Nathalie (Deern) reads on in 2016 - Part 5

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Nathalie (Deern) reads on in 2016 - Part 5

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1Deern
Oct 31, 2016, 7:30am

New thread - welcome! :)

2Deern
Modifié : Déc 20, 2016, 12:40am

Books read and reviewed:

Not yet reviewed:
August:

Old thread https://www.librarything.com/topic/209936:
January:
1. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler - 3.8 stars
2. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill - 2.8 stars
3. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes - 3.8 stars
4. Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon - 4.2 stars
5. Fifth Business by Robertson Davies - 4 stars
6. Die Kraft liegt in mir by Tamara Dietl - 3 stars
7. Und trotzdem Ja zum Leben sagen by Viktor Frankl - 5 stars
8. Stiller by Max Frisch - 5 stars
9. Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth - 4.1 stars

February:
10.L'amica geniale By Elenna Ferrante - 4.8 stars
11.Crooked House by Agatha Christie - 3 stars
12.Nate in Venice by Richard Russo - 3.7 stars

2nd thread: https://www.librarything.com/topic/218692
13.Wonach wir wirklich hungern by Deepak Choprah - 3.8 stars
14.Storia del nuovo cognome by Elena Ferrante - 4/5 stars

March:
15. storia di chi resta e di chi fugge by Elena Ferrante - 4.2 stars
16. storia della bambina perduta by Elena Ferrante - 4 stars
17. Sunshine Sketches from a Little Town by Stephen Leackock - 3.5 stars
18. The Accidental by Ali Smith - 4 stars
19. Me Before you by JoJo Moyes - no Rating
20. The Vegetarian by Han Kang - 4 stars
21. The Trouble with Women by Jacky Fleming - 4 stars
22. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers - 3.5 stars
23. Sovereign by C.J. Sansom - 3.5 stars
24. Du Miststück Meine Depression und ich by Alexander Wendt - 3.5 stars

April:
25.The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood - 4.5 stars
26.Gabriel's Gift by Hanif Kureishi - 3.5 stars
27.Adam Bede by George Eliot - 3.8 stars
28.Die Klavierspielerin by Elfriede Jelinek - 4 stars
29.Vanessa and her Sister by Priya Panar - 4.5 stars
30. Ein ganzes Leben by Robert Seethaler - 4.5 stars
31. Traumnovelle by Arthur Schnitzler

3rd thread: http://www.librarything.com/topic/222473
May:
32. The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
33. The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy - 3.5 stars
34. The Book of Ralph by Christopher Steinsvold
35. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
36. Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
37. Letting Go by David R. Hawkins

June:
NIENTE ZERO NICHTS NOTHING


July:
38. The Drifters by James Michener - 4.2 stars
39. Letting Go by David R. Hawkins
40. The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson - 4 stars
41. His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet - 3.5 stars
42. Generosity by Richard Powers - 4 stars
43. Tales of a Female Monad by Rita Golden Gelman - 4 stars
44. Hystopia by David Means - 2.5 stars

August: http://www.librarything.com/topic/227970
45. The Many by Wyn Menmuir - 3.8 stars
46. The Childhood of Jesus by J. M. Coetzee - 3.5 stars
47. My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout - 4.1 stars
48. Hot Milk by Deborah Levy - 4 stars
49. The North Water by Iain McGuire - 3.5 stars
50. Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh
51. All that Man Is by David Szalay
52. The Schooldays of Jesus by J.M. Coetzee
53. Work Like Any Other by Virginia Reeves
54. Serious Sweet by A.L. Kennedy
55. The Sellout by Paul Beatty

September:
56. Make Someone Happy by Elizabeth Berg - 4.5 stars
57. Nutshell by Ian McEwan - 3 stars
58. The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel - 4.5 stars
59. Il Potere di Adesso by Eckhart Tolle - 4.5 stars

October:
60. Know That I Am by Eckhart Tolle - 3 stars
61. Freedom From The World by Eckhart Tolle - 4.5 stars
62. Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien - 4.5 stars
63. Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood - 4.5 stars
64. Autumn by Ali Smith - 5 stars
65. Vous n'aurez pas ma haine by Antoine Leiris

November:
66. Vegan Freak by Bob and Jenna Torres - 3 stars

December:
67. How Not To Die by Michael Greger - 4.5 stars
68. and 69. The Happy Vegan by Russell Simmons - 5 stars
70. Table Talk by A. A. Gill - 4 stars

3Carmenere
Oct 31, 2016, 7:48am

Happy new thread, Nathalie! What?! No interesting pictures! Just kidding :0)

Glad all is well in your location. I seem to remember something about the depth of the quake being instrumental in how one feels it. If it's shallow, the earth shakes more and if it's deep, it's hardly recognized. Or is it the other way around?

4FAMeulstee
Oct 31, 2016, 8:16am

Happy new thread Nathalie!

I always loved Brussels sprouts, cooked, roasted doesn't matter, I eat them either way.
My only complaint is that they have become more sweet and less bitter through the years, the same with other bitter tasting vegetables. Less bitter sells better I guess.

5The_Hibernator
Oct 31, 2016, 8:16am

Happy new thread!

6Deern
Oct 31, 2016, 8:40am

Yay, visitors already while I had totally forgotten to update my lists... thanks for visiting! :)

I discarded all the other lists. My challenges are dead, the Booker is done and I stopped months ago updating my purchases, so the books read list is all that remains for the rest of the year.

>3 Carmenere: Hi Lynda, my life is so "not interesting" at the moment, so there aren't any interesting pics either. Guess in the Tolle sense that's a good thing? :)
No, I'll try and find something. Just maybe not today.

>4 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita - you're right. They used to be more bitter when I was a kid. I can't say I miss bitter about the sprouts, but certainly for many of the salads. Even when organic, many of them are bland. Endives used to be eaten mixed with potatoes in the 70s, they were too bitter to be eaten just so. Now they're only slightly bitter anymore.

>5 The_Hibernator: Thank you Rachel!

7drneutron
Oct 31, 2016, 11:31am

Happy new thread!

8sibylline
Oct 31, 2016, 11:32am

I'm early to a thread! I am streamlining my presence on LT too these days. Trying to anyway! I'm looking forward to Hag-Seed -- I really enjoyed Vinegar Gril although admittedly it was rather a slight story. Still, enjoyable enough.

9charl08
Oct 31, 2016, 12:46pm

Happy new thread Nathalie.

My challenge good intentions have died a death. Oh dear. Maybe next year.

10PaulCranswick
Oct 31, 2016, 1:01pm

Happy new thread, Nathalie.

11kidzdoc
Oct 31, 2016, 8:20pm

Happy new thread, Nathalie!

12LizzieD
Oct 31, 2016, 11:52pm

Happy New Thread, Nathalie! Normally, I'm caught up, but not this time. I do look forward to seeing what everybody is doing!

13Deern
Nov 1, 2016, 12:34am

Good morning Jim, Lucy, Charlotte, Paul, Darryl and Peggy thank you for visiting!:)

I felt very cold in the evening yesterday after the bike ride home, so I sat on my bed with a blanket.... and then my grandmother called and woke me up and it was 7:40 pm!!! How can you fall asleep that early?

No trick or treat kids where I live now, TG, because this year I hadn't bought any sweets. In the old place (condo with families) sometimes kids came, sometimes not, so I always bought something and then had to survive today's holiday with sweets in the house before I could take them to the office. Of course by then the mini Bounties and Twixes were eaten. :/

I just put a bread in the oven that I've seen mentioned on a lot on German blogs lately and also in an older OSG blog entry. It's all seeds, and nuts, no yeast, and said to taste fantastic. I hope it also photographs well.

14charl08
Nov 1, 2016, 7:15am

Hope the bread turns out as well as it sounds. I thought I would be working tomorrow but waiting for confirmation.

15Deern
Nov 1, 2016, 11:06am

>14 charl08: The bread is ready and indeed very, very good. Not "sensationally new" for me, as it's a type of bread you can also find in Northern Germany, all seeds, often with whole hazelnuts or added dried fruit. I always brought back 1 or 2 of those breads from my holidays up there.
I just never thought it could be so easy to make. You throw the ingredients together, leave it resting for several hours or overnight and then bake. The only issue I had -of course, stupid old electric appliances here - it didn't really bake through. I had it in the oven about twice the time, in the end covered with a bit of tin foil as it was getting dark and with the temperature lowered, and never got it to the point where I heard a hollow sound when knocking on the crust. So it's a bit chewy inside which is fine on day one, but I'll have to keep it in the fridge and better toast the slices I guess.
Taste is great and the crust is super-crunchy. I probably shouldn't say that, but it would be perfect with a slice of middle-aged edam/ gouda/ cheddar. I'll post a picture and the link to the recipe tomorrow when I have a computer with a mouse again.

******
Had two slices of the new bread and some fruit for breakfast and threw a carrot quinoa bellpepper tofu casserole together without a recipe for lunch, just what I had in the fridge. Added aome mint leaves and a chili and it turned out really good. Did some demanding cardio yoga this morning, followed by a more relaxing session and had another long brisk walk in the sun. Lovely, all those colors right now. Still feeling like my body wants to move more (fascinating, actually), but my head would like to read a bit. Maybe I'll manage to read while walking up and down?

Took my car to the car wash (inspection tomorrow) and had to wait for over an hour. Had forgotten that all Italy is on the road on Allsaints, visiting family and going to cemeteries. I have the main city cemetary around the corner and police had to regulate the traffic all day.
Went there after my walk to remember my own dead family members in Germany. There were hundreds if not more than 1000 people at that time, and a service in two languages and some music. Very festive, and so many candles. Very different from our "Totensonntag", the Sunday before the first advent where you put some flowers and a candle on the graves and disappear again.

16Deern
Nov 2, 2016, 3:50am

So here's the recipe link: http://www.mynewroots.org/site/2013/02/the-life-changing-loaf-of-bread/ . And my bread looks just like the one on those pictures.

