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7 years (Or: Time flies, even in these crazy times)

I can’t believe it has been 7 years since Marco and I were married: 19 September, 2013.

Categories: Marco&Niki | 6 Comments

Football linesmen (And: Overeager makeup assistants)

Note: for those Americans among us, by football I mean soccer. But since I now live in Europe, I am required to call it football.

Today I have two of the most random articles ever for you, spotted recently. The first article – imagine you’re a football referee at home, a linesman to be exact. You’re enjoying dinner with your mom and her friend when you get a call asking if you could quickly come over and help with officiating the rest of the game. Why? The head referee was injured and there was no backup available at the game. That is exactly what happened to this referee: Grensrechter opgeroepen om in te vallen tijdens voetbalderby: ‘Zat bij mijn moeder te eten’ from omroepwest.nl. Luckily he was able to gather his gear really quickly and the game itself was only about 5 miles up the road.

The head referee was able to walk off the field with a calf injury. The other linesman took over as head referee and (after confirmation from the Dutch football league KNVB) this gentleman was allowed to take over as linesman. Because of that the last 20 minutes of the game could be played. I’m mostly amused that he talks about how he was at home eating with his mom when he got the call.

The other news story is a minor blooper that I read about last week. During a live broadcast the makeup artist walked on set to touch up the presentator’s makeup, not realizing the camera was still rolling. He was quite the gentleman though and was able to laugh it off and keep going. The best part? She didn’t believe him at first.

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Time slips away (Or: It’s been six months?)

On Sunday I realized that I was now at the six month mark for working at home (13 March to 13 September). I’ve got about another four months to go, unless the return to office is delayed again. I will be going into the office however later this month – to get a new work computer. That came as a surprise to me! On the one hand I’m glad as I hope it will be faster. On the other hand I am worried because it means I need to hope all of my existing software reinstalls properly. But I did pick a day that will hopefully be less busy, so I will just cross my fingers.

Of course there are a lot of rules, which is a good thing in my opinion. Only two people can share the same time slot to pick up their computer, you need to wait in reception to get picked up, you can’t wander around (with the exception of getting coffee, since hey, they aren’t evil), you need advance permission to visit your desk, etc. etc. etc.

Let’s go for some public transportation related news today:

  • Erasmusbrug closed after overhead tram cabling collapses from dutchnews.nl. This happened yesterday morning. It sounds really bad, but luckily there were no injuries. The bridge was re-closing (after having opened for ship traffic) when the cabling fell down. The bridge was able to re-open for pedestrians and cyclists on Monday evening.
  • A campaign by the Dutch public transportation branch, called “OV OK”. Two things to know if you’re not from the Netherlands: OV means public transportation in Dutch and it is pronounced oh vay so that you get the rhyme oh vay oh kay. See also this article from ov-nl.nl: Het licht staat op groen voor het openbaar vervoer (Public transportation gets the green light). I can see where they are coming from, to a degree. While we are told to work from home as much as possible, we are currently allowed to use public transportation. The rules are that you need to wear a face mask and that you should avoid rush hour wherever possible. But for now I view it as something to use if absolutely necessary (even though it pains me to say that, as I love riding in trams!)
Erasmusbrug from the nhow hotel
Categories: Rotterdam, Transportation, Working & Volunteering | Tags: | Leave a comment

Ginger molasses cookies at Lebkov (Or: Spicy and sweet in one bite)

Check out this photo of a lunch I recently had at Lebkov café here in The Hague:

Sparkling water, a BLT sandwich and a ginger molasses (!) cookie. The cookie was awesome. Perhaps they added a bit of black pepper to it? It had a kick, that’s for sure. It was interesting to taste both spicy and sweet at the same time.

