Interlude

hollyjb LIVE

This little interlude is neither about London or Belgium (sorry), but is just notifying all my followers out there who still wish to keep in touch that I’ve officially started my new blog; hollyjb LIVE. I appologize to deserting you all. I have a lot of catching up to do. And a lot to get used to seeing as how there seems to be quite a few changes to WordPress.com.

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I’m Back! I Think….

So it’s been a while. Going from blogging every day to not blogging for almost three weeks is a little odd. Then again, I’m at home so it’s just like it was before when I wasn’t blogging. I don’t have a desk (or room for one) in my room so I’m using the dining room table. I’ll eventually move down to the basement, but I’m kind of just in the middle of everything right now and I don’t think of blogging. I have a ton of pictures from when I got back, all the snow that started the day I got home and my room, but I can’t upload them (or charge my camera) because I can’t find my camera cord! That’s kind of bumming me out.

Once I get around to writing my remaining posts about London, and about the day I got back I won’t be writing on this blog anymore. But I have another started if anyone still wants to follow and check it out. I don’t know what I’ll be writing about, but lets hope it stays interesting!

                                                                                                                        

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What Day Is It Again?

Oh my. I’m still so tired. Of course I’ve been going since I got home without getting much of a chance to rest. We’ve had stuff to take care of and lots of running around to do. You can check out a few pictures from yesterday on my Facebook page, but things – of course – weren’t working right and stopped loading. Tomorrow Mom and I are going to Anna Mae’s for breakfast and then on to Listowel to get our hair cut. Just in time for dinner out tomorrow night!

It’s taking me a little longer than I thought to get used to the time change. It may be because Tuesday I was basically up for 24 hours. I got to see all three grandparents today, that was really cool. Also some other family members that was totally random and by chance. Gotta love those moments! Things are basically going to be busy until Tuesday. Not exactly ideal, but what can you do. I’ll be able to ‘chill’ for about a week before starting work. Although there’s a lot of work to be done in my room. I have a lot of purging to do. I left it in a bit of a mess last year and it’s a little overwhelming when I think of how long it will take to get it organized. That’s what happens when you go away and forget about stuff!

Alright. I’m going to bed. I’m a little loopy. Night!

                                                                                                                        

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The Snow Is Here…And So Am I

Yesterday as I was walking on one of those moving carpet thingys I noticed it was snowing. And is just kept right on snowing all day and all night. We got our winter wonderland! By the sounds of it though it will start leaving tomorrow so I took lots of pictures as proof. Unfortunately we were going all day and I’m exhausted. I think I’m finally getting sick too. You know, I have that achy feeling and all and my head is killing me. I planned on writing my post for yesterday and posting some pictures, but I literally got home, opened my diploma, changed into my pjs, and waiting for my computer to load this page.

I feel like crap. I really hope it’s just because I’m tired, but I don’t remember feeling this bad when I went. I guess it’s -11°c out…I took some pictures outside before coming in and my teeth were chattering like crazy. Not used to it ;). So this means that I’m going to bed before I pass out…and I’ll write about Tuesday hopefully tomorrow. Good night!

                                                                                                                        

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Home Sweet Home

This will be short. I’m using my iPod tonight as it’s too late to get out the computer and all. Everything went smoothly except for the fact that we left an hour late, but it didn’t say we were late until after we were supposed to have landed. It’s good to home and my bed is looking so comfy right now. More in-depth post about today to follow. My mother has ordered me to bed ;).

Kind Of Like A Bitter Sweet Symphony

I should be landing in Toronto in about 18 hours. Oh my. It’s past midnight and I’m so tired and yet so energized. I want to go to bed, but I can’t. I was really worried at the beginning of the day, but things are looking up. That’s only because I’m leaving a box of stuff (summer clothes, some shoes, etc.) here for them to mail behind me. It’s costing a lot, but what can you do. At this point I should only have one suitcase that’s overweight, but still under the limit. I can get them both shut with a reasonable amount of effort and I’m still able to lift them myself. Things are looking up. As soon as this post is finished I can pack up my desk and go to bed.

