Austria, coronavirus, Germany, Poland

Austria is locking down… will Germany be next?

The local news in Germany has been all abuzz about the COVID-19 situation in Austria. Fed up and frustrated by the ever increasing numbers of people falling ill with the coronavirus, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced that Austria would be locking down for at least ten days. The lockdown will apply to everyone, vaccinated or not, and it means that Austrians will be asked to work from home and non-essential shops will close. Schools will remain open for children who require face-to-face learning. The measure will apply until December 12, and then the COVID situation will be reassessed at that point to determine if there should be another ten days of lockdown.

As I read the news yesterday, I realized how lucky Bill and I are that we managed to take our recent vacation and get through all of the countries unscathed. Croatia and Slovenia are considered “high risk” areas– higher risk than Austria was– but we didn’t interact with many people at all during our time there. I think the risk is mainly because fewer people are vaccinated, but the reality is, there aren’t that many people congregating in Slovenia or Croatia at this time of year and social distancing is actually super easy. That may change as winter approaches and people want to ski, at least in Slovenia.

Austria, on the other hand, was like 2019. During our trip, it wasn’t considered a “high risk” area. Masks were only required in grocery stores, on public transportation, and in healthcare facilities. I won’t lie. It was really nice. And, in fact, Salzburg and, to a lesser extent, Wels, were sort of “alive” with people, which was a morale booster. I’m not sure if the lax masking is the reason why this surge is happening. Germany is a lot stricter about masks, but people are still getting sick here, and the hospitals are full. Personally, I don’t think the masks are going to be what saves us. What needs to happen is mass immunity, and that will come as people get vaccinated and boosted, and others manage to recover from the illness. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people may get very sick and/or die in the process. The only way to avoid the risk is by staying away from other people.

Austria has also taken the unusual step of requiring everyone to get vaccinated by February 2022. Frankly, I don’t think that’s a bad decision. It’s certainly groundbreaking. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t agree with forcing people to do things, particularly when it involves healthcare. However, communicable diseases are different. With my background in public health, I already know that there are some public health situations that require detaining people who put others at risk. On my main blog, I have written about how I think COVID-19 could eventually become an illness like tuberculosis. If you get TB and you refuse to get treated, you can and will be detained so that you don’t threaten other people. Many of us are really sick and tired of COVID-19, and the way it’s disrupting normal living. It’s also costing the world’s economies a lot in lost business, and like it or not, money matters. I don’t think people should be surprised if the rules become more draconian in an effort to get rid of the scourge.

Bavarian state premier, Markus Söder, who is a champion of the dreaded FFP2 masks for everyone, everywhere, has already declared a “de facto lockdown for the unvaccinated”. All of the Christmas markets have been cancelled, and all bars and clubs will be closed for the next three weeks. In areas where “weekly incidence rates top 1,000 per 100,000 people – restaurants, hotels, sport and culture will also close.” I believe the rules in Germany recently changed, as Angela Merkel plans to leave office. Now, they’re letting the states decide, rather than the federal government. I think I might enjoy the incoming government. I read that they’re also considering making recreational cannabis use legal. I never thought I’d see the day. I have limited experience with pot, having only tried it in The Netherlands a few years ago. But I did enjoy the experience…

I will not be the least bit surprised if other countries take a similar approach against the virus. It really sucks that this is happening, since Christmas is approaching. I do have some hope, though, because this year, at least there are vaccines. Some medications are also being developed to treat COVID-19– legitimate ones, rather than hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin. Historically speaking, pandemics always end at some point. So I continue to hold out hope that this one will end eventually… COVID-19 is a terrible illness, but it’s probably not even the worst humankind has faced, and nowadays, we have a lot more and better technology, which will continue to evolve out of necessity.

But yes… I sure am glad Bill and I managed to take our trip, enjoy ourselves, and emerge unscathed. We were very lucky. If there’s one thing COVID-19 has done for me, it’s make me a lot more appreciative of being able to travel.

Bill has been in Warsaw, Poland all this week, sadly missing our 19th anniversary at home. He brought home a few things for me last night. It would have been nice if I could have gone with him, but the COVID situation makes it dangerous. In fact, we were supposed to see James Taylor in Frankfurt in February, but he had to postpone his stop in Frankfurt until next November. With any luck, we’ll still be here and alive in November 2022. We’re supposed to see Keb’ Mo’ in May of 2022… but the tickets I bought were for a show that was supposed to happen on November 16, 2020– our 18th anniversary. So far, it’s been postponed three times. So we’ll see if we manage to see James in November 2022. I hope so. We have second row seats.

