May 28, 2013
On a small hunt around Geneva (for Geneva), I found the following: A lovely square.
Pruning swans and a beryl lake (blue-green from Glacier water not algae).
A lane of sycamore trees - nicely carved in the Parisian way (or to me, in any case). The sycamores in Central Park look like ladies with free and wild locks compared to these twisted dames.
My kind of tiling in building entrances.
Narrow streets with pompous conclusions.
Large cathedrals with pompous conclusions. (Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Genève)
A tree whose roots were bursting the seams of the cobblestones. The road was almost actively rising from the force of the roots.
Delightful, mossy roof tiles. Good color scheme.
A picturesque manège in city center. Wish Marguerite were here to beg for a ride and then just one more after that. Repeat. Europeans have a real commitment to carrousels in their cities.
You know the rest.
Truth be told, my bonanza was not limited to visual finds. Geneva is, of course, the home to shopping places like FNAC (=updated French volumes for Colette's little French library), Migros (family favorite grocery store, yes, grocery store of Switzerland, where the generic brand chocolate bars and cases of yogurt bring back great memories - both are now part of a large stash in my hotel room), Du Pareil au Même (gray children's clothing - yah!), etc. etc.
May 23, 2013
May 20, 2013
We are venturing into the land of pure Colette entertainment - 14 months old and definitely a Colette. A Colette listens to “no” with a cocked head and inquisitive eyes and pulls her hands away from the hot light bulb or the computer keyboard. Then she returns and, with a bit of agitation in her eyes, checks on your commitment to the “no.” Xavier is good at staying committed. When he echoes the same “no,” she keeps cocking her head listening, but her hands wring behind her back in an internal tug of war – her will tells her she should keep trying and her hands manifest that she knows better. Eventually, especially when it is Xavier, she distracts herself and finds another interest area to focus on. Later on, she does some follow-up reinforcement of her own: she moves toward the forbidden item and gets very close to it with her eyeballs, brings her pointer finger near her face and says, “no” “no” “no” – shaking the finger the whole way directly at the object. Sometimes she adds an emphatic, “papa” “no” “papa” “no.”
(Her hair is a continual source of tension - Xavier insists we cut it. I say, let it grow. He says she looks like a homeless baby. I say she looks like a delight).
Her down dog since she was 6 months old is one of her most charming baby larks. When she feels inspired (and it is often and anywhere), she drops into position and hangs out there upside down for a while, especially delighted when an adult’s face appears and she reaches through her legs to pet their nose.
May 18, 2013
Brunches like these are the best. Stephen was singing as we walked through the door. Colette waltzed in and immediately reconnected with Skip (poor cat) and Marguerite got special birthday treatment from John. Stephen and John are virtuosos at having people over and fanning out such food.
May 14, 2013
Although I do consider myself an urbanite, heading out of the city is interesting. I felt my body literally unfurling in the seat of the car the closer we got as we drove north to Hudson. By the time we reached the grassy fields surrounding the little town, my lips were loose and I was humming out loud. For an antique lover like Xavier, Hudson is a little haven. The main street in town, Warren Street, is lined with about 40 antique shops.
Frenchies were everywhere in Hudson! We would be dancing along, singing a tune in French or Marguerite would be in the middle of recounting a tale of her school days, when someone would chime in in French. We all appreciated the above sign. We agree that "faire-ing la gueule" (pouting) is a forbidden activity. When we lived in Paris, Xavier and I had a running joke about the pervasiveness of "la gueule" on the metro. It was the one thing we have never been sad to leave behind.
May 12, 2013
I played with a new format on my camera and took some photos of the house. I have been soaking in the light recently - the mix of more and more sun and stretched out days as we get closer to summer makes me want to loll in the streams of light coming through the windows.
And the best sun baths are, of course, taken on the roof - gazing over at Mr. Hamilton's abode.
May 11, 2013
I had a very French moment with Xavier this morning. Colette has been sick for the past few days - not able to keep food down. This morning, she seemed to be doing better, but I wanted to be sensitive to her stomach. I asked Xavier for his recommendations on what we should first feed her. His advice (without hesitation): ham. Ham. Ham? Only from a Frenchman. Such a primary part of the French diet.
May 7, 2013
A certain lady turned 7 years old last week. Impressive. We gathered balloons and friends and ate cake and rolled around. Marguerite's English skills have really blossomed this year. I hear myself in her little voice: "Mrs. lady, what are you doing?" she says to Colette. She also calls her silly baby, Cowette, sis, Miss C and a variety of other strange nicknames that only I would say. Marguerite has a really thick American accent in English too, making me rethink my hard Rs and nasality, if you will. Very cute, in any case, to hear her singing "bubble gum, bubble gum in a dish..." (and not necessarily understanding what she sings).
As for balloons and Miss Colette, well, it was pure entertainment to watch her eyes as she witnessed balloons for the first time. She started making a "brrrn" sound to mean balloon and was fully delighted until one popped and she started to think they could be menacing in some way. The attraction only grew though. She woke up from a nap and before her eyes had even really opened, she was saying "brrrn" over and over, thinking about those wondrous floating balls of color.