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Friday, November 28, 2014

Funny Friday - Hot Dog

Today’s post is another episode of a monthly feature. It’s called Funny Friday, and is a collaborative project that I’ll post on the last Friday of every month. 

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 picture. It was submitted by the Momisodes







1. Watcha lookin' at?

2. Yes, my left forepaw is white, thank you for noticing. Yes, I'm born that way. 

3. Dress up day at dog grooming school. Classy? Tacky? Over the top?

4. Where am I, what happened last night, and why am I feeling so dizzy?

5. The difference between cheetah, leopard and jaguar print? Here you go:




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


Shareholder Value - taken to a new level

What do you think when you hear the term "shareholder value"?



Admit it, you think "not another round of BS Bingo!"


Don't worry, I feel the same way. I won't bore you with a management / finance post. I couldn't, even if I tried, haha!

I am not your typical shareholder. Actually the only stocks I own were part of my salary in a job back before y2k. They are doing well. I think. At least they cover the accruing custody account charges. I just realized that I have never been invited to their annual general assembly.

My only annual meeting experiences - apart from the ones that were part of my jobs - go back to when I was on the charity board. One was quite memorable. A disgruntled lady who notabene didn't RSVP showed up and requested that a topic that wasn't on the agenda be discussed. It got ugly as in bitchy / emotional.

I didn't even think of that when I was on my way to this extraordinary assembly of company "K" of which our office holds a small amount of shares. K's business idea is basically for small companies to combine forces, do business among one another and benefit from discounts within famework agreements.

In order to so do, you have to hold K shares. So far so good.

The chairman of this company - "H" is an illustrious character to say the least. Smooth, approachable, as neat as a pin - and obscure.

We take care of his company's network and business software, so I talk to him on the phone every now and then. Usually I just tell him to hit control z = undo, or to hit the num lock key, and his problems are solved, and he tells me enthusiastically about his latest ideas on how to generate new business channels. I admire his courage and energy, but the longer I know him, the less I actually believe he'll ever realize his projects.  

He has the gift of winning people over and convincing them to join him - and invest money in him / his company. I think he does it by having a good sense of what the other person wants to hear in terms of "what's in for me?" Not only financially, also in terms of using his people network, benefit from recommendations, even on a personal development level.

I remember when I participated in the first regional meeting. He wasn't even our client yet, so he knew nothing about how we work, much less my own very limited techincal skills, but he introduced me as his personal longstanding, competent and charming IT Manager. That sounds alarm bells, right. What a sweet talker. When he wanted to start the meeting, he couldn't connect to the conventions center's Wi-Fi, and of course, he and everybody else were looking at me. Right. When I wanted to reboot his notebook, a window popped up, informing me that the computer was now going to install update no. 96 of 96, and please don't interrupt...



Moving on...

The meeting took place at this charming old castle

He called this extraordinary assembly for three major reasons:

  • How to fix the reputation damage suffered by a really ugly newspaper article that got published about six months ago
  • Have us shareholders elect two new board members
  • Present yet another new company branch, and therefore look for additional investors

Back then I had read the article that was titled "shady entrepreneur deceived everybody" and thought to myself that even if it was brutally destructive, some of the statements may actually be close to the truth:

  • Disguised streams of cash
  • Bogus number of members to fake a large business volume
  • Advertizing with a Dun & Bradstreet rating certificat that is based on withholding facts
  • Worthlessness of shares
  • Constant coming and going of board members 
and many more accusations were numerated. The most exotic, yet irrelevant for our cause, was the allegation that H is in the process of suing his former brothers in faith (for a lack of a better word let's call them that way) at Jehova's witnesses for defamation. Apparently they outcasted him for faking the balance sheet of real estate. 

In the meantime we have come to know a rather poor payment practice, inconsistencies in his statements and unkept promises ourselves.

To keep the long story short here are a couple of highlights of that session:

Less than five minutes into the meeting, two gentlemen in the row behind me began to attack H. One - "R" - claimed he didn't get an Invitation, and that this happened on purpose. How did he get here then? The other - "N" claimed that he is being oppressed by the way H treats him - just like back then in his country (his name sounds like he escaped the Prague Spring.)

The two new board member candidates introduced themselves and seemed to be either overly eager to get a mandate on the board of directors - never mind the board -, brainwashed or plain naive. Maybe all of the above. They got elected for a three year period, but it was clear that nobody believed to see them again come next year.

Polls were being processed in real time - aka slow, this is when I started reading my advanced review copy of


Who stole my spandex and kept chuckling - turned out to yield pretty distinct results. There were only 30 shareholders present. Turned out, Mr Chairman H, who holds the majority of the shares, was voting, too. WTH, right?

