Wednesday, February 29, 2012

All good things must come to an they say...
I always have a little trouble with that one, with the 'must' part that is, but they all seem to do and so did this one.

Anouk baked me a delicious farewell cake, so sweet, she's quite the pastry chef!
Isn't it a beauty?

After all goodbyes were said and done my mam brought me to the airport and following a much, much smoother flight this time around I was reunited with my hubby James once again at Portland International Airport.

Back at the RV I was happily greeted by my 2 furry babies although I doubt they realize I was gone that long; 1 hour or 14 days they're just always happy to see you aren't they!
I sure missed them though!
After some unpacking it was heaven to crash for a little on my very own bed since I felt like a zombie.
They say it takes you a day per hour of time difference to get back into your 'old' rhythm again so in my case it will take me 9 days!
I've learned over the years to just give in to it and take short naps whenever I'm tired during the day but I immediately try to at least pick up my normal bedtime routine even though I might not feel sleepy.


That being said the next day I actually took a complete day off and stayed in bed for most of the time. Well, actually, it was more on bed instead of in, which makes it a little less bad?
I figured since I'm never sick, let's knock on wood, I miss out on all those sick days so I was entitled to some.
Well, I have to say, I loved it. It's probably much nicer doing this without actually being sick so you can actually enjoy it! I read and napped and nibbled on some cookies, had lots of hot tea and read and napped and had some more cookies, etc...etc....
Merlin snuggled up with me, he thought it was a great idea!

On Friday we attended a farewell dinner party for Bethany and Brian who will pack up and take their precious little boy Lincoln and leave us for Washington DC where they're going to live for 6 months after which they will move to Florida for another 3 YEARS!
We all wish them the best and are happy for them to have such a nice opportunity and start of a great future together but we're sure going to miss them!
I bet Doug and Brenda have their next vacation destinations planned already. As for us we might actually pay them a visit in a year or 2 when we arrive in Florida!

At least we will have one baby remaining! Katie brought Leila to the party and both kids were off course handed over to (almost) all women attending. Lots of cooing and smiling and rocking was had by all.
Look at these two snuggle-bugs, aren't they adorable!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

One of the things I had to accomplish while I was in Holland was to get a new passport.
I could have done this at an embassy or consulate in the states but since a new dutch policy now requires fingerprints to be taken this cannot be done in every one yet and this meant I would have had to go all the way to San Francisco!
Unfortunately, as a dutch-person-living-abroad the only place you can get one in Holland is in The Hague (and a few cities along the eastern border with Germany), which is about 2 hrs from where I am staying, and you have to both apply and pick up in person.
Both times my Mam and sister, who had taken a week off from work, travelled with me and we took the opportunity after completing the official part of the journey(s) to do some sightseeing.

The first time we went by train since they expected the roads to be icy throughout the country and perhaps even some more snow coming.
In The Hague we visited the 'Binnenhof ', a complex of buildings that houses the House of Representatives, the lower but more important of the dutch democratically elected Houses of parliament. We took a guided tour and also visited the 'Ridderzaal' where the Queen holds her annual speech at Prinsjesdag.
Neither of us had ever seen the inside of these buildings, not even my sister who has seen almost everything noteworthy in Holland, and we all thought it was very interesting.

Three days later I could pick up my passport, yahoo!!

Lotte decided to join us (what a nice surprise that she still wants to hang out with her old and boring aunt) and since we went by car this time we could detour a little easier on the way back. So after having lunch at IKEA, and as usual ending up buying all kinds of stuff we really weren't going to get at all, we visited the little fishing town of Volendam.

Volendam is a popular tourist attraction in the Netherlands, well-known for its old fishing boats and the traditional clothing still worn by some residents; as a matter of fact you can have your picture taken in those clothes but since we're not Japanese we off course didn't do such a silly thing!
This time only my mam and niece had never been here but it's a cute little town worth seeing again so we wandered around for a while until the cold wind forced us back in the car and back home.

