Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tin Man Talking

Alright German apartment, you win. For now.

Hand me a white flag, I'm through fighting the closetless void. For now, I'm going to embrace her disorganized depths by refusing to unpack another box until there is a vessel or receptacle or container or drawer or shelf in which or on which to put all the STUFF and JUNK we have. The only other option is to take everything out of the boxes and then stack all of it against the wall...on the the spare room.

I did a little neighborhood exploration today with Good Friend Julia and her dog that can miraculously poop more than her body weight, and had a great time chatting and not picking up canine crap. Thank YOU Germany for having lots of wooded areas where dogs can unleash boundless amounts of excrement with abandon. It was truly wonderful to have someone to talk to (especially someone as interesting and thoughtful as GFJ), as I found that the last few days I barely made use of my vocal cords. I'm surprised I didn't need some kind of saltwater gargle or WD40 to get things going- I was that out of practice. Oil Can.

On a totally different topic (SUBTLE TRANSITION), I've been totally wifey lately with meal time, though we have a frusteratingly diverse but not so "fully stocked" pantry. Lots of chicken, but nothing to cook it with! Boxes and boxes of Mac N Cheese but no diverse protein! A thousand cans of cream of mushroom soup but not a potato in sight to make a savory winter soup! I can't wait (yes, life is exciting around here) to go to the American grocery store on base this weekend and stock up on Things That Make a Meal Complete, so I can dominate the whole "Get in the kitchen, woman" thing.

Relatedly, German grocery stores suck.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Closetless Void

Well, that was fun.

Sorry for my blogging absence (as though a week of neglected posting on a sparsely read blog affects anyone's life but my own) but all my time has been consumed with the Great Move of 2011. We finally found a place to live in an area called Sindelfingen, home to one of the better sushi restaurants in the greater Stuttgart area, and are now cozily settling in with our new pets (read: cardboard boxes). Unpacking has been a challenge due to the widely held German belief that homes should never have closets of any kind, so we don't really have anywhere to put our massive quantities of Things and Stuff once we take them out of the box. This has spurred some frusteration and right now I'm at a vengeful stalemate with the apartment and our houshold goods. Since I have a brain and nervous system and motor skills, I'm sure I will eventually come out victorious, but for the moment the apartment and I are locked in mortal hand-to-hand combat.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I love Deutschland in the...Winter?

Something feels off here. Delightfully off.

Two weeks ago Husband and I were battling the elements daily, hunkered down in our hotel room rubbing sticks together trying to start a fire to heat the chill off our poor old bones. That, or Husband is just fidgety and likes to play with sticks. Either way, it was COLD and WINDY and SNOWY two weeks ago. But now- oh glorious now!- it is as though Mother Nature caught a horrible winter flu and is funneling her fevered breeze straight through Stuttgart. The high today is 53. Yesterday was 55. I didn't even wear a coat on Friday. Ahhhhhhh.

It seems, though, Mz. Nature is planning to move on to the cold sweats stage of her disease by the end of the week and will in turn throw down snow and highs in the 30's. As long as she's not feeling nauseous I guess it will be ok.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Neuschwanstein: Not for the fainthearted!

Do I strike you as a hiker?

Last week, one of my bestest friends from college, Sara, and her equally delightful husband, John, came out to visit as part of their Euro2010 trip to Switzerland and Germany. As such, they were wont to do some of the touristy things that Husband and I have put off, knowing (or at least hoping) we would have plenty of stateside visitors come our way with whom we could share those wonderfully kitschy experiences. And Sara and John did not disappoint on the kitsch factor! Well, not them personally, per se, but rather the activities done with them. Ugh, what a horrible insult, to be called kitschy. Its sounds so condescending and false. I'll have to keep that mentally filed away for a rainy day or a particularly snarky argument.

After a day or two of activities centered mainly around consumption of food and drink, which just happen to be my favorite type of activities, we decided a trip to the famous Neuschwanstein castle, the one the Cinderella castle at Disneyworld was modeled after, was in order. After a predicatably late start, we managed to arrive in the charming town at the base of the mountain on which the castle sits just in time to buy an admission and tour ticket, but NOT in time to wait in the impossibly long line to take a horse drawn carriage up the aforementioned mountain to get to the castle enterance.

No problem, right!?! We are all young and of robust health! What is hiking up a mountain, if not just one foot after the other, yes? How better to appreciate the beautiful scenery and charm of nature than to thrust ourselves straight into it's woodsy depths? How much more enjoyable the tour itself would be should we have to labor to obtain it!

These are all lies.

Ugly, ugly lies.

After what felt like days trekking up an ice-slicked mountainside riddled with massive foul piles of horse...uh...relief, we reached the half way point. Yes, just halfway! So we bought three delicious freshly made fried dough balls from a well placed vendor (ok, they were donuts, but we couldn't ignore the huge sign for DOUGH BALLS and the crude jokes that followed as we savored said...balls. Too bad they didn't have any peanuts- eh, Sara), and swallowed as much fresh air as our lungs would allow, we continued our accent. Years later we reached the top, and the view was breathtaking!

Ok, actually we didn't have much breath left to take, so the castle could have been a dollhouse on an ant hill for all it was worth, and technically it could have still qualified as breathtaking.

But, then we caught our breath and still deemed the site lovely. In truth, the castle was amazing to behold. The detail and craftsmanship was superb and the sheer enormity of the thing was inspiring. How in the world could something so massive and remote be constructed so long ago?

