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I have two topics to talk about in this entry, and while neither have anything to do with the other, they can both use the same title. Nifty.

Item One: DerbyCollapse )
Item Two: HomeCollapse )
Some things have been going on around here. We're down to five months 'til we move back to the States. Though we still haven't been told where we're going, the official list of possible locations has come out. We're looking at Cannon, NM; Peterson, CO; Vandenberg, CA; and Hurlburt Field, FL. Of course, we're hoping to go back home to Florida. Fingers crossed. We should find out no later than the beginning of August, though it really should be any day now.

Our last derby bout of the season was a week ago. It was a double header. The Night Terrors played a mixed team called the Expendabelles. We won: 127-124. The Wreckoning played the Rockcity Rollers from the Netherlands. Rockcity won, but I can't recall the score.

Stein and I made the awards again. Best Blocker got a glued-together wall of foam building blocks that had the silhouette of a skater and the line "Block it like it's HAWT!" painted on it. Best Jammer got a jammer panty with a pinwheel stuck to the front. MVP got a store-bought tiara, a scepter made from bamboo sticks, topped with skate wheels and bearings, and embellished with ribbons, lace, feathers, pom-poms and pipe cleaners (each of the four were different), and sashes that proclaimed them "Princess MVP." Best Ref got a parade-style bead necklace with a black and white striped whistle laced into a heart-shaped bracelet as the pendant.

071214 awards

For the Night Terrors, Truckstop Trixie got MVP, which was her goal, so props to her for realizing said goal. Mel Practice and I got best blocker and best jammer, respectively. We're both rookies, so I thought it was a pretty big deal. It was also the Night Terrors' first win ever, so that was an even bigger deal.

This morning, I met up with two of my derby sisters (Truckstop and Dayz-E) and played at the skate park in Kaiserslautern. It was a lot of fun. Shawn and the kids were there too. The kids skated some, but they eventually got tired of it and wanted Shawn to take them to the playground. Maybe next time, I'll carry Shawn's skates too and help him get used to having wheels on his feet. I know I get pushy with him sometimes, but I think it would be great fun to have him participate in the derby stuff by being a ref.
Yeah, you read that title correctly. Tomorrow, I'm getting up at the ass crack of dawn, boarding a bus with my team mates, and leaving the parking lot at 6am for Utrecht, Holland to bout against the Dom City Dolls. This will be my second bout, my first away bout.


I'm on two of the line-ups: one as a blocker, one as a switch jammer/pivot with D'Seat.

This will be an all-derby post. If you're not interested in the sport (you're wrong, and) you can skip by this entry.
They see me rollin'Collapse )
At the end of my previous entry, I said I was thinking on typing up a list of things I won't miss about Germany. Sounds awfully negative. I'm still going to do that, but I'm going to intersperse it with things I will miss. I have three (read: five) things I've already listed about things I will miss, and I want to make sure with this, I'll match one-for-one wills and won'ts so I'll come away with more things I will miss. It's worth a shot.Collapse )
Another month has gone by since my last update. So while I am again using LJ more than I used to, I'm still not using it as often as I used to used to.

That makes perfect sense to me, and I'm gonna go with it.

The days are ticking by. I'm watching friends post on Facebook about their kids finishing up the school year. My two still have two and a half weeks left until Summer Vacation. My daughter turned 8 a couple days ago. We didn't make a huge deal of it. I gave her one gift (the movie "Frozen") and Ian gave her one gift (lip gloss and a hair bow). We're saving the rest of it until her birthday party. Because her actual birthday was at the start of a three day weekend, I figured her pals would be doing special things with their families, so we're holding her party next week. I already got an e-mail from one parent, saying the date on the invitation has already passed and wanted to know if there was a mistake. Crap. I wrote 21 instead of 31 on her invitation. I now don't know if I did that to all of the invitations.

With Callista's party coming up in less than a week, that will be the end of May. We'll have six months and some before moving back to the States. As of yet, we still don't know where we're going, but we should be finding out very soon. With each passing week, Shawn is getting more and more information about the retention board that's coming up. More and more people are being granted voluntary separation, and that's lowering the number for people who are going to be forcefully separated. They've gone from over 60% of his career field needing to be let go to somewhere in the low 30%s. This is great news.

