Monday, September 30, 2013

31 Days of going outside

I decided to participate in this little experiment to maybe start a new routine where the goal is to get me out of the house more.
 I am a total homebody, I don't really feel the need to go outside at all except to go to the store or the Dr. but I do know that it's better to leave the house and go out in the fresh air every once in a while so my plan is to make sure I get dressed and put on makeup everyday.
I will count going to the grocery store but I do want to do other things also and maybe get into the routine of going outside everyday. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Grandpa & Grandma came to town

A couple of weeks ago Grandma Beloli and Grandpa Thom came to visit us in crazytown and it was a really nice visit with lots of shopping and good food.

 Poor Opa Thom had to sit in so many cafe's while we ran from store to store but we had fun and finally met my shopping stamina match in Beverly.

Oma couldnt believe how big her Joshua got but he has gotten as big as his grandma. 

Joshua & Opa
We were all sad when they left and hope that the next visit doesn't take that long between visits.
Oma and Opa made Joshua the best Birthday present ever and I promised to take pictures of the man cave. 

Of course having a tv in his room means I see him even less now but he is happy so I'm happy

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Having fun like a 1 year old

I love taking Mia to the Playground even though I am bored a lot of times I just love to see how much fun she has.

She does not like getting her hands dirty

It's getting colder out and I can definitely feel Fall coming which means being in the house more and results in a crazy kid that gets into trouble whenever she is bored. She is such a cheerful little girl and makes me so happy everyday.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Hallway Disaster

Don't you just love projects that come together really easy and exactly like you wanted it to? Yeah me neither. This was a typical example of wanting to do something quick and everything going to shit while at it. I decided that I would hang the lamp myself because i had never done it and I wanted to learn but thankfully for me my neighbor decided to do it and saved me from a probable house fire. I have been wanting to hang this picture up for a while and this spot was perfect for it just not in white so I still had some dark grey left from the bathroom and just slapped that on. of course without taping anything off first so I spent some time cleaning up afterwards.\

 As you can see with every project  that I do I have Helpy Helperton right in the middle of everything making a mess but she is going to be a big Diy if I have any say in it.
I bought this little lamp a couple of weeks ago and I have been driving it around for a couple of weeks now and finally hung it up yesterday but that is what short circuited and blew the fuses in the kitchen and hallway, after that I had to restart the T.V, Microwave and refrigerator about 5 times and almost eltrocuted my neighbor. 
We found out afterwards that we do not have a switch to turn the light on so I have to screw the lightbulb in and out till the electrician gets here on monday. 
I had to hang 106 little dangly crystals that I dropped about 20 times off the top of the ladder.

 The picture is from our friend Thommy Mardo who has so many pictures I would love to buy, I have always liked the pictures of different doors so when he had taken a picture of Doors in Mannheim I had to have it and I love it.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Stories of Dad

Last week on September 7, 2013, my Dad Leonard Earl Detwiler passed away unexpectedly at  the way too young age of 71. I wanted to honor him by telling stories and reading other peoples' memories of him, and it has really helped to read and to look at the pictures this week that friends and family have sent. Thank you to everyone who took the time to write and send pictures; there are some that are really hilarious but all of them are wonderful memories.

When we were growing up, we had quite a few station wagons. This particular time, we had a HUGE green station wagon that has since burned to the ground! Well, we used to all go to the woods in Heidelberg and go sledding on Christmas Eve morning. One day we went up the mountain in this station wagon and it did pretty well in the Snow. We spent a couple of hours sledding and walking in the woods. It was a beautiful day! When we returned to the car, it had slid down the road from its original parking space and just stopped along the side of the road. I remember that, in his paranoia, Len blamed it on the Germans. He said someone must have driven by and given it a shove down the road. Most likely, it just didn't have snow tires and slid on its own. 

One really annoying thing he used to do was, when he was an umpire for any type of sport, especially softball or baseball, he would just randomly walk into the infield in between innings and stare into the sky as if he was looking at something. It would get all the spectators and players looking up into the sky at nothing. He wasn't looking at anything in particular; he was just trying to see how many people he could get to look up with him, I guess.

I remember when mom and Len first married and we lived in Sharpe Army Depot in Stockton, CA. I used to tell Len to stop growing so I could marry him when I grew up. I was about 7 then and I told him that if he slept with books at the end of his feet that the books would keep him from growing any taller. I guess we didn't have to worry about that! I remember mostly that he was always there at everything we did, either as a spectator or a referee. We used to officiate volleyball games together.  He also used to tell me that if I ever stopped talking, my tongue would beat my brains out.  I guess I talked a lot. . . . . .When I think about these memories, I think about how much grief I gave him during my teen years. I hope that eventually he only remembered the good things.