Just brought the car to the inspection.... will have to pay about 700 EUR, incl. the changing of the tires (existing tires, I'll have to buy new ones next year...). The insurance bill should come in any day as well plus the other insurances (thrid-party home, legal costs). My trip to Bavaria next weekend for the German bi-yearly car inspection will cost a lot as well and I need to book those Christmas flights. Waaah...! The extra Christmas salary comes in mid-December and is already spent. :(

Yoga class tonight, something to look forward to.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

17FAMeulstee
Nov 2, 2016, 5:43pm

>16 Deern: I am sorry these are expensive times for you, Nathalie, cars (and everything that goes with them) cost a lot!

18Deern
Nov 3, 2016, 3:21am

>17 FAMeulstee: I was so busy at the office yesterday that I almost forgot picking up my car again! I would have had to pay an extra day for the rental car, so TG I just made it there in time! and the bill incl. VAT was over 800! :(

As the weather is still nice I walked to the office this morning. Unfortunately nothing I could do every day, it's a good 40 minutes. But this way the muscles got an early workout and I'll try to do this again at least twice a week. By bike it's just 20 mins, but I'm not yet comfortable on the bike on busy streets, and that bike track has that long, dark part along the motorway. Okay in summer, but too scary in winter.

Yoga was nice, but I don't like the new place very much. Too warm, too many people, and it's quite far from home, and I hate driving late. Right now I'm doubting I'll book another class when this series (5 weeks) is over. My teacher is still looking for something new to rent in the town centre, I hope she'll find it soon.

No reading yet this week at all. Once again I'm hoping for the weekend which for once should be rainy if the forecast is right.

19Deern
Nov 4, 2016, 4:03am

Well, my weekend is going to be busier than I hoped, but I'll try to squeeze in some cooking for next week and at least a bit of reading.
Next weekend I'll be first in Rosenheim/Bavaria to get the TÜV car certificate (I hope that will go as well as last time) and then visit my friend Susi who moved from Merano to Munich this spring. Looking forward to some shopping and hopefully some interesting vegetarian food that's not just vegetable pizza.

Then the training period starts on the 14th, and we just planned two weekends additionally to the all work day sessions. I'll need those Christmas holidays!

I checked flights and trains and it looks like I'll travel to Germany on the 17th or 18th already. I'd like to use that pre-Christmas week to visit some friends I haven't seen in years.
I was considering going by train although it takes much longer, but a first class ticket (for such a long trip the only way to go) costs about 100 EUR more than the flight from Verona, and I'd have to change trains twice with all the luggage. Still undecided, as of course the 2hr drive to Verona and the parking will eat up the difference and I'll also spend about two hours on the airport, so in the end it's 5 hours (flight) against 8-9 (train). Sounds like an easy decision, but a flight also means hours and hours of panic, and the Verona airport is very small and very boring. :(

No idea yet what to get my parents. Considering a fitbit (spelling?) for my dad, but it might end up as yet another unused gadget. I know some of you have one - is it really easy to use or do you have to connect it to a computer all the time to see your results?

20PaulCranswick
Nov 5, 2016, 10:53am

>19 Deern: Despite not using for the whole of October, I have to give a thumbs up to fitbit. You can use your handphone to synch the information and the app is useful and informative.

The battery on my fitbit blaze lasts about 5 days and takes a couple of hours to charge.

Have a wonderful weekend, Nathalie.

21charl08
Nov 5, 2016, 11:16am

I want one of the new ones that can be used in the pool. I suspect I count too many laps!

Hope you have a relaxing weekend. I am planning large amounts of time under a warm blanket. Winter is here...

Train to home sounds good to me - imagine all that reading time. And could you get gifts delivered to your parents house so you don't have to carry so much?

22The_Hibernator
Nov 5, 2016, 11:31am

Sorry that your weekend will be busier than you'd hoped! But I'm sure you'll feel fantastic once you've completed the weekend successfully!

23sibylline
Nov 7, 2016, 8:37am

Heavens, my little fitbit battery seems to last for a couple of weeks. I have no idea what it is though as it was my spousal unit's and he STILL hasn't gone into his settings to hand it over to me. He sends me my stats every week, at least.

24Deern
Nov 8, 2016, 11:35pm

I managed not to switch on the TV the 4 or so times I woke up this night, but now it's 05:30 am and I must get up soon, so I looked at the news...
Well, no real comment. Because what could I say that wouldn't sound panicky or bitter? I'm trying not to be sad or worried, because of what use is it? Instead thinking of you in the US and hoping it will, in whatever way, turn out well for you and the rest of the world.

Thank you all for the fitbis advice, I'll (hopefully be able to) respond later from the office.

25FAMeulstee
Nov 9, 2016, 4:18am

I didn't expect Trump would win either...
Maybe there is some hope in the fact that Italy eventually survived the Berlusconi years?

26Deern
Modifié : Nov 10, 2016, 8:27am

Very long rant in the spoilers - sorry again that I started this on Peggy's thread:

I’m not going to argue with “stupidity”, because as I wrote in way too many words on Peggy’s thread – been there, done that. In the 90s I would have voted for a German Trump without thinking twice – and I would have drowned my existing worries (sexism, racism, etc) under the ego-induced euphoria “to show those lefties”. I’m quite a different person now, but in those years any well-meaning attempt to influence me would just have had me race to the urn at once to vote for him. Just like another celeb mentioning they were vegetarian made me crave a steak (which is why I refuse to just try to persuade others now in that respect).

Roland Koch is no Trump, far from him, but he was one of the early populists in the German conservative party CDU who was candidate for minister president in my Land/region, Hessen. Hessen had always been firmly social-democratic with one short exception in the 80s, it even was the first Land where the Green party was in a government. So what did Roland Koch do to win the elections? He started a campaign against dual citizenship, and you could sign petitions against that idea everywhere in the town centres. Guess who was among the first to sign in my home town? Why was I so against it? I thought the children of foreigners should be able to select the German citizenship or that of their parents, but exclusively so. How could they dare to have an advantage and live in MY country with two passports if I just had the one? I felt threatened, extremely so, and I was SO angry! Okay, Roland Koch won and was a good minister president (intelligent, well-informed and with great people skills), and the project was just postponed for a bit, but I understand the emotions behind an irresponsible (-looking) vote.

Since then, the world has changed, and of course German conservatism could never be compared to the American (or only UK) versions. It was a conservative government that introduced gay-almost-marriage quite early, over the heads of the lamenting super-conservatives. Health insurance is mandatory since “forever”, and the duty to take in refugees (though in lower numbers) isn’t really doubted in normal conservative circles. It was a social-democrat/ green government that cut welfare and sent our army into a war for the first time since WWII and now it’s a social-democrat minister in the grand coalition who happily sells weapons into the world and promotes TTIP, so both sides are similar shades of gray.

Anyway, changing political opinion (in either direction, though I've seen more leftwing people turning conservative than vice versa, so maybe that's easier?) is a hard and painful process, that’s what I wanted to say on Peggy’s thread. Because it means admitting that what you used to think and your former high emotional involvement/ feeling of righteousness was "wrong" (different from what you think now) and the last thing most people want is admit that to others. Why do all those self-help guides ask you “do you want to be happy or do you want to be right?” Most of us would answer that of course we’d rather be happy – and then go and insist that we’re right on the first occasion. Just look at all the relationship issues.

*****

I’m no longer angry with my parents because they promised me a world that doesn’t exist – they believed it, they didn’t know any better (and still keep their eyes closed, because the truth hurts). And like all parents they wanted their child to have a better life than what they had. And like most parents they translated “better” into “financially better and safer”. They gave me the education and the values – work hard, seek a “safe” job, build a financial basis and nothing can ever go wrong. And now they are forced to learn that there’s no safety at all. The bank where I did my apprenticeship has since closed. And the one where I worked for 12 years is falling from one scandal to the next. When they sell the house they've forever been paying for, they won't be able to afford a nice small appartment in a town because of the new real-estate price bubble. They now tell me they're relieved I have no children, because otherwise they'd go crazy with fear in this new unpredictable world.

Yes, we’ve all been betrayed, this life isn’t our fairy-tale playground and there are many, many others who want their share – other humans, animals, nature. And guess what – sharing might actually enrich your life, but you have to learn to see this as an opportunity instead of hiding behind a wall and hoping this will pass. Sometimes you might lose something materially (though I still don’t know what I’d lose when gay people can finally marry everywhere and adopt), but you’d also might gain something if you’re willing to see it.

My parents should have prepared me to be open for change and highly flexible. To follow my heart and talents when choosing a profession – one I’d also happily do if it brought me less money. Maybe also something social – a total no-go back then. Instead they taught me that I was privileged, that I had to excel. I never believed that in my heart, but I still tried to be what they wanted me to be and was extremely scared of failure. And because of that fear I clung to those “rights” which I had never earned, just received because I was accidentally born into a peaceful country and a good family. Those rights seemed to be constantly in danger and then I wasn’t willing to give up any of them or just to share.

Many events in the past years – the failure of my company, being left and “annulled” by my partner, the various terror acts – showed me that there’s no safety against anything. This has not added to my fears (as it did for my parents), but on the contrary taken away the pressure. I don’t feel entitled anymore to anything, and therefore on most days I don’t feel threatened anymore. But as I said - a long process, and nothing that could ever have been triggered by a dislike for "my" party's candidate. And so we have Trump now although so many conservatives hated him.

I'm not happy today, but I also wouldn't have been happy with HRC, though for the US I'm sure she'd have been the better choice. For the world...? We'll have to see what we're in for with him. I had hoped I could start watching the news again after today, but it will be a while now. My hope is that after the democrates' disillusionment after totally exaggerated expectations now that of the republicans will follow and that moderation and fairness have a chance again in 2020.



27FAMeulstee
Nov 9, 2016, 9:01am

>26 Deern: Thanks for your thoughts, Nathalie, I even read some of it to Frank.

I think to let go fear is the bravest thing to do and I wish every human being on this planet could live without fear and prejudice.

