Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Being creative on New Year's Eve 2013

 You might recognize this photo that I posted last night... I just added the text to it. *smiles*
And this photo was taken last Spring up in Holland... I just added the text tonight. You may need to "click" on the lower photo to be able to read the text.

Work went okay today, I had one "no-show" so I was able to use that time to get some notes from this morning written. I didn't finish up my last appointment until 4:15pm though, so will write up the afternoon notes on Thursday (the clinic will be closed but there will be a few of us working).

After work I rushed over to the Post Office hoping to mail off a package, but alas, they must have closed early. I *knew* I should have tried to go over there at lunchtime!  After work I came home and took the dogs out for a walk and then took the dogs over to the dog sitter's. He wasn't home (had gone to a neighbor's)... so I wandered around outside of his place for about a half hour (even though he *should* have remembered what time I said I was bringing the dogs over). Well, at least the dogs got a good walking and all their potty time done. I've been kind of hibernating here at home... just have the TV on. I might go upstairs later to watch some of the fireworks. There have been a lot of firecrackers and such being shot off tonight here. I am glad I got the dogs to a quieter place.

So... a recap on 2013?
I started the year off in Belgrade and my only New Year's resolution was to try and make it to 13 new countries. I didn't make that goal, but let's see how many countries I did make it to:
January:  (1) Belgrade, Serbia (2) Edinburgh, Scotland
February: (3) Vienna, Austria & (4) Bratislava, Slovakia
March: (5) Bucharest, Romania
April: (6) Amsterdam, Holland/Netherlands and (7) Stockholm, Sweden
May: (8) Casablanca & Marrakech, Morocco
July: (9) the US (Spokane, WA, and Crater Lake, OR)
August: San Antonio, TX
September: (no where - just a couple trips up to the Ramstein area)
October: (10) Zermatt, Switzerland
November: (11) Strasbourg, France
December:  Paris, France

So...it looks like I only made it to 11 countries - and only six of those were "new" countries to me. Oh well... at least I got to do *some* traveling. I did make it to something like 3 of the top 100 places to see in the world (Edinburgh, Crater Lake, and the Matterhorn). Sure beats a kick in the butt, right? Wonder how many countries I will make it to in 2014? I'm going to be financially challenged this coming year... so I may not make it to as many countries. There are still quite a few places I would *like* to get to though... I'd like to get down to Monaco and up to Finland and possibly over to Montenegro. Who knows... maybe I'll be in another country by the end of 2014 which would open up some more travel opportunities.

Okay... signing off for tonight... not doing much, just watching some football (sort of) and listening to the large "bangs" outside. I may go upstairs and watch some of the fireworks from up there in a bit.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Monday, December 30, 2013

Quiet Monday at work

 I took this photo yesterday at the end of the day. The fog was starting to settle on the field. Yesterday had rained quite a bit (and my car had a sheet of ice on it this morning!). 
And this morning when I took the dogs out to go potty before heading to work... the moon was AWESOME!  I came back home and ran upstairs (where I have a window that is like a skylight in the roof) and I raised the window and took a couple photos. You can even see a star off to the right!

Work WAS quiet today. I was the most senior person at work today. (ha ha... I let the other three go about 15 minutes early). I didn't do much, but I did get some training done, I got my "Peer Reviews" done and then I went through and got all my intakes organized so that I can give them to one of our Admin people to make charts out of them (and to get them out of my office).  That was my big accomplishment today.  I had my 8am appointment call and the Admin person rescheduled the appointment to 3pm (which I had purposely left open, because I'm pretty sure we will be let off work an hour early). Darn it.  That always seems to happen to me... on those rare days we get off work an hour early, something keeps me there.  SO... I have 7 appointments scheduled for tomorrow. I'm also the only Social Worker available in our department tomorrow so if by chance any calls of abuse come in (especially if they are child abuse cases), I have to cancel my appointment(s) to go deal with it. Hopefully no calls come in.

I've decided that I'm going to take my dogs over to my dog sitter's for the night tomorrow night. (NOT so I can go out and party)... but there have been some fireworks being shot off already (or firecrackers?) and the dogs have been really jumpy.  They haven't been home for any fireworks since we have come to Germany.  They've been on a military post (where my dog sitter lives) and fireworks are not allowed on the military posts (so they don't have to deal with the noise).  I contacted my dog sitters and they said they are going to be home tomorrow night (I think the wife has to work).
So... for the dogs' sanity... they are going to head to the dog sitters. I will probably come home and watch and see what the neighbors do. *smiles* (As far as fireworks. In year's past, if the streets are an indicator... they seem to shoot off a lot around here).

