Monday, August 10, 2020

Random Thoughts

Pixlr (2)Yup - still hot. We had some slightly cooler weather but now it's back to 90ies and a heat advisory for 2 days straight. Ugh. The storm last week that came through on Tuesday wrecked all sorts of havoc all over the area as well. Luckily we didn't lose power at home (it flickered a few times but that was it) and no trees down on our street. But there were so many people in the area with their power out, trees down everywhere, wires, trees tangled with wires, roads blocked and closed. There are still people without power and it's now been almost a week. it's really crazy. I know people are getting quite agitated with the electricity company. We had a lot of people out at work too, especially when it first happened. Things are slowly returning back to normal now. 

Over the weekend we went to Rizzuto's in Westport on Saturday. They were operating on a generator. Sunday we went to Rosy's for lunch and later finished the rest of season 2 of the Umbrella Academy on Netflix. Stayed up till past midnight but it was definitely worth it. I hate that it's probably a year till new episodes come out though. But I guess that's the way it is when you binge a show like that on Netflix, Amazon, etc. 

Other than that really not a whole lot new. Been cooking twice a week. Today i made a really delicious "Calabrian Shrimp & Orzo Pasta" dish from Blue Apron. So good. I have tried Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Sunbasket and Home Chef so far. Next I am trying Martha & Marley Spoon (the meal kit by Martha Stewart) Tomorrow I have my follow up appointment at the orthopedist to check on my fracture in my finger. I think everything should be fine as it definitely does feel better but we will see what they say. Mindy has also been doing much better and seems to be responding to the meds and the special diet food we have been giving her. She has her next vet appointment in 2 weeks. So we will know more after that. Hopefully we can stop giving her this med and I also hope she can go back to eating regular food because the special urinary diet food is quite pricey. 

I am so behind with my mail and letter writing. Can't really explain why. But eventually I will catch up again. I am determined. I'll blame the heat. I just don't feel like doing anything when it's so hot. Ugh. 

Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Nina/WA, Lotte/Denmark, Celia/MA and Kimber/Canada. 

Posted by Hanna at 06:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 03, 2020

Hello August, broken finger and more

Pixlr (1)You guessed it - still hot. But I think it's supposed to get a bit better as the week goes on. Although tomorrow a tropical storm is coming through which will bring a lot of rain and wind. Fingers crossed on that. At least it won't be hurricane strength by the time it hits us but when we checked yesterday we were supposed to be in the direct path where we are here in CT so we will see how that goes. 

The weekend was one day of really hot weather and one day of humid but slightly cooler weather with rain. Saturday Mike brought the car in for an oil change and check-up. And later we drove to Westport for lunch at Rizzuto's. Sunday we slept in a bit and then checked out the new Flipside location in Milford, CT. They did a really good job with the design and location. It's right by the water overlooking a small marina with a big outdoor terrace. We sat outside even though it ended up raining on and off the whole time we were there. But honestly it was kind of refreshing. Ran some errands afterwards and then watched some more of "The Umbrella Academy". I think we are three episodes into season 2 now. And well here we are, and it's Monday again. 

In other news, as I mentioned in my last post, our cat Mindy now needs to be on a special diet and some meds for 30 days. Well, she isn't really a fan of the med I have to give her each day. It's a gooey kind of consistence and you put it into a syringe and then push it into her mouth. Well the first few days I was doing this by myself and it more or less went ok. Well day 3 (last week Tuesday) she wasn't having it. I tried giving her the med. struggled with her a bit, my left ring finger bent backwards, I heard a pop/crack and then felt a searing pain. I ended up deciding that a trip to urgent care was probably the best idea, especially since I was having trouble getting my rings off. They did an x-ray and at first told me it wasn't broken. Maybe 45 minutes later, just shortly after I got back home, the doctor called me and told me that in fact there is a hairline fracture and to come back and get a splint. Joy. So I have been wearing that plus I have a follow up appointment with an orthopedic doctor next week to check how everything is healing. Needless to say giving Mindy her daily med has become a two person job between Mike & me :) 

Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Nina/WA, Lotte/Denmark, Celia/MA and Kimber/Canada. 

Posted by Hanna at 08:13 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 27, 2020

More hot weather, Mindy cat and more

IMG-20200313-WA0002Yup, still hot. But I guess it's summer so is what it is. It's been in the high 80ies and low to mid 90ies (29-34C) with varying humidity. Yesterday was actually very hot but we did manage to spend a decent amount of time outside in the shade. We had lunch at Notch 8 (delicious pizza) and then headed over to Centrico where we hung out for a while, catching up with our friend Cait. Our friend John also joined us later so we ended up staying for a while, just hanging out. 

