Thursday, March 31, 2011

Homeschooling in The Netherlands

Homeschooling was in the news again.

In The Netherlands it has never been a real option for everybody, just for a very special group who can't find a school fitting their worldview or religion within a certain distance.
If they have made the mistake to send their child to school, they can't unschool.

Homeschooling is seen as a kind of privilege for people who have either a very strict religion or are holistic in their views.

Apart from these people homeschooling is allowed for people who travel a certain amount of time of the year and for kids with an IQ which is too low to be able to get a diploma ever.

When my autistic boy was unable to attend school we got the full force of the controling system on our backs. because he had gone to school they assumed he would be able to finish it. That he had severe problems to deal with the social aspects of going to school was not taken serious. And they overlooked the enormous effort everybody had taken to make him stay there as long as possible.
What to think of 2 to 3 hours each morning to motivate him to go. Every day. Over and over again. For years!
But no matter what, homeschooling wasn't an option.
They came with the most ridiculous solutions, including trying to make him go to the deaf school. They threatened me with court and all, and forgot the fact that the deafschool didn't want him anyway. I was so happy when that schoolleader suddenly stepped forward and took the whole load from my shoulders.

Then they came with homeschooling. I was allowed to homeschool, and had to report each friday to a school.
No way!
I told them they'd better get a private teacher to teach him, but that I wasn't going to educate my son supervised by someone else. I wasn't a sort of class assistant. Either it would be homeschooling as done in other countries or paid and controlled.

The last try was putting him in a lonely room at a school where he should stay all day alone with tasks.
I said that even a dog would get some attention and was allowed to go out for a pee.

In the meantime my son was trying to find his way to daycare.
At last they gave in... freed him from the burden of school and education, and that was it.

Homeschooling was in the news again because parents of a closing islamic school said they would apply for homeschooling in court.
The minister tried to be fast and tried to shut down the possibility of homeschooling for them by making homeschooling illegal for everybody.

The parliament said that the option for homeschooling should stay open for the small number of people the law allows to homeschool.

Well, that's something.
But they want more control.

I wish this society would become more trusting, like it used to be.
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Clean air in the house

Now spring is in the air I'm aware again of how much I longed for the fresh dry air and the smells of springrain.

Yesterday it was wonderful. The sun was shining bright and away from the cold wind it was really warm.
Today, however, it's grey and it rains. But the springwarmth is still there a bit and we'll get really summerweather this weekend.

Which also brings home: allergies.

The wind brings pollen and other allergens into the house and it's almost impossible to clear them away, it seems. I can dust three times a day and it doesn't help.
A real outcome would be to have a few air purifiers, so at least the livingroom and my bedroom would be causing less itchy eyes and asthma.
I have to be careful with cleaning things, because I also have chemical sensitivities. Each day I try not to use too many different cleaners, but at some days one can't escape that. Kids use those smelly deodorants and that's enough at times.

I haven't asked the insurance, but maybe I should ask them if they pay for those air purifiers.
Not a bad idea, isn't it?
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Option one for moving out

This morning we had a talk with the people who are going to run a home for people like our son.
Nice people.

But I don't hink they'll take him, unless they find someone like him to be his friend there.

It's a good idea to enlarge the chance for people to have a friend there, but it also limits options for them. Which doesn't matter a lot, because they had about 6 times as many applications than places.

Why I think he won't go to live there?

They want people with a low IQ.
He has the same needs as those people because his social behaviour is about at the level of the others, but it will be far more difficult to get the grant which is needed to stay there.

He doesn't have something to keep him away from home 4 days a week and I wonder if we will be able to make him go somewhere for so many days. So...

They took the application serious though and we will hear more next thrusday, but I'm not expecting much.

Sometimes I feel that he'll will be here until I die.
I want him to move though, because he should be able to rely on other people too, and maybe they can teach him things he won't accept from me.
My other boys had that inborn drive to better themselves, to create a future and to make themselves and others happy.
He doesn't have that.

It's a great problem to find a place to live for people like him here. There's a lot for people who lack intelligence, bit almost nothing for people who are autistic.

So just before april autism month the problem of autism describes itself once again.
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A future

Tomorrow we're going to have a talk about a new place to stay for our autison.
He's ready to move out to a protected environment.
We've found a new home, with a very nice couple who want to support a group of people like our son.
They're having talks with the parents of candidates and tomorrow is our turn.
So keep your fingers crossed.

When he moves out a complete new life will start.

The girls are old enough to deal with a lot of daily things themselves.
They don't need a mom every minute of the day.
There are a few options I'm considering.
Writing is one of them and studying law at an
online university, or finishing my medical degree are a few of them.
I'm not sure what to do and there's plenty of time to decide.

That one can study now at an online university provides possibilities I've never had before. It doesn't matter where I live, or if I move during the studies. I can always keep working on my studies.

Maybe it's time to contact an old friend and start the practice we wanted to start when the kids were old enough. Then I'll take up the life of what they now call: mindfulness therapist. My experiences of the last 30 years will be of huge benefit.

Maybe I can also dedicate some time to former hobbies, like dollmaking.

But first let's see if my son fits in the group they want to create.
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Pre travel events

Before the girls went on their trip we had another event with the partner of one of them.
He ignored her almost completely when he was here, even in her own home.
First we thought it was due to lack of language abilities, but he did well in langiage class at school, so...

He didn't say goodbye, and he threw her off the social medium which is used by the groups of both schools as soon as he could.

She wasn't even able to ask if she needed to bring towels.

Then she realised that they'd made a group and so she could communicate there with him.
Right after she said something he said: I'm killing you and later even I'm killing you bitch.
The only other girls online asked if he was talking to her, and he said no.
Well, there was only one female internetter online there.

So I reported it to the schools.

He also said a few other things very insulting things, assuming we didn't understand it.

When other people started questioning his behaviour he said he was saying it to his friend.
Yea, a turkish young man calls his friend a bitch.
No way.

Well, school here took it serious...the other school not really.

We were not happy at all.
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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Phone cases

One of the kids which are on exchange wrote that the window of his cellphone broke during the trip.
Turned out that he didn't take the advice of his parents to use a motorola case.
Isn't it a pity?

Maybe he wanted to buy a cheap imitation that is not even 1% as good as the original one. Maybe he just was in the mood not to listen to his parents. Who knows?
Fact is that his phone is broken and he can't call his parents and can't take photos.
These cases often come with a discount and free shipping, so they're really made for convenience.

I realised that I wanred my kids for burglaries and such, I even told them what to do in case of an earthquake (as one is in an earthquake prone area) but I didn't warn them to be careful with their phones.
Why not?

Because they use their brains and are careful with expensive stuff. As simple as that.
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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Can I go to Scotland with you, she asked.

Can I go to Scotland with you, she asked.

It brought tears in my eyes, because I asked the same question over and over again to friends who went on holiday.
But then I decided I WOULD go to Scotland to spend my last days, and hopefully earlier.

I still have the image in my head of how Scotland looked from a mansion in Scotland where I was invited.
It was not the grandeur of the countryhouse that touched me, even though it created a few stories that will be told for a long time, but it was the sight of glowing hills and lots of heather.

I've forgotten where it was. Not very far from Kendall I assume. But maybe it was.

But the feel stayed with me, and the strange knowledge that got into me that I belonged there one way or another.

Yes, Clavs, you can come with me.

Before moving we need to have a job, or create a business.
I'm OK to open a buddhist centre, a place where people can find a listening ear, support, and a place to meditate.
And I'm OK to run an eco-tourist centre, and... and... and.....

It's all open.

I would love to live near Oban, in one of those small white cottages with thick walls against the storm. Or on one of the islands.

