Saturday, December 30, 2006

december 30th



also, i think i'm going to try my hand at this project: project 365

you take 1 picture a day for an entire year. cool, huh. i think i'll start on january 1. we'll see how long i keep it up for!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas ramblings

I don't really have anything definitive to say. The only big news I had has already been said in e-mail form. Here are some scatter-brained rambles:

1. I got engaged over the holiday! wheeeeee! yay! love! Hoopla!
2. I had a birthday. I'm 24 now
3. gregory's birthday is the 30th. He'll be 26!
4. Every night Gregory lights the Christmas tree for me.
5. Every night Gregory fills my new hot water pack for me to wrap my feet around at night under the covers. It's lovely.
6. My washer was broken for an afternoon yesterday but Gregory fixed it for me!
7. I peddled uphill into the neighboring town today to go to a store which carries the thing Gregory wants for his birthday.
8. They were all out!
9. Peddled all the way back home.
10. I'll have to take the bus into town tomorrow.
11. We have a party to attend on Sunday.
12. We'll be waaay drunk for sure.
13. We plan on purchasing many things in the new year.
14. We want a new TV, new bed and mattress, new couches and a puppy!
15. I've been knitting a lot lately and getting good at my stitches
16. I'm currently working on a ribbed scarf
17. I want to try my hand at crocheting again.
18. I have a feeling that you can do more with crocheting
19. For instance, I saw in a Belgian magazine a hair clip that was crocheted cherries and I want to make them. I also want to make snowflakes for next Christmas.
20. I want a million snowflakes hanging everywhere like in the movie "elf" only mine will be way prettier because they wont be made out of paper.
21. I went to an interim office on Tuesday to speak to a man who got my name and resume from gregory's boss. He said my Dutch was very good and that made me proud.
22. I'm excited about gathering ideas for a wedding (even though we're unsure which country it'll even be in yet!) I still want the luxury of gathering tons of pictures on dresses, flowers, papers and all things lovely.
23. Does anyone feel like buying me a bridal subscription?
Martha Stewart weddings
modern bride

any of these would make me very happy

Friday, December 15, 2006


I got a cold starting the second week I was in America. I still have the cold. Though, it's moved, shifted and changed a little, I have still not recovered. Its been about 3 weeks. Right now my cold is at the stage where, every so often, I still have a nose full of snot which makes me cough. When my nose isn't full, I'm coughing regardless because I have something settled deep in my chest and it gives me a lovely barking cough and I'm pretty sure I've burst a few veins in my head from having a hacking fit.
I've already seen a doctor. I already finished a bottle of cough syrup and a small pack of cough drops. Nothing has helped. So last night, after watching "house, M.D."onTV and seeing a woman who went in for a persistent cough and ended up being terminal, Gregory, the ever so paranoid one, was convinced I was dying and needed to see a doctor right away. i told him I was fine. But never-the-less, he felt something needed to be done as the cough syrup, decongestant, and nose spray was doing nothing for the persistent chest coughwhich I told his incompetent doctor (that's another story altogether) that i had and yet he perscribed me nothing for it. Gregory dialed his mom and got her to go next door to the pharmacy and pick me up some vick's vapor rub and cough syrup for a prickling in the back of the throat and a tight chest; the symptoms i described.
when i received my cough syrup I looked at it and noticed it was in a glass bottle with a white tag that you might find on your grandmother's preserves and hand written directions on it. I said "there's no brand on here. It looks home made." Gregory nodded delightfully.

I looked at him with a raised eyebrow "you mean to tell me the pharmacist went out back and whipped this up herself?" and Gregory nodded delightfully.

"you're giving me MOONSHINE?! "

and Gregory said "yeah, its how they did it in the olden days so when the pharmacist heard your symptoms she knew of a great old remedy that works really great."

me: "this is moonshine. Is this even legal?"

Gregory: "its what they used to do!"

so I took my moonshine with a good rubbing of vicks on my chest and it was the first time I slept in 3 days. I didn't wake up with any hacking fits at all. I took it twice today and though I'm still coughing, I'm not fitting like I was. Last night's sleep wasn't great, as it was more of a pass-out than a good nights sleep, so I cant wait till tonight where I can snuggle up and sleep in and NOT hack a lung all night long.
I'm a true believer in the Belgian pharmacist's moonshine!

Monday, December 11, 2006

island of lights and a christmas tree

in the center of kortrijk every year they do an "island of lights". all the street light bulbs are replaced with black lights, they have a huge disco ball and other large, white, abstract sculptures that capture the black light really well. the other night they had lit a million candles ( or what seemed like a million) and they also had fire jugglers and fire breathers and the sort performing for passer byers. it was beautiful!
i think on new years eve they have a party there and you can dance under the giant disco ball and count down to the new year with a bunch of other crunk party-goers.

this weekend we also bought our christmas tree. its a bit skinny but it appears that you can either get a small fat tree, or a large skinny tree here in belgium. i have seen both large and fat. but its ours and we love it.

we strung lights and hung the decorations sunday evening. it was great.
here are some pictures:
my friend janne posing for a picture
our christmas tree. it looks crooked but its just the tree. me posing with our tree.

fun, huh?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Travels n things

My travels home from America were LOOONG.
first stop: Washington d.c. we had a couple hours lay over which wasn't so bad considering the international area of the airport is located in no-man's land and they make you walk there. At least in Brussels they give you the floor escalator to zoom you along. Once we made it to the general area of where we needed to be we grabbed a sandwich at a place called potbelly's. Wow. They have some excellent sandwiches there! They're all warm and you can put any sauce and veggies on the sandwich you like. It was really good. Then after a small wait at our terminal we boarded for Brussels. As Gregory and I were sitting in our seats waiting for the rest of the passengers to sit down so we could go already, I looked around and said to Gregory "I have a feeling this is going to be a bad flight." I said this because there were many loud people around us. There were also many toddlers. In my flying experience its not the baby's you have to worry about, its the toddlers.

sure enough we were late getting out of there. The lights were off which annoyed me immensely as I was trying to read a book that was lent to me (thanks maryann, I just finished it today and oh boy was it awesome!!!) then the lights came on; shut off; came on; shut off. The flight attendants came over the loud speaker "sorry, the lights and video for our economy passengers aren't working properly. We had maintainence come and look at it and were assured it was working but we can't seem to get it to work. SOOORRRRYYYY........." Sorry? SORRY?! That's all they have to say? I believe that when I purchased my ticket the price included my in flight meal, PROPER LIGHTING and a movie!!!

this wasn't even the end of it. The entire flight there was a toddler crying to the right of us, a toddler in front of me that kept peering over his seat and wailing every time his parents made him sit down. Which let me tell you, they only did that after the father would peer at me through the seat cracks each time throughout this 8 hour hell ride and give a look like "is it all right that my ugly child with snot dripping out of his nose is watching you?" and I'd shoot him some death rays that said "if you don't get that snot-nosed child out of my face right now I'm going to throw him out the window!"

the lighting began to work properly sometime after dinner. And the video began working an hour before landing. I tried watching TV but it put me to sleep....Finally. So I had an hour's rest on the plane.

