Thursday, August 31, 2006

A zoo on the road

Yesterday morning there was a dog on the highway. It wasn't scary since all the cars in front of me were already signaling the both orange lights that there was a traffic jam and I could see in far the flashing lights of a police car. So everyone had already reduced speed considerably while thinking there would have been an accident, when I saw the dog running. It looked like a wolflike Lassie limping over the road and the police car backing up behind it.
yeaaah way to go guys.... that'll make the dog take the previous exit for sure ??

Only seconds later I realised that on the other side of the highway there was a big traffic jam and I heard in the traffic report that an accident had happened. I guess the limping dog had something to do with it. And I am sure was glad there was already a traffic jam before so I didn't notice a dog on the road in full speed.

In the afternoon I heard this on the radio:

E314 Lummen > Leuven in Bekkevoort
31-08-2006 13u54
Bron : CIC Brussel meldt :Dier op de rijbaan op de E314 Lummen > Leuven ter hoogte van Bekkevoort richting Leuven. Koe op de rijbaan.

What ... a cow??? How did that end up on the road? A cow dreaming that he was in India???

Today there was a dog on the highway again in the north of Antwerp. It's becoming a zoo out here!!

But worse was in fact that in front of our door across the road a drunk driver has crashed in some parked cars (not mine!) and has hit a biker and just drove off. When I woke up the road on the other side was full of police and later on I heard in the news what had happened. Fortunately they caught the guy quickly. Let's cross our fingers for his victim who would now be stable in the hospital.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Revelation time

Are you all up to it? Here comes the big revalation of our green kitchen wall that took me a couple of days to get used to but I like it more and more (yes Jan don't you worry). Actually I really start to like it, it's much better than with the plastic covers !!!!

ps is this is how it looked like in white Goofballsworld: Jans pictures are better

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

And Green it is

Yesterday both Jan and I had a day off (bank holiday in UK for Jan) and we used the day to get the renovations going again in the house. After 2 months of (involuntary) inactivity, it felt good to see things changing again. After the green addition of grass, we started painting our kitchen wall as predicted.

After having a big piece of green wood sitting on our counter top for months, we went to get that same paint. And green it is !! I truly have to get used to it. It's daring and modern and very bright. My feelings are a bit ambiguous but I don't regret it!

Unfortanately I cannot show you the result yet. I have some pictures but I can't get them out of the camera on this computer for an obscure reason. Arrrgggh. This is a very frustrating evening. Everything seems to go wrong. Booohooooo :( :(
Maybe I just feel tired. I really felt tired when I came home even though at work I was fine today. The ride home made me very tired. And I took some tape of that we used to protect all the sides of the painted wall. ... just to discover that the tape did not stick everywhere as well and that we'll need to make more corrections since it's not well aligned at all places. Damn, it really frustrates me tonight.
And now I want to get those pictures on the laptop. First my camera run low on batteries (and the recharger is obviously not here) and after I changed the battery, the laptop does not recognise the camera's USB anymore. Pfff.
And the one picture that I did have isn't uploading in blogger either. Oh I love that message that comes up after 10 minutes trying all the time "page cannot be displayed'.

I was supposed to do a lot of ironing but it's already very late and since all technology is against me tonight, I'd better not touch it. You never know that it explodes or sprays unexpectedly steam in my face. Good night. Hopefully later on this week I can post more succesfully pictures of our green wall

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Some highlights of our trip to Brittany

A beautiful region : e.g.

Cliffs near Plouha

Village of Quintin

The port of Dinan

More of Dinan

Fort de la Latte near Cap Frehel

Delicious food:

an abundance of freshly self-picked oysters

...and more seafood

Family :

A very little boy:

And Menhirs, dolmen, tumuli...everywhere!:

And much more....

Some pictures of Renées birthday party

The birthday girl drinking her milk in the middle of the party people arriving

Woohoo presents

Renée sitting on her 'Moekes' lap

Luisa, Renée's cousin, happy to play as well

We have grass!

After a month of heatwave where it was tooo hot to get some grass, this depressing fall weather that we keep having in August with the record amount of rain seems just perfect to get a green color in our garden.

So in one morning our garden transformed from brown to green! Thanx to my superJan who went to buy some roles of ready grass and who rolled them out already this morning! I have not seen it live either, so when you read this, you can see just as much as I have seen so far!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Poor Pluto

oooh poor Pluto, it is not a planet anymore. Just to let you know Pluto that I feel for you !!

Happy Birthday to Renée

Hello little Renée,

Now it's your turn to celebrate your first birthday! Last year we were in the middle of a baby boom and now we are in a birthday boom.

So Renée, you little speedy crawler in the bakery... I hope you a great birthday as well, lots of yummie birthday cake that your daddy made especially for you (not with a lot of fruit on it because you don't like fresh fruits that much...but you can give the fruit to me again like you did last time! Just do it sneeky and I won't tell anyone ;-) ).

A big hug and see you tomorrow on your party!

Boombal in Deinze

After watching some boombals at the Gentse Feesten and Dranouter from the side, after watching a fest-noz in Brittany, I really felt it was time I finally learned some of these traditional folk dances myself.

