Friday, October 2, 2015

Parting ways is so sad

Well Google Blog site..

We are done with you..

We have a new Blog Location hosted on Wordpress.. Way nicer format.

Check it out.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hello People.. and mostly myself..
We are going on a Hawaii Adventure in a week and a bit..

So stay tuned for pics info and more.

Friday, March 27, 2015

More to see in Baltimore...???

Another day, and then another trip. 

So work has a Datacenter in Baltimore in the USA.   And we have doing a upgrade of a lot of Servers. Power units etc. and they want me to fly down. Cool a new place to check ou. So Flight is booked, Vancouver to Minneapolis, and then to Baltimore. 
Day of, I decide im going to go to work, and then roll out from there to catch my flight, thi way I get som hours in at work. So aroumd 7am, I get a notification my first flighthas been delayed by over an hour.. which means I would miss my connection flight in Minneapolis… Crap.. So I call up Delta. And they set me up with a new route.. this however it leaves Vancouver at  9:50.. So I got to book it out of the office
Lucky for me there isn’t to much traffic, I might it to the airport, through security, and to my gate by 9:10.. Then I find that my new seats are premium, (The first class of Domestic flights.)  So YaY me.
The flight is full up.. So they take my Roller bag and make me check it (For free) as well so that’s perfect.
I got to se my bag get loaded

The flight was good. There was the rich guy in a suit talking loudly on the phone and had to be told many times to turn his phone of. The guy beside me that was watching Scareface on his Ipad, and he had it propped up against the seat so everytime the person moved it fell down.  And a couple of ladies in there 50’s that were dressed in mini skirts and high heals going to Denver for a bachelorette party.
All in all it was a quiet flight.  I arrived in Salt lake, it was clear and sunny,  the airport was pretty boring the usual shops. And food places, I went to some Mexican place,   the burrito was very soggy, then I found a place called Smash burger which I which I had eaten at.. lol.

So I had 3 hours to kill and I get super tired traveling for some reason So I just layed out on a bench and  rested. 
Got on the plane as the last person, there was a couple people in head of me that were seated in rows 18, but they wanted to store HUGE roller bags in the First Class overhead bins.  Poor People.. Sheesh.. So I only had a small bag,  so I helped then cram the HUGE bag into My First class storage and wished them on there way.  Then I noticed a Fat old Lady (I always get the seat next to the fat old Ladies on long flights) she was in my seat (The Window) and intently watching something on her iphone. I mentioned to her that she was in my seat, she didn’t offer to move, so I just said I like the aisle. And sat down.

Dinner was served in a little bit, and it was a Chicken Tariakyi, with Rice and a Salad with a Soft bun, and Gelato.  My Seat mate vacuumed her dinner down like it was her last meal. Shes also Laughing like a hyena at whatever video she is watching. Luckly I have my headphones on and can barely hear her.

Couple hours later we arriave in Baltimore, and since I was in seat A row 1, im the first off the plane, I grab my bags, and go to the taxt area to find there is a ton o people waitin for a cab. And they are all Van taxi’s so that didn’t seem appealing. I grab the first Black SUV from the Towner car service, and we cruise into Baltimore. Arriving downtown at my hotel a in a quick 20 minutes.

I get the room with a  view.. View on the building across the street, on the 14th floor. And o take a sleeping pill and into Dream land.  Tomorrow begins non-stop work. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

the end is near

April 25, 2014
Today we had to be up early so we could pack everything that was strewn about the cabins and cram everything into our cars and be out by 10am. I was pretty good about keeping our things contained to our room so packing was pretty easy. Once our cabin was organized we went over to the other cabin and they still had a huge mess over there. Granted all the food was over there so they had more to pack. We tried to eat as much of the food as possible, so Peggy made bird’s nests to use up the rest of the eggs and bread. Poor Jonathan was looking pretty pale, apparently he had been up sick all night, which is awful anytime but even worse when you’re on vacation.

By pretty much exactly 10am we had crammed all our excessive luggage into the two cars. Luckily we had ruined that Opal because otherwise we never would have been able to transport everything; our Mondeo has a huge trunk since it’s a wagon. We were spending the night at Remult and Wendela’s house in Gouda, and since Jonathan wasn’t feeling well we just took a quick drive through Maarne since we hadn’t made it there on the bikes and then we got right on the highway. Remult and Wendela had gone to Switzerland for the week and were supposed to be getting back today, so we weren’t sure if they were going to be home yet but thankfully they were home since we beat the other car there and they had the keys to the house.

