Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last post!

last post of 2014!!! this year went by fast, and i didnt post much, nor took a lot of pictures....  several big things happened, though.... the first half of 2014 i was still out of work and i sort of had given up on ever finding a job. when other people started to come up with "alternatives" of all sorts to my joblessness, however nice it was, i felt it truly was hopeless.... while tim was working long days, i just went to the gym, looked and applied for jobs, went to the supermarket, baked bread. days did go by fast, and at some point going to the supermarket became an event all by itself. end of february i applied for a job, right on the deadline (i think there was one hour left). i felt i had all the skills they asked for, but couldnt quite get what kind of work it would be. they actually had another position too, slightly different; but for that one i even had less of a clue what the work would be about. having applied for one, i forgot about the other and eventually missed the closing date on that one. months i heard nothing..... and guess what?! i was invited for an interview, did NOT get the job (became second), but was invited for the one i didnt apply for. and thats the position i now got!! i think its the best possible match, it turns out it has all the elements i was looking for (science, learning (LOTS of) new things, social relevance). but.... around the same time tim got a new position on the other side of the country. so.. when i finally returned to working life, we also had to adjust to living apart. thats not as easy as it seemed, but i am so very happy to be working again (and feel so bad for the numerous people i know that still have not found a job).
other than that, tim got his PhD this year and i could finally expand my shoe and clothes collection... something i could not allow myself while out of work... :)
so... thats about it. the year started bad for me, but really ended great, and i am looking forward to go back to the office again next week, even though my little working-from-home-while-on-the-other-side-of-the-country-with-tim was very pleasant too. it felt like a mini-holiday, work included (sure, i didnt work VERY hard).
enjoy new years eve! and who knows, maybe next year i will post more! maybe not... ! :)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Purple ride

soooo... today its purple, which is still my favorite color! this is in the car museum in the hague, where we went the day before tims birthday. i actually wanted to go shopping that day, and that was also the plan when we left the house, but instead we went to the museum and it really took forever to get out of it again. they have nearly 250 cars!!! and even without reading all the descriptions and not staring at each one intently, it took ages to get through the museum. and yes, at some point i was a bit bored! there were just so many, many.... cars..... the highlight for me was the purple car above. its in the central hall, so i had seen it upon entering the museum already..... it was custom made in new jersey in 2008, and the back has room for a harley davidson motor (as you can see here).
the museum was about to close, but there was still time to do some lunging in front of the purple car.... :) afterwards, there was just a tiny bit of time left for shopping...... ah well, it was for tims birthday after all....

Monday, December 29, 2014

More landscape!

and some farms close to our place in groningen. ah well, tims place.... but i bake the bread, also here! :)
today it was just rainy and cold, no snow at all!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Winter view

this was yesterday, somewhere around groningen. we had a teeny tiny bit of snow...... the roads were terribly slippery, with a layer of ice. but today the lower part of the country had some real snow, and here in groningen we got nothing at all!! so i was a bit disappointed.....
tim had to work (again!) and i went for a bit of shopping. but so did everyone else here. it was crazy crowded..... at least i got some christmas ornaments for almost nothing, for next year... :)

Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry christmas!!

and again its been well over a month since i last posted! in the mean time i have been doing lunges (i am still not good at them, but the instructor in the gym said i just need to continue practising), AND i have been to geneva for work (i was in the united nations building for work, whoohooo!), and tim had his birthday, and what-not....
and then we were in some shop and tried these christmas-glasses...
here in the netherlands we have 2 christmas-days. but tim is working today.... buuh. and tomorrow as well. we left amsterdam sunday evening and drove to groningen, and he has been working in the hospital the 3 days before christmas and i have been working from home (well, his home). with crappy internet, so that was a bit frustrating. but still, i am lucky to have a job where it is OK to work from home, and where its possible to work from home :) and had i been taken those days off, it would have been OK too... but well, i thought. tim is working, so i will work as well...
anyways, i hope you had a great christmas!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Lunging on....

several of you have mentioned that you dont think my lunging will become a trend... buhuh. so well, then i will just have to continue doing it myself. or have tim do it, of course..... 
just too bad im holding my bag, now the effect is less, i think.
ah well, plenty more opportunities to try again!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Golden jacket

how can you tell this in the US and not in the netherlands? 
first there is the ATM sign in the window and the ladies' barnes & nobles bag (but the latter of course doesnt mean anything, i still use american shopping bags here). most certainly the pavement. for pedestrians the pavement never looks like this in the netherlands (unless there is some construction going on), and it very often looks like this in the USA. also, the pavement will be more elevated from the remainder of the street (i guess at least twice as high as above). then the shoes; i guess she will exchange them for something more stylish once she arrives at her destination. this is something dutch people never do, but they also dont wear as high heels as americans tend to do (but they often do wear heels, and in general i think dutch women wear more stylish shoes than american women). i actually am seriously contemplating to do as the americans do; comfy shoes for the commute, fancy shoes for the office. i will be so much faster while trying to catch a train, and my nice shoes will stay nice much longer.... but i wouldnt want my colleagues to see that i am a shoe switcher.... hmmmm..... how to solve that problem! :)
and the jacket? i dont think many dutch women would wear one like this, but it was the reason for me to take this pic!