I would be delighted to be in a small community where people know and trust each other, so we never ever would experience the alligations which are made against us.
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Monday, March 28, 2011

He kept on talking

We went to the carshop to get a small piece for the car radio.
It smelled there like someone had poured a pot of beeswax on the floor and rubbed it for a week.
Yes, the floor was shining.
In fact it was so well treated that I nearly slipped and fell. I was able to hold on to a doorpost which saved my life. Well, at least my limbs.

My eyes fell on a leaflet about car insurance, and I joked that they'd better sell life insurances, with slippery floors included.

They guy was well trained.
He made his apologies, offered me a chair and coffee, and then said he couldn't offer me a slippery floor insurance, but he had a 5th wheel insurance on offer which might be a bit more reasonable due to the fright I had.
He looked calm, self confident, with a smile like he just offered me a pot of gold.
I guess I looked like he'd given me a pot of gold too.

"What counts for a fifth wheel in our car?", I asked him. "Will a lego wheel count as a fifth?"
He looked with a question mark face at me. "Huh?"

I digged in my pocket and found the lego wheel I'd just found on the street.
"I asked if this counts as a fifth wheel, so you can sell the insurance to us."

"Noop", he said shortly and looked like he could pull the half full cup from my hand.
Slowly I sipped the last bit of coffee, tasting every drop.
Good coffee.
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Adele the real number 1

I saw her on a saturday evening.
She was guest in a show we often forgot to watch, but for some reason we managed to be home in time and we enjoyed the lightfooted feel of the show.

Then she was announced.
"Adele?", we said, "who's that? Never heard of..."

Now I know her voice and I stop all my activities when I hear her.
Her songs touch me, make me feel alive.
Her voice digs in my heart and spreads.

She's done what no female solo artist has done before. She passed even Madonna's record, and now she's already 9 weeks on the hitlists as number 1.

Her first CD is a number 2 for three weeks now.
But her second one is as long on the charts as The Immaculate Collection of Madonna, which was a number 1 for 9 weeks in 1990.
And I'm sure she will stay there longer.

She's surpassed another record.
In England this time, where she's the first living artist since The Beatles who has got two hits on the top 5.

Almost everyday I hear her on the radio, or I come across her songs on internet.
Yesterday I saw her in an old fashioned dress, with perfect make-up, and her hair all to the back, looking like she was 20 years older than she is.
But it doesn't matter how she looks as het voice takes over all senses.

That's Adele.
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Change of food

Healthy food in the school canteen has been one of the aims of parental involvement in schools.
Each school reacted different on the requests of parents to take away the unhealthy snacks, sweets and cookies, and replace them with apples and other healthy items.

The school of the boys was quite interested and they simply asked for a good proposal and when they got it they started a serious trial.

Much to their amazement milk and yoghurt were accepted by the schoolkids without any questions. Fried food was replaced by french bread with vegetables and a tasty dressing. No problem there either.
It might be that the teachers gave a good example, or maybe that the kids were fed up with all the fat food. I don't know.
But the transition was smooth and everyone was positive.

Not all schools were able to deal with healthy food, as Jamie Oliver showed at his series about healthy food and schools.
They needed a different and indirect approach.

So we introduced hydroponics, a way to grow plants on water with nutrients.
In the large containers at school we grew fruit and vegetables, instead of dull plants, so the kids could see what happened with their food.

Seeing it grow is best.

Gradually most schools have accepted healthy food as a must.
School should be an extension of the upbringing of the parents, not a place to ubdermine it.
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Shoes and customer service

Most of the time when I find shoes that fit me well I buy two pairs.
But even then there comes a time that new shoes need to be bought and that time was a few weeks ago.

Finally I found a nice pair with perfect fit, but it was white.

That's not the best colour to wear here, so I looked if black was an option too.

To my delight it was, so I looked for my size and couldn't find it.

The assistant said she would order a black pair in my size and she would call me when it had arrived.

After a week I still had no call, so I called them.
I was kindly informed that it would take two to three weeks before they could say something and even then it might be that the shoes wouldn't be available.

So now I'm waiting... and waiting....
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Feather light

The police in Amsterdam was called because people wanted to report a lot of noise.
When they arrived at the appartment building the door wasn't opened. Following the procedures they entered the building and right at that moment the person living there jumped or fell from the balcony.

He fell from level 9!

Ofcourse he was rushed to hospital, but he survived.

Because the police was involved a special team is investigating this story.

A friend, who was visiting discussed the matter and wondered what they had found there.
Maybe the guy was just reading lipozene reviews and maybe he even used it for a while and wanted to try out his feather light weight, he said.

People start speculating in cases like these, because no other information is given.
Maybe the media should not even report these cases, because it doesn't add anything to our lives.

Well, maybe that jumping from 9 high isn't clever, but one can survive.
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A weight thing

So the girls packed their suitcases and bags, with the strict orders to look at each item 10 times and ask themselves 10 times if they really need it, otherwise they should leave it at home.

Maybe it's stupid, but I've always travelled and stayed somewhere with an absolute minimum and I never really missed something. I was never living in dirty clothes.

Everything you take on vacation you have to carry yourself at times, so...

When I finally had the chance to weight the suitcases I was in for a big surprise.
Even though one was slightly larger, even though they packed their suitcases independently.... they had exactly the same weight: 7.1 kg!!!

We were all surprised.
Are they twins or not?

ofcourse the boy there caused an issue again.
But I'll write about that another time.
I referred the problems to the school as they wanted to be responsible for the trip.

Ofcourse friends are on standby near where she stays.
Won't take any risks.
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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bags are packed

Everything is ready.
The cases and bags are packed and only some drinks, snacks and ofcourse bread need to be added.

Yesterday it looked like we had a disaster coming.

I had taken almost all cases down from the attick. The huge ones, the small ones.
Two of them were best. Middle volume.
One a bit smaller than the other.

The kid who has to go to Spain too the largest one, leaving the girl who couldn't get in contact with her partner, with the smallest case.

My choice was to say nothing and just wait what would happen.
At this age some initiative, realism and altruism might be expected after the upbringing they've had. Some trust from me must be enough.

The one with the smallest case came down after a while.
"I can't get everything in it. I can't rely on that family for towels, a cardigan or something else that needs too much space, because i can't get in touch with them. I need to take more with me than my sister, so she should see some reason."
"Hun, just wait. It will work out one way or another. We always have a large one and we can even go to the shoppingcentre and get a new one."

After a while the other girl came down.
"Did you have enough space?", she asked her sister.
"No, I have to take a lot more than you and I even travel further from home. But you tool the largest suitcase."
"Yea, but there's no space left, so I can't switch."

I joined the conversation. "Then what did you take with you? One denims is enough, you should wear a cardigan under your coat, and one pair of slippers is enough."
"Yea, right. I have to go upstiars and see if I've put too much in there."

A few minutes later she called her sister and switched suitcases.
Everything fitted and they both had some space left.

Problem solved.
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A Long December



1. Looking back at it now, how were your holidays and your time on New Year's Eve?

The holidays were quiet and I remember the strong bond we felt at, what we call, old years evening.

2. Do you have any unusual collections?

Haha, ask me that!
I collect: giraffes, fountain pens, mala's (buddhistic prayerbeads), ladybirds, dollhouse 1:12 items, and a lot more.

3. If you could train a machine to do one thing for you whenever you wanted, what would you have it do?

Tidy and clean the house.

4. What is one thing that makes you cry?

Just one thing?
When my children are hurt.

5. What do you love to do on the weekend?

This weekend? Go Scotland. LOL!
Wwe're packing bags for the girls to go on their trip abroad.

