11 Jul 2009


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Each year when our neighbours are going on holidays, Mr. Gattino feeds the cat named Chouchou. (pronounce shoe shoe). This means darling, sweetheart, etc. in short a nickname normally used for a husband, wife or children. Everybody can be Chou or Chou chou even a cat.

A friend of ours calls every house member Chou. His wife, his son his granddaughter and even the dog. I am sure if a mouse would move in he would name it Chou too. So it well could be possible that when he calls "Chou" that his wife, son, granddaughter and dog all appear on the doormat at the same time. After he became widow, three weeks later he had another female "chou". I have to admit that this man has a strong lack of imagination.

Now every morning and every evening Mr. Gattino crosses the street and calls "Chouchou". To his big surprise last time a window was opened at the other's neighbour's house and a female voice said "Yes, I am here !" It was our neighbor's daughter. The real Chouchou appeared too of course.


Chou chou

10 Jul 2009


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Wednesday was my birthday so I have to show you the gifts I got. We had already celebrated with our friends in Italy so we didn't do anything special this day. And here they are :


From my son I got a wall clock, now hanging over the door in our living room,


from Mr. Gattino this big wooden cat, which now stands in the entry hall.


a hand painted little cat from my friend in Italy


a white ceramic cat from another


and two little magnetic cat

And I am sure there are still some more to come ! I think I am a very easy person to choose a gift for.

9 Jul 2009

THURSDAY THIRTEEN - Are you Italian ?

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Influenced by my last holidays in Italy I found this, which is quite true, at least in little towns and villages.

In 13 sentences you know you're Italian when :

1. You can bench press 325 pounds, shave twice a day and still cry when your mother yells at you.

2. You carry your lunch in a produce bag because you can't fit two cappicola sandwiches, 4 oranges, 2 bananas and pizzelles into a regular lunch bag.

3. Your mechanic, plumber, electrician, accountant, travel agent and lawyer are all your cousins.

4. You have at least 5 cousins living in the same town or street. All five of those cousins are named after your grandfather or grandmother.

5. You are on a first name basis with at least 8 banquet hall owners.

6. You only get one good shave from a disposable razor.

7. If someone in your family grows beyond 5'9", it is presumed his Mother had an affair.

8. There are more than 28 people in your bridal party.

9. You netted more than $50,000 on your first communion.

10. Your grandfather had a fig tree.

11. You eat Sunday dinner at 2:00.

12. Your mom's meatballs are the best.

13.You've been hit with a wooden spoon or had a shoe thrown at you.

8 Jul 2009


on the highway in Germany



Today I am 66 it's my birthday, first once to congratulate of course were my cats ! They wanted breakfast !

7 Jul 2009


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6 Jul 2009

FUN MONDAY - National Day in Belgium

Janice wants to know how we spent the July 4th US Independence day : Do you have a July 4th funny story you would like to share? Do you have a family tradition for this day? For those who are not US residents, please tell us when your country’s independence day is and share with us how you celebrate/spend it. We would love some pictures too, you can share your stories in pictures too.

As I am not an US resident, I spent the 4th of July in 30°C (90F) heat and tried to get rid of the jungle into which our garden had transformed itself during our holidays. I also had to fill in our fridge, which was completely empty for the same reason. Besides that there also were tons of laundry to do.

All this I wouldn't have done on our "National Day" on July 21th, and as we are not there yet, I tried to find some pictures from the last years. I wrote about how we celebrate in Waterloo on my Countries & Cities Blog.

In Brussels of course there is much more, because it is the capital there it starts with a big parade in presence of the King and Queen and all members of the Royal Family, plus the politicians of course. Years ago in the parade much more national military stuff was shown, in the last years it is more European Union directed. Of course you also have to keep your ears closed when the planes are flying over your head leaving color traces of the belgian flag.

In front of the Royal Palace is a parc where a big "family" party takes place, where also royal members are mingling with the population and their children have a lot of fun together with all the "normal" once. People do pic nic, there are shows, dances and funny other games. Of course the traditional "Frittekot" which means a booth selling "french" fries, and belgian wafers are there too.

On the streets there are different kind of parades, dances, music and people have a lot of fun.

Of course each town has its firework and some patriots are hanging flags at their windows. Not that much though. On official buildings there are always two flags now, the Belgian one and the European.

People are happy when the 21st is falling on a week day so they have a day off, and that's the most important for the majority I guess.

We never did anything special that day nor did our Belgian neighbors.


The King and the Queen, dancing and having fun in the street, a parade on stilts, and Manneken piss dressed as an accordion player (last year)


The King and the Queen. Our King is a very cheerful person with a lot of humour, which he really needs in this difficult country where 11 million inhabitants are fighting sometimes because of a language ! (french or flemish)

5 Jul 2009


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One evening we went to a restaurant in a little town near the Garda Lake in Italy. It is very nice to know people who can take you to places which are not overloaded with tourists, and rather difficult to find for them if they don't speak the language.

We ended up in this little street


Mr. Gattino and his friend


The restaurant "Villa Lega" didn't look very special from outside


But once I was in there I was really amazed ! We ate in the garden and the "roof" was these vine leaves with grapes hanging over your head.

Then our friend showed me one of the inside rooms. There was no light at all and I couldn't see anything. So I shot blindly around me with my little camera and was so surprised to discover these wonderful old frescos on the ceiling once I downloaded the photos on my computer.



Unfortunately I missed the head





It only gives an overview of this very beautiful place. The food too was excellent and there was a big choice.

After supper we went for a little walk through the town.

The city hall


and in front this fountain. there we sat and had a nice ice cream before we went home.