I was thinking maybe we’d go somewhere to celebrate our anniversary, now that Bill’s home… but I think we’re going to be locked down again very soon. So maybe we’ll just stay home and fuck or something. Just kidding… it’s more likely that we’ll turn on music, light a fire, and drink wine.

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coronavirus, Germany

About to break out of the COVID-19 cocoon!

Five more days to go before I’m fully “street legal”, as Bill puts it. I don’t know what we’ll do this weekend, but if we stay home, it may be the last time for awhile. Next weekend, we will be going to Heidelberg for the weekend. I’ve booked us a beautiful hotel which has a (hopefully) great bar, a spa, and gourmet food. Since Bill is now considered fully vaccinated and I will be by the time we check in, I don’t expect we’ll have to take COVID-19 tests. I have yet to actually be tested for COVID, because I have spent most of the pandemic holed up in our house.

It’s been a long, monotonous stretch since last October, which was when we had our last trip. That was when we picked up Noyzi, the Kosovar wonder dog. I look forward to interacting with people again. I think it will help Bill and me a whole lot. Bill needs a vacation. He’s been working non-stop, as have all of his co-workers. So this planned trip to Heidelberg will be a welcome taste of freedom, and it will give Noyzi the chance to try out the Tierpension. The next trip after Heidelberg will probably be to Stuttgart, so we can see the dentist.

Bill and I have visited Heidelberg before, back in October 2008, when we lived in Stuttgart the first time. In those days, there was still a functioning Army post there. We had several friends who were posted there. After we left in 2009, two more of Bill’s former co-workers moved to Heidelberg. I think they both left when it came time to move their offices up to Wiesbaden in anticipation of Heidelberg’s closure in 2013. It will be interesting to check out the city without the Army flavor that existed there for decades. It really is a nice place, and I look forward to relaxing, eating good food, and taking lots of new pictures.

This morning on our walk, I went the “old” way, rather than the new route we’ve been doing. It’s a slightly shorter route to go the old way, but it doesn’t really change where we go much. I just wanted to avoid disturbing a hardworking farmer who was tending his field on the newer route. I’m glad we went the old way, because we were treated to sounds of a neighing horse. There have been a few times we’ve walked on our route and run into a lady with a couple of bay mares she hitches to a wagon. I think she might actually have a barn for her mares on our walking route and puts them out to pasture in one of the fields nearby. Sometimes, when we’re walking through there, I can smell the heavenly scent of horses, but today was the first time I actually heard one neighing.

And we were also visited by a special feathered friend…

It’s not that uncommon to see these birds in Europe. I have seen them a lot in Alsace, but also down near the Swiss/German border. I have never seen a stork in Breckenheim, but obviously they exist. I didn’t see a nest anywhere, and stork’s nests are pretty easy to spot. Wonder where this bird flew in from…

Wiesbaden is already notable because there are wild parakeets/parrots here. Sometimes people who don’t know about them spot them in trees and think someone’s pet got loose. I haven’t seen any of the special birds yet, but maybe I will before we leave here someday. Below is a video someone posted of the parakeets copulating.

Well… just a week before I can bring this blog back to its original function of being a “travel” blog. Looking forward to it! And on the occasion of our planned trip to the next state, here’s a plucky song about Heidelberg a German friend shared with me today.

Now… off to go turn off the lawnmower, have some lunch, and take a nap.

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holidays, Sundays

A leap of faith…

Although my travel blog has kind of tanked thanks to COVID-19, I decided to go ahead and renew my subscription for the next two years. I use the WordPress business plan, so it wasn’t cheap to renew. I spent $521, but that’s good until July 2023. For all I know, we could still be here that far down the line. Or we could be living somewhere else… probably in Europe. That seems to be where Bill’s best prospects for employment are at this point in time.

Bill got home from his latest TDY from Hell yesterday. On Thursday, he’ll get his second vaccination. Then, on June 9th, I’ll get my second shot… and then, maybe I can get back to reviewing restaurants and visiting exotic places. There are so many areas I still want to see. At this point, our plans to travel will come down to what places are open and which ones will give us the least hassle.

I suspect that our weekends at home may soon be coming to an end. I look forward to getting out more, if only so I can take more pictures. I’m getting tired of seeing the same ones on my photo feed every day. And I’m tired of only writing about what happens in Breckenheim.

