Sunday, October 30, 2005

Home Sweet Home!

We made it home at about 9:30 this morning. I'm tired, and I'm going to take a nap. More later...

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Just a Quickie!

We are leaving for Bangkok Airport in a couple of hours, so I'll just leave you with a couple of pictures from yesterday's day trip to Ayutthaya. I'll post more pictures when we're back at home some thirty hours, or so, from now.

....#@$@#*(!!!!!! I just typed a bunch more stuff and saved it. I received an error message (this has happened to me over and over again while at this hotel) when I tried to save what I had written. I constantly have to save partial entries as drafts just so I don't lose everything. I'm annoyed right now, and I'm going to stop.
More about our week in Bangkok when we return home (where we have dependable wireless service)!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

It's Not All Fun And Games...

...while we're in Bangkok. We have work to do too! Who "we"? Mrs. TBF AND I. That's who "we".
Mrs. TBF is really here on business. She has a "compensation forum" to go to at the J.W. Marriott this afternoon, tomorrow, and Thursday. She left this morning at about 7:00 a.m. What's a "compensation forum"? She gives me some kind of malarkey about "...comparison of corporate compensation data provided by outside consultants" to throw me off the trail. I say it's collusion designed by "the man" to keep the worker down! That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. Really, I shouldn't complain. Mrs. TBF might decide not to bring me along on future business trips. You know..."don't bite the hand that feeds", etc., etc.
So, I did say "we", didn't I? Why yes I did Mr./Ms. Doubting Thomas! I too have a "Things To Do List".
The first thing on my list is to blog ("...have a good day at work, honey!") - which I'm doing right now. So, consider that one to be accomplished.
The second thing is to schedule a day-trip for this Friday - which I just did. I called Julie's Taxi, and I arranged a 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. trip to Ayuthaya - a place our travel guide describes as having "glorious old ruins well worth a goggle." I opted for the Volvo instead of the regular car. I hope Mrs. TBF doesn't mind. It does cost an extra $10 U.S. for the Volvo - bringing the TOTAL for the car and driver to $60 FOR THE DAY!!! I inquired about the "guide" for an extra $25 for the day. The lady talked me out of it saying something like " the money for your lunch. The driver knows the area very well and can show you around for no extra charge." Wow! Second thing on my list - DONE!!!
Third: Schedule Wednesday Spa Treatment. I'll do that when I'm done blogging. I had a Thai massage yesterday, and I gotta go back fo' mo'!! I'm going to schedule more treatments for tomorrow. I'm thinking about "The Metropolitan Bath":
This cleansing treatment works to gently exfoliate and soften your skin. After dry brushing the body, COMO Shambhala's [that's what the spa is called] specially prepared Invigorate Salt Scrub infused with essential oils, macadamia oil and oat bran is applied to the body. After a rinse in a revitalising bath, this treatment concludes with a relaxing COMO Shambhala Massage and a choice of healthy juice from COMO Shambhala.

Yup...sounds good to me. Tomorrow, I'm gettin' my bath on!!! I have a lot of skin, so I'll definitely get my Thai Baht's worth.
Finally, I have to pick out a place for dinner. I think we should definitely go for Thai food, but it's just a matter of where. Maybe I'll go down to the spa, soak in the hot tub, and then sit in the steam room until I'm all red and pruney. I need to clear my mind before I focus on dinner.
The stress is killing me!

In My Room...

I'm overjoyed by the fact that we have ESPN in our hotel room. I just finished watching Monday Night Football - LIVE!!! on a Tuesday morning in Bangkok. Globalization - good! We also watched the first two games of the World Series. Go Sox!!!!
I've also been perusing my International Herald Tribune. I have a subscription to IHT at home. In addtional to the normal paper (albeit with an Asian versus European focus), it also has a Thai Day section. So it's pretty much two papers in one. Nice!
What isn't nice, however, is the difference in the annual subscription price in Thailand versus the annual subscription price in Switzerland. Right now there is a subscription special for 3,900 Baht per year. That comes out to about 125 Swiss Francs per year. What's the annual subscription price is Switzerland? 765 CHF!!!!

Love You Long Time...

Look at what Mrs. TBF found in our mini bar refrigerator right next to the Swiss chocolate. That's right...condoms - IN THE REFRIGERATOR!!!

