Tuesday, September 27, 2005

When to start 'throwing my toys out of the pram'?

Okay, question for you all - When do I start 'throwing my toys out of the pram' as my former boss Ian would say? I like to play fair and try not to be confrontational - I am rather an easy going laid back person. Except when I feel that I have been cheated, scammed, taken advantage of etc etc etc

Way back at the end of July / beg of August I saw someone at a site I belong to (not naming it, but I am sure y'all can figure it out) posting that she had some patterns for sale. A few of them looked interesting, so I sent her a message asking about them and the final cost incld postage. We came to an agreement and I posted a paypal pmt to her which she received. She sent me a message back on August 5th:

Got the payment... will ship soon as it posts to my account. It says 3-5 business days but rarely takes that long. I would say probably Monday or Tuesday.

I have your US address so will ship to that.


And that has been it. No news from her on the actual mailing, nada zip zilch. I've sent her two PMs one on the 31st of August which she never answered and one again today. Both messages have been very nice messages asking her for information on the mailing. When should I start to get bitchy here? She has posted a few times on her blog and has been to the forum but has not posted anything since the end of August.

Lost cause? Or should I start being a little bit more vocal which, when I need to be, I am VERY good at doing!

Okay, off home to pack for the flight to Rome tomorrow morning! Here is keeping my fingers crossed that I find a nice yarn shop in Rome to spend a little bit of moolah in!

UPDATE: Following the advice of Jessica & Regina, I went over to the blog to leave a message. On her most recent post there is a message also from someone else inquiring as to where her pattern is! I guess I am not the only one! I did leave a nice little message - I was very polite!

Just checking in to make sure that all is still going well! I hope that you will be able to get the patterns that I bought from you in the mail soon!! Merci!!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Sunday in Paris.....Monday at work

Had a great time this weekend with my parents! Showed them around Brussels a little bit on Saturday - took them down to the Grand Place, to see the Mannequin Pis (little boy statue who they dress up on various occasions) and of course to try a Belgian Waffle!

Here are some pictures - enjoying the waffle and the Mannequin Pis dressed up as Asterix, a Belgian cartoon character!

Sunday morning we got on the Thalys high-speed train to Paris and One hours and 25 minutes later we arrived! I spent the day showing them around the city - as my Dad injured his knee before they came (he will probably have to have surgery to repair it) we mainly took one of the double Decker Hop on Hop off buses. The nice thing about visiting Paris so often is that I know where all of the nice public restrooms are! :) While waiting with them to buy souvenirs, I spotted the cutest magnet - which of course I had to get one!! Here are the pics of us at the Eiffel Tower and my magnet which is on my computer stand here at work!

Speaking of work, I had a wonderful day of mail arrive here! Look at what was waiting me when I showed up this morning:

First, my next set of stitch markers from the Stitch Marker Swap at Crochetville from Juli. I absolutely love them Juli - thanks so very much!! Thank you also for the pattern sheets!

Second, a wonderful little surprise from Jessi! A wonderful postcard of Michigan to make me homesick and remember what I am missing! :) A cute Kimberly name plate and four AWESOME stitch markers! They are wonderful!! Thank you so very much for sending them to me!

And last, but not least, from Marvie I received a wonderful mailing of beads and earring wire to help out on my Stitch Markers that I am making for the Crochetville Swap! Thank you so very much Marvie! They arrived safe and sound - you are awesome!

I do believe that is it for now! I must get to work and then leave to go pick my parents up at the train station! Have a wonderful day!

Friday, September 23, 2005

They are Here!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yay!! My parents have arrived!! Woo hoo!!!!! :)

And they brought presents!! They brought me some yummy fudge and also, my mom is the bestest mother of all out there!! Lookie what she brought over for me (she even had it wrapped!!):

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Do you know how excited I am to have this??? (Thanks Momma!! I love you!!)

Okay, they are sleeping still, so I think that it is about time that I go home and wake them up! I picked them up at the airport this morning, took them to my apartment, then to the train station so they could grab subs for lunch and then I can into work! We are off for Paris on Sunday - will take pictures!!!

On a sad note, I said goodbye to my co-worker Brad and his family today. I am so very sad to see them moving back to America. The upside though is that they will be in the Chicago land area and little Natalie (she is 3) is already looking forward to Kimberly moving to America after Christmas so she can show me her new house and of course come and see my new house!

