Monday, August 30, 2010

Culinary haiku

Smooth humus dip sauce
mussels and ciabatta
served with a cold Gueuze

A delicious meal
can be so pure and simple
and enjoyable

Glad I wasn't camping anymore today!

Branches dance madly:
their loud whirling stresses that
more rain is coming.

Glancing through wet glass
at the heavy grey curtain
triggers a shiver

It may seem absurd
but on some days in August
you need heating on

Sitting with short sleeves
I look at my goosebumps
and dream of hot soup

Why does the weather
need to proof her point today
that summer's ending?

A coloured arch grows
sparking new optimism
through my gloomy mood

There's a new Haiku Buckaroo contest going on at My Mommy's Place. Check it out to find more contestants!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Another great dive camping weekend

The weather predictions were rather horrible...But we left prepared and we were lucky and the camping/dive weekend turned out great :)

Traditionally we had to set-up the tent under threatening clouds but still dry until we were all done and ready to go out for dinner somewhere in the pouring rain :). Our night cap was possible at the camp side again and that cold night I was kept warm by my good sleeping bag.

Saturday was supposed to be the best day and when we got wet it was our own fault because we were diving. We spent the day at les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure where we took the under water bus again to go say hi to the perches & zanders. After six unvoluntary dry months I truly enjoyed going under again.

Back at the camp site we prepared for the cold night by searching wood for a camp fire and of course we spent hours chilling with a massive amount of appetizers. The rain appropriately waited until we were inside for dinner again. Thank you all readers for crossing your fingers that well!.

Chasing free chickens is a good way to stay warm too...or to simply have a good laugh.

It was very very cold at night, but the fire was very nice!

On Sunday those who braved the cold air and the cold water at the quarry of Traigneaux took another nice dive.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Going away for the weekend

Isn't it ironic
to go camping in the rain
as a reno break?

Testing our nice tent
through fierce wind gusts and downpours:
do call us insane.

Cross your fingers please
for a local exception
in the predictions

A bit of sunshine
would be so enjoyable
at the lakeside beach

There's a new Haiku Buckaroo contest going on at My Mommy's Place. Do check it out and even better...participate :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Made in Belgium: Paradisio

At the end of the summer vacation period it's time to post some stereotypical old-time summer hits. Some of those hits make us happy that the nineties are over and that Paradisio is in the mean time forgotten, except for some back to the 90ies shows :p.

Bailando - 1996

Vamos a la discotèca

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What not to read

At the start of summer I went to the library to pile up my new stack of treasures that I'd read all in a few weeks on a chair in the sun....Thrillers, historic novels, some literature: what else is summer for, right?

Well that is not taking into account working, family & friend's parties and some considerable part of renovating of course. I guess I'll have to wait until winter when I'll surely read loads of books next to the fireplace, right? Well, that will be when I'm not attending choir rehearsal, yoga class or dive/swim training or on family visit of course. ;)

Anyway, my reading rhythm truly depends on the book I am reading and on the degree I'm dragged into the story. I always find time to read a good book while boring stories just gather dust.

The summer's been quite dusty since I've somehow managed to pick some really disappointing books. Instead of posting about books I recommend to read, I'll list some you should not read.

  • Kaddish for an unborn child - Imre Kertesz

    Last year I read Fateless. Although a much higher literature level than I'm used to, it was an intriguing shocking and thought-provoking book. So I was curious to read Kaddish for an unborn child where an adult man doesn't want to become a father in a society that enabled the Holocaust.

    Well, I'm not sure if that was the content of the book. I don't really know what that book was about at all. I did not get a single bit of its content. It's not that it was too big or long to read: I estimate about 250 sentences: 2 phrases a page or so.
    It was one long rambling of thoughts that had no coherence to me full of repetition and associations without a timeline or location or flow of events to suit as buoy to the reader. Seriously don't ask me what it is about: I needed a GPS to track myself within one sentence alone!

    I've finished it purely on my stubborn perseverance that I had not waisted my time on the first x pages of the book only to give up for a few dozen more. It was me against that little Nobel price winning troll and I wanted to win. Pooh what a waste of time. I think I'm cured from any interest in prestigious award winning authors for the rest of my life. Ugh.

