Monday, January 30, 2006
I decided to post a photo of my Dad and me (taken last summer).
Now, isn't he a sweetheart?!
Sunday, January 29, 2006
To begin with, without him, I simply wouldn’t exist. Well, I might exist, but as a different person.
I remember him teaching me to ride my bicycle. That was funny. First thing he did, was to take off the training wheels. “You don’t need those!” he said. He ran behind me holding the saddle of my green bicycle and after a short while – and a couple of scraped elbows and knees - I was cycling on my own. Man! Was I proud!... And so was he.
I guess that’s a good metaphor for what he’s been giving me throughout my life.
He believed in me and taught me to believe in myself and in others. He taught me to trust others and to trust my instincts. He taught me to keep my balance in life. He taught me to look ahead, learn and be open for new experience. He also taught me that if I fell, I had to get up and try again. He taught me that what I would give would return to me at some point. He taugh me that it was okay to make mistakes, but that I had to recognize, learn from them and fix them.
He has been an excellent mentor throughout my life. He taught me important values and never judged my decisions an accepted my opinions. He supported my decision to leave the family nest to go to Europe at a very young age. He let go –just like the saddle of my bicycle- which is probably the most difficult thing for a parent.
Today’s my Dad’s birthday. He's turning */(!$ years old today!!!! (Scared you for a second there, didn’t I Dad?) ;-)
Happy birthday, Daddy. OrangeX and I wish you many more healthy and happy years. We'll celebrate this summer, okay?
Thank you for all you’ve taught and given me. I love you and miss you.
Saturday, January 28, 2006
BTW.:Hey guys, I work my 9-10 hours a day! All right then... If I can bitch, you can too. :-)
No really. I (we) had a very busy week and I just managed to comment other blogs and was too tired/lazy to write one of my own (Mrs. TBF will understand that.) But hey - I do write looooong blogs! Uhhm. Does that help?? ;-)
Fast forward to today. I got up at... yes ... at 7:45 am and just couldn't sleep anymore (And that on a Saturday! I have must have a problem!). Anyway, I slumbered down to the kitchen - I was still not really awake - and pressed the button for a heavenly coffee... and a second and a third. Then I checked my mail and the blogs - God fobid my trying to write anything that early. So I tried to read myself through some of my favourites - which by the way, were not all that different than the day before!!! ;-) - and then OrangeX came down.
He reminded me that we had friends from Holland on skiing holidays in Switzerland that would drop by for a cup of coffee on their way back. Peter and Suzanne made it around 11:00 am and we had more coffee - no wonder I'm having trouble to write! - and a bit of bread and cold cuts. After they left (1:00pm or so) we did the groceries - yeah, go on... Not interesting - and stacked everything away. Hmmmmm. What now? Go into town?? No! They had this official demonstration going on and I certainly didn't want to get stuck in the middle of a randalizing mob! No thanks!
So we decided to go for a walk through Mulhouse. It was cold and windy, but beautiful. I realized that I hadn't been there in such a long time (I'm talking years, here.) Here are a few pictures of the town hall and the cathedral as well as lovely old buildings around the main square. It was pretty cold and windy, so we kept going into small shops to warm up. We walked for a good 2 hours or so, but really enjoyed seeing this city again. We'll be back for more.
Right now, Orange is preparing a lovely Pork Sate with Nasi Goreng and a hot peanut sauce (that will certainly burn twice - if ya know what I mean), so I'll let you read and comment. Note to my readers: OrangeX is Dutch with an Indonesian background. His Mom (a.k.a. just "Ma" -I adore her) is the best cook I know! And wait 'till you meet the rest of the family!
I hope to get back to you with more soon (oh yes, it's my Dad's birthday tomorrow), and I still have to make him a special card and a special blog on this occasion.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
OrangeX was in Germany for the launch of a new product this week, we went to see a musical on Thursday evening (see previous post), then Orange had a meeting at 7 am (!!!) on Friday morning and I came home from work short after 7 pm on that same day. We sat down for a drink, chatted for a while and then around 9 pm, the phone rang and a male voice said: "What are you doing home on a Friday night?!". I scratched my head thinking: "I know that voice." Ahh, yes The Big Finn! We started chatting away and finally ended up taking a taxi to Mr. and Mrs. TBF's for a drink. When Mrs. TBF heard that we hadn't had dinner yet - which was what we were discussing when they called - she made her way to the kitchen while Mr. TBF got started on drinks. I felt a bit bad about Mrs. TBF standing in the kitchen for us, but she soon came back with a Finnish specialty of smoked fish and toast. I think it was a kind of herring, but Mr. TBF gave us the Finnish name that I can't remember. Shortly after that, Mrs. TBF appeared again with two big plates of delicious fettucine "al aglio e olio" (garlic and olive oil - and hot peppers!) that we gorged with the greatest of pleasure.
