Monday, June 30, 2008

Zermatt, Switzerland: June 27 (Day One)

What a wonderful trip. Brian and I had a fantastic weekend. Everyone should go see the Matterhorn!

The trip started out on a stressed, late foot. Our babysitter, aka my sister Colleen, was flying in from London. Unfortunately her flight was delayed a half hour. Then her train from the airport was delayed another five minutes. I thought the Swiss were always on time? Unfortunately this pushed my departure time back and Brian and I missed the train we were going to take.

No worries though, there was another one an hour later. And I was able to show Colleen where everything was and still make the connection to the main Zurich train station.

Once there, Brian and I had to meet up. I made it to the platform before the train arrived and started dialing Brian's cell phone. No answer. The train pulled up, people rushed to get on. I tried him again. No answer. I dialed a third time, wondering if I should just get on and find him somewhere on the train.

This time he answered. He had seats in the first car of the train. A mere 100 yards away from where I was.


So I ran down the platform, barely making it onto the car before the train departed. We were on the train, finally. But of course this was the popular commuter train leaving Zurich at 5 pm traveling to Bern. It was packed.

An hour later we arrived at Bern and the majority of the people on the train made their way to the exits. Brian and I stretched out and started to relax.

Then a conductor came to the front of our train car and starting speaking in German. Luckily, a woman I met a couple of weeks ago introduced me to the phrase "En-shul-de-gen". No idea how to spell it, but I know how to say it and it means "I'm sorry, my fault".

The conductor started his speech with this phrase and then everyone exited the train car. Didn't take much to realize that they were leaving this part of the train behind and we had to move to a different section of the train.

Remember how I mentioned we were in the first car of the train? Yep, we had to high tail it down to the other end of the train (the end I was originally near in Zurich- don't worry, I pointed this out to Brian) and find new seats. It was a workout to say the least. But we made it and the train departed for our next transfer station, Visp.

Bern looked fantastic as we left on the second leg of our trip. We will definitely have to go back. This part of our trip took another hour or so. Once in Visp, we transferred to the final leg of our journey, an hour trip on the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn. The scenery on the Glacier Express was fantastic and serene. We were struck by how clean the air seemed to smell.
We noticed a lot of high school aged kids on the train, going home after school we assumed. The train stopped at some very small towns on the way to Zermatt. We wondered where these kids were coming from, how long their commute took, and what life must be like in these small towns in the Valais.

The train we were on was older and it seemed like it wouldn't be able to climb some of the inclines we came upon. But, of course, it did and we arrived in Zermatt (a little late).

The electric car from our hotel, The Omnia, was waiting for us in front of the train station. Electric cars are fairly new to Zermatt, it used to be a pedestrian only town.
The ceiling of the electric car had paneling with an interesting pattern to it. This paneling was also in the lobby of our hotel.
The trip to our hotel was short. The hotel is situated on a steep hill just above the center of town. But we didn't have to climb it. The entrance to the hotel is through a tunnel.
Once inside, you take an elevator to the lobby. Very cool.

The front desk offered us a drink, gave us a tour of the hotel, and then showed us to our room.

The hotel itself is intriguing. Colleen and Zach, interior design student sister and architect friend, came to mind. They would love this place. It is supposed to be a Swiss take on a classic American lodge. Very clean lines, minimalist furnishings.

That's about all you'll get as far as commentary from me. I'm an engineer, remember?

Well, one more thing. I noticed exposed ductwork in the main elevator shaft (elevators were glass). The ductwork's insulation was also visible. The architects I've worked with in the past would never let that fly!

I think I mentioned this one too many times because at some point during the weekend Brian started poking fun at me for noticing this.

Anyway, we had arrived around 8:30 pm and we were starving. So we headed out to town to find something to eat.

Unfortunately, we were both so hungry we couldn't figure out what we wanted. Then we saw it. A Japanese restaurant.

Since we have not seen sushi since arriving in Zurich, we both jumped on this chance.

The dinner was awesome. The fish was fresh, the service was great, and the atmosphere was relaxing. It totally hit the spot.

Afterwards we headed back to the hotel, rested and full, ready to explore Zermatt on Saturday.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I'll be MIA for a few days

Brian and I are going away for the weekend for our four year wedding anniversay. Our first trip since moving here. So naturally, we chose Zermatt. Home of the Matterhorn.

