Saturday, June 16, 2012

Father's Day

      Dad!  What a wonderful word!  In honor of Father's Day I'm dedicating this post to my very own Dad!  The picture above was taken when I was home from college and was probably around 21.  I love that my dad is standing in the picture with me!
      My very first memory I have of my father was probably when I was 4 years old.  It was an Autumn evening as it was already dark outside and for some reason I was watching a little black and white TV in the hallway, near the entrance of our house.  I have no idea why that TV was on the floor in the hallway but it was.  I even remember the television show I was watching, Mighty Mouse!  Suddenly the door opened and in walked dad from work.  My whole being lit up and I remember being so excited that my dad was home.  I forgot about my television show and I think I may have said, "Dad's home!"  What an exciting part of my day.  I distinctly remember Dad picking me up and carrying me around.  I'm not sure how old I was when he stopped carrying me around but I remember when he told me I was getting too big to carry around.  I wanted him to hold me and I was standing in front of the kitchen entrance and asked him to hold me and he told me I was too big to hold anymore.  I remember being kind of sad about that but I'm sure I was too big at that point.  But oh how I loved my father's affection. My father made me feel like I was his favorite child and to this day I secretly believe this, even if all my other siblings think the same thing--I know the truth and I'm not even joking when I say this.
     Some of my memories of my father are just memories of daily life. Things like watching my dad wrestle with my brothers at the end of a Family night and mom being worried about them breaking the leg of the dining room table. Dad being sick in the hospital when I was in 1st grade but not realizing that he was at death's door.  I do remember him coming home and being in bed for a long time.  I always thought his scar on his stomach was really amazing.  Dad square dancing with me at Craig school  This was the highlight of my school year.   Dad grilling burgers on a charcoal grill on a humid Sunday afternoon.  Dad installing a fan blowing the air out of my bedroom window and me being amazed when it actually brought some nice cool air into the adjacent window.  Dad working at Silar labs with his white shirt that was slowly eroding off his body.  Catching rides to school in the car Dad used as his work car.  Dad would brag that he never needed to wash that car because a white car doesn't show dirt very well.  I thought that was odd that a white car didn't show dirt but he's right-it's easier to see dirt build up on a dark car than a light car.  The station was always turned to talk radio but I didn't mind. Dad driving non stop to Utah and while driving asking Mom to pass him up a piece of fried chicken.  I even remember as a young girl that we stopped at a hotel and I was asleep but I have a hazy memory of Dad carrying me into the hotel room. Dad getting excited about blueberry pie-his favorite!  It's my favorite too. Dad was excited about food in general and that's why I think he enjoys gardening so much.  Whether it's a nice piece of fruit, a fresh garden tomato or a bowl of popcorn-I know he loves good food.  Dad was smart in that he groomed all of us girls to know how to make a good bowl of popcorn.  He did this by singing our praises when we would make a nice bowl of popcorn whether it was by electric frying pan, hot air popper, or even microwaved, he was thankful.  The only food he expressed displeasure over that I can recall growing up was cream cheese.  Dad helping me with my math homework and slapping his forehead when I was whining because I was confused and baffled.  I'm sure dad was thinking, "How could this be my own flesh and blood and her not understand math concepts????"  I think I was 16 when dad got so annoyed by my whining that he spanked me.  I was ashamed I had behaved so badly but a lot of my teenage years I seemed to be in a fog when it came to science and math.  I suppose I had a hard time concentrating in those classes because now I think I could take a math class and enjoy it.  Dad going off to golf and mom being annoyed that it took all day.  Dad going to the grocery store and mingling around the fruit section looking for new fruits to try.  Dad being the bishop.  Dad being a counselor in the Stake Presidency, Dad being Stake president.  Dad being Stake patriarch.  Dad playing basketball.  Dad taking us mini-golfing in the summer for FHE.  We really played by the rules of the game and now when I go I get annoyed if people don't play by the rules of Miniature golfing.  I suppose I could go on and on with all these random memories.  They are all good memories, not a bad memory in the lot.  But most of all I remember the love I felt from my dad growing up and I still feel to this day whether it's talking to him on the phone or sitting next to him watching golf on TV.  I always know that he loves me and I love him.  He is the greatest example of what a father should be and it's too bad the rest of the world could not have him as a father-so I consider myself eternally grateful.
The following are 10 questions I will answer about my Dad just for fun.
1. My dad is 78 years old.
2. What is your dad's favorite color?  Wow, that's a good one.  I'm not really sure but I would guess Blue because who doesn't like the color blue.  Plus it's the color of his eyes.  That's why it's my favorite color.
2.What is your Dad's favorite food?  Oh so many.  Blueberry Pie, popcorn, fruit, cherry pie, chili.
3.  Where is your Dad's favorite place to go?  Well, I think his favorite place to be is at home, but if he has to go somewhere maybe it would be on a date to Red Lobster with Mom.
4.  What does your dad like to do when he's not at work?  I think dad likes to watch tv, and he likes to garden, and he likes to bowl.
5.If Dad was a cartoon character, who would he be?  Probably Bugs Bunny because Bugs Bunny is witty, funny and smart.
6.How are you and your Dad the same?  We both have blue eyes and we both can hear harmonies in songs naturally.
7.  If my dad had time he would love to?  I think he would love to organize his stamp and coin collection.
8.What's something your dad likes to say?  Growing up dad would always say, "Admiral Butterback"  when he wanted the butter passed to him at the dinner table.
9.What's your Father's name?  Terry G. Selin  The G stands for his mother's maiden name "Goss", I believe.
10.  What would you like to give your dad?  A hug, a kiss and tell him how much I love him!

