Month: September 2005

exhausted and … well, not sure what else …

dear friends: sorry so low on posts lately. i have tried to read up on yours, but have been feeling not very commentative lately. anyway, i’ll try to be better.

last week, without going into much in the way of details, was very very busy and also very interesting. interesting can also mean stressful, and now my body is telling me about it. ick. i feel pretty shitty, but here i go into another week. i spent as much of today sleeping as possible. which really wasn’t all that much, if i count up the hours, but still. and now it’s 11:15, and although i’m very tired, i’m having trouble sleeping. tomorrow is tuesday, and that means violin, metalsmithing and pottery all over again. a big day. hopefully all the sleeping today helped.

really, this week looks pretty slow, which is really needed right now. on the other hand, i met with two potential students last week and should be hearing back from them in the next couple of days (i hope), so my schedule could fill faster than i think. saturday matt is going to a bachelor party in amsterdam, and i’m supposed to leave my schedule open for a girl thing, although we don’t know yet what’s being planned. the sister of the bride is in charge, and apparently running late. well, we’ll see. annemette and marivi and i think that if nothing gets planned, at least the 3 of us can take suzanne out that evening, and maybe something will get planned for another night.

i have recurring thoughts about elements from the OTHER movie named “crash,” with james spader. i haven’t seen it in years, and sold my copy in our last garage sale in the states. maybe i should rent it sometime soon.

kumulus centrum voor de kunsten

well, i don’t have much time right now, but i wanted to update quickly. i’ll try to get on and read about friends later this afternoon or tomorrow.

yesterday was my big art day at kumulus. i went to metalsmithing for the first time, and pottery. metal was difficult. try learning something complicated and entirely new in another language. yikes. i mean, i’ve had a basic understanding of many of the other things i’ve tried to do in dutch, but wow. and the teacher speaks really really fast. he has a lot to tell us about. i was pretty confused, but in the end, had made good progress on our first project, a 4cm x 4cm pin or pendant using 2 sheets of metal, one cut up and puzzled back together, then soldered onto the other. so far, i’ve made a design (which took about an hour, i might add, and got a very confusing lecture on the process of design, which i didn’t follow at all), then sawed it out, and am in the middle of filing down the pieces. i was glad i got so far, actually. after an hour of design, i was sure i was never going to manage to make anything. and dude, either i DON’T GET dutch humor, or jokes directed incessantly at me are not always funny. ugh. i felt pretty rotten leaving class, and wiped out.

later that night, i went to pottery. good news: a friend of mine is also in there… ursula. i didn’t know she had planned to do it too, but there she was. yay! and the wheels are manual, so i’m having to learn a bit differently. my leg got really tired for the first hour, from kicking the wheel around, and centering is more difficult on a manual wheel (i think), but eventually i got the hang of it. i made 4 matching espresso cups in the last hour. the two hours before that, i mostly just practiced things. i was pretty proud of the cups, though: they match! i’ve never really tried much to make matching things before, but yay! then some woman knocked them over while not paying attention to what she was doing as she wrapped her own work. bitch. but i managed to salvage them. whoo. so i was pretty happy. and now i have yellow clay under my nails. 🙂 happiness.

matt bought a motorcycle. i think i’m about to go ride it. i need a shower, though, since i just got back from running over st. pieter with annemette and marivi. toodles.

demo site exploration and thoughts about friends

matt and i were talking yesterday, and we agree that we are really impressed with the people in our lives, even the ones we don’t see very often (which is ever so many of them/you). so many people that we know are interesting people, for all different kinds of reasons. yay. thanks.

so, last night i was feeling really hyperactive, and matt and i invited dick over (well, originally the plan was to go out somewhere) and we played some card games. actually, i was so hyperactive that i could barely sit still, so really i was mostly dancing around the living room and losing every game. the energy level lasted a very long time, so when matt, who wasn’t feeling well, went up to bed, dick and i went exploring the construction site behind the apartment. we had planned to go down into the wine cellars, and we did manage to locate the entrance to them, when i walked across a sheet of plywood that was hollow-sounding, but when we went to go find a ladder, i became side-tracked by the ramps up to the mostly demolished parking garage. half of it is broken off, and you have to take a little climb each time to get to the next ramp area. we climbed to the top, and found another ladder, so that we could sit up on the very top of the tall parking garage. from there, we could see a lot of maastricht. the maas river looked very beautiful, and the wilhelmina bridge was an empty expanse. because all the surrounding buildings have been taken down, we had a lovely view of so many of the gorgeous churches and other buildings in the city. i thought the stadhuis was particularly cool. it was windy up there, and tempting to lean into the wind while standing on the ledge of the wall we had been sitting on, but leaning was a bad idea. i didn’t do it. i just stood there. i could even see into my apartment pretty clearly, since we were right above it. amazingly, we could hear a lot of noises of the late night city from there. i loved it. i was filthy when i got home. 🙂

maybe next time matt can come, and we can see the wine cellars. before they too get demolished.

