28 July, 2014

Two whole weeks off!

What a treat that was!  Was it difficult to come back to work today?  Absolutely yes, it was.  I had such a super great time in Paris - of course - and my trip back was quite easy.  When I checked in to my flight I was able to change my seat to row 15 from row 31, which was awesome.  And then I didn't have anyone next to me again!  How's that for luck?  I only slept a few hours but as usual, jet lag is so much easier come home that it is going East.

I had a day and a half to myself before my sister and the boys arrived on Wednesday.  It was pouring rain Wednesday and I woke up with a terrible sore throat.  My sister arrived with laryngitis.  Would you like to guess how the rest of the week went?  It was challenging at best.  Neither one of us got better but there were things that needed to be attended and tended to.  Thankfully the rain was gone by Friday morning.  The family reunion on Saturday was a trial.  I think I would have found it much more amusing had I not been sick.

That being said, it was nice to be able to spend so much time with my sister and my nephews and the weather was awesome.  I just wish I didn't have this cold or virus or whatever the heck it is.  My throat is no longer sore but I am completely stuffed up and coughing like a maniac.  You should have seen the dirty looks people were throwing my way on the bus, even though I was trying my best to keep a low profile and keep the coughing to a minimum, into my arm.  Oh well ... I'll live.

18 July, 2014

Hot hot hot!

It is summertime, with plenty of heat. We finally got to Bruges in the evening, got checked in to a lovely hotel and found our way to a restaurant still serving. It was Argentinian and I had steak.  It was gorgeous.  The room was quite warm, but we were on a canal so it did cool down finally. The next day we strolled around the square and the little streets nearby.  It was so hot though!  We had to stop several times just to find some shade and have something to drink.

The countryside is quite beautiful with lots of trees bit reminds me of Oregon. Our trip back was easy, with moderate traffic. We got back to Luxembourg in plenty of time to clean up for a birthday party we were attending. I was going to do my hair but it was just way too hot. I went curly.

Today is a lazy day. At some point we are going for a ramble, then dinner at a Thai restaurant. Tomorrow we take a train to Paris so we have to get up and out early enough to drop the dog at the sitter. We can't miss that train!

16 July, 2014

Cooling my heels in Luxembourg

Monday was Bastille Day and the weather was just so pretty, which was especially welcome after the rainy Sunday.  I was up quite early, having been awakened by the patrons of the after hours club across the street. I got out and started rambling, first towards Republique then later in the day up and down rue de Rivoli which had been blocked to traffic. The parade was down Champs d'Elysee, but all of the military vehicles drove all the way to Bastille so I got to see a few things. And the airplanes and helicopters were very cool. I couldn't resist going in some of the shops and bought a pair of sandals.

The evening was so lovely and I walked with a friend to St Germaine to a restaurant for dinner. They specialize in champagne cocktails. Right up my alley. We walked back over the Pont des Arts which has been terribly disfigured by the "love locks" craze. Terrible. What an eyesore. I hear they are now also doing it in Dublin and London. I am not a fan.

I bought a sleep aid earlier in the day so I was able to sleep through the night. I had a train to catch at 1:40 so I had plenty of time in the morning. I walked to Gare de l'Est and had a nice tide to Luxembourg.   Emma picked me up, we made one stop to see a friend on the way and then drank wine and talked far into the night.

Today we are going to Bruges, but we are getting a very late start due to Emma not feeling tip top. Now I wish I had brought my knitting!

13 July, 2014

My wonderful Sunday in Paris

Ahhhhh... So here I am. My flight over was really not bad, especially since a girl asked me to switch seats with her friend and I got a better seat with nobody beside me. That is very unusual. I managed to sleep a few hours and watched some movies. We landed in the rain.

It took one and a half hours to get through customs, collect my bag, walk to the RER and get on the train. Then a forty minute train ride to town. I got off at Chatelet and walked to a cafe to pick up the keys to the flat and after a shower and change of clothes I was ready to hit the streets. It was sprinkling so I grabbed Deirdre's umbrella, thankfully. I walked a bit, then found a cafe and ate a warm goat cheese salad. Heaven. On the way back there was a cloudburst and I got soaked.