Happy Father's Day Dad!
I would be ungrateful if I didn't add how wonderful my father-in-law is on this Father's Day Tribute.  What a wonderful family I married into.  My father-in-law, Clint Gillespie has been generous to our family in all ways and he has loved me and my family!  Thank you Dad Gillespie and I love you.
Finally, my best friend, and husband who is the father of our children.  What a wonderful choice I made in a husband!  He is a wonderful father and I'm so thankful that he has been a great example to not only me but our children as well.  We are all anxious for him to come home from Afghanistan in 4 days!!  What a great reunion that will be.  I love you Paul!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sleeping Beauty

As you can see I took the week off last week mostly because I spent almost every evening driving Giuliana to Heidelberg for her ballet rehearsals.  She was preparing for the big production of Sleeping Beauty and had been cast as the "Joyful Fairy".  I spent hours and hours on Saturday watching Giuliana practice her staging, her dancing and her expressions on stage.  After about about 5 hours I took a break and went down the road to Patrick Henry village and worked out at the gym, went to the commissary and read my book for awhile.  I met back up with Giuliana and got home at around 7:30 that evening.  Then on Monday, Memorial Day, we did the same routine all over again.    The rest of the week almost everyday was spent carting Giuliana up to Heidelberg.  Boy, was I ever ready for this production to be done with.  So now, for your viewing pleasure I've included some clips of Giuliana and some of her dancing.  We were not allowed to take video of the real performance but this was the dress rehearsal that I sat and watched and recorded.   I thought her real performance was the best but her dress rehearsal was pretty good as well.  Enjoy.
This first video is of her entrance.  The second video is all 4 faires. Giuliana is the 4 fairy to perform so if you don't want to watch the first three you will have to fast forward a bit.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Pin Cushion

I have had the opportunity recently to try out the magical world of Acupuncture.  I don't know that I'm totally sucked into this method of treatment but since I had the chance to try it out...I took it.  A man at our church, who is a Doctor of psychiatry and Family medicine was recently selected to add Acupuncturist to his titles.  He has been taking classes and traveling back to the states to learn how to use this alternative medicine.  He has recently asked people he knows if we have any pain or ailments that bother us.  If we tell him what they are he asks us if we would like to try acupuncture as a treatment.  Last week I was riding in his van with a group of people and his wife asked me if I had any pain  that he could practice his acupuncture.  No, I had to admit, I had no aches or pains but I did mention I didn't sleep very well.  The Doctor piped up at this point and told me he could try acupuncture on me that would help me relax.  Oh, this sounded good to me so I agreed to be his guinea pig. When we got to his house it only took a few minutes for him to figure out where to put the pins and here's a picture of what my ears looked like when he was done.