Okay... signing off for another day/night.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Eiffel Tower... a couple more photos

Thought I would post a couple Black & White photos of the Eiffel Tower... I'm sure it brings back memories for friends of mine who were probably there before color film came out! *smiles*

Today was another lazy day... woke up late, read for awhile in bed... I finished reading "The Dancer" about prostitution in Thailand, while there was a lot of swearing in the book, it was still informative.  After getting up and taking the dogs out for a walk, we came back and I made brunch (Sunday brunch for us is 2 eggs over easy, 2 pieces of bacon for me ( and 1 for the dogs to share) and a piece of toast (the dogs get part of the crust).  The dogs finish up whatever egg I don't eat.  Then after being on the computer for a bit, we laid down on the couch for a nap.  Then we took another walk, more time on the computer... and then I finally got motivated to make some dinner. I made a "Shake and bake" pork chop (I had 2 pork chops, baked the other one without the shake and bake so I could put it in my fried rice that I also made).  So... I had 1 pork chop for dinner, along with some spaghetti noodles and cheese (didn't have macaroni & cheese, so I made a substitute version) and I had some applesauce.

I did make some fried rice tonight... figure I'll have it for lunch tomorrow and dinner tomorrow night (and possibly lunch again on Tuesday). I have 3 containers, (about the right size for one large serving) that I've stuck in the refrigerator. I also made some brownies that I plan to take into work tomorrow.  I doubt if there will be very many people working, the clinic is closed tomorrow (but it IS open on Tuesday and I have a busy day scheduled for that day).

Not much else going on... we were supposed to have a partly sunny day today with no rain... then it drizzled most of the day. The sun did peek out a few times. Someone mentioned that there was a 50 car accident on the autobahn (in an area where the speed limit is 120 km/hour, which is about 73 miles an hour). It was just before sundown and I guess the sun was low and in their eyes and apparently people didn't realize that the cars in front of them were slowing down. It closed down the autobahn in that area for several hours.  I have to say, most people are pretty good about turning on their flashers when traffic is slowing down quickly, so as to alert the drivers behind them. I like that idea that they do that.

 I think it has been nice having a quiet weekend after my trip to Paris (and only going into work for 1 day after the vacation). Usually I come back from my trips needing a vacation from my vacation, because I tend to push myself pretty hard on the trips.  So, this weekend has been a welcome reprieve. I didn't get the Christmas stuff put away, it's all still on my dining table. I'll get to it. *smiles*

Okay... signing off. It's about 8:45pm. I hope to be in bed by 9:15pm.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas is now a memory... well, almost

 Taken while in Paris (obviously)
This was a picture hanging in the Louvre... I cropped the photo to the size of the picture.

So... today WAS a lazy day. I didn't get out of bed until about 10am. I took the dogs for a walk (they've had two halfway decent walks today).  I also took all the ornaments off my tree and all the tinsel and then I took the tree down and took it outside. I guess my friends are saying you aren't supposed to take it down until January 6th. Oh well. It was looking droopy and depressing (even though the base was still filled with water).  I also took a nap today for an hour and a half or so. I've been messing around on the internet, and just feeling lazy overall.  I have all my Christmas decorations on my dining table and plan to wrap up and box up the ornaments and everything tomorrow.  But for now, at least my living room is back to normal. *smiles*

Okay... keeping this blog short...

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Friday, December 27, 2013

More of Paris - the Eiffel Tower...

Some various shots of the Eiffel tower from different angels.

Work went okay today, I was the highest ranking person in our department! (whooeee).  I got the last couple notes written that were left undone when I left for Paris.  I also chatted with a former co-worker for a little bit. My boss did come in briefly (so she could give me the "on-call" phone) and we went and got a bite to eat together.  Other than that, I goofed on the internet (and got caught up on my emails at work).