This will be my last time posting in Belgium. I’m so excited to go home and see everyone and yet I’m so sad too. When I left Canada I knew I would be coming back and I knew that this year would hold many exciting things for me. Leaving now it’s different. Hopefully it works out to visit in June, but after that…. I won’t be coming back for a long time. At least we have Skype which helps. When we sat down to lunch today I didn’t have much of an appetite. I was stressing out so bad. When we were finished eating I just sat at the table and started crying. Silently and not very obviously, but crying non the less. It kind of hit me by surprise. I mean, the last couple of nights I’ve become pretty emotional and teary eyed while posting, but it just really hit me at lunch today that I’m leaving and how much I’m actually going to miss it here. Tomorrow is going to be quite the emotional morning. The boys are sleeping in track suits so that they don’t have to take the time to dress them in the morning. They’re even going to have their bottles in the car. Good planning!

Sylvain came into my room a few times and climbed on my one suitcase. I even sucked the air out of the vacuum seal bag while he was sitting on it. I wonder what he thought of that. I spent a little time on and off with the boys today. Mostly Sylvain because he was wandering all around the house and came into my room a lot. I did spend most of the day in my room organizing stuff. And some time just sitting on the floor thinking ‘what am I going to do with all this stuff?’. I did spend some time tweeting and on Facebook and replying to emails to distract myself from the stress. But now that it’s been decided they’ll mail a box for me and I’m able to actually close my suitcases I’m a lot less stressed.

Plans for the coming week keep changing, but they are as follows (for now ;)); tomorrow Mom, Dad, and Lisa will pick me up at the airport. We’ll go home to New Dundee, unload my stuff and then it’s off to London to Lisa and Will’s apartment. Lisa’s truck is at home, so we’ll be taking 2 vehicles. I’ll probably drive with her so she doesn’t have to go alone and because she’s my sis and I love her ^_^. We’ll go to her place, I’ll get to officially meet Will for the first time, and we’ll open Christmas presents. I actually don’t have any for my family :S. I have something for Lisa that I got this summer, but she already knows about it…or at least she did. I wonder if she remembers? Will doesn’t work tomorrow so that’s why we’re doing it then. The 28th is now just getting my Health Card stuff taken care of. After that it’s a welcome home dinner on the 30th, and Roth Christmas on the 1st. I have no idea what I’m doing for New Year’s.

Jean and Valerie came for supper tonight and Jean stayed over so he could come to the airport tomorrow. We watched 2 episodes of Chuck which is one reason I’m posting so late. But I didn’t mind because I don’t have to drive tomorrow and I can at least try to sleep on the plane. This time I’m totally getting up and stretching a few times throughout the flight! It’s 8 hours this way. Coming here it was only 7 and I sat the entire time…by the time we were in landing mode and couldn’t stand up, I was so uncomfortable and wanted to stand so badly…because I couldn’t :P. Hopefully everything will run smoothly and customs won’t hold me up too long. I even typed out my list of things I’m declaring so if they ask me any questions it’s all right there.

And I totally have a small burn mark on my forehead now >_<. The straightener Jean got me for Christmas is about twice the size of my old one and heavier so handling it is a little tricky for me until I get used to it. So I burned myself :P. Once I figure out how it handles and how the rotating barrel works best it will be awesome. I just have to get used to the different size. So right now it’s a little awkward.

I’m so excited to show my family my ‘picture book’! And I do actually have some stuff I’m bringing back that is a surprise for Mom…tee hee hee ^_^. So she’ll have something to ‘open’ after all! Dad wanted me to bring him some Jupiler beer back, but I forgot until a little while ago and I have no room for it regardless. Sorry Dad :(.

I’m debating on whether or not to wear make-up tomorrow because I know there will be tears, but I think I’ve decided I will. I want to at least attempt to look human for the pictures I’m sure will be taken at different point in the day. 😉 I guess this is it. I don’t have anything else to say at the moment so this is a good time to call it quits.

