Friday, October 31, 2014

Tummy Troubles

Poor Kane.
FECAL ADVISORY: This blog post concerns our dog's digestive troubles. I have not been so concerned about bowel movements since my youngest child was toilet trained. If you do not like this subject matter, move along. (Get it: move? Haha!)

I have lost track of various attempts we have made to find a sustainable, healthy diet for him that does not give him diarrhea.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Grammar Ninja: Loving Latin

Whenever I see spelling or grammatical errors, I have to remind myself that not everyone took Latin for two years in high school and for another year in university. (I also studied Old Norse for a semester.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

(More) Chocolate, Cheese, Churches, and a Château

The Château de Gruyères, Switzerland
When I first started writing about my trip to Switzerland with my Aunt Winkie, I mentioned that the four words in the title of this blog post really summed up my experience of Switzerland. Today's post really makes that clear. On our trip to Gruyère, we visited a dairy, a castle, two churches, and a chocolate factory. All on a beautiful, clear, sunny day.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

One Step Forward

Kane is happy as long as he's in the same room as we are,
but he doesn't think it's fair that the cat is allowed on the couch when he is not. 
I love those reality shows where designers go in and completely revamp a room, from ceiling to floor. It's such a satisfying, dramatic metamorphosis.

But in the real world, I expect that very few people completely redecorate and refurnish a room in one go. Even when we were a family with two professional incomes, that never happened. Instead, we change out one or two pieces at a time, hoping eventually to achieve a room we're happy with.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Day of Rest

Flowers on my sister's balcony.
By September 28th, Winkie and I had been travelling for 11 days.

Our hosts, both in Holland and in Switzerland, had been very thoughtful about giving us time to lie down on comfortable beds and feeding us healthy, hearty meals, but we'd had a steady stream of full days, so it was very welcome to spend a day mostly at home.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Long Way Home

You lookin' at me, biotch? 
Dairy herds in the Swiss Alps only stay up in the mountains during the warm months. With the cold weather of autumn, the cattle are herded down the mountain passes to lower fields, where they are kept in barns and fed hay. The alpages have become seasonal festivals in these rural villages, celebrated in local folk art and are referred to as la Poya.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


There is something about being on a peak in the midst of a vast mountain range that evokes a feeling that defies being put into words. That is what it was like to be in the Swiss Alps.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Medieval Meanderings

Yvoire, France calls itself "village fleuri" which roughly translates as "flower-bedecked village,"* and it is an apt description. For someone like me, who is inordinately fond of flowers, it was a real treat.

Monday, October 20, 2014

If you can't lose it, decorate it!

If you can't lose it, decorate it.
Someone gave me this set of napkins (as a stocking-stuffer, I think) and I just love them. Recently, I realized that the rule applies to more than just clothing. It also applies to home decor.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Switzerland: Chocolate, Cheese, Churches, and Châteaux

Puccini chocolates, Amsterdam 
Those four words cover many of the highlights of my trip to Europe with Winkie; luscious chocolate, piquant cheese, massive churches, and spired castles seemed to be just around every corner. In Holland, every morning began with large wedges of cheese served with toothsome bread; every evening finished with wine and a small bit of exquisite chocolate.

It was not much different when we got to Switzerland. There, a fresh loaf of crusty bread was always on the table, and cheese, "double" cream, and chocolate were never far away.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Road trip!

Vrouwekathedraal (Cathedral of Our Lady), Antwerp, the Netherlands
One of the things many North Americans can't get over when they visit Europe is how close everything is. Drive for an hour or two, and you can be in a different country from where you started, not a different state.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Introducing the Grammar Ninja!

To start with, I object to the title "Grammar Nazi:" it implies that those of us who love grammar will stop at nothing to exert our delusional ideals. That is not the case with me. While I have an OCD-style compulsion to notice typos and grammatical errors, I care more about the people in my life, so I make no comment, most of the time.

Also: my ideals are not delusional.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A-maze-ing Amsterdam

This road was used for two-way traffic, including delivery trucks, bicycles and pedestrians.
Wise pedestrians stayed off the road.
One of the idiosyncrasies of old cities is that they are not constructed on rectilinear grids. This makes them both charming and incredibly disorienting.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


From Willem and Els's garden 
Rather than going in strictly chronological order, I've decided that, at least for the Netherlands portion of the trip, I'll group my comments and pictures by city or theme. Since Utrecht was our home base, I'll start there.

We landed on a foggy morning. As a photographer, I actually really like fog; it softens things and adds mystery.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The adventure begins!

Lily pads, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands
(I think I may want to have this picture framed.)
Oh, I have so much to show you and tell you!

It's been three full weeks since I blogged, and in that time, I've been to Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, France -- and even a couple of special places in Canada. But I am finally home and almost caught up on laundry, so it's time to get to work before I begin my next adventure.

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