Thursday, December 30, 2010

Of Shame and Redemption


Shame first: Shame on you Germany! You may wonder what the heck I mean by this, but trust me, all will be revealed. Today Jak and I decided to check out a local ski hill that he had not yet skied at. We should have realized that things would be less than fantastic when the line to park was out the gate, and it cost 1.50 Euro to park. Alas, we are nothing if not fatally optimistic and following a quick trip to the WC we paid our 30 Euro and got in line. Those reading stateside may think of an orderly queue, but rest assured it was nothing of the sort. That is where the shame comes in. How can an entire people be entirely without any ability to organize themselves? The cue to the lift was about 150 people doing their best rendition of Brownian motion, slowly, slowly, slowly making slight progress towards the lift. Now some could argue that it was simply the amount of people involved, or that it is our jobs biasing us, but let me point out some fallacies in the notion. We are in Germany, a land theoretically known for order and propriety, so let us imagine the opposite world. You have seen the pictures of the circumambulation of the Ka'aba, that is 20 or 30,000 or more Muslim pilgrims from multiple countries speaking multiple languages and they can pull it off smoothly. I have seen the documentary. There are obviously no German Muslims, because they wouldn't manage a single trip around the darn place. This leaves out the little bonus features such as chain smoking and lack of basic hygiene (i.e. deodorant) that our companions suffered with. Suffice to say that after 35 min, we made it to the top, skied down for 8 or 9 min, and then waited 55 min to get back up, than skied another 10 min, at which point we did not have the time to make it to the front of the line before the lift closed. Not a good day skiing, and not a good example of the mythical "alles in ordnung."
Redemption came in the form of food. Jak and I stopped at Netto on the way home to grab some bread. And potato salad. And terrible candy for Alli. Fortunately for German-American relations, the aforementioned was all amazing (save the candy) and quite cheap. It produced a dinner that managed to reduce our rage and hatred of people who cannot form lines to a manageable level, and life as we know it continued on. I suppose every day cannot be perfect.
P.S. That smile of Jak's in the picture? It is forced, and even then only successful because 3 Snowboarders had just crashed behind me. While walking. But being good at what you do is an entirely different rant for an entirely different day.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas


I suppose it would be an unfair division of labor if I were to make Jak write all of these. On the other hand, as I write this Jak is in the kitchen making bread for today, but I suppose we all must use our talents as we see fit.
Christmas has been especially pretty this year, as in Bavaria it has been snowing on and off for the past 3 weeks, in fact it is snowing as I write this. Thank God for a white Christmas! The Army is generous and we have a 4 day off for Christmas, Wednesday was our last day of work for the week. Now idle time is well known to cause hands to populate with little devils, so the manly men consisting of myself, Ted, Sam and Mike decided that we had to start off the break with a bit of off road adventure. Thursday morning saw us all kissing our wives goodbye (except Mike, poor guy his Fiance is still back in the states) to go off into the woods in search of adventure. In true us style, we all forgot our cameras to document the adventures, so you will have to use your imagination. We started off in the woods that run along the fence line of post, where Jesus demonstrated how truly awesome a Land Rover is. I led with Sam providing running commentary, and we took every trail that we could make, with the exception of one trail that is beyond even the power of the Landy when covered in snow. Now I could narrate every turn and trail, but I suppose we will hit the highlights.
Now the second part of the adventure of offroading requires a caveat, namely Germans cannot drive. While not as reckless as the Italians, they seem to be permanently stuck in the first snowfall of the year lack of driving ability. This was driven home to us (punny I know!) when about 2 kilometers down a forest track we encountered a local national in her Audi A3. For those unfamiliar with the particular vehicle, it has all of the off road capability of a Ford Focus, so she was of course stuck. Imagine the expression of mild terror as 4 young Americans dismount their vehicles, but in short order she was much happier as we actually had an idea of how to get her out. With the cobination of Ted's, hmmmm "liberated" HMMWV tow strap and the unstoppable power of a LT77 Gearbox tied with a low transfer case and a locked differential we had her out in short order and were all backing down the trail to the entrance. While Jak may be an excellent driver in reverse, this woman was rather a worse example of the capabilities of the fairer sex, as she managed to get stuck 3 more times as she would swerve into the ditch while backing up. We eventually did complete the rescue and she was very grateful and even offered money. If this whole Army thing doesn't work out, I can always deliver mail and rescue cars.
The other part of our adventure was the discovery of a partially eaten wild boar head. Of course we had to bring it home and mount it on Sam's fence post, to scare off the Soldiers who use our neighborhood as a shortcut to the bars. Michaela (his wife) did not find it as cool, and it lasted about 30 minutes before going to the dumpster.
4 Days are not all mindless fun adventures, Jak and I also did some last minute shopping for a Yankee Swap (called by southerners a "Dirty Santa") and did battle with elderly Bavarians at the butcher to gain what we thought was tenderloin roast, but instead ended up as wild boar. I have to wonder if we once had its' head, but the chances are slim. Christmas dinner was the two of us while Tom surfed the counter for scraps we had inadvertently left within paw strike of our fat cat. We also attended midnight mass where we heard this Christmas Gem:
Santa was having a bad Christmas, it started when right after Thanksgiving when Mrs Claus put him on a diet, as his big red suit was not quite big enough. Then, the flu hit the workshop and half of his elves were on quarters for 2 weeks. Then, a week before the big day the Reindeer got into the fermented milk and cookies and Rudolph and Prancer broke their hooves walking home. If the OPREP for that wasn't bad enough, because the loadmaster elf was still on quarters, his secondary had to take over and he messed up his plans on ALPS, and the sleigh was loaded incorrectly, causing the landing skid to crack. Santa was in his office trying to figure out how to get the presents to their targets, when there was a knock on the door. It was an angel with a Christmas tree, and the angel said to Santa "I am the Christmas tree angel, I am supposed to go around giving these out to everyone, where do you want me to shove this?" For Santa, it was the last straw and he said "YOU CAN SHOVE IT. . ." And that is how we get the tradition of having a angel on top of the tree.
I thought it was funny.
Jak and I opened our presents this morning, with much help from the cats. We miss everyone very much, and apologize for this rather disjointed entry.
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Finally, a break in the action!

