Sunday, August 31, 2014

Waverly and Joe's Bayou

No love letter today.
Just a love drawing.

Last night while reading through the last of the love letters to my parents, I came across this drawing of their home in Waverly, Louisiana. Our then 6 1/2 year old son and I spent several weeks the summer of 1990 with my parents out at their home on Joe's Bayou.

In October of that same year, "little J." drew this picture: 

I love the alligator and canoe and even snake in the bayou. 
What about the bench out in the backyard? 
And that railroad track across the road! How many times did that train whistle wake us?

This is the Google Map snap.

And this is Joe's Bayou.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

LL 11 september 1979

Venice Photo Source
11 september 1979

Dear Mother and Daddy,

J. went back to work today, so I'm catching up on housework. Yesterday I went to the Volks University to see about taking a Dutch course. Thursday night I have to go back to take a test to see how much I know (not much I'm sure). Then I will be placed in a class. That will begin the end of this month.

Also, I'm planning to go to the police station to register tomorrow so I had new photographs made yesterday. I am enclosing one of the better ones. I will probably have to wait in a long line to register, but there is no other alternative.

Yesterday afternoon we drove to the Hague (30 min.) to my Michigan State course. I think the class should be easy and will give me something to keep me busy for 5 weeks. (The class meets Mon and Thursday 4-6 pm.) J. will drive me on Mondays, but I'll ride the train on Thursdays. My Dutch class will be either Thursday or Friday night.

I miss not working, but I'm glad that I've saved a little money and am able to take these classes. Perhaps next week I'll call the American schools to remind them that I'm still available to substitute.

I was glad to get home Sunday night. This vacation was very interesting, but I was worn out when we arrived in Olst late Friday night. The day that J., another couple, and I went to Venice, A. and I had food poisoning. We think we got it while eating the night before at an Italian family's home (tuna salad). I have never had such stomach cramps! We were sick for over two days, but we never stopped sightseeing. Luckily, we just had the cramps and didn't have to visit the toilet often because they are hard to find in Venice.

Venice is the most unusual place I've ever been. There are only boats and water canals through the city. We parked the car outside of the city, because we couldn't drive on water. There are walking streets, but no cars. The boats go right up to the doors of the hotels, train station, etc. We saw venetian glass being made and visited the Lido (the very first bathing beach). I waded in the Adriatic Sea while we were there.

Last week on the way home we slept in Innsbruck, Austria and in Germany with J's cousin. We visited two castles built by Ludwig II (Lindenhof and Swan Castle). We also saw a Glockenspiel (sp.) like a gigantic cuckoo clock.

But I'm relaxed again at home. And B----straat 32 does feel like home now. No more vacationing until Christmas.

We are having corn-on-the-cob and chops for dinner. Wish you were here to join us.
Take care and take some photographs for me. Tell W. she isn't doing her job.

Love, Linda

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hand-stitched Quilt Flimsies

Don't send me to town on an errand!

Our town isn't large, but next to the cemetery is located a small vintage items mall/shop. (Appropriate place for DPS, don't you think?)

On the way out of town yesterday I dropped by the shop just to check out the prices on Pyrex bowls (which were waaay toooo expensive), and I found these three handsewn quilt flimsies (quilt tops).

The story is that the hand pieced quilt tops were made locally by an elderly lady. The seller could not/would not remember her name. 

All three were cheap! 
$8.00 each!

All three need repair! 

All three were lovingly sewn by hand. 

I can't take them apart! 
I can repair them!
I can iron them! 
I may even quilt them!

And Flip is with me all the way.

Hey, there is a Blog Party at Join in.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Vacation Postcard--28/8/79

(Refer to X on front of card.).     LAGO D'ISEO.       SALE MARASINO


Dear Mother and Daddy,
The weather is clearing from the thunderstorm we had this a.m. Yesterday it was hot, but today the weather is cool. I'm glad I have socks and long sleeves.
We had lasagna, sweet and sour peppers, beef liver, and wine and cheese in the village today. We eat out everyday, so I'm resting from the kitchen for a couple of weeks.
I found an inexpensive leather shoe shop today. We'll go back and shop later this week.
Take care and I miss you.
Love, Linda and J.
And Hi, F. I miss you. Write me.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Time to Get my Dirty Feet off the Table!

