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Friday, August 6, 2010

A Soggy Swiss National Day Followed By A Wet Week...

Swiss National Day 2009 is really what I consider the start of my Au Pair Adventure. Last year I arrived on a Thursday and SND was Saturday. It was first real taste of Switzerland and my first experience being surrounded by German.
It was a delicious and interesting day, but this year's holiday definitely topped last year's. By...um...A LOT

My original plans got scrapped just a couple days beforehand, but I was able to make some new plans with Malin, the Swedish au pair and we had a fantastic time. We took the train up to Stein am Rhein around dinnertime and sat in an outdoor cafe' eating salad with perch (me) and pasta with mushroom sauce (her). It was really really rediculously humid out so rather than wandering around town, we stopped and bought some beer and found a place to sit on the ledge surrounding the marina.

It was nice to and chat, watching the boats come in and people setting off their own fireworks, but a little after nine, the storm clouds rolled in and we got soaked. It poured and poured and we just sat there laughing about the whole thing. Malin didn't have an umbrella and I didn't have a coat. I'm sure people thought we were crazy as they went running by and we were sitting casually on the ledge laughing and trying to finish our beers before they got completely watered down.
We finally saw fireworks about 20 minutes after they were scheduled to start and they were INCREDIBLE. Though Swiss National Day is similar to America's Independence Day, these fireworks definitely were not. The show lasted nearly a half hour and I couldn't even begin to estimate how many fireworks they actually shot off. The only thing I could compare it to is the show at Disney's Magic Kingdom. They were THAT good.

We made it back to Schaffhausen around 11:30 and while that poor girl had to ride her bike home, I took the bus back to Stephanie's, where I was treated to plum cake and sangria until after three in the morning.

If you couldn't guess by the title, it has been raining here a lot this week. It's quite absurd really-how am I supposed to enjoy the rest of my time in Switzerland when it's always raining? *sigh* Wednesday afternoon was halfway decent-cloudy and cool, but no rain. Stephanie had had an allnight flight the night before, so I packed up the boys and we went to the Munot and stopped by a couple different playgrounds. Alessio said I made him walk too much that day. Poor kid is so lazy...and I might be partly responsible for that. Oops.
Anyway, it'll probably be a quiet weekend around these parts with Stephanie on a flight and the boys with their dad. I feel like I should start tying up ends here as I will be on my way back to the States in about three weeks, but some things are better left til tomorrow. (or, as Liano likes to say, "next week")

Friday, July 30, 2010

Oops..Didn't Even Realize 2 Weeks Went By....

The best part about writing a blog? I have a captive audience to share my opinions with. So before I update you on the past 2 weeks of life in Switzerland, let me start a discussion with you....

A friend of mine recently (like within the last half hour) made the following statement: "Why are people in Arizona fighting the immigration law.if it was middle eastern coming through the boarders no one would be protesting the law. We got to keep are country safe from all criminals"  Now, disregarding the terrible grammer, this poses any interesting (and I believe false) statement. People are protesting the new policy in AZ because it could lead to racial profiling--that is to say, if you look Mexican, law enforcement can ask to see your "papers" during a routine traffic stop. And people are protesting this because it could lead to police pulling people over simply because they "look Mexican". Now, if the same law were enacted, but it targeted people of Middle Eastern descent, my friend here thinks there wouldn't be nearly as much debate and protest. I disagree--profiling is profiling and racism is racism, regardless of who is at the center of the issue. I do however, think that SOMETHING needs to be done about both the illegals that stream across the border everyday and the ones already living and working here in our country. Do I know what exactly should be done? No. Do I have the answers? No. But do I think that THIS is the right solution? No.
What's your opinion? I love a heated discussion, so drop me an email or send me a Facebook message....

Anyway, back to life in Switzerland...

After I recovered from that near-death incident, the rest of my vacation was pretty nice. I slept-A LOT, read Eat, Pray, Love (so boring-not worth all the hype) and spent a few days at the pool working on my tan. The highlight though, was definitely Italy with Andrew. The area where his family lives is gorgeous, the food was delicious and his family was super nice. Only a few of them spoke English, but with the help of translation, I was made to feel right at home. It was a beautiful, wonderful weekend and I loved every minute of it. The only downer was forgetting my camera battery on the charger at the house. Super sad day because I would've probably taken 235423453 pictures, but I'm over it now. I drank so much wine, the pictures would've been awful...and Andrew seems to think I'll be back sooner rather than later.

As for Andrew, I'm not really one for publicly discussing my business or gushing over my boyfriend in a manner that makes others nauseous, but I will say this.....I am happy. He makes me happy. Things are looking very promising and I am excited to see where this goes. *the end*

The boys, Stephanie and I celebrated our one year "Nannyversary" earlier this week. It's crazy to me that I've been here and entire year! Time has certainly flown by! This past year has really been like an extended vacation from reality and as much as I am looking foward to going home, I will be sad to leave. I have learned so much about myself over the past 12 months and the education of living abroad is more than I could've imagined. We celebrated on Tuesday night with Black Forest cake and some wine and will hopefully make a trip to a petting zoo next week.
The idea of moving home really isn't quite so terrible, now that I am starting to get everything sorted out. I'm registered for 10 credits at the college in town (it WAS 13, but I screwed over-that's another story entirely) and already have a job lined up. (Hope to secure a second with an interview when I get home) On top of that, I hope to find somewhere to volunteer (looking into Big Brothers/Big Sisters). If I can pack my schedule full, the next year will fly by and I'll be ready to move on. I have a love/hate relationship with Gaylord...it's best if I don't spend TOO much time living there.

Finally, in news of delicious excitement, Amanda and Hillary sent me a box from Mackinac Island! The little pink fudge box made me so anxious to get up to the Island and the chocolate peanut butter fudge inside is absolutely delicious. I put a piece in my mouth, closed my eyes and I swear, I thought I was back at the hotel. I could easily picture myself twirling around the lobby in my khaki skirt, handing out fudge samples and fake smiling like it was my job. (because, it was my job haha) I certainly would not want to go back to that time, but it was definitely fun!

This Sunday is Swiss National Day! Yay! And hopefully it won't be another 2 weeks before I update again.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

...And Then I Almost Died (In France)

I just finished an email to an aunt back home and described my trip to France as a "bust". Well, that's putting it lightly. In all honesty, it was a f*cking disaster. It was the 7th circle of hell. It was a near death experience. And it was the most miserable 48 hours of my life.

I woke Sunday feeling a little funny--nothing serious and I chalked it up to nerves. Travelling alone is exciting and exhilarating, but it's also kind of daunting, especially going to a country where I don't speak the language. So I was a little nervous, a little tired, but VERY excited. I had a great schedule lined up and I was ready to explore.
Well I made it to my hotel in Paris (a closet sized room on the 4th floor with no AC and no cold running water--WTH) and decided to take a little nap. The World Cup final was that night, and I had every intention of partaking of the celebration. I may not speak French, but everyone understands the language of soccer. (Gross, I sound like an advertisement)

Anyway, I woke up a couple hours later super sweaty and incredibly nauseous. I started throwing up late afternoon and it went on and on through the night-through Monday and into Tuesday. I had a fever of 102 at one point and I was sweating buckets. No one in my hotel spoke English and it got to the point where I thought, "If I stay here, I'll die" I pulled myself togther enough to make it back out to the airport (sidenote: the Charles de Gaulle airport aka the Paris airport in really almost an hour from Paris-I paid nearly 50Euro [$75] to get there) I practically begged for them to find me a seat on any flight going back to Zurich and I was lucky to snag a seat on the last flight of the day. Andrew picked me up in Zurich and I finally made it to his couch around midnight. I still getting sick through Wednesday afternoon, but at  least he had air conditioning and cold water. And, if my condition got much worse, there were plenty of English speakers around to help me.

The vomitting finally ended late Wednesday and my fever was gone Thursday afternoon when I woke up. I still kind of run down, but considering I threw up nearly every fiber of my being, that's to be expected.
Now that I am feeling better, I'm starting to get seriously pissed at myself. I was able to get my money back for the Thursday/Friday tours, as well as the last 2 nights of my hotel. But I had to buy a last minute plane ticket, which wasn't cheap. All told, I lost between $400-$500 on this fiasco. And that makes me even angrier then not being able to see the Eiffel Tower and Palace of Versailles. Rawr!
I still have a week left of vacation, so I'll probably spend a few days at the pool. It's still around 90 degrees everyday and I need to work on my tan. Andrew has a cousin getting christened next weekend, so we will head down to the Lake Como area for a few days for that. I'll be meeting a lot of his family, which takes "things" to a level of seriousness I don't think is a good idea given my upcoming return to the States. But, the offer of homemade Italian food was just too good to pass up. LoL

It's nearly 2PM here and I feel a nap coming on but I have more to say...probably tomorrow.

Friday, July 9, 2010

quick update

Okay, wow, I know I was supposed to fill everyone in on my festival-filled weekend, but I haven't really had time to sit down and type something out. Finally though, I have today off so I bring everyone up to speed before I jet off on vacation for a week.

ZurichFest was INSANE...it was almost 110° downtown and there were people everywhere. I would've died from the heat, except for my 2-liter pina colada. Instead I just got rediculously drunk while wandering through the 5+ blocks of festival. There were stages set up all over the place with bands or a DJ blasting all kinds of music. Like, literally, I heard everything from a children's choir singing in German to an Eagles cover band to a 10-piece polka band to a DJ blasting Drake's newest single. There were a bunch of food/drink stands set up as well as craft tents and a midway, complete with a ferris wheel and bumper cars. There was also a wake boarding competition on the lake, street performers and an air show a la the Blue Angels. Germany also played in the World Cup that day-and won-so that added to the festive atmosphere. And, the night ended with fireworks (both literally and figuratively) What a great way to celebrate America's Independence Day!

I didn't spend much time at JodlerFest in Schaffhausen on Sunday as it was another steamy day and I wasn't feeling very well. I did eat some roasted almonds though (the BEST part of Alpenfest in Gaylord) and saw lots of people in dirndls/lederhosen. I could've kicked myself for forgetting my camera.

So....vacation....Greece didn't end up working out. There were no more shares on the trip, and I didn't want to spend an additional 300 Euro for a single. I will go to France instead for about a week. I'm staying in Paris and am making day trips to Versailles, Normandy for a "beaches and battlefields" tour and I am going to the Chandon champagne cellars.

