Saturday, December 23, 2006

Creating Snowflakes

I found this on Babs' site and I really thought it was cute. You can cut out your own personal snowflake and attach a message.

Go ahead, try it.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Was it a blooper or a boo-boo?

No matter what you wanna call it, it turned CS’ ears red. A few evenings ago we were going through funny videos on the inernet ( with CS’ dad, Kurt. Before we took off for Canada I had been looking through the immense number of videos and found one of a cat playing with his male organ. I laughed tears when I saw the video and that particular evening I wanted to show it to Kurt. After we watched it I thought it would be funny to download it. As we were using CS’ notebook we decided to download it via CS’ Gmail address. No sweat, easy to do, so I entered CS’ Gmail address and clicked the “send” button. All went well until the next window popped up with following information: “The mail has been sent succesfully to 14 addresses in your address book”. Hell no, this couldn’t be true??? We checked out CS’ Inbox on her Gmail account and found no list of recipients, so at that stage we still were under the impression no damage was done. We felt kind of relieved as CS used her Gmail mainly to sent rather large files for print to the companies suppliers. We wouldn’t know how they would react getting an e-mail with the remark to "check out this video…."

To make sure only CS received the video I decided to check out my mail accounts and found I received the video. Ooops! CS’ ears turned a bit darker red. She moved a bit restless on her chair but was darn determined when she told me: "Hey, look you. You sent the e-mail off, so you write an apology to the recipients”. OK, no sweat. I wrote the apology and when going through the recipients we found that also a real estate agent in the area had received this video. Ooops! We never met this lady before and short before we left for Canada, CS sent her an e-mail with the request to contact us and show a few houses in the area once we arrived in Canada. Wee, that’s a good start of new relationship! Anyway, I sent off the mail and had the first reply from Babs, who laughed her head off and had already posted the video. Thanks Babs! You’re a great sport. The next one to reply was Ginnie. Also here no harm done. I guess most people took it well and had a good laugh. One of the persons who didn’t reply yet and didn’t contact us yet is this real estate agent. I wonder why… I only noticed that the prices of houses in the area just went up by 20%...

As they say “you get one chance to make a first impression”, I guess I blew mine and will probably have to rely on the second one.

For all of you who haven’t received the e-mail and therefore missed out on the video, check it out here. Advise: parental guidance required, not suitable for viewers under 16! And, don't forget to turn up the volume as this makes the video complete.

Have a great day!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

We've made it safely

Yes! We're in Canada. Our flight was delayed an hour because of connecting flights that were delayed because of fog, so we had to wait for passengers and luggage. Oh well.

We arrived in Montreal at 4pm and thought we'd be honest and declare that we had 400 cigarettes (2 cartons) each instead of the accepted 200. Last time, we also did this and went through without a problem (hey, it's not like we were selling them here!). Anyway, the ladie at the second control sent us through customs. It was a great, big line! Shesh! We were watching as the people in front of us had to open all of their luggage, were questioned and almost treaten like criminals, and that's where we began to sweat! We had declared the ciggies, but not all the schnapps that we had brought. Two for my Dad (one was from Ernst, see previous post), one for my Mom and one for my best friend, Christiane. So we were over by about 1 liter! O-oh!!

After 50 minutes of waiting in line and sweating our butts off (it was also pretty hot in there), we came to this very nice customs officer lady. She just looked at us, at my Canadian passport and then at the mountain of luggage we had on the trolley. She checked our declaration and said:"One carton of cigarettes too many per person?". "Yes", we said. We bought them at duty free, but we're here for 3 weeks. We don't mind paying the extra fee. That's why we declared them." She took another look at our bulk of luggage, then at the line getting longer and just said: "I'd usually have to make you pay for the extra, but the line is just getting longer and I'd have to go through all your luggage. So you can go and enjoy your stay." Ha! Welcome to Canada! I'm not sure if it was the long queue that was waiting, our heap of luggage or OX's charm (I still think it's the latter), but we came through without a scratch.

My Dad was waiting outside and was worried that something had happened to us, so he was really relieved when he saw us finally come out. We were just relieved to have had so much luck. We drove home, unpacked the bare necessities and had a bite to eat.

The next post will be about OrangeX's blooper! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Countdown has started

Two more nights to sleep before we leave for Canada... and still so much to do! This will be my last post in the few days to come.

I seem to have been running around all day yesterday and today! I've been washing, cleaning, e-mailing and blogging in between and doing basic groceries for our dear Dutch friends, Jaap and Patricia, who will be house-sitting our home and enjoying a bit of Switzerland for a few days around Christmas time.

