Monday, March 31, 2008

Good To The Last Drop...

Get it while you can, people. Two years ago today, we bought our Nespresso coffee/espresso machine. That means that our 2-year warranty is over at midnight tonight.

I fully expect the machine to break within the next few days!

However, no biggie! We already had the machine fixed once under warranty. One day, a few months after we bought the thing, the machine would just not turn on anymore. I flicked, and re-flicked, the power switch. Nada! I called the fine people at Nespresso, and the machine was picked up, repaired, and promptly returned. They even offered us a free loaner (which I declined because we were leaving for vacation a couple of days later anyway) while we were waiting for our machine to be repaired. So, at least we got some value out of the warranty. Plus, the machine wasn't really that expensive (the coffee is what really costs you in the long run), so we'll just buy another one if it breaks down.

Yes, it was a fine decision to switch to the Nespresso machine after all the problems we had with our old Jura machine. I think I'll go make myself a double espresso right now.

While I still can!

Mystery Basket...

Mrs. TBF's favorite show is a British show called MasterChef - we watch it every night. If you want to see what we watch EVERY NIGHT OF THE WEEK (except when Mrs. TBF is out of town), click here.

MasterChef is a cooking show where amateur cooks compete by preparing dishes for two food professionals/judges. The winner of each show passes on to the next round. Eventually, one chef is left standing, and he or she is crowned MasterChef! I'm not really sure what happens after that, but according to the hosts, it's something that "...will change their life FOR-EVAH!!!" Again, I'm not really sure how.

One of the tests on the show is that the contestants have to prepare a meal using a "mystery basket" of goods. The ingredients are unveiled, and the aspiring chefs have fifty minutes to prepare a meal using some (or all) of the ingredients. Last week, Mrs. TBF asked if I'd pick out a "mystery basket" of ingredients to see if she could come up with a meal like on the TV show. I told her that there was NO WAY IN HELL I was going to walk around Basel with a wicker basket full of groceries, but then she assured me that I could just put them in a normal shopping bag, so I said: "Sure...why not?"

This past Saturday afternoon, we went to the local Globus. After snarfing down a hot dog at the BrezelKönig stand just outside the store, I walked into Globus's little grocery after telling Mrs. TBF to lose herself in the main part of the store for 15 minutes. She ended up buying a candle, and here's what I bought:

2 cans of pureed pumpkin
6 chicken thighs
1 bag of sun-dried tomatoes
some okra
1 bag of orzo
1 container of quark

Mrs. TBF: Quark? QUARK? What the heck am I supposed to do with quark?

TBF: I have no idea!

Mrs. TBF: Hmm! Quark!

Unlike the show, I unveiled the ingredients well ahead of cooking time - while we were on the way home on the tram. I figured that I'd increase the odds of the dinner being really good if I gave her some time (24 hours) to think about it. Much to my surprise, as soon as we got home, she told me that she had already figured out what she was making.

Here's what she ended up making:

Chicken and dumplings (made with quark instead of milk) with a side of casserole containing the orzo, sun-dried tomatoes, and okra. For dessert, she made a pumpkin creme brulée. Unfortunately, I immediately fell into a post-dinner coma and was unable to take a picture of the dessert.

Overall, I'd say that the chicken and dumplings were really tasty, and the side-casserole was decent - but not something I would beg her to make again. The dessert? Fantastic!

As a contestant, she shows promise. Will she get through to the next round?

That depends on her performance on the casting-couch.

From Beast To Boy...

Puppy is back home again with his "real" family. And I'm sure he's happy about no longer having to compete with King for his own food.

OK... It's one thing to trust us with watching somebody's dog. I mean, we did have a dog for many years, and we're pretty much experts at it - so no big deal. However, it's another thing when somebody actually trusts us to watch their child - something with which we have absolutely no experience. And - believe it or not - that actually happened this past weekend.

OK, OK! I know Olli's not actually a "child" (he's fifteen), but the fact that we were responsible for his well-being for 24 hours while his parents were in the U.K. (another country, even!) kind of makes me feel all growed-up!