I had these pins in each ear, however for some reason this ear only shows 2 pins.  I think I lost one of them on the way home, but the other ear had 3 pins in it.If you notice the top of my ear is kind of red-apparently that is a good sign, but I'm not sure why.  I was instructed to leave the pins in for 20 minutes and then I could take them out.  It drove home which took me about 20 minutes and then headed for bed since it was quite late.  I took out the pins or needles or whatever you call these things things and went to bed.  Amazingly, I slept the night without waking up in the middle of the night and woke up at my regular time which was 5:30 am.  I was pretty happy with the results but what was even more amazing I fell back asleep until 8:00.  Usually when I wake up in the morning-that's it-no more sleep but for some reason I was able to go back to sleep.

I reported my results to the Dr. the next day and he was happy I had such a good experience.  He suggested he put in these little gold acupuncture studs to leave in my ears for 5 days.  I agreed to this also.  Here is one of the little gold studs and you can see how tiny they really are.
I'm holding this in my hand and if you look carefully you can see if has a little barb on it.  This helps it stay in place but eventually they fall out.  So the Dr.inserted three of these little studs in the same places as the original pins.  I was to wear them for 5 days.  After they were in place I came to realize I probably shouldn't have done this as I was supposed to go to a Ward Conference the next day and these little gold stud kind of looked like little earrings.  I didn't want the girls I visited thinking I had multiple piercings in my ear.  Oh well, the next day I tried to strategically arrange my hair so my ears were covered.  It would have been fine except I kept putting my hair behind my ears as it's a habit I have and didn't realize I was doing that.  I tried to stop doing that but I guess thats a hard habit to break.  I finally told the YW leaders I was visiting that I didn't have multiple piercings but I was trying out some acupuncture for a sleep problem.  I'm sure they were thinking I was a nut, but it was too late.  Yesterday I took them out but I only had to take one out since the other ones all fell out somewhere during the week.  Here's a picture of the lone one left in my ear before I took it out.
Just so you know, it does not go all the way through the ear so my ears were not pierced through and through. 

So you are probably wondering how it all worked out.  Well, I didn't think the gold posts worked as well as the original needles I had.  Maybe it was the power of suggestion that first day, I don't know.  But it's hard to say because while I had the gold posts in I had some things going on that stressed me a bit.  for instance the first night they were in, Giuilana came in at 2:30 am to tell me she was home from Prom.  I heard her come in so that woke me up.  Then on Monday I was asked to teach seminary and so I was stressing out about the lesson which caused me to wake up multiple times.  I think it did help me relax but sometimes my mind is mightier than the medicine.  So my conclusion is, I definitely think there is a place for acupuncture in the medicine wold.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