I am really trying to get into this quilting thing. While reading a few quilting blogs, I ran across the sewing machine accessory called a "walking foot." A while back my oldest niece asked if I had a walking foot, and I referred her to my mom, the seamstress in our family. At that time, I didn't have the faintest idea what a "walking foot" was.

But now I do. And one for my late 1960's vintage super high shank Kenmore sewing machine will cost $50.00. Not just any old "walking foot" will fit my machine, so I suppose that I will just do without it in quilting my quilt. My mom said she never had one, and she made lots of quilts back when. So I will do without, too.

But in the meantime, I will keep an eye out for a cheaper genuine special walking attachment for my Kenmore that has sailed the Atlantic twice in its almost fifty year existence. 

Yesterday while thrifting, I found a box containing a huge assortment of Singer sewing machine attachments and feet. No luck with finding the foot I needed, but I have spent a few hours today identifying and labeling the accessories found in that sewing box. 

Who knows? Maybe I can make someone else happy with a Hemmer or Ruffler or Tuckmarker.

[I am partying at Ivy and Elephants.]

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Shelfie #9--Love Letters

This is just one of three stacks of love letters that I am enjoying reading. This particular stack was written 35 years ago by me to my loving parents. The rest are stashed away in an old black suitcase at my feet as I write this blog.

Stay tuned for more love letter reveals later on this week.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

LL 25 augustus 1979

25 augustus 1979

Dear Mother and Daddy,

While Signor J. prepares spaghetti with ragu sauce, I'll let you know about our trip so far. We left Olst on Tuesday morning around 11:00. Traveling out of Holland and into Germany in the rain was not exactly scenic, but it was interesting. We spent that night in a German guest house near Rottweil, Germany. The room had no hot water or bathroom. Wednesday morning I went to the toilet downstairs and got locked in. I shouted "Help" and pounded on the door. Finally, the lady manager awoke and opened the door. J. said he heard me, but he thought someone was being awakened by the knocking.

Wednesday we entered Switzerland. We walked for 2 hours in Zurich and then travelled to Lucern. We walked through the shopping area looking for a store that sells Famolare shoes. We found it, but they no longer sell those shoes. Europeans don't like comfortable, ugly shoes for women.

Chapel Bridge, Lucerne, Switzerland
(photo source--

Then we drove on to Lauterbrunnen outside of Interlaken, Switzerland. We slept in a nice hotel, but the shower was only one big drip. We had a delicious steak with french fries for dinner.

Thursday morning we arose early and rode a train up the mountains Eiger and Jungfrau. We saw "real" glaciers and snow everywhere on the top of the mountains. The temperature was below freezing, but luckily I was dressed warmly. We went as high as 11,333 ft (above 2 miles). Can you believe there was actually a restaurant there? The train is the only one in the world to go so high.

That afternoon we visited Trummelbachfalle (pot holes made by the glaciers). We went inside these pot holes with the waterfalls only inches away spraying our faces. 

(photo source--

You can guess how frightened I was. Later we travelled back to Interlaken and then through two mountain passes in the fog and rain. I was a nervous wreck. J. was mad because we couldn't see the panoramic view, and I was GLAD I couldn't see the scary ride.

Thursday night we slept in a quaint little guest house with a pitcher and wash bowl and no hot water. It is strange that they had handworked lace sheets and a delightful feather comforter, but a dinky toilet on the 2nd floor.

Friday morning we rode on another pass through the fog. Then we entered Italy, and the weather immediately cleared up and got warm. We walked around Milan and had some famous Italian gelati (ice milk).We arrived here in Iseo, Italy around 4:30 p.m. And came to the house but the guests were still here. So we stayed last night in a hotel by the lake. The view was beautiful across the lake to the neighboring island. Last night a terrible thunderstorm hit the area around 9:00. I think I even heard hail, but I was afraid to look out to see.

