Saturday, December 29, 2007


Happy Boot Year
Originally uploaded by hellomizk
Afternoon, all! I was goofing around on Picnik trying to make my boring boot photo just a bit more entertaining. If you haven't played with Picnik yet, I recommend it - you have to pay for the really cool Photoshop-like stuff but plenty of fun little photo editing toys are free.

So why the boots? Well most of you who know me know I'm not exactly the sensible shoes type. Apparently the threat of two meters of snow is enough to change a girl's mind because the festive boots you see in the picture are now all mine! Now, before you get all excited, we don't have two meters of snow here - we don't have an inch of snow here. We are spending New Years Eve at our friend's cousin's wife's mother's chalet! There will be seven of us total and Mr K and I are so excited! I don't think I've ever seen more than a foot of snow in one place before.

In preparation for the trip, Dani took us shopping on Thursday night. We both got new jackets and snow pants and gloves and what is easily the most expensive, least sexy undergarments either of us has ever owned. We both have long sleeved undershirts and long pants for under our snow pants and jackets. I also got my megaboots. And megasocks. Once the cashier rang everything up, I paid and then with Dani's help lifted Mr K's unconscious body off the floor of the store and carried him home. Through the skillful application of bourbon and beer, I think we've put the worst behind us and he's going to pull through - until the credit card bill arrives next month! (The links are similar to what we got but not identical - ours were all on sale!)

Aaaaanway, all goofiness aside, I think we are now officially prepared to deal with mountains and piles of snow. We're leaving tomorrow morning and coming back on Tuesday or so. Mr K is hoping to make another time lapse movie, so keep your fingers crossed!

One more side note: thanks so much to our family for putting up with the time and expense involved in making sure our Christmas presents got here along with various American drinks and snacks we've missed. I now have more brown sugar and corn bread and canned green chilies than I could ever hope for! Thanks for the wonderful gifts and we'll see you soon!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Go look at Mister K's blog - go now!

I mean it - go go go!

O yeah - Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Eve!

Flowers and candle
Originally uploaded by hellomizk
The presents are wrapped, the groceries bought, and the funny little tree decorated - we're set! Merry Christmas Eve to all!

My parents sent us the beautiful flowers in the picture to use as a centerpiece for our Christmas Eve dinner with Kaia, Peter, and Maria tonight. The candle was left, wrapped, at our door with the sweetest note from our neighbors - a very grandfatherly man and his adorable little wife. The other day, he was getting off the elevator as I was getting on and we had a quick conversation - he speaks beautiful English - about Christmas plans. I told him we weren't able to make it home for the holidays due to my husband's work schedule but would visit the US in late January instead. In his card, he wrote that he was sorry we would not be able to be home but he hoped we enjoyed our first Swiss Christmas. He asked us to let him and his wife know if we ever needed anything - it was the sweetest gesture and came as a complete surprise.

I have to wrap this up shortly as I have a handful of dinner preparations to get started on but I just wanted to share that quick little story!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


That duck is a jerk
Originally uploaded by hellomizk
We have snow again today - just the tiniest smidgen of snow, but snow nonetheless! I got all bundled up and went for a walk to enjoy the snow and to take a bunch of stale bread I've been saving to feed the ducks. The ducks were very chatty and hungry this morning, so my bread went quickly. After the bread - and as a result, the ducks - were all gone, I wandered along the river. Huge icicles hung down from the cliffs on the other side of the river and everything had the lightest dusting of snow.

Yesterday I had a very cranky day for no reason.

Today is better! I made a tasty dinner last night and have started planning my menu for Christmas Eve dinner with Peter and Kasia. Five days until Christmas!

Entertain me! Tell me a fun fact, an entertaining lie, or ask an interesting question in comments!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Skinny tree, busy weekend!

Another tree detail
Originally uploaded by hellomizk
I posted a couple pictures of our funny little Christmas tree to my Flickr account. Our choice of trees was somewhat hampered by size and weight, since Chris was going to have to carry it back to our apartment. I thought a tall skinny tree was a nice change from a short fat tree. An added bonus was the tree only needed one strand of lights so I got to pick out some super swanky lights rather than having to stick to the less expensive little bitty ones. You can't see them in this picture, but the fancy one look like frosted flowers - very pretty!

We had a busy weekend! On Saturday night we had yet another amazingly tasty dinner at Kasia and Peter's house. Kasia made pirogi in soup and a poppy seed cake that made Chris swoon. This wasn't the poppy seed cake my American buddies are familiar with - the one with a smattering of seeds more for color than for flavor. This was a seed-based cake! Kasia said it took over a pound of seeds to make it. Unfortunately we have no pictures, but trust me - amazing stuff!

We got up early on Sunday morning to meet Dani and Steph and go the thermal baths in Charmey. We arrived around 11 in the morning and, after purchasing a swimming suit for Chris, we headed into the changing rooms to shed our hats, coats, scarves, gloves, shoes, socks, pants, shirts, and the rest and climb into our swimming suits. After depositing our pounds of winter clothing in lockers, we took quick showers and walked into the thermal bath area. We had never been to anything like this before and it was amazing! There were two large swimming pools filled with water hovering around 90 degrees. One pool was indoors and one was outdoors. It was 19 degrees outside and there was snow everywhere. One whole wall of the baths was glass overlooking the mountain side and the air was crisp and cold cold cold. If you wanted to play in the outdoor pool, you could go out the door - brrrrr! - or you could walk into the water up to your neck and then go through a doorway hung with strips of plastic to keep most of the cold air out. Through the outdoor pool you could get to multiple saunas and the Turkish baths.

We were unfamiliar with the differences between saunas and baths, so allow me to explain. The Turkish bath was around 113 degrees with 100% humidity. A small hose on the wall would allow you to spray yourself down with ice water if you got too hot and after about five minutes, it felt wonderful to rinse off your legs and feet and splash your face with the cold, fresh water. The sauna was closer to 185 degrees with 0% humidity, so we only stayed in 10 to 12 minutes. When we exited the sauna, there was a huge bucket mounted high up on the wall with a rope hanging down. While sitting in the sauna, we would hear a whoosh followed by a gasp or small scream every couple minutes. Closer examination of the bucket cast a light on these weird sounds - it was full of ice water and when people would come out of the sauna, they would stand below it and pull the fat rope hanging down from it at which point the barrel would upend and dump several gallons of ice water over the person fresh from the sauna. Our Swiss friends swore it was "good for the heart and circulation"... I planned to skip the bucket but after everyone - including Chris - dowsed themselves, the peer pressure kicked in and that's how I ended up paying for the privilege of dumping a bucket of ice water over my head while standing outside in a bikini in December. To be fair, once the initial shock wore off, they were right - it felt great... but that doesn't mean I was brave enough for the bucket after the second trip to the sauna!

After a light lunch, we changed out of our suits and back into pants, shirts, socks, shoes, hats, scarves, gloves, and coats. We went back to Dani and Steph's house for dinner - Fondu Chinois. Because this post is getting a bit long-winded, I'll leave a description of that for my next post!

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Originally uploaded by hellomizk
We have had quite the weekend!

