Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Dogs on Our Laps at Wetcreek

If you have ever been through a southern rainstorm, then you will be able to visualize what we experienced late last evening. 

With Flip on J's lap and Nismo on mine, we "rode out the storm." 

Today we are soggy here in Wetcreek. Not sure how many inches of rain we had, since our trusty rain gauge has a huge crack (we just noticed this morning!) and won't hold water.

I turned off the water irrigation system to the tomatoes in the raised veggie beds, since they are drenched. 

And now the sun is coming out. 

We are high and dry here and curious to hear how our son is managing in the flooded Big City.

Calf-deep at midnight Monday in Houston.

Tuesday morning, both deer and human are searching. 

Under water view.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial or Memorable Day 2015?

Since retiring from paid work seven years ago, every single day is a holiday! Because of that, I often lose track of "real" holidays like today - Memorial Day. 

May God bless all of those who have fought in wars and those who died because of wars. Let us remember them all.

But this particular Memorial Day will be a "memorable day" for us. Last evening we received word from our kind neighbor R. in The Netherlands that our deep freezer at the Beltway Apartment had expired, and the contents was "stinking to high heaven." She and an equally kind neighbor gentleman needed our consent and guidance to do something very soon.

Long story short ( and extremely quick, thank goodness!!), the kind neighbor gentleman emptied the freezer and cleaned up as well as he could. 

We are so fortunate to still have a couple of GOOD neighbors at the Beltway!

Thanks, KS, for coming to the rescue. And thanks, of course, to RW for hearing that strange noise coming from our bathroom ( just above her bathroom) that may have been a signal that all was not well in our apartment 5,000 miles away from where we are at Wetcreek.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Let the Wedding Plans Begin: A Really Long (Typed) Love Letter

For followers just checking in on my Wetcreek Blog, here is a long letter I wrote to my American parents explaining how our Dutch wedding (35 years ago!) would run. I was at that moment employed by the South Korean Embassy in The Hague as the secretary to the ambassador and his head councilor. I had access to an electric typewriter and "oodles" of time to plan and to type. And please note that these "traveling guidelines for Europe" are BRS (before Rick Steves ever made a video or a successful television show).

Here goes:

17 March 1980

Dear Mother and Daddy,

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I hope you are wearing green, because I'm not. I forgot all about it until I looked at the calendar this morning. Oh well, the Koreans don't know about pinching, so I'm safe.

I enjoyed the long phone call yesterday, but you must promise to pay for it with my money. That was the arrangement, remember? I was sorry to hear about S. in the hospital. Tell him that is what old age will do to you. But I am glad that he is better. Maybe he should hire a governess to watch after the kids. It may sound a little strange for Alexandria, but it would sure save many headaches.

Anyway, I got the O.K. today from my boss to take off from June 4-June 24. Please make your flight reservations as soon as possible so you can get the day you want and a cheaper fare. We are planning on you staying three (3) weeks, so that is how long I can take off from work. We thought that the day you arrive you could sleep and rest and get your bearings. On Friday (June 6) morning we must be in Olst to finish up the plans. We can all have a nice rest on Friday night, because Saturday will be hectic. We will eat a warm lunch on Saturday morning at the S's and then get dressed for the wedding.

The wedding (civil) ceremony at the City Hall in Olst is very much like an American church service. Only Daddy and I don't walk down the aisle. We have asked J's friend J.V. to be a witness, and I want Daddy to be my witness. The ceremony lasts for about 45 minutes with exchanging of the vows, rings, kisses, and witness signing. The gentleman from the City Hall even gives a speech. This will take place at 3:00. As we don't know the Dutch minister, I will ask the American pastor here in the Hague to bless our marriage after the wedding, perhaps in July. It will be a private thing with just the pastor, J., and me. I think this is the best solution.

We will return to the house after the ceremony and get ready for the reception. That will begin around 5:00. We will have a receiving line in the living room, J. and I will cut the cake (not a Dutch tradition), and there will be tea and drinks and tidbits to eat. Around 7:00 that should be over. Mr. S. has suggested that the six of us go to a fancy restaurant afterwards to eat. I will have to think about that since I became sick after eating there in June and in December. I think the food is too rich.