Anyway, I know there is like a bunch more stuff I need to tell you, but I seriously just don't have time right now. Stay out of trouble, kids and we'll catch up when I get back from France. Sorry this entry sucks!

xoxo

Thursday, July 1, 2010

All Things Epic

First of all, I basically love the word "epic" (I also love the word "basically" LOL). I could (and do) use it to describe almost everything in my life. Because anything worth doing is worth being done EPICALLY. Or some nonsense like that.

ANYWAY, here's some epic-ness I'd love to share with you....

First of all, my hair is FINALLY long enough to cover up the tat on my back! When I got it done back in '07 the asshat that did my ink gave my fairy "lady bits" when I specifically told him not to. Looking back, I probably could've sued him for piles of money and (and bunches of free tats) but whatevs. Instead, I have spent the past three years obsessively downing folic acid and biotin, trimming off split ends and only shampooing every third day in a desperate attempt to make my hair grow faster. And it has finally paid off!

Also epic is this song: Back It Up--Colette Carr The video is kind of frightening and might be too much for some of you, but I love love this song! Actually, almost all of Colette's songs are great!

Epically sad, Portugal is out of the World Cup. Andrew found me a Portugal t shirt and then they lost the very next game! (to Spain) So sad...no more Cristiano Ronaldo pure seks. (Unless I want to become a fan of Real Madrid, but soccer is booooooring.) So bummed though, I could sit in front of the TV and watch images like THIS flash across the screen ALLLL DAYY.

The weather around here has been rediculous. Today it was over 100 degrees and I thought I might have a heat stroke. I LOVE hot days, but that's just TOO hot. I have a 3 day weekend, so I will definitely head to the pool tomorrow. It shouldn't be too busy because school's summer vacation doesn't start until the end of next week and I will be able to lay out and soak up some sun in peace.
Then, this weekend should be fun. On Saturday I hope to go down to Zurich for the day for Zuri Fascht. This is some huge city party that takes place once every four summers, with free food and concerts, an art fair, plus a bunch of other "attractions"  and Stephanie says it's something that CAN'T be missed.
This weekend is also Jodlerfest here in Schaffhausen and Nuehausen, so I hope to hit that up on Sunday. More free food, traditional music and dress (aka yodeling and dirndls) and another arts fair. And because I wouldn't be a red-blooded patriotic American if I overlooked Independance Day, I will be partaking of much beer consumption. (Not Bud Lite of 4th of Julys Past, sadly)

My nineteen day vacation starts next weekend, so I'll be off and running. (I hope) I finally decided on an 8 day trip through then Greek islands and need to call and make a reservation tomorrow. I'm so excited. I wanted to go on a tour similar to the one I took in Ireland and I was able to find one through a company that caters exclusively to 18-35s. I don't want to talk about the cost, because if my dad reads this he'd lose his marbles, but let me tell you I probably won't be able to eat the entire time I'm there (only kidding, a bunch of meals are included)

I didn't think I'd be able to go anywhere as my computer recently suffered a most greivious injury (the plastic cover over one of the hinges snapped off, exposing the wires that connect keyboard to screen and making the screen super wobbly) I didn't want to go anywhere because I didn't want to spend the money, just in case I have to buy a new laptop when I get back to the US. Then I decided to travel anyway, because who knows when I'll be back in Europe. If my laptop busts (and I am praying to every deity I can think of that it won't) I'll just have to use my desktop at my parents til I can buy a new one. (DONATIONS ACCEPTED)

I'm kind of bummed that the original plan of travelling France with Allison didn't pan out, but I think this will be super cool as well. And it was pointed out to me that it will be much easier to get to Paris from Michigan than to go to Greece. So, Greece now. Paris later.

Anyway, Happy Independence Weekend everyone! I'll fill ya'll in on my weekend (which should be EPIC) sometime next week! Cross your fingers that tour isn't full and pray to the god(s) of your choice that my sweet baby, Louis the Laptop doesn't die.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

World Cup Fever (is contagious)

Okay, I don't know how closely all of you are following World Cup but I'm trying not to like at all. This is becoming more and more difficult though as soccer (excuse me, football) is crazy popular over here and World Cup is a HUGE deal. It drives me crazy because everyone around me is freaking out, "football football FOOTBALL" and I get pumped for a super quick second, thinking they are talking about US football- touchdowns, field goals and the two point conversion...the crack you hear when pads smash. (What? I watched A LOT of high school football during my bonding time with Dave growing up) Then I realize these Europeans aren't talking TOUCHDOWWWWN at all.....more like GOOOOOOAAAALLL. So not the same thing and 100x less exciting. And yet I find myself being sucked in. =P

Yesterday America beat Algeria and secured a spot in the second round and in celebration, the American across the street brought me a beer. Now free beer is something I can get behind. So, YAY YAY USA....

My (pretty much only) friend here, Andrew, is OBSESSED with World Cup (like 99.9% of Europeans) and I haven't seen him in almost 2 weeks because of it, so Friday I have agreed to watch some "football" in order to spend some quality (drinking) time together. Brazil plays Portgal late Friday afternoon and we will bet all the drinks we can drink over the course of 90 minutes. He will side with Brazil, as they are his "favorite" team. And, of course, I'll take Portugal because they have Ronaldo. Sounds like a great deal to me (as long as Portugal wins--drinks here are pretty expensive) Though, even if I lose I still win because I get to watch Cristiano Ronaldo run around and be seksi for an hour and a half. LOL

Speaking of, I wasn't going to have a crazy rediculous school-girl crush on him, as he is a terrible person in real life (he deals in hookers and LOTS of them....and he once kicked in a fangirl's car window for taking his picture) But then I realized just how long it's been since I've had a crush on someone (even unrequited) so I figured, what the hell? So, until further notice, I have sold my soul over to this pretty boy from Portugal. (Just don't tell Andrew....he still thinks we might be dating)

Oh, and speaking of Portugal, Portugal, PORTUGAL.... here is the link to the pictures from our trip to Lisbon. I forgot to add it to yesterday's post:  LISBON<3

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

LISBON

Allright, I'll do my best to describe Lisbon for all of you who will never have the opportunity (or the desire) to see this amazing little oasis along the River Tejo. To be honest though, my words will never do it justice and I encourage all of you to see Portugal sometime in your life.

We got up sooooo early on Saturday (okay, I got up 720) to make it to the airport in time for our flight. There was a little confusion about seating because we had standby tickets but in the end, Alessio and I sat together with Stephanie and Liano sitting a few rows ahead of us. I was surprised by how well the boys handled their first ever flight and Alessio and I spent most of the flight coloring in a book all about Swiss Air that came in a gift bag provided by the flight attendants.

Our flight lasted a little more than 2 hours and Monica was waiting at the airport when we landed in Lisbon. She took us directly to our hostel to get checked in and settled before we began our exploration of Lisbon. This was my first time ever staying is a hostel and I was impressed. It was small (only a half dozen rooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen, living room and patio) but it was clean and cute. Our room was about the same size as my closet back home, with two sets of bunk beds and some lockers. It was better this way though, as opposed to a traditional hotel because we once we put the boys to bed, Stephanie and I were still able to stay up reading and working on the computer.

As soon as we had dropped the bags, we were off and running again. Our first stop was a subway station to pick up some 48 hour passes and then we were off to the center of Lisbon's old town. Lisbon is GORGEOUS. It was never on my list of places to see, but I am so glad I had the opportunity to go there. It was such a mix of old and new....it was romantic and charming and had the bustling activity of a big city, while still having a small town feel. In short, I immediately loved it and spent lots of time imagining myself living there, amongst the memorials and 30 story hotels and palm trees.

We took this crazy (scary) tram up the side of a hill and were greeted my an amazing view of Lisbon, with the River Tejo in the background. I can't even put into words how pretty it was up there...it was totally worth the unbelievable feeling that I was about to die as we rode the rickity, shaking tram back down that steep incline. HA. From there we went over to a castle that was open to the public. Unfortunately, I don't really remember much of the history behind it, so I can't really say too much about it. We climbed all over the castle walls; up much higher than I would've prefered, but the view was nice and the kids seemed to love it. When we left the castle, we took the boys for some ice cream and then Monica left us to go to work for the evening.

It was still fairly early, so we walked down an avenue filled with various street performers and spent some time along the river. We were in an area where we were unable to actually get in the river, or even reach down and feel the water, but it was nice to be by the water and soak up some evening sun. The boys were so enthralled by all the street performers that it probably took us 2 hours to make our way back up the street. We stopped to watch one of those human statues-you know, one of those guys painted all one color and they hold really still up on a pedestal so they look like art. Then suddenly-they move! This guys sucked; he changed positions too often and he would wink and smile at people as they passed by. Alessio and Liano loved it though. Then there was a man standing on the back of a wagon playing a guitar. He had with him a Momma dog and 2 pups and he encouraged the boys to pet the puppies. I thought this was a terrible idea, but I didn't say anything and my fears were quickly realized when the mother (just a small dog-maybe a pommerainian) lunged and snapped at Alessio. He didn't get bit, but it scared him and Liano into tears and poor Liano was so startled that he latched onto the leg of a nearby stranger. In the US, this would've been a lawsuit waiting to happen, but the man just patted Alessio's head, and allowed him to hold one of the pups so Stephanie could take his picture. Suddenly, all was fine again. There was also a man on a unicycle doing some juggling, but I grew up watching Tommy Tropic, so I wasn't all that impressed.

My favorite act was definitely a group of performers in town from somewhere in Asia. They demonstrated some of their crazy ninja skills to live music and then they had one of those giant Chinese dragons they performed with. It was SO cool. I could've watched them dancing with that dragon all night.

We got back to the hostel around 730PM Lisbon time (830 Swiss) and Stephanie imediately got the boys into bed while I went back out on my own in search of some dinner. There was a small diner up the street that sold me a ham and cheese sandwich and a Coke for 3 Euro and I settled into a park bench across from our hostel to enjoy some quiet time and my sandwich while I imagined what a move to Lisbon would be like. (Seriously, I liked it there THAT much)  It was nice there, but some weirdo came by and tried to talk to me about World Cup (boooooooorrrrrriiinnnngggg) so I hightailed it back to our room, read a little and went to bed.