I did get over to the grocery store and picked up some groceries (since I've been gone almost a week).  I also stopped by the store and picked up a large Rubbermaid container in hopes of being more organized about packing up my Christmas decorations. I am hoping to take down my tree tomorrow (it's wilting REALLY bad).  It'll be nice to get my house straightened back up (or at least my livingroom back to normal). If I get it done, maybe I'll break out my KitchenAid mixer and make something with it tomorrow. *smiles* (or Sunday?).

Okay... signing off.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Made it home from Paris

I think these are my favorite four photos from Paris...

I did make it home okay, but it wasn't without a tad bit of stress. I thought I had allowed plenty of time to get from the hotel to the train station I was due to leave from, but it turned out that I got to THAT train station about 10 minutes before my train was due to leave for Stuttgart (I was hoping for at least a 1/2 hour to navigate my way around the station).  There were little hiccups... like having to wait too long to check out of the hotel, then getting to another main train station and I was unable to figure out which metro to take from there to the train station I needed to go out of... and I went up to the main train area to talk with Information to get on the right Metro. (lugging my big suitcase and carrying my heavy backpack, up and down the stairs!). UGH!

But... I had a nice train ride back. I sat across from a guy young enough to be my son, who is a German Engineer, working in France. He was coming home to visit his parents.  I don't know if I mentioned, but I had forgotten when I originally made my reservations, that I had booked first class tickets.  That was nice. And they give you a meal (and I had a small bottle of wine as well, on my way back).  I left Paris about 11:30am and got back to Stuttgart about 3pm.  (I got home about 4pm). I went ahead and came home to put my stuff away so I could do it without the distraction of the dogs (and that way it would actually get done).  I went to pick up the dogs about 6:30pm.

Okay... it's 9:30pm... time to head to bed.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from Paris!

Well, after sleeping in and taking it easy, I headed out after lunch to enjoy my last full day in Paris.  I only hadoneplaceonmy agenda today and that was to go up to the Sacre Cour, the bi church that sits high above Paris.  At least Mother Nature was kind today... No rain.  I got turned around in one of the Metrostations on the way and the guy at the information booth was worthless.  Fortunately I hooked up with a wonderful family from Johannesburg, South Africa who were going to the same place.  They were a real nice family, their son had just finished High School (apparently their school year ends in December.).  They had a daughter a little older and her boyfriend was with them.  I plan to friend the mom, Diane, on Facebook. *smiles*. We parted shortly after we got to the Sacre Cour (we took the funicular up!... I've climbed those steps before, once is enough.). I went on inside for the church and hung out for the "Solemn Vespers" service whatever that means.  I figure it kind of gives me a chance to meditate and pray for some friends, a couple in particular who have lost loved ones within the past couple months.

After coming back down off the hill, I got on the metro and headed back towards my hotel. I walked across the bridge that crosses the river (so I was on the opposite side from my hotel) and took some photos from there.  They have a replica of the Statue of Liberty and it was also a nice place to view the Eiffel Tower.

Then I came back to the hotel and had a nice Christmas dinner... Steak, green beans and some mashed potatoes.  Now I'm back at my room, I need to get my stuff packed for tomorrow and figure out what time I need to leave to catch my train back to Stuttgart.  Oh yea... And one thing about Paris is that you don't see many overweight women, but I think I know why... It's all the walking and all the stairs in the Metro!  Whew!

Okay, signing off!
Auf Weidersehen,

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve in Paris

Tonight I went to the Christmas Eve mass at the Notre Dame.  I think that is only the 2nd time I have been to a Catholic mass.  I've been in a lot of cathedrals, especially across Europe, but only to scope them out, not to attend mass. *smiles*

This morning I slept in and then got up and went to the Musee D'Orsay, it's a museum in a building that used to be an old train station.  I mainly went because my oldest daughter wanted me to go (and a friend also mentioned it). I'm not much into museums.  And today, standing in the rain foran hour, I was questioning my sanity.  I wandered around for an hour or so and then decided to head over to the large Galleria shopping store.  I didn't buy a thing there, but mainly wanted to check out all of their Christmas window display and the large tree displayed in the middle.

From there I headed back towards my hotel, stopping at a grocery store to pick up a few things to eat.  Lol... My dinner tonight was a crab dip on crackers.  I came back to the hotel,changed and headed back out to the Notre Dame.

Right now I have no plans for tomorrow, I need to see what is open. Otherwise, I may just hang out in my hotel room, reading and relaxing.

