Saturday, March 27, 2010

5 sure signs that spring is here!

Leaves have been raked, and the garden chairs come out of hiding..

The snowdrops are in full bloom, and the stems are getting a bit long...

Bruno does gardening :-)

Clean clothes dance in the warm spring air...

And we take in our coffee at the good spot in the back of the garden.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring is here!

The weather has been delightfully spring-ish today!

I sat all day inside, sighing deeply whenever I happened to notice the sun outside my window.
When I got off work I had an errand - I took Kristian to get a much needed haircut - but THEN I just had to get outside!

So Bruno and I took a nice long walk around time, enjoying the wonderful weather, the beautiful old houses and buildings with all their quirky details. It was great to feel the air, finally not icy cold ....

There were so many things I wanted to take pictures of, I can just feel a photo safari coming on. Soon - coz next week is easter and I'll have some time off. Then I'll take you all through my town.

I know Roberta will love it :D

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Brain on weekend

My brain just went on weekend and it's MUCH too early :D

The main cause is probably that we had a wine tasting event yesterday.

For those of you who don't know, I work at a fairly large software house, developing software for banks. Besides my regular job as a project manager, I am part of the board of our wine club at work.

The wine club arranges tastings, and selects and distributes wines to our members. The advantage of buying wine through us is, that it's been validated for quality and price by us. We have a number of members who actually claim to buy all of their wine from us, and we distribute wine for about 40.000 USD pr. year ... quite a bit, actually.

Last night we had a tasting, and the wines were very nice. The best was a wonderful thing from California - Patz & Hall Pinot Noir - it was VERY good stuff!!

Actually this wine ... and all the others ... were WAY too good to spit out. So I woke up this morning rather more tired than normal.

Fortunately I've had a short work day - at lunch I called it a day and took the rest of the day off. And tomorrow I have a day off too -- my youngest sons 14'th birthday is due, and my mother has come down from Aalborg, where she lives, to celebrate it with us. So we'll just putter about tomorrow and enjoy each others company.

BTW I think I might have ordered some of that fab pinot noir. So I'd better do some overtime later this week, or go ask for a raise or something.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The path to my hunting grounds

I have somewhat exotic shopping habits, if you look at it from the other side of the pond.

On the other hand .. in the US I watch in amazement at large areas of stores, with huge parking lots, and not a sidewalk or a bike-path in sight. Everybody go everywhere in cars, even if you just have to go 2 blocks down to shop.

Most of my shopping I manage to get done on foot, with a few hefty shopping bags and a backpack for the heavy stuff.

I live 5-10 minutes walk from the centre of the town I live in - a moderate sized town by danish standards, but rather tiny compared to a lot of larger american towns.

So I take off on foot, to a nearby square, where there is both a grocery store and a veggie pusher. Not that you can't get vegetables at the grocery store, but they are just fresher and more varied at the vegetable shop. I start by picking up my fruit, and various onions, broccoli, eggplant and whatother favourite I have this week .. and what looks good.

Then I go to the grocery store, and get basic stuff like milk, flour, yoghurt ... the basics. Not cheese, though --- I prefer to go to the cheese shop downtown, where I can taste the cheese I pick out, and look at the large variety of cheeses, crackers, salts, vinegars and jams they sell there.

On the way home ... very close to where I live ... I pop into the butchers to get whatever meat I need. I usually only get meat for a few days, coz I want it fresh, and if I can avoid putting it in the freezer, I will.
We get most of our meat from the butchers. You can get a variety of meat at the grocery store, but the past few years we've had a lot of meat-scandals in Denmark - where grocery stores were exposed for selling meat that was marked to be fresher than it was, germ-ridden, fatter than it was labelled to be, and even containing other meat than labelled.

After that, we started going to our local butcher and found it
a) no more expensive than the supermarkets
b) immensely more fresh ... frequently they run it through the chopping-mashine while we look
c) less fat - our hamburgers suddenly don't shrink to 2/3 the size any more when we cook them.

All this I manage to do on foot. Partly because we only live 3 people here on a daily basis, and partly because I go 2-3 times a week, sometimes with Bruno along to help carry (and for his delightful company too).

