Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Leaving Depression in the Dust

I have to say that I'm quite impressed with myself as of late.  I took on the challenge of picking up my running shoes, lacing them up and getting ready for a 10k run in Phoenix in March.  I haven't been a runner for a year since I injured my knee last January doing something that I choose not to disclose at this time.

I told Danielle this morning as I was walking down the hall after finishing my run, "Hmm.  It's amazing that I don't have depression since I started running again (2 weeks now)."  Well, that's not word for word but that's the gist of what I meant.  It's true, though.  I've had a rough year in every way I can imagine.  Going through the list of poopy things isn't helpful so I'll just leave it at that.  However, the last two weeks have had me singing, "Skippidy Doo Dah, Skippidy Day . . ." (get it?  Skip?  Lol).

So, last night I decided to take a yoga class that I don't usually take.  I had no idea what to expect.  The teacher is someone I respect a lot so I was excited to take the class.  Besides, it's the class RIGHT before my class that I teach so it was a "no brainer".  Right?  Well, guess who rediscovered her knee issue.  Damn! I tossed and turned all night last night in bed with that throbbing knee.  I rehearsed the words in my head that I would now have to share with Princess, "Um . . . sorry I can't do that run with you.  I suck butt!"

I hobbled my way to the bathroom this morning, said a prayer, sent my energy to God for refreshing and closed my eyes (seeing myself in the mirror in the morning is scary, lol).  I then felt the nudge to go to a certain place in my stash of potions and discovered a bottle of magic that I forgot I owned (there's a lot of those, just sayin . . .).  I mixed it with a little of this and a little of that and put it on the ailing knee.  I then made my way out to my trusty friend, my treadmill and climbed on board for a "fast walk."

About two minutes into said walk I started feeling pretty perky.  I bumped up the speed and, before I knew it, I was RUNNING (Forest Gump).  I logged on my 3.5 miles and felt pretty amazing.  I can't say that my knee is healed but with ice, love and magic potions, I think I'm on the mend.

Pretty excited, too.  I was a little concerned about the dark cloud returning.  NOT!  I'm still Miss Sunshine and I'm ready to walk out the door to another episode of my teacher's class.  Wish me luck!

Friday, January 18, 2013

auf Widersehen

Tonight is our last night here in Munich.  We fly out tomorrow around noon to begin our journey back into the United States.  It's been a great trip with some really rich experiences. Some amazing exposure to culture and the opportunity to meet some awesome people.  I have had a great time, enjoyed the time alone with Skip (somewhat) and was able to catch up on some blogging, journaling, reading and a wee (very wee) bit of relaxing.  Can't say I'm excited to return to my life, but I'm happy to be returning to the world that is familiar to me.

Today, besides visiting Dachau, we also visited the king's summer residence which was cut short because we just missed the cut off time to tour so we only got to see the treasury.  It was a little bit interesting but neither Skip nor I are into the possessions of ancient kings etc.  We also visited the old Catholic church today.  I think it's called St. Petersburg or something.  It was pretty ornate and interesting but, again, not being Catholic it was just mildly interesting.

We had dinner at yet another crazy huge restaurant that seats 2500 people!  I think the place was filled to capacity tonight.  We were sitting by the door and the people filed in non-stop for the entire time we were there - about 3-1/2 hours.  As usual, Skip and I were the first ones to leave the party - being the only non alcoholic drinkers in the group (applause for us!).  

Another thing I'm looking forward to coming home to is my own food.  Yes, this has been a great experience but my body is screaming BIG TIME for a Jode Banode salad.  Bring it on!

So, Munich, thank you for the memories.  Thank you for sharing your wonderfulness with us.  Thank you for your friendly and fun people.  Next time . . . I choose to visit you when I can see your true colors and not all that white stuff on the ground.  

So, for now I say to you . . . auf Widersehen!!!


Pronounced "dakow".

I'm trying to come up with an upbeat way to write this post.  There really isn't any, I think.

While looking up "things to do" here in Munich, one of the top five things to do is visit Dachau.  I did some research on the place and was a little hesitant but almost everyone who posted a comment said that it is worth the time.  That is was good exposure to Germany's history.  We went.