It was the first time that I could convince some friends to join me to go to a boombal. I am too much of a chicken to show up totally on my own. But this time Greet, Katrien and Marijke were going to join me...well in the end it was only Katrien en me. Thanx Katrien to join me! It was fun no?

It is amazing how many people show up for those boomballs lately. All of a sudden young and old seems interested in live folk music again and the dances. We took part in some of the initation and now I can proudly say that I know how to dance e.g. a "Scottish" or a "Tovercirkel" :p. Woohoo.

Because we also wanted to have a drink, because we were tired after a few dances and because we saw multiple familiar faces in the crowd, we ended up not dancing that much which is a pity :(. Next time I'll try to learn more dances!! but it was fun anyhow.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Happy birthday to Stef

Wooohooo I can't believe it but Stef already turned one year old.

One year ago I got the phone call from a tired and emotional Wim in the morning to tell me that I was an auntie! One year ago I was boring all my colleagues all day by telling them so proudly that little Stef was born. And one year ago I rushed out of the office unusually early to go to the hospital and see that little tiny baby sleeping in his crib.

I didn't realise babies grow so fast in that first year. That sounds like a really silly remark but the image I have of "baby' is not a child that attemps to walk and eats patotoes and says some first words etc anymore but someone you have to hold carefully and support the neck and is tiny.

From the very start Stef prooved to be a powerfull little boy, pushin himself up and almost not needing any support in his neck... and he grew and started sitting... and started babbling a bit ... and started walking with our help by Easter and now he is walking alone (sometimes more steady than other moments, fair enough) and eating bread and olives and ... independently. Congratulations Stef !! I hope you had a fun day even though you did not realise at all what was going on!! A big hug from your proud auntie...

Monday, August 21, 2006

Fest Noz as a Breton welcome

So let me tell me a bit about our vacation in Brittany. Hmm it is always difficult to tell afterwards about a vacation. there is too much to tell in one message. I never even managed to get a start from our trip in India.

Anyway, so lets start to talk at least a bit about Brittany while it is fresh in my memory.

The drive there was long and fairly boring: frequent rain up to Normandy only to be alternated with more and more traffic jams. First only a few kms at the frequent 'peage' boots (what a great reason to be in a traffic jam: paying road taxes!) up to a 1 hour standstill in the beginning of Brittany. But after a couple of hours we finally arrived in the village of Saint Laurent de la Mer to meet with the friendly man from whom we had rented the house there.

I wonder if he usually speaks the local Breton dialect because I somehow had the feeling that he didn't speak French too well. How bigheaded does that sound huh from a non native speaker. Sorry!!

After a long grocery shopping trip and an excellent BBQ empowered by the men in the garden, Jan and my mom and I went for an evening walk to check out the village where we had arrived. Trusting the sense of direction of Jan in the dark we walked through the little streets to a lookout point over the Bay of St Brieux.... hmmm nice impressive amount of black space with the sound of the waves crashing down below us. Lovely lookout in the night hihi

Then we tried to orientate ourselves to the sounds we heard throughout the village of Breton folk music. Street in and out we tried to guess how to reach for the local Fest-Noz that was going on. And yes , a little bit later we arrived on a sports terrain where a folk band was playing life Breton folk music and a big local crowd dancing the traditional dances. Cooooool, we had arrived at a true Breton 'Boombal', complete with local cider and my mom and I trying to figure out the dance steps in the dark. oooh I so urgently n eed to go to a Flemish boombal iniatiation to learn the basic steps for a 'Scottish' etc because these dances really looked like what they were dancing at the festival in Ghent in Baudelo and in the Dranouter folk festival. So cool to feel part of this huge European folk revival .

in the rest of the week, we saw banners in almost all villages to announce local 'fest-noz' parties in villages all over. Today I saw on that half of Brittany must be dancing all evening. Boy and did we ever think that we had a boombal hype in Flanders with folk balls everywhere and a first 4 day boombal festival... we can still learn from Brittany where the entire population old and young dances together on the village square. they make me jealous. I reminded me also of a night that Sofie and I were in Corfu and that we ended up in a local traditional Greek dance party on the street as well. So true and impressive to see them all dance their traditional dances! Let them never forget their own culture because it's so cool.

Anyway, we were deadly tired after the long drive so after a little big of dancing at the fest noz in St Laurant and a bit of cider we headed back to test our new Breton beds. (and I should go to bed now too... in Leuven). Bye bye

Post vaction blues

pff I have the blues. Why is coming back out of vacation always so hard? Even though we didn't sleep in that much last vacation, nevertheless the alarm clock was ruthlessly hard this morning.

I had to go for the first time to the platform in Limburg (east of Belgium) which is always a bit weird in the beginning: searching for a spot to sit, a more or less comfortable chair (thanx to my morning slowness, the others picked the best chairs before I got there), searching the coffee machine etc. And then a long long list of mails was waiting full of exciting problems...NOT.

The entire day at work was a struggle to concentrate and get something done. But I had the impression we were all in the same kind of mood. I guess the project is starting to be a very long time... we had all hoped that all wholesales would have been swichted software by now, but this last one didn't get ready in June so it's left for us to switch now this fall :(. Darn. Pff not been very productive but the next days will be better due to the lack of choice. In the coming days half of my agenda is filled with telesales training sessions. My dozing blues mood will soon have to be finished.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Up to Brittany!

