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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hockey Day Camp for Kids

Today the Day Camp for young Hockey Fans we applied for was happening!

The Hockey Camp is a yearly opportunity for Elite, Premier and National League Goalies and Defensemen to train with Swiss NHL Players. Learning from the best!

For the younger kids there was not going to be any training on ice but a fun filled day meeting the stars and other interesting people like referee Urs. He was talking to them about fairness and his signals to announce penalties or goals.

Who knows a ref's name?

Who wants to wear a ref's helmet?
The athletic trainers worked on the little ones at the gym and even prepared them to beat us parents at a "what team can transport more balls until the basket is empty game" so they could win some ice cream later today!

Kids rule!
Walking back from the gym in 95°F made the ice stadium a paradise!

Wow, those guys are in nice shape!
Meet and greet the stars! They were talking about their daily lives as NHL players: starting hockey school at age 4, working their way up to members of the Swiss National Team and NHL captain or all star team member. 

They work 6 days a week, train, eat veggies, take naps on match days and spend a lot of time flying to the opponents' destinations. 

Where were they two years ago when I needed Colin to hear that grown men take naps???

Roman Josi, Nashville Predators and MVP at WC 2013

Mark Streit, wonderful athlete, transferring from NY Islanders to Philadelphia Flyers

Girls power @ Hockey Day Camp!
The kids also met Peter "the Boss", who is responsible for everything that players may need material, laundry and food-wise. "I am basically their mom during camp", he smirked. Today he was showing his attentive audience how to sharpen the skids of the skates. 

Also he let them sit on the Zamboni!

Then they were allowed to peek into the locker rooms. 

And from a not so nice smell we moved on to lunch.

What? No pasta?

At this point I want to mention what a wonderful job the volunteers of the organization committee were doing. They were so friendly and knowledgable and took care of us showing us around, bringing bottled water, making lots of jokes - and taking pictures with a kick-a** camera!

Pesche, head of day camp organization
Former Stanley Cup winning Goalies played a match with the eager kids.

After posing for the team picture the first group of kids left so the next group could play. Well, all the kids of the first group left - except Colin. He just kept playing until one NHL guy called "hey, weren't you here for the first game?" Had he not sent him away, Colin might still be playing! ;-)

Skillfulness Exercises
And finally - more autographs from the much admired stars!

Martin Gerber, his career can not be summarized in a one line caption
Learn about him here. Important to know: he is back in Switzerland, playing for Kloten Flyers, Colin's favorite team, this coming season!

David Aebischer
He, too has an interesting CV and is back playing in Switzerland for Rapperswil-Jona Lakers.
Reto Schürch, Goalie Coach
Goalie Action with Reto

And another highlight! Ice cream - much deserved and welcome!


No surprise he fell asleep as soon as we were on our way home! 
That was such a fantastic day :-) 

Thank you, 

for facilitating this day for us, it was truly an unforgettable experience!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Last week two people called me an organized person which made my day - and my husband frown. I guess this is like telling the smart girl she is pretty or the other way round. It all depends on how you perceive yourself and what feedback you get from other people. 

I remember doing well in "organizational savvy" when working for Starbucks. It was one of the elements (see the complete list at the end of this post) of the yearly performance appraisal that I actually implemented in the Swiss and Austrian market. I remember doing quite well in the other competences as well back then. 

Becoming a mom and homemaker kind of changed it all. Forget about scheduling your day - because dirty diapers, empty wipe boxes and unexpected hunger attacks happen. Usually right before heading out. And even if a nap never takes more than an hour - on the day you need to see the pediatrician at 3pm you can be sure you need to wake up your baby.

Not proud of it - but this is what it looks like (on a good day)
I think of myself as a creative, yet messy person. I need space to spread out my stuff. At work and at home. Folders, laundry, unfinished crafts projects, "to do piles" because what is in sight reminds you that you are not done. I always wondered about the empty desk people. And I think I envy them. It's just not working for me. It takes discipline and doesn't allow spur of the moment activities and fun. But from time to time I try. In January 2013! Oh, wait, I also made a major effort in January 2012, too:

Emptied out my closet
Finally put together my license plate collection
Recently I came across a platform called Seleso. They purchase your old music CDs, DVDs and books. All you need to do is scanning the bar codes directly onto their website. Sounded like a plan. I had cleaned out my CDs from the "skyscraper racks" a couple of years ago because I needed the racks to put on a rope for the advent calendar baggies. 

