Wednesday, November 30, 2011

One more day... and a half.

It's Wednesday night here in Germany. When it's Wednesday night in Alaska... my oldest daughter will be hopping on a plane headed on a long flight this way. I'll pick her up about 9am on Friday morning (and she only has a couple 2 hour layovers... but just a LOT of flying!). And there are things I had planned to do tonight... but I've been watching the movies "The Next Three Days" with Russell Crowe". Its a tense drama movie and has had me rivited to my seat here on the couch!

Work went okay today, I was fairly busy. I had one new client (couple) and then some "regulars." There's some tension with some of my clients right now... I hope things work out okay. (Can't say much else).

Okay... I'm going to keep it short tonight.

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Costy car...

So, I got my car back after work... it cost me just over $830 dollars. Yea. At Christmas time. UGH! So, let's see... just over a year ago I think I spent about $1,500 to get the car ready to ship over and when the car got here, I had to put 2 more new tires on it. (Was that all?) Then in February or so, when I went up to Brussels, the car started acting up, that was another $1,500 or so and now this. Sheesh! I hope it stays running okay now until I can get a new car (hopefully this spring), although it IS nice to NOT have a car payment and the increase in car insurance is going to be a bummer. But... at least I have car back.

Work was rather hectic today. I didn't have a lot of clients, but the ones I did see today were emotionally charged (at least for me). Two clients in particular.

After work I took the dogs for a short walk, but I've still got less than 8,000 steps. Yesterday I had about 6700 steps or so. And I'm on call now for the next week (oh well, the extra $ will come in handy).

Okay... I'm going to sign off for the day.

Auf Wiedersehen.

- Kris

P.S. I'm thankful to have my car back with working brakes!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Whew! Another Monday!

These are my neighbor kids, Trevor & Tia. I took this photo on Saturday at the castle. Cute kids, huh!

SOOO... work went fine, I only had two couples come in today for counseling, and I got THOSE notes done, but I still need to write up all my assessments. I spent time surfing the web today looking at new vehicles. Of course... I still like the idea of an Audi TT, but two of my co-workers have crossover SUV's (smaller SUVs). One has a Mercedes GLK, another has the Audi Q5. So, I looked online at those today and the comparable BMW X3, and the Volvo XC60. All are around 35K to 40K (yikes!). And of course... I still like the TT.

I'm counting down to my daughter's arrival. Tonight though I'm feeling pretty lazy and don't feel like doing anything. All I *need* to do before she comes is mop the main floor.

Tomorrow after work I go back on-call for another week. And then I think the next time I will have it is at Christmas.

Okay, I'm going to sign off.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Another Sunday bites the dust...

What a beautiful day to take the dogs for a walk! We did just over 4 miles *smiles*

Peanut's running to catch up.

So, I got to sleep in this morning (after taking the dogs up for a quick potty break), then I got up and did some picking up around the house. I swept and mopped the basement floor and picked up around the livingroom (well, cleared off the dining table). I still need to sweep and mop the main floor.

It's hard to believe that my oldest daughter will be here this coming Friday! Although, it looks like she may be getting more than she bargained for... as my friends from Wiesbaden want to come down and go to the Chocolate Festival in Tubingen with us. (Oh, and did I mention Andrea's parents are here visiting? So... they'll have 9 when they come down!). I bought all the fixings for Speghetti dinner, I figured that's something that's easy to feed a lot of people with. I also bought the stuff to make pancakes for breakfast.

Okay, I'll sign off for tonight.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hohenzollern Castle Christmas market

The market AFTER dark...

The market in the courtyard earlier in the late afternoon

Sun setting in the window

Looking out at the sunset over the land...

The castle at night...

So, after sleeping in a little, I ran some errands and got back home by 2. Then I headed out with my neighbors to the Hohenzollern castle about an hour south of town. We were down there a LONG time (actually, an extreme amount of time considering how small of a Christmas market they had there). I didn't buy too much... I bought a puzzle of the castle and I bought a coffee mug that has a doggie on it that looks like Bruno, but it's neat because the head of the dog on the cup sticks out, almost like a handle. It's hard to describe. I probably should just take a picture of it and post it here.

Okay... I'm going to keep this short... it's 10:30pm and I'm tired. When we got back to town, we went to the Steinenbronn Christmas market. I had gone down earlier thinking it started about 11, but they were just setting it up, and then it was 8:30 or so before we got back there, and they were breaking everything down. So, we went to a "doner" restaurant (think Turkey, think Gyros). Then I came home and took the dogs out for their walk.

And now it's bed time. I am thankful for the warm bed I'm going to go crawl into soon and I am thankful for all the new friends I have made over here.

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Friday, November 25, 2011

Survived the day...

I took this photo with my Iphone as I walked the dogs when I got home from work.

