Saturday, June 30, 2012

Busy day in Prague

Weve had a good day, saw the castle, we did the hop on, hop off bus again. But it was a warm ay, so we are back and did a siesta. That was nice. Tonight we did an underground tour of the city center, that was interesting and we did more walking. IBM going to keep this short, its past bedtime. Auf Weidersehen, Kris

Friday, June 29, 2012

Made it to Prague!

I've made it to Prague! After staying up til almost midnight last night because I wanted to watch the German-Italy soccer match (score 2-1, Italy won), I got up at 4am, so we could head out the door by 4:45 to catch the train. We made our connection in Stuttgart then took the train to Nurnberg. For some reason I didn't realize we would be getting on a bus in Nurnberg and go by bus to Prague from there. I mean, it was ok, just something I didn't expect. It was a German bahn (train) logo bus. Anyway we got to Prague and had arranged for a ride to the hotel, which was nice. After dropping our stuff off, we headed right out. We are very near the Charles Bridge. We walked across the bridge (after getting some money out of an ATM) and found our way to the old town (I am wery thankful that my sense of direction is working well today!). We have stopped a couple times, once for the Czech type of donut, another time for Angie to have some coffee and I had a Bohemian type of potato soup. Later in the day we stopped and had some sushi which made Angie very happy, and I was happy because I got to have ICE with my diet coke! We have also done the hop on hop off bus, it's not as good here as it is in some other cities I've been to. It's been fairly hot here today, around 90* degrees out. It is supposed to be hotter tomorrow. Right now it is about 7:45pm, we are going to go back out shortly (we've been taking a little break at the hotel) and want to watch the sunset and hopefully will get some good photos. Time to sign off. Auf Wiedersehen! Kris

Thursday, June 28, 2012

MY Friday!

On the ship coming into the Copenhagen port

The canal in Copenhagen (I think THIS photo is going to make my 2013 calendar!).

The LITTLE Mermaid... (in Copenhagen).

Well... work was a lazy day today! (that felt nice after the week I had last week!). I wrote up a couple assessments here at home this morning (rather than go into work, because it would be easier to go to the airport to pick up my friend Angie from home because there's a lot of construction on the autobahn between where I work and the airport). And, yes, Angie made it okay! After bringing her home and orienting her quickly to the house, I headed into work, thankful that my 10am appt had rescheduled to this afternoon. Time flew and the next thing I knew, it was time for a peer's baby shower (actually, I work with the husband, but we are all very familiar with the wife). Then I went by a local American library to pick up a couple books on Prague to take on my trip tomorrow and then by the bank to transfer money to my friends so they can get my dogs shipped back over here next week. THEN, it was back to work for a meeting with someone that used to be in Hawaii and found out we knew a lot of people in common. After that it was a quick trip next door to the clinic to request a refill on my meds... back to MY clinic (I had run into the people I was supposed to see this afternoon that had rescheduled from this morning and found out they weren't going to be able to make the 3pm I told them I would send an email to schedule an appt for next week with them). Then I kept getting tied up in some conversations with co-workers, finally about 4:30 I finished up my online documentation and then chatted with a person in my supervisory chain (the one who's father died yesterday). I think I left work about an hour late. Whew!

I came home and sat and talked with Angie awhile (she was resting in my hammock out back when I got home) and then we walked over to the neighborhood grocery store and then up to the Turkish Kebab place (I had something almost like a gyro).

Angie's in bed now (smart girl!). It's after 10 and I'm watching the Italy vs Germany soccer game. Italy scored twice rather quickly and Germany STILL hasn't scored. At least the game shouldn't go into double overtime with a kick-off tonight! (unless Germany gets their act together and scores). My friend David L is online and he's giving me grief for not rooting for Italy! LOL! There's still 20 more minutes to the game (at least) and I still need to go downstairs and finish packing. I may have packed too warm. It looks like it may be up into the 90's in Prague this weekend! So, I need to re-think what I am taking.

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

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Happy Hump Day - almost July!

I went up into the Steeple of this church in Tallinn to take pictures and there was an awesome aerial view from up there! Well worth the steps!

The view from the steeple of the church I visited in Tallinn

Hey Look! I think that might be my ship out there! (Actually, I think my ship is hiding behind that one, I think that was the MSC ship that dwarfed our ship!).

Old town... this picture doesn't do it justice, but that's an outdoor restaurant that you are looking at...I ate there and had WONDERFUL home-made Wild Mushroom soup! It was very much like a midieval restaurant (in Tallinn).

So... work went fine today... not too busy. I had to say good-bye to a client that is moving back to the States. I hope the move and all that they have to look forward to works out for them.

We also had a fire drill today, what fun. Thankfully it was right at the end of a session. I had one client come in VERY late for their appointment, so I ended up working through my normal lunch hour and then took one later in the afternoon (so I just had strawberries for dinner tonight). *smiles*.

I found out that a co-worker (well, that person IS in my line of supervision, just not my IMMEDIATE supervisor)... anyway their father passed away yesterday. Please keep JL & family in your prayers. (Seems to be lots of losses lately?).

Tonight I'm doing some last minute clean-up as I prepare for my friend Angie to arrive tomorrow morning. I am currently taking a break from cleaning out my entryway closet (where all my shoes are) and I'm also kind of watching the European 2012 Soccer game on TV. Portugal and Spain are playing and currently the score is 0-0. Tomorrow night is when Germany is back on and they play Italy. I so want to stay up and watch the game. (I can only watch it on my TV in my livingroom, I can't go to bed and watch it on my tv down there... I don't get German TV down there).

Okay... I'll sign off. Remember... I'm headed off to Prague this Friday... not sure if I'll get to post Friday night... you know that if I can post. I will. I'm looking forward to the train ride over there and seeing how beautiful Prague is!

