Monday, May 10, 2021

Mother's Day

1620692914598And yes another week gone and here we are again, Monday evening. Already in the second week of May. The weather has been very up and down and pretty cool and rainy/cloudy these past few days. We have had some sun but no real super nice weather in a bit. My mom has been telling me about the gorgeous weather they have been having in Austria these past few days so I have been living vicariously through her. It's nice she has been able to spend time outside and sit in the garden. It is supposed to cool off there again mid week as well but I think tomorrow is still supposed to be nice. 

Work has been busy, busy, busy but I guess it really was expected since we didn't have a true relocation summer last year at all. So this year is going to be extra crazy pretty sure. We had somebody new start and have another two new people starting soon plus still two more positions open. Was part of an interview last week and another one scheduled for tomorrow. Fingers crossed. Let's hope we find some more good people soon so we can add to our current staffing. 

Not really all that much else new. On Saturday we went to Rizzuto's and on Sunday with it being Mother's Day we wanted to go somewhere that would attract less of a Mother's Day crowd and headed to Hurricane Grill & Wings in Newburgh. Hung out there for a while and stopped at Rosy's on the wat home before heading home to catch up on our recorded TV shows. And well here we are and it's Monday again.

So yes, as mentioned yesterday was Mother's Day and I did get my mom a couple gifts and also texted with her for a bit (I am proud that she seems to have adapted to texting pretty ok over the last week or so) and called her. I know it's been a month and a half now since my dad passed away but I think we are both still getting used to it and in some ways it's just really starting to kind of sink in now. Grief is such a strange thing. But what can you do? Really only time can help I suppose. 

The attached picture shows the new bed set I put on yesterday. I bought it originally last summer (2020) from German Amazon in hopes of picking it up the next time I would go visit my parents. Well the pandemic never did get any better really and I didn't get to pick it up until I was there this past March/April for my dad's funeral. Ce la vie I guess. 

Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Nina/WA, Tiffany/OK.

Posted by Hanna at 08:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 03, 2021

1st Vaccine Appointment - done

Wecandoit-14001st vaccine appointment done and in the books. :) I had my first shot (got Pfizer) this morning and so far so good. My arm is sore and now that it's toward evening I am feeling kind of drained and achy but nothing overly terrible. I'll probably read for a bit and then call it an early night. Let's see how tomorrow goes. I don't expect it to be too terrible but you never know of course. I am working from home so should be fine. Wednesday I'll actually go into the office I think. The last time I was in the office was some time in the late fall I think. At some point after that our office closed down again and didn't re-open until April 1st. But with having been overseas and all, I haven't been able to go back till now. So probably going to start going back into the office once a week going forward now, just to kind of ease into it again. Our company still has the "you do you" motto so nobody is forced to go back in and the office is still set up to be socially distanced, masks needing to be worn when not at your desk etc. Will be nice to go back and see a few people at least. It's been far too long. 

Other than that not too much new. Over the weekend we had pretty decent weather. Saturday we went to Rizzuto's in Westport and on Sunday we checked out the new (well they have been open for 6 months now) vineyard in Sandy Hook - Aquila's Nest. They had a lobster food truck there and I had a yummy spicy hot shrimp roll. And the wine was pretty decent too. Was nice to spend some time outside. Well, if you ask Mike, who is dealing with seasonal allergies, it was torture. :) So I do appreciate that he agreed to go and hang outside for a bit even though his allergies seem to be pretty bad this year. 

Yesterday night we watched "Stowaway" on Netflix and then caught up on some of our recorded TV. And well now it's Monday. Had my vaccine apt at the VAMS site at the mall this morning (took about an hour between all the different steps - it's a drive through operation that's set up where you never get out of your car) and worked as normal rest of the day. Made Southwest Zucchini Boats with Spanish rice, salsa and avocado crema for dinner. Yum. 

Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Nina/WA, Tiffany/OK.

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

Monday, April 26, 2021

Random Stuff

2021_oscarsAnd here we are in the last week of April already. I am not even sure how we got here. In my mind it's still March. But I guess it's just all been a bit mixed up for me. I left for Austria at the end of March, spent almost three weeks there and now been back almost 2 weeks already too. Guess that's where the time has gone when you think about it logically. Just feels weird. 

My Timehop/Facebook Memories keep showing me pictures from my Croatia vacations with my parents in 2019 and 2018. It's bittersweet and kind of hard to look at these pictures as I know we will never have a vacation like that again, with the three of us. I have thought about, once everything is finally back to some sort of more normal, to maybe go somewhere with my mom. We can start small, take the train to Salzburg to see friends and family. And maybe eventually we can take a trip somewhere farther away. A lot of places aren't really all that far away and reachable by train or bus. Or maybe I will actually start practicing my driving again one of these days so I would feel comfortable renting a car. Well, one day and step at a time I guess. 