28Deern
Modifié : Nov 10, 2016, 2:40am

>25 FAMeulstee: Well, I've just learned that the rightwing populist ******* Matteo Salvini from the Lega Nord is very happy about Trump's victory. People always expect danger from the 5 Stelle movement, but they are generally more left-wing, though EU-critical. They did some interesting things when elected into parliament, like forcing their parlamentarians to share flats, use bikes and donate part of their exaggerated salaries in order not to become as corrupted as the others. Salvini is the anti-Renzi with a massive ego and I wish he wouldn't get that much TV time and newspaper space, as the few times I saw a bit of him he left the impression that he dislikes (to say it carefully) feminism, immigrants and LGBT people and Italians from the South - and that he's a very angry man. He feeds fears and promises easy answers - typical.

The Italians aren't very nationalistic unless it's about soccer, so "make Italy great again" wouldn't get them to the urns. But if someone promises them some personal advantages, as Berlusconi did all the time with his tax gifts, they're all in. :(

29Ameise1
Nov 13, 2016, 4:50am

Happy Sunday, Nathalie.

30charl08
Modifié : Nov 16, 2016, 3:12pm

>28 Deern: That sounds worrying. Our Brexit champion, Nigel Garage, has apparently already met with Trump. Argh.

Hope you had a good weekend despite the depressing politics.

ETA Farage - !! autocorrect...

31PaulCranswick
Nov 19, 2016, 1:53am

>31 PaulCranswick: Hahaha I think you were right first time Charlotte - I would certainly drive my car straight into him.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend, Nathalie.

How's your reading going - nothing completed in November yet?

32charl08
Nov 19, 2016, 8:15am

Hi Nathalie
Hope you're OK, and have some time off this weekend. Winter is here and I'd rather hide inside with a book just now than do anything else.

33Deern
Modifié : Nov 19, 2016, 12:10pm

Hi all, just giving a life sign! I'm fine - i.e. healthy and not yet over-stressed - but almost completely out of free time.
Writing from my office desk and it's Saturday 5:30pm. :(

Training started last week, and while it was really great, actually even fun, it was 5 days 7 hrs, so most of the normal work remained open although I started at 7am every day.
After the training I was usually too tired to do anything much, so I decided that I'll work on most weekends now until mid-January.
Was able to catch up on most things today, but it will be really hard in the first halves of Dec and Jan, because that's usually my busiest time anyway without having to teach new software to users for 4-8 hrs.

Almost no reading at all except for test-reading some books about plant-based diets, easily explained and in German, so my parents can get some reliable information and can finally read that I'm not going to die of protein or iron deficiency anytime soon, and we maybe avoid all those discussions during the holidays.

Booked my flights today, I'll be out as soon as the Christmas training break starts, on the 17th of December, and stay in Germany until the 28th. I already arranged to meet some of my old friends, and I'm looking forward to the Christmas markets (and the hash brown-like pancakes with apple sauce - egg-free - I get there every year!).

I'm actually reading a bit on threads on my smartphone during the training, it's just difficult to type without interruptions. So, I'm still there, lurking in the background, sometimes more, sometimes less. What a year!

*******

Politics: If I watched the news I'd get really worried now about the Italian referendum. But it shows one thing: too many people aren't interested in contents at all.
This is not about EU yes or no, or immigrants - this is about a long-due adjustment to the outdated Italian parliamentary system with all those lifetime senators, it would save so much cost and actually take away many of the ridiculous privileges Italian politicians enjoy. And guess what? NO (I heard it on the radio this morning) is now at app 55% according to recent surveys.
Because Renzi stupidly (like Cameron) linked his political future to the referendum, and as he was not yet able to keep all his promises, a NO is an easy way to kick him out and "to show them all".
Yeah, by letting them keep their comfy chairs and huge cars with drivers and 10 EUR meals in Michelin star Restaurants and whatever else. And it would then open the door for the new rightwing populists as everywhere else. Really, this would so much "show them"!
:(. *sigh*

Oops, and I totally forgot to write that yes, I've been to Munich and back, and it was great on the first day, I actually had a bit of a culture shock and wanted to move back into a big city. But then on day 2 I already got tired of all the malls and shops and too many restaurants. I was quite happy to be back here on sunday night. My car got its TÜV license and was declared fit for German roads for the next 2 years. :)

Back to work now.. BIG HUGS to you all and have a lovely weekend!!!

34sibylline
Nov 20, 2016, 8:04am

Catching up with you!

Politics, so beware! Can't say that I'm not anxious about Trump but I am trying--not to keep an open mind exactly--but to step back and be observant about how Trump's ideas really go down as he tries to put his "team" together and implement his agenda. That is, I anticipate that a great number of people who did vote for him weren't paying much attention to anything but the showboating or how much they hate Hillary or hated Obama or something very negative and thoughtless, they weren't thinking about how they might be affected personally by his policies. Folks here grump endlessly about taxes, but then have fits when a bridge fails. Will the millions of folks who now have Obamacare, adequate, affordable health insurance be ok about giving it up??? When it turns out that your taxes stay the same and the already rich get all the breaks, will that really make you happy?

Pouring rain. Here in the northeast USA we await our first major snowstorm. ICK!

35FAMeulstee
Nov 20, 2016, 10:26am

>33 Deern: Glad your trip to Munich went well, Nathalie.
I had similair feelings when we spend a day and night in Rotterdam last week. For the first time in years I felt at home again in the city, but was glad to be back home :-)

36Deern
Modifié : Nov 22, 2016, 1:26pm

I've been training shift supervisors for 2 days now with my colleague - and one of our 4 students already is giving notice. :((
No, seriously - it has nothing to do with us or the new system and he's been planning this for a while, but I'm really disappointed, as he's among the two fittest. And the other one will be on holiday on go-live.
Very very tired, and no, I don't read more than 2-3 pages a day. It's super-interesting, but I underestimated how hard it would be to teach 8 hrs a day.

Tonight instead of going to bed at 8 I'll listen to a lecture on how to prevent tumors by following a certain diet. I received an e-mail invitation and as I'm still trying to take what life offers me directly, I thought I should go. (If you wonder if I accept everything - I drew a line at the older Italian guy who very friendly offered to keep me company when I was on the beach near Rimini. I very politely declined).

Tomorrow my IT colleague and I are invited to meet some IT and cost controlling people from other regional dairies for a pizza in Klausen, a good hour from here. I hope he drives so I can sleep on the way back. :)

******

>35 FAMeulstee: It was quite contradictory, exciting and frightening at the same time. But now I wonder if I can ever travel to a real big city like London again.

>34 sibylline: Don't get snowed in!! Can't believe it's almost winter already....
I tried to write something intelligent about politics, but I can't think right now and much less so in English, I'm sorry.
To give you an idea, I wanted to open an office door today with the paper wrap of a tea bag and realized I had thrown the key into the rubbish bin. :)

37charl08
Nov 22, 2016, 12:36pm

Hey Nathalie. Good to see you here. Eight hours of delivering training sounds exhausting.

Sorry that you are losing some good staff. That must be frustrating. Hope that you get to sleep on the way back from your trip.

I love the sound of your trip home - Xmas markets here never seem to live up to the ones I've seen on the continent.

38The_Hibernator
Nov 24, 2016, 10:43am

Teaching is exhausting work. I don't know how people do it for long periods of time, day after day.

39Deern
Nov 24, 2016, 1:03pm

>37 charl08:, >38 The_Hibernator: The teaching is actually great (while stressful), but the work that waits after the 8 hrs is less great. Anyway, so far I'm handling it quite well, but this is still the easy part. I hope I won't catch the cold our students brought in. :)

I was so tired on the way back home last night that I didn't register it when my collegue took the wrong access to the motorway and we drove north instead of south. He cursed and said "s***, we're wrong" and I answered "why, we went in the direction of Brennero" and only then realized that Brennero is the Austrian border and that for Bolzano we should have driven in Modena direction. As entrances and exits are far spread because of the road toll system, this added a good half hour to the trip.
I hope I'll still remember putting clothes on before leaving the house next week or equally essential stuff. :))

40PaulCranswick
Déc 3, 2016, 10:22pm

Hope everything is going well, Nathalie and that you are having a great weekend, there.

41FAMeulstee
Déc 4, 2016, 12:40pm

Good luck in the next two busy weeks, Nathalie.

42Deern
Déc 5, 2016, 7:12am

Waaah - 2 weeks??? I'm here... just preparing some reviews and updates and then I fear I'll disappear again for a while. I'm totally fine, but life's just a bit "lifey". :)
Thanks Paul and Anita for coming here and checking on me!!!

43Deern
Déc 5, 2016, 7:27am

My reviews are a succession of food related books - call it an obsession if you like, but nothing else seems to get into my head right now. No fiction at all, sadly.
Okay, new Goal for 2016 - get to 70 books! *criessilently".

The first one was still a November read.

66. Vegan Freak by Bob and Jenna Torres

I forgot where I found the link to this book. It simply sounded fun and I needed a refresh on where to get my calcium (protein and iron are among the least issues to worry about on a vegan diet!). Well, it was less fun than I’d hoped, but at least I now know where I stand in the plant-based world.

The authors are/were (they’ve disappeared since from their blogs and podcasts) a very enthusiastic vegan couple. They are not overly judgmental towards meat eaters and vegetarians, they remember they’ve been there, done it and enjoyed it themselves for a while.

The book has some good basics, but it makes one thing very clear: don’t call yourself a vegan if the animal rights issue isn’t your main motivation. If you’re an environmentalist, want to look after your health, are worried about the exploitations of workers in industrialized farming – call yourself a plant-based dieter or whatever else, but not a vegan. For me, this actually was a relief. I don’t need labels, and if I can’t ever be a vegan anyway, I can define my own niche. With vegan shoes (got my first pair after watching “Earthlings”, they’re great!), but with local honey from a mountain farm instead of flown-in maple, agave or rice syrups.

