Thursday, May 30, 2013

Stop texting!!

good news: we sold the table today!!! jaaajjj!! maybe selling from craigslist is easier if you put a phone number there (before we didnt); today several people called. or maybe it was the lower price... :) it was actually quite low, including the 4 red chairs. but.... the guy coming to pick it up told us he had just lost his entire household in a fire..... he asked whether we had more stuff, but more or less everything is gone now. except the couch and the bed.... but the bed we will have to trash (we got it for free and it is really broken in several places), and the couch we will probably then bring to goodwill this weekend.
anyways, i didnt want to write about that! look at this traffic sign!! had never seen it before, but this we saw in brooklyn, NY, this weekend. and they are right. its so often that people are in my way, walking slowly, because they are busy looking at their screens, while walking. if you look around you in the subway, most people are on their phones doing some kind of game, texting, or facebook indeed... i always wanted to take a picture of that, but never dared. nobody seems to read anymore, these days!  i dont have a fancy phone, and dont have the urge to check it every 5 seconds... same when in the cinema, many people check their phones during the movie (very annoying!!), and almost everyone gets out their phones as soon as the movie is done. no talking with your friends that are actually there how the movie was... no, checking the phone whether friends not present have to say anything.... grrrrr.... am i getting old...?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Everything gone!

i had a very hard time falling asleep last night. went over and over the boxes, their content, their weights... etc. then had weird dreams of an empty apartment filled with pillows....  today i thought the movers would come at ten, but then tim told me between 10 and 12! so even more hours of wondering whether it was all ok...  i decided to make one more box at the last moment.... then the movers came, and they were so nice! and the boxes were not too heavy and it was all done quickly and i just watched and didnt do a thing..... how convenient! in the end we had 18 medium boxes, and one bigger one to the left (we have some really nice picture frames that didnt fit in the medium ones). underneath the stack of boxes is a wooden bench that we bought off craigslist for just 40 dollars but that is just so very pretty that ever since we got it we knew we would ship it back home... its originally from a ship and the top opens. we used to keep (a portion of) our (my...) shoes in there, and whenever it wasnt covered in bags and stuff you can sit on it to actually put on your shoes... :) they wrapped it thoroughly and one of these weeks it will once again be on a ship, this time to amsterdam.... so... with the boxes some worries went as well... now i just hope we actually receive the stuff in amsterdam. i will let you know, of course!
that movie poster was always hanging on one of the doors in our apartment (the one with the washer/dryer, i always thought that was funny). we got it at the cinema when we saw the movie. its a good movie, i think, sad but funny as well, so watch it if you havent yet!

Empty apartment....

nooooooo.... this is not from today!! its from xactly 3 years ago... i actually intended to look for a picture of tim looking like a doctor (see yesterdays comments; the tim doctor post will have to wait a bit), but then thought; hmmm, lets look what pictures i took 3 years ago (i.e. during our first months on boston). and this is what i found..... isnt that a sign.. somehow? here we had already signed the lease and all, the place was "ours" (oh, how excited we were!), and it would be waiting for us until july 1st, 2010. they painted 2 walls for us for free, so the wall to the left is now actually light purple.
the apartment now does not look like that just yet, although a LOT of furniture has disappeared over the past few days. basically, the living room now only has the couch and dinner table left (im so disappointed nobody wants our table, its the nicest piece of furniture we have! :) ) there is a lot of random stuff standing around, and everything we want to ship is now in boxes (or so i hope). tomorrow the moving company comes to pick them up. it makes me so very nervous!! did i pack it all right?! arent the boxes too heavy? wont they fall apart during the move? will everything left really fit in my suitcase? is it enough...? did i make the right choices..? did i pack something essential (which i now wont see for the coming 8-12 weeks)? did i forget something? it goes on and on and on in my head like that. i know, i know, there are much bigger worries in the world, but currently those are my worries.... pffffttt.... 
ok, i guess its time for bed..... good night!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Tim clown

before we started the horrible task of packing (its worse than i thought. beeehhh. i moved quite a few times too often during my PhD, but at least that was within one city, certainly makes things easier...), we went to say goodbye to new york. dont know whether new york was sad too, or just didnt want to give us nice weather; it was freaking cold! and raining most of the time.... :( beeehhhh. not what we expected this time of the year! this is at coney island, which was even more sad with the cold weather and most attractions closed....
today we got rid of some furniture, now we dont have lamps in the bedroom anymore... :) someone else came to pick up the espresso machine, and the lady wanting the chairs canceled at the last moment (oh, craigslist.. great for buying, not for selling), another lady picked up some other chairs, and she also took one of the plants... (yaajj! i dont want my plants ending up in the trash...). the apartment is still a giant mess, but it seems the packing is almost done... i guess the stress levels will go down a bit once the mover has taken the boxes (and approved their weight... i quite worry about that).

