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

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Going Away!

Hello! We are off on a fabulous Thanksgiving vacation tomorrow. Want to know where? I can't tell you! Golly, I wish I could, but it's a secret. Indy doesn't know and I'd hate for him to read it here and spoil the surprise. Actually, I'd be thrilled if he read it here because that would mean we've overcome the whole learning to read issue and my life would be oh so much simpler. Ah, a girl can dream.
I can give you a hint though! We're going to the "Happiest Place" in France. Any idea where that might be? Huh? Huh? Leave me a comment with your guess if you like. We'll be back next week and I'll have tons to blog about. Tons of laundry too, but blogging is way more fun.
I hope you all have a wonderful, peaceful, fun filled Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for the whole blogisphere and all the wonderful people I've "met" this year and all the stuff they've taught me. Don't eat too much turkey! If you have it though, please do eat a slice of pumpkin pie for me. See you all in a few days.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What global warming?

Someone needs to call Al Gore. Global warming has not reached us. Yesterday we woke up to a light dusting of snow. Hooray! We dressed quickly and rushed out to play before the sun came out and melted it. It was so cold. Brrrrrr!

Indy made snow angels.

Snowball fight!!!!!!

Indy decided to move up and defend his castle!

Sneak attack by daddy! Splat!
Isn't M handsome?

And the view after we came in for hot chocolate, which was really my favorite part.

It was so much fun to just act like kids. The snow melted by mid afternoon, but the memories will live on.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Welcome to Heidelberg

Subtitle: I'm completely lazy. I've been planning this post for weeks, but I've just not had the inclination time to actually post it. Sorry! About 2 weeks ago we went downtown and I took a bucket load of photos. Seriously, I took more than 400. I won't post them ALL here because I think it might jam blogger up beyond redemption. This is major on photos though, so make sure your coffee cup is full and sit back as we tour this beautiful city.

This is one of my favorite things about Europe. Open air markets. It is so nice to be able to buy fruit, veg, cheeses or breads that are fresh and local. Man, I'm hungry just thinking about it.

Oh, look! Fresh roasted chestnuts? Smells like the holidays!

Looking towards the other side of the river:

I love this building! Look at that ivy!
The church. Hey, there's M down in the left corner. Doesn't he look cute? And maybe slightly bored. I was stopping about every 3 feet to take photos. Not so much fun for him.

We're walking towards the castle.

This sign gives you the different ways to get to the castle (schloss in German). You can take the 315 steps (10 minutes my arse) or the incline, which is 282 feet up (again, 10 minutes? I don't think so).

We opted for the incline. It's so steep! Indy ran up part of it, but had to stop for a rest. See how far back Mommy and Daddy were?

Into the castle. I should tell you that the Heidelberg castle is actually mostly a ruin. It was burned in the 1600's (IIRC) and during the Thirty Years War, parts were rebuilt, it was abandoned by the Electorate (like a Prince), townspeople quarried it for construction materials, it was repaired, lightening struck, it was again abandoned, it was repaired, lightening struck again, and it was kind of left alone after that, and mostly used for tourism. Some of the towers and lower structures are in great shape. The Church and great hall are gorgeous. I had a friend get married in the castle about 10 years ago and it was the most stunning wedding and reception I've ever been to. But, I digress. Here we go.

A gorgeous view of the city. See the Church? That's the one I showed you earlier with M in the pic. We walked a long way.
It's like walking through a fairy tale.

Oh, this is the big vat. Yes, it's a real vat, and yes they really used to keep wine in it. I don't think I would have wanted to drink it. Also, they really need to dust it. Ick.

Some random sculpture. I'm sure it's symbolic and had I grown up with an education in the Renaissance I'm sure I'd know who this is and why he's sculpted on the side of the castle. But I didn't and I don't, so I just think he's pretty. Nice abs. Wonder what he's hiding behind that cloth?

My boys looking over the bridge at one of the lower parts of the castle that are completely destroyed.

See? Destroyed. Beautiful though.

Indy found the "biggest leaf in the entire world." Take him to a castle, he looks at the leaves. Good times.