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What a day!

Alexandra Nevsky Cathedral in Tallinn, Estonia

In Tallinn...

I *loved* all these flowers... there were MANY stores selling flowers along this strip... I even bought some to take back to the ship for 5 euro that were a heck of a deal! I loved them!

So... first thing this morning I got distracted and forgot my fitbit. Then I got to work and messed up my computer access card, so I had to go get my PIN reset (access code). Well, I walked about 4 blocks over to where I needed to get it taken care of, only to find out they didn't open until 9pm. SO... I went back to work rather than sit around an hour. I got back to the office and thought I had lost my card... so I re-traced my steps... before getting back to my office and finding it under a bunch of files (go figure!). SO... then there was one more round-trip to get the PIN reset... no more problems after that, thank goodness!

My appointments today went okay, although I had two no-shows... not sure what happened, I fully expected both to be there. I checked my stats against a couple of my co-workers... I have the most contacts with clients, even with my lower numbers (just looking at these past two days).

Tonight I dusted upstairs, but still have a lot of stuff to get done by tomorrow night before my friend comes in on Thursday morning. Knowing me, I'll be up til midnight cleaning tomorrow night.

I found out this morning that my cousin Judy's husband was killed in an auto accident (hit by a dump truck!). Sounds like he's been quite the wonderful person... a very giving person. After he retired he opened a produce booth there in Spokane and would drive just out of town where he'd pick up leftover produce and he would often give it away to needy people. They even wrote an article about him. I think heaven gained another angel today. This has got to be rough on my cousin as it was her mom that died about a month ago (my aunt). Please keep my cousin Judy in your prayers.

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

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Monday, June 25, 2012

Easier day....

Waving a Russian flag in port at St. Petersburg

We were entertained by the Russian Army corps at the Folk Show in St Petersburg

This photo is a little blury, but I *loved* how these women moved so fluidly and looked like dolls!

Some of the folkshow in St. Petersburg

Folk dancers in St Petersburg

So, work went okay today, I wasn't very busy. I did look at the stats at work for last week... I had the most contacts, the most notes to write (31 notes! I think the next person that saw the most (who sees 1/2 hour appointments) saw 21, two other co-workers who worked all week saw 17 and 19 all week). At the rate I am seeing clients this week, I don't think I'll have the highest number of contacts. I've got several things going on Thursday... my friend from Texas comes in that morning, then there's a baby shower for a co-worker at lunch, and then there's a meeting at 1pm and I have a routine dr appointment (next door to where I work) at 2pm. Doesn't sound like Thursday will be very busy and then I'm off on Friday as Angie & I head to Prague early in the morning.

I did stay late tonight (til 7... that should be enough overtime to cover coming in late on Thursday), because I still needed to finish notes from last week! Yikes! And then, coming home I got "blitzed" (I'll be getting a speeding ticket! ARGH!). I still haven't gotten the one from Austria last month (they take awhile to get to you... they take a circumvential route). I've decided that when I am with other cars, I'm more complacent. And the last time I got a ticket (last year), I was hurrying home... must be something about staying late, and getting distracted while driving home. Ugh! Oh well... at least the tickets aren't too expensive, they are only 10-15 euros each.

Okay... I'm going to sign off. It's already 10pm. I stayed up WAY too late last night because the Italy-England soccer game went into double overtime (or whatever they call it). Italy won. I think I heard they will be playing Germany Thursday night. YIKES! That's going to be hard to stay up for, because we are going to have to get up by about 4am to get to the train station to catch our train to Prague the next morning!

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Sunday, June 24, 2012

More soccer tonight Italia vs England

The river side of the Hermitage Museum. It was first established as a museum back in 1764 by Catherine II. It has millions of pieces of art in there... it may be one of the largest museums in the world, they also have one of the largest (if not THE largest) collection of Rembrandt's artwork.

This horse statue is in Senate Square in St Petersburg. In the late 18th century, Senate Square was known as Peter's Square because of this monument to Peter I (the first equestrian statue in Petersburg) that was errected there.

St. Isaac's Cathedral. This cathedral was intended to be the greatest in the Russian Empire. Vast amounts of money and effort were required to construct this building, which stands at a height of 101.5 meters and covers over a hectare of land. It is the 4th largest domed cathedral of it's type in the world after St. Peter's in Rome, St Paul's in London and Santa Maria del Fiori in Florence (and I've seen all four of those!).

In a patch of trees east of the fortress is a little stone building known as Peter’s Cabin, St Petersburg’s oldest surviving structure. This log cabin was supposedly built in three days in May 1703 for Peter to live in while he supervised the construction of the fortress and city. During Catherine the Great’s time, the house was protected by a bricklayer. The cabin has always been a sentimental site for St Petersburg. During WWII, Soviet soldiers would take an oath of allegiance to the city here, vowing to protect it from the Germans, before disappearing to the front. After the Siege of Leningrad, this was the first museum to reopen to the public. The little cabin feels more like a shrine than a museum, but confirms Peter’s love for the simple life with its unpretentious, homely feel, visibly influenced by the time he spent in Holland. Look out for the bronze bust of Peter by Parmen Zabello in the garden. (The log cabin is enclosed inside of the brick structure for protection now).

So... I think that'll be the last of my Russian pictures. Right off I haven't seen any worthy of making my annual calendar, but time will tell.

This morning I slept in and then got busy putting away all of my clothes that had been washed and hung on my drying rack in my laundry room. I just straightened up in the basement (where my bedroom is), I still want to sweep and mop before my company comes later this week. I don't have too much to get done, but I'd hoped to do more than I have this weekend (i.e. type up my assessments from work).

