Going out with a bang

So yesterday was an eventful day. I got up and made breakfast, then went to work. When I came home for lunch I noticed an odd smell, a rather foul smell, in fact, that I thought was varnish or something and coming from outside (someone painting their fence or something). I opened the door to freshen things out a bit and did note that the smell didn't really seem to come from outside but more from the kitchen. I thought maybe the neighbours were doing something in their kitchen and the smell was coming through an airvent. Meanwhile, the smell was starting to make me feel quite ill and a little nauseous. Anyway, i went back to work and went to court and I was just about to shoot off an email to the wife warning her about the smell, when I realised that what I had been smelling all along was gas. God knows why this didn't sink in when I was still at home and able to do something about it... but here I was stuck in court having to keep a straight face whilst freaking out about my house filling up with gas. I wrote an email to our friend Aixa (someone who always comes through for you in a pinch) and asked her if she could please go to my house and shut off the gas main. Which, thank god, she did. She also took the dogs for a walk and opened the garden doors for fresh air.
So in the end, nothing happened really but lordy that was freaky! I don't remember being this freaked out since the plane crash.

Meanwhile, yesterday evening, Torchwood started up again, only 5 episodes this time unfortunately, but this first one was very promising! I loved it! Good kiss from Jack and Ianto there as well... <3

Also still on a high from my beloved Roger Federer being number one in the world again, as he should be!

Going to NIN concert tomorrow and I think I only know two of their songs. Maybe three. Will be fun?

Title type thing

How is it that some of you are SO prolific and I can never think of something to write? What makes that difference you think? Would it have something to do with confidence or lack thereof? I want to think of this more as a diary and just write down some of my activities for future reference, but every time I think "oh well that's not so interesting" and then I don't bother.

Anyway... first of, concerts.
Have tickets for the following: Nine Inch Nails, Tori Amos, Muse, Placebo
VERY excited about all those concerts! I love going to concerts anyway but the bands have to be worth it you know? Otherwise it's just boring. So I am always dependent on the good bands being on tour or not. Wish Radiohead would play in a decent venue and U2 tickets wouldn't be 160 euros each...

Still tapping and loving it more and more. Not because I am getting better at it (I am not talented!) but because I have really got to know the other people and start to think of some of them as friends that I look forward to seeing every week. And the tap is fun to do. Of course it's almost over for the season so no tap until September :(
Thinking about signing up for belly dancing next season as well but it interferes with work so may not work out.

The little old guys are still in good shape all things considered. Their lumpies were not serious and they have fun and they play and they have energy and no arthritis or cancer or anything else scary. Flattie's heart murmur does not bother him on a daily basis. Ok, we didn't get the test results for Homer's lump yet but I am confident it will be ok!
Something to be thankful for. I can't imagine having our little family torn apart, we are such a unit altogether!

We got a HD decoder last week and I can now watch Eurosport in HD, pretty cool! Watching grass tennis and being able to see the individual blades of grass!
Too bad the other channels haven't converted yet though. Also still waiting for interactive digital tv, you know just changing the analog signal into digital is not digital tv! Stupid Dutch old-fashioned cable providers!!
Not following any shows at the moment but really into tennis (I guess that's nothing new!) In case you somehow missed it: I HEART Roger Federer! <3

Very much looking forward to Katie's visit! also very much looking forward to hanging out with the Placebo-peeps this summer in Budapest. It was so much fun last year!
Plus, I've never been to Hungary so excited about that as well.


Still struggling. Can't seem to shed the last kilo. Started exercising and it has so far resulted in an extra 2 kilos to lose! I hate you, stupid backwards working body!
Speaking of bodies, I feel like getting another tattoo. I love the one I have but every time I stare at it, I think "I want another one!"
But where and what is the question...

We desperately need a new kitchen. The front garden needs to be tiled. The living room needs to be repainted. The bedroom needs new flooring.
Sometimes I think I should just quit my job so I have time to deal with these things. But then I wouldn't be able to afford them. I'm really looking forward to going with pension! Seriously!

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee

Travel report if you can be bothered to read... pictures are now up on my Facebook

Day 1
Picked up the rental car which was quickly christened Not-the-Carly as, well, this wasn't exactly Carly! The rental guy kept trying to talk us into trading it up for a SUV, but I really didn't want to drive an SUV, though rental-guy could not believe I planned to go driving in the mountains in a tiny Hyundai. Which is understandable really...

