Friday, January 30, 2009

No Frost

Right now my Internet sucks. I have been trying to post for the past two days. Everything is going wrong and I haven't been able to upload anything and the keyboard seems to skip every other letter I type. ARRRGH!!

I guess a new keyboard is in the near future. If I can find one in stock.

On a different note, what I really wanted to show is the back yard a couple of days ago. I am continually amazed. I love it here.

Frost on the orchard.

Frost on the orchard Part II.
Frost on the orchard Part III.

Temecula, California. No frost.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I Might As Well Look Ageless

I am finally getting over the jet lag. This morning I was able to sleep until 6:30AM. The other mornings I was wide awake at 2:00AM and unable to get back to sleep until 7:00AM and then slept till Noon. I guess the nine hours time difference from the West Coast was a little too much for a one night recovery.

To add insult to injury, I did another "She Who" ADD/sleepwalking moment. I have a tendency to sleep walk at times and end up in some really strange places. One time while at MIL's house I walked into the clothes closet and got tangled in all the clothing. I remember being terrified, not being able to turn around and get out of the "Sea of Clothes." Spousal Unit finds me all over the house and usually just guides me back to bed when I am up and about.

Friday, because of the jet lag I went to bed early. He wasn't ready for bed and so was still downstairs. I must have gotten up to go to the bathroom and ran into the door frame.

I officially have my first black eye.

While we were out and about yesterday, a store employee asked if I was in an accident. I said, "Actually I just had my eyelid tattooed for permanent eye makeup." He didn't seem to believe that answer. So I told him that yes I was in an accident and was lucky that that was my only injury. I also decided it was time to invest in some liquid foundation and cover up. The old fart beauty type stuff... to hide/fill in the wrinkles.

If I gotta wear that stuff for the next few days I might as well look ageless.

Friday, January 23, 2009

If I Last That Long

I made it home. I am deadbeat tired. I still need to stay up for several more hours so I can get over the jet lag in the shortest time possible.

I got up at 5:00AM Thursday morning for my flight out of San Diego and arrived 9:15AM Friday morning. These old bones are crying for bed. Can't give in just yet. It is 1:17PM right now and I want to make it to 7:00.

Some random thoughts:
  • Spousal Unit was at the airport to pick me up. He seems really glad that I am home. I am really glad to be home. I enjoyed my visits, but it was time to be home.
  • The flights were very timely in their take-offs and landings. No frantic dashing through airports this time around.
  • The weather here is grey and rainy.
  • I miss the San Diego climate already.
  • I do not miss the St Louis artic freeze.
  • I do miss the hot tub.
  • I got to read a couple of books on my flights.
  • The Newark to Frankfurt flight was mostly empty so I had three seats all to myself. I actually got to snooze a little bit.
  • Spousal Unit wanted to go out to dinner tonight. I kinda nixed that idea. I know that I will be flat out jet lagged by then.
  • I figure a salad and cheese fondue will be nice for dinner. If I last that long.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Will Miss The Gal On The Corner

My visit was entirely too short. I really enjoy my time with my SMIL, Ma, and the time has just flown by.

We did a little shopping. I picked up several new outfits, in anticipation of my getting a job when I get back home. Major bargains.

We did the Lowes, Home Depot stops to get some things around the house for her.

We spent today doing yard work. I am continuously amazed about doing yard work in the middle of January. The flowers here are blooming.

Oranges are ripening. The kumquats are also ripening.

Tomorrow I will be boxing up my purchases to take to the Post Office and packing my bags.

We are going to spend the night in San Diego at an airport hotel to avoid the traffic for my Thursday morning early flight.

I will also miss the gal on the corner though, dressed as the Statue of Liberty.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It Is Beautiful

I arrived safely in San Diego. My SMIL, Ma, picked me up at the airport. I didn't have any of the trauma that I had during my trip from Frankfurt to St. Louis. The weather was/is glorious and I immediately had to change my clothes from burrrrrr cold to ahhhhh warm.