Sunday, ugh, I feel like we were up SO early. Really, we weren't up and moving until nearly 10AM Swiss time, but I barely slept the night before what with Alessio rolling around in the bunk above me all night and Liano slamming his head against the mattress for 20 minutes at a time. After breakfast provided by the hostel (toast with peach jelly or corn flakes, milk, coffee and/or tea) we headed off to the oceanairium with Monica in tow. I thought this was the world's largest oceanairium, but really it was the second largest...either way, it was HUGE. So many fish in every color and shape, plus an otter and-my favorite-PENGUINS!! It was really cool and incredibly interesting. I could've spent all day in there, reading the displays and studying the different animals, but the kids were not so interested, and we moved fairly quickly between displays.

The oceanairium was built in an area created especially created for the World's Expo back in 1998 and there was a bunch of really cool modern architecture to look at as we walked through the park. It was so nice, there was the river on one side and hotels, a shopping mall, etc on the other. We took a gondola ride high above the whole area to get a better view and Monica pointed out points of interest for us. (She was such a great city guide/hostess) We stopped inside the mall for some lunch (Pizza Hut--YAY!!) and then went back into town to board a city sight-seeing bus. It was pretty similar to the one I rode in Dublin (Hop On/ Hop Off...interesting facts and local information) The boys were happy to rest their tired feet and taking that bus was a great way to see lots of the city, all while sitting on our bums taking photos. My only complaint would be that the bus drove way too fast and it was difficult to take decent photos. Ahhh well. We stopped at Starbucks for some frappacino love and then took the boys over to a fountain to splash around and play while Stephanie and I people watched. There was a huge World Cup match that night between Brazil and the Ivory Coast and the Brazillians were out en masse. Crazy, loud and hilairious to watch (maybe drunk already?) I was having fun and feeding off their energy just watching them.

When we returned to the hostel, Stephanie left to find a grocery store and the boys and I sat with some other guests of the hostel as well as the hostel hostess and watched the soccer game. Boring! But the boys enjoyed it and it was cool to sit and talk with the hostess. She worked for a year in Michigan (down in Auburn Hills) and gave me a serious small world moment when she mentioned a visit to Boyne Mountain. She had never heard of Gaylord, but she knew all about Boyne, as well as Petoskey and Macinac Island. How crazy is that?!
I also found myself in a dispute with some Spanish girl because I was saying how much I adore Cristiano Ronaldo (well, past tense, more about that another day) and she told me that Americans are so lame.......we can't create anything cool on our own, so we have to steal people/things from other parts of the world. For example........MADONNA. I was like, "No, Madonna is definitely an American. She was raised in Michigan". This girl swore up and down that Madonna was British though so I decided not to argue with her. I know I'm right and someday she'll realize she was wrong and then she'll remember me and feel like an asshat. Bwahahaha....

Monday morning we stuck around the hostel, watching cartoons and packing everything up. Then we were back up in the air and back home in Schaffhausen by 530PM. It was a quick trip, and exhausting, but ever so incredible and I cannot wait to get back to Lisbon sometime down the road......

Friday, June 18, 2010

I Have Plans. Big Plans.

Well hey, I know I haven't posted in a little while, but I've been pretty busy doing nothing, so there hasn't been much time to post. Or, much to post about.

Things around here have been pretty quiet the past week. I had Monday, Tuesday and Thursday off and only worked for a few hours Tuesday and today. Unfortunately, the weather decided not to cooperate with my ultimate work week, so instead of soaking in the sun or walking around town, I spent a significant portion of time just sleeping. (I am seriously a professional at sleeping) I watched a few movies online and finished my latest novel and, of course, spent way too many hours playing Sims 3. That game is worse than a crack addiction. (not that I've ever been addicted to crack)

Anyway, while this week was less than exciting, we have some serious adventures planned for this weekend. Stephanie packed up the kids and we are headed to Lisbon, Portugal for 3 days and 2 nights. I am BEYOND excited!! Portugal was never really on my list of places I "had" to see, but now that we are going, I am super stoked. While there, we will meet Monica-the girl taking my place as Alessio & Liano's nanny. That will be kind of weird for me, I think. Sometimes it feels like I have been here F-O-R-E-V-E-R, but really, this year has flown by! Anyway, I am really looking foward to meeting her. =) Rachel, Amanda & I are all so different and it'll be interesting to see what she brings to the table. Aside from spending time with Monica, we also plan to see the world's largest oceananarium (sp?) and see "old town" and "new town" Lisbon. And I will definitely be taking like a million pictures, so keep an eye out here for a link, or check my Facebook page. The ONLY downside to this trip, is that with World Cup going on, Cristiano Ronaldo is in South Africa right now. This means my chances of meeting him are ZERO. This is probably for the best though, as I would probably pass out or start drooling or something... LOL
If you live under a rock and you don't know who Ronaldo is click here for his Facebook Page. And ladies, try not to drool! Haha...I don't give a damn about soccer but he sure is delicious. LOL

Oooh...in other news, I finally have plans for leaving Europe. These plans are contingent upon me not jumping on some random train bound for some faraway land (like Turkey--they LOVE white girls there) in order to escape my planned return to Gaylord. I'll fly from Zurich to Boston ans spend a few days with my cousin Melissa and her new husband in Rhode Island. I am estatic about this, as I haven't seen her in 5 years (and she promised to take me to NYC) I love how close she and I have gotten over the past couple years, through our letter writing, it's just a shame we lost all those years. At any rate, it's sure to be a wonderful time!! And then I'll fly home on August 31st and end up living in Gaylord for (at least) the next year, while I build up some funds and my GPA.

Other than that, not much to say. I need to go shave my legs and have a shower before my Skype date with the lovely Allison Porta in 2 hours time.

Have a wonderful weekend all!! XOXO

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Summer, You Are a Cruel Mistress

Umm...what's the deal with the weather? I know I talk about the weather a lot, but it frustrates me so much, I have to complain about it all the time.

Actually, it was gorgeous all week--super sunny and around 80 everyday. But now that I have a 4 day weekend, it will rain again and only warm up to about 65. However, I was sporting a wicked sunburn a few days ago (it even blistered a little-that NEVER happens to me) so maybe it's better I stay inside for a few days.

I went to the pool last Saturday for the first time this summer which was fantastic. They raised the entrance price and it now costs SIX francs to get in, but I guess it was well worth it. I mostly just laid in a lounge chair working on my tan for the four hours I was there, but I did feel some ambition and swam a few laps to cool off. I swear, I could lay in a lounge chair in the sun FOREVER.

The kids have been pretty good lately. When the weather is nice and they can go outside and run around, it definitely helps. And they get to play with their kiddie pools now, which they love. And I love because it makes my job so much easier. Seriously. Thursday I laid in a lounge chair in the backyard all afternoon reading a book while the boys splashed around. When I got too hot, they would come over with watering cans from the garden and soak me down. What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. But spoiling me like that will not make going back to Michigan-with its college classes and real job-any easier.

Did you watch the Glee finale? I absolutely LOVE LOVE that show!! And the finale made me laugh...made me cry...and the the music was AMAZING! I'm so happy Whitney showed me where to watch that show online, or I would've definitely missed out. (Speaking of Whitney, she's done au pairing and back in the US now)

Anyway, I just wanted to give you a quick update on what's going on around here....now I have to go do some laundry and clean my room. Since the weather sucks, I may as well be productive.

Oh, and here are the links to the photos from Brandi's visit here. Facebook photo uploader decided to somewhat cooperate recently and I finally got them up!
Happy Saturday!

Brandi's Visit (Pt. 1)
Brandi's Visit (Pt. 2)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Brandi's Visit...Etc...

Oh geez...I really need to be better about updating this thing in a timely fashion. Brandi's been gone since Saturday and I still haven't filled ya'll in...

It was great having her here-I needed the morale boost, but this was as much a vacation for me as it was for her and our differing vacation styles were a point of contention almost the entire time she was here. Apparently, when she is on vacation, she just likes to lay around and relax, which is all well and good when we are in Gulf Shores or down in Florida next to a pool. But this is EUROPE-so much to see and do and who knows when we'll ever get back here again. And she seemed really game to do a bunch of sightseeing when we were talking about her coming here so it was like super disappointing when she got here and didn't actually want to do much more than sit along the Rhine and feed the ducks.

All that being said, we did do SOME travelling-we made it to Pontresina, Lichtenstein, Lake Lucerne and Insel Mainau, as well as a boat trip to Stein am Rhein, but this was NOTHING compared to what we had talked about. =P I have 2 weeks vacation in July; anyone want to come visit (I have access to $500 RT tickets out of Chicago and the Euro is super weak right now-GREAT exchange rate) and do some actual travelling?? I'm thinking France...Paris, Normandy (specifically Omahah (sp?) Beach and other WWII sites) and then maybe a couple days in the south...maybe visit a vineyard and do some wine-tasting and a trip to the famous beaches in the south of France. This is an open invitation to ANY friend(s) of mine. So c'mon! Somebody must have the time/money. Don't make me go alone, people!

So back to Brandi's visit....we were really blessed to have decent weather the entire time she was here (as opposed to now-it's barely 60 and rain) We had a few gorgeous, sunny, hot days and a few cooler, cloudy days but absolutely no rain!

She came in on Tuesday the 18th and immediately bonded with the boys. (Thanks in part to a suitcase full of gifts for them.) We didn't do much the first day as she was pretty tired. She had a long nap after lunch and once the boys were in bed I introduced her to the magic that is Glee. In the time she was here, we watched every episode from season 1 and now she is completely caught up.

I had to work Wednesday and Thursday, so we spent most of our time with the boys. On Wednesday, we took them to the RheinFalls and up to the Munot (the two most important places to see on a visit to Schaffhausen) She agreed that the RheinFalls were gorgeous, but wasn't really all that impressed by their size. They may be Europe's highest waterfall, but it looks like a trickle compared to Niagra-or even Tahquamenon in Michigan. And she loved the view from the Munot....she probably took 300 pictures that day!

Thursday after lunch we took the kids down to the playground and then over to the river. It was pretty chilly that day, so we weren't out for more than a few hours, but we did spend a great deal of time watching people dock their boats in the river for summer. The boys were absolutely enthralled by this and could've stood there all day watching, but the boat launch has a bit of a pigeon problem and as Brandi is terrified of them, I was worried that her fear would rub off on the boys and I don't need that. They are already afraid of snails, dogs and cloudy days (well, they aren't afraid of clouds-they just constantly worry about the threat of rain and it drives me crazy) I didn't need another fear added to their list or they may never want to leave the house again.