Dachau was the first concentration camp that was set up during World War II by the SS (Nazi).  It served as a model for subsequent camps and guards were trained at Dachau before they went to other camps.  It is now set up as a museum and memorial.  We toured this horrible dark place and it has traumatized me, to say the least.

We were bluntly educated on how the prisoners were treated.  How they were beaten, starved, executed and tormented.  I found it more than a little disturbing that my feet were standing right in the very spot where unspeakable things were done to human beings at the hands of other human beings.

I have a new found appreciation for the freedoms I enjoy and the life that I am so priveleged to have.  It's one of the many times in my life where I only have to reflect on this experience to bring me to that reality when I think I'm having a "hard life."

Now THAT'S Italian!

Yesterday, when we got the message that there was a group dinner organized, I was a wee bit nervous in light of my last experience (the "sweet breads").  However, I really didn't want to appear the party pooper so I put on my brave front and went with the flow.

I was overly excited when the group had chosen an Italian establishment on the other end of the market place.  It was snowing like a booger head but I was even game to walk the distance to dinner. We ended up having a very formal six or seven course dinner.  I loved it because we got to try a lot of different things, the portions were small so we didn't end up being stuffed to the gills and the waiter was a hoot!

First of all . . . may I please say how entirely refreshing it is to be in a culture that treats women (for the most part) like ladies when we are out and about.  The three of us women in the group were served first and accomodations were made for us as we were the only ones that expressed a displeasure for fish.  Several times I have noticed "gentlemen" going out of their way for the women here - something that seems to be lost in the U.S.

Next . . . our waiter.  I LOVED this guy!  At one point he brought out a platter and gently placed it between one of the other women - Stephanie - and I.  She looked at me and said, "what did you order?"  Before I could answer, he pulled off the lid of the platter and a rubber chicken jumped out at us.  We both screamed and jumped and the whole table was in hysterics.  Good one!

As we were departing, the waiter helped me with my jacket on and took my hand and kissed it.  I've never had a gentleman do that before.  Very touching.  We closed the place down and had one of the best evenings EVER!

Our waiter was Italian - from Italy.  The restaurant was Italian and I must say . . . I'm impressed!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Field Trip Day!

Finally!  Skip was able to take a wee bit of time out from the exhibition (the reason he's here) and spend some time with ME!  Woot woot!  I was a bit surprised when I woke up to do my treadmill workout and find he was still about.  He actually joined me down in the workout room.

We toured the BMW facility here in Munich (Munchen) today.  Holy wow!  It was awesome!  There were cars there on display from the inception of BMW to present.  There was even a car that was made about three years ago (an 8 series, I think) that is a convertible and RED.  There was only ONE of those cars made and it was there in the museum.  Such a gorgeous machine.

We weren't able to tour the factory because there's a waiting list of about four months long to do that. Wtf?  THAT 411 wasn't in the write up online.  Oh well, touring the museum and the new showroom was enough eye candy for this girl.  Skip took a whole bucket full of photos of motorcyles and I think I heard him exclaim at least that many times, "Ooooh, David would love this one.  Wait, wait, I gotta send Dave this one."  Yeah, there were engines (not into it) and motorcycles (not into it) and cars (so into it) up the wazoo!

I know this may be a "duh" for some peeps but it was a "wow, really?" to me.  BMW makes mini coopers.  I didn't know that (insert Courtney's voice in here, please).

I sat inside a brand new BMW and asked Skip to shoot my photo.  I didn't want to get out of that beautiful car.  It just molded my body and felt so comfy.  That's ok, Herkie, you're safe, baby.  My loyalty is still to you.  The BMWs cost an assload of money and won't fit in my suitcase.

I have to say the tour and field trip was worth the time and money.  I had a great time.  We then came back and walked for a couple of hours out in the snow around Marianplatz.  We made our way over to the old Olympic stadium (built in 1847) and I insisted on getting my photo take on the stairs of said structure.

By the time we made our way back to the hotel room, Skip had had enough fun for one day.  But wait!  We still have dinner with the group tonight!  At least I know what NOT to order, right?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Sounds innocent enough.  Right?