So, after surviving yesterday and last night and getting less than 5 hours of sleep... I survived the day with intermittent breaks. My neighbor gave me a ride to work, then I had to catch a ride back home to meet the tow truck, so they could get my car towed to the shop (I'm trying a local German shop, not the same one that has worked on it in the past). Right now I have a rental car, (an older Audi A6), but I believe I can only go 50 kilometers a day in it, otherwise I will have to pay extra. And they called me at the end of the day and let me know that my rear brake calipers (cylinders?) are leaking, so they will need to replace those and the rear brake pads (because the leaking brake fluid has ruined them). I can't WAIT to see how much THAT is going to cost me (right before my daughter comes... right before Christmas). At least almost all of my Christmas shopping has been taken care of, I think I'm down to one gift card (for my middle daughter).

I have to say though... I am VERY thankful that I wasn't driving when the brakes went out, I'm not sure I would have been quick enough to think about using my hand brake.

Other than that... work went okay. I didn't have any clients scheduled (most of the clinic was closed today) and HAD planned to get all my documentation done... but they had the computer system (that we enter our documentation into) down almost all day and when it did finally come up at the end of the day, it was VERY slow (like 5-10 minutes to do one step at a time, so I spent about 45 minutes trying to enter one note and never did get it to save!). I *did* get them all written up in Word, so when I *can* access the web, I will be able to just cut and paste. I may go in this weekend and get them entered.

Sometime this weekend I think I'm going with my neighbors to a Christmas market that is being held in the courtyard of a neat castle that's about 45 minutes south of where I live. That should be neat. And I think I'm going to go ahead and go buy myself a 3 Terrabyte external hard drive tomorrow!

Okay... I'm going to sign off.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris
*Thankful I have a warm bed to go crawl into soon and thankful I get to sleep in tomorrow morning!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving (belated)

Frost on the leaves...

These photos were taken Thanksgiving Day.

Sorry I didn't post earlier. I was a bit distracted. I took the dogs for there 2.5 mile walk, then goofed around the house (did laundry, swept off the back porch, made some toffee and the green bean casserole I was supposed to take over to my boss' house)... but then I got ready to leave, went out and started my car and put my foot on the brake and it went all the way to the floor!!! YIKES! Thankfully I wasn't driving. SO... I called my boss and let her know I wasn't going to be able to make over to her house (no transportation) and then called my neighbor to see if I got a tow truck to the auto shop if she could give me a ride back, but they were just going to friends' house for Thanksgiving. Well, long story short, I went with her (these are friends I've met several other times before and I was very welcome and had been previously invited) and we stopped by the auto shop. They said I could drop my car off today (I have to get it towed today) and I guess I will be picking up a rental car there for at least the weekend.

Anyway... we didn't get home til about midnight (played dominos and a marbles game most of the night and I didn't have control over when we left and almost everyone else has today off). That and I had some wine last night (too much), so was really in no shape to blog.

SO... late post and now I've got to get ready for work, because my neighbor's going to drop me off and we are leaving about 45 minutes early. YIKES (so, not too much sleep last night!)

Gotta scoot!

Auf Wiedersehen

- Kris

P.S. Thankful I wasn't driving when the brakes went out and thankful I got still got to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sunset before Thanksgiving

This was the sunset tonight. I got off work about a half hour early tonight so I got to make it home as the sun was setting.

Work went fine today although I had accidentally overbooked 2 appointments, the first one I was able to contact one of the people and they are going to call me to reschedule. On the other one, I emailed a father and didn't hear back, so I had our secretary call the parents of the other child I was seeing to have them cancel their appointment and then the other kid didn't show. Go figure!

We had our potluck today, that went well. I think there were about 20 people there (mainly staff with a couple spouses). There was PLENTY of food! Yum Yum!

Tonight I'm just chillin... I'm tired. I'm looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow (if Peanut will let me!). I'm going over to my boss' house about 2 for dinner. I'm making a green bean casserole to take over there. I guess there will be about 10 people there (mainly co-workers).

Today I *did* get my application completed and submitted. That took a lot longer than I expected. I think between last night and today I spent about 5 hours on it. But it is done now.

Let's see... thankful things...

1) I'm thankful that I have fairly good computer skills.

2) I am thankful for digital cameras! *smiles*

Okay... time to sign off!

Have a Happy Turkey Day tomorrow! Be Thankful!

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hooray! Off call for a week! *smiles*

I think I'll skip a picture tonight. It's already 8:30pm and I've got to make something for a potluck tomorrow and I still have about 3,000 steps to get in tonight.

