Monday, June 29, 2015

What Leads You? What keeps you on track?

On our morning walks, our grand-dog Nismo is led by butterflies.

He is still not a "walking" inspired pup, but chasing the black butterflies on the meadow path keep him moving forward. 

Glad I am getting some "natural" assistance.

What leads you forward? And keeps you on track?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mayonnaise Biscuits??

Easiest Ever Mayonnaise Biscuits/Muffins
(I actually halved the recipe for only 6 biscuits/muffins. The muffins in the left plate were my first try this morning from a recipe that called for too much salt. Just doing "kitchen chemistry" this morning!!  ;))))
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 12 biscuits/muffins
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium size bowl.
  3. Add the mayo and milk and stir until a soft dough forms.
  4. Drop heaping tablespoons full of dough into greased muffin tin.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
  6. Makes 12 biscuits/muffins.                                                                                                 (adapted recipe from Friday is Cake Night at

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Fried Green Tomatoes, Anyone?

I know what you are thinking when you see my morning's tomato harvest. Fried Green Tomatoes?
Nah, we are just going to let them ripen. 

With the rainy weather we have had the last two months, these "maters" don't know what to do. The plants were top-heavy, fell over, and anything pink, yellow, or red was attacked by little critters (aka stink bugs, worms, and birds). 

So today I pulled the largest and ripest tomatoes and hopefully some will ripen. But probably none will get "fried." They already had their chance for that out in the 95F heat the last few days.

(Note the eggplant and two green bell peppers and my lone pink glad in the vintage beer bottle. Those are products of my garden, too. The pears, avocadoes, and bananas are from lands far away.)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Made it to Machu Picchu

Not such a bad thing to reach a lifetime walking height (Machu Picchu) on the day before your 67th birthday! I just completed 2400 meters (1.5 miles) which is equivalent to the highest point of this ancient Inca city in Peru in the Andes mountains.

Keep on walking!

Keep cool! 

Enjoy summer 2015!

Not the Mama! But the Grand-Papa!

I think I have referred to a father as "not the mama" in some previous blogpost, since that dinosaur cartoon show was our ( my son and I) favorite television show way back when. 

Today my post should be titled, "Not my father or my grandfather." Today my brothers and their offspring will Facebook about my dad, so I am going to blog about my hub's two grand-papas.

The photo above was taken at my Dutch in-laws' wedding in December 1942. My hub's two grandfathers are the two gentlemen in the foreground. The fellow nearest the post of the staircase and in the front is his maternal grandfather who was killed in the Hengelo,The Netherlands (1944) bombing by the Allies. The bespeckled guy standing behind him is his paternal grandfather who later lived with my hub's family until his death in 1957.

Both grand-papas were "dealers." One dealt in fruit and vegetables, and the other in meat products. 

Both passed away after becoming widowers when their wives died in their early 60's. 

Both gentlemen were loved and respected by their families and friends.

Neither had any idea that one day an American woman would be recognizing them as our son's Dutch foreFATHERS.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Bounty from the Veggie Beds

We've got some serious rain going on here lately, but I still harvest bits of veggies and am waiting for the huge tomatoes to begin to ripen. In the meantime, I whipped up this veggie lasagna for tonight's dinner.

These zukes, crooked neck squash, bell pepper, and Italian eggplant roasted for 25 minutes in the oven.

I fried up some ground beef, added a jar of ragu, and then layered it with the roasted veggies, my famous cottage cheese/egg bechemel sauce, and grated cheese until it looked like this.

A side view.

Then 25 minutes in  a 350 degree F oven and Voila! Dinner! Just add garlic bread and a salad.

Monday, June 15, 2015

June Action Figures

Have you ever seen The Hulk ( or the Michelin Man) in your sky? Look closely.

Think there is a rabbit or baby bear in the one below.

Hum, enjoy your summer!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Did You Just Say What I Thought You Said?

Although my son and husband keep reminding me to add photos to my blog, I still just want to write. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I really don't actually talk to too many people. So blogging is my way of chatting. 

