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Archive for December, 2003

Suicidal Bunnies

29 December, 2003 at 1:31 am by belgianwaffle

I got a book of cartoons from Mr. Waffle’s sister. Entertaining and sinister in equal measure. Mr. Waffle refuses to see the funny side but I can’t help liking it.

Princess Waffle got (inter much alia) 2 Dr. Seuss books for Christmas and was so pleased that she has already begun to suck the spines and tear out the pages. Parents were also very pleased.

Mr. Waffle is now reading the Peyps biography by Claire Tomalin and has abandoned the abridged diary and is reading my father’s full length 9 volume version. Am curious as to whether he will accomplish his mission before we leave on Friday. He is already on volume 3. Meanwhile I am still ploughing through volume 5 of Harry Potter. You can’t imagine how brilliant this makes me feel.

And while I’m writing about books can I nominate a further contender for worst book I read this year? Have you read Fingersmith by Sarah Waters? Dreadful. All year long Eileen Battersby has been knocking this book in the Irish Times. She would insert snide references to it in other reviews (along the lines of “this book is wonderful, not like the dreadful Fingersmith thing..”). I thought she was being cruel and snobby, but no, it is dire but at least it’s not as inexplicably popular as “Cold Mountain”. For all its faults, it is a page turner. Faults are many but am too tired to list them. Stay away, don’t say you weren’t warned.

Getting Religion

29 December, 2003 at 1:17 am by belgianwaffle

Took Princess Waffle to mass today. For the godless, today is the feast of the holy family so it was very appropriate. We felt like pillars of the community. The priest referred to Princess Waffle from the pulpit saying how wonderful it was that she clapped along to the choir. We were very proud and hung around outside to tell other members of the congregation that she is very advanced for her age. This is, in fact, the second time that Princess Waffle has been referred to from the pulpit but since last time the priest was slightly irate that she was roaring and interrupting his sermon, I would prefer not to dwell on that.

And in other news, my sister flew back to Chicago today after a brief week in Ireland. Americans don’t really believe in Christmas holidays and she had to beg and plead for the week off. She may have to give up her job in the US and come home so’s she can have decent holidays, but not, I hope, before I have had a chance to stay in her new apartment. Only slightly deterred by the thought of flying 9 hours with Princess Waffle.

Comments
amillionpieces

on 29 December 2003 at 01:24

Your brave, I would never have the bottle to show family my weblog, in fact I would be really worried if they found it! So even if she doesnt like it, you deserve a medal for bravery!

Party on

23 December, 2003 at 10:55 pm by belgianwaffle

We had a party on Saturday night for friends in Dublin. This was kindly co-hosted by Richard who agreed to let us use his house for our nefarious purposes. When I started writing this blog I was going to keep it deathly secret and build up a following by stealth on the internet but, frankly, two weeks in and with no one reading it, I felt that the party was the ideal opportunity to do some publicity. I told my friends, they were…interested. Sort of. My friend Cathy (I’m tired of thinking up imaginary names, it’s very tiring – I asked her siblings for suggestions for a code name but I just feel that their suggestions wouldn’t go down terribly well) rolled her eyes to heaven and said “My God, you’re already terminally indiscreet, are you sure you need a wider audience?” Yes, of course I do. However, I see that none of them has seen fit to comment on my blog. Very distressing. I am driven to the conclusion that they have not read it. I am quietly confident, nevertheless that a couple of days at home in the bosom of their families will force them to look for unusual avenues of entertainment and they will peruse this with, um, interest.

Party was slightly odd as Mr. Waffle was ill and we had to leave early so waved goodbye to our friends and left poor Richard holding the fort. I apologised profusely for abandoning him. “Not at all” he said affably “your friends are lovely people, whoever they are”. I understand that there were a number of exciting rows later in the evening. I particularly regret missing the row on benchmarking as the combatants were quite evenly matched…I understand it was a clash of the public and private sector titans. Richard said he was picking up glasses in the hope that the rowing parties would leave but they just dug their heels in and started to enjoy themselves while he gave up hope of ever getting to bed. A successful evening all round then.

In other news, I have done a lot of visiting since we returned. My friends are buying up the nicest houses in Dublin. I’m torn between envy and excitement. Largely envy.

Tomorrow will see our arrival in the real capital. I understand the local populace is waiting agog for the first viewing of princess waffle in some months.

