Saturday, April 30, 2011

Germany Relived - Day 4

April 30, 2007  Rothenburg ob der Tauber/Reutte, Austria

After our usual breakfast of yogurt, fruit, cheese, meats, boiled eggs and coffee, we walked the city wall.

The town's heyday was 1150-1400, when it was on the trade route between northern and southern Europe.  We had great views of the surrounding countryside from the wall.  We explored some of the shops, including the famed Kathe Wohlfart Christmas Village shop.

Who could resist such a specimen? 
As we passed the Kriminal Museum, my husband and daughter decided we couldn't pass it up.  As it turned out, it was fascinating.  I loved the penalties of shame.  People guilty of a particular crime would have to put on the appropriate mask and stand in the town square where people could throw things and yell at you.  I'm so glad I didn't live in that era, as I most undoubtedly would have been sporting a number of these masks.

Mask of shame for women who gossip and are nosy. 

For men who act like swine.

Flute of shame for bad musicians.

Rothenburg is a bit touristy, but still fun.  I would definitely go back.  

It was time to head to Reutte.  We opted for the autobahn instead of the Romantic Road as it was already mid-afternoon.
Heading to dinner in Reutte.
As we were checking into our hotel, we noticed the owner putting wood into a chamber outside our room.  We later learned that the government there regulates when you can run your furnaces, and by a certain date, you have to turn them off, no matter how cold it is.  So, we had a ceramic structure in our room that was built around the fire chamber.  As the tiles got hot, they gave off heat into the room.  Pretty nifty.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding - What Could've Been

In 2004, my oldest daughter, Anne, went to London for the summer to study journalism.  I kept telling her to stalk try to meet Prince William.  I pointed out what a good catch he would be.  As her mother, Camilla and I could be bff's. How fun would that be?  Well, she didn't listen and came home empty handed.  If only....

Germany Relived - Day 3

Day three was a travel day.  We were headed to Rothenburg ob der Tauber.    We got packed up and let my husband carry the heavy luggage out to the car.  He was not going to miss the staircase in our hotel.

The hotel we stayed in was actually part of the city wall.

On the down side, the train tracks were right outside our window, so earplugs were a must if we wanted to sleep.  

Before leaving Bacharach, we wanted to hike up to the castle in town and check out the view of the Rhine.
Do I hear music?
Great views of the Rhine

The Honeymooners
We found the trail and as we were climbing up to Burg Stahleck, we heard a band playing the theme from "Bridge on the River Kwai".  It made for inspiring marching, but where was it coming from?  It was one of those moments when you think you're either dreaming or else completely out of your mind.
We grabbed some lunch at the Altes Haus (it dates back to the 14th century) and then hit the autobahn.

We arrived in Rothenburg just in time for dinner.  We found an outdoor Italian cafe that was wonderful.  (You're probably wondering why we kept eating Italian when we were in Germany.  I'll sum it up in one word - sauerkraut.)

Market Square - Rothenburg
We then headed to the Market Square to meet up for a tour with the Night Watchman.

This turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip.  It's a walking tour with a "night watchman" who tells you about his job and the history of the town.  He has a great sense of humor akin to Jay Leno.

This room looks innocent enough.

Back at the hotel, we had a nice room except for one thing.  The bathroom was one inch lower than the bedroom.  I tripped each and every time I came out of the bathroom.  Thankfully, we only stayed for one night.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Roasted Vegetables

I tried a new vegetable recipe tonight.  They smelled so good while they were baking.  I would do a couple of things differently next time.  The recipe called for the potatoes to be cut in 1- inch pieces.  They should be cut smaller in order for them to be done when the rest of the vegetables are done.  Also, the recipe definitely needed salt.

Herb Roasted Vegetables

1 red bell pepper, quartered, seeded, and cut into triangles
1 yellow bell pepper, quartered, seeded, and cut into triangles
2 medium-sized sweet onions, peeled and cut into 1-inch wedges
5 medium red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 small zucchini squash, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 small yellow squash, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces


4-6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons each fresh rosemary, thyme, and parsley, chopped, or 2 teaspoons each dried

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, optional

Place vegetables in a 9x13-inch roasting pan.  Combine marinade ingredients and toss with vegetables.  Let stand for up to 2 hours. Sprinkle with salt to taste and then bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring 3 to 4 times.  Toss with Parmesan, if desired, and serve immediately.

