Thursday, January 31, 2013

Day 12 - three days after my last entry and I am smiling from ear to ear. My
Support Worker washed my hair today...and I feel so much cleaner. Well, washed
 it with cloth and water and plastic coverings over my mattress and bed, but she
 really deserves a medal. Nothing got soaked or messed and my hair is feeling all
 nice and shiny and clean. One step at a time. Literally.
Had a walker delivered this afternoon and when I say 'one step at a time', I really
 mean it. I am now able to sit on the edge of the bed for a very few minutes, mostly still supporting myself with my hands, but I am sitting. I can stand up with the help
 of the bedrail and holding on to the walker. But that's it. It seems impossible to lift
 the walker
and move it forward...and try a step. Instead I am practicing lifting my feet.
Unable to weight bear on the right hand side, the pain is still at a high threshold. (8).
So overall report: cannot lift myself off the mattress without assistance.
Am completely dependent on help with absolutely everything though I can feed
The pain, the disabilities cannot be compared to major hip replacement surgery and I had three of those. On Day One of hip surgery you walk to the washroom, you are mobile. (with cane or walker, but mobile nonetheless)......
Still, I am making progress - somewhat. And I am not in a fog so much because I try not to take those horrible oxycocets (narcotics).
Thank you everyone for your loving and supportive comments on my letter in
the gallery. It helps me look forward to coming back and finding my muse again.
I miss creating even as I am lying flat on my back. Maybe now is the time to
work on my 'Ticket to Venice' journal.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Day 8

you really don't know humility until you have been really ill and dependent on
others. I have had bad luck in recent years including three major hip replacements and it taught me humility bigtime. But omg, it's so hard to depend and even harder to accept.
Today I drank my coffee without a straw. Wow, what a difference in taste. Eww,
it simply doesn't taste the same sipping it through a stupid straw. I am sitting up a
little higher (considering that so far I have been flat on my back and could
only raise my head). And nurse washed my hair with one of those silly caps
you can buy - it's supposed to work like a shampoo but ohhhh Lord, it feels
disgusting and sticky. Still, maybe it's a little cleaner now.

a huge thank you to my youngest daughter who managed to find the time to
bring me a yummy piece of cheesecake and make me sit up twice -  and cry with

Mario took a picture of me sitting up on the edge of the bed
for the first time. I have aged twenty years, but I still have my dreams and will
work very hard at feeling better. What a sight indeed, hair sticking out and stuck and not my usual self, but somehow it's not important. Eight days without a shower and no hair shampoo. He proudly sent it to the kids to let them see. My hands are still helping me support and take the weight off my spine when it becomes too painful. And no, the big bowl on the side of the bed is for me. Cannot keep food down much right now, the medication is making me sick to my stomach...
my knee is still badly swollen, not to mention my poor legs. Otherwise I am fine.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hany (my physio) helped me to move my legs to the edge of the bed,
lift my body inch by inch and try to sit up. I thought I would faint with pain.
But I sat. Could not put my hands in my lap yet, I felt less pain with them
resting beside me. He will be back next week. In the meantime I have to go
through the same motions and excercise three to five times daily. Today
I stuck to two. Two is enough - could not tolerate more than three minutes
of a 'kind of sitting'.....Pain level is perhaps at 9 (down from 10). Stopped
taking oxycodone and praying I won't have to sneeze or cough because then
I start screaming.

It could have been worse. Much worse. My husband pulled the table closer
and the computer is resting on it, but I have no more strength left tonight.
For those of you who read this, all my sincerest love and gratitude. Thank
you for caring.

cannot move around but I think I am rolling over better. Less painful. Still
on antibiotics, gravol and trying to discontinue the oxycodone. God only knows how terrible a drug it is, but it sure as heck is useful when in pain.


the physiotherapist came. He thinks he will have me sitting up for a minute in a few days. Patience. NOt interested in computer as such or email or anything. Coping as well as I can without crying. It will not help me if I get upset or depressed.

