Friday, May 25, 2007

I'm off to see castles!

I’m still planning on leaving for Germany this weekend. Best Friend and I are going to try to catch the Saturday afternoon flight into Munich. Sunday’s flight has far more empty seats, so who knows exactly how it will turn out. One thing is for certain: I am going to Munich and I can’t wait until I get there! The uncertainty of how and when is part of the fun. I think that I have come to embrace that fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants aspect of my life. I feel so free!

I have so much planned in the short time I will be there and I hope that I get to do it all. I want to see and experience as much as I can. I want to watch all the dreams in my head transform into reality right before my eyes. There are many places that are my dream to visit, but among this list, Bavaria, Germany rates first.

Someone asked me what draws me to a certain place and why Germany was at the top of my list.

I’m almost embarrassed to admit how my fascination with Bavaria began. It actually exposes a geeky side of me that I never knew existed. I fell in love with Bavaria through a computer game I once played! I know! I, the girl who has had no interest whatsoever in video games since Atari, fell in love with a computer game! Let’s say it all at once and get it out of our system… “Geek Girl!!”

My ex and I used to have our own computer store. There was this guy who always loved to come in and talk us to death. One day he brought in this game that caught my attention. It was called, Gabriel Knight 2, The Beast Within. Here’s a description I found online of the game:

The Beast Within" is a direct sequel to Sins of the Fathers, the first in the "supernatural mystery" adventure series that tells us the story of a bookstore owner and writer Gabriel Knight, the last offspring of generations of "Schattenjaegers" (shadowhunters), whose task is to fight the evil forces that abound in the world. After leaving New Orleans, Gabriel moves to the Ritter Castle in Bavaria, Germany, his family heritage. One day, a group of peasants approach the castle, and the elder tells you about a terrible death of a little girl, who was killed by a vicious wolf. Suspecting the wolf could be a supernatural creature, the peasant asks you, the Schattenjaeger, to purge the evil. The investigation brings Gabriel and his assistant Grace Nakimura to the mysterious Hunter Society and to Bavaria's dark past.

The game tied in historical facts about King Ludwig II , his fairytale castle Neuschwanstein, and his obsession with the composer Richard Wagner, and his mysterious death as well as information about the Munich area. The game was almost like watching a movie. I saw beautiful shots of the Alps, downtown Munich including the Marienplatz, Ludwig’s castles, and the medieval style towns surrounding the area.

So let’s see… You combine this history with scenic pictures along with the supernatural tales of werewolves and make it into a mystery to solve and it’s no wonder why I became hooked. I did solve the mystery, by the way. Sure I might have been turned werewolf a few times before I made it, but eventually I made it out of Germany alive. Plus I discovered that King Ludwig was bitten by a werewolf on one of his midnight sleigh rides and turned mad and then later drowned himself in a lake. That’s what happened, folks, just so y’all know. Plus I saved the greater Munich area from the dangers of werewolves. I rocked!

I later followed Gabriel Knight in Game 3 to France to solve some mystery about the Holy Grail and vampires, but I never finished it. It was his stay in Bavaria that never left my mind.

After researching these beautiful places I saw in Bavaria, I knew I had to go there for real. And now I am.

As I said before, I hope to explore all the places on my list. I will cherish every moment of the time I have there. And of course, come back with tons of pics and tales of adventure to share with you all.

Until then, Auf Wiedersehen!

Monday, May 21, 2007

It's alive! IT'S ALIVE!!!

I made an important discovery this weekend. It happened while talking on the phone with a good friend of mine. It had been a while since I’d last spoken with this friend and we were having a great time catching up. I was excitedly chatting away about recent happenings and my upcoming trip when something nearly choked me up. You see, I heard a familiar voice in the background of her phone. It was her neighbor. It was someone that was once special to me.

At first my heart sank. Then as I heard the voice clearer, my stomach dropped. Then I heard his laughter. For a moment I thought I felt a lump developing in my throat. I have no idea why. This person and I were never in a very serious relationship. In fact, the time we spent together was limited. Despite that, I felt differently about him than I did about all the others. I don’t know how. I only know it was different. I have been able to walk away from every man I ever knew without too much trauma and he was no exception. But when I walked away from his doorstep, something felt askew. It was enough for me to pause for a moment in the middle of his driveway and do a half-turn back. Of course, I stopped myself, shrugged off that feeling and mumbled something to the effect of, “Whatever. Screw him, too.” And I forgot about him just like I did everyone else. ...Until that moment I heard his voice.

