Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Being Tourists.

It’s not really something that we do.   The standing around,  the gawking.   It’s just never appealed to me at least.  I’m pretty sure Travelling Companion feels the same.

Don’t misunderstand,  we’ve gone a few places and seen a few things,  but always on our own terms.  No bus tours for me, thanks.   Unless I take my own.

When we went to Washington D.C. in May of 03 (oh,  that rhymes)  we took our own accomodations.

By that I mean these:

 return trip 028

Note the “for sale” sign. 

We won’t talk about that.


Anyhoo,  since we’re sort of “reluctant tourists”,  you can readily understand why it’s taken us this long (over two years?)  to get out to see the works of “Hundertwasser”.   I can see you just now saying,  “Hundert…what?”  Um ya,  it’s the name of this guy,  who was an architect/artist (and there are probably other words to describe him,  but I’ll go easy here)  who had a unique approach to design.  
Whether I like it or not?  I’m not sure.    He was quoted as saying,  “The straight line is ungodly”, or at least that’s a close transliteration. 

And that’s all fine and dandy,  and I can certainly appreciate the use of curves in a building such as the Guggenheim,  (been there,  loved it) where the only flat surfaces are the floors.  Pretty cool I’d say.   But that’s the thing.  Some of us prefer walking on level surfaces.  As a matter of fact,  not walking on an even surface can be downright painful.    Which is why I could NOT live in one of his buildings!   We went into the museum/souvenir shop,  and I don’t think I could have stayed there any more than about 20 minutes,  or I would have plunged head long into one of the displays.  I mean,  I’ve been out on the deck of a pitching sailboat,  but at least then there’s something to hang on to.  I don’t do well when the floor just mysteriously falls away from under foot.   It’s not that the floor was moving or anything,  but unless you watched every step,  you were in trouble.


I’ve dropped off a few visitors at the Hundertwasserhaus,  but it just so happens that we didn’t make it to that exact location on Sunday.   I was tooling along the Danube canal,  and spotted both a sign and an empty parking spot,  and figured I was done.

Turns out we ended up at the Kunsthauswien,  which literally translates as the Vienna Art House,  but only has the work and musings of Hundertwasser as its theme.   I’ll stick in a Google maps link if you’re curious.   It turns out we could have walked on over to the Hundertwasserhaus,  since it’s only about 400 metres,  but it’s just more of the same.   It’s a housing complex where there are residence and office buildings,  with a few shops on the first floor.  That’s all you’re going to see.


So we meandered around the museum shop a while, where Travelling Companion bought a couple little things that will later be gifts of some sort.  I wandered around and tried not to fall over.  (Uneven floors,  remember?)



This is the back courtyard going in to the museum.


Clicking on that picture will NOT make it that much bigger,  since I don’t want to get in trouble with T.C.  She’s camera shy.

The thing is,  his architectural work can be seen scattered about,  throughout the city and other parts of the country.   It just so happens that there are a few spots there in the third district within walking distance of each other.  

People live in these places. 

Surely to goodness their floors must be level.  

Here’s a smattering:






And this is why I have very little desire to go to these touristy spots:


Wow.  That’s a lotta crap.  And that was only one shop.  There were many.


I’m trying to look enthusiastic. 

Happy to ambulatory.

I really do like some of the tile work.  I think it’s neat.  The rest of it?  Meh,  I’m not overly thrilled. 

I’ve heard tell,  that certain buildings that he “designed”  are now having some structural issues.   Hm,  wonder why that would be?   The building that we live in, upon which our apartment is perched, was built in 1908.    It’s a big heavy boring cube.  Well,  it’s got some fancy bits out front,  but they’re not “structural” in nature.

Solid as a rock.  

You can come to your own conclusions.  

I mean,  if you want to get even more “boring,  yet solid as a rock”,  I suppose a pyramid would be the ultimate,  but the visibility would suck.  Best to just stick with cubes,  which would imply the use of straight lines.   Not that I’d want to influence your opinion or anything.



I hope you’re enjoying your spare day in February.  We have to wait another four years for the next one.


Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Meteorological Terms.


I can’t really decide is it’s “snotty”,   “really snotty”,  or just perhaps “crappy”  with “snotty intervals”.    Otherwise known as “snotty bits”,  but that could have another meaning.

When I went out earlier,  it was only somewhat “shitty”,  and has just now gotten worse.   Maybe I have my terms mixed up.  

All I know is,  it could be better.   The cold?  Meh, I can bundle up for it.  Rain?  I have rain gear.   Cold AND rainy?   Not keen.   My mitties get wet.   You know,  “mitties”,  rhymes with kitties?   Actually it has to be heaps colder for me to wear hand accoutrements of any kind,  which is another way of saying that, on days like this anyway, my hands get cold.


It was nicer the other day when I took this one:

That’s a really pitiful segue to a picture I know,  but it’s the only way I can get it in there,  along with all the others.


I tried getting a shot of the moon and one of the planets.  I think it’s Jupiter,  since Venus is over to the lower right.   I was able to see it later when it was darker,  but couldn’t seem to get a pic that was half ways decent.  

