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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:

End of the year

December 31st, 2014 2 comments

I won’t say that things have been completely quiet here on Hill Bezirkley; but I have been holding with the old adage that if I can’t find much positive to say – keeping my mouth shut is smart.

This leaves out visiting with Alison, Ruth and Janet. Those are good high lights. Seeing three/four off-spring has also been good. Spending time with George even better which just leaves me with my thorough dislike of Berkeley and hate of house.

Categories: home Tags:

Cat Bowls

December 29th, 2014 1 comment

are not food or water dishes. They are places where cats can properly and comfortably curl up to sleep

 

Onyx demonstrating the proper use of a CatBowl

Onyx demonstrating the proper use of a CatBowl

Categories: home, Knitting Tags:

Maybe ready, maybe not

December 17th, 2014 1 comment

(try two – the first vanished which hasn’t happened to me in a while)

Procrastination has to end sometime and I hit my limit about mid-morning. Since I am leaving for San Francisco tomorrow I really need to finish packing and attempt to find places in all the luggage I am schlepping for my clothing and stuff.

Yes, I did send George with one bag of things for the kids but it certainly did not all fit into one bag. So here I am with a second bag packed for everyone else. Gummi bears, cookbooks, chocolate, various assorted fabric things, and some wool for friends in California (yes, you know who you are). The bag is not exactly light, but I can lift it. Besides since I have really excessive limits with Lufthansa, I see no reason not to take advantage of them. Duffle bag with stuff. My suitcase with some clothes, lebkuechen, nutella, a bottle of coke (don’t ask). The extra backpack as carry-on (which actually belongs to George) is stuffed with the rest of the goodies. Since the front section will hold a computer I am thinking of stuffing mine there since my normal backpack has all those essential electronic items like the extra GPS, cameras, chargers, lenses and yarn for padding. Oh, yes. Meds, cables and connectors, can’t forget those.

Now if I could just settle on which knitting projects for the flight, I would be all set. A couple of things are on fine, metal double points and I just don’t see risking losing needles to the security personnel. I can always start another hat on circs. Or a shawl, not that I don’t have enough of those.

Wait, I know! A Cowl to go with my hat! I have plenty of black and white…. which I might not be able to see on the airplane. Gee – I think 0500 is going to arrive awfully soon…..

Categories: home, Travel Tags:

and it is a crown!

December 16th, 2014 No comments

Went back to the dentist today since our attempt at placing what the dental lab said was my crown had not been successful.

I like my dentist, which I certainly can’t say about all the dentists I have had over the years. She is really young (late 20s-early 30s) which is really young from my point of view. Brisk and efficient, she explains what she is going to do, why, and then does it. No fumbling, no poking or hesitation, just quiet competence which I really appreciate. Unlike some other dentists, she doesn’t seem to have the need to fill silence with the sound of her voice or chat about non-relevant issues.

Perhaps other people like a chatty dentist. But for me, I want 100% of her attention on what she is accomplishing in my mouth. I view all the rest as potential distraction (kind of like driving and talking on the phone).

This crown is different than my others. It is porcelain backed on a metal base. It means that I don’t have another shiny gold crown which is more than fine with me. Not that I care that much about appearance at this point in my life but I would rather not have it appear that my teeth could be of serious value to someone else with the current price of gold.

Walked to the dentist, walked home and managed to have a significant number of my steps recorded by my FitBit (which is one of the few that still seems to be working of those purchased in Aug). Followed by a serious dose of meds which killed both my migraine and the rest of the day.

Categories: home Tags:

Living in one Room

December 12th, 2014 No comments

Sometimes I don’t understand why I get so hung up about having a house. About wanting to have rooms, and space and stuff. Well, let is back off about the stuff for the moment.

I have spent a significant amount of my life living in one room. In fact, I am willing to bet that most of you have done the same. If you are currently dealing with children, teenagers or college students – since the dawn of the electronic era, any of the above mentioned off-spring/grandchildren/etc would much rather be behind a door than out in public. Especially if it means that they don’t have to share.

