Thursday, July 27, 2006

Out of Office

Well, yes. We just received a call from our friends, Mr. and Mrs. TBF, and are invited to their Fishbowl (otherwise to their terrace if the weather does not play with us) for a delectable dinner (we know them well enough to say this) tomorrow evening.

Then on Saturday morning, we're off to Vienna again to visit our goods friends, Pinki and Andrea, and will not return until August 1st (Swiss National Day).

We'll keep you posted on the events, but I think we will first have to recuperate from it all (all a.k.a. partying, little sleep and quite a few drinks).

So be patient. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

This is what they say about me on Google

Thank to Xmichra for sharing this link. Just type in your name and go. It's fun!

Of course, I had no results with CanadianSwiss, so I had to use my real name. Go ahead; try it. Here are my favourites, and to make it more fun, I added comments.

Enjoy and have a great Sunday!

sandra is very shy – I am. Really! Mwaaaahahhahahaha!
sandra is an excellent way to sum up your system – More likely to screw-up your system.
sandra is the kind of character that immediately strikes one as pretty damn cool – I like this one!
sandra is an ongoing vipassana practioner and shares a course in miracles with whoever is open and willing – I’m impressed! I do miracles, too??
sandra is available to paint your guardian angel – Taking orders starting Monday. No wait. I have to be in Canada then (see below).
sandra is performing in canada on monday – Performing what? U-oh. And I haven’t booked a flight yet. Where in Canada do I have to be?
sandra is sandra and my sandra is female – I’m thankful that, whoever wrote this, noticed.
sandra is freeware for home use only – Now, OrangeX will be happy to read this.
sandra is in "rare" form – “Rare” like uncommon? Is that good, or bad?
sandra is taking physics and it is a disaster – This person knows me well.
sandra is located in a beautiful late 19th century palazzo – This place is nice, but far from being a palazzo!
sandra is to star in this movie, but if it happens, I will let you know – Yes, please do.
sandra is 5' 7'' tall – I wish I were, but only 5’5”
sandra is a 49 – Clothes size?? Wrong again... Make it a 34
sandra is a certified hypnotherapist and provides counseling and therapy for stress reduction – Your eyelids are getting heavier, he-a-v-y...Zzzzzzz.
sandra is a very powerful shareware troubleshooting and diagnostic tool that has the capability to send a system report from your computer to our technicians – Yup. I’ll send everything to Wikipedia.
sandra is an expert in women's hormonal problems and can show you how to overcome premenstrual syndrome menopausal symptoms – Yeah, right. I'm very experienced. I just decided to close down my offices.
sandra is fundamentally a good personFundamentally?!!?!
sandra is a good laugh for me – Who said that?!
sandra is getting what she wants – Well, sometimes I do
sandra is incorrectWhaaaaat? Tssss!
sandra is also visiting senior lecturer in environmental studies at mount holyoke college – Mt. Holyoke?? Where’s that?
sandra is qualified to administer and interpret the myers – Myers?? Is that a band?
sandra is forced to choose between science and the arts – Arts, please.
sandra is eager to spread the message that “creativity and adventure know no boundaries” – Yup.
sandra is not even close to being as pretty as cameron – Hey, I never alleged that either.
sandra is convinced that the charge is false – Of course, I am. I’m innocent. Really.
sandra is a professional at ease with her coaching of voice power that helps a speaker make a lively connection between the speaker and audience – Can you hear me?
sandra is a heart person – Yeeeeessssss!
sandra is a cop who works with chaplin to avoid the red herrings – Red herrings can be very dangerous, you know.
sandra is a unique opportunity to experience the highest level of competence – In what?
sandra is also available for freelance and session work on violin or viola – OMG. I’d better start practising.
sandra is recognized for bridging ancient cross - ???
sandra is an education in itself – I'm more like "a mystery in itself."
sandra is one of the better benchmarking utilities out there – Really? I'm flattered.
*sandra is de perfecte verwezenlijking van fun fearless female van het jaar (sandra is the perfect personnification of the fun fearless female of the year) – Fun fearless Female?? No. No. No. I’m so shy. LOL!
sandra is to star in a new version of the cult musical "the rocky horror show" – A star? I've always wanted to be a star. That sounds like fun. I wonder which role I’m going to get. What do you think?

* OrangeX was kind enough to translate this one for me.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I get what I want!

Allow me to introduce myself.

