Monday, September 29, 2014

Summer Recap

This posting is a collection of semi-related items from the summer.  I figure that if I post this on the next to the last day of September it won't be too late.

As you may know, our good friends, Mark & Carol Sechler, moved to Haarlem this summer.  We are thrilled to have them only 40 minutes away.  During their transition to The Netherlands they had some issues with their temporary housing in Amsterdam --  issues primarily related to the fact that their housing bordered the red light district where the revelry made it nearly impossible to sleep.   Seems like their relocation company might have known that location was a bad idea.

So after a week of that nonsense they bailed out and moved in with us.  It was great.   We came home to a freshly mowed lawn and home cooking every night.  Graber got 2-3 walks a day.  We were hoping they'd never move.

But they had other ideas, so eventually they left for Haarlem.  On one of our visits there we toured the Great Church of St. Bravo.  Construction began in the 1300's and like most of these old churches it continued for the next 500 years.  And during that time there was a fire or two  And a tower collapsed.

The church exterior, compliments of an internet photo.  The sky is rarely that clear in Holland.  

The organ has over 5000 pipes with the longest being 10 meters.  Mozart played it in 1766.  

This report of the siege of Haarlem in 1573 states that the people were so hungry that "dogs and cats were called roast game".  

We also traveled to Muider Castle, or Muiderslot, on the other side of Amsterdam.  It was built in the 1200's by Count Floris V and was part of the Amsterdam defense system.

The American nobles have arrived in Holland. 

My family complains that I never put up bad pictures of me on the blog.  This should silence them.  

In August we traveled to the next door town of Katwijk to shop for a bicycle for Mark.  By luck we happened upon a flower parade.  Katwijk is a town of 5,000 or 10,000 people so this parade was amazing.  It had over 50 cars, floats and bands, all fully decorated in fresh flowers.  In August.  I'm not sure why they had this celebration; that part was not explained.  But everyone seemed to enjoy it.

We also toured an art museum in Haarlem.  No pictures were allowed so nothing to post here.    However, the parking garage had some nice artwork on the wall.   The picture below is telling people to remember where they parked their car.  

Enough about the Sechlers and on to more important our dog and cats.  We sent Graber to the groomers for his summer haircut and boy did we get our money's worth.  When I picked him up I had a labrador.  He was so embarrassed.  The groomer said that he didn't mean to cut it that short.  However, he had picked up the shears from the previous grooming without realizing they were for short hair.  Once he started in, he couldn't put it back so he did the whole dog that length.

Our new labrador.  
His hair is finally growing out...three months later.  

I bought Graber a new bed so he didn't have to nap on the tile floor.  

But it ended up like every other bed we've bought him.  Ruined.  

In other animal news, Tai Tai passed away this summer.  She was over 12 years old, had lived on three continents and flew over 12,000 miles.   Not bad for a stray that someone found in a parking garage in Hong Kong.  Her favorite activity was sitting in things..suitcases, boxes, napkin baskets.  

After Goldie lost her sister, she was in mourning for about a month.  Instead of wailing, she meowed in my ear all night long because she didn't want to sleep alone.  It was a long month.  She seems to have recovered now and I am sleeping much better.  

Grant's first day of 11th grade.  With our new location he rides his bike to school every day.  

My cousin, Sue, and her husband, Phil, stopped in Amsterdam for a few days on their way home from southern Africa.  We had a delicious Indonesian Rijsttafel meal, which consists of lots of small courses served family style.  We're still smiling here because we're only on course number 6.  By the time we got to course 12 we were too full to smile.  

Mark Sechler and I celebrated our September birthdays together.  

Our lap dog.  He would sit like this for hours if I could stand it.  On the other hand, our cat refuses to be held.  

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