Monday, July 23, 2012


It is good to be home and almost refreshed.  One of the best parts about returning home were seeing these.

You may remember the spot as the location of last year's rubber corn.  There are dinner plate size ones growing behind these cuties- they take a little longer.

In other back to normal goings on, last night  Mr. Sophanne made one of his fabulous roast beef sandwiches on french bread for dinner.  Let it be known that I get a sandwich like this every day for lunch during the school year.

In his continuing run of things not working exactly like they're supposed to, it took eating about 3/4's of the sandwich to realize that he used this (tartar sauce) instead of horseradish sauce.  Having eaten so many differently condimented cold cut sandwiches in Switzerland (they like their sweet pickles) I couldn't quite place the difference right away.  

I'm in charge of dinner tonight- I'm going to try to make some chicken parm.  Hope I don't accidentally use fish!  bwah hahahaha

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dogs at home and abroad

The Swiss love their dogs.  The dogs ride the buses, ride the trains, go to restaurants and climb mountains.  A landlord is not permitted to deny renters based on whether they have a dog or not.  As long as you are applying to live somewhere and keep the fact that you have a dog on the q.t., you will have a place to live.  Below are some of the dogs of Zermatt- mostly because we couldn't help ourselves.

As for dogs at home, Liza had a great time at Brother of Sophanne's.  When we returned, she was confused as to what she should do when we went to bed.  Stay with brother watching t.v. or go with us.  

When we arrived at brother's house with LIza two weeks ago, we went on and on about how she liked to play and whether she had pooped or not that day.  Brother and Sister-in-law looked at us like we were wacky.  When we returned, brother and sister-in-law showed us the games they played with her and when I took her out for an extra walk, were concerned about her lack of pooping later in the evening. 

 The transformation was pretty hilarious.  We knew they were "dog people."  Come to find brother was a little bit stoic early on because he was missing a former dog.  Liza weaseled her way into their hearts and I believe, after the first 10 minutes, barely knew we were gone.

And finally- here is a picture of Buddy who was at the top of the Gornergrat Mountain next to the Matterhorn.  He's working as a photo op for families rather than a rescue dog but he was adorable none the less!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Travelogue 2012 5.1

Yesterday we left Zermatt. Here we rode the Matterhorn train up very high and saw these sights.  I'll have more details when I'm not blogging from the computer of mr. sophanne.  I thought this would be a nice sight for those of you who are suffering in another heat wave.

Tomorrow we get on a plane at 9:30 am and get to Newark around noon.  Sadly in this strange world of time travel, we will still be in the air for 8 hours.  I am looking forward to seeing my sweet babboo.  We have been at the mercy of able to enjoy the convenience of public transportation throughout this trip.  The 10 hour drive back home (after Newark) will have it's own small pleasures of being a vehicle all to ourselves.  How American is that?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Travelogue 2012 4.3

Upon requesting the puppy report I received the following:

SUBJECT: One 30 + lbs cainine blk & wht female. slightly floppy ears, waggy tail, human friendly dog. Subject has adjusted very well to her new surrouondings. She eats well, plays often, takes frequent walks ans enjoys the comfort of our bed room closet, during thunder storms. Subject shares uncle Jerrys favorate seat, and his evenning snacks! Subjects aunt Merly throughly seems to enjoy the visitors company, ( as does the author of this report)
Subject experienced a few hours of " confusion" uppon departure of owners, however that emotion was replaced promtly by loads of love and "high pitched words" such as ' where's my baby, what a good little baby, want to take a walk'
Conclusion: Puppy will be fine, happy well adjusted, until the reunion with her human family, one sophanne and mr. Sophanne.
END OF LIZA REPORT O846 HRS 16th July 2012

You get what you ask for with the retired NYPD!

Today was a day of hanging out in Zermatt. The kids and parents paid to swim in a luxury pool at a nearby hotel while Mr. Sophanne and I strolled the streets and soaked in the mountain air and sun. There might have been a little shopping. Mr. Sophanne might have bought me a walking stick because my legs hurt so much from walking down the mountain the day before. It might be the cool collapsible kind. I might love it!

After a bumpy and frogged start to Stephen West's Rockefeller Mystery Knit-Along, I am almost halfway through the first clue.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Travelogue 2012 4.2

There are places and moments in life when you get to feel like you are a tiny ant on this planet. It's overwhelming and terrifying all in a good way. Today we took what's called the Matterhorn train up about 7,000 meters and had a view that was surreal in nature.

Half of our party- mr. Sophanne, DIL and GD oldest rode the train up and back. Son, GD younger and the baby and I hiked from the uppermost train stop down to the next.
We are guessing the paths were likely the ski slopes used in the winter.

Towards the end my quads were like jelly and I had a slight but non-injurious tumble and roll. I was behind the others and didn't call out. Had I rolled a few more times, I may have needed assistance but I didn't want to worry anyone until the third roll.

