was sitting here and I realised what was different

The time!

Today is the 29th! So now Germany is back on “normal” time – YAY! Seriously. There’s no point to DST anymore. They should scrap it.

I wondered why I felt so unusually rested this morning – I got an extra hour of sleep (thanks to my dogs being so tired after yesterday’s long walk)

Dogs were doing well so I decided (probably ridiculously stupid of me) to give them their marrow bones that they were meant to get on Gina’s birthday back in February – but they were sick, so I held off. They’ve been well for a while now, so I decided to spoil them before Odin arrives, as I only had 2. I was going to wait until Azzie’s birthday mid-April.

Gina LOVES her marrow bones – she sat and stared at Azzie until she was “done” and went to get water and then POUNCED on Azzie’s bone.

I know it will probably affect their tummies, but I just thought it would be nice for them. They’ve not had a marrow bone in YEARS (literally) because they’ve been so sick all the time. But now I have medicine, if it does affect them, and I’ll deal with any issues that might arise, as it was my decision to give them the bones.

Husband called to check in and update me on Odin’s progress. Our “baby boy” (as my husband calls him) is doing very well. He’s a very quiet, gentle and well behaved dog (the vets love him so much he’s actually been allowed to stay there, instead of heading back to the awfully cramped and dirty kennels – for the rest of his time there before he flies – and that’s still being decided as to his destination) and he even takes his tablets without any food or prompting. He’s a very good boy. I think he’s going to be just fine. His stitches come out today as well and my husband says he is much more agile and full of energy – he jumped up onto the stairs instead of my husband having to pick him up all the time.  So that’s excellent news! My husband was also told to pick a birthday (he’s a stray, so they can only roughly estimate his age) so my husband picked March 1st. :) That’s between Gina’s and Azzie’s, so it’s perfect.

Whether he comes to us straight away, or goes to the States first – I am looking forward to meeting the little guy.

 

and then it all changes again

I think I’ve waxed on about this point many times in other posts – military life means that you NEVER EVER know what’s going to happen from one day to the next.

My husband got news last night that his dream career in the army has COME THROUGH! Finally! The paperwork made it, at last, to the right place and got approved. After YEARS of struggling to get this done – being shut down and blocked by his unit over and over again – he finally jumped through the right hoops and crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s and IT’S HAPPENING! (He just told me now, this morning – there were things going on yesterday that made him wait to tell me as he didn’t want to stress me out more than he felt I already was) But of course now this means EVERYTHING changes. All the plans we were making for our travels back to the States are now, once again, in limbo. Does he leave in a couple of months? When does the school start? Where do we go? Or do we have to wait another few months here in Germany? And is it “we” or is it just him? Will HE go back for training and we stay here? Or do we all go together to the training place (not sure where/which one) and then move again when he is done and gets assigned to his new unit?

Plus we will most likely have a third dog, by that point. Odin will, as far as things are going now, be going to join us. It will be complicated – I will be doing the whole thing on my own, as my husband will still be away. And now this?

Interesting times. It’s all an adventure, right?

 

I saved a life

So on the way to the vet at lunch time, I heard a cat crying. I searched around and found that one of the Kitten Trio (the strays I feed. Betty’s babies) had fallen through the tiny windows into the locked storage room of one of the apartments.

The tiny kitten couldn’t jump up high enough to get out and had been there the whole day. I couldn’t recall if I saw her yesterday or last night, so she might have been there longer, but I hadn’t heard her crying until today.

As I was late already for the vet, I asked my neighbour to call the housing department (which she did, and they said they would “send someone right over”) I also flagged down a passing housing van and asked them what they could do – which was nothing, but they said THEY had called someone as well.

When the girls and I eventually got back from the vet, I checked on the kitten… she was still there. And, upon shoving my head into the tiny window, I discovered the poor deceased old black cat. He was a scruffy old man, with a wonky leg, which is probably why _he_ couldn’t jump out the window either. :( He’d been dead a while. He was smelly, and … flat. I only hope that the fall killed him, and not starvation. I’d never heard him make a noise, so I don’t know if he’d ever called like the little kitten. Maybe he thought nobody would come even if he did. He was a loner. A true survivor. He had made it so far on his own. A sad, tired, silent end to a rough, tough soul. I said a little farewell to him, silently.

