Thursday, October 31, 2013

Booooooo! It is All Hallow's Eve!

Well, it is almost All Hallow's Eve. This evening I plan to take a walk in our neighborhood at the Beltway Apartment to see how many Dutch neighbors have now taken up the Halloween tradition. 

When I emigrated from the US to The Netherlands back in 1979, there were only a few of us Americans here who "celebrated" Halloween. Finding a pumpkin suitable for carving a jack o'lantern was a challenge and expensive. 

At that time in Europe, slices of pumpkin flesh for making pumpkin soup were sold at the vegetable market. Most vendors did not sell whole pumpkins and couldn't even determine the price for one. I think I paid 35 guilders (around 15-20 US dollars) for our first carvable pumpkin in the mid-1980's. And it rolled around so much in the back of our station wagon that our then toddler son kept screaming for me to stop hurting the pumpkin.

Then we moved to an old Dutch farmhouse with a veggie garden and planted our own pumpkins. We had award winning size pumpkins then. Our son and I took a few to his school for their Halloween celebrations when he was in the 1st grade. In the years that followed, we shared pumpkins, gourds, and winter squash with friends and teachers.

As if pumpkins and winter squash had been " recently discovered" in the 1990's they began to appear in Dutch roadside veggie stands, the huge garden centers, and grocery stores. Prices for pumpkins are still much too high, but at least affordable for carving and making pumpkin dishes.

At any rate, I wonder how many goblins I will see on my walk tonight?

And what about "trick or treating"?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Through the Hurricane

When we came here to the Beltway Apartment a couple of weeks ago, we were happy that we had made it through the hurricane season in Louisiana without experiencing a hurricane. 

So what did we wake up to this morning? A hurricane! 

Photo of uprooted trees in The Hague on website today.

Of course, we had been warned since Thursday that heavy winds were heading our way. And  this evening according to the weathermen, it has been 23 years since the Netherlands has experienced such high winds and damage from downed trees.

My hub and I stayed inside while the rain poured and the wind stripped those beautiful leaves from the trees that I photographed last week. We tried to finish up some tasks that will make it easier for everyone to continue with the remodeling next week. The painters finished their job on Saturday night late, but we spent yesterday and this morning during the storm cleaning up the floors, windows, doors, and baseboards from the paint splatters and dust.

I was awake when the storm blew in at around 3:00 AM, and then awake again when I thought I heard the phone ring around 5:00 AM, and finally awake and got out of bed at 7:30 AM. So I am ready to go to bed very soon.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Burn the House Down!

The painters are here at the Beltway Apartment today. We were informed they would be here around 8:00 AM, but it was more like 10:00 AM. My hub had given up and had gone back to bed when they finally showed up.

After the initial shock of the high, high ceilings and exposed beams that needed to be "packed in" then the painter and his son began the "packing in" process. After a couple of hours, they ran out of packing paper and the son went out to find some. He found nothing, but I had saved a huge roll of moving wrapping paper from last year's furniture move. Luckily they could use that. (Note:I am "packed in" too. I can't get out of the spare bedroom! It is 8:40 PM as I write this blog post.)

New heater "packed in."

Beams, new air conditioner, and windows "packed in."

Intercom, doors, and electrical outlets "packed in."

Around 5:30 PM the painting process began. Darkness falls here around 6:30 PM. Hope they have lamps!

We don't!

Oh, they "packed in" the kitchen hanging lamp, and it was turned on. You guessed it. The packing caught fire! I can smell the awful smoke smell in my temporary "remodeling cave" in the spare bedroom.

My Jysk recliner that we bought last fall.

My chair serves also as my coat rack and has my blanket and shawl. Our computer and dining table are behind our chairs. New (old) door on the left goes out to the foyer. The door on the right now goes to the walk-in closet. 

I hate the accordian coat racks on the doors, but if I remove them I will have to fill in the nail holes and repaint the doors. Painting the new door frames is enough work for me.

A few last words:

This is THE LAST BUILDING or REMODELING JOB I am going to do! Ever! None of these guys (Dutch or American) clean up after themselves! I even scrubbed and washed the plaster from the gipson board trash off the brick driveway to the apartment building this morning!

Thank goodness for our Shop Vac!!!!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Who Wears Short Shorts?

Well, not I at my age.

But the sunny weather and warm temps here in The Beltway Apartment have forced me back into the bermuda shorts that we leave here in the clothes cabinet, just in case. 

But I must be honest and say that I have a reason for the "light" attire. Today we have a day off. From the workmen, that is. So since 9:00 am I have been cleaning up their mess and restocking the pantry/storage room that we had to empty yesterday for the new heater pipes to be installed.

Although all of the carpet and linoleum will be replaced with engineered wood in two weeks, I vacuumed up as much plaster, wood chips, nails, and work dust that I could. 

The new air conditioner will be installed tomorrow, and then the painter will come to paint the living, kitchen, and foyer over the weekend.

On November 20 I will be ready to go back home for a vacation! Whew!

