Monday, December 31, 2012

Hi dear!!

yesterday we saw a lot of live deer, so cute!! very different from the day before, when we saw many alongside the road, hit by cars... i guess that explains why most people around here have a big car with a huge cattleguard in front (we dont know the actual term, but you get what i mean, i hope). we saw some elk too, yesterday!
and so many cows, literally in the middle of nowhere, im really curious how that all works, does the farmer visit them.. or? 
and another thought that cannot leave my mind; i once read that the entire world population (thats 6 billion people, right?)  fits in the state of texas... but... then the density would be like new york city.....  the remoteness we are driving through also made me realize something else, and although so very logic, it was a revelation to me.. ;) once the entire world was as remote as the places we drove through the past few days.... i am just not used to such emptiness and keep wondering how people can live there....
well, today is a beautifully sunny day! (the first, so far we started out grey every day), and we are up for another long drive, further west and north...

Rural America

this morning we woke up early in alpine, texas. had breakfast at the hotel (not too bad), and drove to fort davis, which was much less interesting than i thought (once there was a fort, but now only the foundations were still present). the road towards it however was beautiful. then we drove on the interstate for a bit (80 mph, even faster than yesterday!), then we got onto road 54 from Van Horn to the highest peak of texas in the guadelupe mountains. that road was deserted (we maybe met 4 cars in total?), and almost entirely straight. so... tim decided i should drive. now, mind you, i never drove in my entire life.... so it was a little scary. even with a road with just a few curves and no other cars.... but i drove, for 10 miles or so, hahhahaha.
eventually we entered new mexico; the first sights were not too pretty, and the desert was pretty flat. most roads were rather empty again, and distances between towns were huge! at some point we were high up in the mountains, full of snow, after which we entered the desert again. what an amazing change in landscapes in just several hours of driving!! during dinner we looked at the photos i took, and its crazy how fast you forget (even during a 1day drive), what you all saw.... its good to keep a blog for just that reason... :) we are now in socorro, judging from the hotel prices clearly less touristic than alpine, we got a room for just 42 dollars.
above one of the first pictures i took this morning. the landscape there was so yellow and deserted. the windmill is so very typical too. i knew it ofcourse from the movies, but during our time in texas i have seen many of them... wikipedia tells me they are part of a domestic water system....
today we gained another hour (2 now since we left boston), as we are in the mountain time zone.... but to me it feels like midnight, clearly time to sleep to get up early on the last day of 2012!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

God's country

this is how you are welcomed in the city of hondo (or rather, the street of hondo, as it was just one street we drove through, with some houses here and there..)... to me its just interesting that so far, texas has the highest speed limit i have seen in the us (75 miles per hour! while around boston its often 55...)

Texan desert

this morning we left san antonio and took highway 90. after i had done some reading online last night, i had high expectations. and... we were not disappointed; it was beautiful. so much desert!! and such an ever-changing landscape. here and there a teeny tiny town, with many abandoned buildings... the nature was a whole lot better, whenever there seemed to be some humans around, there was also a lot of old crap; from cars to barns to entire houses....  the roads were perfect and there were not too many cars. we stopped here and there to take some pictures, and i also took a lot while driving. i just had to think of those cowboys in the early days, going through this empty, so very empty country!! at least at this time of the year its not soaring hot, as im sure it will be during summer.... (we didnt wear our jackets, but it was a little chilly when outside). we passed creek after creek, but all the riverbeds were empty...
eventually we stopped in alpine, which is surrounded by several hotels (luckily for us, several were pretty full already!), and also by an interesting mountain landscape...
ah, along the way we also got checked by the border patrol (along the road we saw 2 inspection stations, i guess because we were close to mexico), but everything was fine after showing our passports...
now its time to sleep again, seeing so much beauty is tiring... ; ) we havent fully decided how to drive tomorrow, and we still havent left texas......

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Concrete jungle

we left mckinney this morning. it was chilly (but definitely less cold than yesterday), grey and a bit rainy. this is somewhere along the highway; arent the signs a bit abundant? motels, hotels, and food, food and more food (mostly mexican, pancakes or burgers). along the highway you certainly dont have to worry finding something to eat or a place to sleep, just the signs might be confusing.... the parts of texas we saw today were just flat. not always unpretty; stretches of empty (farm)land, mixed with (too many) outlet malls, superstores, apartment complexes, and stuff like above. i preferred the empty stretches of land...
eventually we ended up in austin, and the sun had come out!! we could even walk around without jacket, quite a change from this morning... we learned a bit about the history of texas, cowboys and austin, saw the capitol (the largest in the country), had lunch and drove on to san antonio. quite the tourist city! we walked along the river, together with many, many other people. it was fun, but in my opinion it actually was an ugly version of the dutch city utrecht, which also has many restaurants lined along its canals. now we are in a motel a little outside of the city, tired and curious about tomorrow, when we will continue on highway 90 towards el paso. from what ive read, this must be a very interesting route! lets see how far we will get... unlike yesterday we did not yet book a hotel and will just see where we will end up....

