Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween


Pin It Now!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Rolling Stones Sang It


Time is on my side, yes it is
Time is on my side, yes it is
Now you always say
That you want to be free
But you'll come running back (said you would baby)
You'll come running back (I said so many times before)
You'll come running back to me
Rolling Stones

Where does the time go? It certainly is not on my side. I am so far behind.

One great thing about having a bed and breakfast is when guests return and return and return. It is like the song claims "
You'll come running back". Actually, it is only great when you categorically enjoy the guests. Such was the case most recently when Beth and Bob returned for, geez, I have lost count now as to how many times this makes.

Beth is a nursing professor and a lawyer. She was here on a Fulbright a few years back teaching home health nursing. Bob is a retired microbiologist who was a contributing scientist to identifying the coding of DNA chains. I could be wrong about the details. I only just passed microbiology barely, because the Kreb’s Cycle made no sense to me whatsoever. Add to that the gram stains you had to add to some cultures to see the little buggers. Good grief! I spend hours trying to remove some stains, not create them.

Yet again, I digress. Beth and Bob were in one room. In the other corner, in boxing parlance, or the other room as in B and B vernacular, were Dr. Laurel Benson, her sister Karen (a physician’s assistant) and their maternal aunt Marilyn (a retired English teacher). Laurel works with Ron’s, now our grandniece Andrea in Colorado. We met her at Andrea’s wedding in Florence last year. She came to our wedding in April. The three of them had just disembarked from a river cruise and extended their stay in Budapest for another two nights.

This is the general idea of what was going on at our place. Yes, all of the above peeps cared for themselves during the day; we totally sucked up all of their friendliness. Socialization here is feast or famine. During this time, it was a feast. 

Speaking of feasts, 9 of us went out for dinner. That is another story entirely.

The negative side to this is their leaving. Yes, we hate to see great guests leave, but we even hate it more when they do so at 4am. We have never let a guest leave without our being there to offer nourishment and to escort them out. Laurel and her clan were up at 4:30 am and the following day, B and B were ready to make their kitchen entrance by 5:30. This really throws off my sleep cycle, which is way out of whack at the best of times.

I am still having problems with the cut on my foot. One would think that with all of the medicos around me, I would partake of my own private clinic. However, being Italian, martyrdom is part of the gene pool. If it gets worse, I will see my regular doctor.

Pin It Now!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Playing Footsie


This is difficult to explain at times, but I have problems with my metatarsal bones in my feet. Normally they should extend straight out, but I have to be the black sheep. My metatarsals bend downward protruding through the skin. This causes major calluses to form, which in turn causes major pain when walking.

For years, I have gone to podiatrists who have created what are known as appliances for my shoes, but this has never been a proven solution. Those made of leather would eventually fall apart while those made of acrylic were damn uncomfortable. Eventually, one foot doctor suggested surgery. Having inherited this from my mother, yet another nasty body attribute she shared in her gene pool, I knew surgery was not a sure fire option. Mom had the surgery, was out of work for 6 weeks and four years later, the problem returned. My doctor was honest enough to share the long term risks. 

Finally, one doctor offered the suggestion that Birkenstocks would lessen the pain as their insole was similar to the appliances I used. They were correct. When I had to play dress-up, I used the Birkenstock leather insoles for my shoes. Perfect!

When I started having back issues, my massage therapist noted that my feet were still getting callused, though they were not painful as before. What he noted was that it was throwing my gait off just enough to also throw my back out of alignment. His suggestion was getting a pedicure to have the calluses cut down. Each trip to the podiatrist in the past, the doctor did the same thing, he trimmed the calluses.

For the past 4 years, once a month, I visit the pedicurist. I have had utter faith in her, watching as she sprayed her tools with antiseptic spray and has others soaking in a tray. Last year, just as a cautionary measure, I mentioned I am diabetic. Knowing the risk of foot problems with diabetes, it was wise to err on the side of caution.

This last week, when I went in for my monthly, Suzie cut the side of my foot. It took all self-control not to leap out of the chair. It was not until I watched her sopping up blood that it dawned on me the depth of the cut. She apologized, showed me she had cut her own finger earlier that morning and moved on.

After finishing, she put two Band-Aids on the wound. When home again, I had Ron replace them with a larger pad covered with triple antibiotic cream. Nightmares ensued about gangrene or some other nasty disease. I am a slow healer, but I am comforted in knowing that I am just borderline diabetic.

Until this heals completely, I can only put my best foot forward while kind of hopping on the other.

Pin It Now!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Saint Coemgen Adds Another Point to Carbon Paper


I love getting reader comments. They allow me to look at things from perspectives I would not otherwise think about. One final note from me before moving on to the comment sent it... When I taught elementary school, at Halloween time, I would use carbon paper to create a ghost on white paper. Then dunking the paper in water made the ink run, giving it an extra ghostly appearance. The 3rd and 4th graders loved it as a simple art project.