Hiking on trails above the treelike was beyond description. The photos that we did take look as though we are superimposed in the scenery via photoshop. They will have to wait until later in the week when I have access to a card reader.

Mr. Sophanne has always wanted to retire at a beach area. Me, I'd be happy with a chalet and a couple of walking sticks in the alps. I will have to work on my Swiss German. Details, details.

These pictures snagged from the internet- not taken by me- look like where we've been today with our actual images later

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Travelogue 2012 4.1

The Matterhorn

This morning was an early rise. A bus ride to the train station, a train from Geneva to Visk, an electric train up the mountains to Zermatt and an electric car ride to the chalet.

The only cars using gas in Zermatt are ambulances and veterinarians.

When we stepped out into the little backyard, we looked up and saw this. With table and chairs outside on the porch we had dinner under the Matterhorn. It's pretty amazing.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Travelogue 2012 3.4

deux cent trente cinq

More walking today. We went to Jet D'eau and around lake Geneva. My favorite parts of the day were when I was able to use French with locals.

We went to the bank to exchange money. I conversed with the teller who was trying to say $235 in English. I said "en francais" and then told her the English.

At a snack stand I asked for "un cafe noir dans un tasse papiere" and received black coffee in a paper cup!

My brain loves this so much. If I ever moved to a French speaking country, I would be the most annoying person ever. I would constantly be asking "how do you say..." seriously. I love it as much as knitting.

Tomorrow we take a 4 hour train ride to Zermatt. It's Swiss German there which is nothing like regular German and is not a written language. Son of Sophanne wonders if it akin to talking "hillbilly" in the states.

The first clue of Stephen West Rockefeller KAL arrived today and I have the yarn and needles to start it. It may have to wait until after the train ride as I am told the scenery will be breathtaking.

GD the oldest and DIL are both purling now. GD the younger only needs my guiding hands for a stitch or two before she goes it alone. The best knitting interruption in the world is helping a new knitter gain their "yarn hands" (as opposed to sea legs?)

It's not so hot here as it was in PA when we left. It's been in the 70's all week with plenty of (but not too much) sunshine. It will likely be cooler in the mountains.

Finally a shout out to MountainMama because she deserves it. On the count of three, You Are Awesome! 1......2.......3.......!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Travelogue 2012 3.3

Geneva anciennes et nouvelles

Today was a trip to old and new Geneva.

Mr. Sophanne and his son thought about renting a car but they didn't have anything in their size

Old Geneva was lovely and New Geneva had phone booths. Public transportation is the norm. No cars for this family. It was a nice days walk.

Older gd is knitting without assistance. Younger gd uses my hands to knit with until she realizes she remembers how to do it. Mama of gd's learned to knit and purl in one day. She's a natural. All is well.

Travelogue 2012 3.2

The picture below could have been taken from the penthouse that is the home of son of sophanne. It is Jet D'eau on Lake Geneva in Switzerland. There is a rooftop patio and I can see French Mountains and on clearer days they say it's possible to see Mt. Blanc.

Gdhazel, Gdmadeline and gdelosie are the grandchildren of Mr. Sophanne. Gdh is 5 1/2. Gdm just turned 8. Tonight they had their first knitting lessons. In lieu of a lesson, their mama got a pair of socks. They were going to be for the dentist but I don't see her until January and I knew daughter-in-law of sophanne would appreciate them. Gdm is a lefty but after accidentally teaching her to purl first, I was able to grasp the teaching in a mirror. It helped that I spent a little time watching Mountainmama knit left handedly so that I knew how weird it was going to look to me.

We are here:

Two other points of interest- Mr. Sophanne may get his wallet sans $$$ returned. There is a 50 franc reward for all "found" wallets and 80% of all stolen wallets are returned.

Watches are the thing here. But you probably knew that. Son of sophanne tells of knowing a woman (who was planning on traveling for an extended leave) who traded her Volvo van for a watch -evensteven. The name swatch (which began in Switzerland) actually stands for "second watch." I guess this was in case you didn't want to wear a Volvo van on your wrist.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Travelogue 2012 3.1.5

Un pickpocket a volé son portefeuille*

Are you growing weary of so many posts? I can't help it. I'm having an adventure.

Plane ride- easypeasey-especially after the ride through Jersey. Two Xanax, an hour nap and plenty of old time radio podcasts and I was set. It's amazing the difference that six inches of economy plus makes. That should be the mandatory amount of room on airlines says this passenger rights advocate.

Customs, luggage, free train ticket for the next leg-boom boom boom. No waiting.

Outside the baggage area, son of sophanne and gdhazel were riding scooters with welcome signs. Scooters are "the thing." Anyone at the airport yesterday would have seen them as well, as the whole departure date different from arrival date confused more than just us.

A short train ride to the bus stop. A longer much more crowded bus ride to the abode.

*This is when the crime took place. Mr. Sophanne loves life so much he can't help but looking like a stranger in a strange land. While riding the bus, someone took his wallet from his computer case. No more than what he might have lost on any given night at the casino but a little bump in the happy happy road. By the way, Becky of the Flossy and Kate is also deserving of Swiss chocolate (or at the very least a picture of some) for reminding me to contact the credit card companies before we left!

