You never know where they’re going to take you…

What? You weren’t expecting pictures or anything were you? Of course you weren’t. Last night after I got home we watched the second episode of a new series Greg has called The Event. I’d never heard of it, but it’s pretty interesting, it definitely draws you in. I watched the first episode today as well as the latest episode they have of Chuck and finally got around to watching Super Size Me. Wow. That sheds a whole new light on things for me. I mean, I knew that stuff, it was just seeing it all happening. Let’s hope that the feeling I got while watching that sticks with me enough that I don’t want to eat a lot of fast food. Half the time it’s not even that I want to, it’s just the sugar in it wreaking havoc with my glucose levels which make me crave it and ‘need’ to eat it even when I don’t want to. If that makes sense. Right, this wasn’t supposed to be about fast food and my unhealthy attachment to it.

Just so you all know I had a GREAT time this weekend. I’m bushed and my calves are killing me from all the walking we did. I don’t know how much we actually walked, but I want to try to figure out as best I can so I can make an estimate. I think it rivals how much we walked in Paris and Amsterdam. Maybe not Amsterdam, but close. I do have one recommendation. If you’re in London and you’re thinking about taking one of the London walking tours (where you just show up where it says to meet, pay your £8 or whatever it is, and go), consider going on the Jack the Ripper tour. And if you consider that, try to do it on a Saturday night when Steve is the tour guide. He’s awesome. I’m sure all the guides are awesome, but Steve was so entertaining, engaging, and energetic. In the pamphlet I got it lists all the guides and a tiny blurb about them. Then it gives a list of all the walks and who guides them on which nights. For Saturday it just said Steve, but there were two there. Thank goodness. There were so many people they split the group in two and I think there were at least 25-30 people in our group. That’s enough of that though, I don’t want to ruin it before I actually get to writing about Saturday!

I also managed to score a 1920’s (I think) publication of Ivanhoe for £5. There was this book market on along the Thames and I found it there. It doesn’t have a publication date and the guy selling it gave me a ballpark time frame, but I can’t remember what he said. Based on something mentioned in the foreword I’m guess 1920’s-30’s. It’s in really good condition and hardcover to boot. I’ve never read Ivanhoe, but seeing as it’s a classic, it looks cool because it’s old, it’s hardcover, and it was relatively cheap for the age I thought it was a good buy. I’ve started it and while it’s sometimes more description and less storytelling (which I don’t always mind, but it makes the ‘classics’ hard to read for me when they’re like that) I’m intrigued enough to keep going. I realize the description is necessary because of when it is set and when it was written, but that doesn’t mean it makes it any more thrilling. I’m excited to get further along. Which reminds me…I’m still only about half way through reading David Copperfield (Dickens not the magician :P) and I started that a couple of years ago! I won’t lie when I say I purchased and am trying to read some classics just because they’re classics. I also started reading The Count of Monte Cristo, but actually only got a couple of chapters in before I gave up. I really liked the movie so I wanted to give it a chance, but no dice. Someday I will try again. I also want to expand my Jane Austin collection. I’ve read the usuals – Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, and about 3/4 of Emma, but one I want to read that I know almost nothing about is Persuasion. I think I need to make an actually list and then stick to it.

This post just goes to show what can happen when I have no clear writing plan and just go where my fingers take me. Ha! So you got a little glimpse into my weekend. It was really awesome to see Martha and to get a little closer to her. Despite that we’ve known each other for, well, I guess 20 years now, there’s still new stuff to find out about each other. That comes from not seeing each other very often over some of our more formative years (eg. university). That time in between high school graduation and university commencement can really change a person. In both good and bad ways. And sometimes it can just to a fine tuning of who you already were. And then there’s going abroad for a year. You don’t come back unchanged from that!


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Awesome Amsterdam Adventure (Part 2)

Day 2 in Amsterdam started with a somewhat early breakfast in the hotel. I think we were eating by 8. We had to make our way to the station to catch a train to Haarlem. It was only about a 15 minute train ride or so, really quick. Actually, it was my first train experience – that I know of. Since we got to Haarlem by about 9 or so, things were still pretty sleepy in the town. We walked from the Station to the Corrie ten Boom House/Museum/Clock shop.

