Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Double Thyme

Everyone could use more "thyme" so I planted double. Now the jokes in our house can finely end, it took me a while to plant them, or as Joe was saying "I'm running out of thyme."


Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement in Paris has the famous church of Scare Coeur, Moulin Rouge, and the house Van Gogh lived in just to name a few sites.

Foxy sitting pretty for her drawing at place du tertre.

Van Gogh's house on Rue Lepic

More Artists at place du tertre

Dirty dog laying in the street-as Joe was taking this photo the owner yelled out of the cafe "5 euros pour un photo" I just laughed at him and said "5 euros non, non"

This is one of things that makes learning French worth it! The little old ladies love Foxy and love to chat about her and other things. I'm so fortunate I get to enjoy this little piece of French Life that other tourist do not.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tour du France-Paris

After 6 1/2 hours of waiting here they come!

This rider was giving Joe the thumbs up!

Carlos Sastre from Spain won the tour and took home the "maillot jaune". This is the third year in a row that a Spanish rider has won the tour - viva la Spain???

Monday, July 28, 2008


Foxy was thinking now why are we sitting here?

The aussie's

Glamour Don't




Who knew animals could ride bikes.

This actually felt good but Joe was doing the duck and cover.

We really could go for some Chipotle tacos now!

One tired dog and the race didn't even start.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

China Boy

I just wanted to share a couple emails I got from Joe last week when he was in China.

Here is a copy of what he had for lunch with his customers one day.

Pig hoofs
Purple sea weed
Clotted duck blood
Shrimp heads
Roasted pigeons with the heads on
Huge slugs about 10 inches long
And the best;
Roasted Cicadas - you know, those bugs that make the loud buzzing in the summer. They look like giant bumble bees about one inch long and fat!

This is a spa Joe read about offering its customers "fish pedicures." tiny carp called "garra ruffa" that think your feet are yummy and eat away the dead skin. "This is a good treatment for everyone who likes to have nice feet," says Mr. Ho, who is the owner.

Mr. Ho keeps about 1,000 fish and puts about 100 in the water for each treatment. According to one customer, the treatment doesn't hurt: "It kind of feels like your foot's asleep." And another customer, who claims to be an athlete, said: "This is the first time somebody got rid of my calluses completely."

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fun Friday

This old photo Kate found when we were at one of the Brussels flea markets together.

We are off to Paris for the end of the Tour de France.
Allez! Allez! Allez!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Last Friday Anne and I attended the “midis” which is a noon time concert at the Conservatory in Brussels. The building it’s self is gorgeous and we got there in plenty of time to get a prime spot-the upper opera box seats next to the stage.

I wasn’t sure about the days performance “take four guitar” I had strange images in my head of folk or something like that.

They started off with Tchaikovsky, and they had me at the first stroke. They were playing the guitars like harps plucking and holding them between there legs. It was absolutely amazing. Here are some of the songs they played-sorry they are in French I can translate some. Overture miniature, danse de ls fee-dragee (dance of the sugar plum fairy) danse russe trepak (dance of Russian trepak), danse des mirlitions and valse des fleurs (Flute and the flowers or something like that) all by Tchaikovsky. The other composers were Chostakvich (a waltz, fox trot and polka) Komitas – 3 popular Armenian dance songs. Khatchaturian- Danes des juenes fille en rose (the dance of young girls in pink) Danse du saber (dance of the swords you would know this one if you heard it.)

Then we enjoyed lunch and window shopped. It was so much fun I might go again today-they are Monday-Friday at noon from July1 through August 29.

Then Saturday night it was movie night. Anne & Erin came over to watch “Casanova” with the late Heath Ledger. It was fun to see the sites in Venice, that were still fresh in my mind from our May trip. All 3 (4 if you count Foxy) of us were during the movie were say “we were there”. There were scenes where the bishop in an office with ornate cravings and windows with circles. Inside that building they filmed a lot – Joe, Foxy and I were in it just by accident and to this day I don’t know what building it was. Something about a religious school anyway they allowed foxy in as long as I held her. Nobody was in the place and I couldn’t even tell you where we were, but it was really nice.

