Saturday, November 3, 2007


Bundling up for some outdoor time.

Well, it's been several days since writing. We've been keeping busy with unpacking and trying to do a few things that show mom around a bit before she has to leave. I love that she's willing to help so much with unpacking but I'd like her to see at least a few of the sites before she goes.

"Crazy Dog Lady" Update

Unfortunately, I have nothing new to report regarding the Crazy Dog Lady. No news is not necessarily good news... it's just "no news." The latest was that Francoise had received a written complaint that she had to respond to (with her lawyer), and some official would review it after receiving it. I guess they'd decide at that point if the complaint was valid and if fines are to be assessed. We gave Francoise the video/audio evidence we had of "non-barks" as well as the time and date-stamped pictures of all of us (dogs included) walking in the woods during the entire time of one of her complaints. Hopefully that lends credence to our claims and doubt to the validity of CDL's complaints. I'll let you know how things finally resolve.


Today is Halloween in the U.S. I'm really bummed that Gerrit won't get to participate in trick-or-treating this year since this is the first year he might actually understand a bit about what is going on. Oh well, guess we'll have some new traditions/celebrations when we come back to the U.S.

Today we decided to take a day trip to Mad King Ludwig's Castle, near the Bavarian Alps close to the Austrian border. King Ludwig was quite eccentric and believed to have struggled with homosexuality throughout his life. Near the end of his life he was deposed (removed from power by the government). Mystery surrounds his death, which was ruled as a suicidal drowning, but many speculate he was murdered. Below is a link to his biography which I found quite interesting.

Neuschwanstein Castle from the road
In the horse-drawn carriage ride up to the castle
"Hey, whaddya know. My baby is in there."
The view from near the castle entrance

Neuschwanstein Castle is said to be the model that Walt Disney used when creating his Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland. Check out the comparison.
Neuschwanstein Disney's Sleeping Beauty Castle

We purchased tickets for a castle tour and the bus ride up to the castle itself, but we encountered some difficulties. We waited for the bus and it seemed to take forever. We finally decided to get some food nearby, thinking we would catch the next bus up. None of us had eaten lunch and Gerrit was getting fussy. We figured we would catch the next bus up to the castle, but it turned out that there was no "next bus." While we were eating, the last bus left. Oh well, plan B. We found a horse-drawn carriage that took us to the castle. Took a bit longer, but Gerrit enjoyed it and kept calling for the "Neigh" whenever he would see the horse. Unfortunately, we were unable to get a tour inside the castle, but viewing the castle up close was pretty spectacular in and of itself. I found a link of someone else who visited the castle and took pictures inside. It is attached if you're interested.

All in all, it was a good day trip, although it was REALLY cold. Thank goodness we were bundled up. It took us much longer to drive home because of the impending holiday. Several people were taking extended weekends and traffic was horrible.

Today is All Saint's Day. Bavaria is predominantly Catholic, and I was told that even more holidays are celebrated here than in other German states. The school kids get the entire week off, which means my German class was also canceled for this week. That's kind of nice considering I have a newborn. Since today was a holiday and everything was closed, we decided to spend most of the day working around the house, unpacking boxes. We've now managed to unpack just over half of the boxes. I'm hopeful that we can get through almost all of them before mom leaves.
The movers actually packed some of my food.
As full as my pantry is, it still doesn't come close
to rivaling Destene's stock from back home.
Still need brownie mix :)
I didn't have German Class today as we had the whole week off for All Saint's Day. We still took Gerrit to his Tagesmutter, which allowed mom and I to work on the house for a few hours without a toddler running around. We've gone through all the boxes in the house (except the office) and are now beginning to pull boxes in that were left in the garage. I can't BELIEVE we have this much stuff.

This evening, we went into Munich and met up with a former colleague of mine. Chris is out here visiting her son, Jace, in Prague. Jace is spending a semester at film school in Prague before returning to school at UC Santa Barbara. They were kind enough to schedule a visit to Munich for a couple of days to see the sites and visit with me. It was REALLY nice to see Chris. I've been really homesick and seeing a familiar face helped me feel a bit less isolated. Our time together was very short, but I very much enjoyed it nonetheless. Yeah, my first non-family visitor. I could use a lot more visitors, and now there is actually room for people to come visit (hint, hint).

