Feb 22, 2011

they're out to get me

My neighbourhood has gone downhill. There used to be a time where a girl could just park her bike against a lamppost, or take a shower at 6am, speak english to her children in public or sit in her car an extra few minutes before getting out because that song is too good to stop halfway. Nowadays I have to face a nosey neighbour when doing any of the above. 

'You bike is too close to my car, what if a gush of wind comes and blows it over?'. Lady, I beg to differ. Your car is too close to my bike, what if I want to unlock it from the other side and can't get to it because of YOUR car? Your 15 year old, already completely scratched up, car. 

'Who on earth is showering at 6am in your house? It wakes me up every single morning, I sleep with my head right next to the water main!'. Yes, well, that would be us, who have kids who wake us up at those ridonkulous hours of the night, and who have actual jobs to go to that require leaving the house early in the morning. Just to clarify, the one with the job would be not me. Don't you live alone, Aren't there 2 other rooms you could sleep in? Wouldn't you be happier living in some less densely populated area where the only thing that could keep you awake might be, oh say, the need to hunt for your next meal?

'We live in Holland, you know.' This one I'm actually pretty grateful for. I had been so confused as to what this odd place I've been living in for 29-and-a-half years (yes, the big three-oh and its impending doom is drawing nigh) was called for so many years and what the language was that I was supposed to be speaking. Everything is finally falling into place.

The car thing freaked me out big time. There I was, sitting in the driver's seat, in the dark, engine off but music still on, bobbing my head to the rhythm of Sam Cooke's 'Little Red Rooster'. Suddenly everything turned into an episode of Criminal Minds. There was a sudden rap on the window and a cloaked figure appeared (I later saw it was just a hoodie) loudly saying: 'You waiting for something??'. I was half expecting him to put a gun to the window, force me out of the car and take me to the second location, but he walked away in a huff instead. I then had to sit in the car an extra solid 15 minutes to make sure he was gone before I felt I could leave my happy place, get out of the car, and make a run for it up to the house. I tend to watch tv shows like CSI, Criminal Minds, and Dexter while I crochet. I refer to it as 'murder crochet' and feel cool about sounding like I'm doing something potentially life-threatening... but perhaps I should tone it down a notch. 

So what do you think? Is this payback for that time I took an egg off the SRV grocery cart that delivered to the less-mobile, and shoved it through someone's mailbox? Or perhaps for the time my little friend (accomplice?) and I scammed the entire neighbourhood by pretending we were collecting money for the starving children of the Congo as a school project? 
Nah, they have it in for me. I can feel it. If you don't hear from me within 3 days, send a search party. (Have them bring chocolate.)
 I know you're out there, watching, waiting.

Feb 17, 2011

Family Fun

When you've had a tiring day and you want your family to have some fun but you don't want to actually have too much fun yourself (ie: you just want to sit there and zone out), may I recommend the following activities.

1. Dancing

2. Twister

3. Take them to a store where loud music is played and do more dancing.

4.Then finally, there's always dancing.

Feb 14, 2011

on cage fighters and frolicking

This weekend couldn't have been more awesome if a tub of butter had been added to it. Friday night I went to a movie with Liz (Green Hornet 3D, it was funny) and we sat and talked in the McD afterwards and felt slightly stalked by the dude who works at the American Bookstore. Saturday morning I was in Leiden with Ilona and we unexpectedly got to drink tea at Ribanna's house, for which we were grateful. That afternoon was spent frolicking in nature with Ken and drinking more tea, which was served by a cage fighter who kept eyeing Ken to make sure he finished his sammich. Ken says he didn't hear it but I swear I heard that scary man whispering 'love my huge sammich or suffer my wrath'. Upon returning home Sander and Liz were waiting to bake cookies and watch movies and on Sunday I slept all morning and clear through church. I also had a killer migraine, but I'm going to leave that bit out and selectively only remember the sleeping in. I also spent time knitting and watching my husband clean up (most favoritest activity ever) after having left him alone with the children all day on Saturday. Do I need to add any more reasons why this weekend was so great? I think not. So here are some pictures taken on the nature walk, and I bid you a happy Monday.