To get my attention--Ride a Bull

Of all the random things I've ever posted, this is the randiomist. When I take Giuliana to ballet in Heidelberg I spend my time doing different things.  I read, sometimes I hit the commissary but mostly I spend my time at the gym on a treadmill doing my 4 miles.  At the gym in Heidelberg they have big TV's set up around the room but I can never hear the TV's because the machines are too loud.  The gym at Ramstein is wired so that all you have to do is plug in your earphones to the machine you are using and you can hear whatever they are showing on the TV's in front of you.  The gym at Heidelberg is not wired like that you and just have to turn up the sound to blasting if you want to have any chance of hearing what is going on.  There are several TV's on different channels throughout the room that are turned up to blasting making it hard to hear anything. That's why I always bring my Ipod to listen to while I exercise.  Yesterday I found myself at the Heidelberg gym and brought my Ipod and started in on my 4 miles.  There was an exercise show on the TV to the left of me and some kind of travel show on to the right of me--both snoozers.  It didn't matter as I was enjoying the music I was listening to.  About 20 minutes into my routine, I looked up and saw the tv on my right was now featuring bull riding.  I must admit, I've always been mesmerized by bull riding.  I couldn't take my eyes off the TV which at times caused me to bobble a bit on the treadmill.  I didn't need to hear the commentary, my eyes were stuck on watching this unbelievable heart pounding display of man vs. beast.  Bull riding is a mystery to me.  As I watched this show I found myself asking all sorts of questions in my head like, "Who thought it would be a good idea to ride a bull?  Who was the first person to even attempt this feat?  Why is there a rope tied around the bulls flank?  Where are all the barrels that the rodeo clowns used to escape to from a raging bull?  When did bull riders start wearing helmets? Why do the bulls feel the need to be constantly bucking, twisting and turning? How do they score the riders?"  These are just a few of the questions I found myself asking without taking my eyes off the TV.  Now I have only been to one rodeo in my entire life and that was in Colorado.  Colorado boasts that they were the first to hold a rodeo in the USA sometime in the late 1800's.  Wyoming boasts that they were the first.  Who knows, all I know is I find them quite interesting.  As I watched each Bull rider mount the bull I took notice of some of the names of the bulls flashed on the screen.  Names like Bushwacker, Perfect Poison, Bad Blake and High Steaks are just a sample of scary bull names.  Just the names would instill fear in me.  Nonetheless these guys would mount the bull in these small little pens and as they are wrapping a rope around their hands you could already see the bull was agitated and trying to buck the rider off.  Sometimes there would be 4 or 5 men trying to keep the rider stable in the pen while he readied himself for the ride of his life.  With a simple nod of the cowboys head the pen door would open and that bull who can weigh up to 2000 lbs exerts all his energy into getting that cowboy off his back. That bull twists, bucks turns and can leap up to 6 feet into the air.  At times it looked like the bull was doing a cartwheel or would almost look cartoonish when he would buck his hind legs up and it would appear that his front legs were doing little baby steps in front.  Did you know that a bull can lift 1300 lbs with just his neck muscles?  The goal of the cowboy is to stay on for 8 seconds. As I watched I found myself letting out little noises and gasps because I just can't believe people do this willingly and it was so scary.   Because I was so mesmerized my workout took a hit.  I found myself holding on to the treadmill the majority of the time and  slowing down so I could watch  without flying off the treadmill.  I came home that evening and looked up the history of bull riding and found some of the answers to my questions but not all..  I did find out that bull riding got it's roots in Mexico in the 1600's.  It was kind of like a bull riding/bull fighting activity.  Bull riding did not really appear in rodeos however until the 1930's.  The bull will twist and turn and buck because they truly want to get the rider off it's back.  Someone discovered that when you tie a rope around the bulls flank he will buck up it encourages hind leg bucking.   There are still barrels that a clown can jump into for protection (usually 1 or 2) but their job is really to protect the cowboy.  They work in pairs trying to distract the bull so they can free a rider or protect him if he's been thrown off.  As I watched this show I was just as interested in watching the clowns or bullfighters as they are now called.  Sometimes, in order to free a rider, one of the clowns has to go right up next to the bulls head while another clown tries to free the cowboy.  It's amazing that they can survive these incredible hulks. As far as the scoring judges score the bull first as far as difficulty, then they score the rider.  Some bulls have a 100% buck off rate.  A Bull named Bushwacker and High Steaks have this rate. I won't bore you with the rest of the details I learned, but it is a fasinating sport.  It's also the sport that has the highest rate of injury of all the rodeo sports.    So now you know if you really ever want to get my full undivided attention, all you have to do is ride a bull!  Here are a few videos featuring Bushwacker-the bull who has a 100% buck off rate.
 And here's the guy that almost succeeded in bringing Bushwacker down--almost is the key word here.





Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mother's Day

In honor of Mother's Day, I'm dedicating this blog to who else?  My mother!  I love the picture above because my mom looks like she's a teenager!  I think she is probably about 33 years old in this picture.  Here she stands in front of the house I grew up in. Yes, what you see is real--a pink and grey house. Mom's favorite color is pink so perhaps that was the draw that got them to buy that house!   Actually I quite like the pink and grey look and I'm not sure when the colors changed to grey and white but it seems like it was grey and white most of my childhood.  In the background you can see my mom planted some flowers.  I suspect they are petunias, they sure look cute. Eventually that flower box came down along with those big globe like bushes.  In place of the bushes, mom had a flower garden that was really nice.  I remember one year she was nursing a begonia in that flower garden and eventually she was successful, that begonia was really pretty.  What a cute house, with a cute mom and a cute family.
Mom never did want to live permanently in New York.  I think my dad said something like they would only stay 5 years--now it's been 50+ years.  My dad likes to say, he didn't specify which 5 years it would be.  For awhile every summer we would all get in the station wagon and head west for Utah.  It was 3 day journey of long days.  Mom would prepare and plan for this 3 day trip in the car and we would live off fried chicken, boiled eggs, sandwiches of boiled ham and swiss cheese, poptarts and mini boxes of cereal.  I think I lived off the poptarts and cereal for 3 days.  We would have a great time in Utah and Mom and Dad made sure we hit the highlights like, Hogle Zoo, Lagoon, and getting spudnuts at the cottonwood mall.  Of course those were my highlights. I'm sure mom and dad only cared about visiting the family.  One year when it was time to leave I noticed Mom crying.  I remember saying to her..."Why are you crying?  We're going home!!"  What I didn't realize at the time was Mom didn't consider NY her home.  Nonetheless, we went home.

Here is a picture of Mom in 1977.  She is 43 in this picture.  Remember when Mom's got corsages for Mother's Day.  I do.  When we would go to church there would be lots of Mom's wearing coursages.  I'm quite sure this was Mother's Day because when this picture was sent to me it said, "Best Mother!"  Everything is green and so that tells me it had to be around May.  So here's to Mom, my greatest example of what it is to be Christlike.  I doubt I will ever be as selfless, kind, long suffering or charitable as mom but my goal is to try to be like her.  Happy Mother's Day Mom!  I love you.
Just for fun I will answer these 12 questions about Mom.
1.  What is your Mother's name?  Helen Janet Savage Selin.  She goes by her middle name, Janet.
2.  My Mom's favorite food is?  Well, I know she likes chocolate because she used to hide Hershey kisses in the back of the refrigerator! But if we are talking real food I would have to say Homemade bread and Homemade jam.  Sometimes when I watch mom eat the bread and jam I think, "Would you like a little bread with that jam?", because she puts so much jam on the bread!
3.  The funniest thing I ever saw my mom do was?  Oh there are so many choices!  One of the funniest things I saw mom do was decide to wear a wig.  I walked in from school one day and wondered what had happened to my mom.  There mom sat in the living room with this reddish wig on.  She smiled at me and I was not sure I liked what I saw.  I thought it was weird and after that day I don't remember mom wearing that wig again.  In fact, I think that wig ended up in our toy box and we kids got a lot of amusement out of that wig.
4.I think my Mom would like to go...To Utah.I think Mom to this day would like to move back to Utah even though all her brothers and all but one of her sisters have died.  I think it will always be her home.
5.  The thing I hear my Mom say the most is:  I do my best but it's just never good enough!
6.  What was your mothers favorite subject in school?  Wow, you know, I don't even know the answer to this question.  I suspect it was english because Mom is a good writer.
7. :I wish my Mom wouldn't say: she is not pretty.  I've always thought I favored my mom and when she says that I think, "but I look like you, and I think I'm pretty!"
8.:My mother is :78 years old!  But she doesn't look that old!
9.  I love it when: my Mom tries not to smile.  It's so funny when she tries to pretend to be disgusted about something but really she's trying not to smile.
10.  If I could give my mom anything, I would giver her:  A hug and a kiss.
11.  When my Mom wakes up she:  has watery eyes.  I used to notice that in the morning sometimes she would have a tear running down her cheek.
12.  I love my Mom because:  So many reasons I love my mom but I think I love my mom because,  she loves me!