Friday, December 28, 2012

McKinney, Texas

yesterday we were in the tiny town of mckinney, an hour from dallas. still some snow residues here and there, as you can see. and, i guess no surprise, i was cold... :) but doesnt it look cute, and quite american?
mckinney only exists since 1848, and is named after collin mckinney, signer of the texas declaration of independence. this year, cnn has named the city the second best place to live in the entire us, and its the only place in texas to make the top ten... now i wonder what is supposed to be the best place to live, but its time for breakfast!!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Freeeeeeeezing Texas

last night i could not get blogger to work... but... we are in texas! we got up at 4 in the morning, had a cab waiting at 5, a delayed flight that eventually left at 8, and landed in dallas somewhere in the afternoon, where we were greeted by freaking cold weather, and snow. more snow than in boston, not a lot, as you can see above, but enough for lots of kids to have fun... :)
as you might remember, we were in texas last year may for a wedding, so now we had to witness the result of that; a cute little baby boy! i just wish it wasnt so cold here.... grrr...
we did some touristy stuff too, we saw the memorial for john f kennedy, who was shot in dallas. it is a really nice memorial. we walked around a bit more, but while last time it was too hot to walk around (nobody was walking except us), now it was too cold, haha. tomorrow we drive further; at the very moment we are still deciding where to.... lets see.... :)
ah, i learned something too; if you want tea around here, you have to specifiy you want hot tea, otherwise you will get iced tea (bleeeghhh!), and some places dont even have the hot version....

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas angel?

yesterday afternoon we went for a hike in the woods not too far from our place. the path we walked had several trees that were decorated with christmas stuff! in a way it was a bit weird, especially this angel, which looked kind of scary to me... especially from up close...
tomorrow we leave for a small trip! we booked it only yesterday, so we havent quite figured out yet how/where and what... our flight is at 7 in the morning, so we have to get up real early... somehow i have this obsession that the day before a trip (be it a week or more) i need to have the entire house clean. so thats what i mostly did today (and tim as well); cleaning... well, yes, i know it was christmas (we woke up to some snow! but it wasnt much and it didnt last...); i just cant help it. i like the thought of having a neat place to come home to, and i like to think while away that at home everything is in perfect order (i guess i have a little ocd.... ). ah well.. only didnt leave me much time for packing my suitcase.. hope i didnt forget anything....

Enjoy christmas!!

this is (again) at the boston common. the tree you see here comes from nova scotia, and is a present from their government to the people of boston. since 1971, this has been a tradition. it is in thanks and remembrance of the halifax explosion in 1917. on december 6 of that year, a french wartime ship fully loaded with explosives collided with a norwegian ship in the halifax harbour. the gigantic explosion that followed instantly killed 1900 people, and 9000 were wounded. anything, buildings, people, within 500 acres of the explosion vanished, and the explosion caused a tsunami in the harbour, causing even more damage. the city of boston quickly learned of the disaster and was the first to send help. the year after, in 1918, the people of halifax sent a tree to thank all those that helped. and as mentioned, since 1971 this has been a yearly tradition.
the tree lighting is a spectacle in itself, with a lot of performances and whatnot. we went there the first year we were in boston (together with 30,000 other people). it was so cold, we could hardly see anything and the (live) singing was not that good....needless to say, we did not go the past 2 years!  but... although sad, its good to know the story behind the tree....
and now you all should enjoy christmas!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Holiday shopping

a shop window somehere in boston... i just dont know what the sentence on the window means "the woman prepares for the holidays". literally? the woman does all the work? (the cooking, etc), or does she prepare herself by buying this (boring) blue dress? or....? i also seem to see a moustache, at least on the doll to the left... 
anyways, we didnt do much holiday shopping. thats the advantage if you live on the other side of the ocean... ;) i did buy some shoes, yesterday. for myself. and tim bought 2 pairs. the guy at the counter asked us about our holiday shopping, and if we were almost done.... i just answered that it was, with the 3 pairs of shoes... :D

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Common birds

today we walked a bit around in boston. that was pretty cold. there was a strong wind, and it was kind of grey out... brrr!! i guess still better than yesterday, when it was raining like crazy...
here the boston common again, a little further is the frog pond (that i showed you yesterday). here someone just stirred up the pigeons and they happened to fly right over me, yuck... i did what everyone would do; i used my camera for protection... ;)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Getting better

after a week (a week!!) of being sick, i can finally say im feeling better again. not entirely, but better.. defenitely much better than i felt last week friday, or the entire weekend for that matter. beeehhh.... we must have picked up a virus here or there.
anyways. no pictures at all this week, so this is one from december last year. this is the frog pond in the boston common, which i have shown you several times before, mostly in summer when little kids play there to coll off. in winter it frozen, although both last winter and so far this winter it has been too warm to be frozen by itself.... :) (im waiting for the snow!!!). here you can see the huge amount of people, waiting to get onto the ice thats being polished. i really dont get why so many people are always skating here; its so tiny! 
ah well... time for bed now, still not feeling 100% healthy...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Great weekend...