This morning we shopped for groceries and came up the mountain to the house. The guests were still here, but they left about an hour after we arrived. J. and I worked for a couple of hours setting everything up for us. We even put up an aluminum and plastic swimming pool that is filling with water over night.

I had time to get a little sunburn on my arms while sitting on the balcony. The temperature was about 78 F in the shade, but the breeze makes it feel cooler. Tonight the temperature is in the 60's.

J's spaghetti wasn't his best, but it was filling. We'll stay here tomorrow (Sunday) since there is too much traffic in the village. Monday we'll do some shopping and sightseeing.

It is good to have my own guide and translator. He can get along anywhere. I'm understanding more Dutch. Hopefully I'll begin my class when we return.

Well, my handwriting is getting worse so I'll stop. Please don't forget the money transfer from my savings to my checking. I will need it Sept. 10.
Tell everyone hello, and I'll write again next week.
Love, Linda

Friday, August 22, 2014

LL 27 juli 1979

27 juli 1979
10:00 a.m.

Dear Mother and Daddy,
Before the sun gets too warm, I'll sit in it and write you a few lines. From the balcony I can hear the dentist's drill, check out everyone's laundry, and read grafitti on the wall enclosing the apartment complex! It is unusual to see open windows, but with the warm weather yesterday and today I see a few.

I received your letter of July 18 yesterday. I can't understand why it takes your letters 2-6 days longer than those that come from Baton Rouge. Maybe Alexandria is an out-of-the-way place? 

Before lunch I will walk to the city center to shop for MV's birthday present. She is the wife of J.'s best friend. I don't know what to buy. Maybe something for the kitchen. She has one boy 1 1/2 years old and is expecting another baby in January.

J. apologizes for not writing. He said he will try to drop you a letter soon. If you have a chance, you might write Mr. and Mrs. S. a short note. They have been very good to me. Last week-end they took me shopping (we bought cheap meat) and they bought me some plants. Also, they keep my refrigerator stocked with fresh vegetables from their garden.

Tomorrow we go back to Olst to visit with the Italians and J.'s parents. We will go have dinner in a Chinese/Indonesian restaurant. I hope I have eggrolls. I want some Mexican food so bad I can taste it, but I'll just have to wait until Christmas.

I will see about interviews Tuesday. If I don't get a teaching job, we will leave on August 18 for a vacation in Italy. I want the job, but I want to go on vacation, too. I have mixed feelings.

I baked whole wheat bread on Tuesday and it was beautiful. It didn't taste too bad either. We finished it last night with bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes. That was J.'s first BLT sandwich. It passed the test. Tonight we'll have ribs. That is his favorite.

I'm doctoring fever blisters on my lip and in my nose. Maybe I got too much sun, but nothing else is blistered. I just hope they are well by next Tuesday. Either I am getting used to the tooth pain or it is disappearing. Anyway, I haven't had to take aspirin in 4 days. But I still have to be extra careful when eating cold or hot food. I guess we shouldn't have bothered those teeth.

Well, I'll check my wash and get ready to walk a couple of miles. Take care and write whenever you can.
Love, Linda
                                                                                                                         Photo Source
Heineken Brewery in Rotterdam

[Our apartment was built on the former site of the old Heineken Brewery in Rotterdam. Interestingly enough, our home in Zoeterwoude was just down the road from the present Heineken Brewery. And why I was baking bread is still a mystery to me, since the Dutch bakers make the most delicious bread. Fresh every single day and any kind you can imagine. Plus, our apartment was located just steps away from the most wonderful small bakery, cheese store, and butcher. Was I just being domestic or trying to fill up my time?]