But the problem is, do my readers/followers understand what I am writing/saying?

In the last week, I have noticed that communication in English (or in any language) is as murky as muddy water.

One of the bloggers I follow recently had an interesting and obviously misunderstanding of shopkeepers in Miami. She found shopkeepers too loud and rude when she and her family were greeted by,  "Hi! Welcome! What is your name?" 

I wasn't there as a witness, but I know the loud, enthusiastic merchants can be overwhelming. BUT, I also know that when you enter their shops that they DO NOT ask your name! So what did the blogger really hear? Well, I think the shopkeepers asked one of these two questions:
"How Are You?"
"How Can I Help You?"

And how did the Dutch blogger/tourist translate these questions? " Hoe heet jou/jij?" (What is your name?) 

Now how rude is that? You enter a shop in a strange country and are asked your name? When all you wanted to do was buy a pack of gum or a Coke or a hamburger?

Wrong translation! Misunderstanding! Muddy Waters!

Here is another example of miscommunication: This time the misunderstanding was in my text. My niece and her lovely young daughters had just finished a fun summer walk/ride through their new neighborhood, and my niece posted a photo on Instagram. Being the commenter that I am, I wrote to my niece that I hoped she was keeping track of her steps. She thought I meant that she should spend her time and attention actually counting the steps, while I was just curious to see if she was wearing a pedometer ( like I know many people do, like me). 

Wrong translation! Misunderstanding! Muddy Waters!

And then my latest "lost in translation" experience happened with my blogpost text on Thursday, June 11, 2015. I always get a good laugh from Google Translate's interpretation of my blogpost text. Thursday's blog was no exception! But it may have caused some confusion, too.

Wrong translation! Misunderstanding! Muddy Waters!

Have a Sunny Sunday, everyone! 

(No translation needed!)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

You Said It

Not my words, but they do fit:

Perfect Thursday Thought

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Rhubarb-Strawberry Custard Pie (Update)

Rhubarb-Strawberry Custard Pie

(A variation on a Lucky Leaf recipe)

1 (9 inch) frozen pie shell
1 cup of Greek yoghurt ( mine was homemade)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (21 oz. can) Lucky Leaf Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Filling (we can't grow rhubarb down here in southwest Louisiana!)

Topping Ingredients
3 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. cold butter( cut into small pieces)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
Mix together Greek yoghurt, sugar, egg, flour, and vanilla until smooth. 
Gently fold in full can of Lucky Leaf Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Filling into the yoghurt mixture. 
Pour the filling into the unbaked pie crust. 
Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. 
While the filling is baking, prepare the topping. 
In a medium bowl combine flour and sugar and cut in cold butter until crumbly. 
After the filling has baked for 25 minutes sprinkle the topping over the top of the pie. 
Return pie to the oven for additional 15 minutes. (Maybe be sure the topping is browned, which I didn't.) 
Let pie cool before serving.

My hub's reaction: "It is refreshing on a hot summer day."

Thumbs Up! A Keeper! ( Husband, too!)

Update on August 1, 2015

Today I tried this recipe again. This time I reduced the butter in the crumble topping to 2 tablespoons and added the topping just before putting the pie into the oven to bake for 40 minutes. I like the way this looks better than my first try. Will let you know if it also tastes better with a browned topping. Linda

Update on May 9, 2016

I made this same rhubarb/strawberry cream pie filling tonight, but used a graham cracker crumb pie shell ( store bought❣). And added an oatmeal, flour, sugar, butter, and salt crumble topping after baking at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. Then finished baking for 20 more minutes. I am chilling it and taking it to our Keenagers' Luncheon tomorrow. 

Wonder how many of these southern folks have eaten rhubarb pie?

Monday, June 8, 2015

First a Walking Badge

Wedding photos later today, but first my new walking badge (even with a black lab pup that would rather not walk!).

That is almost the distance from the Beltway Apartment to Paris, France (approximately 320 miles).

