Monday, May 31, 2010

Strike a Pose!


Not quite Vogue, eh?
Photo by JAZ

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thor's Day Visitor

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Thor's Day!

And now, a return to the traditional observation of Thor's Day.

About time, Thor sez.

Thor sez: Just put down the chicken and no-one gets hurt.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

People

Jason loves to photograph people. I love to look at photographs of people because I like to make up a story for them.

All photos by JAZ





Tuesday, May 25, 2010

To Make Our Bike Lovers Drool

The people of Amsterdam love their bikes. And for good reason. They have dedicated bike lanes everywhere, they have complete right of way and won't hesitate to ring their bells to let you know, you stupid tourist,that you just stepped into a bike lane.

Every one was on bikes, dressed for work, carrying groceries, flowers, briefcases, and once what I was pretty sure was a cello.

These black milk crate looking baskets seemed to be the most popular.

Even the kids rode bikes. These carts were popular and I saw a few that had snap on plastic sheets to protect from rain and cold. I even saw what I think was an entire pre-school class heading out on a trip, two teachers with about 5 kids each in large carts.

There were also little "bike seats" that strapped to the back or front or both (as seen here) of the bikes.

The first time I saw this sight, I told Jason that my American mother friends would completely freak out when they saw this.

And they did.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Editorial Sunday

You may notice that I have removed the link Help This Kid, Please from my link list.

Why, you ask?

Because Will has reached his goal! Every penny needed. His tuition is paid, his air fare is paid, his books are paid, his housing is paid!

Yeah! I am so excited for him and his family.

Loki sez: Um, isn't this Loki Sunday???

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

De Poezenboot

Oh, come on, people. Did you really think I could go almost a whole week without a major kitten fix? De Poezenboot (The Cat Boat) is a no-kill shelter that began in Amsterdam with a single woman taking in strays and grew into the shelter that today is moored on a canal on Singel.


There are older cats who will live the rest of their lives on the boat and cats who are up for adoption. I was wandering around, petting some of the older cats when this little charmer caught my attention by popping up out of her basket which was on the top level of a cat walk in the center of the boat.

She jumped down on my back, walked around my shoulders to snuggle in my arms and proceeded to purr and head-bump my face until I was wondering if, just maybe, I could sneak her through customs.

Hmm....looking a little smug there, young kitty. She had been adopted and was going to her new home the very next day.


The boyz say: We KNEW you were with another cat!!!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Jubilee Year

If I may borrow from both Jewish and Christian tradition here. Today begins my jubilee year, my 50th year on this little planet.

I've never been one to agonize over my age. It never bothered me, turning 30 or 40 or whatever number it might be. But deep down, I wondered if turning 50 would bother me, even if just a tiny bit. It's a milestone. I tried torturing myself with numbers - "20 years ago you were thirty and so young, now in 20 years you'll be 70". Taunted myself with concepts - "you have more time behind you than before you."

Despite all that, I still really can't get negative about it. I'm alive, in my right mind (oh, hush!), in reasonably good shape physically, I have no major health issues. My knees have been bad for 20 years, my hair gray for 15 so I'm accustomed to that.

Every year for many years, I have taken a birthday trip. It was my present to myself. Now, wandering around National Forests and climbing mountains might not appeal to everyone. For me, and luckily, for Jason, treks into the vast beauty of the rapidly disappearing wilds of this country are soothing, spiritual times.

My past birthday trips lead many who know me to ask, "Why Amsterdam?"

Well, the truest answer is simple. I wanted to see the Van Gogh Museum.
Photo by me.
I wanted to stand before "Wheat Field with Crows" and see the brush strokes that Van Gogh's own hand created.

The more complex answer is a jumbled mix of feelings, assumptions, intuitions and hopes that can't be easily identified with mere words. It was a bold step (for me)to travel overseas. There was a vague familial stirring as many of my ancestors came from the Nordic/Germanic regions. There was the idea that I could let go of being a philosophical outcast in my hometown. Plus, there was just the exhilaration of walking into the unknown.

And it was all that and more.

Beauty, whether natural or man-made, is still beauty. If you can stop and see it.
Photo by me.
Photo by me.
Photo by JAZ (but you could tell, huh?)

A wonderful adventure to kick off this, my Jubilee Year.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Loki Sunday

Loki did not do too well while we were gone. He's fine. It's just that Thor loves his granny and comes out when she gets here and gets food and playtime and snuggles and love. She has to get a flashlight and look under the bed to make sure Loki is alive and breathing.

Drama. That is Loki's middle name. Loki Drama Kitty.


Loki sez: I'm just sensitive, okay?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Random Amsterdam

These are my pictures, not taken with my camera, but the photo function on my little DVR, so the quality isn't the best:

No, I did not try one, but was intrigued by the bottle of barbecue sauce offered as a choice of condiments. Just outside the Rijksmuseum.

I don't have a clue what this is, but it was sort of cute, in a ratty sort of way. At the Artis Zoo.

Statue on the staircase outside the Film Museum in Vondelpark.


These photos are by JAZ:
Puppies enjoying the morning air on Emmastraat.

Albert Cuypstraat Market.

The bigger dog was showing the puppy who was top dog on Cornelius Schuytstraat.

Feral cat. She was in very good condition and very sweet. On Emmastraat, I believe.

Our hotel was in a residential area, so on our walks, we got to see a little slice of real life. There are more, but Jason hasn't finished post-processing and I need to clear use with him before publishing them here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tiptoeing Through the Tulips

Not really. This is Keukenhof Gardens, outside of Amsterdam. Very famous place. We took a bus tour there just to avoid the stress of having to find correct buses and stops by ourselves. (And, I think we have a Spanish gypsy curse on us now judging by the evil eye we got for sitting in the wrong seat on the bus.)

Seven million bulbs were planted this past fall to create this display.

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Photos and videos can hardly do justice to the visual overload when you look out over the panorama.



This little girl was so cute. She kept dancing to the music, then realizing people were watching, would get shy and grab on to her brother. I was only able to catch this snippet of video (you can stop when the lady walks in as she didn't move away as I thought she would). Jason got some great pictures of her and her brother.
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Oh, and it is Thor's Day!
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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What is Today?

I got lost somewhere around Friday and couldn't remember what day it was for the rest of the trip.

There are pictures and videos coming soon.

Spent approximately 20 hours in air/airports. Our flight out was delayed by about 2 1/2 hours leaving Schiphol because the Icelandic volcano decided to erupt again.

Luckily, they'd done some preparing (I freaking LOVE the Dutch and their efficiency) and had an alternate route planned. I can probably legitimately claim to have been to the North Pole now because that's about the route we took home. North from Amsterdam, across the North Sea, passing over the Shetland Islands, then over the eastern tip of Iceland (where we got to peek out the windows and see the ash cloud in the distance), then across freaking Greenland to the Canadian Yukon down to the left of Vermont (man-child stated he didn't think there was anything left of Vermont, aha ha ha, take a moment and think about it, that's the man I raised, razor sharp wit) then through PA and finally Washington DC, where of course we'd missed our connection. United was great, had us rebooked before we hit the ground at 6pm EST for a connection leaving at 10pm. Hmmmm, just what I wanted after 9 hours in the air. We walked in the door home minutes before midnight, 24 hours after waking up (to our body clocks).

So I'm tired. I forget my point.

One story. We went to see a blocks long city market called the Albert Cuypstraat Market. It was awesome, blocks of little stands selling all sorts of things. I bought my pink and black scarf there because it was cold and rainy. I'm strolling along and see a booth of the most amazingly beautiful flowers and head in that direction. I'm standing there, looking at the flowers, reading the names of those unfamiliar to me and thinking, "Why do these flowers smell like fish?" Then I turned around and across the way was a fish market with fish, crab, eel and other things hauled from the sea.

Jason took this picture and it is one of my favorites. It made me laugh because the fish on the right just looks so pissed off about being caught.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Christ, You Know It Ain't Easy

Amsterdam Hilton, where John and Yoko tried to get us some peace.

I look a little grumpy, but it was cold and rainy and I hadn't had coffee yet!
Vacation kitten. I think this is a feral spay and release cat - note the notched ear. She was very friendly.

Monday, May 03, 2010

More Birds

I put a few of the strawberries we picked on Sunday out in the feeder. The mockingbird loved them and became very territorial. The raccoon ignored her attempts to chase him off.
Blue Jays are among my favorites for their color and attitude. Here is one in flight.

Red bellied woodpecker hanging out in the oak tree.

Yesterday was quite the wild kingdom around here. The squirrels, birds and raccoon were joined by a bunny, a turtle (seriously, first time I'd ever seen one in the yard) and a hawk that nabbed something feathery, I think a mourning dove.

And now, your moment of Thor:
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Today I shall be in the grips of my compulsion to clean the house from top to bottom before leaving on a trip. Tomorrow I shall be doing last minute errands. Hopefully, I can leave you, my dear readers, with some kitten fun to tide you over while I am away. I don't know what the internet situation will be, but I will try to post from the Netherlands if I can.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Bird Blog

These are all the birds I photographed in my back yard last evening:
Brown Thrasher

Red Winged Blackbird (I think)

Brown headed Cowbird and the Blackbird

Female red bellied woodpecker (Thanks, Mike for catching that!)
Mr and Mrs Cardinal

Mr Cardinal

Mockingbird

Blue Jay