Friday, November 27, 2009

A Thanksgiving Controversy???

One of the comments from yesterday's post seems to question whether or not Brussels sprouts are traditional Thanksgiving fare. I have to say that I don't really remember ever eating them at Thanksgiving when I was growing up. But then again, we often ate a lot of of Finnish side dishes along with our turkey. I know Brussels sprouts are a traditional Christmas side dish in the U.K., and I think a lot of Americans/Canadians eat them with their Thanksgiving/Christmas meals. Oh... who knows?

How about if we just let Herman Munster settle it for us? And pay attention to what he says at the 14 second mark.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Even though it's just an ordinary Thursday in Switzerland, I'm still trying to create a little Thanksgiving spirit around here.

I know it's not quite the same as an American Thanksgiving dinner, but we ARE going to have some turkey, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts.

I'd have no problem grilling a whole turkey, IF I COULD FIND ONE!!! Sure, I could have ordered a fresh one at the butcher a couple of weeks ago, but why bother just for the two of us. In a couple of weeks they'll start appearing in the grocery stores, and I'll buy a couple to stick in the freezer for later use.

In the meantime, turkey Schnitzel, sweet potatoes, and frozen Brussels sprouts will have to do. But I sure will miss eating the Pope's nose.

Can I buy a bag full of frozen ones somewhere?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Double Shot

Mrs. TBF and I had our H1N1 and seasonal flu shots yesterday evening.

As some of you already know, Mrs. TBF works for one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, and apparently they want to take care of their own: FREE H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccinations (both manufactured by the previously mentioned company for whom Mrs. TBF works) for all employees and their spouses/significant others/children. Figuring that I'm not as young as I used to be, and considering the fact that I would never turn down something FREE in Switzerland (free Basler Leckerli being one of the few exceptions), I decided to go for both.

Seeing how I have had two rather unpleasant bouts with flu over the past two winters, I figured it was time to start getting a seasonal flu shot. Hell, I might have already had the swine flu last December, but since I'd be getting one, why not get two for the price of one? Oh... did I mention that they were FREE? Oh... I did? Sorry about that.

Not only were the shots FREE, but we also got some FREE water (a choice of still or sparkling!) after the shots while we were sitting for ten minutes to see "if you have any kind of reaction"! We didn't.

So far so good!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Putting Down Roots...

We're back home. Actually, we came home on Monday, but it took a couple of days for me to get things back in order. So, blogging had to take a back seat.

Not only are we back home, but we're back home for an entire month before our next trip. BELIEVE IT, OR NOT! We haven't been at home for an entire month since August.

So much time on our hands. Whatever shall we do???

The trip to London/Scotland was really nice. There was a little hiccup when our brand new hotel in Glasgow where we were supposed to stay on Saturday night called us on Thursday afternoon - TWO DAYS BEFORE OUR SCHEDULED ARRIVAL - to let us know that the hotel had not yet opened and that we wouldn't be able to stay there OR eat dinner there. However, all ended up well in the end when they set us up in a nice hotel in Edinburgh, albeit an hour drive away from Glasgow.

The itinerary went like this:

Friday: Flew to London, checked in at the 51 Buckingham Gate Hotel (highly recommended by me), shopped a bit, had some lunch, took a nap, met our friends Simon and Rosemarie for dinner at Quilon (Michelin starred Indian restaurant next to our hotel), and zzzzzzzzzzzz!

Saturday: Met up with Jeanette, Mark, and Lisa at Heathrow and flew to Glasgow, rented cars at Glasgow Airport, drove to Edinburgh, checked into our hotel, high tea, shopped a bit, had a nice dinner, and zzzzzzzzz!

Sunday: Drove up to our palatial rental house outside of Inverness, got settled in, went out to stock up on supplies at Tesco, dinner/roaring fire back at house, and zzzzzzz!

Monday - Saturday: Sightseeing (Loch Ness, Inverness, Isle of Skye, Ullapool, etc., etc.), shopping, relaxing, eating well, etc.

Sunday - Jeanette, Mrs. TBF, and I drove back to Edinburgh and flew back to London. Mark and Lisa drove back to Glasgow. We said goodbye to Jeanette, and then Mrs. TBF and I spent the night at Simon and Rosemarie's house outside of London.

Monday - Early morning taxi back to Heathrow, A.M. flight back to Basel.

