Friday, December 30, 2011

Music Moments

In my house music is very common, and my daughter has grown to enjoy music as much as us.  We like to crank it up after my husband gets home from work and dance around the living room, great family music moments!   
One album we are all enjoying at the moment is Mumford & Sons (they're a British folk rock band). It seems to be the running background music of our lives over the past two weeks. It's funny how you can like an album so much you will listen to it repeatedly. I remember at one time thinking Kings of Leon would never get taken out of rotation, but eventually they all get replaced. As of now Mumford & Sons is taking their slot on our playlists.  Then there is always Adele, she's great, I think everyone can appreciate her talent.  She's also someone we can listen to with the entire family or individually.  I'll often turn on one of the above albums while I'm writing, they're soothing, don't distract, and have a lot of emotion to them.  From what I understand Adele has become quite popular in The States but I'm not sure about Mumford & Sons... so for the ones of you who have never heard of these albums you really should give them a chance.  Now if I'm not listening to mellow British music, I'm listening to American rap, I love it! 
I love any music that will get me dancing but there's something special about rap. I wish I could say I outgrew it as a teenager but I didn't. I also wish I could say there are a lot of great rap albums out today, but I can't.  Other than dancing to it, I really enjoy exercising to it.  It's peppy enough to get me moving, yet has this aggression to it to keep me motivated on the crosstrainer.  The past couple of weeks I have either listened to Flo-rida or Nicki Minaj while exercising.  My husband also appreciates rap but he can't stand Flo-rida; he's more of an Eminem type.  And Nicki Minaj just makes fun rap, she's a little eccentric and that definitely reflects in her album.  I'm sure you've read this and lost a bit of respect for me, but you have to understand I enjoy a variety of music.  Before driving lessons I like to listen to Andrea Bocelli, and while growing up I almost played out my Phantom of the Opera cassette tape.  And I enjoy Metallica as much as I enjoy The Beach Boys!  I hope you all have music moments throughout your day!     

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Deviled Eggs

Well the holidays are here so that means time for family dinners and get-togethers with friends. Most years I avoid having to bring a dish to the meals, opting out for snacks or drinks, but this year I was asked to make deviled eggs for my sister-in-laws Christmas Eve dinner. I dreaded every moment leading up to it. It's been years since I made deviled eggs and I can't say even then they tasted nice. But between a hectic holiday schedule, including a driving lesson on the morning of the 24th, I managed to make them. I decided to split the work up into two days, just so I wouldn't run out of time. Plus I like taking my time cooking, I don't want to make any mistakes. I boiled 2 dozen eggs according to a recipe I found online for deviled eggs, it was a different way of hard boiling eggs than I was used to. I put the eggs in a pot, brought the water to a boil, then only let them since in the hard boil for 3 minutes (usually I boil them for 10 minutes).  Then according to the recipe I was to remove them from the burner and let them sit in the hot water for 30 minutes, sounded strange but I had nothing else to work from. Then after letting them sit I was to to cool them in ice water for 20 minutes, all of this was to help with peeling and to lessen the chance of the green ring that often appears on boiled eggs. I felt this was a lot of work just to boil eggs but I wasn't going to take any chances. Apparently the hard work with deviled eggs is peeling them! But surprisingly enough I managed to peel 18 eggs without damaging them. I had 2 extra eggs just is case of a disaster but it worked out. According to the recipe I was supposed to leave the eggs on their side over night prior to boiling them to ensure the yolks were in the middle, but I didn't feel like turning it all into such a large project, I just wanted to make something edible. After peeling and slicing the eggs it was time to empty them to make the filling. This is also quite time consuming, I don't have a technique for emptying the eggs so between prying them loose with a spoon and squeezing the eggs I eventually popped all of the yolks into a bowl. The next step was easy, just a matter of tossing all of the ingredients into the bowl and mixing. At one point I was afraid to taste my own concoctions, but I knew I should before I refilled the eggs. Surprisingly it tasted a lot like ones I remember getting at family events growing up. I ended up combining two recipes one for preparing the eggs and a different recipe for the filling. I found a recipe that a restaurant in Indiana used from the 1920's-70's, and if I ever have the need to make deviled eggs again I'll refer to the recipe from the Durbin Inn. Now it was time to refill the eggs, I had no idea how much to portion per egg so I started out with small spoonfuls and kept making rounds until the bowl was empty. For the most part this went well. All the while I took pictures, just in case the eggs didn't make it to the party I had proof that at one point they looked nice. It was time to add the paprika to the top at first this went smoothly but as I sped up I started getting sloppy, but by this point I was just tired of dealing with the eggs. I had to no choice but to transfer the slippery eggs in plastic containers to the dinner. Just trying to get them in and out of the fridge I smashed a few eggs together, I didn't think they stood a chance of making it. Then of course we were running late for the dinner and with every turn I felt the eggs sliding around, I expected a disaster when we arrived. but to my surprise they survived! I wouldn't say they were a hit compared to the rest of the food, but most of them were eaten (by the kids, ha-ha!) I did save a small batch for the Christmas dinner the next day and with pleasure I watched them get snatched up and eaten. I know my family is thinking, I can't believe you're still going on about the eggs, but hey, what can I say, I complain a lot and I retell stories endlessly!