So, although there hasn't been anything too extreme going on, we have been busy. Firstly, I must say that half day schedules are not really half days. Secondly, staff duty gets more, ummmm, interesting as the night progresses. Lastly, I am very thankful for this Christmas four-day holiday! Work has been a bit busy, but with the Soldiers leaving early, it certainly has allowed me to get some work done, as well as accomplish tons of stuff while pulling staff duty. Thanks to Sam getting locked out of his computer account, I had to take his shift on Tuesday.

During the day, it was business as usual, people signing out on leave, chatting with MSG Blake and SFC Elmes, and managing the extra duty folks. As the night progressed, things got odd. We recieved a frantic call trying to locate the owner of a Zippo lighter that had tried to ship through the mail. The customs fellow on the phone seemed to think it was a matter of life and death to get a hold of this Soldier, who he could only identify as SPC Jones. Seriously, does he know how many SPC Jones that the battalion has?! When we told him that, he hung up in frustration. Oh well, someone will have to do without their $10 lighter....schade. When on my checks to see if the arms rooms and motor pools were locked, I was followed by some small four legged creature every time I walked into the back area of the companies to make sure the back doors were secured. Odd. The last truly nerve wracking thing occured when I was dropping off my runner at his house. As my runner's car is not working now, and in the Christmas spirit, I offered to give him a ride to his home, as it was ony a couple of miles away and was very slippery out. On the way down the road, my windshield wiper fell off. No big deal, in the Land Rover, that is par for the course. I pulled over at his home to let him out, and to try to shove it back on. Epic fail. As I was swearing and banging at the wiper connection points, the Polizei pull in behind me, giving me odd looks due to my unsual behavoir. When getting back in the car, more odd looks were issued from the two German police officers, as I proceeded to get in the wrong side of the car (the Landy is right side drive) and drive off. Needlessly, they followed me to make sure I wasn't drunk. As I am on QRF this month and have a no drinking order, I certainly was not drunk, just a bit crazy, but that is my normal state. Pulling onto the main road to get back to post, they followed me. As my wonderful 24-year old diesel Defender excellereates at a rate of 0-60 in about 5 minutes, I was hoping they would pass me. No such luck. Meanwhile, in the car, I was sweating bullets, due to the fact that I did not have my license, as Nate had taken the Volvo the night before, which had my wallet in it. Having not slept in roughly 30 hours, I was certainly not driving my best, but thankfully made it on to post where they chose not to have the hassel of signing on to follow me. After making back to work and finishing a report, I successfully made it home to shower and go to bed. What an eventful day.