On Friday night we went to Mr K's annual work Christmas party, only this time it was in CH and not VA. The food was wonderful - we had truffle ravioli and I hit a new personal milestone- I ate a fishy food and didn't hate it! Before the pasta was served we had salad with thin slices of smoked salmon on it and, having fortified myself with a couple glasses of wine, I decided to brave the fish. I speared a minuscule sliver on my fork, wrinkled up my nose, and nibbled the corner off - before enthusiastically eating the whole thing and chasing it with the rest of the salad. Who knew! I'm going to pick up some smoked salmon from the grocery tomorrow and continue to experiment with it...

On Saturday we met up with one of Mr K's visiting coworkers to spend the day in Geneva and were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves visiting the city for the first time during one of their biggest festival weekends of the year!

"L'Escalade, or Fête de l'Escalade (from escalade, the act of scaling defensive walls) is an annual festival held in December in Geneva, Switzerland, celebrating the defeat of the surprise attack by troops sent by Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy during the night of 11–12 December 1602. The celebrations and other commemorative activities are usually held on 11 December or the closest weekend." Thanks, Wikipedia!

Before we made it to the center of the festivities, we stopped to grab some nice hot street vendor food to tide us over for a couple hours. I had the most wonderful tamale - it was just perfect. Chris had a ham and cheese panini and we had CHURROS for dessert! After this snacking, we went wandering around and found ourselves surrounded by cannons, kids in costumes, adults in "historical garb" (costumes), guns, vin chaud, more cannons, and pigeons. Part of one street was blocked off and filled with snow and people were skiing down it.

Mr K posted several pictures on his blog as well - go check them out!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Paint and ink and paint and ink

Illustration Friday - Excess
Originally uploaded by hellomizk
So now that my novel is the correct length (if not technically 'done') and now that we have an apartment and now that we have furniture, I officially have practically no more excuses for not participating in Illustration Friday again. I'll be posting these on the other blog - one per week except when I forget - but I thought I would drop a little 'heads-up' in this blog as well.

In other news, hurrah for Friday! Tonight is Mr K's office Christmas party so we get free dinner and I don't even have to cook it. Tomorrow I think we're going to Geneva for a day trip to do some exploring so we should have some more pictures on Flickr soon. One of Mr K's coworkers arrived yesterday and was kind enough to bring us corn syrup for Mr K's brittle-making and brown sugar (not brown-colored, which is the only kind they have here...) for my cooking so I foresee much sugaryness in our futures!

In food news (my favorite kind) I just whipped up a big old pot of cream of broccoli soup - and I didn't open a single can to make it! Just 1.5 kg of broccoli (3 pounds-ish) and onion and lemon juice and olive oil and cream and cream and cream. Very tasty. Since dinner tonight is provided and we'll probably go out tomorrow, I think I'm going to freeze it for Sunday or Monday dinner - and I better freeze it soon before I eat it all myself!

EDIT: Tonight when we got back form Mr K's office party, there were heavily armed riot police blocking the train station. We have no idea why. We heard gunshot-type sounds that could have been fireworks and we followed the crowds of teenagers, but we still have no idea what happened. Crazy, huh?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Tiny Post #4

A public note to whomever googled "mummy corn dog" to find my blog:

That completely made my day - if that's my legacy, I can live with it! ;-) Thanks for the laugh!

Miz K

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Originally uploaded by hellomizk
Today I went for a little walk to get some fresh air and practice taking pictures some more. I wandered down to the river and took a variety of crunchy old breads that we forgot to eat with me. The bread here is tasty but we've noticed that if you buy a loaf, you pretty much better plan on finishing it in 24 hours tops - or plan to share it with birds, because it takes a beak to crunch the crusts the next day.

When I got to the river, a bunch of mallard-y looking ducks were hanging around. I laid an IKEA bag on the ground so I would have something to sit on, since it's been drizzly all day. As soon as I was comfortably settled and had the camera ready, I started feeding the ducks. I had two rolls and a bun and I now realize I should have brought way more bread because tons and tons of ducks showed up. Several of the ducks would stand right next to me, not more than six inches away, and take the bread right from my hand. Neat! Things got exciting when the swans showed up. Two big swans.

How big were the swans? Well, I was sitting on the ground and the swan who walked up to me and stood on my boots looked down at me when he stretched out his neck. Them's good eatin', I bet. Anyway, this swan stood right next to my feet and swung his long neck until his face was about a foot from mine - and growled at me. Growled. And then hissed. I couldn't stand up because of the way I was sitting and the fact the swan was standing between my feet, so I put the toe of my boot on his chest and gently pushed him back. He didn't like that. He stretched his neck out and hissed again. In a last desperate measure, I threw a roll at his head and shut my eyes. When I didn't get attacked, I opened one eye to see the swan blissfully attempting to swallow the entire roll without doing whatever it is swans do in lieu of chewing. Once he finished his roll, he seemed satisfied and walked away, allowing me to continue feeding the duckies and, soon, the pigeons. The rain picked up and I decided to head back home.

On a totally unrelated note, I present to you:
Sauce for ham - a variation

1/4 cup butter
1 tbsp flour
1/4 cup orange juice
1/3 cup cane sugar
1 tbsp molasseses
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup apricot jelly
1/4 tsp prepared horseradish

Melt butter and stir in flour. Add remaining ingredients except horseradish and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in horseradish to taste. Serve with ham! (Tasty on ham sandwiches the next day, too)

Still need a goofy name for my sauce. "ApriHorse"? "RadiCot"? "HorsieCot"? "Spicy Horsey Fruity Goo?"

Friday, November 30, 2007

Ta da!

Ta da!
Originally uploaded by hellomizk
Earlier today I was rereading one of my favorite books about food by food critic Jeffrey Steingarten. In one of the articles he had an excessively long and detailed recipe for a Gratin Dauphinoise that makes me positively drool every time I read it. Today, as I reread the recipe for the tenth or eleventh time, I thought, "Why not." It's Friday and I have nothing overwhelming pressing to do, though I probably should have hit the Post to pay rent, but that can wait until tomorrow. I made a list of ingredients and hit the grocery.

When I was younger, we got Potatoes au Gratin in a box - it was delicious and one of the foods I begged for. It never occurred to me that there was any other way to make them before I read Steingarten's article. I've always been a pretty good eater, but it wasn't until I spent several years working in restaurants that I really got into food.

This recipe was easily one of the most detailed I have ever read - it was two full pages long. When Mr K walked in the kitchen and saw me, ruler in hand, measuring my potato slice, I thought he was going to hit the floor laughing. Following the directions in the book exactly, I sliced potatoes to 1/8 inch on my mandolin slicer and buttered my casserole dish. Four tablespoons of butter, one cup of tasty swiss milk, one and a half cups of heavy cream - swoon. I lightly crushed a garlic clove and added it to the milk along with a bit of nutmeg and salt and pepper. I brought the milk to boil once, let it cool, and then boiled again before pouring gently over my potato slices. Before the milk was poured, however, I had to tile my potato slices exactly as described, even going so far as to "throw away the small end slices" as the book instructed. This mix baked, covered for several minutes, during which time I boiled, cooled, and boiled again the heavy cream. So many steps!

I think this could be one of the more complicated things I've cooked to date and it was wonderful. Next time I would probably give it another five minutes in the oven, but as you can see from the picture, the top browned perfectly and the cream and butter oozed out from between the thin potato slices. With this we had ham and a cold bean salad. All in all I was very impressed and no, there isn't any left.

