Thursday, May 28, 2009


I put myself through Grad School on Swiss change including the flights to Wales. After Grad School I continued to squirrel away change and by 2004, some eight years later, I had more than three years of retirement money saved. After retirement I continued to save change, although not at the same rate and without touching the savings I already had. I have always lived under my income (a novel concept today) because I have more than enough to meet my needs and make me happy, although it is good thing I have no desire to own an airplane or a huge diamond.

And yes I know I could make more money if I invested in a stock market, but there are so many companies that do such harm, I couldn't sleep at night knowing that I was helping them. And yes, I also know my pension funds are probably invested in these same companies, but I can't control that. So I happily put my money in co-operatives and credit unions (and yes the post until there's enough to transfer) knowing that the money is going back into my community not to polluting a jungle in Equador or bribing the FDA to release an unsafe drug.

Thus this morning I took 800 CHF in rolled coins, saved from my stay in Geneva up to the Post to face... MY OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE POSTMASTER.

He weighed, reweighed, reweighed, reweighed each roll, found one short 5 centimes. The line behind me grew longer and longer and longer. He reached into his pocket and added the five centimes. I reached for my wallet but he shook his head.

No sooner had I gotten home and the phone rang. It was him. There was another error. Now I admit I have a major math problem almost to the point of learning disability. Thank goodness for computers to do what I can't. Back to the post office I went. We fixed the error. I can now go to Argeles with an empty piggy bank and when I get back will worry about the next step.

Still change has given me a sense of security. Maybe Ben Franklin was right. A penny saved is a penny earned or maybe it is a centime saved is a centime earned not to mention a five franc piece.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Petal Puddle

What a sensual day it was starting by coming downstairs to find the petals puddled from the bouquet on the desk.

A dead bird on the walk to the post was a reminder of the fragility of life, but the moment passed as a sleek horse clip clopped by. The sound of his hooves against the pavement was too pedestrian belying his sleek glimmering chocolate coat and his arrogrant strut.
The lake shimmered below. A red/orange flowering bush, lush hid the irises behind. They were such a translucent lilac, that the colour was almost imaginary.
Bird song accompanied me back to the house.

Waiting for the bus, the sun baked through my jeans thawing the last bit of winter cold from my bones. At the same time, a light breeze blowing through the irridescent leaves tickled my cheeks with all the force of an eyelash blinking against my skin.
Eating downtown the couscous was flavoured with cinanmon and the meat ball had a hint of mint.
Back to writing, two wasps played tag in my room. I suspect they had microphones and a rock band amplifier attached to their bodies as I shoved one out the window. The other committed suicide in my desk lamp.
When moment after moment fills the senses with sound, smell, colour, touch I know with every eon in my body what being alive means.


Did Llara get there okay...?

Worried Mom

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A woman hands raised
trapped in an evergreen tree
head bowed braids trailing*
*The tree is on the ILO grounds

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A weekend of surprises

It was a weekend of surprises.

1. I was called up on stage after my friend's Indian Dance to be thanked for my part in helping with the writing of the 20 anniversary book of the school. I resisted walking across the stage with the Indian dance traditional high steps and hands folded in front of me. I was touched by the thoughtfulness of the head of the dance school, a woman I admire greatly. A couple of years ago I had written about her for a woman's news site.

2. I woke up Sunday morning AFTER the handball tournament I was supposed to attend started. I don't usually oversleep no matter how late I get to bed.

3. The sister-in-law of my host and hostess had the same birthday I did. This would not be surprising in a group of 50 or more but with five, well add it to the list.

4. The decision to go to Gruyere (yes of the famous cheese). I'd been well over 40 times (it is a great place to take friends in Switzerland for a short time to get the feel of the mountains) but not in the last six years.

5. Finding a Tibetan museum in Gruyere.

6. Eating a fondue WAS NOT A SURPRISE!!!! In fact going to Gruyere without eating at least of one of the follow -- fondue, raclette or meringues with double cream and/or raspberries, would be a surprise.

7. The best surprise was on the way home when my host pulled off the road and started down a path where he showed us the Pissing Cow (English translation) waterfall. The force of the water dampened our faces, the smell of the damp earth and the newly-leafed trees made a perfect ending to a perfect, albeit surprising) weekend.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I know computers are important

in our house for both work and pleasure but this morning I found my housemate in what looked like prayer to her Mac. She did give an explanation but...

Billet Orphelin

The Ongoing Original Death Notices Series

Billet means bills as in money, Orphelin is orphan. The man who designed the latest round of Swiss money died. His death was announced by making the money an orphan. I love it. It comes second to Miller has gone to join his Marilyn.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Happiness is

My new pretty blue mini laptop and a pot of tea in my penguin teapot

Monday, May 11, 2009

A trip to the post

I went to the Post in France to mail eight books to my agent based in Paris. She wants to push for more international sales. The cost is about 75% less than it would be in Switzerland and I did not want to face my obsessive compulsive postmaster in the village. In France you buy the box, the weight is immaterial, and there is a tracer.

