The journey of a thousand miles begins with...the perfect pair of shoes.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Boring, but thrifty

Some days I really just have nothing to blog about. Isn't that sad? I live in Europe for goodness sake. My life should be exciting and my blog should be filled with beautiful photos, fabulous events, overnight get-a-ways to historic, glamorous places, blah, blah, blah. Unfortunately, real life (and lack of funds) get in the way of all the excitement and glamor. Not to say we don't have money, but we'd like to have money when we're older too, so the jet-setting is not done as frequently as we would like. This of course doesn't leave me with a whole lot to blog about. Actually, I probably have a lot that I could blog about, but it's just dull, every day stuff. Yawn. I decided to rifle through my photos on my computer to see if I could come up with something. I did! In fact, I came up with several posts, but I'm going to have to stretch them out. Today I'm going to show you a little project I did back in Sept, while we were still in AZ. I totally stole this from The Nester, BTW.

We had 3 brothers in our homeschool group that Indy loved. The oldest (7) and the youngest (4) had birthdays 2 days apart. They had a little combined b-day party that we were invited to and I needed to come up with some gifts. These boys had a ton of stuff already, and their mom asked us to only bring small gifts if we brought any at all. I remembered a post I saw over at Nester's place quite a while back and decided I would swipe the idea. Well, I guess I didn't really swipe it, since she put it out there for anyone to see. She's nice like that. If you haven't been there, WHY NOT? Go there! She's amazing. Wait until you're done with this post though. ;)

So, Indy and I hauled ourselves over to the local dollar store and found some packs of little action figures, some Chinese style take-out boxes and ribbon. Here's what we ended up with:

I made 3 because even though it was only the oldest and youngest boys b-days I could leave the middle one out. They got a firefighter set, a police set and an Army set. Pretty cute, huh? The boys loved them (of course!) and the moms all thought it was an adorable gift and complimented me on my creativity. I have to say, I did take full credit for it and didn't tell them I got it from Nester. I'm sure she's fine with it though.

Indy made the 2 b-day boys cool pop-up cards. He was really proud of his creations.

And there you have it. My not-quite-as-excting-as-I'd-like post. Enjoy and big interwebs hugs to Nester for being so super fab.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mom in High Heels: Red Hot Edition

So, here it is, the red hot edition! No, no, not these, though they are cute for Valentine's Day, no?

I'm talking about ME! You remember what I look like, right?
<-----------Look over there. See that hot blond mama? Oh, yeah, well now she's red hot. Check her out:

Rawr! Every now and then I get a bit crazy (a wild hare-or HAIR- if you will) and decide to do something different to my hair. My hair is ridiculously resilient and takes all sorts of abuse really well. Last Sunday I decided to change the color. I should mention that MOST of my family on my Dad's side of the family have red hair. Or in my Dad's case, used to have red hair that has either fallen out or gone gray (he swears that is my fault, but really, do I look like a trouble maker? Nevermind.). All my aunts and uncles save one (and I sometimes question his parentage) have (or had) red hair. Several of my cousins have red hair. I was born with red hair that stayed red until I was about 7 or 8 when it decided to turn a dark borning auburn that was only red in the sunlight, which we all know redheads should avoid like the plague. Around the age of 14 I started griping and moaning (rather loudly) about the boring color of my hair. I had great hair, but it was just so....blah. Unless I stood in the sun, which was almost never. My mom, tired of the griping, caved to my begging and pleading and let me color my hair. I went blond. I loved it. The maintenance was a beeyotch though because my hair grows crazy fast. I kept it up for years, alternating between a summer blond and a darker, winter blond. One year I decided to go red and went RED. Screaming at you red. I loved it. M, not so much. Said it made me look too German (we were living in Germany for the 1st time). They are really fond of screaming red hair over here. When we moved back to the US, I toned it down a bit. It wasn't clown red, so don't think I was looking like Bozo, but it was definately not a red you find in the States. I got bored with it though and eventually went back blond, though unless my stylists fought it, it was frequently a strawberry blond. To get it blond, they had to first make it a light brown and then highlight it blond because red is stubborn. Last week, I desperately needed my roots done and decided, hey, let's go red again. Not screaming red, but something like a normal red. I did this myself and I think it turned out great. It's actually almost the exact color my Dad's hair used to be. You know, before I started dating and it turned gray and all. Whatever. So, what do you think?
Indy loves it. He said it makes me look "Spicy." That's my boy!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The artist downstairs