i wish i indeed was writing to tell you this has been a great, busy weekend and there was no time to update the blog; but... me and tim are both sick. buhuhuhuhuhuh. we didnt leave the apartment today and when we did yesterday for some groceries (but it turned out we both didnt want to eat for most of yesterday and today) we felt even more miserable. 
this is from last weekend when we had a nice hike somewhere not too far from our house. the skyline is the one of boston. 
now its time to go back to bed again... :(

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Self portrait

as you can see behind us (perhaps) this is at the niagara falls where we were last month. it was so very cold!  for us, it was the first meeting with real cold this season. luckily i was prepared and was wearing a real winterjacket.... unlike when we were in the netherlands last week; i assumed it would be as cold as in boston, but now i remember again that the last month of the year definitely is colder in holland than here (i now clearly remember being very surprised about that the first year we were in boston; everyone had scared me with the mountains of snow that could fall here, and how very, very cold it would be and then... i didnt need my winter coat until january!). the past weekend it was really quite warm here, and monday it was almost 15 degrees! but as the week progressed, it slowly got colder and colder, i read something about a possibility of snow next week.... lets see!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Now you...

...know! arent you happy?!
this is close to the tobin bridge, leading you into boston (its the green you see in the back, otherwise i would not have known anymore where this was...)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Praying eternally....

...with a bunch of fake flowers between his arms.... i found this quite an odd stone. on the other side the names are engraved. unfortunately, i could find nothing interesting about them.
this is at a cemetery not too far from our house, with mostly italian graves (or so it seems, judging from the names, this one was no exception).
for more taphophiles, go here!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Back home!

while we already came back friday night, i was a little too lazy over the weekend to write a new blog post. while in the netherlands i did not get fully over the time difference (at midnight i felt very awake each day), back in the us im tired early in the evening! grrrrr....
on saturday we had to refill our empty fridge, and on sunday we went for a hike in the woods not too far from our apartment. i actually meant to spend some hours in the gym this weekend, but too lazy for that as well. at least we went this evening, and it was very necessary; while in the netherlands we didnt move too much and we ate a LOT! all those typical dutch things that we cannot get here in the usa..... hmmmm, it was so good. and ofcourse, the tasty typical dutch things are not the most healthy or low in calories..... 
starting november or so, until the end of the year, you will see pastry stands (i.e. "gebakkraam") like the one above. they sell "oliebollen" and thats the first thing we ate when we arrived. oliebollen literally translates into "oil balls", and thats what they are; dough, usually filled with raisins, currants and/or succade are scooped into balls, deep fried and then covered in powdered sugar. hmmmmm!!! traditionally, this is eaten at the last day of the year, and not one or 2, but many, right from the frying pan. the leftovers are eaten in the day(s) afterwards, either cold or rewarmed in the microwave. here you can find the recipe (on a lovely site featuring typically dutch recipes that i recently discovered). we ate a LOT of other stuff, for the dutch among you, these things will sound familiar and we ate them as if we hadnt eaten them for ages and wont for months to come (which is probably true); kaasbroodjes, saucijzenbroodjes, poffertjes (homemade; those you can often buy on the street as well), roze koeken, drop (ofcourse!!), fries, kroket, kaassouffle, banketstaaf, and certainly also lots of dutch bread and real dutch cheese (hmmmmm), many, many mandarins  (sooo good and they are soooo cheap, especially when compared to the us, and without the stones they almost always have here). and, and and.....! so yes, we stayed only a week and ate for 2 or 3.... whoops.... but it was just sooo very good! tomorrow i will goto the gym again, i promise....

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Yikes, snow!

ofcourse, on the day we left the netherlands the weathergods decided to tell us goodbye with some snow... a few days before reporters already went crazy and on the news they were warning everyone of the upcoming chaos on the roads and the airport; everyone should just stay at home on friday to be safe! (even a little bit of snow in the netherlands is completely different from loads of snow in boston; the dutch are not used to it and/or equipped to remove it quickly and usually the entire country comes to a standstill when its covered in a layer of the white stuff).
we got up real early and there was no snow at all. but.... when i looked outside a little later, the streets were suddenly covered in a white layer, it went so fast! off we went to the airport with too much luggage (mostly dutch candy and other things "you cannot get in the us and a" in my suitcase). luckily it went smoothly (except that it was sooo slippery and i could only walk very very slowly); we even arrived too early; check-in was still closed. other travelers were less lucky; many flights going to destinations in europe were cancelled, resulting in very long rows and some upset and/or crying people. the messaging system was constantly announcing gate changes, delays and cancellations, but our flight was only slightly delayed. me? i was mostly worried that i couldnt do my blog... i wasted our free 2x 30 minutes of internet trying to upload the above photo; it did not work... :( i was so focused on that, and didnt even notice the snow had stopped, hahahahaha! at least the waiting went by quickly and off we went, to iceland from where we had a connecting flight to boston. no problems at the border here, luckily, nor at customs. they didnt find the kilo of cheese and the many packages of dutch candy... (i think half of my suitcase was filled with dutch things.. :D).
now i have time (and especially internet) to visit my fellow bloggers again!! see you soon!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Perfect roads