Incidentally, Noyzi is fine after last week’s pet toy scare. He spent a couple of days pooping out the toy he partially ingested and never had a single moment’s trouble.

Today is Whit Sunday (Whitsun or “White Sunday”), a religious holiday that is celebrated in Germany, along with Whit Monday. I had almost forgotten about it, until I noticed the “three day holiday” mentioned in The Local, a useful online news source for English speakers in Germany (I think they have different editions for countries all over Europe). I finally broke down and bought a subscription last year. For the most part, I’m glad I did. It helps me figure out life in this country that isn’t really home, but has sort of become home. Or, at least it helps me keep informed about what the rules are now, regarding COVID-19.

Whit Sunday is the Christian High Holy Day of the Pentecost, which is celebrated 50 days after Easter. According to Google, “…it commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Weeks, as described in the Acts of the Apostles.” I don’t think too many Germans are very religious these days, but they do love their holidays. That’s probably why they still celebrate religious holidays like Whit Sunday and Whit Monday and close all the stores. Germany is pretty unusual in that stores are still closed on Sundays, although plenty of Germans don’t subscribe to religion or identify with another faith, like Islam or Judaism.

I hear my landlord’s grandchildren outside. That’s not unusual, though. They come over a lot.

The sun is finally out and the weather is slightly warmer… although it’s still unseasonably chilly for May. It’s hard to believe that in two months, it’ll probably be hot again. One thing I do appreciate about Germany is that the summer heat doesn’t last for too long, especially since air conditioning is not a given, especially in people’s homes.

Anyway… thanks to today’s purchase, this blog will be around for the next two years at the very least. Unless, of course, I croak or wind up in jail or something. I don’t have plans for either of those things to happen, but you know what they say about life being what happens when you’re busy making plans. 😉 As I learned once again this week, you never know when things can suddenly change.

I think one of our first trips will be to Stuttgart, so we can finally see the dentist. Beyond that, I have no idea where we’ll end up going. I’m just so glad to finally see the COVID-19 infections dropping and things slowly opening up again. The constant lockdown has been extreme, and I know for me, it’s been hard on my mental health. I’m also getting a little too comfortable with being a hermit, and that’s no way to live. So here’s to two more years… and the prospect of breaking out of this COVID-19 exile.

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coronavirus, weather

It’s May… and so far, it might as well be March.

Here’s a quick post to update the travel blog. Right now, things are still pretty much locked down in Germany. Our local Rewe has a new policy to limit people in the store to 40 at a time. They enforce this by only putting out forty shopping carts. Since shoppers have to use a cart to purchase anything, that’s supposedly how they’re going to keep the number of patrons low.

I’m scheduled to get my first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine tomorrow. It’s supposed to be the Moderna shot, which means that in 28 days, I have to go back and get the other one. Bill gets his second shot the day before the Memorial Day weekend starts. Ordinarily, we would be going somewhere fun for Memorial Day weekend, but I suspect he’ll be on his back, recovering.

There’s still a lot of news about Europe reopening to vaccinated travelers, or those who can show a negative PCR test. I still think it’s crazy for people to want to visit Europe right now, since so few locals have been vaccinated. I don’t know how they’re going to make a visit here worthwhile. Will museums, shops, and restaurants be open? Maybe, if the infection numbers decrease… but people will probably have to make appointments and wear masks. I know a lot of people don’t mind wearing a mask, but personally, I hate them. I find them uncomfortable and inconvenient, and seeing a bunch of people walking around in them gives me the creeps. Sorry… I know that’s not the politically correct attitude to have, but it’s how I feel. As long as I comply with the rules, I think I should be able to state out loud that I think the rules suck and I hope they change at some point.

Anyway… it’ll be interesting to see what summer brings for us. I look forward to getting the vaccine, although I hope it doesn’t make me feel too icky. After I get my shot, Bill will be off to Bavaria again for about 17 days, like he did in March. Once again, it will suck for me, but at least the weather might be better. Or will it?

Today is May 4th. We’re well into springtime. But it’s cold and rainy outside, and as of about 9:00am, it’s a nice toasty 53 degrees. I think after I’m done blogging, I might just go back to bed and finish my latest book so I can review it and move on to the next one. Today is a good day for reading… and maybe making homemade soup!

