Monday, October 31, 2011

Ha Ha Ha Halloween!

Photo op with Ann Burrell from the Food Network (she's been onboard doing a special cruise program). *smiles*
My "Before Botox" winning Halloween costume! LOL!

Another relaxing day on board. I hung out in my cabin til time to meet some of my Cruise Critic friends for the brunch, which was delicious as usual. This afternoon I participated in the Halloween Costume parade and won “Funniest Costume” with my mask that I’ve had for several years. We had to identify ourselves by who we were though, and I said I was “Before Botox” (they are offering Botox injections on the boat!) and everyone really got a laugh out of it. I won a Celebrity TEE shirt, an insulated mug and a keyring, along with a certificate. *smiles* After that I hung out on the 3rd deck because the waves were crashing over the window at times and it was awesome to watch. The Captain had the boat down as low as 10 knots today because of the waves! I also read some in the book I’m trying to finish before the cruise ends. I finally went up and got ready for dinner. It was a formal night and I ate with the Cruise Critic solo cruisers. Oh yea, and I finally got a photo of Ann Burrell from the Food Network today (she’s had a special cruise program on board for those who paid).

Dinner was wonderful, I had a crab and lobster dish that was good (along with my standard “Escargot” and “Crème Brule’” *smiles* After dinner I went to the show. The Cruise director, Paul, did a duet with one of the guest singers on board. He’s got a great voice! Then I went to the “Ice” bar and hung out with Allen and Ann, and David (all from Cruise Critic). I also sat by Evelyn & Bob from CC. At 10pm they were having their Halloween party, so I went up and changed (a little) and put my mask back on and headed to the party. Now it’s just after midnight and I’m doing this blog. Time to go to bed. I’ve had another good day on board. One more full day and then the cruise will be over. Awww… too soon.

Okay, time to sign off.

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Krs

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Sea Day

Captain Pagonis & I at the Captain's Club Reception yesterday...

Another relaxing day at sea, I started off by sleeping in and then having a late room service breakfast. Today was basically spent in the spa and the gym. I laid on the heated stone lounge chairs for a couple hours and used the wet sauna and then I went in and did an hour on the treadmill (got to try and get my 10k steps in!). The day seemed to go by fast (maybe because it started so late??? *smiles*). Tonight I had dinner with Bob and Judy, a couple from Huntington Beach, CA (he’s a retired dentist, although he has a rugged face like a cowboy, *I* think and Judy is just as nice). I went to the Casino and was doing okay, a little ahead until I sat to cheer on some Cruise Critic friends and then decided to stay and play “a little more” (I should know better). Oh well.

I’m trying to decide if I want to stay up for the Chocolate Extravaganza at 11:15pm tonight. I’ll probably still be up, so I might as well go check it out. Then tomorrow morning is the Cruise Brunch. I’m going to meet a bunch of my CC friends at noon for the brunch. Wonder if I can hold off eating anything til then. They are going to have a Halloween costume contest at 2pm, I brought a mask… guess I could go put it on? Tonight it looks like they are going to decorate the ship with pumpkins, they had them sitting in a corner looking like they are just waiting til things calm down to put them out.

Tonight is supposed to be rocky (again) on board, the Captain has been sailing a little faster, so he can slow down during the rougher part of the weather system tonight. Fun.

Okay, not a whole lot else to write about, so I’ll sign off.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday Sea Day

Another relaxing day at sea and the waves last night weren’t TOO bad. I slept with my ear plugs in just in case things got rough. I figured I wouldn’t get woke up by things crashing in the hallways or in other people’s rooms. It worked (I think). I woke up about 7:30 or so, but laid in bed for awhile watching the movie “Gabriel” (it was actually pretty good). In fact, I’ve watched TWO movies today on TV. I don’t do that too often at home. It HAS been relaxing. I laid out on my balcony and got some sunshine for awhile, I walked a bunch of laps around the track above the pool, wasted some money in the Casino (easy come, easy go?). I also finished reading a book that I picked up yesterday (“Santa Cruise”… don’t waste your time, it wasn’t all that good). I have another book that I haven’t started yet. I also went to the Captain's Club Reception and got to meet the Captain (Cpt Pagonis). He seems nice (not as funny as the first Captain that sailed from Hamburg to Rome and who is now on his vacation time).

I went to dinner late tonight (because I had gotten involved watching another movie about dinnertime… one of the main characters reminded me very much of one of my former co-workers in Alaska in looks and in her TV persona. Tonight my dinner partners were a woman from Holland (that I’ve sat with before), a couple from Northern England and a couple from New Brunswick, Canada. It’s always interesting conversation.

After dinner I listened to some music for awhile, talked with some of my Cruise Critic friends and then came back to my room and got my “bottle” to throw overboard (I had written a note and put it in before I left Germany). Then I went down to the 5th deck at the end and (hopefully) discretely threw it overboard. Does it help if I say that while walking today around the track, I picked up about 10 pieces of napkins and misc papers and kept them from going overboard?

Tonight I’ve been getting my dirty clothes sorted and put into a laundry bag, hopefully it will get picked up tonight and I’ll get them back on Monday.

On a last note, I have to say… I enjoy these 25 hour days. Its midnight by my watch, but I haven’t set the clock back yet, so it’s only 11pm! YAY!

Okay… signing off so I can get this posted.

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

PPPS, sorry... looks like the internet world isn't going to let me post a photo on here tonight... darn! (It let me post a wonderful sunset photo on my facebook page though).

