This past week was actually my birthday, although we celebrated last month at the party. It was a good birthday, one of the ones that ends in zero. Suffice to say the 6 year countdown to retirement starts now.
The weekend before my actual birthday we got tickets to see James Judd and Jen Kober. I’ve seen them before when I went to Snap Judgement Live in Minneapolis. They are very funny.
We drove over to Red Wing–of all places for them to be and the venue was pretty spectacular. We sat in the balcony and it was pretty empty. Dave said all the seats were marked as full so it must be season ticket holders or something cause whoever bought those tickets didn’t come. I’m not surprised and was actually very happy cause then I got to spread out! I should have sat in the front row…..why didn’t I?
This is the Sheldon Theater-
The show didn’t disappoint and I loved every minute of it. I think the audience did too.
So, that was fun and if you like humor and are fairly open minded you’ll like them. If you are a fan of Trump and homophobic then not so much. I loved it.
We had snow and then some more snow and now we look like this, except for last night we got more snow so we look like this and then some.
My birthday was a good celebration. I had the day off. Dave bought a cake (and a new travel lap top for me to replace that piece of crap Dell I’ve been using-yay) and Cody sent flowers. My sisters sent a box with the same number of presents as years I am old. Tricky.
It was quite a day, ending with this:
Of course, the cats were in on the celebration in their own way–the flowers have been snacked on and spilled…..
And so the week has passed and on to the next. I have a race next weekend which should be interesting since running outside hasn’t been much of an option and running on the treadmill/short track is ever so boring. But we’ll see.
In the meantime, we did have a bit of a sad day when we had to say bye to our Manny, aka Man Man. He was so weak and miserable but always tolerant and very kind. We gave him a good couple of years up to the end. And in an exit only Manny could orchestrate, he peed and pooped in the vet’s office. That’s our boy.
It’s pretty quiet with only Lacey, who is a force of nature all by herself.
February was another travel month for me-to events I look forward to all year long.
(Before I begin though, special instructions for viewing–if you click on the gallery pictures they embiggen and you can scroll through them at your leisure)
February is the month to go west–Stitches West with a stop in Tacoma to spend time with my BFF Nina.
But to recap, I returned home from the Netherlands the third week of January or so. It was still cold and snowy for sure.
We bought a new game called Ticket to Ride so instead of going outside we stayed in and played it.
We also got Catan but we need three players and we only have two and no friends. So….We’ll see how that goes.
It was relatively quiet for the weeks leading up to my next trip. Although there were a few events.
Social Ice is an event that goes on downtown. It’s ice bars and sculptures in the Peace Plaza downtown. Last year it sort of went sideways when we decided to celebrate my graduation from my Master’s program. Again, tequila shots are never a good idea. Never.
However, this year was much quieter.
We had some boozy hot chocolate (that’s what they called it-it was hot chocolate with a splash of Vanilla liquer–seriously delish). It was pretty cold cause that’s the trend this winter so we didn’t last long.
We decided it was time for some sushi so off we went to the Sushi place.
Mine came with landscapes. It was so good.
One more week and it was off to the west. For some reason I am getting the sweet choice of exit row so my trip out to Seattle was highly comfortable, even though I didn’t fly my usual out west first class routine.
First stop, Nina’s house for a fabulous birthday party. We had all sorts of travel plans for our birthday which sort of fell through due to time and money and family. So instead, Nina planned a great get together and I got a great cake.
People I hadn’t seen in forever and people I had seen and people I met. It was the best party I have been to in years. Maybe cause it was for us but mostly because it was a great group and everyone seemed to have a wonderful time.
I have no words to describe how much fun I had. And how much work it was to put on a party–but that’s what friends are for!
Oh, and did I mention to cioppino?
We spent the next three days hanging out and seeing the sights. We took a drive the next night down memory lane and priced houses. Bottom line–It’s expensive to live there.
We also took a walk on the water, cause, well, Tacoma. We walked over to “Point Rustin”, the newest and shiniest development built on an old slag pile. Yep. For those of us that are from there it’s sort of hard to get over. But I guess they cleaned all the asbestos out and it’s safe to live and breathe there. At least that’s what they say.
