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insanity or what?

August 26th, 2015 No comments

It isn’t that there aren’t other things to do…. laundry (four loads), cleaning and that every so fun and necessary scrubbing out of the fridge. But I decided to go ahead and start setting up my blog et all on a US based server.

Fun?

Not. I started out with menus which have since disappeared. This is, I think, going to be more than balanced by the fact that I don’t have to maintain WordPress myself. And at less money per month than I am know paying.  Oh. Did I mention about 10x the amount of storage as well??

we shall see – that is when I am back from dealing with yet another load of laundry.

Categories: computers, home Tags:

made it home

August 25th, 2015 No comments

It took actually less than 36 hours in real time but it seems like a whole lot longer. Maybe it is because I left Spokane on Sunday and it is now Tues. And I really can’t ignore the 9 hours of time zone change that is trying to wipe me out.

The flight wasn’t that bad. Unfortunately I didn’t pick a seat up stairs while there were still some which meant being within a few rows of the unhappy toddler. Her parents actively tried to keep her occupied; the little one was just bored. And, of course, fast asleep about 90 minutes before the plane landed….

After coffee in the arrivals lounge I made the 0953 train without problems followed by the connection in Mannheim.

I even had enough money for a cab (I don’t mind walking to the train station – it is downhill followed by flat) since uphill with luggage when I am tired is just not going to happen.

Nap. Yes, a nap sounds really good right about now….

Categories: home, Travel Tags:

This year from the Oktoberfest …

August 14th, 2015 No comments

After conducting a thorough search on their website, I had decided that Paulander wasn’t making anything special for Oktoberfest this year. For that matter, neither were any other breweries.

Now that is just wrong. Remember, I don’t drink so it is not a question of wanting to taste something new and different. It is rather that it is a chance to add something new and stupid to the house. After all, I have been emptying out cupboards and closets. I deserve to add something….

Last year the local Rewe had cute bags and backpacks from Paulander on display by the 13th of August. We were there a couple of days ago. I spotted only a basket of beer. Kind of like the helmet of beer some ships have only from wicker. After thinking about it, I decided that this could be my toy. Besides, I am headed to Spokane next week and have promised decent chocolate to my son who is meeting me there.

Imagine my surprise when rounding the bend at the beer displays. There were two choices besides the basket! Paulander had come through with a bag and backpack in different colors than last year. Both are lined with water resistant cloth.  The basket is from the Hacker-Pschorr Brewery; two each of light, dark and radler in fancy top bottles.

three choices!

three choices!

I am contemplating uses for the basket; I am sure that knitting would be happy in a lined basket… The bags will will travel to Spokane before making further journeys.

Categories: home Tags:

Also in the box

August 12th, 2015 No comments

We dropped off books this afternoon in Rohrbach, the next community down the B3 from Heidelberg. Apparently they have added a community bookshelf. While George talked to a neighbor who was walking by, I unloaded books. Sixty of them.

Children’s books in German, adult political books in both German and English and a miscellaneous collection of novels, romance, science fiction, fantasy and mysteries mostly but not complete in English.

I also found these in the box

say what?

say what?

The sheep card is unopened, the two photos have to date from Blue Factory days, the negatives don’t have a date but I am guessing about 1996, 25€ and a tube of K-Y jelly. It is the last one about which I don’t have a clue

Categories: Books & Tapes, packing out, Photos Tags:

Ocean Waves

August 11th, 2015 No comments

Although it wasn’t quite as hot today, I was dreaming of water. Oceans surrounding me; keeping me cool. Helping me relax.

Actually, since the self hypnotism wasn’t completely working I decided instead to completely check out. I had just downloaded Siren from Audible and was hoping it was better than the last Jayne Castle book (that one failed in a lot of pretty blatant ways.

On the side table next to my bed was this lump of knitting which had been marinating in dust since somewhere around the first of the year. Give or take, I claim oldtimer’s disease along with succumbing a complete lack of interest. Take an excess supply of singles fingering weight yarn that is seconds. Blessed with enough thick & thin sections that it needs to be knit double for stability. Add in a free pattern from Drops Studio (garnstudio.com) which is offered in weights from fingering up past worsted. Cast on a few stitches. Knit a strip. Then follow with short row corner mitering before continuing along each edge. Makes for a rectangular spiral of sorts.