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Sitting here in Europe, the thought of Hurricanes and flooding and everything seems to be so far away. On one level I know its happening, I know that people are still suffering from the effects of Katrina, and here I read that now Rita is coming into the picture with what looks like a monster Category 5 hurricane (remember Andrew and his destruction anybody? I was down in Florida 8 months after and was amazed/appalled to see mountains of debris and refuse everywhere still.)

So, here comes this Category 5 hurricane heading right towards the site of the largest natural disaster in US history - the 1900 Hurricane that almost obliviated Galveston off the map. In my opinion, anyone with any sort of a brain would leave a city where 17 foot storm walls do not stand a chance against 50 foot storm surges. 50 feet!! Lets put this into building perspective here. Normal foundation would be about 1.5 feet off the ground. Assuming (to be generous) 12 foot high ceilings (normal is 9 I think) plus a 1 foot buffer between floors, a 50 foot storm surge would engulf a 3+ story house / building completely. The impact and force of these surges should be enough to wipe out anything in their path (picture the tidal wave images here folks, although not with the same suddenness....or would it be????)

So imagine my utter surprise to read this one:
Hurricae Rita Threatens Gulf Coast

Jennifer McDonald in Galveston planned to ride Rita out. She and her husband have enough food and water to last 10 days in their wooden house. If it gets really bad, the couple will take to the roof.

"If it goes, it goes," the 42-year-old nurse said of the house. "We're completely prepared."

How are you prepared???? Your WOODEN house could be completely swept away. So you are now in the water. Even assuming you are wearing life preservers / flotation devices, there will be debris, trees etc in that same water being pounded by the forces of Mother Nature.

Remember the stories from Katrina - the water rose in some places to engulf the roofs in 10 minutes.....how can you get out in time? Where can you go to? There is not any high ground. Once access has been cut off, you are SOL!

*thump* *thump* *thump* will someone please whack these ying-yangs over their heads and tell them to wake up to reality of a Category 5 hurricane!!!!!!!!!

I spent the lunch hour today talking about hurricanes, tornados, typhoons, tidal wavse etc to my Belgian colleagues and explaning the devastation and capabilities of the varying Category Hurricanes. I told them about the 1900 Hurricane and how weather forecasting today should be able to help us prevent another disaster and allow enough time for everyone to evacuate if they would only listen to the warnings. Well, the warnings and orders have come and tehre are still folks who want to stay????? Wake up, smell the coffee and get the hell outta dodge!!!

Rant over. Thanks for reading! :) Have a great & SAFETY SMART day everyone!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho...its off to Zurich we go

Well, today was my trip to Zurich....even more exciting than Milan......I was privileged this time to see the airport, office and airport. What a trip eh? I've been to Zurich before 3 years back and stayed there for 2 weeks, so I do not mind the quick trip, although getting up at 5 am to go to the airport at 5:45 stinks!!! I am NOT a morning person!

My meeting went really well - the President was really happy with the results that we are showing and wants us to focus on automating my reporting package and setting it up so that it can be used for the other product lines. Its not an easy process, so hopefully I will be able to do that!

The nice upside to having to take two flight today is this:

Yup, I crocheted on the plane! I still need to tie in the ends, but wanted to show you my progress today. This brings my squares up to a grand total now of 25 finished squares and 3 half way done (see picture above) so I still need to do 8.5 squares (the 3 half I counted as 1.5 finished) I just might finish these after all!

Thanks everyone for the comments on the Ben / Avni situation. I will be really super careful if I decide to see him again. And Heather - Kitten?????? Could you not have picked a better name - I am not exactly "Kitten" like material....although I do have claws at times LOL

Sunday, September 18, 2005

My name is not Ben.....

"My name is not Ben....." Head spin....Huh?????

Well, I have known this guy named "Ben" for well over a year. We met at the disco, went out for coffee once or twice and then settled into the friendly "say hi and smile" when we saw each other with an occasional conversation.

Well.....last night I was out with Zori and her friend Oscar, and bumped into "Ben". Did the normal smile and "hello" and we kept going our separate ways. Later in the evening I was feeling like the third wheel with Zori and Oscar so I decided to take a stroll around the bar to see who I could see (I normally have a few friends hanging out there on the weekends) Well, got into a conversation with "Ben". Ended up coming back to my place to listen to music - that's it - lets get your mind out of the gutter here folks! Well, during our interesting conversation about American, Kosovo (thats where he is originally from) the war there, Clinton, Bush, family etc he pulls out the bomb shell. "My name is not Ben....its Avni" Huh? WTF? I've known you for a year, you told me your name was Ben, you call yourself Ben.....just who are you?

