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13 minutes ago, sharkster77 said:

@Coralwe must have gotten your midweek weather---it's 59 degrees today here south of Boston.  Your Friday snow is probably going to be our Monday rain/snow mix.  Funny how weather is predictable that way..............😃

It always goes East from here 🙂 It was a pretty snow for us though I haven't ventured in it yet.

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1 hour ago, Daisi said:

I agree with the others, Christmas at the hottest time of the year just doesn't seem right.

 

We could just pretend that we are Australian. 😉 I guess if you're used to Christmas in the middle of Summer, you wouldn't think much of it. But I can't wrap my head around the stories from my Aussie friends, with their barbecues on the beach for Christmas Day!

 

2 hours ago, Coral said:

If you are working in an ICU - I just want to say "Thank you!" 

 

Much appreciated, but my job is relatively easy. My nurse and respiratory therapy colleagues have a much harder job, IMO. They spend much more time in the thick of it compared to me. So far we have enough PPE so we'll try to hold on a little longer until the vaccine comes.

Edited by jpalbny
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Uniworld 's plan of Christmas in July could be interesting, but my guess is not too many countries along the Danube  will be totally open to foreign travellers by then, especially those from countries that cannot get control of this virus.

The company will get your money up front and then take a looong time to refund it.

RB 

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26 minutes ago, jpalbny said:

 

We could just pretend that we are Australian. 😉 I guess if you're used to Christmas in the middle of Summer, you wouldn't think much of it. But I can't wrap my head around the stories from my Aussie friends, with their barbecues on the beach for Christmas Day!

 

We spent 1 year in Florida for Christmas, and even though we had colder weather ( my B-i-L just made it into the State before they closed it due to snow), it just didn't feel right walking on the beach Christmas Day.  Being used to the colder Atlantic, yes, I was walking in the water, with my winter coat on.  We got through customs easy that year, when they asked us if we were bringing anything back, I said 2 bottles ...thought for a bit and "Oh yeah, a touque from Disneyworld".  The guy just shook his head and waved us through!

 

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27 minutes ago, Daisi said:

We spent 1 year in Florida for Christmas, and even though we had colder weather ( my B-i-L just made it into the State before they closed it due to snow), it just didn't feel right walking on the beach Christmas Day.  Being used to the colder Atlantic, yes, I was walking in the water, with my winter coat on.  We got through customs easy that year, when they asked us if we were bringing anything back, I said 2 bottles ...thought for a bit and "Oh yeah, a touque from Disneyworld".  The guy just shook his head and waved us through!

 

While I have spent a few Christmas's at sea - I do remember several Christmas's spent in warm climates when I worked for Athletics for a University that happened to be winning football games at the time. I went to the Orange Bowl and Fiesta bowl for a few years. I have to say those in Arizona have a unique touch when they put Christmas lights on cacti. It just seemed weird.

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22 hours ago, jpalbny said:

That is a gorgeous sunset. Too bad they happen so early these days! I too am feeling like a solar creature these days.

 

The lack of daylight is really kicking me hard this year. I think oddly enough, that it's partly due to the lack of cold and snow. My mind doesn't think it's really December because it's 40-50 degrees out. Therefore I can't wrap my head around darkness starting at 4PM. Whatever it is, December 21st will be here soon so the days will get longer again.

 

The other part is of course the lack of travel. In recent years we'd often gone to the Southern Hemisphere for a week or two during our winter. That extra sunlight made such a difference.

 

It's been a busy week in the ICU here so I've not been cooking as much. I've been getting home late and just throwing something together. On Monday I made lomo saltado. It's a quick Peruvian stir-fry that we enjoyed while traveling there, and luckily I found a simple recipe. It's really tasty and doesn't take long to cook. I used some skirt steak.

 

The beef slices get marinated with olive oil, coriander (the ground spice), cumin, and garlic for a few minutes. Stir-fry the whole mess with red onions.

 

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Add tomatoes, cook a minute longer until a little saucy, then fold in some French Fries. I made homemade fries in the air fryer while the steak marinated. But you can use frozen premade fries if you want.

 

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Serve over rice. Pickled jalapeno peppers optional. You're supposed to add chopped cilantro but I didn't have any, so parsley had to stand it.

 

20201207_183940.thumb.jpg.97cef8330ba4c6e350f4ac53f1bce97b.jpg

 

As far as other spices - black pepper adds a lot but it can also go with soy sauce if you want a more oriental flavor ala Nikkei cuisine. Peru has great food.

 

Early to bed tonight. Working tomorrow... Good night all.

