I'm joking. It's actually even better when you don't get drunk...you know that feeling?

The time of day when you've finished work..oh wait..I don't work...so..the time of day when I used to have finished work..anyway...

The time of day when you feel it's ok to have a glass of an exquisite Chardonnay or a fab Cabernet Sauvignon..wait..that's anytime...right?
It's always wine o'clock somewhere...another good reason to having lived in different time zones..you can always call some friend..somewhere in the world..who's probably having a glass of wine at that exact moment.

So...sipping wine outside requires a nice patio..so you'll work on it...or not... here they'll probably think you're weird if you do. I can't recall anyone here saying "oh, the weather is nice..I think I'll do some garden work". Nope, instead you'll hear "oh, it's that time of year again - I really have to tell my gardener to start working.

If your garden doesn't look nice nobody would think less of you..they would all just feel sorry for you. In fact they'd look at you with compassion, nod their head and say:

"Oh! You have a mow-and-blow" gardener!!! Poor you! This is an expression that made me a little bit nervous, I have to admit, the first time I heard it. I thought for myself "what does she think I have?" And I guess the fact that I wouldn't even have a gardener would never ever cross her mind.

When you come and visit you'll see people in everybody's gardens - just not the people that actually live there. I have for instance never met some of my neighbors....I know their gardener Javier and their pool guy Jim and their...well you get it. So who puts the garbage bin out on the street every week you might ask..you must have spotted your neighbor at least once doing that? Nope, The gardener does that..well..unless you were unfortunate to get a mow-and-blow" one..

Other people you'll see in your neighbors' gardens would be the ones that put up their exterior Christmas decorations. At Christmas so many houses were decorated with "millions and millions" of Christmas lights and I thought "wow, how?". I soon found out when I almost every day leading up to Christmas got flyers in my mailbox with people advertising their services decorating the houses.

You would not believe the amount of ads we get every day from companies advertising their services for your house. Of course we have the garden services, the landscape planners, the pool designers etc etc. But we also have the "BBQ deep-cleaning" experts, the "we clean and organize your attic" experts, and if you don't have an attic you can always consult the "we clean and organize your garage" experts.

Basically you don't have to do anything yourself except from making the mess.
Oh, have to go...the patio is calling..

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So off to the Orthodontist we went...me and my three kids...a morning on a school day.

Organized as I am I had given notice to the school already the weekend before..explaining they were gonna be a couple of hours late because of an appointment to the dentist.

This was our second visit here so I had already last time signed all the 39+ documents needed to be signed to even enter a place like a dentist, a doctor or similar.

You know - documents where you waive ALL your rights while at the same time accepting ALL the responsibility - financially as well as practically. Documents, if it would have been in Europe, you would never have thought of signing..but here it's like every-day life...if you want to do something else than staying in bed.

So this visit I only had to sign 19+ documents. You know - acknowledge that your medical insurance hasn't changed...since last week; that our address hasn't changed...since last week; that the facts I signed last time still are true..facts like "Did your child use a pacifier when still a baby?", "Did she ever get anesthesia and if so how did she react?" etc etc. You will have to study the night before just to be able to answer all their questions...for all your kids. Then you have to sign it all to confirm you've answered truthfully.

Last time we were there this family walked in and signed in seven kids....SEVEN! And then the dad showed up with a baby in his arms. They had EIGHT kids! And I thought I had trouble remembering....having ONLY three!

Two hours later we were done and out. I then dropped them off for school.

I took my youngest and walked with him to the classroom. The teacher told me I also had to give notice to the office that he now had returned. At the office they told me I had to get a tardy slip which I had to bring back to the teacher. The office then asks for proof that we've been to the dentist. First I thought she was joking. When I realized she wasn't I told her that me (the mother) dropping off my kid and standing here telling her the reason for our tardiness was all the proof she was gonna get. And then I smiled πŸ™ƒ.

She did not. She instead informed me about the Handbook, a book that I when applying for the school were obliged to read...a book which I had acknowledged having read. Somewhere back in my mind I do remember signing this paper (again together with 54+ other documents) truthfully acknowledge that I had read the handbook. Again, without signing these papers your children aren't allowed in. But I mean, come on, who really does read the handbook?

Around 9 pm I get an email from the school office with the principal, and someone else that I never heard of, in copy. The office politely informs me about what the handbook says regarding absences and tardiness and also kindly includes the relevant excerpts...with personal clarifications added in black!

I'm still smiling πŸ™‚



Downtown Walnut Creek is a sweet little area with plenty of fancy boutiques and restaurants.
After a week filled with, among other things, parent/teacher conferences we decided to spend the Saturday there - having lunch and do some shopping.

Having met most of my childrens' teachers during these conferences I cannot be anything but happy & proud. They all three got the best feedback possible, and more than one teacher said to me: "whatever you do, keep doing it".

Parenting is hard, and so many times you ask yourself "are we doing what's best for our kids or should we do it differently?". Whether it's about moving them around the world and making them change schools and leave their friends behind or about letting them stay out late Friday night...you always question yourself somehow. Getting all this positive feedback, knowing we must be doing something right, gives me all the energy I need.....for now..

Giving my daughter Filippa the feedback from her teachers she tells me:
"I have to be successful because I like expensive things!"
So off to Walnut Creek we went...

Tomorrow it's Halloween.

The kids have made cupcakes, decorated the house and the patio.
They've chosen what to wear, we've filled a tray with goodies......

They're ready...and so am I.....Hallo Wine!!! 🍷



The day started out really good - dropped the girls off for a tennis lesson at 8 am, and at 9 me & Joakim played a game.
Went home for a quick shower and then went to drop off Filippa at a party.

Having had just a coffee and a sandwich for breakfast I said to Joakim on our way back: let's find a coffee shop.
Living in California-at least in this area, you'll pass just as many wineries as coffee shops.
Not having visited a single one yet (it is true) we figured why not?

Luckily we happened to choose an excellent one - the Steven Kent Winery in Livermore valley. Being the sixth generation member of America's oldest winemaking family he started his winery in 1996. Today the winery is a leader for the region, crafting small lot vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux grape varieties.

We were also fortunate to arrive two minutes before a wine tasting only performed once a year.

The 2013 Lineage -Steven Kent's classic blend of the five basic red Bordeaux varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec & Merlot - were just released (only 555 six-packs produced).

Should we stay or should we go look for a coffee shop?

Just arrived home with one of the 555 cases produced you guessed right!

Live a little more in Livermore valley



Ok! Been thinking of keeping a blog for quite some yrs now..though I never really got around.....moving to the US in August 2016 I had to leave my job in Switzerland behind...so maybe now...in between all the dropping off & picking up at school 😁 I will find the time to start. The pic shows our start of the day!