See you Monday!

On a margarita mission

Last Saturday I picked up some avocados while at the grocery store. I was definitely craving some guacamole in this heat. I took those beauties home, put them on the kitchen counter, and waited for them to ripen.

In the meantime, I realized that guacamole was useless without a margarita. The train of though went something like this: Yum, margaritas. Wait, I haven't seen a liquor store here. No margarita mix either. How exactly does one make a margarita in Switzerland?

So I logged on to my local Yahoo group and posted a desperate plea for help in this matter.

I immediately got replies pointing me to stores that sold tequila. Most of the replies were very helpful. One told me to Google margarita recipes. Funny.

So off I went yesterday on the search for tequila, Cointreau, and lime/lemon juice.

It took me a bit but I found the store and purchased the one brand of tequila they sold. Also picked up some Cointreau.

Next stop, grocery store. Couldn't find lime juice so I sent Brian to a different store to look for it on his way home last night. He came home with three bottles of lime juice.

How much does he expect me to drink exactly?

Anyway, I am now enjoying some fresh guacamole and a drink that resembles the margaritas I've had in the past. I'd give you my recipe but the construction of this drink involved a lot of different splashes and taste tests.

Margarita mixes are MUCH simpler.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Our global insurance cards have arrived

in Maryland.

We had to transfer to Aetna Global insurance because of our international move. Aetna sent our new global insurance cards to our old address in Baltimore on June 19, ten days after Brian's official start date in Zurich, Switzerland. Makes perfect sense, right?


Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Yes, I said shades.

Marion was feeling better today, but her nose was still running so we spent another beautiful day inside. So you get a post about shades.

This is one of our windows.
See the rod at the left of the window? It's the control for the built in shades. It turns into a handle when not tucked away against the wall.
The rod controls shades at the exterior face of the window.
It moves the shades up and down as well as controlling how open or closed they are.

No screens though. We like our built in shades despite that. They are great for darkening the room at night. And the bugs aren't too big of a problem here.

These shades are pretty typical around here. We see them often and in all sorts of buildings- commercial, flats, homes, etc. Here's a view of the building across the street.
Pretty exciting stuff, huh? Well, it's functional so we like it. :-)

Monday, June 23, 2008

The ballet class that wasn't

I was supposed to take Marion to a ballet class today. Those plans were ruined at approximately 12:30 am this morning.

Brian woke me up telling me Marion was awake. I wasn't very concerned. She usually wakes up for one of two reasons. She either has had a bad nightmare or is sick. And seeing how her nose was just a bit runny earlier, I was confident she would go back to sleep shortly.

She didn't.

So after 20 minutes of crying, I went to get her and bring her back to our room.

Getting her out of bed never ends well. Once you get her out, she won't fall asleep again in her crib. At least we were mentally prepared for the night to come.

As soon as I picked her up I knew something was wrong. She was burning up. We tried to find the thermometer we brought with us but couldn't locate it. So we spent the night trying to calm her down, cool her down, get her to sleep, and fill her up with liquids.

She was still burning up this morning. So I called the pediatrician first thing in the morning.

This office continues to be a favorite of mine. I called at 7:45 am and someone answered the phone. Open before 8 am?!?!?!

I then told the woman who answered the phone the situation and asked for an appointment that morning. She asked if 8 am would be okay.

Um, absolutely!!!

We were running a bit late since we drove Brian to the train station, but only by a couple of minutes or so. We were taken straight back to an exam room when we arrived where Marion was weighed and had her temperature taken.

Yep, the fever was a doozy. The highest it has ever been: 38.7 degrees Celsius/101.7 degrees Fahrenheit. Definitely up there, despite us giving her some Children's Tylenol this morning.

The nurse acknowledged her high temperature and told us the doctor would be in in two minutes. Sure enough, he was. Wearing Birkenstocks. Love this guy!

I told him the symptoms and he took a look. Marion has another ear infection and some throat irritation.

At this point, I know antibiotics are coming and I start to worry. We still don't have insurance cards. And how do you get antibiotics here?

Well, as I soon found out, you get them from the doctor.

He left the room and came back with a box of amoxicillin and a nasal spray. Then he prepared the amoxicillin (it needs to be mixed with water), wrote the amount and timing required on a sticker, and stuck it on the box.