I think Gregory and I are pretty much back on track with the time; we're both sick so that's making us a bit sleepy.
in other news our roof in there veranda has began leaking. Well, it leaked since the day we got it but just a few drops here and there, now we have a puddle. We also have staining on the wall by a gutter, that Gregory says isn't draining properly. Our land lady has order us to call a guy to install a brand new gutter and a new roof for us! Which is good because our veranda roof right now is plastic! So it gets waaay too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. We're going to get a normal roof.
this weekend we plan on getting our first REAL Christmas tree. Gregory got word of a place in France where you can get large ones for relatively cheap, compared to the belgian prices. I cant wait!
we have coupons cut out from the local paper for a new bed and new couch. Hopefully we can go look at those soon too!
I saw on an classified website for Belgium a new litter of French bulldogs! Just what I want!!! But I think I hit Gregory too fast with that one because he didn't seem too responsive to it. I guess it can wait a little bit till we at least get our ever important new furniture.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Feeling like an old lady

I take the bus pretty regularly these days and see all kinds of different people. I see the students; the people with only half of a full set of teeth, carrying 20 plastic bags and mumbling to themselves; the people that think they're a celebrity with their designer clothes and bling, and you really just want to point and laugh and say "you're riding in a BUS not a Cadillac!"; the seemly normal people; and of course, the old ladies.

the old ladies seem to only ride the bus for a few stops at a time. It always made me laugh because they're only on the bus for a minute before their pressing the button to get off. It makes me wonder why they just don't get themselves a rascal scooter and rascal themselves to the next bus stop, if that's only as far as their gonna go. Today I felt like one of the old ladies, without the scooter. (however, if I DID have a scooter I would have used it. In fact, I'd love a rascal. But I think I need to wait until I'm at least 50 before getting one so I can justify it and not just look like a lazy lardass.)

I had some business to attend to in the next village over. Normally I could have rode my bike as its not THAT far. But today its cold, raining, windy and I just plain didn't feel like getting a cold 2 days before I leave on vacation. So I waited at the bus stop for the bus to take me a total of 4 stops away.

the bus driver sounded very surprised when I told him where I was going, which was really only right over the hill and around a corner. A 5 minute drive. Which I don't see why because I've seen old people board the bus only to get off at the NEXT stop. When he told me it was 1.50 euro I was outraged!! It costs me 1.50 euro to go the city. The last stop from my house! Why in the name of peanutbutter was he charging me the same price to go to a dinky little town that everyone else was trying to get out of. But I paid the man, boarded the bus, and 5 minutes later got off. Did my business and waited at the bus stop to go back home. This time I was only going 3 stops away. And I got charged 1.50 AGAIN!! Which I would like to add here that when I ride from kortrijk to rollegem it only costs me 1.20. so why, WHY???? When I was almost in rollegem I had to pay more than what I normally do from coming further away????

I don't know, but anyway, those old ladies have a lot of time on their hands. What would normally be 15-20 errand with a car it took an hour with the bus. And now I know why all those old people have bus passes, because if they didn't they'd be eating cat food for the next month until their social security funds come in next.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


this was me bakingfor my halloween party at a friends house.

cute, right? ;)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Attack of the killer rooster

Yes, you read that right--rooster. For those that might be unaware I have a deep seeded fear of roosters dating to my childhood. Why you ask? Because my FATHER let one attack me. Ok, ok that's a very slight exaggeration. The real, abridged story actually goes as this,

once upon a time my parents thought it would be cool to have chickens and have fresh eggs n all that jazz. With the chickens came a very nasty rooster. Because my parents were big on chores, my brother and I had to feed and collect the eggs everyday. And everyday the rooster would be ready and waiting at the door, swooping at us with its talons out! My big brother thought up creative ways to ward off the evil rooster (though PETA would not want to hear about it) and we survived. Until one day while the rooster was on prowl of our backyard (as we had let it out of the coop at this point so a fox would eat it. Let nature take its course..With a little nudge) and I being all cute n swinging on my swing, the rooster stalked me from across the yard, ran up to me and would jump to peck me to death every time the swing went by. I was STANDING on the swing, crying, SCREAMING for someone to help me. Little did I know my father was inside looking on from a window LAUGHING at my demise!

so now I fear roosters. (you could saved me dad!) anyway, all this DOES have a point.
2 weeks ago, 2 roosters escaped from their fenced in yard of a house that is en route to where my class is. I walk by the house every day and hear the roosters crowing, which doesn't bother me. As long as their fenced in I can deal with it. Well last week the got out and they stared me down. It may surprise you to know I haven't actually come face to face with a rooster outside a fence since my childhood. I stopped dead in my tracks. I could feel prickly sweat begin to form, I was hear ventilating and near tears. I slowly crept forward trying not to alarm them. All the while saying "ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod" and when I made it past I kept looking over my shoulder to make sure they weren't chasing me.

after class was over I made sure to walk causiously and the roosters were gone so I figured the owner caught them and brought them back in.

so this morning I'm walking to class, already putting the attack horrors from 2 weeks ago behind me, I became startled by a rooster in the bushes!!!!!! I was inches away from it and it was scuffing its feet like a bull ready to charge. I swerved my body away, falling off the sidewalk slipping on leaves and had that "eeeeek" look on my face that crazy people get when there's a bee near them. Some guy saw my freak out.
the rooster didn't get me. And he crowed at me on the way back. I think I'm going to have to take the longer way around tomorrow because I can't take this stress!

I swear it looks at me.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


last night Gregory, me, Thomas, janne, her sister and her sister's friend, and some other dude friend of janne's all went to go see Borat the movie.

"Borat"( a kazakhstanian television reporter. He goes to America to learn lessons in which he can bring back to Kazakakhstan to make the country better. The movie is a "mockumentary" aka--its not real.

Borat is very politically incorrect and offensive. Anyone that takes high offense to political incorrectness should NOT see this movie. He make comments on the Jewish community, women, homosexuals, mentally handicapped, and makes lewd comments about sex.

it was hilarious. The theater was uproarious! Seriously, the whole theater was just howling with laughter, and at some particularly outrageous "I cant believe he actually said that" parts everyone was all "WHHOOOOOAAAAAAAA "

the people I went to see the movie with didn't think it would play in America because it offends American culture so much. I thought they were stupid Europeans. We're not that tight assed.
anyway, anyone that can laugh at themselves, and can take a joke, should watch the movie.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I survived. Barely. The preparations for my Halloween party this past Saturday. All day Saturday I cooked and cleaned and we just barely had everything ready; our costumes, the decorations, the food put out, the mess picked up by the time the party started. It was a race to the finish but somehow we pulled it off.

on the Halloween menu was rice krispie treats, cupcakes, cake, veggies and dip and chips and dip along with 3 cases of beer, 1 bottle of vodka, 2 bottles of rum and a million bottles of soda. All the food was a huge hit. Everyone loved the rice krispie treats which is a total foreign concept to them. One girl described it as "eating cloud" which I thought was a really neat way of putting it. But the food is where the total success ended.

from the 30 people on our guest list only about 16-20 showed up. Everyone did dress in costume (except for maybe 2 people) but they took em off shortly after arriving. Also, we had two very different "clicks" the west Flanders crowd and the gent ( east Flanders) crowd. Which did not blend at all. The last person was out by 1.30am.

