Sunday, June 30, 2013

I'll Take The Girl

I'll take the girl, I have a house full of boys.

Tonight/Today I want to write about something very special.  A relationship that dates back to before the Second World War...nearly three quarters of century.

My mother in law, Ruth, was one of the children that Hitler sent out of Germany before the start of the war to try to preserve the race.  If you have ever seen the movie, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, where the kids were sent to the middle of nowhere during the war and all they had was a bag and a tag on their clothes that told them where they were supposed to go.  Ruth experienced that.  She says that when the kids all showed up at the station the farmers were all asking for boys since they wanted strong helpers in the fields.  Ruth was the only one left.  When the Oma (grandmother) from the Zohrer family came she said that fateful sentence, "I'll take the girl, I have a house full of boys."

When Ruth first got to the Steirmark, Austria she couldn't understand what they were saying.  She spoke German as it was written and they spoke with a thick Austrian accent.  This didn't keep the spoiling from beginning though.  As the first girl in a household full of boys, Ruth had special privileges.   When the meal was served all of these farmer folk would sit around a square table, grab their fork or spoon out of the special drawer in their space, and then dig into the single bowl or dish on the table.  Ruth just sat there.   Oma asked why Ruth wasn't eating.  Ruth replied, "I don't like eating out of the same bowl."    Her separate dish was always on the table from then on.  When dinner was being prepared she would ask what was being cooked.  If she explained that she didn't really like that, they would make whatever she wanted.  (This was a luxury that didn't continue at home.)

The people of the Steirmark thought Ruth was such a great kid, they invited her back every year after the war had ended.  She was part of the family.  

This family of farmers took her into their small home, they welcomed her back when they added a second home to the property, and she watched as yet another house was added to the farm.  As the many many years went by, Ruth cried as the people she grew to love grew older and passed on.  She celebrated as new members of the family were born.  One of those members was Roserl, the grandaughter of the woman on the platform who would "take a girl."

Ruth left Germany to see the world but before she left she visited the Steirmark.  She noticed that Roserl only had brown shoes.  She wanted her to have something special.  They looked all over the bigger towns in the area and found a pair of red shoes.  A luxury that Roserl had never had before.   When Roserl was getting ready to go to her confirmation, Ruth sent a satin white dress for her to wear.  This type of dress had never been seen in this rural community, Roserl was thrilled.  Roserl still talks about those shoes and that dress to this day.  I think the deep sense of gratitude for being made to feel very special by Ruth, plus her natural generous nature, make Roserl treat Ruth like an honored guest in her home.  (I am more than willing to ride on Ruth's coattails and accept her hospitality!)

The farm went from modest beginnings to more elaborate.  The land and the operations have been passed down from generation to generation.  There were different crops, and different objectives.  They have gone from selling fruits and vegetables and schnapps to focusing on one crop and doing it well.  They, and most of the other farmers around them, have found their niche in growing and selling apples by the truckload.  While we were outside playing with the great-great-grand kids of the woman on the platform, two tour buses full of tourists drove by to see the heart of the apple country in Austria.  (Down the road a piece they will stop and buy a bottle of schnapps to take home...the Zohrers have decided that they want to focus mostly on growing and harvesting apples.  (If a batch or two of schnapps happens to make its way into the cellar for personal consumption, so be it!)  Ruth was there to see it grow.

If you search on the Internet for any kind of a familial connection between these two families, you will be disappointed.  There are no Bibles in the town church that have the Gasteiger branch listed as part of the Zohrer tree (apple tree) but from what I have seen, they are as much a part of the family as any other person related by blood.  I am glad that I was able to be part of this reunion.

Saturday, June 29, 2013


So I'll have to step up my game a little bit today...I have a new possible reader from the Orrock family.  Their father Ray was one of my favorite daily reads and I have just joined a Facebook page devoted to reading (or re-reading) his old articles.  I mentioned that I like to write and, well, I don't want to get ahead of myself, but this new contact could very well take me to the fame and fortune I have been desiring since I began writing in my little corner of the web.  Just kidding.  It does my heart good to see, "Ray Orrock likes your post" on Facebook whenever one of the administrators clicks on something I've written...I know it's not him, but I can pretend.  

Enough of that, I, we, all of us, are in Europe for crying out loud!  If I can't come up with something worthy of writing about in Europe I should just give up my blog.  Hmmm...ummm...we saw stuff today.  