Monday, November 17, 2014

A wedding!

a few weeks back we attended a wedding. but in this pic, when looking back at them, i first noticed the boy before i saw all those in the back. including the pretty bride.... the boy really liked the hat. he had found it. or perhaps his mom put it on his head, i forgot. and the  he just walked around with it. it seemed like nobody noticed, but at least i did... :)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

American bike

very american bike (to me also the type of bike, not just the stars and colors, except the basket on the front) parked at a very dutch canal! :)
here you can once again clearly see why many bikes end up in canals....

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Eehhhmm... art?

at the same museum (see my last post) we also saw the above pieces. a tissue box holder, a vase and a lamp. tissue box says "love", but the lamp is a kut-lamp and the vase a lul-vase. the dutch among you immediately saw that that is pretty weird....!! anyone else..? i suggest you use google translate or something...  :) is it art? hmmm... is it weird? most definitely. would i buy it? probably not.... 
the artist is dienand christe and somewhere i just read that the thing he likes to do most is "annoying other people"... 
the museum btw is the kunsthal in rotterdam. they currently have a very extensive exhibit on 50 years james bond. im not that big of a james bond fan, but i really liked the exhibit. there are a lot of gadgets on view, as well as dresses, costumes, storyboards, etc tec. its very nicely done and it even made me want to see a james bond movie! (although we still didnt get to do that). when we were there, it was extremely crowded (while the remainder of the museum was interesting too, but was quite deserted), so much so that we eventually did the exhibit from finish to start; we actually were able to see more that way.... :)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Shadow words

a few weeks back we were in a museum and this is one of the things we saw. tim only saw the wires and said; ah no, this one is boring.... but look!! there is a mirror at the end of the wires, a lamp, and.... shadow words as a result.... who would have thought?! how do you do that? but well... quite a complicated way of writing.... :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bed cover

in the fanciest store in amsterdam (i would compare it to bergdorf goodman, i guess), we saw this bed cover. i got tim to pose, and took several pictures, but my camera is getting a bit old, and the one pic where he is really aligned with his new body is missing... (sometimes it wont actually store the pictures anymore. on top of that i lost the lens cover 2 weekens ago. buuh. still need to do something about that). i was really tempted to buy it. were it not for him.... then at least for myself!! but that was before i saw the price.... :)
ah, and imagine the excitement kids will have! im sure i would.... maybe not as a ballet dancer... but i think the cover next to it was a super hero or so.... ;)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Armour boys

yesterday i was too lazy to post, so tim did... :) that was his picture and text, and this is my picture. we like to photograph in different colors..... the pictures were taken over 2 years ago, in lincoln, massachusetts. it was at the de cordova museum, and the soldier you saw yesterday is part of a 5-piece installation named "armour boys" by laura ford, a british sculptor. in the above picture you can see 3 of them, including the one you saw in close up yesterday. (to the far right you see tim and his father). it is no longer on view at the museum grounds, i just saw on the website. 
but... the sculpture references child soldiers and the practice of sending men and women, in the prime of their youth, to fight and potentially die in battle. the artist herself cites a film depicting the death of a Palestinian child as inspiration for armour boys, and is sensitive to the fact that children are all-too-often the unfortunate casualties of war (you can read it all here).
i do miss going to this museum! their exhibitions changed often and the sculpture park was very nice too....

Sunday, November 9, 2014

the soldier

against a tree the soldier lies
his last thoughts linger as he dies
my form preserved by iron cast
my burden falls away at last

tim wrote this

Friday, November 7, 2014

Floating garden

see that green spot next to the boat? a floating garden!! as those living on the water still want to have a garden.... i do wonder whether they can walk on it?!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Big bear...

ah, and me. lunging.... :) after a day of biking through amsterdam (where we passed lunging rembrandt, the fancy gym, the meadows and the marathon, i.e. nearly all my recent posts), we wanted to finally go home. not too far from our place was some roadwork and we had to take a detour. suddenly we faced a giant bear at a rather tiny playing field..... of course we had to stop again so i could take some pictures! (well, tim in this case...)
this bear made of concrete is 11 metres tall.... its called "staalman" (literally its "steel man", as staalmanplein is the name of the square), and is standing there since 2011. the buildings around the square were all recently built. the little park at the feet of the bear was co-designed by the kids in the neighborhood. one of their requests was a sculpture. they asked the dutch artist florentijn hofman (hes responsible for the giant floating duck and other giant sculptures around the world), and together they choose a bear. with a pillow under its arm. the pillow symbolizes bedtime; children should goto bed on time instead of being out on the street till late, so they are well rested again the next day. moreover, the pillow represents moving houses; all the people in the neighborhood had to literally take their pillows and leave their old houses for the new ones to be built....