My name is Dale and I guess you have seen me before on the Canadian-Swiss blog. I'm 14 years old (70 years old, human age) and I lead quit a nice life with my two humble servants. I get fed at regular hours, my litter-box is cleaned regularly, I do receive some goodies like kit-bits and of course my favourite: the magic tube! Actually, I have lead a darn good life. Both Canadian-Swiss and Orange take good care of me and serve me in every way. I just wonder why the heck they give themselves those ridiculous names, but I guess their human mind is not well developed enough to come up with something better. Anyway, like I said, I lead a darn good life. I sleep in their bed, share the sofa with them and I get enough attention. Recently I found out about their blog. One day, when they left to go to work, I decided to explore the Canadian-Swiss blog a bit. I must say I kinda like the posts that are put up, but what I miss is in the posts with my point of view. I’m never asked, so I decided to put up my own post. Luckily CS and OX were kind enough (how can they refuse their master?) to let me use their laptop. I guess it shows the mutual understanding and respect we share.

This story starts off on Monday, 17th of July. After the wonderful weather we had over the past weeks, I thought I’d adapt a bit more to the human life. (Sigh) It’s hard to admit and probably hard to imagine, an honourable cat like me, stepping down to the level of his servants. But okay, we all have to make sacrifices... I noticed that CS and O-X have been eating their dinners outside every evening since the nice weather has started end of June. Like I wrote before, I do get fed at regular hours, which is normally announced with the term “gutti-gutti” (for the English readers it’s “goodie-goodie”). For me the sign where I am served either breakfast or dinner, depending on the time off day.

Recently though, I got quit annoyed. When they, my servants, think they are the only ones with the right to have dinner outside, then they’re absolutely wrong! I want to eat outside, too. But man, did it take them a long time to understand what I wanted! Finally, on Friday the 21st they understood. Do you know how I got them to understand that I have needs as well? I'm a very sociable feline, you know. For days I have tried to ignore the “gutti-gutti”, but it was hard as I love to eat. But on Friday I won. I resisted the “gutti-gutti” (man, they were serving me lamb, imagine how hard that was to resist!) and relentlessly sat down at the entrance to the living.

Orange was in the kitchen trying to persuade me to come in and have my dinner. No way buster! I’m sitting here and now, and you be creative enough to make me eat. Stuff your “gutti-gutti”! Can you imagine Orange calling me several times to come up to the kitchen for dinner? After several of his poor attempts (hihihi), he came down to me to ask if I would like to have my dinner outside. He went up the stairs again and "Eureka!", he brought the bowl with my dinner down onto the terrace. At last, that one week of training with my servant had paid-off! I enjoyed my dinner outside and went for a wonderful evening stroll through the neighbourhood afterwards. Man, that was good!

But now, I’m wondering... Does the human mind have a short term memory only??? This morning Orange wanted to serve me breakfast and called the famous “gutti-gutti” out to me. Hello Orange!!! Are you suffering from some kind of memory failure? I want to be served outside! I decided to give him another chance and made him understand what I wanted. I walked in from the garden, went up to the kitchen, sniffed at my bowl and lifted my nose after which I walked out of the kitchen, down the stairs and into the garden again. It didn’t take long for Orange to follow me with my bowl to put it outside on the terrace. Wonderful! I got to enjoy my breakfast in the morning sun. Isn’t life beautiful? You just have to make clear what you want. I just hope next time I’m fed I don’t have make a scene again. I hope CS and O-X will just remember that I prefer to eat outside as long as the weather is nice. Just like they do.

Well, that’s my first post, folks. And I have many more stories that I want to share with you.
Stay tuned...and read my next posts in which I'll be writing about my other adventures with my servants. Interested?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

A taste of Indonesia

As you all know from our previous posts, we have been preparing for a dinner consisting of Indonesian snacks. We had the pleasure of inviting Mr. and Mrs. TBF, Thomas and Nicole, Doug, a work colleague of ours) and Paolo and Markus (and Tina, their Jack Russell).

The first to arrive were TBF and his lovely wife, Mrs. TBF. They brought us a beautiful Marigold plant that is apparently pretty unknown here. TBF grew it himself. Plus they added two self-made pestos and a bottle of Moët Champagne (which fit very well with what we were having: Moët!).
Seconds later, Thomas and Nicole arrived. Funny thing was, Nicole went straight to Dale, our cat, who was lying on a bench outside our house, before she came up. I was alredy wondering if she was invited elsewhere. Heheh. But no, after greeting Dale, she ran up the stairs, radiant as always and we exchanged hugs and kisses, happy to see each other again. We were handed a big bottle of Alsacian Wolfberger crémant (sparkling wine). This bottle is a biggie! It's over half a gallon... 0.66 to be precise. Now, I think we are in great need of an American sized fridge to cool this baby! I was wondering if this was a hint to host antoher party. Hmmmm .

Anyhow, we had not finished pouring the champagne and beer, that Tina (Markus and Paolo's Jack Russell) came running up the stairs, followed closely by the boys. They had just returned from 3 days in the moutains trip where they did a lot of hiking. They a brought us a beautiful crate with fresh herbs. I guess they know we love cooking, huh? Or was that the next hint for the next party?? I'm amazed at what you receive just for inviting a few friends to eat!

But, where was Doug? I gave him a call and he was already on his way. Good. Our other guests were getting hungry!

After a few munchies, champagne and/or beer, Orange came out with self-made Pangsit (fried wontons) accompanied by a sweet and sour ginger sauce. You will find the recipe in the next post. Pictures have been taken; Orange just needs to write the recipe to it. Anyway, I'm happy to report that between the 9 of us, we ate all of the 99 Pangsit! But that was only the starter. About half an hour later, the Rissoles and Lempers were served. Later, the main course arrived consisting of Satay babi (pork satay on a skewer), white rice, Gado-Gado (steamed cauliflower, green beans and sprouts, and fresh iceberg salad and cucumber) and grilled tiger shrimps, marinated in a lime chilli, and the typical hot peanut sauce and a mild sauce with sweet soya sauce, tomato and onions. I was full before the main course (I'd been probing food all day), but we were both happy to see that all others were going for the buffet again to fill up their plates.

The weather was great, we had a great group of people here and had such a fun time. We talked and laughed, exchanged views on living in Europe and in the US as well as the little differences/mistakes one can do in languages. The wine (and water) was flowing and all of a sudden, it was around 1 am. I asked if our guests if they still wanted desert, but I think we overdid the portions a bit. We settled for coffee, digestive and a few slices of Spekkoek, a sipcy and very rich "thousand layer" cake (Note to the reader: We bought this one!) .Not only our human guests liked it, but Tina went crazy for this cake. And I just can't leave this out. Both TBF and Mrs. TBF have a new love... Tina. They played with her for a good part of the evening and were both eagerly learning Paolo's commands for Tina to sit, shake paw, roll over and kiss. I can assure you that if Paolo and Markus want to leave for a longer vacation, they have found a babysitter for Tina. And she'll be spoiled rotten.

At 2:30 am, our guests left for home, and Orange and I just sat outside enjoying a last coffee and reminiscing on a really wonderful evening. Hey, and for once, we didn't have the police knocking on our door to say we were too loud (and we were loud enough, I think.)

I know that TBF took a few picts as well, so I'll leave it up to him to fill in details. Blogger won't let me post picts again. Does anyone know if Blogger allows a certain amount of images? And is it based per post post, or on the whole blog (most likely)?? Maybe I have to delete a few out of my archives. Then again, I have created an album of the evening so that you will find all photos with caption right here.

Last but not least, we still have leftovers in the freezer... Anyone hungry?

Monday, July 10, 2006


Man! Did I learn my lesson. Never underestimate sushi cooks! Why do you think the have such a long aprenticeship?! But I'm proud. I never made anything like this before. HA!

I did my first “Lempers” this weekend. You're surely wondering what lempers are. They're like big sushi rolls with a mildly spiced chicken filling. In the meatime, Orangex was preparing another batch of Risolles for the weekend. And they (Lemper and Risolles) are now resting in the freezer until next weekend. We invited a few friends for a “Taste of Indonesia” this coming Saturday. As you may know, OrangeX’s parents were both born in Indonesia, but decided to move to Holland in the 50’s, when they were given the choice to either give up the Dutch nationality or become part of the independant Indonesia (read more here).

To make it short, here are basic the ingredients (may differ slightly depending on the region)

500 gr. Ketan (sticky rice)
200 gr. Chicken breast, boiled and shredded
1 large Onion
4 cloves Garlic
1 stalk Lemon grass
1 Tsp. Trassi (shimp paste) finely chopped
2 Tsp. Turmeric (Curcuma, ground)
2 Tsp. Cumin (Ground)
2 Tsp. Coriander (Ground)
250 ml. Coconut milk
2 Tbl. Oil
Sugar to taste
Eventually salt
A BIG bowl a water (for your hands) AND a sushi mat (buy one, you won't be sorry!)

Boil the sticky rice (sushi rice) with double the amount of water. Let it cool slightly and then steam for another 10-15 minutes until the rice is soft inside (this is not a risotto) and leave to cool.

Boil the chicken in some lightly salted water. Set aside. Finely chop onions, garlic and lemon grass. Heat oil in a wok and fry onion, garlic and lemon grass mixture.

Once slightly browned, add shredded chicken and other spices. Keep frying for a further 3 -5 minutes then add the coconut milk and reduce until the mixture is almost dry again. Leave to cool.
NOTE: Not all coconut milks have the same sweetness. You may have to add a bit of salt and/or sugar. Just try and adjust. I should have a slight sweet taste.

It should look a bit like this.

Make sure to have enough working space and lay your sushi mat on a wooden cutting board (easier to cut the platic Saran wrap to size). Pull a sheet of plastic foil over mat and cut to size of the mat. Soak BOTH hands in water, take a handfull of cooled sticky rice (by then you’ll know why it earned that name... if you haven’t dipped your hands in water first, that is!), form a tight ball and spread approx. 12x8x1cm rectangle on a sheet of plastic wrap.

Then add approx. 1 tablespoon of chicken filling in the middle of the rectangle and bring both ends of the suhi mat together until the rice covers the filling and press slightly.

Now you gotta roll the sushi mat until the filling is covered wtih rice. Push in the ends (you still have plastic wrap in there, yes? Good.) and fold the sides of the Saran inwards and roll again tightly towards you. Then roll the Saran tightly to close and put aside. This is what it should look like.

Okay, once again, Mr. Blogger will not let me post more pictures, but you can find the whole procedure to follow here. Sorry about that. I added captions to the picts, so that you know what I'm doing.

Repeat until you’re done with the rice and the filling. Rinse your hands every time you take new rice. You might screw up the first 2-3 lempers (like I did), but you’ll get the feel and hang of it.

You can now either freeze them for later use (like we did) and/or steam them (in the Saran wrap) and serve hot or lukewarm just like that or with a sweet chilli sauce. If you like a decorative touch, take them out of the Saran and roll in clean banana leaves to steam.

This Friday, I took the day off (hey, no holidays, so I've gotta take some days off. :) to help OrangeX with the starters: Pangsit (fried Wonton). Read about it this weekend.

Bon appétit!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Canada July 2005

Nope, there's no typo in the date above. Today's the day where OrangeX and I were supposed to leave for 3 weeks of vacation to Canada. Unfortunately, we had to postpone our trip by 6 months. Why 6 months? Because OrangeX just moved the company he's reponsible for into our (where I work) offices, had to hire and train a newcomer (so forget July!), August and September are the last preps for the biggest European Rehab exhibition and a training week for all European Product Managers on our line of products, October the big exhibition and November is end of the fiscal year for us, so again a no-no for OrangeX. We're left with December/January in Canada. The good thing about it is that it will be my first Chistmas and New Year there since I left in 1984... Can you believe it? We're both looking froward to that.

As you all know, OrangeX and I are preparing to move to Canada as of mid next year and we had planned a trip to "check out a few things there" before we move. Well, that trip would have been today, but because of professional reasons mentioned above, we had to postpone.

Yesterday morning, I went on MerlinPrincess' blog and found that she had put up a post and pictures of the Perreault brigde. The thing is, I was there just last year at about the same time of year while visiting a good friend of mine. That bridge is in a tiny village called Notre-Dame-des-Pins in the middle of nowhere. Well, when I saw the picts on MP's site, it took me back to our visit one year ago an I could hear the laughter, smell the air and I was just back there again. This gave me the idea of today's post.

Since we're not really going anywhere this summer, I thought I'd tell you about our trip last summer. So the first thing I did yesterday after the groceries was to go through our Canada pictures of 2005 and set up an album. OrangeX made a movie DVD out of our trip, but I think 25 minutes would be a bit too much for blogger :)

Our trip started at my Dad's house in L'Orignal, a small village right next to Hawkesbury where I grew up. Both towns are situated pretty much between Montreal and Ottawa. We spent most of our time visiting friends and my family. The first friend I was to see was of course my best friend Christiane!

On the 9th of July, we were invited to my uncle André's 60th surprise party. It was fun to meet with the whole family again. I must say that my aunts and uncles on my Mom's side - without exception - love a good party and are all big kids inside, which makes it a fun bunch to be with. I can't remember one party with them where I didn't laugh tears at some point. Oh, and I'd never call them "uncle ..." or "aunt ...". They all say: "I have a name; use it".

The birthday boy (BTW, today's the 9th -Happy 61st, André!)

I did want to show Orange a bit of the region so we arranged a trip to Montreal, Québec City, through the region of Beauce, Québec and back home throught the Eastern Townships. We first went to Montreal to visit Jesper, OrangeX's previous boss, who has moved there 3 years ago.