This is the Elizabeth gate. It was built as a gift for Elizabeth Stuart (daughter of England's James I) from her husband Prince Electorate Fredric V. The whole area was originally a gunpark, but he turned it into a pleasure garden for her. There was at one time a wall here, but now only the gate remains. FYI, Elisabeth and Frederic were the great-great grandparents of England's George III. You know him right? We had that whole revolutionary war thing against him and his unfair taxes (especially on our tea) and whatnot.

The powder turret was split by an explosion. Mark Twain described it in his book A Tramp Abroad. Here is a lovely excerpt.:

A ruin must be rightly situated, to be effective. This one could not have been better placed. It stands upon a commanding elevation, it is buried in green woods, there is no level ground about it, but, on the contrary, there are wooded terraces upon terraces, and one looks down through shining leaves into profound chasms and abysses where twilight reigns and the sun cannot intrude. Nature knows how to garnish a ruin to get the best effect. One of these old towers is split down the middle, and one half has tumbled aside. It tumbled in such a way as to establish itself in a picturesque attitude. Then all it lacked was a fitting drapery, and Nature has furnished that; she has robed the rugged mass in flowers and verdure, and made it a charm to the eye. The standing half exposes its arched and cavernous rooms to you, like open, toothless mouths; there, too, the vines and flowers have done their work of grace. The rear portion of the tower has not been neglected, either, but is clothed with a clinging garment of polished ivy which hides the wounds and stains of time. Even the top is not left bare, but is crowned with a flourishing group of trees & shrubs. Misfortune has done for this old tower what it has done for the human character sometimes−improved it.

Boy, that Mark knew how to write didn't he?

This is a view of the castle and hillside from one of the upper garden terraces. Notice the sheep grazing? How idyllic is this?

Okay, this is hard to see, but if you zoom in, you can see a guy down at the bottom. See him? Go ahead, have a peek and come back. I'll wait.....Did you see him? Know what he's doing? He's relieving himself! It's legal to urinate pretty much anywhere in Germany as long as your back is to the street. Nice for guys. For women...not so much. I know I shouldn't have taken this photo, but I just couldn't help myself.

The terrace. The above picture was taken from the top.

Here's the upper terrace from a lower terrace.

The path in front of the upper terrace.

As we made our way back down from the castle night fell and the performers came out. It was a Friday evening and they were out in full force. Most of them were musicians, but this guy was unique. He twirled fire! He threw it up in the air! He blew fire! He swallowed fire! Indy was in awe.

I couldn't resist taking some photos of this stall. Aren't these arrangements adorable? Wouldn't they look lovely on your Thanksgiving table?

Let's look a little closer. How cute would these little pumpkins or gourds be as place card holders? And guests could take them home after dinner. Adorable!

We walked a total of 7.5 miles that day. We took a bus downtown, but from the bus stop up to the castle and back was 7.5 miles (my cell has a pedometer on it). Indy walked every step of it. He slept like hard that night. M and I did too.

So ends our little tour. There's so much more to see though. Stay tuned!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Am I obsessed?

