Sunday, July 12, 2020

I'm not infallible...

Being the oldest of four, being slightly organized when compared to the chaos of most of the world, I am sometimes led to believe that I have it all together.

I have many un-strengths, but usually, a sense of direction isn't one of them until all of a sudden it is a major blooper (anyone who remembers that word? Sure dates me doesn't it, but then I have never been afraid to admit to my real age).

I'll let you find out for yourself in the following blog.

https://theexpatwriter.blogspot.com/2020/07/julia-doesnt-always-know-way.html

As we managed to arrive in time to get served, what could have been a total disaster turned into just another "adventure" à la Julia and D-L. Some friendships have fun going the wrong way!

Friday, July 10, 2020

Being sensible, or….


Not my usual state of affairs, nor mind.

For once in my life having planned something I woke up thinking: really, get sensible – one doesn’t need to go out in the heat, burn up the miles in a train just to end up paying a hotel overnight, all with the goal of “using” pre-paid daily cards.

If that is my only loss due to Covid-19 I can count myself blessed!

It all started well way back a year ago, mentioned in my “Train to somewhere” blog in January of this year.

I purchased, combined with a half-tariff train pass, 20 day cards at a very good price, i.e., one that was even cheaper than buying the same day cards from my community. However, as I planned on using most of them during March and April of this year (valid a year), I hadn’t been too generous with my trips during the winter. How could I know that Covid-19 would come along and upset all travel plans?

That left me with more than half to use in just two months. In June I did manage to use 5 and had a great time, but one also has to remember that one has friends, travels with second parties and the like so I entered July with 6 still left. Break-even point would be 17 as that would be the equivalent of my community cards, but I still have 3 till that point.

As I was free today and tomorrow I had actually even packed a small suitcase with the plan of leaving after my haircut and spending the night somewhere else, thus using two. Upon awakening though and realizing that the weather is to be stormy in all the areas in which I was interested I “woke up”. Why try and use two cards, whilst paying for a hotel room that would be worth more than the two combined when I have so many things to do here at home?

I got sensible, stayed here, did a lot of admin this morning, then called a friend to see if she was available for lunch. No, but wonder of wonders I now know that they have a working, fixed telephone and that I can actually call them without going through the shenanigans of her cell phone (always off), their out-of-the-country phone, his cell phone (half a chance or less) or a message via social media. Oh the luxury – I was very chuffed.

No problem that they weren’t available, I called another of those dear friends whom I haven’t seen in it seems forever and we will have coffee when we go grocery shopping.

I don’t plan on making it a habit but being sensible is working out well indeed… this time.

I would attribute this, if I could, but not quite sure who used or designed it first.


Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Simply being


A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Not that I want to be a god or a hero. Just to change into a tree, grow for ages, not hurt anyone. -Czeslaw Milosz, poet and novelist (30 Jun 1911-2004)

Ah what a lovely thought.
In these uncertain times I wonder what it would be like to simply be a tree – to live, breath, take the sun, take the rain, the snow, whatever “life” throws whilst simply putting back fresh into the air and joy into the hearts of those who love nature.

To simply BE instead of trying to worry about all the consequences, the emotions, the 180° turns that life often takes. Perhaps that is to truly be a god or a hero, being always available, being always even-tempered (ok when a tree falls and causes havoc it is often due to its roots over which it has no control or a storm, again no control), being always there.

I love life and living, emulating a tree might be the way to go.


Wednesday, April 22, 2020

How was that trip?



So yesterday we started off, catching a train headed for the state of Schwyz in Switzerland.

Stopping along the way, first in Neuchatel where we had a lovely walk in the Spring sunshine along the lake, then on to Bern where we decided to have a delicious lunch in one of the many just as lovely restaurants near the Federal buildings.


In the afternoon traveled along several lakes, stopping at whim for coffee in one of them before arriving at our goal of the city of Schwyz for the night.

A cocktail on an open terrace, a stroll around the Old town, a great meal in a colorful restaurant we then went to bed in a delightful hotel and slept the sleep of the just.

This morning, a lovely breakfast then we went to the Forum of Swiss History – our main goal – to see the charter from 1291 that was the beginnings of today’s Confederation of Helvetican states – better known as Switzerland.

Lunch along the lake of Lucern, in Brunnen, better known to locals as the Vierwaldstättersee or the Lake of the 4 Cantons,


Then it was time to catch yet another train: we traveled with what is known as “day cards” both days. This allowed us to go where we wanted, when we wanted, staying as short or as long as we wanted. Even to backtrack or take side trips. Highly recommended!

This time and just because we could, we went through the alps instead of around and returned via an entirely different canton and scenery. The cherry on the cake was having cocktails in the dining car – antipasti with Prosecco.

What was the occasion, who the guest? One of my dear friends had a special birthday last fall and this was what I gave her as a present. We duly researched, settled on a date (about half-way to the next birthday) and were really excited.

However, what I have just described was a virtual trip in my dreams as, due to Covid-19 we were not able to undertake it at this time.

When we do finally get to, I am sure that it will be even better than what I imagined!


Friday, April 3, 2020

Bits and pieces or…



 Finally, a half-hour to look at “stuff” and catch up on words, sayings and other forms of communication.

After a trip across town to pick up my housemate’s work computer (3 weeks after she was banished to home office) and to hand over documents and other necessary items to my younger son, I actually found that the word-a-day was one that I had never heard!

I started reading at 6 and never stopped: won the prize for most “books” read in first grade, i.e. 62 (I still have the pen on a pin that I received as a prize), my first library card is still one of my most memorable “gifts”, I have a subscription to the local daily, to the English-speaking library and there are never less than two or three other magazines on my main desk.  All that to set the mood: I know a lot of words, so finding a new one was like finding a treasure. Pelion.

Pelion, pelion, pelion, rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? Meaning? A huge or difficult task, based upon Mont Pelion in Greece. Who knew? I won’t be forgetting anytime soon and it is a very good word for today’s world. A world that encompasses some indeed huge and difficult tasks, the first of which is survival.

On that subject, so far, so good.
And I even know two older persons than me who celebrate birthdays today. Yeah for them, yeah for us.

Linked to the current pandemic is the necessity to be even more cautious than usual with hygiene. I took to washing my knobs, door handles and anything metal with a cloth dipped in water and bleach. I knew that it was a good disinfectant, but didn’t appreciate just how aggressive it is: below is the picture of the cloth after several days of being left in the water/bleach mixture!

Hope that everyone I know is surviving well. Stay in, stay safe!


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

No joke….



The Coronavirus is no joke, no hoax, and nothing to be taken lightly, however, there are other things that go against the traditional April Fool’s Day thoughts.

And one very positive one at that: my oldest son met his wife-to-be an April 1st and this year they celebrate – and we with them at a distance – their first year.

So much has happened in that year, things that are stressors beyond belief. Within 7 months they married, had their first child and moved. And that was all last year.

This year they have enjoyed settling into their new apartment, gotten used to a different path to work and in general got on with life. Then the virus hit! They both have had it and are currently on the mend, but what a roller coaster ride it has been.

The rest of their lives will surely be less high stress!

So I raise my glass to a daughter-in-law who has brought only good into our small family, to my son who was smart enough to pick here and to their baby, obviously the best grandchild in the world!

leftover wedding cake

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The end of a month….



But not the end of the problem.

In these trying times we find ourselves reaching out, reaching out first of all to family and friends, then also to all those former friends, colleagues, acquaintances.
We often say “how would we have managed without modern tech and the ability to connect”. I say we have always connected, perhaps less knowingly and less consistently, but connect we do.

We find ourselves mulling over days gone by, learning about former pandemics and in general going back, as if we were afraid to project into the future.

I won’t address that problem, but these past days have had one poem running through my head with great insistence so I went and re-read Rudyard Kipling’s….

(‘Brother Square-Toes’—Rewards and Fairies)
If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

So here’s to hoping that there will be many men and women “made” during this
Apocalypse or Coronalypse.