Monday, October 31, 2011

A beautiful spring day!

I’ll probably live to regret those smug words in a few days,  but in the mean time,  we’re being just a tad spoiled.  Depending on just where you might be in the city,  I’d almost declare it to be “shirt sleeve” weather.   Mind you,  you’d probably need to be Canadian,  since we seem to have a slightly different set of requirements for it to be “shirt sleeve” weather.  The Austrians tend to get bundled up even when it’s 10°C,  and Travelling Companion and I have come to the conclusion that,  since it doesn’t really get all that bitterly cold here,  the ladies take advantage of any drop in temperature to wear all their “winter” fashions. 

There’s not too much happening today.   I had to make a trip back to Bauhaus and exchange one of the Christmas light sets we bought.  Seems there are three (or more) different types of outdoor lights,  and by that I mean besides having the honkin’ big old fashioned incandescent bulbs over the new fangled LEDs.   We didn’t see any of the old fashioned kind.  Maybe this is why Vienna goes nuts at Christmas with their light decorations.  You can string together set after set of LED lights and they won’t draw any more current than your clock radio.   Plus,  they don’t give off any heat.  Having hot Christmas lights on a dry Christmas tree was something that would always bother me.  Just too scary.

Of course,  the next challenge will be trying to figure out how and where to hook them all up.  I did manage to find the timer.  That’s a start.


Since of course,  you NEED to know these things,  we made the trek to church Sunday (yesterday) morning.  They were doing Mozart’s Mass in D major  (KV 194),  so that’s usually a good reason to go.   I’ll never get used to those pews though.

On a slightly more ominous note,  we’ve been very careful over the last couple years (seriously? A couple years?)  to place ourselves on the LEFT side of the church,  after being in somewhat too close a proximity to one particular gentleman who is there on a regular basis.  I don’t want to get into any details, but let’s just say he wouldn’t win any awards for personal hygiene.   So,  since it’s nearly impossible to be “upwind”  from someone in Church,  we’d just as soon be well outside of a three metre boundary layer.   I was going to use the term “imaginary”,  but trust me,  if he comes and sits down anywhere within that three metre zone,  you won’t need any imagination at all.   There are times when a gentle breeze would be nice in church,  but I guess it wouldn’t really work with all those candles?

You have to understand that we do tend to get there early,  since the place fills up fast.  So, interspersed with enjoying the rehearsal of the choir/soloists and orchestra up to the beginnings of the service,  we do seem to find ourselves scanning the crowd from time to time,  to make sure that yes,  there he is,  sitting way over there on the other side.  

Yesterday I was having some difficulty finding him though,  and happened to mutter something that was at least audible enough for Travelling Companion to offer the following: “He’s behind us”.




Whoa!  there he is.   Just a few rows behind us.   I’m not sure what he’s reading (the service was over by the time I hauled myself out of the pew to take this photo)  but I’d wager that it’s not the instructions from a can of Right Guard?? 

I mean,  he doesn’t really LOOK smelly,  but you’ll notice there’s a bit of a space around him?  Yup,  didn’t take those folks long to bug out.   Poor unsuspecting bastards.  

The thing is,  he’ll just come along and sit wherever there’s barely enough space,  and for the most part,  since church goers tend to be all “Christian like”,  they don’t realise until it’s too late,  that by giving up a little space in their pew,  they’ll be barely able to keep their breakfasts down for the next hour or so.   There’s a pun in there somewhere.  “Pew”?  “P-U”?? 

(Um,  if you don’t get it,  click the link,  OK?   Geez.)


You might have gathered that I have the car today,  since I mentioned going back to Bauhaus.  Travelling Companion is going to be off to the Czech Republic tomorrow morning, and even though she really and truly has plenty of fuel to go up and back,  I offered to chauffeur in order to then top up the tank.  There was also the minor matter of the Christmas lights to sort out.   I find if there’s something to be taken back or exchanged,  I’d just as soon do it right away,  since receipts have a nasty habit of getting misplaced the longer I put it off.   As it was,  I had put that particular receipt in a “safe place”, and then couldn’t remember where that was.


Hey, but I found that timer!    Just wanted to point that out.


That’s pretty much it for life today in Wienerland.  

I thought I’d throw in this pic I took the other day at the airport.  It’s not just the women folk who get bundled up in the cooler weather.




Thanks for stopping by.   Don’t eat the yellow snow.




Saturday, October 29, 2011

Warm Feet.

So Travelling Companion is back safe and sound from her jaunt to Romania. 

I managed to miss her call from Bucharest,  since I’m a dope and forgot about the hour difference, and was out picking up a few things.  We don’t have any kind of answering device here.  It’s not very often that anyone phones,  and it’s not like an answering machine is beyond my technical know how,  I’ve just never ever bothered.

I usually take along my cell phone,  but not at that particular moment.  Just the same I headed off to the airport in a timely fashion and she arrived on time.  No big deal.  There was a brief discussion about phone calls,  missed calls etc., and when I eventually took a look at the receipt from the grocery store,  it was easy enough to figure out that I quite simply wasn’t here.

We decided to eat with “the boys”,  which is the term we use for eating at the restaurant downstairs.   It’s the Cafe Cosmopolitan,  which is owned and run by a couple brothers. 

We’ll go for months without stopping in it seems,  but then we’ve been in twice in as many weeks.  The food is reasonable,  and reasonably priced.  

The salmon I picked up for last night’s meal will be fine for tonight.  I do it on the BBQ in a little foil “boat”,  with a lightly drizzled mixture of olive oil,  garlic and salt and pepper.   I’ve had to ease up on the garlic,  since I’ve had some somewhat negative feedback.  Lee Valley Tools sells a rasp that works really well for the garlic.  Just thought I’d mention it.

And that’s because,  there’s not much else to mention.

The stores are starting to carry Christmas lights,  so we made a trip to Bauhaus for three strings.  This isn’t something we were willing to bother with up until now,  but since we’re staying in Europe for Christmas,  I thought we’d sling something up on the terrace.   Haven’t figured that out yet.   Not sure about the Christmas tree program.  I could certainly live without one,  but I’m usually not the final decision maker is those areas.


The following quite possibly has nothing to do with Vienna,  as much as some of the whacky things you see in the city.   For some reason or other,  there’s been a race car on display about a block from our front door on Mariahilferstrasse.   It was still there on Saturday.  I took this on Thursday.   Your guess is as good as mine.



In one of my bored moments,  I decided to hoof it out to the Gürtel that night (Thursday),  and took a pic of the newly renovated west train station.  (the “Westbahnhof”)  If you go to that link, you’ll see a picture of the way it used to look.



I have no comment.   Well,  it is kind of unique I suppose.  They’re due to have a “grand opening”  some time in November.  The whole train/subway station has been operational during the last two year period during which time this huge structure was built,  but now there will be shops and offices as well.   Need to pay the rent I suppose.



