Monday, August 27, 2012

Quick Update- Great News!

TLS and I went to see his doctor today for a follow-up appointment. I can now proudly say that he is no longer taking Coumadin! In around 6 weeks, he will need to get more bloodwork done to see if the clots are gone for good or if they have returned. (Fingers crossed they don't!) For now, it feels like a weight has been lifted off our shoulders.

We went out for all you can eat sushi to celebrate. When you are on Coumadin, you have to be careful with your Vitamin K intake, and have to be careful and limit most greens. Pretty much the darker the green, the less of it you can have. Seaweed is very high in Vitamin K and soy beans are not much better. For the past 4 months, TLS has hardly had any seaweed and has limited his soy sauce on sushi. (When we went out for dinner, he would mainly eat sashimi for this reason.) Today, he would only eat food that had seaweed in it in celebration. Miso soup, hand rolls, seaweed salad, edamame, etc. I can't remember the last time I saw such a big smile on his face!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Stranger Danger- Scary Day

This afternoon, my friend Hannah and I were hanging out and decided to go get iced tea from our favorite shop in my town. We decided to walk down to the Walkplatz (pedestrian shopping area). On our walk, she got a call from a friend and I was walking about a step behind her. All of a sudden, I notice a strange man following us. He heard Hannah talking in English so he came up to me and started harassing me while she was on the phone. He was not saying anything obnoxious and was asking where we were from and if we spoke English, etc. I got a bad feeling about him in my gut and so I grabbed Hannah's arm and dragged her into the nearest store I saw (which happened to be Esprit), saying "oh let's go shop here" nonchalantly, hoping that we would lose him.

We went in the store, and peered out the window. He was standing outside, waiting for us. After about 5 minutes, my friend asked a sales associate to check outside to see if the man was still there. We were sure he would be gone and that the woman would think we were crazy. Nope. He's still there. Several more minutes passed and he did not move. Then, he walked into the store, and saw Hannah and made eye contact with her! The saleslady gestured for her to go hide in the fitting room. Scary! After he walked around the store looking for us, he walked out and left. But he continued to stand outside. At this point we were sufficiently freaked out and called both our husbands at work to come get us. TLS wanted me to call the Polizei, but the women who worked in the store told us that the Polizei would not be able to help us because he did not physically touch us.

At this point we were just sitting in the dressing room, hiding out, and chatting with the sales associates. They kept on coming outside to see if he was still there, and he was. Walking around the block and coming back to the front of the store. I thought he was just harassing us because we were women, Hannah thought it was because we're Americans. She turned out to be right. When two German girls walked out of the store, he did not say a word to them.

All in all, we were in there for a little over half an hour, just waiting for him to leave so we could go home. We were both shaking and nervous wrecks this whole time. Thankfully, once our husbands came, he had left for good so we were able to go home in peace.

Having lived here for two years, and in NYC for over 20 years, I have never experienced anything like this. It definitely scared me so much. It made us both want to carry pepper spray. I am so thankful that our husbands were able to get us, and that things did not escalate. Also, thank you to the lovely ladies who work at the Kaiserslautern Esprit for going so far above and beyond and for taking care of us. Esprit, you have earned two customers for life.

At the risk of sounding preachy- to all of my fellow milspouses and readers who are currently abroad: please remember that we are in places where people may not love America as much as we do. Please be aware of your surroundings and be careful out there.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Nail Files

On Thursday, I went to go get my nails done before our big Brussels trip. I searched high and low for my favorite go-to manicure nail polish (Essie's Gucci Muchi Puchi) and could not find it anywhere. Upset and running out of time, I settled for second best (Essie's French Affair).
Gucci Muchi Puchi

French Affair

Despite my love of manicures, I have always had problems with my nails. My nails tend to break easily and they don't seem to hold polish well. No matter the brand I try, my nails will chip after a few days. (Although I will say that for some reason, Rimmel London polishes have chipped the quickest on me.) Also, I am not one of those pretty, careful girls, so try as hard as I may, I always without fail, smudge at least one nail right after I leave the salon. This did lead me to try Shellac and Axxium manicures, and honestly, I was not a fan. I appreciated the staying power, but could not deal with the peeling. Also, I swear they made my nails more brittle. My nails have never broken so much as they have with those types of manicures.

