Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Do you want a pet?

Warning- this post contains important information. Please read carefully!

As of tomorrow morning, only 42 mammals are allowed as pet anymore in Belgium. At least that's what I read in the newspaper who announces at the start of each month the most remarkable legal changes in Belgium. Hugh...a law that regulates the mammals as pet.....sure, I guess it makes sense to avoid abuse...but still ...

so let me see what we get to choose from:
  1. bennet wallaby
  2. dog
  3. cat
  4. fret
  5. donkey
  6. mule
  7. horse
  8. mule again (ok which politician fell asleep when making up this list)
  9. pig (does that include some humans?)
  10. lama,
  11. guanaco (sorry I can't translate animals I don't even know in dutch) (ah found it....well it's a guanaco in English too, there you go)
  12. alpaca
  13. axishert (a type of deer)
  14. edelhert (another type of deer)
  15. sikahert (another type of deer.... hey "42" mammals is cheating if you list all types of deer, right!?)
  16. damhert (yeah yeah another type of deer - the bambi type fallow deer?)
  17. a domestic cow
  18. Asian buffalo
  19. domestic goat
  20. wild goat
  21. wild sheep
  22. domestic sheep
  23. black-tailed prairie dog
  24. Asian striped ground squirrel,
  25. Eastern chipmunk,
  26. Chinese dwarf hamster (haha you wouldn't tell I am totally making some translations up , do you?)
  27. gold hamster,
  28. Campbell dwarf hamster,
  29. Roborovski dwarf hamster,
  30. Dzjoengarian dwarf hamster (geez, do these really exist?)
  31. the real gerbil (yep, we wouldn't want to allow the fake ones, do we?)
  32. desert mouse
  33. spiny mouse
  34. dwarf mouse,
  35. African dwarf mouse
  36. house mouse
  37. brown rat (so no other colors allowed?? ....some people will need to spray paint their rats, I believe)
  38. chinchilla
  39. cavia/guinea pig
  40. the patagonian mara or hare
  41. degu
  42. rabbit
It's been stated explicitly that monkeys and raccoons are from now on forbidden.
Great, glad that's been sorted out: if you meet any monkey inside your house, you can consider it illegal.

I'm also relieved that after a long period of political stability, our government is now stable enough to tackle the priority problems in our country.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Indian Summer in Scheveningen

Anyone who knows us a little bit, know that Scheveningen holds a special place in our heart and we don't need much excuses to drive up north.

This time we had the joy to meet our good friend's little baby daughter. We enjoyed their family and a walk along the beach that always brings back a lot of memories. Aaaaaah pleasant fall days :)













Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cars, bikinis, tennis and other thoughts

Huh it's Friday? where did this week go? help I lost a couple of days on the way here!

Here's a round of quick random babbling. Care to join in in the comments? What's happening in your life?

*******
My car is almost 4 years old so it had to go to the vehicle inspection. I had never done this before so just before I intended to go I researched the internet what it was all about. I didn't want to look like a girl that shows up not having a clue what it's really about...while in fact I am truly just a girl that has no clue what that inspection is about.

  • "Car needs to be in business temperature" Huh? Yeah sure.
  • "Seat belts need to be clicked in"...ok, can do that. But why?
  • "Car tires need to be the correct pressure"....oh darn, never checked that myself before. My tires were one year old...would they still have the correct pressure? I already pictured getting a lecture for driving around with wrong tire pressure. Shoot.
    But what was that little gadget thingie laying in my glove compartment? Ha a Bridgestone gadget to check your tire pressure. I'm sure my employer has given that to us one time.
    So after some staring at the gadget, some staring at my tires, I figured it out and it was dead dead simple to check the tire pressure. Wooot woot, I rock
  • At the inspection I was the only woman around....the only one! And I must have stuck out while standing waiting while eating a sandwich as 4 people walked up to me to wish me a tastefull lunch....Belgians usually don't comment to strangers very easily so I thought it was remarkable.
  • Then I figured I had to add some more femininity to the place and I started vigorously filing my nails while waiting.
******
I need to choose a new car which causes a lot of dilemmas. I hate dilemmas of choice.

******

My bikini closing broke last night. Fortunately we were setting up for a night dive at dusk: lots of privacy in the darkness :).
Now I wonder if it is worthwhile buying a new plastic closure and trying to sew it myself or whether that is choosing failure since I am totally sewing illiterate?