See you all on the other side!

                                                                                                                        

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A Very Musical Christmas

First I need to mention something that happened at the end of the night so I don’t forget. We’re almost home. In the car is Adeline, me, and the boys. Bastien is sleeping, but because he’s in just a booster seat he’s fallen across into the middle (instead of sleeping against the door). Sylvain…is not asleep. When  we finally get home Adeline notices a soother in his mouth and one in his lap. So he either dropped his or took it out on purpose and grabbed Bastien’s from him mouth and started using it. Crazy kid!

Speaking of Sylvain, he had a rough day. I’ve never heard him cry so much. He did have some really good moments though and I was able to catch some on film. I got some pics of them in my suitcase. They both fit! I had most of my clothes in my vacuum seal bag before dumping them all out because I wanted to sort through them and re-fold everything. I’ve decided to do some purging. You know how they say that if you haven’t worn something in a year to get rid of it because you won’t wear it? Well, I’m doing some of that. I brought with me 3 pairs of jeans. 1 I never wear and might have only worn once while here simply because I was short on pants that day. Donate! My other 2 pairs are too worn in places for me to wear. Now, between my Grandmothers we could patch these up and fix them, but I’m not going to for 3 reasons: 1) I bought them both for $15 2) my suitcases aren’t getting any bigger and my spacial reckoning/visualization is horrible = I think I have more stuff than room and 3) they’re too big. I was constantly pulling them up. And since they’re those handy (but somewhat impractical) pull-up, stretchy types there are no belt loops. My Mom brought a new pair for me this summer. I wear them now, although by all accounts they shouldn’t fit because they’re way smaller than the other ones. It’s all because of the stretch. 😛 So I’m throwing those 2 pairs out. The pair of dress pants I brought (that I wore once) are way too big and look much to sloppy to be dressy…donate! There are a few other items that I’m going to donate that I didn’t pay that much for so I don’t feel anxious about it. Also, since all of my slippers I brought (including the 2 pairs Grandma Roth made me) are all ripped and are kind of useless so they’re being tossed. I’m doing everything I can to create space. I’m not sure if it’s going to work. Which means I might have to mail stuff after all. Maybe I’m jumping the gun a little. I’ll get back to you on that.

So tonight we went to Sybille’s for Christmas. It was a small affair in comparison to the other Christmases we’ve had. All the kids are sick. Actually, I think it was the girls who gave the boys their coughs ;). And of course there was champagne! It will be strange going to a family gathering and not having a bit of bubbly. After the appetizers (I had one with mushrooms, ham, and a creamy cheese with a garnish, the name of which I don’t know in English and can’t spell in French) we opened presents. I was sort of expecting one from Jean because he asked me if I had replaced my straightener yet (did I mention in broke? That’s another I might as well leave behind since it doesn’t work). I did, in fact, get a straightener. It has a rolling barrel and is a wide one which will take a little getting used to because my old one was very thin. It says it’s a 5-1 on the box – it can straighten, volumize, curl, shape the tips, and add softness and shine (it has removable combs). This is really good advertising, especially for someone who isn’t familiar with straighteners. You can do all these things with any straightener if you know or develop the techniques. But certain things work better with some than others and I already tried this one out and it can curl just like a curling iron! Plus it straightens really well too. You can change the direction the barrel rotates too. The first time I used it I startled myself – the rotating barrel makes a noise. If you put it in the centre it doesn’t rotate and therefore doesn’t make noise, but from what I’ve found you get a better result if it rotates. For Jean I got a cook book. Not just any cook book mind you, but one with around 300 recipes from around the world. He liked it a lot. I’m glad. I’m horrible and choosing gifts for people.