the clouds (the clouds here really are different from the clouds in boston, and have been depicted by many famous painters..), the windmill, the green pastures; all so very dutch!! 
also the roads; so very smooth and perfect (although i have to admit this road between utrecht and amsterdam is brand new); such a huge difference with the roads in massachusetts that are scattered with potholes and bumps and what-not. other things i notice now that i dont live here anymore; many more people smoke here (yegh), shoes are different (the model), and women often wear high heels here for everyday use, not just for going out, but the heels are less high than the ones american women wear (those are ridiculous and can only be worn when taking a cab and sitting on a bar chair the entire night, no?). its so very cold here, and the cold different from the boston-cold, its so cloudy and already at 3.30 the sun seems to go down. the sun rises much later here (i have a hard time getting up, while in boston its light at 6!), and what i really, really dislike is the fact that you have to pay to use the bathroom here. often even when you have drunk or eaten something at the department store, you still have to pay 50 eurocents for the restroom! in the us you can walk into every hotel and they are happy to show you where the restrooms are, even though you are not a guest. 
i do like the dutch language. its so cute! ofcourse, me and tim speak it at home, but its really nice to hear the girls speak it at the register and so on. we have so many nice small words that are simply absent in english.... also, here they are much friendlier, and genuinely friendly in shops when compared to the us (at least in and around boston). 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December 5

this is some very nice decoration in "de bijenkorf" in amsterdam, a department store. i guess you could compare it to nordstrom in the us. these are "zwarte pieten", or black petes, the helpers of "sinterklaas". here they climb up and down the ropes, its really nice to see. they are there every year, for as long as i can remember.  "sinterklaas" is comparable to santa claus; in fact, santa claus' origins are said to come from the dutch sinterklaas. he arrives from spain somewhere in november, and leaves on december 6th. its mainly a feast for children; you can place your shoe at the chimney, with something in it for sinterklaas' horse, and if you have been good, you get a little present or some candy. on december 5, you get some more (and bigger) presents. the zwarte pieten have black faces since they go through the chimney to get the presents into the houses (so i never understood how children living in a house without a chimney could get presents; luckily we did have one). as a child, i liked sinterklaas much more than santa claus, which we also celebrate, probably because sinterklaas takes several weeks and i got more presents... :)
every year, people are complaining about the zwarte pieten; as they are "helpers" of sinterklaas, and black on top of that, they see it as a racist feast. but, as said, their faces and hands are black because of the chimney, and i dont think that children see them as anything else than providers of candy and presents, and it really is a feast for children!! (occasionally they see them as scary as only children that behave well get presents, and parents sometimes threaten their children that if they misbehave they will be taken to spain together with sinterklaas and zwarte piet...). 

From Amsterdam

this is the dam square in amsterdam. next to me is the bike lane, next to you have the tram (you can see the wires), and then the cars. on cobblestones, not a problem if you dont wear high heels.... :D
its quite cold here, i guess a bit colder than in boston and my jacket is too thin. im surprised many dutch people still walk and bike around without hat and gloves; i think in boston everyone would be wrapped up entirely in many layers of clothes with these temperatures!
we're in the train now, and its equipped with free internet! (until next year, then you will have to pay). tomorrow is our last day, we are supposed to fly back on friday... but.... i just saw that lots of snow and wind is predicted for that day, hope it will wait until after we leave!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dutch splendor

we are in the netherlands for 1 week to arrange some stuff. no internet..... 
but we do take a lot of pictures! now we are sitting in a small mall in amsterdam, finally one with internet! (free wireless, as well as free public toilets, are hard to find in the netherlands... grrr!!). anyways, this is a pasture close to my parents place. we stopped and took quite some pictures.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Feeding pigeons...

signs usually say please dont feed the birds..... this one is a bit more explicit.... :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Looks like....

... this mourning lady at the grave of edwin lister is referred to as drew barrymore by the cemetery guides of sleepy hollow, new york. hahaha. i just found that somewhere on the internet. and well yes, now that i read that i think she does look a bit like drew barrymore (an actress), no?
this is a huge grave, here you can see it entirely, so i guess this person was rich. and i guess he was, this is what i could find; edwin lister was born in england, and came as a boy with his parents to the usa. in 1887 he became president of the company agricultural chemical works, his father's company where he started to work at a young age (they grounded cattle bones into fertilizer). he improved the machinery and whatnot, and later moved the business from sleepy hollow to newark, new jersey, together with his brother. in newark he eventually died after an illness of several months. 
normally, i would now link to taphophile tragics, but unfortunately, taphophile tragics is no longer....! i do hope to continue posting cemetery pictures every now and then. the main reason i often skip posting about the cemeteries i visit is that i get caught up into reading lots and lots of stuff about the cemetery, the history of the town or the particular person. and then at some point its so late that i am too tired and/or lazy to make it into a blog... :) (as happened tonight... its almost 1 now and i read about 3 different persons on the sleepy hollow cemetery. so very interesting! but with each story i thought.. "how will i ever make this into a short blog-post?" then i found drew barrymore.... ;) )