I hope you kids will read it. Be proud of me, I am not letting go. And I am going to do my darndest to get back to being myself fast. I am having trouble seeing the keyboard,
and cannot email or rather DO NOT wish to email. It's hard because my head is flat on the mattress and I cannot lift it without pain. (still not using spellchecker. Hate those things and if I make a typo, too bad. At this stage of the game, who cares?)

It's been a very busy three days, nurses, medical people coming and going and I am exhausted. Too much talking for my liking and I am drifting off constantly. I am also taking Oxycodone for pain. Pain to make you scream..... Still, I feel clean except for my hair. Someone is going to come and wash it somehow.

I am back home, flat on my back and unable to move except my arms and legs. Thank God at least for that. I have been blessed with loads of well wishes and love and will try and keep you all posted on how I am doing. So far, not much. Sleeping most of the time.
Today is Sunday. I had a very very bad fall this morning. Fortunately I carry my phone with me and was able to phone the ambulance and my husband. The hospital took x-rays of my spine. Nothing broken.
the pain is unbearable.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Heaven only knows why they call a blog a 'blog' - personally I really
 dislike that description. It actually sounds almost vulgar. So I just call
 it my own online 'journal'. Writing comes natural to me, even in English.
 I have been keeping journals since I was a teenager. Even before that. Yet
 with all the research in genealogy I have been severely side tracked and
then got pulled into digital scrapbooking - which is wonderfully satisfying.
 Totally different from the 'real' thing i.e. no mess, no glue, no paints,
 everything remains on your computer and if you don't like it, well, go
 ahead and delete it. You know where the delete button is, right? Now....
recently my friend Diane introduced me to Mary Ann Moss and I fell in
 love AGAIN with journaling and mess and paints. The inspiration that
emanates from this fantastic awesome teacher is unbelievable, not only
the way she teaches, but also the way she looks at life. So, here I am struggling
with creating a journal. Hybrid. So to speak. Real. My very first book that I
 actually bound. Not the way I am taught, because lol, I was too lazy or
 impatient and decided there was a faster way and yes, alright, Mary Ann,
please let it go for this just one time. My next journal that I shall be starting,
will be SEWN with real stitching and binding tape (though also this one is
 sturdy and I used binding tape, but but's not what I was taught.) This
 journal is in the stages of MAKING. Please look at it with an open mind.
IT IS NOT FINISHED - yet...It's supposed to look old. Like twenty years
old and used and worn. I actually used a very old book for the cover
(no spine)and will work on all the individual pages as I go along, with
alpha, more text, more scraps, and more little bits and pieces though all the
 photos are finally glued in. (needless to say that the photos are scanned!).
 I would not dream of using original photos.... the fun I had, girls, cannot
 be described. Now I know why some get hooked on to the real thing.
Very satisfying, but also very time consuming. Here I have precisely 100
pages, all filled with visual goodies and of course journaling and it took me
 at least one whole month, working on it daily and neglecting naturally my
 digital addiction. ENJOY. Just remember I still have to add some ribbons,
a closure of some kind, not sure what yet......and lots of other bits. (Carol, I
hope you like it....???)

the journal below is about one of our visits to Venice.

 the front cover is definitely NOT finished yet, I want to sign it with my name
and add something else at the bottom.

the first time I saw Venice my husband had to hold my hand and drag me around whilst I was able to look up and around me without having to watch where I was walking....So much to look at, so much to savour.......



Wednesday, January 16, 2013


here is the original photo I used for the page above. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Rose


" Some say love, it is a river that drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor that leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger, an endless aching need.
 I say love, it is a flower, and you its only seed.

  It's the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance.
It's the dream afraid of waking that never takes the chance.
 It's the one who won't be taken, who cannot seem to give,
And the soul afraid of dyin' that never learns to live.
When the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long,
 And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snows
lies the seed that with the sun's love in the spring becomes the rose."


I had planned to use these roses for something else but cannot remember its reason. Not important. What is wonderful however and worth mentioning is that my husband still buys me roses - for no reason, but just because he wants to.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

After the two rather saddening pictures and posting (realistic and such was life indeed), I wanted to post one of my happier pages. My mother, very much a lady both inside and out). I still miss her very much and it's almost eight years since her death.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

(extract from my autobiography that I hope my children will read. It carries huge importance because obviously not only the events of war, but the many years after and being without my father for almost eleven years played a major role in my life and shaped my personality. Obviously. - I finished writing the last page not long ago - a huge undertaking with many years of study at the local university here.)