We've done a lot of fun stuff since we arrived (I'll post some of that at a later date), but in the evenings we sit in our apartment and wait (and wait, and wait, and wait) for our household goods (that's military speak for our stuff) to arrive (maybe next month), I have little to do but plot and plan . Where am I going to put this? Where am I going to put that? What color to paint the walls? What curtains (or mistreatments) should I put up? Oh, I go round and round. Maybe I want a new sofa (which I do, but M is violently opposed to-whatever). Maybe I want a different set of dishes. Maybe I want to change the colors in our bedroom. Maybe I just want to throw everything out and start over. Nothing to do but think. And stalk Nester. Seriously, I wait and wait and wait for her to update her site and then when she does, rush over with ridiculous excitement beating a heavy tatoo in my chest. What wil it be this time? What nugget of decorating wisdom will she dole out today? Oh, the joy! The rapture! Sad, isn't? Don't worry Nester, I'm a a whole continent away. You're safe.
Well , last night my obessesion spilled over into my nocturnal musings. Oh, that's right! I dreamed about Nester! I think it's Indy's fault. He likes to look at websites with me and every time I cruise over to the Nester (not THAT often, like 20 times once a day) he comments that he would like to play with her boys. I explained that to play with them he would have to make that really long flight again, and he decided that maybe they could come to our house instead. Smart boy, that one.
In my dream, Indy went over to their house to play (how we lived close enough for this to happen I never quite figured out, but it's a dream, so it doesn't have to make sense. Right? RIGHT?) and Nester invited me to come along for coffee (or tea in my case, since I loathe coffee). In my dream I was practically skipping to her house. Believe me, it's humbling to type that. So, into that mecca of home decor all us faithful readers can only dream of (see, I made a funny) I went. It was amazing! There were mistreatments and toile and barn stars and feathers and tassels galore! There may have been some squealing and covert picture taking on my part, but I cannot confirm this. Oh, and guess who else was there? Go on, guess. That's right! Emily, Kimba and Fussy! Can you belive it? They were all sitting around a table crafting! Crafting! It was the Round Table of Awesomeness (I'm totally trademarking that). Actually, Emily was taking pictures, but I consider that crafting too. Nester invited me to join them! This was a really good dream, people. We crafted, we giggled, we talked about shoes and our kids and homeschooling and decorating! Yea! At some point in the crafting hoopla Indy and the boys came running through the house (as boys are want to do) and somehow red wine was spilled onto a cloth covered side table and some mistreatments. I'm still not sure where the wine came from, but that didn't matter in the dream. Whatever. I was slightly horrified and just knew she'd never invite us over again. Not that I think Nester is like that, it was just something that ran through my head (in my dream). Nester, with typical Southern graciousness, said not to worry, whipped off the table cloth unclipped the mistreatements and took me to a room full (FULL) of fabrics. She rifled through some of them, found exactly what she was looking for, grabbed Priscilla (her hot glue gun in case you don't know), some fringe and whipped up a new mistreatement and table topper in about 10 minutes, oh and a new tassel because she was inspired by the color of the fabric, put them all up and went back to the crafting table. Oh, and she did it all in a gorgeous pair of heels. I think I might have been clapping and jumping up and down, but again, I cannot confirm this. And then.........then my alarm went off (stupid alarm-why couldn't you give me another hour? ) and all the fabulosity faded. But it was a good dream and I woke up smiling. If Johnny Depp had shown up with a car loaded with Prada, Ferragamo and Manolo Blahniks all in my size it would have been the ultimate dream, but as it was, it was pretty awesome. I did worry for a few minutes though that I might be ever so slightly obsessed with Nester. Do you think?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Freedom is not free

The freedoms we enjoy on a daily basis have come at a high price. Remember those who serve, past and present. Honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Thank those who remain.

My favorite vet:

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I *heart* Hugh Grant

This is a totally silly post, but I'm just in the mood. I love Hugh Grant. Love him. I adore his quirky characters. Is that wrong? In fact Hugh Grant is on my 5 list. If you weren't a Friends fan (and who wasn't), they did an episode where they all had to come up with a list of 5 celebs they would be given a free pass to do the deed with should the opportunity ever arise. M and I joking made our own lists and mine includes Hugh Grant. Actually he's tied for 2nd place with Hugh Jackman. Who's first you may wonder? Johnny Depp. Of course. Oh, hey, I just realized I only live on country away from him now. Hmmmm....maybe a trip to France should be in my future. I kid. Anyway, back to number 2: Hugh Grant. I love him. He's in some of my favorite scenes from movies.

Best fight scene in a movie. Ever.: Bridgette Jones's Diary. (And as an added bonus, he fights Colin Firth {number 3}).

Best bad movie dancing not in Footloose: Love, Actually.

Best 80's pop video parody: Music and Lyrics (Pop Goes My Heart)

Best decleration of love in a Jane Austin adaptation not uttered by Mr. Darcy: Sense and Sensibility.

