Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Patience worn thin

You know the expression "Hurry up and wait"? Well, that's what I've been doing all day. All week actually.

See, the whole reason we're in Florida right now is because our company has moved their headquarters from Berlin to here and the grand opening is this Saturday. Scott, being the amazing, everyone-can-trust, go-to-guy is in charge of getting the office completely ready technologically.

Let's just say there's a lot to do. Way too much to do.

And everyone wants his help. At the same time.

So I wait. I wait till he's ready for lunch. Then I wait at lunch while he's on the phone. I wait till he's ready to leave the office. Then I wait till he can go eat. Then I sit in the restaurant, lonely, except for my iPhone.

Thank goodness for the iPhone with its Kindle and Scrabble apps.

We're just back from dinner (finally got there at 9:30pm). Scott had to make a call so I got a table and ordered. And waited. 20 minutes later, both the food and Scott arrive. Then he has to leave again. For another 15 min. Then he comes back, still on the phone. He wolfs down his food and I drive us back to the hotel so he can keep talking. And now he's on a webinar.

Poor guy. I really have nothing to complain about. But you, Delicious Readers, understand, right? I'm not complaining. I'm just out of patience.

It's bad enough to wait all the time, but it's equally as frustrating because I have to drop everything I'm doing the second Scott's ready. Talk about not feeling equal.

I knew this week away with my husband (without children) wouldn't be a honeymoon or anything, but still... He's not supposed to be too tired, if you catch my drift.

So now while he's on his webinar, I'm going to plug my earbuds into my laptop and catch up on a show or two that I've missed over the past few weeks.

Any shows you recommend? I'd love to hear what you're watching.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Another anti-Florida reason...

Two words.

Gold lame.


Will you move to Florida?


Run screaming! And, for effect, wave your arms in the air hysterically as you're running away! (That will amuse everyone who's watching you and hey, might as well make people smile, right?)

I will not move to Florida.

Why, you ask? Wouldn't it be great new fodder for my moving book?

Yes, it would. But here's why there will be no moving trucks at my house in the foreseeable future...

1. I don't like palm trees.
2. 90 degree weather 11 months out of the year makes me cringe. I need cold weather and seasons.
3. I like my friends in Vancouver.
4. I like my church in Vancouver.
5. The average speed of drivers in Boca Raton is about 7.
6. Even the automatic doors are slow.
7. It's waaaaaaaay too far from my family.

The list goes on. But you get the point.

Visiting, though, is wonderful! The hotel is fantastic and is located in the same cute little complex as the office. While I personally couldn't throw a stone at the hotel from the office, most other people with any amount of strength in their upper arms could.

There are several little restaurants here as well. Morton's -- yum! Rocco's Tacos -- oh, Mom, you would just have to start at the beginning of the menu and work your way down. The best nachos I've ever had. There's an Italian place, too, and while I can see their outdoor seating area from my posh little office, I can't quite see the sign with the name of the place.

Scott is crazy busy and mostly stressed out. I totally understand why. I'd feel the same way if I was doing the work of 8 people. He's incredible. He really is. If he ever had job security, this is it.

I walked into the office this morning in jeans (standard attire) and a sleeveless top. The other ladies in the office all looked askance! "Aren't you freezing?" they asked. Ummmmm... No. It was 55 outside at the time and quickly warming up to about 70. But in Florida, that's enough to bring out the turtle necks and thick sweaters. What on earth did they do a couple weeks ago when the temp really dropped?

Support emails are calling. Kaaate! Kaaaaate! Come answer us! We need you! Off I go to answer that anti-siren call.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Try commenting again...

I've heard from many of you that you've tried to comment, but it just won't let you. We'll, I've adjusted some settings within my blog so I think you might have better luck.

Can't wait to hear from you!

Home Again Home Again Jiggedy Jig

My beautiful daughters were certainly doing a jig when I picked them up yesterday. Emma was in the back room and when she heard my voice, literally ran and jumped into my arms. She wrapped her legs around my waist and hugged me so tight! It was absolutely wonderful!

Hayley was a little more demure, but no less excited to see me. Neither stopped talking the rest of the night!

Now I'm home, enjoying the decorative touches that Scott felt compelled to add while I was away. He bought new curtains and throw pillows for the living room, moved the old curtains up to our bedroom and put new blinds in our room as well as in the dining room. It all looks fantastic! I'm really impressed.

