Thursday, November 20, 2008

On the Road Again

Leaving tomorrow for my hometown: Jennings, Louisiana. The truck is all packed and the dogs are ready. We're spending the weekend in Lake Livingston with our friends Bill & Maggie. Maggie and I will make a trip to Ikea on Sunday...woo hoo! I can't wait. Monday we're off to Jennings for two weeks. My whole family will be there for Thanksgiving and I can't wait.
I'll post again once we're all settled at my mom's. Until then...have a great weekend!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Happy Birthday Kimi

A year ago, our little angel berner was born! Remember this...the first day at our house...11 pounds of fuzzy preciousness!!!

And today - 70 pounds of fuzzy preciousness!!!

Happy Birthday Kimi!

The Otto Story

So now, in hindsight, this story doesn't seem as funny as it did when it happened but since I mentioned it I now have to tell it. As you know from my previous post, we were only in Munich for one and a half days. We flew out of Denver on Saturday morning, arriving Munich Sunday mid-morning and we left Munich Tuesday morning. So we were there for 5 meals. Sunday we had lunch at a nice local place near the Marienplatz (yummy schnitzel & I had chicken curry), Sunday night was dinner at another local place, this one near our hotel (more chicken for me and pork for Dick). Tuesday morning breakfast was a croissant for Dick and a big, steaming latte for me and lunch was another fun local restaurant (pumpkin soup for me and I think more schnitzel or something like that for Dick).

By the time Monday evening rolled around, we had been shopping all day and were really ready to kick back, relax and have a nice, romantic last night in Munich meal. Which, by the way, had to include apple streudel because despite our mission to have it, neither the right moment nor the right streudel had arrived. We had packed our bags and didn't have a early flight on Tuesday so we were really planning on making a night of it. We didn't know where we were going to go but we decided to head out near the Opera because it was such a nice area.

First we ended up in this really fun Weinstube (small, homey restaurants known for their wine and food). It's very similar to a beer garden...communal tables and a really fun atmosphere. So, there we are enjoying our wine...chatting over what a great trip it had been and just having a really good time. Soon we were starting to get hungry and decided to venture out to a nicer restaurant for dinner. At this point, I noticed that someone had left a pair of eyeglasses on the table next to us. I mentioned it to Dick then we headed outside. We immediately ran into a couple who I recognized from the table with the eyeglasses. They were out talking and smoking with an older, traditionally dressed German gentleman. Well, Dick speaks pretty fluent German so he asked if anyone had left their eyeglasses on the table.

This is where it got kind of weird. Dick was positive that he was asking the question correctly and even repeated it....explaining it in more detail. The younger couple who had been sitting at that table "acted" like they didn't understand what he was saying. The older gentleman however, immediately latched onto the face that we were American and started speaking to us in mixed German/English. He seemed like a nice fellow....asking about Obama and how we were enjoying our trip. Then he asked if we had gone to dinner and we told him that we were heading out to do that right now. So he then proceeds to tell us that he'd love to show us a little of the real Munich and show us to a nice restaurant. Well, there was really no way to say no because he kind of just latched onto us and started out to the sidewalk. At this point the other couple made a beeline for the Weinstube retrospect, not surprising! So we are realizing now that the three of them were not together....hmmmmm....ugh oh!

Well, Otto...yep, his name was Otto....pointed out a few interesting facts along our walk and then we ended up at a restaurant (can't even remember the name) that we had considered for dinner so we all popped inside. Okay, at this point, I expected one of two things to happen:

1. Otto knew the restaurant (and people), was a regular and was going to introduce us as his friends (apparently that was too much to ask) or

2. He was going to drop us off, tell us to enjoy our dinner and be on his way.

You can probably figure out that neither of those things happened. And....duh...the waitress was much quicker to catch onto the fact that perhaps he was a little inebriated. So, we all sit down at a table....and Otto proceeds to talk about the U.S., his family living here, and a whole lotta things that were depressing and going downhill....AND to make it worse, he and Dick were talking in German/English so I couldn't understand half of what was said. I could tell that the subject matter was not pleasant and was none too happy that my nice romantic dinner with my husband had been so rudely interrupted by a drunk German.

