I haven’t posted in a while because I haven’t been at my computer for the past three and a half weeks. Thomas, Anna and I made a sudden and surprise trip home last month to visit my family and have only just returned to Germany. I wanted to be home for a special occasion last month, you see on March 18th, 2012 my grandfather or “Papa” as my siblings and I fondly refer to him, turned 90 years old. He would tell you that this is a lot of nonsense though, that he has now completed his 90th year and has just begun his 91st. That is my grandfather for you, sharp witted, smart, funny and a wealth of factual information from reading lots of books and staying fit both mentally and physically. He is more active than a lot of people I know who are half his age and he has always stressed the importance to me of healthy eating and living. Every year I make a garden with my grandfather in his back yard; he lives in the house next door to where I grew up in upstate NY and he tends to the garden for me while I am away. My grandfather not only keeps the garden in good shape but also mows his lawn, rakes it and makes a compost pile from the clippings, leaves and food scraps for the garden. He trims the apple trees in his back yard, picks asparagus which grows in secret places all over his property in the spring, harvests elderberries and currants from his bushes in late summer and apples in the fall. He has shown me by example how to live close to the land and eat well from it. Being a diabetic my grandfather can’t eat too many sweet things but he does have a sweet tooth and always enjoys it when I make him a sugarless apple pie or strawberry shortcake, which just might be his favorite. When I cook for my grandfather I try to do so without sugar or only sometimes with a sugar substitute like Stevia (which is his preferred sweetener). My Grandfather takes vitamins every day and will swear to you by them, he loves to drink green tea, has been using coconut oil and flax seed oil in his food long before they became trendy and he always has a positive outlook on life and on eating. Thanks Papa for being a positive roll model in my life, for always being there for me and all the rest of your children/grandchildren/and now great-grandchildren and I hope that you thoroughly enjoyed the start of your tenth decade with your family and friends gathered together with you to celebrate!