Monday, April 30, 2007

worlds apart

We went to see Daddy´s cousin who is a travel agent to figure out the schedule fo te rest of our stay. After going to Viña this weekend, we´re gonna fly to Buenos Aires for 5 days next week, then stay in/near Santiago, maybe renting a car and oing back towards te coast, or visiting some of the vineyards nearby. I think Zach is dissapointed that we won´t get to go down south, but the weather and timing just doesn´t seem like it´ll wor out well. Perhaps in another few years we can rope Mom and Philip (and whomever else) into another trip down here, where we coul go down to Tierra del Fuego and make our way up the southern parts of the country.

It´s interestin being here and seeing the different parts of Santiago. Many areas feel very modern and "westernized." Others, feel incredibly different-- earlier today Zach and I went to Parque Bernardo O´Higgins, and walked by El Pueblito which looked like a dirt road, wih several resturant alongside it, that reminded me of the usual images of poor Mexico. It was actually the first time where I really felt out of place, and unsafe (despite thwe many warnings of pickpockets, there´s also tons of security around and although I´ve been guarding my purse well I haven´t felt unsafe hardly at all). There´s a huge outdoor mall right next to our hotel, and there´s many beggars out, some actually performing for money (we saw an impressive string quartet the other day), others who will come up and yell at you to give them money.

Tomorrow is May Day, which is a holiday I think like Labor Day is in the states. Zach and I will go see the a family we used to be friend with back in the day (their son Peter also was friend with Zach when he studied at UT for a semester), then we´ll go to Tia Dotty´s, a woman who was good friends with Mom and whose home I spent much time in as a child. It shall be interesting, as Tracey (of the first family) has warned me that things might be pretty sketchy here tomorrow, there might be some protests or demonstrations. I´m curious to see what that might mean. We have been advised to take a taxi out to their home, instead of trying to use the metro.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Chilean Greetings

So we´re here, and >I´m typing from a Chilean keyboard so I+ll probably have a ton of mistakes. Such is life.

Our flight went well, we arrived in Santiago at 7:30am, went to our hotel and had breakfast with Daddy there. The hotel is in a building that´s kinda old and run down, but clean and the staff is very nice, and the location is awesome, we´re right in the center of town. Daddy warned us that "you know, we´re inbetween 'the jungle' and civilization here..."

We´ve spént that past 2 days mostl walking arouns Santiago, getting a feel for different areas. I´m not recognizing a whole lot yet, as many of the areas we´v gone to (like downtown) were not ones I frequented much as a 10 yr old kid. But some things, like the architecture, the look and feel of houses in some small neighborhoods, etc, feels very familiar. It´s intresting being hre, and feeling like a tourist and a native at the same time.

Zach´s having a hard time with the language... but being vry good about it all. This afternoon we found a book fair and I bought some Spanish children´s books, and also a Papelucho book (simple, geared probably to older elementary kids so nice and easy to read) so we can practice reading it a bit together.

We´re starting to plan oput when we´ll go where, I think this weekend we´ll try Viña and Zapallar, and then sometime in the next 2 weeks try to go to Buenos Aires, and Puerto Varas as well for a few days each. We´ll see.

Last night we were watching some Spanish tv and found one show with a ditzy sister and brother, and Zach commented that it reminded him of Married, With Children. After another minute or 2 we realized that´s exactly what it was-- a spanish version of Married, With Children. The charatcers and set were all identical, expect in Spanish. It was quite amusing.

Um.. don{t know what else to report for now... Zach got to try empanadas for the first time at lunch today. =) It´s cute, too, how as we walk around town Daddy´s come across a few friends here and there. I guess when you spend your ntire life in a city where people don´t often move away you get to make lots of friends. ;)

Allrightm, I better be off... will try to update again in a couple days.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

locked and loaded... er, sort of.

Boo, I feel like I have no energy... and I'm not even jet-lagged yet. I started packing this morning, have most of my clothes in a suitcase. I was completely indescriminatory about packing this time... seriously just went through my drawers and was like "yes, yes, no, don't like that one, ok..." I normally sort of try to plan out outfits, but this time it's just like "whatever!" Eh, it'll all work out. Besides, since clothes won't be outrageous expensive in Chile, I can just buy a bunch of new stuff, right? ; ) heh heh I still have to finish packing undies, socks, shower stuff, etc...

I feel like taking a nap-- I woke up at 5am and couldn't go back to sleep this morning-- but I also wanna be nice and tired out for boarding the plane tonight (departs at 8:30pm). We have a 1 hr hop over to Paris, then 14 hrs to Santiago. Yippee. And I don't even have any good, easy-to-read chick lit to help make the flight go by quickly. Hopefully they have some good movies. I also really hope the plane isn't packed...

Ok, I seriously need to quit my whining. I think I also need to get off this infernal machine and pay some attention to Sierra. Poor thing's gonna be all lonely when we leave... but I know she'll be in good hands with the neighbors.

We're not taking the laptop with us, so I'm planning on having access to an internet cafe of some sort for blogging. Which means I'm not sure how often I'll get to blog... But I'll try to keep up, every few days or something. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I am so sad

I got an email from my mom this morning that held some awful news. There's a girl I know from church, whom I used to baby-sit a lot when I was younger, she's now 18, about to graduate from high school... and she's currently undergoing tests to see if she has Multiple Sclerosis. I know the diagnosis isn't 100% for sure yet, but they're also going to start her on medication to fight it, I think, which means they must be pretty sure... They've done an MRI and spinal tap that both indicate MS.

She, and her whole family, really, are such amazing people-- so sweet, so happy. Whenever I'd be back in Texas and see them at church, they'd always be so happy to see me, want to know what we were up to. It seems so unfair that something like this could happen to them, especially since she's so incredibly young still. She has her whole life ahead of her... and now this.

I don't know what kinds of treatments there are out there for MS, or what her specific options or outlook might be... it might be a while before they really figure anything else out. But fucking hell.... Every time I think of it my eyes well up with tears. These are the sorts of people that are supposed to live long, happy, uncomplicated lives. This sort of stuff isn't supposed to happen to them.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Behold, Nora the Cat. She plays the piano.

Methinks someone rubbed catnip on the keys... or maybe she just likes playing with them? Either way, this video is friggin adorable! (think we can teach Sierra? hehe)

Just a couple more days...

I can't believe our trip to Chile is almost here... Last time I visited was with Daddy and Jen, 10 years ago. I'm a completely different person now... and so are all my relatives living there, too, I imagine. It's funny how involved I like to be with my (American) family, yet I've hardly kept any contact with my Chilean family. It seems amazing to me now, that these people I spent the first 11 years of my life around, seeing them every Sunday at Abuelita's house, are nearly strangers to me. It's not out of any sort of malice or falling out or anything like that... I was just a kid when we left, and didn't really have the means or maturity to think of writing a lot of letters of calling or anything. Perhaps this can be a chance to reconnect with them. Email makes it so much easier to keep in touch across the world these days.