This sign juts out into the street above the clock/watch shop which the ten Boom family used to run. The entrance to the house is off the alley to the side.

You don’t have to make a reservation, you can just show up and there’s a schedule outside the door to the house that tells you when the next tour is and in which language (Dutch/English). They take a max of 25 people and my Mom really wanted to make sure we got into the first one so we did in fact make a reservation. There was only one other family – from the States – who was in the tour with us. It’s not as popular a place as the Anne Frank House, but I actually liked it better. It might have something to do with the fact that Corrie and her family were Christians and their faith and love was the most important thing to them. It plays a huge role in their story and why they did what they did. People don’t always respond well to the gospel. My Mom had seen the movie The Hiding Place which tells Corrie and her family’s story.

The Ten Boom’s were watch/clock makers and repair-people. They were able to use the shop as an excuse for the constant stream of people coming to and from the house during the occupation. Of course curfews made things a little difficult, but Corrie was able – with the help of many people and the Dutch underground – to supply food stamps and other things to those families and homes sheltering Jews. They had a system to let people outside know if it was safe or not to enter the house. They didn’t turn anyone away, even when one of the Jews they ended up sheltering permanently was an old woman with terrible asthma who had been turned away from every other shelter. And a man whose features were so Jewish he would have been arrested on the spot without question. His family had been taken in by others, but they wouldn’t keep him because it was too risky.

See the little triangle clock statuette there in the bottom middle of the middle window? If that was in the window people knew it was safe to enter the house. If it wasn't there they knew to steer clear.

One of their ‘boarders’ was an electrician and he installed a bell and buzzers all over the house. It was loud enough to be heard throughout the house, but not outside. At one point there were 7 Jewish adults living with the Ten Boom’s. They had to climb up a couple of flights of steps to get to the secret room. They were able to go outside a little, on the roof, because the railings surrounding the porch-like area was covered. So as long as they crouched down and stayed quiet they could get some fresh air. The secret room was a small slice of room behind a false wall placed in Corrie’s bedroom. The false wall was made of brick so as not to sound hollow. There was a little door that could be raised at the bottom of a bookshelf. The Jews living in the house had to store all of their belongings minus the clothes on their back in the hiding place when they weren’t in use. When the room was built Corrie was told that they had to run drills to try to make sure everyone one of the Jews in hiding would be able to reach that room from anywhere in the house in a minute or less. And not only reach the room, but all be inside it. This was no mean feat! This meant at least 2 flights of winding, circular, narrow stairs (I can’t remember exactly) – if they were in the dining room – and a climb through a tiny hole. During dinner this meant taking plates, cutlery, and anything else that would give away another person eating there, all done as silently as possible with no dropped food or anything. At night this meant grabbing bed sheets and blankets and flipping the mattress so as not to give away there is a warm spot from a sleeping person. They finally managed to shave the time from 4 minutes to 70 seconds. Quite impressive if you ask me. I wouldn’t have wanted to run up those stairs that fast!

Can you imagine running up two fights like this as fast and as quiet as possible? I guess if your life depended on it you would.

One day when Corrie was quite sick (fever, dizzy-ness, headache, etc) a man came to the shop and refused to speak to anyone but her. Her wouldn’t look her in the eyes and there’s a Dutch saying along the lines of ‘you’ll know the measurr of a man by the way he looks at you’ or something like that. Basically, whether or not he looks you in the eye. He kept going on about needed money to save his wife (or someone) and was really distraught, but wouldn’t look her in the eye. She was suspicious because of this, but didn’t want to take the chance that he was telling the truth and someone suffered for her inaction. It was a lot of money, but she told him to come back at a certain time. He finally looked her in the eye. Later that morning there was a raid on the house. She was in bed at the time and remembers waking up to a buzzer sounding and not remembering scheduling a drill for that day. She remembers hearing the wheezing of Mary (the women with asthma) and praying for God to heal her and stop the wheezing before the soldiers came in the room. Miraculously it worked. Corrie had prepared a prison bag that had all the essentials she would need including medicine for her sister. I didn’t mention it before, but at this time I believe Corrie was already 51. In her haste she had thrown her prison bag in front of the door to the secret room. The soldiers ordered her to get dressed and come downstairs. As she went to reach for her bag she realized they might be able to see the door that way so she left it. It was a really hard thing for her to do. So, the Ten Boom’s and some other relatives and friends who had been there for a Bible study (which if not illegal at this time was not something you wanted to be caught doing) were all herded into the dining room and one by one taken into the clock shop and questioned.

