Monday, June 30, 2008

La Hulpe


Sunday we took Foxy to La Hulpe to enjoy the nice weather. I didn’t exactly remember the last time we were there but it has been a while. (2006 actually my how time flies) It being a partly sunny Sunday it was full of people walking around enjoying the day.


To our surprise they have added statues by and artist Jean-Michel Folon on the path leading up to the Chateau.


These are some photos from the day-I did try and do an amimoto but cause the photos are so close the heads were cut off and it only turned out to be a couple photos.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Fun Friday

Diane von Furstenberg

Last Friday Anne, Erin, Tomer (friend of Erin's) and I headed to Antwerp for a shopping spree. It was very sucessful I found a dress for NYC.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Bus...

The bus is my major form of transportation in Brussels. The other day I was coming home from the gym on the bus. I got up from my seat to get ready to push the button to get off at the next stop…when I felt this thump and then a huge load of weight on my right shoulder. Thinking it was just someone pushing in to me I took one step to the left, this started a very bad chain reaction. (For those who don’t know me, I’m petite person so it felt like I had at least 70 pounds on me – I don’t even weigh 100 pounds)

The heavy load on my shoulder was a man’s head…he passed out behind me and I was holding him up. When I moved he fell forwards and hit his fore head on a step then bounced back to hit the back of his head on the step behind him. It all happened so fast that I couldn’t react fast enough to catch him. Then in my best French I was yelling at the driver to stop because a man just fell, while everyone else was just standing there doing nothing. The bus driver didn’t even get out of his seat…Finally the man came to and the driver asked him if he wanted an ambulance. A good person gave up there seat for him and he sat with his hands holding his head. I have never felt so bad about anything in my life...

Let’s just say I never want to go though that again…not to mention never pass out on a bus.

Monday, June 23, 2008

June 18th, 1815

On Sunday we attended the re-enactment of the Battle of Waterloo. We have always wanted to see this since we moved here, let just say I would learn about it a day late…This year I found out about it a day early.

We saw 1 200 soldiers in uniform from 12 countries: Germany, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Rumania, Russian, Switzerland, Czech Republic and Ukraine. (Jilaine I would not tell Mel about this)

They had 2 bivouacs: the French at where I don’t know, I couldn't find them and the English-speaking Dutch and the Prussians were at the Hougoumont farm. However most of you know what a bivouac is, I had no idea they were camps. I never got to see the French camp but after the event I thought I was following a French soldier to his camp, only to have the nice solider tell me he was English. Why did he tell me this…because I was a loud American and said "I’m following the French to their camp"…to the dismay of the solider he yelled back at me he was English – why was he walking with Napoleon I may never know.

I must say this was really awesome to see and did not disappoint. They had cannons, rifles and swords. The horses sometimes seamed a little wild and I don’t think I would have liked to been on any of them.

I don’t think I need to explain too much about the battle-everyone knows how it turned out. Enjoy the photos from our day. (most photo taken with telephoto lens)



I don't think this is how they arrived back in the day.


All smiles before the battle and the agony of defeat.

BOOM!


BANG BANG BANG!


The British are coming, the British are coming!


Kate remember the cow purse we saw on the bus-most of the guys had cow packs-I would be a part of the battle just for the back pack.
Ready aim fire!
The following two photos were taken at the end, they walked along the crowd so you could get a closer look.

Bonjour!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Day in Paris

Here is a short collection of our Paris photos from different trips merged together. Also this is my first Animoto video. Enjoy!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Fun Friday!


I noticed these glasses in the cobbles under the arch at parc cinquantenaire on Wednesday during the tractor protest. Joe wonders who's glasses are they...why there are there...how they got there.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

French 2

It is official I did not pass French 2 but if you remember in March I told you I wasn’t going to pass. Now my problem is registering for the class again. They only accept ID cards that are valid through September or October and mine expires at the end of August. Last year I bugged the guy at the commune every week to see if I could re-new my card and I have the name of the lady at the school that helped me last year. I guess it will be the same old thing this year. All I want to do is take a French class why is it so difficult.


Today we were in small groups talking and my teacher asked me if there are waterfalls in International Falls. I did my best to explain there was a dam there now, however the girls from the Netherlands thought I meant damn the swear word and was very confused. I finally broke down and got a dictionary to show my teacher the word for dam then she explained it for the other girls in French. This small misunderstand lead to the bad word discussion of “shit” and “damn”. Oh and Joanne wanted to know what “bull shit” meant. Thank goodness we didn’t get to the f-word.

