~room enough to lay a hat (& a few friends)~

March 2nd, 2008

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Dorothy Parker (who also inspired this title) said, “The best way to keep children home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant–and let the air out of the tires.” The kids are at home by choice this weekend, wheel-less it’s true, but planning an adventure for next weekend…in Milan! Yay!

In response to a few requests from “a few friends”, this week will feature a medley of pictures from home. Many of these were taken today, which was rather overcast, so kindly imagine the golden sunlight that generally floods this place and keeps my mood light even when the words won’t come.

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establishing shot. on left: loo, sleep area, living area/office, on the right: big closets, kitchen, dining area, balcony.

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reverse shot. kindly note the room partition draped in scarves, and the newly acquired paper lanterns.

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a big bathroom with a great shower but alas, no bathtub. does have a tiny glow-in-the-dark mary…

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dining area with the first daffodils (“jonquils”) of spring. plus some blooming branches. still hoping for a vase…these windows open from above as well, like transom, which is perfect for fresh air while snoozing.

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a detail of the prints by the amazing Ernst Haeckel.

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we are loving the produce here and can’t wait for the summer farmer’s market. my “composed salad” repertoire is rapidly expanding, and nearly always include a bed of tiny arugula and rampon (aka mâche or “lamb’s lettuce”), a newly loved green for me.
above the bed are vintage postcards from all the places we’ve visited so far. I hope that rapidly expands too.

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the occasional indulgence, tart de prunelle.

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i never use the dish washer, but i have learned to cook with an electric stove top that always seems to have a kettle on for tea–chai, mint, and ginger are house favorites. the stove doubles as a counter as necessary…it took quite a while to set up a kitchen i could really use, but it is nearly done. still looking for some nice bowls. the dark horse item is the 4F battery-operated milk foamer.

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details from the gallery of favorite packaging (on fridge).

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the place where all the magic happens. i watch the light and sky change here all day–this is how the sun often looks. yes, i did stand on the couch for this view. from this couch i see the good-sized terrace, soon to be home of table, chairs, and mini-garden. a strange thing about Switzerland (coming from Bklyn) is the lack of recycled housewares on the street. i never wanted it there, but now that I do I wonder where does all the unwanted stuff go?

please observe my favorite research book (green, on table) thus far: a Christian missionary with a keen eye for detail wrote Afloat and Afoot in Burma for kids in 1922.

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detail of our hand-painted maps of europe, switzerland, france and italy.
did i mention we are going to italy?! even though i know milano is very urban, the hedonist in me living in protestantland is picturing Alfonso traipsing barefoot through the vineyards, lustily singing
Quando, Quando, Quando, , and refusing to eat dairy at every turn…

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Ali brought a one-eared baby lamb for me when flowers could not be found (and were sorely in order.)

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another bit of color on the wall in living room, from a German bug book from the 1800s. this plate is called Schmetterlinge I.

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we live above and behind an indoor mall (that tube is the ceiling), which must be walked through to get to our flat. inside the air is filled with french talk radio at all times of day and night (Ali says, “our own personal sound installation”); the sports club features thirty one-hour classes a week (body pump, body combat, and my favorite, body attack) hosted by a man who shouts into a microphone presumably confusing “health club” for boot camp; and the space is filled every night with youth practicing break-dancing in front of the closed shops, to a boom box blasting James Brown’s Superbad. it is odd.

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also from balcony. often it is so still all you hear are the crows (Ali does a mean “kevetching crow” now) and the bells of this church. i should add that given my karma, we are thrilled that our direct neighbors are so very quiet. not a stomper, shouter, or criminally insane among them. without the bootcamp, i’d have nothing to kevetch about myself…

this weekend we celebrated Neuchatel’s independence (from Prussia) with a few fireworks and this mysteriously italianish flag.

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our street. we live on the right, by the fuzzy red neon sign.

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our favorite building in all of Neuchatel. It was closed for quite a while when we first arrived, leaving us to ponder the riches awaiting us inside a wonderland such as the Source du (all the) Salami (in the world).
it has fantastic fresh mozzarella di bufala, pasta, canned tomatoes (hard to find!), olives, parmigiano, chianti, pinenuts and all the dried legumes required. think i’ll make fava e cicoria this week, in honor of the much missed East Village snack-spot, Frank.

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the streets at night, taken coming home from the expat pub Café du Cerf, where we had a Chimay and marveled at a soundtrack that included Steve Miller’s The Joker, an obscure B-level new wave song I can’t recall now but of course new all the words to, and a number no amount of home-sickness will ever make palatable, Alone Again (Naturally).

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Les Halles, (the one with the turret) is a market building in Renaissance style, built in the middle of the 16th century on the Place des Halles (this is where the farmer’s market held as well). my camera battery was expiring, so I’ll add a better image later. Tonight we had ratatouille at Cafe Des Halles, the two glowing squares below the turret, and nearly the only thing open at nine on a sunday.

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One thing you nearly never hear is a cellphone, that is heaven. Also as I said before, there is no car traffic in the main town at all, which is also lovely. Many of the buildings–from the Roman period–share a lovely ochre-colour from the lime stone they are made of. The stone of Hauterivian age (“Cretaceous”–such a good word!) comes from the “Pierre Jaune” quarry of Neuchâtel.

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On another note, how sad are we all to have missed the World Taxidermy Championships in Austria last week?

4 Responses to “~room enough to lay a hat (& a few friends)~”

  1. Noria says:

    I do not want my body pumped, combatted, or attacked,
    but I wouldn’t mind some of whatever those shallots are on.

  2. michelle plochere says:

    I don’t know that I could make seemingly austere and sterile Switzerland appear this colorful and alive in my imagination and experience — you are making it manifest…

    may I have some of what you’re having?

    np: Robert Wyatt, “A Beautiful War,” from Comicopera, must recommend this song for Switzerland soundtrack.

    love love and love, michelle

  3. Habib says:

    It’s good to see how you dwell. I love the wall of scarves, very Kimmi. I can’t wait to see Milan. I’ve only seen it from the train. Some say it’s the fashion capital of the world, well one of them. I’m sure you’ll find the good stuff.
    XO D

  4. kim says:

    p/s
    another little video sketch~
    trying not to spend more than a few minutes on these, hence the choppy editing (or in this case, lack thereof!).
    here you have ‘tuesday night snow’ from the balcony.
    you’d hear the cries of bodies in attack/pump/combat, but instead i offer “nakid if i want to.”

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