Monday, January 23, 2012

Enough Excitement for a Week!

Before I get started (don't you love that we can start before we start!)...

CONGRATULATIONS are in order for my "little sister" Ruth
becoming a g'ma for the first time this past week:

James Lawrence Robinson was born on his due date, January 18.
Can you see G'ma Ruth's pride in how she took this image less than 24 hours later!
Hopefully Astrid and I will be able to meet him in May when we fly to Michigan.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

In my last post I mentioned that my laptop broke at the hinges and had to be taken to the shop. I had never heard of such a thing but it apparently happens a lot, according to the techie. Lucky for me, I had 4 more days on my 24-month warranty. Lucky also that they will do the annual maintenance gratis. I think they really felt sorry for me...or embarrassed.

So my new learning curve for 2-3 weeks ("I'll tell the Chinaman to rush the parts," the techie said) is to work the internet "like normal" from Astrid's laptop...including her Corel PaintShop for image manipulation. Almost all the images below, the ones in the collages, are from her program. I'm indebted to her, of course!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Winter here in the Netherlands still has not arrived!
Temps for the most part hang around 40-45 F, with lots of rain.

See how full our Merwede river is!
On my daily walk around our citadel city, I say HI to our "sister city" Woudrichem.
I love seeing her main church and windmill waving back from across the river.

In spite of all the rain, once in awhile the sun does shine,
so I enjoy seeing where I live with new eyes.

With my 300mm lens I can zoom in on Sister Woudrichem
to see how she's really doing.

But it's usually my side of the river I want to see, like the Dalempoort.
Some of this you have seen before...but I never tire of it.
And see, there's our water tower in the background.

There's a bridge on the river side of the Dalempoort crossing a wee canal.
I love to see the dog-walkers out there...and the seagulls when someone brings bread.

Same bridge, and if you look up, you see De Hoop windmill.
Same place, same station...but different music.
I love it here!

It so happens it's in this area that our Poort 6 housing authority is building
a huge apartment complex overlooking the river....

See the Grote Kerk in the center image way in the background?
That's the church that's only 2 blocks from where we live,
so that gives you a feel for where this is.

Did I ever tell you how much I love cranes?

Construction cranes, that is!
They've been going at it non-stop for several months now.

When I posted the above collage at my Shutterchance blog,
a friend thought I'd like this YouTube.
OMG! It's hauntingly beautiful!

Over by the Linge Harbor around the corner, I smile every time I see this British canal boat.
I'm not sure what it's doing here but if I ever find out, I'll let you know:

I imagine it swam over from the UK, right?
It looks so different from the wider Dutch canal boats.
Did I ever believe I'd know the difference?

But not to be confused with the myriad barges that go back-n-forth every day....

...not only along the Merwede river, where I started above,
but along our bigger canals passing through our city
where all the drawbridges stand up and salute.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

And yes, we finished another Jan van Haasteren jigsaw puzzle yesterday!
This one is De Storm (The Storm), 1500 pieces (image from JvH's site).
The details, let alone humor, are amazing.
No wonder we're hooked.

Now, until next week, let's see what other excitements are in store....


  1. Congratulations of the safe arrival of James Lawrence Robinson, he looks gorgeous. I love babies, don't you? And he has a marvellous "normal" name, obviously a boys name, I really don't like those modern made-up names where you can't tell if it's a boy, a girl or a puppy.
    Your neighbourhood is very scenic, even in the rain. It's pouring with rain here too, melting what little snow we have, which was negligible anyway. It's been a very green and grey winter so far, very strange for this part of Canada.
    When you go to Michigan, what about a side trip to Canada?

  2. Sham: We're over the moon with excitement for James Lawrence coming to Don and Ruth, the g'parents. Isn't it funny that I'm not even talking about the parents! :)

    I keep hoping winter will come to the Netherlands. We had been told it would be severe. Of course, it's not over yet and I know we need to be careful what we wish for.

    You'll have to let me know where you live in Canada. We do plan to get a rental car and drive around. But where?

  3. James Lawrence is positively beautiful with his squishy little mouth! Congratulations to parents, grandparents, and great-aunts. I have a great affection for babies born on their due dates. It means they were cooked to perfection. My son was born on his due date, with fifteen minutes to spare.

    Astrid's rendition of the Merwede is gorgeous!

