Wednesday, January 16, 2019

A weekend treat

Last weekend we were invited by our Swiss neighbors to spend a night in their chalet up in the Swiss Alps. We've heard so much about this place. They have rented it every winter for the last 9 years together with two other families. It is their true haven. Never did I imagine it being this cool and beautiful. True haven indeed.

It was 2 degrees Celsius when we arrived. But the ambiance in this spacious old chalet made us warm (and our jackets, hats and slippers...). I love this place!

Jay brought some homemade chili for dinner. I brought Cava (I've decided to celebrate my 50th birthday at any opportunity throughout the whole year of 2019). A glass of bubbly is always adding that little extra to any occasion. :)

A few bottles of wine later (!!!) and lots of deep conversation about life (kids growing up, marriage, rediscovering ourselves, our future plans and dreams) the temperature had crawled up to a good 13 degrees Celsius thanks to the wood pellet heater. around midnight we tucked ourselves into beds with woolly socks and flannel pyjamas and the blankets pulled up to our ears. I slept like a baby.

We spent Saturday on the hill skiing and then we were invited to stay another night. Yes please! If I only could have a grand kitchen-social-space like this at home. A swing! Shouldn't we all have a swing in our homes? I mean - helloooo! That big dining table was fitting us all at breakfast as well as dinner. And all the windows made this room so light in the day. The charm of this chalet definitely lies in its simplicity. Nothing is fancy. It is more rustic and unpretentious. Such a homey, joyful and tranquil place. No stress allowed... Did I say I love it?

Big Thank You to our dear neighbors who invited us to this magical place. It is a true gem.  This weekend will be remembered.

PS To see short videos from this weekend, check out Happy Things on my Instagram @myrosevalley.  

PS 2: All pictures from iPhone... taken by me and Didier.


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Saturday, January 5, 2019

Chasing snow, broken bones, a new year and reflections

I look out the window and see Izzy sitting there. She sees me with the camera, jumps down and runs toward my window to get in. She goes straight to the cat toilet to take a wee. Why? You're supposed to do your business outside Miss Izzy. She is a bit particular this kitty.

There is no snow. This Christmas wasn't a white Christmas at all. The last few days we've had the "biis", cold icy winds from the north. But no snow. There is hardly any snow in the Alps unless you get above 2000 meters. Against all odds I did rent alpine equipment for all kids for the season. We will chase the snow if we have to, can't miss out on snowy rides no matter what.

Jay is in Mustique (read about our visit to Mustique in 2016 here, here and here) working and I'm alone with the kids. Nelly Bo celebrated New Years Eve with friends in the Swiss Alps this year, so New Years Eve was spent with just two kids at home. I'm not a big fan of New Years Eve. In fact it makes me anxious, so I just made us a nice dinner and then we had movie night. Not having Jay or Nelly Bo around makes the family dynamics totally different (to not say weird). We are so used to always be all together and when one person falls off that foundation, you struggle to find your place it seems. It made me want to break the weirdness and do something different.

On New Years Day I took Luca Bo and Emmy Bo with me to Gstaad for a day of snow fun. We left the house at 8 am, hit the hill by 10 am, had lunch at our favorite mountain restaurant Kuhstall, went for a few more runs and were back home by 6 pm. It was so much fun. And the weather was glorious with blue bird sky and just below zero. Heaven.

On Wednesday we were waiting for Nelly Bo to come back home and fill the empty space we all experienced. She came home alright... with a broken wrist!  She broke it on her first day of the season snowboarding. Ironically she didn't even fall. She hit an icy patch and was to lazy to tackle it, sat down to collect strength for it, slipped and fell on her hand. She's upset, angry, frustrated, sad... but in good spirit. She even figured out how to play the piano wrapped up in plaster. I just had to capture the moment as she looked so funny and played so well, watch it here.

I have reflected upon life much during the holidays. Withdrawn a bit. I notice how time seem to pass in a more rapid pace with age, how against my own desires my children are growing up and somewhat away from me. I find this phase in life very challenging and confusing. I'm like a small boat lost at sea floating around in circles desperately trying to find shore to set home. Who am I? What happens next? How will I cope with all the change? It is like everything I knew, the routines of motherhood and family life now are all gone... For so many years, decades, I've built this great construction of blocks and kept it steady for so long and suddenly it has all fallen to the ground and I struggle to find the pieces to reconstruct what once was. Does that make sense? I guess it is time to construct something new. Fill the gaps with new blocks in a new structure. I'm scared. I feel vulnerable. But I also feel excited and curious. Change is good. Embrace it. Even if you hate it. It makes you grow, it makes you rise, it makes you love in a new way. You hear, I'm trying my best to cheer myself on. I'm crap at following my own advice, but this time I think I will actually listen and take them onboard.