Luckily, alot of Germans still smoke, so it was just a matter of time before he had to go outside. Dick and I agreed (with plenty of pressure from me) order appetizers and a glass of wine and get the heck out of there. Ugh...even that took forever...3 Otto smoke breaks to be exact. With him coming back every single time saying "in 15 minutes, I will be on my way home and you can eat your dinner." And to be truthful, every time he went out for a smoke break, I tried to convince Dick that we should run out the back door!!!!

Never happened...finally, I had to say "I don't feel well, we have an early flight and we really need to get back to the hotel." So, there we went...leaving him still nursing his beer at the table. By this time, we were stuffed from the wine and appetizers that weren't even that great! We trecked back to the restaurant where we had lunch because they had a really, nice cozy interior and I just wanted something cozy and romantice. We finally got our apple streudel and yes, another bottle of wine. So all in all...not the night I was expecting but an evening that ends with apple streudel can't be all bad!!

In retrospect, Otto was a very sad, lonely man and I suspect, just wanted someone to talk to. Dick, being the generous sweet soul that he is, was much more patient than I and speaks German so could communicate so much better.

So, that's it...that's my Otto story!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Weekend in Munich

I know it comes as no surprise to anyone who has known me and Dick for any length of time that we would fly to Munich for the weekend! And what a fun weekend it was. We left Denver on Saturday - a perfectly on time flight to Chicago where we connected to Munich. We got one upgrade to business class and Dick was sweet enough to take the coach seat and let me have the business class seat. As with all of our Europe trips, I had dinner and went straight to sleep. When I woke up, we were in Germany!

Of course, since we only had two days in Munich, we hit the ground running. We stayed at the Holiday Inn on Hochstrasse. I can definitely recommend it. It was very clean and they had a room ready for us at 11:00 in the morning. It also had a great bar and a subway stop at the hotel....very convenient. We washed our faces, unpacked our small carry ons then headed out the door. We spent the day wandering around we always do. We had lunch near the Marienplatz in the old part of the city....Dick had schnitzel (he couldn't wait!!!) and I had yummy chicken. The one thing I had forgotten was how much I loved German food (and wine).

The weather was so sunny skies and mid 60's temps kept us outside the entire two days...walking, people watching, shopping and eating all of that yummy food. Here's a few pics of our adventures.

The Odeonsplatz is one of the cosmopolitan centers of Munich, at the intersection of Ludwigstrasse, Briennerstrasse, and the Royal Palace. It is also the location of the Feldherrnhalle. Modeled after the Loggia die Lanzi in Florence, the Feldherrnhalle brings a bit of Italian renaissance to Bavaria. It was commissioned by King Ludwig I to honor the Bavarian army, but is best known for its role during the Beer Hall Uprising led by Adolf Hitler. 16 Nazis and four policemen were killed during the subsequent riots. Once once the Nazis came to power, the Odeonsplatz became a shrine to the fallen Nazi “martyrs.” Every person passing by was required on threat of arrest to greet the honor guard with a Nazi salute. A small alley way behind the monument became almost as famous, called Viscardigasse, because there were locals who took the passage rather than being forced to give the Nazi salute. Today, Odeonsplatz is one of the cosmopolitan centers of Munich, at the intersection of Ludwigstrasse, Briennerstrasse, and the Royal Palace.

Next on our agenda was the BMW Tower and the BMW Welt. The Tower has been the Bavarian automakers headquarters for over 30 years. Built between 1968 and 1972, it was ready just in time for the 1972 Summer Olympics. Its inauguration followed on 18 May 1973. The building stands 101 m (roughly 331 feet) tall, is located in direct proximity of the Olympic stadium. The main tower consists of four vertical cylinders standing next to and across from each other. Each cylinder is divided horizontally in its center by a mold in the facade. Notably, these cylinders do not stand on the ground, they are suspended on a central support tower. During the construction, individual floors were assembled on the ground and then elevated. The tower has a diameter of roughly 171 feet.