On Sunday, June 8, we can leave on our trip or wait until Monday. J. and I will work out a tentative plan to include Holland, Belgium, France (Paris), Germany, Switzerland, and possibly Austria. We can do that in two weeks, but we don't want to tire you out. If you have preferences, please let us know. We will stay in inexpensive hotels and guest houses since most deluxe hotels are too expensive and not so nice anyway. J. and I can pay for the lodging during the trip, and if you want to help us we can figure it out later and you can deposit it into my bank account in Alex. It is just too hard to guess how much money we will need. You can bring souvenir money and extra money for a special time to eat out. On my tours, I always brought $500 for spending, and I brought half of it back. Everything is expensive here. A normal meal for two costs $25 or more. You can guess we will eat lots of good bread, cheese, and sausages on the road. We will plan on one warm meal a day.

You asked about clothes. Remember that June is still quite cool here. The temperature is usually between 45-65 degrees F and there is much rain. Be sure to bring a raincoat and umbrella (fold-up kind). The raincoat should be an all weather type so it can protect you from the rain and cold. Also, European houses ( not ours) are sometimes chilly in the summer, so bring a sweater that you can wear over your regular clothes. Daddy may even want to bring a pullover or two to wear over his shirts. Sleeveless clothes are too cool. Daddy should bring short sleeve and long sleeve shirts, but he will probably wear the long sleeved ones more because of the coolness.

Mother, ladies don't wear pants in Europe like they still do in America. Only teen-agers wear the jeans and such. So I think you will be more comfortable in easy skirts, blouses, or casual dresses. I only wear pants around the house now. You might want to bring a pair to wear around the pool at J's parents. Also, bring your bathing suits. Perhaps the weather will be warm enough to get wet in the pool since it is heated. You don't have to bring too many clothes since we have a washer and dryer and J's mother does, too.

Shoes are the most important thing. Be sure that you have at least two pair of comfortable walking shoes. J. likes to walk in the cities, so be prepared. You might even want to start getting into shape. The shoes you bring for the wedding will be good for any trips to nice restaurants.

Don't forget your camera and film. Film is too expensive here and not of the best quality even when it is Kodak. Also, you may want to get Traveler's Insurance that will be good for your stay. It is a little expensive, but worth every penny. Don't worry about a hair dryer or electric curlers since I have mine. Also, if you bring anything electric, we have adapters, etc. Bring your money in American Traveler's Cheques since they have offices everywhere. And by all means don't forget your passports. If I think of anything else, I will either call or write.

We think we can mail all of the invitations if we get the names, addresses, and zip codes. If we see that it will be too expensive to mail them from here, we will send a bundle of invitations to you with your list and let you mail them from Alex. But I think it will be possible to mail them from here and more interesting, too. Wouldn't you like to get an invitation to a wedding in Holland? About gifts: I am sure people will ask you what to send. If they send parcels, it will be expensive and we may have to pay a duty fee since it is a gift. We suggest that they send money or checks to you. You can deposit it into my account or buy a Traveler's Cheque and bring it with you. But please keep a record of how much I get from whom so I can write Thank You notes. If people send me personal checks, I have to pay $2.50 for each check I cash. So they should send it to you.

Here are some suggested flight routes:
Houston -Amsterdam (KLM)
N.O. -N.Y. -Amst. (Eastern and KLM)
N.O. -Chicago - Amst. (Northwest and KLM)
Alex. -Atlanta -Brussels (Delta and Sabena)

If you fly on Tuesday, June 3, you will arrive here on Wednesday, June 4. If you fly on Wednesday, June 4, you will arrive here on Thursday, June 5. The fare from Atlanta to Brussels on Sabena Airlines is round-trip $503 APEX. The fare from Alex. to Atlanta is round- trip about $200. We can drive only one and one- half hours to Brussels to pick you up. If you land in Amsterdam, we also have to drive about one hour. So wherever you get the best connections is fine for us.

Later I will send you a list of some small things that I want from the States. Also, I will know by then what I am going to wear. J's mother will wear a pastel blue Alcantara (suede cloth) street length dress, and J's dad will wear a three piece dark blue suit with a white shirt. I know that I told you all this, but it is good to get it in writing.

Well, I'll stop and get ready for lunch. Daddy, thank you for the letter. And I'm glad you found a good job. Tell everyone hello and give the baby and kiddoes a kiss for me.

Call me if you need anything or have a question.

Love, Linda

A Night at the Ritz

The day after the night at the Ritz.

Nismo has a new dog mattress and white (vintage) sheets in his sleeping cage. He slept just fine until 7:00 a.m. today. 

Sure am glad Tractor Supply had a mattress. 

Hope the little "king" feels the same.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Simple Shelfie

Have a nice day! 

After three hours of pulling grass out of my boxwoods and flowerbeds, I'm "pooped."

