Saturday, April 9, 2011

Ich Lebe Noch

When I was stationed in Germany in the Air Force between 1977-80, I lived in a small apartment sharing a wall with my landlords, a delightful couple with a teenage son and daughter. Many times, when I'd have been gone for an extended period some military-related trip and would reappear back at home, the mother, upon first seeing me, would always warmly say, "Ach, Du lebst noch."

Ah, you're still alive.

This came to mind because Zhenya wrote me a few days ago;
The other day I've got a letter from one of my blog readers, and he wrote:
"When I got interested in Hang gliding I started following your blog, Johnny Durand’s blog, Jamie Sheldon’s blog and Timothy Ettridge’s blog. I enjoy them all; yours in particular, but Timothy Ettridge has not posted in his blog since August 1st 2010. I enjoy his blog because he writes just like Earnest Hemingway (my favorite author) and I enjoy his stories. Has anything happened to him or is he just taking time off?"
You see, people get worried about you!
I'm very honored. So...whomever you are; ja, ich lebe noch.

Has it really been eight months? As much as I'd wanted to fill in this gap and others in the past with the tales of what I've experienced, I always first think of all the stories that I've yet to tell before I write about current ones. Contemplating the enormous size of the task of catching up, however, ends up keeping me from writing about anything at all.

So, in lieu of those full stories, I'll hurdle that obstacle with a quick summary of that eight-month gap.

August '10
Joined Dolores and others in Tolmin, Slovenia for the Kobala Hang Gliding Open...

...then spent time with Zhenya, Yulia, and others at one of Europe's biggest hang gliding centers; Greifenburg, Austria...

September '10
Hung out (and flew) with Matjaz, Nena, and sometimes even Lara in Nova Gorcia, Slovenia...

...then went with Yulia to fly in the Dolomites in Italy.

Octiber '10
Returned to the States to pick up the plane I'd bought in Oklahoma...

...and fly it home.

November '10
Drove up to Arlington, Virginia to have Thanksgiving (cooked by my daughter, Raine)...

...with (clockwise, l. to r.) Gus, Susan, Max, Mom, Raine, and Nina.

December '10
Returned to Australia to meet up with Dolores...

...and her daughter Ashanta, and later Ashanta's boyfriend Fredy for a month of flying and car camping.

January '11
Was involved in the Forbes hang gliding meet...

...and car-camped some more with Dolores before she returned to Switzerland.

February '11
Hung out with Scott and Monica a week in Newcastle (with a bit of flying) and then went down to Stanwell Park (hang gliding heaven central to me), where I was visited by my daughter Raine...

...who got in a great flight with Curt (video here).

March '11
Flew to Queenstown, New Zealand with John and Lisa to relearn my long-neglected paragliding skills...

...and had an absolute blast doing so.

April '11
Came back to the States, where Dolores joined me and we visited the week-long Sun 'n Fun airshow...

...which included a spectacular night airshow one evening.

And that's just the quick summary. So much more happened.

(Glad to know people care.)