Speaking Like a Local.

One of the things I've been surprised about in Bangkok is the fact that people just don't speak English very well. I'm not complaining - afterall, I can't even say hello in Thai - I'm just surprised. Mrs. TBF once told me that everybody in Singapore speaks English very well. I thought Bangkok would be the same - it's not. Even staff members at large hotels with mostly English-speaking guests kind of speak a "velly bloken Engrish". For every four staff members, one speaks English pretty well, and the others get by with basics. For example:

Thai Waitress: "You want more coffee?'
TBF: "Yes, thank you. What is the origin of this coffee?"
Thai Waitress: (looking confused) "You want tea?"
TBF: " is fine. Where does this coffee come from? Thailand? Sumatra? It's very good."
Thai Waitress: "Yes." (she walks away...)
Another Thai Waitress: "Is the coffee OK?"
TBF: "Yes, it's great. I was just asking where the coffee comes from."
Another Thai Waitress: "Oh...the coffee beans are from southern and northern Thailand."
TBF: "Oh...thanks. It's very good."

At this point I see the one waitress go behind a glass partition and explain in Thai what I was asking.

Thai Waitress: "Ahhhhhhh!"

Communicating with taxi drivers is even more challenging. The hotels give you a card to give the drivers. It has the hotel information in both Engrish ( I'm doing it!) and the crazy (but quite beautiful) looking Thai, a map. It's often the only way to communicate with the driver. Case in point...

We went to one of Bangkok's large shopping centers on Sunday afternoon. By the way...this is what Sunday evening traffic looks like in Bangkok. It was right next to a large hotel, so we just had a doorman at the hotel call a taxi for us.
The doorman asked where we would like to go. I told him "...the Metropolitan Hotel" so that he could tell the taxi driver. The doorman looked confused. I gave him the hotel card, and he said "...ahhhhh....The Metloporitan Hoter!" (I kid you not!). He explained to the taxi driver where we wanted to go, and the taxi driver looked confused. I gave him the card, the doorman and the taxi driver had a one-minute discussion about directions, the weather, football, who knows?...Twenty minutes, and 77 Thai Baht, later we were actually in front of our hotel. SUCCESS!!! I gave the driver 100 Baht (this is $2.50 U.S.) and told him to keep the change. He seemed confused (it's not really a tipping society here), and I just waved for him to keep the change. Of course, he then proceeded to put his hands together in a praying position and bowed about five times.
Mrs. TBF told me I shouldn't tip so much. It's not that she was being cheap - she just thinks it offends the locals. I don't care - I'm not walking around with a half pound of change in my pocket that's worth fifty cents. Now that that was resolved, it was time to head up to the room and resume the "battle of the thermostat"!

What Fo'?

We eventually ventured out of our hotel (Here's the view from our window.) on Sunday to check out some of the sights. Bangkok doesn't really have a city center, and there aren't too many landmark tourist sights so we settled on going to see a place called Wat Pho.

The taxi driver was supposed to take us to some public dock where we were to catch a boat to Wat Pho. Instead, he obviously took us to his buddy's little boat dock where we ended up paying some ridiculous "rich American" fee for a private boat. The price was ridiculous by Thai standards, but it wasn't too bad by Western standards.

Wat Pho ended up being a pretty impressive place. I would have said "cool", but it was anything but. It was downright steamy! We saw unusual things like the enormous reclining buddha which was completely covered in gold leaf. Of course the guidebook says you're not supposed to take pictures with both buddha statues and people in the same picture. But...everybody else was doing it so I figured "what the heck"! There were a lot of crazy looking temples and odd cone-shaped structures which managed to actually keep my interest for about forty-five minutes until I noticed that I was sweating through my undershirt and polo shirt (it's pretty much 33˚C and humid here every single day).
Incidentally, in the continuing saga of me running into Finns throughout the world, I heard Finnish being spoken all around Wat Pho. There must have been a tour bus full of Finns there. AND...I ended up doing Thai/English to Finnish translation.
There were three Finns standing right next to me. Before I even heard them speaking Finnish, I thought they looked Finnish, and like me, they were sweating through their shirts. A Wat Pho employee came up to them and said something to them in Thai - the Finns just stared at him. Then, he said " must pay!" One of the Finnish men responded (in Finnish): "...but we haven't gone into anything yet!" So, TBF steps in to save the day. I told the men (in Finnish) that " is necessary to pay immediately when you walk into the Wat Pho grounds." They thanked me, and then kind of gave me one of those "who the heck is this guy?" kind of looks.