I decided that I'm not going to do a Halloween party in Belgium again. No one really was into it. Too much effort for the outcome I received. Gregory didn't even try to get into it. We were suppose to be beetlejuice and Lydia for Halloween but he backed out of it at the last minute. The depressing thing about that is, I had given a friend in America my whole list of ideas and told her what Gregory and I were going to be, I see today she too was Lydia and her boyfriend beetljuice and their costumes were amazing. We put together a zombie bride and groom but Gregory was barely willing to but makeup on his face.

so I have a few photos of the night but not a lot because I was too busy getting my drink on and trying to ignore the weird dynamics of the people in the room. The only picture of Gregory and I didn't even come out. But here are some photos anyway:

pumpkin Thomas and janne carved Friday night with us. It was their first time carving. Its a stencil carving but still great.

pumpkin I carved. Its an owl, you cant see it too well in the photo. Its also stenciled. I forgot to take a photo of gregorys pumpkin but it weighed like 20 lbs! Its HUGE and he carved a scary traditional face into it. Everyone loved his the best, I think.

scary mantel. Pumpkin lights, ghosts, cobwebs, skull and of course glow sticks.
he crawled all this way and didn't make it to the beer. my front window. I think my neighbors hate me. Crazy American heathen painting blasphemed things on her window. Gregory thinks the ghosts look like sperm. I hate ghosts with arms.
bat cave entrance. Thomas as flash Gordon pieter-jan as ozzy Osborn Vanessa in yellow and janne in red as 2 50's girls. janne never had cranberry juice before, hence her crazy face. Sigh...Europeans.
colin the rat and "pit" tin foil face? heh. yeah last minute, huh. matt and his new girlfriend Tina guns (that's her real name, how cool is that??!) I like her better than all his other girlfriends at first meeting her so she's ok in my book. There's a mummy in the background.
me and matt. I totally had peeling skin for my zombie costume which everyone loved, and thought was gross. ps--I'm wasted here.
me. The day after. hung over. Freshly showered and freshly peeled of the couch to go use gregory's parent's phone to make a free (for me) phone call to my parents.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

why i keep him around

" wow, janne must think i'm some kind of domestic goddess. first i say i'm baking for our party and then i say i'm making our costumes. "


"so, i bet she thinks i'm betty crocker or something. if only she saw my house..."

"yeah, betty CROCK"

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Work for a week

Last week I pounded some pavement and went to a few interim offices, Belgian's version of a temp agency. Monday rolled around and my phone was ringing off the hook from 2 out of the 3 I inscribed with. Through one of the interim offices I got a job for only this week. I'm working at the kortrijk expo-center, which is exactly what it sounds like. A giant building where they hold exhibitions, and sometimes concerts aswell. I'm working in the kitchen, making sandwiches.

this morning was my first day on the job. Had to start at 7am so we got up at 6. I had packed a whole bunch of goodies the night before for me to eat at work. Stuff for the morning, stuff for lunch, even a little after lunch snack. A soda for lunch and a sports bottle of water for me to sip on throughout the day. Little did I realize I wasn't going to need all that today...

I had a map of the place given to me by the interim office pointing to where I needed to go. I was instructed to go through the "meeting center" door, go up the elevator and go directly to fabiene (which is a girl by the way) so at 6.45am I'm at the door where I was instructed to go and I cant get in!!! Its security locked 24/7! There's a door bell there and it reads: ring here. Ok, so I ring. Twice. And no one comes. I've walked around the building one way but all signs are pointing to the 24/7 locked door I just came from for the "meeting center". At this point I call Gregory in a panic saying I cant get in, what am I suppose to do, and all that other eeeeeeek! Type stuff. Then a car pulls up and luckily the woman inside is going exactly where I need to be so she shows me the way, which, by the way, the "door" I was suppose to enter through was actually a loading dock. And this fabiene chick I was suppose to go see directly, didn't get in till 8.30.

but anyway, despite the early morning drama, I made it in and was sent directly to work making sandwiches. We worked in teams of 2 and knocked out a bazillion sandwiches all morning long. The ones I mostly worked on were the 4.00 euro, high priced sandwiches of 1. Brown bread, lettuce, mozzarella cheese, sun dried tomato and herbs; 2. Brown bread, lettuce, salmon, cucumber and tomato; 3. Brown bread, lettuce, cream cheese, radishes and herbs; 4. Brown bread, lettuce, bacon, mozzarella cheese and sun dried tomato and 4. Mini sandwiches with a variety of spreads and lettuce.
towards the end of the day I worked on other types of sandwiches but those are the ones I did until about 1pm.

by mid morning break time started. A standard 15 minute break which is the same in Massachusetts. But that's as far as that goes! 15 minute break at 11.30 for me. I figured this was just a sit down break, or have breakfast if you wish. No. This was it. I didn't eat at 11.30 because I thought my lunch was coming up soon. But it wasn't. If you want to eat, you better damn be sure its done on your 15 minute break because that's all your eating. I mean, you're allowed to pick at the sandwich fillings. As one woman said "you don't have to just look at the food, you can have some too" but you cant make yourself a whole sandwich! And I didn't really want to pick at the food I was handling to shove into sandwiches because I felt funny. I did have a piece of apple tart though. So from 6-3pm all I had to eat was a fun sized box of honey pop cereal, a slice of apple tart, a couple of slices of egg and a piece of cheese. Hello!! I was dead by 3!How was I to know that they were going to slave drive me and not let me have a lunch break while I break my back making sandwich after sandwich after sandwich that never ended.
I'll be better prepared tomorrow.
I just want to sleep now, though.

oh and ps--the "chefs" in that kitchen are all French and they're all assholes too!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Because Julia RULES

Julia childs is AWESOME. I used to watch her cooking show when I was younger. She was crazy. And when she got old she became even crazier. She used to put a lot of alcohol in her recipe's.

nevertheless, I couldn't help marvel at the great lengths this man went to to give her a grand dedication. I mean seriously, you know you've made it when someone makes corn field-art of you, huh.

someday I'm going to have a corn field and I'm going to hire mike to make me a dedication to Richard Simmons, my other hero.

julia lies in good ole Massachusetts. so all my little people over there, go check her out for me, will ya?!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

how to kill yourself slowly by wednesday in 10 easy steps

1. wake up everyday early

2. power walk for at least 1 hour everyday

3. tuesday, go spinning later in the evening, because walking an hour is never enough

4. from spinning go directly to swimming

5. swim 20 laps in 40 minutes

6. wednesday, hoof it all over town to intrim offices to get a job.

7. eat mcdonalds for lunch (clogged arteries always aides in the killing of oneself)

8. paint a murral on your window for halloween

9. do laundry

10. iron clothes

Friday, October 06, 2006

How my ex-pat experiences are different than most other woman's in Belgium:

I run across a lot of Belgian ex-pat blogs, primarily from women living in Belgium. Everyone that I read they all share similarities with each other, but not with my own life. Here are some differences:

* I don't live in Brussels. I don't even live in the outskirts of Brussels. I don't live anywhere near the Brussels region of the country.

* I live in west Flanders.

* I learn Dutch, not French.

* I am not a trailing spouse.

* I have worked here. I am now an unemployed foreigner. I'm looking for work.

* looking for work is harder than just not being able to work from being a trailing spouse because I NEED to work. And Belgians don't have equal opportunity laws like in America. I don't get money from the government so the government doesn't want to help me find a job and the normal employers don't want to hire a foreigner.

* that's real life. That's not vacationing.

* I don't have a husband that gets paid by an American company. I don't have a husband.

* my life does not revolve around jaunts to Spain, Italy, Ireland, Poland because my husband has work to do there.

*my life revolves around trying to make ends meet with one income and my insanely high American school bills that Belgian pay checks don't figure into their pay allowance.

* I don't attend clubs or meetings

* all my friends are Belgians which makes meeting and keeping friends hard. I don't surround myself with only Americans

*in fact the only Americans I DID know lived in gent and I hardly saw them anyway

personally, I feel if you only surround yourself with people like you and don't get down to the knitty gritty of real, everyday life, then you're only pretending. There's nothing amazing about an American who went to Brussels to be with other Americans in Brussels and go around having vacations 100 times a year.

or maybe I'm just jealous I don't get to go to all those places.

but really, that's not life abroad, that's partying abroad.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

My butt will thank me..

