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The CHA Diaries

No, I'M ridiculous!

Moxie was bursting at the seams with TV shows when I got home Tuesday night. Unfortunately, having not remembered to change the "2 episode limit" the first installment of American Idol had been deleted. *sob*

But it should be noted that I don't actually LIKE the early AI shows where people, the majority of whom I suspect are not "all there", embarrass themselves on national TV. I prefer the show when it gets to just the good singers.

Plus, embarrassing yourself nationally pales in comparison to embarrassing yourself internationally, I always say.

I saw a highlight from that first show where Simon said "You're ridiculous!" to an apparently less-than-talented geeky-looking warbler. At which point the geeky-looking warbler replied "No, YOU'RE ridiculous!" At which point I called out "No, I'M ridiculous!"

My first utterly ridiculous embarrassing moment overseas was on Saturday, when I instructed my entire class of 27 people to make something incorrectly. I had simply forgotten how to make my own project! Feeling the sweat rising, I tried not to panic as I said, somewhat lamely "But why doesn't it spin? Mine spins. Why doesn't it spin?" and feverishly went over the steps in my brain while an entire class of underwhelmed students looked on with concern. Agitte figured out a way to save all the pinwheels, which shows how very smart and talented she is. She should probably write a book or something. Oh wait! She did! Thanks, Agitte.

I did figure out what I did wrong, though. Sunday's class went better. Here's what we were making:

Seasons_mini_album_class_overview

All of the papers are from Basic Grey's Blush line (plus one sheet of Fruitcake) and they worked just perfectly for a Seasons theme.

I did not mess up on the other class, other than grossly underestimating the time to complete it, but truly . . . what else is new?!

Now_then_class_summary

Now & Then uses KI Memories papers, Rusty Pickle chipboard, CI letters & ribbon and Basic Grey magnets.

As usual, the owners, staff and customers of Akke Fietje were wonderful. They've already invited me back for next January and I was extremely flattered to hear that four people have already called to sign up for a year from now. I'm huge in Europe! (Or at least that's what the tee-shirt says)

On Monday I was back in Amsterdam to teach a workshop for retailers at Scrapbookmate's new spacious warehouse and office. The weather was mostly lousy while I was there, including the day I landed, Thursday, which made international news because of the storm that ripped up trees and diverted planes to neighboring countries. My plane landed roughly, but safely, just before the storm turned deadly. The severe weather was over by that evening, but the cold, wet and wind remained. The retailers workshops were chilly, but no major teaching mistakes. Clap Clap!

Here's what I taught:

Hugs_and_kisses_class_summary

This one uses Paper Salon stamps and Making Memories Kraft Paper and embellishments. The paper lantern is a well-established card technique that I take no credit for, other than drafting an original template.

Now despite the cold weather and a jam-packed teaching schedule, I managed a few firsts on this trip. I finally got to ride a bike through Amsterdam! Geoff, who is the brother of the owner of the distributor (is that enough "of the's"?) was nice enough to be my tour guide. I wanted to watch the Saints game on Sunday, so he suggested we ride to a sports bar where there would be lots of other Americans. Now Geoff claims to have only lived in Amsterdam for a year, but I'm not sure anyone from the States can get that fearless on a bike in only one year. He was dodging around trains, cars, pedestrians, street poles like a world class skier in the giant slalom. I was huffing and puffing behind him, stopping at streets, waiting on trains, taking wide turns and resembling a spelunker with a faulty head light. (Similes. So good at the similes.)

But we made it!

ME: huff puff Geoff, how can you ride like that?! huff puff Weren't you worried about the cars when you darted out into the streets? gasp puff

GEOFF: Nah. I just take a quick look and go. They're not supposed to hit you.

ME: Oh, OK, so they're not supposed to hit you. How comforting. I can tell that to the nice doctor who sets my legs.

Sarcasm. So good at the sarcasm.

Now Geoff said that the sports bar would be a lot of fun because of the atmosphere. All those other fans screaming and yelling, etc. Of course, he didn't mention that they'd all be Bears fans. It seemed that the guy next to me was maybe a Saints fan, but he didn't do nearly enough yelling. And Geoff, who likes the Rams, refused to become a "bandwagon fan" as he called it, so I was on my own to cheer my team to a crushing defeat.

It could have been any sports bar in America except for a few differences, like the smell of pot, the game being called in Dutch on one of the bigscreen TV's, the sign that said you couldn't drink if you were under 16 years old, and the TV that was showing porn.

Yep, right over the bar were 4 TV's playing the following selections: NFC Championship, NFC Championship, Porn, NFC Championship.

And speaking of porn . . .

Segues. So good at the segues.

We had ridden by, but not through, the Red Light District on our way to the bar. In four other trips to Amsterdam I'd never been there, so I was curious. On my last night we walked down to get a closer look. I, rather foolishly, had not connected the name of the district with actual red lights. Duh.

But red lights there were, and a lot of them:

Red_light

When we came up to the canal on the main drag I saw the buildings on the other side with barely-clad women in the windows.

ME: Are those mannequins?

GEOFF: Nope. They're real women sitting in the windows.

ME: Wild! They're in every window! Look at that! I should get a picture!

So I put my camera to my eye, zoomed out to get a wide panoramic view of the whole line of houses, and then noticed that the lights went out in the windows.

ME: (lowering the camera without taking any pictures) Huh. That's weird. They turned out the lights.

And then we noticed one of the window ladies shooting me the finger! (Apparently that is the same in Dutch as in English.)

ME: Oh.

GEOFF: Yeah, I don't think you're supposed to take their pictures.

ME: Why? Because they're modest?!!

GEOFF: Well you don't know - they might be secretaries during the day or something.

ME: Now you tell me.

At least the red glow of the lights disguised my embarrassed blush. I put my camera away and we scooted out of the area.

I only took a few more photos after the finger-flipping-incident and they were pretty blurry anyway. Amsterdam is very pretty at night.

Amsterdam_at_night

My grand plan to stay up most of the night to get back on American time actually worked pretty well. It's only two days later and I feel nearly recovered!

Not knowing how I'd be feeling after the trip, I waited until the last possible moment to decide if I was going to CHA. I am. Booked my ticket this morning for a quick trip. I'll be at the show on Monday and Tuesday and would love to meet some of you crazy cats who are always nice enough to post comments on my blog. I won't be at a booth, so the best thing would be to tell me what booth you'll be at and then I'll track you down!

And to all my dear friends in the Netherlands - thanks again for a wonderful time! See you in June!

RKQOTD (Me: Karl, please try to have a good day at school today. It would really help me out. Karl: It would really help ME out, too!)

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