Kids, birthdays and recovery.

Well, life goes on and I guess the only thing I can do is to try and pick up the pieces and move on. Although I have to say that thoughts like “Why do I bother…” have crossed my mind lately. I have spent quite some time on my “therapeutic” meetings the last weeks. Minimally three per week. At least it keeps me busy.

Cassandra's Birthday 2017Anyway, trying to move on, my daughters birthday was on the fourth this month and we celebrated it on the Sunday before. Actually she celebrated it twice. Once at my place on the Sunday and once on the fourth at my ex’s place. Come to think of it she actually celebrated it kind of two and a half times since last weekend when the kids were again at my place her last present, that I had to order from Japan (she is a Manga nerd!), had finally arrived in my mailbox when we came back from a trip to Balexert.

Cassandra's Birthday 2017So that weekend it was the usual opening of presents, trip to a restaurant of her choosing and all that. Her choice for this birthday was a Thai/Chinese restaurant in Ferney Voltaire. We have been to the same venue before but it was not the same name nor the same owner this time. Still, it was quite good. No stars in the Guide Rouge but well worth the money.

The kids were at my place the weekend that just passed as well and we went to Balexert since Jonathan wanted to get a new suite for a gala at his university by the end of the year. His birthday is also coming up on the 23rd so he asked for the suit as a birthday present. It will be late though since there is a 5+ weeks waiting time for it. Three piece suit tailor made, bow tie, the works. No half measures when it comes to Jonathan’s party dress code! Wonder if it is related to the fact that two thirds of his Facebook friends are girlies?

As usual when the kids are home there was a lot of cooking going on. I like to cook but in my present, somewhat down, state I cannot seem to be bothered to gather much enthusiasm to cook for myself but when the kids are home it is a different matter.

Chicken with bacon in Cream sauce served straight from the frying pan, Plie avec sauce aux Capre et Lemon vert and Chili with home grown chili peppers were among the items that has been on the menu lately.

Chicken pan with bacon and creamPlie avec sauce aux Capre et Lemon VertChili time again!

Busy last couple of weeks.

The last couple of weeks have been busy as hell work wise. I should have posted something already last weekend but I simply did not manage to find the time to do so. So now I am forcing myself to stress down and take some time to jot down a few words.

The kids came to my place last weekend which was a bit unexpected since it was the last weekend of my ex’s holiday but apparently they had requested to come. Obviously I am very happy about that. I was actually suspecting that it was the PS4 that was drawing them here but in the end they did not actually play that much so I am even more happy about it now.

Trio of CurrysSince it was a bit of a surprise visit I kind of was in a rush to think of something to cook for them. In the end I decided on curry. But to make it a bit more extravagant I did not make just a curry but a Trio of Curries. One rather mild pork curry with peas and squash, a slightly hotter Thai curry with shrimps, carrots julienne, green onions and lime and a “if you have to ask it is too hot for you” lamb curry with peppers and home grown chilies.

One home made Pesto coming up.Today they are here again and yesterday I did some home made Pesto from Basil that I had grown on the balcony. So it was fresh pasta with Pesto on the menu for today’s lunch.

After lunch me a Jonathan had a little mini-binge watching of four episodes of Big Bang Theory. We actually only planned to watch three but after the third episode we saw that the next episode was going to be about Leonard going to visit the LHC in Switzerland (CERN) and I just had to watch that one. I work at CERN after all so…

Unfortunately I had a bit of a nasty surprise this morning. Me and my ex have filed for shared custody for the children but now when I started to bring it up she tells me that the kids, actually Cassandra specifically, are not too happy about it since she fears her grades may be affected by the additional 30 minutes travel time.

Teary EyesI am a bit upset about that. I mean, I cannot argue too much against the fears of my daughter for her education but, for Christ sake, this was what we filed for almost two years ago. Why did my ex wait until now when we were about to go forward to drop it on me? It’s not that we haven’t spoken about it before. Also, I wasn’t really asked when my ex moved the kids from the schools here in St Genis and Gex to Bellegarde. I cannot help feeling that I have been played. My doctor is just in the process of getting me off the last antidepressants and this was sure as hell not what I needed right now.

