Thursday, November 26, 2015


Most of the world hasn’t heard of Thanksgiving as a holiday and the origins and reasons thereof have been called into question. Nevertheless it is one of those celebrations that remain in the lives and hearts of anyone born in the USA or even those who have spent time there.

If I were to sit down and write a list of all the things that I am thankful for, I could easily spend the entire day. That the sun came up this morning and I am alive to see it is already major.

But there are two things without which all the material goods in the world or even health would have no meaning: family and friends.

They are what gives life its meaning – whether you are up or down, in good health or ill, poor or rich, without family and friends with whom to share, it would be a very sad and deprived life.
I have been overly blessed (well not really, I keep adding to the friends) to not only have friends from my youth, from my high school days, less from my university ones as I moved a lot, from my return to Switzerland, from after my husband’s death (now that is a weird feeling : to be good friends with persons who have not known your spouse), from recently and I have no doubts that there will be more in the future. I have a large family of cousins on both sides of my parent’s families, I have my sons.

I am blessed: I will be giving thanks as I sit at the table tonight with a portion of those family and friends.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The luxury of…

An empty calendar !

This morning when I pulled out my calendar I realized that today was one of those very rare days where I had absolutely nothing planned : not a coffee, not a lunch, no medical apointments, no house repair either. Wow – a whole day to do whatever I wanted – or « needed » as there is no lack of tasks that, although not dated, certainly need doing.

First luxury – taking longer over coffee.
Then since I had been lazy (it was raining) and taken the car up to get my mail, I decided to go post my registered letter down at the main post office and check out the grocery store whilst I was there (I did need fresh flowers). My male readers can stop here as only a women will understand how my morning then proceeded. Letter duly mailed (and having been talked into a lottery ticket for tonight – our post offices sell just about everything) entered the grocery store. First thing some sour cream for the baked potato that I was able to obtain from our favorite restaurant (to my regret, I had not ordered the daily menu, as on my way out I noticed that it had been accompanied by a baked potato – a real rarety in our restaurants – had run into the chef and mentionned my « mistake ». Now this shouldn’t get out, but he went right back and brought me one in a plastic sack, so when you see someone with a bag it doesn’t necessarily hide alcohol !). And I am yet again several lines off track : second item some baking supplies as it entered my head that on a dreary day like today baking Christmas cookies might be an option. Thirdly that led to the cat food aisle (you really doon’t want to know), on back of which are brooms, sacks, etc. and threshold carpets, which reminded me that I had promised my younger son one so chose the one that I thought would best fit his decor and finally checked out.  But then I needed fresh flowers – another deviation.

Back at the car I continued along the same lines : hmmmmm… halfway to town, mid-morning so no traffic, I might as well drop the rug over at S’s flat (still had the keys in the car from all the past weeks deliveries).
On the way I realized that I wasn’t far from the main flea market and that it was Wednesday. Weather was gray and I was looking at the sky when I realized there were buildings with sayings or whatever on them. Not a clue as to why but interesting.

"L'odrre n'a pas d'ipmroincae" or Order is not important

"Yes to all" what?

Sunday - and so what?

Christmas Circus

loved the juxtaposition of eyes, church bell tower and top of the circus tent.

You see the pattern : needless to say it was past noon by the time I returned home to eat my baked potato and think what next to do with all this freedom.

The "with Flying Colors" theme this week is white - couldn't resist the Christmas decorations

A luxury indeed – one I am ill-equipped to handle it seems.
So probably I’ll simply fritter the remainder of the day away – there are worse things in life – and enjoy the luxury of a scheduleless 24 hours.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

It’s just another day

How often do we say that ?
Some people think that their lives are boring or seem to be always the same, but if one really thinks about it one begins to notice the small variations in even the most calm of lives.

Given the terrorism, the accidents, the diseases and other negative events that impact us, it’s just another day might be a good thing if by that we mean calm, ordered, the same.

But again, it is never « just another day ». Every time the moon goes down, it is in a slightly different position, the weather is a degree different, our ability to actually not only see it, but to experience that sight changes with our availability and moods.

Moon Nov.18

Every time the sun comes up, it’s also in a different place, under different atmospheric conditions, seen or not at a different time from the preceeding day.

Sunrise Nov. 18

Sunrise Nov. 19

Both experiences are never the same: what a wonderful world – « it’s just another day » becomes a privilege instead of a banality.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Fidèles amies
Vous qui m‘avez accompagnées
Au fil des kilomètres :
Par monts et par vaux
Le long des rivières
Jusqu’aux cimes.

Sous le soleil estival,
Sur les feuilles automanales,
Qu’il vente, qu’il pleuve,
Toujours là sans se plaindre,
Sans dire un mot,
Sans émettre une opinion.

Vous n’aviez pas d’âme,
Vous n’avez rien vu,
Pourtant sans vous je
N’aurai pas pu…

Une dernière balade et
Je vous ai abandonnées
A la montagne.

Gardez-la bien, car
Je reviens

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Most of us at some point in our lives collect something.

Early on, books were big with me and it is amusing to note that in spite of their father’s and my dispair whilst they were growing up that they didn’t read like we did, as adults my sons also collect books.

Then there were the stamp collections – reinforced after I moved to Europe to study as I could pick up the American ones cheap here (no one seemed interested) and the Swiss ones cheap in California (again what was too far away was deemed of little value, never mind that Swiss stamps still cost a lot). I ceased buying the year’s collection for each son some while back but still probably have a fortune sitting around in various places throughout the house.