It's just hitting me now all the things I need to get done in the next 2 days-- I want to clean the house (at least give these unforgiving floors a good sweeping before they accumulate another 3 weeks' worth of cat hair and dust-- I swear we could start a dust bunny farm in here), and I'm just now thinking about things like Mother's Day, during which we'll be in Chile. Do I buy gifts online for my mom and mom-in-law for ease of shipping? Do I send them something Swiss? (though really the only things worth sending from here are chocolates and kitschy souvenirs, and I'm afraid of how chocolates might do in the mail... then again Carolyn sent a bunch and they were fine... hmmmm) Or find things in Chile and send them from there? Who knows. I guess I'll figure it out soon enough. I'm also realizing I should get my dad some fun Swiss thing to give him. I already bought him some chocolate-covered cherries (I hope he still likes those) and am thinking of finding him some gaudy Swiss souvenir, like a Swiss cow magnet, with Swiss flag and everything. I think he gets a kick out of silly stuff like that sometimes. =P

Wow, it's Tuesday already... I'm gonna go to class tomorrow, my last time before the trip. I'm sure I'll have lots of last-minute stuff to take care of Thursday. I'll have to get some of the homework from the teacher tomorrow, so I can be sort of not entirely lost when I come back in mid-May. Not sure I'll actually look at any of it while we're gone.. but gotta at least try, right? I'm looking forward to being immersed in Spanish. I'm not as comfortable with it as I am in English, certainly, but my Spanish is a heck of a lot better than my French.

We've been here 2 months already. Gosh, and when we get back the slew of visitors begins! I think Brubaker may be swinging by in late May sometime... then my parents in June, and on it goes till August. I'm sure it will be tiring to have so many guests, but I'm also thrilled to get to see everyone, and to show off and share this fabulous city and life that we have.

Monday, April 23, 2007

More American Loot!!!

One of Zach's coworkers from California came over for business today, and last week asked if we wanted him to bring anything over. So, we sent him a list of a few items.. and he brought them all! How sweet is he? So now I've got magazines, my favorite mascara, hair stuff (I loved this stuff when I had short hair last time), Zach has some allergy meds to combat the endless fields of pollenating flowers all around us, and two HUGE cans of pumpkin puree, so I can make plenty of pumpkin bread for him (well, as soon as we get back from Chile).

I am so happy right now. I've been missing my gossip mags... The mere $2-$4 splurge is much harder to justify here, where the same magazine can cost $6-$12!!! It's already past bedtime, so I think I'll have to save these for my bus ride tomorrow morning. I'm also super-excited to have my mascara and hair stuff in time for our trip. Woot!


You know something I've noticed about the Swiss? They love their wheels. I don't mean cars... I mean rollerskates and rollerblades. In the states if you see someone rolling down the street in roller blades (or even, god forbid, old-fashioned roller skates), you're bound to feel like you've just experienced a blast from the past. Sure, if you're at the roller skating rink, out for a night retro fun, it's cool. But on the streets, as a legitimate mode of transportation? Very very rare indeed.

But I see it here ALL THE TIME. Zach and I have witnessed families of 4 all cruising by on roller skates or blades-- mom rolling along with the stoller, dad carrying a toddler on his shoulders. All speeding by on wheels. I've seen dads and sons in matching skates out on the town. I even see people board the bus while wearing roller skates, which just makes me plain nervous.

Makes me wonder... do they just wear the skates/blades even at their destination? They're not always holding any sort of backpack that might have an extra change of shoes inside... I guess I'm just a bit mystified by it all. I guess it makes sense, in a way. However I'm not sure I'm ready to pick up a pair of my own quite yet.

Another oddity Zach and I saw, a week ago on a sunny afternoon down by the banks of the lake? A hairy, middle-aged man, walking around in swim trunks, black socks (pulled up to mid-calf), and brown loafers. Yeah. Gotta love Europe.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

a leisurely walk?

Zach's been itchin' to go to the mountains the past couple weekends, so today we made plans to go on a good hike. We headed over towards the Jura mountains, not realizing that it meant crossing the French border... (we left our passports at home, and I didn't even have any ID on me). Luckily there were no guards at the border crossing on the way in, and on the way back they were just waving people through.

It took about 45 mins to drive to our designated spot. The roads were gorgeous, all these pretty trees everywhere. Once we parked it took us a while to find the trail... I'm actually still not sure we ever really found the right one, as we wound up climbing straight up the side of a big hill, on what seemed to be an access road for the ski lodge (we were hiking in a ski resort). But, there were several other hikers following the same route so maybe that's the right path? So we hiked up an exposed face that was a good 20 degree grade, for I don't know how far... but it seemed like a long ways. Zach dared to make a comment about me being "out of shape" as I took a few short breaks along the way. I know I'm not in the best shape, but that walk was friggin HARD. Anyway, we made it to the top of "Petit Montrond" and the views were pretty damn nice-- could see Lake Geneva/Lemand, Mont Blanc, and even the Jet d'Eau back in Geneva. We had a snack and rested a bit, enjoying the view. We attempted to go find the "Grand Montrond" but I was too wiped out so we turned back. It's nice to know it's there, though, it'll be fun to go back to that area in another few weeks and see what it looks like (it was probably mostly covered in snow up until a week or 2 ago, so the grass wasn't all grown in and the vegetation was less than impressive).

That was most of our activity for the day. I need to start getting ready for bed now (darn you, infernal comuter, sucking up all my time!) and Zach is sitting next to me finishing his French homework before he heads off to bed as well.

We leave for Chile on THURSDAY! It's really snuck up on me. All of a sudden I'm realizing all these things I gotta take care of this week before we go... like cleaning the house, packing, figuring out how to put a hold on our mail... It might be a busy week.

six word sunday: A Gnome of Our Very Own.

six word sunday challenge

Last weekend when we went to The Neighbors' for their son's birthday party, I noticed a collection of small garden gnomes on the window and commented that they were very cute, and how I think it'd be fun to get some for our yard. Well, we had them over for tea yesterday afternoon, and Michele came in with a little garden gnome as a gift for us! (are these people friggin adorable, or what??) I'm not quite sure where to put him yet... I don't know if I want him outside, exposed to the rain and everything. But maybe he can go on the outside of the windowsill by the front door, where he'll protected a bit... I dunno, we'll see.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

showing off the house

Last night we had Bob, Aruna, and Jules over for an early dinner. It was our first time to have guests in this new house. The weather was gorgeous so we had the big glass doors open, with the sun spilling in. Zach made salmon with wild rice and a great salad. I had coloring pencils, markers, paper, and some stuffed animals out for Jules to play with, though one of her favorite occupations for the evening was watching Sierra, who amazingly didn't run up the stairs and hide under the bed as soon as she saw these new faces! In California she'd always been pretty open to new people, but since the move her tolerance for strange stuff has been much lower. But last night she actually hovered at the bottom of the steps quite a bit, occasionally coming down to sit on her rug or venture out to the patio. She even came within a few feet of Jules, of her own accord, which was another surprise. But to her credit, Jules was great about not approaching the cat, not making sudden movements, and in general not doing anything to frighten Sierra off. All around it was a great evening. I look forward to having more people over for dinner.

