26 November 2010

Very Odd News Story

Local news site OverEindhoven.nl reports that a three-car collision in the Netherlands tonight was caused by a red couch sitting in the middle of the road.

The couch was lying in the center of highway A270 near Eindhoven, Netherlands, for unknown reasons. The fire department rescued at least one person trapped in one of the cars and one person was transferred to a hospital by ambulance, per the report.


I like how they reported the color of the couch. Would a different color have resulted in a different outcome?


Well, sort of. Just a dusting. But a reminder that I need boots. And warmer gloves!

N.B. I have no idea why the pictures post so randomly. I can't seem to make them post the way I arrange them.

24 November 2010

Jessica and the Chocolate Factory

I had to go to the office in Belgium again yesterday to connect my computer to our network. There must have been solar flares or a giant, dense cloud hanging over Belgium because the GPS kept losing signal. All I could do was keep driving until the signal came back. Usually by that time I had missed my turn or exit. I ended up taking the very long way around!

Belgium is known for its chocolates (Godiva is based in Belgium). I had heard of a chocolate factory that was sort-of, kind-of on the way so I stopped by there on my way home. There's a little store (and I do mean little) attached to the factory. The chocolates there are greatly discounted (although still not cheap by any means). The best part, though, are the samples. They don't care how many you eat. You eat them until you feel like you're going to be sick. And then you eat a few more because you realize you haven't tried *that one* yet. My stomach still doesn't feel very good.

This was the "Lucky Corner." There are boxes and boxes of various chocolates and you can buy them in bulk. Because, really, doesn't everyone need good Belgian choclates in Costco-sized boxes?

On the drive back I stopped to use the bathroom and found the cutest male/female symbols on bathroom doors.

21 November 2010

Hotel Room Fever

It wasn't raining today and the sun came out a little today. I figured the dogs were probably tired of being cooped up in the hotel and needed a chance to run around off-leash. So I took them to my construction site which is nothing but a dirt parking lot and a grass field.

Tex promptly rolled in poo and had the displeasure of getting a shower when we got back. But they did get to chase some things and lay around in the grass.

17 November 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen, Please Sit Tight. There's Going To Be A Brief Delay

My project hasn't started yet. There's an issue with a permit. Lawyers are involved which means it could take a while to get it resolved.

In the mean time, they're going to give me some other things to work on. I'm not exactly sure what but I told them I'll do whatever. I think it's something I've never done before so it will give me a chance to learn something new while I'm waiting.

09 November 2010


Driving home today the GPS started talking to me in a voice that sounded like every demonically-possessed person in every horror movie ever. I tried to record it but the voice went back to normal. Demons don't like being recorded, I guess.

Just now, when I tried to heat up some left-overs in the microwave the hotel put in my room last week it growled at me when I pressed start. So I pressed stop, unplugged it and tried again. Same thing. But the light lit up and the plate turned round so I let it go. It growled at me again when I opened the door. The food was still cold. I guess demons don't like hot food, either.

Oh, There's An Upstairs

That's good. Because I needed some socks.

08 November 2010

Radio A-B-Cs

The radio here gets AFN (American Forces Network), BFBS (British Forces Broadcast Service), CFN (Canadian Forces Network) and, of course, lots of Dutch stations. I alternate between them depending on what they're playing.

AFN teases me and plays the intro to NPR's Morning Edition before switching to ESPN radio for, what seems like, hours. I did get to hear Prairie Home Companion yesterday while I was out looking at a house. BFBS plays some song (at least, I think it's supposed to be a song) pretty frequently that repeats, “Barbara Streisand,” over and over. It's interesting to hear the same world news story from multiple perspectives. The Canadian station has news in French sometimes. I haven't learned French. Yet. Perhaps if I keep listening to CFN.

04 November 2010

Wallet Woes - Updated

I don't own a purse and don't plan to change that. I carry a very small wallet that holds my gov't ID, license, insurance card, credit/debit cards and maybe a little money. That's all I need.

Now I have 2 ID cards (for 2 bases); I will have at least 2 and possibly up to 5 or 6 licenses (not including my TN license). I still have my credit/debit cards but will have to add new ones from the banks here and I still have my insurance card but will also need to add a hospital registration card. I will be getting an alien registration card (no, I’m really not from ‘round here). And I have two forms of currency; one of which sticks out the top of my wallet because it's taller than the US dollar (don't get me started on two different sets of coins!). It doesn't all fit. Oh, and let's not forget my passport. I have to have that any time I cross a border. I live on 2 borders and will probably cross them pretty frequently so I just figure it will be easier to have the passport all the time.

I need to find something that can hold all of this but still small enough that I can carry it around easily. Anyone have any suggestions?

**Update: I just got a library card and forgot about my ration cards. Because what I listed above wasn't quite enough. I have a feeling there are other cards coming that I don't know about yet. I'm thinking a small wheelbarrow might be what I need.

02 November 2010


I had to drive to Belgium Monday to pick up my laptop, phone and GPS (phone and GPS to replace the ones graciously loaned to my by ACS). It was extremely foggy on my way down.

I asked GPS (the borrowed one which, by the way, I like better than the newly issued one) to find me a Total gas station (the gas station for which the gov't car has a card). It took me to one about 20 min off the highway. Of course, the next gas station on the highway once I got back was a Total station. But, it did take me on a very scenic tour to and through a little town and afforded me the opportunity to take some pictures of the fog and some sugar beets that were just harvested. So all was not lost.
The fog had burned off by the time I started back; actually allowing me to see some of what I was passing. Going over bridges where I hadn't been able to see anything to either side I noticed a castle, beautiful countryside more bridges in the distance and so much more. Then I realized that I must have passed all of that last Monday on my way from the airport but that time it was fog in my head that prevented me from seeing it.

The laptop I was issued prmoptly threw a hissy fit on Tuesday and is now toast. I mailed it back to the IT folks in Germany yesterday and will wait for them to mail me a new one. My personal computer, though, has been restored to proper working order and I can now upload pictures with much more ease than I was able to earlier. So more pictures to come; hopefully.

01 November 2010

I Only Needed 3 Things

Most of you know how much I hate shopping. The other day I needed 3 things (well, 4 but I never did find the last one). I needed super glue, a sharpie and something I can't mention because it will ruin *someone's* birthday surprise. But all three things would normally be found somewhat near each other in any regular store. Not here.

I bought the unmentioned item at the PX. The sharpie I found at the shoppette (it's like a convenience store). The super glue was at the PXtra (Why is there a PX and a PXtra? I don't know. Chalk it up to the infinite wisdom of the government.). The shoppette had 3 or 4 different kinds of glue but not super glue.

Each base (there are 3 within a few miles of each other here) has multiple little stores like this. I've been told to check out all of them to see what they have. Something tells me I'm going to have to in order to find everything I'm looking for. And mom wonders why I do all my shopping on line!