Friday, July 01, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
I love all things Swiss, if you've ever read anything here, you know this is true. I've adjusted to the change in climate, food, culture with great ease for the most part (and yeah, maybe a few pounds). But Swiss insects,like mosquitoes and horseflies seem to have some unusual properties that my body cannot handle. Keep in mind, I'm from Canada. I grew up in Manitoba and have been bitten by mosquitoes the size of sparrows, I've survived multiple wasp bites, bee stings and one very nasty bite from a black widow spider (while living on the Wet Coast) without much more than some ice and calamine lotion. Also 'the itch' from Clear Lake on so many occasions during my childhood, I should be scarred. But no, I am Canadian, little biting black flies and dense clouds of mosquitoes don't phase me.
The first summer here, my arms were covered in swollen red oozing bites that I attributed to spiders in the new house. The second summer, after having gone back to Canada and been bitten by both Albertan and Manitoban bugs with no horrendous reactions, I was amazed to return home and watch a simple mosquito bite turn into some large, red, owwy mass that took days to subside. Last summer, I dragged out the Deep Woods Off and basically coated my arms, legs and face every night before I went to bed.
Yesterday I was cleaning the pool and got bit by a horsefly. This is what my thigh and knee looked like this morning, even after icing it for hours last night.
In desperation I took some Benadryl today, all the while knowing that antihistamines are like dropping (bad) acid for me. I get woozy, see little trails of light and basically feel worse for the cure. Then I went and passed out for 4 hours. I still feel achy and weird, but the swelling has gone down a bit and the bites don't look quite so angry.
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
Thursday, June 02, 2011
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Ack! Has it really been almost two months since I've posted ? And it looks like squatters have been in here while I was away.
* kicks the empty beer cans into the corner, wipes away some cobwebs*
Ahem. Yes, well, what have I been sooo very busy doing that I couldn't even stop in and drop a line or two? It all started with the very early arrival of summer this year. Seriously, since the beginning of April, we have had maybe 3 days with rain and temps above 20C everyday. And with the arrival of summer, I was compelled to deal with some VIP's.
Very Important Projects.
The first of these was dealing with the terrasse, which I let slide into some state of disrepair and stainage last year.
Once the entire terrasse had been swept and power washed, we had the 70 year old Ungaro (yes, we ARE equal opportunity employers!) come in and repair all the cracks and spalling grout,despite his fervent wish that we replace the entire terrasse with SMOOTH rock.
Then there was this bit of street side property that has been a weed and nettle infested eyesore since we moved in.
This required the accumulation of some rocks:
Weeds begone... Eh, Voila!
Now if that wasn't enough there was another thorn in my side that had been poking at me since we moved in, this slope:
Probably not nearly enough, but enough to start. Stripped and ready to go!
Also, I have the cutest helper in the world:
The Big G and I have done a bit of travelling in the last few months; Basel, the UK, a wonderful luxurious weekend in Lugano and have more travel coming up : 5 days in Paris (starting this weekend !!!) and then I'm off to London to meet up with an old friend. As always there is more than enough to do and see in Switz alone and if I drag myself away from landscaping long enough I hope to do some Swiss tourism this summer too!
And the pool is open and should be warm enough to swim in by the end of the week! Yaaaaay summer!
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Owsley Stanley, LSD pioneer, RIP
Here is a rare interview with "Bear" from 2007. "For the unrepentant patriarch of LSD, long, strange trip winds back to Bay Area"
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Friday, March 04, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Monday, February 07, 2011
Going up to the mountains is always a nice change of pace.
There are new things to play with
What's that up there?
Whooooaaaa..it's a lot bigger close up!
The shift in altitude is always interesting.
The day winds down and jets make their way to Geneva.
The Argentine lights up briefly.
Sunset...off to bed.
Sunday, February 06, 2011
A fable for our times:
by Leonard Pitts Jr.
Once upon a time, there lived a stupid giant.
The giant had not always been stupid. Or, perhaps it is more accurate to say the giant had once revered intelligence, reason and the byproducts thereof. Indeed, the giant was renowned for an ingenuity and standard of living that made it the envy of the world.
But much of the world did more than envy the giant. Much of the world admired and respected it. Its basic decency, along with its strength and intelligence, set it apart.
There came a time, however, when, though the giant retained its strength and arguably even its decency, it lost its intelligence.
No one can say exactly how and when the loss occurred. There was no great blast of thunder and lightning to herald it, no sudden instant when the giant's intelligence plummeted dramatically from the instant before.
No, stupidity crept over the giant with the stealth of twilight, a product less of one abrupt moment than of a thousand moments of complacency, of resting on laurels, of allowing curiosity to be teased and bullied out of bright children, of dumbing down textbooks so kids could get better grades with less work, of using ``elite'' like a curse word. And, of behaving as if knowing things, and being able to extrapolate from and otherwise make critical use of, the things one knows, was a betrayal of some fundamental human authenticity -- some need to keep it real.
Read the rest here.
Friday, February 04, 2011
Thursday, February 03, 2011
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
And to keep you in that French state of mind, here's a little Georges Brassens:
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
Monday, January 31, 2011
(or she likes it when we've got wood)
We've been conducting a little experiment this winter... heating the house with the fireplace instead of the foul smelling, sooty mazout (oil) in the chauffage (central heating device) and I have to admit, I love it. There is some debate about how carbon neutral burning wood actually is, but the consensus seems to be that the carbon released by burning is not adding to the total carbon footprint, as the tree absorbed the carbon to begin with (the same holds true for petroleum products however that absorption was millions of years ago) and that by burning wood, new trees absorb the carbon faster than the earth does to make coal, etc.
Of course, the Swiss know a thing or two about forest management, having had a couple of thousand years to get it right. Every commune has a forest, that is planted, harvested and neatly stacked for curing and sale, done in that tidy Swiss way. We've burned through about 4 stere (one stere =one cubic meter of wood) so far and it's considerably cheaper than burning oil.
2 stere all stacked.
But for me the very best part is caveman TV. I could sit and watch the fire all day. I am soothed by the glow, excited by the whole chemical process going on and find myself relaxing and thinking about things that seem somehow more important than who is in the top running on X Factor or Master Chef this week.
PS It's also allowed the Big G to make continuous 'wood' jokes as well, much to his endless amusement.