Someone had emailed to ask about my yellow car, so I went and met with them and they took it for a test drive. We got to talking, they seem really nice and are staying in the same hotel I did when I arrived. I told them I may be vacating my house if they were interested. They are going to check and see what they get for a housing allowance over here and then see if they can stay in the hotel until my house becomes available (which may be in about 50-60 days?). I'm leaning more and more towards taking the job in Italy. Anyway... they don't have a car here, so I took them out and showed them my house (thankfully it was/is in pretty good shape/clean)... and then I took them on a short tour of the area. (I'm such a nice person!). I'm sure they appreciated the mini-tour and orientation to the area. I'm on call, so I couldn't take them too far away. *smiles*

I've just been putzing around the house and on the computer tonight. I talked with a friend on the phone for about 2 hours tonight (can't get too much done when I do that)... and now I'm watching the Italy vs England game, unsure of who I am rooting for. They have had to go into overtime because no one has scored... Should I be rooting for Italy because I may be living there within a couple months, or should I root for England, the motherland of my heritage? *smiles*

Okay... signing off so as soon as the game IS over, I can go to bed (it's almost 11pm!).

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Dorffest weekend...

Kazan Cathedral

(The Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan)
Whilst taking a stroll along
Nevsky Prospekt you cannot fail to notice the impressive Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan. Kazan Cathedral, constructed between 1801 and 1811 by the architect Andrei Voronikhin, was built to an enormous scale and boasts an impressive stone colonnade, encircling a small garden and central fountain. The cathedral was inspired by the Basilica of St. Peter’s in Rome and was intended to be the country’s main Orthodox Church. After the war of 1812 (during which Napoleon was defeated) the church became a monument to Russian victory. Captured enemy banners were put in the cathedral and the famous Russian Field Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov, who won the most important campaign of 1812, was buried inside the church.
The cathedral was named after the "miracle-making" icon of Our Lady of Kazan, which the church housed till the early 1930s. The Bolsheviks closed the cathedral for services in 1929, and from 1932 it housed the collections of the Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism, which displayed numerous pieces of religious art and served anti-religious propaganda purposes. A couple of years ago regular services were resumed in the cathedral, though it still shares the premises with the museum, from whose name the word "atheism" has now been omitted.

The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood

This marvelous Russian-style church was built on the spot where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated in March 1881. After assuming power in 1855 in the wake of Russia’s disastrous defeat in the Crimean war against Britain, France and Turkey, Alexander II initiated a number of reforms. In 1861 he freed the Russian serfs (peasants, who were almost enslaved to their owners) from their ties to their masters and undertook a rigorous program of military, judicial and urban reforms, never before attempted in Russia. However, during the second half of his reign Alexander II grew wary of the dangers of his system of reforms, having only barely survived a series of attempts on his life, including an explosion in the Winter Palace and the derailment of a train. Alexander II was finally assassinated in 1881 by a group of revolutionaries, who threw a bomb at his royal carriage. The decision was taken to build a church on the spot where the Emperor was mortally wounded. The church was built between 1883 and 1907 and was officially called the Resurrection of Christ Church (a.k.a. The Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood ). The construction of the church was almost entirely funded by the Imperial family and thousands of private donators. Both the interior and exterior of the church is decorated with incredibly detailed mosaics, designed and created by the most prominent Russian artists of the day (V.M. Vasnetsov, M.V. Nesterov and M.A. Vrubel). Interestingly, despite the church’s very obviously Russian aspect, its principle architect, A. Parland, was not even Russian by birth

I still have more photos of St. Petersburg, Russia to post... by the way, did I mention before that they only get about 30 days of sunshine a year? Yep. (YUK!).

So... I got to sleep in this morning, that was nice! Did some laundry, swept off my back steps, put my hammock back together (I had it put away for the winter) and I ran some errands. It looks like I should be getting my dogs back over here in about 10 days. So, I had to run to the pet store to get them some dog food and to pick up a couple treats for them. Then I dropped off my recyclable plastic bottles and picked up more soda (I also got a couple bottles of soda for my friend who will be here in about 5 days!). I came home and after putting groceries away and doing a few things around the house, I went out and laid in my hammock for an hour or so, soaking up some sun and listened to my Ipod. It was nice.

This weekend they have the Dorffest going on in town (just a small town festival with a few game booths, several beer tents and food tents and live music). So, I walked down to that this evening and hung out with my next door (German) neighbors for most of the evening. While I enjoy going, I don't really fit in. Everyone was drinking alcohol and I was drinking a Diet Coke (which I probably would have drank anyway, but I'm on call, so I can't drink any wine or any alcohol even if I wanted to).

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

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Friday, June 22, 2012

Germany wins the European 2012 Quarterfinal against Greece!

At the Peter & Paul Fortress in St Petersburg...

At the Peter & Paul Fortress in St Petersburg...

The Rostral Columns are situated on Strelka, the eastern tip of Vasilievsky island. In 1733 the port of St. Petersburg was set up here. The port grew quickly as trade with Western Europe increased. The columns were built as beacons to guide the constantly growing number of ships during St. Petersburg's long dark nights.The columns were erected in front of the neoclassical facade of the stock exchange building - now a naval museum, Rostral Column which was constructed at around the same time. After sunset, oil lamps at the top of the columns guided ships to the port. The 7 meter (23 ft.) high oil lamps were later replaced by gas lit lamps.In 1885 the port moved to the Gulf of Finland to accommodate larger vessels and increased traffic and the beacons were decommissioned. The lamps are still lit on public holidays and during ceremonies.
Design of the Rostral Columns
The 32 meter (105 ft.) high columns were designed by the French architect Thomas de Thomon and constructed in 1811. The brick columns were finished with dark red stucco and sit on a large granite plinth. At the foot of each column are Neptune pairs of imposing marbles sculptures, allegorical figures of mythical gods representing four major rivers in Russia: the Neva, Dnieper, Volga and Volkhov.Metal models of prows, decorated with nautical themes, adorn the columns. They symbolize naval supremacy and follow the example of the Romans who used prows of conquered ships to decorate their monuments, most notably the Rostra at the Forum Romanum. The name of the Rostral Columns is derived from the Latin word for a ship's beak, Rostrum.


