Saturday, December 29, 2007


Count your garden by the flowers, Never by the leaves that fall. Count your joys by golden hours, Never when life's worries call. Count your nights by stars, not shadows; Count your days by smiles, not tears. And on any birthday morning Count your age by friends -- not years.
I found this poem looking for a recipe on I guess it's a pretty good one. I will have to try it out in 2008. I wanted to share it with you.
John took this photo in Vienna. Don't worry we aren't promoting underage drinking. Those young boys are drinking apple juice. Isn't it funny,though? You can almost picture how they will turn out ten years from now.
I just learned that one of my limited editions is the #1 seller. Check it out -

PROST 2008

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Belvedere

The Italian term Belvedere refers to a vantage point where there is a beautiful view into the distance. The site of the Belvedere in Vienna is located on a narrow piece of land that gently ascends, providing a wonderful view of the city. There are two palaces; the Upper Belvedere and the Lower, separated by a formal garden.
The highlight of the Upper Belvedere collection was the work of Gustav Klimt. John and I wanted to take our usual "kiss picture" in front of The Kiss (seen in the middle of the photo collage). Again, there were no photos allowed. No sour grapes this time, except the painting was enclosed behind glass and an alarm went off when I leaned into close.
We crossed the garden in the dead of winter to go to the Lower Belvedere. I can only imagine how pretty it would be in the Spring.
Here we saw a Vermeer painting that I had never seen before. I am sure that I studied it in school, but that was so long ago. Luckily, I found this website that allows you to study the painting more closely. This way I can avoid the embarrassing alarms.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Them Bones,Them Bones

The Catacombs in St.Stephen's Dome

I must give credit where credit is due.

John took these photos 3 years ago when he was in Vienna.

Being the competitive artist that I am, I couldn't wait to outdo his efforts.

Imagine my dismay when I politely asked the snippy Austrian tour guide if I could take a few pictures and he treated me like I was some kind of pervert for not respecting the dead.

Believe you me, my photos would have been respectful. I had envisioned interesting compositions from different angles in extreme contrast.

As I placed my little camera back in it's case, I began to experience what is known as sour grapes.

Telling myself that it just was a pile of bones anyways, there were many more great photos opportunities in Austria, and what kind of deranged person would want to look at photos of human bones.

Clearly, it's just disrespectful to the dead.

So you can blame John for taking these photos.

I would never dream of such a thing.

St. Stephen's Dome

Here is a photo collage of the inside and outside of St. Stephen's Dome.
The church has stood on the site for over 800 years, but all that remains of the original 13th century Romanesque church are the Giant's Doorway and Heathen Towers seen in the top right corner. The rest of the church was rebuilt in the 14th and 15th centuries. Since it burned the last day of WWII, the outside stone is still black from soot.
We took an elevator up the North Tower,which gave a spectacular view.
Here we could see the colorful tiled roof consisting of 230,000 glazed tiles that measure 361 ft. in length. The eagle is a symbol of the empire ruled by the Hapsburgs. The roof was constructed in 1490 and suffered quite a bit of damage due the fire in 1945. The tiles were then carefully restored. It is really amazing.
I wasn't able to get many photos from inside the church, because it was so dark.
The one in the lower left hand side of the collage, is a self portrait of the architect of the church, Anton Pilgram, called "Fenstergucker". Loosely translated in English it means "window looker". I had to take a picture of this, because it reminded me of the man I always see looking out his window. He still refuses to wave back at me. I am getting more determined since my time left in Germany is drawing near.
Perhaps, he will wave good-bye.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas from the Cranes

We are back from Vienna.
My birthday was Thursday and we went to St. Stephen's Dome. I have some cool pictures of all the bones in the catacombs that I will show you this week. What an interesting way to celebrate the day of your birth. Don't you agree? That evening was extra special.
I don't know many people that can say they saw an opera in Vienna on their birthday. I am really blessed to have such a great husband!
I will be posting my photos this week so check back.
Here is our Christmas card. I found this cross in the middle of the Black Forest while walking the dogs. There is a date engraved at the bottom; 1865. I don't know if we are posed on someone's grave or not.
All the same, I hope everyone has a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year!
We plan on wearing fat-pants all day and watching Bad Santa while drinking egg nog.
Can't wait!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Birthday Surprise

Beethoven realized the totality of his deafness when he saw birds flying when the church bells rang, but he couldn't hear the bells..What city/church?
Tomorrow I am being whisked off on a surprise birthday trip.
John has given me this one clue. Do you know where I am going? I know I could easily find out, but I want to be surprised.
I will return Saturday another year older and wiser,
until then.............

Monday, December 17, 2007

Die Weihnachtsgurke

A few weeks ago
I bought a glass pickle ornament at the Ludwigsburg Christmas market. There was a sign written in English that told the legend of the German Christmas Pickle.
Every year the Christmas pickle is hidden deep in the branches of the tree on Christmas Eve.
The most observant child to find the pickle on Christmas morning would get to open their presents first or receive a special present from St.Nicholas.
I couldn't wait to get our tree and hang my "Traditional German Pickle". I loved knowing about this and participating in this tradition.
Since I am still attending classes at the University of Google, I was able to research more about it's origin. My research left me feeling a little cheated,
just like the time I saved all my allowance to buy a packet of Sea Monkeys when I was 6 years old.
The fact that the legend was written in English should have been my first clue.
There are a few more things wrong with the story.
First, the Germans open their presents on Christmas Eve and not on Christmas morning. Secondly, St. Nicholas arrives on Dec.6th and the third and most important flaw in the legend is that the Germans have never heard of it.
In 1800 F.W. Woolworth made a trip to Germany where he fell in love with the glass blown ornaments. He began importing them to the States to sell in his stores.
Production of the glass pickle began in 1890 and it is believed to have been sent directly to the U.S. along with it's "German tradition".
You should have seen the look on my neighbor's face when I showed her my " Traditional German Pickle" hanging in my Christmas tree.
The Christmas tree that is put up 2 weeks too early, I might add.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Never Ending Painting