Then after class I went for lunch with some of the girls. Joanne from china but she has lived in Brussels for 30 years but speaks very little English so between French and English we communicate. She is really funny and we giggled all during class today. One thing we laughed at was I thought she was talking about china town in Brussels so I asked where it was…but she was talking about a restaurant called china town. I also joined Sylvia from Bulgaria and Shawn who is from the US. My friend Rosa (from Peru) had to leave class early.

I’m very fortune to have the chance to meet all these wonderful people from different countries. (and try and show them Americans are good) Most of them are here in Brussels because their husbands are big shots for the embassies or have important jobs in the European Commission (EU). Maria from my class her husband is the head of defense from Slovenia. Not to mention with all these connections from differnt countries they help me plan my trips to their countries.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

tractor parade

Hope you enjoy the short movie...

video

Our first protest...

This belgium cow is saying "equitable milk"

In saying "our first" I mean Anne and I. Yesterday Joe called me saying his boss told him that tomorrow there will be protests and that farmers are protesting over the soaring fuel prices, and to complain about the high cost of living. Also there would be truck drivers and taxi drivers protesting fuel price that they can not pass on to consumers. Joe thought it would be a good idea if I go and take photos for my blog - yes he wanted me to go to a protest. A couple of weeks ago fisherman protested in the EU area and it turned violent not to mention my dad wanted to go to protests when they were visiting but I told him no (even though they were more controversial and could possible turn violent).

Anne and I started by doing a couple errands and came across the taxi drivers protest - it was lame they drove around for a couple blocks honking their horns then went back to their taxi lines.

Then we took the metro to the merode stop and popped up just in time to see the tractors entering the parc cinquantenaire round-about. They were honking and waving. It was like a tractor parade - however the thing I didn’t like was they were lighting fire crackers, and some tractors had big tubes on the front like a cannon shooting off big and loud fire crackers. As I took a few pictures my batteries died and I had to buy some more quick to capture this crazy event for you all.

We watched for a while then walked up to the area where they were parking. Yes we were watching out for if they got crazy because I didn’t need to be in the middle of a riot.


They had a little BBQ area set up and were cooking, drinking and chatting with the media. We also scored some t-shirts. The farmers left them out for people to take - it was basically to show support for them.


As we walked back down the street the tractors were still coming into the city honking away. By this time it actually felt normal to see huge tractors driving in the city.



We had a yummy lunch only a block or so off the main street where the tractors were. It was so quiet you couldn’t tell there were tractors driving and honking nearby.



This time we walked back to the area with the plan to go to the top of the arch…thinking like rational beings they probably were not letting people to the top. OH NO not here, the top was open…in the US that would have been closed but the poor men working at the museum looked really bored because there were no visitors. We counted about 400 tractor from our aerial view.


I got some great photos then we decided to walk through the parc to the EU area and take the #60 bus home…Yes this is the bus line I really have problems with. As we approached Schuman we noticed there are a lot of cops here…there were not any police at the tractor protest. Then we noticed the water cannon truck, huge police vehicles and the men dressed in riot gear. Not to mention the rows and rows of barbed wired. I looked at Anne and said what in the world did we walk into. We got to the bus stop and noticed the sign said the bus service would be cut off at 2:30. It was 2:35…but thank god the #60 bus is never on time and we waited just about 5 minutes because we could see a bus in the distance. Sure enough it was our bus and it was packed. I guess everyone was getting out of this area. We still don’t know why or what was going on but hopefully I will have an update tomorrow.



Hope you enjoyed our crazy day…please don’t try this at home we are trained proffessionals.



Tuesday, June 17, 2008

sunday mornings

When Joe and I lived in Minneapolis on Sunday mornings our favorite thing to do was lay in bed watching T.V.and read the Sunday paper. We would start out with the Today show then move into meet the press.

We were so sad to hear that Tim Russert had died on Friday - we both really enjoyed watching him and he will be sadly missed.





Not her self

(photo taken before back problem)

Thursday when I got home from my written French final Foxy was acting a little strange and very quite. Then Friday She was keeping to her self and I went to pick her up and she yipped. She wanted to lie on the floor on her furry rug and wanted nothing to do with me. At dinner time she didn’t even jump for her food…then I knew something was wrong. I called the vet and got an appointment for the next day.

At the Vet – which by the way they have updated with a TV in the waiting room and a new sign. The Vet is a little strange just like the doctors office in Europe there is no receptionist you just buzz the door of a house and they let you in. Then you sit in a waiting room till they come out for you.

Telling the doctor the normal questions she eats, drink and the poo is good, he looks at me strange and says she is sick…Yes she is not herself. After I put her on the exam table right away he said it is her back…then he found the exact vertebra that is causing her pain. He gave her a shot to help with the pain then I was instructed to put 4 drops of this anti-inflammation drug on her food for 5 days then call them and report on her condition.

