Monday Motivation

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Just wanted to share my motivation for today with you guys :)

I totally forgot to tell you how lovely the last 2 weeks had been; big bad R. was on holiday! And work has never been so much fun. But as of today he’s back and ruining everybody’s mood again. Hence the reminder to use those muscles wisely!

There’s a story to the sparrow in the pic too; here in the Netherlands, there’s a saying “iemand blij maken met een dode mus”. Literally translated it means “to make somebody happy with a dead sparrow”, meaning… Putting something awesome in prospect, which turns out to be a huge disappointment (a.k.a. the dead sparrow). However, when you mix up the saying, you end up killing somebody with a happy sparrow. This once happened during lunch break (mixing up the saying, not the actual killing ;)), and has been an inside joke between us girls. N. (the one I mentioned had a stick up her ass back when I started on the job) worked a little Paint magic, and our happy sparrow, as you can see in the pic, was born. And I couldn’t have wished for a better illustration to the text!

Now let’s hope he’ll pick up the hint… ;)

Thank you for reading :)

Love,

ML-X

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Annoyances: Part V – Can You Spare Some Change?

I don’t like beggars, I really don’t.  In a large city like the one I live in it’s not entirely unusal that they’re there, and if you spend a lot of time in the city centre you pretty much “know” all of them. But lately, it seems like there’s an invasion new ones, a kind of gypsies I think, and they’re freakin’ everywhere! Out on the street, on public transportation, in supermarkets, you name it and they’re there. And not all of them are actually “active” beggars. There’s one young woman, one of the new ones, who just sits there holding up a paper cup. All day.

Those people piss me off beyond belief. Feel free to think I’m a bad person for feeling that way, but I just want to go up to them and tell them to get a fucking job like normal people do. In fact, I think that might happen some time soon. Either that, or I’m going to have a career switch, because those people make *a lot* of money. My brother told me the other day that one of them, a creepy old lady, comes into the store he works at to exchange approximately €200,- worth of coins into bills. Can you believe that shit?

That woman is one of many beggars on my way home, so I guess I should be used to ignoring them, but I’m not. Yesterday, I had two encounters. The first one was with a familiar guy who’s a druggie, and I think he’s been around forever. He asked me and le man for some change, and I said “no, I’m sorry”. When the beggar left, my boyfriend asked me why in hell I said “sorry” in the first place (he just said “no”). To be honest, I don’t know. I guess it’s an automated response, because I say it every damn time, although I truly am not sorry.

The second encounter was a bit worse. It was on the parking lot of a supermarket, and we were on our way home when a woman on an electric scooter asked us for an euro. The way I see it, anyone on an electric scooter who isn’t an elderly, is a lazy piece of shit. Now I do have to nuance this a little, before y’all think I’ve completely lost my mind; there’s a specific kind of people who own these scooters. I think the best way to describe that type so that everybody understands what I mean is inbred white trash. They don’t work, live off welfare and reproduce like rabbits but don’t take the trouble to actually raise their children. And guess who pays for all those scooters they ride? Exactly…

Anyway, this particular specimen was on a scooter and wearing Nikes. Nikes, for fuck’s sake! I wanted to yell at her that she should get off her lazy ass and sell her freaking scooter so badly, but of course the only reply I had was “no, sorry”. After that I got into a rather funny discussion on the subject with le man, contemplating if it was a good idea to ask for a specific amount as opposed to leaving it open. I guess that’s the analyst in me, and it pairs very well with him being a marketing guy. We’d make the perfect beggar, haha!

The last few days have really left me wondering… Am I wrong in wondering why I should give out my hard earned cash to people who don’t even try to earn a living and/or buy drugs with it anyway? Am I a bad person for refusing to sponsor that shit? And, even more important, are the crazy gypsies going to curse my ass for refusing to spare some change?

What do you think?

Thanks for reading, I hope I haven’t bored you with this rant today!

Love,

ML-X

Football/Soccer: UEFA EURO 2012 Finals

Tonight’s the night! The Euro 2012 finals will be played by Italy (surprise!) and Spain (not so surprise!). I think the key word for this year’s Euro’s is in fact “surprise”. Some really great teams didn’t make it into the quarter finals, others were just one hell of a disappointment (can you say Dutchies?), and I still can’t believe that Germany lost from Italy in the semifinals.

There’s one thing that has made me very, very happy: Portugal is exit! Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against Portugal in itself, but that self-obsessed, arrogant Cristiano Ronaldo has annoyed the living hell out of me. I think he’s spent more time rolling on the field in acted anguish than actually running. And then there’s the changing hairstyles every damn time… Ugh! If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, or just want to have a laugh, check out this “ode” to Ronaldo HERE.