    You've done it now. I just ordered a Jan v/ Haasteren puzzle from the internet. I will be getting a 1500 piece "Safari" puzzle in the next few days. I don't know whether to thank you or curse you.

  4. Congratulations on the new birth!

    We are not having much of a winter here, either. (Oh, and if you have a "meet up" in Southern Ontario, Canada, do let me know. I might be able to make it.)

    A jigsaw puzzle with that image must have been quite an accomplishment to finish! Such a lot going on.

  5. What a handsome baby James is! I know how totally excited Ruth is and so happy, and we are all happy too. The weather is warm here also for January – in the mid 60s, but we were under a tornado watch on Saturday – I don’t like those tornadoes, they seem to come earlier. It must be so peaceful to walk by these canals and watch the boats. I wish there was a small river in Marietta, but we have the Chattahoochee and it’s not the same – quite big and tumultuous. Congratulation to the Great-Aunts!

  6. DB: Being born on a due date is so rare for me, it's the first I've heard of it! Now you're another one, in less than a week!

    Not to disappoint you but the Merewede image is NOT from Astrid's Paintshop but from my PhotoShop...if I understand you. Regardless, all the images were processed by me, just with different tools. That was the learning curve this time around.

    And YAAAY for the JvH puzzle. I knew someone would finally break down and buy one! Now I'll go look and see what the Safari one looks like. Congratulations. You're gonna love it.

    Karen: Thanks for the baby congratulations! :)

    Another Canadian...maybe within Michigan reach?! WOW. We'll keep that in mind as we plan our May trip.

    And yes, these puzzles ARE quite an accomplishment but not hard, believe it or not, if you can find where the detail is on the box picture. :)

    Vagabonde: Thank you for the baby congrats. We're all so excited. And yes, Ruth finally has seen "her day". I'm so happy for her.

    You'd love where we live! I still pinch myself after more than 2 years here....

  7. All your pictures are great but I particularly like the first river photo - there's something about the power of nature there that pulls me.

  8. James looks great, and I sure want to meet him in May! I am glad I can be of help with my laptop. Those pictures do look great. Everey time we walk by the construction area, we stop and look at all the machinery and of course the cranes. We had so much fun with the jigsaw again. Yes we are hooked. ....and I think we had enough of excitement for a few weeks, I hope the China-man put enough stamps on the package. We keep our fingers crossed.

  9. Tim: Thank you, kind sir. That was one of the images I had processed before my laptop broke, so I was lucky. Water has always been very important to me. I ponder that I am now surrounded by it every day of my life here!

    Astrid: I realize I never even mentioned that you had been out of work for almost 2 weeks because of minor surgery and then a cold! So glad you are now back at work this week and getting into your rhythm again. Yes, enough excitement for awhile.

    Now we wait for my laptop to be ready for pick-up! In the meantime, thank you again for the use of yours. Just think of all the couples our age who have only one. We're lucky!

  10. I'm the north east corner of T.O. (that's Toronto, Ontario) about a 4 hour drive from Detroit or Sarnia.

  11. Sham: Today I'm hoping to book our rental car with a GPS system. We do plan to drive all over the place but don't know if we'll be able to drive out of the country. Maybe we can meet halfway? Let's keep it on the back burner, okay?! Wouldn't that be fun!

  12. Ohhhh, our little boy. He made it all the way to the Netherlands already! What a world. Thank you.

    Congratulations on the puzzle, it's wonderful.

    Do you know, I love the word "harbor" and didn't realize it consciously until I was reading to James the day I had to leave him for home (Monday). I had bought him a stack of Beatrix Potter books, and so I began with The Tale of Little Pig Robinson, of course. It is full of boats and ships and harbours, and I had to pause and ask him if he doesn't love that word harbour as much as I do? I will probably never live by the sea, but I feel its magic and will no doubt impart that to him. :-)

    How wonderful it will be when he meets his aunties from across the sea . . . !!!

  13. Ruth: Of COURSE your little boy made it all the way to the Netherlands!!! He's already deep within our hearts.

    I love the story you have shared about reading to James from Beatrix Potter. We have the Miss Potter DVD which Astrid has yet to see. Maybe we'll see it this week, in memory of the delightful image of you reading to James. Please make sure Lesley takes a picture of that one day, if she hasn't already!

  14. Congratulations also to the new great aunt. Do I have that right> ...or perhaps because it is your "little" sister you are only semi-great? I need my genealogy software to get these things right.

    I love the moody shot of the river, and then this post feels as if I visited you and you lead me on a walk of your favorite places.

  15. Ted: Great aunt, absolutely. I like that! And it dawned on me last week, after James was born, that sister Ruth is 11 years my junior and MY only grandchild/son is 11. So there you have it.

    Maybe one year you and Jane will come visit us here in the Netherlands? You have a standing invitatioon!

  16. A new Family member is fabulous.
    After I've got the Skin Cancer, I'm thinking more and more about Family and trusted Friends. But I've been very self-centric as well. It seems my brain concentrates of fighting the Cancer. Just now it looks very positive.
    I enjoy your blog-posts, but been more or less unable to comment the way I want to....
    I posted last night about our Winter Dinners since X-Mas. Anna does make make excellent food..


  17. congratulations. your tribe continues to increase.

    i don't see snow on the ground ginnie. i would have thought that netherlands would be knee deep in the white stuff by now.

    how lucky to beat the deadline on your warranty by a nose. i haven't heard of such a thing happening to laptops :)

    been too busy, so i could only now drop by for a visit.

  18. Baby James is wonderful!! What is it about baby that just makes us coo over them?

    Your walk - or better say the scenery of your walk - looks beautiful. I would love that one, and I'd probably carry my camera with me every time. The light probably changes so much there. I love the churches and the windmill.

    Hauntingly beautiful are exactly the right words for this video - thank you for sharing that, Ginnie, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  19. Tor: Oh yes! At our age, even without skin cancer or any other malady, we are quicker to think about family and the fragility of life. Thanks for taking the time to stop by, Brother!

    PC: Our tribe does indeed increase, Maria, almost every year. And the oldest, my brother, just turned 70!

    The Netherlands has not had winter yet this year, sad to say! With temps hanging around 40-45 F all day long, it's easy to wonder if it'll ever come at all? Our particular area doesn't get much snow if/when it does become winter. Last year we were very lucky to get it in December, in time for Christmas, but that was all.

    I was VERY lucky to get in under the wire on my laptop warranty. Tell me the Universe doesn't watch out for us!

    You, busy??? Whoever would have guessed! :) Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

    Carola: YES! And what is it about brand-new babies! The miracle of life.

    I used to carry my camera with me all the time on my ciotadel walks but not always now, in order to walk faster (aerobics, you know!). But often I'm sorry when I don't have my camera. Then I go back to carrying it again. HA!

    What I love most about that video is the timpani drums. I'm starting to include videos here that really speak to my keep them somewhere for posterity! Thank you for playing it.

  20. It's late and another day has flown by without my taking the time to get back to you with my comments about this week's post... I can only imagine how much you miss having your own computer since I haven't had to go without for a long time... we have all become quite spoiled by our toys and ready access to the internet!

    It seems you managed quite well at creating a post on Astrid's computer... I absolutely love the image of the Merwede river! The collage of the cranes is quite marvelous and the music was a treat!

    I think I will avoid ever getting one of those jigsaw puzzles... it would drive me crazy until I finished and I'm so far behind with photo editing that I cannot afford added distractions. It does seem working such a puzzle would be loads of fun.

    The canal images are lovely with the blue sky reflected in the water... definitely see why you love your neighborhood so well.

  21. Victoria: Believe it or not, the puzzles have become a good distraction from all the things at the computer that keep me using that part of my brain. I've been thankful for the break they afford. Not that anyone else needs a break, of course. HA!

    Thank you for stopping by faithfully, in spite of your incredible busyness. You continue to amaze me by all that you do...and all your travels.

  22. Gorgeous little sweetie of course. I love the British canal boat :-)))

    ...and that Jan van Haasteren jigsaw puzzle is AMAZING! I wonder if it were his artwork I admired many years ago, did buy postcards with his art upon them... hm.... So very similar in style, with the same humor! I love them and I love this, all those details! Wow!

  23. LCT: Thank you! And yes, that Jan van Haasteren is worth every penny. I work on one of his puzzels almost every day...that's how hooked I am!

  24. ...puzzles would do me in...

    But the walks you go on and all the photo opportunities you have... that is more up my alley. The everyday, ordinary sights are just so... amazing!

  25. Margaret: LOL about the puzzles, which for me are so addicting. I have so many images to process right now that I've decided to NOT start another puzzle...lest I get too conflicted. HA!

    You'd love the Netherlands. I keep telling you that, don't I! :)