Friday we went down to Pontresina (an 11 hour train ride roundtrip) and it was disappointing at best. I have wanted to visit this town in the Alps since I was a child and I was sorely let down...
For those of you who aren't familiar with Pontresina and it's connection with Gaylordm, let me give you a quick lesson. Gaylord sits on the the 45th degree latitude line (or 45th parallel) as does Pontresina, Switzerland. Back the 60's Gaylord and Pontresina became "sister cities" and in a ploy to attract tourists, Gaylord created the Alpenfest. For 5 days in July, we celebrate all things (supposedly) Pontresina. We dress in dirndls and lederhosen, eat weird food like schnitzal and strudel, dance to polka music and participate in a bunch of "Swiss" events. More than that, Gaylord has a "Swiss" theme, with Alpine style architecture and growing up everyone EVERYONE knew what Pontresina was and it was engrained in us how amazing this place was supposed to be. Well I won't break it down piece by piece, but basically Alpenfest is a bunch Polish decendants dressed like they just walked out of Heidiland and eating/doing GERMAN things. While the architecture was pretty much the same, nothing about this place reminded me anything of home. We stopped by the tourism office-I figured they must know something about our relationship or be able to reccomend a place in town that would. They had NO IDEA what I was talking about! While Gaylord is obsessed with this tiny Swiss village, they don't even know we exist!

All that being said, Pontresina was a pretty place. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and coniferous forest, it reminded me a lot of Park City. Unfortunately, most of the businesses in town were closed as May is a month of repairs/cleaning before the busy summer season starts, but I think it was worth the train ride just to be up in the mountains again. I may just have to go back there before I go home.

Since Pontresina was kind of a bust, we left around 3PM and went another 30 minutes south to the tourist haven of San Moritz. Again, most places were closed, but it was absolutely STUNNING there. The hotels are built into the side of the mountains and the entire town overlooks a crystal clear lake. Stephanie said that this town is a popular vacationing spot for the super wealthy and I can absolutely understand why.

Brandi's jet lag caught up with her on Friday night and she had a mini-meltdown, so I made the decision to sleep in on Saturday and we didn't really get moving til lunch time. We went downtown and had lunch at Schaffhausen's beer garden and did some souvenier shopping. We spent most of the afternoon just sitting by the river and we watched several hours of Glee that night.

Sunday we took the boatride up the Rhine to Stein am Rhein which was absolutely packed with tourists. On the boat we sat across from a honeymooning couple from South Carolina who were estatic about having people to talk to in English. Stein am Rhein is my favorite place in Switzerland-it looks like a village from a fairytale-but Brandi's asthma (and the fact that she insists on carrying 75lbs in her backpack) prevented her from seeing much of the place. I was all jacked to hike up to these castle ruins that overlook the village and the river, but after lunch when I suggested it, she basically laughed in my face. *sigh* We did eat some fantastic ice cream sundaes though. And when we got back, I took Brandi for her first (and last) European cocktail. We had what were basically mimosas and she was not a fan. She prefers a fifth of vodka and 2 liter of Country Time lemonade to actual drinks. She also only drinks to get drunk. I couldn't really judge her for this, because I was the same way at 19. I spent most of my time roaming around the campus of Saginaw Valley with a bottle of UV Blue in my backpack.

Monday, as the weather was perfect, super sunny and warm enough for tank tops, we took the train over to Lake Lucerne for a day of aimless wandering. The lake was wayyy too cold to swim in, but we were able to take a bunch of gorgeous photos (clear lake, lots of sail boats and snow capped mountains as a backdrop...it was like looking a postcard) We bought sandwiches from some roadside stand and spent a few hours just soaking up the sun and watching the sailboats cruise by.

Monday night, we used the money our grandparents sent and had "fancy dinner" at an Italian restaurant in Schaffhausen. Well, I had "fancy dinner" having put on a dress and doing my make up. Brandi refused to play along and wore capris and her fleece jacket the whole night. And we fought almost the whole time. How........nice. On the upside, I had bass and vagetables and she had spaghetti with prawns and the food was delicious! Expensive, but delicious! So, thank you Grandma & Grandpa Platte for the fantastic food and wine and gelato for dessert!!

Tuesday we went over to Lichtenstein-which is a princpality, NOT a country. Our only reason for going there was to get our passports stamped but it turned out to be a gorgeous day and the town of Vaduz (the capital of Lichtenstein) was adorable. It was here that we saw the only dirndls of the whole trip (not people actually wearing them, but dresses for children for sale at one of the gift shops) We wandered around for awhile, trying to get as close as possible to the royal family's palace but it seemed that every path leading to it closed to visitors about halfway up. (The palace sits on top of a ridge overlooking the town.) We stopped for lunch and had the sweetest-albeit most frazzled waitress I've encountered in Europe. Right after we ordered, the place filled up with eldery tourists from England, Austrailia and some Asian country. They were all super rude and grouchy toward the waitress (demanding to order, complaining about the temperature of their Coke, complaining about the service time, claiming they couldn't understand the waitress' English, etc) so I told her to take her time bringing our bill as we had nowhere important to be...plus I was covertly photographing old Asian men wearing socks with sandals, safari hats and fanny packs. When things slowed down again, she brought the bill, thanked me for my patience and made some small talk with us about Michigan while she made change. As she walked away, some old lady snapped, "We're from England-thanks for asking." Brandi and I went to the bathroom right after and as I was in the stall, I was telling her, "Of course the waitress doesn't care where that lady is from. She's an epic bitch. It's probably miserable waiting on her and her friends." I walked out of the stall and came face to face with that same woman!!! She gave me the death stare and told me to go to hell and I literally started laughing as I walked back outside. She was a bitch. She needed to know. It's just too bad she had to find out from me. HA HA.

I was really pushing to go to Paris Tuesday/Wednesday, but Brandi straight out refused to go-told me I could go by myself and she'd stay at Stephanie's if I wanted to go so badly. Her reasoning? "I heard France is dirty. And I don't want to get kidnapped and turned into a sex slave." Okay, the first part is true, but you overlook that in favor of the Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysse' and the chance to see the Mona Lisa. But the second part? Seriously? SERIOUSLY?? She has been spending WAYYY TOOOO MUCH TIME WITH OUR DAD!!! That's the only explanation I can come up with. His view is that every person you meet either wants to rape you or sell you into sex slavery. He calls it being a realist. I call it being rediculous.

Since Paris didn't happen (I am absolutely going in July...even if it means maxing out my AMEX card...I may never have another to go. Who wants to come??) Wednesday we settled for Insel Mainau-a botanical island in Lake Konstanz. It was super super pretty there with so many things to see/do. We visited a butterfly conservatory, walked through a green energy exhibit, looked at an art exhibit featuring hibisbus (Jordan Reichard, you would've LOVED it) and fed some goats at a petting zoo. Plus there were so many trees and flowers everywhere to look at. And smell. =) It was a fantastic last adventure.

Thursday was Brandi's last day before her scheduled flight, so she decided we would visit the restaurant we had lunch at on Saturday again and finish her souvenier shopping. Then we went down to the river and fed the ducks before returning to Stephanie's to pack all her stuff and watch movies.

Friday morning she was SUPPOSED to fly out. I took her to the airport, got her all checked in (she was even upgraded to business class!) and came back to Schaffhausen. She returned to Stephanie's around 4PM and informed me that she had been bumped from her flight at the gate 20 minutes before boarding and had to find her own way back to Schaffhausen as the airport employees refused to be helpful. Because she had an employee ticket from Stephanie, she was the first one to be upgraded. She was also the first to be bumped when the flight filled at the last minute. I then had to spend the next 3 hours on the phone trying to track down her luggage and arrange a new connecting flight from Chicago for her while she sat in a chair and cried. My dad was pissed it cost another $130 (this is what happens when you buy non-refundable tickets) and she was pissed she didn't get to go home. Both of them were super grouchy and it took every fiber of my being not to say, "to hell with it" and go downtown and leave the two of then to figure it out. In the end, Swiss held her luggage overnight and then she flew out Saturday. She connected to Detroit and one of her friends came down to pick her up that night.

So that's about that as far as Brandi's visit goes...I'll have pictures up on Facebook soon and when I do, I'll post a link here.

In other news, the boys are as crazy as ever--we had a nice taste of summer and now that the weather has turned sour again, they get really restless and obnoxious during the day. And super whiney. Ugh! I much prefer working for them as opposed to say, working at the hotel--until they start whining. And on Monday, Liano was in a bit of a bike accident-he scraped up his face and skinned his knee-nothing too serious-but he cried (literally) nonstop for 2 solid days. I was so happy when Stephanie left on a flight yesterday, so I could say, "stop crying or go to bed" and suddenly he miraculously felt better. He knew he'd get no more sympathy from me, so he decided to save us both the headache. Though he still walks rediculously slow and with an exaggerated limp.

With spring came several problems around the house-more specifically spiders and martins. The spider thing is nothing new, I typically kill 3-4 a week...though now it's more like 2-3 A DAY! Ewww! And I can only kill the little ones, which means when Stephanie comes home tonight, I have one in my bathroom, one in the kitchen and one in the hall for her to deal with. Baby spiders I can handle, but big ones-no way. I nearly panic when the one in the bathroom watches me washing my hands. =(
The other problen, the martins, is one most Americans might be unfamiliar with. I tried to find a picture of a martin on google images, but I couldn't. Basically, they're a relative of the squirrel but 100X more annoying. They live in the rafters of the house and have had babies. They run back and forth across the eaves and you cqan hear them from upstairs. Plus, they make this noise that sounds like a woman screaming. Awful. And, as they are a protected species, nothing can be done about them (legally) until after July 15.

On a more positive note, I got the most kickass care package EVER from my cousin, Melissa the other day. She sent me, black licorice, jelly beans, 2 nail polishes, Hello Kitty stickers, lip gloss, coloring books and body wash from Bath and Body Works!! Yay! I was SO SO excited to get it! I hadn't gotten mail in FOREVER and this was easily the highlight of my day. (Maybe even my week)
Okay, I know this is running a tad long. (Okay, super long) but one more thing. Nope, two more.

#1 I've had over 2000 page views!! SOOOOOO COOOOOLLLLL!!!!!

