Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lederhosen and Dirndls

We finally purchased our ultimate souvenir: a pair of Lederhosen for Nate and a dirndl for me! These outfits are the "traditional" clothing of Bavaria. I put traditional in quotes because styles have evolved over time, especially the dirndls.

Way back in the day, these dresses were very conservative; down to your ankles with absolutely no skin showing below the neck. Of course now it looks a bit more bar wench-like, which is perfectly valid too, that IS what they are, serving liter after liter of beer. I am wearing a definite summer style dirndl, in both length and colors. Merissa's is a bit more traditional with the longer skirt and muted pattern. Technically we are supposed to wear them with hiking boots, but it just looks so much cuter with flats!

Nate's lederhosen (which translates to "leather pants"), are very traditional. I don't think the men's outfits have changed much in the past 50+ years. I could be wrong though. He also has a relatively summery set, not the long winter pants (or the short shorts either!), but rather the 3/4 length.

So, what do we wear them to in Santa Cruz? I believe the Tyrolean Inn in Ben Lomond has an Oktoberfest each year, so we'll certainly have to make an appearance and enjoy the only local German/Austrian food in the area. Perhaps they'll also make good Halloween outfits, we'll see. Any other suggestions? Enjoy our little photo shoot!

Uh-oh. Whole-lotta kissin' goin' on!

I swear my butt is not that big! Is it? No, it must be the petticoats and pleats............

This dog appeared out of nowhere and decided to do it's business in our general vicinity.

Being silly (not sure if you noticed, and I can't believe I'm actually asking you to look closer at my husband's crotch, but there is actually a flap that buttons down so that men, while stupid drunk, can relieve themselves quickly).

Walking home.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Picnic in the Park

To celebrate the beautiful weather we've been having lately, Nathan, Merissa and I decided to have dinner in the park, picnic-style. It's been staying light out until almost 9pm every night, and continues to stay light later and later. Ah, the redeeming benefits of being in a northerly locale in the summer! Versus the winter, of course, where it gets dark at 3:30/4pm.

So, we made Emily's delicious pasta salad (a perfect light summer meal), freshly baked pretzels with sweet mustard, avocados that we splurged on from the Viktualienmarkt, cherries for dessert and a great bottle of red wine from France. It was perfect. Except for the avocados. They looked like Haas, they felt like Haas, but baby, they were NOT Haas avocados. They were sad, watery, flavorless, slightly rotten on the inside yuckiness. Europeans do not know the beauty of true Californian (or Chilean, as Merissa would carefully point out), avocados. Sigh. Soon.......soon, we shall taste their delicioiusness again.

If you are interested, here is the recipe for the pasta salad. It's just so good. We call it Yummy Pasta Salad. Thanks Emily York for sharing this with us!

12 oz. bow tie pasta
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
16 oz. artichoke hearts in marinade
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn or roughly chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and cool it down. Mix with everything, except the cheese in a large bowl. Refrigerate for as long as you can stand (sometimes, I skip this step 'cause I'm hungry! But you just want the salad cold). Add the cheese. Mix all together thoroughly. Enjoy!

Monday, May 18, 2009


We visited some friends this past weekend in Leuven, Belgium, which is a university town near Brussels. Nathan was stoked to try a bunch of Belgian beers (they really are very different than German beers) and I couldn't wait to try famed Belgian chocolate and waffles! Separately of course. Although I'm sure it would be a good pairing!

Our hosts were amazing tour guides, setting up brewery tours, tastings and making sure that we got to try authentic cuisine and lifestyle. Thank you so much Tom and Pascale! We were even welcomed into Tom's parent's home and got to enjoy a meal and drinks with the family. It was a nice change of pace and we had fun.

They put mayonnaise on their fries. And almost anything else. But maybe that was just Tom.....

The waffles were AMAZING!!! I could've eaten 3 in one sitting. They are actually more of a dessert food rather than breakfast like we make them. I can't decide if the best part was the warm softness of the dough being freshly cooked or the liquidy chunks of raw sugar to be found thoughout the waffle. Look how happy Nate is to eat his. Oh baby.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Well, now what?

Just an update for those of you I haven't had the pleasure of speaking with personally. Our guests have come and gone, we have a few more travels to accomplish before we come home, but then.......that's it? Ok, cue nervous breakdown! No, seriously, a lot has changed while we've been "living it up" as you may think, in "fabulous Europe". Well, it's not all excitement and dreamy. It's just.....

Generally, most of my days are pretty hum-drum, still gotta do the basics of living, eating, washing, cooking, cleaning. And things change. And I do not do well with change. But then inevitably change becomes the new norm and I adjust, kicking and screaming along the way.

Nathan's work contract has been slightly extended through the month of August, so we'll be here a bit longer than originally planned. I do not know WHAT I was thinking when I booked our trip to Italy to arrive back in Munich, only to leave for San Francisco the next day. Maybe I thought I'd never get there. That's usually what I seem to think, it always seems so far off.

And, perhaps the most life-altering change (thus far), is that I resigned from my job. It was one of those decisions made by a step of faith. What do I do now? God knows. Really. He does. And I am clutching to that truth like it's my lifeline. Cause it is. Sure, I could easily wander into "who am I? what am I? where does my value lie? am I just existing rather than living? what purpose have I? am I a being just wandering aimlessly about in this world, taking up air and space?" and I could go on. But I will not. Will not go there. :) Promise. Um, encouragement helps too!

I hope I haven't hijacked this blog into being too much about me rather than about Nathan and I. Then again, he works and I get to do this, so of course it's from my perspective. Anyway, if you're still here, thanks for reading. The next post should have some pictures and not as much existentialism. I promise that too!