Kings, Queens, Palaces and Orange

It is King’s Day today. The dress code today, whether you are Dutch or not, is to wear as much orange as possible. The more you can combine your orange with glitter, feathers, swim floaties and funny slogans, the more you are ready for the party. Of course, with King’s Day, the night before is King’s night and that is a different kind of celebration. Your orange is discreet. I went out for King’s Night last night, starting in the Leidseplein and then walking over to the Jordaan (some say the Jordaan is the heart of Amsterdam – I can see that) and then back over to Leidseplein and then to the Pijp and finally walked home. Needless to say, I am well ahead for my step count!

Before the King’s Night festivities, I had another royalty experience yesterday. Since Sunday seems to the perfect day to escape the city and to drive, we went to Paleis Het Loo in Apeldoorn. I had read on the website that dogs were allowed in the Forest Park but not the Palace Park. Makes sense to me, however, to the man guarding the entrance to the woods, it was a security issue. He seemed overly stressed out by the sight of two small dogs leashed up and wanting to go for a walk in the woods. As he called for backup, since he didn’t know which park I meant, he became increasingly more stressed and kept telling dispatch over the radio that he would try to get the point across and keep things in good order while he stopped me from entering the woods. I wasn’t trying to stress him out, apparently it just happened. We slowly backed away from the overwhelmed man and walked the dogs elsewhere before they went back into the car for their nap.

I have a connection with Het Loo. When my Oma and Opa celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, we went on a tour of the important historical sites of the Netherlands. My mom, Rupert and I along with Joanne and Sjoerd and my aunt and uncle spent a week in a rented mini van touring. Opa had put together all the sites and the itinerary. Het Loo was on the list. It was magical then (and now as well). At that time, they had more horses in the stables than they do now. They have only two – the stalls hold 88. I was in the stable for a very long time. Opa stayed with me, strolling the courtyard smoking his cigar so I could have horse time. Everyone else was on to the palace already. After we left Het Loo that day, Opa gave me a gift since their anniversary was very close to my birthday. It was a silver horse head necklace cast to resemble the royal coach horses.

Yesterday, while touring the palace and the gardens, it wasn’t difficult to know exactly what Mom’s reaction would have been upon touring Het Loo again. I am struggling a little today. Two years ago, we were setting her and Ninja’s ashes with Oma in Marum. It was 27 April 2013. We had to get an exception because it was a Saturday. I am sitting here listening to her playlist and it still hurts so much. Sometimes I really think that the hole in my life that was my mother’s place will never stop being raw. I still miss her so much and I have so much I want to talk with her about. I do talk to her, at night before I go to sleep. It has helped with some of the nightmares that I have about losing her.

I think about that too, that no one else in my life will have known my mother. And when the pets die, there will be another link to her that is broken. It is enough to make a person cry. Well, I am doing that already.

I know that I am going to be all over the place today emotionally. So, I am going to make use of the tears and incorporate them in to the tortilla dough. That’s right, today, I learn to make tortillas in honor of my mom. She started the boys on their tortilla expectations after all!

I miss you mom.

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