Friday, July 23, 2010

Another Pretty Front-Door


This house has its front door blocked by a little table with some objects (pots and a birdhouse) on it. I guess the house owners prefer to use the back door - generally the kitchen door or maybe the garage - to access the house interior. This is not uncommon in villages - do not ask me why. My parents-in-law for instance, although their front door is in perfect shape and not blocked by objects it is never ever used; and this rule is not broken when they receive guests either.
Personally, I like to keep all the house functions clear. I think it is good feng-shui keeping my front door clean, visible and with free access - identification number and little porcelaine plaquette with the family name on it as well. So that good energies can access us - post, good news and friends. Good vibes: come on in !

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Ghost Bike


I have had some doubts whether to post these photos or not, because the colour of the bike (fiets) is the same as the floor. Therefore I think the ton-sur-ton didn't work well here. I mean, I have noticed this bike because it is in the garden of a house located just before a little bridge I use a lot. This piece of art was just under my nose. But... I am not sure whether most people passing by this decorative bike notice it at all.
It is a phantom bike.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Front Doors, Enkhuizen










Some pretty, shiny front-doors to brighten up your day.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Lazy Sunday (Een Luie Zondag)

Today I am coming from an afternoon of laughing, barbecueing and many glasses of wine at a friends'. And now all I want to faint down in bed - therefore this is going to be a quick, light post. On the photo above you see our hostess, Ilse. The last years she has been very inspired and enthousiastic about cooking. She has really done great accomplishments.

I hope in the future Ilse and Rene will pay a visit to Brazil and check some churrascarias there. Do not take me wrong: I actually do like the concept of barbecue the way it is made in Europe (but no chicken satay with peanut sauce for me, thank you. I am exhausted of it). I am very open to new tastes and habits.
It was a lovely afternoon with good bread, excellent rose wines, and very well marinated meat.

Ummm... shrimps marinated in sesame oil, oysters sauce, garlic, lemmon, parsley and more. This tasted oriental, mediterranean and also Brazilian !

They have a huge backyard, probably eight to ten times bigger than mine. A pond with fish and a mega inflatable swimming pool for the kids which became quickly so dirty with grass, flowers, mud, leaves and polen to the point it looked like a giant vegetable soup.

And of course if you have a big backyard and kids then you consider having some rabbits to be cuddled. Until last year Flappie had a companion - which unfortunately died. Awwww...

Actually his cage is very spacious, almost a deluxe suite.

Here is Flappie.
And above is his own toy made of plush so that Flappie can have something to play with and lick. Since his companion died he plays wild against new candidates. So for now Flappie will be alone.

That's my shaddow and with this pic we come to the end of this post. Hey, I had told you it was going to be a quick, frivolous post, right ? Have you all a wonderful week !

Thursday, July 15, 2010

School Vacations

A very Dutch habit: hanging a kids school bag outside home together with the Dutch national flag when the kid has succeeded on his/her exams. For a lovely explanation about it please go here.

This week my kids started their summer vacations. My litttle girl succeeded in her toddler dance course (peuterdans). My son got his diploma B with swimming course and a medal during a judo tournament: 4th place among a group of 7 kids - and he is doing judo for just a couple of months. Not bad ! ! He also has passed his judo exam and got a yellow piece (which I still have to buy, I didn't have 1 euro cent with me, just a pin card, grrr!) for his belt. After the summer vacations he will start with the preparations for his C diploma in Haarlem as usual and he goes further with judo lessons, cause he seems to love it. I guess my little girl will do carate in the future instead of judo - she is rather fond of quick saltos than having to grab the adversary by the clothes. Pretty skinny girls must know how to defend themselves too !

The first vacation days were not easy for me. Still recovering from an eye infection and having to entertain kids doing wild. Of course they can entertain themselves but they request my participation during many times during the day. I needed a pause for some tea.

Porcelaine tea set and wooden tray available at the HEMA.

When they get to screamy and agitated it is time to go outside - or if it's is rainy then watch some DVD's (in Portuguese or Dutch, they enjoy both languages at ease). Below, you can watch the official trailer of "Rio" from the same creative director of Robots and Ice Age (I, II and III) at Blue Ski Studios, Brazilian Carlos Saldanha. Voices of Anne Hathaway, Neil Patrick Harris and Rodrigo Santoro, among other famous. It is a 3D film - it has to because Rio is a 3D city like no other ! Plot: "a nerdy macaw from Minnesotta escapes from his cage and heads to Rio where he learns how to boost his self confidence and develop another view on life". I wish I could watch it with the kids already this summer, but it seems it will be available only during April next year. Let's wait and see...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Brasil 2014



I wonder whether I will travel to Brazil in order to watch at least one of the matches during the World Cup in 2014. I would like to check in locu how things work, in a country with continental dimensions (5th biggest in the world by geographical size) and deep differences. Everything for the big party in 2014 is behind schedules, and the task is monumental. New airports need to be built from the ground, as well as more roads, more highways, more metro lines, more hotels. Very, very worrisome.

Or maybe not.

"Despite all the earlier setbacks preparing for 2014, Brazil has $239mn accumulated in reserves and its development bank is one of the world's wealthiest. By nearly all estimates, the middle class has grown, and poverty fallen to record levels in the past few years.
Brazil has arrived on the world stage and will likely never look back at the old days when it was considered a developing power underachiever". (excerpt from Gabriel Elizondo's article for Al-Jazeera, 12th July 2010)

Above: Beira-Rio stadium in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul.

