Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I Got To See What Was Available For The Next Time

I really enjoyed the girls weekend. I met some really nice ladies and got to better know the lady that organized the trip. I had met her before since she is the spouse of a man with whom Spousal Unit works. She is a very kind and gentle lady that has a passion for shopping. When I say passion, I mean it. She is a lady driven when it comes to finding the perfect piece.

Here she is, Lisa and the gal directly to my right is Carolyn, concentrating on a game she taught us. The game is played with cards and is a mixture of Yahtzee and Rummy. I warned her that I have beginners luck. I won.

Here are a couple of other gals that went for the shopping. We got a little silly playing the game and drinking a little wine and beer. We ended up staying in the brasserie entirely too late for an early morning wake up. But we had a good time.

The first day of shopping was in a covered mall area. Everything imaginable was available for sale. I kinda like the hot dog sculpture. I really wanted to buy him and put him in my front hallway. I figure if he is there the next time I go, its fated that we need to be together. The other little guy is a replica of the Mannikin Piss fountain that is located in Brussels.

Here we are out and about in Tongeren. That's me in the middle of Yolanda and Shonna.

Here is yet another picture of a pretty church/cathedral. I am still in my awestruck period. I know from experience that I will be rather blase about cathedrals and castles in a year or two.

All in all I met my goals for this trip. I got out and had a really good girls weekend. I had my hot chocolate several times. I had a Belgium waffle, not anywhere as good as the one I had in Brussels, but I had one. I also got to see what was available for the next time I got on a shopping adventure.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm Just Along For The Ride

Well, tomorrow morning I am off on another adventure. I will be meeting up with four other ladies to carpool to Holland and Belgium for the weekend. This will be my first girls weekend out. I believe it will be a little different than the girls gone wild weeks that I spend every year in Florida. Ya think?

The ladies that I am going with are the spouses of Spousal Unit's co-workers. The lady that organized this trip has gone out of her way to welcome me and make me feel included in their activities. I am honored that she has taken this time to include me. I also don't think that there will be too much of the "letting down of one's hair" on this trip. I may be wrong, but probably not. I may need to scale back a little of the "She Who"ness. I can be a little crazy at times. In a very adult way of course.

We are going Flea Marketing in Nijmegen and Tongeren. This is the first time that I have been to Nijmegen. A friend of ours used to go every year for the "Iron Man" March. Over 100 miles of walking over the course of four days. So I know a little about the town. It is considered to be the oldest city in the Netherlands and celebrated its 2000th year of existence in 2005.home of Charlemagne. It also has, to my understanding, a killer Flea Market.

We are driving up with just two people in a van. The better to stuff chock full with goodies. The drive to Holland will take about five hours and we should arrive in plenty of time to check into the hotel, get cleaned up and to go for dinner.

I went several months ago to the Tongeren market. I really enjoyed myself and look forward to going again. The last time, I had just arrived in country and had only been here for a couple of weeks, when a gal I met through the local online yardsaling site asked if I would be interested in going with her. Actually she wanted one more shopping adventure and she wouldn't/couldn't drive herself. I guess she thought that I was the adventuresome type. She guessed correctly and so off I went with my newly minted driver's license to drive to Belgium.

I have decided that I love Belgium. I really hadn't been to that country during my last stays in Europe and want to explore it further. If only for the waffles. I still drool about having another waffle.

I may find some treasures, or I may not. I'm just along for the ride.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I woke to this.

It is supposed to be 25 March. No forewarning of this weather.

My pretty Spring flowers are all covered in snow.

It is really this grey outside. I didn't do anything to the photos to "clean" them up.

Yucky, yucky day.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

30 Years

Today is our anniversary. Can you believe it's been thirty years? I can't.

We aren't going to do anything special that I know of. (Spousal Unit may have something sneaky planned, but that isn't something I am counting on.) We are planning to go out to dinner this evening. I would like to go to the Italian place, the next town over. I had lunch there the other day and it was really good. I wouldn't mind trying it out for dinner.

Spousal Unit and I usually don't do too much for occasions anymore. All our "needs" have been met and most of the "wants" are to travel here in Europe. Which we are starting to do.