Keep on walking!!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Here Comes the Bride! Happy 35th Anniversary!

(Things are a bit rushed today with Nismo, going to Memaw's, and getting out the door before 9:30 a.m. More wedding photos tomorrow.)

And, yes, we had color film 35 years ago!

My favorite photo. We should have put down a red carpet. Fancy old1928 Fiat, chauffeur with white gloves carrying umbrella, handsome wedding couple. Perfect!!!

Civil service with bride and groom walking through the door of the City Hall. Service was done with even the bride and groom sitting. (Right corner photo)

Exchanging of the rings.

(Come back for more photos in my next blogpost.)

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Last Two Love Letters Before "I Do" (or I Did)

(((((Going on a binge is usually not good for anyone, but this binge is almost complete. Bear with me:)))))

The last two letters home to my American parents before our wedding. Expect some photos of wedding photos in tomorrow's blogpost.

20 May 1980
Tuesday morn.

Dear Mother and Daddy,

We received your letter written on your birthday, and are glad that you had such a good day. I wish I could have been there with S. looking for the cake.

Be sure to bring some recent photos of everybody since they have surely changed some in the last few months. (Especially the little ones.)

Last week-end we worked on the barn, the pool, and our wedding car. J. has a beautifully restored 1928 Fiat (wine and black) that we'll get married in. Several of his other friends will drive their "old" cars, too. Although we will have a photographer, be sure you have your camera, too. I'll have mine ready for candid shots, also.

Mother, if you are afraid that your dress and Daddy's suit will get wrinkled packed in the suitcase, you might try carrying it in a clothes bag on board the plane. The stewardess can hang it somewhere for you. But if you pack it we can iron any wrinkles out later. Be sure that your luggage is locked securely before you check it at the airline desk. And carry the key in a convenient place ( easy to get to).

We have to go back to Olst to order flowers, cake, see the Notary, see the man at the City Hall, etc. This will be a 3- day week-end, but I'm going to insist that we come back to Rotterdam on Sunday. I have too many things to do here at home.

Tonight I'll go to J's office after I get off work and help him with some work. He is the boss this week since the director and the manager are on trips. We'll eat out, so I don't mind the extra work.

Most of the time I have such little work to do here, I wish I could bring some of J's work with me. 

J. and I both will have our hair cut today, so it can grow a little before the wedding. I still don't know what I'll wear on my head for the wedding. I guess it will be just pretty flowers.

By the way, if someone tries to get you to bring any gifts or whatever, ask them to mail it. Don't overload yourself with too much. I already feel guilty for asking you to bring the things I wanted.

We got our first gift in the mail yesterday. I will have to go to the post office on Friday night to get it. I think it is from Barbara K. She has been so sweet. She writes once a month, and always answers my letters. Lisa tries, but she is a little slower. And I never hear from anyone else but you!

We've read about the terrible rioting in Miami and the volcano in Washington ( or is it Montana?). The situation in Iran seems hopeless. And now there is chance of war between North and South Korea. Working in the Embassy has made me more aware of world news and politics.

Mother, be sure to get the phone number of the hospital where F. will have his surgery in June so that we can call M. and find out how he is.

Another thing, find out the children's sizes. I would like to buy little leather suspender shorts for J. in Switzerland and dirndl skirts for the girls. Or, maybe they want leather shorts, too. We'll just have to look and see what we can find.

J. is going to buy me a watch in Switzerland as mine is shot. I'm having to wear the old Timex that I bought several years ago when my good watch from you stopped.

I'll try to write again this week- end, but that will be the last time before you come. J. said last night it was about time for him to run the vacuum cleaner again. As I hate that job, he usually helps me. And he is a very good dish dryer, too.

We'll see you in Brussels in two weeks. (4 June !!)

Linda and J.

Bridal Frenzy!!!!