I am so impressed with your cooking; especially after working all day and then coming home and making that.

 Looks delicious.

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Life is a mad rush to get Christmas presents in time, both in the shops and online. Which shop is still open and till when, what stuff, who has online order, who delivery service? And I am trying to cramp some work in as well... But during making notes and and opening new online shopping accounts I managed to have a short break yesterday and switched off. Not fully, though, as I switched on my smart phone camera for the Stollen tasting second edition. The first one was a small Aldi one which was not that good. So next is a big one I managed to get from a shop that was selling it for a local bakers. This is it: IMG_20201213_164923_121.thumb.jpg.97d1a6ba287e2f0eb3f0b8ebc84096ae.jpg

 

Sorry for the poor quality photo. It is quite dense and heavy for its size and contains marzipan. Moments later...

958293783_IMG_20201213_165927-Kopie.thumb.jpg.085f4b50ddca5ce1d0cae424e8b271d7.jpg

 

Cut open it revealed a nice ratio of raisins to marzipan to dough. Slightly dry, lacking just a little bit of moisture, it was pleasant and certainly superior to the Aldi one. Which was reflected in the much higher price. It is covered in granulated sugar. I think I prefer the icing sugar versions. I think I will try to get one with that sugar next.

 

Thankfully takeaway cake and coffee is possible at cafés and standard bakeries are open of course, so it should not be difficult to get. After I have devoured this one (I will share a little with family)!

 

notamermaid

 

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That Stollen is making me hungry. But I just ate. Not on call tonight so we had time to cook for real.

 

Roasted butternut squash with the last of the fresh sage from the herb garden. I have to harvest what herbs are still left tomorrow, before we get a 10F deep freeze tomorrow night.

 

Tossed with ham, Mascarpone and cream, with busiate pasta.

 

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Lots of leftovers for lunch later this week. However, there will be no leftover Gewürztraminer...

 

I can't believe that Christmas is next week!

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Has anyone ever done a cruise of the Dnieper? I have never been to the Ukraine (I don't count my brief time in Kyiv as a visit to the Ukraine) and find the Viking itinerary very interesting. Anyone ever visited Odessa? I wonder what Christmas is like there. 

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We went to Odessa 10 years ago on a Black Sea cruise. But not for Christmas. It was nice during the summer, from what I remember. I recall a strong Russian influence. After our guided ship's tour, we visited a museum on our own and went to a grocery store for some treats. It would not be high on my list to return but not a bad destination. 

 

And as you may remember, we visited Kyiv for a few days on our own 2 years ago, as part of a larger Ukraine trip. It was pretty easy for us, but it certainly helped that Chris is fluent in Ukrainian. It might be challenging without a guide like that... Thus the popularity of guided river cruises.

 

It's a very pretty river. We may explore it more on our next visit.

 

1814824772_UkraineAlbum-077.thumb.jpg.41405ff8c7bc5ca278c7fea7035040f7.jpg

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1 hour ago, jpalbny said:

 

And as you may remember, we visited Kyiv for a few days on our own 2 years ago, as part of a larger Ukraine trip. It was pretty easy for us, but it certainly helped that Chris is fluent in Ukrainian. It might be challenging without a guide like that... Thus the popularity of guided river cruises.

 

It's a very pretty river. We may explore it more on our next visit.

I do recall that you spent some time in the Ukraine - I had read your blog awhile ago and was intrigued.

I was looking through the latest Viking brochure @ checking online destinations. There is an interesting itinerary that begins in Kyiv & ends in Bucharest. I would love to visit Kyiv & spend some time there. I really miss travel and need a destination to anticipate.

 

Several years ago, after a visit to Warsaw, I convinced my travel partner to take a side trip to Kiev (that was how it was spelled at the time) so that I could see the Great Gate of Kiev (Golden Gate) about which Mussorgsky’s solo piano piece was written. The Gate was the only reason that I wanted to visit the city - my obsession with classical music.  We only spent a night - really can’t say that I saw much in that short amount of time. Kinda like saying that you have been to an area after just a stopover at the airport - imo, it doesn’t count. 

Who knew that Kyiv was such a vibrant, interesting city that seems to have gained in popularity to the cruising clientele?

Anyway, I want to really visit the Ukraine but, unlike Chris, speak not a lick of Ukrainian. I suspect that a land visit is not in the cards - hence, the idea of a cruise. We would fly into Kyiv several days early so we could explore at leisure.

 

The cruise does not visit Lviv - rats. I believe you enjoyed a DIY in Lviv? Lviv is only about a 3 hour drive from Krakow (which I fully intend to visit again). Do you think it would be foolhardy to drive to Lviv from Krakow when we speak no Ukrainian?

