zaterdag, juni 25, 2005


The thing I remember most from my first trip to Europe is the coffee. No wait, the first time I was here I hadn't started drinking coffee yet, so that's just a lie. I guess I don't remember coffee from my first trip at all. But now that I think of it, I DO remember the pastry. Those incredible layered chocolate cakes in Bavaria... But this isn't a post about cakes. This is a post about coffee, so let me see if I can get back on track so this train of thought can have a caboose. The point is that I eventually started drinking coffee, and after that I came here again several times, and each time I noticed how good the coffee was, and after I noticed it, I drank it. I drank way too much of it way too quickly. I was tense and anxious and edgy and thought, daily, that I just might have a heart attack at any minute. I didn't figure out that my symptoms were probably caused by the coffee until after I got home. It took awhile, though, because shortly after I returned home I thought I probably had a brain tumor because my head hurt so badly. Eventually the penny dropped and I figured out my headaches were caused by caffeine withdrawl. After that, I monitored my caffiene intake a little more closely. Of course, it was easier in the states - the coffee wasn't as strong - or as good.

Before I spent my first summer abroad in London, I'd never really spent time in England. Still, I was as excited about going back to the land of good coffee as exploring Britain. After arriving, I discovered very quickly that the coffee in England sucks. It's even worse than the coffee in the US. Really. I only survived because there were perks that had nothing to do with caffiene. The best of the perks were the incredible crepes in Hampstead. Truth be told, I'm ordinarily not that crazy about crepes. When it comes right down to it, I don't think it's really fair to call the things in Hampstead crepes. But that's what the makers call them, so what are you gonna do. They're made in a little crepe stand (Le Creperie de Hampstead, 77 Hampstead High St.) outside a pub (King William IV - a gay king that has this gay pub named after him, but that's another post) not far from Hamstead Heath. If you get within a hour of the place, you have to try them. They are that good.

But this is a post about coffee, or more correctly, coffee makers. One of our wedding gifts was a coffee maker. This coffeemaker is to coffee what The Creperie de Hampstead is to crepes. It's one of the Nespresso machines made by Krups. The coffee for the machine comes in in little coffee capsules (they're about the same size as those little plastic creamers that are in every diner in the US). There are a wide variety of blends.

Anyway, Natalie, who never reads this blog, wanted to see a picture of the coffee machine. So here it is, even though I doubt she'll see it:

By the way, in case you were wondering the answer is yes. I drank a cup before I wrote this. And yes, it does seem to make me more productive. If you can ignore the fact that I'm supposed to be studying Dutch instead of writing something for a blog, I mean...

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vrijdag, juni 24, 2005

Open Letter to the Kansas School Board

So what are you gonna do about the whole Kansas evolution/creationism quagmire? I don't know, but my hat's off to him. Given the state of the argument, I think he came up with the only reasonable solution. Please read and support his open letter to the Kansas School Board.

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donderdag, juni 02, 2005

OK, so I'm an American.

I admit it. And here I was being so Dutch. Well, mostly.

I mean, I would have voted for the EU Constitution, so maybe I'm not so Dutch. Then again, the majority of those in Utrecht voted for the Constitution. I also would have voted against shopping on Sunday here in Utrecht (also on our ballot). Those in Utrecht also voted against it. Maybe it's that I'm more of an Utrechtian (Utrechter? Utrechtese?) than Dutch.

So the "shopping on Sunday" thing. As it is now, we have Sunday shopping on the first Sunday of each month. On every other Sunday the stores are closed. By law, I guess.

Several have asked me why I would have voted against opening the stores on Sundays. Well, it's simple.

I'm selfish.

I like having the city to myself every once in a while. This is an incredibly gorgeous city, and I like being able to meander through it without having to watch where I'm going. I like to slowly bike down the Oudegracht without having to worry about knocking over, or being knocked over by, one of the thousands of shoppers. Crowds can be good, but I also like the quiet and calm. And on Sunday, three days a month, that's what you find out on the streets. Is it so much to ask for?

And really, you can still shop on Sunday at, right?

OK. So yes. I am an American after all. I do still like to shop whenever I want - it's just that to me, a fix from a virtual store is as good as the one you get from a real one. And if Amazon on Sunday isn't bad enough, it just got worse. Now there's "Dealazon". It's a Beta program. Oh dear god, please let it be so buggy that it doesn't last. It's to Amazon what Sidestep is to travel. Kind of. Not really, but it does find you the best bargains to be had on

You want proof? I just bought a KitchenAid K45WSSWH Classic Series 4-1/2-Quart Stand Mixer with Spatula, White by KitchenAid - On Sale for $119.99. That's less than 100 EURO! AND SHIPPING WAS FREE!!

OK, no. They don't ship to Europe. And yes, I already have a KitchenAid Artisan Series Stand Mixer with Spatula, Black by KitchenAid - and no, the Classic isn't wired for European electricity either, but I couldn't resist. I caved. Proof. I'm still an American.

So Pat - it's being shipped to your house because they won't ship it here. Well, that and I have to hide it from Ian. We'll figure out how to sneak it over here later. Now all that remains is for me to figure out how I tell my hubby.

Any suggestions?


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