I took a couple more pictures, including a self-portait, and then left for the Royal Grand Palace. At the RGP, we found out that Mrs. TBF was going to have to rent a wrap and shoes in order to go in. So, we took a pass. Besides, I told Mrs. TBF that I could feel my legs sweating under my pants. It was definitely time to head back to the arctic chill of our hotel's air conditioning and resume the "debate" over the room's thermostat setting.

Monday, October 24, 2005

One Night In Bangkok...

...and the world's your oyster. Everybody knows the first line of the chorus of that song, but how many of you know the second line? Huh...HUH??? We've actually been here two nights already, but who's counting.
All in all, it took us twenty-four hours door-to-door from Binningen to Bangkok. It seems like a long time, but the flight seemed short due to the excellent service given by Singapore Airlines. They RULE!!! The food: excellent! The seats: very comfotable! The on-board entertainment: superb! The flight attendants: BABES! Everybody bowed and smiled constantly. The trip was a real pleasure, and I'm looking forward to the return flight home.

So, we arrived at our hotel.'s how we looked after the 24-hour journey. We were tired, but I wasn't too tired to notice that the weight limit of the elevator is: "11 people / 750 kg." Uh...wait a minute. I may have been groggy, but if my math's correct, that comes out to 68.18/150 lbs. per person. I guess the people are a little bit smaller here than I'm used to. Even though I've lost quite a bit of weight lately, the elevator weight limit is still just over "7 TBFs".
We decided to take a nap before dinner, and our two-hour nap turned into a four-hour nap (we slept through the alarm). We went downstairs and had dinner in the hotel bar (where all the "kids" hang out, and the music is loud!). We had Thai food (surprise!), and it was...TERRIFIC. I was surprised to find that it tastes exactly like Thai food tastes in Chicago. So, I'm glad to know that the Thai food in Chicago is fairly authentic (or else our hotel food is Americanized!). Plus, it was really cheap. As a matter of fact, everything is pretty cheap here. You take a 25 minute taxi ride, and it costs something equivalent to about $2.50 U.S. A main course portion of Pad Thai at our hotel cost about $6.50 U.S. (cheap for hotel food!). It would cost WAY MORE in Switzerland - especially the taxi.
When we got back to the room, I couldn't fall asleep. I tossed and turned, and then I decided to take a sleeping pill (my first one ever) that our friend Tom gave me a couple of months ago. I took the pill at 2:00 a.m., I felt it beginning to work at about 2:03 a.m., and the next thing I knew it was 8:15 a.m. I woke up with Mrs. TBF standing next to the bed with the "where's a bucket of water" look on her face. It was time to go downstairs for breakfast where afterwards about ten people pretty much simultaneously bowed at us (in Thailand they bow while putting their hands together in a praying gesture in front of their chests). It makes me feel pretty God-like - and I like it!
It was time to do a little exploring. It was time to explore the heart of Bangkok...

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Yup...we're going to Bangkok, and we leave tomorrow morning.
I'm excited. This will be my first time in Asia. Mrs. TBF? It's old hat for her. She's been to Asia several times THIS YEAR!
A couple of months ago she asked me if I'd like to accompany her on a business trip. Before I said yes, I made one demand. You guessed it....BUSINESS CLASS! I'm sorry...I'm 6'5" tall and there's NO WAY I'm flying coach for thirteen hours. I am a Travel Diva, but only out of necessity. The worst part of it is that Mrs. TBF wasn't able to get me BC with miles, so...I made her BUY me a ticket. OUCH!!!
We're going to be flying on Singapore Airlines - which everybody (including Mrs. TBF) raves about. Apparently they serve satay, noodles, and a bunch of other stuff that Mrs. TBF says I'll love. First we fly to Singapore, and then we connect for a 2+ hour flight to Bangkok.
I'm going to have a fair amount of time on my own in Bangkok since Mrs. TBF has meetings. I've been telling people that one of my goals is to never have to bathe myself. No...I'm not talking about never bathing. What I'm talking about is having other people do it for me. You know...soapy,soapy-washy, washy! Is that just a Japenese thing? I guess I'll just have to wait and see.
Stay tuned. I'll be posting pictures and commentary from Pow-weiner (a.k.a. Bangkok).