Then around 1am, I started feeling the strain of the week and all of a sudden had trouble keeping my eyes open. Of course that yummy Pinot Gris didn't help me stay awake. We had great fun at this unplanned get together but the need for sleep got too strong, so we called a cab, and I went straight to bed. Once more: Thanks for a delicious pasta and a great desert Mrs. TBF!!
It was difficult to get out of bed on Saturday. Not that much because of the evening before, but I had not slept very well the whole week and I had an appointment at the hairdresser's at 8.00 am. I kept asking myself: "Now why on earth did I do that?" After 2-3 cups of strong coffee, I felt half-alive and made my way to Markus' shop. I came back home around 10 am, checked my e-mails, read a couple of blogs - I was too tired to comment - and decided to go take a nap.
Around 3 pm, we left for Lucerne where we had been invited to a benefit concert given by the Symphony Orchestra "Nota Bene" and a special appearance by Christian Wenk, a pianist in a wheelchair. This concert took place in the KKL (Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Luzern = Culture and Congress Center Lucerne), a magnificent modern building situated directly on the Lake Lucerne and known for it's incredible acoustics.
We took a nice walk over the Chapel Bridge (Kappelbrücke), Lucerne's landmark, into the old town to do a bit of window shopping - the stores were closed already - and back to have an early dinner at the "Au Premier", a very nice restaurant directly in the Lucerne Train Station, offering on one side a magnificent view of the old town, and on the other, overlooking the train platforms.
We walked over to the KKL and took our seats in the VIP area. We've both never been to a classical concert and didn't really know what to expect. I like classical music, but I prefer to be able to choose when I can switch it on and off, and who I'm listening to. The first part consisted of a piece from Anatol Ljadow (never heard of him) and the music was light and very pleasing to the ear. The second part was von Edvard Krieg starring Christain Wenk as solist on the piano.
Now, one would think "So what's so spectacular about that? He's got hands so he can play, right?". There's more to that than one thinks. We tend to forget that you have pedals on a piano. Aha. Right. No leg function. Ha! So how does he do it? Christian plays with a specially developped system consisting of a plastic tube that reacts to pressure - by clenching it with his teeth - via a probe that is linked to a pressure sensor giving an electronic impulse that regulates the position of the pedal. Okay, enough technical know-how. Furthermore, his high level of paralysis lead to a loss of belly and back muscles, therefore weakening his stability to sit. I don't know if you've ever seen a concert pianist play, but let me tell you that it must take a heck of a lot of energy to play for an hour. I was totally gobsmacked when I heard him play. He was fantastic. I couldn't withhold my fascination and when he finished, I was so emotionally taken by his incredible willpower and love for life that I could feel a lump in my throat and my eyes stinging with tears. This excellent performance was rewarded with a ten minute standing ovation which called Christian back on stage three times. Unfortunately, we forgot our camera at home. Really sorry that I can't post any pictures.
Note to self: "Stop bitching around about your little problems and find a solution instead."
The last bit was the Symphony Orchestra only playing Antonin Dvorak (never heard of him either). It was very nice, but I think that we had both had enough classical music for one evening and were looking forward to got home.
PS: After his accident, Christian Wenk also finished his medical studies and has been working as assistant MD for the past three years.
Friday, January 20, 2006
I quit work early (around5 pm) and drove home to get ready for the "Rat Pack" show that we were about to see. These guy's are just amazing! And I just love swing music.
But first we drove to Basel a very nice Chinese resataurant in Basel (the "Hong Kong") where we had a very nice meal before we literally ran off to the Musical Theatre. Note to self : (and Orange's words) "Let's got there again!". The food was absolutely great.
