The Night of the Jackal…

Guten Morgan Xangaland!

I was issued a writing challenge by my Kween of the Kween_of_the_Queens weblog, for Halloween.  I believe she can best explain the perameters of this challenge.

What’s needed.

Your stories, adventures, experiences!   Have you ever been spooked?  Frightened?  Surprised or down right scared right out of your bvd’s?  I want to know about it  and so does everyone else!  Or do you simply like to scare the living pooh pooh out of the rest of us?  I don’t care which it is!  I need your entries!  Never had a spook encounter?  Make it up!  Fiction is perfectly fine!  Heard a story that curled your toes that someone else told you?  Great!  I want that too!  All credits will be given!

For smiliar stories go HERE.

Though Ryan and I don’t celebrate Halloween I have always been one to enjoy a spooky story and so I decided to try my hand at writing one.

And so without further ado…


The Night of the Jackal

by Courtney Laube

She opened her eyes in the far too quiet dark of her tent… what noise had awakened her? There it was again… a soft snuffling sound… not unlike the sound her faithful hound made when he sniffed deeply at the skin of her neck.

Time lengthened and she did not hear it again… it must have been the tailings of a vivid dream following her out of sleep. As she closed her eyes and prepared to woo Morpheus once more it came again, louder this time and more persistent.

She instinctively drew closer to her husband… or the place where her husband should be. She put out her hand to feel for him. His pillow was cold and unwrinkled as if he had not come to bed at all this night. Deep relief stole over her as she realized it must be he that made the noises beyond the walls of her tent.

Even as the relief came the fear crept in once more… If it was Edwin then why was there no light stealing through the canvas? If it was he then his lantern would be burning brightly as he worked on his papers late into the night, or at least the fire would be burning low, but the camp was dark and cold.

Squaring her shoulders she crept slowly from her warm bed and began to dress in silence leaving her dressing gown and slippers over the chair on which she had placed them before going to bed… if something truly was amiss she did not want to be caught in frills and bows. She wanted to meet it in her sensible boots and trousers. A lady she may be but foolish she was not!

Though her movements had made little sound she became aware of an unnatural stillness outside of the tent… almost as if the very night held close its breath. She removed a small dagger from her bedside table as the tiny hairs on the back of her neck began to rise and images from the latest Rider Haggard novel she had fallen asleep reading began to rush across her minds eye.

This was so silly she berated herself. And with far less caution than she had intended she marched to the door of her tent, dagger held tightly at her side, and threw back the flap to face whatever waited for her. Raising her dagger high she bolted from the doorway and shouted a battle cry at her unknown adversary.

There was nothing.

Utter silence and stillness shrouded her form. She stood arm raised and breast heaving from the effort of dressing quickly and the fear that plagued her mind. She was bathed in the silvery white moonlight of the desert night. It glinted off of her mahogany hair and sparkled in her eyes as she glanced quickly all around her.

“Edwin?” she called with more calmness in her voice than in her trembling heart…

A sigh so low that its direction could not be determined was her only answer. She crept forward noting even as she did so how the glimmer of the moonlight in the sand like diamonds had become sinister and cold to her frightened eyes.

As she moved stealthily forward something pale and ethereal moved swiftly just out of her vision… As she turned her head to follow it she saw nothing but she knew, with a horrible certainty, that the safety of her tent, her home in this desolate place, was no longer empty. The deep gloom of the interior no longer held her sanctuary, it now held her doom…

“Fanciful thoughts will get you nowhere!” She said to herself, in a strong cool voice with the last of her bravery.

A small breath of laughter shattered the quiet dark interior of the tent she even now studied so fervently, the tent that even moments ago she had slumbered in so peacefully.

Her courage left her then on wings and she bolted blindly into the shimmering moonlit desert with no direction or purpose but to rid herself of those awful sighing sounds and the feeling of being watched.

