Friday Dictionary – Shin

Shin, noun, a device for finding furniture in the dark.

More wisdom next week,


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Wednesday Vacation Photo – Budapest

Heather and I took a lot of pictures (something like 1,500) on our cruise through Europe and it’s going to take a while to go through all of those.  I’ll be using Wednesdays to post a few as it’s likely I won’t be doing much in the shop in July.  We have family visiting and shop time is going to be limited.

Here the first place we visited: The Former Royal Palace in Budapest Hungary.  It’s called that because it was formerly used as the royal palace.  It has also served as a fortress and been the scene of many battles.  Today it houses the National Gallery and a museum.  There’s also a nice bistro up there that served a nice lunch – it’s on just right of the dome behind those trees, no, you can’t see it in the photo, but go there if you’re in the area.

One of the first things we learned is that Budapest is two cities.  On one side of the Danube is Buda (where the palace is) and the other side is Pest (where our hotel was).  Often when asking for directions, the locals would first say, “Ah, that’s in Pest.” or “Oh, that’s over in Buda.”

Former Royal Palace on Castle Hill

We spent our first morning up on the hill where we visited the Hungarian Nation Gallery, walked around the palace, visited the little town, and ate our lunch.

If you need me – I’m sorting through pictures,



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Thursday After Tuesday

Heather and I returned from a wonderful vacation last Saturday night.  We took the river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam with Viking River Cruises.  Can’t say enough how much we enjoyed the trip and the luxury on board ship.  Excellent food, top rate service, interesting sights, and every day a new port and adventure.  We saw Budapest, attended a concert in Vienna, cruised the Wachau Valley, went to Salzburg, had a fun meal in the Ratskeller in Munich, saw Courtroom 600 in Nuremberg, had an adventure finding a pharmacy open on a Sunday in Bamberg, walked the small town of Wertheim, saw the cathedral in Cologne, and visited Dutch windmills at Kinderdijk.

I took close to 600 pictures and Heather even more.  We took daily notes and bought guide books of the bigger sites we saw so we’d have a chance a remember all that we learned on our visit.  All through the trip I made an effort to be able to report later on the good stuff we discovered.

Today I had intended to post a fun little summary of our trip and do the work of outlining my July posts about the trip.  But …

Last Saturday was a travel day and we returned home late. Spotty and Socks kitties were at home, having stayed there with friend dropping by daily to feed them.  Bella and Boots were still at the Kitty Hotel.  We felt that two of the cats would do better on their own at home, while the other two needed more supervision. 

We rose Sunday morning to discover that the washing machine had a major leak and we were off to the Laundromat.  I picked up the two kitties from the hotel and they were fussy and needy for a few days.  On Tuesday Heather discovered that Spotty Kitty had a wound on her hind end and we spent part of Tuesday evening at the vet’s getting the abscess treated.  It’s likely that Spotty got in a fight with a local cat a few days before we got home.

Of course, all the kitties were fussy and upset at our long absence and interruption to their routine.  Cats like routine and don’t do well when that is interrupted.  By Wednesday things were mostly back to normal with the cats and Heather had purchased a new washing machine that we hope will be delivered next week.

Then Thursday happened.

Heather called me at the office midday and I knew something was wrong – she never calls me at work and I knew something horrible had happened before I answered that call.

Our beautiful kitty, Bella, had died.  Here is what I posted for our Facebook Friends that day:

Goodbye Bella

It was four years ago that Bella kitty and her three siblings came into our house.  Over those years she made her way into our lives and hearts.

Today she was hit by a car and died.

If there is a rainbow bridge, Bella is now in that green meadow waiting for us.

Today in this place, there is an empty bowl, a red blanket without an owner, the memory of a face that will never again appear in the kitchen, and a kitty bed with fresh roses placed with care.

We called her Bella, Bella Kitty, Bella the Belly, or sometimes just Belly.

There is no way to write today of all that she meant to us.  The tears flow too freely to see the screen to write.  The heart aches too much at the thought of the hole that has just been torn open.

Back in May I wrote a post titled, Contrast, that title has been on my mind again this week.  The joy and excitement of our once in a life time trip will forever be balanced by a homecoming that has left a hole in our hearts.

And yet life goes on – two memories will live with us forever, the wonderful European river cruise and the life of our dear little Bella.



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Friday Wisdom – Heaven and Hell

On our river cruise the Program Director shared this bit of information about Europe:

Heaven in Europe is where:

  • the police are British
  • the lovers French
  • the mechanics German
  • the chefs Italian
  • and it is all organized by the Swiss.

Hell in Europe is where:

  • the police are German
  • the lovers Swiss
  • the mechanics French
  • the chefs British
  • and it is all organized by the Italians.

And now you know.

More wisdom next week.


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