#2 Eminem and Jay-Z are playing a show at Comerica Park in September and I am SO going. Unfortunately, this will mean no Lady Gaga (for now) but she'll go on tour again. When's the next time these two will perform together?? SO PUMPED!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

!!!

MY SISTER WILL BE HERE IN LESS THAN 12 HOURS!!!!

(that is all)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Past Week...

Raise your hand if you are terrible at updates... *raises hand*

I am just awful at updating my blog, answering emails, returning phone calls, etc. It's not that I'm too busy, 9 times out of 10 "I just don't feel like it" So when I got online tonight, I hadn't updated my blog in a week, I had 5 unanswered emails and 3 Facebook messages. I'm becoming the kind of friend that usually annoys me. So I told myself that tonight I was not allowed to watch last night's Glee or play Farmville until everyone was answered. To make it easier on myself, I have some chocolate to keep me company, but still....blahhhhh

The long weekend was great...on Thursday Amanda came to visit and stayed til dinner. It was great to see another American and discuss things going on back home. Plus I was able to pick her brain a little about things to see while Brandi is here. She and her husband have travelled quite a bit while here and she was able to give me some great information! And the kids just loved seeing her! She's actually going back to the US before me, so hopefully she gets a chance to come back one more time before she leaves for America.

Saturday was amazing...there was a "bread show" going on in Schaffhausen, along with a jazz festival and a motorcycle rally. I met my friend Andrew downtown (the one that scared off the Albanian stalker back during German class) and we had a great afternoon-eating wayyy too much bread, listening to jazz, looking at motorcycles and-of course-day drinking. Day drinking isn't as taboo in Europe as it is in America and it was beuatiful day to stare out at the Rhine river and drink pink sparkling wine. Or several mugs of beer if you are too manly to drink something pink. I was home by about 5 and was intending to go back downtown in the evening, but watched a Leonardo DiCaprio movie instead. He is just too cute....Bar Raefeli is one lucky girl.

Sunday was pretty quiet, and Liano came home from Dad's with some stomach virus, so Monday and Tuesday were pretty low-key as well. Yesterday I helped Stephanie put up a shade umbrella in the backyard-such work! It wasn't too heavy, but was like 8 feet high so it was crazy awkward. I'm sure we looked rediculous trying to put it up. In the end, Stephanie stood on a chair holding the top of the umbrella as high as she could while I fed the end of it into the base. Then she puttered around the yard doing this and that while I tried (unsuccessfully) to teach Liano how to catch a ball.

Today we all went to an indoor playland called Berrolino-which the kids absolutely loved. Stephanie worked on her computer and I chased the kids around. We jumped on trapolines, climbed around inside the giant playplace, played in a ball pit, the kids drove bumper cars and we just ran around. There were a lot of school kids there, but it wasn't really much of a problem. Though, at one point, I noticed one boy was running around like crazy, pushing kids, knocking them down, etc. I wouldn't have gotten involved, but she shoved Alessio at one point and he tripped and fell. So I had one of those "Did you just mess with my kid? Oh HELL NO" moments.... I followed Liano up into the playplace and when the kid came running up behind us, I stuck my arm out and "accidently" clotheslined him. He fell right over, I smirked and he slowed way down the rest of the day. Absolutely inappropriate, but whatever.

The rest of the week should be allright...with Stephanie here and kids on some holiday weekend I'm working half days tomorrow and Friday (at least I think Friday too) and then I have Saturday off. I'm techinically working on Sunday, but I'm not too sure how that'll work out as Stephanie will be here and Carlo will come to visit the kids in the afternoon. Maybe I'll get up with them so Stephanie can sleep...or maybe I'll just get them ready for bed. Or maybe it will be one of those awkward days where I'm not really sure what I should be doing, so I just slink around the house telling the boys to get their hands/shirts/toys out of their mouths and not to yell or hit each other.

And, of course, Tuesday Brandi will FINALLY be here!! So excited! We have a lot of really cool stuff planned. Plus, it will be nice to just have someone here who "knows" me. Can't wait to show her Switzerland and gossip about all the crazy peeps in Gaylord.

Allright, before I move onto those emails, one more thing....not sure if she still reads this or not, but I want to send a huge congratulations to my friend, Joan, who had her first baby the other day-a happy healthy baby girl-Lyla June!! =) I may not want kids, but when other people have them, it is SO exciting!

Emails, Facebook, Farmville, Glee....Ready, Set, GO!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Ahhh...Cinco de Mayo. Mexican independence.

More importantly, Cinco de Mayo is EASILY my favorite (drinking) holiday. Bottles of Corona, shots of tequilla, massive magaritas....what's not to love? And, unlike my other favorite drinking holiday (St. Patrick's Day) it's usually warm enough to enjoy said libations outside. Plus, Mexican food rocks.

The past two years, I filled up on delicious chicken nachos at Horn's Bar on Mackinac Island and then tossed back tequilla like nobody's business. Then I stumbled around downtown, speaking Spanish and eventually finding my way to the Gatehouse to dance my ass off. Finished the night with a large PiƱa  Colada at Seabiscuit.

~LOVE LOVE LOVE~

Well, this year I spent the day with the kiddles, and while there was dancing and some Spanish, there was no nachos and definitely no tequilla. Sad face, I know.

I made tacos for lunch, which I was super excited about. The soft shells I bought were terrible though...super inflexible. Because of this, the kids weren't able to pick them up and eat them as normal. Still though, they seemed to enjoy them. And my Spanish nonsense throughout the day.
I have the next FOUR days off, so maybe I'll scoot on downtown one afternoon and toss a couple shots back for old time's sake. I'll let you know how that works out....

What I do know is that I am already going through Mackinac withdrawls. While spending the summer in Europe is cool and all, I LOVE summer on the Island and am super sad I didn't/couldn't go back. The job at the hotel was awful, but I love absolutely everything else. Everyone is starting to go back up there and I am super bummed. Hopefully I make it back to Michigan in time to spend a weekend up there with everyone before the season ends.

I'm sure my liver is grateful we aren't going back though. HAHAHAHA

In other news, I decided to drop the math class and pick up nutrition this fall. I figured I's much rather ease my way back into college than run face first into the wall that is algebraic equations. I think the semester will be a cakewalk.....and I'm shooting for a 3.8 GPA. Even if it mean deactivating the Facebook or moving to the library. Time to be serious, Alyssa.

Allright, well, it's nearly midnight, so I better get ready for bed. Cross your fingers that the weather improves so I can go have some adventures (and go running!) during my long weekend.

Oh, and PS,
It was brought to my attention that an expression I used in the last post wasn't exactly "politically correct".  Actually, it was apparently, "super offensive". Ummm....let me remind you, this is MY blog...MY thoughts put into MY words. If you don't like it-don't read it. Simple as that. Because I am not very ladylike. And I am definitely not perfect. I curse. when I write. I talk about drinking and depression and occasionally allude to previous drug use. I make inappropriate comments about anatomy I don't actually possess. Deal with it or don't read it. Thanks a million.

Friday, April 30, 2010

TGIF

TGIF...that about sums it up, huh? The kids have been on school vacation, so we've been hanging out all week, and I am more than ready for my day off tomorrow. I mean, I love hanging out with them (obviously, or I wouldn't be here) but 5 days in a row is exhausting.

I will say this though, to the people who said I wasn't responsible enough to have my own dog (DAD), if I can manage 2 preschoolers, I can definitely handle a dog. I mean, I feed them, make sure they drink enough water, discipline them, clean up after them, take them for walks and play with them. Plus, unlike a puppy, I also have to teach them how to get dressed on their own, proper sentence structure and how to count. Plus, children need things like manners and morality. So that's it, when I get home I'm getting a puppy. (As soon as it's in the budget anyway)

Wednesday was fun--Stephanie took the kids and me to an animal/attractions park about an hour from here. We saw bears, deer, a warthog, miniature ponies and goats. Plus there were other animals we didn't see. We went on a train ride though the park and the kids got to ride go carts and mechanical horses. There was also a huge playground and a couple of those giant bubble trampolines. (my favorite) Plus, one of those giant slides you go down on a potato sack, which the kids LOVED. I think they would've played on that all day if we had let them. Which, thank God, we didn't. 5 flights of stairs for >30 seconds of slide time is NOT my idea of a good time. But that trampoline......I could've jumped on that thing all day.....

I was planning to take the kids on a boat ride down the Rhine either yesterday or today, but, well, I didn't. I developed a weird itchy rash all over my arms of unknown origin over the past few days amd my dad thought it might be a sun allergy, so he suggested I stay inside for a day to see if it went away. I was so upset when he suggested I might be allergic to sunlight. I mean, I am an absolute sun goddess. I could spend an entire just laying in the sun, reading a book or listening to my ipod. I don't think it  was the sun though, as yesterday was the worst day and I didn't go outside at all. I mean, it itched so bad that I was literally in tears. I finally made some oatmeal and put that all over it to calm the itch. Which definitely helped, but was super gross.

Even more disgusting though, was Stephanie's suggestion...she told me to smear cream cheese up and down my arms and leave it on for about an hour. There is something in the cheese that cools and calms the itch, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. Thankfully, it's starting to go away and it doesn't really itch anymore.
So today I was going to take the kids on that boat ride, and then it was supposed to rain. They were super bummed when I told them we couldn't go this morning, but I quickly distracted them by offering to make pizza for lunch. I think they were more excited about that than they were about the boat ride. LoL We had cheese pizza and salad for lunch and then took a walk downtown. I was hoping we could take a later boat, but I forgot like everything (sunglasses, water bottles, snacks) so  we just tooled around downtown for a bit before coming home and having ice cream bars.

Now the kids are running around in the backyard with dandilions tucked behind their ears (don't ask) and I'm going to do a little cleaning before dinner at six. Kind of annoying that it didn't actually rain today.

I have tomorrow off, but everything is closed because it's some kind of holiday in Switzerland. I'll probably take my book down to the river if it's nice. (Right now they're predicting a high of 62 and some  showers. I work again Sunday because Stephanie has a fligh (and I have to work almost everyday between May 1 and Brandi's arrival so I don't have to use "vacation time" while she is here) but the kids will spend the afternoon with their dad, so I can paint my nails and shave my legs and whatever. :)

Again, TGIF friends. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

LOVELOVELOVE

If you can't see the full image. click on the box to open a new window (youtube) and ENJOY!
((If this doesn't just make your day, you are probably a lost cause))

Saturday, April 24, 2010

entry #19 (for lack of a better title)

Allright, as there was no trip to Portugal this week (I still hate you, Eyjafjallajokull ) my schedule saw a pretty big overhaul and my week saw daily trips to the playground. 