With Christmas here, Nate and I will be celebrating the holiday with the cats and then going over to a friend's house for some games and festivities. Although I have, and will continue to complain about my no drinking order during the Holidays, luckily Nate and I have produced a ginger ale that has no more alchohol than a serving of cough syrup! While others have their gluhwein, I will have my home made ginger ale, so all holiday spirit is not lost for me! Thanks for reading our ramblings and have a wonderful Christmas!

PS. The pictures are from Sunday's snowshoeing adventure in Pottenstein and off-roading in our Land Rover Defender, Jesus!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Time




So we've not written in a while. I am just waiting for DPW to come and fix my flooding kitchen, so I've decided to write. So get this, last Saturday we woke up to a couple of inches of water in our kitchen. Our dishwasher was in the process of exploding, and both cats were on top of the fridge. The sensible thing to do would be to place a call to the department of public works (DPW) to get a plumber to the house ASAP.

So we looked in the phone book and called the number....no answer. Okay, no problem, we'll just call the emergency DPW line....the fire department picked up. Well, there are two issues with this: the first problem is that our house is so saturated with water at this point, there is no way it could ever ignite. Problem number two: they can't do a damn thing about it. After a while of explaining why we need the services of a plumber, and no it cannot wait until Monday, two guys showed up to our house. Although decked out in overalls, our Mario and Luigi look-alikes didn't provide much help. They explained to us that they were working on over time as they don't usually work weekends (or ever it seems, seeing that I am still waiting as I type this) and that they really don't deal with dish washers. Well, then please explain what you do deal with , I asked. They replied that they deal with pipes, they need the wash-meister to deal with this on Monday, but the problem is, is that he doesn't work Mondays, or any day for that matter, but Fridays. Go figure. So with that said, they made to leave. At this point I basically barricaded them in and Nate forced them to at least disconnect the water so the Niagra effect would stop. At least they successfully accomplished that. As it is now Friday, I am waiting for plumbers or dish washer meisters, or whoever to show up. Who knows, as it is snowing, that may not happen either. Thanks Germany, you suck at this efficiency thing.

On a completely unrelated note, Nate and I spent last weekend working on things around the house. We did the normal winter cleaning and Christmas prep, but also decided to tackle a project that we had been planning to do for a while; that is, make a new play structure for the cats. I must explain that my cats are a bit large. As our vet says, "Tom is not obese, just a bit fat. And plus, he has a large bone structure!" Thanks for sugar coating it, doc! Frank is also large, being a Norwegian forest cat. The existing play structure we have was fine when they were little, but is not sturdy enough to support one of them, let alone both.

When looking for materials to build our cat jungle gym, we decided to find as many textures as possible for the cats to enjoy. Due to an ice storm my favorite lilac tree fell down last week, so Nate cut the remainder of the tree down to use in this play place. We also scored some great remnant pieces of wood at Obi for super cheap and some carpeting. Add in some rope, and voila, new cat palace is finished. We consider this a success, as they not only like playing and resting on it, but they like it better than any of the boxes that they are usually drawn to as their preferred leisure locations! Anyway, Merry Christmas to everyone!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Oh the field!


So as most of you all know, Nate and I just got out of the most ...um....interesting field training exercise ever. It was 2+ weeks of my life that I want back. People in hell want ice water, so fat chance there! Anyway, Nate "suffered" about 20K from the flag at his convoy lane while I got the full brunt of the Hammer. It was great, not. Oh well. We learned some things, taught others some things, and embraced the suck. Thank God we are now home.

To try and shake off the post field blues (and two killer sinus infections) Miller and I have taken this four day training holiday to relax and get reaquainted with our wallets. Friday was an interesting shopping trip to Regensberg where we delightfully perused a bike shop the size of a Wal-Mart. We left with much lighter wallets, as well as some great new tires (30 Euros for a pair of Continental Race Kings!), some cables, and other necessary junk. Our lovely Volvo then drove us into the worlds smallest parking garage so that we could unload more cash in the pedestrian zone. There I purchased a giant mortar and pestle for my culinary delights (and made the hubby carry it), some undies in a newly found TK Maxx, not TJ Maxx (that is the international version), and fantasized about purchasing a Picasso charcoal line drawing in an absurdly expensive antique store. With our wallets a tad lighter, we ate some pastries and drove home. Saturday was not quite a day for adventures, but we enjoyed our time shopping at Obi (I picked up some lovely mums) and gardening. That evening we went to a Tapas bar with friends and ate/ drank to our hearts content. Yesterday was our first time back on the bike since before the field, and it was a punishment. We rode with some friends down some technical trails and ended the 3-hour ride with some great German food and beer. Hopefully today will be full of adventure! If you still read our boring ramblings, please comment on our posts so we know that at least a couple people care!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Staff Duty Ramblings

