Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ornament and stocking making...

The night before we left for our Christmas vacay in jolly ole' England, I finished making our stockings, and we painted and hung our ornaments. We only had two colors of paint, red and black, so two themes cames to mind: ninjas and the Phillies (ok there's no black in the Phillies logo, but I think we [read: I] made it work regardless).

I think that a ninja is a suitable first ornament to hang...

[Hey! I made those two stockings!]

All in all we made about 30 ornaments, and with the handful of ornaments that we had purchased at the Thoiry and St. Jean de Gonville's Christmas marches our Chrismukkah tree turned out not too shabby. Between the ornaments, tree stand and stockings, we definitely had a very DIY Chrismukkah!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ode to the Suisse Lounge...

Dear Suisse Lounge,

There is much that I will miss with the ending our Star Alliance Gold Membership Status at the end of this year, but it is you I will miss the most. Three free bags at 70 lbs each and priority boarding is nice, but the serentiy of your lounge can never be beaten on transatlantic flights. I've never had better oatmeal and yogurt than yours. Maybe one day we'll meet again.

A la prochain Suisse Lounge,


PS - I bet Silver membership won't be able to hold a candle to your glittery goldness...maybe you can work on them a bit from your end. Merci.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

See ya, snow...

The snow is pretty much all gone (again), so I'm left with a handful of pictures from this last storm to share. You'd never guess looking out the window now that we got about a foot of snow less than a week ago...

[Cat burglarin' santa got into the boulangerie! HIDE THE MACARONS!]

A la prochain friends...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

London bound...

Pic via here.

Today is a very busy day at Chez Duggan, as CERN officially closes this afternoon until after the New Year (no more protons, no more books!), we're finishing up our own last minute decorations for the holiday, *and* we're packing our bags for our 5 day Christmas trip to London. So dear friends, I've never been to London before, what do I need to see/do/eat? Anything off-the-beaten-path you can suggest? Anything on-the-beaten-path you can suggest? I may be a "Lonely Planet" junkie, but I love getting personal travel advice even more!

A la prochain friends...

Ice hikes...

A week ago, December 14, 2010, is a day that will live in infamy and be forever called "Merry Cliffmas," as Clifton Pfifer Lee was brought back to the city of brotherly love to pitch for the Philadelphia Phillies...but that is a story for another day. However, to celebrate "Happy Clifton Pfifer Lee Day," I went on my first winter hike with my friend Kim over at fieldfare.

[Jura hiking guide extraordinaire]

[Biggg drop.]

This was only my third time hiking, (I promise I'll stop counting after this one), and Kim is a pro, so I was a little nervous, but apparently I did well. It was gorgeous out and surprsingly not too cold, and after about 20 minutes of hiking it starting "glitter snowing..."

...but don't be fooled. All those pretty little "snow patches?" Yeah those are solid ice, with a thin coating of newly fallen snow on them.

Pic via Kim.

I have learned through the early parts of this winter that I have two styles of walking on ice covered in snow: the waddle, (as displayed above), and the march...

Pic via Kim.

We made it to Tiocan in about an hour. Originally I figured we'd go to Tiocan and then turn around and go back (there were promises of vegan mac 'n cheese that aided that decision), but I still felt ok so we decided to go up a little further...

...and then it started to get increasingly more icy.

Pic via Kim.

We stopped for tea on a stump...

After tea, we decided the only possible way of really getting down the mountain was for us to get to the road, because before we knew it the path had become a complete sheet of ice with only very small areas to use as footholes going up. With some effort, which included a little climbing through the trees for the last 20 feet, we did make it to the road, and there we found this:

Not bad, eh?

We wanted to keep going, but our hiking shoes sans yak-trax type equipment would not have gotten us very far.

I'm still amazed at how quickly and seemingly abruptly the weather changes on the mountain. This is what it looked like after walking down the mountain for about 30 minutes:

[See ya, neige!]

Crazy, right?
We headed back to Chez Strom and Kim made me yummy tea and vegan mac 'n cheese. I think I'd hike everyday if there were promises of mac 'n cheese, raclette or tartiflette to follow...

A la prochain friends...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

36 years...

Happy anniversary (one day late) to the best parents a girl could ever have! Hope you did something fun to celebrate 36 years of marriage and 36 years of putting up with each other :) Love youse!

Tree stand 2.0

So, guess who wasn't happy with the Chrismukkah tree stand that he made?

This guy.

Monday night was spent with the two of us hard at work - me on making some stockings for us by hand (one down, one to go), and Dan in the garage re-doing the work that I didn't feel needed to be re-done. He finished this stand very quickly, and we now have tree stand 2.0 holding up our tree in the living room. I'm not gonna lie, I'm even more impressed than before. I no longer walk past the tree and worry that it is going to fall on me, nor does it make random creaking noises when you accidentally bump into it.

Good work, Doc.

L'Escalade and market Sunday...

So a little over a week ago we finished out our crazy non-stop weekend with the Thoiry Sunday Market and an early afternoon trek into Geneva, Suisse for one of their biggest annual festivals, L'Escalade. The Thoiry market was chilly but beautiful that morning, and it seemed even more packed than usual.

[Cat burglarin' santa with a view...]

[Renversé et Speculoos.]

After finishing our shopping and and catching up with friends, we decided that we should go into Geneva to be a part of the L'Escalade fun, despite nearly falling asleep in our renversés that morning. I especially wanted to go since I had never seen it, whereas Dan had gone last year. So what is L'Escalade exactly? It is a weekend long festival commemorating the Swiss's ability to defend themselves from a surprise attack by the Savoie back in 1602. This defense was successful because of the smart wits of a village woman who saw Savoie offenders climbing the walls of the city, and poured the hot soup that she was making out her window onto the offenders, thereby giving the Swiss time to ready themselves...or at least, that's what I've been told. For us it means going into Geneva, being super cold, drinking delicious vin chaud and vegetable soup to keep warm, taking pictures of all of the medieval dressed folks, lots of lanterns, trying to not step in horse poo, and a bonfire in St. Pierre's Square. If you'd like to read more about L'Escalade go here.

[I have no idea what this is about...]

[Ice skating rink...]


[St. Pierre's Cathedral...]

[St. Pierre's Square and waiting for the bonfire...]

[Vin chaud...]

A good and chilly time was had by all in our group, but by the end of the night we were so tired that we were falling asleep standing up. We left a little early and were able to avoid the inevitable tram-turned-cattle-train scenario that is customary for Geneva events, had some chocolate chaud and called it a night.

A la prochain friends...