I looked at it. Mindless knitting. So mindless in fact that I had completely screwed up the short rows on one end. No sweat. Frog or adjust on the next round. Really? As if there was a decision at all. This is a project that is going to get dragged around and land unceremoniously in a chair. It doesn’t need to be perfect. While I was at it – I changed needle sizes from 4.5 to 5.0 mm and decreased the strip width from 15 stitches to 14.

one wooden hand carved basket from Africa

one wooden hand carved basket from Africa

center strip, now on the third outer strip

center strip, now on the third outer strip

now on the fourth side - and you can see the short rowed end

now on the fourth side – and you can see the short rowed end

I finished the book today. I knit, I played solitaire. I sorted more files. I finished a second audio book – Mary Roach’s My Planet which is a collection of columns she wrote about ten years ago. They are funny; it is too bad Angela Dawe doesn’t have the same ability as Emily Woo Zeller who narrated Gulp.

Head phones, iPad, blowing fan, ice tea, knitting. Not a bad day at all….

Categories: home, Knitting Tags:

Four tasks done

August 10th, 2015 No comments

It wasn’t a very eventful day. Simply cleaned more, finished the photo books. While I was at it – I ordered a mug from the same people on the principle that spending another four dollars would put me over the amount required for free shipping. Since the cost of the mug minus shipping wound up being a bare couple of dollars more than my original amount (have to love California sales tax) I considered it a win.

With a rapidly approaching 65th birthday, I registered for Medicare. Never mind it doesn’t pay outside the US. Never mind that I have full care through the VA anywhere in the world for emergencies, and for everything else with pre-authorization. Did I mention also covered for meds and dental? I made the inquiry on the application anyway.

Lastly I updated a few lists, read email and a bit more sorting on the photo back-ups. Just another simple day

Categories: home Tags:

The Book Pile

August 8th, 2015 4 comments

I waved good bye to our household goods; all boxed up and on their way to California. Actually it was 7 Aug 2014 but this is close enough. Since then, they were delivered. Shifted around several times. Several things have been relocated to storage since the house was under construction . A few things made the trip across the ocean and have (are finding) new homes.

Which still leaves the house here with its invaders (the four footed kind) along with the more than occasional house guest and friend. It also explains why I still have too much furniture here, a partial closet of clothes, knitting supplies and three storages + the garage full of what could most politely be called junk.

George has found a local agency that is similar to the Goodwill/Salvation Army. They take just about anything that can be redistributed, refurbished, gifted or sold. They don’t, however, take books.

You knew I was going somewhere with this didn’t you?

It was on 8 August last year that I asked everyone to guess how many books I had left over that needed to be redistributed. No guess below 4000 was allowed and I took pictures of my former studio. The offer was for a dinner gift certificate

Nana guessed an oodleplex
Cat bet me it was less than in her house (I have been there – it is a close call).
Alison picked 4444 (cost of a hearing aid)
Carmen 4567
April – 6289
Isobel – 4882
Mary – 5777
Steven – 5280 (feet in a mile)
Christian – 4997
Kim – 7012

and I started dropping off books anywhere I could manage
9 Aug – 148, 10 Aug 130 = 278, 11 Aug – 67 = 345, 12 Aug 72= 417. It wasn’t till Oct that I managed to off-load a dozen books on Zandra = 429,

And then I headed off to LonCon, Denver, the Legend, the Oasis (Chaos of the Seas), Serenade, before bopping to both Berkeley and Germany before the end of the year.

Won’t get into this year’s travel summary, but over the course of this past year I have managed to drop off another 537 books. Hardly a dent in the pile at 954 which is still looming mightily in the studio.

just a close up of the disaster..

just a close up of the disaster..

from the window size

from the window size

most of the children's books

most of the children’s books

as you enter the room

as you enter the room

Starting today – I am going to make a concerted effort and see how much I can diminish the pile in the next ten days. Secondly – if you want to compare the size of the pile – 8 Aug 2014 is the original post.

I am also going to reopen the bidding on guestimating the number of books. For those of you already in the running – I am going to honor last year’s effort at the end of the run. If you want to enter the new bit of insanity – please feel free to do so as you could be a double winner. Cat? I am assuming that you still want all numbers above the highest bidder to infinity? In any case, please add your vote to the comments on this post.

