resolution review

As 2010 is ending, I want to check back on my resolutions for the year and see what went well, and what might carry over into 2011.
  1. Learn French.  2 levels done, not as far as I'd hoped but definite progress.
  2. Go vegan. I don't even miss the cheese all that much, most of the time.
  3. Make some art. Made and sold two pieces, but that's it...
  4. Survive ski lessons. Check. And now I can say that I really like skiing.
  5. Keep in touch. Not bad, but trying a little harder in 2011.
  6. Complete year 2 of living without a car. Check-2 1/2 years.
  7. Find good walking/hiking shoes that will not cause blisters or toenail death. Still hoping...
  8. Watch all 22 Bond movies. Fail. This was suppose to be a free-bee, but it took three attempts to get through Dr. No, and yes that's as far as I got.
  9. Read more. Maybe this year...
  10. Get involved in the arts in our new location. Ya, that just didn't happen. 
How did you do in 2010? Are you making resolutions for 2011? However resolutions worked out, I hope you had a happy 2010 and wish you bon chance in another new year. 


joyeux noel

Wishing you a very happy  day and a blessed holiday season. Merry Christmas from les Stroms.


twas the night before christmas

It's Christmas Eve. We're sleeping in, making a final trip to the grocery store for holiday fixings, and ready to start cooking tonight's dinner: mashed potatoes and gravy are a must, plus pumpkin soup, artichokes, and some salmon for Derek. Not the traditional lutefisk, but still a fish.  Candles are lit, the oven is warm, candied almonds will hopefully last until after dinner, and presents are being wrapped in red and white paper. It snowed overnight and most of the day, so it looks like we'll have that white Christmas!

We are thinking about traditions and family at home (some of them braving the lutefisk and traveling in the Illinois storms in our absence). We might have mentioned the "make gift" tradition which will be happening tonight in Elburn. It has gotten more interesting for us these past two years with the new "made" constraints of living abroad and shipping our gifts: they must now be small and light-weight -shipping costs- and made with limited supplies and without tools... And the most challenging part- they must be completed and in the mail a full two weeks before Christmas Eve (instead of being finished or made start to finish in the final hours leading up to the family gathering). Unfortunately, the the postal service has been a little behind and our packages have not arrived yet from France, but I'll show you what we made after they have been received. This has become a favorite tradition of mine from my husband's family, along with ice skating and having a real tree. What are your favorite holiday traditions?



This morning, while listening to the Nutcracker, I finally got to wreathing the pine cones, twigs, moss, mistletoe, holly, and evergreen clippings I gathered from the woods with two swag branches from the florist and tied it all up with some twine. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here. Now we just need snow (fingers crossed).   

skate date

Today we went ice skating in Meyrin with a group of friends. The rink was nearly empty when we arrived until suddenly one billion small children clumped onto the ice and we spent the rest of the afternoon dodging and weaving. So, I gave up on figure skates, and now that I'm over missing the toe pick, I think I'll stick with the hokey skates.  

Now we're in the holiday spirit.


city lights

This afternoon we made a trip to the city to walk a bit and enjoy the lights and decorations. We visited a gallery, bookstore, stopped in for some tea and hot cocoa, walked through the park, found Krampus on an ornate dome (see bottom left photo), and caught a bit of festivness from the street performances of carols and twinkling white lights. It's almost Christmas! 


have i mentioned the snow?

Another day for a snowshoe hike in the Jura. The best way to spend a winter Sunday afternoon after the market. We took a thermos of cocoa, binoculars, a sac for gathering wreath materials, and strapped on our snowshoes for another day in the snow.

The sun even came out just a bit before fading behind the ridge.

Hope you got to play in the snow too.


snow, again...

We are having a great cycle of snow, it all melts, then it snows again. So today, more snowshoeing in the woods and fields behind our house.

After our afternoon snowshoe, we joined friends for a walk in the Swiss country side and saw a few deer, a fox, and a boar at dusk.


bon anniversaire

Happy Birthday to Derek... making sure to have an extra sweet and warm celebration, a new flannel, cupcakes, and chocolates, hot cocoa, and a giant pain d'épice make aging a little easier. And all this was after crepes for brunch and a hearty chili dinner.

Since it was a sunny afternoon, we took a walk to Saint Jean de Gonville for their annual marche de noel to see some local handy crafts and check out the Christmas trees. Ooops, they forgot to change the date from last year's sign...

We decided it might be a bit far to carry a tree from Saint Jean back to Thoiry and up the mountain, so we stopped in our town center and picked up one from the florist there, then up the mountain with the tree, stand, and some swag. It should be a tradition not to start Christmas until after Derek's birthday, but it was a nice day to get a tree and decorate back at the apartment. So happy birthday to my woodsman :)


course de l'escalade

I am not a runner... I wish I was, but I can admit it's just not my thing. Derek and I decided to run the annual course de l'escalade in Geneva this year. Just a few days after a near record breaking snowfall, the decision to allow the race to be run was made at 9 am the morning of. So we caught the 10 am bus to the city for my run at 1 pm and Derek's at 5 pm (my birth year was the cut-off for the junior women catagory...that made me old). The course had been well-cleared of snow and ice, the sun was shining, and it was a nice day for the event that draws 25,000 plus runners to Geneva.  Everything ran according to schedule, but the courses were shortened to 4 km for women and 7 km for men because of a still slick area on the hilly old town's cobblestone roads. Despite my not being a runner- it was a fun course. I don't think I'll be attempting any marathons in the near future, especially those really tempting uphill mountain marathons...but a little jog on a sunny winter's day was nice, and I didn't finish last.  


still snowing

It's still snowing and still lovely despite slippery walks and a fall. 


walking in the snow

Walking to the grocery store in the snow.

And wandering around in snowshoes, just because we have lots of snow.


december first

A big snow storm, right on cue to start December. So much snow fell today that the airport and all public transportation stopped. A quiet day and perfect opportunity for a long snowshoe adventure in the Jura.

Happy winter everyone. It's going to be a while before we thaw out again.