J is for Jogging!

(Update:  I had to remove the image/link with my image and map.  It was totally crashing my blog.  Ah well, a new J image will be added later…)
Sunday I hit a new milestone: 7km jogging, non-stop. That’s my longest run yet! Then I found this website where you can map out your run, share it with others, and know how far you went. I also have my Nike+ thingy to tell me how far and how fast I went, but this mapping is nice too.

I was so enthusiastic after this run that I signed myself up for the Kikarun on 8 June! Oh no! This is a 10km race and I just don’t know if I can do it! But then, I remember, when I signed up for both of the 5km races I felt the same way. I just have to stay injury free and keep up a slow increase and I should be ok. This coming Sunday I plan to run 7.5km. Whew!

Wedding Party in the Park

Yesterday was P & G’s wedding. I couldn’t make it to the ceremony since I had to work, but I wouldn’t have missed the party afterwards. The party was held at the Blauwe Teehuis (Blue Tea House) in the Vondelpark. The weather was perfect – sunny and just warm enough. G’s dress was beautiful and she made a matching dress for E. The food was very good and it kept coming all night long. It was a nice combination of Spanish tapas and Italian hapjes (snacks) made by friends Q and M. All the usual suspects were there and the time just flew by. Before I knew it it was very late and I was cold and had to bike home. It was a great party! P & G & E are now on their way to Sicily to celebrate.

Here are a few photos. You can see all of them here.

Early Mornings

I didn’t sleep well last night.  I got up at 6am because it’s my day to run in the park before going to work.  Actually I was supposed to run yesterday morning, but work keeps making a mess of my running schedule.  Anyway, it was tough this morning.  I ran 3km only and I felt like a brick.

But at the end of the run, while walking and cooling down, I came upon this heron.  He stood stock still, like posing for me, so I had to take his photo.  I guess in the end getting up and out of the house is worth it.


It’s Sunday, and you know what that means – running.  Today I went again to Sloterplas and ran around the lake.  It’s getting easier every week.  Today I ran just as far as last Sunday, but this time faster.  Last Wednesday I did my first interval training – 1.5 minutes running fast and 1.5 minutes walking.  Man, that made different muscles hurt.  But, it’s all for a good cause.  I think next Sunday I add another 1/2 kilometer to my run.  I think I’ll sign up for a 10k race in July – my first!

For the last 2 weeks we had glorious summer weather, but last Friday it turned cool and rainy.  This morning I managed to take these photos while the sun was out.  I’m not putting a huge effort into the roof terrace this summer since we are moving in August, but still, it’s nice to have some flowers and things:


I’ve also got a lot of strawberries that are small and green still, and two cherry tomato plants with lots of flowers.  Hopefully we can eat from the terrace again this year!

Today in Amsterdam is a book fair, billed as the biggest in the world.  I have my doubts about that, but even so, there we a LOT of books.  Most of them were used, which was a disappointment.  It’s not the biggest USED book fair after all.  There were tables set up at Nieuwemarkt and at Waterlooplein and everywhere in between.  I think DB was afraid we’d come home with an arm load of books, but I didn’t buy a single one.  It was so hard to actually see what was on offer – you could have spent a week looking through all the books to find something you really wanted.  The most interesting things I saw were the old Life magazines from the 40’s and 50’s.  I was really tempted to buy one or two, but just didn’t in the end.  Ah well.  Next time.  Here’s a photo from Niewemarkt:

Lace update

I’m making steady progress on “Garden Party”.  I’m now working on the bottom border that is knitted on sideways.  I’m almost down to the point of the triangle.  I’m really working hard on this thing so that it’s finished and blocked in time for my birthday in mid-June.  With having to work late so many evenings lately, I end up knitting like a fiend whenever I can.  I’m really enjoying this lace knitting!  I didn’t know when I started if I’d like it or not, but it’s really growing on me and I can easily imagine making more lace projects.

DB has set up a new WordPress blog (my blog is also using WordPress, hosted on A Small Orange).  He’s spent a lot of time looking for a template to use.  Watching him set up his new blog makes me really want to dig in and change mine.  I’d like to upgrade to the latest version of WP.  I’d like to find a new template and change things around a bit.  I’d like to add a new home image that really shows Dutch skies and not a bike.  But, as you can see from the above photo, I’m busy on the shawl project and just don’t want to take time right now to revamp the blog.  But, I think before I dig into another knitting project I’ll spend some time on the ol’ blog and see if I can make it a little more interesting.  So, if one day you come here and everything looks different, you were warned!

In My Neighborhood

Sometimes I just have to laugh. It happens to me a lot here in NL.

A colleague at work told me that I should try the jogging route around the Sloterplas. It’s a 6.2km route just to the west of the A10 ring road. It never occurred to me to run this route. But why not? It’s only a 5 minute bike ride from home! This is the surprising part – it’s so close to home but but seems so far away. Usually if I want to jog on a Sunday and the weather is nice, I’ll go to the Vondelpark. With this nice weather we’ve been having, the park is full of joggers, bikers, baby stroller walkers, skaters, dog waters, etc. etc. It’s just full of people.

This morning I jumped on my bike and headed for new territory. The really nice thing about running around Sloterplas is that it’s a paved bike path / running path and there are markings every 200m telling you how far you’ve gone. When I got to the starting point I took a couple of photos. The lake looked so big. I couldn’t imagine that I could run all the way around it.

But I DID make it all the way around and without any trouble. I also ran it faster than I’ve ever run before. I’m finding that without trying at all to increase my speed, I’m getting faster anyway. It’s just coming easier and easier. YIPPEE!

I think now that I’ve discovered just how close this park is, I’ll be going there every Sunday to run.

Yesterday we drove to Hillegom to a tile and bathroom company to see about getting stuff for our bathroom in the new house. We followed the TomTom route, which seemed to take us into the middle of no where, but was correct in the end – it WAS in the middle of no where – at least by Amsterdam standards. We drove along lovely canals and fields of flowers and through small villages. I thought “this is another drive to do with Mom in September”.

It was a very successful trip to this company and we will probably go with them to order the equipment and also to do the work on the bathroom. We still have to find out if it’s possible to do in the month of August, not earlier, not later. That should be decided in the next couple of weeks.

On the way back from Hillegom we drove north through more small towns. We drove through Cruquius, which is just south of Haarlem. What did we stumble upon? A HUGE shopping center with a Media Markt, and furniture stores, and even a big plant nursery! What a find! We didn’t stop there, but you can be sure I’ll go back there and check it out. Who would have guessed that such a place existed in Cruquius?

Now, this is the part that makes me laugh. In both cases, yesterday and today, I am reminded just how CLOSE everything is to Amsterdam, and just how SELDOM I get out of the city and go anywhere. There are so many interesting places in NL that are so close by but I just never make the effort to GO. I begin to feel very Dutch, meaning that to a Dutch person traveling 30 minutes to go shopping is just too far. Or that getting in the car to go shopping is just silly when you can go by bike into Amsterdam. But sometimes I’m reminded that everything is so close by and accessible and there’s a whole world outside Amsterdam! I gotta get out more!

Ah! The Sun!

The weather has been glorious the last week and looks to continue for at least another 5 days.  It’s been sunny and warm and gets warmer every day.  This kind of weather is rare enough that when we have it everyone, and I mean everyone, goes outside.  People eat outside.  They drink outside.  They sit outside everywhere.

Every day I bike through the city center on my to work and back.  I bike around the Nieuwmarkt which is a big square with a large old building in the center (with a bar and restaurant) and bars and restaurants on all sides.  Just around the corner is Amsterdam’s China town.  And around that corner is the Red Light District.  But back to the sun….

I took a couple of photos on my way home yesterday.  Here’s one side of the Nieuwmarkt:

People will set up tables and chairs just about anywhere they can find the smallest space off the street.  This photo was taken just to the right of Elandsgracht:

These days we have the doors and windows open til late at night and tonight we’ll take the winter bedding off and put on the summer bedding.  I’ve put my winter sweaters away and gotten out my summer skirts.  Summer is finally here!

I is for Island

I is for Island, namely Terschelling.  We spent the last 4 days there and I’ve already blogged about it a bit here.  This photo is special though.  It’s for the iContest for the ABC-Along 2008.  Why should this photo win?

It was taken on an island and actually represents quite a few aspects of this island.  There’s the lamb, and there are certainly a lot of sheep and lambs on Terschelling.  The lamb is standing on top of the dike that runs along the southern edge of the island.  The dike keeps the island from washing away.  The lamb is looking down into a field that is filled with migrating geese.  They are only a small part of the bird life on this island.  You can never escape the sound of sea birds calling or geese honking!  Also in the distance is a farm house (for the sheep of course) a bit of forest (pine trees are found in planted pockets around the island) and on the right top of the photo, the hint of a dune.  The northern half of the island is made up of sand dunes, mostly covered in grasses, but also some covered in cranberry bushes.  Terschelling is famous for cranberries and any food you can think of made from them.

But why else is this a winning photo?  The lamb is kind of an island himself standing there, looking out.  Normally they stick together and don’t stray far from Mom, or their siblings.  This lamb was an island, if only for a little while.

And where would we knitters be without sheep?  This little lamb provides us with the stuff of imagination, warmth, and at one time real survival.  I imagine some early human communities could thank sheep for their very existence.  Me, I’m very thankful for sheep, and green fields, sand dunes, sunshine and islands to escape to.


I’ve added 3 of my Terschelling photos to the Wallpaper photo group on flickr.  It’s a great place to look for computer wallpapers if you are sick of photos of your pets, or kids, or teletubies.  Here are my latest contributions:


Having a few days of RnR is good for the project progress.  I finished the left side of the first pattern in the lace shawl.  I’ve actually already started, and am half way finished, with the right side.

I do have a confession to make though.  The last 8 rows that you see here will probably be frogged and done again.  Either the pattern is wrong, or I’m wrong (more probably).   The pattern changes from the flowers to more like small blobs but my blobs didn’t come out right on the left side next to the leaf panel.  I will finish the right side first before ripping anything out and see how THAT works.  But hey, it’s good progress isn’t it?!