Friday, June 30, 2006

No drunk blogging

"No drunk blogging." That's my new (and possibly temporary) motto. So I think I'll just go to bed now. But first let me say . . .

WOO HOO, Germany won tonight!!! I would like all of Germany to please take a moment to acknowledge my role in this accomplishment, as nothing good was happening the whole time I was in the same room as the TV. But then I went to tend to my laundry, and things started rocking and rolling.

We went out to dinner tonight with the Mitchells and one of Mike and Rebecca's friends, and it was just glorious, seeing people driving around waving flags and listening to the fireworks and the honking of car horns. I hope Germany wins the Cup, and I plan on doing laundry for as long as necessary just to ensure their continued success.

Good night!!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Monday and Tuesday (June 26th and 27th)

Monday: Just another gorgeous day in Germany. I took a nice walk out across the fields behind my old neighborhood to go to the German grocery store for pineapple yogurt for the kids and took lots of pictures while I was out. Then we all went out for schnitzel (yum!). Photos are here.

Tuesday: Went down to Heidelberg today to hang out with my friend Jennifer. We took the streetcar downtown to do some shopping (that's where I got my World Cup shoes) and ordered sushi for supper. Photos are here.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Lazy Sunday

We spent today watching Becca's dog Pickles at puppy school and then hanging out with his big buddy Gus:

In the afternoon I went with the Mitchells and some of their friends to visit the castle ruins in Weinheim:

We rewarded ourselves after the invigorating climb with some icecream in the town square:

To see all the photos, click here.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Seen in Walmart this afternoon

Amy and I went to Walmart to pick up the fixings for fondue, and we saw a group of men gathered near the deli department to watch the beginning of the Germany-Sweden game:


I'll be typing and uploading from someplace else, probably at my friend Amy's, but as I write this, I'm sitting on a train bound for Mannheim. We're cruising through the Rhine River valley, with the river to our left and low mountains rolling along to our right. Periodically we spot a castle ruin high atop a hill:

and a hang-glider just sailed across the river and landed on the opposite shore.

Annabelle is engrossed in her book, and Mike is plugged into his iPod. I have a magazine on my lap, but I can't get into it for fear I'll miss out on the fabulous scenery as I learn "10 Ways to Banish Belly Bulge." I'm sure my flab will still be with me on the return flight to the States, so I think I'll save the reading for then.

I know I said I probably wouldn't be blogging much while on vacation, but I just can't stay away. We have no big, amazing travel plans for this trip, and I want to dedicate myself to committing the tiny, every-day details to memory.

We arrived in Frankfurt on Thursday afternoon and took a train north to visit my friend Irena and her family. Visiting Irena is always a treat. Her house buzzes with activity as her 4 daughters scurry about, playing in the backyard and then racing off to tennis or music lessons. When we're with them, Mike and Annabelle get to experience some of the pleasures of German childhood, such as riding bikes to the icecream shop for Spaghetti Eis. It was at Irena's, in fact, where they were bitten by the unicycle bug almost 2 years ago.

The food at Irena's is always amazing. We linger over a breakfast of boiled eggs and Brötchen topped with slices of meat and cheese or nice, thick layers of butter and homemade strawberry jam. For the chocolate-minded among us, there are always croissants and a jar of Nutella.

It's Spargelzeit (asparagus time) in Germany, and I have eaten as much as I can hold 2 nights in a row. Irena took us shopping for Spargel yesterday, and I was awestruck by an amazing machine that takes each stalk and passes it through a lineup of blades and jets of water, shooting it out the other end ready to be cooked. It takes me 30 minutes to peel the number of stalks this machine can dispense with in 60 seconds.

Our favorite thing to eat at Irena's though is her chicken satay. Irena comes from Indonesia and makes the best satay I've ever eaten. Mike tried to break the satay-eating record of 22 skewers, which is currently held by an Australian tennis player. He gave up after 18 skewers though, the better to save room for Spaghetti Eis. Annabelle was surprisingly close on his heels, polishing off 12 skewers on her own.

Our visit to Irena's also gave me a chance to pour a little oil on my rusty German skills. I always feel so stupid and vulnerable when I travel to France, where my knowledge of the native language is limited to a few obscene phrases my cousin Julie taught me. Here in Germany, I get frustrated with myself when I screw up adjectival endings, but when it comes down to it, I know enough to order a drink, book a ticket, and point out to the German man sitting in my reserved place on the train that while he is indeed in the proper seat number, he is in the WRONG wagon.