Saturday we had another vet appointment with our cat Mindy. They did a bladder xray and the good news is that she doesn't have any stones. She does have a lot of crystals though so they want her on a strict urinary diet for 30 days plus she has to take a med once per day that is supposed to help break up those crystals. It's a really gooey consistency so I have to squeeze it into her mouth with a syringe. And of course she doesn't like the urinary diet food. It's gonna be a long 30 days. But is what it is right? Just want her to get better and clear this up so it doesn't turn into more of an issue down the road. She is 10 years old so not crazy old yet but also not a spring chicken anymore. 

Anyway that's been about all the excitement here with us. After the vet on Saturday we had lunch at Broken Symmetry which was fun. Watched some more of the Umbrella Academy. We have just 1 episode left now to finish the season. Then season 2 comes out next week I think. So that's good timing. We are also talking about watching a show called "Dark"  It's on Netflix. And there are also some movies I want to watch. I miss going to the movies by the way. 

I don't know when I'll actually be able to get to Austria. I was hoping for September but now I am thinking that probably won't happen. Austria has become quite strict again with their entry restrictions as well as quarantine rules. So I don't think it would be an enjoyable trip. I'll just have to see how it goes and develops. My parents still have their Croatia trip booked for September and originally I was supposed to join them. That's the trip that was booked for April/May and got cancelled and they rebooked for September in hopes they could go then. But it's not really looking too good. The case numbers are going up again in Croatia and the Balkan countries. So we will see. 

For now Mike and I have 2 nights booked at the North Fork in Long Island the weekend after Labor Day. Just to hang out at some wineries and have some low key days off. We may do another trip for my birthday for a couple of days. Somewhere local, maybe Maine or Vermont. Will all depend on what the situation is like in October. Planning anything long term right now is kind of hard to do. So wait and see. All we can do. 

Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Nina/WA, Celia/MA and Kimber/Canada. 

Posted by Hanna at 07:55 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 20, 2020

Scorching heat weekend

HotLast week was pretty decent weather wise but then it started to get hot on Friday. Friday wasn't too bad yet but Saturday and Sunday were in the mid 90ies (35C) with high humidity as well. Today isn't supposed to be much better. I think it does go back down into the 80ies after that. Don't get me wrong, I like summer and summer weather but when it's that hot, that is just too hot for me. I know, I know. I am a weather complainer. I'd only truly be happy with the temps around 70-75 with a nice breeze. But alas, we can't always get what we want, right? So I'll just deal with another day of heat. 

The weekend was pretty low key. Saturday we brought Mindy to the vet. We had been to the emergency vet with her over the 4th of July weekend and she had gotten better since then but was still having issues. They think she has an UTI and gave her an antibiotic shot. They also tested her urine and blood for a senior wellness check (kidneys, thyroid, etc) We should get the results back today so hopefully nothing further shows up -- fingers crossed!! 

After our vet visit Saturday morning we went down to Westport to have lunch at Rizzuto's. Always nice going there although sitting outside (at least we were in the shade) in this weather can get a bit much after a while. Picked up a fitbit charger at Best Buy in Norwalk afterwards and then headed back up to Danbury to stop at Rosy's for another drink in the AC. Continued watching "Umbrella Academy" which we also binged some more on Sunday night. Mike already saw season 1 but he wanted me to see it so we can watch season 2 together when it comes out at the end of this month. Such a funky show but I am kind of intrigued. 

Other than that we didn't do too much Sunday. Some errands and had lunch at Marketplace where they also had some live music which was nice. Because of the live music they had to have their front doors open though which turned the whole place into a furnace as it got hotter in the afternoon.

Alright enough complaining about the heat, better start my Monday and see where this week leads us.

Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Nina/WA, Celia/MA and Kimber/Canada. 

Posted by Hanna at 07:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 13, 2020

Wedding Anniversary Weekend

IMG_20200712_141247_969Happy Monday. ugh. Haha. Just never been a fan of Mondays. The weekends always seem to go by way too fast. But hey what can you do? We did have a good weekend. Yesterday, July 12th, was our wedding anniversary. Well our American wedding anniversary anyway. We have a weird situation where we have two. We technically got married on February 10th, 2001 in Austria. But that was a smaller ceremony at the local courthouse with mostly Austrian family. We then had a bigger wedding in the US with the whole shebang (white dress, big cake, dancing, DJ, cocktail hour, first dance, speeches, you know all that stuff) and that one was on July 12, 2002. So now we have two wedding anniversaries to celebrate. Hey, worse problems to have, right? :) 

So as it fell on a Sunday this year we went to the Hopkins Inn at Lake Waramaug. We tend to go there once a year during the summer, usually around our anniversary, if possible. Always fun to sit outside overlooking the lake, enjoying some delicious Austrian food and wine. This year was a bit more surreal with less tables on the terrace/patio and everyone wearing masks due to COVID. But we still managed to go and enjoy a lovely leisurely lunch so it's fine. All worked out. 