Click on it or squint.  You chose.

The longer lens I have on the Nikon is actually from an F70, which is a “film” camera (and a damned fine one too)  so the body of the D40 and the lens don’t actually “talk” to each other.  That means muggins here is relying on his feeble eye sight to do the focusing.   I’m too cheap to simply go out and buy a proper lens.  At least for the time being.

These didn’t turn out too bad though.  Sort of.


Flying the friendly skys.

Is it just me,  or do they look like they’re having fun?   Try it.  Click on one of the pictures and then say,  “Weeeee”.   It works. 

OK,  maybe it only works for me.




You can see though where I might have some ever so slight issues with focussing on stuff if you take a gander at this one (below) that I took when I spotted another crane that sprang up last week.   Can’t seem to have too many pictures of cranes.  And I don’t mean the feathered kind either.

It looks all fine and dandy until you take a closer look.

Note the folks outside getting some sun in the lower right corner of the frame. 

Click on it!  Do it!

That was a rare day last week when it got up to something like 14°C.  I’ve not seen anyone sitting up there since.   Sunbathing or otherwise.


Speaking of planets, and the ones that we can see,  if you happen to look to the Eastern sky right around sundown,  you can’t help but also notice Mars,  which appears as an orange ‘star’ about half way up the sky.  There’s probably some technical way of describing that,  with words like “azimuth”  or something,   but just stick your head out there.   Sunset.  Eastern sky. You’ll see it.  Trust me.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll reminisce about our tiny little excursion on Sunday.  That would be the Sunday from two days ago,  when we saw the skaters?   There was more.

My earlier attempt at a segue was the only one I had.


Thanks for lookin’.



Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekend report.

Maybe that sounds a bit over the top.  Just having trouble with new titles is all.  I’d make reference to the type of titles I don’t want to use,  but I just might speak out of turn.  So I won’t.   (no “Rumblings”,  “Meanderings”  or “Thoughts”)

In spite of it getting a little nasty yesterday,  it’s once again sunny today.  Not the best temperatures,  since it’s still single digits,  but I’m OK with that.   It’s February after all.

Speaking of which,  I thought these guys were wasting no time getting things ready for “ice-cream season”.   They’ll be opening up again tomorrow.  That’s February 28th for those keeping score.   During the more wintry months,  to keep a couple bucks coming in, (oh wait,  I guess that would be “Euros”.  Whatever.)  they use it as a clothing store.  Stuff like scarves and mitts.  That kind of thing.  We didn’t go in.   I have enough scarves,  mitts and toques.  I’d prefer not to have any at all to be completely honest.




It’s a chain of Ice Cream parlours,  and they do a brisk business.  You watch,  they’ll be mobbed tomorrow by noon.    Austrians really love their ice cream,  and there was some crazy statistic I read once about just how much they consume each year.  It was BUCKETS.

We’ve only bought ice cream there once I think.  It’s pretty rich.  Too rich for me,  since I usually end up with a tummy ache.  If I could just eat the stuff without it ever hitting my stomach!  That would be awesome.

As you recall,  I picked up Travelling Companion from the airport on Friday afternoon.  I left early enough to get the car washed,  but discovered that the place down the street had changed the whole procedure,  and I ended up spending a little longer there than I had hoped.

Not only that,  but the old girl in the Merc in front of me either had no clue what to do,  or wasn’t willing to do it.  You could either pay by credit card at the machine just before going in,  or buy a ticket at the cash and wave the UPC symbol under the machine in the same spot.   She just lowered her window and waved her ticket around.  I so wanted to honk!   One of the attendants had to come and “help” her.   (rolling my eyes here)


Used to be they had a guy in there who would give the car the initial spray,  and then the wash and dry didn’t seem to take nearly as long as the process that I had to wait for.   Won’t go back there.   As it is,  I no longer get my fuel there,  since they don’t accept the credit card that we have from the Company That Cannot be Named.  Paying by cash is a huge inconvenience,  since it involves have to fill out a little form and then submitting it to the leasing company.  It’s complicated,  and I won’t even go into it.  I was willing to pop for the €6 for the wash “out of pocket” so to speak,  just to get it out of the way.

I know!  Alert the media!  I was actually willing to spend money on the car that I’m not supposed to have to spend money on.   Pretty far fetched,  I realise.

What I then didn’t count on was sitting in traffic on the way out to the airport.  I was fully expecting to see some sort of pile up, but it was just a very busy on ramp,   and after that it was clear sailing.  I’m not going to even talk about how it’s impossible for some people to queue up to get off the highway.   Suffice to say I saw one guy start off way over in the right lane,  move all the way over to the far left,  only to then later exit off to the right.  C’mon! 


Of course,  right on cue,  my phone rings and T.C. is already out past the point of no return.   These airport pick-ups mean I either wait for her,  or once in a while she does have to wait for me.  It was a pleasant afternoon to wait outside at least,  and that meant I didn’t have to go into the parking lot.   If there were some way of timing it as well as that all the time, that would be the preferred method of pick-up,  but it almost never happens that way.   Mind you, whenever we do that sort of “curb side pick-up”,   I do have to stop and block traffic,  but at that point,  I don’t really give a rat’s tiny behind. 