I'm glad to be home and sleep in my own bed, but being in Germany was a great adventure. It was an unexpected pleasure to be responsible for no one but myself, to do what I wanted when I was alone (well, except for working) and eat what I wanted without having to share!

But having said all that, I'm so glad to be with my girls again. What about Scott, you ask? He's in Florida on a business trip. But we'll see him tomorrow. Hooray!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Germany: Day 4 or I want to be a professional snowman builder when I grow up

Ahhh.... finally got a chance to wander around the city of Berlin! Cotten and I left work at noon and spent the afternoon rubber-necking at the amazing architecture of East Berlin.

Well, let me clarify that statement. The ancient buildings that survived the war are amazing. The "new" construction that replaced the many, many places that were destroyed are, as I said earlier in the week, completely utilitarian. Rather boring. Like twin sisters, one beautiful, the other rather unfortunate looking.

We had lunch in Berlin's famous TV Tower...

With full tummies, we meandered down a prominent street lined with museums, ending at the famous Bradenburg Gate.

A couple photos I took along the way... (Real photos, not stock photos. Sorry about those. It was snowing pretty hard.)


Professional snowman builders...

Actually, the snowman thing is a part of an upcoming event on global warming. Plastered all over town are posters with snowmen, women and children melting and saying, "Helfen Sie mir!" (Help me!)

We finished our day at KaDeWe, an 8 story department store that presides on one full city block. Holy Moly. If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't have believed it. Their chocolate dept. was Un. Be. Lieve. Able. Seriously. It was so big that it's the kind of place where you end up buying your favorite Hershey bar because you can't possibly make a decision.

The entire store was fancy-schamancy. To put it in perspective for you, even their cafeteria had whole lobsters available.

Yeah. I think so, too.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Germany: Day 3 or IMing can be really inappropriate

I was training a girl at the office today on how to answer Support emails for our software. Get a load of this... While I was sitting there, while I was talking to her about how best to help a customer, she pulls up Skype and starts IMing someone.

While I'm training her!! Hello? McFly??

I mean, come one. I don't care if your fresh out of college and it's part of your weird generational thing to be using as many social networking sites as you do fingers all at the same time. Don't do it while I'm training you!!!

That notwithstanding, I felt totally brushed off by her and the other support people here in Berlin. They paid attention during the training sessions; I'll give them that. But they really need to practice with the software so they understand it. How else are they going to be able to help customers?

But this group does not believe they need practice. They're just fine on their own.

Fine then. I'll just take tmro afternoon off and go tour the city.

So there.

Fun Berlin fact of the day: Every single tree in the city is numbered. They care that much about their trees. Yes, their trees. When a tree is diseased, the Head Tree Master calls out the tree shaman to care for it. If a tree dies, they plant a new one. There can never be any fewer trees than there are currently. Only more.

Strange, but cool, I guess.

Tonight we had dinner at this cute little German place with photos of old Berlin on the walls. It was an itty, bitty little place, but their food was highly recommended.

Remind not to come back as a German in my next life. 'Cause the food on that menu was revolting. It was just stomach-churning to even mention here.

Miss Picky Eater here finally decided on a bowl of potatoes coup. It was pretty good, but nothing I'd order again. I also would not order the tripe or 99% of the other menu items. Blech.

Literally falling asleep while I type. Better go snuggle under my duvet and close my baby-blues. 'Night night.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Germany: Day 2

Guten Tag!

Just finishing up Tuesday here on the East side of Berlin. My second round of training went well this morning, but by the afternoon, I was a total wreck from having slept so little last night.

I cabbed it back to the Leonardo Royal around 3pm and fell instantly asleep. Still felt completely unhuman when I woke up three hours later, but some Tylenol and a Snickers bar later, I perked up enough to track down a steak dinner.

I needed protein, friends. A seriously large rib-eye steak. It vas gut!!!

So in my post today, I thought I'd treat you all to a brief, but delicious, group of interesting Berlin facts I've learned in the past couple days.

1. Graffiti is legal in Berlin. Almost every building has some kind of tag or artwork. IMO, it makes the place look slum-like, but it's standard to the Germans.
2. Part of the Berlin Wall was left standing as a memorial. Not a reminder, but a memorial.
3. The East German soldiers frequently shot people.
4. You know those news reels from WWII where Hitler's army was marching down the street? Well, more than half of those "soldiers" were hired to march in the parade -- to make the army look much more imposing than it actually was.
5. There are still some older taxi drivers that refuse to drive to certain parts of what was once East Berlin.