Okay... Signing off.
Auf Weidersehen, 

Monday, December 23, 2013

3rd day in Paris.

I started off my day at the Louvre. I had a little bit of a scare when I tried to swipe my credit card to pay and it didn't work (then I spent all day worrying about it until I got back to my hotel tonight and could call the Credit Card company.  It looks like I may have damaged the magnetic strip, when I tried to swipe it through the machine. The CC people assured me it had not been hacked and there was no problem with my account. Whew!  After wandering around the Louvre for a few hours, I decided I was hot (wearing my coat) and I kept getting turned around... So decided it was time to get on the hop on hop off ( HOHO) bus and head to Notre Dame.  After an hour or so there I hopped back on a another HOHO bus for awhile, then came back to Notre Dame and took the photo above.  After that I hopped on the Metro (somehow I lost my 5 day ticket today, I was bummed, because I could have used it for 2 1/2 more days!).  So I bought a pack of 10 tickets which should do me okay until I leave.

I returned to my hotel and got ready to head back out to the Moulin Rouge.  I decided to go ahead and splurge on a ticket, in figure I've only been averaging about 20 euros for my meals per day, so... And now I can say I've been there... Done that.  My favorite part was probably the least expected.  At one point in the show one of the dancers jumps into a huge tank with HUGE Snakes that had to be at least 20' long!!!  Other than that I kept looking at the dancers breasts trying to figure out #1 who had the largest, # 2 whether the majority were B or C cup and #3, did they have implants.  Lol.

Okay, it's almost 1 am, I had better sign off.

Auf Weidersehen,

Sunday, December 22, 2013

2nd day in Paris

Today I did the hop on hop off bus, after sleeping in and taking it easy this morning.  It was nice to take a break from all the walking yesterday, which ended up being about 9.5 miles!
About 5:30 I got off at a stop at the Hard Rock Cafe and had dinner there.  I had grilled salmon, long green beans and some rice.  I had a coupon for a free hot fudge sundae, so I got that, but could only eat about half and then I was stuffed.  No, I didn't buy a tee shirt, because I already have one from there.  After that I decided to take a taxi over to the Moulin Rouge, it was only a little over a mile, but,MIT was dark, and at night, and I'm here on my own.  I checked to see about going to a show.... They only had tickets for the 11pm show.  So, I'm not going, at least not tonight. I took the metro back to the stop nearest to my hotel, which is about a 1/2 mile away.  I got back to the hotel about 8pm.

Sorry about the post from last night, for some reason it didn't publish.  Maybe my internet time here at the hotel had run out by then last night.  You only get 2 free hours of access.

Gotta go!
Auf Weidersehen,

Made it to Paris!

I made it to Paris with no problem (other than staying up late and only getting 3 hours of sleep).  After I arrived in Paris, I ended up getting off at he wrong Metro station and walked about a mile and a half, lugging a heavy suitcase and a backpack. I finally caught a cab, it was SO worth the 10 euros.  I did buy a 5 day Metro pass today and have ridden the Metro about a half dozen times today.  My hotel is less than a mile from the Eiffel Tower, in fact, I can see the top of it from my hotel room window.  I haven't looked yet to see Howe many steps I walked today, but if it isn't over 20,000 I will be surprised.  Today I just went down to the Eiffel Tower, and up to the Trocadero.  Someone said there was a large Christmas Market down where the big Ferris Wheel was (near the Champs-élysées), so I went down there.  I did a Lot of walking there. When I was leaving there I got on the Metro going the wrong way, so I just rode the metro for awhile, until I got to a station where I could switch over to one that would get me back to the Trocadero area.  I wanted to get some night shots of it with the sparkling lights on it.  They light those up every hour after 7pm, for about 10 mins.  Well, it is almost 11pm and I am exhausted.   I should sleep well tonight!

Friday, December 20, 2013


The centerpiece on my diningroom table.

So... argh, on many levels.  First of all, last night my laptop had an automatic update, where it shut down my laptop and now the touchpad doesn't work, and you can't do much without a touch pad. So, I am upstairs on my desktop, which is giving me fits about uploading a photo to my blog. I had to restart my internet explorer several times. I guess I'm just not meant to be on the computer tonight?  I may try taking my "mouse" from my desktop downstairs to see if I can get it to work that way.

