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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Photographer's Choice

Can you believe another month is over?

July's theme is Photographer's Choice which - to me - translates as "anything goes". Easy and hard at the same time. What to pick?

Well, it's summer, why don't I share some of our highlights? 

Let's start with Jugendfest, our traditional summer youth festival. It takes place annualy to complete the school year. Every other year it includes the colorful Freischarenmanöver. What on earth is that? I blogged about it in 2014.

Colin and his buddy Vincent attended swim class every morning during the first week of school break. My friend, my mom and I took turns taking them there. I was particularly proud of my son aka Hockey Guy, because so far he had refused to learn to swim. The weather got really bad during the week: air temps of 60°F, mean cold winds, rain on and off - the kids took it amazingly easy.

In the afternoon I took them to see Ice Age Collision Course, and on our way home they fell asleep. Now that's something I haven't experienced in a while ;-)

The next shot is from a day in Zurich. This is my favourite building at Bahnhofstrasse. I don't know anything about it, architectural or otherwise. I just think it's pretty, especially with a blue sky like this!

On 7/24 we celebrated our 12 years' anniversary at a nearby lake resort. It was a gorgeous day, and the evening light made everything even more awesome.

As much as I would like to just have fun over the summer, unfortunately my job needs attention as well. During one week my coworker who works full time, plus my mom who watches Colin on the one day he's not at daycare, were both on vacation. So, true to my blog's name, this part-time working mom had to juggle it all. 
Little guy enjoyed some extended iPad time in the conference room (can you believe he was watching AC/DC lyrics..?) while I was frantically trying to get sh** done. He got rewarded with lunch at his favourite sandwich place.

I hope you are having as much fun with this post as I am! Here's the link-up so you can check out the other posts! For now I am off to the airport to pick up my brother!

See you next month!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Top Ten Thursday - 80s Songs

Welcome to Top Ten Thursday!

Today we're talking about the Top Ten songs from the 80s

As I was a teenager in the 80s I strongly believe that his was by far the best decade where music is concerned, and it's gonna be so hard to pick only 10.

I started out with a shortlist of 50+ songs and tried to think about ways to narrow it down... when... life happened. My coworker is on vacation, so this part-time working mom is supposed to do both jobs, and it's been really busy at the office, so I have to keep this short. I went for movie themes!  
  1. Irene Cara, What a Feeling (Flashdance)
  2. John Parr, St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)
  3. Tina Turner,  We Don't Need Another Hero (Madmax)
  4. Harold Faltermeyer, Axel F (Beverly Hills Cop)
  5. Huey Lewis & the News, the Power of Love (Back to the Future)
  6. Kenny Loggins, Footloose
  7. Ghostbusters - who are you gonna call?
  8. Berlin, Take my Breath away (Top Gun)
  9. Jennifer Grey, Time of my Life (Dirty Dancing)
  10. Bee Gees, Stayin' Alive

I know this list can not do justice to all the awesome artists and songs out there... I mean, Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna and Elton John aren't even on the list! Toto, ELO, Genesis, Foreigner, Kool and the Gang, WHAM, Pet Shop Boys to name just a few others...

How about you? What are your favourite 80s songs? 

How about joining us for next week's Top Ten Challenge?

The theme is gonna be "Top Ten Everyday Life Hacks", (think car, travel, office, kitchen, the little but clever things that make your life easier), and it posts August 4.

Please sign up here or send me a message.

But wait! Don't leave just yet - visit my fellow Top Ten Bloggers and see what they came up with!

The linky-tool is up, but here are their links anyway, please head over and give them some love: 

The Last Rain Girl
The Bergham Chronicles
Measurements of Merriment
The Wrights' Days of Fun

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Anniversary Giveaway - Win a $100 Amazon gift card!

Tomorrow is my 12 year anniversary, can you imagine?

So I got a gift for my hubby, and I thought it'd be cool to have a little something for my readers as well!

Coincidence has it that I came across the opportunity to offer you guys a chance to win a 100 bucks worth to spend on Amazon - sounds pretty neat, right?  If you have been reading my recent post on online shopping you know what I would use it for!