I didn't walk with Mrs. TBF to the tram this morning because she "sneaked"! This is what we call it when she allows me to sleep in.
Normally I'll wake up when she's in the shower, or when she brings me a cup of coffee, or whatever. However, on mornings when she "sneaks", she'll come give me a kiss on the cheek and say: "I'm sneaking." Usually I'll offer some minor protest like: "Noooooo...zzzZZZZZ!"
I had big plans for this morning. I was going to get on the tram with Mrs. TBF and go to the gym for 8:00. Instead, I woke up at 9:30 a.m. Doh! What's worse is that I then fell back to sleep and woke up at....10:30 a.m.!!! Slug!!!
But, I'm happy to report that I'm back on track. It's noon, and I've already cleaned the house. Now, I'm going to go walk Sam and George. Then, I'll go to the gym at about 2:00.
I have to step it up a notch and get into high gear. We're leaving for Bangkok tomorrow. More about that later...

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Ich Bin Ein Basler!

"What da Hell is dis ting???" That's what King said (Bob is having a seizure right now!) when we arrived at our home on Sunday evening and placed the Kennedy head (probably the most highly-prized acquisition from our trip to Chicago) on the floor for his review.
The Kennedy head is about forty years old. Mrs. TBF's parents had a liquor store on Grand and Menard in Chicago for many years, and they sold these Kennedy heads in their store in the mid-60s.
When I was in Chicago this past spring, I noticed the Kennedy head collecting dust in Jo's closet, and I asked her if I could have it. Unfortunately, my suitcases were too heavy and I had to leave it behind. But, this time I was able to fit it into a carryon bag. Let me tell you, it was a big hit going through the x-ray machine at O'Hare. The lady at the x-ray monitor called over her co-workers, and the had a good laugh about it.
I'm happy to report that "the head" made it safely to Basel, and now it has a place of honor on a shelf in our T.V. room.
The Chicago chapter is now officially closed! Whew!


We've already been back in Basel for a couple of days now. However, I thought I'd post a few more pictures from Chicago.

This is me with a couple of my old work buddies - Ed (left) and Dave (right) after we had a nice "meaty" lunch at Wildfire. One time in the office, we were horsing around, and I managed (in a five-second burst of energy) to tear Ed's rotator cuff AND send Dave crashing into the wall with a nasty "Big Finn" stiff-arm. Of course, I was about forty pounds heavier back then.

Here's a picture of me with my parents - Kirsti and Leino. As you can see, I'm quite a bit taller than they are. I guess you could say that I'm an example of what happens when you eat U.S. beef injected with growth hormones your entire life.
By the way, my mom's birthday was a couple of days ago (October 16th - of course I called her!). My dad's 70th birthday is this December - of course I've already booked a return trip to Chicago for December to celebrate that milestone!

We went out for a nice Mexican dinner with Bob and Jackie at one of my old haunts - Taqueria Fiesta - on Friday night. Here's a picture of them with their sons Marty and Brian, and their dog Zoe.
Bob admitted to me that he HATES (I think he actually said it makes him cringe and shake with fury!) when I write on The Big Finn's Big Blog about how our cat King's "voice" has a heavy Chicago accent and that he has businesses all over the world. Look for a lot more from King in the future!

Finally, a picture of Perry and Jo. Perry (with the same expression that he has in just about every picture I've ever taken of him) turned fifty in September, and Jo turned seventy-five yesterday! Perry was four, and Jo was twenty-nine, the last time the White Sox went to the World Series (that means nothing to the Europeans reading this blog). DAMN!!!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Chicago Has a New Official Flag!

Here it is!!! I saw it all over Chicago this past week.

More Chicago Stuff...