This sounds like a bad thing, right? Well sure, it is never great to feel a bit of sadness, but at least I felt something. It seems that my heart is not as dead as I had thought. Now don’t get me wrong…I’m not a mean person. It’s just that death and divorce and a few breakups scattered into the mix has left me with an armored wall built around my heart. It seems that everyone I love leaves in some way, whether by death or some other means. I have learned to appreciate those I love while they are still here, but rarely let anyone new come into my life. I am untrusting and sometimes cold when it comes to meeting men. I don’t let them get very deep into my heart (just in case they disappear) and I tend to move forward very quickly with an alarmingly low amount of care about it. I have been told by a few that I have a nonattachment issue that can rival even the most noncommittal, wishy-washy man.

So with that being said, I think that what I felt when I heard that voice is a big deal. My heart is alive! It’s truly alive! That little twinge of pain, that brief moment of grief, that—dare I say it?regret breathed a bit of life into the deepest part of my heart. For about 10 seconds I wondered if I had left more than just a few harsh words behind on his doorstep on that cold day.

…And then I said, "screw it" again and went out with someone else that night. I might have felt a little something, but it was nothing that a little snogging* couldn’t remedy. Hey, my heart may be dysfunctional but at least I know it works!

By the way, it's LESS THAN A WEEK until I leave for Germany!!! I am certain that my lively heart will feel happy there. :D

*A special note for my “special” friend Red, just in case she is reading this: Remember, snogging does NOT mean what you thought it did! ;)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Guess where I'm going!

I am planning a trip,--a COOL trip! If everything goes according to my plan, I will be going overseas in less than two weeks. If I go, I will be making a major traveling dream of mine come true. Woo-hoo! Everyone, please keep your fingers crossed for me. That way, this blog might actually become interesting again.

This past weekend I got my International Driving Permit. Oh the crap they make you do just to get that little paper!

First, I had to drive around the Road Atlanta track on the left side of road and take the curves at 130 miles per hour. They set up an obstacle course full of foreign signs for me to follow, too! I’m sorry but in the words of Dr. Evil, I don’t speak freaky-deaky Dutch! But the worst part of all was that they actually made me convert miles into kilometers! I mean, come on people, is it too much to ask for the rest of the world to give up the Metric System for the English System?

Okay, so none of that really happened. It was much easier than that. I went to AAA with two passport sized photos, paid them some money, and they gave it to me. But I did have to wake up early on Saturday to do this. That was bad enough.

Autobahn, here I come! Oh yeeeeah!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sleepless in Atlanta

Maybe I should come up with an alliteration. "Sleepless" only goes well with Seattle. How about "Awake in Atlanta"?

'Cause that's what I am now. And I have been for days on end. Insomnia, not incredible pain or death, is what you should wish on your worst enemy. It's far crueler.

What is keeping me awake these days? Nothing! Besides being totally burned out at work (teaching at my day job for 8 hrs. without a break and then going immediately down the street to teach a class at a tutoring center and then giving a private tutoring session afterwards) all is well in my life. That's what stinks the most...if there is no cause, then there is no cure!

At least I've discovered a way to cope! Say good-bye to coffee. When you can drink a whole pot alone and do a hundred or so jumping jacks and still nearly fall asleep on your feet, I declare it highly ineffective. And Green Tea? Useless!

After experimenting with Cocaine, I found that it burns going down and does nothing for artificial alertness. I realized just how severe my condition had become when I had to resort to Cocaine for help.
Seriously, this crap burns! I have to admit that it woke me up for a few brief moments when I felt that my throat and esophogus were being eaten through by acid. Then I started nodding off again.
I am not quite sure what Taurine is (and I must admit that the last 5 letters there scare me a little) but it has 750 mg of this substance in that little can! Also, it contains 600% the RDI of Vitamin B-12. So does this mean I can skip taking my Flintstone vitamins for six days?
Luckily, I found a better alternative to my Coke habit (which had not fully formed, thank God!) Here's my new cup of life:
Ram Jam Lite! With 160 mg of caffeine, 0 carbs, and the taste of Mello-Yellow, I'm totally hooked. Well, at least for as long as I need a good jolt of awareness.
It's a shame that I have only been able to find Ram Jam in one chain of service stations. I feel sorry for all you sleepy heads who live in places without QuikTrips.
Until I find sleep, I have Ram Jam.
Maybe I should just give up energy drinks all together and invest in some Dramamine. It's apparently so effective in delivering sweet sleep to me that I barely acknowledge my best friend trying to wreck my car.
Sleep tight, all you lucky bloggers who can. You suck.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Just fishing for words

Such a slacker I have been with posting lately. My apologies to the fans who have been long awaiting a new, overdue, witty, and clever post. I can tell by the mere 5 comments that I had left on my last post, that my blog is still uber cool.

I hope that everyone will come back and forgive me for my blogging crimes. I have been busy and wrapped up in some events going on in my life right now.

First off, it is the craziest time of the school year—the end. (Thank you Jay-sus!!) The kids are off the chain and I couldn't care less. I am already done with this year, too. Only 15 more left and counting!

I have also become very involved in a new type of Hotness Plan. I decided that cardio alone is not enough so I added some weight training in to knock me off this hotness plateau that I have been stuck on for a while. I even have a personal trainer, my dear friend Super Villain! He is killing me, but I am seeing results already! Sexy abs are on the way!

Have you ever felt on the verge of something big, as if something major is about to happen? This is the place where I am right now. It’s hard for me to describe right now, but I am feeling extremely excited, nervous, and happy all at the same time. I have no idea about how anything will turn out, but I do feel good things in the near future.

One of these good things has to do with major travel plans, which if it pans out, will be an absolute dream come true for me! I can’t say any more than that. I don’t want to jinx it! (Just because I don’t believe in Karma doesn’t mean that I am not superstitious!)

I feel that I have solved something in my mind that has always troubled me. You know the old saying about “There’s plenty of fish in the sea”? It always bothered me when someone (usually me) was out there searching for a “good catch” and was told this stupid metaphor. Yes, I get the comparison. There are plenty of men out there to “catch”; there’s plenty of fish out there to catch. Still, why did it have to be stinky old fish that we are searching for? Why couldn't it be exotic birds or something? Well, I’ll tell you why…There is no other comparison truer to fishing for men than fishing for fish.

I went trout fishing this past weekend with my dad. I love that stuff. I find it fun, relaxing, and challenging, too. Trout are smart. If they see you, they don’t bite. If you throw them something suspicious or make a big splash, they disappear and they don’t quickly forget your suspicious behavior. Just like trout, men are never interested in something being dangled before their face and if they have any inkling they are about to be “hooked” they run away.

There I was standing before my favorite fishing hole that I had to wade waist deep in, skirt small waterfalls, and climb boulders and downed logs all along the Chattahoochee to get to. I saw both rainbow and brown trout chilling out under the lip of a large rock. There were trout, trout, trout! I was so excited when I cast out into the pool. There were so many that I knew I would catch at least one! Well, they chased my spinner, they watched with interest as I slowly reeled my lures right by them. I even had a nibble. But it was no use. They wouldn’t take the bait. Again, this is very similar to finding available men, teasing them, almost catching one and then realizing that even though they fool you into thinking they are interested, they really aren’t.

This leads to frustration. It even brings out a certain amount of determination within you. I mean, you were SO close, right? Keep on trying! If at first you don’t succeed…. And that is basically what I did at that fishing hole. Just seeing those trout made me really want one. I tried and I tried!

Finally realizing I was defeated and just plain irritated, I let out my signature sigh of frustration and sloshed through the water back upriver and forgot all about it and played in the waterfalls. I mean life goes on, right?

I am done with fishing. I carelessly cast my line into water that appeared to be too shallow and rapid for any fish. I was just wasting some time. Just as I had truly put it out of my mind and had truly given up, I get a bite from the most unexpected area. (Not all that much different than the guys I meet at the grocery store or bank.) Not only did I get a bite that truly excited me, but I reeled the beautiful trout in. I have him in my hands. He is mine. As I prepare to put him away into my krill, he slips out of my hands, back into the river and swims away.

It was even worse to have gotten my interest and hopes of having a “keeper” to take home with me and then see him slip away than it would have been to have never seen a damn fish all day. (Do I even need to make a man to fish comparison here?)

I noticed many other fish hiding under the bridge and beneath some rocks on my walk back to the car. Yeah, I know they are out there. I know I’ll catch one. But why did I spend the rest of my day thinking of the one that got away?

And that, my friends, is why we compare catching mates to catching fish. Fish stink. Love stinks.

But you know what the kicker of all is? Despite knowing this, I feel like I am about to reel one in. No one in particular is in mind as I say this, but it's just a gut feeling...

One more thought…I realize that I have a severe attachment to parts of my mountains here in Georgia. (Notice how I called them “my” mountains?) As I was fishing in my hole along the river, another fisherman appeared out of nowhere. I never see anyone else there, so I was taken back just a little. What made it worse was that this guy was a jerk! He stood around acting as if he were waiting for me to leave! This is terrible fishing etiquette to begin with, but his rudeness appalled me as he moved right in and began throwing his line right next to mine! He was also a very loud and splashy fisherman, too. I glared at him and he overheard me mutter beneath my breath that “Well, if there were any fish around, there aren’t now!” He muttered something back. Then I told him, “You can’t push me out of here. I was here first! You don’t own this place!” He shot back at me, “And neither do you.” How I kept myself from beating this man into a bloody pulp is beyond me and not because of his words being a classic comeback, but because I truly do believe I own everything in the Chattahoochee National Forest…It’s my Blue Ridge Mountains, my hiking trails, my forest, my river, and my fishing hole! How dare he argue that!

I gotta go before I completely transform completely into an ugly creature and people begin to call me Gollum.