Goodbye, Claudia…

Last Friday, 15th June 2018, we had to say goodbye to our little Claudia, our little grey one, one of our pet gerbils. It is very sad but it had to be done.

She had some sort of growth or tumor in her belly and was not getting better after a week of meds from the vet. She was simply sleeping all day, waking only to eat a little and drink a little. Even though her belly was big, you could feel her bones through her fur, and she laid absolutely still when you held her, which is most unusual for rodents. Given that she was a good 2 years and 10 months old, the vet suggested it was time to let her go and we agreed. (Gerbils have a lifespan of 3 to 4 years only.)

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Left: Claudia, having fun in a tissue box, with her sister, Belle, behind her, October 2015. Top Right: All three of them, Claudia, Jules and Belle, June 2016. Bottom Right: Claudia sharing dried bread with Jules,  May 2018.

Goodbye, Claudia. Hope you are having fun in gerbil heaven.

Your sister, Jules, the only one left of the original three, is still going strong and we hope she will be with us for a bit longer.

Click here to see all three of them when we first got them.

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1st Writers’ Retreat…

In April, i went for my first writers’ retreat and got to write an article for it in our SCBWI (Society for Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators) Swiss Chapter Newsletter. Here it is with some accompanying pictures:

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My first Writer’s Retreat with some fabulous fellow-creatives was definitely an inspiration and encouragement to keep on writing.

The place was a quaint little Swiss hotel, run by some lovely people, who catered to all our needs. And because SCBWI was already there before, it felt just a tiny bit like family. The rooms were simple but clean and very nice. I love the sense of history in the place, especially the beautiful landing with its vintage furniture, which joins the two wings. The food was excellent, it took some willpower not to overeat.

The weather was amazingly inviting, sunny and bright all weekend, which made the gorgeous views even more spectacular; making the mountains and lake really sing.

Elisabeth and Monika have done superbly, finding this truly stunning place.

Have I used enough superlatives to tempt you to come for the next one yet? No?

Well, here’s more.

1stwritersretreat2018aI did not tell many people I was going for a writer’s retreat. I mean, what would they think? “Can’t you just write anywhere?” That’s what we hear most often about a writer’s work, isn’t it? “Oh, all you need is a desk, just sit and write, correct?”

On the one hand, that may be true, to a certain extent. But on the other hand, there is something to be said about having someone else, sitting across from you, facing similar struggles, trying to get that bestseller from brain to paper – and it’s called camaraderie or some prefer community.

We helped each other solve plot problems, we encouraged each other, giving constructive feedback, we shared our creative pains and we took refreshing walks which led to unexpected little adventures (one involving a little black lamb – go ask the participants for details).

All that sharing gave me a new perspective and insight into my craft, which I would, otherwise, not have gained if I just sat at my own desk all the time. I am so glad I took this opportunity to be with and hear from other creatives.

To quote The Write Practice, “We need each other. We need encouragement and kindness as we struggle against the forces of unkindness in this world, and the worlds we imagine. We need community like we need cold, refreshing water on a hot, summer day.”

So thank you all for being such an awesome community. See you at the next event.

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So what do you think of my article?

Do you write? If you write for children, or are thinking of diving into the world of children’s books, i highly recommend joining a community like SCBWI!

syc

Highlight – Spring Break 2018…

Once again, this post is weeks late. But it’s ok.

So Spring break for us was back in the middle of April. We had a quiet one this time.

We mainly stayed home, got some things done, went to watch a movie and visited friends. I had to work one day and we got in a couple of rounds of squash as well.

The highlight for us was going to one of the largest labyrinths in Switzerland. It’s in the French part of Switzerland is called Labyrinth Aventure.

It was a long drive from where we are but it was fine with the beautiful scenery along the way and we had good fun there.

We got there just before lunch and got started with the actual maze first. You are given a list of 10 boards/treasures to find in the maze, which was great, otherwise, we would have been wandering around aimlessly. There is no real reward, like a chocolate or something; just a sense of achievement which, i think, is super! Not everything needs a tangible reward; feeling happy about something you have done is also a fantastic reward.

highlightspringbreak_20180516aThen it was lunch. The restaurant serves very simple food but it’s enough for kids and parents. They do have lots of ice cream, snacks, and sweets.

After lunch, we explored the rest of the place. It is not huge but big enough for a good day out. There is a play area for little ones, there are many swings to try, they have lots of game tables with lots of interesting wooden games, there are also pool tables and table tennis. We tried out some pedal cars and the boys did the giant slides. We also did some jousting and the boys had tons of fun on this crazy spinning disc. They also have giant hamster wheels and some chess tables.

And all these in an amazing mountain setting!

highlightspringbreak_20180616bTired out, we made the drive home.

If you are in the area, and are looking for something to do with your kids, do check out this place. Apparently, they have a sister amusement park nearby too.

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