Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Final Dinner

Here are some photos from one of our last dinners out at Vincent's. Sorry they are backwards I'm on Joe's laptop and not sure how to work it.

Foxy sleeping on my lap during dinner - she really misses going to resturants with us.

My dessert - yummy yummy

Joe had muscles

The guys preparing the food

My shrimp in garlic and butter

The walls were coved with tiles

We had a great dinner and enjoyed every second of it.


Hope you all enjoy your New Year's Eve. It is one of my favorite nights. I'm not sharing yet what I have planned for us right now.

Please all be safe if you are going out, and I don't think I need to remind you not to drink and drive.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Hello, Just a quick note to say we still do not have a house. Joe is starting to freak out and I will the first or second week of January. keep your finger crossed for us.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Hope you all have a great christmas and a very happy new year. My holiday cards are going to be alittle late this year. Oh well!

Hopefully next week I will get my computer and show you my final photos from Belgium.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Last Sunday I started out on my drive from Minneapolis to LA with my dog and parents.

First stop was Omaha, it was -25 below with the wind chill. It was so cold that foxy would only go a couple steps out of the hotel to do her stuff. I know she was thinking I thought you said we were moving to a warm place mom.

A very quick stop to see Kate and Anne and my parents visited their friends. Then the fun began, the snow was moving into Flagstaff, AZ which was where we were suppose to spend the night but we tried to make it to Phoenix. I say tired because along the way I got a speeding ticket in New Mexico. Yes me who doesn't speed and follows the rules. This was my very first ticket and I got it for going 45 in a 35 zone but I wasn't going 45 maybe 40. My dad was surprised i didn't get a warning but I wasn't going to argue with the man even though he was wrong.

Then 3 hours from Phoenix we ran into snow/sleet/rain on a single lane highway that was pitch black so we decided to spend the night in Sow Low, AZ. In the morning I had to clean my car off because it was covered in snow. Again Foxy was thinking mom you said warm weather.

Ahhh the last day of driving. It started raining after Phoenix and the traffic was terrible with Semi trucks passing and then spray so bad you couldn't see the road. Then in Palm Springs the high way signs were covered with snow so bad that you couldn't even see what they said. Getting closer to LA we saw that highways were closed due to flooding and snow. Once we go to Valencia/Santa Clarita we found out that the #5 highway was closed just after the exit we took because of snow.

In the morning on every local channel they were talking about the snow in the area. Not to mention Las Vegas. All the mountains around us are covered in snow. Even the mountains behind the hollywood sign.

After 4 days on the road we made it safe and sound to California.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Manic Monday

hello everyone,
We all made it safe and sound to CA. Since this was us you know there were minor and major problems.

The movers the first day packed up there van keys - so when we get our stuff we will have to keep an eye out for some keys.

Friday when we got to the airport to leave Brussels to come back to the US we had a major problem... US Airways would not accept Foxy to fly international of course they told us this after we were all checked and our baggage was already sent to the plane. After some couple hours of scrambling and some major stress we got a flight. Foxy & I flew Northwest and Joe took the US Airways flight. It wasn't our fault Joe's company booked it through there corporate travel company. We double check when they made the reservations due to not flying them before - and they said everything was o.k. Not sure why they didn't try and call us or contact the travel agent before we arrived and got checked in for our flight...

Tomorrow the stories of driving across the countries.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fun Friday

Checking out the stars & house hunting today. 

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thanks for the memories

Merci and Au Revoir Bruxelles. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Saturday night before we left we had tickets to the ballet.  It was the first time for both of us attending a ballet.  It was good but both of us were very tired and the stage lights were so hot we thought we were going to die. 

My ballet outfit.  I could not find the shoes I wanted to wear so I settled for my boots. (only the second time I have worn a dress in Beligum - it was pouring and cold that night and we had to walk a ways back to the car after.  I looked at it this way I will not have to walk in heels on the cobbles again for a long time )  

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


If you can believe this...I bought these in Brussels right before we left in a snow storm.  The man thought I crazy wanting to look at sunglass in a snow storm. I will get a lot of use out of them in LA. 

Monday, December 15, 2008


Welcome to LAX - I'm driving cross country with my parents to LA and Joe started working today.

