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I knew it couldn’t last forever…

Last night, just before bed, I ran my hands over Arran’s body. That’s when I found the enlarged lymph node near his left “armpit”. I checked his other nodes. The ones in his back legs, which were enlarged when I first found out about his lymphoma, were not swollen. I thought I could detect a little swelling in the nodes under his jaw.

It’s possible that this isn’t lymphoma roaring back to life, but I think it probably is. I’ve noticed Arran is a little shaky lately, too.

He has a vet appointment on Wednesday. It will be his 16th week, I believe… and he’s already done better on chemo than I ever thought he could. He made it to his tenth anniversary.

I don’t know how much longer he has, but I suspect his time is drawing close. I’m kind of ambivalent about it. Yes, of course, I will miss him. I love him dearly. When we lose him, it’s going to leave a huge hole. But I also miss traveling freely, even just to go out to dinner. I miss being able to sleep through the night without having to let him out or feed him. He is about 14 years old, too.

What makes this worse is that Bill has to go away again this week. I think Arran will be okay, but the new swollen lymph node gives me an ominous feeling.

On the bright side, he’s still eating and able to jump on the bed by himself. All he has right now is a little trembling and a swollen node. But I think it’s time to prepare for the inevitable. And here I was thinking, before I found that swollen node, that maybe we could get him one last dental. He definitely needs one.

Anyway, if you can spare some good vibes, I’d appreciate them. I just want it to be smooth sailing until the end.

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Uncategorized

A big DUMP of snow…

Bill and I had made some tentative plans to get out of the house today. Mother nature had other plans. It started to snow last night at about 5:30pm or so… I had noticed a little snow in the afternoon. I hadn’t seen it actually falling, but I saw the evidence on the ground. Still, I was unprepared for the dumping of white stuff we got last night. I think we got about four inches or so, which is significant.

When we still lived in Jettingen (near Stuttgart), we typically got at least one good snowfall every winter. Usually, it snowed even more often than that, with the ice and snow hanging around for weeks sometimes. Up here in Breckenheim, it rarely snows. When it does snow, it’s not much, and the stuff melts quickly. Not so this time…

According to The Weather Channel, it’s possible we’ll get a little more snow this evening, although it’s kind of sunny and cold today. Tomorrow, it’s supposed to snow more. They’re calling for “snow showers”, because it’s not that cold outside. I think that’s what we were supposed to get last night, but as you can see, Mother Nature had other ideas. Don’t want to go out in that!

Arran has never been a fan of snow, so he’s just been going out to do the bare minimum. He got a walk today, too. Noyzi, on the other hand, seems to enjoy snow as much as his predecessor, Zane, did.

Noyzi enjoys the newly fallen snow. It’s early afternoon, and most of it hasn’t melted yet.

I enjoy snow. I think it’s pretty. I don’t necessarily want to go out in it, though, so that means I’ve been finishing up my latest book this afternoon instead of venturing out, like we’d hoped. SIGH… I don’t really enjoy this time of year in Germany. But, at least with each passing day, we get closer to spring. And our next trip, which could be as soon as next month, gets closer as each chilly, damp, and cloudy day passes. We’ll see what happens. It depends on Arran, and whether or not he can be boarded safely.

It’s always fun to have snow for a day or two, if only because it’s unusual… and it gives me a reason to wear the new coat I spent a boatload of money on last month.

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holidays

Milking MLK weekend for all it’s worth…

I can’t believe we’re already in the middle of January 2023. Time sure is flying. Ordinarily, we would have used Martin Luther King Day weekend for a short trip somewhere. But we haven’t been living in ordinary times for awhile now. Last year, we had COVID to deal with. This year, it’s Arran’s cancer.

Actually, we probably could have gone somewhere. He’s not so ill that he can’t be boarded. All he needs is Prednisolone every other day, a vet visit every other week, and Endoxan twice a week, every other week. This week, he just got the Prednisolone, which would have been easy for our regular boarding facility to manage. I just don’t want to board him if I can avoid it, because I know he’d rather be with us.

