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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Webs We Weave!

I happened to glance out the balcony the other day to see 
this beautiful work of art.
 It was difficult for me to good a good picture of the web.
If you enlarge the picture you can see the rain drops clinging to the web.
 Yesterday I happened to get a glance at the master artist!
As I was taking this picture I kept thinking,
"I hope this isn't one of those jumping spiders!"
I don't know what type of spider this is.
One side of me wants to get rid of him.
The other side let him live.

P.S.  If he is a terribly poisonous spider, please let me know.
I have my limits!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Queen Beatrix and the Opening of the Dutch Parliament

This past Tuesday I went with some members of the American Women's Club to The Hague to watch Queen Beatrix  ride in her Golden Carriage to the opening of the Dutch Parliament (Staten-Generaal).  The third Tuesday in September is the traditional day for the State Opening of the Dutch parliament and presentation of the government's budget plans. The queen rides her carriage from her palace to the Binnenhof.

The Binnenhof

Queen Beatrix

So here is a little history on this famous carriage -
The Golden Carriage  or Gouden Koets is a carriage owned and used by the Dutch royal family. Generally, the Golden Carriage is used yearly to bear the Dutch monarch from the Noordeinde Palace  to the Ridderzaal or Knight's Hall in the Binnenhof in order to pronounce the Speech from the Throne.

Queen Wilhelmina received the Golden Carriage at her 1898 investiture as a tribute from the citizens of Amsterdam.   Queen Wilhelmina was beloved by the people of Amsterdam and the citizens donated 25 cents each towards building of this carriage. Because Queen Wilhelmina wished not to receive gifts on the day of her enthronement on September 6, 1898, she actually took receipt of the Golden Carriage the following day. The vehicle was first used on the occasion of the marriage of Queen Wilhelmina and Prince Hendrik on February 7, 1901. Since 1903, it has mainly been used once a year, on the day of the Queen's speech (Prinsjesdag).
The carriage is made of  teak wood, much of which is covered in gold leaf. It is decorated with paintings and symbolic ornaments. The carriage was built in Dutch Rennaissance style. It is pulled by eight horses when the reigning monarch is riding therein; only six horses when other members of the royal family are traveling in the coach. Queen Wilhelmina wanted to be able to stand upright in the carriage, which explains the bent form of the carriage's roof. This increased height of the carriage has made the carriage more difficult to drive.

Enough of the history lesson!

 The Dutch people dress up for the Prinsjesdag.  This is a group of women who belong to the Red Hat Society.
 Their organization is for women 50 years of age and older and is based on a poem  which states, "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn't go and doesn't suit me."
 There was a sea of red hats!
 Because there are Trolley Cars in The Hague,
rope has to be put down in their tracks.
 This is so the wheels of the carriage don't get caught in the tracks.
They lay down miles of rope!
 This is Cindy and Janis.  Cindy was kind enough to
take me along for the ride to see the parade.
They are both expats too.
 The military lining the streets prior to the procession.
 This is serious business!
 We saw this procession in reverse if you will.
We saw the backs of the participants before we saw the fronts!
 I thought these guys were interesting.
To me they looked like they were marching band members,
except the carried weapons!
 There were hundreds of horses.
I would guess an easy 400-500.
But I am not the best at estimating so I could be wrong.
 These are Dutch warm bloods.
They are a magnificent looking breed.

 The crowd waiting to catch a glimpse of their queen.

 One of two carriages that were alike.
I don't know who was riding in these though.
 I loved all these gray horses.
I always wanted a dapple gray horse!
How would you like to play drums and ride a horse?
 The Golden Carriage!
 Keep reading I have a better view later on.
 Coming back from the opening of Parliament.
 The assault weapons marching band!
At least that is what I call them.
 A view from the front.
 Here are the gray horses and right in the middle of them is this guy.
 A paint!  I wonder what the deal is with that?
 This carriage is pulled by four horses instead of two like the other one.
I would imagine the more important you are the more horses pull your carriage.
 The soldiers in front of the queen's carriage.
 This rider is signifying the appearance of the queen.
 Eight horses pull her carriage, indicating she is in the carriage.
 If I zoom in you might see the queen.
 Keep looking . . .
 looking . . .
looking . . .
 Well that is the best I can do but you can see her - mostly!
I like that there is a female soldier riding behind the carriage.
 The End!
 Now time to pull up the miles of rope.
 And I am still shocked when I actually see people wearing wooden clogs!
But they still do.  He was actually guiding the rope between his shoes at one point
so he might of had a purpose in wearing them.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Bud!