today i had my first lesson with one of my new students, a 16 year old from madrid named fernando. good kid. funny, and really advanced, except in listening and speaking. there is much repetition for both of us, to communicate, but if there’s writing as well, then no problem. i will have 2 lessons with him per week. i think he will advance quickly. yay.

tonight we are having dinner with mark, boyfriend of a friend and owner of two kitties that i cat-sit regularly. we have never met in person before. i’m looking forward to it.

new students, new things happening…

well, i’m back from hamburg. my meeting with jesse, the espresso cart guy in hamburg, was really great. he’s got a really simple operation, simpler than i was planning, but it’s really doing well. hard work, certainly, but sounds great. i have to send off some emails and letters of requests for information from some other places, also some thank you’s to people for talking with me and/or providing me with free samples. but i’m very excited. i think this can happen! yay!

in other news, i have a meeting with the parents of a new student this afternoon. they are interested in 2 2-hour lessons per week, which is great for my budget. yay! it’s a 16-year old spanish boy. i also got a call from another spanish woman who also is interested. i’m phone-tagging with her right now. yay again!

did i mention i signed up for some art classes at kumulus? they start next tuesday and i got the confirmation letters today. metal-smithing from 1-4, and pottery from 7-10. lovely. i like that they’re both on tuesdays, also. my violin lesson tends to be tuesday mornings, which means that all my creative type lessons are on tuesday. i like it that way, all focused. i’m more likely not to skip anything when the whole day is devoted to one type of activity. dutch lessons will stay for now on wednesday nights, although matt may need to change this. oh well.

and that’s all the gnus. for now.

Hamburg Day 2…

hello, darlings…

well, here i am at the end of day 2 of my trip to hamburg. i had a strange start to the day. i got really lucky last night and didn’t have to share my dorm room, and woke up feeling a little panicky about time. i thought my clock said it was 10 am, so i hurried and rushed off to see the tea and coffee world cup exhibit at the convention center, but when i got to the metro, found it was only 9. heh.

anyway, i went to the trade fair, which is why i’m here in hamburg, and at first was both overwhelmed and disappointed. rather than being helpful, people i talked to seemed pretentious and condescending, and there was no cart supplier listed. i went to the organizer stand, to ask, and the man there didn’t know what i was talking about, then made a big show of checking for a category “carts”, and of course there wasn’t one, which i already knew, since i can read the index myself.

so, frustrated, i sat down and went through the list in the book, and started circling ones i thought i should go see. this proved much more useful. unfortunately, most of the coffee people there were suppliers of green coffee, not roasted coffee. some of them were kind enough to give me information on roasters they supplied, but many just looked at me like i was crazy. so, after a bit of this, i went back to my list, and finished circling things. then i started talking to espresso machine manufacturers. mostly, that was also fruitless, but then i stopped, in a funny mood, at one, and when the man asked me if i had questions, i rather vaguely said, “sure… all of the above. whatever.. the basics…” and instead of sending me on my way with a flyer and a general, “here is a distributor in your area that can give you more info,” he sat me down, gave me something to drink (first a bottle of water, but eventually a glass of prosecco), and went through all kinds of info for me. eventually he asked me exactly what my plans are, and i told him, and also that i was frustrated by the lack of cart manufacturers at the conference, and he said that his company had recently made their first, here in hamburg, for a caribbean guy here. so he showed me a bunch of pictures of it, and told me some general specs, then called the guy up and asked him where he’ll be tomorrow. so now this cart guy is expecting my visit tomorrow, and i get to talk to him about how his business is going.

did i mention that the whole espresso cart thing is just about unheard of here in europe? i’m pretty much explaining the idea over and over to people. so it’ll be great to meet someone else doing it.

after this nice espresso machine guy, i hit the syrups and condiments vendors. that was fun, as many of them gave me LOADS of samples. my backpack got VERY heavy. many of them are full-size samples, too, not little packages. i also got lots of free ground coffee from enthusiastic african men. 🙂 the white guys were NEVER willing to give up the bags of coffee, but for some reason, the africans were. first it was a guy from ethiopia, then another guy from nairobi. the nairobi guy was working with a german guy, and the german got really crabby when he found out i was being given full bag samples and i’m not even in their distribution area. dude, i had been up front about that from the beginning, but whatever.

anyway, i left at 3pm or so, and headed for the spice museum, which also gave a free sample of a bag of pepper. it was mz free sample day. after that i couldn’t hardly carry my bag anymore, so i went back to the hostel. i was running so early that i even had time to go to the museum of arts and crafts for an hour before they closed. then i went back to the cool student area i was in last night, and had sushi for dinner, then went to a cool cocktail bar for a caipirinha, then back to the hostel.

