Monday, December 12, 2011

A Clean City and Rummikub

Do they have anything in common? Nothing more than that they're here in this same post....

First, Rummikub. After our two-hour play on Friday, we had our year-end party to celebrate a year of battling against each other. HA! Well, sometimes that's what it felt like. Old geezers, you know (yes, I'm one of them).

Jouke, our leader, reported the afrekening (= accounting) for the year (left side).
There were 10 of us paying €,50/week, bringing in €226.
A drink each week (koffie, tea, chocomel, or sparkling water) plus year-end prizes...etc.
Money in, money out. He had it all down pat.

Then he explained how the scoring worked.
We played 44 weeks but counted only 31 because of vacations.

The one with the minste punten (least points), took home the trophy.
Not bad for someone who had never heard of the game before coming to the Netherlands!
I felt very honored. Lucky me.

Then we got nice gifts...Dove shower gel and a €10 gift-card....

...and a hand-stitched Christmas card by Jouke's now-deceased wife.
When he saw how intrigued I was by her handiwork,
he ripped off another card to show me the back. It's the kind of minute detail I love.
(click on any image to enlarge)

Next week we'll see each other at our community's annual Christmas dinner.
It's been a good place to live!

Now, a clean city.

A week ago Saturday, Plan A was to drive the 116 miles to Düsseldorf, Germany, to see their Weihnachtsmarkt (= Christmas market). It had been 30 years since Astrid had last visited it to see the window displays for the rich and famous (remember the post on her window-dressing career?). Even though the forecast was for rainy weather, we still wanted to go.

However, the night before, when Astrid was plugging in the address info for Tom-Tom, she discovered Düsseldorf is a clean city. You can't even drive into it, let alone park, without a sticker on your car showing you have a clean car. You can get the sticker through the mail after you've sent in all your car's paperwork, showing what color (red, yellow or the traffic light!) your car is worth.

In other words, clean city means a clean, GREEN car.

So Plan B was to send in for the sticker and get it in time for this past weekend...which was a gloriously clear and sunny day. See, there's always rhyme and reason!

The sticker arrived on Tuesday in pleaty of time for Saturday's drive.
I promised Astrid I'd mark out all the important info, especially our license plate number,
protecting the innocent, of course. But look how proud Granny Towanda is!

That green sticker means we can park anywhere in all of Germany!
A clean GREEN car means a clean city.
(A yellow sticker means you can drive/park in some places throughout the city,
but red means, sorry, your car is not allowed.)

Don't you wonder why this hasn't yet caught on in America?????

As you'd guess, I'm now working on my Düsseldorf images. I'll give you one bite for now, because we had the unexpected surprise of watching a Dutch glass blower making tree ornaments at one of the stands:

Next week I hope to give you the whole enchilada! Till then, stay safe and warm.


  1. Kampioentje!!! You are my champion.. I just love it that you brought home the trophee.
    I have to admit you are good at the game and that the best may win.
    Our trip to Germany was great and I am glad that we have the sticker, so now we don't have to worry anymore, we can go as we please.
    Wintertires are required in Germany too, no problem, we have them ;)
    That glassblower fascinated me, wood and glass are to me the most beautiful materials to work with, it 'lives'.
    One day I will take a class, just for the day and see if I have the 'feeling'.
    The glassblower told the audience that when he started, he made a vase for his sister, it took him 3 weeks to come even close to what looked like a vase....
    The picture is a delight, very well done, it might take a few years before you can do a post on me, Astrid and Glass... :D

  2. ginnie you would have to explain to me why in europe they use comma instead of period to separate the cents from the dollars when they write down the prices. so confusing.

    how about that! the idea that only green cars allowed in the city is brilliant, let alone necessary, to lessen the impact on the environment. sadly, i don't really see that happening in america very soon.

  3. Astrid: The day I have a post on you and glassblowing will be the day! I can see it now. If you take a day class, as you're thinking, maybe they'll allow me to tag along to "document" it with my camera. That would be a treat for me!

    We had perfect weather for THIS Saturday. I'm so glad we didn't go last week!

    PC: I'm so glad to hear that someone else gets confused by the commas instead of the periods. Seriously. The Excel program I use for our family cottage, as well as my PhotoShop program, also uses the comma. If I don't do it correctly, the program won't accept it. Very weird, I know. But Astrid says that's how they learn it, just as we learn the period.

    America has a long way to go before it will get up to speed with Europe on some of these environmental issues, I'm afraid. (sigh)

  4. Ha - confusing is the period, not the comma!! (it really depends from which side of the Atlantic you look at it, I guess).
    The green sticker must be pretty new. We didn't have it when I still lived in Germany, and during our last visit (summer 2009) I've never seen it. So I know for our next visit, although I guess that the rental cars will have that green sticker. Otherwise, there's always public transportation in Germany, so no worries.
    I love the photo of the glassblowing and I can't wait to read your post and see you photos of the Weihnachtsmarkt in Düsseldorf.

  5. Ah, Rummikub can be a fun game! It was one of a few favorites that I liked to play with Dad when he was still here.

  6. Carola: LOL over that silly comma/period. It really is confusing, isn't it. The metric vs. English system is another confusion that takes getting used to...and C vs. F in weather temps. :) It's something how ingrained our systems are while growing up.

    I loved the Weihnachtsmarkt in Hannover when we lived there off-n-on for 2 years, but the Düsseldorf market is bigger and more elaborate. Still, I knew what I was getting into. It'll be fun to share my take on it. Thanks.

    Tim: Rummikub is a GREAT game. I am really loving it. I hope you'll find someone new to play it with in the years to come!

  7. I wish all places would do what Dusseldorf is doing!

    Your glass blowing image is wonderful, I've watched glass blowing at the 'World of glass' in St. Helens, a fantastic skill!

  8. Anne: Cities around the world have to get smarter, of course. I think they do something similar to this in London? Can you imagine it happening in Atlanta??? New York, yes, since they have such a good mass-transit system.

    Anyway, the glassblowing is such an intricate art. I can picture Astrid trying her hand at it because she'd be good!

  9. Oh perfect weather! I love that. I guess I've learned more about Dussledorf. Interesting about it being a clean city, so I guess we wait to see the city!

    Now the glassblowing, Love it! You know I've been looking for an angel like that to give to a Swiss Friend one day...

    Your trip sounds exciting! It seems to me many times when I get an opportunity I seemed to be sidelined to enjoy it by news that puts me off balance I guess you might say.. Argh!

  10. I'm thinking you are just a "wee" bit competitive! ha! congrats on the trophy! The glass blowing photo is so wonerful... I love the dark background... was that photoshopped in? Can't wait to see the "whole enchilada"!

  11. ET: I'd love to know how many other cities in Germany are like Düsseldorf. We were in Münster last year and didn't need a sticker. At least now we can drive anywhere within Germany without having to worry. That's good!

    You would have loved the glassblower. One day you'll be back on this side of the pond to enjoy the things you love. In time, in time.

    Margaret: Who me? Competitive??? HAHAHA! Well, let's just say I don't try to lose. :)

    No, I didn't PS in the dark background on the glassblown image. The light was on him and his work but the backfround was dark...and with aperture priority, I was lucky. Thanks for noticing...and commenting. :)

  12. You have synch-ro-nized, I see! :-)

    Congratulations on your Rumikub queendom! I think I've played this once or twice at Hukilau.

    Yes, I wonder why we don't do this car thing in the U.S. Have I told you MSU is going green? By 2020 the whole campus will be automobile-free; only buses will drive on campus, which are electric (our CATA buses won a national award for greenness); there will be parking ramps around the periphery, which are one by one being built now. Cool, huh?

  13. Ruth: HA! Queendom. I like that. :)

    YAY for MSU and going green. No, you didn't tell me. I wonder if UofM will do the same thing??? Very cool!

  14. Oh, I'm feeling my Texan-ness here - we do love our cars, and get our backs up a bit at the thought of "losing" the ability to drive wherever we please.

    Of course, that resistance is related to the fact that there's no good mass transit anywhere in the state. There are buses, yes, and a bit of light rail. But our cities spread out long before environmental concerns became a priority, and now we have problems. Many of my friends drive an hour each way to get to work - the freeways are a mess. But there's nowhere to build the kind of rail systems found in the Northeast or Europe. It's a conundrum.

    On the other hand, state emission standards have become very strict, and I can't remember seeing a "smoking" vehicle on the roads in several years. So that's good.

    But you have to tell me - this game of Rummicub - is it like dominoes? bridge? cribbage? Seeing those tiles makes me think of Scrabble, but that certainly isn't a good analog!

  15. SA: Atlanta is the same way, Linda, with some public transportation but not enough to supply the demand everywhere. I really wish America had built up its train system for the longer trips cross country. I'm afraid we've really missed out on something important!

    Rummikub is just wonderful...not like anything I've ever played. It's partly a game of chance, of course, depending on what tiles you draw, but it's how you SEE that's important. So many possibilities and you have to find them. Every week is a challenge for I love. :)

  16. When I saw the "afrekening" I was certain that a certain CPA from the US was the record-keeper of the crew, but then I remembered that the crew was Dutch. "Netjesness" carries through in every aspect of life in Holland. I've only played once or twice, but remember it being very fun. Congratulations Kampioen!

    I remember having fun making embroidered Kerstkaarten.

    I wish the US would designate some green cities! I love that Granny Towanda is now declared green inside and out!

  17. DB: You sure know how to make my day with your comments, Diana. Thank you. I love that you can identify with almost everything about which I write. I love it. :)

  18. Now that I've figured out the online thing on my laptop... here I am! And I'm very glad I waited until after Christmas to visit here... We (my sister, brother and myself) played quite a few games of Rummikub while they were here visiting... it is a game they introduced me to several years back and I bought it so we'd have it here at the house for their visits (which aren't all that frequent). Then it was misplaced for quite a few years and only recently resurfaced during one of my organizing binges! So here I am finding out you are learning the game and obviously enjoying it. I love that the give the trophy to the lowest score instead of the highest. :-)

    So I'm off to view the rest of the images and see what else you have been up to since my last visit! (another game you might enjoy is Set... which I told my siblings I'd never get the hang of and then promptly beat them when we played it to take a break from Rummikub)

  19. So your green Granny Towanda has a green sticker ! formidable as they say. And you are also formidable to win such a trophy.

  20. Victoria: I always love finding other people who know about Rummikub because I had never heard of it while in America. Now I'll have to look up what Set is all about. I'm always up for learning a new game. :)

    Thanks for taking the time up in the air to find me here. HA!

    Vagabonde: Yes, formidable! :) As long as we have Granny Towanda, she will be able to take us anywhere in Germany and park wherever. We are definitely happy campers! :)