We had a cold snap in recent days — into the teens — and I’m feeling like it’s hygge time. All that Scandinavian winter-comfort stuff, you know. Roaring fires, thick socks, heavy sweaters to burrow into. Netflix. Tea. Hot chocolate. It gets you through.
Which is by way of saying I got home from work this evening and hyyge’d into a 30-minute nap because jeez, I cannot with this 5 p.m. darkness. Why not go to bed, you know?
But then I woke up and made chicken tetrazzini and roasted broccoli, because I do my fucking job, people.
I’m exhausted, though. I wish I were in the south of France, like Deborah. I wish I were in California with my daughter. I wish I were in Florida with my BFF, who just retired. But here I am, where it gets dark at 5 p.m.
Some items of note:
Betsy DeVos gets yelled at, poor baby.
I am no longer watching the impeachment hearings, because things like this are making me nauseous. Hey, Florida Man.
#BeBest, you despicable woman.
So here’s a new thread for the weekend, and let’s all recharge.
alex said on December 12, 2019 at 9:32 pm
My hygge is a ciggy with a whiskey nightcap while recumbent in freshly laundered bedding under the soft glow of an IKEA Vidja lamp. Need to call the chimney sweep before I can get my hyggelig on in front of the fireplace.
This weekend plan to do some hygge hiking in a forest preserve and make some goodies to take to a winter solstice party. Celebrating twelfth anniversary with the hubs too.
And I’ve got a chicken tetrazzini in the freezer. Made it for family visiting a few weeks ago and it didn’t get eaten. Should make for a nice hygge pigout this weekend.
basset said on December 12, 2019 at 10:55 pm
Been trying to watch “The Irishman” the last few nights but can’t stay awake enough to even start. Maybe during the day sometime.
We only get invited to one Christmas party each year, did that last week so the pressure’s off. No way are we gonna try one on our own.
Heather said on December 12, 2019 at 11:30 pm
I can’t watch the hearings either. I am mourning the loss of rational public discourse, the loss of my country to a foreign enemy without a shot fired, and the probable loss of our civilization, since these goons aren’t going to do anything about climate change. The UK election put me in a deeper funk.
With you on the hygge thing. I asked for a comfy blanket for the couch and new slippers for Christmas.
Deborah said on December 13, 2019 at 12:24 am
I’ve been keeping up with the news from the US since I’ve been away. Depressing. What is wrong with people?
Yesterday we went to Pont du Gard and Maison Carrée, both spectacular. Pont du Gard is the 3rd most visited place in France, but there weren’t many people there at all because it’s colder. The landscape around the bridge / aqueduct is stunning too, lots of nature trails.
Maison Carrée is a 2,000 year old Roman temple in the middle of the city of Nimes. My husband gave me the architecture lecture about it as we circled it. Apparently when Jefferson visited it he stared at it for 7 straight hours. It’s very elegant, lovely proportions and a very muscular structure. I’ll spare you all the details my husband described.
We had anther scrumptious dinner back at our inn. I never know what to call the place we’re staying, it’s not exactly a hotel, and inn isn’t the right word either. It was the grounds of a marble factory and the structure were in was the house of the owners. I think it dates back to the 16th century. There is a large mill structure on the property that is currently under utilized but big things are being planned, and those plans may involve us. I will tell you more as things unfold.
Deborah said on December 13, 2019 at 12:43 am
The nearby city of Avignon was a walled fortress, some of the walls still exist. It’s where the French popes were. There were 7 of them in succession in the late 12th and early 13th centuries. After that there were a couple more but it’s complicated because there were simultaneously popes in Italy. I need to read more about it, the book I have is in French so I’m not understanding much.
beb said on December 13, 2019 at 2:13 am
We picked up a comfy blanket at Costco that is really great for that hygge thing. It’s big, fluffy and very warm. The one good thing about winter (for us) is that the kitchen is cool enough to do a lot of cooking. We had roast vegetables yesterday with vegetable lasaga in a day or two and pork and cabbage stroganof in the offering. Mmmm hot and hearty.
It’s hard to watch the impeachment because that means listening to a lot of Republicans ranting, raving and talking smack.
There was an interesting Wapo column that suggested that if Bloomberg really wants to stop Trump he should run for president as a Republican! He;s too much of a Republican as heart tp ever find traction as a Democract but as a Republican he might pull off enough squishy Republicans to defeat Little Boots.