23 May 1980

Dear Mother, Daddy, and F., 

I enjoyed the extra long telephone call yesterday. As I told you, we have much to do tomorrow. I suppose that we will go to Olst tonight  and begin our errands around 9:30 a.m. I will order my flowers first since I want to use real flowers on the cake. I haven't seen pretty sugar flowers here, so I'll just substitute real ones. That will be prettier anyway. 

We'll order our rings, too. They'll be just plain, thin gold bands, but I 'd like to have the date engraved inside. That way they'll seem more special. I also will shop for gold ball earrings since my hair is so short. J's idea is for pearl ones, but I like the gold balls better.

I hope to come back here on Sunday afternoon since I have a lot of cleaning to do. I've worked overtime with J. two evenings this week. He has worked enough overtime that he gets 14 days off. He'll use those for our trip.

Tuesday, May 27 I have a job interview for a part-time secretarial job at the American School of Rotterdam. I would work 3 days a week, plus there is a chance for substitute or part-time teaching. Also, I could start a tutoring program like I want to do. I wrote the principal a letter this week reminding him about me, and his secretary called me at work this morning to ask if I would be interested in the secretary's job. I'm excited that I may have a chance to get back into the schools. I think that if I get my foot in the door, maybe the teaching job will turn up.

Carolyn W. sent us an Amway gift certificate. Unfortunately they only deliver in the States. I will choose a gift that you can use and have it sent to you. Don't worry about sending it to me. Whatever I choose will arrive during the summer. Enjoy it with my compliments. Also, you will receive a refund check from State of Louisiana for about $16.00 for my taxes. Just deposit it where I need it.

The weather here is still sunny and around 60 degrees F. I hope it stays that way. We need some rain, but not too much.

We're ready for you to come, amd we'll be waiting in Brussels for you at 9:30 a.m. on June 4. 
Take care and enjoy your flight.

Linda and J.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

That is Asking A Lot in a Love Letter--Nearing the Wedding (Anniversary) Date

16 May 1980
Friday Night

Dear Mother and Daddy,

I know I've asked you to do a thousand things, well, here are numbers 1001 and 1002. Please send a money order for $3.50 to the Drivers License Bureau. I couldn't get an American money order here, so I had to ask you. Please send the money order and the enclosed form to: Verification Section, P.O. Box ------, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70896.

Daddy, J. would like to have a cap with a bill ( like a baseball cap). Maybe they have them at R.J. Jones the kind from paint companies, etc. size 62 cm or 25 inches. If you don't see one, don't go out of the way to find it. 

We are looking forward to your visit. J's dad is already worrying about how he and Daddy will get along. I told him that everyone will have to speak distinctly and listen carefully. But you will both like their home since it is in the country.

We worked yesterday on the swimming pool ( don't forget your swimsuits) and cleaned the barn. This week-end we'll finish up our mess.

I've been able to sit in the sun every day this week. I'm not brown, but I'm getting that way.

I'll close and get this in the mail. We'll see you in 19 days.

Love, J. & Linda

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wedding Registry--Love Letters Binge

(I don't even know if there were wedding registries in The Netherlands back in 1980, but we did have a Wedding Gift List. I prepared a gift list in a small notebook for our Dutch friends. They would look at the book, tear out the name of the gift they wanted to give, and then return the book to me.)

This is the list I sent to my parents. Before we returned to the US in 2006 years later, many of these items were sold in garage sales or were given away to charity shops, but a whole lot still fill up our kitchen and buffet cabinets. If I really get bored this summer, I'll share photos of what we still have around our home. Real vintage stuff!!!

Now for the Binge Love Letter that went with this list. We are getting near the end of the marathon leading up to the Big Day ( for me, anyway!):

12 May 1980

Dear Mother and Daddy,

I enjoyed talking to F. yesterday, and to you a little later. I am excited about the photo in the paper (especially on Mother's Day) and the very nice gesture by the church. That even seems to help my feelings about not having a church wedding. Give everyone involved in the gift from the church my love, and I'll be sure to write a special Thank You to them. See if you can find out whose idea this was. I never dreamed something like this would happen.