My aunt collected rocks – and I find that I tend to bring back granite from the mountains, an interesting stone from here or there; a sand dollar from the beach (legend has it that if you find a sand dollar on the beach and take it home, you will return to the spot – I stopped collecting them on my little sister’s beach when she died). I took some of my aunt’s polished rocks (when we collect, we do it right !) with me after she passed away : my little sister also and when she in turn died imagine my delight to discover amongst her belongings one bag of rocks labelled for my sons – perhaps this is partially what keeps me grounded.

I don’t personally collect coffee cream covers, but the Swiss do and one of the latest collections was just too pretty so I gathered them up and took photos – this is perhaps why the Swiss collect them – they are works of art.

Swiss yodellers
Cheese, alps, edelweiss and cows
Swiss alps and gentians
Barry with milk cnas
The legend: William Tell
Cable car for the alps
an accordionist
Ah quintessentially Swiss
Ibex and the alps
Swiss folklore
The Swiss cross, edelweiss and gentians
typical chalet
one of the many boats on the many lakes
Barry - rescuer of lost persons
Add My heart belongs to Switzerland

Sunday, November 15, 2015

There is still beauty…

Just as most people are good there is still beauty in the world:  often after sad events be they national or personal one tends to want to be outside, to somehow reassure oneself that nature still exists, that some things can’t be changed quite so easily.

Fortunately it was another in an exceptionally long line of lovely fall days here.
So the first walk I took out by the natural preserve looking towards the alps.

Mont Blanc was hiding

a couple of leaves still refuse to change colors

Sign on both side of the woods below: private but authorized for hikers and friends of nature.

The woods

Inside the woods

unusual berries

never seen the like

A manor house with a still growing field

out the other end of the woods, Mont Blanc still in hiding

a few of the very rare red leaves still on the vine

one of the cannels of the natural preserve

A gray heron

The second shorter one was simply up to the village for coffee and back down through the vineyards.

the remains of a vineyard

through the trees close to sunset
Jet d'Eau in the distance beneath layers of the golden setting sun

Saturday, November 14, 2015


Endorra in “Bewitched” – about the dancing bear: “I don’t know where you learned to be so cruel, it must be the mortal influence”.

As was the case after “Charlie Hebdo” everyone is coming out with the blame, the “we must”, the “let’s close the borders”, the need to attribute a reason to what was done. As I learned with my first bout of cancer, if someone else can figure out that you did something (that they didn’t do) or didn’t do something (that you should have done and that they do) you become responsible for your cancer and alleviate them from having to worry about the same fate befalling them.

Sometimes the only reason is hate.

And this is something we humans seem to find all too easy.

I won’t be changing my profile picture – unless I can figure out some way of superimposing a globe on it – as there are many, many, many more such incidents taking place every day especially in the Middle East, in Afghanistan, in Africa. But, oh I forgot, those are in far away places, places that we don’t need to be concerned about as we don’t have friends or family living there (o.k. some of us do have, but the vast majority of the Western world don’t); places where we can ignore man’s inhumanity to man.

Do I find it horrible: yes!
Do I wish that it had never happened: equally.

But I am also aware of all the other incidents throughout the world and feel that we would be better off simply helping the neighbor, buying lunch for the beggar, talking to the kid who seems to not fit in, listening to the youth who’s parents are drug addicts, support the immigrant trying to get an education, and above all LOVING and being gentle with all children: the case can be made that some people are born evil (and I won’t disagree) but most terrorists were taught by their surroundings, their experiences and their circumstances to become hateful: as babies and toddlers they were not yet capable of those acts they knowingly and willingly commit as adults.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Ten and half hours…

Seventy kilometers, a lot of sweating as well as waiting in lines : it was gathering-up-the-bits, puchasing the necessities, squeezing in the washes – in short the first day that my younger son had « free » to concentrate on his move into the new place. It included two trips to Ikea, one to the local DIY, a couple more home (across town) and the end had him squeezed in the back of my polo with the flat-pack cupboard (was rather glad that it was after dark as no cop would have let me continue had he seen that !).
It’s amazing the amount of items and the length of some that we have managed to get into my small Polo!

Whilst waiting in traffic

Another whilst waiting in traffic

flat pack and son

Now he moved out at the beginning of October, but what with one thing and the other although he did get started on the painting, working took a great share of his time, never mind the camp when he was gone for the week : fortunately for him his older brother was willing to let him live in his flat whilst he was gone and as they are in the same building this made things possible that would yet to be done had that not happened.

However, said brother returns at the end of the week so it is imperative that he be out !

That was yesterday : today was finish mounting the bed and perhaps put together one of the cupboards
that was bought during one of the multiple store trips. We did take time for lunch, but there was a bit of sweating and need for adjustments to the bed – the cupboard we didn’t even start. However, it will all work out and his « zones » (it’s a large studio) have been very well thought out and are wonderfully and creatively painted.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Martigny and miscellanea

As a follow-up to Sunday’s outing to eat La Brisolée and take in the Giannada Museum.
Various interesting sights in the old town Martigny Bourg, as well as the surroundings.

Entry to Martigny Bourg

A very interesting display outside a flower/plant shop

One of numerous signs

I loved the fact that the tree point repeated the mountain peak point

The old church - with yes a tree growing out of the bell tower

Mums on one of the water fountains
One of the many posters from Leonhard Giannada's travels to be found on the grounds of the museum

loved the added touch of color to the poster by real flowers growing just below!
La Batiaz as I walked back to my car.