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Friday, September 4, 2015

September Secret Subject Swap - On the Brink

Welcome to September's Secret Subject Swap. Again 16 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  
Sit back, grab a cup and check them all out:

Baking In A Tornado
The Momisodes

My subject is 

What is the one thing that lets you know 
summer is over and fall is here? 

It was submitted by Southern Belle Charm - thanks, Minette!

Being on the brink has something to it. I love the evening twilight. I'm sure it's nice in the morning, too - it's just nicer in my bed that early. What I was going to say is, twilight has a bit of everything: it's not dark yet, but it's not daylight anymore either, it's in-between, mysterious. 

Being on the brink to fall certainly makes me happy.

Can you believe I got a very similar prompt last fall? 

Only this time I'm supposed to limit myself to the one thing? 

You know what? There are too many signs. I'd say it's the sum of all of them!

Just spend a day with me!

While temps are still pretty warm during the days, the nights are cool enough for me to be able to sleep better, and the morning air is finally fresh and crisp, just the way I like it! And it all happened within just a week!

I don't feel silly to light a cinnamon / apple candle while taking a shower.
I don't bother shaving my armpits every day anymore.

Our neighborhood "pick your own green beans" sign is out, just like every year.

The fresh blackberries (perishable sobs) that were in Colin's snack box just the other day
have been replaced by a blackberry granola bar.
The beach tote is taking a backseat, leaving the field to the earthy colored purse:

You stash away the flip-flops and get to wear long-sleeved clothes.

At Starbucks, Anniversary Blend 2015 edition is due Sept 15, 
and early PSL (pumpkin spice lattes) are being brewed if you ask nicely.

Boy do I notice signs of fall being just around the corner at the mall!

I don't know how many people are actually purchasing a fake fur jacket when outside the mall temps are still in the 90s, but I sure love to look at it!

Supermarkets are doing pumpkins! Venison and mushrooms, too!
I understand in the U.S. the Halloween candy aisles are fully stocked already?

There is this chestnut cake I want to try and make. Soon!
In Switzerland the hockey season is going to start next week! First games are on Sept 9!

As soon as school was out two months ago, stores set up back to school stuff, and all summer break long we would walk by and mentally stick our tongues out at the backpacks, crayons and lunch boxes. 
"Hahahaha, not yet!" 
Needless to say, Colin's first day of second grade came sooner than we liked it.
Don't get me started on Christmas cards,
this year the first catalogue arrived two months ago:

I said "I don't think so!" But again - the Holidays will be here before we know it!!

Before that however, we are going to celebrate Colin's birthday, spend fall break in the Southern hemisphere (it's gonna be spring there!), start hockey school 2015/16 and go trick or treating! Can't wait!
Can you feel being on the brink to fall? 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Funny Friday - Picky Eaters

Today’s post is August’s Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write 5 captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they’ve come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.

Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by The Bergham’s Life Chronicles

  1. He loves me - he loves me not
  2. I love my Supergirl's cape!
  3. When I'm older I want to dye my hair blue just like my mommy!
  4. You wouldn't believe the stuff that adults hide in the food. Shredded zucchini in my lasagna! Better to inspect thoroughly! 
  5. Hey Withlee, Colin says hello! He thinks mini cheese quiches are best when hollowed!

Now check out those moms. They have the right idea, haven't they?

Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile: 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

My Dad's 10 Years Geocaching Anniversary

It was a Sunday in September 2005 when we introduced my Dad to a hobby we recently took up and thought he might get hooked, too: 

Geocaching aka treasure hunt with a handheld GPS.

A couple of days later we left on vacation (and took our Gecko with us).

We placed Christmas Reindeer, our very first travel bug, in a cache in Irvine, California. 

Its mission was to visit every state in the U.S.
It traveled almost 50,000 km = 31,000 miles, pretty impressive!

It wasn't a time where people were online at all times. So when we finally did at a hotel's business center, my father proudly emailed and told us he'd found a couple caches using only a map, a compass and his good nose. However upon our return we may advise him on a Garmin.

If I remember correctly my parents picked us up at the airport and took as straight to a geocache we just had to find.