There is also the train - have you any experience with the train?

Or perhaps fly from Krakow? I’m sure we could hire a guide for a day or so to get the lay of the land .

 

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19 hours ago, dogs4fun said:

Who knew that Kyiv was such a vibrant, interesting city that seems to have gained in popularity to the cruising clientele?

 

Anyway, I want to really visit the Ukraine but, unlike Chris, speak not a lick of Ukrainian. I suspect that a land visit is not in the cards - hence, the idea of a cruise. We would fly into Kyiv several days early so we could explore at leisure.

 

The cruise does not visit Lviv - rats. I believe you enjoyed a DIY in Lviv? Lviv is only about a 3 hour drive from Krakow (which I fully intend to visit again). Do you think it would be foolhardy to drive to Lviv from Krakow when we speak no Ukrainian?

 

There is also the train - have you any experience with the train?

 

Or perhaps fly from Krakow? I’m sure we could hire a guide for a day or so to get the lay of the land .

 

Lots of questions but I am certainly no expert here, having only been there once. I did research a few different transport options, though.

 

Kyiv surprised me as well. I really knew nothing about it and came away from our visit wanting to go back. The architecture and the open spaces, parks, river views - just amazing. Loved seeing all of the history, both old and recent. 

 

And the food is also tasty, and cheap. I think I said that we went to the fanciest restaurant there and ordered a sparkling apertif, three courses of food, plus the most expensive bottle of (Ukrainian) wine on the list for under $100 total. Lots of cool ethnic cuisine - we tried Georgian and Crimean restaurants which were quite new to us, though we know some Georgian wines (Rkatsiteli and Saperavi). There were places where we spent 20-25% of that and the food/drinks were still quite good.

 

You definitely won't visit Lviv on a cruise, at least not one that I know of marketed to US travelers. I have not taken the train, nor did we drive in Ukraine at all. We flew from Kyiv to Lviv, and then left Lviv via airplane back to the EU. You can fly LOT from Warsaw to Lviv direct; it was I think about an hour. There is a discount airline (Wizz Air) that used to fly Lviv-Frankfurt (the smaller airport, NOT FRA) but we didn't get to do that flight. 

 

Driving from Poland may well be possible but I don't know anything about what the border crossing will be like. It may make sense to hire a driver if you don't speak Ukrainian.

 

I am really spoiled having Chris to travel with (for many reasons) but her Ukrainian fluency is amazingly handy pretty much everywhere in Eastern Europe. She can understand Polish well enough to get by, can read Czech and a fair amount of other similar Slavic languages. The only time she had a problem was occasionally in Kyiv, if someone spoke mostly Russian (Eastern Ukraine speaks more Russian; Western speaks more of the Ukrainian that she knows, and Kyiv is in the middle).

 

Lviv is definitely more "rustic" and less touristic than Kyiv and it may be harder to DIY without some language skills. Our hotel staff spoke English but we did a lot of museums where the staff was much more comfortable talking to Chris than to me, and many captions on exhibits were not translated. Still, we enjoyed it a ton and we'll go back there too, perhaps this time trying to get into the mountains around Ivano-Frankivsk (where her Father came from). But I still think we'll hire a driver for that.

 

One itinerary for you would be to go from Poland to Lviv, then either hire a driver (5h) or hop a quick flight to Kyiv to meet your cruise. There is supposed to be a cool tunnel of trees to drive through on the route between Kyiv and Lviv. Next time, Chris says we should do that.

 

Sorry I'm a little short on specifics but hope you can work this out! 

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We have been looking at the Viking Ukraine Cruise.  We would like to combine it with Viking's cruise from Bucharest to Amsterdam. I haven't been able to match itineraries ...maybe if we put a "pre/post" between the cruises.  Also this need to Fall dates because we always want to be home for summer and enjoy our own cruising in the Great Lakes!  time to dream of life without Covid restrictions.

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33 minutes ago, deec said:

We have been looking at the Viking Ukraine Cruise.  We would like to combine it with Viking's cruise from Bucharest to Amsterdam. I haven't been able to match itineraries ...maybe if we put a "pre/post" between the cruises.  Also this need to Fall dates because we always want to be home for summer and enjoy our own cruising in the Great Lakes!  time to dream of life without Covid restrictions.

Are you looking at the Sineus? I really like that itinerary. I also prefer to travel in the fall. I would like to combine the cruise with a land visit to Poland & parts of Ukraine not covered by the cruise. 