Last night we also watched "Hamilton" on Disney +. Of course we enjoyed it. I really hope we can see it on Broadway one of these days. We have been wanting to but the tickets were still so expensive and hard to come by for decent weekend seats. Well, maybe one day. Once this COVID mess blows over. Whenever that may be. 

I really am worried about this country. Connecticut has been doing very well, thankfully. But it does worry me, because everywhere else it seems to be spiking. And there are a lot of people in Florida who have second homes in the Northeast and also crazy people in the Northeast who think nothing of going on a beach vacation or to Disney (WTH is Disney open again by the way?!?) during a pandemic. So it worries me that it may start to spike again in CT too, because of that. But I guess we just have to wait and see how it plays out. Nothing else to be done. We do our part, wear our masks when out in public, wash our hands frequently, carry hand sanitizer in my purse, avoid crowds. All we can do. 

Well anyway, that's about all I suppose. Saturday we slept in and then went to brunch at J. Lawrence which was delicious of course. And then stopped at Centrico for a bit to see our friend Cait. Always nice to catch up a bit. Rest of the week was fairly uneventful.

Oh, Mindy. I haven't written about our cat Mindy. That has been one thing that has been troubling me. It all started when we came back from our Finger Lakes trip last week Sunday. Well it started while we were away really. She was acting strange according to my sis-in-law Kristina who was watching her. We thought she hurt her leg cause she was limping and having trouble jumping. But then it became more obvious it was something else. I ended up bringing her to the emergency vet a few towns over on Sunday night and they had to express her anal glands which were both super full apparently. They weren't really worried about her otherwise and said that should put her back to normal. It's been a week now and to be fair she definitely is acting more herself again, is playing a bit, being affectionate, eating, drinking but she is still not back a 100%. She is still having litter box issues, licking her butt a lot, peeing on herself occasionally, going outside the litter box, etc. So something is still not really right. I was hoping this would solve itself over time so I could avoid taking her back to the vet but I am guessing we probably will need to take her this week. Ugh. But what can you do? 

Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Celia/MA and Kimber/Canada. 

Posted by Hanna at 07:36 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

4th of July Weekend Recap - First Mini Vacation

PixlrIt's already Wednesday morning, taking me longer than I had intended to get our weekend recap together but hey better late than never right? Hope Pixlr_20200708074429613 everyone in the US had a nice 4th of July weekend. :)

I had Friday (3rd) off due to the holiday falling on a weekend so that made for a nice extended weekend. And we actually managed to go away - our first mini vacation this year (after cancelling three trips already) Believe me, I am not taking COVID lightly and we thought about this quite a bit. But in the end we determined that the Finger Lakes region in upstate NY actually has super low case numbers/infection rates. And Connecticut is also in good shape. I definitely would not have been ok with a vacation in the South somewhere, Florida, Arizona or even California. Not ready to get on a plane just yet and also don't want to go to one of the places where this is really spiking. 

Anyway, we decided to go and made sure to use as much precaution as possible. Brought disinfectant wipes to wipe down surfaces in the hotel room, mostly spent time outside even though it was crazy hot and definitely social distanced. All the wineries were being very good with their protocols as well. Just a little frustrating because everybody was doing something different (some tastings by reservation only, some wine by glass/bottle, some outside only) so we were just winging it with what wineries to go to. 

Our 1st stop was for lunch (it was a 4 hr 45 min drive) at Stonecutter's Tavern at Bellhurst Castle in Geneva, NY. We had a 30 min wait for a table but the view was very nice, food delicious and drinks good. The service was super slow though but I try not to let that bother me when we are away. We weren't in any huge hurry. After lunch we headed to 2 wineries - Zugibe and Three Brothers. Zugibe had really nice views overlooking the lake and we did a tasting outside (basically a wine flight) and then shared a bottle of wine. Three Brothers was nice too but a much bigger complex with a brewery and different tasting rooms. But it was nice to hang out for a bit. 