Noyzi loves being boarded, but I don’t want to drop him off and take Arran with us. That’s a hassle. Taking Noyzi with us is also difficult, because takes up the whole back end of our car. It’s better if he gets boarded. It’s hard to shop when the dog takes up all the cargo space. At this point, we have plans to go to Stuttgart at the end of March. The dogs will be boarded for that.

It was a lot easier to travel when we had Zane, as he and Arran could share the back seat. Zane also didn’t mind going to the potty on the leash. We did manage to get Noyzi to poop on the leash when we took him to France, but it took awhile. On the other hand, Zane was a lot louder and naughtier than Noyzi is. We were more likely to get yelled at by locals when we traveled with Zane.

The weather in Germany was pretty gloomy this weekend. We’ve had rain every day. While it’s not super cold, it is pretty windy and blustery. I still have a touch of cabin fever and would like to get out and do something fun. Then I look at the depressing weather and decide to hibernate.

It’s not all bad, though. I used the fireplace last night, which is always nice. I wish we had seating in the living room that makes the fireplace easy to enjoy. I like this house a lot, but the downstairs layout could be better. The living room is like two rooms that open into the dining room.

I was thinking the other day… I’d like to turn the dining room into an extension of the kitchen. Put in a pantry and a wine fridge, and move our spare fridge upstairs. Maybe install a kitchen island. and more counter space, and put in a door to block the kitchen from the living room. Too bad this isn’t my house and I don’t have tons of money. 😉

Bill and I spent the weekend watching movies, listening to music, drinking wine, and talking. He tried out making calzones with the empanada makers I got him for Christmas. They tasted good, although his presentation technique needs some polish. I’m sure he’ll get a chance to practice. He also tried a couple of new recipes from one of the cookbooks I got him.

I have been giving some thought to places we’d like to visit this year… I know Bill wants to go to Spain and/or Portugal again. I’d like to go to the Baltics, or maybe Finland. I’d also like to visit Brno in the Czech Republic. There are more exotic places we’d like to go, as well. They would require flying, which I’m still not sure I want to do unless I have to. I do know, however, that I’d like to venture out beyond the usual countries… France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and the like.

For now, though… we’re at home. At least Bill got lots of sleep, which he really needs. Below are some photos… The first, second, and fourth are of the calzone experiment. The fifth is of some Bearnaise Sauce Bill tried to make using a new recipe out of a Michel Roux cookbook I bought him.

The last photo is a bottle of wine a friend bought that comes from Bauerwein.de, a winery in the Pfalz. They have lots of wines with funny names. There’s one called Bullshit, and another called If You’re a Terrorist, Racist, or Just an Asshole, Don’t Drink My Wine. I could list more, but some of the names are really long and I have another blog post to type. I’m thinking of ordering a bunch. If we’d had nicer weather, maybe we would have paid them a visit. Their outfit is about 80 minutes away from us.

I’d really like to kick the travel blog back into gear in 2023, although I don’t have plans to publicize it much. I can see there are a lot of people who are better at this than I am… and make YouTube videos, and shit. I just put songs on YouTube. 😉

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Health

He made it to ten years! Happy “gotcha day”, Arran!

Since I’ve been writing about my dog, Arran’s, canine chemotherapy progress in this blog, I think this is the right place to share the happy news. Our sweet Arran, who was diagnosed with B cell lymphoma in October 2022, has now officially been in our family for ten years! He is officially now the dog we’ve had for the longest time. I feel quite certain that if it weren’t for our local veterinarians, our sweet Arran would no longer be with us.

Naturally, I’m very happy that Arran has spent ten years with us. Our other beagle, Zane, was getting close to his tenth anniversary when he, too, got lymphoma. We lost him on August 31, 2019, just one week after he was diagnosed with cancer. I think Zane’s lymphoma was both more advanced and more aggressive than Arran’s has been. We never had the opportunity to try chemotherapy with him.

I don’t think Zane was quite as strong as Arran is. I also believe Zane came from a puppy mill, while Arran came from hunters who apparently were trying to breed the perfect hunting dog. He wasn’t the perfect hunting dog for them, but he is a very strong, resilient dog, who is very attached to us. Consequently, he’s really been fighting to stay with us.

