30 December 2005


So... it's cold and snow here. This a.m. it was 17 F on our porch and 65 in our apartment (that's normal though). The high today was 21 F. The sun was out though so, in places, it felt much warmer and it was great to see the sun and need sunglasses.

Yesterday I went for 2 hour ride in the snow and 21-25 F weather. It was also windy and couldy. Oddly enough, I was sweating on the upper part of my body and then my toes did their best job protesting the cold. It was nearly an hour after I got home before I could feel them again.... and that hurt!

By talking about it, I may jinx it (if you believe in those sorts of things) but the guy that's driving us to the Snow Race next Friday owns a bike shop. He needs a new employee and apparently, the "friend of a friend" connection is going on. My buddy Tom has talked to him about me. I'm supposed to meet with him next Tues. We'll see what happens.

We got me a new winter Parka. It's a Vaude - Ciampinoi Double Jacket in Neon Green a little like my bike. It's awesome. Way more than warm enough for days like today. I tried to post a link but it didn't work. Look it up if you're interested at http://www.vaude.com.

We've booked our next adventure for my time off of school in February. We're heading to Egypt for 15 or so days. I'll tell you more later. Think jeep/camel safari sort of thing.

Xmas was spent with Kera's Host family outside Stuttgart on Sat. night and then with our friends Sara and Christian on Sun. night. Here are a couple of pics of that fun time...

22 December 2005

It's beginning to feel... like er, Weinachts

Weinachts is Christmas to these here folks! Just so you know, Santa has very little to do with Christmas. St. Nikalous (sic) has his own day on Dec. 6th and with the infusion of American culture in to every part of the world (not always such a good thing) Santa is slowly gaining a little ground.

Other news... Teri & Tony came and went. They left in their wake smiles, a few more photos and a beautiful serving platter and the 1st Season of South Park on 3 DVD's. Yippee! Thanks so much you guys. We had a blast having them here and hope we didn't bore them too much as we made them wander one Kristkindelmarkt (Christmas Market) after another.

Kera and I joined a gym. It's in an effort to enter the '06 racing season in some sort of shape. We have 8 locations to choose from to work out, 3 maybe 4 of which are within a 10 minute bike ride from our apartment. Spinning, spinning, spinning! Nothing like riding your bike to spin and then ride home. It actually seems to work as a decent warm-up and cool down though.

Gym's are super expensive here. Think many car payments... that's with a corporate discount. Complete redirect: However, I have found out how much fun it can be to ride a fixed gear in the snow. The trick I'm working on is to spin the cranks a full turn backwards whilst stopping/skidding. Yup, I'm an idiot!

Thanks for the Christmas cards and gifts that people have sent.

We miss y'all. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

14 December 2005

The Stewi...have landed!

Our friends Teri & Tony arrived on Sunday morning. They were jetlagged and tired, but we drug them around Münich anyway. They were willing victims as it turned out. We hit a couple of Christmas Markets, a genuine beer hall, y'all and had Tapas at a restaurant a couple of blocks away called Bodega Dali.

Here we are having Glühwein (mulled hot wein) and eating crepes... yummy.

04 December 2005

A day in Nurnberg

First.. Nurnberg is about 1:30 by ICE (Inter-City Express) train to the north of Munich. Even on a rainy, mostly cloudy cold day, it's a nice ride. Hell, you don't have to drive and/or worry about much at all.

Our first endevour of the day was to peruse the Christmas Market. It's BIG! Loads and loads of Christmas paraphernalia. It's really hard to imagine all the stuff that you can buy.

Second stop was the museum. O.K., political rant now. If'n you're a Bush fan and completely believe the hype... stop here; otherwise, read on. The more I learn, from the Germans, about Hitler and the way that he and his administration used media, intimidation, retoric, more media and so much more, the more that I'm convinced, someone in the White House has been reading a lot about the way the Reiche came about. "The whole don't think for yourself, do what I tell you", "If you're not with me, you're Anti-American", and so on crap. O.K., some of that off my chest.