I must say that Dean Martin really sounded (and acted) like Dean Martin would have, and the voice of Sinatra was like the real thing. When he sang "New York, New York", the whole audience was absollutely quiet, and I got goose bumps. It was very impressive. I was mostly impressed by the age groups that were there. They ranged between maybe 22 and 95. It was just great! The 15 or so members of the live band were also 1) very entertaining and 2) on Tune - I have an exceptional good hearing for music.
Orange and I are definitely going to look for other "cultural" alternatives. Having myself been to London's West-End about 30 times or so, I really miss it. And Orange LOVE'S the shows.
Can I ask for more?? By the way, they got - and deserved - a standing ovation. It was just plain overwhelming! I saw even an amputee pick up his crutches to stand and applause... That IS something! I love theater!
|Your Superhero Profile|
Your Superhero Name is The Ghost Miracle
Your Superpower is Soul Sold to Devil
Your Weakness is Airsickness
Your Weapon is Your Ether Ring
Your Mode of Transportation is Hovercraft
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Your Superhero Profile
Your Superhero Name is The Chameleon Bolt
Your Superpower is Complements
Your Weakness is 80s Music
Your Weapon is Your Caustic Blaster
Your Mode of Transportation is Moped
Monday, January 16, 2006
|Your Birthdate: October 24|
You understand people well and are a natural born therapist.
A peacemaker, people always seem to get along when you are around.
You tend to be a father or mother figure to friends, even to those older than you.
You enjoy your role, and you find that you are close to many people.
Your strength: Your devotion
Your weakness: Reliance on others for happiness
Your power color: Lilac
Your power symbol: Heart
Your power month: June
...and I thought I'd be more exciting! ;-)
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Remember, we only wear ski suits, we don't ski. Armed with the DV camera and the photo camera, we walked up hill for about 30 minutes and there it was: winter Donkey-land! In the middle of the hills there is a small farm and outside we saw 2 cute donkeys: mother and daughter. Of course we had to capture this sweet "couple".
We walked up until we came at the second station "Obere Wanne" and stopped at the kiosk to have a coffee and a hot dog. Unfortunately the terrace wasn't open yet. Probably to early in the season where the sun is still too low to lighten up the seating area outside. As it was also busy in the kiosk we didn't stay very long and started our way back. Thank you Lord! Walking back means going down hill! I must admit, that after 20 minutes of walking down hill, I felt my calves building up tension. Mrs.CS was better off than me. All the training she enjoyed after the knee operation has built up her muscle condition. On the last stretch down we met this very affectionate young cat (sorry, no picts available!). She was begging for attention, rewarding our caresses with loud purring. For a moment we thought she would follow us until we reached the car, but she decided otherwise...there's no place like home! Luckily she chose to stay as our big black panther would not have accepted a cute red cat as competition in the house (I guess...)
While we drove back we had the great idea of enjoying our afternoon drink in the garden by the warmth of the Caminero. That meant we needed wood, but that is absolutely no problem in our region. Most gas stations sell wood for the fire place, so this was an easy job: just pick up some wood on the way home. Well folks we did it, we set up the Caminero, took out two chairs and enjoyed the fresh outdoors life by the warmth of our mexican friend burning the logs. Now it got to cold (the caminero is not big enough to bring more warmth). We're back inside and start preparing dinner soon. Have a nice evening!
The weather this week has been absolutely beautiful! The pictures below were taken around 9.30 this morning. Pity that it was still a bit misty up in the hills, but it does give a nice atmosphere.
We'll be driving off later to take a nice walk somewhere.
I will share the "secret" with you, passed on to me by fellow blogger Christina (see post below) that I will quote:
"I really only know how to change the photos for my template - where there was a photo already - don't know if it would work for the other ones.
1) choose a picture (your own or stolen from somewhere on the web - watch out for copyright issues) and cut out the part you want. The size that fits in my header was 800 x 133 pixels. Upload that to your blog and copy the HTML
2) Go into your Blogger template and find the part marked "header" and replace whatever's in there (mine was a link to a photo, I guess, originally something blurry and green with leaves) and replace that with the HTML for your picture."
And I guess this was the most relevant hint for me:
"I have another "test blog" with the same template as this one that I use to upload pictures to see how they'll look or fool around with the header or colours and stuff. Just click "create a new blog" in your Blogger settings and don't list it in your profile. You can experiment to your heart's content and it doesn't matter if you wreck it!"