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Outdoor gym

this is in the amsterdam forest (het amsterdamse bos). it is called "the bosbaan"  and is a rowing lake. but its used for swimming too.... when we were there, again a few weeks back, we stumbled upon the triathlon. well, it was 1/8 of a triathlon (i think). they had to swim 750 metres, then bike 20 km, and run 5 km. when a pool of swimmers was released, the water was not this calm, but soon after it become sleek like above.... watching this all made both me and tim sort of wanting to join as well. but we dont have wetsuits (it wasnt cold, so i dont think it was needed), and we also dont have fancy bikese... would a normal dutch bike suffice as well? then i would try... but all the contestants had fancy bikes and helmets (and some a big beer belly; that convinced me i could join as well!). some would come out of the water and jump right on their bikes. others would change (some would even strip completely). some were in a hurry, others first dried themselves before putting on their next set of clothes. same when to returned for their run... quite interesting to see.....!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Fancy gym

while biking around amsterdam, we passed by this huge house (not too far from yesterday's picture, btw). it has a pool behind the black vases, but the most remarkable thing (to me at least) was the gym. can you see it in the back? its more or less a slim glass box with everything a gym needs, so it seems!! how fancy to be working out in a glass box, for everyone to see, while you yourself can look out over green meadows...?
while i was taking some pictures (i was not satisfied with any of them, but i didnt dare getting too close, i wasnt sure people with such a fancy house like simple people like me taking pictures of their property!), a couple biked past us and the lady said "well, not that i have EVER seen someone working out there..."
and well yes... im not sure i would like to work out in a glass box like that....

Monday, November 3, 2014

Dutch light

we have had remarkable weather the past weeks. sometimes typical dutch weather; very grey, and lots of rain and wind. but unseasonable warm days as well. like last weekend. the first weekend of november, when its supposed to be grey and cold.... instead it was bright and sunny, even warm, almost! (although a bit windy on sunday). today we are back to dutch autumn; grey skies, wind, and quite some rain.
but the above you see often as well in the netherlands. this kind of sky, and this kind of meadows with cows (or sheep), surrounded by water. and next to it the road for biking (or driving).
when travelling home from work, i often still realize how happy i am to be working again, finally. even though i need to travel quite a bit to get to work and back (it easily takes well over 3 hours of travelling each day). it does mean i get home, rush to the gym (not every day but i try to go as often as possible during the week), eat something and.... well.... dont do much after that as the next day the alarm clock goes off early again. tim is still on the other side of the country during the week and thats quite an adjustment too..... the blog? i often think about it when in bed already. i do take pictures, and so often i think; ah, thats something i would like to show.... and then... well, nothing.... :)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

New light!

we saw this "advertisement" for a painter a few weeks back. i thought it was really funny!
the other day in train, i looked up from what i was reading... and saw that around me i was the only one reading something that had been printed. all the others were busy on their phones. at least nobody noticed that i was randomly staring at everyone.... :) sometimes, very, very sometimes, i wonder whether i might need such a phone after all...... but then i go back to reading "something printed".
biebkriebels asked me 2 days back whether tim wasnt tired of all the standing (see my last post), and today my sister asked when i would finally post again... so, here it is, another post... :)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Rembrandt lunging!!

rembrandt does lunges!! did you know? the painter? yes! i didnt know either, until we had a proper look at this statue you can see above. a lunge? no, not lunch. tim is trying to do a lunge too, but as you can see, its totally wrong, while rembrandt's lunge is perfect.
never heard of a lunge? i dont know when i heard of them first (probably when i saw bojos do them in the gym, heavy weights in hand)... i do very well remember when i did one for the first time. it was not too long ago, and i didnt have to do one, but many of them, while holding a barbell on my shoulders. ehm yes, i was following a "body pump" class. result? i could barely walk down the stairs for days afterwards. ugh.... now i try to do them every now and then, and although wikipedia says that "the lunge is a basic movement that is fairly simple to do for beginner athletes", i dont think its really that easy.... (or perhaps im just not an athlete...). here you can watch a video as to how to do a proper lunge. but you can also just look at rembrandt above, whahahaha.
this is along the river amstel. we biked there on saturday, as it was another great after-summer-day. no jackets needed! behind rembrandt you see a "molen", which was built in 1636. lunging rembrandt was placed next to in 1969, 300 years after he died. many of rembrandt's drawings were made along this stretch of river. i just wonder whether he was always lunging when he painted. then he must have had some powerful leg and butt-muscles! ;)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Weekend flowers

took this last week while working from home. one of the things i like about my work is that it is totally ok to work a day from home. its even stimulated... whereas with labwork that wasnt possible of course, now all i need is a computer and an internet connection (more or less...). at first i was hesitant, but i am slowly getting into the habit of staying home on wednesdays. unfortunately, i dont win a lot of time with it, although each tuesday evening i hope i will. but come wednesday morning.... i really do NOT want to get out of bed as early as i have to when i need to catch the train... so... the won time in the morning is usually slept away, and in the evening its spent in the gym. the dishes? still there.... :)
ah, but i did find some time to take a picture of this plant on our table..... :)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Netherlands!

no, this is not an open air museum or something. this is an actual city, Edam, not too far from amsterdam. we were there 2 weeks ago, just driving around a bit. it was so cute, but as usual these days, i hardly took pictures. i just snapped a few when we were in the car again already, so this one is a bit crooked.
the days are rapidly getting shorter. its now dark out when i leave for work in the morning. buuuhhhh. it wont be too long before i will leave and return while its dark. i should still tell you about my work! in fact, there is so much i like to write about. and pictures i like to show... but then its evening, and suddenly its time for bed and then.... im just too tired.... at the moments days go by so fast! i guess im still not in some sort of rhythm. i do think getting up so early is a little less terrible as it was in the very beginning... :)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Morning ride

here most of the fog hd gone already, but saturday morning it was very foggy! as often these days (sometimes leading to terrible accidents on the road, like last week....). i was in the place with no internet for the weekend (i.e. groningen), so no posts... i had planned to post from the train on friday, but then the internet was not working... now im back in the train to work, and i do have a connection (but who knows for how long!!). its 6.45 and still very quiet, although crowded... last time i took this train it was filled with young kids, making so much noise!! ugh... hopefully they wont come today, i am really enjoying this quiet.
its still dark out (in the evenings its getting dark so early again too. buuuhhh), so i wont be able to enjoy the foggy fields for the coming hour or so... time to see check what i missed because of a weekend without internet (not that much, probably...)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

