Noyzi’s TV terrors…

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Noyzi, the Kosovar street dog, is getting braver. Yesterday, he came upstairs and actually stayed for a few minutes. In the past, he’d come up the stairs as if to look for me, but would never actually stay up there. I think he was excited after he had a walk.

I was sitting on the bed eating a sandwich and Noyzi came to the doorway and stood there. He wanted to come into the bedroom, but was looking worriedly at the TV. It occurred to me that he’d probably never seen one on before yesterday. We don’t have a television in our living room, and that’s where he spends most of his time. He doesn’t like men, either. So, I guess seeing Alan Thicke on TV scared him.

Every day, we’re faced with a new Noyzi challenge. He rewards us by making new strides. Last night, we had pork for dinner. Noyzi was happy to ask me for a bite, but when Bill offered him some of his, he was too scared to get it. He usually wears us down by giving me the puppy eyes and I end up giving him a treat. But last night, I was determined to test his courage. I led him over to Bill and held his collar while Bill gave him pork and stroked his head. Then, when we tried again, I just stood next to him without holding him. He’s still scared, but every time he successfully does something, like pass Bill in the dining room, or come upstairs and stay longer than a few seconds, it’s a victory. I really feel like his reactions are reflexive. I think he knows Bill won’t hurt him, but he’s phobic. I have a phobia myself, so I understand how that is.

In other news, Bill’s new guitar got here yesterday. So did my new Donald Trump toilet brush, the acquisition of which actually caused a former friend to dump me on social media! I look forward to using Trump to scrub the shit stains out of the potty.

The featured photo today is of the sunrise we were graced with this morning. It’s not as amazing or dramatic as the ones we used to get in Jettingen, but it did cause me to pause and appreciate for a moment. Our heat went out last night, so our landlord is getting someone to fix it for us. We may end up with a renovation soon, because he says there might be something wrong with the boiler system. Ironically, he says he might put in new windows. Our last house got new windows as we were moving in, so I know what this will mean. But I also know that it will make the house quieter and less drafty, so that’s a plus.

Bill will be taking a work trip soon. He has to go to Bavaria for about three weeks. I’m a bit pissed off about it. But as usual, I’m building a bridge and trying to get over it. At least I have Noyzi around to remind me of how first world my problems really are. Employment is a good thing. I just hope it won’t be a superspreader event.

I guess my next Noyzi project is teaching him that the TV is not full of boogeymen who are going to get him. Maybe he’ll turn into a TV buddy like big brother Arran is.

My online shopping life… or, the pandemic has made us learn new things.

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It’s hard to believe that just a year ago, Bill and I were preparing to journey to France to see my friends Audra and Cyril and celebrate Christmas with them and their family. This year, we don’t go anywhere. I’m serious. I haven’t left our neighborhood in over two months. It’s getting old.

But I’m trying to keep my spirits up. The other day, I ordered chocolates from Neuhaus. I was a victim of Facebook advertising, which kept showing me pictures of Belgian chocolate. Then I remembered that once upon a time, when I was still a working woman, I actually used to sell Neuhaus chocolates.

I worked at a place called Henry Street Chocolatier, which was located in Williamsburg, Virginia. They sold high end chocolates from Neuhaus and Joseph Schmidt, a now defunct confectioner out of San Francisco, California that specialized in making chocolate truffles. They also had locally produced pastries and coffee by First Colony, an outfit out of Norfolk, Virginia. I think First Colony as I knew it went out of business, but they also used to sell coffee to The Trellis, a restaurant where I worked a few years later. It looks like First Colony was sold, so the brand still exists, but it’s not the same people running it.

I ended up buying a shitload of chocolates. I bought a 500g ballotin of Neuhaus truffles, a 500g ballotin of regular chocolates, and a wine tasting chocolate set. Neuhaus also has champagne and coffee tasting sets– those are chocolates specifically selected to be tasted with wine, champagne, and coffee. Wine is not included in the sets, but you do get a nifty booklet in several languages.

I also bought wines from Georgia, Croatia, and Hungary, but they haven’t arrived yet.

Friday night, Bill and I discussed my desire to buy an electric guitar. I showed him the one I wanted, which is quite pricey. I ended up ordering one of those yesterday as my own Christmas present. I tried to get it through its manufacturer’s Web site, but the sale wouldn’t go through. Like, it wouldn’t even attempt to go through at all. So I found the guitar I wanted on another site and did successfully order it. I don’t think the charge has been processed yet. Hopefully, it will go through. Sometimes the credit card companies are very cautious when you live in Europe and have an American billing address. If it actually gets to me, I’ll post a picture of it.

I have about half the cash needed to pay for the guitar waiting in a savings account I usually use for traveling. We aren’t doing any of that, so it makes perfect sense to just get the guitar I want. It will give me incentive to keep practicing. Not that I need incentive. I made some real progress with my guitar playing yesterday, finally managing to awkwardly play several difficult chords in the same shape. No, they aren’t perfect, but a few months ago, I couldn’t even attempt them. Now, if I’m very careful, I can actually make them ring out somewhat. Anyway, Bill is going to buy me an amp, and once he’s learned a bit more on his guitar, he’ll probably buy one he likes, too.

We also ordered sushi from Tam’s Kitchen. It was a cold, rainy night, and didn’t really seem like sushi weather, but I was dying for some. And here in Breckenheim, we happen to have a really great sushi guy who does deliveries. I think he’s actually a caterer. I don’t think he has a restaurant, per se. But you can order sushi and it will be super fresh and delicious. So that’s what we did Friday night. I think Tam is actually from Vietnam, but he sure has a way with raw fish.