Dexter Friend said on December 13, 2019 at 2:25 am
I have watched probably 90 % of the hearings and readings. Gaetz, only even there because his own DUI problems were “taken care of” by his daddy, was despicable, even worse than gerrymander prince Jim Jordan, Ohio’s clownish and stupid main man for the Rs. But oh my gawd, Louie Gohmert, from Texas. Not recognized , no time granted, on Wednesday this moron began blathering about Trump’s innocence (yeah! Right!) Nadler banged the gavel to no avail and Gohmert got louder and began waving his hands around, then he stormed out of the room. Then, Thursday, he was back at it again. I knew he was a nutcase, but did not know he’s 6 years younger than me…I had him pegged at about 78. There hasn’t been much interesting sports programming the past few days so I have been bingeing Mrs. Maisel, as I just got the FireStick about a week or so ago. It’s old news to most of you , but I just got Prime. It’s everything you all said it was. Fantastic.
Deborah said on December 13, 2019 at 5:10 am
So now it looks like our train back to Paris on Tuesday may be a problem. They’re scheduling protests on Saturdays and Tuesdays. So we’re trying to see if we can get a train on Monday. The owners of the place we’re staying in Le Thor have a flat in Paris, they said we could stay there Monday night since our hotel reservations in Paris are for Tues and Weds nights. The train situation is a mess all around, when you try and call about the availability of trains no one answers. We may have to drive back but there are also possibilities of blockades on the highways as it has been reported that truckers are blockading with their rigs in solidarity with the strikers. My husband is freaking out about this.
David C said on December 13, 2019 at 5:39 am
I can’t sit or stand for very long right now because of the worst sciatica I’ve ever had in my life. The most comfortable I’ve been in the past week was my time in the MRI yesterday. It had a super comfortable bed and was nice and warm. So then back home to resume living, eating, and sleeping on the floor of our office room. The cats think I’m one of them now and I have one or the other snuggled up to me most of the time. That’s as hygge as I’m likely to get for a while.
Deborah said on December 13, 2019 at 5:39 am
Well the good news is we were able to get seats on the train for Monday afternoon, that is if that train isn’t canceled too. And the other good news is we get an extra day in Paris. Things are easing up in the city of Paris, they say.
Deborah said on December 13, 2019 at 5:46 am
My condolences David C, sciatica is the worst. For me sitting and lying down was bad, walking was better until I got foot drop. You might want to look into a micro-discectomy (spelling? Autocorrect is drunk today).
Julie Robinson said on December 13, 2019 at 8:47 am
David, you hit the MRI jackpot, if not the sciatica one. My MRI room was freezing cold, as well as headache-inducingly loud. Hope they find an answer quick and that is isn’t anything too bad. I understand from others the pain is excruciating.
No hygge for me either. One week from now the moving truck pulls up, and the next day we leave for Orlando. And there are still workers, appraisers, etc etc in and out all day.
diane said on December 13, 2019 at 9:40 am
I totally understand about the MRI. I had an MRI for upper back pain (turned out to be a herniated disc between C6 and C7). It was an old and very loud machine but somehow the perfect flatness and stillness had me feeling the best I had since the pain started. When it was over the tech said “I bet you’re glad that’s over.” I was “No, it was great-the least pain I’ve been in in weeks.” She looked at me like I was so nuts I thought mine was an unusual reaction but maybe not. I wish you well and hope they find the problem and a fix.
Andrea said on December 13, 2019 at 9:40 am
As I type this, I am currently snuggled in the corner of the living room known as “the library” with a down comforter tucked all around me, feet up on the ottoman, Christmas lights on and poinsettias blooming, and a wool cap on my head. Is this hygge or what? I guess I could up the hygge quotient by lighting candles and having a hot chocolate. Better get on that.
The news is sooooo damn depressing. So sad about the UK too.
My 21-year-old son is headed to China today for a 10-day visit. He lived there last year for 5 months. Since coming back, he has gotten very active in the DSA on his campus and is the social media director and an organizer for them. I felt like I had to have a frank conversation about his plans for activism while traveling, what with the Uighur genocide and the Hong Kong protests going on. I don’t have confidence that this administration could get him home safely if he were to be arrested there. He promised to keep his temper steady and his mouth shut. I told him he could be more useful back here sharing with people what he learned while there. Hope it resonated.
JodiP said on December 13, 2019 at 9:44 am
I read a little book on hygge last year, and apparently a part of it is being outside and enjoying nature. I am super excited to go XC skiing this weekend. Last weekend was too busy with parties and prepping for parties. My wife’s semester is winding down, so she can do errands–yippee!
We’re seeing live music twice, a play, and the British Arrow Awards (best of British ads) this weekend. I find it helps just to get out do things.
