Friday, May 18, 2018

Square One...

...of two.

That's right, Switzerland is one of two countries with a square flag.
Red square with an equilateral white cross in center.















The other is the Vatican flag:
Vatican City is smallest country in world.













We often get asked, what do like best about Switzerland?

We can't pinpoint any one thing except for the fact that the flag is a big plus.
Buh-Duh-Buhm!
(Joke modified and adapted for this post 😆)

My poem brings us back to square one:
Swiss flag -
always adds
up 
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Refreshing!

Since spring has sprung here in Zug, so have the fountains.
The huge fountain in Lake Zug has been turned on:
We live in a postcard.



















The water is flowing at the historic Kolin fountain in Altstadt. It was first erected in 1541!
From far away...



















...and up close.



















The guy standing on top is either a knight banner, another military figure or a member of the Kolin family - no one knows for sure. But water has flowed out of its pipes since the 16th century - how cool is that?

Another historic fountain is a block over from the Kolin fountain. It was erected at around the same time and has a similarly outfitted guy on top:

















The details of the water spouts are amazing:










The coolest thing about these historic fountains (see what I did there...'coolest') is that the water flowing out is cool and clean. You could fill your water bottle or fill a pitcher of water for your customers, as I once saw a waiter doing for that restaurant in the background.

But the free flowing fountains are not only in the historic downtown area. There is also a lovely little fountain along the running trail next to a cute little playground:
I stop and get a sip when I am running or skating by.



















Not to be immature or inappropriate, but did you happen to notice what the statues above the fountains are wearing? Yeah, they are depicted wearing a codpiece. According to Google Dictionary a codpiece "is a pouch attached to a man's breeches or close-fitting hose to cover the genitals, worn in the 15th and 16th centuries." I've wondered if these fellas thought pretty highly of themselves or if it was the artist's choice. Then the other day I passed an apartment building with a sign announcing the birth of a baby boy. Maybe the parents of this kid were inspired by the fountain statues:

















Today's poem is an acrostic homage to fountains:

Flow
spOut
gUsh
cleaN
Trickle
sprAy
spIgot
ruNning water

©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Home for Holidays...in May

The month of May is chock full of holidays here in Kanton Zug, many of which are Catholic based.

We were home both yesterday and today for the feast of Ascension.
Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/users/geralt-9301/













It is actually Ascension Thursday, but most schools and businesses get Friday off as well. The Ascension is the 40th day of Easter that commemorates the ascension of Jesus into heaven 39 days after resurrection on Easter Sunday. This is actually a National holiday here in Switzerland and 30+ countries! Non-Catholics get the day off as well - yippee!

On Sunday we share the holiday of Mother's Day. A special shout out to my incomparable mom:
 










On Monday, May 21 we will be home for the holiday of Whit Monday.
Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/users/thommas68-2571842/












Whit Monday (also known as Pentecost) is another Catholic holiday that the Swiss and another 30+ countries celebrate - yay! This holiday commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit in the form of flames to the Apostles. It marks the end of the Easter cycle.

On Thursday, May 31 we will be home for the holiday of Corpus Christi.
Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/users/c_leutenegger-3215099/













Corpus Christi is another Catholic holiday celebrated by almost 20 countries...including Switzerland! Yippee! It is a festival celebrated on the second Thursday after Whit Monday. Corpus Christi means the Body of Christ and refers to the elements of the Eucharist also called the Holy Communion, Last Supper, or Lord's Supper.

In June, Father's Day comes early to Switzerland! We will celebrate Joe on June 3rd, leaving June 17 open to celebrate our wedding anniversary. 😍











Today's poem is dedicated to my Mom. Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there. Cheers!

You were "Mommy"
when I was tiny.
You loved me
though I was whiny.

Then you became "Mom"
as I got older.
I rolled my eyes
and shrugged my shoulder.

Your love for me
was still there
despite my hormones
and teenage-death-stare.

Then you became "Patzy"
when I married Joe.
Enduring his flatulence -
you go with the flow.

Now you're "Grandma"
to my two daughters.
You've loved them
before they were talkers.

I love you, Mom,
you are the best.
Because you are my Mom
I feel blessed.

©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Got Air?

The Swiss do!
Since spring has sprung, we've seen many Swiss enjoying the air above...
Waaaay up high:
Hot air balloon...on it's way to the moon?



















A little closer to the ground:
Paragliding over our neighborhood.



















And right above the water:
Kite surfing...
...on Lake Zug.

Unfortunately, things don't always go to plan:
We didn't witness this, thank goodness.























We don't exactly 'get air', but we do like to breathe the air way up there (in the mountains) either by hiking or by using the amazing Swiss transportation system, SBB:
On our way down Pilatus mountain in a cog-wheel train or Zahnradbahn. Photo courtesy of FUZ Moto.



















Here is my airy little poem:
soaring Swiss
an Alpine altitude
attitude
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Nuggi Tree

So far we've come across two of these trees - one at the Zurich Zoo and one at the Wild Animal Park in Goldau:

















From far away it just looks like a nice green tree, but as you get closer you can see there are things hanging from all of the branches:

















Pacifiers! Clumps and clumps of binkis...or pacis...or nooks...or dummies...or as many Swiss call them, nuggis!















I thought at first that the employees had found the pacifiers lost or discarded throughout the park and strung them up on a tree as decorations or as a warning to babies, "Keep track of your nuggi or else!"

Nope, these trees are actually facilitating a right of passage. Apparently when a child decides they are too old or no longer have the need for their pacifier they bring it to a tree to be hung as an offering to the Nuggi Fairy. In some circles, the Nuggi Fairy brings the child a special toy, in others, not. Some Nuggi trees are in very public places, like the zoo or wild animal park, and some are on random trees in the forest.

I personally like the spirit of this ritual because it allows the child some control over when they are ready to give up their beloved nuggi rather than the parent hiding it, or worse, throwing it away.

Today's poem is all the big kid decision makers out there...
nuggis hang low
when kids are ready to
suck it up
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Ah-choo!

Gesundheit!

Sneezing has been the sound of spring here in Switzerland. For people with allergies, the pollen has been INTENSE.

Pollen is collecting in the lake and on ponds:
The pollen sits on top of the water.



















In parking lots:
After a bit of rain it all collected in a low point of the parking lot.



















And in our bathroom:
The yellowish tinge is the pollen that came in through the window. ..












...and onto the shower floor right below the window - maybe screens would have helped?













Luckily, Joe, Mo and I have not been bothered by the pollen...yet. That doesn't mean we won't in the future. I lived in Tucson for 5 years before I got allergies. Fingers crossed allergies don't find me here in Switzerland. If they do, there is now an app called Pollen-News which shows you how strong the pollen count is on a day to day basis so you can manage your antihistamines.

Poor Smidgey didn't get so lucky, though. She's had allergies for the last few weeks: sneezing, butt-rubbing, and chewing on her paws. We bought some antihistamine for her and it has helped, but there is nothing worse than a sneezy puppy...except maybe one doing a butt-rub. Ew.
Tummy scratches are the only good part of having allergies.

 

















Today's poem is in honor of Sneezy Smidge:

Look, I'm on my back!
See my tail go smack?
Scratch my belly, please?

Whoops, gotta sneeze...

 ah choo!

©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Tinder for Guinea Pigs


OK, not Tinder, but we did run across the following ad on the Roche internal classified board (click on picture to enlarge):







Translated it basically says: We are looking for an uncastrated male to make offspring with our guinea pig and spend one to two weeks on vacation to make it happen.

Yowza, hubba-hubba, guinea pig love!

Because Switzerland has some of the most stringent animal welfare laws, this ad actually makes sense. You see, Swiss law prohibits owning 'social' pets unless you have two of them, therefore it is illegal to keep just one guinea pig, mouse, ferret, fish, canary, pig or other social creature. Switzerland judges isolation of social animals as abuse. This has created a new area of law: lawyers who defend animals. And it has inspired pet renting services that help owners in case one of a pair dies or they want to avoid a pet-buying cycle, but still stay within the coupling law. Another way to stay within the law is to do what this family is doing, asking to borrow a stud guinea pig to make babies with their little lady so she won't be alone.With those flowers in her hair fur, how can she not get *lucky*.

Here's my version of a Tinder ad for these love birds, er, pigs:
Swiss Sally looking for Hairy Harry
for brief vacation tryst.
No commitment necessary.
Doesn't matter if you like children. 
Big cheeks (on your face) a plus
for seed storage during our dinner dates.

©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.