The day I arrived also happened to be my father-in-laws birthday. Since the airport is in the downtown area, Ma asked me if I wanted to go visit him. I did. He passed away in late September and I still miss him. He was a good father-in-law to me.

Spousal Unit, being in the military for many years, had known that his father was eligible for burial in a military cemetery and asked Ma if this was what she wanted for Papa Charlie. She agreed and they chose the military cemetery at Fort Rosecrans. The fort is located on Point Loma.

One of the views from the site.

Another view from the cemetery. I have spent a lot of time in San Diego over these past 30 years and have never before been to this site. It is beautiful.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Now I Know What A Polar Bear Feels Like

My gal pal has a new hot tub. I knew what it looked like because I was still here when she ordered it. But the lag time between the ordering and installation meant that it was installed after I left for Germany.

She had emailed me several times extolling how relaxing the tub is and to remind me to bring a bathing suit.

Since the beginning of my visit with gal pal, we have gotten into the hot tub just about every night. I beg off when it is windy. But that was only a couple of nights.

With the Arctic weather we have been experiencing these past few days, I would have never have thought to go outside half naked to get into some water. They did. They also talked me into getting in with them.

The process involves bathing suit, newly purchased at the local Walmart because I forgot to bring mine. A long furry robe, slippers, several towels, and a large liquid libation. Its a little hard to maneuver opening the door with everything but I manage.

Getting out the door is the easy part. Shivering and walking to the tub is indescribable. I have never before put myself, willingly in this situation before.

Last night was the most radical of the hot bub sessions. It was so cold outside that the steam off the tub seemed to freeze in the air.

I know the water on the bottom of Mr. Determination's feet froze to the concrete patio and we all had ice in our hair from the steam coming from the hot tub. Now I know what a polar bear feels like.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mr. Determination - Revisited

My gal pal's husband, Mr. Determination.

If you remember, this past Summer I spent some time (a lot of time) with them while getting ready for the move to Germany. On this morning, Mr. Determination found an innocent turtle in his swimming pool.

Just a small turtle seeking a cool refuge on a hot Summer day. Well actually, it was really big and slimy. But still one of God's creatures. Right???

Well, Mr. Determination got the turtle out of the pool after several really funny, hilarious attempts; because the turtle was really liking the pool.

This was Mr. Determination the other day. I had just gotten a new camera and was taking a few pictures. Just a couple of pictures. No harm in that, is there???
You know what he was swatting at???

Me. Now, do I look like I would ever, ever cause any bedevilment???

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Josh and Lindsey, May You Have Many Wonderful Years Together

The blushing bride and her father.

The first kiss as man and wife.

My gal pal and the rest of the family with their new addition. She is really sweet and just the right woman for Josh.
The reception. The hall was all aglow with twinkling lights.

My gal pal's daughter. I call her "my feisty cuss", 'cause she is. Of course she caught the bouquet. I would expect nothing less.

Charlie and the new bride. Good thing Lindsey is already married. They looked almost too good on the floor.

Josh and Lindsey may you have many wonderful years together.

Just Feeling Generally Yucky

I know its Tuesday and I haven't blogged in several days. The Internet connection has been non-existant for the past weekend.

Sunday, the day after the wedding was really rough. We all stayed up until the wee hours of the morning. And, I haven't been up that late in years.

The after reception party was in my room and I was so afraid that we would be kicked out of the hotel for the noise. We weren't, but I think that was only because most of the hotel was filled with guests from the wedding.

I have also been really sick. I must be really run down and/or picked up a stomach flu. Just feeling generally yucky.

I will post pictures if I can stay connected in a little bit.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Just Got Home

Just got back from the rehearsal dinner. Tomorrow is gonna be a fun time. Pictures and impressions to follow.