For our twentieth we went on a Caribbean cruise. He had been after me to take a cruise for years. I get so motion sick that I found excuse after excuse to avoid a cruise, until I ran out of excuses. So we went and of course, I loved it. Our cabin was on a perfect deck level for stability and the motion sickness never occurred. True, I couldn't go to the top decks, but most of the boat was OK.

I don't even remember what, if anything, we did for our tenth. Too many years ago. I know that the boys were younger and we probably were in the throes of raising the two of them. We were most probably at some soccer tournament or other kiddo related activity.

So I don't have anything planned for the day, other than to go look for the anniversary card that I purchased a while ago. I stashed it somewhere and the hunt will be to find it. Wish me luck.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Detail Is Amazing

I officially hate Google maps. I put in a directions request to go to the town of Michelstadt. The stupid directions sent us on several tiny, and I mean tiny roads that riding on gave me a major anxiety attack. First, we had to go up a mountain to then go down the same mountain. No reason for the mountain climb, there was nothing to see on the mountain that going around wouldn't have cured.

Google maps just figured that "She Who" needed a Sunday afternoon panic/anxiety attack to keep her insanity at a consistent level.

OK.... the rant is over for the moment.

The reason for going to Michelstadt was the Easter Egg Market. I heard about it on one of the Yahoo Groups and then checked it out on the Internet. So when Spousal Unit asked if we had any plans for the weekend, I said yes. Since he was so nice to till my garden Friday and Saturday, I knew he really wanted to spend 2 hours driving each way to look at Easter Eggs.

These eggs are dyed one color and then the design is scraped into the egg by removing the dye.

This lady is dying eggs by using the Batik method. Starting with white wax and then dying, and waxing from light to dark colors.

These eggs are some of her work. The place was so crowded that I couldn't get any closer to these eggs.

These eggs are also examples of scraping away the dye.

I have no idea how these eggs were done. But the detail is amazing.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sunday Rambling in Germany - Easter Market

After church tomorrow we are going to Michelstadt to attend the Easter Egg Market. It is about an hour and a half away.

The town is filled with half-timbered houses and I am looking forward to seeing them again. I used to drive through there all the time to go to the wooden toy stores.

They are also famous for their ivory carvings. As an American, I can't buy the ivory,but I can appreciate the workmanship.

Pictures and impressions to follow.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spousal Unit is a manly man. He can leap tall buildings with a single bound. He can look at you and burn a hole through your soul. Not really, that is more of my thing, but he does have a certain air about him. He is digging me a garden. That make him a manly man in my book.

So what this all comes down to is... he called me early this afternoon and asked if I thought the ground was dry enough to till up the soil for my garden. It hasn't rained in quite a few days and I had to water the flower boxes outside today, so I thought that maybe it was dry enough to till.

Turns out that the soil could have been a "wee" bit drier but it was still OK to till.

The soil looks really great for a first year garden. Even so I am going out tomorrow to buy some peat moss and maybe some dolomite, if I can find it. I am also hoping to find some garden earth and compost and/or "dunger" (Cow Poop).
The Spousal Unit was able to make three tills through the soil before calling it a night. He will probably do two more swipes tomorrow before we clean the tiller up and take it back to the Outdoor Recreation place.
I also plan on getting some bricks to line the edges while the soil is still fresh. I plan on having some wall units (cinder blocks) to line the back of the garden near the fence to "house" my herbs.

Doesn't this look awesome?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I Love My New Camera

I am so getting pumped that Spring is coming. I was able to plant my primrose plants in the planter boxes and they like it so much more than sitting on the floor near the windows.

These are my veggie plants that I grew all by myself. I was outside, looking in at them. I can almost swear that they waved at me.

Here are my herbs and some more primrose. Everybody likes being outside. Me included.

This is the steeple of the church right down the street. It is the highest in the area. You can see the steeple for miles away. I always know I am almost home when I can see the steeple in the distance.
My backyard. I love my backyard. I love the views, and especially the sunsets.