When I left the salon, I of course, smudged a nail. Go figure. By the time we got to base (about a 10 minute car ride), I looked down at my hands and realized my nails looked AWFUL. Every single nail had a smudge on it and what looked like little bubbles in the polish. I was beyond upset. 19 down the drain. I did not have the time or money to go back and get another manicure, so I figured I would go home, take the polish off, and see what I could do myself. When we got home, I was in my bathroom looking for nail polish. I keep all of my polishes in a little plastic container on my windowsill. I picked it up and it was HOT! I was looking through it and finally found my beloved Gucci Muchi Puchi. Except it was no longer the gorgeous pink shade I loved. Instead, it looked like this:
I did know that sunlight and heat can affect nail polish like this, but I guess it can. I wonder if keeping it in pretty much direct sunlight is what caused my French Affair to get all goopy? Take this as a word of advice, find a different place to store your polishes. I wish I didn't have to learn this lesson the hard way.

Also- can we just talk about the fact that a basic manicure with cheap polish costs 19€ over here? I was so excited when I saw that the salon had OPI polish and wanted to get a manicure with one of their colors. Then I saw the price list. A manicure with OPI polish costs 29€. Umm holy heck. OPI doesn't even cost that much per bottle in the States! (By comparison, it's 16€/bottle over here.) On that note, if anyone reading this can please get me a bottle of OPI's If You Moust, You Moust, I will be eternally grateful and will repay you in chocolate and other goodies when it cools down a bit. (Can't order nail polish over here, sadly.)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Friday Five- Brussels

Tomorrow morning (well technically today, since it's past 1:00am here already), TLS and I are driving to Brussels for the biannual Flower Carpet. We went to this event in 2010 and loved it. I have been looking forward to this for the past year and a half or so, and I am not sure how I will be able to sleep tonight.(On another note, I should probably start packing?) This will be our fourth time together in Brussels, and my fifth. Clearly we love this city. This week's Friday Five is dedicated to one of my favorite European cities.

1) Beer
just your average day at the grocery store
I am not a big beer drinker by any means. I dislike almost all of the beers that I've tried. Whenever I get beer here, it's usually a Radler (beer mixed with lemonade). However, I love Belgian fruit beers. Whenever we go to Belgium, we like to stock up on his and her beers (Trappist beers for him- including the Hermes Birkin Bag of Beer- fruity and pink for her). My favorite bar has a list of various fruit beers to pick from. I may have drank my way down it. Twice.

*If you are interested in stocking up on beer in Brussels- by far the best selection we have found is at the Beer Temple. However, prices here are a little higher, so we usually go to the Del Haize supermarket first and pick up whatever we like from their selection, and then get the rest at the Beer Temple.

drinking from what is quite possibly the coolest glass ever

2) Chocolate
chocolate covered grape skewers from Leonidas

Yes this is kind of a no-brainer considering it is one of the things that Belgium is most known for, but good Lord is the chocolate good. Almost all of the shops have samples for you to try, and I love doing the walking chocolate tour- going into each one and trying a sample and buying a few pieces to try. Thank goodness we drive there instead of fly, because we always bring so much back with us, that there is a big difference between what our bags weigh when we get there, and what they weigh when we leave! (Coincidentally, there is also a big difference between what we weigh when we get there and what we weigh after we leave after all of the beer, chocolate, and frites!)

3) "Our" bar
I don't even know the name of this place, but there is a bar right off the Grande Place that T and I "discovered" on our first trip to Brussels, and it has kind of become our regular spot. It is where we first learned about Westvleteren. Like I said, their beer menu is great and the owner now recognizes us and treats us as regulars. Most of their seating is outdoors, and it is just a great place to sit, drink, relax, and people watch.
fun times
Seriously, if you held a gun to my head, I could not for the life of me tell you what this place is called, but for anyone who may be going to Brussels in the near future, I will try to remember to take down the name and address and give it to you. (Don't really know the address, but I could stumble my way from it back to just about any hotel at 2:00am. Hypothetically, of course.)

4) Food

Pretty much, if you know me at all, you know that food is very important to me. When I travel, I love to eat out and seek out the good places to eat. Usually, my must-see list is more of a "must-eat" place. Brussels is no exception. I love getting waffles and frites from the stands.

My favorite dish to eat there is Carbonnade a la Flamandes- a beef stew made with ale. It is delicious and I will eat it even when it is 90 degrees outside. (Which is good, because coincidentally, it is supposed to be 90 degrees this weekend. How about that?) My love of this dish got the concierge at the Marriott to recommend to us Fin de Siecle. (The restaurant does not have a website, so here is a link from a food blogger that describes it better than I ever could.) It has gotten a bit of a cult following in Brussels, and has top marks on TripAdvisor. They don't take reservations and the wait to get in can be long at times. I honestly don't remember if they take credit cards or not. We were not disappointed. Both of our dishes were excellent and were well worth the wait. We are going to Brussels with another couple, and it is the guy's birthday. His wife asked me if I could recommend a nice restaurant to go to, and guess where I suggested?