Today Zach and I had tentative plans to go into Geneva, but didn't really get up and dressed till the afternoon... and then we got a knock on the door at about 1:30pm that was Michele and Gerard, the neighbors. Turns out Zach had talked to them last Wednesday and invited them over for tea for this afternoon, then completely forgot about it! But they're sweet and very understanding and came back a little later, once we were a bit more ready. We sat together for about an hour, having a pretty good conversation (all in French!). They're such great people, Michele's gonna look after Sierra while we're in Chile which is such a lifesaver for us. She seems to really enjoy Sierra (who wouldn't?!? hehe).

Zach borrowed Bob's power drill this week so we could put up the curtains in the guest bedroom, which we got around to doing this afternoon-- yay! Slowly, but surely, everything's coming together in this house. I really love how it's looking so far, but there's definitely still a bunch more tweaks I want to do here and there, a few pieces of furniture to buy still. I don't want to rush it, though... just taking our time, making sure to find stuff that "fits" the feel of this place.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Home, Sweet Home

I miss knowing exactly where to go to buy what. I miss having ample closet space. I miss going to Target, always in a car so I didn't have to worry about how much stuff I bought and lugging big bags home on the bus. I miss meeting up with the Fostinos and others at the farmer's market, and going to the coffee shop afterwards. I miss the public library. I miss going to Border's or B&N and reading the gossip mags while sipping something yummy from Starbucks. I miss the kids at school and their silly antics. I miss being able to simply call up friends at the last minute and make dinner plans. I miss not having to think about the time when calling friends and family, and whether or not we have a calling card with enough time on it left. I miss the quick, 3-hr plane ride home to Texas.

All the above aside, though... I absolutely adore it here. I was just thinking to myself, as I walked through a semi-crowded open square on this warm, sunny day, "I can't believe that I live in Switzerland." Life here is so different from back home, which of course means there will be lots of things we will both miss. But we're also figuring out our new routines, our new favorite places and things to do. We're making this our new home.

I sometimes get these odd waves of homesickness, like when I feel the urge to buy that $10 Glamour magazine just so I can read something familiar, that's in English (btw I recently signed up for a subscription, which at $45 is way more expensive than back home, but way cheaper than buying issues here!). I'm really looking forward to having visitors here, getting to see them and also show them around town.

I love feeling a bit more settled, figuring out some of the social customs. I love giving the 3-kiss good-bye. I love feeling like I'm making connections with people, looking at a new friend and thinking "I could see us being really good friends." There's a part of me that feels sad that we're leaving now for 3 weeks, and that I'll be away from these people that I'm suddenly spending so much time with (but I love that I'll be able to fit right back in when I get back, and work on cultivating these new friendships over the summer). I love all the exciting destinations and adventures that are now at our fingertips. I love knowing that I'm making progress with my French. I love being able to walk 10 minutes from our front door and see horses, sheep, vineyards, and all sorts of gorgeous flowers everywhere.

I feel so lucky, so blessed. Life is just so good right now.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

In Bloom

It appears that all the grapevines have started to sprout-- on my way to class every morning I pass several vineyards and can see teeny little green leaves and what looks like might even be tiny little grapes-to-be. I've been meaning to go out walking and take some pictures... finally got around to it today:

I even caught what appears to be 2 buggies "doing it":

Right now I'm allowing myself some computer time out in the front yard, while I water the plants a bit. It hasn't rained in a couple weeks already, and I finally noticed that the soil's looking pretty dry, and the flowers are starting to droop. Hopefully this will help. I'm trying to give the soil a nice good soaking to tide it over for a while. Sierra's exploring outside a bit, too, going after bugs and getting wigged out by the watering hose. =P Very cute.

In addition to our pretty yellow flowers, we've also got some new, smaller white ones starting to bloom:

Purdy, huh? =P

We've got a busy couple of days ahead of us... tonight we've got a big dinner with a bunch of the people from my French class. Then tomorrow I gotta head straight over to Zach's work after class so we can go take care of our Swiss driver's licenses (I hear this is supposed to be a fairly easy process... let's hope so), and then we're having Bob, Aruna, and little Jules over for an early dinner. I went food shopping already for tomorrow, and any cleaning up of the house will have to be done today as we probably will have no time tomorrow. Fortunately we only really have to clean the bottom level, which right now looks pretty decent. ; ) However, there are a bunch of dishes calling my name right now...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

We Got Mail!

First of all: a fabulous shout-out to CAROLYN and JOHN, who are fabulous, fabulous people. Why, you ask? B/c today I received a package from them today with bite-size chocolate goodies, METHOD WIPES!!, a very sweet card, and an AWESOME necklace and bracelet combo that Carolyn made from beads from a bracelet I asked her to restring. The resulting products are way way cooler than the original bracelet was. Yay! I think I'll wear them tomorrow. =)

I had another fabulous lunch with several of the gals from class today. We had a big group today-- usually there's 3-4 of us, but today we had I think about 8! We're also getting together tomorrow night for a big dinner, including the significant others. I'm really excited-- I'll be glad for Zach to get to meet the people I keep talking about, and for them to get to meet him, too. This French class really has been a blessing in more ways than one... everyone in it is so nice and open. Also, I'm really starting to notice my French coming along well. Today I picked up one of the free gossip newspapers that are all over the place in Geneva and I read an article about Pink getting banned from US radio and TV (crazy, huh?) and I was pleasantly surprised at how much of the article I could read and understand. And yesterday afternoon I had to go back to the place where we got our cell phones b/c I couldn't get my voice mail to work, and I was able to talk to the staff and get the problem resolved all in French. Yay me! =P

Then I got home and as I was in the middle of catching up on everyone's blogs, my internet started acting up and not loading pages properly. Which made Marcy very NOT happy. This then made Marcy wonder if she's too dependent on the internet... Perhaps. Oh well. This is my easiest connection to everyone back home... so there, that's my excuse! ; )

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

making friends

It's nice being back in French class. It gets me out of the house early, and in contact with other people. There's some newbies in our class this week, along with some oldies that I hadn't met before b/c of being away on trips and such. I've had lunch with gals from the class yesterday and today. We're trying to plan a dinner out for Thursday, where the boyfriends/husbands can come, too, so we can all meet and practice our French together. I hope it works out, as we might not get another chance before we leave for Chile... but at least I've got contact info for a lot of these people so I know I'll either see them in class, or be able to call them up easily, once we get back. It's a bit odd, as usually Zach's been the strongest link in making friends. I've kind of relied on him as a primary connection to other people. He just seems to open up to people and make new friends more easily. But this time, he's working and I'm not, and his office is so small that there's not many contacts there, so he's been telling me that it's pretty much up to me to make friends here. Thank goodness for these French classes... they've been a huge help!