I called various housing departments and didn’t get hold of anyone – they’d all gone home or where not bothering to answer as it was nearly 17:30 and way passed their work day’s end. I then called the MP desk – non emergency of course. I leave that for last because USUALLY there’s so much paperwork to go with a call out of the MP’s that nobody wants to get in touch with them! But thankfully, in this case (non-human related) there was none. Or, there was none that I had to fill in. I spoke to a SGGT Luke and he was VERY helpful (and he’s probably the type of guy who filled in all the paperwork without bothering me about it)

He couldn’t get hold of housing either, to get the key to the storage room. But then, by chance, I actually MET the new neighbour who was moving in to the apartment that belonged to that storage room! So when the MP arrived, I told him that we should speak to the young gentleman in that apartment. WHich we did, and he was also VERY helpful, and I in turned helped HIM to find his correct storage unit (the Housing representative also went to the wrong storage room when he showed the young man around and the key didn’t work in it – which is what our new neighbour told me when he handed it over to us)

The kitten, BC or Brave Cat as I call her, at first was too scared to even leave the corner she had squashed herself into (As far from the dead body of the old cat as she could get) and as I edged closer (because I wasn’t sure which one of the trio it was, at first) she did hiss a bit and raise her hackles at me, but then I spoke to her, and showed her the open can of her favourite food and she searched my face (I had my hat on, so she wasn’t sure at first) and she recognised me and got up and first thing she did was head-boop me on the hand and the knee and then she dived in to the food. She was so hungry (and so relaxed now that she knew it was me) she let me pick her up, wrapped in a towel (just in case) while she scoffed the food up. She then purred happily and rubbed her face against mine a few times.

I carried her outside and around to where her little siblings waited for her. I put the rest of the food out for her, and some milk and she gobbled it up, barely noticing when I left the area.

Then I returned to the storage room, after gathering two trash bags and some gloves from my apartment (the dogs were very confused, poor things) and SSGT Luke and I collected poor dead, Old Cat. Even SSGT Luke was saddened by the situation. Poor dear cat.

I made sure the window was tightly shut, so this didn’t happen again, and SSGT Luke said he would get housing to sort out cleaning up the rest of the mess in the room.

I thanked him for his help and he thanked me for sorting it out and taking care of the animals and we went on our way.

I said another silent farewell to Old Cat.

A New Year

So. 2015 huh? And still no flying cars.

Tesla’s are cool, of course – but they don’t fly…. yet.

ISIS are making a concerted effort to f**k the world up.

America slips deeper into idiocracy. (That movie is a scary warning, which unfortunately no Americans seem to take seriously)

My home, South Africa, begins to twist into “new Zimbabwe” thanks to Zuma and the ANC “gang” – with farm attacks and “reallocation of land” and load shedding and all that fun stuff. Apparently Zuma blames the “white colonials” for all the trouble they (the black people) are having now in South Africa. Yeah. Because it was so rosy before they arrived, right?

Dogs are doing well (although G is having a bad tummy morning – but I know the reason why and I have taken steps to sort her out)

Husband is still away. They extended his mission time.

So there went our Nordic dream trip. Yay army.

One good thing came of all that mess – in trying to sort out a shengen visa to travel around Europe, I discovered that because of various factors (foreigner, married to a US military member, living in Germany on orders) I can actually get a kind of residence permit, which will allow me to travel Europe without the need for a visa! Yay!

So this afternoon I’m off to see Mr Kupke at the “government house”  (not the Rathaus, he was quick to clarify) and begin the paperwork for that.

I just let Gina out on the balcony for the 10th time this morning, and 7 seconds later she was at the door, asking to come back in – I timed it. Seriously. She’s worse than a cat. I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with this in and out and in and out and in and out every 2 minutes, so she can now sit there and chill until I feel like opening the bloody door again.

UPDATE: there was a reason for her restlessness – she is quite unwell. Vomiting, bloody diarrhea. So I rushed her through to the vet. No parasites or Giardia, thankfully. But she will have to fast for today and see how she does tomorrow with a little bit of chicken or something. Danke schon, Doktor Dehn.

Been a few months now as a vegetarian and I’m doing well. No anemia, no weakness or issues. I’ve been using an app called “MyFitnessPal” which helps me count calories etc and I have been slowly and steadily losing weight. I’ve lost 10lbs now, and while I have hit a slight “rut” now, hovering around a weight, I just need to be disciplined and stick to it and I am sure I can lose some more. I’m close to my goal weight. I just need to stay on track.

We’ve had loads of snow, but I think it’s now petering off a bit. We’re heading into March (it’s Gina’s 6th birthday tomorrow!) and it’s starting to warm up. Then again, Germany (Baumholder especially) likes to keep us on our toes when it comes to the weather.