Harry Potter

19 December, 2003 at 1:20 pm by belgianwaffle

This is dreadful but after finishing my last book, I felt I owed myself a break and am rereading all the Harry Potter books for light entertainment. They really are very good and not at all taxing.   However, I feel the long ones are just too bloody long and I think she is losing it slightly. “The Order of the Phoenix” fails to grab me as much as earlier volumes.

Mr. Waffle is reading Pepys. At least one of us is an intellectual.

Parking

19 December, 2003 at 1:11 pm by belgianwaffle

We’re off to Ireland for our holidays today. Yippee. However, despite the fact that Ireland is a digital hub access to broadband is strictly limited and am not sure I will be writing entries on a dial up line – so there may be no new entries until January 6. I am sure that you are all holding your breath etc.

In other news, we have a car parking space. Oh rejoice, no more driving around for hours looking for a space. Last night Mr. Waffle arrived home tired and dishevelled having spent half an hour looking for parking and having walked 20 minutes from where the car was eventually parked. On the minus side, I may lose my fab car parking skills. I can now park in almost any space. This morning I parked in an entrance, stuck on my hazard warning lights and went off to chat to our insurance broker for 20 minutes. I am becoming a real Belgian (illegal parking is a national sport). On my return, alas, there was a large lorry parked beside my car and the driver was tooting his horn in considerable irritation. My winning smile and baby Waffle’s cheery wave seemed to infuriate rather than calm down so we sped off before he could physically attack us.

All this reminds me of a number of Belgian parking stories.

Story 1 – The glam potter was out shopping and returned to find her car boxed in. As she had only 1 hour to go home, pack and take her train to the UK she was tense. She cursed, she hooted her horn but no joy. She paced. She noticed a slip of paper on the ground saying that the owner of the offending vehicle was in the restaurant opposite. She stormed in and identified the owner who was sitting calmly having lunch with friends. Glam potter felt that she would not be able to express her irritation properly in French so she said to the woman “Do you speak English?” Woman confirmed that she did and GP roared at her “You stupid cow”. Driver got to her feet to move car and turned out to be 8 months pregnant. Poor GP, most embarrassing.

Story 2 – When I was about 7 months pregnant I met a friend for lunch, let us call her the french horn player. When she arrived at the restaurant I asked her whether she had found parking difficult. “No” she said “I parked on the roundabout”. Yes, indeed the roundabout at Place Stephanie is often used by reckless Belgians as a parking spot. We emerged from lunch only to find that the car had been towed. Extraordinary. I went with FHP to the police station and the police were most sympathetic. I have to say that my experience of the Belgian police had not led me to expect this.

FHP – My car was towed and it wasn’t in anyone’s way.

Policeman – That’s terrible, where was it.

FHP – On the roundabout at Place Stephanie

Policeman – Oh I know where you mean, of course, you weren’t in anyone’s way, what a pain for you, but I suppose it is technically illegal.

Waffle (sotto voce) – To park on a roundabout, yes, I would have thought so.

FHP – I wonder is there any way I can get away with not paying the fine.

Policeman – Hmm (looks at me appraisingly), I see your friend is pregnant, if you hadn’t parked there, she would have had to walk a long way…

Me – But I got there under my own steam, I took the tram…

Policeman (ignoring this unworthy intervention) – Yes, she would have had to walk a long way, get a cert from your friend’s gynaecologist and I think we can get you off.

Honestly.

Anyway enough Belgian parking stories. Hope you have a very happy Christmas.

No return

17 December, 2003 at 3:46 pm by belgianwaffle

I spent 52 euros on stamps for Christmas cards the other day. We have sent too many Christmas cards. So far, we have received 6. I’m not complaining. No, really. I’m sure that when we get back to Brussels after Christmas we will have 50 odd Christmas cards waiting for us.? What do you do with 50 Christmas cards in January?

My friend the glamourous potter called around yesterday. She has a baby 6 weeks older than Waffle. Her baby crawls round the place like mad and I am torn between admiration and horror (will Waffle do this? how will I manage when she can move?). Glam potter is going to be a regular feature here as she is by far the most exotic person I know. To start with she’s a potter. I mean, how many potters do you know? Then, she used to get driven to school in an open top sports car. In Antigua. That’s enough for starters.

