Sunday, March 30, 2014

Flip is "Sleeping Over"

While we are at the Beltway apartment, Flip is on vacation in the Big City.

No ticks!
No "bloody" rabbits!
No annoying daily showers!
Lots of rest!
A fun friend who chases him around the couch!
Exciting nightly surveillance of the opossum in the backyard!
24 hours a day food and water!
And once in a while a different "caregiver" to add to some variety!

Flip has it good with our son!

Sunday morning nap.

What a Collection at Hotel de Leeuw in Deventer!

Back last Fall when we took the Etty Hillesum walking tour of Deventer, The Netherlands, we were told of a Jewish baker family that tried to hide from the Nazis during WWII by moving the family to the attic of a house across the street. They did not keep a good eye on their children and a small daughter was seen peeking out of a window. I can imagine that some Dutch neighbor became richer (5 guilders per person?) by reporting the family to the Nazis and seeing them transported to a concentration camp. Sad, but probably true!

Well, we passed the bakery shop (now a coffee/tea shop)/hotel while out walking yesterday and stopped in for coffee and tea and delicious krentewegge (richly filled raisin bread). 
http://www.hoteldeleeuw.nl/hotel-english.html. Hotel de Leeuw

We had been told there was a museum on the location, and this is what we saw:
Hundreds of coffee mills

And more coffee mills.

There was a candy shop with little paper "punt"(point) bags and jars and bags full of candy.

Makes my teeth hurt to see these.

Shelves of tins of all shapes and sizes.

More tins.

Cookie (speculaas) boards.

Can you believe this collection?

Metal butter and chocolate molds on the left and wooden cookie molds above.

http://www.hoteldeleeuw.nl/hotel-english.html


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dining Table Makeover

Remember this mongrel "table"?


What do you think about this table?
(That is not a bad spot on top of the table. That is a reflection, since I polished that old table until it was gleaming!)

See what I mean?

Free table and thrift store chairs that were 5 Euros each. Can't beat that!

We are proud of our new (old) dining table that we dismantled and heightened.

Tomorrow we will "manhandle" a trundle bed and try to heighten the sitting area on the balcony so we can see the street down below.

And then I have a real surprise. You won't believe what DIY project I am going to attack! 

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Up on a Pedestal

We had the best time tearing this dining table apart today.


Remember, we are in The Netherlands at the Beltway apartment. Since the plumber/ contractor doesn't really seem to want to install a new heater for us, we have been busy doing lots of other little jobs. 

Today it was demantling/ heightening the dining room table we "inherited" from my SIL when she realized she couldn't fit it into her new apartment. We accepted it willingly, since our furnishings here are quite meager at the moment. 

The only problem is that the round table was cut down to a tall coffee table height, and we need a dining table. At the moment we are dining on two bare wood Ikea tables shoved together and covered with a plastic tablecloth. I hope to pick up some Annie Sloan chalk paint next week and "spruce" them up for use elsewhere in the apartment. 

But back to the round table. We had one surprise after another as we dismantled the old table. Besides it having been shortened, we discovered that the entire table was a "mongrel." A piece of table here connected to a piece of table there and so on. Someone in some workshop had had a great time making this table from bits and bobs and odd and ends of furniture. 

In order to add the extra piece of table pillar/ pedestal that we found in a cabinet drawer, we needed to remove the center steel rod. None of my hub's wrenches or such would budge the nut, but the table foot could be easily screwed off by hand. Then the rest of the table just came apart. 

We finally found a metal smith not far from the apartment who agreed to weld the found piece of rod to the main rod for 15 Euros. That should be ready on Friday afternoon. Then we can see if the tinkertoys--oops tabletop--fits back on the pedestal. 

It really sounds confusing, but it was a piece of cake compared to putting together the cabinets for the new closets. Yes, my hub put together three of those monsters this week. And with no instructions! That is the way they come when you buy them on Marktplaats (aka Craigslist)!

Get a Life!

I realize that Blogger times are not accurate. 

And at the moment here in The Netherlands, I am 6 hours ahead of my family's time in Louisiana. 

But I notice that some of my Blogging Friends seem to be "blogging" in the wee hours of the night. 

Has this computer age caused more people to suffer from insomnia? 

Or do some bloggers stay up all night and then sleep all day? 