20150213_085115 20150130_090802 20150119_093015 20141231_094730

 

Step Away

So. I did it.

2 Days ago I finally pressed the “delete account” button for Facebook.

Day 3 of Life Without Facebook and I have to say, I still have the habit of sitting down in front of my laptop in the morning and think of clicking the link to check my FB, but it’s waning very quickly. This morning I didn’t even open up my “daily” folder.

I opened email, checked Ello, and then had a chat with some friends on slack (new school IRC, basically – same good old friends and channel though) and continued with my day.

Sunday means dog park play date, and I also made breakfast for my husband who is on 24/7 duty for a week. Fun stuff.

We headed off, breakfast warm and cup of fresh coffee in hand for him too. Dogs said hi, we hung around for a little bit and then met our buddies at the dog park for an hour and a half of running around in the mud and rain. It was great. Dogs were great.

So I am _slowly_ getting used to Life Without Facebook, and I am starting to slip into a _new_ life routine. It’s pretty cool actually. I have moments though, I will admit, where I think about it… but it passes and I move on.

I was on Facebook for 10 years… seems both shorter and longer. I was a beta tester, so I got to iron out the bugs and see it change. Not all changes were for the better. The recent influx of complete idiots (this new generation is just unbelievably stupid… seriously) has also soured it for me. And the privacy issues and copyright issues and the whole limiting access to your network unless you pay them… just nicked my “mafioso” nerve and I’ve just had enough I think.

I had a lot of excuses/reasons for staying on, but I was brutally honest with myself and realised that the people on Facebook would do fine without me – my rescue organisations would be taken care of by my good friend Nicole (Even more so, as she’s a volunteer at many of them too) and my Berner groups are so large now they would barely notice the absence. Besides, my husband is still on it and he’s still in the groups, so he will let me know if I miss anything.

I haven’t posted photos in a long time, and I removed all my information a long time ago.  So it was no big jump. Just a few moments of heart fuzz and then it was all over.

I still have about 11 days left to “change my mind” until they actually delete all the information etc… but quite honestly – I don’t miss it.

I’m getting back in touch with the “old school” – even writing letters by hand (just to my mom for now, but I’m happy to write to anyone who wants me to) and living my life for ME.

Hoping my inspiration will blossom again – for my photography, my sewing, my running, my yoga.

It does feel like a weight off my shoulders. I don’t know why, as I was not really very involved anymore (only checked it once a day for 5 minutes) but it does feel like I’ve let go of something that I didn’t need. Which is a nice feeling. If a little scary for me (if you ever have time to listen, I can try and explain my “unable to sever” dreams/daydreams/thoughts) generally.

Life goes on, and so do we.

 

Stay frosty.

 

 

Interesting people

You never know when you will bump into someone cool and interesting.

Dogs and I were on our usual long morning walk on post and a chance decision (from Azzie) to go down a set of stairs instead of along the road led us to meet an intriguing chap – clearly “that other unit” – he was absolutely delighted to meet the dogs and took Azzie’s crazy head butts and crotch slams in his stride. He said they had a MWD and he was the same – lots of rough love. We chatted about tick control and how he thought it must be very hard for us because my dogs had such thick black coats, we chatted about his dogs back home (two boxers) and how they would go nuts when he eventually (and he said that with a slight sigh) got to go back home for a bit. He patted and hugged (much to Azzie’s delight) the dogs (even Gina allowed him to give her a little squeeze, then she came and sat behind my legs as if to say “that’s all you get, you’re not my daddy”) and he said they were awesome and I thanked him. We continued on our way and he went back to his office.

He had an interesting accent that I struggled to place – American mostly, but almost French sounding, so perhaps from New Orleans, or a former European citizen? I counted at least 3 healed bullet holes on his body – and that was all I could see outside his tshirt and shorts. Such a gentle soul, to be in such a violent career.

I wish him well.

Let it go

I had a moment of deep disappointment yesterday: it’s been over 4 months since I did the photo shoot for the military working dogs and their handlers and I’ve not heard a word from them. I mailed the “liaison” a number of times (on both email addresses he gave me) and sent him the link to the photos, and asked for suggestions for their calendar and photo book. In that time I also created a DVD with all their images on them, and told them I was happy to get anything printed that they wanted to put up in the office. I also spoke to the base PR person, and he said he would get back to me when he got back from leave. Nothing. I sent him more mails, he said yes he would get RIGHT back to me, he said he loved the photos! STILL nothing.

Weeks went by – no response. I mailed again – simply asking for favourites from the handlers now, and went ahead and used my best judgement on the calendar selections and created it. I sent them the link to it. Still nothing.