 One more awesome mom.  Here are two pictures of my mother-in law, Elma Gillespie.  Although my mother-in law passed away several years ago, she is not forgotten.  I know Paul will be thinking about her on Mother's Day as she was a wonderful mom as well.  I love this first picture as she is young and beautiful.  I never saw her with long hear like this but she is stunning


 Below is a picture of how I remember my Mother-in-law.  She was always so good to me and I loved her.  I know I will see her again but I still miss her.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Saarburg

Saarburg is one of my favorite little towns in Germany and so while Robin, Elaina and Rachel were visiting I wanted to take therm there.  The reason why I love this little town is because it's old.  They still have working water wheels, old houses dating back to the 1600's and it's just a cute town overall.  This town was a mariner and fishing town and there are still symbols on some of the houses letting us know if a fisherman lived in the house or a mariner.  There is also a cute little train that drives around the town letting people on and off.  There is an alpine slide and a cable car that you can ride on.  Unfortunately these things are closed on Monday's but no matter-we enjoyed our time in Saarburg.  Here are some pictures to prove we were there.
Here is the river that flows through Saarburg.  This is the waterfall that flows down that enters the waterwheels a little further down river.
The water enters the troughs that hug the sides of these buildings and you can see the wheels turn.  It's really very picturesque.
Here's a different view from a higher point.
This river runs right through the middle of the town.  There are a lot of restaurants as you can see by all the umbrellas.
One last view.
Here is the entrance to the old homes, some built in the 1600's.
Here's a building that has been here since the 1600's.  The date is above the door.

The symbols above the door on this house shows us that whoever lived here was a mariner.

This area here is called "little Venice."  It was just one small little part of Saarburg.

A prettier picture without me in it.

Here is a cool picture taken from a tower with the river in view.
Finally a picture of the fisherman part of town and the cute houses there.  That's the end of the tour of Saarburg and I'm sure I will go there again to take other guests to the beautiful place.











Thursday, April 26, 2012

Burg Eltz

Although Spring Break is actually over, I have to say my Spring Break just  arrived when my sister in laws and my niece arrived into town last week.  Robin, Elaina and Rachel graced our household for about a week and it gave me a chance to relax and enjoy my life a little bit.  The week before they came was Giuliana's Spring break but we really didn't do much and I felt kind of sad that Paul wasn't here to do something with us.  We did manage to make it to the museum in Speyer but that was about it.  When Rachel, Robin and Elaina arrived, I tried to think of something fun to do everyday.  The weather was pretty uncooperative but when living in Germany, you can't stop from doing something because of the weather!  The trip I'm highlighting today is our trip to Burg Eltz.  What is Burg Eltz you may ask?  Well basically it is one of the best preserved castles in Europe.  We jumped in the car and drove about 2 hours before finally arriving to the location.  I had seen pictures online of this castle and when we arrived I kept looking around for it.  From the pictures I thought it was perched up on a hill but actually it's just the opposite-it's perched down in a valley.  We had the choice of either taking a shuttle down to the castle of walking.  I'm pretty cheap and since I hadn't exercised that morning I voted to walk.  The shuttle was a little pricey for me and since the weather had cleared up it was a beautiful walk.  The walk was all downhill but we got some good pictures.
Here's a picture of Elaina and Rachel walking down the long path toward the castle.
 Here is the first view we had from an overlook.  It's pretty stately looking.
Elaina, Robin and I--proving that we were really here.
We continued walking down the path and then had to stop again for some good photo ops.
Beautiful Giuliana!
Here's the shuttle that was going to take us down.  Hahahaha, just kidding but we did have to watch out or the tractor might have run us down.
I don't know how many times we had to take this picture until we got a good one of both Giuilana and Rachel up in the air.  Nice boots Giuliana has on.
Rapunzel's Rapunzel's, let down your hair!
Inside the courtyard of the castle.  We signed up for an English tour and stood around this courtyard waiting for it to begin.  Unfortuately they did not let us take any picture of the inside of the castle but it was pretty neat had had some furnishings that were interesting to look at.  This castle is still owned by the Eltz family and has been for 35 generations.
Giuliana took this picture in the castle museum.  She thought it was hilarious of this fat dude being pushed in a wheel barrow  and is being pushed by some horned goat man.
Here I am standing in front of some freshly planted flowers in the courtyard.  We enjoyed our time at Burg Eltz!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Zippity Do Dah!

