Thursday, April 30, 2015

At "Work" at the South Korean Embassy in 1980

The best that I can remember is that the building in the center of the photo was the South Korean Embassy back in 1980. I received a key to this front door the day I was hired. I didn't even apply for the job. Mr. Kwon phoned me that he heard from someone at the American Protestant Church in The Hague that I was looking for a job. The Ambassador was interested in me because I was a former English teacher and would be able to write correct English. No background checks! No Googling! No Facebook! Just, "Here is the front door key, and see you Monday at 9:00 a.m."

22 February 1980
Friday morn--9:30

Dear Mother and Daddy,

As you see, I am at work. The Ambassador is still not in, so I'll write you a few lines. I've had only a couple of letters to type this week, so I've studied my Dutch and read a book. If things continue like this, I'll maybe bring some needlepoint to do in the idle hours. I'm not allowed to leave my office except for real business, so I will have to bring something to do.

The Ambassador had a dentist appointment yesterday and did not return to the office. I didn't see him all day. I wonder if and when he will come in today. The other secretaries are nice, and we've had lunch together twice at Chinese restaurants. They are helping me learn the area.

Daddy, I am sorry your company pulled such a rotten trick on you. But J. said he felt something stupid like that would happen when you told us about the new management in Alex. Anyway, I'm glad they did not leave you "high and dry," and get everything you can out of them. Good luck in the job hunting. I am sure there is some hardware company (Lowe's, etc.) that needs a good salesman. As Mother can tell you, there is no disgrace in working from 9-5:30 or 6:00 in a store and then going home to forget about it until the next day. You may not make as much money as you did before, but just think of the time, money, and energy you will save by not having to do all that driving. Good luck and I'll be thinking about you.

We received your letter and pictures yesterday. J. says he looked "drunk," but we know better. The only time I've seen him drink liquor was by mistake. He thought he had 7-Up, poor thing. He has a beer about once a week and wine when we go out, but he is almost a "tee-totaller." I'm lucky, huh?

10:15 a.m.

The Ambassador came in, and I've no work to do now. Maybe later something will turn up. Until then I'll just enjoy the easy life.

Tonight we will visit the bank and then drive back here to The Hague to have dinner with our friends A. and F. They are going to Italy for 10 days in March. I am sure J. will be very envious, but with my new job I can't ask for a holiday so soon.

A. and the two boys leave at 8:00 on Wednesday (27th) night to go to Australia. I'm really happy that she and the boys can finally join her husband there. Mr. and Mrs. S. will surely miss the children, but now they can get back to their own lives.

There is no more real news. The weather is cool and sunny, and I hear birds singing outside my window. Spring will be here soon. Write again when you have time. We hope to hear about the baby soon. I haven't mailed the afghan yet, maybe this week-end.

Take care and I love you both.
Love, Linda

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Wedding Bells Love Letter--15 February 1980

Sit down with a cup of coffee and have a read of this epistle:

15 February 1980

Dear Mother and Daddy,

I suppose I should have typed this, but I don't want to listen to the machine this afternoon. Well, I have completed one week of work here at the Korean Embassy. It was a little strange at first, but now it is better. I am secretary for the Ambassador and his councilor (advisor), but I don't have too much to do. I stay busy enough, but I do have free moments, too. I work from 9:00-12:30 and 2:00-5:30. The traffic hasn't been too bad, but the weather is a little messy sometimes. Today it is cloudy and has rained a bit.

There are two other secretaries (one is English and the other is Dutch). The Dutch girl is a little strange, but we all get along fine. In fact, today we had lunch at a Chinese restaurant together. They are very helpful since this is a new field for me.

J. and I have talked about a wedding date. June 6 seems to be a good time, but this isn't definite. Since you and Daddy will be my only family here, I just want a small wedding and reception. I told J. I didn't want to entertain and feed farmers and such that I don't know and can't talk to. He said he would talk it over with his parents, but I'm not going to let them talk me into something I don't want to do. I'll come back to the U.S.A. first!!! J. said A. would be upset that she would not be here, and I said how do you think my friends and family feel. As you can imagine, our wedding planning conversation was a wet one. But please don't write about that.

