Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wednesday's (Bi)Weekly Update: Of Road Trips and Other Randomness

Hohenzollern Castle

Welcome back to my readers, one and all. If I knew how to say that in Russian, I would. Apparently 40 of my page views on this blog have been from Russia.... I. Don't. Know. Why.

Such are the wonders of the world wide web.

I really am trying to get into the habit of posting things regularly. My last two posts were pretty much just a verbal time line splattered on the page. Sometimes it's either that or a drab minute by minute of the monotony that is my every day life. Some interesting stuff happened in the past few weeks so I get to do more than just a short recap of my grocery shopping.

Ginny has become a true parrot... I honestly want to try to get her to say "Ginny wanna cracker." As a kid I cracked up during "Meet the Fockers" while the little kid spent the whole movie going "Asss-hooole." It's not so funny any more, because my daughter has become that kid. Well, that's a lie. It is still funny, but I'm not allowed to let her know that. She repeats things we say, even we aren't talking to her. Sadly, we need to work on our use of "shut up." A knee jerk reaction to our dogs barking has become a constant battle.

I'm about over potty training too. My mom swears one day she'll wake up and get it, but that day hasn't happened yet. I am showing more patience than I ever thought I could, but I'm still pretty frustrated. Part of this stems from the fact that she picks up everything else soooo easily. Walking, talking, kicking, jumping... she's an early bird. So many people have said that she's so advanced compared to other kids her age, that the potty training thing is sort of embarrassing. I feel like we're not doing something right.

Wow, so somehow that turned out more of venting session than I meant it too. Sorry. Moving on...

The puppies have been giving me a run for my money as well. Last week Trigger ended up at the German vet for a stomach infection, Gauge was nearly right behind him. Both are fine now, and I was relieved to discover German veterinary care is 10 times better than people care (I'll never step foot in another German hospital) and it's five times cheaper than vet care in the states. An (same day) emergency visit to a new vet, with two shots, and two days worth of two different medications only cost me €40 (about $50-55). Not bad!

This past weekend was a four day weekend for us. I didn't figure out until Sunday that it was MLK day, I honestly thought it was either Presidents Day or another random German holiday. Despite my ignorance, we managed to have a pretty good weekend.

On Saturday we drove up to Ramstein AFB for the first time. Ramstein is home to the largest Exchange (military department store) ever! It was the equivalent of a suburban shopping mall. It has restaurants (we enjoyed lunch at the Macaroni Grill), a furniture store, pottery store, movie theater, and even a Harley Davidson dealer! To all those back home going "So what? She hasn't seen a mall before?" The answer would be no... not since June of last year! We spent the day eating and shopping and scoring some good deals on clothes for Ginny. We also picked up a rug for downstairs, that I am seriously way too happy to have.

Sunday means everything is closed here. Essentially no fun takes place. To fill the gap in our weekend, we search the web and find random things like a German Toilet Exposé. Completely funny, completely true. Welcome to the battle we face in Germany!

Monday, however, was a very fun-filled day. We tackled two castles in the Swabian Albs here in Germany. Our first stop was Hohenzollern Castle, and it was awesome! Out of the four we've seen, it's my new favorite. I could have done without the 30 minute walk straight up a mountain, but it was worth it. The entrance of the castle has you walking up a winding portico, going through tunnels and over drawbridges. It felt so marvelously mid-evil. The tour was as good as any other, but I could have walked the grounds all day.

Our next stop was to nearby Lichtenstein Castle. To our dismay, we found it closed to visitors in January, but we were able to walk around for a more than decent view. We also discovered a very cool looking ropes course that I will return to tackle. When it's warmer than 25 degrees out. Which I hope is sooner rather than later.

P.S. In case you haven't noticed, I've decided to try my hand at short stories. ^ This mess is why I don't do Twitter. I couldn't possibly contain myself to 140 characters. 

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