Day 2
Calgary Zoo be much smaller than I remember it, though they do have some nice animals, I could have sworn they used to have a polar bear? Not one to be found at any rate, though there were grizzlys, brown and black bears and sun bears (the sun bears were nowhere to be seen though - still in hibernation?) as well as other animals of course. The most fun were the peacocks which are free to roam around the zoo at their own leisure.
In the afternoon we went to the mall, wanted to get a pre-paid sim card for my phone, but for some reason sim-cards are ludicrously overpriced in Canada, cheapest one being 57 (!!!) dollars! And then you still have to pay 20 cent a minute for calls. Are they kidding? I told the guy sim cards are ten bucks here and then they come with 20 euros free calls on it, so you make money really. So didn't bother with that and used my Dutch phone card instead. Will be a nice phonebill no doubt.
Didn't buy much else, shops were kind of boring. Drove around Calgary a bit and went to bed early (still jetlagged).

Day 3
Set off early due to 5.30 wake up call (thank you hotel! I finally slept!) that we didn't ask for. We did have the world's greatest breakfast at the Denny's across the street before we went. When we were on the highway we saw what seemed to be a comet. I swear it was a comet and it seemed to be heading straight for us! After many alien-conspiracy theories were hatched out, the comet slowly disappeared in the atmosphere, Kuschi now thinks it was just an airplane, but what airplanes go straight down and have a comet-tail??? It was a comet I am sure.
Arrived in Drumheller and saw Horsheshoe Canyon, then the hoodoos, then went over a suspension bridge and climbed a moon-crater type hill thing with a deserted mine entrance on it, then went to Little Church and Tyrell Dinosaur museum, then to Horsethief Canyon by which time we were pretty much done with the deserted moonscape and left Drumheller for Dinosaur Park.
Horrendous drive! Miles and miles of straight roads and flat fields with nothing, warning signs about not being able to get gas and no other traffic WHATSOEVER. I should be used to this having lived there, but somehow you forget just how desolate it is. After what seemed like several years of driving we came to dinosaur park (CLOSED), even the toilets were closed and I really had to pee! Had to drive back all the way to Brooks to get gas and pee, seemed to last forever. Continued on to Medicine Hat, I think Kuschi was very underwhelmed by where I used to live and work, though the Hat grew on her the day after. So much has changed! Whole new parts of town have been erected and no less than three Starbuckses where there were none when I lived there. Medicine Hat 3, Netherlands 0, guess who wins?

Day 4
Lots of driving around and trying to remember the way to this and that, visited some of the parks (it was HOT in MCH, so very hot...), met Iain's family for dinner (it was his birthday! though he likes to be in denial). Kuschi was really quite sick at this point and even threw up her food later that night. So another early night...

Day 5
We left Medicine Hat early in the morning and set off for Lethbridge. Which was as square and flat and boring as I remembered it and the "Langenberg opticiens" was also still present in its original place. We went to the Japanese Garden (it was COLD) which actually was a lot smaller than I remembered and quite frankly not as nice as the one here in The Hague. After that, we went for more Japanese culture at O-Sho's where we had lots of wonderful sushi. We then turned back to the highway we came off of to continue on our way to Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump, but for some reason the road was completely blocked off! We couldn't even get on the highway at all. It was very weird, but we were forced to forget about Head Smashed In and go straight to Waterton instead (I guess that means we will have to visit Alberta again to see the museum - oh what a shame!)
So we arrived in Waterton quite early and wanted to go for a walk to Bertha Lake, however the weather had turned quite dramatically and it was windy and snowing. We checked in at our hotel - avoiding countless deer on our way into town - and decided to go check out the trail anyway since we didn't want to waste our time there because of the weather. The other thing we wanted to see - Red Rock Canyon - was closed off.
So off we went in several layers of clothing (but no gloves unfortunately), defying the snow. The trail was treacherous to say the least. It was largely covered in snow, some of it half melted and turned to slush, other parts still knee-deep. It was also climbing its way quite steeply alongside a mountain. About halfway to the first stop on the trail, a waterfall, Kuschi decided she did not want to go on, but after a small discussion agreed to try a little bit longer. The trail actually became a bit less slippery and snowy as it got higher, though not less scary, further and further away from civilization (needless to say we were the only ones on the trail). I got a little worried that one of us may fall and break something and the other had to hike back into town for help. Anyway, that didn't happen and we made it to the waterfall. It was only mildly spectacular to be honest, but at that point we were so proud to have actually made it there, that we didn't care. We persevered and we survived, three cheers for us! Then we had to go back... I managed to fall on the way down, though thankfully I fell in mud and not on a sharp pointy rock, or worse yet, of the mountain. Did completely ruin one out of two pairs of pants I brought though.
Got back to Waterton (completely deserted by the way, not another tourist to be seen and all the shops still closed for the season). The only place we could eat was at the hotel restaurant, together with the trail-fixer-uppers and other locals in town getting ready for the summer season. It was good food though and I had some bison-soup! (tastes much like beef).

