21 Jul 2012


Today is Belgium's National day. It is celebrated since the installation of Leopold I as king on 21 July 1831.

King Albert II did his annual speach on TV and told us that everything is better now. I looked in my wallet and found it rather empty. Maybe in the forthcoming year. After all it's the economical crisis everywhere.

To 90 % it rains on this special day, but there is still the parade, the fireworks in the whole country and the Flemish (symbol a Lion) and the Waloons (symbol a rooster) are dancing together and forget all language problems.

You can find more here

20 Jul 2012


more participants here

1. On Monday I thought again it was Sunday, where we are supposed not to work, so I spent the whole day sorting out my pictures and "tidied" up my travel blog. There were a few pictures which didn't show up anymore due to Photobucket, who had suddenly decided that my photos were not available anymore ! Quiet annoying.


The Waterloo swimming pool had been renovated and I had never seen it. Last time I had been there was at least 30 years ago, when I took my son there with his friends so that they could swim and play in the water. Dominique asked me to come with her to see how nice it was now. And indeed it was very nice ! I didn't recognize anything ! The water was warm, everything looked neat and clean, the rules were strict, and apparently the roof can partly been removed so that you also have an outdoor swimming pool. Of course with the cold weather and all that rain, it probably was never opened this year.

We swam and did a little private acqua gym for about an hour, with the result, that when I watched my little crime story as nap time, I really was angry because I thought I hadn't slept but suddenly I knew the killer ! I didn't rewind, because I had seen enough of the beginning !

3. My cleaning lady had to go back to Poland her husband has a stomac surgery, so she provided me with a replacement. She too is a nice lady, only she talks too much ! That wouldn't bother me because she speaks very good French, but she stops working when she talks ! I had to escape and leave her alone giving instructions to Mr. G. not to talk too much with her, with the result that he went out too ! I don't know, I can work and talk at the same time. Fortunately she is a very good cleaner !

4. I praised so much the new swimming pool to convince Mr. G. to come with us,  he really needs to move a bit, he is such a couch potatoe ! He doesn't like to walk, or other physical excercises, and becomes more and more stiff. I had to become very creative to make him move, by sending him down to the basement (stairs down and up) to pick up something, and also refused to feed our neighbor's cat while they are away on holidays, therefore he has to go out, cross the street, climb a little wall, walk through the garden and finally meet the cat behind the house. The cat called Chouchou (Sweetheart) already waits for him when he opens the garage door and walks him to her feeding place. Another exercise which he does grumbling in his non existing beard. But I am so used to that I don't hear it anymore. 

5. Still having in mind to carry him (if necessary) to the swimming pool, I went to a sport store to buy him a bathing trunk and a swim cap, because he had told me that he couldn't come, his excuse was that he had nothing to wear ! This is settled now too and there is no excuse anymore ! He would never have done it by himself !

My other neighbor who had lost her 93 old boyfriend came over and wanted to be cheered up a bit. I tried my best, but I didn't feel very well, I think I catched a cold. After 2 h of whining always about the same things, and making no sign of leaving, I thought I have to invent something and pretended that I was so tired and had to go to bed. After another half an hour she finally got it and left ! If only she wouldn't tell me the same things 3 or even 4 times ! She unfortunately belongs to this kind of woman who always complain but don't do anything to change their situation.

Dominique came in the evening to leave us her new birds as she goes away on holidays for a week. The once she had before  which had spent their holidays with Mr. G. were victims of Arthur ! This time he seems ready again, but the door will be locked with a key ! Now way for bird hunting !

19 Jul 2012


Jenny Matlock
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday

When I met Mr. G. my personal Italian, I had no idea about their way of life. The only thing I knew was that if you put one Italian in a street (outside his country of course) he is suddenly surrounded by another 100 (maybe that's a little exaggerated, but still) talking all together at the same time. While other nationalities avoid each other during holidays, Italians keep a watchful eye and ear on the whole beach or in the hotel to find at least one compatriot. Mostly there are a lot more and of course the next day we will sit all together on the beach in ONE group. This had always been like that since we married 43 years ago. From the States to Egypt, we always found Italians.

We need an Electrician ? no problem one Italian always knows another one who has a cousin or an uncle who is electrician. I needed a window cleaner, and got one through an Italian friend who knew a friend whose cousin owned a window cleaner company so I immediately had my window cleaner.

There is a very big Italian community in Belgium, because 3 generations ago, they were "imported" from Italy to work in the Belgian coal mines. Most of them stayed until their pension and then only went back to Italy. The children and grandchildren often don't speak Italian anymore or only a little they stayed here and became Belgians, but in their hearts they all remain Italians.