The “warm feet”?  Almost forgot.  One of the few things I enjoy about this time of year is the fact that we have under floor heating in our bathrooms.   If you don’t have it,  you need to get it.  I’m having thoughts of installing it in our bathrooms back home.   Mmmmm…toasty.  I could just stay in the bathroom,  but I guess that’s not really a healthy “lifestyle choice”.


And that kids,   is about it.   Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend.

Keep your eyes moving.


Thanks for stopping by.




Thursday, October 27, 2011

A National Holiday.

Unbeknownst to almost anyone outside Austria’s borders,  yesterday was a special day in these parts.

October 26th is Austria’s Independence Day,  since it was one day after the last of the allied troops left Austria after a ten year occupation. 

I’m not going to bore you with any lengthy history lessons, but I might have to add in a couple words, to sort of put it into perspective.

Vienna was divvied up between the Russians,  The Brits,  The French,  and the Americans.    There are those of a certain age (like my former German teacher)  who are quite mindful of just how fortunate they were to keep the Russians out of the picture.  It could have gone either way.  The only way that the Russians were going to relinquish control was if Austria declared themselves to be “Neutral” in all future international endeavours.   Kind of like what the Swiss had been doing for centuries.

(This is where I’m going to get up on my soap box for just a minute)

If more nations had remained “neutral”  back at the turn of the LAST century,  history would have played itself out in a completely different way.  

Think about it,  some nut job (a Serbian,  go figure.)  assassinated two people,  and an entire world war broke out.   All because the countries were all “aligned”  with each other,  and if one country went to war,  well then so do did everyone else.  All Hell broke loose.   It was more complicated than that,  I know.  You’re welcome to read the article if you click on the link.  Have fun.

I was just recently reading an article in “Legion” magazine,  where they said something like 30,000 soldiers were getting killed every hour in the battle of The Somme.  A million lives were lost between August of 1914 and the fall of 1916.

While we have every reason to be upset when soldiers come home in coffins from places like Iran,  Afghanistan or any other of those shit holes,  it pales in comparison.

I know,  that was more than a “few words”.  I’ll get down off my soap box now.


Last year on Independence Day,  Travelling Companion and I did go down to Heldenplatz (literally “hero’s square”) and nose around a little.   She wanted to see a tank.  Who am I to argue?   The only thing was,  as far as this year was concerned,  they figured there would be around a million people hanging about in those parts.   Did I think I wanted to go down there yesterday in the rain?   Um, no.

That whole area is typically overrun with tourists at the best of times,  so when the tourists are actually outnumbered by a factor a couple thousand,  I have even less interest in satisfying any remote thoughts of curiosity.


Besides that,  Travelling Companion is in Romania.  

What?  You say?    Well, she’s been putting off going to Romania since back in the summer time,  since there were just too many other issues that got in the way.  Our trip back home in August was one of them.   She has to do some sort of financial hokus-pokus.  Possibly something called a “Balance Sheet Review”,  but I didn’t even ask. 

This isn’t the first time that she’s made arrangements to visit some far off land when it’s been a holiday in these parts.  I think she was in the UK back in June,  and it was “Corpus Christi”.   I’ve given up being annoyed about this kind of thing. 

The good news is,  getting to the airport on a National Holliday is easy-peasy,  since the only folks who are out and about at nine in the morning are only out for some exercise.   With the exception of the coffee shops and some gas stations,  everything else is closed.   There was some traffic on the way to the airport,  but not much to speak of.



This is the view yesterday morning at around 10:00 a.m.,  coming up what is normally one of the busiest streets in all of Austria.  Mariahilferstrasse. 

This is a rare sight.  Trust me.


We’ve had these thoughts of driving to Romania one of these days,  since some of Travelling Companion’s associates are just itching to show us around.  I’m sure there are some beautiful sights in Romania.  Just don’t run over the old lady out walking her cow into town.  

I’ve never been overly keen on driving to Romania,  but they say if you go by way of Hungary, (and there’s really not any other way from here…)  you only have to subject yourself to the roads in Romania for a short ways.  Judging by the looks of the map,  maybe an hour. 

I mean,  we did drive to Bonn,  and that was about eight hours,  but just about all of that is on the Autobahn.  That makes a huge difference.    Normally,  T.C. would fly to Bonn,  and the flight is about an hour and a half.  Something like that.  

Getting to Baia Mare in Romania by air is a bit more of a challenge.   You either have to go to Bucharest,  and hope to catch the flight to Baia Mare,  or fly to Cluj Napoca and get picked up.    This time around,  flights got changed for whatever reason,  and she had to first go to Bucharest and then to Cluj,  after which it’s a two hour drive to Baia Mare.   Turns out they were working on the road somewhere there in Transylvania,  and it took even longer than two hours.

So get this,  we walked out our front door here at about 8:50 a.m.,  to head off to the airport.   She called to say she was finally in her hotel room last night at six p.m.    That’s what?  Nine hours?  And we could drive it in about seven?

Maybe when the weather is heaps better.   I’ll take pictures.   I promise.


I should add to that (just for fun) that last year some time,   a couple of the higher mucky mucks were on this side of the pond from the Company that Cannot be Named with one of their two corporate jets,  and Travelling Companion managed to hitch a ride from Baia Mare directly back to Vienna.   Total travel time?  35 minutes.   It took me longer to drive from our apartment to the airport to pick her up.  I was late.  Sucks to be late I know,  but it would have been nice to have a sporting chance.


I just realised I’ve touched on some of these issues in the past, but it’s fun to reminisce,  isn’t it?


Have a fine day,  and thanks for stopping by.




Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What’s wrong with this car?

No no,  we’re not having car trouble. 

The only “car trouble” we’ve ever had was more like,  “Bob trouble”,  and goes back to when we were in the Netherlands,  and I managed to put the wrong fuel in the Audi that we had at the time.  If you wish, clicking on that link will open in a new window,  and you can see the car being pulled onto the tow truck,  and then later all four of us sitting in the tow truck.   The street we conked out on was not only narrow,  but it was a BUS ROUTE!   Such fun.

It was a nice tow truck at least.

It’s a helluva way to get “blog fodder”,  and I’m sure I could have just summarily skipped over it,  but it happened, so I figured I might as well fess up to it.   Got a little ribbing from the boys back home….


Ya ya….I’m an idiot.   Fine.  I’ve been paying really close attention ever since,  OK?


I’ve been sitting on these two pictures I took of the car that we rented when we were home in August.  I’ve also had bits and pieces of a post sitting in my “drafts” folder since about then too.   I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to gripe about this,  but I’ve decided that today is the day.

Besides,  you’ll also notice there was a bit of a gaping hole yesterday? 
I didn’t have anything to say,  and blogging about having nothing to say?  Well,  some folks will do that,  and I wonder, why?


  So, here we go.  It’s not a bad looking car,  right? 


I mean,  personally I’d probably pass it over on the dealer’s lot,  but that’s just me.

Some sort of a Dodge,  or Dog,  or something.  I don’t remember.   Think it impressed me?

