Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sneakers I could buy

I haven't bought sneakers (trainers in Brit. Eng, baskets in French) in years because I haven't been able to find any without an ugly logo.

I'm logo adverse. If I wear something with a logo I'm announcing to the world "Hey, look how dumb I am. I was fooled into giving free advertising to some corporation and probably paid more than if it didn't have a logo. And they think I'm so dumb, that I will believe because I'm sporting this stupid logo, people will think I'm smarter or richer than I am."

If I do have something with a logo, I take it off or cover it up. I have a lovely Nike sweat suit, although you'd never know it. I've sewn three adorable kittens over the logo. 

I'd happily wear Nike products if they would pay me even a fraction of what they pay Roger Federer.

However, sneakers with books, even comic books, those I might consider. I suspect the name of the manufacturer is on the bottom of the heel.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

He has many talents...

My husband does have many talents.
  • He's a great journalist and a good overall writer
  • He's a good gardener
  • He's handy around the house with tools
  • He's considerate and loving
  • He makes great breakfasts and is beginning to add other good dishes to his culinary repertoire
  • He's funny
  • He's helpful to all the ladies and sometimes men in the village and in Geneva
  • He's creative and much, much more.
One would never consider him violent


A fly crosses his vision.

His eyes will narrow.

His hands quiver

And he'll stalk that fly until the insect is no more.

His kill rate on the first attempt is close to 97.9 percent.

Flies beware. Stay away from here.

Oh and the same goes for mosquitoes.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

It's a mother thing

It comes with the contract when they place that little bundle in your arms. 

The diaper the little darlin' is wrapped in?

That's not a diaper. It is contract assigning mothers to XX,XXX number of hours of worry.

At first the worries are simple diaper rash. Than it is school not just grades but social adjustment.

Even when said child is a full adult mothers have not fulfilled the worry hours.

Just put that kid on a plane and we can check off a few more hours. A high school friend, a college friend, and my housemate have all expressed concern about their kids when they are in the air.

I've used the phrase that when Llara flies I'm in the cockpit with the pilot. When my housemate's kids fly I let her chaperone the pilot and I work on the copilot making sure they are worthy of shuttling the bundles that are as precious when fully grown as when the stork delivered the to our door.

WITP cured for the moment

My Work In Progress Trauma is over. Rick not only finished everything but left it neat, neat, neat...

Because of my neurotic need for neat it will stay that way. The flat, which we call the warren, is also totally finished.
Our terrace is in full bloom. Within the next few days, we will have drapes on the windows to cut down on sun in summer and keep the heat in winter.
 Our three steps up to the kitchen.
Rick was so right about painting the book shelves black. Like many French homes, we do not have a dryer, but I hate seeing clothes hanging around the house or out on the terrace. Rick hooked up drying racks behind the bookcases. We call the area our Drying Room.
 I love having so much in-your-face red. The red artwork is our landlady's. In fact much of the art is hers, but we are slowly building our own collection by local painters.

Of course what is a bedroom without lots of books to read? These are our just in case we run out and can't get to our Kindle supply.

The scenic is done by a friend who also did my Annie Clock.
The clock captures the personality of the main character in my mysteries.

The Snore room which can double as a guest room is quieter colours, beiges and blues. It triples as my office.
For my students from the writing weekends that were held here when the flat was an atelier, you'll be able to see the transformation.

Not many more projects on the flat. Now we can enjoy our writing, our friends, exploring, etc.

My WITP lasted less than 48 hours. Whew!!!!

Pluck and Plunk Pleasures

I know it's dumb when I think
  • there are 41 wars being fought around the world
  • thousands have had their water cut off in Detroit
  • farmers are losing their crops to drought in many places
  • Ebola is rampant
  • children are being hated and frightened along the US border
Maybe this is why something this simple makes me happy.

In the 80s when my daughter and I lived on The Riverway in Boston she disliked taking the garbage out less than emptying the dishwasher.

I disliked emptying the dishwasher less than taking out the garbage.

It was a no brainer who would do which chore.

I had a system for the silverware. Everything alike would go in the same tray. Thus in two motions I could:
  • Pluck up all the forks
  • Plunk put them in the fork place
  • Pluck pick up all the knives
  • Plunk put them in the knife place
  • Pluck pick up all the spoons
  • Plunk them in the spoon place etc.
Silly yes, but since then when I've never been able to find anyone who understands. I wouldn't say Rick understands, but he humors me.

So while I pluck and plunk, I'm also grateful I
  • don't live in a war zone
  • have running water
  • have no shortage of good fresh foord
  • don't live near an Ebola outbreak
  • my child is safe
So plucking and plunking is pretty shallow, but I enjoy it anyway.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The hand under the bed

People have warned Rick that being married to a mystery writer should keep him on his toes. After all, I've disposed of many a person in my books.

Yesterday we were joking about our under bed storage. "For all I know, you could put a body under the bed," I said.

This morning I was making the bed.


There was a hand sticking out.

A closer inspection and it turned out to be the antlers of Rick's moose golf club covers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Being known

We'd ordered breakfast at La Noisette, my home away from home or about a two minute walk from my back door. When I lived in the studio, I considered it as an extra room I was there so often.

Rick went off to see the brownie lady to make sure that she wouldn't run out before we got there. He would be back before the meal was ready, although it is not unusual for us to chat with her.

The new waitress delivered the breakfast including the cups and the mini tea pots with the water and teabags.

Laurent, the owner, rushed out and looked at Rick's cup. "In n'y a pas de miel." He grabbed the empty cup and came back in seconds with a dollup of honey in the cup, just the way Rick likes it.