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Loading boxes....

as tim leaves soon now and i dont want to be left with all the packing, the mover comes next week and takes the stuff we cannot bring by plane. we started packing today and now the house looks like a total mess, boxes, clothes, shoes, books are lying around everywhere..... stuff we want, stuff we dont want, stuff we want to sell, give away, or are not yet sure about... piles and piles...  it makes me nervous as i dont know whether we will end up with far too many boxes (i.e. a very expensive move), or that we forget stuff or that i bring stuff that, when it finally is delivered in amsterdam, i actually dont want at all!! (it takes about 8 to 12 weeks before it is shipped over). moving does clean up, we both have a lot of stuff we decided we dont need anymore.... but its hard to get rid of some stuff, even though i didnt look at it for over a year, or didnt wear... stuff i wouldnt get rid of if i didnt have to get it to the other side of the ocean.... but well...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Swan boats

these are the famous swan boats in the lagoon in the public garden. they are sort of a boston landmark. you can take the 15 minute boat ride around the lagoon, sitting on the benches in front of these swans. the seats you see here are for the operator of the boats, who move them forward by pedaling, similarly to riding a bike. we never did this, but it is very popular, and apparently something you do when in boston... :) 
they are in operation since 1877!! something i didnt know until i read the wikipedia page about them just now... the oldest boat currently in operation was built in 1918! here you can read more about the history of the swan boats.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


slowly we are saying goodbye to some of the places we like to go. one of them being IHOP (i.e. the international house of pancakes)... :) not every week of course. just every now and then! we got up really early on sunday, and we were rewarded for that; the restaurant was still pretty empty. coming in a little later on the weekend and the place is packed, with many waiting to be seated (which luckily goes relatively fast). to us, such breakfast places with too much food for not that much money and cheerful waitresses are really american. something i will miss when back home.... (although being able to get great bread and pastries just about everywhere is a nice alternative)
a full thermos of coffee and pancakes, eggs, hash browns, bacon..... hmmmmmm.... the above is just 9 dollars, and then something for the coffee. we shared the middle plate, but each had our own pancakes. far too much food, but oh so good! in the beginning i was overwhelmed by all the choices you always have here. you cannot just order something, everything has to be specified; how do you want your eggs? bacon or sausage? etc etc... nowadays i often can just tell the waitress what i want, and dont need to have them tell me all the options (often far too fast so i miss half of it), followed by eehmmm, uuhhhhmmm.. hmmm, ok, i'll take that.... im pretty proud of that... :) i now also like that you have options, and literally can order things exactly the way YOU want it, not the way the restaurant always prepares it (which is usually not the case in the netherlands). dressing on the side? sure! whole wheat bread instead of white? absolutely! no cheese? we'll take care of it! and if its not exactly the way you ordered it, they take it back without a problem (usually.. :) ).

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

It's official....

... today we sold our yellow barstools, and also the black ones... :( i was truly sad when we were in the car, bringing them to their new owner...... it officially started something we already knew for a bit (but not that long, really); we will be moving back to the netherlands soon..... we always planned on staying  here for about 3 years, and we passed that time point in april. moreover, our lease is ending july 1st and we are totally fed up with the new owners of our apartment complex. oh, and tim found a job and is due to start june 6!! he will work as a doctor in a hospital in amsterdam. all a bit sudden. we thought to spend the summer here (the dutch summers are less warm and sunny), but well.... sometimes you cannot have it all....
i will stay a few more weeks, my sister will come and we will enjoy the boston sun for a bit, and then its also time for me to leave. no job yet, but i do hope to find one asap....
when we found this apartment with the enormous countertop i wanted nice barstools. most dutch kitchens dont have such a bar, so i wanted it to be as american as possible! but.. most barstools were not to my liking, or too expensive. then we got the black ones. of course right after that we found the ultimate barstools, those yellow ones! the shop was closed and we could only admire them through the window, from a distance... the next day we got up early to be at the shop right at opening time so we could buy them before anyone else. luckily they were still there! (we tried to sell the black ones, as we really didnt need 6 barstools, but never managed). i always thought we would ship them back to the netherlands, but at that moment i didnt know how crazy expensive that is. and... we dont have such a fancy countertop back home..... buuuuhhhhhh... so... this is it... the table and red chairs are up for sale too, and so is the white armoire.... (let me know if you are interested! ;) here is the other stuff we need to get rid of... ) its a very weird feeling, i can say that much.... (oh, and pardon the mess; the advantage of having such an enormous and beautiful table).