Turns out Ben is his cousins name, and he uses that so people don't know who he is. He tells people his real name when he gets to know them.....so I guess I know him, but Geez! I feel like I've been lied to majorly here! What else has he lied about? Is he married with 5 kids waiting for him back in Kosovo....is he really from Kosovo? I thought that I was the paranoid one for telling people occasionally that I'm Canadian and live in Anderlecht when I am American and live in Ixelles. I've used the fake name before, but that was with people I had no intention of EVER talking to again.

We made tentative plans to see each other later in the week, but I am not so sure that I want to see him again......a year is a long time to go by another name!

Oh well, its off to brunch with Zori, and then hopefully to bed early tonight since I have a 7:30 am flight to Zurich tomorrow morning!

Friday, September 16, 2005

OMG...I am in LOVE!!!!

I am in love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I always thought that it would be with someone about 6'2, blondish hair, bluish eyes...but nope, I am in utter and complete love with Knitpicks! Have you checked them out? Perhaps I just missed them and their glorious wonderful fibers. The only stumbling block in our relationship is their lack of postage to international destinations.....I can over come that one...I'll move back just for KnitPicks! *grin*

So, I am absolutely drooling over some of the following (go check their complete line out for yourself....in comparison to the prices that I pay here....wow!!! Cheap!!!!)

First up is Gossamer....The colorways are awesome. Sweet Peas, Sunrise and Blue Jeans are my favorites....lets not forget Leprechaun! lol At 3.79 for a 440 yard hank.....of pure 100% merino wool *drool*

Moving on is Wool of The Andes Seems to me this would be perfect for kool-aid dying as well as felting purposes!

And lets not forget Shimmer I am lusting after Grape Hyacinth and Stained Glass! :)

My final opinion....moving back to the US just might put all of the money I've managed to save over the past 5 years of working at risk.....I really don't need to buy a house do I???

Have any of you ordered from them? Able to give me any feedbacks on their yarns? Merci beaucoup mes amis!! Bon weekend!!

Note: I've been asked to go to Darmstadt Germany tomorrow.....not sure how I can fit that one in with my current plans....he is getting sent to Iraq though.....last chance before he leaves since my parents will be here....oh the decisions one is forced to make.....my best friend or a guy.....lord, I guess I am staying in Brussels! :)

A second FO today! *faint*

Well, would you believe it? A second finished object to show y'all today! Shocking, I know!! *grin*

I've been very productive tonight! I got home on time for the first time in oh...2 years! So, I whipped up a batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies to take into work tomorrow for my former team mates who are busy working on the budget...I don't miss that one at all! But since I kept them all fed last year (while working 12-14 hour days last year I would still manage to bake at least one cake, brownie or cookie each week...sometimes two for a period of 2 months! Insane, I know! But baking is very therapeutic and stress relieving for me. I did other things besides sweets too - muffins and breads for examples) I thought that I should at least bring them in something once - are I not the nicest? lol So here's the cookies cooling away on my table:

Now on the FO - one of Donna's ever so wonderful Jute Baskets!! Vera sent me some jute, and tonight I decided to whip one up. They worked up really quickly, but I must say that my poor thumb is throbbing right now! I think that I hold my hook oddly, and it rubs really badly on my right thumb! I will do another one or two with the rest of the jute...as soon as I can find more beads!

Only one week now until my parents are on their way to visit! I can not wait! Our plans right now are to go to Paris and Rome, as well as me sending them to a few cities around Belgium while I am working a day or two! I can not take that much time off right now...especially since I am going to need to take 2 days off to go to Ireland with Zori for her birthday!

I just realize while re-reading my post for errors that I use an awful lot of exclamation points when I am writing....I think that Cordelia is wearing off on me!! LOL

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Traveling Thursday......Prague

This weeks edition of traveling Thursday takes us to Prague in the heart of the eastern bloc region of Europe. The capital city of the Czech Republic, Prague is a very pretty and quaint city. With a castle up on the hill, a gorgeous clock, and of course, the Christmas markets, Prague is a wonderful city!

Here is a picture of an old water wheel and a picture of the stalls at the Christmas market! I bought jewelry, Czech glass ball oil lamps and some gorgeous Christmas ornaments which I hand carried back to the US for Christmas....talk about nerve wracking!

