Sunday, August 23, 2009

365 : 1-5

I mentioned before that I would start Project 365 on my Birthday and use this as the medium. I'm doing the version where you take a photo of something each day, not necessarily your face, and include a brief caption/explanation. Ideally, it will be fun to look back on and remember what I did each day during the year. This may be mostly self serving but I decided to post the pictures to hopefully provide a glimpse into my daily life in Germany. August 19-23, 2009. 19.08.09 -Patrick took me to an amazing 4 course dinner in the wine region to celebrate my birthday. This was my main, sea bass. We drank a white wine made from red grapes for the first time, it was from the winery. 20.08.09 - This was the hottest day of the year and Mannheim recorded the highest temperature in Germany. After work, Nina and I headed to the lake in Heddesheim, we waited in line to get in and swam as late as 7pm! This picture was taken around 8pm as we readied ourselves to leave. 21.08.09 - Went shopping to prepare for the B-Day/end of summer BBQ I am hosting tomorrow. This is what a BBQ for 20 guests looks like. 22.08.09 - Birthday BBQ was a success, served burgers and dogs and everyone sang the German Happy Birthday song to me, it is much nicer than the simple English Happy Birthday. 23.08.09 - Baked my own Birthday cake to bring to the office tomorrow. Since half the dept. was on vacation on my actual birthday we will have cake at the jour fixe. It's a Betty Crocker mix and frosting and I can't remember the last time I ate an Americna box cake, I hope it will be as moist as I remember. Brought the box and frosting in my suitcase from my trip to the US last Feb. just so I could make a birthday cake.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

August 19th

Twenty six years ago today I was born and this is the first birthday I have ever spent at work (or school for that matter). I have been working (at least during the summer) since my sixteenth birthday thus I have had 10 previous opportunities to work on my birthday and have avoided each of them. I know this is kind of a lame topic but I'm sitting at work, waiting for the day to end and realize this is not the way to spend a birthday. My colleagues and I all went to a nice lunch at the Bootshaus overlooking the river and it was a perfect day for sitting on the deck and celebrating the day.
As a summer baby, I have had some pretty good birthdays. As a kid, pool parties were always a possibility but hardly happened due to the weather. I had more than one outdoor party though and I recall one at Papa Ginos, although none were actually on the 19th. As I got older, I've spent my birthday at an amusement park, at Alton Jones, on the beach, on Block Island (with Patrick), and last year on vacation (Oslo). As is the German way, this year I will be hosting an American style birthday BBQ in my honor (it's kind of weird to throw your own birthday party as an adult but that's how it is, make your own cake and bring it into the office too) on the weekend. There will be hot dogs and cheeseburgers and watermelon if all goes as planned.
I always took the day off. This year, my birthday fell on a very quiet Wednesday and I couldn't justify using the vacation day since I am trying to save as many as possible to carry over into next year so I figured I'd try the office thing. Besides, pathetic as it sounds, what else would I do when everyone else is working, the lake is not fun alone and we are too far from any ocean, the only place I would spend the day alone. My boss even suggested I leave after lunch but I figured I would wait for Patrick to pick me up so here I am, waiting. He's up to something but the only thing I know is we have a date this evening.
Well, here's to 26. I'm officially over the hump and getting closer to 30 everyday. In order to document the first year of my second quarter century, I am going to start (and finish) a Project 365. I am not sure if this will be the main place I post the photos but I'll at least put some up here, maybe a weekly photo post. I haven't taken today's photo yet but it will be forthcoming and potentially document previously mentioned surprise.
I'm over working on my birthday so I'm off to enjoy the rest of the day while the sun is still shining.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mt. Fuji Part 2

I left you hanging for a while on this one. Was I trying to build suspense? Not really, I just got distracted by other things and sort of forgot that I promised a second part. Since it has been so long and I put the photos on Facebook, I'm sure most of you know how this is going to end but in case you are unaware of the outcome of our climb, I'll indulge myself in the story once more. When we last left off, we could not see the mountain, and headed home with our bellies full of Indian food to make a plan for the next day. We explored the Hostel a bit, tried to get on the broken Internet and resorted to reading a tour book from 2007 when the Internet was not revived. I borrowed a DVD from the TV room and we headed to our room to watch the movie on the lap top Patrick insisted on lugging throughout the trip. I must take advantage of this opportunity to point out that we NEVER used the laptop and I ended up carrying it in my luggage after the third day. I was against bringing a lap top from the start but Patrick insisted it would come in handy. I quickly realized my 3 prong plug was not going to get into the 2 prong outlet and gave up on the movie. We resigned to an early night in favor of an early morning exploratory trip. When we got up the next morning, the hostel van was heading to the train station with some departing travelers so we asked if we could hitch a ride. From the train station, we proceeded to wander around another part of the lake. There were several tourist shops on this side along with the tour boat we contemplated and some paddle boats shaped like swans. Patrick really wanted a to rent a paddle boat but at about 20EUR per half hour we took a pass. There was also a rope line over hydrangea bushes and up into a small mountain that did not appeal to us. We browsed the shops and thought about taking the bus to the 5th station and back just so we could at least visit Mt. Fuji as it was still completely hidden by cloud cover. Hungry and indecisive, we headed back to the hostel to regroup. As we were getting back, I overheard a few new friends saying their post hike goodbyes. Being the American that I am and recognizing their nationality in their accents, I approached one of the girls to inquire about the mountain. Apparently they began their assent the previous night and reached the summit just in time to see a beautiful sunrise. I was now convinced that we needed to do the same. We were here to climb the mountain and I would be disappointed to go home without even trying. Armed with the bus schedule, Partrick was an easy sell. We were off for a quick lunch, followed by a supply trip to 7/11 and a 2 hour nap before catching the last bus. Once we reached the 5th station it was about 7pm and still light. Full of energy and adrenaline, we began our hike. Sorry, now it's time for the suspense, the photos are not on this computer and I can't go any further without visual aids.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

This is Not What You Think It Is

I'm not becoming a health food nut or turning this into an exercise/weight loss blog. However, I wanted to tell the world I've started counting calories and I love it. I feel so much more aware of my actions now. I started biking to work more often because I can burn about 120 calories just going to work and back at a leisurely pace. I need to get to and from the office anyway, may as well kill some calories on the way. Last week was my first full week of this calorie counting with the assistance of and I already lost 3lbs. I know it is not healthy to continue at that pace and I'm sure my body will adjust but it's still exciting. Here's to a healthier slimmer version of me by Christmas. I'm still working on the healthy but the Calorie Counter stores all of my foods for the last 2 months so I can see that I maybe should not have had ice cream 3 times last week (only one scoop on each occasion) but I've also started eating more veggies and less food in general and I'm wicked excited to keep going. Once I get the calories down, I'll start reducing saturated fats.