Monday, May 20, 2019

Eurovision, thunderstorms and more

Pixlr (4)Monday morning and ugh I am so tired. For once I can't complain about the cold because it's actually 66F (18C) this morning and is going to go up to around 84F (28C) this afternoon. But because of this and the humidity we had really strong thunderstorms overnight. We didn't go to bed till around 11.40pm or so. And the thunderstorms started just a little after midnight and probably lasted for a few hours. So I really didn't get much sleep. I was tossing and turning between the thunder, lightening, being kind of hot and just uncomfortable in general. Not a good sleeping night at all. 

The weekend had pretty nice weather in the low 70ies (22C). Saturday was really nice with bright blue skies and no humidity either. Sunday had a few more clouds and towards the end of the day the humidity definitely started to pick up. We still managed to get a nice 5 mile walk in on Sunday though. Went to the usual trail in Cheshire/Meriden where we tend to go when we want an easier flat but still pretty walk. I think that was the first time we actually went this year as the weather has been so miserable for most of the year. Usually we go at least a couple times before the leaves turn green but this year the weather was just not very cooperative. Let's see how it goes the rest of the year. 

Saturday was the Eurovision Song Contest so I watched that. It's one of those things where you had to grow up in Europe to understand it. Well, I still don't really always understand it (so many crazy costumes and antics *g*) but it's a guilty pleasure of sorts. The Netherlands won so next year's contest most likely will be held in Amsterdam I'd assume. I always enjoy the host country highlighting their country, showing off their destinations, cities, nature and so on. 

Well, let's see what this week will bring. Last week was busy at work. I am now mentoring a new person who started last week plus was also covering for someone who was out. This week I am covering today only so let's see how this week progresses. The one good thing, a light at the end of the tunnel so to speak, is that next weekend we have a holiday weekend with Memorial Day and we'll be away for it as well. Heading up to the Finger Lakes on Saturday. So just need to get through this week. :) 

Letter/Mail Update:  A letter went out to Celia/MA last week. 

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

Monday, May 13, 2019

Mother's Day Weekend, Broadway and more

IMG_20190511_124138_135Another Monday. And brrr it's cold this morning, not like May at all. I actually turned the heat on for a bit. When I woke up it was only 40F/4C outside but they said it felt like it was in the 30ies. And the high is only supposed to be 47F/8C today plus it's going to rain. So it's going to be a wet cold Monday. Ugh. The weather yesterday, Sunday (Mother's Day), was not a whole lot better honestly. When I talked to my mom in Austria she said that the weather in Austria was similar at the moment. What the hell. Seems like the weather all over the world is going mad. I mean I know why, climate change and all that, but ugh. 

Anyway, Saturday was at least a decent day. It was mainly sunny and in the mid to high 60iesF/18C. So a really nice day. We were in NYC on Saturday as we had tickets for "Beetlejuice" on Broadway. Before the show we had brunch at a place called Lillie's. What a neat find. It was just a few blocks from the Wintergarden Theater right in the middle of midtown, an area that is usually full of generic Irish pubs, lots of tourists and nothing good. So it was really nice to find that place. We had a delicious brunch there and hung out before the show. The musical was a lot of fun and would definitely recommend it. After the show we headed to the Yardhouse in Yonkers. Holy crap, that place was packed. We were able to snag two seats at the bar but it was just so crowded in there. I guess not all that surprising being Saturday night and Mother's Day weekend on top of that. Anyway we ordered some snacks and had a few drinks and then decided to move on and had a couple more glasses of wine near home at Two Steps in Danbury. Much quieter there, even though they were pretty busy too for their standards with a party and some other stuff. 

And well now it's Monday and another week ahead. Last week was busy at work but somehow made it through. Let's see what this week brings? We have a new person starting today and her mentor won't be there for the first few days so we need to make sure that we keep her occupied. :) I am also covering so definitely shouldn't be bored. The week after this week is going to be a similar situation with vacation coverage and an intern starting so yeah time should be flying by. Oh I am also starting on a new account this week at work. Yeah, like I said. Shouldn't be a dull moment to be had. :)

Letter/Mail Update:  A letter will be going out to Eunice/Malta. 

Posted by Hanna at 07:38 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 06, 2019

Back to the daily grind

Pixlr (3)Alright I am back in the US. The weather has been super dreary, mostly cool and often rainy since I have been back. Yesterday, Sunday, was a dreary, rainy day. But of course today, Monday, the sun is shining and it's supposed to be a beautiful day (around 70F/21C). How does that always happen that way?  We definitely have not been having typical May weather. Looks like today will be a pretty decent day but that of course doesn't help me all that much since I have to head into the office. Also going to shape up to be a pretty busy day so I don't think I will get a ton of chance to spend time outside. I'll try and go for a little walk during my lunch break if possible. 

Anyway, my return to the US last week Monday was pretty uneventful for the most part. Immigration at Newark airport was a nightmare though. There was something wrong with the machines and their whole system was backlogged and clogged up. The lines were sooooo long. It was absolutely crazy. I had never seen it like that. I think it took me about 2 hours to get out of the airport. Crazy. 

The week itself went by relatively smooth. Fighting jetlag, dealing with catching up at work and whatnot. All the usual stuff I guess. The weekend went by way too fast. Also nothing unusual there. 

Saturday we had a vet appointment with our cat Sadie. Mainly a check-up appointment. She's one of the more neurotic cats I have ever met and since Sherlock came into the picture she has been even more neurotic. She really does not like the idea of Sherlock being around. Anyway Sadie's appointment went fine (I was honestly not convinced I'd get her into the carrier but I did) and they said she's fine, her check-up and exam was fine. So she's just weird. :) We'll need to continue working on integrating the cats and hopefully at one point things will return back to normal - whatever that means. 

Sunday we went to see the new Avengers movie. I won't post any spoilers but will say that I did really enjoy it. I thought they did a good job. I am really not a super heroes movie person at all but have seen enough now to be somewhat invested and get the basic stories. I also enjoy the humor behind all of it. Anyway, it was a good movie. Afterwards we were going to do brunch but the place we wanted to go to was super packed so we ended up at different place which was fine. Hung out there for a bit before heading home and catching up on some recorded TV. 

Letter/Mail Update:  Letters have been written to and were all mailed on Wednesday to: Lotte/Denmark, Celia/MA, Kimber/Canada, Nina/WA and Tiffany/OK. 

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

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Europe ... it's almost time to say goodbye again

IMG_20190428_094317_851So here we are. It's already my last full day here in Europe again. My flight leaves from Trieste, Italy tomorrow, IMG_20190428_094004_932connecting in Munich and then on to Newark. Trieste is the closest major airport to where I am which is kind of funny because I need to cross 3 countries to get there (Croatia, Slovenia and Italy) but it's only about 1 hour and a half ride. Luckily my flight out of Trieste doesn't leave until 1pm so at least it doesn't mean a crazy early start. 

The weather has turned out to be pretty nice all in all. There was supposed to be rain on a bunch of days but besides a few showers nothing much happened. It is definitely cooler now than it was and you can see rain in the distance across the bay so I assume it will start raining more heavily later but we will see. The weather here seems to be a bit unpredictable and so far we have lucked out. I am sitting on the balcony again and like I said it's cooler but still nice to be breathing in the fresh sea air. 

We have had some delicious lunches at local restaurants. One day we drove to the Savudrija Lighthouse (only about 15-20 min away) where they also have a restaurant nearby. It was nice day so perfect for some pretty views. 

Yesterday I also discovered that the 5 star Kempinski Hotel next door has a beach bar that is open even in off season. I was just wandering around really, walking in a direction I hadn't walked before and found it by accident. It being off season and still kind of cool there weren't many people there at all. But since it was sunny it was actually quite warm sitting in the direct sun next to the water. Was quite peaceful and lovely. I would have been happy to just stay there. Alas I did have to leave when they started closing up at 5pm. :) 

Anyway it's been an enjoyable stay. Of course there is always the usual family stuff and drama involved with a family vacation but focusing on the wine, food and beautiful scenery does help. So let's hope we can bring this trip to a successful close tomorrow. 

Not looking forward to having to go back to work on Tuesday though. I know I can't complain having been off for almost 10 days now (plus the other trip I had in March) but just not feeling it at the moment. I am sure it will work itself out as it always does and I will be back in the swing of things in no time. 

Letter/Mail Update:  Letters have been written and will be mailed from the US upon my return to: Lotte/Denmark, Celia/MA, Kimber/Canada and Nina/WA. Received a letter from/owe a reply to: Tiffany/OK. 

Posted by Hanna at 03:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Hello from Istria (Croatia)

IMG_20190424_202953_492Sitting outside on the balcony with my Chromebook overlooking the sea and the old town of IMG_20190424_203158_679 Piran across the bay. It's 10am and the weather is pretty gorgeous today. It was very nice yesterday as well. The day we got here it was cooler and raining (on and off, sometimes more, sometimes less). That was Tuesday. We left Austria on Monday morning a little after 10am and got to Maribor, Slovenia around 3.30pm. (with a stop for lunch near Graz) Then Tuesday morning after breakfast around 10 we left Slovenia and headed for Croatia and got to our resort around 1.30pm. Checked into our room and then stopped at the small market at the resort for a few groceries before heading to lunch. You can see the pictures from our delicious lunch here. :)

Yesterday, Wednesday, we headed to the Plodine supermarket in Umag (about 18 min drive) for some more substantial groceries and supplies. Then we went for lunch at Pizzeria Laura. They have a great terrace overlooking the sea and the bay so it's a treat to go there when the weather is nice. And the food is delicious as well. So yeah no complaints. We ran into some guys from Styria who were already on beer 7 and a bit talkative. Wasn't too impressed but they were generally harmless so not too bad and semi amusing I guess. 

When we got back to the resort I went for a walk around the property down to the sea and over to the golf course. I already am familiar with the layout from the place from last year so that makes things easier. Afterwards I stopped at the 5 star Kempsinki Hotel next door and had a few drinks overlooking the pool and sea from their terrace. The weather was great so it was a fun way to spend the remaining afternoon. 

Today the weather is just as nice so I need to soak up some sunshine as the forecast for my remaining time here looks a bit shifty. I think these past 2 days will be my only really beautiful days here. But that's ok. Even if it's raining it's still nice to sit outside on the balcony looking out at the sea. Pretty peaceful. 

Later we are going to head to a restaurant near a lighthouse. They should have outdoor seating as well so that should make for a nice lunch with good views as well hopefully. We'll see how it goes. 

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

Posted by Hanna at 04:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter Weekend in Austria

IMG_20190420_232927_711Figured I should make an update since it's Sunday and about a week since I posted. So hello from Austria. And IMG_20190421_195525_725goodbye really. Because we are already leaving Austria tomorrow. :) 

I left NYC on Wednesday and arrived in Vienna on Thursday morning. Took the train out to St. Poelten where my dad picked me up. We then had lunch with my aunt which was nice. Friday I had my hair appointment at 9am which of course took a long time. But the end result is great as always and I was able to get some reading done while at the hairdressers. And when I was done my parents and I went to a different restaurant for a late lunch. It was a restaurant with continuous hot food service (a lot of restaurants outside of the big cities only serve hot lunch until 1.30 or 2pm) so that worked out. 

Saturday we went to a Heurigen (vineyard that also serves food) and had a nice leisurely lunch there. The weather has been pretty perfect so we were able to sit outside which was nice. Same with today. I spent today (Easter Sunday) in Vienna visiting with some friends. Took the train in and back. Had brunch with Claudia at Motto am Fluss which was really nice. We were able to sit outside which was great. Although after sitting in the shade for a while we were a bit cold and ended up walking to some benches in the sun and sitting there, chatting for a while. After that we ended up having ice cream/gelato before I headed to Schoenbrunn to meet up with my other friend Andrea. At Schoenbrunn they had the Easter Market going on. And holy crap --- there were so many people. I didn't really think about this. Easter Sunday, Easter Market, perfect weather == the perfect combo of a ton of people. It did make for some nice pictures. After walking around Andrea and I headed into the park to sit on a bench in the shade to chat and catch up. Much more relaxing than mingling with all the crazy crowds. 

After meeting up with Andrea I took the train back to St. Poelten and connecting to St. Georgen to get back to my parent's house. Spent the night hanging out with my parents and tomorrow we are already off to Croatia. Well first stop will be Slovenia tomorrow night, then Croatia on Tuesday. The weather has been great since arriving in Austria but I think that streak will break on Tuesday. Oh well. I am sure we will have a good time in Croatia even if the weather isn't perfect. 

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

Posted by Hanna at 04:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 15, 2019

Humid Weekend - Wine Tasting and more

Pixlr (2)Monday morning again and I am not quite awake. Went to bed semi late after catching up on some recorded TV and was woken up by crazy thunderstorms a bit after 4am. I don't generally mind thunderstorms but this was crazy lightning and thunder and especially at a time where it was close enough to the alarm going off that it made it hard to fall back asleep. The storms didn't stop till close to 5 I think. One of our cats is absolutely terrified of storms so she begged to come into the bedroom in an absolute panic so she could hide in the back of our closet. She's still in there and it's now close to 7.30am. 

The weather has been a bit weird over the weekend. 70ies (22C) on Saturday, only mid 60ies (18c) on Sunday but really humid on both days. Not normal weather for April. And I guess the humidity is also what made the storms happen in the night. Again not normal April weather. We usually get thunderstorms like that in the summer. But yeah climate change isn't a thing right? Ugh. I guess don't get me started on that topic. 

Anyway, the weekend was good all in all. Saturday we went to lunch at 121 in Oxford and then the store on our way back to stock up on necessities (mainly cat food, kitty litter and some other basic stuff) I spent the evening getting stuff together for my Europe trip this week. I haven't quite wrapped my mind around the fact that I will be back on a plane on Wednesday. Been trying to get all my work stuff in order which has mostly worked out ok. But the next couple of days are definitely going to be very busy. 

Sunday we went to Millbrook,NY. Did some wine tasting at the vineyard and then enjoyed a glass outside on their deck overlooking the vineyard. They now have Gruener Veltliner which I thought was pretty neat. After that we headed to downtown Millbrook and had lunch at Canoe Hill which was a neat place. Strong hipster/hippie vibe but delicious food and drinks. On our way back to CT we stopped at Rosy's to meet our friends John and Jana. Hung out with them for a bit before heading home to catch up on TV. 

Sherlock is doing well. She hasn't worn her cone at all but she has been good about leaving her incision area alone. She's been doing well, eating, drinking, playing. Of course I haven't been able to prevent her from jumping as the vet asked but she seems in good spirits and doing totally fine. This week Friday (4/19) will be the 2-week mark which is when she would normally get her cone off. 

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

Posted by Hanna at 07:38 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Sherlock's spay appointment + some nice spring weather

Pixlr (1)Alright a little behind on my post this week. I usually try to post either Sundays or latest Monday (lately it's been mostly Monday mornings) about the past week but it just completely slipped my mind yesterday morning. I think because I was out of my routine as I worked from home instead of going into the office. I was staying home to watch over Sherlock as she had her spay appointment this past Friday. She is really doing great so all's well but of course it's still good to watch her. Especially since she managed to get her cone off twice (we even went back to the vet Saturday morning to get her a different cone). We now decided to leave the cone off and see what she does. As long as she doesn't bother her stomach where her incision is she doesn't really need the cone. Of course that's a TBD as she could start licking/scratching/messing with it at any moment but so far so good. She's been good and has left it alone so we shall see how it goes. 

Her surgery was Friday. We dropped her off in the morning and picked her back up again around 5pm. She was a bit groggy and loopy still when we first brought her home but not too bad. She just absolutely hated that cone. Friday to Saturday night was not a very restful night as she would wake up about once an hour getting up, trying to mess with her cone and whatnot. So Saturday morning we went back to the vet and got her a clear plastic cone (the original one was a soft one made out of paper) hoping that would help. All was ok for most of the day when in the late afternoon she managed to get that one off too. We don't even think she really did it on purpose. She was trying to scratch/lick a certain area and was bending and managed to get it off that way. My sis-in-law was watching her at the time and couldn't get the cone back on so we decided to leave it off for now. 

Other than that the weekend was pretty good. We had some nice spring weather (around 65F/18C and sunny) even though everything is still pretty brown here. Can't wait for the trees to get leaves and everything to turn green again. Hopefully soon. We had some nice weather Monday as well. Today it's going to be much cooler though (50F/10C) and the lows for the next few days are dropping down to around freezing again. It's been so nice having the windows open especially at night. Nothing better than sleeping with an open window. Sunday night it also rained for a while and that's always a soothing sound/feeling somehow when you're in bed sleeping. 

Sunday we also checked out a new restaurant that opened up. It's part of a local chain called Marketplace. This one opened up in an old jail which was really neat. In the bar you could still see the bars from the cells and it was just a neat converted space. Here is an article about it if you are interested. It's a neat project. Was definitely busy but as they haven't been open for very long I am sure a lot of people wanted to go to check it out same as we did. Anyway it was fun. Not right around the corner but if we are in the area again for any reason it's worth going back to. That same chain does have restaurants much closer but the menus do vary slightly at each location. The one in Woodbury is pretty neat as well - set in an old converted barn. 

Well, that's about all for now I suppose. Let's see what the rest of the week brings. Work's pretty busy but that's only normal as we are now heading into the spring/summer season where all goes a bit haywire. And a week from tomorrow I will already be on a plane again heading to Austria. I am not quite sure I am really prepared for that just yet. But I guess I have a week to get my stuff in order right? 