Friday, December 12, 2008



We are packed up today and heading out but please check back I have posts going for a good 2 weeks (at least till I get a computer and I will let you know the name of my new blog in California)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Music on the street

The organ grinder came to our neighborhood on the 6th of December.  It may be corny but I liked when he came though our hood. 

Goodbye Belgium


It had to happen eventually.  You all are aware by now that we are departing Belgium tomorrow and ironically this is also my first post to the blog.  As we pack our belongings and I work diligently to finish off the French wine collection that was so carefully assembled over the last 2.5 years, I thought it was necessary to reflect a bit on the adventure.

To a committed type-A control freak, Belgium remains a bit of a wonderful conundrum even after two-plus years.  I have learned to accept a few degrees additional randomness in my life whether it is the ever changing weather, sudden closing of a store due to "holidays", my total ignorance of local events or the mysterious police ticket that requires countless visits to the local (and exceedingly friendly) precinct to resolve.  I have no doubt that I will quickly re-acclimate to life in America but also know that I will soon find the occasion to reminisce how it was "done in Belgium".  It is a given that the first time a bubbly American server comes to my restaurant table and introduces themselves as "hi my name is xxxxx and I'll be your server" I will long for a surly Belgian "professional" who demands that I order the absolutely delicious specialty of the night, serves the correct wine for my meal without asking and perfectly times the main course so that it does not arrive on top of the appetizer - all with no expectation for a tip.

It would not be appropriate to leave Belgium without some kind of list.  For those of you who have spent any time here you will recognize the following.  You know when you've been in Belgium too long when ... 
-You always stop your car for traffic from even the tiniest little road from the right.
-You consider breaking the speed limit normal, and honk and flash at people who don't.
-You catch yourself ordering a "Supplement Frites" with every single dish you have in any kind of restaurant.
-You give other foreigners lectures on the difference between fake and real monastery- produced beer.
-You don't drink the last two centilitres of a Westmalle trippel.
-You never wear any colour brighter than dark green. You automatically assume anyone who does is either:
a. Dutch
b. Scandinavian
c. American or
d. Extremely rude
-Just one day without rain even in July and August can make you happy.
-You consider it normal that even the train to and from the airport has announcements in both Dutch and French, but not in English. You don't react when all the foreigners storm out of the train at the announcement of Brussels North when coming from the airport.
-You think it looks nice when the type of pavement tiles in front of each house are different, and you don't mind falling over lopsided tiles occasionally.
-You take dog-shit on the pavement as just another challenge on you daily walks.
-You keep three colours of bin-bags for different kinds of waste, and remember which days to put out which kind of bag on the pavement in front of your house.
-You have given up on any sensible political discussion on the language divide in general and the Brussels Capital Region and the future of Belgium in particular.
-You consider it perfectly normal when the names of towns on road signs change from French to Dutch and vice versa every 5 or 10 kilometres of motorway.
-You have understood that the hassle of monthly visits to the municipality to obtain papers or residence permits is reserved for recently arrived foreigners who move every 6 months, and you therefore don't complain over your own annual visit where you wait in line for an hour or two.

You know what I am talking about!

I am thankful for the opportunity to have worked and lived in Belgium - for the opportunity to experience a new country, a new culture and a new way of looking at life.  I can honestly say that my eyes have been opened a bit wider and that I am better for the opportunity.  That said, I am most thankful for how wonderful Belgium was for Jill.  I will miss the reports of who was met on the daily dog walks (we miss you Max), what European vacation is in the queue, what treasures were acquired on the shopping expedition and what "local" she engaged in another round of CHARADES.

Thank you Belgium and thank you Jill for another wonderful chapter in our life.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Koln treasure

These are my treasure that I got in Koln.  I'm not a big fan of the whole house thing, but for some reason I really like this one.  You are suppose to put incense in the house then it comes out he chimney.  

The little animal I just got cause I loved his tail.  

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Have lunch with me

With us traveling and trying to limit the grocery shopping we don't have any food in the house- so I went lunch, wish you were here with me...

Hope this place is o.k. with you for lunch

Hot Chocolate and Water

Tartine (bread) with artichoke paste and prosciutto
Thanks for joining me for lunch. 