Thanks again for your help, Christina. I will be experiment more myself in my test blog and will let you all know if I find out something new.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
I'm usually the one who reads through manuals and find out things by trying out until I get it right, or "leaning by doing". I hate to have to ask "How do I do that?" - unless I'm REALLY under pressure. I'm always the first to help, but I know of a few people at my work who are just too plain lazy to even open one of these manuals or click on the "help" menu. In those particular cases, I'll be the first to say RTFM! (a.k.a. "read the f*cking manual!")
I've been wanting change my header for a while and thought that once it would really started to bug me, I'd dig into it. Well, this time, someone was quicker than I was and asked, and Christina gave simple step by step instructions.
Thank you Christina, for sharing your HTML knowledge with us and making our "blogger lives" so much more colourful. I know you must have spent hours studying your template and fiddling around until you found it. You may have cold hands, but you do have a warm heart.
PS: Love reading your blogs.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
And what did we not have yet?? Right, a Wiener Schnitzel!! Anyway, we went for a stroll in Wiener Neustadt and had the lunch at a local restaurant called Zum Siegl, which turned our to be pretty good. Schnitzel for all and all for Schnitzel. Yay! After that, we needed to walk a few hundred meters to -ahem! walk off the calories - and suddenly, we faced a beautiful cathedral. I didn't know Wiener Neustadt (pop. 40'000) had one, but they do. You've read the rest of day 3 in my previous post, so I'll just carry on. Hope I'm not too confusing.
Day four of our stay in the Vienna area. We slept in this time. No waking up around 7.30 am. This might sound early to many of you - for a weekend trip - but in my case, I need time - and coffee -to wake up. Otherwise, meet the zombie! Not that I'm in a bad mood, or grumpy, or anything. It's more like my vocabulary in the first hour consists of: "Huuuh?", "Sure. " and "What d'you just say?", and instead of hearing: "Let's visist a winery this weekend", I hear "Let's visit raspberries this weekend". Followed by me saying: "Huuh???!! You want what??". Anyway, so much for the morning moi. After taking an hour or so - and lot's of coffee - to "wake up", take a shower and just hang aound, it was time for lunch again. Pinki cooked us a nice meal and we relaxed a bit, knowing that the night ould be a long one.
Then, one of Christain's (a.k.a Pinki) friends dropped off the food and drinks for the evening party. Now, Pinky has a party room in the cellar that would make many Europeans envious. They just recently repainted and redecorated it, and of course, following precious machines had to be put in place again: An old pinball machine (in perfect working order) - not the new electronic one, I'm talking probably the 70's - a cigarette machine - you don't want to smoke those anymore -, a chewing gum vending machine - you don't want to chew those either - and a very old condom vending machine - you certainly don't want to use those!!... Unless, you like taking big risks!
We set up the cold buffet in the afternoon, brought the drinks down, and soon after that, the first of 35 - 40 guests started arriving. We were celebrating Andrrea's 30th birthday, Pinki's 37th and New Year's Eve.
I won't say much more other tha: It was a great party and I'll let the pics speak for themselves. I crashed on the sofa upstairs around 4.30 - 5.00 am, Orange joined me aroud 7.30 and I think Pinki and Andrea went to bed around 8.00 /8. 30 am.
We can't put up all of the picts, but here are a few.
The day had come where we had to fly back home. Pinki and Andrea took us to the airport, but we promised to return soon.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Some of you may have read TBF's complimenting comments about he Steierereck in Vienna, an we can only second his vote. We were greeted by the Chef de Service who accompanied us to our table. Now contrary to the restaurant in Vienna, which is very classy and almost demands a suit, the one in Turnau is a charming old inn in the woods. The food, however, was a feast for the eyes and the palate. The ladies in service wore the traditional dirndls and the men wore the Lederhosen (leather pants, also often seen in Bavaria). Here are a few pics of the restaurant.
There were a couple of things that really fascinated us there. Usually, one picks the wine from the wine card. Not here! Here, one goes to the wine cellar and chooses from the many bottles and wine regions. You pick out your white and then your red and bring it to the waiter to be opened and properly decanted. Yum yum! The choice was just amazing. Then, the restaurant also sells some of its specialties, so that you won't miss them once you've returned home. The regional and home-made products like their bread, lamb salami, preserves, sauces, honey, etc. are presented on a table with much attention to detail.