Oh what? Who said that? You mean, the castle was actually built in the late 1800's to replicate older authentic castles of yore by an over-indulged Bavarian king who favored Wagner operas and swan motifs? Scandalous! Sounds a bit like a dandy to me. Well, so that bit of trivia was a little disappointing to learn, but if you just pushed those facts aside, the castle was still pretty glorious, and the bits of the tour I could hear were interesting.

So that was Neuschwanstein. I'm glad to have seen it, especially with such wonderful company, but sadly have no reason to visit again, despite almost assuredly having to go back when other guests arrive. Maybe by the end of our German stay I'll be able to give the tour myself!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I've spent a lot of time writing and deleting this post.

So I'll just come right out and say it. I have a problem. There. There it is. My cry for help. Oh cruel world, why do you torture me so? I've developed a painful and perverse obsession- one that is robbing me of sleep at night, depriving my thoughts of sense and casting a clouded shroud around my evening activities. I'm so ashamed of myself, but when I sucuumb to this obsessive trap the hours melt away like seconds and I lose all sense of surroundings. It's like I'm in another world...and I am...the World of Warcraft.

Ugh! This stupid game certainly lives up to it's reputation. I can see why massive legions of nerdy adolescent males forgo social development to spend whole days of their lives glued to the computer. I, too, have slipped into such oblivion. Naught but a week ago I spent what I thought was an hour an a half avitar-ily traipsing through the beautiful countryside and gently rolling hills of the fantasy world, killing Murlocks, collecting Gortusk livers to feed my pet wolf, Puppy, and selling Small Eggs for 3 gold at the auction house, and low and behold I glanced up to check the clock and 6 HOURS had passed. SIX HOURS HAD PASSED. 


It is really just that good. The game is fantastic, and surprisingly easy to get the hang of, and the whole thing is just beautifully done. It relies less on fighting in the strictly video-game sense, and instead focuses on learning and developing the abilities and aptitudes of your character. I knew that it was only a matter of time before I would try my hand at WOW, as Husband is quite a geek and has been dropping blatant hints that we should play together for the last 4 years, but I had no idea how much I would actually like it. I'm such a nerd. But you can call me a level 22 Human Hunter Nerd.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

NYE: P&P: Part Zwei

Are you adequately suspensed?

So, New Years Eve...that's what we were taking about, right? We left off with Husband nodding off in the lounge of a fancy Amsterdam...y? Amsterdamish? Amsterdamed?...hotel, and after he wiped the drool from his chin and we all mustered up the energy to stand upright at the ungodly late hour of 11 pm, our little troupe of celebratory hopefuls marched over to a free party in the museum district. I wasn't sure what to expect from the festivities, but it certainly wasn't an American 80's cover concert held on  a patch of land toggling unstably between a sodden grassy field and an oversized ice rink with hundreds (maybe thousands? I'm no good at estimation. Could have been about 50, actually.) of revelers shooting off fireworks and throwing lighted spinners at each other. In an odd moment of serenity amongst the excitement someone set off a paper balloon powered by a candle at the base, which caught the attention of practically everyone there, creating the eiriest of pauses as we watched it float through the backdrop of fireworks.

And the fireworks! The FIREWORKS! They started as soon as the sun went down and did not end until well after we had boarded the train to head back to our hotel around 2 am. While there didn't seem to be one definitive set that was better than the rest, the constant cracking and booming followed by bursts of light in all directions was overwhelming. As was the cloud of smoke they produced, which eventually became so thick it was like walking through a cloud.

So that was NYE. And in the spirit of the 80's music playing, it was totally awesome. Dude.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


How do you solve a problem like a NYE post?

After the lovely maintenance men at our hotel gracefully retrieved our car key from the bowels of the elevator shaft, husband and I (and shortly after, our good friend LiLo) officially commenced on NYE 2010: Pot and Prostitutes (aka Amsterdam). Now the problem is, how do I, a lowly and unpracticed blogger, even begin to scratch the surface on such a delightful trip? Perhaps the surface should include a disclaimer stating that neither I, nor Husband, nor Good Friend LiLo partook of any pot or prostitutes, nor did we engage in any salacious, lewd, lascivious, sordid or otherwise unsavory dealings of any kind in the notoriously sinful city.

But we did do a lot of touring! And eating! And had great deals of merriment! And writing about it is proving to be frustratingly difficult as there is just so much to say. We had an appropriately somber time touring the Anne Frank house (can you call that kind of event fun without...I don't know...committing half a sin or something? If so, then it was fun. If not, then forget I said anything.), and learned about Amsterdam's long history of "Don't ask don't tell" when it comes to illegal matters of all kinds. We celebrated New Years Eve with a few rounds of my travel Trivial Pursuit game and learned amazing facts, like the postal abbreviation MI stand for the state of Miami and if you touch your philtrum too much with dirty Amsterdam tourist fingers then you will surely break out, while sipping fancy hot chocolates at an equally fancy hotel where we warmed our frozen toes and had to jostle Husband out of near slumber several times.

Somewhat relatedly, when did we all turn 150 years old? Was it not just 5 1/2 years ago when midnight was but a halfway marker between dinner and bedtime, and admitting fatigue before 3:00 am was a sign of weakness? Oh how quickly things change.

And how time flies! I'm afraid this one will have to be a cliffhanger, but tune in next time for the trilling conclusion of NYE: P&P.