Allied bombing attacks, which began in 1942 and continued until just days before
Germany's surrender, reduced many German cities, like Dresden, Essen, Berlin,
Hamburg or Cologne, to nothing more than tons of rubble. Although the war was
over and the 12-year Nazi regime had come to an end, Germany was a country in
ruins. 95 percent of the houses were damaged or destroyed and there were huge piles
of rubble on the streets.

After Germany's capitulation my mother and I returned to our hometown, Essen,
and total devastation - never to be forgotten. I was barely six years old. There were no
roads and certainly no road signs visible but just a vast area of rubble and ruins.

Between 1945 and 1946, the Allied powers, both in Western and Eastern Germany
ordered all women between 15 and 50 years of age to participate in cleaning up.
I am proud that my mother was one of many socalled rubble women that had helped
rebuild the city by sitting on a pile of stones and hammering away at the mortar
and bricks for years and years until her fingers could not straighten out any longer.

Recruitment of women was especially useful because at that time, there were 7 million more women than men in Germany. The main work was to tear down
those parts of buildings that had survived the bombings. Usually, no heavy machinery was used, the main tools being picks and hand-winches. After tearing down the parts, they had to be broken into even smaller pieces, up to single bricks that could later be used in the rebuilding process.

Trümmerfrauen, or rubble women, both volunteers and regulars, worked in every weather condition. They were organized in ‘columns’ of ten to twenty people.

the women organized their survival with so called 'plunder journeys' by walking to farm houses only to be handed perhaps a piece of cabbage or a small nugget of butter and then sell it on the black market for whatever they needed more. They would gather nettles in fields to make a salad. They lined up in never ending long lines to be given a legal piece of bread or even meat.

Families would live in cramped quarters together with other people, very often in one single room. Any intimacy was impossible.

The walls would be papered with packing material and their coats were made from old uniforms, dresses would be turned inside out, the fabric re-died and mended and darned if necessary.

My mother was called a woman of the rubble....

She was one of thousands of women ordered to clean the mortar off the bricks from the ruins. She had to bring her own clothing, a shovel and a large ladle. She had to work in the middle of ruins, sitting on fallen walls or a heap of bricks and picking each one up, removing any mortar off it. I remember taking a small metal container to my mother and I was just a very little girl, no older than six or seven years. It was far for my little legs and unheard of in today's life but back in 1945 or 1946 it was survival. I cannot remember what my mother was wearing specifically, but I will never ever forget her sitting on top of a heap of stones with a hammer in her hand and when I arrived with her lunch pail, she would drop the hammer right there and climb down over the rubble. She was barely able to hold the spoon, her hands were painful and bleeding with strips of torn cloth wrapped around. She was one of many helping in the rebuilding of our home town, one that had been under the worst bombing and very few buildings were still standing.

Men had reduced the world of Germany to rubble but women were rebuilding it.

3 760,000 million men were dead and 12 million retained as prisoners of war. A lot of women had no idea if they were still wives or widows, but they grew tough and strong and realized that life goes on. When men returned after some years of absence they were met by a changed woman: strong and tough and able to manage any situation no matter what.

Price for cleaning the stones: 57 Pfennig (penny) per hour.

Women would stand in a chain and pass one brick to each other or buckets with rubble. It was necessary to uncover heavy iron girders or steel from the ruins of houses and recover any material that could be recycled for rebuilding.

Weather was of no significance, come rain or shine the mortar had to be removed and all with bare hands since no machinery was available. A dangerous undertaking to boot since some of the partially standing ruins could collapse any moment or a bomb could explode that was lying under all the rubble.

In return they would be given 400 g of fat per month (not per week) and daily 100 g of meat and half a kilo of bread that a lot of women had to share with their mother or children.

I was almost eleven years old when my father finally came home from his Russian captivity, the last returning prisoner of war together with six others. My mother always recalled how she threw the hammer into the air with jubilation, got up from her heap of rubble and walked away from it forever.

