woensdag, december 29, 2004

Dear Kitty

Did I mention you're my favorite?

Oh yeah, like I'm going to elaborate on that...

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dinsdag, december 28, 2004

The Dutch Christmas according David Sedaris

I think David Sedaris is a brilliant writer. I came across this link the other day that leads to him reading his story Six to Eight Black Men. About a third of the way through, he relates the Dutch story and tradition. And I swear, he has it down perfectly. After you listen to it, you can buy the cd it comes off of from here:
Amazon.com: Books: David Sedaris Live at Carnegie Hall

Just to give a little preview, the six to eight black men he's talking about are those who accompany Sinterklaas on his holiday journey. Ian says they're black because of the soot get when they go down chimneys. He portrayed Zwarte Piet (Black Peter) last year. They swear here that this is not racist. I'm not going to say any more about that. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words; you be the judge.

Zwarte Piet Ian (is it just me, or is he actually prettier than any of The Supremes?)


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zondag, december 26, 2004

Alms houses

Here are a few more pics I never got around to posting. Several centuries ago, before the state took care of the poor, individuals sometimes established housing for those who were homeless. This is an example of some of the "Alms Houses" in Utrecht. It seems fitting for the season to point out examples of kindness from times past.

If you're homeless and thinking of living here, these apartments are now some very pricey real estate - definitely not lived in by the homeless.)

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The wedding boat

I can't remember if I've already posted a picture of this - it's the boat we'll have our wedding dinner on. I took the picture more than a month ago, but am just now getting around to posting it.

Ian's folks are here visiting for Christmas. They bought us an oven, so we used it to cook Christmas dinner. We ate way too much, then went for a walk around the city center, pretty much following the canals. When we go to the old city center, we walked from the building where the wedding and the garden where the reception will be back to the canal where we weill board the boat. We also showed them where the party will be held. It was a great walk - almost no people at all. I had never seen the city center so empty. We walked back through the park along the canal - there were many more people there.

Ian's about ready to serve dinner, so I'm off to eat some salmon. Hope you all had (have) happy holidays, wherever you are and whatever you're celebrating.


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zondag, december 19, 2004

A song.

Here's a really nice version of "Baby It's Cold Outside" sung by Zooey Deschanel and Leon Redbone. (updated with a "Winter in De Meern and Utrecht" video.)


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A day at the spa. . .

The Spa.
I'll let you know tomorrow how it was...

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dinsdag, december 14, 2004

Utrecht Hotel Service

The link is up! For rooms, go to the Utrecht Hotel Service, then click on the British flag for the English site. Follow the link on the left to "Congresses," then you'll see the "To have joy one must share it" link.
If all of the sudden you find you're navigating a site that is not in English, look for a British flag and click on it. It'll take you to a mirror site in English.
As you book your rooms, let us know of any questions or concerns you have - also let us know where you're staying once you've booked.

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The reports are coming in...

Ian has started posting the Commission on European Family Law reports that I've been working on. There are several stages they go through before they're posted to the CEFL website, and it will be awhile before they are all integrated with each other and the results are studied. In the meantime, it's interesting for those who study or practice in family law to see how similar and dissimilar the practices of the EU countries are to ours.

While you're at the CEFL site, the "Conference 2004" link will take you to the site of the conference we're recuperating from.

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woensdag, december 08, 2004

My email

For anyone who wrote me an email last week (or weekend), chances are very good that I did not get it. My email was light towards the end of the week; I didn't even get spam over the weekend. On Monday my service appeared to resume, but I didn't get any of the mail that several people have mentioned they sent.

So - if it was important, please send it again.


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Happy Birthday to Me!

This morning, my brother called at 6:30 in the morning to wish me a Happy Birthday. Gee, thanks, Ken. He was in Colorado just getting ready to go to bed. I was glad he called - we caught up with each other a bit. He had recently been in New York to see his daughter, Nicola, dance. She's been with the ABT since graduating from high school last year. He was also calling to find out more information about the wedding. Nicola's dancing on the 20th and 21st in NYC, so Ken will go there first and see her, then fly into Amsterdam. He thought he might have to spend the night in London, but I think found another flight that will be easier on him. Still, it looks like he'll get in to Amsterdam at 6:30 AM on the morning of the wedding. I suspect he'll fall asleep by the time dinner is served on the boat.

(Jancy also gave some news last night, but for now I'll just say "YOU ROCK!" and leave it at that. She and Bobbi still plan to come.)

So after talking with Ken I rolled over and went back to bed.

An hour and a half later, Ian woke me up by singing Dutch birthday song. He also delivered flowers, chocolate croissants, coffee and orange juice to me in bed. (Have I mentioned how much I love my life here?)

I stayed in bed a little too long. E went to work and I got out of bed and read emails. I've been reconnecting with people (cousins included) that I don't see nearly enough.

Anyway, I'm now at work. I'm sitting here taking a break from editing a report on French Parental Responsibilites (which the French reporter insists on referring to as "autorite parentale" instead of parental authority or parental responsibility. It's an English report, so I'm going to gleefully do a global replace when I start wroking again) and listening to Khachaturian's Sabre Dance on Launchcast. It's becoming increasingly apparent that I've had way too much coffee. It doesn't help that I'm listening to Khachaturian. I'm starting to think he had to have been a frequent cocaine user. That piece is just insane.

It wasn't just Ian's coffee that got me in this condition. In the break kitchen here at work they have this great little coffee machine that makes all kinds of coffee: Espresso, regular coffee, cappachino, mocha, plain hot chocolate. And it's real coffee. The Dutch have a long and intimate relationship with this particular drug.

OK - this break is over. Back to the editing... Or maybe lunch?

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