Apart from getting to play "animals" with gdHazel and mancala with gdMadeline, my favorite part so far has been French. Loved it in high school. Practiced thinking in French in those days. Am reading it on signage and newspapers, picking up about 75% of it and remembering more as my memory is jogged. I can tell you that someone drowned in Lake Geneva last week. I read it in French. There was also a car wreck that involved a woman, a baby, and a motorcycle. I also read that in French.

My only limitations are that I really only remember how to conjugate in the present tense. No past. No future. Again while it's probably not what Herman Hesse had in mind, Siddartha might approve.

I'm using an app called blogger+ to blog. Annie, I can get paragraphs but haven't figured out how to place pictures. Photos may have to wait until I come home and then maybe I'll do one of those sidebar pages or else you can just imagine it looks like whatever you want.

Travelogue 2012 3.1

We are here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Travelogue 2012 2.1

I believe I have reached enlightenment. Completely free of thought.

It's really a better option compared to the last 3 hours.

We left brothers house to the sound of crying and whimpering LizaJane. I know that when she saw my suitcase going to the car she realized what was going on. She's a smart dog. Let the disassociating challenge begin. Step away from reality. Just be an observer in this day of life.

Driving toward the NJ turnpike which leads directly to the Newark airport, brother said "let's get out the Garmin and see if there's a more direct route." Garmin happily took us through the ghettos of New Jersey into downtown Newark.

Mr. Sophanne was shouting Garmin directions to hard of hearing brother over the too loud radio. Interspersed were several near rear end collisions, a police car telling us about a red light we missed (fortunately brother has his gold badge from NYPD and it has some pull in New Jersey.) and many words from both front seat passengers that I won't write here. What should have been an hour and twenty minutes turned into 2+ hours.

Mr. Sophanne is rehashing and venting. When he asked what I was thinking my unmedicated self said "absolutely nothing." I'm not sure if this is what Siddartha had in mind but there it is.

Travelogue 2012 1.2

Of note today-

1. I paid the $$ to get international 3G on the iPad. This way there will be email and at least blog posts without pictures just in case something funny or annoying happens.

2. We went to the mall for something to do this afternoon. There was a Brookstone store. I may have purchased one of those fancy airplane pillows (but NOT the one that cost $80)

3. I also bought some comfort lip gloss from bath and body works.

4. I told my friend MountainMama that there's no point in missing the dog or dreading the flight until it happens. I almost believe me.

5. I am certain I owe kmkat some Swiss chocolate or at least pictures of Swiss chocolate because she reminded me about audiobooks. I've got the ultimate in summer trash reading (listening) with celebrity autobiographies. Mindy Kaling and Steve Martin, here I come. When that runs out I have 18 hours of Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser.

6. Don't feel obligated read or comment on these blog posts when they're this boring. I'll try to give you the heads up next time.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Travelogue 2012 1.1

Leg one of the journey is complete. LizaJane has arrived at her summer camp in the Catskills. She's such a great dog in the car.

Mr. Sophanne and I are both still smiling after driving nine and a half hours and that's no small accomplishment.

I will note here that when we come to the point where we are both retired and face the possibility of spending every waking moment together, we might reconsider that option. It's not him, it's me.

Brother and sister-in-law of Sophanne are delightful and we may visit the Woodstock Museum tomorrow.

Travelogue 1.1 over and out.

Friday, July 06, 2012

How much?

How much yarn is necessary for a 2 week trip that includes two 8 hour flights?

I'm going with this much-  the three yarns on the right are for the kids (and possibly the adult) who may want to learn to knit while we're there.  The light green (kollage) and purple (independent from a festival) are for basic socks, as is the red.  

The other two (turquoise and beige) are some madeline tosh for the Mystery KAL by Stephen West.  I've never played in a Mystery KAL.  The first clue comes out on July 13.

To be honest, I also have a skein of bamboo for socks for my "allergic to wool" dentist.  I didn't get into the whole "it's probably lanolin I really could still use wool" conversation and instead took it as an opportunity to knit some bamboo socks in mary maxim's "Hibiscus."

The goal for this trip is to pack lightly.  Doesn't everyone always say that?  But seriously, that's what I'm going to do.  My carryon will be my wallet, meds, ipad, camera and 2 skeins of sock yarn.

My suitcase will be 4-5 outfits with some extra shorts and shirts and of course all necessary undergarments,  2 pairs of shoes.  The end.

Maybe I should obligate myself to snap a photo of the finished packing and reveal to my blog world the success/failure of my "not packing too much goal."  

Ha Ha- maybe I'll snap a photo of Mr. Sophanne's who nearly took 4 pairs of shoes to the 3 day Christmas trip to Seattle!!

Feel free to comment with any travel reminders that I may have forgotten that will make our lives easier!  (we have the passports xeroxed and credit card #'s on hand)