Link to the pics that we took in Nürnberg (see if this works)... http://www.kodakgallery.com/Slideshow.jsp?mode=fromshare&Uc=krnad75.4ndv01e9&Uy=tv99rt&Ux=0

Suffice to say, the museum was cool, but it got Kera and I talking politics a bit. Man, are there a few things about the states that we don't miss. That's one of 'em.

Imagine, we're standing about roof level (there once was one) above where hundreds if not thousands of loyal Nazi's once saluted an incredibly scary Demigod.

Anyway, back to the point of this blog. We had a nice trip to Nurnberg. On the way home, Kera helped me with my homework (Hausaufgabe).

I've just found a stash of old email addresses... therefore, I've added a few new people to the list. As always, let me know if you don't want to see this Blog. FYI, it's usually, not politically oriented. :-)

02 December 2005


Well, it's Friday. It's actually beautiful out today. Freakin' cold, but beautiful! The sun is out and it's clear, but when we left the apt. this a.m. it was 22 F. Brrrr. Think I'll attempt to buy a new down/Hollowfill coat this afternoon since Kera has obsconded with mine. Hmph!

Here are some photo links if'n you want to check out my pics...

School stuff..


Dinner at Tammy & Carsten's Nov. 21, 2005

Random Volkschule photos

Camera Phone photos of class

Bowling Night

The apartment

6 Day races

We're off to Nurnberg on Sunday. I'll try to take pics and post 'em later.

Have a great weekend!

30 November 2005

Not much

Little to report. I've had a 1/2 finished blog sitting in the bin for a week. Just can't seem to find the time or motivation to finish it.

A tad depressed today. Not sure if it's the weather, school feeling too tough or that I already feel my friends in K.C. slipping away. Not a guilt thing at all, I've been there before, when I worked nights. Eventually, since you're out of sight, you're out of mind... people quit calling. Can't blame them. I'm sure, in some cases, it'll work both ways.

We've been running about every other morning. It's good. Dark and cold, but good.

Christmas Markets have opened, we've partaken in 4 just last Saturday. This weekend we're heading to Nurnberg to see the most famous one in the world. I'm sure that it'll be a zoo. Pretty, but a zoo.

Here's my dinner....

18 November 2005

Schnee.. schnee!

This is what we woke to this a.m. Nope... doesn't suck! It's now 3:30 p.m. and it's nearly gone. Ah well, it was beautiful while it lasted.

As I've mentioned previously, today was essentially, my last day of Level I Deutsch class. Monday is a play day. Sometime next week I need to go buy books for the next class. It's amazing how inexpensive text books are here compared to the U.S. Both books in total come to about $25.

Here are a couple of pictures from my class.

This is Suhbe and Amien with a couple of girls from class III watching Belly Dancing on Amein's computer.

Here are some of the girls from class gathered around doing.... I'm not sure.

Kera's company announced today that her part of the company had been sold. We'll see what that means for us at some point. Her guess is that we won't know much for many months down the road.

That's it! Have a great weekend!

15 November 2005

Wochenende passiert (weekend past... I think)

So, we managed to pull off going to the Track races on Friday night, a road ride on Saturday; kind of and a mountain bike ride on Sunday.

Attached are photos from the track racing event. The highlight of the night for everyone else was that Eric Zabel was racing or the 300 lap "fling" race. Can't remember the real name but two man teams work together and fling each other forward every lap. Hard to explain.

For me though, it was the event that the photos are taken from. This was an event where each rider is coupled with a fat little man on a pedal scooter. He rides behind it and they work together to ride as fast as they can. Odd but a lot of fun to watch. Not on that, when you're sitting up in the stands, you get to breath the 2 cycle exhaust fumes. Woo-hoo!

It's in Deutsch but here's the official 6 day web site... http://www.sechstagerennen.info/ Looks like Zabel and friend won the Munich overall.

Sat. we were planning to go to Garmisch to ride with our friend Kit. However, once he and I spent an hour plus attempting to ride the borrowed rack, I realized that Kera would fret about her/our bikes all the way there. Also, I didn't want to worry about damaging Kit's car.

So, after Kit left Kera and I went on what was supposed to be a road ride in reality, it turned out to be a 120psi road bike gravel road ride. We only went a little over 20 miles in total, but between dodging people, dogs and all the potholes, we were pretty shot by the time we got home. Kera nearly got hit by a car door when a woman threw it open without looking. We were glad we had gone, but it was kind of brutal.