Categories: Books & Tapes, packing out Tags:

Hot

August 7th, 2015 8 comments

Yes, I know if you live in Perth or Scottsdale my attitude toward the heat is only going to be amusing. But, according to the official weather reports, it is 39*C here in Heidelberg which is way hotter than anyone here wants to know about or experience. Those of you in the US – just remember that air conditioning doesn’t exist. Not in normal buildings. Traditionally, you just open the windows and turn on a fan if it gets really hot. Really hot being defined somewhere around 32-33*C, not the current over 100*F for those who are still on the beloved but outdated English measurement system.

Our terrace faces south, the better to capture light. Which means it also gets plenty of heat in the summer even with the awnings fully extended. Opening the door to the terrace is out of the question as it just seems to invite the furnace into the dining room. Our bedroom faces west. I could pull the rolladen and keep the room cooler, but then I would be bumping around like a blind bat since the light fixtures seem to eat bulbs on a regular basis. The new energy saving bulbs certainly do save energy as they don’t seem to put out much light at all.

So here I sit in the dining attempting to clear out drives without a breath of moving air. Regular breaks are needed. The laundry room is quite a bit cooler – even after running a load of clothes. The back hall isn’t bad either. For that matter, the kitchen is a good source of snacks and cool. Who says that only teenagers stand in front of the fridge trying to make up their minds?

It was about an hour ago when my stomach said something about nice cold pasta salad or perhaps potato salad. I have pasta, right? And there are four baking potatoes looking much sadder for their sojourn in our house. Maybe they were hoping to be forgotten in their dank corner. Of course, it might be nice to have something other than potatoes….. I tossed in some chopped up onion and gerkins; then was faced by the challenge of the fridge. No mayo, no mustard and 1/2 gallon of vinegar.

It was at this point that I went for the pasta. Spicy Penne to which one could always add some garlic. Nothing is ever wrong with adding garlic. But see remark above about anything to use as a dressing. I don’t think the dusty can of german tomato/herb sauce I found in the bottom of the cupboard was past expiration and it seemed like just the thing to go with the mildly pink tinged pasta. Which was a lot spicier than one would think.

The sun is still up (1930) and heat is radiating off the terrace in waves. I think this calls for chocolate ice cream with strawberries…..

Categories: home Tags:

Recovered

August 5th, 2015 2 comments

It is a new day and my sense of humor is somewhat restored. Made better by my husband getting back safely from Switzerland last night and taking me out for dinner on the way home.

I was getting pretty sick of nutella and string cheese (don’t ask).

For the last several days there has been a chorus of “oh poor me” signing a song in my head; distracting me with high levels of whine, self pity and other assorted irritants which has made me a not very popular person in this household.

Please consider that I am currently in Heidelberg and George, as mentioned above, spent the last two days in Switzerland. Leaves us all with the understanding that I haven’t been particularly fun to be around. Not for anyone else and certainly not for myself.

I have been attempting to sort out my multiple backup drives, consolidating important things like photos, edit a couple of articles, audiobooks and just generally be a bit more organized than I have in the past.

Never mind (grin). I will be fine. And here till the 16th of Aug.

Categories: Books & Tapes, computers, Photos Tags:

Backup try two

August 4th, 2015 No comments

Sure enough, the nightmare which woke me was true. My lack of patience with iPhoto resulted in the program attempting to back up everything twice. And execute both at the same time.

The end result wasn’t pretty. For one thing – I ran out of memory due to other programs being open which seemed to have slowed things down to a crawl. Secondly, instead of executing the backup in a simple, orderly and chronological manner, the idiot program seemed to be almost random in the order in which both photos and events were backed up. Somethings were backed up twice, some not at all. Some dates completely and some missing key events.

Summary? I need to do it again only keeping my impatience under control.

Argh!

By (what is it now? 2220?) I have come to the end of the backup with an error message listing only 8 photos it was unable to export (not 6xxx). The whole flipping day. Dealing with the computer and the one program. Unable to do anything else so as to avoid slow downs.

Listen to me whine… wah, wah. Unable to spend money on Amazon e-Books. Unable to download from Audible, or Tantor or BigFish Games. Unable to Skype, FaceTime or otherwise drive others insane.  And it rained today which was my excuse for not accomplishing any more on the laundry front.

My sense of humor restored, I am going to finish listening to one of the free short stories by Jodi Taylor out of the St Mary’s series that was free on Audible followed by Lilith Saintcrow’s Trailer Park Fae, which, when you think about it, is such a wonderful contrast as to be almost obscene.