Below is a photo I took on the day we adopted him, January 12, 2013. He’s sitting next to Zane in the house we were renting in Sanford, North Carolina. We had lost his predecessor, MacGregor, to a very aggressive spinal tumor on December 18, 2012. Arran was named “CD” by the rescue, and “Marley” by his first adoptive family. We decided to name him Arran after a beautiful island in Scotland we saw on our tenth anniversary cruise in Scotland. The news about MacGregor’s surprise spinal tumor had interrupted that wonderful and long awaited trip. I was still enchanted by how beautiful Scotland is, and how much at home I felt there. Arran, likewise, is beautiful, colorful, funny, mischievous, and very special… like the Island of Arran is.

I don’t know exactly how old Arran was in the above photo, but I would guess he was at least four, as he was previously adopted and returned to Triangle Beagle Rescue out of Raleigh, North Carolina. From the very beginning, our “Tribeagle” been sweet, adorable, and loving. He’s also been quite a troublemaker at times, and a real scrapper. I would say that his tendency to get into trouble is one reason why he’s still with us today. Below is a photo I took this morning. He was hunting for crumbs until the table.

He’s now at about week fourteen of his chemo. As you can see from the video, taken a couple of days ago, he’s still very interested in living… and eating! We owe a lot to our vets in the neighboring village of Wallau for providing such excellent and affordable care.

Our rascally “chowhound”, Arran!

When we decided to get treatment for Arran’s lymphoma, I really only hoped we’d get to celebrate ten years with our loving hound. As I look at him right now, he’s waiting impatiently for me to finish typing this, so we can take a walk. He’s still obviously very invested in living his life.

Obviously, not every dog will respond to treatment as well as Arran has, but we sure are glad we gave it a try. And now, we’re just going to focus on enjoying having him, for however long we can.

Arran on the day we brought him home from Raleigh, North Carolina. It was exactly ten years ago, today!

Anyway… I thought I’d just share the news. We have hit an unprecedented milestone. And for that, Arran deserves a walk with his big Kosovar pal, Noyzi. He sure is a fighter! And he’s still so very beautiful to me, even if he does pee on the floor and get us up at 3:00am for his breakfast.

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holidays

New Years Eve 2022!!! We’re bracing ourselves.

I fully expect tonight will be an awesome display of German style pandemonium. For the past two years, the customary neighborhood fireworks displays have been prohibited, because of the COVID pandemic. This year, Germans are once again allowed to purchase fireworks for New Year’s Eve. And as Bill has just come back from the local Rewe, where he bought sparkling water, beer, and laundry detergent, he noticed that a lot of people were at the grocery store, stocking up on bottle rockets, firecrackers, sparklers, and other assorted pyrotechnics.

I suspect the fireworks will upset Noyzi, who has been spared the armageddon like New Year’s tradition for the past two years. Last night, he happened to go outside as someone set off a firecracker. It totally spooked him, and he tried to run back inside before he took a much needed whiz. I made him stay outside and do his business, even though so far, he’s been very reliable about not relieving himself in the house. Noyzi is still very frightened of a lot of things and will jump or try to flee at very little provocation. He has gotten a lot better, though. It’s been very rewarding watching him evolve into a much beloved dog who has a family and a home.

Arran doesn’t care about fireworks. I suspect he’ll sleep through the whole spectacle, as he usually does. He’ll probably fart a few times for good measure. In that way, he is decidedly unlike his predecessor, MacGregor, who was terrified of fireworks. I remember poor MacGregor, the first year we lived in Germany (2007). The people in our neighborhood were all out in the streets, lighting explosives like there was no tomorrow. MacGregor found a spot under my desk and shivered until it was over, hours later.

Even though fireworks were prohibited for the past couple of years, some local Germans still had a stockpile from years past. New Year’s is the only time of year fireworks are allowed to be sold, so I know those were explosives that weren’t spent in earlier years. For New Year’s 2020, we still got a short show. In 2021, it was even shorter still. But this year, I will be very surprised if the fireworks aren’t erupting for a very long time and in high concentrations. I’m glad we have a balcony, so we can watch them. We don’t set them off ourselves.

