Wednesday, December 12, 2007
My favorite German co-worker, usually impeccably organized and running with direction to some destination, is seen wandering back and forth around my desk muttering about 'COWS'.
Under his breath looking searching a tad aimlessly.. "Cows... Cows" I give him a funny look and he repeats "COWS!" "COWS!". I am still blank.
"Where do you see Cows Marc?" He says "Everywhere".
I say "COWS???" He says... no "COWS". I am so confused. He finally says "What? You don't have this in English? You know when things are Cow-otic?"
Saturday, December 08, 2007
But by far the most FASCINATING part of the night was after the plates were cleared. We noticed that for the first time all night we could see something. "No you can't". "YES I CAN!" We noticed a faint but very real phosphorescent glow on the place mats. If you picked it up and blew on it, the heat from your breath would make it glow yellow, like mashed lighting bugs. We started hypothesizing about what this could be. It's just like the sea creatures at the very bottom of the ocean who 'see' by the phosphorescent algae or whatever. We finally deduced that it was likely a detergent that these were washed in that contained phosphates. We asked the waiter when he returned and he confirmed this reality and said it was a big problem that they hadn't solved yet, not something they did on purpose. It made us all wonder how much other stuff we wash glows but we never know it because we aren't in a pitch black room long enough. AMAZING!
It was a very very fun and interesting night.
Ken: "Jack?! You stole my beer!"
Jack: "Yeah, I did."
"It's a good place to take a blind date"
"I bet they didn't spend much on interior decorators"
"I wonder if my pupils are still huge, or if they have just given up".
"Normally when I eat with my eyes close, I miss my mouth, but here I seem to have had no problem hitting it."
"Process High Five!" (Process High Fives are "whiff's for those of you not familiar. They are easy to execute in dark restaurants).
"I use my finger as a level indicator" I say when pouring my self a drink.
"I just use my load cells" Tami says, (in the engineering world, load cells are weighing devices, in this case her arm and brain.)
"It doesn't really matter who we sit by, you can't see anything…"
"Yeah, but our sense of smell still works…"
"The waiter just accidentally felt me up"
"I can't believe she said 'accidentally'" Says Ken.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
And this was the "expert". My long time friend and co-worker from Kansas City, Dave. He is just a pile of Great. You gotta love Dave. He's the quintessential, "What? There are beginning skiiers with us? Ah they'll be fine" sorta guy. "Oh that's not steep". He has skiied somewhere every year but three for the last 40 years.
This was me pre-pain. You can see the brightness of the mountains just blocks me out, as it should. This little darling pizzeria we ate in was at the top of the mountain, the view all around was well... you can see it. It was crazy beautiful. We all just kept looking at each other just going "We are SKIING in the ALPS!"
Right after lunch I put my boots back on.
That was the turning point in my day. I had been very confident and taking some risks and using my edges more and going faster that morning, but then my toes started to go numb and I started to have all sorts of pain/numbness in my feet. It's a fine adjustment, too loose and you can't ski, too tight and you don't care to ski. I didn't trust my own appendages or my skis at that point and the cloud cover had made the terrain hard to see. The catwalks were not made for beginning skiiers. They sometimes just dropped off to sheer cliffs without warning, or maybe a little orange string of warning. You know, maybe an orange toothpick with a little paper flag on it, as if it were a giant club sandwich. All of this and the psychology of fear meshed to make me a perfect pile of chicken in the afternoon.
So I branched off from my more advanced trio and searched for more sure footed terrain, only I didn't find any. I found myself stuck, throbbing, and contemplating how I would have to explain getting taken down the mountain in a body bag. But I did it. I kicked the mountains ass, then I cried and winced and did lamaze type breathing for an hour while my buddies got another run in.
Turns out I got my boots too small (duh). And with my monkey toes I was literally sking on some knuckles. There is another trip planned for January though and I can wait for it. Can not wait. Will get better equipment.
So after collecting the other two co workers who were struggling pretty hard on their own search for a "bunny hill" we got back on the train for home. By the time we arrived in Lucern, my foot was so swollen I coudln't walk on it. I almost let them get dinner and I almost just got back on the train, but you are only in Switzerland once, and I'm Lindsey freakin Merrill. So I'm limping to dinner.
I was so glad that I did. Even though I had seen Lucern before, I hadn't seen it lit up for Christmas, and there was a parade. Complete with people in 70's gear playing with things on fire and a Camel.Then we ducked into a quaint little restaurant for FONDUE, finally. Cheese, Chocolate and Broth (where you cook the thin slices of meat in the kettle until they are done). Lovely.
We kept saying to each other "When do you SKI the ALPS, See a Parade in Lucern, with a LIVE CAMEL, and have Swiss Fondue in the SAME DAY??
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
View from the condo. (DAY)
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
"You mean we need to call and tell them they are a PACK OF WANKERS".