Between intense cooking today and finishing my 50k words last night - the novel isn't done, but NaNoWriMo is - I'm utterly exhausted right now. It's just a bit past 7:30 in the evening and I think I could fall asleep right now. Mr K is playing Playstation as we finally got the doodad to plug it in.

I'm off to eat the last three gooey potato slices and try to stay awake!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Originally uploaded by mrphrtq
This picture has nothing to do with Fribourg, I admit - I was just going through older photos today and came across it and it made me laugh.

Over the summer, Mr K and I went to Hilton Head, South Carolina for a nice vacation courtesy of his parents. My parents were there, too, for a conference my dad was teaching at, so the timing could not have been better. Mr K and I ended driving around and exploring one day and we found a pond - or maybe more of a small lake - full of life. Gray shapes moved under the surface of the water, looking far too big for the pond they lived in. These carp must have been well into the 3-5 foot long range and they loved cheese crackers. Lots of small turtles also dropped by for a snack but left when the alligators showed up. Yup, alligators. You can click on the picture to the right to see some more pictures Mr K took of the turtles, alligators, and several of me looking like a completely goofball on the beach - feel free to ignore those.

I find it funny to look at pictures of sleeveless shirts and flip-flops after coming in from a long walk in the chill outside. I can see snow on the mountains, and the weather keeps telling me to watch for more snow a bit closer to home.

Thanksgiving in Bern with Mr K's coworkers and family was really a lot of fun, though I really missed my family. Watch for a Thanksgiving-related post later on this week. Got a question about this fabulous American holiday? Leave it in comments and I'll expand on it for you in that post! Remind me to post recipe for tasty ham glaze!

I'm off to make some salsa! Ole!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Gobble gobble!

Happy Thanksgiving! Poor Mr K had to work today as Thanksgiving, as all of you not-natural-blonds know, is an American holiday and thus not celebrated here. We are having Kasia and Peter over for a little non-turkey dinner tonight and then going to the home of Mr K's coworker to have Thanksgiving tomorrow with said coworker's wife and kids and sundry other Americans imported for the holiday. I wish I could be home with my family for the holiday but maybe next year we can make the trip back.

So, in a country without Thanksgiving, you may be wondering how on earth anyone here knows when to start decorating for Christmas. The answer is.... late October. Yup, my first sighting of Christmas-related decorative goodness was before Halloween, which is also not much of a holiday here. Every day more stores put out more Christmas decor and suggestions for gifts, and things are starting to look very festive around here. The fact that we're expected to get more snow Sunday through Wednesday of next week also doesn't hurt! A nice thing about no Thanksgiving here... no Black Friday shopping... which is a bonus, considering we kind of live above a mall.

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving! I'm off to pick up lentils, hams, and other non-turkey items! Entertain me: vote in my new poll!

Monday, November 19, 2007

We finally did it...

We had fondue - and it was wonderful!

Kasia and Peter invited us over for fondue on Saturday and, as Kasia always feeds us so well, we of course eagerly accepted. Peter cooked the fondue and we had bread and dried meat with it. We learned to swirl the bread in the mass of cheese, as opposed to just dunking it, and then to twirl the bread slowly as the cheese cooled to keep it from dripping. Remember that - swirl and twirl. We learned that the best part of fondue is the cake of cheese that browns to the inside bottom of the pan and that you get to eat once all the liquidy cheese is gone. We decided the taste of the cheese pancake from the bottom of the pan was like the world's greatest Cheez-it cracker. For dessert we had a lovely lemon tart Kasia made and we sat around, sipping tea and coffee after dessert until it was time for us to catch the last train home at 27 minute past midnight.

Sunday was spent recovering from having downed over three pounds of cheese and another two pounds of bread. Chris played on his computer while I played on mine. I played Wii for a little while until I somehow managed to blow up the little transformer-thingie that lets us plug the Wii into the wall. This means no golfing for me until we get another one - I'm just hoping I didn't manage to kill the Wii - just the transformer thingie. Keep your fingers crossed!

Note: The picture is purple because it was a bad picture - too little light. I made it purple because purple is fun. The cheese was completely not purple.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mo sno!

Snow in park
Originally uploaded by hellomizk
It has been snowing on and off here for three or four days and I just cannot get over how beautiful it is. Seeing this out the window every morning makes it difficult to have a bad day - despite NaNoWriMo trying to get me all discouraged...

I have reached the halfway point in my wordcount - over 25k words done. Whew! I'm still not feeling my novel but at least I now have less left to write than I have written to date...I guess. I'm doing a stiryfry for dinner tonight and then hopefully knocking out another one thousand words, though that may not happen as Mr K just called me and reminded me today is late shopping day - hurrah! For those of you outside of Fribourg, on Thursday all our stores are open until 9:30 or so rather than until 7 so we get to go shopping and it has become kind of a weekly ritual for us. In Virginia, we used to hit Target for late night shopping all the time and we have notice since we moved that we spend a lot less money when the stores close early. Tonight, though, we shop!

On a completely unrelated note, I have a question for any of you French speakers: So, as you know, language books leave out all sorts of unwritten contextual meanings of phrases. I want to be able to apologize for not speaking French when I have to tell people I don't speak French. I have seen "Je suis desole" and "Je regrette" (I know I'm missing some accent marks...) used interchangeably in my books, but I have a feeling there are slight differences. Which one is a less serious apology, as in "I'm sorry I don't speak your language" and which is a more serious sorry, as in "I'm sorry I just stepped on your dog/child/expensive fur coat"? Thanks in advance for helping me look moderately less silly!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Still Life with Random Junk

Still Life of Random Junk 1
Originally uploaded by hellomizk
Our apartment is pretty much put together, but we still have random islands of things that do not yet have a home - mostly decorative items like these that require us punching holes in the wall to install a shelf we have not yet bought. For now, they live on the floor between the living room and the dining room.

I'm treating myself to a little taste of home today - good ole boxed Kraft mac and cheese. Yes yes yes - I know. It's terrible... the problem is I love the stuff and have since I was little. So that makes it my little guilty pleasure. We have had a busy last few days here! Papa C was here for short visit and, at the train station, we exchanged him for Mr K's friend Andy - they had a 7 minutes overlap after Andy got off his train from Bern but before Papa C hopped his train to Bern. The past week has been full of chatting and exploring Fribourg and cooking and cleaning and sleeping and chatting some more! Mr K acquired a few more bottles of swanky bourbon from our guests, so he's a happy guy.

Today he and Andy headed to Gruyère to explore the H.R.Giger museum - I stayed home as I'm adept at creating my own horrific nightmares and don't need any outside help... and because I'm feeling a little lazy. Tonight Kasia and Peter are coming over for dinner and we're doing some classic American-style food: Cincinnati Chili, four ways. Depending on how productive I get, I'm thinking Deviled Eggs for a snack and Green Goddess (minus the fishies of course) for the salad. All that depends on me wandering down to the grocery in a few minutes.

Outside, it looks like we may be seeing some more snow soon, so stay tuned!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

First Swiss Snow

Orange umbrella
Originally uploaded by hellomizk
Ever since it started to get cold here, I have been impatiently and constantly checking weather websites waiting for our first snow. Yesterday afternoon, just shortly past 1:30 or so, there it was - fat white flakes drifting down to the ground (where, of course, they instantly melted.) The snow started off very slowly but actually picked up quite a bit and went on for an hour or so before disappearing again, leaving no accumulation. Today is even more overcast than yesterday was, so I'm hoping that maybe just a little bit more snow will fall today.

