Thursday, July 31, 2008

the wednesday project

As I don't want a lot of unwanted ass attention, I decided to post my proclamation on Thursday, beside the fact I just read the post over at Mrs.G's, today.
But from here out I'll be posting on Wednesdays, about the disappearance of my double twin, I mean my chin.
Over at Derfward Manor, a gauntlet was thrown, okay not really thrown, but it makes for some dramatic blog entry, if I say that.

It's all about the '08 Ass Project. A motivational tool to get off mine and get moving, A suggestion is to use the couch to 5k running plan. But I know myself, and sometimes repetition gives me a reason to rationalize to stop. So I'll be doing a mixture of that, and walking, and swimming, or something.

Other committed people(bloggers) will posts pictures of their body parts, as they firm up and get into better shape. Because I like to do things a little different I will post a little video , as I'm in the midst of a video Self Portrait over at Ipernity called 365 minutes.

So this the part where I roll the video, of my rolls.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

the holiday In Amsterdam (part 3)

So when In Amsterdam there are things you should remember.

1. Taking a walk.
That wide cobblestone path, that seems like a walk way, is not. It's the bike path. And there are a lot of bikes in Amsterdam, alot! You'll be tempted to walk down this path, because it's in great condition, but as you're walking, you'll hear a far away ringing sound, that becomes more insistent as it approaches behind you, this is the bicyclist, asking you to move...NOW! The smaller narrower path is the sidewalk, so get on it.

2. Crossing the street
- the streets in Amsterdam are narrow, cobble stoned,a different pattern then the bike paths. When you first arrive, after the jet lag goes away. When you first walk the city, your eyes will be upward, looking at all the cool architecture, the gables, the cornices, the pulleys at the top of the gables. You won't notice when you cross, that you standing in the middle of the side streets,you won't notice until a car stops suddenly, where the driver doesn't flip you the bird, they instead encourage you to continue, and to be polite you should, don't stand there encouraging them to go, because they'll stay there, waiting for you to go.So just go, and say thank you.

3. the bill, please. or Mag ik afrekenen. say (Maahk ik ahf-ray-ken-neng)
When you eat out, ask for the bill. The restaurant will let you sit for many hours undisturbed, not like in America, where they are in a rush to get you out of there. Your waiter will watch you stretch, drum your fingers on the table, it's not until you ask for the bill do you get it. The Dutch are laid back people, and forthright too. They don't beat around the bush, which is refreshing. They also don't bring the bill, until you ask.

4. the Tram
When you get on the tram, get on in the back, that is where the conductor is.From him or her, you can buy a ticket or a strippenkaart. In Tram have a seat, and remember that accordion looking middle does take corners, just as you would imagine it would,by bending at an angle.

5.the strippenkaart-
this ticket gets you on the tram. You should consider buying them in strips of 15, as it's less expensive. You can buy them at a supermarket, or a smoke shop, and this is the kind of smoke shop that you can buy cigars , and cigarettes at not the other kind of smoke shop.
You can still buy them on the tram, but they cost a little bit more.With srtippenkaart in hand you'll get on the tram seamlessly, not holding up the other passengers behind you.
The stamp on the strippenkaart will get you travel for up to one hour, they are stamped with the date, time, and zone in which you have boarded.
They can also be used on buses, remember with a bus you get on in the front.

In the Netherlands, the voltage is 220. Before you buy a voltage converter, look at the electrical things, you are bringing with you,most likely they are dual voltage. Look at the input voltage listed, if it gives a range, like 100-250V, you're in like Flynn. You just need a plug adaptor, because the Dutch use the two pin continental plugs. We were able to recharge batteries, for our camera's and charge our phones, and charge our laptop too, all with plug converters.

7.Albert Heijn or Dirk Van den Broek
these are supermarket chains. You can buy food, soap, booze, baked goods, delicious yogurt, tissues,water, but you cannot buy any of the OTC drugs. No Nexium to go with that spicy salsa, just chips. Also you buy your grocery bags, and they're at the front the the register line, not the end. They are worth their price 0.25Euros. They are big, and carry alot.