Hey, what is with Blogger and multiple fonts in my blog post??????

Memaw's Journey

Today I am sharing my own 88 year old mom's blog post of her "from the heart" experience last week. Please take time to read it. Hugs, Linda

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Piet and Repiet

Every twenty to twenty-five years the issue of Sinterklaas's helper Zwarte Piet (Black Peter) raises its angry head. 

Well, it has again, and this time the United Nations has entered the discussion. 

I understand the question is, "Is the concept of Zwarte Piet (Black Peter) racist or not?"

Polite comments are welcome.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


We are ready for our remodeling to begin tomorrow. 

This morning we were trying to figure out what to do with two cheap white clothes cabinets in the master bedroom. Our builder is going to make a walk-in closet from our hallway, so the cabinets were not needed anymore. My hub took off the doors, and I lifted out the shelves. Then what?

We thought about calling a thrift shop to ask if they wanted to come pick up the free cabinets. Then my husband thought about Marktplaats (a sort of Craigslist).  So Hub took the following photo and put an ad online in Marktplaats.

Within 20 minutes three people had reacted to his ad and sent him an email message that they were interested in his FREE cabinets. He contacted the first "customer" and within 10 minutes the man was ringing our doorbell.

The guy was alone and could dismantle the rest by himself.  Then my hub helped him load the planks, walls, etc. into the elevator and bid him farewell. 

Cabinets are gone! It was that easy!

My Mom is Ill

Please keep my 88 year old mother in your thoughts and prayers today. She is scheduled for heart procedures this morning for a blocked artery. 
Hugs and kisses for her and my whole family and friends on this glorious October Sunday morning. 
Love you all, Linda

Sunday Afternoon Update:

My mom had successful surgery. Two stints, and she may go home tomorrow! Yay! Thank you doctors and staff at Beauregard General Hospital and Ochsner Hospital in New Orleans.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Window Dressing

After taking down some really old-fashioned looking darkout curtains, this is the window that lets in way too much light and heat in the summer. As you see it here, there was condensation on the outside of the window the morning the "curtain man" and his sidekick came by to install the new window dressing.

Another shot of the "hothouse" window.

And the third "before" photo. The dark blob you see is a very tall tree on the Beltway just outside.

TaDa! Blinds on the left and window foil on the trapezoidal right side.

The foil is white, not pink.

That pink color is the sun trying to shine through.

Window problem solved. Hope the rest of the remodeling is as easy!

And the Circus Begins

We knew when we planned to come to the Beltway Apartment for remodeling that we would need a few weeks to get it all done. But that it would take almost two weeks to get the work started is still a bit disappointing.

Anyway, the electrician/builder/plumber will begin on Monday at 10:00 am. He will do what he can to get the apartment ready for the next step--painting. We have opted to have the living, kitchen, and foyer given a new white wash. No trim work is necessary, thank goodness! Still waiting on the best bid for that work. We have contacted four painters now, and we will choose the one that is most reasonable and can begin painting a week from Monday. 

After the paint work, the EBP guy will come back to finish up, and then the wooden floor guy can do his thing in the entire apartment.

Then we will be right down to the edge, so to speak. If we have a couple of days left to breathe before we head back home for Thanksgiving, that will be a miracle.

New built-in fridge.

New induction cooktop and new microwave.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Enamelware Collections

Those who have been in our home know that I have a red enamelware collection displayed on the top of our kitchen cabinets.  So yesterday when we had lunch in an enamelware museum, I felt right at home. 

Enjoy my photos:

Who hasn't seen the common grey enamelware?

What a display of buckets, tea kettles, and cans! And what about the enamel signs?

Under the bar a few colorful bread boxes like my red one. Oh, and I have a plain white one in my pantry.

Red enamelware! And I love the clocks!

A  touch of soap. Another collection.

A strainer as lampshade. How clever!

I heard a Dutch mother tell her kids these are warmers. Actually they are little petroleum stoves. My hub knew a lady in Delft (back in the 70's) who used three in a row on a shelf to cook her dinner. We bought a green one a couple of years ago for 15 euros. We will probably never use it. 

More stoves and bread boxes.

Red again!

Another collection. Light motorcycles.

Even above the bar.

Could not resist this toilet sign.

Cannister set in white and more enamel signs.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Uitsmijter--How Do You Say That In English?

Today my hub and I braved the rainy weather and drove to a "viewing" for an auction coming up next weekend. We weren't particularly impressed by what we saw that will be auctioned, so we went upstairs to the antique shop. Although we did not buy anything, I took some photos of the items for sale. Check out my Wetcreek Museum Blog ( later today for my photos.

On the way back to our apartment, we told our TomTom GPS to avoid the interstate highways, and we traveled miles of wooded 1 1/2 lane roads. We stopped for a late lunch at a cafe/enamelware museum in the forest. Actually it was a recreation spot for families with children, but there was only one family in the cafe. The other two tables were occupied by 60-plussers like us.

