Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas tree inspires blog posts and a Glühwii party

I asked my roommates in the summer if we could get a Christmas tree. Or more, I went hopping through the dining room saying things like, "I can't wait until we have a Christmas tree--It should go right there!" They thought I was getting a bit ahead of myself, and all the way up until last week we were still unsure whether we wanted to spend the time and trouble to put one up, considering some of us won't even be around for Christmas.

Good thing we did! Look how happy our living room looks now! The tree has inspired not only this blog post (and you thought I'd given up my blog entirely!), but also a Glüwii party, scheduled for next week so that our friends and neighbors can also enjoy the festiveness, and the view:

Nesting began before the tree, however. Sara and I have been reading design websites, painting rooms cheery colors, picking out furniture and lamps, hosting dinner parties, and generally embodying a winning combination of Martha Stewart, Betty Crocker, and Rosie the Riveter's strengths. We wield a drill one minute and pull pies out of the oven the next. Björn is pretty good sport. Not every man says ok to a pink bathroom. Raph shook his head when he heard our plan to paint the bathroom English Rose and said he would have moved out a long time ago.

Sara and I like the way the sunset fills our apartment with golden hues in the evenings, so we painted one living room wall to keep that feeling all day.

Who needs a ladder when you have a dining room table you can move around the apartment, right?

Current project: hanging the chandelier. Hans is helping us, and it will go over the dining room table.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Oh, me and my blog. It's been a bad summer for writing. Here are a few highlights:
While I was at home, I enjoyed working on a quilt with my Mom! We pieced the blocks in a week,and she's been very kindly finishing it up for me.

I spent a couple mornings paddling around Hagg Lake with friends--once with Crista and once with Anne. What a peaceful way to spend a few hours--out on the quiet lake with fir trees on every nearby hill.

Cristi and her sister came to visit! We went hiking and ate yummy pastries for breakfast.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Gadget, French linens, and puttering

The adorable Gadgepadge: just one of many individuals I'm looking forward to seeing soon!

Last weekend my roommate helped me hang up pictures. The process is a little more involved than I'm used to, since Europeans make their walls out of strange things. Living with a man who owns a drill and a level is awfully convenient, though, I tell you! We had a fun evening too--made dinner and ate together, hung up pictures all over the house and watched a movie. Having roommates again is nice. Have I mentioned that? Last week he came home with flowers for the table, just because the dining room seemed drab to him! The other roommate and I were impressed. :)

Home improvements come in so many forms lately! I went to Ribeauvillé in France on Saturday to buy table linens. One is a wedding present for Laura, two are for mom, one is my own, and one was thrown in for free by the shop owner, Jean, who by that time was calling me Steph and telling my friends that if I were in the business, he'd hire me straight away--so rarely does he have a customer take SO LONG to look at each design and feel the fabrics. I bet he tells all his indecisive customers that.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad

Congratulations to my lovely parents who were married 30 years ago today! As usual, Switzerland is celebrating with fireworks. :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Wherever you go...

...same problems, different venue.

Still, escaping has its appeal, doesn't it? (See Song) I have a thing or two on my mind, so I plan to change my own geography for the weekend, find me a lake or a mountain (haven't decided which yet) and paint until I know what I think.

Oregon people, T-19 days till I have the pleasure of seeing you!

Knee Deep - Zac Brown Band and Jimmy Buffet

Gonna put the the world away for a minute
Pretend I don't live in it
Sunshine gonna wash my blues away

Had sweet love but I lost it
She got too close so I fought her
Now I'm lost in the world trying to find me a better way

Wishing I was knee deep in the water somewhere
Got the blue sky breeze and it don't seem fair
Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair
Sunrise there's a fire in the sky
Never been so happy
Never felt so high
And I think I might have found me my own kind of paradise

Wrote a note said be back in a minute
Bought a boat and I sailed off in it
Don't think anybody gonna miss me anyway

Mind on a permanent vacation
The ocean is my only medication
Wishing my condition ain't ever gonna go away