From Aurore and Jeff (an unexpected gift) I also got a cook book. A Belgian cook book. It has a Waterzooi recipe in it (handy!) that uses shrimp (which I don’t like), but I can always just substitute it with craw-fish. It also has the chicken version. It has everything from drinks to desserts. It serves 3 purposes – gives me even more of a reason to cook, will help me share my time in Belgium with others through food, and is in French so will help me keep up with it. I’ll definitely have to carefully read through each recipe I undertake before I even think about starting it. Another unexpected gift came from Charles. It’s an easy arrangement piano book of 12 hit songs from Adele. I was so excited! I always love getting new music (I won’t lie and say I was getting a bit tired of playing the stuff from the books I have with me) and it will be fun to learn these songs. Unfortunately I forgot Freddy, so no picture with Charles. THANK YOU EVERYONE!

Bastien, among other things, got a Spiderman costume, complete with muscles. Hilariously adorable. Him and Clémence each got a light up globe and were both shown where Belgium is and where Canada is. Jean was fiddling around on the piano and Maëline started dancing. Jean then started playing – oh my goodness…I should know this, but I can’t remember what it was! – something snappy and she continued dancing. Of course everyone got out their cameras and started filming. We also took a group photo. Well, many. The first set Charles didn’t quite make it in time, but it took maybe almost 10 before it stopped. So we all did a slightly different pose for each flash. That was started by Charles who was sort of half on the ground doing model poses. The second set was a little more serious, but with no fewer smiles.

Dinner was about as different from a Brenneman and Roth traditional Christmas dinner as you can get. There was salad – not too different – but then there was salmon (fresh, but not cooked) and lobster…from Nova Scotia! I had some lobster – Dad, Lisa, you would be proud. There was also Foie Gras (and faux gras, but that was on one of the appetizers) which I of course did not partake in. Dessert was a vanilla log cake with chocolate icing and a raspberry log cake. After eating we all (well almost all) participated in a little show. This year it was a little more planned, but I guess normally it’s more random. Everyone in the family is really musical and sang in choirs growing up so they’ll break out in 4-part harmony around the dinner table. I got to participate but realized that I sing very quietly. At least when I’m not totally confidant in what I’m singing. And with choir stuff, well in university I wasn’t the loudest and there was always way too many loud sopranos so I always sang softly (I also don’t overtax my voice that way) and I was doing that tonight. Problem was I was the only one on my part! Aurore joined me for the 2nd time. I know the song, but I still messed it up. We sang ‘I Will Follow Him’ from Sister Act. They had me sing the wailing solo part of that red-headed almost nun. Yeah, didn’t work too well. I don’t sing gospel. Not that I don’t love it and wish I could, but it’s just not where my talents lie. I might sing like that (or try to) and try different things, different styles when I’m alone (or in the shower because everything sounds better in there – it’s the steam and the acoustics), but not for other people. So I tried and warmed up to it a bit, but it was still borderline horrible. 😀 Everyone else sounded awesome though!

Sybille also bought – as a family gift – a sort of piano carpet. Basically think of a smaller (and fold-able) version of that huge keyboard on the floor in that mall in that Tom Hanks movie that was from the 80s or 90s (:P). Jean-Go, Charles, and Adeline played a version of that duet that everybody knows how to play (there are so many variations), but not many people actually know what it’s called (like me). It was hilarious! I have it on video. Greg says it should go on YouTube. They did it a second time and Greg filmed it so I don’t know if he’s going to put it up or not. I’m going to let them copy my pictures and videos so they can put it up later if they want. They did a great job and were very entertaining.

This was actually the last night I’m going to see all of them minus Jean and Val Ou. Jean’s coming with us to the airport on Tuesday and since we’re leaving at 6am he’s going to stay over Monday night so Valerie’s going to come over as well. And this time the boys are coming. Adeline was insistent. I’m glad. She said they didn’t come pick me up because they didn’t know me, but they’ll want to say goodbye (not to mention I’ll want to!). I feel like this post has actually been very vague and yet it’s over 1700 words…

I’m almost positive there was something else I wanted to say but we all know that I’ve forgotten it by now. Well, since it’s almost 2:30am it is now Christmas Eve day for me. For all you back home we’ll be sharing something in common that doesn’t make me happy – a green Christmas. I’m ok with that here because it’s normal, I just wanted snow for when I got home ;).