In response to the question "How do you know when you're finished?", Pollock replied "How do you know when you're finished making love?"
I have been working on this painting for 3 years now. I am always finding something new to add or take away.
This never ending painting is not my never ending love, but a hodgepodge of things I do love. I may never finish it and that's okay.
For in this love affair I am allowed to be who I am at the moment and I am accepted when I want to change.
Showing you this painting is not easy, because there is still so much more to do.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What If Wednesday In The Woods

What is fearlessness?
Walking in the woods
witnessing wilderness
"what ifs"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hopping on common ground

I am in a constant state of contrast and comparison living here in Germany. When I speak to the Germans, I often start sentences with,“In the States we.......”.
I guess it’s normal to do this. One must try to find a common ground to communicate.
Here in lies the rub.
The fact that I can barely speak the language doesn’t make it any easier.
During Christmas my comparing and contrasting skills are in full swing.
In the States, we open our presents on Christmas morning.
Santa Claus arrives while you are sleeping and brings presents to all the good little girls and boys. It is said that if you are naughty, Santa will leave you a lump of coal. I really believe that this a myth, because most American kids are spoiled and get their presents regardless.
If you are very good, you can talk Mom and Dad into opening one present on X-mas Eve.
Since I had unwrapped and re wrapped all my presents weeks before X-Mas morning, this only meant I had to get a head start on my surprise face.
In Germany, on the eve of Dec. 6th children place a shoe or boot by the fireplace. During the night, St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, hops from house to house carrying a book of sins in which all the naughty children’s names are written. If they have been good, he fills the shoe or boot with delicious holiday treats. Otherwise, the naughty child is confronted with a boot full of twigs.
I know a couple of kids in our village that should be walking with twig filled boots.
Still, I can’t seem to get the image of St. Nicholas hopping from house to house out of my head. Compared to the Easter Bunny, I guess it’s not that absurd.
Try explaining the Easter Bunny to a German and that’s another blog entry all together.
Did I mention that Santa Claus travels by a sled led by eight flying reindeer?
Okay, so the hopping is not as bad as it seems....
In the States, we put up our Christmas tree the week after Thanksgiving, which is the last week in November. Department stores have customers tired of Christmas carols long before December can be printed on their sales receipt.
This I know firsthand because of the 12 years I spent working in visual display. We would replace the Halloween decorations with Christmas and anger many customers. I can still hear the words, “Christmas already?!” ringing in my ears.

In Germany, the Christmas tree is not put up until Christmas Eve. A big meal is served and then the presents are opened.
With not much time to sneak and peek, German parents get to see genuine surprised faces on their children.
As you can see,
there are only a few differences, but many similarities.
All and all Christmas is a time for family.
It doesn’t matter
whether it’s St. Nicholas or Santa Claus or when he brings the gifts.
There is a certain magic this time of year, no matter where you are.
Let the twigs and coal remind us to be nice to those whom are different.
It will make it easier to walk on common ground.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Crooked and Open Doors

I have this reoccurring dream where I am checking all the locks on the windows and doors of my house before I go to sleep. All locked and secure, I discover a room I have never seen before. The door is wide open, swinging back and forth; a mockery of my security. The deep black night with all it's uncertainty is free to enter into my insecure home.
Sometimes, the unknown room has a closed door, but it is crooked and will not close completely. The gap above and below the frame shatter the sense of security I am desperately seeking. Pieces of the night cast triangles through the unknown room.
Each time I discover this room, I am perplexed. I should have known it was there.
I believe it is a part of my psyche that has not been explored. The open door may symbolize adventure while the crooked door tries unsuccessfully to harbor it. It is an internal struggle.
The dream is not a fearful one, but more so, a curious one.
I guess
there is always a little room of hidden insecurity when discovering new places..........

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Remember The Windows

We may be familiar with the writer E.B. White who wrote Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little, but you may not know that he also wrote for the New Yorker.
Every year he wrote a message about Christmas. His message for Christmas 1952 is very good and still rings true today.
One year he was struggling to write something new and different and recalled a lunch he had earlier that month with his 92 year old aunt. He felt bad for not arriving earlier in the Autumn to take her on a drive to see the changing leaves. She was from a more formal and slower paced world. She told him not to worry because, "remembrance is sufficient of the beauty that we have seen". This response inspired his Christmas message that year, which focused on the remembrance of traditions that each of us hold dear.
This message made me realize all the beauty I have seen while traveling through Europe.
Attempting to capture it all with my little camera seems futile.
I am afraid that relying on my memory alone will never be sufficient. It is already proving so.
The slide show above shows all the beautiful windows that I notice on our travels. Hardly sufficient when I am not sure where some of them were taken..........

Wine week

Today's painting
Italian wines II
acrylic on canvas

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Paint what you love

Today's painting
Italian wines
acrylic on canvas

Monday, December 3, 2007

Dog day afternoon

"Why no Mr. Crane, your foot looks fine to me. Why don't you take some Advil and call me in the morning."
The amazing doctor dog- Dr. Schatzi

I promise to return to the studio tomorrow and get back to painting.