Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Deutschland to American Homeland

Well, we had fun! We enjoyed incredible scenery, snowboarding, sightseeing and schnitzel. We visited Garmisch-Partenkirchen for the bulk of the trip. Garmisch-Partenkirchen is Germany's best known ski area. It has hosted the Olympics, World Championships and, most years, a World Cup race. Garmisch is only 86km from Munich, easily accessible by car or train in less than 1½ hours. There are 53 lifts and 45 marked pistes across four different marked areas, including Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze. We did not snowboard Zugspitze, but wish we had after taking the "little train that could" to enjoy the incredible view. Zugspitze is a snowboarder's paradise...ah, next time! After bundling up in our warmest of clothing to beat the 12F degree weather, Dan hit the Black Diamonds, while I stuck to Beginner/Intermediate slopes on the Alpspitz, Kreuzeck and Hausburg ski areas.

A few days were dedicated to touring Innsbruck, Neuschwanstein/Hohenschangau castles and Partnach Gorge ice caves. With 1.5 days to spare, we hurried to Munich to ensure we had the chance to take in its history. Despite not making the 3rd Reich tour, we did manage to jump on the "Munich at its best" tour, which included the BMW museum, Olympic Park and
Nymphenburg castle. The night concluded with a little "um pa-pa" at Munich's most famous brew house, Hofbrauhaus Beer Hall.

We enjoyed ourselves immensely, despite coming home with colds. I suppose being in 12F degree weather, surrounded by constant smoke (WA is a non-smoking State), and being up for 24 hours on our return managed to catch up with us.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Zugspitze, here we come!

Some may say we just returned to the great USA, but we are taking the big bird across the pond to visit Germany for 10 days. There is a long, sad story about the ticket exchange with British Airways, but we did manage to get this trip out of the finagling. Yeah! We are meeting Tammy (Dan's sis) and Keith (Tam's hubby / Special Forces) in Garmisch.

Zugspitze, here we come! For those of you who recall Zermatt and my pathetic, hasty extraction back to Cervinia, let's pray my snowboard experience while in Germany ends on a better note!

Friday, July 08, 2005

spray-on tans suck

Maybe it was because it worked so well the first time; I fell in love with spray-on tans. But, by the third time, the spray did not sit so well. Clumps of spray dried on my back, inner thighs, and around my ankles. I now look like a speckled alien on random spots of my body and am wanting the fake tan to just disintegrate. Not much of a fan of the spray-on tan at the moment.

First Class

We arrived to the San Diego airport early, allowing two hours for security. We checked in, and, much to my surprise, Dan had paid for us to fly first class from San Diego to Nashville. I have never flown first class and was simply amazed (jumping up and down actually). Unknowingly, with recent events in London, the lines at the security checkpoints were insanely long, stretching across the breezeway into the long term parking. We showed our tickets to the TSA rep, who stated: "First class coming through." We were brought to the front of the security line, right next to Bill Murray. No way...Bill Murray, who wore a blue/white seersucker suit with a ragged polo and black Nike shoes. Who ever said that movie stars dressed nicely -- ha!

We had enough time for breakfast and Starbucks - phew! Just about the time we were to board, we were notified of a 1.5 hour delay due to storms in Texas. Great. The first leg of the flight went as smooth as silk, except for the shocking revelations in the books we had decided to read en route: Running with Scissors and Dress Your Family in Denim and Corduroy. I won't ruin the shocker for you, but...Let's just say, Dan left his book behind.

The landing into TX was amazingly smooth, considering the ominous clouds. Unfortunately, we were on the tarmac for over an hour waiting for a gate. Everybody was backed up. All flights were late. 40 planes sat ahead of us. The scene did not look promising; we thought we may need to spend the night at the Ft. Worth airport. Luckily, our second leg to Nashville was delayed by 4 hours, allowing us 40 minutes to grab some grub before jumping on the final flight. Around 11pm, we had arrived at Fort Campbell; Dan's family waiting with open arms to say "hi."

Tomorrow, we are caravaning to Pensacola for a family reunion. Wish us luck. Storm Dennis is expected to hit the panhandle on Sunday. Hurricane Party!!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Deliver 'D' to Me!