Enough about all that. Check out all 150+ pictures HERE.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Finn Elvis

I'm not really sure what was going on here, but... dad certainly had an Elvis thing going on at breakfast on 10/28/2009.

The Folks Are Alright!

As usual, Mrs. TBF and I stayed at Jo the mother-in-law's townhouse while we were in Chicago. Mrs. TBF flew to Chicago with me, left on business for a couple of days the following week, came back for my 25th reunion, and then flew back out on business again. That left me with some quality "alone" time with Jo Mama.

One evening, I told her that I'd take her out for dinner. Of course, a negotiation ensued which resulted in us having to go out to eat at 5 p.m. (I obviously lost the negotiation) at a place where she could eat a salad. We agreed on California Pizza Kitchen, and off we went. And... let me tell you: I earned some big-time son-in-law points parking in the spot right in front of the door instead of my normal parking spot: far away, requiring her to walk and get some exercise.

Jo Mama is doing well. Although she complains about every and all possible ailments throughout the day, she's really in very good health considering that she is nearly 80. You'd never guess it by looking at her.

Also as usual in the fall, I rendezvoused with my parents (on their way from Canada to spend the winter in Florida) at my sister's house. I only saw them for a couple of days because they didn't get down to Chicago until the tail end of my stay, but we managed to spend a decent amount of time together.

They, like Jo Mama, are also doing well. They look fit, happy, and ready to spend the winter living the good life in warm, sunny Florida. I plan on going to Florida again this winter, so I'll see them again soon. This will be my third year in a row going to there during the dead of winter.

Does that now count as an annual trip?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Nieces and Nephew...

Here were my favorite pictures of the nieces and nephew from our trip.

In this first picture, we had gone to see my sister run in a 5k race. Music was blaring over the speakers, and I thought it would be a great time to torment the nieces with some public robotic dancing. Fiona tolerated Uncle TBF, Kiera was mortified, and Sinead pretty much just ignored me.

I took this picture of Finn immediately after he walked in the door after football practice. I don't think there was enough Shout in Chicagoland to get all those stains out.

Finally, my little niece Sinead whipping around the yard on her little Barbie 4-wheeler. I told her about how when her mom and I were here age, we made bowling pins and a bowling ball out of aluminum foil, and used our hallway as a bowling alley.

She didn't care.

Kids these days! Sheesh!!

The Evil Bean...

We sure drink a lot of coffee when we're in America; a lot more than we drink in Basel. Why? I'm not really sure. Maybe it's the jet lag. Or... maybe it's the fact that it's so damn cheap.


We usually get lungo and grande Americanos at Starbucks. In Basel, it costs the equivalent of about $12 or $13. In Chicago, it cost something like $5.50. Plus, in Chicago, I order them, and I have them in my hand in about 30 seconds. In Basel? It usually takes at least five minutes.

What's up with that?

We Must Be In The FRONT Row!

Ok... it was actually the fourth row, but why split hairs?

Why are we so happy in these photos? One: they were taken just after we arrived in Chicago. And... Two: they were taken just after we arrived in Chicago after flying in first class!

That's right, folks: complimentary first class upgrades yet again!

While going through security at Heathrow, the agent told Mrs. TBF that her seat had been changed. She had been upgraded to first class. Unfortunately, I hadn't been. Mrs. TBF told the agent that she wouldn't take the upgrade unless we both received them, a quick phone call was made, and... Bob's your uncle, as the Brits say.

A little while later, we got on the plane, turned LEFT, and were escorted to seats 4E and 4F.


Mrs. TBF used miles to upgrade me to first class for the return, and we're already booked for first class when we go back to Chicago for Christmas. I'm just thinking...

Can I ever fly in anything but first class again?

No Apologies...


This is the point where I should be apologizing for not blogging, but... I'm an adult, blogging is an optional activity, and... I don't have to apologize if I don't want to, DAMMIT!

So there! HA!

Rather than bore you with a long post, I'll be brief right now and then catch up with multiple mini-posts.

Chicago was great! Family, friends, shopping, eating, 25th NU reunion, etc. We were gone for 12 days, and we didn't return until last Thursday.

Last weekend was our friend Rammy's 50th birthday celebration. I called it Rammy-O-Rama! It was pretty much a 24-hour extravaganza, and we're still recuperating.

This Friday, we're off to London. We'll spend the night there, and then we'll spend the entire next week in Scotland. Who goes to Scotland in November. Well, apparently WE DO!

More posts coming up soon. I promise!