I also saw one of the handlers when he was out with his dog (who was one of the dogs I took photos of!) and asked why I’d not heard anything – he said that the liaison was PCS’ing (leaving the post, leaving the country, changing stations) and hadn’t shown them anything :( I said I’d given someone at the kennels the DVD and he said nope, he’d not seen it. So all the work was for naught. He promised to speak to the liaison, but I still haven’t heard anything.

I got mad. I got sad. I felt miserable. I felt used. I felt invisible.

 

And then… I just let it go.

Let. It. Go.

The only person/thing I can control in this universe is ME. So that’s what I decided. Their loss, their issue, their problem, their choice. My choice is to carry on and look ahead to the NEXT opportunity.

Simple.

Let it go.

 

another hodgepodge

I’ve been doing all these “things” to try to (almost) force myself to blog more… I added myself to a website “circle” all about sewing, I added an author link on G+ and I linked my blog to some other web groups as well…

I’m also still trying to keep the “blogging tribe” experiment going… I did warn them that I am a sporadic blogger, but I really want to be a more consistent one. Not necessarily daily/scheduled but at least more than once a month!

Thing is, I don’t really have that much to blog about – my daily life is routine: get up, take dogs down, come back, make breakfast for dogs, me, husband, get dressed to go, walk dogs, come back, clean house, feed dogs, do laundry, walk dogs again, do more household Domestic Goddess stuff, feed dogs again, chill for a bit, walk dogs, make dinner, chill, take dogs down before bed, then off to bed… and the next day I do it all again.

Right now, husband is away for a few weeks, so I have even less to do, but I am trying to keep up the schedule, for the dogs and to stop myself from vegging out.

So I have set myself a few goals for these 3 weeks of “alone time” and I will do my best to both blog about it and also complete said goals. Or just blog about not completing them. Failure is always an option. I’m a starter, not a finisher.

This hodgepodge post is to “catch you up” to where I am right now: sitting at my awesome (and quite neat at this time) desk, with dogs lolling around in their spots, licking ice cream from their sweet white furry lips. All the fans are going, as it’s heating up already. Going to be pretty warm today (29C) despite the fact that it’s already August and it should be cooling down rapidly. *shrug* Germany has not exactly been “normal” as far as the weather goes, this year. We had snow and negative temperatures, in May, so I’m not really counting on this “summer” to end too soon. The whole week is going to be a scorcher. So husband left one of our air conditioners (the big one) up in the apartment for me, and of course there’s the kiddie pool downstairs and the bath upstairs, to keep the pooches cool. I really need to invest in those cooling mats. I think the dogs would like them. Or a cooling vest. They did well this morning on our walk, though – we stuck to the shade, took lots of little breathers under trees, and I gave them lots of water. Azzie is on the bed – it’s her new favourite place. I worry when it gets quiet though – she really is like a toddler… you’d rather there was noise… or you know they are up to something!  I’m going to go check on her in a second, when I am done with this post.

The Dog Food Adventure is going well. I’m going to bake some eggshells today, and grind them up – a major source of calcium and other nutrients – I’ve gathered quite a large amount. The girls LOVE their “meats” in their meals now. Gina loves the ground beef (93% lean) and Azzie loves her chicken. Azzie eats anything I put in her bowl, but I have to be sneaky with Gina. She has, however, been eating her veggies (carrots and green beans and a small amount of potato) in the stews I’ve made for them. I’ve also ordered something called “Longevity” by Springtime Inc. It’s a powder that you put on their food, once a day, which apparently is so good for them that there are now 19 year old herding dogs running around like 4 year old pooches, amongst other success stories. The Bernese Mountain Dog group that I am on swears by it – especially for big dogs like ours, so I am looking forward to that arriving. It helps to heal previous damage as well – so I am hoping it will help Gina’s back left leg to heal properly. I want to start running with both of them.

Bahrbach Pfad - 3

As for my running – I ran a proper race! Only 5km, but it was my first actual race (for myself, not for my school) in over 20 years. I was pretty proud of myself. I ran 95% of the way – only walked (briskly!) up the very long, steep hills, and only for a minute each time. I finished in a time of 33 or 34 minutes (not too sure, as I was so excited about actually doing it that I forgot to start my stopwatch until I was at the end of the first street!) which was a pace of around 6:25 or 6:35… either way, I was pleased as punch for actually DOING IT!  My husband was proud of me too – but he laughed at my time :) That’s ok. My goal was to just FINISH it and finish strong. I sprinted to beat another runner, at the end. Unfortunately my husband didn’t see my epic finish, as he was standing off to the side with the dogs, because they were worried about me “running off” without them. Silly girls. Next time, I will take them with me! So we all need to get fit again. Apparently you can win a prize too, if you are the first to cross the line with your dog!