Amazing. Simply amazing.

What took me 15 minutes at the pediatrician's office here in Switzerland would have taken me at least 3 hours in the States.

Gotta go pick my jaw up off the floor now.

Weekend Roundup

Marion and I woke up feeling better than we did on Friday so we got out of the house for a bit.

First, we returned to Park Im Gruene . Marion and I wanted to show Brian the park. And we didn't have any milk in the house. So, it was either go to the store or go to the park for breakfast. We chose the park.

Back at her favorite toy.

More fascinated with donkey poop than the donkeys this time around.

Enjoying the view.

After the park, we came back home to get the recycling and the granny cart. Then it was off to the store.

On the way to the store we walked through a flea market that was going on in the town square. We didn't see anything but it was nice nonetheless.

Since it was Saturday, the store was absolute chaos. Everyone stocking up before Sunday. We should know this by now.

And we just had to stop at the little house play area before we left the store.

The afternoon was spent unloading groceries while Marion slept. But after Marion woke up, we headed off to the Chilbi since Marion seemed to be getting over her cold.

The Chilbi is a fair that each town has during the summer. It has rides, food, and merchants selling various items, including spices, toys, candy, and meats.

But the most important part of the fair? Well, that was the pony rides.

We spent most of our time there. First, waiting to get on the pony.

Then finally riding one and loving every minute of it.

On Sunday, Marion woke up with her runny nose again. So we decided to take it easy. But we wanted to get out of the house so we hopped in the car to explore.

The scenery was beautiful. I forgot my camera. Shoot.

The rest of the day was spent resting at home to try to get Marion better for her first ballet class on Monday!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Croatia v Turkey, Euro 2008 Quarterfinals

What a game.

Brian and I had it on as background noise at the beginning. We were playing cards and would look up at the game occasionally. I guess we aren't die-hard football fans yet.

But when 10 pm (our unofficial bedtime) rolled around and we were exhausted, we realized that the score to the game was still 0-0. Brian then wondered if the game would end in a shoot out.

The anticipation was too much. I decided to stay up and see if it would end in a shoot out, forcing Brian to stay up with me.

We were almost through the second overtime period when Croatia scored a goal. There were only 3 minutes left in overtime!

Brian and I couldn't believe it. So close to a shoot out! But we decided to see how the game ended since there were only 3 minutes left.

Imagine our surprise when Turkey scored a goal to tie it at 1-1 with seconds left in the game. Seconds!

The coach for Croatia argued but the goal was ruled good. Shoot out time!

It was great to watch. The fans reactions were priceless. The emotions from the players were amazing. I can't imagine how they must have felt after playing for 120+ minutes.

Turkey ended up winning 3-1 in penalty shots. It was a great game to watch, unless you were a Croatia fan.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The financial stuff

Marion and I stayed in today as we are both coming down with a cold. So instead of a post on what we did (hung out at home), here's an explanation of how banking in Switzerland works (for us).

We opened an account with a specific bank in Switzerland because Brian's firm has a relationship with them.

Brian met with the bank the Wednesday after we arrived to set up the account. I believe the appointment took approximately 2 hours. Accounts are both private and secretive, even between spouses. Brian had to pay an annual fee to allow for me to have a debit card and use the account. After the meeting was over and Brian had signed approximately ten documents, he deposited some cash in the account and was told that we would be able to access the account as soon as we received our standard mailings.

A week or so later, we received a new mailing every day over approximately 6 days. First there was the online banking PIN number. Then came the online banking package, then Brian’s debit card PIN number, then Brian’s debit card, then my PIN number, then my debit card.

The online banking package was cool. It came with some information about the online system, a little plastic card, and a calculator. Brian quickly threw the calculator on a pile on the bookshelf since he is an accountant and has too many calculators. We thought that it was silly though to give someone a calculator to balance their checkbook, when they promote online banking.

So we were finally ready to pay some bills. What’s kind of cool about Switzerland is that everything is essentially paid by wire transfer. Our landlord sends us an invoice and then we wire the money to their account. Here is how it works:

First, you find your way to the e-banking log in page. Then, you enter the agreement number (this is sent with the handy dandy calculator).

Once you enter the agreement number, a set of numbers is generated below it.