I also love my new camera. I can do all sorts of fun things with it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


For my Irish tacos last night I added extra lettuce and guacamole. It's green right?

The Spousal Unit is gonna cook me a cheeseburger on the grill and I'll make a lovely salad for the both of us.

Good thing Easter is coming soon. With all the salads and green stuff I am eating, to be a better me, I am turning into a rabbit.

Then, I figure Easter Bunny and I will be able to converse.

Shame he doesn't bring chocolates anymore. 'Cause living here in Europe I am sure he would bring Belgium, Swiss, and German chocolates. Don't ya think?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

But I Will Figure Something Out

Happy St. Pattie's day.

I usually make corned beef and cabbage for St. Pattie's day. I have had a flurry of appointments in the past few days and didn't realize that I neglected to purchase a corned beef.

I really thought I had bought one a little while ago. But.... when I went looking in the freezer it was corned beef less. Hedoublehockeysticks. I was already at home and so called the Spousal Unit to ask him to pick one up at the commissary. I figured if I stuck it in some cold water for a few hours it would defrost enough for me to throw it into the crock pot in the morning.

Well, when he got home HE was corned beef less. The commissary had a few left, but he said that they were green. How can frozen corned beef be green prior to being cooked, she asked?

You really don't want to know the answer to that question. The commissary is very lacking in some areas that I don't want to go into at the moment.

Anyway, I know some people go to extremes with "greenness" on St. Pattie's day but I thought that starting out with a green corned beef was not a good idea and thanked the Spousal Unit for saving some money on food we wouldn't/couldn't eat.

I am "She Who" after all and he will often go to extremes to please me. Rightfully so, but not always the wisest course of action and so thanked him for his good discretion.

So.... I made a command "She Who" decision and decided that we were going to have Irish tacos instead. I don't know what Irish tacos are yet, but I will figure something out.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday's Walk

Lately, it has been brought to my attention that I needed to change some of my behaviors. You already know about my rants about having to give up smoking. So, I am not going there.

I had become very sedentary in the past several years. I worked a 9-10 hour day at a desk job. And while I loved my job, I usually went home in the evening and collapsed from the mental exhaustion. Enough energy to make dinner and then go vegetate on the sofa for a little TV watching and then off to bed to start the routine in the morning again.

Then the Spousal Unit announced that we would be moving to Germany. That set off a major flurry of activity, getting the house in order for renting, amongst all the other things needing to be done prior to my coming here.

That led to me losing 30 lbs. Painting and cleaning and yard work really used up the calories. Yeah. Weight loss. So I was totally floored with the blood pressure level. Here I am in my new house climbing up two sets of stairs 6-8 times a day. I lost weight and am continuing to lose at a sensible rate. I thought that I was healthier than I had been in years.

I guess I wasn't. So......

I have started walking 4 times a week. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I go with a gal I met in one of the Spouses groups. We go to the Ohmbachsee. Sunday I go with Spousal Unit.

It is the largest lake in this area. It has lovely paths all around it that connect to other lovely paths that lead to other areas. The lap around the lake is 3.5kilometers. That translates to 2.17 miles. That is a lot of walking for me. And I am determined to continue.

One of the added benefits to outside walking is that the walks allow me to observe that Spring is really coming. A fern peeking out that wasn't there on Friday's walk.
I have no idea what this is other than is has a really pretty leaf with brown/black speckles.

The moss growing on the stones lining the steps to one of the other paths.

The lichen is in full bloom. I am really starting to enjoy the walks and seeing more of the countryside in a way that is rather unique and memorable.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

More stream of consciousness stuff:

Spousal Unit came home today. He is really tired and didn't sleep on the flight over. Because I am the wonderful, considerate "She Who" I let him take a nap and woke him up 2 1/2 hours later. I really am considerate, in that if I let him sleep, he would not be able to adjust to the time change for several days.

After I woke him we went to base for recycling and a grocery run. He wants steaks tomorrow and I will marinate them overnight.

On the way home we checked out a couple of restaurant's menus to see were we would go for dinner.

One came very highly recommended. It had a limited, if non-existent menu. I think that the high recommendation was either beer or wine induced.

