like disneyland, only better

After two calendar days of travel (leaving Seattle mid-day Monday, but arriving in Northern Germany Tuesday evening), we're settled into our adorable apartment in the middle of the old town.

There has been great bread, a short lesson on meats, some knitting, some off-kilter sleeping...
but NO WURST yet for Boyhood.

I keep telling him that he's now missed out on 2 precious opportunities for daily meat-on-the-street, and yet he remains unmoved. Good of him not to panic. And besides, what with the local butcher being 2 doors down, I don't think we'll be short of meat around here anyway.

(Funny to even type that, after we've been nearly meat-free at home for over a year...)

And in the meantime, it seems to be a universal tradition that Something Big Must Go Down every time we go to Europe on vacation... the City Council/powers that be in our hometown have just fired 3 people and all but closed down our Building & Community Development department. Good friends to Michael are now jobless, and there will be no one at the front desk at the City to answer questions about building code... it will be up to the sole remaining employee in that area, the Building Inspector himself, to help folks who are building homes to interpret and uphold the International Building Code which we adopted in town a few years ago.
* Editorial Note: If you follow the link above and read the article, don't be fooled by the premise that the budget cuts are linked to the need to hire a police officer for the schools. Yes, our city budget needs some pruning, but to suggest that they're cutting 3 jobs in a totally different and vital department for the sake of creating one job (we need a police officer in our school? how sad) is BUNK.

Now I know that our motto around here is 'Better living through knitting,' but permit me to deviate from the yarn and needles to rant for a moment.

I can't help noticing the irony of this coming down right now, as we sit in this gorgeous little European town. It's been in existence on this spot since 800 A.D., was incorporated in 1200-something-or-other, and still has some buildings remaining that date from the 1400's. Tourists come here and wander the cobblestone streets, admiring the old architecture, pointing at the leaning, timberframe and masonry buildings, and oohing and aaahing over the quaint human beauty of its old port. (Right outside our window.)

So it's ironic and sad to think that, while we love these old cities and flock to see them as tourists and love them for being so old and so lived-in, our own little town where we've chosen to put down roots may not get a chance to become that old... if people insist on tearing down 'old' houses (we're talking 100+ years over there) to build gigantic, 8,000 square foot McMansions. And that's what we're headed for, if our City Council has its way. Unrestricted building (now that we're rid of those pesky code-interpreters), no tear-down laws. Build whatever the hell you want and let's reap the tax dollars.

What we may be left with is so far from the quiet dignity and beauty of my little German hometown that it makes me want to weep. Really.

[It'll be back to more knitting and levity tomorrow, I promise. Thank you all for listening.]
[The Editor of our local paper is going to get an earful from me this week, clearly.]