Last night, I watched the memorial service done for my cousin, Karen, who died a couple of weeks ago. She was the third family member I’ve lost since mid October. I learned some new things about my cousin, who was eighteen years older than I am. We weren’t very close, but she was very much beloved by her family and our extended family. Watching the video made me miss being at home somewhat, although I think during this pandemic, I’d rather be in Germany.

And Noyzi and Arran are doing fine. Noyzi is particularly adorable these days. He has a new habit of silently showing up, ghostlike, when it’s time to eat. I slip him a little snack from the table, which is probably not a great thing to do… but he’s so sweet and basically well-behaved that my heart melts a bit.

I suspect today will be more of the same stuff. It’s cold and wet, and Germany is still locked down. Oh, I guess they call it Lockdown Lite, since stores are still open, and it’s been extended until January 10th. But there’s nothing to do anyway, and the weather is icky. So we’ll stay home, listen to music, and buy stuff online. 2020 has mostly sucked… but in some ways, it’s been kind of awesome. I miss traveling, but it’s also been nice to find new ways to occupy my time and spend money. And we are grateful we still have the money to spend. Maybe it will help some people stay in business.

A musical breakthrough!

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This morning Bill and I got up with the best of intentions to get out and do something fun. Although I’ve been feeling pretty good about staying home, even though I ALWAYS stay at home, Bill was feeling restless. Yesterday, at about 1:30pm, he came to me wanting to go out and do something.

I looked at the clock, realizing that a lot of restaurants would be closing very soon, and said, “It would be a lot better if we planned these things more. You slept until 8:00am, did a bunch of chores, and now that it’s the afternoon you want to go out… and do what?” Bill is usually the one who notices the time, particularly as it relates to eating in restaurants. And thanks to the coronavirus, it’s even more important to plan outings ahead of time.

Bill sighed, agreed, and we spent our Fourth of July in the backyard, drinking beer and listening to music. I did also hear fireworks going off, no doubt on the local military installations, but I didn’t see them. Poor Bill is going stir crazy, even though he goes out for work and grocery shopping. I just can’t be arsed to deal with the coronavirus, though. It’s easier to stay home.

Last night, Bill suggested that we go take a ride on the Seilbahn today. The Seilbahn is a cable car that takes people on a scenic ride over the grape vines of Rüdesheim and to the Niederwald Monument and the Rhein River. We noticed it the first and last time we visited Rüdesheim, in April of last year. We didn’t ride the Seilbahn on that day, though, because we did a wine tasting, where I ended up singing for an elderly couple.

Anyway, Bill wanted to go back today for a scenic Sunday Seilbahn ride… but then we noticed the cloudy weather and high winds. They’re going to be up to 16 miles per hour, which doesn’t make for the most reassuring cable car ride. So we decided to postpone our trip. I went to my computer and pulled out my trusty turquoise guitar and took a couple of lessons on Fender Play. Today’s topic was alternative finger picking of bass notes. I learned “Tom Dooley”, and it occurred to me that the chords were kind of like a really pretty song called “Dreaming My Dreams With You”. It’s been done by a lot of people, but the version I like best so far is the one done by Alison Krauss, who had backup help from Dolly Parton and Lyle Lovett.

Such a pretty song!

I realized I needed to change the chords, though, since I had figured out the song in G and I needed to play it in F#. So I went looking for a chord chart, put the capo on the third fret, and before I knew it, I was playing along with the recording. I still stumble a bit on the chord changes, but I think with some practice, I’ll be ready to post a video. I can definitely sing the song… it’s just my guitar playing that needs a lot of work.

I have been making some significant progress. A couple of times, I’ve played along with a song and it’s been okay until it was time to change chords. Today, I was able to play along and change chords without too much trouble, relatively speaking, although I’m still slow and unsure at times. Anyway, this was the closest I’ve gotten to being able to actually play a song. I even figured out the solo guitar riff, although it’s going to take a little more time before that’s perfected. I probably won’t be able to include it in a video until I’m a bit more advanced.

So, although I would have loved to have gotten out this morning and done some sightseeing, the weather defeated us again. However, I scored a major victory on my guitar! Incidentally, I also got to teach Bill how to properly play an E minor chord, which isn’t hard. He was having trouble making it work because he had one of his fingers on the wrong string. It was a problem that was easily fixed, so now he has a new chord to play with, too!

Incidentally, Facebook tells me that a year ago, Bill and I saw Mark Knopfler performing in concert in Leipzig. He and his band were also staying at our hotel, and we saw him hanging out with his band in the bar. Boy, do I miss bars… But anyway, seeing him in concert was on my bucket list, and then being in the bar with him was also a thrill. And no, we didn’t bug him. I just gawked from afar. The next morning, as we were packing up to go home, the bellman told us Sting was also at our hotel, taking a brief break from his tour having just done a show in Brussels, Belgium. I miss 2019.

I sense Bill still would like to go out today, though, even though the Seilbahn was a bust… maybe I’ll let him take me out to lunch somewhere. Maybe we’ll do the Seilbahn next week, if there’s sunshine and no wind. The week after that, we have another short trip planned. It’s another Germany trip, not too far from home, but further away than our trip to Hofheim for my birthday. Bill is determined not to let me get agoraphobic. Stay tuned.