This week has been full of excitement and I have been forced to get out of my comfort zone by driving to places I have never been to, and doing things that totally make me nervous. Usually when we get company Paul is the designated driver as we ferry our guests around seeing all the sights and sounds.  I'm free to look out the windows and relax while Paul navigates the narrow German streets and figure out how to park a van in a spot that's barely big enough for a smart car.  Well, now the tables have turned and since Paul is not here it's up to me to ferry the guests around, navigate the narrow German streets and figure out where to even park.
Rachel, my niece showed up at our doorstep on Friday afternoon and it's been a party ever since.  Of course we have tried to entertain her a little bit which included me figuring out how to get places. Saturday we decided our fun activity would be the ropes course that is not too far from Kaiserslautern.  I was thinking I would just watch the girls do the ropes course because I have done a ropes course before and also because I was nervous about learning how to do it again.  Then I decided I shouldn't let my anxiety get the best of me because the last time I tried a ropes course, I loved it.  So it was decided-I would do the ropes course too.  We paid for our ticket and got outfitted. 
Rachel and Giuliana look pretty cute with their helmets and harness on.
I on the other hand...look ridiculous! I had the hardest time keeping my helmet on as it kept slipping to the back of my head. Giuliana told me I needed a child's helmet, but after about an hour of fussing with my hat I finally got it so it felt good on my head.
Here is Giuliana and Rachel starting their climb on one of the courses.  This was a medium level course.  I was following right behind them.
 This is Rachel making her way across the wooden squares.
Zippity do dah!  The ziplines were everyone's favorite!
I did everything the girls did but since I was the only one taking pictures there are really not any pictures of me.  There was only one of the courses That I couldn't complete and that was the "gray" course.  Rachel couldn't do it either but Giuliana could!  The gray course entailed climbing up this two story high cargo net and I couldn't even make it 5 feet off the ground without my back sagging to the ground. It was so hard!  Giuliana must have some amazing upper body strength.  In the end, however I felt like I faced my fears and had a great time.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring Break

So this week is Spring Break!  Normally if Paul were here we would be off on some cool adventure here in Europe but not this time.  Since Paul is deployed I didn't want to venture too far away from home.  There were several people who invited me places but they weren't really inviting me, they were really just being polite. It's okay though I'm sure I'll hear all about everyone's cool trips through Facebook which I've decided should be called bragbook.  I realized this one day about 2 years ago when I went to update my status on Facebook.  As I wrote my status I realized that I was bragging not only about how low I've gotten my heart-rate through exercise but also how incredibly in shape I was.  As I looked back on other status's I wrote I realized they were all about something wonderful that I had done or experienced or my family had experienced.  I'm not against Facebook.   I think it's a good way to keep up with freinds but I rarely write status's anymore.  That's why I like my blog.  It's really just me journaling a little bit and telling my story of my life here in Europe. It might come across as braggy but it's my blog so I guess I can do that.  Anyway, so yesterday I had to get up at a normal time as Mrs. Hauck our maid comes pretty early.  Since I was up I decided to look and see if Giuliana and I could take a day trip somewhere cool.  I had heard about a museum in the city of Speyer and so looked up how to get there.  I thought it would be way more fun if we rode the train and so I enlisted Giuliana's help to check the train schedule for me.  It appeared it would be a little further than Heidleberg but not much further.  We got off to a late start but walked down to the train station in our village and bought and all day ticket for ourselves.  It would have been even cheaper if we had invited 3 other people with us but since no one was really around we just went ourselves.