As Puppy left, Olli showed up. I had big plans of putting him to work, but having just returned from a two-week swim camp in Italy, he seemed a bit tired. So, I ended up being soft on him and didn't make him fetch me a drink and barbecue our steaks as planned. As a matter of fact, I fixed HIM a martini - ...just joking! He was posing with mine! - and then we served him up some grub. At one point, I caught him cutting the fat off his steak (THE BEST PART!!!), and I told him that his mom was in a different country AND that I wouldn't tattle on him if he ate it. Da Kid still wouldn't eat the fat - so I picked it off his plate and ate it myself!!

Kids! What are ya gonna do?

After dinner, we all pretty much just sat around watching TV. I didn't even have to walk him OR pick up his poop. Imagine that!

The next morning, after waking the slug up at 11:30, Mrs. TBF prepared a HUGE breakfast. Then, Olli just proceeded to watch TV until his parents showed up.

Who knew having a kid was so easy?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Flashback: Sick Days

Seeing how the entire week was just a continuous string of sick days for me, I thought it would be a good challenge to go through the photo album archives to try to find pictures of Mrs. TBF and I when we've been sick. And, you know what?

There aren't many to choose from, but definitely more of me (various surgeries) than of Mrs. TBF.

I guess it makes sense. I mean, who takes pictures of people when they're sick?

After hours...ok...minutes of research, I was actually able to scrounge up a couple.

As you may be able to tell, this picture was taken quite a long time ago. It was, in fact, taken in late October, 1987 while we were on our honeymoon in Tahiti - actually, this picture was taken on the island of Moorea. We had flown from Chicago to Papeete (via Los Angeles), the day before. We spent the first night outside of Papeete, and then the next day we took a "puddle-jumper" airplane to the island of Moorea.

Being jet lagged and all, I decided to take a nap when we got settled into our little thatch hut bungalow. Some time later, I was stirred from my sleep by Mrs. TBF whispering: "There's a gecko sleeping on your hand." At that same moment, I felt that I had a scratchy throat, and...I was convinced that the gecko had given me some kind of rare tropical disease. I jumped out of bed like a sissy, and tried to swat the gecko off the back of my hand. Finding that it had suctioned itself to the back of my hand, mild panic began to set in, but I somehow managed to eventually get the (two-inch) man-eating beast off of my hand; sending it scampering out of our hut. A little while later, Mrs. TBF snapped this picture of me calming my nerves - and deadening the pain of my scratchy throat (which eventually matured into a full-blown cold - with a nice, icy Mai Tai; her first exposure to the marital man-cold!

I really had to dig deep to find a sick picture of Mrs. TBF because she really doesn't get sick that often. But I'm happy to say that I found a real doozy! We have to zip ahead nearly fourteen years for this one from June, 2001.

After about fourteen years of caring for my man-colds (probably about thirty in total), Mrs. TBF came down with chicken pox. We found out later that it was going through our neighborhood, and Mrs. TBF had never had it as a child. Getting chicken pox is never pleasant, but what made Mrs. TBF's case especially bad was that she came down with it while she was on a business trip.

She was flying to New York and kind of felt itchy during the flight. It wasn't until she was at her hotel getting ready for bed that she noticed her entire torso was covered with little spots.

To make a long story short: she called the health clinic at work which told her not to come in and to just stay in her hotel room for the next week, decided that wasn't going to happen, booked the next flight back to Zürich, and then called me to tell give me her flight details. After caking on a bunch of makeup so that nobody on the flight would notice, she flew back to Zürich the day after arriving in NYC.

I picked her up in Zürich, brought her home, and...then I LEFT FOR CHICAGO THE NEXT DAY FOR TWO WEEKS! Just for the record, I offered to cancel my trip, but she said she'd be fine with Dominique. I spent two weeks visiting friends and family while Mrs. TBF spent two weeks dabbing her face with calamine lotion (or whatever the Swiss equivalent is) and walking Dominique early in the morning and late in the evening in order to avoid seeing as many people as possible.

Aren't I a jerk?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Three Boys And A Sugar Mama...