So we sipped on our aperitive and examined the menus while picking at the best Wurzelspeck (a lard that's been smoked and dried) I've ever had! A waiter took our orders and look at just a few of the goodies he brought. I had to be quick with the camera to get these pictures before everybody finished. Of course, I didn't want to eat cold either!
Another thing that fascinated me was one of the waiters, Mario. I can't help it but I have this affinity to gay men. No offence to to you heterosexual "real men" out there. But gays are funny, usually very witty, gallant, warm and those I have known, very intelligent. Plus, as a woman, you never have to worry about being groped. That's only my personal view and experience, but I'm sure that many women out there will agree with me. I must say that I am blessed with my darling (hetero) Orange-X. He's got all that too :)
What was in that wine!??! O-Oh. Look Orange-X grew an antler!
The deserts were also excellent. We ordered 3 for the six of us and it was more than enough. Pinki just couldn't decide where to start! The bowl in the middle is chocolate mousse for two. Believe me, after a dinner like that, we were glad that we didn't order more deserts.
Ah yes, I did say that a couple of things fascinated me in this restaurant. The other thing was the toilets. I don't want to know what you're thinking, just look at these pictures. Here's the men's' room (Before you ask: Orange took the pics)
The "pissoir": a glass plate over the stoned foundation of the Inn with a water fall running over it.
And the ladies': Women, stand up for your rights! "Nur lulu"= pee only.
And to end the evening, I just had to have a picture of my favorite waiter: Mario. Isn't he cute ??! (Yes, he is wearing make-up) Somehow, I'm looking forward to Michael's comments on this one ;)
And he took the final pictures. (from left to right: Andrea, Pinki, Orange-X, myself, Gerhard and Brigitte.
We had a wonderful evening and lot's of fun, great food and fabulous memories with new friends. Thanks to Gerhard, our designated driver, we got home safely and fell in a deep slumber. Steirereck, we'll be back. That's a promise!
Later this week, Pinki and Andrea's birthdays and New Year's eve party!
PS: TBF: As additional info, they have over 130 schnaps and about 75 cigars to offer. - Sorry for the cigar bit, Mrs. TBF!
Saturday, January 07, 2006
Before I start this post a small remark from Mrs. C-S. She claims she is the better author amongst us so I have to take the challenge! Luckily we didn't bet. Betting with Mrs. C-S come expensive. I can remember one time, shortly after I moved to Switzerland, when we still lived in Basel. With Basel I mean down town Basel, close to the Rhine, opposite of Manor. As we both have a car and only Mrs. C-S had an unlimited parking permit for our ZIP code area we decided to take her car to drive to the office in the morning. When we came back home in the evening we had to drive around in order to find a parking space. We found a pretty narrow space which I thought would be too small. Mrs. C-S claimed she could fit her car in there. I told her. "No way you get your car in that space". Then it happened. She betted a case of Moët and stupidly enough I accepted. I should have known better. She will never bet unless she is 110% sure of winning the bet. You got it! I lost and it cost me a case of Moët. Not the first case I lost betting with Mrs. C-S. I'm still paying off my losses....
Anyway, back to Vienna! Our 3rd day in Austria we started out with breakfast with Pinki and Andrea. As it had been snowing over night we decided to take Embers for a nice stroll. Andrea proposed to go for a walk in the regional vinyards to allow Embers some exercise. After a hot shower we got out and drove for about 10 minutes. Unbelievable! We were in the middle of nowhere. We viewed a landscape covered with snow and stretched as far as the eye could see.
It was darn cold but that didn't keep us from getting out of the car and confronting the cold wind.
In a positive moment I made the remark:"Luckily we have the wind in our faces now, so we'll be better off when walking back". Ooops! Winds change. (remark from Mrs. C-S :-)) We walked for quite a while and had a big surprise. Have you ever seen a schyzophrenic dog? Embers had such a moment and thought he was a cat! Believe it or not, he caught a mouse! Can't show you the proof with a picture, except for one with the blood he left....
