Saturday, January 21, 2017

Then there is the cold wind…

Various lengths of icicles

Same with added spray

Think that there was some wind?

Guess which side faces the lake?

Which we don’t love quite so much, but which provides us with gorgeous photo opportunities.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

One of the reasons…

I love where I live: the seasons.
Spring is a great new beginning, summer is wonderful as long as one can get either
to the mountains or the beach for coolness. Fall is my favorite, but winter needs to also
be winter. 

This past weekend we finally got snow.

Corsier - looking towards the lake Friday night

Details of the above

Sunset in the alps Saturday

Early morning sun on the alps

The cows with extra thick pelts

Peek-a-boo with the alps

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

“No man is an island”

Is one of my favorite songs, then the  « A THOUGHT FOR TODAY » was the following.
Our lives are like islands in the sea, or like trees in the forest. The maple and the pine may whisper to each other with their leaves ... But the trees also commingle their roots in the darkness underground, and the islands also hang together through the ocean's bottom. -William James, psychologist and philosopher (11 Jan 1842-1910)

How beautiful.
This so succinctly explains the connections that we have among human beings as well, some links not being immediately seen, others more evident, but all just as valuable.

The ability to reach out and touch someone by word, look or gesture ; from the often seemingly trite and unimportant communications to the recognizably profound, we are linked.

Perhaps this is the greatest strength of social media – it allows us to re-connect with persons from our past – it re-inforces those ties with people living far away – it allows us to « meet » new people, « hear » new ideas and in general be « connected ».

Now this doesn’t mean that I intend to spend hours, or even minutes per day on my computer checking FaceBook and others (in fact some I have chosen to not pursue at all – one also needs to reserve most of one’s time for those who are physically present in our lives), however knowing that I can look and see what a high school friend is up to, to realize that on a next trip I might well plan on dropping in on another long-lost friend allows me
to know that I am not alone ; to also know that I can be of use to someone else in my life.

We are not islands – we are linked – a very comforting thought in the world’s business and seeming anonymity.

The "lone" cyprus
Redwoods 2011

Redwoods 2011

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Blessed week or…

An experiment in unplanned living.

It all started when I finally decided not to go to my sister’s for Christmas: stopped from traveling by a broken arm early in 2016 and home alone for the first time in my life I grew accustomed to the pleasure of being home and doing less. My major trip for the year was Alaska, first for a few days, then a cruise down to Vancouver, Canada then across to Banff and Jasper and all the wonders of fairly untouched nature – all this with the oh-so-pleasant company of my brother and sister-in-law.

When I moved down from my mountain rental for the last time (another story) and started “planning” Christmas I realized that the thing that I wanted most was simply to stay put and enjoy my life here in Geneva.

I took that a step further when I realized that – perhaps also for the first time in as long as I can remember – I had NO appointments whatsoever on the calendar from the 24th – 31st of December. Ah the possibilities!

First decision: not to make any plans more than 24 hours in advance – one that I have managed to stick to for 5 days now and one that has brought normal daily activities, but also the extraordinary.

As a family we held Christmas Friday night the 23rd – my older son having rented a place in the mountains from the 24th – 31st. I also loaned him the car thus putting myself truly into slow mode – walk or take the bus.  Saturday the 24th I decided that it was my day for attending all the possible Christmas programs that I could manage.  This involved soup in the village (the city councilor’s provided soup, dried meat, cheese, bread and a lovely Christmas cake – I actually knew half the people who attended) at noon; a trip into town to have coffee with a friend made back in 2002 and who providentially was visiting from Budapest (had I made plans I wouldn’t have been able to meet up with her so although I won’t actually count my blessings, this was one); attended the Anglican churches service in St.Peter’s cathedral – a half-hour organ concert, a professional choir and a beautiful ceremony; returned home for a couple of hours and a snack then as a fitting end to the day walked up to my village and attended midnight mass there. Christmas Day began on a very high note, if little sleep.

Christmas Day I enjoyed lunch with my upper neighbors then the next three days managed to stick to my “unplanned” until the night of the 28th when life decided that if I wasn’t planning anything, it would sneak in something unwanted and totally unplanned: the flu!

So here we are well into the New Year and no more plans were made even an hour or two in advance as I went about the business of being sick – somehow this was NOT the type of unplanned that I appreciate!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

My kind of tree

Tuesday I took my neighbors down to their “barn” near Belley, France. We stopped in the town to go to the bank then as we came out went across the street to see if we could get a table in that restaurant.

Unfortunately not, but just next door was the tree that I want (and perhaps will make!) next year.
This is by far the best idea that I have seen yet and may be just the excuse I need to take all my books off their shelves – then I can sort and put them back in alphabetical order in the New Year. If only wishes were that easy to realize.

A book store in Belley, France

Monday, December 19, 2016

Bless the friends

Now generally speaking that phrase can stand on its own: many of us living overseas without family close by have friends that not only are worthy of, but have become “our” family. I have the good fortune to not only have a lovely family, but also many such friends.

Friends have helped me celebrate; friends have helped me grieve; friends have done huge favors; friends have been there when I needed transportation, food, a shoulder to cry on or reason to laugh.

Friends are what make one’s life worthwhile and I hope that I am as good a friend to mine as they are to me.

But although the large things are appreciated, in the end the stepping stones of friendship are yet again, as I have been want to often say, are the little, everyday acts of kindness: the regular tea or coffee meetings, the e-mailed joke, the lunch together.

Then there are the even smaller bits of information: one of my friends called me this afternoon to simply let me know that the store in the next village over again had crumpets!
I am now set for the coming weeks and have a very warm feeling for that particular person.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The cookie jag or…

Baking one’s heart out – hmmm – maybe that should be how to make a total mess out of a kitchen?

For those of you who are used to seeing my kitchen pristine clean, or for some whom I have been noted to scold when they didn’t leave it just as I like, you will love the following pictures.

Two days this week I went on a baking cookies and cakes jag: 7 small Christmas cakes; a batch of chocolate chip cookies; another batch of double chocolate and ginger cookies; another of Russian tea cakes; and yet another double batch of brownies!

I won’t go into the details of sugar, butter and flour used, but there was definitely more of the former than the latter and in all enough to feed a small village enough calories for several months.

Who are the recipients of all this you might ask – as surely she doesn’t intend to eat all that herself. First there was the delivery to the mayor’s office (have done so several years in a row) and to the chap that so kindly uses my driveway to turn the snowplow around in the winter when I leave the gate open. He is also responsible for keeping the village plants and flowers in shape, always has a smile and hello for everyone and thus very deserving of any small attentions that I can think up.  Then I took the rest of the brownies up to the coffee shop one morning and let my coffee buddies indulge – leaving the rest for the chap that runs the coffee and mini store.

I love to bake – no one has yet refused anything that I was willing to give them and even make noises about actually liking my efforts.

I will make more before the holidays an probably finish the last out of the freezer sometime in February.

Ah the sweetness – if only I could find a way of making the whole world as sweet.