Thursday, April 23, 2020

Take Away

I've always had the strong desire to have a take away from life events - a life lesson or wisdom gleaned from having had whatever the experience.

Like my take away that Barbie doll hair doesn't grow back after you cut it to the scalp nubbins. Duly noted by the fact that my mother never bought me another Barbie after my "salon" incident.

Or my take away that Smidgey can go on a multiple day hunger strike protesting her perfectly good kibble after stealing inadvertently eating a large chunk of cheese and then having tummy issues. Duly noted that cheese can be used as a treat/motivator for Smidgey, but should not be a staple of her day-to-day diet. (Much to her chagrin.)
Look what Smidgey can do when cheese is a possibility.



















My most recent take away: after 6 weeks of homemade meals, day after day, morning/noon/night, we have a hankering for a meal not cooked by us. In the olden' days(pre-Covid) we only went out to eat at restaurants about once a month as restaurants here are outrageously expensive: ~90CHF for Thai food for 3 (no alcohol)! But desperate times call for a splurge once in a while.

Now Maureen, being the teenager that she is, wanted Burger King. Of course, BK has been open for take away since the social distancing rules went into effect, but there isn't one in our village. In fact, there is only one in our Canton (state), in a neighboring city - about a 20 minute train ride from our house. And going on public transport for Burger King (an obvious non-essential food) is not only bad form, but is dangerous during a pandemic. (Note: BK is dangerous for my cardiovascular health anytime.) So we looked into delivery. O.M.G! A Whopper meal (burger, fries, and a drink) x 3 people is 55.80CHF. With delivery, an extra 17CHF. The grand total would be 72.80CHF! Needless to say, we didn't order BK take away. (As of this writing 1USD = .97CHF)













My take away from this BK-nearly-bankrupting-us-cardiac arrest-experience is we don't want take away THAT bad.

This brings me to the realities of this ongoing pandemic we all find ourselves in. What's my take away so far? People are fundamentally good, some governments, not so much.

Since the pandemic began I've had a strong desire to help beyond doing my part to Stay At Home. Living here in Switzerland, with only rudimentary German, I have been hard pressed to find ways to make a difference locally. And the Swiss government's response to widespread unemployment/furloughed employees has been much more humane, so the need here is not as acute as it is in my home country, the US. (Though the Swiss government's plan for reopening is scary, but that is a post for another day...)







Throughout our home confinement we have had a need to connect with family and friends locally and abroad. At the start of March, before Switzerland shut down, we sent out 3 packages to 3 different family members:
1 package made it to my Mom just after her 20 March birthday.
1 package is still AWOL somewhere between Switzerland and California, completely missing my daughter's 5 April birthday.
And 1 package went from Switzerland to Abu Dhabi and back to Switzerland again in a month. Apparently, after we sent it, the Abu Dhabi postal system shut down. Instead of holding it in that country until the restrictions lifted, they sent it back to Switzerland. At least parcels are getting a vacation.

Round trip for only 30CHF! Ugh.











The take away from these postal experiences? Email is a much better way to keep in touch with loved ones in this new world. So to keep in touch with family and friends, Maureen and I have been doing a drawing-a-day together using the YouTube drawing tutorial sites (most were DrawSoCute videos) and then emailing them to family and friends. They have been well received and having your teenage daughter want to draw beside you day after day of self isolation is a pandemic win!

Then inspiration struck! What if I combine my desire for take away, my desire to help, the desire to share Maureen and my pictures, my love of poetry and the efficiency of email into one big project?

Ta-da! I present to you my Pandemic Poetry Take Away Ecard Extravaganza!

Here is the Take Away Menu (picture + poem = ecard love):

Swiss Chocolate
a
milk
white or dark 
chocolate piece
melts slowly over my 
tongue as I thank the Swiss
kindred spirits whose love for
chocolate is as mountainous as mine
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.






Swiss Cheese
all cheese
in the land of Swiss
is Swiss cheese
dairy bliss
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.





PB&J family
we eat PB&J
scoop, spread, chew
mnest mnandwich memer
mouth stuck like glue
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.
A dab of avocado...see what I did there?
A dab of...

A 'good' fat
Vitamins C, E, K, and B-6
Oil for cooking and cosmetics
Creamy texture
Actually a fruit
Delicious
Omega-3
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.




tacos - ole!
fresh fillings
spicy taste
twin tacos
shelled embrace
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.






bunny 💓's pancakes
dry ingredients
combined with wet
mix thoroughly
forget the baguette

hot griddle
flip each side
golden syrup
home plate slide
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.




cat calculating pi/pie

 Pi or pie
calculated
delight
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.










A: ǝʞɐɔ ʎɐpɥʇɹıq ɐ

I wear a halo of fiery light,
while being a sweet delight.

You eat me on your special day,
to celebrate your aging - hooray!

I give you great pleasure,
and memories to treasure,
who am I?
 ©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.



No yolk,
after this is over
let's do breakfast.
We're meant to be together.
 ©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.



As an added bonus, most pictures have a cute little Smidgey (drawn by Maureen) to share our puppy love:












These calorie-free delicacies are perfect for the family and friends in YOUR life. Email your Pandemic Poetry Take Away order to bridget@bridgetmagee.com and I will send you as many JPEG picture/poems as you would like to send on to the special people in your life.