Night night for now.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Shopping For Needed Stupid Stuff

One of the benefits of being back in the States for this visit is getting to shop. Don't get me wrong, I love living in Germany. I love the markets, the stores, the way of life.

I just don't love having to shop in the BX, the military's version of a department store. There is little variety of anything. Their choices for clothing is either... it falls apart after the first washing or designer clothing.

I went looking for a pair of jeans. $50.00 for a pair of no name, can't choose the style, take it or leave it pair of jeans. The store shouts at me, "Hey, be glad we have a pair in your size." The BX can hold you hostage on stuff like this.

Shopping in the local German stores is fun. But, very expensive. The Euro is very strong against the dollar and makes shopping a luxury at times.

My understanding of German is coming back but I am far from fluent and lugging around a translating dictionary is cumbersome.


I am on a shopping trip. Actually, I am here to attend a wedding. But, the shopping is like a friend with benefits.

I am shopping for some really needed items that I just haven't been able to find in Germany. Stupid stuff, really. Needed, stupid stuff.

I started putting together a list when I realized that I would be returning for the wedding.
  • Vicks Vapor Cream not the rub. The cream is greaseless and works better.
  • Measuring Spoons. the ones at the BX are yucky and the European ones are sized differently.
  • Jeans and a couple of turtlenecks.
  • Gypsy Cold Care. An herbal tea that really works when you are sick.
  • Reading Glasses. Just cheaters really, but I am finding that I need a stronger pair.
  • Cook top cleaner for glass.
  • Vegetable seeds for my garden this Spring.
  • Hair Mousse. Of course I use a brand that isn't carried.
******If there are any foodies out there please take this as a warning.******

  • Chef Boyardee pizza sauce. I love the stuff. For homemade strombolli and dipping mozzarella sticks.

I found some awesome high thread count sheets and a new set of towels, all for 75% off. I also found a bird feeder pole that will hold three different feeders. The bird feeders in Germany that I have seen are shaped like a chalet house on a stand that sits on the patio. I haven't found any shephard's crooks, that I am used to having, for the type of bird feeders normally found in the States.

My shopping is done now and I am in the process of helping with the last minute details for the wedding. I get to be the "Hey Girl" and do all the running while the bridal party gets to practice being bridal.

So the shopping is done. Well, done till I hit Southern California with my SMIL.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Life Is Really Good

Well the adventures continue. As if I ever expect them to stop.

Spousal Unit got us all up, had coffee ready for me and started loading the van. The plan was to get on the road at 6:00am to beat the Monday morning traffic, the Staus (traffic jams) for which Frankfurt is infamous. We all finally pile into the van and take off at 6:15. As we are backing up I notice snow on the windshield. Yup, its snowing and we get to brave Frankfurt traffic.

Actually the drive up wasn’t too bad. Traffic was moderately heavy, but tolerable. We parked and went in separate directions to check in. We met back up and got final hugs and kisses before splitting up again for our flights and having Spousal Unit go back home.

I was able to board the plane in a very timely manner. And then the waiting began. The snow continued to fall and we were unable to push back until the plan was de-iced. The de-icing truck would be arriving in 45 minutes, stated the Captain. The Captain was correct. The de-icing truck did arrive in 45 minutes, but then it needed to de-ice us. So an 1 ½ after we were supposed to push back we finally did. Then we sat in the take off queue for another hour.

Landing 2 ½ hours late in Newark I had to go through Customs. Stood in the line and made it through in a breeze.

I collected my luggage and stood in the other Customs line and again, just had to breeze through. I left to recheck my luggage and found that area. Now luggage-less I look for the train to go to the "A" terminal. An agent directs me to the proper security line and I get in another line. Getting through security I proceed to my gate and sit down. Looking at my watch, wondering why they aren't starting the boarding. I ask a gal sitting next to me if this flight is going to St Louis. "Why no, its going to Orange County."

I panic.

I go to the counter and am told that my gate was changed and I need to go to the "C" terminal.