Nothing too much else is new really. Work has definitely been much busier which is good of course. But we have also been pretty short staffed which isn't helping matters but we do have somebody new starting next week on Monday. And I believe a few more candidates are in the pipeline. So eventually we will get back to more normal staffing again, especially as we are getting much busier again. 

Last night was the Oscars and as always we watched them. But it really was a weird one this year. I mean I figured as much since they had to re-do everything they normally do but still even taking that into consideration it was just odd. They didn't show any clips of the nominated movies and I feel like especially this year where a lot of people didn't get out and see a lot of these movies it would have been beneficial to do that. But hey, what do I know? lol

Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Nina/WA, Tiffany/OK.

Posted by Hanna at 07:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 19, 2021

New Normal

Newnormal_2Flew back last week Wednesday and am finally mostly over the jetlag again. It's been strange adjusting to being back here again and getting used to my "new normal". The travel back was thankfully uneventful. My aunt paid for a car service for me to take me straight to the airport from the house so I didn't have to take the train. The airport in Vienna was pretty much deserted with very few flights going in and out. I was in Premium Economy again and also didn't have anybody next to me again so the flight itself was fine. Immigration was super quiet (never seen it so quiet don't think) and I was able to pretty much fly through. Had to wait for the luggage for a bit but everything arrived in one piece so yeah, can't really complain too much as far as travel goes. 

Work's been busy so I have just been dealing with that getting back into the swing of things. Last week I just had to work Thursday and Friday before having the weekend to break things up but this week is my first full week in a while and it feels really strange. But once I get back into a routine things will feel more normal I suppose. Our office is also now open again so I will probably start going in about once per week to get used to being in the office again and for a change of scenery. 

Mike had his first Covid shot the day before I flew back and I have my first one scheduled for May 3rd. (Mike's second one is May 4th) So that's good that we are moving along with that as well. I will feel much safer once we are both fully vaccinated. Especially now that Connecticut has announced re-opening plans. On May 19, all business restrictions will be lifted. Indoor mask mandates will remain in effect but that's about it. No more capacity restrictions and no outdoor mask requirements. I am not sure I am quite ready for that yet. Maybe once I am fully vaccinated. But things like crowded concerts/shows/sports games still seem a little risky to me. Guess we will just have to see how it all goes. 

Oh in more fun news Diana Gabaldon announced the publishing date for her new book "Go Tell the Bees that I Am Gone". It's going to release two days before Thanksgiving on November 23rd. Yay! It would be fun if there was some sort of launch event but god knows of course. Considering I just said I don't feel quite comfortable with crowds yet I know I am being a bit hypocritical. But at least by November a lot more people should be fully vaccinated. 

Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Nina/WA, Tiffany/OK.

Posted by Hanna at 07:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Almost time to leave ...

Pixlr (8)Only 2 more full days here before I leave on Wednesday morning on my flight back to the US. I don't even know IMG_20210411_172919_641 where the time has gone. When all is said and done I will have been here for almost 3 weeks but not sure how it's flown by that fast. To be fair even though we were in lock down for a good amount of the time I have been here I was still keeping busy with sorting things in the house, getting things ready and setting things up for my mom. So each day was filled with a certain task. 

I also worked this past Thursday and Friday (1 pm to 10 pm to match US East Coast office hours) and will be doing the same on Monday. But did have the weekend in between to give myself a little break which was nice. And luckily the weather was really nice over the weekend as well. The weather has been a complete roller coaster while I have been here. When I first arrived it was decent, then turned almost summer like for a few days before turning to winter and snow and now back to spring. But starting tomorrow afternoon there is another cold front coming which will bring more winter like temperatures and possibly more snow. Complete up and down weather wise. 

I have been successful in resetting my dad's computer and setting everything up for my mom. I hope she will be able to use it ok as she has not used a computer in some years and anything new is difficult for her since her stroke. I did write her specific instructions and also wrote up a guide for her smartphone (so she can text more easily and use Whatsapp) Fingers crossed. She does have my aunt (her sister) who will be able to help her if she gets stuck. 

I am not sure if I am ready to leave again in a few days but ultimately it is what it is of course. I can't stay here forever so the leaving has to come eventually. I am hoping to be able to come back at the end of the summer/early fall. All will depend on what everything looks like with Covid etc. I do have my first vaccine shot scheduled for May 3rd so by the time I come back I should be fully vaccinated. I am also trying to have my aunt help with getting my mom registered for her vaccine as she really should be getting it with her preexisting conditions. 

Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Nina/WA, Tiffany/OK.

Posted by Hanna at 11:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 04, 2021

Salzburg Visit, Easter, etc.

IMG_20210331_175019_575And here we are, April 4th. I already leave in 10 days, April 14th, again. I don't even know where the time has gone. IMG_20210331_174823_700

I did have a pleasant time in Salzburg Wednesday into Thursday and the weather honestly could not have been more beautiful. Wednesday especially was a beautiful almost early summer like day. I tested again when I got there (negative) and then walked around. Was planning to meet up with my great cousin Kathrin but we ended up not being able to (she had a false positive Covid test and out of caution we decided to cancel our plans - her PCR results did not come in until the day after) Such a strange world these days. But I still had a nice day walking around, getting ice cream and lunch, taking in the sights of the city and even just sitting in Mirabell Gardens reading my book for a few hours. 

It was still kind of weird being in Salzburg and not seeing the usual amount of tourists, no dining open (normally with nice weather there would be TONS of outdoor dining for restaurants/cafes and stands and whatnot) etc. Such a strange world these days. 

Wednesday night I met up with my friend Anneliese and we had a fun picnic by the Salzach river overlooking the fortress up on the hill. I stayed overnight at her apartment and then took the train back mid day on Thursday. 

Not too much has happened since then. Just been spending time with my mom. My aunt stopped by as well and seen a few neighbors etc. but that's about it. We have been in 24 hours lock down since Thursday anyway so not much to do really, even if I wanted to. Also just been focusing on helping with getting my mom settled in the house, clearing out and organizing things, setting up her smartphone again and working on my dad's laptop. The laptop honestly has been the most hassle. We don't know the password/pin for it and all the other recovery measures are also a dead end. So just figuring out work arounds so we can hopefully get it all set up for my mom before I leave. 

Weather has been all over the place with being almost summer like and now turning back into winter weather. But I guess that's about normal for this time of the year. Also, anybody who celebrates Easter, Happy Easter of course. We aren't usually big Easter people so we didn't do anything special for it. 

Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Nina/WA, Tiffany/OK.

Posted by Hanna at 04:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Time to say goodbye ...

IMG_20210330_213207_787Arrived here in Austria on Saturday and all went well with my travels. It was strange traveling during this pandemic but I managed to do ok and make it here in one piece without any real issues. Have spent most of my time with my mom of course. Also saw my aunt and my parent's neighbor friend Helga and her husband who have been very helpful to them over the years. The weather has been pretty decent as well. Especially the today was really beautiful.

Made it through the funeral today which of course was not easy. But it was a quick service and not a lot of people attended which of course was fine and normal considering the pandemic and things going on. I did see people I hadn't seen in a while so that was nice. Too bad all the restaurants etc. are shut here so the normal tradition of gathering at a local restaurant after the funeral was not possible. But it was still nice to see people, especially the ones who traveled from Vienna or Burgenland, who I had not seen in a while. 

Other than that, just been spending time with my mom. My aunt has been a great help in handling the bureaucratic things, all the paperwork and behind the scenes things that need to happen. I have been focusing on trying to help my mom declutter the house and set up things for her. The landline phone needs to be replaced and I also want to make sure we get her set up with a laptop and email before I leave again as it can be difficult communicating over the phone due to her speech issues. 

Tomorrow I am heading to Salzburg to see some friends and family which should be nice. The weather is supposed to be really nice so should make for a beautiful day. 

Mail Update: Letters went out this week to: Kimber/Canada, Eunice/Malta and Celia/MA. Received a letter from/owe a response to:Nina/WA, Tiffany/OK .

Posted by Hanna at 03:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

When everything changes ....

Pixlr_20210324215711779 Pixlr_20210324215711779If you are a close friend you may know that I typically make a new post on Sundays or Mondays every week. Well here we are Wednesday night and I still have not posted. Mainly because I simply just don't know what to say so I am going to keep this short and simple. Feel free to message me of course and I will be happy to talk but I am not sure if I have it in me at this particular moment to write a long elaborate post.

So to get on with it, my dad passed away this past Sunday (March 21st) I found out a bit before 8.30am on Sunday with a phone call from my aunt and been trying to process all of it ever since.

I will be on my way to Austria on Friday, March 26, getting there Saturday morning. Luckily I was able to snag a non-stop flight in premium economy for a decent price. There are a lot of red tape/paperwork things that need to be considered. Tomorrow morning I am getting a Covid test as I need a negative test (not older than 72 hours) to enter Austria. Typically I also would need to quarantine when entering Austria but there is an exemption for emergencies such as a death in the family so my aunt will be mailing me the death certificate tomorrow I can carry that with me while traveling.