Work was busy today, I had three appointments this morning and was able to get 1 or 2 notes written before my first appointment. As soon as my 3rd appointment was over at a little after noon, I grabbed the sandwich I had brought 2 days ago and hadn't eaten (it was in my little fridge) and I started eating that as I started to type up another note. Well, then wouldn't you know it... we had a fire drill. (REALLY? WHO FREAKING DOES A FIRE DRILL AT LUNCH TIME?).  Those of us in our building emptied out and there was only 1 fire marshall (German)... so after we all evacuated and he made sure WE were out... then he went next door to the main clinic and did a fire drill there and we were not allowed back into OUR building until everyone in the main clinic was accounted for.  WHAT THE HECK?  ARGH! So... needless to say... that took the rest of the lunch hour (all but about 5 mins)... so I grabbed my sandwich and a can of diet Rootbeer and headed down to where we had mandatory training this afternoon.  I did leave when the first part was over (about 3pm), went back to my office and managed to get all but 2 of my notes finished. Those will just have to wait until I return.

I was able to get in touch with my dog sitter on the way home and then was able to get the dogs dropped off before my nail appointment, saving me an extra trip back to the area.  I think everything has conspired to slow me down tonight though (including the computers).  I went to get a bite to eat (at Pizza Hut) and had to wait about 10 minutes for what I wanted, then the soda machine was out of the Diet Coke syrup (and I didn't really want bubbly water... I don't LIKE bubbly water)... so had to wait almost 10 minutes on them to get THAT fixed.  ARGH!

So... came home and threw my sheets into the dryer (I had managed to get them into the washer when I came home to pick up the dogs after work).  And then I proceeded to put all my laundry away and sort through some clothes I didn't need to sort through.  And then the dryer said my sheets were dry (they weren't... it's a German dryer... what can I say?)... but the pillow shams were dry... but all wrinkled. I don't like them wrinkled (can't they make those in non-wrinkled material like they do pants?).  Anyway... so then I decided to IRON them. ME IRON? What's up with that. I guess I must really be wanting to procrastinate about cleaning the house (vacuuming and a quick mop) and finish packing, if I decided I had time to IRON the pillow shams!

Now it's 10:30pm. I have 90 emails to look at (on my upstairs computer) and then I need to finish up. I am hoping to be up by 4:30 so I can be at the train stop by 5:20 or so. Fun. I always do this to myself, why should this time be any different.

On a positive note. I did get my nails done tonight. *smiles*

Okay... signing off!

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Feeling grumpy today...

From the Stuttgart Christmas market.

Yes, I am feeling grumpy today. I think part of it is because I stayed up too late last night (wrapping a gift for the Clinic Christmas party today and making fudge for it).  So... other reasons for feeling grumpy? I only had 3 appointments today (8, 10 and 11), so that wasn't too bad. One of the appointments was for someone that I've had a lot of emotional investment in over the past month, they are moving back to the States tomorrow, it's sad to see them leave. But... I don't think that's it. I think part of it was knowing I had something 9 notes from the past 2 days that had not got written. I had started one assessment, but had gotten interrupted doing it yesterday, being requested in my supervisor's office (IMMEDIATELY)... to discuss the situation with my co-worker because it was the end of the day and she had about 45 minutes to deal with things on this end (She's going to the States for the Holidays).  Anyway... come to find out today, apparently in my RUSH to get over to my supervisor's office... (it was on the 2nd request)... I closed down the note I was working on and I found out late this afternoon, that none of the work I had done had been saved... so I had to start all over again (and I was 3/4ths of the way through with it). What a waste of time. AND... when I did meet with my supervisor (she came in late because she took the co-worker to the airport... this is the co-worker that is losing her license for a month)... I found out that the co-worker has decided to come back when she is originally scheduled and that she will go ahead and pull her on-call when scheduled, but if she gets called out, that she will take a taxi.  I think I feel mean when I hope that she gets called out a couple times. (Chances of getting called out are slim... though... to be fair).   Of course... maybe she can afford it (I found out today that she had given someone an old purse that she didn't need any more and that person found 2400 euros in the purse! WHAT THE HECK??? You don't miss that kind of thing??? I would SERIOUSLY freaking out if I lost that kind of money!).
Anyway... so that meeting yesterday afternoon, that kept me from getting a couple notes done? Didn't have to happen.

