Monday, December 28, 2009

...about Germany, Christmas, strange flight and the USA...

Two weeks go by so fast. I can't believe Christmas is now already over and I ma back in the US. Germany was very exciting, I got to see my family again!!! And the family grew. Here is the youngest in the family- Philipp:
He is such a cute little guy. The top is the nice Philipp, the lower one is the Come and play with me Philipp :-)
Crazy, I am now an Aunt and my mom and dad are now also grandparents. And my brother is a dad? Mhhh. Little Philipp is really fun!!!
I am excited to see if he can already crawl the next time I see him!!!
We got a nice layer of snow, we were excited to have a white Christmas, but then mother nature changed her mind and gave us rain on top of snow. So we had a rainy Christmas, but it didn't stop us from going for walks and doing what we wanted to do!!! Christmas was great. On the 25th, my brother, his wife and Philipp came and we had a big as$ turkey...and it barely fit into the European oven:
By the way: in Germany we celebrate Christmas on the 24th in the evening because that is when the Angel brought Jesus into the world, right? Why do Amricans have a Santa Claus? Did he visit Jesus the next day? I am trying to figure out what Santa Claus's role is:-) He comes in Germany on the 6th of December...The only theory I have is that it takes a while to travel to the US, so he didn't get there until the 25th...mhhh?
The 26th of December came way too fast and there I was standing in line to fly to the US. Unfortunately someone tried to blow up an airplane going to the US the day before, so the security lines where HUGE. We got "hand-searched". The security people also questioned me about the "powder" I had in my bike box-which turned out to be Croation seasoning that I brought for my neighbor :-)
I was nice enought to switch my seat with this guy, even though I didn't even say a word :-) Mhhh, you are welcome...even though...I think I got switched...whatever, seat is seat. The flight attendant was so happy that I switched, she handed me 4 bottles of wine :-) Hahaha. I thought: great, this is going to be a great flight to the US.
Then the guy and the lady got in a fight and he almost got arrested. They were calling each other names and he grabed her by the arm...action on that airplane...
Then, going through Security again in London I am being told, that I have to give up my backpack, because of the detroit incident we were only allowed on bag on the plane. Good bye wine.
Then this:

My flight is the Phoenix one. This picture was taken at 17:00 so guess what: the Miami flight for example had a 3.5 hr delay. They did extensive searches with sniffing dogs and having everyone being "hand-searched"again. Plus you had to dump out all your stuff and they searched for weapons and powder, even in books and under my watch!!! :-)
Then the newest rule: One hour before landing in a US city, noone is allowed to leave the seat to go anywhere, not even the bathroom. No blankets over your legs, no books, no music, nothing allowed on the floor, no pillows...Mhhh. I was wondering what people do who have to go...and then this man gets up. And the flight attendant warns better sit back down. He goes: but I have to poooooooooooooooooooooo!!!
Mhhh, nice rule until someone HAS to go. After one minute of back and forth talking they escorted him to the bathroom... CRAZY!!!
But we landed safely in Phoenix, and I got picked up by JR. The man was on TV the next day!!!
So much for now:-) More later...

Monday, December 14, 2009

The stationary swimmer

I prepared for my trip to Germany this time and bought a stationary swimmer. It is basically a stretch rope that gets connected to my feet and then you can swim in the deep water, in the kids pool, in a lake,...wherever you want but you never need more then about 5 ft in length of water. Cause you don't move. It is like an endless pool just cheaper :-)

I have to say. Best money I have ever spent!!! Today the pool was crowded so I went in the kiddie pool, got hit by a ball just once. It was great. I swam and swam and swam. On monday I swam also, but I swam 2k in the lane and then I used the stationary swimmer. While I was in the lane I was taking a breath to the left and realized there was a guy swimming next to me with a NEON YELLOW THONG...grossssssssssssssssssssss...I have clear goggles so I got the FULL view of butt and thong. Did I mention it was neon yellow? Like a highlighter!!!

Only in Europe...

Back to today:

What else did I do today?

I woke up at 3 am and was UP. No more sleep for me. Then later at 8:30 am my mom and I went shopping until around 6 pm :-) FUN. I love shopping with my mom!!!
We got lots of Christmas shopping done. And lots of people watching-hihihi.

Now it is time for be and I hope that today I will sleep a little bit longer.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I made it. After a 9 hr flight from Phoenix to London, a 5 hr layover in London and a 2 hr flight from London to Stuttgart- I MADE IT!!!

I actually managed to sleep for 4 hrs without waking up on the long flight. And that haappened even though I was in the middle-squeezed in between two guys. They were funny. This one guy was flying for the first time and he was going to India. He chacked out everything-his neighbors light...his headset...his pillow...his blanket...he actually waited to start his dinner until we started ours :-) What a funny guy. The other guy was also flying to India.
If you fly to Europe and land in London you get super funny people on the airplane. Every culture you can think of on one plane!!! FUNNY!!!

My family picked me up from the airport and now we are all very happy!!! We tried out my brothers new car in the rain-then snow.