Monday, December 12, 2011

License to Drive

When I say license to drive I'm not referring to the C rated 80's comedy, I'm referring to myself.  I have an American driving license and I have a Dutch license to drive scooters (aka brommers/snorfiesten), but I am still not legally allowed to drive a car on Dutch roads.  Periodically over the years I have tried to convince the Dutch system to transfer my American license over but they refuse (probably a good thing).  So now after living here over 8yrs I have finally decided to attempt to get a Dutch driving license, which is no small feat.  They first take you out for 30 minutes just to see what you're even capable of; apparently I sent the wrong message because the instructor recommended a small package of just over 20 lessons.  But once I actually started taking the lessons (2 hours once a week) my new instructor quickly realized I was going to need more lessons than my package provided.  You'd think getting behind the wheel again would be easy, I drove from 17-21yrs old, and I even had my own car for 3yrs, but it wasn't easy.  I was actually a complete mess; putting it off for so long wasn't a good idea.  I had hang ups from all of the wrecks I was in, I completely lacked confidence, and I had zero understanding of the Dutch rules.  I'm surprised the instructor let me on main roads.  In The States I drove an automatic, here it's a stick shift.  There I understood the laws/rules, here there are so many it's practically impossible to remember them all.  And in the US it was all in English, here I chose to do it in Dutch (maybe not the best decision).  The combination made me want to throw up for about an hour before each lesson and my entire demeanor has convinced my instructor I can't handle stress and have anxiety attacks.  GREAT!  But with the help of a good instructor and a very supporting husband and family, I am now making progress.  I am about 75% of the way to getting my Dutch driving license.  I have completed the theory exam (written exam), even though it did take me three times to pass!  The 1st time I missed 1 question too many, the 2nd time I bombed, and the 3rd time I made it through.  There was so much pressure - the fact it was in Dutch, each test costs over 30euros, and every time I failed it pushed my entire schedule back costing more time & money.  But with a lot of studying, an 8hr course, and a 2nd book from my sister-in-law, I made it. 
That same week I also had a practice practical exam; it's part of the package I signed up for, to give me a good idea of what to expect during the real deal and to see what kind of progress I have made.  After it was over the instructor said he assumed I was going to be a nervous wreck behind the wheel (thanks to my overall attitude and appearance before the exam), but he said surprisingly I remained calm and didn't do half bad.  Technically he said I did "redelijk goed" which translates to reasonably/ fairly good!  I'm crossing my fingers that after a few more lessons I will be able to take the actual practical exam (driving exam) in January.  My instructor recommended that I take a special practical exam for people who suffer from performance anxiety (aka faalangst), basically it allows you to pull over to the roadside and collect yourself during the exam without getting points deducted.  At first I thought he was joking, but when I realized he was serious I was quite embarrassed.  Maybe talking to myself, huffing and puffing, and clenching the steering wheel until my knuckles were white sent off the wrong signals, ha-ha!  I have two chances to pass the test within my package, so 1st round I'm going to take the normal exam, and depending, I might have to opt out for the "special" exam 2nd time around.  But of course, I'm hoping to pass the 1st time!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011 Scam