So... there was that.  I get frustrated when I get behind on my notes. There's that.  Then today we had our Christmas party with gift exchange. I took an extra large tool box that I have actually had in my car for about the past year. I had gotten it to keep stuff organized in my trunk (but never took off the tags)... but all it did was roll around in my (large) trunk. So... I decided it wasn't working for me.  It was in brand new condition, so I decided to wrap it up and give it.  (And it was well received and was stolen the max of 3 times, in our version of a Chinese auction, or whatever, where you draw a number and you can either pick a gift off the table, or "steal" a previously opened gift, but you could not steal a gift that you'd previously had, and once the third person "stole" the gift, it could no longer be stolen.  Well... I had number 21. One of our docs (JL) had 14, and one of our Social Workers (CA) had #21. As the gifts were being opened, CA decided she wanted the "Belgium beer." So, she asked me to get it so she could steal it from me (by then it had been stolen once).  And JL wanted the Patron Tequila. So... the idea was that I would steal so Colleen could get the Beer and he could get the Patron... and then he would steal whatever gift I wanted.  Well... the first gift he "stole" for me was a Polish Pottery pie pan.  Then that got stolen from him.  Then I asked him to steal a Polish Pottery tea pot... then that got stolen from him (he seemed to always be the 2nd person stealing whatever it was we were trying to get)... then he got me a "Swabian" cookbook (a cookbook from the local area, it was in English)... and then that got stolen from him (we had something like 36 people participating).  Well... to finally bring the game to an end... he just went up and got the last gift (a chintzy gift that I *totally* wasn't interested in... neither was anyone else)... even though I had suggested he go get a candy dish that someone else had.  I can appreciate that he wanted to just end the game (I think we all were wanting it to end by then).  But... I didn't want it... so I felt like I was being the good, giving person and I came out on the losing end.  (There was a hammer with the Patron and so I *did* ask him for the hammer... I guess whoever brought it thought it was clever to give a hammer with the Patron... their version of "getting hammered" I guess).  I did speak my reservations about helping my co-workers get alcohol gifts... people who know me, know I would NEVER drink or try to get Tequila OR beer. And in a gift exchange, you would never see me go for liquor.  (Someone later asked me when I was going to break open the bottle of Tequila...).  I shouldn't complain... it is what it is... and I try to put out there what I would like in return... from the Universe or whatever. Sometimes I feel like I give too much... of myself... of things... and I get frustrated when I don't get that in return.  And then I feel guilty about that.. I feel like I should just give without expectations.  And then I am reminded what I tell my patients... your serenity level is in direct proportion to your expectations. The higher your expectations, the less you will be happy.  And then sometimes... I think I should just boycott Christmas next year and not do anything... for anyone... no calendars (I mailed about a dozen, and only 2 people wrote to say thank you without prompting... and I know they have all been received now). I can save the $400 or so I spend on calendars... and the rest of the money I spend and use it for a trip.  At least I would be getting something I would like for me. (Can you tell I am grumpy?).

Anyway... after the party... the rest of the clinic went home... but our side went back to work.  And that's when I found out that the one note I was trying so hard to get done yesterday had accidentally gotten deleted and I had to start all over completely from scratch. ARGH!  And then I didn't get out until 5pm. (I am supposed to be off at 4:30).  And tomorrow I have 3 appointments scheduled (the morning is supposed to start off with a meeting... but my boss told me we don't need to meet)... so... I have 9, 10 and 11 am appointments scheduled.  And then we have training all afternoon. (We have to go down to the gym. So... I'll have roughly an hour and a half to get 12 notes written, and 4 of those are for the 2nd appointment (of seeing the patient)... and those take almost as much time to write as the 1st note (the other notes after that get easier).  And I can't stay late tomorrow night because after work I have go get my nails done and get the dogs dropped off... and then I want to come home and finish packing and clean house (change bedding, sweep and mop floors.... make sure everything is clean before I leave for Paris).  I will just do what I can do tomorrow... it will be what it is.

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

Auf Wiedersehen!
 - Kris

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Late night...

Ornaments from the Stuttgart Christmas market this past weekend (no, I didn't buy any)

By the way... in addition to seeing that gorgeous full moon last night, I also got to watch the International Space Station fly overhead briefly and watched how it disappeared out of sight as it got further from the reflection of the sun (in the dark). That was neat. I get alerts when the Space Station is going to pass overhead (because I signed up for them).