It seemed she flew forever but once more sanity and sense came back to her and she forced her body to obey her and cease this blind and senseless flight. She came to a stop and crouched in the glimmering sand to survey the desert around her. She could see her tent gleaming whitely in the moon light, it was roughly a quarter mile to the south now. She had blindly run to the mouth of the wadi that she and Edwin had been working in this season. She trembled for there were so many places to hide and yet so many places for someone or something else to lay in wait… Panic threatened to once again claim her mind.

And then, as she turned her head to look up the wadi she saw the glow. The light was coming from the tomb she and Edwin had finished working on only the week before. Unable to control herself she crept slowly forward, as a moth to a flickering flame, needing desperately to know what meaning the light held, and she must find Edwin, he could be in great danger

Reaching the mouth of the tomb was but the work of a moment and she could see that the antechamber was empty and dark, full of shadows… the light came from the second room and so she quickly entered and continued forward, somehow feeling safer with the walls of stone around her.

As she stepped into the second chamber of the tomb a welcome sight met her eyes. Her husband sat on a camp stool in the center of the room, his back to her, and it was the flickering glow of the lantern he worked by that she had seen. Of course, she thought in relief, he had come here to work in order not to disturb her

She let out a little whoosh of air, and said in a rush;

“Edwin, I’m so relieved to find you here. Some noises woke me in the camp… I’m sure now I was being silly and it was nothing more than a stray dog from one of the nearby villages, come to think of it I had thought at one time it did sound like a dog. However, my imagination carried me away with it and in my mind, I let it become a much more sinister presence. All the same I’m so glad to find you. I need the warm touch of a human hand I’m afraid.”

The man in front of her did not stir. He did not speak or laugh as she had expected. A cold prickle of fear crept back into her heart…

“Why Edwin aren’t you going to berate me for reading such novels that give me nightmares? I had expected you would be glad of the chance! As I always claim that they do not affect me in the slightest!”

Still he did not stir and she slowly closed the distance that had separated them.

“Edwin my love?” She said uncertainly… She reached out a trembling hand to touch his shoulder… His head turned and her fingers brushed his cool cheek. Blessed relief flooded through her… of course nothing was wrong.

“Oh Edwin I…”

The moonlight feel full upon the face of the man she loved.

Her screams echoed far over the silvered desert hills, heard only by the jackals that answered with their mournful calls.


Hope you enjoyed the story… Well we have no plans for tonight… We are told that kids come and trick or treat but only on the bottom floors and since we’re on the third I think we’ll turn out our lights enjoy a nice big bowl of Turkey Taco Soup (With chocolate chip pumpkin bread for dessert) and watch a good scary movie…



Winter’s on it’s way…

Guten Morgan Xangaland!

I’m sad to say there isn’t really anything to talk about.  Ryan and I decided to stay home this weekend in favor of catching up some chores and he needed to catch up on some studying.  We are also digging in for winter.  Getting the bike ready to go into storage on Wednesday for the next six months or so, I’ve been making scarves galore and so on.  So though we were pleasantly busy there isn’t much to tell. 

We are doing well and enjoying the weather changes.  In the next 10 days we aren’t suppose to have a high over 47 degrees and the lows are in the 30’s.  It is strange too to realize that the daylight is quickly waning…  It doesn’t get light here until about 7:45am (used to be 8:45 but the daylight savings time rolled back) and it gets dark at about 6pm now… We have been told that in the dead of winter it doesn’t get light until about 10am and it’s dark by 3:30pm.  I guess you never think about it but the tip of Italy’s boot is equal with the top of the U.S.  So that puts us halfway up Canada… I guess it makes sense! 

Well I guess that’s it for the day… Tomorrow I’ll be putting up a spooky story for fun… It’s one I wrote based on the character of the English lady living in the deserts at the turn of the century… she kind of got stuck in my mind after the last story I wrote about her…

So with that… See you tomorrow!

Auf Wiedersehen!

Spinach, Wool, and Pumpkin… Oh My!

Guten Morgan Xangaland!