The reading took quite long as all reading does right now, but that was also because it only contained information I already had. There were some nice anecdotes though and examples how to get through family dinners. As a general introduction I’d still recommend something that’s a little less “exclusive” and potentially discouraging for those who want labels in their lives.

Rating: 3 stars

44Deern
Modifié : Déc 5, 2016, 9:34am

67. How Not To Die by Michael Greger

This one got a positive review from the guardian a while ago. I read it on Kindle, but with my current reading speed of 2 pages a day I became impatient and got the audio as well. So with weekend housework and walks to the office (40 mins one way) I got through it much quicker and filled otherwise empty time (office walk is not very idyllic, lots of cars/main roads) with getting information about plant foods. This wouldn’t have been a fast read anyway, there’s just so much information. I’ll definitely re-listen, I already started.

Of course the title is a bit misleading – he might have added “prematurely from civilization diseases if you can help it”. And that’s the point.
This is about the advantages of a plant-based diet, and only from the medical/scientific point of view. This is explicitly not about veganism.

I remembered that many years ago, watching my mum with her arthritis and her pseudo-asthma and my dad with his blood pressure and cholesterol issues, I decided that I’d live another couple of worry-free years if possible but as soon as I got the first problems myself I’d switch to a healthier lifestyle.

Okay, you might ask now why wait if you can start right now – but my diet (and I can judge it now) in my early thirties was already way healthier than what I learned here is the Standard American Diet SAD. I had a burger every couple of months, a pizza maybe every month and rarely cooked with meat. Never liked fries. I ate lots of veggies already, way more than my parents. Too much bread, dairy (cheese) and sugar – okay. I saw my parents’ diet getting worse over the years. They took the pills they got, and when I visited and asked why they didn’t have fruit for breakfast anymore or why most of their meals 3 times a day were bread, cheese and cold cuts, why they went for days without a fruit, they answered something like “we’ve already got his and that, have to take all those pills, life feels restricted already, so I’ll at least eat what I like”. Later another argument was added “can’t digest (insert fruit/veg of choice) anymore”. Of course – if you live of refined bread and sliced cheese/sausage, meat and iceberg salad, your body will protest when it gets an apple.

Anyway, when three years ago during the usual Christmas indulgences (meat, cheese, alcohol) the joints of my toes started aching, I decided to go vegetarian starting Jan 6th 2014 until Easter to see if the pain would subside. And it worked. Yes, I had many lapses since, not at all in the meat area, but I’ve been constantly fighting with the sugars and the dairy. This book has been a great support for my restart a couple of weeks ago when I was just going on a weeklong vegan diet to load up on iron. I added another week because I was feeling so great, and another and another, and now I’m not ready to stop anytime soon.

******

This book is divided into 2 parts. In part one, Dr Greger lists the diseases, ranked by mortality rate, explains how they’re mostly caused and what we can do against them. There's heart disease, lung cancer (frying smoke is that bad?!?), colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, etc. but also depression (suicide). Part two then is “how to” – he explains the food groups and how and when best to eat them and repeats what they're good for/against.

What you should know: Greger is part of a group that promotes a high-carb plant-based diet. The carbs are mainly plant carbs with only small portions of whole/whole meal grains and then there are nuts and seeds. So sadly for me this is not “stuff your face with bread”. While I support the scientific part – he and his team really have done amazing research and everything is study-based – I’m not 100% with him on his diet recommendations. I’ve always been a low-fat person, but I don’t believe we’ll get all we need from a handful or two of nuts and the odd avocado. I get it that it makes sense reducing it to almost nothing for all those heart patients who used to eat lots of fried foods, but I’m going to stay with my low quantity of olive oil.

He then gives an example of his own diet – the daily dozen. The dozen are beans, cruciferous vegetables, greens and other vegetables, berries and other fruit, flaxseed, whole grains, spices, nuts, beverages (water is best) and exercise. Looks almost like meat-free paleo, don’t you think?
That list is actually still okay – but then he adds numbers of servings. That’s right, it’s not just one of each. For example it’s 3 servings of beans, 5 servings of all the veggies combined, 4 of berries and fruits plus 90 minutes of exercise.

Seriously – if you’re not rich enough to have your meals specially prepared and can spend all day eating and running around, you cannot get there. And you’ll have to be running around a lot, because otherwise no way would you get those quantities eaten and digested. He gives serving sizes, but they’re not as small as I would have hoped – they are only small for the grain section where one serving is half a bagel or half a cup of cooked oats. If I ate all those cups of greens, preferably raw and the beans and all the fruit, I'd literally burst. I get easily to my 5 a day and more. In the last couple of weeks I had 6 up to 8 servings of fruit and veg/day (Italian clementines are such great snack food!), but no way could I then have added 3 servings of pulse and the grains, no matter how you try to hide them. I'd been curious about black bean brownies for a while that are mentioned here and tried a recipe from OhSheGlows this weekend. The dough was really good and I wish I had eaten it all, because the baked thing (needed twice the recommended time) was so disgusting I had to throw it out.

AND YET this is one of the best books I’ve read on the subject of nutrition. I’ll order it for my parents and my one and only Christmas wish will be that they read it. While Dr Greger promotes a plant-based diet, he mentions countless times (and at one point says so explicitly) that it’s about adding plants to your diets, not going a 100% approach. A bit is better than nothing, and if my parents at least started eating oats with berries for breakfast instead of another slice of that joyless grey bread with industry cheddar, I’d be a happy daughter.

Rating: 4.5 stars

45Deern
Modifié : Déc 16, 2016, 7:56am

And the last one....
Believe it or not, I haven’t read The China Study yet. I finally bought it two weeks ago during that terrible lecture on a cancer-preventing diet I attended* . But as I don’t eye-read, I also wanted the audio which either doesn’t exist or isn’t available for me. Instead audible suggested some other titles and this one looked nice and the sample was super-convincing:

68 and 69. The Happy Vegan by Russell Simmons

I have no idea who Russell Simmons is. He mentions the Beastie Boys and other celebs, so I guess you’ll have heard of him. The book is narrated by Black Ice (are they one and the same?).

In case you wonder – RS absolutely doesn’t fulfill the vegan criteria of the Torres couple in #66, too many lapses, not enough animal love. Yet for PETA he’s important enough to have been awarded something like Vegan of the Year or so in 2011. RS is fun, laid back and totally encouraging. And he brought a new aspect to me – how hard it is to be vegan if you’re African American. Of course I never thought about that, but also in the Greger book it is mentioned that many of the listed diseases hit the black population harder. When RS describes the foods of his childhood, all that soul food that seems to be spicy pork or chicken in grease on greasy carbs, it’s not so strange anymore. Add to that that lactose-intolerance is higher among African and Asian Americans, but the cheese is still eaten. He says how offended family members can be when they think you're suddenly "too good for our food". That refusing chicken can be a reason for serious arguments, as the food plays such a connecting role. He then says that those fatty foods based on pork were originally often slave foods, that beans and spices were added to get people eat the stuff which they originally (often muslims) abhorred.

Contrary to the other two books reviewed today, RS gives equal weight to health, compassion for animals and environmentalism. His sources might be a bit dated, but usually things in the meat industry get worse, not better. The chapter about dairy and manure is really, really shocking.

I remembered that when I had just started vegetarianism, I discovered Greek yogurt (proteins!). I gave it up again as soon as I learned that for real strained yogurt (not the varieties with protein powder), you need three times the milk. Which means three times the cows, three times the feed, three times the manure. I googled, also because our company was considering jumping on that train, and learned that in order to handle the extra manure due to the growing demand, the state of I believe it was New Jersey(my memory?) just simply loosened the limits for the yearly max amounts to be watered down and dumped somehow or other into the ground.

If your’re wondering about preachiness – yes, it’s a bit preachy. But also understanding and informative. And the narration was so great and easy to follow. Another one I’ll re-listen to this year.

Rating: 4 stars

* I went in open-minded, and the last thing I expected was a lecture pro-vegetarianism/-veganism.
But the young guy had clearly “inherited” the badly done presentation from a colleague – all sources from 2007 or older. He’d never heard of the China Study or the calcium loss after cheese consumption which you’ll also find on wiki. Instead he recommended red meat "only a couple of times a month", white meat several times a week, fish as often as possible and all calcium sources were dairy. Oh, and bacon was great! (2016 WHO study that has been in all the media anyone?!?) Sugar wasn’t bad at all unless you suffered from diabetes. And white bread – nothing to say. When a woman asked about hemp flour, he asked if she meant marihuana. If a cancer nutrition expert is so clearly not interested in the findings of the last 10 years, he should not have that title. He doesn’t even have to support those sources, but he should have heard of them.

46Deern
Modifié : Déc 5, 2016, 8:45am

Phew… okay, life has been more than a little busy lately. This might be my last longer post before the Christmas holidays, and then it depends…
Still, I’m surprisingly fine. :)))

Feel very free to skip what I’m sharing here. This serves also as a bit of a diary (and also in that function the threads have been very helpful in the past, and not only mine. Sometimes it’s good to see developments, mine own ones and those of others).

Work:
Just every bit as busy as expected. I now had three weeks of being trained and training others and came in on Saturdays or Sundays to do my other work.
I had not expected to enjoy the teaching so much.

The project itself still has a scary number of bugs and gaps – I did several software tests when not teaching - and I fear we’ll get the usual super-rough start phase, so I’ll keep doing my best to identify and get resolved as much as possible now.

Health:
Recovering from a cold I caught in week 2. It had to come eventually – the “students” are workers in a 2°C warehouse, which is like a very cold fridge. As soon as those guys get into an office room, they’ll open the windows. I wore woolen caps, ponchos, long thick sweaters, but well…
In order to get through that cold without developing a fever and having to take a sick day or two, I ate fruits like crazy, did daily walks to get fresh air and sometimes went to bed before 8pm. I guess as a result this has been the easiest cold I’ve had in years, and I still hope I’ll be able to avoid the months-long coughing that usually follows.