Here are some photos from the place in Venice that was in the movie... Hope everyone enjoys their up coming weekend.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

photos from national day

This dog was ready to get going

These crowns were for sale - this kids bought a bunch

I can't walk on these darn cobble in flats and this glamous girl is walking on stilts or very high stiletto's however you want to look at it.

This guy wanted me to drink our out of the baby bottle he was carrying around...another reason not to trust clowns.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Music on July 21st

Yesterday when I arrived at the festivities there was a band playing “sweet home Chicago” and then another song about America that I forgot the name of. I really need to start carrying a pen and paper to write things like this down my memory is going to pot!

Later the band picturced above was playing the song "hooray for the red, white and blue". I understand Belgium does not have it’s own kind of music like for example; Spanish guitars, Ireland’s jig, Scottish bag pipes, people that yodel and I could go on but my point is that did the bands have to play songs that related to the USA? It is July 21st Belgium's Birthday not the 4th of July. Yesterday I did watch the parade on t.v. and the band playing did a good job with the music selection...I didn't recognized one song! I do have to admit I was flipping between the parade and "Purple Rain" in french. Between with the song Sweet Home Chicago and Purple Rain the universe is getting me ready for my trip back home next month. (destinations of Chicago & Minneapolis)

I also heard the big booms of the fireworks at 11:40ish last night. I was looking out all our windows but I couldn't see them.

This photo below is part of the parade...I took a picture of our t.v. Yes I'm aware that is a little strange but oh well. the photo is of when the King was arriving.

Monday, July 21, 2008

July 21

On this day 2 years ago we left Minneapolis for Brussels, Belgium. Who would have thought it was just 2 years ago, the time has gone by so fast and we have experienced so much in that time. There is another reason why to day is important. It is Belgium’s National day.

Today Belgium celebrates its 178 birthday. There are rumors that this could be the last celebration, the government is very serious this time about splitting off. (the King & Queen's Photo That was in a store's window)

With Joe being in Beijing, I ventured out this afternoon and took some photos for you. I really can't wait till I get my camera back, it has been since May. There is a parade that starts at 4:00 however it is to wet and cold for me. I will have to see it next time that is if there is one.

Looking down the street towards the Palace Justice (court of Belgium)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Fun Friday

The Forrest in Brussels

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bastile Day

Yes I know I'm a little late with this, it was Monday the 14th, but last year we went to Paris for the celebrations. We did think about going this year but decide that we would go to see the end of the Tour de France instead.

My plan next year is to attend one of the parties at the fire stations. This is a photos of last year - the station was getting ready for the big event. You have to admit this sound like fun!

Viva la France!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Here we go again...

Belgian government collapses over regional divisions - Any one want to be the new Prime Minister??

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- Belgium's government collapsed Tuesday, unable to resolve an enduring divide over more self-rule for the country's Dutch and French-speakers. The gap was so wide the premier suggested the end of Belgium as a country was looming.
Belgium's Prime Minister Yves Leterme,

King Albert II immediately began political discussions with lawmakers to try to resolve the situation, talks expected to take several days. He did not formally accept the resignation of government offered by Premier Yves Leterme late Monday, so Leterme's government stays on in a caretaker capacity for now.

In an unusual declaration, the premier said Belgium's constitutional crisis stems from the fact that "consensus politics" across Belgium's widening linguistic divide no longer works. "The federal consensus-model has reached its limits," Leterme said.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"In Bruges"

Is an good movie if you have ever been to or lived in Belgium…however it is very violent, politically incorrect, the “F” word is every other word out of Ray’s mouth and they should have left out one very bad joke. (that is my disclaimer)

Short explanation of the movie…2 hit men told to hide out in Bruges for 2 weeks and site see. You can see the trailers on You Tube that explain more about the movie.

Joe and I saw this movie Saturday afternoon and were laughing along with the other people in the theater. If I had never lived here or been to Bruges this movie wouldn’t make any sense to me… I think it was released in the states last spring and not sure how it did in the box office.