News that isn't so great stems from Shawn's back. Yes, it's at it again. He's been struggling with back pain since his very first deployment. It'll flare up from time to time, and now is one of those times. He miraculously got a same-day appointment last week after his leg went numb while he was driving to work. Furthermore, instead of our normal family doctor (who is great, but doesn't seem to have a lot of experience with back pain) he got a doctor who had just recently tweaked his own back and wasn't going to downplay the severity of back pain. He immediately wrote Shawn up for no heavy duty, no PT, and no PT testing. At least for a month. His follow-up will determine if it will be extended.

Back to the whole we're-moving-in-six-months thing. I've been thinking a lot about it. There are some people I know who actively try to stay in Germany. At least one of the derby girls has bought a house here. There are other people I know who have moved and miss Germany terribly, terribly much. I think I'm mostly indifferent about it. It's just another place to live, as far as I'm concerned. Please recall, I'm 30 years old and have never, EVER lived in a place longer than four years. So until I know where we're going after here, it's hard to get excited (or disappointed). We might go back to Florida; we might end up in South Dakota or New Mexico or a state where I've never lived. The main thing I miss back in the States is my family and friends. And most of them are in the Southeast, the rest in the Northeast (with a few scattered here and there across the rest of the country). But if we move to a place where I have no family or friends nearby, it really wouldn't be much different than living here. Minus the language barrier and plethora of beer and weiners, of course.

I will say, though, there are things I'm going to miss.

1a. The Cleanliness - Germans are serious about not being ghetto. Their yards and neighborhoods are a source of pride, and they take care of them. Trash runs once a week, and we are only allowed to put trash out by the side of the street the night before trash day. Everyone is responsible for cleaning the sidewalk and edge of the street in front of their houses. This means weeding between the cobblestones, sweeping, and even spreading salt and shoveling when it snows. I have the end of my driveway and along my fence to take care of since there is no sidewalk directly in front of my house. Yards are nice, junk is kept cleaned up, and it's just nice to be able to walk/skate/bike through the neighborhood and not see trash or messes anywhere.

1b. The Clean Air - Germany is the solar capital of the world. You can't walk outside without seeing solar panels on buildings and set up in fields. There are wind turbines all over the place too (though not quite so many as solar panels). This lends to being able to take a deep breath outside and... *sniiiiiiifff* Oh. uh... Wow. They must have fertilized the fields today. *ahem* Well, most days, it's a fresh and clean breath of air. We happen to live in a village right next to farming fields, so the smell kinda comes with the territory.

1c. The Clean Roads - No debris, no trash, no road kill. That doesn't sound like much, but when you're so used to a clean road that ONE PIECE of trash is glaringly noticeable, that says a lot. The Autobahn is dangerous enough with the high speeds some people take. I've been cruising at around 90mph in the right lane and been passed like I'm parked. If there is even a little bit of debris in the road, you know what kind of hazard that could present. Therefore, Germans need to be on top of keeping their roads clean. Safety first, ja?

2. Driving - This holds hands with 1c a little bit. It's nice to drive on clean roads. But there are also driving laws here that make a commute much more enjoyable. Ever heard of "priority roads"? Check this out:
The white and yellow sign shows you are currently driving on the priority road (we'll call it PR for now). The white sign below it shows the intersection you're coming up to. Your road is the wide curve; the little dash is a road connected to the intersection that has to stop. Likewise, if you're at a stop sign with the little white sign under it, you know you have to stop while the road coming from the left is the PR and doesn't have to stop. It may seem a little confusing on paper, but in practice, it works splendidly. That, and round-abouts (or traffic circles). Traffic doesn't stop, yet everyone slows down and uses the rules of the road to go about their business. I've been here for three and a half years, and I've never seen a wreck in a traffic circle. They work. And, well, the Autobahn is fucking fun to drive on. Sometimes you just need to roll down your windows, crank up the radio, press down the pedal, and go 110mph.