Hi Julia, I do recall a few funny things that I remember about life with Len:
  1. His bright purple pickup truck with a stuffed Barney on the dashboard.  (Remember that annoying purple dinosaur?)
  2. In Utah, we went to the commissary at Hill AFB and Len was wearing bright pink shorts (I thought they belonged to Pam)
  3. In Canton, he used to have a piece of crap work truck that had rust holes in the floor and you could see the road.  The radio didn't work.  The windshield wipers didn't work.  The chassis was rusted so much that the truck bed collapsed forward and was pinched against the truck cab.  The windshield was cracked.  The tires were bald.  The brakes were bad. He was later given a ticket for an unsafe vehicle and he took the truck to the junk yard.
  4. He used to come home from the steel mill in the winter time and the driveway would be icy.  He would run that junky truck up the driveway for 20 minutes trying to get it to the garage.  I would hear those tires spin and spin and spin and think "when is he just gonna park on the street?"  But we know Len, and he would never give up until he got the truck in the garage and he would storm into the house madder than a hornet.....:-)
  5. He was trying to install  a shower insert one Saturday morning and I awoke to the gentle sounds of his fussing......I walked into the bathroom where he was working and he had cut no less than 9 holes in the shower panel (he needed 3 holes).  The new panel insert was ruined and after he calmed down, he realized he would need to call a friend and have them install a new shower insert.
  6. We would spend time watching football and he would complain about every play.  Apparently his referee days never left him.
  7. He had a love for animals.  In Utah, he stopped one time to rescue a baby kitten that, in his words; "was being attacked by a bird".    
Serious memories of Len
  1. He had a desire to accomplish.  He gave 110 percent in everything he did.
  2. He enjoyed helping others.  Look around.  He has helped us all in many, many ways.
  3. He had a sincere love of family.  He loved the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. (No names please.....:-))
  4. He loved the outdoors.  We were headed to work one morning in Utah and the sun was rising on the mountains nearby and they had a bit of snow on them.  He looked over and said "I never get tired of looking at those mountains.  They are beautiful".  He was content and I knew the Chief really enjoyed his time in Utah.
  5. He was the most avid reader I ever met.  He would spend hours reading and would read through books in a day or two.
  6. My most precious memories were when we would spend time at the kitchen table just talking.  He would have a cup of coffee and we would talk about everything under the sun.  He had phenomenal intelligence and a photographic memory.     

One thing I keep hearing in my head, which makes me laugh about Len and which I will always remember: Whenever someone asked him how he was doing he always responded with "Fair to Midlen". Well, I have to believe he is somewhere now having a "Fair to Midlen Day".


When Mom, Gert and I visited your family in Germany we had the best time.  Len was so happy to show us around- travelling to France, Luxemburg and all of Germany.  We stopped for a wine and cheese lunch next to a mountain stream (one of the pictures), had many a beer (at the time they had a beer dispenser like a pop machine at a military hotel that we stayed at).  We trekked up to Neuschwanstein Castle which was awesome and stopped at a hunting lodge/restaurant.  We totally enjoyed his knowledge of the German language and customs.  We were often mistaken for German citizens as tourists would come up to us to ask questions!  We walked a trail in a park and Len read all of the identifying signs for us.You were so cute and your mom, Gaby, was very hospitable to us treating us to a European breakfast.  Your grandparents prepared a dinner for us which included white asparagus.   We shopped til we dropped with your Mom- she knew the best of everything.  We also enjoyed time with John and Sandy. When we were relaxing at your home Len loved to throw in the video of "Airplane".  He could recite the dialogue almost word for word.  We loved his sense of humor!  He was a master at card games and we would still owe him if we had been playing for money as he was that good!

When Len was 4 years old we lived next to a car repair garage owned by Stan Freeman.  Len was wearing a pair of shoes that he called patent leather.  He told Stan that they were leather on top and "my feet were pattin' on the bottom!"  What a hoot he was from early on!

Julia as you know your dad and I were very close friends in Germany and remained close friends as the years rolled by with distance between us. We did a lot of things together in Germany and other European Countries, here is one of my favorites. In the mid-80's your dad and I were attending a military function for some British Officers at a British Officers Club near Monchengladbach, Germany. Len and I were having a beer at the bar and Len got everyone's attention at the bar and said he wanted to propose a toast to the Queen. A lot of cheers arose from those sitting at the bar and Len said loudly with his glass raised high "I propose a toast to Her Majesty The Queen--may God SHAVE the Queen". Some small applause was heard and one of the senior British Officers walked up to Len and politely said "excuse me, it's supposed to be God save the Queen", Len replied to the guy "really, have you seen her lately"? So ended the conversation and the guy just walked away. At the time I was 6 ft tall, 190 lbs and in excellent shape plus I used to coach boxing in the Army and Len knew I had his back. Len just looked at me and smiled that special Len smile and I laughed the rest of the evening. Now some 30 years later I still smile about how smoothly he handled that and how funny it really was in that total British environment. Every moment with him was another moment of a happy life and I cherish those special memories
I’m sure we all remember his 70th birthday as the card went around the world.  We all know it was almost impossible to hide anything from him, especially when a band was setting up in the front yard.  But somehow we managed to pull it off and surprise him.  When he realized that we had all signed the card he cried tears of joy.  I think he knew at that moment just how much we all loved him.  Not saying he didn’t know before but we all need a little confirmation every now and then.  I have attached pictures from that day.

Then there was the summer of 2005 (I believe that’s what year it was) when everybody was here with their families.  Whew, mom was a nervous wreck and so worried about how Len would handle it, but as always he pulled through the madness and was the strong one.  He talked about that summer many many times over the years.
The time we had to hide it from him that we were going to Houston to pick up Julia.  I will never forget his reaction when she walked through the door.  I believe his words were, "What the hell are you doing here!"   He always had a way with words. 
I will never ever forget the time Larry came, and I didn’t even say hello to him before he jumped all over my ass about the bathing suits that had been on the back of the bathroom door for 3 years!  I guess 3 years was long enough.  Of course I got my feelings hurt and got over it.
Me and mom were talking yesterday about the first time he ever whipped Emma.  He swatted her with a rolled up newspaper (you know, like you would whip the dog) on her diaper and she screamed like he beat her.  I think it hurt his feelings more than it hurt hers. 
The love he had for not only Emma and Sarah, but for all of his children and grandchildren was amazing.  I know he didn’t say it often, but we all knew it.  I’m sure we have all heard this a few times…make your own path in life.  So many things he said; he would tell Emma all the time even a fish wouldn’t get caught if he kept his mouth shut.  Be a leader, do your best, be caring, and so much more.  I think he told them every day how proud he was of them.  I know he felt that way about all of us. 
Last year there were some boys on the bus picking on the girls.  I remember the girls telling them they would tell their mom and they said they aren’t worried about their mom.  I told them not to worry because paw paw would handle it.That’s one thing we all know….you didn’t mess with his family.
Anytime he would talk about any of you he would say, "I did good" or "I did something right". 


