It appears spring has finally arrived. It’s about damn time.
Our first “warm” day was April 15. Warm being a huge overstatement. But everything’s a-flourish and the endless winter has finally…ended? I hope. The tulips are late, the asparagus is late, doubtful we’ll taste local strawberries before we fly out. But the ones from Spain and Morocco are good, the sun is out, the blooms are bursting, the bees are back and so are the spiders.
I know it’s spring because one day there was a spider web running from my computer monitor to my desk chair when I arrived at work. And I worked the day before. (If there’s anything you should not be when you live in Germany, it’s afraid of spiders.)
Here’s what we’ve been up to:
We found a chicken lurking in the field behind our house. We moved pots to find worms to feed it. Jacob lured the chicken into our backyard by dragging a stick on the ground. Then tried to poke the chicken with it.
We went for ice cream on a day not warm enough for it. So we sat inside then worked off oh, 1% of calories consumed on the playground. I would have taken a picture but the first ice cream of the season requires undivided attention. If you’ve had German ice cream, you understand—chocolate, stracciatella, vanilla and walnut eis with fresh strawberries, chocolate and whipped cream. What? You need to go potty? You broke your arm? The building’s on fire? Shhh, Mommy’s eating.
↑ What I didn’t bring home from Tongeren.
I went to the Sunday antique market in Tongeren. Still not overly impressed with it. Some vendors have some very nice things and it’s interesting to look, but it kinda ruins it when you see the beer glass you paid 50 cents for with a 20€ price tag or the coat rack you paid 8€ for for 45€ (esp. when yours is better). Not a lot of bargains. I did finally get the French champagne bottle drying rack I’ve wanted. But did not get the creepy boy (it had freaky glass eyes set-back in its head) or mannequin or an old prosthetic leg.
And after Tongeren to Boon, Tilquin and De Cam on the Toer de Gueuze—the ones we didn’t make it to last time. How I wish gueuze from the vat outside was every weekend.
Instead of hunting eggs in the snow in Brighton, we’re home watching movies and eating giant zartbitter (dark) chocolate rabbits. Jacob decided said “zartbitter” means “fart better.”
We had to cancel our trip to Brighton. Wednesday the ferry company announced in an e-mail that the French dockworkers had a planned strike. Our boat Thursday would be cancelled, and we could call to reschedule. So I did. And they charged me 10 pence a minute to tell me I had to call back because customer service was closed until 8 a.m. local/9 a.m. our time. Obviously too hard to type the operating hours in the e-mail.
These strikes ALWAYS go on, so we slept in. I got up about 8:40, checked the internet and saw the French had called off the strike at 2 a.m. ALL FERRIES RUNNING AS SCHEDULED. Only 1 news article published on this—published at 8:30. To make it, we had to leave in 45 minutes and had nothing packed (because the ferry wasn’t going to go). Woke Matt up, told Jacob 10 times to brush his teeth and get some clothes, took a super fast shower, told Jacob 10 times more times to brush his teeth and get some clothes (he is so me), called the ferry company and frantically started throwing some stuff into a bag while on hold.
Fifteen minutes before we had to leave and an operator finally picked up. Thank goodness we could reschedule the ferry crossing at no charge. It’s what we really wanted in the first place. It was to be the coldest Easter in England since 1910—snowing and only a high of 43 (on 1 day!) in Brighton. Going to pay about 50£ more for the hotel, but it won’t be snowing in May. We hope.
M O R E P H O T O S From Easter 2013. Shot March 31
Lately my postings have been infrequent to the point of nonexistence. And I had such plans.
I guess that’s what happens when you work. (Do any bloggers really have jobs? Same with you, pinterest crafters.) This, work, family, personal life, is sort of like the good-fast-cheap analogy. You can have something good, but it won’t be fast and cheap. You can have something good and cheap, but it won’t be fast. ETC.
I can’t seem to manage all the things at once, so bear with me why neglect some other aspect of my life and attempt to get caught up. Posts about Christmas is February? Sure why not?
