Saturday, February 3, 2018


It's fascinating to see what 23andMe comes back with.  Yes, we know - don't use it as a medical guide.  Yes, we know, it's not hard and fast as daily more information comes out - new markers are found, new genes are untangled.

It's no surprise that we're both over 99% European descent. Ian is 85% northwestern European and 46% of that comes from Britain/Ireland, which makes sense - his research has pegged his first American ancestor as a boy on a boat from England in the 1600s. I am 47% from northwestern Europe  (minus the boy on the boat, that side came over with the French to Canada, my paternal grandfather crossed the river into Madawaska, Maine and stayed there), but no surprise that I'm also 32% Eastern European. My maternal grandmother came over from Poland and my maternal grandfather was from the former Czechoslovakia.

Ian and I shared our data and we have no identical DNA segments. Woohoo!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Bruges is beautiful

One morning we Segway-ed our way around town. A highlight of our tour was a stop at the oldest still working pub, the Vlissinghe. It's 502 years old, and little in it has changed. Tucked away down a narrow pedestrian alley with no signage other than what's over the door, our guide asked if we wanted to stop in. It was the best decision (though it took backtracking to get there, sorry Ian!). Chocolate was originally only offered as a drink (we learned a lot at the Choco-Story museum) so I partook of a fantastic hot chocolate while thawing my toes at the ancient heater, and Ian had - wait for it - a Hoegaarden Rosee.  We drank a lot of beer.

But of course most of the time we walked and walked and walked, because the old town of Bruges is lovely with tons of little alleys, hidden nooks, photogenic canals, and inspiring architecture.

Couple all this with fruit and lambic beers that match beautifully with rich, dark chocolate, and Bruges is really a heavenly place to visit.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Bruges - surprise!

If you didn't know, Ian and I have never had the opportunity to just be the two of us. From before we were married, we've had kids. Yeah, we're THOSE people.  But the older we get, and the more we watch the kids take off, and the better sorted we are overall, the more we look forward to seeing our youngest bird fly (June 2019!).

We take these trips and it gives us a glimpse into what's around the bend for us. This past weekend he took me to Bruges via train.

The Medieval Suite

Red roof view.

Just the two of us...

Sunday, January 21, 2018

While the kids were snowboarding...

Ian and I spent time together. Because Garmisch is a lovely town.  Small, with roughly 10 huts in their Christmas Market, and art around every corner. It helped that it had snowed the day before we arrived and everything was gorgeous. While we meandered the little market, flurries added to the awesome wintry scene.

Lots of painted historic buildings.

The Garmisch Bären.

On one day we went to a café Krönner for brunch.  While the food was excellent, the service (for us at least, others went in and out), was molasses slow. It's a cute little spot to go on a date. 

Wednesday we headed to Dachau with Katherine.

There is no such thing as a good photo of a concentration camp. It was as sad and horrifying as you'd expect as Dachau was the blueprint for the system. Jonathon went to Sachsenhausen concentration camp when he took a class trip to Berlin last year. It's not something we ever want to revisit.

Sunday, January 14, 2018


We had the kids in snowboarding for 3 days while in Garmisch (Katherine went for 2).

Seems they spent a lot of time sitting in the snow.

Originally, upon their request, they were signed up for 2 days.  But after 2 days, they wanted more, so I guess it was a success. The great thing about the Edelweiss Lodge and the ski lodge/lessons they manage is that everything is available to rent.  We have a good assortment of items but as everyone knows all that stuff takes up a whole lot of space on a long-distance car ride. The lodge rents out what you need aside from gloves. It's pretty great.

And they've asked if we can go back again.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

And then Ian and Becca went to...

Because why not?
I wasn't there, but I did grab a lot of Becca's Snapchat photos. Apparently they really liked the Tour Eiffel.

And they spent a lot of time walking, visiting art museums, and eating food. One dinner stop they made was at Le Tournebievre, our favorite place the last time we were in Paris. There was one condition, and it totally broke Becca's transition to vegetarianism that day. She had to try an escargot.  She choked it down but will never need to eat another snail ever. But if  you ever have the opportunity, do so, have the escargot and don't pass on dessert, especially the profiteroles.  They are divine.

Near to Le Tournebievre is Shakespeare & Company. There are 2 doors. One takes you into a packed, tight, wonderful bookstore, where people have to sidle past each other to see the spines of modern thrillers and classic children's books, and hard to find copies. And I believe there's a cat lurking somewhere. Every bookstore should have a cat.  Through the other door is the room of First Editions, signed editions, and books that are no longer in print. Last time Ian purchased a James Bond novel.  This time he picked up a first edition of A Handmaid's Tale.  We've ruthlessly cut our book collection and moved largely to Kindle versions, but when a beautiful or remarkable book comes along, we simply can't resist.

Enough on that. Photo commentaries by Becca from her artsy snaps.

They tried to go to Notre Dame and the line was down the block, therefore...

Required photo.
Every time Ian goes through Paris he brings me back a box of macaron from Ladurée at the airport (this time was no exception, but instead it came from....), so of course they went to the original café on the Champs Elysees. 

The macaron is normal-sized.  Do not adjust your screen.
A quick trip.  It's Europe.