Most of us growing up had a room (bedroom) which, unless you were an only or your family had money, was shared with a sibling. That room was felt to be yours and all jokes about Keep OUT! signs have some basis in reality. In either case, having a door that shut the rest of the world out at least sometimes defined your space as a room.

After high school/secondary school if you went on to college you had a room. Rarely could you afford more. If you headed off to the military, you thought back wistfully on having a room (barracks, no matter what you call them including Dorms, are not the same).

After that it varied. But the goal of most growing up was to have your own room/space/whatever. But then reality sets in. If you travel for work, that room strongly resembles a hotel/motel if you are lucky. If not and it is a deployment, well then you are stacked 2-4 high with dozens to hundreds of your new best friends. Senior enough and you might actually have your own room; something to be prized. (see 1998 comments on Hekkebine and Davidson Huts, 2003-4 discussion on trailer 1/2s and 2010-2011 about old housing areas with personal cells/cubicles vs shiny new with bunkbeds/roommates and down the hall plumbing.)

At this point you probably have no idea where I am going? I have been traveling by ship. A room there is called a cabin, but it is still that individual space. But this is not about sea going at all. It is more like my little corner of the world.

Similar to living in basically one room while in the UK even tho I had a whole house (well – never mind that no one could afford to heat more than one to two rooms which meant lots of wool and the highest indoor temps of 14*C) I find that once our bedroom is cleared out, I am perfectly happy there. Not that I wouldn’t enjoy a comfortable chair with reading/knitting light, but I have everything I need. Comforter, electric power strip for laptop and other assorted chargers. Ineffectual overhead lights are more than compensated by a really strong light near the headboard.

Since I found the second house phone charger (in the corner under a laundry basket) I don’t even have to chase down the house phone on the rare time that it rings. So here I sit, phone, laptop, iPhone, knitting, a very interesting course on networks (with math) being watched in 20 minute increments alternating with a weird audio book while I knit. I have just about everything I need.

Except George. He is in Switzerland.

Categories: home Tags:

The fridge is just

December 11th, 2014 1 comment

going to have to wait till tomorrow. Since I have’t done much of anything with it for a more than is reasonable time it is not like it really matters. All the lab experiments gone wrong and the left over Thanksgiving food hopefully will not explode out of their containers to stage a zombie like take over of the house prior to the morning.

And if they do? Well I will concede the field!

You see, I had a dental appointment today at 1100. It was to be my last with placement of a crown. (note the foreshadowing here?) Since it was cold and raining it seemed like a perfect day to hike and run all my errands. Right? After all, I am the possessor of winter rain jacket, umbrella, glove and hand knit hats. It really isn’t all that far. Really.

Except for the stop at the bank. It seemed like a good idea to have Euros rather than rely on Australian, Korea, US, UK or any of the other currency currently floating around my bedside table or in my wallet. It wasn’t that far out of the way.

When the crown didn’t meet my dentist’s exacting specifications a return appointment was made for next Tues. I really didn’t care about the color but she is right about it being a millimeter too high even after fussing. Long term that just means that my bite would be wrong and I would manage to crack it.

So there I was on the street with my temp cemented hopefully firmly in place. This made it absolutely easy to hike down Bergheimerstrasse and into the city center where I could make stops at Kaufhof (Galeria and other wise) looking for light weight/non-black pants for Africa, cashmere sweaters on sale and chocolate.

Further down the pedestrian zone I found a hoodie for me on sale (and put it on). Did I mention it was chilly and raining? Nothing exciting at Wolle Roedel so my next to the last stop was the Baerentreff, AKA the Gummi Bear store. By the time I managed to find places to put all the gummis – I was seven kg heavier in packages and decidedly not in the mood to tote boxes of Lebkuechen.

Failing to find any change in my wallet, pockets or bags I started my plodding way home. It was still raining so I walked down Ploch rather than deal with the main pedestrian street, hiked up and down stairs to get to Rohrbacherstrasse and ran out of steam just about even with Kashmir Take Away. It was warm inside. The Palak Paneer was fabulous as was the Tandoori Vegetables. Finishing with a hot cup of tea I watched a family obviously new to Indian cooking try to decide what to eat as well as feed to the one and three year old. The suggestion of Chicken Korma and Palak Paneer seemed to work out just fine as the kids were shoveling food into their mouths and the parents weren’t overwhelmed by scary spices.