Shareholder "D" as in "don't remember his name" got up and asked H to finally resign as chairman as H has been incompetent and overwhelmed for a long time anyway. Obviously he had asked for it at the last yearly assembly already.

It turned out that four of the shareholders present this evening are responsible for that newspaper article, and it wasn't even an accident like when you mention something, and the journalist twists your words and has a field day. No, shareholder "R" deliberately approached the press. "In order to prevent future investors from being ripped off" as he claims. Never mind that we all suffer from reputation damage.

As a result, chairman H sued the newspaper and kept talking about the four wirepullers of this slanderous article. 

As a result, shareholder "HM" got up and cried: "H!!! You take that back immediately! You won't call me a wirepuller on this, or else I'll sue you! Never in my life have I pulled any wire of whatsoever! All I did was answering the journalist's questions."

H: "I won't take back anything."

HM: "Fine!! You asked for it. First thing tomorrow I'll file a complaint with the police!"

On and on it went. In Switzerland we don't have a Jerry Springer show on TV. But we sure as hell have a shareholder meeting of company K. The price you pay? Stocks of which you have no idea how much they are worth - probably not the paper they are printed on - oh, and as a bonus, the auditioning firm is being accused of either being blind or deceptive, too. 

 

Then the official part was over, and we were asked to dinner. It was 8pm, and I was starving. Also we were joking that this food was the most valuable equity we would ever get out of our shares.

Surely the four troublemakers would now make like a tree an leave, my neighbor and new buddy in crime said. "Want to bet they'll not only stay for dinner but drink the most wine?" I replied. Sure enough they took a seat, and it didn't take long and their noses turned red.

I was among the first ones to go home. Left right after dessert which was a piece of quite yummy lemon cake.

I am still troubled by this experience. Not the cake - what went down at the meeting.

Where have we come in this world? Greed, deliberate actions to cause harm, personal attacks, desire for revenge.

I think I'll bring forward the motion to hold the next meeting at the bouncy house. We can remove our shoes, jump up and down and even use the slide. Then we all go out for ice cream! That'll work, right?



PS: Speaking of happy times... take a minute to check out that book I was talking about earlier. After all it's Black Friday, and it'll make you smile! This from the Swiss blogger who is actually sitting at the office ;-)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

November Rain vs Sweet November

Today is When I started writing it was the first day in a long time that I didn't have to work and no appointments either. My temporary crown has been replaced by the permanent one, our heating is fixed (for now), the parent / teacher meeting the other day went well, I even got some supplies for home made Christmas gifts.

So what am I doing today? 

Going for coffee with a friend? Going to the gym?

Right. Baking. 



And blogging! 

Telling you about the good days and the - well, they are over so it wasn't all that bad.

Some days start with a bed that looks like this. Add some smell. Or don't.



I am glad for a functioning washing machine that I can use at all times. How do people in apartment houses do it? The ones with a laundry schedule that allows you to use the laundry room once a week?



Wednesday is Hockey Practise Day, and I usually go all the way to prepare for our car trip of almost an hour per way and the meals we enjoy on each one of them. 

Last week I just made sandwiches because the previous couple of weeks Colin just had a snack at daycare, and one time when it got late they even packed one for him! So I just had an emergency baggie of dried apples that I threw in my purse at the last minute. 




Yes, I was late to pick him up. Had to wait for the laundry to be ready to be transferred to the dryer.

Usually they send him to the bathroom before I arrive, so he just needs to put on his shoes and jacket, grab his backpack, and we are ready to go.

Not this time. 

They had only just gotten back from the playground and were brushing off their dirty shoes at the entrance when I arrived. The first thing I noticed about Colin when I saw him was… a large dark area on his pants. "Hey C, how are you? Are you WET?" 

Hey said NO!!! 

Sent him to the bathroom and raced back to the parking space to get spare clothes from the car (don't you just love how organized I am for once? Yeah, me, too!!)

Finally on our way - late - I spotted sheep. Not just any sheep. Black headed sheep. Did you know they exist? I didn't. 



As I was in the car and couldn't stop I had to sneak this picture off the Department of Agriculture of a German region. 

I originally called this post "random thoughts". That's why I mention the sheep. No deeper meaning. 

In the meantime it had started raining.

By the time we arrived it was pouring. And I figured out the reason for the heavy traffic I had been noticing. The circus was in town.


Nothing against the circus, I just hate when the people who visit the circus take up our parking. Especially when it's raining and we're late.


This already happened to us a couple of weeks ago. However I was prepared back then. I knew they were having their fall fair, and  the city would be crowded, so we departed super early. 
It was a good thing because the only parking space I could find was a semi-legal one at the Ferrari dealership almost at the next town.