Saint Coemgen has left a new comment on the post "Adrianna Responds to Carbon Dating...":

While everyone can appreciate your preference for NCR paper, your own link to Wikipedia also highlights known issues with NCR paper. Such as, despite the modern reformulation of NCR paper, the chemicals used in NCR paper are still toxic to users of this paper specifically, and are an environmental issue in general. The fact that a "Public Health" worker rather uses carbon paper should give you pause and something to think about.

Also do consider that since carbon paper can be reused hundreds of times, it is long term cheaper to use than NCR paper. A fact that a "budget" nomad should appreciate.

You make find it antiquated and humorous, but many others still find it useful and practical. You can even still today easily purchased carbon paper from Amazon in the USA.

Ryan: Anyone interested in ordering carbon paper through here is the link.

Pin It Now!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Migrating Social Skills


The beginning of this week has been the highlight of our social calendar. Our friend Kat, who is also from the US, has a kitchen the size of a truncated Hobbit Hole. This has enticed her to come to our place every Sunday for the last few months to cook dinner.

She plans her menu, shops for the ingredients, and then invites a couple of others over for dinner. One regular is our mutual friend Dan and the other is our new Dutch tenant Arnold. Ron makes a huge salad each week basically because everyone craves his homemade dressing. If it weren’t for the salad, they would be willing to drink it from glasses.

On Monday, we had a former Fulbrighter here for the night as a B & B guest. Years ago, he was a Fulbrighter in Pécs working with their hospice program. John has an MBA as well as a Masters in Nursing. He spent one night with us last week before heading to Pécs for a hospice conference. He was scheduled to return home on Tuesday.

Most of Monday, we continued our journey down memory lane with stories we had not had time for the day he arrived. John and his partner, Mike married in Washington, DC in September, 2014 on their 25th anniversary as a couple. We had the opportunity to meet Mike multiple times in the past. He is as wonderful as John is, making a delightful couple. We had to do the wedding pictures both ways. We looked at his; he in turn looked at ours. Of course, I had to credit our friend Jennifer Norcross with the idea for the Iowa capitol tour. It would not have occurred to me, but for which I am still grateful.

Monday evening, John took us out to dinner. We trolled the Gozsdu Udvar checking out the restaurants. There are numerous choices now, but we settled on Café Vian. István provided excellent service.

Tuesday was a bit different. For months now, a woman from Los Angeles had been trying to do a home exchange with us. When I firmly stated I was not interested in LA, she tried negotiating a triangular deal where we would go to London or Florence where she had banked time with other exchangers. As tempting as London sounded, the timing was not good. With each request, I had to decline.

Being tenacious, she continued to write me for Budapest material. I was happy to comply and send numerous e-mails like stuffed envelopes with tourism information. She finally found an exchange on Castle Hill on the Buda side. She suggested that when they arrive, she and her travel companion take Ron and me out for dinner as a thank you gesture. I have to say that many have offered this form of thanks after pummeling me for the nitty-gritty details of the city and then after they are set to arrive, I never hear from them again.

Tuesday night, Elyse and Leslie came over for a glass of wine and then the 4 of us went out for dinner. We tried the newish restaurant on our street, Mazel Tov. It opened in July of this year. Both ladies were so delightful, we will meet up with them again when they return from Eger.

With all of this social activity, we are having a difficult time returning to the stove. Adding insult to injury, Kat is going back to the US for 2 ½ weeks, so there may not be any Sunday dinners for a couple of weeks. Since we have done our share of cooking and hosting, we have tried to coerce Dan and Arnold to step-up. We will see.

Pin It Now!

Adrianna Responds to Carbon Dating...


Adriana Penco left a comment on my post "Carbon Dating or Dating Carbon":

"Well... I have to say that we in Argentina still use some carbon paper ... To keep a mandatory copy of hand-written invoices for instance. Or in any hand-written form that needs one or more copies. You can easily get them at any stationery shop. This is common in South America, so I'd imagine that in a lot of other places it is too."

What I thought was one of the best inventions leaving carbon paper for time capsules was the invention of NCR paper. Even here in Hungary all of our invoice books use NCR and not carbon paper. This is why I was so shocked the district office was not using it. NCR comes in multiple colors and can be printed to order just like any other paper product.

Definition of:NCR paper

"A multiple-part paper form that does not use carbon paper. The ink is adhered to the reverse side of the previous sheet. Originally developed by NCR Corporation and known as 'NCR brand, carbonless paper,' it has also been called 'no carbon required' paper."

Pin It Now!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Carbon Dating or Dating Carbon


This comment was sent by Jennifer Norcross, a former Fulbrighter, a high school English teacher, and a friend. I thought it was too funny not to share. On second thought, it really makes me feel old.

"I really had to laugh at the mention of carbon paper!!!!  I never worked with it myself, but remember it from my student days… mainly my elementary school days!!  When a colleague retired a few years ago and she cleaned out her files, she found many examples of it.  I remember she brought one exhibit down to my room to show me, and when I noted that in the year in which it was dated - 1973 - I was in kindergarten, she agreed that it was time to throw it out :)"

Pin It Now!

