Weekend escape – something blue


I think it is an excellent idea to have a weekend escape from every ones in a while it may it be oh so small. It helps me see what a great place the world around me is and makes me appreciate the possibilities that are out there in our neighborhood close and far.

Last weekend me and my daughter went to do an Indigo dye class at the Handcraft Studio School. It was such a treat to have some one on one time with her and make something beautiful along the way. I was thinking about trying it out for a while but was glad to not have the clean up at home. I might give it another go though. Maybe make some holiday gifts with the kids? We will see if that happens.


Commute decisions

constructionThis picture pretty much is one of the reasons why I decided at the beginning of the year to commute by public transport and bike instead of taking the car. This construction site used to be the parking lot I frequented most but UC Berkeley decided to build yet another new building (and of course did not provide additional parking options that were in a reasonable distance). If I need to walk 20 minutes to get from parking to work after driving to work for 20 minutes I might as well take the bike (or BART) for 30 minutes. And I am doing something good for me and the environment along the way! The University actually has some incentives for people who want to switch to public transport like discounted ticket prices for BART and the bus system (AC transit). You can also sign up for a program that guaranties you a free ride home in an emergency by taxi or rental car (Guaranteed Ride Home). Since I have school aged kids that sometimes need to be picked up short notice I thought  this was pretty clever. Luckily I did not have to use it yet.
It has all been really good actually. I already rode a little over 1000 miles by bike this year. One of the stereotypes that always comes up when talking about the US is certainly not true in the Bay Area: Everyone takes the car everywhere and nobody walks or takes their bikes. So not true! If you drive somewhere on the weekends in the hills around here you always have to watch out for bikes and the cities are pretty walk-able. Public transport might not quite compare with German standards but you can’t have everything. A couple of years ago there were so many people using the BART system that they actually were discussing to raise the ticket prices so less people were going to use it. What a ridiculous idea to maybe have more trains running.
How do you get to work or around in the US, Europe or other places?


Listen to this


When our kids go to bed they get to pick one CD from their extensive German radio play collection to listen to while falling asleep  I actually had to look up what they would be called and I am not sure I picked the right word. Is it radio play or audio drama or..? Maybe someone can help me out on this one?

I have not come across them in the US really. Sure, there are very good recordings of audio books for kids (and they do like them) but my personal opinion is that it is so much more fun to listen to the story when the different characters are spoken by different actors and you get sound effects and background noises.

Audio dramas were very popular in Germany when I was growing up and as far as I can tell they still are. They were in fact so popular that the actors of one specific recording (“Die drei ???” or “Three Investigators” as is the original American title) toured theaters around the country to read life performances. It puzzles me why the audio plays are more and especially popular in Germany. If anyone has an idea I would be more than happy to hear.

In the meantime I am happy that my kids like to listen to them and I sometimes find them quietly sitting in their room relaxing or playing while doing so.