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)

Monday, March 01, 2021

Hello March

MarchWelcome March. I don't usually particularly like March cause it's typically a wet, muddy and "ugly" month. But the one good thing it usually has is that is the gateway to spring. March has the potential of some nice, warmer days. It also has the possibility of cold crappy weather so it really is a mixed bag I guess. But at least there is hope and a light at the end of the tunnel. Tomorrow morning when I have my next orthodontist appointment the forecast shows 17F (-8C) but Wednesday the temps are supposed to reach mid-high 40ies F (7C) so definitely better. 

Not all that much else new really. Work has been quite a bit busier than it has been. I guess that's also a good sign showing that some of the backlog is moving along and companies are initiating relocations that were previously on hold etc. 

Last weekend Saturday we had lunch at Rizzuto's and I spent the evening/night at home making soup and catching up on some reading. Sunday we went for brunch at the Marketplace in Brookfield and later watched the Golden Globes. What a mess that was. I do usually like watching the awards shows but this was a total "shitshow". I understand things are different at the moment due to the social distancing and Zoom/virtual world. But it just seemed like they didn't rehearse this at all and nobody had any idea what was going on. Crazy.

Well and now it's Monday and another week ahead. Let's see what the week brings. 

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

Posted by Hanna at 07:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 22, 2021

Mike's Birthday, more snowy weather, ...

SnoopyMore snow. We had a few more inches today followed by a little rain. And also had snow last week on Thursday on Mike's birthday and pretty sure also on some other days during the week. Just blocked it out by now I think. The weather has been pretty unstable with various fronts coming through. Sometimes being forecasted as more, than ending up as not much and other times the other way around. It looks like the 10-day forecast finally has us creeping into slightly warmer temps above freezing and not the constant threat of snow. Guess we'll see how it goes. 

Last week Thursday for Mike's birthday we ended up not really doing all that much. Mike stayed home during the day and watched the Mars landing on TV. Then at night we ventured out for dinner at Rosy's during a slight break in the snow. Our friend John met us there and we hung out for a little while. Was pretty dead but was still nice to be able to go out. 

Not a whole lot else going on really. The weekend was pretty quiet. Saturday we had lunch at Rizzuto's and I spent the evening at home reading more of Michele Obama's book "Becoming". Need to get a few more chapters in tonight as well actually. Sunday I had my monthly massage booked at 10.15am (been really enjoying those) and then we went to Flipside in Fairfield for lunch and eventually met up with John and Jana at Rosy's. 

And well, here we are. It's Monday and it is shaping up to be another busy week at work. I am hopeful that maybe that means that things are bouncing back. I mean it's been nice having some quieter times at work but of course ultimately it is better for the company and also for myself if relocations start to pick up again and we have a busier work day/week. I guess let's see how it goes. I think right now it's just a combination of some new files plus old ones that are starting to finally move after having been on hold for ages due to lockdowns and visa & travel restrictions. Well, we will just have to wait and see how it continues.  

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

Posted by Hanna at 07:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 15, 2021

Valentine's Day

IMG_20210214_183805_881Happy Valentine's everyone. :) I hope everyone had a nice one even if you aren't currently in a relationship. To me Valentine's Day is simply an excuse to eat delicious food and especially chocolate. :) I mean who doesn't want an excuse to eat chocolate, right? :) We had a good day, didn't do anything crazy but it was a fun low key day. 

Saturday we slept in and then went to Rizzuto's in Westport again. Was kind of funny being there again after just having been there on Wednesday night too. Saturday night I spent with Jana at their home. She made a yummy chicken curry dish and we hung out and watched a rom com/chick flick type movie. Eventually John and Mike (who had hung out together at Two Steps) came back and we hung out together as the four of us for a bit before going home. 

Sunday we went to Rosy's and hung out there for a bit (I had stuffed my face with a heart shaped pepperoni garlic pizza from Notch 8 for a late breakfast) before going to Chuck's for dinner. Such delicious food. I had one of their Valentine's specials, a sliced filet steak with a mushroom red wine sauce, fingerling potatoes and asparagus. So so good. Mike ordered lobster tails and we ended up getting a hot fudge sundae for dessert. Definitely a great dinner. When we got home we caught up on some of our recorded TV and well here we are and it's Monday again. 

In a bit I am going to make dinner, a southern chicken with buttermilk mashed potatoes and green beans. And then I will watch the first episode of "Men in Kilts" and after that I will most likely just settle in for the night and read some more of Michele Obama's book "Becoming". 

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

Posted by Hanna at 04:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wedding Anniversary -- 20 Years

IMG_20210210_101333_618 IMG_20210210_200746_621 IMG_20210210_223542_00920 Years --- where has the time gone? It's honesty crazy to me to think that we got married February 10th, 2001. It does not feel like it's been 20 years. But time is a weird thing. To me the late 90ies also feel like they are 10 years ago and obviously that's even longer ago. To be fair I was only 21 when we got married but still, it just does not feel like 20 years have passed. I have no idea where the time has gone. But it's neither here nor there of course. We have had a lot of great moments in those 20 years, some amazing vacations and fun every day stuff. Of course it wasn't easy every day and we have had our struggles along the way but I guess that's why it's "for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health" etc. I don't think any relationship is ever just easy and perfect all the time. But all in all I really can't complain, it's mostly been 20 pretty fun years. :) So here's to the next 20. 

We had originally planned to celebrate with an epic vacation of some sort. Maybe Fiji, Tahiti or the Maldives or Mauritius. Somewhere far flung and amazing. Of course Covid cancelled those plans for us. We are still planning on doing something epic but it will have to wait. Maybe later this year or next year. So for this year for the actual anniversary there really wasn't a whole lot we could do. It was cold with snow and ice on the ground so not really the type of weather to spend a ton of time outside. Most movie theaters aren't even open mid-week and/or if they are they only have a few show times in the evening. Museum would have been fun too but most require scheduled appointments in advance etc. And leaving CT is pretty much a no-go right now too cause you then have to quarantine when coming back plus whatever restrictions there are in the state you are going to.

So we ended up booking 1 night at a boutique hotel in Southport, CT - close by to Rizzuto's in Westport. Had a lovely dinner at Rizzuto's and then a night cap at the hotel restaurant. I had taken both Tuesday and Wednesday off from work so it was nice having some time off mid week. Not the epic vacation I had originally envisioned but it was still fun and we made the best of it. Goes with the "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade" type saying. And we did have a fun day and night out. 

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

Posted by Hanna at 04:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)