Friday, October 28, 2011

2nd Sea Day after Lisbon

2nd Sea day after Lisbon

It was another relaxing day of sleeping in, then getting a bite to eat before heading to the gym for an hour on the treadmill. I weighed myself in there (just took off my shoes) and it looks like I’ve lost 2-3 pounds since leaving home (and being on this cruise!). How cool is that? After the gym I came back to my room and did some sunbathing on my balcony… I’ve got the sunny side of the boat! YEA! I did go down for a slot pull tournament today, which was a waste of time. Then I went up to the pool deck and spent some time in the Jacuzzi and reading by the pool. Before long it was time to get ready for our dinner in the Qsine restaurant. Typical of all restaurants on board, they serve more food than you can hope to eat! Whew! It was good though. The Qsine is like a huge night of samplers and because we had a bunch at our (Cruise Critic) table, we did a lot of sharing, kind of family style. It was nice. After dinner I headed down to the theater for the show, it was a guy on a violin that was awesome, sounded like Irish music (that tempo). I did stop by the casino, didn’t lose too much tonight, tried to quit while I was still *somewhat* ahead. Then I went to our main lobby area where the dance floor was and danced a little while (some of the Cruise Critic bunch were there). It was a fun evening. I was back in my room by 10:30 though, so not too bad.

Tomorrow the only thing on MY agenda is the “Captain’s Club” reception at lunch time. That should be nice. Otherwise, depending on the weather, I’ll read, nap, or sunbathe and get in the Jacuzzi. What a rough life! I’m glad we aren’t into NJ yet, they are getting snow this weekend. Yowza! Sounds like it should be gone by the time we get there on Wednesday. Oh yea, the Captain said tonight would probably be a little rocky with 15-20 foot swells. Oh boy! Again, I am sure glad I don’t have much problem with getting seasick! *smiles*

Okay, time to sign off.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

P.S. Spotty internet tonight so no pic... sorry!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

1st Sea Day after Lisbon

This is a Costa ship leaving Lisbon yesterday, heading under Lisbon's version of the San Francisco Bridge.

So, it was a ROUGH night last night onboard the ship. I was awakened many times during the night with loud noises and bangs and then about 3:30am, one of the glass tumblers that had been on a little tray on the counter above the mini-bar/fridge, fell onto the floor. (The tray has a “lip” on it, so it should have been okay). At least it didn’t break. According to my friend Alan (from New Zealand) that is onboard, there were 30’ waves and wind gusts of 67 knots. He said that there was damage done in the liquor store with broken bottles and such. I didn’t pay attention when we were leaving port, but Alan said two tug boats pulled us away from the dock and the Captain had the side thrusters on 110% because the water was so rough (I was in the dining room at the time).I’ve talked with some others today, Sue & Guy said they had several broken glasses in their cabin, their wine bottles hit the floor too, but those didn’t break (Sue & Guy were also on the New Zealand to Hawaii cruise with me, they were also involved/injured in that plane crash at the air show in Reno about 2 months ago, wow… they are lucky to be alive!). Another person said the door on their mini-bar came open and everything came out onto the floor. I haven’t heard that there were any injuries. I decided to stay in bed until about 9, things seemed to have calmed down by then, so figured it was safe to get out of bed. There are a couple wheelchairs in my hallway; I think they were bounced wall-to-wall a couple times during the night. I know I was awake a lot from 3-6am. The Captain has changed course and we are now on a more southerly course, which should be smoother. The skies were clear today, there was some wind, and the temps were about 66* for a high.

Today has been restful, if nothing else. The only thing on the schedule for me today was the “Slot Pull” this afternoon, which I helped with. We ended up with about 50 participants, we each put in $21 and had 7 pulls on a slot machine. We didn’t do very good though, even with all that money, we won a total of about $550 and split the winnings. We each got $9. But it was entertaining at least.

I’ve spent the better part of the day reading a book on my Ipad. I finished the book tonight. I did go to the Casino for awhile tonight, came back $120 ahead, so that was good. At least I left while I was ahead. I didn’t go to the Dining room tonight. Mainly because I didn’t feel like dressing up and because I was still reading my book.

No plans for tomorrow, other than I have dinner scheduled for the Qsine tomorrow night with a bunch from Cruise critic. That means I should really eat LIGHT tomorrow, so I can pig out tomorrow night. *smiles*

Well, it’s already 11:30pm by my watch (where has the time gone tonight????), but at least we get another extra hour tonight, so it’s technically about 10:30pm. As soon as I get my blog uploaded and check my emails, I’m going to head to bed. It’s a pain trying to post while at sea. For some reason I cannot upload my blog from this computer, but I *can* save it online. SO, I type my blog into word, copy it over to my blog, then save it. Then I have to go online with my Ipad and “post” the blog. See what I do for you! *smiles* (I’m thinking of YOU Bette!).

If for some reason I miss a night, it might be that I am unable to get online or that we don’t have a good signal. There was some time there today where we didn’t get TV channels, because the signal was too weak. Just know that I’m doing good and having a nice relaxing cruise. *smiles*

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rainy Lisbon

Rainy Lisbon
This is what a Pastele looks like and the bag from the shop where I got it...

We arrived in Lisbon about 10am. It was a dreary, rainy day. I went ashore with my small (not so adventuresome) tour group and we spent about 5 hours touring Lisbon and drove up to
Sintra. It was raining torrential rain at times, so we stayed in the van more than we would have otherwise. We did stop a couple places, just for a moment and for a few pictures and they were nice enough to let me run into the Hard Rock Café and pick up my tee shirt. (YAY!). In fact, they stayed behind at a shelter under a building while I went about 5 minutes up the street to HRC and the driver went to get our van to pick them up, then me. There was a little tourist shop near the HRC, so I ran in and picked up magnets for my co-workers (a tradition we have in the office) and a small bag. Good thing I did, we really didn’t stop anywhere else that we could shop at.
We had some awesome pasteles. The ones we had were at a shop near a large monastery and I guess they make 20,000 a day there (so… of course… that’s the one we needed to go to). The Pasteles are like miniature pies, with a flaky crust and have a custard inside. They are smaller in size than a baseball (around), but larger than a silver dollar. I had one… they were DELICIOUS! I also got a thing that looked like a “wonton” but it had meat filling, it was warm and it was quite good! After stopping for the pasteles, we stopped by a couple more monuments and then came back to the ship about 4 pm. I changed out of my VERY wet clothes and put some comfortable clothes on and went up to the spa, to lay on a heated tile lounge chair for a couple hours to warm up (and I know I dozed off!).