Andrea, Mrs-C-S and I went on walking and chatting while freezing our butts off (another Mrs-C-S comment). Embers rolled in the snow, chased sticks we threw and even took the time to go belly down in the snow and litterally chew the sticks to tooth picks.
After a certain moment we had to return as Embers, fanatic as he is when being outside, suffered from the cold. Being a Golden Retriever his paws are webbed (like a duck) so snow sticks between his toes causing lumps of ice and pain. So, time to turn around and go home to "defrost" Embers' paws.
In the afternoon Mrs.C-S and I went to the "SCS". The SCS is short for Shopping City Süd . My God, this is the largest mall I have ever seen in Europe and I thought the Centro in Oberhausen was big! Just take a look yourself if you're interested in seeing what the SCS has to offer. Main reason for me to go to SCS was a nice orange Boss coat I had already seen in Vienna (After all, I am Orange-X). Vienna has 3 rather big Boss stores and I saw this nice coat at he first Boss store but decided to not buy this coat. Afterwards I regretted not buying this coat and tried my luck at the 2 other Boss stores. But here, no luck at all. The coat wasn't sold in the other 2 stores. So I had to be lucky in the SCS. After arriving at the SCS we just looked around a bit and realised we couldn't cross the whole SCS in just one hour so we decided to just shop around a bit close where we parked. We entered the Stiefelkönig, a large shoe store which has an amazing assortment of shoes. We both got lucky there. Mrs.C-S bought a pair of boots and a pair of warm Timberlands and I found a nice pair of Boss shoes (see pics below). After that we crossed the SCS to the next hall to see the Boss store to check if they had the orange coat there. But again, no luck. Nevertheless, seeing the SCS was something amazing. 270.000 sqm of shopping space is quite impressive to European standards. I bet my sweet sister would love to see it...
We drove back to Bad Fischau-Brunn as we had to go out for dinner with Pinki, Andrea and Pinki's sister and brother in law this evening. We had a booked dinner at the Steirereck. Maybe you have read the blog of The Big Finn about the Steirereck. He went for dinner in Vienna, we went for dinner in their other restaurant in the "Steiermark" (one of Austria's federal sates). An experience we will never forget, but you get more to read about it in the next blog which will come from the "better author" again... :-)
Friday, January 06, 2006
Have a good one!
Thursday, January 05, 2006
After having had some of those wonderful sandwiches, we carried on walking through the streets and small alleys of Vienna and came to a really nice passage called the Palais Ferstel with all these small shops, and at the end, I was told, you could rent a ballroom, f.e. for weddings. Pinki and Andrea were invited to one and they were absolutely flabbergasted! I was even more amazed when I discovered... Look what I found: A totally lost Expat!
After that we made our way - zig-zagging through the small streets - towards the Hofburg again, then through the Heldenplatz and reached the Maria-Therisien Platz. To our right and left, there were two identical buildings made of sandstone: The Museum of Natural History and The Museum of Art History. Breathtaking! The only thing differenciating them from the exterior were the statues on top. We walked on the the Museumquartier. Now if you want to see different and controversy in architecture, you've gotta go there! They actually "dumped" an white and anthracite grey block on each side of a classical building. But I'll let you read the details from Wikipedia.
By that time, we needed a break and a drink, so Andrea lead us to a bar that had just opened and we had a drink (or two) at the lutz. Nice by/cafe, but a little slow in serving a simple Irish coffee for Orange-X. Oh well, he got an extra glass of champagne for the long wait - free of charge- that I ended up drinking... But who's complaining!???!
I swore to myself that I'd keep this one short. For goodness sake, it was just a few hours. Tssk!
Anyway, we took the train to Pinki's house, had a drink and then left for probably the sweetest, warmest local restaurant I had ever been to called the Kost & Bar. The lighting was cozy and inviting, the service was very pleasant, the menu card Italian dishes) was kept quite short, but still offers a good variety of dishes and the food was excellent. They had quite an impressive wine card, many of them being Austrian wines. Of course, Embers joined us and stayed quietly under the table or then stuck his nose up after dinner to socialize a little. For those of you who don't know,Austrian drink more wine that beer, unlike their German neighbors, so believe me, they know what good wine is. We were pretty tired after those ??-kilometers of walking and just relaxed.
More to come this weekend.