Sunday, October 25, 2015

Fall soups

When I am in Austria, I enjoy cooking. The grocery stores are maybe a 10 minute walk away and I walk by at least 2 of them everyday, so if there is a missing ingredient, it is easy enough to pick up.  I also like the Farmers Market, which is open every day except Sunday until noon. Actually, all the stores are closed on Sunday unless you go out to the market at the train station or gas stations.

This is a roast chicken breast cooked with broth and flour to make a gravy and root veggies. Yum! The other meat (legs, etc.) was used to make broth, which we love for our soups plus it gives us a bit of plain meat on the side. This is a great left over meal too, for those days when we are late due to sports or something!

I like to look at the sales flyers and see what is on sale. I try to enjoy whatever is in season. The end of summer it was tomatoes and zucchini so we were eating a lot of that. Now we are moving into fall squashes, apples, etc. It is all good! On weekends we enjoy a roast chicken or other slower cooking food. And broth! Every week we make at least 1 batch of broth.

I can not say enough about having a good homemade broth on hand. I try to make extra to freeze, but we generally eat it all up in soups. Here is a beef version...I used most the broth making mushroom soup. The piece of beef is down there somewhere! I pureed some of those carrots as a thickener along with potatoes. This version of soup has just a little milk in it so much healthier than cream based version!

Generally, I will cut pork in 1/2 and freeze it. This time I did not. This was stuffed with cream cheese and olives and wrapped in bacon. I used the leftovers, cream cheese, bacon and all, in a yummy soup...using homemade broth. There was not 1 piece of roasted garlic left over because we ate all that with our bread!

So,  it is defiantly soup season in my household! I enjoy cooking during our slow days and having leftovers in the fridge for days when we are a bit more rushed.

Recipes? OK, this week I will pay attention to my measurements and what I am doing when I make a soup. And I will share it here with you all next Sunday! And hopefully YOU will have a recipe to share with me next Sunday!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Children's Theater...In German

Just a quick post...I am typing everything with 1 finger on my phone! This week I hope to set myself up on my son's laptop as a 2nd user and then things will be easier. I am still holding off on getting my own computer...Christmas is coming, my son has a school ski trip in Feb, etc. He has a laptop for some  homework assignments and is at school all day, so it makes sense for me to use his during the day...For the time being. But these Google accounts make it hard for me to do anything as ME until I set myself up as a 2nd user.

Anyway, I went to a children's theater this week in Graz. The story was The Lion King, so I knew the theme. The age group was maybe 6-8 so the language was simple. There were 2 actors and 1 person who did the music (a dear friend of mine which is how I found out about it). The program was about 45 minutes long and in German.  And I was happy, so very happy to understand about 60% plus of the actual words, the rest I could pretty much fill in with my knowledge of the story. My German lessons are starting to pay off, slowly.

The program was held at the library.  What a lovely room!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Knitting Stripped Socks

I started this sock earlier this week. It is finished and I have started on the 2nd sock. I was inspired to use 2 yarns by this blog post over on Polka Dot Chicken

I had just finished this pair of socks and didn't love love the pattern.

So, I thought knitting stripped socks, 1 skein variegated,  1 skein solid would be a nice change of pace. I did a "jogless" join, but I think it looks more like a slipped stitch. Not sure I would do it again, but I am already committed on this pair.

Before I started these socks, I finished this sock.  It was started and in my sock bag...and I wanted the needles, so I finished it.

However, I can not find the 2nd ball of yarn anywhere? Maybe it is not even in this country! So I did not close off the toe in case I have to rip it back to the cuff. I can make a solid foot. Then take the yarn I rip out to make a 2nd matching sock...variegated on top, solid on bottom. But, I really hate ripping out perfectly good work and the missing yarn will probably show up right after I rip! So, I used safety pins to hold the stitches, got my needles and have been working on other socks.

To see what everyone else is knitting, take a look over at Patchwork Times.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

I think I am back

Technology. It all started when I changed my blog email address. Then my DH somehow linked my electronic devices to his - totally by accident - and I could not log back into Blogger.  Something to due when Blogger got hooked up with Google accounts. And then I could not remember the password to my new email even though I swear up and down I used the same one. Locked out. And NO time to fix anything or even try. That was all February 2014. Well, today we finally sat down together and tried to get my blog back under my control. Ta-da! Success. Sort-ov because not on my tablet.

So...I graduated in May 2014 with my AA degree! My laptop died right after final exams and I have not replaced it yet.  Hopefully I will work something out soon. I missed the graduation ceremony because I was in Canada right after final exams to run my business. Then I flew back to Austria in June for my son's 11th birthday.

It was his only birthday wish, so I closed the business to go. It was a hard decision financially, but good thing I went because the very next day my DH was in the hospital with life threatening blood clots. They kept him 11 days. Thank goodness I was there! They brought him home in the ambulance, but by then I really had to go. I begged my son's teacher to let me take him out of school 2 weeks early, but she refused. The threat was he would not be allowed to continue on in gymnasium, which in Austria is a big deal.

So, I stocked the cabinets full of groceries and went back to Canada and then a few weeks later had to return to get my son, leaving DH behind because he was not cleared to fly due to his poor medical condition.

