Autumn cooking: Butternut squash and apple soup and Pear cake

Sorry it’s been so long since my last blog – due to some unintended and rather ridiculous decorating on my part, or potentially a ghost, I had to turn off some of the electricity to my house, including the part that houses my internet and wireless. I was without lights or Netflix or TV or anything for awhile. It was one of those times you could REALLY use a glass of wine, so I was cursing my burgeoning belly. Thank god for handy husbands when they finally return from Africa!

I’ve been doing some autumnal cooking, trying to use the yummy produce of the season. Also trying to make some healthy dishes I could potentially tempt X into eating where he might be tricked into consuming a vegetable. So far, no go. This kid just doesn’t want to eat. Ever. He’s getting quicker on the uptake, too, when he realizes I’m trying to get food down his throat. Short of physically ramming things down his throat, I don’t know how to get him to eat anything. He has expanded his repertoire of “okay” foods from just chocolate to include cookies, though. I guess that’s a step in the right direction. Only if he’s tied down, though, can’t move and there is no prospect of play in the immediate future. Then he might deign to have a cookie. Sigh.
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Swiss travel: Yvoire

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One of the many advantages of living in a place so surrounded by amazing locations and finds is that you’re constantly stumbling into cool things, totally by accident. The other day, we got a little lost and randomly drove by some Roman ruins (we made a note to get back there sometime, although the chances of us finding it again are slim).

On this recent particular Sunday, though, we were driving home, and wanted the little man to go down for a nap. It never fails, but he will invariably fall asleep when we are 10 minutes from home. Guaranteed. It doesn’t matter how long the drive is – twenty minutes or three hours. It’s like he knows – okay, ten minutes from home, this will be the absolute least convenient time for me to sleep, let’s do this. So we try to trick him. In this case, we decided to take the long way back to Geneva through France, and drove along the rugged coast of the lake. Our plan totally backfired, as the little man didn’t fall asleep, which meant he was up even longer than he should have been, but when it comes to our little surprise adventures, it couldn’t have been better. Continue reading

Book reviews

I haven’t really paid attention to my GoodReads posting of my novel, New City. I was perusing GoodReads this morning though, and noticed that somebody had posted a review! I was pretty excited to read it, until I saw that it was basically someone calling me out for giving it a five-star rating. Which, I mean, I totally did. I was the first person to rate it. Why would you want to read a book if even the author was like: Well, it’s kind of meh. Anyway, I was shamed enough to take down my rating, but was happy that it didn’t affect the rating itself of 4.71 stars (not bad, eh?). Although then I realized my rating as an author didn’t have any influence on the average rating. So why should it matter that I’m proclaiming it to be an awesome book? I think I’ll put my five-star rating back up. I stand behind it. Or is this a totally gauche thing to do? Thoughts? (Also if you’ve read the book, would love it if you could give a rating, or even better, a review!)

Here’s what I’ve been reading. I’ve read some not-great books lately, but then I rewarded myself with Amy Poehler’s very sweet book, so that was great. I’m going to post that review last, so you have to slog through the not so good, just like I did. Continue reading

Swiss travel: Swiss Vapeur Park

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Playtime is serious business around these parts. I took X to his first Gymboree class – yes, they exist even in Switzerland. I’ve heard a lot of moms tell me it’s super overpriced and not worth it. That wasn’t my experience – the entire thing was basically designed for a kid like X. I can see if you have a quiet kid who spends most of his time playing in the corner with a ball, sure, not worth it. But I had put X in a class with older kids, and he was still five times more active than the next energetic kid. Like, blink and you miss him. He had so much fun. I think. He doesn’t laugh a lot when he’s playing, because as I said he takes it seriously. He had to try out every piece of equipment. He would jump onto the rocking horse and rock as hard as he could for about 20 seconds, with a fierce look of concentration on his face. Then he’d jump off and dash to the next thing. It’s cute, but it’s exhausting. If I can let someone else take over running the play for a few minutes, well, that’s just awesome. Continue reading

Gender Prediction

I am officially 20 weeks today in my pregnancy, meaning I am halfway-ish there! As much as I don’t want to wish away the last few months I have alone with X, I am looking forward to not being pregnant. I do not like being pregnant. Those women who gush about how amazing it is are crazy – it is painful and uncomfortable, with the swelling and the acne and the not being able to kick back with a hot bath or a glass of wine.

Despite not enjoying pregnancy, I am getting really excited to learn our new baby’s gender. We had to bump back our ultrasound where we can find out, since somebody had to be in the Congo the day it had been booked. (Hint: it’s not me. Or X). So while I’m impatiently waiting to find out the gender, I thought I’d try to figure it out using all the kooky old-fashioned ways people used to do it before there were such things as ultrasounds. I will say straight up that I have no preference whether this baby is a boy or a girl. I feel that either way it’s going to be fun. Having another boy in many ways will be easier. Having a girl would be exciting, but I feel it would change the dynamics of our family a lot more. I’m just super excited to discover who’s coming. Continue reading

Swiss travel: Freilichtmuseum Ballenberg

I’m now entering into my second week without a working furnace. It’s not exactly fun, but it could be worse. It’s a very depressing autumn day, about 12 degrees and rainy, so everything is kind of damp and chilly. The kind of day where you would like to have functioning heat. But if I were back home, it would certainly be a lot worse, because I see things are already freezing there. Of course, back in Calgary, I bet it doesn’t take two weeks to fix a broken furnace in November. Because you would die. So that’s a con for living here, I guess. The fact that furnace repair is not a priority. Not the not dying without heat thing. I consider that part a pro.

I am way behind on my blogging. Travel blogging, anyway. Most of the things I write about happened several weeks ago. I’d like to pretend it gives me time to reflect on our experiences and parse out the important anecdotes over the static of what is just another ordinary event. However, in actual fact, I’ll be sitting here in front of my blog, asking “what the hell did we do that day?” And then making a bunch of stuff up so it sounds cool. (just kidding, I don’t do that, for the blog anyway. I have a “one line a day” diary where I’m supposed to write one line a day, obviously, about what I did, but it goes on for five years so you can look on the same page and see where you were on any given date over the past five years. In theory, very cool. In practice, I either write something lame about doing laundry, or blatantly lie because I’m so behind I have zero clue what I did that day. It was probably laundry.)

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Swiss travel: Interlaken

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I had a bit of a bet going with my brother-in-law. While we were enjoying the autumn sunshine on the shore of Lake Geneva at Vevey, I commented that this was the most beautiful place I had ever been. He responded with a: just wait til we get to Interlaken, it puts all of this to shame. Apparently my most beautiful place was a little meh for him.

So it was on. We went away for the weekend, all five of us (me, X, Z, sister, brother-in-law) bundled tight in the car, to Interlaken, which is more central Switzerland and firmly within the German-speaking side. Interlaken is situated in between two mountain lakes (hence the name) and is a jumping off point to get to some ski and resort areas higher up in the Alps. Continue reading