Well that's the end.  That was easier than I thought.  I'm going to bed now.

Ok, you got me, I'm not done.  

We did see stuff today, but it was a little more than that.  Just a little.  We were in Vienna for the past couple of days.   If you haven't been, I would highly suggest it!  Of course I would also highly suggest being married into a wonderful family that has outposts all over Europe who feel compelled to feed you and cater to your eery whim whenever you stop by.  (To be fair, we do the same for relatives who want to visit America...but I think the Europeans would win if it were a contest.)

In Vienna (Wein if you are here, from here or any place other than America) you have some of the most beautiful architecture in the world.  St. Stephansdom (Stephan's cathedral) is a sight to behold. We were there with about three thousand of our closest friends.  It was a small gathering, candles being lit.  Books being sold.  Music being practiced.  And the kids wondering if the alters with Latin writing were really crypts that held the remains of the people whose images were on their plaques.  I used my extensive training in Latin, and my apprentisship in BS'ery to unequivocally state, "No! There is no one buried here."  Not sure exactly, but I think the odds of the kids actually reading one of the travel books Sylvia purchased lies somewhere between getting hit by lightning while riding a unicorn...and getting your pet pterodactyl from a traveling salesman who enjoys playing with his time I'm safe.

We met with Sue Sonne (Sylvia's cousin's daughter) in Wein, after she got off work.  

Let me just take a moment to personally praise Europe.  We were driving a camper so we didn't wish to try to drive through historic arches, park in underground garages, or be involved in a chase scene with Jason we used public transportation.  (Although Mr. Bourne's would-be assassin  did use me as human shield at one point).   Aside from that, we were able to park at the campsite, walk to the train station, and travel to anywhere in the city for about thirty euros.  We got passes that worked for every form of transportation for 72 hours and we used the heck out of them.  Give Sylvia a map, a pass, and a destination...and she could rule the world.  We got to say things like Donauplatzstrasse and Schwedenberg while zipping through tunnels and having little kids look at us like, "mom, aren't those people a bit old to be talking gibberish?"  We made it to our destinations easily and when it was time to meet Susanna, we found her relatively quickly.  It would have been completely quickly but when we got out at the station by her apartment we zigged when we should have zagged...but that isn't Vienna's fault.

Sonne took us to the biggest store we had been to on this trip (judging purely by the selection of cereal...most places have three choices, this one had twenty) and we bought fresh bread, cheese, drinks, some sweets, and pickles.  She apologized, as we walked to her quaint little apartment, for living in the poor part of town.  The section that had the least green.  We assured her that it was great and not to worry.  Then we found her door nestled between two (ahem) businesses for (ahem) working ladies.  Things are different in Europe.  She and her "half fiancé" live in a flat that they have fixed up quite nicely.  Then they showed us the picture of what it looked like before and we were amazed.  SiouxSonnay is an architect and enjoys using her creative side.  

We, as we are growing accustomed, laughed and talked and ate and laughed and we all learned a new expression that made us laugh and laugh and laugh...but I don't think I can say it here.  Then we all rode the train over to the Prater.  It's a carnival where we were able to ride a Ferris wheel that had cabins the size of cable cars to see Wein by night...and several stories in the air.  After we walked around in this place  we bid them adieu and wished that it wasn't so expensive to travel to visit each other.  That is by far the worst part of a trip like this.  Saying goodbye to people who you will not be able to easily see for a long time.

The next day we traveled back to the city and got a tour bus that showed us the highlights in the main circle.  We bought wurst from a street vendor and had an impromptu picnic in the very large park.  We walked along the river, talked to someone who seemed by glad to hear English, and ended the day by eating ice cream (eis) at a famous eatery.  It was a lot of fun and we could have spent days and days there, but we needed to come back to Rosel and Hermann's house because there will be a family gathering here on Sunday.  Besides, you know what they say about stray cats...feed them and they always come back. The way Rosel fed us, we may never leave!  

I got a little more of the story about why this place is so important to my mother in law.  I would like to take a thoughtful look at that in a posting that is dedicated only to them.  But I will not do that today.

So finally, I come a close.  I hope that you are enjoying my silly little travelogue. I had mentioned that I had read through some of Ray Orrock's columns before writing here.  I noticed that his articles were a little longer than mine usually are.  I will now add some bonus writing to show prospective newspaper editors that I can write with the big boys and have a lengthy article too.