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tree face

today we went out exploring for a bit. someone had carved a face in a dead tree.... i hadnt seen it at first, but then i did, and it was a little scary... especially given the location.. (an abandoned state hospital, closed since 2003; you can visit the grounds during the day, but all the buildings are boarded up and nature is slowly overgrowing everything. some other time i should post some more pics!)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

That's small!!

and this...... is, indeed, a SMALL ice cream. a small! can you believe it?! i think in the netherlands this will be size gigantic, probably not available or crazy expensive. and guess what? i ate it all!! yumyumyum. this was my lunch today.... it was a bit too much, but oh so very good.
not too far from our apartment is a local ice cream shop, opened from april until october or something. its usually crowded.. and they are open until 11pm at night. the first time we went there was just out of curiosity, we drove by every so often at any time of the day, and there were always people waiting in line. we hadnt had dinner yet, and both (!) ordered a medium-sized ice cream (you see, at that point we hadnt lived in the usa for that long yet... so what did we know!!). a medium is much larger than the small you can see here!! it was so good that i somehow ate it all, and then i was full for the remainder of the evening. no dinner for us!!
with the small you can order 2 flavors (and their selection of flavors is enormous). usually i only get one nevertheless; moose tracks (vanilla ice cream with very tasty pieces of chocolate and tiny peanut butter cups... hmmmmm). today i decided to be a bit adventurous and also got "death by chocolate". i did request that the moose tracks was put on the bottom, as i wanted to finish with that... yumyumyum. too bad its all gone now...
(its diary delight in malden for those nearby)

Charles street

this is charles street in boston, in the neighborhood beacon hill, with all its cute steep streets and pretty trees! only because the trees were blossoming, did i notice that many of the trees are really crooked, like this one, its forming an arch from one side to the other! when i took this photo, a little over a 2.5 weeks ago, i thought there was plenty of time to explore these streets a little bit more while the trees were blossoming... but as you know from my extensive complaining here, i was sick and didnt get out at all! :( today i got to go through charles street again, and all trees are green now, no more blossoms... :( (and im still not 100% better).
charles street is pretty nice, it has some fancy shops and restaurants, and at the end you get to choose whether you want to go to the boston common or the public garden.... (or neither one of them).

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Small city

there is boston, seen from a hill between the 2 cemeteries behind our apartment. its nice to walk up there. too bad that whole place is covered in shattered beer bottles... :( last time we were there it was even worse than before.
boston is not that big, actually. if i dared biking there you can easily get around the entire city. but well, there are still no bike lanes everywhere, although there are significantly more than when we arrived here 3 years ago....

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Germs everywhere!

i have gone through quite some packs of these the past days. something you probably didnt want to know... ;) today i finally went in to work, but i still feel and look like someone who is sick. its going around, as many people in the lab apparently dont feel well. tim has a bit of a cold, but not nearly as bad as me.
i like these packs, arent they cute?! and the advice "wash your hands to keep the germs away" & "cover your mouth when you sneeze" is very american!! first time i arrived in the us i was surprised to see this advice everywhere in the restrooms at the airport. only to discover its plastered everywhere, not just at the airport! it falls into the same category to me as the sign in many restrooms (in restaurants, malls, hospitals, etc) thats says "employees must wash hands before returning to work". to me this all seems very logical, why do you need signs for that? do more people do it because of the signs? also, in my "welcoming information packet" when i first starting working here was a brochure entirely devoted to the art of washing hands... (with pictures and clear instructions on how to apply the soap, how to wash your hands, how to rinse and dry them...).
something you definitely do not see in the netherlands...i think americans are much more germophobic than the dutch. there is hand sanitizer everywhere here! literally everywhere! wipes for the carts in the supermarket, a pump at every counter (be it the bank, the supermarket, the hospital, the clothing shop, at customs at the airport). but i still got sick... ;)  (and yes, im getting extremely frustrated!! it just doesnt seem to end!!)

Fallen blossom

blossom is all around at the moment! some trees, like the ones above, already have lost their pink flowers, but others are in full bloom. soon it will be all green again, its always such a short time that its is at its most pretty..... no?
this was sunday, at the cemetery. soooo many pretty pink and white and red trees there!!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

An elephant?

this was last year, in valley of fire, not too far from las vegas. an image i had seen already many times, like most people, i guess. in reality i thought... hmmm, really? elephant? and then i tried to take the picture as it was in my mind already, and ofcourse i didnt manage... i guess usually its taken from the other side...
earlier this evening i already tried to upload a photo (a more recent one!), but firefox refuses to do so, nowadays. now its 2.30 in the night and my cough does not let me sleep, so i decided to try again. i only have this folder with pictures from this holiday last year... there are so many images from the usa that i know since long before we came here, and its really so cool to now have visited (some of) them in person!!
now, let me try to sleep again... good night!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Lion's tooth

tim and a dandelion. or its seeds... i just learned from wikipedia that dandelion comes from the french dent de lion, which means lion's tooth, although they also call it dog's lettuce, apparently, hahahaha! in dutch we call it a "paardenbloem", which literally translates into horse-flower.
today i really went "outside" for the first time in a week!! we went to the cemetery behind our apartment, and it was so very pretty! most trees were at blossom-full-bloom, and the sun was shining every now and then as well. only i felt like my head was stuffed with cotton wool... :( it feels so much weirder when walking outside, like your on another planet with some gigantic glass helmet on, and everyone around you is mute. but not in a nice way...
but welll, maybe tomorrow i can finally go out for real again...!! but i have been thinking that every evening for the past week... :(

