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Monday, September 20, 2004

Zartic Burgers and Castle Visits

This past week was nice and quiet, as we settled into the schedule for the new school year. Both boys had Open House, and we're happy with all of the teachers. It looks like a good year is coming.

The Middle School menu did give us a laugh (or a scare?). The menu items are pretty matter-of-fact. Items are listed for each day, with plain names like "Cheese Pizza Dippers," "Ravioli with meat sauce," "All beef Hot Dog on a bun." I usually don't look past the listing of the main dish, since my son chooses whether to buy the lunch based on the main dish.

That's why it took my husband to notice the special line added to the menu for September 16th. It read:

Hamburger on a bun
(new Zartic precooked)
Lettuce & Tomato
Curly Fries
Awesome Applesauce
Rice Krispie Bar

Of course this led to wild speculation about what, in fact, were Zartic precooked hamburgers? And why on earth would they tell us about them? (This was the only additional description for the entire month.) The general consensus was that they sound like something from an alien planet. I suspect they may contain brain slugs that take over your mind.

This did do some good, in the end. When Thursday the 16th rolled around, I asked Grumpy Morning Timothy if he wanted "Hamburger on a bun." When he declined, I told him that he was probably making the best choice. After all, he didn't want to be taken over by a brain slug. I couldn't resist cracking several jokes about it, which was far too much for my poor morning-averse son (who eats breakfast sitting at the table completely under a blanket).

He said, "Fine, I'll eat it just to get you to stop."

Of course, that got me asking if he was sure and issuing dire warnings about what might happen to him, but he was firm in his resolve to brave the dangers of the new Zartic precooked hamburgers.

So far, there have been no obvious ill effects.

We had a quiet weekend. Steve was off to Spain with the Dixie band, performing for the Air Force birthday in Spain. He got to see our dear friends Audrey and Tom, who drove out to see him and took him to a Fest (called a feria there).

Have I mentioned that one of the things I love about living in Germany is that we get to go to Castles?

Back when we were ready to move to Germany, our then-8-year-old son Josh was NOT excited about moving. I told him, "They have castles in Germany." We decided that we would "collect" castles. We would only count those we actually touch, and we would make a list. Since then, I've added that I take pictures of them all, and each castle must be at least 100 years old. We're a little loose in our definition of a castle. Palaces count, as do fortifications, as long as they are at least 100 years old, and have a name. So far, we have 162 on our list.

Alas! I am the only person left in the family who isn't tired of castles. I suppose I love them partly because I love taking pictures at castles. Each one is different than the one before, and almost all are in a beautiful place. After our less exciting weekends, I'm going to post old favorite pictures of castles and our past adventures in Europe. The pictures below this post are from June 1999 at Burg Ulmen, in the Eifel region of Germany, next to a volcanic lake.

Imagine a leisurely hike around the lake with cool breezes and a lovely afternoon. It's just a small old ruin, not the sort of thing that would show up in guidebooks. Seeing it doesn't cost a thing. We take our time walking around the lake to the castle. We roam around the castle and climb on the walls. We hike back to the village and buy ice cream at a shop. A fun outing with a taste of the middle ages and beautiful scenery. What more could you want? It makes a wonderful and magical interlude in busy lives. There's something about a castle....

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