Monday, January 29, 2007

A piece of cake and Happy Birthday!

Nope. Not mine.

Today's my Dad's birthday! He just turned seven- *cough, cough* years young! I just wanted to send him our best wishes for good health, love (lots and lots from O-X and I to start with) and happiness. You can find out how much I love and respect this wonderful man right here.

I'm not going to bake him a cake. Colette can do that much better than I can. I'm a very good cook, but a very bad baker. Actually, mine are used either as frisbees on the playground (when fresh), or then as secret weapons by the CIA (2 days+ cake of mine will definitely break any skull). Never heard about the "cake case" before? Gawd. I hope this doesn't end up in a Google search by the CIA, or I'm done! Dad? Forgive me for my sins, for I have baked...

Ok. Next year, when I'm back home, I'll try.... Maybe ....BUT I will definitely ask Colette to bake one, too. You know, just in case.

I really have to finish the Canada posts, don't you think? Have a great week!

PS: Dad, I love you. Happy birthday!

Saturday, January 27, 2007


I'm a feline, I love warmth, I love to sleep and I absolutely love food. I like to take a walk for a change during the day to break the warmth-sleep-food pattern.

This week I had the surprise of my life. My walking path was covered with snow! Eek, aargh! I hate the cold, but I need the fresh air. I decided to go out a bit anyway but man, my ears were hurting after 2 minutes. I decided to go back in again, so I knocked on the door for my servant CS to open up and let me get back to the warmth my home. After a while, I felt the urge to go out again and I decided to take the camera with me. I never worked this thing, so it took some time (and some failed pictures) to find out how it works.

As I was so fucussed, ooops, focussed on handling the camera, I forgot about the cold and took those pictures. Isn’t it B-E-E-Utiful??

That was Wednesday and today, we still have this white carpet outside. I wonder what it will be like in Canada. CS and OX are talking about the Canadian winters freakwentli (Hmm, I should do a spell check on this one). Oh it’s frequently. Sorry, my mistake. I never went to school so please forgive me my spelling mistakes. Neither do I know how to earase my mistakes. Anyway, I hope Canada is not as cold as CS and OX tell me every now and then. If it is, then I should consider baying some booties and ear muffs (I have very sentive ears). I'll have to have a word (a good purr, inmy language) about this with CS and OX. Hehehe, maybe a good opportunity to be infyted (sp??) for some shopping.

By the way, now I have the chance to use the PC again, I changed my picture. I was on Merlin Princess’ site, a cool cat blog. Anyway, that's where I found this cool link. I decided to change my looks a bit and become a bit more adventurous. From now on, you can call me Capt'n Dale.

Do I look cool, or what?

PS: Merlin and Princess each now have their very own site here and here.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Value of Gold

Last Friday, I thought I’d make something simple for dinner. You know, just to use up a few things from the fridge before our Munich weekend, so I decided to make omelettes. What could go wrong? Well, let me tell you.

The omelettes were delicious, but after the meal, I felt something (probably a piece of ham) between my upper left molars. Orange-X has a habit of always using toothpicks after a meal, so I asked him to bring one for me as well. I started picking and all of o sudden, I felt a “plop” in my mouth. No, it wasn’t a champagne cork; I open them with my hands, not with my teeth… Although, once I… Oh forget it. So I checked with my tongue and felt that something was rough on the edge. All of a sudden, I had this huge piece of gold filling just sitting on my tongue. Ooops!

I tried to get a hold of my dentist on Saturday morning, but all he had was an emergency number of a clinic. Luckily enough, the filling fell from a tooth where I had had a root canal, so no more nerves there. I was pain free. Great! I just had to be careful, because there’s not that much tooth left around the hole, so I chew on the right side for now. So, I just left a message on his answering machine t say that I’d call in on Monday morning.

On Monday morning, I called up my dentist and got his secretary, who was nice enough to give me an appointment for 1 pm that same day. At 12:30, I was on my way to the garage. I sat in my car, turned the key and… silence…. nothing…. Absolutely NOTHING, but a very dead battery. Arghhhghghgh!! Anyhow, I ran back into the house to call my dentist and tell him that I wouldn’t make it in time. *Next appointment available: yesterday at 5.30 pm.

I walked into the dentist’s office and was immediately guided to the off-white leather chaise longue while the nice assistant fitted me with one of those ugly green bibs. Dr. Kolb walked in and greeted me. I remembered that I had brought the filling with me so I took it out of my purse and handed it to him. He checked the gold filling and then the hole in my tooth. “Perfect”, he said, “I can re-use this”. No further damage to the tooth or the filling. So he **sandblasted the remains of “cement” on the gold filling and did the same to the cavity in my molar. During the treatment, he told me that had the filling not been gold, he would have had to reconstruct the tooth and that would have cost me gazillions again. In less than 25 minutes, my tooth was fixed, good as new and I was on my way back home.