The house was super cool and the architect was actually another family member that we had visited for dinner the day we went to Amsterdam. It was Peggy’s birthday today, so we pretty much just dropped off the guys and Ben, Jessica and I headed to the mall to pick up a birthday card and a little gift. When we got back to the house the other car was just arriving and unpacking. After a quick lunch of cold cuts on bread, the majority of us headed out for a walk into downtown Gouda.
The walk took about 40 minutes, mostly along a major bike path that cut between two canals. Along the way there were little sections of land between the houses and canals that were just fields; some had cows, sheep and goats.

Once we got into town we wandered through shops and into the main square where they were setting up a big stage for King’s Day which is technically on Sunday but they are celebrating on Saturday and Friday night. Apparently King’s Day is a big thing here, every store was selling orange t-shirts, dresses, hats, wigs, leggings, etc. We were told that Friday night is a big boozefest, I’m assuming that King’s day on Saturday is a little more family friendly.

It was actually really warm out. Before we left Ben told me to wear my hoodie because I’m always cold, but then I was hot so he had to carry it for me J. After wandering for a few hours we started our walk back. Along the way some of us stopped at the mall to pick up some food items like Milka bars since we figured the stores would possibly be closed tomorrow because it’s a holiday and then on Sunday because that’s the norm. Of course because we went by an ice cream place, Peggy and Rick (and Ben) just had to get a cone before we had dinner.

As we got back to the house the rest of the dinner guest were also arriving, including Remult and Wendela’s daughter Lianne, and Remult’s brother Roland and his sons Philip and Leonard (Remult’s sister Kirsten also came a little later). We just visited with the Dutch cousins for a while and then some of the guys went out and picked up Chinese take-away for dinner. Wendela had also picked up a cake and we sang happy birthday in Dutch (I didn’t participate in that one for obvious reasons) and English for Peggy and Nora.

After everyone had left I began the task of cramming all of our purchases into our bags. I thought I had it all figured out (leaving room for the cheese in the fridge) and then I realized that we still had a whole grocery bag full of food items we had picked up at the grocery store before we left Doorn (mostly stroopwafels…). So I had to work my magic again and reshuffle some things, but I made it work. Our bags ended up weighing almost exactly the same because I put all the heavy stuff in the smaller bag. Now just one more sleep before we fly home.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

you never forget how to ride a bike

April 24, 2014
We had a bit of a slow start to the day today. I didn’t get up until 8:30am and didn’t go over to the other cabin until probably almost 10am, and there were still people sleeping over there! Granted we did have a few busy days with lots of driving. Today we had no plans so it was nice to take it easy in the morning and not be in a big rush to eat and get organized and pile into the cars. Uncle Rick of course was busy making breakfasts to order and had the coffee going.

Everyone wanted to stay a little closer to home today. Oma and Joan stayed at the cabin, Rick, Nora, Jessica, Jonathan and Ryan drove into Utrecht (about 20 minute drive away) to go thrift store shopping, and Ben, Peggy and I decided to rent some bicycles and go for a ride. So the three of us drove into Doorn to the bike rental store and picked our bikes; mine even had saddlebags which came in handy later.

We decided to ride to Zeist which was about 12kms from Doorn. It was a beautiful day, a little overcast and muggy, but overall pleasant, and we just cruised along on these bikes. Of course the terrain here is very flat so you have to exert very little effort and to get going; they are also of course road bikes so that helps too.
It took us about 50 minutes to get into Zeist. 

Once we got right into town we parked our bikes and poked through some shops. Zeist is a super cute little town and totally off the beaten path for tourists. We even found a couple second hand stores and I picked up some cool souvenirs, including a spekulas mould. Ben found some little Star Wars Lego sets that he hasn’t seen at home and Peggy found some Dutch tea towels that are apparently better than any tea towels you can buy at home. We also found a store that must have been some sort of warehouse clearance place like MTF (but way smaller); they had new stuff (clothes, household goods, decorations, candles, etc) but everything was super cheap. Peggy picked up some cute little chicken figurines and a tray for Nora since it was her birthday yesterday and she collects chicken things.