Even our prime Minister Elio di Rupo, is of Italian origin his father arrived in Belgium in 1947 to work in the coal mines. Elio was born in Belgium, and his mother was illiterated and had to raise 7 children, he only spoke Italian until he went to school. What an amazing carreer he has made !

                          Elio di Rupo

When Mr. G. took me to Italy for the very first time to meet his family, I was sick when we came back. I wasn't used to such a great hospitality. I had to eat all the specialities of all female relatives, drink the wine of all male relatives and if I said I have enough, they filled my plate and glass again ! Wherever we went and whatever was the time, in a second the table was full of delicious food and it would have been unpolite not to eat ! I also wasn't used to the noise ! Sitting all together at a big table everybody talked and talked, nobody listened and I was sitting in the middle to try to understand what they all said. I also learned that Italians never learn to whisper, which apparently doesn't disturb the babies, they are used to, since sitting in Mamma's womb.

In a Hospital everybody shouts his miseries to everybody, there are no whispers to not disturb the patients. The same happened to me while I was in a waiting room, where at home everybody whispers or doesn't talk at all, there I learned the family histories and diseases from all present persons, shouting at each other, also mostly at the same time.

Now that I am used to this and it doesn't bother me anymore, Mr. G. gets crazy when they all shout together ! That's probably why he didn't want to return to Italy when he retired, he finds it too noisy. And then he has all his Italian friends here. When he goes shopping on the market each Sunday morning, he has his meeting point at the stall of Carmelo ! Carmelo sells all Italian specialities and all Italians are gathered around his stall and discuss. That's there where Mr. G. gets all the useful adresses I mentioned above. Even, our banker turned out to be of Italian origin and was so happy to meet us, and my hairdresser too is the grand daughter of an Italian imigrant !

So he has his little Italy just in Waterloo, the only thing he never learned is to whisper ! Everybody in the street knows our first names thanks to his opera voice when he calls us from the street !

the way I eat spaghettis !

18 Jul 2012


more participants here

Grandson Toby

17 Jul 2012


Tunisia part 3 is here

16 Jul 2012


This meme helps you to remember what you did on the weekend of 14 July.

This weekend we went to Amsterdam in pouring rain,  to vist our son with family and celebrate my birthday with them.

Toby was first a little shy, but then he seemed to recognize his grandparents and even managed to say Nonna and Nonno pointing his finger at me and Mr. G.

Before lunch he showed his Dad who is the boss in the house, kept Nonno busy playing a bridge and showed us his creative vein as future Graffiti painter in front of the house.

After lunch the rain had stopped and we drove to a very cute little town where clogs and cheese are made.

Of course we had to try the biggest once ! Toby hesitated to choose the perfect pair for him, but then changed his mind and prefered his leather shoes !

The village was full of very cute little houses, actually they made me think of doll houses and a habor. In a café, Toby choose coffee and cake for us, which was very good !

In the evening we were invited to a restaurant, which unfortunately was very noisy, because of the very special architecture. It was all in metal and looked like a big red worm ! The service was a snail service and the snail would even have won the olympics in slowness ! The men were very hungry and Toby was happy to wait with bread and water !

and while the men studied again and again the menu card in the hope the food would finally arrive and we had to scream at each other because of the noise, I went with Toby in the playroom which was part of the restaurant. That kept him a little busy until he finally got his plate. The food looked very nice and tasted delicious (at least that) I had a fish filet with a lot of vegetables and black rice and the other plate was a lamb chop. When finally we got out our heads were almost exploding and we were happy to get home where it was quiet. Toby went to bed and we followed shortly after. It had been a busy day.

In the morning at least it didn't rain so they showed me the park with a little beach close to their house. While Toby shows me the direction, mom cleaned dog poo off the buggy and Dad went with Toby at the beach. No way to lay there and enjoy the water. It was as cold as in winter !

The architecture of the buildings surrounding the park was very special. I first thought it was an office, but no it was a building with appartments. One building even had big eyes, watching us at least I thought so.

The visit ended with a very hungry Toby after this nice walk in the fresh air, so he prefered to eat and not to pose with his grandparents !

And as the weather was getting worse and worse we decided to return home, after Toby had gone to bed for his afternoon nap.

It rained the whole way back home and it really wasn't a pleasure to drive ! Fortunately there was not a lot of traffic !

We arrived at home around 3 pm and the first thing I did was putting this beautiful birthday bouquet which they had offered me in a vase ! Now the living looks very beautiful. Even Pookie agrees.

15 Jul 2012


I am spending the weekend in Amsterdam with this little man to celebrate my birthday for the second time ! And of course in pouring rain !