I see people going by in cars, and I am so happy that I can walk back and forth. That used to be me, when the nearest shop were miles away from my home. I've considered getting a little trailer for my bicycle (I have a very nice 7 gear citybike that gets me to work and back when the weather is not too bad - 6 or 7 miles both ways, it's a lovely way to get a little extra exercise in), so I can go further and shop bigger, but so far I am content with walking back and forth.

Walking, and in particular biking, is very common here. A lot of households only have one car - cars, and the gas they run on, are a lot more expensive here than in the US. I laugh when I hear americans weeping at their gas prices ... come to Europe, dears!

The effect is that small cars are a hit, and that a lot more people transport themselves by bicycle. Copenhagen is packed with bikes! And every village, town and city have bikepaths as a natural part of city planning. We don't drive our kids everywhere ... they ride their bikes.

So ... I am not exotic. Just a danish town dweller, with danish habits :-)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Why I love Facebook...

Actually, I have a lot of reasons to love Facebook ... it keeps me in touch and provides ready and varied entertainment.

But one of the reasons I REALLY love Facebook, is the same reason that I revived this blog.

Right around the turn of the century, I chatted a lot on a site called RendezVouz.

It was the absolute ideal chatsite. Like a small village - with a core of regular chatters, that pretty much all knew each other. Most were educated people, or at least people with a certain level of reflection and thought and intellect.

The atmosphere was nice there. Warm and friendly, and intellectually challenging if that was what you wanted. I made great friends there ... and in all the years from then till now there was a handful I never forgot.

When I got on Facebook, some of them started showing up there. And I find it absolutely wonderful.

I am Facebook friends with the ones I liked the very best, and that I missed the most, when my life changed and I chatted less. I tried returning there a few times, but it was really dead - the magic, the life and spirit, was gone from there.

Our host was Rochelle ... aka Eden. She was Ms. Rendezvous, situated in Canada. A smart, pretty lady, always good for a nice chat, and we had great talks about all kinds of things .... she taught me a lot about how alike Canada and Denmark are in a lot of ways...

Then there was Cindy ... or Baf, as she went by in there. Fun and quick-witted, and wise in the ways of the world. AND a grandma at an age that I could hardly believe ;-)

Luis - or Louis - was always fun and games, and if you felt crappy one night, you could only wish for Luis to be online. He could pick you up and make you feel great. Hard working and lovely guatemalan guy (right?) that moved to Canada - and I know he has been a great friend to my glorious sister Roberta too, after she moved to Connecticut USA.....

Oh yes Roberta ... she was why I was in there! We met at RV to talk online, and I just got caught in there! Her handle was Kika, and my Kikinha she will be for ever. I knew her in person before I met her online, and we never lost touch - and I can't see why we ever should.

David - nicknamed Canes, coz he loooved some sportsteam (don't ask me if it was football or basket or...) named The Hurricanes. Southern boy, smart, sweet and with a quiet kind of humor. A guy that I was really glad to call my friend, and always a pleasure to meet online. Movie buff numero uno :-)

Sundance - or Jim, as he was called in the real world - was tremendously smart. A radio journalist, well oriented and lots of opinions, and a great heart. He lived in Texas - sadly, he died of cancer - while I was still a regular at RV. He left a hole in RV that was difficult to fill.

These were the ones I talked to the most. There were a lot of other, really nice people, but they didn't stick with me the way these guys and gals did.

Last night I had a good chat with Cindy, and it really brought back the pleasure I got from chatting late-night way back then. I never met most of them, but they were my friends - just as much as the real-life crowd I saw in the daytime. I missed them dearly when my life shifted and I didn't get to go online as much as I had.

And Facebook has brought them back to me.

Great huh?

Revival of "Zest for Life"

So I decided to revive my english blog. Not that I have too much time on my hands - but I find myself missing the process of expressing myself in english - a language that may not be my first, but one that is certainly close to my heart.

To some extent this blog will mirror my danish one ... not to to the point where I will laboriously translate every post word by word, but if a subject is for some reason important to me, I'll do posts in both languages.

Sometimes I post something on my danish blog, that is just plain irrelevant (like commenting on danish politics, danish puns etc) to my english readers - I will leave that out here on Zest.

On the other hand, some posts may appear only on "Zest for Life". I know I don't have a lot of readers here, but I won't let it keep me from sending out words into this little slot of cyberspace.

So after one and a half year of silence, I am back.
It'll be good for me.