So here I am on staff duty. It is 0040 and I am a tad tired and bored. Only eight more hours to go! It has been a while since I have pulled staff duty, so I do not really mind very much, yet it is one of the more boring duties that the Army has. I thoroughly scared myself silly when doing the arms room checks by imagining sounds and things that were not really there. It is just a bit creepy at night by yourself. Some may ask, what does one do at staff duty? Well, the answer to that is, not very much. Upon assuming duties this evening, I watched the extra duty clean (taking off chunks of the wall while I was at dinner, which infuriated the CSM), read, looked on facebook, treated my runner to "1000 great photos by the LT" on flickr (poor guy!), and went on my security checks. That brings me up to now...which is why I am writing to you. I have a book on Palestine, but it is a bit dense for my very foggy mind right now, and I have to stay awake, so you all are listening to my incoherent ramblings. I am sure I will be bored later, and may write again.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Home Again


So Nate and I are back home again. After five stages of TransAlp we very unceremoniously exited the race after Nate was taken off a high Italian peak by Alpine rescue personnel. No worries, he is fine, but hypothermia and dehydration got the best of him. Under the recommendation from a great Italian doctor, we abandoned the race. Despite extreme amounts of suffering, TransAlp was an unforgetable experience that allowed us to meet some of the greatest cyclists/ people we have had the pleasure of knowing. Thanks to our great Canadian, Australian, English and South African friends, we made it as far as we did. My dear husband was truly disappointed that we did not get to finish, but this way we will have the opportunity to do Transalp or other long distance mountain bike adventures in the future. Regretfully, the same cannot be said for another rider who unfortunately died from unknown causes during the course of the race. This is just one more affirmation that life is fleeting, so living it to its fullest extent is ever so important. For full details of the race and interesting journey home, we will be mailing out DVDs that we are making right now of our adventure. I will mail a bunch to Alli for the NH folks, but if anyone else wants one, just tell me and I will get it in the mail to you! I will blog more later to really catch you all up.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

What a busy time of year!

Everyone speaks of the Christmas holiday season as being the busiest time of year, but I must disagree. I think of it this way: why would anyone want to train when it is cold and miserable....let's wait until summer so we can be warm and miserable! Although the weather held out this week (in a Grafenwoehr way at least), and things were not that miserable, it was still a very busy time, and will remain so with no end in sight until well into the fall. This past week, Nate ran a CS gas chamber for his company, in which he used far too much CS for entertainment factor. As entertaining as that must have been, I am very glad I was busy doing other things and could not attend. On my plate this week was a rousing few days of hand grenade ranges. Myself and fellow New Englander, SFC C, successfully detonated (with how much boom they make, I think I can safely use that word) 233 live grenades with no issues. Some of our Soldiers and leaders gave us a bit of a scare with their lack of throwing abilities, including myself (as Bean can attest, I am no all-star thrower).

With the work week safely past us, the hubby and I have spent our long weekend reading, napping (as the cats have happily joined us in), and riding our bikes. Yesterday we raced in Hohenfels where Nate took 1st place in his age group and 4th or so overall. It was a great result for him. I was able to hang on to first in my age group, but took my first loss of the season by pulling a 2nd place overall. I did not feel bad losing to this particular opponent though, as she is very talented, and Hohenfels is really her course. Our teammates did well this weekend as well. Joe managed to get second in his age group and win the coveted mini beer keg prize during the Huffy Toss (yes, it is exactly as it sounds, if you are unsure of what it entails, ask Alli). Even after starting late, rob still managed to catch most of the pack! Even after a bent rotor (on Joe's bike), a fully non-functioning bottom bracket (on my bike), and a fallen off crank arm (on Nate's bike) we still all managed to finish the mudfest that was the race. Although it was painful, a bad day on the bike is better than most good days off it!

Thanks everyone for reading our boring little blog. It is time for us to take out the 'cross bikes for a ride, so I must be going! Happy Father's Day to everyone as well! PS: The photos are of Frank being bad (but very cute!) and Nate tossing the Huffy, and truly displaying why I should be glad that he wasn't at my grenade range!