Deborah, I loved hearing about Nimes and the Pont du Gard. I really want to return to that part of France and see more. Can you please repeat the name of the place you’re staying at? Also, Barbars Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror is an excellent book about the 14th century, and has a lot of info about the pope situation.
David C said on December 13, 2019 at 9:46 am
I heard the same thing when I talked with my mom last night, Julie. Cold seems to be the norm. As I move around this morning, I’m not getting hard spasms as I was. So with any luck, I’ve turned the corner. I just need a diagnosis and I can start PT. My PT is the best and I know when I start she’ll set me right. Mary seems to be holding up with doing her housework, mine, and what we do together plus chauffeur duty (she hates driving) all by herself. The only time she complained is when I kept apologising for putting her through this. She’s a keeper.
JodiP said on December 13, 2019 at 10:10 am
Deborah, you probably have your itinerary all set, but David Leibovitz has a suggestion for things to do in Paris this time of year: https://www.davidlebovitz.com/christmas-in-paris-post/
Julie Robinson said on December 13, 2019 at 10:19 am
David, maybe the position you were in straightened out your spine and decompressed it temporarily. If you could just reproduce it you might get some relief.
LAMary said on December 13, 2019 at 10:50 am
Sciatica is the worst. There is no comfortable position. You have my sympathy.
My high school cafeteria served Turkey Tetrazzini and we called it Turkey Tetrachloride. It really wasn’t that awful but we were smartasses.
And A Distant Mirror is very good. I read it, jeez, forty years ago. Barbara Tuchman is a very good writer.
Sherri said on December 13, 2019 at 11:21 am
The dark is the worst. Sunrise, if you can call it that when it’s cloudy all day, was at 7:48 this morning and sunset will be at 4:16. There’s very little sunshine in the forecast. Hygge is a little challenging to create, too, with a kitchen/family room remodel going on. First world problem, for sure, and it’s going to be great when it’s done, but it’s disruptive.
Deborah said on December 13, 2019 at 11:40 am
Jodi P, the place outside of Le Thor is called La Bastide Rose. The owner Poppy is fantastic, she has amazing stories to tell and she’s a wonderful host. She and her third husband live on the property, so in some ways it’s like you are a guest in their home, but it’s not a bed and breakfast although a typical European breakfast comes with your room. Most people who come here stay for several days. Poppy’s son is the chef and the food is fabulous as I’ve said here many times. Emmanuel is very creative with flavors and presentation. The place is very well located to travel around to various villages and sites (like Pont du Gard etc).
Today we went to Roussillon a quaint village that has a spectacular surrounding landscape. There are rock outcroppings that are the most beautiful indescribable color that I have never seen anywhere before. It was very quiet, not many shops open or people around so we could really focus on the landscape. We were also there in July when it was mobbed with tourists. There is an excellent restaurant in a small hotel. We went in the summer, the outdoor seating is the best ever. Today we sat inside and just had coffee to warm up. We’re having dinner tonight at the Bastide Rose again, I could eat here every night but tomorrow we go to a restaurant for lunch at a place called Chateau La Coste, it’s a Francis Mallmann restaurant (the famous South American chef who lives part time in Patagonia) you may have seen a series on a cooking show about him, I can’t remember the name of the show. Here’s a link to the restaurant website https://chateau-la-coste.com/ but warning, it takes forever to load. Lots of art and architecture there too.
Also Jodi, thanks for the link about things to do in Paris around Christmas, we definitely don’t have our days planned there this time.
Deborah said on December 13, 2019 at 11:45 am
The reason I called out that Poppy lives here with her third husband, is because her 2nd husband, Pierre Salinger died in 2006 and because he was so well known around here she is known by her married name with him, even though she has remarried and he is a great guy.
Sherri said on December 13, 2019 at 12:23 pm
The ACLU shares some of their holiday cards: https://twitter.com/aclu/status/1204434525029355521
Jeff Borden said on December 13, 2019 at 1:15 pm
I’m on the last third of the 33 term papers I must read and evaluate before semester grades can be entered. They’re better than I’d hoped for, but since they are written on one of five possible topics, a lot of the same ground is covered. These students give me hope for a better future and for that alone I’m happy to teach.
On breaks, I’m reading “Washington Black,” one of the most amazing novels I’ve come across in a very long time. It’s kind of indescribable. The title character is a slave on a sugar plantation in Barbados, where he is both recipient and witness to incredible cruelties and barbarities. But when he meets the enlightened brother of the plantation owner, his life changes and the adventures move from the Arctic to 19th century England to Morocca. Oh, and there’s a flying boat called the Cloud Cutter, too. I can’t recommend it enough.
beb said on December 13, 2019 at 3:27 pm
Re the ACLU reading Christmas cards, I want “Merry Christmas, you godless Heathens on a T-shirt.