Monday, December 8, 2008

friends & food

My friend Rosa had a going away lunch for me last Friday. She made traditional Peruvian food. She also invited some of her other friends. The countries involved in this lunch Peru, Cuba, Nicaragua and Vietnam. I think that when I'm done with this stint I should be a UN ambassador or help Hillary with the Secretary of state job. (congrats Hillary) 

cheese, olives and nuts spread with some kind of brandy drink - yes there was dancing after lunch - not to mention very fast speaking spanish. 

First course - potatoes, lettuce, eggs with a spicy cream sauce. 

Rosa's husband meeting the King

Saturday, December 6, 2008

blogger comment

She deleted the post - it is to difficult to tell you where the comment is. Sorry.

Oh my gosh...I have been checking out this girls blog from time to time and I can't believe the comments she had gotten from a question and answer session about her choice of school and her weight (which I can relate too) 

Check it out if you want. Look for the entry on dec 4 click


When we have stayed in Paris for NYE we stayed just north of Harry Winston by the police station.  The circle is the Champs-Elysees. Just down from Harry is where I got my Louis purse.
PARIS, France (CNN) -- Armed robbers -- some dressed as women -- have stolen an estimated €80 million ($102m) in jewels during a brazen raid at a central Paris store, police say.
Robbers dressed in drag stole more than $100M worth of jewelry from a Harry Winston store in Paris.
Police told The Associated Press three or four thieves swiped rings, necklaces and luxury watches from display cases at the Harry Winston store near the Champs-Elysees.
The store is also just around the corner from a police station.
Police said at least two of the thieves were men dressed as women, they spoke a foreign language and knew the employees' names.
Between 10 and 15 people and staff were in the store when the robbers entered late Thursday afternoon.

CNN's Jim Bittermann said staff first thought they were clients. However, the robbers then drew their guns.
He said the robbers directed staff to empty jewels from secret hiding places and the safe.
They overturned display cases and emptied the shop of nearly all its stock.
The store is situated on the fashionable Avenue Montaigne and was robbed little more than a year ago.
That time up to five thieves stole an estimated €20 million ($25 million) worth of jewelry. The cheapest piece they took was worth €2,000 ($2,500) and the most expensive €3.2 million ($4 million).

Last year's raid was considered the largest jewel theft in France for a long time, the September 2004 theft of two diamonds worth an estimated €14.5 million ($18.5 million) from a Paris antique fair coming closest.

Friday, December 5, 2008

drama, drama, drama

So last night I just had a feeling there was something wrong with our move.  So I emailed the moving company today.  Well they didn't put us down to be moved on Monday.  Hello we have to be out of the country on friday we have plane tickets.  Not to mention I want to go to Paris on Thursday.  

To make a long story short no Paris but we will get pack and moved next week. 

All I got to say is LA better be damn good.  (I think the gods are saying stay in Brussels) 

Fun Friday

This is a ad stating the skating rink is open at Place Sainte Catherine.  I will miss the ads in Europe very much they are very created and don't worrying about the political correctness. (however some days you see nudity when you least expect it)

 OHH it is also sponsored by the french speaking area of Belgium. (Wallonie not sure how you can miss that part-the rest is small print) 

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I have been singing the part of a christmas song all day to day..."oh the weather outside is frightful"

At least this weather is making it a little easier to leave next friday. (the last 3 days it has been cold with snow then rain then snow then rain.  I came home today soaked and cold. Thank God I had my rain/snow proof coat on) 


This is why I convinced Joe to see Venice in May and not our usual fall/winter vacation. I can't imagine wading though this water with suitcases and a dog.

Piazza San Marco

By the Rialto bridge.  

Venice has suffered its worst flooding in 22 years, leaving some parts of the historic Italian city neck-deep in water, reports said Monday.
Water burst the banks of the coastal city's famed canals, leaving the landmark Piazza San Marco -- St Mark's Square -- under almost a meter of water at one point, news agency ANSA reported.
Strong winds pushed waters to a high of 1.56 meters (5 feet 2 inches) at 10:45 a.m. local time, prompting the city government to issue warnings to the public, the agency said.
The flood level began to drop soon afterwards, prompted by a change in the direction of the wind.
Previous highs include 1.58 meters in 1986 and 1.66 meters in 1979, the news agency said.

