Fourier Analysis is a mathematical tool which can do a number of things: separate out signals from noise; help identify patterns or trends in data; filter out all unwanted data and focus on a single signal; use approximations to make generalizations; make approximations of real world signals (think electronic music); combine harmonics to get a stronger signal. That's what I'll be trying to do here!! Won't you join me with your comments?
Monday, August 13, 2007
As DH's parents would not fly to the US if we had held our wedding there, instead I decided to have our wedding in Germany in the town where he grew up. We then would have our honeymoon in the US and have a party with my friends and family. So this is what we did. My parents were more than happy to travel to Germany, and I had friends from the UK who came over as well and an English good buddy (male) that I had met in Munich who spoke passable German and was willing to be my "witness". DH's sister was his witness, and the rest of the wedding party was made up of a couple of his friends from college and their spouses and one of his friends from Munich. As his friends were young couples there were also a couple of young children present. So it was a nice little group that we met up with at the civil service office where marriages are performed. Our ceremony was held late in the morning and we all went afterwards to a nearby restaurant in a park for a long lunch with the traditional speeches and wedding cake. This ended in the early afternoon and then the entire party, minus children, met up for an evening boat cruise along the Rhine river.
The cruise was a standard tourist boat that ran on a regular schedule. We had purchased tickets ahead of time to ensure that we would have space on the boat, thinking that it might fill up and not wanting anyone left out. When we arrived a bit early at the boat, it was to learn that the captain was thinking of cancelling the cruise as there were only 3 other passengers who were booked. I was on the verge of tears, dressed still in my pretty wedding dress, looking radiant and DH in his finery, and all our guests slowly arriving. DH went to talk to the captain and insisted as we had already purchased our tickets and no one had informed us that the cruise might not go ahead. I'm not sure what pressure DH placed on the captain, but I know he was not interested in getting the reputation of ruining a bride's wedding day, and brides are considered to bring luck, so crisis averted!
It was lovely, and very special as we really had the whole boat to ourselves. We took over the dance floor and the DJ was happy to respond to our requests so we had our "bride and groom dance" and I danced with my Dad and my parents were able to put aside their differences long enough to dance together once. They even had a quiet chat together at the back of the boat and I joined them later to hear my Mom ask my Dad, "Did you ever imagine, when she was born, that 30 years later we would be on the Rhine river in Germany watching the sunset?" It's a memory I will always cherish.
As the cruise ended, no one was really in a hurry to leave. I went up the gangplank in order to help encourage people to get off the boat as the crew were looking a bit surly. DH was at the back, helping make sure everyone had everything and gathering up some of our wedding presents. And suddenly, DH's brother-in-law decided to kidnap me!
I should explain, in Germany, a bride on her wedding day is considered something very precious and a great treasure. So it is the new groom's duty to stay by her side all day and demonstrate his ability to protect her. If he is at all negligent in his duty, the bride may be kidnapped by any member of the wedding party and held for "ransom". In general this is more of a tradition in southern Germany, and customarily the best man is given some clue as to the bride's whereabouts, and many others in the wedding party are in on the "crime" so that when the bride is found, usually at a local pub, the ransom is the bar tab that has been run up by all the participants. If the groom is not quick, this can be a pretty steep bill!
So, my new brother-in-law (BIL) bundled me off into a cab with me yelling (playfully) "Help! Help! I'm being kidnapped!" Now the complication here is that this was not planned. It was a spontaneous act by BIL who took the opportunity when he saw it. And as his wife was the "Best (Wo)Man", he figured she would know he was going to his favorite pub which was near to her parent's home. The other complication is that my friends and parents were not aware of this tradition and were upset that they did not get to say goodbye. My Dad was angry and ready to call the police, and it took a lot of explaining and translating to finally get everyone to understand and calm down. When this was done, almost everyone in the party decided to help look for the bride, so they headed off in great spirits.
Now the old downtown area next to the Rhine, in walking distance from where the boat was docked, is known as the "longest bar in the world" as it has literally miles of bars, cafes, and pubs lining the pedestrian area and sidestreets. We are talking over 200! But that did not deter our merry band. They quickly got into the routine of entering a bar, pub, etc. as a group, announcing their quest loudly to the enthusiasm of the establishment's patrons, and of course everyone had to have a round to toast the groom and wish him luck! After about the 6th bar, DH was able to convince the rest of the party to stay put while he made a quick search on his own.
Meanwhile, remember, I was put in a cab, which means I am not within walking distance of downtown! No, we were a rather long cab drive away in a cozy pub where everyone knew my BIL. But, BIL had left his wallet with his wife, so I got to pay the cab fare! He assured me that his wife would know where he was going and that they would be there soon. So I settled into a corner booth near the window, kicking off my shoes (as my feet were really tired) and holding onto the balloons that had been decorating one of the wedding presents. And every time a taxi would pass I would wave the balloons up and down in front of the window to signal to my "rescuers". My BIL was enjoying his status at the bar of the bride's kidnapper. An hour passed and no one came. I looked down and the bar's pet Saint Bernard was ambling away with one of my shoes in its mouth. After recovering my shoe, I convince BIL to make a call to the parents home and see if anyone was there. Sure enough, my parents-in-law had arrived home and were very upset because DH was still looking for me and everyone else was still with him. BIL told them where we were and DH finally called and spoke to him. DH convinced him to bring me back to the rest of the party as there were too many people to try to put into cabs to where we were. So I paid the bar tab (ransom), and the cab fare back downtown where the party was breaking up as the bars were starting to close. I kissed my parents goodnight and finally DH and I were able to head to our hotel for our wedding night.
I still remind DH, on occasion, that he is not my boss and does not own me as I paid for my own bride's ransom. It serves to keep him in line at times!