Monday, May 18, 2020

Furlough Week 2

IMG_20200503_191249_936Week 2 of my furlough has started today. Crazy how fast the first week went by really. I did do some things around the apartment, vacuumed, 1589823217350decluttered upstairs, made egg salad, etc. Also been getting my steps in - been walking every day. And also been reading a good amount. I think I finished book #17 for the year last week. Also started on the show 'Belgravia" on Epix (through Amazon Prime). Think Downton Abbey. So yeah, the week went by pretty fast and was a nice, relaxing break. 

Haven't heard anything back from the unemployment office. Hopefully soon. I am sure they are probably still backed up so we shall see how long it takes.  

This past weekend, on Saturday we went back to Millbrook Vineyard in Millbrook, NY. The weather was really nice. Sunny and in the 70ies with a little breeze. It was great sitting outside weather. We bought a bottle of wine and had brought some food from Millbrook Deli (I got the most delicious spinach cranberry grilled chicken wrap -- soooo good), perfect day to sit outside in the picnic area and enjoy some delicious wine while eating our food. 

On Sunday it was pretty nice too, a little cooler but still nice. So we thought we could head to Hopkins Vineyard in CT but they had closed their picnic area in anticipation of re-opening on Wednesday (20th) Connecticut is opening their restaurants on the 20th, outdoor dining only, with strict social distancing and other measures in place. We will see how that goes. Anyway, we ended up just taking a ride and then eventually picked up food from our local diner Elmer's and hung out at home. 

This week I am also getting my 1st "Hello Fresh" meal kit delivery.  I have been intrigued by these meal kit deliveries for a while now and decided to finally try it out. My recipes for this week include 'Steakhouse Pork Chops', 'Paprika Chicken with a Jammy Pan Sauce' and 'Lemon Butter Barramundi'. Hopefully the dishes turn out well - fingers crossed. 

I also still need to declutter my closet and dresser. So that will need to be this week's project as well. I also ordered two new tall, skinny dressers for the bedroom to help with having some extra storage space so we can declutter and clean up some of the stuff that is just sitting around without a real place to put it away. 

Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Kimber/Canada, Nina/WA and Celia/MA. A letter went out on Saturday to Eunice/Malta.

Posted by Hanna at 03:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 11, 2020

Snow in May, Furlough and more

IMG_20200511_104452_786The weather has been absolutely bonkers. Last weekend we were sitting outside and I was even getting a little sun burnt and this past weekend it snowed. Yes, SNOWED. Crazy snow squalls with super huge snowflakes. In our area it didn't really stick but in a few towns north of us they did get a thin layer with an inch or a little more of snow. So weird. That was Saturday. It was pretty cold (well obviously since it snowed) and also windy and just not pleasant at all. We went to the store and picked up some breakfast from a local diner and otherwise didn't really do too much. 

Sunday luckily was a bit better. It was still very chilly in the morning but did warm up as the day went on. We met up with our friends John and Jana. We haven't seen them in probably 2+ months. They have been pretty much sheltered in place, adhering to all the rules, etc. Same as us really. So this past weekend we decided to go for a socially distanced hike with them to a park about 20-30 minutes away. And then they invited us over for some food at their place. We sat outside in their outdoor backyard area at their apartment building and it really was a lovely day. It was nice seeing them and to catch up in person. 

Today is my first day of furlough at work and it does feel a bit weird, it being Monday, and me just sitting around. I did vacuum this morning already and am planning on making a lemon herb egg salad for lunch in a little bit. And maybe in the afternoon I will have some more tea and read some more of my book. Going to make the best of the next three weeks of my furlough and enjoy the time off. Will try and do some productive things like decluttering my closet and dressers and answer my letters. Will also try and go for a walk every day like I have been doing during my lunch break. 

I did apply for unemployment already but when it actually pays out of course remains to be seen as they are of course super behind with all the additional unemployment claims flowing in due to COVID 19. When applying for unemployment I needed my Green Card number. And when I went to look for it, it was nowhere to be found. I usually always keep it in the same place with my passport. I tore apart everything and was starting to be convinced that it somehow vanished into thin air when I finally found it hours later -- in the dresser drawer underneath the one it is usually in, hiding in between my socks and underwear. Fun times. 

Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Kimber/Canada, Nina/WA and Eunice/Malta.