While waiting

yesyes. defending your PhD in the Netherlands is a very serious business. you need to dress up, and everything goes according a strict protocol. the candidate and his/her 2 paranymphs have to be present well in advance. so there is time to get the "protocol" explained, and even practice a little (where to stand, when to sit, where to bow to the committee). of course, we were even earlier than "well in advance". but that was fine. did i mention already the weather has been great this september?! while august was awful, september feels like summer. as a result, we were overheated when arriving at the place where it would all happen; its not easy walking around in fancy clothes i can tell you....
we had to wait in the above room, so i had some time to take pictures. i guess you are supposed to work up your nerves in this room, but this was a better way to spend our time.... no? :)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Biggest fan

this was saturday a week ago. the little boy in the green shirt was so very happy and bouncing around... many, many times he tried to climb the stage, and a few times he actually did. so funny to suddenly see him sitting on the stage. until his mom got him off again... but then he returned at another place and did it again.
today the train was delayed when getting back from work. actually, i ran for it (if i dont i have to wait 15 minutes, and i dont like waiting), but then i just sat in the train, and it didnt move. after 2 minutes i got annoyed (with trains and such i get annoyed easily). with 5 i wondered what was going on (as were my fellow passengers. people started to check their watches. ah no, their phones. i checked my watch). a little later the train driver announces that the conductor is missing. by then i could almost take another train that would actually be more convenient for me (as i then dont need to take the subway, but immediately would get where i had to go). another train comes in and i hestitate a bit more (my more convenient train?!). in the end i did get out, only to get into an even later train in the same direction... :(
the worst part of it all? the above is extremely boring, AND they were actually handing out free icecream at the station to celebrate that they finished some major construction work. i passed, since i had to run for my 20+ minutes delayed train.... :(

Friday, September 12, 2014

Autumn already!

just a quick post. we baked a dutch apple pie, but now its late already.... soooooo, time to sleep so we can finally taste it tomorrow... (no, seriously!).
i took the above picture this past sunday. some places really look like autumn already. but... while we had some awful, rainy, autumn-like days in august, september started great. last week we had lunch outside, and in the evenings i could sit in the sun on the balcony! this weekend is supposed to be rather summery too! yaaajjj!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

University wedding

so. not yesterday, but the day before already tim defended his PhD thesis. that took 45 minutes, as tradition dictates. when the 45 minutes were over, the lady with the black hat came into the room, hit her stick onto the ground to indicate the defense was done. then all the professors (you cannot see them, they are in front of tim here, sitting behind the red tables) went into some room to decide whether tim should get his PhD. after a short while they came back, and yes, he got it! in the photo above (taken by my sister, the official tim-phd-defense-photographer), tim just got his diploma, its in the red thingie he is holding in his hands. right now he is listening to the "laudatio" given by his PhD advisor. 2 "paranimfen" are sitting behind tim (one of them being me, perhaps you can figure out which one! ;) ). paranymphs are similar to best men/bridesmaids in weddings... as in fact you marry the university (really!! i always said so, and now i read wikipedia says the same, so it must be true!). nowadays, the role of the paranymph is purely ceremonial, but in the old days they could also help answering questions during the defense. in fact, we all 3 worked in the same lab (yes, i worked a bit with tim, and yes, even one chapter in his thesis is actually "my" paper!). soo.... during the defense i actually felt like answering as well... just when they asked about "my" chapter... of course i could not have done it better than tim did... :)
it was a very nice day and evening. but exhausting!!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Big day...

this is tims thesis! its about the work he did in boston. after a successfull defense, he will finally be a PhD. just like me, so then we are even again.... :P ah no, he is also an MD, and i am not and never will be one.... 
but anyways. so he did publish a paper recently that was also picked up by news sites all over the world. perhaps you saw it? here is a link to the BBC news, and it was also on the dutch news site (here), or a more serious link, here. it was really interesting to see how news sites were just copying the story from other sites, changing it bits by bits (not always correct), at some point tims name got lost too, and in some articles they even prominently name the photographer that was hired to take some pictures..... (the above picture was taken by tim himself, btw). there are also interviews, with the second author and the boss (ah, and i already forgot again, with tim as well!!), here and here.
so, this famous person is getting his PhD tomorrow!!
now, if you are around the netherlands, or utrecht, more specifially, you can witness this defense, as it is a public happening. just be at "het academiegebouw" at the domplein in utrecht tomorrow, september 9, at half past 2 (well, then it starts, so i would be there 5-10 minutes in advance...). its fun to witness a dutch PhD defense if you have never seen one.... (here you can see where the defense will take place).
edit; here is the official announcement. and here (unfortunately there is no full access) is the original researchpaper i refer to above... im just as bad as those news sites... :)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Endless baking....!