I went out to eat with Mrs. TBF and her work colleagues last Wednesday evening at a place called Roy's. During dinner, a few of her colleagues asked me what I had planned for the next day. "I don't know...the schedule's not out yet..." was my typical response. When we go somewhere, I prefer not to plan everything down to the last minute. Instead, I like to "go with the flow". There are many factors to consider - weather, how I feel, what time I wake up, etc.
So, Thursday morning rolled around, I looked out the window and faced beautiful blue skies, and I decided that a boat cruise on the Chicago River to take in Chicago's great architecture would fit the bill.

The verdict??? Excellent! It was 90-minutes of blue skies, great scenery, and tons-o-info from a tour guide that had to be pushing ninety years old. I just can't believe how much the city has changed in the last five years since we moved to die Schweiz!

After the tour, and still being in the tourist mindset, I walked a few blocks, and parked myself at an outdoor table at Pizzeria Uno for a little deep-dish pizza. Mrs. TBF HATES their pizza - and I have to admit that it's not the best Chicago has to offer - but it was convenient. And, I was kind of into the whole "taking in Chicago through the eyes of the tourist" thing.
About one-minute after my pizza had been plunked down in front of me, I heard some mumbling over my right shoulder. I turned to find a very gaunt homeless man saying something to me. "I'm sorry, could you repeat that?". All he said was something like: "MMMM-mmm slice-a pizza." "You want a slice of my pizza?", I asked him. He nodded. It was too much for me to eat anyway, so I handed him a slice. He took a bite, thanked me, then proceeded to flag down the waiter...TO ASK HIM FOR A NAPKIN. I guess he didn't want to get grease on one of the three winter coats he was wearing.

A couple of hours later, we checked out of the hotel and took off for Dave and Shannon's house for dinner. We even made it in time to see little Stella before she went to bed.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A Three-Hour Tour...

I just spent a good three+ hours FREEZING MY ASS OFF (look at that look of disgust on my face!) on one of the Chicago Double Decker tour buses. Please don't get me wrong. I really enjoyed it, and I'd do it again in a second. was TOO DAMN COLD! Naturally, I toughed it out by sitting upstairs instead of sitting inside - but I could have used a coat. Thank God I at least had a fleece vest and a long sleeve shirt.

It didn't help matters any that the little piece of paper the turndown service maid left on our nightstand last night showing today's weather forecast predicted that it would be 67˚F and sunny. Wrong, Wrong, WRONG!!! It was actually 58˚F and gloomy. But...I still thought the tour was excellent.

Isn't it funny? You live someplace for almost forty years, and it takes moving away to really appreciate what was under your nose the whole time. We were kind of lulled into the suburban mindset of rarely venturing into the city. Too much traffic...too expensive...too much of a hassle...blah...blah....BLAH!!! I'm telling you right now - if we ever move back to Chicago, we're going to live downtown! I'm talking 312 area code!

From The "Small World" File...

We ate at Charlie Trotter's last night. It was really, really good. But, it wasn't the best meal I have ever eaten in my life - although it WAS the most expensive! But, what the heck? Our 18-year wedding anniversary is coming up, and we decided to splurge a bit.
We opted for the 8-course "Grand Menu" with the accompanying "Wine Menu" which matched up a different wine to each course. Some of the highlights: Big Eye Tuna with Bok Choy, Young Coconut & Prince Edward Island Mussels; Bison Tenderloin with Brussels Sprouts, Black Eyed Peas & Chanterelle Mushrooms; Arkansas Rabbit with Braised Escarole, Pearl Barley & Thyme Infused Consomme.
My friend Dave told me that I would leave the restaurant hungry, but I was absolutely stuffed. Maybe it's because I've "drawn up my stomach" (as Mrs. TBF says) since I started my Weight Watchers diet on September 5th ('s out of the bag. I lost 15 lbs. the first month!).
So, here's the "small world" portion of the evening. Our main waiter's (I think we had about eight different people waiting on us.) mother comes from Basel, and the waiter's been to Basel about ten times. It was an unbelievable coincidence!

After the meal, he asked us if we'd like to see the kitchen. Of course we said yes. Afterall, we are cooking/restaurant geeks. It was about 11:00 p.m. at this point, so they were already cleaning up. We were very impressed to find out that they completely scrub down and power wash the entire kitchen every night. I mean there were guys scrubbing the vent hoods.