Mr K's dad is in town and is our first visitor from back home to see our apartment and, soon, Fribourg. As I type this, father and son are still passed out. Our plan for the day is to go to the farmer's market and take a nice walking tour of Fribourg, then to go to the tea shop for tea and hot chocolate. I made chicken corn chowder last night to eat for lunch today - Mr K and I figured soup is always better the next day, so why not just make it a day in advance to start with and then reheat it. I figure after a couple hours of walking around in the cold, fresh bread and hot soup are the way to go. We plan to go out to eat tonight, but I'm not sure where yet. Tomorrow Papa C heads out and Mr K's BFF arrives - whew!

On the NaNo front, I'm struggling along - bleh. Week Two is always the worst. Week One zips by because it is something new and different but, every time, Week Two just drags. Week Two is about survival - just get through it. Week Three eases up so I just have to hold on a few more days!

Au revoir! (or "oh vwah" as we sound when we say it...)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Snow in view, mateys!

More snow on moutains
Originally uploaded by hellomizk
When I awoke this morning and made my daily trip out onto my porch, I pulled out my recently unpacked binoculars and lo, what did I see, but snow snow snow on the mountains! The temperatures here this week have been in the low thirties (F) and I know it is only a matter of time until I see my first Swiss flurries!

In NaNoNews, my novel is progressing along; I've broken the 12k word mark and am starting to feel a little more positive about things. My MC has met one of the villains so things should start looking up soon... or down soon. Either way, it looks like something is about to start happening.

Nothing else too terribly exciting to add. Check out the new poll. Night night!

EDIT: Almost forgot another fun tidbit - The "animals we have eaten this week" list. Mr K and I are really trying to go all out and try a little bit of everything. The past seven or so days have included: two kinds of deer, chicken, goose, ostrich, pork, beef, and rabbit. When Mr K asked what the meat in one dish was (turned out to be the ostrich), the answer was "you know - meat meat."

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Hours down the drain...

Originally uploaded by hellomizk
Or I just wanted a way to tie the picture in when I should have just admitted, "Hey I like this picture!"

My NaNo is coming along but I am still a member of the "Under 10K Club." My main character is boring me to the point that I just went off on a typed tangent about how boring she was. I'm fighting to keep her, but every day of writing I get the feeling more and more that I'm going to have to demote her to sidekick and promote someone else to MC (main character).

In super-fantastic-super-nifty-super-great news, our movers finally arrived yesterday and placed all of our belongings in various piles throughout the apartment, put together the furniture our other movers took apart, and in one case FIXED the furniture our other movers broke - not bad! The living room is pretty much put together, the dining room is one bolt short of being done - we packed the dining room table but somehow misplaced all the nuts and bolts and other fasteners we need to keep the legs on it, so Dani took Mr K on a quick late night shopping spree to acquire a wireless drill and four bolts... one of which was defective - sigh. The Wii is working, though, so that helps!

The bedroom is coming along, but we have nowhere to hang our clothing yet so we have a motley inventory of wardrobe boxes, plastic bins, and one rickety clothing rack holding the whole mess off the floor...for now... the clothing rack is threatening collapse at any minute.

My office and Mr K's office are both complete wrecks right now but will be cleaned by this weekend - at least mine will be! I'm hoping Mr K isn't at work late every night again this week because I know he wants to get the house put together, too.

I should either get to novelling or get to cleaning, but I'm not sure which one. If you're bored and feel like helping out with the Nano, leave me a comment with something I can add to try and salvage my MC - give her a hobby or phobia or allergy or something!


Saturday, November 3, 2007

Day Two: Word count on track!

Bonjour again, all you novice novelists and novelistas!

I hope your writing is going well and your snack supply holding out. I'm just over 4000 words and happy to be there. Tomorrow evening my husband is going to a concert, leaving me home alone for multiple hours of blissfully noveling... or painting my toe nails. We'll have to see. I'm loving NaNo even more this year than I did in previous years - I feel like my brain is ticking along well and I adore my villains. My main character, so far, is being a bit bland, but I have a feeling she'll perk up soon. She just moved to a new place and is having a hard time coming out of her shell (sound familiar?) A minor character has also come stumbling out of the woodwork, being way more interesting than I had planned, so who knows what will happen next. I'm still light on plot but if the characters are left alone long enough, much like high school girls, someone is bound to cause some drama.

To finish your novel the least painful way possible, you should be aiming for right at 1700 words a day. Here's a brief breakdown of where you should be for the next few days:

  • Day 3: 5001
  • Day 4: 6668
  • Day 5: 8335
  • Day 6: 10002
  • Day 7: 11669

Which means by Day 7 you should have a nice sized little chunk of prose on your hands. Feel free to gloat and brag about your word count - it's expected! Week Two is a little harder than Week One, so this is a great time to try to get a little further ahead - that way when you get sick or bored or stressed out or arrested next week, you have some padding to fall back on. Two years ago I got behind on my word count and was nervous about finishing but managed to knock out 10000 plus words in my last 3 or 4 days, so anything is possible. Week Three is awesome and Week Four is a breeze, so if you make it through the first two, chances are good you'll finish!

The NaNo forums offer a couple great places to go if you have a sudden attack of writer's block or if your characters start boring you. For sheer silliness, nothing beats the NaNo Dares. Basically, its a list of random things you can include in your novel. Most are just plain goofy, but every once in a while, much like shopping thrift stores, you find something that is just perfect for your needs.

I currently have three weapons for fighting off writer's block and a low word count: I inflict a meal, hobby, or collection on one or more characters. My main villain collects birds. Birds. Thanks to Wikipedia, I can now ramble about his fine feathered friends when my brain isn't working so well. His maid has a penchant for cooking his birds. Thanks,

Enough NaNoNews for a second: I'm sure my mom would like a brief Swiss update. We just got back from an incredible meal at a lovely restaurant called, I think, La Croix Blanche. Our friend who took us to this restaurant explained that the menu was focussed on offering meals of "la chasse" - the hunt. I started with a salad of greens with warm butter-sauteed wild mushrooms. Mr K had a terrine of foie gras, pistachios, and chestnuts. Neither of us had tried foie gras before due to the sad story of its creation, but on this move we're determined to try and taste nearly everything, so we gave it a go. It was wonderful but I still don't know that I could order it again. Our friend explained the two entree choices - two kinds of deer which we boiled down into "big bambi" and "small bambi." I had small and Mr K had big. Both came served roasted chestnuts, a roasted pear, red cabbage, Spätzle, brussel sprouts and a warm brown gravy. Dessert for me was a panna cotta with blackberries.

