KathyBou’s Blog

A sampling of things that are going on and around.

Archive for July 2008

@ Gym

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So it was more than warm yesterday.  It wasn’t quite sweltering, I grew up in an armpit (aka Florida), but it was damn hot here yesterday.  And the thing is, this part of Germany doesn’t seem to get hot very often.  So it’s not really equiped for it.

Two years ago the building where I work got central a/c so at least at work we’re lucky there.  At the gym… not so much.  The windows were all open, but it was just as humid and warm outside – not good when you are sweating before you start an sort of activity.  Anyway, I emerged an hour or more later very very sticky.

I am really enjoying weight-training, which I’m taking more seriously than I ever have before. In the past I’ve always regurgitated what I’d read in magazines –

I don’t want to build muscle, I just want to tone.

Anyone else agree this is just a line of crap??  I know that for me, getting muscles, getting stronger, is a far better payoff (and the whole looking more tone comes right along with the muscles).

That’s not to say that I don’t have a LONG way to go, but I do notice a difference. I can sling around 20 kg (45 lb) weights with more ease.  I can do alot more push-ups.  My lower body has always been relatively strong due to sports/biking/roller blading/etc… and it might actually be less in shape at the moment since I’m not doing any sport leagues right now, but overall I would say I’m getting stronger.

The one thing that hasn’t gotten any lighter?  A big heavy door between my room (of cubes) and the next.  Seriously… you’d think some weight-lifting would help a girl out.

And this leaden door is right near the coffee machine so a bunch of people are always there –  there to witness me pulling with most of my weight to wrestle the door open merely wide enough to slip through.  Any grandeur that I’m getting buffy goes poof.

Written by Kat

July 31, 2008 at 8:48 am

Posted in fitness

Sushi in Aachen

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So I don’t usually review restaurants, but I am hoping to help out future sushi lovers who are looking for a place to eat in Aachen, Germany. Finding reviews for restaurants in this area (in English) is tough!

Pontstrasse 83, Aachen, Germany
(0241) 9008360

Food: Good, fresh sushi.   Nice mix of standard favorites and specialty choices.  D ordered a platter, I think it was called The Premium, and I ordered two maki – The Best Friends Roll and Crunchy Salmon, and we shared.  It was a fairly big menu, including a few choices for the non-sushi fans.  On the inside of the first page of the menu is a top 10 sushi list (by popularity?), good concept for the indecisive moment or for those who can’t read much German(!).

Price: Very reasonable.  Not exactly cheap but definitely not expensive.  Dinner for the two of us, with drinks, two soups, and sushi was under 40 Euro.

Ambiance: I wouldn’t say the restaurant is sleek, but it definitely had that trendy vibe.  Trendy casual though. It was busy when we got there, around 8:30~9 p.m.  I think someone made a reservation for our group (since we were around 12) but they had no problem accomodating us and the sushi came out punctually (not too fast or slow).

Oishii is also conveniently located on Pontstrasse, which is in the university area of town. This is where most people in Aachen go for drinks and clubs so it’s a perfect starting location if you are planning a full night out.

Written by Kat

July 30, 2008 at 8:12 am

Posted in Food

What we ate tonight, with thoughts

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We cooked at home – baked salmon with lemon and rice, with sauted mushrooms and fresh green onion.

What did you Eat? is the kind of place I like visiting for inspiration before I head to the grocery store or market.  I didn’t know Sherry’s blog until recently, but I can tell that we share some common interests – in animals, in good food, especially, it seems, with a love for salmon and all those good Omega-3 oils.  My thoughts go out to the friends and family of Sherry.

Written by Kat

July 27, 2008 at 11:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Long emails

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Is it just me, or should there be a limit of 3 (ok maybe 4) paragraphs?  Unless of course it’s a juicy personal email. Those can be as long as necessary.

Written by Kat

July 25, 2008 at 10:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

1.5 days in Prague

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I was really looking forward to seeing Prague.  I didn’t know much about the city, but I associated it in my head as one of the biggies, with slightly less popular but more subtle flair than Paris.  Of course it is a huge tourist destination now that Communism has left and it was beautiful weather so a TON of people were there a visiting along with our group.

We arrived in Prague the evening after passing lunch in Dresden and driving South all afternoon.  Our tour bus actually got pulled over just before the Germany-Czech Republic border for a passport control check.  There were two officers and they were very thorough.  Some passports got pulled and checked due to bad handwriting or questionable stamps.  The tour guide said getting stopped is rare (D and I haven’t ever been stopped crossing borders by car) but it happens. A big orange tour bus is an easy target too.

After arriving at the hotel, we put bags away, had dinner at the hotel (tour provided), and went for a walk.

We saw the Prague Castle rather quickly, it was across the Vltava river, and very beautiful.  It`s one of the largest castles in the world, and Prague is know as the “city of a hundred spires.”  There were tourists, with expensive cameras and tripods, taking pictures.  Here’s our version:

Prague was ruled for some time by Habsburgs like many of the other countries/cities on our tour.  No place seemed to be too happy about these rulers but I really want to find a book that outlines this family’s history. I saw one while we were walking around that day, and I’m kicking myself now for not buying it then and there.

The following morning we had a walking tour of the castle and other parts of the city.  Our guide, Wenceslas, told us that his own name, Wenceslas, is a very common name in the Czech Republic.  It is the name of their most favorite and famous King, Saint Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia  from 907 to 935.   There is also a Wenceslaus Square in the center of the city where public events are held.