This is a pretty familiar story if you know me and you know Len.  As everyone knows, Len was in the Army for a pretty large part of his life.  Judging from all his tales and memories of the military life he was very fond of that time.  I guess it inspired me to join when I became of age.  When we moved to Louisiana our family became neighbors and friends of an F.B.I. Agent.  I decided that particular career was exotic and intriguing.  Len would often recount stories of  the intelligence aspect of the armed forces and of being a member of certain aspects of the government. So that was my plan, join the military and serve in the intelligence field and when I get out I would be able to apply to the F.B.I.  I am pretty sure that Len was excited at that and he would be proud.  I joined the army while I was still in high school and set my course to action.  I scored almost perfect on my ASVAB test and was told I could choose any job in the Army by my recruiter. So, I did just that. I made my way down to the MEPS station in New Orleans, La. and signed up. After what felt like an eternity of arguing with the recruiter who placed you in an MOS (he desperately wanted me to join the infantry) a spot "opened up" in the intelligence school and I was granted the opportunity to start on my path.  Graduation came and went and the start of my basic training had arrived.  I sold all my stuff, turned off my cell phone, canceled my insurance, etc. and arrived in New Orleans where I would depart for basic. I went through screening process again and found myself in a small room with large angry man who was an F.B.I. Agent. He was to pass me on my security clearance.  I filled out a long and arduous questionnaire, asking me all sorts of question about where I had lived, what my personal life was like, if I do drugs, etc.  When I finished I handed it to him and he began flipping through it and grumbling.  I was sweating and my throat was so dry I felt as though I swallowed a cup full of sand.  For some reason I was nervous, not because I wouldn't pass this "test" but from the whole process of having a microscope staring down on you.  After he examined  my whole "test" with disapproval he began asking some questions. They were light toss ups at first but they began to pick up in intensity and so did he. "Have you ever done any drugs Mr. Craddock?" "No," I replied."Are you lying to me Mr. Craddock?" "No," I replied.  "You better not be fucking lying to me Mr. Craddock." "I'm not" I said.  "If you're lying to me Mr. Craddock I will NAIL YOUR ASS TO THE WALL!" screamed the F.B.I. agent.  "Well I'm not" I replied.  "What if I told you I know that you are lying?"  "But I haven't" I said shaking.  "Have you ever taken any Aspirin?" "Drank any coffee?"  I had to stop myself from rolling my eyes.  I didn't respond.  He flipped back through my papers, stopped then flipped a page back.  He almost seemed to smile. His face lit up and he seemed happy compared to the previous half hour that I spent with him.  He sat up in his chair, laid the papers on the desk and crossed his fingers.  "Do you have a drinking problem Mr. Craddock?" he said with a smirk. Shock ran through my body.  For some reason this dude doesn't want me to clear this test. Why? Why is he asking me if I have a drinking problem? "No Why?"  "Well the question was, In the past 12 months how many times have you been intoxicated? You answered 7" he said.  "Well I said 7 but it was probably more like 3, I just wanted to make sure I didn't lie" I replied.  "Do you drink when you are depressed?" "No." I said, at this point I felt a little defeated like I lost and he won.  Fast forward several hours, past the hour I spent back in the room with the recruiter that I argued with the first time, who magically had a "spot open up."  Past the hours I waited to catch a ride back home.  I was pretty distraught.  I felt like I let me parents down and that Len would be pretty angry that I failed to pass clearance that he made it through without a hitch.  After arriving home I went straight to Len and Vicki's house.  I had to tell him what happened, had to tell him my side of the story.  I hoped that maybe I could fix this some way. Len and Vicki were sitting at the table like normal and they both looked a little surprised to see me.  I thought, of course they don't know what happened.  For some reason I thought that Len would have already known what happened, like he picked up some red telephone that old grizzled vets used to stay in touch.  "What happened? Vicki said, as I walked through the front door.  "I couldn't pass the security clearance" I replied.  So she offered me a seat. (and a Coke like normal) I sat and talked, I told them the whole story.  When I finished, Len asked me what job I would be doing now.  I told him "Some communication repair guy."  Len said, "That is the guy that runs around with a giant antenna strapped to his back!"  "He is the first target because he holds the radio."  "You are NOT FUCKING DOING THAT!"  I just stared at the table.  He sat silent for a long time.  I thought he was mad but he wasn't.  Len did that; he would sit quietly and think for awhile, a long while.  Two hours later he would come back and have everything mapped out, what to do next and what was going to happen.  He picked up the phone and made some calls.  Vicki and I just talked for a while.  The phone rings and all hell breaks lose.  Apparently, it was the Sergeant Major that was over the MEPS station in New Orleans.  He was playing golf and called Len from his cell phone.  I can't remember everything that was said but it started out as a normal conversation and I started out sitting calmly in a chair.  The conversation escalated into a verbal assault that basically turned this sergeant major's ear into something that comes out the end of a meat grinder. I went from sitting in a chair to pacing back and forth through the kitchen with my hand covering my face while I drenched my shirt in sweat.  Here are a few quotes from that phone call.  "THIS IS NOT THE FUCKING ARMY I LEFT"  "WHAT KIND OF SADDAM HUSSEIN SHIT ARE Y'ALL RUNNING HERE!"  "YOU AND I BOTH KNOW THAT HE DOESN'T HAVE TO JOIN YOUR FUCKING ARMY!"  He was right and I never did.  Looking back, I was stupid for thinking he would be upset at me and I wish I had his confidence in that room with that agent.  I don't know if confidence is the right word to use.  Len had an unflappable knowledge of what was right and what was wrong, what was acceptable and what wasn't, what you stand up for and what was minor details.  God help you if you tried to break that.  Maybe one day I can have half of what he had and I am grateful to just  say that I knew the man.
P.s. Len used to say a prayer  or a phrase every time he drove past a car with only one headlight. I remember seeing him do it as a kid and he would never tell me what he was saying. Does anyone know what he would recite?
 Dad with his Elvis haircut
 Dad & me 1997

 Dad & Joshua 1999
 Dad & Vicki 2011
Dad at Country Fair Lanes 1990
 Dad & Larry 1987

Dad,Vicki and me 2011
I have a lot of great memories of my dad and I had just written about things that he had taught me here.
One of the things that I don't have to question is whether or not he loved me or was proud of me. I know that without a doubt. I will miss him always and be grateful for the time that I had. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dad! How could you?

