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Friday, April 24, 2015

Funny Friday - Pumpkin

If you came to my blog for the #‎AtoZchallenge‬ click here:Part-Time working Mom's A - Z challenge


You are very welcome to read on, though, this is good stuff, too:


Today’s post is April’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. Talk about deflated...
  2. All hat and no cattle? And YOU wanted to become a floating pumpkin?
  3. Bean bags are so yesterday!
  4. Size ain't everything...
  5. Who was that Swiss blogger who kept complaining about how she couldn't find any pumpkin puree in the stores?

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





Thursday, April 23, 2015

A - Z Blogging Challenge, Part 4

Welcome to part 4 of my A - Z blogging challenge.




Every day I am using the letter of the day to talk about elements of being a (part-time) working mom. 
 

Train of thought




That pretty much sums it up, right? 

I don't feel like I'm a fidgety person who's like "look, a squirrel!" all the time. I think I mask well. But on the inside? I have a lot on my mind to put it mildly. And I may have impulsive tendencies. 

It was worse B. C. = before Colin, when I was working full time and had a so called important job. The market we managed consisted of two countries = cultures (yes, you'd be surprised how unlike Switzerland and Austria are, neighbors or not!) and three languages. Add to that an immense fluctuation in Baristas and a growth rate of about 30%. Can you blame me for being all over the place, not only physically but also mentally?









You people with linear brains laugh as much as you like -  us global folks can't just switch off our thoughts. They keep popping up! That's why I can't do mediation or autogenic training. Too many squirrels running around!

  • How about you? Are you all 




Now I have to run… appointment, groceries, stuff!

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Utterly admirable new me!


I have been stuck in my daily grind for a while, and I needed to make some changes.

Let me tell you about the new me! 


As I haven't quite gotten used to the new me myself, let's use "she" for the time being.

She gets up really early in the morning, all refreshed from a good night's sleep, cheerful, too. She goes for a run, takes a shower, makes a healthy breakfast for her family, packs snacks, gets everyone ready and out of the house without having to get pushy, goes to work where she arrives on time. Her hair, clothes and shoes are impeccable.

She has a lot on her plate but manages to set and stick to priorities and to get everything done. She tackles the unpopular jobs first thing, so they are off the table. She doesn't waste time on social media. Instead she always has a smile and an open ear for everyone.

On her way to pick up the kid she stops at the market for some fresh dinner groceries. After a yummy home made meal and some fun quality family time around the table, she cleans up the kitchen, gets the kids through their bedtime routine without yelling, folds laundry, preps for the next day, checks email, pays some bills, reads for a while and then goes to bed. 


As always she sleeps like a baby and wakes up totally refreshed and ready for a new day - a charity meeting is due. Yes, she's back on board!

Sounds really good, right?

It’s a shame I have to tell you that...

Instead of an utterly admirable new me...

You’ve been reading about an urban myth.

Well, some of it is true.
  • Can you guess which part(s) I made up?
  • How would a day in the life of the utterly admirable new YOU go down?
Leave me a comment below, I love to read what you have to say!

I'm looking forward to welcoming you back! I will update this post tomorrow by adding the letter V.


PS: Here's another urban myth if you're up for more reading: Work- / Life Balance for working mothers


PPS: In case you think I cheated on this letter... here's a little something for you:

 Umbrella counting

Aka something to do when the weather is bad but you still want to go outside. That's what we did a while ago. While on a tram ride, I would look out for the black, grey and white ones, and let Colin count all the pretty colored ones.


When we departed at the outskirts he was leading big time. As soon as we got close to downtown / financial district I caught up.

It was fun - try it some day!

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V is for Vomiting
(Overwhelmed Mom-ents, Part 3)

It was only my second week with the airline. 

C and I just came through the worst part of traffic jam when he had to cough so badly that he choked on some air and threw up. As soon as I could I stopped the car and cleaned up as best as I could, but it was still a mess. 

Of course, the clock was ticking, and I had an appointment.

We arrived at daycare, I carried him from the car to the entrance where one of the ladies opened the door for us.  On the changing table, I removed the dirty clothes, stuffed them into a bag and put him into the spare clothes that every family keeps in their kid’s drawer. 

He seemed fine, but I felt so bad to leave him there and literally run off to the office. 