soooo...... the last of my 10 breads is now in the oven.... pfew!! i started thursday with the first batch (then you onlw throw some sourdough starter, flour and water together. but still, you need to think ahead!), kneaded most breads yesterday (and baked 2 as well, that need to "rest" at least 12 hours before you slice them, to let the flavors enhance and blend together), and then started baking this morning. i think i put the oven on around 8, and now, 5 in the afternoon, its still on and has hardly been off..... aside for 2 of the "easy" breads (ie no sourdough breads), i kneaded them all by hand, as you can see here.... i dont mind the kneading. the baking is the trickiest part, and takes the most time (especially since only bread fits each time, as opposed to my american oven where i could do 2!). each time, even though i baked bread so often now, i sill wonder whether "it worked" this time, and how the bread looks (during the first part of baking the bread is covered, so its always a surprise...) flour is everywhere, and i could find some dough on the dress as well, as usual....
anyways.... now its almost done! i baked a variety of breads and i hope people will like them. since i was baking anyways, i also baked 1 bread for our own lunch (yum!), and some apple cake yesterday...  after this, i think the oven needs a break.... :) and time for us to finally check out the festival!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

What baguette?!

saw this in edinburgh, scotland, when we were there in july. we were looking for a restaurant, but this was just a sad, sad alley... i hoped to eat in the pub close to where we parked our car. but... while wandering around the kitchen had closed and we needed to find something else. we had italian food. not the best. but not the worst either. i guess i was just hoping for the fish and chips....
anyways... this saturday there is some festival in our neigborhood. it was last year as well, but then we missed it (as we miss most things... somehow i was better at keeping track of all that was going on when we lived in boston!). this year.... i have been asked to bake 10 breads! as you might know, i like to bake bread. in the past few months, i have occassionally baked bread for strangers (there is a dutch food website where you can post your food and/or leftovers, and then people in your neighborhood can come pick it up paying the cost of the ingredients/to make it). and so now, someone asked me to bke 10 breads for this event. im stil, not sure how im going to do it in my tiny oven... but i do know some of the doughs i will have to start now for them to be ready as baked breads on saturday.... so now its time for the kitchen and then for bed.... :)
anyone who is around amsterdam, this is the event! there should be lots of food and what-not!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Real american....

...hotdogs! you can get them in amsterdam.....
i didnt try them. in the supermarket we also have "real american pizza", but then i went to america and couldnt find that "real american pizza" as i knew it....
like the "dutch cheese" thats not always dutch cheese if its not actually from the netherlands.... and so on and so on....
just recently i read in the newspaper that the ducth like starbucks. they dont mind to pay a little more for that coffee as it gives them the feeling of doing like the new yorkers do, walking around with a cup of coffee... i dont get it! we have good coffee and one of the things i missed when in the usa were the cafes where you could really sit down and get a real good coffee (not the diluted american stuff) in a real cup (tastes so much better in a cup as compared to a carton-to-go). but well.... i guess those dutch just want to goto new york!! (and i wouldnt mind a visit either... its been over a year now...)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Train rides...

i think this was a tulip field or something.... very flat, of course... :) theres always a tree-lined road somewhere near or in the distance (do you see the dots in the back?), very dutch too.... when in the train from amsterdam to utrecht (or groningen to utrecht), you speed through many green pastures. some with cows, others with sheep... some empty. i like staring out of the window, letting it all pass by. yesterday morning everything was covered in a layer of fog, and it was just so beautiful! for a moment i truly enjoyed the trip and didnt mind i was up so early....
in the afternoon the train was a little crowded, so when i finally found a seat, it was taken by a backpack. the girl in the seat next to the bag ignored my "sorry" (in american it would be "excuse me", of course). then she ignored some other noise i produced to make clear i wanted that seat ( i think the noise really made clear that she better remove the bag that instant, but she didnt even look up!) then, a bit louder (it felt like i was screaming but i probably wasnt), i asked (actually demanded) to sit there... she looked really pissed off and very slowly removed her bag, but continued to take more space than necessary. in the meantime someone else had removed his bag too, but by then the only seat i wanted was the one she refused to give up for as long as possible.
instances like that really make me dislike people. the entire train ride i was furious and she probably wasnt even aware that her behavior was ridiculous. i wonder whether at such moments it would be good if people could read my thoughts....? most likely not, during my commutes i have a lot (and i mean a LOT) of bad thoughts about the people around me... just like they have about me.... maybe?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Amsterdam houseboat

here you see some houseboat in a canal in amsterdam. i guess its a bit more expensive to have on in this city compared to groningen. also here, you are not really having a private place. on summer days many people will come by in boats. the houses on both sides, and of course the traffic and all the tourists... :) no garden either....
tommorrow regular life starts for most again; universities start the new year, all primary and secondary schools have started again... etc etc. by now most everyone should have come back from holidays. i had a quiet start into working life again over the summer. and now i just hope it wont be too crowded in the train....