This was easily one of the best meals I have ever eaten in a restaurant in my life. The place was gorgeous and the service was wonderful. We had amazing food and great company and more importantly : we didn't have to dress up for the experience! We definitely plan on taking the assorted parents when they come to visit, so Mama H, Papa H, Mama C, and Papa C - get ready!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

NaNo Notes Edition 1

Hints from "No Plot, No Problem":
The founder of NaNoWriMo wrote a really fabulous book called "No Plot? No Problem!" that is packed full of useful hints and hilarious anecdotes. I know my Swiss counterparts will probably be unable to find or order the book in time, so I plan to include a few choice tidbits in this blog throughout the month. (Note to Chris Baty: I promise to donate to the NaNo site in exchange for haphazardly shortening and sharing your wisdom!)
  • Focus on "low expectations, high yield" with your writing - remember this is about completion more than genius
  • Stock up on snacks and rewards. Go through your music and set aside some good "novelling" music. I plan to treat myself to new I-tunes every 10000 words or so.
  • Find a writing area you like and are comfortable in, isolate yourself there (with snacks and caffeine of course) for a set amount of time, when you are finished, be sure to clean the area up so it is ready for your next visit.
  • Pick up a new notebook, preferably pocket-sized, and a new "favorite pen." Keep these on you at all times for jotting down ideas as they hit you and tidbits of conversation you overhear. Make note of interesting things you see that could be included.
  • Make two lists in your new notebook: one of things you LOVE in books (mine would be things like quirky characters, lots of descriptions, all things food-related and modern takes on mythology) and one of things you HATE in books (some of mine would be historical romance, most chick lit, cheesy horror and excessive bad language). Reference these lists frequently throughout the month, including as many things as you can from the LOVE list and trying to avoid the items on the HATE list.
  • Don't stress out too much about having a plot before NaNo starts. As Chris Baty put it in the book, "As intimidating as it seems, plot is simply the movement of your characters through time and over the course of your book. Which means that by having characters in your book, you're guaranteed to have a plot."
  • Choose a point-of-view to write your novel from: is it first person, narrated by your main character ("I-based") or is it third-person, giving a bird's eye view of the entire story ("he-or-she-based").

"How I plan to deal with writer's block and pad my word count":
Not sure what a character should do next? Check their horoscope. This works really well with multiple characters and gives you an excuse to add drama and tension. Wikipedia is a great place to go for random topics to include as well. If you're really stuck, go for a walk and observe the other people around you. Watch people on the bus and in the grocery. Go find some public place and just sit and watch until something good hits you. Go back a couple thousand words and try to fill in some backstory. Go to and find a bizarre new recipe; "feed" it to your characters and describe their reaction. Don't forget to fill in info about where they ate the dish and why and how they got there, etc. Go to and look at random photos until something inspires you. For more ideas, check out all the tools available on iGoogle. (More on iGoogle near the end of this post)

Other Tools:
Question list of help flesh out your characters
How to Write a Novel Badly (ha ha!) My plan is every time I get stuck, I reference this list and try to add something from it. My goal for my novel this year is "deliriously wretched"

iGoogle is the Best Around:
Have you checked out and configured your iGoogle homepage yet? It's full of a huge number of really helpful tools... and plenty of ways to waste time as well. I created a tab called "Writing" and found several great tools, including a writer's idea bank that is so funny.

Friday, October 26, 2007

NaNoWriMo - who wants to play?

Hello! As the end of October approaches, we reach my annual join-me-and-write-a-novel drive. November is National Novel Writing Month - and since the "nation" in question isn't specified, I'm going to go ahead and claim at least a small part of it in the name of my new Swiss home. National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for those in the "kno") started in 1999 in California (of course) with the aim of turning free-time into novels. The goal is to complete the first draft of a 50,000 word novel in only one month. I have participated several years and actually reached the goal for the first time two years ago.

Some important things to know:
* First and foremost: the goal is not to write a good novel.. just to write any novel
* You can totally do it - its just over 1660 words per day - and don't most of us type that much while sending all our daily IMs anyway...
* NaNo is a great excuse to give yourself treats, to whine, and to cancel plans for things you didn't want to do anyway
* The more people you know participating, the better
* Having such a large goal is a great way to get your house cleaned and laundry caught up and long-lost penpals contacted - anything to procrastinate from the actual writing
* I heard Paris says bragging about your novel is hot.

Ok, all rambling aside, its really a great experience and I highly encourage everyone I know to at least give it a try. If you plan to try, let me know so we can keep tabs on each other! Wanna know more? Check out or look for the book "No Plot, No Problem" written by the creator of this whole mess... and coincidently, about 50k words long.

Happy whining!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tiny Post #3

Today I am very cranky. Outside, everything is cold and gloomy.

Also the other day I saw a nun talking on a cell phone while crossing the street. It would have been funnier had she been jaywalking, but she used the crosswalk.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Originally uploaded by hellomizk
Welcome to our tiny fridge!

Top shelf: beer and Lipton "Snowy Orange" tea - brand new and on "action" for 1 franc. Tasty!

Second shelf: poulet schnizel (I think), baby new potato, fresh mushrooms = dinner tonight

Third shelf: cherry tomatoes, poultry salami, blood orange yogurt and vanilla yogurt. This shelf is my breakfasts.

Fourth shelf: Tasty and cheap Prosecco for knitting day, garlic cheese spread (should be on breakfast shelf) and Laughing Cow cheese, Haribo sour cola bottle gummi candies, fresh basil, Egyptian olives from the farmer's market

Fifth shelf: Leftovers from Taco Night, sour cream, non-bubble water (blah), more cheese, eggs (which are not refrigerated in the grocery store here)

Drawer: OMG more cheese

Door shelves:
cheese, cream, pesto, blueberry jam, fig jam (for grilled cheese with prosciutto), Coke light, bubble water, milk, ketchup

Favorite part: see the little blue "x" shape next to the cheeses on the fourth shelf? That is spicy mustard in the tube that looks like toothpaste. Its how mustard and mayo and various other condiments are sold here.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Scattered, smothered, covered, and Swiss

Rösti on my plate!
Originally uploaded by hellomizk
Last night we were invited for dinner at the home of a couple we met at Kasia and Peter's party from a couple weeks ago. We arrived at 6:30 in the evening (1830) and, after exchanging our Swiss cheek-kisses, immediately "got our drink on." Mr K and Dani both had beers to start what turned out to be a pretty alcohol-laden evening while Steph and I demurely sipped Baileys. Dani and Steph were treating us to a traditional Swiss dinner of Rösti which I learned translates to "oh my god can I have another helping, please?!?!" All kidding aside, Rösti consists of grated potato cooked in a skillet with oil or butter and can include bacon and onion and spices and cheese and an egg tossed in to hold everything together. The potatoes are cooked to form a crust on the bottom layer and then tossed to distribute the crust throughout before being allowed to form another crust on the bottom and then being flipped to brown a matching crust on the other side as well. After being inverted onto a plate, the Rösti was topped with eggs cooked sunny-side up. With this, we had more Gruyere cheese and potato nut bread. After this course, we had a wonderful salad with tomato and lettuce and red bell pepper tossed with a sesame oil dressing. With dinner we had a pinotage red wine Dani was given by a friend who brought it back from South Africa. It was a wine "first" for all four of us and was very very nice. After dinner, we had a really wonderful dessert. For more on dessert, check out Mr K's blog. With dessert, Dani and Mr K had scotch that made Mr K swoon. After that was cigars and then cookies and green tea and more scotch. Needless to say, everyone was feeling pretty comfy at this point. We had a wonderful time and look forward to the opportunity to entertain Dani and Steph at our home soon.