Dan is on his way back to the States! Wow...and I mean, WOW...I cannot wait until I see him!

spray me one more time

When first considering the idea, I was not too keen on spraying on a tan inside a tanning booth. But, by golly, my Lord, having tried MYSTIC tan a couple times now, I am SOLD! I think I am falling in love.

As three pivoting jets go up and down your bare body with some sort of color solution, it does feel as if you are car getting a fresh coat of paint. The spray process lasts about 30 minutes, which includes applying a special cream to the parts you want to tan and another cream to the parts you don't (toes, fingers, palms, and heels) prior to entering the booth. After the final "flip" to "tan" the backside, a sweep of a towel to tidy off drippy areas (and getting redressed, of course) soon has you outside bearing the California look without the age spots, wrinkles, and dry skin. Within the day, all those trouble areas seem concealed with your newly acquired sun-touched skin.

What is there NOT to like about this incredible invention? Okay, I should be honest here. There are three things not to like:
1. We do not know the long term effects of inhaling this color solution. Like most things that remove the real and are new to the market, there are unknowns involved. I guess we'll find out if the solution aids in keeping us at less risk of cancer.
2. The spray-on solution does come off on your clothes the first day and only stays for a maximum of FIVE days. When comparing this to getting a tan at the beach, I would figure five days is about as long as a real tan stays. Well, at least for us Irish-skin types.
3. In a dream world, it would be nice to get a weekly level two spray tan. But, at the cost of $20/visit minimum, it's truly NOT the cheapest route to take. The best deal is to fork over the annual fee for unlimited "tans" = $400. The cost is a tad (cough, cough) steep.

Right now, I am all for it. Color me tan any day! No sand, no sweat, no swimsuit. Phfft...loving it!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Shamu, sunshine, and sensory overload

Man, what a day!

It was too much to ignore...our craving for a donut. So, to reduce the guilt levels, Kaci and I walked to Vons, where donuts and Starbucks were in abundance. The sun shined nicely on our shoulders, as we savored every bite and sip sitting outside Vons.

It was the type of day one dreams of...no time schedule, nothing pressing to do. Ah. Nice.

The pace of the day continued, as Mom, Kaci, and I arrived to Sea World around 5pm. The sun beamed down as we sat one row outside the "soak zone" at the Dolphin and Whale show. We managed to get all the shows in before taking a break at the Shipwreck Cafe, where we indulged in chicken, hamburgers, and desserts.

The Shamu show and fireworks presentation finished the night in a bang!

Wow, can we do this tomorrow too?

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Sunny San Diego

Wow, one could not have ordered a better day. Relaxing and sunny from start to finish.

My sister and I went searching for a place we could try kickboxing. We found many places of interest but did not settle on a place yet. But, after four hours of walking around beautiful and hip La Jolla, we headed home to prep for a night at the Del Mar Fairgrounds for the San Diego County Fair, one of this area's largest get-ups. It was a fun, memorable, low-key day!

Hope everyone is having a great start to the summer! Mine will be even better when the boys are back in town...first, Dad and, finally...Dan!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Another wallet, please

So, what is the USA's infatuation with reward cards? You know, THOSE cards you simply MUST have to gain points, get the latest discount, or apply the unadvertised price. Yeah, we all know them...

I was trying to fill-up the gas-guzzling Trans Am and was not understanding why the credit card machine at the pump was not accepting my card. I went to the kiosk to ask the attendant for assistance. She immediately responded with: "Did you press 'NO' first?" Not certain as to why I had to enter 'NO,' she stated that the first question that is asked is if I was going to use my rewards card. She zipped out a spare rewards card from her frock pocket, swiped it and, lucky for me, helped me save 2 cents per gallon on my fill-up. Phew. I am glad that waste of time and the additional card saved me a whomping 15 cents. I guess it truly is a case of "every penny counts."

In the two weeks I have been back in the States, I have collected SEVEN reward cards. I am wondering who is really getting rewarded here. I need another wallet to hold these darn things...let alone remembering to use the card once I have it.