 

Categories: computers, Photos Tags:

Backing Up

August 3rd, 2015 No comments

which, to no surprise is involving a lot of forward motion as well. I had planned on backing up photos and sorting as I went while in Tanzania. Didn’t happen as there was this small issue. Forgotten/misplaced external hard drive. It’s not that I don’t have a few of them. Counting nine right now sitting on my dining room table. But it was that the one I thought I had packed was no where to be seen.

So either I lost it, forgot it or misplaced it. In any case, it wasn’t with me which left me in Africa without the ability to back up my photos or permanently empty out my memory cards. When I stop and think about it, that particular backup drive is probably hiding out along with several other items (mostly underwear = smalls) that seem to have decreased in number as I went along.

Returning to the back-up. I first had to find the hard drives which only took a couple of minutes. Then there was the small matter of finding enough space on any of them for the thousands of pictures which seem to be inhabiting the largest portion of my MacBook. It would be nice to free up some space. Only going to happen after a back up. After all, one never knows when one of those totally lousy, out of focus photos might just be the key to ….

Perhaps I have been reading too many cozy mysteries?

In any case, my basic tendency is to delete after backing up rather than before.   Starting the program, I thought I had it figured out. Ten minutes later, I checked and a big nothing was happening so I tried the keyboard controls again. Another ten minutes and a box popped up so I could choose where to plonk those thousands of photos.

So far, so good? With me? Right. So was the computer.  It looked like hours so I went to bed, waking to realize that I was backing everything up.

Twice.

 

Categories: computers, Photos Tags:

Condensor dryers

June 29th, 2015 No comments

Unlike the standard US dryer which tumbles clothes around while blowing on them with hot air complete with link trap and an external vent – German dryers use a different technology which involves some hot air, a cooling coil which precipitates out the moisture, a collecting tank  and, of course, a tumbler and lint trap.

All of which lead me to the same conclusion as the fridge. There seems to be a bit of the Y chromosome which doesn’t deal with cleaning the fridge or clearing the lint filter. Those might be possibly excused. But not emptying out the collecting tank leads to some pretty ugly consequences.

You see, if the hot air is cooled and the moisture precipitates out, it has to go somewhere. That some where is the nifty collector in the upper left corner of the dryer. It is removable so that the contents can be emptied after each load. If not, the dryer will run, continuing to dry clothes. But that moisture has to go somewhere.

On the floor of the laundry room doesn’t thrill me at all which long ago lead me to the practice of cleaning out the filter and emptying the container after each and every load. When I took clothing down to the laundry this morning it was obvious that there are alternative ways to do laundry which didn’t include making sure things were ready to go before starting the dryer.

Perhaps I should be just relieved that empty toilet paper rolls get replaced?

Categories: home Tags:

six words

June 28th, 2015 No comments

landed. luggage. lounge. ride home. bed

Categories: home, Travel Tags:

Puzzle Progress

June 21st, 2015 No comments
starting the transportation modes

starting the transportation modes

which of course I started with the train since that was my most recent traveling method. also frankly the easiest to identify with the pieces… there are the two sea going vessels left in addition to the flags and a globe in the middle.

Now – see the cool whimsy pieces?

Critters!

Critters!

and fish and people and palm trees…..

 

Categories: puzzles Tags:

Speaking of Around the World

June 20th, 2015 No comments

there is this puzzle….

Autour de Monde / Round the World

Wooden of course from Liberty Puzzles (Colorado) and contains 502 pieces. It appears to be an old fashion travel poster complete with sailing vessels, a steam ship, train and flags from many countries.

IMG_2097

My other puzzle has been completed for several days and I had to work my way up to taking it apart; placing the cat girl, the detective and the rest of Mike Resnick’s urban fantasy detective story set in an alternate New York back in the box.

 

Categories: puzzles Tags:

leaving Chicago

June 8th, 2015 1 comment

on the Amtrak #5

Chicago - Emeryville

Chicago – Emeryville

It will take about two full days to travel across the county. According to Amtrak our sights will include

  • Rocky Mountains
  • Sierra Nevadas
  • Moffat Tunnel
  • Colorado’s Gore, Byers and Glenwood Canyons
  • Winter Park
  • Truckee River
  • Donner Lake
  • San Pablo Bay and the Carquinez Strait

What is more, some of it will actually happen during the day. Please note, there is absolutely no discussion about the fascinating views of Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska or Kansas.

Just saying.

I haven’t done this route before. Dani (Daughter #2) is not enthused, she doesn’t like spending time in transit. Alex (SIL) more so – the train journey was his choice rather than flying as it is a much better way introduction to “West of the Mississippi.”

