Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Day, 2011

Happy Thanskgiving, everyone!!

As you could imagine we're not going all out with the big meal and the super nap afterwards.  Buying a whole turkey over here means laying down, like, $120 and while I LOVE leftover turkey salad sandwiches, I don't love them that much.  That's not even counting all the traditional side dishes-mashed potatoes, veggies, etc, etc... That, and since we're the Americans on Swiss soil, we'd be only a couple of the handful in the neighborhood celebrating.  The college kids will either be doing their own thing or will end up downtown for drinks, which I'm sure will be our choice tonight.  Next week, we're going to be hosting a raclette night at our friend's bar (cooked potato chunks smothered in melted cheese and fixings, yum!) so that will be our big shared, happy meal as our holiday dinner stand-in.  We did it last year and it was a big hit so why not repeat the good things in life?  

In the meantime, lack of turkey aside, I'm THANKFUL!  I'm thankful for the chance we've been given to be living here, even though it means spending most of our holidays away from American-living friends and family.  I'm thankful that my Italian has gotten a lot better, comprehension wise.  Our second sailing class (last night) was a whole lot better even though about 15 minutes until the end, my brain gave up trying to translate in my head.  5 months of one class a week, 2 hours+ a night is going to drastically improve my language skills. (That also makes me thankful for the Spanish I took in high school and college-lots of similarities!)  I'm extremely thankful for my husband and Chloe who make day in and day out entertaining and thoroughly wonderful, especially to my husband for giving me the chance to constantly scratch the right side of my brain and see what I can make of it-writing has been a passion for a very long time but being able to work on it full time has been purely incredible.  I'm grateful for the new friends we've been making and the chances we're getting to travel and see new things, together.  And I'm grateful for my family and my friends back home, who, even though they are all 6-9 hours away by phone and email, I can count on if and when I need them.  I know that everything I have, while it seems normal and routine to me most days, is a lot more than a lot of people have these days, and that a lot of other people take "normal and routine" for granted most of the time and wonder why they don't have more.  In the spirit if thanksgiving, my childhood extracurricular 4-H activities this time of year including food drives and baking carloads of pumpkin pies for the local shelters.  I'd ask that if you know of any in your area, that you call and ask them what they could use this time of year.  County food cabinets and shelters can use a donation or a food drive all year around, but especially this time of year, when they take in the most people.  It doesn't have to be much-like the saying goes, it's the thought that counts, and shelters appreciate anything they can get.

What are you thankful for this year?  

Enjoy your holiday!

Allie H.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sunshine (& Sailing)

Woke up this morning to the sound of no rain, and a very lovely sunny light coming in through the window!  It's been raining pretty much non-stop for the past five days and while I like the rain, I couldn't wait for a break in the weather to shake off the gray and gloomy!  It's been raining here, randomly, all summer long, and it looks like it's going to be a wet winter too...We had a cold snap for a while and it got a little rainy, then managed to hold out for Halloween, and then started pouring down.  Personally I'm hoping it stops all this rain crap and starts in with the snow.  That would be fine with me.  You can still have some nice sunny days during snowfall.  Chloe was down for the break in the rain, too...She's been dressed in her little sweater or in her raincoat every time we've taken her downstairs and today it was her super-light sweater and a walk over to the university lawns with one of her balls so she could run around a bit...she's so not good with bringing back the ball but if you chase her when she's got it, she keeps running.  Hoping the sun keeps up for the rest of the week so we can do a romp every day in between all her normal downstairs trips.  She got a chance to run around in dry grass and I got a chance to collect some of the fall leaves-all the trees around the neighborhood are changing leaf color and dropping them-found some pretty orange and red/yellow combo leaves and thinking of pressing them and sticking them into a journal or something similar.  

Have had an surge of acceleration in writing over the past week-a story I have hopes for has been growing-whereas a week ago I had a few summary notes and a couple pages, there are now fourteen pages.  I love it when progress happens!  I love the pattern of plunking down with my laptop, pondering, changing a word here or there, revising a sentence, stretching, getting up to make more hot water for tea, and getting back to it, all with Chloe hanging out by my side, hoping to nudge her way in the middle of it all for a spot on my lap (which she gets every now and then.)  I've decided to get back into the practice of carrying a small notebook with me to flesh out little ideas-my cell phone has a post-it note app but I can of course write by hand so much faster than I can type on the little digital keyboard : )  I hate thinking of an idea, not writing it out, and then forgetting it the next day.....I've also started reading Game of Thrones and every time I find a word I'm not familiar with, I look it up and if I think I can use it, I jot it down in an ongoing list I have so that I can use it as a writing prompt or try to work it into the appropriate place.  

Kris found a group here that teaches sailing, take trips down to the Mediterranean and other places, teaches technique, navigation, etc, and when we're done with the course, there's a test, and in passing the test you're given an international captain's license.  The course is, of course, in Italian, but we've got a bundle of sailing books here in English that I'm going to start up on, to refresh myself on everything I already know and to learn more,  and I only hope that half of the terminology is the same or very similar in Italian, which would help a whole lot.  The course would supremely boost our Italian language skills and of course, a captain's license for each of us would be the best!  We could go anywhere in the world with it and charter a boat, and of course, when we decide to buy a sailboat and sail the world for ourselves, we'll have the licenses already taken care of.  There's more that will go along with that eventually-at some point I'd like a first aid refresher course, swimming for exercise and skill, etc.  Looking forward to it all!  Will be tough at first, but worth the effort in the end.

Happy Wednesday!

Allie H. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Old Hollywood Class

In 1979, as it became known that John Wayne was dying of cancer, Barry Goldwater introduced legislation to award him the Congressional Gold Medal. Maureen O'Hara and Elizabeth Taylor flew to Washington to give testimony, and signed statements in support of the motion from Frank Sinatra, Gregory Peck, Jack Lemmon, Kirk Douglas, James Stewart and Katharine Hepburn were read out. The bill was passed unanimously, and the medal was presented to the Wayne family in the following year.

Old Hollywood trivia is full of these sorts of honors, awards, tributes in relation to the biggest stars we'll ever know.  The only thing we know these days about rising actors is how many times they've been married, if they've ever starred in a viral video, and what their favorite drink from Starbucks is.  The Hollywood movie machine used to be so classy...what happened?