The other really funny part of the evening: watching their cat go completely insane over a packet of tissues - the cat flipped and spun and tossed the tissues before sliding into a wall and taking a nap.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

IKEA + BK = <3

Burger love
Originally uploaded by hellomizk
Egad - I'm starting to get behind in the blogging. I will throw together a quick catch-up post and then try to do better in the future. The reason I'm behind is... we finally got moved in! Now, by moved in, I mean we and our luggage are out of the hotel... we're still furnitureless. Our air shipment will be delivered next Tuesday and we still don't know about our sea shipment.

Monday was one of the busiest days we've had since arriving - and one of the most fun as well! Early Monday morning we did all the paperwork to get our apartment - very exciting. We did a walk through and then were given our magical keys that work all the doors and elevators. We ran downstairs from our apartment to the grocery (yes, you heard correctly - downstairs to the grocery... amazing) and grabbed a salami sandwich and a Coke Zero. Purchases in hand, we ran across the street (yup - across the street) to the train station. With 3 minutes to spare, we caught the train to Peter and Kasia's. From their house, we all piled in a car and headed to IKEA - the land of happy!

I was amazed to see a pile of catalogs right at the entrance - at our home IKEA in Virginia, the catalog bin was always empty and I have in the past resorted to buying my IKEA catalog from Ebay! Kasia and I raced around IKEA until it was obvious our husbands could stand no more...and our cart would hold no more (mainly stuff for Chris and I, since we have nothing nothing nothing right now) We checked out and loaded the car, which we managed to fill pretty nicely.

After IKEA-ing, everyone was famished, so we headed over to Burger King for a little taste of home. A few differences from home:
1) The girl working the counter managed to understand orders in French, English, and German. At BK in the US, we occasionally run into problems ordering in English...
2) The food, as you can see from the picture, looked gorgeous and tasted fresh. The bun was puffy and the cheese gooey and the fries crispy. The paper wrapped all the way around the burger neatly, rather than just in spots like we're used to.
3) Ha ha ha "Long Chicken". Ha ha ha "King Pommes"

Afterwards, sticking to well-loved stereotypes, the husbands went to look at electronics and Kasia and I went to look at shoes. So many cute shoes! After the IKEA trip, though, I was good and didn't buy any. Next we went to the yarn store and stocked up while the husbands went to have a drink and avoid the yarn store. Kasia is teaching me to knit and its so much fun!

This post is getting a bit overly-long, so I'll end it here and try to update some more tomorrow!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Taco Loco - Oh No!

El Taco Loco
Originally uploaded by mrphrtq
So last night we ventured out to what may be Fribourg's only Mexican restaurant. We took a roundabout route to get there and had a very nice walk as the sun was setting. When we arrived we found that all the tables were reserved but we were able to sit at the bar and order some supper. The TV in the corner appeared to be tuned into the all-Futurama-all-the-time channel, which was a nice bonus. The fact that the sound was turned off didn't matter since it would have been in French anyway. We looked through the menu for a few minutes, however we couldn't find any listings as "tacos" oddly enough. I had a 'Gringas' which was beef in Mexican spices and cheese in a flour tortilla. Mr K had a 'Burrito Pollo'. We both had Mexican rice and pureed (not to be confused with refried) beans as our side items.

Things that made this meal funny and weird:
1. Mr K's burrito had parmesan cheese in it - ha ha ha!
2. The Mexican rice had PEAS in it - ha ha HA!
3. The Mexican rice was completely white with no apparent spices or seasoning...
4. We got chips, which were tasty, but... no salsa!
5. We spent almost 60 francs on two burritos, two side items, 2 beers and a coke light - no refills.
6. We could actually touch our plates without fear of needing skin grafts directly afterwards.

When we lived in Virginia, we used to go out for Mexican food at least once a week, usually with friends. For any Swiss readers, when you go to a Mexican restaurant in the US, the waiter immediately greets you at the table with a big basket of tortilla chips and a bowl of salsa. This is always free and you usually get your chips and salsa before you get your drinks or even menus. The menus at these restaurant usually feature around 60-100 items and most people order by number. "I'll have a number 119 and he'll have the 213." For Mr K and I to go out and have an appetizer, two entrees, a dessert and several drinks would run maybe 40 dollars US. The food was also in huge portions and usually had a random pile of shredded iceberg lettuce somewhere on the plate - called "salad" but more for decoration. The plates were always scalding hot because after the food was prepared, a handful of cheese was usually thrown over the top of everything and it was put under a heat lamp or in an oven to melt everything. Seriously, the plates would burn your skin if you touched them, even on accident. Additionally, at our favorite restaurant, we could get a big pitcher of sangria for 11 or 12 dollars. Yum!

Anyway, our trip to El Taco Loco was fun and funny but just didn't satisfy the craving for the Mexican that we're used to. Regardless, we'll probably go again! When you come visit, Kyle-and-family, we promise to take you!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tag - I'm it?

Kasia tagged me for an 8 random thing meme, so I'll jot down a little list, however I'm going to refrain from tagging people simply because I don't know anyone to tag!

1. I don't eat swimmies. No fish, no shell fish, no crustaceans, no fish sticks, no tuna, no dolphins and no sharks. No swimmies. I've heard your tastes change every six months or so, so I still try a nibble of seafood on occasion but have yet to find anything I can stand, much less enjoy. Yucko! (I do wish I liked sushi though - pretty food!)

2. I'm scared of the dark. When I turn off lights in the hallway, it takes all my willpower to walk calmly to a lighted room and not sprint. I have no idea why.

3.Heights don't bother me at all. Mr K can't stand them.

4. I've written a short novel. Keep in mind I didn't say I wrote good novel or even a passable novel... I merely wrote the number of words required to be a short novel. In one month. (The process was a blast and the product terrible!) Interested? Check out: I'm writing novel #2 this year... unless la vie Suisse gets in the way...

5. This is the farthest I've ever been from my family and I miss them so much. I had not left the US since my family moved back from Italy when I was very very young. Before this, I was always around 3 hours - by car or by plane- from my family. Mr K and I still don't know if we can go home for Christmas this year, so I'm trying to not think about it. I want to see my brand new little niece and my sister and parents and everyone else!

6. I read almost constantly and have for as long as I can remember. I hate getting books from libraries because I like to read and reread them and I love just having them around.

7. I don't feel like myself with long hair.

8. I'm thoroughly ready to stop living in a hotel - I'm tired of washing clothing in the tub and sleeping in twin beds and being surrounded by an all-mauve decor. I'm tired of eating out every meal and I'm tired of not having a refrigerator. I miss my bed and the rest of my clothing and my books and art supplies.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Washing machine swoon

Originally uploaded by mrphrtq
We think we've finally found an apartment. Does it have enough space for us? Yep! Does Miz K like the kitchen? Totally! Is there a pretty view? Of course! Is there a balcony? Yes - and also a bonus glassed-in room for those inclement weather days! Is it conveniently located? The train is across the street and a grocery is down the elevator. But the biggest bonus of all would have to be our very own teeny tiny washer and dryer!

We visited a total of seven apartments and this place was the last one we saw on Friday - it was a complete surprise to us and to our relocation woman as well - it seems that next to no one in this area knew there were apartments above the shopping center... much less a huge private rooftop garden. Despite being in the middle of town, the apartment is very quiet. We reserved it on Friday to think it over but we had decided within an hour that it was just perfect for us, so Mr K emailed today to say we want it!

