Drinking in The Scenery

News Flash! Club Soda illegal in Europe!!

After those long trips from Philadelphia to London and then from London to Paris, we were thirsty!

We Learned that drinking habits are different in both of those places, as compared to the US.  Of course, we think of London as everyone drinking pints of beer (particularly Guinness), and we think of the French as so many million wine drinkers.  Yes, that is all true, but there is more to it.

It is true that the Brits appear to be very beer-centric, and we found the pubs to have quite a good selection.  There appeared to be a substantial brew-pub culture going on there not unlike what has taken off in the US over the past ten years or more.  We stuck mostly with wine though, and had no trouble finding good wines by the glass, carafe, or bottle.  Regarding wines by the glass, one thing we saw almost everywhere we went in both cities, was that you would ask for a glass of wine and they would ask you what size you wanted.  Menus listed sizes also.  A small might be listed as 175 ml and a large might be listed as 250 ml.  (That’s about 6 oz. and about 8.5 oz.) We found those sizes to vary slightly and sometimes to be listed in centiliters instead.  We got used to that, soon learning to ask for the larger glass. read more

Quotable Quotes

Crepe Myrtle Trees in Raleigh, NC

(Today’s picture has nothing to do with the bulk of this entry.)

I traveled to Raleigh a few weekends ago to hang out with my brother. Later this year he and his wife plan to relocate to the area of St. Augustine Beach, so I figured I’d better get in a last summertime visit.   The Crepe Myrtles were in glorious bloom all over town!  I took this picture during a walk around the neighborhood.  They were really quite something to see, especially when a whole bunch of them were lined up in a row. read more

Some Ambient Morning

Just a brief entry to report on a strange and interesting thing we encountered this morning.  It being a leisurely Sunday morning we were relaxing upstairs with our coffee and waking up gradually to our favorite Philadelphia radio station, WXPN 88.5.

I should mention that WXPN does a regular morning show on Sunday that they call Sleepy Hollow.  It’s all about quiet music to wake up to.  Earlier than that, like midnight to six A.M. or close to that, is a show called Echoes, which features all manner of new age and trance-like music.  (We rarely hear that show unless we are doing something unusual such as driving to the airport for a super-early flight.)  Generally, that stuff stops by about 6:00 and they start playing more mainstream music. read more

All Hands on Deck

I’ve been working on the rail-road!

Well not really, but I don’t know any songs about working on the deck! Plus, now you get to have the rail road song in your head all day!

Mrs. Working Stiff and I have been slaving away on a project to refinish our back deck. It has been almost exactly five years since the last time so I guess we can’t complain too much.  The phase of scraping off all the loose junk is complete.  Let me tell you, if you can avoid doing that – avoid it!  It is knuckle-scraping, back-aching, sweat-breaking, sun-baking work.  Not to mention time-taking.  Hopefully though, the result of all this hard work will be breath-taking. read more

Winter to Summer

Visiting the mall in the first week of spring

Never mind spring – welcome to summer! It was in the low 80s yesterday and I believe we are expecting around 85 on Sunday.  I guess all the Easter Eggs will be hard boiled!

Just a quick entry today because I wanted to share this picture I took just a few weeks ago in the last few days of winter. Here in the suburbs north of Philadelphia, Old Man Winter decided to give us one final smack in the face just days before the official start of spring.  Ironically, though we had been hit with “shovel-worthy” snow at least a few times throughout the winter, this storm, at the tail-end of March, was the only one for which I bothered to fire up the snow-thrower. read more

Birthday Wine in New Hope

The Working Stiff had a birthday just this past Friday, and we celebrated as well as we could, given the dreary day. We have had quite a stretch of rainy and/or cold days, with but a few breaks of sunshine.  I suppose it’s that old April showers thing, though the rainy streak does back up well into March.

At any rate, the Mrs. took a half day off from work and we decided – goll-dern the weather – lets go out! (Note that I knew a real person who used to say “goll-dern”, and variations of that, and it wasn’t me!) We set off towards New Hope, northeast of Le Chateau Working Stiff along the Delaware River. read more

Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights

Ah yes, Christmas lights! One of those holiday things that is supposed to be fun!  I’ll admit that they are fun to look at, and I have experienced a feeling of satisfaction more than once upon completion of the annual Putting Up of The Christmas Lights.  That in itself is misleading though, because a feeling of satisfaction can rightly come after completion of any task that you really don’t want to do (or dread even), so that is a pretty low bar!  My thought there is – would it be more satisfying to dread putting up the lights and then finally vanquish them, or to relieve myself altogether of the responsibility and just not do it?  Understanding that there is a cost – one choice leaves you with pretty lights in the tree outside and the other does not.  Hmmmm – OK, it is getting deep in here!  I’d better move on and leave the Christmas light philosophy to others, lest Mrs. Working Stiff accuse me of being negative about the holidays again! read more

It Isn’t All Bad

At a time when this seemingly endless presidential election is making it look more and more each day like the destruction of the American Empire is truly at hand, I wanted to share a brief but heartwarming story.  Mrs. Working Stiff and I recently took a road trip to Raleigh, NC to spend a long weekend with my brother and his wife at their cool pad in the historic Boylan Heights neighborhood of that city.  The traffic around Baltimore and Washington D.C. is always an adventure, but aside from that – farther down the road we had a “nicer” small adventure. read more

Reflections on The Summer of Debby

My blog has to date been mostly a happy and lighthearted thing, sometimes silly and sometimes irreverent. I hope that it has been funny and entertaining at least on occasion, and – who knows – perhaps even informative. Today’s topic is much more serious for me though.  You see, my sister Debby got really sick really fast this past late spring and into the summer, passing away on August 20th just about 11 weeks or so after first going to the hospital due to various symptoms and finding out that she was seriously ill. She was sixty-eight, the oldest of my family’s generation of siblings and cousins and was too young to die.  Let me take a moment to recognize and to thank my other sister Alex, who is a nurse, and her daughter Jessica for taking such good care of Debby in her whirlwind last few months.  Their hard work and devotion made it possible for Debby to remain in her own home, surrounded by family, friends, and with her nutty little dog. read more