Monday, May 31, 2010

We are not good at this game. . .

As implied by the title, Jak and I are really not that good at keeping this thing up to date. Things are busy as always, but life is good. Jak and I finally figured out what we are going to do over our block leave. We are going to race the Craft Bike Transalp! Even for the uninitiated this should sound impressive. About 600 kilometers with 19500 meters of vertical over 8 days. We aren't crazy, we are actually going to do this for fun, though many of our friends (and especially our NCO's) think that we are a little bit nuts.
It is also our second anniversary today, and as with the first we get to spend it apart. Jak is down in Miesau with her company and will be back later this week, while I am at home with the cats. The cats are currently resting up so that they can do battle with each other later. Frank still is trying to figure out this whole litter box thing, the number 1 is pretty much set, but number 2 is only about 50/50 on target. He is not the brightest cat. In fact, he may be the dumbest cat I have ever met, but he is sweet.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Oh What a Beautiful Morning!

So I am blogging at work. I know, I am a bad person wasting the government's dollars. That being said, it is such a nice day, I felt that I needed to comment on it! Miller and I have been having a great time enjoying the nice weather now that the rain has stopped (for now at least!). We had a great ride yesterday through Pottenstein with some friends. We found some great trails, and finished it off with some good beer. Despite the fact that I found my way onto the wrong side of a large ravine, while the rest of the group was on the other side, it was a truly enjoyable ride. Nate had a spectacular crash into a VERY muddy patch of ground leading up to a stream which caused the bike to stop and him to keep going. He luckily vaulted the bike and landed on his feet in the stream. We were all impressed.

On Saturday, we went shopping in Anberg for some traditional German outfits. Nate walked away from the store with lederhosen and all the accessories, while I did the same with a dirndl. Unfortunately, our wallet was about $500 lighter. Oh well, you only live in Germany once!

I know I have not blogged in a while, so I will catch you up very quickly, as I really should be working! Last weekend, the Grafenwoehr Mountain Bike Race took place only 5 minutes down the road from where we live. It was a tough course, but Nate managed to get a 3rd place, while I came in first in front of a rider who beat me last year at the Hohenfels race. I expect to be battling it out with her for the rest of the season! We have spent a good deal of time riding, and will hopefully be able to ride tonight when we get out of work. Luckily, it stays light here now until about 2100. I will go back to work now, and stop wasting the government's money!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

To catch you all up


So, I know we have not written in a while. I feel bad enough, so I will make up for it now by blogging about all of our recent adventures. Starting with last weekend, I will catch you all up! Last weekend, the hubby and I made our way down to Italy for some great bike racing. We managed to fit ourselves, all of our stuff, four bikes, and a set of extra wheels into our new Volvo. The gas milage was great, and the powerful engine was a nice feature on the Autobahn. Miller was going 170K while I was sleeping, and said he couldn't even feel how fast he was going. I think that may be a slight exageration though, as he never went that fast while I was awake. I just think he knew I would yell at him for going that speed if I knew about it. Thankfully for him, I fall asleep as soon as I get into a car.
We made it safely down to Aviano, Italy and enjoyed some time pre-riding the mountain course before going out for dinner with our friends Joe, Carmen, their son, Alex and Chris, and Irina. I made the mistake of ordering a half-liter of wine (italian is NOT my strong point) and drinking it all. Luckily it seems to have loosened up my legs well, as Miller and I were able to both win our catagories on the mountain bike course the next morning. After the race, more food and wine followed (when in Rome.....or Aviano). We both had great results the next day as well, with myself taking the womens' win, and Nate coming in second in the men's race. Both of our friends who were racing did great as well. Overall, a great weekend for Lost River Cycling Team. Once again, a trip to a winery remedied any craving for wine (we took a case of bottles home). We had a relaxing drive home the next day and were in to work on Tuesday.
I spent my week doing some land navigation training that I planned for my company while Miller worked on the thousand or so tasks that needed to get done in the office. The week went by quickly and culminated yesterday morning with a German ruck march. Some Soldiers and Officers from the 18th CSSB (our parent unit) participated in a ruck march competition held by the German reserve unit out of Freihung, a neighboring town. We enjoyed doing the timed event of about 8 miles over the course of 2 hours with about 40lbs in our rucksacks. Although we had fun, and enjoy training with our German compatriots, both of us can barely move today, so of course, Nate and I went on an epic mountain bike ride! We enjoyed exploring in an area that we usually ski at in winter. While biking around Mehlmeissel, we encountered some very hairy, yet smaller, black cows. They wree quite cute, and tolerant as we asked them "How now...black...cow?" over and over again. Although we were hurting, the ride was great, and the 70 degree weather made everything hurt a bit less! Anyway, that is about all we have for now, but please don't forget to check our our Lost River Cycling blog for information about the team and our sponsors!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

