George Clooney's Open House
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Post by Donnamarie Tue 06 Jul 2021, 04:17

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer...

Anyone know what song these lyrics are from?  Now I’m showing my age!  But I swear I was a little girl when this song was popular!

Stay cool everyone.  I’m sure the weather is lovely in Lake Como this time of year.  Sigh ....
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Post by LizzyNY Tue 06 Jul 2021, 16:27

Very Happy Very Happy I guess we're both showing our ages because I remember it from when I was a kid, too! Didn't remember the title so I googled it. Guess what?! It was sung by Nat King Cole and it's actually called "The Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer"! Who'd 'a thunk? Very Happy
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Post by Donnamarie Wed 07 Jul 2021, 00:11

Yay Lizzy!  I was wondering if anyone here would know who Nat King Cole was.  My mom loved Nat King Cole so even as a grade schooler it rubbed off on me and I could get into loving this song.
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Post by LizzyNY Wed 07 Jul 2021, 01:23

I grew up in a house full of people and there was always a radio on somewhere in the house. I remember hearing Nat King Cole a lot and seeing him on tv. I think he even had his own show for a while.

Maybe some people will remember him better as Natalie Cole's father.  I remember she did an album where she sang along to his songs and turned them into duets.
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Post by PigPen Thu 08 Jul 2021, 12:47

Anyone else on the US East Coast bracing for Elsa???  Or is NE just the lucky ones?

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Post by LizzyNY Thu 08 Jul 2021, 14:25

I haven't checked this morning, but last I heard Florida will get the brunt of it and we'll just get a lot of rain tonight into tomorrow. Are you expecting worse than that?
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Post by PigPen Thu 08 Jul 2021, 14:57

Tropical storm.  Eversource preparing for major power outages,  down pours, flooding, etc. wind 60 mph  Just another day in New England  lol

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Post by LizzyNY Thu 08 Jul 2021, 16:59

(July Chit Chat 1f602 Love your little lady! ) Stay safe and dry as much as you can. I think I'd rather have the rain than the heat, but I guess we have to take whatever comes.  I dunno
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Post by LizzyNY Fri 16 Jul 2021, 14:03

To CarolHathaway - The news about the flooding is terrible. I hope your family and your town are safe. Please be careful and let us know if there is anything we can do to help.
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Post by Donnamarie Fri 16 Jul 2021, 16:48

I was thinking yesterday when I read this awful news about the floods in Germany that the only person I know in Germany is carolhathaway.  I hope her town wasn’t affected and that her family is fine.  Hope to hear from her soon.
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Post by LizzyNY Fri 16 Jul 2021, 20:49

I may be mistaken but I believe both she and her husband are involved in local government. If the flooding impacted their town I imagine they're involved in relief efforts. Even as a private citizen it's the kind of thing they would do. I just hope they're safe and, hopefully, not affected.
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Post by carolhathaway Fri 16 Jul 2021, 22:37

Hello everybody,

thanks so much for your concerns!

Fortunately, our area in Germany is not flooded. The floodings happened in the west of our country, near the borders to Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, and parts of these countries are flooded as well. 

It's really horrible to watch the news about destroyed  villages and towns and to hear about lost lives and people who are missing.

At the moment, there's nothing we can do. We'll help out with money and, if anything's needed, we'll be happy to give as much as we can. But at first we need to know what is needed, at the moment some of our local fire brigades went there.

Four years ago, we had heavy floodings in our area. It was actually quite bizarre, we were on a visit to our British twin town and were on a day trip when the news came in. We received news, pictures and videos, and it got worse and worse. And there was nothing we could do from the distance while knowing that friends are suffering. When we came home, there was a lot we could do to help others which we did for weeks.

Water is so unbelievably powerful, and you just can't escape...
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Post by party animal - not! Fri 16 Jul 2021, 23:02

Glad you're okay, Carol. I realised you were in in or near the Harz mountains further east, but did wonder if any friends or family were in the flooded areas. The pictures of the destruction and the loss of life are truly shocking.

I was stuck for hours in something much much milder in the centre of London earlier this week when heavy rainfall and flash flooding hit all routes out of town. One big contributor to making it worse is thought to be the number of people who concrete over their gardens, build basements etc which allows nowhere for the water to drained off and absorbed.

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Post by Donnamarie Sat 17 Jul 2021, 00:04

Glad you and your family are safe carolhathaway.   You’re so right.  Water is deceptively powerful.  People always underestimate its danger.  There are always stories about how people drive through flooded streets and bridges and get swept away in an instant.  