However, while he was putting my filling back in place, he apologised more than once for his mistake. He had put too little “cement” on the filling the first time. Again, when I left, we shook hands and he said: „Again, I’m very sorry for this Mrs CS, it was really my mistake.”

Ahh. The value of gold… and of a good dentist. I wonder if I’ll ever see the bill.

* My car is running again.
**Note: they use salt and water and not sand for this

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Bavarian weekend

We left around 9am on Saturday morning and we finally arrived in Türkheim/Unterallgäu, which is about 80km from Munich, around 12:30. We were welcomed by Andreas and Suze with a wonderful brunch. Once our stomachs were soon filled with coffee, juice, prosecco, fresh bread, smoked salmon, cold cuts and different cheeses and had chatted a whole lot, we realised that it was already 2.30pm.

Andreas suggested that we go for a walk along the Ammersee and then visit the Abbey of Andechs to which we immediately agreed. It was a beautiful sunny, but quite chilly day because of the wind – probably leftovers from the Kyrill storm. So, Munich would just have to wait until the next trip.

The Ammersee is one of the largest lakes in Germany and is a popular location for water sports all year ‘round. I did mention that it was windy, didn’t I?

I was amazed to see so many kite surfers. Brrrrr. To cold for me at this time of year, even with the wetsuits! After watching these crazy water fanatics for a while, we walked along the promenade following the lake talking, joking and enjoying each other’s company.

Once we got back to the car, we drove to Andechs and left the car at the bottom of the heilige Berg (the Holy Mountain). We walked up the very steep hill to the abbey church that had been completely remodelled in the Baroque and Rococo style in the 18th century filled with very impressive statues, paintings and stucco works.

The Benedictine monastery is also renowned for a very important part of Bavarian culture: Beer brewing. And what a coincidence: we were thirsty.

We found a table at the abbey’s restaurant, The Andechs Bräustüberl, and had ourselves a few delicious beers, fresh pretzels, Landjäger and some Obazda, a creamy Bavarian cheese specialty (similar to the Austrian/Slovakian Liptauer).

After my first beer, I felt “nature calling”, so I went downstairs and made a discovery. At first, I thought it was somekind of vending machine, but no. Of course, I didn’t take the camera with me to the ladies’, but Orange did once I had told him about it and it was his turn to get some relief.

This, my friends, is an alcohol testing machine. Have you ever seen one of these? I sure haven't.

You drop in a 50 Euro cent coin into the machine, pick a straw at the bottom, insert the straw into a hole, blow as hard as you can in the straw and it will tell you your level of alcohol. Unfortunately, the picture didn’t turn out too well, so I can’t decipher the text at the bottom.

Later, we decided to go to a local Italian restaurant in Türkheim for a bit of pasta and some Parma ham. It was delicious and we had a lot of fun. Our waiter agreed to take our picture. Don't we look like a happy bunch?

We left the restaurant and Suze, our designated driver for the evening, safely drove us to their house where she could finally join the party.

First things first: Put on some music, increase the volume and until the whole house rocks! We did have a few quieter moments that evening.

As you can see from the pictures below, we had a delightful time with Andreas and Suze. The party continued until the wee hours.

We left early on Sunday afternoon, but we promised to meet again. Maybe in Basel?

Friday, January 19, 2007

We're off to Munich!

Early tomorrow morning, we're driving up to Munich to visit Andreas (Orange-X's former boss) and Suze, his wife in Munich for the weekend. I haven't been to Munich since,... well, I think about 8-9 years, so I'm really looking forward to it.

See you all when we get back.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Encounter of the 5th (Bloggers) Kind

Bloggers of a feather blog together (or something like that).

Yesterday was the day where about 25 Swiss-Bloggers met in Basel. TBF, Sara from Life Is Nicht So Mal, Jul from This Non-American Life and moi (sorry if I'm leaving anyone out, but I dealt only with TBF).

We all met at a local restaurant, Zum Braunen Mutz, for lunch. We were the first to arrive (I think the Swiss punctuality got to me after so many years), closely followed by Ashley and Sebastian. Shortly after that, I lost count (and names). It all went so fast. It was so crowded that, at some point, the service could hardly get through to serve the only other two tables that were not reserved for us (Tough! WE reserved. Blah!). In order to recognize each other, we filled in name tags. After about 30 minutes of hello's, we finally all sat down and shortly after, ordered lunch. We chatted here and there, and had a lot of fun.

After lunch, TBF "offered" to guide us through Basel. Unfortunately, he was hoping that I could help him talk about the architecture and history of the buildings. I must admit that I knew a few things in the first 2-3 years (20 years ago!) about Basel's historical buildings, but I haven't played guide in many, many years. Let's just say I had "a senior moment" whenever he asked me for details (honestly, I didn't want to screw-up and give false information). Anyway, we took a nice walk to the town hall, then through the old town, up to the Spalentor (city gate of Basel), then through Petersplatz (well known for the Saturday flea markets and Herbstmesse [Autumn fair]), across the Mittlere Rheinbrücke [middle Rhine bridge], along the Kleinbasel promenade and from there, we took one of the small ferry boats across the Rhine and ended up at the Basler Münster (Basel Cathedral), where we started saying our goodbyes and by the time we were at the train station, there were only 7 of us left. We didn't take many pictures (too busy talkin', I guess), but you'll find some here, here , here and here. Did I miss anybody again? If so, please let me know.

It was really fun to meet so many bloggers on the spot, but unfortunately, some had to leave early and we weren't able to chat with all of them. Apparently, there will be another Swiss-Bloggers' meeting sometime in March in the Zurich area. Feel free to sign up... NOW!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Isn’t it what it’s all about?

I though I’d do a quick run through the reunions during our trip to Canada, otherwise, I’ll never get done! I’m trying to keep it short. Really!

The day after Colette’s staff party, my Mom, Orange-X and I went to my cousin’s, Rachel, for a pre-Christmas get together. By the time we got there, the party had already started. It was really great to see her and many other members of the family again. Especially as she’d be leaving for a backpacking trip with a few girlfriends a few days later to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia (I think), then back to Thailand for a few days of rest on the beach. Lucky her!

Besides chatting with everybody about this and that, enjoying the company, food and drinks, we played a few games with the children. Don't you just love family reunions??

I was even able to get a shot of my Mom (in pink) closely following the activities.

At about 10:30 pm the kids got really impatient and wanted to start unwrapping their presents. Instead of the regular Christmas tree, Rachel had a giant stocking sewn and filled it with the presents. Here she is with boyfriend Michael and his three children.
Shortly after midnight, we said our goodbyes, but we know that we’ll be seeing them all again soon.

The day after was Christmas Eve and we spent with my Dad and Colette (a.k.a. Coco). We had a quiet dinner. Coco prepared everything except for the beef (Daddy’s job). HA! And she says she can’t cook! Then at midnight, we started unwrapping gifts.

I won’t go through all the presents, but both of us are not the proud new owners of iPods (80GB!) and I have two beautiful new pairs of earrings. Next year, I’ll have to remember to ask Santa to get a few extra holes punched into my ears to fit them all in!

On Christmas day, we went to my Mom’s for dinner. The plan was to have my mother’s (and our) very dear friend, Yves Michel, join us. Unfortunately, he caught a bad case of gastroenteritis (that soon became an epidemic in our region) a day earlier and couldn’t make it. We did meet up with him at a later date, though. For the time being, however, we had our own little party just the four of us (let’s not forget Charlotte, my Mom’s crazy cat). It was going to be a Swiss evening. We started with some Bündnerfleisch (a paper-thinly cut air-dried beef speciality from the Grisons) while we unwrapped the gifts. As you can see, in the meantime, Chalotte made sure we were kept busy.

Since my Mom had been complaining about her knives not cutting well enough, we decided to get her two good sized knives for Christmas. Of course, it is said that you must pay a symbolic fee when you receive instruments with blades, otherwise, it’s bad luck/lost of friendship. So I got a tooney (2 dollar piece) from her. She also got some “Kirschstängeli” (chocolates filled with Kirsch) and a nice, warm sweater. We received a voucher for a dinner at a restaurant that opened about 2 years ago: The Elephant. We haven’t had the time to go during our stay, but we will, as soon as we are halfway settled in Canada.

We then made our way over to the dining table and I made an awesome (almost) authentic cheese fondue (I had to replace one of the cheeses!). Not to mention a few drops of the delicious Kirsch we had “imported” passed the watchful eye of the Canadian customs' officer. We spent a fine evening there and happily feel into bed.

Of all the Christmas gifts I received, however, the most beautiful and greatest one was to spend the Holidays with my family and friends. Isn’t it what it’s all about, anyway?

More to come soon. Have a great week!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Christmas Trees and Staff Party

Okay, so yesterday was not much better jetlag-wise. Both of us were awake at 4am, so we decided to get up and have a coffee. Today, my sleep routine seems to be getting back to normal. I slept until 9am. Thank goodness!

Back to Canada.

On the Monday after our arrival, we went to my Mom’s and helped her put up her Christmas tree. I was happy to see that my Mom still had most of the ornaments that I knew as a child and they were still in the original boxes. I wish I had taken my camera on that day. Some are over 40 years old, but have still kept their original beauty! It brought back many beautiful memories.
After having decorated the tree to our satisfaction, we took Mom out for dinner at Stephanie’s, a local restaurant and the best bar and grill in the area. We were taken to a table right next to a cosy wood fireplace. Of course, Orange had to have Canadian beef! He was drooling already when he saw it on the menu. I’m still amazed at the huge portions served in Canada (and the US, for that matter). I love food, but can only have small portions at a time. The meal was great, but as usual, much too much for me (and I hate taking a doggy-bag).

On the 20th Dec., Orange had a meeting planned in Toronto, so my Dad and I drove him to the airport and I got to spend the day in Ottawa with my Dad for some Christmas shopping. We picked O-X up again the same evening and drove home for dinner, or supper, as we eastern (?) Canadians would say.

The next day, I had a job to do. Colette had invited her staff from the golf club (a.k.a. “the girls”) for dinner and I had offered to cook the main course. She loves baking and making deserts, but is not too fond of cooking. I’m not so good at baking, but I love to cook, so one could call it a win-win situation. Soon after I had made the proposal, O-X and my Dad offered to take over the position of maître d's. We thought it was a nice idea, since the girls are usually the ones waiting on people.

Colette started baking cookies and preparing her deserts and appetizers. I took over in the afternoon and prepared the main course consisting of chicken breasts en croûte with a ground hazelnut stuffing served with green beans and cherry tomatoes.

The girls started arriving around 5:30pm and every time the doorbell rang, Orange-X made his way to the door to greet the guests, introduced himself (many didn’t know him at all) and took their coats. In the meantime, my Dad started serving the hors d’oeuvres and Orange was taking orders for drinks while I was making the last preps for the main course.

After a while, Dad escorted the ladies to the dining room table that Colette had so meticulously arranged and the feast began. The soup was served, then the main course and finally the deserts. My dad and Colette don’t have a huge house, so even with all the hustle and bustle of serving, I’m happy to report that there were no major collisions or broken glasses.

Here are a few picts of the evening:

(clockwise from left to right) Colette, Linda, Lise, Madame Coco (also a Colette), Sylvie and Darquise

It was a fun evening and we really enjoyed playing "waiters" for them. They're a great bunch.

We'll be back with more soon!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

We’re Ba-a-a-ack!!

We made it back to Switzerland safe and sound, and arrived at Zurich airport at 6 am, 25 minutes ahead of schedule. I guess we must have has one heck of a tailwind, because of all my trips, I think this one was the fastest ever. The only thing I hate when coming back is the jet lag. I find it worse when travelling west to east. I took a one hour snooze yesterday, we went to bed around 11 pm, but Orange’s snoring and Dale’s loud purring and scratching on the head of the bed (you know, feeling totally at home and cosy type) kept me wide awake. At 3 am I closed the bedroom door, lit the staircase, switched my laptop on and spent the night on the internet. At 7am, I decided to give it another try and I slept until 3 pm this afternoon. I just hope I can sleep tonight!

We had a great time in Canada and had the chance to meet many of my relatives and friends. You can read about our arrival here and about Orange-X’s little mishap here. Just to let you know, the realtor was very easy about it. Actually, she didn’t see it in her mails, but we did tell her about it and she laughed and wished she had received it. She’s really cool. But more about our house search a bit later.

Rewind to our arrival. We had a quiet dinner at my Dad’s on the day of our arrival. The next morning, we visited my Mom, spent the afternoon with her and went back for dinner at my dad’s. While we were gone, Colette, my Dad’s wife, put up her Christmas display and we came home to see this:

Isn’t it beautiful? I love the idea instead of the typical Christmas tree. What a great start to our holidays!

More to come tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year!

I know, I know... Today's already the 2nd of January. We know that you all know that we've been very busy visiting and recieving family and friends here in Canada. We hope that you all had a wonderful time during the Holiday Season with your families and friends and we'll be posting a entries about our time here once we return to Switzerland.

Until then:

OrangeX and I send all our blogger friends out there our best wishes of good health, love, happiness and success for 2007!