More photos at CNN.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Teeth wash

So I thought I would have Foxy's teeth cleaned one last time here before we go.  Basically because they don't put her to sleep to clean them.  Well he pulled 7 teeth this time, before it was 5 so that is Foxy's contribution to Belgium all her teeth.  Oh my poor baby.  

Now she is so doped up it is terrible she is falling down and walking like a drunk.  

So sorry baby girl that you teeth are missing. 

Christmas Market

So with a list a mile long of stuff that needs to be done, emails like crazy of people coming over to inspect things on the house and my days in Brussels being very limited…I went to Koln, Germany on Monday. (no Paris but maybe on Thursday cross you finger)
Here are some photos from the Christmas market. I must say it is very different from the Brussels one – I really didn’t think I was going to get anything but I got most of my Christmas shopping done – yup some of you are getting gifts from the Koln Market. I even got myself a little something. To see my little something  click here.

One of the 6 christmas markets in Koln

Part of the old wall in Koln - #5 of the 6 markets

Big Santa with a tree - not sure why a tree

Lunch - yummy potatoes

Goolash in a bread bowl - My shopping partner Lori had this for lunch

I'm a sucker for people begging with animals

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Journey of Life

This is an Advertising and should maybe be on my other blog. However right now in my life with leaving Belgium I ponder these questions. 


This is what I thought cranberries were for - that is before I made homemade cranberries and loved them.  I  can't wait till next Thanksgiving. Why next...while with traveling back from LA on thanksgiving and then being in temp housing for Christmas - I'm waiting till next year to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas right.  

Joe and I even bought our Christmas presents for each other already. I do however have our New Years Eve plans done. I can't miss that it is one of my favorite holidays.  Stay tuned for them...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Pelican Rouge

So Months ago I saw these coffee cups at a troc and I really wanted them. How ever the guy said they would be 5 euros each. Actually I think they were for there break room - they were still in the cardboard box and half opened. Bummed cause that was more then I was willing to pay.

Then the 16th of November I was showing my friend Barb from England the Marrolles market...Yup the first box I saw from the corner was the coffee cups! I can't even tell you how excited I was - I think I may have scared Barb a little with how excited I was.  

Joe was in the US and when I talked to him I was very excited and said "guess what I bought today" I could hear the terror in his voice "I'm scared to know" but them it was all good when I said "the Pelican Rouge coffee cups!"

Here is a couple photos of my prized find!  

One reason I like them is they have dutch and french on them - very Belgium - and perfect treasure to take home. 
Bonus they had a tea mug - so come and visit me in LA and have a coffee or tea in a cool glass. 

Friday, November 28, 2008

Fun Friday

We had our first in-n-out burger.  Oh are we going to have culture shock moving back...the lady showing us around didn't even think twice about going through the drive-through.  We had our burgers specially wrapped to drive and got these place mats for our laps then we were good to go!  Lord Help Us. 

Thursday, November 27, 2008


We just landed today from L.A. We were looking for a house out there. 
Hope you are all enjoying Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dogs of Athens

The dog is on the roof of the ticket booth 
I wanted to take her home
slow day for guide dogs
There is actually 3 dogs here all lined up - entry of the acropolis 
Watch your step!!! 

There are dogs everywhere in Athens.  Which Foxy was protesting cause there are signs every where that say "no dogs" but it is full of the loose dogs in the sites. 
My favorite dog in Athens...she liked hanging out in the closet and digging on the bathrobe. 

Monday, November 24, 2008

Athens day 5

Please let me out I want to pee on all this old stuff

The guy in the green sweater is one of the tourist we saw at dinner on Saturday -actually all 3 of them were there. (temple of olympian zeus acropolis in the fore ground)
Temple of Olympian Zeus

we used miles for our trip and on the way home to fly business class was the same amount of miles as coach so I chose business class (much to Joe's dismay) Well they gave Foxy her own seat-they actually were really concerned and kept asking me if it was o.k. HELLO she is not on the floor under a seat, it is more than o.k. it is wonderful. Also on the lag from Amsterdam to Brussels the same cat was on the flight too - but this time I think they just pretended there was 1 pet in the cabin. 
Hi Grandma - look where I am!