Monday, January 28, 2008

About Cars and Ducks

No, no. I didn’t buy myself a Citroen 2CV, also known in many European countries as “The Duck”.

Actually, I sold my car last week. Yes, I finally did it – not that I liked to do so, but I had to. She was a 1994 years old red Mazda 323i (sorry, could only find a white one) and has been my 4-wheel companion for the past 8 years. It might not me much to you, but she has never let me down - with the exception of these past few months, and only because she was stuck in the garage, unused for weeks on end. You see, I don’t live far enough from work to get a parking space there, so I’ve been forced to use the tram. *sigh* I’ll miss her. But the costs, I won't miss (garage rent, road tax, insurances, maintenance, etc.) Luckily, the public transport systems here are really efficient, but not very practical when you have tons of stuff to carry. However, I think I’ll join the Mobility car sharing. I hear it works quite well. You know, just for the times where I need a car and OX is travelling.

Last Saturday was absolutely gorgeous: Sunny, no wind and about 7°C (45°F). So right after the groceries, we decided to take a walk. Since we live pretty much at the end of town, we walked towards the village, then took a right, then a left, crossed the main road, and zigzagged our way trough unknown territory of a town we’ve been living in for 3 ½ years!! We even crossed the highway without really realizing it (we crossed it over a tunnel so that we couldn’t hear the traffic). Then we passed what looked like a mini-petting zoo with deer, goats, a few exotic birds, ducks and geese. Not very thrilling all in all, but this one duck and goose sure got our attention.

This one duck really went crazy in his little pond. He literally kicked the others out. Unfortunately, our camera is not fast enough to catch all these moments, but it was really entertaining to watch. Then he really went wacko: Swimming after his tail, diving, swimming under water real fast, then jumping out of the pond as if the devil were after him, then spreading his wings as if threatening an invisible something.

He even managed to scare the whole bunch away! What did they feed this duck?!?! Speed?

Mr. (I think) Goose was quite the opposite: Fat (or should he look like that??), lazy and loved being the centre of attention. See how he posed for us.

Believe it or not, we walked/were out for two and a half hours. I think we’ll be repeating this walk whenever the weather allows. We ended the evening chilling out on the couch with homemade lasagne.

Ain’t life sometimes a bitch? ;)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Meme Sunday: Two Things

Tina tagged me with this "Two Things"meme a couple of weeks ago. I still have another meme pending, but I'm having trouble finding wierd stuff to say about myself that you don't already know about. LOL. So I guess ET and Xmichra will have to be patient :)

I'll be putting up another post a bit later, but until then, here's the meme.

Two Names You Go By:
1. Poppy (that’s what OX calls me)
2. CS (my blogsphere nickname)

Two Things You Are Wearing Right Now:
1. My warm, pink polar trainer pants
2. A white T-Shirt

Two Things You Would Want (or have) in a Relationship:
1. Respect (the rest usually follows on it’s own)
2. Humour

Two of Your Favorite Things to do:
1. Spending time with OX
2. Cooking and trying out new recipes

Two Things You Want Very badly At the Moment:
1. A cleaning lady
2. A couple of weeks in the sun

Two Things you did Last Night:
1. Made a lasagna
2. Chilled-out on the couch with OX and a bottle of bubbly, watching TV. I know, life is sometimes a bummer, but someone’s gotta do it ;)

Two things you ate today:
1. Coffee (does that count??)
2. I’ll be making myself a ham sandwich after I’ve posted this.

Last two people you talked to:
1. OX
2. Ma (OX’s mom)

Two Things You're doing tomorrow:
1. Work.
2. Do the groceries after work. (Also my plans for the rest of the week. Isn’t my life exciting?)

Two longest car rides:
1. Basel to Vienna
2. Basel to Amsterdam

Two Favorite Beverages:
1. Coffee
2. Bubbly/Champagne (as long as it’s not sweet)

Two Things About Me you may not have known:
1. I HATE V.P.L. (visible panty lines).
2. I only wear G-strings (see above)

Two jobs I have had in my life:
1. Hairdresser
2. Marketing Services Coordinator

Two Movies I would watch over and over:
1. Little Shop of Horrors
2. Bad Boys (the list could go on, and on here)

Places I have lived:
1. Canada
2. Switzerland

Two of my Favorite Foods:
1. Anything spicy (Thai, Indian, Mexican, etc.)
2. Rice (goes well with the above)

Two places I'd rather be right now
1. Canada (yes, I know it’s cold there)
2. The Maldives with OX

Two people I think will respond:

I’m not tagging anyone, but feel free to do it.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Your loss if you don't watch this!

Charice is 14 (turning 15 in May). Some of you might have already seen her on TV, YouTube, or vis my Facebbok, but I just had to share her video again on my blog.

I've never heard anything like it. Enough said.

Click and hear for yourselves and be amazed.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

And finally....

The day before New Year’s Eve, O-X drove to the Basel airport to pick up a second guest for our party. Hans is Ma’s cousin and also a very good friend of the family. Although we have often invited him to come spend a few days with us, he finally decided to do so a few weeks after Ma and Pa returned from their last visit in September.

He arrived at our house in the early afternoon and he was amazed to see Ma and especially Pa looking so healthy and relaxed. We opened a bottle of Champagne for the occasion and while I was preparing the goulash soup, I could hear them laughing and chatting away. Hans is such a great entertainer.

Orange-X walked Hans back to his hotel - only 500 meters away - to freshen up (he says that at his age, he needs a his privacy) and came back about 2 hours later. We went out for dinner at Pa’s favourite restaurant. No, it’s not a 5 star, but a simple Tex-Mex restaurant. They have excellent crispy wings there and that’s HIS dinner. You guys would not believe how he literally attacks those poor wings. Forget even trying to get his attention! There is NO WAY his eyes or hands are going to leave that plate! So what makes him happy makes us happy. After dinner we drove home for a last Irish coffee and then all went to bed.