Work went fine today, my boss was back and got to interview someone involved in the situation that I had to go out on call for this weekend. THAT was interesting. I also talked with one of our docs that had an eyelid lift and saw her before and after pics, you can definitely notice a difference. She had it done here, but the doc that did it has moved back to the States. I'm thinking about seeing if I can get it done (sounds like I qualify). Why? Well, my eyelids are at the point where they are drooping over my eyes (you can't see my eyelashes). AND... if I *can* get them done (at no cost to me), then I would like to get it done while I can, rather than wait until I am older and they sag even more! (It would probably be $5,000 if I had to pay out of pocket!). Anyway... first step is to make an appointment for an eye exam, so I need to do that. I've already been told by the doc that I would qualify, but he would need to put in a consult for the surgical clinic... and I don't know if they have a doc there (up near Ramstein) that does that procedure now.

I found out today too, that my one co-worker (who has been complaining about not getting a pay raise when she took this position, even though a month before she had gotten a 5% pay increase), that she also got bumped up to a GS-12. (I am a GS 11) and all the FAP positions over here are now 12's. SO... THEN... I get daily job announcement about Federal Social Worker positions and my one co-worker that move to Italy, HIS position here was advertised today... AS a 12! So... I promptly marched into my boss' office and asked her about it and told her I wanted to apply (She said she didn't think it would be posted yet, because she had said she wanted to make some changes to the position description or something). So... now I need to update my resume online and submit it. The position advertisement closes December 1st. Anyway... that's another whole lengthy discussion I don't want to do tonight (talk about the job and possibly changing).

Okay... I'm going to sign off for tonight so I can go get some stuff made for tomorrow's Potluck.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Whoops! 2 Thankful things!
1) I'm thankful I have two wonderful granddaughters
2) I am thankful I get daily job notifications so I would be able to submit my resume before the deadline!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Busy Monday...

So, if you are every flying into Stuttgart... look out the window to the right (if you are on that side) and if you can see that TV tower thats in the distant, then you're probably pretty close to flying over my town! *smiles*

Work was busy today. I only had two appointments this morning and one this afternoon, but I also had to field several phone calls (since my boss is still out and I am "acting") and I'm still dealing with the case I went out on, Saturday. My boss will be back tomorrow and will take over. I didn't get home until 5:30pm, so it was pretty dark. No walk tonight! I suppose I should get up and do my "Gazelle" until I get my 10k steps in. I've got less than 5,000 steps so far today.

Let's see... two things I'm thankful for today.
1) an upcoming pay raise within the next month!
2) I'm thankful that I have two doggies that can't wait for their mommy to get home each day (and that they got over that bug they had when I came home from my trip!).

Okay... time to sign off!

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Long-neck bird?

First, one of the sunset photos I took tonight.

And this is a long-neck bird I saw today in the field where I take the dogs. Anyone know what it is? I've never seen one of these before. (Which reminds me... I saw an owl in an empty tree Friday on my way to work).

Here's another sunset photo (I thought I'd sandwich the bird photos with sunset photos).

So, today has been a little quieter. I didn't get 3/4ths of the things done today that I had thought I would do today. I did take the dogs out for 2 two-and-a-half mile walks today (the first one I didn't start it until I was out in the field). So, right now I have over 13,000 steps for today (makes up for not getting 10k yesterday and not getting my 70K for this past week).

I went grocery shopping this afternoon, picked up some stuff for baking over the holidays (in case I get the chance, right?). I also stopped and got some gas so I don't have to worry about it this coming week.

Tonight I watched "The Last Song" which is based on a book by Nicholas Sparks. I *think* I've seen it before, but I'm not 100% sure. It was a good movie. As a consequence though, I didn't get the household chores done today that I had planned to do. Oh well... it's always a trade-off, huh?

By the way, I realized that I didn't put a caption on last night's photo. That was taken at Macy's in New York, they were already decorating for Christmas.

I also realized I forgot (again) to write the things that I am grateful for, last night, so I will list 4 things tonight.

1) I am thankful that my daughters turned out to be healthy, responsible adults and that they are all employed.

2) I am thankful the weather was nice enough today that I could take the dogs for two walks!

3) I am thankful that I have options of places to go to for Thanksgiving (I'm going to my boss' home)

4) I am thankful for the internet so I can keep in touch with friends, old and new.

Okay, I'm going to sign off (I had signed off earlier and lost over what half of what I had written! Oh well).

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Long Saturday

So... I stayed up last night til about 3:00am working on my Christmas cards. Other than getting a couple more addresses, the cards are all done. I'll drop them off at the Post Office on Monday.

I ended up getting out of bed finally about 10:30. I did have to get up and let the dogs out for a potty break around 8.

