30 Nov 2010

Snowy morning!

And after last night's snowfall, here's what I woke up to:



Looks gorgeous from inside my room, but I wonder how I'll feel when I have to go out in it! :p

29 Nov 2010

Icy cold!

When I wrote about the snow up on Campus last week, I mentioned I was wondering if the weekend's hike would be snowy or not, and if my gear would do for the current weather conditions... Well the weekend was GORGEOUS! Beautiful blue skies we hadn't seen in weeks... which sadly here in winter are always accompanied by freezing cold weather, this time literally! The temperature hasn't been above freezing for a few days, and probably won't for the rest of the week! A light snowfall on Saturday added to the upcoming holiday feeling, but fortunately it wasn't enough to complicate things around here.

I'm running really behind on my Walloon Hiking Posts (which I'm doing as much for myself -to remember these hikes- as for anyone who might be interested in hiking or seeing the Belgian hills and woods), but I did want to sneak ahead and share a photo from yesterday! The latest in wintry (3º below freezing!!!) hiking fashions, voilà!


Quite a clash of colours, eh? I'm trying out my new garters (is that the right word for those red things?) which I got 'cause I was fed up of the mud around here. Have warm Columbia pants (part of my old Antarctic gear) on under my outer shell, and am wearing two icebreaker shirts long+short-sleeve) under a polar fleece and my jacket. Hat, gloves, scarf... those came and went depending on sunshine and whether climbing uphill or down... ;o)

There was just enough snow on the ground (and trees and bushes, more or less depending on sun or shade) to make everything look magical and all "Winter Wonderland", but not enough to make hiking a problem (I've been told it's more tiring to hike through the snow). Added bonus: the mud was all frozen!!! So for once I didn't come home with my pants all muddy up to my knees! (which kind of defeated the point of inaugurating my garters) Instead it was fun to walk on its crunchy surface, lol!

The snow was falling quite heavily when I left the University this evening... it's a pity I don't have classes tomorrow until the afternoon, I'm sure the pristine morning snow would make for lovely photos! :p

26 Nov 2010

First snow on campus

I mentioned in my post yesterday that it had started snowing while I was in class... and I was wondering whether there would be any left when I got up there this morning. Well, here's the answer (taken w/ my cellphone, so not perfect):


Not much for those of you who have already gotten a decent snowfall this year, but it made me feel all giddy and goofy (plus I've had Christmas carols stuck in my since yesterday's snow)! It was actually snowing again (lightly) when I got off the bus! The snow's not sticking to the road, but it sure looks pretty on the leaves and branches of the trees and other plants! :o)


This weekend the temperatures are supposed to be mostly around or below freezing, and I'm wondering what my Sunday hike is going to be like... at a higher altitude and further inland. Will I get snow? What's it like hiking in snow? I hope my regular hiking boots will do the trick! Although I'm afraid the hat I brought with me isn't warm enough, and I didn't bring any snow gloves... winter is coming in much earlier (and colder!) than last year here in Belgium!

25 Nov 2010

Snowflakes and Turkey

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!


We got our first snow here today...


The snowfall made me feel all goofy and giggly at the bus stop waiting to head back downtown from the university, and I just let my inner child out again and had fun catching huge snowflakes on my tongue! :p  

(you can barely make them out, bad cellphone pic!)

When I left it wasn't sticking to the ground yet, but I'm taking my camera up with me tomorrow morning just in case the campus is all white (nothing in town). ;o)


I hadn't been planning on doing anything for Thanksgiving, too much work to do! But by the time I had finished my errands downtown (including grocery shopping) I figured I wasn't going to get much work (correcting essays, ugh!) done anyways so... I called up a friend and asked if he wanted to join me for an impromptu (and highly improvised) Thanksgiving dinner!

On the menu, homemade Mac&Cheese and grilled turkey breast fillets (I had to at least have some turkey!!!)


followed by these little lovelies:


delicious and nutritious!


Just to say, you don't need an elaborate feast to give Thanks, just some good will, good spirits and good friends!


I hope you all had a Happy Turkey Day!!! :o)

22 Nov 2010

Movie Magic: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1.





WOW! wow.







