Friday, October 30, 2009

Santa Cruz County Fair

We try and go every year to the County Fair in September. Obviously we missed last year, so we made a point to go this year and got to take our youngest nephews, Wesley and Cody, 3.

We spent quite a bit of time checking out the chickens and their crazy hairdos, the train exhibit and the science tent. We had corn dogs for dinner and cinnamon buns for dessert. But the boys didn't really like the cinnamon buns. Promising to let them ride a few rides at the end made for good behavior the whole night. They zonked out in the car all the way back home to Bonny Doon.

I debated putting this one of me and Wesley in. Look at the ketchup all over his face! Oops.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Travels with Amy

My good friend Amy Bootz came to visit us our last month in Munich. (So this was way back in August, sorry! I'm a bit behind!) And we had a wonderful time and amazing conversations, as always when we're together!

At the Viktualienmarkt. It was so hot that day.

Dinner one night at the famous Hofbrauhaus. Amy is so gusty. She began taking pictures of some locals across from us in full Bavarian garb, when this guy motioned for her to come over and get her picture taken with him. They didn't speak any English and I think Merissa did some translating. His friends were a little upset at the time it was taking to take the pictures, but this guy was really happy to have Amy next to him. He even made her give him a peck on the cheek for it. She was pretty disturbed by that. Guess I would be too!

Biking along the Danube in Vienna. No, it's not blue either. We stopped for lunch at this little river side restaurant where Amy was stung by an evil Viennese bee. And I cut my leg on my bike gears. Ugh! We're so accident prone.

We also went to downtown Vienna and saw St. Stephens Cathedral and the Opera house.

Schoenbrunn Palace (the residence of the Hapsburg family)

And, then, one of our final days in Munich, we took a bike tour around the city. It was a gorgeous day and the people were great. We even got to take a break and have lunch at the Chinese Tower biergarten in the English Garden. Our guide was overtly flirty, but whatcha gonna do? I volunteered to be the "Ass Man" on the trip. Meaning that I brought up the rear of the group. I got a frisbee as a souvenir.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Being "Back"

It's been just about a month since we've been living here in Santa Cruz County again, and it feels.....fine.....and strange.

Relatively few things have changed in the course of a year (and really a year is NOTHING!), and yet, everything has changed. Does anyone know what I'm talking about? We have a new president, laws and government systems are transforming (which, I know they always do, but for some reason it feels as though it's actually affecting our day to day lives), highway 1 was remodeled, my daily duties have changed, Nate's work responsibilities have changed, our family changed, our house has changed, WE'VE changed. Perhaps this is the most profound. And I must ask, what happened to my beloved Longs Drugs??? Seriously California, we leave you alone for 1 year and you let an evil east coast company take over? I am disappointed. So very disappointed. Thankfully, some things are still the same: Safeway is still open 24 hours (yes! I can grocery shop whenever I want to), the bagelry still has guacamole and egg salad spreads, and sunny fall days are plentiful here on the central coast.

Being back in this culture also requires, (well, this term is debatable), some new things which we have learned to live without this past year.

1. A second car - we didn't even need one in Munich, and we're getting by just fine with one right now, as long as I'm not working and the weather is nice. Come cold, wet and rainy winter though, I'm not sure if Nathan will be down for riding his bike to the carpool bus. (And as I edit this, we have recently purchased a red Toyota Highlander. I know, I know....)

2. cell phones - this has been perhaps the most liberating and frustrating one of the bunch. No, you can't reach me whenever - I'm free. But that also means I'm stuck sometimes unable to communicate.

3. clutter - I used to be so afraid to get rid of things. Clothes, furniture, papers, STUFF! It's not that scary. It's liberating.

4. Haas Avocados. Yes. They are required!!

Hmm, guess that's it. Thought there was more. Have you noticed that I'm into lists lately? Next post will be (although shamefully tardy) about my friend Amy's visit with us in Munich and Vienna.