woensdag 27 oktober 2010

I have moved

I felt like something new, so I moved my entire blog to : www.oxidaisy.wordpress.com

Since I don’t have that many regular readers (read: none as far as I know), it really doesn’t matter where I write my blog. Wordpress is supposed to be fun and easy to use, so we’ll see what happens. I can always move back haha.

I am still working on making the new blog look pretty, so nevermind the not-very-me-ish header etc.

Thank you Blogger for opening the world of blogging to me!

zaterdag 23 oktober 2010

Empty nest syndrome

Good evening everyone! How are you enjoying your weekend? I am trying to make it as productive as I can. Wednesday and Thursday were regular work days for me, but I took Friday off, because my brother was getting the keys to his first own home. That’s right, my little brother bought his own apartment! He asked me to accompany him to the notary where the house was officially put on his name and the keys were exchanged. after that we went to check out his house and take measurements for some stuff. It is a really nice apartment and I am positive that he will enjoy it. Now my parents get to suffer from empty nest syndrome, because my brother was the last one leaving home. But my mom said it was worse when my sister and I both left at the same time (my sister for college and I for a student exchange year and to college directly after that), so I guess they will be fine. In the evening we went out for dinner to celebrate. We went to a buffet restaurant where they have everything in buffet-style, from starters to deserts. AND, it is very good! Quite a lot of wine was consumed as well.

Therefore I kicked myself out of bed the next morning and shove my bootay in the car to go to the gym to attend my first spinning class in months! Man, o man, it was tough! Count the following factors in:

- The Saturday class is one of the toughest spinning classes
- It is a morning class and I perform better at night
- I didn’t eat well during the previous day and then had a HUGE dinner with a lot of not so super healthy foods
- I drank way too much (for me, at least)
- Though I do enough aerobic exercise, I haven’t been to spinning class for a long time.

And it is no wonder I looked and felt like this after class:


But after a shower and a Green Monster I was feeling great again! We did groceries and then I worked for most of the afternoon. We had pizza for dinner (this week really cannot get a lot worst healthy eating-wise) and I am left to enjoy my evening. The Boyfriend has his last night shift tonight and then his schedule changes to day shifts only, so after tonight there will be no more sleeping alone for a while, yay!

Have a great evening!

dinsdag 19 oktober 2010

Fall, coffee and tights

Hello everyone! Sorry for having fallen of the earth. I am going through some changes in my life here and somehow the urge and time to blog just disappeared. But I am back! I have decided that I want to have more frequent shorter posts. They are easier to make and easier to read, so I guess it is a win-win (assuming somebody is actually reading my ‘blabbings’.

So, what has been on my mind?

First of all: I have a new job! Somehow, over the course of a week the head of the department I have my desk at (I work there but I am not employed there) told me he was going to suggest my name to another professor looking for a post-doc if I wanted him to do so. Of course I did! After receiving some additional information I found out that the job was actually pretty cool: doing research on an awesome topic AND being kind of an important factor in the whole thing (making decisions etc haha) ! So, I went for a getting-acquainted-talk kind of interview and after 30 min was told that I had the job. The only thing is that I am starting this week already and I still have my PhD to finish as well. This means that I am seriously a busy bee now. To keep my cool a bit (and stay awake during the whole process) I got this:


This would be a Nespresso-cup. You know, the George Clooney kind (dear Google, how many hits will this get me? haha). I was literally getting sick of the disgusting liquid that is supposed to be coffee from our coffee machine that I finally took the time to go downtown to the special Nespresso store (sure, it is totally logical and it makes sense to not sell these things in the supermarket) to get some cups for the Nespresso machine that someone put there. I guess it is a smart idea to just bring your coffee machine to work since some of us practically live there. It’s of better use there. So I am one happy and awake camper now!

Next thing on my mind:


Yes, my friends, Fall has arrived! I am starting to like fall. Since I started working out more, I am not so freaking cold anymore anytime the temperature drops below 15C. Now I really enjoy the colors, the crisp air (goodbye hay fever, see you next season!) and dark cozy evenings curled up on the couch with a blanket. But there are still things I don’t like of course. Rain, first-day-your-car-is-frozen-in-the-morning, anyone? And I notice that my body really reacts to whole seasonal changes. Tiresome. But we went for a walk in the woods the other day and it was lovely!

And a last thing:


Yes, I finally gave in and bought myself some running tights. I like them a lot! They are warm (even a little bit too warm for a sunny 8C) and they are tight so nothing is moving when you are running.