When we got on this train, we were seated near 4 young men who were in the World Cup spirit, with German flags painted on their faces and flags draped around their shoulders like capes. I planned on taking their picture, but they got off the train in Cologne while I was in the dining car picking up snacks. The whole country is consumed with World Cup fever, however, and I promise I will do my best to get some good shots of it. In the meantime, let me offer a picture of Max, one of our fellow passengers, who got very anxious each time his master left him to go to the smoking car for a breath of not-so-fresh air:

We have less than an hour left on this journey, so I'm going to put my notebook away and focus on the vineyards outside my window:

Nächste Halt Mannheim!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Here comes the mouse

We had a wedding in the Boyd family last Saturday. My uncle George got married in Tampa to his long-time girlfriend April. We weren't able to make it to the wedding, so Annabelle designed wedding outfits for the rodents, and we sent them in our place.

My dad did a great job of capturing Pellet and Cheezer on their Very Special Day. They visited with the bride and groom, enjoyed some cake, and even signed the registry with the other guests:

I had tried to get Annabelle to choose white daisies for Cheezer's bouquet, but she insisted on the purple. Wouldn't you know that the flowers at the real wedding would be purple and that Cheezer's would be a perfect match!

The kids and I (and the rodents) are currently at my parents' house in Florida. We're leaving tonight though for 3 weeks in Germany. We can't wait to see all our old friends and eat some schnitzel.

I probably won't be updating much while we're gone, as I have decided to leave my computer behind. I'm taking my camera though and promise to share some photos as soon as we get home.

Bis bald!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Something you don't see every day

Tee hee . . . in going through my old photos to find the first-date shot for my anniversary post, I happened to find this picture:

It's from my summer as a JAG intern. I had borrowed a set of BDUs from one of the girls in the office just to see what it was like. Fred happened to be there when I tried them on, and I think he was having a very hard time not laughing.

Happy anniversary!

Well, today makes 16 years for me and Fred. As I tell him each year on our anniversary, I've never dated ANYBODY for this long before!

Speaking of dating, I don't believe I've every shared our How We Met story here. I had gone to Germany for my first summer in law school to work as an intern for the US Army JAG Corps. All interns were required to register at the Civilian Personnel Office in Heidelberg on the first day. I had completed my paperwork and was waiting for some friends to finish theirs when a handsome young captain came dashing through the door with an intern in tow. He escorted his intern to the registration room and returned to the hall to wait.

We started chatting, and he asked me where I was from. "Oh, I'm from a tiny little town in Florida that nobody has ever heard of," I replied. He said he was from Jacksonville, and I said, "Oh, well, then maybe you HAVE heard of DeLand!"

Heard of it?! Why he had spent 4 years going to college there. The rest of the conversation went something like this:

ME: "College? As in Stetson University? Hey, that's where I went too! I'm not really FROM DeLand though. I was actually born in Pensacola."

HIM: "No kidding? Me, too!"

So there we were, 2 Pensacola babies turned Stetson grads, flirting madly in the hallway of CPO, Heidelberg. Fred called me up at work the next week and asked me out on our first date, the burning of the Heidelberg castle. We went with some friends of his (who were also on their first date and who also wound up getting married--it was a VERY good date) and his intern (who had been filling out his registration paperwork when the sparks first started to fly) and spent the day hanging out on the banks of the Neckar river. Fred had brought along his Stetson yearbook, so we spent some time playing Did You Know So and So:

After the sun went down that evening and the flares and fireworks shone from the castle looming over us, it started to rain, which was the perfect excuse for snuggling in close together under an umbrella. We spent every weekend for the rest of that summer together and went on some really awesome dates: Frankfurt, Cologne, Munich, Switzerland, London . . . I returned to Germany twice over the next year, and when Fred was transferred back to the States that next summer, we were married in the chapel at Stetson.

Fast forward almost 2 years . . . It's January 1992, and I'm pregnant with Mike. Fred is in Kansas for 9 weeks, so I have gone to Florida to kill time while I wait for him. While I'm there, I go to spend a few days with Fred's parents. Fred's mom gives me his baby book. When I open it, his isolette card falls into my lap. I pick it up and read it and see . . . that we were delivered by the same doctor.

Cue the Twilight Zone music!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Hubba hubba hubby!

Fred is joining some sort of club where they dress up in tuxedoes, eat, drink, and smoke cigars. Tonight was his first meeting:

Quite the hottie, eh?

Paying the Bar tab

Sometimes days, even weeks, pass by in which I completely forget I am a lawyer. I am reminded, however, each and every June when it comes time to write my check to the Florida Bar.

I took the bar exam in Florida the summer after law school, even though Fred and I were living in North Carolina at the time. I got my notice in the fall that I had passed both parts of the exam, and at that point the only thing standing between me and Bar membership was taking and passing the short ethics exam. I finally got around to doing that the following February, so it was March before I got my official invitation to join the Bar.