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Not tomorrow!

another sunny picture... but this was last saturday when we were in new york. i took this photo while we were in the roosevelt island tram, aboveground! this is actually in between the car accessroads to the bridge, and (i guess) a homeless man is enjoying the sun while lying on a subway ventilation grill, completely oblivious to all the cars racing on either side of him.... tomorrow some snow is expected! here in boston at least, i dont know about new york, but i assume it will be a bit colder there too than it was last weekend. 
we just got back from the cinema, and it was cold already. we saw life of pi, in 3d. just in the cinema closest to our apartment, not in the center of boston or anything. and this was the price for 2 tickets (including the 3d glasses); 32 dollars!! 32! nowadays, if time allows, we go to 3 different supermarkets as i kind of know where what is the cheapest, to save a dollar or 2. and then we spend 32 dollars on the movies... :) ah no, actually we get discount tickets through work, and then they are 7.50 each (thats really nice!). however, since it was a 3d movie, we each had to pay 4.50 extra; so thats still a total of 24 dollars... for a movie we both did not really like.... grrrrr! (we both have read the book, i was not that impressed, tim was. then i read a review in time magazine that convinced us to go see the movie.... but i guess a movie hardly ever is better than the book)

Monday, November 26, 2012

In Vermont...

..while it was still warm and green out, back in august.
now its cold! almost freezing today. we didnt do much interesting and i could not find any photo i wanted to show.... grrr (also not of the ones i took yesterday)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

But why?!

today it was black friday (the day just ended 5 minutes ago); the start of the christmas shopping season in the usa, and the day on which all stores give (or pretend to give) large discounts on their products. actually, it started already last night. when we drove home from the thanksgiving dinner, we passed a "big k market" (a department store, nothing special as far as i remember), where some 20 people were standing in line in front of the entrance. it was about 9. at home, i checked when the store would open; midnight!! i dont know how long they had been there already, but sitting outside, on thanksgiving (a seemingly very important holiday for americans) at 9 for a store to open at midnight just makes me wonder WHY?!
i think last year many stores opened "only" at 4 in the night, so i guess next year they might just be open on thanksgiving....  for us, it was our third black friday, and yet again we did not set foot in any store. i would have liked to observe the spectacle, but its hard to be present in such a huge crowd of people without being part of it, unless you can fly, no? tim found this video, and that actually made me happy i was not present, i would defenitely not have liked to be in such a shopping-crazy-crowd!
the sculpture was not made for black friday :) i saw it in new york, when we were there in june with my sister. its in the city hall park, until the end of this month, together with several other interesting works of art. the sculpture is named "memorial for unknown artist", by thomas schutte (here you can read more about it)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Plymouth rock

2 years ago we drove to provincetown on thanksgiving. halfway we stopped in plymouth, where the pilgrims in 1620 landed with the mayflower from europe. in this shrine lies the rock on which the pilgrims stepped to get ashore. or so they say. yes, there is indeed a rock, but according to wikipedia the rock was not mentioned in the journals that were kept by the pilgrims. the first written reference to the rock was 121 years later..... nowadays, only 1/3 of the top part of the rock is still intact.... and you are not supposed to chip off a piece as a souvenir, as happened in the past... :D
like last year, we celebrated thanksgiving with europeans only (almost!), with a real turkey from a real american oven (not mine).... (i didnt bring pumpkin pie, as i intended to, as i made that already last week and discovered its absolutely not tasty at all!)

Thanksgiving migration

i believe today most real americans traveled to someplace else in the usa to get where they want to be to celebrate thanksgiving, tomorrow! as you know, most americans stuff a turkey and then bake it in the oven for several hours. 
the above sign is somewhere close to plymouth, where the settlers first got off the mayflower into the new world in 1620, and the origin of the first thanksgiving, most likely (as you can read here). had never seen a turkey crossing sign before, so i took a picture while we drove by (i already missed the alligator sign in florida, and the "dont-pick-up-hitchhikers-this-is-an-active-prison-area" in new hampshire).
when i was back in europe in september, i was "shocked" by the small ovens people have there! after almost 3 years and lots of baking, i really got used to the big american oven (i guess its big because it has to fit an entire turkey once a year?!), and dont really see it as big anymore at all (unlike when we just got here), maybe i should bring one back to the netherlands.. (an oven, not a turkey!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

3 buildings

here 3 buildings in very different styles and shapes. i dont know what the tall one in the back houses. i think the one to the righ, with all the window a/cs is the court building, and the round one houses several stores that are all closed during the weekend (we found that out the very first time we were in boston and we were looking for a rental car agency. there is one here, but it turned out to be closed). this is opposite of the city hall, so i guess its more busy during weekdays when all government employees are around....

