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Bird watching in the city

Posted on December 7th 2005 by Amy in Birds, Nature

We live close to the center of Leiden. Our back yard is very small and paved with bricks. The idea of attracting feathered friends to our garden is a bit misguided, as there are dozens of pet cats prowling through the neighborhood. Last year we put up a substantial bird feeder in the middle of the yard, but on the first day a cat jumped into it. More »

Counting down the days

Posted on December 1st 2005 by Amy in Life in Holland, Personal

Someone has been playing Sinterklaas in my office. Last Friday, everyone found a chocolate letter sitting on his or her desk in the morning. This morning we were all surprised with an advent calendar; a small chocolate treat waits behind each door for the countdown to Christmas. More »

Confessions of an iPod zombie

Posted on November 30th 2005 by Amy in Life in Holland

Lately, on weekday mornings, I have been waking up at about 5:45, give or take 10 minutes. My alarm is set for 6:00. This has been going on for a few months now and it’s a bit disconcerting. It doesn’t matter when I go to bed; my internal clock somehow still beats the electric one. With such an early wake-up time, I have been able to arrive at work at around 7:20, which means I can leave at 4, which is great. Well, it would be great if there was a bus to catch at 4:10. But the first bus is scheduled for 4:27 and more often arrives after 4:30. More »

Trip report: London, November 2005

Posted on November 24th 2005 by Amy in Travel

Earlier this year I learned that Ewan McGregor would be in a West End revival of Guys and Dolls. Being a fan of both the Scottish actor and popular musicals, I decided we had to see a performance. So in May we booked the major components of a long weekend trip: the easyJet flight; the easyHotel room and the theatre tickets. More »

Museums in Leiden

Posted on November 23rd 2005 by Amy in Leiden, Life in Holland, Museums, Travel

Leiden is a great place to live for a lot of reasons. It is picturesque, with cute small streets and old shop fronts, a moat-like canal around the center and several waterways passing through the middle, plus city gates, a castle fortification, and windmills. More »

Avian Blues

Posted on November 16th 2005 by Amy in Birds, Life in Holland, Nature

When I was in 8th grade, I had to give a speech. For my topic, I chose extinction, and I focused on the fate of the recently exterminated Dusky Seaside Sparrow. The small Florida habitat of the Dusky was destroyed when their habitat was flooded in an attempt to control the mosquito population at the Kennedy Space Center. The artificial lakes, which flooded out the Dusky nests, were later drained when a highway was built to connect the Space Center with Disney World. The last Dusky died in captivity in 1987. It lived out its last days on Discovery Island – in Disney World. More »

Trip report: Hurghada Egypt, September 2005

Posted on October 18th 2005 by Amy in Scuba Diving, Travel

From 17 to 24 September we went to Hurghada in Egypt to dive. It was our first diving trip after getting our PADI Open Water certificates here in the Netherlands in July. We made two dives a day for five days with Colona Divers, a Scandinavian dive center, and saw giant morays, a sea turtle, stingrays and millions of colorful reef fish and corals. More »