Seriously… I would love to be traveling right now, but I miss it the way it was a couple of years ago. Right now, things are still just too weird. But I’m going to do my part and get the shots. I’ve got no problem with it. And hopefully, the weather will improve and maybe I’ll want to go sit in the garden… or walk the dogs… or daydream about our next adventure. I really feel glad that we were here for a few years before COVID-19 struck. I feel sorry for people who moved to Germany as the virus was hitting us. I remember it took us months to travel when Bill and I lived in Germany the first time. I later kicked myself for not getting out more, and made a point of seeing Europe when we moved back. Now, I’m back to sitting on my ass.

Ah well… hopefully, more people will get their shots and we can have some fun again soon. I would settle for a trip to the Kaiser-Friedrich Theme, our local mineraltherme (nude), so I can get some relief for my aching joints.

Today’s featured photo is of something I hope to see again soon… road signs!

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coronavirus, dogs, Germany

The lockdown is never going to end…

This will be a short post, because frankly, I don’t have much to write about these days. Germany has been in some form of lockdown since early November 2020. Officials keep saying the lockdown will end in a couple of weeks, but as the date draws closer, they extend it. At this point, the lockdown could go on into mid June, and will likely include curfews that will make it illegal for people to be outside of their homes between 9:00pm and 5:00am unless it’s for work, medical reasons, or taking care of animals. It’s all because of the coronavirus, which has continued to infect and kill people. Meanwhile, Germany has few vaccines for its people, and Angela Merkel keeps pleading for lockdowns, which don’t seem to be doing anything.

Bill told me that we would be vaccinated by the end of May, but the vaccine he was told we were getting is the Johnson & Johnson one, which the CDC has just recommended pausing, thanks to six women getting rare clotting disorders. Meanwhile, Bill still travels for work. He’s gone this week and will be gone for most of May, and his office is short-staffed, so he’s also working long hours. I’m feeling bored, lonely, hopeless, and pissed off.

Yesterday, I caught myself fantasizing about just fucking leaving. I mean leaving… right now, by myself, and just going somewhere else. But this fucking virus is everywhere. Pardon my language, but this is how I feel.

I am a resilient person, and I have survived worse, I guess, than endless isolation. At least we’re comfortable enough. I’ve been investing in some things to make the yard nicer, since it looks like we’re going to spend another summer sitting in it in seclusion. I’ve been watching too much true crime TV and reading a lot of books. And I fantasize about when I can travel again and take more pictures.

It feels like it will never happen.

I’m just glad we got to be here for several years before this global nightmare started. I feel sorry for the people who got here last year and have already spent their first year here in lockdown.

Good thing I’m not close to my family anymore. Grateful I have my dogs. Noyzi is getting more comfortable, and Arran remains his feisty, cranky self.

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Germany, holidays, restaurant reviews, takeout

Takeout Easter from Little Italy of Wiesbaden!

When Bill and I first discovered Wiesbaden in 2018, we found Little Italy, which is a tiny Italian place in the downtown area. From our first visit, in October 2018, we were warmly welcomed at this place, which has a very friendly manager who speaks perfect English. Before COVID-19 struck, we were semi regulars at this restaurant, especially on Sundays at lunchtime.

Unfortunately, vaccine rollout has been very slow in Germany. We’re still kind of on lockdown. Fortunately, we were spared the “hard lockdown” Chancellor Angela Merkle wanted to impose over the Easter holiday, but things are still pretty much closed all over the place. It really sucks and I’m tired of it. But at least I’m not sick.

Anyway, the other day, Bill noticed that Little Italy was offering a special holiday menu for Easter. Since it’s been months since we last visited this restaurant, we decided to order for Easter. It wasn’t really for the holiday, per se. Bill and I are not very religious at all. But this was a good excuse to have some professionally prepared food. Below is a screenshot of Little Italy’s Easter menu, priced at 45,90 euros per person.

Bill loves lamb. I don’t care for it, so I was happy to see they were offering a filet of sole roulade. We both like duck, so the duck carpaccio antipasto was a hit. I am also a fan of profiteroles. He sent off an email order to the manager, who confirmed quickly.

This afternoon, when Bill went to downtown Wiesbaden to pick up our order, he encountered pretty tough parking… It seems that despite the lockdown and Mrs. Merkle’s pleas for everyone to stay home, a lot of people were walking around the city center. Consequently, parking was in short supply. Luckily, the folks at Little Italy had everything packed up nicely. Bill said when he went into the restaurant to get our food, the manager had his phone and was glad to see him. I think he was getting ready to call Bill to see if/when he was coming!

Below are some photos from our Easter repast, which was a very nice and welcome change of pace. The dogs thought so, too… I only wish we could have enjoyed it in person. But Bill broke out the wedding china and silverware and all was lovely, even if the Beastie Boys were playing over the HomePod at one point.