This is where Brian and I realized that the calculator they sent really wasn't a calculator. It was actually a password device. On the back of the device was a slot to insert a the separate plastic card from the bank. Once inserted, you turn the device on and enter your initial 6 digit online banking PIN number. After logging in to the password device, you enter the set of numbers that was generated by the web page after the agreement number was inputted.

Still with me?

So, if you have done everything correctly the password device/incognito calculator spits out another code. This code is what finally gives you access to your account and is entered on the webpage below the other two lines of numbers.

Pretty cool.

Of course if you don't have the super calculator with you, you are basically screwed for doing any online banking. Which is why we keep it in a safe place, away from Marion.

Phew! It's a lot. And I realize that it is probably more confusing reading about than it was for us to try and figure out. Pictures would probably help. But I'm not going to post pictures of our banking info on the internet. That would just be silly!

Of course, having access to your money doesn't really help you pay for items.

Brian has pretty much taken the price shock in stride, except on Monday when he had to buy some finger nail clippers. The only place he could find them was at the Apotheke in Zug (basically a beauty supply store that pretends to also sell medicine). When he arrived at the register he saw that they cost 15 CHF. Of course, the wrapper did say "High Quality - Made in Germany". Apparently, they don't just make the best and most expensive cars in the world; they are also cornering the market in the high end manicurist sets.

So much for being nice to Baby

Marion decided to eat her baby today. Below is video proof. This video also prooves that my daughter completely ignores me, then throws in a "No" for good measure.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Park Im Gruene

It was a beautiful day, not a drop of rain in sight. So we met the wife of one of Brian's coworkers, Amy, and her son Luke at the Park Im Gruene.

Marion decided she couldn't leave her Baby at home. So Baby kept Marion company on the ride over there. She also got to share Marion's carseat. Now we just need Marion to share with humans and we'll be all set.

"Mommy, stop taking pictures so we can get out of the car!"

Once there, we all played on the playground for a bit. Marion loved the metal tea cup-like ride (the one that moves around in a circle as the kids spin it from the center). I have no idea what it is called but I'm pretty sure they've been removed from most of the playgrounds in the US. Anyway, we all had a good laugh when Marion decided to get off and then promptly fell on her butt. Apparently she was a bit dizzy from her ride. I probably shouldn't laugh at my daughter that hard in public but wow, was it funny!

Amy and Luke had to leave so Marion and I went to go see the donkeys.

All was good with the donkeys until one decided to snort and make noises with his mouth while walking in Marion's general direction.

"I'm not so sure about these donkeys."

"Nope, let's go Mommy!"

And off she went.

So we decided to explore a bit. Other than the playground and the donkeys, there was a restaurant, a huge outdoor seating area, sandboxes, and a small water park.

Then I spotted some picnic tables at the edge of the park so we headed in that direction.

Wow was the view gorgeous.

Unfortunately, my camera battery then decided to die so I didn't get any more shots. But Marion loved it and sat on the step looking out towards the lake to eat her snack. We'll definitely be back.

PS- Sorry for the quality of these pictures. They are all over the place- light, dark, etc. I'm finally trying to learn how to use my camera without using the automatic settings. I'll get there!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Blogger isn't the only thing teaching us German

You can also learn German while on the toilet.

Now how's that for resourcefulness?

A nice shrimp dinner

My mom went to the grocery store while she was here to fill our refrigerator and freezer with food. One of the items she bought was frozen shrimp.

So the other night, I decided to break them out and add them to a pasta dish I was throwing together.

I say throwing together because I've never really been a good cook. I'm not patient when it comes to cooking and I tend to see what I can whip up. Sometimes it turns out well. Other times, not so much.

That night I was making spaghetti and decided to stir fry some peppers I had to add to the dish. When I saw the shrimp I was excited. I love shrimp!

I took them out of the frig, put them on the counter, and opened the packaging. I immediately became nauseaus.

They still had heads on them.


My reaction surprised me. I'm from Maryland and include ripping steamed blue crabs from limb to limb as one of my favorite summer pastimes.

But shrimp heads? Ewwwwww.

So I threw them into a bowl of water to thaw and let Brian deal with them when he came home. He wasn't too pleased as he was a bit weirded out by the shrimp heads as well. But he ripped those heads off, peeled the shrimp, and did a damn fine job of it!

