Saturday, May 31, 2008


I am in an utterly vile mood. I'm not sure exactly what my deal is, but I have been full of nothing but spit and vinegar for the last day or two. And, believe it or not, I'm in a better mood now than I was last night.

I got off work at 4:30 to go and get Brandon, and it took me an hour and fifteen minutes to get home. That's an hour longer than it usually takes me to get home. Apparently, as soon as a single drop of rain hits the ground around here, everything simply stops. I was crawling along the Autobahn. Sure, I could have left the Autobahn, and tried my luck going through town, but what if it was even worse there? So I just kept crawling. And, when I did get home, I just took long enough to heat up some hot pockets and then it was straight back to Patch to try to catch Indiana Jones with some friends. The return trip took only about 25 min, but we were still late enough that the movie sold out before we could get our tickets. Even better, there were only 3 people ahead of us when it cut off. And, to top it all off, Bran decided to rub in my face that we should have just canceled to begin with.

I went to bed as soon as I got home, after an apology to Brandon for being so snipey. I didn't even want to be around myself, I was feeling so nasty. It wasn't just the frustration of the afternoon, though that certainly didn't help. Like I said earlier, I've just been in a rotten mood. But, today is a new day, and I'm hoping that it will be better than the last.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


So, after an amazing afternoon spent picnicking in the Black Forest, what could Brandon possibly do to top it? Why, he could take me to France, that's what!!

Since yesterday was a holiday for both of us, we took the opportunity to drive to Strassbourg. It's only about an hour and a half away, just over the French border, and perfect for a day trip. We got there right around lunch time, so the first order of business was to find something to eat. We had no idea where we were going, or what we were doing--we just put "Strassbourg" into the GPS and went--so at first we were well away from the touristy part of the city. We ended up in this tiny little Cantonese restaurant. Our waitress spoke only French with very little exception. And of course the menu was in French. We asked her what was good, and she pointed at something and said "specialty" so thats what we both got. It was pretty good, actually. There was a deep-fried shrimp, a meat pocket, a hush puppy, a stuffed noodle thing, and a very small chilled yellow pepper salad. It was a perfect portion for me, but little better than an appetizer for Brandon. At least it took the edge off for him, anyway.

After that we drove around until we could see the cathedral spire, and then headed for that. We were able to get a parking place right there next to the church, which turned out to be pretty central to the tourist section. The Cathedrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg, or the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg, was amazing... It was begun in the late twelfth century, and took almost 200 years to complete. Do you know what they were building the the US in the twelfth century? Tepees. (Not to diminish Native American history and accomplishments, but you know what I mean.) It was a humbling experience to be there, standing in building that had been built nearly a thousand years prior, to place my feet in grooves created over 800 years worth of use. I lit a candle there, for my grandfather, and for Brandon's Grandmama. I don't know why, but it seemed appropriate. I took a lot of pictures, but none of them could really capture the essence of the place. I awe.

The rest of our time there was trivial, by comparison. Not that it wasn't fun, or memorable. We got something more to eat in a cafe near the cathedral. I was still pretty full from my Cantonese meal, so I just got an order of creme brulee, which was delicious. Brandon got an escargot appetizer, because it was there for the trying. I tried one too, and though Brandon liked it, I just couldn't get past the texture. I literally had to choke the thing down, and to be honest, I barely even chewed it. Afterward, I was delighted to go back to my creme brulee. Bran was less satisfied with his main course... He got a local dish, with sausage ans sauerkraut. What he didn't know, is that he would be served a mountain of sauerkraut; everything else was basically just an after thought. Oh well, at least he tried it, right?

While we were sitting there, he noticed that there were people all the way at the top of the cathedral. So we wandered back over there, to try to figure out how to get up to the top ourselves. There was already a group up there, so while we were waiting, we went back to a street vendor and bought some gelatto ice cream cones. (oh, by the way, gelatto is YUM! I might not be a fan of American ice cream, but I just can't say no to Italian ice cream.) We finished them just as they opened the doors to allow more people to come up.

We hadn't gotten far before I decided that maybe that wasn't the best of ideas... It was 66 meters up to the top...better that 300 steep and uneven steps to get there. I felt so out of shape! My legs and lungs both were burning with the strain, and I was gasping for breath long before we got there. It was sad. I didn't hear Bran huffing and puffing at all. Of course, that might have been because I couldn't hear much at all over the sound of my own labored breathing, but I digress. It was worth it after all, once we got to the top. The panoramic view of the city was amazing. And, Brandon noticed that all of the stone blocks had been engraved with people's names and dates. I found myself wishing for a rubbing kit... It was crazy! One in particular stuck in my memory... "Johann Daniel (something) May 1196 Strasbvrg" I know that I don't remember it exactly, but I also know that I'm close. And no, the "v" is not a typo. Thats how it was written.

Crazy, right? Anyway, going back down was a lot easier than going up. At the bottom, there was a tram tour just about to leave, so we jumped on it. It was interesting, and quite informative. There is such history there... I hadn't appreciated just how much until I started listening to the tour narration. She noted the 4 remaining towers of the original Roman fortress, a civic building that was erected in the 1980's, and literally everything in between. Renaissance, Gothic, medieval, everything! All of it layered there together in one place, each building with its own unique story to tell. The sad part, to me, was her frequent reference to the things that had been lost in the WWII bombings there. Most of the destroyed historic buildings had been re-built in the old style, but it's not the same. Part of me wants to be disgusted, but then again...WWII is just as much a part of history as the rest of it. It is reasonable to expect that it would leave its mark on the world, just as much as the rest of it.