I actually checked under the hood to see if it really had an engine.  I mean,  I figured there had to be something in there,  judging by the screams of agony coming from under the hood every time I stepped on the gas.


I didn’t realise a car manufacturer could get so little power from a 2.4! 

Now,  I realise the rental companies are in the business to make money,  and more power to them.   But I had to drive this thing on the highway with four people,  all the way to Ottawa.  Gah!  I wasn’t looking forward to it.   Thankfully it had that option where you could move the shift lever off to one side,  and choose your own gears.  That was the only thing that kept me from going completely bonkers.   Oh right,  I forgot the mention,  the transmission was a piece of crap too.

It was one of only two cars available as “Standard cars”,  what ever the hell that means,  and you’ll notice there’s no plate on the front?  Just to make it even more enticing,  it was from Quebec.    I don’t even remember what the other choice was,  but I must have perceived it to be worse at the time,  and chose this one,  since it looked bigger.   In hindsight,  I should have used the Quebec plate as my “out”,  but that was before I discovered what a piece of junk it was.  

Fooled me!


So fine,  we did the walk around,  loaded up our suitcases and got out of the airport,  but when I wanted to accelerate onto the 427 southbound,  that was the time when my darling wife (T.C.) said,  “What’s wrong with this car?”

See,  it wasn’t me!   I hadn’t uttered a peep up to that point,  even though I was starting to have my suspicions.   I mean,  the car is supposed to actually go,  when you open the throttle,  and I was beginning to wonder.


Anyway,  I realise I’m just a tad spoiled here in Europe,  since they take the quality of their cars much more seriously than the North Americans. At least that’s my perception.

There are no “throw away cars”,  which is what I would consider this thing to be.   For what you pay for a car here,  and the hoops you have to go through to get your licence,  the damned thing had better well perform.  That’s the only way I can make any sense of it.

Besides,  I can think of at least one country where there are no speed limits.  What are you going to do?   For that matter,  with a speed limit of 80 miles per hour in a State such as Utah,  it’s not like they’re just crawling along either.   So maybe it has nothing to do with marketing such a car to one crowd or another,  which brings me right back to my first premise,  which is that it was a piece of cr*p!   No way around it.   Oh,  and don’t rent one in Utah.  The other thing too is,  rental companies make these “special deals”  with car manufacturers?   Maybe this was part of one? 


As a matter of fact,  I’m going to have to start paying better attention,  since now that I think of it,  each and every time I’ve had a rental car that was a Chrysler product,  I’ve not be very happy.  (and I’ve owned a couple Chryslers,  but they were trucks…big difference.)


We even had one of those “300”s   when we were in Vegas a few years back,  and the only thing it had going for it was these nifty DVD players for the backseat passengers.  Lucky to be in the back seat I guess,  since other than that,  the thing handled like a bloody ox cart.   Just a horrid big lump of a thing.


Looks nice,  doesn’t it?   I thought so too.  Just don’t drive it anywhere.


So then Bob,  just what have you ended up with in Europe from the car rental agencies?    (Mr. Smarty Pants)

Well now,  let’s think about this.   We had a Mini when we flew into Düsseldorf.  It wasn’t even a “Standard car”,  it was a compact.


Here it is,  parked outside our hotel in Hengelo.


What a great little car!  Went like a shot!  Handled like a dream.  I was doing 165 on the Autobahn in Germany with nary a problem.  And there was lots “left over”.

This too,  might be a car I’d pass over on a dealers lot.  But if you convinced me to take it for a drive, I probably wouldn’t care about the looks any more.


Then there was the car we had in Bilbao,  which was a One series BMW. 


That’s a picture off the net.  Turns out,  I don’t have a picture of that one.

Same credentials as its cousin above in terms of handling and performance, probably since they’re both made by BMW?   Just a hunch.

There have been others,  but I shouldn’t have to go on.  I think you can see the difference.  These are ordinary cars that you rent when you simply want to get from point A to point B.


I’m not going to talk about the C class Mercedes we had in Hengelo way back in 08.   It was dreamy.



Here it is in front of the Eden Star hotel.  Um ya,  parking was a challenge.  I had to go back into the vault to find that one.  I don’t have enough room on the drive in my laptop here for all the pictures I’ve taken since those early days in 2008.  


Or… the Audi A4 we rented when we went to Barcelona:



Ha!  Just kidding! 

I might have needed some lessons to drive that one.   It is in fact a picture I took in Barcelona,  since there was some sort of car show,  but unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of the A4.

Here’s one off the net.  And yes it was what we would call a “station wagon”.   And it was black.

Don’t be fooled.  Again,  dreamy. 

audiA4 avant


The A4 and the Merc are not your run of the mill cars that one would normally rent for the A to B program.  We ended up with the Merc due to an upgrade (the car that was reserved for us was a Volvo S80,  which they momentarily didn’t have)  and in either case,  that one was being paid for by the company.  So hey,  bring it on!

However, the A4 in Barcelona was rented for us by one of the Admin Assistants,  with the idea that we’d like “something nice”.  Being as Travelling Companion is always looking out for the finances of the Company that Cannot be Named,  and that we had rented the car for our “own use”,  it was on “our dime”.   *ulp*

I think we paid more for the rental of that car than I did for my flight.     I didn’t quite soil my trousers when I went to pay, but it was close.

And yes,  it was nice.


So,  tell me?  Am I being too harsh? 


I think I know the answer.  I appreciated the rant.  Thanks.



And in keeping with the automotive theme….

Keep it between the ditches.



Thanks for stopping by.



Monday, October 24, 2011

Sorry to disappoint.

For the two or three of you who eagerly come by here each day to read about all the excitement on this side of the pond,  (or maybe,  in this hemisphere?) I just want to say.  I’m sorry.

It’s Monday.  Not much happening,  and I’m not going to try and prolong the agony.

It started out this morning with a temperature of about 9°C,  with something akin to a low lying fog hanging around,  with the accompanying mist that you get with that type of condition.   Now however in the late afternoon,  even though it’s gone up to 10,  (oh goody!) it’s certainly not what I would call a “happy 10”?   We now have wind and rain,  and the only comfort I can take in that,  is that I don’t have to go out again.

Could have used all that rain last spring,  since we damned near had drought conditions,  but no.

It’s starting to sound like I’m complaining.   I shouldn’t.  We’ve had some fabulous weather this summer.  Time to pay.




On a brighter note,  I checked our nearly always empty mailbox this morning,  and discovered a letter addressed to me!  Turns out,  it was a birthday card from a friend back home.  Yay!

She had written an email last week to pass on some birthday wishes,  and wasn’t sure when/if the card she had sent would arrive, with apologies that it would be late.   Pfft!  No need to apologize,  I’m lucky to get anything!


Receiving it on a day like today was perfect timing.


Bonnie's card

The bonus is,  she made the card herself.   I particularly like the Maple Leaf theme.   Not sure if it’s supposed to be a fall theme,  or a Canadian theme.  Either one works.