So we started off at our village train station in Glan-Munchweiler.  The train came on time and we were off.  We caught the train at 11:40 and according to our calculations should arrive in Speyer at 1:30.
Here we are enjoying our train ride.  We didn't get very far, in fact I think it was the next village over and the train stopped.  It was a scheduled stop and some people got on and then we just sat there and sat there and sat there.  A good 15 minutes went by and I thought, "I could have walked to this village in this amount of time.  Some train worker came by and tried to explain to us what the problem was and it had something to do with a train in Landstuhl which is further up the track.  Finally the train started again but we had lost some time so I knew we wouldn't make our connections in Kaiserslautern.  We kept stopping for long amounts of time at other villages and by the time we got to Kaiserslautern 50 minutes had past.  I told Giuliana we were in it for the adventure so we shouldn't worry about the time so much.  It only takes about 20-25 minutes to get to K-town by car but I kept reminding myself we had lots of time because what else were we going to do with our day.  We looked at the train chart and found our next train and miraculously there was one leaving withing 10 minutes so that worked out really well.
Look at the town we passed.  That would be fun to be in a Halloween costume and get your picture taken with that sign.  I loved looking at the countryside and villages that we passed by.  We had to make one more train switch which turned out to work out perfectly because we only had to wait a few minutes until our train came.
Okay, this is not the train we hopped on!  We finally made it to town of Speyer which is an old town.  We were able to find the bus we needed to take to the museum and it only took a few minutes and since we had an all day train pass it was good for the buses too.  Instead of arriving at 1:30 we arrived at 2:20.  Oh well, the German's usually don't have big delays but on this day they did.  We went into the museum and it was all about Trains, Planes and Automobiles.  Oh yea and Boats and submarines.  Here Giuliana is standing in front of a train that was used in the early 1900's.  The wheels were gigantic and we climbed up and looked inside.  The first part of the train looked like a big flatbed car that housed the coal.  Opposite this car was the place you would throw the coal into the furnace.  It was pretty neat.
This was a different train I believe used in the 1930's.
There were lots of planes but I really didn't know what any of them were.  This was some Canadian plane.  I bet Paul could tell me what they are!  I'll just post some of the plane pictures and Paul can try and guess what they are.  Of course I can't tell him if he's right or wrong, but he'll probably know.
Shiny red aiplane-
Some German airplane-
Another German airplane, a fighter I suppose.
  Some kind of pink airplane.  Giuliana liked this one because it was pink.

 Who knows what this plane is but it looked cool.
   I think the airplanes were wasted on us because we really didn't know much about them.  They did have this one Luftansa 747? outside that we got to climb up into and it was absolutely gigantic.  They had this static display propped up at an angle way up in the air and we had to climb up all these stairs to get to it.  When we went inside we could walk the whole length of the airplane, go down to the luggage hold go upstairs to 1st class and see where the pilot sits.  It was pretty cool and incredible.
We saw lots of cars from all different eras.  Giuliana wanted to pose in front of what she called, "The first smart car!"  This was actually made by BMW as I believe they started off making motorcycles but were trying to cross over into automobiles.  I think this car used a motorcycle engine to power it.  The cars were all so beautiful but I don't know much about cars either.  We just liked the way they looked.
This was a suicide sub that the Germans used during WWll.  I had never heard of such a thing but I guess the guy was in the sub that was attached to the torpedo below.  Apparently their chance of survival was slim but I think a few did survive.
Here I am on the inside of a German U-boat from the 1960's.  We walked through this sub and it just made me think how horrible being a bubble head must be.


We climbed up to all the static displays that had something to offer.. Giuliana and I climbed up this one that had a big metal tubular slide attached to it.  She had to bring up a blanket to sit on when she slid down.  She said it was the fastest slide she has ever been on in her life.Finally we went into the last building and saw a few cool things.
Here is the Russian version of the Space Shuttle.  It's called the Buran and this shuttle was used for atmospheric approach and landing tests.  We got to look inside of it and the thing is massive.  By the way, it looks to me to be identical to the US Space shuttle.
Jet engine.  I told Giulana to climb inside as it's probably the only time she would be able to do that. So you can see there was a lot to see at this museum.  We walked a little bit through the shopping district of Speyer afterwards, bought ourselves some dinner to go and then headed back to the train station.  We had an uneventful trip home and although there was another delay on the train it was short lived and we made it home in about 2 hours.  A good day out on Spring Break!