More Adventures Abroad


This last four-day was exciting as usual. With all the hard work we have been doing, Nate and I rewarded ourselves with a little road trip to Italy. It was wicked awesome! Not only did we drive through (and stop in) some beautiful places in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy, we also got to spend quite a bit of time enjoying the Mediterranean air of the Italian Riviera! After a full 10 hours of driving and multiple tanks of gas at outrageous prices, we arrived in the sea-side town of San Remo, Italy. This small vacation town is the terminus of the longest one-day race on the pro-tour calendar, Milan-San Remo. This exhausting race, funnily enough, goes from Milan to San Remo...go figure. Not only did we get to see one of our favorite riders, Oscar Freire of Team Rabobank, win the race, we spent two days riding through the tough terrain of Italy and France.

Our ride the first day was challenging, but fun, as we made our way through some impressive Italian traffic and grime into a much less crowded and much cleaner France. Everything you have heard about Italy is true....it is very dirty, the food is awesome, and the men are just beautiful (no worries, Miller, I still prefer a scrawny, blond, pale guy any day!). Most things about France are not true. They do not hate Americans, they do not smell, and the people are really very freindly , even when you garble thier language while using a French-Canadian accent! When in France we ate some great bread and just enjoyed the gorgeous sea-side. I imagined Napoleon marching his troops on the same route we took, and envisioned the immense sea battles Admiral Nelson fought against Boney on that very coast. The history of the area was just daunting! After our ride, we saw the finish of Milan- San Remo and treated ourselves to REAL Italian pizza, tiramisu, and gelato. The food was really tasty!

With our fat stores built back up, we decided that a very long ride with a combined 33,000 feet of climbing was in store for the next day. We rode for over six hours, but took one rest stop at a great little pastry shop we found. We spoke VERY little Italian, so we pointed and gesticulated until we had bought a sample of nearly everything in the shop.....and two very cold Cokes with fresh lemon. It was certainly the most satisfying ride I have had in a while. After dinner and more gelato, we turned in for the night in order to prepare for our ten-hour drive home. Luckily the cats did not trash the house too much (only a few wild parties), and the plants were fine. I would say the excursion was a great success! I love you all, and wish that everyone could have these great adventures with us (especially those people who know some Italian...wink, wink, nudge, nudge, Alli).

Sunday, February 28, 2010

What a difference a week can make

So spring is certainly on its way. As is the fashion in Bavaria, the feet of accumulated snow that we had last week, has retreated so quickly, it is as if it was never there. I sense this is not the case back home in NH, from the pictures Mum has sent me over black berry messenger. This week was busy for us, but considerably more fun than most, as we have been able to ride every day, except for the days I was in the field.

These riding adventures started last weekend. Nate and I planned to get our friend Chris off the indoor trainer for good last weekend. On Saturday, we had a chilly yet uneventful ride through the rolling hills in the direction of Weiden. Sunday, was much more eventful than Saturday due to the propensity of Grafenwoehr weather to be as unpredictable as New England's storm fronts. When the three of us started out on our ride, although cloudy, the air was dry and not very winding. We were enjoying our ride, yet seemed a tad dismayed over the increasingly darkening sky. Despite the potential for bad weather, we continued to ride only to be caught in the most impressive of snow/ sleet storms. We suffered through over ten miles of misery with precipitation that felt like razors hitting us in the face. When we finally made our way home, and took off our shoes, my feet were so swollen from cold that they looked liked like sausages with toes!