Rule #1 Cardio - 1 (1)

My sewing has had a pause again – I did complete 95% of a black micro suede wiggle skirt, but I made a miscalculation on the amount of fabric I needed, so it was shorter than planned, and I have to still do the kick split at the back. I will post photos when that’s done. One of my goals in this “alone time” session is to make something new. So I’m looking at my patterns, and my fabric and trying to decide what. I might make a nice comfortable top, or maybe some yoga pants.

I haven’t done yoga in weeks and weeks. Makes me sad. It’s almost impossible to get down on the floor to do anything, without the dogs getting all excited and literally climbing all over me. Gina crawls under my Downward Dog, and Azzie thinks my Bridge pose is so she can sit on my chest. So it’s been complicated. I really do want to get back into it – and that’s another goal for these 3 weeks.

They are doing construction outside our buildings right now and since yesterday we’ve had to move our cars to parking places across the road and quite far down. Annoying, but hopefully it won’t be for long. Thankfully the buildings where I am parked are not full, so there are free spaces still. I left a note on my car windshield so that anyone whose bay I am in can come find me if they need me to move one of the cars. I’m polite like that. Can’t say the same for the rest of the people around here. There is a serious lack of respect for others, sometimes. And, as you know, don’t even get me started on the dogs stuck inside all day. *deep breath* *counts to ten*

So that’s a catch up, for now.

Box Jungles and Other Moving Parts

A week or so ago my husband was made an offer by the army that he could, in theory, refuse… but he chose to think on it.

That evening, we discussed at length the pros and cons of moving – on the army’s dime – and what we could get out of it, in the end.

We said, let’s look at our options for apartments and locations and then we can decide.

We didn’t _have_ to move, but the reason we were asked if we wanted to was because of the units and individuals who would be moving in to the buildings we lived in at the time. It would get loud – lots of single officers and of course the “other people” as well. I won’t go into who they are – it’s not really necessary.

So we were given quite a few choices – one of them on Wetzel housing. When we first moved to Baumholder, we were given one choice in Wetzel as well, but it was a TINY place with no storage and the “balcony” was just a square enclosed on the roof. We said no thanks, and chose our 3rd floor apartment (7 flights of stairs – if one flight is one side… not sure how people count “flights”) with its ENORMOUS rooms and loads of built in storage. So this time around we were a little skeptical of Wetzel, but when we saw the place we were pleasantly surprised! It was airy, filled with light, had a proper balcony and as an added bonus was only on the second floor! That was only 3 flights of stairs for Gina to tackle.

We still went to look at at least 4 other apartments, all on Smith and located all around the post. While we liked the space they all offered, each one just had too many cons to move too high up on our list of options. They were also very “busy” buildings – almost all filled to the brim with people and lots of children. They were also almost ALL on the 3rd floor! So why give up our lovely big apartment for one that was the same and was loud and busy and one smelled of urine and mold and the other was not renovated so it was still the “old” style and not very attractive. The kitchens were smaller too. And outside the front, because it was such a heavily trafficked road, loads of doggy poop on the front yards. NOT nice. I pick up after my dogs, especially if they go on someone else’s grass – if I can do that for two huge beasts, then they can do it for theirs!

We decided on the Wetzel one – this was on the Thursday. They came to fetch our stuff on the Tuesday after that. The movers were awful. Nice guys (according to my husband) but terrible packers! They broke so much of our stuff – including some antique cups and glasses and porcelain :(

 

These are the “before” shots…

DSCN0503 DSCN0501 That's Gina's new spot No idea why, but this cupboard makes me happy. Lounge area, with balcony door This is all exhausting for Azzie 2 DSCN0518 study main bedroom - a little smaller.. DSCN0524 DSCN0528

 

These are the “during” shots…

 

the boxes arrive... still can't find the cutlery DSCN0531 DSCN0532 DSCN0533 DSCN0534 DSCN0535 DSCN0536 DSCN0538 DSCN0540 DSCN0543 DSCN0541

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And these are “almost done” and “it looks like we live here now” shots… We just have a few more things to sort out (TV, Playstation, Xbox, computer, etc)

 

DSCN0548 Basil has a unique marking I am a lapdog with laser eyes The kitchen is now a kitchen :) DSCN0561 DSCN0560 The magnets are on - now it is home