Then, after taking them for a really short walk, I came back home and had my protein drink, then was sitting on the couch checking my computer when the "on-call phone rang" and there was a reported child abuse case. SO... I met our police investigators at the hospital (I beat them there) about noon and then didn't leave the hospital until about 7pm! Oh well... guess I'll get about 8 hours of overtime for today. The child in the case will be okay, no serious injuries, but it'll be interesting to see how things pan out after the investigation is complete.

My doggies were sure happy to see me when I finally got back home! I just took them down to the field for a potty break, but they didn't get their long walk. I'm hoping I get to walk them tomorrow. My plan for tomorrow was mainly just to do some house-cleaning (and fold & put some cloths away).

Okay... I'm going to sign off. It's almost 10pm already tonight.

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's Friday before a short week!

The "neighborhood"... look at all those leaves!

Well, here it is after 12:30am and typical for a weekend, I'm still up. (Not good sleep hygiene!). I've been working on my Christmas cards tonight. I'm at the point where all the envelopes are addressed, the photo cards have been inserted and as I was putting the letters into the envelopes, I realized I hadn't written my blog for today. Whoops! I just got busy, I guess. I'm kind of hoping to finish them before I go to bed. I mailed out calendars to those who are getting them (mainly family, with 3-4 exceptions). When I was mailing them today at the Post Office, the one woman that works there asked if she could have one of my calendars, so probably when I go back over to mail the cards, I'll take her a calendar. I'm sure her boss or whoever she works for wouldn't like to hear she's asking patrons for things... but she *is* a nice person who has been there for a long time. She's a little unorthodox, but she will go the extra mile for the customers and she's always been very helpful and friendly when I have seen her. Thankfully I ordered 25 calendars (I mailed out something like 11 or 12).

Work went fine today. I *didn't* get to my assessments though. All my notes that *had* to be entered into the computer are done. And while I did have the one cancellation today, I had a walk-in at the end of the day wanting marital counseling. And we did have to go to the main clinic this afternoon for some training (I used the time while I was sitting in training to work on my Christmas letters... coloring in a little wreath on the corner of the letter).

Tonight I did connect with an old co-worker/friend, that was nice. I talked with her for a little while (she's still in Hawaii, she's also a therapist). I found out she got married and now has three step-children. It sounds like she is really happy.

Okay... guess since I forgot my "grateful" list last night, I'd better post 4 tonight. SO...

1) I am grateful for good health

2) I am grateful for a wonderful, warm house to live in!

3) I am grateful for all my friends out there and that I can keep in contact with many of them through Facebook!

4) I am glad that I have a less stressful job than I had last year!

Okay... time to sign off again!

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Thursday, November 17, 2011

One more day this week!

This is one of the leaf covered paths that the dogs & I like to walk. We did get a little over a mile in after I got home from work, but I had to use the flashlight for most of our walk because it was so dark already. The official sunset time for today was 4:38 and I don't get home til about 5. At least by not doing the 2.5 mile we usually do, I get to be home in time for the news.

Work went fine today, I had one couple that didn't make it in, but that gave me more time to work on a bunch of assessments that I am trying to get caught up on and the one appointment I had scheduled for tomorrow called to reschedule for next week already because they didn't realise their kids would be out of school tomorrow. SO... I was *really* happy to hear that because I still have 2-3 assessments to write and about 6 notes to write. We will most likely have to go over to the main clinic for training in the afternoon.

Okay, not much else to write about today, so I'll sign off.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Happiest of Hump Days to you!

Most of the leaves are off the trees out in the field/orchard.

Today the temperature is about 30 degrees above. It feels cold. BRRRR! I've been wearing sweaters with a long shirt underneath and I'm STILL cold!

Work went fine, I wasn't as productive as I had hoped to be. I may regret that tomorrow. But, I made it through the day (which started off with a meeting that didn't go so well). Tomorrow is a new day.

The best news for today is that I got my Calendars and I got my Christmas cards! WHOOHOOO!!! So... that means I need to start working on my Christmas letter and then start getting them addressed. That sounds like a good project for this weekend since I'm stuck in the neighborhood because I'm on call this week. I've got to decide who is getting the calendars. My guess is that there are more people that I would like to give them to, than I have calendars (I have a large family, they are first on my list!). I only saw one problem on the calendar (one picture doesn't identify where it was taken).

Tonight I've just been chillin'... not getting much accomplished (probably because I felt like I did a lot last night... putting together my Gazelle, which I used last night and tonight.) I made my 10,000 steps last night and should tonight as well. And that's what having the Gazelle is about.

Speaking of which... I'm now down 25 pounds. And I've ordered some size 12 pants. I tried a pair on the other day (at the store, but not the "exact" ones I want) and while they were fairly tight, I *could* get them on and get them zipped and buttoned. How cool is that?