PAN, I had read that London also got a lot of rain earlier in the week.  Was it part of the same system that affected Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium?  A lot of people who live in homes in the U.S. have to have sump pumps in their basements because water from rainstorms doesn’t drain off properly.  Flooded basements are a common problem here too.
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Post by party animal - not! Sat 17 Jul 2021, 14:15

Yes, it was, Donnamarie and then it deepened as it got over a larger landmass. All this is to be expected I guess as it doesn't look as tho we've done a very good job of caring for the planet.

Are sump pumps run by electricity, Donnamarie? 

I was listening to the news from Vancouver during the dreadful fires and the interviewer was saying that unless you had air conditioning you couldn't sleep. But the problem with that is that you need electricity which is usually powered by coal - unless there's lots of solar and wind power in the grid - in which case that will make climate change and massive fires become even worse, I guess.

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Post by LizzyNY Sat 17 Jul 2021, 17:28

This is insane! Carol, I'm glad to hear that you're ok. The reports of the flood damage are horrible. Then to hear that there was flooding in London, too, was shocking. I read that a storm system off the Atlantic augmented all the rainfall and made the flooding worse. What with wildfires consuming the west coast of Canada and the US, droughts consuming our western states and horrible heat waves everywhere else I can't fathom how anyone can challenge the reality of global warming and climate change.

PAN - I know most people in the UK don't have air conditioning. We've just been advised that if the temperature inside the house hits 95 degrees F we should head to a cooling center if we don't have AC. Does it ever get that hot in England? How do you cope when it does get hot? For that matter, what temperature do you actually consider "hot".

(I'm guessing they filmed this a while ago, but last week's "Wonderful Wales" episode had MB in a pea coat telling his mum that of course he was cold - he was in Wales! Very Happy Is it really that different?)

Hope everyone stays safe, cool and dry. Thumbs up!
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Post by party animal - not! Sun 18 Jul 2021, 12:03

Mm, I think he was probably joking, Lizzy, although there can be some huge differences countrywide. But then we are a very small island in the Atlantic just off the coast of Europe and Scandinavia.

No the vast majority of people do not have air conditioning in their homes. It's far too expensive - and really bad for global warming obviously. Most folks here live in semi-detached houses with gardens in suburbia and usually just open the windows. And quite a few of us (tho not enough!) are planting more trees (a la Bette Midler) and many local councils are trying to ensure there are enough maintained parks - important for those in flats. The Mayor of London has made sure you can't drive into London - and just expanded the area on that - with a fine of something like £15 a day to drive through.

Last I took a look at the headlines there are floods in the Grand Canyon and someone has drowned there and vast wild fires in Siberia............

Noon here at the moment and it's 28 degrees centigrade (or 85 fahrenheit).......

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Post by LizzyNY Sun 18 Jul 2021, 13:32

PAN - You're right about trees. The street I live on is considered part of a greenbelt that runs thru Brooklyn and the large number of trees in the area does help to cool things down a bit. Sometimes, though, it gets so hot and humid that nothing helps. As they say, "It's not the heat, it's the humidity."

I have a portable air conditioner, but haven't used it yet because it just makes the air cold and damp instead of hot and damp. I've got all the windows wide open and I have a couple of fans that at least keep the air moving. They've been enough so far. (Do you guys use window screens? If not, how do you keep out the bees & other bugs?)

If it gets too hot during the day I can always go to a cooling center. Those are designated places like libraries and community centers that are air conditioned and open to anyone who wants to cool off without running an air conditioner of their own. Do you have anything like that, or isn't it necessary?

(MB was definitely joking, but he was also wearing a winter jacket. As I said, I don't know when they filmed - could have been in dead of winter for all I know. Very Happy)

PS - Sorry for all the questions. I'm curious. Embarassed
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Post by party animal - not! Tue 20 Jul 2021, 18:04

So if it gets hot and windows are open (everywhere at the mo) either the blinds or the curtains are closed. As for bugs an awful lot of have bird feeders and birds quite like insects. And it's great for nature.

Nationwide we also have different waste collections and each house has four bins - one for garden waste, one for recycling packaging (and most of it is recyclable now) one for food waste and one for garden waste eg leaves etc and the dustmen collect weekly. There's also one for non-recyclable stuff (tho it's usually smaller) so nothing sits around rotting for long!

Have just seen John Kerry talking at the Royal Botanical gardens in Kew. Boy, does he know his stuff!

I think I do have a plug-in fan somewhere - it was probably used to help the children go to sleep at 6 in the evening or something. Never use it now.

Currently 30 degrees in London, 88 fahrenheit, and thunderstorms.

