Thursday, November 19, 2009

Not Birds

I just saw this walking home today:

The signs were entirely in Dutch so I couldn't understand the huge banners completely, but it seems to be a shoe sale.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hanging Out At Home

It's a Sunday afternoon, and we are at home doing absolutely nothing of substance.

We haven't been home on a Sunday afternoon in about three months.  It's fantastic - I'm sitting on the couch while typing, and L is reading a travel book. I've just put a new load of clothes in the washing machine, the dishes I put in the dishwasher from last night's revelry with newly-weds AV and RT are almost done, and I just polished off a left-over salad.

Ahh. This is the life.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

One of Those Days

Sometimes, I feel like screaming at the top of my lungs, throwing stuff around, and kicking something (anything) really hard.

But I never do.

Instead, I mope, eat, try to smile. And wonder why do I have to?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Book Roll

It appears that my last post on books was way back in April - has it been that long? Well, here are the books I've read since then, along with my pithy commentary (I am quite proud of myself, only one chick lit novel):

On the Road, Jack Kerouac - Rambling, as it was supposed to be. I guess I am truly a child of post post-modernism; this book did not appeal to me.

North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell - After reading On The Road I needed a lot more structure, and hence, a classic novel by the grittier Jane Austen. A romance, but the hero lost all his money in the end and the heroine had to bail him out with hers. Rock on. (Sorry for the spoiler)

The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon - I remember her name perfectly, Oedipa Mass. Such a short book with so much metaphor.

World Without End, Ken Follet - I read Pillars of the Earth 17 years ago. I remember liking it a lot then, so I had to read this sequel. Was Pillars of the Earth written like this? Or has my taste in books changed?

What Einstein Told His Cook, Robert Wolke - Kitchen Science! Remember: never cook with sea salt; just sprinkle it on food that is about to be eaten.

The Crimson Petal and the White, Michael Faber - Good writing + 19th century prostitution in London = my full attention.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers - funny, irreverent, sincere. First time I read him outside of McSweeney's, and I am definitely a fan.

The Time Traveller's Wife, Audrey Niffeneffer - why is it a bestseller? A captivating story, a non-sell-out ending, and I admit, very enjoyable.

Remember Me?, Sophie Kinsella - read on a very long airplane ride from  Manila to Amsterdam. There are fewer pleasures on an airplane.

I, Claudius, Robert Graves - historical fiction about the Roman emperor who was not what people thought him to be. Thoroughly entertaining. Will someone please let me know where I can get the sequel (without EU tariffs)?

One Day We'll Realize Why Brussels Is Cool

I realized that we've been to Brussels more times than to any other European city, and this includes Amsterdam. This is somewhat disturbing, considering that I don't really like the city that much. It's grey and somewhat dirty, and there's not much to see.

Still, our social lives revolve heavily around friends who live in Brussels, and I suppose that explains why we would spend two and a half hours in a crowded commuter train (each way) once a month or so. There's the food too, but after last Saturday's mussels with snail butter extravaganza, I think I'm laying off mussels for the foreseeable future:

Why were we there? A dinner with friends, of course, in a small grand town called Liege in Wallonia. We took a train to Brussels and hitched a ride with fabulous friends DP and TZ. At Liege, C and V, who lived in a house I would want to have when I grow up, hosted a perfectly satisfying dinner with a peppery arugula salad, a seafood lasagna stunner, cherry pie, and an impressive array of wines (a 1996 Rioja, anyone?).  Halloween night, European style.

We slept at DP and TZ's palace that night, and after a Persimmon the following morning, L and I were off, stopping for pictures at random places:

and at the local supermarket for wines and beers we could take back to the land of Heineken, Gouda and melk.