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Postcard 24 juli 1979

[Cornelis Kaay (geb. 1905) Dorpsgezicht Nieuwe Niedorp. Collectie Westfries Museum te Hoorn]

24 juli 1979

Dear Mother and Daddy,
Had liver, onions, and homemade bread for supper. Wish you could have been here. J. is oiling and repairing my sewing machine. Hope it helps. 
Have received many letters from students. I will miss those kids the most when school begins. Will see about job interview next week. Keep your fingers crossed.
Had a nice weekend in Olst. Heard 4 languages on Sunday. What confusion!! Maybe we'll go there again this coming week-end (28-29). I'll write more later. 
Love, Linda

[Luchtpost/Par Avion 50 guilder cents stamp. By the way, I am still using that Kenmore sewing machine that is now 44 years old and has crossed the Atlantic twice--once by mail and once by freight. Before I left my teaching post in Baton Rouge in the spring of 1979, most teachers in East Baton Rouge Parish were On Strike. With my impending move to Europe, I could not afford to Strike. So I crossed the picket lines every morning to get into school. Needless to say, I received my pay, but I lost most of my friends. :(( What a way to say, "Farewell." And the 4 languages--Dutch, English, Italian, and French. Maybe there was even some German thrown in for good measure.]

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Flip keeps pretty good track of where I am most of the day. He even photo bombs my 1980's quilt project.

Photo bomb on the flimsy.

Then we had a photo session. Flip was a great model ! Very obedient!





Dead! (Just playing dead. Comes in handy when I am trying to dry him off after a doggie shower!)

Our dog Flip!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Love Letter Reveal

I have always been a letter writer. 

My first letter home from college (only two hours away) in 1966 was over 8 pages long. My mom must have gotten rid of those long epistles even before I made my life-changing trip to live in The Netherlands in the summer of 1979. 

So I will begin my Share and Tell with a pale pink envelope with a lacy pale pink piece of stationery dated July 1979.

But before I share a piece of my past, I must set up some basic rules for myself:
1. No names, just initials.
2. No slandering.
3. Keep it real and interesting.
4. No fabricated letters. ;)
5. Explanations where necessary.

Here goes---

20 juli, 1979

Dear Mother and Daddy, 

Reading your letter about your fantastic trip made me almost as excited as you were. J. said he has always wanted to see the Mesa Verde, so maybe on one of our trips we'll be able to see it, too. I'm glad that you had such a great time. Now start saving your pennies for your European trip. Round trip APEX fare is only around $500. We will take care of you after you get here.

Write me more about F.'s job in Baton Rouge. Where is he living? Tell S. I'm still having nerve exposure pains every night when I go to bed. I take one aspirin and it stops, but the feeling is sure annoying. I thought the bad feeling would go away, but it hasn't.

All of my packages have arrived, but the sewing machine is not working. Something must have jarred the mechanisms loose. J. is going to work on it next week. Luckily he can do things like that. If it is really broken, I'll have to buy another machine. I'd be lost without my sewing machine.

We will travel to Olst tonight. Sunday Mr. and Mrs. S. will receive 8 visitors from Italy. With 3 languages being spoken I should have an enormous headache Sunday night when we return.

I will write more later. I will get ready to walk to meet J. when he gets off work.

Love, Linda

P.S. I hope the dryer is working fine!
P.S.S. Daddy, you can write me too if you wish.

[ 35 years later I call my mother "Mom." Don't ask me why I changed. 
I was lucky that my parents enjoyed traveling and took real vacations. And $500 for a round trip ticket? I visited Europe in 1976, 1977, and 1978 before I decided to move there in the summer of 1979. My dad thought I was a bit looney to make all of those trips, since my monthly salary as a full time teacher in Louisiana in 1979 was just at $1000.
When I left, my youngest brother "inherited" my furniture, and my parents bought my dryer. Our middle brother had begun his dental practice, and he and his wife and kiddies had settled back in our hometown.
Before I left the US, I mailed eight boxes of my personal belongings to Rotterdam. Each box weighed less than 40 pounds and the cost was about $40.00 per box. I did nothing special to pack those boxes. Was there even bubble wrap back then? My portable Kenmore sewing machine was cushioned with a real cushion--my bed pillow! All eight of the parcels arrived within six weeks time.
My future in-laws often had overnight (overweekend) guests from other countries. So the prospect of a future daughter-in-law from the US was not so unusual.]

Now that you have the gist of the background, I will try to limit my explanations. Questions and comments are welcome.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Love Letters--A Peek into My Past

This week I helped my mom clean out and declutter the closet in her study. 