Okay, gonna go now and enjoy a cup of tea and a book before I am off to bed.

zaterdag 2 oktober 2010

Posbankloop – Race recap

And I am back with another race recap! Just over a week ago I participated in the Posbankloop, a tough race. The official course is 15k and it’s known to be very hard. They also have a 6k route, which I did. The course goes uphill for the first half, ending in a, for the Netherlands, nasty hill: 650 upwards with an average incline of 7%. From then it is mainly downhill to the finish. It is a beautiful course, with a big part going through the forest.

At first I did not want to participate, because it is 20% longer than what I train for and I do not practice a lot of hills, even though I should. But after going on a 9k (!) training run with a few friends they convinced me to sign up. I decided just to participate for fun and see what would happen.

After warming up my trusty race buddy and me were all excited to get going:


Lining up at the start:


It really was a hard course. Because we were going uphill, though almost unnoticeably, it was hard to find your rhythm and I kept wondering why I was feeling so out of breath already.
Going up that horrible hill. Really it was like being in hell, man it was tough!

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That hill was also a race on its own. It was timed separately and there were prices for the fastest people on just that hill. I did the 650m in 3.57min. At least it was faster than walking. After this, it was downhill and I was able to catch my breath a bit. To my surprise the Boyfriend and my brother showed up right after the evil hill to support me. They then raced back to the finish to encourage me there.

Almost there:


My finish shot. I was looking so angry! I remember feeling only determination. I put on my serious face, made wrists with my hands and just kept running repeating a mantra: must pass the old lady. must pass the old lady. There was a grey-haired lady running in front of me and I gave it all to pass her, and I did!


My time was 38.47 min. I aimed for a sub 40min race, so goal accomplished! I am very proud of this achievement, I couldn’t have done better that day. I spread my energy across the course and finished going all out. AND it was my longest race ever!

I did this race just 2 weeks after the last one, that was also a reason why I didn’t want to do it at first. But I am glad I did. I already signed up for my next race on October 31th, and it’s going to be special. So stay tuned !

I want to change the format of my blog a little bit. I would really like to post more about day to day stuff going on and I am currently figuring out how to do that, because nowhere in the world am I going to have the time to do this the way I would most like to do that.

Ok, I am off I have two birthdays to attend tonight and I still need to have dinner. Bye!

Bridge to bridge – Race recap

So, ladies and gentlemen, I did another race a while ago. I am a bit behind on blogging about my life, because the vacation posts took so much time to make. It was a fun trip down memory lane though!

A few weeks ago I did the Bridge to Bridge run in my home town. As the name of the race says, you run across two bridges during your run. My distance, 5k was the shortest and the course was basically, go over bridge 1, run across a dyke towards bridge 2, cross bridge 2, do a victory lap across downtown and finish.

Feeling all excited before the race. That is bridge 1 in the background:


Here’s how it really went: Go to bridge 1, while trying not to get run over by other competitors. The start and first k were so busy that we were all tripping over each other. I almost ran into a motor bike that was parked somewhere. In all sharp corners everybody would get stuck and forced to walk. Not so good, that organization. Here’s the start:


We were way in the back and the whole crowd just took off into narrow streets. But okay, I wasn’t running it to set a PR (ok, I was, but my main goal was to finish in 1 piece without the injuries I had been feeling coming up). Then we crossed bridge 1. It was pretty doable and I finally got into some sort of rhythm while I was jumping back and forth to pass people who decided walking would be much nicer. Nothing against walking during a race, but please move to the side if you do so!

When we ran across the dyke, things got better and I was feeling ok. After 3k it was time to go up bridge 2. They made a little hairpin curve before going uphill which completely took me out of my pace because the crowdedness forced me to walk. But, I didn’t let that bother me and kept going. It was a real struggle! Bridge 2 is much taller than bridge 1! Finally coming off bridge 2 after 4k:


From here it was all downhill, literally and metaphorically speaking. I was feeling really tired but was hoping to push through to the finish, 1k to go! Until this point the three of us had run together. But Leonie decided to turn her pace up a notch from there, go Leonie! Jolanda and I struggled along until I got sharp stitched in my stomach. Those evil stitched gave me hard time standing up right, let alone run. So I took a 30sec walking break. The last 400m I started running again.

On my way towards the finish. My stitches were still there but I felt ok enough to squeeze out a print-like running.