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Dark cloud

ok, another picture from last saturday. this was the scene when we arrived at the balloon festival. despite the really dark cloud there, we were hopeful it would not be too bad.....
i guess it was just 5 minutes later when rain came pouring down and the entire event was cancelled.....  it is interesting though that hundreds of people can disappear in no time when its suddenly starts to rain... so why are people often so slow in supermarkets, or in train stations (on the stairs, not moving aside, etc etc).... ? :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

House boats

these boats are not for sailing (anymore), they are for living!! some used to be real boats, others arent, and a few still can be used to get around..... this is in a canal in the city center of groningen.
tim also lives in a boat now. but not here! its a bit more outside the center, and there is a real garden, and more privacy.... ever since i visited a boat a few years back, i have wanted to live on one at least once... now i sort of do. in the weekends... :) for poor people like us its perfect; a free standing house!!! who can get something like that in the netherlands?! it moves too, gently (and sometimes a bit more, when large ships are passing through the large canal nearby... or because of the weather). its really a totally different experience, living on the water. its cute to see the ducks all assemble when you get into the kitchen. i guess they want food. and indeed, its very tempting to just throw whatever food you dont want into the water (that actually happens a lot, quite often an onion comes by, or an apple, or a piece of... etc etc). and its fun to see boats come by while you are having breakfast.... its not too big, but big enough (as most of the stuff is still here in amsterdam), and the kitchen is actually bigger than the one in amsterdam. or rather, its square instead of a long, narrow hallway, so 2 people can move around in it..... i should take some pics... next time im there! (this weekend tim is coming to amsterdam...)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bikes, bikes!

this is just a small selection of all the bikes we saw at the cancelled balloon festival. but when it started to rain, most of them were gone in no time! we really didnt want to bike in the rain (nor behind all the other people, most certainly biking slower than us... ;) ), so we just stood in the field and waited it out (there even was some hail!!). so yes, i guess it was a good decision that they cancelled it, i for sure would not have wanted to be in a hot-air balloon with rain and thunder...... (also really stupid how we watched the weather the entire day. but when it remained more or less dry, we just went and only saw the dark clouds upon arrival).
but isnt this a cute bike?! i like the big basket in the front. this is something that became fashionable the past few years, to carry all your stuff (instead of putting it on the back rack, or on your back). i have a much smaller wired one. i would like such a sturdy big one, if only it didnt make parking so much more difficult! (bike parking is a serious problem. nowadays i often goto the train station by bike, but i have to leave at least 5 minutes earlier so that i can find a spot to park my bike... now many people are still on holidays, so i expect it to get even worse in a few weeks).
some googling and i found the website belonging to this basket/bike. it belongs to a lady living near groningen, and, as you might have guessed, she bakes pies and cakes to order, and even delivers them in her neighborhood....

Monday, August 25, 2014

Summer weather?!

the weather?! rain. and rain. some more rain. ah, and rain. by the way, its cold too. summer? noooo, not at all. feels more like autumn. buuuhhhh. i cannot remember for how long the weather is really crappy now, but its been quite a while. and its still raining. the past week we mostly had rain. and this weekend we had some. we were in Groningen, as i really wanted to go to a special happening on saturday evening. despite the forecasts, the weather was actually not too bad on saturday. we went shopping a bit in the city center. then we quickly went home, had a small dinner and rushed out again for the main event of the weekend, and something i seriously had looked forward too. not in the least as i would finally take some pictures again...
we biked 10 kms to a pasture somewhere outside groningen. there it would happend; the hot-air balloon festival. last year it was so crowded that police at some point asked people not to come anymore. in the morning we had read that despite the rain, the event would take place. and well, during the day we hardly had any rain, so we just went. the maximum-allowable-number-of-hot-air-balloons-in-the-netherlands would fill the air. and some would have funny shapes. jeeejjjj!! when we arrived (a bit late, we were worried it had already started), quite some people were about to leave. why? we asked. look, they said, and pointed to the sky (it might be that people from groningen speak less than people from amsterdam). oopps, it was indeed quite dark suddenly... but... the organizers announced that there was a chance it would still happen, so we waited. walked around a bit. and then... at the moment the organizers announced the entire thing was blown off because of bad weather and thunderstorms and what not, rain came indeed down like crazy. luckily we had one small umbrella and just stood there, like many others, waiting for it to stop..... (some people even found shelter in the dixies standing around, ugh....) while waiting i took this picture, as you can see the sky doesnt look too bad, but right behind and above us was quite a different story. and well.... merely 45 minutes after we arrived we biked back again, no hot air balloons for us.... just a little more rain while biking... :(

Monday, August 18, 2014

Early trains....

here you see 2 dutch train engines.
and then i wrote an entire story about my experience with trains since i went to secondary school. i was so bored by it that i removed it again.... :)
lets just say i took the train this morning at 6.45 am from groningen. i think i slept a bit during this ride, and i hope i didnt drool. i did catch myself with my mouth open, and wonder whether the lady opposite of me noticed it too; it probably wasnt pretty. i also tried to read, yet most of the times i was just holding the book and had my eyes closed. i dragged my laptop with me; i was certain i would work the 2 hours i was sitting in the train, but i didnt even get the thing out of my bag........
i still need to get used to commuting..... or at least spend this time in a more useful way..... 
i did see a rainbow last week. it was very pretty :) (but im not carrying my camera at the moment, like i used to in boston)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Look around!

this was back in may 2013 in new york. the last time me and tim went to new york before he moved back to the netherlands. i stayed a month longer, and went once more with my sister. 
we had quite rainy weather! and here it was coming down really heavily.... eventually we went into a cafe and had cake, just to escape the rain (ah, and for the cake, of course...). i think they put those "look" signs on several places to warn pedestrians that they shouldnt just cross the street, but actually look as well.... here in amsterdam they spray-painted some warnings on the street as well, mostly for bicyclists, telling them they should actually stop for the red light... (however most of these signs quickly faded away, so i still never took a picture of them...)
currently, the weather in the netherlands is really bad! buuuuhhh. feels like autumn with strong winds and lots of rain. i think last weekend the apartment block behind ours lost some of their roof (parts are still hanging in the trees), so this week they placed new pallets of "roof-stuff" on those roofs. but with those strong winds again, i am afraid it will be blown off again before they can use it....