The kids are on vacation from school/playgroup and Stephanie is on vacation from work, so I worked half days all week, which is AWESOME. I wake up at 11AM, check my Facebook/email/Perez/TFLN and then join the kids and Stephanie for lunch. And THEN my day begins! Loves it!

So, like I said, the kids and I made daily trips to the playground. We went to the one by the river a couple times and one day we decided to go over to the Munot. The night I ran to the Munot, I took the most random roundabout way possible, so Stephanie gave me a shorter way that would be much easier. Well, it would've been much easier if I had paid full attention to her. Instead, I got us completely lost in some neighborhood, nearly got us killed my a garbage truck and had to ask for directions. When we finally got there, the kids didn't even want to play. Grrrr....

I got the invitation to my 5 year class reunion the other day. (Well, not really an invitation, a Facebook message that said, "Hey, we might do this. Who's interested?") I'm so happy I'm in Europe, so I don't have to decide whether or not to go--the decision is made for me. I am here and therefore, I cannot be there.  I mean, out of the 28 other people I graduated with; I'd only really want to talk to maybe 10 of them. I'd only make conversation with the others out of politeness. And then there's the 3-5 that I wouldn't even bother with.
I was talking with someone I graduated with and she was all, "You know, I think you imagine how bad high school was. People liked you-you forget that." Honestly, at this point, I don't care who likes me and who doesn't. I wasted too much time trying to fit into the St Mary's mold growing up and now they can all S my non-existant D if you know what I mean.

(True, UV Blue and Tylenol PM were the catalyst that put me in the ICU, but the feelings that sprung that self-destructive behavior didn't appear overnight.)

Anyway, whoa, we're getting a little too serious here. I don't know who all is reading this anymore, so let's step back a bit. Someday I plan to publish a book that connects the assholes that made fun of my Power Rangers backpack when I was 8 to the "Paris Hilton" I was at 19. My rocky road to recovery and finally, the day I stand atop a mountain and give everyone the finger. (That last one hasn't actually happened yet. Watch for my picture in the Gaylord Herald Times when it does...)

Not much else to comment on....the kids are on vacation again next week, so we'll see what I can come up with to keep them occupied....

OH! I almost forgot, lots of birthdays coming up....(well, 3) So, happy birthday to Emily Westphal today. Happy Birthday to my favorite cousin of rhyming name (Melissa) on the the 28th and.........

HAPPY 50TH BIRTHDAY TO MY MOMMY!!!
                                                                        (on the 26th)

Allright, peace out babies....xoxo

Monday, April 19, 2010

Damn You, Eyjafjallajokull

The Icelandic language is crazy...how the H do you even pronounce that? I tried to sound it out, but I nearly  choked.

Anyway, for those of you who don't know, Eyjafjallajokull is the volcano in Iceland that is disrupting air travel across Europe (and around the world) and now it is affecting me. And I am most displeased.

We were supposed to leave for Lisbon tomorrow morning, but now our trip has been pushed back to (hopefully) next week, though probably much later than that. Swiss airspace has been closed since Friday afternoon and remains closed through at least 8AM tomorrow. And, even if airspace does open tomorrow, we were flying standby and would definitely not get seats on any of the first few flights out, as they are dreadfully overbooked.

Instead, the kids and I spent most of the afternoon down at the Rhine (it's like 75 today!) and I will have tomorrow off.
So angry right now. I wish Eyjafjallajokull was a person so I could punch them in the mouth.....

Friday, April 16, 2010

So Much Stuff....

Haha...I had to make a list before I wrote this entry, to make sure I didn't forget anything! I'm not really good at making segway between topics, so I apologize in advance if this seems to jump around a lot. There's just so much to talk about! (and it's all unrelated)

First of all, I have hit and surpassed 1500 page views! How cool is that? When I originally sat down to write this, I imagined that my family and close friends would read it and that would be about it. Now, I've had readers in Costa Rica, Russia, Canada and several other semmingly "random" places. That so many strangers take an interest in me and my writing is a HUGE compliment and motivation to write when I feel like there's really nothing to say/no one who actually cares.

I registered for classes Wednesday night...14 credits in all. I have a Literature class, Geography, US History and a (retake) Math class. Aside from the math class (which will cause my brian to implode-gaurenteed. Algebra is rediculous. Math is NUMBERS, not LETTERS) the semester should be a cakewalk. I could rock a Lit class in my sleep I aced Geography/History in high school. I'm actually kind of pumped to go back now, because I know that I can kick ass in the fall, my GPA will go back up and I'll be more than ready to transfer come the following fall. (I was thinking about transferring for winter semester, but financially I don't think this will work) If I end up back at SVSU, I just have to get through Chemistry & Human Anatomy & I'll be ready for nursing school. =) 
And, while talking about school, I need to send a big thank you to Allison (Porta) for her "inspirational speech" last night. I was being all whiney and emo about going back and she basically said, "school was shit before because you didn't know what you wanted so you were only there for the sake of being there, Now that you know you want to be a nurse, get in there and get it done."

EXCITEMENT! We're going to Portugal next week! The (potential) next nanny lives there and Stephanie wants to meet her, so we're taking the kids and flying to Lisbon for the night on Tuesday.  The kids have never flown before, so this will be quite the adventure for them. I'm just excited to meet my successor. Amanda, Rachel and I are all so different; it will be interesting to see what this girl is like. Plus, we're spending the afternoon at the second largest oceanairium in the world--awesome! All told, we'll actually be there less than 24 hours, but when I get back, I can say that I've been to Portugal and that's something most of you can't do, so I'll win. 24 hours or 2 weeks; I've been there and you haven't, so HA. LoL All jokes aside, I hope this girl is cool, so maybe I can go back and visit her during my 2 week vacation in July.

Speaking of flying, it is my understanding that lots of people in the States are absolutely freaking out about this volcano-saying you may not be able to go to Europe again for months and whatever. Okay, right now you cannot fly into/ out of England, Ireland, France or any of the Nordic countries, but not ALL of Europe is closed to air travel. Zurich airport is still sending/receiving flights, as are most of the other interior airports. Iceland is VERY far north and this erruption does not affect the entire European continent. So settle down, America.

Today is Liano's 4th birthday, so Happy Birthday to him. There was a party this afternoon with cake and presents. I was really surprised, they sing "Happy Birthday" in English. Even the kids great grandmother, who doesn't speak any English sings that song in English. As for gifts, he got a Playskool ultra-durable digital camera, a book about dinosaurs and a bunch of candy. I got him sidewalk chalk and bubbles. =) When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, he told me a bear, but stuffed animal START at 20CHF for tiny little things and go up from there. Rediculous. Thanks, Coop/Manor, but I'm not really in mood to have my pocketbook raped today.

Finally, my countdowns. The kids count how many sleeps until something, so here we go...
-4 sleeps til Portugal
-31 sleeps until Brandi is here
-143 sleeps until I am in college again

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Nothin' Much to Say

Well, there has been little to nothing going on the past few days. I thought I was getting sick, so I hid out for most of the weekend, sleeping and watching movies online. I would just like to point out how AWESOME technology is these days....not only can I keep up on all my favorite US TV shows while here, I can also watch literally HUNDREDS of movies on my computer at any time....and it's all completely free! So cool. I don't even know how my parents functioned without Facebook, email, Skype and online TV when they moved to Texas in the 80s. Though I'm sure, 25 years from now, my kids will be saying the exact same thing about some kind of technology that I can't even imagine yet!

And, speaking of TV shows....GLEE IS BACK! This show is my (not so secret) guilty pleasure and I am beyond excited that it's back on. I think it's adorable and the kids love to watch it too. I know that the storyline is not exactly "preschool friendly", but I seriously doubt they understand what's going on---they just love the song/dance numbers. (as do I)

I'm still really struggling with the decision to go back to school and I'm starting to panic about it. I mean I WANT to be a nurse....I WANT to help people and save lives and I definitely WANT a solid carreer; a "real job". But, I do not WANT to go back to college...at all. And it's the only way to reach from where I am now to where I want to be. The idea of sitting in a classroom again makes me want to cry from boredem and the prospect of living in Gaylord again is not a happy one. I would MUCH MUCH rather move back to Park City or find another au pair job, or just find a completely new adventure. I just feel like if I don't choose college and go back now, people will be disappointed. And what if I do go back and I hate it...or can't focus..and I end up failing? That would be even worse than not going back at all. So much suckiness. I register for classes tonight.....and then we'll see.

I wish I had more to say; sadly I don't. Workin' through bedtime today and in the afternoon tomorrow. (Yay halfday!) Then there's a three day weekend. Hoping the weather will be nice enough to do some running...I haven't been in a few days and I'm starting to feel gross. Plus, it will eventually be summer. Gotta do work.

xoxoxoxooooooooooo babies

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Updated the Look...

Hey-o and happy weekend!

I got the kids up dressed and out the door to Poppy's by 10AM today and I had planned to go to the river and read, but since it's a little cooler today (and I'm a baby about the weather-how I survived UT, I'll never know) I've decided to stay in and take advantage of the quiet house. I went back to bed for a little while once they left and now I'm just playing around online til I get hungry enough for lunch. Then maybe a nap and a book in the afternoon.

As you can see, I did some remodeling of the blog last night. I wanted something more cheerful (and more pink!) I'm not sure how I feel about this though; the normal font is a bit too small I think-and when I go up to "large" font it is too big. I wish I knew HTML better, so I could just fix it there. Maybe an afternoon project.... Don't be surprised if the blog looks different by tonight and this entire paragraph is no longer relevent. =)

Anyway, in addition to updating the look of the blog, I've decided to share with you the list of blogs I follow. I know there are now people reading this purely for entertainment and not just my friends/family. (which, by the way, is a HUGE compliment) So maybe I can help you find more interesting reading material.
So, without further adieu....my Blog Roll....

Globerotting in Heels....Elisa from Globetrotting has become a frequent reader/commenter on my blog and hers is what I aspire mine to be...well written, witty and entertaining while making me think about various things.