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Post by LizzyNY Tue 20 Jul 2021, 19:24

PAN - Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. I'm not sure I could manage summer in the UK the way you do. I'm not a huge fan of air conditioning, but I find the moving air fans create make the heat much more tolerable.

I hate humidity and I hate bugs! Even with window screens and a sparrows' nest @3 feet from my window I still get occasional flies that drive me nuts! It seems like their favorite thing is to crawl around on the tv screen while you're trying to watch! Annoying little pests!

We do separate our trash for recycling, but it still has to be put out for pickup  - usually in front of the house, since we mostly don't have back alleys  - so open windows without screens would just make things worse - even though there are multiple pickups per week. Summer weather is the worst!

Very Happy Same temperature here: 88 degrees F. but no thunderstorms predicted until tomorrow. Maybe things will cool down a bit after that- but only a bit. I find myself looking for pictures of snow. Sigh!

John Kerry is a very intelligent man. What was the topic of his speech? Has he been living in the UK since he sold his Lake Como house to George?

OK - enough! I'm done! Very Happy
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Post by party animal - not! Tue 20 Jul 2021, 20:03

Yep,I'm a huge fan of Kerry. To be honest I think he mostly lives on aircraft steps en route to somewhere else to try to get agreements. He certainly bounds up them.

No, the house George bought belonged to the Heinz family which Kerry married into, but he has another little place further up the lake on the same side....

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Post by carolhathaway Tue 20 Jul 2021, 22:16

Lizzy,

I don't know anybody in Germany who has air condition in his house or flat. Many modern office buildings, banks etc do have air condition thou. I work in our local town hall which is about 300 years old so no air condition - which is hard sometimes when it's too hot. My husband's office is located in a 1,000 year old former emporer's palace, and the air condition consists of about 2 feet thick stone walls - very effective.

How do we keep out bugs and other insects? We put fly screens into our windows and doors every spring. They work quite well, but we don't have as many flies and other insects as we had when we had a cowshed next door - that's life in the countryside...
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Post by LizzyNY Wed 21 Jul 2021, 03:07

Carolhathaway -  Before anything else, how are people coping with the aftereffects of the flood? I hope they're getting all the help they need.I wish there was some way we could help.

The people who built your husband's "office building" really knew what they were doing! Very Happy It makes sense that thick walls would keep out the summer heat. I'm sorry your office isn't as cool. I know how it feels to have to work in the heat. My classroom had a wall of huge windows that got the sun all afternoon. We melted!

I find it interesting how people handle situations differently in different places. You use screens the way we do, but people in the UK don't. We use mix taps in our sinks, but I understand that many homes in the UK don't. Is that something you have in Germany? I know there are a lot of other things we do differently. Driving on different sides of the road comes to mind. Can you think of anything else?

PAN - Kerry has a second house on Lake Como? Wow! When I said he sold his house to George I guess I assumed that it belonged to him and his wife. And I thought George said he bought the place from a "guy". Anyway, it's not important.

Hope you're keeping cool and don't have to go into lockdown again. I saw ALW's "Cinderella" had to close because of covid before they even got to open. Fingers crossed it's just a temporary thing.
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Post by carolhathaway Wed 21 Jul 2021, 07:00

Lizzy,

as far as I know from the distance, people in the flooded areas mostly just function trying to clean their homes and saving things - if possible. I can't imagine how those must feel who have lost everything, sometimes including loved ones. Or missing them, I just can't imagine how they can cope with that.

I think the shock will follow after a while. There are areas with a higher risk of being flooded, when you live in certain areas near the rivers Rhine or Danube, floods are likely to happen every spring. People there have learned to live with the river, keeping rather expensive furnitures like a built-in-kitchen on the second floor. But this time the floods happened in very different areas where you usually didn't have any heavy floods. We've had a heavy flood almost four years ago, and no buildings were destroyed. Damaged yes, but not destroyed. To see these houses floating away is something new and happened because the ground became instabile, there were also huge landslides and that's new and worrying.

I've recently talked to a neighbour whose house burnt down about ten years ago. Nobody was seriously injured, but knowing that so many things got lost, still hurt her after all these years. The very first photos of her kids, their first onesies, all the photos of her wedding...