A few things went straight to the trash. (A large box of 20 year old copies of Reader's Digest mags, two computer consoles without hard drives, and an old computer printer). 

A couple boxes of my books and school yearbooks came home with me after having spent 35 years in her closets. Some bits and pieces of sewing material scraps plus an almost completed quilt flimsy (with blocks of many of my dresses from the 1970's) and quilt batting and an old quilting frame found its way into the trunk of my Jeep. Needless to say, that looks like a project for me.

But what I really was looking for among the Christmas decorations and a box of my Dad's photos and memorabilia was a box of Love Letters. "Love letters" I had written to my Mother and Father when I made my life changing move from Louisiana to The Netherlands back in 1979. Many of the letters are at least 30 years old or even older.

One of the last boxes I sorted through in the closet contained my letters. Yippee!! Well, at least most of the letters were there. There was evidence in the box that some small creature had snacked on a few envelopes, so maybe the rest were the main course. 

Anyway, I have lots of memories to enjoy in those letters. Today I read through the 20 letters from my first 6 months of living in Europe, and I have decided to share excerpts from some letters that some of my followers might actually enjoy. 

The letters to my folks were definitely not complaint letters, as my mom says that sometimes this blogpost can be. 

So come back later for a peek into my past.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Breaking Bad Marathon and Dr. Pepper Pork

What do you do when it is too hot to do anything outside?

Well, this weekend while in The Big City with our bachelor son we kept cool while watching television and cooking/eating pulled pork. 

Doesn't sound too healthy, but it is what it is. August always proves to be a killer when it comes to keeping fit. Even our Flip is on the "fluffy" size, but cooler temps in a few weeks should change all that.

Late Friday night my hub and son began the Breaking Bad marathon. I jumped in on show viewing Saturday afternoon while reading a few blogs, pouring the Dr. Pepper and canned hot peppers in sauce over the 11 pound pork roast as in the Pioneer Woman's recipe (Recipe Here)and stuffing a load of clothes into the washing machine.

Watching non-stop episodes of Breaking Bad starring Brian Cranston and Aaron Paul gradually became addictive. As I slipped into the storyline, my hub was slipping out. Although Hub can watch hours of home building or automobile reconstruction or even American political shows, he started to get tired of Breaking Bad. Between the Bloomberg News articles, he looked up for the next predicament that high school chemistry teacher and his former student "partner in crime" were into. I, on the other hand, began to follow this "soapy", but not so squeaky clean drama.

As in most crime thrillers and even sit-coms today, the writers try to appeal to lots of audiences. Breaking Bad is no exception. This one includes almost everything imaginable. From low paid school teacher to cancer treatments to unexpected pregnancy to shoplifting to deaths to drugs to cops to embezzlement to Spanish to chicken restaurants to family relations to escape miracles to airplane crashes. You name it. It is nestled somewhere in there.

As you can imagine, we did not complete the marathon. But Hub will find the series so that we can see a bit more. 

And if not, we can wait until next winter for the next "big baddie" Better Call Saul.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Complain, Complain!

My mom calls my blog my "complaint" blog. Rightfully so, I guess. So today I promise not to complain.

Yesterday my preggie cleaning girl came back to help me with my vacuuming. Don't ask how that happened. It just did, and I am not complaining!

This morning we had a good rain shower for about 30 minutes. Plants in the yard are watered. No complaints from me. ( My hub may feel differently, since he was planning to mow grass later today.)

My new batch of yoghurt set up well. No complaints!

I cleaned 1/2 of the kitchen cabinets yesterday while Miss J. was vacuuming, and now I need to go finish that instead of writing this. 

But no complaints.

Just stating a fact!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Take a Tylenol and Keep Your Soleplate Clean

Okay! Okay! You don't have to get out your iron, but I did yesterday. And I pressed up a few pieces of material to prepare to make a quilt. I didn't notice the soleplate of the iron before I began, but at the end of the session with spray starch it was a little streaky. (Sorry, no photos!)

As I NEVER iron anything, I decided to see if I could clean up the iron before I really need it. So I Googled "cleaning iron soleplates," and found some interesting but useless advice.