I think they actually did it just right! (for once!) That beginning before the title sequence is so poignant, with so many unsaid goodbyes (I had forgotten about those!), so many heartbreaking looks (snif!!!).
How can I review this without spoiling it for anyone? Tough one... let's see if I can figure out how to speak in code so that I can express my opinion on certain points so that those who have seen the movie (or are very familiar with the book) will understand me, but so that I don't give anything away for the rest...

21 Nov 2010

Movie Madness: POTTER!!!

Tonight's THE night!!!


I finally get to see the Beginning of the End with friends of mine in Luxemburg (so English!!! no dubbing, yay!!!). I've already heard from my sisters that it's fabulous... so very excited! I think the hardest thing will be waiting 8 months for the 2nd half of the story, argh!!!



Last year I prepared for the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince with Potter Wednesdays when I rewatched all the previous films on dvd and reviewing them here on the blog (Philosopher's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix). For this movie I wanted to re-read all the books, but I couldn't bring them with me to Belgium, so I just rented Half-Blood Prince on dvd to dip back into J.K.Rowling's magical universe. No need to mix up a batch of frenzy, I already got a fabulous dose last week in London when I happened on the World Premiere at Leicester Square!


If you want to dip back into the Potter Universe before watching the latest outing, you can either click on the titles above to re-visit my reviews, or you can head on over to Pop Classics where a Classicist gives her unique view on each of the films (very interesting reads!).

And you can be sure I'll be getting a Potter review out ASAP! ;o) 
I'll try to avoid spoilers... :p

19 Nov 2010

Fishy update

I'm afraid a full weekend in London and lots of classes and essay correcting kept me from finishing up this week's special "on the road" Fishy Friday... so I'm just going to have to make it an update on the status of the baby rays at the Liège Aquarium. As you can see below they're getting a little bit bigger and are more active, and still adorable!

video

Have a good weekend everyone!

18 Nov 2010

Japan - New York

Ever wondered how to get from Japan to New York?

Google maps has very detailed instructions!


View Larger Map

Go to Google maps. Write in Japan as point of origin and New York as destination. Then read through until you get to instructions #27 and #38. Report back here. :p

Oh, and by the way: the road has tolls! ;o)

(Another good one is Japan to China. Go to instruction #43, lol!)

13 Nov 2010

Spotted animal?!

When you look out the window and see a spotted critter in the park...


you wonder if you're still under the influence of the half bottle of Rioja wine you had with dinner the night before!

But when you switch to the zoom lens of your camera (click to enlarge):


It's still weird! A pink polka-dot horse?!?!?! lol!!! :p

11 Nov 2010

Movie Madness: crazy premiere in London!

Talk about walking into a madhouse! My sister and I were trying to cross Leicester Square tonight to collect our Mamma Mia! tickets with enough time to have dinner before the show... and found our paths blocked by a horde of screaming people!

My sister's like: "Thursday night? Oh, probably a movie premiere... I wonder which one it could be?... noooo... wait a minute! not... HARRY POTTER?!?!?!?!"

We found ourselves at a corner of the Square amongst a crowd of people looking up at a big screen showing the highlights of what was going on in the "fenced-off" zone (protected by Death Eaters no less!).


10 Nov 2010

3... 2... 1... LAUNCH!

We have lift-off!!!

Of what?

My new travel blog!


has officially launched!

I've been fiddling with the design and layout since I started working on it in August, and haven't finished yet (I want to design a header with the name centred and in front of photos from pretty places I've been to), but if I wait until I finish with all the nitpicking... I'll never be done! So I'm taking advantage of my being on a trip to launch it officially, even though I've already been writing on it whenever possible since I got to Belgium. I've only got a few posts up on Belgium and Switzerland, but have 3 more in draft about birding along the Belgian coast (with lots of storks!), and the oldest Roman cities in Belgium and Germany. When I do finish those they'll appear "backdated", so on the dates I started working on them, shortly after each event. I've also imported a few posts from this blog that were 100% travel related (like my posts about what I did London in July 2009).

So check it out, see if you might be interested in adding it to your reading list... and if you have any readers interested in travel tales then tell them about it!

5 Nov 2010

Fishy Fridays ep. 11: Special News Flash!




We interrupt our regular broadcast (which has been on hold since February, lol!) to bring you a special announcement!