3. The Scenery - It's beautiful out here. In my area, there are no really big cities. If you're in the midst of large buildings, pick a direction and drive for no more than ten minutes. That will land you in rolling hills, small mountains, farming fields, solar farms, trees, and hiking paths. And the occasional castle. Seriously, it's pretty cool to know I can just hop in my car and drive to a few different castle ruins right here locally. I can think of three right now that I can drive to (and back home) without having to top off my gas tank.

I'll leave it at that for now. I see another post of what I won't miss coming up soon, but there are still other things I'll miss here, and I'll share that later too.
Eleven days after I said I would do a follow-up post to the previous (for more pictures of Keukenhof), and I'm here to tell you this post will NOT be about that.

Most of you follow me on Facebook, so you already know about this. But it's good for me to put an entry here if only for my own memory. Ian nearly killed himself last week. He's fine now and still has a week and a half 'til he goes back to school, though he insists he's ready to go back now.

Here's the book on what happenedCollapse )
My loving husband likes reading my journal. After reading the one about how time is flying and we haven't been traveling, he pulled up a list of hotels and said, "We're going to The Netherlands next weekend. Pick a hotel and book a room."

Hot damn!

So I picked one. And then I did some research all week on what fun things we could do in or around Amsterdam. The word "Keukenhof" came up many times. It's a pretty big flower garden/park in Lisse. We were a little early in the season to get the full effect of seeing ALL of the flowers open, but it was still a thing we wanted to check out. Friday rolled around. Shawn had the day off. So we had some breakfast then jumped in the car for a four and a half (turned five) hour drive from Germany to The Netherlands (driving through Belgium on the way).

PhotosCollapse )

Traffic wasn't bad, but there was a bit of construction, so that slowed us down and caused an extra half hour to end up tacked to the trip. The weather was a bit dreary too, but as we drove North, the clouds started to clear. We took a load off in the hotel; the kids watched Dutch cartoons while Shawn and I flipped through the menu that had been provided for the restaurant downstairs.

PhotosCollapse )

I ended up having smoked eel for an appetizer and pork kebobs for my meal. Shawn had lamb chops. The kids had chicken fingers. The cameras stayed in our hotel room. We called it an early night because the driving had me sore. And we had big plans for Saturday morning.

We went to Keukenhof and enjoyed the many blooms. It was breath-taking.

PhotosCollapse )

And that was just the entrance! The whole place was gorgeous. I have to be honest, I've never really appreciated tulips until this trip. I have some yellow ones in my garden, and when I got home, I was thrilled to see one of them had bloomed. Before, I would have just been, "eh, the tulip has bloomed, but nothing else has yet."

One building at Keukenhof was filled with show blooms. Some of them were so incredible, they didn't even look real. I wanted a bulb of each and every single type. Gimmie!!

PhotosCollapse )

We saw many and more things, but I'm going to slice this update so I can go spend some time with my family. To be continued.
There goes the last full week of March. Wow.

When we moved to Germany, it seemed like the time crawled. I've never been 100% happy here. Not because of my life and my family. They're the reason for the happiness I do have. No, it's been outside. I haven't made any friends in my neighborhood except the Wood family. NONE of my German neighbors like me. The guy in the other half of our duplex likes to leer at me, but I get dirty looks from his wife. The couple on the other side of us used to be nice, but she stopped bringing over treats and baked goods and stopped making eye contact with me, and he gives me "what level of hell did you crawl up from?" looks. Most people in public act like they have sticks up their asses. I smile at them, and their scowls deepen, like they're trying to figure out what I'm up to. How dare I be pleasant? There must be something afoot. Scheming American.

I've never really been one for planning things and making those plans happen, so all the grand ideas I've had for wanting to travel and do things haven't happened. It's my own fault. I'm much more of a spontaneous girl, and that just can't happen in a foreign country with two kids in school and a husband with a full work load. So I've been home. Doing not much. Instead of planning for things I want to do with my family. Shame on me.

Now I've discovered roller derby, and since September, the days have flown by. What? It's my birthday already? What? Emma's trip is here and gone already? Wait, did I miss Christmas? Hang on, the first quarter of 2014 is past...