There was also an open air market set up today, so we wandered through and found a booth selling freshly made stroopwaffles. I got a giant one that was still warm and oh so delicious. We also found a booth selling cheese and picked up three rounds of flavoured gouda: pepper, mustard seed, and pesto. The cheese guy also sold us on three wedges of 1000 day aged gouda for 10€, so was super sharp and flavourful, and for 10€ we thought it was a pretty good deal.

 He also shrink-wrapped our rounds for us. Of course while we are busy with the cheese, Peggy found someone to talk to. There was a booth across from the cheese with a man selling keys and he had a bunch of super old keys and old-style keys that they still use here, so Peggy was telling him that we don’t really have locks like that in Canada. Well once he heard she was from Canada he had lots of questions about Canada. Pretty much every person who they have spoken to and told that they are Dutch but moved to Canada can’t understand why they would leave The Netherlands and asks if they will move back.

Anyways, once we were done with all of our shopping we headed back to our bikes and loaded everything on. We decided that on our way back to Doorn we would take some trails through the woods instead of following the road. It was so awesome riding through the trees, although it was a little more work than riding on the pavement. Instead of going straight back to Doorn we followed the Fietspad (bike path) back to the cabins so we could have a little rest and unload all of our stuff. Unfortunately there was a long sloping hill that we had to climb to get there, which was the only difficult part of our ride so far.

When we made it back to the cabins we ran into Oma who was just walking to the parking lot to see if her friend had arrived for a visit. So she came back with us to the cabin and we showed her and Joan all our treasures that we found in Zeist. While Ben and I were inside with Joan, Peggy and Oma were outside looking at the bikes and Peggy convinced Oma to take one for a spin. Well you know what they say, once you know how to ride a bike you never forget and it was true, off she went (not very far really, just in front of the cabins, but still pretty impressive).

Once we had rested a bit and had a little snack and some water we decided to ride into Maarn before going back to Doorn to return the bikes. Riding away from the cabins there was a really nice long hill that we got to cruise down pretty much all the way back to the main road. We had just barely gotten to the outskirts of Maarn when some dark and ominous clouds rolled in and we figured we probably shouldn’t dilly dally and turned around to head into Doorn.

Well that nice long hill we rode down wasn’t so nice going the other way but we managed to make it all the way up, but not before it started to rain. Luckily the path we were on was under a bunch of trees which protected us somewhat. Once we conquered the gentle grade of Dutch Fietspads we were able to cruise into Doorn, dodging other cyclists and motor scooters that are also allowed on the bike paths. It was a little dodgy because sometimes the bike lane is quite narrow and when someone is trying to pass I was afraid that we would catch on each other’s handlebars and bail, but we had no accidents. Over the course of the day we rode about 30kms; it wasn’t super taxing but I already know that I’m going to feel it in my legs tomorrow.

By the time we got back to the bike shop it was pouring, thunder and lightning and even a bit of hail. Joan had given us some bottles to return to the grocery store in town, so once we got to the car we headed over there. Ben and I went to a couple other stores while Peggy returned the bottles. Apparently they had a machine that you feed them into and she was trying to shove the bottles through faster and set off an alarm on the machine that was super loud, so a stock-boy had to run over and turn the alarm off.
About 30 minutes after we got back to the cabin the other guys got back from their day of thrift store shopping; they had found some cool treasures too and had an awesome day. Everyone was pretty hungry because they had skipped lunch, so we had a feast of leftovers to clean out the fridge because we have to be out of the cabins by tomorrow afternoon and we don’t want to have to pack a bunch of food.

It has been raining on and off all evening now, with some crazy loud booming thunder and a bit of lightning as well. There is no wind though and the birds are still chirping. Ben and I are having a bit of quiet time to ourselves in our cabin. I think we will start gathering our things and pack up what we can tonight because I can just imagine the chaos tomorrow morning when everyone else tries to gather their stuff that is spread throughout the cabins at De Maarnse Berg.

Friday, April 25, 2014


April 23, 2014 (by Ben)
It was another nice day, we got up at around 8ish, showered and then had a hearty breakfast of bread, cheese, meat and vla.  Oma had tasked me with finding information about the park-and-ride near Amsterdam, so after a bit of googling I found one that I figured was at the best location (close enough to Amsterdam, but not so close that we would be stuck in traffic etc).

