Five More Days for Ramble Rookie okt20

Five More Days for Ramble Rookie...

This week I am in BikeHouston Moonlight Bicycle Ramble mode. Even my true love has signed up on Saturday, so we will have fun. He said it was due to peer pressure, but I did not tell him to do so…Honestly, he did it all by himself. It is only twenty miles so I guess he will be fine too. It is just a fun ride, starting at midnight and going through the streets of Houston. I need to get my costume ready. Although costume is a big word, I’ll just go for some neat accessories. Between my bike activities I will have three radio days again filled with pledge drive for KPFT. This morning I started to write some lines I can use for pitching. I find it difficult to interrupt Marlo or Lane when they are anchoring. They can talk non-stop. I guess I just have to learn to do that too. Take another plunge forward. Don’t be afraid I tell myself they won’t eat you alive for talking on the radio Today I also received a positive message from my oldest son, his first exam went really good. of course it will take some time before he will know his grade but he feels encouraged and that is positive with three more exams to go. Besides, did you notice the weather is still gorgeous here in Houston? The forecast looks promising also for cycling next weekend. Did I say lately that I do like it here? I love Houston. – to be continued....

Back on Track okt18

Back on Track

This morning I finally did it. I dragged my but out of bed at 7.40 am, put on my gym clothes, grabbed my bag which still had my bike shoes inside and took of to 24Hour Fitness in Rice Village. That was a really smart idea in March to choose a gym which is always open. As if I would go there at 2 am or so. But the idea was good. For a while I went there three times a week without complaining. Once during the weekend in the morning at 8.30 am and twice during the week at 5.45 pm. When did it go wrong? Well at some point it became really hot to go their around 5 pm. So I tried to start another routine to go in the morning and do some exercise by myself. I must admit one – rather big – cockroach on the cycle room scared me away. Another drawback was some knee problem. Over and over again I said to myself: tomorrow I will go back.  But I never did. Last week I visit my brand new family doctor for some check-up on a cyst in my neck. Nothing to worry about, just annoying. But when I came there the nurse made me step on the scale. The number was 180 lbs. The truth is I need to get that down to 165 lbs before my next birthday. Another reason is that I would like to try to ride the MS150 coming spring. A 180 mile two-day bike ride from Houston to Austin. I need to get in shape badly before I come back to you all with my sponsor page. Coming Saturday I will test the waters a bit by riding BikeHouston Moonlight Bicycle Ramble....

Two Nice Evenings out on my Bike okt10

Two Nice Evenings out on my Bike...

The title is a bit misleading perhaps. Especially for Houstonians who mostly seem to use their bikes to make impressive rides across the city, suburbs and countryside while I am still using my bicycle primarely to travel from A to B. Some pros for cycling are that you can avoid traffic jams, parking spot searches and more easily enjoy a drink or two. Of course you better not get drunk before heading out on you bike, but I still feel more comfortable on my bike then in my car after one glass. Yesterday evening we went to Ellis Paul, a New England folk singer-songwriter, who has an enthusiastic fan in Dana. In January she took us to the Dosey Doe in Conroe for our first Ellis Paul experience where we not only tasted the proclaimed best coffee in Texas -was not bad at all- but also got a bit of Dana’s Ellis Paul bug. I a little bit more then my love. We did buy two cds and played them back to back on our road trip to Big Bend in March. We also brought two cds from Parker Millsap with us so we did have some variation. My favorite song is ‘Alice’s champagne palace’ about Homer Alaska, a drinking town with a fishermen problem (quote Ellis Paul of course). After a nice evening with talk, laughter and music, a rather special pumpkin beer and a great dessert involving a chocolate chip cookie and vanilla ice cream which we ended at the porch of the Mucky Duck, I had the pleasure of biking home through the night. All by myself because my love had left his office to late to be home on time to join me. I came home safely as I texted...

Estoy Aprendiendo Hablar Español sep30

Estoy Aprendiendo Hablar Español...

