To Belgium and Back (Part 1)

L and O

This past long over-due winter break I went to Antwerp, Belgium with my husband, who was speaking at Devoxx and attending the jQuery summit online. No idea what I’m talking about? Don’t worry, in any other life, I probably wouldn’t either.

The point is Elle hit Europe, but were they ready?

We actually stayed in Ekeren, we went into the city for Devoxx, sightseeing and shopping. I decided to break the first part of this blog into Ekeren photos, because there are far too many pictures and things to blog about as it is.

My favorite place to eat.

Now some might judge them for how they spelled Chinese, but not me. Those girls spoke Chinese, French, Dutch, and English. Amazing. You go to a Chinese restaurant in Branson, and they act like they don’t speak Chinese or English. I love the tolerance of other people. They say that Europeans hate Americans. Maybe the Brits, I find that to be a tiny bit true. However, you have no idea how many Dutch conversations a sweet smile and a polite, “I’m sorry, I’m American” got me out of with a small chuckle an apology. It’s almost like when I get a flat, and I call roadside assistance. “I’m sorry, I’m a girl,” it works every time.

Preggers Belgian Barbie

Sounds crazy, and I’m more than a little crazy, but this was one of my favorite finds of the trip. Just sitting on the shelf with all the other Barbie and Justin Bieber dolls, Knocked Up Belgian Barbie, and she even gives birth to a tiny baby. Totally creepy? Maybe, but highly hilarious. Two thumbs up.

No Doggy Doo

Is this vulgar? Possibly, but it also had me rolling. It was probably the beers I’d had before that, but seeing this sign gave me a serious case of the LOLs. I found it on the side of a building in a seemingly sketch part of town.

Leopold II, King of the Belgians

In my neck of Ekeren, I didn’t find many actual sights per say, but I did find this lovely church and statue of Leopold II. Not the greatest guy if you lived in the Congo in the late 1800s, but the Belgians liked him well enough, I suppose.

That concludes my pictures of Markt Ekeren. I was only there a little over a week, so I didn’t do the greatest amount of exploring, and as my husband reminded me, it was a business semi vacation sort of trip. On the bright side, I finally got to finish 1984 by George Orwell, and it was just as brilliant as I imagined it to be. Not much more I could say about Ekeren. My husband would scold me for not mentioning Jump-Inn, his favorite restaurant, but as I said, it was his favorite, and this is my blog.

*insert silly winky face*

Until next time…

Love and Leopold,

L

xoxo


Insert Witty Blog Title Here

It’s not for lack of topic that I can’t write…

Ever had life go so topsy-tuvy that your thoughts are jumbled, and you can’t help but question your existence?

…Yeah…

Me either.

One thing you’ll learn in life is that no one likes a Debbie Downer. So, Buck up, Chuck. I know that I hate when my emo friends constantly post things on facebook about how terrible life is (and semi clothed photos). I love them, and if you can’t say anything nice… I just know that if I wrote about half the things spinning around in my head, I wouldn’t want to read it (and I lived it!), let alone anyone else.

Marilyn Monroe (who is far more brilliant than history gives her credit for) once said, “I believe everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you can learn to appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so that you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”  She was not just big, blonde, and beautiful (and of course brilliant)- she was also desperately sad and lonely- almost haunted.

-But is that how the world remembers her? No, we only remember her smile…

My New Art

And smile I shall, because I have a million reasons to. This is just one.

I know it’s hard to capture every thought that’s racing through my over-worked brain and string them together in some semi-coherent line, but I do have a lot of good ones. Tales and Travels to come…and now, more Tornadoes.

Now, back to where I was going before, not sure if anyone noticed my blog being quite dodgy lately, but I consider it “Under Construction.” I am just committing to writing, even if ElleOhElle is all out of whack with not so many LOLs.

Another quote. This one Picasso. “Inspiration exists, but is has to find you working.”

So, I better get my shit together, eh? (I know, I know, don’t be vulgar…blergh)

I do miss writing. I want to write a short story, but it’s literally been at least seven years since I’ve written one. I wonder if I’ve just forgotten how. I guess I need a topic- any ideas?

Love and Muses,

L

xoxo


Extreme Makeover: Joplin Edition

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this summer, I’m sure that you heard of the F5 tornado that struck Joplin on May 22nd. The tornado killed over a hundred and sixty people and devastated businesses, the St. John’s hospital, and at least one elementary school, that I know of. It was the seventh single most deadly tornado in U.S. history. Leaving thousands without homes and jobs, not to mention the broken hearts over lost loved ones.

Elementary School Across From The Extreme Makeover site

Amongst the rubble of devastation, Extreme Makeover crews came to bring a glimmer of hope. The well known television program took on its biggest task to date. Building 7 houses in eight seven days. Among the families that were to receive new homes where two best friends and neighbors both named Crystal, and in a cruel twist of fate and commonality, both lost children. Crystal Cogdill, ironically worked before the tornado, finding housing for others. Crystal Whitely worked giving personal care to the disabled and elderly, but above all else, she was a loving mother of three.

