aaarrrrgghhhhh

It’s been a pretty long time since I posted. I kinda withdrew from social media after my ACL surgery. I guess part of me didn’t really want to remember that part of my life but that’s kinda stupid. Part of the reason I wanted to start this blog was to help me remember what my life was like during a particular time and that should include the bad parts too. You learn a lot from the tough times in your life, plus, there are still a lot of good memories during the tough times that I’d like to hold on to.

So, yeah. It’s been kinda rough lately. Recovery from surgery was longer and harder than expected. The ligament attachment to my tibia is non-standard since I had a nail in the way from when I broke it in 2000 so they put in some staples in a different place than they usually would. Unfortunately that leaves a big knot on the side of my knee that hurts like a bitch if it gets pushed on or bothered too much.

I’m trying to get back to my life and feel a lot of pressure to perform well and get research results quickly (by the way the results I’m getting make no sense) because I was out for so long that I keep over doing it an oscillating between feeling pretty great and then hurting real bad for a week or so and not being able to do much which is incredibly frustrating. Then, typically when my knee is already hurting, my neurotic 72 pound dog will get spooked by something and dart past me while body checking me right in the knee or see another dog that she apparently wants to kill in the most brutal way possible and lung on her leash almost pulling me over.

So that’s a quick vent of my frustrations. There have been some good times too though, some of which you’ve already heard about from Amanda while I was M.I.A. We went to a pumpkin patch and went apple picking at a farm about an hour outside of town. Amanda made a delicious apple pie. We did awesome zombie makeup for Halloween.

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And Indy thought she was people while sitting on the couch which was very entertainingwpid-20151116_191942.jpg

And we saw a big collection of M.C. Escher’s artwork at the museum. I’m quite sure that there were some other things I wanted to jot down too but my memory sucks which is why I shouldn’t take long breaks from posting!

Oh, I’ve also been speculating on a very entertaining theory with lots of compelling evidence that Jar Jar Binks is a Sith lord who was working in conjunction with Palpatine. Here’s a write up I found that does a great job explaining it:

https://www.reddit.com/r/StarWars/comments/3qvj6w/theory_jar_jar_binks_was_a_trained_force_user/

Anyway, I’ve also been spending long hours in the lab for the last week. I’m collecting a whole lot of data and finishing up a big experiment that will hopefully shed some light on what’s going on with my research project once I get everything plotted and analyzed. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

 

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Drink sangria, eat tapas, repeat

Barcelona! This was the most fun city of our trip. I’m not entirely sure if that’s because of the city or the many liters of sangria we drank. Upon arriving at our hostel we checked out the bar where you could get a glass of sangria for four euro or a liter for 10. Guess which one we chose πŸ˜€Β 20150612_174118

The hostel had all these cool paper lanterns hanging in one of the common areas so we sat under them and enjoyed our drinks. We met a Scandinavian family there who after learning that it was our first time in Europe insisted that we had to visit them in their tiny hometown and they would board us and cook for us. Just one more example of the friendly nature that so many people we met displayed. It made us feel all warm and fuzzy inside, although that might have also been the sangria now that I think about it.20150612_174122If we learned anything in Berlin it was that the walking tours are awesome so we went on another to learn about Barcelona. Below you can see one castle where Christopher Columbus asked for money for one of his voyages and was rejected. The first cigarette ever was also apparently smoked here.

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There was a combination Picasso and Salvador Dali art exhibit in the city that we really wanted to go to but ended up just not having time. We did see a couple pieces of his work around the city though. Below you can see a piece he donated to the city from his stick figure period.
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And next we have a classic piece from his famous blue dressed anthropomorphic bunny period.

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We also saw some amazing architecture with Gothic, Neotraditional Gothic and Catalan Gothic architecture. Below there is one of the last remaining pieces of the roman aqueducts.
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This game of thrones fountain was pretty impressive. We got a nice stranger to take a picture of us in front of it but you get the non-selfie version because we love you ❀

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After that we had to spend a little time on the Mediterranean Sea beach to relax a little. When I was returning some towels we rented I used the Catalan greeting we had learned, Bon dia, and was mistaken as a native Spanish speaker. Blending in with the locals was our favorite challenge in each city so I was pretty happy about that. My high school and college Spanish classes also came in handy. It was nice being able to communicate a little better than in the previous cities.
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Finally on to the tapas. We had tapas at a small restaurant our first night where we had mussels, fried brie, octopus, traditional bread with red sauce and you guessed it, more sangria20150612_205112

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On the second night we took a tapas tour. It was only 14 Euro and we got to eat at 3 or 4 different tapas restaurants. Each place gave us tapas and some wine while one place in particular gave us wine and beer in these cool drinking vessels that were invented in the medieval ages so that people could share drinks without spreading disease. It was basically a watering can for people that you tilted back to pour wine into your mouth without touching it with your mouth.

