Monthly Archives: August 2019

86 degrees

It seems that we still have some summer weather ahead of us. The square in front of our house is full with people spending their Saturday afternoon at one of the cafes. Right now, Pickle is lying upside down with his feet in the air taking a nap. Henry and George are stretched out and possibly dreaming about dog treats. Olive is nowhere to be seen, hopefully she is in the shade somewhere.

This morning, the boys and I went on a walk with Mevrouw Van G. She’s a sprightly 80 year old who we met one day while walking. She offered to give Henry a lift on on her walker since he seemed to be lagging behind. We ended up making our whole round of the city center with her and exchanged addresses. She doesn’t have pets anymore and the local shelters think that she is too old to have another one, so I invited her over for coffee and pets. She took me up on that offer and now we have moved on to walking together on the weekends.

Due to the weather today, we picked her up at 10AM and spent a good hour and half walking through the park and back around the windmills. She is tiny and can tell lots of stories about what it was like here earlier and in Rotterdam. She’s a widow now and today I learned more about the story of where she met her husband. He was a painter and journalist and she was a dancer. They met in a cafe in Rotterdam that was full of creative types. Apparently his creative tendencies were a big disappointment to his family, who thought he should be in business. She said that the first time she met his parents, she didn’t know who his mother kept talking about. His mother kept refering to this Adri person. That was her husband’s given name but outside of his parents’ house, he went by Pieter.

I’ve learned that is common in The Netherlands. People choose their own “roepnaam” which translates to “called name”. So an Anna Cornelia Herminus becomes a Ghislaine and a Johannes Hendricus Martinus becomes a Joop. A Mariette becomes a Jette. It can get confusing.

The next few days should give us more of the same type of weather. That will mean that the long walk of the day will be in the morning instead of the afternoon. Since I broke the big ice tea container yesterday, now I have to microbrew. 😉 That’s what you get for cleaning something before you use it, you break it!

How is it possible?

That I haven’t written anything since the end of July? It’s already the 21st of August. Either I am getting old and not paying attention to the passing of time lately or I have been busy. Or a mixture of both.

For starters, the banjo and I have braved the world of playing in public. We’ve started playing weekly at one of the jam sessions at the local dive bar. It’s quite hilarious. Me and my banjo, surrounded by a collection of characters with amplified instruments and all looking like they were extras on the set of a Quentin Tarantino film. And all of them can play. It’s a super challenge for me: to concentrate, to play faster and actually try to play along with the rest. I wonder why I waited so long? But perhaps I was just waiting for the right group of people to play with, ones who are even less concerned with fashion and good taste than I am. 😉

Tomorrow is one of my last three Groningen days. That means the 534AM train ride will come to an end for me mid-September. I am going to miss the people in my incubator, I am not going to miss the 6 hour roundtrip on the train every Thursday – if nothing is delayed!

On Monday and Tuesday, the boys come with me to the classroom, where they spend most of their time lying on their bed under my desk. Occasionally, they wake up to take a walk around the classroom and check in on all the students. Especially when lunchtime comes around. Going twice a week means that they know how to ride the tram now and Henry actually will get into an elevator now instead of pulling his whole body into resistance.

I’m having a hard time lately when people feel the need to ask me how old the dogs are, mostly Henry, and then make a comment about that’s a really old age. Kind of like I should accept the fact that there won’t be much more time. I have to keep reminding myself that the boys are healthy and well taken care of and there’s no reason for them not have time left!

Speaking of pets, Pickle has taken to waiting for us on the mornings that we leave. He’s pretty smart. He hangs out on the corner of the block where he can see the front door. He has 50/50 chance that we are going to turn in his direction. I used to avoid him by going the back way through the alley but then last week he found us from the rooftops and then started following us that way. I am trying not to help him expand his boundaries so usually what happens is we walk to the poop tree, the boys do their thing, I clean it up and we walk back to the front door and lure Pickle back inside. Which then means I need to bring him upstairs and then start the whole exit all over again. It takes an extra 20 minutes each time – which eats up the 20 minute gain we earned from feeding Henry some different food.

I’m starting to understand why I haven’t written since July. 😉

As for our girl, Olive, she’s the least troublesome of the lot. She likes to be picked up and hugged but then she has a terrible drooling problem. Tip: don’t wear clothes that are not drool proof around her!

Okay, time to get my shit in gear for tomorrow. Until next time! 🙂