Although the snow melted quickly after the wind switched to the West it stayed very cold and very windy for the rest of my stay.
Nothing out of the ordinary for a dutch winter and a perfect time to snuggle up with hot chocolate and some good pastries and work on a big jigsaw puzzle with my mam or visit family and have some
delicious meals together that last all evening while drinking wine and catching up on each others lives.

I especially enjoyed spending time with my nieces Lotte and Babet who all of a sudden have changed from the cute little girls they were into real persons (but still cute off course) with surprising and interesting opinions and both with a wicked dry sense of humor!


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

All of a sudden it was Tuesday and I found myself on a rather rough flight to Amsterdam. Fortunately the plane was only half full and even before the plane was in the air I had abandoned my isle seat and claimed 3 free chairs in the middle row so I could actually lay down and stretch out.
I didn't have the illusion that I might fall asleep because I never can but it's so much nicer to at least lay down instead of sitting up all the time.
The movies 'Money Ball' and 'Jane Eyre' offered some distraction from the horrible turbulence but at times like these I do a lot of praying and bargaining with whomever is in charge up above! Probably pretty useless
since I don't have any credit there but just in case I give it a try.

I made it safely to the other side of the pond and arrived in a very wintry Holland. Coming down in the plane I had a beautiful view of the snow covered fields,  frozen canals and white rooftops of the towns below.
There was even talk of the possibility that Hollands famous 11-city skating tour was going to be held but unfortunately the ice never made it to the 15 cm needed for such an event before it started to thaw again.
Too bad, it would have been fun since the last one was held some 25 years ago and it's a spectacle involving the whole country for days.

On Friday the 10th of February my niece Anouk married her Bert on a freezing cold but beautiful sunny day. The wintry landscape made for the most unique wedding pictures!
She was a beautiful and radiant bride, I don't think she ever stopped smiling and Bert looked adorably nervous and beaming with pride at the same time. I'm so happy for them, they have overcome so much together, I hope they live 'happily ever after'.

There was a great party afterwards!!


The next couple of days I took it easy to recuperate from the flight and the wedding, visiting my sister, drinking a lot of coffee and eating too much pie.
I stayed with my Mam who lives in an apartment on the 3rd floor, right on top of the major shopping area in town so every now and than we went downstairs and checked out the 'sales' and did some grocery shopping. The variety in the dutch supermarkets is incredible, I do miss the delicious dairy and all the 'dutch' stuff, the spices, mixes and pastries and the fantastic breads!
There's a weekly Saturday market that sets up right under her window that is fun to watch from above and also provides wonderful stuff like fresh fish, vegetables and great dutch cheeses.

On Sunday I went skating with my niece Lotte. Unfortunately we only had one pair of skates but we made it work by taking turns an running along while the other was skating.
I had not skated for years and was a little rusty but after a while it came back to me and I managed to go a few rounds without falling on my butt or worse like breaking a leg!

People were skating everywhere in and around town on the canals. This is what a real dutch winter looks like!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012


After careful examination of the hazelnut trees I finaly managed to find the female flowers and since it is very difficult to find something 'picture-worthy' these days I'm happy to have at least these tiny little pink fringed buds to show.
On an early morning walk with Sadie we also discovered these little daffodil and tulip 'beginnings'.
As you notice, I'm almost willing it to be spring!


We finally made it to the Block House Cafe in Dayton for their famous cinnamon-roll pancakes.
Oh, man, if you evere find yourselves in this area you better not miss them! They're out of this world!

The swirl is just some butter/cinnamon/sugar syrup they squirt in a swirl on the batter in the pan. The batter rises sort of around it so the swirl stays intact. Just before serving another squirt of icing finishes of this 'masterpiece'.


The weather unexpectantly improved a lot over the weekend and with the RV blocking the wind we could even sit outside for a while on Sunday to soak up the sun!

James never sits still for too long so after a glass of wine he worked on making a few steps for Sadie to be able to climb in the truck a little easier .
Since the backseat is a little on the narrow side he also made a wide platform to place on top. Covered by a nice thick pillow she now has a bed fit for royalty and It's also a first class window seat!