The whole trip served to give me a new perspective on the passage of time, and the lives that pass within time. Each life is so fleeting, so finite....yet the decisions we make, the things that we do can have an undeniably lasting impression on the face of the human race. It is strange to think of these things, to think beyond the realities of my day to day life. When I think of the future, I'm more often concerned with when I will next be able to see my family, when we will be able to start a family of our own, where the military will lead us next. Never do I think of what will remain when I am gone. What have the people of our age contributed to the historic landscape of the world? What will I, personally, contribute? My art? My writing? My children? Which will be the most important? Which will be the most lasting? My life stretches before me, and time stretches infinitely beyond that. My life feels insignificant by comparison.

I know I am certainly not the first to think of these things. I suppose that the grand scheme isn't so important, really. Life--and time--will continue to roll on regardless of what I think of. I can't help but to feel that it's the little things, and what I choose to do with them, that are important. The rest will follow on its own.

Sigh. I didn't mean to wax so philosophical... But I write what's in my head, you know? Heck, I often don't know what's in my head until I do write it. But, there it is.

As a side note, they ended up not needing those curtains that I made. Fantastic, right?

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Brandon took me for a picnic today. :) It was terribly sweet, the whole thing was his idea! He suggested it yesterday afternoon, so we went and got all the makings for sandwiches from the commissary. Then, today, he helped me make the sandwiches and we packed them with a blanket in the saddlebags of the bike and headed into the Black Forest.

It was gorgeous! The weather was perfect for a ride, and a picnic. We found a pretty little field next to a creek just off the road, and stopped there. I spread the blanket out over the grass near the creek, and we stretched out to eat. It was beautiful... There was a bridge and a dam of sorts across the water, so we had the sound of birds and rushing water to keep us company. We weren't the only ones there... A pair of guys were fly fishing, and there was a young family there with their German shepherd. It was interesting to watch the guys fishing. I'd never seen anyone fly fishing before, so it was cool to see what they do.

When we got done eating, we put the left overs back into my bag (thank you Corinnea!) and wandered around, and I took lots of pictures. There was an information plaque about the dam, which was specially rigged to allow logs to float down the water way when necessary. We couldn't read the German; we just used the accompanying pictures to figure out the gist of it. There was a weird raft thing that was built to use in conjunction with the dam, but we couldn't piece together the specifics. They did have one of the rafts there in the field, though. That was kind of cool.

We got back on the bike and went a little further into the forest before coming home, after lunch. The whole area was just stunningly beautiful. I guess I've never really been exposed to this sort of climate before, that can sustain something like the Black Forest. Everything is so sparse in Florida, by comparison. Oh, don't get me wrong.... There is a wealth of flora and fauna in Florida, lots of large trees and lush marshes. But not like this, not like what I've seen here. I felt like I was in a movie. It was easy to believe in the fairy tales out there. The enormous, and obviously ancient trees that towered above the sparse forest floor could easily have been the trees through which Snow White ran to escape her stepmother. Or they could have obscured the remote tower where Rapunzel was hidden from the world. Or where Hansel and Gretel got lost... As silly as it sounds, the place felt magical. I felt totally out of place, breezing through on the motorcycle. But it was wonderful, and I can't wait to go and do it again.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


You know that thick, scratchy feeling you get in your throat that you get when you're about to get sick?

Yeah, it started yesterday afternoon. So far, no other symptoms though. I hope it stays that way.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Good Day

Yesterday was a good day.

We didn't do much of anything in the morning, we just enjoyed not having anything that we had to do. In the afternoon, though, we took the bike out for a ride. (Please see my new user pic!) Bran had ridden it to work a few times during the week, but yesterday was the first time I've been on the bike since we got to Germany. It was wonderful! I needed to pick up a few things from work anyway, so that's where we headed. We took the scenic route up to the base, which was fantastic. I would have been totally lost, but lucky for us, Bran knows his way around pretty well and has a good sense of direction. It was a perfect ride. We got lunch while we were on Patch, then took the autobahn back home.

On the way, though, we stopped to take some pictures of those little yellow flowers I was talking about before. I'm sure we looked pretty silly, walking around on the side of the road in all our motorcycle gear, taking pictures of little yellow flowers, but that's ok. It was fun. Of course, I still have no idea what they are, but they do smell good. I wanted to pick some to put in a vase at home, but I decided against it. We were on the bike, after all.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


I don't know when it happened, but everything is green again. I've gotten used the area, and I'm now to the point where I look with out seeing what's around me. But on the way home a few weeks ago, I looked--really looked-- at the passing countryside, and it was green! No more of the drab browns and grays of winter, but the bright crisp green of new growth littered here and there with little white and yellow flowers.

Now, that bright green has deepened to a more lush shade, and the flowers have grown riotous. Everywhere I look, there are flowers blooming. It seems that every in our little town is a gardener... They all have these lovely well tended lawns. The picture is of a tree in my neighbor's yard. I see it out the window every time I go upstairs, and it is just beautiful. Their whole yard is beautiful. It's a nice view, I just wish it was outside my kitchen, where I could see it more often.

On the way to and from work every day, I pass fields of tall yellow flowers. They must be some sort of crop, because they are planted in neat rows, but it's still beautiful. (If I can get a picture of them, I'll add it later.) And, the weather is starting to warm up as well. It has been in the 70's for the past week!!! I'm so excited. I hope this weather holds...and not just because we finally have the bike registered. I am loving the sunshine, it was missing for so long. I want it to stay!

Spring-- wonderful, beautiful, blessed spring-- is finally here!!