I do have to admit that Ronaldo isn’t the only strange guy out there… In fact, there’s one in Italy as well: Mario Balotelli. Seriously, that guy is insane! But hilarious at the same time. Check this out:

I showed this video to my dad last week, and he laughed so hard, kind of waving his arm, that I thought he was going to hit me! And there’s lots more crazy shit he does. Either way, it promises to be very interesting tonight :)

As for Spain… Well, they weren’t my favourites ever, but they can play so beautifully, in that typical Barcelona style. It’s such a delight to watch them. Well, at least, most of the time. Their game against the aforementioned Portugal wasn’t all that good, in fact, it was rather boring, so I’m very curious if they’ll step up against Italy.

Despite that I’d never expected Italy to make it to the finals, I’m totally rooting for them tonight; not only because Balotelli is hilarious and Spain has won the last Euro AND World Championships, but because I have a strange fondness of the Azzuri. Whatever happens, with both of these teams I think we can expect a great match.

Will you be watching, and if yes, who’s your favourite of the two?

Thanks for reading!

Love,

ML-X

Football/Soccer: UEFA EURO 2012

After having to wait for almost two years (or four, depends on how you look at it), it’s hardcore football time again. The European Championships have finally started!

Let the games begin!

I am quite the football fan, and whilst having followed the earlier mentioned Eredivisie, the prospect of the EURO’s got me even more excited. I’ve watched them (and the World Championships) ever since I was a little girl, but 2010’s World Championships were extra special; they’re the reason me and le man are an item.

I still remember what happened; we were out in town with the company, watching The Netherlands play against Brazil on the biggest TV I’d ever seen. It was hot outside, and I couldn’t see anything because of all the people so I was standing on some kind of ledge and he was standing in front of me so I didn’t fall off. The funny thing is that despite thinking he was cute, we’d never talked all that much. Hell, I even hated his butt when he first came to work for us, because I figured he’d steal my job (long story). But he didn’t, and gradually we’d started exchanging words every once in a while.

Anyway, back to the point. As I said, it was scorching hot out there and I had my beer-cooled hand on his neck to cool him off, the game was great and against all odds… We won! Holy shit, we won from Brazil! Everybody was extatic, yelling and hugging random strangers and we… We just kissed. And that’s how everything started.

Obviously, football has been extra special after that, for the both of us. Some might find it boring, but we watch games together whenever we can and want. And when we can’t watch together, we watch seperately and text about it. It’s also our little inside joke; the other day there was a show on TV where the participants had to answer, “What’s the best place to fall in love?”, and he simply said “During a football match”. Of course, that wasn’t the right answer, but I loved it!

We’ve watched the first two games together (Poland vs Greece and Russia vs Czech Republic, although I missed the last bit of the second one), but unfortunately couldn’t watch The Netherlands against Danmark (which the idiots lost!) and Germany vs Portugal together because he had to work. Tonight we’re both off and the third pair of games will be played. There may be war; I’m an Italy fan (my current hair colour is red with black, like AC Milan!), while he’s more into Spanish football, and that’s the first game scheduled for tonight.

I do hope The Netherlands will pick up their pace after yesterday’s game, because it would be a shame if they wouldn’t go to the quarter finals. The atmosphere here back in 2010 when they did so well was simply undescribable. Yep, football beats the shit out of Queensday! And for the last few weeks, there’s been orange everywhere, and supermarket and drugstore chains have dealt out all kinds of football-related goodies with every x-amount spent. Yeah, it’s great to be here when the football craze is on!

So to all of you watching the EURO’s I’d like to say: Enjoy, and may the best country win! And to you who might want to start watching but don’t know how to; check Fiction In Crazy Mode’s post here on how to enjoy these games at their fullest.

Until next time!

Love,

ML-X

Guilty Pleasures: Eurovision Song Contest

When I was a little girl, there were two nights a year I could stay up late. One was of course New Year’s Eve, and the other was… Eurovision Song Contest night. And twenty-something years later, it’s still a bit of a mother-daughter thing for me and my mom. Traditionally, we criticize and rate every song, trying to guess who’s going to win this year’s contest. Despite having extremely different musical preferences, we still both manage to guess pretty well.

Here in The Netherlands, the ESC is seen as a “gay thing” mostly and in a way interest in it will be frowned upon. I’m not sure what sexual preferences have anything to do with a music contest, so my best guess is that the Dutch aren’t into the contest any more because they haven’t made the finals in quite a while. I’m just perplexed that they think they even stand a chance, with the absolute crap they send in. Now I do have to admit, there’s a lot of strange entires, like Russia’s this year. But they came in second! And despite not being all too pleased with that, I can understand why that happened. Russia’s entry was funny. Holland’s wasn’t (and it was off-key as f*ck, while we’re at it). They just take themselves too damn seriously, but they don’t even consider sending in any of the actually talented artists we have here. Hell, they might even be better off sending me in! ;)

All in all, I have to say this year’s ESC was pretty okay. I’ve seen quite some things that I did like, and among my personal favourites were Sweden, Serbia and Slovakia. The latter unfortunately didn’t make it into the final, which was to be expected, but I still thought it was very awesome. Sweden won this year, and Serbia took third place, thanks to the grannies from Russia! So I guess now y’all know why I wasn’t too pleased with their coming in second ;) The only thing that really bothered me this year, is the fact that the counting of the votes was boring. Sweden took the first place all the time, there was no doubt she’d win, so the counting part was quite a waste of time.