They wouldn’t admit to hiding any Jews, knowing that it would be almost impossible to find the secret room. And in fact, I don’t believe the German’s ever found it. They found the spot where all the jewellery and things were hidden, and under the bottom step where all the food stamps were, but not the secret room with the 6 Jews (one of them was away at the time of the raid – the electrician – he was installing a buzzer system somewhere else). The ‘all’s clear’ sign had been knocked from the window and broken. One of the soldiers noticed Corrie look at it and picked it back up, put it together, and placed it in the window. Shortly after an unsuspecting person came to the door yelling that one of the others had been caught. They too were arrested and the soldier said ‘I knew it!’. He had a feeling about the clock statuette. All in all because of this I think they arrested 35 people that day. The Ten Boom’s also had a working telephone – pretty sure that also wasn’t allowed. Of course they had codes – all to do with clocks and watches – so if someone was tapping the lines they wouldn’t be found out. But that day a lot of people from the underground had been discovered and people weren’t taking precautions like normal, they were distraught. Corrie answered 3 or 4 phone calls in an unusually brisk manner, but it wasn’t until the last that the person on the other end caught on and hung up before saying anything.

Corrie and her family were all put on a bus and shipped out of Haarlem along with many of their friends and underground helpers. They were taken to prison with the others before being sent to concentration camps. Corrie was the only member of her family to survive. She was released due to a clerical error. All the women of her age were meant to be executed, but somehow (by the power of God) her name was put on a list of younger women and she was released. She spent the rest of her life telling her story and spreading God’s message across the world. It’s a very moving story. One women, one family willingly risked so much to save the lives of God’s chosen people.  There’s so much more to the story and I actually got out the book I bought there (for the first time since I bought it) and read a little bit to try to get more information. I know the people hiding had to stand in that place for at least a day if not more with no food or water. They had to wait until they were sure the coast was clear. And since the Germans were positive Jews were being hidden the house they made sure to look everywhere.

This is me trying not to get stuck in the door. The bedroom isn't that much wider than what you see in the picture. The width of the secret room was only about 2 1/2 feet or so, I think. Not very wide. With 6 adults it was standing room only.

I have to say, this tour moved me much more than going to the Anne Frank house. I think it was because it was more personal and not as many people. The women who gave the tour was an elderly volunteer, she was a child during the occupation. One ‘yeah!’ moment for me was when she informed us that it was the Canadians who liberated Haarlem. So far in my travels in Belgium and to Dachau, Germany it had been the Americans doing all the liberating. Not that that’s a bad thing! Liberation is liberation no matter who did it. It seems that the Canadians did more liberating in the Netherlands and the Americans in Belgium. I’m proud to be North American ;).

We had lunch in Haarlem before making our way back to Amsterdam. I forgot to mention that before the tour while we were waiting for it to open my parents spent a bunch of time in a cheese shop that’s just a couple of shops down from the museum/house. They bought some (picked up after the tour), but not before having a taste of a bunch of different kinds. The guy helping them was very helpful and enthusiastic. Lisa and I stood outside (I think the smell might have been a little too overpowering for me, can’t remember) watching traffic jam up on the small street. There was a truck making a delivery and because the street was narrow and because he wasn’t able to pull very far to the side, traffic was held up for a while. I thought it was funny. But only because it wasn’t me stuck in it. I think apart from the morning and the evening that street was pedestrian only.

Dutch cheese!