I just hope that we’re still on track for a “d’accord amiable”. I guess we’ll have to see. I did not have time to discuss it much when my ex left the kids since she was on her way to work. Hopefully it is not as bad as it looks at the time of writing this.

Weekend with the kids.

My last post had the title Weekend without the kids so I guess I had to give this one the title Weekend with the kids. Yeah, yeah I know, a tad uninspired but what the heck. I am trying to keep up with the posts on both this personal site and my Books & Movies site where I am currently four books reviews and one movie review behind.

Anyway, as the title states last weekend was a weekend with the kids. Actually the kids came on Wednesday evening and staid until Sunday afternoon. I had to work on the Thursday but I took the Friday off so it was actually a long weekend.

We did not do very much though. This was only the second weekend since I got my Playstation 4 so I pretty much had to pry the game pads out of their hands. We did go for a lunch at the Italian restaurant in the village. I also managed to force them out of the apartment for some air on the Saturday so we could go to Balexert since I needed to buy some new trousers.

Apart from that it was mostly gaming on the menu this weekend. Well I managed to squeeze in a few movies in the evenings as well. Ghost in The Shell and The Assignment. Both of which turned out to be okay but nothing really to write home about.

Okay there was of course a more traditional menu as well although I cannot say that I did anything special this weekend. Mostly just simple comfy food. Barbecued sausages, Thai chicken and rice, pasta with tuna sauce, my mothers sausage stew, home made burgers and of course a nice English breakfast on the Sunday morning.

The weather was, and is, excellent. Mostly sunny and around 30 degrees Centigrade so we could have all the meals on the balcony. In all a rather relaxing weekend although it feels like it passed in a blur. I didn’t get around to taking any photos at all. Even the featured image of this post is “archive footage” but given the binge playing on the Playstation it felt like a suitable photo to reuse.

Back from Holiday!

Actually I was back already on Monday evening but it is not until today that I actually get some time to finally write a post about my holidays. I am 4 book reviews behind on my Books & Movies site as well.

Well I guess that I have some catch up to do but that will not happen tonight though. You see I picked up my new toy just before lunch. I have been pondering about upgrading my old Playstation 3 for some time. I have been sitting on the fence a bit as to whether I should go for PS3 or Xbox One. I had almost decided to wait for the Xbox One X to come out and go for that one. However, my daughter has been giving me some various, more or less subtle (usually less), hints about new games. Most of them for PS4. Well, what the heck, a PS4 goes for 399 Euro here in Europe which is not a huge amount. I am sure everyone outside of the European Union will disagree of course but unfortunately it seems to be impossible to get rid of the worthless, tax greedy, wankers in Brussels.

Anyway, I ordered a PS4 Pro which I, as I wrote, picked up today and this evening it’s going to be install time. The Xbox One X? Well, it is not coming out until fall and then we have to see if there are any first generation issues but next year I might get one of those as well.

I believe I mentioned holiday in the title so maybe I should say something about that as well. It was the, more or less traditional, visit to grandpa and grandma for the kids. CERN pays for a “home leave” every second year but of course I have to go on it in order to get any money so the last Friday of July me and the kids boarded a plane for Copenhagen.

At the Artillery Museum in CopenhagenWe spent two full days in Copenhagen going to the Botanical Garden, the Artillery Museum, the Zoo, Copenhagen Aquarium and last but not least Tivoli Gardens. We had booked two junior suites at a great hotel just a few steps from Tivoli Gardens and with our rooms on the 15th floor we had a great view as well. The kids did enjoy themselves even if they complained about too much walking. I’d say that they have been spending too much time on the couch so some physical movement is just what the doctor ordered.

After our days in Copenhagen we went on to Sweden for their visit to their grandparents. Apart from spending time with their grandparents we also went to Glimmingehus to see black powder cannons being fired and to Tykarpsgrottan which is actually not a cave but an old chalk mine.

At Glimmingehus watching black powder gun firingAll in all a very relaxing and enjoyable holiday. Of course I took a bunch of photos which I uploaded to my Flickr account. This time I brought my SLR camera. Usually when flying I take a smaller camera but I have not been doing much photography lately and felt I wanted to catch up on that so I went for the SLR even if it is bulky as hell on the plane.

The photos are uploaded to the following albums:

Botanical Garden Copenhagen

Copenhagen Zoo

Copenhagen Artillery Museum

Tivoli Copenhagen

Copenhagen & Sweden 2017

The last album contains mostly photos of interest for family and close friends.