Unlike the Eastern Seaboard runs, the best that I am going to be able to get is occasional phone coverage and wifi in a couple of stations with major stops (Denver?).  This is by way of explaining why you won’t hear much from me till Wed evening.

Categories: family, Travel Tags:

Early morning light

June 2nd, 2015 No comments

The sunrise this morning was incredible with streaks of orange red and gold extending from the horizon to the wisps of clouds. Looking out from my compartment (traveling in style) it was one of those times when the speed of the train prohibited the taking of any decent photos – so settling for something that is not all that great.

The train was heading west, but obviously a bit north at the same time for me to be able to see the sunrise in the east (is it still starboard?)

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A47O0773  A47O0780 A47O0786

When a plane arrives fifteen minutes late in the US we all howl with anger and anxiety. When the Bahn is even ten minutes late in Germany it is hardly tolerable. When the attendant in your sleeping car on Amtrak informs you that the train is running about an hour late, well you shrug and continue drinking your coffee just pleased that arrival will be the same date as originally planned and probably early enough that the women in the compartment across from you who have a 1400 connection will make it. 

Without WiFi on the train as is on the Eastern Seaboard there is little I can do to track the route other than follow the marginal map and attempt to read the water towers as I pass.

I was awake for Toledo this morning as well as Waterloo, Elkhart and South Bend. I missed Cleveland and Sandusky in the middle of the night. at miles 439 & 499. We have traveled through back industrial areas and seen extensive fields and silos. All the crossings have been complete with lights, dropping arms and cars manned by impatient drivers annoyed that the train is delaying them. Which wouldn’t be happening if the train was on time…

We pulled into Chicago Union Station only an hour late. Not two hours – I had forgotten about the time zone change which totally and completely explains why no one else was up this morning when I first went on a coffee seeking mission.   Deciding that hiking while carrying a back pack and dragging a suitcase was not in my best interest, I actually took a cab.

So now relaxing, doing laundry and listening to the L thunder past.

Categories: Photos, Travel Tags:

At the feeder

May 19th, 2015 1 comment

It seems that a bird feeder is s good location for snacking, socializing and perhaps off-loading a bit of aggression if you are a harried, worried bird parent.

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Now I can understand seed, but mealy worms just don’t interest me. The Wren couple obviously feel otherwise.

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The bluebird drifted by a few times

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and the titmouse paid a call.

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we are a bit far from the shore, but still –

just for Miriam

just for Miriam

Categories: Photos Tags:

Move Out

May 16th, 2015 No comments

Wow! I hadn’t ever experienced this level of insanity before. I only have fuzzy memories of moving while in college or medical school Shana pretty much managed herself (and I still owe Ann & Ira a huge debt of gratitude). Carmen hosted Dani for the first portion of her time in Maryland. When Noah spent a semester at RIT it was Steve who pitched in. Mark & Debbie helped with Miriam’s move in, and friends on Staten Island stored her stuff the first summer.

I now understand what a huge favor everyone did for me.

Picture the scene – this particular dorm building is 19 floors with students living on 2nd and above. There are three elevators located in the center of a long, long hall with rooms along the sides and extra clusters at the end. There are two sets of stairs offset about 1/2 way down the corridor on each side. FYI there is no 13th floor. When we arrived there were three huge industrial size dumpsters across the drive full to overflowing. Between 0900-1300 I saw the city flat bed at least four times making the full for empty exchange. The parking was limited and the security personnel strictly enforced the one way traffic pattern.

Inside the building someone had smartly labeled the elevators with “2-6″ 7-11″ 12-17″ to expedite the move out. Even so, these are not huge elevators. While they could hold a dozen people once you start adding in hand-trucks, shopping carts, boxes and suitcases the capacity rapidly goes to zero.  There were line ups of people wanting to go up and hordes on each floor with all their worldly goods anxiously waiting to go down.

Miriam was on the 15th floor….

We went up to give her a hand with the last minute packing and hauling. I rapidly figured out that carrying light stuff down the stairs was much faster than waiting for the elevator. I also found that the line for the middle elevator was shorter. Riding to the 11th and walking up three flights was much quicker. I stopped counting trips; I really didn’t want to know.  The line never seemed to diminish; the security personnel said that yesterday was just as hectic but mostly undergrads moving out. Today it was mostly grads which mean even more sorting and tossing.