  • Das geheimnis des Hieronymus Bosch/The secret in the Prado - Peter Dempf

    Ah a historic thriller after all that uptight nonsense, that would come in as a relief!! And it was. It had it all : intrigues, historic art, hidden secrets, people getting killed, .... Someone had been ticking off Dan Brown's ingredients on his recipe. It was sometimes a bit too feverish & chaotic & strange but since it was all about The Garden of Earthly Delights, I guess that suited somehow.

    But he forgot one thing: the ending. There was none. It felt as if Peter Dempf all of a sudden felt like going to the beach, thought "oh well, good enough" and stopped the story. I guess he reached his target word count and sent the pages off to the publisher. Target is target of course, we should respect that.
  • Indecision - Benjamin Kunkel

    I've added this book on my to read list after I had seen it on someone's blog or on FB. It looked interesting and I found it in the library in the humor section. Hah, a good laugh in the garden in the sun works perfectly right?

    The person who added the smiley sticker on the book must still be chuckling that he got me good on that one. The story of a narcistic neurotic identity seeking young adult that seemed to be stuck in adolescence in my mind was rather boring. Yawn, ...oops sorry was I supposed to laugh? When was that, when he's freaking out at the sight of giant spiders in the rain forrest when being high on drugs or when she peed her pants? Sorry, I'll try harder next time.
    It's really an excellent novel compared to Kaddish to the unborn child, but I'd still not recommend it to any of my friends.

HELP, I hope next one is better.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Interview Kat Mortensen from 'Shadowstalking'

Almost a year ago I've stumbled on Poetikat's Invisible Keepsakes , one of Poetikat's many diverse blogs in which writes poetry, haikus , explores her ancestry or blogs about more diverse topics. Over the previous year I've had a good chance to discover Kat's many talents and her devotion to poetry in general. We often get to chat together in which I can learn about her cats climbing on her keyboard during the conversation or I can bug her about Denmarks loss in the world cup.

So it was very exciting to hear that she was going to publish her first very own poetry "Shadowstalking" . Wow, a real poet among my online friends :). How cool is that?

So before she is too famous author to grant me an interview, it was highly time to send her some questions.

1) Your poetry has a wide range of topics: nature, family events, word play etc.... I assume you find inspiration in a lot of different things. Do you remember a funny or weird or remarkable moment/object that inspired you to one of your poems unexpectedly?

A great deal of my poems happen in the way you describe. I often witness things, or see something on television that provides the impetus to write. One that I can think of immediately is a poem entitled, "You Conned".

I had seen a documentary about the Quaker Oats back in 1955, providing the deed to one square-inch of land in their boxes of cereal. Kids who found the deed sent it in to entitle them to this piece of real estate in the Yukon. This absolutely fascinated me and I immediately did extensive research on the topic and then sat down to write. What's really neat is that over a year later I received an e-mail from the original documentary director to compliment me on the poem. He had come across it on my blog.

2) How did blogging help you in publishing this book? And in writing poetry?

Without blogging, I would never have cultivated poetry-writing to such an extent. I may have still written periodically for myself, but it was the instant audience that kept me writing and the finding of various groups of poets who were doing the same sort of thing. It helped as well in motivating me to publish because readers would remark that I should put together a collection in book form. This gave me more confidence, not only to "keep writing" (as one of my fans often said), but to actually consider self-publishing. Through various blog-connections, I learned about my options and it gave me a way of making the decision of how to go about it.

3) Was there a poem in your book that you first didn't select for publication but which you threw in last minute. Why did you make that decision and why are you happy to have it in the book after all?

I had an unfortunate experience with the first printer that I decided to go with and this made me want to change the way the cover looked and even what was inside the finished product. I had originally taken the poem, "Dovecote" out of the running, but it was the first one that I was grateful to be able to put back in. It is one of my personal favourites because I remember the day and the situation so well.

4) As a poet I imagine you often make free associations to things you see or hear. Please tell me which image crosses your mind with the following words.