Despite bad weather and very icy conditions, Nate and I braved the cold to ride over lunch of Monday. On Tuesday and Wednesday, my company went to the field for some training. It is the battalion commander's guidance for us to gain experience in a more classic style of warfare than we are used to fighting, as he is trying to prepare us for less traditional deployments which may come down, such as for Africa or Eastern Europe. In otherwords, we are learning how to be the Army of the 80's. Although foriegn to many of my Soldiers, ROTC has prepared the officers for this task just fine. The infinite knowledge of my 1st Sergeant and older NCO's has proven indispensable. We convoyed out to the field site (with a slight detour, thanks Sam). Once out in the muddiest place I have ever seen, we set up our tents, camo nets, etc. and started digging in. This may not seem to be much of a process, but when you sink up to your knees in mud (Bean would have HATED it), it is not very easy! After spending the night, and teaching some different skills to our Soldiers, we packed up and started home, but not before Sam's platoon baptized him in the mud, as it was his first field exercise with the unit.

The rest of the week was uneventful, except for a poorly timed flat tire on Nate's bike over one of our lunch time rides. Luckily we were not far from home. Yesterday, we attempted to ride again with Chris, hopefully under better conditions. The weather held out, except for some killer wind. We wandered around our favorite ride routes and discovered many more. We climbed over 3/4 mile vertical, which was quite impressive, seeing that we rode less than 40 miles. We did see some great old ruins on top of one of the taller hills we climbed. Riding makes the week pass so much more quickly, and hopefully the weather will cooperate! Hope everyone will get a dose of spring like we did (not that we expect it to stay that way!).

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cute



This post is just cute cat photos....no other purpose than to preserve the cuteness of the world!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Odd things happen in Germany


So here we were minding our own business, cross country skiing. On Saturday, we trekked out to our favorite skiing location. As usual, we waxed our skis and got under way. Quite a few other skiers were doing the same. We made our way onto the trails and were enjoying some great cardio adventures, when all of a sudden we heard some funny noises. Dogs panting and people yelling is not usually what one hears while going out for a peaceful ski in the woods. Miller and I turned around only to see a team of dogs and a musher (I think that is what you would call a dog sled driver) barreling toward us. We promptly got out of the way of the dogs only to see another team following. It seems we had stumbled our way onto a dog sled race course. I say stumbled, but apparently, all the other skiers had done the same. The mushers thought nothing of us skiing, so we took that as a a sign that they would ignore us, and we would ignore them. So we skiied, taking care not to step in any dog poo, while they made sure their happy wagging teams did not run us over. It was fun not only to ski, but to see all the different teams of dogs, some composed of the average small, but sturdy husky mixes, to malamutes to one team of just ye olde mutts. Just another surprising day in the life of the Millers!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Boredom


Nate and I are two very busy people. So what is the best thing to do with our free time? Stay busy of course! As usual, the work-week has provided us with little to no time for relaxation. Luckily for us this weekend is a four-day training holiday. With ample time to do as we please, we have decided to redecorate. As Mum and Bean are very familiar with, when I get bored, I paint. I am not talking about impressionist or cubist works of art, but walls. We have decided that we are sick of our dimly lit, but nicely floored bedroom. Not even hard-wood can keep me in that room for much long, so we have decided to relocate our sleeping quarters to a brighter, yet much hated room in the house. So as those who have visted our very humble (and wicked crappy....no, don't give me the same junk about us having a nicer place than most 23 year olds....face it, I am too elitist to be happy with the "better than most" idea of things!) abode know, our formerly yellow room was by far the least used room of the house. I hated everything about it, the flooring, the light fixtures, and most of all, the color. I detest yellow with a passion I cannot describe. I think it may have something to do with the fact that blonds never look good in yellow....unless we are talking about gold, that is entirely different story (hint, hint, my hubby dearest). So we decided blue was the way to go, Blue bedrooms are inviting and calming, so off to Self-Help we went to pick up some blue paint. After about 18 coats of paint as thick as glue on the worlds oldest and junkiest wall construction, we are finished with the bulk of the work.

On an entirley different, and hopefully more coherent note, yesterday, like last weekend, we went skiing. Skiing in Mehlmeisel, a town about a half and hour away, has given Nate a bit more confidence on the slopes than our other Alpine adventures. I always seem to forget that the man is deathly afraid of heights. In my opinion, the best way to get over a fear is to face it. Hence skiing. Luckily for him, there are also cross country ski trails in the area as well, so we can do that when I am not in need of an adrenaline rush. The trails in the area are great and well groomed, and best of all, free. While the paint dries, we will be heading off there today! I hope everyone has been enjoying the weekend. Also, If you like what we write or just want to say "hello," please post a comment so we know that you all are reading our often-times pointless blog!