Happy Birthday Bud!

Dang you were a cute little kid!
I am sure we would of chased each other on the playground at school!
Don't you think we would of made the cutest couple?
Of course we would not been able to stand each other -
Girls - Ick!  Boys - Yuck!
Yup, we make a cute couple!
Love ya!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Great Loss! iPod and Bose Headphones

When I flew over to the states to help my daughter out with her third child I took my iPod and Bose headphones with me. On the flight from Amsterdam to Minneapolis/St. Paul I sat next to a 13 year old girl who was flying by herself. She was returning home to Minneapolis from France. The movies on the plane were not working much at all so I asked if she wanted to watch some movies on my iPod. I had my nose in a book so I didn't even miss them. She was excited and watched several movies. When it was about 1/2 hour before touch down she gave them back to me and I put the headphones in their case and the iPod in the back pocket of the case and then stuck them in the seat back pocket in front of me. Well you guessed it - I didn't think to even grab them when I left the plane. It has been over a month and they have not been turned in. It has made me shutter to think that the person who picked up my iPod and headphones is not honest enough to turn them in. I even had my hubbies business card in the headphone case - in the spot designed to show your identification! Some people have suggested to me that perhaps the girl took them since she had to wait to leave the plane until a flight attendant could escort her off the plane due to her age. I am refusing to believe that because I don't think you return someone's kindness by doing a bad deed.

Anyway, I am mourning the loss of my 120 gig iPod and my Bose sound canceling headphones. I had all but about 5 gig of my iPod loaded with movies and music and even a TV series I like to watch. If you are walking around and see someone with a pink and black Zebra case iPod jamming with a pair of Bose headphones think of me!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Turtle Rock and Mrs. Butterworth - Drive to New Mexico

I put 861 miles on the old farm truck and drove 6 hours to New Mexico
to celebrate my mother and sister's birthdays.  
I have driven this route many times over many years.
(This was the first time without air conditioning - not recommended!)
 This is Hwy. 6 between Price, Utah and I-70.
This show the vastness of the landscape.
Miles and miles of dirt . . . and yet I think it is beautiful!
 In this modern world some things are still done the old fashioned way.
 Moving cattle at the Ft. Lewis Bull Testing Center in Colorado.
 This rock is south of Moab, Utah.
When my children were little they called this formation
Mrs. Butterworth's.
Mrs. Butterworth Pictures, Images and Photos
Can you see the resemblance?
They knew this was around the halfway point of going to both sets of grandparent's homes. I have always wanted to explore the cave at the bottom of it.  I suspect it was a rancher's temporary home, or maybe a fugitive's hideaway!
 Just a little way down the road from Mrs. Butterworth's is Turtle Rock.  
I couldn't find a good place to pull over to take a picture.
 So I just aimed the camera out the back window
while keeping my eyes on the road ahead.
If you enlarge the picture you can see the turtle!
 Wilson's Arch
 A very cool sandstone arch just outside of Moab,
 This is a very lovely rest stop by Wilson's Arch just outside of Moab.
 I love the way the old Cottonwood trees look amongst the red rock.
 When our daughter turned 10 we met my family at this rest stop
to celebrate her birthday.  None of us could take the time to spend extra days
at each others houses so we met in the middle.
It was a great party.
We had lunch and even managed to have cake and ice cream.
Afterward we went climbing on the sandstone rocks.
On a side note, this is my brother.  I stayed at his house while in New Mexico. If you enlarge this picture you will see his dog on his lap. She is 12 years old, has only 6 teeth and has recently recovered from breast cancer. She loves my brother though, and wants to go with him wherever he is - even it means helping operate heavy equipment! (And I mean heavy equipment - front end loaders, graders, etc. You get the picture!)