Hell, I would probably not be too upset if there wasn’t a fireworks show… as they are loud and disruptive, and they upset animals and people with PTSD. And the reason they weren’t allowed in the past two years is because every year, people get hurt. I read one article today that mentioned how it’s customary for people to start showing up in German hospital emergency rooms at about twenty minutes after midnight. Germans are, on the whole, careful and law abiding people, but something about Silvester makes some of them lose their fucking minds. 😉 Alas, some of them also lose digits and limbs, or wind up with severe burns, because they handle fireworks improperly on New Year’s Eve.

I usually get quite tired before midnight these days, anyway… and Bill definitely does. But I know I can’t sleep through tonight. It will be impossible, unless I drug myself. And because my stomach has been giving me issues lately, I don’t want to take that risk. I’ll probably stick with my usual bubbly and call it a night… maybe read more of Jamie Lynn Spears’ book, which I started yesterday. I gotta say, after reading Paulina Porizkova’s book… or even Matthew Perry’s book… she comes off as a kind of a twit. I’ll probably enjoy writing my review. 😉 I predict it will be pretty snarky. If you want to read my thoughts on Paulina’s and Matthew’s books, you can find my reviews on my main blog. The link is at the top of this page (or right here).

Today, we’re taking care of some “honey do” chores. I managed to get a new bookshelf for the cookbooks I keep buying (and rarely using) at Christmas. I put it in our living room, where it makes the room look better furnished. I was going to buy another one for Bill’s Jung books, but after I moved some of the cooking/boozing books from our upstairs shelf, I discovered a whole shelf was available for the Jung books. That’s probably enough for now, although I might get another one anyway, just because I also need to buy new bathroom rugs.

As I write this, the duvet covers are being washed, newly washed sheets are on the bed, a load of clothes have been washed, and Bill is cleaning out the kitchen cabinets. He’s looking for a moth infestation, after I noticed two tiny holes in his favorite wool sweater on Monday, when we went to Villa Im Tal for a Christmas lunch. I figure the holes come from moths, because I’ve noticed a few of them flying around, and I know we have old stuff that needs to be tossed. I’ve already thrown out a couple of things, to include a package of Jello pudding that dates from 2017. 😀

It will be nice to have a slightly less cluttered and cleaner house. Since I got a new vacuum for Christmas, I took the old vacuum to the basement and used it to tidy up a bit downstairs. I’ll probably move that machine downstairs permanently, at some point. It will live with my Tineco wet vacuum, which I’ll probably use after I finish writing this post. That vacuum is good for getting rid of muddy paw prints on the parquet floors. I don’t do it very often, though, because frankly it’s a waste of time and energy. The dogs are constantly tracking mud into the house, because this time of year it rains a lot. Today, we have pretty warm weather, especially for this time of year… but it’s a bit cloudy.

Anyway… wish us luck. I wish you a safe and happy new year. I look forward to some exciting and more frequent travel experiences in 2023, God willing. Of course, that will probably mean losing Arran, which will be very sad… On the other hand, as sad as it will be, it will also present opportunities that we’ve been missing. Much like the Germans have been missing their fireworks. 😉 And, just like the Germans sometimes get into trouble when they set off explosives, so do Americans who travel in Europe. The silver lining is, those kinds of fiasco experiences lead to some epic travel tales. So stay tuned! Happy New Year! And tune in tomorrow, because I’ll probably have photos and video of whatever happens!

The featured photo was taken in Natural Bridge, Virginia, at my family’s homestead during our Thanksgiving 2014 celebration (last time I was home)… My cousin and his son are fireworks experts (seriously) and put on these shows for a living. A few years ago, they put one on for my cousin’s daughter’s summer wedding and pissed off half of Roanoke, Virginia. This is funny to me, because my dad never set off fireworks. I guess some of my relatives get their adrenaline rushes by lighting things on fire and watching them blow up.

