Monday, February 25, 2008

It was really sweet and nice to see Marketa Irglova and Glen Hansard win an Oscar last night for Best Song for "Falling Slowly" from the great film, Once. It's a beautiful and haunting song and I've been obsessed with it since the first time I heard it so it was great to see them win.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

It's a nasty day, gray and gloomy day here in the Northeast after a day of snow and ice. I stayed in last night while Chris walked over to Mike's to play cards. I think it was my first Friday night spent very quietly all year and it was great. Chris rolled in quite late - well after two this morning and I was still awake. I got up early this morning and hit the gym and then went for a solitary coffee, came home, showered and then got back into pajamas and we've been in bed all day with the dog, books, the papers and the television in our comfortable and warm bedroom. We're sort of camping out - as I've said before our house is chilly and drafty and our room is just cozy and nice. Chris just went out for some pizza and a video and I am headed downstairs to get us a nice bottle of wine and we're going to have a quietly decadent evening of doing nothing but relaxing in our room, with our dog, which seriously makes me very happy.

Tonight's wine: A cheeky, happy Costieres de Nimes, I think. I've got a few bottles -not sure which I am going to pick. Jancis Robinson thinks Costieres de Nimes are nice everyday wines and a good bargain and I agree. Perfect for a night in front of the telly.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Our good friend of at least 30 years Chrissy lost her 47 year old brother last week and the funeral was today. Though I hardly knew Robert, his funeral just about knocked me over. He was single and left only two sisters, his mom and dad and three nieces and nephews. To see his mom and dad, two lovely, simple and good people, completely overwhelmed with grief was devastating. I really do not remember a time when I felt so sad at a funeral. Absolutely heartbreaking.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

It's freezing again. I'm sick to death of this seemingly endless winter.

Been running around a lot the past few days - we went to see John, who had hip replacement surgery at Jefferson Hospital in Philly, on Friday which led to us going on a mad drinking spree...Gah, as if that weren't hard enough on this old gal, yesterday, I had to make a condolence call on an old family friend whose brother died - very unexpectedly at age 47. I went with Gina and Tom. So sad to see his family so broken up by the whole thing. Last night, we went out with a small gang of friends to Cork to celebrate a bunch of February birthdays. It was a good laugh. Today, we had a quick breakfast at Jo's - the highlights were Jo's frittata and teh English bacon we brought. I got it at the English store in town. Ridiculously overpriced, but once in awhile, it's a good treat. Yum. Today, we're hanging with my family - yet another birthday celebration...Am ready to go on a fast, but I'll somehow manage to plough through Gina's homemade lasagne today.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I've noticed the weirdest thing lately - our local grocery stores are selling Dr. Oetker products, which I used in Germany and thought were strictly marketed there. I must have opened up a hundred packages of Dr. Oetker's Bakpulver (Baking Powder) when I lived there. It's just strange to see the stuff on our shelves here. Apparently, I'm not the only one who noticed it - a quick Google search reveals several other bloggers who are a bit surprised by it. Intriguing.

Last night was fun. We managed to round up a nice group of six people to wander around the corner for dinner in a wicked ice storm. Lots of laughs, some truly good comfort food and wine, but a bit of a treacherous walk home.

I just got a call at 5:30 p.m. Haddonfield, New Jersey time from Jen in Germany, where it was 11:30 p.m. She forgot my birthday was yesterday but wanted to call before she went to bed before another day had passed. It was kind of a chuckle because an hour or two before I was kidding around with Chris about how she forgot me! Was nice to hear from her. And nice to be remembered even a day late. Thanks, Jen!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It's really cold here. Our house is a big and drafty and old and when it gets extremely frigid, is very difficult to keep warm so we camp out in our room on the third floor which has electric baseboard heat. It's kind of fun. There are no more than seven or ten days a year that we have to do this so it's a mini adventure.

Just finished re-reading Pride & Prejudice. Am going nack through all of Jane Austen - only have a few more to go. Up next, Emma. Masterpiece Theatre has been running an entire Jane Austen series so it made sense for me to go back to what are some of my favorite books ever.

Oh yeah, it's my birthday today. We won't discuss the age...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

We had a nice chat with Lise and Richard who phoned us yesterday, full of overwhelming love and emotion on all parts because they have just had a daughter. i really wish we were there for this. It's the most I have missed Munich since we left. Richard sent some photos via e-mail and she is beautiful.

We had a terrific time at Melissa and Bill's. Was great to see Terry and Teresa, who is nine months pregnant and looking remarkably well and serene. We really like them and really need to start seeing them more. We have a lot in common and the conversation flows nicely. Terry had a great bit of Haddonfield gossip, which was fun.

Today, Chris is brewing. I just got back from a cold bike ride, but felt good to get some air pumping through my lungs. I'm knitting socks and chilling till tonight when we go next door to John and Jill's for dinner.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

It's a gloomy Saturday here in Jersey and I'm trying to figure out what to do with myself. Chris is going to two, count 'em - two - homebrew stores and then whipping up a new batch of IPA. The only thing I have on my agenda is making quesadillas for tonight's dinner at Melissa and Bill's house. I seriously could make them in my sleep. They're a fun thing to make and people love them. Melissa seemed semi-mortified that I want to finish them at her house. I do everything short of cooking them here - but they really need to be finished at the last minute. I am thinking of making two types - mushroom and caramelized onions. She'll get over it when she tastes how good they are.