You may recall that I live in a stairwell. Stairwells are neat in a military community. People are constantly moving in and out and they are always interesting. We have a couple on the bottom floor that until recently, I only knew in passing. She is in the Army and he stays home (no kids). She mentioned to me once, when I chatted with her in the hallway that her husband was an artist. He used to sculpt, but now just paints when the mood strikes. I found it interesting, and filed it away in my "obscure things I know about my neighbors" file. It's right next to my "Things I'm sure I'll never need to remember, but always do and can't really recall them until it's too late" file, which keeps mucking things up in my head. Stupid memory. Sorry, back to my story. Last week we got snow. A lot of snow. The following day I saw my neighbor, Carter (I'm using his name with permission), out on the playground (kids were all in school) shoveling up the snow, packing it into a large bucket and hauling it over near the side of the building, just out of my line of sight. He did this over and over. I'll admit, I was curious. It was normal to shovel the sidewalk, but not the playground. What was he doing? Also, it was FREEZING out there and he had on no gloves. I watched him for a while and decided I had to know. I looked at the clock and figured the laundry I'd put in the wash should be ready for the dryer (our laundry is in the basement, 4 floors down) and this would give me the perfect excuse to see what he was up to. It was all very Gladys Kravitz. Man, I loved that show. When I got down to the ground level, I poked my head out the front door and saw that he had been stacking the snow. Curiouser and curiouser! I waved to him and asked what he was doing. He was bored and decided to make a snow sculpture. Oooookaaaaaay. I asked what he was going to sculpt and he showed me a small print off of a portrait of Elizabeth I. I tried to find this portrait to show you here, but came up with nothing.

It took him several hours, but look at this:

Can you believe it? I could not! It was amazing! And HUGE! The detail was stunning. Flashes from cameras were going off left and right as people from all over the quad came to see the finished product. Another neighbor and I were talking to Carter in the hall about art and whatnot and he said that he wasn't really a painter, but had done a few paitings. We asked if we could see any (cause, after seeing his sculpture, we HAD to see his painting. This is what the "not really a painter" showed us:

I KNOW! He said this was only the 7th or 8th portrait he's ever done. A-ma-zing. Isn't it cool when you learn something like this about a person you see every day? His name is Carter Hall, BTW, and no he doesn't have a website. WHY? I want to know. He does portraits from photos on commission. I'm thinking of having him paint one of Indy. If I do, I'll be sure to let you all see it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Transformation Tuesday?

Yesterday, Between Naps on the Porch hosted the first Metamorphosis Monday. Of course I missed the party, but I figured, better late than never, right? Obviously I can't call in Metamorphosis Monday though, so I came up with Transformation Tuesday. I'm so clever! My first metamorphosis TRANSFORMATION is the entry way closet. It's nothing special, just a closet, but it was quickly becoming a dumping ground. I hate dumping grounds. Also, it was, well, just not that useful. Sure, we could hang our coats up and toss stuff on the floor, but what about the hats, scarfs, gloves, dog leashes, blah, blah, blah? Where were they supposed to go? Huh? Tell me!
I sat in the hallway one day (seriously) and just stared at the closet. I thought and thought and thought. Don't worry, I didn't hurt myself. I drug a few decor/storage/don't-you-wish-you-lived-like-this magazines in and flipped through them, all while keeping an eye on the closet. It had become the enemy and I aimed to conquer it. First the closet, then the world. Wait, forget you read that.

I came up with a plan to turn it into a functioning mudroom type thingy. Fancy technical term that. Of course I had already started the project by the time I thought to take pictures, so here are a few after I took the doors off and started painting (that's why the chair is there). You can see the doors leaning against the wall to the right. I painted the inside a creamy color (though it looks white in the photos).

I got some coat racks (a low one for Indy), used some old storage cubbies, and baskets, got a key box/chalkboard/magnetic doohicky, clock and some hooks and here it is today:

Hooks for the dog leashes and shopping bags, and 2 buckets for loose change.

Clock (to keep us on time-as if), and a memo/key center to keep us organized.

Indy's baskets are low and labeled.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pics I forgot to show!