...If only I could lay off the junk food.
today was the first day I had to take the bus back from my class. Monday I didn't go to class and Tuesday dimitri drove me home. Wednesday there is no class and today I was determined to find a bus that will take me home before 1pm. Well I did find one. It dropped me off in the next village over, which isn't so bad because the villages are really small and we live close to the neighboring one.
let me give you a rundown of my day..

wake: 7.10am
leave house: 7.30am
arrive in kortrijk: 7.50am
board train:8.00am
arrive in roeselare: 8.24am
walk to class: 15-20 minutes
class duration: 2 hours
class ends: 11.00am
walk to train station: 15-20 min
wait at train station: about 20 minutes
board train: 11.42am
arrive in kortrijk

now here's the tricky part. I can take a train to rollegem, my town that leaves at 12.56pm or i can find one that leave s a little earlier but to a neighboring town. i choose the latter as i really want to get home and if I don't get home before 1 then I wont get to eat lunch with Gregory and I like eating lunch with Gregory.

wait at train station for next bus to aalbeeke: 20 minutes
bus ride to aalbeeke center: 10 minutes
walk home from bus stop: 30 minutes!

wheeeeeeew and its up hill most the way too! All this walking I'm doing will surely shrink my butt. But the thing with that is we need a new shopping strategy. We haven't been shopping all this week so its either spaghetti, go hungry or buy something. I didn't have time to get any pastries at the train station so I thought I'd wait till roeselare this morning. No, nothing en route except for a sandwich shop, which I didn't want a sandwich for breakfast. There's a cafeteria in the VDAB so I thought I'd have breakfast there, as I get there a 20 minute-half hour early anyway. Weeeeell the cafeteria wasn't open so early so I thought I'd wait till break. I don't know if it was still too early for food but all that was out was candy!!!!! I could have bought candy from a machine a 100 times over by then! But by 10am I was nearly gnawing my arm off so ibought 2 candy bars. Ate 1 right then and there by shoving the entire ting in my mouth, and the other while waiting at the train station to return home. I was disappointed I had to eat crappy candy for breakfast but I didn't have much choice.
then for lunch I admit I suggested French fries. My bus stops right in front of the best frie stand around, and it was open and it looked gooooooood. Gregory thought it sounded good as well so then it was fries for lunch after my well balanced breakfast!! Luckily I walked so much today and there's spinning tonight so maybe I can reverse some of the damage I did!

if I can actually go grocery shopping on time and buy healthy stuff I should have an amazing butt by the time the class is finished!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Changing of the seasons

Every year its the same thing. The weather turns colder and I get a cold.
my "changing of the seasons cold" started 2 days ago when I woke up with an incredibly scratchy throat. The same kind of scratch that feels like a pool of snot had been resting in the back of your head all night long and now that's its morning, and it shifted, it burnt a hole in your esophogeal lining. I knew right then and there it would only get worse. The next day presented itself with a bit of a stuffy nose. Today I have a full blown head cold with sneezing, a stuffy yet drippy nose, my throat feels like its closing off as my brain swells larger than life, trying to push its way out of my skull. I'm tired. I'm cold. And I'm moany. The perfect, text-book example of a head cold. And its all thanks to the weather getting colder.
I'm sure it didn't help walking down the windy streets at 8.30 in the morning yesterday with wet hair. No, in fact, I considered that the seal on my death wish. And here I am today barely willing or able to lift my head up for the shear weight is just unmanageable.
I had such great aspirations today too. I had planned to lock myself in the shed and make myself a paper mache skeleton hand for my mailbox and if time permitted maybe even a couple of skulls, or perhaps some cardboard gravestones, as I would love to have a mock grave yard scene in my front window.
but alas. Only the dishes and a couple loads of laundry got done. But I did catch up on my E! True Hollywood stories, some music videos and an episode of "just shoot me" not quite the production I had in mind, but meh. Whatever.

tomorrow, hopefully I'll feel a little better. I do have to get up early to go to my new verbal Dutch class that takes place quite a few towns away. A 20 minute train ride and then a 15 minute walk to get there. On the way home I have to take the train AND the bus. What a public transportation production! 4 days a week that's going to be my schedule. I don't mind it so much, as it does get me up and out of the house early and I have a place to be and something to do. The only real good thing about all the public transport, besides keeping my carbon footprint on the world to a minimum, is that the vdab(unemployment type government facility that's running the class) will repay me for my transportation. Not only that but the class is free! So it stinks that I have to fork over the €6.50($8.33) for my round trip train ticket 4 days a week, not to mention the €1.20 ($1.54) for the bus trip home, at least we'll get it back at the end, so its not all lost.

but when you're not feeling well and you have to get up early it really stinks.Fall rocks but I wish I could have an easier transition without so much turbulence!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Weekend recap

This weekend was not calm by any means. I feel like I've been on the go the entire time.
Friday night:

pasta night at pieter-jan and vanessa's house. They had hor derves of mozzarella cheese blocks with a sun dried tomato on top held together with a toothpick and something I cant remember the name of but it was melba toast crackers with minced olive "spread" on top. Both were amazing. the women prepared a whole meal of home made red sauce with lots of veggies in it and a home made cheese sauce. Both spaghetti and macaroni were served along with slices of French bread. We were all stuffed by the end.
the men then cleaned up while the women took a walk outside heeee-hee! Afterwards we played a game and didn't get home till 1.30am!


awoke at 8.30 a half hour before my alarm and was surprisingly very awake. Got ready for spinning only to hear from gregory's sis-in-law she cant make it (again) Gregory got up not long after (surprisingly) we went to the bakers for pastries and then around 2pm left for gent with pieter)jan, Vanessa, janne, Thomas, christoph, and sylvia.we walked around for ages. I bought a book and a cd.
later, after returning home we went to christoph's house for pizza and a couple rounds of a video game called BUZZ! Its a multi-player music quiz game. I'm shit at it.
went home at 12am.


awoke at 7.45 very annoyed that I got up early again forced myself back to sleep till 10.30. got up, ate breakfast, took a shower and was out the door by noon. Went to buy a present for gregory's nephew's as it was their birthday party today. Got them a marble erect-a-set type thing. Where you construct a tower of "over 120 pieces" and throw your marbles down and watch lights light up, twirligigs twirl flip flap and the other. Their highly into marbles we heard. Then at 2pm we went to their party. They loved our gift but reading "over 120 pieces" on a box sounds waaay cooler than actually constructing "over 120 pieces" that wasn't waaay cool. Had 2 pieces of cake, 2cups of coffee, a "Christmas cookie" which let me tell you, is really only a normal bread roll shaped, what I thought was a mitten. What's so special about it that it gets the name "Christmas cookie" one can only guess. So yeah, one of those and a cp of hot chocolate. Needless to say I was full and feeling a bit sick. gregory's already hungry but I think I'm set for the night.

after the party we drove to a town named roeselare because that's where my new class is being held. I have to take the train tomorrow and never having been in the town I wouldn't know which direction to walk, once there, in order to actually get to my class. We spent a lot of time there because Gregory couldn't find the vdab (the building I needed to be at tomorrow) . Once found we proceeded to make our way back. instead of taking the road back to the train station, where was our first reference point, and where there happened to be any easily readable sign that pointed straight to the highway, Gregory decided to go down unknown roads and lead us into nowhere land. Thanks to my awesome navigation (guessing) skills, we made it to the highway eventually. Making home I had to do homework, since for my new class I need to present a "topic" tomorrow. I finished my topic, on a new chocolate bar that opened in new York and now I'm here. Its 9pm and I'm ready for bed!! It feels so much later.

this coming week I think will be full of activities too. My class is 4 days a week so it'll be new and strange getting up for t hat in the mornings. Also tomorrow night I'm attending a lingerie party with janne. Apparently this lingerie is stuff that gets sold in stores but its last seasons collections. So bras that normally go for 30 and up are sold for 15 a pop! I just recently bought new bras but I might have to take 15 or 30 euros along with me because, lets be serious. You can never have too many bras!
Tuesday and Thursday evenings I should be going to spinning but we'll see about that and maybe Friday night swimming with Gregory, janne and Thomas. That's if I have a bathing suit by then.