6. Do you and your family get along?

When you mean my kids: oh yes!
When you mean the rest of the family. There are not many members left of our huge family. Most live far too far away.
We had a good bond between us. My grandmother was a real family mom and grandmom. She had 7 children and lots and lots of grandchildren. She was always able to make people feel happy. I don't remember one row between all those people.
It gave me a very positive feeling about dealing with a family, and maybe because of her exampe and her being my role model, motherhood has become such a positive aspect of my life.

7. Have you ever gotten kicked out somewhere? If yes, do tell.

No. Never.

8. Who do you normally turn to when you need to complain about something?

To the person I have to complain about or who is responsible or to a superior.

9. What is the last thing you ordered on-line?

Some very nice beads. Free shipping and half price and all that. So I didn't pay much.


Have a nice weekend!

When you want to participate too or want to read what others wrote, just click the toplogo.
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Friday, March 25, 2011

Because it's possible

It's like many humans have degenerated or regressed to childlike behaviour.

Take for instance the fact that phones are not private enough.
One can listen in on Vodafone by using the computer.
So it's done.
People listen in on phones of others, just because it's possible.

Is it done because they want to know something they can't find by asking the person?
No, is the answer, because it's possible.

Are they bored, so they look for something sensational to do?
No, is the answer, because it's possible.

Now tell me, it's possible to jump from the bridge here.
It's possible to jump, almost everyone can climb on the railing and jump.
It's possible.

No, they don't do that, because one might get hurt.
Hmm...good reason.

But one might get hurt financially when listening in on phones, because one should respect the privacy by law.
Ohh... Well, they won't catch me. Is the answer.

So these people are not grown up enough to control their own actions.

A conversation like that reminds me of talking to a kid that stole tulips from my garden.
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

He passed his exam

My second son had to take an exam about computeruse yesterday.
He had never the support he should get at that school, due to many personell changes, but both he and I knew he would be able to deal with it all and so he did.

He passed the exam very well and he came to show us his paper.

Just a few small things to do and he's ready as a photographer.
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Our Count Down - 21- again

I saw I didn't even blog about the outcome of the new courtsession.
New judge, new mistakes.

Because the transcripts of our defense during the former session were a mess, this lady drew the wrong conclusions.
She didn't grasp the fact that we were blackmailed to say certain things.

And childprotection came with arguments like: they've complained against us and the complaints were considered not based on anything.
No, ofcourse that was the conclusion. They work with the system that their boss looks into the matter, not any independent person!!

They also came with the arguments that there was nothing in the reports about our parentingstyle. That was my objection to the early request to the court too.

Well, the judge didn't stop the guardianship.

Today we had our first talk about the case.

The girls have to be subjected to psychological tests.
Well, I expected this and already told the kids to prepare for that.
But as I see no indication at all I told the guardianship to come up with an indication.

He didn't like the fact that we wanted to tape the sessions.
Our reason is that he's interpreting everything what we say in the wrong way.
Well, if we want to tape the meetings he will step off the case and refer us to another team, which means starting all over again. Meaning we'll get another year of guardianship anyway.
Blackmail, I call that blackmail too. And it makes me soooo mad!!
He even refused to tape the sessions with the girls, so maybe it's time a children's rights lawyer will step in. It makes me feel alone that I've stood up so many times for situations like these for other people and always found someone to stand up for them, had even the most famous lawyers work for free, and that I stand empty handed here and none does the same for us.

All I got out of the meeting was that he said he could provide us with a psychologist to test the girls and I said that it should be an independent psychologist from outside, a member of the psychologists' organisation, so a registered one, to make clear to the court the tests were done well.

The rest of the meeting was as expected.
We told about the student exchange and that all the kids were tired, he heard that my kids were tired and concluded it must be because of past dirty experiences, that never have happened. It makes me so sick!!
These people have a twist in their minds and it makes me desperate that the same lies are used to make their case over and over again.
After they tried to end guardianship, it's done with a smile. But that doesn't make it less bad.

The guy presented the case to court like he stood completely behind us, but even though he says it all in a nice way, he's opposite us again.
Until now I can't trust him. I just can't. My intuition is very strong about this.
(And the girls feel the same, independent from me.)

If he trusted us, he wouldn't make such a fuzz about taping the sessions.
He says he should be more careful with his words when the tapes are made.
Well, shouldn't he be careful with his words anyway?

He tried to shock, and manipulate before and I feel he's planning this again.
We don't have anything to hide, as nothing illegal has happened.
But they can create a true monster from a fly. We've experienced that already.

Strange thing is he's all in favor of a book about this all.
Well, I guess they will legally prevent it from going to the bookshops anyway.
But the story should be told, is my feeling, because a lot of mistakes and injustice will be down in writing.
What's happening to us is happening to other families too.

They said they've involved the police.
Based on their phantasies, it is.

It all feels like torture and sometimes I feel like saying that yes they are right, just to stop this all and make it go away. It's all these people want to hear.

But ofcourse I can't do that.
They can blackmail me not to record the sessions, but they can't make me state something happened that didn't happen.
But that's what they want.
I can understand people have confessed crimes they didn't commit. I can. Oh yes I can.

Will this ever end?
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This school is absolute crap.

The way the school deals with the problem of the exchange is ridiculous.

The partner of my daughter ignored her completely, even in her own home.
We were clearly, in his eyes, not of his standing.
Puh!!!

Even the other pupils and teachers were disturbed by his behaviour and when I rang the school to report another problem (he wanted to roam Amsterdam all by himself), the female teacher immediately said that no way they would allow my daughter to stay at his home.
That was a relief!

Well, she lied.

In a meeting last friday she said she hadn't said such a thing.
Well, we all heard her say it on the phone, because I had it on loudspeaker. Thank you.
So that teacher tumbled from her pedestal without one second. You should have seen the way my daughter looked.

We discussed the matter of the behaviour of the boy.
They said it happenes more often that exchange partners don't like each other and bla bla bla.
To me there's a difference between not liking and behaving unrespectful. (Which is rather a nice word for his behaviour. He treated my daughter like she didn't exist.)

We said that it would be a good idea for my daughter to stay in a hotel. My oldest son or I would be willing to go to Istanbul to realise that, so she wouldn't be there alone at night.

No way! We were told.
Either she stayed at home or at his place.

She decided to take his behaviour and stay at his parent's house. Only because one of the classmates was staying at the neighbour, so she could always go there.

I said that I would give her the phone numbers of the consulate and a few people who could speak our language and turkish.
Me oh my! It was like I shot the lamp with a gun!
No way was she allowed to have other adresses, she was supposed to contact her teachers in case of problems.
If we didn't trust the teachers she was not going!

Well, the teachers said they were only responsible for the pupils during school hours. Which I consider ridiculous when school takes them to another country. You can't be not responsible half of the time.
I knew I had a point there, so we had almost a good laugh about what happened then.
They turned and turned, and finally the schoolleader had to admit school is responsible all the time.
That's what I wanted to hear.

Why?

Because the turkish kids are supposed to buy the meals for our kids.
So I want to be clear about who my daughter can turn to in case she won't get any food. (Like she's not able to buy it herself. But she's not allowed to go out by herself.)

Because I insisted school asked the turkish contactperson about the family situation.
The mother is always at home and she will see to it that my daughter will be treated well in her house.

In her house.
Did you hear that?
In her house.

So my daughter takes the phone numbers of the consulate and some bilangual people with her without the teachers knowing. She'll also buy a simcard so she can call in Istanbul.
And when someone comes up with a good place to stay so she can get the family experience she needs to have according to the exchange program, she won't sleep at that boy's home.

It's that she really wants to go and the school now knows we're taking their responsibility very high, and it's that we trust her to signal any prolems, otherwise she won't go.

What hit me most after this meeting was that none of the people there cared one simple bit about her feelings.
This school is absolute crap.

When they're back I'll sure inform the european union, who subsidises this program, about what happened.
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Monday, March 21, 2011

Painting... the wall, the floor, my hairs

I'm getting too old for this: painting the livingroom.