One Collisimo box was too small, the next too big giving me a Goldilocks moment, but the smiling clerk handed it over. I should explain that in a right brain left brain test I DID NOT answer ONE left brain question. Thus the folds and machinations of sealing the box were a challenge. I was to one side of the post using the bank of chairs as a table. The line of eight people were finding my attempts amusing at best. Finally a man broke out of line and came to my rescue.

Thanking him profusely I went to the back of the line, but everyone insisted I go to the head of the line (probably repayment for the entertainment).

Then came The Question. "Are you English or American."

I know, I know, I shouldn't have but I replied, "I know you'll find it difficult to believe, but I'm Swiss."¨

Normal looks of consternation before I added "But I grew up in the U.S., my parents never spoke French with me and I learned the language late."

Of course my mother never spoke French to me: she never learned it. My father left Canada too young to really become proficient in French and my grandparents who were francophone I seldom saw because my mother didn't like foreigners. When I took French in University the professor spent three semesters on the first ten pages in the book but we learned about his life, his adventures, etc. It was an easy B and allowed time to concentrate on other subjects.

I told the man who helped me, he was un ange, an angel.

The smiling clerk collected my money and said, he wasn't too sure about the man being an angel. The others in line seconded, thirded, fourthed etc. the opinion, but they did agree he was nice to help me.

I thanked everyone wished them all a bonne journée.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The weekend


The city names were listed on the whiteboard while my housemate and I decided where to spend the weekend after our original German trip had been deemed impractical. We discussed the merits of each and all had a certain appeal. The decision was going to be based on a drawing from a bowl.

So what won?

None. The chalet in the Alps of Valais.

The idea of walking mountain trails accompanied by birdsong, a goat cheese fondue, reading, DVDs of Monk and Boston Legal while a fire burned in the fireplace taking the chill off the spring nights seemed far more pleasurable than rushing around looking at sites. But then again, I’ve been in Damascus and UK recently and will feel like playing sightseeing again. But this weekend walking along the forest path, I knew the rapture of just living.

Soap on a Spike

In old Swiss tearooms and restaurants in the toilets, they often have what I call, soap on a spike, usually bright yellow that makes one want to eat something lemon. As traditional as the soap, this tea room had a very unSwiss whimsical toilet seat. Whimsy and Swiss are not usually paired words.

Another Sunday Another Votation

When I dropped the latest ballot into the mailbox, I sighed in relief.

The ballot won’t be counted until next Sunday, but this time the explanation booklet that came with my ballot package only left me more confused. Even the listings in the back of how the many different political parties felt about the issue wasn’t much help. I reviewed all the publicity boards that are strategically placed throughout the town and discussed it with my housemate. Finally I felt confident enough to fill out the ballot, sign the signature card and drop it in the mail.

Some of the issues that most countries do not give citizens a chance to vote on:
1. Should insurance cover alternative medicine?
2. Should citizen juries give way to professional judges?
3. Should school children be given grades for deportment?
4. Should biometric passports be obligatory?

Being Swiss can be hard work, but I am so grateful for the opportunity.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Bet this is the first Avatar you've gotten

Meez 3D avatar avatars games

H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y S U S I E ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !*

*Was out before you went to work so I couldn't call, but I didn't forget


Twittering trying

I've ignored Facebook and Myspace figuring that I didn't need the distractions and political old me, just doesn't like their privacy and ownership policies.

The Twitter came along and hearing news casters talk about their twitters, I was tempted but with the newsletter and novel, did I need one more computer interuption?

I use this blog primarily as a writing warm up although sometimes it is pre-planned with photos and my delightfully thinner and younger avatar DL2. Other times it is let the fingers hit the keys like now. Character limitation doesn't go along with it.

However during the day, I've often had thoughts that if I could only find my pen I could jot down.

So I'm experimenting with twitter, and still not sure, but then I haven't mastered the ins and outs yet. Still the background colour goes well with my bedroom, although it will clash in Argeles.

Anyone who wants to follow try dlnelson7

On verra.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The sheep herding experience

I've taken tons of management courses each with a certificate which went straight into the bin, however, I intend to keep my sheep herding certificate.

Come back sheepy sheepy sheep...Oops that's not the call..Ourway our its comeby comeby...don't head butt me...dogs, lie down aye LIE DOWN, walk in, steady comeby...get em out of here...oh, the dog did what I said, the sheep went in the direction I thought they would...hmmm maybe I do have another career choie.

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