Oh, and of course I had some barf on my business suit. Even though I rinsed it off with water, it was still smelly. Not to mention my car, but I couldn’t take care of that, I needed to get to the office, and quickly!


That poor candidate I had to interview. I took my jacket off and left it outside, but I felt that my hair was smelly, too. 


Venting

Whining for grown-ups. 

When I need it most, I don't have time. 

Like my situation above. 

In a perfect world I could have gone to the office, grab a friend, sit down at the cafeteria and narrate what just happened. She'd listen, understand, support and build me back up, all while sipping on a doppio espresso and munching on a chocolate croissant. 

Oh, well. I got my venting some five years later, here on the blog. I feel better now. Thanks!

Oh man, once I can look at the situation calmly and from a distance, I'm just having the most brilliant idea! Time permitting, I could have gone to the uniform counter and beg for a cabin crew blazer!

Photo credit: Swiss International Air Lines Ltd
  • Ever had a situation similar to this one? 
Please share in comments below!





Weird

I was gonna write about Work-Life Balance, but as you could read a couple of days ago, this is actually an urban myth.

Weird it is.

I’ve been a Mom for almost 7 years if you include the big pregnant belly period. 



Ever since then I have experienced so many weird moments. 

Like multiple personalities weird. 

In my life I was a baby, a little girl, a daughter, a sister, a kindergartner, a play buddy, a student, a teammate, a young business professional, a girlfriend, a manager, a boss, a wife – everything in due time, and even if two or more coincided, it was easy to differ: 

  • I went to school Monday through Friday, would sit in a train and go see my boyfriend for the weekend. 
  • I left the house around 7am and be a corporate person for about 10 - 12 hours, then I’d come home, get rid of the heels and the suit, change into my PJs and be the cuddly wife. 

In 2008 I became a Mom, and life has never been the same.


On the rare occasion I left the house without baby C I would feel weird because I was at the market at, let’s say 10am when I would usually be at work. Almost like playing hookie. I’d hold the door open for a fellow Mom with a stroller, only she wouldn’t know how weird it felt to be out and about without stroller myself.

When I have to run errands for the office with Colin in tow, especially when he was a toddler, it was very hard to keep a straight face when talking to people. Like the time we went to a print shop to negotiate the price and delivery date for business cards. He’d run off and find stuff he wanted to show me: „Look, rainbow paper! Mommy, may I have this card with the choo-choo train?“



Sometimes it also helps to have a kid with you when you need to get stuff done. Some sales people want to get you out of the store before running the risk of having a toddler tantrum, so they help you very efficiently ;-)

Oh, and some sales people are parents themselves! I remember one time when C wanted a car. I told him to put it back, but he’d smuggle it on the conveyor belt. I signaled the cashier that I was not going to purchase this car, and she managed to let it disappear without him noticing.  He was confused but didn’t want to tell me why, bwaahahaha! 

These days he hardly ever joins me for grocery runs anymore, so when there is a promotionI have to actually ask the cashier for the toys, stickers, etc. because they don’t give them out to people who don’t look like they’ve got kids. I don’t know wheter to take offense or as a compliment. 

It’s all weird… and fantastic at the same time!





W is also for „what others think I do“



  • Does having several hats on feel weird to you?
  • What's YOUR "what others think I do" story?

Leave me a comment below, I love to read what you have to say!

I'm looking forward to welcoming you back! I will update this post tomorrow by adding the letter X, this shall be interesting, huh?

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Xerox

X is for Xerox and for the fact that I was and am lucky enough to get a part-time job where making copies is not within the top tasks of the job description.

When you google (in German) "how many part-time management jobs are there in Switzerland?" you'll get an article that proudly tells you  that by the end of 2013, 14.7% (more than the previous year) of the Swiss men were working part-time. No specification what type of positions those are anyway. For all I know those could be student jobs.

The Swiss Federal Statistics Agency more or less confirms this number, but of course they don't know what kind of jobs those are either, regardless if for boys or girls.


So what kind of jobs do those part-time workers hold?

Here's a graph. It says almost 80% work in private households. Are those the housewifes? Is this statistic even about paid jobs?

Second: teachers,
Third: medical and social professions
Fourth: "representation of interests", I don't even know what that means. Posted it on FB, lets see what my friends come up with
Fifth: Entertainment, culture and sports
Sixth: Retail (finally!)