I am busy adding to my favourite blogs bit. I am adding Locotes cos we Cork people should stick together and so on. Also can get regular updates on Cork things. Fantastic, unmissable. Also adding JoJo, cos she said that my baby was sweet. Oh yes, I am very easy to buy. Thank you JoJo. Finally I’m adding this Iranian gentleman because, let’s face it, an informal look inside the corridors of power in Iran is kind of unusual. I particularly like the picture of him as a young boy. Very odd. If you check it out today, you will see that he is pleased about the capture of Saddam. No surprises there then.

Comments

Locotes

on 17 December 2003 at 18:03

Well thank you very much. Urm…my Cork update for today is that the SHARE feens are out in force…at least 3 of them every 10 meters…diving at me from all angles…it’s impossible to get anywhere without being assaulted, surely that must be illegal?
A 20six tip for you, if you ever feel the need to reply or abuse a comment someone has left on your blog, it’s perfectly fine to enter a comment of your own in the entry – can be easier than mentioning their comment in your next post. But of course everyone has their own style. I’ll stop rambling now. 🙂

[anonymous]

on 18 December 2003 at 16:52

Just wanted to say that I love the name of your blog, mainly because I love Belgium, and most of all I love waffles, the proper ones, not the square ones. I used to live in Brussels and try to head back once a year to stock up on Bearnaise Sauce, Fruit beers etc. Didn’t get to go this year unfortunately! Have a fantastic Christmas with the baby Waffle!

The Republic

16 December, 2003 at 3:57 pm by belgianwaffle

Illness continues to stalk our household. Most trying. However, you will be delighted to hear that we are recovering and hope to be healthy for our trip home on Friday.

Somebody asked me where in Ireland I was from. I am from Cork. We are an independent and proud people brutally subjugated by the nasty east coast Dubliners. My loving spouse comes from Dublin so our Christmas holidays will be scrupulously divided between the two locations. Well, reasonably scrupulously. More of this later.

I think perhaps the following story would help to explain the Cork spirit. I met my husband in Brussels and, despite the fact that he was from Dublin, I liked him straight away. I rang my mother and said to her “I’ve met a great guy”. My mother, like many another Irish mother was concerned that, as I lived in Brussels, I might meet a local and settle down far from the ancestral home so she said “Not a foreigner?” “No” I said.? “Ah”, she said in tones of great relief “he’s from Cork”.

Our holidays are not as fairly divided between Cork and Dublin as they might be. A friend of mine from school (the “heart surgeon”) is getting married. As a 34 year old mother of one, I thought that my bridesmaid days were over, but apparently not. I am supporting actress in the wedding which is taking place in Cork on January 1 so we are staying in Cork a little longer than we might otherwise have done.? My friend has selected really lovely dresses for her bridesmaids but there is one tiny snag. Cork is chilly in Winter and wearing a strapless dress on January 1 is definitely going to take from my enjoyment of the occasion.? Particularly since there will be a photo session on the beach.

Finally, have been surfing around and have to plug this site which tells of the adventures in Brazil of a friend of ours from Brussels.? Makes me feel most uninteresting which is quite distressing but is very funny and worthwhile.

Reading in Labour

12 December, 2003 at 11:30 pm by belgianwaffle

I have just finished a dreadful book.  Dreadful in content and dreadful in prose style. I am so pleased to have polished it off. I feel compelled to finish something once I’ve started it.  I suspect I am the only person to have read the Phaidon coffee table book of the century thing cover to cover.  This is a character flaw, I know.

I have to give a plug to the best book I’ve read this year.  It’s called “What I Loved” by Siri Hustvedt.  It is outstanding, a page turner with in-depth art and hysteria references.  Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

Worst book I have read this year is undoubtedly “Cold Mountain” by Charles Frazier.  I took it into hospital with me when I went into labour and two days later when I had my baby I was still wading through it.  Who cares about this man and his trip back to Cold Mountain?  Why was this book awarded a prize?  What possessed the author to make it so bloody long?

Nurofen

12 December, 2003 at 11:04 pm by belgianwaffle

Gosh, I am really taken with this. As you can imagine, not a lot has happened since mid-day (although I have got two comments – v. exciting, thank you kind commenters). I have also changed the colours on the site to look girly. Oh the thrill. Will there be the option of Christmas backgrounds, I wonder?