Maybe you are even suffering from "jet lag" as I have been for the last week and wake every few hours. (Except for today when I could have slept later and longer, but we are expecting a package delivery. Someone [me] has to receive the package!)

Whatever the reason, be sure to get enough sleep and rest. And food and water and sunshine and oxygen and exercise.

Oh, just get a healthy life! 

We will all be right here when you get back. ;))))

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Monday, March 24, 2014

2 Euro ($2.76) Tip

Am I the only one who remembers as a child  shoving ones hand down the side of the living room sofa or chairs searching for loose change? 

Well, today I risked my fingers by checking out the two old wingback chairs I "Barbasoled" over the weekend. I know that I should have done a better job vacuuming the chairs before scrubbing them with Barbasol, but I knew that I would have to eventually give the dry chairs a good vacuum. So I waited until today. 

But something reminded me that I had better check for "lost" items. Over the years my MIL has "lost" a few pieces of jewelry. Besides a few stale pretzels, chips, and cookie crumbs, I found two furniture pins (that could have been painful), a Christmas ornament hanger, a 5 Euro cent piece ($.07) and a 2 Euro coin ($2.76). 

Now I have some extra "pocket money" for shopping at the charity shop. From someone else's pocket now into my pocketbook!

Shame this apartment doesn't have more old furniture!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Back to the Barbershop

It isn't a secret to our American family that both my hub and I wait to get our hair cut on our visits to The Netherlands. We have become regular (every 4-5 months!) customers of a salon owned by a fluffy Turkish lady. We do not even know her name, but we love what she does with our hair. Last Thursday she cut off many inches of my hair, and her colleague clipped my hub's hairdo. Now we are presentable again.


Speaking of barbershops, I have been using my Barbasol upholstery cleaning trick on some inherited wingback chairs. The two chairs were left in the Beltway apartment so that we would have a place to sit once the rest of the furniture was shipped to our Wetcreek home in Louisiana back in October 2012.

Yesterday and today I smeared the two cloth chairs down with Original  Barbasol, rubbed the foam in with old white socks, and then used a wet cloth to remove excess shaving cream. A quick rubdown with a dry towel, and they should look and smell better. When they are thoroughly dry, I will vacuum them.

My hub says the living room smells like a barbershop, but that is better than Febrez.

Barbasol to the rescue once again! 
Love that stuff!






Friday, March 21, 2014

Made in Living Memory

Yesterday while watching one of my favorite BBC shows "Flog It" I heard the expression "made in living memory" used many times. 

At first the saying sounded a bit like something you would hear at funerals or cemeteries, but then I realized they were referring to vintage objects displayed on the show. 

As vintage and antique always seem to have questionable age references, I was glad to add a new terminology to "old dusty stuff." 

MILM ( made in living memory) 

For me that would include anything made from the end of the 1940's until now. Or I can stretch it to my mom's memory and go back to the mid 1920's.

Anyway, I like the term "made in living memory" and thank the BBC for once again enlightening me. 

Now I just need to see what time Monty Don's "Gardeners' World" comes on tv tonight. Humm! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Spring Break Begins

Sunshine at the Beltway Apartment.

I do not plan to keep a daily journal of our Spring Break to Europe, but this blog may sometimes read like that. 

My Dutch hub and I arrived at Schiphol Airport this morning one hour earlier than scheduled. So that means we had to wait for our taxi. Arriving at the busiest traffic time, you never know if the taxi can make good time or not. Our driver said he checked the arrival time before he went to bed on Tuesday night, and there was no notification that our flight would arrive early. Only those of us on board were given that info, I guess. So we waited. What else is there to do when you have reserved a taxi? And when your inner clock says it is 1:00 am and why aren't you in bed asleep?

The ride to the Beltway was a usual "trip" for me who hates Dutch highway high speed morning traffic. But we arrived safely and found the apartment bathed in sunlight. Heat turned on, new Ikea curtains thrown wide open, a few rugs thrown on the new wooden floors, and it is "home sweet home" for the next six weeks!

I found a package of sliced Gouda cheese and a few slices of brown bread in the freezer. So our first meal was simple but filling. Now that we have a new American size fridge, we won't have to visit the grocery store every couple of days.