Source: www.und-online.ch

Later in that report you will learn that out of the part-time workers, 12% are self-employed (are those the ladies who run an etsy shop?)

18% of the managing positions are part-time jobs. That is the number I was looking for, and it is (if it's true) higher than I thought.

So how / why are those demanding part-time jobs created? I'll go into that tomorrow when Y is due.


Leave me a comment below, I'd love to hear what you think.

And join me again tomorrow for Y!
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Yvonne

My lovely partner in crime, only fellow part-time working mom in my department and actual reason why there was a job for me. 

How? 

She used to work for our dept head with a different company back then. Her boss joined Swiss, and as soon as a full time person quit, she divided the position into two part-time jobs, so she could recruit Yvonne, who in the meantime had become a Mom.

The other vacancy turned out to be my job. 

Yvonne made the whole part-time working Mom thing look easy. She always seemed to have gotten enough sleep, arrived early, was cheerful and friendly to everybody, of course dressed impeccably, and even made her own pizza dough!

Whereas me, I was the infant terrible who arrived late, smelled of vomit (scroll down to V), snuck out to get her sick kid from daycare…

Yvonne and me

Back to how demanding part-time jobs are being created:

  1. Many of them used to be full time positions held by women who at some point became Moms and couldn't work full time anymore. They have earned their spurs and enjoy a high level of trust.
  2. Existing full-time jobs' volume went out of hand after too much job enlargement. Budget is tight, so an additional part-time job has a better chance of getting approved. 




Yelling (less)

How much yelling is too much? Is every time you yell gonna ruin your innocent kid's childhood? 

There was a time, about when Colin decided naps were not for him, when my nerves got utterly frayed, and I knew it was unfair to dump my sleep deprived, me-time craving frustration onto him. 

That's when I came across The Orange Rhino aka Sheila, a Mom of four boys who challenged herself to stop yelling at her kids one day at a time, for 365 days. Right now she's going through a difficult time due to her youngest having serious health trouble. If you have a minute, leave her an uplifting comment: A moment of truth - her latest post.

I didn't follow her on a regular basis but tried to internalize my triggers that caused the yelling. Mine were quite similar to the ones on this chart:

Trigger Tracking Sheet
Looking back I improved quite a bit. It may also have to do with the fact that Colin is no toddler anymore and has gotten as reasonable as you can expect of a first grader ;-)

Homework @ IKEA restaurant
  • Do you happen to feel like the black sheep from time to time?
  • How patient are you as opposed to quick tempered?

Please leave me your comment down below and join me tomorrow for Z - the last letter of this challenge. Can you believe it's almost over? Phew


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Ziel

"Ziel" is the German word for "finish" after a race, a "target" to aim for and also for a "goal" to achieve. 


Lauberhorn downhill

All of them apply today. 

I made it to Z! 

For the first time on my blogging journey I posted every day. 

How did I do? Up to you to judge.

As for me I have to admit that I underestimated the effort it was going to take - after all it was only supposed to be a sweet and short post every day. Guess what, sometimes, sweet and short is actually harder!

But, like the other 80% of us who signed up, I got out of bed and posted something more or less relevant every day and that makes me a winner :-)



Zero (Coke Zero)

My go-to beverage between 7am and 4pm - no later, strict rule!



I know, it's bad. Like, really bad. That aspartame has a reputation of doing ugly things to your body. The other components don't sound too trustworthy, either. 



Yeah, well. I don't smoke, I don't drink. I mean no more than a glass of wine at a time. 

Except D and I spend some quality time. But this happens (too) rarely.

So, yes, I think it's safe to say that I should go to CZA (Coke Zeroes Anonymous) meetings. If you know of a good group around here, let me know. I do hope they have a fridge, though. 


  • Did you enjoy this A - Z ride?
  • What is your addiction?


Thanks for sticking around with me! As always, I'd appreciate it if you left me a comment.

The next scheduled post will be a "Secret Subject Swap" on May 8. 

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There will only be four posts that are being updated as I go, with the most current letter on top so you don't have to scroll:



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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Easter Bunny Cake

If you came to my blog for the #‎AtoZchallenge‬ click here:

Part-Time working Mom's A - Z challenge




You're very welcome to read on, though, this is good stuff, too:



Even as a chocolate lover it may happen that you end up with lots of chocolate bunnies. How about using some of them to bake a cake?

