Black and White

Saturday, September 20, 2014

How to watch Downton Abbey when the Brits do!

Our family loves Downton Abbey. Now that Paul and I are empty nesters, we have been trying to enjoy each other's shows. I watch an action adventure movie that he likes and in return he watches Downton Abbey, gets hooked on it and wants to watch all seasons in one week. Then he loves it so much that he arranges to take Laura May and I there last month. I think that is a fair tradeoff to one adventure flick. ;)

Here in Europe and in England, Downton Abbey starts on September 21!!! That is tomorrow night!!! BUT, unless you have an English IP address you can't watch it. Unless.....

Our friends from England stayed at our home and wanted to show us the cutest cook-off show that is from England. So, they hooked up their ipad to our TV and viola we watched British TV. So, I asked how they did that. They shared the APP 'Filmon Free' with us. I downloaded and now I watch HGTV type british shows on TV. I just check the TV channel online and see what is on and then I add an hour and that is the time to start the channel on Filmon Free. It is only live to TV, so you need to just have the channel on and wait for the show to start. For you in the states, check the Brit channel listings for Downton Abbey HERE and then subtract the hour difference that your state is from London.

Tonight we are doing a trial run. To make sure that what is on Downton Abbey's channel ITV1, is in sync with the ipad. It has never failed me yet.

So that is my little trick for watching Downton Abbey when the Brits do!!!  I hope it works for you.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Genthod is blooming

I am loving the spring weather here in Genthod, Switzerland. Warm sunny days, sprinkled with light rains, rainbows and flowers! Here are just a few pictures from my walks this spring.
 The Alps as seen from the master bathroom window. :)  Showers with this view are heavenly.


 Yep that is a blossom....


 Budding leaves on bushes


 Wild Prim Roses and Violets


 The end of our street, looking out toward the other mountains, the Jura.


 Our grass is just weeds, like most places in Europe, but in the Springtime they have flowers!


 Looking toward the Jura


 Wild Violets


 Flowers trying to escape. :)





 They have started planting the flower boxes in our village.



On my walk.....

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Autumn: Cows, Cheese, Chocolate, Chateau's and Callings

   Our Autumn started off with my trip to 
        Grindelwald. I had two wonderful friends come to take 
              in some of the sights of Switzerland and France, so a girls trip 
             it was. Paul stayed home and held down the fort.

              We visited Gruyere, famous for it's cheese, chateau and quaint little 
cobblestoned streets. 
      We did some shopping. Here are Trudy and I taking 
       in the architecture from yesteryears.

    We ladies just had to have fondue after our day in Gruyere. 
     I think Jill looks like she is in Cheese heaven here.


                              After a funicular ride up the mountain, we hiked around in Murren, 
    Switzerland and enjoyed the view of the Jung Frau 
      as our luncheon backdrop. Here you can see that
   we traveled with chocolate...as we did most of the time.

 We saw chateau after chateau (what castles are called here) Here are just a few of the many!

 St. Georges at the Chateau Gruyere.


 Each Chateau seemed to get more elaborate.


Our favorite "Sleeping Beauty-like" Chateau Chenonceau. We even stayed in a 17th century Chateau!



Voltaire's Chateau 10 mins from our home in close by France.

 Our own little country chateau in our village of Genthod. This one is not as fancy as some of the other chateau's that our village offers, but it is my favorite.


We ended back at our own little Chateau (our home). You can't really see the front because of our hedge, but it was a welcomed sight after traveling.


 OH and last but not least, this Autumn...Paul was called to be Bishop of the Geneva 1st Ward. 

Here is a picture of Eveque Johnson our new Bishop!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Laura's 18th Birthday slide show...turn the sound up!

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Springtime in Paris 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

BYU Idaho here she comes!



Laura's wish has come true. She was accepted to her #1 pick, BYU Idaho!!!  Since she was 8 or 9 years old, she has dreamed of one day going to BYU Idaho. In her mind, it was the BYU in the country, and for our 'Country Girl,' that was and is just about perfect. When Laura turned 12, we took a road trip and one of the places that we HAD to stop was BYU Idaho. Laura wanted to walk the campus to 'get a feel' for where she would attend college. We took her to the school bookstore  to buy her first BYU Idaho sweatshirt.


