04 April 2008

a quiet week

i've stayed pretty close to home this week. i've been waiting for my own home for so long, that it feels nice to be in my own house, dinking around, writing, myspacing/facebooking, playing with sela, and moving furniture and accessories from one area to another. for a person whom my mom calls "the energizer bunny," it amazes me how content i am just being at home doing my thing.

i did get out and about some, though. i went for a long walk along the huge canal in diemen. it is a gorgeous and very long and flat road, full of bikers, runners, and mopeds. the canal is a busy thoroughfare of barges moving cargo (lots of cars) from here to there. it's fun to see all the different flags noting which country of origin they are from. my favorite part is that when they go by i can see into the pilots cabin and there are ALWAYS vases full of flowers in the window. everyone loves flowers here, even the tough guys. ;-)

the netherlands is a country built almost entirely from reclaimed land. most of the country sits below sea level (the airport is 14 meters below!), so much of the land in the less-developed areas is marsh land. it is so green. i ventured "off path" into some of the more solid area to take some picture and to get a better view, but i got a little too close and the result was very wet nikes. oh well, they'll dry.

i went into town yesterday with the specific purpose of going into kauppa to talk to the shop-woman about the marimekko fabric. it didn't work out as i planned, though, because i forgot my map and while i knew the general location of the store, i ran out of time trying to find it. three hours flies by when there are so many fabulous distractions! i found my new favorite store called niels interieur & accessoires. so much color, so little time. niels' is full of wonderful kitchen, bathroom, office, and housewares items. uptairs, among many others, they carry products from a german company called koziol, who makes the most amazing plastic housewares products that i've ever see...colorful and interesting and modern in design. one of my favorites was this etagere (3-tiered dessert tray) i LOVE a 3-tiered tray! especially in red and for only 23 euro!

downstairs i was excited to find the doggie bed for sela that i had seen in one of my dutch magazines. i had actually already done some research one them! they are by a company called fatboy, which has just fabulous and innovative lounging products...for people, too! sela is going to be a very happy girl! for the life of me, i cannot figure out why they don't offer all these products in the states. someone should do something about that...

it's pretty funny how turned around you (i) can get in amsterdam. all of the streets are either straats or grachts and they change without notice. the thing is, too, that if you go one block out of the way here, it would be like going 5 blocks out of the way at home. i was a little frustrated because i knew i was close to kauppa, but i took a wrong turn and before i knew it was out of the area completely. as i was trying to get my barrings i looked down a small street and was struck by a small sign in the distance. i almost peed my pants. i wasn't sure i was right, so i walked toward it and could not believe my eyes...it was cafe chris. i had seen a program on this particular brown cafe at home and had been diligently looking for it EVERY time i'd gone into town, without success.

it's doors opened in 1624, and have not been closed since that time. but the really special thing about this cafe is that there is a secret tunnel underneath it that was used by catholic priests and parishioners in order for them to be able to worship together in secret when the laws of the time forbade it. they don't advertise the tunnel, but will give tours to those who ask. since scott has been on the lookout with me, i thought it best to wait to go in so that we can discover it together. did i mention the "flusher" for the toilet is a pull OUTSIDE the bathroom?! or that it sits on the corner of bloemstraat & eerste bloem dwarssrtaat. that's amsterdam for you!!

i sat on the bench outside for a little bit, laughing to myself about "doors closing, and windows opening" or something cliche like that. but seriously, finding cafe chris at that ecxact moment reminded me that "i'm in amsterdam, for god's sake, so lighten up and enjoy it, because even when you're lost here, LIFE IS PRETTY DAMN GOOD!"

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