture was taken in September 1994 when we had just moved into our new home in Dapto. The hammock found room in our backyard. Ryan, one of the twins, would have been fifteen at the time.

In December 1999 Caroline turned twenty-one. We had lunch with the family and some of Caroline’s friends at a club. Later the family came to our place where the following picture was taken. Gaby is in her wheelchair. Her carer David can be seen in the left of the picture. Martin carries his daughter Lauren, who is only one and a half, Monika carries Krystal who is two. Roxy and Tashi are seven and eight.

Caroline, 21, stands in the back right next to Peter.
Caroline, 21, stands in the back right next to Peter.
Christmas 1999 : Bunte Teller, a Christmas treat which the children loved. In the picture 8 year old Tashi.
Christmas 1999 : Bunte Teller, a Christmas treat which the children loved. In the picture 8 year old Tashi.
This is near our holiday place at Sussex Inlet in early 1995. Tashi is 3 1/2.
This is near our holiday place at Sussex Inlet in early 1995. Tashi is 3 1/2.
There were always some friendly kangaroos around at Sussex Inlet.
There were always some friendly kangaroos around at Sussex Inlet.

In early 2001 Peter’s sister Ilse, who lives in Berlin, came to visit us for a few months. The following pictures were taken near that playground about 500 meters behind our house.




April Snow

We went as migrants from Germany to Australia in 1959. Eighteen years later we were able to go back to Germany for a visit. Peter had taken his long service leave. This is why we could stay in Germany for about two months, from the middle of March to the middle of May. The year was 1977. Peter looked up now the date for Easter Sunday of that year. It was actually the 10th of April.

Peter and I, we both distinctly remember Good Friday and Easter Sunday of 1977. On Good Friday late in the evening we went outside after we had seen a wonderful opera performance (Aida!). We saw gently, gently a few snowflakes coming down. During the following day the snow disappeared because it was not cold enough for it to remain.

However on Easter Sunday we went with Peter’s family to a restaurant called ‘Die Zwiebelstuben’. The same thing happened. We looked out of the window and saw snowflakes ever so gently coming from above and settling on the ground. It was such a peaceful picture. We just loved it.

People have been telling us recently, this year they still have a lot of snow all over Berlin. They are sick and tired of the cold temperatures. They are longing so very much for spring to arrive. They say in April it should be much warmer already. And they think it’s about time that the snow should disappear. Snow in April? It reminds us a bit of the snow we saw in April of 1977. However the snow in April of 1977 didn’t last for very long. We just noticed it on a couple of nights and soon it was gone again.

These two nights in 1977 when we saw the snowflakes coming down, these two night were an unforgettable experience for us. This sort of calmness you usually would remember in connection with Christmas. But this was not Christmastime; it happened to be Easter of 1977. Really wonderful.

Advent 2012

The other day I lost everything on the computer. Just one wrong click and everything was gone! With some great help by hubby I am now back in business minus all my pictures. At the moment I wouldn’t know how to continue publishing pictures anyway. Apparently I used up my quota. I guess I can still write a bit about Advent even if can’t publish any pictures.

For the first Advents Sunday we dug out the ‘Advents-Kranz’, the one we’ve had for years. Usually we try in vain to get suitable small candles to fit on the green wreath made of artificial small fir tree branches. There are decorations of pinecones, shiny red apples and sweet little red mushrooms on it, all made of plastic and permanently fitted onto the wreath. Because we weren’t able to get candles of a suitable size we usually resorted to placing some bigger candles on the table, setting the Advents-Kranz up in the middle.

Surprise, surprise, this year we had just the right sort of small red candles. We saw them in a shop in Germany on one of our last days over there. I am so glad I bought them. They look absolutely beautiful on our Advents-Kranz. There are of course four candles for Advent. On each Sunday of Advent a further candle has to be lit, so we started with one candle, then two and today, on the third of Advent, we were able to light three of the candles.

We also dug out our artificial Christmas-tree again. (We didn’t last year because last year we had gone away on a holiday!) So we wondered what would it be like to put up the tree after a two-year break? Peter found the tree well packed away outside in the shed. Unpacking it, he established the tree was still as good as new. He had no trouble setting it up in the living-room. He also found plenty of electric lights and skillfully wound these around the tree branches. At the top of the tree he put a red ball with a golden pointy top on it. He also wound a bit of lametta around the tree.

I found some more decorations to hang on the tree, shiny balls and the like. On the whole I am rather pleased with our Christmas-tree. The only thing that was left for me to do was to pack all the empty boxes away. I also dug out quite a few candles to spread around the room. Most of them landed on our big dining-room table for the time being. We have a candle-holder with five big candles in it. Here is what is written on each one of them:

‘I love you because each time that we’re together something special happens between us and gives me one more reason thinking of you.’
And it says this is from jerry’s candle company.

There is something else I took notice of, meaning I took time to have a closer look. For the third of Advent we opened some special Christmas biscuits. ‘Fine Nürnberg OBLATEN LEBKUCHEN (Fine spiced cookie Assortment)’, this is what it said on the packet. And the cookies are really delicious!

Amongst all the Christmas stuff I found our ‘nutcracker’. This nutcracker is really special to me for we had it for so many years. I was very happy when I found it. It was such a pleasure unwrapping him and putting him on the table as a decoration. He may not be able to crack nuts, but by gosh, he looks beautiful to me.

Sorry, no pictures for now. I miss being able to publish pictures!

Some pictures you can find now on Peter’s blog