My love and I have this running joke about Texas still being a part of Mexico. In Houston 43 percent of the population is Hispanic I learned recently. So I thought this is my best chance ever to learn Spanish, apart from moving to Spain. I have had Spanish classes before, in my first year at the School for Journalism and we had a very enthusiastic teacher who taught us little Spanish lullabies. Maybe that’s were it went wrong for me. Singing is not one of my talents. I never crossed that barrier that you can really talk with people while on holiday or read a newspaper or a book. I did not progress beyond the simple sentences that enables you to order a beer or some food. But let’s be honest, you can do that without knowing one word of the language. So this will be my chance for rehabilitation. This time I am going to proceed until I can have some sort of meaningful conversation. The first two classes are largely spent on pronouncing the different letters of the Spanish alphabet. Our teachers seems to think that saying ‘a’, ‘e’ and ‘o’ is extremely difficult. She is nice but sometimes a bit off track. Hopefully the pace will pick up in the coming weeks. I need to start studying my book and search some websites for extra material. I guess I will need to practice a lot if nothing else. The ultimate goal? Reading Isabelle Allende in her language. I won’t set a timeline on that yet. – to be continued....

West Wing Addict on her Way to Recovery sep29

West Wing Addict on her Way to Recovery...

I have to admit I let some TV-show run my life for more weeks then I care to count now. Due to Netflix I was able to watch the entire series of the West Wing. I don’t really recall to have seen it when it aired originally. Watching every week for months on is not my forte. I simply lack the patience. But now I can just watch and watch and watch, one episode after another. I keep listening to that glorious music introducing a new hour filled with Josh, C.J., Sam, Donna and many more. It is a long time ago that people in a TV-series became almost part of my family. I do not like them all in the same measure, but I guess that is true in many families. Yesterday we finally reached the final episode of the final season. A quick sum gives me an estimated one hundred and forty hours of crisis, shouting contests, prank jokes, leaks to the press and brilliant one liners. At some point I caught myself thinking while watching some real news: what would Josh say about this? Or, more accurate yell about it. But now it is over. I am done, I can get it of my slate. I saw there is a new series situated in the heart of U.S. government the White House and it is called Madame Secretary. I guess it is a fun one too.  ...

Weird weekend number one sep02

Weird weekend number one...

Het was een vreemd weekend. De overgang van augustus naar september met als toetje Labor Day en dat betekent hier de maandag vrij. Geen school, geen werk en geen vuilnisophaaldienst. De krant ligt wel gewoon op de oprit, gelukkig droog dit keer. Zondagochtend rgende het zo hard dat de krant een stukje naar beneden was gespoeld en daar helpt het plastic hoesje niet genoeg tegen. Maar dat alles maakt het weekend niet weird. Dat is gewoon een fijne alliteratie. Het was vooral een druk weekend met een strakke deadline en daar is niks op tegen, maar als je moet wachten op antwoord van anderen kan het wel eens tricky worden. Vooral als je nog veel moet en wil schrijven, je niet altijd heel veel informatie hebt en soms juist teveel en op zaterdagochtend je lief je erop attent moet maken dat Pebbles er toch wel erg sloom bij ligt. Adrealine kickt in. Op woensdag had ze nog een hagedis gevangen die ik dan weer heel elegant en heroisch heb kunnen redden, maar donderdag en vrijdag? Was ze toen ook al zo? Wanneer heeft ze voor het laatst gegeten en gedronken? We rijden toch maar met haar naar de dieren-ER. Het nare is dat je altijd lang moet wachten en dat ze Pebbles meenemen en jou achterlaten in de wachtkamer. Lang leve candy crush, lekker iets doms doen om maar niet in mijn hoofd op hol te slaan. Anderhalf uur later komt het oordeel: ze heeft koorts en is wellicht een beetje uitgedroogd. De dokter kan een heleboel doen of een beetje minder. We gaan voor het laatste. Vocht toedienen, bloedtest en antibiotica. We kunnen haar later die middag ophalen. Alles is in orde. We krijgen eetlustopwekkende pilletjes mee want het is wel belangrijk dat...