We even got to go down to the wine cellar where we saw a $20,000 bottle of wine! No, it wasn't one of the wines in our "wine menu".

As far as I'm concerned, the restaurant tour kind of "made it" for me. TBF's rating for Charlie Trotter's?

Bread: 8.5 Circuses: 10

Gloomy, But Still Beautiful...

Here's the view from our hotel room. Mrs. TBF has a couple of days of meetings, and we're staying at the Westin River North in downtown Chicago. The weather's supposed to be a bit gloomy for the next couple of days, but that's not going to stop me from doing a little exploring. First, I'm going to go workout in the fitness club, but then I think I might jump on one of those double-decker buses and just ride around this beautiful city that I miss.

Adventure Travel!

We (me, Mrs. TBF, Perry, Renee, and Jo) made the trek to downtown Chicago this past Saturday night to The Capital Grille to celebrate Perry's 50th and Jo's 75th birthdays. We had a really nice time, but the combination of a 24 oz. steak (something I'm DEFINITELY not used to eating) and jet lag took its toll on me. I slept in the car on the way back to the 'burbs. Fortunately for the rest of the crew, I wasn't driving. Unfortuntately, I forgot to bring my camera along (I'm blaming that on jet lag too). But before you think that it couldn't get any more exciting than that, let me tell you about the even more exciting stuff we've done.

On Monday, Mrs. TBF and I went to the dentist, ate some Italian beef and combo samitches for lunch, and then we went grocery shopping at Dominick's. Yesterday (Tuesday), we went to see my cousin Greg the eye doctor and had our eyes examined. I'm proud to say that at the tender age of 43, I still don't need glasses! I ROCK! However, that doesn't rock as much as all the cool equipment that Greg has in his office. Plus, he's held eyeballs in his hands!!! Now THAT rocks!!!


EVERYWHERE!!! I don't know how my sister does it. Mrs. TBF and I went out for brunch this past Sunday with my parents, my sister, and the kids (our brother-in-law Colm was back at home manning the Open House for the sale of their house). After an hour of the kids using me like their own personal monkey bars while I tried to sneak in bites of corned beef hash, I was spent. As you can see from this picture, I was pretty much ready for a nap.

Speaking of napping...our niece Sinead sure is a pro at it. I saw her with her eyes open yesterday morning for the first time. Here's one of the many pictures I have of her napping. Where the heck did all that dark hair come from?

Saturday, October 08, 2005


Here's Mrs. TBF with her new haircut. SASSY!!!

Greetings From Glencoe, Illinois!

I'm sitting in a Starbucks in Glencoe, Illinois with Jo the mother-in-law at 11:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning. Mrs. TBF is having her hair cut, Jo just drank a Frappucino, and I'm blogging away.
I'm happy to report that the flight on BA went very well except for the fact that the business class seats on BA aren't big enough for TBF.
Sorry...I just had to tell Jo to "zip it for eight minutes while I blog"...where was I?
The seats of BA go flat, but if you're over six-feet tall...forget about it! I slept for about 10 minutes, Mrs. TBF slept for about 90 minutes...all is well.
The flight went by very quickly, and without any gastrointestinal distress on my part - which was a very good thing indeed.
The first stop after the airport was my sister Diana's house where we saw my parents, our nephew Finn (I wrestled with him for a couple of hours), and our new niece Sinead. My dad drove me to the car rental place, I negotiated a better deal than I booked on a Chrysler Pacifica (which I had never heard of/or seen before), and then we went to Jo's house.
After freshening up at Jo's, we went to a local mall where we made a few purchases off of our "U.S. shopping list", including: DVDs, underwear, Bose noise-reduction headphones, and some books and magazines.
Then, we went out to a terrific sushi dinner with Jo, Perry (Mrs. TBF's brother) and Renee (our sister-in-law) at an old favorite of ours - Kobe East Sushi Bar. It was FANTASTIC!!!!! Jo thought it was incredibly expensive, but we thought it was incredibly cheap - especially when compared to Swiss prices. We gorged, and it cost $175.00 for five people. Amazing!!!
We went to sleep at 9:30 p.m. with happy tummies, and we woke up at 5:45 a.m. this morning. Not too bad!
So, now, like I said, we're in a Starbucks. After Mrs. TBF's haircut, she'll check her e-mail and then we'll be off for more shopping. Tonight we're going to go out to celebrate Jo's and Perry's birthdays.
More about that...later.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

From The "Too Much Info" File...