Friday, September 29, 2006

i'm a total halloweenie

its just about october and i'm feeling the halloween countdown clock ticking. i feel so unprepared because i plan to have a party this year, and though i have a definate costume idea i dont have any of the pieces yet. my costume would be easy to make, just a quick trip to the fabric store. gregory's is a little more complex.

without going into detail he would need a suite, either a bald cap or an old mans type wig with thinning white hair. i also didnt get a chance (spent all my money on other things) to pick up some skeltons for decorations, or glow sticks like i wanted.

if aaaaaaaaanyone feels extra generous and wants to donate to the amanda's halloween fund feel free to donate an old suite of any color (it'll be dyed anyway) glow sticks, sketelons or a wig for gregory. oh yeah, and black hair spray for me. as i've dyed my hair black once and will not revisit the fiasco of getting it back to a normal color ever. again.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Long time


its been quite a while since I last wrote. I know I know, I'm bad.

I had spent 11 days in the states visiting everyone (hi mom and dad!) and had the awesomest time ever.
some highlights from my trip include:

*not having to share a bed with bear, the gazillion ton german Shepard
*the body worlds exhibit at the Boston science museum
*camping in Maine
*thunder hole in bar harbor, me
*dunkin donuts ice coffee everyday
*hanging out with my friends at the only bar in north attleboro
*hanging and drinking at Dave and busters
*eating amazing Thai food with my fam
*seeing everyone I missed again

my first week back to Belgium was pretty uneventful. I took naps during the day and basically acted like a bum. It was fun, except for the headache I had. During the weekend we went to ikea to look at new beds. We found something we like but haven't purchased anything yet. We also visited our friends pieter-jan, Vanessa, janne, Thomas and Pedro. The boys went to an exhibit about the circa1300 war between west Flanders and the French while we girls did some shopping at molecule, a department type warehouse kind of store. Its not pronounce molecule, like the science word but more like (mall-e-cool-a). during Saturday evening Gregory, dimitri and I went to some little fair in a neighboring village where an old lady sang crazy folk songs and we drank beer. It wasn't as exciting as I thought it was going to be but we had fun making fun of the locals that were wearing crazy shirts in support of the political parties they were supporting for the upcoming elections. I'm not allowed to vote, and for the Belgians its not a right but an obligation. If they don't vote they get hanged, or fined or some form of punishment bestowed upon them. I prefer not having to since I don't know what anyone goes for anyone. All I know is that the dude that's supposed to be finding me a job is running and apparently that's how his particular party generally wins; by handing out jobs so people feel obligated to vote for them? I don't know, I don't care. gregorys fam is voting for him; I think I'd vote against him just because I haven't seen anything materialize yet!!!

this week has been a bit more eventful. I went to the werkwinkel, otherwise known as the workshop in English for a consultation with my werkwinkel helper guy that's been appointed to me. He helps people find jobs. Its a government run place and you also must go there if you're unemployed and receiving checks, which I am not but I AM unemployed and wish to work. So he helped me look for big wig names in the funeral business to help get my foot in the door and also set me up with a new course to take. So today I had to go to my first lesson. Unfortunately, I didn't know I was actually going to be attending class. A different man from another office called, and wrote an e-mail telling me to meet with this other woman in yet another location about the class and the class will start on October 2 blah blah. Ok so dimitri was kind enough to drive me to my 8.45am appointment this morning and was waiting outside when the woman says to me "yeah, take that seat there and you'll sit in on this class. la de da de" and I was like shit! I didn't know I was actually going to be taking the class today so I had to run downstairs and tell dimitri to pick me up in 2 hours! What a mess.
but the class went pretty good.

tonight I should be going to spinning with gregory's sister-in-law. We were suppose to go on Tuesday but that didn't happen; she's so unreliable with the dates. It makes me crazy. So cross your fingers I don't die tonight as its been a really super long time since I last went.
and those American donuts will do murder on your thighs.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Random thoughts for September

1. Its currently September 2nd and I still haven't turned my calendar over

2. ...Even though all month long I kept flipping over to look at September

3. My mom says if you turn the calendar to the next month before it actually is the next month you lose a friend. I guess I'm just being really caucious with my friends.

4. This is my last weekend in Belgium until the 23rd.

5. There will be a "huge awesome party" during my first weekend in the states, in gent, that I will be "missing". I don't care about the party as its being hosted by people that think they're the king shit.

6. Gregory is going to the party and is expecting to be very drunk

7...Even though last weekend he said he's never drink again *snort*

8. I plan to be very drunk at some point during my time in the states. Its a must.

9. I'm already planning my Halloween party

10. I have an awesome idea for gregory's and my costume

11. I never reveal my costume ideas to people who might steal them

12. Gregory is a little intimidated by my list of decoration ideas.

13. September 1, 2006 marked the first day my crazy old neighbor talked to me and the butcher lady talked to me.

14. The butcher lady knows I'm foreign (like my non west Flanders accent didn't give it away) because gregory's grandma goes there and she told her, and I expect gave a full description of me.

15. I don't mind conversating with her because she's pretty nice.

16. My crazy old neighbor on the other hand, I'm a little sorry I asked how he was doing. Because now he's being nosier than ever now that he knows he can ask his nosey questions about me to ME instead of Gregory (whose never been good at giving you the gossip information you want. I know. )

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

behang papier

or otherwise known as wall paper.

new wall paper on the chimney to go with our new white walls.
retro print. its not for everyone, but its def for us.

close up of print:

8 days till lift off

8 days till i go on holiday to visit all my peeps in the states.
what fun!
can't wait!
already have my packing list made.
already have the list of things i want to bring back made.
all thats left is packing it all together, getting there and having fun fun fun fun fun

Monday, August 28, 2006

90's and today

I know history happens all around us every day and has been doing so since time began, but it just feels like its happening so fast these days. I think about the future and think how funny things will sound to my grandchildren. I can tell them about the time where there wasn't a "digital world" (no digital TV, no digital cameras) when they first came out with disposable cameras, and then underwater disposable cameras and then digital disposable cameras. before 1 hour photo processing. when video games were new, when a car phone-a phone literally plugged into your car was a HUGE deal and no one had cell phones. People knew how to use pay phones (and a local call was only 10 cents), and also how to use a card catalog in the library. When we didn't have computers at home as a young child and they weren't introduced into the classroom until 6th grade. Before ipods, when walkmans first came out. A little thing called vhs and the cassette tape. The day we no longer had a world trade center. A time where Pluto was once considered a planet and the day they decided it wasn't. A time where you couldn't travel into space unless you were an astronaut (but were in the works of making it happen) when flying in a plane wasn't scary and you didn't have to worry about people sticking explosives up their butt and blowing everyone up.

the future is going to be CRAZY! I can't wait to see what else lies ahead.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Better Home and garden

This past week has been insanely hectic. As gregory's 1 week holiday he decided that instead of going to the south of France, Spain, Portugal,or even the ardennens, he would do home improvements. I agreed because I too wanted that poo-poo brown color gone asap, even though I would have preferred staying in our friends house by the beach in the south of France for free with free food and drink but whatever.

day1: thrift shopping for new furniture. Found the perfect coffee table and a small lamp aswell. 2 gold mirrors for a look we're going for in the living room and even a couple of trinkets for my little sewing room/spare bedroom (that has no spare bed) lunch. nap. DIY store for paint n shit. Other visits here and there. 7pm: begin 1st coat of paint in the living room. 12am: fall into bed.

