Monday, April 30, 2007

Today's Stats

Today is Koninginnedag, the Queen's official birthday (but not her actual birthday). It's a big holiday here, sort of like the Fourth of July in the U.S.

Knowing the bike paths would be busy, Simon and I headed out early, well by Dutch standards, and got in a short ride before things got crazy. We went NNE past the Keukenhof Gardens, turning back when we reached Hillegom. For most of the ride, we had either a headwind or a crosswind. Fun!

Most of the the tulip fields are done for the season, but there are still a few to see.

Today's stats:
Distance: 20 miles
Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Average speed: 16 mph
Top speed: 22 mph

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Books Read in April

Donna Leon: Death at La Fenice
Wayne Johnston: The Divine Ryans
Jean-Dominique Bauby: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Shannon Hale: Princess Academy*
Helene Tursten: Detective Inspector Huss
John Le Carré: Absolute Friends
Michael Cunningham: Specimen Days
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa: Rashomon and Other Stories
Tobias Wolff: Old School
Elizabeth George: A Place of Hiding

*A children's novel, NOT chick-lit!


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Weekend Round Up!

Today's post is just a collection of this 'n that.

The little duckers are doing well and entertaining everyone in the neighborhood.

And I'm de-diddily-lighted that an Albert Heijn is opening in our village -- in just a 10 days! No more schlepping the groceries on and off the bus or balancing a loaded-down bicycle! Soon I'll have just an 8-minute walk to the supermarket.

I knitted, felted, stuffed and sewed up this toy for Princess Horrible. And yes, it is stuffed with catnip. Mmmmmm, catnip . . .

Simon and I have finally gotten back on the tandem. Simon replaced my seat post (I'm much happier -- no comments from you, Jim C), the bottom bracket, and the handlebar tape. Today we rode east along the Kagerplassen. Going out we averaged about 16 mph, but coming back we averaged around 24 mph. Here are the official stats:

Distance: 25.5 miles
Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Average speed: 19 mph
Top speed: 25 mph

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Little Duckers

If you look very closely, you'll see that this duck seems to be sitting on something -- her 15 ducklings! I saw the ducklings earlier this afternoon as they were swimming around their mom in a canal near our apartment. When I went back to take some pictures, they had already turned in for, um, the afternoon. Apparently ducks don't keep late hours. I should have known that since there's a pair that hangs out in our canal and starts quacking around 5 a.m.

I'll try to get better pictures in the next day or two.

And this is what I'm knitting right now: a simple cable scarf. I'm using a this pattern from Lionbrand and Tundra, Color 6704, by Katia. (To look at the pattern, you may need to register with Lionbrand.)

I'm happy with the scarf -- except for how much blocking I'll have to do to keep it from rolling up. To take this photo, I had to weight the scarf down with glasses (former mustard jars -- we have a full set!).


Sunday, April 22, 2007

France with Bud 'n Bren -- Ooh La La!

Last Thursday, Simon and I headed out with Mom and Dad to visit northeastern France, in particular the areas where my grandfather (Dad's dad) fought with the 42nd Rainbow Division in World War I.

As a child, I was dragged off to cemeteries, battlefields, and battle re-enactments and always vowed to myself that, as an adult, I would never go on another history-oriented vacation. Well, this trip to France was my and Simon's third WWI vacation.

Here are just a couple of snaps from our trip.

American War Memorial at Chateau-Thierry

The Buies Creek Expeditionary Force, as it advances on Belleau Wood

We weren't at war the whole trip. It just happens that we were in the Champagne region.
Bud 'n Bren at the grape press
A vineyard at Champagne Maison Mercier

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

More from the Bulb Fields


Thursday, April 05, 2007

kNitting News

I have way too many knitting projects on the go right now, but I do have a few FOs (finished objects) to show off.

I completed the "My So-Called Scarf" last night. I'm happy with how it turned out -- even if it is a bit short. I used Cortina by Austermann, which is 50% wool, 25% mohair, and 25% acrylic.

And I'm tickled with this felted bag. I used the "Bobbles the Sheep" dishcloth pattern for the front, knit a plain panel the same size for the back, and knit a strip of garter stitch for the handle, sides, and base.


Monday, April 02, 2007

Big Weekend!

First off, Friday night Simon comes home with a huge bunch of yellow tulips for me. They're so bright and pretty. You'll have to take my word for it because I can't seem to take a decent picture of them. Here's a fuzzy one.

Then on Saturday, which was sunny and warmish, we went to Utrecht and had the best food we've had in this country -- calzone salami from Bakkerij Mario.

And I made a new friend.

And then on Sunday, Simon repaired the tandem, and we went out for a short ride to look at the bulb fields. Everyone else in the whole country was there too. Next weekend, we'll get an earlier start.

Here's a snap of the bulb field closest to our apartment.