After we were done there we headed to the hotel (Holiday Inn Express in Geneva) and then to the restaurant next door for dinner (Kindred Fare) When we got to the restaurant they told us there was a hour and a half wait (holy hell) but luckily they then determined that they actually had a cancelled reservation and we were able to get a table. Did have some yummy food (bolognese and poutine) 

Saturday was the 4th and we pretty much spent the day winery hopping. :) Let's see, I will do my best to figure out all the places we went (mainly for my own record keeping so I can look back at this at a later time) First stop was a bagel place for breakfast (Bagel and Cakes in Geneva) Was pretty good and did the trick of having something in my stomach before heading to the first winery. First up was Boundary Breaks which was really nice. They did a really good job with the socially distancing and had a bunch of little tables with umbrellas sat up, facing the vines and the lake. We had 2 glasses of wine there, hanging out (they were also really good about offering up water and replenishing it which helped with the heat) Next was Idol Ridge which was an unplanned stop. We saw the building and neat deck driving by and decided to stop. Then we stopped at Bagley's which I am pretty sure we had been to before but still couldn't quite remember. They had a nice deck in the back so we sat there and enjoyed a glass. After that we went to Chateau Lafayette Renau where we had lunch. They had a variety of snacks and we got a cheese spread, crackers, potato salad and a pasta salad and of course some wine. Last was Atwater which was also really beautiful. I had a neat bellini there that looked really fancy. :)

After that we headed back to Geneva and had dinner at the Rusty Pig. Pretty much a dive bar but they had good bar food, perfect after a long day of day drinking in the sun. Had some cheese fries and pierogi. Yum. After that we decided to have a night cap at the hotel bar of the Ramada since our own hotel didn't have a bar. Hung out there for a bit before finally calling it a night. :)

Sunday we slept in and then headed straight for lunch at Dano's. Always happy to be able to go there and have some delicious Austrian food. We had a leisurely lunch there and eventually made our way back to CT. And well now it's already Wednesday and the weekend seems like distant memory. Haha. But we definitely had a nice mini holiday. Was the perfect way to ease into vacations post Covid. Not sure when we will be able to do something else but at least we had this mini trip to keep me from going way too stir crazy! 

Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Celia/MA and Kimber/Canada. 

Posted by Hanna at 07:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 29, 2020

Almost July ... hot summer ahead

Hot summer_1200x626And it's almost July. I really don't know where this year has gone. I know, I know, I feel like I do say this every year but this year has just been extra bizarre. 2020 has not shaped out in any normal way. But I guess it is what it is. The weather forecast looks like we will have an extra hot summer here in the Northeast. Joy. But I guess at least it is summer and we can enjoy time outside and now that indoor dining has somewhat opened again in CT we can also escape inside into the AC for a bit at times. Just making the best of it.

The weekend was pretty low key but of course flew by. Saturday we drove down to Westport to have lunch at Rizzuto's. Yummy pizza. Hung out for a while before heading back. Then stopped at Charter Oak Brewing in Danbury where our friend John Fazio was playing. The weather was pretty iffy with thunderstorms but it all worked out where he was able to play outside. Hung out listening to him play and eventually headed home to binge some more "Ozark".

Sunday we slept in and had a local lunch at Rosy's. Then went to the grocery store and back home, binging some more Ozark. Stayed up late and now it's Monday morning and I am dragging. Well, oh well. Such is life, right? 

This week we have the 4th of July - Independence Day Holiday coming up on Saturday. I have Friday, the 3rd off, since the actual holiday falls on a weekend. We have a reservation for 2 nights in the Finger Lakes. Pretty sure we are going but haven't decided 100% yet. The reservation is cancel-able up until the day before so we do have some more time to decide. I think we should be ok. Upstate New York and the Finger Lakes region seems to be doing ok. Connecticut is actually doing very well, thankfully. We are in a nice bubble here and have come out of this mess pretty well. I definitely would be very hesitant to go to quite a few states at the moment. 

Anyway, we will see how it goes. First need to get through this work week. I am covering and holiday weeks always tend to be a bit crazy so let's see how it goes. 

Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Celia/MA and Kimber/Canada. 

Posted by Hanna at 07:36 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 22, 2020

Summer Solstice - officially summer

Summer-solstice-stonehenge-blessing2So we have passed the longest day of the year and are now officially in summer. It's always kind of bittersweet to me because now the days are going to start getting shorter again. And I am really a big fan of daylight. :) I know it's a long ways away but it makes me already dread the dark winter time, especially in the mornings when I have to get up for work and it's cold and pitch black dark. Alright, I shouldn't be focusing on that right now. It's going to be 90F (32C) today. Ugh. This whole week is supposed to be pretty hot. We are one of the very few American people who don't have AC so when it gets crazy hot it's a pain. We do have a powerful window fan and a big rotating stand up fan as well as the ceiling fan in the living room. So usually between all that it's fine. It only gets annoying when it's really hot and humid on top of it. But oh well. 