No blood has been shed. As a matter of fact, King and Puppy seem to be living in harmony; no chasing, no barking or hissing, and very little swiping. Although King continues to assert his alpha-maleness by eating (more like licking) Puppy's food and drinking his water, he does seem to be warming up to Puppy's occasional sniff. It's not too different from when we had Dominique - except that Dominique wasn't as docile as Puppy.

Having a dog around this week has reminded me of just how much of a commitment it is having a dog. Normally it's pretty easy having just King around. Yes, he complains a lot, needs to be fed multiple times per day (with medicine), and requires his boulders to be cleared out of the litter box on a regular basis so that the whole apartment doesn't stink. However, he doesn't need to be walked. I've forgotten how much time that takes and how much it can disrupt the day. It also doesn't help that I've had a relapse of my man-cold, my sinuses are completely clogged, and having to go outside in the cold to walk the "Clydesdale" hasn't been on the top of my list of things I WANT to do. Also, there's A LOT more fur around the house. I normally vacuum everyday, but I'm thinking that two-a-days might be more in order; man-cold has caused me not to feel like doing that either.

Sure, I've promised Mrs. TBF that we can have two dogs when we move back to Chicago...whenever that is. However, who wouldn't want a dog when most of the pet work had been done during the day and all you have to do is come home (so that you can continue your workday) and bask in the glory of two pets (and a man-cold sufferer) who are happy to see you.

Don't get me wrong. I've actually enjoyed Puppy's company - he's a very sweet, well-behaved dog - and I'd let him stay here again, BUT...

I'm not ready to be owned by another dog...yet. Ever? Well, I promised.

That's enough about that. It's time to vacuum.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Random Photo...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 1:23 P.M. Binningen

I was sitting at the desk in our home office when I suddenly looked up toward the Bruderholz and saw that we were in the midst of a blizzard. Five minutes later, the sun was shining and no evidence remained that it had even snowed; none of the snow had stuck to the ground.

Monday, March 24, 2008

What's Big...?

...brown, can rip your arm out of it's socket during a walk if you're not careful, afraid of King, and will be staying with us until Saturday evening?

Answer: Puppy!

See? I told you that maybe we'd have another dog in the house sooner than you think.

This is Puppy
, and he arrived at our house last night around 9 p.m. Size-wise...he's a beast, but personality-wise...he's as gentle as a lamb. He is (according to his "mommy") part Great Dane and part Rhodesian Ridgeback - and, I think, part scaredy-cat. We brought him over here a couple of weeks ago for a little test to see how he and King would react to each other, and I saw instantly that King was dominant when he began walking curiously toward Puppy to check him out and...Puppy whimpered.

So far, so good. Puppy survived his first twelve hours in our house with only a few bitch-slaps to the face from King. They seem to be curious about each other, and actually are now sleeping about a meter apart from each other as I write, but they're definitely not to the bosom-buddies stage yet. If King needs a break from Puppy, all he has to do is go into one of our bathrooms. For some reason, Puppy will NOT set one paw into a bathroom - so much for my idea of letting him use the toilets as his personal water bowls!

So far, the only minor problem is that they seem to be interested in each other's food. We can block King's food off from Puppy by keeping the kitchen door cracked open only enough to allow King to get through. But last night we caught King actually scooping Puppy's kibble out of his bowl and then trying to gnaw at it with his few remaining teeth. Then, in the middle of the night, I heard King drinking Puppy's water. What is it with King the beast? Why does he insist on drinking water from any source in the house other than his own water bowl? What a psycho!

My main reason for offering to watch somebody's dog was so that Mrs. TBF could get a dog-fix, and then she wouldn't hassle me about getting another dog of our own - I definitely don't want another dog for as long as we remain in Switzerland. However, I have agreed to us getting TWO dogs (along with a bunch of other incentives)...WHEN WE MOVE BACK TO AMERICA! Aren't I mean??? Naturally, my intention with the dog-sitting was that we'd take care of Puppy together. And, of course, Puppy came to us on the last evening of a long holiday weekend which means that I - and I alone - am now responsible for the bulk of the Puppy watching duties; including cleaning up his MASSIVE Great Dane dog turds while he pulls me around the neighborhood during our "walks". How the hell did that happen?