So what do you have to do? Like my Facebook site and read on...


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Dealspotr is sponsoring and responsible for prize fulfillment. Giveaway is not in anyway affiliated with Amazon. Open to Worldwide entries. Ends 11:59pm cst on August 6, 2016.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Top Ten Thursday - Happy Places

Welcome to Top Ten Thursday!

Today's theme is a feel-good one; we're talking about our Top Ten Happy Places

For some people it's the forest, the gym or church. As for me... here you go, in geographical order, so to speak ;-)

  1. My bed, even though most nights I have trouble falling / staying asleep, in the mornings I don't want to leave - that must count for something!
  2. My desk at home because that's where I do all the fun stuff: blog writing and reading, playing online games like "words with friends", watching cooking shows on Youtube or romantic comedies on DVD, googling and pinning things for the next birthday party,... I guess this makes "the Internet" my happy place #2.5
  3. Starbucks. You knew this was coming, right? My former employer and home away from home aka the third place. A place I like to meet a friend, and a place I like to be to write. My favourite store is at my favourite mall, see #4
  4. Glatt Center. They host Globus, probably the nicest department store, tons of clothing stores, Müsliburg, the children's place, Yoji's, Colin's sushi place, a spacious book store, a Body Shop, and they always have great decoration in summer and winter (indoor ice rink), oh, and free parking!!! In Switzerland!
  5. IKEA. I may have mentioned it once or twice. They conditioned me when I was a kid. Ball pit playground, meatballs, friendly, multilingual staff,... What other companies do I bake a birthday cake for?
  6. The airport, because great journeys start there. I also loved to be allowed to walk on the tarmac and other places when I worked for SWiSS. Even if I don't leave for vacation myself, I like to go to the airport to take or pick up loved ones, or even just to people watch.
  7. Chicago, as long as temps are above freezing point! I don't know if it is because of ER (hi there, George Clooney!), but the Downtown area with the L-tracks, the cool bridges and architectural marvels, the Wrigley building, the Buckingham fountain and Navy Pier are places I want to go back to every time! I still have to find out where that LOVE sculpture is located, so I need to go back soon!
  8. La Jolla Cove, it seems to be my power place or something, San Diego being my second home and San Francisco, especially the Golden Gate Vista Point at Conzelman Road. I cried (happy tears, this is a happy post) when I was there for the first time, I think it was in 1999. Overwhelmingly beautiful! #8.5 Pier 39, definitely a happy, yet touristy place, Hard Rock Cafe included.
  9. Kruger National Park in South Africa for the wonderful animals you can spot on your safari. A truly magical experience! #9.5 would be Capetown's V&A Waterfront. Malls, restaurants, aquarium, entertainment - and a stunning view! 
  10. Sydney in general, and Darling Harbor in particular, it is the Australian equivalent to #8.5 and 9.5, add to that the friendliest mates!

There is a serious pattern going on with me, isn't there? Cities, shopping, restaurants and scenic views, preferably by the water...

Let me tell you a back story:

Once upon a time there was a young woman who had a baby girl. Mommy thought her baby would really like to hang out in her stroller that was strategically placed underneath a  beech in their garden. 
Well, as it turned out, the baby hated it and kept crying. She'd much rather go for a stroller ride where she was gonna meet people who talked to her.

One day Mommy needed something to wear for her hubby's office Christmas party, and she couldn't find a babysitter. She was feeling very guilty for taking her tiny daughter to the mall. Mommy tried on her clothes as quickly as she could, until she noticed something surprising: the baby was having a blast! 

The little girl pointed at the sparkly Christmas lights and the colorful decoration thingies, she was smiling at the sales people and the other customers, and she was definitely in no hurry to leave the mall! 

And Mommy and the baby lived happily ever after!

You guessed right, the baby girl was me. Not much has changed!

How about you? Which are your happy places?

Would you consider doing a Top Ten Thursday challenge?

Next week's theme is "My Top Ten 80s Songs", and it posts July 28.

Please sign up here or send me a message.