So I have to show you this neat little collapsible vase that we finally started using Friday afternoon.  We’ve had it for a while, having received it as a gift from Daughter Number Two a couple Christmases ago, but we hadn’t gotten around to using it.  On a side note,  we tend to do that.   We’ll get something and put it away “for later”.  I’m sure a shrink could have fun with that one.  Don’t know why we do it.  Started out with nothing?  Hang onto things for dear life?  Don’t know.


Having broken yet another vase a while back,  we had to rummage around until we could find this one.  That’s the other thing.  By “putting things away”,  that also can mean having a shit of a job ever finding them again.




It’s stored flat,  you then fill it with hot water to get it to go into the shape you want (“vase like”  is preferred) , and then refill it will cold water,  and shove in the flowers.

Kinda neat,  actually.


Saturday was…just another day.  A little shopping (me, groceries)  and not much else.  If I told you T.C.’s schedule,  you’d know why she likes to veg out a little after being away for a week.  There was a brief hint of heading out in the afternoon,  but by then the street out here is mobbed.


This is taken from our living room window:






Actually,  those aren’t shoppers.  It was just another protest.  Not sure what they were protesting,  and I wasn’t about to race down to the street to find out.

I was trying to use the Nikon,  but I guess I hadn’t taken a gander at the battery lately,  since it was dead.  It tends to “lock” the shutter if the battery is pooched.  Kind of idiot proof that way I suppose.


Gee,  we haven’t had a protest since the big Opera Ball a couple weeks ago.  Slackers.


Well I think I’ve emptied out my brain for today.  Doesn’t take much to fill up a thimble.


Thanks for stopping by.



Sunday, February 26, 2012

Not quite spring just yet.

Meh, I’ve been back and forth on this for a better part of the day.  Sitting at a blank screen off and on isn’t really going to cut it I’m afraid.


Maybe I’ll catch up a bit tomorrow. 

That always works.  Yes?


Here I was trying to capture the sleet that was pelting us,  but it didn’t really come through in the video.  I feel cheated.  Of course,  nobody is doing any kind of a job in the huddling department,  so there’s no accounting for any acting.  Especially sad on Oscar night.





As a further punt in the posterior,  I had been getting all ga-ga over the nice weather in the last couple of days,  but then this afternoon it got all ugly.

Is “snotty” a meteorological term? Somehow I don’t think so.


We were going to do a little bit more of a walk around,  but T.C. had worn what I would consider more or less a spring jacket,  and was getting cooled off quite quickly.  We packed it in.

And on that note, so am I.


We’ll talk.


Thanks for your indulgence.



Thursday, February 23, 2012

One more day.


Not that I’d be getting any ideas or anything,  but when I get these types of snippets in emails,  my mind starts to wander.   I only included the relevant bits,  since the rest of it is part of an email that’s not really available for mass consumption.   You know,  that whole relationship between “the cards”  and “the chest”.



Mind you,  it’s  “Red Ticket”,  so that probably means sitting out on the wing.  Or I’d have to book it and fly in the next 20 minutes or something.


So it’s “one more day”,  since this is the point in time when T.C. and I start missing each other. She flies in tomorrow afternoon.  It’s not as gut wrenching these days as way back when,  when she lived in another country and I saw her drive off for the first time.  Have to say,  I got a little “verklempt”,  but we’ve learned to suck it up since then.

There was a comment the other day about living in Horseheads,  N.Y.  by Kelly from The Bayfield Bunch.  (Have to do the proper thing and put the link in there) and yes,  that was our first excursion into the whole “Ex-Pat” experience,  way back in ‘99,  when the higher ups in The Company that Cannot Be Named,  offered a few choices as to just where one might want to go in order to get into the “Top Team”,  as they called it.    The choices were,  Juarez Mexico,   somewhere in Colorado (Pueblo I think)  or Horseheads,  New York.  

Without too much consideration we ruled out Juarez right off the bat,  since Juarez isn’t exactly the safest place in North America.   Pueblo seemed OK,  but was a little far away compared to Horseheads.   Mind you,  we didn’t really know where the heck Horseheads was at first,  and this was back in the pre Google Maps days,  but thankfully we had an atlas of some sort and dialled in to it’s location.   It didn’t seem too far away.

I wasn’t quite ready to give up my illustrious career as an Afternoon Shift Caretaker just yet,  so we decided to find some digs in the area and work out some sort of commuting scheme.   So if you have a moment,  you can take a gander at 143 Stillwater Drive,  out past the “Arnot Mall”  (which,  technically is “Big Flats”).   I think the name of the mall had something to do with whoever built it,  as opposed to any sort of “It are,  or it are not a mall”?   That’s my guess anyway.

That arrow on the map isn’t quite where it should be,  but you get the idea.   Unfortunately,  the good folks at Google didn’t get around to doing a “street view” just yet.  Seems odd.  I can see our house in Canada using street view,  and that’s Canada.  I’d have thunk they’d do all of New York state first.  But hey, what do I know?

Maybe they’re working on it.