Once back in Amsterdam Lisa and I went off to do our own thing. She wanted to take me to the coffee-shop where you could buy brownies…or space cakes. Oh yeah, we’re bad. As an aside for those who don’t know; a coffee-shop sells marijuana, a café sells coffee.  We ended up wandering around, not knowing where we were. We managed to find this place we had been the day before and followed a group of kids in bright orange t-shirts because we figured they were going to the Anne Frank house (we were right) and the place Lisa was trying to find had sort of been around there. Her had Dad had found it the day before. Of course there are coffee-shops everywhere, it’s just trying to find one’s that sell baked goods. In our somewhat aimless wanderings we stumbled upon a shop that sells legit Absinth. It’s not green (yellow in fact) and you don’t light in on fire. Don’t let those sneaky Bohemians in Moulin Rouge fool you. The man selling it was very helpful and took us seriously. It was Lisa who wanted to buy some. I thought maybe because we are still sort of young (Lisa younger than me) that he would treat us that way, but he didn’t. Then again, we can be mature when we want/need to be ;).

And here are the different types of Absinthe as well as accessories to go with it.

We didn’t find what we were looking for on the other front. The Absinthe was something Lisa wanted to look for, but we weren’t really looking for. It was a fluke that we even saw the sign. And I guess we managed to find 1 of only 2 stores in Amsterdam that sell the real stuff. Finally after walking almost non-stop for about 3 hours we started to make our way back to the hotel. We hopped on a tram. We should have just walked, we weren’t that far. We started going in the wrong direction (I was still getting used to all the little tram details). I figured it would be easiest to head back to the station and then get on the right tram from there. We finally got there and got on a tram I thought would take use to our stop. There were so many, I just got one of the #s mixed up. It was not the right tram. But we got on just as it was getting ready to leave and we couldn’t get off. This one in fact only made about 6 stops and went right out of the city! Ahhh! And we were already going to be late in meeting our parents. Finally at the 2nd stop we got off, crossed to the other side and went back into the city. We then got on the correct tram and made it back in one piece. In rain because, yes, it had started raining during all this.

We ended up going for supper at a little place across the ways from our hotel. We got there just before they closed down the restaurant. After supper we wandered around more through the shops looking for little things we wanted. Some things we found, others we didn’t, and spirits weren’t the highest. Lisa and I left our parents again on our quest to find the right coffee-shop. And to see more. So we took off in a different direction. We ended up making a big circle and thankfully after a fruitful search making it back to familiar territory. We found this coffee-shop:

So classy. And right on the edge of the Red Light District too.

There are a bunch of ‘The Bulldog’ shops and I swear we went into each one. Finally outside this one there was a security guard who asked for I.D. As we were taking out our passports we asked if they had any baked good because there was no sense going in otherwise. And they did! The guy behind the counter was really open and friendly and pretty cheesy too. We were polite, saying things like ‘we would like’, ‘please’, and ‘thank you’. One thing led to another and he said ‘that’s how I knew you were Canadian, you’re so polite’. I wish I could remember the rest of our conversation with the guy because it was really entertaining and I thought it would make a great story for here. But alas, 3.5 months is too long for my brain. I know one thing you’re probably all wondering about was whether we saw the Red Light District. The answer is yes. Again, by accident. Beside this shop was an alley. In this alley there were scantily clad women in windowed rooms selling all kinds of things I would never sell and doing it in the glow of creepy red lights. We walked through this alley to get home and to say that we did. It wasn’t what I was expecting. I don’t really know what I was expecting, but I think it was something bigger (there were other alleys) and more…pronounced? I just thought since it seems like such a big deal and something that everyone always associates with the city, I thought it would be a little more obvious.

After finally achieving one of our goals for the day we quickly headed back to the hotel. We were tired, our feet were sore, and we just wanted to go to bed. And so ends day 2 of our Awesome Amsterdam Adventure!

Click here for information on the movie The Hiding Place which is based on the ten Boom family, the raid on the house, and their time spent in Concentration Camps.

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I’m starting to like train travel.