That's how the madness started.

As a person who looks for caches you need a nickname. Ours was TheTwoGerbers because, well… an Australian tour guide once called us TheTwoGerbers, and it kinda stuck. My parents are called mirpets. We also have friends who play, their name is blue liners, and yes, those are also our hockey friends ;-)

Anyway, as a sucker for those cute travel bugs I came across NBJ Poppa, the king of them one day, and when I was in Seattle on business I met with him and his friend jcar for coffee and travel bug swapping. Poppa was so nice and offered to introduce me to the guys at Groundspeak, the founders of this game, so to speak, and they gave me this geocoin:

On another visit later that year we met up with Poppa and jcar and their families to actually find a cache. There was a rubber chicken involved, that's all I'm gonna say. 

Fast forward to 2015. TheTwoGerbers as you know have become TheThreeGerbers a long time ago, and we haven't actually logged a cache in three years, not for a lack of interest, more like life got busy. 

My Dad however has been going strong and celebrated 10,000 found caches last night!

He invited a bunch of his cacher friends for a BBQ in the local vineyard hut, and it was very nice!

He got treated to a special wine bottle

A customized log book just for the event:

Plus this absolutely stunningly fabulous logo cake

Geocaching really has to offer something for everybody:

  • Do you like the outdoors? Even if you don't, this is a good reason to get out occasionally
  • Do you like to hike? There are caches for all kinds of terrains and levels depending what shape you're in. Some go as far and have you climb or swim or even dive… Others are just "drive in" ;-)
  • Can you read a map? If not, are you into playing with gadgets? Alternatively, do you have a dog… ;-)
  • How about getting to know new places and sights? Taking pictures?
  • Any interest in statistics? You can totally do without, too!
  • Are you talented in crafting creative boxes? Most caches are tupperware boxes, but there are very nice, different ones out there, too:

The "Roach Motel Resort and Spa" cache in Pocatello, Idaho

 I guess, the social aspect is my personal favorite! Cheers!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Use Your Words - Catch me if you can

Today’s post is writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once, and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: 

barbecue pit ~ screams ~ burst into tears ~ twelve years

They were submitted by Someone Else's Genius - thank you, Robin!

You remember the pool party I attended last week? 

I had to observe an allegedly criminal art dealer Nate, and therefore I placed my rubber duckie camera in the swimming pool, so that the FBI could watch everything that he was saying and doing. 

Things were going well, until I dropped my phone in the barbecue pit.

I mean, sh** happens, phones are replaceable, even most of my pictures and other data were backed up, I just wasn't aware of fact that the duck camera was only able to broadcast as long as my phone was switched on and had reception. 


So half of the FBI screams at me not only for spoiling the successful transmission of a compromising conversation between a criminal and his trusting (so I hope) vendor

But because obviously not long after I strategically placed the duck camera, Colin (my son) & Colin (Stacy's son) found it, retrieved it from the water and started playing with it. 

The little that FBI techs were able to record was Geneviève telling Nate that she has been working for Louis Vuitton for twelve years, that she was looking for a rare snake or crocodile skin for the launch of a new purse line, and that she was planning to spend her vacation in Southern France.

Then they were witnessing two little boys bursting into tears because a dog approached them and wanted to play with the rubber duckie as well.

So even if I hadn't interrupted the life transfer by breaking my phone, the dog's chewing the duck would have!

Shortly after the BBQ, the FBI briefed me about an upcoming champagne tasting in Paris that Nate was invited to by Geneviève. 

The tastings are rewards for people who posted the nicest pictures on #MoetMoment 

How could I have missed this challenge, btw? I had taken a whole set of cool pictures myself!

Anyway. I am going to attend the tasting as a member of the press reporting about it! As it turns out, the FBI is not only able to provide new passports but press credentials, too! So my new name is Véronique Dupont, and I work for le nouvel observateur. Pretty cool, huh!

They let me fly to Europe a couple of days earlier to get acquainted with my surroundings and brush up on my français. It's been a while. 