We had many preparations for the New Year’s Eve Party, so the next day we did a few last minute groceries with Hans, dropped them off at home and took him for a mini shopping tour through Basel. We came back around 4.30pm which just left us enough time for the last minute preps. Thanks goodness it was cold enough outside to keep the drinks cold. Our fridges were busting at the seams already, and we knew that our guest would be bringing even more food, so whatever could go out on the patio, did.

At 7.45 pm, Hans was the first guest to arrive and all the others arrived within 5 minutes after that. O-X cracked open a few bottles of Champagne while we women were warming up food and setting up the buffet table. In the cold food department, we had a lovely cheese-crab ball with crackers, an incredible rocket salad with grilled vegetable, foie gras on fresh baguette and a huzaren (Hussar) salad made of red beet, carrots, potatoes, green beans, peas, beef, apple, pineapple and hard boiled egg in a mayo dressing. In the warm food department, we had the pasteitjes, cocktail wieners, Asian style meatballs, ham croissants and pangsit.
Not to mention the goulash soup and the deserts that never made their appearance that evening (I think we all ate too much). Believe it or not, with all that was going on, I completely forgot to take a picture of the buffet table. Now that I think of it, TBF could have done that instead of taking self-portaits. Or maybe Andy? Nahhh. He was busy enjoying his beer! ;)

It was a fun evening and a very active one, too. TBFeven did a bit of Rammy weight-lifting. And look... even Dale stuck around the whole evening. And I thought he'd go up and hide in the bedroom with so many guests in the house.

Orange had lit the torches in the garden and also made a nice fire in our caminero. Short before midnight, TBF, OX and I started opening the champagne for the New Year’s toast, but some of the corks were really stuck, and I felt a bit of panic. Three minutes to go to fill up 11 glasses? We were all sweating and hoping we’d get all filled and handed out before the stroke of midnight. And we made it.

At midnight, the fireworks went off and the New Year’s wishes were spread about in our little community of family and friends. Diana went to get the kids (only a few houses away) to join the fun. A few minutes later, we were all were standing outside warming up around the caminero to watch the fireworks.

After that, we all went back in for a nightcap. In the bar, I even found a leftover of a very special drink called Sortilege. It’s a whiskey mixed with maple syrup and can only be purchased in Quebec. We wanted to share it with all our friends and poured the last ounce or so into a glass and passed it on to all to have a sip. TBF of course, thought he could have more, but the bottle was empty. Sorry, buddy. Maybe next year?

Christmas 2007 flashback

Ma & Pa arrived on December 21st and while I was preparing dinner, Orange-X drove to the Basel Airport to pick them up. Their flight was delayed by 40 minutes, but they made it safely. I was quite shocked when I saw Pa. He was out of breath and his face and feet were swollen from the medication he has to take. Frankly, it looks pretty scary on a fragile man like he is. Amazingly enough, the swelling disappeared after only 2 days. Ma swears it’s the fresh air here and the exercise he gets from all the stairs in our house.

Orange-X had organized a demo wheelchair from his work so that we could take Pa with us wherever we went. At first, he looked at it reluctantly, but soon discovered that it was a great way to travel and keep up with our fast pace. We had added a lamb skin to keep him warm and taken a blanket to cover his legs, and in the end, he really appreciated the wheelchair. We wheeled Pa through Christmas shopping, the groceries, the Christmas market and much more.

But the shopping was only part of the fun. Now it was time for some serious wrapping. Heat the glue gun, out with the bows, the ribbons and colourful shiny paper, hand me the sticky tape and that ornament, too. Creativity at its best. First the girls wrapped the men's presents, then the men wrapped our presents and the parcels were cafully put under the tree.

And this was the result:

There was one "present" however, that was not wrapped. Our new dishwasher! The old one had broken down just a few days before and I didn’t think that we would get a replacement in time for our upcoming New Year’s Eve party. Ma and I had a lot of cooking ahead of us and I was horrified at the thought of having to wash everything by hand. Believe it or not, the new toy was delivered and installed by noon on Christmas Eve.

We spent a quiet Christmas Eve, just the four of us, had a nice dinner and waited until midnight to open the presents.

Between Chrismas and New Year's Eve, Ma, O-X and I spent much of our time in the kitchen preparing for the party. Ma taught me to make these wonderful pasteitjes. She did the first batch as I watched, taking notes in my head, and a few days later, I did the second batch with Ma looking over my shoulder to make sure that they would come out right. And they did! I even learned how to make the nice rim. It's not as easy as it looks, but once you get the hang of it, it goes pretty fast. All in all, we made 58 of these beauties. Serve hot with sweet chilli sauce! YUM!

But we didn't stop there. We also made about 60 Schinkengipfeli (croissants filled with finely chopped ham), a hearty goulash soup, and I even baked chocolate chunck cookies.

Orange made his pangsit (fried wontons) with his home-made sweet-sour ginger sauce.

We really had a good time preparing these dishes. We chatted, enjoyed a glass of wine and laughed a lot, too. I don't know if you see it the same way I do, but I find this kind of activity relaxing and very social.

BTW, I'm glad that I cleaned out the freezers before Ma and Pa came over, because by New Year's Eve, they were both cracking full with goodies for the party. And that, my friends, will be the next post.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

It's never too late...

... to send you and your loved ones our best wishes of good health, happiness, and success in your private and professional lives for the New Year!

We've been pretty busy here at the CS/O-X residence, so we are a bit nackered. However, I promise you a post in the coming days with a review of the past weeks.
Orange-X, Dale and I hope that you spent a lovely Holiday with your families and friends.