8. it's pronounced Gowdah not Goodah.
Buy some Gouda cheese.Find yourself a cheese shop or a Kaashuis.
Ask to try some, be it young or older aged Gouda it's all good,some of the cheese shops will even vacuum pack your cheese if you want to take some home with you, on the plane.
Where it'll be mistaken for plastic explosives in your luggage, so customs will search your luggage. I kid about the explosive part, but you'll still get your luggage searched, even when you tell them on your custom form, that you have it.

9. Good shoes
bring your best, most comfortable walking shoes, because really if you wanted too, you can walk the city of Amsterdam, it gives you a wondrous view,the cobblestone sidewalks and streets are lovely to look at, but your feet will complain at night about the whole thing. What I recommend, soak your feet, in the tub or in a basin or whatever ,nice warm water, a drink or a beverage of choice is recommended, talk about your days events and soak those dogs, you'll be surprised, how un-sore your feet will be the next day.

10. Money
Don't take alot of money, with you, instead bring your ATM card, you'll get the best daily exchange rate that way, and they are everywhere. If you're still not sure about using an ATM, get some Euros at your own local bank, but still bring your ATM card.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Amsterdam Holiday (continued)

Zaterdag, 7 June Amsterdam

We are now well rested, it's amazing what a little jet lag will do for your sleep, I think we slept at least 9 hours,it's amazing, how it can change your outlook, on things. We are happy, and ready to go. well kind of. we all, us the parents, and the young man, are having a little trouble agreeing on an earlier time to get going, we'd liked to get out of the houseboat before noon, and well Zack has other ideas.

So Tom takes a walk to our local bakery, returning with some yummy thing to nibble on while we wait for Zack to get moving.

We also continue to leach wi-fi off of someone, and we thank them for that, some morning routines are hard to break.A morning surf with coffee, as we were eating breakfast and watching the canal traffic go by, we are also visited by the water birds on the canal, the ducks and the screaming greebies, and all have babies, as soon as we open the windows, they come by hoping for food, i don't have much to offer.

I walk around to take pictures, and look into the church down the neighborhood, where a wedding is taking place. I heard the bells earlier, but didn't want to be standing out there in my pajamas,just to see the bride.

The weather continues to be a little too warm ,frankly. I am discovering that travel sized deodorant, is really only good for it's size, it really does nothing else. I smell like I've been participating in some sport event.

But regardless of my smell we walk to the neighborhood called De Pijp (say da pipe) there is a great open air market, called Albert Cuypmarkt. You can find anything here. We buy some fresh cherries, some warm in the paper bag roasted nuts, they are salty and fresh, and the macadamia nuts are huge, Manua Loa, should be ashamed at the size Macadamia's they sell, because they don't compare. We also find some AAA rechargeable batteries, for our travel clock that died, 6 hours after we arrived, though it has been running for 6 month straight before that, it wasn't in to actually being a travel clock.

That night we have a great dinner at Meghna(Utrechtsestraat 28) which is just down the street from us, Tom and Zack haven't had Indian food before, and we have a really helpful waiter, who is good at explaining, what's good, and they decide, we all choose chicken dishes, and they are wonderful fresh, and we enjoy it fully. I have a Kingfisher beer, a little hoppy but nice.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

holiday in Amsterdam

There is something about the word holiday, as opposed to vacation that makes it seem, like it's so much more. In America we use the word vacation, in Europe they use the word holiday, which sounds like a better deal.
But actually whatever word you use,last month I went to Amsterdam with my husband and my son.I had been there two years previous. I went with friends we stayed on a houseboat, we fell in love with the city.
My plan was while I was there, I would blog daily, and write about it, but realistically there were 3 of us using the same computer, and well typing with any type of speed, is not my strong suit, so I opted for the moleskine method...pen and paper, what a concept, and portable too.
So with out further adieu, I'll now blog about my trip.