But wait! Don't leave just yet - visit my fellow Top Ten Bloggers and see what they came up with, there are such great reads, that much I can promise:

The Last Rain Girl
Measurements of Merriment
An American in Basel
Little Zurich Kitchen
The Bergham Chronicles

Friday, July 15, 2016

Use Your Words - Blonde Moments and Accidents

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once, and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: 

police ~ bush ~ hide-a-bed ~ suffering ~ bald spot ~ rancid

They were submitted by Climaxed - thanks, Jenniy!

As I was hinting in last month's UYW post, things didn't exactly return to normal around here.

So it was a Tuesday night. You can read about our super tight schedule on Tuesdays here. I basically have half an hour to pick up Colin, make dinner and have him change and leave for gym class.

Everything was going well, we just pulled into our parking garage. I saw that my neighbor was backing out of her space. My remote was acting up, and I had to click several times until my door was finally beginning to open. 

My neighbor was backing up, slowly as well. In fact so slowly that I figured she was waiting for me to disappear into my space.

The whole time I was standing there, with the engine running, waiting for my door to open enough so I could get in.

When she got closer and closer, I honked. She was still backing up until...

When we all got out, her 5yo looked at both of our cars and exclaimed "oh, sh**!!!"

Right. To me this was all there was to it. It was sh** - and it happened. 

My neighbor was super confused. "I didn't see you at all. I was operating my remote for the garage door. What should we do? We need to get to swim practice."

Sure, we need to get going as well. Don't worry, it's just a fender bender. Imagine there was a kid running around that you didn't see? We'll talk later, take care!

A couple of hours later she and her husband rang our bell and wanted to talk, I was already in my PJs and didn't really know what to say except that I was gonna call my insurance company in the morning, they would know how to handle it. 

Her husband said a couple of things that really baffled me. Like "as we can't really know what happened, and who was to blame, because clearly you must have bushwhacked her, why don't we do the neighborly thing, and everyone pays for their own damage? No need to call the police or anything." 

So he thinks it is my favorite thing to sneak up on cars in order to get hit because I have too much time on my hands, and I need the trouble to take my car to the shop? Nope. 

I am no expert, but as far as I know, usually the one backing up is to blame as a default, especially if she claims not to have seen me. Hello? My car is super red and super loud, how can she not have seen or heard me? 

Also as my car is super new, and repairs won't be cheap, wouldn't the neighborly thing be to say "so sorry I bumped into you, let me own up to it and give you my insurance info because that's what we have insurance for in the first place?!"

Anyway, the next day their insurance company told them that my damages would be fully covered by their liability insurance, end of story. 

That's how, for the duration of the repair, I ended up driving this baby here, and it caused a blonde moment. 

After I installed C's car seat, I got in and wanted to start the engine. Nothing. 

I tried again. Nothing. 

I got out, walked back to the shop's office and told the guy with the bald spot that I was having trouble starting the engine. He must have tried very hard not to laugh. 

"Lady, I'm pretty sure the engine is running just fine, you just can't hear it. Hybrids don't make any noise."

Now THAT is a dangerous thing on the street! And in our parking garage, for that matter!!! (Read more dangerous stories, told by talented writers, using only six words over here @ Coach Daddy's!)

Whenever I was approaching kids on the sidewalk, I opened the car window so they could at least hear my radio blasting!

As I was saying, apart from being disappointed by my neighbor's hubby's less than classy approach, nothing really bad happened. 

This unknown motorcyclist wasn't so lucky.

My friends spent their day doing a bike tour in the mountains. Not super high up, just about 1,500m = 5,000 feet. On the Pragel Pass they came across an accident of another biker who must have fallen just a minute or two ago, for no apparent reason. 

He was conscious, and even though he couldn't get up on his own, he refused that they called an ambulance. "I'll drive home on my own, don't be silly", he said. 

They called one all the same, and when he lost consciousness and seemed to be having trouble breathing, they canceled the ambulance and called for a rescue chopper. 

At the scene of the accident there was no cell phone reception, so both times they asked other bikers who were just approaching to drive until they could make the phone call.

