Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Blind Puppy Love

When we moved from the US to Switzerland, of course Smidgey came along, too.
How could we not bring this cute furry face?

















Actually the move across the world for Smidgey was fantastic. She was picked up by a pro dog-handler in Phoenix, flown to Chicago where she had an overnight layover at a pet resort (kennel). Then she was flown to Zurich where she was received by another pro dog-handler who drove her to us. When Smidgey got out of the van, she was happy as can be - full body tail wagging with a look on her face that said, Where were you guys? I had the best trip! She had no quarantine and was with us within hours of our own arrival in Switzerland.
She even has her own Swiss passport:











Upon setting up residence here in Zug we had to register Smidgey with the Gemeinde (local government) and pay a 'Dog Tax'. For Smidge it is CHF100 a year.

















This tax provides us with all the poop bags we may ever need to clean up after Smidgey...and she is prolific! The poop bag dispensers are all over the city: along the sidewalks, at many bus shelters, and out on rural paths, between fields. You pay, the Swiss provide, so things stay dog-poop-free, for the most part.
Some provide orange bags...



















...while others provide red.



















Some have a cute jumping dog picture on the trashcan...



















...while others are a bit more graphic for what its purpose is.



















Switzerland is a rule bound society, with pretty strict enforcement, which I appreciate. But the one area the Swiss seem to think the rules don't apply to them is walking their dogs on-leash. There are plenty of signs graphically explaining the rule:










Or:










But more often than not, we encounter dogs off-leash when walking Smidgey. And for those of you who may not have met Smidgey, she doesn't always 'play well with others' - especially if it is a big dog bounding toward her off-leash. So we have resorted to avoidance: either hiding behind a hedge, a building or a car, or completely changing directions to avoid doggy conflict. When none of these tactics is an option, we resort to a hug and a hand. It is much the same principle as a hooded falcon, what you can't see won't hurt you:
See no evil...
...means no evil barking.

It works. Every. Time.
Smidgey literally has no idea she is being carried right past another dog. We just set her down right after we've passed the other dog, and she goes about her doggy business none the wiser. The other dog owners mostly think it is funny, especially the owners of the little yappy dogs (like Smidge). Some owners look at us puzzled. And a few have given us the stink eye. But our thinking is, if you kept your dog on-leash, we wouldn't need to hide our dog's eyes!

Today's poem is about walking our Smidgey-girl, always an adventure: 
a hug and a hand
turns day into night
other dogs off-leash
there is no f(r)ight
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Warning: Shameless Publication News: 
I am proud to announce that my poem, 'Mom Always Knows', 
will be published by the Irish publisher, Gill Education, who are developing a new core English program for Irish primary schools called Over the Moon. My poem will be in a 1st Class Reader and will have accompanying exercises and activities.  How cool is that?

Friday, May 25, 2018

Surf's Up

...in a river!

Last weekend we visited Munich, Germany. We saw many incredible sights:
The Bavarian State Chancellery












Marienplatz (with A LOT of people).












Chinesischer Turm (which is actually a beer garden).




















The Deutsches Museum...













...where Joe was in machine tool heaven!



















But the most incredible sight was the people SURFING in the Eisbach River in the middle of the English Gardens (a huge public park in the center of Munich). Water flowing over concrete slabs creates a wave and the locals surf on it.
This guy surfed back...












...and forth across the narrow channel.












This is where the surfers get in and get used to the water...


...then they line up on the other side of the channel to wait for their turn to surf. There was even one woman!





















 But this activity is not without its dangers AND warnings:
Hazard! If the skull doesn't discourage you I don't what will.















As you can see, the surfers are all wearing wet suits. Apparently the water doesn't get much above 60 degrees F, even in the middle of summer. In fact, the name Eisbach literally means Ice Stream.

We will definitely be returning to Munich sooner than later - there is SO much to see.

My poem is dedicated to the surfers of Munich:
balancing the risk
with the brisk
undulating surfers 
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

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.