And for every drawing + poem you "order", I will donate to No Kid Hungry.org.

You pay NOTHING. (I am donating anyway, but this is much more fun, don't you think?)

I get the chance to share my pandemic picture/poetry creations to spread love across the world while simultaneously getting to make a tangible difference for the most vulnerable in my home country. The take away for this extravaganza? Win-win-win!

To join in on the Poetry Friday fun, visit Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wandering.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Ticked Off!

I'm not angry at any one person per se,  just angry at an insect. A parasitic insect. A tick.

This week something unexpected came up, or I should say, burrowed in, that required some creative problem solving. Our poor Smidgey got a tick in her neck.
Mr.Tick was right under her harness.














When we discovered it, we had a moment of panic. Does this warrant a trip to the vet? Is the vet even open during the current Covid-19 shutdown?

Luckily, Joe's boss' wife (how's that for twice removed?) is a vet so we called her.












From the pictures we texted her, BossWife saw immediately that Smidgey indeed had a tick and it needed to be removed, but not by a vet. She recommended going to the Apotheke (pharmacy) and asking for a Zeckenzange. After a beat, and a quick scan through our limited German vocabulary which came up empty, we asked, a what? Apparently a Zeckenzange is a tick tweezer. And they sell them in Swiss pharmacies. At that point it was pretty late in the afternoon and the thought of getting on public transport to go to our local Apotheke did not appeal to us for obvious reasons.

So Joe did a quick search of Swiss online sources for a Zeckenzange. He found an affordable source, but it would take 10 days (if we were lucky) to be delivered. Not an option.














After seeing a Zeckenzange online, Joe realized he has a solution sitting in our guest room: our 3D printer. Another quick online search yielded a Thingiverse 3D CAD model.**
Joe opened the CAD model in a 3D printer program (Slicer Software):

The Slicer program.


And then he printed a Zeckenzange on our 3D printer:
Being printed.
All finished.

An hour and half later we had a tool ready to use on Smidgey.

Success! With a slide, a twist, and a pull, Smidgey got Ticked Off!

The nasty culprit.
This tick trouble is exhausting.
From the first discovery of the tick, to it being removed was about 2 hours!

And Smidgey is feeling fine...but now we have to worry about social distancing from her because now they say animals are at risk for the Coronavirus. Ugh.

**Thingiverse is a website dedicated to the sharing of user-created digital design files. Providing primarily free, open source hardware designs licensed under the GNU General Public License or Creative Commons licenses, users choose the type of user license they wish to attach to the designs they share. Wikipedia

Today's poem chronicles yet another adventure with our furry girl :

tall grass
uninvited guest
burrowed in
my dog's chest

action needed
pandemic on
Thingiverse tool
tick is gone
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Join me! I am proud to announce that I will be hosting a Poetry Webinar: Poetic License: Road Tested Methods for Adding Poetry to Your Writing sponsored by SCBWI-Switzerland on April 16 from 8:15 pm - 9:30 pm CET. If the time doesn't work for you, it will be recorded, and available for viewing for two weeks following the completion of the live presentation. At just 15CHF for SCBWI Members and 20CHF for Non-Members it is a fun way to spend a little time...talking poetry. :)
(Current exchange rate is 1 CHF = 1.03 USD.)
All the Details and Registration Can Be Found Here!

Today, Poetry Friday is being hosted by the amazing Children's Author and Writing Teacher, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at The Poem Farm. Not sure what Poetry Friday is? A great explanation can be found HERE. Join us for all the poetry goodness!

Thursday, April 2, 2020

On the Bright Side

Or in our household, on the light side!









One positive side effect in this current age of social distancing/quarantine (and I'm making a deliberate effort to see that there are many) is that our laundry loads have become lighter.

I've blogged here about the differences of doing laundry in Switzerland compared to back in the US, but today I'm not airing our dirty laundry...because we don't have much!

Now that we're home all the time, the balance of our wardrobe is shifting. Of course, it has everything to do with not having to dress up to go to work, but I can assure you, we are all wearing pants and we change them daily.

Yes, this needs to be clarified because apparently that is not the case in all households during the current situation. In fact, I read an article that the sales of tops are up, but not bottoms. It actually makes sense since your colleagues on a video conference calls can only see you from your top up. And believe me, your dog doesn't care if you are wearing dress pants or sweat pants. Wear whatever you want as long as you share your cheese.

Smidgey hiding out until someone shares their cheese. :)














Oh, and another reason things are on the bright side over here is it is staying light later! Last Sunday, 29 March, Switzerland started our daylight saving time by springing forward. Unfortunately, we now have a 9 hour time difference with California, where most of our family is, but alas, we have more daylight to go out and enjoy sit home and self isolate. Oh well...

Today's poem is proof that the little things make a big difference:

our laundry still multiplies
but the rate at which slows
we're all business on top
cause on camera that shows

look at the bright side
while you hang out at home
time spent not doing laundry
could lead to a poem
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Welcome Poetry Friday Friends! Today's amazing 
poetry host is Heidi at my juicy little universe.
Check out the National Poetry Month goodness.