I'm going off to the gym in a couple of hours. That'll be the first time I leave the two of them together in the house without "parental" supervision. I have images of coming home and finding Puppy breathing his last breath in a pool of his own blood as King prepares to feast on his belly meat. Hopefully, that won't happen.

Cleaning up that mess would be a lot of work.

Feed A Cold, ...

...feed a fever!

I've never really been able to keep straight which one I'm supposed to feed and which one I'm supposed to starve, so I just decided that it's easier to avoid confusion by feeding both of 'em.

It all started a couple of Saturdays ago. That's when I think I began getting sick. We went away with our friends Mark and Lisa to a really nice hotel/restaurant (L'Arnsbourg - Hotel K) in the Alsace. It took about 2.5 hours to drive there from Basel, and when we finally arrived we found ourselves at a very modern, sleek the middle of nowhere. I'm not joking when I say "middle of nowhere".
Mrs. TBF discovered with horror that her cellphone was useless (although she definitely tried) due to the lack of any signal whatsoever. Actually, the hotel was in the middle of a forest, but there was really nothing around except for a bunch of trees and an absolutely FANTASTIC restaurant that is conveniently located directly across the street from the hotel; the main reason for the trip.

After arriving, we all had a little cheese and champagne on our balcony, and then Mark and Lisa decided to go for a walk through the woods. I was feeling tired (probably already coming down with my man-cold at that point), so I just told them that I'd take a pass and lie down for a little while. My head hit the pillow, and the next thing I knew, Mrs. TBF was waking me up and telling me that I had been sleeping for over two hours.


The weekend pretty much went like this:

drive to hotel...



12-course dinner extravaganza with great wines...

a good night's sleep...


great breakfast...

drive back home (where Mrs. TBF managed to get reconnected to the world via her "crack"-berry!)...

We really had a great time, and I think we're going to have to do more of this going-away-for-one-night-to-stay-at-a-nice-hotel-and-eat-at-a-great-restaurant thing.

The next day, Mrs. TBF left for her business trip, and I began feeling a cough-due-to-cold coming on right after I left the gym on Monday afternoon. That was the last time I was at the gym - one week ago. One great thing about a cold is that it pretty much gives me an excuse to completely blow-off any sort of fitness regimen (even though I could probably manage to still workout if I really wanted to).

But that's not the worst of it...

Not only did I not workout at all last week, but I ended up over-eating at Andy and Di's house on Tuesday AND Wednesday nights. Mrs. TBF returned home on Thursday, so we ate at home that night. But then we overate at John and Rammy's house on Friday night, again at Andy and Di's house on Saturday night, and then I gorged on a great Easter dinner that Mrs. TBF (with a little help from me) prepared yesterday. Tonight, we'll have some Easter leftovers to complete my week-plus gorging with nary a trace of exercise.

You know? Having a cold isn't all that bad; except for, of course, my head feeling like it's a big bag full of snot!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Always In Threes...

I came down with a cold earlier this week. The worst part about this particular cold was that I started to feel a little itch in my throat about four hours after Mrs. TBF left for a 3-day business trip. That meant that it couldn't develop into a real Man-cold because I didn't have Mrs. TBF around to listen to me moan about how sick I was, and even worse was that she wasn't around to bring me all that is required by me when I am in this weakened state. I tried getting that little bastard King to cook me some dinner, but he'd have nothing to do with any of it. Nooooooo! He actually expected ME to feed HIM! The nerve!

Then, I woke up yesterday morning (after a nine hour nighttime cold medicine induced coma) and found that my stigmata was acting up again. Why does that always seem to happen around this time of year? Why? Whyyy? WHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYY?

Today, I decided to set up our new wireless printer/fax/copier/scanner/etc. machine. I got it all set up, and...


It scans, it copies, I can insert a memory card from my camera and it'll print that, and I can control these functions from my Mac with the wireless connection.



Wait a second...

Mrs. TBF returned home yesterday evening. What am I doing?


Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday Flashback: "Everyone Knows It's Windy" Edition

In honor of the howling winds from earlier this week that kept me awake by rattling our blinds and windows, I pulled a couple of old "windy" photos from our photo albums. Yes...actual photos that you can hold in your hand. What a concept!

These pictures were taken in October, 2001. We took the train to Munich for a weekend trip to meet up with our friend Dave from Chicago who was in Munich on business. While there, we made a quick excursion to the Olympic Park. And, of course, no trip to the Olympic Park would be complete without a ride up to the top of the Olympic Tower.

Now, I'm not crazy about heights to begin with. But imagine my concern when I walked out into the open air at the top of the tower and felt gale-force winds blowing against my (at that time) rather substantial girth. I seriously had images in my mind of being blown off the top of the tower, screaming Scheisse as I sailed over the Olympic Stadium, and landing somewhere in Austria. Mrs. TBF, on the other hand, was more concerned about what the fine people at the BMW headquarters were saying about her "freak flag" flapping in the wind.

Wow! Has it really been over six years since we were in Munich? Over six years since we had Weisswurst and Hefeweizen beer for breakfast?

Scheisse! We need to go back!

Between A Rock And A Fire Hydrant...

Our baby - Dominique - floated on up to doggy heaven three years ago today.

Man, there have GOT to be A LOT of dogs up there. Who's picking up all that poop?

Here's a picture of her from January, 2003 doing one of the things she did best: reading her "peemail". Mrs. TBF came up with that one, dammit! That was soooo should have been mine!

Little things constantly remind us about her and all the happy times we had with her.

There'll never be another Dominique...EVER!

But...will there ever be another dog in the house???

...maybe sooner than you think!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A "Keek In D' Ass!"

I had to go to Dr. "Boozer's" office yesterday morning for refills of King's medication. His "optional" pills had run out about a week ago, and I was down to the last few thyroid pills, so I had gotten down to the point where I absolutely HAD to go. Life with a hyperthyroid cat: NOT GOOD!

Normally I'm totally on the ball when it comes to King's pills. I usually get more pills when I'm down to a two week supply, but this time I was unable to do so because I found out a couple of weeks ago that Dr. "Boozer" had had a heart attack about three weeks ago.

I called his office on Tuesday to find out if anybody was there, and much to my surprise, Dr. "Boozer" answered the phone. I expressed my relief that he was better, and then I made arrangements to pick up the pills the next day.

Why is it that whenever I make plans to run a bunch of errands, it rains? Yesterday was no exception. I slogged through the rain and wind to the tram, transfered to a bus, took the bus to the stop by Dr. "Boozer's" office, and walked the last last 100 meters in the pouring rain. Since it was so windy outside, I hadn't bothered with an umbrella, so I was soaked by the time I walked into his office.

I have to say that he looked good - pretty much as if nothing had ever happened. He had felt some indigestion on a Thursday night after dinner and didn't think too much about it. On Friday evening, he felt the same indigestion after eating dinner, and then he started to feel pains shooting down his arms. A few minutes later, his wife was driving him to the hospital.

It was at this point that he told me that the experience really "...keeked me in d'ass!" He has to take medication for the rest of his life (one of the medications being similar to one of King's medications), he hasn't smoked a single cigarette since the heart attack, and he's now on a diet. Worst of all, I told him, the heart attack left him exposed to a lifetime of hearing "I told you so" from his wife (I felt he needed some male bonding).

"Theez shoodn't happeen after forty-four yearz!"

After getting over the shock when I found out that he's actually a year younger than me (Mrs. TBF thinks I must have misheard him), I felt a wave of mortality come over me. OK, I didn't know that he smoked, and I'm sure that contributed to the plaque build-up in his arteries, but I wouldn't say that he was obese. Sure, he was like a lot of other people who can stand to lose 10 kilos (22 lbs.), but I wouldn't have guessed that he was a heart attack waiting to happen. I guess it shows the importance of trying to live a relatively healthy lifestyle, not ignoring messages your body is trying to send you, and going to the doctor for regular check-ups.