Cause now im knee deep in the water somewhere
Got the blue sky breeze blowing wind through my hair
Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair
Sunrise there's a fire in the sky
Never been so happy
Never felt so high
And I think I might have found me my own kind of paradise

This champagne shore washing over me
It's a sweet sweet life living by the salty sea
One day you could be as lost as me
Change you're geography
Maybe you might be

Knee deep in the water somewhere
Got the blue sky breeze blowing wind through my hair
Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair
Sunrise there's a fire in the sky
Never been so happy
Never felt so high
And I think I might have found me my own kind of paradise

Come on in the water it's nice
Find yourself a little slice
Grab a back, pack it light
You never know until you try
When you lose yourself
You find the key to paradise

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bliss on a Wednesday Morning

Good morning! It's Wednesday, and a good one so far! Some reasons it's good: It's cold and drizzly outside, but I'm snuggled inside with a cup of coffee and a piece of hazelnut-chocolate coffee cake for breakfast. I'm probably going for my first ever pedicure in Switzerland with a new friend this evening. Raph finishes his military service and will be back in Basel soon! I've had extra work for Cambridge and have an MA thesis to edit, so I'm earning money to offset my tickets home. Speaking of home, I'm feeling pretty well-connected and all loved up after this week's skype marathons with parents, brothers, cousins, aunts, and roommates (but not Grandparents...who are hard to catch these days! call me!!). I'm about to go off to see my friendly compatriots at my spacious office to think and write for a half day about water in Zambia, emancipatory projects, and redemption. Ah, that's a good day. Plus, I'm going hiking in the mountains this weekend with a friend from school.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Little o' this and that

I like this song, but I don't understand it yet.

Another thing I don't understand: why it's so hard to come up with solid research questions!? Ugh! I asked Pierrick if he ever feels like he has days--no, whole months--when he can't seem to find a single good idea in any corner of his brain. He said yes, and recommended a vacation as a remedy for me. But I suspect finding good ideas is a bit like drawing good pictures. You have to draw a lot of bad ones first, so you might as well keep the pencil to the paper till you're through them.

After two unusual and difficult weeks, things are starting to feel more on track again at work and personally. I'm especially enjoying time with my lovely roommates. I couldn't have asked for better roommies, and considering that we were all strangers before, I'm extra thankful that we found each other. The dude is sitting on a beach somewhere in Spain at the moment, so we temporarily have a girls house. The chats in the bathroom while we get ready for bed, girly movies, friendly and funny messages on our dry erase board, sharing coffee in the morning and dinner in the evenings is all lots of fun! I still miss Pfeffingen a bit, but I feel like I'm in a good place in town for this stage of life in the Basel area.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Overcoats of Clay

Emily Dickinson wrote that when a person dies, the spirit lays off an overcoat of clay. A friend died on Friday morning before work. He was 30 years old, with a wife and two baby girls he loved very much. Tomorrow I'm meeting mutual friends and we'll go together to the funeral--my second funeral in Switzerland. Sharing in funerals here, like sharing in weddings and babies being born, knits me into Switzerland a little bit more. Strange to think that our lives were tooootally separate a couple years ago; we didn't have a place or a person in common. And now here I am, staring out the window instead of working, wondering how his wife will manage, and looking at the new baby at church and wishing his sweet daughters would remember how much they meant to him. Thinking about friends and acquaintances who were much closer to him than I was. Some losses seem so untimely and unreasonable. I know people are resilient and do recover, at least in a sense, from grief over death. But I don't know how recovery happens, really. Life doesn't go go back to the way it was, and we always miss people we love for the rest of our lives once they're gone (or at least, I miss a lot of people so far!) Why does comfort work at all? I think that's very curious. But I pray his family and friends will find comfort anyway.

Death is a Dialogue between
The Spirit and the Dust.
"Dissolve" says Death—The Spirit "Sir
I have another Trust"—

Death doubts it—Argues from the Ground—
The Spirit turns away
Just laying off for evidence
An Overcoat of Clay.