I have been into a football match in Arena, Amsterdam,  many years ago (I had gotten free tickets) and was impressed with this state-of-art stadium. I found the supporters relaxed and everything very organized. Another world. I actually got surprised that women were there (I normally wouldn't dare to go to the Maracana to watch a match due to the enormous frenesi and the supporters' wildness). Well, I will be following the news about the organization of the Cup 2014 during the next years and hearing to the gossips from my friends. June/July is winter in Brazil - still sunny but cooler. Delicious. Brasil does deserves a positive, international projection. My fingers are crossed and I I hope in 2014 my thumbs will be up !
(Check the Fifa WC 2014 logo going here. Famous Brazilians such as Paulo Coelho, Gisele Bundchen, Oscar Niemeyer and Ivete Sangalo explain why they chose it. Detail: no designers among the jury... Mmmm... Well, for a video about the stadia go here. )

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Octopus Was Right Again !




Octopus Paul is indeed smashing ! Spain won the World Cup, just as it had predicted. Here on the video you see the moment when goal keeper Iker Casillas gets emotional and kisses TV reporter (and his girlfriend) Sara Carbonero.

Iker: "I dedicate this to the people that has always supported me, my parents, my brother..."(his voice starts to crack)

Sara: It's ok. Let's talk about the match..."

Iker: "No"

Sara: "No?"

Iker: "I'd rather kiss you." (he kisses her and says goodbye)

Sara: Dear me. (**blush**) Well. We shall continue it later J., ok ?"

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Castricum Aan Zee

I think it is funny that there are some Dutch location names such as Hilversum, Castricum, Blaricum, Bakkum and others. Reminds me of Babaorum, Aquarium, Laudanum and Petibonum, "the last resistance in Gallia against the Romans".
I have been many times in a pancake house in Castricum, surrounded by beautiful "woods" (=an area where the trees were planted in lines and there are paths and signs to follow if you want to have a walk in the... "woods".) This was my first time in the beach. When on the driveway following signs with direction to "Castricum aan Zee" you end up in a huge parking lot (6euros on a Sunday, oh my !) giving access to the beach. Many beaches in Europe are not democratic places, where you can go by public transport or at any hour of the day.

It was a tropical weather, but after 1pm started to get graysh and the temperature dropped down. I think Holland has beautiful beaches with excellent cafes and restaurants - it is such a pity that the weather is not always good enough to get a tan. Anyway, I have seen even during the winter the beaches full of people walking along the boulevards. Winter coats and boots on, they go for a walk while savouring on fries or fried cod.

Some Dutch women do topless (unthinkable in Brazil) and the bottom of the bikinis are big like diapers for grown ups (idem). Or the top is more like the shape of a bra, instead of triangles. But this is my personal view, of course. Not better or worse. I still keep buying my bikinis in Brazil though, thank you.
Because we are still little by little preparing are yoghurt colour skin for the summer, I decided not to stay long. After a couple of hours toasting my cellulitis, I decided the kids should stop with collecting shells and we should have some drinks.
Yesterday was around 37oC and today less hot but still delicious. Not bad ! If the weather continues like that my cellulitis will be toasted enough to make a good impression during my French vacations. Oh-lala!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Street Food

Somewhere in the Jordaan district we have bought at a kiosk this waffle with strawberries for our kids. I guess it is a better option than deep fried unrecognizable stuff from a wall. What is your favourite Dutch snack ? A smoked sausage from Hema ? Fries with pinda sauce (patat met pindasaus) ? Oliebollen during Christmas ? Herring ? Mine is deep fried cod. Or patat as a good second place - small size and no sauce, please.

Friday, July 2, 2010

An Orange Dream


Ex-fooftball player Marco Plomp.
He has invested a lot in his wife's country, Brazil.
Foto by Jorge Luiz da Silva, Parana On Line 24/10/2008
In 2007 Dutch entrepreneurs Marco Plomp, Arie Treffers and Wim Jansen used some of their millions to found a boarding football school called "Laranja Mecanica" in Arapongas, Parana, Southern Brazil, for kids and teens from 11 to 16 years old.
The main idea behind such project is to make a marriage between the European technical expertise and the Brazilian natural talent with the ball. One of the responsible minds behind this project, Marco Plomp (ex-soccer player at Sparta Rotterdam and presently married to a lady who was born in Arapongas), confesses they want to detect the new football phenomena. Willy van de Kerkhof, famous Dutch soccer player during the World Cup Games of 74 and 78, has been lecturing the boys on the importance of "mastering one's mental capacity combined to physical talent". Counting with 104.000 m2, two swimming pools, dorms and cafeterias the club structure is of a high class. The kids have also to be good at school and not only be good football players. E.C. Laranja Mecanica is not a philantropic organisation and has high commercial goals. The founders' dream ? The club must become self sustainable and breed Brazilian top talents of international level to be exported to Europe.

Today the boys playing at Laranja Mecanica Sports Club will be wearing green and yellow and rooting for Brazil. After the match, they will be wearing again their white and orange shirts.

Source: Lancenet. Here - in Portuguese.
For more photos: www.laranjamecanica.eu
For more info and photos go here (in Dutch. Scroll down, photos and text are at the bottom of the page.)