Anyhoo,  we did that commute for roughly two and a half years.   I’d head down early on a Saturday morning,  with the objective of being at the Queenston-Lewiston bridge right around shift change,  and I could be pulling in to Stillwater Drive by about nine a.m.  By the way,  and I have no empirical data to back this up,  but if you get to any international border right around 10 minutes before the end of the morning shift,  unless it’s really really obvious that they need to take a closer look at you,  you will pass through with relative ease.  I ain’t kiddin’.  I mean,  I had a pick-up truck with a hard top tonneau cover on the back,  and the border Dudes never looked in there ONCE.   Too tired to bother I guess.

I’d always make sure to call T.C. from right around the “stinky cows”,  so she could know when it was time to turn on the coffee.   I’m afraid I don’t have a Google Maps location for the “stinky cows”,  but suffice to say it was just on the other side of Corning somewhere,  and I knew at that point I was in the home stretch.   We’d hang around the Corning,  Horseheads,  Elmira,  Big Flats area for the weekend,  (Harris Hill, hello?) and I’d head off for home on Monday morning.  (I worked afternoons,  remember?).  

By Wednesday,  Travelling Companion would already be looking intently at the weather forecast,  and generally becoming a “weather worry wart”,  since she’d then head out on the Friday night.   She’d turn right around and push off again on Sunday afternoon.  Like I said,  two and a half years.  Good times.  (he says,  with absolutely no intonation.)


After that,  it was on to Puerto Rico,  which of course is a whole other story.   If you’re really good,  and go to bed tonight without too much of a fuss,  maybe I’ll tell it some day.    Ever do that one with your kids?  “Ah Daaad”.


In somewhat more local ‘news’,  I decided to meander over to the West Train Station (Westbahnhof) earlier today to poke around a bit.   That wiki article is a little out of date,  and I think I mentioned a while back that the whole place has undergone an extensive renovation over the last few years.  

You’ve no doubt gathered by now that I’m pretty pragmatic,  and typically underwhelmed by most anything in a city setting,  but I have to say,  it’s pretty damned spectacular.  

I was mostly interested in taking a peek at the new trains that are running between here and Salzburg,  called the Westbahn,  which you can see by that schedule there,  leave every hour at thirty-one minutes past the hour.  Plus,  you can buy your ticket right on the train if you prefer. 



It’s the one on the left.  I know I should have taken more pictures.  I’m a dope.  Sorry.

The thing is,  Travelling Companion and I have been toying with the idea of nipping over to Salzburg on a weekend,  and I was just curious.  The whole trip can be done much more cheaply by car,  which is the primary reason that we don’t hardly ever take the train,  but I think it would be kinda fun.  I guess I’d be willing to forgo the €95,20 for the pleasure of making sparkling conversation with my significant other,  as opposed to keeping my eyes riveted to the road,  and my foot firmly glued to the accelerator pedal.    The Beemer doesn’t have cruise.

Mind you,  taking a nap enroute would be the more likely outcome.  Um,  on the train I mean.

The other incentive is,  parking in Salzburg is horrid,  but I can still drive there and park for less.  *sigh*   This is where I had better stop,  or I’ll simply talk myself out of it. 

*We’ll see.*


I see by my ‘snooze-o-metre’  that we’re once again getting to that point.   I’ll stop now while I’m ahead,  and you’re still awake.


Keep your undies on straight.


Thanks for stopping by.



Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Accepting the challenge.

I’ve never been one for taking up the gauntlet,  so to speak,  but I have to comment on something that jumped out at me yesterday.  Actually,  if it makes me chuckle the next day,  then I definitely have to say something. 


OK,  here we go…


Do you remember this guy?


Strauss-Kahn & Bush


No no,  I’m referring to the Dude on the left.  We all know who that guy on the right is.  No opinions please!  Those things are like butt holes. Everyone has one. 


Speaking of which, (that would be the “butt hole” part)  here he is in one of his not so fine moments:




It would seem that his troubles are far from over,  since now he has been detained by the French police,  who are probably not going to be any kinder to him than New York’s finest, two of which you see above.


In case the link to the BBC article goes away at some point,  I’ll include just a few words.



“Former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been detained for questioning by French police investigating a prostitution ring.”  (and as of this morning,  he’s still behind bars,  just saying…)

“Mr Strauss-Kahn, once a front-runner for the French presidency, could be held for 48 hours at a police station in Lille, northern France.

Investigators have already questioned a number of prostitutes who have admitted having sex with Mr. Strauss-Kahn.

He insists he did not know that the women were prostitutes.”


Oh,  but wait,  there’s more!

"I challenge you to distinguish a naked prostitute from any other naked woman," his lawyer Henri Leclerc has told French television.”

Holy crap on a cracker.  Maybe he needs to get a new lawyer?

At first I was going to say,  (to the challenge)  “I accept!”,  but I’m starting to have second thoughts. 


Ya,  I’ve just deleted a whole bunch of stuff here that lies out there in no man’s land.   And really,  I mean,  NO MAN should ever go there.   Not if he wants to live.  (well,  unless it’s all by himself!)

