South Africa: Card Reader Issues

SimonsTownView_20180706

In this beautiful place at the tip of Africa, it is a piece of heaven for little penguins. The Indian Ocean and it’s hypnotic mists along with the quiet town, Simon’s Town, make for a peaceful retreat. However, the magical ingredients for a peaceful retreat don’t always include effective credit card readers. In fact, throughout Africa, card readers and the handling of them in shops can be a little bit of a problem.IPENGUINYEAFRIKA_20180706

At this adorable souvenir shop we had the following experience with the card reader. The line was not reliable, and so the communication between the card reader and the authorizing computer was taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r…so, the clerk took the card to another reader, BEFORE receiving a “not authorized” code, and started trying to authorize it through that reader. At that point, literally the sale of over $200 (I fell in love with a silver penguin charm) could have been approved twice, creating a double charge to my account. In fact, this has happened to my husband once.

Now, my husband stops the clerk, and patiently waits for the “not authorized” receipt and keeps it in his wallet, and in cases where he can, he doesn’t make the purchase. Which is what we did. No cute little silver penguin charm. But, we did wait for two not authorized receipts and my credit card did not receive duplicate charges.

Those in the know, know!

 

 

 

 

Socks: I love you

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Smart Wool socks

I really love good socks. I L-O-V-E socks. Everyone gets socks from me in their Christmas stockings, I look at socks online, in stores, and at booths, and I talk about socks all of the time. I really love quality socks. I know that a lot of people like funky designs on their socks and I like that too, but a well-engineered sock gets me excited!

A well-engineered sock has features–features that solve problems. After all, socks were invented to solve problems, right? Socks were invented to keep your foot from blistering in your shoes, as well as keeping your shoes from dying a pitiful, uncleanly death from foot perspiration.

A poorly-engineered sock is truly irritating, both literally and figuratively. Poorly-engineered socks have caused many toddler meltdowns from my oldest son who is now 34 years old, and I am still suffering PTSD over one of those episodes. They also twist on your feet while you are walking, or they slip down under your heel. They also make your foot uncomfortable because they are too small, or too large. The yarn that they are woven with might suddenly break, creating holes. The type of yarn might not provide breatheability, or warmth. The weight of the yarn as well as the pattern of the sock might be too thin, or too thick.

You can see that we don’t give sock designer-engineers enough thanks. A perfectly engineered sock should come in sizes — Germany does that particularly well. I can get a sock that is just right for my foot, for my husband’s foot, and my giant-of-a-middle son’s foot. I can’t easily do that in the U.S.

The U.S. does have an excellent wool sport sock that is washable and durable. I do absolutely love this brand of socks, and I in no way have been compensated to feature this brand. I love this brand because of how well it is engineered. After I sat on the plane next to a designer for this brand, I really started believing in this brand. It is a pricey sock for the average person, however, these socks are durable, comfortable, and convenient to use. All of those factors reduce the overall cost of this sock. The brand is local to Coloradoans, it is sold at Nordstrom as well as from their own boutiques and online. It is Smart Wool — the perfect name for this product.

I hurt my foot over a week ago here in South Africa, where it is winter, and chilly, and uncomfortable. Part of healing my foot is wearing my comforting Smart Wool socks. They provide support, warmth, and since I purchased them in happy colors and designs, they lift my spirits a little. Also, these socks aren’t the thick wool socks that won’t fit into your shoes. These socks fit, stretch, and launder. I have many other socks that I love, and maybe I will write about them — especially my cotton athletic socks from Germany. But right now, I am grateful for my comfy wool socks.

 

P.S. I will debrief my 5-week packing for this trip when I get home. Lessons learned and successes to celebrate!

 

Zurich Airport

I like the quiet environment of the airport design in both Frankfurt and Zurich. Dark, hard floors. Dim lighting.

At Zurich, I also enjoy the high architectural glass silos, providing a view of the bottom (or top) floor. These periodic pauses sometimes have sculptures in them, reminding me of my own beautiful airport DEN.

