Tuesday, July 26, 2011

This is news??


A new survey shows that men use the sniff test to tell if their clothing is clean enough to wear or if they need to toss it in the laundry hamper....hmmm...no kidding!  
I'm sorely disappointed in the level of banal reports on the Today Show.  Not that it was ever the best and most intellectual morning show on television (I could learn more watching Martha Stewart but I just can't stand her) but fluff pieces like this are just that: FLUFF!  The rate at which they tell people these days that they already know is astounding!  We should demand more from our morning shows so we can sit back and learn something new while we sip our coffee.  Being over here, the only actual news we watch anymore, if we care, is CNN, and the Daily Show, with Jon Stewart.  News with comedic antics.  Far from what The Today Show can boast anymore.  Watch it for a year and a half, and you'll see the same thing, over and over.  In the summer, how to have a family cookout, complete with classic recipes "with a twist" from Food Network chefs.  Craft personalities showing us how to glue ribbon to jars to create homespun centerpieces.  (I'm not saying you shouldn't be crafty.  I personally LOVE being crafty.)  But it's all the same...over and over again.  What to wear to a summer wedding.  Beauty tips.  Celebrity buzz on something that's two minutes long that inexplicably takes them ten minutes to chatter over.  Ten minutes of my life that I'll never get back.  Let's inject a little more new information into our morning routine, folks!  

Or better yet, where can I sign up to get paid to come up with "already done" ideas that we haven't talked about for at least three seasons (as in, winter, spring, summer.)  How about...washing your clothes with detergent helps get them clean faster?  Or, chewing your food before swallowing reduces the chances of choking on it?  Someone's getting paid to pitch these ideas and write a one-page article on some survey's findings.  Might as well be me....I could use some new boots....

Allie H.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


So we'd settled back into Italian/Swiss lifestyle, back to work, back to walking the dog in the evenings, back to thunderstorms and lightning, and having hum'd and hah'd about it for some time, decided that we needed a car when the right one fell into our laps!  There's a used-car lot in one of the next small towns up near Kris's work and they had a 1987 Mercedes 190e for 1000 francs...well, it's our now!  Had thought about it and decided it would be a whole lot easier to spend a little cash on a car, fix it up, and only spend gas money to get up north every month or so to visit friends, get me down to see Southern Italy, at last, and be able to shop for bigger items than we can schlep home on the bus/train with.  It's a great little car, and I got to spend time getting used to driving over here since we just spent a week house-and-pet sitting for a week and had some errands that needed to be done that I wasn't going to sit on a bus for an hour, with the Chloe-monster, to get done, only to catch the bus back and sit for another hour...had to take some documentation to the community office we'd checked into upon arriving here last year, so that we could finalize all paperwork to get our new living permits.  Kris's work decided they could switch him over to a permanent instead of a contract-time period status, and with that we get a higher, better living permit that will make it easier to find apartments when we need, re-register the car when needed, and most of all, when we decide to move on from here, we won't be having to wait out the end of a contract to get gone...we can just go!  

Anywho!  Back to the car-we'd noticed a few things that needed fixing, and Kris looked around town and finally found a small garage where the guy agreed to order in parts for us and have them in pretty fast.  We need a few small things but the biggest thing today was that one of the wires to the cylinders was in pretty bad shape, and it finally gave out today...so the car is parked at work!  Supposed to get some parts in tomorrow and hopefully they won't be too pricey...Nobody in Switzerland works on their own cars!  If they have a problem, even minor, they take it to a garage or, if still under warranty, back to the dealer to have the problem solved.  Even changing oil and air filters!  Take about a little bit ridiculous.  Granted, I haven't worked on an engine in quite some time, but I know that for the most part, it's not hard.  We've started a wish-list of essentials that we need to get over the next couple of paychecks to get the car into perfect running condition.  It was doing pretty good until the wire gave out this morning-had some worry about the actual level of transmission fluid in it since every time we checked, we seemed to be on an incline, and we're not really sure how much was in the car when we got it-the car had literally sat for three months before we'd taken it out for a test-drive.  It's not going to be a daily-driver sort of car, but we would appreciate that when we wanted to use it, it worked well!  Looking forward to digging into the engine and getting my hands a little dirty!  

What else is new news....apartments!  We've got to leave this apartment in a few months and so have everything pretty much ready to take over an apartment that a CSCS employee is moving out of-we stopped by last week at some point to have a beer and check out the place.  Less space than we're in now, but it's still enough room for us-two bedrooms, living area, one bathroom, slightly larger kitchen, cute little balconies all abound!  it's spread out in a rectangle shape as opposed to a square-block shape ours is in now, and the gal leaving is going to leave us a book-cabinet, which will be nice...can actually unpack a few more of our books!    We've just got to fill out all the paperwork and get it done.  Pet friendly under 3 kilos and as long as they're low-key and mostly quiet, which fits Chloe perfectly!  And, it's ten minutes from downtown Lugano by walking, so it'll be so much easier to run downtown during or after work to catch a shop that's still open, go to the park and read and let Chloe frolic in the grass.  When Kris's office building moves in April it'll be the same distance from the apartment there as it is from our apartment to his building now, so once we figure out the downtown bus schedule, we'll be good to go!  Not to mention all the cheaper grocery stores that are in abundance downtown and that I have to take the little train to from here...so many perks!  And the best perk of all?  Our place now is $1950/month...this new one is $1250 or so...go, savings account/retirement fund/money above and beyond our monthly spending!  It's going to be so much easier to be able to put away several hundred per month and not have to touch it.  I know it's pretty much in the bag, but just send your good apartment vibes this way and cross your fingers (and your toes!)  Decided that the balconies will be good for small plants...have been doing good figuring out how to maintain the little potted plant of roses Kris got me for Valentine's Day that we transplanted into a bigger container, so now thinking it would be fun to plant maybe some herbs and cherry tomatoes and see how they do.  Colin and Anna (who we house-sat for) have patio-boxes of fresh lettuce that we used for salads during the week, and now I want to plant some and grow it for ourselves!  It was so cool to just pick a little bunch every day and rinse it off and use it...Will wait til the next paycheck to get some fresh soil and seeds and get it started!  

Writing is ramping up, which makes me happy-have been attempting to gain momentum on a few new stories and so far, so good!  Love counting paragraphs that weren't there the previous day! Kris passed along someone's mention of a self-publishing online company that connects your book to Amazon and gives it an ISBN number and everything...not that I'm anywhere close to that, but it looks like quite the interesting process.  Being in the creative process just makes me happy!  It also makes me want a sewing machine and a few more craft supplies so I can create while I'm experiencing writer's block, but I'll figure something out...I've really been wanting to make an eye-mask for those Saturdays that feel like sleeping-in days...I'm sure I could turn one out by hand that will take forever because while I'm adequate at hand sewing, it's not my favorite thing in the world...may have to go find myself a pattern somewhere with the simplest instructions ever...and I'm off!

Happy almost end of the week, everyone!  
Enoy the sun if you have it, go play in the rain if you've got that.  

Allie. H.