Germany Relived- Day 2

Our first morning started off interestingly.  Katie had showered the night before, so I hopped in first.  The water kept going from hot to cold and back again.  So I rotated in and out of the water, as it changed temps.  I needed to shave my legs, so I struggled through that with the water situation.  When I finished, I realized I had forgotten to take the safety cap off the razor, so I had to repeat the whole process.  When my husband got in, he had only cold water.  He didn't cope well with it.  Needless to say, we were awake.

The plan for the day was to drive along the Mosel River and stop along the way for various activities--hiking to castles, wine tasting, bike riding and whatever else struck our fancy.  Stop number one was Mozelkern and a short hike to the castle, Burg Eltz.  

It was another beautiful day.  The hike paralleled the Elzbach Creek.  It was wooded and pleasant.

We toured the castle and then hiked back to the car.

The next stop was Cochem for lunch.  We soon found out that water (bottled-didn't know how to ask for tap water) cost about 6 euros, Coke Lite-4 euros, and wine or beer-2 euros.  So you can guess what we opted for.  After checking out the Weingut Rademacher for wine tasting, we headed for the town of Zell.  One of my patients crossed the Mozel River at Zell during WWII, so I told him we would stop and take a few pictures.

My husband was feeling a little sleepy at this point (no doubt from the beer at lunch and the wine), so we stopped for a cappuccino.  By this time, it was late afternoon and we wanted to see Trier, so we opted to take the less scenic autobahn.  My husband loved the no speed limit rule.  Our rental car maxed out at 127 mph.  We arrived at Trier in no time.
This city is reported to be older than Rome.  The city wall was built by Romans without using mortar.

After wandering around for a couple of hours, we had dinner at an Italian restuarant and then headed back to Bacharach.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Germany Relived

Four years ago, my husband and I wanted to do something for our 25th anniversary, so we decided to take a trip to Germany.  Our youngest daughter was there for a semester of study, and it was a good excuse to go visit.  We landed in Frankfurt on April 27th.  We picked up our rental car equipped with a GPS (no worries with directions now) and headed to our first destination, Bacharach, a little village on the Rhine River.  Unfortunately, the GPS was in German (code for we made a few wrong turns).

After checking into our hotel, we grabbed some lunch (I had a "salad" and my husband had a brat).

Nothing like a little gelato.

The temperature was in the 80's and the sun was shining, so we jumped on a boat to cruise down the Rhine.  (Katie was catching a train to Bacharach after her last class, so we had a few hours until she would arrive.)

The scenery was incredible, with the twists and turns of the river and the castles and vineyards on the hillsides.

We got off the boat at St. Goar and caught the train back to Bacharach.  Katie got in around 7:30.  I can't tell you how excited this mom was to see her baby daughter after four months.  Now the trip could begin.


It's been a little over a week since I started the war with our neighborhood deer.  The first weapon in my arsenal (who am I kidding--it's the only weapon in my arsenal) seems to be working.  I sprinkled moth balls around our day lilies and the deer have seemingly given up.  My husband saw one stroll into the yard, stop, take a whiff, then turn and walk away.  The word must be out, because I haven't seen any deer since.  The real test will be when the day lilies start blossoming.  I'm sure I'll have to restock the ammo by then.  Maybe this summer we'll have some flora.  And hopefully, the moths will stay away, too.

April 17th

April 24th

P.S.  The glacier in front of our house is finally gone.  My mind can rest at ease. :-)

April 9th

April 17th

April 24th

Monday, April 25, 2011


Top Ten Reasons I Loved Easter

  1. We celebrated the resurrection of Christ.
  2. It's a reminder of our new life in Him.
  3. Put the winter decorations away and got the spring decorations out.
  4. Our daughter and son-in-law came home.
  5. My nieces were home with their babies.
  6. Attended a birthday party for my one year old grandniece.
  7. Spent time with my daughter while my husband and son-in-law both played and watched golf.
  8. Cooked dinner for my family.
  9. Had a reason to make a cheesecake.
  10. Had a reason to have Easter M&M's in the house.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wishful Thinking

In cardiac rehab, we like our patients to weigh in at least once a week, or even everyday if they have heart failure.  This causes untold amounts of teenage angst from my 80-year-old patients. I like to think it keeps them young.

Today, one of my patients (who works his jaw muscles more than anything else) seemed overly exasperated at the thought of stepping on the scale.  When he saw the brutally honest number pop up on the screen, he let out an exaggerated groan.  As he wandered away, head down, I heard him mutter, "I hope it's all muscle."

