Thursday, March 31, 2011

March 31, 2011 – 360 Days; a year in review

Give or take a day, not that I am really counting, and who says I have to wait for an actual "year"?

April marks our 1 year anniversary of moving to Switzerland.  I’m not even sure I can describe everything I feel when I think about it, but the overall feeling is a positive one and thus far the experience has been filled with a majority of humor.  Let’s just say it’s a good thing I can laugh at myself.

It really doesn’t seem that long ago that we were packing the dogs into their crates and onto the van so we could get to the airport for the start of our adventure.  Of course I remember part of that simply because the beastly boy was beside himself as if we were torturing him.  OMG I still laugh at the thought of “walking” him through the security metal detectors.  I can only imagine what that will be like on the return trip two years from now… maybe he should just elect for the enhanced pat down.

Then there was my initial attempts at learning German… or as I fondly recall the initial lobotomy.

Which also reminds me of the nice old lady who chatted withme on the bus for 20 mins.  Sure I had no idea what she said to me, but I walked away feeling good and I think I made her day as well.

Come to think of it, German lessons provided a lot of blog fodder as well as frustration and humiliation but then again without that what would I laugh at.

So now I have to admit that our lives have fallen into a fairly comfortable routine, I still don’t really know what people are saying when they speak to me.  I just nod and give them my best lobotomized stupid American smile.  It seems to work.



© C.A. Bailey 2010 - 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

March 30, 2011 – Solo

A while back I asked a friend of mine if a person could learn to enjoy running.  The fact is I don’t mind running, but I am not sure I “enjoy” the activity either.  I certainly enjoy the benefits of running:  I sleep better, I’m calmer (usually), I can eat chocolate, and admittedly I am extremely entertained by knowing the number of calories I burn when I run and my resting heart rate.  Those final two items are really because I enjoy gadgets and my heart rate monitor tells me both of those things as well as how far I run.  It’s that feedback that gets me out running again, well that and chocolate but that’s really not a surprise.
Anyway, back to my friend who enjoys “Running Solo”; I am not zen enough to enjoy running by myself.  I have managed to do it, and will so again but it comes off feeling like a chore that needs to be checked off my list of To-Do’s.  Yesterday I managed to get completely dressed and outfitted to go running.  Yes, that is as far as I made it.  Next thing I know I am sitting down reading a book.  Which brought me to my thought today, I don’t enjoy running or exercising by myself.  I don’t find it relaxing.  I find it relaxing when I do those activities “with” someone.  This is kind of odd considering I tend to think of myself as being deliberately outside of most people’s sphere of influence.  Ok that sounds weird, but what I mean is most of my life I have felt self-contained or hesitant to let other people get too close as a result, I have always been more reserved around people I don’t know well.  Over the last few years that has changed and I suspect it is directly proportional to how much time I actually spend alone every day.  I work from home, and have for at least the last 3 years and now I live in Switzerland and the majority of my family/friends are at home.  So, other than the beastly boy I spend about 19 hours a day by myself.  Certainly I speak with my co-workers on IM and the phone, but that isn’t really the same thing.  How does this connect to running… running “with” someone is more social for me than anything else, I would prefer to run with someone even when we don’t talk than I would by myself.





© C.A. Bailey 2010 - 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, March 28, 2011

March 28, 2011 – Weekend Round Up

I’d like to say that I had a wild weekend of crazy fun filled debauchery.  On second thought debauchery really isn’t my thing and no one would believe that I took part in debauchery… unless it involved chocolate.  Can debauchery involve chocolate?  Anyway I’ve gotten side tracked. 

The weekend was relaxing, I spent most of it napping, reading, running, walking the dog, and watching “Under the Tuscan Sun.”  Not necessarily in that order and yes I realize I am well behind the times to be watching “Under the Tuscan Sun.”  I have no idea why I had an aversion to watching it when it first came out, maybe I didn’t want to spend the $8 (at the time) to see the movie.  Who knows?  I can say that I really enjoyed the move for $2.99 (the extra penny makes all the difference in the world.)  I’m also reading a book called “Surface Detail.”  I’m honestly not sure why I bought this book, four chapters into it and I didn’t have any clue what the heck was going on or how all these convoluted stories could even possibly relate to one another.  Chapter 5 finally brought me back to one of the plots that I could sort of make sense of so I’m beginning to think there might be a thread in here that ties these all together.  The fascinating part, I’m not ready to throw in the towel on the book yet.  Unlike Patricia Cornwell’s “Port Mortuary”; which I can’t adequately provide a review on because every time I try to get through another chapter I want to run away screaming. I used to love reading her books, then she went all occult and frankly predictable that I got bored.  Anyway, this latest got a decent review so I decided to give it a try.  My bad, I’ve struggled through the 1st few chapters and L has told me it goes downhill from there.  Thank goodness she read it so at least I don’t feel like we completely wasted our money.

