Three months gone

Time is crawling and flying all at the same time. Big D deployed on Valentine’s Day and if all goes as planned – here’s a first! – he’ll be home soon! Much earlier than expected!

I’m trilled (of course!) and I’m so thankful for great friends that helped me pass the time.

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Hometown tourists

We were lounging on the couch with big cups of coffee this morning when I turned off the television and declared today was the day we’d finally see the US Constitution at the National Archives – our attempt last summer was thwarted by a HUGE crowd and a mile-long line in the sun on a blistering day.

Today’s first stop was the Air Force Memorial:
Air Force Memorial

Air Force Memorial

Who knew the District’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade was this afternoon? All of the participants and crowds making their way to the parade route, that’s who. The detour took us past Union Station. I snapped this from the car window:

Union Station

We changed our plan (will we ever see the Constitution? Hopefully, the third time will be the charm?) and spent the afternoon at the Newseum

Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall section

Flight 105 engine
9/11 United Flight 175 engine

Richard Reid's passport
Richard Reid’s passport

On notice!
Indecision 2004!

Tim Russert's office
Tim Russert’s desk – a real highlight of the day for me. If it’s Sunday, it’s Meet the Press!

Stay Classy!
Ron Burgandy and Big D – You stay classy, DC!

We stopped by the Maine Street Fish Market on our way home. And now: time for dinner!


Tonight's dinner.

Reunited and it feels so good!

One great thing about the Army lifestyle is the friends we meet along the way.  An equally terrible thing is that eventually, we all say good-bye to each other when its time to move to the next duty station.

It seems too good to be true:  our very good friends from Germany just moved less than two miles from us – our new neighborhood is their new neighborhood!

Tricia and I have been to eight countries together in the three years we’ve known each other. I think it’s funny that we just snapped our first photo together in America last week:

Our first time together in America!

She and her husband Lee got here just in time to help me retrieve Fletcher from the vet and kept me company during his first week of recovery from major surgery.


Last night Big D and I corralled the dog and headed over to their house for dinner. It was just like old times: great food and drinks (potent margaritas, and we had too many!) lots of laughs, and for the first time ever: a total dessert failure!

We were trying to make these:

Things started out as planned:
not our best dessert effort

And it all seemed to be going fine:
not our best dessert effort

But somehow (perhaps the aforementioned drinks?) we ended up with these:
not our best dessert effort

And this:
Not every dessert plan works out.

Messy and ugly, but they tasted great!

not our best dessert effort

Today, while our dudes relaxed (read: slept off the previous night’s drinks) Tricia and I walked a few miles of the Mount Vernon Trail.

Jones Point

Jones Point

Its great to be in the same city with our friends! Who knows what trouble we’ll get into here?


Final Europe post (for now)

I learned a lot of things in our three years in Germany. Please enjoy some handy tips I picked up along the way.

American Arms
Make the most of your accommodations – no matter how bad they stink, someone has had it worse than you.

Jen's olive pengins
A party just isn’t a party without Jen’s olive penguins.

poor Deaner!
Or until Deaner is on fire.

Angie & me
Make sure your BFF visits at least every six months.

what's better than one dotted bag? Two!
If one Riesenthel bag is good, two must be better!

snoozing in the GA line
Nap whenever you can. You’ll need the energy later.

which way to the castle??
Download your GPS updates or things could get confusing.

a house full of friends makes me happy!
Host parties, even if your apartment is tiny.

meanwhile, vandals broke into our bus
Don’t tempt thieves: keep your GPS and iPod out of sight.

snowball fight!
Play in the snow.

Lee got creative w/ Pretzels
Be creative.

Treat yourself like a Princess.

Pay close attention.

Gary and his breadstick plea for help
Ask for help.

Don't they look a little like Lady and the Tramp? Big D and @slyarch sharing a special moment :)

renaissance night
There are plenty of costume opportunities.

Deobrah & me

Big D, Brian & YMW
You might even see someone wearing a cape!

Yay! Ice Tony is here!!
Never pass up a visit from Eis Tony (he has booze in that truck!)

collar: popped!
Pop your collar.

Eric: the big winner
Cheat (but someone else will win anyway.)

The biggest kids to sit on his lap
You’re never too old to sit on Santa’s lap.

late night? Or early morning?
Late night laughs are the best.

uh oh...

Wiesbaden Wine Fest
You can never have too much fest food (or wine!)

There is no such thing as too much pottery.

Moose vs. Mousse
There is a difference between a moose and some mousse.