Vienna was very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very nice!
  (Helloooooooo Pulitzer!)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Oh My Goodness...Urp...Excuse Me

Started the morning feeling pretty good about my belt and how there was actually a little wiggle room and maybe even the need for another hole to be punched to make it a little tighter.  It is now evening, in Austria, and all hope is lost.

We left Monika and Jürgen's house this morning (cough cough...our mornings have been turning into early afternoons) and drove to Austria to visit Rosel and Hermann's house.  We navigated roads that had four wheel drives (and Sherpas) sitting alongside scratching their heads.  This is the type of place where, when a car is coming toward you, you pull to the side and stop so there is room for others to pass...for miles and miles.  We arrived about an hour and a half later than we told them and were greeted by a very enthusiastic Rosel! 

We were given the Reader's Digest tour and were ushered into the kitchen where Rosel began pulling food out of thin air.  Suddenly there was fresh bread, meat, cheese, three different kinds of mustard, butter (fresh from the dairy), and butter fresh from the market (just in case we preferred that), there were rolls and pretzels straight from the bakery, and we were to wash it all down with good German beer, homemade pear juice, homemade juice from a berry that has no English translation, and apple juice that comes straight from their apple orchard where their house sits.  I do not wish to make anyone think that we are finally being fed...quite the opposite.  This feast is just an example of everyplace that we have been so far.  If this was a food blog, I would have material for days!  Up to now I have been able to monitor/control myself fairly well.  What was the difference?  in a word, Rosel!   

When we met she said to me, "Nicht sprechen Deutsch, Ich nicht sprechen Americanish."  Which, you might have guessed, means, you don't speak German, I don't speak American.  This might present a problem to other people...not so for us.  Everything moved along swimmingly as long as I got the gist of what she meant.  It was pretty easy to determine that this laughing exuberant woman had one thing on her mind...feed the guests!  

We all took a roll, some meat and cheese, and ate heartily.  I personally tried every one of the drinks.  When we'd cleared our plates, she would start gesturing again and then start pushing food toward us.  If we stopped chewing she got this mournful look on her face like she'd failed as a hostess.  Finally Sylvia clued us in..."Shes going to keep giving you very slowly."  Ruth asked where the butter was, whoops...she got more from the refrigerator so there wasn't a wait.  Someone pointed at the meat platter and she jumped like she'd been poked and sliced more prosciutto!  I'm usually pretty good at resisting peer pressure but I didn't want to upset her...and it was so good!  

When everyone had given up trying to shovel food down our gullets, she joked, "we can't stop yet...there's more food.  You'll just get it for breakfast!"  I told her that was a joke in my family, if you don't eat your dinner you'll just get it chopped up in eggs in the morning!  She slapped her hand to her head, (I had mentioned a food not represented on the table), jumped again, and returned with a basket of hard boiled eggs that she proceeded to peel before we could shout to stop!  It was my mistake, I ate the egg.  I leaned over and whispered to the kids, "whatever you do, don't call someone a turkey!  She will start cooking a bird!"  

As our comas settled in, she offered the kids some hot chocolate since it was a bit windy...they accepted, but she was unable to provide it since her milk was a little past what she would like...she would have to go to the dairy.  Well all of the city folk jumped at the chance and we traveled down the road a bit to get milk that, until recently, had been delivered to tins.  We got to meet the woman who runs the dairy and take a quick tour while picking up some fresh yogurt, milk, and butter.  When we returned, after about a half an hour, she brought the yogurt out so we could all try it.  There was no saying either language!  

We all laughed when she brought out her homemade biscotti and two different types of cakes.   When people groaned and said that we were already full, she went and grabbed a special bag of cookies (for us to munch on) since she sensed that we were disappointed with the choice of cakes.  Ok, so the cookies were delicious.  At every turn we were handed a new thing to munch on, a new wine to try, a new juice that the people in the family were making.  

When we had settled down a bit and sat and talked, it had to happen between the laughs.  The kids and I picked up on a few of the stories in German but much of it was lost.  Every once in a while they would throw us a bone and give us the main idea of the story just to keep us in the mix. Every once in a while I would tell part of a story to try to be funny.  I have to tell you, it is extremely satisfying to be able to cross a language barrier to cause laughter!  

We talked, and laughed, and ate, and drank, deep into the night.  We talked about breakfast and said our good we could start it all over again tomorrow.  I warned the kids not to mention anything remotely related to Hawaii or a luau...I seriously think this woman would start digging a pit to roast a pig!!!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Generalizations can be a dangerous thing.  They can make you trust people without merit or distrust people without cause.  A famous scholar (or someone in my family) once said, "I hate people who generalize...all MEN generalize!"  I will now pause for a moment while my philosophy professor rolls over in his grave.  Come to think of it he is still alive, so I think he is just feeling a disturbance in the Force...or just having to take a Tums.  

... Ok, I'm back.

Wth all of that being said, let me tell you about some generalizations that I could make if I wanted to.  If I were to judge the German people by the man who questioned why we needed to continue driving on the road that he had blocked, when it was painfully obvious that a) we could pass easily in a moment, and b) that there was zero chance of turning around on one of these typical single lane roads, then I might be inclined to think them rude.  If, however, I judged the German people by the family that we have eaten with, stayed with, and parked an oversized vehicle in front of....then I would generalize that they were warm, friendly, generous, funny, accepting, accomodating people.  (I'm going to lean toward the latter.)

Me, and my merry band of travelers, have been greeted with enthusiasm at every turn and we are feeling very blessed to be on this wonderful trip!  I fear that we are going to be a little like cats and, since we have been fed very well, we will long to come back over and over again.  I sense a second (or third) job on the horizon.

Alas, we are entering a new chapter, one most likely without WiFi, and so the writings will be slower to come.  I will try to continue off line and then post when I get near a Starbucks, McDonald's, or apparently one of several other Americanish restaurants that are invading the countryside.  (Still no Round Table Piza has been spotted, but I will keep you posted!)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

California Envy!

One of the more interesting things I noticed about the people in Munich was that they seem to have a little bit of west coast envy.  I counted two Hollister t-shirts, three "West Coast" sweatshirts, several Los Angeles clothes, and even a Huntington Beach hoodie.  Sylvia once said something along the lines of, if there was a shirt that had the words, "This shirt has English writing on it!" German people would buy it.  Let me assure you, and them, they have it pretty good over here.

From the train ride over to Munich and beyond, we were seeing some gorgeous countryside and, in the city, some beautiful architecture!  You'll just have to imagine the pictures of the S-Bahn, the countryside, and the Marienplatz (both from the ground looking up and the tower looking down).   I can see them, they are very nice, but every time I try to upload the pictures into the blog on the @&;$?$! iPad, (did i mention that it is an Apple product?) it freezes my writing.  I have tried several times and for all I know, several pictures will be in the finished blog when I send it to publishing.

Ok, deep cleansing breath...out of my system.  I will try to paint a picture with words, as best as I can.  Also, I will post my pictures on Facebook whenever I can.  Feel free to stalk/browse as you like.  I will even befriend you on my page, but please send me a note telling me where you found me.  I am not in the habit of accepting random friend requests.  Just search by my email.

In Munich we disembarked (I know it's a big word but it felt European to use it) from the train and walked up the steps to a very crowded fussganger zone (walking area).   There were thousands of people walking along the cobblestone walkways mixed with fruit stands, product demonstrations, and street performers.  It was a little touchy navigating through all of these people and keeping our band of visitors intact.  We had to rush as we had just gotten to the Karlsplatz area a few minutes before noon and we really wanted to see the glockenspiel (think of the largest cuckoo clock you have ever seen but in lieu of a small bird coming out, there are instead dancers, musicians, and even carousel horses traveling in their mechanized paths) atop the Marienplatz Rathaus. (More in a moment).   The Rathaus is the main government building.  Similar to a city hall back home.  But function is as far as the similarity goes.  I do not know how old this building, the ornate clock and the surrounding town square but I did see a carving over a door that said was one of the newer looking doorways in this stained glass encrusted cathedral like building.

We searched the inside trying to find out how to climb up the many floors of steps to the platform above the glockenspiel.  This was a very important part of our journey.  We really wanted the kids to see this beautiful place, and I wanted to propose to Sylvia again.  Actually, we were already married when we came here the first time in 1995 but that is where Sylvia gave me my golden band to wear on my right hand.  In our wedding ceremony Sylvia was given her Oma's ring to wear on her right hand.  I didn't have an American counterpart.  Sylvia solved that problem in one of the alcoves atop the Marienplatz.  I did ask her to marry me again while we were up there, had Jake take a picture while trying to stop us from kissing, but this time she said she was already married to a really big guy.  Now what am I going to do!

