Tag Archives: Life

The Best Weeks of the Year

No, I haven’t drowned in that little pool. It’s spent some time in the basement, in fact, as the heatwave ended (and started again yesterday, so it’s back up).

It’s been a bit busy around here, and in between, I’ve been living La Dolce Vita, realizing that it is strawberry season and that these weeks are the best weeks of the summer. So, I’ve concentrated on LIVING them and ENJOING them to the fullest.

First, we had to get rid of a rather large pine tree that was infested by bark beetles and was dying. To do this, we hired a professional “tree climber”.

I’ve also been doing some of this:

…and enjoying the bounties of the season by having buttered tagliatelli with fresh truffles*….

..and making crepes and filling them with a homemade strawberry filling and garnishing them with fresh strawberries and cream:


*I was gifted a truffle slicer some 15 years ago and always use it to slice garlic. This year, I finally used it to slice real truffles. ‘Bout time.

Whilst being glued….

…to the news and to Twitter, Spring seems to have come and I almost didn’t notice.

Our temperatures are going mild for at least the next ten days and by then, we’ll be in to March which at this latitude, often has nice, sunny and mild days in store for us. It will be time to get back out and get the garden in shape and “dust off” the moats left by winter.

In March I also get to get my new “teeth”. I fought with the molar nerve for a week, my primary weapons being ibuprofen and vitamin B – and I won. It stopped throbbing on Monday and has been fine since. No root canal for this gal, no sir.

I’m Awarding A Huge Big Gold Star…

…to myself for having made it through the 4-hour dental appointment yesterday. I’m very glad to have it behind me.

Bad enough the appointment started at 8.30 a.m., I ended up going there without having any coffee, as coffee seems to be one of the triggers of my hot flashes and I didn’t want be in that dental chair breaking into a glistening sweat every 15 minutes. (Plus, it might have frightened the dentist).

Before he got started, I told him about that odd dream I had some time ago where he wanted to pull out all of my teeth so that they would fit better when put back in, and he really had a good chuckle about it. (Now, there’s probably a remark in my dental records referrring to my mental health.)

When he finally finished getting those four (adjacent) teeth ready by removing old fillings and the last of my gold crowns, that side of the mouth, at least to my tongue, hat an eerie resemblence to pictures I’ve seen of Aleppo.

Either way, I’ve made it through the worst of it and if the nerve he got a bit too close to with the drill settles down again, muting the point of a root canal, I’m a happy camper.

Just not sure why the appointment in March to get the final caps put in place is also a 3 1/2 hour shingding.

Not thinking about it.

Oh Marten

There have always been martens on and around the property, and though I am fully aware that they like the taste of some rubber automotive parts, they’ve never touched one of my cars. So, when I checked the fluid levels this morning, I made a suprising finding.

On the underside of the hood, there is a mat attached, for thermoprotective purposes, I guess. There have been holes in it before, which I’ve always contributed to mice in the past.

This morning, the holes were a bit larger and there was a huge hose laying in there:


It’s about 35 cm long and I looked and looked, but have no idea where it is supposed to go. The engine ran fine for my small trip to the grocery store, the heating worked (thank goodness, we had 14F this morning).

Here’s the hose in its entirety.

I was able to do a internet search on the part number, but all that told me that its a “hose”. Duh. Looking through most of the 700 page repair manual for my car also revealed nothing. So, I’m off to my trusty mechanic on Monday.

Martens, sheesh.

The Kitchen Sink

I actually managed to install the new kitchen sink just before Christmas. (The old one was a white sink, made of synthetic materials, the surface of which after about 18 years had become porous and thus highly susceptible to staining.)

Though the job, which should have taken no more than half an hour, ended up costing me an entire afternoon and a trip to the DIY store.

I started at 3 p.m. The new sink was delivered with it’s own p-trap and all that other junk that leads the water from the sink to the other plumbing (I’m lacking the proper terms for all that). Either way, using the new plumbing accessories wasn’t making it possible to connect to the existing pipe on the wall. I tried a combination of old and new. I went to the basement and retrieved an assortment of plumbing accessories, sat on the kitchen floor surrounded by pipe segments, siphons and p-trap and tried to make it all fit, to no avail.

After buying the needed fittings at the DYI, I got it working at around 7 p.m., stiff and sore from kneeling/sitting/crawling on the floor. But, got it done, and that’s the point, I guess.