This morning at breakfast (yes, I made it to breakfast today), an older couple sat down to share my table. They tried to talk to me but being that I speak no German and they spoke no English, we could only smile, nod and laugh foolishly. I was so sad that we couldn't talk. The stories they must have to tell...

I'm going to put on some music and get a bit of work done before I drug myself with Nyquil so I can hopefully sleep through the night.

Gute nacht! (Good night!)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Germany: Day 1 1/2

Yes, I say Day 1 1/2 because it's 4 am and I can't sleep. Not jet lag, but worry that I won't wake up in time to get ready for work

You all know how my finicky eating habits rival any three year old's. Well, when you don't speak the language and you don't want to make an ass out of yourself, you take what you can get.

For lunch, Christian (one of our Berlin co-workers) ordered us a grilled cabbage wrapped meatball with potatoes. Never would I personally order that, but I'm game. It was actually pretty good. The meatball was simple and light and sooo tender. The cabbage was cooked just enough to make it tender, but not floppy. I actually at most of it!

Yay me! (Hahahahaha1)

Cotten and I had dinner in this great little restaurant that's famous for feeding visiting dignitaries. Here's what I had...

There was actually salami on the plate, too, but I ate that before I thought to take a photo.

Three cheers for whoever can guess what the round ball of white stuff is next to the bread.

Anyone? Anyone?

Get ready to hold down your lunch, American friends. It was shortening! Yes, like Crisco kind of shortening! To spread on your bread. And to immediately increase your weight. And to clog your arteries. And to increase like likelihood of a future heart attack.

Needless to say, I didn't touch the shortening.

The guy next to me had leg of lamb. An actual leg of lamb. A whole leg of lamb. I think I heard lamb cries when he started digging in.

Here's a pic of the menu. Not sure if you can read the umm... hate to say it... but I'm going to anyway... revolting part.

"Pickled knuckle of pork"

That is just so wrong.

I saw freshly cut pineapple at the breakfast buffet yesterday. The buffet I was too late to eat at. I'm hoping for that and some more Kate-friendly food. Only an hour and a half till it opens. I'm hungry, but hopefully I won't be awake then.

Off to try to sleep. Guten Tag!

Blogging from Germany!

Forgot the funniest part of yesterday...

After I tore off my 36-hour old clothes and got into my jammies, I wanted to order room service. But I speak...

No. German. At. All. (Except for what my co-worker with me taught me on the plane: fork, knife, green salad, bread, butter, water.)

I didn't want to order if I couldn't at least say please and thank you. (Ok, so I knew thank you.) So I opened my laptop and tried to get online so I could find out.


Fought with the system for half an hour, tried to call the free support and couldn't get through.

I'm starving, so I tried to bring up Google Translate on my iPhone. Forgot that internet access is turned off since it's too expensive to use out of the US.

So I'm starving, exhausted, frustrated and completely at a loss.

Laid on the bed and stared at the ceiling. Why, oh why, didn't I watch the dvd Cotten (co-worker) give me on learning a language while you fly?

Finally called the front desk. "Oh, the internet isn't free. You have to pay for it." Nice. After that, I got online no problem. Found out how to say please in German (bitte) and then found out that the Room Service staff speaks English.

I wasn't finding it all so funny last night, but today, I got a good giggle out of it.

P.S. I feel for the Haitians, but CNN (the only English speaking station here) needs to report on something else!

Blogging from Germany! Day 1

I'm in Berlin on a business trip, training the Support staff here how our software works. So I thought I'd post frequently about my adventures!


Arrived around 4pm yesterday, having left Portland at 12:40pm on Saturday. The 10 hour flight to Amsterdam went quickly. Even the 5 1/2 hour layover wasn't so bad. But by the time we got on the hour flight to Berlin, I was falling over exhausted.

Couldn't sleep, but wasn't cognizant enough to do anything else. Tried to play Scrabble on my iPhone, but spent more time staring at it blankly than anything else.

Made it to our hotel by 5pm and after Skying with the fam and ordering in room service, I fell fast asleep.

Woke up several times during the night, not wanting to oversleep.

Guess what?

I overslept. I must have dreamed that I called for a wake-up call. 'Cause the phone call I got was from my ride to the office.

Not the best way to start out my business trip. Oops!

