Tickle Walk

One of the best parts of living in Switzerland is that the Swiss embrace nature. Every aspect of nature in every weather condition. It is often said, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.

And then sometimes the Swiss leave their clothing behind...well, at least their shoes. Case in point, all over Switzerland there are Barfusswege or Bare Foot Trails. We happen to have one of these trails in our neighborhood.

Kick off your shoes, pull off your socks, and take a walk with me...

We'll start here following these pavers:

To this first box:

 Which is:
Translation: Fine Gravel
Then here:

Which is:
Translation: Course Gravel
How are your feet feeling so far? Off to a pretty rocky start...hee hee.

Let's stay on the path...

Until we get here:

Which is:
You guessed it,  Quartz Sand!
Then on to this box:

Which is:
Our best guess at the translation is Russian Balls???
How are the 'balls' of your feet feeling now?

Well, let's move on to:

Which is:
Translation: Sawdust
Then we get to the boxes that have a railing to help us walk:

We first cross this:

Which is:
Translation: Crushed Stones

Then we cross this:

Which is:
Translation: Even smaller Crushed Stones
Smaller ouch!
Then on to the smelly stuff:

Which is:
Translation: you guessed it, Compost Soil!
I thought my feet smelled bad before...

Next we veer a little to the left:

Which is:
Translation: Sand!
Smooths your insoles!

Then we take a step up:

Into this box:

Which is:
Translation: Hydro Spheres!
Here they are up close:
They are super light - almost like volcanic rock balls.

Watch your step - those volcano balls are hard to walk on!

Let's regain our footing in this box:

Which is:
Translation: Wood Chips!
And finally on to a real trail stopper (see what I did there?)

Which is:
Translation: Corks!
At this point your feet might be w(h)ining (I did it again!) so a water faucet has been provided to soothe and clean your feet:
The Swiss are so thoughtful.

Thank you for joining me for this sensory stroll. For you, I have this poem:
nimbly traipse
through the tickly path
toe to heel texture
end with a bath
©2019, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Free Wheeling

In the U.S. I have seen metal shopping carts in lots of places other than grocery stores or grocery store parking lots. I've seen them abandoned in river beds (dry and flowing), along streets and freeways and in random neighborhoods.
Photo Source

Here in Switzerland, and in much of Europe, they don't have the problems associated with shopping carts wandering off. Here you "rent" the cart for your shopping trip.

Each cart is 'chained' to the one in front of it. Put in your coin, in Switzerland 1CHF (equivalent to ~1USD), and your cart is free to wheel around the store.

When you return it, you get your 1CHF back.

With every shopper 'investing' in its use, carts don't normally end up where they don't belong.

Another feature that European shopping carts have that I have never encountered in the U.S. is that these carts 'free wheel' - literally. Most of us have used shopping carts that have two fixed wheels in the rear with two unfixed wheels for steering in the front. Well, here all four wheels are unfixed - moving independent of each other. (And at times, independent of the person pushing it as well!) It has taken some getting used to to 'drive' one of these carts.

Sometimes, I expect to hear, Look out on Aisle 3, Bridget is at the handle! over the loud speaker in the store. But of course it would be in German. 😉

As an extra bonus, today I am including one of my favorite '80's songs, You Spin Me Round, recreated by one of my favorite actors, Paul Rudd. Dead or Alive never sounded (or looked) so good:

There is no way today's poem can top that awesomeness, but I'll give it a spin anyway. (See what I did there?) 

Actually, today's poem is not 'free wheeling' in the mechanical sense, it is more of an insight into a toddler's dizzying logic. (As a side note, toddler logic is universal. I've seen this scene play out in Swiss grocery stores, the 'players' just happen to be speaking German...or French...or Italian...)

I ride in the shopping cart
because Mom makes me.
But I have a plan.

I start to point 
and whine,
"Can I have that, pleeeeease?" 

Then I move on to
kicking the cart and repeating,
"I want it...I want it...I want it..." 

When I get to 
"Gimme, gimme, gimme..." 
at the top of my voice,

Mom. Has. Had. It.

"That's enough!"
Mom swoops me out of the cart.
"You're holding my hand now."

Which is what I wanted all along.
©2019, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

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 a...you 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.

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.