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❀

After copious amounts of wine, beer, sangria and Schnapps we were feeling pretty awesome. Here we are at the end of the night with Amanda keeping it classy and me… well you can see the picture for yourself πŸ˜€

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I was talked into buying these two roses which I don’t regret because Amanda looked so pretty holding them and on the metro ride back to the hostel (which we barely remember) I gave one away to an older couple after the train shifted causing the woman to fall into the man and I suggested it was a good opportunity for besos (kisses) which they thought was hilarious.20150613_222245

The next morning was… how should I put this…

We had a 6 am flight to London and I’m pretty sure we didn’t get back to our hostel until 2 or so. We slept a little later than we meant to, woke up still reeling from the night before and hurried off to the airport. When we got there the airport was empty, great news right? No lines! Until we get over to the check in spot for our airline which was apparently the only one flying so early and there were hundreds of people waiting in horribly long lines. Amanda and I split up so she could get our tickets stamped while I got us checked in and bags checked which took well over an hour so after this we’re sprinting through the airport sweating out the last of the alcohol from the night before. At security we realize the bag we didn’t check had all our souvenirs in it which had continuously caused issues at security checkpoints and this was no exception. Amanda was stopped and had her entire bag unpacked while she told me to hurry on to the gate which ended up being another half mile sprint through zig zagging corridors and customs lines. Finally I get to the gate thinking for sure we would have missed the flight but it ended up being delayed enough for us to make it!

This final picture pretty well sums up how we felt after plopping down in our seats on the plane as we took off for London.

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Adventures in Berlin

After our tour through wine country, most of Amanda’s family headed back to the states while we went on to Berlin. William made a few scattered appearances here and in London but for the most part it was just the two of us from here on out. We hopped aboard our AirBerlin flight to… Berlin and left old Europe behind for a more modern feel.

20150609_184744We took a walking tour and had an awesome tour guide. He asked us all sorts of thought provoking questions to get us to think about each destination as we walked there and taught us a lot about the History of Berlin which I’m sure Amanda remembers much better than I do considering how long I keep forgetting to update the blog and how many times I tried to remember what I had for breakfast this morning before remembering that I didn’t have any breakfast (this was well after lunch time which I also didn’t find time for) although maybe it makes a little sense that I couldn’t remember anything since I hadn’t eaten anything which tends to make my brain struggle a little and makes me forget stuff and ramble on and…I’m gonna have to through this in here even though it was from the end of our stay in Germany. We got Kebaps in the Turkish neighborhood at the suggestion of one of our friends. Hi Murat! They were sooooo good.

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let’s see… where were we. Oh yes! Pariser Platz! So named to humiliate the French after Paris was overthrown by Prussia (Germany) with Allied troops. I wish I could remember all the details of this because it was kind of a funny story.

Marching through the Brandenburg gate seen here was kind of a symbol of conquering Germany. This was the only structure remaining in the square after the bombing during WWII.

20150610_111908Also in Pariser Platz is another famous building. You might recognize the Hotel Adlon below where Michael Jackson hung a baby over the balcony! We didn’t stay here because the hostels are so much cheaper and we both have a phobia of being hung over balconies.

20150610_112120This is the memorial to the Jewish people who lost their lives during the Holocaust. It was very controversial when it was built because memorials typically have plaques and signs to tell you the history of what happened. This memorial doesn’t have any of that. It’s built to make the visitor think and feel things instead of learn facts and dates. The blocks get taller as you go toward the middle of the memorial and as you travel in it gets colder and darker. The ground goes up and down with steep little hills like waves in an ocean. It makes some people think of drowning, some of being lost in the cold and dark. There is no official meaning from the architect so that everyone can interpret the memorial for themselves and experience their own feelings which I think makes it more powerful than just a history lesson.