The finish was actually almost 100m further than I thought it was. I was feeling só out breath I thought I was going to die! I didn’t cross the finish with a smile but with a groan, hahaha


Right after the finish, I felt awful and could barely stand:


After catching my breath, I felt much better:


Bahaha! I was totally exhausted, but whatever. I had fun and managed to run the race pain-free (aside from the stitches). My time was 30.18 min. So no PR for me, sadly. Jolanda did set a PR AND finished under 30 minutes. Which means that if I didn’t have those annoying stitches, I would have run a sub 30min race! She was in much better shape than I was at the finish line:


I am just going to have to try again. Maybe next time I will reach my goal. I already did another race which I will talk to you about soon. It was my longest race ever.

What is the toughest part of a race for you?

zaterdag 25 september 2010

Vacation in France – Part 3

Day 9: Lost – La Molliere, 180 km

After coming back to our tent the previous night nothing could keep us awake. Well, there was a fire close by so the Boyfriend went to check it out. But I couldn’t really be bothered, I was just dozing off dreaming of the day we just had. The next morning we went to a bakery for breakfast and I somehow (I don’t know what had gotten into me) decided to have eclairs for breakfast.

I had two and a half eclair and was in a major sugar high for the rest of the morning (and also feeling a little nauseous). First, we went back to Rouen. We managed not to get lost and safely made our way to the parking garage. We visited the typical touristic stuff: the church, the clock and the Jeanne d’Arc square.

image from here.


Look how cool of a building McDonalds was situated in:


Then we drove towards the coast and further up north to spend a few days at the beach before starting our tripe home. We wanted to stay for two nights at our camping site, so we searched for a camping site with a swimming pool. We drove and drove and drove.


I did most of the  driving that day because the Boyfriend had backpain. At some point I got so tired that all I could do was focus on the road and just go wherever the Boyfriend sent me. After visiting the gazillionth camping site without pool, we finally found a tourist office that pointed us to a camping site in La Molliere, close to Cayeus sur Mer. I was plain exhausted after we put up our tent. So we just had a quick dinner and crashed afterwards.

Day 10: La Molliere, 0 km

Activites of the day: read, relax, throw rocks at the beach


relax some more, make a scene at the reception desk…Seriously the Boyfriend got kicked out of the pool because he wasn’t wearing tight fitting swimming shorts. He has these loose fitting boxershorts which only our whole country uses, but apparently in France this is not so common as they consider it unhygienic or something. We were disappointed since we spent so much time looking for a camping site with a pool and we didn’t have any problems at other campings. But hey, we entertained ourselves anyway. At the end of the day we went to a cute town called St Valery sur Mer and had another lovely dinner, which was a good end to a very relaxing day.

Day 11: La Molliere – Oye-Plage, 220 km

All rested up after our relaxing day we started to head back home. We drove up the coast and ended up at Oye-Plage, somewhere between Calais and Dunkerque which is very close to the border with Belgium. It was a long drive, but we took it easy and made lots of stops on our way getting there. We found a nice camping site, right next to the beach. The Boyfriend went to play with his kite, and I went for a lovely run along the beach. It was great and very relaxing!

Then it was dinner time. We drove back to the last village of any significance we had seen, and gave ourselves a hard time finding something for our last dinner of our vacation. We finally decided on pizza. Turned out it was only take out, but that was ok. We had a bottle of wine left (a miracle!) so we would just eat it at the tent with a glass of wine. So we studied the menu forever and when we finally made our picks we were told that they were not serving pizza for the next hour. That was too much for my hungry stomach so we left. Done with figuring out where to eat we remembered we saw a pizza van on our way, so we headed there. On the van it said that it was pizza made on a wooden fire. Right….Sure…


We thought it was probably ready-made pizza heated up. Turned out the guy actually had a wooden fire heating his oven in that van! He was really nice and actually made the pizzas fresh with fresh ingredients and everything. Wow! We raced home and enjoyed the best pizza of our vacation curled up in our sleeping sacks sitting by our tents with a lovely glass mug of wine. It was a really nice and quite romantic last night.

Day 12: Oye-Plage – Home, 380 km

Today was our last day, and we headed back home. Though I was sad that vacation time was almost over, I was also very happy to see the kitties again and get to sleep in an actual bed. I was really feeling stiff all over by now.