So, work went okay today, I didn't get caught up on all the paperwork though, so brought some of my work home to try and get it done over the weekend.

On my way to work there was an accident, I got to work about a minute late, but that was only because I leave early to head into work and usually get there early. They were contra-flowing traffic on a very busy street. Then when I got OFF work, traffic was crawling... not sure why. But, it took me about an hour to go less than 5 miles. Ugh! I had an appointment to get my nails done, so I called them to let them know I was stuck in traffic (I only got there about 5 minutes late... but again... that's because I had allotted plenty of time to get there). I did a little shopping afterwards and headed home to watch the Germany and Greece quarterfinal 2012 Soccer match. Germany beat Greece 4-2. (Whew!) There's a lot of tension between Germany and Greece because Germany feels like they are keeping Greece afloat economically.

Okay... time to sign off and head to bed. I'm on call this weekend. (That means I get to run local errands and clean up the house as I get ready for company).

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Thursday, June 21, 2012

It's Thundering and lightening!

Thought I'd post some photos from outside my house of the lightening storm we had tonight.

Work went fine today, I kept busy all day, but managed to leave relatively on time (I got my notes done from Monday which is good since they are supposed to be done within 72 hours).

After work I ran some errands, I had to go get a lightbulb for my bedroom. I also stopped to get my car washed (big mistake... the rain followed!). I came home and swept off my back patio and wiped down the patio furniture (with the wind this evening I'm going to now have to re-sweep my patio). I did get to watch a little of "So You Think You Can Dance" before the wind kicked up and knocked the satellite dish out of alignment.

Time to sign off...

Auf Weidersehen!

- Kris

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Oh my Gosh!!!!

The Peter and Paul Fortress The first structure in St. Petersburg, built to protect Peter the Great's northern city from the threat of Swedish attacks and now the emblem of the city and the resting place of many of the Russian Tsars.

So... had a busy day and even with a couple no-shows and a cancellations over the past three days, I still have something like 25 notes to get written! (And I still haven't called the referrals I was given). No rest for the wicked! Although I did get to meet my neighbor from across the street and some of her co-workers for lunch, that was a nice, short break!

Tonight I've been trying to figure out how to get my dogs back from the States. They are currently in the Atlanta, GA area and my friends are needing to send them back (due to economy and unemployment issues). I thought we had it arranged to send them on Delta via their climate controlled cargo, but apparently, without telling anyone (and not even all the people I've been dealing with in the cargo section knew about it) as of June 9th, they are no longer flying any planes with climate controlled cargo to Germany. The person I spoke to yesterday said they could only fly them into Amsterdam or Rome. I've checked with Lufthansa, they want me to pay an extra $800 to a shipper to send them over and United is using the same people. Anyway... I don't know what to do at this point. I'm at a loss. I've tried Delta, tried Lufthansa, (KLM is code-share with Delta). Even if I could fly them to Amsterdam it would cost another couple hundred in fees.

Okay... after more frustrating phone calls... it's 10:30pm now and time to head to bed.

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


In the fog... by the boat (ship)

Sunset on the boat...

This was another neat lighthouse type building just outside of Oslo... it looked like a pretty cool building.

I had another fairly busy day at work, I had one "no-show" but it was because the person was sick (I saw them at the clinic). I was one of the last ones out of the clinic (that's not unusual though)... and had to stop for some gas on the way home... that cost me $60. (yikes!).

Tonight I spoke with my friend Angie on the phone, she's coming over next week and will be here for a month. (just over a month actually). We were talking logistics... Hopefully she will have a good time while she's here.

Okay... I'm going to keep it short tonight, it's already 9pm!

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Monday, June 18, 2012

Wow! Busy Monday

I'd LOVE to be back on the boat soaking up some sun!

My oldest daughter LOVES lighthouses... this is a small one in the Oslo harbor

Oslo Harbor...

The yellow building in the distance is a museum that holds an old Viking ship (I believe).

So... work was very busy. I'd already had 6 appointments scheduled and my admin person put another person in an empty slot (that appointment worked out okay and went well). I had one appointment today though that got very heated and very loud, to the point that my boss was almost ready to come in and make sure everything was okay. It was a very emotionally charged session.

My boss asked me if I had made my decision, I told her I hadn't. Sometime this week I need to sit down with her and discuss the options. I did mention to her that I'd expressed interest in being on the team to go out and deploy the new assessment tool that is going to be implemented world-wide and she said she didn't think that would have worked out (what do you mean? We'd be without a Marriage & Family Therapist for 3 months or so????). YEP. I did tell her I was concerned that I'd end up with 150% caseload (or whatever you call it... I'd still have my caseload and I'd be taking on additional work).

I talked with another Social Worker who will be moving down to the same location that I will be, but she will be in another position. I think if I moved down there, that we'd become friends. (Right now we are acquaintances and have a mutual friend).

Okay... signing off for tonight, it's already bedtime, where does the time go? Tomorrow is going to be just as busy as today.

Auf Wiedersehen,

- Kris

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Home again, Home again, jiggity jig!

Of all the photos I took this past week while on my cruise, this was my favorite. It was taken in Copenhagen. (and hasn't been touched up at all).

I'll post more pictures as the week progresses.

I can't believe I've got to go back to work tomorrow... it would be heaven to take a month off (with pay, of course... but then I think I need to be careful for what I "ask" for... the universe has a way of making things happen... not always in the way we want).