Which reminds me of a great internet meme project. There apparently are T-Short companies running bots that scrape memes from social media sites and if people comment “I want that on a T-shirt, it automatically has it printed out and posted to the company’s website. Well someone put up a meme reading “This Art is Stolen” and encouraged their friends to comment about wanting it on a T-shirt. Sure enough it appeared on a T-Shirt. Now people are posting art from Mickey Mouse and Star Wars and other Disney properties, with messages like This Art is Stolen, Copyright infringement and so on, in hopes of getting this T-shirt company in trouble with the Mouse that ate the world.
Deborah said on December 13, 2019 at 3:32 pm
I forgot to mention that the Bastide Rose has a surrounding sculpture garden of quality artists. It was started after/during the Iraq war because Salinger was very disturbed by the fact that the Americans were incensed that the French wouldn’t commit to join in the war effort to the extent (if any) that the Americans wanted them to and he wanted to re-instigate and promote American French relations. This was when they renamed French fries as freedom fries in the capital cafeteria. I don’t know, maybe it goes back to the Afghanistan war after 9/11.
The sculpture garden is made up of American and French artists with the theme of French/American relations.
Dexter Friend said on December 13, 2019 at 4:56 pm
David: I had fierce sciatica and my doctor told me he would not medicate me, said I would have to tough it out for 2 weeks and it would go away. Which it did. Now my back hurts but there’s no therapeutic laying on the floor for me…getting up is a major operation for me when I get down on the floor.
More old age info…we ran into our supplemental-to-Medicare insurance agent at Aldi’s. He said he was about to text us to make sure we did not go shopping and drop our Manhattan Insurance policies (It’s a Texas-based firm) . He said come 2020, we will be grandfathered in and can keep our supplementals, but due to cost restructuring, this type of plan is being pulled by all the insurers. For example, Carla Lee (wife) has had 4 major knee surgeries at Cleveland Clinic and we have paid nothing but gas money for the cars. No more, unless , or until, things get better. He said to pass this along: ask many questions if you change policies for supplemental. And God Bless you, each and every one, if you have so much cash you don’t need to deal in such trivialities. 🙁
LAMary said on December 13, 2019 at 9:14 pm
Andrea, my 25 year old son is in China on a visit too. His girlfriend lives there. His plane had to land at an airport about 400 miles from Guangdou because the air quality was so bad it made visibility an issue. The passengers were not allowed to get off the plane for 4 hours and then there was no one who spoke English at the smallish airport where they landed. No one could direct them to some other sort of transportation. Luckily my son’s seatmate worked for the State Department and he called in a favor and got them both a ride to Guangdou.
Dexter Friend said on December 14, 2019 at 2:22 am
LA Mary, to quote a famous society-observing wise woman, Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
Deborah said on December 14, 2019 at 12:39 pm
We went to Chateau La Coste today, about an hour away, nice drive with Mountain views. Had a fabulous lunch at the Francis Mallmann restaurant there, the show he was on was Chef’s Table on Netflix. The food is mostly wood fired, lots of meats and fish. Also fantastic salads and desserts. I don’t need to eat again for a week.
We walked around and looked at the art and architecture. Some famous architects designed buildings there like Frank Gehry, Tadao Ando, Jean Nouvelle, Renzo Piano etc. mostly the buildings are trophies for the architects and the owner of the place. The owner is an Irish guy, who bought the winery in 2002 and rebuilt it from the ground up.
We didn’t actually taste any of the wine, we did have a bottle of wine in the restaurant but none of their wine was on the menu for some reason. I don’t usually take photos of food but I put some on Facebook.
Jakash said on December 14, 2019 at 1:11 pm
This is almost a week old, but if you haven’t seen it, it’s worth watching. A 4-minute, 41-second tour de force. Referring back to Watergate and how the big question repeatedly posed by Howard Baker was about whether the president was involved personally, Rep. Eric Swalwell notes the difference here. We KNOW this time.
“There’s a reason that noone has said ‘What did the President know and when did he know it?’ … From the evidence … one thing is clear … as it related to this scheme, the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, knew everything.”
Andrea said on December 14, 2019 at 4:21 pm
@LAMary, let’s hope they both get home safely. Got a WeChat message from him this morning that all was fine with their trip to Shanghai.