The weather continues to be glorious. I'm pulling out all my summer clothes. This makes Marcy VERY happy. =P I hope this continues.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Getting to Know the Neighbors

This morning Zach and I went out on a short hike along a stream in a nearby town. It was really pretty, sort of like the Greenbelt in Austin (except WAY more manicured, the stream-bottom was paved stones). We saw lots of people out walking as well, most of which had at least 1 dog with them. One of these weekends we're gonna try to find some hiking routes in the mountains nearby, there's supposed to be all sorts of really great hikes all within an hour or 2 drive from here.

In the afternoon our neighbors were having a small birthday party for their son today, and they invited us over (I know, how sweet are they?). So we went and got to meet their 2 sons, and the wife and 2 kids of the birthday boy (18 month old girl, 3 yr old boy, both absolutely adorable!). They spoke in French the entire time, and I think we caught about 30%-40% of the conversation... fortunately when anyone spoke directly to us they must've spoken more slowly and clearly b/c we could understand a lot more, but when just conversing all together it was way too fast. But it was fun anyway. They're all super nice and very open. We did the whole traditional 3-kiss hellos and goodbyes and everything. =P

It's continued to be incredibly gorgeous outside, for we had an early dinner at the village restaurant, sitting out in their courtyard. The food was expensive (ok, so the prices were actually pretty average for the area) but also pretty good. It seems like it could also be a great place to sit outside and have a beer, or some ice-cream... or both. ; )

My French classes start again tomorrow. I'm kinda looking forward to it, I just don't practice at all when I'm at home. I'll only get about 10 days of classes before we leave for Chile! Wow, that trip's kinda creeping up on me...

I need to find a dentist for us to go to... it's actually been probably close to 9-10 months since my last cleaning (eek!). Unfortunately when I tried to register on our insurance's website today it kept giving me errors, so I'll have Zach check up on that tomorrow.

six word sunday: A life's story, told in pictures.

six word sunday challenge

Saturday, April 14, 2007


I've made a yahoo calendar where I'm filling in the dates when friends and family will be visiting this summer. Most of the dates are still tentative, and in some cases (like with my Parents, and my friend Pat), I've listed their entire traveling dates but they'll only spend a bit of that time with us (just don't know which bit yet). I'll put question marks with the entires that are not confirmed dates yet. Then the rest of you can figure out when you'd like to visit as well.

I think everyone should be able to see the calendar without issues, but let me know if that's not the case. I'll also make a link to the calendar in the menus off to the left.

Cell Phones! and a warning: new rugs may make your cat go crazy

I went to Ikea yesterday in the early afternoon to pick up some random things we've been needing. I'd assumed that since it was Friday around noon it wouldn't be that crowded-- this tended to be the rule at other Ikeas I've gone to, business hours are usually a lot less crowded than nights or weekend. Imagine my surprise then to see that it was MORE crowded than the previous 2 times we've gone-- on a Thursday night and a Saturday. Strange. Anyway, I picked up these super adorable little flower vases which are currently holding some of the flowers from our yard. Cute, huh? =P I'm quite proud.

The weather has been absolutely amazing the past few days. Today I wore a tank top, skirt, and flip flops. I am in heaven. It's been in the 70's, which is normally listed as the average temp for the summers here. If it continues to be like this for the next several months... that would just be awesome. Everything's blooming like crazy, which is very pretty but is also causing Zach's allergies to go absolutely nuts.

We went into town today to take care of a few things, including getting our CELL PHONES finally, b/c our permanent residence permits came in the mail this week. Woot! So we went to this one phone company that has a deal where you can designate 3 phone numbers to call for free, which is awesome b/c otherwise it's about 35-45 cents/minute (cell phone plans suck over here). Unfortunately we found out that to get this plan we'd have to each plunk down a 1,000 chf deposit (about $800, that we'd get back, with interest, when we cancel our accounts). So we wound up putting me on the plan, and Zach got a prepaid phone (that I can call for free!). This means we also have our original Swiss prepaid phone that we can now give to guests when they come to visit. I got the blue Moto krzr-- it's nice and slim, cost only 1chf with the plan, and was the only phone that I really liked. I'm curious to see how much we'll end up spending on phone calls here, as everything seems much more expensive than the US systems. Oh well. That's part of getting to live here, right? It certainly is nice knowing we now have our "permanent" numbers, and that we each have a phone that we can have with us and be reached at.

One of my other Ikea purchases was a new floor rug. Sierra went NUTS on it last night. I think she misses the softness of carpet. I think the fumes from it were also making her high-- she was sort of acting like a cat high on catnip (at one point she started chasing her tail, something she NEVER does normally). I got a short video of her battling with a string on the rug. It was pretty funny watching her get so amped up, but I was also worried about what those fumes might have done to her poor little kitty brain.

Friday, April 13, 2007


This is a short (3-4 minute) video tour of our house, so far. It still needs a good bit more organizing and little touches here and there, but I think it's coming along quite nicely. =)

Here's another video of when we flew over, and our first night in our house in Switzerland! (keep in mind that in the first few shots, we'd already been through an 11 hour flight AND missed our flight connection to Geneva... so that's why I look like crap)

I feel so free

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Completely Unproductive

This morning I stumbled upon B's blog post about Ifilm, which led to me wasting the entire morning watching episodes of 8th & Ocean online. THIS is why I don't want cable in my house, b/c TV is EVIL and I fall way too easily prey to its mesmerizing glow. Especially for utterly ridiculously silly shows.

Anyway... I then spent the rest of the afternoon uploading, organizing, and incorporating Zach's pictures from Paris into my flickr album. Which now contains 477 pictures. I'm just waiting to see what happens when we go to Chile for 3 whole weeks, how many pictures will we end up with then?? I wonder when we'll outgrow the laptop's disk space...

I did accomplish working on my scrapbook, which I haven't done since before the move. Yay! I have a lot of catching up to do. I should go look at some scrapbooking pictures online, that'll give me motivation to get a bunch of pages done.

The weather's been awesome lately, today I think the high was close to 70. Not that I've left the house much... or at all... b/c I've been a computer-couch-potato. Ok, so Zach and I did go out on a walk once he got home from work. Everything's starting to bloom, it's pretty awesome. Which means there's also tons of birds everywhere, which keeps Sierra entertained all day long. It's pretty cute to watch. =P

OH and I got letters from the kids from school back in California! Two of the kids wrote to me, telling me they miss me, and another made a drawing that I think is me and my cat-- adorable!! I've been sending the school postcards when we travel anywhere, and it's just awesome to heard back from them and know they thought of me, and thought of writing to me and everything. Swoon!