So... woke up this morning in Oslo (I kept my curtains in my hotel room open, I don't think it ever got dark! I was hoping to take a night city sky photo). I had a quick breakfast then lugged my suitcases (one large, one carry on) over to the train station and had to wait about 20 minutes for the next "express" train to the airport. I still got there in plenty of time. The flights were uneventful. On the flight to Frankfurt I sat next to a woman who had been traveling around Scandanavia for 2 weeks with her nephew. She's originally from Chicago, but now lives in Vancouver, WA. The 2nd leg of the flight from Frankfurt to Stuttgart was only about a 1/2 hour long, so I just read a book.

I love coming home (especially to a clean house and a relaxing day to get things put away). It is so quiet and peaceful at home. I did get most of my stuff put away and I'm on my 2nd load of laundry. I sat outside for awhile, it was about 80* out this afternoon.

Tonight I'm watching some of the EURO 2012 soccer. I watched several games on board the ship, it's always nicer to watch when you are with a bunch of European fans! Everyone on the ship remained civil, even if their teams lost. Right now I'm watching Portugal and Netherlands play. I can't find the Germany - Denmark game (they probably have it as pay TV here in Germany so they can get the revenue). But... they did just show a side clip with Germany scoring a goal against Denmark. And The Netherlands are ahead by 1 against Portugal right now. I'm hoping Germany wins... I have to say, the Germans DO have a LOT of national pride!
I'm also having a glass of white (sweet) wine with some cheese and crackers. I'll be on call next Sunday night, so won't get to have it then. Not sure of the wine that I'm drinking, I think it was left behind by my friend Wendy when she was here over Memorial Day weekend.

Okay... I'm going to sign off and hope that I don't get SO engrossed in soccer that I can make it to bed within the next 45 minutes. (it's just after 9pm now). Otherwise... the games won't get over until about 10:30 or so. Oh shucks! Denmark just scored so they are now tied in that game.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hanging out in Oslo

We got to Oslo early this morning and I had arranged for one of the ship's shore excursions. We got off to a little of a late start waiting on people, but then got a city tour before some of us got dropped off at the gain station about 10:45. I went to my hotel hoping I could check in early, but the guy at the front desk said I couldn't check in until 3pm if I wanted my "guaranteed queen sized bed - as opposed to having 2 twin sized beds. So I left my luggaged and started walking. Along the way I had an opportunity to take a photo of Aung San Suu Kyi who was the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize recipient. Apparently she went under house arrest and just now is giving her acceptance speech. I posted her picture on my Facebook page. I stood in a downpour of rain for about a 1/2 hour in order to get the photo I took of her. I later walked by the Nobel Institute and she had just finished her speech and the crowds were waiting for her to come out. I walked from about 11am until 4:30 or so and was glad to get back to the hotel to check in. I did go ahead and have a late lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe (whole I collect the tee shirts, I rarely eat there. After I checked into my hotel and relaxed a bit and checked out the facilities, I went over to the train station to get a cheaper bite to eat and do some people watching. By the way, a SMALL bottle of Diet cola costs over $4.00! I think that even as people may tell you how expensive a city is, until you experience it, I don't think you actually grasp the conct. Okay, I'm going to sign off, it's about 8:30pm and I can barely keep my eyes open! S. so... Auf Wiedersehen, Kris

Friday, June 15, 2012


We got into the port of Copenhagen about 9am.  Wow.  I *loved* Copenhagen, especially because we had wonderful weather today!  I did the hop on, hop off bus and then took it around to the Tivoli Gardens (park) so that I could go to Hard Rock Cafe and get my tee shirt.  From there I walked to the Nehayen (??? I can't remember how it is spelled) canal, which took me about 30 minutes.  I got an AWESOME photo there that will definitely make my 2013 calendar.  Then I got back on the HOHO bus and got off at the "Little Mermaid" statue and took some more pictures there (the lighting/weather conditions weren't great for photos when we stopped there on the bus earlier).  The 5 1/2 hours in port was NO way near long enough.  I would have loved to walk around Tivoli, enjoyed more time around the canal, visit the palace and a lot of the other sites.  We also had to contend with the fact that the Chinese President was in town today, so security was higher and traffic crawled. (almost literally!).  While I was in the canal area, I had a hotdog. It was so delicious!  It had a crispy bacon wrapping around it and then I had it in a bun.  It hit the spot (I'd had breakfast just before getting off the ship).

Speaking of getting off the ship, tomorrow we dock back in Oslo. I'm going to do a shore excursion and then get dropped off at the train station, which is within walking distance of my hotel.  I've got my suitcase packed, but need to go down and put it outside my door.  I got another set of baggage tags today, so didn't know which ones I was supposed to use (I had gotten a set yesterday).  So... had to wait until I got that straightened out before I put my suitcase out.  I'm hoping my suitcase isn't over weight. YIKES!

Okay... time to sign off. If you have my facebook info, I posted several pictures there today.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

P.S. Bette... I got your note... thx!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Today has been a sea day... I was up a little earlier than normal for a sea day, but as it is the last sea day for this trip, I wanted to make the most of it (not that I did much! LOL!).  It's been partly cloudy all day and I don't think it ever got much above 60* out, so I've pretty much stayed inside all day.  I went to an art auction, I went to Bingo (whoowee... but the most impressive thing was that we were playing "4 corners" where you have to get each corner of the card (and that's all) and some guy won it in 5 numbers (okay... his name is Bill, he's here with his family from Texas! *smiles*).  THAT was impressive (okay... so it doesn't take much to impress me! ha ha).  Tonight was our 2nd formal night, so it's all about getting dressed up, putting on some make up and being fancier than normal.  It was a nice night.  Not sure I'll make it to the midnight buffet that they are putting on tonight though (only 1x during the cruise).  I may go down to the Schooner Bar and see if Ireland is playing (EURO 2012 Soccer) yet (I've been meeting all those Irish folks, ya know!). 