On our second night here we went out to dinner with "the group."  We went to the biggest restaurant I have EVER seen in my life.  The Hof Brau Haus.  The largest pitchers of beer I have ever seen (I have since found out that that's the norm when you order beer).  This place was massive.  I think it took up a full city block and was two stories high.  It was as loud as loud can be and there were people EVERYWHERE.  Because of the size of our group, we had a room all to ourselves.

So here comes the menu.  Most everything here is sauerkraut, meat and potatoes.  Very little fresh vegetables and when there are, it's pathetic at best.  I decided when I embarked upon this journey that I was going to pony up and eat what the natives eat and not fuss about my dietary pickiness.  I take a look at the menu and it is scary to me.  Really scary.  I'm actually thinking that maybe I'm not hungry and a glass of water sounds pretty nutritious.

However, someone hands me the weekly special menu and I notice "Sausage with Sweetbreads".  Hmm, think I.  Sausage ... not my favorite but do-able.  Sweetbreads ... hell yes!  I'm a sugar junkie and anything sweet gets my attention and NOW.  So, yup, that's my choice and I'm sticking with it!

I place my order as does the other 18 people in our party (none that I have ever met before besides my husband).  While the last of the people are placing their order, the gentleman next to me turns to me and says, "Wow, you're sure a brave soul.  I honestly didn't initially peg you as an overly adventurous one.  And, now, look you're the bravest one here."

Okay ... you've got my attention.  Wtf?  He then explains to me that "sweetbreads" are "brains" and what I ordered was sausage made with brains.  Holy vomit!  What the hell did you just say???? Yeah, suddenly the water idea was sounding AMAZING!  I flagged our waiter down as quickly as possible and requested a change to my entree.  He smiled, knowingly, and obliged.  I ended up with saausage hot dog looking things on sauerkraut with scalloped potatoes.  I picked at it and smiled a lot and pretended to be engaged in conversation around me in hopes that nobody would notice I wasn't eating.

The next night for dinner?  Yeah, we dipped before they knew we were gone and headed to Planet Hollywood and had salad.  Sorry, Germany, I really love you but you can keep the grub.  I'm a salad and fresh produce kind of gal.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Girl About Town

Skip went to his trade show (hated it!) and I went shopping (loved it!).  We met up later but while the cat was away . . .

Actually, I hit the treadmill this morning and began logging on my first workout in the direction of going on that 10k run with Princess in a month or so.  I have to say that I am duly embarassed at how out of shape this ol dawg has gotten.  Walking has been guut but running is my game and, boy am I OFF my game.

I then got myself pulled together and ventured out to see what I could see.  I found like FOUR Bux today (and the crowd goes wild) and managed to find myself a cute pair of boots.  Pretty good so far. I was also on the hunt to find little goodies to take home to the kiddos but I tend to get too picky in this department so I decided to wait for the man to come and help out.  Of course, he didn't really so . . .

Skip joiined up with me and it was clear within a couple of minutes that he was bored out of his ever loving mind.  I only kept him out for an hour before he made it clear he wanted to go back to our hotel room.  I felt like a naughty child that was told to go to her room (literally).  Of course, he was snorning within about 15 minutes of our arriving back to the hotel and I was pacing the room like a crazy person.

I finally looked up some fun things to do away from our hotel room for the next couple of days (yay me!) and told him I wanted to go walk to dinner and stroll around.  We ended up at Hard Rock Cafe and indulged in some good ol American salads (sometimes you just gotta take a break from this rich food and put something healthy in your body, right?)  When we walked out of the restaurant it was snowing!  Holy wow!!  (Ok, I'm a California girl).  We walked home in the snow and I finally gave in and let Skip have his away about sitting in the hotel room.

However . . . tomorrow . . .

Amping Up!

Brandilyn announced that she will be running in the 10k in Phoenix March 2nd.  Of course, since running was always my passion for more of my life than not, I could NOT let this moment pass without jumping on the band wagon.  I, too, signed up to participate with my amazing daughter.

