A Horse With No Name

Some people have been to the dunes in North Holland many times without ever seeing the wild horses or the cattle.  I saw both again today.  The horses were standing all around the bike path, and in the end 3 of them were standing right on the bike path so you had to go around them.  One of them actually let me touch him.  I was honored.

It was a VERY windy day today.  The wind was in my face all the way on the run to the beach and it really knocked me back.  I stopped to take a photo of the clouds, and at the beach I stopped long enough to drink something and snap a few photos.

Look at all the kite surfers!  There were even more down the other direction towards Zandvoort but I couldn’t get a good photo of them.  These were pretty big waves for the North Sea.

I ran back through the dunes and back to my car.  It was not a good run.  I only managed to actually run 8 km and walked the other 3.  I took advantage of the surroundings and tried to enjoy being out in the green and trees and not to worry about the fact that this was not a good run.  It really is pretty out here in the dunes, but I’m always reminded how small this area is and just around the corner are people and bikes and civilization.  I sometimes crave a wilderness that doesn’t exist here.

I start to worry about making the Dam to Dam (10 miles / 16 km).  It’s only 3 weeks away!  I missed an entire 10 days of training since going to PukkelPop and after that having a headache for a few days.  If I had had to run it today I would not have made it in the 2 hour limit.  I would have had to walk.  What will change in the next 3 weeks to make that situation so much better?  All I can do is pick it up again and do my best.

When I got home I showered and then ate some lunch.  DB and I have this ritual of eating open faced sandwiches on the weekend.  We cover the bread with a variety of toppings and make a kind of sample set of sandwiches for ourselves.  Here’s what I had today:

The light brown stuff is smoked mackerel.  The white stuff is “North Sea Salad” with shrimp, salmon and crab.  Both of those, as well as the bread, are from Marqt.  Above sits PB&J which Dutch people find disgusting.  And on the right is pure Dutch food – bread with butter and hagelslag on top.  Hagelslag (chocolate hail) comes in milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and what I have above is extra dark chocolate.  Mmmmmm lekker!

Now, I’m off to the attic to work on my dress for my niece’s wedding coming up soon.  The weekends go by so fast.  Seriously, I just don’t have time for WORK!

Saturday Goin’ to Town

After a long and stressful week at work, I really looked forward to some retail therapy in Haarlem city center Saturday morning.  I wasn’t disappointed!

I went looking for shoes for the wedding in October and also for shoes to show off hand knit socks.  I was successful with one but not the other.  Guess which one….

Aren’t they great?!?  They are Loint’s, a Dutch brand.  These are the third pair of Loint’s I’ve owned.  They are extremely well made and fit great.  They are always a little funky and fun.  Put all that together and what does it spell?  Not cheap!  Ah well.  I liked them better than anything else I saw.  Now that September is rolling up, the shops are full of boots, boots and more BOOTS.  I’m not ready to say good-bye to summer yet.

After the shoes, and buying some groceries, I put all that in the car (yes the CAR! no bike for me today) I went to Valk Glasstudio to see about getting a stained glass door insert made for our bathroom door.  The old glass was broken, and with the bathroom renovation we had the door also sanded and painted.  It is now ready for a replacement window.  There are 2 other doors on the same landing with glass inserts like this:

The shop has an area in the front with finished glass to buy, and a very big workshop in the back.  He had a lot of old second hand glass for sale.  In fact he had the EXACT same glass as we have in our living room door mounted on a stand in his show room!  Here’s the one in our living room:

He said it was made in the 1920’s.  Very funny to see the same thing there.  I wonder how many examples were made?  Our house was built in the 30’s.  Did this glass have a life in another house before it was installed here?

Anyway, we now have a book with glass pieces velcro’d in it for us to look at over the weekend and pick out colors for the new glass window for the bathroom.  Step by step the house takes shape.

Special Guest at a Full Table

Last night at de Jaren we had a special guest.  Nancy invited Jay Rich to join us at our Stitch ‘n Bitch meet up.  Jay is a well known expert in Shibori, a Japanese tie dye technique.  After seeing Jay’s samples I have to say that “tie dye” as I know it is kindergarten stuff compared to what Shibori is.  He showed us piece after piece of intricate and complex dyed fabrics that were just so beautiful.  Some had geometric patterns, some with organic designs like cranes.  He described a bit of the process, which I won’t even try to repeat as I’d get it completely wrong.  It’s complicated.  It’s like a chemistry class.

Jay is teaching a class at the textile school/museum in Tilburg this week.  What a treat to have a peek at his samples and to hear his stories.

Our SnB group is getting pretty big!  It wasn’t so long ago that we’d be happy if 3-4 people showed up on a Monday night.  Last night there were 13 of us.  We don’t fit around the big table anymore!

I wonder how much Ravelry has influenced the growth of our group.  We have a Group there now.  People just passing through Amsterdam are dropping in to knit with us.  New members appear who have lived in Amsterdam for a while.  Let’s see if they all still show up when it’s winter and the wind is blowing a gale and the rain is pouring down!  Let’s see if I still show up!

4 Days Off – Day 4, Finally Home

Sunday we made our way back home, yet another 3 hour drive.  Luckily DB checked the ANWB site on his iPhone and saw that there was a traffic jam between Utrecht and Amsterdam.  We decided to stop and eat and hope that the jam cleared up before we got there.

We got home around 5pm, tired but tan and happy.  We sat down on the couch and listened to LowLands bands being streamed live from the 3voor12 web site.  They made a nice mashup that you can still see here.

I don’t have much of a photo for you from Sunday, except to show you what I was knitting now and then over the weekend.  This is Ishbel, but done totally in garter stitch.  I’m using the yarn that DB won at the picnic OOPS I mean knitnic, last Saturday.

The mini vacation has been lovely.  I wish it could go on and on and on.

4 Days Off – Day 3, Back to Belgium!

Here I am, Saturday morning, back at Pukkelpop in lovely Belgium.  Let’s see, that makes it 3 hours driving on Thursday, again on Friday, and oh! once again on Saturday.  Let’s not talk about Dutch traffic, ok?

Anyway, back to Pukkelpop…. where you can get your hair cut for free….

Where you can be the only 1 out of 55,000 people knitting…..

And where you can see a lot of bands with funny names….

The Airborne Toxic Event
The Airborne Toxic Event

I didn’t take very many photos on Saturday, mainly because the battery was about dead.  Most of these photos DB took on Friday while I was in Amsterdam.  The last band we saw Saturday night was Deus, a Belgian band that is BIG here and have been big for many many years.  We probably should have stayed to see The Arctic Monkeys since we heard later that they were really really good.  Ah well.  We were beat.

It was quite a luxury to stay with friends instead of camping out.  THANKS to M. and D. and their hospitality.  You guys are welcome at our house any time.

So, will I go back to Pukkelpop?  Well…. to tell the truth, I missed LowLands.  I miss the other things going on besides the music, like performance art, sculptures, jugglers, clowns, movies, things you can participate in like creating an sms novel that is projected on a wall as it happens, the silent disco, and so much more.  LowLands is a cultural arty event.  Pukkelpop is music only.  It’s GOOD music and a good festival!  And PukkelPop is definitely cheaper than LowLands.   No matter which festival you go to, it’s no secret that they are expensive.  I’m already looking forward to next year!

4 Days Off – Day 2, Knitting!

From Belgium back to Amsterdam I drove.  Friday night was a special event that I didn’t want to miss.  Nancy Marchant had invited Nancy Bush and Beth Brown-Reinsel to come give a talk to local knitters.  Nancy B. and Beth were about to embark on a 12 day cruise of Scandinavia where they would also be teaching classes.  They arrived in NL a couple of days before the cruise began and spent one evening with us!

They talked about their work, their lives, and what they have learned and worked on during their knitting lives.  They both brought tables full of samples and examples.  And there was book signing and mingling.

It was a very nice night.  Besides meeting some knitting luminaries, I also met some new knitters from around the country, and hung with my buds.  Thanks Nancy M. for making it all happen!

Here are some photos from the night….

Nancy Bush talking about Estonia
Nancy Bush talking about Estonia
Beth Brown-Reinsel
Beth Brown-Reinsel
Nancy Marchant
Nancy Marchant

4 Days Off – Day 1, PukkelPop

Early Thursday morning we headed down south to PukkelPop.  If any Dutch person asks you what that is, just reply “It’s the LowLands of Belgium” and they will nod their heads in understanding.  It’s not exactly like LowLands, but it’s the best comparison we have.

Thursday also happened to be the hottest day of a hot summer.  We met up with friends, who we are also staying with instead of camping at the event, and they showed us around the terrain.  Here is the entrance (only a short wait in line).

And is DB and friends in our first few minutes at PukkelPop.  It’s so nice a clean at this point!  And not yet crowded.

It was so hot.  We went from shady spot to shady spot, buying water and popcycles.  DB was in desperate search for a hat.  He forgot to bring one and was really afraid the top of his head would be fried if he didn’t cover it.  There were no hats for sale anywhere, and believe me we searched everywhere.  He finally bought a t-shirt and put it on his head.  He just looked like one of many balding guys with shirts or hankies on their heads.  Dutch men go bald very early and often I’ve noticed.

We did find shade in one tent where we listened to Jon Hopkins:

He makes electronic music that is intelligent, interesting and amazing.  I wanted immediately to buy a CD of his, but I wonder how it will sound in your house rather than in a dark tent with big speakers.  I’ll have to try it and find out.  I give him 9 out of 10.

While waiting for him to start I took this photo of the sound board, which was in the middle of the tent.  Kind of cool, no?  I’m liking this new camera.

We then went to another tent (hiding from the sun’s deadly rays) and heard The Big Pink.

I found their music kind of depressing, but good sound and very listenable.  7 out of 10.  While in this tent I was also playing with the camera a little.  I was sitting down, as you can see:

Yes, this is the mess left behind.  Even though a lot of people were trying to put their trash where it belonged, there are never, ever, enough trash containers around.  Never.  It always ends up like this.  After going to many festivals I’m kind of used to it now.

Back at the Main Stage, Maximo Park was playing to a small group of brave souls (or fanboys/girls) willing to stand out in the blazing sun in front of the stage.

Most of the others were sitting in the available shade.

There were a few places where people were hosing off passers by from water cans (I took advantage of that offer).  Overall, D. and I in particular were happy to have survived the sunny hot day without major sunburn nor headaches or passing out.  She’s just as intolerant of the sun as I am, so I didn’t feel like a weirdo at all.

Eventually it was time for the event of the evening and what everyone had been waiting for – the Special Guest Mystery Band!  At 8:00pm we headed over to the tent where they would play.  It was already filling up.  The Mystery Band was supposed to start at 9.  Rumor had it that the band would be the new “secret” super group Them Crooked Vultures (pretty terrible name if you ask me).   Just before we stepped into the tent I snapped this photo:

The wind blew in the clouds and it was looking pretty ominous.  I JUST missed capturing the lightening that flashed a split second later.  At 8:30pm, while we were in a packed tent waiting for music, the rain started to come down.  It rained in buckets full.  The tent became even more crowded as people tried to escape the rain.  First the sun and now the rain!

At 8:45pm the blanket was taken off the drum kit so you could see a drawing of a vulture on the bass drum.  The crowd went a little crazy.  At 9:00pm the band came out and the tent irrupted.  These guys are legends.  OK, ONE of them is a legend and the other 2 are close calls.

Dave Grohl was on drums and man does he beat the hell out of those things.  He’s a wild man.  John Paul Jones stood in front of him, looking pretty good for the years on him.  Josh Homme was in front of course on the microphone, although all of them sang at some point.  There was a fourth player, who isn’t mentioned as being part of the group in any of the articles I saw, but his name is Chris Goss (thanks to Henk Kannig for twittering that info).

The music was damn good.  It really was a blend of styles and you could hear Zeppelin and QotSA in the music.  I would have loved to have stayed in the tent and finished the set there, but it was rather full of very sweaty smelly men, all taller than me, and I couldn’t see much anyway.  We went outside the tent and listened to the last of it from outside.  It had quit raining by then and didn’t rain again the rest of the night.

Here are some photos:

What a cool thing to see these guys playing together!  If you get a chance to see them on this tour, take it.  I’m sure they will be at LowLands Saturday night for THEIR Mystery Band slot.  It’s only a rumor at this point, but I’m sure they will be band to play then.

We then went to get a little something to eat, then met up again with D. and M. to see Faith No More.  I don’t really know their music.  They started out with a beautiful cover of “Reunited” (originally by Peaches and Herb in the 70’s) wearing pastel suits and ties.  Then the jackets came off, the heavy guitars came on, and the real music began.  It was some hard stuff.  And we were too tired to take it.  By this time everything in my body ached and with the sun, then the rain, I was feeling fried then frozen.  We headed home around midnight, full of sights and sounds and hoping to get some good sleep before another day came too soon.