Then it was time to change (again) and head to dinner. I had dinner with a couple from Vancouver that I ate with on the 1st or 2nd night (nice couple, Mel & June), and there was a very entertaining couple from Huntington Beach and a couple from near Philadelphia at the table, along with another single woman that was from Holland. Dinner was good… I had my usual Escargot, some cream of Broccoli soup, some stuffed meatballs and my Crème Brule’ for desert.

After dinner I found the casino, THAT was a waste of time tonight, so I didn’t stay too long.
Tonight we get an extra hour of sleep (again… we did last night too). YAY! So… it’s about 8:30pm (if I set my clock back right now). I’m going to finish this blog and get it uploaded and then head to bed. I think it will be a restless night, as the boat is already rocking enough that you should be drunk to walk straight! LOL!

Okay… signing off.
Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

First Sea Day

Relaxing in the chair up on the "lawn"
We passed the Rock of Gibralter today (behind me).

So, today was a busy sea day. It started off with an 8am massage (which was
very relaxing and cleared my sinuses at least for a little while). Then we had our Cruise Critic reception, it was nice to meet more people and put names and faces together, although there
was NO way to meet everyone (there were almost 300 of us there!). Then it was lunch time (I haven’t had much of an appetite because of my head cold). I just got a hamburger cheese patty (minus toppings and buns) and about 10 French fries. That was more than enough for me. After lunch I went and laid in the solarium/spa (they have heated stone lounge chairs which are actually quite comfortable). I think the heat on my back helps (I’m trying to keep this cold out of my chest). This afternoon I went to play Bingo. The prize for the black-out game was having the
Royal Suite for the rest of the cruise. (WOW!).

No, I didn’t win. But, someone from Cruise critic DID win, so that was nice. After Bingo, I came back to the cabin, took a shower and relaxed until dinner time. Tonight I met up with some
others for dinner at the Lawn Grill. Of course, there was WAY more food than I could hope to eat, but the food was good and we had a good time. There were a lot of Cruise Critic folks there tonight and some of them were selected to be “chefs.” So, I got some great shots of some of them
learning to “throw” a pizza (in the air to make it bigger). The meal started off with a flatbread” (but it was more like a pizza with a lot of toppings). Then we had the main course with samplers of all the side dishes. I chose to have Carrot cake for desert, I asked for a quarter size piece, but it was still more than I could eat. After dinner I went to the show in the main theater… it was an Irish comedian (I would have gone just to listen to the accent! *smiles*). Then I participated in a “slot pull” competition, the person next to me won. I also spent a little in the casino.

Now it’s already almost 11:30pm and bedtime. Although we are changing time zones tonight,
so we get an extra hour (of sleep, hopefully). So, I’ll sign off and hope I can get online without too much trouble. Last night I was able to “save” my blog, but not post it. So, I saved it and then went in with my Ipad and was able to upload it that way.

Auf Wiedersehen!


Monday, October 24, 2011


Overlooking Palma

Today was another nice day. When I had looked at the weather forecast before leaving Germany, it said there was a 60-70% chance of rain today here in Mallorca. BUT, while it was overcast (and moreso the later in the day that it got), it did not rain at all today.

We arrived at the port of Palma Mallorca about 10:30am and by about 11:15, they said we could start getting off the ship. I had to meet my “group” at 11:15 and we were to meet our tour guide at noon. We actually left about 11:45am, so got a few minutes head start.

We stopped up at an overlook at the Bellver Castle where we got to take some panoramic photos, then continued on to the village of Soller. We spent about an hour in town before boarding our old vintage rail car with mahogany panels and brass fittings for a 30 minute ride through the mountains. The train had an electric locomotive and is the only one of its type that is still in use today. Our tour bus met us at the town where we got off the bus (we just did a one-way trip). From there we drove up to Validemossa to see the La Foradada church (the composer Chopin was from here). I did a little shopping. Then we headed back to Palma to visit the Majestic Palma Cathedral. It *was* beautiful! After that it was time to end our tour of Mallorca. They were nice enough to stop near Hard Rock Café for me and let me run in and buy myself a HRC tee shirt to add to my collection. Then it was back to the ship. I uploaded all my photos and then went to the “I” lounge to get my password set up. Last I checked I was still not able to log in with my netbook though, not sure why. Then I went to dinner. I had my usual Escargot, then a NY Strip steak and for desert I had my Crème Brule’.

My sinus infection or whatever it is, has developed into a head cold, so I’m feeling kind of run down tonight. It’s about 9:30pm and I’m going to try and see if I can’t get onto the internet from my room and upload this blog, and then I think I’ll call it an early (earlier?) night.

Tomorrow I have a massage appointment at 8am (ugh!) then our Cruise Critic bunch is having a reception at 10:45am. At 3pm our “Book Club” is meeting to discuss “Dream Merchant of Lisbon” and then at 6pm, I get dinner at the Lawn club with more from the Cruise Critic bunch. Sounds like it will be a busy day!

Okay… signing off.
Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I had a long blog written and will post it later today if I can get my wi-fi to work. We stopped in the Port city of Cagliari, Sardinia today. It was an absolutely beautiful day! We went to the city of Nora to see old Roman ruins, and then toured around Cagliari. *I* think I got some good pics today.

Tonight we had our Formal dinner... I had dinner with 7 others from Cruise critic (all of us are traveling "solo"). I had my escargot (again), some grilled Atlantic Salmon and then my Creme Brule' for desert. YUM!

Tomorrow we go to the island of Mallorca. Looking forward to tomorrow's tour!

Okay... gotta sign off!!


- Kris

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Safely onboard

I am not ready to post any pictures... but I *am* on board. I made it down to Rome okay, although the overnight train wasn't so good. I thought I had a reclining seat, but it didn't. I was in a cabin of six seats, 3 facing each other and there were 5 people in the cabin and at least one reeked of cigarette smoke! I dozed off and on (I'll sleep good tonight!) But, I did make it to Rome okay, and was able to switch trains okay to get out to the port. I boarded about 11:30 or so. I was bummed this afternoon when I found out their internet service was on the blink, they finally got the bugs worked out tonight, so I'm able to get on and post a little bit, but I haven't got my netbook or Ipad linked to the wireless. And tomorrow I'll be in Sardinia all day.