day2: 2nd coat of paint first thing after breakfast and dragging gregory's near lifeless body out of bed. Tried to go to a place called depo-rama because we're looking for a "L" couch but we cant find the right one. But depo-rama is closed until september3. Belgian's and their insane holidays. Few hours later 3rd coat of paint.

day3: 4th and final coat of paint to nicely cover all the poo-poo brown. Went to other thrift stores but didn't find anything appealing. Pealed off the paper on the chimney. It left a mess. Decided we needed the help of gregory's dad to patch up the mess. That wouldn't be until the next day. Went out for a drink instead of doing more work.

day 4: pretty exhausted. Cranky all day. Visited gregory's dad's house and grandfather's house to gather supplies to prepare the chimney for new wallpaper. Drive to gent to go to a wallpaper store that sells retro 70's print. Pick out paper. Visit 2 clothing stores and get nothing for me! Buy a stupid CD for Gregory. Go home. Sleep on the ride back. Not long enough. Watch a movie at dimitri's and fall asleep on his couch. Go home at 1.30am

day 5: slept till 10.30am. it was aweome. Gregory and his dad put up sheet rock or whatever for the chimney. I did girlie chores like putting my kidie pool away and washing bathrooms n stuff. Gregory went to the skate park to get drunk (considering how he is on holiday n all) didn't come home till 2am. I was pissed. He puked and I was glad.

day 6 (today): STILL putting shit up for the chimney (how many men does it take to fix 1 tiny wall?) I went to spinning. It was hard today, the last 20 minutes the lady didn't stop at all and I thought I was going to dehydrate and turn to dust right there. But I didn't. I made it and sucked down all my water at the end. Got home and the paper STILL isn't put up, surely this afternoon I'm told. Gregory sitting on his ass while the house is a disaster. Couldn't be bothered to pick up I suppose.

and that's been my crazy week with Gregory home. Oh yeah, this was also suppose to be "crazy Dutch week" but we only made it through 2 1/2 days of consistent non stop Dutch talking.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Dear Friday,

10 highlights of the week:

10. cooler weather. i love the feeling of early fall. mm.

9. e-mails from old friends

8. spinning

7. the good feeling from spinning

6. laughing lots

5. out of laundry detergent so i didnt have to do laundry this week

4. finally getting into my book

3. eating take out chinese with friends, and getting the chips with it too!

2. gregory coming home at 5 one day

1. my tax return money from the U.S. treasury!


I just found out about the terrorist threats that happened in London yesterday. wonderful that I'm flying to London to Boston, eh.

apparently in London there are no carry on bags allowed anymore. Does this include purses? Because if so I'll be pissed. You cant carry any liquids on, including toothpaste and cream! Or have any bottles of any kind!! So when I'm dying of thirst I can no longer reach into my carryon and pull out that bottle of water. when I think my skin might fall off I can no longer put lotion on. I think if they're going to ban this stuff they need to invent a new way for people to stay hydrated and moist on a plane.

in all seriousness though I think that's really scary. Those crazy terrorists keep thinking of new ways to bomb planes. I don't understand why though. What happened to the days where people flew for pleasure, not for killing people?

pretty soon no one is going to be able to bring anything on a plane with them. Everyone will have to be stripped down of their clothes and handed an airport issued, disposable jump suite with feet (like feetie pj's) and perhaps after a while of that, they'll loosen up and hand out little free sample size of vaseline. Maybe those evian spray bottle thingies. All kind of free sample toiletries you can purchase for a one time use. There will be bathroom monitors. But I guess you risk someone shoving some kind of explosive up their butt, and since their suicide bombers anyway, they could always still take a shit and blow the plane up that way.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

feeling: scared

theres either an insanely huge rat trying to gnaw its way through the wall, a ghost making a bunch of racket, or my neighbor doing something crazy on the other side. but let me tell you, theres alot of unexplained, scary sounds coming from my wall. and if its my neighbor, i should throw meatballs at his back door. because before i figured out the area of the sound i thought for sure someone had broke into my back door and was making alot of noise throughout my house. if its an insanely huge rat..i'll just arm myself with bug repelant (the only available thing thats highly poisonous and conviently packaged into an airisol can) and a high stool until the boy comes home to save the say. if its a ghost: well, lets just hope it isnt, ok.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Let's go fly a kite!

last night was perfect kite flying weather. unfortunatly dimitri's backyard was not perfect kite flying grounds, with the trees, powerlines and general house stuff for the kite to get caught in. we managed for a little while, though. the next time it gets windyenough we're going to a field by our house that is perfect for kite flying because theres nothing in the way.

gregory's grandpa gave me this super awesome kite thats superly old. gregory flew it as a child, as did his dad! its of an indian and the kite has the loooongest tail, which is the indian headdress. or is it impolite to say indian these days? i think they're going with "first nation's people." yeah so i have a first nation person kite. (indian sounds cooler)

i tried to have pictures taken but, as we were flying it after 10pm, it was a bit too dark for good pictures. i have a few that i was able to brighten up:

silly pictures:

Saturday, July 29, 2006


this is for all of you who thought i was so crazy for being afraid of squirrels and thinking they would gnaw off my knee caps.

2 years ago the squirrels ate everyones pumpkins (i'm not sure about last because i wasnt there, so you make the judgement call) this year, whats next? all the little jack's in the world? and then all the bear dogs? this just goes to show that i am NOT too far off from the truth, people. watch your backs, your backyards and your dogs.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Survival tips for a Belgian Heatwave

1. Keep all shades down and hide inside your brick house
2. Wear the least amount of clothes as possible
3. Cry when the heat wave has gone on too long and the brick house that once kept you sorta cool has now turned into a nice little brick oven.
4. Now try and open windows for air
5. Cry when that doesn't work, either
6. Try and find ways to keep cool
7. Sink to new lows
8. My new low recently was making a tough decision between American prepere or meat salad for Gregory at the butcher's shop. I stood inside the cold air conditioned building for quite some time making a spectacle of myself.
9. Cry when you have to finally leave the only cool place in town
10. Stick your head in the freezer.
11. Melt like a crayon on hot pavement into your bed at night hoping that maybe, just maybe it'll be better tomorrow

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A day by the sea

Friday was a national holiday here in Belgium. Since I really wanted to see the sand sculptures we decided it was a great day for it. Nothing else to do, and 95 degree weather, what's not to love? Unfortunately for Gregory: everything. He was very dehydrated and over heated and had an enormous headache for the entire day. Plus he hates sitting in the sand. So I was unable to actually go on the beach. We had a great day anyway.

when we got there it was about noon so we decided to have lunch first. We walked towards the beach and browsed through some of the shops on the way. We then sat at a restaurant terrace over looking the beach and the sea. We ate mussels and fries, a traditional Belgian summer dish. They were very good and filling. After lunch we made our way to the tram station to catch a ride down the road to where the sculptures were.

this years theme was "stories from 1001 nights" which for those who may not know, are Arabian tales. The exhibit was HUGE. Actually, they weren't even finished with sculptures. We saw a couple of the artists still working on small things while there. I was a little miffed. Why let people in if they're not even done?? Or maybe that was the plan--so you could see how its done?

by the time we finished with the sand sculptures it was around 3.30 or so. Even though I didn't want to leave, Gregory really wasn't feeling well. Turns out its good we left when we did because there was an accident along the way which caused us to have to switch trains and it ended up taking us 2 hours to get back home!