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Uncategorized

A Christmas treat at Villa Im Tal…

I know I have at least one reader out there in Internet Land who likes it when Bill and I go out to eat. There was a time not so long ago when that was a pretty regular occurrence for us. Unfortunately, COVID-19 and Arran’s sudden regression to puppy adolescent behavior have curtailed our fun in recent weeks. He’s been breaking into the basement, getting into anything remotely resembling food. It got so bad that I ordered a new baby gate last week and it arrived the other day. It’s about four feet tall, I think.

Bill installed the new gate and beagle proofed as much as he could today, as we had a 1:00 appointment to visit one of our favorite restaurants, Villa Im Tal, a beautiful restaurant in a wooded area on the outskirts of Wiesbaden. We’ve been there many times, but I think our most recent visit was last spring. When I saw that they had a special Christmas menu available, I decided to ask Bill if he was up for it. Naturally, he was.

The special menu was four courses. Everybody got the same thing, except for the main course. There was one vegetarian selection, or a choice of roast beef, sea bass, or roasted duck. The duck was the most interesting for me, while Bill went with the roast beef. We ordered and paid for the food a few days ahead of time, to help out the chefs in their planning. However, once we got to the restaurant, we still had to tell our waitress what we wanted.

The food and service were, as usual, superb. We started with two glasses of white champagne, fresh bread with Spundekäs (a local mild cheese spread), then a beautiful sashimi salmon salad, with watercress, pomegranate seeds, turnips, and a honey mustard vinaigrette. Next came my favorite course, a delightful langoustine soup, with chili peppers, ginger, tomatoes, and croutons. That soup was so delicious! I would have gone there just for that course! It was a very comforting bisque that practically burst with flavor.

Next came our main dishes– Bill’s roast beef came with mushrooms and a barley risotto, and my duck included a potato knodel and spiced cranberries and red cabbage. Bill said the roast beef was excellent. I didn’t try it, because of the mushrooms. I did really enjoy the duck, though, which came with a savory gravy. We paired the entrees with a lovely Spatburgunder from Rheinland-Pfalz. Finally, for dessert, we had a Blood Orange Papaya Salad with mandarin sorbet, and white chocolate.

There were a lot of people in the restaurant, as well as a well behaved poodle who charmed a toddler girl. She put on quite a show as she came over to pet the friendly black dog. While we were enjoying our meal, I started telling Bill about how, the first time I visited Florence in 1997, I was with friends and ordered a steak. The waiter neglected to charge me for it. I called it to his attention, and he seemed ready to defend the prices. He was definitely surprised and very relieved when I let him know that he forgot to charge me for my dinner.

The same thing happened to Bill and I one time when we were dining at The Occidental in Washington, DC, years ago. The waiter was very grateful that we pointed out the mistake, commenting that we saved him a lot of paperwork. Wouldn’t you know it, the same thing happened tonight! The waitress forgot to charge us for our bottle of red wine! She was pretty happy when Bill reminded her that we’d had it.

Villa Im Tal is a nice restaurant, but it’s also child friendly. This dinner offered a kids’ menu, and I’m pretty sure they have one on their regular menu, too. But although it’s family ready, it’s also a very nice place to eat. The food and service are always outstanding. I always appreciate the friendly and professional staff members, many of whom speak English, and the beautiful woodsy setting, near a large riding facility that makes me miss owning a horse.

We prepaid for the food, which was 88 euros per person. I think the bill for the wine and sparkling water was another 100 euros, plus Bill threw in some euro cash as a tip. It was worth every euro cent, as Villa Im Tal is always a pleasure. Below are some photos from our delightful date…

When we got home, at about 3:45pm, Arran and Noyzi were very excited. And we were excited to find that the only casualty from our absence was some newspaper that Arran shredded. I threw it in the fireplace, possibly for a fire tonight. I know we’ll be back to Villa Im Tal. It’s definitely a favorite.

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holidays

Merry Christmas 2022!

Here’s a quick photo dump and a few paragraphs about our eleventh Christmas in Germany. We have now spent half our marriage in this beautiful country, but the Christmases have been epic– 2007, 2008, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and now 2022… Oh, okay, technically we spent Christmas 2019 in France.