******

Don't let someone navigate who forgot to put his lenzes in unless you're up for some turning around :).

******

Did you hear the news that Justine Henin is returning to professional tennis again? So after Kim Clijsters's successful comeback we are now looking forward to a new healthy competition between the 2 Belgian ex-number one players. :)

******

I wonder if we look weird if we all walk into the pub/restaurant late at night each with wet hair and black binders in which we enthousiastically start scribbling as soon as we sit down after which we pass them around for signatures and stamps?

******

After last year's tirade why I hate fall (which is getting googled so often!), I can add to it that I don't hate fall as much if it's a nice Indian summer that we are living after an already good summer ;). Although it is rather chilly in the mornings but that can be solved by a good cup of coffee.

*****

Michael Connely's "The Poet" is a good detective to read!

*****
A bird has flown into the window at my office this week leaving a big shit trail on the window. Darn the window washers won't come by in the first couple of months I fear and I can't reach myself. Maybe I should wish for some strong rain with northern wind? At night if I can choose.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Food memories: More vacations and camps

Inspired by Jen from A2eatwrite who'll share her 50 top food memories with us this year, some of mine can be found here, here and here too. But I still have more :)
  • When I was 12 my parents wanted a change from the many vacations to Spain and we drove to Yugoslavia. After a long drive through Austria where my sister and I took bets to guess the length of the tunnels and where I manually gave my sister's legs an epilation with a pincet in order to fight boredom (The first was fairly effective but the latter was just extremely boring and cannot get recommended), we arrived in our rented apartment along the Adriatic coast of the current Croatia. It was located above a restaurant ran by a family, with 3 more apartments next to us that were occupied with Italian twenty-somethings.

    The diners in the restaurant downstairs were rather uneventful and the grilled meat got a bit repetitive but we got to know the owning family. They introduced the local nightcap to my parents: Slivovitch which is a plum based brandy.

    One of the evenings the group of Italians walked in totally waisted, stumbling cheerfully in between the tables. The last bold one stopped briefly at our table with a big grin pointing to our glasses. "Slivovitcha - Sliiiivooovitcha - slivovitch - slivov..." His improvised ode that would not appeal any marketeer echoed up the staircase and continued for a while in the above apartment.

    Whenever I see a liquor bottle of Slivovitch or even any liquor with a plum on the label, I can hear him again.

  • A few years later we were in Portugal. Although the Portuguese cuisine can surely be recommended, I do not remember the trip mostly for its meals.

    But I do remember walking around in some historic harbour somewhere (there's some to choose from if you're there) and there were some barbecues outside grilling fresh sardines. A little further was a reception going on where we could distinguish the purple pileolus of some bishop but the barbecues were temporarily deserted.

    Before any of us realized my cousin had taken an unattended fish and had eaten it with much pleasure. Our shock for his swift little theft was overruled by our grumbling stomach and the craving for a little fish for our own. It should be no surprise that only a short while later we were all sitting on an outdoor terrace of one the many little fishermen restaurants where the smell of the many barbecues at their entrance had been like a siren's call to us.

    A grilled fresh sardine with a few big flakes of salt and a bun....Delicacies can be so pure and simple!

  • Once I had turned 16 I was no longer interested to go on vacation with my parents. My summer holidays were quickly filled with summer camps and student jobs that conveniently didn't leave time anymore to join my parents on their vacations.

    Summer camps traditionally stand for big scale tasteless food, but I also have memories about
    => lack of food stress
    => the joy of cold fresh water, something I never liked to drink at home or school but on a camp after a long hike or tiring game....oh gosh water, I could all of a sudden drink & enjoy multiple glasses of it.
    => A deep dislike for yoghurt and other fluid foods that took a long time to wear off again.
    => eating cold pork chops on hikes...something I thought would be disgusting but turned out quit enjoyable to have a decent piece of meat instead of some bruised little sandwiches.

  • Belgian students traditionally make a one week long foreign school trip in grade 12. The most conventional schools travel through the historic sites in Italy or Rome during the Easter vacation (zoom in on the St Peter's Square during the Urbi et Orbi by the pope and you'll always distinguish some Flemish school flags waving in the crowd) but my school had always considered that option too expensive and they choose to go to Eastern Europe in the 80ies and in the 90ies Turkey was economically priced enough to head southeast.