Quotes from the movie:

Ken: You from the States?
Jimmy: Yeah. But don't hold it against me.
Ken: I won't. Just try not to say anything too loud or crass

Ray: I didn't even know where Bruges was.
[long pause]
Ray: It's in Belgium.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Saturday Night,

we attended the last concert of the opening ceremonies week of Flagey. The Brussels Philharmonic played Antonin Dvorak-symphony of New World. Some of the people were pretending they were the conductors in the audience-it was funny to watch.

At the end everyone gave a standing ovation. The conductor came out bowed went back stage then came out again. We all thought he was going to give an encore but he bowed again and left. Everyone including the musicians were stunned, just like that it was done. The program stated that it would be a 1 ½ but it was barely an hour. With an ego or shall I say stunt like that I don’t think I would pay money to go see them.

On our way home we saw the nice lady that hosted the concert in her house. Joe was totally confused who this lady was that was talking to me in French. I clued him in half way into the conversation. Then we walked home to thaw out…it was a chilly evening and didn’t put a sweater on Foxy who was shaking and sleeping though the whole concert. Click here for the animoto.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Fun Friday

Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad!!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

boxes, trailers and Vans oh my!

In keeping with the neighborhood theme this week on the blog, I thought I would mention 2 of my English speaking neighbors are leaving. The nice Italian family from Roma with the airdale that Foxy likes and Stephan & Alexandra they are a cute couple that has two little boys. Also She is from Paris and helped me with what I should see & where we should eat the first time I went to Paris. Stephan is from Germany I’m not sure where though.

Yesterday and today there has been a flurry of activity with vans, truck and men at both houses which make me a little sad. I know our time maybe up next summer or anytime after that and it will be our turn to say “merci au revoir”!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I'm slipping

So when I lived in Minneapolis I was always on top of bands coming to town and got the best tickets. Since moving to Brussels it is a big challenge to find out who is in concert or events due to lack of advertising not the language. They advertise on little posters stuck up around the city and if you don't see them the week or day that they are up it too late.

So I was looking on You Tube for Place Flagey to see if any put on a clip about the opening events and found this. MOBY was at Cafe Belga in May!! I loved one of the comments someone put "I only live 5 mins away didn't know this was happening" that was my very thought also...only 5 minutes away I can hear the bands in the Summer outside playing, how in the heck did I miss this!!!! One of the clips on you tube was of the outside, 100 people partying away ...

Cafe Belga I was always told is the "hottest" place to we have never been there. It is in the building they shot the fireworks off of (see post farther down) It is a Place Flagey week on the blog.

Enjoy this clip...sorry I wasn't more on the ball to see it in person! For more click here.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Concert Where??

Sunday after Joe got on a plane to go to an emergency meeting; I put on a skirt and a sweater and headed out. I hardly ever wear a skirt here due to the lack of warm weather but this was a special occasion. I didn’t know at the time what I was in for or that this would be one of the best adventures I would ever go on. (Not that Joe wanted to go with me, so I would have had to go alone anyway)

I attended my first “concert de salon” this is a concert preformed in someone’s house. I got the list Saturday night at Flagey and out of the 9 to chose from I picked the “Trio Horta” to see. Why…it was only a street over from our house, the description was a piano, violin and cello. The main reason was the owner of the house name was Asian. I just knew the house would be nice. (I would have done more however they were all around the same time)

The house was gorgeous filled with all old Asian antiques and long fabric runners with Asian characters written on them hanging from the walls. Our hostess was a young women dress in an amazing kimono. As I was greeted I realized that everyone there knew each other and I really started to feel like a fish out of water, so I sat with the kids on the couch. There were only about 15 people when the trio started, they played for 25 minutes then had a break were we were offered Asian cookies and biscuits. To wash them down there was juice, wine or water. Being daring I took a cookie (that was square and filled with something that I don’t know what it was) and some water however I took a plastic glass and the hostess insisted that I take a wine glass the plastic were for the kids. Up until this point my French skilled have served my well…but I was busted and she said ohhh you speak English I’m sorry.

At the break I’m not sure where these people came from but about 15 more people showed up. Then when the new comers heard that I spoke English that attracted a couple ladies. One who lives on my street is French but now Belgian and use to be married to a man from the Congo but got a divorce because she refused to speak Flemish. That isn’t the funny part, this is…She use to live in Boston but because the house are made of wood and there is no architecture she moved back here. Her statement is totally true and I didn’t have a response for her. Yes Boston has architecture but not what she is use to. The other lady was in her early 30’s and has lived all around the world and speaks 5 different languages. The French–Belgian lady left to go on an architecture tour and asked if I would like to attend but I didn’t have a reservation so I passed.

The concert continued for another 25 minutes then ending in an encore promoted by our hostess. (I think her daughter was the pianist)

To sum it all up I would highly suggest this I know it sounds a little strange but it was really enjoyable.

The video is o.k. you can tell when the clouds are moving over the sun the living room gets dark then light. It’s the best I could do… Click here for the video.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Finally I present...

Eugène Flagey Square in French: Place Eugène Flagey, in Dutch: Flageyplein, usually shortened to Flagey, is a square in the Brussels (Ixelles). It was named in honor of Eugène Flagey, mayor of Ixelles from 1935 to 1953. With ten streets converging at Flagey Square, it is one of the busiest and noisiest crossroads in the city. (Now it is a big one way roundabout, before it was hectic)

The entire square has been under heavy reconstruction for 7+ years. The project has been infamously delayed many times and all activity had to grind to a halt for sometimes months on end. (they flooded the new underground parking lot by knocking into the ponds next to it) The plan is Flagey will be a leafy square directly adjacent to the neighbouring Ixelles Ponds. I heard a rumor that the street separating them now will disappear and it will be one big pond. I will keep you posted on that one-it could be years for that to happen too.

Flagey Square is famous for the art deco building occupying its entire southern side, the former Maison de la Radio. The building on the opposite side of the square houses the first supermarket ever opened in Belgium (in 1956), a Delhaize.

O.K. that is it for the technical back ground crap. Here is what I think…I didn’t think that in our brief stint here that they would ever get done with Flagey. I can’t even count on how many time the bus route and stops have changed in the last 2 years, not to mention the construction mess. But finally it is done – I’m sure there are some things that need to be done yet (check out my animoto video)

The grand opening was a success in our eye and it is still going on till the 12th of July. We were really torn this year as to stay at the army base for fireworks (which were the best we have ever seen) or attend Flagey’s opening. We decided that in the afternoon we were Americans and at night we were Belgians. I didn’t think that they could top last year’s fireworks but Flagey didn’t disappoint. I can honestly say I have never seen fireworks shot off the top, side and corner of a building with Dolly Patron’s 9 to 5 song as the accompanying music. Brussels has giving us many interesting memories.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The 5th

Red, White and “Blues” was the theme of this years’ Independence Day festival at the Brussels American School put on by the US Army Garrison and Tri-Mission Brussels.

This year we were invited by two different groups, one group was more on the ball and I got a schedule of the days events. We headed there just in time to see the parade of WWII vehicles with Belgians dressed up in vintage army uniforms and even a couple of WWII veterans. This how ever didn’t go over well with the impatient people waiting in the cars trying to get places as the convoy came down the street. The photos of this event and others were accidentally deleted or I would have included them.

After showing our passports and stating we were “on the list” we were inside the barbed wire gates of the school yard. First stop the ticket booth to exchange dollars for tickets. Then we had our food and beverages while listening to the opening ceremonies. They consisted of presentation of colors, the national anthem (played by 2 cute old men on the bugles) and the speakers. (The ambassador and BG Robert Yates, Deputy US Military)

After the formalities the band “John Frick and the Blues Hombres” played. I’m not sure if I just haven’t seen a band in so long or if they were actually good but I was singing along. The ambassador’s wife didn’t approve of the band and was walking around with her fingers in her ears.

It was a fun afternoon even if the normal down pouring of rain was present; it was great to be a part of a 4th of July celebration.