But first we had a couple of 100ks to drive. We had coffee in Dunkerque at a bar. It was a weird place. Most of the people were already heavily drinking beer at 11am. And there were a few gamblers trying their luck on those papers you have to scratch to see if you win. Odd.

We quickly drove across Belgium and decided to make a slight detour to visit my sister who lives in the South of the Netherlands really close to the border with Belgium. It was nice to see her and catch up. Then it was time to go home. My brother was our house and cat sitter and he asked if we would join him for dinner. He cooked us a great meal and we had a good night together before we finally hit the hay our lovely big and comfy beds.

Okay, so that was all peeps! I hope you liked the story. Let me know if you ever made a road trip and blogged about it. I would love to read.  Are you someone who plans an entire trip? I used to be one, but I decided I wanted to go on a relaxed holiday, so that involved not planning ahead. I also took very little stuff (you saw my car) so no deciding on what to wear etc. It was really liberating and relaxing!

Vacation in France – Part 2

Day 4: Bernieres-sur-mer – Utah Beach, 110 km

Today was war-day. We drove along the D-day beaches and visited several war-related places. First up was the Batterie du Longues, a place with a row of bunkers with cannons at a very strategic point along the coast.P7200189

They were all damaged but most of them were still in one piece though. The Boyfriend, the 5 year old that he is, had to climb on top of one, of course.


Next was the largest American War Cemetery of the region. It was very impressive with rows and rows of perfectly aligned white crosses. 9.386 soldiers are buried here.



It was a really beautiful place, aside of the reason those crosses were there, that is. I totally understand that those men were very brave and that the sacrifices were made for a good cause, but I don’t understand why there needs to be war at all. It always upsets me seeing so many in my eyes unnecessary victims. Wow, I never knew I was such a hippy, LOL.

On to the next site: Pointe du Hoc. At this point the coast is really steep and it’s almost impossible to get up. But they did it anyway. The Germans didn’t expect them, so the allies were able to make a dent in the defense lines. It is just a small rock that symbolizes the courage those soldiers must have had.


They had bombed the area as well. There are still craters in the grass.

Lastly, we also visited a German War Cemetery, La Cambe where 21.160 soldiers were buried.

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As you can see it is not nearly as fancy (can you say that about a cemetery?), nor as big (despite the huge amount of graves) as the American one, but definitely much more impressive. The upper photo shows the actual grave stones. Each stone holds two or three names. And there were many rows…On top of that in the centre was a mass grave. Again, very impressive. Many Germans didn’t fight and die in Normandy because they wanted to or chose to, so it is just as sad as if it were another nationality.

After this, we arrived at Utah beach and found a camping site. It was a nice place with a really great restaurant and we had a very good dinner!

Day 5: St Mere Eglise, 0 km

We decided to stay another day because we wanted to visit St Mere Eglise (at 15k) and just relax a bit. After a short run we left for St Mere Eglise. We got there and had a look at the infamous church with the doll hanging from it. Don’t know what I am talking about? Go watch The Longuest Day. The allies got dropped accidently right in the middle of the village where the Germans were stationed. Talking about a case of Whoops! One guy’s parachute attached to the church and he got stuck. He got to watch all his fellows get killed while unable to do anything. He ended up surviving and growing old, only deaf from the church bells. Here it is:

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We also visited the museum. Well, actually the Boyfriend scrutinized the place and I was bored half of the time watching all the junk war memorabilia in there. The rest of the day we didn’t really do a lot, just relaxed and had another amazing dinner at the restaurant at the camping. Sorry, forgot to take pictures of all of our meals during the vacation.

Day 6: Utah Beach – Courtils, 140 km

It was time to move on. So we drove across the countryside to Courtils, which is located close to Mt San Michel, our goal. We took our time getting there. Singing in the car:


Do you see the emotion? I also do this on my way in the traffic jam to work. It must be hilarious for other drivers. Luckily for me, I don’t care too much, I only sing a little softer when standing still to make sure they don’t actually here me…

Anyway, on our way there we finally had a decent crepe! It was at some kind of commercial chain joint we think, but it was fun with lots of stuff hanging from the walls to look at (stuffed animals, an electric train riding close to the roof). We spend the rest of the day lounging at the camping site, hanging by the pool and reading a book. Very relaxing!