Photo Credit: Hansueli Wild

In the meantime the man had stopped breathing. Even though the helicopter arrived promptly, and my friends have been doing CPR until the paramedics arrived, after two rounds of what I assume was dopamine, and more resuscitation efforts, the 53 year old biker was declared dead. 

"Most probably he must have been suffering a heart attack" the doc said. "This might have caused the accident in the first place."

So I'll repeat what I keep saying: life is short, make it a good one!

Follow your dreams, hug your loved ones, drink the full-flavoured wine, wear the nice dress, don't sweat the small stuff, eat your chocolate before it becomes rancid, and for God's sake, sleep in a comfy bed, and not some hide-a-bed that ruins your back (apologies, I had to use my words!)

Now go find out what my friends' words were, and what they did with them:

Baking In A Tornado 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Top Ten Thursday - Blogging Challenges

Welcome to Top Ten Thursday!

Today we're talking about the top ten things we love or hate about blogging challenges.

Liz aka an American in Basel inspired this theme because she didn't commit to join right away. "I have a love / hate relationship with blogging challenges" she explained. 

So I dedicated this week's prompt to her and everybody else who has something to say!

All in all I consider myself being a person who likes her safety and her comfort zone. No bungee jumping, no camping, no quitting a job before I have a new one, 

It looks as though my imagination is a whole other story. I like to be out there, telling stories. Sometimes, as I experience something, I am drafting it in my head.

Pretty much everything on my blog is true, and when it's fiction, it's obvious. Like the time I embezzled money and ran off.

So I like to write, and I like writing challenges. Let's find out what I (mostly) like about them:

  1. The surprise of getting a prompt - t's kind of like opening a gift: what will l be writing about this time?
  2. Sometimes I'm super excited and have an idea right away and can't wait to have some quiet time (I know! It's called challenge for a reason!) to sit and type.
  3. Sometimes I have no clue, and I wait, and I let it sit for a while, hoping for inspiration. Sometimes inspiration takes its sweet time, let me tell you! It happened that I literally carried around the words I had to use during my entire day - eventually made for a pretty nice post.
  4. Prompts that I have to deal with once I signed up (and I'm not one to back out) take you places you otherwise wouldn't go. They require creativity, and sometimes desperate measures. Like the time I was supposed to come up with baseball pictures when baseball in Switzerland is about as rare as palm trees in Alaska.
  5. Publish day! Can't wait to read my friend's posts! Connecting with other bloggers is probably what I like best about blogging in general and the recurring writing challenges. I've been doing Secret Subject Swap and Use Your Words for 2.5 years now, and while some people joined and left, some are still here, visiting, commenting, supporting, laughing and crying with each other
  6. Not everybody is as enthusiastic about that part. Some don't take the time which I think is sad.
  7. In April I participated in blogging from A-Z for the second time. Posting every day is a huge challenge for anybody who is juggling a bunch of other responsibilities, but it is doable! When I found out that I was going to be traveling for the first part of the month, I had to make a plan and write ahead which actually proved to be a great thing. It helped me to structure my individual posts and gave me a bit of freedom to visit my fellow A-Z bloggers!
  8. I have a tendency of taking on one too many projects which bites me in the butt every now and then. Life happens, and you have to take your kid to the dental clinic instead of sitting at the coffee store, enyjoing some ultimate writer's freedom.
  9. The deadlines that come with a writing challenge help me keep focussing. Apart from Top Ten Thursday that I just started, and the monthly challenges, I don't have much of a schedule. I write when inspiration hits. So one month I post only a handful of times, other months two handfuls. I never post for a post's sake, though - just have patience and come back often, I do want to blog, and I will when I can!
  10. Hitting the publish button (or schedule, for that matter) is a pretty great feeling of having achieved something! 

How about you? Why do you (dis)like to participate in blogging challenges?

Would you consider doing this one?

Next week's theme is "My Top Ten Happy Places", and it posts July 21st. 

Please sign up here or send me a message.

But wait! Don't leave just yet - visit my fellow Top Ten Bloggers and see what they came up with:

The Last Rain Girl
An American in Basel
Measurements of Merriment
Dino Hero Mommy
The Bergham Chronicles

Friday, July 8, 2016

July Secret Subject Swap - Summer

Welcome to July's Secret Subject Swap. Again 15 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  

Sit back, grab a flute and check them all out:

Baking In A Tornado


My subject is 

What is your favorite summer activity and why? 

It was submitted by The Juicebox Confessions thank you, Michelle, great to see you back here, it's been a while!

So, uuuhhm, what summer?

In case you're wondering, that's a range from 52-70°F

We've been having such crappy weather that I have decided to try a recipe I came across. I thought it was the perfect summer/winter fusion:

Rhubarb Gingerbread!

Back to the topic at hand. My favourite summer activity. Let me think... summer...

And the one Friday they're talking about was the one I spent at work and at the dental clinic.

Now, assuming we're still getting a decent summer, I kind of wish I could say:

As soon as the days get longer, and the temperatures are rising, I pretty much live outdoors! I go on early morning runs, have breakfast out on the deck, go to work by bicycle, on my days off I grow veggies in my garden, I swim in the lake, go for picnics in the park or have BBQs at home, and we sleep in the tent if not just on inflatable mattresses, star gazing...

But, no!

First of all summer is not my favourite season for 10 good reasons. It rhymes, haha! 
Fall is my thing. (Speaking of ten things, if you're interested in joining me in Top Ten Thursdays, let me know!)

Secondly, I am not outdoor-sy. I don't do camping. Too many bugs are bugging me ;-) 

Of course I do enjoy a sunny, blue sky kind of day! A day off, goes without saying!
I do, and I think the following are my favourite summer activities! 

A day on the town with my little man!

A night out with two little men!

Baking with fruit and berries - or just eating them as is!

Exploring the lake

Friday Night Happy Hour!

Did you know that our summer break hasn't started yet? 

Until today (Thursday, 7/7) that is. 

Today was Colin's last day as a second grader, and they were going to let them out at 12 noon instead of 3pm.

But before that I snuck into class. 

You see, I needed a reason to be there and get a chance to "let go". So I made the reason being the person who cares enough to organize a farewell gift for the teachersIt seems like this is my destiny or something. I wonder if any other parent would have taken the initiative. 

The two teachers didn't just receive their gifts, though. They had to solve a riddle. The solution word was going to tell them where the goodie bag was going to be hidden. 

What's the deal with the beach ball? It's a symbolic trip around the world. A little bird had told me that this was Mr S' life goal. I asked the kids to read the card to him. After all he had taught them to read. It was super sweet. He was very surprised and pretty touched, I think, and that made me happy as well.

So Colin and I had made plans to spend the day in the city for a hair appointment, pizza, tram ride, the works, see Zurich Quiz, part 1 and part 2.

Just that the hair salon that we really cherished, went out of business as of last week. They had been renting a space inside the toy store which will have to move out, too, in early 2017. Rents at Bahnhofstrasse (think Oxford Street, Fifth Avenue, Champs Elysées) will more and more only be affordable for banks and clothing stores.

Also Colin really, really loves his conveyor belt sushi place at the mall, so that's where we went instead. Ordering his sushi and maki via tablet is so cool!

Of course there's a toy store at the mall as well! He tried to convince me that 10 weeks was not too far away to purchase a birthday gift for him!

Mommy said no to a gift, so he figured it was no to a book as well. Never mind, he read it right then and there... (I took pity in my little reader and bought him another one on our way out)

But first - the haircut! Just a regular hair place with a TV, and there was just the one DVD in the player. C didn't know what movie it was anyway - by the time the previews were over, he was done.

Then coffee!

The real reason I got him a book was so I had some time to work on this post ;-)

This store must have the ugliest soft seats, but comfy they are!

We're going to have a bucket list for this summer break again, but a day like this is pretty much my favourite summer activity! Each summer the little man gets bigger and won't think it's cool to hang out with Mom, so I'm just gonna soak it up!