Only a couple of hours of work anymore and then I am off finishing the packing of my suitcase.
Tomorrow morning we should leave early in the direction of Brittany, France. Yippeeee.

I am not quite in a vacation mood yet, but I wasn't so before we left to India either. I am sure tomorrow I'll feel completely different. Too bad the weather predictions's going to be cold and we'll be treated to some showers as well in the one week we will be there. Oh well, let's just hope it's not going too bad, I already packed a rain jacked, a fleece and long trousers. the optimist in me has thrown in 1 short and 2 bikinis anyway. You never know the preditions turn out completely wrong ;-). However I didn't throw in my sunscreen factor 30.... if the predictions are wrong, 4 10 and 20 will suit just as fine!

It's going to be quite a different vacation than what I am used to. First of all we go by car...that's been ago from 2004 when we went on skivacation and before that.... eumm a long weekend with a friend during university and before that '94! However the advantage that you can pack much more, is countered by the fact that we will be seating four people in the car and luggage for 4 adds up quickly. So I have to refrain my enthusiasm anyway when packing . And hopefully so do the others.

Secondly it will be different because I am going for the first time since 15 years approx. with my entire family on vacation. Griet and I bought my parents this trip for their 40th anniversary. We could have bought them a new tv or something (which they need!) but we felt this was way more appropriate. So we can spend one entire week together with the 7 of us: my parents, my sister, her husband and little Stef and jan and I. Woohoo it'll be busy in the house we rented!

I am quite excited to go to Brittany. Everybody says it's so nice and none of us has ever been there. Hmm there is a lot to see (Mont St Michel, Saint Malo, Dinant, Dinart, wild coast, ...) but nevertheless we don't want to plan too many excursions ahead of time. Hey it's vacation, let's take the day as it comes! Hmm and lets eat good food: French cheese, seafood, Brittany's famous pancakes. mmm.

We are also taking 4 bikes with us, although I think I'll only make rides with my sister. My condition seems to be in such a bad shape that it's sad. Last Monday Jan and I made a really small ride and I was absolutely out of breath and my legs were very tired that evening. Ooops, I need more practise! but slowly building it up again.

I think that little Stef will enjoy himself the most....the constant attention of 6 adults all week. How spoiled will he get? ;) . Shall we try to teach him his first words in French already. Hihi.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

More festivals

What can I say... it's summer in Belgium so there are festivals all over. So we can't help it but having fun. It had been 2 weeks that we saw some concerts already and it had been 2 years that we had been to the folkfestival in Dranouter.

Thanx to a colleague we had free tickets and so did another friend Katrien for Saturday, so we could start to plan. Unfortunately another friend had already bought tickets for Pole Pole ( a tropical festival at the coast ) on the same day.

On Friday I was seriously getting a big cold with a running nose, tearing eyes, waves of sneezing and aching eyes that made me lose all concentration all day. I really feared that our little folk excursion would be no fun for me at all. But a long night of sleep had worked its wonders and I felt great. Pheww...

Going to the folkfestival in Dranouters always feels a bit like homecoming. I'm not sure anymore how often I've been there... 4 or 5 times?? So it felt very nice to drive through the village again, see the terrasses that were already filled, drive and line up on the grassland and start walking downtown between the farmer's fields temporarily transformed into campgrounds, passed the farm with the police horses, ... although it was not all familiar... the festival terrain had moved to the other side of the road (so I suppose it is not litteraly on the French border anymore) and all the tents were arranged differently. I don't think it's much of an improvement. In order to walk from one tent to the other, you have to pass 2 narrow areas where it gets hard to cross due to all the people. and the main tent is very centrally placed ...but very much in the way if you don't wanna go there. I makes that you have to walk around it all the time in a giant U direction.

The fun thing about Dranouter is also the familyfriendliness and all the side animation.

My musical discovery of the day was "la Follia", that I can add to my list of excellent Belgian folk groups. Very dansable folk music with modern touches and good musicians. They would be very good to lead a boomball.
I was also glad to see Gabriel Rios for the first time. Fun Puerto Rican music from Ghent, no folk at all. But very nice to watch as well. John Cale afterwards didn't inspire us much at all, so we called it a day.

On our walk back to the parkinglot I got a big chunch of mud in my eye all of a sudden. I didn't see in the dark whether someone threw some or wheter they just walked or jumped to hard in the side of the road. So the ended with a aching eye (the chunch was hard!) and me washing my eye out with a bottle of water next to our car.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Coup de Boule 2

Just to add on my previous posts: Yesterday it was in the news that Coup de Boule is now a number 1 hit in France.

Pretty amazing what the internet and new media can do: The song was made by couple of friends after the world cup final. they sent it to some friends by e-mail and immediately it started spreading around the country. A couple of hours later it was picked up at some radio stations... and it went on, became known, after a couple of days they were offered a contract by a music company, a video clip was made etc....
And now they are number one in France.

Pretty amazing. long live the internet!