Wow. I need to stop being a homebody and make some plans. The rest of the year will be gone before I know it, and I haven't really DONE anything. Yes, I've been to Paris three times. I drove through Switzerland twice. I've seen a few local castles and ruins, some of them more times than I care to count. There have been festivals and markets. I even took Emma to England for a few days. But when I get back to the States, people are going to ask about the continent. Austria? Nope. Spain? Nope. Italy? Nope. Belgium? Nuh-uh. Lichtenstein? No. THE NETHERLANDS?? uhh... no, sorry. (etc, etc... I know there are more countries) If I keep this up, my "plan" of visiting and doing something of note in each country that borders Germany will not be realized. I can think about these things all I want, but thinking about it doesn't get hotels rooms booked and landmarks noted on maps. And now, I've gone and made it even more difficult on myself because I have practice three days a week. So that means travel and miss learning important things involving a sport that I've come to love in a very short amount of time, or don't travel and miss a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of SEEING and EXPERIENCING Europe over these next nine months. When I put it like that, it does seem to be a no-brainer, doesn't it?
It hurts to type. Mostly with my left pinky. This is going to take a while.

The morning started as any other. Callista and I were in the kitchen, getting her cereal poured. Ian was in the dining area, just finishing his cereal. Then... screaming. Yowling. From both Ian and cat. I ran into the room to see what was happening. Dolce was latched into Ian's leg with claws and teeth, and Ian was screaming and trying to pull away from him. What the fuck!?

I snatched Dolce by the scruff of his neck to yank him off of Ian, and he turned on me. He clawed my arms, and his teeth sunk into my right thumb. I used my left hand to open his mouth, and he gnawed on the meat of my left hand. I screamed. The kids were screaming. The cat was screaming. I couldn't get the cat off of me, nor could I get him under control. I shouted for Shawn. I don't know how many times I called his name. Twice? Fifty? I was panicking. After a moment, I realized the cat wasn't going anywhere. I couldn't move him as I was jerking away. I looked at his back leg and finally noticed that his toe was caught in the slat on top of the heater. I lifted Dolce, still chewing on my hand, and when his body was higher than the heater, his toe came loose. He jumped from my hands and ran about the same time Shawn was coming down the stairs, wanting to know what the hell was going on.

He ran in to find me kneeling on the floor, pulling Ian into my lap with my right arm as blood poured from my left hand as I held it high and away from Ian. Both of the kids were crying. Bite marks dotted Ian's leg and foot. Shawn gathered medical supplies and took care of Ian while I got my own bleeding under control. Puncture wounds don't bleed for very long, so it didn't take much work to slow it down.

It was a little painful to drive to the ER, but I got us there. Shawn and Callista stayed home to finish their normal routines of getting to work and school. Ian and I got to the ER at around 7:00 and were there for only three hours. I got a tetnus shot, and we're both on antibiotics. I was advised to keep the cat indoors for ten days (precautionary; it's standard for animal attacks, though I explained this wasn't an attack and the cat doesn't have rabies) and to get him to a vet to make sure his records are up to date. And to see about his toe.

So what happened? After talking it over with Ian, I pieced together this: Ian attempted to pick the cat up off of the heater. Somehow, Dolce's toe was caught in the slat, so when he squirmed to get down, Ian simply tried to drop him, and he went into fight mode because of the pain. I don't blame the cat at all. Had I grabbed Ian instead of Dolce when I first intervened, he might have hurt Ian worse in his attempt to hold on. Though I might have been able to assess the situation better. But when I saw an animal on my kid, my first instinct (I can't even call it a thought) was to remove said animal from my kid.

The worst part about this for my injury is the swelling. My left hand is too big to fit into my wrist guard. That means no derby for me tonight. It could also mean no participating in the Skate-a-Thon tomorrow. I'll be going whether I'm able to skate or not, but I would really like to skate.

And after all of this, he still wants to sit on the heater.Collapse )

I tried to take pictures of my hands, but it's awkward. I'll try to have Shawn take some.