Weekend in Paris, Pt 4

(see Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3)

Our last day in Paris was Monday. A lot of museums and other attractions tend to be closed on Mondays, so we saved this day to go see the Picasso Museum which we knew would be open. I discovered my interest in Picasso when Jen and I saw an exhibition of his work at the museum in Madrid this past summer, so I was really interested to see this museum in Paris. We got there a bit later than planned... it took us a while to get ready, packed, and checked out of our room, but we got to have a couple hours in the museum (it's a small one). It was neat seeing not only his paintings, but also a lot of his sculpture and even pottery! I didn't realize he had such a broad range to his art. When we first started looking Zach commented that he didn't really care for Picasso that much... however by the time we'd seen most of the work he changed his mind, agreeing with me that all Picasso's stuff is just so interesting and intriguing... I guess with most normal paintings you know where the inspiration came from, you know what the original image was, and how the painter came to form that image in his mind. With Picasso's art... you just have no clue where it comes from. I just wonder what the process was behind each creation. Then you see some of the pictures of Picasso himself, and you just gotta wonder what it would have been like to know the guy... certainly seemed like a character.

I also found it amusing that the museum itself seemed almost like a work of abstract art-- there were no maps or plans, you just walked from room to room in what seemed like a random fashion, going up and down stairs, never really sure where you are or how much you've seen. Kinda interesting.

After the museum we grabbed a bit to eat at a sidewalk cafe, in this adorable little area of town with all these cute shops. I joked with Zach that he'd planned to take us there only when we had limited time before having to catch our train back home that afternoon! ; ) We kept on walking and ended up at the Place des Vosges, which has a big courtyard in the middle that's a small park, and all around are shops and tiny art galleries. It was pretty cute, but I was so exhausted by the entire weekend by then that I didn't enjoy it as much as I might have otherwise. Oh well, soon enough it was time to get our bags from the hotel and head back to Gare de Lyon to catch our train back to Geneva.

Getting home took kind of a while, as once we got into Geneva there was a huge bottleneck to get through customs (where all they do is wave you through anyway) and then we had to wait for the bus to take us to our house... We found out that there's another stop on the train ride in from France that's just on the other side of the border, about 20 minutes drive from where we live, that has free parking at the station so we might take the train from there instead next time.

Anyway, so that was our trip. It's interesting, in some ways Paris didn't impress me quite as I expected it to... but in others it was absolutely fabulous. I guess I've already gotten used to "small town living" here and Paris just seems like such a HUGE city in comparison. A bunch of Zach's coworkers will be in Paris in June, I think, to do some follow-up work with L'Oreal, we may go back for a weekend to meet up with them. I look forward to getting to explore the city more, having gotten the touristy stuff out of the way.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

a change

I still need to write one more installment in my "Weekend in Paris" blog post series, but I think that will wait till tomorrow (though I do finally have the pictures up on flickr! You can see them --all 359 of them-- by clicking here. I haven't added captions or anything yet, it took long enough to get them uploaded and then sorted by tags, etc).

I have a break from class this week, so I've had my mornings to myself again. Yesterday, our first day back in town, I got up early to drive Zach to work so I could have the car, then went to do some shopping-- I got a little cd player, so now we can play cd's on something other than our laptop. It also means I got to finally listen to the Beatles go Baroque cd I found in the Louvre gift shop (it's Beatles songs, converted into classical music-- I saw it and just had to buy it, just to see what it was like). =P Zach's been talking about wanting to get more classical music... ; )

And then... I went into town, and got my hair cut. Into a short little pixie cut. I know, crazy, but at times I'm impulsive with hair stuff like this, and I've been getting tired of the maintenance my hair requires for a while. It's fun to have long hair and get to play with it and style it, etc, but when you find that dealing with your hair starts taking over your days (do I have time to wash my hair tonight? Do I have time to let it dry? Do I dry it naturally on the off chance the curls will actually look ok? Do I use the flat iron and further fry my hair? Will I have the extra 20-30 minutes in the morning to straighten it? etc etc etc) it gets to be a bit too much. Not to mention all the suitcase space that's taken up by all my hair gadgets when I go on trips. I've had my hair short before, so I kinda already knew how it'd look. So I went into town and tried a hair salon I'd found on and went for it. The guy seemed almost nervous about the cut, but he did a good job (other than cutting it a bit too short in the back... he had it perfect but then kept "fixing" this and that and got carried away). Zach says I look very "Euro" now, but he seems to like it. =P I haven't taken any pictures of it yet, but it looks kind of like this. I already feel more free. It's nice knowing I don't have to plan my day around my hair anymore. =)

Anyway, so after that adventure I picked up Zach at work and we went grocery shopping together. Last week we felt adventurous and bought a wedge of brie, and then I found out I'd need some pastry dough to be able to bake it, so we picked up some of that along with our regular stuff. I followed a simple recipe online that said to roll out the dough, place the slide of brie on top, spread a sweet jam on top, fold the dough over, then drizzle some maple syrup on top and stick it in the oven for 25 minutes. It turned out delicious. I'm normally not a fan of "stinky cheeses" but this summer while in Spain with Jen she ordered a baked brie tapas dish with bread and fruit jams, and it was awesome (I still don't like brie at room temp, though). Anyway, so we'll have to remember that recipe for the future sometime.

Today was mainly spent catching up on blogs, uploading pictures, washing laundry, and organizing the house a bit. I've got a few more pictures up on the walls, and de-cluttered some of the bedrooms a bit. Yay! I'm currently waiting for Zach to come home from work, and then I
ll get started on some dinner. Perhaps I should figure out what to make...

Weekend in Paris, Pt 3

(see Part 1 and Part 2)

Eva, Zach and I agreed to meet back up at 9am on Sunday morning. We decided to have another go at trying to climb to the top of Notre Dame, so we headed straight on over there to try to get in line. Zach and I were somewhat tempted to go into Mass, at least for a little bit (what better time to go to a Catholic mass in Notre Dame than on Easter Sunday?) but we figured there were probably many people much more deserving of that treat than us, as for us it would be more of a novelty than anything. So we got in line to climb up the tower instead, the line was long already but not horrendously so. I ducked out for a few minutes to do some souvenir shopping at a shop across the street (so many cute souvenirs!). Anyway, we finally made it in, and walked up more narrow, windy staircases, first to the gift shop and then up to the top of the building. It was once again nice and sunny, though with a biting wind, but the views were nice from the top anyway and there's tons of cool gargoyles lining the building. Unfortunately the passageways were pretty narrow so it was hard to maneuver around all the people at times. We got to climb up to where the big church bell is, where a lady was standing guard of it... or, actually, she was just kinda there, concentrating more on spreading little chocolate eggs and Easter bunnies all around the structure of the bell and around it. It was pretty amusing (Zach at one point wondered whether she was a legitimate person working there, of if she'd just snuck in hehe). I heard someone asking her about the chocolates and she practically yelled at him, "Don't you know what today is? It's Easter Sunday! Don't you know that we celebrate Easter with chocolates?!?" lol!

