Our Night at the Philharmoniker

The three of us snuck out for a night with the Philharmoniker. We were treated to a bit of Cherubini, Clement, and one of our faves, Beethoven.

As it goes whenever we bring Lola to events like this, she was the youngest in attendance, which meant she attracted some positive attention. Most smile approvingly, while others ask her about music, and if she liked it. As we waited for our coats, an elderly woman (early 80s, maybe) came up to us excited to see her there, telling us how important it is for young people to be there, she used to be a conductor, and her children grew up to be musicians.

When Martin told her that Lola is learning the violin and piano, she took hold of Lola’s hands and inspected them.

“Ja, those are the fingers of a musician,” she said. “Keep practicing!”

Lola was so proud!


You’ve heard this story before. ON THIS DAY exactly 18 years ago, my dad pulled up to the Air Force recruiting office in Florence, Kentucky, and dumped me out in the parking lot with a handshake and a “Good luck!”

A few hours later, I was put in a large van with a few other recruits, and then we drove all over Cincinnati and southwest Ohio picking up even more recruits, winding our way through Dayton before eventually heading to Columbus, where I was then put in a cheap hotel for the night only to catch an early flight to Texas (with a six-hour layover in St. Louis) the next day.

Final destination was, of course, Lackland Air Force Base for Air Force basic training, which is where I snapped this selfie in the bathroom mirror with a throwaway camera during the final week of training. It was about a month before I had the opportunity to turn the camera in for developing, which took another week or two before I could see the result. And now it’s my Throwback Thursday picture today.


I was reminded this morning that self-deprecation is a completely foreign concept in Germany. And as a chronic self-deprecator, this leads to awkward pauses, nervous giggles, and bumbling explanations of the joke. Today’s incident happened when I offered too many coins to pay for my breakfast.

Cashier: “Oh, you gave me two Euros too many. Here’s your coin.”
Me: “Oh, sorry about that! Yea, I didn’t have my coffee yet.”
Cashier: “Eh? You want coffee, too?” 
Me: “Oh, no. No coffee. I just … without coffee, I’m not yet awake enough …” 
Cashier: *nodding*
Me: “…I can’t do math in the mornings.”
Cashier: *silence*
Me: “To be honest, I can’t do math ANY time of day.” 
*loooooong silence*
Cashier: “Uh-huh. Have a good morning!”