Work went okay today, had a meeting called at the last minute this afternoon... and felt frustrated because as a result, I didn't get my notes done like I had hoped to. AND, I wanted to get right out of there at 4:30 (Okay... I left about 4:45) so that I could go drop off a few bags of recyclable stuff at our local recycling place.  It's nice to know THAT garbage is out of the house. (Paper and plastic mainly, and some glass bottles I had - mainly from my Sugar Free Vanilla Flavoring I buy).

Cody and Mazzie's Mom & Dad came to pick them up about 7pm. I watched some of "The Voice" and then went and got some laundry going and I ironed my "Hawaiian" Christmas shirt that I plan to wear tomorrow (We have our office Christmas party tomorrow afternoon).  I've decided I'm going to take 2 pairs of jeans and about 3 pairs of black pants. I am going to mainly take Red sweaters ( to wear over in Paris for the 6 days I am there) for tops. Less hassle that way.  I did get my SD cards all uploaded to one of my external hard-drives, so that's taken care of (and I deleted the photos off the SD cards afterwards).  And I went ahead and colored my hair. I had dinner really late... just had a couple salmon filets... (that's it... nothing else).  I also made some fudge, because we are supposed to bring "desert" tomorrow for the Christmas party.

One of the meetings I got pulled into this afternoon (as I was furiously typing away on a note)... was to benefit one of my co-workers who is going back to the States for the holidays.  She got caught running a red light and has to give up her driver's license for 30 days. (Yowza)... That sucks when you have to pull on call... and basically means she CAN'T pull on call for a month.  She was originally going to be back around the beginning of the 2nd week, but now she's trying to see if she can get her flight extended and she may stay through Martin Luther King weekend.  It kind of came down to me... because she is scheduled to be on call that weekend.  And my boss has already made plans for that weekend.  SO... guess who is going to be on call on ANOTHER holiday.  I was on call for Veteran's Day, I was on call for Thanksgiving, I DO get Christmas off, but have to take over on call on the 27th (so can't go anywhere that weekend) and I have it for New Year's eve as well. Then I will have it for MLK day weekend (and will be pulling it two weeks in a row as it stands right now, although my boss said if it becomes overwhelming, she and I could split the 2nd week).  Am I nice or what?  Now... when *I* went home for MY home leave and wanted to stay back 3 weeks, (because of the furlough days, I wouldn't have had to use extra days)... and I was basically told it would be TOO hard on my boss and co-workers.  Heaven forbid, I would be out for 3 weeks and they would have to take turns pulling on call.  (I *would* have been out for 2 1/2 weeks at least had I gone on the Antarctica cruise in February... but that's not happening).  But back in July, it wasn't as if either of them would be covering MY workload (other than a possible emergency situation that might have come up with one of my clients)... but when they are gone, I *do* pick up their caseloads (any calls that come in for domestic violence, especially after hours when I am on call).

Okay... that's my gripe of the day. I will say it once, if I have said it one hundred times... I try to treat people the way I would want to be treated... I try to do for others, what I would want someone to do for me.  Sometimes that gets taken for granted though. For example, I create the calendars to give out as gifts to my family and friends... and I feel bad when they don't even acknowledge that they have gotten them.  And I have co-workers... with whom I don't even exchange Christmas presents... that expect a calendar each year. (I *do* get a thanks from them...  but come on... you have the expectation of a calendar... they are not cheap).  Oh well. I give. That's probably why I stay broke. :) (that and because I like to travel).  I think I mentioned that the Govt is saying that they overpaid me... and I have to repay them (I think starting in January).  That's going to cut down on my traveling ability... that and some other significant expenses I've got coming up.  Oh well... it's just money, isn't it.

Okay... signing off for another day. It's 11pm here... Yowza... I'm going to be tired tomorrow! And tomorrow after work, I need to come home and think about packing.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Stuttgart Christmas Market (Didn't post on Saturday for some reason???... so re-posting)

I went down to the Stuttgart Christmas market this evening and took some photos. Didn't really buy anything... a cup with hot chocolate and some cookies. *smiles*  I had a hard time getting motivated to go anywhere today.  When I took the dogs out about 10am, we were having RAIN... FREEZING rain... (it was 28* out).  I was worried about getting out in the slick icy stuff.  But, I did take off about 3pm and ran some errands (on the way home from the Christmas market, I stopped and picked up some fresh milk from the local farm).  I didn't feel very productive today... but that's okay. Hopefully I can be more productive tomorrow.

