Meet our latest addition to the family!

Heidi Ho Johnson has been with us since February of 2015, although she was born on November 13, 2014. We got her from a Mennonite near Lancaster, PA. At the time of posting this, she has recently turned 1. She is a tri-colored Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Heidi is a nice little lady who loves to play with balls, sticks, cardboard boxes, and rope toys. When she is really playful she will do this specific weird growl, it’s pretty cute…can sometimes a little loud and silly. If she wants something she will do these quiet little “moof” sounding noises (it’s her barking when she’s too lazy to open her mouth). It also signals she is too lazy to get a toy that she wants, generally when it’s less than a foot away from her.  She has lots of friends, dogs and humans alike. Her best friend, and possibly boyfriend from down the street, is a fluffy small mix of things named Hobbs. They visit each other almost daily.

In other Heidi skills, she is a talented cricket and bug catcher. She likes to play with them but always ends up killing them…good for bedroom bugs, though. Sometimes she goes straight for the kill and eats them. She once caught a bird who was trapped in our Odenton apartment’s stairwell…I made her let go of it, though. She enjoys going on walks and sniffing poop. She is not a great swimmer yet, but we’re working on it. Currently, she knows fetch, catches balls, shakes your hand (though you have to get really low to the ground for her to reach), stay, come, drops and leaves “it” (moderately successful depending on what she finds), sit, show me your belly, roll over, lie down. I think that’s all. She is a great addition to the family and is very sweet. She is long, soft, super fluffy around the collar, and very short. She also does a fine job of hogging the bed at night. Here is her first year of life with us.

Moving down the road

We are at a new apartment now, still in Maryland. It is much bigger and we got a heck of a deal since half of the building burnt down and our apartment was not renovated yet. It is still very nice and it has a loft too.

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State Park Biking and Beer Day

Justin and I don’t go to too many super fascinating places here in Maryland, especially compared to the last few years of living in Europe. Therefore, I will sometimes post unnecessary things to remind you all that we are still alive and try to occasionally do things…though they are nothing compared to the past, they are something.

A week or two ago (?) the weather was finally favorable and I decided on biking to the BWI airport loop (a bike path about 11 miles long) only a couple miles to get there from my apartment. I got caught in a downpour for about 10 minutes and somewhere along the way to the path took a wrong turn and realized I was closer to the Patapsco State Park than the airport, so I decided to go bike there. I found a secluded spot and took a wee dip in the river there, just behind the Bloede Dam (which I read has plans to be removed soon, sadly). Anyways I walked around the fishes and found a rock to sit and dip my tootsies while enjoying the seclusion and nature. Luckily Justin came to pick me up, otherwise I would have a lot of extra biking to do to get back.

Another outing was last Saturday the 22nd. Justin’s work colleague won a radio contest to a brewery bus tour thing in Louden County, Virginia (near Dulles). They did not want to go and passed the tickets along to these two young single guys (also colleagues). One had family coming in town and the other had to work, so the tickets got passed from them to Justin and myself. So we had a full day of free drinks and food…good fun.

I can’t find my pictures of my bike ride…hmm…where are they?

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Altdorfer Art

The large painting The Battle of Alexander at Issus is a 1529 oil painting by the German artist Albrecht Altdorfer. I saw it the last time I went to Munich and took a picture. Fast forward a few years and I got a puzzle of it  out of the blue-random find at Half Price Books. I recognized it and looked through my old photos I took at museums, and it turns out I had indeed seen it and it was one of a few pictures I took at that particular museum. Nifty.

Munich-v-Puzzle

New York Road Trip plus Minnesota

Justin took a week off work and we (along with Jessica) took a road trip up north to the state of New York. Outside of the fact that I drove all but about one hour of the NY bit of the trip, it was quite enjoyable. Let’s begin.

As we passed through Pennsylvania we stopped at the Indian Echo Caverns in Hershey and the Tröegs Brewery for a giant pretzel and beers. The brewery is set up very much like one would find in Germany with lots of packed community tables and a wonderful menu with lots of traditional fare. Past Pennsylvania’s capitol building and onward towards Ithaca and finally to a hotel by late evening.

