Holland 3: Keukenhof

Really popular tourist attractions always seem like a great idea until you remember that they're really popular tourist attractions.

In Holland, the most popular tourist attraction (outside of Amsterdam, I guess) is Keukenhof. Keukenhof, the world's largest flower garden (my sources tell me seven million flower bulbs are planted there each year) (my sources are Wikipedia), is only open for two months of the year and the best place to see famous Holland tulips. It's also home to the largest collection of foreign tourists in Holland, boasting approximately 20 loud tour buses per day. Its fanny pack exhibit rivals that of Disney World's. And the organ... the organ is in a class of its own.

When we walked in, this authentic Dutch organ was playing mood music. After a few seconds of careful listening, I turned to Y. 

"Is that..." I paused, trying to think of the name of the song. Was it something I remembered from childhood? Maybe a traditional Dutch folk song? The lyrics came to me as the organ started playing the chorus. 

"Tell me more, tell me more, did you get very far?"

Y looked at me in horror. He hates cheesy touristy things, and although I had warned him that Keukenhof might be full of tourists, he was not prepared for an organ playing a song from Grease.

Scratch that, friends. The organ was not playing a song from Grease, we soon found out. The organ was playing the entire Grease megamix. The same medley you might hear at a Bar Mitzvah party just after the chicken dance.

It was silly, and we would have rather stumbled across a field of tulips on our own than paid 20ish euro to walk around Tulip Disneyland. But we didn't let that stop us from enjoying Keukenhof, which really was beautiful. We just made sure to do the hand jive the entire time. 

Y's favorite part was talking to this Keukenhof worker about windmills. This guy was legit: not only was he wearing clogs, his mother was born in a windmill and I'm pretty sure he had a "van der" in his last name. 


Holland 1: The Hague

When I was three, my family moved to The Hague, which is the capital of The Netherlands. We lived there for three years, and for about 12 glorious years after we moved back to the States, I had some really great material for the "fun fact" every person should carry around in their back pocket: I lived in Holland and have been to almost every country in Western Europe. 

Eventually I got lapped. My friends started doing foreign exchange programs. Month long backpacking trips across Europe. Biking tours of South America. Teaching English in China. Basically, I had to get a new fact. Good thing I'm left handed and Jewish.

The first leg of our Holland trip was spent in The Hague. We explored the city by bike and visited my former house, which is on the same street as my preschool and across the street from gorgeous dunes that border the beach and the North Sea. 

{1: the beach, 2: the dunes, 3: my street}

I remember a lot of things about my neighborhood: leaving empty wooden shoes out on Christmas Eve for Sinter Klaas to fill with presents (apparently he doesn't discriminate), getting stung by a bee in our back alley, the fact that you turned right to get from my house to preschool. But I cannot for the life of me remember there being a beach. I don't particularly love the beach now... apparently it's never impressed me. 

Some other pictures from the Hague:

famous friends

Confession time: when I was younger I was obsessed with the Olsen Twins. I wanted to be their best friend -- I even used to have dreams that I was their step-sister. To a vain 12 year old with no friends, being friends with a celebrity was the ultimate compliment, coveted enough to make me wake up from those dreams a tiny bit mad at my parents for still being married. 

And here we are, years later, and not only did I dine "with" Morgan Freeman recently, but I have three other brushes with celebrities with which to impress you.

1.  You may have seen this guy on The Voice this season: 

Brian and I went to summer camp together in the 90s. Were we friends? The better question may be if we ever spoke. We are the same age (so we were in the same small group), but I guarantee you he doesn't remember me, because he was The Cute Boy and I looked like this:

At least my step-sisters accepted me for who I was.

Anyway, my friend Leila was (and is!) The Cute Girl and had the privilege of calling Brian her boyfriend. I bet they even held hands. But I'm sure she'll tell a better version of that story on her blog soon.

2.  The man below in the glasses is Bill Joyce, animator and, as of Sunday, Academy Award winning director of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.

We don't know each other. But he does live around the corner from me. I have nearly run into the low-hanging branches of the tree in his front yard on many, many occasions, and Ike has resisted the urge to poop on his lawn on many, many occasions. Congratulations on the Oscar win, and thank you, for helping me discover that I have pride in this city. 