Right now I'm watching the Army-Navy game (Navy is ahead) on TV. Not sure I'll make it through to watch the whole thing (it's 1/2 time and it's 11am here).

Okay... signing off...

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Full Moon over Steinenbronn

 I've been enjoying these German Christmas cookies that I picked up down at the Christmas Market this weekend.

Sure enjoyed the full moon tonight! I was trying to recreate the photo I had the other day... where it looked like a Christmas tree with the moon on top for the "star".  But, the moon was too low.  Anyway... here's a couple photos I took... I like the bottom one... to me it looks like there is a skinny lady laying across the lower half of the moon... with her arms outstretched over her head. *smiles*

Work went okay today, I got caught up on my assessments and documentation this morning, and then this afternoon I had back-to-back appointments resulting in 6 more notes. Argh! 

After work I got the dogs... Cody and Mazzie... they've been sleeping on the couch (at least if Cody is on the couch, he's not peeing on the floor, right?  Now it's after 9 though... and I haven't done anything... was bad and had some candy for dinner... (didn't want to deal with doggy beggars I guess)... I did watch "The Voice"... I enjoy that show.

Okay... signing off.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Monday, December 16, 2013

4 more work days after today!

Christmas Holly (I took these photos in my neighborhood yesterday while I was out walking).

Work went okay today, my supervisor was back (She was gone almost 2 weeks, back for a week and gone for another week).  Fortunately there weren't any major problems while she was gone (it seems like every time she leaves *something* happens).  Today started off with a meeting followed by 2 appointments. This afternoon was a little easier, I only had 1 appointment, but ended up in my supervisor's office discussing various things.  After work, I made the mistake of going back into her office... I should know better... I didn't get out of there until 5:45pm!  (I am off work at 4:30pm).  And I was SOOO close to leaving an hour earlier (4:45pm).  I did manage to get copies made of my train tickets and of my passport, so I have extra to take with me.

One of our docs asked me if I would watch his dogs tomorrow night (Sometimes I wish I were better at saying "NO").  It's Cody and Mazzie... Cody is the one that loves to piss on my floor.  They have to run up to Frankfurt and are going to spend the night up in that area.  So... I guess I will be having company tomorrow night (in the form of 2 dogs).

Not much else going on... I'm watching "Survivor." It is on for 2 hours tonight... not sure I want to stay awake until it's over. I try to be in bed by 10. I think it is the finale.

Okay... signing off...

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Sunday, December 15, 2013

What an AWESOME Sunset tonight! Glad I was off to enjoy it!

 Bruno likes to sleep on my lap and Peanut loves to sleep next to me... usually she is under the blanket, something she learned to do as a puppy.

Various pictures of the sunset tonight.... sure was colorful!

So... haven't done much today... woke up about 8am thinking I should get up... but then fell back to sleep til 10:30 or so.  I woke up and laid in bed reading my emails and my Facebook page for about an hour before I got up and got my shower.  I did take the dogs out for a couple walks, and I did get two assessments typed up tonight.

Today they had another showing of the "Sound of Music" remake with Carrie Underwood on TV, so I watched it this afternoon. I enjoyed it. My kids grew up with that as their favorite movie... so yes, the remake isn't as good as the original, but I still enjoyed the music.

Other than that... I made a steak and some cauliflower for dinner... the dogs enjoyed it too.  *smiles*  And after dinner, Bruno got the leftover meat and Peanut got a meaty bone (When she'd had it for about a half hour, I had her get out of her bed and let Bruno have a chance to chew on it for awhile.

Tonight I'm watching the Seahawks beat the New York Giants in football. I'm not sure I will stay up and watch the whole thing. It's after 9pm and they are about 1/2 through the 3rd quarter. If I stay up to watch it, I won't get to bed until 10:30pm or so.

I think I should have gotten up at 8am, I may have been more productive. It's hard to believe that in a little over 5 days I will be in Paris.  I need to think about packing and preparing for the trip.  Guess I will be busy this week in the evenings.

Okay... signing off.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris