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)

Monday, June 01, 2020

Back to work

IMG_20200531_145108_816So here we are and it's June. I can't believe it's really June 1st. I still feel like it's March. I mean the weather has obviously been pretty nice but I think IMG_20200528_192350_005 COVID/quarantine/furlough has made me lose all sense of time. lol. Today was my first day back at work after my three week furlough. It was a busy day but then I guess that was to be expected of course, wasn't it? As nice as the three weeks of leisure were it of course was also nice to be back. Still working from home for the time being. CT goes into phase 2 of our reopening on June 20th so maybe something will change then. We are supposed to receive another update some time this week so we shall see. 

The weekend was nice and we actually had great weather on both days so that was good. During the week it was super humid but luckily we had storms that came through on Friday and cleared out the humidity. Today was even a little cool but not humid at all and sunny. I did miss my walk today. I have been so good with going for a nice walk every day and getting my steps in. But today it just wasn't meant to be. I was thinking maybe after work but I made my last Hello Fresh meal so that took up some time and after that I just didn't feel like doing anything else. Oh well, there's always tomorrow, right? 

Hello Fresh has been great by the way. I have now made all three meals I ordered and they were all pretty delicious and not difficult to make really. Would definitely recommend Hello Fresh to anyone who wants to try out some new recipes. We were also able to enjoy some more outdoor dining at J. Lawrence, Flipside and Centrico. 

Not too much else going on really. Now that I am back to work that is of course taking up my days again. No travel or vacation plans for now. Just need to wait and see how this all plays out. It's hard to plan anything when we don't really know when restrictions will be completely lifted in different places. So wait and see is what it is for now.

Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a response to: Kimber/Canada. A letter went outlast week to Nina/WA.

Posted by Hanna at 07:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day Weekend

IMG_20200525_172708_558Happy Memorial Day everyone here in the US! It's the unofficial start to the summer here in the US. Originally we should have been in the Finger Lakes for the weekend as we had a reservation for a stay there which had to be cancelled. 

It's a bit of a weird one this year with everything going on. But now that we have outdoor dining opened back up in CT you can almost pretend that things are going back to normal. Our restaurants opened back up this past Wednesday (May 20th) - outdoor dining only. We weren't going to go right away but did give in on Thursday and had dinner at Rosy Tomorrow's. They are following all of the safety measures and it was nice to be out and about again and be able to talk to some of the people we normally would see much more often. 

Saturday was rainy and cool so we just ran some errands, went to the grocery store and put one of the dressers that we had bought together. Still need to do the second one. Those things are always a pain cause they come in a million pieces. Anyway, Sunday we went to Hopkins Vineyard near Lake Waramaug and sat outside, enjoying a bottle of wine. Beautiful weather. Afterwards we met up with our friend Tyler from Two Steps. Normally we would see him at least once a week as he bartends at Two Steps but since they closed for the quarantine we hadn't seen him. So it was great to hang out and catch up. Two Steps hasn't opened yet and probably won't for a little while until things are more back to normal. 

Today, Monday - Memorial Day, we slept in and then headed to Hawk Ridge Winery in Watertown, CT. They also opened up for outdoor seating to enjoy their wine plus they also have food available. We had their buffalo chicken dip as well as jumbo shrimp stackers (jumbo shrimp, cucumber, tomato & mozzarella with a curry/chipotle sauce) When we were done there we headed back to Danbury and decided to stop at Marketplace to finish off the day. I had their blackened tuna tacos with a salad and some delicious passonfruit sangria.  Now I am really full.

In a bit we will probably continue binging "Hollywood" on Netflix. We started watching that yesterday and really enjoyed it. We also finished "Dickinson" on Apple TV Plus which was really good. 

Tomorrow is Tuesday and my last week of furlough begins for me. Back to work a week from today - June 1st. It's been such a weird time. I have gotten some stuff done but honestly I don't even know where the time has gone. My Hello Fresh delivery was damaged last week so that never arrived. So hopefully my box gets here this week so I can try their recipes.  

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

Posted by Hanna at 05:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)