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.