It’s quite the place.
I saw my friend Shari at Stanley and Seaforts and my friend Ashley at Dirty Oscar’s. And got pictures of neither. I have been sort of bad on the picture thing lately.
On Wednesday back down to Stitches West in Santa Clara California. Yep–the biggest knitting event of the year.
We did all the things we do at Stitches-we took our walks-
And had our Stitches West Celebratory Champers
Met up with Kathy and Debra and hit the fashion show
Some things were crazy, but some were beautiful-you be the judge.
There was a most sparkly shawl but I didn’t get a picture of it. I wish I had. It’s so hard to photograph the models cause they are moving AND the lighting etc etc. But it was enjoyable as always.
I took two great classes, one about Entrelac (a style of knitting) and one about cast on and bind off. I learned a lot. I love to take classes. I was just reading a comment on Ravelry, and I know people like this too, that said they have a hard time choosing classes cause the classes are “stale” or the person already knows all the things and there’s nothing more to learn. What? There’s always something to learn. Even if you know the stuff the teachers usually have something new to offer. I knew Entrelac but I did learn some new stuff that made a difference to how I do it. Keep your mind open. It saddens me that people think they can’t grow just a little bit more.
My sister Martha knitted a wine cork cozy. See? That’s what she learned and I think it could be a thing.
All too soon it was time to go. Back to Seattle in my exit row seat.
I had a dilemma with the peep hole in my hotel in Seattle (yes I had to stay over and no it didn’t end well). It’s my habit to cover them (thanks Dateline or whatever show had some creeper looking through peep holes in hotels). I had to find something to stick over it and I eventually resorted to the only sticky thing I had….
Off to home the next day-this time in my sweet first class seat.
Dave had already panicked about the weather early in the week and had booked me on a shuttle. Sadly, when I arrived nothing was going down the road. NOTHING. I would have gone down the road but I had no car. The shuttle service, Groome, wasn’t all that customer friendly. Really. I wouldn’t recommend but it might be the only game in town. Note to self, always drive your vehicle to the airport. Always.
I was stranded and I just wanted to be home. So my home away from home was the Hilton Garden Inn.
Breakfast the next AM at the Hilton was a 13.95 bowl of oatmeal. I actually had two so it was really only 7 dollars…..
But finally, FINALLY, I made it back home. Late in the afternoon but home. Just in time to get back to work. Just.In.Time.
So, now we move on. It’s March already. I don’t know how that happened. I have a 10K in two weeks. That should be interesting. I wonder if I will need special footwear to run in the snow and ice. I hope it’s above 20.
This is part two of my Netherlands story on my new blog site on WordPress. Let’s see how it goes. I added a few things to the site so far, a banner from Ireland and some blogs I follow. I hope this works so much better than blogger. Soon I should be able to use my own domain name, which is Sarahsday.me I think. But I have to wait another couple of months for that.
Anyway, let the show begin.
We went from The Hague to Amsterdam on Wednesday AM by train. Love that.
We didn’t take the bus back to the hotel, although I’m sure we could have. It’s just that it was sort of drizzly and we wanted to get going cause we had things.to.do.
We started walking and got to Rembrandt Square….
..where I met up with a few friends.
Quite the statuary. We went to Stephen and Penelope where I bought some much needed yarn. It was a great place.
And I forgot to say I also bought yarn in The Hague at Cross and Woods. Not sure how I forgot to mention that piece of information. Jeepers, I’m slipping.
But back to Amsterdam….
We went to the Museum of Bags and Purses. I know what you are thinking. It sounds like a lot of looking at women’s purses but it was not. It was the BEST. May I point out the original bags and purses belonged to men. Yes, you heard me. MEN.
I wish I had taken more pictures but there was just so much there. It was fascinating. One of the first “bags” was the bundle on a stick. The science has evolved for sure.
We had lunch there and again, not disappointed. I must have eaten pounds of goat cheese whilst in Amsterdam and am now having a major Jones for their delicious goat cheese salads.