Likewise at Bartavelle Stephanie knows I can't eat anything like clams, scallops, etc. Even if it is a fixed single menu she makes sure something special is whipped up for me. I don't have to ask. Likewise she knows Rick doesn't like fish and substitutes an amuse bouche for a non fishy pre-appetizer without even asking.

It's more than service. We see these people daily. They aren't quite friends, but they are more than business people.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

WIPT trauma

Years ago when I went to lunch with my then housemate we saw a house for sale in Boston. It was a row house. We called the number on the For Sale sign, ate lobster subs, met the seller. When we found out that the house cost around $15,000 we put down a deposit of $300. It is the gray house in the photo. The street is wonderful.

We went home and asked our roommate "Guess what we did today."

He didn't.

We had to fight to get a mortgage although our three combined salaries exceeded the purchase price of the house by almost 4x. One bank said we didn't have enough money. Redlining it was called then. Certain city neighborhoods weren't eligible for loans, but finally we found a bank who gave us the money.

We moved in. The term for a fix-it-upper is handyman's dream.

This was a handyman's nightmare.

We discovered load-bearing beams cut through, multi-coats of paint on marble fireplaces, a dubious heating system, floors where if you put your full weight your legs would dangle to the ceiling below as plaster came crashing down.

Rather than hiring people we did the work ourselves nights and weekends. Nothing moved fast and the years went by. For at least three years my two housemates, my daughter and I lived in two rooms with a German Shepherd, a cat and a Japanese chin while we worked on the rest of the house.

At one point I was on a business trip and as I rested on my bed, I pictured how I was going to strip the paint before realizing the hotel wouldn't like that.

I finally gave up and bought a place where all I had to do was hang curtains. I suspect that is what made me a neat freak where I want things in place. I want my living space to always be orderly...not so orderly that it doesn't have a homey feel but neat never the less.

What has all this got to do with now???

Rick found a great TV table on the way to the trash and we also have less than antique book shelves. Both were ugly wood. He decided to repaint them to go with the black and red of the rest of the living area and as you can see below the TV table does look lovely as I expected it would. And there is something beyond wonderful to have him doing the work.

Truth alert...he is a very neat painter. I can get paint drips in places two rooms away and never figure out how.

He will finish the book shelves in a couple of days but the memories of living on a construction site for years keep coming back with the sight of plastic on the floor, cans of paint and brushes. At least there are no saws, drills, plaster, etc.

Barbara will be coming over with the new drapes for the window heading to the terrace in the next couple of days.

He's found a solution to the skylight baking us and by the end of week, this will all be a memory.

Compared to major illness, death, war and destruction work in progress trauma (WIPT) will not be payable by any health insurance company even the excellent Swiss system.

WIPT is temporary.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The picnic

This is a lake where at least once a year we picnic.  Sunday was the day. With everyone bringing something to eat (I bought a chicken and made peanut butter cookies in an oven that I still don't understand).

Barbara brought her macaroni salad, juices, chips, wine, dried tomatoes.

Pam brought a pepper mushroom quiche and a date/pecan bread she'd experimented with. Viva les experiments. She also had radishes, crisps (Brit for chips) and olives.

Rick brought us all and also did most of the lugging.

The temperature was perfect. Our conversation involved Pam telling us about her Colombian adventures, discussions of animal languages and noticing the 30-odd four-footed fuzzy humans that bark. They couldn't have been dogs, because they were forbidden. As always we never run out of topics.

Rick had been debating doing the teleski at a second lake a few minutes walk from the first, but decided to postpone it when we wouldn't have to wait for him. He also wants to make sure that I can film him.

Ant conversations?

As we ate breakfast on the terrace we watched some tiny, tiny ants crawl up the wall. The folds in the plaster look a bit like mountains, reminding us of the curvy, steep road through Andorra the weekend before last.

Every now and then an ant would come down.

Then we noticed that most of the ants going up would stop and touch the ant coming down.

Were they kissing?

Were they asking for information?

Were they issuing warnings?

Is there a book in this: Ant Talk, The Little Ants that Could, Ant Climbs, The Ant Road Less Taken, I've been to the Mountain, 100 Paths to the Purple Flowers...?

Summer is here

Signs of summer includes the 14 July celebrations.

Throughout the village there were bands and singers.

This group sang Catalan sea songs and at one point assumed the guise of pirates complete with hooked hand and brandish swords. No one was hurt.

Then there was the first street party.

Chairs and tables are set out in the middle of the street and neighbours congregate with each adding to the meal.

Another band was set up in front of the music school and we found friends and enjoyed wine, conversation and dancing until 23h when the fireworks were shot off the church roof. 

Life is soooooooooooooo good.

Going on a date

Rick and I work a lot, albeit both in the warren, each at own own computer. It's a rule we eat at least one meal together as civilized people using the time to  catch up on what the other is writing, plans, news, etc.

We also have a very enjoyable, active social life with dinners at friends, coffee talks at La Noisette, etc.

Saturday night, we did something different.

We had a date.

Granted we went to Bartavelle, where we eat regularly at lunch, but an evening meal was special that called for champagne and a kir royale.

Rick approved my brown pants and silky blouse, I thought he looked "photogenic" as one of our Danish friends calls him in his blue blazer.

Never, ever have I tasted something at this restaurant where I haven't been thrilled with the taste.

Although there was no room for dessert, I still had to taste this pistachio biscuit, topped with a layer of chocolate crumbs, raspberries and two flavours of cream. I did leave some. I told Stephanie, one of the owners, that on my gravestone, I would have carved, "She wished she finished the dessert at Bartavelle on July 12, 2014.

Then hand in hand we strolled down to the now dry river hoping to see the super moon. At first we couldn't find it, but then as we followed the river bed it was hanging out the sky to our right. Of course, we didn't expect it to photography well.

It was almost as if we got a ladder we could caress it's face.

I like dating this man.