Posted by Hanna at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 04, 2020

Hello May

IMG_20200502_201054_357And it's Monday again. I should be thinking about packing my suitcase and getting ready for my trip as my flight to Europe would have left on Thursday. IMG_20200503_191249_936I was supposed to fly to Trieste, Italy where my parents would have picked me up and we were going to spend some time in Croatia before heading back to Austria. Needless to say none of that is happening. My parents have cancelled their Croatia trip. Actually they postponed it for September. Maybe, just maybe I will be able to go and see them then but it's all a bit up in the air right now. I have tried requesting a refund for my flight but since my flights were booked as a non-refundable fare the best I can do is receive a travel credit (to be used by January 2021) minus a $100 processing fee. I guess it's better than not getting anything at all. 

This is the last week before I go on furlough for three weeks at work. And needless to say it's going to be a busy week. A lot to finish up and take care of before the end of the week. 

This past weekend we had some gorgeous weather so that was something at least. On Saturday we went for a walk at a nature preserve in New Preston, CT and on Sunday we did our weekly grocery shopping in the morning and then headed to Millbrook Winery in Millbrook, NY. They have a pretty picnic area by a pond with very well spaced picnic tables so it was the perfect place to sit outside, drink wine, enjoy the beautiful weather and still be socially distanced. 

It was still pretty nice today but going to get quite a bit colder again for this coming week. Well let's see what this week brings. Kind of weird it's May already. All of this quarantine stuff started in mid March here in CT so we have basically been at home since then. Let's hope we can get back to some kind of normal at some point soon but I am really not too sure when that will actually be. 

Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Nina/WA and Eunice/Malta.

Posted by Hanna at 06:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Another week .. another weekend ... quarantine new normal

IMG_20200425_224843_218It is Sunday late afternoon/early evening but as always it's really hard to actually know what day it is. The weekends are at least a little different from the week days as I can sleep in and we have a little bit of a different routine than during the work week. But Monday to Friday is just a blur really. I get up, get dressed, make some tea, move to my desk to start work and eventually after work move over to the couch to watch some TV with Mike or read. We get take out from our favorite local restaurants or make some food at home. Yeah, nothing much exciting really. 

I try to go for walks during lunch time to get out and get a little bit of exercise but I haven't been very good with that last week. I'll have to try and do better this week. Been definitely reading more than normal which has been kind of nice. Also been watching a lot of CNN. The White House daily briefings are ... I don't even know what to say really. Let's just say, it's a crazy world out there right now and leave it at that. 

Two more weeks ahead of covering at work and then three weeks off for the furlough. And then we'll be at June 1st and we'll see where we stand at that point. It's so hard to know as every day feels like a week and every week feels like a month these days.

Yesterday we were lucky that we had some nice weather and we were able to take advantage of that and went for a nice walk in Litchfield at the White Memorial Foundation. Explored some different trails and walked a little under 4 miles. Was good to get out and get some fresh air. Today it's cold, windy and rainy. Just went to the grocery store and picked up some breakfast from a local diner. Watched SNL while we ate and had mimosas. 

Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Nina/WA.

Posted by Hanna at 05:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 19, 2020

One week blending into the next ...

IMG_20200419_172507_779It is Sunday late afternoon/early evening but in all honesty it feels hard to keep track these days, what day it is. Every day kind of blends into the next lately. 

Last week was uneventful for the most part. Work has been less busy, a downturn in new bookings and a lot of delayed relocations. So of course the company I work for did have to take action to determine the best way forward to weather this storm and for all of us to come out of this relatively whole. So the current plan is to furlough employees in waves so for the next three weeks I will still be working but half of my team will be on mandatory leave so I'll be covering for people. Then the following three weeks (May 11 to 29) I'll be on furlough and will be applying for unemployment, back to work on June 1st. While of course it is not ideal, I do think in these unprecedented times that it is the right way forward to try and keep the company stable and for all of us to stay unemployed long term. They are also covering our health insurance premiums for the three weeks we are on furlough which is a big thing and definitely helps ease worries. 

So ultimately I think the next three weeks will be relatively busy for me, covering partial caseloads for two of my co-workers plus my own files. Plus assisting the team with any issues as my position of Associate Team Lead. But then after that I will have three weeks with absolutely nothing to do. I'll have to see how to fill my time during those weeks. Will try to make the best of it, decluttering my closets and dressers and checking on things I have been meaning to do for ages but never got around to it. And well there will probably be a good amount of sleeping and procrastinating thrown in for good measure as well - who am I kidding? 

This weekend, Saturday, we went to the grocery store & liquor store and picked up some breakfast from a local diner. The weather was pretty cold, windy and damp. But today, Sunday, the weather was quite a bit nicer so we took advantage of that and went for a hike a White Memorial Foundation in Litchfield, CT. Not a ton of people on those trails so there wasn't a big problem keeping your social distance. 

And tomorrow is already Monday again. Let's see who next week plays out. Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy!! 

Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Nina/WA.

Posted by Hanna at 05:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Happy Easter

PixlrHappy Easter! :) I hope everyone who celebrates is having a nice Easter Sunday. I am really not huge into Easter but I do enjoy some of the candy/chocolates and the fact that it usually means spring is here. We have been having some decent weather and there have been flowers and blooming trees/bushes and even some green leaves sprouting. Always makes me happy to see nature wake up again. It is all a bit surreal this year of course with COVID 19 and the quarantine going on but just need to make the best of it of course.

Last week was pretty uneventful. I guess how much can be going on when I work from home and pretty much am at home 24/7? I did go for some walks during my lunch hour. And we ended up having Good Friday off which was nice. We originally had a 1/2 day scheduled and our company gave us the full day off. A nice unexpected surprise and a nice 3 day weekend. Of course tomorrow is already Monday again. Not sure how that happened?

I didn't do all that much on Friday. Slept in a bit, then made a broccoli strudel, started a new book and wrote a letter. So a relatively productive day. On Saturday we slept in and then ran some errands. The grocery store, liquor store & drug store and then picked up breakfast from a local diner. Today we decided to get outside for some fresh air and took a ride to the Hudson Valley in upstate NY for a hike at Falling Waters Preserve in Saugerties, NY. Some pretty views and it's always nice to walk near water. Had a nice hike/walk and then headed back home. I have watched the latest Outlander episode, had some dinner and am now just lounging around. Will probably catch up on some TV in a bit.  

Originally this is the weekend where we were supposed to go to Niagara on the Lake in Canada for a 3 day wine tasting weekend. Of course that ended up being cancelled. Let's hope we can reschedule it once this all returns to somewhat normal. For now we just all need to stay put.  

Letter/Mail Update: A letter will be going out tomorrow to Celia/MA. Received a letter from/owe a response to: Nina/WA.

Posted by Hanna at 06:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 06, 2020

Happy April

Pixlr (5)Happy Monday - Happy April. Another week and weekend gone by. Really not much going on right now obviously due to COVID 19. Working from home and on week 4 now of doing this I think. I have been dragging my feet getting up every morning. It's all a bit surreal. Most of my evenings are either spent reading or watching CNN with Mike. 

On the weekend we took advantage of the nice weather on Saturday and went for a walk/hike in the Hudson Valley again in upstate NY. We went to Olana which is a really nice place. We had been there before some years ago and it was nice to go back. Was nice to be out in the fresh air and get some exercise. This quarantine is definitely making me gain weight as I am not moving much and definitely eating and drinking more than usual. But I guess a lot of people are in the same boat judging from social media. 

Sunday we didn't do much. Slept in late and then went to the store and to our local dinner to pick up some breakfast. Caught up on a bunch of TV (we will start to run out of our recorded shows at one point - guess we'll need to look through Netflix and Amazon to find more stuff to watch) and relaxed. I made a noodle casserole which turned out only meh. I think the recipe actually has potential but I made the mistake of using the wrong kind of cheese and it just didn't seem to go together. Oh well. Better luck next time. 

Well let's see what this week brings. It's Good Friday this week and originally that's the weekend we were supposed to go to Niagara on the Lake. A little sad we can't go now. I know it's a small sacrifice in the big picture of things but still. 

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

Posted by Hanna at 11:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Another weekend done .. still quarantined ..

BreakfastAnd already Sunday evening again. WHY do weekends fly by so fast? And we didn't even really do much. Oh well I guess. Yesterday, Saturday, we slept in a bit. And then decided to take a ride to two wineries to pick up some local wine. Figured it was a way to get out of the house, take a ride and support the local vineyards. We went to Hopkins and Hawk Ridge. Both great vineyards that we enjoy and happy to support. Afterwards we stopped at J Lawrence and picked up some food for dinner. I finished the book I was reading while Mike caught up on CNN and later we watched a bunch of recorded shows from our DVR. Ended up staying up till around 1am.

So today, Sunday, we slept in late. Then went to the grocery store, liquor store (some more prosecco to make mimosas) and Elmer's (our favorite local diner) for some breakfast take out. Made mimosas, ate and watched some TV. Then I watched the new Outlander episode while Mike is catching up on more CNN and other news stuff. I would like to change the bed sheets/covers but the cat is currently happily curled up on the bed so I figured I'd update my blog in the meantime. Eventually we will probably catch up on some more DVR shows. Once we are all caught up on those I guess we'll have to find other stuff to watch on Netflix or Amazon. Plenty of shows and content out there. 

Tomorrow marks week 3 of working at home. It's definitely been a weird "new normal". Thursday and Friday I went for a walk around lunch time to try and get some exercise and fresh air. I will try and keep that up if the weather cooperates. The weekend has been kind of dreary and rainy. Cold and wet. 

I have downloaded some books on my Kindle so I'll need to pick a new book to start. The quarantine has definitely been good for my reading. Been getting much more reading done than normal. I guess have to look on the bright side for something. 

Well that's all for now. Everyone stay safe and hopefully this will blow over at some point soon. One can hope, right? 

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

Posted by Hanna at 05:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

First Week of Working From Home, Hudson Valley Hike, ...

IMG_20200324_075342_385Ok so week 1 of working from home has been completed and we're already on day 2 of week 2 now. Made it through last week ok but it did feel like an endless week. I shouldn't complain because at least my job is pretty much set up where I can work from home without many issues. All I need is an internet connection, a phone and my laptop and I am set. I know a lot of people are struggling right now. People who either cannot work from home (hospital staff, doctors, supermarket and other essential staff, ...) It's also crazy the people who get paid minimum wage and need to go out to do their jobs. And the rich people who say things like "Oh you should get a REAL job". Well where would we be without those people right now? The rich people wouldn't be able to get their groceries or get food delivered etc. Ugh. 

Alright I won't turn this into a social rant because it's not going to help anything. The weekend was pretty good even though it was a bit weird of course. On Saturday we went for a nice hike/walk in the Hudson Valley. We went to a trail at Poets' Walk Park in Rhinebeck, NY. Really pretty. We of course kept our distance as much as possible from any other people on the trail. After our hike we stopped at Millbrook Vineyard to buy a few bottles of wine. They have a discount on all bottles purchased right now so that was a nice perk as well. Plus it's always good to support the local businesses. We have also been doing take out from some of our favorite local restaurants last week. Some have now decided to stop doing take out though and are closed. I think the take out/delivery business just isn't as profitable unfortunately. I do hope they can survive and open up again when this is all over, whenever that may be. 

On Sunday we slept in late and then went to the grocery store and the liquor store to stock up on some things. And then got breakfast take out from one of our local diners. Also got a bottle of OJ and some prosecco so I was able to make mimosas to go along with the breakfast. Then we caught up on some recorded TV. 

And well now it's already the new week again. Tuesday morning already. So I better get on with it and log into my work laptop to get started on my day. 

Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Nina/WA.

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

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

COVID 19 ... Social Distancing .. Working from Home ...

637195158875230000What a change a week can make. Crazy times all around at the moment I feel like. Connecticut has now also joined the restaurant/movie theater/etc. ban starting last night. I am working from home until at least April 6 is what we're being told. Social distancing and all that. Crazy world out there right now. Travel restrictions abound all over the place which of course makes my job which is very international (corporate relocation) interesting too. But can you do? We can only make the best of things and we'll get through it. Not much else that can be done. 

This past weekend we ran some errands on Saturday and had brunch at J. Lawrence. Then on Sunday we went to see "Emma" (I am glad we were able to go see it before the movie theaters shut down) and had lunch in Oxford followed by catching up on TV at home in the evening. 

This week and the coming weeks most likely will bring a lot of at home time since everything is pretty much closed. No restaurants/bars, museums, movies, etc. If the weather cooperates maybe we will go for a walk over the weekend to get out and get some fresh air. Right now it's pretty dreary outside, cold and rainy. But it's only Tuesday of course. We will need to see what the weekend brings. 

Also pretty much looking like COVID 19 is also messing with all my travel plans. We had a 2 night stay booked for Niagara on the Lake over Good Friday/Easter but guessing that probably won't happen. And in May I was supposed to travel to Europe to see my parents. I know May is still some time away but the way things have been going I am honestly wondering if I will be able to go or not. Guess I'll see how it goes. One day at a time is pretty much all we can do right now. Well everyone stay safe, wash your hands and curl up with a good book. :)  

Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Nina/WA.

Posted by Hanna at 08:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)