T.G.I.N.F!!! Thank God It's NOT Friday!!!
This Friday, Mrs. TBF and I will leave for Chicago! We will take an early morning flight out of Basel and connect in London for our flight to Chicago. Mrs. TBF actually has meetings in Chicago next week so she'll be flying in Business Class compliments of her company. She also has gazillions of miles on British Airways. Therefore (donc in French. It's my favorite French word so far. DONK! DONK!), yours truly will be sitting next to Mrs. TBF in business class. I keep telling ya!: I AM THE TRAVEL DIVA!!!
We're really looking forward to this trip. We're going to see our one-week old niece - Sinead - for the first time, we're going to be celebrating Mrs. TBF's brother's - Perry's - 50th birthday, and we'll also be celebrating Mrs. TBF's mom's - Josephine/Jo's - 75th birthday (DAMN SHE OLD!!!). Also, I'll tag along with Mrs. TBF when she's in the city for her meetings, so I'll get to spend some time in downtown Chicago! A couple of months ago, we booked a romantic dinner for two at Charlie Trotter's for while we're in town, and we are DEFINITELY looking forward to that!
So...why am I glad it's NOT Friday? Well, I'm glad you asked. But first, a fair warning: THIS IS THE "TOO MUCH INFO" portion of this segment. You may want to cease reading at this point.
Last night, I came down with the worst case of diarrhea that was on par with when I had the flu earlier this year in May. I woke up several times during the night, and I read several magazines in "the library". All I can say is: Thank God this wasn't taking place during the overseas flight from London to Chicago. It would have been very distressing for my fellow Business Class passengers - let alone the entire airplane. Afterall, you can't bring matches on planes anymore!
Fortunately, the worst of it seems to be "behind" (sorry!) me. It's after 4 p.m., and I just ate for the first time today. Unless I have a relapse, I think I'll be good to go for Friday.
See? I told you you should have stopped reading. You just couldn't resist could you?

Five Years....FIVE YEARS!!!

Five years ago today, I boarded a Swissair flight at O'Hare Airport with Dominique (our now-deceased dog) and King (our now full-o-piss-and-vinegar-seventeen-year-old-cat) in the cargo hold (I was in business class, and I still have the slightest bit of guilt over that one) to meet up with Mrs. TBF who had already been here for nearly three months.
Originally, the plan was that we would be in Switzerland for maybe "two to three years". I was going to take about six months off of work to get us settled in, and then I was going to look for a job. Well, somehow the job search never began, and here we are five years later.
What does the future hold? Who knows? When people back in the U.S. ask us how much longer we'll be here, I now say "I have no idea!" I've been saying "...a couple more years" for a couple of years now, and I think that family and friends are tired of hearing it. I don't know if we'll live in Switzerland forever, if we'll move back to the U.S., or we'll move to another country next. Ich habe keine ahnung!...aucune idée!!!
A lot has changed in the past five years: Mrs. TBF's job switched from Basel-to Nyon-and back to Basel; we moved from Reinach to Binningen; Dominique is no longer with us (sob!), several ex-pat friends have moved back to the U.S., England, etc.; I now speak passable German and I'm working (believe's going to take a lot of work) on learning French; we've traveled to many European countries (with many still to see), we eat cheese for dessert, we prefer using a duvét to tucked-in sheets, we don't speak loudly in public, etc., etc. And, this doesn't included all the changes that have taken place back at home with family and friends which are too numerous to mention.
So...where will we be five years from now? Stay tuned!

Aren't We Just Soooo Cute?

I've been very negligent in updating the blog lately. I was going to post more pictures from our weekend in Nyon, but one distraction lead to another, and now Nyon is but a fleeting memory.

So, here's the last picture from Nyon. Jeanette took this picture of us on her balcony in our matching Frenchy shirts that we bought at a shop in Yvoire earlier that day. Mrs. TBF's shirt is too big, and mine's a little snug. But that's OK because men seem to wear their shirts a bit tight around here anyway.