Oh and for those of you who have here from the beginning…. The hawk that I have been trying to take a picture of for my friend Amy… I finally manage it:





© C.A. Bailey 2010 - 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, March 25, 2011

March 25, 2011 – The Brownie Lady

I am happy to report that when I went to the bank this morning I spotted the brownie lady. It must be that time of year when the farmers market starts back up in town. Although it may be counterintuitive the Farmers Market = Brownies or at least it means that the lady who makes brownies has set her booth back up. Yes, she sells other stuff but I’ve not paid any attention to that.

I also have to admit that I felt a little stalker-ish this morning when I spotted her. Do I want to make eye contact? Do I want a brownie? Well yeah I want a brownie but do I want to buy one? I’m trying to lose weight… what’s one brownie…. Ugh. All that running through my head as I dash into oncoming traffic in a desperate attempt to avoid temptation. So now I’ve resolved to be even more diligent about my running. Why? Well hell this means I’ll be having a brownie for breakfast every Friday until the winter. Is there any better reason to run? Well sure toll house cookies but brownies work.

Happy Friday




© C.A. Bailey 2010 - 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

March 24, 2011 – International Taxation and Making Change

I really hate tax season, I hate US tax season although after 30 years of filing US taxes I at least have a functioning knowledge of what to expect and I’m used to it. Now I can officially declare that I have gone international on my hate of tax season. I hate Swiss Taxes maybe even more so than US taxes. That could be in part because I don’t have a clue and what little snippets I am starting to have a clue about irritate the heck out of me. No kidding it’s single handedly reviving my conservative Republican leanings. Let me quickly clarify, not the “crazy religious right conservative leanings” but the “small government stop telling me what to do conservative leanings.”

In a nutshell heres my understanding of US taxes: I make money, the government take a chunk of that. I own property; the government says I want a piece of that pie as well.

In Switzerland: I make money, the government takes a chunk, if I own property; they also want their piece of the pie. Ok so far so good. Here’s where the bee has gotten stuck in my bonnet. If I make money and for some crazy reason I manage to hold onto that money…. They tax that as well. It’s apparently a “wealth tax.” So right now I am in the position of being taxed on money I earned this year as well as any money I earned in my lifetime and managed to somehow hold onto. Sure I would understand if I was being taxed on any income that money might have generated but I’m being taxed on just HAVING money. Money that I was already taxed on because I EARNED IT. Ok can you tell we’ve hit a nerve here? I know I have to be wrong in my in my understanding. I’m sure there is some intelligent explanation out there that would say, No CAB you’ve misunderstood how that section of the tax thing works.

All I can really do is equate what I feel right now at this very moment to when my father was trying to teach me how to make change. My grandmother would come to the house and on special occasions she would want to give me, my sister and brother each $5. On this one memorable occasion she had one $5 bill and a $10 bill. So my Dad asked if I had change. Specifically he asked if I had a $5 bill. My grandmother would give me the $10 bill and I would give my sister my $5. Can you see where this is heading? I couldn’t get past the concept that I was giving MY $5 bill to my sister. That was MY $5. Sure I was getting a bill back that was worth $10 but I’m giving away a $5 bill that I earned with my paper route that was in MY piggy bank. What I recall was the conversation and explanation going on for an extended time until everyone gave up and simply forced me to take the $10 and give the $5 to my sister. I’m fairly certain that my grandmother never showed up again without the exact change.

Eventually, I did learn how to make change and I’m pretty sure I’ll get over this tax situation. The Swiss will say give me your 5 francs the US will say give me 5 dollars and if there is anything left over I will by chocolate. I’ll do this and I’ll do it happily because no one looks good in a jailhouse orange jumpsuit.





© C.A. Bailey 2010 - 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March 23, 2011 - On Open Letter to Sports Bra Manufacturer's

Dear Sports Bra Manufacturer’s


Once or twice a year I find myself in the unenviable position of needing to buy/replace one or more of my sports bras. I consider myself fortunate that I take care of them and they last for awhile. Regardless, I still need to cycle in a new bra here and there.

When I was in high school playing field hockey and basketball there was no such thing as “sports bras.” It was your bra and maybe some tape to prevent the shoulder strap from coming loose during a game. Frankly when you are a teenage and a bra strap makes a break for it when you are sprinting down field or across a court it was a wee bit humiliating. If it were to happen today as an adult, I’d be too thrilled with the idea that I could still play field hockey to give it a second thought.

Needless to say, this morning I have spent a considerable amount of time going through the usual suspects (titlenine.com, athleta.com, and terrybicycles.com) in search of a bra that is comfortable, looks nice because let’s face it I want to feel like I look good even in just my bra, and I want a bra that will not cause chaffing.

During my search, which was not all that successful, it occurred to me that you are obviously missing some important information when it comes to sports bras. At least you are missing some information if you want to target 40 year old, fairly fit women who want to keep/improve their shape. Or heck if we just prefer to wear sports bras versus the traditional bra.

This information seemed obvious to me, but from my research I can see that it’s not really all that obvious to you. So here goes:

When you go to all that effort to make a “seamless bra”, which really means one seam on the side. Putting a vinyl coated tag in that seam that flops around, bunches, and generally causes unnecessary itching ruins the “seamless” concept.

Do you really think anyone wants to by a bra called: “Bye-Bye Bounce”? I’d like you to try naming a guys pair of underwear that. Maybe it could be the new name for a jock strap.  Although, I must admit “Bye-Bye Bounce” is markedly better than the “Boulder Holder.” Seriously, I’m not even sure what to say about that one.

Then there is the “Answer to My Prayers Bra.” If this bra were the answer to my prayers when I put it on I’d have Jillian Michaels’’ body with all the chocolate and none of the workouts.

Finally there is the “Booby Trap Bra.” What? When a woman wears this bra is there a risk that something might accidently explode? Did you see my story about High School and snapping bra straps? This is not a selling point.

If you could just take a step back from the cutesy names and get back to the business of making comfortable sports bras for the average, middle aged, slightly out of shape woman that I can wear while running.  I'd appreciate it, but please don't name it "The Knocker Blocker."
Sincerely,


CAB





© C.A. Bailey 2010 - 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

March 22, 2011 - Book Reviews

I’ve been promising my book reviews from vacation … I’m finally getting there.  I still have two others to write up, but here's what I have thus far.

Blood Hunt by L.L. Raand (Radclyffe) (4 out of 5 stars)
This is the second book in a new series. The first is “The Midnight Hunt.”

The synopsis on the Boldstrokes website is:

“Sylvan, the Wolf Were Alpha, forges an uneasy alliance with Vampire Detective Jody Gates, heir to a powerful Vampire clan, to battle a shadow army of humans and rogue Praeterns bent on destroying any hope of legal acceptance of the non-human species. With outside forces threatening to destroy the Praetern Coalition, several female Were adolescents turn up missing and chaos descends upon Sylvan's personal guards when Sylvan and her new mate are overtaken by breeding frenzy. While Sylvan struggles to protect her Pack, Jody fights her destiny as well as her growing hunger for human reporter, Becca Land.”

Although I think it helps if you enjoy scifi/paranormal stories I don’t think is a requirement to enjoy this book, but I would recommend reading the series in order.

One of the nice things about this book/series is the way the characters and storyline develop. It’s written in such a way that it’s easy to just accept that Sylvan, Drake, and Jodi are who they are without over thinking the vampire, werewolf, and human triangle. They are well written, likeable, and engaging characters.

I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Justifiable Risk by VK Powell (3 out of 5 stars)

The synopsis on the Boldstrokes website is:
“The cure for grief is action, but is it worth the risk?

Greer Ellis is a hard-working homicide detective who excels at her job and values her reputation and her privacy. Since the death of her partner two years ago, work is the only thing that interests her. Until Eva Saldana, an internationally renowned journalist comes to town looking for answers in her brother's death. Eva is convinced the overdose label so hastily applied to his case is not only wrong but is also a cover for murder. When evidence seems to point to a fellow officer, Greer is torn between her quest for the truth, allegiance to her profession, and her growing desire for Eva.

But is the risk they must take to be together justifiable?”

I enjoyed this book, it was a what I would classify as good beach reading: Romance, Mystery, Murder in a well written package.


Fatal Error by J.A. Jance - Rating (2 ½ out of 5 stars)

When I picked up this book I did not realize that it was a part of a series. This one picks up with the main character, Ali Reynolds, completing her final week(s) of training at the Police Academy. If I had read the other books in the series it might have provided me with some insight into Ali’s character but I found that it was not necessary to the overall plot of the story.

As Ali completes her training at the Police Academy she’s contacted by a colleague, Brenda Riley, who knew Ali from her old news broadcasting days. Brenda whose life is definitely on a downward alcoholic spiral wants help finding her fiancé, Richard, who has broken off all communication with Brenda. The trick is, Brenda has never met her fiancé “in real life” they “fell in love” over the internet. We quickly find out that “Richard” has left a string of broken hearts on the internet and when he winds up dead and Brenda is missing she quickly becomes the police’s prime suspect. As Ali searches for the truth and her missing friend the reader is brought into a deeper plot that involves a drug cartel and government secrets.

I enjoyed the book, it was a good vacation story. However, in the past when I have accidently started a series in the middle I’ve often wanted to go back and read the prior books to get a better understanding of the character development. That was not the case with this book.

Nothing But the Truth by Carsen Taite (3 out of 5 stars)
The synopsis on the Boldstrokes website is:
“The truth, like love, can be elusive, unless you're willing to fight for it.

Sparks fly when two top notch attorneys battle each other in the high risk arena of the courtroom, but when a strange turn of events thrusts one of them from the role of advocate to witness, prosecutor Ryan Foster and defense attorney Brett Logan join forces in their search for the truth. Working together they quickly learn their attraction to each other is as strong as their commitment to justice, but courthouse romance is not without complications. Throw in a murder case with bizarre twists and turns, and even the strongest attraction will be put to the test.”

I've not read anything by Carsen Taite prior to this book but I will plan on reading more.  I liked the storyline and the way the characters developed but I especially enjoyed the fact that while I was reading it I thought I knew who was behind the mystery/murder and I was totally wrong.

Pale Demon by Kim Harrison (4 out of 5 stars)

This is the 9th book in The Hollows series and picks up with Rachel heading to the west coast with Trent, Jenx, and Ivy to attend the Annual Witches Coven to try and get her shunning rescinded. Rachel is actually trying to make more responsible decisions and we continue to see how the changes in her affect the other characters: Jenx, Ivy, Al, and Trent. I’m always a little surprised at how invested I have become in a group of fictional characters and how their lives are turning out. I want a happy ending for Ivy and Rachel and I want Rachel to kick some serious ass.

Let’s just say that my only complaint with this book and the series itself…. Kim Harrison can’t write fast enough. Rachel finally comes into her full demon self and I want to know what happens next.


A Table For Two by Janet Albert (2 out of 5 stars)

The product Description from Amazon:

“Ridley Kelsen is convinced she's not destined to find love. The singles scene is old and dating is terribly disappointing. Her closest friend tells her that love comes along when you least expect it and the very last thing Ridley expects when she accepts an invitation to join her friends for dinner, is that she will meet the most beautiful creature she's ever laid eyes on. Will this turn out to be yet another disappointment? Dana De Marco moves to Philadelphia after her dreams for the future are unexpectedly shattered. Her new restaurant, Café De Marco is located on the city's famous South Street and has opened to rave reviews. It seems as if the pieces of her life are finally falling into place, except for one minor detail...she's unable to let go of the past. The last thing Dana expects is that she's about to meet someone who will force her to face her demons head on. Does she have the courage to open her heart and love again?”

Let’s just say that I when I was reading this book I was overheard saying all too often “Oh come on… who talks like that?” or “You’ve got to be kidding me.” This does not fall into the category of “I couldn’t read this book” but it definitely gets classified as one of those stereotypically romance novels with the tacky covers. Mindless beach reading where I was grateful that it was only a $2.00 book.



© C.A. Bailey 2010  - 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, March 21, 2011

March 21, 2011 – Weekend Roundup

I’ve been informed that it is the 1st day of spring, now I would not have known that because typically it’s just another date on the calendar and I’m more concerned with the fact that it’s Monday. However, I can attest to the fact that I did see the definitive 1st sign of spring on Saturday. Back home that would be the first robin, but here in Switzerland I spotted my first snail of the season. Well, maybe “spotted” is a bit of an exaggeration; I spotted my “second” snail of the season. The “first” had a very short season considering I stepped on it. Making it my 1st crushed snail of the season.

Speaking of rain, here’s the boy in all of his fashion plate glory.

I swear I would never have thought I would be one of those people who would equip their dog with a rain coat. It’s really more for my convenience than it is for his. He could not care any less if he got wet, but toweling him off is dramatically easier when large portions of him are already dry. I’ve tried to convince him that he looks very debonair in his coat. I don’t think he believes me.


Bonnie Fit: I’m happy to report that I did go see the facility. I can also report that despite its proximity to home, I won’t be joining. It has a crowed (space wise) feel that makes me claustrophobic. So instead I will take L’s advice and jog/ride my bike to the other gym I am a member of. That way I can combine my warm-up and weight work, and then I can hope the train/bus home if necessary.

Sunday: We met a friend of L’s for drinks last night. He’s in Zurich on business and wanted to catch up with her. It was fun, and then L and I went to dinner at a nice Italian restaurant.

L found a 10K race for me to replace the ½ marathon that got cancelled. All I have to do is go sign up. That is next on my agenda and it should keep me on track with my running.


The Mysteries of Apartment Dwelling: This is a new experience for me, other than the time I lived in a dorm for college I’ve always live in a house. So needless to say I this weekend when I was taking the beast outside for his morning constitutional I was a little surprised when I ran into the husband of one of our neighbors… in his little blue boxers… in the lobby. Sure he had an armful of laundry so maybe he didn’t have anything to wear and in an act of desperation rode the elevator down 3 flights to pick-up some clean clothes out of his keller. Or, maybe he just came back from a workout and decided to strip off his sweaty smelly clothes and leave them in the keller before taking the elevator up to his apartment on the 3rd floor. Or, maybe he’s just getting in touch with his inner peace and free love spirit and decided that going out for the mail early on a Saturday morning in his blue boxers was no biggie. In fact I think my reaction is really indicative of my American upbringing. I just don’t expect people to wander around in public in their underwear; boxers or not. Don’t get me wrong, I did find it amusing, even more so because I thought it would be rude of me not to say good morning and ask how he was that fine rainy morning.



I think that about covers it, happy 1st Day of Spring.



© C.A. Bailey 2010 - 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, March 18, 2011

March 18, 2011 – Book Semi Review

Sure I promised you a book review – I’ve been on a roll since we went on vacation and I really want to tell you about the books I have read, but… I’m forced to tell you about the one I am currently reading: “Parties in Congress” by Colette Moody published by Boldstrokes

This is the blurb from the boldstrokes website:

“They say politics makes strange bedfellows...


Elated to secure her first paid political staff position, Bijal Rao is eager to focus her efforts on the election of her candidate to U.S. Congress. However, Bijal's first unforeseen obstacle is her profound and unexpected attraction to their opponent—incumbent Congresswoman Colleen O'Bannon—who is outspoken, charismatic, and openly lesbian.

An even greater hurdle is the subterfuge and pretense that pervades the climate in Washington, D.C., where small missteps are readily painted as major gaffes, and lies are explained away as "in the public's best interest." During the heated campaign, both Bijal and Colleen struggle not to cross the lines of propriety—and perhaps more importantly, their party lines.”

I’m going to admit that the blurb only slightly interested me, I was more interested in reading something that I thought might be entertaining and easy. You know… vacation/summer reading.

Well I am ¾ of the way through the book and all I can tell you is: thank goodness I have lots of tissues handy. The banter (it’s too good to be called dialogue) between the two main characters (Bijal – Republican / Colleen – Democrat) is fantastic and more often than not gets me laughing so hard that I am crying. It’s witty and engaging all the while making some fantastic political points while making me wish politicians really did say what they believe and work towards goals that are in the best interest of the people and not what was in the best interests of their pocketbooks.

If this book is any indication of how this author writes I'll be looking for more or her published works.


© C.A. Bailey 2010 - 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

March 17, 2011 – Snickers & Gyms

I just ate a snickers bar. It was a little disappointing. I like Snickers, but surprisingly this one tasted a bit off. Like the peanuts were burnt. Maybe that’s how they make them in Europe, but I prefer them a little less toasty. I can’t even tell you the last time I ate a Snickers… ok maybe Halloween 2009… so it was disappointing that it wasn’t everything I hoped. However, the good news: It’s come to my attention (because I made this part up) that if you can’t read the ingredients on the wrapper… there are no calories. I’m not even sure the wrapper is written in German, it could be French… maybe both. So… no calories in this bar, which is good since it was a waste.

Did you know they have Bounty Bars over here. Not really a surprise since both Snickers and Bounty are made by Mars, but when was the last time you saw a Bounty Bar at home? Me neither, but it turns out I like them. All that coconutty goodness. They also have “Mars Bars” but let me just point out right now, such a HUGE disappointment. I LOVED Mars Bars in the US (which you can’t find anymore) The nougat and almonds… so so good. Then one day shortly after moving here I spotted one, it was a trick. It’s a sweeter version of the Snickers less the peanuts and almonds, not at all what I was expecting or wanting. Apparently that’s how they are traditionally made in the UK.

Ok enough discussion of disappointing chocolate. Let’s talk about “Bonnie Fit”. It’s a healthclub/gym right in the center of town. I want to check it out because (a) my membership at the healthclub I am currently a member of expires mid April and (b) I haven’t been going .. partially because of the distance, and (c) I really need to get back to strength training. I miss it. I miss feeling strong. I miss knowing that I am a lot stronger than most people would expect. I also miss having someone (Al) kick my ass and keep me on track with my workouts. Fortunately, I’m still running and I have the cardio down I just need to get this in line as well. So, Bonnie Fit (a strange name) is located right in the center of town. Have I checked it out yet? No. Why? It’s my thing. I have a thing where I get really uncomfortable and have to FORCE myself to do something even as simple as walking into a building and saying “I want a tour of Bonnie Fit.” This is compounded by the fact that it seems to get into the Bonnie Fit you have to walk through a coffee house also owned by… Bonnie Fit. How difficult can this be? Let’s see, I tried Monday and Tuesday. The best I could do was peer through the glass of the door to see if there really is a stairwell to the left that walks up to the gym. I couldn’t tell. Tuesday two women in workout gear were heading that way, I swear I started to stalk them, but it appears they wear workout clothes to buy coffee… not to go to the gym. This afternoon when I made my snickers run, I spotted what appears to be a hallway that could lead to stairs… I know I am pathetic. What’s worse is this has nothing to do with being in Switzerland. I would have this same problem even if I was at home, well maybe not quite so bad, but it would still rear it’s ugly head.

Seriously, what is the worst case scenario? Someone says something to me in a foreign language I don’t understand? I laugh in the face of that... besides that happens every day.

Tomorrow when I get up I will not say “I am going to make this a good day for myself.” I will say “I am going to be brave damn it” and I will go check out Bonnie Fit.

Keep your fingers crossed





© C.A. Bailey 2010 - 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March 16, 2011 – Ugh

I suspect I’ll be saying “ugh” quite frequently over the next few weeks and that my blogging will be redundant: pollen, taxes, headache, pollen, taxes, headache. As a matter of fact, after reading that sentence you could probably stop now. You have the gist. I’ll apologize now, but you have been forewarned.

Last week I had a conversation with some people over at Fidelity Investments about a retirement plan; what can I contribute, how do I contribute? Fun things like that. The concept that I can even contribute anything is downright thrilling. Seriously, it is and here’s why: in the last 10 years I have worked for 3-ish companies and have not been able to participate in a retirement plan that allowed me to contribute to that plan. 7 of those years there has been no plan at all. None, nada, not even a token “we’ll pretend to put money aside for you if we ever see profits sharing plan” It turns out that one of the best things about becoming a consultant is the ability to create my own retirement plan. Hey I’m getting old and I’d like to retire before I’m 75 years old. It’s the small things in life that are amusing. Here’s the trick, I have to complete all the paperwork properly, make the correct “allowable” contributions and file my taxes properly or… I could get up close and personal with Uncle Sam. Unlike Richard “The Big Idiot” Hatch from Survivor lore, I do not want to go to jail. How that dufus can continue to not file and pay his taxes is beyond me, but that is another rant.

So this morning I went back through my taxes, and I think I actually have them completed correctly. Yeah me and I’m feeling pretty good about it too.

Next up, rechecking, making a retirement plan contribution, filing 2011 estimated taxes (due in April), and paying my business entity tax (April). Who says life isn’t good?

Tomorrow - book review.


© C.A. Bailey 2010 - 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March 15, 2011 - Stupid Swiss Pollen & March Madness

Yes, I realize that referring to something without any brainwave activity "stupid" is an exercise in futility.  Sort of, but you understand my point.  There is obviously something in the air in Switzerland that is not in the air in quiet Connecticut that makes my head want to explode.  Oh sure there are "people" in Connecticut that make my head want to explode but that's another matter entirely.  I am however, happy to report that I seem to have finally gotten in front of this headache.  6 Advil, 2 Excedrin Migraine, 1 Antihistamine and one cup of hot chocolate (not all at the same time); that sickening feeling of something creeping up the back of my neck has dissipated and I'm left with just a normal, mild, sinus headache.

I've made my picks for March Madness... the women's tournament.  I really could not care any less about the men's tournament.  My picks this year are based on past knowledge and prejudices since I haven't watched any of the women's basketball season this year.  Well except for that one UCONN game when we were back in the US.  So, here's my picks for the final 4.

UCONN v Notre Dame (because I like Notre Dame and would really like them to beat Tennesee... Pat Summit bugs me)

Xavier v Baylor (How could I have not picked a jesuit university to make it to the final 4 when given the opportunity.  Besides how cool would that be.  Although I have to admit that picked UCLA over Gonzaga)

I couldn't bring myself to pick Stanford because I seriously dislike Tara VanDerveer so I will be cheering for whomever plays against her team.





© C.A. Bailey 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, March 14, 2011

March 14, 2011 – Random Bullets

• I like to tell you that I had a crazy weekend full of dancing. I didn’t. I had a quiet weekend full of relaxing. It was nice.

• I want someone to hit me in the head with a hammer. It couldn’t be more painful than this headache I have had since Sunday morning.

• I received a notice today cancelling the ½ marathon I was training for in April. Now I need a new short term goal to keep me on track.

• I think spring may officially have sprung. I can hope, but that could also account for my headache.

• The US switched to daylight savings time this past weekend. Thankfully we have 2 more weeks before we follow suit. I seriously “springing forward”.

• Did I mention I have a headache? It’s the most consistent thought running through my mind for the last two nights. It’s the last thought I recall having last night before I fell asleep, and it’s the 1st thought I had when I woke.

• I have an appointment with my night terror doctor (Dr. Knight) that amuses me in April when we go home for Easter. It’s the once every 18months or so check in. I liked it better when I would check in every few years. I think he enjoys seeing me. He mentioned that I am his only “healthy” patient. I think I am also his only patient with night terrors. All of his other patients are pulmonary patients … or they have sleep apnea. Filling out the patient inventory is also amusing since I get to check off N/A for all of their questions regarding my current respiratory health.

• Time for work, here’s a couple of pictures of my evidence that spring seems to be here. I still have a headache.




I realy have no idea how long it's taken these shoe trees to grow or what kind of care/watering instructions are required.  Do you think once they bloom they turn into flip flops?



© C.A. Bailey 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

March 10, 2011 – Dancing

I had it in my head that I wanted to take charge this weekend and go dancing with L on Saturday. I also wanted it to be a surprise, obviously that’s not going to happen.

I would still like to go dancing regardless. Do that, but do you have any idea how difficult it is to find a place to safely go dancing? Yea, I didn’t realize how difficult that would be myself until I started my search. I’m obviously doing something wrong with my search skills. As to be expected there are TONS of places for men to go dancing… tons. There are also quite a few that are geared towards women. Unfortunately, upon further inspection what those sites really mean is: They have women… dancing… pole dancing, tassels, etc…. Um, that wasn’t what I had in mind. Fisrt off I don’t know how to dance with a pole, except for what I saw in the movie “True Lies” with Jamie Lee Curtis…. Although come to think of it, I don’t think there was a pole involved I think it was a bedpost. See, no pole dancing for me. I also don’t have any desire for people to throw money at me… well wait a minute, I think I would enjoy people “randomly” throwing money at me, but me as a stripper… in Switzerland. That could be painful, most of there money is in coin and I could lose an eye as people throw money yelling in German “Holen Sie sich von der Bühne gehen ich blind bin!” Get off the stage I am going blind!

So after looking at lots of website and making my own eyes bleed, I found one that seemed reputable and geared to men. So I said to myself “self… why not call that club and ask them for a recommendation… they MUST know of the place I seek”

I was brave, dialed the number, said hello, asked “in German” if the person who ansered the phone understood English. I have absolutely no idea what they said. None, not one little clue. Seriously, if they had simply said nien, or ja I’d have been all set, but know they spewed an entire paragraph back to me… I admit it.. I panicked…. Hung up… oye.

But hey I have a plan that just occurred to me… I can try again, with some help. That’s what I will do.









© C.A. Bailey 2010 - 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March 8, 2011 - Fat Tuesday

Not the "I'm feeling Fat Tuesday" but rather the good kind of Fat Tuesday.  The one where there is a headless chocolate bunny in the refigerator because Lent officiall starts tomorrow and I don't want him to go bad kind of Tuesday.  How's that for a run on sentance? 