But we’ve lived over here for awhile… so long, in fact, that we didn’t bother to go to any Christmas markets this year. That was mostly because of Arran, who has been undergoing chemotherapy for lymphoma and tends to get in trouble if he gets left alone. We are planning to go out tomorrow, though… lovely lunch at Villa Im Tal, which is one of our favorite restaurants. I just bought a new, taller, and sturdier baby gate for preventing entry to the basement, which I hope will curtail any of Arran’s antics for a few hours tomorrow.

As usual, I bought a lot more gifts for Bill than he bought for me, mainly because I know what he likes, and what we need. I usually get him clothes for Christmas, but I already got him clothes a few weeks ago. He doesn’t need more. In fact, we both really need to cull our wardrobes! I have some clothes I haven’t worn in ten years! The only thing I bought for him that he can wear are new gloves, which he requested. I ordered them from an Italian outfit called Fratelli Orsini. He tried them on and said they fit perfectly. I tried to order a pair for myself, but I think I chose gloves that were out of stock. Oh well.

I mostly bought books– especially cookbooks and books about wine, and one book by Carl Jung– and lots of kitchen gadgets. I had a good time stuffing Bill’s stocking, which my mom knitted for us twenty years ago. We used to fill them every year, but stopped for some reason. This year, we decided to fill them again, to great success. I think Bill was especially pleased with the “toilet light” I got for us. He got me ready made cocktails, which won’t be as good as his, but might come in handy at some point. He also bought me shawls in three different colors.

Bill made baked eggs with asparagus and smoked salmon for breakfast, using one of last year’s cookbooks. He recently discovered them, and decided he liked them, so I bought him two more books by the same author, the late Michel Roux, a Frenchman who went to Britain and changed food there. Just now, I decided to get a couple more of his books, because they’re going out of print, and I have plans to buy bookshelves in the new year. Bill also made some excellent biscuits from scratch, a skill he’s been working on for awhile. The secret is truly in the flour. You need White Lily self rising flour to make them like we have them at home.

Anyway… here goes with the photo dump… He bought me a weighted blanket, which Arran immediately claimed. I also got a new office chair with heat and massage and a cordless vacuum! I did ask him for the vacuum, because the one I have is 7 years old and very cumbersome to use. I think it was a successful morning.

The featured photo is from a Christmas card our landlord brought us. It’s a photo of our village church, which dates from the 12th century. I love the photo. I might need to find a frame!

Bill is now preparing dinner, which should be pretty epic. I feel very fortunate today… and I hope everyone reading this also feels good/well today. But I know Christmas isn’t always easy for everyone… so if you happen to be feeling blue today, I send my very best wishes for better days. Merry Christmas, to all who celebrate! For those who don’t celebrate, may your day be blessed!

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anecdotes, Baden-Württemberg, Hessen, housekeeping tips

A pretty dull week…

It’s been seven days since my last post on this blog. I haven’t written because I haven’t had too much to write about this week. We had extremely cold weather last week. It lasted until Monday, when the snow we got last week turned into black ice. Sure enough, I slipped and fell on my ass, bruising my left buttcheek. Since I also did something to my right hip, that was an even less welcome development than it might have otherwise been. My butt recovered after a day, but my right hip is still painful. I might even have to break down and see a doctor about it.

Arran had his latest chemo treatment last night. He’s now in the second phase of his treatment. Bill took him in, and said the vet was impressed by Arran’s resilience. He is still doing very well. I think she thought maybe he wouldn’t take to chemo, because of his age, and because he was getting sick when we got his first treatment. His red blood cells have improved, while his white blood cells are still elevated. But they would be elevated anyway, due to the treatments. Because he’s in the second phase of chemo, he doesn’t take as much medication. He goes to the vet every other week for IV push meds, and takes less of the Endoxan (chemo pill). However, he’s still on Prednisolone, which makes him more of a stinker than usual.