Spare time:
In the very little free time I had that wasn’t spent with grocery shopping, pre-cooking for the week, cleaning and washing, I managed to squeeze in some easy yoga and indulged in two obsessions: health food and “Westworld”. It’s been many years since I allowed a show to get to me, the Buffy disappointment has been quite the cure. And while I don’t expect Westworld will keep up the high level and while I might even get off that train before season 2 starts in a year or more, I enjoyed those 10 episodes tremendously. I recorded them all and had a big rewatch during a sleepless night two weeks ago. It’s a show quite wise beyond its surface narrative, especially if you’re a bit on a spiritual path like me. Well, I have no illusions, it will be written to death eventually. All shows are.

The last two weekends I walked to work and on my way back took a deviation to see the Christmas market. Really charming this year, and the food stalls now have to indicate lactose-/gluten-free dishes, and also vegetarian/vegan options. I checked all menus out of curiosity and identified exactly three vegan dishes:
- Tea (seriously!) :D
- Oven potato with sauerkraut (I like potato and I like sauerkraut, but I can’t imagine anyone ordering that!)
- Fried tofu sandwich

I bought the latter twice already, just to thank the stall owners for offering a real alternative.

Yesterday I bought a selection of little gifts from various stalls as we’ll be having a bit of a Christmas party yoga on Thursday which is a holiday here. Looking forward to it very much! My social life has been suffering a bit, not just on LT.

Mind:
The really fascinating thing is that my energy levels keep being high compared to earlier this year. I’m a winter person anyway, but this is different. It set in already in the first week of healthy food, and I didn’t trust it at all, thought it might be the weather. My mind has been getting much better overall this year, but changing the food has even improved things more – and really to my total surprise. I haven’t lost a gram of weight though, but I trust my body knows what it’s doing and it might need the energy in the next months, with the work, the surgery and other things happening.

My shrink is happy with me as well. I’ve been seeing her only biweekly lately and am now reducing to once a month. If I get well through the rest of the project and surgery in February, I might be able to thank her and say goodbye.

Not so easy stuff:
The balanced mind so far survived Trump, the Italian referendum and now also some not so great news from home. I left it for the end, as it’s the heaviest part.
My dad, who’s had the usual prostate issues for his age, went through quite a crisis very recently and might need surgery already before Christmas. They expect it to be benign, but they’re doing a biopsy this Friday to be safe and he’ll need surgery in any case.

Yes, I’m worried, but not as panicked as I would have been a year ago. I’m actually quite calm and trying to transfer some of that to my parents. My dad has never been to a hospital, of course never had anaesthesia, so he’s scared, doesn’t admit it, that makes him cold/factual and a bit aggressive. He's also convinced it's malign and will kill him. My mum however, with her various ailments, somehow sees her own issues as her only chance to get affection. I realized this a while ago, this is an old residue from a very poor childhood with too many siblings, and as she ages, this all comes back to the surface. That’s also why her natural slimness has turned into anorexia. Her reaction is not compassion for my dad, but something close to jealousy. He’s now getting all the attention in the only area that has been hers. She’s already threatened not to visit him for more than half an hour “because you never stayed with me any longer when I was in hospital”. Which isn’t the truth at all, but that’s what her mind does to her memory. This is all very sad.

So this isn’t an easy situation on more than just one level, but so far I don’t let it impact me. I can only hope he’ll get through it okay, be there for both of them, as myself, and let them play out their roles as they always do. I won’t change them, and I’ll try not to try.

So when I said up there “and then it depends”, it means it depends much from my dad’s situation when I’m there. There might be next to no computer time at all in Germany.

****
Okay, that was a lot. Sorry for the many words and the long absences. Sending you all my love and the best wishes for the advent time/ Happy December!!



47Donna828
Déc 5, 2016, 11:13am

Nathalie, you are inspiring me to eat better. I pretty much indulge in a SAD way to eat. I blame my DH and his love for fast food but I realize I am a grown up and can eat whatever I want. Luckily I love salads and healthy soups. He can have the burgers and fries and I can do my own thing...

I'm sorry to hear about your father. I hope everything goes okay and the hospital visit doesn't traumatized him. Also. That your mother will relent and pay him longer visits. I love the way you are handling life's stressors. Eating right, walking, and thinking healthy thoughts is the way to go. Thanks for your inspiration!

48charl08
Déc 5, 2016, 11:34am

Good to see you here Nathalie.

Hope that you get some time off at some point. Your work must be very lucky to have you spotting the glitches at such an early stage.

Hope that your dad's operation goes well and that you have a good Xmas break. Hurrah for the tofu stall at the xmas market too :-)

49LizzieD
Déc 5, 2016, 2:11pm

Dear Nathalie, here I am on my Fire, so I'll just say that I appreciate you and wish you continuing energy and willingness to cope with a bit of extra time to read!

50Deern
Modifié : Déc 6, 2016, 12:36pm

>47 Donna828:, >48 charl08:, >49 LizzieD: Can't believe that people at least partly read through that stuff! :D
That happens if you don't write for weeks, then there's just too much that wants to be posted. And next year I'll reread and think "OMG, what did I think that day!?!?".

Thank you Donna, Charlotte and Peggy for visiting and posting!

>47 Donna828: I think the food you had when growing up makes all the difference. The first McDonald's in Wiesbaden was opened when I was 9 already and then we didn't go more often than 2-3 times a year. No drive-ins then, too. And before McD, burgers were unknown. We had the sausage and fries stalls, but they often weren't very clean and luckily my parents avoided them.

I didn't like the texture of meat as a child and my mum was just too happy to make soups, pasta (okay, with bolognese) or potatoes/eggs/veggies for lunch then. Less work and cheaper as well. She stopped cooking on weekdays when I was 11, from there it went a bit downhill, but my fondness for veggies remained.
I learned eating steaks or schnitzel only as a teenager, liked them okay, but never enough to have them more than twice a week. When I started working I also chose salad/potatoes/veggies at the cantine, as meat made me tired. Luckily that quite healthy start also made me never enjoy beef burgers very much, though I still preferred them over fries or milkshakes. I admit I later had a total weakness for spicy KFC and their mashed potatoes, but I never saw one here, so I'm quite out of danger. Their chicken burgers were really addictive.

My dad worked in a dairy, so cheese and yogurt were on the table all the time. Drinking glasses of milk however is highly unusual in most parts of Europe, I only know it from US TV. My parents drank wine for dinner and I got herbal tea. With lunch it was mineral water or local sodas, less sweet than coke or fanta. That's different now, many kids drink too many sweet sodas from cans, often even energy drinks.

I also believe there are bodies and bodies. Mine clearly didn't like to digest big pieces of meat or much fat, while others seem to have no problems with it. I'm quite grain-neutral, others aren't. It's not the blood-type, according to that theory I'm a big meat eater. So I wouldn't ask my parents (or others) to totally give up on a food, I'd just like to encourage them to bring more fruit/veg and color on their plates to get their vitamins naturally.

And about being a grown-up... :))) I'm really wondering now why I needed the health excuse to reduce a food I never really loved when I was already 43 and had been cooking only for myself for so many years.

>48 charl08: It's more late than early to find those bugs, but of course better now then after go-live.
Yes, it would have been so much easier just throwing a fake sausage on the grill to the others. Instead they got natural tofu and curry spices and salad on bread, maybe the healthiest meal on the market! :)

>49 LizzieD: Thank you, that extra bit of reading time would be nice!! :)

51FAMeulstee
Déc 6, 2016, 9:58am

>45 Deern: I would have been disappointed by the lecture too, Nathalie, there have been many interesting findings in this field in the last ten years.

>46 Deern: It's good to read you feel good with your diet (and keeping it), so you can keep up with your way too busy scedule.
I am sorry for your dad, and admire the way you handle this situation. I hope he comes through well.

52The_Hibernator
Déc 9, 2016, 1:28pm

Sorry about your dad. I'll be thinking of you and your family. Good luck and way to go for being strong!

53BekkaJo
Déc 11, 2016, 12:20pm

hi Nathalie - just checking in after my major awol. Hoping for the best results for your Dad - and that if he gets clean results it helps level out the family a bit. Many hugs.

54Deern
Modifié : Déc 12, 2016, 11:58am

Hi Anita, Rachel and yay Bekka - welcome back! :D

My dad's biopsy has been postponed because they forgot to take blood samples earlier. So instead of last Friday it's happening right now. I hope it goes well. He feels better thanks to the antibiotics.

I got all my Christmas presents now but the one for my grandma whilch I'll buy when I'm in Germany.

For the third time someone has spied my credit card data. It must have happened when I booked the flights. The credit card agency refused a payment of 500 EUR that very day (rightly so) and informed me via SMS, but they didn't tell me that they also blocked the card. So once again I had to write mails to/ call amazon, audible, the NYT and others and apologize that their debit bookings were refused. I'm getting a new card (but only because I called and asked!) and I have to pay 25EUR for the express service, otherwise it wouldn't arrive before my holidays.
As this is the third time with 2 issuers ins 2 countries - why aren't card holders informed?!? I checked online and on my card statement, nowhere it said "Attention - card has been blocked for suspicion of fraud, pls call...".

Anyway, this means I couldn't order presents and have them sent to my parents' as planned, I had to buy them here. So I got a weightless gift voucher für my parents for the Therme Hotel in Merano. No FitBit, and I'm sure they'll like the voucher more. :))
The city was bursting with happy Italians and their camper vans all weekend. I always enjoy that advent weekend around the 8th very much and get a good dose of Christmas feelings from all those people and their little dogs in ridiculous clothes. This year's winner was a cute brown cocker spaniel in a Santa outfit. Often the dogs clearly feel embarrassed, but this one, like every good cocker, had its nose on the floor and was wagging its tail and seemed as happy as its owners.

Edit: just spoke to my dad. He's okay and pain-free, results coming in about a week, so the option of surgery before Christmas doesn't exist anymore.