The freshwater stingray population in the Liège Aquarium has recently been increased by two!

4 Nov 2010

Rambling thoughts...

I went to the Opera last week... they were putting on my favourite, Die Zäuberflöte:


Mozart's Magic Flute! The Opera has been closed for renovations for over a year now, so they've set up this huge tent to continue with the shows:


It's just as comfy as before, better visibility... but the sound... OUCH! The acoustics are terrible! Sniff!!! It's like the sound barely makes it past the front rows and then just goes flat. Painful. Particularly because I loved the interpretation of the person playing Papageno, and the choreography and set pieces were very original! Must remember for future occasions that Opera must be seen/heard in a place with good acoustics. And a tent ain't it! >:(

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Winter seems to be sneaking up on us at an accelerated rate this year! The trees have all been changing colours faster than last year, and the leaves falling off almost all at once! I just hope the rain and wind will calm down enough for there to be some left this Sunday when I go on another hike in the Ardennes. I'd like to see a bit more Fall foliage before it's over!


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Speaking of hikes, I'm running behind on telling you about those! Next up is the crazy hike where we walked around a dry reservoir, saw a castle, had to take several detours (lengthening our outing by ~5km) and ended up hip-deep in freezing water... And then there's a semi-urban/rural outing from last Saturday... And I'm heading out again this Sunday (unless there's a downpour). Need to select and edit photos (and video from the first mentioned) faster!!!

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I've also noticed I'm waaaaaaaaay behind on Monthly Movies and Monthly Reading! The summer movies weren't really inspiring enough to write about. And although I saw a couple of lovely French movies in September, I shockingly haven't been to the cinema at all in October! As for the readings... I think I'm going to have to change that format to some kind of "Book Reports". I read so much last Spring what with rehab sessions for my ankle it's too many to list, so I'll just mention those I remember/liked best. Plus many of them are series so should be reviewed as a group. Eventually...

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Never get into a fight with a can of tuna fish... you are guaranteed to lose! Those jagged tin edges on the open lid are DANGEROUS!!! Too painful (and bloody) to record at the time, here's the life-threatening injury a week later (blurry 'cause can't seem to get a decent photo using only my left hand!):


One thing's for sure... our fingers are incredibly well irrigated! Damn thing wouldn't stop bleeding! Too wide to go in for stitches. Just kept applying pressure, and for some reason that old childhood scary story / joke about "bloody fingers" kept popping into my head! lol!
I've also noticed that the middle finger is useful for a lot more than a certain rude "gesture"... trying writing on a blackboard with it!!! I've had my students up doing my writing for me this past week... ;o)

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Speaking of fish, Fishy Fridays is making a come back!!! Re-inauguration tomorrow with a special announcement! :o) And then I promise I'll try and maintain my twice a month fishy schedule... We're only a quarter of the way through the Liège Aquarium! :s

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And now it's time I got back to work... I have 200+ essays to correct from my various classes, and I know tomorrow's group is going to be clamouring for them. *sigh* Correcting is so tedious!

2 Nov 2010

Rally to Restore Sanity in D.C. (for those in the USA: GET OUT AND VOTE!!!)

If you're currently in the U.S. I'm sure you heard about the "Rally to Restore Sanity" that was held at the National Mall in Washington D.C. this past Saturday. Two political satirists hosted the event (Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert) for (as they state on the official website):
Ours is a rally for the people who’ve been too busy to go to rallies, who actually have lives and families and jobs (or are looking for jobs) — not so much the Silent Majority as the Busy Majority. If we had to sum up the political view of our participants in a single sentence… we couldn’t. That’s sort of the point.
You can read a review of the rally on the N.Y.Times (and other papers), but I'd like to share a more personal view with you. My dad's brother and his family flew up from Florida to D.C. to participate in this event, and I asked my aunt if she could tell me something about the experience and let me share it with you here:

1 Nov 2010

post-Halloween zombiness!

Boy am I glad November 1st is a holiday!!! I couldn't possibly go teach in this zombie state today! And thankfully I've got tomorrow to recover as well (although some tourism will be involved)! YAY for 4-day weekends!!! :o)

I hope everyone had a good Halloween weekend!