We had a beautiful week-end. Our friend A. had dinner with us on Saturday night, but other than that I got a lot of sun and relaxed. Thursday, May 15 we have a holiday (Ascension Day). We'll go to Olst to clean the barn and the swimming pool. I hope that the water isn't too cold and that the sun is shining. Unfortunately we have to work on Friday, so we'll return home Thursday night or Friday morning. We may have to go back to Olst during the week-end to see the Notary, choose flowers , order cake, etc. As J. has another obligation in the Hague or Delft on Saturday, I'm not sure where we will be.

J. sends some more instructions for your flight here. He says to check-in with Sabena as soon as you can after your arrival in Atlanta. This way you can pick out good seats. (Ex. Window seats, non-smoking, can see the movie--if it is good-- ask the title.) If you don't want to watch the movie, try to sit right behind 1st class. It costs $2.50 each for earphones to listen to the stereo radio and hear the film. It is worth the money since the trip is so long. Remember that you each can bring two suitcases plus a tote bag for under your seat. In Alexandria have Delta check your baggage all the way through to Brussels. That way you won't have to fool with them in Atlanta. Be sure to put name, address, and phone labels inside and outside each piece of luggage. Also, when you arrive in Brussels you will have to go through Customs. Be sure to have your Passports handy. If they ask you if you have anything to declare, tell them that you have Nothing to declare. If you bring any gifts, be sure to take all labels and price tags off. Otherwise you'll have to pay duty. European Customs are easy, so don't worry. If they ask you why you are in Europe, tell them you came for your daughter's wedding. You should have no trouble.  In fact, they'll probably wave you right through Customs. Just act like you know what you are doing.

I must get this in the mail. Mother, I received the addresses of the extra folks, and I mailed their announcements Sunday (May 11).

Take care and we'll see you soon.

Linda and J.

Love Letters Binge--5 Days Until the Wedding (Anniversary)

Monday, May 5, 1980

Dear Mother and Daddy,

We have the day off today, and our friends will leave around 8:00 tonight. We've had a good week with them, but I'm tired. We'll mail our Holland bound invitations tonight when we take the B's to the train.

I've thought of some other things that I want you to bring.
1. One brides's book--the white kind that guests sign at the reception. I think it also has a place for gifts to be registered. 
2. One feather pen to sign the bride's book.
3. Wedding cake knife-- not something real expensive. You might suggest this as a gift from someone.
4. Napkins (white with gold or silver print)--200 will be enough. I don't know what they put on them. Perhaps "J. and Linda
              June 7, 1980"

All of the things above should be paid for from my account. If you have any questions, just call me. I received my state income tax form Saturday, and I'll mail the form today. I will receive $16.32 refund, so look for the check in the mail.

Everything is o'kay. I sent an invitation to the VanNatta's and the Simpson's today. I had forgotten about them. 

I'll close and we'll see you soon.

Linda & J.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Love Letters Home Continues to Binge beste wensen voor een hele fijne dag!

Happy Birthday and the best wishes for the whole day. Take care, and we'll see you in a month. Love, Linda and J.

 ( The card pictured above is the one I sent to my mom on her 55th birthday in 1980. Our family celebrated her 90th birthday with her on May 7, 2015.)

29 April 1980

Dear Mother and Daddy, 

We have a holiday tomorrow (crowning of the Queen), so the Ambassador is having a long conference with his staff. I've typed letters of credentials and wrapped packages and made calls to the Royal Court until I'm sick of the whole coronation already. But at least we don't have to work tomorrow.

Bill and Bonnie B. from Pittsburgh came yesterday morning and will stay through May 5th. Tomorrow we'll sightsee with them, but they'll have to go on their own today, Thursday, and Friday. We have a holiday on May 5, so we have a long week-end to spend with them. J. wants to drive through the north of Holland (Friesland) since that is new to me, too. We'll drive through the tulip field area, since this is prime blooming time.