To Ice Bucket or Not to Ice Bucket aug28

To Ice Bucket or Not to Ice Bucket...

Bent jij al gevraagd? Uitgedaagd door vriend of vijand en het liefst door allebei om een emmer met ijswater over je hoofd te gieten, dat laten filmen en natuurlijk publiceren op Facabook, Twitter en websites. Voor het goede doel. ALS in dit geval. Het kan je bijna niet ontgaan zijn. Ik weet niet of het in de rest van de wereld net zo’n hype is als in de US en Nederland, maar stichtingen die onderzoek steunen naar de ziekte ALS, oorzaak, behandeling en genezing doen geweldig goede zaken. Bij een echte hype hoort een contra beweging, actie levert reactie op. De derde wet van Newton als ik me niet vergis en zelf sociologische verschijnselen zijn eraan onderhevig. Veelgehoorde klacht: al die bekende mensen doen het alleen ter meerdere eer en glorie van zichzelf. Voor een aantal hoogstwaarschijnlijk waar. Maar als ik al jaren aan het ploeteren was om ALS meer bekend te maken bij het grote publiek en om een beetje onderzoeksgeld bijeen te schrapen zou het me nu waarschijnlijk worst wezen dat een zeker soort BN’ers en andere bekende wereldburgers niet echt betrokken zijn. De miljoenen stromen binnen en iedereen praat erover. Iets anders is dat veel mensen al die filmpjes aardig zat zijn, ook dat kan ik me voorstellen maar niemand verplicht je toch om echt te kijken? Klik weg, zet uit, deel ze niet langer. Lijkt me nog steeds mogelijk in Nederland en ook de US. Andere klacht is verspilling van drinkwater. Kijk dat vind ik wel een goed punt. Vandaag heb ik het filmpje van Matt Damon gedeeld, hij gebruikte het water uit de diverse wc’s in zijn huis. In Amerika hebben veel huizen evenveel badkamers – met tolietpot – als slaapkamers en Damon’s huis zeker schat ik zo, dus...

Ready for a Second Year aug21

Ready for a Second Year...

One year ago we came to Houston, a temporarily immigration into Texas. We did not know what to expect besides that Houston is hot, humid and flat. I said it before at first glance it seems to be a city of cars, concrete and asphalt and all of that is true, but I have met a nice group of cyclists who work hard to make Houston a more bike friendly place and a very exceptional group at KPFT who allow me to be a reporter for their Local News show. Even if they don’t know how to pronounce my name, they accept my funny accent and are willing to teach me how to make radio in Houston. For me that are the two main reasons why I enjoy our stay here. Last year it did have the extra incentive of being allowed to redecorate and furnish an entire house. IKEA here I come again I thought several times before it lost its charm again. Now the house is already there and pretty much complete, although we are still thinking about a small swimming pool in the backyard. Part of the charm of living here is being able to reinvent your own life and I wanted to do that at the good side of the age of fifty. Less then eighteen months to go and that sounds scary. Not only because it does sound old, it really does I am afraid, but it is definitely more than halfway through. So I abuse my immigration into the Houstonian society as means of a youth elixer. Staying young, at least in my own mind. For the better image in the mirror I have my hairdresser. – to be continued....

We are running out of daylight jul31

We are running out of daylight...

We returned from Yellowstone more than a week ago, but I have not been able to find the time to start blogging again. Maybe I feel cold feet. I have so many stories to tell I cannot choose which one to do first. About that little bear we saw, the raften we did, the fantastic meals my husband and sons prepared, or the joy of camping out again? Another excuse is that my eldest son remained in town until yesterday while we packed the youngest one off to the Netherlands a few days ahead of him. I returned to my radio station KPFT, did some work and social stuff for my bicycle advocacy group BikeHouston and enjoyed some time alone with the eldest and his girlfriend which contained of some serious shopping too. Tomorrow August begins, in three weeks time we will be here an year and quite an eventful one. Today a niece of mine messaged me that she was in my hometown. For one split second I thought she meant Houston. Then reality kicked in and I realized she was talking about Leiden of course. A year ago I chose the title Houstonian Housewife as a bit of a joke. I do not consider myself a housewife and of course also not a Houstonian, although I do feel at home here and I am grateful for all the chances this city and this life gives me right now. Special thanks to my true love who makes it all possible. – to be continued.  ...