Sunday, November 11, 2007
In our wanderings around Basel I noticed that there was a Basel Vineyard church office on our street. This was interesting to me because I know a lot about the Vineyard organization and I was excited to check out a service while I was over here sometime. However with all the travel and work I was hard pressed to get my carcass out of bed at any sort of hour that would get me to a church on a Sunday morning. So I went online and found that the Basel Vineyard meets at 5:30 PM (!) in a real live church building that is LITERALLY across the street from my hotel.
It is nuts.
I emailed the church and asked if they had any English services. They replied and said no but were happy to let me know that the worship songs were sometimes in English.
So I did some praying that I would get something out of the service and asked the God of tongues to help me out a little with the German. And boy did he. I walked into the church and it was very warm and inviting, a stark contrast to the empty churches I have toured in all over Europe. I spoke to no one and sat down. A man sat next to me and asked me in German if I would put his jacket on the edge of the pew. I said "English?" and he repeated in English. He then asked if I could understand anything and I said "not a word". So after the worship time (which was SOOO in English and SOOO familiar to me, I knew every song) this man TRANSLATED the ENTIRE service to me. We were annoying people around us so he moved with me to the back of the packed church to finish out. It was amazing. It makes the fact that I am going to be over here for nine more months almost exciting, and certainly bearable.
It was a wonderful gift. He said he wouldn't be there the next time I was in town, but I think sometimes words aren't needed.
Now for the continuation of the visual tour.
The Basel Fesitval at night in front of the Rhine:
A church in a quaint little suburban town called Arlesheim, and below Becky, Grace, John (in his easy to spot da-glow coat) and Dave.
Me "riding the weiner" dont ask.
Another Klee at the Basel Kunstmuseum (Happy Birthday Ange!!!)
IN Schwitzerland, it's not "Schwarm". This (and tons of other random words) was carved into a really neat wooden table we ate dinner on one night.
Below, back in Arlesheim, a JOHN DEERE tractor in a Swiss barn. Thought that was worth capturing. Even though the pic is hard to see... it's there alright.
This wine had my name on it. Look closely.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Anyway, I am not bitter anymore. Inspite of stepping off the train at 8:14, and freezing, and having nothing open until 9am, (Never thought I'd say this, but thank God for Starbucks) it was an amazing day. We couldn't see the surrounding mountains, because the lake fog didn't lift all day, but we did go see a few really 'rock star' things.
'Luxemburgerlis are little yummy light treats that come in all different flavors. They look like little hamburgers. Buns made of meringue, and a macaroon filling. Oh they are sooo good, and they are so light, that they 'melt' if you keep them too long. The instructions on the box say "EAT TODAY" or something.
Then we trekked across the old wooden covered bridges to "The Lion". Amazing little tribute to some Swiss mercenaries who died defending the French King back in blah blah blah.
Inscription under the Lion says: "To the Brave and Loyal Swiss. "
I bought gloves and a hat as a necessity! It was nippy.
Then we continued to walk around Old Lucerne until my piggies hurt. We finally worked our way back toward the train station and into a museum where there were Chagall, Klee, Picasso, Monet, Renoir, Matisse paintings and sketches. Did I mention they had Chagalls? Oh man. I love his work. I almost cried when I saw a whole room full of his stuff, some I had never seen before. It was GLORIOUS. Happiness on canvas. He is quoted as saying:
"Will God or someone give me the power to breathe my sigh into my canvases, the
sigh of prayer and sadness, the prayer of salvation, of rebirth?"
I think God did:And I sadly, cannot recreate it on your screen in the brilliance that it is in real life...
Another gift from God, to my eyeballs, and heart.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
"When a woman finds herself thrown out of the Restaurant of Hope, abandoned to the cold dark alleyway, she can pursue the path of "hovering". Hunkering down over the steam grate, she can lower her expectations to the basement and try to be satisfied with merely surviving. Or she can pursue the path of "clamoring", trying in her own strength to make herself beautiful enough to be invited back into the restaurant. This pathway is a dead end like the other. But there is a third pathway. The final option in the alleyway is an option that feels foolish.--the option of hopeful remembrance and vision. Frederick Buechner says, 'The world can be kind, it can be cruel. It can be beautiful, and it can be appalling. It can give us good reason to hope, and good reason to give up all hope. It can strengthen out faith in a loving God, and it can decimate our faith'. The alleyway makes this clear.Choosing to respond to hope requires courage, vision and patience. The third path looks like this: "How sad. How very sad. I've been ushered away from the meal I know the chef intended for me. As I look around this alleyway, everything I see is cold, dark, and lonely. I'm going to slowly look around at the harshness of this place, and then I will weep. I will weep for what has been lost. Then I will set my gaze through that back kitchen window. From just the right angle, I'm able to see the table where I once sat. As the back door opens and closes, the aromas of the kitchen hit my senses and remind me of what I had. I will not cover my eyes; I will not cover my nose. I will allow myself to be reminded of what was. And I will wait. I will not wait merely for the meal to be restored to me --THAT MAY NEVER HAPPEN. But I will wait for God. It is His gaze, His care for me that haunts me, and His seeming abandonment that puzzles me. In the waiting I will wrestle with my own personal dilemma with the chef. And in the waiting I will offer my presence to those around me; I will find opportunities to love."