Saturday, February 18, 2012

Setting up house!

Last night we went over to our neighbors' house for drinks. We were they till almost midnight. What great neighbor's! 

Lately I've been trying to eat better...since I had my cholesterol checked a few weeks ago and it was a little high. So, for breakfast I've been having:

This morning our landlords came over to pick up their mail and remove a couch they had left here...They are the best landlords we could hope for...we are very blessed!

Today we spent a good part of the day shopping!  We bought a nice rug for the living room.....

We looked all over for a coffee table and side table for the living room...but nothing has hit us as being "it" we're still looking.  Last week when we were in Belgium we bought a tapestry for the wall and some pillows for the couch:

A little about the tapestry:
Still Life attributed to David Davidz. de Heem c. 1660 - 70. National Gallery. London.
The Montacute Tapestry
History, heraldry and horticulture
Apollo, June 1993
One of the rarest treasures of the National Trust is a millefleurs tapestry of a French knight on horseback at Montacute House in Somerset. The tapestry has nothing to do with Montacute, having arrived there recently and by chance, but the knight was involved in a turning point of European history, and the tapestry made at the end of his life in 1481 celebrates his triumphs in fifteenth century war and politics.
The knight has been identified as Jean de Daillon, Seigneur du Lude and Governor of the Dauphine, by the coat of arms in the top left hand of the tapestry - 'Quarterly, in the first and last azure, a cross engrailed argent; in the second and third, gules fretty or, a canton argent charged with a crescent sable; and as an inshield, gules, six escutcheons or.' Jean de Daillon's parents were of noble extraction, the crosses of Daillon he inherited from his father and quartered them with the crescents of his mother's family, but they were not eminent and no text explains why, as a child, Jean came to be a playmate of the dauphin - the future Louis XI. They understood one another well. If Jean of necessity outdid Louis in charm, and Louis was the master of intrigue, they shared the same self-interest. In his letters to Daillon the King repeated what must have been a childhood catchphrase, part affectionate, part cynical, 'Take care of Maitre Jean and I'll take care of Maitre Louis'.

We put it all together:

We went to the furniture stores downtown Haarlem, but nothing struck us, so we came home empty handed (except for some kaas-cheese!). We had a nice dinner at the Doria Cafe and then went to a movie.  That's it for today!!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

All of our lives are tough.....

"All of our lives are tough. We lose people, we lose love, we lose jobs, we lose our health. Humor is the only thing I know besides spirituality that helps transcend pain." Quoted from a book I just finished reading today called "Whistling in the Dark" by Lesley Kagen. Great read!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lunch in Amsterdam with AWCA

Today I went to Amsterdam and met some women from the American Women's Club of Amsterdam for lunch.  It was quite an outing!  I walked to the Haarlem train station (about a 20 minute walk from the house). And took the Sprinter train:
 to the restaurant
where we had a nice lunch of all kinds of tapas and sangria!  There were eight of us there for lunch. It was nice to meet other women from the States who can relate to being new in a different country! The women were from all over....mostly the East coast.

After lunch I walked around Utrechtsestraat and saw:

My favorite sandwich shop in the world!

Afterwards I headed to the Pijp area where I wanted to look for a pretty braided rope to hang the tapestry we bought in Bruges. I walked over to the Albert Cuyp Market:

It's like a flea market that goes on for blocks and blocks! Pretty much anything you want to buy is there,  except braided rope!

So I headed back home....I decided to walk to Amsterdam Central, which was 2.8 kilometers away. Along the way I saw:

Look closely, you can see how much these buildings have shifted!  Even the windows are crooked!

From there I got back on the train back to Haarlem. It's about an 18 minute train ride from Amsterdam Centraal to Haarlem. From the Haarlem station I walked home again.  Now it's time to prepare dinner.  Tomorrow I will be spending the day at home cleaning and doing more laundry.

My son, Kevin, just passed the halfway point of his deployment in Afghanistan! Yippee!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The snow has melted!

Overnight the snow has melted!  It's so warm (41 degrees) today, it feels like spring in comparison to the last couple of weeks......Just two days ago people were skating on this canal!

The daffodils in our kitchen window are blooming!

Today I did laundry!  It takes 3.5 to 4 hours per load to wash and dry in the same machine.  Afterwards, the clothes are still damp, so they have to be hung to dry!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Brugge, Belgium for the weekend!

Friday Andrew took the day off from work so we could take a short trip to Brugge, Belgium.  Friday morning Natasha met me at the house and went with me to the Town Hall in Haarlem so I could register as a resident.  Now I'm officially a resident of Haarlem!

At around noon Andrew and I packed up the car and headed towards Brugge.  On the way we stopped in Rotterdam, Netherlands to buy some coffee for our Nespresso maker.

We arrived in Brugge around 4:00 in the afternoon.  We stayed at the Rosenberg Hotel, which was within walking distance of the town square. From our room we had a view of the canal!

We checked in to our room, then went for a walk downtown to have dinner.

We had dinner at the Cafe Francais where I had the specialty-Moules (Mussels!)

Afterwards we just walked around town for a bit and headed back to the hotel.

The next morning we got on a City Tour. It was a small van that took us around the whole town. We saw so many pretty areas:

After the tour we walked around town. We went through a park, then into several cute little shops!

Later, we went to a restaurant for an evening snack after seeing the movie "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".  We had some bitterballen and a Belgian beer....quite yummy!

We walked around a bit more:

The next morning we took one more stroll through the town before heading out.....

On the way home we stopped at McDonald's. I didn't even think about it, but I went in wearing a mink coat-and not one person gave me a second look! The coat had belonged to Andrew's Mom......

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!!!