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Taylor Without a Needle and Thread


An endless time ago, in a cyberspace far, far away, I had enrolled us as participants for Workaway. If you have not heard of Workaway, you are amongst the majority. For as ingenious as the concept is, it is still one of those best kept secrets. It doesn’t intend this to be the case, but with enough information on the Internet to populate a galaxy if it were paper based, Workaway is just a tiny, insignificant note among the heaps.
To quote from their site “ is a site set up to promote fair exchange between budget travellers (sic), language learners or culture seekers and families, individuals or organizations who are looking for help with a range of varied and interesting activities.”

If farming is your thing, then you will want to know about WWOOF World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Both organizations offer people of all ages to avail themselves of new experiences.

Shortly after signing up with Workaway, we received dozens of requests for volunteers. At the time, my main objective was to find someone with SEO experience to assist with my three professional websites. Those who were qualified wanted a stay weeks long. Those who could accommodate a short stay had no experience in SEO. After tweaking the needs multiple times, it seemed less than likely for us there was no match made in heaven or in virtual reality.

As a last ditch effort, I changed our needs to one less arduous. I was looking for someone who had talents and expertise in Photoshop or Lightroom. With over 7,000 photos on my computer, there was a need to cull from the herd those that were salable. Once that was done, there were spots or objects that needed ‘healing’.

After receiving a request from Taylor, I knew she was the person for the job. She claimed she had the skills I needed and only wanted a short term stay. Multiple e-mails later, she appeared at our door late in the evening, but was ready for work the following morning.

Taylor endeared herself to us immediately. She is intelligent, hardworking and courageously has embarked on an around-the-world trip for one year. After careful planning, she arranged her airline ticket with over 15 stops in various points in the world. To extend her budgeted money, she has wisely involved herself in Workaway to ease the pain of paid accommodations. As it turned out, Taylor edited over 1,500 photos in her short stay with us, but more importantly, she carved a place in our hearts. We included her in a couple of special dinners held at home with friends and she joined us for beers with a group of my former students.

When it was time for Taylor to move on, next stop Istanbul, we were close to tears. Still, Taylor shared the link for her blog, so we can continue to feel close to her and her adventures. She is a good writer and has some great photos. Let me share the link with you here.

No needles, no thread, but Taylor did an incredible amount of sowing herself into the fabric of our lives.

Pin It Now!

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Public Health Inspection Lends a Hand


A little over a week ago, Ron received a phone call from the district health office. Apparently, the public health department needed to inspect our apartment. This was new and different, but since the caller did not speak English well, it was really a crap shoot determining the fundamental reasoning. She eventually offered the briefest suggestion that it was due to our having a KFT, one of the many types of Hungarian corporations. He was assured that the person coming spoke better English and could explain in better detail.

He was able to hold off the appointment until yesterday. We had friends coming to visit for 5 days as well as B and B guests coming and going. Although we can control our own cleanliness habits, we cannot monitor and demand our standards from those using our rooms. This is especially true when people are paying for the opportunity.

Luckily, all friends, guests, and wanderers were gone by 11am this Friday when Krisztina was due. We had our cleaning person on Thursday afternoon to do a once over, but we were in generally good shape other than stripping and remaking the beds by 10:45am on Friday morning.

Normally, something like this would put me in panic mode tending toward throwing me over the edge, but for some strange reason, I was rather relaxed about it. Perhaps it was the fact that I know our place is kept clean all of the time. Having owned a restaurant many years ago, I knew the Public Health officials intimately and had undergone numerous inspections. My fierce competitor two blocks down the street made it his secondary business to ensure my business catered to being harassed. This did give me some insight into what inspectors look for, but my observational skills were honed working in child protective services.

At 11am on the dot, the bell rang. We let in a young woman who introduced herself as Krisztina. Her English was good. She looked in the small bedroom, then the large one while asking how we accommodated up to 7 guests. Satisfied with our answer, she stuck her head into the large bathroom, and then later commented that having the second half-bath was a good idea. Finally, she asked if she could sit at the kitchen table to write her report.

While she was writing, she asked if we kept cleaning supplies. When I assured her there were supplies in multiple storage areas, I proceeded to show her. She stated that if we use “regular” cleaning supplies like what we had been using, we would have to buy a permit from the city for 7,500 Huf. Though this wasn’t an unreasonable amount, I did not see any reason to pay for something every other household was using. However, I did share that our primary go to cleaner was white vinegar. She was reassured.

When she sat down to write her report, she pulled out carbon paper. I had to stuff down a burst of laughter. I sat there fascinated that carbon paper still exists. When NCR paper was invented, I thought it was the best invention since mail order shopping. Really? Carbon paper in 2014?

Last of all the final result was that we have to post an ‘authorized’ No Smoking sign on our door and outside somewhere, we need to have a ‘smoking area’. Our smoking guests are less than 2% of the total, so it is really a no-brainer, but something else to tick off the neighbors. She gave us the website where it could be downloaded. I went to get it printed out; we no longer have a printer. They are in place and we are in compliance.

Pin It Now!