The area surrounding Ithaca is full of parks and waterfalls, some of which you can swim in…though there had recently been some rain and they closed most of the swimming areas, sadly. After a few hours of waterfall sights we drove north again through the finger lakes region. We knew of a woolly mammoth sculpture someone made and put on a plot of land near one of the lakes, which we found without too much trouble. We drove some more to Syracuse where we attended a Polish festival and ate some brats and streudel and drank some beer. We drove a bit more north and found a hotel to stay at.

We drove to Boldt castle on Heart Island in the Thousand Lakes region of NY. We had to take a ferry to the island, which houses an in-progress renovation of this castle Mr. Boldt made for his wife around 1900. They let you explore the entire property and every room, which was pretty nice. Ferried back to the mainland and continued our journey, now east, through the Adirondacks towards Lake Placid. Now, I chose Lake Placid due to the movie, which I know was not filmed there. Apparently it was also the location for two winter Olympics, which Jessica particularly enjoyed. We walked along their main stretch and enjoyed views of the lake adjacent. It decided to storm so we swam in our hotel’s indoor pool and later went out for ice cream.

The next morning Justin and I hung out at the lake’s beach area while Jessica went to the Olympics museum. Then we headed to Ausable Chasm where we harnessed up and did an obstacle course over the rushing waters of the chasm and later hiked. The obstacles included a rope ladder, a couple of zip lines, tight rope, bridge with few planks making it tricky to get across, and some chasm wall climbing. It was pretty neat. After a few hours of that we drove to Saratoga Springs for dinner and then a long drive back to Maryland. We returned to our apartment around 2:30 in the morning and slept in and took it easy the next day.

On Wednesday we hopped a flight to Minneapolis. We nearly missed our flight as the taxi never showed up. We barely made it. When we arrived in the Minneapolis we took the metro to downtown and met up with Justin’s sister in law Erin, who then drove us all to her house. Most of our few days in Minneapolis consisted of hanging out with family at the house. Deb and Rick drove up with Coleden (Jerrod’s son). We did take a day trip to go up to Duluth, where we visited their maritime museum, walked the pier to a light house, and picnic’d on the yard. After wandering their downtown a bit we headed back to Minneapolis. Justin flew back to Baltimore while Jessica, Coleden, and I hitched a ride back to KC with Deb and Rick.

Lots of pictures, so sit back, relax, and enjoy!

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Jessica Visits in May Long Weekend

Jessica has been nearing the end of work before med school in North Dakota, so she came to visit for a long weekend. I feel like we didn’t get too much accomplished, but we didn’t really have anything in particular to accomplish. She arrived on a Wednesday night.

On Thursday she and I went to Ft. Meade and wandered around Burba Lake and then went to the Ft. Meade Museum (which was small but a nice overview of the base with some neat artifacts). We got some groceries and later lounged at the apartment pool.

Friday we went to 6 Flags outside of DC with Justin and his work mates. We drove around our neighborhood and found some sea food.

Saturday we drove up to the Civil War Medical Museum in Frederick, MD. The town itself was bustling with lots of independent businesses. After the museum we went the Sharpsburg, MD where were wandered around the battlefield and cemetery areas of Antietam. We then went back into Frederick to get some classy cupcakes and deserts to celebrate Jessica’s bday.

Sunday we went to the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. Wow what a difference Baltimore is in the summer! It looks beautiful and there are activities and life everywhere. We got lovely views of the city on Federal Hill and we paddled around the harbor on a purple dragon. Can’t be beat.

On Monday Jess and I went to the National Cryptologic Museum outside of NSA. It was terribly informative and neat per usual. Then we picked up Justin and went to Patapsco Park where we walked around on the path and bridge to kill some time before her flight. Then we dropped Jess off at the airport. Her flight was delayed and eventually cancelled. We picked her up about 6 hours after we dropped her off. She flew out successfully the next morning.

I am waiting for Justin to send me a few photos from his phone so I can complete this post…it is taking him weeks! I will update this as soon as I can, but for now I’ll go ahead and post it.

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