Monday, March 12, 2018

Where does the sun shine?

Certainly not anywhere that I have been recently.

Oh yes, we have had the odd hour, the even less seldom day, but in general gray reigns supreme throughout Europe. I took a 6-hour train ride from Geneva, Switzerland to Stuttgart, Germany Saturday and it rained the whole way! There was a 10-minute bit of blue sky early Sunday morning, then back to the gray.

To the point that even I am starting to miss the sun: if I say “even I” that is because the main reason that I returned to Europe way back when was because I was tired of seeing the sun every day! I know, I know, many of you find that hard to understand, but once I had known seasons I missed them. In Southern California there are many advantages weather-wise, but seasons aren’t one of them.

Still the lack of sunshine is starting to wear even on my nerves.

Two things alleviate that: the weekend trip to Stuttgart, Germany to celebrate the 80th birthday of one of my husband’s university friends and the short movie I received this morning from a friend in California.

I had a moment of epiphany: where is the sun?
In the laughs of my friends; in their eyes when we share memories that go back 45 years; in their remembrance of my husband, their friend, who has been gone now for 18 years, but who lives on in their thoughts; the sun lives in the hearts of my friends whether those of long date or those recently met. The sun lives in love – that I have received, that I have given. The sun lives in the smiles of those I encounter every day.

Although I would like the physical sun to shine a tad more than it has been doing, I’ll take the friend’s sunshine any and every day to lighten the darker corners of my mind.

another year, another storm

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Tea by tea and

Day by day: my wonderful life.

My local mini mart, which also serves as our post office and a coffee/tea and snackroom tries to be innovative. One of the manager’s social events is an “after work” on Friday nights from 18:30 – 20:00. I have attended most of them and it is amazing how many people one doesn’t know or see in the village as they work in town and only return in the early evening. I have met some very interesting people and although he didn’t hold them the coldest nights of February he will be re-starting them this week.

Another activity is tea-tasting: yes, you read correctly. On most Thursday mornings there is a lady who comes out and with a proper tea pot (for want of a better word: this is more like a samovar that the Turkish and Russian and Middle Eastern countries use).

Not the actual one, but her's is very glittery like this one.

I had taken my car into the garage for its annual check last night and had intended having breakfast at home. That is until I awoke to – finally – gloriously blue skies and the sun, which I had begun to forget.  I walked up for my usual coffee. That in itself did me a lot of good, but finding the tea lady there as well I of course had to sample today’s offering.

A “chocolate” tea. I was pleasantly surprised as one didn’t really smell chocolate, it was simply a very subtle flavor on the palate once one had swallowed.

I did not buy any although I had also loved her “Russian flavor” a couple of weeks ago as I myself have some 25 different types of tea in the house – and my younger son in leaving left another dozen or so. I am not likely to run out of tea any time soon and am slowly working my way through all these teas by brewing a pot every morning.

the "tea box" at home - almost empty

The tea our Thursday morning lady sells.

But only once I have had my coffee!

So tea after tea and day after day I continue to enjoy life.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

At loose ends or…

Sunday sloth.

Now that’s an oxymoron for those who know me: being at loose ends that is!

However, every once in awhile the stars align – or don’t – and I have a weekend without
any plans! If yesterday got quickly filled running around and not doing much, followed by an indulgent “let’s catch up on recorded TV programs”, today I woke up to fog and absolutely nothing on my agenda.

I love a Sunday morning where I can relax, have breakfast in my pjs, clean the odd drawer, finally take a shower and wash my hair, but enough is enough.

Having cleaned the silverware drawer, done the personal grooming bit, cleaned the glass shower door and even thrown in a wash for good measure it was only 11 and although I need to re-check my tax prep to make sure that I haven’t forgotten anything, this is NOT something I am willing to waste a Sunday on.

As the friend with whom I am to do “something” this week never answered my email of Friday night (there are actually people who don’t check their e-mails every day???) proposing going to the movies today, I thought hmmmmm – oh yes perhaps catch up with the son who is in town: he didn’t answer his phone. Never mind another friend had sent an email complaining about the fog so I know that I can pop up there sometime this afternoon.

I should (and that’s a word that I am trying to ban from my vocabulary – who says that I should?), I mean I could do a half a dozen things, but de-frosting the freezer, throwing out files, sorting out clothes, cleaning a half a dozen spots – none of those exactly appeal.