I stayed warm past the cemetery. By the time I was cold again our corner was in sight. Just happened to have keys in my pocket so avoided stairs in favor of the elevator. Still, it meant I was most happy to make a warm cuppa and deal with books, computer and knitting for the duration of the day curled up with a nice comforter.

Perhaps you would enjoy contemplating gummi bears in 500 gm bags?

lots of 500gm bags

lots of 500gm bags

Or the Vienna and Heidelberg chocolate collections on offer when we reach California?

scored in Vienna

scored in Vienna


today's haul

today’s haul

Categories: home Tags:

I’m excavating today

December 10th, 2014 No comments

Not in the back studio which is still full of boxes only decreased by the dozen or so books I managed to foist off on Zandra in Nov.

those pesky boxes of books still hanging out

those pesky boxes of books still hanging out

Not in the piles of papers – those have already been sorted out. Since the paperbin was emptied yesterday by the lovely trashmen from Heidelberg there is plenty of opportunity for me to fill it.

papers to be recycled

papers to be recycled

Nor am I speaking in general about a house decorated in hangered clothing –

shirts on most of the doorknobs

shirts on most of the doorknobs

No, I am tackling that portion of the bedroom which belongs to by husband. In his defense, he did start on it after we returned from Vienna. I don’t understand the tablecloth, either plastic container lid or  the  ….. but I am sure there is a good explanation

the guilty corner

the guilty corner

What I find infinitely more interesting is the contrast between men and women in hanging up shirts. It isn’t just that there are buttons on opposite sides of the shirt. I have no idea who the not-so brilliant fashionista who dictated such a thing, but it is a pain and results not just in a difference in how shirts are buttoned but which way they are placed on hangers. I would go further down that particular rant, but it really wouldn’t make any difference. It falls somewhere outside the realm of understanding. Just like the inability to button the top button on the shirt when placing it on a hanger.

one closet of his shirts

one closet of his shirts

my remaining shirts

my remaining shirts

I can understand the distaste of adult men for buttoning that top button. That is, when the shirt is worn because the only way it looks decent completely buttoned is when accompaigned by a necktie. No question why the presence of a noose around the throat is not a welcome addition. But seriously, the hanger doesn’t care. Shirts buttoned all the way up are more likely to stay on the hanger.  It also makes it a bit easier to fasten that top button when accessorized with the aforementioned tie. But what do I know? My shirts have buttons on the left and scarves are much more reasonable, especially since I need to keep those top few buttons undone.

But I have found the floor, folded most of the clothings – leaving only his suitcase ready for Sunday’s stateside departure. The empty clothing tree and a basket now full of empty hangers are still on my target list.

3/4 of the way finished

3/4 of the way finished

 

 

Bet you thought I was talking about the fridge. No, but stay tuned for tomorrow….

Categories: home Tags:

survived that one, or is it dodged?

December 2nd, 2014 No comments

which was not all unexpected. Back to the dentist today for the next to the last step regarding the tooth that went crook last Nov while I was in Australia. Cavity, broke. temp filling on return needed to be replaced. Root canal etc.

It has been a long haul but all the prelim has been done and should finish up with the crown next week. I would feel more comfortable about the end being in sight if the temp cap on my tooth would deign to stay in place. Failing that – I think that toothpaste as a temp holding is probably pretty safe.

I can think of much better ways to cut down on my non-exist use of chewing gum..

On other fronts, the Lufthansa pilots strike (my bad spelling and the word checker keep wanting to insert “polite” which I just don’t think is valid) should be over tomorrow sending me on my way to Vienna. I haven’t decided for certain, but am likely going to drive up in the morning. Leaving at 0600 give me a few more hours of sleep than the 0547 train and will make it easier for George and I to get home from the Frankfurt Airport on Saturday night.

Packing took all of 5 minutes.

Remember when I sent all that “stuff” to California? I was tired. All of it went. I have cruise clothes here which means that I have almost nothing for “nice” with regards to colder weather. Glad we aren’t doing anything that dark hiking pants/jeans and a nice sweater won’t suffice.