Thank you so much for the birthday wishes yesterday!  It really made my day to hear from all of you.  It’s was much harder than I anticipated to be so far away from my family on the day but all in all it was a good day!

Believe it or not I cooked my very own birthday dinner since there was no one to cook for me and because eating out here is a bit expensive!  But that doesn’t bother me at all since I love to cook… I actually really enjoyed it!

I made a homemade spinach lasagna,


garlic bread from a local bread, a tossed green salad, and to top it all off in style




A homemade Pumpkin cheesecake!!! 

That’s tops birthday cake any day for me!


My mom bought me a beautiful knee length wool coat for my birthday and it actually arrived here on my birthday!  Ryan walked in with it right as my mom and dad called me to sing to me on the video cam… they actually got to watch me open it so that felt a little like home… 


My mother-in-law and sister both sent me something as well but they have not arrived… I can’t wait! 

Here’s a picture just for fun! 

This is a view from my bedroom window… Aren’t the colors amazing?  That’s the French Kaserne behind me where Ryan works.


All in all it was a wonderful day.


My Everything…

Today is my 26th birthday… and I am reminded of all the stages my life has been through, all the changes.   This morning I heard this song for the first time in quite awhile and it seemed to speak so perfectly of my life and of the one thing that has remained a constant in it…  My Superhero, my Best Friend, My Shepherd, my Everything.  Today I am reminded of how He has always remained by my side, the same.

“He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8



Pencil marks on a wall, I wasn’t always this tall
You scattered some monsters from beneath my bed
You watched my team win
You watched my team lose
Watched when my bicycle went down again
And when I was weak, unable to speak
Still I could call You by name
And I said, Elbow Healer, Superhero
Come if You can
You said, I Am



A little girl so curious, constantly in and out of trouble… never staying in one place… and yet He was there… He is…

My superhero.



Only sixteen, life is so mean
What kind of curfew is at 10pm?
You saw my mistakes
And watched my heart break
Heard when I swore I’d never love again
And when I was weak, unable to speak
Still I could call You by name
And I said Heartache Healer, Secret Keeper
Be my best friend
And you said, I Am



A girl with a broken heart… so angry at the world around her.  Wishing she could just fade away and yet He was there beside me… He is…

My best friend.



You saw me wear white by pale candlelight
I said forever to what lies ahead
Two kids and a dream, with kids that can scream
Too much it might seem when it is 2am
And when I am weak, unable to speak
Still I will call You by name
Shepherd, Savior, Pasture Maker
Hold onto my hand
You say, I Am



A young woman balancing on the edge of the rest of her life.  Not knowing of the trials that lie ahead, and through them all He has remained, making my lie down in green pastures and leading me beside still waters… He is…

My Shepherd



The winds of change and circumstance blow in and all around us
So we find a foothold that’s familiar
And bless the moments that we feel You nearer



And here I am, trying to find peace in this life and in the moments when I settle long enough to feel Him close beside me…  and I find that He always has been.



When life had begun, I was woven and spun
You let the angels dance around the throne
And who can say when, but they’ll dance again
When I am free and finally headed home
I will be weak, unable to speak
Still I will call You by name
Creator, Maker, Life Sustainer
Comforter, Healer, my Redeemer
Lord and King, Beginning and the End

I Am
Yes, I Am

Looking out


And I find that no matter how much I change, no matter how my moods whip and lash at the world around me, no matter how much I stumble or how frequently I fall, that today in the quite of reflection, He is there and always has been… and He is…

My everything.


Song of the day?  I Am by Nichole Nordeman



Hey Everyone.

Sorry I haven’t been around much… this has been a pretty tough couple of days for a lot of reasons I simply don’t have the energy to go into. 

I think I’m going to take a little break… Might be a day or a week… I just need some time to maybe get lost in a good book and just go away for a while. 

I went around and caught up with everyone so I won’t be too far behind.

See you soon.


