Dec 31, 2014

No resolutions this year

Well, Christmas has come and gone.  Here it is New Year's Eve.  I've been on vacation from work since 12/23 and spent my time off, visiting my family in Sherrill, New York and generally loafing around the house.  My Christmas was really nice.  I got some really nice gifts for Debbie and she got me some beauties as well.  The best gifts from here, were my new gun cabinet, my Brother's of Bushcraft knife, my Suunto compass and Mr.Beer Beer Kit (I'm looking forward to brewing my own).  All, are great things.  I'll have to post some pictures and reviews once I get out and use them.

If you know me, only by reading this blog, you'd think that everything in my life was just about perfect.  I tend to post, only positive things here; not the negative.  I have a great job, I'm in a healthy relationship, I have lots of freedom to do things that interest me.  But the truth is, my job is stressing me out beyond belief.  I got promoted from Supplier Quality Manager to Quality Assurance Manager, and that has brought a ton of increased and sudden responsibility. I think the people I manage hate me, and I haven't worked less than 60 hours/week since I got the promotion, a couple months ago.   My nights are always the same, tossing and turning fretting about what I may have missed or what issues at work, I may not be handling in the best way. I eventually fall asleep and wake up unrested and stressed out, before I even get my first cup of coffee.  But, hey, it's gotta get better right?  My relationship is good, I'm with a great girl, but I still have regretful dreams, about my x-wife, that torture me throughout the next day.  At the same time, I proposed to my girlfriend last year and then backed out of it, because I don't know what I want in a relationship anymore.  And lastly, as for all that freedom I have:  I have the freedom to do what I want, when I want to, but nothing interests me the way it used to.  My photography has dropped me into an eternal rut, where I have no interest in capturing scenes like I used to, what's more; blog about it.  My interest in mountainbiking has virtually evaporated, leaving me with great bikes to ride but no ambition to actually get on one and start pedaling.  Even my urge to hunt has subsided.  I only got out hunting two or three times this season.  So what AM I doing these days?  Drinking beer and binge-watching TV series.  This is about it.  Something's gotta change, but lately, I don't have the motivation to apply any effort to that end.

Don't get me wrong; I'm am thankful for what I have and how my life is going.  I'm just not sure that my life is going the way its supposed to.  I'm glad I'm healthy, I'm glad I'm successful.  I'm glad I live in the US.  But, is this it?  Is there something else I'm supposed to be doing that might make me truly happy?

With 2015 coming for me in the morning, I suppose I should think about what I'm going to resolve to do in this great new year ahead of me.  Although, to be honest, who ever sticks with their resolutions?   Not me.   Looking back, through my blog, I see that I always seem to post the same thing on New Years Eve:  Lose weight, ride more, push myself creatively.  This year, I don't think I'm going to resolve to do anything.  What's the point, if you never stick to it? So this year's resolution is, to just keep hanging in there.

Dec 24, 2014

I'm baaaaack.

Well, I'm back in the US.  I got back on the 15th, but have been too busy to blog.  Life has just been so busy lately.  I never mentioned that I got a promotion a couple of months ago.  So now I'm the Quality Assurance Manager.  I'm happy about it, but its been a hell of a chance.  My scope of work is much larger now, and I have a lot of direct reports to manage.  Hopefully, things will settle down.  It's been 60 hour work weeks since I got the promotion and I feel like I'm drowning.  Ugh.  Anyway, it's good to be back.  Germany was amazing and I'm so thankful that I got the opportunity to go and experience another great part of Europe.  I made a friend over there, that I'm sure will come visit this spring/summer.  I have a lot of photos to process from my trip, namely my Alpine photos I took on the free weekend I had over there.  There's just no time these days!  Here it is, Christmas Eve already!

Dec 11, 2014

Manikins in Munich

Happened upon this store while waiting for my laundry to dry this weekend in Munich. Creepy. Cool. Wish I could have gotten inside for some more interesting shots!

Dec 8, 2014

Munich Graffiti

Saturday morning, I had to wash my laundry, which was a fun experience in and of Itself. I'm no stranger to the use of laundromats. I used my phone to locate the nearest one, which was only a few kilometers away, and then drove myself there in the car I borrowed from my company. (Have I mentioned that I work for a great company?) While my clothes were washing, I took a walk around the neighborhood, and soon found myself under a main thoroughfare snapping photos of some funky graffiti. I could not stay long. I had to get back to grab my clothes out of the drier, but here are some photos I took, Saturday morning, before I drove up into the Alps ...