I've been super lazy busy lately and totally forgot to post these pics! The first weekend of Jan M was "invited" (read: be there) to a New Year's reception at the commander's house. I was also invited, but I was not "invited." I opted to go because, hey, I wanted to see the commander's house. I'm nosy like that. I like to see how the higher ups live. Interestingly, while his house was a duplex and far more private than our stairwell, the rooms were chopped up so strangely that they were actually smaller than ours. Yeah, there were more of them, but what good is having 4 or 5 bedrooms if you can't fit your bed in any of them?
Also, for me, it was a chance to get dressed up and wear my favorite shoes. :) For M, it was an opportunity to get dressed up in what he says is an uncomfortable uniform (ha, men are such wimps) and hang out with people he sees at work every day. Fun!
So, we got dressed up, drove an hour, stayed an hour and 15 minutes, ate some food, chatted with some folks, and drove an hour home. Good times! Actually, I really like the commander and his wife. They are both really nice people and super friendly. And, I'm pretty sure they have no idea I have a blog, so I'm not sucking up on M's behalf.

M and Indy (who was not invited and got to play with his BFF's while we were gone).

Me and M. Note the shoes! Told you I wore them in the winter to parties.

Very serious.

You can sleep safe tonight. He is guarding your country. ;)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I'm Blissful!

Have you heard? I'm Blissful! That's right, I am now a contributor on the super fab site Blissfully Domestic. I, of course, contribute to the new military channel, but there are all sorts of other channels including home, kids, style, creativity, photography, etc. If you've never been there, you should go check it out. And also read my article. Because I'm awesome.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Adventures on the train or ICE, ICE baby

Dum-dum-dum-dadadum-dum All right now stop. Collaborate and listen....

Okay, I'm totally kidding. If you're old enough to remember that song and will now be singing it for the rest of the day, you can thank me later. :)

So yesterday I had to go pick up M's car in Bremerhaven, which is the only port in Germany. Why did I have to go get it you may wonder? Because, even though it his his car, my name was on all the shipping documents and they would only release it to me. Also, if M had to figure out how to get there via train and then drive back, I'd never see him again.

I bought a ticket for the 5:45am train from HD to Bremerhaven. I missed said train by about 20 seconds. Literally I was running down the stairs to the platform as the train pulled away. I was so not happy. Stupid Deutsche Bahn and they're on time-ness. Sigh. Fortunately, trains are pretty regular here, but the next train involved 3 train changes instead of 1. I had to change in Mannheim to an ICE train (Inter-City Express, which also always makes me sing that stupid Vanilla Ice song), change again in Koln (Cologne to us Americans) to a regular DB tain (not as fast), again in Bremen, finally arrived in Bremerhaven 6 hours and 55 minutes later. Then I had to pick up the car and drive back home. The drive only took 5 hours, but I was driving really fast (I think my top speed was 127mph and people were passing me!)
While I was waiting for the next train I decided to take out my little notepad and write down impressions of things I could blog about later instead of trying to remember them all. See how dedicated I am to you people? When I sat down to go through them and decide what bits I wanted to actually use, I discovered that they told their own story. Instead of picking out a few and elaborating on them, I decided to post them in order as I wrote them down. When I was in the car I used to voice recorder thing on my cell phone, so don't think I was driving like a madwoman and trying to write at the same time. Also, I recrded myself singing bits of songs. Something noone else should ever have to hear unless I need to torture them (which is always a possibility, so maybe I won't erase them after all). So, without further ado, I present my day.