I tried a little nap, but only managed an hour, then off again. I went to the pub and got on the Wi-Fi. The World Cup finals are at 9 tonight but I know I won't make that. I headed back to the flat, stopping for a sandwich for dinner.

I love being in my old neighborhood.  It hasn't changed much. One of the bakeries is now a cupcake place. Things are pretty much the same.

Tomorrow is a big wander day. Maybe I will go up to Republique and then the canal. I want to stay away from the big tourist spots. I am meeting friends at 6.

I am so darned happy it is scary.

11 July, 2014

Friday before vacation

What a joy -- one more day to go and then .... vacation!  Starting off with a fantastic early b'day present trip and then a second, and probably more hectic, week at home hosting my sis and nephews.  If the weather keeps up it'll be super easy to keep them happy and occupied.  This next week, while I'm gone, it is predicted that it'll be in the 90's all week!!  That is hot.  Super hot.  I am kind of glad I'll be missing out on that.

I had a fast and busy day yesterday and I wanted to get laundry done in the evening, but instead of that there was a trip to Milagro in Kirkland to hear some music.  A musician that some friends just love.  However they had set him up outside on the patio and he had only a drummer and his bass player with him AND (final straw) you couldn't hear.  I especially couldn't hear because I was sitting right next to the open part of the restaurant where they had the music blasting, drowning out the live musicians.  I understand that you can't leave the inside of a restaurant completely quiet but they certainly could have lowered the volume.  Oh ... and a kid completely out of control.  Not an ideal situation. 

But I won't complain.  I've got a To-Do list here and I'm going to work my way through it this morning and as far into the afternoon as I need to.  And then?  Then I'm outta here baby!  I've got laundry to do and dinner out at 7 o'clock.  I know -- two nights in a row!  I'm going to be exhausted by the time I get on the plane which is absolutely perfect!  I need to sleep on the plane.

I'm taking Tink to a new groomer tomorrow.  She really needs it after that terrible haircut from PetSmart.  And just in time for the super hot weather.  I am sure she'll be much more comfortable with some of that fur gone.

Yesterday I bought myself a present -- some yarn (of course).  DBNY is hit or miss and, for me anyway, mostly miss.   But yesterday they had discount codes for percentages off your purchase, depending upon the final price.  There was some Cash Iroha, which has been discontinued for a long time, that I had my eye on.  I snagged 10 skeins of a lovely green for $77 including shipping!  That is a deal.  A steal one might even say.  I'm quite pleased with that purchase.  Happy (very early) birthday to me. 

While I'm gone I'll post pictures to Facebook when I can and, hopefully, I'll get a few up here as well.  It's more difficult to post on my blog because I don't have a reliable blogging app on my iPad.  Facebook is so seamless.

Now to my list!

10 July, 2014

Two more days to go!

Oh heavens .... two more days.  Thank goodness I'm crazy busy at work.  The time will zip by and I'll be on my way before I know it.  I got a text with all the instructions for picking up the keys to my friend's flat.  Just down the block from where I used to live -- handy because I know the neighborhood.  It's great timing.  She's leaving it at a cafe right next to her husband's pub and they open at ten on Sunday.  My plane gets in at 8:30 and so I'll just take it easy and take the RER into town.  It'll save me $50 at least and by the time I arrive I should be able to go right to the cafe.  And as an added bonus I can get some breakfast.  I do NOT want to take a nap.  I am going to really try to sleep on the plane.  If I eat, drop my bags and freshen up and then walk over to the Bastille market I should be able to get well into the afternoon before I will need a little nap.  But that's days away.  I'd best keep my nose to the grindstone here.

One of the things I'm trying to get buttoned up before I leave is getting our new web site up and running.  I would have done it a couple of weeks ago, but our IT guy, who needs to write the redirect code, was sick after his trip.  Sick for over a week.  It's a nasty bug out there.  So we were behind.  I got all of my edits done and then yesterday I found that I had made all of those edits on the WRONG version of the site!!  Oh ... seriously bummed.  I skipped lunch and re-did all the edits so we're nearly ready to go.  The administrator has a few things she wants to fiddle with and I've got a few more people to add to the directory, but that will be off my plate and out of my head. 