My reflections continues, my life continues and a New Year is here with New adventures, happenings and challenges. I feel 2019 will be the year for me. It is the year I am turning 50. I'm ready for it. Wish you all a Happy New Year!


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Sunday, December 23, 2018

Christmas cries and Christmas joy

First of advent came and today it is the day before Christmas Eve. What happened? Every year is the same, I have so many plans for December. So little time. Next year I'll start in November...

I filled my home with Christmas spirit, that First of advent, as well as I started a new job. That is what happened. The job is just temporary, a challenging project. A job that makes me feel like a real working woman. A job where I'm using so much brain power that I crash into bed in a fog of exhaustion early in the evenings. It is great! I am learning new things and I get to leave the house every day to go in to the office. It is a great feeling. I'll take my chance to do a shout out as I am working on developing an Intranet site in SharePoint. If anyone of you have experience of SharePoint and how it works, please let me know as I'm trying hard to crack how to use this complex platform and need help to do so.

And what else did I do this December?

I attended the Swedish Christmas market in Lausanne and sold almost all of my handmade creations to benefit the Swedish church. A day filled of Swedish tradition and culture. So lovely.

I baked saffron buns that was eaten within the baking day. Many times. We love saffron buns in my family. Saffron bun recipe here.

I've tried to buy gifts from the heart instead of just from a list. It takes brain work but is more satisfying.

I have written rhymes on chosen gifts as we used to that when I was a kid. It makes gifting even more special.

I have not written Christmas cards, and I feel really bad about that. I've collected so many beautiful Christmas cards over the years but somehow I most often fail to get them written in time. Or sent. Next year...

We invited friends for dinner, once, and to make it real special Jay made seafood tacos with homemade tortillas, tomato black bean salsa, red cabbage ceviche and guacamole topped with feta cheese crumbles. It was divine! Who would have thought salmon and lobster could be great for tacos? My new favorite dish.

We ate countless ginger cookies. Say now more...

I have not taken my daily walks for weeks, and I really - REALLY - miss them. I have come to realize how important those walks are to me and will make an effort to find the time for them again from now on. Being kind to myself.

I watched just a few Christmas movies like The Grinch, Elf and Love Actually. I still want to watch The Family Stone, The Holiday and Jack Frost. I do have a weak spot for sentimental Christmas movies that makes me cry.

I had my annual Christmas cry on the Third of advent. Ironically Jay said that morning that he was surprised I hadn't had my Christmas cry yet. Maybe he jinxed it as I later that afternoon was sobbing it all out in the laundry room over a failed batch of saffron buns and feeling overwhelmed from all the expectations I put on myself this time of the year. Same ol', same ol'. I folded two boxes of laundry and then I stepped back into reality and decided it will all be alright.

I haven't touched my crochet hook in weeks. All things crochet and crafts has come to a stall. It is what it is... That granny cluster blanket will be finished, one day...

We've listened to so many Christmas songs, good and bad. Favorites are still Bublé, Elvis and old classics. A new found version of Silver Bells has climbed in on my top 10 Christmas Song List, sung by John Legend this time. Cheezy and super Christmassy with bells, back up singers and all.

I still have gifts to wrap, Christmas candy to make. I wanted to invite people for Christmas apertif's, buy myself a Christmas sweater, craft with the kids, go for long walks, play games... I shouldn't beat myself up about it. Instead I should just do what I want to do today. Go with the flow... I'm thinking to do some of these things today:

- Leave all chores to the side
- Go for a long walk
- Make Christmas candy with the kids
- Continue to listen to Christmas music 
- Wrap the last couple of gifts
- Play Monopoly, all family involved
- Drink Glögg and eat even more ginger cookies.
- Watch a Christmas movie

And last but not least I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas. And say Thank You for sticking it out with me for another year, no matter how hot and cold I get with my space here. And Thank You for purchasing my patterns, leaving messages, sharing your thoughts and stories and listening to my rambles.

Turn on your favorite Christmas tune and dance all the stress away (if you have any, I know I have some...). It's Christmas time, a time for cheer, love and laughter. Good food and drinks. Pyjama days and woolly socks. Chilling. No need to make it complicated. After all, the best gift is to just be together. Let's be together.


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