Cold. Bitter. Fingers freezing. Note to self: buy thicker gloves.
Sounds of a train station are vaguely romantic.
Train is freezing! WHY?
Creepy German guy staring at me.
Moon is huge in the sky. Still dark. Beautiful.
Stopped at a station. Couple intertwined on platform kissing goodbye. Backlit by a sign. I am mesmorized, even though I know I shouldn't be staring.
Sky lightening up.
Small towns nestled in valley far below tracks. Impossibly pretty. Like a fairytale.
Fields and vineyards lying fallow, covered in snow and sparkling in the sun.
Children skating on a frozen pond.
Medieval church at the center of every small town. Spire rising high over other buildings.
Snow swirls like a crystal white tornado as I step off the train.
New train. Bathrooms surprisingly clean.
People sipping coffee and tea in the restaurant car. All look sophisticated and utterly European.
Guy next to me thinks I'm German! Haha! Operation: blend in a complete success!
Bridges. Rivers. Cities. Pass by in a blur.
Change trains again. Double decker train. Sit up top! Gorgeous views.
Multi-spired cathedral.
Skaters on frozen canal.
Train station. Small, dirty. People bustling. Busy.
Taxi. Driver loves Americans. Good tippers he says. Not stingy like Europeans.
Cold air whips off canal. Stings my ears, blurs my vision.
Ships with funny names: Proud Panda, Fido, Sparkling Wine, Blue Suede Shoe, Mama's Boy
Parking decks filled with BMW's and Mercedes as far as the eye can see, waiting to be exported.
Shipping containers dangling from cranes. Sway in the wind.
Men who look exactly like the old sea captain in stories and books.
Car! At last!
Autobahn! Woohooooooo! Fast, fast, fast!
I drive like a Cullen! Mmmmm...Edward....
Ipod. Bless Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and the nameless lackey who invented it.
...go on now go, walk out the door, don't turn around now, cause you're not welcome any more....
More towns, more vineyards, more castle ruins. Countryside is gorgeous.
.....girl you know you got me, got me, witcha pistol shot me, shot me...
Stop for gas. Ridiculously priced. $6.02/gallon.
Mmmm...soft pretzel.
....we kissed, after taking vows, but that night, on our honeymoon, we stayed in separate rooms...
Wondering if I should be worried that I know all the lyrics to U Can't Touch This and Humpty Dance
127mph! In the slow lane! People passing me! Unbelieveable! come and go, you come and go-oh-oh-oh. Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dreams: red, gold and green, red, gold and gre-ee-ee-een....
Dark. Can't see anything. Bummer.
Tired. Must sing louder.
....with his light brown derby and his bright green tie he was quite the handomest of men, I started to yen, then I counted to 10, then I, counted to 10 again.....
How high is 550 meters? This bridge is really high! (answer, fyi is 1804.46 feet)
Wonder how the towns down in the valley don't flood when it rains.
See the ghost of fog rolling across the mountains in the moonlight.
...and she's always gone too long, any time she goes away. Wonder this time where's she's gone. Wonder if she's gone to stay....
Oh! Ferarri!
Moon getting high in the sky. Red, almost full (waning) thin clouds stipe across it. Very cool. Makes me think of Edward. Sigh.
Frankfurt! Only an hour home!
Cab Calloway is a genius.
...she was a red hot hoochie-coocher, she was the roughest toughest frail, but minnie had a heart as big as a whale hidee-hidee-hidee-hi.... was a dish for old Ceasar, also King Henry III, but Columbus was smart, said you can't fool me, a chicken ain't nothin' but a bird....
OMG! Lit castle on a hill. Moon nearby, must stop and take photo!
Bloody freezing outside!
Bless seat heaters!
...Mmmmm...La, proved to much for the man (too much for the man, he couldn't make it), so he's leavin the life he's come to know (he said he's goin) he said he's goin back to find (going back to find) what's left of his world. The world he left behind, not so long ago-oooooooo. He's leavin (leavin).......
My voice is going. Sad.
My exit!
Home. Home. Home.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Remember a few months ago when I showed you what my house looked like? No? Here's a quick refresher:

Part of the life of the military family is moving. A lot. Usually about every 3 years, but often as much as every 12-18 months. It's such a hassle. We've done 2 short tours, one 18 months and the last one a mere 10 months. Oddly enough they were both the longest tours ever because they were in truly wretched places. The 18 month tour was at Ft. Stewart, GA (shudder) and the 10 months was at Ft. Huachuca, AZ. I've mentally blocked much of that though. When the military packs and moves you it can be very disconcerting and very surreal. A bunch of strangers come to your house and touch all of your stuff while you just sit there and watch. Weird.

After it's all packed, tagged, and inventoried, they load your stuff on a truck and take it away. A few weeks (or months) later it shows up on a different truck and different strangers unload it. They'll even unpack it if you want. I usually have them unpack the kitchen because I need to get all the packing material out of the way so I can put stuff up. My philosophy is that if the kitchen comes together the rest of the house will follow.

We spent 2 months sleeping on an incredibly uncomfortable bed waiting for our stuff. Actually, I wouldn't even call it a bed. It was more like a be...

Given this, you can imagine how happy I was to see this a week before Christmas:

Germans are clever and have quite a system. You wouldn't want to haul 7 crates of furniture and boxes up to the 3rd floor would you? NO! And neither do they. They took the screen from one of our windows (the master bedrom) and hooked up this awesome elevator system that with the push of a button, brings boxes up from the truck directly into the apartment. Cool, huh?

Things were unloaded. Life was good. I was getting my stuff! I was getting my bed! Life was wunderbar! Oh, but it wasn't. Go back and look at the first photo of the truck. See the box lying on its side towards the front of the truck? Know what it contained? I'll tell you. My beautiful, brand spanking new entertainment system. Need a refresher? Have a look see. Isn't it lovely?