Is this a glimpse into the psyche of a Frenchman?   I sure hope not, but it’s entirely possible.

It’s getting less and less funny the more I type.  Gawd!




However,  for the brief snippet of levity,  you’re welcome.   I’m here all night.  Be sure and tip your server.



Thanks for stopping by.




Tuesday, February 21, 2012


First of all, if I may,  I’d like to recreate for you a brief snippet of a conversation we had a couple weeks back.

Travelling Companion motions to the snow shovel standing idly by on the balcony.

“You’re not taking that home”

Me: “Wha?”

“That snow shovel.  It’s stupid.  It’s not meant for real snow.  Just leave it behind”.

*Thinks to self*,  “OK well,  I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

See,  I hadn’t really given it much thought, since the idea of “going home”  is still a long ways off.  So then, what would be the proper rejoinder to this type of well,  suggestion?   I mean,  I can see where,  with the right temperament,   (and by “right” I don’t mean correct either.  I mean the right volatile temperament?)  a knock down drag out type of fight could ensue,  but it’s just a shovel.  Not worth the words.   I’ve actually sat and witnessed couple fight over less.  Totally mystifying I might add.

And yes,  it is stupid.  I mean the shovel,  but fighting over it would be too.   But when I had to break down and buy a snow shovel when we lived in the Netherlands,  it was what they had.   And it was cheap.   You think I’m gonna spend €30 on a snow shovel when I could have something perfectly adequate for €9?  Hello?

Not making a career choice here.

Ok so, it is stupid.

Besides,  since this conversation,  I’ve had to actually used the damned thing.  

I know there were some Canucks back home who were pining for some snow.  Can you believe that?  I’ve never been,  nor shall I ever be one to look out longingly at the bare grass in the middle of January and wish for snow.   Well,  maybe briefly just before I put a bullet in my brain,  but that would be the only time.   Besides,  if that were my choice for decorating the landscape,  I’d use a tarp.  It’s just more considerate to think of the poor coroner who has to clean up is all.   But snow?   Um.  No.  





There was a question yesterday about what I’d be doing,  now that Travelling Companion is in the U.K. for the week.  Well,  pretty much what I do most every day,  with the exception of having to make dinner.  

Today,  and don’t laugh,  I did some sewing.  This isn’t a hobby.  And it’s not necessarily about being cheap,  although that would be a convincing argument.   Like when I used to darn my socks rather than pitch them out at the first sign of wearing through the toes as a result of wearing steel toed boots.   Eventually I just bought better socks,  and now when I get a hole in the toe,  I just say,  “Oh darn”,  and throw them out. 

Still bugs me though,  to throw out what otherwise would be a perfectly serviceable pair of socks.   Just for one tiny little hole.   But,  I have many more where they came from.

No,  this was a pillow case.  

See,  a few days ago,  in my zeal to zip up a freshly changed pillow case,  I managed to pull the little “zipper closer thingy” right off the end of the zipper.  Drat!   Was that enough “zipping” sounds for you? 

Turns out that all that was keeping me from doing this was a few ever weakening threads.   Either that,  or I don’t know my own strength.  I think we’ll stick with the threads theory.

Before I continue though,  I have to point out that well,  *ahem*,  my wife has a bit of a “problem”.   See,  it all started with 200 thread count,  and that was way back in the 80s.   It’s not like a cocaine habit or anything,  where you start with maybe doing a line once in a while,  and then pretty soon you’re into dept to some shady characters who’ve had no problem lending you a couple hundred thou to maintain your habit.   Nothing as drastic as that. That would suck.

No,  I’m just talking about what she spends on bedding.  I’ll readily admit that there is a somewhat dreamy sensation of sliding into a freshly made bed bedecked with Egyptian Cotton.  (Hey man,  that shit is like 600 count,  you know what I mean?)  So yes, maybe I’m an enabler in that sense? 

There,  I said it. 

I like the high end stuff too,  and have actually found myself commenting on any bed made up where the sheets have a thread count lower than 200.  
Thread count snobs!  Ha! 

Hey,  it sucks to get old,  so lighten up!


So when I pooched the pillow case last week,  there was no damned way it was going by the wayside.   I had to figure out how to fix it.  Zipper?  Sewing?  Gah!



That “blanket” you see there, taking up a good one quarter of the bed,  is actually the pillow case in question.   Something to do with Laura Ashley,  who ever she is.  It’s not presently on a pillow,   since this week’s theme is brown.  Last week we did the green.    Next week,  who knows?

I’ll admit that I don’t actually know how much was paid for these bed,  er I mean pillow cases,  but this is the type of information that is probably best kept from me.

So there you have it,  one of my little projects for today.  Wasn’t that hard.  Probably took me longer to find a needle and thread.  Well,  that and getting the stupid little “zipper closer thingy”  back on the end of the busted zipper.    Damn,  that was frustrating!    You can bet your bippy that I put enough loops of thread through each end of that zipper such that it will wear out long before it ever comes apart again.   Just saying.


There were a couple other little things,  but I won’t bore you any worse than I have already.