Of course, you remember I mentioned lacking the shoe gene? It means I am also lacking anything dressy for shoes……

Categories: home Tags:

Which jeans?

December 1st, 2014 No comments

I don’t have a fashion gene, a girly gene, shoe gene or dress up gene any where in my makeup. I have no clue how my three daughters have managed to survive and grow up in site of having me for a mother.

Fashion sense? Well, lets just say that I will never, ever be invited to join the Country Club or any group of “Ladies who Lunch.” I don’t do glitter, sparkle, bling. The fact that I am completely oblivious to fashion designers has not lent cache to my desirability as a table companion. It has also spared me the fate of the shivering twits who look great, or would look great if they were’t tuning blue while standing outside in a line during winter. I get that short is cute, but why not wear a coat when the temperature is below freezing?

Anyway, there are a few basic rules that somehow sunk in somewhere along the line. White shoes are for summer, dark for winter. So as I unpack my cruise suitcase and get ready to repack the small one for Wednesday I am left with an unanswerable fashion question. Does the same idea hold true for jeans? Does it matter? I certainly don’t care, but inquiring minds would like to know if I should I be putting away my comfortable pale denim jeans away for the winter in favor of darker blues?

Categories: home Tags:

Not my cup of tea

November 23rd, 2014 No comments

I don’t know why I was so brain dead as to book this cruise. I like the ship. Don’t get me wrong on that. Rather I didn’t expect being overwhelmed by poorly behaved children old enough to know better. Or maybe I should just lay the blame where it belongs: on their parents who seem to abdicate their role in favor of being absent or “friends.” The first number I was given was 400…. but it turns out that 600 under the curfew age seems a lot more realistic. That is a significant number of school age children not in school. As it turns out – one of the Louisiana Parishes has school vacation this week. Makes sense – nothing is likely going to be learned in a three day short week. A week off now and in the spring is probably a better compromise than one and a half or two weeks in the spring. Most of the children, however, are just missing three days of school.

Now, I may not always have been the best of parents; but I have four fantastic young adults who, when growing up, were always welcome everywhere. It didn’t occur to them to run, scream and shove in public halls. They didn’t get on elevators just to hop back off after pressing all the buttons. And most certainly they didn’t spit, throw things or deliberately spill their drinks on the floor. I don’t think I can really take credit for them. Perhaps it was growing up in Europe. Maybe just that none of their friends severely acted out in public.

I just wonder what this new group of parents are going to be able to say in 10-20 years. Are they going to be as extremely proud of who their children are? Are they going to be delighted at their personalities, accomplishments and considerations of others? Or are they going to wonder why everything seems to have turned out like a Country & Western Song?

Categories: home, Travel Tags:

why couldn’t it have waited just one more day?

November 5th, 2014 No comments

There are those times when you think that inanimate objects might, just might, have a life and will of their own. Rationally it makes absolutely no sense what so ever but in reality, how can you otherwise explain things that break just when you need them the most?

Case in point. We have a good washing machine. Front Loading, energy saving and really quite cooperative as long as a few basic things are done. It is always smart to empty pockets, but I know that it doesn’t always happen. Things that are water soluble make a mess, but aren’t deadly to the machines innards. Coins, on the other hand, can plug up a hose. It has happened before. College Guy fixed it.

This morning I hauled a rather large basket of clothes to the laundry room, sorted out the first load and started it. Went back down an hour later to find that the load had stopped with the digital display saying “EEEEEE [some number]”. Plus half a tug of water.

I did mention that it is a front loader? After attempting to check the filter and cleaning up the water which spewed on the floor I tried to pull the filter out. Turn counter clockwise (anti-clockwise for you Brits) and pull. Nada. Waited a few hours till the West Coast checked in by Face-Time to confirm what I needed to do. Yep, pull the filter. It was not cooperating.

When George got home he proceeded to tell me to pull out the filter. A little while later, he came upstairs. Filter was stuck, but managed to empty out about a gallon of water.

So here I am, packed for tomorrow which turned out to be a rather creative undertaking. All my normal cruise wear was in the laundry basket as well as my favorite jeans and tops. Since most of my clothing is in SF, it makes in challenging. Perhaps I should just take this as an opportunity to pack more yarn?

