Under The Weather

I have been quite a bit under the weather the last two days and have spent the time on the couch in a zombie-like state. I am better today which is good, as the traditional New Year’s Eve Fondue is being hosted by yours truly and there is a lot of stuff I still need to buy and prepare, plus decorate and clean the house a bit, though not necessarily in that order.

I had the opportunity to watch quite a few movies over the holidays; some good, some bad. I was most disappointed in Alexander; while Colin Farrell is “eye candy”, I found the movie incredibly boring and stopped watching it after 45 minutes. The performance of Angelina Jolie made me wonder at times if I was watching Cleopatra instead of Alexander. Historically, Alexander the Great is a very fascinating man, but they somehow just lost the thread on the cutting room floor, I fear. Quite an exercise of self-gratification on the part of the director.

Day After Tomorrow wasn’t much better. The special effects were good but that was about all. The plot was foreseeable, the characters full of clichees and though I am thoroughly convinced that we are ruining this planet, I found this movie a bit overblown.

Mona Lisa’s Smile was great. Probably not an objective opinion as there is not a single Julia Roberts movie which I don’t like.

I can say the same for Cold Mountain, which I have seen before but wanted to see again. Great story, wonderful cinematography and an Oscar-winning performance by Zellwenger. This one makes me cry every time I see it.

50 First Dates was kinda cute but after a while it began to annoy me with the same redundancy of Ground Hog Day.

I caught Finding John Christmas on daytime TV and was pleasantly surprised. Nice little Christmas story with a brilliant performance by Peter Falk. And Valerie Bertinelli hasn’t seemed to age a day since we first saw her on “One Day At a Time” way back when.

End of transmission. See you next year!

Merry Christmas

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

(Clement C. Moore)

Kürbiskernöl

(Pumpkin Seed Oil)

One of my best customers sent me this for Christmas:


It contains pumpkin seed oil, roasted pumpkin seeds and a chocolate bar made from pumpkin seed marzipan. I made a salad on Saturday evening to accompany the camenbert I’d “baked up” and the loaf of french bread I made.

It was the best salad I have ever had. The pumpkin seed oil has a very dark color, almost like balsamico vinegar, an incredible aroma (a bit reminiscent of sesame seed oil) and will be added to my favorites to stock up on.

Hmmmmm. Most excellent.

Greta Garbo? Renee Zellwenger? JLo? (**lmao)

Melissa recently wrote a post about photo recognition/evaluation software which can be found here. You upload a photo of yourself and it compares the facial features with those of a database of 2.400 celebrities. I had a good chuckle about my results (above) because I do not feel I resemble any of the above, let alone Valery Giscard D’Estaing or Kofi Annan, both of whom were in the results when I submitted a second picture.

Having finished “playing” with the Internet this morning, I took a full-service shower (intense hair conditioner, leg-shaving and treating foot soles) and will now head into the winter wonderland that got dumped on us last night to go grocery shopping.

Whew.

Finally got all of my Christmas cards written – I cannot say just how relieved I am. It’s one of the Christmas “chores” I hate the most, actually.

Now I just need to get to the post office.

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In other news, it turns out that my brother will be the proud parent of a daughter. Sweet revenge, perhaps 😉

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We are getting another four cords of wood this afternoon, being delivered by the farmer from whom I bought my absolutely HUGE Christmas tree (it’s about a foot and a half). [pictures on Christmas Eve, when I put it up] The other wood we had purchased for an outrageously expensive price turned out to be not-quite-dry; causing me to stack a nice stash of wood in the living room next to the wood burning stove in order to accelerate the drying out process. This helps somewhat but at the current temperatures, I cannot dry quickly enough to keep a supply. The wood this afternoon will be a blessing, I am sure.

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I still need to bake a second batch of Christmas cookies – will do so tomorrow, I guess. And though I ought to be knitting baby stuff, the knitting muse has temporarily left me and I have been working on improving my hand-to-eye coordination with Super Mario Bros. 3. Yeah. Call me a kid, go ahead 😉

Oh Nikolaus, oh Nikolaus.

The Christmas party was o.k. Except for the Nikolaus. He did an awful job. Every year, they write up a lengthy rhyme containing funny stories of things that occurred throughout the year. This Nikolaus stammered and stuttered through the rhyme, taking all of the fun out of it. I am quite sure he hadn’t read the text he was supposed to read in advance – oh, well.

My usually so generous luck on the raffle had left me this year, but I did come home with a coffee maker for two cups and a shower gel / bath set (which I quite like – I am sucker for stuff like that). We also won two smoked eels and two smoked trout, and Hilde won a set of dinner plates and a table stove to keep serving dishes warm.

As promised, here some additional pictures from my most wonderful summer ever. I wanted to post them yesterday but couldn’t, because I’d exceeded my hosting space. I’ve now upgraded a bit, and with that taken care of, enjoy. As always, click for larger.


Having my cake and eating it too.
Peißenberg, June 2005


Eng, Karwendel Mountains, June 2005


Wallgau, near Mittenwald/Garmisch.


Skinny dipping in the Plansee to cool off.


My favorite traffic sign in the whole world –
always makes my heart skip a beat!


Leutaschtal – between Garmisch and Innsbruck.


Passo del Rombo, Italy.


Am I beaming with happiness? Yes!