On Sunday, we met our friend Baxter for a mountain bike ride. He took us up the double-track on the west side of the Isar river and then to what's known as Windmill Hill. The "Hill" used to be a landfill many moons ago. It's been long enough that it has fully grown trees on it. You climb up a gravel road with many switchbacks and at the top you're supposed to be greeted with an amazing view which theoretically includes the Allianze Arena, the Alps, the whole city of Munich and a lot me. However, on this day, all we could see was fog/clouds. We couldn't even make out the arena which is only across the road.

From there we went further up the west side river, then crossed and intermittently rode single and double track all the way back to the East side of the English Garden. From there, it's only a couple of miles back to our apartment. By the time we got home, I was hungry and pretty spent. I also realized that I need to change my gearing to be able to effectively ride the really flat trails that are in the city.

Other happenings include that I now only have two 'real' days of Deutsch class left as Monday is essentially a play day. All three language classes are going to spend the day playing games and talking. I then have a week off before Deutsch 2 starts. Guess we need to go get me the books.

We've; mostly Kera has gotten most of our stuff put away in the apartment. We still need a shrank/wardrobe or two for the rest of our clothes. Along with that, we are supposed to be getting at least a temporary storage space to put our patio furniture in. Our balcony is too small to use more than a couple of the chairs and a small table here. However, it'll be really nice to have them come summer. We still need to ask the landlord if she'll let us use the grill here.

That's probably update enough for one day. Talk to you soon.

08 November 2005

Little bitty midget update.

Just a note to tell everyone that I managed to get nearly everything put away in the kitchen today/tonight. I think I managed to empty something like 10 boxes and put things in their places throughout the apartment.

Believe it or not, it's slowly starting to resemble something other than a disaster zone.

Got registered for another semester/term of school yesterday. I'm really realizing that it's going to take me getting off my butt and studying for me to get through the next one. I've got two weeks left in Class I and then a week off... again. I think we get 3 weeks off in Dec. and Jan.

Anyway, sat down with my classmate Svjetlana and went over the "infamous" Die/Der/Das nouns. Basically, it comes down to Feminine/Masculine/Neuter classification. It changes the verb/adverb conjagations and more. I won't bore you. Suffice to say, after 2.5 hours of writing down various rules I'm starting to learn them.

Now, it's up to me to actually start using the language which is the best way to plunge in to it.

Kera gets home from London tonight, late. There's flowers in the new kitchen for her. Have to be the good guy once in awhile.

O.K., night.

06 November 2005

Lazy Sunday

A couple of pics from the photos I took over the weekend.

I think I've mentioned this before, but nearly everything is closed on Sunday's in Germany. It's mandated by the government. Therefore, it's rather difficult to get anything done outside the house/apt.

That's pretty much happened with Kera and me today. Our shipping container from America arrived on Friday. It looked like a box bomb had gone off by the time the movers left. Tough guys... 4 floors, no elevator and a lot of stuff that included a large number of heavy wood furniture pieces. Almost everything arrived unscathed.

Anyway, my back's been bugging me for some reason and the heavy lifting probably hasn't helped at all. So, today, I tried to take it easy and Kera puttered around putting a few things away. Puttering meant I think she cleared 10 or so boxes. I helped a little but spent a fair portion of the day working on homework.

We went out for a bit to eat a late lunch and walk around a little. Kera got her stuff ready to leave on a 2 day business trip to London and I did more homework. After some serious thought and discussion, I've decided to continue with the next level of class. Along with that, I think I need to force myself to start speaking Deutsch a lot more often. It's tough as I don't like looking like an idiot... except when I mean to.

Kera left around 5:00 for the airport. After she left, I finished homework and the Dave Chapelle DVD's we'd rented. I went out after finishing only to find that the video store is also closed on Sunday night. Ugh. I then took a little walk in the drizzle just to get some fresh air and see if I could dig up a late dinner. I ended up picking up a yummy pizza from the corner pizzeria and playing at home.