When they heard the tornado sirens, both followed their emergency plans and grabbed their kids, huddling into their bathtubs. Tragically, the storm overpowered them both. Cogdill lost her nine year old son, later finding his body under a utility pole, and Whitely lost her two older children, only being able to cling to her four year old daughter. Thanks to Extreme Makeover, they will once again be neighbors, and although, no one can bring back their children, they connected their homes with a “Healing Garden” in which they can remember their children in beauty and not tragedy. These two stories touched my heart more than any others. Perhaps, because of all the participants, they were the only families to lose a loved one , but also, because I too am a mother, and I cannot imagine a worser fate than losing one of my children.

The New Whitely House and to the Right the Healing Garden

Where do I fit in here? My part was small to say the least. I never lifted a hammer or a paint brush. I never got to hug these mothers and lend them my strength. I never even got to shake Ty Pennington’s hand. So, what did I do? I did what I could…I catered. I’m only serve safe. In fact, if I’d worry more about their safety if I had built something. I overheard my boss talking about volunteering to cater to the crews that worked all week to build these new homes, and I immediately wanted to help. Not knowing for who or when, but just that I had to do something. Donating my money, clothes, food, and diapers…those seemed like little things. It may sound preverse, but I also wanted to see the destruction first hand. Trust me, it was not a pretty sight, and it would weigh heavy on anyone’s heart. The saying is true. If you weren’t there, you wouldn’t understand.

Still, even after seeing it and hearing countless stories…I don’t think that I fully understand the heartache brought on by this act of nature. It was senseless to say the least, but blameless as well. Sure, many could blame God, but that’s like blaming God for the Nazis or the hole in the ozone layer. What good would it do?

Habitat for Humanity, which won’t have a nationally televised show to pronounce their good deeds has taken Extreme Makeovers efforts to the next level. While I am across the ocean on vacation, which seems frivolous to even announce, thousands of volunteers will be building ten houses in sixteen days with no more than a thank you for their efforts.

I know that I didn’t have a big hand in it, or any at all, just mostly to pass the story on through my blergh. It’s something I had to say before I started posting smiling pictures of my vacation. It’s a story that I couldn’t go without sharing.

Love and Hope,

L

xoxo.


Derby Daze

Confession Time:

I can’t rollerskate.

Not for lack of trying on my part, and it’s not like I didn’t have plenty of opportunity. Two of my little brothers and I (all three of us having birthdays in March) had skating parties thrown by our mother for four, maybe five different years. There are probably dozens of photos in undeveloped film (thank, God) of us falling and busting our butts.

Despite my lack of coordination on rollerskates, I have always wanted to be in the roller derby. The movie Whip It only increased my desire to kick some ass while wheeling around. (I’ll probably have to wait til I’m in a nursing home and riding in an electric wheelchair.) However, one of my dear friends and co-workers told me that she was considering joining the roller derby. I told her that she had to do it, so that I could live vicariously through her.

So, my gbff, DJ, and I headed to Springfield for the last meet of the year ,which happened to be for Halloween. Hit or Treat. It was pretty awesome. Not sure if it was the beers we had at Red Robin (yumm) beforehand, or the fact that a girl on the opposing team fell and broke her ankle, but we had loads of fun.

My Girl Leading The Pack.

 

I just thought that I’d share. There will be more blogs this week than usual, because I’ve had a lot going on. I mean, this one is delayed from Halloween, and this is my busy time of year…

So , QOTN, what dream have you always had but never fulfilled? Mine would be the roller derby…and being President, but I think the likelihood of me being President is probably greater.

Love and Rollerskates,

L

xoxo

 


My Bucket Book List

Love or Obsession?

I’m not like some sad old man that reads the last chapter of every book that he’s ever begun, because I might die before I finish it.

In fact, I’d be more concerned if I was a man, old or otherwise.

My problem is that I start a book, get a few chapters in, and I start another book. Sometimes I’ll even go back to books I’ve read before. Perhaps I’m a book hoarder. I’ve cut out the romance novels, though, by the dozens. Possibly hundreds. To just the classics. Gone With the Wind, Love In the Time of Cholera, Jane Erye, and maybe just a couple more if you don’t count any Shakespeare at all…

As much as I love it, I can’t read The Bell Jar again until I’ve made a dent in my book shelf. To say I love it is an understatement. I checked it out every two weeks the entire school year my sophomore year of high school. True story. It’s how I became School Mascot. The school librarian loved me.

I’m currently between 1984 by George Orwell (and I want to re-read Animal Farm, because I bought another copy the other day), Hell’s Angels (and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) by Hunter S. Thompson. I also forgot that I was half way through a book about Marie Antoinette by Victoria Holt called Queen’s Confession, and I mean, I haven’t even gotten to the rioting or wanting to chop her head off parts.