The other is next to the Ohmbachsee. We stopped by last week to preview their menu. It looked good. This is where we went for dinner.

The salad was awesome. Notice that there is nothing left on Spousal Unit's plate. He slurped down the dressing when the waitress wasn't looking. That is not at all my Spousal Unit's type of behaviour. I attribute this behaviour to the jet lag.

Nectar of the Gods. Wine. I have rediscovered wine. Dry, "Sahara Desert" dry. It is hard to find here in Germany, but really good when found.

Spousal Unit is a beer man. Good Weisen beer. He likes the wheat beer and tonight he chose a dark wheat. He said that it was really different, but good. He ordered two tonight.

I love taking pictures of "the man" enjoying himself. The dinner was not the best we have had, but far from the worst. The salads were excellent. The atmosphere was great.

We probably won't come here to eat again, but will come for the welcoming we received and the friendliness of the other patrons.

Friday, March 13, 2009

In My Mind The Good Will Aways Outweigh The Bad

For the life of me I don't know what to write about tonight. So let's do a stream of consciousness...

I ranted about the unfairness and the reasons to quit smoking for the past several days and want to give that a rest for awhile. Trust me, I will revisit this subject again. She writes as she chews and chews on the Nicolette. Its getting better, but at times I need to chew and chew.

I am saddened that the Germany massacre of schoolchildren by another child has occurred. It is only about an hour and a half away from where I live. I had hoped that a Columbine wouldn't happen again.

I am also saddened that a minister, in a local area church, was murdered while preaching his Sunday sermon. Local in that this is two towns over from my home in the States, in Illinois.

I miss Spousal Unit. He has been gone all week. He is coming home tomorrow morning and I am glad. I plan on cooking him a nice meal and putting him to bed. He'll be really tired and I anticipate that it will take several days for him to re-adjust to the time change.

On a bright note, I met up with one of the gals I correspond with on a local chat board today. We met to go walking for much needed exercise. The high blood pressure is my reason to restart my exercise program and a long visit to the States and take off gained Stateside pounds was hers.

During the walk, I was able to witness that Spring is coming. We walked a full circuit around the Ohmbachsee. It is the largest lake here in the Pfaltz. It took us 45 minutes, walking briskly, to complete the lap. I only stopped twice to take pictures, actually it was a much needed excuse to allow these aging hips and legs a little rest.

We made a date to meet again on Monday, same Bat time, same Bat channel.

I bought a composter several weeks ago and I took kitchen scraps out to it this evening. It is filling nicely and I anticipate having some "black gold" in the Summer to nourish my garden.

I feel better now. In print, I can balance out the good and the bad. In my mind, the good will always outweigh the bad.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Back To The Smoking/Quitting Thing Part II


Several years later, enter Spousal Unit. He doesn't smoke and never really did. When I met him he smoked a pipe, on the rare occasion.

After we married he complained once that he wanted me to quit smoking cigarettes. I ranted and raged again that he was being a hypocrite. I hid his pipe and the subject of his smoking was never raised again. (I still have the pipe, but he never asked for it.)

Well the years passed and I have tried every method of quitting possible. Well, almost every method. I haven't tried hypnosis. I really don't think I could be hypnotised. Trust issues. (Later subject of a blog.)

I sorta, kinda, really quit when I was pregnant. During the first pregnancy the Dr. said not to quit, just cut back as much as possible so as to not to shock the fetus. So I did. After the boys were born I just went back to smoking. That fish to water thing.

As the years passed I became a much more "considerate smoker." Of course, I am well trained. The military life does that to you. I asked before I lit up. I went outside before it was required.

These past few years I thought I was doing OK. Little bit of a smoker's cough, but considering that I smoked so many years, not bad.

Well, what's been going on recently with me is that this crap is coming back to bite me.

I have recently been diagnosed with very high blood pressure. Smoking is one of the major causes.

I am now regulated and am responding very well to the medicines. But, smoking can no longer be part of my lifestyle.

I see the difference in my blood pressure now that I am not smoking. With the medicine, I saw a good difference. With no smoking I see a major difference.