Bags packed…

So the bags have been packed. Luckily I usually do not bring too much stuff when traveling. Out of three suitcases I managed to squeeze myself into a half one. The rest went to the kids and Cassandra did not even pack all the stuff she brought with her from Bellegarde.

Anyway, now we are set for our trip to Denmark and Sweden. The kids have chosen The Revenant for tonight’s film-time and then tomorrow morning it is off to the airport. Fingers crossed that we will have good weather, especially at Tivoli Copenhagen.

The featured image of this post? It is grilled chicken pieces with a Greek salad that I made for lunch.

Three days with the kids…well kind of.

Okay, last week/weekend I spent three days with the kids… kind of. So you ask, what do you mean “kind of”? Well I had to work so the kids have been here since Thursday and I  came home and made lunch . Then I went back to work for another four hours.

It’s a good thing that I live about ten minutes from my work. , unless there is one of these all too common traffic jams caused by the total incompetence that the green communists responsible for traffic planning in Geneva possess that is. Then it is more like half an hour and good forbid that I have to go downtown Geneva.

So it was a bit of a different experience actually going home for lunch and cooking lunch for the kids as well as not coming home to an empty apartment after work. Also, the kids being there on the weekdays meant that we had plenty of “filmtime” in the evenings. We went through Kong: Skull Island and Logan. Unfortunately we were not exactly impressed by any of them.

On the Saturday we wanted to go to Val Thoiry for a haircut but when we came there there was a two hour queue (drop in only, no reservations) so we decided to just go around and do some shopping and then we went to Leon de Bruxelles for lunch (request from Timothy).

Birthday Weekend

Okay, okay I will refrain from going into a rant about how much more I liked my birthdays before. Just insert some random “I hate being reminded about becoming yet another year older…bla bla, rant rant” here and we are done with it.

I have to say that this birthday was a lot more pleasant than my previous one though. For one it was on a Saturday so I celebrated it with the kids. Also, on my previous birthday I was still in the middle of a depression and had crawled into a bottle. Actually last Friday I celebrated 8 months of “back to normal”.

Anyway, back to the weekend. The kids came over already on the Friday. Actually I went more or less straight from work and picked them up in Bellegarde since my ex was working until around 19:30 in the evening. Nice to have a movie evening with the kids on a Friday for once. John Wick 2 was on the menu. Not as good as I hoped but you cannot have everything i guess.

Swedish Midsumme Eve Supper.
Midsummer eve Swedish buffet

Another thing that was on the menu was some traditional Swedish food. It was midsummer eve, or Midsommarafton in Swedish, so I had stocked up on some pickled herring, Gravlax, Swedish meatballs, Swedish cheese and sausages etc… The two small ones were not too enthusiastic about the fishy stuff as usual but Jonathan and I digged in.

 

View towards Lac de Divonne outside Le Rectiligne.
Lac de Divonne-les-Bains

On the Saturday I had booked a table a Le Rectiligne, a fairly posh restaurant in Divonne-les-Bains that serves classic French Haut Cuisine with a touch of modern experimenting. It was quite excellent, as usual. I had told the kids to bring some decent clothes since it is a posh restaurant after all, which they did. However Timothy, having his head in the clouds as usual, had just grabbed a pair of trousers without looking. Of course they were too small when he tried to put them on so he had to go in some scruffy sports trousers. Arrrggghhh!

Sorbet on the Rocks (yes it is a block of ice)
Sorbet served in a block of ice

I could not help myself snapping a photo of the desert. We sat on the terrace so it was not that much of a breach of etiquette. The desert itself was good but nothing too special but the bowl it came in was a solid block of ice.

The weather was great as well. Around 30 degrees and sunny. Perfect for a lunch at the terrace. The evening became another “filmtime”. This time Underworld: Blood Wars which was a bit more like I hoped for than the Friday entertainment. Review will come up later on my Books & Movies site.

As I am writing this it is Sunday so there’s not much planned. I got some Swedish cheese left so I am planning to make a Tarte aux Fromage et Lardons avec des Herbes out of the cheese for lunch . Then later in the afternoon/evening it is time to drive the kids back to Bellegarde.