5) The Grande Place at Night

The Grande Place is gorgeous all the time, but at night, the buildings just look incredible when they are all lit up. Every night, at 11:00pm, the city puts on a light and sound show in the Grande Place with the colors and timing of the lights on the buildings set to music. I can not put it into words, but it really is incredible. When the Flower Carpet is not going on, people will just come and sit on the cobblestone street and look up and wait for the light show. It really is one of my happiest memories from Brussels. I am beyond excited to take my new DSLR with me to try to get some better pictures of it this time around. If you are ever in Brussels, be sure to catch the show. You will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

took a break, back now

No real reason for it. Just had nothing to say and needed to unplug for a bit. Didn't want to put drivel out there just for the sake of blogging, you know? It seems the past few weeks have been a series of foibles. What's happened so far?

*It may seem common sense not to drop your brand spanking new iPhone in the toilet, but somehow, I managed to do it anyway. After it sat for days in a bag of rice and silica gel, it is still messed up. I keep on losing the signal and the screen is messed up. The other day, I hopped into the shower and it was at 95%. When I got out, it was down to 59%. In the span of one shower. My showers are long, but they aren't that long. Needless to say, I am back to using my old iPhone. The one that won't actually make phone calls. Until we can get to the Apple Store in Frankfurt and hand them over a big bag of money so that they can give me a new phone. This won't be for a while. Joy and rapture.
*We knew our fridge was cold, but did not know just how cold it was until today. I opened the fridge and everything was covered in a brown sticky liquid. Gross. Could not figure out what it was until I started digging for my speculoos and chocolate ganache tart and found brown ice slush and an upside down can of Coke Zero lying in the fridge that had exploded. Again I say. Gross. TLS took this as his cue to turn down the fridge. I was sad because at that moment, I realized just how badly I wanted that Coke Zero. Sad face.
*You know how I know I've lived here long enough to truly considered myself a resident? A friend of mine just came back from her honeymoon and spent a few days in Berlin. She kept on saying bad things about Germany and how much she hated it and how it was hell on earth, blah, blah. A year or so ago, I probably would have agreed with her. Today, I found myself sticking up for a city that I have never been to and telling her off. Only I get to make fun of my country.
*A friend of mine posted today that his friends in Germany got a Jack Russell puppy and it was too much for them and they are looking to get rid of him. (Bad people.) It is no secret that I want a puppy so badly that I can pretty much taste it. It is also no secret that I am deathly allergic to anything that has hair or fur on it and isn't actually human. Including the so-called hypoallergenic breeds. Jack Russells are not hypoallergenic. Sadly, the family was looking to get less than what I currently have in my bank account for him right now. I came darn near close to making the biggest impulse purchase of my life today. My husband sat there and hyperventilated for a solid 5 minutes after I told him that. I figured that with the case of Tricare and allergy shots, it was easier to beg forgiveness than to ask for permission. He didn't. So sadly, no, we are not getting the puppy. Yet.
*For my birthday, TLS got me the silver camera charm from Pandora for my bracelet to celebrate my new DSLR camera and the fact that I had taken several hundred pictures with it in just two days.
The other day, I was heading out with a friend and was rushing out the door so I grabbed my bracelet and figured I'd put it on in her car. In true Masha fashion, I could not for the life of me remember if I had unplugged my hair straightener so I decided to go check. I noticed something shiny on the stairs, and when I went down to pick it up, it was one of the Pandora charms that had slid off my bracelet. I put it back on my bracelet and checked to make sure that everything was still on there. My camera charm was gone. :( Insert panic here. I retraced my steps twice and could not find it. We went off on our merry way with the charm in the back of my mind. TLS came home from work and we decided to retrace my steps. No luck. I was seriously upset. I like that each charm on my bracelet tells a story and even if we did buy a new camera charm, it just would not be the same. Today, we went to get noodles for dinner. When we got home, I decided to retrace my steps again. Because doing something on the 102nd time will produce different results. Clearly. And you know what? I was right! It must have rolled under my friend's car and then another car parked in that same spot. I did not see it until that spot was free again. (Thank goodness we didn't park in it!) Just goes to show you. And now I know to get a safety chain for it.
*Today, I found the memory card from my old, old camera from when TLS and I were dating and decided to go through it. All I can say is 1) we were such babies then, and 2) thank goodness I got a much better camera. I mean look at this gem:
/Tower Bridge
Also, why you should never ask drunk tourists to take your picture:
I'm thinking that this will be the front runner for our 2012 holiday card