My first training session went well. Much quicker than I anticipated. Now I'm waiting for Christian, leader of Support, to take me to lunch. Having eaten basically nothing for breakfast, I'm starved!

I would be working on Support emails right now but for the fact that I can't open the Support email folder. Emailed Scott for help, but being that it is a mere 4:32 am back home, I'm not expecting any answers for a while yet.

My impressions of Berlin so far? Historical and utilitarian. I've seen the remnants of the wall, 1 km. in one place, 2 km. in another. It's decorated with graffiti, but not the horrible kind. (Really, is there any other kind?) The artwork has been done by artists with someone to say. What, I'm not too sure.

I can see the partly iced over River Spree from where I'm sitting. (Part of the Berlin Wall followed/(s) the river.) There's several inches of snow on the ground. In fact, my flight in yesterday was diverted to a second airport in Berlin because the first one closed down to due to heavy snow.

More later...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Finding smiles

Things that made me smile today...

Green lights
A grandpa taking his toddler grandson for a walk
An older couple holding hands
Talking a support customer through a challenge
Figuring out a crazy difficult support email
Emma telling me I looked beautiful
Hayley putting her dishes in the dishwasher without being asked
Heated car seats
Mrs. Mike -- I'm re-reading my favorite book ever

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hands up! Hand over the juice!

Some people can't start their day without coffee, others without a cigarette, still others without throwing the alarm clock across the room.

Me? I just need my juice. My Tropicana pulp-free liquid gold. It's a precious to me as pumped breast milk to my babies when I was away.

But thanks to unholy frigid temps in Floria,OJ prices will soon be highway robbery.
We might shortly be paying the same for a half gallon of OJ as we would for a bar of real gold.

So I'm thinking it might be time to invest in a chest freezer to hold the cases of frozen oj cans I should stock up on.

Question of the day, though... where would we put it? The garage is full, even without cars and there's not an inch of appropriate space in the house.

Hmmmm... I'll have to give that one some thought. Maybe if I mention it to Scott, he'll come up with a solution while I'm away next week. He likes to surprise me. Maybe I'll come home to a freezer full of juice!

What joy that would be!

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Yummy and Easy Dinner Recipe

Tuscan Rigatoni and White Beans...

Look on the side bar under Delicious Recipes for tomorrow night's dinner!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Delicious New Look

We all need a make-over now and then, right? So here's a sweet little new 'do for Delicious as Pie.

Whatcha think?

I'll add back in photos and other fun sidebar fodder over the next couple days. I'm getting tired now and have a busy week ahead of me.

'Cause guess what? On Saturday, I get to fly to Germany on business! That means tons to do to get ready this week, including shopping for new clothes!

I like business trips. Heeheehee!

Friday, January 8, 2010

A D___ Family New Year's Eve tradition!

Banana splits for dinner!

No holds barred!


And you're right... there are no photos of me here. Remember, I was still recovering from surgery and was not exactly in a photogenic capacity. Trust me on that one.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Christmas photos at last!

A German Christmas decoration Scott brought home from his last business trip to Germany...

Check SpellingEmma at her Christmas orchestra concert...

My PINK Christmas bike!

See? They really do love each other...

My gorgeous husband...

Is it wrong to cry over donuts?

'Cause that's what I did on the way home from picking up Scott at the airport today. He's been in Florida all week on business and I couldn't wait to see him!

I pulled up at Arrivals in my silver Hyundai chariot. He stowed his bags in the back and called up between the seats, "I'll drive, Sweetie!" Huh? Umm... why exactly?? I turned around and said, "You want to drive?" "Yeah, move over!" O-kay then.

Really I didn't mind getting out of the car. It's much easier greeting your husband when you're not behind a steering wheel. *heehee*

When we finally got back in the car, he tossed a bag -- a beautiful, waxy, white bag with orange and pink writing -- into my lap. The blessed man brought me two chocolate cream filled Dunkin' Donuts! One of my most favoritist foods in the entire world!

I was so happy, so touched that he took the time and effort to buy two fragile donuts and then protect them across the entire expanse of the country. And yes, tears actually came to my eyes as I bit into the first one and felt the sweetness melt on my tongue and saw the powdered sugar fall across my lap.

Oh, what bliss!

We here in the Northwest are completely lacking the world's most perfect donuts. Not a franchise within hundreds of miles. And I miss these donuts. Others simply cannot compare.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The 4 newest members of the Clean Teeth Club

Scott, Hayley, Emma and I have all passed dental muster. Not a single cavity and extraordinarily clean teeth!