Then, more big news for 2014. I got my business in Canada under agreement. Really, I basically gave it away...just enough to pay off bills, etc. But there was just no way I could keep up with everything, the season that did not mesh with my son's,  my sick husband, etc. So, that summer, every day - in addition to running the business, my son and I were packing and moving out of our attached 4 BR house...mostly by ourselves, ugh! But I was afraid of sale delays and moving out in snow, ice, frigid temperatures. And boy, was I ever right because the closing was scheduled for September and happened in December!

Photos of summer 2014/Canada below.

 Squid jigging has to be done after dark, at high tide.

Flew back to Austria with my son in September 2014 for school via a quick trip to Mass. to see my family.

Returned to Canada (round trip via Boston so add a 2 day drive each way) for a week the end of September to run a big event for the business. Still no sale, so returned to Austria, again via Massachusetts, so drive, drive, drive. Went back to Canada in December for the sale (snow, ice, freezing temperatures), back to Mass.  and then Austria in time for Christmas.
Canada in December (above).
Cape Cod in December (above )
Graz in December (above)
Sadly, still no visa so I ended up going back and forth several more times, like a yo yo all winter as both my son and DH really needed me, but I never dared stay over my allowance of days.

Every trip to Austria meeting with attorneys and trying to get a visa. The whole issue is that my DH is unable to work because of his medical condition, so even though he is an Austria and our son is 1/2 Austrian, there was no way for me to get a visa. Finally, one very nice man at the visa office suggested I apply for a student visa since I was still not able to get a visa. So, I applied to UniGraz (photo at the start of this post - sorry not so good because I was a passenger in the car), and got my acceptance letter in MAY 2015. Yeah! This in itself was amazing because of deadlines and every document had to be authenticated with an Apastille, even my high school diploma, college diploma and all transcripts. I have moved so many times since high school graduation - over 25 years ago, and I have stuff in 3 countries - totally amazing I could even put my hands on some of the required documents. Anyway, go to visa office with my acceptance letter - hoping for a visa, but no such luck...yet. They tell me to come back in September.

One one of my trips back to the USA...I went with 1 of my sisters to Florida, in February, to see my Dad.  He is a snowbird! We had to change our flights 3X because Login kept getting buried under snow and flights were cancelled. So we were pretty happy to get down to FL and were really lucky to have perfect weather. FL can be so hit or miss in February. I wish my son could have gone because last time he was in Florid he was a 2 year old and doesn't remember it.
My Dad, age 87

Florida beach
Then my son flew into Boston in February for his school break. I was a nervous wreck because of all the snow storms and the airport shut down just about every other day, but he made it!  Below is a photo of him snowshoeing across a lake in NH. This little trip helped make our time apart not be quiet as long,  without me using up precious days of allowed time in Austria.

We had planned a ski trip with the cousins, but he came down with a very high fever those 2 days. Fortunately he rebounded and we were still able to have a lot of fun.

Winter on Cape Cod...oceanside and bayside.  It has to be pretty cold to get ice chunks like that in the bay!

With all the snow, I did manage to go skiing with family for 1 weekend. It was perfect, but I was a little sad that my son wasn't there enjoying it with me. He was so disappointed to be sick for his planned skiing time.

After he left, eventually I went back to Canada to wrap up some paperwork and visit friends .

 This is the highway in Canada in late February, oh dear....made a long drive even longer.

Returned to Austria the end of March. Here is my son on a mountain hike in Austria, in April.

We were lucky and got a discounted 3 night package at the beach in Italy in May.  It was the first family "vacation" we have had in a ling time! I am happy we went off season because I can not imagine 1 million people a day at this beach, but that is what it is peak season. In all my traveling, I can honestly say I have never seen anything like it before! In case you haven't notice, I tend to enjoy less crowded places!

Out of time, I had to return back to Boston and went to Canada to visit friends...just for a bit because I was back in Austria for the end of the school year.

Low tide. At high tide the water is right up to the top sometimes...depends on the moon.

Back in Austria for the school year end.

My son and I went to Mass. For 7 weeks of summer. We had a wonderful summer! My first summer of not having to work 18 hours a day for weeks on end in years! Wonderful! We went to the beach, fishing, lots and lots of fishing, lots of visiting with family, camping, mini golf, some museums and a whale watch. The days chugged right along. But toward the end my son was anxious to get back to his father...and Austria food, which he prefers over US food.

The best news is - I finally get my student visa mid-September. We are all so very relieved, and happy. For the first time in FIVE long years we can finally stay together all year as a family. My son promptly burst into tears when I showed him the thing...and I admit I cried at the visa office. I had to go back with an updated bank statement since I had applied in May and they didn't give it to me until mid-September, so I really wasn't expecting to get it that day. But finally, yes!

So, now I am a student at UniGraz.  I have classes 4x a week. As soon as this semester is over, I will look into getting a job too, I just want to get through Christmas first! I am very excited to be able to continue my studies here! Really, things are finally looking like things will work out. It has not always been easy...many, many times so hard I just didn't know how to stand it anymore, but I kept going, step by step. Five years is a very long time to go through what my family has gone through with my visa issues!

I do not really know where to start, back at Blogging, but that brings you up to date. 1 year, 8 months is a long time to be out of the loop. I have really missed writing, but with technical troubles and my schedule, it just didn't happen. I am really happy to be back at blogging! If you are still reading my crazy absence  in review...than I know my blogging can't be too boring! But hopefully no more hopping back and forth across the ocean all the time. I just want to settle in here and stay put for awhile!