One person's CD racks are another person's advent calendar poles
Since then the CDs have been sitting in plastic boxes which served as "counters" to put on more stuff. Well, today this all was going to end. I am going to post them on the internet!

Anyway. Colin engaged in "cooking" some color coded letter soup in the meantime. He made blue soup, red soup, even rainbow soup and garnished it with the correspondent M&M stuffed character:

Looks like my son is super organized!
Now is an organized person someone whose house is clean and tidy? With fancy towel holders aka wine racks? With "making bread from scratch" and "growing own cherry tomatoes" on their to do list?
What did a Martha Stewart wannabe do before Pinterest?
Or is it about getting through the daily grind, making appointments and paying bills on time, having healthy food in the fridge and clean clothes in the closet at all times? Juggling home, office and charity work without dropping the ball?
Is frozen pizza OK? C
lean clothes from the basket, directly out of the dryer?

My mother used to be a kindergarten teacher. She experienced only child moms being late and forgetting to bring snacks or raincoats all the time. And moms taking care of three or four children plus a dog - being organized because they needed to be. Hmmmm.

So I googled "what is an organized person?" And got 8 habits of organized people
It sounds so easy. But my house tells a different story.

If something seems to be too hard, people tell you to take one step at a time. This is what I am going to do. Tackling one of the eight points per week and report back here about my progress. Is anybody joining in? I will award the most impressive "getting organized person"!

As promised, here is the list of competencies needed for a job with the coffee company:

Core Competencies :
    Customer Focus
  • Delivers legendary service that meets and exceeds all customers' expectations
  • Data Driven
  • Sticks to the principle that all of the data that can be used are accurate, genuine, integrated and valid
  • Ethics and Integrity
  • Adheres to Starbucks values, beliefs and principles during good and bad times
  • Composure
  • Remains calm, maintains perspective and responds in a professional manner when faced with tough situations
  • Personal Learning
  • Takes personal responsibility for the continuous learning of new knowledge, skills and experiences
  • Dealing with Ambiguity
  • Able to successfully function during times of uncertainty and changing priorities
  • Decision-Making
  • Makes timely and quality decisions based on a mixture of analysis, wisdom, experience and judgment
  • Interpersonal Savvy
  • Builds effective relationships with all people; up, down and sideways, inside and outside of Starbucks

Leadership Competencies :
    Setting Direction
  • Establishes and communicates a compelling and inspired vision, creates competitive winning strategies and plans, ensures department strategies are aligned with company strategies
  • Leadership Courage
  • Willing to take a managed risk to drive the business forward
  • Creating the Environment
  • Develops a positive, respectful, productive and professional work environment
  • Building and Maintaining Relationships
  • Establishes positive connections with others so as to facilitate the attainment of business results
  • Developing for the Future
  • Continuously develops the competencies of both self and others
  • Organizational Savvy
  • Understands and effectively leverages the organization to accomplish business and unit goals
  • Achieving Measurable Results
  • Consistently exceeds goals, dedicated to exceeding the expectation of internal and external customers

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Day I parted with my Music CDs

So I was talking about scanning all my CDs in order to sell them online. Because after all who needs CDs when you have iTunes, Amazon and Youtube? Whatever music you want to listen to, you can find it on the internet. 

I did feel like scanning away my past, though. 

In the late 70s / early 80s, when I heard a song on the radio that I liked, I had several options:

Hoping it made the charts so I would hear it again on Sunday afternoons' "hitparade". 
I used to maintain a log about those charts. Hand written, week for week. So I would be able to predict who would win the yearly score!

So if it made the charts I would sit next to the radio with my tape recorder, (yes, two separate devices), fingers ready on PLAY and RECORD, waiting for the radio guy to finish his announcement. And praying that he would not interrupt the song too early. Because that ruined everything!

If it didn't make the charts or maybe was an oldie, I tried to memorize the melody and some of the lyrics. Which was hard because I spoke only a tiny little English back then.  Then I would wait for an opportunity to visit a record store in the city where I would browse albums for possible artists. This is how I found Whitney Houston's "all at once" in 1985! It was never on the Swiss charts. She first got noticed with "saving all my love for you" around here.

As I didn't have a record player at that time, I had to either hope it was available on tape or buy the album and ask a friend who owned a stereo equipment to record it for me. And you know what happened when you were listening to (and rewinding) the same song over and over?


As the years went by my parents got me  double tape player which made recording much easier.

Back to a summer Saturday morning in 2013, scanning CDs online, wireless, on a notebook (no paper involved), my mind was racing as I held each and every CD in my hands. 