I think the peopld in the flooded areas will need all the help they can get, and that includes psychological help to understand and accept it all.
At the moment, we personally help with money. Organizations like the Red Cross collect clothes, sanitry products etc and bring it there. Firemen, the army, medical staff etc are there to help with their manpower and machines. The governments of Germany and the concerned federal states help with money, hotels and restaurants host and feed those who lost their homes and helpers, and that's about it...
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Post by LizzyNY Wed 21 Jul 2021, 17:07

Carol - It sounds like a lot is being done to help the flood victims. You're right, though. They will need a lot of psychological help and support after the first shock wears off.
Sadly, it looks like this kind of thing is going to happen more and more often and I don't think we're prepared to deal with it. I hope I'm wrong. Maybe this horrible year will be a wake-up call for our governments to take global warming seriously and do something about it.
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Post by carolhathaway Wed 21 Jul 2021, 19:13

Lizzy,

to bring it back to a lighter note: You've asked about differences between countries. We use mix taps in Germany, and I talked about it a while ago. When I was a kid, we had a youth exchange of our swimming clubs and always stayed in 'twin families'. During their first visit, kids from our British twin town asked us if we are all that rich in Germany because we all have mix taps in our bathrooms. Houses seem to be built more massive than in the UK - although I know lots of manor houses in the UK who are built really massive.
As a kid, I always loved the lunch packages we got when we were on day trips. We always got small packages of crisps, and that was just unbelievable for my mum. I enjoyed lunch at school when I went there in the UK which we didn't have because our schools finished at lunch time (that has changed over the times). And I just loved Kelloggs Varieties (eight small packages of cereals in one box) which we didn't have. I always miss German bread when I'm away, I love dark, rich and tasty bread, and that's quite typical for Germany. We always had a swimming competition, and in the UK, they always started with the National Enthems - which we don't. We always finished the competition singing 'We Are the Champions'(which was some strange German humor because we were always far behind) and that irritated our hosts.
My grandparents had friends in the Netherlands we visited as well (my parents didn't have much money, so we never did 'normal holidays' like flying to other countries and staying at a hotel, we visited friends or went camping), and they had a shower in their bathroom which was directly in the middle of the tiled room. There was just the armature on the wall, the shower head on the ceiling and the sink on the floor. No extra shower tray, no shower curtain etc. Pure, simple and effective.
I always love going to supermarkets in other countries to look around how different food is, to buy fruits and vegetables I don't know etc. Of course, due to our globalized world, it has become more easy to get food from all around the world, but it's still very different. I'll never forget the variety of sea food I found in a supermarket in France (which, by the way, wasn't nearby the sea).
Going to a restaurant which serves local food is something I simply love. Eating like locals is part of getting to know them.
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Post by LizzyNY Wed 21 Jul 2021, 21:07

Carol - Your post reminds me that we have more in common than not. When I was a kid we couldn't afford to travel at all. All our "vacations" were day trips spent close to home, going to nearby lakes to fish or to the local motel to use their swimming pool. I spent most of my summers staying with family because my mom had to work. I didn't really "travel" for vacation until I was a teenager. My mom and I went to Miami for a week when I was about 16. When I was in college I went back with my friends for winter break a couple of times and went to Puerto Rico a couple of times as well. I didn't cross the Atlantic until I was out of school.

In the Netherlands we stayed with a lovely family just outside of Amsterdam. They had the kind of shower you mentioned and I remember thinking what a great idea it was! As far as mix taps in the UK, I don't think it's a question of expense. There used to be a good reason for keeping hot and cold water separate but I don't think it's necessary any more. Now it's just something they're used to and mostly don't see the need to change.

When I was in primary school we had to bring our own lunch. (That has changed.) To my mom that meant either tuna, salami or peanut butter and jelly with either an apple or a banana. We didn't get offered school lunches until middle school. They were not very appetizing, so most of the time we went to a coffee shop a couple of blocks away where they had hamburgers, french fries and cokes waiting for us. (Since there were 30-40 kids coming in at once, they made everything ahead of time and that was the only thing you could order.) It was a zoo, but it was fun.


 It's kind of funny to me that you think of an 8 pack of Kellogg's cereal as unusual. I grew up with it. I do like exploring foods from other cultures. During lockdown I found quite a few interesting cooking channels on YouTube that feature foods from all over the world and I tried quite a few recipes. I can't wait to get out to restaurants again.

What I'd really love is to get back to Europe again, but it looks like it won't be possible for quite a while. I just keep hoping.
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Post by carolhathaway Wed 21 Jul 2021, 22:26

Lizzy,

As you mentioned restaurants, are they still closed, or don't you want to go there? We've been a few times since they re-opened and really enjoyed it. In June, we went to the North Sea coast for a week (we stayed in a holiday home) but did go out to fish restaurants where we could sit outside, and that's our choice at the moment: Can you sit outside? 