It should be done between certain hours, because we need the space.
It should be done well, because it's white over blue.
And it should be done by me.

Well, next time I reconsider.
Maybe I paint wooden panels and place them upright against the wall. That's easier.

My hips is not doing me a favour by hurting so much. At the other side my knee is bugging me.
But the room needs to be p[ainted this week. As simple as that.

I can't climb the small stairs, certainly not with paint in my hand.
I've done the bit near the ceiling, so it looks well. And that's it. Otherwise I can't walk the rest of the week.

So I jump to reach the topbit of the wall. It works out rather well with the small roller.

Someone bought me a large one, so I would be ready faster. Haha!
The thing caused the area near the wall to look like I wanted white circles all over.
So it took far more time than intended. Mainly because I don't cover things.
I'm just to working without any spitterspatter.

So the large one is back to the kitchen and will find it's way elsewhere. No regrets from me. It will be handy in an empty house, though. It's fast. That's true.

So I took the bag with my painting things in it, too the small roller and started to jump again.

There are small spots of white in my hair. Well, it needed to be painted anyway. LOL!

I've done about half a wall.

Doesn't look bad though.

I sure haven't lost my touch.
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mouse

Some people work with the most modern equipment they can find. That goes for me when I'm making music...if possible. But not when I'm at the computer.
My keyboard is an inheritance of one of the boys. It works fine and it looks very clean after we took the keys off, cleaned it thoroughly, even used desinfectant, and put the keys back again.

The mouse I used was maybe antique. Lol! It sure was very old. No special features. Nothing.

It nearly died.

Last saturday I was shopping and found in a corner of one of the shops a little box with a mouse in it. Added to it 4 vinyl covers in 4 colours. The discount was huge. Maybe because it was the last one. Who cares?

So now I've got a nice new mouse with an aqua coloured washable cover.

It looks so new beside my antique soundboxes and that old black keyboard.
Maybe they've got them too with those lovely coloured covers.
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Saturday, March 19, 2011

You Were Meant For Me






1. Have you ever felt that you were “made” for someone or some purpose?

Yes.

2. What do you do when you have a problem that you can't do anything about it?

I try to find ways to solve the problem anyway, or solve part of it. If that doesn't work I'll change my perception.

3. If marijuana were to be legalized, do you think it should be taxed?

Yes, just like any consumer item.

4. What is one thing you should never do on a first date?

Ask how much he earns.

5. If someone (at gunpoint) forced you to receive a portrait tattoo of someone, who would it be?

No gunpoint needed. I want a lotus on my lower arm.
But not a portrait. No way!

6. Is tomorrow going to be a good day?

I hope so.
At least every new day has new opportunities.

7. Anything fabulous happen to you last night?

No.

8. For a few years in a row, you receive a nice tax refund: do you make an adjustment with your payroll deduction so they’ll take less, or do you leave it that way so that you can continue to receive the big check every spring?

Haha, are you joking?

9. When was the last time you had butterflies in your stomach?

That's quite a while ago. Men at my age are not as interesting anymore.





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My dream: a gardenhouse

Those who know me know I have a couple of dreams I strive to realise.

One of them is having a gardenhouse all for myself.
Large enough to stand in, to have a table and a bed in it.

Last year I decided I would like rustic furniture, combined with warm colours for the curtains and pillows.
I love the natural look of log furniture and the feel of it. That it's resistant against insect damage and decay is also very important.

Some people wonder why I would love to have a gardenhouse.
Well, I want a place of my own, where no one enters without my consent.
A place where I can leave a book, leave an artobject I'm working on.
I used to make dolls and such, but after the children were born I've made only three of them, and a few masks. There was no place to leave them for a while, because we needed all the space. No pace to dry the heads and masks without draft or someone moving them.

I also would like to wake up closer to nature.
And to work on my books in a quiet environment.

My family needs me to be available but the kids are old enough to allow me some space.
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Skincancer

Now the sunshine starts to increase in strength the warnings for skincancer will be in the media soon.

The last years the number of skincancers is increasing in The Netherlands.
Each year about 40.000 people are confronted with this kind of cancer.
At the moment it's the most common cancer in our country.
90% of the skincancers are caused by UV radiation, so sunlight.
When there are family members with melanoma in their history the risk is increased.

The most common places for skincancer are the face, ears, lips, neck and the back of the hands. So the places that are most exposed to the sun.
The first signs are small wounds that won't heal or a kind of warts that itch, bleed easily or change in colour and/or size.
When you're in doubt, show the spot to your family doctor. Better one time too many than one forgotten.

The treatment of skincancer ios often successful.
The earlier treatment starts the better.
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A new carreer as a healthcare professional

Those who are interested in health care careers and want to find a job fast should not hesitate to use the site of the Healthcare Jobsite.
Almost a million jobs are waiting for professionals.

The database is updated continously, so you're always looking through the latest joboffers.

Beside active search you can also post your resume, so active employers can find you too.

The site is very easy to use. Just enter job title, company name or a keyword and the place you want to work and you'll get a list of opportunities.
All opportunities come with a good description, including requirements.

Finding a good job has never been easier, so why not give it a try.
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Libya and the end of repression

After the resolution of the United nations about Libya president Obama of the USA has posed an ultimatum.
All the troops of Gadhafi should be pulled back and the brutal repression of the people should end immediately otherwise Gadhafi will face the consequences of a unified international community, president Obama said.

He also required electricity, water and gas restored to all parts of the country.
And he wanted Gadhafi to open the country for international humanitarian assistance.

I don't know to what degree Obama thinks Gadhafi will do what he wants or that he imposed these requirements to guarantee military intervention in the area.
Fact is that quite some countries are preparing their military to go to Libya.

On friday gadhafi announced a cease fire, but reports from all over the country make clear that there are still military actions from Gadhafi. For instance the city of Misurata was attacked with bombs and 25 people died. Al-Jazeera reported explosions near Tripoli, without mentioning the cause.

Saturday the international community will meet in France to discuss the situation.
Friday the NATO had a meeting, but we don't have the results of that meeting here yet.

First a no-fly zone will be implemented. Preparations are well on their way.
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Friday, March 18, 2011

Personal Creations

One of the things I love to do is look around at facebook.
Today I found the pages of Personal Creations and they made me really curious.
I always love to give something for a special event that I've made myself or that has been personalized.
So I went to the site and enjoyed going through the may presents they offer.

I absolutely loved the picture frames at Personal Creations.
Especially the initial wedding canvas caught my eyes.
Me oh my, would I have loved to receive one on my wedding day!
One can also order coaster sets to combine with the design, for instance. Which makes giving such an interesting gift even more special.

There's so much choice on the site and it's so easy to order that I would love you to go and have a look yourself.
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I pity the small child

I pity the small child that comes at our door often to ask the girls to come and play with her.

There are not many girls in the neighbourhood at the moment, so it isn't strange she tries to get in touch with my daughters.

There's a huge difference in age though.

The little girls sounds far too wise. She's growing up between older kids and grown ups and the conversation she hears is way beyond the level of her development.
The way she speaks is different from the kids her own age, so at school children view her as strange and treat her accordingly. She's not really part of the group of girls. She's only tolerated and she feels that.

The little girl in front of my door looks up at me like she wants me to do something.
I smile at her and just before I ask her a question she tells me she already had dinner.

"That's great! I'm still cooking, so the boys have to wait for their dinner another half hour or so. What did you eat?"

And so she tells about the pasta dish she had. With the vegetables her mom sliced and the cheese they bought at the local supermarket.

I'm just listening, and she grows because of it.
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Electronic muscle stimulator

According to the advertisement the use of electronic muscle stimulator is both for professional and amateur athletes.