Day 7: Mont Saint Michel, 0 km

I had a nice run this morning and I picked up breakfast at a bakery on my way back. The people there looked a bit surprised when I showed up there all sweaty, I wonder why… During breakfast we saw a really cool gadget: a remote controlled caravan! Seriously, this guy had a remote control on his caravan. Normally you see two or more people pushing and pulling the thing (and yelling at each other because their backs hurt) to get it out of the camping place and attached to the car and then you just hope you get the car and the caravan on the main track safely without hitting other tents. But he could just navigate it out of the camping place and onto the main track of the camping, place it right behind his car, attach it, and drive away. After this show and our breakfast we headed to Mont San Michel, the major touristic attraction of the region. Actually it is some kind of semi-island with a huge church on it. It is very old and I think that before they built the road there is now, all the entry ways would flood during high tide, very cool! We could already spot it from far away:


getting closer:


even closer:


Crap…that is what happens when you make pictures from your car. Let’s try again:


It looks beautiful, doesn’t it?


It was kind of busy, but so cute! We spent the morning walking around the place. We didn’t go into the church because the line was way too long.

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Can you see me? I am in 1 of the pictures only .

Finally a quiet street.

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Total verdict: really cute and cool with all the steep streets and stairs. But very very touristic.
We spent the rest of the day just hanging around on the camping side. We did some groceries and decided to actually cook. Well…we heated up some canned ravioli. Anyway, it was really good! Also, more wine was consumed…

Day 8: Courtils – Lost, 320 km

Wow, did we drive a lot today! Our goal today was to visit Argentan and to see from there. The Boyfriend wanted to see the church because it had snipers in there during WWII (great reason, I know) so we did.


Just so you know, I did not take that incredibly tilted picture…I am not sure how much beer the Boyfriend had during lunch.

Before Argentan we had coffee in a really cute little village and we saw a whole lot more of these villages on our way to Rouen after lunch. We were doing pretty great and got closer and closer and closer to Rouen, the biggest city of Normandy. When we got real close we decided to drive until the next camping site and stop there for the day. However….after that no other camping site showed up. We were already in the suburbs of Rouen, during rush hour and we had no idea where to go. We figured there weren’t going to be camping sites in the city centre, but our map totally lacked all details so we weren’t sure which signs to follow. So we got lost, bahaha. We ended up asking at some bakery. The woman looked at me like I was a lunatic (no dear, there are no camping sites here) and she didn’t really know how to get to the highway (to at least get out of the city) either. So we decided to go to downtown to ask at the tourist office. Just before we got there we saw a sign that said: camping site! so we followed that. But after a while there were no more signs. We did manage to get out of Rouen though, so we kept driving. After a while we came to a village with a touristic map. It showed that the camping site was way back, but there was another one further ahead. We didn’t really want to go back into rush hour agáin, so we moved on. We ended up in at a tiny village in the middle of nowhere (‘are you sure this is the right road?’ ‘yes dear, just shut up and drive ok?’ We had driven over 300k already and had had it for the day so were pretty cranky not in the mood to get lost again). And there was actually a camping site there. The owner wasn’t there, and not really anybody else was either. Most of the camping site was used for seasonal places: people actually made gardens with garden midgets next to their caravans, it was hilarious. We finally found some French people sitting beside their motor home. They told us they couldn’t find the owner either, but that we should just put up our tent and that he would show up. So we did. Then the owner came and asked us a ridiculously low price for the night. It a third of what we had paid at other sites! We asked him for a place to have dinner and he gave us directions to the next village where there was a restaurant where we could eat ‘very well’. So we went. When we came to the village we only saw one brasserie that looked kind of weird. We decided to move on, but found nothing else in the village. We were too tired to go some place else, so we went for the brasserie. But the owner told us we could not eat there. But there was another restaurant, just 100m further. It turned out that we passed it on our way into the village. Now, don’t think we are blind cows or something. It turned out, this was the restaurant:


When we came in we only saw a bar. But in the back of the joint was a sign that said ‘restaurant’. We passed a curtain hanging in a doorway and entered a cozy restaurant with a couple of tables. There were two Englishmen there. We were like: where the hell did we end up, but hey what the heck, let’s have dinner.

The woman serving us was of indefinable age, somewhere between 70ish and 85, probably. And she served us our best dinner of the whole vacation. Seriously. It was DELICIOUS! It was all home made with a lot of love, and everything was superfresh and supertasty. And it was really cheap too! It was all totally authentic French and we loved it. It was a really special night. First you get lost, and then you end up in the freaking middle of nowhere eating one of the best dinners ever!


More to come in my next post on the last part of our trip. Be back soon!