Another friend of mine, Gina, is blogging away as well ... where, you might ask? Right here, right here.

(Actually, Gina is my pen pal. And I owe her a letter.)
My friend Brandon Gilvin, a Kentuckyian who now lives in Kenya, has started blogging. Check it out here.

Brandon has also recently published a book called Solving the Da Vinci Code Mystery. Congrats, Brandon! Check it out here.


Sjouke Voolstra, professor of Mennonite history and theology well-known to many in the Netherlands and world-wide, died last week in a boating accident. He was 62 years old. The last line of the tribute appearing in the Dutch Mennonite weekly newspaper is as follows (in translation): "We pray that his spouse, daughters, and all who were close to him may receive the strength that they so need in these difficult days." Amen.

Soon I am hoping to enrich my online photo album with snapshots from my recent trip to U.S. Until then, feel free to check out some of my older photos here. I'll let you know when the updates begin. Today I'm having a few problems with the scanner, so it could be a while...


For more than 2 years now, some of us here in Almere have been working at putting together a neighborhood cookbook, De Smaak van Stedenwijk (The Taste of Stedenwijk). About 2 weeks ago, we threw a party to celebrate its release. Want to hear more about the festivities? Check it out here.
The Green Piano is 90.

That's right, folks. I heard from those-in-the-know that, according to the expert piano tuner who visited a while back, the Green Piano which graces my parents' living room was born in 1914. Which makes her 90 this year.

Happy 90th, Green Piano! May your music last 90 more.


Happy Birthday to you.
Happy Birthday to you.
Happy Birthday dear ... clarinet!
Happy Birthday to you.

That's right, folks. This year my clarinet celebrates a signficant birthday ... her 50th! I had no idea how old my clarinet was until today, when I went to this site. Amazingly enough, all I had to do was select "Buffet Crampon" and "clarinet" and type in the serial number ... and voilá! The computer informed me that my clarinet was born in 1954.

Which makes my clarinet half a century old. 21 years older than I am.

In honor of her 50th birthday, my clarinet is retiring. Last time we visited her doctor (an expert in clarinet care and repair), he informed us that she was in desperate need of an overhaul ... however, he also recommended against such an overhaul, because it would be an expensive "band-aid" which would not lead to long-term improvement in her condition. The best solution for her health concerns? Early retirement. My clarinet has lived a long and happy life and has made much music with a wide variety of friends and acquaintances. Together we have decided that it is time for her to enjoy some well-earned time off. I am therefore looking into purchasing her successor. My clarinet assures me that she is completely OK with this.

In her retirement, my clarinet plans to stick around home and take it easy. She is especially interested in spending more time with her housemates the guitar and the recorder. Someday, she hopes to vacation in Ohio, where she will enjoy a reunion with her dear friend the Green Piano.


Today I got up, took a shower, dressed, ate breakfast, and took the bus to the train station. Then I took a train to Utrecht, and another train to Vleuten. In Vleuten I participated in a planning meeting for a young adult retreat called Op Naar 3000 which will take place in March 2005 in Giethoorn. (I'll say more about this retreat as plans develop.) Members of the planning committee include Tammo, Michel, Jan Fokke, and I. After our meeting, I hung out with fellow committee members a while and played with Ester, 7-month-old daughter of our hosts Jan Fokke and Inge. Then we all took the train back into Utrecht, and walked from the central station to a lovely restaurant down by the canals in Utrecht, where we met our friend Renze. The meal was actually a "thank you" to Renze for his 5 years of past work on this very committee. After enjoying excellent Dutch cuisine, I took the train & bus home. Before calling it a night, I hopped on my bike and zipped over to the Romeijn house to show them some photos of my trip to the US and to (attempt to) watch a DVD together. The DVD, however, refused to work and so we ended up watching some British comedy sketches instead. Then I biked home and wrote this blog entry.

It was a satisfying Saturday. Good friends, good food, good weather, and a good combination of public transportation, biking, and walking. (And as an added bonus: I got to hold Ester for the better part of an hour.) Now I'm going to put the icing on my Saturday cake by going upstairs and getting some good sleep.


Well, I gotta new template. But I am learning that with change comes loss. The comments which so enhanced my old template are gone. However, they are not gone forever, for two reasons. First, I cut-and-pasted them all into a word document, just in case. And second, I saved my old template, and I have discovered that if I cut-and-paste my old template into Blogger, my old comments pop right back up with it. However, unless the fine folks at Blogger can help me, I have no idea how to enable those old comments in this new template.

All that to say, just b/c you can't see the comments doesn't mean they don't exist.

Feel free to comment.
I found the note.

Not only did I find the note that James A. Schoch (otherwise known as Shok the German) so skillfully hid in my suitcase, I also affixed said note to my refrigerator with a sparkly flower-shaped magnet.

The note reads:

Jackie Wackie
Me My Mo Yackie
You are fine
So do not wine (too much)
'Cause we do miss you
Way over in the yonder blue.
Love Jimmy Poo :)

Is my brother-in-law a poet, or what?

Thank you for the surprise send-off, Jimmy Poo!

My October Resultion is to update this blog. And to post here regularly. I know, I know. Those of you who know me well will doubt that I possess the tenacity to fulfill this resolution. But I am determined to prove you wrong!

So ... here goes. The contest between Jackie and All Those Who Doubt Her Ability To Write Here Regularly. Who's side ya on, anyway?