Strawberry Dreams

I haven’t really made an attempts to hide that I have found this winter … tiresome? It’s been long, and gloomy, and the kids have been an extreme handful. But there is light at the end of the tunnel, for me, all of a sudden, with an abundance of strawberries. Spring is here, my friends.

Strawberries are such a decisive treat, aren’t they? People either seem to love them or really dislike them. But I think that mainly has to do with where and when you get them. There are some really good strawberries out there. You know, the small, sweet, juicy ones that come available late spring in Canada and are only around for a week or so. The giant hothouse ones you can get year round, not so much. They don’t really taste like much of anything and are kind of mealy. They don’t do much for me at all. People seem often very adamant about how and when strawberries are good.

I met a woman from Scandinavia who informed me that nothing on the planet was as tasty as Norwegian strawberries, which are only available for two weeks out of the year. I expressed my enthusiasm at trying them, and she gave me a disparaging look. “You can’t get them here,” she said. “You have to be in Norway to eat them. There aren’t enough to ship out anywhere.” She seemed offended at the thought of her Norwegian strawberries going anywhere else. Apparently people make pilgrimages to eat these things. I had no idea, but I appreciate learning these things. Maybe one day I too will make a Norwegian strawberry pilgrimage. Continue reading

Book recommendations: February picks

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You know how there’s “porn” for everything? Usually found on instagram – fashion porn, book porn, food porn, just regular porn porn I guess – the photos of lifestyle stuff that gets you hot. Well, I think I’ve topped all of this with grocery porn. Has #groceryporn become a thing yet? Are the hipsters all over it? I’ll have to ask my sister.

I wanted to take a photo of my grocery bag the other day. Since moving to Europe, the ideal grocery bag looks like this: some delicious cheeses, a bottle of red wine, a bit of chocolate, strawberries and of course the ubiquitous baguette peeking out of the top. And I had every single one of those things in my bag. It made me inordinately happy. Sometimes, you just have to enjoy the small things. Of course, I didn’t take a picture of my groceries because that would be insane. Continue reading

Celebrating Valentine’s the European way

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I had been discussing the other day the ways that living in Europe has changed me. Initially, I pretty much thought, not at all. I didn’t think I live any differently than I used to. But on reflection, there are some little things I think I’ve started to do, little ways I’ve changed my life, that reflect a more European lifestyle. And actually they are things that I’m not sure I could go back from. At the very least, I’d try really hard to maintain these elements no matter where I go – bringing Europe with me. Continue reading

Maison Cailler

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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

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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: January picks

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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

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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