Belgium - white crosses

Depeche Mode - fly on the windscreen, stripped, dancing

tomato soup - Andy Warhol, grilled cheese sandwiches

daffodils - Wordsworth, cancer society

flip flop - huarache sandals, big toes

swimming pool slide - terror

Facebook - freedom of speech, diversity

Interested to find out more about Kat's poetry? Be sure to visit 'Shadowstaling's blog or read on Poetikat's Invisible Keepsakes. Even better: order the book here! :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Made in Belgium: Goose

2 years ago the Sugababes had to cancel their act on Marktrock last minute and the Belgian band Goose quickly filled the gap on stage.

I wasn't too impressed with the act and only knew "British Mode" so far. But after some years of silence, they released their new single "Words" last week. And from the first time I heard it on the radio I loved it. And they play it a lot at Stubru. And I love it. :) Do you?
I'm curious for their album that soon will be released

Words - August 2010

British mode - 2006

Monday, August 16, 2010


There's major construction works on all major highways. It was one of the last busy "change" weekends when a lot of vacation starts or end. And of course it was raining cats & dogs with windgusts and some fog in most of the country.

Excellent moment to drive from one side of the country to the other one with a nervous bladder to face the traffic jams caused by accidents at those construction sites to go to a family bbq. Argh. (yes my dear North-American friends....that's no typo, we did drive across the country in the morning ;) )

Fortunately the rain had not yet arrived in the west of the country so we could have the reception outside and I could hula hoop some stress out of me to enjoy the rest of the day with the family and plenty of food. Newly energised (well more or less) we were ready to face the awefull traffic & the rain again when we headed home.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

It's a theme on Saturday!

On 2 previous Saturdays we had (barely) seen a calf getting born on the field next to our garden. Yesterday morning I looked at the 3 female cows wandering around and proclaimed out loud that no calf would be born that day.

"I'm glad you're such an expert by now" was the mocking reply I got.

Seriously, how many pregnant cows can live at the neighbour's that urgently need to do their thing on Saturday while we were renovating? And these didn't look big at all. So we progressed well with the painting job and the new floor in the living room. But of course I have to keep my newly gained expertise up to date so now and then I had to keep an eye out there to see what was happening.

I noticed the young bulls stampeding around like crazy for a bit as if they had just been released from weeks of captivity, one of the female big cows taken inside by the farmer and a while later that single one walking alone. But she was way more relax than the others had been. Look, a little later she was laying down at the edge of the field slowly chewing her breakfast again in the middle of the afternoon.


"Oh no, not again" noticing a white bump laying at her feet.
"Huh, again?? Seriously? You attract these kind of things or what???"

Ugh yes, so far my expertise in predicting no baby calf :p. But in the mean time we're so routined that I first finished washing the new floor while leaving mom & baby doing their thing before I went to look for the camera. Who cares if they don't get up right away and if the farmer doesn't seem to be in sight....they can manage just fine on their own.

Friday, August 13, 2010


  • if you put the laundry in the dryer before washing it and then stare at it for a few minutes trying to figure out why this seems odd somehow, then you may be pretty exhausted.

  • if the waitress asks you what you'd like to drink in German and you answer "Eine Weisswein" , then you feel insulted if she switches the conversation to French immediately. How many mistakes can you make in 2 words?

  • if the foreign consultant chuckles when a joke is being told among your colleagues during the workshop break, then you'd better make sure not to gossip/comment in Dutch about him & his colleagues either.

  • if the kids from the summer daycare organized by your employer are dancing to 'Zorba The Greek' at the door when you leave in the evening, then you are driving away from the parking lot with a big smile on your face.

  • if you find little pencils everywhere in the house, then you might have visited the Ikea a little too often recently.

  • if your colleagues keep asking you whether you've been painting, then you might need to consider standing one step lower on the ladder next time you're painting the ceiling.
    (how much time would it take to have paint grow out of your hair, anyway?)

  • if a kind of creepy undefined insect lands in the middle of your computer screen, then stubbornly poking it with your mouse pointer isn't very effective to make it fly away.

  • if you find driving in the city center confusing and if you think it's hard to find parking space, then think twice before you venture downtown the day before Marktrock , a big city rock festival, will start.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Made in Belgium: Selah Sue

When I lived in Ghent, I had the feeling that all musical talent in Belgium came from Ghent. Now I'm amazed by the number of talented artists from the area of Leuven. Selah Sue is one of them. She got discovered 4 years ago in a local talent show and got a tutoring contract in the AB, a well-known concert hall in Brussels where she was the in house artist in 2009.

