10 February 2015

Movin' Day

Our house was in a bit of disarray . . .

We had a few extra things here . . .

and here . . .

and here . . .

here too.

But it's all gone now.

Starting here.

We rented a moving van to move Ross's things.

Unfortunately the parking spaces in front of our house were taken :-/

However, there was no rain and it wasn't freezing cold (or sweltering hot) . . . so there's that.

I do always love to get a photo of a mattress being transported.

Funny story . . . I'm actually laughing as I type this . . . once I wanted a king size mattress put up in our attic and after wrestling with it for a while, Jim literally folded it in half, single-handedly, and got it through the attic opening.  

I guess it's really just funny looking back on it. :)

Anyway, Ikea has it all figured out and their mattresses roll up so it's waaaay easier.

Of course, I'm just the one with the camera and not speaking from personal experience.

Three hours later - like a glove.

Next stop - Brussels - where Ross has a new apartment!  

We decided to wait until after business hours so we could somewhat block the street.  Parking a moving van in Brussels is really not an option.

Working quickly, we filled up the foyer of the building.

Then up two flights of stairs to here - which is pretty much where it had to sit for a week while Ross and Jim went back to work.

Yes.  Ross has a new job!

Then, last weekend, we (and by we, I mean us and Winslow :) were able to help Ross start to get things in order.

It's all coming together.

Beautiful, old building with high ceilings, big windows, wood floors . . .

Nice, huh?

The view out back - it had just started to snow.

A new job.  A new apartment.  Life is good.

31 January 2015

Violino Finito

As I type this, I can hear Jim, down in the kelder, trying out his very own handmade fiddle. 

And it works!  

And it sounds pretty damn good.  

One of these days, perhaps he will let me film him so you can hear it too.

There really are no words . . .

29 January 2015

2015 Sneeuw

On Friday night, Jan 23, we had our first snowfall of the year.

I guess that umbrella just wasn't big enough for the both of them.

Our little backyard.


Pieter's bike

On the way to the park.


Park bench.  But of course you knew that.

That's me with our big umbrella - also not big enough for both of us :)

Winslow.  He loves the snow.  His feet and legs finally get clogged with so much snow, we had to go home.

But he had fun there too!

Okay, the umbrella was big enough after all :)  
Me in my Russian hat from Scotland and Jim in his Ignatius Reilly hat from ??.

27 January 2015

Birthdays and Sinterklaas and . . .

I didn't realize how long it has been since I posted about the little things, the special events, and just everyday life around here.

In November, our neighbor/landlord/friend, Annemie, turned 60.  She had a big celebration for all her friends and family.  This is Annemie and her two sons, Bert and Pieter and their girlfriends, Esther and Anse.

Ross and Jim enjoying the party :)

These are clementines and marzipan. No chocolate here - they are the traditional stocking stuffers from Sinterklaas.  Here, the children put out their shoes, rather than stockings.  Unlike Santa Claus, elves, reindeer and a sleigh, Sinterklaas comes by boat from Spain with his helper, Zwarte Piet and he rides on a white horse.  That's actually way more believable too.

Our last barbecue before it got too cold for the year.  Yes, it was just as good as it looks!

On one of Randi's visits to see us, she brought all the fixin's for tamales.

We spent quite a bit of time preparing all this, but . . . 

it was worth it!  Frank's got nothin' on us!  We had tamales for nearly a week and they just got better and better each day.

Frank: a black guy who used to have a small cart in various locations around Ruston where he sold hot tamales.  We ate these fairly regularly because Nana (my mother) loved Frank's hot tamales.

This beautiful birthday cake was for me!  Homemade by Ross :)  In an attempt to replicate Traina's icing (one of a kind),  I think he got a little help from Aunt Becky. Thanks to both of you!  And yes, it was definitely as delicious as it was beautiful. 

24 January 2015

Hondje Zakje

Adding a "je" to just about any word in Flemish makes it a little . . . well . . . little, or it makes it sort of a term of endearment.  In the same way we sometimes do in English, like "girly" or "cutesy" or "bootylicious".  

Okay, maybe not that last one.  

Anyway, the Flemish do it ALL the time.   

For example, a "kopje koffie".  Not just a cup of coffee, but a little cup of coffee.  

They even have built-in spelling rules for this!  

A "jongen" is a boy.  A "jongetje" is a little boy.  Notice the change in spelling - drop the "n" and add "tje".  

Perhaps you could say the same about 'licious, but this can literally be done with nearly every word in Flemish.  And it IS done with nearly every word in Flemish.  They LOVE this.  Lovalicious.

tafeltje - little table
stoeltje - little chair
hondje - little dog
kusje - little kiss

And the all important - een beetje - literally, "a little" - I'll have een beetje more, alstublieft (please).

Well, you get the ideatje.

Hondje zakjes (doggy bags) do not exist in Belgium.  One would never think of asking to take leftover food from a restaurant.  Never.  Food preparation, presentation and quality is very important here and eating something as a leftover is unheard of.  It just wouldn't happen.

Until now.  Maybe.

In an effort to combat food waste, the city of Ghent is trying something radical - the doggy bag.

In our local newspaper . . .

A third of all food produced annually is discarded.  The city of Ghent and a popular consumer magazine are trying something new - the doggy bag.  In the United States, it has long been customary to ask for a doggy bag.  In Belgium, this is not yet the case.  With such a bag, the guest may take home what remains on their plate.  The magazine will appeal to other restaurants to promote the idea.  At this moment there are already 46 which are recognized with a sticker on their window.  The restaurant industry welcomes the initiative, but hopes that a clear legal framework is created: it is the consumer who is responsible for the freshness of the food as soon as it disappears from the restaurant.

The magazine decided to have a contest for people to choose a name for the concept and with more than 6,000 votes, this won . . .

You knew there'd be a "je" in there somewhere.  Lekkerlicious!