We were walking back to the hotel when Debbie said ‘Look at that cat”. And lo and behold we were in the Kattenkabinet. It was insane. And, if I may say, just my cup of tea. I think it benefits cats but I just can’t find the information and the lady at the desk wasn’t all that helpful.
Anyway, it was full of cat stuff. Debbie found the stuffed and mummified cats disturbing but I found it all just so fabulous. Yes, fabulous.
I actually have this one in my house.
But my most favorite of all? Onbekend, by A Willette, 1850
I’m sure people may find this a little odd, but if you knew my cat Puddy you’d understand completely.
Anyway, Moving on. There were also live exhibits.
After our fun day out and about we got back to the hotel and to our room. We actually had a suite at the Ambassade. It was pretty nice (I was going to say sweet but I couldn’t bring myself to do that). The only little problem was the guests before us were smokers and, well, you can guess what happened. At least I can. You see, it was very steep stairs going up and down and I’m sure it was easier to open a window and think that it wouldn’t stink if you smoked out the window. Nope and all the nopes.
So, as you can see, the smokers did not want to traverse the steep steps. After much airing out, and about 24 hours of non stop spraying and window opening it was almost gone.
Our view from said windows:
They were having a festival of lights there so I tried to get a view of the lanterns over the canal at night. It was right in front of our hotel and quite fabulous.
The next day was a bit cool and rainy. We had a two hour city walking tour with Barbara, our guide. It was probably the rainiest and coldest day we had, of course. However, it was a great tour.
These pictures were the start of our tour. This is a very old part of Amsterdam, The Begijnhof, which dates back to the middle ages and has the oldest wooden house in Amsterdam. I think it was a place for women, possible single mothers, but I can’t find that anywhere. Needless to say, it was beautiful.
We went all around Amsterdam, to the main square, and to hidden inner courtyards of the university, to the waterfront, and admired the all the architecture of the city.
As you can see, we went a lot of places in two hours. As with our other guide Rob, Barbara was impressed with our walking ability. They must guide some pretty slow people. We were impressed with her rain coat and promptly found where they were sold and bought one each for ourselves!!
After our tour we visited the Ann Frank house. You can’t take pictures there but it was solemn. It’s hard to get a feel for it though because there are a lot of people there and it’s empty. When Otto Frank returned the Nazi’s had emptied out the rooms and so he wanted to keep it empty.
Since it was the festival of lights we got tickets and went on a canal tour. Covered boat, thank you very much. I didn’t get many great pictures but I will say the lights were really cool. They were either over the canals or to the side. Some examples:
My favorite night light exhibit was this one based on Van Gogh. It was fairly close to our hotel and we saw it a lot.
I can’t even begin to post how it looked, just suffice to say it was amazing.
The next day we hopped over to the Van Gogh museum. May I say that the Netherlands has kind of an issue with early breakfast? No place, I mean no place opens for breakfast before nine. The hotel did, but I think it was pretty pricey to eat there.
The Van Gogh was another place one couldn’t take pictures, although I saw cheaters doing so. Van Gogh was prolific, I’ll say that. I watched a documentary on his life which was film set to a narration of his letters to his brother, of which there are over 800. It was obviously hard to be in his head.
We did get a picture next to the sunflower wall, in our matching coats!
We spent the rest of the morning walking and shopping. Did I mention that we bought some delicious cheese on our first day? Lord have mercy the Dutch know how to make cheese.
Of course, we saw a lot of sights and it was a beautiful day for our last day.
We walked to lunch and then over to the Resistance Museum. There was a very active resistance to the Nazi invasion and ultimate take over of the Netherlands. At first, when it all happened the Dutch sort of gave in to it. But then when it got real, they resisted, and in a pretty big way.
This was part of our walk too-
And we returned in the late afternoon to our last night at the hotel, ate dinner and the next morning, Saturday, I got up to this….
Sadly, my week was up and it was time to go. Sigh.
