Well, it seems I am the only one awake at the moment. We just came in from our night walk twenty minutes ago and there’s a choir of snoring going on. Henry is buried under the comforter, George is lying under my computer and Moortje is curled up next to me. Lientje is maintaining her safe space distance from the troublemakers in the other room. She seems a little off today, just staring at her water dish and making weird little meows. I am not sure if she is just having her own sort of episode and trying to adjust or if there is something wrong. Of the four, she is the one who is the most sensitive to changes. Any change sends her hiding. Of course, she grew up with Mikha, the original Dragon Cat, so she is probably more traumatized than most. If she’s still weird (more than usual) by Monday, we’ll be going to visit the vet that we are registered at. Here in the Netherlands, you are supposed to register for medical and dental care (people and pet) with the practitioners in your neighborhood. So, conveniently, their pet clinic is next door to the Italian restaurant from the other night’s festivities.
Early this morning, I took the boys back to Beatrix Park. If I can get them used to the idea that going to the park means going off leash, they might do better with other dogs they see when they are on the leash. They did very well once we got into the park and they were off leash. George made a few moves toward different bodies of water and I could see his little brain working “She’s not looking, I bet I can get in there” but he came back when he was called. And then he decided to chase the flocks of pigeons and crows that gather on the ground looking for food. He will never actually catch any but it is fun to watch him try. I think we can go there again safely now that I know George won’t automatically throw himself in the water, he will think about whether or not he will get caught first!
I went to the market at the Noordekerk with Marianne. She introduced me to Winkel, which apparently has the best apple cake in Amsterdam. Judging by the number of people inside and outside, I’d say their reputation was justified especially since most of the crowd was Dutch. Of course, after eating a big wedge of it, I am inclined to say it was pretty damn good. The market was great, all kinds of small farms and craftspeople. I went a little crazy. I bought a kilo of Brussels sprouts. That would be 2.2 pounds of them. That’s a lot of sprouts. You can imagine that for the next couple of days, I’ll be roasting and experimenting with them. I will remember to be more mindful of lighter weight things when I buy them. I also got potatoes, red cabbage, tomatoes, cucumber, greens, sweet potatoes, cat nip, funky sea berry jam and cheese. I know, I just tried to stay strong and watch Marianne buy cheese and get a vicarious thrill but I couldn’t do it. I got some too. It’s the amazing vegetarian rennet organic milk cheese from Bastiansen – the green pesto and cumin kind. And it is green.
Speaking of green, my first purchase was a pair of gloves. And they are a green that is so bright that Marianne reminded me not to wave my hands around too much or the airplanes flying into Schiphol might be distracted and try to land. They are the color green of a dayglo nightstick. Which I find funny and of course, they won’t disappear into the bottom of a dark bag. They were, however, only 1.50 euros so they won’t last the winter.
On my way back from the market, I stopped at the American Book Center in the Spui to pick up a copy (and get it signed) of the book “Stuff Dutch People Like”. If you get a chance, it’s a hilarious blog to read. And if you don’t, I have copy now for all my houseguests. That part of the Spui is lined with bookstores, all kinds. It makes sense because the University of Amsterdam is right there. It is in the Grachtengordel (literally the Canal Girdle) and the architecture is stunning. Lots of people only want to live inside the Grachtengordel which I could understand from a historical and beauty perspective but for me, our neighborhood is great. And I have canals too, even if they are named after farmers instead of Princes and Kaisers 🙂 I added some pictures of what I saw today to the folder.
Reading the paper is getting easier. I read it cover to cover except for the sports section. Now if I could just learn to write in Dutch more quickly!
My brother, Cedric, called last night via Skype and he said that I sounded more relaxed than I had for a long time. And that made me think about how I am feeling about being here. I so miss my mom and being here doesn’t bring her back but as much as I can be at the moment, I am happy here. This was a good move for me. And I am reminded of her in so many ways every day, which I am so grateful for. I am looking forward to Thursday, when our furniture arrives and I can hug the purple chair and think about the fact that I am sitting in something that she made for me, here in this city that she loved and in an house that I would hope she would have said “I could live there”.