For anyone who doesn’t know,  Canadians do have a bit of a “thing” for the maple leaf.  It just happens to be on our flag.

For the record,  I still can vividly recall standing outside our schoolhouse (Margaretville Consolidated School,  in Annapolis County,  Nova Scotia,  which was closed permanently on June 30,  2004) on Feb 15th of 1965 as the then new Canadian Flag was raised for the first time.  It was a crisp cold February morning,  and I don’t remember much else apart from the fact that I was COLD.   I just wanted to back inside.


It’s no coincidence that one of the very first teams (of the original six) in the NHL was the Toronto Maple Leafs.   Notice that they are not “leaves”,  but “Leafs”.   It’s grammatically incorrect,  but it doesn’t matter,  since it’s the name of a hockey team.   You can always tell a foreigner if they ask,  “Are you a fan of the leaves?”,  to which I might reply, “Why yes,  I do love the fall colours,  although I’m not overly keen on all that raking.”  

Then you might give them a minute of stunned silence to see if they figure it out.   Most times they don’t.

“Oh,”  I might go on to say,  “You mean,  the ‘Leafs’?”  “Right. Sorry,  not a huge fan of them either”. 

Sacrilegious, I know.  I’m just not a huge sports fan in the grander scheme of things.  I’m pretty sure I could, if I had some decent television coverage,  follow the game of Rugby, since I began to have an appreciation for that game when we had TV back in the Netherlands.  It’s hard not to be somewhat awestruck when you see Rugby players in action.  No namby pamby shoulder pads or helmets for those lads.  No sir.  And if you’re bleeding badly enough,  you might get what is called a “blood sub”.  Other than that,  there’s no changing lines,  or otherwise warming the bench.  Once you come off the field, you’re out for good,  unless you’re bleeding.  A coach can make up to seven substitutions, and only two of those from the front row, after that it’s a matter of attrition. 


For those of you who might not be following along,  the New Zeeland “All Blacks”  just beat the French the other day in the Rugby World Cup.  The game was a bit of a nail biter it seems,  with a score of 8-7.  They hadn’t won this particular event since 1987,  so yesterday was a happy day in Auckland.


That’s about it for today kids.


Oh,  and just to recap:  I got something in the mail,  and that was the HIGHLIGHT of my day.  Lame.


Hope the weather is better wherever you might be.


Thanks for stopping by.




Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Chicken Soup day.


I wouldn’t want to get too racy or anything,  so please don’t misunderstand when I say,  breasts don’t work when it comes to this sort of thing.  You need legs.   Chicken legs,  of course. 

What did you think I was talking about?


I already had the idea yesterday that I wouldn’t mind having chicken soup today,  which of course means making sure I pick up some chicken pieces with dark meat.

I think I had better not continue to elaborate on the benefits of white versus dark chicken meat when it comes to the extraction of flavour.  I already have this idea there will be some random hits from individuals looking for something salacious.


I think I’ve mentioned the effect that any cold damp weather has on either one of us,  and the idea of sitting in a thousand year old church with no heat made it easy to forego the Church program today.

Suffice to say, the weather today is not really all that conducive to going out.   I’m not going to elaborate,  since it’ll just sound like I’m complaining. 


So I decided to bake instead!


mmmm banana bread.

I know,  I don’t usually bake on a Sunday,  but every so often it’s a good idea to make these little changes,  yes?  

Livin’ on the edge,  I tell ya.

I’m getting the whole,  “mixing without a mixer”  thing down to a fine art by now.  Ironically,  I only ever use our stand mixer back home for making whipped cream it seems.  If I do decide to continue on the baking front whenever we get home again, I won’t know what to do with all that spare time.  And energy.


And that’s pretty much it for today folks.  We’ve already polished off the soup,  and the banana bread is getting down to the half way mark. 

No suffering on either account.




Now,  here’s something I noticed the other day.   Isn’t there something inherently wrong with telling the world your name and that of your spouse on the back of your vehicle? 



Why look! It's Wolfgang und Barbara!


Oh look!  That must be Wolfgang and Barbara!   Right,  now I know the name of that bastard who ran over our dog!

See?   Not a good idea.

I made that part up.  I don’t have a dog.  Just used that for dramatic effect.


I’m also amazed at the folks in RV parks who not only like to advertise their name, but will also quite often put in the name of their home town.  I mean,  maybe if you’re the “Smiths from Grand Rapids”,  that might not be so bad,  since there’s probably a couple thousand others,   but if you’re the Sporcles, from Wichita Falls?  Why not just add to the sign and say,  “and please don’t break in,  there’s a key hanging up in the shed,  thanks”?


Just an observation.


One of those little mysteries of the human condition.   Like belly button lint. 


Hope everyone has had a fine weekend.  We’ve enjoyed ours so far.


Thanks for stopping by.



Saturday, October 22, 2011

I woke up.

Which is different from “coming to”,   which is a rather insignificant family joke that I might explain some day.

I’m sure there were many,  many folks who were somehow disappointed to wake up this morning,  fully expecting as they had,  to be swept away yesterday as a result of the Second Coming.  There’s probably a pun in there somewhere,  but I’m already breaking my “no sex, no religion,  no politics” rule ever so slightly as it is.

I absolutely promise to leave this one alone,  with the possible exception of there being another prediction for next year.

Having said that, I do wish to mention this one thing:

Far be it from me to wish harm on most anyone,  but if you really and truly believe that you’re about leave your earth bound shackles behind,  then you really need to put your money where your mouth is and drink the “magic cool-aid”,  and be done with it.   Actually, I’m referring to “Flavour-Aid”,  but you know what I mean.

In spite of the humour that this type of foolishness evokes,  I really hope to never hear about it again. 


Annoyingly,  I found myself waking up a few times last night.  Not sure why,  but I woke up at midnight,  then three,  then again at five.  It’s Saturday morning dammit,  I wanted to sleep in until at least seven! 

As it was, I was up and out the door around 7:30 to first hit the bank machine,  and then go down to the subway for a couple croissants.  This is not any reference to Subway,  the sandwich chain,  but the “U-Bahn”  station around the corner from our front door,  where there’s a bakery on the entrance level.   Kinda handy.

Travelling Companion’s hair appointment was the reason for the trip to the bank machine.  It’s probably best that I don’t come out and say just how much this type of event costs?   It’s no different here than at home it seems.  The only major difference seems to be the amount of time involved.  The appointment was for 9:45,  and I’m pretty sure she came back around noon time.   There was one lady who took along a lunch.  Seriously,  she packed a lunch to go to the hairdressers!





Someone mentioned yesterday in a comment that it seemed kind of early to be putting on snow tires?   Actually,  they tend to call them “winter tires” here,  since we really don’t even get that much snow in Lower Austria.   The thing is,  winter tires are made up of a softer compound,  and therefore tend to grip the road better in lower temperatures.   If you’re driving in any conditions where the road temperature is below 5°C,  you really should be running with winter tires.    That’s all there is to it.   All those folks who go crashing and banging into each other each and every fall,  and most definitely as soon as there’s any kind of cold precipitation,  are most like using “all season radials”,  which is a poor substitute for actual winter tires.  If you’ve never had the experience of driving with winter tires,  it’s a concept that’s very hard to grasp.  Kind of like explaining the idea of a telephone to a South American Pygmy. 



