Martin the American

Martin is now an American citizen. 

His naturalization ceremony took place yesterday in Cincinnati, Ohio in the beautiful Union Terminal. About a dozen friends and family attended to show support.

This happened exactly 16 years, 5 months, 28 days after Martin first met me. Whereas I was simply born on Texas soil, Martin’s path to citizenship featured lots of twists and turns, and countless delays or pauses that stretched on over the years, spanning three countries. Continue reading

TBT: Air Force Museum

Today’s #TBT photo was taken in 1988 during a visit to the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.

I’m in the center of the group in the yellow sweatshirt, and those are my cousins Holli, Brad, and Matt, and my sisters Jill and Jinger.

Of the whole group, I was the only one to fall for the indoctrination and join the service, although Holli did end up marrying an Air Force officer.

Brunch, Lunch, Snack, Dinner

I think I gained at least five pounds during our farewell tour in Cincinnati last week. And at my height, five extra pounds are so unforgiving. It was, without a doubt, the most unhealthiest visit ever. Not only did we intentionally feast on our Cincinnati favorites — cheese coneys, Graeters ice cream, etc. — but nearly every single gathering … and nearly every single meal … was out on the town for brunch, lunch, snack/coffee, or dinner. With people to see all over the place, it was just easier for work and school schedules to meet at meal times.

I guess I could have ordered salad all those times, but who in the world wants to do that?

(I don’t.) Continue reading

Our Day in Eden Park

The girls feeling the spirit with Pinocchio in front of the Cincinnati Art Museum


[dropcap style=”color: #9b9b9b;”]D[/dropcap]uring our visit to Cincinnati last week, the girls, Martin, and I went to Cincinnati’s Eden Park. My sister Jinger went with us. We visited Krohn Conservatory and the Cincinnati Art Museum, and enjoyed lunch at Mount Adam’s Bar and Grill.

As for Martin and me, this wasn’t our first trip to Eden Park. Back in August 1999, during Martin’s first visit to America to see me, we spent a full day up there.  At the time, I was not yet officially enlisted in the US Air Force, though I was scheduled to go up to MEPS the day after Martin flew back to Germany. I also had quit my job due to my impending departure, so this meant I had all the time in the world to show him around my hometown, and that day up on the hill in Eden Park was a lot of fun.

So returning there with the girls was really cool. We actually recreated some photos at certain spots, too, and they liked to hear my stories about the days I used to perform at nearby Playhouse in the Park. In the midst of all the family visits and brunches/lunches/dinners, I’m glad we made that time to sightsee and create really sweet memories with Aunt Jinger.

The Krohn Conservatory has a waterfall in it.

And birds. Some in cages. Some flying free.

Martin took this photo of me in 1999. We weren’t able to find this exact nook.

But we did find these!

They are already decorating for Christmas. The holiday displays are amazing, by the way. If you are local in Cincinnati, plan some time to go see it.

Caught taking a selfie … Usie? Yousie? You guys-ie?

In case you can’t tell by the bowl cut, I took this photo of Martin in 1999.

They didn’t have the right kind of cactus in the right location, so we improvised in nearly the same spot.

Martin had his doubts about it. So did Lola.

As he leaned down for the shot …


He realized he misjudged those spikes and actually got himself.

Miss C exercised a bit more caution, but a lot more drama.

And Lola decided the small fuzzy cacti worked just as well.

The girls completed a scavenger hunt throughout the Cincinnati Art Museum. This was our first stop.

Lola really liked the modern art exhibit. This was a multimedia piece on a loop projected on a white wall.

I loved this chair! We sat on it and became a piece of performance art as the artist intended. I want a chair like this. It forces either awkward silence … or conversation. You can see how we engaged.


The girls and I trying on different ancient Chinese hair silhouettes


We found a sculpture of Lola.


And a relative of Cleopatra.


Sorry, Kim. Ancient Romans were doing it first.

Lola producing her own artwork at lunch.


The Farewell Tour

The kids in downtown Cincinnati


Miss C and I tried to calculate how many times we made the trip out to Ohio since we first moved back to the United States in 2005. We couldn’t come up with a number, just an estimate. Between the family trips, the individual visits, and all my Air Force Reserve travel, we think the trip (from DC and back) was made between 40 to 50 times. Maybe even closer to 55 if we include the times I traveled by air. Continue reading


When I told them it would take about ten minutes to upload all of yesterday’s images on my laptop, they snuggled up next to me and waited. But obviously these exhausted pups couldn’t last that long.

Can you hear them snoring?

Halloween 2014

Let’s do this! Or not.

We loaded up both our vehicles and headed west to celebrate one more holiday with the family in Ohio. Even though we won’t be moving for at least another month, the winter months get kind of crazy under normal circumstances with the holidays and unpredictable weather and road conditions, so as our international move looms closer, our window of time to do a visit like this gets smaller.

So my sister and I set our sights on Halloween to get all the grandkids together and make some memories. It’s been 20 years since the last time we canvassed the neighborhood together: the first time we headed out as parents ourselves. Halloween was always a big deal at our house. We share memories of homemade costumes, pillowcases full of candy, super late trick-or-treat times, and all kinds of fun.

Continue reading