So this is what I tried this morning on my cold stainless steel soleplate:

1. Wiped it with a dry cloth--no more dust!

2. Used a wet cloth--looked the same as #1.

3. Used a very hot wet cloth--hmmm. No difference.

4. Squirted some dish washing liquid on my cloth--not any better, but it smells good!

5. Rinsed out the soap and added some white vinegar--naaaaa!

6. Added some baking soda to the vinegar cloth--Nope!

7. Threw the cloth into the sink and went to the medicine cabinet. Took a Tylenol-- Watch both videos: Here and Here

8. Turned the iron on to the hottest setting. While waiting for it to heat up, I moistened a piece of paper kitchen towel with plain water. Then I held the long white generic Tylenol (acetaminophen) in my hand and scrubbed the black stripes in circles. The pill dissolved as I scrubbed, and then I wiped off the residue with the damp kitchen towel. A Miracle--the black stripe was gone! 

Warning::::::: I do not recommend using pliers to hold the pain killer, since when you let it slip you can scratch the soleplate. That can be worse than sticky stripes or residue. There must be a safer way to hold the pill in your hand while scrubbing, but for the time being I won't have to worry about that. The next time I 'll probably do this will be in about 10 years!

This soleplate is residue free! Any marks are scratches :(((. Told you I was a bad housekeeper!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Home Sweet Home

My youngest brother and his three children can draw. We always said they inherited that art from our mom, but who knows? All I know is that the talent skipped right over me! I have trouble with stick figures ;(

Some 35 years ago, my brother F.  drew this picture of our family home. We have lots of photos of those front steps and Mom's roses and flowerbeds, but I like his interpretation the best.

I can still see us sitting on those steps waiting for my dad to drive in from his work. My brothers were usually dressed in their sports uniforms waiting for Dad to make it in time to drive them to their practice or game. And I was counting down the minutes until I would be late for my piano lesson.

And as for Mom, she was waiting to put the dinner on the table and finally have her family back together after a very busy day.

Update: Oops! I am such a poor photographer! Now I see my "selfie" in the reflection! Oh, well! ( Seems those are my Mom's favorite words.)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Shelfie #8 --Another Dutch Connection

This chest of drawers top perhaps says it all about who I am. 

The chest itself is vintage, but it was my first real "paint job." When I purchased my own furniture in the mid 70's, this was one of the initial pieces. It was blank wood, but I smeared on the brown paint. As I had no idea what I was doing, for years the drawers stuck and made it pretty useless. After 7 years in our dry home, it is a functioning chest of drawers for storing extra bed linens for the guest bedroom. And the drawers rarely stick!

The hand-crocheted scarf is actually a curtain valence that I thrifted at a Catholic Missions shop in Zoeterwoude, The Netherlands back in the 1990's. There was a time when Dutch farmhouse windows were decorated with these little curtains. In fact, I used what pieces I could find to "curtain" our old farmhouse back when we lived on the Westeindseweg.

The wooden klompen (clogs) came from one of my Dutch thrift shops. I can't remember which shop,  since I have had those Dutch shoes for close to 30 years. I always liked the "modern" design. Almost too feminine for wooden shoes.

The portrait is just a print, and probably something someone found in a magazine. But I am sure that the price was in my range (around 2.50 guilders back in the 1980's and 1990's). And the girl is just charming in her native costume!

Then there is the Dutch shaving box story. Over 20 years ago, my aunt, uncle, and her relatives came for a short visit to our home in The Netherlands. My young son and I skipped school one day and took them on a tour of Amsterdam. My aunt and her sister are thrifters, so we visited a few junk shops and antique stores while crossing the city. At one shop, someone in our group eyed the wooden shaving box. When I was sure the ladies weren't going to buy it, I snatched it up and paid 10 guilders for it. That price was way above my limit of 2.50 guilders, but I saw it as a true vintage item even back then. And to this day I am still glad I bought it. ( By the way, I heard later that the two ladies found an old printer's wooden letter box out on the street curb on their walk through the city of Delft. That was a good "cheap" find!)

And about the hat? That is a local US find. Wish I could find my blogpost on that green beauty ;)