Thursday, February 26, 2015

First Citadel Walk of 2015...With New Knee!

It's not the entire walk, mind you, but an hour's worth that got the inspirational juices flowing on a gorgeous, sunny Sunday this past weekend.  It's enough to get anyone outside and moving!

Because we can access the citadel path just a few steps from our senior-complex's back door,
we'd be stupid not to walk-the-walk as often as possible.
Our Nooit Volmaakt windmill is just a block away if you turn right on the path.
But we turned left.

It so happens that THAT's where Astrid filmed me climbing the steps,
at 6+ weeks post knee-replacement surgery.
It was a big deal for me.  Ta-Dah!

Within seconds on turning left at the top of the stairs, this is what we saw.
The winding paths (upper and lower levels) thrill my soul.

And the trees!  The trees.
The former war-bunker mounds give them life and form.

Then come the sycamore trees.
The greenish hue on the bark makes it look like spring has arrived.

That's where we also spotted a clump of snowdrops.
I had never seen snowdrops till I moved to Europe.

After the sycamore grove, it's time to cross the Westwagenstraat that takes you in and out
of the citadel across the Korte Brug.  Water surrouds the citadel, of course.
It's called the binnenstad = inner city, where we're lucky to live.

You may remember this map from before, with the red dot showing where we live.

On the other side of the Westwagenstraat, the path continues towards the Merwede river...

...and the bench that was our destination for the day, before turning back.

You could spend hours sitting there, watching the freighters pass by way off in the distance,
to and from Rotterdam, one of the main ports of Europe.
Closer in, the harbor is one of Gorinchem's two port entries.

Next walk, I'll try to go further, but that was enough for one day.
The fluid on the knee will build up for a year, they say, so I just pay attention.

Speaking of which, 2 days after my last post, when I couldn't yet cycle backwards, I could!
That means my new goal is to cycle forwards!  Eline says "It'll come, Ginnie!"

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Gorinchem's 2015 Carnival Aftermath

I say "aftermath" because we didn't go out to see the parade and shenanigans this year.  We've done it once or twice since I've lived here know, when you've seen it once you've seen it all.  Did I say that?

Can you really expect it to get better than this (from 2010)?
See what I mean!

However, late afternoon (on Valentine's Day!) we did see after-the fact smatterings of the day.

 The boys and the girls...never the twain shall meet at that age.
I wonder if they were texting each other?

The remains of the day.

These fellas deserved their own notoriety, of course,
because of the Dutch Jansen and Janssen brothers in Kuifje (Tintin).
How clever!  See why Dutch Carnaval always reminds me of Halloween?

It was suppertime and we were ready to eat at our Greek restaurant across from the market square.

Before and after eating, we really got caught up in the confetti.
Not the same as beads flung far and wide in the States!
And within a couple of days, it was all cleaned up.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

And now, how 'bout an update on the knee replacement!

Last Friday, at 5 weeks post-surgery, I had a set of x-rays done plus a check-up.
There you have it...all apparently in perfect order, looking like what it's supposed to.
Most of my pain is at night in bed; almost no pain during the day.
Just stiffness, which is normal, due to fluid on the knee (for at least a year!).
That's what the exercises are keep pumping away the fluid and stiffness.

Today, at 6 weeks post-surgery, I'm done with my anti-thrombosis injections.
Am I a happy camper or what!  That was not fun, even if necessary.
See the note Astrid wrapped around my final syringe last night:
"The last one!  You're my trooper.  Love, JLJA"

And now, laugh with/at me as I share a video of this past Tuesday's PT session:

Who knew I would have to re-learn how to walk!
Eline asked Astrid:  "Does she always walk like that???"
When it started or why, who knows, but my normal walk was "incorrect."
It took several attempts but I finally got the hang of it,
swinging my arms at the right time in the right direction.
Your hips are supposed to rotate (swagger) as you walk, like a model on a catwalk.
Will I ever get that image out of my head???  HA!  Probably not.

Zo simpel is het!