    And so the plane was filled with approximately 90 girls with racing hormones who discovered immediately that a school of boys was on the same plane for a tour through Turkey as well. The boys would cross our path 3 more times that week which always resulted in a lot of waving, screaming, hanging through the windows and anything else that could help attract attention.
    Soon enough we were playing card games on the plane where the loser had to take a dare challenge which was usually something like "go kiss the person in seat 45B". It caused quite some surprised looks from the few adults that were on the flight when we had wrongly guessed a seat and we ended up asking an adult man whether he could be kissed on the cheek for the sake of winning a game. Fortunately Belgians are not afraid of kissing people as a greeting so not much of a challenge there...

    The food on the flight was a bigger challenge: sheep meat is a taste you need to acquire and most of us decided not to take that effort. They'd be hungry most of the trip though :p. On the desert we were all unanimous: gross. The little cake looked fine at first sight laying on some sort of sugery syrup. But as soon as we touched it, it seemed to suck up all the syrup like a little sponge releasing it again as soon as we lifted our fork again. In my memory it even made a gargling sound. "Eeek, it's 'sop cake' " (a soap suds cake?) someone yelled and all our appetite was gone.

    I kid you not but we received sop cake every single day on our trip and we've never touched it. I got a dare in the card game near the end of our trip to go and ask the Turkish guide the recipe for sop cake in a flattering way without giving away that we were mocking the cuisine he was so proud off. I don't think I could shake off all his suspicion & surprise with my question but I got away with it and gathered the so hated recipe. It's been conventiently lost since.

  • Several years ago there was a nightly repetitive scene to be watched at a Cypriot hotel restaurant in the evening: 2 girls laughing and giggling to tears while making suspicious movements on their glass. It turns out they kept receiving night after night "Died coke" according to their bill so they specialized in Coke CPR, which was apparently a hilarious activity.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A morning in Zeeland

8:30 on a dike at the Oosterschelde : life is peaceful and quiet ....only fishing birds looking for some birdy delicacies at the uncovered shore at low-tide, can be heard.







9:00 - 9:30 AM: some cars stop and park along the dike....The majority of the cars are Belgian. By 9:45 the dike is full of activity : Divers set-up their gear and take a briefing about the dive

10 - 10:15 AM: Different groups of divers head to the water and go in.


10:15-10-45 AM: the piece returns and the land ruled by the fishing birds and rabbits...and 3 horses coming by.


10:45-11 As if they have trained in synchronous swimming, most of the divers start popping up along the shore again within 15 minutes time and head out

11:20: Most are packed and the cars disappear.


Drift dives in The Netherlands are tidal dives in the tidal Oosterschelde river, that need to be timed at the turn of the tides to avoid strong currents, resulting in an unorganized yet almost synchronous activity. Funny to watch.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Can you believe it?

Remember my pictures on the Hoge Veluwe and the art in the museum....dating from 06/09/09??
Check out the pictures from Betsy on her picture update : the biking ones are dating from 06/09/09.....taken ....do you notice? Yep indeed taken in the Hoge Veluwe park in the afternoon, also on bike route 2 that we were biking.

Can you believe it? We read each others blogs for 4 years now, we live in Belgium and in Germany but we were biking the same 25 km bike route on the same afternoon in The Netherlands. Darn why don't I play the lotto??


And no we did not see each other in case you wonder. That would be too much coincidence right. Let's not exaggerate, ok?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

September googlies award

Brillig is organizing her monthly Googlie Awards again, so I dove into my blog statistics and checked out which crazy search words made you all land on my blog pages.
Wow you sure were all planning weddings. So yes you can have 2 wedding ceremonies on one day, what to say in each of them is entirely of your choice and in some countries you cannot take your husband's name. Click on the label "wedding" if you want to read it all over again :)

Oh and Leuven kermis is ongoing again and if you don't know what kermis is, just google it and you'll find my 2 year old explanation as well.

So which search words made me giggle?

* what if the garbage bags not picked kortrijk:
oh gosh....let's not get into that. I sure know that I'd not want to be in Kortrijk if the garbage bags do not get picked. Don't worry, garbage rounds in Leuven are still pretty stable so I suggest you come to check out this pretty city!

