Sunday, January 08, 2012

This, That and the Other

Is it really possible this much has happened in the first week of the New Year! It's a mish-mash but it all happened.

First, it was watching the clean-up of all the fireworks while out on my daily walk:

Every year the receptacles with openings have to be boarded up or locked
to keep firecrackers from being tossed in by the New Year's revelers.
This one apparently got missed by the lock-down!
Astrid had told me about it but this was the first time I saw it.

During the week, between Sunday to Saturday, we finished another of the Jan van Haasteren jigsaw puzzels we absolutely love:

This is the 1500-pc. puzzle called Neighbours (De Buren).
Actually, this one is a loaner from one of Astrid's co-workers who's also addicted.
The cool thing about Jan and his whole operation is that if you ever lose a piece,
you can get a replacement from him. How cool is that!

This is the time of the year when make-overs and clean-ups seem to be on everyone's mind. I love to see how the Dutch do it:

This particular farmer is cleaning the moss off his thatched roof.
How many ladders does it take to clean moss off your roof?

Good thing I have Astrid nearby to always explain what's happening, things that are old-hat for her!
The Dutch canals have to be dredged every year or so, depending on how big they are.
The silt from the bottom gets siphoned off and dumped on the farmland nearby.
It allows for cleaner water and better water flow, especially when there's lots of rain.

Here's a YouTube to show how it's done:

While they're at it, they also break up the roots of the water plants
to keep the canal cleaner and less impeded:

See the shell on the bottom-left? That's a fresh-water swan mussel the size of a grapefruit.
The muskrats dig them up in the canals and eat them.
Now you know why the canals need continual maintenance!
Too many rats, building their tunnels near the canals, would collapse the farmland.

Talk about getting my education...almost every day!

Besides all that, since our New Year's community party we've had another New Year's party (by the property association) and 2 birthday celebrations, all at our community center. We're feeling partied out!

One last thing, ruminating all week, relates to a New Year's resolution I plan to share next week about Giving Back. I want to "donate" images to Wiki and have begun the process of registration and uploading. It's been a complicated learning curve for me. Tomorrow, 4 days after registration, I'll find out if I'm up and running.

But more on that next week, also with exciting news that Mart Martorell, the glass blower from the Düsseldorf Christmas market, wants me to be the photographer for his new website. In return, he will teach Astrid how to blow glass! But like I said, more on that next week.

If this is how 2012 is starting, don't you wonder what the rest of the year will look like??!!

Now, something fun for those of you who enjoy Dr. Seuss!
This was worth every minute...looking ahead to the rest of this new year.

Happy New Year, again!


  1. Just enjoying catching up on your photos from the end of last year and the beginning of this one. Happy New Year!!!

  2. Karen: Thanks. It's been quite a ride, hasn't it!

  3. 'Today is your day'.....'the mountain is waiting'...'so get on your way'.....
    Wonderful post and yes, we are never to old to learn somthing new everyday. We grew up with learning all this kind of things and it has my interest too, canals, water, boats etc.
    I am just thrilled that you are able to do something great with your photography, both on Wiki and with Mart.
    We will take it day by day and week by week and we will let us be surprised what will come on our path. Never a dull moment and when we want to slow down, we do that will Jan.....erm... the jigsaws of him .....:D...

  4. Astrid: I love how you say things, as you know! Thank you. I feel so lucky to live here in your country, to see everything not only through my eyes but through yours as well. Short of eyes! I love standing at the edge of a new year, wondering what it will hold for day and week at a time. One week down, 51 to go. :)

  5. What a start to your New Year! It sounds as if you have got lots of projects already under way. Am looking forward to hearing more about them :) Enjoy!!

  6. Oh, Ginnie, how exciting that Mart Martorell has chosen you to be his photographer. It was probably a very easy decision for him to make as the images you processed showing his glass-blowing expertise were superb. And to think, Astrid now has the opportunity to learn from a master; how wonderful!

  7. Ginnie,
    This little post was most interesting - I'm learning along with you! What an phenomenal investment of time and money it is to maintain the canals - and the dykes too, I imagine - I had no idea they had to be dredged.
    As for you, my dear, you're really taking off. I predict the day will come when you're earning a living with your photography as word of mouth spreads. And donating your photographs to Wikipedia is a fabulous idea and a perfect marriage of your talent and the wish to give something back. Win-win all the way.
    Bonne année to you and Astrid!

  8. Anne: Just when I thought I had lost my muse! Suddenly, all things started coming together again. I'm very fortunate!

    Beverly: The word SERENDIPITY comes to mind! I can't think of anything happier for me than to watch Astrid learn glass blowing from a master...and getting to take the pictures of it! As we say, Life is Good!

    Deborah: At the point I had given up on making money from my photography and decided to give it back without compensation, THAT'S when Mart Martorell came in. This is something I ponder in my heart. Instead of money, I get to watch Astrid receive one of the greatest gifts of her artistic life: learning how to blow glass. We're both in heaven. :)

  9. And a very Happy New Year to you and Astrid. I never realized the canals took so much attention. We had our annual New Years Eve lobster party with the same cpuples we've celebrated with for over 30 years. We are old friends, but there's plenty new to share, and we had a great time. Old acquaintances still going strong! Thanks for visiting my blog.

  10. Happy New Year again. I see you're off to a wonderful start.

  11. Ted: Thank you, kind sir. Don't you just love how friendships can endure over the years! At our age, they are our best treaures, aren't they!

    PC: It just gets better and better, Maria. :) Thank you.

  12. How will your year be? Busy! And that I wish is why I am not working. I know I could be that busy too even without work! Oh the years to

    So you asked about how many ladders does it take to remove the moss, what about how many "men" does it take? You see all of the ladders, maybe that's how many men are working on that house?

    And the glass blower. Congrats!!!! That's amazing.. Oh boy I cannot wait to see! This brings back memories of the glass blower in W. Seattle before the time of digital pics.

    And the canals, more learning for me too. How cool!

    And that dr. Seuss video, loved it!

    Oh the places we all go! :) My parents go to us soon, there's another place to go.

  13. ET: Don't forget that I'm 66 going on 67, Jen. Your time really will come! In the meantime, you live in such an incredible place. If I were there, I'd want to see every square inch of Vancouver Island! :)

    That Dr. Seuss video made my day. I'm glad you watched it.

  14. The glass blowing pictures were fantastic – I can see why Mart Martorell asked you to take some more. Teaching Astrid in return is a wonderful idea – she is so artistic and has the eye for shape and form. I learn so much reading your blog – cleaning the canals… I wonder if they do that here too? You are certainly starting the year at great speed – I can see many good things for the both of you in 2012!

  15. Vagabonde: Thank you. It feels like the world is at our doorstep and that feels delightful.

    Tim: Exactly! :)

  16. Full of joy.

    What a clean country. Small packages have complex systems, no?

    I'm amazed by the replacement pieces for jigsaw puzzles. How does he do it?

    I laughed out loud about the ladders. :-)

    Lastly, I LOVE the video. I must share it with Nelson. I believe he and Peg gave Lesley or Peter the book for graduation. Did you know that Lesley was going to go to Burning Man with a boyfriend one year? It's such a brilliant concept. They go in to an empty desert, create what they want to for a week, then leave everything pristine, the way they found it (kinda like the Netherlands).

  17. Ruth: I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you watched the Burning Man video and identified with it. I actually thought of you when I saw it...even though I had forgotten the tidbit about Lesley almost going. What a joyful, inspiring, fun experience to watch and hear!

    Don't you just love the Dutch way of doing things! Wilma and Astrid would have a heyday together, cleaning up whatever. I laugh every time I picture it. :)

    Those Jan van Haasteren puzzles...I'm guessing you can count the rows/columns to figure out which piece is missing or take a picture of it. Talk about a novel idea! We think there's a missing piece in one of the co-worker's puzzles, so we're planning to replace it for her. She's been so kind in loaning them to us. So maybe I'll have a follow-up in a later post.

    Life is Good. And soon, very soon, you'll be a grandma!!!

  18. A good start to the brand new year. I haven't watched the video yet, will have to go to my other computer as this one has no sound.... it got zapped by lightening a couple of years ago and has been voiceless ever since. Poor thing.
    BTW I'm trying to write a post every 2 days throughout January.... and I'm finding it really hard to make myself get down to doing it. Wonder if I'll make it all the way through.

  19. Sham: You'll love the video when you get the chance. It's one to see more than once!

    When I made the decision to post just once a week here and not more than 3 times a week (a photo) at Shutterchance, my life became so much easier and doable. Be willing to go with the flow if every 2 days becomes not as fun any more!

  20. Hey Ginnie and Astrid, can't wait to hear more about the glass blower trade, how marvelous for all!
    and I truly enjoyed the burning man/dr. seuss craziness!

  21. I am a huge burning man fan and anything glass fan so this was a wonderful post for me. So glad about the glass photography deal.

  22. WS: We're very excited about our "glass blower trade," Susan, and can hardly wait for that weekend. Astrid will be in heaven...and so will I, photographing the experience.

    And yes, that Burning Man video is awesome, isn't it! I'm so glad you watched it. Thank you.

    Cuidado: Two for the price of one, I see! I'm so glad, Mary. Thanks for your comment, as always.

  23. This was indeed a surprise post, I never know what I'm going to see when coming here! You find so many interesting things to report! For some every day happenings, for others like me: very interesting :-)

    How wonderful with the "glassblower-exchange" - simply marvelous!!!

    Happy continuing of the new travel year to both of you!

  24. LCT: Things surprise me all the time here, even after 2 years. I'm just glad when I can share it with you! Thanks, LCT, for stopping by again.

  25. I'm coming right over to help you isolate that missing piece! What a fun, whimsical puzzle.

    Southern Gent Hubby and I watched both videos. I had forgotten all about the baggerschepen until now. Hubby was mesmerized with the 'Burning Man' video. Beautiful cinematography.

  26. DB: I love that Hubby watched the videos with you, Diana. Thank you. Don't you just love the Dutch! :)

  27. Knowing that you will have another post tomorrow, I just had to come back and comment on this one since I perused it several days ago!

    I'm wondering if the reason for multiple ladders while cleaning the roof is to allow the person to do it him/herself... space them at intervals and one could work their way along the roof without having to retrace their steps.

    That canal dredging series of images really tells the story!

    Once again, a marvelous post. I didn't take the time to watch the video again (having already watched it twice via Facebook) but I'm sure many folks really enjoyed it. I'm guessing it's gone viral on You Tube!

  28. I have a friend (graduated high school with him) and he goes to burning man every year. I believe he has a photographic book he did of it. Anyway, it can get a bit artsy crazy... but it seems to be getting more and more popular every year.

  29. Victoria: As always, thanks for catching up with me here. I love your contribution to what I share, showing a bit of the Dutch life as I experience it, day in and day out.

    Margaret: I love finding out about Burning Man and hope they do something like this every year!

  30. Love those jigsaw puzzles, I wonder if they are sold in Canada?

  31. Sham: It'd be worth it to find out because they're wonderdul. I bet you can buy them all over the world!