Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

More on Cows.

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

Der Blind Cow

Had a pretty crazy experience last week eating at a restaurant run by visually impaired people called "The Blind Cow". They walk you into this room and serve you a meal COMPLETELY in the dark. We are talking no phones, pagers, watches that light up anything that will cast light inside. (Yeah like that one CSI episode). You check out the menu OR choose to be "surprised". You walk inside (12 of us went!) as a long train of people, hands on shoulders, and are seated. It was such a bizarre feeling, groping around for simple things like the remnant of your bottle of coke without knocking anything over.

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

Ok..I'll try some words.

This was the top of my first run of the day from they very top of Mt. Titlis in Engleberg, Switzerland. I had taken lessons in CO the week before so I was a little more ready for these steeper slopes, but nothing could have prepared me for the views. Just amazing.

We went to Engleberg because it was rumored to be a place with snow this time of year. It was more likely to because of the massive glacier on top of it. I had never seen a glacier, but it made me wide-eyed with wonder, with it's turquoise blue rockiness, and very few things do that to me at 28. So that was nice. There was this hollowed out cave of glacier that we could wander around in. We all tromped around like teenagers inside it taking photo ops. So the eerie glowy pics that you can't see, that is what that its.
This was just a photo op inside the glacier cave. (That is Tami the spunky, from Kansas City and me, with a giant tuft of oregano stuck in my teeth) But I wish that i had taken more pics of this Rotair thing that it's advertising. It's the only 360 degree gondola, that means it's one giant contained lift that is round and has windows on all sides and it spins around so you can see all around you. We got up to the very top early enough to ski several runs in the crisp, clear air before lunch. After lunch the clouds had rolled in and you couldn't really see anything, and taking the Rotair down to some more challenging slopes was eerie to see the suspension lines disappear into the milky white fluff.

This was the run the "expert" took. Those tiny dots to the left.. skiiers. And they came from the top!

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??

When indeed.