Once upon a time I wanted to read The Grapes of Wrath, but all the swearing on the first couple of pages made me kick it to the curb. Don’t get me wrong. I swear, but I hate when people use God’s name in vain. It’s like finger nails on a chalk board. I don’t judge people for swearing, but I can’t stand hearing that, let alone reading it in my few and far between moments of free time.

I love to read. I read the entire Narnia series at work at an ice cream stand from ten to noon every day for like a month. I have an awesome edition that is all seven of the books bound into one big ass book.

This is why I can’t be a comic book geek. I barely have time for chapter books. Someday I will read you, Murder On The Orient Express, but for now I write a blergh about reading books…yeah, now that I have my glasses (and my geek on), I should probably pick up a book. My goal should be to finish one of the half dozen books I’ve already started, but I feel like starting a new one…I know. I’m terrible, but there are probably at least a hundred books that I want to read before I die. Tons of movies that I refuse to watch, because I haven’t read the book first. The only except to that rule is Harry Potter. I don’t know why, but I really don’t have a desire to read the books.

*Cue Potter fanatics stoning me to death or beating me with wooden sticks while wearing their bath robes.*

I know we’ve all got a little nerd in us, and while I go read some of Fear and Loathing…(because after all this hullabaloo about finishing a book, I might as well do it).

I want to know, because obviously you have the ability and possibly the desire to read, since you suffered through this lame ass blergh thus far…

What book would you like to read before you die?

You just have to pick one.

I have boxes of them.

Literary Love,

L

xoxo


Thank You, Simon Cowell

My blergh usually hits an average of ten million hits per post. So, imagine my surprise when I saw that my American Idol post had hit over two hundred and fifty million hits on Monday. Oddly enough, as surprised as I might have been, I wasn’t really shocked. My last post from a few years ago (which has long since been deleted when I cleaned house), was very popular. It was even featured on some Russian website.

So, thank you, Simon Cowell (and Ryan Seacrest) for making my blergh a more popular pitstop.

Is this post about American Idol? Survey says…

No.

Not really.

Just big ups to the show that gives me hope that I might not be the most crap writer in the world. In high school, I won nearly every award for writing that was offered. I even ended up winning a week’s paid trip to DC my junior year. After school, instead of going to college, I majored in motherhood. I don’t say that as being my downfall, but it’s hard to write short stories between diaper changings and PTA meetings.

To make up for it, I decided to start writing my blergh. Whether anyone reads it or not. It’s a way for me to get random thoughts out of my head and be semi creative between teaching 2+2 and how to tie your shoes.

So, I thank American Idol for bringing a bit of traffic to the ghost town that is my blergh.

Yes, I’m an Idol fan, but I also watch X Factor. Those who can’t do…watch reality tv?

Now, what was I really saying?

Oh, yes. Blondes. I used to be a redhead, but naturally (as I am now), I’m a blonde. Do they have more fun? Things are funnier when you’re blonde, so I suppose so. Are we ditzy? Without a doubt, but blonde is an attitude, not a hair color.

My perfect blonde trifecta:

Marilyn. Britney. Paris.

I count them even if their roots are dark.

Even if one of them shaved their head and went totally Looney Tunes.

I’m talking about the infamous Britney Spears. I’ve been listening to her since her abusive catholic school girl days.

What I loved about her music is that it was pure and some of her songs were even personal. Today? I’m sad, because all her new stuff that I hear is so auto-tuned that I have to pause and really listen…is that Britney? I don’t know, because she sounds like a robot! Now, Ke(dollarsign)ha has made a fortune of being queen of the auto-tune. Britney, on the other hand, I remember, From The Bottom Of My Broken Heart. I don’t care how much hair or sanity the girl has lost, she’s still got her voice…so use it.

Jeebus!

Not that I want to ban all auto-tuning and all that crap they like to do to mess with your voice. I rock out in the car to If You Seek Amy and Piece Of Me.

But where did the soul go?

Sound machines have no soul.

I don’t know. I read that on this wooden box this guy was playing like a drum at a Violent Femmes concert. Seemed appropriate.

So, enjoy this classic that I’ve had in my head all day.

 

Now, that’s the Brit Brit that I love and adore.

And if you don’t?

Suck it.

QOTN: If you could be not just famous but infamous for one thing, what would it be?

I’d be the World’s Greatest Mom

For reals.

Oops! I Did It Again,

L

xoxo

 

 


Coffee Break

Caffeine Crack

 

Honestly? It’s only my second cup, and although it might be an overshare, I had to say this is the worst thing I’ve ever drank, and I once had a shot called Sex With An Alligator.

It’s rough.

We’re almost out of sugar, and I used these alternative sweetener packets called sun crystals. This is the first time I’ve used it in coffee. I’m mostly a sweet tea girl, really. Intense doesn’t do it justice. It tastes like someone put arsenic in my cup of joe. Ugh. I’d rather have a New Jersey Turnpike. Shudders.

Java and Junk,

L

xoxo