Oh,  and “Dear”?  in case you’re reading this?   I did eat the salad.   It was wonderful.   I’ll eat the rest tonight.  Thanks.

Sleep tight.


Thanks y’all, for stopping by.



Monday, February 20, 2012

Just checking in.

Been feeling just about as creative as a post over the last few days.   Hence the big hole where normally I would tend to blather on.

Travelling Companion and I have been in an ever so slight funk,  since we had one of ‘those’ phone calls again last Thursday morning.

The phone tends to scare the bejeepers out of me when it rings anyway,  and of course if it happens to “go off”  at six a.m.,  then that’s never a good thing.   Probably not even something I should mention on the blog,  but it did involve a death and stirred up some not so very nice memories of a similar event that occurred just before we were due to move over here.   Is that obtuse enough?  

I don’t want to get into trouble over names and dates and that kind of thing.  Have to keep those cards close to the chest!


So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 

Life goes on here,  and this week finds T.C. spending the entire week away over in jolly old England.   Something to do with trying to sort out some accounting nonsense.  Again,  that too must remain a bit of a mystery.  Geez,  I don’t really say much,  do I?

Hopefully the weather cooperates.   It’s been a wee bit nasty in those parts lately and thankfully we’ve had a bit of a reprieve,  throughout Europe.

Of course that meant heading off to the airport at some time around 7:30 a.m. or so,  and the traffic was surprisingly good,  with the exception of what I at first thought was some sort of mishap,  but just turned out to be a tow truck doing a little “clean up”.    Taking a quick shot through the windshield into the sun doesn’t produce the best results,  but just click the pic and squint a little.

He has one car already in tow,  and has picked up the other one and has set it on the deck.  Of course,  that means that he has to take up two of the three lanes. 


Had we been five minutes later I’m sure he would have cleared off.

When the sign says to move your car by a certain time,  they ain’t kidding.

I think ‘that time’ was probably seven, but I’m not really sure.   Nor do I care.  It gets ever so slightly dicey when folks leave their cars parked too long on certain thoroughfares,  especially if you’re booting it along in what should be the outside lane, and suddenly there’s a car there in front of you.  Not that I would ever do that. So I don’t feel sorry for the owners of these vehicles in the least.   Silly buggers.

Other than that.  I got nothin’.   It’s kind of sunny and above freezing.  This is good.

Keep it between the ditches.


Thanks for lookin’.




Thursday, February 16, 2012

Arizona winds?

I’m sure it’s not the way it works,  but it seems like every time I read about the wind blowing like crazy in West Texas,  Arizona or California,  we seem to get high winds a couple days later.  I’m sure it’s just some sort of coincidence,  but a notable one.

I’ve never been able to find a workable website to track pressure systems since moving to Europe,  whereas when we were in Puerto Rico,  I could follow depressions coming off the coast of Africa.   Depending on the conditions,  they’d sometimes turn into tropical storms and then hurricanes.   Being on an island in the Caribbean,  it’s good to know these things.  

Here though,  I find that I’m just ever so slightly oblivious.  I mean,  I can tell you that it’s getting warmer on the weekend,  that kind of thing.   But,  is there a big ole thunder cloud off the coast of Spain?   I haven’t a clue.



So I had to go out and sort out my half-assed bird feeder this morning.   I don’t seem to get anything other than these big ugly crow like things that come to feed.  Not sure what they are.    I’ve seen a few chickadees,  but they don’t really hang around much.  Not even over at my neighbour’s,  and she seems to have many things for them to choose from.   I haven’t really bothered.  Did I mention “half-assed”?   Right.


Anyhoo,  I guess I haven’t had really too danged much to say in the last few days since well,  we’re just muddling along.   Just doing our time.  Trust me,  if anything exciting happens,  and I’m permitted to share,  I will.  I just have to keep certain cards close to my chest is all.


On the “social” front,  and you may get snippets of this in your neck of the woods,  although I doubt it,  it’s once again time for the “Opera Ball”.   Oh,  and I wasn’t referring to my social life.  I don’t have one.



You can see they’ve set up a tent there on the one side,  and then some sort of grand entrance arrangement out front.  (the red thing).

When I drove by there yesterday morning (yes,  I’ve been chauffeuring again.  *sigh*) the lads who were doing the set-up at the front there, were handling some extra large sheets of plywood,  and it was pretty danged windy.   My only thought was,  “OK,  just let me get past here before the wind catches that sheet and drives it through my windshield.”   I have no desire to get that replaced again,  not to mention trying to have my severed head re-attached. 


It’s the same silliness every year.   Probably good for the economy though,  if you think about it,  since there’s certainly a few Euros involved here.   If you’re really desperate to read up on the whole thing,  I’ve sniffed out a link here.  Knock yourself out.   It’s big business,  but that should come as no surprise.

I just have to remember when I pick up Travelling Companion this afternoon that we will NOT be going around the Ring to get home.  We’ll take the boring old Gürtel I’m afraid. 


That’s it for today’s missive.  Lucky you. 


Thanks for stopping by.



Tuesday, February 14, 2012

To sum up…

What I see:



It translates as ‘loose bananas’,  although it’s not French, so why the adjective is after the noun can only be due to some sort of “grocery store speak’.  