I cooked those suckers up and threw them into the dish. And it was pretty good, if I do say so myself. :-)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A dream trip to the pediatrician... in the rain

Yes, it continues to rain. Yes, it is getting old.


Marion had her pediatrician's appointment today to make sure her ear infection has cleared. The appointment was for 9 am but we were asked to arrive at 8:45 am for paperwork. We braved the walk in the rain and arrived a little before 8:45.

We took our coats off and filled out the paperwork required, one sheet asking for our contact information, birthdates, and names, in the waiting room. Everything was clean, there was an abundance of toys, and no one else was around. All was quiet.

After I was done filling out the sheet, we were moved into the exam room to wait for the doctor. The receptionist/nurse took Marion's weight (30.5 lbs, she's gaining!) and temperature (normal) and then said the doctor would be right in.

I looked at my watch. 8:55 am. Wow, that was fast.

5 minutes later, at 9 am on the dot, the doctor knocked on the door.

Surely I was in a dream. This couldn't be possible.

After pleasantries, I gave him Marion's medical records so he could review them. Everything is pretty normal with her so no surprises. He did ask what one of the vaccinations was because it was a brand name not used in Switzerland. Then he looked in her ears, declared the infection was healing, and that was that.

We were out of the office by 9:10 am.

I would have pinched myself had it not been raining outside.

For those that have not spent time in a typical busy pediatrician's office in the US, here is a description of our typical visit to help explain my amazement.

Arrive 10 minutes before appointment time to show insurance card and check in. If it was an early morning appointment, we would only wait 20 minutes before being taken in the back to get Marion's temperature and weight. Then we would walk to the patient room where we would wait another 15-20 minutes. Finally the doctor would arrive, we'd meet with him, and then he'd give us a form to take to the front desk where we would pay our copay.

So on a good day, an appointment in the morning would take almost an hour. If we had to go in the afternoon, all bets were off. I spent 2 hours at the pediatrician's office during one sick visit with Marion.

So far, I like this Swiss doctor's office.

Anything can be dubbed into German

Even the Simpsons.


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Monday, June 16, 2008

No health insurance card necessary

I mentioned earlier that Marion got an ear infection the day we moved.

Well, its been 2-3 weeks. Time to take her in for an ear check and make sure the ear infection is gone.

I received some recommendations for an English speaking pediatrician and made the call today. I booked an appointment for tomorrow morning at 9 am and was told to come early to fill out new patient paperwork.

Okay, par for the course so far. Typical new patient protocol.

Next thing I did was to email Brian and ask that he print out our temporary insurance cards so that I could take them with me tomorrow.

Well, he looked into it and, due to Aetna's timetable (longer than we would like, same as in the US), we won't have them until Wednesday. Shoot.

So I called the doctor's office back and let them know the situation so that we could reschedule.

And they said, "It's okay, we will see you tomorrow."


Yep, that's right. They are going to administer health care without proof of insurance.

I'm stunned. We had to show our health insurance card every time at our old pediatrician, even if the information hadn't changed. And if you didn't have it with you, sometimes the nurses would give you an attitude about it.

But there's a catch. There always is.

The doctor's office will bill us for the visit. We then have to pay them and submit the bill to insurance for reimbursement.

And not because we don't have our insurance cards. This is typical procedure for all doctor appointments we make here- pediatrician, dentist, etc.

Yikes. That could add up fast.

A tantrum at the supermarket makes Mommy nutty

Marion and I went to the grocery store this morning. With the grocery cart, umbrella, and list of things we needed. I'm learning.

Marion managed to walk about 95% of the way, very, very slowly. Progress, but Mommy was anxious.

Once at the grocery store, Marion seemed ready to let her energy out. Touching everything, pushing everything, and trying to throw whatever she could into the basket.

Finally, I took our blue grocery granny cart out of the store grocery cart and put her in the seat.

Sidenote: What do people do when they take the granny cart to the store? Do you fill that with your groceries? Because navigating the store with the toddler, the granny cart, and the store cart was not fun.

Anywho, Marion didn't want to go in the store grocery cart seat. She stood up, hoping I would catch her before she tumbled out of the seat.