Okay... keeping this short.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris
P.S. a special shout out to Bette & Walt... I'm really praying you two are doing okay (and you too Ellen!), I think about you all the time and especially worry about you Walt!  Please pray for them as they continue to grieve and deal with the death of Walt Jr.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Beautiful day in Estonia!

I enjoyed another day of sleeping in as our port arrival wasn't until 11am.  We pulled up in the port of Tallinn right next to a VERY large MSC ship (our ship looked like a midget next to it).  I took the shuttle into town and wandered all through the old town for many hours.  They had a row of flower vendors with dirt cheap flowers, so I bought a bouquet (for 5 euros) and brought it back to my room.  I don't know what kind of flowers they are, but they are red, and beautiful. I put in about 5 miles of walking today!  When I got back to the ship, I laid out in the sun for awhile, it felt nice to be OFF my feet and IN the sun!

I don't know if I mentioned, but I'm sitting at a table for 10. I have some pretty wonderful tablemates... a couple from Ireland, and the rest are from the US. I've probably talked with Mark & Alison the most, he's a graphic designer and she teaches Accounting at a college (they are from CA, I think?).  Anyway, they are on board because she's the Guest Lecturer.  She's been speaking about Russia and Estonia (I think?) and she gave a talk about the Vikings today. She had some art and history interest in college and because she teaches, she was able to be a Lecturer on board.  I think my daughter Michelle should do this.  It's no different than giving a regular lecture in college... you just have to know your material and make an interesting presentation.  Alison said that she went through a talent scout (so paid a small fee) and then had to pay her airfare and the cruise tax, but the cruise itself was free for both of them (the cruise line will pay for the speaker and a guest... and I guess if you are a good speaker, then some cruise liners will even pay your airfare!).  Alison is supposed to give me more information to pass onto my daughter (who I think would be GREAT, especially on one of the cruises to the Greek Islands, or "ancient" lands!).

Tonight I spent some time in the casino... played most the night on just $20.  Then I went to watch Germany win their soccer match (they were playing Holland).  Then I sat and chatted with some more folks from Ireland (I *love* the Irish and their brogue... or however it is spelled).

Now it is time for bed again, so I'll sign off.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Interesting thing about my day in Russia

So... I'll post pics when I return... But I did enjoy St Petersburg. My morning started off with a tour of the city, at least most of the highlights with a few stops for photos. I didn't know that they only have about 30 sunny days in St Petersburg (today was not one of them). We got back to the boat about noon, I barely had time to go grab a bite to eat before heading back out. The afternoon was more sightseeing and then some free time for shopping. We were suppose to meet back at the one souvenir shop at 4:30, well, I got there right at 4:30 and proceeded to look around for my group & guide and I couldn't find anyone! I searched high and low, upstairs, downstairs, around the whole big square where there were a bunch of busses, but none for my ship. SO, I went back to the gift shop and they called my tour guide (I'm sure all the guides get kickbacks from the shops), anyway, long story short... She had miscounted thought everyone was there and left me behind. Thankfully she was willing to come back and pick me up (I guess I could have taken a taxi for about $10). So, alls well that ends well, right? Which reminds me... Everywhere you go here, they were just as happy to take US dollars and Euros as Rubles. I found that interesting. Anyway, with the snafu I didn't get back to the ship until just after 6 pm, and had to change quick, then I ran upstairs to the Windjammer cafe and threw down a few bites before going out to meet my last tour tonight for the Folklore show. The Folklore show was exceptional, I'm glad I chose that to do. Tomorrow we are in Tallinn from 11-5. I'll try not to get left behind... But I'd be less worried about getting stranded there than in Russia where they are very strict about the whole Visa thing. We also gain an hour back tonight, it will be greatly appreciated. Gotta scoot! Auf Weidersehen, Kris

Monday, June 11, 2012

So... after staying up WAY too late last night, I slept til about 11am.  And I wouldn't have awaken then if I didn't have my alarm set.  And I was having an awesome dream including turtles and my friend Goldie.  Those turtles were awesome (Goldie had put her dive gear to go in and join them... it was high tide and the water was barely covering the surface of the road and the turtles almost flew across the road to get to the other side... so fast that I couldn't get a good picture of them... and in my drean I was thinking I should have had my camera on video! LOL!).

I spent about an hour in the jacuzzi today (it was in the upper 80's but with the wind it felt colder).  And I spent some time and money in the casino... no wins this trip so far. I spent some time reading my book and enjoying the various music around the ship.

It's after 11pm now and the sun is just getting ready to set and it looks like it is going to set on the water... hurray! 

Tomorrow I have three excursions into St Petersburg, Russia... I can't wait!

Gotta scoot!

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Sunday, June 10, 2012

This morning I slept in until 11am (we had to move the clocks forward last night and we have to do it again tonight).  I went upstairs and had a late breakfast, then joined the "solos" group... which was just myself and one other woman (she's a Social Worker from Norway, of all things!).  Anyway, we had lunch together and then later we sat together for a napkin folding classes (I took pictures so I would remember how to do it later).  It's been chilly today, in the mid 50's and raining off and on, so I pretty much stuck to the inside of the boat. 

Last night I sat by myself for dinner, so then I asked if I could be at a larger table and now I'm sitting at a table for 10, with a bunch of Americans and a couple from Dublin. (One of the couples from Dublin has their adult (late teens/early 20's?) daughter with them.

I took some time to read a book today.  We also had the "Captain's" reception... we have a FEMALE captain! How cool is that. I wonder if there are any other on the RCL lines?  She seems nice enough.  She's half Japanese, but is from Denmark and currently calls Portugal home.

