Category Archives: Living in Holland

Why #Kentucky Home -8 While #Holland Is Balmy 48

Screen Shot 2018-01-03 at 11.44.20 AMSeriously, uncommon cold hitting Kentucky but with none of the white stuff to make it seem worthwhile–or at least fun for a bit. -8 degrees this morning as I dressed to return to the gym for the first time in probably a month (Yes, I’m one of those.)

Our family enjoyed the cool yet never bitter winters in Holland to the max. And I’ve always bought into the theory that central Europe, though further north, was warmer than North American because the Gulf Stream carries warm air from the warm ocean waters across the Atlantic.  Now scientists are saying that stream only accounts for 10% of the difference in temperatures. Really?

My young life in North America taught me to think in terms of go north for cooler temps and south for warmer ones. That life experience changed when we moved to Germany where heading south meant colder temps from higher, headed-into-the-Alps altitudes. That was an adjustment to my perspective.

Screen Shot 2018-01-03 at 11.34.41 AM

Amsterdam on about same latitude as Saskatoon, Canada as shown in overlay of European cities onto North America. (Photo credit to Klamm at PhotoBucket)

Yet my mind still struggles to grasp that in our recent Holland home it is 48 degrees today even though Amsterdam is about 900 miles north of my old Kentucky home. Yes, 1600 kilometers to the north of Kentucky as you follow the latitudes around the globe your finger runs across The Netherlands.

The latest theory says that all that warm ocean water we enjoy off the Gulf coast in America works to draw tremendous amounts of cold air down from the polar regions.

Whatever the reasons, I’m wearing a beanie indoors as well as two pairs of socks and my comfy Dutch house shoes as I remember fondly the heated floors in Germany and the fact I never needed so many layers in our old flower-kingdom home.


Leave a comment

Posted by on January 3, 2018 in Living in Holland


Tags: , , , , , ,

Top 8 Christmas Markets in Europe



Prague Christmas Market

You may have a different Christmas Market to recommend, and I’m more familiar with Europe than America when it comes to these sorts of fests. If you know of others you’d recommend, please comment!

1. Bremen, Germany When: to 23 December Where to stay Hotel Am Hillmannplatz Nr.1 is a good choice, with both the main train station and the Christmas market area a short stroll away.

2. Prague, Czech Republic When: to 4 Jan Prague is fairytale fabulous any day of the year, but come Christmas the Czech capital really twinkles.

3. Brussels, Belgium When: to 1 Jan At 2km long, with over 250 chalets selling all manner of seasonal souvenirs, plus a fairground and a constellation of Christmas lights, Brussels Christmas market is Belgium’s biggest.

4. Dusseldorf, Germany When: to 23 Dec The atmosphere at this huge German Christmas market is unbeatably cheery. Dusseldorf is not just one market but several, with the entire city center caught up in festive celebrations for five full weeks.

5. Amsterdam, Netherlands When: to early Jan Santa Claus really comes to town in Amsterdam where you’ll find not just one Christmas market but 26!

6. Gothenburg, Sweden When: to 30 Dec. Daylight may be in short supply during Swedish winter, but you’ll be tripping the light fantastic in ‘Scandinavia’s Christmas city’, Gothenburg.

7. Edinburgh, Scotland, UK When: to 7 Jan Home to one of the finest Christmas markets the UK has to offer, the Scottish capital certainly knows how to throw a party (have you ever been to Hogmanay?) and the festive season rivals Edinburgh’s famous festival in both size and spirits.

8. Strasbourg, France When: to 31 Dec Strasbourg is charming any time of year but at Christmas it’s the picture-perfect winter wonderland, with towering fir trees on the Place Kléber (a 400-year-old custom), timbered houses festooned with red and white hearts and fairy light stars strung across its cobbled streets.


Posted by on November 26, 2017 in Living in Holland


#Eclipse Path of Totality

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 12.35.19 PMExcitement is high. Photos on phones not so good. The temperature has dropped 6 degrees since crescent began crossing the sun.  By .1 second Makanda, Illinois near Carbondale, Illinois has the longer totality.

The point of greatest eclipse is where the axis of the Moon’s shadow passes closest to the center of the Earth. Since this is a strictly geometric concept, scientists use this point to compare different eclipses with each other. For example, each eclipse on NASA’s list of past and future eclipses is described by the date and time at its point of greatest eclipse. The point of greatest eclipse for the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse will see 2 minutes, 40.1 seconds of totality. The closest towns to this location are Cerulean and Hopkinsville, Kentucky, which each will experience 2 minutes, 40 seconds of totality.