3. Perhaps you recognize my friend, fellow book club member, and famous dentist McKenzy?

I know you're all watching Bayou Billionaires (which takes place in the city where we currently live) on CMT. It's a reality show about "a hardworking family of modest means" (some might prefer the term "rednecks") who discover their home sits on a huge natural gas deposit and strike it rich. Naturally, they want new teeth (with diamonds in them!) and there was no better dentist for the job than McKenzy. 

I'm still a little bitter that I don't have access to John Stamos and a closet full of oversized old lady afghans (and a billion dollar fortune) but at least I might be able to get a discount on bejeweled dentures. What more could a girl ask for?

writing prompts: little d visits the cliffs of moher

If you couldn't tell from my little absence from this blog, I've had a slight case of writer's block. I was annoyed that every post I wrote was about med school and instead of, you know, writing posts about something else, I decided to abandon the blog altogether.

But I'm back.
And trying to tap into parts of my life other than riding shotgun (with my hair undone) on this ride we call med school. Don't worry, I will still gag you with tales of abscesses and discharge. Which has a nice ring to it.

Today though, I'm going to play along with a writing prompt link up at Mama's Losing It.
And this week's prompt enables me to channel my inner Suri Cruise: Write a post about a childhood memory as if you’re in that moment again…from the perspective of yourself as that child.


The Cliffs of Moher, Liscannor, Ireland

This smile? It's fake. I mean, look at my pants.

At this point in my life, I think I can safely say I hate buses. I've been on more buses than Ms. Frizzle (who I do not think exists yet, but if she did, she would adore my pants) and all of them have led to views like this one in middle of nowhere, Ireland. Which would be great and all if I wasn't FOUR.

You know what would make this view better? If I had a boyfriend - no - a husband to enjoy it with. We could hold hands, maybe sip some hot chocolate and talk about how we're going to remember this moment for the rest of our lives. He'll hold me up as the wind threatens to knock me over.

But for now, I'll take my stuffed Care Bear back- thank you for holding it, Mommy - and retreat back to the bus for another few hundred miles of sightseeing. Or in my case, charming the rest of our tour group with my undeniable cuteness and trying (unsuccessfully) not to barf. At least my pants are comfortable.

Mama’s Losin’ It



The maxidress was a bad choice. Should have stuck with 80's pants.

ooey gooey


There is one household task that, without fail, I always end up doing. We don't have a garbage disposal, and our sink tends to clog. It has become my job to reach into elbow deep water and pick out the bits of food that got stuck in the drain.

It's my job because it makes Y gag.

How is it, I wondered, that Y can perform rectal exams and dig around inside of long-dead human beings without blinking, but he can't scoop up some wet bread and a few smushed cherries with his bare hands?

And then I figured it out.

A long long time ago (circa the 1960s) "Officer" Don Kennedy, an Atlanta TV personality, invented a game to play with the studio audience at his children's show "The Popeye Club". He placed several paper bags on a turntable and stuck prizes in a few of them. In the rest, he dumped raw eggs, flour, mayonnaise, ketchup -- anything that would make a kid squeal if he or she stuck a hand in it.

One of the children from the studio audience was selected and blindfolded. As the turntable went round and round, the child stuck their hand in a bag, hoping it was the one with the prize. If not, everyone yelled Ooey gooey!

At this time, my dad was a teenager growing up in Atlanta and apparently bored enough to watch children's variety shows.

I'm imagining he came home from a round of golf with his dad, flopped down in front of the TV and realized "The Popeye Club" was the only thing on. Reluctantly, he watched the Ooey Gooey segment and filed it away under Games to Play at My Future Little Girl's Birthday Parties Twenty Years From Now.

(Kind of like how I'll occasionally watch "16 and Pregnant" and file it under My Future Little Girl Is Never Allowed to Date, Ever.)

And sure enough, twenty or so years later Ooey Gooey was a staple at my birthday parties. I was positive that my dad, the smartest man in the world, had come up with it all by himself. It wasn't until the other day, when I made the connection between the game and my sink and asked him to explain how he invented Ooey Gooey, that he crushed my dreams and told me about Officer Don.

Regardless of where the idea came from, I'm thankful I was made to stick my hand in raw eggs and ketchup as a child. It was useful in teaching me a very important adult skill, right up there with financial planning and laundry.