I've never seen one of the topathletes in my town use it, but I've seen the muscle stimulators used by people recovering from a serious accident.
To firm their legmuscles without walking the muscle stimulator was the best equipment available.
The small shocks cause the muscle to contract and relax and this increases bloodflow and thus a much faster recovery, and it also strengthens the muscle.
In the past people recovering from a serious injury needed a lot of extra time because the muscle decayed partly during the healing process. This can be prevented now.

Professional and amateur sporters also use a muscle stimulator after a hard work out session to feel fit again a lot sooner.
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Book shop

The day before yesterday we found a very nice bookshop where new books, and old and antique books were sold.

On one of the tables I found a microwave cookbook. The recipes looked like the kids could learn them. So that was the first book I bought.

Then I had a look through the piles on the shelves and found a songbook from WW2, and another one, and then I saw so many book worth reading that I kept those 3 in my hand and paid 2 euro for them.

Wow!

When I left I realised I would have loved to buy the books about dancing too.
But we were a bit in a hurry as we had to buy some groceries and cook dinner too.

Today we returned to the shop.
The dance and balletbooks were gone.

But I found a small book with lovely drawings. Mine for 50 cents.

What an old fashioned prizes!!
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The other site

No, I'm not going to write about the other side.
I'm going to talk about the other site.

Which is gone.
Due to godaddy who wouldn't accept my paypal money for what it is: legal money.

They wanted me to buy a creditcard or to have an expensive foreign savingsaccount.
Only then they would allow me to pay.
This is against the european laws which state that payments should be made free, without any conditions from either side.

Having a foreign savingsaccount means I have to pay taxes of about 40 to 50%.
As godaddy required an inlay of $100 dollars it would mean those 100 dollars would undergo two years of taxes and then I would have paid about 40 dollars to them and the rest would be gone to those taxes and other fees.

No thank you.

When I'd transferred the url the site was gone.
First I thought it was a technical mistake made by yours sincerely.
But an ICT'er controlled it all and it was not my mistake.

Now I'm waiting until the site appears again. It's hosted elsewehere, so maybe i have to begin again.

Well, so be it.
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Environmentally friendly cleaners in my house

With a large family as ours I sometimes feel like a cleaning lady.
Except I'm not paid.

I thought that I needed to clean the most when the children were small, but that's not true.
It's much harder to stay on top of things now they all have different schedules, different things to do and different ways of dealing with their stuff.
No way I can send them all at once to the bathroom to wash their feet, like in the old days.

When the boys had been outside and came in with dirty feet I put them all in a row and got their feet clean without problems.

A good wipe of the floor and that was it.
One cleaner was good for almost anything.

A friend said the other day that she wondered what kind of cleaner I'm using.
I showed her all my green cleaning supplies.
She was amazed I even use cleaner which are bio-based and environmentally friendly.

I was amazed about that.

Why would I use chemicals in the house when they're not safe?

Ofcourse I try to create an environment for my children which is as healthy as possible. And using the right cleaners is just a normal thing to me.
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Malaria

Malaria is a disease that has killed so many people in the past that many people nowadays still believe that malaria is a killer.

It is.

But it can be prevented.

Malaria is transmitted by mosquitos, so you have to keep them away from you.
They're most active during twilight and night.

It's best to have a closed gauze before the windows and doors and kill all animals that found their way inside. Either by slapping them or using an insecticide.

It's best to use a mosquito net around your bed.
It should have no holes in it, should be small meshed, and you need to tuck it in well under the bottom sheet of your bed.
It should be impregnated with an insecticide. Most used are pyrethrum (a harmless substance manufactured on the basis of extract of chrysanthemum) and permethrin (the artificial version of the same).
The impregnation lasts about six months to one year. When you pack it in a pastic bag when it's not used it lasts longer, as long as you don't wash it.

Hanging the net each day is a time consuming event, so most people roll it up and strap it together so the insects can't get in it.

When you want to make a difference in a country where malaria kills a lot of people you should consider gifting impregnated mosquito nets. For a few dollars people can buy one.
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Golden coins

Today I saw on a program on TV people selling golden coins at an auction.
It was amazing for how much they were sold.

After switching off the TV I wondered if they'd been wise to sell those golden coins.

Right now it's wise to invest in gold, not to sell it.

Gold keept it's value even in times of recession and because of that you can keep the monetairy value of your family money.

It's easy to buy gold online. Just inform yourself very well and be sure you're buying at a trusted seller.
First read the rules well, because there can be some pitfalls which will cost you lots of money.
Especially cancellation can be a problem. Most sellers want you to pay a fine when you cancel, but they also want you to pay the difference between the confirmed price and the asked marketprice.

But when things go well you'll have some solid investment.
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Horoscopes

I don't care much for horoscopes. Do you?

Do you think reading them is much more for women than for men?
Do you know men who read horoscopes?

Most of the horoscopes I've seen were written in such way that everybody could link the statements to their own lives.
That's the success of horoscopes.
But with that same success they also show their lack of true forecasts.
It's not about astrology or so, just about fooling people.

It's a long time ago already, but once a real astrologist took the effort to draw my hoscope as well as possible.
The results were intriguing.
My character was described rather well and looking back some of her forecoasts has been realised now.
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Breeches

The school of the girls organises special sporting events.
A few days before the actual day the girls get a list of possible sports and they can make a choice of three.

Horseriding is always on top of their list, even though the place is hard to find and difficult to reach.

Today we saw in one of the shops online breeches and they asked me if I was willing to buy one for each of them.
As they're at an age to work in a shop during the vacation they can earn a bit of money and save for riding lessons. Having breeches would sure means extra motivation to do so.

So we had a good talk about it and went through all the different models and fabrics.

I don't know much about horse riding, but I do know that proper breeches that fit to a T are of utmost importance.

So guess what happened....
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A car means such a lot

It means such a lot we have a car now.
It's so much easier to go to a meeting.

we had a meeting this afternoon and all we lost was 1,5 hours, instead of a whole afternoon.

We also got the groceries in last week without them raining so very very wet.
And we managed to get a lot!!

I miss my fresh nose on the air though. I love bicycling, espcially in spring.
But the fact that my knee isn't hurting when I'm in the car whereas it aches a lot during bicycling is such a relief!
And ofcourse I like the fact that the kids can be fetched from a party so much easier, and that I can have a nice hairdo when I leave the house and have a nice hairdo when I arrive somewhere else.

Ofcourse there are also a few negative aspects. But we all know them, including the high parking fees in town.
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Medical carts

It's quite a while ago that I worked at the hospital.
Yesterday I paid a friend a visit after she had knee surgery.

As part of the hospital had been rebuilt I had to find my way.
There were enough signs, but it was sdtrange to keep looking for them as I used to know my way around the hospital in the dark.

It was interesting to see that most of the medical equipment and medical carts were changed a lot for the better.
I still remember a friend who was doctor pulling a card full of files with him and it nearly felt over. There was absolutely no stability and it was like a clown was visiting.

Now one finger is enough to move a stable filecart to the patient, and as there are more spaces to use the files go either in the place to be filed at the nurses station, to be worked at at the doctor's post or to other places.
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Forsythia

The forsythia in our front garden is flowering again.
It's such a beautiful sight.

The rest of the garden still looks dull, a bit messy and waiting for spring.
And then those bright yellow small flowers tell their own story of spring.
Seeing my forsythias makes me aware of how fast those wintery bare branches can come to bloom.
Just a few days ago I saw the light green appearing, filling me with expectancy.
And this morning there was yellow all over.

I had a forsythia in the back garden too, but a few years ago it didn't survive a bad winter.

Today we were shopping at a shopping centre where they also have a garden shop.
The guy was putting plants outside with such a care that it got my attention.
And then there they were: 5 forsythias with 3 large branches, carrying the promissing first green of forsythia spring.

