Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Y Generation

In my perusal of Facebook today I came across the following posting.

I know that this is meant to be funny and mostly it is; however upon reflection – it is derogatory of Generation Y, a generation finding itself in a world where things have changed immensely from that of their parents. A generation that is having to find their way without the tools or continuing progress of their parents.

So from my knowledge of the Y generation I would also add:

Y do you think you're better than others? We are all equal.
Y shouldn't I share with someone? We all need something.
Y should I care more about money than people?
Y can't I stop and smell the roses? It's free and gives me pleasure.
Y don't you vote? We are all responsible for those who govern us.
Y not give of your time instead of your money?
Y am I smiling? Because life is what I choose to make it not necessarily what you perceive as the “only” path.

You get the idea: there are also many things to be recommended about this generation, amongst them their humanity and willingness to live life, not simply get through it.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Inter Alia

Sounds so much erudite than “among other things” so you can expect me to make a concerted effort to maintain it in my vocabulary.

From the mundane: your grocery list may include, inter alia, bread, milk and bananas to the more common usage in formal reports such as “he was, inter alia, president of the board” we don’t hear it often.
However, it is pleasing, inter alia, to my eye, my ear and my mind.
You may never hear the end of it.

Instead of using miscellany to cover a range of unrelated subjects I can now list them perhaps using this simply adverb: examples, inter alia, various thoughts for the day that I could – and perhaps should – treat as individual topics can simply be lumped together.

  • The door of a bigoted mind opens outwards so that the only result of the pressure of facts upon it is to close it more snugly. -Ogden Nash, poet (19 Aug 1902-1971)
  • Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction. -Blaise Pascal, philosopher and mathematician (19 Jun 1623-1662)

Oh this is, inter alia, fun.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Truth in Advertising

Now that’s an oxymoron if ever there was one, never mind, it was the more grammatical aspects of the one that caught me eye this morning that interested me.

“You are only as young as your neck”

Heady stuff to read over Sunday morning breakfast: now what do they mean?
As far as I know my neck (although I rarely think of it, never mind explore how young it is or isn’t) is still the same ol’ neck that it’s been all my life: I can nod, tip it back, turn it left, turn it right, tilt it – in short no physical problems that I am aware of.  The last time I couldn’t do those things I was probably younger than six months so does that mean that I am still young?

Then there’s that “only” implying that my entire age is related to my neck’s: since my neck still functions like it did when I was one year old that obviously means that I am still young in terms of this sentence, right?

Ah ha, it is an ad for nothing less than the #1 neck cream promising me amongst others a more youthful looking profile. Even if that were true, I would then be obligated to also improve my hands, my feet and any other body parts on display – and then what about what I see in the intimacy of my bath or bedroom, i.e. the sagging thighs, the knobby knees those first gnarly joints?

Help, think I’ll stop right there and come back to my original premise: there is no such thing as truth in advertising and grammatically it should have read: …you’re only as young as your neck appears to be… thanks to our super-duper and expensive cream!

probably also photoshopped

Friday, August 21, 2015

Ma Belle

La Montagne

Que de joie à regarder les brumes et nuages jouer
Au cache-cache avec les cimes :
Un paroi par ci, une vallée de brouillard par là.

Pas une minute sans que cela ne change,
Le tout dans une silence brisée que par quelques
Chants d’oiseau ; le ruissellement d’une rivière ;
les vents ou un rocher disloqué par un chevreuil.

Qu’elle est belle ma montagne!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Grown up play

It all started when my housemate and I had a few minutes before a train and we headed for the newly opened bookstore at the station. Browsing we came across the latest: coloring books for adults.  We were off to Einsiedeln for a few days so opted to not pick up anything then, but to return – not however before I bought one for the daughter of the friends we were going to visit.

We did each purchase one when we came back from that trip. They advertise them as “zen” for adults – anti-stress measures that (according to the publicity) favor concentration and development – an activity geared to reveal the creative spirit within one. Now that might be true for those who actually approach the task in that manner: I tend to be competitive regardless and if pencil strokes might somewhat calm me, choosing colors especially on a complicated page such as the one below counteract any anti-stress I might have enjoyed.

Still have fun doing it and was very happy to receive a gorgeous (o.k. mostly still black and white) “floral tendencies” one from my housemate and husband for my recent birthday.

interesting that the pastel blues don't show up well and that the whole takes on a yellow tinge.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Hotel Julia

Remember back earlier this year when I declared Hotel Julia closed? I did mention that anyone who had ever stayed was not subject to this arbitrary closing, nor did it apply to family members regardless the distance of the relationship (i.e. fifth cousin? Not a problem). I have only broken that rule once this year.

I have recently discovered an exception that I am willing to allow: anyone who not only proposes cooking a meal, but then does so in such a manner that it is a gastronomical experience, can apply for the waiver of the rule!

When one of my former visitors (former across-the-hall-renter of my housemate who promptly became my friend during her first visit years ago) called and said that she and her new husband were going to be in town and wanted to see me whilst they were there – they would be looking for a small hotel – I replied “no you won’t, you’ll be staying here”. Not only is she lovely, but I was going to lose housemate and husband that week as they needed to get back down to Southern France for the visit of her daughter, and I had no one for the cats. What could be better: I get cat and house sitters, they get free lodging?

Well actually there was and is a BETTER: both cook superbly well. We had barbecue with all the vegetables and potatoes grilled as well as homemade hummus and tabouli. Along with the good conversation, champagne (provided by R – many thanks) and laughs a night to be remembered.

As I had to spend Sunday there as well (unplanned) we got to continue the party and I was treated to another glorious dinner that night. In fact the company and the food were so good that I am going back a day earlier just to enjoy both again before they return to Paris.

So exception number one comes into existence – all gourmet cooks may apply.

Actually forget to take individual pictures of the hummus and tabouli but both were present on the table.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Independence Day

Mine that is: just before 9 a.m. my local industrial services were here and changed the meter which now records the production of my photovoltaic panels as well as my usage of electricity.

As the number of panels to be installed was calculated on my average annual usage, I should be entirely independent! I am supposed to actually break even after 10 years, but have become so much more conscious of which machines use the greatest amount of electricity that I’ll use them when it’s half rate, so perhaps I can do it quicker.

Of course another benefit is the fact that I got an electric hot water boiler out of the deal so have been able to turn off the heating system until it gets cold in the fall: however we didn’t think to add that to the total, so I am already foreseeing that I might need to put in a couple more panels in the near future. However, as I now also have a night and day tariff, by changing my habits (especially the drying of the clothes) I may be able to do it all without expanding – I will give it a good go in any case.

And a note to my local friends: when due to the wars in between companies, or the lack of energy sources and thus power outages become the norm, I’ll put a piggy bank at my front door and you will be welcome to come and read by my lights or wash your hands with my hot water.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

“Gone somewhere, back sometime”

That was the note I left my younger son, my housemate and her husband last Saturday.
I had come back from Zurich early – too hot, no air conditioning in the room and a sudden yen to be home – but still had the day card for the Swiss trains and decided that it should get used.

Hopped on a bus at just past 8, breakfast at the train station then checked to see how far I had to go in order to get my money’s worth: very easy, only to Fribourg and return. That knowledge in mind I decided to head back to Bern having not had time to visit the main church, nor the bear “pits” when I had accompanied my cousin on Monday.  When I asked at the Tourist Office I was told that the bears weren’t there due to renovations and was given a city map with instructions for the bus to the Münster. Unfortunately, as in Geneva, as in Zurich, summer is when all roadwork is accomplished – who cares about the tourists – so the bus that should have taken me there didn’t.

Never mind, by wandering around the back alleys with map in hand I came across some other spots of interest where there were no tourists – worth it! 
The main bus and tram lines start here - under shelter!

Civil Engineering since 1865
Making visible that which takes place underground: amongst others electricity, sewers, traffic lights, communications, etc.

"Zytglogge" or the Clock Tower

Detail of the Clock Tower

House on the Junkerngasse

Arcade sidewalk - Junkerngasse

A painter's house on the Junkerngasse

Mini restaurant on a side alley

Eventually did reach the Münster, only to find out that one is not allowed to take pictures inside.  
The Münster cathedral seen from the Junkergasse - behind

A flower shop - very original displays

detail of the display

The Zeerleder House
 This house has been owned by the Zeerleder family since 1806: it is the only one of its kind in Old Bern: a Unesco heritage building it is post-1612 - two house facades in one, the facades were painted by brothers Rudolf and Hans Münger in 1897 - neo-gothic.

One of many elaborate door knobs
Another door knob
After circling back round the Münster enjoying the views over the Aar River - and with no pictures - never mind quick trip inside then down the alley where an open-air market was slowly being packed back up.
Terraced gardens and beehives leading to the river
The Aar river goes in a u around Bern city

One of many bridges, restaurant on the Aar and the old houses along the banks - often flooded

Read and Play

A great concept that could and should be copied by many other  cities and parks: a medium sized hut - and tent in the park - where one could borrow a book, a magazine or one of many games to play whilst whiling away a few hours.

The flag of Bern, amongst others, along the market alley

Too cute!

Sausages and dried meat sliced on the spot
One of many cheese stalls  
Typcial cellar
Many statues to Bears in Bern
 Formerly used to store things in front of the arcades, many of these cellars are now used as shops and restaurants: Loved the name on this one: "Wine and Be"
A Vegan restaurant duly noted for another trip

Way too typical of all Swiss cities this summer: Bus stop not served!

On a whim decided to return to Geneva via Thun, Spiez, Visp, Sion, Sierre, Martigny the other way instead of back tracking.

typical countryside near Spiez

Vineyards from the train in Valais

more vineyards in Valais

Some of the mountains - alps out of sight - in the Valais

In spite of also having to wait on busses and improvising once back in Geneva as it was the Geneva Festival’s firework’s night and the main bridge was shut from 5 p.m. until 3:30 the next morning, I arrived home in time to take my younger son out for dinner. “Life in the fast lane” has nothing on me! Mind you, four train trips in seven days was perhaps a bit much.

Finale Fireworks - the Mont-Blanc bridge is shut in between 5 p.m. and 3:30 a.m.
 P.S. This one is dedicated to sisters Irma, Evelyne and Eliane - who lived in Bern many years ago... enjoy the memories!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


Is a walk on wooded paths,

Hugging a forest tree,

Climbing a rocky slope,


Looking out over the alps:

This is how I ground myself.