                                                                                                                        

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The Final Countdown

I may not be counting down to Venus, but I would say home is just as good.

Tonight is special in that I only have 5 more sleeps till I leave. I’ve had this idea for title/video for months. I think I was planning on using it this summer when my family came. Then I thought it was better suited for today. It certainly won’t be the last countdown in my life, but it’s the most bittersweet, exciting one right now.

Today started off a little rough. I wasn’t in a very good mood and I had to call Bastien 3 times to come take his temperature. He was sitting on the couch, his cartoon finished, and all he had to do was come into the next room. I was not impressed. Things got better though, I cooled off and got it through my head that he is sick and he is 3. Sylvain had two naps today, Bastien one. Bastien was actually quite energetic. He was running a fever almost the whole day, although it almost broke before lunch. He was exceptionally warm when he came down to ask me to fill his water bottle because he was very, very, very, very, very, very, very – I lost count – very, very, thirsty. Except for his ‘tardiness’ this morning he was really good all day. Until supper when we went through the usual “‘I don’t like this’ ‘I want help’ followed by threats of making him eat alone in the kitchen and blah, blah before finally him eating and saying it tastes good” episodes.

We talked about what we have coming up. I asked him where we’re going tomorrow and first he said Chez Kathrine (Kathrine’s house – the babysitter). I said no, Granny’s – ‘yeah, I get to see Clémence!’. I asked him who is coming on Saturday and he said ‘Mammi and Pappy’ (Greg’s parents). I asked who else and he said Jean-Go and Val Ou…I’m not sure where that came from :P. I corrected him, ‘no, you’re godfather’, ‘Jean-Phillip!’ and he is who? ‘Papa’s brother!’. Then he said it was Christmas and after that I go home. So he is totally aware of what’s going on. We had a discussion about flags and colours (of Belgium and Canada) and then I asked him what country he lives in. His answer was Wasseiges. Hmmm. Well no Bastien, you live in the village of Wasseiges which is in the province of Liège and the country of Belgium. Before I explained that I asked him what country Wasseiges was in and he answered Canada…tee hee hee. Kids say the darndest things, don’t they?

Bath time was fun. Why is it that as soon as you take a diaper off, kids will pee all over the floor? I took off Sylvain’s diaper and was about to put him in the tub when he started peeing. He was just standing there, letting it go. He seemed pretty happy with himself. Waving his arms around ‘yeah that’s right, I’m peeing on the bath mat!’. They had a lot of fun in the tub tonight. They were laughing and splashing and laughing some more. It was awesome. I feel so bad when Sylvain goes into one of his coughing fits. His face gets all red and he looks like he’s choking. Sometimes it’s a little scary. Thankfully though he hasn’t had a fever all day. You know how all doctor’s have horrible penmanship? I mean, of course I’m stereotyping here…Well, reading names of medication is tough enough, without trying to do it in a foreign language. And the instructions, oh boy. Thankfully it’s mostly things like 3 f/j (3 x/d) and 3.5ml and stuff, not too much to read, but still. And it’s different for both. Some stuff is the same, but man, I’m going to be a pro and medicine regimes if I ever have kids. Thankfully there’s not very much fuss when they have to take the stuff. I guess it tastes good :P.

I’ve got most of my clothes packed up. Just the stuff I’m going to be wearing over the next few days is out. The rest is in the vacuum seal bag my Mom left for me. I used my ‘travel’ bags (no vacuum needed, you just push the air out) on the way over, but this works better because you can get so much more air out. Plus, I’m pretty sure I can fit all of my clothes into the one bag. So I’m thinking clothes and shoes (or at least some shoes…I have too many here…I acquired some while over here) in one bag and everything else in the other. I’m thinking I should be ok weight wise too. I can’t remember if one of my suitcases was overweight coming over here or not. And I’m trying to think what is staying over that I brought. Because I certainly didn’t bring the maple syrup! I know I brought Ice Cider and some Roots wear for the kids. My HUGE bottles of shampoo and conditioner won’t be coming back with me, so that will lighten things up a bit. I brought a lot of other stuff with me that I used throughout the year that took up space, but not that much weight, so I don’t know. Well, if I am, I am. I shouldn’t be over the final limit, so if I’m over the initial limit I’ll just have to pay. I know I could have shipped some stuff home, but this is me we’re talking about. I procrastinate. And I couldn’t decide if sending stuff home would be worth it. I have to pay for the 2nd suitcase anyway, why also pay to ship stuff home? That’s all moot now regardless. I’m not really looking forward to packing. Getting everything in the first time was bad enough. I know space has been made, but I’m still not looking forward to it. At least my clothes will be more compact.

Enjoy the video! Made in 1986. Good year. I should know, I was born then ;).

                                                                                                                        

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Cooking with Jean-Go

The little munchkins are sick again. Poor Sylvain is coughing like crazy! Kind of reminds me of when I was a kid. Every fall I got bronchitis – I think that’s what he has. So no more school or babysitter till the new year. That kind of puts a kink in my plans as far as getting my To Do list finished. I’ll make it work though, I don’t have a choice!

Tonight I finally went to Jean and Valerie’s for a cooking lesson. Valerie had to work a little late so it was just Jean and I who made supper. We made Waterzooi, a Belgian dish from Ghent. It can be made with fish or chicken, but Jean prefers it with fish so that’s what we did. I really liked it. We used a white fish that starts with an ‘L’ as well as craw-fish (crayfish?). It was super tasty. We also made stuffed bacon and leek croissants for Valerie’s family dinner on Saturday. I have pictures to prove I helped. I actually rolled all but, um, 5 or so. There were 32…before Jean and I each ate one ;). Waterzooi is so easy to make and is something I think is possible for me to handle as long as I don’t overcook the fish!

It was fun hanging with those two. They have this really awesome idea for Christmas tree ornaments. They have these mini crowns hanging from the branches. Hanging from each crown is a double-sided, laminated picture of different family members. Such an awesome idea and so creative!

I was right. My list keeps getting longer. >_< I have to go to the Commune again and get a piece of paper saying I’m leaving. Then I need to make a copy for Adeline to keep and send the other to the health insurance company here saying I’m leaving and they need to stop my coverage. So complicated. Not really, it’s just more work than I was planning on and I’m worried it won’t be very easy. Plus I have to write them a letter…in French. I wonder if this will be resolved before I leave? It’s all my fault for not taking care of it sooner. I know that.

                                                                                                                        

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Blogging Everyday Is Hard

My To Do list went from 12 items to 16 today, but I’ve already completed 9 items. And yes, finishing the last 2 posts about London is on my To Do list. I don’t know why I keep putting that off. The pictures are up for Day 2. I don’t have as many for Day 3, so it really shouldn’t be so much of a problem. But apparently it is.

Oh! This morning Sylvain said something else. Sort of. When you want someone to give you a high-five you say ‘top la’. Sylvain vocalized something that sounded a lot like that and raised his hand to Bastien. It was awesome. And this afternoon – after I got back from picking him up – Adeline was going through the bag with the gifts in from Sunday and she took out mine, gave it to Sylvain, and told him to give it to me. I was sitting in the coat room taking off my boots. She didn’t point him in any direction just told him to give it to me. He figured out where I was and handed me the box! Then he walked back towards the play room and she told him to go take off his boots. So he came back to me and the bench to take off his boots. He’s starting to understand and respond now! So exciting.

Wow. I just got a little sad thinking that this time next week I will be home and won’t be waking up and seeing them the next day. I’m afraid I might smother the boys a little this week. It’s going to be…odd being back home. Not more odd than it was coming here and being in a different environment. It’s all just change. I wonder what it will be like fitting back into my ‘old’ life and how long it will take for my parents to get sick of me and want me to move out ;).

I want to share with you all my new desktop picture courtesy of the folks at WordPress. This is mainly for my non-blogging followers. I think it’s really cool!

                                                                                                                        

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