I have already slept a couple of hours to try to get over this jet lag, but I will let Hub sleep a little longer before reminding him that we need to get out into this sunshine and get some provisions for the next few weeks.

Today is Spring weather here. But the weather report is Summer tomorrow! 

Can't ask for a better beginning to a European Vacation!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Garden Before Our Vacation

We will start a six week vacation tomorrow.

I cleaned out our raised garden beds during the last two weeks. Here is what they looked like a week ago.










On March 14, 2014, I planted 16 tomato plants, 4 green pepper plants, and two eggplants. Then I filled in with some " over dated" pea seed and basil seed. 

On Saturday, March 15, my hub and I set up 15 tomato cages around most of the tomato plants. That evening and night we received  a lot of rain. And last night (Sunday) there was a light frost.

This veggie garden of 2014 will be a "the plants did it on their own" garden. The rabbits may devour the peas like in "Peter Rabbit" and your-guess-is-as-good-as-mine if the tomatoes will find their cages and stay in them (of course if they didn't freeze to death last night!).

Stay tuned for After photos at the beginning of May. 

And come back to this blog for "European Vacation" highlights. (We haven't even left Houston yet, and we have already had a few "situations.")

Tot Ziens (see you later), Linda


Pizza Delivery and The Big City

We live reasonably isolated/insulated from the outside world. And we have been living like this for over 25 years now. Oh, we worked and visited in the big wide world, but home was "out in the sticks." (Well, sticks these days and fields when we were still in The Netherlands.)

Today we are in The Big City with our son. Sights and sounds are quite different from our solitude in the country, but remember that I like "the neighborhood." 

Even Flip adjusts quite quickly now. This morning we took a quick doggie sanitary walk down the neighborhood street, and now he is nestled back in his bed inside his cage. That will somewhat be his routine for the next few weeks. Wonder if he remembers that from the times passed, or does he just know that is where he can find his bed?

Tomorrow my hub and I will cross over the big puddle to spend the next few weeks with more humans than we want to count. I'll be back in a neighborhood, and he will be able to talk (in Dutch, that is).

After six weeks at the Beltway Apartment, we will probably be ready for a quiet summer at a dry Wetcreek.


(Oops, forgot to say that we had pizza delivered last night. That would never happen in Wetcreek. Don't think you can find us on a GPS! But we will try it out at least once at the Beltway Apartment.)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Hospital CEO Comes to Call

If you have been reading my blog for a long time, you know that I am not a fan of hospitals. And I am highly critical of hospital cleanliness. Since, as far as I am concerned, that does not exist in most hospitals around here.

Recently my mom had an "opportunity" to spend the night in a local hospital for observation of her heart. It was a routine check-up overnight visit, and I was the chauffeur. Getting her settled in for the night and the tests went smoothly, although at 4:00 PM everyone from reception to housekeeping was ready to go home for the day. The lights were actually turned off in admissions. And an aide let us know that we were delaying her leaving early.

But in general, all went well. As usual, no one gets any rest in the hospital, and my mom was ready to go home when I arrived to check on her at 9:15 the next morning. Then sometime between 9:30 and 10:00 AM the hospital CEO and the head administrator/ nurse stopped in my mom's room to see how everything was going.

There was my chance! My big chance to complain about the condition of the floors, the toilet, the sink, the bed, the everything to the CEO!

But, there were no complaints. Job well done, B.M. Hospital!

 (As for the staff turning off the lights at 4:00 PM, I should be used to that. When I taught at a local high school six years ago, it was not unusual for the teachers to be in their cars ready to drive away before the school buses were loaded with students.)


Friday, March 14, 2014

Have You Tried Noosa Finest Yoghurt?


One more yoghurt you might want to try. I did, and it was delice. But not pure milk and live cultures like I want. 

So I won't be buying this again for me. My hub who doesn't really like Greek yoghurt liked this. To me it tastes good, but like a pudding.

Made in Colorado. Aussie style yoghurt
300 calories for 8 ounces (1 cup)
Contains: Pasteurized milk, cream, skim milk, cane sugar, honey, milk protein, Kosher gelatin, organic agar, pectin, and usual live culture.
Website: noosayoghurt.com

Thursday, March 13, 2014

https://www.healthcare.gov

Please no comments are necessary for this post today.
Everyone needs health care.
https://www.healthcare.gov
Healthcare

Nostimo Greek Yogurt and Corn Dogs

Yes, I still make my own Greek yoghurt.
No, this is not a paid commercial.