I met up with a BUNCH of cruise critic people for "sail-away", that was nice. I've been emailing with these folks for several months now and it was nice to meet them in person. One of the people who have been most active on the list (Bev), wasn't feeling well today while she was in Rome, and came out by bus (and was having trouble breathing), they thought she was having heart problems (has a history, apparently). They took her to the hospital and we got a call (someone in Cruise Critic) that she'd apparently had a collapsed lung (and possibly pneumonia?). How sad! She's been so active with planning. I hope she will be okay!

Tonight for dinner I had my escargot appetizer. Yum! I wasn't real hungry, so I had a cup of mushroom soup for my main course and then for desert I had my creme brulee'... Double YUM!

Okay... gonna sign off. I'll post pictures when I can.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Friday, October 21, 2011

I am on the train leaving Munich for Rome

I am leaving Munich, so can't write much. All is well, I will post tomorrow when I am on the boat. I will lose Internet soon. In for a LONG train ride to Rome!

Auf Weidersehen!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

One more night... one MORE night...

Of course... I know you've probably seen this one before... but what can I say... I *love* this picture. I'm also ordering postage stamps with this picture on it. *smiles*

This is November's calendar picture.

SO... now you've got an idea what my new calendar is going to look like! *smiles*

Work went fine today, I had another cancellation so I only ended up with a couple appointments. THAT was nice! I helped my newest co-worker (that came a month or so ago) with her time sheet and then had to call a couple people, one to set up an appointment for when I get back and another that was in crisis.

Haven't done much since I got home (not as much as I should have). I did take the dogs for a 2.5 mile walk after work, but then I had to reload Itunes on my netbook and that has taken way too long (the netbook is really slow). Later tonight I took the dogs over to the dog sitter, so tonight I get a nice quiet, uneventful evening (and sleep!).

Right now I'm coloring my hair (and it's 10:30 at night) and I still want to sweep and mop the floors before I go to bed... so I'd best sign off.

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Give Blood!

Today was rainy all day and thankfully it stopped just about the time I got off work. AND it was cold... 37* this afternoon when I took the dogs for a short walk (about a mile). I wore a long-sleeved shirt, a sweatshirt AND my coat (along with jeans and some boots). BRRRR!

I decided that Bruno needed his coat today... doesn't he look handsome?

This is October's calendar pic.

SO... this morning I had an appointment with my Primary Care Provider (PCP). I got to the clinic about 7:15 for a 7:30am appt. The doc didn't show up til 8am (and did I mention I had a 9am appointment scheduled for some clients to come in????. Anyway, the appointment itself went fine. I got my refills. I got to meet her for the first time (I've seen her around the clinic a lot, but never have had the opportunity to introduce myself). Her bedside manners were better than I've heard she's had with others. (Thank goodness). She's a trained internist, so that's why I chose her for my PCP. She went ahead and put in orders to get my lab draws done (same as last year)... so then I had *9* tubes of blood drawn! (YOWZA!). And the girl doing it (ironically her married last name is the same as my married last name), had to keep moving the butterfly needle around and on the last tube, she released my tourniquet and then had to put it back on because the blood stopped flowing when she took it off. UGH! I did good though. And I had fasted, just in case it was possible to go ahead and just get my labs today.

My ears have been bothering me... especially my right one (when I sleep and yawn, I hear a crackling noise in my ears). Anyway, she said my allergies must be bothering me because I had fluid behind my drums (I've never been diagnosed with any allergies, except Pennicillian and Sulfa.

The GOOD news, was on the official hospital scale, I weighed a 1/2 pound below my goal! YAY! And that's with my clothes on! On my scale this morning, I was down 23 pounds total now. (and a couple pounds below my summertime goal I had set... it just took me a little longer to reach it).

I will keep working on losing weight, but more important, I'll make every effort to not GAIN back what I've lost!

Work went fine today. I had five appointments scheduled (and all came in). Tomorrow isn't going to be as busy as I had expected (whew!). I had one client call that is out of town and unable to come in, another just got back from being out of the country and is sick, so cancelled for tomorrow and another couple who I usually see every other week, decided to go ahead and wait until I return to come in (I had just seen them last week). SO... I think I only have 3 appointments tomorrow. That'll be nice. And I only have 1 on Friday. That'll give me time (hopefully tomorrow) to get all my notes caught up. All the notes have to be done before I leave on Friday. Tomorrow I'm supposed to see a new couple, but it was a "tentative" appointment and for some reason I am thinking that they may have called to reschedule, but now I'm not sure. Guess I'll find out tomorrow.

Okay... time to sign off. It's 9pm and I'd like to be asleep in a half hour... and that's after taking the dogs out for their walk!


Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Not so productive evening!

This is the Trevi Fountain in Rome...

SO... work went fine today, I had a no-show which worked out well, because I ended up being tasked to do a powerpoint presentation project for my boss (who is still on vacation). Then I had someone call and needed me to do a walk-in this afternoon and that took a little longer than I had expected. But... it all worked out. That's the main thing.

After work I came home and took the dogs for a 2.7 mile walk. AND, I got my FURMINATOR today in the mail, so I got to try it out on them. It's a special type brush to remove excess dog hair. Seemed to get a lot of hair off... so hope that helps. And tonight I've been on the computer, well, mainly my netbook that I'm planning to take with me. I went through and deleted a bunch of old emails off of it, and now I'm copying all the old pictures on it, over to one of my external drives. THAT is going to take all night, so glad I've got it started.

Now it's almost 9pm and I haven't had any dinner yet, so I'd best sign off. I was planning to have a salad and some fresh strawberries with whip cream... maybe I'll just do the strawberries & whip cream! *smiles*

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Monday, October 17, 2011

Beautiful Sunset!