Tomorrow, it's school registration and a new kitchen. Wish me/us luck!

02 November 2005

test - photo upload gone wrong.

Day or two late but I love the photo. Thought it fitting for my profile pic as I can't seem to get 'real' photos to load.

Hmmm.. little to report actually

Remind me that sleeping on an air mattress sucks if I ever happen to comment otherwise.

I didn't sleep well last night, so Kera got up and did a long run on her own. I woke up slightly before she got home. After that, I did a quick grocery run so she'd have breakfast and then went for a run after she left for work.

The English Garden is only about a 6-8 minute run from our house. A pretty spectacular place to run or hang out. It's basically a long forest running through Munich for miles. I couldn't tell you how many beer gardens or restaurants it contains. At any one time though, there are hundreds of people there doing something (walking dogs, playing with kids, running, laying about in the sun, etc.) like any big park.

Anyway, Kera and I had lunch together and then I went and wandered about the city with my new friend Christian. We were specifically looking for a front brake and lever for my fixed gear. If you've never ridden one or know what they are, think track bike. If the wheels move, the cranks move. Mine's like that with no brakes. In a city where so many people ride and walk, most without a clue; it can be rather dangerous.

We ended up going to a half dozen bike shops and covering a good part of the city on foot. Pretty amazing how a city shrinks as you figure more about it. Munich, proper, seems so much smaller than K.C. when you start wandering around. I think what makes it tough on some levels is that you can't see landmarks when you're amongs all the 5-6 story apartment buildings, which are everywhere in the city.

When you look in bike shops here it's very different than in the states. Most have commuter bikes as their "bread and butter". After that comes mountain bikes and a select few do some road stuff. It's a completely different thought process than in our part of the midwest where bikes are for a select group of people and then it's almost completely mtb or road oriented.

Found out that our furniture is to arrive at 8:00 a.m. on Friday morning. Our washer/dryer and TV are all slated to arrive the same day. Woo-hoo!

Talk to you soon.

31 October 2005

Montag and I'm off of school for a week.

I'm off of school for a week due to some unknown German holiday. As most people know, Europeans, in general, love their vacations. Therefore, there are quite a few. Luckily, Kera's off tomorrow and we'll go for a ride and relax.

This past weekend we went for a mountain bike ride with some of the local ex-pats and a few "locals". Kera was doing well, but the pace turned out to be too fast (I don't blame her at all) and she went back about a 1/3 of the way in to the ride. She's a newbie mountain biker and you combine that with wet leaves on unfamiliar trail as well as a super fast tempo and it tends to make even an experienced rider, like me, nervous.

I ended up riding with the boys for another 3+ hours along with a 1 hour beer garden and food stop at the 1/2 way point. This beer garden appeared to be only accessible by riding or walking. Somewhere, I'm guessing, there are roads in to the place as there were just as many road bikes there as mountain bikes. All totaled, I'd say close to 200 bikes. "We're not in Kansas anymore Toto!"

By the time we got done, it was nearly dark, the fog was rolling in and it was getting cold. I still had about a 6 mile ride home and they give tickets for not having lights, reflectors, etc. in this town. I race home and through the English Garden as fast as I could.

While I was gone, Kera went wandering around town. I felt bad when her turning back, but she keeps telling me it was o.k. We just need to go with a slower group or by ourselves next time. We actually have a great time riding off-road together.

Other news... the apartment is coming together. We installed a track system in the hallway yesterday as well as a hanging globe in the dining area. We'd have hung two, but one was bent when we opened it. That means yet another trip to Ikea. We now have a cool TV stand and the TV is to be delivered on Friday of this week. This afternoon they come to finish installing the shower enclosure. Next Monday, they are supposed to install our kitchen (yes, in one day). I'm also supposed to register for Deutsch class level II on the same day. Phew!

Kera will be in London for a business trip for a few days, so I get do wrangle the whole thing solo.

O.K., have to finish installing fenders on Kera's bike, run to the bank and do some other errands. Have a great week and I'll attempt to keep updating this on a semi-regular basis.

24 October 2005

The Blog lives...

Nothing to say today... just wait till tomorrow. Then... you'll have more story than you probably want. Really!