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Monday, January 08, 2007

Life at Chez Lara


When we arrived in Geneva late in the evening on the 23rd I expected we would spend a little time getting reacquainted and then just shuffle off to bed. But no. We were welcomed with a yummy home-cooked meal of chicken in an artichoke heart sauce with risotto (look, get it while you can). We warmed our bellies and stayed up late talking with our friends.

Lara has a house in France just outside of Geneva. She and her roommate had spent that last year renovating and it had just become inhabitable that evening! And what a house -- Lara said she wanted a place where she'd feel comfortable entertaining and I'd say comfortable is the word. Lane, Jasper and I had a while wing to ourselves, with three rooms and a bathroom, plus a door to shut out the screams at night (just kidding -- sort of).

Then there's a huge bedroom and bath on the same floor along with the kitchen, dining room, and living room. The kitchen is pretty much my dream kitchen, about the same size as our apartment for starters. There's counterspace galore with drawers and cabinets and drawers and cabinets, every implement you can imagine, the best-organized tupperware drawers known the humankind, and all in a gorgeous setting.

Upstairs are two huge bedrooms each with their own baths, large walk-in closets, and a sitting room. In the basement there's storage room after storage room. Needless to say, it was hard to leave at the end of the week.

Quite often Lane and I will return from an active vacation and feel like we need another vacation to recover from the first. This time we planned ahead and actually got that second vacation. Life and Chez Lara was a relaxing series of delicious meals filled with conversation with friends I hadn't seen in years.

Lara and I have been part of a group of nine women who have been conversing over e-mail over the last ten or so years. I'd only met her once, some five or so years ago at one of our gatherings. (I've missed many of the gatherings because I'm over on the East Coast.) So she is both an old friend and a new friend. Diana is also part of the e-mail group. Lane and I got to know her when she was living in New York.

Both of these women (in fact, all of the women in this group) are incredibly bright, accomplished, funny and sybaritic -- all things I value in my friends. And they're sensational hosts. We felt so loved and comfortable.

We finally got to meet Di's wonder-husband Scott, whom we liked instantly, and their dogs DeeDee and Gibby. (There were cats, too, more about them later.) At the last minute I found out we would be joined by Carmen, another long-lost friend from New York. Back when Lane was still willing, we used to get season tickets to BAM with Carmen. (I still miss my nearly-annual Pina Bausch and my regular sonnambulent doses of Philip Glass/Robert Wilson -- I say that affectionately.) Carmen is also wise, witty, and by the way, a Jedi Knitter.

We Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at Chez Lara, Boxing Day in Geneva and traveling, a couple days at Di and Scott's place in Basel, and a day along the Alsatian route de vin. I'll try and cover this all in the next couple posts. There was much less sight-seeing but so much good food.

3 comments:

Hevansrich said...

yeah! more news about some mutual friends! also, I am far from a foodie of your (or any) caliber, but I am so not beyond being seduced by an amazing kitchen in a beautiful French country home. as they say (in France?) a picture (even just one if you have!) is worth a thousand words....n'est pas?

janeannechovy said...

Minor quibble: we are only 9. An auspicious number, I think.

Mary Ellen said...

Sounds absolutely fabulous in every sense! Sounds like we need to do more gatherings in the east and in Europe. :)

Mmmm, Pina Bausch. I went to one of her dance concerts in LA with Bruce Baird (aka Brucifer). The concert made the LA Times' top 10 list of cultural events that year and I was glad I got to see it. Was fun to hear the prudish American audience gasp at the nudity.