Yesterday we shopped at Super Foods while my medicine prescription was being filled there in the pharmacy. Nice clean store that has a huge selection of namebrand products. Sad that it could not be located closer to our home.

Since we had to "waste" about 20 minutes waiting for the meds to be ready, we browsed. The produce and meats were fresh and beautiful, but we really did not need to purchase anything at the moment. So we kept looking around. 

Then I spied corn dogs. My hub has been saying for a couple of years now that he wanted to try "corn dogs." As I know how he dislikes cornbread and hot dogs, I never saw the need to buy them. Well, now two corn dogs are lying in our fridge waiting for him to try. (He doesn't like mustard or catsup either, so this should be interesting, don't you think?)

But the most interesting thing about Super Foods is the varieties of yogurt they have to offer. 

This morning I shoved my own homemade Greek yoghurt to the side and tried Nostimo Greek Nonfat Yogurt. 


Six ounces for $.85
0% fat.
I tried the plain kind, since I like my yoghurt pure and strained with no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
100 calories per 6 ounces (170g). 
Only contains cultured pasteurized skim milk with live and active cultures including Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus, and L. Casei.
Is distributed by Topco Associates in Skokie, Illinois.
A Product of the USA.
I just found this anonymous comment on a review of Nostimo Greek Yogurt:
"I just opened my fat-free Meijer store-brand yogurt and the lid under the lid was Nostimo. So apparently Meijer re-brands the Nostimo as its own - or vice-versa."

I can find no Nostimo website!



My opinion: I liked  the yoghurt and would buy more if I lived near Super Foods. Tastes as good as my homemade variety.
  1. My favorite breakfast is good quality granola and excellent Greek yoghurt topped with honey.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bisquick Cornbread Recipe

We had a "cup of soup" today at the local Baptist Keenagers' monthly luncheon. 

As guests, we were asked to bring, rice, crackers, or desserts. 

Since I wasn't sure what kind of soup we would have, I chose to make cornbread. I like that with soup much better than crackers. But I was looking for a different kind of cornbread, as I get tired of the usual recipes. 

I tried the following recipe found on t-kakes.blogspot.com ( http://t-kakes.blogspot.com/2010/11/bisquick-cornbread.html).

This recipe is a keeper. In fact, I could have placed it on the dessert table with a bowl of yummy honey butter or fresh strawberries and cream. And it was perfect with the potato soup, the beef/veggie soup, and the chicken noodle soup!


Bisquick Cornbread

2 cups Bisquick
6 T. cornmeal, 
1/2 cup Sugar, 
2 Eggs, 
1/2 cup salted Butter (Melted)
1 cup Milk (I used 1/2 cup sour cream plus 1/2 cup skim milk)

Preheat oven to 350˚. 
Mix Bisquick, cornmeal, and sugar together. Set aside. 
Add milk and eggs to melted butter (make sure it's slightly cooled) and stir together. 
Pour milk mixture into Bisquick mixture and stir together. 
Pour batter into a greased/floured 8x8 baking dish. 
Bake at 350˚ for 35 minutes or until golden brown. 

If you want a variation, then you can substitute buttermilk in the place of regular milk. If you want more of a Mexican cornbread, then throw in 1 jalapeno (diced), 1/3 cup cheddar cheese, and 3 green onions (thinly sliced). 
Enjoy.




Sunday, March 9, 2014

Gate's Up!

The gate is up. Still needs brick pillars and solar remote.

Not a dollar sign! Just family initials for seven generations.

And where else but in America will you see this kind of sign?

We Should Have Retired At 22

I still think our working lives are backwards. My idea is that everyone should finish their formal education, retire for 15-20 years, then begin working and work until they drop. 

I know! I know! Who is going to be able to afford "retirement"? Well, your parents would finance your retirement, of course! Where else would their hard earned money go?

Has she gone "bonkers" on this Sunday morning, you ask?

No, but I do think about the number of people who never even get a chance to enjoy their retirement.

But we are!

And we are learning more about each other every single day!

Now we have time to sleep late, early, or even in between, and who cares?