Here is a picture of her on the BYU Idaho campus, just before buying her infamous sweatshirt in 2008 

That baby blue sweatshirt has become the cornerstone of her casual wear. She has worn it everywhere....no literally...everywhere. It has traveled with her to Mexico, Turkey, France, Italy, Florida, California, Germany, Switzerland, Greece, England, The Nederlands and everywhere in between.

Laura at 14 wearing her sweatshirt on a visit home to California


Her sweatshirt, 5 years later. She still wears it. :)

Congratulations, Laura, on being accepted to BYU Idaho. I guess you will need to buy a new sweatshirt now and one for your Dad and Mom! We love you and couldn't be prouder of you.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Patience of Paul


I am usually the primary photographer, bargain hunter and meanderer of our family. When I am in someplace new, I choose skinny little back streets to go down, always looking for the unexpected. When street market shopping, to find just what I am looking for, I am just downright slow. I often turn to see Paul, patiently standing by, arms behind his back, leaning on a wall, on a bench or some other place to give me the time and pleasure to explore, photograph or shop. A few times I have taken a picture of my sweet patient husband. They are always candid shots. I like the ones I take when he has no idea that I am taking them. When going through my pictures to sort recently, I found so many of Paul....patiently wait for ME. Here are just four of the many that I have. :) I just love this man and his patient nature, so here is my tribute to the patience of Paul.





I found just what I wanted in a street market in a little town in France. It was a  fish crate and because I found it at the beginning of the day, my dear, kind Paul, carried it for the next three hours.



I found a little skinny street to meander down and some fascinating architecture to photograph. When I returned from picture talking, this is what I found...Paul with his hands behind his back waiting for me and looking at doors or the paint colors. He is a saint!



Paul didn't mind waiting on a bench or two or three as I shot pictures of this old town and of Laura at the ocean front. He sat there guarding all of our stuff!


There were so many pictures for me to take of the architecture of this castle in Switzerland. Before we even went in, I spent about 15 minutes capturing the outside. Paul stood by and enjoyed the scenery, but never once told me to hurry up.


Here is one that Laura took. After a day of hiking with my family we walked down to the village of Chamonix, France. I probably caroused 10 gelato places, before I found what I thought was the best looking and variety. I like that Paul is standing behind us with his hands behind his back. Once again, he never rushed me. When we came upon one that I liked he stepped up to pay with a smile. I have about 30 more pictures like this. I may be sorting and weeding out pictures, but I am going to keep all of his "waiting" pictures. They make me remember just what a wonderful and patient man Paul is.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Looking for Joseph

We have many religious holidays here in Switzerland. After Christmas and the New Year celebration comes Epiphany. This holiday falls on January 6th, but it is celebrated starting the Sunday before to the Sunday after. This Christian "feast day" celebrates the revelation of the Savior being the Son of God, and also the visit of the Three Kings (Magi) to the Baby Jesus. Here in Switzerland, "King Cakes" are out in all of the stores. In our French part of Switzerland they are flakey large pastry cakes with almond filling. In the German portion they are more sweet bread formed in a circle with a sugary coating on top. The first year here, Paul, came home from work and told me that they had celebrated Epiphany at work with a "King Cake" and that he had gotten the little porcelain figure inside.  The next morning I set out to get a family king cake and get our own little porcelain figure. 


Here is the Shepard and little lamb that I got the first year. Yay, I was on my way to getting a little Nativity.


This year we got a cake to have for Epiphany, which fell on a Sunday. WE GOT AN ELEPHANT???? It was cute, but he was not Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus or one of the three kings. Paul and I decided that I should get another one.




I went back that Monday morning, because the King Cakes would not be available for very long. I was a little obsessed. I bought two cakes. In one we found Mary and the Baby Jesus. (that is a little blanket tossed over Baby Jesus)





In the next cake we found two of these three kings. So, now we (really I) needed the other king, right? I waited until two days after Epiphany, because I thought the cakes might be cheaper. They were way cheaper, so I bought three for 3CHF each. I was bound and determined to find the other king, but instead I found a Friar. Did I mention that I didn't even wait to cut the cake with my family.



Here is the Friar I found.



In the next cake I found another lamb to add to my shepherds herd.


In the very last cake I got the last king. Now I am seeking Joseph, but that will have to wait until next year. For now, my little Nativity has an elephant. He was too cute to relegate to a corner. I also have three king cakes in my freezer, because we still need to eat the spoils.