We topped off the trip with a visit to the Hofbräuhaus.  The kids were able to see what a bustling beer  garden was like.  There were no dirndel clad waitresses serving us, but we did get to see the waiters carrying more beers than should have been possible.  And much to my delight, the kids did not even hint that they would rather go to the Hard Rock Cafe that was across the walkway from the HB (that is what we world travelers call the Hofbräuhaus.).

We made our way back to the train and almost one fifth of us stayed awake after our long excursion.  For a moment before leaving we debated going on a guided bus tour.  When we looked at the tour highlights brochure, we found that we had already visited the lion's share of the sights, so we skipped it.

Back at Monika and Stefan's house we decided where our next steps will be.  I say we, but it was really a matter of the three women speaking German while I wrote my blog.  I'll let you know what I decided as soon as they tell me.

Friday, June 21, 2013

We're Here!

Just a quick note to let everyone know that we arrived safely in Munich.  The trip over was Uneventful for the most part and after many hours of travel, we are in the friendly arms of Sylvia's cousin and family.  It is very nice to invade a country (and household) and feel welcomed with generosity and friendliness.  The kids are getting reacquainted as their family came to visit us last year.  We have rented a camper and are planning on taking it to many parts of Germany, Austria, and even Italy where Sylvia's uncle and aunt are vacationing (I guess we can go to Italy if we have to).

We have not had a lot of time to adjust to the nine hour time change but we were up early this morning and planning to take the S-Bahn (train) into Munich.  We have been told that the possibility of parking a camper in the city is zero percent.  We decided not to take those odds and purchase a family pass for traveling.

I have decided to chronicle our trip on this format for two, it is already set up and people are accustomed to visiting here, and two, my mother absolutely refuses to join Facebook so unless I write it here she will feel left out.  I hijacked her computer and joined this blog as a subscription so these will be sent to her as an email.  I have no pictures on this iPad as of yet but will post some as soon as I am able.  The little city of Landsberg is as beautiful as I have seen and we had a little walking tour yesterday.  I have explored the panorama feature on my phone to capture much of the architecture.  For now, you will just have to believe me.

It is nearly time to eat breakfast (at midnight our time) so I will sign off for now.  I hope you enjoy this sidebar from my regularly scheduled nonsense.

Jeff, Sylvia, Kristiana, Jacob, and Ruth (Sylvia's mom)

Saturday, June 8, 2013


I should really be in the classroom beginning to work on the goldenrod page of the report cards for my students.  Unless my principal is reading this, then I should be putting the finishing touches on my report cards.  There are two is far too early in the morning, and what the heck is goldenrod?

I'm only partially kidding.  I do know that goldenrod is a yellowish page and it is different from the the other two colors of paper that are sitting there waiting for me to print out copies for the parents.  But color is what I wanted to talk about today.

Before I begin let me just say, Mom, I warned you.

Colors and I have not been the best of friends over the years.  At first I didn't know what to think.  
As a kid I got a Lite Brite for Christmas.  Not a spectacular thing.  Pretty generic.  Lots of kids had them.

It came with seven bags of pegs like these.

See all those happy kids playing with their new toy?  That was me.  (the one on the left)  The way it worked was there were these black construction paper pages that had letters printed on them in a pattern.  That page lay between two sheets of plastic that had holes in them that allowed you to see the letters.  The letters stood for colors the primary colors.  R = red, O = orange, T = taupe, A = auquamarine, P = get the idea.  Behind this plastic honeycomb and black paper was an incandescent light bulb...back before they were declared illegal and people who owned them were carted off to re-education camps.  Spoiler alert:  The Easy Bake Oven used a huge light bulb also, to cook its little cakes and such.  When using this year's model, and its stupid curly cue light, you have to plan on about a three week bake time..but I digress.

  The object of the Lite Brite was to take these little pointy plastic pegs and poke them through the paper to be held by the plastic holes.  When you were done you could plug it in and voila!  The light would show through the plastic and your picture glowed. It was kind of cool.

I remember distinctly the first picture I made. 

Look at it!  A thing of beauty!  Totally symmetrical.  It used all of the colors.  It was great.  I know my parents were impressed.  Then it came time to try the next picture.  They got me one of our fanciest containers to hold all the little pegs...a cool whip container...and away went the picture.  I set up the next picture, the slightly less aesthetically pleasing sailboat, and began to work.  When immediately I looked into this white plastic tub and thought, "What manner of hell is this!?" 

