Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Random Things

I know a friend/blogger who just posts random things going on in their lives. This helps when one doesn't have the capacity (not saying you don't M! I think you know who you are) to construct a complete story or paragraph or maybe even a thought. I confess to needing "time to think" when I write.

Bart asked the other night as I sat staring into space in front of the computer "What are you doing?!" I replied "Nothing. I'm thinking! I do that occasionally."

So here's to Random happenings in our household:
  • We had Kendra's Birthday party for friends last week. Late - due to her Birthday falling over the Fall Break and there being School functions scheduled for 2 consecutive weekends afterward. So, for the party, I had a friend's high school age daughter help out with the 11 young ladies. This was great! So great in fact that when I happened to run into my bedroom for something, I caught Bart lying down on our bed! Oh, he tried to talk his way out of that "just for a minute" but I promised I would be posting on the Blog so - HaH!

  • I've been spending more time with real, live people and less time with my computer. It required more time and effort but in the long run will be more rewarding. I think?
  • Volunteering in elementary classrooms reminds me why I thank God for my friends who are teachers and why I chose to become an Accountant.
  • Poor spelling can drive me crazy. I told my mom this and she says "yeah, I sometimes catch errors on your blog." So do I and I'm a--l enuf to go back and fix 'em when I sea thim. Otherwise, they (errors) can stay put. I don't claim to be perfekt. FYI - spelling that is proper in the Queen's English (GB) or German isn't considered an error - even when mixed with American English. It's my Blog and I get to make the rules.
  • I attended a global day of prayer for Moms in Touch on Saturday. This is know in the German speaking world as Muetter in Kontakt. It was the Swiss German gathering and while not large, very encouraging. AND, we sang worship songs in German. Tongue twisters! But very cool to see that, while we speak a different language, we are saying the same thing.
  • I have more cow pictures! Because that sweet little baby and his extended family were just down the street from us for a whole week. His cousin stuck his tongue out at me - I'll have to post pictures later.
  • UBS called to find out what they were supposed to do with our wire transfer from the States. Perhaps - deposit it please in our Swiss Bank Account! Oh my, they're feeling touchy. I'd just like to pay the rent.

  • Just signed a dozen pages on our Swiss Tax returns and popped them in the mail. They are somehow able to extract plenty of money from their citizens/residents with half the paperwork required in the US. As a former tax preparer, I do think our tax system could use an overhaul but I wouldn't hire the current administration to do it. How many pages is the HealthCareReform Act reported to be?
  • My Dr. has confirmed I have Golf/Tennis elbow even though I play neither. I allowed it was probably from gardening and as he started "Well, the next time you wish to garden..." I blurted out "I hired a gardener" - He and I had a good laugh!

  • My Dr. also gave me a prescription for a new knee brace for skiing - Yeah. I decided after last season that my 14 yr old "custom" brace has seen it's last days.
  • My sister Deb just got a part-time college teaching job! Congratulations!!! Yes, she's still at her other full-time job but wanted to try this after she completed her MBA. Of the 3 of us girls, she's probably the last one anybody would have picked to be a teacher 20+ yrs ago. Thing is - she'd be the best at it.

  • Mom and friend C arrive on Sunday for a week - Fun!
  • Contemplating flu shots for girls - they aren't available for general public in most Canton's yet - only for person's "at risk." We'll be with "at-risk" relatives in Dec. which is why we're contemplating the vaccination.
  • Latest controversial vote/poster issue in Switzerland (re: Minarets) can be read about on SwissInfo (English) as I decided not to post the picture itself on our family blog. Link at: www.swissinfo.ch/eng/specials/minaret_debate/index.html?siteSect=23250 We are constantly explaining political posters in this country to the kids. Another part of their education.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Views from the Villa

So! This last week was busy, busy, busy. I wasn't really ever home, went through a tank of gas and felt like I had a job. I don't know exactly what the job was but I was doing it!

I spent a good part of one day at this lovely facility - the Villa (aka the Middle School): Can you believe it houses approximately 300 students and teachers? The original 'Villa' was expanded underground with modern facilities such as cafeteria, theatre, science labs, art room, german classes and locker halls. The kids get plenty of exercise running up and down the big stairways to their classes/lockers.

It was Fall conference time and I'm pleased to say Rachel is enjoying her classes, her teachers are enjoying her, she's getting her homework done, in and doing her best - proud of our young lady. The students attend the conferences with parent and teachers. I loved that one teacher made a comment re: Rachel's "good character" and told her that one's character is more important in the long haul than a letter grade. Rachel is doing well in that class so it wasn't a moral boost but a reflection of Rachel's moral character. It feels good to know that the hard work in raising kids pays off when they're away from the parents and observed by others - Whew! at least for now...... :)
I was talking with my sister Kris last week and she wondered if it was pretty here. Fall. Why yes it is! She's in Southern California and they just don't get the bright Fall colors that we do in the cooler climates. So this is for you Kris, a little bit of Fall:
Across the fields from the Villa, you will find our church - left center and the bell tower has scaffolding on it's side. Can't really see the building for all the trees. We are in the chapel of what had been a large Seminary. As Europe started to change post-Cold War and Switzerland became too expensive for Seminary students, the Seminary itself was relocated to a more affordable country.
This is the main Kirche (church) in this area in the opposite direction of the Villa. It is a bit of a landmark and good for establishing ones direction.
On our way home from school:
Here's our big girl walking to the church (that's where I park when picking her up from school as there is limited parking at the Villa and the road is so narrow that we Expats are in danger of side swiping each other). It's such a pretty walk I usually arrive a couple minutes early so I can walk up and help her carry her bags. The hard days are when she has a backpack, lunch, gym bag and violin = luggage! And she does many of those days via train.
What an incredible school experience. I'm glad we've stayed here long enough for her to enjoy this part. I'll take plenty of pictures to add to the memories.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Girls Just Wanna have Fu-un, Oohh, girls just....

Time is marching on whether we like it or not. We (Bart & I) are getting older. So are the girls! Yikes!!!

October 31st came and went for us like any other day. No Trick or Treating, no carved pumpkins (although we have some cute little ones decorating the entry-way) and no bags full of good Halloween Candy.

But - there were costume occasions on Friday night and Sunday night so Rachel and Kendra didn't miss out on ALL the fun.

The Middle School had a Halloween dance on Friday night. So Rachel went dressed up 80's style. I mentioned a few weeks ago that we had a lot of fun buying some accessories at Claire's. Well, we also did a foofy skirt and big hair bow and big hair. She loved it. So did I.

She did mention that I was using quite a lot of hairspray to which I replied "It's all part of the 80's sweetheart." She learned the whole "curl your hair, flip your head over, spray, flip your head back up, spray some more" trick to getting "big hair."

She had a great time and Mom & Dad think she turned out pretty cute. This one - is pretty in pink:
Kendra went to Trunk & Treat at her school - both to get a little candy and to fundraise for the sister school in Ghana (this is a traditional 3rd grade project). She went as Lola - Hannah Montana's sidekick from the TV show.
Kendra loves the wigs and it's funny - a blond wig doesn't look quite natural on her but pink, pink looks pretty cute.
So another year of costumes has gone by. You'll see more of that purple lame in years to come.
We were in an Antique/Brockenhaus (a shop that mixes antiques with estate sale/Goodwill stuff (minus clothing) ) and I came upon two rolls of fabric - one purple lame and one purple netting. Each roll was marked only 7chf - for 14chf I got about 20 metres of fabric - SCORE. That's a lot of costumes/craft materials. And very 80's.
Don't laugh! I went to a college formal in an orange/bronze lame dress. Those were the days....