I saw parents maintaining a sense of humor and those who were about to lose it. The new grads bidding final farewells. Security just shaking their heads at all the stuff going into the dumpsters. One of them has a daughter starting college next fall. Ah ha! I thought and asked her if she had any use for a mini-fridge & tiny microwave? Oh, yes. Gave her the room number and two more still functional items passed along to the next. Pratt gave up on the pass along room several years ago when students proved incapable of distinguishing useful items and garbage (half used jars of mayo? I mean really….)

She made the clearance deadline and most of her stuff went to storage (several firms now have a pickup/drop off container service).  I was singularly unimpressed at the apartment we viewed that afternoon (nor with the management company who seems way more invasive than I remember).

So she is still housing hunting but is now willing to look outside the Pratt area which should markedly increase her chances of finding something.

Categories: family Tags:

Maus with Cap

May 15th, 2015 2 comments
Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden

Inside it was exactly the kind of chaos you would expect. Photography wasn’t all that easy due to spotlights on the stage and the number of people continually milling around (oh say between my lens and the object which I was trying to capture).

The event is  the formal conclusion of Miriam’s four years at Pratt. Started and finished on time and no change in Major. She loved the school, complained continuously about the insane work load and made what I suspect are going to be life long friends.

Finding her in the crowd

Finding her in the crowd

With 800 grads and Communications/Design the largest major if the girls hadn’t decorated the top of their mortar boards (a Pratt Tradition) I don’t know how easy it would have been to spot them.

After the usual awarding of Honorary Degrees, naming of the Teacher of the Year, and multiple speeches

an honorary degree recipient and not Dumbledore

an honorary degree recipient and not Dumbledore

– they all paraded across the stage to shake hands.

Each college in some kind of order. Hard Hats= Construction Management

Each college in some kind of order. Hard Hats= Construction Management

The Presidents comment was to “walk, skip, dance or otherwise come across the stage”

Angel

Angel

Miriam (Flamingo on Hat)

Miriam (Flamingo on Hat)

It's now official

It’s now official

With hordes milling around outside immediately afterwards.

just in case you didnt' see it

just in case you didnt’ see it

and she starts her paid internship 1 June. Now all she has to do is solve her housing…

Categories: family Tags:

And she’s off!

May 12th, 2015 No comments

My original plans for the day involved a long drive to Landstuhl, a drop off of large number of books and otherwise finding my way to the grocery store. I had thought about dropping Cheré off at the airport but I just couldn’t face the traffic. She was amenable to taking the Lufthansa shuttle which starts from Heidelberg and goes directly to the airport without a change or stop. Unlike the train which always includes a change in Mannheim unless you are traveling before 0600 or after 2100.

(She arrived safely in Dublin and got to the hotel with only moderate challenges thanks to the “helpful man” who put her on the wrong coach. If she hadn’t been familiar with the area she might have wound up back in Cork!)

But I didn’t drive to LRMC. My excuse was I wanted to be home when the Eldest arrived was dropped off. She arrived in country yesterday and spent the night with friends. To be honest, I was glad for the reason. The thought of driving more than 200 km round trip when there was no yarn in sight did not thrill me. Of course, I didn’t drop off the boxes of books as planned either which is much more of an issue.

But I had a lovely time talking to my daughter, making a grocery trip and enjoying the wonderful salad she made for dinner. I might at times wish that I had her abilities in the kitchen, but then someone actually might expect me to cook.

Categories: home Tags:

Walking to town

May 11th, 2015 No comments

It seemed logical to walk into town today. Cheré and I wandered in, dropped off another 16 books at the Give-away-Shelf. This takes me up to 642 books that have found a new home so far. I wish I could say that I have made a major dent in the pile, but it really doesn’t seem so. I might have even more books remaining than even I suspected. So no – not a winner yet named in the “Guess how many Books” contest.

I will repost the list, the guesses and a new picture of the boxes when I get back in June.

Meanwhile, we walked into town, visited a few stores and walked back. I managed to not buy anything at either Wolle Rödel or Jack Wolfskin. Hunger struck part way back. The stop at Kaschmir Tandoori netted great food at an extremely reasonable price. The food is great. There is no ambiance, rather you get plain tables and chairs with self-service (take-away also available) and really good prices.

Walking through the cemetery on the way avoided the students escaping Helmholz Gymnasium and instead provided peace, quiet and industrious people maintaining the grounds and planting flowers.

Categories: Books & Tapes, home Tags:

Mother’s Day

May 10th, 2015 No comments

One of those started by Hallmark to make money and encouraged by retail industries everywhere.

