Google+ Followers

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Red Lions World Champion Hockey!

Go back a couple of years, and hockey meant nothing in Belgium. Our national team was like a pub crew and just did nothing. Then a new coach came and he brought in a new swing.

At the Rio Olympics our Red Lions already played the finale, but lost it against Argentina. Today, they played finals once more (against Holland) and WON. This is just fantastic!

It's good to see how our little country can be the best of the world. Not only in hockey and soccer, but also in athletics and gymnastics. A great generation of excellent sporters has come and hopefully we'll see more gold medals in the future!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Dreaming of a big win

Tonight, at the Euro Millions draw, there is a jackpot of 85 million Euro to be won. Doesn't everyone secretly wish he/she'd be the lucky one?

I do. That's why I play every week for a modest sum. Sometimes I win (although always only a small sum) but most of the times I don't. But every week I dream about what I could do when I had that kind of money...

With this jackpot, it would be easy. Most of the money would be given away to the fondation against cancer. I don't need so much money. I only wish I had enough to be able to demolish this old house in which I'm living and build a new one on the same site. A house that would have every standard necessary now (such as isolation everywhere, a heating system that doesn't rely on gas or fuel - which can be very expensive - a kitchen that has everything my sister wants, a dream of a bathroom...) And of course I'd wish that there was enough so Chris could stop working as well and we could both enjoy our pension and travel as much as we like.

What would you like?

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Bringing some Christmas spirit to the house

Now that Saint Nicholas has left our country for sunnier parts (he resides in Spain, according to the tale) it's time to think about Christmas. It's one of my favorite times of the year, and I like the atmosphere around it.

The radio has begun to play Christmas carols and last weekend we've decorated our house to match the Christmas spirit. We don't have a big tree - there wouldn't be space for it. And also, I don't like to pick up dried needles every time of the day!

So we just have a (very) small artificial tree but lots of other decorations. Everywhere you look, there is something referring to Christmas.

My sister has her birthday on Christmas Eve and I have prepared a nice surprise for her. She'll be happy when she sees it! I remember my mother telling that the nurses in the hospital where she delivered my sister always asked her why she didn't wait until Christmas morning? Well, my sister was clearly in a hurry to be born! Mum got her first pain and not an hour later my sister was born. Giving birth easily runs in the family. Our grandma had her four kids the same way and didn't make anything special of it.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Looking out to the next trip, already planning other ones...

Not long now before we head to Mexico. I've dreamed a long time about going there, ever since I read about the Aztecs. No wonder that one of my first novels (I wrote the first draft of it when I was about 15) was about a girl who moves to New Spain (as Mexico was called then) and has a lot of adventures there! Of course, it took a long time before the actual novel was published. It bears the title Maria Gonzalez and it's not entirely about Mexico. Maria has adventures there, but also in Spain and England.

We'll first spend some days in Mexico City, from where we are going to do some day trips to see more of the culture of the country (and the famous pyramids, of course). Later on we move to a rancho where we are going to do some horseback riding at our leisure. That's another way of seeing something of the environs!

So, even when this trip is coming up, we are already thinking of what we're going to do in the coming months. For 2019 most trips are already booked (but there will be some unexpected ones in between, for sure), going to for instance Florence and Nice (with a visit to Monaco). And we're also going to Leeds and Rotterdam. Right now we are thinking of our big trip for 2020. Thinking of Jordan - always wanted to see the Dead Sea and Petra.

Are there others around who also act this way? Totally infested with the travel bug???

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Saint Nicholas

Today, 6th of December, is the day Saint Nicholas walks over the rooftops and his helper, Piet, drops presents through the chimneys for all the kids who were good the past year. At last, that was how it used to be.

Nowadays, there is discussion about the fact that Piet has a black face - accusations of racism galore! But Piet was a chimney sweep, so he HAD a black face. Piet isn't of African descent. He's just an ordinay guy who gets smudges on his face because of his job.