August's calendar picture...

Tonight's sunset over the Steinenbronn fields... beautiful, huh!

Work was easy today and I was able to get some miscellaneous stuff done. I'm going to be busy the next few days though.

After work I came home and the dogs and I did a 4.2 mile walk. I really like one road that I take them down sometimes. I call it the "end of the road, road." Because it dead-ends. What I like about it, is that because it IS a dead-end, there is hardly ever anyone on it and I can let the dogs off their leashes for an extended length of time. From my place (going over one of the lower trails through the field, then up over the paved road, continuing on a dirt road that runs on the top side of the orchards, around to what I refer to as the "4 corners" area, then we head down a dirt road (I think headed west) to the first road that heads north... then I head west on the "end of the road" road. Anyway... with a little detour on that road... I come back and it's a little over 4 miles when we get home. Unfortunately, it was getting dark by the time we got home (see the sunset photo????).

After our walk we came home and I gave the dogs a bath, then had some dinner. Tonight's dinner was salad and for desert I had strawberries with whip cream. YUM!

I'm getting so excited about my cruise. I found out today that there are 284 people signed up through cruise critic for this cruise. That's amazing! Today I printed out more stuff related to my cruise.

Okay... I'd better sign off...

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Another weekend gone...

July's calendar pic...

So... today I got up and let the dogs out in the yard for a sec, then we went back to bed til about 10. I haven't done much today... didn't even get my 10k steps in today, not even 5,000. I did do some laundry, watched a couple movies on TV, and then packed my suitcase for my cruise.

Later this afternoon I went over to David & Carol's for dinner. Carol is SUCH a good cook. Tonight she cooked a chicken, then we had stuffing, rice, gravy & corn. MMMM!!!! It is always good to see them and they are always so welcoming and inviting.

I think this week will be crazy. Tomorrow shouldn't be too bad, but I have a lot scheduled for Tuesday, Weds & Thursday. Friday I only have one appointment scheduled in the morning/ I'm going to drop the dogs off on Thursday night, then come home and sweep and mop (because the dogs shed too much). I'd like to come home to a clean house. I still need to make sure I have all my ducks in a row for the cruise (I think I have everything printed that needs to be printed). I need to get my vitamins ready to take, and figure out what jewelry to take, and then make sure I have the candy for the cruisers. *smiles* Anyway... this week will just be crazy. BUT, this time next week I'll be on the ship and will have just spent the day in Sardinia!

Okay... it's 9:30pm... time to sign off.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Saturday, October 15, 2011

G'night already!

Well, it's almost 11pm so bedtime already. I'ts been a LONG day. I woke up at 5, and left just after 6am. I drove up to Grafenwohr for a volksmarch. I did 12k. Then afterwards I went to the military post up there and met up with my former supervisor. It was good to see her. I think I'm crazy though because I drove 400 miles (round-trip) to do the 12k. I got a "medal" (Prize)... this one was a little stuffed bavarian bear wearing lederhosen. And it wasn't just for the Volksmarch, it was also to check out the community and to see my former boss from Alaska. I don't like taking my car for long distances. Today it felt like the engine lost its vacuum sensor a couple times. One of these days... I'll get a new car that I can really trust on the autobahn.

Tonight after I got home, I turned around and went back out to an Italian restaurant with my neighbor Tamie. That was a nice evening!

Okay, I'm going to sign off. Maybe tomorrow night I will post some pictures from today.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kri

Friday, October 14, 2011


May's calendar picture...

Sunset over Steinenbronn fields tonight...

SO... I *am* SO glad that today is over (and the weekend). It's been hectic today even though my two appointments cancelled. We had several issues going on so I had to put the supervisor hat on and finally had to call my supervisor (who is on leave) for advice with one issue. I think my other Social Worker/co-worker is feeling a tad bit overwhelmed. (And, I'm getting the impression that she can't multi-task very well). So... work-wise, it felt non-stop all day, although we did take a break from work at lunch time and took a little longer lunch time and a group of us went to a nearby Italian restaurant (one that I like a lot but seldom go to). I had Lasagna. And the consensus was to drive to the restaurant, but then after lunch, the Admin person and I walked back and I was disappointed to find it was only about 1300 steps. What????? (I would have thought at LEAST 2 thousand!

I left work late (about 5) and came home (traffic was a pain) and I took the dogs out for their walk. We did something like 2.9 miles. *I* needed that walk. I was (and still am to a degree) feeling a little frazzled. I'm sure it is a culmination of things... my fitbit said I was awake 27 times last night (dogs were restless), then dealing with the issues of today at work (and being slightly annoyed with my co-worker, who I am feeling should know more than she seems to, about her job (she's been doing it for several years, if I'm correct) ). Anyway... towards the end of the walk I could feel some of the tension easing.

I found out today that there is a volksmarch up/over in Grafenwohr this weekend. I'd like to go. BUT... it IS a 3 hour drive (and then I would be volksmarching for 2-3 hours) and I'd be passing through the town where my former supervisor is now living. I don't want to take the dogs... so I need to talk with my neighbor to see if the kids would be available to come get the dogs and take them out sometime during the day tomorrow (or I could go on Sunday). I just dunno. There's a part of me that says I should stay home and do a volksmarch closer to where I live and concentrate on packing for my trip (a week from tonight I will be leaving from work to hop on a a train to Rome (overnight train) and then a week from tomorrow I will be hopping on the cruise ship... whooohooo!!!!!). I don't think it would take long to pack, but I want to wear some of the pants this coming week, that I want to pack. So, that's part of what is holding me up. I *should* just go pick out 5 OTHER outfits for next week (some of which would require ironing) and get my clothes all laid out for this coming week and then just go ahead and pack tht three pants that I am waiting to pack. (IF that makes any sense).

Okay... signing off. At least I'm writing this earlier. It's not quite 8pm yet. I *may* go out with my neighbor tonight, but I haven't heard from her. And if I don't go out with her (the kids were supposed to spend the night with friends), then I might just go to bed soon. I'm tired.