Feb 9, 2011

some bad news, some good, then some bad again, etc.

Bad news:
I was feeling adventurous the other day and thought I'd try making gnocchi. I had had my first ever plate of the stuff while Sander and I were in Venice and was completely blown away. I recall a simple sauce and tomatoes and avocado to compliment the beautifully soft and light gnocchi that left my tastebuds singing, and I want to relive that experience. I understand it's going to take more than a first time effort for me to be able to create perfection like that.. I might not ever get there even, but just to get somewhat close will do just fine. I started going through my cookbooks and decided I'd give one of Jamie Oliver's a try. I was fascinated with his recipe that didn't even call for any potatoes, but instead required ricotta, parmesan and polenta as its main ingredients. Basically you make a mixture out of the cheeses and some herbs, spices and lemon zest, which you then shape into quenelles, and cover in polenta. The quenelles then sit in the fridge, in their polenta bath, for a couple of hours to ensure the polenta attaches itself to the mixture, giving it protection from the hot water you are about to boil the 'gnocchi' in for 2 minutes, or until they come up floating. Every single ingredient sounded lovely and right up our (my?) alley and the steps weren't difficult at all, so off I went. I was pretty darn optimistic, until that first quenelle hit the water and seemed to dissipate somewhat. I put them all in anyway, trying to remain calm and positive. I figured the same rule applied to gnocchi as to pancakes: you always ruin the first one. Unfortunately it doesn't, and I ended up with nothing but boiled ricotta (yuck indeed) and a bunch of polenta floating around in the pot of water. It was a little disappointing.
Good news:
We had the most amazing homemade hamburgers with a cabbage and lime slaw on Sunday, it blew our socks off and more than made up for the gnocchi disaster (read: the children trust my cooking again).

Bad news:
Our washing machine gave up the ghost yesterday. It had been making suspiciously loud noises during the spin cycle for a few weeks now, and the clothes ended up coming out dirtier than when they went in. We asked a mechanic we know for his 2 cents, and he said it was fixable, but expensive to the point where we might as well just buy a new one. Too bad we're sort of broke.

Good news:
We've finally committed to a savings plan.

Bad news:
I'm still getting headaches.

Good news:
We were given a washing machine by the Muntinga family, who had a spare one sitting in their garage that they were keeping to give to Michelle when she moves out. They decided they wanted us to have it instead, and for that we are incredibly grateful! Sander was able to pick it up the day after the old one was officially declared 'washed out' and it was installed and ready to go that same evening, despite a minor glitch when we realised the power chord on the new one was too short. An extension chord seemed like the perfect fix.

Bad news:
The new washing machine started leaking water due to improper hooking up to the waterline (not saying it's your fault, honey!), which then got into the electic extension, which short circuited and started smoking because the washing machine was left on the night before (also totally not your fault, sweetheart!), which nearly caused our entire kitchen to burn down. Luckily (and trust me, this is not the word I want to be using here) the leaked water went through the floor, through the downstairs neighbour's ceiling, and onto their floor. They then quickly rang our door bell at 6AM, waking us up, and probably saving our lives.

Good news:
Everything (except for the water damage) has already been fixed and we now have a working washing machine again. We're hoping our insurance might cover the damage.

Sometimes you just gotta make up the balance and make a conscious decision to only look at the good, and how much worse things could be. Oh, and learn the lesson. That's kind of important too, I guess.

Feb 4, 2011

just don't, okay?

Feb 2, 2011

trash talk

After spending a big part of yesterday PMS-ing and reading a bunch of opinions on blogging housewives such as I, and generally trying to not become defensive, I was happy to realise I came out on top. I felt pretty happy towards the end of the afternoon, wow. This 'stay in the moment' thing is really working out for me people. Intense emotional roller coasters? Other people's judgments? Mere clouds passing over my head, nothing of them remains at the end of the day. And while I was so busy feeling smug about how well I had done, Elliot got busy and gave me a nice little reality check about needing to focus a little bit less on myself and the amount of trash talk out there, and a little bit more on the amount of trash my kids are eating.

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