Also am going to knit a pai of socks for Chris today. Am headed off to the wool store right now.

Here's a quick shout out to our dear dear friends Lise and Richard in Munich who just welcomed a daughter into the world. I am heartbroken that we cannot be there to see her right now, but we're looking forward to spending lots of time with the three of them when we visit in Munich. Here's to Baby Stella!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I am so hungry I could eat my own hand, but not sure what it is I want. Thinking taht perhaps a bloody rare piece of beef would do the trick. Will take a wander over to Acme and figure it out when I get there.

My latest annoyance is with the entire genre known as chick lit. Looking for something light, I picked up two books written by two different thirty something women writers and was absolutely stunned by how dumbed down and insulting they were. I ran them right back. Terrible. The plots were so predictable that my fourteen year niece could have written them. The dialogue - revolting - who talks like that? I used to be able to stomach them - maybe it's because I'm getting older and grouchier - who knows? Give me something meaty any day.

P.S. I just remembered how much I loved Bridget Jones' Diary so there's some good examples of it out there. But none I've looked at lately. Rant over.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I just voted in New Jersey's Super Tuesday primary and from the looks of it, turnout is high. People I know who have never previously voted or shown an interest are getting out there today, which can only be good.

I'll be in watching the returns tonight!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Good news. Chris is now the proud holder of a Green Card, which means he's a permanent legal resident of the United States. The interview made both of us nervous, but our credentials were completely solid so the interviewer stamped Chris' passport then and there. In three years, he's eligible to be a citizen. We're going out for a few celebratory drinks with friends in a bit.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

I'm a teensy weensy bit hung over after swilling a silly amount of champagne at Jo's Mardi Gras shindig last night. It was a good one, with some fabulous food. We walked over which was smart because we knew we'd probably overindulge. Had a ton of laughs with everyone, was a nice crowd of folks all in good moods. Love when a party has a truly good feel to it and this one did. Tom, as usual, had me laughing my head off. My sisters bothc ame too and that was really good too.

Today's the Super Bowl which I plan to mark by sitting in front of the telly and totally ignoring. Fun, aren't I? I think I'll watch some movies and do some knitting and maybe read a bit. I really want to stay home and do nothing. Might take a walk with the dog, but then again, I might not. That's what Sundays are all about - sheer laziness.

Tomorrow we have our interview at immigration. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

I realized after yesterday's post that I really hadn't explained myself so well. The Indian King Brewery is the name we have concocted for Chris' homebrew attempts. After a shaky start, things are off to a flyer. His first batch was not-so-hot, tasted of wet cardboard, but, as our friend Miek Evans so succinctly put it "Four or five beers in, this stuff's not so bad!". With the help of his new found friends on the HomebrewTalk forum and the nice folks at Home Sweet Homebrew in Philly, his beer is rocking good. He's made a really good Weiss beer, a nice Holiday Ale, an incredible IPA, a nice version of Old Speckled Hen in addition to some other stuff. He's got a Munich style Helles on the go now as well as an Irish Stout. Brewing beer properly at home is not some penny pinching move, and in actuality, costs a bit of money, but for Chris it's all about crafting something nice, which really appeals to me - as I am the sort of person who makes her own pasta and bread, and does not cut corners while cooking.

We had a quiet night in last night. I was feeling a bit low and just wanted to hang out in front of the television with a takeout and Chris and teh dog for company. I had a sort of busy week and was feeling overwhelmed. Had seen Atonement on Wednesday with Peggy and on Thursday night went to spend a few hours with Jen, who was in from Munich for a few quick days on the end of a business trip. It was great to see her. She was staying with her brother, who I've known for years, and his wife and new baby. I really enjoyed it. It was nice to reconnect a bit.

Tonight Jo is having a kick ass Mardi Gras Party. I am looking quite forward to going to a party at someone else's place for a change. We love entertaining, but still it's nice to wake up in a pristine house which doesn't smell like a drunken piss-up.

We also just booked our trip to Germany in May yesterday. We managed to get it through Lufthansa Miles and More which is really sweet. We'll be spending a few days in Amsterdam, then going to Mick's wedding ins oem godforsaken corner of Germany, then off to Slovakia to see the Plants, and finally back to Munich to stay with Lise and Richard and to see all of our old friends. We haven't set foot in Germany since leaving almost three years ago and I guess it's high time we did. I thought Chris would be really anxious to go back sooner, but he feels that after fourteen years, besides his friends, there's not a lot he's sentimental about.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Just back from a morning session with Chris and the gang at Starbucks, some of whom are proposing to invest in the Indian King Brewery. How funny is that? They also are lobbying to have the Indian King Tavern, which is now functioning as a tourist attraction, reopened as a pub. They want to pick the brains of a few of our lawyer friends as to the legality of it. The State owns it now. I would think that the property alone would be worth a few million dollars, never mind cutting through the red tape to serve beer in this dry town. Though the town had several colonial era watering holes, not a drop has been served here since Prohibition, but you are welcome to bring your wine to the restaurants. I think getting the town to go from dry to wet would be a real battle even though people here are real boozehounds. Remember, this is a town that went to war with a guy over his right to sell hot dogs from a cart on the main street. Also, the town which was up in arms when a homeowner painted his house purple. It's a moot point since no one has millions lying around to pony up for a fancy brewpub! But it's fun morning chatter.