I cooked breaded pork chops last evening, but tonight we'll have Indonesian food. Feeding two big guys is a task. But at least I'm free tonight. Maybe I'll even let J. make his spaghetti specialty one night this week.

We bought J's dark blue (navy) suit last Thursday ($500 worth). It will be altered and ready on May 10th.

I don't know if I ever told you, but I've been receiving my Reader's Digest regularly. We both like to read it. Did you receive J's package of magazines (2 Holland Heralds) that he mailed about a month ago? We'll not mail your birthday or Mother's Day presents since you will be here to pick them up in June.

We've got cool, rainy weather now. I'll surely get wet on my lunch break today. I'm the bread and milk "picker-upper," so I take a walk everyday.

We mailed the invitations to America on April 27. Family and friends should receive them around the 3rd to 5th.

I'll close now and get ready for lunch. 

Love, Linda & J.

Thursday, May 1, 1980

I started this letter with the purpose to enclose it with a birthday card. I didn't get the card until today, so this is probably late for your birthday. Have a good day, and we love you.
Linda & J.

More Love Letter Binge Reading

14 April 1980
Monday morning

Dear Mother and Daddy,

We had a beautiful, sunny, and warm (70 degrees F) week-end. J. was in Belgium and France, but I got all of the washing and cleaning done. Yesterday I even sewed two skirts.

J. came home around 4:00, and I drove to Amsterdam with him to return the rental car. We drove through the tulip fields, but it is still too early for flowers. J. said I was so nice to him when he returned, that he thinks he'll go away again this week-end. I hope he is joking!

We got our invitations printed this week, and they look good. We will probably mail them the end of April. Now I have to sketch a picture of my wedding cake and decide on my flowers.

J. visited the airport at Brussels so that he would know where to go to collect you. He said the airport isn't too big, so you won't get lost. And everyone speaks English at the airport, so have no fear.

How is S? Perhaps I can call him this week to see how he is doing. With a houseful of children, I would  have dizzy spells, too!

Several things come to my mind that you might bring me:
8-10 pair of L'eggs panty hose--Regular Size B or Average Nude or Suntan (toe in-not sheer toe)
2 bottles or tubes of Head and Shoulders shampoo ( medium or large size)
1 box of food coloring ( little plastic bottles- be careful!)

If you see anything cute in your department, buy it with my money and then bring it with you. I wear 7 and 9 now since I weigh only 118 lbs. ( Nerves did it!!)

When I think of something else I'll let you know. J. said if you were planning to bring his parents a gift you might bring a blood pressure meter, but don't buy it yet. Personally, I think that would be a terrible gift. But we'll see.

I'll close now and get ready for lunch. I can sit outside on the patio here at the Embassy.

Take care and write when you can. 
Linda and J.

((((Next Letter::)))

15 April 1980


Please find out the addresses and mail these two letters for me. The address of the license bureau in B.R. may be sufficient, but I had no idea about the tax people. (I kept copies of the letters.)

It is hot here again today. (75 degrees F or more) I got a little sun at lunch.

Love, Linda

(((And still another letter::)))

21 April 1980
Monday afternoon

Dear Mother and Daddy,

Well, I earned my pay this a.m. I was busy for three solid hours. Between typing, phoning, and making coffee, I could hardly find time to breathe. Everything is much calmer now, and I have time to write you a few lines.

We worked all weekend cleaning the apartment before our friends from Pittsburg come next Tuesday. When I called you last night we had just finished addressing over 100 invitations to the wedding. We will mail about 180, and we have 40 left. If you would like to send some more ( like to friends or church people) please send their names and addresses. I sent one to the Howards and Mrs. Brodnax. Maybe you could send me Ruth Smith's, Mrs. Milton, Geraldine, Mrs. Dupuy ( what's the first name?), Harry Dupuy, Dezendorf, Eloise, Mrs. Hines (Linda's mom), Malcolm Johnson, Margie Morrish, Jane Jeffress, Mrs. Grimes, etc. It won't hurt if I mail them after May 1st.