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cape disappointment

when we drove through washington state, we passed by cape disappointment. of course, we didnt want to be disappointed, and decided we should go there for lunch. but.... it turned out to be a disappointment after all. we couldnt park anywhere without a permit, and we didnt have a permit.... :( but at least i now know that there is a place called like that!! wikipedia gives 2 reasons as to why it may be called like that, and it also mentions that its one of the foggiest places of the usa. when we were there it was bright and shiny!
so far, this week has been a disappointment, too. i am sick... :((( it started saturday with a bit of a throat ache, which turned into high fever overnight... now its mostly fever during the night, and ache everywhere all times (ears, throat, nose, muscles). buhuhuhuhuhuhuh.....!!!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sacred & Profane

yesterday we made a little trip into new hampshire. we hadnt driven around boston for the longest time! first we drove to manchester, to the currier museum where we had free entrance with our bank of america card. they have quite a big collection of dutch paintings from the 1600 and 1700s.... while driving back home we drove through goffstown and passed the above bookshop. that as quite interesting! the owner was just leaving, but opened the shop again just for us.... tim asked why the books were sacred and profane, and he told us that approximately half the books are religious in nature and the other half not...
and well, today we went to the museum of fine arts for free (again with our bank card.. :)), where they had an exhibition of drawings by michelangelo, named "sacred and profane"! half of them were of the human body, and the other half were architectural drawings. that was quite interesting, especially to think that those drawings are 500 years old!! 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Albino squirrel

as opposed to most americans, i like squirrels. they are cute!! even though sometimes they literally beg for food... we dont have squirrels in the netherlands, so to me its a bit special, i guess...
and the above one is very special, its white!! although, when it snowed i could see it was not that white... haha... it roams around a specific spot (which i ofcourse only know because hes the only white one), where i walk by every day when going to the lab. and yesterday i finally had my camera to take a picture! unfortunately, he was high up in a tree, but definitely white...
googling white squirrels led me to a site where they list "white squirrel sightings". apparently they are common in a few areas in the boston so far i saw only this one, and always at the same location....

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Pretty tulips

jaaaajjj!!! some pretty flowers in the public garden in boston!! 
tim came back yesterday, and this evening we had a walk in the public garden. this morning it was really nice and warm, but this evening the sun had disappeared and it was a little chilly.... the tulips wre nevertheless very pretty! finally!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Artisan? Creative?

finally, i try to join theme day! somehow i always forget. either we are away, or suddenly its the third already.... theme day reminds me that time is going so fast, too fast. while at other times it goes so slow....
this month the theme is "creative artisan". artisan is a funny word. i guess i have mentioned it before, but here in the us i noticed its on a lot of expensive products in the supermarket. fancy breads, cheese, etc. often accompanied by the words "old world", "european", "according to ancient recipe", etc etc. it always makes me laugh.... i tend to avoid foods with those words..... as i posted before, i started baking my own bread about a year ago, and we havent bought any bread from the store ever since (except when on holidays). and am i glad! most of the american bread is horrible in taste (what taste..?), or crazy expensive (and still not that tasty...). at least around boston; recently we had some real good bread on the west coast during our road trip!
but... i dont feel like an "artisan" when baking bread. i also dont think its science, although many people seem to approach it like that. ooh, when baking bread you have to be super precise, you have to weigh everything carefully, the dough has to be at the exact temperature, and only then you will get a good, tasty loaf of bread. thats just funny... people have been baking breads long, long before there were scales or thermometers.... oddly enough, i do feel sort of an artisan, and even a creative one when i make soup. while so much easier than making bread, the process of making soup seems artisan to me. throwing some herbs in, some vegetables, some spices perhaps, letting it cook slowly for hours, adding some more (while its actually just all the stuff you want to get rid of!!). and guess what? i actually dont really like soup. i just like the process of making soup (and the immersion blender afterwards!!). so, above some homemade real dutch split pea soup (its real because the spoon can stand in the soup, meaning its very thick, as this type of soup should be), together with my favorite sourdough seed-bread, fresh from the oven.... isnt it old-world? artisan... ? ;)
(i have been taking pictures of my food the past weeks, since tim was away for 3,5 weeks. every now and then i would post them to his facebook-wall, to show that i was indeed still eating healthy while he was away (and ofcourse, to show him what he was missing....). this was one of them).
here you can find all theme day participants!