Here are some photos of the castle in daylight:

Part of the castle includes St. Vitus Cathedral with its Gothic architecture:

Pieces of the cathedral are fairly new.  Part of the rose window shows tribute to some of its 20th century architects (notice the modern clothing styles of the men in the bottom right corner):

Another photo inside the castle grounds (I liked the tree and the orangey-red-brown):

Pissing Men fountain by Czech sculptor, David Cerny :

Bookstore that reminded me of the one in Paris:

Stairs leading to Charles Bridge:

Orloj, the famous astronomical clock, was built in 1410 and has been in operation, with short interruptions, ever since.  I have no idea how but it shows the sunrise/sunset, month, day, astronomical sign, moon phase, and the current hour and minute too!

We visited the Communist Museum in Prague.  Good stuff there, good stuff everywhere.

Written by Kat

July 24, 2008 at 9:24 am

Posted in Uncategorized

La Vache Orange!

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Or, in Anglaise, The Orange Cow.

New purchases!  Two audio books for dès 3 ans (for the wittle tiny kids or the clueless like myself):

La Vache Orange:

Les Lettres de Biscotte Mulotte:

I should post sometime the long journey that could be called my French education.  Actually, if it was longer maybe I’d be proficient by now.  Maybe. hehe.

I really really really wish the United States of America cared a teensy bit more about foreign language education.

Also of note – this my first Amazon.fr purchase.  So now Amazon.com, .ca, .co.uk, and .fr have gladly accepted my $$.   And I do believe I have shopping lists on all four – Brilliant!?

It’s actually a idle hobby of mine to compare the top selling books across these, and other online book retailers.  (it’s a sad hobby, I know).  I find the changes of names and book covers to be slightly bizarre (I’m sure there are marketing research papers done on this very topic).

So enough of the ramble posting – I’m off to check out mes nouveaux livres!


Written by Kat

July 17, 2008 at 10:16 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Home alone

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this week, well actually just the middle of the week, since D is supposed to be back in town on Friday.

It’s funny, in our company, when you go out of the office, say to a customer’s place, we call it going “on site.”  Yes, like we are going to an oil rig or an excavation.  One of the companies we work with call it something else, they say they are going “on a mission.”

“Hey honey, I’m going on a mission next week, don’t forget to take out the trash while I’m gone.”


The project I’m working on is in house until November-ish, so I’m not really traveling for work at the moment.

So, back to my story (there isn’t a very huge plot here by the way).  So when it’s just me here, instead of going by bike (we decided two people in a ditch is safer than one), I take the bus to work.  It’s about 15 minutes extra, but it’s not so bad, and I can wear a skirt if I want (the one bright side).

Taking the bus means that I have to be more punctual though – which always seems to lead to me rushing around last minute.  This morning, I was running late, so after eating a fast bowl of cereal, I ran upstairs to accomplish the following:

  • brush my teeth
  • pull my hair into a ponytail (it was rainy outside)
  • find the portable phone (to return to its charger)
  • acquire my current take along book from the nightstand
  • grab work out clothes (for after work)
  • assure no electrical devices are ON or plugged in (kinda paranoid about this)

Ok, so I didn’t do soo bad.  I made the bus and all that.  But when I get to work, I open my bag and I pull out my alarm clock.  Umm yeah, I don’t think I’ll be needing that at work, or after work, or for the rest of the day really.

Written by Kat

July 9, 2008 at 10:29 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Impressions – Dresden

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So I’m slow at posting about our last trip, which isn’t good because I’m likely to forget what was where.  I’ve already jumbled many of the historically important names we heard throughout the tour (that I had never heard before).  Obviously I didn’t major in History.  😉

After two days in Berlin, we headed south, towards Prague, but first we made a stop along the way in Dresden.

I was eager to see Dresden – even though I had no idea though how beautiful it would be.  Dresden is mentioned in a Kurt Vonnegut book I read not too long ago; Kurt was actually there as a POW, during the bombing that obliterated 80% of the city in 1945.  It was a controversial bombing, 1,300 heavy bombers (British and USA) dropped over 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs in a 14 hour period.  Controversial because there were no military targets there and somewhere between 25,000 to 60,000 civilians were killed.  It was a cultural center, and it still is today (with massive reconstruction).

Unfortunately, we didn’t stay here long – it was more of a glimpse than a real visit.  We got off the tour bus around lunch time and had I think 3 hours to roam around, find food, and take pictures.  Oh, I think we had ice cream too!

So anyway, it is a beautiful place, here is a picture of the Frauenkirche, restoration of it was completed in 2005, a year before Dresden’s 800th anniversary.  You can tell from this photo that most of the building is “new”:

A close up of the restoration (you can see new and original brick together):

The Fürstenzug (Procession Of Princes) — the Saxon sovereigns chronologically depicted:

Zwinger Palace and grounds (the most lovely thing we saw here):

Inside the palace is the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister art museum which, among other things, is the permanent residence of Raphael’s Sistine Madonna, you know, with the angel babies on their elbows, i.e. this guy:

* photo courtesy of wikipedia.com

We didn’t really have time to visit properly so we didn’t go inside.  I looked up the museum online when we returned, seems like it would be a fantastic place to visit.  Maybe we’ll be back there again.

Written by Kat

July 7, 2008 at 10:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized