Daily Prompt: Work? Optional! Meaning of optional please.

If money were out of the equation, would you still work? If yes, why, and how much? If not, what would you do with your free time?

Office

Another bright idea for a daily prompt from the men in WordPress t-shirts. We work, or in my case, worked, just for the fun of it. Money no object, we slaved away doing what the others told us to do because we wanted to, or did we? I do not have a lot of time today as my hairdresser will be waiting for me to reshape my hair. I will tell her to keep the colour, grey is my trade mark: they probably would no longer employ anyone with that colour hair, the risk would be too high for paying out benefits if you had a weakness at the desk and fell off the chair.

My working days are over, gone, at least six years. Do I miss them? No I do not. I can now go to the hairdresser this afternoon without fitting it in the last hours of the working day, or a Saturday morning. I never really bothered to go to the hairdresser when I was a working woman, I did not have the time, and did most of it myself, or just let it grow. If the washing machine was broken and the man came to repair it, it was either me or Mr. Swiss that had to take the hours off work to stay at home until he came. He was also a working man and did his job during the day and not in the evening when we were at home.

Sorry, but I find this a silly question. Of course I worked for the money, but if you liked the job then it helped. I had kids at home to feed, clothe and support with their schooling. Mr. Swiss had a job, but two wages are two wages and the life of the lady of leisure was not a choice. However, times change the tempo changes and your age changes. You might be sitting at your desk for thirty years, but you have to make room for the youngsters: the dynamic youth that can do everything better and faster and stay healthy. They love work, they are convinced they are privileged and the golden oldies (which are not really so golden or old) are classified as the ones you have to put up with until they go. Yes, the bosses love the youngsters, to the extent that they are offered a quick promotion, patted on the head and you find that you are taking your orders from someone that is old enough to be your daughter, although your brain is still working. To add insult to injury you find yourself annually sitting at a desk with the bright young thing, that learnt everything from a text book and not experience, to be assessed on the quality of your work. If you happen to talk during this assessment you are politely told to be quiet “I am talking now”. Not the exact the words, but the meaning behind the words.

If money were out of the equation is a utopic question. Money is always in the equation, a job that you do for the love of work would be nice. Today no-one is sure of anything. Years ago the working man or woman knew that she had a job for life. Today you can be lucky if you have the job for a couple of years. Just as long as the company decides you are active and healthy enough to do the work. No-one can use a passenger in the office.

I am now retired, so I do what I want to do and that is the essence of free time. You do not have a boss to push you around or put a kid in front of your nose to give the orders because she can take the stress. One day she will have enough of stress probably, but then you are no longer around to experience her collapse.

Looking back on it all, I wish I had become an undertaker. There is no stress, everyone goes at one time or the other and needs someone to give you a neat and tidy take-off: a dream job really and no problem with being pushed out of the job through age. Money no problem, turnover is made constantly. Dying is an expensive occupation as those left behind will know. Undertaking is a life’s job. I have never met an undertaker that is out of work, unemployed and everyone knows you. I could tell you the name of the firm that will do the necessary when my days are done. He is a personality in the village or town.

On this happy-go-lucky note I will now leave you. The hairdresser is waiting and when I return home Mr. Swiss will have prepared the evening meal. He also has nothing better to do since being retired. At the moment he is relaxing in a horizontal positon on the sunbed reading (on the iPad – we might be golden oldies, but we are online).

Daily Prompt: Work? Optional! – Meaning of optional please

Weekly Writing Challenge: My Dear Watson – think before you eat

Life just isn’t the same without your trusty sidekick. For this week’s writing challenge, tell us about your partner in crime.

Spaghetti with Meatballs

“Wait! Stop!”

“Who is shouting?”

“It’s me, your spaghetti string. You are not going to eat me like that! How do you expect me to enter your digestive system without my partner?”

My plate of spaghetti is talking to me, at least one string? What am I doing wrong? This is stupid, spaghetti does not talk.

“Who says we don’t talk. In an emergency situation we have to talk.”

“Ok, spaghetti string, so what is the problem?”

“Do you really intend to eat me without my partner.”

“You have a partner?”

“Of course. He is very worried sitting in the fridge all on his own. He thought his big break had arrived and we spaghetti strings were quivering with delight awaiting the arrival.”

“I still do not know what you are talking about.”

“The parmesan cheese of course: during the short life of a spaghetti, before we are digested by the human body, we have little pleasures, but one is to be eaten with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese, so go get him.”

My spaghettis were now standing up on the plate and trembling in unison. I rushed to the fridge and found the parmesan cheese in a glass dish. Did I see a movement on the surface? No it was just my imagination. I put the parmesan on the table and a loud sigh of relief came from the spaghetti strings. Suddenly a cloud of parmesan rose and dusted the spaghetti with a layer.

“Oh, at last” and the spaghettis and they all seemed to breathe a communal sigh of relief.

“I am so glad” said the parmesan. “We thought she was going all healthy and decided to leave us in the fridge, but now we are here spaghetti. Let us be digested together. We belong together.”

The spaghetti and the parmesan cheese seemed to be involved in a scientific discussion about complementary tastes.

“Excuse me spaghetti and parmesan, may I now eat you with the meat balls, or shall I ask the meat balls for permission.?

“No, that’s OK” answered the spaghetti and the parmesan together. “The meatballs are just an extra to fill the plate, but we spaghettis and parmesan are a team. We belong together. Would you eat spaghetti without parmesan?” asked the spaghetti.

“And would you eat parmesan without spaghett?i” said the parmesan.

“No, I suppose I would not. But I am now going to eat you both. I hope you do not mind?”

“No problem, it is our fate and after the digestive process we are at last united and will be reborn.”

I was a little unsure of the spaghetti-parmesan logic, but I must admit spaghetti with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese is a perfect partnership, they belong together like me and Mr. Swiss.

Weekly Writing Challenge: My Dear Watson – think before you eat

Daily Prompt: Breaking the Ice – with Facebook

The internet has recently been swept up by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Is there a cause — social, political, cultural, or other — you passionately believe in? Tell us how you got involved — or why you don’t get involved.

<Fluffy relaxing in the garden 40

See my cat, Fluffy. He is completely blind since he was two years old. OK, just a cat, but I knew him for the first two years of his life when he was not blind. When he could run and spring and did not have to sniff his way.

My oldest son is autistic. He is now 45 years old. Of course it would be nice if he was not autistic, if he could make friends and go out with the boys and have fun. He has his interests and he lives in his own world. Those that know him know he is autistic and there are some great and understanding people out there. Now and again someone writes something about autism on Facebook and people begin to show some sort of ribbon on their page claiming sympathy with the cause of autism. I do not doubt their feelings, but it is now and again and a week later the same people are sharing sympathy about breast cancer or perhaps diabetes. We all have our problems.

As far as I am concerned, Facebook can keep its psudo ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I found the film on the link quite sickening and false – something like a cheap show on the TV.I saw something on Facebook about this, ignored it as another publicity stunt for the rich and famous and moved on. So I still did not know what ALS actually was, because I just tossed it into the same bucket (without ice) as when I told everyone the colour of my bra I was wearing (if I was wearing one). That was a few years ago, and it was apparently in aid of breast cancer. A very good cause, but somehow it petered out and after learning the colour of the bra my Facebook colleagues were wearing for a week I carried on with my own thing.

I did connect with the ALS link that the WordPress man gave us and what did I find? Another publicity filled gimmick with YouTube similar film and false laughs everywhere when eventually a bucket of ice from nowhere emptied on the head of the expecting victim. I was not impressed. There are many illnesses in the world, tragic and painful and now people have discovered Facebook and found a new space to draw in the masses where we all share and give. Nothing wrong with giving, but I am definitely not swept up with an ice bucket challenge. Wouldn’t it be nice if the rich and famous could give without having to put their heads in a bucket of ice in the name of Facebook: just donate to a charity regularly from their millions. I know some do, but many do not. The whole pseudo world of Facebook charity sickens me as well as the people that suddenly have discovered ALS. I had never heard of this complaint and now I know what it is. To give Facebook credit they have drawn our attention to a dreadful disease, but this attention will not last. It is comparable to a newspaper story, today it is news and tomorrow forgotten. Something else takes its place.

At the moment I am annoyed with Facebook and their new Messenger app. I first discovered this on my iPhone where I was warned  that it was on its way. Being a golden oldie and still using e-mail, SMS or telephone to communicate, I asked why I needed a messenger. Now and again I might use the SMS function. I might receive a message but very rarely. I am actually permanently offline in Facebook and rarely receive a message direct. People seem to think they can start a conversation when they feel like it, and I do not always have the time. It works for me OK being offline. I give my answer when I see that there is a message waiting. Today I received a message on my telephone as my computer was switched off. I wanted to see what it was all about and was promptly informed by Facebook to download their new and wonderful app which even saves 40 seconds per message answer. Wow, I have 40 seconds more time at my disposal. I decided I can live without this new and wonderful Facebook app and if someone really needs me they can call me on my phone.

So now charity has discovered Facebook by adding their gimmicks. Sorry, not interested. My son is still autistic, I still suffer from diabetes and others I know still bear their incurable illnesses without a publicity drive from Facebook. In the meanwhile the world is going to the dogs with wars and disagreements between different countries and beliefs. And I should be swept up by an ALS Bucket Challenge because Facebook has been involved.

Now I will dismount from my soapbox. I am here to have fun with daily prompts and not discussions.

Daily Prompt: Breaking the Ice – with Facebook

Daily Prompt: Tunnel Vision – sponsored by WordPress

You’ve been given the ability to build a magical tunnel that will quickly and secretly connect your home with the location of your choice — anywhere on Earth. Where’s the other end of your tunnel?

Tunnel motorway Biel-Solothurn

I was on my way to the cellar where I have my washing machine and found to my astonishment that the door was open. Then I saw him, the man was here again dressed in the WordPress t-shirt, but this time he looked different. He had one of those protective helmets on his head, the same as builders wear when they have a dangerous job to complete. Of course the helmet had the words “WordPress” written on the front in large orange letters to comply with WordPress grid rules. The man had a drill in his hands and had just completed a hole in the floor. His lovely white t-shirt was covered in dirt and even his face was smudged.

“What are you doing in my washing room?” I asked, after coughing due to the dust that had arisen from the drilling. “You cannot drill a large hole in the floor, what will the neighbours think?”

“Hello Mrs. Angloswiss, I am the tunnel constructor for your daily prompt. You must have seen our new bright idea. You have the ability to build a magical tunnel.”

“Yes I saw it. Of course it would be nice to have a magical tunnel. I could then walk over to my dad in London. We only see each other once a year, but I thought it was a magical tunnel, like a figment of my magical imagination.”

“Oh yes, Mrs. Angloswiss, it is magical, but the wording is “given the ability” and I am your ability. Pleased to meet you, you can call me Wordy.”

“Yes Wordy great, but I don’t think this is going to work. I now have an enormous hole in the washing room floor.”

“No worry, Mrs. Angloswiss, here is the lid.”

Wordy snapped his fingers and a large metal manhole cover was placed over the hole.

“Ok, great Wordy, very imaginative, but how do I remove the cover.”

“Snap your fingers, it’s magical.”

I snapped my fingers and the lid slipped to one side. I saw a ladder reaching into the depth.”

“Ok, the tunnel is finished Mrs. Angloswiss, just go down the ladder and follow the tunnel. There are burning torches fixed to the walls to light the way. When you reach the part that is below the English Channel there is a boat moored at the beginning containing a raincoat to protect you from the water. Just row,  it is only 22 miles and you will arrive in England. Afterwards it is easy going until you reach Dagenham, East of London. Just follow the sign saying “End of WordPress tunnel”, climb the ladder and you will be in your father’s apartment.”

“Great, but electric lighting would be better and how comes I have to take a boat. The British and the French managed to build a train tunnel beneath the English Channel and it was waterproof.”

“Mrs. Angloswiss, they had more funds available than WordPress. We spent most of the money on our new great improved system. Just imagine the price of a grid. I would allow perhaps two days for the journey. Take a rucksack with enough provisions and a sleeping bag. You might get a little tired and hungry on the way. Do not forget to wear sturdy comfortable shoes, it will be a long walk incorporating slopes and curves. We could not make a straight walk; there were too many obstacles in the way. ”

“Sorry, I don’t get it. I thought it was a magic tunnel: just a few finger snaps and I am there.”

“Not exactly. The magical part is the idea, the prompt ability of it all. The finger snaps are limited, just for the manhole covers. And do not forget your passport.”

“Passport? I thought this is a tunnel.”

“It is, but international laws have to be observed. The Swiss, French and British only gave us planning permission if they could control the usage of this magical tunnel. You will find there are barriers in the tunnel to separate the various countries. You just have to climb the ladder and there is a control point where your passport will be checked. Rest assured, you will arrive eventually, and it does not cost anything. Have fun.”

He snapped his fingers and disappeared.

So there it is, a magical tunnel to England beginning in my washing room in the cellar. I hope the flames of the lights do not extinguish when I am on my way. Typical WordPress, there is always a catch somewhere along the line tunnel.

Daily Prompt: Tunnel Vision – sponsored by WordPress

Daily Prompt: Uncanned Laughter – I will have to find the can opener

A misused word, a misremembered song lyric, a cream pie that just happened to be there: tell us about a time you (or someone else) said or did something unintentionally funny.

Flattening the lawn

I misuse words constantly, but I ignore it. I just squash them; flatten them like the roller they used to flatten my new lawn. Eventually you just hope the mispronunciations disappear. It is an occupational hazard if you have to speak Swiss German daily and your mother tongue is English; a source of amusement, people laugh and find it extremely amusing. Generally someone says “she’s English” which is probably an excuse for all mistakes. I have lived with this situation for the past 45 years of married life. Mr. Swiss gave up some time ago. He understands me and I understand him, so what could possibly go wrong.

I have a problem with certain letters written in german as ü, ö and ä. Of course they are the same letters known to us in our alphabet, with the exception of two little dots on top. You think you can ignore this, it is just a German thing which has no real meaning for someone speaking English, after all the English language rules the world (if you are in an English speaking country). These two little dots form a world of difference. If you say Buchse or Büchse in a sentence you might be greeted with peals of laughter, but “she is english”, someone says and people nod sympathetically. Büchse means can and Buchse means femal connector or bearing brush. The pronunciation is different. This is often a cause for laughter and people giving you sideways looks. The problem is that in my close family no-one tells me and so I continue happily on my way with my strange way of pronunciation. Do I care? No, not really. One of my hobbies is talking and listening to my own voice. Most people know I am not from Switzerland, so life goes on. Perhaps I am lucky that Mr. Swiss speaks good English, otherwise we would never have understood each other in our days of “getting to know you”.

There are four official languages spoken in Switzerland. I suppose I am happy that I did not arrive in the French speaking part of Switzerland. I would have problems speaking French. I can speak the language, but something commonly known as Franglais (a mixture of anglais (English) and French). There is a small problem being married to a Swiss with a French name (e.g. Mr. Swiss). I have avoided pronouncing this name (although it is a nice name) throughout our married life, by using terms of endearment. If we have a small disagreement other names might be used, but this is mutual and suffice it to be known that in writing he is known as Mr. Swiss – he prefers to remain anonymous in my blogging life.

Tell us about a time you (or someone else) said or did something unintentionally funny. Sometimes I miss the point, as I prefer to listen to my own voice, but yes, there is something that stands out in my memory. It was in my working days and a new girl arrived in the office. We were showing her how things worked and she was a very nice person. She met our boss. Our boss at the time was under the impression that he was God’s gift to womankind, so we girls let him believe this. It kept him in good humour. He had his own way of working. If a problem cropped up in the office, he would give it to the lady responsible with the remark “make sure it is fixed” and so life went on. He had no problems, we gave him the answer “we will have a look” and everyone was happy. In the morning he waited until one of the females brought him a cup of coffee to his desk. I did not, but there is one born every minute that wants to do the boss a favour. If he had crept on his knees dying of thirst and arriving at my desk, I would have ignored his wish for coffee. He was under the impression it was a woman thing and I was under the impression that the workings of a coffee machine were not too complicated for a man.

I am digressing. After this new lady had worked in the office about a week, she said something which really broke the ice and we all loved her afterwards. “The boss, Mr. ???? (no names mentioned – we do not want to discriminate) What is his function?” She did not say a lot, but these four words summed it up. I think each one of us (we were four ladies in the department) could not give her a suitable answer. I suppose he had a function, but it was hidden. Needless to say this statement was a cause for amusement and we were still talking about it when he no longer formed a pillar of masculine authority in the department.

And so life goes on. When I arose from my golden oldie midday sleep today, I was on my way to the kitchen to prepare a caramel flan with whipped cream.

“Are you planning to clean anything? Do you have any physical jobs to deal with?” asked Mr. Swiss, hoping for a negative answer.

Actually I had almost forgotten that I had one window to clean, left over due to lack of time. My afternoon was destroyed, I was not free. On the other hand, what’s a window, as long as we can see through it. I might do it after I have uploaded this super blog. See you all on the flip side.

Daily Prompt: Uncanned Laughter – I will have to find the can opener

Daily Prompt: Off the Shelf – How to devour books

Take a look at your bookcase. If you had enough free time, which book would be the first one you’d like to reread? Why?

Fluffy

First of all, which bookcase do you mean? I have one large selection in the living room and six in the hobby room, most books have been read. When Mrs. Angloswiss decided to move in with Mr. Swiss there was a small problem. Combining our lives was easy, but finding where to put our books was not. Even our tastes were similar. What I had in English, he often had in German. The life of Michelangelo by Irving Stone was on the shelf titled The Agony and the Ecstasy together with “Inferno und Ekstase”, the German edition.

I do not do rereads with one exception. There might be a discussion about a book on a literature web site where I belong. If I had already read the book, I do a reread because I generally devour books and forget the details over time so I have to refresh. Otherwise I am more interested in reading what I have left out in life. I often read an English classic that we had at school, for the reason that at school I did not pay attention and the enjoyment was spoilt by writing about it from a certain character’s point of view: although they never asked to describe what Sydney Carton felt when he was guillotined in Charles Dickens “Tale of Two Cities“. Shame really I would have painted a very colourful picture of having my head landing in a basket after being separated from my body and seeing the French peasants knitting whilst looking on. I think the teacher would not have appreciated my gift for reality writes.

I read on average 1-2 books weekly, according to whether they capture my interest or not. I do not have a bookcase containing my books. The real books with paper and covers are only now for ornamentation. I have been there and read most of them. I am a Kindler, I have a Kindle app on my iPad and now I sit comfortably in a chair in the evening with a handy flat packed plastic book, illuminated by a mysterious background light and turn the pages by sliding my finger over them. I have no time for nostalgic thoughts on the good old books. I do not have room for books, the shelves are bursting at the seams. As an overworked housewife, I am glad to say I no longer have to dust the shelves or the books: just wipe the iPad screen now and again and liberate it from finger prints.

I am a gifted reader, a genius and am again showing a modest characteristic. I can read in German and English which is an advantage. It is wonderful to read German literature in original texts and to discover the new German authors, some of which are not yet translated into English. It is also an advantage with Scandinavian books. They are generally translated into German before English, so I read it before it even starts to climb the New York times bestseller list. I like to keep up with the newest developments. I very much keep an eye on what is new in the world of literature. I often do not know what to read next and find that is helps if something new arrives. If the price is right, I download it. Sometimes I download it even if the price is not right, if it appeals.

I am also a member of Amazon. Admittedly there is a lot of rubbish offered as a free download or half price, but now and again there is a gem to be pounced on. In Facebook I am on the receiving list for free Amazon offers and somehow I am now in an Amazon special offer group. My latest success was downloading part 1 of the Century Trilogy of the Ken Follett successful novels,”Fall of the Giants” free of charge. I was so taken with this book, the clear political explanations of the First World War, and the families involved spanning England, Russia, Germany and the States, that I immediately downloaded Part 2 “Winter of the World” building up to the Second World War and afterwards. The families involved are the same and now in the second generation. This book is a masterpiece. I always appreciated the works of Ken Follett. I had to pay for part 2, but Kindle books are reasonable.

Another bargain I once snapped, I think it was a Christmas deal from Amazon, was The Leopard by the Norwegian criminal author Jo Nesbo which was also free. I am a fan of Harry Hole (the Norwegian police chief created by Jo Nesbo) as well as Kurt Wallender (the Swedish police officer created by Henning Mankell). I know them all, but now I stop. This is the danger of such a prompt, that I fill your eyes with books that I read and like, but probably you are not so interested.

We all have our own tastes. Give me a book that I can sink into, live in its world and mix with the characters and I am happy: one of the reasons why I rarely concentrate on a television programme. If Mr. Swiss is away for the evening I do not even attempt to switch the television on, I have no interest: give me a good book any time.

And now to finish this boring prompt and read a good book. Let’s see – yes, page 115 of 819 pages of “Winter of the World”. Life is never boring with a book Kindle.

If you really want to know my books, then click on this link My books listed in Goodreads

Daily Prompt: Off the Shelf – How to devour books

Daily Prompt: 10,000 Spoons – Ironic that I have never heard of this song

…When all you need is a knife might not be ironic, but it is unfortunate. Add your own verse, stanza, or story of badly-timed annoyance to Alanis Morissette’s classic:

Tabby eating

I have no idea of classics by Alanis Morissette. I only know that she is a singer but definitely not my sort of thing. I have never heard of an ironic song about 10,000 spoons. Ironic is that I am supposed to write a daily prompt about this song and even add my own verse or story. The only help I have is a link to a Wikipedia site, not even the lyrics: I had to find them myself. Of course, I could have searched for a YouTube video, but it is common knowledge that Mrs. Angloswiss avoids YouTube videos on her blog when possible. I am even allergic to blog sites with music in the background. I know, I am a miserable cow sometimes, but I do have my good side (I think). A badly-timed annoyance is that the t-shirted WordPress robots invent a prompt that is absolutely not in the line with an Angloswiss prize suspicious unique blog.

“Mrs. Human, stay cool.” My feline Tabby is shaking her head. “What is the fuss about? We felines live in ironic circumstances daily. We were once worshipped as Gods, and today we have to wait until our dish is filled by a subordinate human. Ironic is the fact that we have paws and not hands with fingers. Then the humans would be superfluous. If we had 10,000 spoons it would not help.”

“OK Tabby, point taken, but you are a well fed feline. Sometimes I have a feeling that you are a little too well fed. A bowl of delicious vitamin packed pellets always full and at your disposal when you are hungry. Some felines only have their food served twice a day.”

“Oh yummy Mrs. Human. I love dry brown pieces of unidentifiable food to munch: a real high point of the day.”

“Now don’t get ironic with me Tabby, otherwise your tuna fish ration is in danger.”

“Who is being ironic now Mrs. Human. Where is the tuna fish, I see no tuna fish.”

“It is in the cupboard and I will take out a tin for you this evening, if you are a good feline.”

“Here we go again. Felines are not good or bad, we don’t do adjectives. We exist, therefore we are in the words of the great philosopher Descartes Desi Cats “je pense, donc je suis”, he miawed in French. As far as I am concerned you can put the tins next to my dish. Don’t worry Mrs. Human, I will not eat the tuna fish before you open the tin and serve it.”

“I hope not. Too much tuna fish is not good for you.”

“Who says that? Of course it is good for me, but an ironical problem is involved.”

“And that would be?”

“Imagine you are walking in the desert. You are thirsty and have a bottle of mineral water in your rucksack. The sun is beating down, you are perspiring. What do you do?”

“No problem, Tabby, I open the rucksack and drink the mineral water.”

“I havn’t finished. You have forgotten the bottle opener. It is a glass bottle.”

“I can knock the bottle on a hard object to break it and then I am saved.”

“There are no hard objects in a desert, just sand.”

“OK, you have got me, an ironic situation.”

“So to continue Mrs. Human: I have ten tins of tuna fish and no tin opener.”

“I will give you a tin opener.”

“Typical stupid human: and how am I going to open the tin? Tin openers are not constructed for paws. That is an ironic situation, surrounded by tuna fish and no possibility to eat it. So I am left to my frugal ration of vitamin packed pellets, big deal.”

Tabby has now proved her point. Felines are always one step ahead. Who needs 10,000 spoons, a tin of tuna fish and a tin opener when you have no way of holiding a tin opener to open the tin and cats do not use spoons. What a stupid, pointless, dead ended prompt this is.

“Come Tabby, I will open a tin of tuna fish for you; forget the expensive vitamin packed pellet food. Let’s have a party and I will make a tuna fish salad for myself. Let us share the irony of this ironic prompt.”

“At last a good idea from a human brain, a rare occurrence, almost ironic” was Tabby’s last thought on the matter.

Daily Prompt: 10,000 Spoons – Ironic that I have never heard of this song