I was almost scammed today!!! Over the past few days I've been receiving calls from a strange telephone number : 0501  It's not a Dutch number, or even an American one; I kept letting the call go to the answering machine but they would never leave a message.  Finally out of curiosity I picked up, it was a woman with a thick accent telling me she worked for Microsoft and that they had been receiving error messages from my computer and she would like to help me.  At first it didn't seem so far fetched, sure I get random pop-ups and to be honest I don't know the last time I cleaned up my computer so I went along with it.  She had me type in all sorts of commands, prompting different screens to pop up.  All the while I found the call quite strange, I had never heard of Microsoft contacting customers warning of a possible computer crash.  Everything she explained seemed to correlate with my computer, she even had quite detailed information.  She had me check the "event viewer", and via the "run" command we went through things like "prefetch" and "cmd".  She even went as far as telling me my "clsid", it was all quite convincing yet I still had a bad feeling.  For those that know me, know I am a little on the paranoid side; it just wasn't sitting right.  Then she said she was going to connect me to a colleague of hers that they would help me clean up the errors and allow my computer to run faster and not crash.  (She acted as if my computer was on the brink of crashing).  Then her male colleague took over the call, also with a thick accent, and it wasn't Dutch.  He then asked me to use the "run" command to access a website, this really started ringing alarm bells in my head.  Before following through with the command I pasted the website into Google and I saw it was to remote access my computer.  Basically allowing him to take over control of my computer from wherever in the world it was that they were calling.  No way, just because he says he is Microsoft doesn't mean I am just going to give him control of my computer.  I further Googled the website he had given: is a legitimate company that helps people connect their computers, but his intentions were not legitimate.  I scrolled through Google finding endless forums about a scam explaining the exact situation I was in.  Still being on the phone he kept asking me if I had pressed the green button in order to download the product yet.  I then informed him of my findings, that all of the forums were calling it fraud/scam and that he didn't even work for Microsoft.  The man's tone of voice quickly changed, he admitted to being a third party but he wasn't going to give up.  Finally I just told him that if the error issues were true my husband would deal with them and then hung up on the scam artist.  After hanging up I started reading further into the scam, it has all sorts of names and has happened to people world wide.  They often target wives, I guess they think we're easy prey.  I am glad I wasn't naive enough to allow them access to my computer, but I do feel stupid for even allowing someone to rope me in as far as they did.  So this is just a heads up, don't fall for the AMMYY.COM SCAM, hang up the moment a strange person claims to be Microsoft and wants access to your computer.  Don't be foolish and allow them access or pay them any fees like I have read others have done!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

You Tube

I don't know if You Tube is a part of people's lives anymore or not, all fads come and go, just like MySpace.  But You Tube is still very popular in my home.  My daughter accesses it daily through our iPad to watch a variety of videos from cartoons to children songs.  She likes the videos no matter what the language.  It has taught her so much, and me too!  Some how in all the years after elementary school I forgot the words to most childrens songs and nursery ryhmes.  With the help of everyone "broadcasting" themselves I get refresher courses whenever needed, I now know all of the words and hand motions to songs like "Where is Thumbkin" & "3 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed".  Of course she does stumble across strange clips though, I just have to keep an eye out.  But besides using You Tube for my toddler, I use it for myself.  Need to know how to properly cut a leek, there's a video for it, there is basically a video for everything.  Writing fictional stories is a hobby of mine and occassionally when writing I need a visual example of what the character is doing in order to create the best description, all I have to do is pull up You Tube and I get a personal explanation on martial art moves, motorcycle racing, dance moves, you name it.  Of course a few years ago I went through the phase of needing to put my own videos online.  It was neat to be able to show people around the world fun/funny things I have experienenced.  And watching the amount of views go up and up was exciting in itself.  When our shark video had over 1,000 hits I was ecstatic, now a few years on it has almost 7,000!  After a while the excitement of it faded, but we still occassionaly post videos.  The latest video was of our daughter; my husband went all out, he trimmed and slowed the clip down, and even added music.  But it was worth it because now my family here and in The States can get a good laugh whenever they're having a bad day.  It's amazing what you'll find on You Tube, just type in your town or street and you'll be quite surprised.  Here is one of my daughter's favorites, courtesy of Expert Village :  And here is one of my favorites (my husband pointed it out to me), I love technology and can't wait until everyone functions more along these lines, thanks Microsoft :  Well, hope you all enjoyed another random fleeting thought of mine!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I Know You!