Dec 5, 2014


As I write this, I'm sick as a dog.  Not from consuming ungodly amounts of German beer (Don't be silly).  No, I'm ailing from a persistent head cold that launched its attack on Day 1, and has developed into a true source of anguish.  Nevertheless, I'm trying to keep my ailing from ruining my ale-ing; so to speak.  Though I don't believe it's working too well.  My throat is absolutely killing me and although, I'm not a doctor, I believe drinking tall beers may not be the best way to boost my immune system.  I've been so busy lately, that I just haven't had time to get to a pharmacy to find medicine, and like Carly Simon, I simply haven't got time for the pain.

...Sing it Carly.

So, yeah, I'm sick, but I'm still having a great time in Munich.  A couple of nights ago, one of my Munich colleagues took me and another QA Manager (from Knorr's facility in Ankara, Turkey) out to dinner at the infamous Hofbräuhaus.  Goodness, it was a great time!  Perhaps a bit of a tourist trap for the locals of Munich, but a great experience nonetheless.  I ordered the crispy pig knuckle and washed it down with a few blonde beers.  Our appetiser was a soft cheese mixture, spread across homemade bread and pretzels.  Soooo good!  The locals keep their beer steins locked up on-site at the Hofbrauhaus.  Not only do they keep their mugs there, but they have their own tables; marked by signs which read "Stammtisch" meaning something to the effect of "This table belongs to the Jingleheimer-schmidt family" for example.  This is good to know, so as to avoid unknowingly sitting at John Jacob's table.

Dec 2, 2014

Poppin' pils (pilsners)

Didn't get too much sleep last night.  Sometimes I have a hell of a time trying to sleep in hotel rooms.  Last night, was one of those times.  I flipped and flopped all night and when the alarm went off at 7:00am, I knew it would be a long day.  Although I have to say, today I met a really awesome person who showed me some tools available to me, that I hadn't known about before.  Hooray for colleagues!  And so I suffered through the day, sleepily, yet attentive and was happy to be out of the office a little after 5:00.  Again, I ditched my work gear, grabbed my camera and took the U-bahn a couple stops down the line to explore what is local to me.  What I found, was an olympic swimming pool, the BMW Museum, and some amazing pizza.  I ordered the quattro fromaggio and washed it down with a few delicious pilsners.  Also; note to self:  Do not order a "raddler", ever again.  These, I found out, are light beers, mixed with grapefruit soda... like a shandy.  Yuck.

I also happened across the Olympic Tower in Olympic Park.  You can't miss it.  Although, due to the crumby weather, I could barely see the top of it.  The weather, here, has been dark and dreary since I arrived.  Tomorrow is day 3 and I still have not seen the sun shine.

Toad-licking bunnies

While walking around christkindlmarkt, last night, I couldn't help but notice this kitschy, yet interesting, stuffed animal scene.  Do not ask me why there are so many rabbits, some of which are licking toads.  It could be some sort of homage to Bavaria's legendary Wolpertinger...  Regardless, it reminded me of the displays in the Macy's windows of NYC.  

Dec 1, 2014

Christkindlemarkt & wiener schnitzel

Today’s training (The reason I'm here in Munich) was fun andinformative. I met some great colleagues who, I'm sure, will be helpful with issues I have to deal with in the future. My training ended around 4:30 and after tackling several emails, I was out of the building by 6:00, and on my way back to the hotel. I quickly ditched my work gear, changed clothes, grabbed my camera and headed down to Marienplatz; the center of Munich. 

When I got off the U3 U-bahn at the Marienplatz station, I emerged to find Christkindlmarkt fully underway and I meandered through the little Christmas booths admiring the ornaments and Christmas wares. The market itself, is much larger than I had imagined. People drank hot cocoa, beer, and other beverages out of ceramic mugs while they enjoyed the night. The new town hall (“new”, though built between 1867 & 1908) with its majestic decor loomed high above everybody below. What a beautiful city.

I wandered the streets, taking snapshots of this & that until I realized I was hungry… or perhaps thirsty. I happened to be standing outside the Hackerhaus when I realized my thirst for an authentic German beer. So I popped inside and sat down. Looking over the menu, I swallowed my American Tourist pride and order a liter of pilsner and a plate of wiener schnitzel. I then swallowed the liter of beer.