The tasting is taking place at Fondation Louis Vuitton, a bit outside of Paris, Bois de Boulogne, to be exact. Of course, right? The perfect combination! Purses AND paintings! 

The night before the event I get to go undercover as a member of the cleaning crew which enables me to sneak into the office in order to help the FBI to find compromising files. 

As soon as I arrive, I turn on the computer and insert the USB stick the agent gave me. Then I call the tech who gives me instructions like "hit ENTER", "when the window pops up, I want you to read the code to me", "now click ACCEPT",… 

Just like that they hack into the LVMH computer network.
Noticed? Moët Hennessy is affilliated with Louis Vuitton.

They seem quite pleased with what they pull from recent e-mails. 

The next day the museum is buzzing with activity. Caterers set up the buffet, technicians install a giant screen for the projector, security guys pace back and forth, and first guests and press members arrive. 

I am just admiring the new Caïssa Hobo that Kate Hudson is wearing, when I notice my phone is vibrating.
"Nate isn't here! He is stuck in Frankfurt, Germany" my FBI colleage says.

"Lufthansa pilots are on strike again, and pretty much any other flight to Paris is overbooked. He's on standby with Brussels Airline, but obviously they are missing a spare part and can't take off. Now I was thinking... didn't you work for an airline a while back? You surely know people who can do something about it! Hold on, I'm gonna transfer you to the guy who can tell you what they require.

Oh, and needless to say - we need Nate to make it to Paris today! He's supposed to discuss the delivery of some crocodile leather for a first purse prototype with the global director of procurement."

After I hang up, I have to sit down. If I was alone I'd probably burst into tears.
Is this what it has come to now? I used to be an average part-time working mom with an office job who made one fatefull transaction, and today I am permanently on the run, and my current assignment is to source a sidestay landing gear for an Avro Liner - the lemon that is finally being phased out in favor of C Series. It just about missed making the top ten worst airplanes that are still in service!

I don't know how many times one of them was AOG due to a spare part that was missing and needed to be disassembled from another plane that was sitting in another airport on another continent because you just.haven' to order them for over than twelve years!

But you know me. I'm nothing if not resourceful. And of course I know people. Thank you, R, for helping me out! Air Botswana came through with this gizmo:

Guess what, though?

Nate vanished. 

He was supposed to board a plane that takes him to Bruxelles first, and from there to Paris. They had him paged several times at Frankfurt Airport. Nothing. Is he suspecting anything?
Ground services had to remove his bag that was already loaded. Of course it was on the very bottom of the container. The guys were not amused. Neither were the passengers.

Hours later - after they flew me to Frankfurt as a freelance writer for a gossip magazine - I found out the following, and it literally knocked my socks off:
So our dear  Australian (art) dealer Nate ended up at the ER.
You'll never believe this: It turned out that he was tampering with the cargo fire extinguisher. 
Why? He wanted to replace the chemical powder that is used in these types of devices by drugs. That's how he's been getting them into the country for quite some time.
Only today things didn't go as planned.

A bunch of aircraft engineers who were on their break heard a detonating sound, followed by screams coming from a nearby aircraft that was ready for boarding.

"The scene was looking like a barbecue pit" Airport Police stated at the press conference.
"There is going to be a thorough investigation on how this individual made it to a restricted area in the first place, and how he was able to carry considerable amounts of heroin without being detected. He currently can't be questioned because he is being stabilized at our Airport Clinic so he can be airlifted to the University Hospital for treatment of his severe injuries. It looks like he may have lost both of his hands in the blast."

I guess the FBI is gonna take it from here...

OK, I feel like I can't just end it here. We need something uplifting. How about this:

Remember Florentijn Hofman's giant rubber duck?

Los Angeles
Hong Kong
Now go find out what my friends' words were, and what they did with them:

Baking In A Tornado 
Spatulas on Parade 
The Momisodes
The Bergham Chronicles
Stacy Sews and Schools
Southern Belle Charm
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy
Sparkly Poetic Weirdo
Someone Else's Genius
Never Ever Give Up Hope
Confessions of a part time working mom 
The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver
Searching for Sanity
Juicebox Confession
Cluttered Genius
The Angrivated Mom