Then, Mommy remembered she had some sweet crackers in her bag from Ikea. I put her back in the grocery seat and fed her these crackers for the rest of the trip. So while I was navigating the store with the store grocery cart, my blue granny cart, and Marion in the cart seat, Marion sat patiently in the seat eating her "cookies".

Well, she sat patiently unless Mommy did not respond fast enough to "More please." Then she started whining.

I was tired and tense as I made my way to the check out counter. I unloaded our items onto the belt and things seemed to be going fine. I was shoving crackers Marion's way consistently and my timing wasn't off.

Then a woman got in line behind us and put her pastries on the belt.

All hell broke lose.

Marion started screaming "I want popcorn! I want popcorn!" and went into full meltdown mode.

What the hell? Marion, the lady had pastries, not popcorn.

But I tried to soothe her while getting our groceries into my granny cart. And of course she would pick a day where I am getting a significant amount of groceries to break down.

So there she sat, losing it in the cart. And there I was, stuffing things into my granny cart with people looking at us.

Reminded me of one of my all time favorite online videos. Except she wasn't this bad.

The diapers are too small

Off to find a bigger size. And to sell the 115 diapers that are left over.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Sunday spent recovering from Saturday

Saturday was a busy day. Marion, Brian, and I ran to Ikea to get some things. Seriously, our house looks like an Ikea ad. I love it.

After Ikea, we ran to Toys R Us. Marion went nuts, yelling "Toys! Toys! Toys!" So yea, I'm pretty sure she knew why we were there.

We threw her off by going to the baby section first though. Needed to get some diapers and wipes. But then Pampers through me off by having different sizing here. Pampers Cruisers size 5 diapers covered 24-45 lbs??? Huh? Then they had Jumbo plastered across the front of the box. I couldn't figure out what "Jumbo" meant. Surely it couldn't mean the quantity, there were only 58!

We finally decided on the Pampers Baby Dry diapers because the boxes were bigger. I think the box contained 120, more our speed. But then we had to decide on size. Size 4 or 4+? Huh?????? Thoroughly confused at this point I just grabbed the 4+ and hoped for the best.

After the brain busting activity of picking out diapers, we headed over to the playhouses to solve a little problem we've been having. The one where Marion runs away from me cleaning and then hurts herself.

So I wondered what if we had a playhouse for her on our patio where she could go and play while I vacuum? Cheaper than getting a cleaning service. Well, we picked one out and brought it home. I'll let you know how it works out.

Once we had the playhouse, we figured we also needed to get her some play dishes. Because what is the point of a playhouse if you don't have anything to use in it?

We selected a dish set and then saw the play cleaning set at the end of the aisle. Toy broom, dust pan set, and swiffer. Score! Marion got one of those too.

Brian got in line to purchase our loot. Marion and I decided to check out the sporting goods store upstairs to see if we could find a softball glove for me.

Why do I need a softball glove you ask? Well, because Brian and I joined a softball team and, although we haven't been to a game or practice yet, we hope to before the season is over.

Oh, you mean you thought I had a softball glove and want to know why I need a new one? Well, that would be because Brian misplaced the softball glove that I have used for 15 years. I'm still in mourning over it. We are still trying to track it down.

Anyhow, I had a hell of a time trying to track down these softball/baseball gloves in this store. They had a lot of football (soccer) stuff and athletic clothing. But the softball stuff, not so much. We walked around the store twice before I found three small shelves with gloves. I saw Wilson's and Rawlings' and I thought, sadly, that I was going to be able to find a glove that I would have to work in and get used to again. Like I said, I'm still in mourning over my old glove.

However, as luck would have it, all of the gloves that would have fit were left handed gloves. I couldn't believe it. Usually the left handed gloves are hard to find. But here, they were the norm. Very odd. Then I noticed an Oklahoma hat on the shelf behind me. I thought I had stepped onto another planet so I grabbed Marion and headed to the car to meet Brian.

On our way to our car, I noticed people were in line paying for parking at a self pay kiosk. I hadn't noticed this when we came in so I waited in line to pay. When I got to the front of the line I noticed everything was in German. Great. But the instructions did have numbers next to them so, assuming that was a sequence, I followed it as best I could.

I don't think I did it right. Everyone else walked away from the machine with a ticket. I tried twice (wasting 4 CHF) and couldn't get a damn ticket out of that machine. But there wasn't a parking ticket on our car when we left and no one followed us out yelling in German so I think we are alright.