I also went for a quick visit at an old friend of the family, Ernst, (my dad's best friend) to pick up some self-made kirsch. The kirsch is not actually self-made, but he "owns/rents (?)" a few fruit trees such as cherry, plum and I think also pear at a nearby farm (they do that here in Switzerland) and when the fruit on his trees are ripe, he picks them and brings them to be distilled. I had a sip of it today, and although I'm not a big fan of it, this one was soooo smooth and tasty. I'll have to write a post about Ernst one day, not because of the kirsch, but because he has been like a second father to me throughout my years in Switzerland AND because he's incredibly crazy. He's a 74 year old kid. I kid you not! No wonder his grandchildren love him so much!

What's up this evening? We'll be bringing Dale, our cat, to a friend's house for holidays - What!?!He's entitled to vacations too, you know? - then order a pizza and do some packing. Tomorrow, I will clean a few windows (where Dale scratches when he begs to come in again), vacuum the couches (where Dale loves to nap), clean the kitchen floor (where Dale eats and I love to cook), finish packing, go for a massage at Paolo's followed by a hair trim at Markus', get a few last things in town to bring to Canada, quick meet up with my almost 18 year old godson and bring the luggage to the main train station in Basel to check them in.

After that, I'm not sure I'll even have the energy to eat!

Friday morning: Panic! Have we got everything? Will Jaap and Patricia find everything they need? Where's my freaking adaptor plug? What time is our train leaving again? I wanna see my Family!!!! Get me outta here! Are we there already??

So. I'll post again from Canada (a little). AND I will be politically correct... If I don't post before X'mas, I wish each and every one of you a Happy Holiday Season. Love ya all!

Over.and.OUT! Ciao!

Monday, December 11, 2006

"What have I done" Meme

I saw this a while back on Expatter's blog, I think also on Xmichra's and today again on Shelli's, so I thought I'd try it out. Maybe I should do these memes more often. They're fun and you don't have to think up much on your own, which means good for "low" days.

You'll find the things I have done up to now in bold characters:

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins - Not yet, but it is definitely on my "to do" list [I'm so jealous, Shelli. ;-)]
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive. - No, but I did drive a formula car
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it. - I still do!
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper. - I may have no kids, but I did babysit
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment. - Who hasn't?
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day. - My accents changes contantly depending if I’m speaking to a French-Canadian or a Frenchman/woman or from Swiss-German to High-German. I can't help it.
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had/Have amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love - I'm not sure about this one, but probably
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow - … and a goat... and I wasn’t very good at either
56. Alphabetized your cds
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days - It’s called fasting and the longest was 10 days on water and broths.
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the snake river
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Gotten flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house - Too expensive in Switzerland. But we will, soon :)
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently - Daily
95. Performed in a Rocky Horror Picture Show
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favourite band/singer on tour
98. Passed out cold
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds.
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane - The “real” pilot was sitting right next to me.
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart - More than once
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a TV game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild - Yes, but not gathered by me
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper - As a kid, when I was school carnival queen and when I was 30-something, I was part of the audience on a TV show.
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Para-sailed - I did paragliding (tandem), so I’ll consider it as a yes
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read “The Iliad”
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions - We only had one up to now, and I missed it (I was already in Switzerland)
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair - Many, many times. Actually, I’ve been through most colours available on the market!
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

So there. Now you know.

I'm not the tagging type, but feel free to do this blog.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Who did the Marketing here??

You know? Sometimes I really wonder. I must say that these masques are really good, but What the ....?!!! Who the heck decided on this picture?!

Am I going to end up with two apricot halves on my face? Do I have to buy them extra? Fresh, or canned?? Will I look like this for ever? What will happen to me? Will ivy leaves (they look like it) grow on my face after use? Questons, questions...

I don't know about you, but I'm not sure I wanna use this!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

What two days of retirement can do to you

My second day as an O.T.R.P. is almost over and here’s what I have been up to:

Dec. 6th

- 9.30 am: Dale (our cat) is hungry and is very persistent in waking me up. Finally get up at 9:40 am
- Drink coffee, feed Dale (cat), chat online with our friend Jaap from Holland, more coffee, do some wash and read blogs until about 1 pm
- Took a hot bath (including exfoliating face scrub) until all wrinkled (wrinkles from overtime in tub, not from face scrub. Note: wrinkles no longer visible)
- Drive to the store and do a few groceries
- Watch the news and then a cooking show (I love cooking!)
- OrangeX comes home around 7.45 pm from work and we have a drink together
- Have dinner and watch a few criminal series, then off to bed
Note that in between, I keep letting Dale in and out of the house. (Not very exciting, eh?)