Maybe a lot of you can say you've seen your friends on tv but not me.  But within the last two weeks, on two shows, in two different countries we had friends on tv!  For one friend, Caroline Macey, it's a big accomplishment.  Ryan & I met Caroline ten years ago while we were all still very young and deciding where to go with our lives.  Caroline said that she was going to move to California with her husband and become an actress.  It seems like an unreal dream to many but if you met Caroline you would know she was bound for stardom.  Since moving to CA she has landed a lot of small roles, and the latest of which was on none other than one of my favorite tv shows, Grey's Anatomy.

I was super stoked to see her on tv.  For those of you that watch the show she was on last weeks episode: Dark was the Night.  In the episode Meredith & Alex are sent to a small hospital to pick up a sick newborn baby.  Caroline plays the baby's mother; she's the one in the wheelchair begging them to take her with them to Seattle Grace.  I think she did great, and it was definitely believeable.  To top it off, the baby was also in the last scene of the show, some I'm keeping my fingers crossed hoping that Caroline appears in next weeks episode too!  Go Caroline!!!
And across the Atlantic Ocean on Dutch tv, our friends Pieter & Diana Rahusen appeared on tv.  There's a Dutch tv show about home makeovers called Staat op Straat.  They don't go quite as far as American shows, but the families do get a makeover in the living room & dining room.  No one can complain about free furniture, paint, and decorations! I visited Diana's before the show aired and saw her newly decorated downstairs.  She told me that they hadn't kept all of the decorations, and last night on tv I got to see what the designers had actually done.  The designers had decided to take part of their living room wall and drill branches & birds on to it, needless to say the branches were one of the first things they took down.  But the show did a lot of great things for them, like building a room divider between the kitchen and dining room with cabinets and giving them a lot of awesome furniture and decorations.  It was fun watching them and their children on tv, it really puts these types of shows into perspective.  The editors can cut and paste things to make it come across as they would like, overall I think the Rahusen's did a great job and in the end we all had a good laugh (with them, not at them)!  I can't say I would have handled myself so well in that situation.
Be sure to check out the links to our friends on tv :
Caroline Macey in Grey's Anatomy :
The Rahusen's on Staat op Straat :

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dog Sitting

We're dog sitting again!  I never saw myself as the dog sitting type, especially because I'm not the best with animals and I'm allergic to dogs.  I am not a calm person and animals feel that, but my husband and daughter are ecstatic about dogs and they are both quite good with them.  It all started out with my sister-in-laws dog, Lucy.  She was just a puppy the first time we ever watched her.
She was scared, I was nervous, and needless to say it ended with her getting attacked by a cat, getting diarrhea, and vomitting!  Poor dog, poor us, we were all a little traumatized after her weekend visit.  But we all got over it and she came back once she was bigger to stay even longer.  The first couple days took getting used to, especially because Ryan had to go to work and couldn't help out.  It was a challenge, figuring out how to walk the dog, push the stroller, and keep her from dragging us everywhere.  But eventually we all got the hang of it and right when we had a good routine going it was time for her to leave.  Surprisingly enough I was disappointed to see her leave.  Now we are dog sitting Lola, my husbands parents dog.  She is smaller than Lucy and calmer, but she is used to being coddled and that's not the type of house we run.
Lola goes to work with the family every day and gets a lot of attention and snacks, and can curl up in a corner and sleep whenever she likes.  But here, she gets harrassed by my 2 year all day.  The only sleep she gets is when my daughter sleeps!  Also the town Lucy and Lola live in is much quieter than the bustling city center we live in.  I can imagine it's overwhelming for them.  So far Lola seems to be adjusting, she tolerates all of Sophia's hugs and kisses, and has quickly grown used to the fact I don't drop food or give her table scraps.  I must sound wretched, but I do actually have a soft spot for dogs, I'm just strict.  When my husband suggested letting the dog sleep in our bed last night, I had to admit I had already let her up there at the end of Sophia's nap so the three of us could cuddle.  Luckily the dog didn't stay long in our bed, she evetually slept in her basket which Ryan had also moved to our bedroom.  He is a big softy for dogs.  Having a dog and a toddler is a lot of work, it's not like you can just let the dog out.  It's cold so we all have to get bundled up, we have to walk far to get to a decent patch of grass so we also need the stroller, it takes about 15 minutes just to get out the door.  But the pleasure my husband and daughter get makes it worth it.  We're even considering getting a dog once we move, we've checked into all of the hypo-allergenic dogs available in The Netherlands and we've basically agreed on an Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier.  I'll end the blog with the picture that sold us on the Wheaten Terrier's.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Elegant Autumn