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Thursday, October 13, 2011

One more day... just one more day (this work week)

This is April's Calendar picture

So... had a busy day today at work. For those who know me, you know I'm not very confrontational. My co-worker has been fairly late 2 out of 3 days. Today she was almost an hour late! She said she decided to try an "alternative" route to work (in the dark and in the rain????) and got lost. I guess I'm tolerant of up to 15 mins late... (preferably not more than 5-10 minutes), but anything more than that, then you'd better have a good (better) excuse. Anyway, then there were a couple somewhat minor issues to deal with that my boss would have normally dealt with. In some ways, because my co-worker has more experience in the field of Domestic Violence, I expect her to handle some of those issues (and she's more experienced than I am in a lot of areas!). One of the issues she didn't want to get involved in was because she hadn't seen a particular form before, on another, she wouldn't commit to whether it was a reportable event or not.

I've just been taking notes of issues that come up, so I can make sure and address with my supervisor when she comes in next week (Weds??? I thought she was coming back on Monday, but someone told me today it was Wednesday).

At lunch we had to go over to the main clinic for the meeting (worthless for me, because I won't be here when our clinic goes through their major inspection later this month). Afterwards I ran by the house to let the dogs out (because I was getting my nails done after work and wouldn't be home til late and I didn't want to make the dogs wait that long).

This afternoon I had two appointments (got back at 2, because the meeting ran til 1and we took our lunch from 1-2), so the appointments were at 2 & 3 (so finished up at 4). I was hoping to get my notes done then, but alas... someone came in with questions about her son and possibly getting him assessed for ADHD. I had our secretary schedule the kid with the child psychologist that does that kind of stuff. Anyway... there went the last half hour of my day. Oh well.

Tomorrow won't be much better... although we haven't been told yet if we have training (back over at the clinic) in the afternoon yet. In the morning I have two appointments scheduled. At least the only notes I'm behind on, are those from today. And I don't have any assessments due. Oh yea... and I still need to do my performance review for this year. UGH! (And it is a total waste of time because they have already told us that we are not getting a pay raise). Oh well.

On another note... I was checking my medical records and I haven't been this "low" in my weight for 5 years. This morning I got on the scale and you could see the "line" of my goal, I'm right below it (but not a pound below yet). All those salads for dinner and all that walking is paying off! But... on another note, about 9 years ago, I was still 44 pounds lighter than I am now. (About a year after my gastric bypass surgery).

Okay... here it is almost 9pm again tonight and time to sign off. I did get to watch "Survivor" tonight, that was nice, but I missed "The X Factor" show.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Happy Hump Day!

March Calendar picture...

Photo of fall colors I took this afternoon while walking the dogs (we did just over 2.5 miles today).

Work went fine... it started off with a meeting and then I had to put my temporary supervisor hat on today and deal with a couple somewhat minor issues. Thankfully I had one cancellation, so I only had four appointments today. I've been pretty good about keeping up on my notes, I have 1 set of notes to write still, but that's all. (Not too bad).

Tomorrow I have to go over to the main clinic for a lunch-time meeting... what a pain. Oh well, it will give me a chance to put some gas in my car.

I did something silly tonight. I ordered special stamps for my Christmas cards. They match the December calendar picture (and it is the picture I had on my calendar last year). I went to website. Why did I do it (and spend too much money on stamps?) Because I could and I'm just impressed that you can make a stamp of your favorite picture that is totally legal and accepted by the USPS.

Okay... time to sign off... once again it is almost 9pm. My free time tonight has been taken up with updating my Iphone and Ipad. It took longer than I thought it would.

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Walking for health...

This is my February Calendar picture. I took it at the Fasching Parade last February in Tubingen, Germany.

My poor dogs... we walked for almost 2 hours (including all the times we stopped to take pictures and eat fresh blackberries)... We did 3.76 miles tonight. I'm OFF being on-call... so I could go as far and for as long as I wanted to when we walked after work (the sun had set by the time we got home!). Anyway... my poor dogs... they are so patient with me as I put them in various places and want to take their picture! lol!

I couldn't help taking a "self-portrait" with the colorful fall leaves. It almost looks like a fake background... but alas... those are real trees and real leaves!

So... I've lost 21 pounds since I started this walking routine... HOORAY! I feel better for it too. And I *do* like walking. I'm so thankful that the weather has stayed fairly nice and that it hasn't rained as much as I had expected it would.

Work went fine today.. I had 2 no-shows this morning so I am now caught up on my "assessments" and I was able to print out some information for my upcoming cruise. This afternoon I had 3 appointments back-to-back and I felt bad because I had a family of five come in thinking their appointment was today, but it is tomorrow. And I couldn't see them today because I already had someone scheduled.

And, as I mentioned previously, after work I took the dogs for a long walk. I had salad for dinner (again tonight) and now it's 9pm and time to think about getting ready for bed. Tomorrow morning I have an early morning meeting and then a full day scheduled.

Okay... signing off...

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Monday, October 10, 2011

Columbus Day

I thought I would post my 2012 Calendar pictures... above is the January (2012) picture.

So... Not a lot to write about today. I took the train into town and bought a liner for my Jack Wolfskin coat. Then I went to the mall and I was going to buy some address labels (for the upcoming Slot Pull on the Cruise, I'm co-captain for it) - to make stick-on name badges - found some of those... have been working with them tonight, but they are a German brand, so the sizing isn't listed in Microsoft Office. I've found a template, I hope it works. Then I was going to buy some Vacuum Cleaner bags... and had taken a picture of the Vacuum cleaner... but when I got there, they needed to know the model (which is listed on the bottom of the Vacuum cleaner), so I came home and took the dogs for their 2 1/2 mile walk, then went back over to the mall and got the bags. Whew! I also bought myself a pair of dress shoes.

Had salad for dinner tonight (mixed in some shredded cheese, imitation crab and seasoned sliced almonds...mmm!).