We thought that you might plan your trip to come here about three or four days before the wedding. That will give you time to rest and help me finish my plans. After the wedding we want to travel two weeks or so through Europe with you. It won't be a Honeymoon so have no fear that you are intruding. So you should think about a 3 week ( or more) stay here. I get 21 days of paid vacation, so I will take it then.

J. just wants a civil ceremony, but I want a religious one, too. We will just have to see what develops. I will have to get some bride's magazines to see what I'm supposed to do. Things are different here. I will get gifts, but no showers. That is the breaks, huh?

Anyway, I have much to think about. I have an idea, but I haven't told J. yet. Do you think W. would be old enough to come here with you? It may be a crazy idea, so just tell me. Perhaps M. and S. wouldn't even let her come. Anyway, I wish I had had such a chance when I was her age. Don't say anything to her yet. I'll write you later and tell you what J. and I think. It was just an idea. By the way, anyone who wants to may come, but I just thought W. might enjoy it.

Well, it is 5:05 and I'll start getting my things together. I drive for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night. I'm getting good driving experience. We will go to Olst tonight, but I'm going to insist that we go back to Rotterdam on Sunday afternoon. My apartment has been neglected this week.

My telephone number at the embassy is 070-__________ The Hague. If you need me between 9 and 5:30 pm, just call and ask for me.

Write when you have time. I got red tulips for Valentine's Day. J's mother gave me a sewing box. I am not sure why she thought she had to give me a gift.

Take care.
Love, Linda

Monday, April 27, 2015

Koningsdag 2015 on the Thrift

No fanfare! Just simply "Lang Leve de Koningspaar". (I never said I could write in Dutch.)

Multi-national gifts, finds, Treasures!

Pure Dutch thrift store finds.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Love Letter--Feb. 7, 1980

Feb. 7, 1980

Dear Mother & Daddy,

I've been so busy the last two days that I almost forgot to mail my valentines.

Tuesday I substituted for the art teacher in the Hague.

Wednesday I had a Dutch lesson, shopped with J.  and A. at a Swedish furniture store, tutored a 4th grader, cooked dinner for J's family, and entertained a couple who came over around 8:30 that night. I was indeed worn out with a throbbing headache at 11:00 p.m.

This a.m. I drove to the Hague for a job interview. The job is "the" secretary to the Korean ambassador to the Netherlands. I got the job and will begin work on Monday (Feb. 11). I will make about $12,000 a year and have 21 days of vacation. Jan and I will talk about it tonight. He wants to go skiing the 1st week in March, but maybe he will have to go by himself.

I shopped at a store handling many American foods today. I spent $20.00 in no time. I can buy choc. chips, graham crackers, vanilla wafers, cake mixes, salad dressings, etc.

I will close and write a few other cards. Our friend M. had a little girl yesterday. We will go see her tonight.

Let me know when M. delivers.

Love, Linda

I could write detailed descriptions of all of the places and persons referred to in the letter. It is interesting that I can remember such details from 35 years ago and do not remember what I did and saw last week! The Swedish store was of course Ikea (in Sliedrecht). Don't think that Ikea building exists anymore. I did take that "secretarial" job, had my own office ( HUGE), and rarely had anything to do. So I read lots of books and had 1 1/2 hours lunch break everyday. (Where was the Internet when I needed it? Or even a computer!?!) We went skiing. More about that another time. The grocery store with the American food was on the van Hoytemastraat in The Hague. We later found other and better shops in Rotterdam and Wassenaar. Our friend M's daughter just recently had her own second baby, a sweet little boy. And my American sister-in-law M gave birth to little C who now has two charming daughters.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Through This Gate

Remember this gate from March 2014?

Well, look what is happening right now.

Stay tuned.

I think these gate pillars are the last big project. 

And, no, we won't be paving this lane to our house. I like the gravel road. Flip and I can hear anyone who can get through the gate and drive up the lane.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Trash Talk--Garbage for Two

Happy 45th Anniversary of Earth Day!!!

This beauty in our front flower garden at 7:15 a.m. today. Stunning! Is this a Tiger Moth?

Now Let's Talk Trash!

Two older adults don't make much garbage. I have learned that in the last few years. 

We especially do not make much garbage, since we recycle whenever we can. 