I thought Scott was insane when he spent a large sum of money on a set of Oral B electric toothbrushes two years ago. But he was right. I fully admit it.

Our employer doesn't provide dental insurance so we don't visit the Grin and Bear It team as often as we'd like to. In fact, it's been three years (since we left MI) since Scott and I have gone. I do take the girls for yearly check-ups and cleanings.

So how totally coolio is it that even without padding our dentist's pockets for so long that we still don't have a single problem?

And even better news than that??

Both Hayley and Emma will remain orthodonture free! They both have beautifully straight teeth! Wahoo!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Restless Leg Syndrome sucks!

If you've never experienced it, consider yourself extraordinarily blessed. Because it is absolutely, insanely infuriating!

It doesn't hurt, thank goodness. But it's that subtle sensation you get when you have to move. Except when you move, it doesn't go away. It just continues no matter what, no matter how.

And it always happens in the middle of the night when I want desperately to sleep. But if you can't stop moving, it's really hard to rest, you know?

Remember how I mentioned in yesterday's post that I couldn't sleep last week? Part of the problem was the meds, but another part was RLS. It was a wicked combination.

So I walk, I bounce, I stretch, I use heating pads, I take baths, I massage, I pray. And I stay awake. I research RLS online. I try all sorts of purported relief methods... drink lots of water, take iron supplements, eat molasses by the spoonful. (Don't even ask.)

And I stay awake.

I give up. I can't function on so little sleep. So I'm heading to an acupuncturist in about 45 minutes. If that doesn't work, I'll go to a chiropractor. And seeing as I don't really believe in chiropractors, that right there tells you how desperate I am!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

And the final total is...

61 books read in 2009!

Not my typical 68-69, but, well, I guess with all the writing and working I undertook throughout the year, you'll forgive my slightly lesser bibliophile status.

Worst book of the year? Pride & Prejudice and & Zombies

I tried. I really did. I wanted to like it. I wanted to find it hysterical and completely engrossing and an avenue to branch into new literary territory. (Ok, so P&P&Z isn't literary by any stretch, but you know what I mean!) Instead, it was insipid and mind numbing and an insult to Jane Austen and her readers everywhere.

Best book of the year? Well... I can't say exactly. I discovered a new author who I admire greatly (Katherine Berg). I thoroughly enjoyed several other books. But I didn't have a particular favorite that outshone the others.

The top two contenders, though, are The Diary of Maddie Spencer and Prayers for Sale. The Diary of Maddie Spencer is a beautiful story about a woman homesteader's struggles. (Yeah, I know... it's another story about homesteading... it's my passion, I admit it!)

Prayers for Sale is an endearing story about an unlikely friendship between an older woman and a young, recently married woman. They live in an isolated Colorado mining community and strike a relationship between wizened experience and fresh perspective.

Your life won't be lacking if you never pick up either of these two books, but they were wonderful reads. Definite re-reads in a few years.

I'd love to hear your favorite reads of the year. Or ever. Why limit it? Tell me what kept you engaged your imaginations.

I'm back, slightly worse for wear and a couple pounds lighter...

The surgery itself and immediate recovery was fine. The after effects of the stent removal (ok, stent falling out) led to an infection, a crazy amount of Vicodin and its death-wish inducing side effects.

Then there was another medication that stole my sleep! Literally. It kept me up all night long. For five nights. I'd doze for two or three hours during the day, but by Saturday, I'd gone 96 hours on less than 12 hours of sleep. (Although 4am Saturday morning, while twiddling my thumbs in the bathtub, I did write an amazing blog post. By the time I got out, though, it had dissolved with the bubbles.)

I was so not in a good place by Saturday afternoon. I'd barely eaten for days, I was exhausted, still in pain and ready to admit myself to the hospital for a morphine drip.

After my post-op appointment yesterday, I'm on another round of antibiotics and am already feeling better. Thank the good Lord!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Check out this book give-away!

Don't worry, Delicious Readers, I'm here...

Recovering from "minor" surgery this time has been much harder than in the past. It's just been one thing after another. As soon as I feel like I've recovered from one thing, something else comes along.

Hospitalization and a morphine drip sounds like Heaven right about now.

But I haven't forgotten you all and I have much to say and many photos to share. I need a few more days to recover, then I'll be back posting as often as I can.

Happy New Year!