Once all the way through the tour and back down and outside the building, we got to see a bunch of Catholic priests walking outside the cathedral, holding smoking incense and I think a cross, waiting to go into the cathedral as part of the service, I presume. It was pretty cool.

After this we didn't have much of a plan, we walked around a bit heading towards the Pont Marie area that our French lady friend from the train had told us about, and sat at a sidewalk cafe and had a coffee. We then walked around the Montmarte area, past the Moulin Rouge and then up the hill towards these adorable little neighborhoods. I bought a toasted ciabatta sandwich from this street vendor, and I must say... it was amazing. It was made with chicken, tomatoes, mozzarella, and I think some basil, all melted from being toasted, and it was absolutely fabulous and wonderful.

We made our way over to the Basilica Sacre-Coeur, Eva went inside to see what it's like but there were so many people Zach and I opted out b/c we knew inside it would just be a mad house. So instead we walked around the building and found this little park on the other side of it, where a bunch of people were sprawled out on the grass. We laid down in an open spot and took a brief nap in the sun. It was wonderful.

Zach had heard about a cemetery nearby in which Jim Morrisson had been buried, so we went off in search of that, along the way coming across the Lapin Agile, a bar that Picasso frequented a lot and the setting for the play written by Steve Martin, that Cristina was in a few months ago (and where she met her current beau!). Anyway, we got to the cemetery, only to find that it was the wrong one... oh well, it was neat to walk around the raised tombs anyway. As Zach mentioned, there's something strangely serene about cemeteries. On the way out we saw this cute kitty and Zach tried to pet it, except this cat wouldn't even acknowledge his presence. Seriously. It wouldn't even look at us. This was especially weird to us, after getting used to the cats around our house that will see you and practically run up to you to get petted. But not this cat... this cat was a Parisian cat. ; )

After the cemetery we stopped at another cafe to rest our feet and allow Zach and Eva to have a beer, then we went back to the hotel to rest up for an hour or so. We then headed back out for dinner, debating whether to find a place near the hotel or try to venture out further into the city. Unfortunately by this point we were all feeling pretty beat so we opted for a closer place. We found this Italian bistro with some very outgoing waiters. The food was great (though a bit of an unfair comparison, after the previous night's amazing meal). We wound up talking quite a bit with our waiter, who was French and part Italian. He seemed happy to get to practice some English with us, and by the end of the night he gave us his contact info for next time we're in town. I don't know if we'll actually get together with him one day, but it might be nice to know someone in Paris, right? ; )

After dinner we walked over to the Champs de Mars, the park facing the Eiffel Tower and walked up it towards the tower as we watched the light show (which really sounds impressive, but all it is is a bunch of blinky lights all around the tower, sort of like a christmas tree but faster and more spastic). I don't know what time it was by then, but probably again close to midnight or past it, and we once again headed back to our hotel rooms, tired but satisfied from another great day, off to get some rest on our last night in Paris.

Weekend in Paris, Pt 2

With a happy cat curled up on my lap, and Snapfish attempting to upload my 300+ pictures, I think I have some time on my hands now to write up the next installment of our adventures in Paris. =P (see Part 1 here)

Zach and I had decided to spend Saturday at the Chateau at Versailles (the palace where the French royalty used to live). Eva opted to spend the day in town, wanting to see more of the Parisian tourist traps, so Zach and I headed out on the metro on our own Saturday morning. The day started out cloudy, but by mid-morning the sun had come out and we had what I like to call "California weather," where it can be nice and toasty warm in the sun, but almost cold in the shade, depending on the winds at the moment. Our Museum Pass meant we didn't gave to wait in line to buy tickets (woot!) so we got to enter the Chateau with only a few minutes wait. It's a pretty standard palace-- huge cielings, tons of big paintings everywhere, gold decorations all along the walls and doors... unfortunately our enjoyment of the place was a bit hampered by the massive hordes of people all around. But we got through it then went out to the gardens... the massive, huge, ginormous gardens. You could get lost all day out there. We had a bite to eat at a cafe near one of the ponds, and watched a wedding party taking pictures. Then we sat by the water and watched the wedding party all go out in the little rowboats you can rent. It was pretty funny watching them, they were definitely having fun, yelling back and forth at each other in Italian and French and trying to crash into each other. Zach was just waiting for someone to go overboard!

We sat out in the sun for a while, then went walking through some of the different hidden paths and looking at the different, very ornate the water fountains. By around 5pm we were pretty much done, so along with everyone else we started heading back to the train station to go back into Paris. We took a rest at the hotel, then met up with Eva around 8 or 8:30pm near Notre Dame. We had some time to kill before our 9:45pm dinner reservation, so we walked around for a bit checking out the small streets here and there.

We finally ended up back at the restaurant, a place called Le Reminet that Zach had eaten at once or twice before while on business and remembered as being very good. We'd managed to get our reservation even though Zach called just a few hours earlier. The restaurant was one of those tiny, candle-lit places that just looks adorable (Zach actually felt kind bad, as he didn't remember the place looking as romantic as it did and felt awkward at being there with both me and Eva, lol). Our table was downstairs, in what looked like a small cave. Very cool. Our waiter was very nice, spoke little English but we got along. I think we rushed things a bit by ordering our food almost right away (how very American!) b/c we were pretty hungry already, but I don't think they were offended.

The food... was fabulous. Amazing. SO good. And the meal really wasn't even that expensive. It was about $65 per person for an appetizer, main course, and dessert, plus a shared bottle of wine. Zach rated it as one of his top 5 meals ever (one of the other top 5's was also eaten at this restaurant). Highly recommended.

We got done with dinner around midnight, and were pretty ready to hit the sack. We took a taxi back to the hotel, made plans to meet up again in the morning, and were off to our rooms to get some sleep.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Weekend in Paris, Pt 1

Zach and I took the train to Paris on Thursday afternoon, leaving at 5:40pm. The trains are nice b/c there's no long security rigamarole to go through-- though we did have to wait in a line so we could get waved through the border security, since we'd be crossing over the French border. The train ride's about 3.5 hrs, we spent most of it talking to a very nice middle-aged woman who's originally from Paris, she spoke some English but mostly French and we managed to somewhat keep up the conversation for a few hours. She gave us some suggestions for good places to go walk around in Paris. =)

We got in around 10pm I think, and went to try to buy our metro tickets to get us to the hotel... only to find that the automated machines take either coins (Euros) or credit cards, but not OUR credit cards-- some "euromastercard" or something. So we had to go to the window to buy our tickets. This was a bit of an annoyance over the rest of the weekend, we didn't always have enough change to just use the automatic machines.