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Hunt: Day One

The view
Originally uploaded by mrphrtq
After a week of looking at places online, yesterday we finally went out with our relocation person and looked at four very different apartments. Mr K took a ton of pictures so we could remember what we did and didn't like about each place and posted them on Flickr to share with family and friends - feel free to comment away. Pictures are posted at

Quick run down: place one was nice and a great location, but needs flooring and paint and won't be ready for another 2 weeks, so that makes it a maybe, as we're pretty much hotel-ed out for quite some time. Number 2 was a huge duplex (bigger than our place in the US) but on the first floor and we would definitely like a little height between us and the ground. Number 3 was pretty much perfect. Nice place, decent sized - great location and great view, as you can see from the picture. Number 4 was just completely amazing - an old barn converted into lofts. The kitchen was easily the nicest one I've ever been in and the bath room with its TWO tubs was even more fun. Ultimately, though, the open floor plan wouldn't work for us - we need to be able to stow toys, hobbies and guests and thats more difficult with only one room. Also, despite the place being more square footage than any of the first 3 we looked at, it just didn't feel that way because the space wasn't really used to its fullest. It was odd that the biggest place felt like the smallest. Still, though, its sad to know it isn't the place for us - it was by far the most interesting. Number 3 is just a nice well-rounded place with everything we want BUT a washer and dryer, but I suppose I can learn to live with the shared washing area just like everyone else does, right?

Anyway, we're going back out for Day Two in a few hours, so watch for more updates!

Monday, October 1, 2007

A new addiction

Kinder toys!
Originally uploaded by hellomizk
Mr K has gotten me completely hooked on Kinder Surprise eggs even though he's normally the chocolate person, not me. To be honest, though, the draw isn't the chocolate, but the tiny plastic toys they contain. The eggs are about the size of large-size chicken eggs (maybe a bit bigger) and are hollow but with a plastic capsule about the length of my thumb in their middles. They are almost impossible to find in the US because of some 50-plus year old law about non-edibles encased in edibles or something, but here they are everywhere. After dinner tonight (San Marco again) we stopped by a gas station near our hotel for a little snack and some drinks to tide us over until tomorrow afternoon. Right next to the register - oodles of Kinder eggs! In the little store in the hotel basement? Oodles of Kinder eggs! I decided that we're decorating our Christmas tree with all these tiny toys I'm collecting... but that could just be an excuse for more eggs.

In other news, I told my parents I would blog about the Horrific Pants Incident of 2007 tonight... fortunately for me, it turned into a non-horrific pants non-incident. As we've been stuck in a hotel for the past two weeks, laundry has been kind of a pain to deal with. I've been doing alot of hand-washing of clothing in the hotel, which works great on everything but blue jeans, which just never dry. I found a laundry a couple floors down from out hotel, but was pretty sure the woman working there would not speak any English and I wasn't convinced I knew enough French to differentiate between "Dry Clean and Press" with "please just wash these yucko jeans" so I was nervous about trying. Earlier this afternoon, I steeled myself and took a small stack of jeans down. I greeted the woman with a 'bonjour' and immediately followed it up with my most useful French phrase: "I only speak a little bit of French." She smiled and took the stack of pants, filled out a little receipt and then pointed to a number - the price - and held out her hand. After I paid her, she pointed to 3 October on the calendar and wished me a good day - easy as can be! Apologies, mom and dad, for the lack of humor and drama... I'm sure something embarrassing will happen soon enough! Just keep your fingers crossed Chris doesn't end up with expertly creased jeans on Wednesday....

P.S. Dinner tonight: spaghetti and pesto pour moi et tomato and veggie risotto for Mr K... mine was good but his was amazing.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My first Swiss icecube!

My first Swiss icecube!
Originally uploaded by hellomizk
So tonight Chris and I decided to celebrate our first week in Fribourg with McDonalds for dinner - woo hoo! Everything but the prices looks the same, but with the addition of a couple random items, including "shrimps" with cocktail sauce. The most exciting thing about my meal, however, was the gentle swish-swish of about an inch of ice cubes floating gently across the top of my Coke Zero! This was the first time since we left the US I have seen an ice cube anywhere other than on the distant mountain tops we see everyday and it was more exciting than it should have been!

In other news, we get our apartment tour next week, so hopefully by next Friday we will have a home and an address to give the movers for whenever our things decide to arrive. Bon soir!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hot Tea and Head Cold

Tea! Yesterday we had a nice day off to wander around and enjoy seeing the town, rather than frantically trying to get things done. The apartment hunt starts tomorrow. My throat was a little sore when I woke up yesterday morning, but a nice pot of hot tea at Kasia's shop and more great conversations eased the soreness for a few hours. However, once we got home, I used Skype to call my dad and then my mom and sister and, as I hadn't talked to them in about a week and a half, proceeded to talk for at least one and a half hours, at which point my throat was too raw to go on.

When I woke up this morning, my head was stuffed and my throat aching, so I stayed in bed and played sick until dinner time. For dinner, we headed to San Marco's and it was wonderful. We had a mixed greens salad with carrots and beets and corn and marinated leeks and endive, followed by Spaghetti Carbonara for me - it was enough to make a girl swoon! Bacon, cream, cheese, and egg to hold the whole mess together - heaven on noodles. After dinner, drinks and coffee and dessert - this concoction of hazelnut, pistachio, and caramel gelato with crunchy nougat-like morsels and whipped cream worth moving across the world for! It was certainly the tastiest meal I've had here yet, and that's saying something - all our food has been good so far. Now its time for online apartment hunting and, soon enough, passing out. Bon soir!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Jet-set or jet lag?

Downtown Berne Well, we finally arrived in Switzerland. Today is the first day we've had off to relax in about two weeks. Whew! I'm still too tired for a nice, coherent blog post, so here are some random lists.

Fun facts about our flight:
  • It took us 35 minutes at the United counter to check in, pay for checking a 5th bag (never again) and explain to the woman at the counter that Mr K had a job and was allowed into the country
  • We had the two middle seats in the very last row of the plane
  • The guy next to me read the Economist, followed by People magazine...
  • Mr K slept about 4 hours on the flight - I slept none
  • We watched Shrek 3
Fun facts about our stay in Bern:
  • By the time our cab got to the hotel from the airport, it smelled like his car was going to explode - possibly from all our luggage
  • Our hotel was way swanky
  • All the TV was in German
  • There were ELEPHANTS outside our hotel when we came back form walking around - they were having a Middle Eastern festival
  • I slept 13 hours the first night - more than the three previous days combined
Fun facts about our stay in Fribourg:
  • Hooray! I got the meet the author of
  • Mr K and I walked over 24,000 steps our first day in fribourg - or over 10 miles... or over 16 km...
  • I have a creepy blister
  • Mr K had a work function and I accidentally slept through the approved dinner time....
  • Trains = cool and scary; buses = confusing and scary
  • Fribourg is really really beautiful and the weather is amazing

Thats all for now - time to wake up Mr K and find some food!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Small drawstring bag

Small drawstring bag
Originally uploaded by hellomizk
This past weekend, we took the last of our things to store to my parents house and passed my happy little car off to its next car-momma. My mom and I went clothing and yarn shopping (she's learning to crochet). I made this little bag over a few hours on Saturday and Sunday for one of my mom's friends who put together a sweet little "airplane survival pack" for us before we fly out this time next week. After I finished the little bag, I left the extra yarn for my mom's little yarn stash and came home with only 4 more balls of yarn than we left with. Hopefully I can make a couple more little gifts before we go since my luggage is looking awfully full right now!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Originally uploaded by hellomizk
The news finally arrived - work permit is done and we fly out of Virginia on the 17th of September and arrive in Geneva on the 18th of September. We're staying in Bern our first two days and will arrive in Fribourg on the 20th (apparently the hotels in Fribourg are all booked on the 19th - Kasia, do you know why?). So excited! All I have left on my to-do list is some legal paperwork, get carpet put in our house, get the painting in our house finished and hand it over sell!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Looks like we're moving a mummy...