20150610_113748Any trip to Berlin wouldn’t be complete without seeing the remains of the Berlin wall. This dotted metal line in the ground marked where the wall used to be. There will be some pictures later of the East Side Gallery with remaining wall segments covered with graffiti.

20150610_120758I don’t really know what this building was but it was cool looking so we took a selfie πŸ˜€ I’m pretty sure this was on the

I looked it up on wiki I remembered that this was a cathedral on Museum Island that was very cool looking.

20150610_134536On our way from Museum Island to Potsdamer Platz we passed Poseidon’s fountain which was pretty bad ass

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Here you can see the first version of the Berlin wall being constructed in Potsdamer Platz. There was a deadzone between lengths of barbed wire and anti tank fence pieces where anyone caught would be captured or shot

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And finally here are some images from the East Side Gallery

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20150611_143141 20150611_143210This one was pretty far out πŸ˜€

20150611_145813That’s about it for Germany, at least for now. I left some cool pictures out since the post was getting a little long so I might add some more in later.

Stay tuned to hear about tapas, the beach on the Mediterranean Sea, liters of sangria and drinking out of cool medieval drinking vessels in Barcelona!

Wein auf RΓ€dern (a dangerous game)

Wine on wheels! Hopefully google translate served me well there. Well, I’ve really been slacking here. Amanda is a little fed up with me because I said I wanted to post some of the Europe trip stuff but haven’t gotten around to it and she’s been waiting on me before she posted again, so here it is finally. In my defense I’ve been doing a lot of important stuff that she didn’t have time for.

Hello, Austria! You’ll see many pictures of our bike tour through wine country (which was amazing) and barely any of Vienna because the city was really kinda boring compared to Budapest and Prague. We met up with the rest of Amanda’s family and maybe 15 other people for the tour. We road the train out to our starting point and rented bikes.Β Here we are at the start, Catherine was very excited about visiting the Kremser Bank.

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We started riding out of town. My knee was still pretty sore at this point and not very flexible. Jacking the seat way way up had the double effect of making me only a few inches shorter than our tour guide and letting me peddle without having to bend it too much. Look how happy it made me!!

20150608_111930One of our stops enjoying delicious Austrian wine. Here’s a great pic of everyone except me!

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And here we are with Amanda’s brothers. We’re about to drink apricot schnapps with a big chunk of alcohol soaked apricot in it. It was delicious! We also got a bottle opener souvenir for a friend in this little town. It was hand carved from apricot wood. Do you notice a theme here??

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After the Schnapps my buzz was strong enough to attempt the climb up to the ruined fortress seen below. King Richard the Lionheart was held in the dungeons here for a while. I made it most of the way up but decided not to push my knee too hard. We had a couple great views during the climb although I wish I had seen the view from all the way up top

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On the way up we spotted this colorful little lizard bro. He let me get nice and close for a good picture I named him Eidschse mit blauem gesicht or lizard with blue face πŸ˜€

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I have to give Dan credit for one of the more hilarious photobombs I’ve seen here. He was having a great time ruining our pictures πŸ™‚20150608_145427

Lunch involved stopping at the house of a local family who helped with the bike tours. We had a huge grill full of sausages going when we arrived and were given plenty of potato salad and wine to go with them. The cheese filled bacon wrapped sausages were incredible!

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And finally a pic of boring old Vienna. Here’s the opera house that I took a picture of mostly because I felt like I should. It was a cool building though.

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We wrapped things up with coffee and dessert before heading back to our hostel.

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This marks the end of the first week and most of Amanda’s family heading back home. Still to come, Berlin with stories of amazing walking tours, pictures of great architecture and puke-boy. After that you’ll hear about our Sangria fueled trip through Barcelona, or at least as much as we can remember πŸ˜‰

Happiness is…

Happiness is finding out that the x-ray was misleading and your dog does NOT have a mass in her abdomen. After that you can take great delight making fun of her shaved stomach.

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and taking her to food truck rodeos where she can meet tons of new people to be terrified of.

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It turns out Indy’s stomach symptoms were likely caused by allergic gastritis and she’s doing much better now. She also did great with the crowds at the rodeo. We enjoyed ceviche taco appetizers, an amazing black bean burger from Rolling Bistro, and some frozen pops for dessert. It was a much needed break from the non-stop grind our life has been lately… Just four more weeks of madness to go.

Happiness is the end of May πŸ˜€