* i dont like the seasons:
oh that's sad....I know I hate the changing between summer and fall and have been pretty explicit about it but all seasons? I suggest you lock yourself up in a dark room....no seasons there.

* you looked so beautiful at the wedding:
Thank you sweeties :)

* you not a goofball anymore:
oh yes I am , trust me. Sometimes I'm just incognito.

* tall people party scheveningen:
Let me tell you this: if you are not Dutch you can consider any Dutch party a "tall people" party :p. But shorties are always welcome.

* confused answering machine:
Oops, don't you hate it when the machines get confused :)

* vampire flies:
one advice: Get out....run...run forrest run!


What are your funniest search words??

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pipes, music roles and folklore

Every year a friend sends us an invitation for the barrel organ festival in her town Geraardsbergen. Yep you got that right : A barrel organ festival.....with plenty of barrel organs in the city. Just picture that for a moment.

Guess what....
We went to a barrel organ festival this Sunday....with plenty of barrel organs in the city. Just picture that as well :)

...

And it was visually so great that we couldn't stop walking around and taking pictures. Our ears have survived very well although I wouldn't dream buying any of the many organ CD's that were on offer.







The percussion parts were usually the most fun on the organs...sculptures , monkeys or whatever that start tingling, tocking, banging, ....at the most unexpected moments.


Organs in all sizes big but also very small....
Oh and notice the mandatory monkeys sitting next to the organ!




Music rolls


The "Victory", the world's biggest transportable organ playing Madonna when we walked by



There was also a fair and a nostalgic flea market.

Drinks, snacks and friendship

"Where did you find that choir"
"Do you really sing with them? Really? Wow!"
"I was crying during that last song"

These were just some of the comments we heard after our wedding service . As a thank you , they were all invited last Friday for a home reception.
(thank goodness we got that little painting job done right in time)




Saturday, September 12, 2009

It's all white now

A long time ago our living room cabinets got installed and finished off with some MDF plates. Great! And oh yeah the brown....we'd paint that a bit later when we'd be doing all of the other remaining painting jobs.



2,5 years later I had the great impulsive idea to quickly paint a layer of white on that ugly brown on my day off before I'd go to visit the Leuven Kermis.

After 2,5 years I had clearly forgotten that things do not get painted quickly : I had to buy some new material, I spent 3 hours covering floors, ceiling, cabinets in a detailed plastified way, ... And then the first layer with a primer paint...oooh ugly. It doesn't look like anything yet and needs more paint. So while everything was adequately covered, we've spent the other evenings this week plastering the edges, playing with silicones and giving 2 more layers of paint.
And now it's all white! Yippeee.




Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Krüller-Muller museum in the Hoge Veluwe

So most of you liked last pictures of the Hoge Veluwe park already, right? Wait until you see the magnificent museum that is located in the middle of the park. At the end of the 19th century Helene Kröller-Müller was taking art courses in The Hague and got inspired to start an art collection which turned into the world's biggest private collection of Van Goghs as well as many other works at the turn of that century. Next to the museum a huge sculpture garden has been developed.

Aaaah I could spend days in museums. There's always so much to see and it always seems I'm not paying enough credit to these art pieces . I'd like to absorb them all, so I'm always very happy if you're allowed to take pictures.

Needle tower by Kenneth Snelson (1927)....if only mobile phone antenna's could be this aesthetic!


Concetto spaziale 'Natura' by Lucio Fontana


Palissade by Evert Strobos

can't find the title anymore but it was something inspired by Pollock. let me know if you know this! I really really like it. That little patch of red just finishes it, without it would be quite dead, now it is alive.


Compositie 10 in zwart wit Piet Mondriaan. Quite fresh and relaxing huh. Like an inviting friendly maze. There was another composition with thick lines....totally different atmosphere!


Violon - Pablo Picasso.....wow, masterpiece


I know this sculpture! I've seen it in a class. it's about movement. It shows the muscles being pushed back by the motion. And now I can't find the title or artist anywhere. Anyone who can tell me?



Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890)...the master himself looking rather villain here



which is clearly not in the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam as Wikipedia states.

Caféterras bij nacht (Place du Forum)


Landweg in de Provence bij nacht


Aaaaaaaaaaah what a pleasures to see these!


Didn't see this "Horizon painting" though....pretty awesome huh?
So which one do you like most? Let me know