The Daily Gunther....the story of an expat family here in Switzerland. The writer is a member of the Swiss Expat bloggers group I belong to.

Carol Nelson Snyder....I follow this blog to keep track of the progress and healing of Carol, an integreal member of the Gaylord community and mother to classmates of mine from SMH. She suffered an aneurysm last year and has been making her way up the road to full recovery.

Queso Suizo....the amazing blog kept by Stephanie's last au pair, Amanda. She is always writing about trips she and her husband take, as well as random tidbits from their Swiss life.

Nanny McNina Goes to Switzerland....the blog of another American au pair living here in Switzerland. Her experience sometimes seems wayyy more exciting than mine. And she is getting married when she returns to the US, so sometimes she shares wedding details. Yay!

Diaries of a Personal Assistant....the blog that my blog inspired! My "island friend" Hillary decided to give blogging a shot and I follow her because I love her. =) Plus she is a wonderful writer!

Anyway, ch-check 'em out. And, if you can reccomend any other great blogs I should be reading, please do!! They don't necessarily have to be written by ex-pats or nannies, they just have to be fun and interesting!

Friday, April 9, 2010

UNBELIEVABLE

First unbelievable thing....I actually had to look up the spelling of "unbelievable" for this post. Such a complicated word!

Second unbelievable thing, my hair is growing like crazy! It took a little while for all those daily vitamins to make visable difference, but now....WOW! It's too bad haircuts in Switzerland are $50+ because I will probably need several over the course of the summer. Perhaps I will ask Stephanie to help me trim it. Or perhaps I will just let it grow and show up in America in August looking like a total disaster.

Third unbelievable thing, the size of the spider I saw in the house a few nights ago. I was heading downstairs to pull some clothes out of the dryer and there he was, just chilling on the wall. I called my sister, and she refused to talk to me unless I killed it. I was wayyyy too panicky (because I HATE spiders) so I just hid in my room. Then, after getting a guy friend on skype, I worked up the nerve to kill it. I swung out at it with a bottom of a frying pan and IT JUMPED ON MY HAND! I freaked out, shook it off and fell to the floor in a pile of tears. My friend thought the spider had bit me and he started freaking out too. Like he was going to watch me die of a spider bite via skype. Oh, it was awful. It took me 20 minutes to calm down enough to crawl back into my room. Then, I sat in a near catatonic state until Stephanie came home around 1AM. She found the spider hiding between the stairs and the wall and killed it. It was too big to be killed my the poison aeresol she tried using, so she ended up smashing it with a shoe. Gross.

Fourth unbelievable thing, my insomnia may have reached an emergent state. Wednesday night I did not sleeep AT ALL. I went to bed around 11 and just laid there til nearly 2AM. At 2 I got online for 30 minutes and then tried to sleep again. At 4AM I grabbed my iPod and just laid there listening to jams until Stephanie left for her flight at 530. Then I got up, made myself a big breakfast and waited til it was time to get the kids up. I, surprisingly, wasn't very tired yesterday, but I went to bed at 930 last night and slept like a rock until 730 this morning. Hopefully it was fluke and does not become a pattern for me.

Fifth unbelievable thing, the amount of "gunk" on Liano's eyes this morning. It's definitely not pink eye (conjunctivitice) and I have never seen this much without that infection. He literally could not open his left eye because his eye lashes were glued to his face. Maybe it's allergies. Whatever it is, it's way gross and I hope Stephanie can find something at the pharmacy today to help it.

Sixth unbelievable thing, Stephanie is looking for my replacement. Not that I'm being fired, but finding a nanny is a time-consuming process. We first started emailing in early April of last year. It's just, with her searching, I feel like my leaving really is happening-soon. I know I complain about being here, but it's like being on vacation and when I get back to the US after my one-year vacation, it will be a HUGE adjustment. One that I am NOT looking foward to. Blah.

Seventh, and most unbelievable, a newborn baby was found dead in a dumpster in a small town not far from Gaylord. It has yet to be determined whether the baby was dead when it was put in the dumpster or if it died there, but either way how sick and twisted must you be to put a baby in a dumpster?!? Especially if this poor person was still alive and spent time cold, hungry and alone before it finally died. Michigan has remarkable "safe haven" laws--all the mother had to do was take her baby to a hospital, fire house or ambulance barn and she could've allowed this child to live with no repercussions at all. Hell, she could've just dialled 9-1-1 and they would've sent someone to come collect the baby and it would've been absolutely anonymous. Instead, a child is senselessly dead and when they find whoever did this, their life is essentially over too-as they will spend a significant amount of time in prison. So sick and so, so sad.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

APRIL!

Happy April!

"April showers bring May flowers."
"And what do Mayflowers bring?"
"PILGRIMS!"

Haha...remember when that was like the wittiest joke you knew? I thought it was hilairious and would tell it many times during the month of April. I also thought April Fools jokes were the funnniest thing EVER--I would plot my tricks days in advance. Then, when I got older, I tried the "I'm pregnant!" thing once or twice and even tricked my parents into believing I was in jail in Saginaw one year. Brilliant.

This year, I completely forgot about April Fools Day until like 7PM. Then I quickly plotted something that ended up being pretty awesome. I called Brandi and told her the kids and I had gone to the Rhine Falls earlier in the day and OMG we saw Kellan Lutz and AnnaLynne McCord. She absolutely FREAKED out because Kellan Lutz (of Twilight fame) is her "dream guy". I told her that AnnaLynne overheard me talking to the kids and she came over to talk to me because I was speaking English. She asked me a bunch of questions and the whole time we were talking, I was thinking, "Who IS this person? She seems SO familiar." And then she walked away and I saw who she was there with....Kellan Lutz!! I didn't have my camera with me, but I forced the kids to spy on him with me for like a half hour. Poor silly Little B bought the whole thing. =) She was SO pissed! I was prertty pleased with myself.

I had a long weekend for Easter, so I made a trip up to Wurzburg, Germany, to visit Korrin. It was a nearly 5 hour train ride, but I didn't much mind. If I could just sit on a train, listen to my iPod and stare out the window forever, I would. On my first train, there was man with an infant who clearly had no idea how to care for babies. He let me hold the little girl and I ended up changing her on the back of my suitcase in the middle of our train car. It was super random and a little awkward, but I really couldn't handle listeing to her cry for 3 hours and the guy seemed genuinely grateful.

I did A LOT of sleeping while at Korrin's, which seems a little silly looking back on it (and a waste of my precious Francs) but I guess sleeping there is better than sleeping here....I mean, I got out of Switz for a few days, which was certainly nice. And I had some of the most delicious Mexican food on Saturday night. I barely saw any of the city, but I did consume large quantities of beer (and food) over the weekend. We also watched the Final 4 (MSU, how did you manage to lose that?!?!) Also, we had an Easter dinner with a few of Korrin's classmates (2 Spanish girls and a Czech girl). They were super friendly and it was really cool to talk to them. I mean, I've known a lot of "forgeiners" from my time in Utah and on the island, but it never gets old comparing childhoods, education, parties, etc... The trip back was uneventful and the kids were SUPER excited to have me back at the house. They were at their dad's for most of the weekend, but they definitely missed me when they got home. :) It's always nice to hear things like that because sometimes I feel like they don't really like me or that I am the permanant "bad cop" to them...

Anyway, I need to go make some dinner and whatnot...hope the weather is as beautiful where you are as it is here!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Thursday/Friday

First of all, what is with this weather!?!?! I don't know what it's been like lately where you are, but it's being a tricky bitch here. After celebrating 3 glorious days of 70+ and sunny, it dropped to about 60 yesterday and rained all day. Today it is barely 45. And on Tuesday it is supposed to SNOW! Ahhhhh.... =( At least while it was nice, I was able to get some color on my face and I no longer look like I might be dying. I know that have pale face is so much better fpr you, and I'll probably be all wrinkly by 50, but it beats the alternative at present. The permanant dark circles under my eyes and sometime mottled look to my forehead and cheeks give me the appearence of someone who is very ill. Not at all attractive and somewhat worrisome to some people.

So Thursday was another beautiful day. The kids and I went to the playground for a while and when they got bored of riding the slide and spinning and the merry-go-round we went down to the Rhine to feel the water and see the  ducks. The water is still absolutely freezing, so I took a bunch of pictures and sat in the sun. I'm trying to upload some of the best pictures onto here because my photos on Facebook are only viewable by my friends, but it isn't working. If I don't get it figured out and you want to see them, email me (amplatte@hotmail.com) and I'll send you a few. 

On the way home we stopped at Migros and got some ice cream. I was surprised by how relatively inexpensive it was (by Swiss standards anyway) to buy it at the market, rather than from a cafe'. I bought a fudge bar, a drumstick and a "magnum" (chocolate dipped vanilla ice cream) and it was only $3.20 To buy ice cream at one of the streetside cafe's, it's usually $4 EACH. So happy I found an inexpensive alternative because the kids do love their ice cream and I can use it as an amazing behavior modifier (i.e. stop yelling, put the toys away and eat your lunch like a nice boy and we can go get ice cream) Do I bribe these children to get what I want? Oh, only all the time. =)

The only dark spot on Thursday was that my dumb ass wore flip flops on our 2-3 mile journey and I came home with massive blisters on the soles of my feet. Plus, it made my hips/thighs burn and I spent most of yesterday limping around. Yikes! Next time, I need to remember to slip on the Nikes before tooling around town.

In the category of silly/exciting news, the Coop grocery store downtown now carries Dr. Pepper in 500mL bottles. (about the equivalent of one can) I haven't really drank pop since the Migros down the street stopped carrying Pepsi and I'll try not to make it a habit again, but Dr. Pepper is my absolute favorite! I was on cloud 9, laying in the sun and drinking one Wednesday afternoon.

In her coolest move yet, Stephanie gave me a gorgeous necklace as an Easter gift. =)  So the night of the Chinese fondue, she pulled out her newest stuff to show the neighbor and I came across a neckalce I really liked. I've found pieces I liked before, but this was the first one I actually wanted to buy. (I rarely buy jewelry because I almost never wear it.) Stephanie set it aside, but then rather than deducting the cost from my salary, she gave it to me! Called it an Easter gift! It's a long string of pearls with a large heart pendant. I showed it to Brandi and she said it was "tacky" but she also sends me puctures of guys with chronic gay-face and tells me they are hot. So her judgement doesn't count for much in my book. Sorry, B!
And, speaking of my sister, we finally have an official ticket for her! She will arrive on the 18th and leave on the 28th. I'm so excited for her to come! I even have one of those obnoxious Facebook countdowns going (52 days, 3 hours and 46 minutes until her plane lands!)