Originally uploaded by hellomizk
Well, the movers have come and taken away pretty much everything we own and we're still not exactly sure when we're leaving. We've heard our visas have been approved at the local level and are moving along, so hopefully that whole process will be done in the next 7-10 days. We think we'll be moving the third week or so of September.

In other news, I've switched the thread crochet temporarily - it fits more easily in a tightly packed suitcase!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tiny Post #2

Chinese food fortune cookie message: "You will soon be crossing the great waters."

We hope!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Random things I'm wondering while cooking chili

Hello to those of you who live in Switzerland - I have some questions. As I stood in my kitchen, making Cincinnati Chili and listening to Ladytron, I started thinking about my typical meals and that led me to wonder about Switzerland. If you have a second, please comment and fill me in! What is a typical breakfast? Lunch? Dinner? Which meal is the biggest meal of the day? Do most people cook or eat out? I absolutely love to cook and am looking forward to all the new foods I can try and all the fresh foods we can eat.

I do my grocery shopping at a big big big grocery that is about two blocks from our house. I walk and pick up groceries about every other day, but most people around here drive and buy groceries once a week or so. Most people also eat out very frequently - we used to eat out two to three times a week, but we've cut down on that - too fattening! I try to plan out a menu for the full week on Sunday or Monday, leaving one day empty for leftovers and going out. I started planning the menu out in advance because when you buy fresh herbs around here, you get a big bundle of them - way too much for one meal. If I have a meal one day that calls for fresh basil or something, I know I need to find at least once more meal that also calls for it, or it doesn't get used! We have a farmer's market near the house every Sunday during the summer so thats when I stock up on yummy farm produce and fresh breads - the tomatoes from the grocery store taste like sand and water. Yuck!

For breakfast, my husband is a huge fan of breakfast cereal. In fact, before we met, I'm pretty sure that's what he ate for most meals! I like toast and fruit and eggs. Eggs are one of my favorite foods ever and I'm happy to eat them at any meal. For lunch, my husband goes out to eat and I usually have salad or leftover dinner from the night before or a frozen entree (blech!).

Anyway, thats it for food-related posting right now. Have fun!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Tiny Post #1

Yesterday the guy in front of me at the book store was buying a book on anger management and a copy of the movie 300.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

County Fair and Corn Dogs

Originally uploaded by mrphrtq
As we approach our departure date (which we're still not 100 percent sure of...) we're trying to cram as much fun and "classic Americana" in as we can. Last night we went to the county fair with a couple friends and their adorable son. The big event of the night was the Demolition Derby. Basically, several stripped down car in a tiny circle surrounded by large concrete blocks smash into each other and the last cars running win. It was so funny - the crowd really got into it. Every few minutes one of the cars would get all smoky and everyone would stop so the firemen could run out and douse it with a fire extinguisher and then they were off again. Other highlights of the evening were corn dogs (my first corn dog ever), cheese fries, and funnel cake. Now I feel like eating a head of lettuce and drinking my weight in water!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


We won third place at bar trivia tonight and I got a tacky Budweiser teeshirt! In other news, we're still waiting on my silly ole passport and it looks like 3rd week in August will be the moving date!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Deep breath, Miz K!

Phase 2 - Ink started
Originally uploaded by hellomizk
Oooook, so here's where I come clean. In addition to crocheting (which I'm much less self-conscious about), I also play around with paint and inks. As I have actually had some free time recently, I've been able to pick the paints up again. Now, normally, the only people who see my paintings are myself and my husband, but this time I'm going to be brave and put one out there. This is a watercolor and ink drawing that I'm working on based off of a picture of one of my friends, who is an amazing belly dancer. An earlier version in paint only as well as a couple detail shots are on Flickr. Whew!

I can has Flickr!

Abbie's hat
Originally uploaded by hellomizk
I finally took a couple little pictures of my recent projects and set up an account on Flickr.

This is a little hat I made for my soon-to-be-born niece. Super bright cotton yarn!

Thursday, July 5, 2007


Knitting is so hard! You knitting-types impress me even more now. I spent about 6 hours today with a book open next to me and clackity little needles in hand... and I have not even a coaster to show for it! For now I'll go rest and then try again more tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

B.O.B. Day

Today we took half of a ton of stuff to the dump to recycle and get rid of. I had never been before - there were so many birds there!B.O.B. is for Big Ole Buzzards because they were everywhere and so plump! I was amazed at how ungross it was - who knew. Anyway, we're slowly making progress in getting rid of things. Currently we're waiting for passport stuff and then we get started on visa stuff, so hopefully within the next week or so we'll have a better idea of an actual moving date. Our lovely kitties - Sega and Atari - are moving in with my parents this coming weekend, which is going to be sad for us but lots of fun for my parents because they're the funniest and most affectionate cats... at least Sega is. Other than that we have nothing exciting going on - tomorrow is craft store and book store day for me - hurrah!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Collecting as quickly as I thin the collection...

As the big move approaches, I'm trying to get the tons and tons of random stuff Mr and I have accumulated into some sort of order. I'm doing pretty well with getting rid of some stuff, but I find myself getting more stuff almost as quickly! I cannot stop buying books - both reading and crafty. I cannot stop buying yarn. I have stopped buying spices and little decorative knick-knacks after realizing I already have more than enough of both categories.

The hardest part right now is trying to find a place for things as I go through them. We will have movers provided, so I'm not supposed to put things in boxes, but right now I think that would actually make things much easier for me - I can sort them and stack them in the garage out of the way. We are planning on moving part of our stuff and storing another big part of it at my parents' house. We don't yet know where we will live or what size our apartment will be, so its hard for me to know how much stuff to take and how much to leave. I wish I had more discipline to lead a nice minimal life, but the Mr and I are both packrats and collectors. His cameras and musical instruments are all over the house, as are my craft things and cookbooks and all the rest of my books.

I suspect as the time gets closer, I'll be more frantically getting rid of things...

Monday, June 18, 2007

Wetting my digital toes...

I haven't blogged or crafted on a regular basis for the past several years for quite a few reasons. This summer my husband and I are relocating to Fribourg, Switzerland from Northern Virginia in the US. I have around two months to get our household together and ready to go and to stock up on crafting treats before we go. While he is quite the traveler, I haven't left the US since I was around two years old, so I'm both excited and nervous about the change. I'm hoping to meet a few crafty people and to learn to knit. I crochet all the time, but never got the hang of knitting. I've been lurking on for ages and am eager to finally have my own projects to post! If you're crafty, a resident in Switzerland, both or neither drop me a line!

Tiny tidbits about me: I love to read, paint, cook, and make things - reading is the only one I claim to be proficient at. I collect paper, books, yarn, and all sorts of little odd toys.