We had someone take the suitcases down the steep stairs and got on our way. When the Dutch need to move, they have hooks on the buildings and they hoist up the boxes and furniture.
Back to Schiphol I went. That is a great airport, by the way. and off I flew.
The only thing I really saw out the window that was blogworthy was the windmill farm…in the ocean. Whaat? Technically could have been the English channel and not so technically it’s the North SEA, not ocean. Either way, they put windmills out there….
So, up next-life as I know it.
But before I go, let me leave you with a few more images of the Netherlands….
Here I am, back again for the past threeish weeks. And ready to blog my trip to the Netherlands.
I spent a week in The Hague and Amsterdam, with a side trip to Delft. I went with my sister Debbie and we had so much fun. (She texted me and said she had so much fun so I feel I can speak for her about this).
I flew from Minneapolis to Amsterdam, leaving at 3 PM and getting there at 6 AM. The time change is 7 hours ahead. I like the red eye like that because you can power through the day and even though you can barely keep your eyes open by 6 PM, you are acclimated to the time in one day. I had heard horror stories about TSA back ups, long lines, and crowded terminals. Not so much. TSA took 5 minutes and there was no one in the terminal while I waited. And, for some reason, I don’t have a picture of the airport or terminal, but it seems like I should.
This is the only one.
It isn’t too exciting I guess.
I landed in Amsterdam and a driver picked me up. That was different. But I felt very important. I tried to get a different driver to take me but he was having none of it. I was NOT that person. I kept thinking of the Seinfeld episode….
Anyway, I got to the hotel in Amsterdam, The Ambassade and met up with Debbie and Jay. We had breakfast and then headed out on foot to the Rijksmuseum. We didn’t see all the Rembrandts as that exhibit wasn’t there yet, but we did see quite a few. The museum was AWESOME! (All the museums were AWESOME, with a capital AWESOME).
The view from their room:
And what I saw when I walked outside—
We got to the Rijks and it did not disappoint.
After the Rijks we returned to the hotel and caught a bus and then a train to The Hague, dropping Jay off in Leiden.
I loved taking the bus and the train. It is like being a real tourist. Since it was mid January there really weren’t a lot of people traveling, but I will say there were a lot of people in Amsterdam. The roads are narrow and there are a lot of bikes. Most people ride bikes because having a car is expensive and the roads really aren’t conducive to cars.
The lesson learned early on is that you don’t hear bikes coming and bikers do not stop for anyone. It only took one near miss to learn that lesson.
Our hotel, Des Indes, in The Hague was nothing short of awesome (I know, I keep using that word but really, it’s such a great descriptor of the whole experience). Heated bathroom floors, big room, quiet, opulent. Just, everything.
This is the square in front of our hotel, which is the yellow building just to the right behind the statuary.
A close up
And our view—
Our bathroom with heated floors-
Our room—panorama style
We shopped and ate and fell asleep early cause I’d been up pretty close 30 or so hours with light plane napping which doesn’t equal rest at all.
The next day we took the train (I love that) to Delft.
This is the old train station in Delft and the bikers you gotta look out for
Although we don’t have great public transit here, there are some things that are universal……
That would be my half caf…..
We had a great day in Delft.
We walked to the pottery factory and saw some lovely canals and the tippy church tower. (Really, that tower leans)
We then got to the pottery factory where the original Royal Delft Blue is made.
There was so much to see there. The pottery is hand painted and this is one of the painters.
She said it would take her only 8 hours to paint this vase. Impressive.
We went to the New Church (Neuwe Kerk) and climbed up the tower. Our guide said he’d never been up the tower before. What? Who has he been guiding???
The inside of the church—just as impressive
Many important people are buried here, and there is an opening in the floor to the crypt below where royalty are buried. Back in the day, 400 or so years ago, when it would get warm the odor of the deceased was quite prominent. Our guide told us that is where the saying “Stinking Rich” originated from.
The city hall is right across the way-
We had lunch with our guide, then we took off to see the Old Church…
Here lies Vermeer.
Overall, a beautiful city to see and walk in.
We headed back by train and ate a delicious dinner.