By that point I was 5 months pregnant with the baby who would be Mike, and I figured that by May I would be in no condition or mood for traveling to Florida for the mass swearing-in ceremonies that would be held at the Florida Supreme Court and the various District Courts of Appeal. Another option was to be sworn in in a different state by a notary public.

Fred just happened to be a South Carolina notary back then. And we just happened to be making a roadtrip for a friend's wedding a few weeks later. And THAT is how I came to take the oath for the Florida Bar in front of the giant Pedro at the tackiest place on earth--South of the Border:

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Tin grin, again

We spent this morning getting Mike wired for sound. I've uploaded the full-size picture in case anybody wants to zoom in and see all the metal (just click the picture):

So now we have 2 kids in braces. Anybody wanna buy a kidney or maybe some plasma?

Monday, June 12, 2006

As seen in the dining room

This is our step tansu. We bought it in Hawaii, and it is quite possibly my favorite piece of furniture:

I use it to display other artifacts from Hawaii, such as my hula dog and my Japanese lucky cats . . . Hey, that's not a Japanese lucky cat:

That's your plain old garden-variety American lucky cat.

Friday, June 09, 2006

One of life's little mysteries

Why is my cat trying to eat the drapes?

He sat in our dining room window the other day doing this for a good 10 minutes.

Tin grin

Back in April, Annabelle underwent 2 weeks of "rapid palatal expansion." The orthodontist glued a hinged device to her top molars, and twice a day we twisted a key to slowly force the sides of her upper jaw farther and farther apart. If you look back to the school picture in my anteater post, which was taken right after the expansion, you can see how much space the procedure created. The teeth have been slowly migrating back together on their own, but yesterday the orthodontist put braces on her front teeth to help them complete their journey home:

Friday, June 02, 2006

Dances with anteaters

I hope you are sitting down, because you are just not going to believe this! You know how Annabelle has always declared that anteaters say meep? Well, it turns out that they do say meep and sometimes they roar! But I'm getting ahead of myself in my story here.

We drove down to Nashville yesterday and checked into the Renaissance Hotel. We spent the afternoon wandering around downtown and had an early supper at the Hard Rock Cafe. Here's a group shot of us in front of the capitol building and Mike in front of a bass at the Hard Rock:

After supper, we returned to the hotel for swimming and the 2-hour marathon of "The Office" on NBC.

But, Bonnie, you are probably asking, why on earth did you go to Nashville in the first place? Was it for the country music?

I'm glad you asked! We went to Nashville for the anteaters. Yes, anteaters. Most of you know that Annabelle has had a thing for anteaters ever since she bought her first stuffed one in Moscow. We tried to visit the anteater in Amsterdam, but he (unlike us) had the good sense to stay inside during the miserable weather. We marveled at a baby anteater riding on his mommy (or would that be mummy?) at the London Zoo. We even dropped by the St. Louis Zoo to check out the anteater there, although I was too busy moving to Kentucky from Germany to ever blog about it. (If you're interested, you can go here to look at my unedited photos from that trip.) Annabelle even chose anteaters as her theme for the "fun fotos" they took at school this spring:

But Nashville? Nashville, as it turns out, is the mother ship of all anteaterdom. Yes, the Nashville Zoo has 13 anteaters and is world famous for their breeding program. Unfortunately, the anteaters aren't on public display, so the only way to visit these majestic beasts is by taking a backstage VIP tour.

Our tour began promptly at 9 this morning, when Cindy from the Education Department picked us up and whisked us away to the anteater barn. There we met Zookeeper Lindsay, who spent the next hour answering our every question and letting us admire her long-nosed babies.

I was hesitant to ask what sort of sound anteaters make, as I knew Annabelle would be crushed if they didn't say meep. Lindsay told us that they have been known to roar but that they also sometimes make a whimpering sound. "Perhaps like meep?" I asked. "Exactly," she said. What a relief!

We learned many other interesting anteater facts. Did you know, for example, that anteaters like avocado? And yogurt? And that sometimes anteaters like to check out the zookeeper's boot?

We spent some time at the end of our tour visiting with Oranjeboom, whose cage placard declared his likes to be "long walks in the Pontenal, avocadoes, and practical jokes." He dislikes "waxworms and days that I'm stuck inside."

After our tour, we headed for the gift shop, where Annabelle rounded out her anteater collection with 3 new additions to the family. Then we went to the carousel, the only one anywhere that features an anteater:

Almost as soon as we finished the anteater festivities, the weather turned dark and threatening. We spent a little more time exploring the zoo before making a mad dash for our car in the pouring rain. I did manage to snap a couple cool bug pictures and one of an elephant in a rather jaunty pose:

All in all, it was one meep of a grand time!