Archive for March, 2009

Typing With One Hand

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Yesterday was a beautiful day. Sunny and warm. The first real day of Spring here in Innsbruck. Annie, Markus and I decided to head out for a bike ride along the river. Although no one over 6-years old here wears a helmet, I’m just not comfortable with that, so popped out to the sports store while Markus got Annie geared-up.

We made it through downtown and were on a paved back lane that runs beside the pedestrian trial. I was behind Markus and was keeping an eye on them so I didn’t get too close. Up ahead, past Markus’s shoulder, I too late noticed a car backing out of the driveway. There was a high fence around the sides of the driveway, so the driver had no chance to see us. Markus manged to stop with control (thank goodness), but I squeezed my brakes hard and went head first over my handle bars. My face got the worst of it…or so I thought. The driver of the car checked that we weren’t dead, made sure we had the address, and then took off. I guess that “don’t leave the scene of an accident” rule isn’t so important here.??

Anyway, a lovely woman walking by called an ambulance for us. Poor Annie was a bit confused. She kept saying, “You got jam on your Mund (mouth in German.) You have to wash it off.” She rescued my water bottle from the road, sweet girl, and kept close to Dad.

Two very young looking attendants came (god, I’m getting old), luckily who both spoke English, as I wasn’t thinking clearly enough to speak German. Long story shortish, after 2 tries at an x-ray, a CT scan, and more thanĀ  few tears (I used to have such a high pain tolerance but now am a total wimp), I went home with a fat lip, nasty shiner under my eye, banged up knee, and a very long cast over my broken elbow. Luckily, it looks like only a hairline fracture, so the cast should be off in 10 days.

When I came home Annie kept telling me the story: you fell off your bike; you went in a funny chair; you rode in the amblience; you hurt this knee (correctly pointing to her left knee), not this knee; you got jam on your Mund…She cracks me up. She also went through her routine on what she knows about the doctor: first you take off all your clothes… Then she gives me a little rub on my back and a kiss to make it better.

Rebecca looked after Annie while Markus stayed with me at the hospital. Once I was home she popped in every little while to bring me water or ask if I needed anything. And Markus, of course, is taking very good care of me. What a great family I have.

This morning my knee is less stiff and the pain killers are starting to work for my arm. All in all, as people keep reminding me, not too bad and of course could have been worse, like if I hadn’t been wearing a helmet! But I did have to get Markus to take one photo for posterity. Clearly looking for a bit of sympathy with those puppy dog eyes.

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Apfelmus Mommy!

Friday, March 20th, 2009

I was scrolling through our photos with Annie and cousin Lili the other day, and came across this video again. I didn’t post it before, because the quality isn’t very good. And also because the big pile of recycling and unruly wire nest in the background makes it look like we live in a ready-to-be-condemned hovel, which isn’t true (most of the time).

But this is just too cute not to share. I took this video a few months ago when Annie started singing this song, unprompted, one day at the dinner table. Annie now knows “Apfelmus” inside and out, so I’m glad I captured it when she was still struggling to remember the words. You can just see her little brain working hard. Melts my heart every time.


Apfelmus Mommy! from Hillary Samson on Vimeo.

And in another cute Annie moment, here is the girl preparing to take over running the hotel whenever we are ready for a break.

Customer-service oriented, yet authoritative, toddler seeking position with inner city Austrian hotel. Ready to start immediately.

Customer-service oriented, yet authoritative, toddler seeking position with inner-city Austrian hotel. Ready to start immediately.

The Things You Find

Friday, March 13th, 2009

I hadn’t been down to the hotel cellar until about a month ago. I really had no need to traverse into the depths, but a few weeks ago I thought I’d go to find out how to change over the oil in case I ever need to spell off Markus for this bi-weekly task.

The basement hinted at interesting stories of the past, so thought I’d share some images this morning.

To start with, you have to make your way down these scary-ass stairs. Don’t you just love it when staircases curve so you can’t see the bottom? I can just hear the voices, like the audience watching a horror film yelling at the screen, “Don’t go down there! Don’t do it!”

How brave am I to go down there?

Feeling rather brave to explore the basement.

The basement is huge and mostly unused. If we do decide to ship furniture from Canada we certainly won’t have trouble with storage until we move into our own apartment.

Here is really the only room used for hotel needs besides the oil/hot water area:

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Even after 6 months and what is becoming countless castles and historic places, I’m still in awe of the thick walls and brick arches so common in these old buildings. I wonder when that will start seeming normal.