Most of all, the prized Swiss chocolatier, Läderach, has a beautiful and well stocked store.

Traveler’s 23rd Psalm

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want [when I miss a connection] [and I have booked my flights on a good airline like Lufthansa, Iceland Air, or their partners like Swiss Air] [and I have my luggage]. He makes me lie down in green pastures [like the Winterthur Park hotel] and leads me beside still waters [because all shops are closed on Sunday in Switzerland]. He restores my soul [with a stroll through beautiful parks and excellent food, like incredible Swiss cheese]. Yea though I walk through the valley of death [crazy angry passengers in the customer service line], I will fear no evil, for thou art with me [along with my taxi voucher, hotel voucher, and meal voucher]. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies [exhaustion and anxiety]. My cup runneth over [at the excellent Starbucks]. Surely goodness [from you O Lord] and mercy [I love free wi-fi] will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord [this entire beautiful outdoors] forever. Amen.

Travel: One Suitcase – 5 Weeks, Pt. 2

Goal: two cities, five weeks, one suitcase (must weigh less than 50 lbs to win)

So, added to last week’s styles are sturdy clothes for winter in Johannesburg, with excursions to see lions, leopards, Victoria Falls (on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe), and I hope to see some elephants, rhinos, giraffes, and zebras as well as all manner of springbok and other deer. I will still be working and trying to find some great candid photos of some of the life in South Africa.

Fully Packed

It all fits! And I weighed the bag on my digital scale — 24 lbs! Of course, that is before beauty products. This exercise is helping me with my packing anxiety. At least for the short term.

So, for my trip to Frankfurt, and then the next four weeks in Joburg, I have added layers. Here’s the bullet list:

  • Cargo pants, heavy weight and ready to be destroyed
  • Camouflage print pants
  • African wax print skirt
  • Vintage yellow polo sweater
  • Yellow cardigan
  • Olive lightweight wool sweater
  • White T-shirt
  • White thin cotton turtleneck
  • Black T-shirt
  • Mauve T-shirt
  • Metallic tank sweater
  • White rain shell
  • Hiking boots
  • Birkenstocks
  • Black flip flops
  • Olive drab jacket with “flair”
  • Three scarves, one cotton gingham, one rayon, one polyester (all white background, with black and a hint of accent color)

I think that I might be doing at least one more adjustment…

Travel: One Suitcase-5 Weeks, pt. 1

White 'IT' Suitcase
This is the suitcase — not too big, but definitely a checked bag.

Goal: 1 suitcase for two cities, 5 weeks

Week 1 Frankfurt, Germany: Build around Brooks, Ltd. LoDo Shirt

This is the second blog planning my packing list for travel to Frankfurt, then on to Johannesburg, South Africa. I am using my inspiration shirt, named after Denver’s Lower Downtown, hence the ‘LoDo’ part of the shirt description. LoDo is where Brooks, Ltd. atelier is located and is also the part of town you see college students, out-of-towners, and business folks mingling together at restaurants and venues.

I might have mentioned that I have “packing anxiety” and that has driven me to plan this trip well in advance. So, I am testing out my one-suitcase bullet wardrobe plan, beginning with five ways to wear the LoDo shirt while working, drinking kaffee, and shopping in Frankfurt, Germany. Oh, and I should tell you, I am going to be eating like a German foodie.

Here’s the bullet list for 5 choices for the first week of five weeks on the road:

  • Lilac cotton zip-front LoDo shirt, that doubles as a lightweight jacket
  • Navy slim-legged pants (J. Crew)
  • Black leggings
  • Jeans
  • Silk floral shell — vintage from the 80s
  • White lightweight cotton turtleneck (think of the movie ‘Something’s Gotta Give’)
  • Black vintage Chanel Logo T-shirt (best all around T-shirt ever)
  • Black ballet neck tea-length dress
  • Black waterproof loafers (Hunter)
  • Black logo tennis shoes (Coach)
  • Silk print scarf
  • Black scarf
  • Rhinestone necklace (J. Crew)

These five choices easily fit into the suitcase with plenty of room for next week’s challenge– 4 weeks in Johannesburg!