when i got here, the guys i’d talked to last night were here with a bunch of others, and all hanging out in the common area. well, they’re all still there, actually. behind me. pretty funny… i keep having to control my need to interrupt their conversation.

so, i’m wiped. going down to my room here in a few minutes, and probably sort through my fliers. tomorrow i will go see the cart guy, then to the photography museum, then head home to maastricht.

and that’s the basics. i’ve been writing a lot, too. weirdness, as i’m not really any kind of writer. heh. but i’m enjoying it, and feeling really full of things to say, none of which, strangely, have i included here. (what a teaser!!!)



hi! i have 3 minutes left on internet. am in hamburg, enjoyable evening. now drinking paulaner in hostel. (ha ha dick!!) have used all my phone minutes smsing and also calling, and can’t recharge. dammit.

tomorrow coffee trade fair. exciting.

the erotic art museum here is the best i’ve seen!


birthday party!

well, i had a really fun birthday yesterday. when i woke up, i went to kickboxing for the first time here. wow. it was really hard, but i did great, and it felt really good. i’m planning to go every saturday morning, unless i’m out of town. the class was 1 1/2 hours, and about 30 minutes at the beginning were really hard conditioning warmups and some stretching. briefly, i thought i was going to die. then some free sparring, then combination training with a partner, then “cool down.” the cool down wasn’t really cooling. it was about 15 minutes of ab work. holy fucking shit. i can’t even describe. today, i’m pretty stiff, all over, but it feels really good.

so then i went and fed mark’s cats, then met matt and dick for some lunch at cafe zondag. they’d been out testdriving motorcycles. then matt and i went home to prepare for the party.

the party was excellent. i did cocktail-fu, and got everyone completely toasted, except myself. well, and a couple others. 2 people didn’t drink at all, and for some bizarre reason matt didn’t drink much either. neither did dick. but everyone else was toasted and had a great time. and everyone brought presents! that was a bit of a surprise… i really hadn’t needed presents, but i’m definitely not complaining. they were all great. speaking of which, i’m going downstairs soon to try one of ghislaine’s cookies. yum.

since everyone was trashed, the party didn’t make it very late. about 3 a.m. unfortunately, i got a second (or some other number) wind around then and was absolutely energetic.

woke up this morning around 10. matt wanted to go motorcycle shopping again with dick, so we invited him over again for breakfast (after all, we had breakfast supplies to feed whatever might have been left of the party), then they took off. i went to the kumulus center for the arts to visit their open house. i talked to the metalsmithing teacher, and have signed up for one of the metalsmithing classes and also pottery with the same teacher i took ceramic handbuilding from last year. then i went to feed mark’s kitties again.

and then i bit the bullet and stopped in at matuchi to see if they’d hire me as a bartender. the guy working was not very enthusiastic, or even polite. he didn’t understand my dutch, although the girl there did just fine, and he told me that my lack of dutch would be a problem. bullshit. matt bartended in prague with no czech. people say the drink, and you get it for them. i can do small talk. what i don’t know how to do is ask for a job, friendly and casually. oh well. i left my name and phone number and he said he’ll give it to the boss. right. somehow i doubt it.

there’s a live band playing at cafe zondag this afternoon, and sofia and dev told us they’re going. so we’re going to head over there too.

thanks for the birthday wishes from many of you after my last post! and don’t worry, nathan, although i didn’t drink much, i did drink some, and so i lifted one for you, too! 🙂

kickboxing, art, hamburg, etc.

tried to go to kickboxing tonight. unfortunately, the schedule i found online is out of date. i got there and they told me that it’s not there anymore, but that it is on saturday mornings, so i’m going to try to go then. still, it was disappointing; it took a lot for me to get motivated, and then nothing. damn.

i have some choices regarding schedule to make. there are several classes at kumulus (a school for the arts) that i’d like to take this year, and two of them not only coincide with each other, but also with kickboxing (possibly). anyway, sign up for those classes is sunday, so i’d like to have gone to at least one kickboxing class to find out how i like this school before it’s time to decide.

the classes, by the way, are pottery (wheelwork, this time, not handbuilding), metalsmithing (COOL!), and fiber arts. i’ll try to meet all the teachers on sunday, too. maybe that’s part of the problem i had last year with the handbuilding class i took: although the teacher was very friendly, i don’t think i really liked her very much, and it’s not like she just got out of the way and let you work, either. on the other hand, when i did need some help, i had trouble getting it.

i checked out the prices for kayak rental while i was feeding mark’s cats this evening. it seems to be a flat rate, depending on people and type of kayak. a one-person kayak is 15 euros, a two-person is 20. perhaps i’ll go friday, if i get some of the things i want to do done this week.