Here's to my next house having a garbage disposal, so I won't have to put that skill to use anymore.

more nostalgia

Forgive me for this incredibly random post.

When I was writing my last post, I started thinking about all of the things I've ripped out of magazines. I wondered if I could remember, in my long history as a magazine consumer, the very first thing that screamed at me to be placed on my wall.

I remembered immediately.

I think this may be the exact poster I tore out of Bop magazine in the 90's.

I've started to realize that when my friends were kids, they were catching up on classics like Dirty Dancing or The Breakfast Club. Not me - I was a fan of the juvenile sports movies. Little Big League, Angels in the Outfield, Little Giants, and the best one of all: Rookie of the Year. With my long, easily fumbled last name, I felt a special connection to Henry Rowengartner. Thomas Ian Nicholas lived (in poster form) to the right of my canopy bed for a long time circa 1990-something. (FYI, said canopy bed 's bedding was covered in rows and rows of primary colored hearts. I possibly was too old for my bedding.)

Eventually, Thomas Ian Nicholas was replaced by a few of my other true loves:

Does the phrase "Can I keep you?" make anyone else giddy? I can't possibly be the only girl-child of the 90s to wear out my VHS copy of Casper by rewinding to the part where he turns into a boy.

How unoriginal, right? What girl didn't stay up all night wishing she would win a pair of JTT's autographed shoes from Bop magazine? What? That's just me?

Do tell: whose Bop (or Big Bopper, if that was your drug of choice) centerfold was on your wall?

All photos in this post are from ztams.com. Bosses of anyone who came of age in the 80s and 90s, I apologize for making my readers/your employees aware of this site because they could probably spend hours there. The best part is that whoever labeled the pictures was clearly very excited and went out of their way to make the visitor feel very creepy. For instance, that Thomas Ian Nicholas poster was labeled "YOUNG BOY!!!!!!"

music & memories: volume 2

I'm playing this little game again, even though no one linked up to it last week. What can I say, I like to talk about myself. AND I thoroughly enjoyed the comments, especially when my sister described my brother in his Coke-bottle glasses doing the Bus Stop. Which I now want to learn.

Anyway. This week's song (well, album): Alanis Morisette's "Jagged Little Pill"

When I was ten years old, I had never been to summer camp. Summer camp -- sorry to all the parents out there, but it's true -- is where all of us sheltered kids without older siblings around learn to curse.

That was the year I bought Jagged Little Pill. I bought it because its first single was catchy, even if I didn't understand the lyrics. I bought it because it was cool, and the story of my life at that time was attempting to be cool while secretly playing with dolls after school. But I also bought it because I knew, through the grapevine, that the F word was in that CD.

I was ten years old, and it was high time I heard the F word used in a sentence. My daily leisure time activities, aside from playing with dolls, consisted of reading Baby Sitters Club books and watching Full House, and obviously Claudia Kishi and Uncle Joey weren't going to be doing anything so lewd as to allow for use of the F word, right? I had to take matters into my own hands.

So I sat in front of our combination radio and record/cd/tape player that was taller than I was, pushed aside the Lion King soundtrack and The Best of Disney CD and put my new treasure into the 6 disc changer. I'm sure it was at that moment that I discovered the perfect road trip album (because I'm a sing-while-driving type of girl), the perfect angry feminist album (because sometimes those moods just happen), and just how perfect the F word was for expressing pure disgust.

Okay fine, that last part isn't true. I probably didn't understand what was really going on in that song until high school. But I did learn the rest of my curse words that summer at camp. I also acted out a fake wedding for a stuffed ghost and a stuffed elephant. Oh, to be ten again.

Does early 90s angry lady rock conjure up any memories for you? Let me know in the comments - or write a blog post about it (I didn't think I could come up with 326 words about Alanis Morisette, but it just happened) and enter your link here so others can see it:

tiny dancer

Last week I spent an evening poring over old photographs from when my family lived in Europe, and I discovered one of my new favorite things about getting older: your childhood photos get so. much. cooler.

Remember the video that was circulating a few weeks ago of the poor aspiring ballerina who just could not contort her legs into first position?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdylQeg5B9I&w=410&h=390]

I kind of feel her pain.

(I'm on the far right...the one always doing something completely different than everyone else.)