I'm tired.  I stayed up too late watching some stupid show on TV.  But I slept well and deeply.  The fan is the perfect white noise sometimes.  I didn't hear anything outside.  That's very unusual. 

I have decided not to take any knitting with me.  I think I've decided not to take any knitting.  It's tough.  I do have plenty of things to read if I do find myself with some time to just relax and do nothing.  I take knitting with me when I travel and I never pick it up!  Now is it a crutch of some kind?  I guess if I started to go really crazy I could go buy some needles and yarn and do something.  That wouldn't be a bad thing.  And I do want to go light.  We'll see.  The verdict is not in quite yet.

I am SO happy.

09 July, 2014

Why does she stay?

There is a woman in the office next to mine who constantly complains.  If she's not on the phone complaining to someone when I walk into the suite in the mornings she's here, it is unusual.  Sometimes I just have to shut my office door because I can't stand the constant stream of nonsense I hear day in and day out.  The thing is ... she doesn't need to be here!  She can retire!  She's been bragging about it for years, that she and her husband are set.  Plus her commute is insane.  Why oh why doesn't she quit?  Why would someone choose to put themselves through this if it's so onerous?  I honestly don't get it.  If I didn't have to be here I certainly could find plenty of things to keep myself busy and, most importantly, happy.  Why not be happy?

Hot yesterday again and boy, did I make a boneheaded move!  I was distracted in the morning as we, most of us anyway, are in the mornings.  Tired and not thinking clearly.  I was vacillating between two pairs of shoes, time was tight and so I just slipped on my patent leather loafers, which go well with the pants I had chosen.  But I neglected to put on any socks, which I realized on my way to the bus.  Oh well, I thought, I'll just sit in my office barefooted.  Nobody will know or care.  Ah .... good plan.  But I didn't plan on what the walk to the bus, from the bus to the office, back and forth to the kitchen and the bathroom, would do to my feet.  I had blisters on both my heels before 11 am!!  Well running was right out - not happy about that.  I ended up taking the bus to the pet store for food for Tink, then started to walk back, knowing I could hop on a bus if my heels started hurting.  I made it all the way back, mostly thanks to my running shoes and the excellent socks I have.  Maybe I could have run, but by that time it was a million degrees outside.

My evening was okay but it slipped by way too quickly.  Unfortunately, considering the heat, I had to do my hair.  A fan blowing on me helps.  I got some berries cut up and frozen, since I am leaving soon and I know I wouldn't get through them all.  I took Tink for a couple of leisurely walks and read until I fell asleep.  It's going to stay hot all week, in the 80s and going to be hottest on Saturday, when I leave.  In Paris and Luxembourg it's raining right now.  I think it's supposed to be nicer by the time I get there.  Of course, I don't really care, do I?  I was watching a movie on TV a couple nights ago and a part of it was in Paris.  That's when it dawned on me that I will be there soon.  I teared up!  I swear ...  So rain?  Do not care.   I do not care one little bit.

08 July, 2014

My Do Nothing Monday evenings

It is, of course, two months from Monday Night Football, but I like the idea of doing nothing on a Monday night except for cooking a meal and vegging, whether it's in front of a football game or a movie or just some nice music.  I don't do anything else on a Monday night.  I was pretty tired yesterday so I started out with a little knitting outside in the shade, then a quick little dinner and finished the evening off with a nice read.  Tink got a couple of leisurely strolls and a short game of ball.  It was too hot really for anything else.  Being outside was okay if under an umbrella and there was a bit of an evening breeze.