We cook and eat what we like, and throw out what we don't.

We work on projects whenever we feel like it, and we stop whenever we have had enough.

We stay at home and enjoy it.

We pack up and travel when we want to, not because we have to.

We exercise/walk when we haven't already worn ourselves out by doing odd jobs here at home.

We watch hours of TV or read hours of books/magazines with minor interruptions.

And we do more research and learn more than we ever did in school or university.

Just think what a better "workforce" there would be if everyone could retire before the "real" work began.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Four and Twenty Blackbirds Make Dirty Rice


My brother took this crazy photo of an Alfred Hitchcockish type attack of birds on a rice truck in Louisiana. 

You never know what you might see when you stop at a railroad crossing. This time it is "dirty birdy rice."

Friday, March 7, 2014

End of the Road (Or End of my Rope ;D )

However you look at it, installing our gate at the end of our road today is the last building chore. And as for most building jobs, I stay out of it.

When we came to live in the US in 2006 (me--repatriation after 27 years in The Netherlands and my hub--immigration the correct and time/money consuming way) we shipped all of our worldly possessions and more here to our soon-to-be-built home. For over a year our 500+ boxes and crates of "goods" rested in our climate-controlled metal barn.

One item still remains in that barn waiting to be installed. That is our gate. 

Finally, today, after 7 1/2 years in our barn, someone is coming to install the gate. It will have a home for the third time (first at my in-law's home, then ours in The Netherlands, and now here in southwest Louisiana.)

We are literally and figuratively "at the end of the road."

We are now living in our second home at the end of the road. The home below was the last house on that side of our road. The road ended in "De Hel." (no translation needed!)

That is the gate. 


Installation is still in progress here in the US. Two hours down and counting!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sorry. I Am The Cleaning Lady

Do you still get an unwanted telephone call now and then? 

Well, we do. In fact, we received one this morning as I was scurrying around the house getting ready for our cleaning lady to come vacuum the floors. 

The gentleman on the phone was polite and wanted to verify an address for a free magazine my hub had ordered. The mailing address was correct, but then he dropped the big question:"What is your name and function?" 

My answer was, "Oh, sorry. I am the cleaning lady." 

With a polite, "Sorry to have bothered you,"the caller hung up.

Bingo! Now I have my new way to get rid of annoying callers. 

Oooor, I could say the following:
"You are speaking with the gardener (or chef, or washwoman, or nurse, or chauffeur, or caregiver, or pet manicurist, or pet sitter, or window washer, or errand girl, or dog walker, or who knows what else)."

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It Got Worse Before It Got Better

You know that ice storm we woke up to this morning? 

Well, it got worse. (no photos, sorry)

And around lunch time the electricity went out. 

And, yes, we are a fully electric home!

Oh, we have a fireplace.  But as we have never used it in the 7 years living in this house, we did not want to risk it today. I don't enjoy firemen visitors on even a nice day!

So we read until around 5:15. Then ate chilly, room temperature dinner leftovers from yesterday. I always cook for two days, and today was the second half. 

We found the wind-up radio and searched for an emergency weather station.

Before it got dark, my hub walked Flip in the freezing cold. 

Then I lit candles. 

And Hub lit the two vintage gas lamps and put the battery lamp on the hall bench.

We put our headlamps in our pockets and Then The Electricity Came On at 6:15!

Happy (Brrrr) Mardi Gras!

It "ain't" Spring yet!

Location: Southwest Louisiana
Date: Mardi Gras, March 4, 2014

Enjoy the Ice Show (I am trying to :((((

Cardinal pappa in his thickest winter coat. What is he planning in this weather?

See the sleet ( no snow down here!) on his tail.

Blackberry cuttings in the sleet and ice.

Pine branches laden with ice.

Dutch bird feeder with icicles. Only one little bird in the back.

More feeders almost empty, but ice rink on the roof.

Dinner for some birds and ice for their beverages.

Even the garden totems are dripping ice.

Boy, that E6000 glue is good. These garden decorations (that's a plastic spider, by the way) have endured at least two years of extreme heat and now this ice storm and icicles on top.

Olive trees don't look so good iced over.

Up close and personal with the icy olive branches.

And what we fought all winter!!! Our grand agaves are frozen!