Day 6
The next morning we woke up finding the town and our Not-the-Carly covered in a blanket of snow. We went for a short walk around town, but everything was still very closed and deserted so we took off again. On our way out of town we discovered the Red Rock Canyon trail now open so veered off onto that, must be said, the road was in bad shape and already very narrow to begin with and I started to regret not getting the SUV. We encountered no other people on the road and I was scared that if we crashed into one of the many potholes, we'd have to hike back 21 kilometers into town.
Thankfully, we made it to the canyon in one piece and it was truly gorgeous and worth the ride. Mind you, once again it was absolutely freezing and I was really wishing for a pair of gloves. Kuschi seemed about to topple over as well, so we only hiked around the canyon and didn't bother with the rest of the surroundings (once again, we will have to go back - the shame!).
Wormed our way back out of the canyon and continued on our way to Frank's Slide.
Frank, you may or may not know, is or was a small mining town next to Turtle Mountain in the Crowsnest Pass. Due to excessive mining in this not all too stable mountain, half of it broke off and came tumbling down and crushed the town. The millions and millions of rocks are still lying there and the town is still buried - more than a hundred years later. It's quite a spectaculair sight and I recommend you go see it if you ever find yourself in Western Canada. Pictures do not do it justice. They made a trail in between the rocks so you can really experience the vastness of it. The interpretive centre also informed us that the rest of the mountain is very unstable and it is not a question of if, but of when the rest of it will come crashing down. Yoikes!
On we went to Banff!!
The drive to Banff from Frank was the longest on our journey, though it went faster than I expected. Possibly because of the white snowy fields with the mountains in the background... then when you turn west and see the rockies coming closer and closer... it just fills me with happiness! We arrived in Banff at around 6, checked into our log cabin (TINY! but cute) and went for dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory - yum!

Day 7
Got up and had some healthy breakfast in the cabin, then drove to Johnston Canyon. Bow Valley Parkway = BORING drive and you can only go 60 (le sigh), but the canyon was MAGNIFICENT! It's about 2 or 2.5 kilometers to the lower and upper falls, we did not go on to the top of the canyon because we thought we didn't have time and Kuschi was not feeling great. So we went back down and continued on our way to Lake Louise. A bit disappointingly, the lake was still frozen over and covered in snow, even more disappointingly, there was a large number of loud and obnoxious tourists ruining the prettiness of the lake and glacier. We didn't last long there and veered of on the Icefields Parkway (I love you Icefields Parkway!) to Bow Lake, but you guessed it, still frozen and covered in snow. On the upside, two ravens were hanging out there and one came to sit on our car and tried to peck its way in to steal our food. He was so funny! Since he looked like a crow and acted like Homer, we christened him Crowmer. We had a junkfood lunch in the car (Crowmer really wanted to share!) and then drove back (really wanted to continue on to the Columbia Icefield, but we still had Takakkaw Falls to visit, so turned back instead. And guess what?? That's right, there was a GRIZZLY BEAR sitting on the side of the road eating some roots! How cool is that? A real proper wild grizzly bear?! I was much impressed. Took a bunch of pics and went on. And this is where I really regretted not trading up to an SUV as the drive from Lake Louise to Takakkaw is well scary! GAH! And guess what, the road to the falls was closed! What a bummer! Would have gone back onto the Parkway, but was so freaked out by the drive, that I just wanted to go back to Banff and never drive again. So we made it back early and wanted to go shopping. We decided to take a scenic route to town from our cabin, which didn't seem too long on our LOUSY stupid disproportionate map and was actually ridiculously long, not to mention, the snow was REALLY coming down at this point and we got totally soaked. Ugh. Shopped for a bit and went to eat at Boston Pizza (we felt like pizza) and were served by supercute waitress so that was a good decision!