Ah yes, don't we all.            

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tofu Phobia

Last night, I made a new recipe with tofu.  I haven't done a lot with tofu in the past, but this recipe looked good.  Unfortunately, I told my husband ahead of time about the tofu, so when he sat down at the dinner table last night, he looked at his plate and wrinkled up his nose.  Then he went to the cupboard and pulled out the Tabasco sauce.  (I guess he likes Tex-Asian.)
Had I not told him, he would have thought the tofu was cheese and gobbled it down.  Next time.

Cubed Tofu

Chicken-Tofu Stir-Fry

2 T. olive oil
2 T. orange juice
1 T. soy sauce, reduced-sodium
1 T. Worcestershire  sauce
1 T. ginger, fresh
1 t. mustard, dry
1 t. turmeric
8 oz. chicken breast, cooked and cubed
8 oz. tofu, tub-style extra firm, cubed
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 c. celery, chopped
1 c. mushrooms, fresh, sliced
3 c. brown rice
3 scallions, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
2 c. bok choy, baby, chopped

Baby Bok Choy
  1. In a large bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon of olive oil, orange juice, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ginger, mustard, and turmeric.  Add cooked chicken and tofu cubes; stir to coat.  Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 4 hours.
  2. In a very large nonstick skillet, or wok, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat.  Add carrot and celery; cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Add mushrooms; cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Add bok choy, green onions, and sweet pepper; cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Add undrained chicken mixture; heat through.  Remove from heat.  Sprinkle with soy sauce to taste.  Serve with hot cooked rice.  
I like to cook my rice in chicken broth.  It makes it so much more flavorful.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

101 and Counting

Today is my great aunt's 101st birthday.  (This picture was taken at my grandparents' wedding.  My grandparents are on the right.  My grandfather and my great aunt's husband were best friends.)  I blogged about her a year ago when she turned 100.  She is still doing great.  She lives by herself in an apartment building with other elderly people.  She gets out almost everyday, either for lunch or church or something.  She is on only two medications.  Unfortunately, the younger man who was interested in her has had to go to a nursing home.  She is so amazing.  And yes, she still eats a Twinkie for breakfast.

Happy Birthday, Aunt Ret (Henrietta)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Maniacal Menopause

I was recently reading a blog called Flowing to Fifty ( about menopause.  She had a list of symptoms that most women experience as they're coming to the end of their reproductive years.  As I read through her inventory, I realized I have everyone of them.  No wonder I feel like I'm losing my mind.  So here are a few of the symptoms I've been experiencing:

  1. Hot Flashes:  I started getting these a year ago.  One minute I would be fine, the next I would be sweating profusely.  Black Cohosh has nipped them in the bud.
  2. Night Sweats:  I wake up several times every night HOT.  I throw the covers off only to be cold five minutes later.
  3. Irregular Periods:  This just started.  I had a period that lasted 11 (count them) days and then 2 days later I started spotting, which lasted for two weeks.  Now I'm 2 weeks late.
  4. Loss of Libido:  No comment.  My daughters read this blog and while parents being affectionate is cute, the occurrence of the words "parents" and "sex" in the same sentence is repugnant. 
  5. Moodiness:  This is the only one I don't have.  Although, there sure are a lot of annoying people in this world.
  6. Sleep Disorders:  I wake up every night between 12:00 and 1:00 a.m.  I figure I might as well go to the bathroom as long as I'm awake.  Then add the night sweat problem and my husband's snoring to it and I sleep miserably most of the time.                                                  
  7. Difficulty concentrating:  I've feel like I've developed ADHD in the last couple of years.  I have to read things two and three times to get it.
  8. Memory Lapse:  Recently, I was at a coworker's home for a party and when I got home, I noticed I had something on the front of my sweater.  Did I go to the party like that?  The next day I asked her and she said, "Don't you remember?  You leaned into some food and my friend tried to brush it off."  Now you think I would remember some stranger brushing off the front of my sweater. I had no recollection of it.  Scary.
  9. Weight Gain:  I've always had a small waist, but recently, I've gotten much wider in my midsection.  I've read that abdominal fat cells produce estrogen and so as our ovaries produce less, we put on abdominal fat to make up for it.
  10. Incontinence:  I'll just say this, I don't need Depends yet.

I know this will eventually pass.  In the meantime, I'll just have to eat chocolate.