Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

Spending the final day of 2012 in peaceful reflection and later tonight, I will join my husband and two adult sons for dinner and a toast to 2013, at a cozy restaurant not far from home. I have only one resolution for the new year and hoping it will serve as a metaphor for other areas of my life. My make a simple quilt. The process and patience required to design, cut, piece, sew and finish a quilt is how I'd like to approach my life this year...accepting that life is a process and patience is the key. I want to stop rushing and slow down, finish each project, before moving on to the next. Keep an open mind, listen carefully, read all the books I want to read, one at a time, finish writing projects, one page at a time, continue to learn, lend a hand, breathe deeper and take more time for myself...cutting and stitching together each square of life, with gentle hands, mindful of creating a warm, safe blanket of tolerance and peace. Wishing you all happiness, good health and brilliant success in the building of your own quilt of life in 2013.

My life on the lane is snowy, cozy, warm and filled with hope for a wonderful new year.

"I'll be as patient as a gentle stream."
~William Shakespeare

Near Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lost in Love in Ohio

I moved to Ohio last March and haven't been seen since.  Well, maybe just not on this blog.  Since moving back to the states from Belgium (referred to as repatriation) and stopping by Connecticut to sell our home and move our things, I've been slightly off the blog radar.  Distracted is a good word.  Not only was this a double-move, but being back in the states has put me in a mood that I can only describe as falling in love.  The same thing happened when I joined Mr. Lane in Antwerp full-time last year.  Of course, I fall in love with Mr. Lane all the time, and even though we've been married nearly 25 years, if he brings me daisies, or watches an episode of the Kardashians with me (sorry Honey, other men do this sometimes, too--you're still my big, strong man)...I'm butter and melt.  But, I'm not talking about falling in love with my husband, I'm talking about falling in love with a continent.  Upon moving to Belgium, I fell immediately, and completely in love with Europe -- the entire continent of Europe.  Who wouldn't?  It's so romantic and handsome and suave.  Europe sweet-talked me into a state of abandoned love that will remain in my heart -- forever.  I'll always love Europe.  Even if we no longer live together or even talk to each other, Europe and I have something that will last forever.  We have our memories, Europe and me -- of cobblestoning, drinking great wine and eating the richest of chocolates.  Now that we are apart, Europe will always be a great friend, the type that when you see each other after a long time, you just pick up where you left off.  But, our love affair couldn't last forever (thanks to my husband's business moving to Ohio) and so, we have both moved on (I know Europe is seeing other people, and I just have to be okay with that) and in fact, (don't tell Europe) I've fallen in love with another continent -- North America. It's a whole different affair. Where Europe wooed me with its rich, saucy dinners over candlelight in centuries-old buildings, North America has pulled me into its arms with tantalizing offers of cheeseburgers and something called 'The Denver Omelette'.  Strolling along Champs-Elysees is fabulous, but I felt my heart flutter walking along 5th Avenue in New York City and then again at Fashion Island in Newport Beach, California.  Don't even get me started on all the Main Street's I've hit since being with North America.  North America can be loud sometimes, and some even think it can be obnoxious -- but North America can be gentle and romantic in its own cowboy, rough and tumble kind of way.  Just sitting by a lake, sipping a cold beer, holding hands, watching the sun set....Oh, North America, you are beautiful.  It's hard to not fall in love when you can have whatever you need at the drop of dime.  I'm being spoiled and can't get enough.  Sure, Europe has all the moves, and that sexy old world charm, but North America has a fresh appeal -- and convenience stores.  North America has its charm, too.  Like a golden retriever, it just likes to please.  If you want something, North America will get it for you and it'll lick your face too...if that's what you want.  Yeah, I'm in love.  I admit it.  With a whole new place, a whole new continent.  I don't know why I never noticed North America before, its handsome streets, its beautiful mountains and streams.  I guess I had to leave and fall for a foreigner, to be able to come back and appreciate what I always had right in front of me.  I just hope North America loves me too.  Because this love I'm feeling, is the all-in, total-commitment type of love for me.  Here's some pictures of my new love.  Careful -- or you'll fall in love, too.  My life on the lane may have changed, and I may have given up some things I love, but I've found a new one in the one I already had. 