I still worry a little bit about my losing the weight and I probably shouldn't. (Heck, according to my fitbit I've walked almost 1100 miles in the last 8 months!) But, I think about my dear friend Janis and her strong desire to lose weight. She *was* beautiful as she was. Anyway... she lost weight alright... but then was diagnosed with cancer and died within a year. I'm thankful that all my blood tests came back okay for the most part (three were high, but two of those are because I supplement with vitamins). Anyway... it is what it is and I am enjoying being skinnier and having the motivation to walk and exercise more since coming to Germany. (My knees STILL do not like me to do squats! I did that today and barely could get up!). ha ha.

Okay... I'm going to sign off and head to bed soon. I still need to take the dogs out one more time. I'm tired today... I've stayed up til about 11 the last two nights and that's too late for me.

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Whoops... almost forgot to put my 2 things I am grateful for today!

1) That while I am cold and it is 30 above, I am thankful it's not 40 below.

2) I'm thankful I got my calendars and Christmas cards today! YAY!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Already 9:45pm... whew!

This is a view saved for weekends now, as the sun sets before I get home about 5pm now.

Work went fine today. I went to the airport first thing this morning to pick up my boss, she's been in the States (and I only live about 15 minutes from the airport). We got to work later than we had hoped (not my problem and it worked out okay for me because my clients didn't show up this morning, but came in later to apologize). I had a fairly busy day, with some appointments taking longer than others.

The highlight of my day was getting a bunch of mail at the Post Office! I got the other 4 boxes I had mailed to myself from NY (finally) and I got the Gazelle I ordered from Amazon. SO... that's what I've been doing tonight... putting it together. Sometimes I wonder how I ever made it as a mechanic, because sometimes I feel so mechanically inept! But... it's together and it works and when I use my Fitbit with it, I do get credit for steps! YAY! (I may make 10,000 steps today!).

I'm still waiting on my Christmas cards and calendars... hope they come soon. I was hoping to get all my cards out by Thanksgiving.

Okay... time to sign off. It's almost 10pm and I still need to take the dogs out for their bedtime walk. It's been C-C-C-Cold today... about 30 above (but then I'm reminded that Fairbanks, AK was supposed to get down to the minus 40's. UGH!).

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday and a pic of Waldenbuch

This is a translation from an internet page about this "Kloster" in Waldenbuch which is a town 2-3 miles from where I live.

"The forest bird Church St. Vitus celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2007. The patron saint of the church is the Helige Vitus, St Vitus called. The significance of the church is the breadth and clarity of the festive hall building and the almost completely preserved equipment. She has an impressive Renaissance-east gable. The high derived from the time at gallery carries the sill to ten panels of the Passion Cycle (from birth up to the Raising of the Cross of Christ). They are created in oil on wood in 1706 by J. Liefkoop, court painter to Duke of Wurttemberg. The organ is also a particularly valuable monument. it was made in 1760/61 by Christian Gotthilf Haußdörffer, Tübingen."

So... work went fine today, I had one no-show and two walk-ins (along with regularly scheduled appointments). It made the day go by fast. I even got a couple errands done today. I went to the pet store and picked up some dog food (trying a new brand with the dogs). On the way out there though, my "brake light" came on, so on my way back to work I stopped by the auto parts store and the guy was nice enough to check my brake fluid level and add some brake fluid for me. The light went off, so everything seems fine now. Thank goodness!

Let's see, last night I realized I had forgotten one other day of things I am thankful, so I will do another 4 for tonight.

1) I am thankful for a wonderful house here in Germany
2) I am thankful for being employed
3) I am thankful for all the wonderful co-workers I have had over the years
4) I am thankful for Facebook so that I can keep in touch with so many friends and my family.

Okay, I'm going to sign off for tonight.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Foggy Days...

I've taken a lot of pictures along this road over the summer,, here it is with most of the leaves off the trees, but still a lot of color...

Here's a better picture of the fog rolling in this afternoon...

Peanut posing...

Bruno posing (Sort of).

So, a rather relaxing day, although I didn't sleep in as long as I would have liked (the dogs slept last night while I didn't!). I've taken the dogs for a couple walks today... the first one was about an mile long and we ran into a couple other little dogs. One of them is a "min-pin" that we have seen several other times (but not for quite awhile). She looks like a smaller version of Bruno. There was also a Yorkshire Terrier. And I was proud of Bruno, he behaved himself with both dogs. Although one time the Terrier ran up wanting to play with Peanut (who is scared of all dogs) so Bruno got protective.

Other than that, my biggest accomplishment for the day has been to get both my freezers defrosted (the small one in my German refrigerator and I have a freezer that is about the size of a small dorm-sized refrigerator). I've also gotten caught up on all my laundry (but it still needs to be put away.

Tonight I've been watching some TV, right now I'm watching "The Mentalist."