I love Christmas time!!!

Now I am off for a run in the snow (not like Flagstaff snow :-).

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The puppy grows way too fast!!!

WHy do they grow so fast? Jack was about 10 lbs when we got him, he is now 20 lbs :-)
He just started loosing some teeth, he has lost 4 so far, but the new ones are already showing again. Here is a picture of him. I wish he could say the letter S :-)

He played all day yesterday with a big white German Shepard and another big dog. They got along so great, it was awesome. Jack learned from them. And then they all took a nap and Shea and Jack cuddled like mom and son. (Or is ack in love?)
Today he was tired. We got our puppy-walking-mileage up to 3 miles in the morning and 2 at night on some days, most days just 3. Today we made it about 1.5 and he slept the entire time at home. He is pooped. This pillow used to be ours but obviousely it is his now :-)

Here he is doing his favorite thing ever: Traffic control. He looks at cars and people and makes this tiny bark everytime a car drives by. It is the cutest thing ever!!! I think JR might have to build him a little platform next to the window.

I hope that he still knows me when I get back from Germany. And I hope he is still little.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Grand Canyon Trip

Happy Thanksgiving.
We had a 4 day trip into the Grand Canyon planned. My friends Pam and Shannon invited us over to their house before the trip to have a "small" thanksgiving dinner and a packing-the-backpack session. The "small" dinner turned out to be: an entire turkey, roasted corn, cheesy potatoes, home made asparagus and spinach soup and the most delicious salad ever-spinach salad with roasted squash and goat cheese. Yummie.

Well I guess we didn't have to worry about starting the hike on an empty stomach :-) We pulled out all of our gear. JR and I realized how little we own for hiking. Here is what we have: one sleeping bag, boots, 2 army backpacks (which are actually really great for hiking), plastic forks-which were after the first dinner Tridents, and after the second dinner Bi-forks :-)...that is pretty much it. Thanks to Walmart which is even open on Thanksgiving (hihihi), we got us some cups as well :-)
Pam and Shannon provided us with everything else, which was such a big help. Also Pam was the one who made the idea of hiking in there real, she got the permit and everything. Thank you guys so much for taking us with!!!

While we were at their house Jack got to learn how the big boys rule, he decided to do the same and ended up getting treats. Here is circus director Pam and her wild animals:

Next morning. All packed up. I thought about just sitting in Pam's backpack :-)

Here we are at the Grand Canyon. Excited to start our 4 day trip down into this huge canyon. With the temperature changing from freezin to hot in no time I was happy to have my armwarmers. No stopping for me, I can take those warmers off while walking :-) And I can even leave my backpack on!!! We all looked happy - off we go to our first destination: Hermit Creek.

Not sure how, but JR managed to get ahead off us and even have time to climb up boulders and take off his boots before we got there...

Hello there cathedral stairs...Best invention ever: ARMY PANTS. You can slide down steep and rocky stairs without destroying them and your butt.

And we made it. It was nice to get out of the boots and taking the backpack off after about 6 hrs of hiking mostly downhill. We refueled with some FLUID, put up the tents and "made" some water. It was great to learn how to pump and filter water out of the smallest creek.

I was prepared to live off rice and beans for a while down there, but here is what we had instead:

...and broccoli and mashed potatoes. Mhhh!!! Next morning: we were happy people, just a little sore :-)
And off we go. Next stop: Granite Rapids. All the way down to the Colorado River.

Just down the hill and we are there. The views in the Canyopn are just amazing.

And we are there. After searching the entire beach for the best camp spot, we realized that we were the only people!!! THE ONLY PEOPLE!!! No rafting boats, no other hikers. Just us, the water, the rocks and some beavers that decided to come out at night and nibble on the bushes.

Oh, and one little mouse that decided to jump into Pam and Shannon's tent at night and scare the sh&^ out of Shannon as he realized that whatever is touching him is NOT his wife :-)

Instead of Steaks we had Burritos. Chicken Parmesan. We enjoyed them. We knew that we were out of fancy food now and that we had to live off dehydrated things for the next two days. It was well worth it packing steaks and burritos in a 30-40 lbs backpack and hiking into the grand canyon with it...right Shannon, Pam and JR :-)

Could there be a more beautiful campsite then this one? Let me tell you, sand makes a nice mattress.

The next morning was a little rainy at the bottom, but looking up to the rim, we realized that this rain is way better then the snow that the rim got.

We hiked up the creek to the monument campground where we stayed the last night. What a great place with lots of little caves, perfect for waiting for the rain to go away and playing cards.

This is the riverbed we hiked...

Next mroning: early start. We got up with the sunrise and started moving. Good bye colorado river, hello civilization.

View from the top of the cathedral steps.

Only 3 more hours!!! Yeah!!!

Lunch break on top of this crazy plateau.

Yummi, Knaeckebrot with honey!!!

One last set of steps (it only went like this for about 1 mile :-)

And we made it!!! Yippie. It felt great to finally take the backpack off, knowing that we don't have to put it on anymore.