In fact, this week I threw two glass jars into the trash and felt guilty. Unfortunately there is no glass recycling deposit anywhere within a hundred miles from here. Not that I have found, anyway!

But for the rest we do our best to recycle and reuse in order to Save Our Earth!

What we do here in Wetcreek Territory:

1. Compost--We collect all veggie and fruit scraps in a stainless steel can (with filter and lid) in our kitchen and then empty it on our compost pile out behind our barn and carport. We have been able to use "yummy" compost for our vegetable garden a couple of times since we became "master" gardeners.
2. Recycle Plastic--Our tap water is not the best, so we do drink bottled water. We chose plastic bottles because they are easier to manage and our local recycling plant accepts plastic. This week on one of my trips into town with my mom to her doctor, I dropped off a huge bag of plastic water and milk bottles as well as anything else that was plastic trash. Check the bottom of the plastic product. You should find a triangle with a number inside it. Most plastic is recyclable and not TRASH!
3. Recycle Glass-- I don't purchase too many products packed in glass, but what I do I try to repurpose. Sometimes I use sauerkraut or spaghetti sauce jars for storage. (Remember the mice in my pantry?). We have even thought about transporting a boxful of glass items all the way to a recycling plant near our son's home in Texas.
4. Read the Newspaper on the Internet-- Both my husband and I read the Dutch and American news online everyday. Our local paper guy will not deliver out here in the woods, and we tried a WSJ subscription for a while. But I still would have to drive into our village to pick up the paper everyday, since we don't have mail delivery out here either.
5. Repurpose-- As avid collectors, we try to reuse whatever we can. Just this week my hub trimmed our boxwoods with a vintage electric hedge trimmer that his father used back in the 1970's. It worked fine! We also have our own trimmer from the 1990's, and it works great, too. Before we buy something new, we look around here for something we can use.

So back to the trashy stuff. 
We usually have one normal size garbage bag with non- recyclable trash every other week. (If I told you that while we were at the Beltway Apartment in The Netherlands for six weeks we didn't even have one full bag, would you believe me? Almost everything is recycled free WITH PICK-UP! And each real garbage bag costs about $2.50 to place in the computerized underground trash depot located across the street. And remember we are ch...thrifty!!)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Weed and Pot

Just working in the garden these days. Nothing more and nothing less!

Haven't gotten to the weeds yet. Everything is drenched! 

But the potting and planting are in progress. 
Veggie beds are full of plants and seeds and rain water. 
Window boxes are full of newly planted boxwood cuttings. 250 little sticks. Enough to replace the 150 cuttings we lost to hot, dry weather in October/November 2014.

Here are two of the five window boxes I filled this afternoon. Lots of tedious work!

And here are the quickly snipped "mother" plants that were definitely overgrown after all the rain we have had all spring. (Haven't gotten to the pots yet. Please give me a few more days.)

The Return of Love Letters Written 35 Years Ago

In the 35+ years my Dutch hub and I have been together, I can count on one hand ( or maybe finger!) the times that he wrote to my parents. He gave me his permission to publish this one:

Rotterdam   29 januari 1980

Dear Mrs & Mr C,

Finaly I find the time to write you a letter from "over yonder."

Right after we came back the work really started with all the bookings for the new season. The flight prices went up by 20% but as you see how much we have to do, it looks more that they have gone down.

In the first week that we got here Linda was a little home sick but I think that everything is okay now. Of course she is thinking a lot about you but that is quite normal.

We just got the photograph's back and we saw them this week-end. They all ( if I may say so) came out very well and now we have also some nice pictures of you all. It are slides but we want to make some prints of it.

We also and specially I think very much of your hospitality you showed us and I like to thank you for it.

Linda is gone to Dutch lessons right now. She is doing quite well. ( We can hear her talk dutch with my little nephew.)

With all my best wishes and love

Blogger's Note:
My Dutch will never ever be as good as my hub's English (or French or German or Italian or Dutch)! After having lived with an English teacher (me), I notice him wanting to correct the English of our American family, our air conditioner man, the neighbors, the tv newspeople, the grocery store clerks, the speakers at our monthly senior citizens meetings, etc.
So does that mean I did my job well ( or goed)?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

And Another "Badge of Courage"

 I have found that planting a veggie garden involves much bending, but little walking.
While washing up the front porch will put lots of steps on your step counter. Some steps even count as elevation.