Best embarrasing himself scene to help a kid: About a Boy

Best wacked out labor scene in a movie: Nine Months

Best bumbling Englishman in a movie with a ridiculously long title: The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain.

Best time moving along sequence in a movie: Notting Hill

Best almost wedding (with an insane bride): Four Weddings and a Funeral. Though why he fell for Andie MacDowell is beyond me. Just listening to her makes me want to fall asleep.

Best wearing of a really high hat in a movie: Impromptu

I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. I've only seen 2 Hugh Grant movies that I didn't like: Mickey Blue Eyes (I liked his character, but the movie as a whole...blech) and The Lady and the Highwayman. This is one of his earliest starring roles and it is so bad I can't even sit through an entire viewing of it. The writing was terrible. This was a really low budget film. I saw an interview once where Hugh joked it was so low budget that he thought they all shared the same wig.

So, there's my silly confession for the day. Fortunately for me, M likes Hugh Grant movies too, so I can watch them almost anytime I want. (Insert girly squeal here).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

New Homeschool blog

I've decided to try to keep this blog about things like decorating, crazy stuff in the military, our home life and of course shoes. In keeping with that, I started a new blog just about homeschooling! You can check it out over at Bent Grass Academy. I hope you enjoy. Indy came up with some interesting insights about the election this morning.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Today my awesome dad turns 60! 60! Holy cow. Unfortunately I have no photos of him on my computer (and I still don't have my scanner) or I'd post one. I look just like him, only younger, with more hair, oh and female. So picture that. Me, just older, bald and male. So now you know what he looks like. ;)

With dh being in the military, I don't get to see my dad that often anymore. Maybe 2-3 times a year. When I do see him though, it's always something of a shock. He looks remarkably like my grandfather now, and I always wonder how that can possibly be. When I think of my dad, in my mind I see him as he was when I was a child. I see bright red hair, smooth, relatively wrinkle free skin, and polyester pants. I know, it's sad that I think of polyester pants, but there you have it. I was born in the 70's. What are you going to do?

My dad was in the Navy while I was growing up. He served 27 years and was gone a lot, but when he was home, he spent lots of time with me. I learned to love reading from him. I learned a lot about the English language from him. I learned how to be silly from him. I learned how to change a tire and change the oil in my car from him. He said I may never need to do it, but I should at least know how. He's a great dad and I'm lucky to be his little girl. Happy Birthday Daddy! I love you!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween and Pics of the apartment (part 1)

I hope you all had a lovely Halloween and for those of you that celebrate it, a Blessed Samhain. Indy dressed up as.....Indiana Jones. Are you surprised?

This is a group of our neighbors. Like the Fraulein? Lovely, isn't she? And so.....buxom.

We had a great time. Children are not allowed in the stairwells, so people handing out candy sit outside in front of the stairwells. It's like a big party. People barbecue and have all sorts of activities. One quad had a Halloween movie projected onto the side of the building and another had turned their gazebo into a very scary haunted house like thing that the kids had to go into to get candy. Spooky! One of the stairwells was even passing out cups of Gluwein to the grown ups. This is a warm mulled wine and perfect for a chilly, drizzly night.

This morning I went outside and took some photos of the new digs. This is our building. See the windows on the 3rd floor to the right? That's our apartment.

Let's get closer. This is the front door. We have a back door too. We park behind the building.

Oh, look! Who could have made this lovely fall display? ;)

So, up the stairs we go. First floor. Second floor. Buns of Steel! Third floor! Here we are. Welcome! This is our entry way.

Into the living/dining room. It's a large room. Rather messy right now though. I'll post a new pic when I've made it all pretty with my stuff. That furniture is gov't issue. It is NOT pretty, but I'm thankful for it as it is far better than sitting on the floor for 2 months.

The kitchen is just to the right. It's big and chockablock full of cabinets. The cabinets directly above and below the counter open to the other side as well. Handy for setting the table.

Here's the other side. It's all very....beige.

If we go to the dining room window, we have a lovely view of the quad.

There's more to see, but I'll save that for another day.

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