So kicking and screaming I will not smoke again. Yes, I am still kicking and screaming, but I won't smoke.

I'll just kick and scream like a little girl. And be glad that I stopped before a heart attack really stopped me.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Back To The Smoking/ Quitting Thing Part I

You know, I smoked for almost 37 years. I smoked for more years than I didn't.

As a kid I hated smoking. Both my parents smoked and I always hated the way it smelled in the house.

Way back then it was no big deal to smoke. Everyone did, or so it seemed.

I remember my mom sending me to the drug store in town to get her a couple of packs of cigarettes for her. No problem, she just sent a note with me asking for her brand and to let me buy them for her. She was ahead of her time in that she sent me with a note. She gave me something like .50 cents for the two packs of cigarettes.

Do any of you remember the candy cigarettes we bought as kids? Cool huh?

I was always a tomboy and athletic. Not the best at anything by far, but a rough and tumble girl that loved playing outside.

Then, when the hormones hit, OMG, I was so into the boyfriend thing.

My first love was a guy that ended up smoking. I ranted, I raged, I gave ultimatums. Quit, or I'll start. "True Love." Ya bullpoopies. I was so naive I thought that "True Love" would win. (As an aside do any of you remember what line that movie is from??) Its one of my favorites.

He didn't quit. I hated the way the kisses tasted. So I started.

My God. Smoking for me was like a fish to water. I could focus. I could calm myself down when psyched out. Smoking became, for me, like breathing. I am so ADD.

So I smoked.

And ended up giving up sports because I smoked. (They even let us smoke in school.)

(To be continued.)

Giggle For The Day

I woke up to this on one of the boards that I read. I love giggles in the morning.

Moms in Group Therapy

A psychiatrist was conducting a group therapy session with four young Mothers and their small children. 'You all have obsessions,' he observed.

To the first mother, Mary, he said, 'You are obsessed with eating. You've even named your daughter Candy.'

He turned to the second Mom, Ann: 'Your obsession is with money. Again, it manifests itself in your child's name, Penny.'

He turned to the third Mom, Joyce: 'Your obsession is alcohol. This too shows itself in your child's name, Brandy.'

At this point, the fourth mother, Kathy, quietly got up, took her little boy by the hand and whispered, 'Come on, Dick, this guy has no idea what he's talking about. Let's go pick up Peter and Willie from school and go get dinner.'

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Trials of Quitting Smoking

Bear with me. This quitting smoking thing sucks. Major big time. Day 11.

Oh yeah, I will be revisiting this subject.

Did I mention that quitting sucks???

I guess the message is don't start.




Gal Pal IM exchange.



7:23 PM

I think it's time to change my avitar. I don't have red hair anymore. LOL

7:24 PM

You smokin or poopin?????? LMAO

7:24 PM

Oh yeah you have 5 kids. Forgot. Still LMAO

7:25 PM

I really crack myself up talking to myself.

7:25 PM

At least I haven't started answering myself.

7:26 PM

Or do I?

7:26 PM

OK that is definately not a brb. It is a brb in FOREVER

7:27 PM

Spousal Unit made to to the States OK. He called me this morning to let me know that he arrived safely. He got to have Subway for dinner last night and had it again for breakfast. Poor baby. Footlongs for 5.00. I made chicken salad and had that for dinner last night and for breakfast this morning. Hmmm could we be on a similar wave length?

She never did get back to me.

And how was your day?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Oh Yeah, By The Way

It is now day ten of not smoking. OMG, Spousal Unit isn't home and all I want to do is go out and buy a pack. I won't, but I want to.

I guess undoing 35 years of a bad habit isn't going to be a walk in the park.


While out and about I found an olive oil dispenser that I have been searching for long and far. Well, maybe not all that far but since I have been here. It came in a gift box, so it was a little pricey. Good thing that Spousal Unit likes spicy. He did marry me, didn't he? He was rather pleased when I showed him that it is a hot chili pepper olive oil. He adds heat to most of his dinners.