Sometimes, when you are busy living and going about your business, you forget that the life altering things that pull the carpet out from underneath you occur in a matter of minutes. When Vicki informed us this weekend that Dad was going into the hospital as a precaution and to get him stronger, my first thought was to send him something from us kids for his room to make his room nicer. I didn't want to call and bother him so I thought balloons would let him know that we were thinking of him and help him to feel better soon. About 10 hours later I received the news that Dad was gone. My first reaction was denial and disbelief. I wanted to know how and why? He was OK! The doctor said he was fine! How could this happen? I hung up and called my brother and sister and even though I cried, I felt nothing. I felt numb and totally removed from the situation and even though I knew it was true, for a little bit I could act like it didn't really happen. My birthday party was scheduled that night, but we cancelled it and just had family over and I functioned like I usually do. But as the evening wore on, I started to feel something: first my head hurt then my eyes, throat and ears, and I kept staring off onto space not following the conversation. Right before 11pm I went to bed and just wanted to sleep and the heaviness just came over me like a blanket that I welcomed. I woke up a couple of hours later and it hit me like a ton of bricks and I let it out. I cried till the next evening and that's when I realised that the pain I felt in my body and was the grief trying to get out, the grief I was holding it in. I locked myself in the house, pulled down the shades in the bedroom, unplugged the phone and let myself feel it. I cried for myself and for Vicki and my family and for my feelings of guilt and even though my step mom is devastated, she still tried to make me feel better. I decided to give myself this day of total breakdown and to try to function the next day for the family and get back to being a mom and wife and friend, but I am still missing this feeling of it being real. Dad and I had the conversation the last time I was in Louisiana, about when he dies he didn't want me to stand at his grave and feel sad. I told him I would do what I want and I am trying to respect his wishes, yet I need to say goodbye. I want to look at his things and smell his shirts; I want to sit in his spot and look at his pictures. I want to be where he was before he went to the hospital and just left us.

I am not ready to bury my dad; I thought I had more time to say everything that I wanted to say and tell him how much I love him. They are selfish reasons why I want him here I admit that, but i just want more time.

Grief is a weird thing. The whole time I was crying, I kept thinking of those stupid balloons that he was never going to get that said, "Get well soon, Dad! We love you!" with all of our names listed. If he would have just gotten those balloons, he would have known that we were all thinking of him.

This is just how I feel and does not say anything about what kind of Man he was and I will be honoring his memory this week with stories and pictures.

 I love you Dad and will miss you forever
Shit Princess Julia

Monday, September 2, 2013

what I learned this month

When you have little kids, having nice things is really hard.

Wearing leather leggings is sexy but only till you try to take them off; there is no easy way to take them off with out their taking everything down with them including, hair, your underwear and your dignity till there are twin donuts pooled around your ankles.

I function better with 6 hours of sleep than I do with 8 and definitly better when those hours are in one stretch.

The reason Zebras have stripes is to camouflage themselves in the wilderness. I am not going to elaborate; you will have to look it up yourself -- that is what google is for (and for looking at celebrities without their makeup on).
Everytime I bake I use cinnamon and someone in my family asks me if its christmas.

I am going to decorate my Christmas tree with rainbow colors on a white christmas tree that I haven't bought yet; I am already searching the internet for the perfect tree and decorations and lights.
total cost: probably 200euros and an annoyed husband
being able to have the prettiest Christmas Tree in all of Maudach: Priceless

I like to pick my toe nail polish off my toes in the tub, which looks like a rat chewed my feet when I get out and leaves flakes of red in the tub that probably also go up my private area and give me an infection but I still like to do it.

Sticking a fertilizer stick in a dead plant will not make it come back to life.

I am a mosquito ninja; I just wish I could find a way to put that on my resume.

"I tried to carry the weight of the world but I only have two hands" is my favorite song lyric this month. I think I will make that into a sign.

Dr. Ruth was a scout and a sniper in the war until she got critically injured.

There is such a thing as a cup for women's privates for martial arts and it looks huge. I don't know who has a vagina that big but maybe it's better that I don't know.

I am sure I learned more than this but this is what came to mind; I think next month I will write it down so I remember it better.