4:45 p.m.
I spoke too soon. As soon as I began your letter, things got busy around here. I can relax for a few minutes and then get ready for my trip home. The distance is only 20 miles, but the traffic causes it to seem like 5 times that. If I'm lucky, I'll get home by 6:10. If not, I'll be there by 6:30. Some days I have no traffic, and other days the cars move like snails. J. is lucky. There is usually no traffic for him, and he gets home by 6:00. I'm going to let him start cooking dinner. He doesn't know it yet, and I'm not sure he would go for the idea. We would have Italian food every night!

My writing gets worse and worse. If I didn't type so much, I'd type my letters. Well, this is a shorty. Tell everyone hello and give the kids a kiss for me. See you soon!


[[[[{{{{{More Love Letters Tomorrow}}}}}]]]]

Binge Reading Love Letters Home

Wedding Month. 
Countdown to 35th Wedding Anniversary. 
Too Many Love Letters Left To Read!!!

That must mean Binge Reading! So here we go:

8 April 1980
Tuesday morning

Dear Mother and Daddy,

The Ambassador is in Madrid, Spain this week, so I'm not sure how busy I'll be. I still have work to do for the Counsellor, so I hope I'm not too idle. Tomorrow I have the afternoon off to go with J. to register our wedding at the City Hall in Rotterdam. Mr. and Mrs. S. will come to have dinner with us afterwards. In May we will see a Notary and make a wedding contract and wills. So on June 7 everything should be in order.

I found a wedding dress in Deventer ( near Olst) on Saturday. It is lilac print voile over a lilac slip. I like it, but J. isn't overly pleased. But it is pretty and suitable for this type of wedding.  I will buy new shoes soon and order my flowers in May. J. still has to buy a suit, but we've got time.

We had a long discussion yesterday and made some more plans. We chose our invitations (English and Dutch) and will see the proof later this week. We are sending around 200 invitations, and we expect about 200 people to attend the reception. Less than that will be at the City Hall. Several of J's friends will have their old Mercedes, etc. and that will be nice. For the reception we will have a receiving line, cake and tea eating, tidbits and drinks, and then a snack for those who stay later than 7:00. In case of wet, cold weather, we will have a tent in the backyard. If the weather is nice, the sides will roll up and it is just a roof. There will be two waiters and two ladies in the kitchen. That should make things easier. 

At lunch on the wedding day, about 10-15 of us will go to a restaurant to eat. J's dad mentioned that he would say a few words and maybe Daddy would like to do the same. I'll find out more about it and let you know.

Mother, J. said to remind you that everyone here shakes hands. So be prepared when men and women grab your hand. Some people may kiss you on the cheeks, but I'm not sure. Be prepared for anything. And these crazy people never drink or eat until everyone is ready. All drinks except coffee and tea are "toasted," so you have to wait until all glasses are raised before you drink. I found it strange at first ( especially when I was thirsty), but I have gotten used to the different ways. But don't worry too much about all of these rules and such, just enjoy yourself. When you see these Dutch people shoveling in the food with a fork in the left hand and the knife in the right, you will be glad that we eat the American way. At least we don't look like we're eating because there is no tomorrow.

J. and I think that we should leave on our trip with you on Monday morning after the wedding. That way we'll have Sunday to "recoup" and help the S's get their house back in order. We will all be tired, too. I don't know about you, but I don't want to start a trip half alive. And that will also give you more time to enjoy the S's house and the countryside.

We spent Sat., Sun., and Monday (Easter) at the S's. As always I was ready to leave on Sunday. Sunday I had two of those crazy headaches that I have and Monday morning I woke up with another one. Maybe it is just nerves combined with a terrible sinus drip. I'm better today, but I feel like a bucket of water is on my head.

I will close now and see if I can find something to do. Around lunch time they will load me with work. Take care and we'll see you in less than 2 months.

Linda and J.

P.S. I have short hair now. I couldn't stand that long mop any longer!