I had videos of the day taken with my camera but I don't think I have the necessary technology on my computer to make it play here for you. Sorry! Also, it appears I reached my maximum upload capacity for flickr for the month so you'll have to wait till I come a knockin to see the rest. Here's a few to wet your appetite:

<--this one is my favorite because i think it represents how gregory was feeling that day

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

a few summer photos

my biggest triumph this summer is getting a pool! not just any pool--a rooved pool. cant get any better than that, really.

(i could totally model for the cover of the box. all i need is a "competent supervisor" standing by the pool with me)

the next photos have really nothing to do with anything. it was a nice summer evening on a square drinking and having a good time: p.s. its actually very dark and like 12am but my nighttime setting on my camera makes it look like day time.

gregory looking like a 10 year old at a baseball game.

me looking like a chipmunk

Dimitri looking like Dimitri and smoooking

the next 2 pictures are of the moon. its been hanging so low and fat like its about ready to explode, lately. my pictures dont do it justice at all. you can't see just how big and close it is. but you can see that it was bright:

Gregory (as i was walking out of the house to meet him at his car): *giggle giggle*
me: what's so funny??!!
gregory: you look funny
me: why do i look funny?
gregory: because you're wearing BIG sunglasses and little shorts.
me: isn't that what summer is all about?

Monday, July 17, 2006


Yesterday was the birthday of our friend, Vanessa. To celebrate, her husband decided to host a barbecue. Since Gregory ans I had only been informed the afternoon beforehand, we didn't have enough time to go buy her a present. So instead, I decided to contribute to the barbecue. I decided I would bring veggies. So yesterday while Gregory toiled away up in his office working on his translations, I toiled away in the kitchen. I made a whole vegetable platter with whatever veggies that I had in the fridge and also a separate bowl of lettuce, because Belgians do things weird here. Most people will just have lettuce and call it "salad". I also made a quick simple dip to go with the veggies and a big bowl of pasta salad. Now, the dip I was a bit weary about because I had wanted to make a different kind but was missing 1 key ingredient. So the one I made was an alternative to the one I wanted and I really wasn't sure how people would like it.

turns out, it was a hit! The whole platter of veggies were gone so fast and everyone was all " yeah this dip is awesome..mmm so great yeah mm thanks" which I was happy about. And then during our meal everyone said the same thing of the pasta salad!

going there I told Gregory "I'm sure everyone wont eat all this food but I'm just going to bring it home afterwards and then it's already prepared so that's easier" yeah. Was I sorely mistaken. All the veggies were gone. There's some dip left but a lot of good that does me when I chopped up all my veggies for the barbecue! There's some lettuce left and probably 1 serving left of the pasta salad. I was so surprised! It's ok though, I was happy that everyone enjoyed it and I was happy to contribute in a way that no one else did.

now here's the big question: who's going to clean my kitchen?????

Thursday, July 13, 2006

because i'm bored, thats why

one of those stupid survey thingies that no one ever cares about.

1. What is your middle name? Beth

2. How big is your bed? not big enough! i always have gregory lying on top of MY pillows!!

3.What are you listening to right now? the sound ofthe old radio making a noise because the volume is turned up too high, yet i cant hear the music

4. What are the last 4 digits in your cellphone number? 1924

5. What was the last thing you ate? only the awesomest lunch EVER. a thick, rustic-style piece of bread, carrot sticks, cucumber slices, a bit of lettuce, a couple of chucks of tomato, cottage cheese, a few pieces of pineapple, tartar suace for diping and cranberry juice for washing all the yumness down

6. Last person you hugged? gregory

7. How is the weather right now? sunny and hot. i want to go swimming!

8. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? umm gregory..last night when he called me for no reason from work.

9. The first thing you notice about the opposite sex? The mouth. i dont know why. and the first thing i notice about the same sex is the eyebrows. i'm weird.

10. Favorite type of Food? junk food

11. Do you want children? some day

12. Hair color? blonde.

13. Do you wear contacts? no. though many people think i do because my eyes are so blue.

14. Favorite holiday? halloween

15. Favorite Season? autumn

16. Have you ever cried over a love lost? i guess?

17. Last Movie you watched?umm..mean girls. last night on Prime movies waiting for the time to hit 11.30 so i could hop into bed.

18. What books are you reading? NONE! i went to the bookstore in town over the weekend but they didnt sell any english books. i have to make my way into gent for that. hopefully this weekend. i've read about every fashion magazine there is in both dutch and enligh though! right now on my table waiting to be read is Flair, a flemmish beauty magazine; which i like because they often attach a little booklet of deals on hotels or spas. this week its a booklet of hot beach destinations in belgium and holland and places of interest at those destinations.

19. Piercings? i have 2 in each ear although i only wear earrings in the first holes.

20. Favorite Movie? i dont know this is hard. its always been the labyrinth but i havent watched it in forever.

21. Favorite college football team? umm none.

22. What were you doing before filling this out? killing bugs heh

25. DOGS: love em.

26. Favorite drink? cranberry juice or apple juice

27. Favorite flower? lillies

28. Have you ever loved someone? uhh... yeah. everyone loves someone

29. Who would you like to see right now? my mom and dad!

30. What color are your bedroom walls? creamy white

31. Have you ever fired a gun? if a bb gun counts then yes.

32. Do you like to travel by plane? i love it because flying by plane generally means i'm going faaaar faar away, and i like that idea.

33. Right-handed or Left-handed? LEFT! i'm proud of my south-pawedness (even if it has left me handicapped in that i cant cut bread, or anything for that matter, straight. DAD.)

34. If you could go to any place right now where would you go? the beach. better with some friends from the boro

35. Are you missing someone? Yeah.

36. Do you have a tattoo? i do

37. Do you still watch cartoons on Saturday mornings? no. i dont like the dutch-dubbed over verisons.

38. Are you hiding something from someone right now?

39. Are you 18? and then some.

40. What is the wallpaper on your cellphone? a picture of gregory all sleepy-faced

41. Are you afraid of the dark? yes.

42. Favorite hangout: most recently my backyard. but before it was def the pink flamingo in gent. i havent been to any amazing bars here in the burbs yet. theres one at the end of our street but its lame and thats why gregory likes it, but i dont so much.

43. 3 things you can’t live without?(not saying the obvious choices, which don’t need saying to be true) sunglasses, books and inside jokes

44. Favorite songs? ha! its lame but 'rood'. i dont know the singer, and i mentally block out the whole first half of the song. for me the song doesnt begin until it picks up, buts its so catchy i cant help but sing it all the time so i guess thats why its my favorite "vandag is ROOD. de kleur van jouw LIPPEN." love it.

45. What are you afraid of? the dark, teletubbies and SQUIRRELS

46. Are you a giver or a taker?i'm a taker in a different way of what i give. but i'm def both.

47. What are your nicknames? most everyone calls me mandy. i thought for sure that no one would call me that after highschool but its still going strong, right on into belgium. gregory calls me mona lisa, zoetje and babe.

48. What is your dad’s middle name? bwaha the BEST ever..DUFF. thats right, the ORIGIONAL Duff man. don't even try. no one can top that.

49. What do you sleep in? my bed?

50. Stuck on a deserted island, and can only bring one thing? sun glasses

51. Favorite TV commercial? i guess it would be that one where the kid's family turns into a bunch of hot babes. its kinda funny. i HATE the one where that fucking woman says "aan tafel" or those stupid cheese commercials.