More later…


Leave a comment

Posted by on August 21, 2017 in Living in Holland


Ready for VBS this year!

Our family is transition from Europe to the US, from military service to civilian life, from assigned housing to home ownership. In the midst of that, my heart and prayers are over our charity and the support for Vacation Bible School coming in 6 days. If you have any interest in the environment, Jesus or the church, please check us out. Source: Ready for VBS this year!

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 18, 2017 in Living in Holland


Suspicious #FlagDay ?

My understanding is that the Dutch find displays of nationalism suspicious. This is quite understandable when one considers a very patriotic neighbor once promised on one day that they would leave The Netherlands alone based on their previous neutrality, and then same country invaded them the next day. So although Holland is well known for flowers, I doubt one would find an entire field carefully planted to represent their nation’s flag, especially considering that the Dutch flag is only allowed to be displayed on certain days and at well defined times.

The U.S. has a different take.

Floral Flag is 740 feet long and 390 feet wide and maintains the proper Flag dimensions as described in Executive Order #10834. This Flag is 6.65 acres and is the first Floral Flag to be planted with 5 pointed Stars comprised of White Larkspur. Each Star is 24 feet in diameter. Each Stripe is 30 feet wide. This Flag is estimated to contain more than 400,000 Larkspur plants with 4-5 flower stems each for a total of more than 2 million flowers. (Link)

Thus, to honor the 240th Flag Day of my home country, I present you with the image of the US flag, this over the top display–and I hope my tolerant Dutch friends will understand.


Leave a comment

Posted by on June 14, 2017 in Living in Holland


Top 10 Key Phrases? #lol

Screen Shot 2017-06-11 at 6.14.34 PM

Image on the book mark of key Dutch phrases

We’re actually cleaning things out of the house, but I couldn’t resist sharing the book mark I came across today. One side says KEY DUTCH PHRASES and includes such classics as “I didn’t see the sign,” and “I’d like to rent a bike” as well as “What happened?”

The kicker is number nine out of ten: Wil je met me mee naar huis?

Translation: Would you like to come home with me?


1 Comment

Posted by on June 11, 2017 in Living in Holland


Goodbye #Netherlands Book Clubs

Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 12.06.11 PM

My Netherlands Book Clubs read ONE of these. (Image found on

We discussed so many great reads. You brought books to my attention I might have never discovered otherwise. You read books I nominated. You forced me into genres I rarely explore where I discovered wonderful insights and perspectives. Our members were American, Australian, Dutch, British, Polish, Hungarian, Indian, Kazantzaki, German and more. Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Agnostic and Atheist. Liberal to conservative. And we gathered in delight to discuss what we enjoyed, what failed for us, what made us think. We shared wonderful moments focused on books, and yes, a bit of food as well, and life as we knew it. We went to each others’ homes. We laughed. We encouraged. And so much more. We were always welcome whether we read the whole book or any of it. We looked forward to each gathering and mourned those we could not attend.

Thank you. I will miss you all so very much. I am grateful we gathered around a shared love of reading.



The Books

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande (the best of all of them IMO)
Wild by Carol Strayed
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City by Russell Shorto
The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming
The Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
Five Days At Memorial by Sheri Fink
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Breaking Night: Homeless to Harvard by Liz Murray
Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Capetown by Paul Theroux
Becoming Nicole by Amy Ellis Nutt
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriaty
The Expatriates by Janice Y.K. Lee
Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen
The Secret River by Kate Grenville
Shakespeare by Bill Bryson
The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi
The Circle by Dave Eggers
The House on Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper
Survive Little Buddy: Iron Curtain Memoirs by Irene Kucholick
The Twins by Tessa Loo
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
A Replacement Life by Boris Fishman
The Nest by Cynthia d’Aprix Sweeny
End of Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
A Prayer for Own Meany by John Irving
The Last Man in the Tower by Aravind Adiga
I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron
Perla by Carolina De Robertis
A Man Called Ove by Frederik Bachman
Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil by Jean Sasson
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women by Geraldine Brooks
The Girl On the Train by Paula Hawkins
Bolter: Idina Sackville–the Woman Who Scandalized 1920s Society by Frances Osborne
Saree by Su Dharmapala
Days of Awe: A Novel by Lauren Fox
The Russian Debutante’s Daughter by Gary Shteyngart


Leave a comment

Posted by on June 7, 2017 in Living in Holland