Parker Millsap Entertains us Again jul02

Parker Millsap Entertains us Again...

Last night we drove out to Tomball to listen to Parker Millsap. We have almost become regular groupies. This young man – still awaiting his 21st birthday – is very gifted and a true joy to watch. He brings alomg a band with a lifetime friend who plays the uprigth bass and a violinist they met two-and-a-half years ago. A small group but very effective. Parker himself plays guitar and harmonica. Main Street Crossing is a nice place for an evening with good music. A non-profit organization so you can actually feel well while you have a wonderful time. I guess this is what you call a win-win situation. Ample parking space available and a nice reception by the staff, and to see your name on a table in the middle of Texas still gives me a thrill. I won’t say much about the food, only that it is not their best feature. Nice touch they already divided our cheeseburger and served it on two plates. The beer was good and the coffee at least freshly made, but no espresso. Parker Millsap was brilliant as always. He deserved a much more crowded audience. Now I only counted 35 paying guests. We all tried to make up for it in applause. We will follow Parker Millsap as closely as we can. driving an hour is a small sacrifice even when the traffic is horrible as it was on our trip toward  Tomball. I can only advice you all to do so too. For the Dutch readers: Parker Millsap plays in Paradiso Amsterdam on October 26, supporting act for Crow Medicine Show. – to be continued....

Another story from my backyard jun29

Another story from my backyard...

When we rented the house it came with an old wooden picnic table. Always good to have we thought and we will just see how long it will last us. Because of Houston’s brutal weather not that long. At the end of April we put too much weight on it and it cracked. We still just it for a couple of weeks with more caution. Time to go shopping. And the day my love asked his team over for smoked salmon and duck I knew we just had to come up with a solution fast. A new picnic table provided us with enough seating places and also a new one for the cats. The wood was untreated so I guessed we had to do something about that, otherwise we would have to buy a new one next spring. Our son chose the color and on the tin it says ‘navy’ so I thought it would be a bit darker. At least you cannot miss it. Painting had to be done in the early morning before it was too hot and humid. June is probably not the best month for painting outdoors. Today we moved the blue table back to the terrace, hopefully the paint has dried well enough and won’t get sticky. Though I am a bit worried about it. The demolishing of the old table will be a good task for our sons. I have done my part here ;-). And now for something completely different: yesterday we had a visitor on our fence and although I presume our cats are too big to fall prey to him (or her) I still thought it was a bit scary, therefor I lured them inside. Later I saw two of them in the front yard...

Saturday is market day again jun28

Saturday is market day again...

Going to the market was a favorite pastime of us in Leiden. Leisurely walking over there, do some shopping like buying cheese, vegetables and nuts. Afterwards we went for a cup of cappuccino or a glass of wine or a beer. We most definitely would meet my sister and brother-in-law there. A weekly ritual, slow pace and very often ending in a shared meal. I had seen the sign before, almost the first week we moved to Houston, but one of the disadvantages of driving a car is that you miss a lot. You don’t really see what is going on along the road because your eyes are fixed on the road to be able to avoid the potholes and to keep an eye on your fellow road users who are always more busier with their phones or their food than anything else. During the last fund drive at KPFT I met a guy who brought in some delicious food. For example a kale salad you would be happy to die for. He told me I could find him and his food stall every week at the Farmers market at the 3000 block behind Richmond Ave. That is close enough to accomplish on my bicycle, but we only made it today for the first time. We will be back. There was good food, live music and real barista’s who can whip up a smart enough cappuccino to satisfy me. As I said we will be back. – to be continued....