That’s my guess anyway.


Here however,  is what I read:




And that would be Tuesday for you.   And the bananas really have nothing to do with it either.


Happy Valen…!

oh never mind.


We don’t “do” Valentine’s Day.  I really don’t want to observe it by even mentioning it.   Such a crock.

Go ahead.  Flame on.


Thanks for stopping by.



Monday, February 13, 2012

Another Monday.

Big Whoop.

As can be seen by the complete lack of ‘reportage’,  one might surmise that there really and truly was nothing to write home about.

And there wasn’t.

Saturday morning Travelling Companion dropped a few Euros at the hair salon.  That is all.  Something to do with hair colour.  I don’t have much hair left to colour,  even if I thought it were necessary,  so it’s not a subject that I’d ever attempt to broach. 

We’ve actually had a couple days of half decent sunshine,  although the temperature hasn’t really been all that delightful.


This was Saturday morning:



Don’t be fooled,  it was nippy.


Today we’re having a bit of a heat wave,  with the temperature getting up to a balmy -1°C.   So the work was resumed over at the crazy unsafe worksite.  (well,  that’s my take on it)


There was a question on Thursday about the meatloaf?  Something to do with sauce,  or some such thing.  The answer is basically NO,  there’s no sauce to speak of other than a half teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce,   but even that could be left out.  It’s really just a honkin’ big hamburger,  since all the ingredients seem to be mostly the same.   T.C. wasn’t too keen on me sautéing the onions first,  but after I explained my reasoning,  I think she’s OK with it.  I basically still have that “eat what’s on your plate”,  and I don’t think I should have to explain that.    Even though the onions are warm when added to the meat,  the whole thing is then shoved into a 190°C oven,  so I’m not too concerned with any kind of “food safe”  zone or anything.   Do you think she forgot about those years I spent working in the restaurant business?  Just wondering.   Not that that was anything more than making pizzas,  roast beef sandwiches or operating a deep fryer.  We’re not talking “four star” here.   More like,  “How was our average drive thru time today?”

Just sayin’.


And that kids,  as they say,  is that.


Thanks for stopping by.




Thursday, February 9, 2012

I guess it’ll be meatloaf.

I suspect this will be many pictures and no so many words,  since I’m at the moment waiting for my potatoes to finish,  and that will be that.

Today was once again a “chauffeur” day,  which I don't particularly mind except that,  being in two places at once is a bit of a challenge.   I’m already out there on the edge when it comes to doing one thing at once,  so driving off to fetch Travelling Companion all the while trying to put together something to have for a half decent dinner is might as well be rocket science.

Hence the decision for meatloaf,  since it can be made ahead of time,  and then eating whenever.   As a matter of fact,  it’s something that can also be served cold.   So,  isn’t there an expression, “Like meatloaf,  revenge is best served cold”?   OK,  maybe it’s not quite that one.  But it sounds good.


So I had the butcher grind me up some stuff this morning,  with just a little fat in it to add some flavour.  There are recipes that call for veal,  or pork or whatever,  but if you can stand at the counter and point out what you want ground up,  you don’t have to rely on what it says on some package. 



There’s also call for ‘onion soup mix’,  which would be all fine and dandy,  except that I’ve never been able to find such a thing,  and most of those premixed things tend to have way too much salt added.   We don’t need all that much salt,  and I’d prefer to add my own.

So that means I want to get the taste of onion in there somehow,  which means starting with a sautéed onion.


(in butter of course)




Then while that’s happening,  mix the other stuff:







And there’s a not so secret ingredient off to the side there.



Now,  just a quick suggestion.   Well,  two actually.


First of all,  taking a picture through the oven door doesn’t work.  The camera only focuses on the glass,  since that’s where the infrared beam gets bounced.



Um ya,  crappy results.



So that means opening the oven door,  hence suggestion number two:

If you’re wearing your glasses so you can actually see what the heck you’re getting,  don’t plan on being able to see through them for a little while after opening the above mentioned oven door.   I’m just saying.



And there you have it.   Bob’s yer uncle.


OK,  time to eat.


Thanks for lookin’.



Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Can I say it’s shocking?

Will this seem like, “bait and switch"?  Will you be annoyed? 

The next question though is,  will I care?

This isn’t about presidential hopefuls,  or Harper’s trip to China.   No,  this is about the fact that I discharge static electricity at an alarming rate,  and it’s really getting to be somewhat annoying.   Thankfully we have hardwood flooring,  and not nylon carpet,  or I’m reasonably certain I would just spontaneously combust.

I have to remember to discharge myself when I get out of the car,  and try not to forget when I come in the door,  otherwise it’s *snap*,  very quickly followed by “Ow….sonofa….%&*##$!!”.   I’m not sure if I’m more annoyed that I forget,  or that it happens.    I don’t even know how it’s being generated outdoors,  which is part of the reason why it comes as such a surprise.   Well,  I suppose it would “come as a shock”,  but that would just be too lame.


Other than that breaking news,  it’s Wednesday.   Big whoop.