55kidzdoc
Modifié : Déc 13, 2016, 7:21am

Argh. I'm sorry to hear about your stolen credit card data, Nathalie. Although I have several credit cards the one I routinely use comes from American Express, which includes a service that immediately informs me by e-mails and phone calls whenever any questionable charges are posted. Several times I've made major purchases from stores in San Francisco and London, had the charge denied, received a mobile phone call within two minutes asking if I had intended to make the purchases, and had the purchases accepted as soon as I got off the phone and the store employee ran my credit card again. I've also been promptly informed of fradulent purchases, within an hour or two of the times they were submitted, and AmEx can provide me a new card within 48-72 hours if my data has been stolen. Unfortunately I know that AmEx is not widely accepted in Europe, so I also have a Barclaycard MasterCard that I use when I travel abroad.

56Deern
Déc 13, 2016, 3:07am

>55 kidzdoc: Yes, here in Italy it's quite exclusively VISA/ Carta Sí. Within the EU we much use our bank debit cards with a PIN for shopping in RL, we use the credit cards for vacations and online purchases, but not much in the shops. I should get a debit-type credit card (pre-paid) from the post office for all those transactions that aren't the usual subscriptions.
I believe the AmEx fees are high for the shops, so if possible they avoid them and they'll ask you for a hundred different card types first. :)

57lauralkeet
Déc 13, 2016, 7:15am

>54 Deern: Ugh, I hate when that happens! I'm glad you were able to sort it out, but I sympathize with the inconvenience and stress of having to replace your card and update all those automatic billing arrangements.

>55 kidzdoc: I have a Chase Visa card that works in a similar fashion. I get annoyed when it happens with legitimate purchases, but I guess I'd rather have that than undetected fraud.

58LizzieD
Déc 14, 2016, 8:16am

Sorry to hear about your card on top of everything else. Glad your father is feeling better, and I'm hoping with you for best possible results of that biopsy!

59Deern
Déc 14, 2016, 9:09am

>57 lauralkeet:, >58 LizzieD: hi Laura and Peggy, thanks for the commiserations! Card is here and works basically, only that the **** website of CartaSí doesn't let me re-register. I've called several times, and the only solution they've been offering so far was to wait a day or two and then retry.

I was sad to learn today about AA Gill's death from cancer. It's been many years since I read any of his pieces because I don't want to pay a Times online subscription just for a weekly restaurant review. Like many others, I never liked him, or better his strong opinions on (better against) everything/ everyone and his extreme narcicism. Not an author I'd have liked to know in RL. But he was a brilliant column writer. The many many pieces I collected in the late 90s/early 2000s when the online Times could still be accessed for free, improved my English so much that I could later turn to serious literature. I even got one of his earlier books, but never read it and threw it out when I moved this year. It really was the biting restaurant reviews I enjoyed most.
Might however get his biography now where he described his years of extreme alcoholism, the quotes I read are great.

60charl08
Déc 15, 2016, 6:24am

I was surprised by the announcement of Gill's death, seems young. I wish there was a way to share comments like that with the family when someone famous passes on. I know my uncle's family have been touched by the former pupils who wrote or called to say how much he did for them. Yours on learning more English is rather wonderful.

Hope your card situation improves. I've heard mixed reports about those prepaid cards. Would PayPal work?

61Deern
Déc 16, 2016, 6:48am

>60 charl08: Seems it was originally lung cancer that quickly took over pancreas, colon and much else. He'd been a heavy smoker for many years and an extreme alcoholic, maybe all those damaged organs never fully recovered. I found a Gill book on my Kindle with (parts of) restaurant reviews - names removed, several reviews combined into one, etc. Gosh, he hated us vegeterians and organic eaters! *sniff*
But he was even better when he got started on gastro pubs or country pubs. I'll share some quotes from my dad's Computer.

I'm less willing now to pay a "Times" subscription, seeing that they published his goodbye column 1 day after his death and didn't offer at least that one for free for the fans.

I might try PayPal again. Forgot my passwords every time I used it in the past.

62Deern
Modifié : Déc 16, 2016, 11:37am

So... I schooled the last warehouse emplyoee today, an Italian speaking Pakistani. I also did all the schooling in Italian on my own and it worked surprisingly well. So now the theoretical part is done. From Jan 2nd I'll actually be IN the warehouse (I hope I didn't throw away my old ski suit) for the practicing under live conditions. Then the WH manager will support me, he has been freed from his usual tasks. I quite cleared my desk, and I hope January won't be too bad, also with the cost analysis tasks that always come up then. I prepared as much as possible.

My dad hasn't received his results yet, so it'll be Monday.

My parents bought the tree and my dad told me on the phone that my mum had declared it perfect. I'm sure she'd say something else if I asked her and I'll be able to watch the yearly decoration war when she finds out the branches are too far apart/ too close, the needles aren't soft at all and are falling already, etc. :)))
Last year I watched from a comfy chair and took pictures, I'm planning to do the same this year.

I'm hoping for a safe drive to Verona and a safe flight to Frankfurt and to read you all again from my parents' place. Have a lovely weekend!!

63charl08
Déc 16, 2016, 4:09pm

Safe travels Nathalie! Sounds like your preparations are all in place...

64PaulCranswick
Déc 16, 2016, 6:28pm

Have a good trip back to your parents Nathalie. I hope that your Dad's results are much better than he feared and that your mum can be supportive of him and of herself too.

I am routinely suspicious of cards and have had a lot of issues especially trying to use them on-line.

65sibylline
Déc 16, 2016, 10:07pm

Safe travels and best to your father and mother. I hope everything goes well for him.

I took a wrong turn driving home to Vermont from Philadelphia the other day, I was still headed north, but going too far west -- added about a half hour . . . . I kept thinking nothing looked right, but I just couldn't believe I'd made a mistake. I didn't have to backtrack, but I did have to drive east to get back where I belonged!

66LizzieD
Déc 16, 2016, 11:12pm

Hope all is going well as you travel home, Nathalie.
Happy, happy holiday to you!

67lauralkeet
Déc 17, 2016, 10:23am

Thinking of you, hoping for safe travels and positive results for your father. Take care.

68BekkaJo
Déc 18, 2016, 12:56pm

Safe travels my dear! And a very merry Christmas, wherever it ends up being. X

69The_Hibernator
Déc 18, 2016, 2:32pm

Good luck for your dad's biopsy results. And safe travels!

70Deern
Déc 19, 2016, 4:08pm

Hi all, thank you for visiting!!!
Just a quick update: flight went very well, biopsy results still not in, christmas tree decorated peacefully for the first time in decades.

Just learning about the terrible Berlin incident, it isn't yet 100% clear/ out in the open if it was an attack or maybe a (drunk?) accident. So far it's 9 dead and a minimum of 50 injured. Whatever has happened, those were just innocent people enjoying the atmosphere of a Christmas market whose lives are over or changed forever.

Yes, Christmas markets have been listed as likely targets since 2001 (almost no security), but we've been hoping for the best, year after year. Sorry, my head just feels quite empty, I really don't know what to say. Returning to my various newspaper sites now for some updates.

71charl08
Déc 19, 2016, 5:09pm

It's horrible, Nathalie. Those poor people.

72FAMeulstee
Déc 19, 2016, 5:28pm

I just saw the news, Nathalie, it is a tragedy I am sad with you.

73Whisper1
Déc 19, 2016, 8:47pm

Yikes, I haven't watched the news in a few days, since arriving in Beavercreek, Ohio with my family. I am saddened by this report. The world has gone mad.

74Deern
Déc 20, 2016, 12:59am

This morning, there are 12 confirmed dead and 48 injured. So far no Islamistic background confirmed, though the accident option seems to be out. Driver running away doesn't really fit the suicide attack pattern though. It might have been an attack for other reasons, maybe even right-wing as in Munich earlier this year. For the victims and their families and loved ones of course the motive will be of less importance. Saying I wish them strength and love sounds so weak, but that's what I do.

I'll be avoiding TV and all its speculating special formats and keep to Der Spiegel, Guardian and NYT. Unsurprisingly, the tweet of the president elect I found there was devoid of empathy for the victims and mixed up three totally different attacks (Turkey, Switzerland, Germany) that sadly happened on the same day.

75Deern
Déc 20, 2016, 1:07am

Reading: in honor of A.A. Gill I reread Table Talk. Yes, he hated what I am (vegetarian, health foodie, organic food buyer, not to forget a hun), but he was truly brilliant!

Still very slow reading The China Study which so far is way better, credible, seriously informative that I thought. Maybe a typical case of the anti-lobbies (milk and dairy industry?) criticizing a serious new approach to death to keep themselves safe.

I started reading Andersen's fairy tales to my parents, maybe in the end I'll count each of them as book and so arrive at 75?

Today seeing my aunt Karin, tomorrow meeting up with my kindergarten friend Annette and on Thursday with my ex-colleague and friend Sabine.

76Deern
Déc 20, 2016, 10:51am

Results are in, and they found "a bit of cancer". Seems to be an easy-to-treat type and it's the very beginning, so we shouldn't worry too much. Further details/ treatment options on Thursday. Of 12 samples, only 2 had bad cells.

My theory is that the cells have been there for a while (I just learned many men have them - and women those with breast cancer, but they often just don't turn into sth bigger). Without the infection they wouldn't have been detected at this point, so when they need to operate on the infection, they can just "remove" the cancer along with it.

Many of my dad's friends have been through the procedure without any issues, I can just hope it'll be the same for my dad and that he'll start to look a bit better after himself.

77kidzdoc
Déc 20, 2016, 8:08pm

>76 Deern: I'm sorry to hear about your father's diagnosis, Nathalie. Hopefully the cancer has been caught early and can be cured relatively easily.

78FAMeulstee
Déc 21, 2016, 4:46am

>76 Deern: I hope with you that your father goes through the procedure without any issues.

I started to read the Andersen tales in september, but stopped after tale 17, hope to pick up next year.