The duck carpaccio was surprisingly good. It was served chilled, with a sundried tomato chutney that married beautifully with the duck breast. The duck was sliced thin, making it easy to enjoy. The portion size was generous. I think of the three courses, I liked the duck carpaccio the most.

Bill loved his lamb. I didn’t try it because I don’t care for lamb. But he also mentioned loving the potatoes, and he has some left for tomorrow’s lunch. Likewise, I managed two of the filet of sole roulades, generously stuffed with spinach cooked to perfection with almonds and Parmesan cheese. I enjoyed the way this was presented, with the garlic risotto and cherry tomatoes. It was excellent. Little Italy also sent along some homemade bread, but Bill forgot to put out the bread plates.

I love profiteroles. This dessert was good, but it could have been better. For one thing, I’m pretty sure the chocolate sauce was good old Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup. I remember it well from my childhood. The pastry was tasty, but nothing extraordinary. I have had better… but for the price and convenience, I’m not complaining. I know if we were dining at the restaurant itself, we would have probably had something that doesn’t travel so easily, yet was a bit more impressive.

I’m really hoping that COVID-19 restrictions will loosen up soon. I am so tired of being locked down. I want to get out and do things again. But today’s Easter meal was a nice reminder of what’s to come when the virus is finally beaten into submission… and trust me, it will be. This isn’t the first pandemic. It just feels like it to us.

Anyway, many thanks to Little Italy for yet another nice Sunday meal, and to Bill for ordering it, paying for it, and picking it up. He even did the plating. I found myself a real keeper… And I hope that soon, we can go back to enjoying restaurants in person instead of just at home.

For us, Easter will always be meaningful, not just because it’s the day Christ rose from the grave, but also because it’s the day his ex wife delivered divorce papers while they were visiting Bill’s dad’s house in 2000. She wasn’t expecting Bill would agree to the split, but he did… and twenty-one years later, he’s living a sweet life. So Happy Easter, everybody! I hope you had a great day!

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Germany

Another week alone and locked down…

I don’t have a lot to report this week, other than I bought a new laptop for traveling… if we ever do again. My old one functions okay, but it’s almost seven years old and it was time for an upgrade. It arrived a few days ago and I’m still breaking it in.

The weather has been pretty yucky the last couple of days. I expect rain today. I even saw a prediction for snow, although I don’t think it’s quite cold enough. The wounds on my knees are mostly healed up, and I expect by Friday, when Bill comes home, they’ll be nothing but slightly tender scars. I did take a few photos this week. Here they are…

I am really missing being able to travel, eat out, and do fun things. I’ve missed discovering local gems and writing about them. And when Bill is out of town for weeks, it sucks even more. He’ll be home in a few more days. Hopefully, by the end of the month, the lockdowns will lift a bit more and we can have some fun somehow.

On the plus side, Noyzi is fitting right in and is a delight to have around. Every day, he gets cuter and funnier. He’s still terrified of the TV, though. Arran continues to be cranky but lovable. I’ve stopped dreaming about our next destination… for now, it’s a big deal for me to put on a mask and go to the grocery store.

COVID-19 SUCKS.

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Uncategorized

Tommi is about to break on through to the other side…

Here’s a quick post to update my last one about how our neighbor’s puppy has discovered a breach in the fence. A couple of days ago, we had a glorious and rare sunny day. I let the dogs out, and sure enough, we soon saw Tommi the lab puppy sticking his head under the fence. He’s very determined! He’s still growing, though, so I don’t know how much longer he’ll be able to do this.

I’m actually surprised Noyzi isn’t standing right by the fence to greet him. He actually backed away a bit as Tommi continued to engage. I suppose it’s time we got some cinder blocks or something. In other news, Noyzi just let Bill his harness on without any help from me, whatsoever! This may seem like a small thing, but he’s been terrified of Bill ever since we brought him home and until very recently, there was no hope of putting him on a leash without my assistance. So that’s another breakthrough. We’ve really been enjoying his personality, lately. He’s starting to show us who he is.

The last forty seconds of this video show Tommi, the cute Lab puppy, trying so hard to visit. It almost feels like a metaphor for the whole COVID-19 nightmare. We all want to visit, Tommi.