monday through wednesday i’ll be in hamburg for an espresso trade fair. i’m pretty excited, actually. if anyone who’s reading this knows anyone in hamburg who might be interested in getting a drink or dinner with me while i’m there, let me know. i’ll get there monday afternoon, be at the fair all day tuesday, and leave wednesday morning sometime. i’m planning on staying in a hostel, although i haven’t booked a room yet.

by the way, anyone reading this is also invited to my birthday party this saturday, in case i forgot to call or email you about it. la la la. i got confused, with all the halloween early notices and all.

trouble with bright red braids…

well, today is hair bleach and dye day. last tuesday we took out the braids, and thursday i will get new braids put in. that meant i had one week in which to enjoy incredibly faded, rather damaged hair with big bad roots. actually, i did enjoy it. there are some things i can enjoy more freely when not worrying about fading color or tangling dreds. such as swimming and spa days. 🙂

yesterday i enjoyed not only a full massage, but also hours and hours in the baths and saunas of thermae 2000, in valkenburg. it was really fun. it was basically my last chance to do it before the braids, since i have to do the dying a couple days before, and what a waste of dye to do it then swim in salty and chlorinated water.

anyway, i have finished the bleaching and am now sitting here with red dye all over. yep, i made a mess this time. i’m a bit out of practice. the last couple of times, matt has had to do it for me, as i wasn’t able to get everything by myself.

had my violin lesson this morning. i’m having a bit of trouble with the 3rd position. we’ve just started it, if you don’t count the bit of gypsy stuff i’ve been working on for a while, and i just get confused. it feels like starting out all over again. very deliberate, all the time, and carefully placing my fingers, and checking against other notes, all the time. ugh.

matt is looking for a motorcycle, and i am getting sad and lonely about not having mine. dick and i went for a ride on his bike, a bmw, before the spa yesterday, and well, his is just fine, but i can’t wait to see mine again. soon i’ll hear something about the paperwork, i hope. anyway, matt and dick are going testdriving some bikes either wednesday night or saturday. matt needs a new bike before he starts his new job.

saturday, by the way, is my 31st birthday. i’m having a party, and matt’s being quite a sweetie and handling most of the invites, since i kind of bullied him into the whole party thing.

we’ll also be having a halloween party, in case any of you u.s. people want to plan a trip over! it’s on the 29th, the saturday before halloween, and will hopefully be a blast.

construction noises and general hoo-ha.

well. it is friday. i have spent the day cleaning, since the construction has entered the demo phase on the parking garage, and our house is coated in dust. it is nasty, and yesterday my nose itched terribly.

it is hard being back here, after the month in the u.s. when i was in minnesota and washington, my life was so filled with friends and family, and it felt great to be with lots of people i really like and/or love. and on the road, i had all the chosen self time i needed, but no boredom to go along with it, since i was on the move all the time, and also exploring new places.

here, i have way too much time alone. i only have 2 students now, since i haven’t heard back from the ones who had inquired before vacation, and others have moved away. i am seeing loads and loads of basically 2 people, who are both likely to get sick of me at any moment, since i call them both rather frequently, and see them even more often. certainly, i’ve seen lots of other people that i know as well, but not so much, and the rest aren’t available during the day at all. yes, i’m doing many of my own things and projects, but generally speaking, i would like to spend a little more time with other humans. i would like to know more people to invite along to do the interesting things i want to do around here, since it’s more fun to do most of them with friends.

things i want to do:

kayaking on the maas (there’s a rental place nearby, and i’ve never kayaked before)
exploring the cellars under the construction before it is entirely demolished
climbing the crane in the construction site
kite-boarding in the ocean (somewhat more difficult, since i haven’t got transportation to the beach)
massage and spa day at thermae 2000 in valkenburg
time with the monkeys at apenheul (again, transportation an issue)
wadlopen (this is walking through mud-flats to islands in the north of the netherlands. transportation and time of year are issues, and matt is showing a general lack of enthusiasm.)

that’s all i remember at the moment. tonight i’m going out with GIRLS ONLY (can you believe it? me?) for dinner and drinks. i’m really looking forward to it. i have no idea what matt’s doing. he was thinking about attending an aikido seminar in the early evening, but he also wanted to do an x-box evening. unfortunately, i think none of his x-box friends are available. poor thing.

since matt doesn’t post so often as i do, i will also update for him:

happy boy, he has successfully scored a parking place for his motorcycle. now he just needs to buy one. also, he’s probably going to be taking a new job in medtronic, at the offices in heerlen. he is pretty excited about it. yesterday he went to an all day training meeting, and came back announcing that he thinks he’ll like this job. yay! he’s been hating his current job for a while.

hey, todd… i’m finally doing something with those bog tree photos you wanted me to blow up all those years ago. i’m about half way done with the project. i’ll send you a picture when i’ve finished.