Monday, June 30, 2008

What Else Is New???

I wish I had spent more of last week smiling and relaxed. Clearly not all is perfect in the world today. But it's not so bad either. There have been two exciting new additions to my family, and I could brag about the shopping at great length!

First, congrats to my new baby cousin who escaped to the world last week. June 25th, 8 pounds, 3 ounces. Ouch! Babies are (of course) ugly little parasitic creatures, but this one has great eyes. And since I never have to babysit, I look forward to watching him turn into a person over subsequent trips.

The second new addition is a little more to my taste... a shiny new HP Laptop! Far quieter than a baby, but thanks to Winders Vista (XP I'll miss ya) it is only slightly less tempermental.

I left Holland with my personal laptop and a small idea of expanding it's memory and hard drive while away. Instead, I ended up with a dead machine who's parts couldn't be replaced due to their age. So I did the best I could and bought an emergency replacement. Yesterday I saw the same laptop advertised locally for just 799 Euros. I paid 599 dollars. That's 375 Euros or less than half. Not bad for a complex purchase decision made in <5 minutes.

They're not new, but I'm also happy to report I've been reunited with my skies, after seven years apart.

The week I decided I was moving the Europe I bought myself some new skies. That was the end of 2000. I used them that winter and once the next, but only in Canada. And they've been collecting dust in my parents' basement since then.

I felt foolish at the airport holding skies, but now I'll be able to plan a few Alpine ski weekends (in addition to the compulsary scuba-diving vacations.)

Indeed, everything in life right now is about looking to the future. There's lots of good work and work-travel coming up. There's diving to do, and concerts to see, and ski trips to plan with friends. And hopefully, just maybe, there'll be a little more time for blogging too.

At the top of my list of important things to do... a lot of dusting, and watching a few few nights worth of sappy movies. The dust has been building that last few weeks, and I could do with the a little dose of sappy.

Hardly a Honeymoon

It was a long week, but I'm glad I went. As well as seeing my parents, and relatives, it gave Nancy and I a chance to push the fast-forward button and see the future. And the future wasn't pretty.

The "math" roughly works out as "knew eachother for four weeks", then "booked the trip", then "got to know eachother for four more weeks." I told a friend afterwards that I felt stupid for rushing so quickly. They told me that at least I had tried, and that was the important part.

And I agree. I don't really feel stupid for trying. I can't regret that. And Nancy has some pretty amazing qualities. I can't deny that. But it's clear to us now that our qualities don't combine.

So I'm focusing on two apects... as least we tried, and no one got seriously injured.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Playing Tourist In My Hometown

Yesterday was full of firsts. I believe it was the first time I ever bought souveniers in Niagara Falls and I'm pretty sure it was the first time I ever bothered to photograph the Falls.

Nancy and I spent the day touring the Falls, the tacky tourist attractions on Clifton Hill, and (of course) the Outlet Mall.

Best of all I recommend seeing the city from atop the Sky Wheel! A huge ferris wheel, fully glass enclosed (and air conditioned), the Sky Wheel takes you as high into the sky as the tallest casino skyscrapers. The view is incredible and the classical muzak piped into the cars makes the whole experience feel classy.... (classy is a rare commodity in the town of Ripley's, wax museums, casinos and cheap honeymoons.)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I Do Feel Older...

I've had a lot of ideas passing through my head as the next potential blog post. There's so much! I wanted to describe the nazi rally in Germany (and the 10x bigger anti-nazi rally). I wanted to describe the trip to Germany (just for shopping... picture frames and a USB WiFi adaptor). I wanted to proclaim my enthusiasm for my upcoming (three days from now) trip to Canada, with Nancy!

And then I looked at my own blog. I read the title, and I knew the next. I do feel older! I remarked today that for the last few months "sitting" and "standing" again are painful activities. If I sit, I'll stay there a while, thank you. If I stand, I may as well stay standing for a bit.

I'm back on another exercise kick... hitting the weights as often as I can. "As often as I can" is a function (partly) of when the pain from the last session dies down. This time-frame is growing. A sure sign of age.

Does this mean I have to be more diligent about what I eat, and how I spend my free time? I think it does. I think it means I have to exercise better, sleep better, eat better.

I've never before actually considered the idea of being physically less capable than I previously was. But the little painful bits that I'm beginning to call "the day" are registering in my brain. Based on this new data, I humbly suggest a new variation of an old phrase...

"You're only as old as your knees feel."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I don't feel older...

I attended a collective birthday party on Sunday. It was for Nancy's sister, niece, nephew, and myself. The freshly-turned 6-year old niece was clearly now SIX. It was a milestone for her... finally no longer five... a big event!

But I'm not feeling a change in myself with the change of date. Counting in years only, I'm 2.8% older than last week. Counting from day to day, my age actually only increased 0.007%. Realistically I do feel perhaps 0.007% older than yesterday. But making the coffee 0.007% stronger seems to compensate nicely.

While the age itself was no milestone, the day was memorable. A special thanks goes out to all of Holland. The whole country mobilized yesterday to celebrate my day with me!

Okay, they might have been cheering on the national football (soccer) team. And the partying and drinking might have been a bit heavy due to the 3-0 trouncing of world champion Italy. But it was still wonderful having everyone out and singing and enjoying.

Thank you everyone who sent happy wishes, and to the millions in Holland who helped me celebrate. What on earth will I do next year to top this?!?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Mons, Belgium

This afternoon I left the office with a coworker and we drove to Belgium. Our meeting with the customer is first thing tomorrow morning. It was an easy drive and we were passing Antwerp and Brussels in no time. After another 30 minutes we pulled off the highway, following the sat nav system in the car.

We pulled onto a main road and drove a while. Then we pulled onto a side road and drove for a while. Then we pulled onto a tiny country road and drove (carefully) for a while. Where oh where was this hotel???
I couldn't imagine this was a good sign. The hotel only has 5 rooms and couldn't be farther from somewhere than it was. Thankfully, this is what we found...

Good it's pretty. In July I expect to be here for about 3 weeks. Alas, I would trade roses and gardens for.... something (anything) to do.