Thursday, August 14, 2014

To go

i took this picture a while back in Rotterdam. although i dont like that people are this lazy, it was a bit funny to see this "forgotten" cup on this statue. after taking some pictures tim threw it away.
so yes, we have these cups as well, but you see them far and far less on the street than in the usa. there i sometimes had the feeling that people could just not leave the house unless they had a cup in their hand (or at least bought it on their way to wherever). i have seen coffee being spilled on other passengers in the subway, and well.... i never understood the need to always have a huge ice coffee (usually only drunk halfway and then thrown away, or placed somewhere, anywhere, and then forgotten).
for my work, i have to take the train and then the bus. its quite the commute (at least 1.5 hours one way), so i have to get up really early (to still arrive relatively late, grrrr), and i am not a morning person!! my tolerance for anything in the morning is very low, and im happy that its not that crowded yet due to holidays (but i truly fear when those days are over). i am annoyed when other people walk too slow, when they are in my way, when they talk loud in the train, when they come sit too close to me, when there is no place to sit, when i miss my train or when the train is delayed..... but!! at least dutch people dont really have this habit of always having a coffee with them, and something smelly to eat in the early morning (so far, i have only encountered a few... :) ). ah, women do do their make up in the train (annoys me as well), or paint their nails (drives me crazy), and there are even people who clip their nails (how on earth do they think thats socially acceptable???!), and on the way back every now and then you encounter the typical sad male with a can of beer.... (i really dont understand that either. someone recently said that those people are alcoholics, but im not sure...?)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tuesday cemeteries...

i cannot remember when was the last time i posted a picture of a cemetery or grave.... even though we still goto cemeteries every now and then... i just collect all those pictures and then never do anything with them. so perhaps, perhaps now that there is some sort of regularity in life again due to work and what-not, i should also start posting cemetery-pictures on tuesday. this was somewhere along the road in scotland. during our 5 days we mainly had marvellous weather, but here it was raining. it resulted in beautiful clouds covering the mountains. and it fitted the mood of this cemetery. behind me was a little church, and graves were all around. most were from the early 1900s (although some more recent ones as well), but the texts on most of them were not very well readable.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Edinburgh castle

i was away for the weekend to the place without internet (i.e. tims place), but now im back in amsterdam. some of the plants on the balcony were not happy... i hope they will get better again, but im not sure this time...
this was in scotland over 2 weeks ago now. we arrived back from our little road trip around the scottish highlands on sunday evening, and then finally had a walk in the city. all the shops were closed (buuhhh!!), but luckily its even longer light out there than in the netherlands, so we still had quite some time to look around. i really like edinburgh. here you see part of the castle high up these rocks, and on the opposite side are the shops (and in between the park). the light was nice too..... we didnt get to visit the castle the next day. too little time and too much to see (unfortunately we then spent hours and hours on the airport, but well... how could we know the weather in the netherlands had been so bad (in edinburgh it was outstanding) that all flights were delayed).
here, the weather turned bad last week. lots of rain and it got a bit colder too... :( the days are getting noticeably shorter (ugh), and more and more people are returning from their holidays. im not really looking forward to commuting in the dark and rain. i anyways really have to get used to commuting. especially since it takes quite a lot of time each day. but well... better than not working!!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Concert beds

so... this is the inside of the famous amsterdam concert hall.... last month we went to a piano concert. as you can see, there are no chairs!! of course, normally there are chairs, but this was a special occasion. normally, the musicians are on the stage that you can see underneath the organ, but this time they were placed more or less between the audience. and yes, the audience brought their own mats, and some even brought blankets and pillows. the idea was to fully immerse yourself in the music. this was a piece for 4 pianos (and a little bit of organ, but they could have left that out for me personally). the piece is called "canto ostinato" by simeon ten holt, i guess here you can listen to some of the music (if you dont know it, i urge you to check it out!!). bluntly said, its repetitive piano music (4 pianos, as i said), and i really love it (although i know several people who cannot stand the repetitiveness of the music. i think its really wonderful, and lying down like that really fits this kind of music).
when i discovered about this concert, most tickets were sold out already. only places on a chair were still available!! luckily, they were quite a bit cheaper than the "sleeping" places (and no need to bring your own mat!) (20 euros vs 35, thats quite a difference). so.... me, tim and my sister got tickets and we went. we had great seats! not only could we see the musicians very well, we also had plenty opportunity to observe all those lying down. it was a great experience, and i think in the end we were a bit more comfortable on a chair than lying down... :) (listening to music like that at home is different from doing so in public..!!). it was fun to see some people (almost?) falling asleep, and others turning around seemingly uncomfortable.... :)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Staying here...

