Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Aftermath of Sandy

My son and his family rode out the storm from their home in Delaware. They were some of the lucky power outages, no damage to their home.

My nephew, who is in the Coast Guard in Connecticut, worked for 72 hours straight helping others get through the storm. Thank the Lord for men like him.....It took him quite a while to get home through all the debris, but he is now safe at home with his family.

A friend of mine has a daughter in New York City. She "hunkered down" with five of her friends and is now without electricity for an undetermined amount of time. But, she and her friends are safe and together.

But not everyone made it through the storm was devastating to many....and fatal to others......

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween and Paper Poppies!

Check this out! Very cool house in Riverside, CA:

Here in the Netherlands celebrating Halloween has been catching on over the past 5-6 years, but only in the big cities.:

They do celebrate St. Martin's Day, which is November 11th. Children dress in costume and go door to door singing songs for candy!  We can't wait!  We have a pumpkin that we will wait to carve that day!

 Yesterday I bought some candy to pass out:

Our neighbors said we usually get about 10-20 kids come for candy......

I've had a cough for a few days now. Earlier today I Skyped with my sister who reminded me of an old family remedy! As soon as I got off the phone, I made some!  It tastes pretty good, soothes the throat, and helps with the cough...ahhhhhhhh!


We noticed, while watching BBC News, that the anchors are wearing some kind of pin on their lapels. I "googled" it and found that what they are wearing is a poppy for "Remembrance Day".

When's the right time to start wearing a poppy?
The Magazine answers...
Worker at poppy factory
On sale for two weeks
The annual poppy appeal has just been launched, but the first flowers were sighted on lapels weeks ago. When is the right time to pin one on?
Like the first twinkle of Christmas lights, it seems the race to sport a poppy to mark Remembrance Day begins earlier every year.
The small paper flower is worn to honour the men and women who risk their lives in service for the country in return for a donation to the Royal British Legion.
The annual poppy appeal is launched on Thursday, with poppies available from this Saturday until Sunday 12 November.
Yet Labour's Jim Devine, the first MP to sport one of the paper flowers in the House of Commons, wore his in mid-October (prompting one sketch writer to wonder whether he had simply left it on his jacket since last November, and a flurry of acidic letters to the Times).

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mac and Cheese and a little insanity...

Today I decided to make the Macaroni and Cheese recipe that was my favorite in the States.

About two weeks ago I had made butternut squash soup, and had cooked some extra butternut squash. I went on line and found that I could freeze the leftovers for future recipes!  Perfect for today!

There is no panko here (or premade bread crumbs), so I decided to make bread crumbs...while I was at it, why not use a dark wheat bread?!?

Also, I decided to add a little bit more flavor with some "stinky" swiss cheese (replacing the pecorino Romano cheese). It turned out delicious!!!

For the past few days I've had a horrible cough, especially at night. I brought some cough syrup with codeine from the States, but that isn't even working. So, I've been pretty much staying home and taking it easy the past few days. Coughing is not how I planned on getting stronger abs!!!


Take a look at this bit of insanity...coming from France:

The French President, Francois Hollande, doesn’t think it is fair that some kids get homework help from their parents while children who come from disadvantaged families don’t.


????????????????????  Does that make any sense?!?!?  So, rather than lifting up those that need help...he'd rather drag all the children down.....he wants everyone to be disadvantaged and undereducated?!?!??! I'm sure that would be good for the future of France....or maybe not....

Monday, October 29, 2012

Super storm Sandy

Every time I log into my computer now there is a headline about Super storm Sandy. It is a hurricane headed towards the East Coast of the United States.

My son and I sent messages back and forth last night on Facebook (they are in Delaware). They went to the store for supplies last night and found:

And at Walmart this morning:

He told me they are as prepared as they can be and will be waiting out the storm in their neighbor's basement (their house doesn't have a basement)!  I'm so glad they have great neighbors! They are also bringing their pets over there with them (two dogs and a cat.....not sure about the two snakes though!). Luckily they are both off from work the next couple of days, so they can wait it out in a safe place.

My nephew and his family are in Connecticut. They are both in the Coast Guard. They will be working and helping others get through the storm.

This storm is one of the largest ever seen headed towards the States. The Presidential candidates (Mitt Romney and Barack Obama) have had to change their campaign travel plans because of the storm. With the Presidential Election just days away, that must have been difficult for them both.

Transit systems in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia will be shut down starting today. Airports will be closed all along the East Coast. Hundreds of thousands of people are being evacuated along the coast. Wall Street will be closed Monday. Hundreds of roads and highways are expected to flood and widespread power outages are expected. Schools will be closed all along the East Coast. Many businesses will be closed also as everyone braces themselves for the storm.

Ocean City, NJ:

We are praying for everyone's safety.

It is now 0800hrs in the Netherlands, which is 0300hrs on the East Coast.

Yesterday, my son and I were able to Skype and told me he would post any updates on Facebook during the night (so he could tell a lot of people at once). Sooooo, I kept waking up checking my FB page. At around 0200hrs (our time, which is 2100hrs their time) he said they still had power and they were watching a movie. It was very windy and it had been raining a lot all day. They were keeping their phones and computers plugged in so that if they did lose power they could still use their phones. Since they are in the military, they are both subject to "call back", which means they could have to report in for duty at any time. That was the last update I got.