Thursday June 5 Logan Airport- Boston, Massachusetts

We just went through security, I remembered to wear my Ecco shoes, so i could slip them off, and walk through with socks. Not have to bend over untie. So here we sit, near our gate, watching the Big TV, which is on CNN, over and over it plays that Barack Obama has won the nomination for the Democratic party which I take as a good omen, for our trip, as I am an Obama Mama. They've just called us for boarding, I'm looking forward to getting back to Amsterdam, to see the houseboat, the canals, the cobblestones of the street.
Our flight is your typical red-eye, and older smaller plane, where they have the little movie screens in the aisle, and the purser, who tells us, he won't make a lot of announcements, so we can all sleep, feels the need to go up and down the aisles, offering water...Water....WATER! i want to shove the water bottle he'll shush and be quiet.

Vridag -6 June Schiphol Airport, Netherlands

We have arrived, 30 minutes earlier, which is nice but we have time to kill before 2pm, when the houseboat will be ready.
We pass through customs, they are patronizingly friendly and ask us if we will be riding bikes around Amsterdam, I mention we are staying in a houseboat on the canal, they remain friendly, but the patronizing tone stops...does this mean we are cool now?

My husband and his little nicotine monkey need to walk outside, I am sleep deprived, and take every sign so literally, that I question whether it's okay if we go out the revolving door that's marked to buses and husband silently rolls his eyes, and lights up, he and his little nicotine monkey take a deep inhale, and all is good. We stand outside in hot weather, like mid 80's degree weather...a thought circles in my head... that perhaps I should have packed more pairs of shorts.
The weather report at home for Amsterdam, spoke of 60-70 degree weather....ah well welcome to global warming.I also discover my dual band phone, not so great, but luckily my son has a more modern phone, and it's quad band, so after figuring out I need to dial the country code, we connect with Rene, who is the owner of the houseboat, he tells us the should be ready at 2pm, and he'll see us then.

We go back into Schiphol, to keep cool and kill a little time, before then. We purchase some wi-fi and surf on Zack's Mac. I send of some local emails, I'm meeting up with a friend I have known from Flickr, and I send her off a email, to get an immediate reply, as we are now in the same timezone, she in Rotterdam visiting her boyfriend. As we kill our wait the people watching is fun, there is a young Mom and her Daughter, waiting for her Daddy to come home, It makes me think of my son, who is now a young man sitting across from me, and how when they are little they hang on your every word.

Finally it's time we take a cab, into Amsterdam. Our Cab driver is older, and speak only when spoken to,so we have a quiet ride, but we are all, a little sleep deprived,and not really talking either, so it's okay.

We arrive at the houseboat!! We have the great fortune of meeting Rene, the owner, what a great host, friendly, colorful, his personality fits the decor of the houseboat perfectly.We go over some new improvements of the houseboat, since I've been there last, he points out the magnet if we drop the keys into the canal, Tom learns how to use the Senseo coffee maker. I also enjoy how Rene speaks of the canal being a public road, so we should shot the windows on the houseboat when we leave, not that anything has happened, as far as theft, but we should be wise about it.
If you saw the number of boats that pass by daily you would agree.

This time around it's a little different I know my way around the neighborhood, I'm familiar with the boat, it's still great to be back. We go off to the mini market,and pick up some breakfast things, and stop in one of the bakeries for something for lunch, which we bring home and eat on the houseboat, we also decide to take a little nap, which is great, before we go out for supper.

After sleeping for an hour or so, there were a few snooze alarm hits, we're up to find supper, that night we eat at Na Siam a wonderful Thai restaurant, on Kerkstraat, reasonably priced it costs 53Euros for the 3 of us, the spring rolls were light and crisp, the Singha, relatively cold. Our food was fresh, so delicious, and cooked to order, this is the night we discover they would let us sit for hours and hours, they don't bring the check until you ask for it. So we ask.
By now our jet lag has caught up we watch a little TV, that has dutch subtitles, then we are off to sleep.