My fitbit is showing that I've walked over 17,000 steps today! Wowza! Maybe it will reflect on the scale in the morning? Hope so. I'm SO close to breaking through my goal barrier. I'd love to see it under it tomorrow morning!

Okay, it's 9:30pm, time to sign off. Oh yea... today/tonight is my last night of being on call for 2 weeks... tomorrow I get to give the phone over to my co-worker. Hope this week goes by fast and that I can keep up with all my work!

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Nice day, nice walk...

Moon rising over the orchards

Fresh blackberries are mmmm good (even if I *did* have to share them with Bruno! LOL!)

Hunting stand in the woods...

The doggies & I walk this path almost every day, it goes through the orchards... there are various apple trees and pear trees here.

Close-up of a flower that was up at the end of the one road that we walk...

SO... nice lazy Sunday off. After letting the dogs out into the yard for a minute about 7am, we laid back down until about 9:30am. I really had plans to do more than I did today... but that's okay, I got some good things accomplished.

The better part of my afternoon was picking out my pictures for my Christmas card, and then sorting through my "calendar" pics (I had put 34 potential pictures on my Facebook account and asked people to choose the ones they liked the best). Anyway, so I went through the pictures and then modified them to add where the pictures were taken. Then I had to upload them to VistaPrint. I ordered the Christmas card from Walmart. Neither Walmart or VistaPrint will mail to an APO mailbox. I ordered 75 Christmas cards, 25 wall calendars and 5 desk calendars. (Guess what everyone is getting from ME for Christmas! *smiles*)

Then, late afternoon I took the dogs for a 4.31 mile walk. We had a good pace while walking 18+ minutes, but I would pause it to stop and take pictures and while the dogs did their business. I really like the one road we walk every now and then. It's a dead-end road, but I can let the dogs off their leash and they can lolly-gag and/or run to their heart's content.

One nice thing about today... they had predicted it would rain all weekend... and today was about 50* and partly cloudy... a nice day to take a walk (see the photos... don't you agree?).

Tonight I had plans to go through some paperwork... but haven't done it and now it's almost 10pm. I've been watching football games (half-heartedly)... right now I'm watching the Panthers vs the Saints.

Okay... time to sign off for another day. Tomorrow I'm hoping to take the train on into Stuttgart. I want to go to Jack Wolfman (store) and pick up a fleece liner for my coat. I also need to figure out what kind of vacuum cleaner bags I need and I want to pick up some large address labels (so I can make labels for those doing the slot pull on the cruise I'm going on, I'm a co-captain (or whatever you want to call it) for the slot pull and wanted to make some nametags).

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Productive Saturday...

Well, after being able to sleep in (after a short potty break for the doggies), I got up and got productive. I washed my windows today (finally), I washed the ones on the main floor and in the basement. I cleaned out the window well in my bathroom downstairs (the best I could). I swept and mopped the downstairs, and vacuumed the main floor. I even vacuumed out under the seat cushions on the couch! I also did some laundry and some dishes.

I did get to take the dogs for a walk this afternoon, we did just over 3 miles (including along the road in the picture above)... and I stopped and picked some fresh blackberries along the way! Mmmmmm!

Tonight I had to run some errands. I had gotten a fleece liner for my jacket, but the liner is a woman's and the jacket is a men's jacket and they zip up differently. And, they didn't have a black men's liner there today. So... looks like on Monday I'll be making a trip on into Stuttgart.

Heard on the radio today that Roger Williams has passed away. I loved his song "Born Free." Here's a link about his death:

Okay... it's almost 11pm, I'm going to sign off... I'm watching some football on TV, but hope to be in bed within an hour or so. Looks like it is raining outside now, so it'll be a quick trip for the dogs for their potty break. I'm already up over 13,000 steps for today and have done 117% of my 70,000 steps goal for the week. *smiles*

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Friday, October 7, 2011

Just chillin...

Have I said how much I love this house that is near where I live (and that I walk by every day when I take my dogs for their walk). I love it!

So... today was a paperwork day. And I got *almost* all of it done, just need to write up one more assessment.

And for those of us that weren't off today, we had an "organized" lunch. A couple co-workers ran out and picked up lunch for us (that we ordered). We got it from a nearby Thai restaurant. I just got chicken fried rice and had a couple small spring rolls with it. It was pretty good (and now I get fried rice for dinner tonight).

We did get off a little early. I was still doing paperwork, so left about a half hour after they told us we could leave. Since the dogs weren't expecting me home yet, I ran out by the Ritter Sport Chocolate factory to pick up some chocolate to take on the cruise (to share). At least if I can manage all the chocolate to take on the trip, and the "gift exchange" gift... then that gives me that much more weight/space to pick up stuff along my cruise. I don't need any "ship" mementos on this trip, because I bought them last trip! *smiles*

I was happy that it wasn't TOO wet outside when I got home, so I got to take the dogs for their walk tonight. We did almost 2 1/2 miles. But, because I didn't leave the building at lunchtime, I still haven't gotten my 10,000 steps in. Guess I'd better get up and get busy doing SOMETHING... even if it is wrong! *smiles*

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rain, rain go away...

I don't know if you can see it, but there was a cool (and big) spiderweb under the street sign when I took the dogs for a walk the other day. *smiles*

SO... the rain has started and it sounds like it will be a weekend of rain (good thing that the closest volksmarch is still too far away to go to this weekend, since I'm on call). Looks like it might be a good weekend to think about packing for my cruise and going through paperwork here at the house and possibly getting some of that organized.

Work was somewhat busy today, good thing I take notes... otherwise I might not remember what to write when I do get the chance to write some notes! Tomorrow I have a new couple coming in for some counseling and then I will have something like 4-5 assessments to get written up (a couple are already in progress) and have about 14 notes to write. Busy day that way! If I can get it done early, maybe they'll let us off a little early (and I can leave a little early), because they are going into the weekend and a lot of people will be taking off to do some traveling.

