Saturday, December 21, 2013

Tribute to Socrates

Our hearts are heavy today with the loss of our kitty.......

Last night at around 20.15 we heard Socrates outside on the patio crying. He never does that so it raised an alarm in us. Andrew went out to check him and found that he couldn't move his back legs and he seemed to be in a lot of pain. Because we don't know the language (yes, that has been a hinderance!), we called our wonderful neighbors, Linda and Bruce, (who were, thankfully, home!) who called their vet to get the number for the emergency vet clinic. Linda brought their small crate over so we could take him on the bus. The only carrier we have is a huge airline transport crate, which is very big and heavy. Bruce went with us and we headed over to the clinic (which was close to the Haarlem train station) where we were to meet the vet at 21.00hrs. To get the number for the emergency clinic, they called their regular vet and got the number from the vet's after hours recording. The recording, of course, was in Dutch. We would have been lost without Bruce and Linda! Apparently the location for the emergency vet changes every weekend (it sounds like the vet's rotate the duty). 

The Vet took one look at him and said he most likely had a clot break loose which paralyzed his legs....she then asked if he had heart problems. We told her that he was diagnosed with an enlarged heart over four years ago. At that time we were told he would be with us maybe another 1-2 years. 

The Vet  told us there was nothing she could do and suggested we put him to sleep.....we agreed. We didn't want him to suffer. She gave him an injection for the pain first. While waiting for that to take effect, we could hear his breathing becoming labored because his lungs were filling with fluid. She gave us a little time with him to say good-bye and then gave him another injection.

The Vet was so very kind and caring. Bruce and Linda were so wonderful and helpful. 

Even though we knew this would happen one day, it still is very painful to lose our kitty.

Comfy in his favorite spot in our house in Pleasanton, CA...the bathroom sink!

Enjoying the sunshine...
 Staying warm on the radiator vent!

 Checking to see what's going on...
 It took moving here for Sammy and Socrates to finally get along with one another! They had become pals!  Sammy is sad today too......

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Some Things My Parents Taught Me (not in any kind of order!)

Have faith in the power of The Holy Trinity


Family is important

Respect your elders

Friendships can last a lifetime

Always say "please" and "thank you"

Work hard

Clean up after yourself

Turn the lights off when you're leaving the room

Don't waste

Don't litter

Be mind and body

Be honest

Be kind

Be gentle

Be humble

Be responsible

Don't be lazy

Be giving...of your time and, if you have it, your money

Don't put off till tomorrow what can be done today

Finish what you start

Always have money in the bank and minimal debt

Love thy neighbor as thyself

Don't give up

Only God is Judge

Don't take yourself too seriously

Cover your mouth when you cough

If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all

Have fun

Enjoy music, sometimes an entire story is in a song

Don't cry over spilled milk....what's done is done....move on

Travel and see the world

Life is it!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

'International' dinner with Carla and Theo

Last Saturday, December 14th, at around 16.00, Andrew and I walked over to Carla's shop where she was hosting an 'International Dinner'. She had invited a couples from several countries to bring a main dish and a dessert that was typical from their country. Countries represented were: Angola, Croatia, Honduras, Netherlands, USA, Iran, Kazakhstan, Germany, Indonesia, and Turkey! 

It was a fun evening meeting people from all over the world. Carla says she has clients from over 70 countries now. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Markets in Haarlem, Netherlands

This past weekend, December 14 and 15, 2013, Andrew and I spent in our hometown of Haarlem. We decided to stick close to home because there was so much going on in town.

Saturday we walked around town and enjoyed the feeling of excitement in the air with the pending events of the weekend!

Sunday, we enjoyed the festivities while walking through town.....The Christmas Market was open all day!

First off, we were greeted by "Angels"  from Hout Zuid Haarlem!
 We continued down the Grote Houtstraat:
 entertainment....Haarlem style!

 We went home for some lunch and to rest up a bit before going out again!

 There was a choir performing Christmas carols in the Stadhuid (City Hall)......the acoustics made the music sound soooo beautiful!

 More singing!
 We stopped to get a tree on the bridge over the canal...and then we carried it home!
Our reflection.....carrying our tree home!!!

After we dropped off our tree at home...we walked back into town and saw.......The Haarlemse Muggen:

Haarlemse muggen (Haarlem mosquitoes)
Inhabitants of Haarlem are sometimes jokingly called ‘muggen’ (mosquitoes). It is not exactly clear where this originated from, the word ‘mug’, however, was used as a swearword in the 14th and 15th century. Another theory is that it originated from the fact that there used to be a lot of mosquitoes in Haarlem. Other explanations are that Haarlem inhabitants were known for their ‘muggenziften’ (nit-picking) or refer to a saga about a witch who would supposedly transform the inhabitants of the city into mosquitoes if they did not listen to her.

More entertainment!

Real reindeer!
 We went by the Havana House Cigar Shop where they were doing old fashioned shaves....
 There was a sword fighting performance!

 and afterwards, Andrew stepped inside for a smoke with the Mayor (Burgemeester Schneider)!

 It starts getting dark around 15.30hrs. now....soooo, the lights went on early!
More entertainment.....the young man on the right was playing bass with a rope attached to a tub!

and another band playing down the street....

Sausage made from horse meat....