Day 8
We found ourselves with a bit of extra time since we already shopped yesterday and decided to go to "Cave and Basin" in Sulfur Mountain, Banff. The name says it all really - it STANK! It was quite boring and unimpressive as well really, nice view but you have a nice view no matter where you go in Banff. Did I mention it stank? Because it really really did! So yeah, it's a sulfur spring, nice steamy warmness but the smell quite turns you off really. People used to drink that water, can you imagine? it's RADIOACTIVE! as well as stinky.
We drove back to Calgary and handed not-the-Carly back in (she served us well, bless her) and met Iain's mom at the airport since she was flying back with us. After we checked in, we had some food at a really crappy Chili's and then I scored some comfort seats at the gate, so we had quite a nice time sitting comfortably and chatting and sipping Starbucks. So soon it was time to board and fly home and after about an hour, I got incredible homesick (for Canada, not for Holland) and wanted to cry.

Day 9
jetlag much? also very homesick.

Day 10
A dull headache/neck ache all of a sudden developed in a major pain attack unlike any I have had before. After a while I started to freak out and worry that it may be something else than just an ache. Kuschi decided to take me to the emergency room where after quite a long wait(!), they decided it was NOT a neck hernia and therefor must be some kind of muscle-spasm for which they could do very little. I was sent home to rest and take lots of pain killers. Of course, once home, due to jetlag and nerves and pain, I could not sleep and lay awake until 5 in the morning. Last thing you want when you are expected in court the following morning! Don't know how I am going to make it through the next couple of days to be honest...

Baroom baroom butter butter butter

Wibke, I love you. It Happened in Boston? was brilliant! And it totally freaked me out, so thank you, thank you!


I finally went and got the tattoo I have been wanting since I was like 20. It took me ages to find the right design, and then another year and a half to find the place I wanted to get it done, because you know, it had to be perfect. But I am very happy with it now and it was totally worth the wait. Also, hurt a lot less than I had expected! Waxing your legs hurts way more.

Sorry so Sorry

1. Reply to this post and I'll assign you a letter.
2. List (and upload, if you feel like it) 5 songs which start with that letter.
3. Post them to your journal with these instructions.

S is very hard, so I went with 10. Half the songs on my iPod start with S. Heck, songs starts with S!

Signal to Noise - Peter Gabriel
Sat in Your Lap - Kate Bush
Spellbound - Siouxsie and the Banshees
Scarlet's Walk - Tori Amos
Schism - Mich Gerber
Space Monkey - Placebo
Splendid Isolation - Pete Yorn
Street Spirit - Radiohead
Such Great Heights - The Postal Service
Supermassive Black Hole - Muse

Can't be bothered with uploading, if you want any of these songs, let me know and I'll email them.

A quest

I am looking for a book. I am looking for a book that will freak me out when I read it. That will make so scared that I will scream. Or throw the book away. Or put it in the freezer.
"Scary" books that I already read:

Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill (started of pretty scary but then got a lot less scary and a little irritating)
Anything by Neil Gaiman (too amusing to be scary)
Out by Natsuo Kirino (this one came pretty close, but was too gory to be scary)

So far I have tried the following books that were recommended to me by various people on the internet:

Seasons of Passage - Christopher Pike (not at all scary)
The Woman in Black - Susan Hill (not even remotely scary)
Ghost Story - Peter Straub (coming in the mail, no opinion yet)
The Other - Thomas Tryon (coming in the mail, no opinion yet)
Ghosts/a Supernatural Thriller by Noel Hynd (coming in the mail, no opinion yet)

And don't tell me to read something trite like Stephen King, because that is just junk. I also don't like "Nightmare on Elm Street" type slash and gore. That's just not scary.

El Orfanato was scary. Except that was a movie. But that's the kind of scary I'm thinking of. Ring. The Grudge. That kind of scary.

Anyone? Help?

Cambridge CPE Exam

Passed with an A. Thank god. Life can move on now.

The saga continues

One moment you're building sandcastles with your dad...

And the next moment a sunstroke renders you dead!

Not a good vacation for the Federers! I considered continuing on without the little tyke, but it made Roger sad so I restarted the game. Only to have Roger drop dead of a heatstroke! Talk about a stroke of unluck. Another restart later, they finally managed to make it through the day and spend a nice evening on the beach staring at the stars and discussing the little guy's origins.


One dot, to define what is and what is not

This kid ain't getting any prettier...

Playing peek-a-boo with daddy:

Having a birthday:

And uglier still...

aliens knocked up Roger Federer!


So I'm playing with my Roger and Mirka sims and Mirka gets abducted by aliens. So Roger, loyal boyfriend as he is, summons the aliens and negotiates Mirka's return. Of course, he had to stay on the ship, but at least Mirka was safe. A few days later, Roger gets returned as well... PREGNANT!
Don't believe me? But it's true!

Here he is pregnant:

A little more pregnant:

Giving birth:

Tada, alien baby:

I'm a little weirded out...


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