In Belgium, everyone knows this tradition. There is just a little difference in region. In some of these, not Saint Nicholas but Saint Martin visits. Same sort of saint, just another day (November 11th). In our parish, it was Saint Martin, but just a little but further it was Nicholas. So we figured as kids that we could have presents and chocolate twice (ha, ha!)...

Most young kids still believe in the holy saint. It's endearing to read the letters they sent him. B-Post has a special address to where such letters can be sent, and the kids even get an answer.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Final Notice

Please welcome Van Fleisher today. Van is the author of Final Notice, a thriller/political satire available now. To promote this launch, Van is doing a virtual blurb blitz tour which will run December 3 - January 4.

Van will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link to place your comment:


The year is the very near future.  A brilliant young doctor and mathematician, Vijay Patel, has invented a new health/sport watch that monitors blood chemistry so accurately, it can actually predict when someone will die – within 10, 20, or 30 days.  The intention of this “Final Notice,” as it is called, is to allow people to get their affairs in order and reach out to loved ones before it’s too late.  But when those notified have easy access to a gun, the result is sometimes lethal for more than just the watch-owner.  

These are the stories of several people who receive their Final Notice and their very different reactions ... including a desire to get revenge with impunity.  They range from an 89-year-old resident in a retirement home to a U.S. Senator...from a benevolent widow to a crass tycoon to a noted climate change scientist.  

But in this fresh, fast-paced page-turner, their stories are all set against the all-too-recognizable backdrop of a guns-gone-wild America, and the relentless push by the NRA and their surrogate politicians to make guns even easier to acquire.

There is plenty of dark humor and political satire in FINAL NOTICE, as well as touching scenes and outright suspense.  So expect to laugh out loud, dry some tears, and bite your nails (not necessarily in that order).


And sure enough, in 1.24 seconds, Trudi had 1,620,000 results. “Here it is. California law protects us if we shoot a burglar in our home. Still, it wouldn’t help if we didn’t hear them until they burst into the room. I can’t see either one of us having the presence of mind to reach for the gun, roll out of bed and blast away. What are you smiling at?”

“At the image of you doing just that!”

“Hey. I’ve been watching Angelina Jolie and I think I can manage the moves.”

Author bio and links

“After 21 years with an airline, and 30 years in management consulting, I retired and found that my phone didn’t ring and the only emails I got were asking for money. So, since I was at my computer, I decided to write a novel.” 
This is only half the story. (Van is notoriously modest.) The author was Director of International Marketing with TWA, and an International Management Consultant – taking him behind the closed doors of boardrooms and executive offices around the world. He knows how business works, which gives the slightly “sci-fi” premise of Final Notice a realistic feel. Moreover, his two careers led him to live abroad for much of his life. After growing up in New Jersey and Florida, where he never thought much further than the length of a football field, and going to college in New Mexico, he wound up living in England, Scotland and France, travelling frequently to the Middle East and Asia. He even spent a year living in India. And his first-hand experience with – and respect for – other cultures is apparent in this book.
“Final Notice is meant to highlight, my concerns with America’s handling of three important issues: gun control (not anti-gun), ageism and the importance of immigration. The book won’t fix these issues, but there are a number of great organizations with even greater people working on our behalf to right these wrongs. Proceeds from sales of Final Notice will help support those efforts.”

Weekend away

I'm just back home from a long weekend at the coast. Although the weather didn't cooperate, it's always nice to be away for a while.

On Friday, the boiler got its check-up, so it was handy I was there already. In earlier years, we always had to ask the guy to come on a Saturday and that wasn't always possible. Everything was ok, no worries. Our heating system works fine.

My sister had some problems getting to Heist. Someone threatened to jump under a train and because of that all train traffic between Ghent and Bruges was stopped. She arrived quite late, and I felt really  hungry in the meantime!

On Saturday we went to see a fashion show in one of our favorite boutiques, and of course couldn't resist buying something! Later that evening, we went out to dine at Bartholomeus, the best restaurant in the neighborhood.

Yesterday it was raining a lot, but nevertheless we went outside for a walk. There were not a lot of other people around, but who cares? When you are dressed for the occasion, it's great to be outside, even with wind and rain!