The prize was nice: 1,50.

I had exactly 1.50 in my pocket so now one of those plants is waiting to be panted in the back garden.

Next year I'll have more early spring in my garden.
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Accidents and compensation

I just saw an advertisement on TV about personal injury.
The scene showed a car hitting one waiting for the traffic lights.
The person in the front car got a whiplash and was afraid of all the medical bills.

I love the advertisement because it makes people aware first to think before starting to worry.
It's the same message the attorney tucson gives on the website of The Hameroff Law Firm.
There are possibilities to obtain compensation for the loss of mobility and other injuries suffered for example in a car accident. The financial compensation enables you to pay your medical bills and feel a lot better.
Compensation means also acknowledgement of what has happened to you.
Take for instance a dog bite. You may have felt panick and a lot of other feelings when the dog attacked you. Still people often dismiss it with a band aid and perhaps a few stitches and a shot at the emergency department.
Proper compensation makes the owner of the dog aware of his responsibilities towards the safety of other people and makes you feel society takes your injuries serious.
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Cheese and butter

The paper reported that a man of 87 years stole cheese and butter from a supermarket.
The employees suspected him already for quite a while but where not able to see him steal something.

But their close watch paid off: last week they saw him steal cheese and butter and he wanted to leave without paying.
The police was called in and he was arrested.

The fine: 170 euros.

On internet many people reacted.
Some said he must have been from a foreign country to do so. Others said it is a pity the way our society gives such a small amount of money to the elderly that the only thing left for them was to steal what they needed.

His age was also subject of conversation: why punish an elderly man that bad? Others said it was quite normal to punish people of all ages the same way.

One way or another the paper felt it needed to give more information about the man. He was of sound mind.

They forgot to mention if he always stole cheese and butter because he needed those groceries or because he was focussed on them.
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Pool and my friend

One of the people I studied with at university was a very fanatic pool player.
He was a kind guy, with lots of attention for fun anf other people, but when it was time for his pool hours he changed into another person.

His billiard gloves were always the subject of our remarks, but he just enjoyed our attention.

When he had to leave his studentroom we wondered where he would go.
We were not surprised to receive an invite for a party at his new room: above a pool café.

Soon he'd applied for a job and it was no surprise at all he got it.
From then on that pool café was wellknown for it's pool facilities and for the fact that they were never short of billiards supplies.

After we finsihed our studies we lost contact.
When I saw him, about 10 years later I asked him where he lived now. "Quite near your neighbourhood', he said, "in one of those large houses at the other side of the railwaystation. Only in those houses there was enough room for a pooltable."
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Older employees

In her first lecture a new professor at our university stated that employers are nuts not to use the experience and skills of people who are older than 40 years.

Now older people have to work longer, people of 40 still have at least another 20 years to go. In fact they have another 25 to 28 years to go. So why not invest in them?

Traditionally people at the age of 40 were way beyond the half of their working carreer. It's said that they became less motivated and less ambitious and that employers didn't need to invest in advancing their knowledge, because they wouldn't get enough return from their investments. Many of them would retire at 55 or even years earlier.

Things have changed a lot.
People who were called old in the past are not still young.

Time for employers to change their views....or are they too old?
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Social Security

The past months we, the autism ambassadors, are confronted with many questions about social security in the USA and some other countries.

Because only a few people who apply for Social Security Disability Insurance will see their application granted it's very important to know when to apply and when not.

One of the main problems people with special needs and disabilities are confronted with are different descriptions for the same conditions.

So each application has to be carefully made after a lot of intensive reading. As most of those who apply can't concentrate as long as is requested they need someone else to do the applications for them.

Take for example the Social Security Administration.
They only focus on the inability to work.
They assess people for the social security disability insurance, which provides income to those who are not able to work due to a disability.

There are three questions of main importance:
  • Is your ability to do the work you previously did impaired?
  • Can you adjust to other work or does your disability prevent that?
  • Does your disability last a year or longer or result in death?


The last years the number of people with a mental disability that qualify for the SSDI has increased.
Maybe because more people use other people who work at a professional organisation to fill in their forms?

When you apply, first inform yourself well and don't expect immediate result.
The waitingtime for the final decision is long and some people need to apply a few times before their condition is finally acknowledged.
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nuclear danger

Yesterday someone asked me what we have learned from the nuclear problems in Japan.

I think it's too early to write a decent answer on that, but I dare to state that we have learned that there are far more experts on the subject than university education accounts for.

People who don't know anything at all about readioactive radiation and nuclear installations make statements that are taken serious by others that don't know anything about it. The consequence is that many people think they're in worthwhile discussions whereas they're not.

Real experts are stating that they can only hypothesize about the condition of the nuclear plants in Japan.

It's impossible to know what is happening inside those buildings.
All we know is that a helicopter flew over the area and tried to record everything, even the peek as far inside as possible.

The damage is tremendous.
Add that to the radiation measured outside, and one knows there's damage that puts lives at risk.

The fact that the Japanese government ordered the evacuation of so many people who lived around the plants says a lot.
It's an acknowledgement of danger, especially as the upper levels of safety for radiation were tripled a few days ago, enabling workers to be longer near the plant... putting their health and lives in danger, as we all will learn in the near future.

Life itself will show the enormous damage that has been created by the earthquakes, the tsunami and by the negligence of human beings.
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

No Istanbul for my daughter?

I'm so terribly fed up with the school of my daughters, there are no words for it.
They pretend to care for their pupils, but I haven't seen anything of that yet.
We're in the third year now, and it's one disaster after another.

Taking them from school is not a real option as the programs to the final exam are different at other schools.

The student exchange should be the highlight of the schooltime there.
Oh, everyone was so very enthousiastic. All was so terrific and oh so wonderful.

Well, the partner of my daughter ignored her completely.
We had to complain before the exchange started because everybody had contact with the partner on facebook, but this guy didn't bother to write one word to her. I guess he didn't like her facebookimage.
After the school told him to react he did. Escaping from conversation as soon as possible.

He didn't want to communicate with our daughter at all. That was clear before and that was clear during his visit.
He was fixated on another girl.

Well, there's a lot more te tell about him. Including that he wanted to silence my daughter about the forbidden use of alcohol and cannabis on a party.

So it was clear he was not a good partner and the school decided he was not my daughter's partner anymore and she certainly wouldn't stay at his family's home.
Sounded good.

Before the springbreak we were told they would look for another family for her to stay.

When springbreak was over I had to ask them myself.
The answer was that they haven't found a partner for her, which I assume also means there's no place to stay.

It would be our decision if she was to go anyway, otherwise she has to be at school all the time, following some dumb program to keep them busy.

Even now it's not clear if she has a place to stay there.
It's like they don't want to be clear and if decisions should be made by us.

But we subscribed her for the exchange and she got her vaccinations and we our debt.

So I've asked the school to think about the financial consequences of me going to Istanbul to stay with my daughter in a hotel, so she can participate in the program.

What hurts me most is the way they just don't care about her feelings.
Not even a simple word that they regret they couldn't find a partner. Nothing at all.
The lack of a human reaction, and some support towards her is so typical for this school.

What to do?
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Turkey exchange 9 years ago...

This afternoon we needed some bread from the shops.
Ofcourse I could have sent one of the kids, but I had a strange feeling that I had to go myself.
One of the girls wanted to go with me.

We always enjoy trying out cheese at the cheese department of one of the shiops, but they had nothing special on the plate today.
So we bought bread and some other groceries and decided to go to the jewelry shop.

We saw a few nice things, left and had the sudden urge to go to the shop where they sell so many bags and cases that one could buy one each day and have something new for at least a year.

I'm always amazed that the women who work there know exactly what all the travelorganisations allow and not allow.
So we said that my daughter would go to Turkey and immediately she presented a nice bag.