It's hard to believe that I've got to go back to work tomorrow. I'd love to be one of those who didn't need to work, or at least not full-time. OR, I wish I worked a schedule where I only worked 4 days a week and got a 3-day weekend every weekend. That'd be nice.

Okay... I'm going to sign off... but before I do, I realize that when I did my blog so late last night, I forgot to write 2 things I am thankful for, so I will list 4 tonight.

1) I am thankful for all of my siblings, especially my sisters.

2) I am thankful for wonderful American neighbors

3) I am thankful that I have the opportunity to travel

4) I am thankful for good health.


Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Another Volksmarch and an evening of good music!

Scenes from today's volksmarch... it was a beautiful day!

Finding these totem poles along the way made the Volksmarch worthwhile! It was awesome!

I did an 11k in the town of Mutschelbach today. I didn't get up there until about 12:45 and finished around 3:30 or so. It was beautiful and the weather was great!

I did a little grocery shopping on the way home, then got home about 6 (The volksmarch was about an hour north of where I live). I had a quick bite to eat, uploaded my pictures and then my neighbor called to see if I wanted to go with them to listen to some country music and they were going to do some dancing. I said "sure." And... man, the music was GREAT! (even for country music! LOL!). The BAND was great! They were called Pyromantics and they are from Austria, but the lead singer is from California. SO... it was all American country songs. It was neat and the band did a great job with all the instruments, especially the fiddle and the harmonica (and drums and guitars...).

It's now 2:22, we didn't get home til about 2. So... I'd best sign off. I need to get the dogs out and then head to bed.

G'night & Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Friday, November 11, 2011


Trevor & Tia ice skating on the opening night of the ice rink in downtown Stuttgart... it will be open now for the rest of the holiday season.

The Schlossplatz in Stuttgart at night.

Bruno's version of "Where's Waldo" *smiles*

A good photo of Bruno.

So... I had a nice day off. After taking the dogs for a short walk this morning, I drove over a couple towns to the Pet Store. I bought some snacks for the dogs and got some samples of different types of dog food to try with them. Then I went and got my car washed and picked up some soda.

Then I had to be back home because the "Chimney Sweep" was coming over this afternoon. My plan had been to sweep/vacuum/mop before the Chimney Sweeper came, but he came early. I did get the floors swept and vacuumed, but I didn't get them mopped. And I swept off the back porch. I had planned to defrost my freezers, but I didn't get that done today.

Tonight I was going to a Christmas market with my neighbors across the street, but by the time we got there, it had closed. So, we drove down to Stuttgart instead. That was fun. Tia & Trevor went ice skating at the outdoor rink (which just opened tonight). And as I was standing there watching them, I heard someone say something about Alaska and my ears perked up. And as it turned out, they were from Fairbanks (near where I lived for 18 years). I must have talked with them for almost an hour, about people we knew in common and some of the opportunities that living in Alaska provided. It was neat. The woman I was talking to taught at Lathrop HS, she taught there a LONG time (before I graduated from HS!) and the man with her (I *thought* she said he was her son, but he had a different last name) and when he said his last name... I knew his Dad. My middle daughter worked for him at his law firm and we went to his house one year for Thanksgiving (I think), its the only time I've ever had deep fried Turkey. When he told me his last name, I asked him if he went to Scotland for college and he said no, that it was his younger brother. Aaron apparently came to Germany with the Army quite a few years ago, and has met a German woman and gotten married. Susan S. and a friend came over to see their brand new grandchild.

Small world.

Okay... it's after midnight. I'd better sign off.

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Cats of Nora

Laying amid ancient Roman ruins at the Nora site on the island of Sardinia

Thought I'd share these photos of cats that were in Nora on the island of Sardinia.

Tonight is my Friday night, I get tomorrow off! YAY! And I *did* get off an hour early. So, I came home and took the dogs out for a short walk, then went back in to get my nails done. After that I went over to the local "Re-al" store. As I walked through there I thought about how much my oldest daughter is going to enjoy that store. They have a fresh meat market there, a bakery, a place that sells all kinds of olives and just a whole bunch of stuff. And I've never seen so many varieties of Advent calendars! Wow!

Work went great today... no clients. The one couple I was supposed to see today didn't show up, but I wasn't too surprised, one of them is scheduled for surgery this weekend, so may have been doing preop stuff. Anyway, so I just spent the day doing paperwork and surfing the web. *smiles* I did go to lunch with one of my co-workers (he is in charge of the clinic that provides services to special needs kids). It was good to catch up with him. And almost everytime I talk to him, he always tells me how much they like their house. *smiles*

Let's see... Thanksgiving is in 2 weeks. If I can remember, I'm going to try and write 2 things each night, that I am grateful for, until Thanksgiving.