So, my European readers, have you been watching the ESC this year? Who were your favourites? Of course, the rest of you are free to comment on our silliness too ;)

Thanks for reading!

Love,

ML-X

Easy & Yummy: Cheese Rolls

Today’s recipe is one that I always used to make for my younger brother every time my parents would go on holiday (giving me the chance to play around in de kitchen as much as I liked), and they never lasted for longer than a day! I believe they’re pretty Dutch (they don’t call us “cheeseheads” (kaaskoppen) for nothing), so if you don’t like cheese, you might want to look away now ;)

It’s going to be a little more complicated than my previous recipe, but I promise they’re worth the trouble. So what do we need?

oil (any vegetable oil should be fine, but you can use butter instead)
25 grams of flour
2dl milk
150 grams of grated cheese, preferably slightly matured
10 sheets of puff pastry
1 egg (optional)

So first, we have to start off with making the filling for the puff pastry. I’m by far not a chef, but I believe this method is fairly common for making all kinds of sauces. First, heat up some oil in a sauce pan, and add the flower. Be sure to keep stirring (I usually use a whisk to avoid clumping), flour tends to burn quickly, and it’s not a fun job to clean your pan afterwards. Let this simmer for approximately 3 mintues, then little by little, add the milk while stirring. The mass will turn into a clump now, but that’s supposed to happen, and it should liquify again after you’ve added all the milk (and if not, little by little add more milk). The texture has to be a bit creamy at this point, like this:

Sauce

This is what your sauce is supposed to look like now.

The next step is to add the cheese to the mixture. You can do this all at once, but I recommend adding the cheese little by little, to give it a chance to melt in properly.

AddCheese

Adding the cheese, one little bit at a time...

And of course, don’t forget to keep stirring. When you see the old clumps of cheese have disappeared, add more and repeat this until you’re out of cheese. The filling should be done now! Leave it to cool.

Finished adding the cheese... Creamy cheesy goodness!

Take the puff pastry out of the freezer, and put all the sheets on the counter. Make some slices in one half of the pastry, like this:

If you're right-handed, it's best to slice up the left side. I had to learn that the hard way ;)

When the filling has cooled down, it’s time to put it on the “intact” half of the pastry. You can use a spoon for this, but because the cheese mixture is a bit sticky, using your fingers to spread it is the easiest option. Be careful not to overstuff them, cheese tends to leak out if you do. Fold the sliced side over the filling, press the edges of the pastry together (you can use a little water to make it stick better). You can brush some beaten egg or egg yolk over the top part to make the colour a little more golden-y. I’ve put some grated cheese on top of them as well, but that might be a bit of an overdose for some.

All yolked up and good to go!

Pre-heat the oven up to 180°C (hot air oven) or 200°C (electric oven), line a baking tray with non-stick paper, bake the cheese rolls for 15-20 minutes, and… We’re done!

Mmh... Golden and yummy, enjoy!

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s recipe, thanks for reading!

Love,

ML-X

Crazy Dutchies: Part III

Tomorrow is a special day for us Dutchies: Queensday, or Koninginnedag, as we call it. It’s one of my personal favourites, since it’s pretty much one big ass nationwide party, and the atmosphere is great. Actually, every “real Dutch” holiday/event has an amazing atmosphere. Everything’s orange (that’s “our” colour), everybody’s having a good time (except for the unfortunate ones who don’t get a day off on Queensday), it’s just great.

Now, I could try and explain to all of you outside the Netherlands what Queensday is, but that would be a really long and complicated story. So instead, I’ve decided to let somebody else do that for me:

I just love the way this guy explains Queensday. And hell, he’s not even that far off! It’s the queen’s mother’s birthday (only because our current queen’s birthday is somewhere in the winter, not so convenient for an outdoorsy kind of party), and yeah, we like to move it around a little if that suits us better. Trying to sell your shit is a very important part of Queensday, I’ve even seen people sleep outside to get a good selling spot the next day! And then there’s the parties… Koninginnenach (derived from “nacht”, which means “night”) in The Hague used to be a lot of fun, but they’ve changed up some things, amongst which is the name, and I’ve pretty much lost interest. Amsterdam and Eindhoven are other places to be tomorrow, but too busy for my liking.

My favourite thing to do on Queensday is to just be outside and enjoy the atmosphere, watch people sell their shit, maybe even buy some shit off them, that kind of thing. And the weather is supposed to be very good this year, so I’m really looking forward to it! Just hoping that the crazies will stay far away again this time; in 2009 there was an idiot who attempted to drive his car into the bus that held our royal family, killing 7 people and wounding a lot more while doing so. He came off pretty easily himself; he died shortly after the attempt because he was severely wounded. Too bad, if you ask me.

Anyway… Enough negative stuff for now. Queensday’s fun, and that’s the way it should be. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and John Fealey’s explanation of Queensday, and to all my Dutch readers; have a great day tomorrow!

Love,

ML-X