Twelfth day (Or: Some keys of my own)

One of the trips that Marco and I made this week was to the key shop to make copies of his keys (apartment entrance key, apartment door key, and mailbox key). 🙂

my own Dutch apartment keys

In my defense, I did not ask for the kitty design. It was just the one that they currently had available. ;p (But it does make it easier to tell the three keys apart, that’s for sure!)

Marco, Roger and I also went to Sumo (sushi and grilled restaurant) for dinner. In that restaurant, you are served in rounds, and it is all you can eat (if you arrive at 5PM like we did, you can eat until 7:30PM).

sake at a sushi restaurant

A drink of sake!

You can have up to 6 rounds of food, and you can have 5 items per person per round (so really it’s just a maximum of 15 total).

food at a sushi restaurant

round 1 of 4 (the first few dishes – probably about 6 or 7 more to arrive). Mostly sushi, with some chicken on the left and some mixed fruit in coconut sauce on the bottom (the last being sooo delicious)

We got to round 4, though we took it slow and ended at 7:30PM.

Dessert is your choice of an ice cream scoop. I had green tea, Marco had mango, and Roger had red bean ice cream. Good stuff! Next time I definitely need to try the mango ice cream, as it definitely had a kick to it.

ice cream at a sushi restaurant

Mango ice cream on the left, red bean above, and my green tea ice cream on the bottom

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Sandy (Or: Dutch marathoners help out)

Marco pointed me to a news story where a group of Dutch runners decided to help with the relief efforts after finding out that the New York marathon would be canceled. Here was a tweet from the Newark, New Jersey mayor:

News article (Dutch | English)

As reports had stated that 40,000 of the 47,000 expected runners were already in the city when the marathon was canceled by Mayor Bloomberg, it does make sense. (Although the logistics of moving around that many helpers is something you would need to tackle as well.)

The title sponsor of the marathon, ING, said it would donate half a million dollars to the relief effort, while Poland Spring (a bottled water company) said it would donate the 200,000 bottles of water which were to be used during the marathon itself.

Other stories of New York marathon runners helping out:

Running Staten Island to deliver essentials (their Facebook page)

World Vision marathoners distribute food

Race2Recover – Donating hotel rooms for the relief effort (and requesting a hotel room)

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Eindelijk! (Of: Marco is bijna hier)

5 months and some change later:

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Productivity (Or: A busy Saturday)

I really need to get to bed earlier, but I blame the Opening Ceremony for that. Ending at midnight – yeesh. But I probably would have been up until then anyway. It’s a rare day that I get to bed before 11PM these days.

I must amend my previous blog post, as I have seen the entire opening ceremony. I loved how the torch came together at the end, and I loved the fireworks once it was lit (mainly because the fireworks weren’t contained just to the stadium itself). Though the Olympic rings coming together while being “forged” was still a big highlight.

This morning was spent watching the road race and then walking to Shoprite (more like speedwalking, since I was trying to get back for the end of the road race!). The coverage on NBC went from 5AM to 6PM, then 8PM for a few hours with tape delayed events.

But after lunch I did some frenzied work for Avatar MUD. August 8 is the mud’s anniversary (first went online in 1995 – I didn’t start playing until February 1998). This year we are spreading out the events over the entire month, and I scheduled myself for five trivia sessions with the players, among other things. Since the festivities begin Wednesday,  it’s down to the last few frenzied days of preparation and hoping the code you are about to put in doesn’t crash the game…

And at the same time, there’ s still Dutch to study which is the priority. The countdown draws ever closer, and the studying and preparation seems to intensify with each passing week. I know that this week I definitely have to skip ahead and start studying word order, and try to improve my speaking skills. It’s always something.

It’s going to be an interesting August…

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Dutch music (Or: Pondering the concept of time management)

It has been a productive weekend in some ways, not so productive in others. But do you ever have a day or two where you say “Okay, no matter what, I am putting my enjoyment first?” That was pretty much theme of this weekend. I think I did pretty well.

Usually there’s projects that need to get done. Sometimes this means I work on them from dinner until it’s about time to go to bed, minus a bit of time at the end where I write the nightly ritual of an email to Marco of course. Occasionally with a cup of tea and speculaas cookies. But after a week of 2-3 hours a night, I said no más! The weekend is mine.

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Pretzels and cheese (Or: Let’s go Rangers

The NHL Rangers are currently tied in the Eastern Conference finals 2-2. They need to win 2 more games this series, and 4 more in the finals. Of course, both the first and second playoff rounds went to 7 games. Nailbiters.

Final game of the regular season, Rangers vs. Capitals, April 2012

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Eye exam (Or: I bring you peace!)

I was talking to Marco in emails about my eye exam which I finished up today (the majority was last Saturday, but they had to check that my contacts were working correctly). He said that when I was telling him about getting my eyes dilated, he couldn’t help but think of the Simpsons episode where Mr Burns is mistaken for being an alien after he gets a vocal cord scraping, an eye dilation, and turns green due to all of the nuclear waste in Springfield.

(Thanks to various birthday and Christmas gifts over the years, I now have an up-to-date Simpsons collection. Season 1 – 14 and season 20. It’s the only real DVD series I collect. And thanks to Roger for sorting them into proper order a few weeks ago because he couldn’t take it anymore. Ha.)

As mentioned, last Saturday I went to the Palisades mall for an eye exam, new eyeglasses and a new contact lens prescription. Marco mentioned how over in Europe you usually visit an optician (who gives you your eyeglasses or contact lens prescription), but they are not trained like an optometrist (who also diagnoses and treats various eye diseases). Yet over here it is common to see an optometrist who does a pretty thorough check of your eyes every few years while they measure you for your new prescription.

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New York Public Library

Here’s a picture of New York Public Library. I was admiring the flowers (bloemen) as usual:

New York Public Library, April 2012

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Street signs (Or: Walking zones and prostitution)

Something I found interesting is the street signs that you come across when wandering through the Hague and other Dutch cities. Mostly because I half expect to get myself in trouble one day because I didn’t know what the heck the sign said and I go the wrong way. . .

Here’s an example of one of the signs you will see in the Netherlands.

Dutch sign - Walking zone only

This sign means “walking zone only”, or, only walking pedestrians are allowed here. Marco told me a funny story about that. He said that there were some complaints regarding having this sign up around the red light district, since it featured both a man and a child on it. As if the government was advocating that you take your child there?

He believes the government finally said they weren’t going to change the signs just for one type of area – since that would be too much of an expense and wasted labor removing the old signs just to put the new ones in.

And then of course you have the ‘no smoking’ (marijuana) signs that the Dutch government tried to place near schools and similar areas. The only problem with those signs was that smoking marijuana is technically illegal already. Eventually the government did relent and take those down.

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Birthdays (Or: Fun in New York City)

Woot! Today is my birthday, so I am scheduling this post (to publish itself) as we will be too busy in New York City to get online. (Double woot.)

So far this trip we have gone to the Top of the Rock, the 9/11 Memorial, Chinatown, and Little Italy. Posts and pictures coming at a later date.

Today’s plan:

red panda at the Bronx Zoo (from

We will be at the Bronx Zoo. It’s practically an all day event (or at least 6 hours or so).

And then out to dinner for my birthday!

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