We all piled into the cars, and were off at around 9:30ish. After about  45 minutes we arrived at the location of what was supposed to be a 250+ car parking lot etc, however the lot was only about a max of 30 cars and it was full.  We drove around a bit but couldn’t find another lot so once the other car had arrived my mom and I walked over to a nearby hotel and asked someone (in Dutch) about this parking situation.  Apparently there was a large lot there, however it was filled in a year ago. Nooo… So we decided to drive to a nearby parking complex to see if we could park there. As we were leaving someone was pulling out of the smaller lot, so Uncle Rick went into that spot, and I decided to park at the Planetarium, as it was right there but didn’t have any signs about parking or how much it cost. At least we were parked now and ready to head down town.

One thing about traveling in a group of 10 people well there are lots of opinions, everyone has different ideas about where to go, and how to get there, etc etc.  With that said it took a while for everyone to figure out how to get 24 hour Metro passes.  Once we were on the train we could relax a bit, as we headed to the first stop of the day, which was the Apartment where my Aunty Joan was born and where the family lived for about 3 or so years.
We managed to switch trains, and get off at the correct stop however some of us were having issues scanning out of the train station. Oma was one of those people, so a nice Black youth decided to help her out. He reached through the divider grabbed, her ticket from her, and used it to open the doors. As she walked out he also went into the station, gave her the ticket back, and high fived his buddy.  So Oma gave someone a free ride on the train today. J

We took the tram from this point a couple of stops, and then got off. At this point we were going off Oma’s memory, and she is a lady in her 80’s so her memories are a little faded, so we wandered one way, and then the other way. Finally she wrote down the name of the street that she was looking for, and I just put it into my GPS, and Bam we found it. 

A 4 story complex on the corner, no Elevator, and very steep staircase.
My mom and Uncle Rick (The most chatty/Ballsy ones in the group) went up and knocked on the one door. A young American lived there, but his placed wasn’t the right one, however he knew the girl that lived in the top floor of the other side, and that’s the side there were sure they had lived in. So he called her for them, and asked if 10 strangers from Canada could look in her house.

After a couple minutes she came out and we all walked up the very steep staircase, Oma had lived here with 5 little kids, and walked up and down these stairs multiple times daily, with kids, grocerys etc. Crazy.  At the top we got to the Apartment but it turns out it was the wrong one. So on the way down Uncle Rick just knocked on the door of the apartment on the 3rd floor, and my mom started talking to the guy that opened it. He was dressed in biking shorts and making lunch. But didn’t seem to have an issue with letting us all wander around his home, and it was the right place, small and compact, with only a few changes from the what it was when Oma, and the kids had been there last.  (50 years ago)

By now it was around 1pm, and people were getting hungry however we were walking to the next stop, which was the school that Mom went to Kindergarten at.  This was a couple blocks and mom and Aunty Nora both remembered it, walking/running there, playing with the other kids around there. Mom also vividly remembered one Christmas when Saint Nicholas and Swarte Piet came to the school and she was so terrified of Swarte Piet that she ran out of the school and all the way home. She said as she peered in the front window, “oh ya this is the gym right here, I remember because its right by the front door, that’s how I got away so fast”.

At around 2:30 we headed to Amsterdam Central, this is where having 10 people gets hard, we were all still hungry, and people were getting a bit snappy. First Oma led us all to a cafĂ© on the side of the canal, however after sitting down we realized that it was going to take too long, and we had dinner plans with a second cousin of my moms.  So we wandered around the streets for a bit before stopping at a random place for fry’s and Krokets.

Then we hopped a Tram back to the Train, hopped the train back to the parking lot and hopped back into the cars, heading for the cousins house.
When we got to the area that she lived we were impressed, it wasn’t very old, and was arranged in a nice grid pattern, unlike the rest of Europe that was just thrown together in a large mess. Her place was a 3 story building with a garage overlooking a lake. They were happy when we arrived and greeted us with drinks, and snacks.  She is an engineer, her husband is a retired school teacher and her 21 year son is going to university.  She told us how the area that we were in was all ocean 20 years ago, and it was reclaimed and all these nice new developments were built on it.

We had a huge dinner (there are 10 of us plus 3 of them); she had curried chicken, Beef, Rice, Pasta, enough food to feed at least 20 people. Everything was super delicious and flavourful and all of the family (and random people) we have met have been very friendly, welcoming and hospitable. After a couple more hours of stories and small talk we headed back to the cabins, and went to bed, it was another long day.