We wound up walking the long way around to find our hotel, but found it nonetheless-- and it was a mere block away from the Eiffel Tower. Woot! We got to our room and although we didn't have a view straight out our window, when we stepped out onto the balcony we could see the whole thing. Pretty neat. =) After checking in and dropping off our bags we went out for a quick bite, and ended up at a sidewalk bistro/cafe. The rotisserie chicken listed on the menu was calling out my name, and I tell you that piece of chicken , and the fries it came with, may have been the best I've ever had. (BTW, maybe it was partially the conversion rate of francs to euros, but I swear the food in Paris was cheaper than your average meal in Geneva) After eating we walked over to the Eiffel Tower a little bit, watching the "light show" and taking a few pictures. We quickly found our way back to our hotel room though and got to sleep.

We had a bit of a lazy morning on friday, took some time to get out of bed though we still made it down to get our free breakfast by 10am. ; ) Eva, one of Zach's coworkers, was taking a train into Paris that morning, and we met up with her at the hotel around noon. The weather was gorgeous-- it was almost a little too warm, great big blue skies. We stopped off to have lunch at a sidewalk cafe where I had a Croque Monsieur (basically a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, expect the cheese is on top instead of inbetween the bread slices). It's such a simple thing, yet was delicious (it helped that Eva, sitting next to me, was having a garlic-heavy meal and the smell of garlic wafting over made my sandwich seem even yummier).

I swear-- if there's one thing you decide not to budget for in Paris, it should be food. You don't even have to spend that much (or maybe I've spent too much time in Geneva already?), you can get a great meal at any of these little cafes for 10-15euros.

Anyway... we then walked over to Notre Dame to get a look at the cathedral. Now, usually you go visit these big, old cathedrals and it's pretty neat b/c they're usually gorgeous and all that... but usually they're also empty. However, this was Easter Weekend, and we happened to come in during Good Friday services (they actually had 2 lines outside the cathedral, one for people going to mass and another for tourists) so as we're walking around and gawking at the stained glass windows, right next to us there's all the Catholic priests chanting, reading out the Passion of the Christ in German, French, and Latin, the choir is singing hymns, and people are taking communion. It was pretty amazing. As Eva put it, it almost made you want to be Catholic.

After getting to see all the insides, we went around the building to see about climbing up to the top of the cathedral... unfortunately the line was horrendous, so we decided to try back another day. We took a peek at the gardens behind Notre Dame, then went across the street to find a gelato stand that Zach remembered from one of his previous trips to Paris. Unfortunately we got there after a big group of American high schoolers had gotten in line... but the wait was definitely worth it. This stuff was fantastic.

After all this, we decided it was time to try to tackle the Louvre. We had already bought our 4-day Museum Pass earlier in the day, so we walked on in (almost no line!) and got started looking at sculptures. Unfortunately the heat and wlal the walking earlier in the day (it was about 5pm when we got to the Louvre) meant we were already a bit worn out, and as anyone who's been there can attest the Louvre is a bit... overwhelming. We certainly did not do it justice. But we saw a lot of cool stuff, including the obligatory viewings of the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, and some very cool Egyptian stuff like hyerogliphics, a real-live (dead?) mummy, and some mummified cats! We left at closing time, around 9:30 or 10pm. It was amazing, but yeah... next time we should go when the day is still fresh. I think we'll also need to decide ahead of time on a few exhibits to focus on, and do those well, rather than try to rush through too quickly and not get to take it all in as fully.

We then went to see the Arc de Triumph, where we got to climb to the top (the first of many flights of ling, windy stairs during our sightseeing tour of Paris) and see the view of the city from the top. It's pretty neat seeing the roads that come in and out of the Arc, all converging at that one spot. It was also amazing looking down and watching the traffic flow... There's no lanes, cars are just going around in the HUGE traffic circle, wizzing in and out, cutting each other off, stopping, starting... it's chaos, and it wasn't even high traffic! Crazy Parisians... =P

We decided to grab a bit to eat before calling it a night, unfortunately it was getting a bit windy and cold and Marcy was tired and bordering on grumpy. I'm not sure exactly what time we got back to the hotel, but I think it was around midnight, or a bit later... We were all pretty pooped by then. It had been a long, amazing day.

To Be Continued.... ; )

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Official "List of Things Visitors Can Bring From The US in Exchange for Lodging"

  1. Mascara. Preferably the cool ones with the colored plastic brush, either by Cover Girl or Max Factor (in black/brown, please). This stuff costs like $7 at drugstores in the States, and nearly $20 here. Bring LOTS. Neutrogena's Clean Lash Tint will also do.
  2. Method cleaning wipes. They're like $3 or $4 at Target, and make cleaning so ridiculously easy. Any scent is fine. The specialty stainless steel wipes are also highly appreciated. (we've gotten some bottles of these, but could always use more for future stock)
  3. Clinique Super City Block SPF 25. Costs twice as much here. Ridiculous, I tell you.
  4. Scrap-booking supplies. I don't even care what, really, just bring me pretty paper and nice stickers and stuff. I'll figure out what to do with them.
  5. Canned pumpkin puree. Zach will love you for this.
  6. A Method omop started kit, for wood floors. Some extra sweeping cloths would also be nice. I'm hoping these can also be found at Target. I'm also hoping they'll reduce the amount of killer dust bunnies that continuously threaten to take over our house.
More items to come as I think of them.


We're leaving for PARIS!!!! this afternoon. =P We'll be there till Monday. Woot! I'm so excited. This will be my first time going. I'll be sure to take TONS of pictures to share with y'all when we get back. I'm not sure if I'll have good access to computers, so I may not get to blog over the weekend... if that's the case I'll have a big weekend update post probably on Tuesday. =)

Ok, I still gotta pack and do a bunch of other stuff this afternoon before we leave to catch the train. Have a great " Fetes de Paques" (Easter weekend) everybody! Eat lots of chocolate bunnies! =P

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

late night dinner

So we went to an ex-pat dinner last night for Zach's work-- which sounds a lot bigger of a deal than it really was. One of Zach's bosses from California is out here for business and he wanted to take the other Americans from the company who're working here out to dinner, all 6 of us (ok, it was 6 including the 2 wives, me and Aruna). Anyway... so we go to this restaurant and our dinner reservations are at 8:30pm, which basically means it's going to be a late night. We were the first to arrive so we went to the bar/lounge downstairs to wait for the others. The bar was called The Leopard Bar and was attempting a very strange mix of high-class with leopard print jungle themes. I'm not quite sure how you express "cheesy" in French, but this certainly was it. Of course, then the lounge singers came out and started singing easy listening classics from the early 90's, and it was all almost a little too much. lol

Anyway, everyone arrived and I think we got to our table around 9pm and proceeded to have a very fancy dinner. Between our courses they kept bringing out different little "amuse-bouches" for us to try. The food was good, though some things worked better than others. My main dish was this bacon/brisket type dish (a cube of bacon oven-baked like bisket) that was incredibly tasty, but you can only have so much of fat with strips of meat inbetween.

We finished dinner at 12:45am, which unfortunately meant we'd missed the last buses out... but Bob and Aruna were kind enough to give us a ride home. I enjoyed the meal, but by the time I was getting into bed all the rich and different tastes were starting to get to me and my tummy was feeling a little bit strange. But again, it was fun. It was a good group.