Ingredients

2      cups    easter bunny chocolate (8.5 squares, 250g)
0.5   cup      butter  (100g)
0.5   cup      milk (120ml)

3                    eggs
0.6    cup      brown sugar (120g)
1       tsp       vanilla sugar

1.6   cups     all purpouse flour (200g)
2      tbsp      cocoa powder
1      tsp        baking powder 
1      pinch    salt

Directions

Preheat oven at 350°F (180°C) and prepare your baking dish. I used two smallish aluminum pans.


In a sauce pan melt chocolate and butter.


Technically, the bear was a Christmas bear. Never mind.
Cream eggs and sugar until fluffy, 



Pour in melted butter, chocolate and milk until combined. 


Add dry ingredients gradually, pour your batter into the baking pans.

Bake for about 40-50 minutes, depending on your oven. 






Take out the cake and let cool completely. 

Done!






Friday, April 10, 2015

Use Your words - Purple Rain

Today’s post is another writing challenge as well. 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: 

decorate ~ purple ~ eggplant ~ tropical ~ remember ~ chair

They were submitted by the lovely creator and facilitator of this writing challenge, 
Baking In A Tornado  - thank you, Karen!

Today I am going to take you back to some of the best times music-wise - the mid80s!




Remember Fall 1984 / Winter 1985? So many great songs:

Ray Parker Jr - Ghostbusters
Tina Turner - What's Love got to do with it
Depeche Mode - Master and Servant
Laura Branigan - Self Control
Limahl - The never ending story
Elton John - Sad Songs (say so much)
Stevie Wonder - I just called to say I love you
Status Quo - The Wanderer
Sade - Smooth Operator
The Cars - Drive
Band Aid - Do they know it's Christmas
WHAM! - Last Christmas
Madonna - Like a Virgin
Nik Kershaw - The Riddle
Frankie goes to Hollywood - The Power of Love
Alison Moyet - All cried out
Tears for Fears - Shout
Prince - Purple Rain (click to watch the video - if this platform was any good, I'd embed the song, so it would play while you're reading.)



I could go on and on, but I've got some more words to use, so here goes:

In high school we liked to throw parties at classmate's houses, especially as long as we were under 16 and couldn't get into the cool clubs. 

One time we got to party at the indoor pool area of one guy's parents' villa. The whole class of about 25 people was invited. 

Usually the kids had to limit themselves to a dozen friends which was tough. Who to invite? How to handle the ones who weren't invited? 

Usually an upcoming party was the topic of several days leading up to the day. What to wear, what snack to bring, was the person one had a crush on gonna be there? 

"I need your help", M said one day (no, not that one) "My older brother had a party last month, so this month it's my turn, my parents agreed that I could use the basement party room." 

Fantastic! So where did I come in? Did he want to borrow some of my music tapes?

"Could you do the, you know, creative stuff? Invitations, decoration? I'll take care of the technical equipment, stereo and lights."

OMG, how cool! (Thinking back he actually hired me as a party planner, sort of!) 

I had big plans and crazy ideas, I wanted a starry sky, glitter and disco balls, maybe even roller skates. But we were 15 and didn't have any money. 






So I tried to craft my own disco balls by using aluminum foil. Only it wasn't the thin, twistable kind. It was glitzier and sturdier, and instead of balls the shapes looked more like eggplants. Booo! 

M's brother had some black light bulbs that we were allowed to use. 



I asked my girlfriends to bring potato chips, pretzel rods and cake and set up the buffet. Soda, regular orange juice and mixed tropical fruit juice with pieces of pineapple to decorate the glasses with, that's how fancy it got!



Strictly no alcohol, btw, even though in Europe it'd have been not a huge deal to serve some Baccardi Cola at a private party. The only wine bottle in the room was an empty one that we used for spinning. You know… 



Clearly as teenagers we were beyond playing musical chairs!

I don't remember much about the party itself. There must have been no drama, no new couple, no breakup. Just good friends, great music and no parents! Pretty awesome Saturday night for a 15 year old!

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


Baking In A Tornado 
Spatulas on Parade 
The Bergham Chronicles
The Momisodes
Southern Belle Charm
Confessions of a part time working mom 
Someone Else's Genius
Stacy Sews and Schools
Sparkly Poetic Weirdo
Searching for Sanity
Climaxed
Eileen’s Perpetually Busy
Juicebox Confession
Battered Hope