We started to talk, told our daughter would go there on exchange and she told us that her daughter had been in an exchange with a turkish school too. And it had been a disaster.
She told us about the experiences with the exchange partner of her daughter and it was like she was telling our story.
Our conclusion was that over 9 years the school has learned nothing at all.

When we went home we had a strange feeling of relief.

This was a complete acknowledgement of our experiences.

Problem is that my daughter doesn't have a place to stay in Istanbul.
The family of the exchange partner is no option at all, and the exchange partner is "ex".

We don't know what the school has been able to arrange.
First I saw going to Istanbul with my oldest and to have our girl stay with us in an hotel as an option, but we can't afford it at the moment.

Maybe we should organise an alternative event. Maybe we should go to England.
The aim is to show culture and family life.
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Low income? No university or no life.

It's simple.
The new ideas of the government are a shame for our country.

They're changing studygrants into loans.

Those who want to study for a master won't get a grant anymore. They need to loan their money.
It means that those who are able to finish their studies start with a debt which will haunt them for 15 to 20 years.
Considering the fact that the European Union has changed the rules for renting a house in such a way that people with a reasonable income are not allowed to rent anymore for an affordable amount of money, young people with a job are forced to buy a house. So more loans... more debt.

Add to that that for quite some people who have finished their studies more costs are waiting: for specialising and for starting a practice.

So I wonder who nowadays wants to study anymore, as it will mean a life in debt.

When the plans of this minister of education are realised it means that the university will be the place for the elite again. Just like in the dark past.
I'm one of the people who are part of a dying species.
Maybe it'll be written on my tombstone: she studies in a time that all people had access to higher education.
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Money talk

This morning I was talking with a friend about the recession and it's influences on our families.
Spending money has never been a problem, but having enough money to do so is.

She's got three children.

The youngest is a girl. She can get the clothes of my girls, which saves a lot of money. I know that from the time that my boys got a lot of clothes from a friend.

But clothes are not always the main problem. Schoolstuff is.
Mine suddenly needed a pile of notebooks "now", and hers needed a calculator for the final exams. So not one of those cheap ones.
Mine needed to have the exchange paid, and ofcourse they need money when the visit is returned. They'll leave in 2 weeks.
Her children need money for schoolcamps they're going to in the summerholiday.

So apart from daily expenses we're facing a lot of extra expenses the coming weeks and months and we're afraid we can't afford everything we need to pay.

My friend was considering applying for a cash advance. It's so easy to apply online and the money can be used very fast after the application has been reviewed and approved.
As her husband has a good job with a regular income it's an option to bridge the last week of the month.
When you're not sure you can pay back the money according to the rules, don't apply for such a loan.

By now I'm able to make ends meet, even though it means refraining to buy some wanted things.
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Sunday, March 13, 2011

The world ceased to exist in Japan

The world ceased to exist in a large part of Japan.
Everybody has seen and heard what has happened and what is happening.

Each hour new videos of the earthquake and tsunami are posted and they are all telling about the tremendous tragedy that has taken place.

In a way the rest of the news and the things happening in our lives are only of minor importance.
Most Japanese people who were in the earthquake and tsunami have nothing left. Whole cities are swept away. And even now the earthquakes haven't stopped. They go on and on and on, and rumours state that scientists expect a larger earthquake than the socalled aftershocks, which even reached over 7 on the scale of Richter.

The earthaxis was moved 10 cm, and Japan itself has changed place too.

Nuclear installations are without any safetyequipment, as the backup generators have been demolished too. Maybe a nuclear meltdown will follow, maybe even several of them.

And if that's not enough people face shortage of water and food, they have no shelter and ofcourse no electricity.

Soon illnesses will break out and kill more people.

People will die without knowing what happened to their family, friends and neighbours.

Thinking about this all I feel terribly sad.
And I can't understand some reporters who kept saying that Japanese people are used to earthquakes.
Yes, they're used to earthquakes. The simple ones that makes you wonder if you're faint in your head or if the ground is moving.
Not these enormous events that take away their loved ones in just a few seconds.
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Saturday, March 12, 2011

St. Patrick's Day



1. St. Patrick's Day is March 17th (Thursday). Do you celebrate and wear green? Drink Green Beer? Ignore it?

It's an Irish day, isn't it? Called: Lá Fhéile Pádraig.
I'm not Irish, so I'm not celebrating it.

When I would it would feel like taking something Irish away from their culture. I don't want other countries to take away our traditional celebrations.

2. If a leprechaun told you that you could have any amount of money from his pot of gold but it had to be a specified amount for a specified item, how much would you ask for and what would it be for?

For a specified time?
That means it wouldn't last and only create a miracle and then disappear again?
I wouldn't do that to anyone.
So when he doesn't give it for altruistic reasons he should keep it. As simple as that.

3. One of the symbols of St. Patrick's Day is the leprechaun. Name a celebrity that you think would look good as a leprechaun. Name a celebrity that would look ridiculous as a leprechaun. Is there any one celebrity that would make a really scary leprechaun?

Why put people down?

4. For a prize of $1,000,000,000 you are challenged to make yourself a costume for a St. Patricks Day party. The ONLY rules are that you aren't allow to use clothing and it has to be green. Using anything other than clothing, describe your costume to us using ANYTHING else in the house.

As I don't like green very much, I don't have anything green in the house, but a small towel someone gave me many years ago.
No need to describe a costume with that small one and a few leaves from the plants. LOL!

5. What day of the week is your busiest? Tell us about your schedule.

It differs from week to week, acdcording to the appointments that are in the agenda.

6. No matter what's going on in your life, what always makes you smile?

Little children. They can say such funny things, look so funny.

7. Of all the clothes you own, what do you feel most comfortable wearing, and why?

I have one pair of cotton trousers I like best. They fit well, and are pleasant laundry.

8. On what television show—either past or present—would you like to make to make a guest appearance, and what role would you play?

No role playing for me.

When you
're talking about soaps. I would love to play in As The World Turns as the sister of Lucinda Wash.
It's such a pity they stopped the series.

9. What else is on your mind? Go ahead and rant.

No need to rant.
With the situation of Japan in mind I feel very humble.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Glass tiles are a true inspiration

Because I'm making a doll's house for grown ups, I was looking for something that would create an authentic feel, fit the scale and would be affordable.
Some doll's house accessories and building items are so very expensive that they are completely out of reach.

For the kitchen we wanted to find glass tiles. The small square ones would be perfect to create a victorian feel to the house.

When I went online and found The Glass Tiles Outlet I found so many beautiful small and larger tiles that my creativity was boosted a lot.
Wouldn't it be great to redo our bathroom and make a huge mosaic on the shower wall?

On the site I even found round tiles, a great inspiration for other creative enterprises. The mirror in the hall is kind of boring and it would be awesome with those circled tiles around it.
Maybe I could paint the ceiling in another colour, so the reflection would create a lot of funny effects when the sun shines on the tiles.

Ok, I'll stop and leave the rest of the inspiration to you.
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He lost his phone

Life is never boring here.

Today I tried to lean back on the couch and get rid of that nasty cold, but instead I found myself solving problems again.

One of the boys needed new lights for his bicycle.
The old ones gave up.
That was no problem. So I took a new package out of a drawer and gave them to him.
problem solved.

My autiboy presented his traditional problem: no socks. He couldn't find them, he had none, they were all still in the laundry after he dropped them in the bathroom weeks ago.
Yea.. haha!
So I gave him one pair of his socks. Washed too. :)

When it was late in the evening and the car was parked in front of the house and I thought that almost everyone was asleep, I got a mail: "Mom, my phone is still in the car and I need the phone first thing tomorrow morning."
So his father and I took our coats and searched the car.
Nothing.
Then we looked at the street, on the pavement and on the gardenpath.
Nothing.