We’ve already had the little chime go off in the car,  telling us that the temperature was 3°C,  and that was last week some time.

 Changing our shoes

The garage that stores our tires has two guys doing this.  One guy balances and then checks tire pressure after installation,  and the other guy only removes and installs.   I didn’t actually time them, but I don’t think it took them more than 10 minutes.


I recall having a brief chat with a cab driver on October 12th of 2009, as we were heading to the airport, when he mentioned that he had to get his “Winter Reifen”  installed.   He was going to visit a friend up in Tyrol,  and they had already had snow!  I was kind of new in these parts,  but then when I realised the extremes of the geography here,  it made perfect sense.

Actually,  this past summer we had snow in the mountains in August,  and it stuck around for a few days!


Other than that,  pretty much an ordinary Saturday here in Wienerland.   The steaks have been marinated.  The BBQ is heating up.  Spuds are cooked and the salads are made.

Looks like we’ll be doing the church program again tomorrow.  I don’t recall what the music program was going to be,  but it’s always worth the visit.


Thanks for stopping by.




Friday, October 21, 2011

Should we bother?


Last night's sunset.


Since Travelling Companion has this idea that she just might have to venture off into the nether regions of the Czech Republic next week,  the chore of getting the winter tires put on the car came to the forefront.   I probably shouldn’t use the term “chore”,  since tire changing for me since 2008 has mostly been about me  making a phone call and showing up on time.  Before that,  I did my own tire changes in my garage or driveway,  depending on the outside temperature.

This is where a two ton jack, a compressor and a kick ass impact gun comes in really handy.

Of course that also meant doing the tire changes for both daughters and one of their cousins.  Oy.

Changing 16 tires fall and spring every year isn’t really something I’d care to do as a hobby though?   I’m just saying.  Unless you have a hoist that puts the wheels up at something close to chest height,  it’s not something I consider “good times”.

We’ll see if I want to pick up where I left off with that particular activity whenever we move back home again.  The jury is kind of “out” on that one.


So what that means is,  I’m the chauffeur for the day.   T.C. doesn’t mind at all.  She’d be quite happy if I drove every day.   This was the norm when we spent that year in Puerto Rico.  I needed the car each and every day,  since we were pretty much out in the boonies.   Plus it was only a 10 minute jaunt down to her office.   Here it’s a bit more of a challenge,  which is why I didn’t get back to the Sanctum Santorum this morning until well after 9:00 a.m.

Talk about messing up my busy schedule! 




Well,  as we all know,  today is October 21st.   It’s supposed to be quite the special day.  See,  according to some jackass…   well, a fellow by the name of Harold Camping,  the world is going to come to an end today. 


Kind of has beady eyes,  doesn't he?


What?  You haven’t heard?  


We’re not quite clear on the time however.  Central European time?  East Africa time?    Mountain time?


The first time around,  back in May I think it was,  there was a big “to do”  about the whole non-event,  with billboards,  interviews….popcorn.  OK,  maybe they didn’t give out popcorn,  but they should have!  Would have made it worthwhile.

Turns out,  he “miscalculated”.   But today is THE DAY!  

Believe me! 

(I’m pointing my righteous finger of indignation,  just so you know)


Get your post rapture loot bag at the ready!   Somewhere I read there’s even a post rapture film festival.   If some smart entrepreneurial type isn’t selling a post rapture T-shirt,  I’d really be surprised.  Damn,  I missed my chance!


It follows therefore,  that I felt it incumbent upon me to at least bring up the subject this morning in the car.  Should I plan dinner?  Should I get another case of beer?  I’m going to need a hair cut soon,  what do I do?

Oh my!


Well,  it turns out we’ll put those snow tires on the car just in case. 

I mean really, the folks at the garage down the street from us here on Zieglergasse would be not only a little annoyed,  but possibly utterly dumbfounded if I were to cancel this afternoon’s appointment.   I mean,  everyone who has a car in Austria is getting their winter tires put on,  and you don’t think you should because of some old dude in California?  Hm…

I’m not even going to talk about Travelling Companion’s hair appointment for tomorrow!  I’ve already had to postpone that one once,  so there’s no way I’m cancelling that one for some “Rapture”.    I’m sure if I brought up the subject at the hairdresser’s,  she’d be willing to remove me from the face of the earth herself.  No need for no “rapture”.


Should we send “Thank-you” cards?  If I were a comedian in North America,  I probably would.  I mean,  you can’t make this stuff up.  Why hire writers?


Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.





Now,  for your further amusement,  this is what I saw on the way back into the city this morning.


The big cup.

Yup,  that’s one big-assed coffee cup.


Gotta love city life!

And by the way,  the thought occurred to me that I could somehow tie the photo of the big coffee cup in with the “Rapture”.  I had this vision of some big Monty Python-esque “Hand of God” coming down and picking it up…taking a big slurp…

OK,  maybe that’s a bit of a stretch.



Thanks for stopping by.



Thursday, October 20, 2011


I’ve been trying to figure out all morning how to put something here without sounding too maudlin.  I usually try to be somewhat upbeat in my little missives,  since I can usually show the humour in just about anything.

There’s not going to be too much humour on the home front today I’m afraid.   Our now 14 year old cat,  who was showing some signs of getting on when we were back home in August,  took a rather dramatic turn for the worse on the weekend and his proper owner,  our younger daughter has had to make the final arrangements for him today.



A favourite spot until that DOG showed up.


Now,  I say “our” cat,  since even though he’s really and truly my daughter’s cat, he decided to bond with ME when she went off to school all those many years ago.

I have no idea what he was thinking.  I was on straight afternoons, and he’d wait for me every single night in the front window,  since he knew the sound of my truck as I backed up the driveway.  If it happened to be a night when garbage or recycling had to be put out for the next morning,  he’d start running frantically from the front window up to the corner office to check on my whereabouts. 

Maybe because I was the only one awake at that precise moment?     I’d fuss over him a little,  go down to the basement,  give him his nightly rations, which of course meant he would follow me,  and sequester him down there for the night.  I didn’t need to be woke up in the middle of the night by my “friend”. 

So in spite of that, or maybe because of it, this was the routine every single night. 

He would have made a pretty good “shop” cat as well,  since he had no fear of power tools whatsoever,  and sat and watch intently as I first tore apart,  and then remodelled our kitchen.   For some of the times when I needed to be more persuasive,  I was using a reciprocating saw.  Have you ever heard a reciprocating saw?   He didn’t mind.  He was right in there.   Probably should have has some little safety glasses for him,  but I’m not sure how I would have kept them on his head.  He’d prefer you left your kids out in the car, (he wasn’t keen on children)  but if you wanted to fire up a rotary hammer,  bring it on!