Here is my new badge:

Please, no rude comments about the name of this active volcano in Japan! 

Just be happy for me that I am still stepping up steps as well as stepping on horizontal ground.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Never Been to Hawaii, But...

Above is my new walking/steps badge. Far better than getting a refund on my US tax returns  (which I didn't!!!).

No Ides of April for me. 
I've got lots more steps to make before I call it a day!

Monday, April 13, 2015

You Know You Live in the "Sticks" When

You see two snakes in your pond and one black rat snake in the yard in one afternoon!

You see a coyote crossing your driveway at noon! (Wouldn't that be a great picture? Sorry, I didn't have my camera in my pocket.)

You see wild fish the size of your longest finger and one even big enough to eat in your pond! (Maybe the big one is one of the $10 dollar grass carps we threw into the pond last December.)

You see two herons fly off from the banks of your pond.

You see a Canadian goose munching at the edge of the pond.

You get eaten up by mosquitoes when you go out with Flip for your morning walk.

Then you know you are "in the sticks."

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Oh, You Dirty Dog!

Pictures Speak Louder Than Words!

After a shower with Dove Aloe Vera Shampoo and a full bowl of dog food, this guy will sleep like a baby.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Merci Beaucoup

A blog reader from France just gave me my 53,000th page view!

Merci Beaucoup and hope you enjoyed looking at my photos of the hand stitched quilt flimsies I found last August.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Drone Transporting White Asparagus Crashes and Fries

Now that is definitely news!!!
A drone carrying the first white asparagus of the season to the Dutch restaurant de Zwaan in Etten-Leur crashed and burnt up. And the cargo was also fried!

Could this be a new item on the menu at the famous restaurant in The Netherlands?

A borrowed photo of fried white asparagus.

Fried White Asparagus, anyone?

Pet Turkey Vulture

We are not too happy with our new tenant.

If I have identified it correctly, I think this is a Turkey Vulture or Turkey Buzzard.

It has an injured wing and has been living in the surrounding forests for at least six months. 
Now the vulture has discovered the insects on our back porch. 
I frighten it off, but it comes back.

And, NO, I am not feeding it!

Now I can't say there aren't some juicy morsels of Easter Bunny that Flip has left around the yard.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

This Mama's Easy Banana Pudding

This Mama's Easy Banana Pudding

Total Time:
30 min
30 min
Yield:12 servings


1 box of Nilla Wafers
3-4 bananas, sliced
2 cups 1% milk
1 1/2 boxes ( total 5 ounces) instant banana pudding
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping thawed


Line the bottom of a trifle bowl with vanilla wafers. Add a layer of sliced bananas.

In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer. 

Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk together and mix until smooth. 

Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. 

Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended.
Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and continue alternating layers. 
Top layer should be pudding mixture with cookie border.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Wonder who ate the cookies off the top?


An adaptation of a recipe by Paula Deen.
Read more at:

Linda's NOTE: My husband liked this but requested no vanilla wafers the next time I make this banana pudding. He said a graham cracker crust would be better. I'll try it that way. Sounds like a banana cream pie to me! In fact, he said this pudding would make a great Tompouce filling. I agree!!

In My Easter Bonnet

It is cool and rainy on this Easter Sunday in southwest Louisiana. Who would have thought this hat would serve as my Easter bonnet on my morning walk? A little froggy took a ride.

Have a "Bless ed" Easter!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter Eve Watch at Wetcreek

We are back home in Louisiana. Who would have thought I needed a scarf and heavier jacket on my walk along the path this morning? That wind was cold!!!

While hunting for Easter eggs, I found this--

And this Wool Sower Gall on an oak tree

And this

And this wild azalea

And more wild azalea

And this apple blossom

And this apple bloom

And this ladybug 

And another ladybug

And teeny tiny grapes

And even more grapes

And last fall's Dutch cabbage

And these beauties

But no Easter eggs.
Guess there won't be any this year, because Flip ATE the Easter Bunny!
No joke!!!!