The Manderscheid Castles

Guten Tag Xangaland!

This weekend Ryan and I decided to go on a drive.  We drove towards Manderscheid since we knew that there were castles there.

So we packed up the car…


Hey do you see my patio?  No? Well here’s a closer look! LOL And just get a load of my tree!


The drive was full of switchbacks and steep climbs… If any of you ever come to visit be ready to take your Dramamine!  Some of these switchbacks had speed limits of 20 klicks… which is 14 miles and hour!  Trust me you need to be going that slow too!  Oh but it was beautiful!


As we drove we found yet another pull out and we of course took a walk through the woods…


It was a truly cold morning!


The light in the trees was simply amazing!


Isn’t he handsome?!


When we came out of the trees we were stunned… we stood on a cliff overlooking a gorgeous museum… The pictures do not do it justice.


Aren’t the colors beautiful?


I love the mists of this place…


The trees here are beginning to turn and the contrast of them blazing against the brilliant blue of the sky here is simply breathtaking…


Ryan fighting his way back out of the woods… lol  His jacket got stuck on a little tree and he starting karate chopping it… he didn’t know I was looking… and you should have seen him blush when the flash went off!


The valley below the path we climbed into the woods…


A village we passed on the road…


One part of the road was lined in these trees… so beautiful.


And then we eventually reached Mandersheid and the castles…


 Here stands the Mandersheid castle… actually it’s two castles… the upper belonging to Trier and the lower belonging to Luxembourg in ancient times… there is a cliff between them that once marked the border and it is said that the tower gaurds would watch each other in distrust from across the gorge… 


 The lower castle is much bigger and much more strongly fortified.


As you can see…


 However the upper castle is one of the oldest in the Eifel… It is first recorded in 978. 


Both castles were destroyed by the french during the french revolution.


This is the tower from the upper castle flying the German flag.  It was destroyed in 1673.


This is the tower on the lower castle… You can just make out the Luxembourg flag.  This castle was destroyed in 1794 which ended aristocratic rule in the Eifel.


On our way home we drove through a small town called Eisenschmitt.  This is a picture of it from above…


Going over the river.


The church in the center of town.


It was a beautiful day, a perfect day for a drive… I hope you enjoyed sharing it with us!

Auf Wiedersehen!


A Ride through the Countryside…

Guten Morgen Xangaland!

Yesterday Ryan and I took our first bike ride since it arrived here and we got it all up and running… The weather was simply beautiful as was the scenery.  The leaves are just beginning to change here and the air is crisp and smells of fall.

All of our pictures were taken at sunset so excuse the squinting!

Here we are on the overlook on the B-50.  It is the only place to pull of the road between Bitburg and Spangdahlem.


 This is the little village below our overlook on the B-50.  Isn’t it just beautiful?


 Perching out on the edge… I really need a tripod for my camera so I don’t have to prop it up here and there as I can!


 And for the very first time… BERTHA with her new wardrobe… I know I told all of you that we had Ryan’s bike, Bertha, painted.  We only got the pieces back and on the bike right before we left for Germany so there was only time for one last ride with my mom and dad and of course we forgot the camera that day!  Isn’t she beautiful?


 Me standing on the overlook… aren’t the colors amazing?  And they haven’t even started yet or so I’m told…


 Ryan standing over the valley.


 Me with the “Other” woman.


 I think this one might end up as our Christmas card just to follow tradition.


 This is a small prayer chapel right off of Spangdahlem Air Base.  It was built in 1654! 


 And with that I will bid you Auf Wiedersehen!




A Walk in the Woods…

Guten Morgen Xangaland!

This weekend Ryan and I took a drive through the countryside… Somewhere between home and Trier we stopped at one of the many parking pullouts along the road…  We climbed a steep bank and pushed through a barrier of berry bushes and ferns and found a wondrous place…


An old logging road, so quiet and hushed… the trees so dense the sun barely reached in… it looked almost like a cathedral of trees.


