Wednesday, December 30, 2009

BTW we renamed our new cat: Benjamin Franklin.....Frank for short, it just fits him better

Monday, December 28, 2009

Manifest Destiny

So we would like to introduce the newest furry addition to the family: Meriwether Lewis. Our new Norwegian Forest Cat (yes, finally we have gone into the realm of pure bred pets) is starting to acclimate to his slightly less wealthy home. With an original staggering price tag and higher ranking owners, Lewis, as we call him, has condescended to agree to live in our humble abode. At five months of age, and already tipping the scales at 14 lbs. we expect that he may soon eat us out of house and home! He is just a sweetheart, that has very large feet (another harbinger of monstrous size).

On an entirely different note, Ma and Pa (Miller's rentals) are over from the 'States to spend some time over the holidays with us. We have enjoyed eating, hiking, and spending time with the cats (I love being able to say "cats" instead of "cat" again!). We hiked in Pottenstein yesterday, seeing the great geology of the area, and to a slippery walk up the extinct volcano in Neustadt am Kulm today. We enjoyed the crisp, yet lovely weather on both days. Ma and Pa came over the day after Christmas, leaving us to spend Christmas day liesuely getting lost while wearing the best pants in the world (thanks, Mum). We also greatly enjoyed speaking to the family and seeing the fabulous photos from Christmas Eve.

Work has been going fine, with the occasional delay due to snow. We really enjoy getting a delay, as it is reminiscent of snow days in grade school. This week should be fun, as we are taking a day trip to Prague tomorrow and will be heading to the Alps later this week. As always, please feel free to check out our photos on .

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Around the Next Bend. . .

One of the character building experiences of growing up in our houses was hiking. Once Jak and I had been dating for a while, we discovered that both of our parental units (or more properly, our Mothers) have a strange disability when it comes to hiking. While our mothers are normally experts on directions and distances, when hiking all destinations were strangely "just around the next bend."
Now in Ma's defense, while hiking in the Grand Canyon this is strictly true, however, it doesn't really count if you can see the campsite a half mile away. . .across the canyon. Only hours later would one actually reach that fabled "around the next bend." There is no defending Mum, there is no mythical bend that shows, well anything at all. Bends therefore have grown to symbolize that intangible feeling that comes from hiking in the woods. Or more accurately, that "Damn it I am tired and hungry and have no freaking clue what we are doing out here!!"
Now that we hike on our own, we have found that the disability is genetic, as both of us have inherited it to a greater or lesser extent. Jak to a slightly greater extent, as while she can without fail find a 1 square foot sign in the middle of a land navigation course, simple things like trails can on occasion defeat my fearless adventurer. Nathan has inherited Ma's almost perfect sense of direction, as well as her inability to be truthful about the trail ahead.
I cannot simply blame genetics, as the German's continue to make rather asinine decisions in cartography that do not help matters. Contour intervals are mere suggestions, trail markers a rarely seen oddity, and who in God's name makes grid squares that are 1400 meters wide?
Despite this all, we managed to have a wonderful time hiking down in Garmisch this week. We were down for a Marriage Retreat (what are we retreating from?) with my company, which in our chaplain's eyes is best served by having at most 2 hours of seminar in the evening and giving us the days to destress and relax. For most that involved relaxing in the pool or seeing the sites, perhaps with a bit of shopping. We strapped on crampons and mountaineering boots and climbed one of the smaller Alps on a path that can only generously be considered a trail. It was wonderful and relaxing, and exactly what we needed. Tom wasn't the most happy to be left at home, but considering he gets worn out after half an hour of "Throw the Catnip Mouse and watch Tom run into the wall trying to get it" with Dad, it was probably best he stayed at home.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

So what, my cat is spoiled!

So Tom is a bit lonely. We have yet to find him the right friend, so we have been lavishing attention on him. The spoilage doesn't stop there though. Tonight, both Nate and I have been preparing for my company's Christmas party. I have been making my famous pulled pork, while he has been making his classic twice-baked potatoes. I have substituted the water that I would normally throw into the slow-cooker with the pork, for a Belgian Ale. We shall see how that goes. In the process of prepping the meat for cooking, I was removing any really large fatty pieces. Not wanting to waste anything, all fat scraps were thrown into my cast iron skillet, cooked, and then pureed for my feline child. I gave him a bit tonight, and he just went wild for it! It will be a welcome substitute for his special indoor cat wet food diet for the next couple of days (in addition to his dry food, of course). I know he is a bit fat, but I can't help in feeding him, as he is just so cute! Being a good boy, he never begs at the table, nor has he ever eaten "people food." I think he just likes to eat, which makes him a bit chubby. Hopefully we find a girlfriend for him soon, as he is just not meant to be in a one-cat home. I have been tempted by ads for pure-bred maine coons, but it would go against my belief that cats are not something that should be bought (especially at hefty 400 Euro price tags!). There are enough unwanted kitties out there, but none of them has yet to stumble their way into our lives.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

So the Holidays are everything must go is in the rules!

I am not sure who wrote these rules, but they should be a firing squad better yet, defenestrated! In short, this week was terrible, until today, that is. On a very somber note, we unfortunately lost our beloved Aaron Burr to a short illness. He passed away under anesthesia, so felt no pain. It was very tough for us and his brother, Tom. We have been lavishing Tom with attention, but he certainly misses his furry friend. As Pa told me, time heals all wounds, but right now, this one still hurts. Cats just are not meant to live alone, so when the time is right, Tom will be getting a sister. We are looking for an adult female cat in the Grafenwoehr area, so if anyone knows of a kitty needing a home, please let us know. Thank you all for all of your condolences, and thanks to our friend, Jen, who was a great help to us during this week.

So, after a tough week at work and the loss of our pet, what would feel better than a bike ride with friends? Yesterday, Nate, Chris, Joe and took out our bikes for some cyclocross practice. We decided to start the ride with a run up of our favorite dirt hill. I was the first to ride off towards the path with Chris, a ways behind me. No sooner had I passed a car parked off to the side of the road, when from out of nowhere came a large, black, vicious dog. It chased me for about 500 meters before I had to chose; either kick it in the face to stop it from following me into the road, or let it run into the road and let it get hit by a car. As much as this animal's demise seemed the best for it, as it was slowly taking chunks out of my ankle, I thought that that bitch of a woman who was half-heartedly yelling at it to come back, might miss it. So, I chose to kick it. Landing my size 8 cycling shoe right in its face, it quickly decided that I was not worth the effort. The rest of the ride was enjoyable and uneventful, for which I was quite thankful. After showering, we went to Obi to grab some Christmas decorations and went out to dinner with my commander, who rightfully thought that we needed to get out of the house.

Luckily, today was better. Nate put up with a cleaning frenzy this morning. He is used to this, as I do it at least once a day. When you own a cat that just won't stay off the counter (yes Tom, I am talking about you), you have no choice but to sterilize often! Our friend Chris, who owns a truck, came with us to pick out a Christmas tree. I chose both Chris's and our tree, while they cut them down and carried them to get wrapped. It was very manly to say the least. While waiting for the tree to dry, as it was a wet day, Nate helped Chris build a bike for his wife, while I put hooks on all the baubles for the tree. We took a break to ride down to the Advent Market in town and sample some Gluhwein (hot mulled wine), bratwurst, and roasted nuts. It was very festive. We put up our gigantic tree (about 8.5 feet tall!) and Miller is now bottling some home brew. Hopefully our life is uneventful for a while.

Oh, by the way, we both got promoted this week. No more butter-bar.