I will be in Austria until April 14 and of course will do my best to support my mom while there while we try to establish our "new normal". Austria is also going into 24 hour lockdown for 5 days over Easter meaning we can't leave the house except for emergencies or to go buy groceries etc. (but since it will be over Easter stores already would be closed anyway on Easter Sunday and Monday) I will try to get to Salzburg to see some relatives and friends as well as Vienna if another lockdown does not prevent it. Haven't been to Austria since December 2019 with the pandemic going on. And this is not particularly how I had envisioned or hoped my next visit will go but yeah, will just make the best of it, right? That's all we can do. Look to the future. Right?

Mail Update: Letters went out this week to: Kimber/Canada, Eunice/Malta and Celia/MA. Received a letter from/owe a response to:Nina/WA, Tiffany/OK .

Posted by Hanna at 10:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Almost Spring .. for a minute ... and Daylight Savings Time

SpringThe US switched to Daylight Savings Time today. Of course I am happy about the idea of longer days, more sunlight, longer evenings, the prospect of summer in our future, but I always hate the "spring forward" part of this since we lose an hour of sleep. I treasure my sleep, haha. Also I really wish everyone would just come together and pick a time and stick with it. I really don't see how the whole changing the time manually twice a year is really beneficial for anything these days. I think there have been a lot of movements here in the US to eliminate the time change recently. I know the EU had previously talked about it as well. But obviously there have been more pressing matters these days with a global pandemic and all. I mean I do get that of course. Still wish one day in the not so distant future we can stop this whole changing the clocks thing. 

Anyway, what else is new? Oh this past week we had some absolutely beautiful weather mid-week. Thursday was especially amazing, it reached almost 70F (21C), sunny and just beautiful. I was super busy at work but decided to take the time anyway to go to our local spot Two Steps (close to home so easiest to get back and forth quickly) to have lunch outside. What a beautiful day. It was great to be able to sit outside in just a t-shirt and jeans, eat my salad and enjoy the sunshine. 

Unfortunately the warm weather didn't last which I guess was to be expected. March can be fickle that way. One day it's winter weather, the next spring/almost summer and then back to winter. This weekend we are having temps in the mid 40ies (6F), sunny but also windy. At least it's nice and bright outside so while it's chilly it still feels kind of nice. Tonight's low is 17 (-8C) and tomorrow the high is 35 (1.5 C) so back to winter again for a few days. I am definitely ready for some nice weather that comes and stays but I guess we will need to wait for April/May for that where it can be consistently nicer and warmer usually. 

Work has been busy, busy, busy but like I said before I guess that's a good thing and means that things are picking up. The other half is that we recently lost some team members so now we are on a hiring spree again looking for 2 new employees. It's been quite a while since we have had anyone new on the team so that will be interesting. 

But for now I am just going to enjoy my Sunday, relax, go for lunch and later we will watch the Grammy's. Yesterday we went to Rizzuto's in Westport - our usual Saturday spot these days it seems like. But yeah, not too much else going on really. Let's see what next week brings. 

Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Kimber/Canada, Tiffany/OK and Eunice/Malta.

Posted by Hanna at 10:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 08, 2021

March Weather, Cooking and other random stuff

MarchJust about 8.15pm and I am feeling like I am ready for bed. I guess a lot of it probably has to do with staying up till almost 1am last night. We were catching up on TV shows and the time was just flying by. And well that's how it goes. I was super tired this morning but then did ok throughout the day, I guess being busy with work kept me going. Definitely still seeing the uptick in business and increased authorizations and calls I have throughout the week.

When I was done with work I made a vegetable soup (it's the Weight Watchers zero point soup and you can pretty much add all sorts of veggies - see here) I ended up making it with reduced sodium chicken broth, onions, garlic, thyme, a carrot, celery, kale, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, a red pepper, mushrooms and chives on top. And after I was done with the soup I made my regular dinner (the soup was just to have one cup for tonight but to eat throughout the week for lunch etc) which was a Hello Fresh meal -  Chicken L'Orange with thyme mashed potatoes and roasted green beans. Watched the newest episode of "Men in Kilts', did the dishes and then caught up on a few other things. And bam, all of a sudden it was past 8 and I started feeling really tired. Guess I am getting old. haha. 

Anyway, not too much else new really. Last weekend on Saturday we went to Rizzuto's in Westport and on Sunday we had delicious pizza at the Colony Grill in Norwalk before watching the last two episodes of Wandavision and catching up on some of our other recorded TV. 

Tomorrow I have a dental cleaning appointment after work. Other than that nothing too eventful to report really. The weather is being very up and down but I guess that's normal for March. For a while it was really chilly but the next few days it's supposed to get pretty warm and more spring like but then towards the weekend it's supposed to cool down again. Can't wait till the really cold and chilly weather goes away for good. But I guess I shouldn't complain too much. At least most of the snow is finally gone in our area now. There are still some places where there's snow but mostly no. 

Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Kimber/Canada, Tiffany/OK and Eunice/Malta.

Posted by Hanna at 08:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)