So we had to shlep our hockey bag across town. At least the weather was nice!




So on the rainy circus day we parked a bit closer to the hockey arena, but my mood - and my hair, and my boots - were ruined by the time we made it to the locker room. Also I needed to pee.

Couldn't remain grumpy for long though. The little people on the ice just make me smile. 


The next day I went grocery shopping when I heard this:

video

This is the coolest thing I have seen about our army in a long time. Actually ever. Yes, I live in neutral Switzerland, and we do have an army. Once us voters were asked if we should abolish our army, but there weren't enough people (even so 35.6%) who said "sure". 

Apart from helping out on peacekeeping missions we don't have anything to do, so why not playing some music for the shoppers?

Speaking of shopping, I had a plan.

C needs a new winter jacket. With him being in school and me working there aren't a lot of opportunities to go to the mall together. That's where my plan came in was supposed to come in:

I would pick him up at school (3:15pm), drive to the mall, arrive around 3:45, have a snack at SBUX, have him do his homework (4:15), shop (4:45 - he's a guy!), go home (5:15), make dinner (5:45). Doable, right?

After only a couple of minutes on the road, traffic reports told us about an accident en route, and delays should be expected.

It was one h*** of a #$@&%*! traffic jam! Took an hour to get there! The good news was he didn't have any homework. the bad news was we had to skip the snack d/t time restrictions.

Snap a pic of the awesome Swarovski xmas trees, then off to clothes shopping.


 



On our (long) way I had asked him about his jacket, what did he have in mind?
It needs to be orange, have a warm lining, and a zipper rather than buttons.

So when we walked into H&M and I saw THIS, I thought "perfect! We're done!"


Mr C didn't think so. He wouldn't even try it on or explain why he didn't like it.
Instead he went into ref mode and stretched out his arms for "no goal"



Then he folded his arms for pretty much the rest of the conversation. 
I won't repeat it to you, let me just tell you: I need to learn a lot until he turns into a teenager.

Btw I have been teasing him by shaping our Grittibänze like the ref and the sulking guy ;-)


So THIS week… We had to do better!

No traffic disruptions. School - Mall in 25 minutes. Sweet!


He didn't have enough homework for me to even get my notebook out. I so wanted to blog while he did math, but we'll do that another time ;-)


Instead we went to the book store… Yes, my first grader reads devours books now!
When it gets silent at home, you can usually find him - in odd places and positions sometimes - starring into a book. I'll have to blog about that some day.


And checked out the new seasonal products at the Body Shop.


This is his new jacket. It's the follow-up model from the one he had.


So THIS week... I made sure to bring enough food for our drive to hockey town.


Treats, too!


I got a treat as well. Look at those snow covered mountains! Don't mention the headache that this kind of weather conditions tend to bring, though.



Parking: check
Locker room: check
At the board in time: check


Blow a kiss to mom: check



Monday, November 17, 2014

Fall Fair Basel

Halloween is over, for us adults it's just s short while until Christmas, but if you're a kid, almost two months seem like a long time.

Good thing many regions have their annual fall fairs with crafts and food booths, fairground rides and other money traps entertainment to offer.

Even before we were married and had kids, a couple we are friends with, my boyfriend / hubby and I have been meeting for the Basel fair almost every year. 

Basel is the city the two major pharma companies Roche and Novartis have their HQs, and it's also the region where Roger Federer is from. Some Swiss trivia just as you're reading my blog, you're welcome.

Now on to the fun part!


One vendor we never miss is the evil witch's candy stand.

First the window shutters are closed. Just you wait, though!


It won't take long, and they go open, and the evil witch makes her appearance!


They sell roasted almonds, butterscotch toffee, a special kind of gingerbread and - our favorite - chocolate covered strawberries or pineapple pieces! 

Lately they've gone fancy and started using marshmallows, too!

 

This is probably the most classic ride, and I remember when we took C for the first time, I had to stay with him and hold him. Our baby was less than 14 months old!


Look at him now, climbing on his horse all alone!


I liked the retro tin boxes they were selling at this booth. The prices weren't retro at all, though, so I was a good girl and didn't buy anything there.


Speaking of retro, those folks are really from another time:



If you're asking yourself where you've heard this melody before… 

Maybe here?


If the Mom song was new to you, surely you want to know what the Dad song is all about:


Allright. Back to our fairground. Some Dalmatian balloons went for a walk flight, too.


There are several areas all over the city to where you can walk or take a tram to.


A good opportunity to pay attention to the nice old houses all over town.


Before you know it it's getting dark! Time for the highlight of the day!





Spending our last money on "dinner"


See you next year!