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.

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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.

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

Guest Post – Ways Veterans Can Stay Healthy

I was not aware of it, but apparently I actually do have an “audience” out there on the internet. I became aware of this a few days ago when a lovely lady called Emily mailed me and asked if she could do a guest spot on my blog as she had some tips for staying healthy, for military veterans – PTSD and TBI help included.

Of course, I am more than willing to share – and if she gets a good response (from my enormous audience *cough*) I am sure there would be more guest posts in the future from her.

This is her little “blurb” that she sent me when I (finally – yes, it took me a while) responded to her email:

My name is Emily Walsh and I am the Community Outreach Blogger for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. I happened to come across your blog and wanted to let you know that I really enjoy reading it. I currently write for the MCA on many different topics that relate to veteran and military health, including some of the lesser-known health risks, and would love to write a post for your blog.

While the health risks of being in the military can be frightening, there are effective ways to deal with all of the problems that may arise from time in the service. I truly believe this information is of great value to those active or retired, and especially their loved ones. I am confident my article would be a good addition and important message for your audience.

This is her small article:

Ways Veterans Can Stay Healthy

Veterans served their countries for many years and deserve to be honored for their
efforts. Unfortunately, some of them can encounter a number of health problems
after they get done with their service including mesothelioma, traumatic brain
injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder and gunshot wounds. It is very important for
veterans to do everything they can to stay healthy. If you are a veteran, here are
some of the ways you can maintain good health.

Eat Healthy
As a veteran, it is important to eat a healthy diet to keep your immune system
healthy. Make sure to fill your diet with fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole
grains. Try to limit your intake of greasy and processed foods because they offer
very little nutritional value. If you decide to eat something fattening or unhealthy, try
to at least limit your portion size.

Visit Your Doctor Regularly
It is extremely important to visit your doctor regularly. A doctor will give you a full
examination and find out if you have any underlying health issues. If your doctor is
able to detect a health problem early, it will be much easier for him to treat it. Try to
visit your doctor at least every six months and be sure to tell him if you are
experiencing any health problems.

Exercise on a Regular Basis
Exercising regularly will not just keep your weight down; it will also boost your
immune system and make you stronger. Try to exercise at least four to five days a
week for 30 minutes. Do activities you enjoy like running, biking, swimming or
dancing. Consider working out with a friend or family member so that you avoid
getting bored. If you do not like working out outside, consider getting a gym
membership. Health clubs have great exercise equipment that can help keep you in
shape.

Although you can’t ever be sure if you will have health problems, following these tips
can help you stay healthier. If you exercise, eat healthy and visit your doctor
regularly, you will be much more likely to stay healthy and avoid getting diseases
that affect veterans.