Running now, I take off and get back on the train and get myself to the "C" terminal. I have to go back through security. I have 7 minutes before the plane takes off. The Security x-ray scanner now wants to have me open my computer bag because she obviously has never seen a floppy drive before. Of course, since floppy drives are dinosaurs of the computer world I have never taken it out of the pocket. It does not want to come out of the pocket. I'm shaking so hard I can't get it out of the pocket. I get it out. She scans it.

I now have 2 minutes.

I run to the gate. Another gate change.

I make it to the correct gate and the door is closed.

I start to beg. Please let me on the flight. The plane hasn't pushed back. Please.

The agent said she couldn't do anything.

A man in the same situation said that another agent was checking to see if he could get on. This agent came back and said that he could get on. I just ran and gave her my boarding pass and got on the plane. Didn't even ask if there was a seat. Got to my seat and it was occupied. "I believe you are in my seat." She got up and I sat down. I made it.

I get to St Louis, proceed to the baggage area and get an unexpected hug. My gal pal is there to pick me up. Life is good.

She then says, "Oh, by the way. Spousal Unit called. The boys are stuck in Newark for an extra 2 hours. Can I call their friend that is picking them up to let him know?"

More panic. I have no cell phone. No numbers to call. We end up calling friends of friends, who call friends and am assured the boys will get a ride. At this point I can only pray.

We get to the house and exhausted I go to bed.

Later I got a phone call from Charlie, son #1, telling me that they arrived safe and sound.

Life is really good.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My SMIL Rocks

I am flying out at O'Dark Thirty in the morning. The boys are flying with me on different airlines and arriving a little later than me. I am going to spend a little time with some friends from my hometown, more time with the boys and do some errands that were left unfinished prior to my coming to Europe. Think..... major Walmart run.

I will be taking my laptop, but will be visiting with friends that have sporadic Internet capabilities. They steal, sorry, borrow wireless capabilities and sometimes I can't get on.

I will be in the St. Louis area for almost two weeks and then on to California for an extra long weekend with my truly awesome, forever young, delightful Step Mother-in-law.

Spousal Unit didn't marry a woman like his Mother. He married a woman like his Step Mother.

My SMIL rocks.

And True To Form, We Are Missing Socks

One of my Gal Pals emailed me last night and got all, "What's up with all the pictures and no writing"?

Well, taking pictures and just commenting on the photos is a lot quicker to put out a post. I have been really busy, with the boys' visit and have not found a lot of time to just sit down and throw together an actual wordy entry. We have been traveling and getting home late. The boys are also on the 'puter keeping up with their own lives. So lately a lot of pics and not so many words.

To update a little: The visit, thus far, has been very pleasant. I am really enjoying them being here. It is also strange to have the boys about again. Spousal Unit picked the house out for two people to live here. Thus, the house seems to be bulging with people when we are all home.

I am finding that doing laundry for 4 people again is a chore.

The laundry is mountainous. It takes about 3-3 1/2 hours to do a load from start to finish. I love how clean ever thing is, but the time to accomplish the load is so sloooooooooooow.

The machines are both front loaders. The dryer uses extraction for the water rather than a vent for the clothes. There is only one setting that we have found that actually gets the clothes dry. Heavens, some of the controls actually refer to ironing the damp clothes. Iron? What's that???

And, after each load I have to pull out the container and dump the water into the sink. I am still deciphering the controls on the machines.
We also haven't figured out how to do a plain cold water wash. This setting is for 60 degrees Celsius. That's 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Done in an hour and 46 minutes.

And true to form, we are missing socks.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

America Has Invaded

We have been traveling these past two weeks. I thought I was in Europe, Germany to be specific. Wow, am I suprised. I feel like I am almost at home.

Subway in a 100 hundred year old building.

Starbucks in a two hundred year old building.
Burger King in a three hundred year old building.

McDonalds in a building that dates to the 1400's.

America has invaded.