We're glad that "The Booze-Man" (as we affectionately call him) is OK. King, especially, is relieved. The last thing he wants in his advanced age (other than not having a constant supply of food and water, is having to find a new vet.

King will be twenty years old in May. That's the human equivalent of 97 years old. It wouldn't have been right if King had outlived Dr. "Boozer".

It's Time (Once Again) To Play...

..."What the hay-ell is that thang???"

Any guesses?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Nothing To Lose Sleep Over...

Windy City!

No, not Chicago. I'm talking about Basel!

Man, it's been really windy here the past couple of days. Me? I don't really care. But Mrs. TBF? She doesn't like it one bit. As a matter of fact, she's kind of afraid of wind. Whenever we're watching TV at night and the wind howls and rattles the blinds, she kind of moans out something like:

"Noooooo, wind scaaaaaaares me!"

See? Told ya...

Now that I think about it, I guess I DO really care about the wind - seeing how it's cost me a lot of sleep over the past couple of days.

Yesterday morning, the howling wind rattling the blinds woke me up and I got up to close the window which was cracked open. I fell back to sleep, but I kept waking up because the blinds/window kept making a strange noise - kind of like rubber squeaking against rubber and what sounded like something tapping the window. I finally got up at something like 7:30, but I felt totally exhausted because the last couple hours of sleep was not the normal deep sleep I experience just before waking up. But that wasn't the end of it.

This morning, I woke up at 4:30 and I heard the noises again. I got out of bed and stood by the closed window to try to figure out what the problem was. I couldn't see anything tapping against the window, so I just went back to bed, but...I couldn't fall back to sleep. I tried listening to my iPod with earphones, but it didn't help - I could still hear that tapping. At 5:00, I knew there was no chance of falling back to sleep, so I just got up, made some coffee, and read in our living room until I heard Mrs. TBF's alarm clock go off. Yes, she was completely unaffected by the noise. I brought her some coffee, and then I went over to have another look at the window.


As it turns out, I had closed the window incorrectly the day before, and what I was hearing was the the sound of the two floor-to-ceiling windows rubbing together as the wind blew. The tapping noise was the base of the windows tapping against the frame. I opened both windows, closed them again - correctly, this time. And...?



I estimate that my stupid mistake cost me at least a good five hours of sleep over the past two days. Fortunately, my mistake cost Mrs. TBF ZERO hours of sleep. But I guess when you can sleep for nine hours on a thirteen hour flight like she can, a little tapping noise isn't such a big deal.

I think I'll be going to bed early tonight.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Guilty Pleasures...

Mrs. TBF is afraid...VERY afraid!!!


Because I LOVE this song.

I know that it goes against every classic/hard rock fiber in my body, but I just can't help it.

Is it wrong?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Keeping Up With Technology...

I know I'm a little behind the times, but I finally got Skype. And?

I think it's great!!!

A couple of months ago, my 70-something dad asked me why I don't have Skype. I think I responded with something like: "Why? Do YOU have it?" Surprise...SURPRISE!!! He did.

So in order to climb up to my dad's rung on the technology ladder, I decided to download Skype after I bought our new MacBook. Hell, my Mac already had a camera and microphone built in, so why not?

My assessment: I think the sound quality is excellent, the video quality is good, and (best of all) it's FREE!!! Also, I think it's a great way to "stick it" to Swisscom.

Really, Swisscom's overseas calling rates aren't too bad at all. But I think their local calls and land line to mobile phone rates are ridiculous. Calling one's next-door-neighbor here in Basel costs pretty much the same as calling overseas. Calling from home to somebody's mobile phone costs MUCH more than an overseas call.

I guess that's what happens when there's no competition!

I've really been enjoying making these video calls. I've spoken with my mom and dad in Florida several times, the mass free-for-all that is talking with my nieces and nephew all at the same time, my sister during calmer times when the kids are all in school, and friends.

It's all been great, but I'll really be excited when I'm able to start making FREE video calls from my computer to mobile phones. Then I'll really "stick it" to Swisscom!