You will be delighted to hear that my crabby baby has been restored to health and happiness. This is due to consumption of infant nurofen. I will tell you how I got this because I feel that I should perhaps seek to entertain and this is mildly entertaining.

This year has been a bit of a wedding marathon for me and my beloved husband. With our new baby we have travelled to 6 weddings. That’s a lot of weddings with a small baby. Mr. Waffle churlishly points out that the weddings are designed to be in locations which are expensive and inconvenient to get to.

At one of our weddings our baby got sick. This was the first time our baby was sick and we were traumatised. Mr. Waffle stayed in the hotel bedroom comforting our unhappy tot and I went off to find a doctor. Thus I committed my first social solecism as a mother. You see, I knew that the bride’s mother was a GP. So I hoved up to a sister of the bride and explained my difficulty. Bride’s sister was a tower of strength and rounded up her mother who instantly agreed to examine baby. She brought with her a friend, an American doctor who was a guest at the wedding. So up we went to the room and all four of us trooped in, me, my friend, her mother and the American lady. Poor spouse had not realised my search would bring such instantaneous results and he was pacing up and down in his boxer shorts with roaring baby. Oh dear. Mother of the bride picked up our precious baby by the scruff of her babygrow whereupon she (baby) instantly stopped crying and heaved a sigh of relief. A brief examination and the doctors decided that nothing was wrong except perhaps a slight temperature. Had we any Calpol? No. Any nurofen? No. A thermometer? Alas, no. Doctor shook her head at our ineptitude and thrust a box of baby nurofen upon us. And how useful it has been. Can I recommend this as an investment to all parents of small babies. Particularly if you are going to move to Belgium because all you can get here is baby suppositories and I assure you that babies do not like these.

And, excitement, here is a picture of baby waffle. Please admire.

Comments
JoJo

on 16 December 2003 at 17:17

she is beautiful!

Favourites

12 December, 2003 at 2:12 pm by belgianwaffle

You will see that in my list of favourite blogs, there is only one, Fluid Pudding http://www.fluidpudding.com/index.html. Hey, I’m new to this. I came across FP when I was pregnant and looking for entertaining stuff on pregnancy on the internet. If you are pregnant, I strongly recommend looking at the FP archives. If you have a small baby, also very entertaining stuff. A little scary however on their baby’s eating regime. The FPs are very rigourous on what their baby eats. As someone who nearly choked her baby on a croissant recently, this makes me feel a bit bad.

Today in the waffle household things are improving. Baby waffle is 8 months old and teething. We are, on the whole, relieved. Her father has pointed out that she is falling behind her age cohort in tooth and hair production. At least her teeth are catching up.

I must note that Mr. Waffle is not entirely pleased with the initial entries. Since he compromises, as far as I know, one half of my reading public these complaints are not to be taken lightly. In the interest of balance, I wish to inform readers that although Mr. Waffle has been out three nights this week while we languished at home, he has hardly been out at all since April.

Comments
pixie_scandinavian_female_leprechaun

on 12 December 2003 at 15:14

wow I don’t envy you..teething can be a night mare! good luck!

Christmas Shopping

11 December, 2003 at 3:51 pm by belgianwaffle

I wrote a great entry this morning but I managed to lose it.  I am very keen on instant gratification so I haven’t bothered to read the getting started instructions that the kind people at 20six supply. I regret that now.

It’s pouring rain here and at 15.50 already quite dark. Both baby waffle and I continue to be quite unwell, though improving slowly. Mr. Waffle is out to a work dinner tonight so we will snuffle at home alone. Poor us.

The whole Christmas present thing is becoming fraught.  I have no job and theoretically lots of time, yet I have not managed to find presents in the past weeks and now Christmas is almost upon us and I know I will end up pushing a buggy around crowded streets on Christmas Eve looking for pressies and people who are like I used to be will think “My God, what’s she doing in here with a buggy, those people should be banned from the city centre at this time of year, for heaven’s sake, they have all the time in the world to make their purchases”. Do you think that that last sentence needs a full stop?

A Beginning

10 December, 2003 at 4:06 pm by belgianwaffle

I am sick. My baby is sick. We are miserable. Having a small baby seems to involve nothing but illness.

On mature reflection, this is perhaps not the upbeat tone that I was hoping for when I decided to start a blog. Babies are wonderful. Marvellous. Endlessly entertaining. Oh is that a yowl I hear? Better go. More later. I bet you can’t wait.


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