Dec 7th. (a bit more exciting)

- Wake up, smell coffee, get up at 7.45 am (am I nuts, or what?!?) and kiss OX before he leaves for office
- Drink coffee, throw in the last wash, make grocery list for coming days and go through my blogroll until about 9.45 (Dale has been fed)
- Take bath, fix face (some call it make-up) and hair, then drive off to yearly dentist appointment (check up only and DH) for 11:30 (very human, thank you).
- Arrive at said dentist 10 minutes early and sit in chair chatting with assistant. 11.30 sharp, dentist comes in and starts checking. As usual, nothing, and dentists congratulates me on clean and healthy teeth. What can I say? He has all these instruments in my mouth! I say: “Hank you”. Go through DH and am outta there at 11.55 am (with my last x-rays – Hey, I’m going back to Canada. I’ll need them there.)
- Off to the grocery store, come home, unpack, spay oven to clean and start making a Tiramisù (I’m the Queen of Tiramisù!)
- 3pm: I have so much mascarpone cream that I decide to get extra biscuits. Walk to the store (about 20 minutes one way) and do a last small Tiramisù and clean up kitchen.
- 4pm: check my mails, answer my good friend Nicole and decide to wash my winter jacket
- 5 pm: I start typing this

There! See?? I’m actually busy. Not exciting busy, but busy.

So, if you'll excuse me, I have to go now and marinate the lamb and prepare the potato-leek gratin.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

O.T.R.P. (Officially Temporarily Retired Person)

YES! I’ve made it to my temporary retirement!

The last 1.5 days weren’t easy, though. Well, I have worked there for over 8 years, so it’s no as easy as one might think to just “let go”. Yesterday, the company organised a get together for me and we all met in the showroom 3:30pm (in order to get the guys from the workshop over as well). I was all nervous and fidgety from 3pm on. As soon as my supervisor, M., started her speech, I got a lump in my throat the size of a grapefruit (at least, it felt like it). Luckily, I had asked her to keep it short and sweet and she did. I’m very thankful for that. M. then handed me a dozen of beautiful roses, two framed group photos of events that I had organised and a voucher for a dinner for two at one of my favourite restaurants, The Boomerang.

When my time came to say a few words, I had forgotten all I had wanted to say. To be honest, I think I said something like going back to the land of the polar bears, seals and moose and everybody laughed. I know I said a few more sentences about 8 years, going through changes, and blah, blah, blah, but I’m not sure in which order.

Then we opened a few bottles of crémant, beers and soft drinks and I got to chat with just about everyone there. Around 5pm, there were only a few of us left, so we opened another bottle of the bubbly stuff, and another, and then another. Martin, a colleague and good friend, entertained us with endless jokes (how can he remember them all?) and were laughing tears. By 7:30 pm, most of us (me for sure) had their share of alcohol, so I hitched a ride home with Doug who had joined the celebration later and was still pretty sober. Since Orange was out for dinner with customers, I let Dale out for a short run, just sat down and did nada. I decided I was too tired and still too buzzed to watch TV, so I went to bed. Good decision!

This morning, Doug picked me up and we drove to the office (my car was there). I spent the morning filing a few last things I had on my desk, meeting with M. to go through my goals (I’m happy to report that I have achieved 95% of my bonus! YAY!!), and saying goodbye to everyone personally. The latter was tougher than the day before. I have grown very fond of many colleagues and I won’t forget or loose track of them. I then went for lunch with M., our customer service team and our two receptionists. Saying goodbye to the people with whom I worked so closely for years was definitely the most difficult. I got in my car and drove right past the company with mixed feelings of sadness, relief, happiness and excitement. I have ended a chapter and I’m starting a new one.

When I got home, I saw that I had a missed call. It was TBF, so I gave him a ring back (my first call as a temporarily retired person!) After chatting for a few minutes, the wise TBF said: “Don't worry. In a couple of weeks, you’ll notice that people will start asking you: ‘What do you do all day?’ And you’ll answer: ‘I don’t know, but I’m always busy.’ ”

I guess I have to start practising, now. I’m a busy woman, you know! Any suggestions?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Two extremes

Our friend Pinki in Austria sent me a link to this clip. I must admit that I'm not sure if I would have fainted or not during one of these escapades, but I thought Ross and the Crocodile Hunter (RIP) had a really great time filming this... And "Chapeau" to Ross!

I can't seem to embed the video in here (Copyright?), but here's the link.

Now just sit back and enjoy the next 5 minutes and make sure you have your sound turned on.

PS: On Tuesday at 12:00 noon, I will be celebrating my - as TBF calls it - retirement!