Europe For The Senses

Author/Photographer Vicki Liston blogs on her book and some interesting places she's traveled. "Europe for the Senses - A Photographic Journal" was published under the name 'Vicki Landes'.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Time Off?? I Don't Think So...

It’s Friday. I’ve been looking forward to today for about 3 weeks now. Why? It’s the end of the fiscal year. I’ve worked like a crazy woman for the last month to get all my projects closed out and to reconcile a $2.5 million dollar budget. Not fun, let me tell you. I’ve taken off this coming Monday and Tuesday as not only a celebration for getting through September but to write some book reviews and to just get out! Here are my options for my time off:

Option 1: It’s Oktoberfest time! Tourists flock to Munich but Germans come to Stuttgart for festivities, food, and beer. Frankly, I don’t drink beer – it tastes like feet (no, I haven’t had feet but if I did, that’s how it would taste). Oktoberfest isn’t all beer, though. We go for the chicken and a chance to see our German neighbors break out of their quiet shells. The rotisserie half-chickens they serve in the big fest tents are not your everyday meal – exploding with flavor right down to the drippings left on the plate (use the hearty French fries to mop those up!). With the deafening oom-pa-pa band going on in the background, it’s an experience to remember!

Option 2: Fall Foliage Viewing. It makes me sad to see the leaves turn colors because I know winter’s just around the corner…and we’d finally shaken him only a short time ago! If it’s sunny this weekend, I’ll drive out of Stuttgart on Autobahn 8 and take in the colors. Lake Starnberg is about 1.5 hours away and is where ‘Mad’ King Ludwig and his physician were both found dead…and the circumstances are still considered ‘mysterious’. There’s an iron cross in the lake where their bodies were found. Yes, a little morbid but I don’t think there’s a better time to photograph this spot – dying leaves, cool fall day, and a silent remembrance of Germany’s most eccentric king.

Option 3: Veg. If the weather isn’t good, I was planning on holing up at home with some books and homemade bruschetta. I’ll have some Enya going in the background and light all the candles in the house. Maybe take a nap, too…

So what will it be, you ask?? None of the above, actually! An option 4 has presented itself:

Option 4: My husband goes to the hospital in an ambulance where they find three kidney stones. During a second x-ray session, one of the stones starts moving and he gets whisked off to surgery. I get to eat a cold flammkuchen (kind of like pizza bread) I bought from the main train station’s bakery while the pizza pocket I bought for my ailing husband gets colder on the table. And that book I brought to keep occupied? I finished that hours ago…

Option 4 it is. Surgery took an hour and they were able to remove one of the stones. Rob will stay at the hospital for observation and pain meds. They’ll do another ultrasound session on Monday to try and break up the remaining stones into smaller pieces. I spent six grueling hours at the hospital today and foresee some very long days ahead…

So, the moral of the story is: when life hands you kidney stones, bring along a deck of cards and have some laughs. You can always plan again.


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