Monday, November 19, 2012

Red balloons

i totally didnt know what picture to post today. so i went to my november-folder of 2010, the first year we were in boston, and this is what i found... :)
this is close to the public garden in boston. i dont even remember taking this picture.....

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Dancing cop

always fun to see a cop directing traffic. if you shoot multiple images and watch them after each other, it looks like a weird dance on the middle of the street, sometimes.. :)
going back and forth to new york in one day is really fun, but tiring too! we got up at 4.45am on saturday, caught the subway to boston, and then had the 6.30 bus to new york, delivering us to chinatown around 11 (traffic was a bit slow yesterday), we spent the day and got the 7pm bus back to boston, getting back home just after midnight..... then the downstairs neighbors had some loud party, so we stayed up and watched some series. 
as a result; today i did hardly anything. too tired... :)

NY today

still some autumn colors today in New York! we went for a day, from boston by bus, so now im tired....
it was real warm! at some point too warm for a jacket, can you believe it?!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Giant deer

when we were in toronto it was really cold! we didnt really find our way, and were frustrated that we had to pay for parking on a sunday (in boston its free on sundays, so sometimes we do a little crazy and goto the city by car....). besides, when we finally got a parking spot we could stay there only for 3 hours (stupid rules!!), on top of that we were so stupid to not change our watches yet to wintertime and so while walking through cold windy streets we suddenly didnt know whether we had to rush back to the car or not... do we have another hour, or....?
both me and tim were not impressed with toronto, but perhaps we didnt find the good part... we did find the shopping mall and i loved the deer they had placed there (there were several)! look how gigantic this one is! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Golden skyscraper

im still impressed by skyscrapers, every now and then. this one was in toronto, where we went when we were in canada anyways to see the niagara falls. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Highway distractions

while we drove to (and from) niagara falls i took a lot of pictures while driving. there were a lot of funny city names, or names of real dutch cities (like amsterdam and rotterdam), or cities that we had no clue how to pronounce. perhaps i should once make a flickr-set of those. not all are entirely sharp as its not easy taking pictures of highway signs while driving past them with 65 miles/hour!
there are a lot of signs for local/chain eateries as well, as you can see here. denny's is a very cheap breakfast place where we sometimes like to go. then there are the trucks and buses which can have interesting advertisements too.... or just rush by with such crazy speed that they become a scary distraction....

Anorexic rabbit....

or... what else comes to mind when seeing this sculpture...?
this sculpture is in the utrecht, the netherlands, and i have biked past it many, many times. ah yes, the scary rabbit again. until someone told me he always called it the anorexic rabbit. from then on thats what i thought as well. its right next to the bike path, across "het neude", a square lined with a lot of cafes. once i looked up why this statue was there, and found out its called "thinker on a rock", and... that the artist was inspired by.... the thinker from rodin! i totally saw that when i read that, but all those times i passed it really never crossed my mind..... the sculpture is there since 2002. the city council asked the people of utrecht what they wanted to see on the above location; they could choose from several things, among others this rabbit, or a fountain, etc. apparently, hardly anyone choose the rabbit, but the jury appointed by the city council did, and so the rabbit it was.... (so much for letting the public speak!). many were unhappy, its not even from a dutch artist, and neither is it "original"; there are 2 other casts made from this sculpture, both located in the usa (one in  st. louis and one in washington; i would like to see one here!). but... people have grown to like the rabbit, and it sometimes gets some carrots, or some clothing during winter.
the sculpture is from the british barry flanagan, and most of his sculptures are of skinny rabbits, in some pose or another. this is, according to wikipedia, because in the 1980s, "he perceived the image of a hare unveiling itself" before him and has used it since.....
i saw on google-doodles that rodin was born 172 years ago today....., and remembered i still hadnt posted the above-picture... :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Christian eggs....?

yes, this is an egg carton. the one you get in the shop, with eggs in it. when i took the last ones today, i suddenly saw these eggs are christian... the psalm in the carton says; "this is the day which the lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." hmm... suddenly i felt bad we had used up a dozen eggs without knowing they are christian. yuk! but i presume it was a heavenly sign i discovered it on a sunday... no?
its also a different brand than we usually have, and i wondered where we got those eggs from. now i finally remember; from Aldi! this is a supermarket originally from germany, and it surprises me they sell christian eggs. i really wonder whether the german aldi eggs are christian too.... wikipedia tells me aldi is already in the usa since the 70s, so they had some time for religious change, i guess...
i find it really weird to see christian verses on stuff i buy. i once showed you they do it at in-n-out burger in california (although they there only refer the verse, and do not print the actual text). same with forever21, a clothing store for young people. i recently saw that their shopping bags refer to a verse as well! but i doubt that the clothes they sell at forever21 are suitable for church....
then there are some other companies that let religious beliefs have a major impact on their business model as well, here in the usa. i have been trying to come up with a dutch or european company that does that too, but i really cannot think of one. from that (haha, i could not even remember at first where bought those eggs, but well.... from that i conclude that this is something typical american... and i find it very odd!
ah, the last 4 christian eggs were used for my very first pumpkin pie, very american too. and i have to say that it is definitely not my favorite pie.... (luckily the homemade crust and the whipped cream we flavored with some brandy made up for it, a little...)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Today's afternoon