  • Michael Jackson, Bryan Adams and Tina Turner! Tina, who is practically my neighbor in Switzerland, got married last weekend! And Bryan sang for the couple!

  • They (Michael's, Bryan's and Tina's CDs, along with a compact stereo equipment) were among my first CDs that I purchased from the money I made as a student. I was a factory worker coating muffles or disentangling straps, a waitress at a local café on busy Saturdays, a sales person for takeout deli products within the largest train station shopping area in Switzerland. I paid at least 20 bucks per piece back then. And now I am supposed to dump them for a quarter a piece?
  • Buster movie soundtrack, can I just sell this CD? It was more than a movie soundtrack - it was my love and life soundtrack in the late 80s. Am I selling out my ex-boyfriend by getting rid of the CD? (Don't be ridiculous, you threw away the letters a long time ago!)
  • Elton John - he sang "circle of life" when Lady Di passed away. And this very week things have come full circle by the birth of the royal baby George Alexander Louis.

  • Jessica Folcker - my friend at the radio station diverted this one to me. Yes, I had a side job when I already had a decent "real" job as an HR Manager. I was on the "new arrivals committee". I went to the radio studio every week where a stack of CDs were waiting for approval whether they were going to be played by this station. So when you hear stuff that you don't like, keep in mind that it was still within the 10% "playable" of the whole bunch of "no ways" ;-)
  • "Foreign" stuff,  Italian stars: Eros Ramazzotti, Laura Pausini. Yes, I grew up in Europe! French song writers like Jean-Jacques Goldman, Patricia Kaas or Jeanne Mas. Do you like Céline Dion? "My heart will go on"? Did you know that she won the European song contest for Switzerland in 1988? You've got to see this (she was 20 years old - goose bumps!):

  • Alison Moyet, OMG! I lip synched "invisible" on stage! There was this contest at the youth summer festival.
  • Dan Lucas, wow, I had this in my car when I drove a convertible. In another lifetime. And just think. I've come such a long way: having a CD player in my own car!
Be brave, they are just stuff. Clutter. Bad for feng shui!

I scanned and scanned. About a third was not recognized by the database. I ended up entering 132 CDs for a total earning of CHF 55. Now the math geniuses among you (are there any? Raise your hand!) will point out that "a quarter a piece" is not exactly what happened here. You know why? 

Good old Mozart yielded 1.15! And  I made a little more with double albums like Prince, which was the artist's name before he was the artist formerly known as Prince or Mr Symbol, and I think he had other names, too. Anyway. I got 0.75 for Prince. That must make up for the 90 minutes I needed for the scan job. 

This is all so un-economical. How much does a CD weigh? How many cardboard boxes will I have to fill and bring to the post office? And you know how I feel about "die Post" and their level of service. You know what they did? Decided to have "summer vacation opening hours" at the downtown post office. 

07:30 - 10:00 (am)
15:00 - 18:00 (which is 3 - 6pm)

Aren't they supposed to deliver a public service? Don't they think the public who is not on vacation would want to ship a package, say, around 11?

Just consulted the kitchen scale to find out about it. A CD is about 95g, that's 3.35 oz, so if I manage to jam them into two boxes I will end up with shipping costs of at least 
CHF  20 which is out of proportion, don't you think? 

So I e-mailed the company and suggested I'd drop the CDs off at their location - which I did today. And you know what? Letting go wasn't that hard. You walk in, smile, hand over the bags, walk out. Still smiling! 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

An ice surprise for Colin

The other day we heard on the local radio that there was going to be a hockey day camp for children. The youngsters would have the opportunity to meet the stars and "train" with them, have lunch, take pictures and get autographs. Paradise for any hockey fanatic! And who if not Colin is one huge hockey aficionado!

Only 25 kids would get a spot, so quick! Apply! 

Now I don't know what the criteria were to chose from the applications. Maybe they didn't get any. Or maybe they liked that I inserted some pictures showing that I was not kidding about my little guy being the perfect attendant for this event. Either way they sent a confirmation within 12 hours! They also specified what players would be there. And I've got to tell you, my son trained me well! I knew the names, and those guys are all current or former Swiss NHL players! I was so excited! 

Waiting for a perfect moment to tell Colin... Friday night, going out for dinner on a cozy terrace I used the opportunity when the guys went to the bathroom. I put laminated collages of those players under his napkin. This is how it went down:

Wait, can we have that in slow motion, please?

Roman Josi
David Aebischer
Martin Gerber 
Yannick Weber

Mark Streit

The event is going to take place on Thursday. I will report back from the ice rink, stay tuned!