Deborah said on December 15, 2019 at 7:10 am
We went one more time to I’sle-Sur-La-Sorgue today, it was even bigger than last Sunday and lots more people, obviously because it’s getting closer to Christmas. I didn’t find what I was looking for, but of course found other stuff. Now everything has to go in my bags so I have to be careful about the sizes of things. Tomorrow (Monday) we head back to Paris, fingers crossed our train doesn’t get canceled. I’m a little nervous about that. Because we changed our reservation from Tuesday to Monday we had to take whatever seats they had. If I have to hold my bags on my lap, so be it, I will just be so happy to be on the train. We have seats now that are facing 2 other seats in coach, we had first class seats on our canceled train. It will be interesting.
Deborah said on December 15, 2019 at 9:50 am
I should have said in my previous comment that we went to the I‘sle-Sur-La-Sorgue market again. The Sorque is a river, it’s adjacent to La Bastide Rose and meanders around the area, very fast running, full but narrow. There’s a canal from it that runs under the mill building on this property. It makes a very calming rushing sound when you’re outside. In the summer we didn’t much hear the water because the cicadas were so loud. I liked the sound of the cicadas too though.
LAMary said on December 15, 2019 at 1:36 pm
Deborah, I’ve had a few very pleasant, memorable train trips through France in coach. One was with an older couple who were from Strasbourg and spoke some German as well as French and we managed to have a great time chatting and laughing for the trip to Paris. They had lots of food and wine with them which they shared. Cheeses, sausages, bread and wine, all local from their village. The woman looked a lot like my grandmother, and after a few glasses of wine we decided we were all related.
Deborah said on December 15, 2019 at 3:59 pm
LA Mary, your time in France sounds fantastic. I envy you that it was when you were young. I wish that I would have had opportunities like that back then, but I guess better late than never. Maybe my husband and I can be the grandma and grandpa to young travelers now.
LAMary said on December 15, 2019 at 4:25 pm
Deborah, time in France and the Netherlands and a bit of the time I was in Italy were all made easier by what is now called couch surfing. I traveled on the cheap. I was also, possibly stupidly, fearless.
Deborah said on December 16, 2019 at 3:19 am
So far so good regarding our train to Paris. They haven’t alerted us that it has been canceled. We still have 3 hours before it’s scheduled to leave so I guess anything can still happen.
Deborah said on December 16, 2019 at 4:54 am
We’re at the train station, hardly any people here but it’s still showing our train is running but we still have a little less than 2 hours to wait. They just made an announcement in both French and English that the destinations showing on the screen are indeed still running even though all the usual trains are not. So far so good.
Deborah said on December 16, 2019 at 6:50 am
Yay! On the train, sitting backwards which I’m not fond of, but I don’t care, we even have a place for our luggage within eye sight. Next stop Paris! Well actually it makes a stop in Lyon first.
Deborah said on December 16, 2019 at 10:59 am
Wow, Paris is a mess transportation wise. It took us an hour to get a cab at the train station. Now we’ve been in a cab for nearly another hour to go 1.8 miles. I wanted to walk it but my husband didn’t want us to drag our luggage the whole way. This strike is really making it crazy. People are driving or taking cabs because the public transit is greatly reduced.
Heather said on December 16, 2019 at 12:11 pm
Had a pre-Christmas gathering with extended family and it was totally delightful. I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed the holidays so much.
But, I think I may have developed a shellfish allergy. I had some shrimp last night, no problems, and then this morning I suddenly developed a rash on my neck and face. I took a Benadryl and got my EpiPen ready–fortunately no problems breathing and the rash seems to be subsiding now. The reason I think it’s the shrimp is that I had some lobster spread last week–just a little–and I felt my face prickling a little that night. (But I had smoked oysters several times this month with no issues.) I love all shellfish so this is super-depressing.
I’ve been having weird reactions to food in the last year or so–which I’ve never had before–but sometimes they go away. For instance, I was having rashes in reaction to chicken, of all things, last year, and then that went away. I asked my allergist about it but she wasn’t much help back then. I’m going to bring it up again.
Jakash said on December 16, 2019 at 2:28 pm
“Meet the Press: We wanted to hear how people outside the beltway felt about impeachment, so we spoke to 3 Klansmen, 2 women in confederate flag bikinis, the ‘don’t tread on me’ snake holding an AR-15, and Don Jr wearing a fake mustache.”
beb said on December 16, 2019 at 3:43 pm
The sad thing is when you realize that this is pretty much par for the course media narrative: ask a bunch of diehard Trumpists what they really think of Trump. Why not ask a Kansas farmer? Or an Indianapolis factory worker what they think of Trump?