I never quite understood that.

Here are a couple snippets from what could be heard during the reno:

“Why aren’t you running away"?”  (he’d just look at me)

“Don’t go near that,  that’s hot.”

“Oh man! Don’t lie in the sawdust!”  (you saw all that fur on him, right?)

“Come out of there!”

“Look,  I’m just going to have to put you downstairs”.


This went on for many days….




I know I’ve muttered things under my breath when he’d get in the dining room,  chew on the plants and then barf in an oh so convenient place,  or any of the other times when having a fur shedding,  stuffed animal humping,  pooping in the freshly changed kitty litter “friend” underfoot,  was perhaps not my idea of fun.   Not to mention the times he’d bolt for the front door,  since he was an indoor cat,  but always wanted desperately to get out!   We tried the leash program,  but that didn’t really work.  If my daughter went out on the front lawn with one of her bunnies and the cat,  the bunny would be free to run around,  but the cat had to be tied up.   She’d get some strange looks from passers-by.


So going home now to a house without a cat is going to be a bit of a different experience.   Even later on when he moved in with my daughter and son-in-law when they had their apartment,  we could always go and visit.  That will no longer be an option.


And this is the unfortunate finality of the whole thing.


We’re going to miss him.



Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Ups and Downs.

Mostly “ups” really.  I can’t complain. 

Usually I just figure that if I wake up in the morning (always a good sign)  then it’s going to be a good day. 

The better part for today is,  at least Travelling Companion and I will be in the same country.  That’s always a bonus. 

On October 19th of 09,  I was back in the Netherlands getting things sorted out for the arrival of the movers.  T.C. was working in Vienna.  Well,  technically Strebersdorf,  which isn’t in Vienna proper.  I’m not sure who was more miserable,  since she was staying at the "Strebersdorferhof" ,  and I was in another country.  Luckily for me I was sleeping in my own bed.  I’m not even sure the “Strebersdorferhof”  would even rate one star,  but I’m not going to go back over how we both came to never, ever want to stay there again.  

One of the issues with Vienna is,  we have a lot of “headquarters” here,  and if there’s some big “to do”  with the UN or something,  getting a decent hotel room can be a challenge.  What then happens is, you end up at a joint like this “hof” I mentioned.   Some other poor unfortunates from the Company that Cannot be Named have ended up there,  and guess what?  The wifi sucks for them too!  Apparently the only way to get it to work is to stand next to the front desk,  breath the cigarette smoke from the owners and use your computer there.   Oh,  and you have to pay for that privilege of course.

Travelling Companion decided to go to her other office in Schrems for a few days during that visit,  which meant she’d have a decent hotel to stay in.  If you’re ever in Gmünd,  I highly recommend the "Goldener Stern", (The Gold Star),  a pretty damned nice hotel,  where not only is the wifi free,  but it actually works!  And “free”  usually means,  “it sucks”,  but that doesn’t always have to be the case. 

If you do happen to go to that Google Maps link,  I’ve already pointed out to the fine folks at Google that the name of the place is NOT “Gmunden”.   Turns out “Gmunden”  is a completely different town,  and if you happen to click on the Google Maps link that I’ve provided,  you’ll see that you have to drive over two hours to end up back in… Gmunden.   Right.

Sometimes a person has to break down and use a proper map,  like this one:



Dear Google people.  You can still buy these.  I’ll have several for sale when we leave Europe.


Maps like these are just a TAD unwieldy however,  considering it’s covering our entire “dining room” table.  Unfolding that sucker in the car can be fun.


But lookee,  see?  Two different places.





*Mental note*  Probably best not to turn into this guy:

Someone is wrong on internet

(an oldie but goodie)


Last year right around this time,  I know Travelling Companion had to work all weekend once again,  but I actually didn’t write anything on my birthday.   Not sure why.  Probably didn’t have anything to say. 

Sometimes that’s the better choice.


I did remember to go and check the drawer in the spare room and have a gander at the card that Nan left for me.  I just left it right there,  figuring I’d fetch it this morning.

Little did I realise that there was a surprise hidden underneath.   Oh Ya, Baby!   Chocolate!


It would seem there may be one more person who has figured me out?  Not that that would be much of a challenge.


I think that’s going to be about it for today’s missive.

Many thanks for any and all birthday wishes.  


Hope everyone has a fine day.


Thanks for stopping by.



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Comments and other “bloggy” things.

It’s been a few weeks now I suppose,  since I got around to changing the way in which anyone wishing to comment can do so.   Used to be I had something called “captcha” in the comment thingy,  and then decided to take it away to make life easier for anyone wishing to pipe up.  I’ve never had the “comment moderation”  thing. 

I think moderation is just stupid.  Sorry,  but if I have to wait around to see if the blog owner is going to deem my comment worthy of appearing on their blog,  then there’s a pretty good chance that I’ll only comment twice. 

The first time,  and the last time.

And quite likely never to return. 


So this brings me to the subject of spam.   Oh yes,  we’ve been getting some.

There certainly hasn’t been any kind of inundation of spam or anything, which might not have been the case had the folks at Google not introduced their ‘blogger spam blocker’.   I don’t think that’s exactly what it’s called,  but I just like the sound of that version.

Say that ten times fast.


No relation to Dan Blocker.

Man,  I used to love watching Bonanza,  didn’t you?


We’re off on a bit of a slippery slope there.  Sorry.

So easily distracted.


Where was I?


So,  on the one hand,  it’s pretty neat to see the notification of a comment appear in my email inbox,  (that was another minor change I made) which seems to be the first thing I check when I come to the computer,  but if it happens to be from Anonymous,  it also ends up in the spam coral in my blogger account. 

Huh!  Who’d a thunk it? 

Sad to say,  it took me a little while to figure that out too.

See,  I’m not overly interested in checking out your credit union website (in French?  c’mon)  and thankfully nobody has offered yet to give me any kind of surgical (or otherwise) enhancements.   I’ve had a few of them show up in the past,  but the numbers are dwindling.  There’s a “dwindling” pun in there somewhere, but let’s not go there,  shall we?

Maybe it has something to do with being satisfied with one’s lot in life (being one of the 99%?) but I’ve never had any issues with the size of any of my appendages.   So Big Bob isn’t going to be making any changes to Little Bob any time soon.  Again, resisting the temptation to pun you all to death.   (Anyone for a couple Lorena Bobbitt jokes??)



While I certainly appreciate the kind offers from all the spammers,  I think I’ll pass. 


I some how suspect that as I get on in years my ears will continue to get bigger,  but there’s not too damned much I can do about that.   Have you noticed the size of the ears on some old guys?  Whoa! 

Which brings me around to putting too many damned mirrors in RVs,  but that’s a whole other subject.  Suffice to say, I have very little desire to look at myself any more than about once a day.  Let’s leave it at that.  Who ever designs those things,  and what demographic are they looking at?  Honestly!