Oh, yeah. Go look at the box again. Do you see the damage to the bottom of the box? Guess what happened? Guess? They put a forklift through the box. Yes. Through. The. Box.
Know who wins when wood and fiberboard meet a forklift? Yeah, that would be the forklift. Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

It's lying on its side because there was no structural integrity to the sides and it couldn't be put upright. Interestingly, the glass doors, which were just above where the forklift hit, are in perfect shape.

I don't have a photo, but they also put our dish packs (really heavy in case you were wondering) on top of my desk. My desk with very thin legs. The desk now bows in the middle and the drawers won't open without a fight. Well, there went my wunderbar day.

The shipping company will pay full replacement value, which is good, but now we have paperwork to fill out, we have to wait for a check, and blah, blah, blah. Other than that we had pretty much no damage, which is actually quite good for a military move. Now we just have to go buy new side pieces for the entertainment system. Know what that means? IKEA!!!! Woohooooooooooo! You know how I loves me some Ikea.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Winter Haiku

winter bundle up
layers: coat boots hat gloves scarf
drat, I have to pee

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Let it snow! And some bloggy love

So yesterday we had our first snowfall of the new year. Woooohooo! We love snow. Indy rolled out of bed, saw the snow on the ground and ran to put on his clothes and tried to run out the door. I stopped him and made him go potty and brush his teeth. I tried to get him to eat breakfast but there was just no time for that. Other kids were already outside playing and he HAD to join them. You know, before the snow melted. Nevermind that it was freezing. Whatever. I grabbed my camera and followed the blur that was Indy. By the time I got outside he was already on the ground, doing this:

In case you're wondering, he's making a snow angel AND catching snowflakes on his tongue. Oooooh, multitasking! That's my boy!

This is my cutie pie neighbor. He turned 1 just a few days before Christmas. He had so many layers of clothing on he could barely move. He loves me BTW (and really, why wouldn't he?). If he sees me in the stairwell and doesn't get to come to me he screams bloody murder. When his mom opens the door to their apartment, he makes a bee line for our door. Seriously, this kid loves me. Isn't he cute?

Indy "flying" in the snow. Still catching snowflakes on his tongue.

At the top of the slide. He had already cleaned the slide with his bum multiple times. He had to change pants 3 times yesterday because they kept getting wet.

At least he stopped himself before he landed in the snow again.


Know what snow makes me think of? Come on, guess....that's right, Edward's icy cold, smooth white skin.

Oh, oh, oh! And I got my very first bloggy award!!!! I'm blushing with pleasure. I feel so special. I want to thank my friends, and my family, my manager, my kindergarten teacher, my typing teacher, my....oh, what? This isn't that kind of award ceremony? Well then, I'll just say many thanks to Self Confessed Lamp Tramp and post my cool bloggy award.

I'm supposed to pass it on and I will, but I'll have to do that tomorrow. Until then, lemonade and bloggy kisses to you all. Oh, and Edward.............

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy 2009!

Okay, so I'm a few days late, but I've been busy in 2009. Not really, but it sounds good doesn't it? Only 3 days in and I'm just too busy to blog. Nah, I've just been lazy. And day dreaming about Edward................................................................Oh, sorry about that. When I get on an Edward kick I kind of drift off.

New Year's Eve here was so much fun. Bitter cold, but fun. A group of our neighbors decided to get together in the quad and wait for 2009. J (remember I only use initials, except for Indy) got the bright idea to put heavy weight plastic around the gazebo and put a small propane heater inside. Brilliant! It was in the upper teens outside, but actually quite warm inside. We had tons of food and fireworks. The kids were running around on the playground (how do they not realize how bloody cold it is?) and asking every 10 minutes if it was midnight yet so they could hold sparklers, while the adults huddled around the heater. I tried hard not to imagine what it would be like to huddle next to Edward, but occasionally he snuck into my thought. ;)
When midnight finally arrived the fireworks started going on on all sides. Germans only shoot fireworks off at New Year (you know, not celebrating 4th of July), so they do it big. And loud. And for a long time. The mountain side was literally lit up. We had to go on the German side of the fence to shoot ours off (not legal on the US side) and we were absolutely surrounded by people and lots of smoke. Here are some photos:

Indy stayed up until 1 am! He had such a good time. When he finally hit the bed though, he was gone. He slept until 10:30 am. I was so grateful. This was the first NY that he got to celebrate with us and it was just so much fun.

I have no real resolutions this year because, well, they only last until about mid-January and then I feel all guilty and who needs that? All I want out of 2009 is to enjoy life. I hope you will do the same and I wish you a happy, healthy, joy filled year.

Edward........................................ ;)

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