Categories: home, Travel Tags:

Halloween

October 31st, 2014 2 comments

In case you are wondering – I am in Vienna attending an international conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases. George and I drove to the airport, my flight was fine but earlier than his. The CAT goes directly to Vienna Center and the Hilton is across the street.

What I had assumed was that Halloween is essentially (in the current commercial form) a US issue with creep into the rest of the world.

In the US – with Photos supplied by off-spring not counting on redistro –

What yo get in Vienna is pumpkin soup

with a bit of bite

with a bit of bite

and drunks with/without costumes out on the street making what to them is glorious noise till all hours.

Friday – should have thought of that!

Categories: family, Travel Tags:

Off! and done….

October 27th, 2014 No comments

I felt my self become lighter and lighter as I managed to get off the Oasis in spite of there being no directions and no signage. Now I can understand why they don’t print the Gangway the night before – something might change. But is there anything wrong with signage? With something in their TV announcements?

In stead there is a button in the elevators that says “Gangways.” Ok, that works for all the people who take elevators, but what about the rest of us? Or perhaps a sign or five when you get off the elevator? It is a rather large ship and that might eliminate scads of people randomly milling around knocking into everyone else with their baggage.

Ah well, I had figured it that it was going to be Starboard (since my cabin was Port and overlooking the water) and midship figured to be a good bet. I didn’t quite dance down the gangway but it was close. Since all I had was my 19″ suitcase and a backpack self carry turned out to be brilliant. There were issues getting the luggage off the ship….

Anyway – took the shuttle to MIA. Took the Hilton shuttle to the MIA Hilton. Left my suitcase with the Bell Captain and hiked to the Post Office via Office Depot. They were out of tyvek mailing envelopes, but had bubble nylon envelopes. Since the Post Office turned out to be out of the good mailing envelopes (must not be the only one who turns them inside out…..) this also turned out to be a good idea.

The clerk at the next counter was a local young woman, my clerk with 28 years in the system is originally from Peru. We discussed hats, scarves, real winter and to remember that Lima is not characteristic of his country (big city = bit city). They both found the idea of someone walking in with $56 in change as a welcome event (me in Aspen). Meanwhile, packages to Coral Springs, Touano, Annadale, Brooklyn, Chicago and Berkeley to arrive anywhere from tomorrow to Sat.

I’m about to take the shuttle back over to the airport and hang out in the military lounge till Lufthansa opens its counter ~1400. Free Wifi is always good…..

Categories: family, Knitting, Travel, yarn Tags:

Packed again.

October 12th, 2014 No comments

I have been home for over a week which leads to the obvious follow on question. Yes, that one. And the answer is that I am off to Rotterdam tomorrow morning. Given a choice of 5-6 hours on trains or dealing with Heathrow and Southampton – it should be obvious which I picked.

This time it took me the better part of the day to get organized. Finding and packing clothing wasn’t all that hard. Sorting out which yarns to take along to mail in the states for gifts took a bit longer. Please ignore the time spent printing out patterns, sorting knitting needles and otherwise digging through my hard drive. So I will not discuss the new books downloaded from Amazon, Audible or both.

This trip is only 13 days – Rotterdam to Southampton to Vigo (Spain) to Ft Lauderdale. Translates to a lot of sea days in a row which is just fine with me.

In other news – I finally fond both the charging cable and wrist band for my FitBit so back on line with that. I also located both parts of my Jawbone Up and am thinking about comparing their sleep logging function.  George also talked to the lovely folks at Host.de. I now have double the server space at ….. wait for it…. the same price as before. Apparently the tariffs have going down and I didn’t notice.

Just like I didn’t notice where I had tucked my electronics when I unpacked. Nothing like spending an hour or so tearing apart several rooms in a frantic search for an external hard drive. Not any one you have to understand but the specific one that has all my patterns and audio books and Coursera Vidoes… It was in the living room cupboard along with the 5D that is not coming along on this trip. Smaller backpack, 19″ carryon and perhaps a small bag. Backpack should be empty of all the yarn by the other side of the ocean which should give me space in case I need it….