LoDoShirt Week 1_04172018

Travel: Frankfurt to Johannesburg

Frankfurt to Johannesburg.1
African Print skirt inspiration!

Managing time apart from my husband, partner, best-friend is work. Emotional work. Slogging through the day, remembering to build in those activities and behaviors that feed into a positive aloneness takes effort. I have to think about how I am taking care of myself. Hence the hashtag #hyggetaughtme, see Instagram for my attempts at self-hygge.

However, once the airline ticket is purchased, the emotional work seems to lighten! It’s easier, knowing that travel adventures are just around the corner! My best friend and hubby-boy is absolutely the best travel companion–he was a History major–and loves to do research. As we visit each place, he talks about historical events and figures, as well as cultural interests while I scout out local food, art, and museums. So, now to the style factor and…Let the packing anxiety/excitement begin! (Breathe in, breathe out!)

Let’s start with a list of activities in Frankfurt, Germany:

  • Walking on cobblestones
  • Having kaffee und kuchen with friends (everyday)
  • Shopping
  • Walking through the park, riding the U-bahn
  • Eating out in the evening
  • Palmengarten
  • Museum (Natural History, Modern Art)
  • Walking by the river

List activities in Johannesburg, South Africa:

  • Visit wild animal parks
  • Pet animals
  • Go to markets
  • Photograph everything
  • Find reasonably safe food to eat and still feel like we belong on the Food Network

Next list the weather:

Frankfurt in June = Seattle in June

  • Mild 74/54

Johannesburg in June/July

  • 63/37

Now how to pack one suitcase for two cities for over one month…Hmmmm….first attempt. Here’s the bullet list:

  • African wax print skirt (authentic African Wax Print produced in Holland)
  • Yellow vintage polo
  • Yellow cardigan
  • Yellow/Gray/White/Black print knit skirt
  • Camouflage pants (doesn’t really camouflage hips like I hoped)
  • Cargo pocket pants (for animals to destroy)
  • Jeans
  • White cotton men’s s/s shirt
  • White rain shell
  • Charcoal wool sweater
  • Heather gray cotton v-neck sweater
  • Aviator jacket
  • Green felt hat
  • Rain coat, leopard print
  • Fishing vest
  • 3 T-shirts
  • Chambray tunic/dress
  • Linen Blazer, cream, black trim
  • Cotton shawl
  • Lace scarf
  • Purple/Mauve/Pink Ikat Print (not authentic, I can assure you)
  • Animal print scarf
  • Olive drab work shirt
  • Hiking boots
  • Birkenstocks
  • Canvas Coach tennis shoes
  • Missing: leggings, socks, nightshirt, beauty, Rx, technology

Communication: Consulting your Adulting Millenial Hipsters

Consulting with your hipsters
Presentation for hipster couples to discuss. Couples Work Plan

I absolutely love this generation of “kids” –they are a kinder, more emotionally aware group in general. However, they are also putting the “hippie” back in “hipster” to put it gently. Many of these kids are having some challenges finding their way, so I have put together a quick .pdf of a PowerPoint presentation that I made for one of my boys.

I have been working diligently since the kids were pre-teens to be the best parent and guide that I can possible be through frequent-healthy communication, and safe emotional guidance aka lots of listening.

I have also taken to heart the book of Proverbs in the bestseller, The Bible. As a parent helping my offspring find a career that will be satisfying, pay the bills, and fulfill the purpose that has been put into the hard drive programming, can be tricky. Mostly, there must be a giant load of trust in God, in his ways, his process, and that He is able to work outside of any parental fear, anxiety, nagging, et al.

So, here is the free download, Couples Work Plan. It was very helpful to my son and I hope you can find some ideas to use in your own consultation with your adultings.