I like the King Cakes here. I hear there is a cow and and a camel too. Only 355 more days until Epiphany's King Cakes come out again, but who's counting? :)

Monday, January 7, 2013

I don't like SPIDERS following me



We have been traveling a lot in the last 6 years. A trip back to California in 2008 is the first time I saw it. While in San Francisco it was down by the Embarcadero. It freaked me out. I could not go near it. I shut my right eye and passed as far from it as I could. Man! What a way to ruin a perfectly great day in San Francisco.

San Francisco 2008 I was there for a visit   

We had been living in Denver for one year when I took the California trip. Once back in Denver, we went down to the museums and there was the same spider there. It was by the door. I could not even walk by it to enter the museum. What a way to ruin a perfectly great day in Denver! By now I was getting creeped out...that this Spider could be following me all over the USA?


The same spider at the Denver Art Museum

In 2011 we moved to Switzerland and waved good bye to weirdo-scary, creepy spider sculptures. That year we took a day trip up to Bern. I turned the corner by the Bundesplatz (government building) sand there staring at me was the same spider. It sent shivers up my spineWhat a way to ruin a perfectly great day in Bern! I turned a round and walked a block over and down so I could arrive at the walking street and not have to see the spider. 


I swear that this is the same spider as in Denver...and he was crouched down in San Franciso......I am not crazy!

So living in Geneva we like to get out and explore the city. Guess what was in my path to crossing over to the Art Museums....that same creepy, yucko, scary spider. What a way to ruin a perfectly great day in Geneva.

Spider in Geneva Switzerland

No one believes me, but I know this is the same spider following me around the world and it is freaking me out. My family thinks I may be a little nuts, because they try to tell me of  the inconceivability of the  same spider being in all of these places that I happen to go to. Oh I have an answer for them all right....That is what the eight legs are for people, THE EIGHT LEGS!!!!     ((((CHILLS))))


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Winter in Tuscany


For our winter get-away between Christmas and New Years we rented a house for a few days in Lucca, Italy. Lucca is near Florence, Pisa and Cinque Terre. Early in the morning Paul, Laura, Lindsay (Laura's friend from school) and I drove through the French Alps and the Mt. Blanc tunnel into Italy. It was fun to see the signs change from French to Italian. As we drove south, the skies turned brilliant blue and the temperatures warmed for December.


The Italian Alps and gondola across the highway.

When we arrived in Lucca we were met by the owners of the house, handed the keys and were shown the four bikes waiting for us to use. By that afternoon we were on the bikes to tour the city of Lucca. 


The walls around Lucca remain intact, which is unusual for cities in Tuscany. The walls once for military protection have become a pedestrian promenade which encircle the old city.


Lucca's old town circular piazza.


As evening approached the Christmas light of the old city came on and the streets were full of people shopping and eating in cafes. We found a great pizza cafe and sat outside to have our dinner. Laura and Lindsay went shopping as we waited for our dinner to arrive and found some great deals!

The next morning we rode our bikes to the train station and we were off to Cinque Terra. The weather could not have been nicer. 


Waiting for the train in Lucca bound for Cinque Terre


Paul and I in Vernazza, one of the 5 (Cinque) cities.


Laura hiking up above the city of Vernazza.


I honestly think that Laura's favorite part of the day was playing at the beach in the warm weather. She misses the ocean so much!


One of the days we took off for Florence. I was anxious to see so many of the paintings that I had studied in Art History during my freshman year in college. We were not disappointed. After walking along the river and viewing artwork and sculpture we found a great restaurant. We had spaghetti, gnocchi, bread and a yummy fresh salad. We wandered around the old city afterwards and  enjoyed the lights and the Italian Christmas markets that were still up.


Laura and Lindsay along the Arno river in Florence.


Lindsay and Laura waiting to enter the Uffizi Museum in Florence, Italy.


Pisa was a must for us. The city was pretty close to Lucca and the drive easy, so we decided to take the car there. Yes, Paul has driven in a crazy Italian city and survived. I will even say he was amazing! Pisa was beautiful and the Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo) was pretty spectacular. The Piazza has the cathedral and the famous leaning tower of Pisa. Yes, we ended up doing the stereotypical pictures of holding up the tower--after all, we are typical tourists!


Yeah Paul is holding up the tower with one hand in his pocket. Yeah he is pretty amazing. ;)


What a wonderful and restful trip. Our nights were full of talking, playing Phase 10 (which Paul won) and watching movies. Our trip to Tuscany was a success for the Johnson's!!!