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

Posted by Hanna at 07:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 01, 2019

Happy April Fool's

SnoopyHow did it get to be April? I mean I am happy because that means that spring weather may actually be on the horizon for real. We had some nice days while in Europe and there the trees were starting to be green, flowers blooming etc. Here in the Northeast everything is still pretty grey and dead. I suppose it will happen at some point. We had some nice weather on Saturday but Sunday was much colder and raining all day. Oh well, made for a good day to go to the movies (we saw "Captain Marvel")

On Saturday we ran a bunch of errands. Feeling a little more put together today after having replaced some odds and ends (a new wallet, lip balm, Tide stick, travel size Advil etc.) DMV visit to replace my license was done on Friday as well. Also called a bunch of other places to get replacement stuff for various cards (definitely not traveling with all that stuff again -- just the basics going forward) So slowly starting to go back to normal. 

Let's see what else? Well that's pretty much it. We flew back from the UK on Tuesday (got home around 11.30pm - ugh), went back to work on Wednesday and had a relatively decent week. It was busy of course, trying to catch back up but all in all ok. The weekend was a welcome break. And well here we are and it's Monday again. Honestly not quite sure I am ready to face another Monday and week ahead but it will be ok. Things at work are definitely in an upswing as spring has sprung and summer is just lurking around the corner (our busy season) Always happy for the nicer weather but it also makes for crazy days/weeks at work. Well oh well. 

I can't complain too much because I will be heading back to Europe in just 17 days. Leaving for Austria on April 17 and will be there until April 29. Spending a few days in Austria and then heading to Croatia with my parents for about a week. So something to look forward to on the not too distant horizon. After that no real vacations until probably mid-late fall (October/November) Well we'll see. 

Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a reply to: Celia/MA, Kimber/Canada, Nina/WA and Tiffany/OK. 

Posted by Hanna at 07:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

London Adventures continued

IMG_20190325_220853_086England continued: Saturday we went to the British Museum in the morning and spent a good amount of time there. IMG_20190325_221430_228 It was our second time there but the first was quite some years ago. I am glad we went back and spent some time exploring the various exhibits. Their Egyptian collection is quite impressive as well as the Roman statues etc. 

After the museum the plan was to head to the Hard Rock Cafe which got a little derailed when we ended up in the middle of the Anti Brexit march. We hadn't realized that it was going on that day so we ended up straight in the middle of it as the route was going right by the Hard Rock. We did eventually make it to lunch and had a nice time at the Hard Rock. Were able to leave ok but our next stop was supposed to be at Gordon's Wine Bar which didn't really work out. The wine bar apparently is rather busy normally anyway and with all the crowds from the march it absolutely impossible to get a table or even an area to stand. So we eventually just continued on looking into different places as we walked. Ended up in Soho at Balans Soho Society. Had some nice food for dinner and hung out for a while before heading back to the hotel.

Sunday we met up with my friend Nicola and went to the Postal Museum which was kind of neat. Afterwards we had intended to have lunch at the Slug & Lettuce near the London Eye but god that place was so mobbed and a real disaster so we abandoned that idea and ended up having lunch at a pub inside Waterloo Station which was fine. Much quieter and good food/drinks. Always great fun hanging out with Nicola. It was already 4 years again since I last saw her at her wedding. Time flies so much. 

After spending time with Nicola Mike & I headed to Greenwich and toured the Royal Observatory there. Then had dinner at a neat pub there. Definitely an area to come back to and explore some more. After Greenwich we headed back to the hotel for a few more drinks at the hotel bar. That's where things went a bit sideways. I had my bag hanging on the chair and neither Mike or I noticed when a guy came in and grabbed it. Well, long story short. My bag (incl. my wallet with my credit cards & driver's license, some meds, a guide book, battery & usb cable and some other small stuff) disappeared so we had to cancel credit cards (after the guy charged up $2000 already - but Capital One should be taking care of that), file a police credit and so on. Oh the joy. I will need to go to the DMV when we get home, order replacement cards for everything else (store cards, library cards etc.) and work on replacing everything else. To be fair the staff at the hotel was super, super nice and apologetic about the whole situation. The mgr. assured us they had never had anything like that happen and seemed truly upset. 

Anyway, we still had a good day on Monday and tried not to let this ruin the remainder of the vacation. Spent Monday in Bath (1 1/2 hrs by train from London) and had really nice weather that day as well. Went to the Roman Baths when we got there, then had lunch at a lovely placed called the Bath Brew House. Then wandered around some more, went to the Jane Austen museum and also bought a bunch of tea at Whittard's. Eventually made our way back to the train and back to our hotel. And well now it's Tuesday, we are at Gatwick and probably going to be boarding our flight in another hour or so. 

Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a reply to: Celia/MA, Kimber/Canada, Nina/WA and Tiffany/OK. 

Posted by Hanna at 10:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)