She often covers Amy Whinehouse, but also had some good singles so far. So young and so talented.

Black part love



Those were the days - Live at Marktrock in leuven

Monday, August 9, 2010

The calf

"HEY MOM AND THE LITTLE CALF ARE IN THE FIELD" I yelled from the back yard to Jan inside.

Since the birth that I had barely seen in the dark last time, I had been very anxious to see the calf by day light to ensure myself it was all right. After the hour of , in my mind, dramatic mowing and pushing, I didn't trust my eyes in the dark entirely to feel 100% the calf had been fully ok. But the field had been empty the next days or filled with other cows that I had proclaimed pregnant as well much to amusement of friends who think I got an obsession with pregnant cows now.

Finally I saw the calf this morning much to my surprise as I had been outside before and had not noticed that that solitary cow laying in the corner was accompagnied by a little calf at all. How could I have missed it before?

Weird too that the calf clearly still had so much difficulty to stand up. After 2 weeks I would have thought it to be more stable and firm on its feet. 2 weeks of calfhood, then they are quite in their toddler years no?
Hmm and there was a distinct birth cord hanging out of the mother's ass. This was not the same cow as last time I finally realised seeing her lack of black spots.


"I bet you are taking pictures already" was the cool reply I got


"I knew it" , he laughed.

so here are the pictures:

trouble getting up

laying down again:
family visit
drinking for the first time:

After a while the farmer showed up with a wheel barrow full of hay . With a firm smack on mom's leg, he made room and with a swift move he had thrown the baby in the wheel barrow to ride it away followed by a mowing herd.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Made in Belgium: Two Man Sound

The Belgian music scene has smelled a scandal: it turned out last week that "ça plane pour moi" has not been sung by Plastic Bertrand himself but by his manager. This has been proven by some court assigned experts in a trial dispute and has finally been admitted by Plastic Bertrand himself.

But that manager isn't exactly unknown in the music scene , on the contrary. Lou Deprijck was a tremendously succesfull singer & producer in the 70ies & 80ies. Among other he belonged to the trio Two Man Sound that conquered the world with disco/samba songs in the 70ies. Disco Samba alone sold over a million copies in Mexico for example and continued to be a European hit in diverse European countries in the 80ies being featured on many compilation albums.

The hits are still heard on any silly summer party so bring on the cocktails and some funky sunglasses and let's dance :)....Have fun!

Disco Samba

Charlie Brown

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Walking in Waimes

As a break from the renovations we also went on some walks to get to know the village and surroundings.

One of the many fields in the area where Scouting groups or alike are camping. Clearly many farmers in the area earn a little extra money by renting fields out for the summer to the Belgian youth.


A currently empty lake (due to maintenance at the dam this summer)

Maybe we've been renovating too much

Last night at 1.45 AM


G: "Ugh...WTF, what is that?" while hopping out of bed with much sleepy confusion
J: "mumble"
G: "Ouch" (while walking into the wardrobe)
J: "Oh it's that little alarm your parents forgot"
G: "Ugh what...where am I? Oh damn" (while feeling the wardrobe in the dark in search of the room's door until I realize a few seconds later that I'm in Leuven and our door is truly on the other side)

[I run downstairs while the beeping sounds louder and louder and I find the culprit alarm on the table. With a big smack I can get it to shut up. I rush quickly back upstairs hoping to sneak back into bed before I am truly woken up.]

J: " we really need to measure that wall now?"
G: "Huh? No, you're dreaming"
J: "But we need to measure, that alarm went off"
G: "That alarm was a mistake, go back to sleep."
J: "mumble mumble"
[J turns around, I close my eyes]
J: "But we have the height and the width"

[after which silence returned]

Monday, August 2, 2010

Yes we have guts...

because we have a good product.

translation: "93% of the inhabitants of Leuven like the taste of the new Maes. The others work here. "
location: entrance of the headquarters of AB Inbev , the world's biggest brewer and our main competitor / across their Stella Artois brewery in Leuven

with thanks for the Inbev personnel for taking the pictures