Also recognized by one’s offspring as worth a note or email as otherwise the guilt could be overwhelming. Which is why I received messages from the kids, flowers from the guy and an extremely sick (but funny) cartoon from the youngest.

Flowers are good – I am trying to limit my intake of chocolates and anything else would be over kill.

One day a year as Mother’s Day (unless I also want to claim the German date which would give me a second grab at flowers) and every day as children’s day – which really says that the future is the most important…

Categories: family, home Tags:

Puzzled about what to do…

May 3rd, 2015 No comments

Le Havre is no more Paris than Dover is London. Never the less it certainly didn’t stop a huge proportion of my fellow passengers from bailing off the ship at first light for the trip. Since the all a board isn’t till 2230 that leaves a number of hours for the whirlwind tour while wasting more than five for the round trip. And no, the high spend train isn’t an option for an early Sunday arrival.

I’ve been to Paris. For that matter I gave been locally more than once.  About a year ago at last check.
Did I mention the overcast and rain upon docking?  At 1500 the sun has finally come out and I am deciding if I want a walk around town.
We finished the Wentworth Puzzle of the Corfe Castle ruins in Purbeck, some of the fudge has been consumed and knitting accomplished. It might be just the time for some scones.
The puzzle

The puzzle

whimsy pieces

whimsy pieces

partly completed

partly completed

completed

completed

upon on departure

upon on departure

Categories: puzzles, Travel Tags:

It might be spring

April 9th, 2015 No comments

It was warm and the sun is shining.

The birds have been up and voicing their opinions since early this morning. Buds on the plants and all sorts of new growth.

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What you can also see is the children’s playground across the street from my wonderful jungle. During the day it is the source of cheerfulness and happy shouts. At night, when the sun goes down it seems the Goths and vampires come out. The good thing is a lot of police presence in driving them out and keeping the noise and drinking down to a minimum. The bad thing is that it has become necessary in what used to be a quiet neighborhood.

Categories: home Tags:

Foiled again

April 8th, 2015 No comments

You would think that I would understand WP software by now. There is a mandatory re-log in every 24 hours.  So explain to me why, when it had been over a day, I happily typed in a post then was upset when it wasn’t saved. Sentence after sentence, paragraphs just flowing from my fingers onto the screen; it even sounded coherent for a change.G

Did I bother to copy it to a document? No. How about just a screen capture? Nope, didn’t go there either. Just blissfully hit the “publish” button and watched the screen cycle to the log in page.  Gone in the blink of the cursor and not recoverable. Been there, failed this bit of editing before…

It seemed like time to take a break. Ok, I have all these coupons for various amounts off on photo books. Why not try it, especially since they are all willing to give me free photos.

What am I going to do with photos? Who carries around photos? iPads, smart phones – of course. But hard copy photos?  Maybe I can make business cards and cut them up?

Never mind.  I settled on trying SnapFish and Shutterfly. One gave me good information about what I needed to do, the other gave me generalities. One let me enter a lot of text, the other made it practically impossible.  Discount coupons are good; I just wish California didn’t want its share of sales tax.

Now to see if it is worth doing again…..

Categories: Photos Tags:

Key?

April 4th, 2015 No comments

My flight left Entebbe around 0400 in the morning. I changed planes in Istanbul and arrived at Frankfurt Airport by 1445. Ignoring strange goings on with the train (Worms is not exactly on the way to Mannheim), I managed to arrive in Heidelberg and get home.

Then the fun began.

The Wifi was working which was good. The key was not where it was supposed to be. Multiple exchanges back and forth between me and George in California who swore that a key had been left for me. Before screaming, crying or throwing a complete temper tantrum I decided to look at alternative locations. Lo and behold, there – tucked inside a small bit of paper under a cover in what both us think of as trash (not a currently functioning item) was the key.

Sleep sounds really good right about now.

Categories: home Tags:

Flying East

February 23rd, 2015 1 comment

Flying East, it doesn’t take long to pass into darkness even when take off is as early as 1500 in the afternoon. I’m on Lufthansa in seat 11B. The plane is an A380 which means upstairs.

The food is excellent and elegantly served.

My iPad and phone start with a complete charge. Turning down the opportunity to pay thieves rates for WiFi I elect an audiobook instead. Noting that it is now 0332 in the morning (Frankfurt time) I should consider sleep. It is about that time that a parent from down stairs is insisting that the cabin attendants open the emergency kit for some medication. It turns out to be a teething child. Unhappy and a disruption to the surrounding passengers but hardly an emergency.

