Friday, September 26, 2008


Mr K and I are joining my parents for a whirlwind tour of Ireland and Scotland. We'll be sure to have a drink for you...and you! And you and you and you!


Sunday, September 21, 2008

A little walk...

So today I went on a little 5k walk in memory of someone I don't know.

For the whole story, you can read this blog.

I should warn you that it's seriously depressing and uplifting at the same time. I wouldn't advise reading it without some tissues nearby.

It was a nice opportunity to do a little bit of thinking about life.

Keep it up, Matt and Madeline.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Counting down!

In less than two weeks, we're off to meet up with my parents in Ireland for vacation and I can't wait! As far as I know of, none of us have been so it should be a really great trip. My dad is a meticulous planner and has everything laid out in spreadsheet form - who arrives when and on what flight, where we stay, where we drive and how far - it's impressive! We'll spend a week driving around and exploring and then Mr K and I fly back here while my mom and dad make their way to Switzerland at a more leisurely pace by train.

This trip will be the first time my parents have been to see us here and I'm so excited! They're going to be visiting us for several days and I'm busily trying to narrow down the most fun things we need to make sure we go do. Any suggestions?

The weather here has been pretty nice as it starts to cool off for fall. Some days have been cloudy and moody and other crisp and cool. On Tuesday the low is 37F last time I checked - that means bring a warm coat, mom!

Now I'm off to walk some recycling and then complete my French homework. Au revoir!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fun Facts about Switzerland Part 2: Group E(vil)

Every three months since we've moved into our apartment, we have received a bill for 50 CHF from Group E - the friendly local power company. With each bill, we would cheerfully pay, while marveling at the cheap electricity in this country of hefty price tags. After paying, we would go blissfully on with our lives of washing and drying clothing, running the dishwasher, and leaving a light on for the kitties.

Last week I stopped as I always do to grab our mail on my way to pick up groceries. The only envelope was a skinny little thing from Group E, which I opened as I walked back into the mall. Knowing the above about the 50 CHF/month bills of the past, you can imagine my surprise when I opened one for... 780 CHF. "Gosh darn!" I cried out. "Well, dang it all! Oh my gosh!." I can't remember exactly, but suffice to say this wasn't a pleasant surprise.

So, apparently power here isn't super cheap, it's just paid by a different system:

1. Every three months you pay a small flat amount.
2. After a year, you make up the difference between the small amount and the actual cost of the electricity you used.
3. If you are new, the power company sets the rate very low since they don't know how much you will be using. After the first year, the small flat rate will be adjusted upwards to prevent another huge bill in the future.
4. Power is cheapest between 8 PM and 6 AM and also on weekends. This means I ought not be doing laundry at 3 PM on a Tuesday - sigh.

After the initial shock wore off, we got a laugh out of it. Then I spent all weekend doing laundry - lesson learned!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Fun Facts about Switzerland Part 1: Snails

There are snails everywhere here. These are not tiny snails - they're often the size of a large marble or a small meatball... possibly two of the worst examples I could have come up with, but I have a headache so we'll let that one slide. Let's say slightly larger than a quarter.

I don't remember ever seeing snails outside of small streams and aquariums in the US. Here I see at least one snail every time I go for a walk. They cling to branches and leaves. They hang from posts and fences.

The yellow one pictured to the right is a pretty common color. Near Mr K's office, there are various small, white wildflowers along the sidewalk. Clinging to the stems of these flowers are tons and tons of small black and white snails - these closer in size to a penny. Near the lightposts, piles of empty shells sit - I don't know enough about snails to tell you why.

One of my friends told me a story - when his parents were younger, they would spend some weekends collecting big baskets of mountain snails that local restaurants would buy. Since then, I think the mountain snails have become a little more rare and a little less snacked-upon.

One thing that hasn't become rare here - the most gigantic slugs ever. I also see these guys each time I go out for a walk and they're easily 4-5 inches long... if not more.

This concludes this week's "Fun Fact!" Stay tuned for more fun facts and cat updates.