In the meantime, here’s what we’ve been up to: Spent a week in Scotland; went back to Bruges and Rotterdam; went to Cantillon Quintessence and Zwanza Day; were moving to Belgium/were not moving to Belgium; visited Christmas markets in Brussels, Valkenberg, Trier and Bernkastel; bought some art; bought some furniture; booked trips to Marrakesh, Hamburg and Brighton; started planning trips to Berlin, Munich, Paris and either Spain or Portugal.
Love to tell you more about all that. But we’ve got a beer pick-up at Westvletern today and I’ve got a rabbit head to make for the kinder Carnival parade in Sittard tomorrow.
“When the teacher said Belgium, I didn’t know too much.
Is that where they have a lot of waffels and such?
Looked at a map, saw a country north of France, that’s when I started…
I started to sing and dance.
Oh, if you want to have fun with me, oh Belgium is where I’ll be.
Waffels for breakfast and lunch and dinner too.
We’ll take the train in the rain on down to Waterloo.
Kick off our shoes and socks, cuz you know that BELGIUM ROCKS! …”
Lyrics for the “Belgium Rocks” song from an episode of the great series about a talking dog, Martha Speaks.
Belgium does rock.
We’ve been there quite a lot. And we’ve been singing and dancing to this song almost as much. (Especially the month we thought we’d be moving to Belgium.)
Imagine the horror to open Jacob’s homework folder and discover this:
WHA? How is it possible for anyone not to love Belgium? This is not my child.
Interesting note: Belgium has more castles than every other European country. They’re just not what we expect them to be—closer to estate or manor houses. Even in Germany, which is known for their castles, most are reproductions build in the late 1800s. I talked a little about that here.
Christmas has come and gone. As has New Years. I only just put away the Christmas decorations last weekend, and am only now, mid-Jan, posting the Christmas photos. They’ve been sorted and tagged in Lightroom for much longer.
Good thing I didn’t make a resolution not to half ass or to finish things or to post more like last year. I did, however, finally put the cowhide rug down in our bedroom, dust and clean the windows. It’s prob the second time I’ve ever cleaned our bedroom windows…in 3.5 years. I don’t know what’s with Germans and their obsessive cleaning of windows. Would our windows look any better if I cleaned them every week like a German? Can you tell any difference at all? Nope. Not really.
Back to Christmas. Kids woke up at a semi-reasonable hour. Jacob was upset that I made them get dressed and wait until after breakfast to open presents. He sulked thru all attempts at a nice photo in front of the tree. You see what a good sport he was:
But that soon turned around. Especially when he and Nicholas opened their Nintendo DS’s.
M O R E P H O T O S From Christmas 2012. Shot Dec 25, 2012
Worst snowman ever? Possibly. The day after it snowed Matt rolled the trampled down, melting snow into a dirty, leafy, lumpy snowman. With walnut eyes and nose, Christmas tree branch arms, a leaf for a mouth and bicycle helmet. So ugly. So funny.
The kids delayed destroying him long enough for me to get a picture. Then they ripped his arms out and stabbed him with them. They kicked, punched and stomped him into a mound of dirty, leafy, melty snow. Then came inside and watched “Frosty the Snowman.” Kids rule.
Note Matt kicking his head off in the picture below.
M O R E P H O T O S From Snowman. Shot December 9, 2012
Been a relatively mild winter for Germany (so far). We had approximately two days of snow and now are back to lower to mid-40s temps. That’s how winter should be, right?
It snowed on a Friday; the kids were up at 6:30 the next morning to play in it. I made them wait until after 8 to go out for their scheduled snowball fight. I didn’t participate (this time) and snapped a few photos instead. Too early to get all dressed weather appropriate. And I probably enjoy throwing snowballs at them a little too much. (Try it. It’s fun. More fun if you put a rock in the middle. Just kidding!)
Jacob has also not taken off the snow boots since. The other day he wore too small, tight red fleece pants (tucked into the boots) and a camouflage hooded sweatshirt with a gray zip-up jacket over it. It was quite an outfit. But who am I to stifle his creativity…or, worse, have to pick out his clothes.
M O R E P H O T O S From Snow Day. Shot December 8, 2012