Well, Autumn (Dutch = Herfst) has been here for a while, but it's now really starting to show in the trees.  When I lived in Florida I didn't really appreaciate Autumn, mostly because it didn't look like this and because it meant the yard would fill up with leaves that I had no intentions of raking.  But now that I live in an apartment in the middle of a city it means, the city cleans up the leaves and all I have to do is step back and admire the view.  It took me a while to learn to appreciate Autumn though.  In years passed I was too busy to stop and take a look, shuffling back and forth between work and home was about the only time I looked around at nature.  But now that I am a Mom I look at things differently, it's fun to admire nature with my daughter and explain what's happening.  Plus trees can symbolize so many different things, from growth and life, to phases, to even family and its branches.  I used to have address labels with a tree on it, many of you probably received a card at one point with the label on it.  I liked it so much I even had stationary printed out to match.  I'm apparently not the only one in the family that appreciates trees, it turns out so does my husband. 
We were out with friends and one of them pointed out that Ryan had taken a photo of a tree and posted it on his Facebook page, I had no idea.  I burst out laughing and pulled my phone out, I too had taken pictures for this blog.  It was funny to know we even had this is common.  The golf course Ryan belongs to is beautiful, and I guess he couldn't resist taking the above shot while playing golf one morning.  And I thought he just went there to play golf and for the Good Ol' Boys Club.  Well, I can't end this blog without mentioning that the Dutch have an interesting way of collecting leaves.  In Florida we bag them and put them at the curb on a certain day, but here they set up fenced in areas where you can dump the leaves, then a truck comes by and sucks them up.  I don't know which is handier and it doesn't really matter.  I remember when we used to live in Best and there was a collection area set up across the street from us.  At the time I still smoked cigarettes, so everyday I was out on the balcony at some point, and one day I saw two boys on their bikes trying to knock the fences down and spread the leaves everywhere.  Being in my early 20's at the time, I felt as an adult I should do something.  My Dutch was extremely poor back then yet I tried to yell at them.  But in the end they just laughed at me and did it anyway, who knows what I actually managed to say to them.  I'll leave you all with a shot of one of these fenced in leaf collection areas.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Albert Heijn