Aside from the cold, rainy, depressing weather and Noyzi’s antics, not much else is going on. The crappy weather continues. The lockdown continues. My beer gut keeps expanding. I watch more bad TV and dream of the day when I can post some more adventures that involve actual travel. The one consolation is that I know we’re all pretty much in this shitty boat right now. I’m just grateful I had the opportunity to see a lot of Europe before the pandemic started. I would hate to be a young bride coming here for the first time, eager to travel, and forced to stay at home for months on end. It sucks. At least the weather is bad enough that I probably wouldn’t want to go anywhere anyway, even if we weren’t locked down.

Here are a few more photos of Noyzi, who is learning that the iPad won’t kill him. He’s learned to strike a pose and is quite handsome. I think he knows it, too… and uses his charms to score people food. I love giving him bites of food. It’s like dropping letters in a mailbox. His mouth is so big, and he opens it like a maw!

And here are a couple of photos I took on our most recent walk together. As you can see, the water is HIGH! It’s gross in the backyard… totally sloppy and messy.

I look forward to drying out.

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Belgium, chocolate, coronavirus, holidays, shopping, staying home

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

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.

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Uncategorized

I’ve got the lockdown blues…

It’s November, and in November, Bill and I typically plan a Veterans Day weekend trip. Our wedding anniversary is November 16th. This year, it’s number 18, which is nothing to sneeze at. Unfortunately, this year we aren’t going anywhere because we’re in lockdown lite status, thanks to the stupid coronavirus.

Before everything shut down again, I had been toying with the idea of going somewhere local. Actually, months ago, I bought tickets for Keb’ Mo’, who was scheduled to play in Mainz on our big day. Mainz is only about twenty minutes from where we live. But Keb’ Mo’ rescheduled for April, thanks to the pandemic. Hopefully, the show will go on, because I miss live music and I’ve been wanting to see Keb’ Mo’ for ages!

I think of this song as our theme… especially when there isn’t a pandemic.

So then I thought maybe we could do what we did last year. Last year, we booked a really nice room at the Jumeirah Hotel in Frankfurt and had a nice dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. Then, the next day, I accompanied Bill on a TDY trip to Wroclaw, Poland. I hadn’t actually wanted to go on that trip because when I tag along on TDYs, I tend to get kind of bored. But since it was our anniversary and I do like Poland, I relented. And we flew to Wroclaw and had a pretty good time there. I’m now really glad I tagged along. Wroclaw is a cool city, and I didn’t know then that this year would end up being such a cluster fuck.

Frankfurt does have nice hotels and restaurants. We could have stayed in another one this year and given Noyzi the chance to meet the people who take care of our dogs when we travel. But COVID-19 has ramped up so much in Europe that restaurants aren’t allowed to do dine in service and hotels can’t accept travelers for tourist purposes. Shops are open, but everything is stricter than it was a month ago, and if the infection numbers don’t go down, they will lock down even more.

I think about how I wanted to move to Germany because of the travel opportunities. I have to admit that we’ve been able to take advantage of a lot of them over the past six years. Prior anniversary trips included Baden-Baden, Ireland, cruising in Scotland, the southern Caribbean, and even an amazing meal at the Alte Post in Nagold, which was a town near where we lived before we moved to Wiesbaden. Unfortunately, the Alte Post is now closed, but it was a wonderful place for food. This year, we’ll have to make do with each other.

Oh well. We have a lot to be grateful for, especially in 2020. Germany has been so good to us. We have gotten to see and do so many things, most of which I’ve chronicled in this blog. And now we have a new dog who is rewarding us every day by being awesome and sweet. I’m sure we’ll get to travel and eat good food again someday.

Thanksgiving is coming up, too. I was thinking this year, maybe we’ll order a meal from a restaurant. Cem Klein, which Bill and I tried before it moved locations, is offering a Thanksgiving deal this year. And we like to do our part in keeping the restaurants going. In fact, I think I’m going to nag Bill into getting some takeout today or tomorrow. I’m getting tired of his cooking, anyway. 😉

I’m kidding… This week, he got really daring and made injera, a type of east African sour bread. Here are a few photos and a link to the recipe. Bill likes exotic stuff more than I do, and his time working for AFRICOM really introduced him to new cuisines. Of course I’m grateful that I have a husband who cooks and does it so well. But I do miss the dining out experience and trying new and exciting dishes. I especially miss the desserts.

Well… maybe instead of planning a fancy trip, I’ll buy an electric guitar. That’s the next big purchase I’d like to make in my quest to be a pandemic era guitarist. We’ll see what happens. One thing is for certain, though. This year, we’re going nowhere fast.

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