I have not heard from my nephew and his wife, who are in the Coast Guard in Connecticut. I pray they are doing okay and able to get a little rest while working hard to help others in that area.

Friends were posting news updates and pictures on FB all is some of what was posted:

Photo Credit: David Schulze

From Trevor Moren in New Jersey:

At approximately 0300hrs:
NYC updates, compiled from several sources w/in last few mins:
Backup power has been lost at New York University hospital and the city is working to move people out - per MSNBC.
Half of NYC is without power, and the NYSE is under 3 feet of water.
Mayor Bloomberg: We don't anticipate more than a few showers from now on. High tide was at roughly 8:15pm ET.
Statement from NWS: Record high water levels in NY Harbor now receding.

From a friend on Facebook:

A recap of the death toll from Sandy

Total deaths: 81

In the U.S. so far: 13
5 in New York
1 in Connecticut
3 in New Jersey
2 in Philadelphia
1 West Virginia

1 HMS Bounty deckhand who was found unresponsive and later declared dead at hospital

Outside the U.S.: 1 in Canada. And earlier: 67 in the Caribbean, including 51 in Haiti.

Very sad time in the U.S. It does sound like FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has been sent to the different areas on the East Coast and they are doing what they can to help. 

Two Hands on Your Belly = Two Peas in a Pod!

Last week we were having some problems with the heater, making all kinds of noise and not functioning properly. Our neighbor had recommended a plumber who came to the house last week and took a look at it. He said the "balloon" needed to be replaced.

The plumber, Frank, called Saturday in the early afternoon and said he could come over to fix it. We happened to be home, so we had him come to the house (he said he would be there in 10 minutes!). I had to hurry upstairs to empty out the closet, as that is where the balloon is!  I took all the hanging clothes out of the closet so he would have easy access:

First, he had to drain the system, which is done from the kitchen. He hooked up a hose to the bottom of the radiator and drained it into the kitchen sink.

Then he went upstairs and disconnected the old balloon from the pipe coming out of the guest room closet. The whole thing is just screwed on to the pipe. It was full of water and very heavy. He put the new one on and then had to refill the system. To refill it, he hooked up the hose to the inlet pipe for the dishwasher, which is under the kitchen sink. Andrew turned on the water, while he went upstairs to watch the pressure gauge on the system. When the gauge reached "2", he told Andrew to shut off the water. Then he went from radiator to radiator in each room and used a special key to drain the air out of each one, which brought the pressure down a tad. So, they put a little more water in, disconnected the hose and it's now good as new!

Frank is a great plumber! He was reliable, knowledgable and seemed very honest. I would highly recommend him. His Company is called Frank Hendrikse Onderhoudsbedrijf. His business number is: 023 531 44 66.


This past Saturday evening, we took our landlords out for dinner. Hans and Angela met us at the house at around 1830hrs. They had brought us a beautiful gardenia scented carved soap, which we have hung up in the upstairs bathroom:

We each had a nice relaxed glass of wine before walking over to the restaurant....

We had decided to go to the Napoli Restaurant in Haarlem:

We ordered a nice bottle of Chianti and started to look over the menu. Most restaurants in Haarlem have English versions, so Hans was kind enough to ask for two of them for Andrew and I. We've found we can "wing it" with the Dutch menus, but we miss quite a bit not knowing what some things are. I do have a Dutch/English App on my IPhone though, which I use quite often!

The restaurant was quite busy, with several orders for their specialty (which I will show you in a minute!), so the waiter didn't take our order right away. When he did come, we had decided on the appetizers to share, which was a combination plate of all different kinds of things, including caprese, carpaccio, slices of provolone, etc.!  Very yummy!

While we were waiting for our main course to arrive Andrew spoke with Hans and Angela about our rental agreement and talked to them about how long we'd like to stay. Our agreement expires January 1, 2014. We'd like to stay till around October, 2014, with a month to month rental agreement. They said they will think about it and get back to us. We have plenty of time, but we know how things can sneak up on you!  We know that it'll take about two months of planning to go back to the States, especially since we don't have a home there!

Our dinner arrived!  I had ordered the memory of Tullio (it was not as good as he used to make!), and everyone else at the table ordered the Napoli Pasta. It is presented it in a "round" of parmigiano reggiano cheese, which we were told has a value of about 1000 Euro!  The presentation is beautiful, the aroma divine and it tastes wonderful!  Watch this!

After melting the cheese, the spaghetti is placed in the round and tossed, then the all the melted cheese from the round is scraped off, and placed in a bowl at the table for everyone to share. Deliziosissima!

While enjoying our dinner Hans and Andrew were talking away, and I noticed that they seem to be like Two Peas in a Pod. I said something to Angela, and she told me the Dutch phrase with the same meaning is Two Hands on Your Belly!

Angela and I:

 After dinner, we walked back to the house and had a glass of port before saying goodnight. What a wonderful evening!


Our flowers this week:

Since we got here, I've been collecting the corks from the wines we've been drinking. We went out to the Blokker store yesterday and bought a pretty container for them. We have lots of drinking to do if we want to fill it up! We usually have a glass of wine with dinner every other day or so.