Today I want to talk about a great service Albert Heijn offers.  (For those of you in The States it's an equivalent to Publix).  They deliver groceries!  It's awesome, I think I can count on both hands how many times I've stepped foot in a grocery store in the past two years, it's wonderful!  It all started when I was around 6 months pregnant and Ryan broke his ankle.
Ryan couldn't drive and there was no way I could shuffle to and from the grocery store carrying enough food to full the fridge.  I had heard about the delivery service through a friend, a busy Mom with two small kids (you know who you are) and decided to try it out.  In the beginning I was only going to use it until Ryan was healed and back driving again, but like I said, I'm still using it.  It probably seems crazy to some of you and lazy to others, but really it's a time and money saver.  Oh yeah, and it's saved me and Ryan from plenty of petty arguments.  (There was always the argument about when we were going to go and then we argued while there about it taking too long.  If you know Ryan and I well, you know we bicker a lot, but we like it that way).  You're probably asking yourself how it saves money considering there are delivery fees, well, for the first time I paid attention to the sales.  (I always watched for sales when it came to clothes and other things but never at the grocery store).  I guess I didn't watch for sales because it was always buy 2 get 1 free, was I really going to walk (or ride my scooter) with 3 large boxes of laundry detergent plus groceries, no way.  But now that they deliver it to my front door of course I'll buy all three, it's not breaking my back!  The money I save on watching the sales makes up for the delivery fees and then some.  I go online and order groceries for the entire week, so not only am I watching for sales I am also planning the meals.  (Something I never considered prior to having a child).  Plus there are no more sporadic purchases; you know the ones, you walk passed the cookies and toss them in the cart just because they look good.  It's another way to save money, in the past I would easily add another 10-20 euros to my bill just because it looked good.  What's also nice is they also take your recycling for you (not basic paper, plastic, and glass) but the soda and beer bottles you get money back for at the stores.  They figure in the costs and then deduct the amount from the bill, also a time saver.  I am an avid online shopper, going to a store sounds like torture, so grocery shopping online fit right into my lifestyle.  I've tried to convince everyone I know to use Albert Heijn's delivery service ( but not many of my friends/family agree with me, oh well, their loss!  If you read this and think, hey sounds good, then be sure to mention me in your first purchase and we each get 10 euros off our next purchase (I love saving money).  Here's a better photo of what the deliveries look like (cold foods in one bag, freezer foods in another, and everything else in crates) :
This picture is recent and I purely took it for my blog, don't think it's a usual habit to photgraph my groceries.  The other photo was taken because it was all new and exciting, plus I was pregnant and wanted to document everything (I'm not pregnant now and still document everything, hmm, trait of mine, I guess).  Notice the picture with me in it was blurry, that's because Ryan was sitting on a chair with his ankle in cast trying to get a shot that made his pregnant wife happy.  He's a good husband!  Well, this wraps up my blog for today, hope you enjoyed another one of my random fleeting thoughts!

Monday, October 24, 2011


For those of you who know me well, know I am a stickler for recycling (and not just the soda/beer bottles we get money back for at the grocery store).  I go through great lengths to recycle, my laundry room resembles a trash dump thanks to all of the bags I need to seperate and recycle.  But I don't mind because I know it's for a good cause.  I think the idea of recycling was burned into my brain during elementary school days at Carlton Palmore, they had a huge "Save the Earth" campaign and it just stuck.  It does take effort to recycle, not only do you have to seperate your trash but you also have to then take it somewhere to recycle it, but it's worth it.  Often I wonder where my glass, plastic, and paper goes; part of me wonders if some company is making millions off people like me.  But I don't care, all that matters is it does not end up at some trash dump or landfill further polluting the Earth.  If everyone just tried a little we could really make a difference.  This is something I try and instill in my daughter, I make recycling fun and make sure she understands what we're doing (well as much as I can, she is just 2 yrs old). 
For those of you who live in the area this is what the recycling bins look like (you can find them at most any grocery store, they are also spread throughout the city) :
These are for glass; brown, green, and clear :
And these are for plastic :
As far as recycling paper, that's a little different.  The city is nice enough to pick up paper on the sidewalk in front of your house.  But generally this only happens once a week, so be sure to check out your trash calendar (afvalkalendar) to see when it happens in your neighborhood.

For those of you not living in the area, go online and see what your city has to offer.  It's a worth while and rewarding experience.  And it condenses your general trash drastically, we are down to about one 40-50 liter (10-13 gallon) bag a week and this is for a family of three!  I am not a nature activist, I'm not even a tree hugger, I'm just an average person, taking a little extra step to help future generations.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


For my Dutch friends who are unsure what "tailgating" means, it's when someone picnics/cooks from the tailgate of their truck. It's a popular American past time, especially at sporting events.  I even included a couple examples I found online. 

Well now it's finally in The Netherlands, and it's Dutch style!

It's ingenious, it's great, it makes me want to run out and get one, well except for the fact I bike poorly and it's winter.  But maybe next year, and we can attach it to Ryan's bike.  For anyone else interested in this awesome product you should visit the website of the designer :

Every year Eindhoven hosts Dutch Design Week (Oct.22-30, 2011), it gives creative people the chance to display their designs and concepts.  Since we live in the center of town we get full exposure to what Dutch Design Week offers.  You can see an array of ideas from food to clothing to art.  If you want to learn more about it there is an English version of the website :

I wouldn't have found out about the above Bicycle Stove (fietsfornuis) if we had not visited a friends store last night.  Our family friend, Willemijn de Wit, works at a concept store in the center of Eindhoven.  The store, YOU ARE HERE, is one of many stores to host designers from Dutch Design Week.  It's a store worth visiting, for those of you in the area.  The store is not just about clothing, it's much more.  Here's a photo of the store so you'll recognize it the next time you're shopping in town.

