Friday, May 28, 2010

I've not disappeared...

Obviously - the Blog has taken a backseat to life right now. Several weeks full of visitors, recitals, school concerts, a cold, travel and even now - Mom is here so I'm juggling with catching up and visiting still.

Additionally, the girls hi-jack the computer for school work. Rachel is in a "1 to 1" computer school but, in the Middle School they don't take their Notebooks home (high school does). So she has work in files from school that she accesses at home in order to complete assignments. And writing assignments for English are done in a school "blog" forum.

Guess what we're buying this summer?

I will hopefully share pictures and stories soon. While I love blogging, I am making an effort to set my priorities as well. And there's just a lot to do right now.

Enjoy this view of the harbor in Valleta, Malta: We had a relaxing weekend there in the midst of all the busy-ness and Bart & I need to go back so we can see more of the island!


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Oh - crooked and all - Hello from Paris!

It has been a jam-packed week! I haven't even had time to look at all my pictures yet!

Our CA friends had come in last Monday, May 10th - a wee bit delayed by the ash cloud, and since then, I've been in Italy, France, Germany, driven a wee bit through Austria & Liechtenstein and of course, tried to show them what we could of Switzerland.

Switzerland has not been her best self this May but there is "promise" of some sun this weekend. I basically cleaned, oiled and stored all my winter boots 2 weeks ago and then drug them out 3 days later. I have worn sandals once this Spring. Half the veggie garden will be replanted this week because it's just been too cold and wet.

Anyway - I have about 10 loads of laundry to fold and beds to remake and bathrooms to clean so have to make this quick. Had a great time with our friends and, of course, the letdown begins once you drop them off at the airport. But - mom is arriving this next week and we will see our friends and family shortly during the summer holidays.

When I catch my breath, I will download some more pic's - have some beautiful ones. Until then, you will have to accept the crooked, untouched and uncropped photo above. Guess you can tell which family inherited height and which did not - although it appears that Rachel takes a bit more after Bart after all and will surpass me soon. Yeah!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Busy with Guests!

Busy, busy with friends that made it out from CA in spite of brief delays due to "the Volcano." My vocabulary has spread to not only include the "financial crisis" and "health-care crisis" to the "volcano crisis" as well!

I will have pictures, pictures and more pictures soon. We're having a great time.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Friday, May 07, 2010

Sister's & their Girl's

Here we are:Geographical representatives of Hawaii, Southern California and Switzerland.

We are all Mother's now. We all have girls. Two of us are slated to be Auntie's again. Of identical twins.

But - this picture of girls only will remain (for now!) as the newcomer's will be boys (they will join 2 big brothers not shown here as well as little sister in red sash above).

Time has gone quickly, the baby showers are already beginning and the little gentlemen should arrive sometime at the end of July, beginning August (fun fact: actual 'due date' is August 31 which is Rachel's Bday). In Oahu.

Considering they will now be a household of 7!, we will definitely continue taking HI vacations when we return to the States.

Congratulations Sister! Love you and praying for continued healthy pregnancy and good delivery.

Happy Mothers Day!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Cut your own

It's been a while since I've made reference to the 'self-serve' stands that exist throughout this fair country.

You're driving down the road and you see this: The sign says "Cut your own flowers" and the "Kasse" there is to put your money in once you've gathered your bouquet.

Here is the cart with the price list, knives for cutting stems (in case you don't have one on you - I do carry a small Swiss Army but rather not dirty it up on dripping flower stems) and a waste container if you want to strip leaves here vs at home:

Then you walk over here:
And cut some of these:
Then you have to go home and clean off your shoes. Because they aren't going to smell or look good but your flowers will.

Nor do you want to catch an airplane to the USA with this dirt on your shoes - I'm sure the dogs in customs would love it. There's a little question on the Immigration form that asks if you've been "in or around any farms/livestock" during your visit to said foreign country. Now we always say 'No' but laugh as we do so. Unless you stay in the middle of the major cities (Zurich, Bern, Basel), there's no way to get around the farmland/livestock issue. There's natural "fertilizer" everywhere. We just don't get on the plane in our hiking boots. :)

We think it's great that these 'cut your own' fields still thrive. They've not yet had to fence off the fields from poachers. The small fruit/veggie market down the street also leaves it's outdoor fruit for sale, self-serve style, during the 2 hour lunch period when the shop is closed. AND - there is a couple florist shops and a grocery store that leaves their plants out over night/holidays. Unlocked, unsecured. The plants are still there the next morning. I appreciate that sense of responsibility in the citizenship of this country. It is changing slowly though. My guess is, 10 yrs from now there won't be so many of these close to the cities. But for now, we will enjoy.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

4 Years Ago

During this week, 4 years ago, we made our first trip to Zurich. To check it out. See if we could live here or not. Hard to believe it's been that long ago.

My first post for SwissFamilyOlson was May 10, 2006:

Where has the time gone? If you read that short little post, it said 3 yrs. Not the 4 going on 5 that it has stretched into. It's been good, really good.

And the weather this week - similar to 4 yrs ago - raining, cloudy - but colder and I do hope it warms up for our CA guests coming next week or they are going to freeze. So I'm thinking warm thoughts!

Fields of Yellow

If you were flying over Switzerland today. And if there were no rain clouds to impede your view - which there definitely are, sigh. You would see a patchwork of green and yellow. Spring and hayfever season are in full bloom.

Below is a field of yellow. This plant looks like a weed to me but it is planted in late Summer, grows knee high (my knee so....) during the Fall and sits dormant over Winter. Come Spring and 50-60 degree temps, it shoots up and is 4-6 feet high. It is cultivated for it's oil - Rapsoil (a-umlaud) - which is used in cooking and dressing here. Similar to olive oil, it has a bit of flavor - not like a vegetable oil. It really is beautiful - even in the rain:
Yellow in the yard. This old house is right in the middle of town. I took this so you could see how people often cut their grass/lawn during the Spring. This yard is only partially cut - they leave the rest for the meadow flowers (dandelions, daisy's, buttercups, ajuga, etc...) while in bloom. Many lawns are also planted with bulb flowers and they leave those patches until end of June/beginning July. They enjoy a natural look and, chemicals are not appreciated in their drinking water - Zurich Lake - so a light hand is taken with chemical gardening efforts.
Next to the Middle School. I can't see Rachel walking down the path from school anymore as the flowers/plants are taller than she is.
A field waiting for summer occupants of cows, sheep or horses:
Our lawn also has a bit of yellow in it. What can you do? When in Switzerland......