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Towards the back of the cellar is a room that was used as the bomb shelter during the war years. It has been mostly cleared out of the food, water, clothes and supplies that must have lines the walls 70 years ago, but the skeleton of the bunk beds remain as a reminder of this time.

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Sure wouldn't want to stay down here for long

Sure wouldn't want to stay down here for long

Markus knows the value of rooms such as this one. His grandmother who raised him was working as a waitress during the war somewhere in Austria. Often the raid sirens were ignored, as they so frequently were sounded, but this one particular morning the owner of the restaurant suggested the staff take cover in the bomb shelter. An explosive ended up destroying the restaurant, and killing some patrons, but those in the shelter were unharmed. There would be no Markus if the owner hadn’t followed his intuition that day. A bizarre thought.

But hands-down the most interesting area is the room that is used for some of the family junk. Mostly Lili’s old toys, some unused cabinets and an inexplicable male mannequin. However, check out the wall! Markus tells me that decades long past a student group used the space for their weekly meetings. What could they have discussed? Just thinking about it is so fascinating for me. They were obviously very into the gatherings if they bothered to create this painting on the wall. Maybe someday I’ll track down what this image was a representation of. Too interesting.

More than just a junk room

More than just a junk room

Sword, helmet, branch and wings. What could it all mean??

Sword, helmet, branch and wings. What could it all mean??

Detail of face and halo. An angel I hope I don't meet in heaven.

Detail of face and halo. An angel I hope I don't meet in heaven. At least he is smiling.

I’ve started a new category for this…Things I’d Never See In Canada. Fits, I think.

Fun Photos

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Markus has been making the most out of the camera on his new iPhone that he scored for free with his new mobile plan, so thought I’d share some of the fun. (I call the iPhone his new mistress, as I have trouble getting his attention when it is around.)

Opa and Annie have definitely bonded.

Opa and Annie have definitely bonded. Mostly over unhealthy treats, but I try to overlook that.

Rebecca and Lili hit the slopes on a gorgeous day

Rebecca and Lili hit the slopes on a gorgeous day

How cute are those two?

How cute are those two?

Since I can’t supply Annie with the 10 siblings that she craves with her hyper social personality, it is a good thing Rebecca and Lili have lots of energy!

Pile on Rebecca!!

Pile on Rebecca!!

A Beautiful Day

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

I’ve always been pretty lucky with the places I have lived. Winnipeg never had my heart, but our cottage at West Hawk Lake only 1 1/2 hours outside the city sure did. It was paradise spending summers there. London, Ont was somewhat boring, but still pretty with stately houses, a beautiful university and plentiful trees. And of course, Victoria really felt like home after only a few months. I find walking or sitting by the ocean the most healing thing for my soul.

I seem to have struck gold again, as Innsbruck truly must be one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. If you like mountains that is, which I certainly do. Markus and Annie went tobogganing yesterday morning, but I passed as my back has been sore this week. Instead I went for a walk by the river, admiring the architecture of the houses on the sloped landscape and the snowy peaks towering above. The temperature was probably about 12 degrees (C) and I think the whole city was out enjoying the sunshine. This winter has been amazing, but the last couple of weeks have brought a ton of snow and quite a bit of slush, so the sun was welcome. Even though there is still snow all around, the restaurants and cafes had their outdoor patios set up and every spot seemed to be filled with locals and tourists enjoying their lunch and coffee in the warmth.

I strolled through the old town on my way home, yet again appreciating the 800 year old buildings and cobble-stoned streets. I just felt so lucky to be here. To be living here.

In the afternoon, Markus drove Rebecca and a couple of teammates to an out-of-town basketball game, and he took Annie along as she usually likes that kind of thing. So I really had a day off all to myself. It is indescribable what a difference it makes to this family’s life when Markus is here instead of in Canada. I’ve always had reverence for single parents or those with disengaged spouses, but I think I can appreciate their struggles even more now after my small taste of being alone with children.

So I spent the afternoon making a card for my good friend’s Lori and Shawna’s baby. (My crafting addiction is ever growing.) Their beautiful little girl Matheson was born on Valentine’s Day. It was a long road for this couple to get pregnant, so I’m feeling like this little baby is a real miracle in their lives. I spoke with Lori on about day 6, and she had yet to change a diaper. I’m starting to think there are going to be some incredible advantages with having two mothers to raise this baby!

Today is supposed to be even warmer. Markus is taking Rebecca and cousin Lili to spend a day on the slopes, so Annie and I are going to have a morning at the playground, share a slice of delicious pizza for lunch and then stroll along the Inn until Annie falls asleep. Another lovely day in the making.