We have plans to go Villa Im Tal on the afternoon of the 26th. It’s one of our favorite fine dining restaurants. I look forward to it, although I worry that Arran will try to break into the basement while we’re gone. He’s regressed in his behavior since he started chemo. I ordered a new gate– one that’s sturdier and taller– to try to prevent him from invading the basement. Other than that, he’s mostly himself… taking walks, eating like a champ, sleeping, cuddling, and being cute. We’re really cherishing this time with him.

We had a new dishwasher installed yesterday. The old one was twelve years old and broke. I’m glad we got both things done before Christmas, which is pretty much going to shut everything down for a few days. Our landlord is slowly but surely upgrading our house. He says he wants to install new windows and a heat pump, too. As he was leaving yesterday, he asked Bill if we needed more wood for the fireplace or salt for the dishwasher. We’re fine, but it’s nice to have a landlord who cares about our well-being and happiness. I’m sure he likes having the house occupied, and after four years with us, he knows we won’t disturb him unless it’s really necessary.

Getting new windows will be like deja vu, since new windows were installed in our last house as we were moving in. It was kind of a painful process, but the windows were really nice. Maybe we’ll get electric shutters, too. 😉 Ex landlady put in electric shutters on the windows in the living room. They were very nice, but sometimes they didn’t work properly. She also lectured us about not losing the remote control, which of course we didn’t. That was probably one of the only things we did right in that house. :eyeroll:

Other than that, it’s been a pretty boring week. Although January and February can be pretty bleak in Germany, I kind of look forward to being done with the Christmas season. It’s so dark over here during this time of year. And because I don’t really want to leave Arran alone unless it’s necessary, I’ve been a bit “fun deprived” lately. With more light and warmth, we might be able to take him with us more often.

The only other thing that happened this week was our neighbor had a bunch of us over for Gluhwein. It was frigid outside, so when we came back into the house, I ordered a new parka. It probably won’t get used much, but it might be the last parka I will ever buy. Oh… and my neighbor thought I was an 80s baby, which was a nice compliment. I am very much a card carrying member of Generation X, though… born in the 70s.

Breckenheim sure is a friendly little village. It’s a lot of fun to bond with the neighbors. Funny enough, several of the ones who live near us are from Baden-Württemberg! They seem to like Hessen more. It’s probably because there’s wine… and people are a little warmer. I do miss the beautiful sights down in BW, though. It will always have a piece of my heart. 

The featured photo is of Arran near our wine barrel table. He was obsessed with the framed photo of my husband’s daughter’s family, because it smelled like the treats she sent in a box to us!

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Uncategorized

Brrrrr!!!!

Here’s a quick post for this week, which I have mostly spent alone, because Bill has been on his latest Bavarian TDY adventure. We got snow yesterday, and the temperatures have been wicked cold. In the four years we’ve lived in Breckenheim, we haven’t really had a proper snow… until yesterday, that is. And it wasn’t a lot of snow, but the temperatures are so cold that I think it’s going to stick around at least for today. That’s unusual for this area, at least during this era of global warming.

When we lived in Jettingen, we usually got a lot more snow in the winter, and sometimes it would hang around for weeks. But up here, when it snows, there isn’t a lot, and it’s usually gone by the end of the day. I know that’s not how it’s been historically, but that’s how it’s been since we moved here. In fact, it’s so cold that I’m actually considering buying myself a new coat. Of course, it might turn out to be a waste of money, since it really doesn’t get cold here as a general rule. On the other hand, there are a lot of other places in Europe that get cold, and we can always travel.

Arran doesn’t have to go to the vet this week. For the first time since mid October, he gets a break from IV push cancer meds. He doesn’t get any “cancer” drugs this week, other than his regular steroids every other day. He’s still taking Prednisolone, though, which makes him kind of a pain to deal with, due to the side effects of the drug. Still, he’s plugging away. He didn’t get a walk yesterday, but we just took a short one this morning to give him a chance to poop and Noyzi a chance to stimulate himself. I took a few photos.

Our weekly market is going on today, even though it’s cold and icy. I probably won’t visit it, though, because the landlord is having a new dishwasher installed for us this afternoon.