Ah saved by the phone – son is free and I will go have coffee and cake this afternoon; probably stop by the local friend’s as well and catch up on their news. These social plans allow me to now do the next bit of sorting, cleaning or otherwise occupying my time usefully. See there’s always a plan B.

Friday, March 2, 2018

All is widdershins today…

Oh I do love those unknown, unused ancient words.
I get such pleasure every day out of A-word-a-day.

And today’s word sits well on my tongue, never mind suiting today’s weather conditions.
At least I don’t have to go out in it like yesterday so my day actually shouldn’t be
“widdershins” but rather “deasil”.

Go ahead, I know that you want to – look them up!

just like I love "wordle" for inventing these.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Snow day in Switzerland…

It could be worse.

Oh yes, it was back a couple of days ago when the temperatures were 8.5°C just outside my kitchen window. But who would have thought that snow would stop everything in Switzerland?!!!

Now I do remember that back when I first arrived in Switzerland - just across the border in France – winters were “normal”, ie it did snow and sometimes the snow actually stayed for days or weeks on the ground throughout the winter.

Those times have changed and this year’s winter has been a hodge-podge of spring, summer, and finally winter (ok if you call Siberian cold and -8 +C “winter”).

Now, and again for once as the weathermen predicted, it is the first day of the meteological “spring” so of course it snowed. Now only did it snow – remember this was predicted – it snowed enough (again predicted) to totally wreck chaos in the public transportation system.  Even the airport was shut this morning.  We have had so many warm winters the past 20 years that busses no longer have snow tires or chains and when as was the case this time the snow goes down on frozen solid ground, streets become skating rinks and busses and cars the fun (for those not employing them) of the bumper cars that one finds in amusement parks.

Believe me it is a lot less amusing in real life, but the snow is beautiful, I was warned so set the alarm early enough to walk to my first appointment if necessary. But managed with the car - just slow.

However, later in the day (much later and I expected things to be clear!) I had to go into town for another meeting - total chaos. Apparently in the city of Geneva they no longer salt the streets. That being said I didn't see a snowplow of any sorts and the busiest cross streets were the worst with either lumps of frozen snow hard enough to pierce a tire or slush so bad that one couldn't get through. My return to the countryside was a delight as here our local departments did salt, did plow and the streets were actually better than in town. I mean really!

Will enjoy the pristine white at least until tonight when it is supposed to rain.

From my balcony this morning

The front drive once I shoveled out the gate

Looking through the side window

Thursday, February 22, 2018



Ok so sometimes two, still...
We were three - this is the "story" of 24 hours in the life of those three.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Yet another killing…

(  I usually avoid "serious" or sensational subjects, but the headline in my local paper
"17 killed in a school schooting" was more than I could ignore.)

For what else are we to label it?
Have there not been enough deaths –
  • In the name of a god, your’s, mine, his, her’s, their’s?
  • As retribution: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth?
  • In the name of “my way of life is better than yours – you are in my way, i.e. you have to go?
  • In the name of conquering new lands, be it by importing disease or by actually killing off those already living there – on the coveted land?
  • Due to disease, whether brought on by one’s own habits or lack thereof, or simply by random genetic snafus?
Is it not enough that we will all die someday?

What can we do to prevent such senselessness?

I would suggest:
  • Practice any, or no, religion – they all basically expound peacefulness, gentleness and love
  • To punish the killer with death does not bring back those killed it simply allows society to do the same, ie kill. Follow the commandment “I will not kill”
  • Who determines who’s way of life is good, bad or indifferent and who decides which is the best, the most correct? Thus I will let others determine their own.
  • Why does any society need to kill an existing one? Can we not share?
  • What explanation is there for a baby’s inherited gene combinations that were unknown until that point? Why do some patterns cause chaos, others remain silent? Let’s support the research, the possibility to find new treatments
In short – get along with everyone (I know that asking one to literally love everyone will never happen, but can’t we ignore other’s faults as we expect them to ignore ours!).
Can we not all pledge to try and hold our tongues, try and listen to the other, try and promote justice (not retribution), try to see the other side of the story, try to hear the silent cry of those seeking justification or notoriety simply to prove that they exist?

I don’t know this particular story – having only read the headlines – but where were we when this person was planning, suffering, implementing? This person (I don’t even know if it was one, several, male or female) didn’t live in a vacuum; there were others around him/her/they; there surely were signs.

I totally agree with another blogger
"I won't wait until the bodies are in the ground"!