I am currently sitting under my Mickey Mouse blanket. Marco got it for me a few years ago, probably from bol.com (aka Dutch Amazon). It keeps my toes warm, so that’s good.
During last Monday’s press conference Rutte and De Jong said the Netherlands would hit 5,000 infections by the end of this week, but unfortunately we’re pretty much at that point already with 4,996 infections today and more than 1,000 patients in the hospital (article in English from nltimes.nl). That’s about 500 more infections than yesterday. We have a few more days before we would see the effects of last Monday’s additional measures. If we do not see a “flattening of the curve” soon then I expect more measures imposed early next week.
Most of my adventures outside lately are confined to going to the grocery store and back, the earlier in the morning the better. It does mean that work and not-work have been bleeding into each other a bit, but on the plus side work has been a bit more forgiving the last few weeks. I’m also in the middle of reading two novels in English. One is Stephen King’s The Institute and the other is Mariko Koike’s The Graveyard Apartment. Both feel nice and creepy / spooky, perfect for October.
And since we need something a bit more positive today, here’s an article from Omroep West (in Dutch) about dogs being allowed into a local museum. For one day only, on Animal Day, for a special dog-themed exhibition:
The article includes a video with lots of tail wagging dogs. Check it out. You can also read more about the Being human exhibit at the Fotomuseum’s website (link in English).
Here’s an interesting photo from just outside of Rijswijk train station. I’m not entirely sure what the wooden columns are supposed to represent, but hey, it’s a bit of green. With a church steeple in the background. But it’s tiny – even Google Maps doesn’t mark this area as green to represent a park.
In other news:
As you might know, the football European championships are delayed until 2021. The Dutch TV show Even tot hier had a short skit about the players being replaced this year by dogs for the EK hondenvoetbal (from Youtube, 2 and a half minutes long). Even if you don’t speak Dutch, it’s still a cute video because you get to watch dogs!
Dutch sign up to Oxford University’s Covid-19 vaccine from dutchnews.nl. The Netherlands (and Germany, Italy and France) have signed up to purchase up to 400 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine from Oxford University. Of course, there’s no guarantee that this particular vaccine will work, but the thinking is that it’s better safe than sorry later. Other countries are welcome to join the group.
As I mentioned in my last blog post, Marco and I went to Dordrecht about a week ago to do a stadswandeling in Dordrecht (that’s a walk around the city). After that was done, we doubled back to visit Voorstraat. People say Voorstraat is the longest shopping street in the Netherlands. Of course, such an achievement does come with a price in today’s economy: there are some empty stores. Not a lot, but enough to be noticeable.
Of course, what makes it even more noticeable is when someone adds graffiti to each of the shop windows to point out that it is empty:
Here’s an idea for this empty store: a popup cafe with free wifi!
Some graffiti points out the fact that the store has been empty for over three years. But the main purpose of it is to point out what the store could be used as (apparently if the city government cared enough to do something about it – I suspect it isn’t as easy as the graffitist hopes, though). But other ideas for popup stores (always illustrated by graffiti) include music stores, bike rental stores, and a biological store.
More information about the graffiti and pictures can be found here (in Dutch).
Something cute hanging out by the door of a non-abandoned (just closed at the time) store:
One of the places that we visited during our trip to Chicago was the Fox Valley Mall, which is in one of the suburbs.
There is a store to buy… puppies! Of course all of the puppies are showcased in baby cribs. Can’t have it any other way.
The one big rule is that you do not reach in to pet the puppies – although when we were there, there were two girls who oooh’d and ahhh’d as they reached in. The puppy calmly rolled over and let its belly get scratched. (A few seconds later a worker came over and politely asked them to stop.)
A bundle of cuteness, though who knows how long they have to wait in the crib before being taken back to the backroom and allowed to rest away from the prying gaze of people. I’ve also always found it a bit odd that there isn’t much of a blanket for them to lay on, though I am sure accidents are frequent in this line of business.
But they sure are cute.
And one picture of the mall’s Christmas tree to close things off. 🙂
In October I went with my coworker to the New York Oktoberfest in Bear Mountain. Lots of fun was had, and lots of beer was drunk.
But one thing that was very surprising was the amount of dogs that were at this event. Easily dozens – from very small breeds to very large breeds. (And sadly one small breed that was veryyy overweight.)
Here were a few dog pictures that my coworker took:
Possibly my favorite dog that I saw that day. The poor thing was so tired. Its owner was waiting in line for a beer refill. Every minute or so the line would advance, and the owner would tug on its leash to get the dog to move. It eventually would move the required few feet – and then plop down again tiredly after. Repeat a dozen times.
For this picture, I liked the dog framed against the human walking past in a blur. I actually saved it from the delete button on her camera, I liked it that much. 🙂
My fridge is full of lots of little trinkets, including but not limited to Dutch things.
Above you can see a Delft postcard and magnet (the latter having a 3D element in the upper right that comes out a bit, using a spring). This was from the Summer 2011 trip. You also see my parents’ dog, Oreo. She is a papillon (see below). Kind of big boned for a breed that is supposed to be dainty, but we love her…
There’s a Holland magnet above that which Marco gave me a long time ago. Due to its age, it’s starting to bend a little bit.
In the upper right you can see part of a magnet for the New York Rangers goalie, Henrik Lundqvist (Let’s go Rangers!). It’s actually holding up a business card with information regarding my next dental appointment in late November.
And this is only one corner of the fridge! I plan on taking most of these with (if we find a not-so-garish way to display them) – and if they survive being peeled off. Some don’t respond well to being moved anymore.
Speaking of papillons…
Above is a picture of the Westminster dog show banner in the Madison Square Garden. It features the papillon “Kirby” which won in 1999. During the dog show (which happens during the hockey season), the ice rink must be melted down. Otherwise the dogs can sense the ice and spend most of their time trying to dig down to get at it!
One of my landlord’s older kids (in his 20s) purchased a dog named Smokey for his birthday back in November or so. Lately they have been letting the dog outside more to let him run around, which means that sometimes he is at the gate to greet me when I come home. This works out nicely since the entrance to my place is right near the gate.
It feels like just last month, he wasn’t tall enough to get his head over the gate. It barely came over…
At this point the poor dog realized iTouches are scary things. He wouldn’t come close after this picture. Boo! Hopefully I haven’t scarred him for life. I would miss my little greetings when I come back home.
This dog is so cute. Not that it means I want a dog of my own. This way I get all of the loving with none of the responsibility.