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 FĂȘte 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?"