I'm now halfway through my PT sessions.  Still can't cycle full rotations.
BUT...Astrid and I can now do the English Waltz again.
Now, if Eline will video that for me, I'll be a happy camper!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Astrid's Sense of Bread-Making!

This is how it began:

One day last year, while she was kneading, waiting, kneading, waiting, etc. etc., Astrid all but said "I don't have time for this!"  You'd have to be there...but immediately I piped in and offered (albeit reluctantly, assuming she'd pooh-pooh the idea), that maybe it would make more sense to have a bread-making machine?????

Within a couple hours, that same day (!), we walked two blocks down the street to a store going out of business and bought a bread machine.  Ever since, Astrid has been fine-tuning a loaf of bread that we both absolutely love!  And at half the time/effort on her part!

While this post is mostly about making bread, yes, it's actually more about HOW Astrid does it.
I'm talking specifically about how she measures the flour.

And here's where there's a long history over our 5 years together about a basic Dutch vs. American
way of measuring.  The Dutch weigh their main ingredients (with a weighing scale) while the
Americans measure them (with cup and spoon sets).
And what's funny about it is that neither of us can comprehend why you'd do it that way. 
However, one is not right and the other wrong.  Just different.

 It helps to know that she's using her mother's scale from before WWII.
German-made.  Totally exact.  Perfectly calibrated.

And because she uses 4 different flours (all ground at/by the Woudrichem windmill),
she measures them carefully by grams (No preservatives!):
 wholewheat, refined
wholewheat, pure
spelt (dinkel wheat)

And notice that she measures out several loaves at a time in the white containers.

When it comes time to make the loaf of bread, all these ingredients are added:
water, sugar, salt, multi-flours (mixed with sunflower seeds), olive oil, yeast.
The yeast is always added last because it's not supposed to have contact with the salt.

The bread machine is placed in the warmest room of the house, 
which happens to be our storage closet, with the hot-water pipes sending off lots of heat.
It takes 3 hours from beginning to end.

One loaf lasts us two weekends of breakfasts:  2 Saturdays and 2 Sundays.
Astrid toasts the bread and adds all kinds of wonderful, healthy toppings.
It also works well for paninis, which we make with our panini press.

When you come to visit us, we will make sure you have some.  I promise!

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Knee Replacement: 3-Week Milestone

From the get-go, this is a post "for the record," which I'll get to in a minute.

Today is the 4-week milestone after my January 8th surgery.  It seems like forever ago, and yet, as my physical therapist, Eline, keeps saying, "Ginnie, it's only been X weeks!"  In other words, patience, M'lady.

This week Astrid and I started dancing an exercise Eline is really encouraging, once she found out our dancing history.  We first tried to do an English Waltz.  The look on my face was probably priceless.  I couldn't even begin to do it, which totally shocked me.  Just back and forth, back and forth...increasing the stabilization in my left leg.  I'm getting my education.

But, back to the 3-week milestone from last week.  And "for the record."  That was the day my 20 staples (count them) were removed.  If you are weak of stomach, I totally excuse you from this point on....

First of all, I woke up to this note from Astrid in the bathroom.
Because my staples were being removed that day, I could finally take a shower again.
ik hou van jou = I love you.
It was a very happy shower, indeed.

Before my PT that day, I had an appointment with the doctor's assistant to get my staples removed.
The top-right image is 6 days after my surgery when the bandage was removed.
The scar is 17cm (6-3/4 in) long...20 staples.
The nifty tool releases the staples almost magically, with almost no pain.
Okay, there were several times I said "OUCH," but the assistant was totally sympathetic,
and Astrid held my hand!

When she wasn't holding my hand, Astrid took this video.
The whole thing was so educational for us both.

Leave it to me, I wanted to keep the staples!
They're now in my Conquest Box, along with the cracked molar that was pulled a couple years back.
(That's another story altogether...about stress from my past life.)

So, there you have it.  For the record.
Someone has to do it!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Oh, and while we're at it, today is our 5-year wedding anniversary!