we passed the city hall this afternoon (which i showed before, here its to the left), and this is city hall plaza. a huge empty space, sometimes occupied by the circus, or other events (then it looks less weird, i have to say. its really so huge, and often empty!). today somehow there were a lot of cars (i wonder why?!), and in the very back you see the entrance to the subway. 
we went to haymarket (just behind the city hall), to get some very cheap fruit and vegetables. i know that previous time i showed you a picture of haymarket i mentioned we never go there, but nowadays we sometimes do! it is actually really, really cheap and if you look carefully, you can get good stuff! you just need a big bag to carry it all back home. ah, and cash, plus a good memory in order to remember at which stand the fruit or vegetables looked the best for the lowest price (every time it does happen that at the next stand those oranges were even a bit cheaper than where we just bought them).

Friday, November 9, 2012

Where's this?

yes.... niagara falls. we went there the past weekend, finally! it was quite a drive, some 8 hours, on a mostly booooring highway (and we had to pay a lot of toll, in total perhaps 20 dollars). we both had never been there. first we watched them from the american site (as you can see above). we went to the information booth along the highway. we got some booklets, but there was absolutely nothing about the canadian side! not even the roads were marked (and canada is right across). as the man behind the counter said; "well, yes, guess which side we are trying to promote here, huh". we also discovered our tomtom is for the usa only, it was blank as soon as we crossed the border, haha.
as you can see, there are a lot of hotels with a view of the falls. and the ones you see here are just a few. there is basically an entire entertainment circus built along the falls. casinos, shops, hotels, restaurants. very touristy, nothing outstanding... really, it was so cool to see the falls! yes, ive seen pictures, but seeing and hearing it in real is so different! but i think it would be nicer if you would first have to walk through a forest or something, and then they suddenly appear...(imagine the explorers that discovered these falls!). now it was walking through a forest of signs for how to pay for parking, where your hotel is, or where you should eat. beeehhhhh.... on saturday it was pretty crowded, but we stayed another night (as driving 8+  hours on 2 consecutive days would be a bit too much), and on sunday the little entertainment town was dead. yes, all the restaurants were open, only hardly anyone was there... 
anyways, we really enjoyed seeing the falls for real. i took a lot of pictures, but none does them justice. you should go there in person! (and ignore the "ballentent" as we dutch would call that circus of hotels and casinos around it)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Frozen bananas?

yuk! saw these this weekend! cannot be tasty at all, i think.....
meanwhile, its really cold here. but the snow turned into heavy rain (this morning), and its all gone now. but the forecast says around 18 degrees celsius this sunday or monday! i dont get the weather...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

First snow!

here a crappy picture i took out of the window from our apartment this evening! look at all that snow!! and its still coming down..... its a bit windy, but not by far as windy as it was during sandy last monday. but its quite cold!
i keep reading about new york/new jersey/connecticut where sandy left a real mess. houses are destroyed, and many people are still (!) without power. this new small storm must be shitty there... when we drove through the state of new york, we were warned on the highway that there were fuel shortages in the hudson valley. we didnt notice anything, but i have seen the lines for gas stations on tv.... (here you can read more about the damage sandy caused in staten island, or here about the rockaways)

Blue sky!

behind all those clouds there is a very blue sky!
we watched the outcome of the elections tonight. sort of. the enormous tv was on mute and we played some game. of all the people present, only 2 (out of 11, i think) were real americans and allowed to vote! i learned that when you vote, you get a sticker that says "i voted". and real americans really wear that sticker. i find that very interesting, and cute too! like when you did you did some task well, at school.... also, cnn said obama was "the winner", as if it literally was a race, and obama was fastest (shouldnt it be "elected"?). here you can see how much money each candidate raised and spent on the elections. its really incredible. imagine what could have been done with all that money.... (instead of all those negative ads about each other)!
anyways..., now its really late and obama still did not give his speech, maybe its time for bed and watch it later.....