My father was coming home and she was never going to clean another brick. That was at the beginning of 1950. It had taken more than ten years to rebuild Germany.

The rest was given to building companies. Men were back and ready to take over.

And suddenly there was silence. There was no more bomb alarms during the night and the sweet smell of burning flesh of people and animals left under the rubble  was gradually dissipating. Peace was back.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

I love cakes, pastries, European torten and deserts!! Not cupcakes or
muffins  they sell here at Tim's, but real European cakes and
pastries and torten.



When I was a little girl, my mother used to send me to the bakery and buy
slices of cake for our Sunday coffee afternoon which is a tradition even to
this day. I grew up loving cakes. And when I found this little German bakery
not far from where we live here in Canada, I almost cried. Of course, I
bake myself, but it is a lot of work from scratch and especially if it is a Black
Forest Cake with Kirsch liqueur or a buttercreme torte... needless to say, that
at the first opportunity we drove to Joerg's cafe and I ate three pieces of my
favorite torten/cakes.
Each part of Germany has different ways of baking cakes, especially when it
comes to Kirschstreusel (cherry streusel - sort of a sugar/butter crumble on top,
but with a thin layer of marzipan below the cherries)....and not to mention
cheesecream cake. It is not like a New York style cheesecake. Cannot be
compared. The New York one is much heavier and solid, the German cream
one is light and not baked and very delicate with a tiny taste of lemon.
Fortunately for me, my genes have always protected me from any weight gain.
I can eat a piece of cake daily without any problem. Always did. In fact, when
I was young and had a family to cook for, I always had a desert or cake
waiting. Definitely always a cake. My second cup of coffee was around ten a.m.
with a piece of cake, then my husband would come home for lunch and again,
we would have a tea or coffee with a piece of cake and of course after our dinner,
there would be another piece of cake for desert. .....and since I was used to having
a coffee afternoon, I would invariably also nibble on a small piece of cake also
in the afternoon.
Then again, I should also mention that I had three children to take care of and
have always been very active and athletic. And not much interest nor opportunity
to just sit around watching television. That and moving around from one country
to another kept me in shape.


Friday, January 4, 2013

I think I would like to start the New Year off with more pride in my work, and not hiding it under the socalled 'sheffel' (German for 'bushel'), but revelling in the fact that I have been recognized and published. Time to blow my own horn, as a dear friend of mine says. I have a tendency to not feeling secure in what I do and never ever took it seriously. So when I received news from Somerset Studio, I was thrilled to bits.
I have been PUBLISHED:


 Autumn 2010,
Vol. 9, Issue 2
Layout called 'HOME'
the layout was inspired by a newspaper article written about me back in 1980, long before I knew about digital art or scrapping. It shows me here sitting on the front porch of my home that I was in the process of restoring. Built in 1856, it later became a designated historical property. When I later started writing a book about my life, I ran across these articles and wanted to create more with them than just another typewritten page.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

the text in the page says: 'As I get older, I can't help but wonder what will be remembered about me once I pass this door?"......
I think we all think about it but don't normally talk about it either because we are too reticent or just don't have the courage to face it. With all the art work, all the writing, and thousands of hours researching and tracing my roots, will anybody really care? Sadly I realize that there are very few people that really know me. My children THINK they know me but they don't have the foggiest idea. It makes me ask if there comes a stage in life when you actually don't give a hoot.....??

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I love creating. Now this one I call 'neither here nor there' because I have no idea what motivated me to create this page. I used two photos of my oldest daughter and blended them with another image, so it's not all her though her face is right there. Lol.

Neither here nor there


Joy in my heart, that's the title of this page. It shows the sheer delight I find being with my little granddaughter Victoria. We spent a lot of time with her back then and I really bonded. (this is one of my most favorite photos, so joyful and happy....)

Memories life is full of memories. And I enjoyed every minute of it. I am just very sorry and regret not having taken more photos of all the places I have seen and
actually lived in. Life was different back then and snapping photos was definitely not a priority for many of us. It was just living life.