Here is the hard part…NO LONG WALKS FOR THE WEEKEND also we found this info on the web.

Dog back problems are not uncommon. In particular, a disease called Intervertebral Disk Disease is often seen in small dog breeds. Intervertebral Disk Disease is a very serious condition and results in intense pain and possibly even paralysis.
Treatment, depending on the severity of the condition, can include anti-inflammatory medications, an extended period of crate rest, or even surgery

The other problem here is NO JUMPING PERIOD. Well how do you explain to Foxy not to jump she has springs built into her paws…not to mention jumping off the couch and bed. So basically I have been pulling my hair out trying to stop her from jumping. Joe suggest putting Velcro on her feet…She is still in pain I can tell and I will have to make an appointment for when we go home for them to check her out.

The happy news is that on Sunday at the market…the flower man gave her a flower. How cute was that…no not to me he handed it right to Ms. Foxy.

I will keep you posted on her condition but if she had surgery it will be in the states when we are home…but then my trip may get extended because I don’t know what kind of recovery process there will be.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!!

Hope you have a good one Dad!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Cap

Today when I was in the club working out I remember I need to get a swim cap. The other week when my friend Anne came to the club with me for a girl’s day of exercise, sauna and relaxing by the indoor-pool , I mentioned that I wanted to try swimming but didn’t want to hassle with getting my hair wet and have the extra time of fixing my hair at the club.

Being the particular person that I am, no plain rubber cap for me…I would like a swim cap with flowers on it like the synchronized swimmer wear. Anne just laughed and said her mom use to make her wear that kind when they were young.

Today I started my search a flowered swim cap…Yes I did find some. If you can believe this and you probably can, they are in style again. The website I found had their caps featured in Vogue (March ’08) and in Marie Claire magazines.

Yes mom I sent them to your house – but I will be taking them back to Brussels with me.

Here is the page from Vogue - I found my copy and scanned the page - I'm a little behind on my recycling.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

he does what???


This is a video about what my husband does and why you should buy this stock. From mad money's Jim Cramer.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=766958625

or just read this blurb.

Cramer added Donaldson (DCI:NYSE) to his growing new-tech stock portfolio.
Cramer's new tech companies do the grubby but necessary work needed in the global economy. And Donaldson fits that bill as the world's second largest manufacturer of filters for just about every industrial and auto application.
He said the company excels because it constantly improving its technology, making smaller and more efficient filters.
Furthermore, more than half of Donaldson's sales come from overseas and that the company beat earnings estimates by 6 cents in the past quarter despite pressures in the North American truck filter market…

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

AGHHH French tests!

Sorry for not posting lately...I'm studying for my french finals. I have a written test where I have to write 3 brief stories. One in passe compose, one in future and the other in imperatif.

Then I have my oral exam where I have to talk to my professor for 15 mins. I think it will be 2 minutes cause I'm not good at talking with her. OHH also a listening part too. (like I can even write correctly in english)

Also I'm stressing cause we are now going to Greece for 8 day over christmas. We are spending a couple days driving around then having 4 days in Athens. However I think the whole world is going to be in Athens cause I can't get a hotel room not to mention not many accept Foxy. We will be staying there for New Year Eve. Which from what I can find out looks like a big deal there with fire works and everything.



Here is a photo of Joe's weekend find. You can't see but under the #6 it says "made in the USSR" for 3 euros it makes him happy. Me on the other hand it ticks sooo loudly I may go insane.




Oh well back to french!

Friday, June 6, 2008

D Day remebered

On this day 64 years ago we remeber D Day






Photos from our visit to Normandy in December 2007 - if you missed the blog check it out under the month of January.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Panda's


Some of you know that I want to visit the Panda’s in China. Well I was thinking of going this year (and then just NYC next year) but I already had the Venice trip planned. I was seriously considering rescheduling the trip and taking the Panda trip this year…even contacted the WWF for more info.
When I heard the news about the quake I told Joe that is where the pandas are and I would have been there at that time. I would have had another story about how things only happen to me...

From National Geographic website:

Twelve Americans, part of a tour of China sponsored by the conservation group WWF, were visiting the breeding center when the earthquake hit. All of the tourists survived the quake.

Tour began May 5 Beijing on May 5 and was scheduled to depart from Shanghai on May 18.

Monday, June 2, 2008

YSL


Yves Saint Laurent, one of the greatest designers of the 20th century, died at his home in Paris Sunday night.

Why should you care...

He created the Pants suit for women! Called the "le smoking" tuxedo for women. I don't know about you but I for one am happy I don't always have to wear a skirt.