Ridgefield, Connecticut

Corona Del Mar, California

New York City

Sunset Newport Harbor, California

Arizona Desert

Newport, Rhode Island


Northwest Connecticut

Brandywine Falls, Ohio

Boston, MA

Boston Harbor, MA

My New Lane in Northeast Ohio

Catalina Island, California

Pasadena, California

Cleveland, Ohio

Main Street, Chagrin Falls, Ohio

The actual Falls in Chagrin Falls, Ohio


Ohio Countryside

Bay Harbor, Michigan

Northern Michigan


Lake Michigan

Northern Connecticut

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Moving On

Goodbye to Connecticut

Goodbye to Belgium
Today I write from a small corner I've carved out amongst the boxes being packed and stacked around my home at the end of the lane. In fact, I'm using three boxes as a desk and another box for a chair. I'm an expert at moving, this being our eleventh time. We're back in the states, from Belgium -- step one of the move -- but now we gather everything from Connecticut and continue on to Ohio. It's what I'm calling the big-huge-double-duty-move. Our furnishings from Europe are on a ship, somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and after clearing customs, will be transferred by truck to our new home in Ohio. At the same time, there is a truck in Connecticut that is being loaded with all the rest of our furniture.  Both shipments have been carefully orchestrated to arrive during the same week in Ohio. Pretty cool. Sounds easy-peasy, right?  But actually, a lot of obsessive-compulsive planning goes into the process with coordination of moving professionals, shipping experts, expat advisors, real estate agents, and two seasoned transferrees. And so far, there has not been any hangups...knock on wood.  We are downsizing (house-wise) in Ohio, so I've found good homes for our extra furnishings and have dropped off donations all year (since I knew the move was coming). We are lean and mean (well, not so much mean as lean) and we will again, be living on a lovely lane, but this time, in northeast Ohio, so I'm keeping my blog name the same. My Life on the Lane is changing location, but I'll still be doing my same thing, writing, exploring, living life and loving Mr. Lane.  Wish me luck!  
Hello to Ohio

Thursday, February 2, 2012

We Hebben Niet Veel Tijd -- We Don't Have Much Time

Our days here in Belgium are numbered and soon we will begin the process of repatriation back to the United States.  That is, my husband, Mr. Lane, will begin his process of repatriation, since I have been more like a 'visitor' the past two years (and especially since I stayed behind part of the time to allow our youngest to finish high school).  As long as I travelled to the states every month or so, I did not need to have a residency card.  Mr. Lane had all the official documentation, even a Belgium driver's license, I got off easy...and believe me, I'm glad I did.  Waiting in line at the Belgium government offices with Mr. Lane (and hundreds of immigrants and expats) to file his paperwork every several months, was enough reason for me to choose flying to New York every so often.  Plus, this way guaranteed I got to go home on a regular basis.  A perfect world for me.  I will miss Belgium.  But, of course, Mr. Lane will still have business here, so I'll be eat, drink and visit the lovely people we've come to call friends.  I went for a long drive today, along the country roads outside Antwerp, that have become familiar to me over time.  The bumpy cobblestone streets, the village cathedrals, favorite brasseries, bakeries, chocolate shops and book stores...all of which I will miss.  I've come to know my neighborhood shop owners, or at least I feel like I know them, they tell me about their lives here in Belgium, always friendly, always kind.  I've started to see familiar faces when I'm around town...yesterday, a woman said to me, "Good to see you again!"  And I felt almost like hugging her, she has sold me stationary and supplies all this time and I wasn't sure, until that moment, that she saw me as a regular customer, resident of Antwerp, neighbor.  My landlord and another resident of my building were here this morning, to help me figure out why my kitchen sink was flooding the offices below our flat.  They both spoke in Dutch, but we all seemed to understand each other as they fixed the pipe that had come undone.  "You're leaving us soon?" My neighbor said in broken English.  "Yes, back to the states," I said.  His eyes were so kind and I truly felt we'd be missed.  We've moved so many times over the years, eleven to be exact, and this move will be our trickiest yet.  I'll go home to Connecticut, where we still have our home at the end of the lane, and Mr. Lane will stay in Antwerp to meet the movers who will pack and send our furnishings back to America on a transport ship.  I'll oversee the packing in Connecticut and meet all the shipments at our new home in Ohio.  The town we chose just outside of Cleveland reminds us both of New England and Belgium.  There's an historic downtown district with small shops and restaurants, and summer concerts in the town park.  Our house is on a quiet lane overlooking an old quarry that is now a lake.  Homes in town date back hundreds of years and resemble those of our small town in Connecticut and in the countryside of Belgium.  There's even a candy store with homemade chocolates.  But, I'm sure there are very few Belgians, so we will take our memories with us, of all the people we've met along the way.  Of their hospitality, their families, their love of food and wine and champagne and beer...we'll hold them close in our hearts.  In honor of Belgium, I leave you with a recipe for Belgian Waffles.  Be generous in your serving sizes and share every bite with loved ones, and by all means, just like the Belgians, take as long as you like to finish your meal. Tot ziens!
Belgian Waffles   

Heat 1 cup (soy) milk
Add 7g (1 package) dried yeast
Separate 4 eggs (yolks and whites)
Beat the whites until you get a sort of foam
In a deep bowl, combine:
3 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup (cane) sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Melt 250g (soy) butter and add to flour mixture
Also, add the milk-yeast mixture
Finally, add the four egg yolks
MIX until smooth
Fold in the beaten egg whites
Gently combine with your hands
Let rest for at least 8 hours (I assume in the fridge)
Heat waffle maker until very HOT
Spoon in waffle mixture (should be thick)

Add toppings in Generous amounts:
Whipped Cream
Ice Cream
Chocolate sauce
Fresh sliced fruit
anything that sounds good!

Authentic Belgian Waffle in Brussels
Our son enjoying his favorite local food -- waffles!  We were fortunate that our three grown children and their sweethearts were able to visit us here in Belgium and travel to other countries during their stays.