So... tonight 1) I'm grateful for three wonderful daughters and two wonderful granddaughters. 2) I am thankful we don't have snow on the ground yet. *smiles*

Okay... signing off.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Week is almost over!

Times Square, NY

Here it is Wednesday and the week is almost over! I get Friday off. And tomorrow I only have one couple that I'm seeing. Today was a lot easier than I thought. There was an error this morning, I had booked a new client in for 9am before I went on my vacation, but somehow it wasn't on my "online" calendar that I share with co-workers, so our Admin staff (at the request of my supervisor) booked a new person (new to me) into the same time slot. SO, I potentially had two new people coming in at the same time. After fretting about what to do (I figured I'd see the one I didn't need to do an assessment on for a 1/2 hour while the other was doing all the requisite paperwork for a new intake, and then see that person when they finished). But, as it turned out, *neither* showed up. (That's fairly common where I work... that people don't show... for a couple reasons - one is that there is no monetary cost to them for missing appointments or any other consequences for missing appointments, so it's easy to put off or forget).

This afternoon I saw a couple kids (I enjoy those appointments).

I think I may have caught whatever bug the doggies have had... I almost questioned whether or not I should go into work, but decided we have a bathroom right there... lol. I rarely call in sick and today was no exception. As it turned out my other co-worker got called out on 2 calls (she only responded to one and I guess she will have to deal with the other one tomorrow).

Tomorrow the clinic is basically closed for training, but my co-worker and I both have clients scheduled. Half of our clinic won't be seeing anyone tomorrow (obviously not my half). I'm hoping we get off work an hour early tomorrow (sometimes they do that on training holidays). I have an appointment after work tomorrow to get my nails done, so if I can get out early, then I can run home and take the dogs out and then go back and get my nails done. Guess time will tell. I'm going to lunch with one of my co-workers tomorrow, he's a guy that I don't get to sit down and talk with very often. When he came over here to Germany (after I did), I found him and his wife a really nice place to live (I was buying a chair from the people who had been living there and they asked me if I knew of anyone looking for a place to live... so it worked out great!).

Other than that, not much. I took the dogs for about a mile walk after work, but had to use a flashlight for most of it, because now the sun is setting by 5pm and I don't get home til then.

It's a little after 8pm now and I'm already tired. My body hasn't adjusted to the jet lag yet, I guess.

Okay... signing off!

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesday early sunset

This was taken about 5pm when I got home and took the dogs out for a short walk. I'm going to miss our longer walks.

Work went fine today, everyone showed up (I had four appointments scheduled for today) and I called and scheduled a couple more new clients. My boss left for the "States" today, so I get to "be in charge" for a couple days. *smiles* As long as my co-worker does her job and lets me do mine, all is okay. I thought I was going to get out of the office on Thursday to cover at a day-long meeting for my boss, but they have rescheduled it. Oh well. At least I get Friday off (Veteran's Day), that'll be nice.

The dogs seem to be doing better, but still have the "runs." I think if I hadn't given them some string cheese, that maybe they would be better... so no more cheese until they DO get better. Both are sleeping on my lap at the moment.

It's about 9:20pm I'm going to be going to bed soon, I hope. I went back out tonight for awhile. My volksmarching club had their monthly meeting, so I went to that. Then I had to go pick up Bruno's bed from the dog sitter's. I had accidentally left it there when I picked up the dogs on Sunday. I needed to go get gas anyway, so it worked out.

Okay, I'm going to sign off.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Monday, November 7, 2011

Good Monday back at work

This was taken at the old historic site of Nora on the island of Sardinia...

So, today ended up being a nice, easy day at work. I had four appointments scheduled, one called in and was delayed in another city, one called in sick, and one was a no-show. So... I only had ONE appointment today! (Glad my salary isn't determined by how many people I see!). It was good to have the free time to catch up with all that has gone on since I've been off. We had a "Joint Commission" accreditation visit while I was gone and we did good. They chose one of my clients to review (that I share with another provider) and said everything looked good. (whew!). I came in and had 3-4 people wanting marital therapy. I've got previous knowledge about one of them and know it will be a very challenging case.

Since the clocks have gotten set back, its now getting dark when I get home, so no more long walks for me and the doggies. I went ahead and ordered a "Gazelle" (Tony Little Gazelle... google it) from Amazon. I liked it when I had one before... AND, I got free shipping by ordering it through Amazon. I'll re-sell the Elliptical machine that I bought on the local "garage sale" website.

The dogs still aren't feeling up to par. Someone had an "accident" in the laundry room this morning (easy to clean up anyway), then I left the gate away from the upstairs and when I came home, someone had been up there and went poop... so I had to clean that up. There's a reason I don't let them upstairs (without me). They aren't eating or drinking much. Although they did eat some chicken breast for me tonight and some string cheese (healthy for dogs, right? I'm hoping the cheese will help their bm).