I should also point out that,  I have indeed had “Anonymous” comments come through from people whom I actually know,  which is a pretty good indicator that,  as long as you don’t have some link to a goofy website,  you can even comment as “Anonymous”.  By “knowing”,  I mean I could actually describe what they look like,  and perhaps what beer or wine they drink.  That’s as much as I want to ‘know’ just about anyone anyway.

So really,  commenting as “Anonymous” is perfectly fine,  since some people really would prefer not to sign in/up or whatever. 




The other thing that I wanted to mention is that silly little map that you see down at the bottom of the page there.

I guess I’ll keep it.  I don’t know.

This was mostly something that came as a part of contributing reviews to Tripadvisor.  I can’t say I’ve been all that effusive in my contributions,  mostly since I tend to forget to submit a review.  That is,  unless I’ve had a pretty crappy time at a restaurant or hotel,  but then who wants to always read all that negative stuff?  Besides,  I don’t really “travel”  all that much.  We just seem to live here.  There’s a bit of a difference.  Should I review our trip(s) to the Slovenian cousin’s place in Sava?  How good was the blueberry schnapps?  (pretty damned good,  actually)

I don’t think those types of reviews would be much use to the average traveller.


So I started filling in places where I had been,  and at first it was places where I had spent a day or so,  and then decided to widen the set of criteria to at least having spent an afternoon or part of a day.  In spite of those self imposed guidelines,  I still see I’ve put in a place like Houston, Texas,  even though I’ve only made a couple stop overs there to get a connecting flight.   I think it was because I had 79 places,  and I wanted 80.  Pretty sad, I know.  I cheated.


Then I noticed a few lines of html,  which meant it could be added to a website as a “widget”.   I don’t have too many widgets,  so I hope you don’t mind if I indulge myself with a little bit of clutter.

It’s certainly better than some of the animated junk I see on some websites,  or the music that starts up as soon as a page loads.  Gawd, I hate that annoying kind of junk!

Almost as much as getting Anonymous comments with stupid links attached.



So you’ve probably gathered by now,  that there’s not too danged much special happening today in Wienerland.  The report back from Travelling Companion is that all her work on the weekend paid off,  since there were no holes that could be blown in her presentation.  This is always a good thing.  I’ve heard quasi horror stories in the past of others who would get grilled on into the evening,  while she and her Operations counterpart would sashay out after their allotted time,  and bugger off for home.   This most recent version was done as a conference call,  but it still could have got nasty.  Thankfully it didn’t.

One thing I’ve learned over the last,  oh I don’t know,  20 years or so,  is to be a really good listener.   Most times it’s best not to offer an opinion,   since opinions are like butt holes.  Everyone has one.  And in a similar fashion to the aforementioned simile,  it’s usually best kept to oneself.

Sometimes I break that rule and pipe up with a minor prognostication,  but that doesn’t happen very often.  At least that’s my intent.


I did have a picture of the sausages that I managed to have explode last night after pre-boiling them just a tad too long,  but when I moved it to the computer and had a closer look,  I realised there was no way I was posting that.  Just too nasty looking.

They tasted just fine,  but looked pretty bad.

The after the fact words of advise?

“Ya,  you have to keep an eye on those”.

“Right. Thanks, dear”.


It’s at that precise moment that it’s also advisable to NOT roll your eyes. 


Just thought I’d pass that along.


Keep washing those hands.


Thanks for stopping by.




Monday, October 17, 2011

Cooking with Beer.

No no,  there’s not going to be any recipes where you add beer.  That’s just silly. 

Well,  there is that one Chicken Risotto recipe where you add white wine,  and there is “Beer can chicken”,  but I’m getting way off topic here.


It’s just that I realised last night as I was about to start dinner,  that I quite often accompany that endeavour with a glass of beer.  I’m pretty sure it doesn’t help the cooking any.  Once in a while I’ll switch it with a glass of red wine.  

Everyone needs a change once in a while.


This weekend was pretty uneventful.

Well,  there was that bomb scare.  You think I’m kidding, don’t you?  We’re not really all that sure that there actually was a bomb.  All I know is,  Saturday morning once I got back with the car after dropping off Travelling Companion at work,  I was hoofing it down to Neubaugasse on my normal morning jaunt,  and was stopped dead in my tracks as I rounded the corner by two of Vienna’s finest,  who were taping off that part of the street.   Seems someone had left a wooden box under the seat of the bus stop.  By the time I got back with the camera, (dammit!  need to take the camera every single time!)  that corner was back to its normal busy self.   I didn’t hear any explosions,  and the bus stop was still there,  so my educated guess is that it was only a wooden box.  Or,  maybe the same bunch that deal with unexploded WWII bombs came by and ferried the thing away?  Not sure.

And yes,  if you “host” a war,  there’s bound to be unexploded ordinance.   Just part of life here.



And I mentioned that I took Travelling Companion to work?  Well yes,  she worked all weekend.  Saturday night until some time after 8:00.   Then on Sunday she worked from home,  but her system kicked her off after 12 hours.  I had dinner ready by then,  so that worked out.

I shoved some food and drink in front of her throughout the day.


We don’t have an actual office set up here,  even though we have the two spare bedrooms.  The internet hub is out in the living room,  and working from there isn’t that much of a big deal.  If it happens to be during the week and she needs to be on a conference call, that’s usually the time I make myself scarce.  Too much talking.

She’s not overly keen on having her mug on the internet,  but that is her there.  Trust me.




There was a wee bit of irony on Saturday afternoon around four,  when I fully expected to hear the Hare Krishna bunch go by (just saves me from checking the time is all) but instead was grooving to the beat of a bunch who were out doing a little protest march.



By the time I grabbed the camera the noise making part of the entourage had passed.   Darn it.


The cops had what looked like quasi riot gear.




This could very well have been an addition to one of those, “we’re the 99%”  type of protests?  You know,  the ones who are going on about occupying Wall street.


Now,  the irony to me is,  most of us are in the 99%,  since that’s the way capitalism works.  Unless you want to be one of the 100%,  and that would be the theoretical way that communism works.  I say “theoretical”, since there are always going to be the “glorious leaders”,  who turn out to be just as greedy as the 1% left over from the 99.    If you don’t like being in the 99%, then that’s just too bad.  Even a guy like Steve Jobs (I think he would have been in the 1%?)  couldn’t escape death,  so in the end it doesn’t matter one iota.

It’s ironic on a couple of levels.  First of all, in a system where everyone is supposedly going to suck on the teat of society, (which I guess is what these people want)  there would be very little chance of protesting ANYTHING.   Well, they might protest “once”,  but the concept of totalitarianism comes to mind.   Stalin had a wonderful vacation spot all set up for anyone who wanted to disagree with his version of things.

The other irony is that,  although she’s certainly not in the “1%”  (whatever that means)  Travelling Companion finds herself in the dubious position of being one of the decision makers in the Company that Cannot Be Named.  Too bad she wasn’t here to watch the protest,  but instead was WORKING.    Kind of mind boggling,  really.