For those of you not living in The Netherlands you can visit them online :  They'll be getting a webshop soon!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Driving Decisions

 I probably have no right to complain about people's driving decisions considering I do not have a license, but I am going to anyway!  As mentioned in previous blogs, I walk everywhere, while out and about I can't help but notice odd decisions people on the road make.  I don't know if it's legal to post pictures of people's vehicles so if my blog gets shut down you'll know why.  Also, if this happens to be you or your car, sorry but c'mon!  In one 10 minute walk I came across 3 situations worthy of taking photos (there's a big chance you'll see a follow up to this blog). 

The first shot is of a man who decided to park in a non-parking zone vs. an actual parking spot.
While walking along I actually saw him make the conscious decision to block a driveway (a non-parking zone with a large X painted on it) instead of parking in the open parking spot directly in front of him!  It makes me wonder what he was thinking, was he trying to avoid putting change in the meter yet risking a more expensive parking ticket, does he know the owners of the driveway, or does he not know the rules (he had a Polish license plate)???

The second shot is of a car frustrated with work traffic.
The traffic around them is at a stand still because of a light about a block away and this person decides to pull out halfway and sit there.  According to the laws they should be stopped behind the triangles on the road.  Instead they decide to block a bike path and also risk a ticket.  I understand people want to get home from work and some intersections can be frustrating but seriously.  It's not just rush hour for cars but also for bikes, now every bike and scooter has to swerve to avoid this car.  And for those of you that know the intersection, you'll also notice the black car in the corner of the photo is blocking a pedestrian/walking path.  This all might be understandable if they were both rolling through the intersection but like I said they're all waiting on the light to change.

The last shot for today is of a prize winning parker!
I think it takes effort to park this bad.  If you could see the light blue car from the side you'd see it is a dinky (small) car.  How on earth do you get out of your car and walk away leaving it like that, with one adjustment they'd be in the middle of the spot.  They obviously can park straight they just can't judge distance.  I also question the person next to them, why would you squeeze into the spot next to this car?  I hope for them the parking lot was full when they made these decisions.

I can think of a couple family members and friends that also make these kinds of decisions, so please don't take this blog the wrong way.  You are allowed to make whatever decisions you want, as I am allowed to laugh at them!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Green Thumb?

Is it possible, have I somehow developed a green thumb over the years?  In years passed I couldn't keep a plant alive longer than a few months maybe a year, tops, but something has changed.  Take a look at my pride and joys, they are over two years old!
 To be honest, I have no idea what types of plants they are, but they're alive thanks to me!  The first one I received as a birthday present when I was pregnant (2009) from our friends Linda & Bjorn.  It's survived summers outside and winters inside.  Every once in a while I see new growth, it's amazing!  And the second plant I received as a gift from Kevin (my father-in-law) when our daughter was born.  There used to be three beautiful orchids in the middle but they didn't make it.  People tell me that orchids can all of sudden pop back up after a while, but it has been a long while.  This plant was the decoration on our front window sill for years but eventually it grew so large that it was making it hard to see the t.v. from the couch.  So I decided to get a new plant for the window sill and this one moved to shelf (actually the entire living room was rearranged due to one plant, but that's another blog, in itself).  My mother-in-law (Liz) bought me the newest addition to the living room.
When I set the new plant down next to the old ones, I noticed how much healthier it looked.  But that doesn't matter, I still love my other plants.  Liz & Kim (Ryan's mother & sister) decided to tell me how shabby my old plants were and that I should throw them out, no way!  I worked hard to keep them alive, plus they're sentimental (everything is sentimental to me, according to my husband I am a borderline hoarder).  Since these plants have gone so well, I have bigger plans in mind.  When we get a house I want a vegetable/fruit garden (Dutch = moestuin).  Growing up in Florida someone in every generation of my family had some type of veg/fruit garden.  Maybe it's in my blood, maybe I can have a green thumb too, or maybe they all just got lucky because of the warm Florida climate!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Born To Be Wild