Here’s your daily dose:



And yes,  I was chauffeur again today.   I was back home again by 7:20.   Somebody woke up at 3:00.   Somebody then thought they’d like to get to work early.   I think we need a change of pace.


And yup,  they’re still going on about our less than ideal weather.


The sun did come out and it got up into the single digits.  (um, below freezing though…)

This is going to be mercifully short.   You’re welcome.


Here’s hoping it’s just peachy keen wherever  you are.


Thanks for lookin’.



Tuesday, February 7, 2012

It was bound to happen.

And I’m not talking about winter either.  It’s here. 

The following is so you can feel smug.


And… you’re welcome.


There’s no question about winter I’m afraid.  No, I’m talking about the snow.  We finally got ours.  We’ve been quite fortunate so far.   Not anymore.



This was pretty much the situation last night already,  and it did continue to snow off and on throughout the night,   making the roads ever so slightly greasy.

Which of course meant that muggins here would be doing the chauffeuring this morning. 



I don’t mind too much I suppose.  It’s not like I have a busy schedule or anything.   I did however insist that there would be no working until 9:00 p.m. like last night!  


I’m just putting up pictures here since well,  I have them.   So why not?

Temperature wise it’s slightly warmer than it was yesterday,  with the thermometer climbing to a balmy -7°C.

Which reminds me,  there’s this card game called “Bullshit”,  which I don’t think I’ve ever played,  but it has to do with bluffing,  and whether or not you believe what your opponent is telling you.   If you don’t believe me,  that’s fine,  but just click the link.   It’s also called “Cheat”,  but that doesn’t have the same sort of “calling a person out”  effect I find.

Anyway, as I mentioned, the roads this morning were pretty gol durned greasy,  and during the ride back home,  the radio station I was listening to had phoned the head honcho from whatever branch of government it is that looks after clearing the roads,  and basically asked him why the roads hadn’t been cleared?  I don’t think they picked up on the fact that this chimp was being condescending,  but he basically said that it was too cold for the salt to work properly, at which point I said out loud,  “Bullshit!”.    Because that’s precisely what it was!


Admittedly in the Canadian prairies where it gets down to ridiculous temperatures, then salt or brine is no longer effective,  but there’s just too much residual thermal mass here in the city.  Sorry doofus,  that one won’t fly.  At least not with anyone who has had to remove snow from time to time.   Hello?

The fact of the matter is,  when we were out last night at 9:30 p.m.,  there hadn’t been one bit of work started to clear the streets.   Trust me when I say this,  you cannot wait until after rush hour to start working on snow plowing.   Even if they had started at 3:00 a.m., the traffic would work with the brine on the road surfaces,  and that would have gone a long way to clearing things up.  

We’ve had this sort of nonsense (I was going to say “bullshit” again,  but I don’t want to over do it) in our neighbourhood back home,  where they’ve started the clean up way too late,  and it just creates so many problems it’s not funny.   I think possibly someone,  somewhere was trying to make some sort of point?   And that would be since there are all sorts of “austerity programs”  that are in the works.   Just a theory. 

Not only is Europe in a deep freeze temperature wise,  but so are their finances.

Feel free to talk amongst yourselves on that one.


I do have to say though,  walking like a penguin?  Not really heaps of fun.  There was really no particular type of footwear that would mitigate the sloppiness of the sidewalks.   Or the potential for slipping on my melon.  Hence the penguin walk.



At this point it was already mid morning.  This should have been cleared already.  Just saying.


Having griped about this up to this point,  let me just say this.   It’s no big deal.

And here’s why:  We’re not in Sarajevo.

And how do I know about the conditions in Sarajevo?   And why would I mention it?   

Well,  communication these days is sometimes a wondrous thing.   Yesterday evening,  I got a call from Daughter Number Two,  who was just calling to chat,  probably thinking that her Mother was home,  but whatever.   And I mentioned that I had seen something (I think it was in an exchange on Facebook,  but I’d really rather not admit to that)  about it being unseasonably warm in them thar parts (like,  plus freakin’ TEN degrees??)  and she proceeded to relate to me a little chat that she had had with our neighbour from across the street.   (that’s a Google maps link by the way,  knock yerself out).  See,  he and his family are originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina,  and he had been talking with his Dad who still lives in Sarajevo,  and apparently,  they still haven’t been able to dig themselves out from all the snow they’ve been getting!  

Were talking avalanches.  Chaos!  Cats and dogs living together!   Just crazy.

Well,  maybe the “cats and dogs” bit is an exaggeration,  but you know what I mean.

Here’s a snippet from an article here,

“In Sarajevo, more than 3 feet of snow fell on Saturday, closing roads and public transportation.”

(Sometimes links “expire” after a time,  so I prefer to copy and paste a relevant slice.)

So….that was just on “Saturday”?   Like,  you mean,  all in one day?  Three feet?  Wuf.   For those of you who prefer metres,  that’s almost a metre.  


With that,  I shall leave you with what I’d like to call, the “heartbreaking photo of the day”.   Wonder if I’d win a contest?




But these will all just be such fond memories though,  won’t they??


Thanks for stopping by.