As much as I am complaining I am happy that it's summer and that we are having nicer weather. In Austria it has been raining a lot and been pretty cool. More like spring or fall than summer. But either way, not something we can control. 

Last week I managed to go into the new office for an hour to pick up my new badge and see my new desk. The office building is really neat, funky and beyond any ways to describe really. It looks like a spaceship and the layout is really different. Our office is actually called a "pod" and is kind of star shaped. It's going to need some getting used to. To figure out exactly where everyone is sitting and the layout of the place. Here is the website for the complex if anyone is interested. For now I am still working at home. The plan is to eventually go into the office a few days per week to ease back into it and so we can still social distance and not have everyone in the office all at once. We will just have to see how it goes. 

Not really much else new I suppose. The weekend was pretty low key. It was hot so we didn't really do that much. Originally we had talked about going for a walk on Sunday morning but ended up sleeping in instead. Oh well. Saturday we had brunch at J. Lawrence which was delicious as always. Well, let's see what this week brings. 

Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Celia/MA and Kimber/Canada. 

Posted by Hanna at 07:57 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 15, 2020

Plugging along ... mid June already

IMG_20200612_175622_860And already the middle of June. I honestly don't know where the time goes. Not really all that much new to report. I did make two reservations for 2 IMG_20200613_135233_872nights stay in July. One for the 4th of July weekend to the Finger Lakes and one for mid July to the North Fork. No idea if we will actually be able to go but both reservations can be cancelled so not a huge deal. And it made me feel better having something to look forward to. Now just have to keep fingers crossed that all works out and we can go. I am still holding out hope for a trip to see my parents in September. But again that's a very TBD situation at the moment. I am going to wait to book any flights until it gets closer. 

Had a nice weekend with beautiful weather. On Saturday we had lunch at Rizzuto's in Westport. They just opened up again recently so it was nice to go and see everyone. And on Sunday we went to Hawk Ridge Winery and then stopped at Centrico on the way back. Also watched some movies at home, Saturday Spike Lee's new movie "Da 5 Bloods" and on Sunday Pete Davidson's movie "The King of Staten Island". 

Work has been fine. Still working from home for the time being. I do need to get to the new office at one point to get my new security badge but yeah not sure when I will actually go back to working in the office full time. It's all a bit up in the air at the moment. 

So yeah really not much new at the moment. Luckily the weather has been pretty nice so we have been able to take advantage of some outdoor dining. Also been enjoying my "Hello Fresh" deliveries and cooking. 

Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Kimber/Canada. 

Posted by Hanna at 04:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 07, 2020

First week back at work

20200607_113104_resizedMade it through my first week back at work. :) And have enjoyed my weekend to recover from it. Hahaha. Why are weekends always so short? Oh well. I am happy to be back at work of course. Well back at "working from home" anyway. I don't know when I will actually go back into the office. It's all a bit weird because just as all of this started in March my company moved office buildings. So our stuff is just dumped at our new desks and has been sitting there since March. I haven't been in the new office yet but from what I understand it's all still a bit of a mess since most people haven't been there yet to set up their desks. Nothing on the walls, waiting on a front desk still. I guess it will all slowly come together. I am planning on going into the office at one point to at least get my new badge and to see where my desk is and maybe get a head start on setting things up. Then eventually will transition back to working in the office. Will just have to see how it all goes. We still have strict guidelines in place. Masks in common areas, social distancing, etc. We are having an online meeting/training session about it all some time next week I think. Strange times. 

Anyway the weekend was nice. Yesterday we helped our friends John and Jana move. Our bartender friend Tyler also joined in. They just moved across town but went from a small 1 bedroom apt to a gorgeous 4 level 2 bedroom condo. Such an awesome place. I can't wait to see how they decorate it all. Jana cooked us a great dinner to thank us for helping move. She really does amaze me. Steak, potatoes, corn on the cob, snacks beforehand and a lemon cake afterwards. I would have ordered pizza. She is definitely much more put together than me. Haha. So yeah was a fun day and night. :) 

Today we just slept in, going to get groceries and probably have lunch close by somewhere. Just a relaxing day. And then tomorrow it's already Monday again and we're off to another week. Time is flying of course, as always. 

In other small news our library is now doing curbside pick up for books and I am excited about that. Been reading a lot of Kindle books during quarantine but I am happy to be able to get some of the books I wanted from the library tomorrow. And in the next phase in CT - June 17th - the library will also be open again I believe. So things are slowly starting to go back to normal. One baby step at a time. 

Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Kimber/Canada. 

Posted by Hanna at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)