At the reception, we found out that this is the 741st cruise for the Vision of the Seas.  There are 775 crew members on board (I FINALLY met my stateroom attendant today!)...  The country with the most passengers is Norway, with 1217, then the US has 209 on board, there are 195 from Portugal, 45 from the UK and 33 from South Africa (those are the top 5 countries represented on the ship).  Interesting!  I knew you would want to know that.  It's funny... so many people try to talk to me in Nordic or whatever the language of the land is... must be my blue eyes! ha ha.

Tonight after dinner I went to the Broadway show production (I don't usually go, but decided to go tonight... it was okay).

Now it is late. I did post a couple pictures on my FB page if you have access to that.

Signing off

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Made it to Oslo

I made it to Oslo with no problems (other than not getting enough sleep last night because I didn't go to bed until after midnight and had my alarm set for 4am!).

I had a tummy ache on the way to Copenhagen, but took one of my "little blue pills" and it cleared up, but for a few minutes, didn't think I'd survive the flight.  Sure glad it wasn't any longer.  I don't know if it was the buttered pretzel I had at the airport or what, but I felt very nauseous and I broke out into a sweat and my tummy hurt.  And no, I don't have a fear of flying.  Thankfully it passed before I boarded the next flight. I only had a half-hour layover in Copenhagen on the way up.

Once I got to Oslo, I managed to get my luggage okay and catch the express train into the city.  It's nice, all you have to do is swipe your credit card where you would swipe your ticket if you had already purchased it and then just go on through to the train platform!  It was VERY convenient in that regard. Once I got to the main train station I found the taxi's and took a taxi to the cruise port, arriving about 11:30am and I was able to go ahead and board, but they didn't let anyone into their rooms until 1pm.  So I went up and got a bite to eat. (Other than transportation costs, I didn't spend any money in Oslo).   Oh yea... and my taxi driver was from Somalia.. at least he wasn't a pirate! *smiles*

The Vision of the Seas is the ship I am on (Royal Caribbean). It must be a very old ship, it's showing it's age... especially in MY room!  and it didn't help that I found long black hairs in my drawers and things like that (I found THAT to be disgusting!).  I know the room stewards work hard to get the last group of passengers off and the rooms cleaned before the next group comes on... but...

Okay... signing off.  They charge $100 for 250 minutes (I think that should last me the week?).  They use old computers though that run really slow.

TTFN ... Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Friday, June 8, 2012

Heading out in the AM...

This is a view of the side of the new clinic/hospital I most likely will be working in by the end of the summer!

So... this morning I talked with my current supervisor... she wasn't happy, but she was understanding. She understands that I should take the opportunity for a promotion. I have told my other co-workers as well... who are basically looking at this as bittersweet... (one of my co-workers had applied for this position but her application wasn't even sent forward!). And I talked with my former co-worker this afternoon who is down where I'll be working (and we will have the same boss) and he hooked me up with my future boss and I got to talk with him. I feel better about accepting the position. And yes... I sent my acceptance letter (along with a TON of paperwork). It's still just a tentative offer on their part... dependent on everything getting through the system. And I can still say "no" until I actually leave here. My guess is that it will be August before I get down there (it better be... because I've got my friend coming for the month of July!).

Looks like this will be a busy summer! (okay... so I'm at 95% sure I'll be there in northern Italy by the end of summer). *smiles*

I've got to go... it's 10pm and I have several things I want to do before I go to bed and I have to be ready for the cab by about 4:50am! YIKES! I'll try to post from the boat tomorrow night... but if I don't... don't worry. I'll post as soon as I can get on the internet!

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Thursday, June 7, 2012


This may be the entrance to my potential new job...

So... I've had a fairly busy day... I was very good at focusing on paperwork when I was not meeting with clients. This morning I got an email regarding a position I had applied for that would be about 2 hours north of where I am currently at here in Germany and found out I didn't get the job, but I was one of the top considerations. That particular position wanted me to have done a 2 year's master's program... I did mine in 1 year. I actually had did a preliminary interview with the supervisor about 2 months ago before the position was even announced. It is what it is.

BUT... then I got home and had a tentative job offer for another position... one that I had been told was already being filled by a Psychologist. It's the position down in Vicenza, Italy. It would be a pay raise/promotion. I guess I'm just flabbergasted... because they have NEVER talked to me (well... no one has called me for an interview anyway!). All I can think of, is that all the networking I did at the conference I went to a couple weeks ago paid off. I must have talked with *someone* who knew someone... that's all I can think of.

So... besides being in SHOCK right now... I don't know what else to say. Will I take the position? Probably... but I will definitely weigh all my options. I think the biggest negative... (besides leaving some people here that I've grown fond of)... is leaving the house where I am living. What I saw of the housing down there... well... it wasn't that great. Not compared to the housing here... I have high respect for the Germans and their craftsmanship. And one thing weird about the housing I've seen down there... MOST seem to have bidets (is that what you call it... in the bathroom). If I move down there, I guess I'll have to figure out how to use one! LOL!

Anyway... that's MY news for the day.

For some other news... not so good. Please pray for my friends Walt & Bette (and their daughter Ellen)... Walt Jr passed away yesterday. It sounds like he had a lot of hemorraging on the brain. when the docs took him off all the pain meds and tried to get him to respond, he didn't. SO... please pray for them. While *I* find comfort that he died doing something he loved and it sounds like he went unconscious fairly fast so he didn't suffer much, for his parents... it is NEVER easy to bury a child.

Okay... signing off...

Auf Wiedersehen (although that might have to change to Ciao!).

- Kris

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Happy HUMP day?

