Care for a sprout?

Well, tonight I made a slight dent in the sprouts. I think I still have about 1.75 pounds left. I also learned how the oven works. This might seem like a no brainer activity but since it actually doesn’t come with any information knobs, you do have to read the manual. I am really grateful that the owners left all of the appliance manuals behind. You should have seen me trying to figure out how the dryer filter needed to come out and where the hell the condenser was. I am an old pro at emptying the water condenser out now but without the manual, I would have been either waiting for spring to dry laundry so I could hang it outside or I would have been looking for a Laundromat. I roasted the sprouts with sesame seeds, potatoes, shallots and the special Provence herbs that really did come from France (via Jo) and it came out pretty tasty. Of course, in the last 10 minutes, I threw some really aged Bastiansen cheese on top and mustard and I think that did the trick for sealing all of the flavors together. I have PLENTY leftover so there’s dinner for tomorrow.

Today was also the arrival of Sinterklaas and Zwart Piet into the Netherlands. Since Sinterklaas Day is celebrated in early December rather than Santa coming at Christmas, the festivities are underway. Of course, they arrive by boat into the canals and then switch to horses and they ride through the city. I was thinking about going but decided to wait until next year. I knew there would be a big crowd and it felt like something that would be more fun to do with other people rather than going by myself. Overall, I am okay with going most places by myself but this was a celebration and I felt like it should be shared. So, I will wait until next year.

Instead, I took the boys to Beatrix Park again. Conditioning, right? Well, George got much closer to the water this time, like right up to it. And there’s lots of groups of people doing group exercise training so he felt that surely he should join in and run with them. It was hilarious to watch and so typical George thinking he is being helpful. They did really well with other dogs today in the park so maybe this will work. As soon as they go back on the leash though, they go right back to being little thugs. I am always apologetic to the other dog owners when the boys go into thug mode but so far it seems like it is not a big deal. Everyone has been very cool about it. It just seems to be one of those things that is no big deal. Dogs bark at each other. Hmm, maybe all three of us have to learn together to chill out…

I went on a quest today to secure a handset for the home phone. I know, in this day and age, who has a landline? Apparently, I do and the cable company keeps sending me reminders that I haven’t connected my home phone or my television yet. Well, there’s an easy explanation for that – I don’t have anything to hook up. So, I went this store called the “KijkShop” literally translates to the “LookShop”. And that’s exactly what you do. Everything in the store is behind a locked glass case. You go through and browse it and when you see something you want to buy, you write down the article number, price and quantity on these helpful little forms. Then you go to the cashier and you give them the form and gnomes send your order up from the basement. Well, I don’t know if it really gnomes, it could be people. Unfortunately, the basic house phone handset that I wanted was not available so they had to make a reservation for me to pick it up. However, the dog poop bags at 3 rolls for 1.29 euros were so I didn’t leave entirely empty handed. It is kind of a strange experience, like browsing a museum. If the display cabinets are ordered by importance, the first cabinet is all coffee machines and the second is all home deep fryers. I have never seen so many choices for deep fryers in my life. If I find that I will need one, I know to go to the KijkShop – where the slogan is “Nu of nooit” – “Now or never”.

I also went to the HEMA and secured a pair of mittens in a more reserved color, turquoise. They were 2 euros. They are a little more upscale than my bright green ones and more durable so I will save them for when I need to go to work meetings and whatnot. But the rest of the time, bring on the dayglo. And I got some little dishes so the dogs and cats can have their own, instead of eating off the people set. I did manage to resist the various “good deals” in the middle of the store. It is easier than I thought, probably because I don’t have anything really in the house yet, and I kind of like it that way. And because if I am worried I missed something, I can always walk right back down to the HEMA.

Before heading back, I stopped to have a coffee and read the paper from cover to cover. I was having a Mom moment. Even more so when the weekend section in De Telegraaf had an interview with Andre Rieu. My mom loved Andre Rieu. We saw him together at Key Arena and then when he was at Key Arena again in March, I took the memento urn of her ashes that I have with me to see him again. I think I cried the whole concert through or very nearly. In case you didn’t know, Andre Rieu is Dutch, from Maastricht. And there’s these two PBS specials with him, one is a concert from Italy and it is gorgeous and the other is from the town square in Maastricht. Equally gorgeous. Mom used to watch those, they always came on during pledge season. She would talk about how she would love to see one of his concerts in either (or both) of those places. I am definitely going to do that. The other musicians she had a thing for were Roy Orbison and Canut Reyes (the long haired Gipsy King until recently). Well, Canut Reyes left the Gipsy Kings this year. Much like my mom left this year. And there were no Blue Angels in Seattle this year, which she also loved and would always say that “once the Blue Angels have been here, you better get your fleece on, winter is here”.

And I cleaned house and did the laundry. I have a hard time being still. Apparently that hasn’t really changed much yet. Tomorrow back to work. I am trying very hard to not work on the weekends. One step towards chilling out at a time.

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