79lauralkeet
Déc 21, 2016, 7:07am

Hoping your dad's cancer is eliminated pronto. Thank goodness it was detected early.

80Deern
Modifié : Déc 22, 2016, 12:56am

>77 kidzdoc:, >78 FAMeulstee:, >79 lauralkeet: Thank you Darryl, Anita and Laura. I'll go to his doctor with him today (cancelled the meetup with my ex-colleague). He wanted to go alone, but I know he doesn't listen very well sometimes, and with the extra stress... He also got a very bad cold now, so his mood is a bit low.

The one thing that worries me is that all his friends are way fitter physically. My parents are 70/71 which isn't a bad age, but they both seem 10 years older. I did short walks with my dad every day, but he has issues with the knee and back as well, and now with the cold he doesn't go out at all. I watched their food for several days: not a single piece of fruit, not a single veggie unless it comes with a steak in a restaurant. Lots and lots of butter and cheese, and cake every afternoon. They watch my food with interest, but not with enough interest.

*********

My meetup with my aunt was postponed to tomorrow, as she feared having a stomach bug. But I met with my kindergarten friend Annette last night as planned, and it was lovely. We finally arranged a date in April when she'll come and visit me. the kids are old enough now to be left with the grandparents for a couple of days. We had a delicious dinner (oyster mushrooms with pasta and salad) and then went to a pub in her village where I met many people I hadn't seen in 20 years.

Tomorrow my mum and I (me?) will do the cooking, we did the grocery shopping yesterday. Then my aunt is coming with her dog and we'll go for a walk and in the evening my cousin is coming whom I haven't seen for several years.

>78 FAMeulstee: I'm only reading the ones we already know, like The Christmas Tree, The Tin Soldier and The Snow Queen. Some like The Christmas Tree are really deep and sad, no wonder I didn't like them much as as a child. My book is the complete collection, so I might read on.

81The_Hibernator
Déc 22, 2016, 12:06pm

Sorry to hear about your father's diagnosis. But I'm glad it's the easily treatable type. I know what you mean about feeling bad that your parents seem less fit physically. My parents are 78 and 75 and they seem so frail now. And then with my dad falling down the stairs a couple weeks ago! And they're a good 10-20 years older than the parents of most of my friends...it's scary.

But good luck with your father's treatment!

82PaulCranswick
Déc 23, 2016, 11:17pm



Wouldn't it be nice if 2017 was a year of peace and goodwill.
A year where people set aside their religious and racial differences.
A year where intolerance is given short shrift.
A year where hatred is replaced by, at the very least, respect.
A year where those in need are not looked upon as a burden but as a blessing.
A year where the commonality of man and woman rises up against those who would seek to subvert and divide.
A year without bombs, or shootings, or beheadings, or rape, or abuse, or spite.

2017.

Festive Greetings and a few wishes from Malaysia!

83PaulCranswick
Déc 23, 2016, 11:18pm

Thinking about your Dad. Take care, dear lady. xx

84Deern
Modifié : Déc 24, 2016, 10:15am

>81 The_Hibernator: Thank you Rachel! My parents are younger than many of their friends, but physically weaker and mentally... not enthusiastic about anything.

***********

My dad caught a cold this week (not the flu, the usual pseudo-flu infection) then he passed it on to my mum who (no immune defense) is now really sick, and now I'm in the early phase as well. My last cold ended about two weeks ago, so I'm just coughing on.

My dad will most probably go for radio therapy. There are side effects of course, but given his health situation with being obese and having high blood pressure, a 3-4 hr operation with a 3 month recovery phase sounds way riskier. He's got a couple of weeks to decide on a therapy, and he has to have a CT and his bones scanned first.

Doing the last bit of grocery shopping early this morning with my dad. Did all my cooking already yesterday, so I'm quite set. My parents ordered some roast game for tomorrow from a restaurant, must see if my mum's able to make the dumplings and red cabbage or if it falls to me, no dumpling experience. Tonight we're planning to have salad and a traditional potato soup (most Germans have potato salad and sausages on the 24th). Tomorrow my grandma is coming -unless she decides to stay home to avoid an infection, she's 93.

My aunt cancelled yesterday, but in the evening my cousin Daniela came with her super-cute dog Coffee and stayed quite long.

Weather is a total mess, it rains like crazy and will stay so for the next days. Earlier it was foggy and bone-cold (this feeling when the cold creeeps under your jacket and into your shoes), then we got ice rain. Doesn't that sound lovely? :D

********

I had hoped to be able to spend some time at my dad's computer, but he's occupied it most of the time looking for information on prostate cancer, and I did what I could to help my mum with the household chores. No reading at all, but overall despite the cold I'm feeling good. Could do with some relax time, especially given the work load in January, but things are the way they are.

Today is so full that I won't be able to do my usual rounds, I apologize for that, it's a different Christmas time this year.

I wish you all a Very Happy and Healthy Christmas with your families / Very Happy Holidays / a Very Good Time!

I'll post again before the new year from Merano, but I might join the 2017 group and start the first thread a bit later than usual.

85Deern
Déc 24, 2016, 12:37am

>82 PaulCranswick:, >83 PaulCranswick: Where can I sign for that?
Thank you so much, Paul, all the best for you and your family!!!

86PaulCranswick
Déc 24, 2016, 12:52am

>85 Deern: I think you do quite well already, Nathalie. Your work with refugees this year has been an example and an inspiration. xx

87charl08
Déc 24, 2016, 3:15am

Sorry to hear about your dad - hope the treatment is effective. I thought I had posted above but see that I must have just *thought* that I did. Hope that you get some time to relax as well as helping support your folks. I agree with >86 PaulCranswick: too.

88SandDune
Déc 24, 2016, 11:36am

Have a Happy Christmas Nathalie, and a great 2017!

89sibylline
Déc 24, 2016, 10:25pm

Oh Nathalie, sorry to hear about your father's health problems.

Happy Holidays!

90Ameise1
Déc 25, 2016, 5:47am

Dear Nathalie, I'm sorry to hear about your dad's diagnosis. Thinking of you and yours and wishing you Merry Christmas.


91BekkaJo
Déc 25, 2016, 1:36pm

Wishing you and your family a happy Christmas - and a healthy and even happier new year. X

92Carmenere
Déc 26, 2016, 8:12am

Wishing you a blissful day after Christmas

93Deern
Déc 26, 2016, 4:29pm

Hi Paul, Charlotte, Rhian, Lucy, Barbara, Bekka and Lynda, thank you so much, sending best wishes and hugs back to you!!! :)

Christmas was a good one given the circumstances. On the 24th I did the grocery shopping with my dad, then we visited my grandma. We had cancelled the yearly visit of our neighbor Karin, not wanting to spread our various bugs. Had dinner with scarves around our throats and caps on our hats. Yesterday we felt better and had my grandma here, it was really lovely.

Today my mum complained about nausea, I got stomach cramps all day as well (there's also a stomach bug making the rounds together with the pseudo-flu) and then my dad confessed that he might have cystitis (he's had a catheter since the prostate infection started), he was in pain and running to the bathroom every 10 minutes. We argued for a while and around 6 pm I finally convinced him to get to the ER in Wiesbaden. We packed a bag in case they'd keep him, but they fixed everything, gave him new drugs and sent him home. They diagnosed another bad prostate infection and he's on antibiotics again just ten days after the last round, plus a heavy drug against the pain. Add to this his anti-cholesterol and blood pressure pills and you'll get why I'm worried and feeling helpless. The new infection most probably came up because he doesn't drink enough.

All this week it has been my "job" to be positive and loving, and while I was quite successful. right now (we just came back) I feel really tired. I admit I'm quite looking forward to my solitary new year's eve weekend. Fireworks are forbidden this year in Merano, so I might just switch off phone, door bell and TV and sleep through. :)

94drneutron
Déc 27, 2016, 11:38am

>93 Deern: Sleeping through sounds like a good plan to me. I'm glad you could be there for your parents, but I get how exhausting that can be!

95Deern
Modifié : Déc 29, 2016, 9:26am

>94 drneutron: It was only after the hospital that I felt totally drained, all that cheeriness while being totally worried was a bit too much. Last night, after unpacking and some house cleaning (where does the dust come from when you're away??) I went settled in bed with a pot of tea and watched TV at 6pm already.

*****
I returned yesterday and am back in the office today. Officially I'm still away (I always add an extra day to my e-mail absence notification, so I got time to clear my desk again), so I'm hoping for an uninterrupted lunch break with LT and a working keyboard. :)

It wasn't an easy time - and as I said above, only returning from the hospital I realized how demanding that whole time had been, but in the end both my parents said (crying) that it has been the best and most loving Christmas ever.

My time there started with a bad row I had with my mum over politics on the very first night. Don't ask, it was really bad. Then something interesting happened - I returned to my room, shaking, and remembered my friend Astrid had given me a gift I had planned to open on Christmas eve. As this felt like an emergency, I opened it that day (the 17th), and it was a necklace with a pendant, probably something "spiritual", but it brought me right back to where I should be. I put it on, went back to my mum, hugged her and told her I'd love her no matter who gets her vote, I just asked her to make an informed choice and not an emotional one. And from then on, it was (almost) all harmony. :)

Okay, then came Berlin, then the pseudo-flu, then my dad's diagnosis, then my mum caught a stomach bug as well, though not too badly, then the "flu" took another turn, then there was the infection and the ER and all the difficulties and 3 cancelled meet-ups. But there were also unexpected encounters with old friends and neighbors, lots and lots of hugs (and bug-passing-on no doubt :)...), delicious healthy plant Christmas food and way too many delicious unhealthy buttery Christmas sweets, deep talks with both my parents....

