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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Goodbye, Sweet Caramels!

I am alone in the house for the first time in over two weeks. Conventional wisdom says that it should be a quiet relief, but actually it feels kind of creepy.  Good thing Bella Dog is here to make me feel not completely without companionship.
Just as I typed the last sentence, dear old Bella Dog came and barked at me that she needed to go outside. Good thing, too. It’s gorgeous, and maybe without her help I wouldn’t have gone to walk in the bright sunlight reflecting off a billion snowflakes on the fields. It’s very crisp and clear, and it makes me hope that our friends the Caramel Family might have had a good view of Alps from the plane when they flew off today. They left this morning, and that is making me feel wistful, too.
I think we’d all nearly forgotten what a beautiful thing it is to have a friend to jaw with, without thinking of vocab and proper verb tenses and even aside from grammar, just knowing that you have likes and dislikes in common and you can chat and discuss them all over again. 
Well, we hadn’t actually forgotten what that was like, but we’d been stoically doing without.
Then we had two wonderful weeks of chatting with friends and hanging out and playing in the snow and feeling loved without trying. It was a much needed antidote for what ailed us.
What ailed us was fall and sinus infections and bronchitis and dark early mornings and school and no friends and dark evenings and work schedules and tricky Swiss logistics and discouragement and Everything. Maybe you noticed that things got rather quiet here on the blog for a bit. 
Anyway, there I was, and then God sent us some friends to be with us. And they truly just wanted to be with us. They didn’t even want to sightsee much, which I had a really hard time comprehending. (still do – I always want to See Everything!) We did take them on a little sightseeing tour which I’ll post about, but otherwise the Caramels seemed very content hanging out in our little village, living our life with us, playing in the snow and eating LOTS of Swiss chocolate. It was so encouraging.
And now they’re gone. They left on the early morning train with Zeus, to relieve me of driving to and from the airport on the 7 inches of fresh snow that fell yesterday.
I determined this morning not to be glum, but to find solace in the housework to be done, in the details of putting the house back together, in order and routine. On the white board in the kitchen I wrote, “23 Days Until Christmas!” in big letters to remind all of us of that big holiday we can look forward to. Hermes and I cooked up pumpkin and smooshed it through the food mill for future pumpkin pies and muffins.
Then we went outside and made snow angels in the fresh snow.
While they were here, the Caramels helped us celebrate Thanksgiving. What a great holiday! Totally and completely American. One of the kids’ teachers asked me, “So does that replace Christmas for Americans then?” Um…No.  A girl in Marina’s class said to her wistfully, “Oh, I’ve always wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving, but my family won’t!”  ???  Odd, but had we known ahead of time, maybe we would have invited her over.
We celebrated on Sunday afternoon since the kids had school and Zeus work on Thursday as usual.  We roasted two chickens because I wasn’t sure where to find a whole turkey, and I was pretty certain a large one wouldn’t fit in my ‘cute’ little Swiss oven. (The ovens were cuter when I didn’t have four children to feed.) Mrs. Caramel whipped up delicious stuffing from scratch (!) and made her very yummy sweet potato casserole with marshmallows that I had found here once at a rather extravagant price and tucked away.
I don’t think of myself as very traditionalist when it comes to food, but I must say this meal (chicken standing in for turkey notwithstanding) tasted like Comfort. Yum!
On Tuesday we took the Caramel Family for a little walk in the forest. My girls were at school but the boys had had fevers the day before. I bundled them up well and made them get 15 minutes of fresh air.
The forest was so pretty, and this was before our most recent snowfall! People keep saying how unusual it is to have this much snow this early, but I don’t know if quite believe them. I do feel like I should have been better equipped with more snowboots and parkas for all. Hmmm.
Anyway, the forest is deciduous and so very different from the PNW Evergreen forests that I am used to, dark and mysterious. This one is lighter and brighter, especially with all the snow on the ground.
And finally, a couple of introductions:
A petit bonhomme that Artemis made in cooking class. Isn’t he sweet? He is very seasonal for St. Nicholas Day coming up on December 5th, and he and his friends are showing up in local bakeries. This one showed up in our kitchen on Wednesday afternoon. We took pictures and then he got gobbled!
And lastly…I just got a new fangled thingabob called an iPhone – don’t know if you’ve heard of it yet?  It is very sleek and shiny…but felt almost slippery and potentially fragile, and since I wasn’t about to start wearing it around on my belt and since I am not always the gentlest on phones, Zeus got me: The Defender Case. I wasn’t sensing red or hot pink, so he ended up getting me white. Which I like…but…its boxy whiteness kept reminding me of something...  Finally I put my finger on it! A Storm Trooper!
But Storm Trooper didn't seem like a good name for a girl's phone. So, I started calling it “Stormy.”
So everyone, meet my new friend, Stormy. or Stormie? or Stormee??  She follows me everywhere…


  1. Goodbye, Caramels! Hello, Stormie! This is my first comment written from my new friend, a Windows 7 phone. She doesn't have a name yet but you have inspired me once again! Any ideas? She's smokey grey with very bright lights. Something with a bit of mystery might do well.

  2. Sweet phone. Mine (a mere iTouch, not a phone) never leaves my side. Have you found all the education apps on it yet?

  3. (Thread Hijack) Did you ever use SwitchedOnSchoolhouse curriculum?

  4. The Caramel Family feels SO very honored to be mentioned so kindly here...We did very much enjoy our journey to Switzerland. Much more, we enjoyed our journey to dear friends. THAT was a "sight" for us, and really all we *needed* to see, although the other sights were glorious indeed, and if you were not there, we would not have seen them. I am happily adding our last 2 weeks to that little place in my heart where I tuck away special moments and memories. I know our shared experiences there have given strength to the good friendships we already held dear.

    Love and hugs to you all!

  5. Kerry! You were the biggest ad for an iPhone!! But I am glad that you have a new funtioning phone. How about 'Misty'?

    Suzanne - you must tell me all the good ed apps! No I haven't used switched on schoolhouse. Anyone else here in the comments used it?

    Noelle, such happy memories to feed and sustain us! (like following the wrong car up the mountain in the dark... Oops!) thanks for coming and loving on us.

  6. I did love my iPhone (very much) until it turned on me along with it's buddy, iTunes, and swiped everything I'd entrusted to their care. Seemed impossible to resist the offer of a completely free Windows 7 phone the day of the tragedy. It started as a purely emotional decision but turns out this new phone has completely won me over.