Monday, November 5, 2012

Amsterdam, NY

we went somewhere this weekend and the stupid hotel didnt have internet, grrr... :((( or rather, having internet would cost additional money and so as real dutch we didnt do that. we did watch some tv, until i fell asleep; elections, elections, elections!!! (they are tomorrow!)
anyways, to get where we went, we passed amsterdam, in the state of new york. so of course i had to take a picture of that. 
it was very cold where we went (and we had a teeny tiny bit of snow!). i was hoping in boston it would be less cold, just like when we left (which was just 2 days ago, it somehow feels much longer), but now its bloddy cold here too! we even put on an extra blanket. both very tired, so even though its just 10 (winterime), it feels like 12.... (and it would be 11 in summertime; we had some stupid trouble with that this weekend, haha!)
good night!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Autumn yellow

i took this picture last weekend at the cemetery. this tree is just so magnificent! especially in fall, i think...
by now most leaves are probably gone. its getting colder again too, and this weekend we change the clock; an hour extra! and shorter days again.... beehhhh

Mobile devices

this was in the getty museum in los angeles where we were back in may. actually tim say these girls first, immersed in their phones... hmmm. now i look at it i wonder whether the blond one really is looking at her phone, but the other one defenitely is! :) 
here in boston in the subway most people are on their phones too. i think at least 50% of the passengers spends the entire ride tapping on the thing. then there are some with e-readers (or whatever you call them), and then there are just a few that have a real book or magazine... i just read that newsweek will go digital only from the new year onwards!! im glad i discontinued my subscription, because i dont have an e-reader or a fancy phone... so how would i ever be able to read their articles on the train or while im in the gym..?!
sometimes i wonder whether i dont miss something, without a fancy phone. but then i try a game on tims phone and i am just horrible at it (and dont enjoy it), or the other day i needed to retrieve a specific email while using his phone; it drove me crazy as i mistyped my password i dont know how many times on the little screen. so i guess no 800 dollar new iphone for me... i use a very simple prepaid without camera, without T9, and unfortunately usually without very good sound (i.e. when someone calls me i usually dont hear what they are saying, so i prefer not to pick up and send texts instead). am i getting old...?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Subway entrance

this is the subway entrance to south station. i think there are 4 of these, even, for the train in each direction on either side of the street.
i also like the thingies in between for the many, many free magazines you can get. most of them i have never seen! often they are empty anyways, and in areas with lots of homeless people they are usually used as storage for their blankets... so, beware... :)

Sunny hours

i saw this in august on a small, old cemetery alongside the road. somewhere in vermont. i liked it, took a photo, and forgot to look whether it belonged to a grave, or anything... 
today i saw on the news what damage hurricane sandy did. a lot of power outages and downed trees in and around boston. but all that is nothing compared to the mess she left in new york, for example. as you can see here. we were really lucky!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

So far...

...we didnt need to be rescued! everything fine! as i wrote yesterday, the MBTA (i.e. the subway system) had a note on their site that they would operate as always during sandy.... so... they did, this morning. but then, at some point they decided to suspend all (all!!) service from 2 in the afternoon onwards.... glad we got up a little late, and found that out, so we just worked from home today. but imagine all those people that did get up on time, only to find out they had to rush home again before 2!! although judging from all the empty parking spaces near the subway station, many people already had decided to just stay home.
the winds and rain were pretty crazy at times! sometimes the wind was so strong i was sure i would see a tree go down, but around our apartment everything remained fine. pfew... :) lights were flickering sometimes so i was really afraid we would loose power. during the day i followed the nstar power outage map (you can view that here, where they list where and how many people are without power), and more and more places in and around boston lost power. at first it was just a small percentage of the customers, but s the day went on, more and more regions had power outages well above 50%, and 2 towns at some point were even out entirely! judging from the news many trees went down, and here and there there was some flooding in and around boston, but nothing major, luckily.
sandy herself lost some power, and now its very quiet around here. lets see of it stays that way...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Wild sea!

as it has been all over the news, i dont have to explain that hurricane sandy might visit us sometime tomorrow night...
whereas saturday the weather was very nice (we went out without jackets) and sunny, today it was dark, rainy and quite stormy already. strong winds brought many (kite) surfers out to revere beach. here you see just 2 in the back, but there were many, many kite surfers out there! we just briefly ran up to the beach, but the wind was so strong and the rain was making my camera wet.. after the beach we went to the supermarket but no crazy empty shelves as i have seen now on several blogs. only all bottled water was sold out. 
while they shut down the subway system in new york, here in boston they expect to operate normally, although they are placing sandbags somewhere along the green line, as you can see here, to prevent flooding. they do suspend ferry services tomorrow. our apartment complex send out some "hurricane preparation letter" with very helpful tips, as for example: do not open the fridge/freezer too often when its not working anymore....
well, lets see. we have a flashlight (somewhere!), some candles, i just made a large pan of soup, baked 4 breads and an apple pie.... that should be enough, no?! also, i did most of the laundry and cleaned the kitchen. if disaster strikes, at least everything is clean.... also, i went to a halloween party yesterday, and sort of dressed up, something i already hated to do when still a kid..... hmm, i guess that actually has nothing to do with the hurricane, i just wanted to mention it.. ;)
anyways, if i not post, like i didnt for the past 2 days, it could be because we lost power, but it could also be my laziness (the reason i didnt post the past 2 days).