Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Things and nothings

IF - Stitch

This has been an odd week in its "unstructuredness". I haven't updated recently because I don't think I have much of anything to update. I've been cooking and cleaning and running errands and none of those things are of any interest to anyone, I imagine. In my spare time, I've been working on a few small watercolor paintings - just goofy stuff, and trying to write - something I usually refrain from doing outside the confines of NaNoWriMo in November. I've gotten the idea that maybe an actual novel would be as interesting to write as the one-month rush versions I have completed in the past. I've got a few ideas down. I have also started working my way through a book I picked up before we left: Fiction Writer's Workshop. The book has over 180 exercises and, though I tend to lack discipline, I am trying to slowly get all the exercises in the first chapter knocked out before I move along to the second.

I used to use my strange work schedule as an excuse to not write and not draw and paint. With that excuse gone, I'm finding out what I knew all along - the reason I don't write and paint is because it is difficult and playing computer games and wasting time on Facebook is easy. When I sit down with a fresh piece of watercolor paper and just begin doodling out ideas, I absolutely love the way it makes me feel. I feel blissfully concentrated... I lose track of time. I fall in love with the slip of ink on paper. I shiver at the scratching of the metal nib on the coarse grains. The puddles of watercolor make me grin as they bleed into each other, prodded this way and that by damp bristles. Then the picture is done, and I put it on the wall so I can look at it a hundred times a day while figuring out what I want to change next time. Writing is similar but, because I have done it far less, not quite as powerfully enjoyable. The problem I have is this - I love to paint and I love to write... and I hate to start either one. Something about staring at the blank page and thinking I have nothing to put on it terrifies me. So I sit and stare... and then go play more Scrabulous.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Wardrobe at last!

Wardrobe at last!
Originally uploaded by hellomizk
Hurrah - only a little over three months after arriving and we finally have our clothing put away! Our wardrobe was delivered in about a million pieces ranging from huuuuge size to "if I drop this, it will be gone forever" size. After an entertaining afternoon of watching Mr K and a couple local beers build this monster, I was finally able to break out the label maker, storage boxes and blissfully organize my evening away. To anyone who doesn't know, the apartments here don't have closets. None. No closets. I don't mean "tiny closets" I mean none at all. This has something to do with property tax, I've been told...Anyway, that means all our clothing has been hanging in cardboard boxes from the movers and our entrance way coat pole for the past several months. The wardrobe was a huge (pun pun pun) step in getting our bedroom organized and I'm thrilled to have it.

In other news, we went to the thermal baths again yesterday and, as before, absolutely loved it. We both got home around three in the afternoon and sat around in a daze for the next few hours - Chris in his office, finishing up some work-related thing or the other, and me in my office, reading/dozing off.

K, bye!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Tidbits from our New Years Eve

The chalet
Originally uploaded by mrphrtq
First off - Happy New Years Eve to all! We just got back yesterday afternoon, but I was too tired last night to post a write-up here. I'll try not to let this drag out too long, but we have a lot to share. We start by setting the scene -

The Participants:
(Whose names I hope I spelled correctly...)

Olivier #1
Olivier #2 (AKA Mr Celia)
Ghost T. Dog
Nestor T. Dog

The Location:

* Celia's mother's chalet near Sion in Valais Canton in the south of Switzerland. The chalet was about an hour and a half long drive from Fribourg through miles and miles ... er... kilometers and kilometers of gorgeous scenery. The last twenty minutes of the drive took us through the narrowest, twistiest, most terrifying roads I've ever been on in my life and we were both relieved we had experienced (if somewhat heavy-footed) drivers to get us there. We parked at the top of the hill and walked about a quarter of a mile down a steep, snowy hill to the chalet.

We loved the chalet on sight - it was built into the side of the hill with a beautiful view of the mountains and very cozy. The main room of the chalet had a fireplace and big dining room table where we spent most of our time. Our bed was in the corner of the living room and served as a comfy lounge for hanging out on for everyone. The kitchen had a small wood burning stove that was constantly heating water for the gallons of hot tea we drank . The stove also heated water to use for washing dishes as the kitchen had no hot water. The bathroom and shower did, though, and that was all that mattered!

The Activities:

* Ligretto - We have a new addiction. Ligretto. We spent several hours losing at Ligretto to Mr Celia who was entirely too quick for his own good. We picked up our own copy yesterday and have already payed, though it is definitely more fun with four people than with two. We will be bringing it with us when we visit Atlanta in a few weeks.

* Sledding - Sledding! At night! Wearing headlamps! Enough said.

* Table bombs! On New Years Eve we got to set off table bombs - small canisters with a fuse. You light the fuse and the top of the canister blows off and shoots streamers and toys and funny hats and noses and masks and other silly stuff all over the place. They are the foot!*

The Meals:

* Crepe Party - Our first night we had crepes for dinner. We had two plug-in griddle tops on the table and a salty crepe batter as well as a sweet crepe batter for dessert. Each person made crepes as they wanted them. We filled the salty ones with cheese and ham and onions and bacon. Swoon! The sweet ones we filled with Nutella and bananas and various jellies.

* Dani's lasagna - The next day we had lasagna for lunch - a nine pound lasagna! It was delicious and he seven of us managed to demolish it. Of course, after a lunch like that, we all needed naps!

* New Year's Eve Raclette - More of the traditional Swiss food we've grown to love! Our raclette was a giant half wheel of cheese - maybe five pounds - melted with a funny device Olivier #1 brought along. As the cheese melted, the squishy bit was scraped off with a knife and onto the waiting plate of whoever was ready for another portion. once you got your plate, you added a potato, a little pickle, and little onion, some salt and pepper and you mixed the whole mess together - it was amazing!

* More Rösti - Rösti topped with egg and served with salad and bread - pretty much perfect!

I'm sure I'm leaving things out but hopefully Chris will fill in a few holes in his blog. Check out the rest of his pictures!

* "The foot" - My new favorite French phrase is "C'est le pied." Literally, it means "It's the foot" but in slang it is equivalent to English "It's cool," or "It's the bomb!" Our whole New years was "The Foot" - thanks so much Dani, Steph, Celia, Celia's mom, and both Oliviers!