My visit took place last December where we toured the city, shopped at the Christmas stalls and found an American bagel restaurant...yummm! We also went to the Opera to see Turandot, and had excellent seats in a private box...wow! What an experience that was...felt very posh sitting there, even if I was in my jeans (last minute decision to go, and no time to change....jeans would normally be the LAST thing I would wear to the Opera!)

Deneen - sorry for another taunting by flashing my pictures!

Wow.....an actual Finished Object!

I bet y'all were wondering if I was actually crocheting at all anymore! It seems like forever since I've actually finished something other than a square or something for my Secret Pal (not showing because she just might read my blog!)

I've been fascinated lately by the look of the pineapple motif, and have been playing around with the idea of actually attempting a pineapple tablecloth (eek, I know!) Well, I decided to start small and on the tram this week I've been working on The Petite Pineapply Doily by Priscilla Hewitt. Here is is in all of its 7.75 inches of glory:

It is click-able for a larger picture. It feels so nice to finally have a finished object! Next, on to a slightly more difficult doily from the booklet that Vera sent to me!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Photos, photos and more photos!

Today was a good mail day! I received at work my stitch markers from Kimberly - they are knitting stitch markers - the first that I have had! Also when I got home, waiting for me in my mail box was a Postcrossing Postcard.....from....you'll never believe this one.....Swapna!! Out of all of the Postcrossing members, Swapna randomly received my name to send a post card to! Check out my mail goodies:

As requested by Cordelia, here are the pictures from my trip to Stockholm (along with some Kimberly commentary - did you think that I would not have any comments???)

First up - the wool shop: When I asked the store owner if I could take a picture, her comment "Of What??" when I said the wool she looked at me like I was crazy and said OK!

Next: A shot of the harbor - notice the blue skies - it was sunny and warm the whole time we were there! I think that we brought the good weather from Brussels with us! The second picture is St. George slaying the dragon!

Next - the back of the Vasa - very hard to see, but the wood working and detail is amazing! To think that this was under the water buried in mud for over 300 years!

A shot of me and Zori sitting outside of the museum enjoying the sunshine!

I love the effect of the sun and the clouds in this picture - very cool!

Telephone call.....what was that score to the ND versus Michigan Game????? What??? We won??? Woo hoo!!!

And finally...the biggest let down of my whole trip! I practically jumped up and down when I saw this store:

Only to receive the biggest disappointment when, upon entering I found out that they did not have Slurpees....nor did the other one hundred 7 Elevens that seemed to be on every corner taunting me!

Fall football.....

Being in Europe, I miss most of the fall football season, as I can only watch a few games, if any at all! While I was unable to watch the ND versus Michigan match-up this past weekend I was able to stay in the loop thanks to my Dad texting me the progress while I was in Stockholm!

Heres a re-cap of our texting:

Dad: Half time ND 14 Michigan 3
Me: How is ND doing? Let me know please! :)
Dad: Final Score ND 17
(Huh??? WHO won?????????)
Me: Ok nd 17 what did michigan have????
Dad: Won by 7
Me: Shit dad, who won by 7? I asked you what mich score was! Sheesh lack of clarity - Zori agrees
Dad: oh that nd 17 mich 10 smile

Armed with that knowledge, I took great pleasure in walking up to a gentleman wearing a Michigan jacket in the Vasa museum and giving him my condolences! lol He looked at my very strangely and then I grinned and told him I went to Notre Dame! (okay, I went to Saint Mary's, but in this case, I had to say ND!!! PLUS, I did take some courses over there!) He groaned and said of course he would run into someone from ND! I could only grin!

I love tormenting the poor Michigan fans at times like these.....I put up with it when ND loses, so its only right for me to dish it back to them!

Yahoo! Sports - NCAA Football - No. 20 Notre Dame 17, No. 3 Michigan 10

No bicycle riding needed!

All that I can say is that I was lucky that I did not need to ride a bicycle....it rained the whole way back to Brussels! Yes, at almost 2 in the morning I have arrived home safe and sound. We managed to get a great deal on a car rental! Normally if you rent a car in one country and drop it off in another country, you are penalized anywhere up to 100 Euros for that little drop off! After checking cars with Avis and Hertz and being quoted over 250 Euros from each (around 310 USD for a one day car rental) we checked with Eurocar and found that they had a Belgium car that needed to be returned to Belgium, so we were charged the late arrivals booking fee of 100 euros to come back...cheaper by far than getting a hotel and waiting to take the train in the morning!

So away I went driving in the rain through France and into Belgium!

I am glad that I am home, had a wonderful time, an adventure returning, and the best company! Thanks to Zori for being my traveling partner in crime on this vacation - it was an excellent weekend vacation! Can not wait to see what our next voyage bring us!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Greetings From the Stockholm Airport!!

Well, this has been a trip beyond belief!! Due to traffic and a train strike, we missed our bus to the airport on Friday....well, I was there and waved goodbye to the bus since Zori was stuck on a train! We managed to convince a taxi driver to drive us down to Charleroi Airport (45 minutes outside of Brussels) for the low price of 80 euros (a deal we were assured!!) I slept the whole way there since I was feeling a little bit under the weather! We made it to Charleroi and on to our flight!

Had a great day and a half sight seeing and of course wool shopping - I picked up some gorgeous purple wool from Norway! We also did some damage to the shops - my half empty suitcase is now packed to the full! Today we went to the Vasa Museum which is a museum dedicated to the Vasa ship - a 17th century ship that sank on its maiden voyage and was found in the mud in the 1950s! Its amazingly intact and an awesome site to see! Oops! On Saturday I spent 30 minutes clapping and cheering for the Stockholm half marathon runners - I was a one person cheering section for everyone who came around my corner....not sure if any of them understood my shouts of encouragement, but thats okay! Its the thought that counts right?

So, we had a nice afternoon shopping, and then a nice lunch before heading back to the hotel to pick up our luggage and go to the airport. We got to the train station to catch our bus and realized that we had the wrong time!! We called the airport frantically and managed to get on the flight to Paris instead....Paris????? well, its closer to Brussels than Stockholm!!

So here we sit in the Stockholm airport, our future once we land in Paris is still to be determined.....we have checked the train times and will miss the last Thalys to Brussels. We will look into possibly renting a car in Paris and driving to Belgium....at this point, I am willing to ride a bicycle!

I hope that all of you had a great weekend! Will update you on the last leg of my journey once it has been completed! Cheers!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Off I go.....into wide blue yonder!

Well, today is the start of my mad and wild travelling for the next month. Which will hopefully result in many pictures, but also means the lack of blogging, Crochetville, and *gasp* Crocheting time!

I am heading off tonight for Milan, and will return tomorrow night in time to join the farewell party for my colleague Brad who is returning to the US.

I leave Friday evening for Stockholm Sweden where I will be until Sunday night! I am travelling here with Zori once again, my favorite travelling partner in crime! Hopefully we don't get into too much trouble! Many thanks to Oslofia for sending over all of the great links on Stockholm, including some great suggestions for some yarn shops!

I leave Monday night for Munich for a meeting on Tuesday!

I am then back in Brussels for 3 days and then its another weekend. I am still torn on what I am going to do that weekend (19th / 20th). I have a friend I know who is stationed at Darmstadt Germany. Okay, a friend is a really loose term here - I would more or less call him an acquaintance. Any-who, he just found out that he is getting shipped to Iraq in 5 weeks. So, he has asked me to come down and visit. This would be a great trip as I could also possibly arrange a side trip down to Stuttgart to visit Marvie! The downside here is that I had already made tentative plans with some friends to get together in Brussels and possibly go to a Hops Festival in another city in Belgium (Hops is what is used to make beer, so translate this into another Beer Festival!!) I'll have to make a decision soon as I need to arrange for a car if I decide to go to Germany......we shall see!

I am off to Zurich the 19th for a meeting, and then on the 23rd my parents arrive and we go to Paris on the 25th, and then leave for Rome Italy on the 28th for 4 days! The long and short of this all is that in one month, I will travel to Italy twice, Germany twice, Switzerland, France and Sweden! Oh did I mention that I am spending 5 days the first weekend in October in Ireland for Zori's birthday? lol

I really am trying to see more of the places on my Places To Visit Before I Die list! This next month will see 3 places crossed off my list! And a few repeats!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

kaml2000 has left the house!

Well, that's it folks! The end of an era, the beginning of a new! LOL Kaml2000 has left the house and Kimberly has moved in to fill the spot over there at Crochetville! This aligns both my Blogger name and my Crochetville name.....a little bit of synergy in my often chaotic and confusing life!

I really debated going with the TaxiHooker name, but realized that I would probably offend someones moral sensibilities, and while I personally don't give a hoot, nor does my family or close friends, someone would get pissed off. I mean, if my sweet 70+ years old Grandmother can call me a "bitch" people should be able to handle the "hooker" tag line....did I ever tell you that my Dads cousins are all Hookers? LOL I thought that was the funniest when I was growing up that Aunt Joyce's last name was Hooker *snicker* I wonder, as a professional lady of the night, do they have to depreciate their assets? What is the asset average life span? Is it straight line depreciation? Who determines the value of the assets? Is there a re-sale value? Can you tell that I am an accountant?

Crocheting front - My Little Frog Princess now has Two arms, fully stuffed and sewn together, along with her torso done! My scarf is coming along nicely on the trams - I am babysitting my co-workers daughters tonight, so there is a good possibility that I will finish the majority of it! I am also working on a doily, and once that one is done, I will switch to work on a pineapple doily from a booklet that Vera sent to me (Vera was wonderful and sent two balls of jute along with the doily booklet and a pineapple bookmark in exchange for Chocolate, one of the lace butterflies and some Euro Coins / Euro Bill for her husband - thanks again Vera!!)

Have a great day!

Monday, September 05, 2005

My weekend: Belgian Beer Weekend

Well, I am sure that you are all relived to know that my liver survived the weekend slightly worse for wear, but still functioning! I spent Saturday afternoon and evening at the beer festival with a group of about 25 friends. Had a great time with them! I forgot my camera at home, so no pictures from the evening event! :(

Sunday I woke up and after discussions with Misfit and Cordelia, decided to head out to a café for brunch and tea in the sun…with some crocheting of course!

Here is the café and the results of the day:

I then headed back down to the beer festival at about 4 or so to use up the last of the tokens that I had – since I am sure that I will not be here next year, it was now or never to use those chips! I sent the day out in style, trying several beers, including having a Chimay for Celeste! Here are pictures of the different beers that I tried during the afternoon:

The coconut is the banana beer…..I did not drink this one…I just took a picture. Once in my life (last year) was more than enough for me! Each glass has its own shape as I said the other day!

I leave you with the last few pictures – of myself enjoying my favourite Kriek (a cherry flavoured beer) called Chapeau Kriek, of myself and my best friend Zori and one of the numerous signs that hung around the beer festival! Check out my "tan" that I have - pretty nifty eh? LOL Its actually turned today into a nice tan color but there it looks really pink! The fate I suffer having really sun sensitive skin!

Should you ever be planning a trip to Europe at the beginning of September, be sure to plan a stopover in Brussels for the Beer Festival – one event that I would highly recommend! Even if you do not like the traditional beers (ales, lagers, pilsners) and more prefer the fruity drinks etc, you are sure to find something to suit your taste buds!

My one and only post about Katrina: I am just sickened by the destruction both nature and man-made that is happening to a city's infrastructure and spirit. Being in Europe I am really removed from everything happening there. My European co-workers are looking to me to explain the looting, murders, shootings, rapings, beatings etc and I am at a loss to. I always thought that a city would pull together in time of tragedy, but it appears from here that New Orleans is being pulled apart by the very people who are lamenting the lack of help and assistance. My heart goes out to those outside of New Orleans that faced the brunt of the storm....no mention has been made of those living in the smaller communities, towns and the bayou here....I can only pray for everyone who has been impacted. I have done what I can with the Red Cross and the American Humane Society. As well as asking my mother to take some of my emergency money that I had left with her to purchase water and supplies to go down with the local charity efforts. Its not a lot, but its what I can do from the other side of the world.

First wacky search results

For months I've read about the search terms that others have had people use to find their blog. Mine so far have all been normal, boring ones - "Crochet Blog" "Crochet Patterns" " Easy Crochet".....nothing exciting or even close to news worthy.

Someone found their way to my blog via a search for "miss hot a$$" Huh? First, why are they searching for that, and second, how the heck did that lead to my blog??? I mean, don't get me wrong, my butt, while a little bit round, is cute, but I would not call it hot....I did mention the little bit round no? :D

So that was my exciting morning....reading my referral page!

Will post pictures of the beer festivities later today!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Crochetville User Name Change?

Well, I've been thinking seriously about changing my user name over at C'ville. Any thoughts? My user name is kaml2000 which is basically my initials and my graduation year...when I signed up for C'ville I used the user name which came most easily to me, my IM name. Well, I have been thinking that this is maybe a bit confusing of a name...I mean, switching it to say "Kimberly" identifies who I am better, so does making it an actual phrase that people can use "Gypsy Crocheter" or "Taxi Hooker" (OMG - bad images with that one) would be easier....do y'all identify me with kaml2000?

Friday, September 02, 2005

Travelling Thursday....on Friday!

I was so busy yesterday that I totally forgot to post a picture for travelling Thursday!

Here is this weeks edition:

Valmenier 2005 2 Valmenier 2005 1

Back in February I had the pleasure of being able to go Downhill skiing for the first time in my life! I went in filled with all sorts of apprehensions about skiing and breaking my leg (thanks to a family history of this happening). I made the decision to take private lessons (at a really cheap rate - more affordable than group lessons I was told in Aspen or Vail) had a ton of fun, saw some gorgeous scenery and would love to go back again!

We went to Valmenier in the French Alps - the slopes here were perfect! Several greens and easy blues for me (I even did a really easy red with my instructor - OMG I thought that I was going to die!) and more challenging Reds and a few Blacks for my friends that were great skiers! The food was typical Savoy fare - Cheese, cheese and more cheese! With some pasta and potatoes thrown in! :)

I am not sure if I will continue skiing though once I return to the US - it seems to be way more expensive there than here, especially if you have to travel any distance to get there! I spent just under $600 for a weeks accommodation, ski lift, skis & boots, 4 days of private lessons and my train fare to the resort from Brussels! I also spent another $100 on food, our residence had a kitchen, so we only had to eat out at night although I did cook twice for the others - Chicken and Pasta one night and Omelets another night! .

Belgian Beer Weekend

Well, I managed to survive the week. Barely! My trip to Zurich was cancelled this week which was nice, but we still ended up having to send out the presentation and the numbers....not so nice but I think that everyone was happy with the final numbers that I gave out!

Exciting events here in Brussels this weekend! Aside from the Brussels Tapis de Fleurs (Flower Carpet - done every other year on the even years) the second event that is not to be missed in Belgium is the annual Belgian Beer Weekend held usually the first weekend in September.

Some background on Belgium and Beer. In a country that is roughly the same size as the State of Maryland, there are over 450 different beers made that you can choose to drink! Now, you might be thinking "I don't like beer" but have you ever tried something besides your typical American Bud or Samuel Adams? Aside from your normal Pilsner or Ales, you have your dark stouts (like Guinness) white beer (blanche) fruit beers (cherry, peach, raspberry, banana and more), chocolate beer, red beers, Trappist beer and even here in Belgium a Lambic Beer. The alcohol content ranges from aroung 6% up to 12% Alcohol by Volume! This brings new meaning to the phrase "cheap date!" :)

Lambic beer is only produced in a small area of Belgium by International Standards and uses an ancient way of making beers that was perfected in the Monasteries (many of the beers brewed today in Belgium are connected historically or even currently with a religious order). The lambic beers use a spontaneous fermentation process (please don't ask how this works - I'm an accountant not a brewer) that results in a beer that has a tart taste that is very dry and bubbly! What is special really about the Lambic beer is that it is like a fine wine - it only gets better with age!!

In the US a beer glass is a beer glass...perhaps we differentiate between a beer mug and a glass (pint) but that is about it. Not here in Belgium! For the most part every beer will have a special glass that is made in a distinct shape and size to enhance the taste of that specific beer! While serving is often done in other glasses (i.e. you might get a blanche in a kriek (cherry beer) glass because they ran out of Blanche glasses, you will generally have the beer served to you in the correct glass shape!

There are actually only 6 Monasteries (Trappist) still producing beer today - perhaps you will recognize a name or two: Chimay, Orval, Rochefort and Westmalle are the most famous!

There are also what we refer to as Abbey beers which use a Trappist style, and were Monasteries that brewed in the past, or are linked by name to a Monastery - Leffe, Grimbergen, Duvel and Kwak are the most famous Abbey beers!

That is probably more than you wanted to know about Belgian beer, but that is going to be my weekend! I will be standing in the Grand Place sampling several of the over 200 kinds they will have there, and having some great conversations! The only beer I will not be trying again this year is the Banana Beer....must say that even though it is cutely served in half of a coconut shell, it is just plain wrong!!!!