Tonight after work I took one of my neighbor's kids to piano practice (Tia) and then Tamie took Trevor for a call back on a play that he had tried out for (kid's Christmas play). After Tia finished, then we went over and met up with Tamie and got to watch Trevor read for a part a few times as they mixed and mingled the kids. Tia was pretty disappointed, she had tried out as well, but wasn't chosen for a call back. I guess Trevor will find out on Monday whether or not he is selected. Coming home I took some wrong turns and I think I got "blitzed" for making an illegal U turn (I was just doing what my GPS was telling me to do). Over here in Germany they have cameras on a lot of the intersections and along roadways and at night they "flash" when you get caught... darn. Well, it'll be my 2nd ticket since I got here (one of my co-worker has had about 12 tickets I guess!). They send the tickets to our workplace and hopefully it will get passed on to us in a timely manner so we can get them paid. My last ticket was 20 euros (I was going 39 kilometers in a 30 kilometer area).

Okay... signing off...

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Busy Wednesday...

I know it is very hard to distinguish... but there is a bird at the top of this tree... and it's a woodpecker! First one I've seen! They must migrate, because I haven't heard them all summer. I just read online that cuckoo birds also migrate, I guess the ones here in Germany migrate to Africa. I hope they come back soon so I can hear them again???

Just a "fall colors" picture taken this week. Not today, but I did take a 2 1/2 mile walk with my doggies after work. We got a little bit of a late start, because I stopped to talk with my neighbors.

Work was busy today, but thankfully I had one of my clients switch to tomorrow... so that made it a *little* easier. But there is always something that needs to get done, even when I do have free time. (Today it was helping my boss a couple times with computer issues).

It's hard to believe that just 2 weeks from Friday I'll be on the train to Rome and then going on my cruise to New Jersey. I'm VERY excited!

Okay... I'm going to keep this short!

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Tuesday, October 4, 2011



Just a short post... work went fine today, a medium busy day and I had to do some online training and the website was giving me fits... but I managed to finally finish it. I had one couple cancel because one of them was sick, and I guess I was confused about another one... couldn't remember if we had said today or Thursday, I guess it was Thursday! *smiles*

I didn't take the dogs for their regular walk, just a very short one because I got home from work late and tonight my Volksmarching club had their monthly meeting. I got to meet some new people there, including a Social Worker that just got over here (came over with her husband). I also met someone named Ivy who is a writer, she reminded me SO much of my middle daughter's friend Kate.

Okay... it's 9:30pm, I'm going to sign off and take the dogs out for their last short walk of the day.

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Monday, October 3, 2011

Easy Monday...

Aren't the fall colors just beautiful? I took this on our way back home today... (sometimes we continue on down this road).

Apples anyone? The local fields abound with apples (and no, I've never picked one)

These look pretty ripe. Not sure what kind they are... eating, baking?

The dogs and I generally travel up this dirt road every day on the beginning part of our walk... and there are pears in that there tree... *smiles*

This was taken this morning... it was actually darker than it looks in this picture, but it kind of shows you the mist over the field that we walk in the morning for our early walk and then we go down to this field at the end of the day.

Work went great today... I was supposed to have three clients in today and one couple called and had overslept and another was a family that I was supposed to see but the parents had work conflicts. So, I only had one appointment and that was a new client, so it lasted about 2 hours. Whew! At least I got to get some of my assessments written up, two out of three... now I'm back to needing to do just two more. I think I only have 5 appointments tomorrow (first one at 8am though!).

After work I did my normal walk with the doggies... we did 2.6 miles. We could have walked the 4 mile route, and probably should have while we can do that (pretty soon it will be getting too dark too early to even do any walks after work)... and tomorrow night I may be going to the Volksmarching club's meeting (and having dinner there), which would mean I won't be able to do a very long walk with the dogs (max 1/2 hour probably). But... I've already got 45% of my 70,000 steps for this week, so if I don't make 10k tomorrow, it's going to be okay. I *was* impresed to go to my fitbit site and look and see that I've done 884 miles so far since I got it in March! Wow!

Okay... it's 9:15, I need to get the dogs out for their walk and then do my regular night-time routine and get ready for bed... so will sign off for another day...

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Another volksmarch bites the dust...

A couple of my volksmarching buddies today (Carols' the blond one, she's done other volksmarches with me (or I with her), this was my first time meeting Tametria). There were two others that were with Carol today as well (Kari and and I can't remember the other one).

There were sheep along the volksmarch path today!

I liked this part of the hike...

I thought this tree was beautiful! (Not sure what kind it was)

And this was the scene at the end of my block... aren't the trees pretty? I took this when I took the dogs out for their morning potty walk.

So, I had a good volksmarch, I did 11k. Now I am up over 200k on volksmarches (I think I am at 16 or 17 volksmarches total so far). I wore my "Five fingered" shoes, because I was recovering from a blister on one of my toes, but still got another blister, this one under my left big toe. UGH!

When I got home, I took the dogs for a mile & a half walk, then came home, took a shower and headed over to my dog sitter's for dinner. It was pretty good! We had salmon, baked sweet potato, and spinach salad with fruit in it. mmm! And I felt like I was eating healthy!

Speaking of which... I'm only 2 pounds away from my summertime goal (ok... so it took a couple extra months... but I'm getting there!). Hoping if I eat salads for dinner this week that I'll take off those last two (I mainly wanted to get the weight off before my cruise and before winter). And if I keep losing... I won't mind that. I'd like to lose at least another 25 (which still would put me 20 up over my lowest weight in 10 years).'s almost 9pm, I'd better think about getting my stuff ready for work tomorrow and get the dogs out for their potty break. I did good and was in bed by about 10pm last night, but then got a call on my work phone (remember, I'm on call) about 11pm last night. At least it wasn't something I had to go in for.

So... I'll sign off... another weekend done... another marble out of the jar... (okay... I'll explain. Once upon a time someone suggested (at least as an adult), you put X amount of marbles in a jar, say... the amount of marbles equal to the number of weekends you would have if you lived to be 80 or 90, and take them out 1 at a time as the time goes back, maybe it would help you appreciate how important your days are in your life!).

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris