Thursday, December 22, 2016

Season's Greetings from the Netherlands

We interrupt this broadcast to share some seasonal greetings from here where we live in the Netherlands!

First of all, remember how we used to have a Christmas tree like this in our apartment?
Every year, that is, until I needed the space for my exercise bike after knee replacement in 2015.

So, both last year and this year, we opted for a wee live tree sitting on the bookcase.
And Astrid is now the one who decorates it...with a bit of help from me.
An exercise bike AND a Christmas tree, just because you need priorities.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

You may also remember that every year at this time our city, Gorinchem, holds a Santa Run for charity.  Astrid and I ran it my second winter here, in December of 2010, when we had...drum roll, please...S N O W.  This year Astrid ran it with her son Jeroen, while I took the pics:

All 3 km of it, over in almost a flash.

But I'm getting ahead of myself, because there was first a half-hour warm-up at the town 
square.  I love how everybody and her aunt and uncle participate.  It's a family affair.
Over 1,000 runners this year raised €28,000.

What a great way to raise money for charity, right?

After the warm-up, I went to one of my favorite spots on the citadel trail to catch them.
That's Astrid (bottom-left) trying to pass the ones in front of her...once she spotted  me.

What a colorful, soulful event, year after year, snow or no snow.
(We can always wish for snow next year!)

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

That afternoon (which was last Saturday, incidentally), we drove out into the polder for lunch at our favorite pannenkoeken restaurant.  I wanted to see "the brethren" again.

What is it about sheep!

When I got out of the car, Astrid whistled for the sheep to come over, which they did.
But who expected THIS!  A sneezing fit.  HAHAHA!
It made my day.

But as they say, all good things must come to an end.
Even sheep are easily bored?

Last evening we celebrated a Christmas meal with 30 neighbors here where we live in the retirement center.  Tonight we'll celebrate another Christmas meal with our very dear friends at the Malle Molen (the Silly Mill).  And then on Sunday, Christmas Day, we'll celebrate the BIG Christmas meal at our favorite Greek restaurant nearby.  That's THREE festive meals this year, our gifts to each other.  And why not?  It only happens once a year.

Then, on the 2nd Christmas Day, Monday, (a Dutch holiday), we are scheduled to see the new Star Wars movie, Rogue One, with Femke and Jeannette, followed by some up-close-and personal hapjes (snacks) in their home to end the holiday.

Good God, Good Friends, Good food!

It's like the celebration never ends!  But there you have it...a run-down for this magical time of the year (even without snow).  My wishing cap is on, not only for snow but for magic everywhere to settle things down a bit, all over the world.

So, to you who celebrate it, may there be wonder, joy, health, peace and love.


  1. The red is such a cheerful colour. The photos are happy!

    Merry Christmas to you both! Enjoy!

    1. Especially on a drab, wintry day, Marie, red does the trick! Thank you for the Christmas greetings.

  2. Oh my goodness, such fun memories from those places, and all that color and sneezing! Just precious. You do it up big, as always, living large with much joy. I love it so much.

    And I love you both! Wish we could join you at that wonderful restaurant. :)

    Merry, merry Christmas to you and dear Astrid. xoxox

    1. So much fun and joy here, dear Ruth. I wish you could join us on our same table. They always know exactly where we want to sit. We'll tip our glasses to you and Don while there. Merry Christmas.

  3. Every city should have a Santa Run.

    Merry Christmas!

  4. i sure wish i could join 3km santa runs... did i ever tell you that i used to run long distance when i was young? how i miss it!! a santa run looks like tons of fun!!

    and was that a PINK sheep i saw up there? haha

    the sneezing sheep is still my fave tho!! Merry Christmas, my friend!!

    1. You would definitely love the Santa Run/walk, as it is for many. Lots of camaraderie, for sure. But that pink Sheep? Who knows how that happened! I decided to leave it "as is" for the festive spirit of the season. :)

  5. I do love the big Christmas tree, what a labour of love. I am fine with the solution we came up with. The Santa run was so much fun and maybe next year again. That sheep made me laugh and I knew I had to keep quiet to not make laughing sounds.... It always is a joy to drive that road and spot dome sheep. Merry Christmas, IHVJ

    1. We came up with a GOOD solution, which ends up being the best of both worlds, since we have only "so much room." I'm glad we get to have our cake and eat it, too. :)

      The Dutch polder near us may be one of my best gifts here in this country I have learned to love. I CHERISH our drives there, so thank you and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  6. I love the "new" tree! What a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays! Enjoy, Enjoy, Enjoy!

    1. Nothing like having our cake and eating it, too, Robin! Thank you. Both Christmas Days were better than good. Just what the doctor ordered.

  7. I love it - Santas like sheep. How your Christmas was merry and your new year will be productive and joyous. Our annual lobster feast will be in black this year due to the circumstances of the recent election. We are a very political bunch.

    1. Our entire Christmas week was very merry, Ted (with THREE Christmas dinners, plus the one we had here earlier with family), and our New Year celebration will be the opposite...very quiet and with each other on the couch watching movies until the fireworks let loose all around our neighborhood! Enjoy your lobster black as black can be. Save some for us, if you can. :)