The Perks, yes the Perks

I stumbled upon this in my 2003 archives and have decided to post it again, mainly because 13 years later, it rings even truer.

The Perks of Being Over 40 50

– Kidnappers are not very interested in you.

– In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.

– No one expects you to run into a burning building.

– People call at 9PM and ask, “Did I wake you?”.

– People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.

– There is nothing left to learn the hard way.

– Things you buy now won’t wear out.

– You can eat dinner at 4PM.

– You can live without sex but not without glasses.

– You enjoy hearing about other peoples’ operations.

– You get into heated arguments about pension plans.

– You have a party and the neighbors don’t even realize it.

– You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.

– You quit trying to hold your stomach in, no matter who walks into the room.

– You sing along with elevator music.

– Your eyes won’t get much worse.

– Your health plan is beginning to pay off.

– Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the national weather service.

– Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can’t remember them either.

– Your supply of brain cells is finally down to manageable size.

Contributed at the time by Jen.

Bah, Humbug

Christmas is just around the corner. I know this because every imaginable shopping source is trying to sell me something and various charities, some obscure, are breaking down my door via my mailbox.

I’ve decided not to participate in the Christmas lunacy this year. There will be no tree, no decorations, no advent wreath, no christmas cookies. It has been a terrible year in many ways, and I refuse to take part in the collective mass pretention of everyone pretending to be loving each other and all of the other “peace on earth and good will to men” b.s.

Instead, I’ve decided that instead of buying twinkling things, sparkly things, pine things, candles, trinkets, etc., I’m going to donate 100 € and split it into donations to UNHCR, Amnesty International, and Wikipedia.

I’m also seriously considering a subscription to Mother Jones, the digital version only costs $ 12 a year. This reader-supported, non-profit news source is worth supporting.

*gets off of the soap box*


It’s the Little Things

….in life that I am concentrating on at the moment, whilst hoping that the big things going on in the world won’t turn out as disastrous as one might fear.

From a good cup of chai tea to the third batch of oatmeal cookies which are turning out to be the comfort food of the season,  I am thankful for the small things that enrich my life and having basics such as firewood to keep me warm.


In the course of the summer, I purchased two more gerbera plants and they have long since been brought indoors for the winter. Our spring and summer have been so damp and wet followed by disastrously dry at the tail end of summer, that every petunia, geranium and other flowers were INFESTED with whiteflys as of course were the gerbera, and I am continuing the fight against them, now in the comfort of my living room. I use the shower spigot to rinse the underside of the gerbera leaves daily and have placed yellow stickies all around the pots. I think I’m winning the fight.

Like I said, it’s the little things at the moment.

Autumn, Bittersweet

There is something strangely melancholic about autumn. As the temperatures drop, the warm and sunny days begin to become the exception rather than the rule. Trees begin to lose the foliage I so eagerly awaited in early spring. Gloomy gray days, rain, sleet and snow loom on the horizon. I look longingly back at the ease of living and the lightness of being that summer days symbolize, whilst grudgingly acknowledging to myself that months of dreariness must be overcome to get back to the warmer side of the year.

Nevertheless, I’ve vowed to make the most of autumn, be it apples, quince or pumpkin dishes, mowing the lawn to keep from having to rake leaves, and using the warm and sunny days to cut down the flowers and the other plants in the flower beds and get them ready for winter.

And I refuse to even think about Christmas.

Such A Rowdy

The optometrist called me on Monday to let me know that one pair of glasses were ready for pickup. I put on some shoes and got in the car to head down there. As always, there was no place to park.

By Flodur63 - Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30917620
An aerial photo of our little town. Von Flodur63Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30917620

Over the last two years, this part of “downtown” of our little town of 8,000 was renovated, partly to make the creek that runs through the center of it go underground in some areas, and as a result, the parking places have been drastically reduced. You are only allowed to park in the areas specifically designated by the white painted lines.

I found some empty space on the side of the street and parked there, even though it wasn’t designated, and hoped to be in and out of the store relatively fast. I got lucky.

Two days later, the optometrist called to say my reading glasses were also ready for pickup. This time, there was no empty space, so I had to park where the diagonal lines specifically forbid it, since it presents a bit of an obstacle to pedestrians passing over the bridge over the creek. Again, I was in and out again in a snap – and got lucky again.

It seems that at least the guardian angel of parking offenders is on my side right now, but I think I should stop pushing my luck.

It’s also nice to have such excellent eyesight again.