Coming home on the train tonight, Gerard used Gerrit to flirt with a ton of cute girls. Gerrit would sit on his knee and wave and say, "Bye Bye" to cute girls (Gerard would point out, of course). Oh the things you can get away with when you have a little kid. Under normal circumstances, women would have probably thought Gerard was a freak, but having dogs and children to use as a guise is always a great advantage. Incidentally, while mom and I were sitting waiting for the train we, too, were approached... by an old man looking down at Willem lovingly. He asked how old Willem was and when I responded that he was just ten days old, the man gestured with his hands to "Hold him close" (implying this time goes by quickly and they grow up fast). It was actually very sweet, but I found it entertaining to note the age difference of the "interested parties."
Stephanie, Chris, Jace
Chris, Steph, Willem & Gerrit

Spent the day unpacking some more. It's a never-ending cycle. Late this afternoon we took mom into Freising. We had hoped to get there before the shops closed and allow her to shop for souvenirs, but since most stores actually close at 4pm on Saturday, there wasn't much use. It was just as well considering we weren't able to find any tacky souvenir shops anyhow. Instead, we went window shopping and walked around town looking at all the bear statues. On our way out of town we drove by Weihenstephan, which claims to be the oldest brewery in the world. Seemed interesting enough - might be something to check out without the kids at some point.

"Yes, that is my son... picking the bear's nose."
Gerrit follows any sort of tracks. "Choo Choo"
"I'm flying!"

We spent the evening playing Scrabble and making cookies. I still can't figure out the baking thing here. The brownies I made for Gerard's birthday and the cake I made for Gerrit's birthday both turned out fine, but each time I've tried to make cookies they turn out more muffin-like than cookie-like. It's so strange.

We gave Willem his first water bath tonight. He really enjoyed it, but Gerrit didn't seem to notice his brother. He is so into his own bath time that he is almost oblivious to life around him.

Finally... an apology to Niki. Remember my Doggy IBS post about Niki pooping all over Francoise's house? Well, I believe I was wrong. I now think the cat was the true culprit. At the time, I remember thinking that the "evidence" looked too small to be left by Niki, but considering she had eaten all that junk food and the cat had apparently been using the litter box, I thought it must obviously be Niki. Well, the cat has now taken to pooping on things in the house, including my mother's head (well, almost... very near it while she was sleeping last night). Sigh... I can't figure out why she's doing this. If anyone knows anything about cat psychology, let me know. She also uses the litter box, so it's not like she doesn't know where it is or refuses it altogether. Any suggestions with this one?

A lazy, napping day with some light unpacking. Today I actually craved crepes instead of fat buttermilk pancakes for the first time since being here. I don't even like pancakes back in the U.S. but we've had them at least two or three times a week since being in Germany. But today... crepes were on my agenda. After a few mishaps trying to make them, I was fairly successful. Perhaps this will be a turning point in my acceptance of being here? I wouldn't hold my breath, but it's a start.

Mom's stay is two-thirds over, and I'm getting sad about her departure. For the past few days she has been talking about missing home and saying that she can't wait to get home.
I'm trying not to take it too personally, but it still saddens me. This is the longest and furthest she's ever been from home. I'm sure she is probably enjoying her time here, but also likely misses the familiarity of home. I can definitely relate to that feeling. Still, it's been really nice having her here, and it's been comforting to have an "experienced mother" here to ease my mind about the little stuff. I know I've done this before and that for all intensive purposes *I* am experienced mother myself, but sometimes it's just nice to have your own mom around to bring you back to reality when you start freaking out because your fragile newborn did or didn't do something you expected, or you're convinced has something wrong with him. She's a grounding force.
Food Coma


At November 4, 2007 at 7:21 PM , Blogger Adrienne said...

Hey Sweetie!

Quin has that exact same polka dot sleeper, but she doesn't fit it just yet - she didn't bake quite as long as Willem.

Cookie issue - Are you guys at altitude at all? Higher than see level that is? You may need to do some baking adjustments for that. It's easy enough.

Mom stuff - I hear ya. Get one of those BMW ladies to use their abundant dough and send for me when Quin is about 3 months.

At November 5, 2007 at 7:23 PM , Blogger wendi said...

that is sooooo fun that you got to hang with chris :)

i have been to that castle - AMAZING!!!!

At November 6, 2007 at 12:35 PM , Blogger Greg said...

You are SO lucky to get to see that castle...


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