So I bet you are wondering what I am giving up for Lent.  I am not giving up anything, what I am going to do is:
     (1) Continue to love and accept myself for who I am and who I want to become

 Related to #1 but sometimes I need to re-evalute who it is I want to be in this world and the impact that I am having.  So along those lines:
     (2) Make sure that the impact of my life on the people around me is more positive than it is negative.  Honestly, I would like to believe that when I die someone would remember me as having a positive impact on their life.  Of course I'll be dead so maybe that doesn't matter ;)

     (3) Continue to improve my physical well being because that helps my mental and emotional well being, which brings me back to #1

Anyway, Happy Fat Tuesday to you all and may you all have a headless chocolate bunny by the end of the day.


This is Alvin who works at the Four Season in Seychelles... he came by every day to bring us water and clean our sunglasses.  A very nice/funny man

© C.A. Bailey 2010 - 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, March 7, 2011

March 7, 2011 - Seychelles Vacation Recap

I'm happy to report that L and I made it safely back to Zurich yesterday afternoon.  I'm also going to point out the obvious.  When you are in 0 degree celcius weather for awhile, when it gets to be 10 degrees that feels pretty comfortable.  However, when you return from vacation and the weather has been 33 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) 10 degrees doesn't seem all that warm anymore.

Ok onto the recap:

Things of Note that I did not mention earlier:
Dubia Airport - I already told you that the Dubai Aiport is HUGE, but I didn't tell you about the bathrooms... at least the women's room.  I know some of you are shocked but yes I did use a public restroom.  I had to we'd already been traveling for 8 or 9 hours and I'm good but not that good.  Oh and no, it was not the airplane bathroom... I still have some standards.

When went into the bathroom, I noticed that they each came equiped with a spray faucet like the ones you might find in kitchen sinks but obviously used for different reasons... at least I pray that is the case.  Anyway I was so amused when I saw it and so bummed (no pun intended) that I didn't have my camera that I had to go back and take a picture to share.

Um... no way in hell would I ever, touch this thing let alone use it. I'm pretty sure airplane bathrooms and port-o-potties just moved up the list of things I will use before this thing.


Seychelles
I know you are dying to see L and I at the beach... That's me on the right ;)





The view from our villa



My favorite Sunsets





The big ugly spider who fortunately lived and stayed outside


A different ugly spider...

A little guy we spotted on the beach


Finally some big guys, not on the beach




Oh and I guess I should show you the actual beach...








© C.A. Bailey 2010, 2011 All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March 1, 2011 - Topless Tuesday

So there I was laying on my lounge chair, on the beach when I noticed that the young mother (she has the cutest newborn) sitting near us was sunbathing topless. Then I looked around and I realized several of the women on the beach were also non-chalantly lounging topless. I certainly was not offended but suddenly I felt overdressed.

L told me that since I was getting in touch with my inner European And that I had commented about feeling overdressed that I certainly could sunbath topless if I so desired.

Umm... NO! let's just say I don't want to be responsible for an international incident of sudden blindness. Even if that were not a concern, I just can't imagine what level of SPF protection would be required to prevent a sunburn there.

If I am honest I think that is what I find most fascinating about these women. Some of them are really pale, is this not a concern?

Ok and I know this is the common in kingside outside of the US but shouldn't there be some sort of age limit of when men are required to stop wearing speedos? Seriously they can force retirement at certain ages, please for the love of Pete can we regulate speedo wear?

As a rule of thumb if your belly hangs over your beltline and looks like you are carrying triplets ... Switch to board shorts please

© C.A. Bailey 2010, All Rights Reserved.

March 1, 2011 - Topless Tuesday

So there I was laying on my lounge chair, on the beach when I noticed that the young mother (she has the cutest newborn) sitting near us was sunbathing topless. Then I looked around and I realized several of the women on the beach were also non-chalantly lounging topless. I certainly was not offended but suddenly I felt overdressed.

L told me that since I was getting in touch with my inner European And that I had commented about feeling overdressed that I certainly could sunbath topless if I so desired.

Umm... NO! let's just say I don't want to be responsible for an international incident of sudden blindness. Even if that were not a concern, I just can't imagine what level of SPF protection would be required to prevent a sunburn there.

If I am honest I think that is what I find most fascinating about these women. Some of them are really pale, is this not a concern?

Ok and I know this is the common in kingside outside of the US but shouldn't there be some sort of age limit of when men are required to stop wearing speedos? Seriously they can force retirement at certain ages, please for the love of Pete can we regulate speedo wear?

As a rule of thumb if your belly hangs over your beltline and looks like you are carrying triplets ... Switch to board shorts please

© C.A. Bailey 2010, All Rights Reserved.