You see, when I made the first picture I took the pegs right from the little plastic bags...the LABELED plastic bags.  When I needed an orange I grabbed for the bag that said orange.  When I needed red, I grabbed for the bag that said red.  When I needed taupe, I get the idea.  When it came time to take it apart I just grabbed all of the pegs and tossed them into the container.  When I looked at the new picture and went to grab a peg, there were no more labels.  The tub of pegs looked like a stew of similarly colored plastic.  When I asked my parents what the heck was going on, they couldn't understand why I didn't get it.  It took the help of my brother and sister to get through subsequent pictures and Lite Brite was relegated to the shelf of, yeah, if you want to play with it, go ahead.  But I never chose that toy for myself again.

That was the first time I, looking back, became aware that I was colorblind.  I didn't know there was such a thing when I was a kid.  I just thought I was stupid or something because everyone else could just grab the right pegs on the first try, and I had to hold it up to the light, compare it to another, and then ask for help.  

It wasn't until I got glasses, in junior high school, that I discovered that I was colorblind in addition to being blind as a bat!  The doc, Ronald H. Sand in the mall near our house, showed me a page of dots in a book and said, "Trace the triangle."  He said it in a , "Oh yeah, I almost forgot to ask you this..." sort of way.  I looked at the page, back at the doc, then back at the page.  I tentatively reached out and picked three of the dots to make a triangle.  Any three points, not in a line, make a triangle ya know.  

(This is a picture I Googled and it's as distinctive as a patio paver to me.  I hope it doesn't say a bad word.)

It was only then that he got interested.  He flipped the book back to the beginning and showed me the page where the dots were gray and black...I saw a figure 8.  "I said, there wasn't anything like that on the first page though."  We went through the whole book and he determined that I was red green colorblind.  Nothing I could do about it.  My eyes were just missing something.  It wasn't til high school biology that I discovered that I was one of the ten percent of people who were colorblind...and that it was my mom's fault!

OK, not really.  It's not anything that you do to become colorblind but, genetically speaking, the gene that flips the switch for your eyes to not work right is carried by the mother.  I had a lot of fun with that bit of info growing up.  It's not everybody that gets to tease their mother on a genetic level!  I used to point at her and very dramatically yell, "YOU DID THIS TO ME!!"  Don't worry about my mom though...She gave as good as she got in the teasing arena.  There was the time that I was frantically opening and shutting cabinet doors looking for the "green pitcher!"  "Mom!  Where is the green pitcher?"  "We don't have a green pitcher." open shut "Yes we do!" open shut "No.  We don't."  open shut  "Oh my goodness!  The green pitcher we use for orange juice!"  OPEN SHUT!  Mom walked calmly over to the one cabinet I hadn't yet assaulted, reached in, and gently pulled out what I was looking for.  "Do you mean the brown pitcher?"  Yeah, it took me a while to get over that one.

Well that brings me to a month ago.  We were in the audience at a play that Jacob was in.  I was sitting next to my mom and Kristiana and Sylvia hadn't come to their seats yet.  They were busy putting make-up on all of the actors.  We had arrived ridiculously early and to pass the time I was pointing out people walking in and who they were to us.  It is a smallish school so I knew a fair number of people. "That is the lead actor's mom."  "That is Kristiana's friend from choir."  "They lived down the street from us."  That kind of thing.  Then a couple walked in that I felt additionally compelled to mention...this was the mom and dad of the other Kristiana at school.  (They spell it with a 'Ch' but we don't that against them)  As you can imagine, we don't encounter too many Kristiana's in our day to day lives.  I said, "Mom, that is the dad of the other Kristiana!" and scanning a little further along the audience..."And that is her mom!" 

As I look back at this interaction I replayed the scene in my head.  Christiana's mom was alone.  She was walking.  She was standing.  She was smiling.  She was blond.  She was on the steps.  She was holding a purse.  She was not sitting down.  She was turning around and looking for her seat.  Any of these would have been wonderful descriptors!  She could have even said, "The one in front of that man?"  Nope, my mom, comes up with, "The one wearing green?"  Picture me...eyebrow raised, mouth flat, shoulders up, hands out palms up like I was checking to see if it was raining in the little theater..."Really mom?  The one in green?  Are you sure you don't mean the one in gray?"  She started laughing and all I could say was, "You're going in the blog."