I got out for my run just a little before noon and it wasn't too hot yet.  However, after 30 minutes the sun was just that much higher and it started getting quite warm as I finished my run.  I ran nearly two miles out so that when I finished up my 3 miles I'd have a bit to walk back so that I could cool down.  Nice idea, but it didn't work too well.  I might have strolled up and down the air conditioned halls but some files I had been waiting for decided to arrive on my computer right as I arrived in my office and I needed to sit right down and take care of a few things.  By the time I was finished my wrist rest mouse pad was drenched.  I know - ick.  And now I remember why I started running in the morning before work.  However we know  how that worked out, don't we?  All was good until the light started to shift, I quit getting up and I didn't start running at noon again for a bit.  So - I am going to tough it out.  This week won't be so bad anyway because I'm only going to do it once more -- today.  Tomorrow is noon knitting, I don't want to run Thursday because I am going out Thursday night to hear some music and I don't want my hair to be a huge giant bush, and Friday I'm leaving early.  So - get through today and then a little vacation.  Easy peasy.

07 July, 2014

Oh how I love long weekends!

What a super weekend!  Three days weekends are just the BEST!  There is plenty of time to get the chores done AND have fun!  Throw in a holiday and some summer weather and it's fabulous. 

July is such a great time for summer produce, especially fruit.  I have a peach with me today and my entire office smells delicious.  There was a BBQ on the 4th and I made a huge fruit salad to bring.  Someone else made a pasta salad with homemade pesto.  Everything was so yummy.  I skipped the burgers and brought Italian chicken sausages instead.  On a BBQ?  Very very good.

Saturday was a girlie day - first a trip to Derby for my hair.  Gosh my hair grows fast!  Then I did a little shopping.  I needed some lighter denim and of course everything was on sale for the holiday weekend so I grabbed a couple of tops as well.  I also really needed to replace my walking sandals.  The ones I had are two years old and showing it, but I just couldn't find anything I liked so I gave up and renewed the search on Sunday, where I found the perfect pair.  So yay, I have a super comfy pair of sandals to take with me as well as another cute pair of higher wedge sandals to wear for walking on cobbles, which is a lot of Luxembourg.

I had plenty of time this weekend to watch movies and knit.  To watch sports and knit.  To sit outside and play games and drink wine.  It was quite a nice weekend.  It was hot yesterday, actually.  And it is going to be warm all week.  I think I'll have to get out running earlier than noon - maybe not today, since it's still over cast.  But later in the week for sure.

So I'm pretty much set for my trip.  I have a list of things I still need to gather, but I know what clothes I'm going to take and that's a big hurdle.  I think I'll be able to get away with 3 pairs of jeans, two pairs of shoes and six tops.  But I might make it eight tops.  We'll see.

Now to get through this week without screaming.

03 July, 2014

It was not my intention to be in Paris for Bastille Day!

No, it was not.  But that's how it's going to work out.  When I was figuring out what week would work for me for my trip it wasn't even in my mind.  Well I did know it was in July, but truth be told I thought it was the 7th for some reason.  So all my friends have been pointing out to me that Monday the 14th is Bastille Day.  That is the day I have set aside to have a seriously marvelous solo wander, so I guess I don't mind so much.  It'll just mean that there will be more people out and about and perhaps more little markets or parades or what not.  I'll stay away from the huge gatherings  -  the big military parade down the Champs Elysee, for example.  It'll be fine.  I suppose the shops will mostly be closed, but since I don't go to Europe to shop, I'm not bothered by it.  An adventure, that's what it'll be.  And if the crowds are really too much for me, I still have the following Saturday and Sunday.  Oh heavens -- I have another entire week to get through, so I'd better shut down the day dream machine!!

Our noon knitting group was just two - Monika and me.  I knit on the bus coming in to work because it's such an easy, portable project (the Venomous Tentacula) as long as I'm not on row three, the beading row.  I am just now ready to add the third ball of yarn and when that ball is gone I'll start with the decreases.  There are eight rows in a repeat, so if I start the decreases on row 4 (well, 5 really) that should make one beaded point the center.  I just love this thing! I love that the border is more organic than lace.  It's very different. 

True to form, our lovely nice sunny and hot weather is now under clouds and there were even a few sprinkles of rain on the way in this morning.  It's not supposed to rain for the 4th, but it's not going to be bright and sunny again until Saturday, according to the forecast.  I won't be going out to look at fireworks anyway, so I don't care. 