-Emily Dickinson

Wallis Weekend

A few weeks ago, Raph and Ed and I drove south on a Thursday night to Raph's family's vacation house in the Wallis. From Thursday night to Sunday Afternoon we read books, watched An Idiot Abroad, went for a walk, visited an outdoor thermal bath with a nice view of the Alps, flew a helicopter in the house, embroidered a pillowcase and generally had fun relaxing together. I did the stitching; they navigated the airspace, in case you were wondering.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chill am Rhy

We've been having such beautiful, hot weather here this week! Perfect weather for a dip in the still chilly Rhine. I've had a cold, so I have been very responsible and refrained from swimming in the river myself. But I'm pretty sure everyone else in Basel has gone by now. I watched them all float by from my perch on the bank this weekend.

Thanks for bringing your camera, Gina!

Good Morning Basel

I'm experimenting with new daily routines, trying to find one that suits me and encourages me to do the things that I need to do (since I'm definitely more motivated at some points than others!). Today I got up at 6.15 to go running, and this is the nice view I have when I lean out my window at that hour:

According to my little plan I'm trying this week, after my early morning run and shower, I should move on to German for two hours starting about now (will start as soon as I finish this!). Then off to my office for three hours of proper PhDing, then lunch, then another couple hours of proper work before skipping home for a snack and some quality time with my drawing supplies. And as for other essentials: anchor points are Monday/Tuesday is laundry, Friday is grocery shopping, and Sunday afternoon is house chores. Doesn't that sound like a good Stephanie schedule? I mean, as long as I go to bed early?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Nothing but a Breeze

It's been a busy couple of weeks over here!

Work is all reading and note taking at the moment. I have a stack of books on my desk waiting to be read...titles like City of Flows, The Social Construction of Technological Systems, Social Power and the Urbanization of Water, Political Ecology across Spaces Scales and Social groups. And there are others. I asked Pierrick an hour ago when was the last time he read a book for fun. Ten years ago, perhaps? He said he reads the comics sometimes. At this very moment, he has his nose in a book about civility at the next desk. Uh huuuh. That's how cool we are. I'm working more or less on the idea of the waterscape this week, but I needed a break. Hence the blog. Oh, but here's some exciting work news: next weekend we're going to Germany for a workshop on qualitative research methods. Woohoo! road trip! :)

A couple weekends back I went with the Sunday School group to the tall hills in Solothurn. Camp is a good way to get to know the kids at our church better, and I especially like watching the network of friendships among them grow over the weekend together. My favorite camp moments are when the older ones start to be sweet to the littlest kids (some of whom march to the beat of their very own drums!), and when the kids who are never going to be called the most popular are cheered and appreciated for the strengths they bring to the group. I want them to be themselves and find they're liked for exactly who they are, short-comings and quirks included. That probably sounds cheesy, but really, when I see them accepting and taking care of each other, that makes me very content. We did all the normal camp things: made crafts and played games, sang silly songs and bible songs, watched plays and chased each other through the grass at dusk to capture flags from enemy territory. The boys caught at least one frog. The girls freaked out over one itty bitty tick (which hadn't even bitten anyone). They talked with each other about society, music, literature, science, God, and faith, and how they see those interacting in their experience. They learned to play baseball. Or, kinda. We scheduled kickball for one organized game time, and it seems European kids are not so familiar with the rules. "Ok, who has played baseball before?" I asked half the group as I about to explain batters and runners. Blank stares and not a single hand went up. Rachel had a comment though: "Do we have to stay out here very long?" She was swatting at her arms. "All these bugs and grass and stuff are so disgusting. I need to take a shower!" In the end, between Dave the Canadian, Molly the American, Raph who you well know by now is Swiss, and me, we more or less succeeded in miro-managing a game of kickball into existence, even though bases often ended up with three or more runners piled on them, and the concept of a foul ball never really caught on.

I'm having trouble uploading pictures, but I'll try again later. Right now I have to go get fancied up for Art Basel!

(and now some no particular order. Mostly taken by Daniel, a camper with a brand new tripod.)