It has been a year since I've been running.  Last January I hurt my knee and have been "grounded" from running.  My knee still isn't where it used to be and may never get there.  However, running has always provided a "high" for me that I haven't had in a very long time.

This morning was Day #1 of training for said 10k.  I jumped on the treadmill here at the hotel (everything is in German so it was a wee bit difficult to figure out the logistics) and sadly only logged on 4.5k.  Actually, not bad for someone who hasn't run in a year, though, right?  My knee gave me permission to attempt Day #2 and I couldn't be more thrilled.

I feel better than I have in a long time.  My spirits are high and I wish Skip wasn't at the trade show so that I could share this amazing mood with someone.  On second thought . . . I'd probably drive him up the wall.  Lol.  I'm beginning to wonder if the depression that enveloped my life this past year didn't have something to do with the lack of miles logged on this dawg!

There's quite a few more poundage on this bod than used to be not to mention a bit more age but I truly am excited to begin anew and see if this is the beginning of bringing happy back into my life.  Couldn't hurt, right?

Plans have been made to move my treadmill up into the garage to remove any further excuses of Miss Sunshine not dragging her happy bum onto the magic machine.  Let's do this!!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Weary Flippers

Skip and I arrived in Munich Sunday afternoon (which was like 3:00 am by our body's standards).  Of course me, being fueled by massive quantities of caffeine, wanted to frolick about contrary to my husband's advice.  He went along with my antics, nonetheless.

Unlike the U.S., this country actually honors the sabbath and shuts down for the most part.  Actually it was refreshing but annoying when you are a tourist that is striving to score some grub.  After strolling around in the cold (it's freaking snowing here!) for quite a bit we finally happened upon a Mexican restaurant, of all things.  We were the ONLY customers about the place (we ate at 5:00 pm which is uber early to eat by local standards here) and were extremely not optimistic about the food meeting our standards but found ourselves overly impressed.  DEFINITELY hitting up this place again!

Today, we went to the trade show (the reason we are here).  I found myself looking around like Alice in Wonderland.  Nothing made sense and everything was overwhelming.  I was relieved to hear that Skip was somewhat feeling the same way.  Since there wasn't much for Miss Sunshine to do but follow Skip around, I decided to listen a lot for words in German.  I actually am picking up a few.  We ended up logging on like six (no exaggeration) miles and finally headed back to our hotel.

My little toesies are ouchy right about now and I was wanting to dip into the local department store (makes Macy's look like a Five and Dime) to score a pair of cute comfy boots but no luck.

I already informed Mr. Weltz that Sunshine will not be accompanying him on his journey to the show tomorrow.  Instead, she's going to go out and paint the town shopping.  I truly believe that as a woman, it's my duty to log equal miles on shopping.  Right?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Running Mate

Today one of my most faithful friends returned home to live with God.

12-1/2 years ago a good friend gave me this amazing companion, Maddie, my black lab.  At first I just "tolerated" her because she was a puppy and she was all over the place.  But, over time, she became one of my bestest running buddies EVER!  I would go out running in the hills and Maddie would be gone in a flash.  She would find any kind of little or BIG animal and just run and run and run.

When I would take my a horse out for a trail ride, Maddie was right there with me.  She kept up and was happy every step of the way.  Sometimes we would go out on 15 or more mile rides and she was such a trooper.

As time went on, Maddie began to slow down.  So much so that she didn't get to go out with me anymore.  I knew the day was coming but I, as always, chose to stick my head in the sand and pretend that it wasn't so.

Today while I was up in Sacramento taking care of some things with Jacob, I got a frantic phone call from Danielle that something was terribly wrong with my buddy.  It took me over an hour to get back home and, when I did, I knew that there was only one thing to do.  Call the vet and do the right thing.

It broke my heart and I've been crying non stop since.  I stayed with my little buddy right up to her last breath.  I sobbed my heart out the entire time and really haven't stopped.  I know she's up in heaven already reunited with Boomer and Holly and Mosca (some of my other beloved pets that have gone before her).

Maddie, I love you.  I know you're happy and I thank you for all the amazing memories.  I hope that you are there to greet me when I get to return home soon.  Until that day, RIP.