There's a workshop I need to attend this morning.  I'd rather crawl under my desk for a nap.

02 July, 2014

What a scorcher!

Wow!  Was it ever hot yesterday!  At one point in the commute I checked my phone and it was 90 degrees.  That is hot my friends!  My office is not air conditioned, as I have surely mentioned about a bazillion times in the past.  The hallway is air conditioned, just like my apartment building.  Useless inside, but if you need a breather, it's always there.  Monika put a fan in the doorway in the afternoon and cooled us down in here a bit by drawing in some of that cooler air.  My little window fan doesn't do much, I assure you.  It isn't supposed to be quite so hot today.

Well the world cup match was a disappointment.  The US played well but Belgium beat us fair and square.  I was reading that Seattle has the most soccer fans in all of the US.  And you can surely see it around here.  One of the labs suspended operations yesterday, put up a sheet on the wall and projected the match!  I'm not all that keen.  I love football.  Tick tock - it's not too far away now.  Training camps are starting up in earnest soon.

I was incredibly tired and sick feeling all of yesterday.  I couldn't get much done.  I just wanted to put my head down on my desk and have a snooze!  I was in bed early, put on my sleep mask and had a most wonderful sleep.  I feel fabulous today.  Plus it's noon knitting!  Yay!  The day will just zip by.

The weekend is shaping up to be another killer, busy weekend.  Friday, of course, is the 4th and a BBQ.  There is a card party in the works for Saturday but not definite yet.  And also on Saturday I have a list of errands a mile long including a visit to Derby for a hair appointment (if I don't get some of this hair cut off I'm going to go crazy!), a little bit of shopping for my trip, a stop at the jewelery store to get a new back for my earrings and a couple of other things I can't remember right now.  Busy.  I would also like to get Tink bathed sometime in there before I go.  This is my last weekend before my vacation so I'd better make some lists, yes?

01 July, 2014

The bus just never showed up!

How annoying is that?  VERY annoying.  But I got to work nevertheless.  It is quite mystifying when one looks at the bus app and sees that it is supposed to be there "NOW" and there is no bus, nor has there been a bus.  And then the next time it's refreshed the next bus shows and the first has disappeared.

I am like a zombie today.  I got quite wound up last night.  I was at Ben's and he has a piece of property with a large greenbelt behind it.  The critters are abundant around there and right now the rabbits are all over the place.  Tink is a terrier and prey driven so she always wants to go after them.  Last night she just slipped out of my grasp as I was hooking her up to a long line in the back and away she went.  I'll skip all of the wandering and calling and wading through brush and nettles(!).  She was recaptured finally.  I was a mess!  Do you know what it would do to me if she got lost?  There are things in the woods there that would kill her in a heartbeat.  But all's well that ends well.  Except I was quite wound up, as I said.  A couple of glasses of Pinot Grigio helped put me over the hump but I wasn't hungry at all.  I forced myself to eat a bit of hummus and some carrots and I did some knitting and watched the Mariners win.  I dropped off around 10, woke up at midnight and pretty much that was it for me.  I dozed around 4 o'clock for a couple of hours.  My mind was going a mile a minute.  I kept telling myself - hey!  It's 12 more days until vacation.  Slow down!!  Hah.  Well, I'm downing a double latte.  Hopefully two shots of espresso will kick start me.

Here's the trouble with wireless headphones (as if a missing bus isn't bad enough).  If you don't keep them charged up you don't have any music or audiobooks to drown out the people on the bus.  I think I'm going to go back to the ear buds.  It's supposed to be 90 degrees today.  Perhaps I'll skip my run and walk up to get new ones at lunch instead.

On Sunday I also visited the Ballard Market for the first time this spring/summer.  I didn't buy any foodstuffs except a jar of homemade kimchi.  They didn't have anything else I particularly wanted.  BUT I did find some yummy handmade soap and the flowers there are always spectacular.  I got some sweet peas and the scent is out of this world.  They still look perfect.