A bit of corona-related news, since it has been a while:

  • from nltimes.nl: infections are increasing. There has been talk of extra measures in the three big cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. The number of infections there has been high. However for now the three cities have agreed with the Dutch cabinet to be more strict about corona rules and close down areas of concern faster (read: not much will change, I think).
  • from omroepwest.nl in Dutch: Sinterklaas festivities in The Hague altered this year. There will be no parade, but Sinterklaas will still arrive by boat in the Scheveningen harbor. (If you are not sure what the Sinterklaas holiday is, check out this 2013 article over at utoday.nl: What the bleep is… Sinterklaas & Zwarte Piet?)
  • from nltimes.nl: Amsterdam postpones New Year’s fireworks ban over Covid-19. It really, really seems like a lifetime ago, but in January 2020 there was was a lot of talk about banning most consumer-bought fireworks due to a number of incidents, including incidents against paramedics, police and firemen. Yikes. Amsterdam has put a temporary hold on the ban due to the fact that the promised alternatives (city sponsored fireworks shows and similar) just aren’t reasonable in these socially distanced times.

Otherwise, the days are blending into each other now. I really had to stop and think of what month it was the other day. I was trying to remember when certain TV shows would restart, and then I realized it’s impossible to tell for most shows. But otherwise Marco and I are doing fine.

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

A ride of gold (Or: Golden carriage to be on display at Amsterdam museum)

Have you heard of the Dutch golden carriage? It was in the news this week See also this dutchnews.nl article: Gouden Koets may no longer be used on budget day amid slavery controversy. The gouden koets or golden carriage is one of two carriages the King has at his disposal. Traditionally it makes an appearance at least once a year at Prinsjesdag, which happens on the third Tuesday each September – next week, then.

Gouden koets verlaat het binnenhof / Golden carriage leaves the Binnenhof. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

On this day the King takes a carriage ride from the Dutch Noordeinde Palace to the Ridderzaal in the Binnenhof before delivering a speech to the Dutch Senate and House of Representatives. Normally the golden carriage is used for this carriage ride, but they also have a backup glass carriage. This is a good thing because the golden carriage is currently being restored (it was gifted to Queen Wilhelmina in 1896 after all!). Once the restoration is complete the golden carriage will be on display at the Amsterdam Museum next year from June to November.

That means it will not be available next year for Prinsesdag in September. However that seems to be the plan all along due to some unexpected controversy. One of the door panels depicts a racist scene, with dark-skinned persons bowing and offering gifts to a white woman. There’s also the thought that since millions of euros were spent of this restoration it is probably better that it not be used during the parade anymore. We shall see.

Luckily they still have the glass carriage at their disposal…

Categories: Culture, The Hague | Leave a comment

SpiZe (Or: First time back in a restaurant)

Well, Marco and I can add “went back to a restaurant” to our lists – on Sunday we met up with Roger and his mom to enjoy Thai food at the SpiZe restaurant. Yes, the Z is officially capitalized in their name.

I had Keng Massman: The menu description is: Tender sliced beef in Thai brown curry with coconut milk, potatoes, cashew nuts and onions. I can definitely recommend it.

Above is Marco’s dessert – spekkoek (Indonesian layer cake) with pandan ice cream. Yum!

And how was our first trip to a restaurant in these corona times? Not too bad, actually. The official rule in the Netherlands is that two or more households need to keep 1.5 meters distance from each other inside a restaurant. SpiZe requests that if you fall into this category you should send an email to them (versus placing an online reservation). That way they can seat the party at one of the tables by the window. These tables are definitely wider which helps you keep your distance.

Between each table was a glass shield, although I can’t remember if they were always there. There were also arrows on the floor telling you which direction you could walk in. Roger also received information and a QR code to scan so that he could register the group online and answer the obligatory health-related questions.

It’s not perfect, but it’s probably as close as you can get while still having a relatively normal restaurant experience. I’m definitely glad we went as the food and company was good.

Categories: Food, The Hague | Tags: , | Leave a comment

New use for the old PostNL location (Or: Another Amazing Oriental in The Hague)

Yesterday while waiting for Marco I spotted a new addition to the grocery store scene: another Amazing Oriental location would be popping up in The Hague. This one was going to take over the space left vacant by PostNL:

Amazing Oriental is an Asian supermarket with over 20 locations in The Netherlands. At this point I can’t imagine doing without it. For instance, tonight we had wokgroente (vegetables in the wok) and the sauce we chose was ponzu sauce. It is a thin citrus-based Japanese sauce with a tart aftertaste. In this varation we added a bit of lime juice, sesame oil and soy sauce to spice things up a bit more. Yummmm.

The interesting thing about PostNL (the Dutch postal service) is that this location was literally the last remaining post office in the Netherlands (article from ad.nl in Dutch). It closed in November 2018. Unfortunately these days all PostNL locations are mini locations found in other, existing stores. It does make it easier to pick up packages, though. Speaking of which, I do have to go pick up a package tomorrow…

Categories: Everyday purchases, The Hague | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Aged cheese (Or: Jokes at a local Albert Heijn)

Here’s a silly joke about cheese for you, spotted at the local grocery store, Albert Heijn:

In English: “Age isn’t important, unless you’re cheese!” Haha. Such a silly joke. But a bit of personality at a chain grocery store as big as Albert Heijn is always nice to see.

Here is an interesting article spotted at The Guardian: Slowly does it: chord changes in John Cage’s 639-year-long organ piece. Or check out the article in Dutch over at at nos.nl.

The name of the work is As Slow As Possible (ORGAN/ASLSP) and it started playing in 2001. According to the Wikipedia article, there have been 14 chord changes to date, with the previous chord lasting 6 years and 11 months. Chords are changed by adding or removing organ pipes.

The performance is scheduled to end on September 5, 2640… It’s hard to imagine that.

Categories: Daily Dutch living, Everyday purchases | Tags: , | Leave a comment

A bit of cuteness (Or: Practicing for his new job?)

Today’s story can officially be labeled “cute” – a boy in a nearby town decided to pretend he was also a football referee. And get his exercise in at the same time, apparently.

The full article at omroepwest.nl (in Dutch) can be found here. In short, it talks about how the five year old ran down to the edge of the stands with about 10 minutes to go in the game and started following the movements of the referee. He even had a whistle he was using. His mother tried to get a photo with the referee after the game, however the referee hadn’t realized what was going on so he declined (he was busy with end-of-game activities after all).

After the referee went home he saw the viral video and realized what the mother had been asking. He then got in contact with the boy and brought along some football related items (a shirt as well as autographed red and yellow cards). And just to mention what kind of world we live in in 2020: the mother also mentioned that he politely took photos with her son at the door, rather than going inside. If you click on the article I linked to below the video you can see pictures of the items the boy received.

And, yes, the boy said he now wants to be a football referee when he grows up. Awwww.

Categories: Sports | Tags: | Leave a comment

One holiday closer to the end of 2020 (Or: Halloween spotted)

Okay. I’ll admit Halloween is not that big in the Netherlands. Each year you see one or two more stores with a small selection of items. And why am I thinking of Halloween you ask? Marco took some photos of a new Halloween display at the local Xenos:

Of course the best part of Halloween is the candy, but Marco said those display shelves were still empty and hadn’t been filled yet. Here’s hoping it happens soon!

And thanks to the Halloween display I’m transported back to our 2017 Disneyland Paris trip (Marco, Roger and I) where Frontierland was decorated in the style of the Pixar film Coco for Halloween:

Here’s a “Hmm. I never thought of that.” link for you:

Grounded beef? Airlines sell in-flight meals to earthbound travellers from theguardian.com. No joke. It even talks about the company GNS Nuts selling their first class mixed nuts to consumers at a discount. This company normally services American Airlines and United Airlines.

Oh, and the first commemorative coin featuring the Dutch King Willem-Alexander with a beard (nltimes.nl) has been released. I must admit I was shocked when I first saw him with a beard after last summer’s recess, but it’s hard to think of him without one now.

Categories: Holidays | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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