Archive | July, 2012

Swiss culture for expats

31 Jul

While looking for some information on a train accident that threw off my afternoon, I stumbled upon this article about Swiss culture. The author does a pretty good job of expressing some of the things that Phillip and I have noticed and talked about together. Here is a link for anyone who is interested:

http://www.thelocal.ch/page/view/3726

Express yo’self!

29 Jul

Asher cracks us up. Lately his newest “trick” is to look surprised. In order to be convincing, he is trying out all kinds of fun surprised faces, and we finally caught some of them on camera. You will see him looking back and forth a lot. He is looking at me and then at Phil, and then back at me… and then back at Phil… as we try to get him to look “surprised.”

I am not sure if you can tell on the video or not, but he really gets in to it. He will tense his entire body in order to be convincing. He’s a regular Jim Carrey I tell you! Also notice how quickly he goes back to being straight faced and enjoying his cracker. Here are some more fun surprised faces:

And finally, some less charming faces, but still super funny and cute. Here are some of his newest fake-cry-no-really-guys-I’m-super-mad faces:

 

 

Asher Vids

28 Jul

A few (very) random videos of 11-month-old Asher Michael!

 

Asher’s first spin in Lightening McQueen! As you can tell, he wasn’t super sure that it was awesome, but he also didn’t hate it:

 

Asher goes around whispering “Dadada… dad… dada… dad…” a lot. Here we were trying to get him to whisper it for the camera. Unfortunately you hear me whispering it mostly, which isn’t quite as adorable and entertaining (though still somewhat adorable and entertaining… right?), but you get a tiny glimpse of his cute whisper:

 

Ash is a silly guy. He has a hilarious “smile” where he closes his eyes tightly, tips his head back as far as he can get it, and holds his hands in the air. He does this to us and to random strangers on busses and trains. Here is a example, followed by examples of his being energetic and funny:

Cher Hair

27 Jul

If I have spoken with you recently, I may have mentioned that I am frustrated with my hair. It’s so long that it’s getting straggly at the ends and giving me a head/neck/shoulders ache. I like having long hair, but for goodness sake, all things must be done with moderation. It has been nearly a year since my last trim and I am looking more and more Pentecostal by the second. All I need is a calf-length denim skirt, athletic socks and white off-brand sneakers and I could start a whole new life weaving baskets, speaking in tongues, rearing 13 children and whatever the heck else Pentecostals do in their odd lives. In addition to the out-of-control length, I have some weird little layers growing in the topfront — something I had read about happening after you have a baby. I don’t know why it happens, but believe you me, it does.

In short, I need my hair to be cut.

I have have terrible anxiety when I think about visiting salons. Stylists don’t ever seem to understand what I want and don’t want. For example, they often seem to interpret my “I would like my hair to look similar to this [holds up printed photo example that took 7 hours of Web browsing to find] with a few small layers here [pointing], here [pointing], and here [pointing]. Please cut up into, instead of straight across, the bottom of my hair so that it doesn’t look so awkward and blunt at the ends” to mean “Please make me look like a rooster-Zombie with bedhead.” Granted, I have kind of weird hair, but, in my opinion, the gals with the scissors should know how to do things right. My hair is difficult because it is super fine, and grows really thick and strong in the back, but thin in the front and on the sides. I guess I just have the girl-version of my Wood-family’s “M-forehair hairline.” Stylists don’t seem to know what to do with my thininfront/thickinback hair, so they do their best to screw up my entire head so that the horror is at least even. The worst cut I ever got happened when I was a teenager in Alabama. I wanted to keep it long but have the same cool layers that I saw on lots of other heads. I received three different hairstyles that day– I had a bowl-cut on top (this was the thickest part), a very average kindergarten-style shoulder-length thing happening in the middle, and something similar to Lord of the Rings character Gollum’s hairstyle plaguing my mid-back (wispy and creepy — you know the type). I went in the bathroom and cried big sobby mylifeisover teenager tears. My Mom and sister came in to comfort me and assure me that it looked “*gulp* great,” but mirrors don’t lie. I knew I looked horrendous. That was one of the first times I remember going to a “professional” for a haircut, as well as the last time I could breathe the smell of hair chemicals without having an anxiety attack.

My favorite  profesh haircut happened right before my wedding. Thank goodness for Tiffany, the best stylist in the world. She “got” how my hair grows and worked magic on it. It was super long and healthy, but it also had dimension and intrigue. It was great. Good timing too! For however much I hated my sinful threesome notstyle nightmare, I wouldn’t have traded the timing of my best and worst haircuts for anything.

Most of my life my Mom just trimmed my hair. She always did a good job. The only problem with having her cut it was that she fought me every snip of the way (don’t deny it, Mom!). My hair could be dragging in the street and she would respond with “ohhhh, really? It looks so pretty long!” if I asked her to trim it. These trims would often take a really long time since she would cut a 16th of an inch at a time. “More? WELL! Why don’t you just shave your head?”  But again, she did a good job and I was always grateful for the trim. The last few times I’ve been home, my sister and I have taken turns trimming each other’s hair. This has worked out pretty well, since Kacy does a nice job too.

I could really go for a nice Mom or sister cut now. Too bad I’m a bjillion miles away. There are salons everywhere, but I have enough anxiety about going into a salon where I know the stylists speak English. I picture myself dying from anxiety while trying to explain to a Swiss stylist how my hair grows unevenly. To make matters worse, I would then have to attend my OWN funeral looking like I walked too close to a helicopter.

All of that to say… I’m working up the courage to cut my hair myself. I have watched some youtube tutorials and spent a lot of time in front of the mirror practicing with my fingers in a open-shut-peace-sign. I am writing this partly because my hair is weighing so heavily on my mind (literally), and partly to help myself commit to the decision to cut my own hair.

Any final words of advice? Don’t tell me not to do it, because I have made my decision. The worst that could happen is that I mess it up so badly I am forced to shave my head… which is actually really bad. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen!

Grocery shopping. Ghetto booty.

23 Jul

Have I told you how we get groceries here? No? Why, the same way good ol’ honest Abe Lincoln got his groceries, of course! We don’t use no fancy horseless carriage, noooosiree. Rather we use the two things that God intended to propel us along the Earth – our stinky, swollen, gorgeous feet!

Ash and I just got back from the grocery store… he is in bed and I am trying to catch my breath in the living room. The grocery store is just about a kilometer from where we live, which is not too far. It’s actually a great walk TO the store — we can take peaceful, scenic  walking paths down the hill to the center of town where our Coop is. There is a lot of shade going down the hill to keep us cool. Even when it gets warm here, the shade provides comfort and seems to invite a nice cool breeze. The walk is so lovely that I often feel a satisfying combination of being energized and relaxed at the same time once I get there. So yes, the walk down the hill is great.

The walk back home… up hill… pushing a stroller with a 20-pound kid and howevermanypounds of groceries? Not so much. I typically take the bus back up the hill, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Today was one of those days. As I was leaving I saw the bus drive by — it was the stupid old bus that they drag out once in a while that has stairs inside! Really bus? Stairs?! It’s hard enough for me to lift up the stroller and climb in without a week’s worth of groceries, but there is absolutely no way I’d be able to lift it in by myself after shopping today, so I started prepping myself early for the walk back home.

We went to Coop, shopped, paid, yadda yadda yadda, and then we set back out on our walk home.

I decided  to take the “short cut” that has smaller steeper hills, instead of the main road that is uphill the entire way. I honestly don’t know which is more difficult. I’ve never been one for working out, but I was known to take up space from time to time on the elliptical machine when I “monitored” the weight room at school as a graduate assistant for Harding’s wellness department. I seriously was just wasting time, though. Sure every once in a while boredom would inspire me to mess around with the setting, but the second it got difficult I would throw in the towel. I typically got on the machine for 1 of 2 things:

1. Something interesting would have finally come on the news (feature stories, of course. Dogs saving babies, multi-colored ketchup options, goldfish that read to cancer patients, and the like) and I would want to be closer to the TV to hear.

-or-

2. Someone incredibly entertaining would come in the weight room to work out and I would climb on the elliptical for a better view of the hilarity. One of my favorites was a certain professor’s son who would come in and literally just touch the equipment while posing for himself in front of the mirrored walls for an hour or so before leaving… not sweating at all, but feeling like the coolest guy in the world (“feeling” being the key word here). I also enjoyed anyone who brought in one of those tupperware salad-dressing thingies with freshly mixed protein powder. As soon as I heard the baby bottle swish! swish! swish! of the powder, I knew I was in for some great grunts and faces. Some people look like monsters when they benchpress, other people look like burn victims. Who knew?

I digress.

So I know how the elliptical feels (and I really don’t like it). Walking back up the hill with a stroller full of groceries feels like being on an elliptical machine with the resistance turned all the way up. The steeper parts of my walk feel like an elliptical machine with the resistance all the way up and set on ‘incline.’ Not good. I kid you not, at the steepest part the back wheels of the stroller have to be lifted off of the pavement to keep things from falling out of the grocery bags. I have learned that I must push with my legs to have any hope of making it. The few times I forget to use my legs for a moment I end up hyperventilating and seeing visions of those who have gone on before me.

The bad part of walks like the one I had today: I am basically spent for the rest of the day once I get home.
The good part of walks like the one I had today: A few more trips like this one and I’ll be rockin’ a badonkadonk so voluptuous that J’Lo  herself will turn green with envy.

 

Check out this cute boy

7 Jul