This morning was interesting. It started out as usual, but Greg stayed home today. And Bastien was off from school. I was supposed to watch him, but because of this whole car thing the plans were changed. So Adeline, Bastien, Sylvain, and I piled into the car. First stop was the babysitter’s where we dropped off Sylvain. Then it was on to Namur to take me to the train station. There was a train going to Lille at 8:30, 9:30, and 10:30. My goal was the 9:30 train. We pulled up to the station at about 9:15/20 or so. I said my goodbyes and rushed inside. The Namur station is bigger than Lille and Douai so the ticket booths were a little harder to find. When I did find them I had to wait in line. I think there are machines there and you can buy your ticket through them, but because I was short on time and had never done it before I didn’t want to risk it :P. Finally it was my turn – I was stuck behind a couple who were trying to sort out an issue – and the women at the booth was having problems with her computer. Go figure. No matter, it worked in the end with 4 minutes to spare. While waiting to purchase my ticket I had looked at the screen’s to find what, oh my goodness…I can’t think of the word in English (it’s voie in French)…platform! I looked to see what platform I had to go to so I could run there once I had my ticket. So with ticket in hand I quickly walked out into the main hallway and noticed that I was near platforms 7 & 8 – I needed to be on platform 3. Thankfully Namur is a little easier to navigate, at least for me. Where as some stations you have to go down a flight of steps to an underground tunnel, the, find your platform number and go up those steps to wait. It’s not hard, it’s just sometimes there is so much stuff on the signs it’s hard to see what you need to see. In Namur you walk up from the street. Then everything but the tracks are up on that level. Each stair way leading down has only 1 number listed on either side. So easy!

It was quite cold once I got down onto the platform and I didn’t have to wait long before the train was there. I settled in for a nice 2 hour ride with my audio book. I also started responding to a letter from a friend. When I got to Lille I didn’t actually know what train I had to take to get to Douai. The first time I did it I had two tickets – one from Douai to Lille, and then Lille to Namur. This time I only had one. I just had to find a train that was going to Douai and get on. There were at least two. I was going to take one, but it wasn’t there yet and I noticed that the one beside it was also going to Douai so I hopped on. But not before authorizing my ticket on the machine. First time I did that. I think I was supposed to do that from Douai to Lille, but I was distracted and had no idea. So now I have to send my tickets to the insurance company and they’ll reimburse me. I kind of want to keep them…our TGV and my Eurostar tickets I printed out so they’re just on regular paper. Oh well.

By the time I got to Douai and walked to the garage (only about 6 minutes, not bad) the office was closed. Someone saw me and took me to talk to someone else and we discussed some stuff, but I had to come back because they technically weren’t open again until 2. So I walked back to the train station. There were two reasons for this. 1) I really had to pee. 2) I knew they had food there. So I bought a cheap ham on baguette sandwich and made change to use the self-cleaning washroom. It wasn’t free like the one’s in Paris. It wasn’t as nice either. I don’t think it works very well because it definitely wasn’t very clean and it kind of smelled. Yuck >_<. But when you have to go you have to go. I ended up taking the long way around from the garage back to the train station because they were doing construction on the other road – the road that is a straight line from point A to B. The first time I went they must have all been on their lunch break because no one was there. I didn’t want to get in their way the 2nd time or walk into traffic so I took a more circuitous route. I think by the time we got everything sorted out I was on the road by 2:35-40 or so. I was supposed to get back by about 4:30. Everything was fine for a while. I had to stop and get gas again and I made sure I put the right stuff in this time. That’s when things started to go a little down hill again, but this time it had nothing to do with me.

I had talked with Adeline as I was leaving and it was decided that yes, I would pick up Sylvain because I would be back in time. Sounded good to me. Yeah, not going to happen. I came upon what I thought was a traffic jam. I thought even for a Friday (and not a holiday one) it was a little early in the day for that. Turns out, it wasn’t because of traffic. There was an accident. A tractor-trailer had gone off the road (as far as I was able to tell without gawking and stalling traffic even more). Not fun for him. I called Adeline to say that by the GPS’s reckoning I now wasn’t going to arrive until 5:08. She said she was leaving Louvain-la-Neuve (she went with Bastien to the pool there) and she would pick up Sylvain. Alright, all’s good. Again, not so. Only a short while later (maybe about 10km) I hit another ‘traffic jam’. This time there were sirens coming up behind me. I always get nervous when that happens, even in Canada. I always feel like I’m right in the way. This was happening at a point where the highway split in two. So, police car, ambulance, and another vehicle with sirens all came up behind us and thankfully had enough room to drive on the far right side of our side of the highway. It turns out there was yet another accident. This one would have been super recent because emergency crews were just getting there. A guy flipped his car. Rolled it. I saw him (or at least one guy, I don’t know how many people were involved) on the grass lying down. They were getting the ambulance ready. I don’t know how he got out because the car looked like it had rolled many times, so much so that the roof was caved in and it was probably half the normal height. Then it landed on the passenger side. I don’t know how it landed and stayed like that. It wasn’t propped against anything (it was in the middle of one lane). There were two other cars that I saw, but I don’t know if they were involved because they looked okay from what I could see. These two accidents make what happened to me seem minuscule in comparison. I mean, sure I was super stressed out, but I wasn’t hurt. And I ended up being able to drive my car away. That second car – not going to happen.

I ended up getting home about 5:15. So it felt like a long day. A long day that went by both fast and slow and felt like I didn’t do anything. But man, am I tired! As hesitant as I was when it came to taking trains before I got here, I think if either Wasseiges had a station or we lived in a town that did, I would take the train more. It’s impractical for me now because I have to get a ride there, but it’s really not as hard as I thought it would be. I guess most things aren’t when you actually just do them. Thankfully both Wednesday and today were beautiful, sunny days. I wasn’t stuck walking around those towns in the rain!

I talked with Bastien about me going home. I asked him if he remembered how my family was here and then they weren’t and if he knew where I was going. He said Canada. I asked if he knew I was staying there. He did. I asked if he was sad that I was leaving. He said no :P. In some ways I want him to be sad and to miss me because I’d like to think I mean something to him (he does tell me he loves me a lot ;)), but at the same time I don’t want him to be too sad. He’s just a little tyke.


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Was that a cow? Oh no, it’s just a crying child.

Sylvain now has the chicken pocks. He’s got more spots and he had a fever today. He didn’t sleep very well so he’s sleeping now and will have to be woken up for supper. Bastien also didn’t take a nap today because he didn’t want to sleep. Humph. So all he’s been doing this evening since his parents got home is cry. Except when he cries because he wants attention me makes this kind of cow groan sound that is really distracting. Greg had gone to the doctor with Sylvain (Greg had the flu) and was trying to explain medication and stuff to Adeline and Bastien was doing his cow-crying.

Today at lunch I noticed that Sylvain’s right eye was really red. Around the outside it had that purple look that you get when you don’t sleep, but in the inside corner it was really red. I put a drop in it before he went down for his nap. I don’t know how much he slept I only know it was just a little. When he got up it wasn’t as red, but there’s a bump now and I think it’s a chicken pock. Poor guy.

Adeline sent Bastien up to bed because he wouldn’t stop making noise/crying and of course this is horrible for us all, but Greg more because he’s sick. She told him not to make noise and not to wake up his brother, but the next thing I hear is high-pitched squealy talk. I run up there and tell him to be quiet and I see that Sylvain is sleeping doubled over. It’s like he was sitting up and decided to fold himself in half to sleep. I moved him and noticed that he was a bit sweaty so hopefully that means his fever has broken. I think he woke up for a bit because we heard crying, but then all was silent.

I finally got my first Amsterdam post published and the pictures are up on Facebook. They’re actually not that exciting. One thing I realized is I don’t think, in all 3 days we were there, that I once got a picture of the Anne Frank house. I could take a picture of the stuff I got there, but I didn’t take a picture of the outside (you can’t take any inside). Lisa and I even walked past it on Day 2, but I didn’t get my camera out.

So tomorrow I’m going to the school to re-register for my French course. I’m not exactly sure what’s happening with it, but she said I could go in tomorrow between 1-5.  And it’s kind of a big deal because I’m going to get another letter soon from the work permit people (hopefully only one more) that’s going to ask for signed proof by the school that I’m attending regularly so I have to make sure I get signed up again! Since the course technically runs from September to June I have to re-register. Oh well.

I think we’re about to eat supper so I should get going.

*****some time later*****

One thing I was  going to mention yesterday that’s really cute. There’s this little puppet song with hand actions that you sing with kids. Basically it’s moving your hands (waving like the Queen of England, but more splayed fingers), then you make a rolling motion with them, then you hide them behind your back. Well, Sylvain is starting to do the wave motion. It’s mostly just with his left hand, but he started doing it today on his own, no prompting. It’s adorable. Hopefully the boys will sleep tonight. I know they’re tired, but when your sleep schedule gets messed up that does all sorts of odd things to you.

This morning I got up for a walk for the first time in over a week. I actually jogged a bit too. More than ever before. I would say that of the 5km I was out for I probably jogged for just over .5km. I know it’s not much, and it wasn’t all at once, but for me it’s a big deal. I know this is super weird, but I was watching Bride Wars last night (I’m not even sure why, I don’t like it that much….) and there is at least two scenes where the main characters (Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson) are out jogging (or power walking :P) and I just really got the urge to jog. To feel the freedom that you don’t get from walking. Sometimes when I’m walking fast I get the urge to run, I just want to be able to. I want to be able to really stretch out and go. It’s harder because it’s colder now in the mornings, but I really am going to make an effort to up the ante a bit. What’s the point in doing this every day if I’m not going to strive towards actually moving better/more.


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© 2010-2011 hollyjb

You mean I could have slept in?!

This morning I got up – a little later than I wanted – to take my morning walk. 1h 05m 5.9km. I got back, got breakfast out and went upstairs to grab Sylvain’s cream from the bathroom before Greg went in there. I didn’t hear anybody up and I was a little confused. I’ve gotten them up before when I though they’d slept in, only to realize I was an hour ahead of myself. So I came downstairs and checked my calendar. Sure enough, today was a work holiday. Well, I thought, there’s no sense in going back to bed – it was 7:10 or so at this point – So I started emptying the dishwasher so I could get a head start on cleaning up the kitchen from last night. It took a little longer than normal because I was trying to be as quiet as possible. Well, I got it emptied, another load started, the counter and table (mostly) clear, the unopened drinks put downstairs, the table-cloth in the laundry room (where the ‘bar’ was) wiped down and folded all before they woke up. I mean, they were up by 8:30 so it wasn’t that long, but it’s amazing what you can get done when you just do stuff. My Mom’s probably shaking her head right now. It’s the kind of thing that your Mother tells you all the time, but you never actually listen or want to do it. I know Mom, you’re right! I had to make, I think, 4 trips down to the basement. Part of that was because I’m clumsy and if I try to take too much at once I’ll drop it. I also fed the chickens.

With my walk this morning I actually managed to jog for an extended period of time. And for me that only means about 45s to a minute. I didn’t actually officially count, but I started part-way through a song and decided I had to make myself continue jogging until it was finished. Of course I happened to be going up a slight hill at the time. My lungs were not happy with me. Or rather, my throat was protesting. It’s like in middle school when I had morning gym class and we’d have to go out and play lacrosse in the fall. The combination of cold and running always made me taste blood. Gross and painful. That’s what I get for being horribly out of shape though.

Today in Eghezée there was a farm fair type thing. Something along those lines. I stayed back with Sylvain so he could sleep, but Adeline, Greg, and Bastien went. Based on what they told me I would say it’s sort of like the Plowing Match that I’ve gone to a few times. Maybe not as big, but along those lines. I think. Anyway, that’s where they were today.

Sylvain took a long nap this morning and then finally woke up and had lunch. We had quite the afternoon. I was in the kitchen emptying out the dishwasher again so I had the playroom and dining room doors closed (for his safety). He absolutely loves playing with balloons and a bunch are in the play room from the party. Then suddenly I hear this paper crinkling noise. I go to check and he’s gotten into the bag that has the wrapping paper and the garlands that were put up. At first he was just sort of playing with the colourful garland, but then he wanted to put it in his mouth. I didn’t think that was a great idea so I tried to take it away. Well, it was long and the paper ripped easily so it took a little effort to get it all away.

After I was done in the kitchen I went to play with him. I went to try to play some piano, but he wanted to crawl on my lap so I let him play. He seemed to have fun with that for a while. And I sang to him a bit. It was nice to just sing, I haven’t done that in a few weeks. It felt good to use those muscles again and to bring out old songs I haven’t sung in ages, seeing if I remember all, if any, of the words. I hadn’t put him down for his afternoon nap yet by the time the others got home. I didn’t want him to go to early because he hadn’t been up that long. Bastien fell asleep on the way home so they took him right up to bed. I think they tried to put Sylvain down, but he was having none of that. After his snack time Greg and Adeline took him outside to play.

Then we had supper and after that Bastien and Adeline were trying out this new game. You roll a die and the number you roll is how many cheese wedges you have to put on a tray. The thing is, the tray is being held up by a mouse and it’s very wobbly. It’s all about placement and balance. And the kids not bumping the table!

I spent the time in between all that stuff catching up on some blog posts, but I’ve barely made a dent in the amount of stuff I’ve missed. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to reading all the posts of the blogs I’ve subscribed to, but reading a couple posts from each one is better than none!

You know how ‘they’ always tell you that even though exercise is a daunting task you’ll feel better afterwards? And if you’re not used to it or don’t like it (or think you don’t like it) you’ll deny this and say not for you. The thing is, sometimes it can take a while for the ‘feel good’ effects of exercise really start to kick in – where you can tell over whatever aches and pains you might have that you’re actually feeling better. I’m getting to that point right now. Even though I only had about 4 hours of sleep last night I still got up and went out. If I wouldn’t have done that I don’t think I would have had quite as much motivation to start cleaning up like I did. Man, being outside this morning was so refreshing I was even dance-walking to my music. Plus, the fact that I’m seeing results has me on cloud 9. Not huge results – then again, when you’re going for a lifestyle change and not just a quick fix you want things to go slow – but results that I can be ecstatic about. I have a goal to reach by the time I leave here. I don’t know if I’ll reach it, but if I don’t I’m not too worried because I know that I’ve taken positive steps towards a healthier future and that’s what counts. I have a longer way to go in the food department, but I’m very slowly (very slowly) making progress there as well.

So, for all of you out there who may be reading this and are trying to make positive changes, go for it! Dredge up that will power somehow and find a way to make it happen. Find someone or something to keep you accountable (Nike+ chip in my shoe does that for me). Most importantly, do it for yourself. I know that you probably hear stuff like this all the time. I know for me I always hear people saying ‘if I can do it, anyone can!’ and I think, ‘yeah, but not me’. The thing is… I am doing it. In this precise moment in time I’m focusing on positive thinking and not letting myself slip into an ‘I can’t do this so why bother’ state (which happens all to often). This mindset may change at any time and when it does I’ll just have to push myself past that till I get to the next positive stage. I can do it. I just have to keep telling myself that. My health is too important not to.

All the power to everyone who is in my position! You can do it! Woah, pep talk. Verbal diarrhea; it’s a disease, I swear :S.

Cheesy Goodness

Tonight for dinner we had fondue! Yum. Cheese is good (unless you’re lactose intolerant….then I’m sorry).  And again, Bastien finds the fact the I say having two left feet is impossible absolutely hilarious. I just keep saying it’s impossible to make him laugh, it’s highly entertaining.

I went for another walk today. This time I retraced our steps from that first long walk through the muddy tractor road in between two fields. I decided I would go that route again 1. for a change and 2. because I knew that the ground would be hard enough because of the cold that I wouldn’t be up to my ankles in mud. It was so grey today and at first it seemed a little warmer than it has been (and I thought maybe it was going to snow), but on the second leg of my walk the wind picked up and of course I was walking right into it! This route took me about 55 min, instead of the 1hr 8min that skipping the field road would take. So, I can do about 5km in just over an hour…that means that 11km should take me around 2.5hrs give or take? I’ve decided that eventually I want to tackle the route that I take when I pick Bastien up from the babysitter’s. It’s about 11km round trip. I’m going to start tomorrow. I probably won’t do the entire thing, but we’ll see. I know when the weather’s nicer I want to take my back pack with me with water and snacks/lunch and make a day out of it. Explore on foot. You see things differently that way and you have more time to look at things. Not only is this a great way for me to see the country side, but it’s a great way to get fresh air and exercise!

Well, that’s all I’ve got at the moment. Also, I’m bemoaning the fact that I will miss Glee. It starts on Sunday…I can’t watch it on, it’s doesn’t work here, but I’m still going to search for other places to watch it. I know, I’m bad. But you gotta love it…sometimes. Most of the time. It’s so silly/ridiculous/over the top, but entertaining at times too. I’ve been introduced to quite a bit of music that I might not have found were it not for Glee. That means that I look up the originals as well as listening to the Glee covers. So for all of you who like the show, have fun watching it and think of me when you do!

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