In the meantime, I haven't heard from Erin in a while, so I'm not sure when I'll see her, but I am heading up to Wurzburg, Germany, next weekend to hang out with Korrin for Easter. I have a 4-day weekend and the urge to get the H out of Switz for a bit. Plus, she hasn't started classes again yet, so it works out perfectly. We can drink beer and paint eggs and wax poetic about Gaylord. LoL

Finally, in somewhat disheartening news, I am getting sick. I think it will end up being a springtime sinus infection based on the pressure yesterday and the burn today. Plus, the left side of my nose keeps dripping like I just sniffed a line off the bathroom counter. Oops, illegal drug reference, sorry! Seriously though, it makes me so upset! I am the most miserable sick person EVER! And, I wanted to watch Michigan State basketball last night but my nose running was driving me crazy, so I went to bed even before the 230AM tip off. Boo. At least they won and play again tomorrow at 8PM.

Okay, I'm off to Migros to get some vitamin C (I took the last of my stash this morning) and then I am predicting an afternoon nap. Laterrrr

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

(Surprise) Party && Then Some

Because I finished German classes (YAY), Stephnanie threw me a bit of a party last night. She and I, along with her sister, her sister's boyfriend and a neighbor couple had a Chinese fondue dinner last night-so much fun! I've only ever had cheese/chocolate fondue, where you dip things in and then eat it and this was so different....and very delicious. Basically, in the fondue pot there is boiling beef stock and you stick bits of meat in to cook. While they were cooking, we ate boiled potatoes, hearts of palm, asparagus spears, pickled sweet onions, baby cucumbers and pineapple balls. And Stephanie's sister made several different sauces to dip everything in. There was curry sauce, garlic sauce (my favorite), cocktail sauce, "white" sauce and a sauce made from the pepper Stephanie brought back from S. Africa. Everything was so good and I haven't eated that much in a looong time. I was still sore when I woke up. Gross. Plus, I had a real nice buzz going, as Stephanie poured me a glass of white wine, a glass of prozeco (like champagne), and three (or was it four?) glasses of red wine during dinner.

With that unusually large amount of alcohol in me (well, unusual for Switzerland) I was able to give a decent performance of my learned German, as well as hold an entire conversation in Spanish with Alex (Nicole's boyfriend). Nicole laughed and said she had never seen me drink this much and I was during into a Beneker. I was like, "No, I'm just being Alyssa." I then had to explain to her that I was uncomfortable drinking copious amounts in front of them in the beginning. I was afraid they'd be like, "Oh my God, did we really bring this total lush over to care for the children?" Stephanie said she wouldn't have judged me like that at all, but that she could understand where I was coming from, wanting to make a good impression.

Yesterday and today the weather was BEAUTIFUL with temperatures topping out at around 70 degrees today and very sunny! Since I had today off, I spent the afternoon reading "Alice's Adventures Through the Looking Glass" and sunbathing along the Rhine. I even got a bit of a sun burn on my cheeks. Aww...how great!

I went for another run tonight and went farther/faster than I have in a while. I nearly died. I'm not very good with distance and I explained the route it wouldn't make sense to you, put let me put it this way: Stephanie was impressed. She was like, "You went that far, that fast? Wow!" And then I collapsed onto a chair and spent the next 20 trying to get my heart rate down enough for me take a shower without passing out. I got several compliments and encouragement after I last talked about my athletic endeavors, so let me be straight with you....I am doing this for purely cosmetic reasons. True I don't want to get diabetes/heart disease/cancer/dead, but I mostly want to wear a swimsuit and have a flat stomach. Plus, I am closer to 200 now than 100 and that is just fucking gross. (pardon my language) Being 5'7", I should weigh somewhere around 143lbs. and I am FAR beyond that. Like 10+ lbs beyond that. Ugh. So yeah, time to bust ass. Time's a-wastin and I need to get a move on.

So now I ask all of you a favor. Help me stay on track and reach my (undisclosed) target weight before I get back to 'Merica. Just send me a messgae asking if I ran today, reminding me to stay out of the chocolate, etc. I know this blog is supposed to be about the kids and whatever, but i'm about to take this to a whole new level. I don't blame you if you want to jump ship. So that's that.

Finally, I want to share with all of you the biggest compliment I have gotten yet. I friend recently started her own blog after following mine for a while. She said I inspired her. I've never thought of myself as an inspiring, or able to inspire others and her telling me that put a huge smile on my face. So, thanks Hillary! I can't wait to read what you have to say!

Monday, March 22, 2010

This Is Why My Monday Was Better Than Yours....

So I woke up at 8AM, drank some apple juice, pulled on a hoodie and got the kiddles of to playgroup. When we arrived, first Hot Playgroup Dad (HPD) told me good morning and winked. (Hot Dads might be better than hot "cubs") Then, the sweet little toddler gave me a big hug. She is adorable, barely 2 and super bubbly. She always talks to me (in garbled half-German--I just smile and reply "se gut" which means "is good" or "very good" or something) This wasa the first time she hugged me though, and my heart almost melted. Walked home and went back to bed for 2 hours.

Got up at 11 and skipped off to playgroup-IN A T SHIRT! Kiddles were in a decent mood and carried their own lunch boxes without whining. They actually ran, I never once had to say, "Let's go guys. I want to get home sometime today". I jumped online for half an hour to read about all the haps in 'Merica. Made lunch, which included TATER TOTS (who doesn't love tots?) and the kids ate with minimal whining.

Sent the kiddles outside and did a little housework. (Took out the trash, ran the dishwasher and even threw in a load of laundry. Then I sat outside, blasted my iTunes for the whole neighborhood to jam to and painted my finger/toe nails. Then I laid in the sun and closed my eyes for about an hour while the kiddles ran around picking me flowers. (Because it was a work day after all.)

When it got too breezy to lay comfortably in a t shirt, I jumped online and did some Facebook stalking and worked on my Farmville farm for a bit. The kids came in and drove matchbox cars up and down my legs while I read a book. Then Abuela (Stephanie's mom) came over.
The kids and I had sammichs and I caught up with Abuela who just got back from 2 1/2 weeks in Thailand. (BTW, Thailand is officially on my list of places to visit. Somewhere between Austraila and South America) The kids were so excited to see her that they forgot they to complain about dinner. (An otherwise daily occurance) Stephanie came home and I shared a bottle of wine with her and Abuela.

After Abuela left, the kids and I watched a half hour of Veggie Tales I put them to bed and took a 30 minutes scalding hot shower. Now I plan to read my blogroll (the list of blogs I "subscribe" to), maybe watch a movie and go to bed early because I stayed up too late last night watching the Michigan State basketball game. But not before I cross my fingers that tomorrow is as awesome as today was.
And what was your Monday like?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Athlete Barbie Blows Chunks

So I ended up running yesterday and today and it wasn't as terrible as I remembered. Even if I did throw up.

Yesterday, after the kids left, it was time to get moving. I changed clothes, ate a sammich (much more delicious than a sandwich), stretrched and was ready to go. Then, I look out the window and it was raining. So I sat back down, watched Precious (well, the first 45 minutes-that was more than enough for me), skyped the fam for over an hour and then set out again. I didn't go fast, but I made it pretty far...I lasted about a mile and a half. I know this doesn't seem far to a serious runner, but considering I could barely make it 1/2 a mile when I was 16, I'd say this is a vast improvement.

This morning I decided to go again. The clouds looked a little omninous, but accuweather said I had a few hours. I decided to try to go a little farther today; running out to this trail that leads to some farm fields and then back up into my neighborhood. I made it almost halfway through the fields before I doubled over and blew chunks. Sick nasty. And, as I'm hunched over, puking up my "Special Flakes", it began raining. Perfect. Some days, I seriously hate being me. I wiped my face on the back of my arm and sprinted all the way home and into the shower.

Now, I know a lot of  girls who are fitness nuts ( and a couple girls who may be borderline Ana) and they all use these pictures of super-skinny girls as motivation. Like their gonna fast til they are dizzy and run miles upon miles and one day they will look like Heidi Klum. I know that this will never be me, and it's so not why I'm "working on my fitness". I could run from here to China and I still wouldn't be 35-24-34. It's just genetics. And, I like food too much. I'd get to the Swiss/Austrian border and have to stop for a sandwich. LOL No, I go the other way. I have a picture of Kirstie Alley circa "Fat Actress" and say to myself, "I DO NOT want to look like this one day."  And when I get tired of running, or when I really want another cookie I imagine myself with multiple stomach rolls, 4 chins and excess back fat. Suddenly I can run faster and that cookie doesn't look so good anymore.

I said a few days ago that I refused to watch thenew Alice in Wonderland. Well, I take it back. There's a website we overseas folk use to watch US programs called Channel 131. I mostly use it to watch Grey's Anatomy and shows from ABC Family, but I've watched a few movies on it too. Friday night I logged on to watch the latest Grey's episode, which they didn't have. (Is Grey's on hiatus?) So I perused movies instead. And Alice was one of the newly listed, so I decided to give it a shot. I am certainly glad I did not pay to see it, but I was worth watching. I mean, it was FREE, I got to watch it IN BED and IN ENGLISH, so you can't really top that, right? It certainly was not the Alice in Wonderland that I remember; it was more Alice in Wonderland + Through the Looking Glass, spun into some weird sequel. At least Burton & Depp did not slaughter it the way they did Charlie & the Chocolate Factory.
So, last post I told you to check out Mike Posner...I kind of want to rescind that now. I mean, his music is good, but it wasn't just that one song that sampled from the Fray. All his music is like that. He puts "his spin" on Beyonce's "Halo", John Mayer's "I Don't Trust Myself", Jeremiah's "Birthday Sex" and a few other songs. Cool I guess, but it's not entirely original.

Speaking of things cool and original, I shared the story I'm writing with one of many friends named Emily. (and I do know many Emilys) She says what I have so far is good and I should finish it. When it's done, I'll post it up here and share it with all of you.
Anyway, I'm going to take a nap now....I'm sure I'll be back in a day or two. =)