Today is my last full day alone, as we’re expecting Bill back tomorrow. He will be a sight for sore eyes. I’ve been lonely… and Arran gets me up at least twice a night to go outside and to beg for treats. 😉

I made a new video, too… this one was inspired by my former shrink, who loves this song. As I am about to celebrate yet another Christmas far from my home in America, I’m reminded of my family. I do miss them.

I would have done it live on camera, but decided to redo the vocals and couldn’t be arsed to film myself again. Arran’s face looks weird in that still. That’s not how he looks in person.

Below are some pictures from today’s walk. The fiberglass internet guy came by the other day, rudely waking me from the nap I really needed and was about to take. I don’t think I looked very friendly when I answered the door. 😀

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Arran’s chemo #8

I don’t have a lot to write about Arran’s chemo treatment yesterday. It basically went off without incident. The only thing unusual was that our landlord had to come over with a repair guy, because the dishwasher isn’t working properly. The appointment he made was at 5:00, which was also when Arran’s chemo treatment was. Bill is pretty much the only one working at the office this week, so he couldn’t come home early. I had visions of Noyzi being home alone and panicking… the memories of that other dog we tried to rescue escaping is still fresh in my mind, even though that was almost three years ago.

So, before I took off for the vet’s, I put Noyzi in his “room”, and shut the door. He wasn’t happy about it and did some whining. But I knew he would be in there for less than an hour, since I knew Bill would be home before I got back from the vet’s office. As it turned out, Bill and I passed each other as I was heading out, and he was heading toward home. Noyzi was “locked up” for maybe ten minutes.

There was an adorable bulldog at the vet’s office last night, who kept dancing around making little shrieking noises. I like all dogs, although I’ve never been particularly attracted to the snub nosed dogs. That dog was pretty cute, though. Once he left, a lady with a very pretty boxer came in. I got the sense that the boxer didn’t like female dogs, because she had no issue with Arran, but was growling at another female dog– looked like a collie or something akin to it. Arran got most of his chemo in the waiting room, and he made no protest whatsoever, except I had to drag him into the exam room.

Next week, our chemo regime changes. Arran doesn’t have to go to the vet’s office for his IV drug infusion for the first time since October. Instead, he’ll just get pills, and more often. The week of Christmas, he’ll be back for another infusion. He’s still doing very well, in terms of his quality of life. He has a lot of energy… or a lot for a dog his age. Walks are still a must. In fact, the other day, he ruined a duvet because I was washing the sheets and he made a bed on the duvet, which I had put on the floor. I guess he forgot himself and peed all over it. I didn’t walk him the day before, so he had a couple of accidents. It gave me an excuse to buy a new duvet and cover, which I’d been wanting to do, anyway. In fact, I ended up buying two duvets.

Arran still loves to eat, and will jump and dance for his food. Last night, after he saw the vet, he demanded a treat from her. Then, after his chemo treatment, he wanted another one. And his face was all bright and adoring when we got home, and Bill was there to welcome us. He looks kind of timid and sad when we’re at the vet’s office, but the rest of the time, he’s mostly his old self. I still don’t know how long he’s got, but he’s definitely giving life his all. I still think getting chemo for him was a good decision, even though I know the results are temporary. This time with Arran is precious, and we know to enjoy it as much as we can.

The landlord and the repair guy were only here for a short while. The verdict is, we need a new dishwasher. The landlord didn’t even bat an eye about it. The one we’ve been using is about twelve years old, and somehow the hose wasn’t draining properly. Apparently, there was a lot of standing water under the machine. The landlord casually said he’d ordered a new dishwasher, and it will get to us sometime next week. I hope the next thing he replaces is the refrigerator. It’s definitely high time. He also told Bill that the vet who owns the practice where we take our dogs is actually one of our neighbors. His property is adjacent to our landlord’s backyard.

Once again, I’m shocked by the difference between him and our ex landlady. It’s night and day… Ex landlady would have blamed me for this development, even though all I’ve been doing is using the dishwasher the way I always have. In fact, Bill messes with it more than I do. I just put dishes in it.

Anyway, so ends this week’s chemo report. I’ll be home alone next week, so it’s good that the regime is changing.

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