There was a regatta on the Grand Canal in Venice while we were there visiting... it was neat (this picture doesn't do it justice regarding how many boats we saw that day!).

Well... interesting day... We started off with our typical early morning staff meeting and then I was looking forward to a quiet morning of paperwork (I only had one appointment scheduled for this morning and it got cancelled due to a scheduling conflict). But then I got a "walk-in" someone who said she had tried to call a couple weeks before and figured it might be easier to be seen if she just came into the office. Which worked. Long story short... I talked with my co-worker later this afternoon and she made a comment that she was behind on returning calls, I asked her if this person (that I saw today) was one of them... it was. Go figure. And remind me... WHAT does this person do? Although that section did get quite a few calls over the past 24 hours, not all of them will develop into cases though.

This afternoon I had one appointment after another... and I had to return a call to a client... so I got out of work about 5pm. I just came home after work. I've been on the computer since getting home... had to go through my facebook (when I went into my co-worker's office this afternoon... the one that is SOOOO busy she can't return calls or do her paperwork... and she was on facebook... again).

My plan tonight is to do paperwork and to watch "America's Got Talent." Right now I'm having a "Chicken, Bacon, Ranch" salad and a small glass of wine. Num, num...

Time to sign off...

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Is it Friday yet?

Some photos from San Marco Square in Venice...

So... the one thought I had tonight as I left work (a little after 6) is: Remember, you don't have a magic wand, you cannot fix, or save everyone! (no one has died). But... sometimes, some of the people I see take 2 steps forward and 1 or 3 backwards. And sometimes I feel like I'm in over my head and just cannot help everyone, as much as I would like to. I'm thinking of a particular kid that I've been seeing for about 3 weeks now. This kid should have been in treatment last year, but instead I get them towards the end of the school year when the kid has become unmanageable at home and unable to keep up at school. And I think the parents expect me to fix the kid in just a couple sessions. Argh! It took at least a couple years for things to get to this point... it might take 6 months to a year to help this kid pull through. IF they don't need a higher level of care (they may need more than I can offer).

I did have a busy day... but that was okay. We had someone from another clinic there today and it probably was good that I was as busy as I was (they put the person right across the hall from me... I'd feel bad if they came and felt like we didn't have enough work... and I was representative of our workload, I think at least to some degree. They are here to help our clinic out. I don't know if that makes any sense... and I apologize if it doesn't.

Other than that... when I did leave work, I went to our volksmarching club's monthly dinner/meeting. Num, num! I got to meet a couple new people, including a woman who lived a significant amount of her life in Alaska! *smiles*

Okay... signing off... it's already almost 9:30pm.

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday down for the week...

Standing in Venice with the Bridge of Sighs behind me...
"The Bridge of Sighs is a bridge in Venice, northern Italy. The enclosed bridge is made of white limestone and has windows with stone bars. It passes over the Rio di Palazzo and connects the old prisons to the interrogation rooms in the Doge's Palace" It was opened in 1602.

One of the many bridges over the canals of Venice..

Beautiful view in Venice...

So... work was fairly busy today. I had three new clients (two couples and an individual). Tomorrow will be busier. After work I stayed a little late to talk with one of my favorite co-workers that just got back from a cruise. It's always fun to talk travel!

Speaking of travel... I *did* get my suitcase and carry-on packed last night. now I just have to remember the important stuff! *wink* (like my cameras and electronic stuff... my AMBIEN... and my vitamins... that kind of important stuff!).

Today here in Germany it has been cloudy with a lot of downpours. There's a metal roof right under my office window and man, was that rain coming hard down today! I was glad I was inside! I did take a short walk at lunchtime and barely made it back before one of the downpours started (I got just a little bit wet, nothing too bad).

Tonight I watched the TV show "Coming home" it's about families being reunited with their deployed parents. It's always a real tear jerker. Tonight wasn't any exception.

Okay... signing off...

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Lazy Sunday...

These are some flowers I bought yesterday to brighten my world for the coming week! *smiles*

So... a lazy Sunday. I didn't get out of bed til about 11:30am (reading and playing games on my Ipad). That was nice.

And I haven't done half the things I wanted to... again, just being lazy. I did get the two cameras charged and the pictures that had been on the memory cards uploaded to my computer so they are ready to take on my trip next week. Now... I just remember to bring my cameras! LOL!

I also went upstairs and made up the guest beds (I had guests in both rooms last weekend)... and vacuumed, so I'm ready for company again. But... my plans to sweep the main floor and mop haven't happened. Guess I will just need to do it one of these evenings this week, if I feel it is important enough.

What has been significant about today, was that I got a message from Ellen (the daughter of my friends Walt & Bette... Bette is so much like a Mom to me, that Ellen is kind of like a sister). Anyway, she let me know that her brother Walt, Jr was in a very serious motorcycle accident early Saturday morning (well, just after midnight... and I guess the cops came to the door about 2am). He was wearing a helmet. But he is in critical condition and in a coma. Late this afternoon I called and talked to Walt & Bette...(for 2 hours!)... it was good to talk with them. I worry about them. They are in the late 80's and I'm sure the shock of all that has happened, not just with Walt, Jr, but other stuff that has happened in their family has got to be rough on them. They are made of strong stock though... and will get through this too. Please pray for Walt & Bette and Walt, Jr... and the rest of the family. They really need it right now.

Well, I'm going to sign off and try go to get some packing done. I also need to figure out what I am wearing to work this coming week (because what I typically wear to work, I want to take on the trip...i.e. my docker pants). I know that Tuesday nigh I'll be going to our Volksmarching club's monthly dinner... so that only leaves a few free nights this week before I leave on my cruise. And I sure don't want to forget anything (when I went down to Italy, I forgot my Ambien!). YIKES!

Signing off...

Auf Wiedersehen!

- Kris