So are the pups!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Three Months Before the Wedding --6 March 1980

(As I read and publish my letters from 35 years ago, I just imagine what life would have been like if we had had computers and especially Google. But then again, these letters would not exist. And there would be nothing to help me remember "how things were in the old days.")

6 March 1980
Donderdag morgen

Dear Mother and Daddy,

We received your letter of Feb.19 yesterday. Two weeks is entirely too long for mail from the U.S. Perhaps you could try mailing my letter in several different places (write the mailbox location on the envelope flap), and we'll let you know which location makes for the fastest service. By the time we get your letters, the news is too old. I love receiving any news from home, but I also want it as soon as possible. 

How is the new baby? We are curious to know all about her and what she looks like. How does little J. feel now that he isn't the baby? But then I guess he never thought of himself as being a baby. J. still talks about how grown- up he was. When S. was in his way, he said, "Back up." J 's nephew D. will be three next month, and J. out-talks him by far. A. said D. didn't sleep any of the 26 hour flight except the last 30 minutes. Then she couldn't awaken him and had to carry the litttle rascal off the plane. It took 3 airline stewardesses to help her with the children and hand luggage.

Concerning the towels and such that you received in the mail: Just pay the bill and don't worry about reordering, we'll get other towels another time when we are home.  Perhaps you could pack as much as possible in my little red suitcase and then bring it with you in June. Each of you can bring 2 suitcases, so that shouldn't be a problem. If you can't fit everything in the bag, we'll get it another time when we are in the States. Check my balance on my checking account please. I have only written one check (Date-Feb.25-No.136-To:York Quality Namemaker (Handmade by Linda) -Amount: $25.00). But I still have money in my savings, so you may need to transfer some.

I have a savings account here that draws 7 1/4% interest yearly. That is about like I had in BR at the Teacher's Credit Union. I get paid in cash at work, so I don't have much banking to do. And the bank charges me $2.50 to transfer money from my checking account to another, so I do little banking. Hopefully after I marry, they will cut out some of these extra charges.

We haven't made any wedding plans yet. I still have to sit down and figure out exactly what I want. Then I can discuss everything rationally. Otherwise, there will be hurt feelings and misunderstandings. And I've told J. that if there is too much confusion, we'll just elope and forget the rest.

10:00 a.m.
Well, I'm not alone anymore. Everyone is here except my two bosses. I suppose they will arrive soon. I've read the news report in English and the Herald Tribune, so I'm ready for today. I just heard the Ambassador unlock his door, so I'll close and go in to take his mail.
10:50 a.m.
Well, I'm free again. My bosses came, and I've finished my little duties. I hope that I have enough to do today to keep me from being bored.

J. is going to an old car meeting tonight, so I'll wash clothes and get my sewing together. I have 6 things to sew plus I want to hem my skirts a little. I will be busy for a while. Mother, could you mail me the Spring-Summer issue of Bride's Magazine plus any other bride's magazines. I can't get them here, and I need ideas. If you can't find anything don't worry. I'll make do.

I'll close now and find something to read. Take care and write when you can.
Love, Linda and J.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

New Grandbaby/Niece--Anno 1980

My niece C (the one with two precious daughters) is celebrating her 35th birthday this year. Here is how we found out back then:

Love Letter
29 February 1980

Dear Mother and Daddy,

Congratulations on the birth of your new grand-daughter. J. and I were pleased to get your phone call on Tuesday night. Calling us wasn't that difficult, was it? S. called us much later (1:39 a.m. here) not knowing that you had called. But we were glad that he called, no matter what time of day or night. The same goes for you. Never hesitate to call. We are always at home during the week and now most week-ends.

Let me know all about C. I wrote and asked S. to send her picture. I really hate that I can't be there to see her. We mailed a small package for the children on C's birthdate. As we sent it by Surface Air Lift, S. should receive it by middle March. I sent the baby a blanket, a carry-all for each of the girls, and a car for J. I didn't feel like I could send the blanket without including something for the others.

We saw A. and the boys off to Sydney, Australia on Wednesday night. She called us last night that she arrived safely. After a 26 hour flight, I am sure she is sleeping well today. She went to a house with rented furniture since her things are still in a big container in the Sidney harbor. There has been so much trouble with the things, that I wonder if she will ever get them.

We will stay here this week-end and give the S's a chance to rest. J's cousin N. and her friend will come to spend the night on Saturday, so I've got my cleaning work cut out for me. I'll work on the cleaning tonight so I can shop tomorrow. I want to buy fabric for new clothes.

Just a few more months, and we'll see you. If you need anything, just let us know.

Love, Linda and J.