Saturday, September 25, 2010

Time for me

I didn't know quite what to feel about spending my first night away from Simon. I was excited, really, about being free of that responsibility for more than an hour or two, but unsure if this emotion was appropriate. Should it be killing me inside? Should I be sick with separation anxiety and go back early? Hmmm....not so much.

We left Simon in the excellent care of his Grandma and headed out for German wine country, only a one hour drive from Dusseldorf. I couldn't imagine not seeing Simon for a whole 24 hours - but I was ready. We had been planning this for months, knowing that my mom would be in town and this would be a rare opportunity for us to have childcare we were comfortable with for Simon. I started pumping over a month in advance to make sure he had enough milk while I was gone. (I know - after all that milk I donated I was a slave to the pump once again!)

And really, it was great! Even though I missed Simon like crazy, it wasn't hard to be away from him. I didn't think about him every second, and I enjoyed spending time with my husband.

Two days later I was headed to London to visit my Dallas colleagues who were there for a conference. Once at the airport waiting to board the plane, I realized that this felt different. A one hour drive versus a one hour flight - I had a small knot in my stomach, and I kept thinking if my flight got canceled I wouldn't be too disappointed. That flight, that act of getting on a plane and flying away from Simon, that felt different.

Once in London with my old friends, however, it seemed somehow surreal that I had a little baby waiting for me back in Germany. I missed him, but I needed my time as well. I had rarely stepped out of the apartment with Simon in tow. It was time for me, and I needed it and I loved it and I missed him.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

60 Years!

Herzlich zum Geburtstag to my fabulous father - today he turns 60! He's celebrating with my pregnant sister in Charleston, and having a fabulous time on the beach, I am sure.

Today I want to honor my father and the amazing 60 years he has lived. He has been an amazing father and taught me so much about life - always live it to its fullest. He is the epitome of Minnesota friendly, has a contagious smile, tells stories better than anyone I know, and well - he's awesome!

Here are some of the highlights from the 6 decades he has been around (mostly from when I have known him - I am sure there are many more I missed):

  1. He was pronounced dead - but lived to tell about it. (Or hear about it - he was still a baby.)
  2. He invented paintball, but unfortunately did not have the wherewithal to patent the game. Oh well.
  3. He fell through the ice on a snowmobile - and only managed to break back through as his breath was running out.
  4. He has ridden an ostrich.
  5. He has watched more hours of Little House on the Prarie than most dads.
  6. He is the best turtle catcher EVER!
  7. He went waterskiing with his dog.
  8. He has purchase and driven more Buick Road Masters than ANYONE at any age.
  9. Gotten out of more speeding tickets than anyone I know. (Favorite - Got a speeding ticket in a speed trap in the morning. Pulled over in same speed trap a few hours later - different cop. "What kind of idiot do you think I am - I know there's a speed trap here I have a ticket from this morning. This is a rental car - must be broken." Not only does cop not give him another ticket - he rips up the first one. And just to clarify, nothing was wrong with the car.
  10. Has made loads of the best banana bread that never even get a chance to cool - YUM!
  11. He can cook a whole chicken on 13 charcoals. Maybe less. But he's got it down to science and he's very good at it.
  12. He sometimes starts a sentence with, "I saw on Oprah the other day..." and then has to admit that he watches Oprah (occasionally).
  13. He made bulgogi a household menu item. (Thanks Aunt Sandy for passing it on!)
  14. He has served more turkey dinners than his years suggest - time of year is not important, just food, family and friends - that's all the occasion you need!
  15. He racked up miles hauling kids to practice...
  16. He sent 3 daughters to Mac where they got a great education. And he financed it by selling used access flooring - if that's not a niche market, I don't know what is.
  17. He is a master road tripper - I don't even want to know how many hours straight he has driven with his sleeping family in the back (of the Buick Road Master, of course).
  18. Who needs a dune buggy? Picture this - Buick Road Master with two kids in the car topper, three sitting on the open back edge with legs dangling off, and driver and passenger each sitting in the window sill. On cruise control being driven by Dad's foot.
This is just scratching the surface of what my father has done in his life, and what makes him such an amazing person. I am so lucky to have him in my life as a father and a grandpa to Simon (who we believe attempted to sing Happy Birthday on Skype today).

Happy 60th Dad - I love you!

Simon dressed up for Grandpa's birthday and we even had some cake!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Links, links, rechts

Links, links, rechts! Links, links, rechts! Zeit! (Left, left, right! Left, left, right! Time!)

I felt like I was in boot camp tonight as I embarked on my Probestraining (trial training) at a local boxing studio. After having a baby and moving to Germany, I am looking for ways to get back into shape, and boxing sounded different and exciting. So a few weeks ago I dropped by the studio and talked to the owner (in German) about the Fitnessboxing Kurs. In my halting German, I understood it to be somewhat like Tae-Bo, but a little less perky…

When I walked into the studio tonight I caught the last few minutes of the previous course. I was already a little intimidated to be in this group setting when my German isn’t very good, and then I heard Herr Trainer barking orders. Yikes! (Here I must tell you that I have a theory about yelling in foreign language – probably German in particular. When you don’t understand exactly what’s going on, it’s easy to imagine things much worse than they are. I will take my in-laws as an example. As I don’t really understand much Swedish, there have been many times when yelling is taking place at the Oppenheimer household, and I misunderstand it for much more than it is, imagining great feuds and family turmoil. It's usually just talking, according to my husband.)

I digress – back to boxing. We started by jumping rope for about 10 minutes. Sounds simple enough, but it was easy to pick out the Anfangers (beginners) – our feet kept getting in the way. The next hour was filled with boxing, sit-ups, push-ups, and sprints –with Herr Trainer barking orders (I just followed the other Anfangers). Needless to say, it was nothing like Tae-bo and I think I will be hurting tomorrow. Despite Herr Trainer’s less than amiable demeanor, I think I will try to give it another shot. Maybe there is a little boxer in me…