Having a typical French Canadian beer: a "Bleue"!

After our stop-over at Jesper's, we made our way to Quebec City where we met our good friends Julie and Harold. I hadn't seen Julie in about 6 years, so it was great to see her again.

Julie and I meet again after 6 years

We drove to Lévy where we took the Ferry to the old town of Québec for lunch. Harold gave us a tour of the old town and then we left late afternoon for their home in Notre-Dame-des-Pins in the township of Beauce. We spent a few wonderful days with them and of course visited the Perreault brigde. Sadly, we had to return, but only to meet up with other friends. But we shall return to see them again.

The Château Frontenac

The Perreault bridge

We also arranged for some relax time. One can't party all the time... Well, we did anyway... party that is; only the surroundings were more relaxing. My best friend, Christiane, her husband Bob and their two wonderful boys, Gab and Christophe, had rented a cottage at a Lake Craig, about 30 minutes drive from Hawkesbury. Believe it or not, I felt like I was in another world. I had forgotten about the beauty and untouched nature that was so close to my home town. Michèle (Christiane's sister) and her hubby Patrick met us at the cottage and Sylvie and Jean-Yves were already waiting for us to arrive. So, continuous partying in a peaceful environment. See for yourselves:

View from the cottage on Lake Craig
Orange and Patrick - Is there no beer left?

I think I've posted enough for today, but I think you will understand why I miss Canada so much. Anyway, you can find the album here. I have of course not included the cleavage shots that Orange and the other guys did during our time at Lake Craig. Must have been Christiane's strawberry daiquiris that made 'em do it.....????...... Naaaahhh.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Week update

As you know, we came back from Amsterdam two weeks ago. Man! Time sure goes by fast, doesn’t it? It seem like if it was just a few days ago! But you’ll understand why in the next few lines. I’m zonked, so I’ll try to keep it short.

As I mentioned in our last post, Jaap and Patricia were making a stop-over at our place on their way down to Bari, Italy, where they were invited to a wedding. They arrived here on Wednesday evening (June 21) and stayed overnight before continuing their trip southward on Thursday morning. They arrived safely in Bari on Friday morning. Imagine: They drove about 1700 km (about 1065 miles) and that, one way. I know that for you folks in North America, it doesn’t seem very extraordinary, but for Europe, it’s a stretch that one would usually fly. Well, I would.

Anyway, they came back last Monday and decided to spend the week here. While Orange and I were working, Jaap and Patricia slept in... No wait. Jaap slept in and Patricia got up early to study in the morning. They usually spent their afternoons at the public pool nearby or went into Basle to do some shopping. And when we got home from work, a lovely dinner was always waiting for us. We like call Jaap our little Jamie Oliver because he loves to cook and is extremely good at it. Now who wouldn’t like to have guests like that? You come home after a hard day's work, have a drink and then you are served dinner. Ahhhh!

On Friday evening, we invited them to dinner at the “Wacker”, a restaurant nearby that serves “Charbonade”. You get a mini charcoal grill and about 200-250 gr. of thinly cut pieces of pork, beef and veal that you grill youself, plus diverse pickles, three different home made sauces and fries. The boys decided to go for that and believe me, after an appetizer, the Charbonade was almost a bit too much. Being the men that they are, the bravourously finished their plates and nothing but a few fries and pickles were left. I must say that they had a refill of fresh fries and sauces about halfway through their meal.

That evening, Patricia and I went to bed around half past midnight and the boys chatted outside on the terrasse until about 3:30 am. That's also when Orange took Dale - who was deep asleep on his favourite spot in the garden- back inside. Dale was all wushi-washi and didn't care being dragged in one bit!

The next day, Patricia and Jaap left to go back to Holland. It was a great week and we hope that they could really relax a bit and take a break from their hectic lives. We know they’ll be back soon and look forward to it.

I don’t know why, but we took very few pictures while they were here. I suppose that we were too tired in the evenings to even think about it. Luckily, Jaap took a few with his cell phone.

Last evening, we were invited for a lovely dinner at Berit’s, a work colleague of mine. We spent a very nice, relaxed evening. After all the entertaining and being entertained, this is what we are doing today. The weather is beautiful and we're just laying around.

Ahh, my Adonis :)

Notice the Dutch beeron the left?? Ve-e-ery important!

PS: I have been trying to follow all of you, but my evenings were busy with our guests, and on occasions, I did visit you during my lunch breaks. So, even though I didn’t always comment, I tried to at least read your entries. Hope things calm down a bit, but summer and fall are always the busiest times at work. Have a great week!