Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Today we had a visit from a nearby friend, Julie with her two children, David and Rebecca. Rebecca slept through most of the visit but David played with our boys and they all had fun with balloons.


I guess I never had too much experience with tradesmen in the USA. So my only experience can be drawn from what I have learned here in the last nearly 14 years. Yes, I have been here for that long already. Mom and dad built a house when I was 6 but I don't remember too much about that. Just that mom wanted to put in too many electrical outlets and Grandpa, who was wiring the house, clearly thought it was absurd. Not to mention that Oregon was wetter than he was used to and plainly inferior to his home state of Colorado. So when we purchased our first house a year and a half ago, we didn't know much about people who came to fix things; carpenters, painters, sheetrockers, masons, the list goes on. For the most part, it is almost always a challenge for either one of us to communicate with a tradesperson in our adopted language of french. While our french is getting better, it does not flow yet, and certainly does not allow for complete freedom of expression. So talking with these folk has usually started with a phone call, something very difficult to do in a language you are not yet comfortable with. If you are talking to someone in person, you can search their expression and body language for any possible clues if y0u didn't get just every word. But the phone...I used to cringe when it rang when I was first learning german, hoping against hope that it was someone who spoke english. So the phone call, to get someone to come by to make a quote (involves giving directions, a fun challenge too!), and then the actual agreement for them to start on the job, and then........the wait. I thought Switzerland was known for everything that revolves around punctuality. Not always the case. My whole point is that over a year ago, we asked a local tradesman if he could redo our door. We had been shopping around for a new front door and I had to dash Ralph in the face with a glass of icewater at the store after we found our what the prices were. Sooo we decided to have our door refinished. We had the carpenter come look at it and make us an offer about one year ago. 12 months and several phone calls later, it is now finished. The door looks great and keeps the cold and wind out. We are happy. We bravely asked him to check if he could change the locks on the other two outside doors to match the key and lock of the newly refinished door, thinking that it would be early enough if he finished it in 12 months. He showed up today, much to my surprise, and did the job in just a few hours. Renewed my hope in all others of his ilk.
Liam loves to play under the sink. He gets in the cupboard and takes out the dustpan and brush.

This sign is what I see when I look out the kitchen window. The house next door used to have a little store and dairy in it. The store is no longer there but they left the sign.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Saturday at home

It was one of those great Saturdays at home, when the weather is beautiful and the kids are getting along. We did little projects, cleaned up, and enjoyed the sunshine. Our snow is melting unfortunately. Hopefully we get some more soon.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

La neige est arrivée!

This morning as promised, we woke up to snow. We usually have had a few snows by this time of the year but this was the first one. It started last night and continued on through the night and we woke up to a nice dusting of powder. The boys were excited to hear the snow plows running and already had plans to build snowmen (snowpeople; doesn't quite sound the same) ski, have snowball fights and build an igloo. Liam experienced snow for the first time and seemed to love it until his hands got cold. He crawled in it, ate it and batted it around with his little mittens. When Hannes got home from school, we got their skis out and made a little starting hill and they went down it about 30 times before they started falling down and were exhausted. I got a workout too, trying to help them up and keep their skis pointed in the right direction. It looks and smells beautiful, I might just get up the courage to pick up my skis again too. Have you all switched over to carving skis? Everyone says they are much easier. Opinions please.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sunday Walk

Last Sunday we took a walk through a tiny settlement that I have always wanted to get close to. It looks beautiful in the fall when the vineyard is turning colors.


Liam loves to eat things by himself without any help, and this is usually the result. Thank goodness for pressure washers.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Sunday walk

i outsourced my blogger consulting to the Northwest and am not having much luck getting a picture posted.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Today was a milestone in the journey of motherhood. Or at least a stepping stone I guess. Both of the boys wanted to have a friend over. This sounds completely normal, and I suppose it would be if we lived in the same place where I grew up, and used a language that I was familiar with. But things turned out a little different than I had planned (actually I hadn't really gotten around to a big PLAN when love hit me right between the eyes and dictated my next steps) and here we are, surrounded by foreign languages on every side. The one we are most involved with in our little village is french. French is very beautiful if spoken correctly! I love to hear it and most of the time, I understand about 70 percent of what is being said. That may sound like a lot, but imagine if you only got 70 percent of what someone was trying to say to you. Anyway, it leaves room for some misunderstandings. I think one of the most useful things I posess so far in life is a good sense of humor and the ability to laugh at myself. It has come in very handy! So this playdate involved our 6 year old son calling up his friend, Mathieu, and asking him if he would like to come over and play, and then handing the phone to me to arrange the details with his mom. Now you must understand that I have had one previous experience turn out a little strangely so I realized that there was not just a language barrier here but also an intricate playdate chronological order that I missed the first time around. The first time around, Hannes was invited over to a friend's house and it turned out that her mother brought him back a half an hour later. She had said something to me after she came to get Hannes that I didn't really understand and rather than say, uh, duh? I just smiled and assumed she would bring him back a few hours later. I did go in the house and look up the word she used and it meant 'chimney sweep' so I was sure I was wrong. So, I wanted everything to be right for the first official playdate at our house. Dylan's choice was to invite Ulysse, a boy several years ahead of Dylan but his friend and hero none-the-less. I consulted the boys as to what we should make for lunch and everything. So back to the phone conversation. It went just fine, Mathieu and Ulysse were to come home with the boys after school and I would bring them home around 3. All went well in spite of me having butterflies in my tummy for all of us but especially for me, mom extrordinaire, exploring new territory.

ok, that was too easy

After several comments from friends (YOU NEED A BLOG), I decided to at least look into blogging myself. After only about 10 minutes of minimal effort on my part, I now have a blog. I will not make any promises to be entertaining, witty or intelligent. Or to blog a lot. I do tend to take a lot of pictures of our mundane daily lives, and so now I can publish them to a broader audience and share our activities better. After years of living in neutral europe, my english is not what it once was. Please try to ignore any blatent mistakes, feel free to advise me on current trends in the language or even correct what looks obviously wrong. I love language but admit to having parital use of four and mastering none. Argh. Will try photos a little later.