During the 1972 Olympics, BMW branding was removed from the buildings to prevent undesirable product placement.

Here we are on Monday...enjoying the beautiful sunny day in the Marienplatz...people watching and shopping.

Another pic at the front of the Glockenspiel.

Part of the second construction phase of the New Town Hall, it dates from 1908. Every day at 11 a.m. (as well as 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. in summer) it chimes and re-enacts two stories from the 16th century to the amusement of mass crowds of tourists and locals. It consists of 43 bells and 32 life-sized figures. The top half of the Glockenspiel tells the story of the marriage of the local Duke Wilhelm V (who also founded the world famous Hofbrauhaus) to Renata of Lothringen. In honour of the happy couple there is a joust with life-sized knights on horseback representing Bavaria (in white and blue) and Lothringen (in red and white). The Bavarian Knight wins every time of course. This is then followed by the bottom half and second story: Schäfflerstanz (the coopers' dance). In the 16th century a particularly bad period of the plague hit town and everyone went into hiding. The first people to dare go back onto the streets were barrel makers who performed a big dance to show that it was okay to come out again. The Duke of Bavaria was so happy about this that he actually ordered them to re-enact this every seven years, a custom which continues to this day. The dance can be seen during Fasching (German Carnival) but the next one is not until 2012. The whole show lasts somewhere between 12 and 15 minutes long depending on which tune it plays that day. At the very end a very small golden bird at the top of the Glockenspiel chirps three times, marking the end of the spectacle.
A testament to the unbelievably great weather - a nice lunch outside on Monday.
Stay tuned for our funny Munich adventure that I will recount for you tomorrow....hint: it involves a guy named Otto!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Exciting Life of a Stay At Home Dog Mom

To my loyal followers (all 2 of you)...I apologize for not being around for the last week. Truth be told, if I got on my computer in the morning, I wouldn't get off until afternoon so I'm trying not to spend too much time on here. Maybe once the winter finally shows up here and the days are short, I might have more time to hang out. Life here is about the same...we went to dinner Saturday night with Randy & Meri then spent a disappointing afternoon at the Broncos game on Sunday. Monday I went to the movies with Sally and her mom. We saw "The Secret Life of Bees". Cute movie...for a $5.50 was okay. More importantly, I saw the trailer for "Marley & Me". I can't wait for that to come out at Christmas. I loved the book and movie looks hilarious!!!

Some walks this week with Sally and some with the dogs. I tried running last week and although it was painful on my legs and lungs, my ankle hardly ached at all. That's great news. Who knows, maybe I have one more marathon left in me.
We are off to Germany for a quick long will be short but fun. We can pile alot of fun stuff in 48 hours!!!

Oh, I have been cooking since I stopped working...okay, I cooked twice. Friday night for Halloween I made Dick's favorite: pot roast with potatoes and carrots in my crock pot. It was delicious if I say so myself. Tonight I made myself a big pot of's my "go to" winter easy to throw together and so good for you. Speaking of food, I have to give a shout out to Rachel from my book club...she made some awesome snacks for our monthly book club: the tastiest pumpkin soup I have ever had, delish cranberry relish and a double yummy blue cheese and nut hot dip...I'm sure I ate half the dish!!!! And then she sent me home with yummy spiced roasted pumpkin seeds. I've been munching on those seeds all week and just dreaming about that dip!!!
And last, but not least, unlike the last time I wasn't working, I've actually had quite a bit of creative energy lately. I am almost finished making all of my Christmas cards and I actually got out Halloween cards and am almost finished with Thanksgiving cards. Woo hoo!!!!!
Here's a few pics from the weekend:
Dick and the big scary dog!!!

My little boy is getting big...I am just so in love...he's so adorable and snuggly!!!
And here's a close up of Kimi, my beautiful big girl who's turning 1 this month. She is such a little prankster but is so adorable!!!

design by