I’ll hear back tonight whether all her weekend efforts will have paid off,  since she’ll be presenting her version of how business is going to go for 2012 today at two.  It’ll still be another late night,  since after she gets that off her plate,  there’s another issue to be dealt with.  And another,  and another.




Buy hey!  It’s a sunny day here in Wienerland,  which will at least keep Bob out of the doldrums.   Sure glad we have all those windows!

Never a good idea to be on the seventh floor if you’re not in the best frame of mind.



Thanks for stopping by.




Saturday, October 15, 2011

It’s not my birthday.

But it’s coming up.


When we had an apartment in Horseheads, New York,  I’d shop at Tops from time to time,  and after the first visit or two,  I realised that I was missing out on the “deals” by not having a “customer card”.

The arrow on that Google map there isn’t quite on the money,  but it’s close enough.

So the deal was,  you could sign up for this discount card type of thing,  and they’d send you a couple little key fobs in the mail (along with a card I think, but my memory’s dim)  and you’d scan it at the check-out on your way through. 

Then when we went to Puerto Rico,  there was the same sort of arrangement at Pueblo Extra  (there's another link in Spanish if you prefer).

I still have the key fob thingies from each of those places.  Probably no longer valid.  Not quite sure when we’ll be back to Puerto Rico.  My daughter and her husband do slip down to the Tops in the Buffalo area from time to time.    They have their own key fob thingies.


Anyway,  I didn’t see anything like that in the Netherlands,  but it became obvious when we moved here to Wienerland that,  a lot of stores want your loyalty.  So I have member cards from MerkurBilla,  ,  Hintermeyer,  Wine & Co,  Leiner,  Sixt rental cars…

I think I have a Hertz card tucked away somewhere too. 

So,  with the rental car companies,  I suppose they do give discounts from time to time,  but the use of the card mostly means I don’t have to go through the annoying ordeal of giving them a bunch of info any time we happen to fly to a location and rent a car.  They scan the card or whatever,  and that’s about it.  With Hintermeyer,  you get a small discount each time you use the card,  even over and above a “sale” price.  I’ll take it.

Billa and Merkur tend to track your purchases,  which is why last week I got a coupon for 15% off this particular coffee that Travelling Companion drinks at work.   This time it was from Billa.  The last time it was from Merkur.  I only bought three or four at the Merkur,  and the lady at the check-out said I could have bought a whole skid if I wanted to.  No point in being greedy.  Somebody has to carry it.

The other rather curious thing is,  in a similar fashion to most anything you have to fill out over here,  they want you to include your birth date.  At first I wasn’t really too thrilled with that idea,  but then discovered that I’d get this nice little letter just before my birthday,  with a coupon for 10% off any and everything I could possibly carry out of the store. 



Of course you have to realise we’re on foot here,  and I only have two arms,  so they’re not exactly giving away the store or anything but again,  I’ll take it.

It then so happens that,  as I normally do when a guest or guests have gone on their merry way,  I was about to strip the bed in the spare room that Nan had been using,  and realised that some books seemed to be missing from their usual spot on the top of the dresser.   Seemed odd.   But it turns out,  it was a little ploy that Nan had come up with to get me to poke my nose into one of the drawers.  At least that’s my theory.  I haven’t asked her.

So that’s where I found the “missing” books,  along with a little surprise.




Well,  isn’t that nice!


Of course,  now that I’ve very publicly said that there’s something in there that I can’t open until the 19th,  then I guess that really means I can’t open it until the 19th.   No worries.



And now,  for your further amusement, (assuming you’ve been even remotely amused up to this point)  here’s a picture of the Opera,  that I took Friday morning on my way back from the airport.





Never hurts to have a random picture.


Keep it between the ditches.


Thanks for stopping by.




Friday, October 14, 2011

The last day.

Well,  that sounds a bit ominous.  Doesn’t mean to be.

Yesterday was the last full day for our visitor from Canada.  She’s managed to be out every day,  with two or three things on her little list to see each day.  Those retired teachers.  They like to plan things!

She did a pretty good job of getting around to see quite a few things,  and report back on a couple places that I now might go and check out.  There are so many museums and such in Vienna that the thought of trying to actually take it all in can be a bit overwhelming,  and even though Travelling Companion and I have gone out and seen and done things that the average Wiener might not do,  there’s still a whole whack of places we could see.


So that meant this morning it was my turn to chauffeur Travelling Companion out to work in Strebersdorf,  and then take Nan to the airport.  I don’t have to look it up to know it’s Austrian Air flight 71 that leaves at something like 10:25.  Gets into Toronto at something like 1:50.   Think I’ve taken that one a few times??


I don’t know why they don’t just say 2:00 p.m.  and be done with it.  The airlines always have these goofy times.

By the way,  that “flight” link above takes you to a pretty neat website that will track flights in real time.  Doesn’t work for all airlines,  but I use it from time to time.


So then here we are on what is now a normal Friday,  but in addition to the usual Friday domestic cr*p that I dive into,  I’ve also had to set up a couple appointments.  

No big deal,  really. 

I had to call the lady up the street at the Hair Salon and postpone Travelling Companion’s hair appointment AGAIN,  since she'll be working all weekend.  *sigh*   She’s been home late every night this week,  and I don’t think tonight will be any exception.  I can’t really spill the beans,  since it has to do with some of the workings of the Company that Cannot be Named,   but one of these days….there will be a rant to end all rants on here.  I promise.  It probably won’t be easy to do that without using the “F” word I realise,  but I’ll give it a good try.

Then,  since she wants to go to the Czech Republic at the end of the month,  she asked if I could set up an appointment to get the winter tires installed.  That will take place next Friday at 2:30.

I’m getting to know the routine in that regard,  since it’s very helpful if I have the slip of paper in front of me from the last time I was there,  with my customer number at hand.  Easy peasy.

And yes,  we will probably get some snow.




You’ll always know I’m running out of sh*t to talk about,  when I start putting in random photos.

Here are a couple things I’ve noticed over the last day or so.

First of all,  one of the reasons we’d prefer not to park on the street,  apart from the fact that it’s a daily chore for the people who do, to find a spot EACH AND EVERY NIGHT,  is that your car is just out there.  Who knows what’s going to happen?


Click on the pic and take a gander at what’s on the hood.  I wouldn’t be happy to come out to see that in the morning.  Unless of course,  I was looking to add to my glass collection.   There’s a bar around here somewhere that’s missing a glass.

I’ve never understood why anyone would spend all that money on a decent car,  and then not be willing to pony up the dough to park it in a parking garage over night?   Our monthly rate is something like €130.   That would be manageable I would think?


Then there was this tiny plaque that I spotted the other day on Neubaugasse.




It’s a little poignant reminder of what happened after the Anschluss in 1938.

It’s in memory of the “Selber” family,  who lived at that residence for many years. All three of the people mentioned in the other three quadrants were murdered by the Nazis.



It don’t think I can add too much to that.



Hope everyone has a fine weekend.

Count your blessings.


Thanks for stopping by.