Category Archives: holiblog

Christmas was

Well so we got the Weekend of Awkward Relationships out of the way early on, which was great. Aaaand then I was felled by a migraine, which was…not. But other than that, Christmas was a fine, peaceful, low-key affair and its location on a Tuesday/Wednesday placed New Year’s also on a Tuesday/Wednesday which makes for a very long vacation which is superfantabulous because it will definitely be another 6 days before I’m willing to face my German class again.

Also, German? I’ve forgotten it all.

And now it’s New Year’s Day and I am resolving to blog more, because I keep forgetting so I hope if I write it down I’ll remember. That’s all, really.

Song du jour of the day, courtesy of  a Best Beloved who may or may not want to be identified here: Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky, by Allen Toussaint.

this worked

… so I’m saving it here so I can use it again next year. There’s no way I could have managed Thanksgiving dinner without scheduling every step, I would have taken a break because I thought I had time and then had to do 20 things at once and it would have been stressful. As it happened, it went off pretty much like clockwork and we had a nice dinner, so yay! Happy Thanksgiving.♥

4.00: prep pie crust
4.10: chill pie crust -5:10
4.30: prep apples, let rest -5:10
5.15: assemble pie
5.25: prep turkey & carrots
5.40: into the oven -6.40
5.45: peel potatoes
6.00: boil potatoes -6.35
6.15: prep salad
6.25: corn muffins
6.30: start peas & corn
6.40: turkey out, pie in
6.45: mash potatoes
6.50: start gravy
assemble salad
put out nuts & berries
set table
6.55: cut bread
pour wine
light candles
7.00: dinner


Yeah, I don’t know about this age. I’m not really feeling it right now. Not looking it either, since I cut all my hair off and now I look like an 8-year-old with bedhead. And eyebags.

My actual birthday was Monday, and started inauspiciously when I woke at 3 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep. Which worked out in a way, because I did need to get up at 5 and I had sort of forgotten to set my alarm. However, it would also have worked out if I’d woken at 4:55, so it’s hard to be grateful.

Why 5? Why, to drop Ignatz off at 6:15 for a school trip to Vienna. Oh, so this is why people send their kids to private school! I begin to see a point… Other groups went to Berlin, Barcelona and Venice. Pretty cool, huh?

So then the Sniglet had to get to (the same) school at the usual time, 7:45, and then I had to get to my school from there. I very carefully didn’t tell my class that it was my birthday, so I wouldn’t have to provide cake. Cake is not really in my skillset. Continue reading

Happy Damn Mother’s Day

Ever since mom died this has been kind of a downer of a holiday for me. I try to let it be redeemed by the fact that I’m a mother, and my boys are awesome, but now that they don’t actually live with me, that’s not really helping. Though it’s kind of better, because I don’t have to  pretend I’m not in a crappy mood. But also sucky because I’d like to post a picture of me & mom, or just mom, but I’ve packed all the pictures. Arg. Meh. Pthhtpt. 

I did clean out the Shed of Doom today. That’s a good use of a bad mood. 

Song du jour of the day: Just to See Her, by Smokey Robinson


Present-evening! Umm, here’s what I’ve been able to gather. Sinterklaas arrives sometime in November, everybody does the macarena, and then, according to a brief sidewalk conversation with a neighbor-mama, kids get little presents every night (if they’ve been good) until Pakjesavond. My Dutch textbook says that a recent study showed that the Dutch consider Pakjesavond their most important tradition, so I should probably get this right, except that, er, I haven’t given my kids a present every night since the 14th, oops. I did buy kruidnoten (don’t try to pronounce it), which turned out to be a lot like tiny ginger-snaps, but we ate them all in a couple days.

Anyway. Pakjesavond is december 5th, the night before St. Nicholas day, and it is celebrated by… giving the kids presents!

Um, whoa. I asked her, so then what about Christmas, like the 24th? and she said oh well of course we celebrate that too, because my husband is German and that’s the tradition he grew up with. So now I’m imagining… well, a constant shower of presents for three weeks, starting in mid-november, followed by a dry spell of lengthening nights and jonesing junior present-junkies, then one final bonanza, and then – January. Sounds like a total nightmare. I wonder if I should ask a few more people, get some more information on this, because, you know… really?

We’re still deciding what to do – drive down to Jagenau sometime before Christmas, leave the kids in Oompa-land while we spend a few days in Barcelona, do fireworks with our old neighbors in OurTown, and then home in time to get back to school on the 3rd, yes, but what about presents? Cart them down to Germany for the kids to open? And then cart them back up here? My big idea for this year was beanbag chairs – that’d be challenging.

Song du jour of the day: Stormy Weather, by Dinah Washington. We had some today, the trees were all whippy. Very exciting.


So today was the day that Sinterklaas arrived on his boat from Spain, with Zwarte Piet. It’s a big deal here, you can take your kid down to the… place where he’s going to be, here in Utrecht it was the… Weerdshuis, I think it was, but he shows up in every city at pretty much the same time, as far as I can tell. Anyway, it’s for kids younger than mine, but I kind of thought I’d take them anyway, as a sort of cultural experience. We live here now, I think we should observe at least some of the local rituals, you know? But it rained fairly heavily this morning, and I’m not all that keen on being outside, so meh.

But the Amsterdam Sinterklaas arrival was televised! So we watched that! With the Sniglet’s Dutch friend from across the street, we’ll call him, um, Vos. And there was conflict, Zwarte Piet got homesick and tried to turn the boat back to Spain, and another Zwarte Piet claimed to be Sinterklaas and sat on the throne and the kids sang and it was all very silly and stagey. And of course since this is for preschoolers, the drama didn’t last – Sinterklaas got Piet turned around, and the boat arrived at the right pier and he got on his white horse and rode to his throne and ousted the impostor and then everybody did the Macarena.

… wait, what?

Yeah. Not sure how old this tradition is, but, um, apparently it includes the Macarena. I think maybe it’s good that I didn’t know about that before. I might have been less enthusiastic about coming here.

Instead of a song du jour of the day today, here’s David Sedaris reading his essay, “Six to Eight Black Men.” Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

Our first Sint Maarten

Well, Martinmas was adorable, all these herds of kids ringing the doorbell and launching into song the minute I opened it. There is… quite a wide variety of songs to choose from!

The Sniglet went with his friend (yes! He has a friend, whom I haven’t told you about yet! I should get to that!) and some neighbor kids whom I haven’t met yet – I’ve rung the doorbell a few times, but no one was home. Anyway, he went out with them and I probably should have gone too, but I kinda felt that for our first Martinmas, we should participate fully, i.e. someone should be home to cheer the singers and hand out candy. And DrBob is out of town at a(NOTHER) conference, and leaving Ignatz home alone with a giant bowl of candy? There is no universe in which that is a good idea.

Song du jour of the day: Everlasting Love, by Love Affair. I saw a lobster singing this song in a bottled water commercial this evening.