52. First thing you’ll save in a fire? gregory's (more than likely) sleeping ass. because if i dont do it, who will?

53. What is your favorite color?red

54. What are the things you always bring with you? sun glasses, chap stick, sweatshirt

55. What did you want to be when you were a kid? a surgon

56. What do you usually do when the alarm turns on? i shut it off. then i sleep until i'm not tired anymore, which is still earlier than what gregory gets up. his alarm sounds all morning

57. What color is your bedsheet?something ugly. i want new bedding in the worst way

58. Who do you want to meet?Alive or passed on? i dont really know..

59. What do you think about before you go to bed? usually the most random of things

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Spinning into Hell

I had my first ever spinning class this morning. Lets do a little back round check on myself:

for years now I've done nothing in the physical activity department. Perhaps maybe a brisk walk across town if I was running late somewhere but not much else. If someone's muscles can atrophy and their body become weak in just 1 week, lets all think about what YEARS can do without exercise.
flash forward to the class:
it was hell. It was painful. And it was embarrassing. I was unable to keep up and had to sit my ass on the seat repeatedly. And I was sweating like a crazy person. However, I don't really mind that I did such a bad job in class because it was my first day in years doing physical activity. I don't have the muscle capacity to hold my ass up as long as I needed to. My heart and lungs just weren't used to working that hard. So I don't care because at least I did something. At least I'm going in the right direction now. It can only get better from here. So even though I'm nervous about the next class I'm excited as well to start getting back in shape.

not only am I going to get in shape but Gregory aswell. His goal is to lose his beer/m&m's belly in 2 months. His friend said if he does it he'll buy him a bottle of some nice champagne. And then there's me there to make it more interesting. I said "oh, I thought we were going to do a pool. Guess how many inches (or in their case centimeters) he can lose around his middle in 2 months" his friends liked that idea and whether its been forgotten in the midths of a drunken evening or it'll stick, we'll see. Gregory didn't like the idea of people making money of his weight loss success or failure but he did agree that it would make trying to lose it more interesting. So he said no more m&m's, no beer for 2 months, he'll eat any veggie I put in front of him except eggplant or peppers, he'll go skating 2 times a week and run every other night in between.

so beware, come November Gregory and I might be two hot shitheads! Assuming I can complete a proper spinning class.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A Blossoming Romance

I have a new love. He makes my heart pump so hard it feels as though it just might beat out of my chest, i'm sweating bullets and my legs are shakey. He makes me feel free and alive!
"he" is my new bike. not new new but rather, new for me, old in use.

today was my first ride. i havent done anything in the physical activity department in a long time so it was pretty tough for me. not to mention its hot as hell outside. but it felt awesome to me using the muscles god gave and intended for me to use. he's probably looking down right now rolling his eyes and mumbling "finally.....".

it was a bit nerve racking for me because here in belgium bikers dont care about cars and the cars dont care about bikers. *I* am not belgium. i havent been brought up to ignore the possible hazords of a car running you over. yes, i am probably the only one in belgium that *gasp* LOOKS before crossing the street, and even more shocking, i even LOOK before crossng at a cross walk. or, if you really want to see some belgians die of shock: if a car is coming i dont walk out in the street with the mentality that they have breaks and they can slow down, because if they're close, i can wait the 5.3 seconds it takes for them to drive on by. yes, i will wait until it is safe to cross a street. i am Amanda, afraid of the european drivers.
where we live is right on the edge of nowhere. many tiny winding roads through corn fields and cow pastures. its nice for a bike ride. but what one must remember is, is that many people drive their cars down these roads. and i know that if you drive backroads everyday, you start to drive fast on them. i know this because i would ride the backroads from route 1 all the way home everyday of my life since the age of 17. i would often go 40 or sometimes over. (you can thank justin for that, mom) anyway this is what made me nervous. the fact that the roads are only wide enough for one car. literally, you have to pull over if another car is coming. so having cars drive really close to my sometimes wobbling bike was a bit scary. but i'll get used to it. at least there are no trams here to kill me like in Gent.
i did a modest bike ride without getting hit, beeped at or killed so i'm pretty happy. i even drove on the more main road where you have to drive with the cars. i made it around a rotery with no accidents!

i think my bike and i will get along nicely!

Monday, July 03, 2006

the dog days of summer

last year at this time:

it wasn't a good summer. though we had hot days, alot of it was cool and rainy. i spent my days indoors because there was no place to go and just enjoy the weather when it was good. we went to 2 barbeques. we went swimming a few times, which i would say was the highlight of the entire summer. i never got to go to the beach and never got see the sand sculptures.


its been hot. this past weekend alot was in the high 90's and it'll be in the 80's-90's again today. i sit outside everyday. infact, just yesterday gregory and i did nothing except sit outside on our patio, under our umbrella, read magazines and listened to the radio while he sipped coke on the rocks and i icetea. it was the best day ever. we've been to about 8 barbeques already. we haven't gone swimming yet but i hope we will soon. still on my list for the summer: hit the beach, and see the sand sculptures.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

100 euros

Yesterday evening Gregory and I went to our friend, peiter jan's work. His father owns a company that sells garden furniture and lots of plastic goods. We went just looking for a patio set, bust while we were there why not pick up a few other things we need?

so after looking through the catalog and deciding on some furniture, we went to the warehouse to go get it. Since we're friends and all pieter Jan wanted to give us a deal and in order to do that we had to take the furniture that no longer had sets to go with them. So he got a display room table and 6 "left over" chairs. It all goes nicely together, it just wasn't meant to be sold together by factory standards. The table is a charcoal grey with a glass top and the chairs are also charcoal grey and adjustable. They're very comfortable to sit in. We also got a lounge chair that's super comfy for lounging in the sun. An umbrella for our table that has an adjustable top to angle it at the sun. Then we got a plastic container to hold our winter clothes and extra blankets n stuff and 2 plastic containers to hold our trash bag and recycling bag nicely. All of this came to 100 euros; you can't beat that, really. I don't think we could of gotten a whole patio set for 100 euros never mind they few little extras we got.
too bad its raining today..Otherwise I'd be sleeping in my lounge chair.

Friday, June 16, 2006


i posted pictures up on flickr of my house. i labled it house BEFORE because everything still isnt in order and we also plan to get new furniture and all that jazz. so when looking at the photos dont be scared at all the messiness we're trying to fix that!
although a picture of my bedroom isnot on there because my camera battery died at the last minute. but there is a charming picture of gregory and you can kinda sorta see some of the bedroom. heres the link. have fun.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

here are a few pictures from my garden. i havent taken any other pictures yet because we've been doing alot of work and theres still a bunch of crap lying around everywhere. our yard. we have a great sized pattio , a working water pump and a beautiful shed. this picture was taken half way through the weeding process. and these are all the weeds i pulled. 5 large bags and 2 boxes. plus a couple of busted up hands.. and a sunburn.

we also have an evil goose next door with a little duck buddy. yesterday i saw the goose standing on the duck and looking down on him, kinda like how dogs show their dominance. after the stare down the little duck got up, shook hilself of, and waddled into his house. the goose hisses constantly, but for whatever reason i couldnt get him to hiss at me for his picture. stupid goose the goose stalking me from across his yard with his duck in tow. i like to think of them as the duo from "the christmas story" the goose is the evil red-head and the duck is that little squealy kid . the goose staring me down and the duck clearly dissinterested.
my neighbor, the owner of this goose, wont say hi to me, even after i wave my arm frantically with the biggest, most charming smile i can make "Heeeeeeeeeey!" i say. nothing. dad suggested i ask him, to break the ice "whats the deal with your fucking goose." and i did. but i didnt think he heard me. but he might have because we've graduated to a wave back. thats something.

this last picture has nothing to do with the house but is for dad. gregory wearing his shirt. i forgot i took a picture of it for you . he looks stupid because he wouldnt stop moving and i was following him around trying to get a shot. thats his "i'm looking for something and i have a girl on my back" look, i guess.