My first flight, by the way, happened when I was 18. A friend and I went to a beautiful place in former Yugoslavia (where, five years, a horrible war took place), and that was also the first time I ever stayed at a hotel. Really exciting!
My kids' first flight took place when they were 14, we went to Barcelona and spent a wonderful week with friends in the Pyrenees. This was their only flight so far, we aren't really globetrotters. My nephew is 11 and has been - as he just told me - to every continent apart from the Antarctis, so he really wants to go there. He's been to New Zeland, Egypo, Mexico, Kuala Lumpur and many, many places in Europe. On Sunday, they will go to Zanzibar to relax and to Tanzania to go on a safari.
My kids recently watched a travel channel on tv and asked if we could go on a river cruise on the Nile in Egypt next spring. Since I've always wanted to go to all these wonderful places, I thought about it and did some research. Since my son is handicapped, it's really difficult because the ships aren't designed for people who can't walk properly (there are hardly any ships with a lift, and when they berth, there are often five or six ships in a row, so you have to climb all these ships to go ashore (which always stresses him terribly). So we explained him that, if it's really Egypt he wants to see, we'll make everything possible. Otherwise, we could look for an alternative which is what he wanted. So we thought about a cruise in the Western or Eastern Mediterranean Sea, until we found out that - at least at the moment - you're not allowed to leave the ship on your own due to Covid 19. They want you to stay in this 'bubble', but since we thought about going on our own quite sometimes (esp since it's always stressful for my son to hurry with the others in a group), and also since these trips are rather expensive for four, we'll leave that to 2023 or 2024.

In the end, we asked our kids what they thought about going to Tuscany again (we had spent a wonderful holiday there in October 19), and that's what we'll do in May next year (hopefully!). We'll concentrate more on the south of Tuscany and will also spend some days at the Mediterranean Sea but will also go to Florence for a couple of days. My kids (!) want to go to the Uffizi Museum again - we all were completely blown away there last time.

We'll travel by car and stay in holiday homes and flats, so I think we'll be quite safe (and we've all had our jabs).

So that's something to look forward.
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Post by LizzyNY Thu 22 Jul 2021, 20:13

Carol - It must be very frustrating for your son to face so many obstacles - many of which could probably be removed with a little compassion and ingenuity on the part of the travel industry. You and your husband are amazing parents to try so hard to make your children happy.

I'm curious about your nephew. How does an eleven-year-old travel all over the world like that? I can't imagine someone that age being such a world traveler!

To answer your question, the restaurants are open and have been for a while. Some started by just doing take-away business, then outdoor dining was added, then indoor socially-distanced dining and now we're pretty much back to normal. For me (since I don't drive) transportation is an issue. Public transit isn't too attractive right now. There's also been a bit of a covid spike because of unvaccinated idiots who refuse to even wear a mask. Since there are reports of vaccinated people getting sick (although not critically ill so far) I think I'll play it safe and wait.
LizzyNY
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Zip a dee Clooney!

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Post by carolhathaway Thu 22 Jul 2021, 21:11

Lizzy,

yes, public transport definetely is an issue. My husband used to go to work by train, now he tries to avoid rushhours with crowded trains. Which causes probleme because he can't choose his working hours. He has to be at his office at a certain time to advice and help people - same for me. We both didn't have the chance to work from home but were really lucky that my father-in-law offered us his 22-year-old car since he decided not to drive anymore.

So I think it's really sensible to wait before going out again. Our restaurants also started with delivering food or take-away, then they offered service outsidd (which was a bit embarrassing since spring was quite cold and rainy). We're still in the modus of serving inside sicially-distanced which is something you realize when trying to get a reservation or a table without a reservation.

 My youngest sister and her husband love to travel, and they can afford it. In 2019, my brother-in-law flew to Japan to watch some rugby-matches at the World Championships, they also used to fly to different cities in Europe to go to a concert. My brother was a marine shen he was young, and travelled the world on a sailing-school ship. After he had established himself at his company, he took a sabbatical year and returned to some places he had visited as a marine. He flew to Tierra Del Fuego, the very southern point of South America and travelled Chile, Argentina and Brazil for four months, went to Australia for three months and to New Zealand for another four months. He had quite some stories to tell.
So he and my sister try to show their son as much of the world as possible. I think that's great and hope he knows how privileged he is.
carolhathaway
carolhathaway
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Post by LizzyNY Fri 23 Jul 2021, 03:16

Carol - It's pretty much the same here as far as eating out is concerned. There are plenty of nearby places I could go to  but I guess I've just gotten so used to cooking at home that most of the time it doesn't occur to me.

Your sister and her husband seem to have an exciting life. I'm sure your nephew will appreciate how lucky he is when he gets older, if he doesn't realize it now. I wish them safe travels.
LizzyNY
LizzyNY
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