Oh yeah, the Lent part. We observe Lent. So no meat on Friday. Unfortunately we do not like fish. We like shellfish, but both of us need to watch our cholesterol. So cute little grilled shrimpies like I had in Brussels come few and far between. I figured that I hadn't made stuffed shells in quite some time so that's what I made.

I changed up the recipe a little this time and added chopped spinach and real Italian Parmigiano Reggiano cheese that I grated into to the cheese mixture. The Parmigiano was so tasty I had to eat a wee bit. Heaven.

Don't they look all pretty in the pan prior to baking?

Don't they look really good after baking?

I love living in Europe. I found a nice bottle of Italian Frascati for a pittance at the same local corner store. Light, dry, really good.

Add a lovely salad of mixed greens.

And a nice crusty baguette for sauce sopping. Dinner was awesome.
I'm gonna weigh a ton after four years of eating like this.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

It Is Blooming Again

I have Spring Fever. I have stated that in the recent past and I have also hinted at it. It just is. I get the fever every year. It starts in late December when I start to get the seed catalogues.

I drool over all the new seeds that are advertised and want to buy them all. In the past, I could buy many of the seeds and try them out, because in the States I had enough land to plant just about anything.

Here in Germany, my landlords are letting me have a garden, but I do not have as much space to experiment with new plants.

Boo hoo. Also, most seed companies will not ship seeds here. So I went to several local stores, and in my best reading/deciphering of German bought some seeds. (I also had a friend send me some of my favorites. I didn't just mention that did I?)

Chives, and basil. Can't live without them. I also am growing dill, parsley - flat and curly, and cilantro.

Six different types of peppers. Only two plants per type this year. I usually have 6-8 plants of the same type. I also have about five different types of tomatoes this year. I will probably give away any extra plants to friends.
Yesterday I went to the local Home Depot type store, here it is called Toom. I found these for a major bargain of .49 Euros cents per plant. They are beautiful and I can plant them in planters this weekend and put them out now.

My major score is the perennial spices I picked up. Thyme, two different types, oregano, and rosemary. All for 1.90 Euros. That is a major deal.

To really make my week, my Christmas cactus is acting like an Easter cactus. It is blooming again.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Such Inner Conflicts

One of my blogging buddy gal pals is Kim @ Parachuting Without a Net. She is a regular commenter and claimed that she has gained some weight recently because of my discussions of my trip to Brussels. So I sent her a comment that I would be kind to her and not talk about food for a while, to allow everyone to lose all the virtual weight they gained during my last few posts.

She came back at me to go to another country and post about food. WTF????? Her comment is below:

Now, go to Italy and send us pictures and stories of pasta and wine. :)

My comment back at her is:

I will go to Italy, soon.

I just won't be going there until the Spring or Summer. My Step-mother-in-law's sister has a villa on the coast and we will be having a family reunion there.

Besides you said that I can't post foodie stuff right now.

I may or may not listen to you. But we do follow Lent, so I am supposed to be in a reflection mode.

Actually, I am in a Spring Fever mode.

Such inner conflicts.

P.S. If anyone out there can show me how to post a link in my blog I would be eternally grateful. Well, maybe not eternally, but really, really grateful.

P.S.S Meg, I joined ya in the no smoking thing. 6 days and counting. I had to give it up too.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Brussels, Belgium Part V - The End

A detail on one of the buildings in the "Grand Place." Lots of gold leaf.

These are some of the buildings on the "Grand Place."

This is the Greek joint street outside the back of the hotel. Pretty and of course the food is wonderful every where.The worst part about this street are the guys that stand in the doorways asking, beggibg you to come in, eat there, they have the best food. I had one follow me down the street for a few yards before he finally got that I wasn't going to eat there.

This is the scene that Brussels uses as a visual for tourist purposes. (Also on the "Grand Place.")
The Atomium. Built in 1958. We went to the top. All.. the.. way.. to.. the.. top. Lots of walking, stairs, elevator, and escalators. Interesting. Belgium used this as the centerpiece for a Belgium International Fair. It was the start of the World's Fairs of later years, as we know them.

This just about sums up our visit. I had a blast and would not hesitate to go back.