This is what I had for lunch:

In Dutch this dish is called an "uitsmijter." It begins with two pieces of bread (NOT toast). I chose brown, since I needed something healthy. ;)))  The next layer is sliced ham. Then sliced cheese. Next three fried eggs (sunny side up). To top it all off, sauteed mushrooms, bacon, and onions! In the top left corner there was a small mixed salad (if you really were thinking healthy).

How yummy was that? YUMMMMMM
My hub HAD to help me finish it.

Now here is his omelet:

Mine looks better, huh? And these plates were HUGE!

(Photos of the enamelware museum tomorrow.)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Back at the Beltway

Thursday afternoon we arrived back to the Beltway Apartment. As usual, we are here with a mission. Remodeling! 

If a vacation opportunity should "fall into our laps," we will try to take advantage. ;)

The weather when we arrived was sunny and very pleasant, but that did not last long enough. Friday we woke up to rain. And rain it did all day and night. But being the "dutchies" that we are, that did not stop us. My hub had "charged" our Renault SUV, and we could travel. Actually we didn't make it outside of town, but we got a lot accomplished.

Remember that Deventer carpet/rug we bought online from our favorite auction house? Well, we picked it up after stopping by our favorite thrift store to buy perhaps the smallest (and cheapest!!!) color television and tv stand that we have ever owned. The carpet is still folded up and sitting where my hub dropped it when he lugged it into the living room. We will get to unfolding it and examining it later this weekend. 

By midnight last night my hub had programmed the new(old) tv so that we can see 50+ channels (four of them BBC--yay!). So even if it rains, life is good. I can watch Monty Don on Gardener's World every Friday evening and Jamie Oliver making his "gorgeous" and "literally" meals. 

And our laptop and iPad and landline and cell phones keep us in contact with more people than we even know.

So we are ready for the remodeling to begin.

Kom op, jongens! (Come on, guys!)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Joe's Bayou Memories

It isn't often that a family moves from a home on a beautiful Louisiana bayou and then the grandparents move in. But that is what happened in our family. 

After my brother's job moved his family to another part of the state, my retired parents decided to buy his home and go live on the banks of Joe's Bayou in Waverly, Louisiana.  My brother's family loved that old wooden house and its lovely old live oaks and pines. As my father had begun his life "just right down the road," I know that he felt a bit like he was going back home when he and my mom gave up their family home, church, and friends and made this move. Dad had always wanted to leave the city and get back to the "country." Mom may not always have had so much of that desire, but she did not drag her heels about moving.

In no time they found good neighbors, a good church, and a peaceful life on Joe's Bayou. All of our family who visited Memaw and Papaw in Waverly felt "at home." When we visited, most of us woke up to the smell of frying bacon, pancakes, or on special occasions homemade cinnamon rolls that would make Cinnabon cry.  And watching television was always a joy in the grand living room. But Papaw did not allow eating in the "disney room." So you get an idea of the kinds of tv shows we would watch. And lights and tv were "out" when he was ready for bed at night. We all got a good night's rest!

The home on Joe's Bayou was loved by all who visited including older relatives. One Thanksgiving Papaw's older sister joined the family for that special family day. Her health was not great, and later that week she passed away in my parents' home. She had loved her visit along the banks of Joe's Bayou and had told my mother that she would like to stay there forever. After my father's passing, I found my aunt's ashes and respected her request by spreading her ashes along the banks of Joe's Bayou. So to me it is not only the beloved last home of my parents together, but our aunt's last resting place.

My photography bug niece took a lovely photo of Joe's Bayou on October 5, 2013 in remembrance of her grandfather (and my father) who passed away 15 years ago. He loved Joe's Bayou. We loved him and the bayou that passed by his and my dear mother's home.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Calf in the Demonstration Garden

Sorry to not have any photos of the most spectacular event of my morning at the Beauregard Parish Fair. (Too much rain water in the garden, was wearing my new Birkenstocks, and only had my iPhone camera.)

Here is what happened at the fair this morning: 

Today a couple of fellow Master Gardeners and I were enjoying watching pre-schoolers and their chaperones troup through the exhibition hall and stop off at our neighbor's (the beekeeper) stand and beehive display. 

One of my colleagues happened to glance outside to our flooded Master Gardeners' Demonstration Garden and noticed a commotion going on. As our fence to the garden was locked, and no one had passed us to go outside, she looked out to see who was tramping through the garden. 

Then she shouted, "George will be angry that a cow is crashing through his organic beds." She swung open the door just as a huge calf raced by being followed by someone grabbing at the rope. The calf would have nothing to do with being caught and pulled away at every tug. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw an even larger bull being lead peacefully by a small female handler. The bull bellowed out to the young one to hold still and come back to the livestock corrals. 

It was difficult to keep from laughing, but I know there must be damage in the garden. Finally the bull helped corral the younger guy, and the excitement for the first day at the fair was over.

Later this morning, our official photographer said he had noticed hoof prints and wondered who had had a horse in the garden. Maybe tomorrow I will wear my boots and go out to inspect the damage.

And all this while George is on vacation!