This parent was not a teenager: in fact I was having an interesting time deciding if she was the mom or grandmother (having been an older mom, I am sure that more than one person mentally asked themselves this question). This completely begs the question of why you would travel unprepared. It isn’t that hard to bring liquid pain reliever, teething meds or comfort chews for that age. The cabin attendants obviously have seen worse: one bottle for a 12 hours, no diapers, extra change of clothing. All of us had flown when our children were young. We all traveled with at least 24 hours of supplies. Heading to locations with bad weather? More. We had to settle for apple quarters as something to gum. I headed back to me seat hoping she had enough sense not to let him choke if he managed to bite off a small chunk.

Seeing clouds followed by snow and sleet on landing did not exactly thrill me. I traded sunshine and lovely weather for this? Perhaps George has a point about winter weather in the East Bay. Not that I am going to admit it in public.

To top off my travels, my first bag which was primarily luggage coming back to Germany arrived promptly off the belt. My second did not arrive. Baggage tracking informed us (the lonely three passengers left) that the band had hit a snag and they were fixing it. Wait, our bags would arrive.

Right.

Meanwhile, George had driven to the airport and is waiting for me. My phone is dead and there are no visible outlets for charging anywhere. I am offered the desk phone.

But his number is in my phone…..

Categories: home, Travel Tags:

Heading home

February 22nd, 2015 No comments

hanging out in the United Lounge. This one in particular rates low. The only worse United lounge so far in my experience is Chicago as far as crowded and offering almost nothing for decent food and beverage. I drank the coffee and attempted to eat a banana.

Guess that the expectations for United customer service are low. In contrast, the Hertz rental in Berkeley is outstanding. They are willing to take cars early, late and give me a ride to the BART. Or pick one up if traveling to pick up a car.

The Lufthansa counter was quick and baggage drop off was a breeze. Packing was a bit more complicated (not made easier by having to evict Shana’s cat from the bags multiple times. Some how I didn’t think he would really enjoy such a ride.

I don’t land till almost noon tomorrow – 9 hours to be whacked again.

Categories: home, Travel Tags:

Muir Woods

February 18th, 2015 No comments

Drive up 580. Cross the Richmond Bridge (past the refineries that were voted closed by the city council last night due to safety reasons). South on 101, out California #1 and through switchbacks, double backs and really hairy hair pins just in time to get one of the few remaining parking slots at Muir Woods National Monument.

After a stop at Muir Beach, Bluebird Yarns (Sausalito) and the North Face Outlet we returned back to the house.

You have the photos of the best part.

Categories: Friends, home, yarn Tags:

Lost Cat

February 2nd, 2015 8 comments

One of the often ignored challenges of home renovations is tat of keeping pets safe. Cats locked in a room tend to cry and howl until hoarse, making themselves and everyone within ear shot totally and completely miserable. Cats not imprisoned may flee the premise when workmen fail, in spite of repeated instruction, to shut all doors all the time.

And so it was that the Eldest and I returned from running errands to find College Guy outside calling for the cat.

Onyx

Onyx

Now admittedly, I can understand to a certain extent about doors and windows. These are the floor guys and they are sealing the upstairs floors. Ventilation is important. Hence opening doors and windows. I can also understand why the escape artist managed to get away.

Like any cat a la Heinlein – there just has to be a Door into Summer. Given the balmy weather currently gracing Berkeley, that door may not lead to anything better. Mousier? Jucier or Catnippier maybe – but the weather has been gracious to those who are relieved to not be braving New York City or Chicago’s snow heaps.

So anytime a door to the OUT opens, Onyx feels as a true representative of the jungle cat kingdom that he is personally responsible for checking it out.

It might have been amusing at some point. But as darkness fell, the two offspring making wider and wider neighborhood circles calling for him there was no entertainment value. Instead I had two adults ready for meltdowns both of whom had a myriad of other things to tend.

Posters were printed and put up by the time it was full dark.

This story does have a good ending. About five hours into his absence I heard an answer outside to one of the kids calling. A quite disgusted answer. Onyx was really angry. All those people in HIS house. Not leaving so that he could come back with dignity and not being called like an errant child. Disturbing his peace and naps.

From here on in, we are ignoring the pleas and crys. He stays locked up while workmen are here.

Categories: home Tags:
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