Zum Wohl!
It’s always the right time for some sekt.

Smile for the camera:

Team Virginia-Straße

Karin, Heather, Dana, Chasity & me

Greg, me & Dana

me & Heather

Virginia Straße Ladies plus one

Dinner at The Gallery Restaurant

Gary, Big D, Jen, me & Angie on the Rialto

Venice self portrait

looking good!

me, Jen, Kirsten & Fabiana

Sarah, Barbara & me

Big D and the ladies

Saturday shopping

It’s not home anymore, but we have fantastic memories and close friends regardless of geography. My heart is bursting thanks to all of you!


The survival tip I’ve come to live by: don’t dwell on the good-byes, anticipate the hellos.


I’m not specifically referring to anyone in this post. But if I did, their names would be changed to protect the guilty.

Fasching is Germany’s version of Carnival. The season begins each year on November 11th at 11:11 a.m. and finishes on Ash Wednesday. Wiki says this about Fasching: “In the Rhineland festivities developed especially strongly, since it was a way to express subversive anti-Prussian and anti-French thoughts in times of occupation, through parody and mockery.” We didn’t know any of that when a neighbor invited us to a Fasching party, and we had no idea what to expect. We should have guessed by the pandemonium at the costume store that things were about to get crazy.

The details of our Fasching story are a bit fuzzy.

Here’s our group at the start of the evening. Think of this as the “before” photo.
ready for the fun to start

Thankfully, there are a lot of fun “during”, but no “after” pictures to share.
Jen & some bees

What the... what!?

their pyramid headgear lit up!
These “Egyptians” were wearing light up pyramids.

Fasching party
This guy was dressed up as a Wine Stand!

Fasching party

The evening ended with one of our partygoers in the emergency room thanks to a suspected broken ankle, and another resting her head on the cool concrete sidewalk outside the hospital.

But everybody was in good enough shape to check out the Wiesbaden Fasching Parade later that weekend:
Big D, Gary and Jen

In addition to lots of marching bands, there were some crazy floats:
Google Street View float

And some things we just couldn’t figure out…
Wiesbaden Fasching Parade

The party continued late into the night, at Big D’s favorite bar.
the party went on late into the night

What were the chances I’d run into another guy with a crustacean hat?
my Crab Hat twin!

And the next day, a bunch of us checked out the Rosenmontag Parade in Mainz – it was huge, lasted for hours and hours, and we came home with giant bags full of candy and treats.

Mainz Fasching Parade
GAH! CLOWNS! No, thanks. Man, I hate clowns.

Cindy had a lot of fun!

There were some political floats that I didn’t understand:
political stuff I didn't understand...

And more inappropriateness:
Mainz Fasching Parade

Mainz Fasching Parade

I loved this PacMan dude:
Mainz Fasching Parade

Mainz Fasching Parade

This year’s festivities are right around the corner. Who knows what will happen!?

More pictures from our first Fasching are on Flickr.

Fletcher the Wonder Dog

Today’s post comes to you while Big D stretches across our brand new couch and I’m perched on the matching love seat. Not purchases we planned, but thanks to Fletcher, necessities. Earlier this week our four-legged family member was relaxing in comfortable style when he got sick, and ruined the couch we were trying to make last through our remaining time here. Luckily, finding replacement furniture wasn’t as big of a pain as I anticipated, and they were even on sale.

Our poor little guy is sick. I’ll spare you the details, but I had to wash our bedroom curtains at two o’clock this morning. And we had to sleep with the windows open though the overnight temperatures were in the low 30°s. The things we do for dog love.

I wish he could talk, so he could warn us when he’s not feeling well. But the look in his sweet eyes lets us know he appreciates how we take care of him.

It’s not just the people in our household adventuring in Europe – this dog gets around and has a lot of fun.

Fletch takes a dip
Taking a dip in the Wiesbaden Kurpark

Road trip!
Always ready for a road trip

Balcony dog
Enjoying the Alps

Hotel Zum Türken
Checking out Hotel Zum Türken in Berchtesgaden

relaxing at the hotel
Cillaxing in a hotel bar

poor Fletch wanted in on the action
Spying from our balcony

I scream, you scream...
Snacking during a neighborhood barbecue

What you can't tell in this fall photo is that IT IS SNOWING!
Crunching through some leaves yesterday

Joined by a friend...
We are all going to need naps this afternoon.

Entirely too many photos of our hilarious dog (like this old favorite) are on Flickr.
he looks happy?