After we loaded the car up with everything we had purchased, we grabbed a quick bite to eat at a pizzeria above the Toys R Us and headed home.

Following Marion's nap, Brian and I started putting everything we had purchased together. Then Marion and I played on Brian's and my bed while Brian put the finishing touches on the wardrobe in our room.

Marion and I were rough housing and having fun. I would throw her on the bed, pile pillows on top of her, and tickle her. She'd giggle, tell me to stop, then stand up and ask for more.

Since it was getting close to bed time, I tried to calm her down after getting her fired up (poor timing on my part). So I laid down on the pillows and tried to get her to do the same.

Well, she didn't get the memo. She threw herself backwards onto the pillows with all of her might, hitting the bridge of my nose with her head.

Oh my god it hurt. I immediately saw stars and thought she had broken my nose. I got woozy and held my head as I rushed to the bathroom to sit down.

Brian and Marion were completely confused. Brian didn't know what had happened and Marion thought we were still playing. And I was trying not to pass out.

So there I was, lying on the bathroom floor, with Marion sitting next to me asking, "Mommy, where boo boo?" Then she plopped on my belly, jumping up and down.

Finally I felt OK enough to stand up. But once I did, I was nauseas and dizzy again and had a horrible headache. I spent the rest of the night on the couch and went to bed early.

Today I woke up feeling the same. Brian called me a sissy and then questioned me to see if I had a concussion. He concluded that I do not have one. We also decided that my nose is not broken since it is not crooked and I am not bruised at all.

However, I am a bit swollen and my entire nose area is sore. And I continue to be dizzy when I stand up or exert myself too much. So I've spent the rest of the day resting or laying down. Doubt we will do much today.

Brian's been spending his Father's Day taking care of Marion and the house. Happy Father's Day Brian! And Happy Father's Day to Hoppy and Opa and all the rest of the fathers out there!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Birdies! Birdies!

After Marion woke up from her nap, we went out for a walk. Take two of getting Marion used to walking, so the stroller was left behind.

There is an assisted living facility across the street from us that has beautiful gardens, a water fountain, and a birdhouse. Hello, kid's playground! It just so happens to be an easier (flatter) walk into town.

Since I mentioned the birdies I didn't get any whining from the toddler about walking.

She even ran toward the bird house!

In hindsight, maybe not a good thing when we are trying to build up endurance.

She loved the birdies, as always.

The water fountain was next, also a Marion favorite.

She always wants to stick her little hands in there and then exclaims, "My hands! My hands are wet!"

Yes, that tends to happen when you stick your hands in water silly!

It gets a little boring after the water fountain, birdies, and flowers, so she wanted up. I was actually okay with this since we had to cross some busy streets.

Next stop, a gift store next to the Hotel Schwan where my mom and sister stayed during their visit last week (so, so cute).

We picked up an umbrella for Marion. Because 1- it rains a lot here and 2- Marion loves umbrellas. Another mistake on my part. She wouldn't let the thing go and I listened to her whining the entire trip. I was a bad mommy and wouldn't let her have it in stores. And when I did let her have it outside, she walked very, very slow. I should have made the umbrella run the last stop of our errands. Lesson learned.

After Marion got her treat, Mommy went to go get herself a treat. On the other side of the Hotel Schwan is a fantastic florist, Doflores.

They do great things in there and everything is beautiful. So I indulged and picked up some fresh flowers.

So pretty.

I already warned Brian that I might be doing this weekly.

Following flowers, Marion and I headed to the Coop. Which, I have been told, is pronounced like cope except that the 'o' is a bit longer and lower pronounced. So there you have it.

We made this special trip to find these delicious strawberry pastries I picked up the other day.

They are fantastic. Large chunks of sugar, fresh strawberries, custard. Yummmmmm. Only one is left after dinner and now I might just have to go eat it. Not good.

Oh, and to prove my clumsiness (as if I have to do that), I took the pastry out of the fridge to take a picture for you all. And somehow the packaging opened and it fell, strawberries down, onto the counter.

Yea, I'll still eat it, don't you worry.

Anyway, Marion did fantastic on the walk home. She walked the entire way (downhill). That's my girl!

Gotta run, the football game's about to start!