It hurts seeing them getting older, it hurts more seeing them "older" and sicker than necessary. I gave them "How Not To Die" for Christmas, and I let them eat their foods without saying anything, just from time to time handing over some mandarin orange or walnuts from my plate. I didn't eat - and didn't want to - any cheese, but I had a bit of butter in the cookies and the potato soup. Most tempting was the "Fleischwurst" (think of a really! delicious Frankfurter type sausage, just much bigger, that's eaten in slices with mustard on top) - this has been my favorite Wurst through my life and is traditionally eaten in my region in soups or "just from the hand" with a bread roll. The roast game however left me cold.
I had all my favorites when my parents and my grandma had their big lunch: roast Brussels sprouts with lemon tahini dressing and pomegranate seeds, spicy red cabbage with pineapple and peanuts, broccoli and shiitake mushrooms with tofu and orange fennel salad. I had vegan chocolate frozen yogurt for dessert while the others had normal ice cream.

My flight back was a bit shaky and so I was very shaky when that long hour ended and we arrived safely in Verona. Here in North-East Italy, it hasn't rained a drop for at least 6 weeks now. The temperatures are almost spring like - it only gets so cold in the evenings because the sun disappears at 2pm behind a mountain.

My friends and landlords Karin and Giuliano have moved into the house while I was away, so I guess I'll get that cat some time this week, maybe tonight. There goes my quiet weekend, I fear... Whatever advice you have about taking on an older cat: everything is welcome! We never had cats, I'm totally clueless, but I guess the cat will show me how he wants to be handled. :)

********
I didn't finish any books, I'm still super-slow reading "The China Study". So this is it - the first time not only under 100, but under 75! Should I feel guilty or last-minute-count all my Tolle re-listens? I guess not. I hope for a better reading year 2017, but if I don't make it to 75 then because life keeps taking over, then be it. :)

96FAMeulstee
Déc 29, 2016, 3:44pm

Happy to read you are home again, Nathalie, and that over all it was a good time with your parents, despite all sad and bad things that happend... big hugs!

97lauralkeet
Déc 29, 2016, 7:30pm

I admire your ability to be so supportive for your parents especially when you are worried sick yourself. Caring for aging parents is really difficult. Take care of yourself, too. :)

98charl08
Déc 29, 2016, 7:31pm

Also glad to read you made it home safely. I am rather envious of you with the cat - but then I do like watching the birds in the garden too...
And of course the numbers don't matter. Wishing you a great 'slide' into 2017. I am planning to be staying at a friend's house in Edinburgh, hoping that they allow for introvert breaks!

99LizzieD
Déc 29, 2016, 11:34pm

Dear Nathalie, you are such a valiant person! I'm sorry to hear of your father's diagnosis, but I'm delighted that they have caught the cancer early. (I'm - bemused, I guess - to see that I'm a year older than your older parent.) You have done a wonderful thing for them, and I know that they are grateful and a bit amazed to have such an amazingly supportive person for a daughter.
Do take care of yourself! Do give yourself some kind of real holiday!
We love you!
Lemon tahini - LOVE!!!! - but maybe on broccoli rather than Brussels Sprouts......

100Deern
Modifié : Déc 30, 2016, 5:57am

>96 FAMeulstee: Thank you Anita, sending hugs your way as well! :)

>97 lauralkeet: Thank you! Actually feeling a bit guilty now for being so far away. But on the other hand they're still young enough that they should be able to manage everything themselves, without having me dragging them to doctors and force-feeding them greens. :)

>98 charl08: Thanks, I was hoping for a quiet slide, but my friends who moved into the appt above me might have different ideas.
I love birds, but it seems like those living in the neighborhood use my balcony as a bathroom and I hope the presence of a cat will change that. :)
Have a great time in Edinburgh, a place I really must visit at some point.

>99 LizzieD: Thank you Peggy, I hope I left some positive energy there - at least enough to get some urgent things done like arranging dates for the CT and bone scans soon.
I tried the lemon tahini dressing on broccoli as well, but in combination with the pomegranate seeds it works much better on the roasted sprouts, a very festive /Christmassy combination.

*****
For those interested in my food experiences (and for my own re-reading at some later point) and because it's more fun writing about food than about cancer scares:

As in Munich, the non-existence of plant-based foods when eating out was quite a let-down. There was nothing on the Wiesbaden Christmas market except for French fries and the hashbrown-like Kartoffelpuffer (which might contain egg for binding, not sure).
There was nothing vegan behind security on the Frankfurt Airport except for dubious fruit salad (convenience - i.e. not fresh - and often bug carriers). All sandwiches were made with meat/fish or cheese and nowhere soy or other plant milk was advertised in the coffee bars. There's a Starbucks somewhere in the check-in area, but I went straight through security to be done with it. And then I was too nervous for coffee anyway - I just wanted to check the choices. On the plane to Frankfurt I got a pecan danish that contained a bit of whey powder, but was otherwise vegan. On the flight back it was a cheese sandwich - 4 slices of fake Emmenthal and an ingredient list with so many additives that I didn't eat it.

On my first day in Germany, I went to the Christmas market with my dad and had French fries (which I never liked), then did my grocery shopping in a nearby organic store for the next days. On a second visit to the CM on Monday I had non-vegan crepe with apple sauce. In the evening we went to a Gasthof/ pub in a neighbor village as I hadn't seen the owners in years. They happily made me a huge salad (sour cream in the dressing, but I ate it), adding even beets and celery and brought another huge plate of fries. :)

When I had dinner with my friend Annette on the 21st, I chose the pasta with oyster mushrooms and a very good side salad. I was lucky the (buttery) mushrooms were put on top of the very heavy cream sauce. The overall taste was great, but it would have been so much better with less cream.

The best surprise by far was a pizza dinner in Wiesbaden. I chose the vegetable pizza without cheese and asked to add mushrooms (in Italy the vegetable pizzas are usually totally boring). They said they always used mushrooms with that variety. What arrived was a real Italian pizza (thin and crispy from a wood oven) with so many veggies that I got my "5 per day" with just that one meal. They even had fresh artichokes!

I can't stop wondering why vegetarian dishes are almost always heavier in fat, cholesterol and calories than the meat options and why so few chefs are interested in trying something else. Even as a meat eater I used to look out for vegetarian/ vegan options as a big steak in the evening was usually not what I wanted. I then often chose the meat and ate only half of it because the veggie option was so much worse. I wouldn't mind the calories that much, I just don't feel good after big fat doses, be it plant oil or cream/cheese or meat. My stomach shuts down and I can't finish the dish which has lead to many arguments with parents and boyfriends in the past. Maybe I have and always had a sensitive liver or gall.

At home it wasn't super-easy either as my mum is quite peculiar when it comes to her kitchen. I managed to cook a huge batch of millet with apple, cinnamon and dark berries on my second day which lasted for 5 breakfasts. The rest of the time I ate cold things: fruit, tofu, hummus, carrots, nuts and rocket salad directly from the bag. I did all my cooking on the 23rd when my mum did her own cooking (and the stove was getting dirty anyway), and I made sure to be covered for at least 3 days, lunch and dinner, and cooked another batch of millet porridge. In the end I ate way too much bread and sugar not to be hungry all day, and on the last day when everything else was finished I ate bread with hummus and apples (nice combo btw). My parents also have eating times that don't go well with my rhythm - quite a big breakfast with fresh rolls, jam, nutella and cheese, then nothing until 3pm when they have cake, then dinner (usually cold, bread, cheese and sausages) around 6pm. Once my mum boiled potatoes for dinner which they ate with butter and canned liver sausage (typical farmer's dinner). I smuggled two sweet potatoes into the pot and had those with hummus and rocket leaves. They both tasted and loved it, so I guess the sweet potato has a chance to turn up in their kitchen more often.

Since returning here, I made some favorites: brown rice with mushrooms, broccoli, sesame seeds and a new type of curried tofu and last night I made kamut pasta with hot marinara sauce, fresh spinach, red wine, beans and walnuts. For tomorrow night however I'm planning a real junk food dinner with seitan sausages and a spicy curried tofu salad I found in the organic store. I'll try to reduce the sugar again after Jan 6th (when Christmas ends here), until then I'll have eaten all those homemade oatmeal cookies my mum hid in my bag. :))

101Deern
Modifié : Déc 30, 2016, 4:38am

Coffee - one of the cutest dogs I know, but not easy to photograph as he never stands still. He's 12 already:

When he arrived, soon the whole house smelled of dog shampoo. According to my cousin he had been rolling in fox c**p earlier that day and she had to shampoo him several times.

The only pic of our Christmas tree that didn't come out sideways:


Not so much luck with my Christmas eve food:

No, I didn't eat all of this, the fennel orange salad lasted 3 days.

This one's a bit better


My parents and my grandma on the 25th:


And that's me with my dad and grandma - the first pic my mum ever took with a smart phone - we all look a bit frozen, trying to tell her without losing the smiles which button to press! :)

102lauralkeet
Déc 30, 2016, 8:16am

Your Christmas table is beautiful, and I love the family photos too.

103Ameise1
Déc 30, 2016, 9:07am

Beautiful photos. thanks so much for sharing them.

104PaulCranswick
Déc 31, 2016, 6:35am



Looking forward to your continued company in 2017.
Happy New Year, Nathalie.

BTW Loved the photos

105Ameise1
Déc 31, 2016, 3:59pm

I wish you from my heart health, happiness, satisfaction and much exciting read in 2017. May all your wishes come true.


from my hometown Zürich, Switzerland

106sibylline
Jan 1, 2017, 5:24pm

Happy New Year! The photographs look wonderful. I admire the table setting!

And Coffee is dear, and well named!

107LizzieD
Jan 1, 2017, 11:43pm

Happy New Year, Nathalie! I wish you a year of great satisfaction and lots of good reading!

108Deern
Jan 2, 2017, 5:34am

>102 lauralkeet:, >103 Ameise1:, >104 PaulCranswick:, >105 Ameise1:, >106 sibylline:, >107 LizzieD:
Hello, thank you for New Year's wishes, and all the best to you!!

Just opened my new 2017 thread: http://www.librarything.com/topic/245294 and will then do my best to visit as many threads as possible within the next days. I haven't been to any of the new ones so far. See you over there, thanks for being with me through 2016!! :D