A little shiver ran down my spine and I saw the big bad wolf hiding behind every tree… and I realized that I could no longer hear the sounds of the autobahn behind us… it was as if we had stepped into a book.


The quiet was almost something you could touch in these woods… and it felt as if the trees simply breathed… 


As we walked along this path pine needles drifted slowly down in the crisp fall breeze and I looked up at the treetops.  The sun glowing through them looked like something right out of a Tolkien book… can you see the homes of the elves, lit by a hundred little lanterns?


Walking through this forest I felt as if I was walking through every forest of my childhood and every forest of my dreams… it was hush and damp… the only sound was the wind sighing through the pines… there is nothing quite like that sound…


Everywhere we looked there where toadstools and mosses… things I had never seen before… homes for the little fairies that are legends here.


We reached the end of the forest path and turned to see something wondrous… the cathedral these trees made was lit by the sunset… the berry bushes and ferns we had passed through on the other end shone like a stained glass window…  What an enchanted forest we had found.


That is what we love about living here… every day… if we choose to make it so… is an adventure.  Everywhere we look we see something that takes our breath away… Even at a rest stop there is beauty if only you choose to look.


Auf Wiedersehen!


P.S. For a short video of our walk in the woods go



Recipes from 1974… they should stay there!!!


Oh my gosh she made them into a book… and I bought it!  Cause I’m crazy and honestly when Ryan and I can’t even read them out loud cause we’re crying so hard… 10$ is nothing! 

You can be crazy too.

Get it HERE.



While searching for an old Zucchini bread recipe that weight watchers featured a few years back I stumbled upon…


Ryan and I sat here and read the whole thing in shock and awe!  I haven’t laughed so hard in months…

If you have about 20 minutes to spare…  You simply MUST go to this site!  If you go make sure you go to the gallery and read each individual caption!!! 


P.S.  If anyone has that Zucchini bread recipe I would really be grateful… I never really got around to finding it!

P.S.S.  There’s a picture post below this one if you missed it!


Crochet madness…

Guten Morgen Xangaland!

Today I decided to share all the crochet projects I’ve been so busy with in the last few months… the problem was that they were all baby blankets and all the women they went to had access to my site or email…  So now that all the showers are over and the blankets are tucked away in nurseries awaiting wee ones… I thought that I would share some pictures and have a record of them.

Okay, just so you know all of the blankets are even and nicely squared I just can’t ever seem to get them laid out right when I take pictures and since I no longer have any of them in hand I can’t redo the pictures!

This first set was for my little sister’s best friend and consequentially my best friend’s little sister.   I had very specific rules on this one.  Only white, tan, and Eddie Bauer green and only stripes! So I did the best I could.  She did her nursery in greens and blues and did Peter Pan and the Lost Boys… charming.

Here is the main blanket.


The white receiving blanket.


The beanie.


The final presentation.


This next set was for a very dear friend whom I actually met here in Xangaland!  Gia or Emmagayle has become one of my closest friends and she is even now anxiously awaiting the birth of her daughter Lucy.  She should be here by the end of October and I can’t wait to see her!!!

The first is the main blanket.


This is the white receiving blanket.


One the color of her nursery walls… apple green and pink!  How sweet!!!


Various hats and scarves with the leftovers.


No finished package on this one as I had to ship it from here in Germany.

This next set is for Ryan’s baby sister Josie, and for my first nephew, Malaki Phoenix.

The first is the main blanket.


This is the white receiving blanket.


One in soft baby blue in a water stitch.


Various hats and scarves with the scraps.


The finished product.


Now for the big announcement.  He’s already here! 

Welcome to the world Malaki Phoenix!!!


Isn’t he a cutie?


Well there you have it… a ton of pictures.  Now that I’ve put you all to sleep in your chairs with my Brahms Lullaby and my boring post… lol  I don’t really have all that much more to talk about and since this is already extremely long I will say farewell. 

Auf Wiedersehen!