28 October 2009

Trying to find a new style...


I wrote that email at eight thirty
On a cold January morning
After a sleepless night in which
The weight of a dark, wet dawn
Hung heavily over my tear-rimmed eyes.
(The footprints of those filthy memories
Which used to haunt my nights
Have now carved deep pathways through
My waking thoughts where
Every day they tread.)

It's nearing November again,
And I dread the death, the cold,
And the chill in my heart.
(Not forgetting the sixteen weary ways
Of reminding myself of how
I never quite measured up.)

I wish summer were beginning again,
But if it were, I would have
To relive Memorial Day.
(And then I would have to picture
A scraggly tree, and hear
My own nervous, breathy laughter,
And wonder why the familiar strains
Of that now-memorized song
Won't stop playing its
Endless soundtrack in my mind.)

But my waking nightmare is okay for now.
It reminds me to pray for you every day.
(It's comforting to think that
We might be friends again
Someday in Heaven,
Even though you don't believe
I'll make it there.)

I'm trying to enjoy this new autumn.
(But April thirtieth was last night,
Eight thirty on a January morning
Was just the other day,
And November sixteenth has wrapped itself
Around me like a badly-fashioned
Faux-fur winter coat.)

The bottom line is -
Some anniversaries just aren't worth celebrating,
But it hurts much worse to forget.

Trying to find a new style...
That girl in Switzerland

07 October 2009

Month o' Sundays

Over several Sundays in September, I was priviledged to go with my host family on several very cool family outings. I thought I would post some pictures here since everyone complains that I post too much poetry... :-D

The first Sunday in September, we went to a small town in France called La Clusaz. It is about an hour's drive from Anières, Switzerland, where we live. We were having company from Barcelona for the weekend, so it was basically just a fun day trip for all of us.

Here are some pictures from our day trip to La Clusaz:

My fabulous host family - Arnaud, Charlotte, Félix (7 years - Mr. Coolness), and Jules (4 years - my little monkey).

Charlotte and Jules riding the luge d'été (summer luge).

La Clusaz in the background with part of the summer luge track in the foreground.

Félix playing putt-putt - I kept score. :-P

The Sunday after we went to La Clusaz, the family and I went to Cirque Knie...the Swiss National Circus! Cirque Knie has been run by the Knie family for five generations now - they do all of the animal training, and hire on the other acts. It's great fun! This was the third circus the Grobet family had invited me to, and it's always so much fun! Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos, but here is a link to the acts from last year and this:


The very next Sunday, Félix had his caisse à savon - a soap box race! Although the traditional and fun thing to do is to build your own car, the Grobet family cheated a bit and bought one that had been made by somebody else for a race last year. Just to demonstrate how much things cost over here...they paid over six hundred Swiss francs for it.

The racing started very early Sunday morning, but I slept in and met the Grobets in Corsier after lunch. I only wanted to stay an hour or so and see Félix race once before I left for church. There were quite a few kids racing - I think sixty just in Félix's devision. Félix placed sixteenth, so he was quite proud. :-)I can't wait to do things like this with my own family someday.

Here are some pictures of the caisse à savon:

Félix and his awesome car and outfit. Doesn't he look cool?? :-)

A few of the other contestants' cars.

Part of the track down the hill.

Félix driving past on his way down the hill!! (He had a wreck just before this picture was taken.)

And finally, last Sunday...for lunch Charlotte made American pancakes complete with maple syrup! I definitely thought that it deserved a mention. Félix helped flip them, and he's still talking about how he made me American pancakes for lunch and how they were the best ever. (And they really were the best ever...Aunt Jemima mix from the American store. Charlotte is so thoughtful.)

So here are two final pictures: one of Félix feeling proud of himself, and one of my "second family" and their American pancakes.

I love my host family!

That girl in Switzerland

02 October 2009

Ten Apples Up On Top - or more like two, in this case

Today Jules stayed home from school. He is sick, sort of. He has a weird malady that shows up in the form of "bug bites" all over his body, and especially on his hands. So he's been doing a lot of itching, scratching and crying. Poor Jules.

So...because I'm the fille au pair, I create instant fun...

Jules and I love the book "Ten Apples Up On Top," which is a simplified Dr. Seuss-y sort of book, though written by somebody else who's name I can't recall and can't be bothered to look up, although "Theo" rings a bell.

The characters in this book basically run around seeing who can balance the most apples on their heads. They get chased by angry bears and hungry birds who are all trying to take the apples. It's all very tense - Who will balance the most apples?? Will the bears get the apples with the deadly mop?? Will the birds eat the apples?? - at least until the end of the book when all of the animals conveniently crash into a huge apple cart, there is a huge apple explosion, and everybody (even the birds) ends up with ten apples on the head and a big smile on the face.

Jules and I read this book today and attempted to balance apples on our heads, which is a very hard thing to do. If you have never tried it, I suggest you do, so that you can appreciate the difficulty of what you're about to see.

Here is Jules' first attempt (note the red dot on his forehead):

Ok, so that was a fail...

Here is his second, successful attempt, minus one apple:

Here is my attempt (digitally captured by Jules the photographer):

Do you KNOW how hard it is to balance two apples on your head, hold a book, AND still manage to smile?? It's HARD!! Those animals in the book might have been able to balance ten, but we were doing well to get two!

Anyway, after we dropped the apples a hundred times, they weren't good for anything except HOMEMADE APPLE SAUCE!! Which turned out to be fabulous, and which, of course, Jules hated. Anyway, fun times, fun times.

I love that my world revolves around children.

It's all in a day's work, folks,
That girl in Switzerland