I don't know if I mentioned it yesterday, but I checked my "labs". My folate and my B-12 were "high" (HUH?)... but I guess I can just attribute that to supplementing (I take B-12 and Folate regularly). My Cholesterol was a little high... something I should watch, I suppose.

Tonight I'm watching "Amazing Race", but may go down and watch it in my bedroom in a little bit. It's just after 9, but feels like 10 or 11pm.

Okay... signing off...

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Sunday, November 6, 2011

So Long New York...

The Empire State building (photo taken from the "Top of the Rock" (the Rockefeller Center)).

The old wooden escalator steps in Macy's in NYC.

So, I *am* home! I spent about 5 hours at the Newark airport yesterday (I had to check out at 1pm and my flight didn't leave until 6:40pm). So, Igot a day pass for the Continental Lounge. The flight over the Atlantic was Very CROWDED, so at least I could doze off and on coming back. Also, I finally got to watch "The Help." It was good and I'm glad that I saw it.

Since my car was at work, I stopped by my office to check my 85 emails I had waiting. There will be a couple that I will need to deal with tomorrow.

I came home and the house felt really cold. It didn't seem like the furnace was working. I went next door and my neighbor came over and fidgeted with the furnace and it seems like it is working now (at least I have hot water and the radiators are warm). The livingroom has taken forever to warm up. I finally started a fire in the woodstove late this afternoon and that has helped. I finally feel warm.

I went over and picked up the dogs. They've been sick and are still not feeling too well. They've had the "runs." They haven't been eating today either... but I cooked some chicken breast tonight and they've had some of that. (I also made some Oatmeal cookies tonight, thought maybe some baking would help warm up the kitchen). I've taken the dogs for two short walks (less than a mile each). It's almost 8pm now and they are sleeping on the couch next to me as I struggle to stay awake myself. I think we'll be in bed within an hour.

I've done good and already have my suitcases unpacked and put away! (That's got to be a record for me!). Now I'm trying to catch up on my laundry.

Not a lot else to write about. The dryer is beeping at me (or the washer?) so I need to go take care of some more laundry. So... I'll sign off. Back to work tomorrow.

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Friday, November 4, 2011

New York, New York...

It was a beautiful day to visit the Statue of Liberty (I didn't get to go up inside because it is closed for renovation) and I visited Ellis Island.
New York (Manhattan) from the Statue of Liberty ferry...
Taken from on top of the Rockefeller Center (The Empire State building is in the background).

SO... after a slow start to the day (I barely made it downstairs in time for the breakfast today!), It seemed like everything was against me for moving very fast today. I had just missed the train when I got to the airport... and the next one didn't come for about 45 minutes... but then there was another one that came about 5 minutes after that one!

When I got into town, I went to the Post Office to mail some boxes to myself and I got the SLOWEST mail clerk in the building (and probably the US). He's proof that if you need a job, regardless of your abilities, you SHOULD be able to get one with the USPS! I think it took him about 45 minutes to process 5 "flat rate" boxes. (I'm really not kidding!). Maybe he's always slow? Maybe he has a hang over? (He reeked of alcohol). Anyway... the boxes finally got mailed and I sent off post cards to my kids.

After that I went ahead and rode the NY subway (didn't see any rats) down to the harbor so I could make the Statue of Liberty cruise. I spent the rest of the afternoon on the boat and looking around the Statue and Ellis Island. From there I caught the hop-on, hop-off (HOHO) bus again and lucked out and got the most psycho tour guide the company has. She had a very strong Asian accent that was difficult to understand at first, and then she made the most annoying comments. I am pretty tolerant, but I began to think they should have been paying ME to ride on THAT bus with her! Whew!

I finally got off at the Rockefeller center and wandered around there awhile. I went up to the "Top of the Rock" (that's what they call the top of the Rockefeller Center) and had a great night view of Manhattan. And I lucked out and they had fireworks being shot from Central Park (probably in preparation for the NY Marathon which is this weekend). After spending a couple hours there, I went to Macy's and wandered around there awhile. The only thing I bought there was some baby stuff for a co-worker of mine that recently had a baby. I hope he likes them.

Now it's midnight... at least I'm getting settled in a *little* earlier than the last two nights. I'm going to sleep in tomorrow and just hang out here at the airport until about 1:30 or so, then head over to the airport and will probably hang out there til my flight leaves at 6:40pm. I just don't think it is worth taking the train into the city for a few hours tomorrow.

Oh yea and I got a note from my dog sitter, apparently Bruno was sick today and had the runs. YIKES. I hope he is okay. I sent her my Vet information just in case. He's such a garbage hound... he probably ate something when she had him out for a walk.

Okay... signing off...

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris