Sunday, June 9, 2019

I. Am. NOT. A. Tasty. Morsel.

In fact, I'm not a morsel of any kind, tasty or otherwise. See?

My humans often tell me how much I stink, which leads me to believe I wouldn't taste very good. But that message hasn't translated to certain other dogs.

Big dogs.

Pit Bull dogs.

Who bite me.

It has happened three times in my life. The first time was by my cousin, Sheeba (may she RIP).

It was a bit of a territory misunderstanding. After the altercation, I healed. And we kept our distance.

Come to think of it, the second time it happened it was a territory misunderstanding, too. With my other cousin, Mucca (may she RIP, as well). In the spirit of full disclosure, I bit her, too.

Hmm, I seem to have extended pack issues, but that is a subject I'll have to explore in another blog post. After that altercation, I healed. And we kept our distance.

Anyway, I will be the first to admit that I can be a bit of know, 'female dog' (which I am, of course)...about territory disputes.  But the third time I got bit by a Pit Bull it was not about territory. And I was not being a 'female dog' about anything. And it just happened two days ago.

This is what went down...So mom, dad, Maureen, and I went out for a walk. I was having the best time. Smells. So many smells.

We went up a path past some cows and their famous pies. Them pies smell soooo good.

Then down a road past a cherry orchard. I think the farmer just fertilized. Oh, yeah, I love me some fertilizer.

Then up a path into a forested area. Animals live in forests, lots of interesting animals...and their smells!

We were walking along and I was enjoying the smells when up ahead we saw a group of humans. With a Pit Bull dog. Off. Leash.

Now when we see dogs off-leash, ANY dogs off-leash, we either turn around and go another way, or dad picks me up, or whoever is at the other end of my leash reels me in and we walk past fast. Super fast. No matter how "friendly" or "well behaved" other dogs are, I know from experience that they are animals and can be unpredictable.

So the other day we decided to walk past the group of humans super fast. Mr. Pit Bull growled and lunged as we scurried by, but he was being restrained by a large man with a beer bottle in one hand and that menacing dog's collar in the other. I did a little yip, but I actually was quite civil. I had been walking a while, so I didn't have much energy to get all uppity (if you know what I mean) about things. 

We were a good 50 yards past the group of people when all of a sudden Mr. Pit Bull breaks free of his owner's grip. I heard a sharp, "Nein!" then the dog was on me. Literally ON me.

Maureen, bless her soul, screamed the highest pitched scream I've ever heard.

Mom yelled, "No!"

And dad tried to pull me out of Mr. Pit Bull's mouth.

I ended up spinning around by my harness a few times while the dog repeatedly bit down on my side, butt, and tail. After what felt like forever, the man with the beer appeared and grabbed Mr. Pit Bull and repeated the the phrases, "Es tut mir leid. Die Hunden spielen." *I'm sorry. The dogs are playing.

While. Standing. Three. Feet. Away. From. ME.

I cried. And cried and cried. I was shaking. I was hurting. And there was spit on my butt!

Mom kept yelling, "Nicht spielen!" *Not playing!
The guy ignored her.

Maureen kept yelling, "Move your dog!"
He ignored her, too.

I think dad spoke his broken German with the guy, but I'm not sure what was said. In between my whimpers all I could hear was that dog growling, "I'm gonna get you." I was scared.

Eventually we hobbled home. I was shakey for the rest of the evening. And when I woke up the next morning. Oh. My. Goodness. I hurt. Bad.

Off to the vet for a shot of pain medication. Then a prescription for pain pills. She said I had severe bruising, but my hind quarters are still intact. So there's that.

If only humans would keep their dogs on-leash. For being such a rule bound society, the Swiss don't follow that particular rule even when there are signs that clearly say that they should. And I can't even read!

Unfortunately Pit Bulls are not the only animals that like to put me in their mouth. I once was carried by the neck in the mouth of a coyote. That. Was. Not. Fun. Luckily, Colleen heard me and scared the coyote away. Amazingly, no puncture wounds, just coyote spit all over my fur. Predators and their spit - sheesh!

I've had some near misses with snakes, scorpions, bees, allergies, electric fences, and other dogs off-leash. I'm done with close encounters of the scary kind. I just want to lay low and live peacefully. Is that too much to ask?

Today's poem is my hope for my future:

human lap

put up my paws

stress free
from all excitement

©2019, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

High Profile

One day the field was empty.

The next it was not.

A new crop?

A full size Erector Set?

A field of flag poles?

Nope, none of the above.

Those poles filling the field are called Building Profiles.

In Switzerland these are used to visualize a building project.

How tall will the building project be?

How close to an adjacent road?

Or existing buildings? 

Building Profiles show all concerned (landowner, neighbors, government, etc.) what impact the building project will have on the local environment. They must be erected before the submission of the building application and must stay in place until the final approval of the building permit and any appeal proceedings.

Building Profiles are another example of how Switzerland develops its land, but in a very controlled manner.

"Swipe Right" on today's poem if you want help to 'Construct your Future':
I am as tall as you want me to be
and pole-thin.

I have no facade to hide behind
but I reveal so much.

Will your future be lofty
or will your view be obstructed?

Depends whether you like my height.

Will you be close with your neighbors
or will they be far flung and leave you isolated?

Check out my perimeter.

I am into the environment
and will stick around just long enough
for the ground to break on your future.

I will disappear only to be set up
where the grass is greener. 
©2019, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Row Row Row Your Boat

Actually they were rowing.

And them:

Really great rowers. Participants of the Swiss National Rowing Regatta which was being held in the next village over, Cham where we go to the grocery store.

Cham loves their rowing:

In fact they have an amazing rowing sculpture dedicated to the rowing club:
Carved out of wood to show motion.
Up close - so cool.

And on our weekly jaunt to the store we discovered that all of Switzerland came to row their boats in Cham:

At one point, the Lake Zug tour boat came through the middle of the Regatta:
Remember this boat, Joan and Bernie? And Helen?

We even had a local photographer ask to take our picture WATCHING the Regatta. We'll find out on Wednesday if we made it in newspaper. (It will be our second brush with the local media here. :)

At the end of the day, the rowers take their boats and head back to their lives:
More teamwork.
Another example of stumbling upon a really cool event while walking to the grocery store in Switzerland. We are lucky.

Now I'm going to float my poem by you...enjoy!




©2019, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Tariff - ic?

It depends who you ask.

We had major league sticker shock on food when we moved here - both in restaurants and grocery stores. As Joe likes to say, "Food is stupid expensive here!"

Food is so expensive in Switzerland because the Swiss use tariffs on imported food. I know tariffs are all over the news and beginning to affect daily life in the US, but the Swiss have been living the dream for a while.

In fact, according to the Swiss newspaper food prices are so high because of "exorbitant Swiss tariffs":

And the high tariffs have a direct effect on the overall cost of living here in Switzerland:

It is no wonder we get so excited when we vacation in neighboring countries - the food is so cheap!
One area that many in Switzerland feel the pain of high prices is in their quest for a caffeine fix - coffee! Joe included.  But after living here for close to two years we've found some places to find bargains. The best grocery store for finding reasonably priced food is the German chain, Lidl. When we discovered Lidl our grocery bill went down by at least 50%!

And one of Lidl's best perks is their coffee prices:
Only 1CHF! (equivalent to $1)

And they open early for your cheap cuppa caffeine:
The store doesn't open until 7:30, but you get to the coffee vending machine starting at 6am!

Now that is a public service.

Today's poem is more of a joke. Like the cost of coffee in a Swiss coffee shop. Enjoy and, um, gesundheit?

Q: What did the sick barista serve with each order?
A: A little cough-y! 

©2019, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

I Apologize for the Interruption...

...we will now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

So it has been a few weeks since I last posted. Life happened again as it is wont to do.

During my unscheduled hiatus I am happy to report that we had a lovely spring break whereby some super duper people (A and D) came to visit...

...and hung out with Maureen while Joe and I went on a cruise. By. Our. Selves. An early 30th wedding anniversary present to ourselves. (Our actual anniversary is June 17th). Who'd a thought we'd make it to the big 3-0?

After taking the train to Genoa, Italy we got on the boat:

Then we sailed for a bit with a stop in Mallorca, Spain:
In a cave with the largest underground lake in the world.
Overlooking the Mediterranean. 
Then onto Ibiza, Spain:
Chilly wind - we were willing it to be warmer than it was.

And finally onto to Naples, Italy where we spent a few days before taking the train back to Switzerland:
Lush Italian monastery gardens.
We will be returning to Naples!

Our time on the actual cruise was a story unto itself - a story that is a lot funnier in hindsight than when it was actually happening. Let's just say that the plumbing on the boat could BARELY keep up with the capacity Easter crowd, so much so that we seriously considered escaping in one of these:
Life boats right outside our balcony.

Also on my hiatus I had a health breakthrough. I figured out that my chronic sinus/respiratory illness for the past 6+ months is possibly due to mold in our apartment building:
In the basement...
...where we do laundry once a week.
There is no indication that the mold is in our actual apartment, but the onset of my symptoms began about two weeks after we moved in. Diving into the deep end of the germ pool in a grade 1 classroom has definitely contributed to my chronic illness, but I am pretty sure the allergies have too. But lucky for me, Nurse Anna helped me figure out the antihistamines and nasal sprays and I am happy to report that just two weeks on, I feel MUCH, MUCH BETTER. 😀

Switching gears, Happy Mother's Day to all the Mom's out there!  The Swiss love their moms, too, as is evident by the multitude of flowers readily available in all the stores. Most of the flower selection is standard fare, but I did see one flower arrangement that gave me pause:
A pink pineapple, of course! This arrangement was EVERYWHERE this week leading up to Mother's Day. I didn't receive it, which is fine by me, because I got something better. A few sweets to get me through the end of the school year:
I will pace myself as I head into the final 6 week stretch...

Today's poem is for my mama, Joe's mama, and all the mama readers out there. You are loved and appreciated:

As a baby,
I took a nap
on my mom's
warm, squishy lap.

As a toddler,
I got whiny.
Mom distracted me
with keys so shiny.

As a kiddo,
mom was stern.
"No" on repeat
so I would learn.

As a teen,
I got impudent.
Mom redirected
without incident.

Now I'm an adult
with kids of my own.
When I look back
I have to groan.

How could I have been
so hard on Mom?
Thank goodness her love
was steady and calm.

Happy Mother's Day!

©2019, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, April 15, 2019

You Are Invited...

April is National Poetry Month in America.

And Canada.

And the UK.

And possibly here in Switzerland, though there doesn't seem to be much of a unified observance. In fact, April doesn't seem to hold any more importance for poetry than any other month as I've seen events advertised for March, May, and even July.

But seeing as I am an American poet, I am celebrating Poetry Month NOW, smack dab in the middle of April.

And my gift to you on this auspicious occasion is the invitation to write poetry. Your own poetry.

You might be thinking, But I don't know how.

Well I have a video for that!

In fact I have 4 videos for that!

If you look at the right sidebar of this blog you will see three pictures that link to my first 3 How To Poetry videos:

10 Steps to Writing Acrostics video which has garnered 23,000+ views.

10 Steps to Writing Limericks* video which has garnered 15,000+ views.

10 Steps to Writing Riddle Poems video which has garnered 3,000+ views.

And debuting today:

(drum roll, please)

10 Steps to Writing Haiku

I invite you to watch, learn, and write haiku. 

Share your haiku with me. With someone you love. Or better yet, someone you don't like. What better way to improve any relationship than with a poem?

I also invite you to SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel: Wee Words for Wee Ones and SHARE my videos with anyone and everyone you think might be interested. A THUMBS UP 👍 is always appreciated, as well.

I have several more How To Poetry videos in the works: Cinquain, Fibonacci, Abcederian, and MORE!

Is there a poetry form you are curious about? Suggest a poetry form for a future Wee Words How To Poetry video in the comments. I'll give you credit for the suggestion. 

*A 2.0 version of my Limerick video is almost complete! When it is ready to publish, I will include the link here in a blog post. I will lose the 15,000+ views the first Limerick video has, but it needs to be updated. Such as life for a poetry video maker... 😃 

**Huge shout out to fellow American poet and haiku extraordinaire, Elizabeth Steinglass, for previewing my haiku video. Thanks, Liz!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Did We Order That?

It all started with a craving for a fruit smoothie.

The only thing standing in the way of our teenager and her smoothie ingredients was the freezer door. A benign foe.

Freezers here are crazy small - about the size of a shoe box!

With a grab and a pull, said teenager opened the freezer door, but also broke it.
The hairy arm is Joe's for demonstrative purposes.

Unbeknownst to the teenager's parental units, the smoothie ingredients were duly retrieved and the door was propped back into place. Hours later, the next unsuspecting hungry person (who happened to be the teenager's dad) opened the freezer door only to have it fall off in his hand. Oops.

It was later determined that the freezer door was already cracked before the teenager got her fruit. It had just not broken all the way through. The teenager's decision to prop the door closed was a good one so the food inside wouldn't defrost, but it was determined that communicating that fact to other hungry people would have been a good idea.

Being that we are former homeowners, our first inclination was to fix the freezer door ourselves instead of enlisting the landlord. So Joe taped and glued the broken peg thingy (technical term!) and made an inquiry on the refrigerator manufacturer's (V-Zug) website about the cost to replace the door.

A little background: V-Zug is a Swiss appliance manufacturer. They make everything from ovens to washing machines to refrigerators. They are expensive, but if homeowners/landlords can afford it, they go with Swiss made V-Zug appliances above the German competitors, Siemens or Bosch or, to a much lessor extent, the Asian brands.

So, Joe used the Contact Us page on the V-Zug website to ask for a quote for a replacement freezer door. He even wrote the inquiry in Deutsch.  He had to include the serial number of the refrigerator on the form. While waiting for an email reply, we received a box in the mail! With the replacement freezer door! Two days after Joe hit 'send'!

Joe went back and checked, he never ordered the door. He simply asked for a price. But we got one. AND our landlord was informed. Apparently the serial number on the refrigerator is tied to a database that indicated that our landlord was the owner of the refrigerator, not us. But we were billed CHF142.55. (The US $ to CHF exchange rate is 1-to-1 as I write this today, 7th April, 2019.)

If it had been more than CHF150, the landlord would have been billed. Oh well.

Joe popped the new door in place and the smoothie fruit seeking teenager is now appropriately cautious when entering the frozen zone.

On a side note, after living in Switzerland for more than 18 months with a freezer the size of a shoe box we finally broke down and did what most Swiss people do. We bought a separate used freezer on (the Craigslist of Switzerland) for only CHF50! That is almost CHF100 less than the replacement freezer door! Go figure.
Made by Bosch.
Lots of room!

Our extra freezer lives in the basement...kind of an inconvenient convenience.

Today's poem is a gentle reminder that appliances in Switzerland need to be treated with care:

tiny icebox
flip open door
don't bust another
or we'll be poor
©2019, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.