♫ Get your motor runnin', Head out on the highway, Lookin' for adventure, And whatever comes our way, BORN TO BE WIIIIILD♫  Everybody knows the song, right?!  It's one of the best motorcycle songs, according to people on the internet.  Anyway, just wanted a catchy opening to today's blog about my scooter (bromfiets as the Dutch would say).  When we moved from Best to Eindhoven six years ago we bought a scooter so that I could get to work.  (Here's a photo of me and my darling dark blue Yamaha Neo's when it was brand spankin' new)
For those that know me well, know that I am not the most coordinated person; walking, driving, sports, etc.  (It's in the family, you know who you are, ha-ha!)  So needless to say I put this poor scooter through hell and back.  Multiple flat tires, new exhaust system, multiple minor accidents, and one larger accident.  Since my scooter didn't go faster than 25km (15 mph) I was allowed to drive on the bike path and I wasn't required to wear a helmet but I probably should have.  Sometimes the bike path is seperate from the road and sometimes it shares a lane with the cars, but it didn't matter, I found a way to ding up my scooter no matter what.  I clipped more car mirrors with my mirror than a gardener clips hedges.  I even managed to drive into the forks of a forklift and rip open the bottom of my scooter.  But my scooter drudged on!  Since we live in an apartment and our storage room is up three steps the poor scooter had to sit outside, day in, day out, rain or snow, for years.  Surprisingly enough it wasn't my lack of coordination that ended the scooter, it's the lack of use.  Once my daughter came along my scooter days were over, not out of fear, but just because I didn't need it.  Apparently using it once a year isn't enough and it died.  It seems simple enough, take it to a garage and buy a new battery, but for what, it'll still just sit there.  It's now become a parking lot decoration, a home to spiders, and possibly even a science experiment for anyone studying rust.  It's hard to part with, all the memories, from Sunday afternoon cruising around Eindhoven with my husband to toting overly stuffed grocery bags stacked on top of each other home.  What to do, what to do??  Before parting for the day I'll leave you with an up-to-date photo of my poor darling scooter.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Crocs!

I used to be good at maintaining a blog but I have slacked off over the past year, but here it is, I'M BACK!  If you know me at all, you know I like to talk and I'm very opinionated.  So what better way to get it all out than through a blog.  This one is an ODE TO MY CROCS.  I love Crocs, I don't know many adults that wear them, but my wardrobe wouldn't be complete without them.  There were my white Prima Ballet Crocs, then my khaki Crocband Crocs, and now my purple Crocband Jaunts!
I received them as a b-day gift back in July and I've been waiting for just the right occassion to wear them, and today was that day!  Autumn's here, it's cold and rainy, when else better than to slip on a pair of rain boots.  Of course with the boots I had to wear a outfit that fit the theme, I pulled out a pair of tighter fitting capri jeans (everyone knows I tend to wear loose fitting jeans) so that I could tuck them into the boots and an old Brunotti winter/athletic jacket (pink so that I looked bright and cherry among the dreary weather).  I was very pleased with my assemble (I'm not the best at matching clothes).  You'd think I was ready for a walk in the woods or maybe a trip to the pumpkin patch, but no, I was ready for a visit to the pediatrician with my 2 yr old daughter.  I don't have a car or even a license so I walk everywhere, sun, rain, or snow!  This trip seemed to be the perfect occassion for trying out my new Crocs.  I must admit, they're my first pair of rain boots, so walking in them took getting used to, but I managed.  I wasn't walking my usual pace (fast), but I was still on the go and managed to make the appointment on time.  I felt like a pro, stroller in one hand, umbrella in the other, and of course my rain boots.  Funnily enough, my daughter didn't notice my new shoes, she noticed the large box.  I can't wait until she wears her first pair of Crocs, she has a pair but won't be able to use them until next year when it warms up again.  I grew up wearing "jelly" shoes (some sort of slip on plastic shoes), I guess that's what makes me love Crocs so much.  They're so easy to clean, you can get them wet and they survive, plus they're comfortable, what else could a busy stay-at-home Mom ask for!  If you're wondering right now, what did I just read, an infomercial for Crocs, nope, just a random rant from yours truly!  Oh yeah, I can't forget to include a photo of my Crocs on the go!