this is the museum square in amsterdam sometime last month on a beuatiful summer evening. i showed you some pics before from this square (as you can see here). in the back you see the rijksmuseum, but we were actually going to the building behind us, the concert hall.
anyways. yes. tim is in groningen and i am staying in amsterdam. because yes! finally, finally. finally!! i am working again. it has taken forever, with lots of frustrations, desperations, hope, lost hope, hours and hours in the gym, and even more hours of searching and applying for jobs. i did not enjoy this time, so i am extremely happy to be working again. 
in fact, i sent the application for the job i have now already end of february. was invited for an interview in may. did not get the job (this was painful as i made it to the last 2). was invited for another position at the same place, got it and started a few weeks later (mid-june). before i knew, i suddenly had to work again! and so, in this case, having work was more important than living together. its not ideal, but neither was the situation when i was without work while i so desperately wanted (and needed) to work!!
more about my work another time. now its about time i start working for today!!! :)) i can just tell you its science-related, but i am not working as a scientist in a lab anymore. and i am very happy about that too...... :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Far away...

this was in scotland too. i was faster taking pictures and got back in the car again (on the wrong side!!! hahahaha).
since monday, tim lives in groningen, a 2 hour drive from amsterdam. he started a new job as a doctor in the hospital in groningen (the biggest hospital of the netherlands). so, over the past weeks we furnished a place there. mostly with stuff we found in secondhand shops (often its so much nicer than ikea, and much much cheaper!), combined with some stuff that didnt fit in the apartment in amsterdam, and even quite some stuff we found on the streets in our neighborhood (every wednesday night you can put out "the big trash". quite often people put some really nice stuff out that they dont want anymore. more often than not, it doesnt stay on the street very long.... as we grab it, or more often, because others do so. there are even people driving around on wednesday evening, just to pick up anything that might be usuable...). anyways, i think the place is really nice now....
and me? im still in amsterdam.... in the weekends tim either should come back here, or i go there (its really far!! it feels like a foreign country almost! i know i know, for americans this distance is nothing, but for dutch you need to cross half the country!). not the ideal situation, and unlike anything we planned, but well.... sometimes you cannot choose.....

Monday, August 4, 2014

As expected...

this is sort of how i expected scotland to be. with a lonely castle at the water front..... lots of clouds and even more rain.... pretty, no??!!
never mind the parking lot and the huge number of tourists stopping for this castle as well... :) unlike us, most also walked over to the castle and had a look inside. we only had a look from this distance and drove on....
i want to tell you about all the changes that occurred the past few months. but today i am too tired... perhaps tomorrow! :)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Self portrait

in case you forgot how we look after my long absence... here a recent self portrait. just last week we went away for a few days to scotland. we flew on wednesday evening, arrived in edinburgh, started thursday in the gym of the hotel (if you had asked me to do such a thing 5 years ago, i would have laughed very hard), then the mcdonalds for breakfast (i never had breakfast in mc donalds and it was the first thing we encountered while we were very hungry), and the off to the scottish highlands in a rental car! quite the experience to drive on the other (the wrong!!) side of the road! im glad i didnt have to drive, not sure i would have taken all the turns the right way.....
but it was beautiful!! absolutely amazing. so much green.... and we were lucky, as nearly all days were extremely sunny and even hot! (only one day of quite a lot of rain). we more or less randomly drove around scotland and on sunday evening we arrived in edinburgh again. monday we finally saw that city and while it was bright and sunny there, the netherlands had terrible rain. streets and houses got flooded and our plane was delayed.... luckily our house was still dry.
good to see some of you found me already again! we are about to leave for the weekend and are staying in a place without internet.... but monday i certainly will be back! (perhaps sooner, lets see)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Crazy clouds!

well hello!! i thought it was about time to post a new picture...... :)
i took this one a few weeks back, but only now i noticed the magnificent clouds... i didnt notice it when i took the picture, nor did i when i was looking at them at my computer.... only now, when i decided that the first of august was a good date to post again.....
so, this is amsterdam, and the weather has been good quite often the past few weeks. at times even hot. plenty opportunity to cruise the canals, as you can see here... we just came back from the theater, that you can see here to the left, on top it says "carre" in red letters.
well well well. lots has changed. other things have remained the same..... more on that in the coming posts? and yes, i most certainly am curious about the blogs i just to check regularly. i havent in a while... but i did think about you!! :) hope all is well!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Defense tower

i took this picture when we were out on the canals of amsterdam in a boat!! it was so pretty, especially when at sunset. you really get a different view from amsterdam than when standing on the bridges... recently i took a picture of this tower while standing on the nearest bridge, and was sure this was a church. so... i was just going over google maps, looking for a church around that location.... but it isnt a church at all! this tower is called the "montelbaanstower" and was built in 1516 at the then outer city limits, to defend the city. to pay for digging of this canal and to build the tower, taxes on beer were increased. as in 1591 the city grew beyond the tower, it no longer served its purpose. the upper half was extended to its decorative form (i would say church-like form) in 1606. in dutch, you can read quite a bit about the history of this tower here.
ha, i also found an interesting news report from last year october; the municipality was looking to rent the place out again. from 2009 to 2013 it was being used by "secret garden", an organization for gay muslims. the rent was 9000 euros (!!) per month (although the organization did get some discount). no word on who i srenting it now though...