However we probably didn't get home and into bed till close to 2am, which made it extremely unlikely that I would be making it to French class this morning... Instead I slept in a bit, took Zach to work and then headed over to a big shopping center nearby to get some cat food and litter, and explore the shops a bit (gotta do some research for when visitors come!!). I unfortunately also fell for the trap of buying a couple American magazines, which cost a friggin fortune at the magazine stand. I should just invest in subscriptions, in the long run it'll probably be less.

Anyway, this afternoon I may nap a bit more and then at 5 I've got a date with little Jules again-- Aruna's got French class, and Bob will be at a business dinner (as will Zach) to I'll be spending the evening baby-sitting. Aruna tells me I got RAVE reviews from Jules after I sat for her last time, so tonight should be fun. =P

Oh, and these gorgeous yellow flowers are blooming in our terrace. =) I've never seen them with the small orange petals inbetween the yellow ones before. There's plenty more getting ready to bloom. So pretty!
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


This session of my French class ends on Thursdsay. There's another session that starts in another week, but not everyone is going to continue, and so over the past couple days it seems we're all getting in a scramble to get each other's contact info so we can hang out, as I think we're all needing some local friends. =P I've gotten several phone numbers and some email addresses. I'll have to start making calls and plans to get together for dinners, and possibly even try to host people over here.

This afternoon a few of us went to Carouge, an older part of town that's supposed to be very chic and hip. We actually came close to living there-- the apartment that was our 2nd choice was in Carouge. The buildings and streets are all adorable, and down some of the "main" streets there's boutique after boutique selling everything from clothes to kitchenware. I do admit, it certainly would have been awesome to live there, with all the cafes we could go to for breakfast on weekends, and there's a big farmer's market on Sundays. But I'm still very happy with our decision to live in our current house-- it's bigger, much brighter, and I feel like we get to benefit both from the countryside and the "city life."

We stopped at a restaurant for lunch where all 4 of us had the Plat du Jour (plate of the day, usually cheaper than the rest of the menu) which was a pan-seared fish (don't know what kind, though perhaps tuna?) with rice and this yummy sauce-- it was fabulous, seriously. We walked around a ton, then met up with another gal from class for an afternoon coffee. It's fun getting to know everyone, and I'm also proud that we spoke in French nearly the entire afternoon. =)

Tonight we're going to an ex-pat dinner for Zach's work. I'm still not sure what I'm gonna wear... I think we're going to kind of a nice place.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Learning to do without

I think I've found my Target substitute. Manor, the other big department store in Geneva, is actually pretty big, has all sorts of stuff (if only you can figure out where it is), and the prices are actually the most decent I've found elsewhere (which by no means makes them reasonable-- they're just the lowest I've seen for similar items). Today I found these wooden picture frames for less than half the price of the ones I got at Globus last week. Oh well. Learning experiences, right? Sure, Manor doesn't have the same feel (I don't get nearly as excited about the prospect of shopping there as I would over going to Target), and it lacks Target favorites like a nice scrap-booking section (I did find a teeny maybe 3 ft wide section with some scrap-booking material today) and cheap/cute clothing, but it's the best thing I've got and it'll have to do. I do feel the need to go find all the cute boutiques and independent shops that lurk around every corner here, but those are mainly for window shopping because, well, almost always "cute boutique" = outrageously expensive.

Zach took some of the under-baked pumpkin bread in to work today to share with his colleagues. He reports that they all gave rave reviews (just wait till I bake it right, guys!). Aaah, pumpkin bread, always a winner. I should be eternally grateful to Julia, who introduced me to this fabulous recipe to begin with-- she served it at a Thanksgiving Pot-Luck, and if I remember right Zach threatened to divorce me if I didn't learn how to make it for him ; ). I just hope I can find pumpkin puree here... I've got 1 can left from the care package. If not, I will be adding it to the List of Things Visitors Can Bring From The US in Exchange for Lodging (I'm totally serious about this list, I will be posting it soon...).

Ok, it is time to take a break from this infernal computer that somehow seems to suck up all my time. How does it even do that??

Sunday, April 01, 2007

failed attempts

Zach and I spent some time today organizing the house. I tried putting away some more of my clothes. We technically have closet space in the hallway and guest bedroom, but I'm trying my best to keep most of my clothes in the big dresser we got from Ikea. Unfortunately, they're not quite fitting. I purged a LOT of my clothes in preparation for this move, but I'm finding myself going through the process yet again. It's funny how much easier it is to realize that you don't really want/need/like that top/pants/sweater after all, when you have no place to put it. On the other hand, this is an excellent deterrent against shopping for new clothes. How can I buy more clothing if I don't even have enough storage for the stuff I already own?

I tried baking pumpkin bread this afternoon, too. I'd promised Zach I would make him some, as pumpkin bread seems to be one if his high loves in life, alongside me and the mountains. I had all the ingredients (expect for nutmeg, b/c when we shopped for it at the store I realized I had no clue what its French name was). No biggie. So I mixed it all up, figured out which of the 103 oven settings I needed for baking the pumpkin bread, and stuck it in using the oven timer to remind me to check it in 30 minutes.

The timer goes off, and I check on the bread-- not done yet-- so I give it another 15 minutes. Not much progress after that, so I gave it another 15 minutes. Then another 20. This stuff is usually done after about 45 mins- 1hr. After 1hour and 20 mins had gone by I start to get suspicious and realize that the OVEN HAD TURNED ITSELF OFF. It is at this point (perhaps b/c of my yells of frustration) that Zach comes downstairs and lets me know that our very quirky little oven is programmed to turn itself off when the timer goes off, unless you know to press the button twice. Which I did not. So the poor pumpkin bread, now starting to deflate on itself, had been sitting in a warm oven for a good 40-50 minutes by then, only half-baked. So I turn the oven back on, and let it bake until I assume it's done-- I did the fork test and everything.

It was only after I'd let the pumpkin bread cool down and was getting ready to serve us up some slices of it that I realized that the center was still mushy. ARGH! So Zach is right now letting it sit in the oven in an attempt to save it. Personally, I'm kind of ok with just eating it mushy. I spent my entire childhood eating unbaked cookie dough, I'm not really scared of salmonella.

The other thing I spent way too much time on today was looking into changing my template. I want to try to find something a bit more original than the basic Blogger-provided templates. I'm not quite sure yet what I'll go with, I tried switching some stuff over earlier but it didn't quite work out and I knew I'd need more time to tweak it so I tired reverting back to the same template as before but inevitably stuff got kinda screwey so that's why some things may be somewhat out of place. I may be spending some time this coming week working on this. Or I may give up. It all depends on how many more hours I want to spend ignoring my husband an cat in favor of a glowing computer screen.

six word sunday: "So... you don't wanna be friends?"

six word sunday challenge


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...