Categories: home, Travel Tags:

Of course their plane was early

October 7th, 2014 No comments

I meant to check the arrival for DL14 from Atlanta last evening. Oh, wait! I did check it, and it said it was on time. Due to arrive 0740. So when my alarm went off at 0600 you would think I had a lot of time. Pick up friends at the airport? Easy-Peasy.

Then I reloaded the webpage. Flight now due in at 0650. Doesn’t compute. Even given that it normally takes 40-60 minutes to hike from the far end of nowhere, get one’s passport stamped, tramp to the baggage carousel, wait for luggage. Wait for luggage some more prior to man-handling it off the belt and escaping to arrivals Hall D.

So, let’s say that if I leave right now (which I did) I should just about make the drive, park the car and be there about 0745 (right when that plane should have landed).

I didn’t know about the construction involving the access ramps onto A6 from B656. By the time I was hung in traffic 2 km short of the Autobahn it was a bit late to change my mind. We also will ignore all the insane sludging and slow downs that occurred for no apparent reason. (Dominos falling anyone?). And the back up involving all four northbound lanes of A5 (don’t ask – A6 seems to vanish and become A67 which goes to Wiesbaden at the juncture of A5 & A6) which lead to still more delays.

Terminal 2 – I can find Terminal 2, where it would have been nice to be able to easily find parking rather than having to jam my car into the only remaining place on the entire deck. Right next to the guy who didn’t manage to stay within the lines. I might not color within the lines – but parking in someone else’s space is just rude.

Dashing into the Terminal and beating feet upstairs, Clint & Zandra weren’t in Arrivals D. They weren’t in Arrivals E either. On my third pass from one side to the other I spotted them. Easy? (grin) Two very American looking people with backpacks and a couple of large suitcases complete with yellow Cruise Critic Straps.

Trip home was a picnic after that.

I only get to keep them till Friday. Tomorrow we will tour a bit of Heidelberg, Thurs a look around Speyer.

Would you believe that I even cooked dinner?

Categories: Friends, home Tags:

Bags!

October 5th, 2014 No comments

Luggage, Suitcases, duffle bags, whatever. They had been located yesterday, escorted to a Lufthansa flight and directed to behave themselves till disembarking in Frankfurt. Lufthansa has a delivery service. My bags will be brought to me.

Bags? Yes, two. Normally I don’t travel all that heavy and certainly I didn’t start out that way at the beginning of the trip. But this was the northern crossing. The one that stops in Norway, Shetlands, Faroes, Iceland. How could I possibly visit these ports and not pick up wool, books or both? And then there were the sweater requests. Several were mailed off by friends in the US leaving me with just two that made the trip with me.

But still, there was wool. And books. And finished projects that came back to Germany and unfinished projects which weren’t completed through lack of the correct yarn. All of which meant I was coming home with more than planned.And towels. Remind me, exactly why do I persist in having towels be my gift from Royal? Perhaps we actually have enough towels for now….

Categories: home, yarn Tags:

Home

October 4th, 2014 No comments

Yes, plane last night. Boarded, took off, stretched out and didn’t bother with knitting, reading, food or drink for the entire flight.

Arriving in Frankfurt, George came to pick me up and waited patiently while I stood at the baggage carousel. After hanging out for a long time and feeling quite stupid, plus dizzy from watching all those bags (none of which were mine) go around and around I looked for Lufthansa’s baggage office.

For once, I actually found my baggage check tags which netted us the information that my luggage was in JFK. Not much use to me but I hoped it had a nice time visiting with all the other bags. Obviously my luggage was having too good a time to make the flight. No question (I asked) that my bags were tagged for Frankfurt. The guy helping me thought it might be the changing from Air Canada (I checked the bags in Quebec City) to Lufthansa; Terminal 7 to Terminal 1 or just the amount of time between flights. Apparently too much time might be just as risky as too little. In any case I didn’t see any point in hanging out till morning and gratefully accepted my ride home.

I really don’t remember much of the rest of the day. My rhythm was completely thrown off – what with no laundry or unpacking to capture my attention. So perhaps there might have been sleep, or Thai food or both.

Categories: home Tags:
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