Edited by dogs4fun
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In normal times, we will also do lots of fall trips. September and October were so painful for us this year because Facebook Memories reminded us daily that "x years ago" we were somewhere else...

 

Our favorite thing is to go away in September, as soon as everyone else comes home from their summer vacation and puts their kids in school. It's the perfect time to get away! And we usually need it after working all summer to cover everyone else's vacations.

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We usually like first of October so we can put our boat away and enjoy a few wonderful Michigan fall sails.  Not ready to schedule a cruise for 2021 yet.

 

We had planned 9 weeks in Mexico starting the end of January, 2021 with friends but we sadly canceled  this week.  Switching gears and will head to Florida and cocoon there but in the warm sunshine with sand in my toes!  We can continue to be very careful avoid an airplane and socializing with friends plus if we do get sick at least I will be in a US hospital not Mexican in the midst of a pandemic!!

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Wish I could go somewhere on holiday, at the moment anything would do. I am desperate enough to call three days in the near hills a holiday, but all places are closed for leisure stay. If I can figure out a way to make it a business trip I will. This year I have had three nights away from home. And a trip abroad of one hour! There is a slight chance the situation will improve enough so that I can have an overnight stay in France of one night in February... I still have a little hope of getting to England at Easter. That is so depressing, I change the subject to cats. My neighbours tomcat stood in the yard today and looked adorable in his winter fur, trying to catch the ever changing patch of sunshine. Right, now I feel better.

 

notamermaid

 

Edited by notamermaid
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White Christmas? Here is the tentatively good news. All you lovely people across the pond who have posted your snow photos: that weather pattern has drifted East and they say it will bring snow to Germany. Alas, probably not in the warm Rhine valley, but perhaps in the not so distant hills. A 15 minute drive may be all that is needed. But the amount of snow that you have had is unlikely. All together now with Bing Crosby: "Iiiam dreaming of a whiite Christmas, just like the ones I used to knoow..."

 

Must find that film.

 

Tonight, the regional TV station is showing a programme on Christmas in the 70ies. Those were the days, real lead lametta (tinsel) and our cats playing with the tree baubles. :classic_biggrin: 

 

notamermaid

 

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On 12/18/2020 at 10:46 AM, notamermaid said:

Wish I could go somewhere on holiday, at the moment anything would do. I am desperate enough to call three days in the near hills a holiday, but all places are closed for leisure stay. If I can figure out a way to make it a business trip I will. This year I have had three nights away from home. And a trip abroad of one hour! There is a slight chance the situation will improve enough so that I can have an overnight stay in France of one night in February...

 

Me too! I live in the middle of nowhere so it is 8 hours anywhere fun. And with COVID - it is a no-go.

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1 hour ago, notamermaid said:

White Christmas? Here is the tentatively good news. All you lovely people across the pond who have posted your snow photos: that weather pattern has drifted East and they say it will bring snow to Germany. Alas, probably not in the warm Rhine valley, but perhaps in the not so distant hills. A 15 minute drive may be all that is needed. But the amount of snow that you have had is unlikely. All together now with Bing Crosby: "Iiiam dreaming of a whiite Christmas, just like the ones I used to knoow..."

 

 

notamermaid

 

We were getting excited, usually we have a foot at least round here.  By the time it got light enough to see outside we could see it was snowing!  I think we are only getting a few cm, which will be fine, as it's enough to make it feel like Christmas.  Put the seed out on the balcony for the birds & squirrels, and I see on the camera that they have the snow cleared off....maybe we should try for the laneway. 🙂

 

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2 hours ago, notamermaid said:

All together now with Bing Crosby: "Iiiam dreaming of a whiite Christmas, just like the ones I used to knoow..."

 

Must find that film.

Remember that the film that introduced White Christmas is NOT White Christmas, but rather Holiday Inn.

2 hours ago, notamermaid said:

White Christmas? Here is the tentatively good news. All you lovely people across the pond who have posted your snow photos:

 

Not everyone across the pond had snow; in Toronto we just had a dusting, and today it is 5 degrees celsius and raining. Not Christmassy at all.

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4 minutes ago, gnome12 said:

Remember that the film that introduced White Christmas is NOT White Christmas, but rather Holiday Inn.

 

I was looking this up as you posted.  The song was introduced by Bing Crosby in Holiday Inn (1942), but it was also sung by him in the movie White Christmas (1954).  To make it even more confusing, the version most people know is his 1947 re-recording of it, after the 1942 master was worn out [ah, the days of shellac masters!].

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Christmas_(song)

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