Random Photos...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008 - 2:03 p.m. Reinach

I noticed these little lambs a couple of weeks ago when I was out for my weekly dog walking duty with George and Henry by our old apartment. Even after 7+ years of living here, I still find it amusing that livestock live in such close proximity to apartment buildings.

Easter Sunday is what, 2.5 weeks away? Let's see if the little lambs are still there when I walk the dogs on March 26th.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008 - 5:38 p.m. Peter Merian tram stop/Basel

The edge of downtown Basel with the sheep only three to four miles away; snow squalls loom in the distance.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Next Time...

...bring a luffa.

It happened again...yesterday!

A Lighter Shade Of Pale...

Last night, I may have served the most monochromatic dinner of all time; chicken breasts, white asparagus, and couscous. I didn't plan for a lack of color, and it tasted good, but it was just a bit...well...boring to look at. The saving grace was that I still had asparagus pee this morning - TWELVE HOURS LATER!!! That must be some kind of record!

Speaking of this morning...

We woke up to a monochromatic landscape.

Did I cause that?

If you need me, I'll just be sitting in our living room getting a color-fix by looking at our new paintings.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Adding A Little (More) Color To Our Lives...

We bought more art last week.

Mrs. TBF and I went to an art gallery a couple of Saturdays ago, and we saw a couple of paintings by a Basel artist names Regula Mathys-Hänggi. If you'll recall, we bought one of her paintings about two years ago which we've enjoyed so much that we thought it was time to add another one to the fray. We couldn't decide between the two, so...we decided to buy BOTH of them.

The one on the left is called Zeichensprache III, and the one on the right is called Engelsreigen. I know that Zeichensprache means "sign language", but I'm not totally clear on the meaning of Engelsreigen. I know that Engel means "angel", but the gallery owner couldn't tell me exactly what Reigen is in English (and I couldn't find it in my German dictionary). He told me that it's "...a kind of dance that's done in a circle...", so I'm going with "angels' merry-go-round" or "angels' ring-around-the-rosie". Buying the art was easy. Now begins the hard part; figuring out WHERE to hang it and HOW to hang it.

I thought I had the WHERE all figured out until our friends John and Rammy came over for dinner last night and I asked them for their opinions regarding where the paintings should be hung. Imagine my surprise when they convinced Mrs. TBF that I should hang the paintings in completely different spots than I had picked out. Naturally, this involved me having to spend the better part of this morning moving living room furniture, the liquor cabinet, and a cabinet that holds about a zillion glasses (THANKS, John and Rammy! Aaaaaargh!). The net result? I'm going to veto it. Yup, I'm thinking that my first choice will be the better choice (of course!), but I'll wait for Mrs. TBF to get home from work tonight so that she can see it all for herself. Tomorrow (after Mrs. TBF comes to her senses and becomes convinced that my way is the best way), I'll move the cabinets back to their original positions and begin tackling the HOW part of hanging the paintings.

The one painting will be no problem because it'll be hung on a wall that appears to be somewhat hollow. However, the other painting is going to be hung on a wall that is part of the central staircase/elevator shaft of our apartment building. I've tried to drill into this wall before with absolutely no success whatsoever. Even with my hammer-drill, I've only been able to penetrate about 1/4" into the wall. Seeing that the wall is probably solid concrete, I'm probably going to have to hire a handyman to come over and drill two holes for me with some sort of industrial drill; probably the easiest money the handyman will ever make in his life! Either that, or I'm going to have to figure out where to buy the kind of plastic explosives that bank robbers use to blow open bank vaults. However, one way or another, the paintings will eventually hang on our walls along with their "big sister" - Sterngucker.

I pointed out to Mrs. TBF this weekend that someday these paintings will be hanging in our house in the U.S. (most likely in Chicago). With three of Regula Mathys-Hänggi's paintings now in our collection, is it possible that we may someday have the largest collection of R.M.H.'s art in America? I guess I shouldn't say anything because there might be some kind of law preventing me from taking them out of Switzerland. Perhaps I'll just have to paint something over the originals right before moving day comes, and then just scrape off my artwork after they're unpacked in the U.S.