Maison Cailler


I can’t believe it’s taken us this long to get here. But finally, on a stormy Sunday, we made the short trek over to Lac de la Gruyere (yes, famous for the awesome cheese) in order to experience the highest experience in a chocolate-lover’s life – the chocolate factory.

Maison Cailler seems so elegant for a factory. Like, I wouldn’t expect Willy Wonka to approve. Or maybe this is where Wonka puts on his evening jacket and has a snifter of cognac. (Or whatever elegant people do. Personally, if I’m not sporting at least a small bit of baby vomit I’m feeling pretty elegant.) Continue reading

Birthday wishes and cupcakes


I can’t tell you how happy I am that it’s February. More importantly: January is over. What a slog that month was. I normally don’t come down so hard after the high of the holidays, but that’s just where I am I guess. You’ve been hearing about my potty-training struggles. I had no idea I would find potty-training actively depressing, but it’s seemed to have that effect. Or maybe more anxiety-causing. I spent the first week that X was out of diapers in a constant state of near-panic. I know, I need to just relax a bit, right? It turns out that I’m just a worrier, and everything is going very well, and we’re all very happy and getting used to peeing somewhere other than our pants. (This house has been accident-free for 8 days!) The sun appears to be wanting to shine again, both literally and figuratively, and I’m looking forward to what spring brings us.  Continue reading

Book recommendations


I haven’t blogged in awhile. Sorry. Am tired. I’ve been working on other projects and between that and the kids there hasn’t really been any time left over. Even for sleep. E has become the most clingy child in the history of my term as a mother, and now that she can crawl, she goes on a dogged pursuit of me the second I put her down. My sweet, stubborn little girl. No matter where I go, I can see her coming after me, tongue peeking out of the side of her mouth, bound and determined to get into my arms come hell or high water. I love her, and I love her determination, but it means no free time for me. Hell, it means there’s barely any time to cook, clean or wash my hair because this little girl has needs. Continue reading

Christmas in Chamonix


There’s just no way around it. I am suffering from some post-holidays blues. I really thought this year was going to be different. I was all ready to face the new year, looking forward to facing the new challenges and adventures this year would bring. But January 1 rolls around and, as it invariably does, I’m questioning what the hell I’m doing with my life. You’d think that in your thirties you’d have grown out of the phase, but apparently, no.

I have had no inspiration, no desire to do much at all, and the thought of keeping in touch with people seems overwhelming rather than enjoyable. I have to drag myself out of bed in the morning. I’ve been feeling sluggish, lazy and creatively constipated. And life at the very moment is anything but glamourous. The thing with living in Switzerland is that life is sometimes incredibly awesome – I wouldn’t give that up for anything. But no matter where you’re living, life is often commonplace, boring, even kind of gross sometimes. For example, I am at the moment potty training X. I’ve been dreading this for awhile, but it’s time. It’s raining nonstop and what better time to stay in and work on perfecting peeing into a small receptacle? Continue reading

Homemade stocking stuffers

I hope that everybody out there found a little bit of magic for their Christmas. I had a wonderful time, and was especially blessed to be able to share the holidays with my mom and stepdad. The day was great, and I don’t know whether the full moon had an effect on us or not, but we ended the day in a fit of giggles, playing cards and tasting scotch. Maybe it wasn’t so much the full moon, but more so the scotch. At that point I got it into my head that the more scotch I drank, the more improved my hangover would be the next day. Snort. That is not how the world works. Actually, I feel fine today, and think that scotch tasting should become a new holiday tradition. Continue reading

Smashing cauldrons and stockings hung by the fire


I’ve wanted to embrace some of the traditions of our culture here in Switzerland. One of the biggest festivals in the year in Geneva is Escalade. According to legend (or history, or whatever), the Duke of Savoy wanted to take over Geneva at the beginning of the 17th century. On the night of Dec 11, 1602, the French army marched on Geneva along the Arve river (which passes by my village). But the Genevois citizens would have none of it and turned the French army back. One of  the mythic figures of that night was Mere Royaume, who lived right above one of the gates to the city, caused a retreat by tossing a cauldron of hot soup onto the men trying to scale the wall (escalade, in French). I suspect it was the cauldron beaning them rather than the soup that did the trick, but that moment has been celebrated now for 400+ years here in Geneva. Continue reading

Ultimate Reading Challenge: Mission Accomplished


I finally did it! I finished my Ultimate Reading Challenge. I actually was done quite a while ago, but I was waiting for the right time to read my book set during Christmas. And I got to indulge in one of my Christmas fantasies – the family curled up around the fire and reading this book to each other. And I got to do it while in Chamonix, looking up at Mont Blanc. So pretty much I’m in Christmas heaven right now.

The best Christmas book you could possibly read is Barbara Robinson’s The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. It is so sweet, and my family has been reading it for years. It’s a kids book, so not long, but we often break it up and read one chapter a night, so it takes a week (of ten minutes of reading a night). This year the kiddies were already tucked into bed, but I’m hoping that by next year X at least might be able to enjoy it. It is about the spirit of Christmas, and cute kids and being kind. Totally recommended. Continue reading