Monday, July 25, 2011

Giving myself a swift kick in the butt.

The thing about being an expat of long-duration, is that the work is never done.  When you can survive, you must then begin learning how to really live.  When you can live, you must learn again how to make the most of life, to have not just a life, but a good one, the one you choose.  (To do this, you must become an expert contortionist and creative problem solver, developing expertise with and comfort moving in and through the most unnatural [to you] of situations and positions.  You must learn to make the unnatural your second nature.)

And I... I am still working on this.

Friday, July 22, 2011

In which I am locked inside my house

No really, I am actually locked inside my own house.  Our doorknob has been going on strike with Belgian regularity lately, which was ok because if you turned the key all the way in the lock, the door would open by itself anyway.  Except not today.

was going to go and get the necessaries to make a lovely green salad with chicken, cheese, apple, and so on for dinner... but no.  The house won't let me.  Boyfriend is helping beau-frère with his roof today, so calling him to let him know I'm trapped hasn't worked either, as his phone is inside beau-frères house whilst he is outside.

Of course, boyfriend will get home after the stores are closed, when there is no hope of buying and installing a new doorknob, but hopefully he will at least be able to get inside.  I have had a tin of Heinz beans for dinner, which was terribly scrumptious let me tell you.  Who needs a nice fresh salad when you've got that?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dour, Dour, and more Dour.

Dour Festival, a Dour King, and a Dour set of animal abuses.  It is a day to sit in my bathrobe and think "What the hell?"

Dour Festival: We went.  It rained, then it was sunny and hot, and then it rained and rained and rained.  Each time it rained things became very muddy, and as the weekend wore on it became evident that people didn't care if a garbage can was only a few metres away, or even that the cleanup crews had distributed garbage bags and recycling bags for campers ... on the ground it went.  It was pretty gross as far as a camping area went.  Actually, with all the rain, mud, and garbage, it was very gross by the end of the weekend.  Bidonville would be the appropriate word in French.  Slum would be the English one.

Music?  Yes there was tons of that.  Despite the rain I feel I got the value out of my ticket, discovering a new band I like (Ex Makeena), realizing how many of the drum & bass dj's out there don't bother to beat-match anymore (Original Sin was the glorious exception of the d'n'b-heavy Thursday night in this respect, throwing down a great set,) and of course seeing Saul Williams live, which was what I'd really come for.

I'll say that Dour is the festival where I have seen the greatest percentage of unreasonably drunk/high and disorderly persons.  Not menacing, but certainly inconsiderately loud and annoying in their stumbling, screaming antics.  Weighing the good against the bad, I'll say it wasn't bad, I had a good time, I feel the ticket was a decent value, but I'd rather give another festival a shot next year.

A Dour King: The King of the Belgians has just delivered an address to the public, as now is the time of the "Fête Nationale."  After more than 400 days without a government, he's officially pissed off.  He urged the politicians to get their acts together, and (importantly, I think,) urged Belgians to make the efforts needed to adjust their behaviour in a manner that is more mindful and respectful of the cultures and languages that share this country.  Basically he would like everyone to stop acting like douchebags and make the effort to get along, to get over their differences.  And he's right.  But will it happen?  Who knows.

A Dour affair: Who tortures horses?  Someone in the region of Liège, that's who.  Someone or some people have been purposely vicious with random horses at pasture here and there in the region over the past few months, disfiguring them grossly, inflicting great pain, and then leaving the animals to suffer or die before they are discovered by their distressed owners or stable-managers.  It is disgusting to me particularly because I know first hand (I show-jumped for a period as young adult,) how rare it is to chance across a horse that doesn't have a good soul.  Unless a horse is raised quite badly, they are normally very sweet and gentle animals.  While it's true that their size and strength could be intimidating to some (I know someone who finds horses terrifying,) who would go seeking them out to do this?  It's disgusting.

And that has been todays parade of Dour, Dour, and more Dour.  These thoughts along with bad dreams last night and you know why I haven't yet found the motivation to dress myself today.  If you've made it this far, however, you deserve a reward.  Here's what I've been using to re-warm the cockles of my heart.  I hope he beams a little sunshine into your day too.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Freddie Mercury didn't have my bike seat. Or, maybe he did...

Have I really left pictures of my stomach hanging around at the top of my blog for almost a week?  It seems I have.  Lovely.  Well, let's see if we can't just push that entry down the page, shall we?

I'm going to tell you a story.  It's a short story that starts with a brand new (mountain) bike, and a little test-ride through the local forest in order to get comfortable and make adjustments as needed.  It ends the next day with a girl who wonders if the Marquis de Sade designed her bicycle seat.

Today I am pining for my old bike-seat, which had gel cushioning and allowed me to enjoy wheeling about for hours at a time.  I am researching online to see if there is any adjustment I might make to this seat before I have to go hunt down a more female-friendly one.  Because... What the HELL bike-seat-designer???  I'm pretty sure cycling isn't EVER supposed to make your lady parts feel like they've just starred in a movie with the words "gang-bang" in the title.

On to the next thing.

We have plane tickets.  We have the idea that we will go and (try to) learn to surf this year in Spain.  So far all we've managed to do is make the flight bookings online.  We've found the surf school and hotel, but we have been suffering some kind of summer lethargy lately.  It's the kind where you are really hard-pressed to name more than one thing you may have accomplished (by your own initiative) per day, and even then, that one thing might be something like "I washed the dishes" which as we all know is true progress in life.

Now that I think of it, I'm not sure, actually, that I ever really shook off the lethargy that hit me last summer.  Hopefully it's not cumulative or next year someone will have to come and dust me off on a weekly basis.  As it is, the thought of a (necessary) trip to the grocery store today has me feeling resentful, even though without it I'll have nothing for dinner.  *Sigh*  On days like these, I need minions.  On the other hand, I suppose after going to the grocery store I'll have accomplished my one thing.