And there was also no phone on the couch, on the floor or anywhere else.

When we finally looked at each other and started to talk the phone rang.
It was a nice son telling us he found his phone: in his pocket.

Don't you love kids like that?
He even wished us goodnight.
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His trophy

We're not as sportive as a family that we have sports trophies at our home.

In the past, when I was young, I was able to win a few swimming contests, but the trophies ended at school.
Last year I had a look at the trophies display and they were still standing there in full glory. Shining too, like they were new and not, eh... 35 years old.

We do have a trophy at our home, though.
It was won a few weeks ago by one of the boys. At a computergame contest.
He won.

Oh, how proud he was!
The two years before he and his friends tried to win, but a group opf other boys won the trophy.
Last year however it turned out they cheated all those times and they were not allowed to subscribe to the contest this year.

And so fair games were played and my son won.
His shining trophy is standing on the table so everyone is able to see it and discuss it.
Soon it will move to another place. I hope to his room.
It belongs there.
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Friends in Japan

Dear friends in Japan.

We've found a few of those who're living in Sendai and we're happy to tell that they were reasonably allright.
One of them was in hospital for some first aid, but is at home now. And one is still in hospital, but will survive.

We're still trying to reach some of our friend's list, but the telephoneconnections are down.
Please use the google person finder at http://www.google.com/crisisresponse/japanquake2011.html, so we can find you, or contact the last person on our friend's list, who is devoting all his time to stay in contact with family members and friends.

If there's any way we can help you, just let us know.

Right now our main worry is that we can't reach all of you.
We hope you're all safe and live.
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Vintage look for your house

Dreaming about moving also means trying to find out what kind of house we want.
I love watching the BBC programs about finding a house in the country.
Ofcourse we won't have as much money as most of these people have when they're visiting the most interesting houses in the UK, but it gives a good impression of what's possible.

Last week I saw a house with wonderful wooden doors.
I think many people would consider them to be very basic, and they were. But the
vintage hardware on them was awesome.
The doorset made an authentic impression and the windowsets and shelf brackets added to the feel.

I've said before that I don't want a large house, but rather go for a small cottage at the west coast.
But some nice accessories to create a real vintage feel are among my wishes now.
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Ice skating: gold and gold and....

For a country that doesn't have ice on the canals each year we're very good at ice skating.
This week our skaters had a lot of success.

Ireen Wüst won gold on the 3 km iceskating at the world championchips at Inzell in Germany.
We were delighted. Haha, and so was she.

And then, just a day later, she managed it again. This time at the 1500 meters. Wow!
Diane Valkenburg and Jorien Voorhuis, two other Dutch women, won the second and third place.

Then Ireen got a phonecall in which she was told by a male collegue to have a close look at her medall.
For the second time in her carreer she had gotten the wrong one.
The last time she got a male silver one, now she got the golden medal for the male winner.

How could that happen?
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I phone cases

Don't you love all those gadgets?
Take the ones for phones and iphones.

We've just had beadmania and now they're in...cases.
Pink ones, silver ones, cut out ones, golden ones... you name it and it's available somewhere.

The girls each wanted a case for their phone.
Ofcourse I'm kind of old fashioned and told them it would be stupid to put the phone in a box as they can't hear it ring and they would need more time to get it.

Ofcourse that was a stupid remark.

The cases have a front with foil, so the phone is protected and they can dial and listen to their heart's content.

They showed me the cases online.
So now I know everything about the otterbox iphone 4, defender cases and things like that.

Do you too?
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Night shifts

A new thing in our family are night shifts.

One of the boys is training to become a security guard. He's in his last months of training and as he is beyond 18 years of age he's legally allowed to work night shifts. So he's rostered in for the nights too.

They're very inconvenient.
They begin at 23.00 hours, a time on which there are not many busses on the schedule, and they end at 7 hours in the morning, with the same problem.
Going on the bicycle in uniform is not an option. It's just a bit too far away.

Another problem is sleeping during the day.

He's sharing a room with our autiboy and he feels weird when he's awake and someone else is sleeping.

So we had to look for a solution and we found it. Ofcourse we found it.
As the girls are away he can sleep in the bunk bed at the top.
Great.

Unless you want to vacuum the room and you've forgotten that someone is sleeping there.
Me oh my, I got the fright of my life. :)
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Buying gold

The recession has shown that one needs to be very careful with private money.
Many have learned the hard way that speculating with money is not the way to keep a firm grasp on private capital.
Many have lost not only money, but also their homes and some have even lost a huge inheritance. All because they wanted more and more and even more.

History has shown that the best way to keep the value of money alive is to buy gold.
One can either buy bars or coins or jewelry.
Both bars and coins are the most reliable to keep your money at it's value.

Before buying you should educate yourself properly.
Especially when you want to buy gold coins you need to know which ones are the best investments.
And ofcourse you need to know where to buy your gold.
Trust and reliability are crucial.
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Nast cold

We all are hit by a very nasty cold.

I think we caught it when we waved our exchange students goodbye.
Especially when the second one left, the weather seemed to be very beautiful.
The sun was shining with rather great force and we needed to wear sunglasses and felt warm outside the wind.

But the wind was nasty.

With lots of tired people waiting in the large hall of school for about an hour before they left, the germs had a free game there. The hall was rather warm and i don't think the ventilation system works very well there.

So nasty wind and germs did their work.

As we were quite tired from the far too busy schedule of the exchange the germs had free range to play their games.

First one started coughing, and another one sneezing, and even though everyone kept hygiene to a maximum, we all caught the cold. One after another.
Those who didn't get it at home collected it at work.
Many people in this area are ill, but not ill enough not to go to work.

I've stayed away from my friends and any public places, they girtls had a week free from school as did some of the boys, so that contained the problem to our house.

So now we have to live through it and I enjoy the fact that I have created another post.
Thanks for reading.
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Don't you want to have a warm bed?

You wouldn't think so, because it's time to remove the winterwear from your wardrobes, but now is the perfect time to buy heated mattress pads.
CozyWinters not only offers great discounts of around 20 dollars, they also offer free shipping.

Now the sun is already creating a warm room in the afternoon, I feel like doing away with all winterclothes and bedwear.
We still put the heating on in the evening, but the warmth it creates is enough for the whole night.
Except on those few freezing nights which certainly will come during this month, and then the heated mattress pads will come in handy.

In the past those pads used to be not safe enough, but the past years technology has advanced so very much that heating pads can be considered safe when used properly and stored well.
The wires are very thin, and there are controllers installed that turn the pad off after a certain amount of time. For example after 10 hours.
They are machine washable, which adds to the comfort of using them, and they come with a limited warranty of 5 years. Which says something too.

I didn't understand what dual control meant.
It means that a pad includes two controllers, one for each side of the mattress pad.
So each used of a two person size pad can adjust the temperature to his or her own wishes. 2 outlets are needed, each one at a side of the bed.

To me it seems very convenient to have heating pads available in the sleeping room all year. Some summernights can be very cold and who doesn't want to have a warm bed?
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Severe earthquake has hit Japan

A severe earthquake has hit Japan.
It was 8.9 on the scale of Richter, which is very severe.

In fact it could be noticed here by the seismic stations and it threw the pen completely from the seismogram here, which seldom happens.

A friend who is there at the moment for her work reported that she was with a group of people working in Tokyo when the earth started to shake.
At first people just went on working, saying that another earthquake was troubling their writing. People there are used to earthwuakes and the buildings are built in a special way so they are able to deal with earthquakes well.
But the earthquake lasted longer than people considered OK and it was also so severe that they got worried. They stopped working and sat under their desks.
When it was over they all started to talk and then the boss came and told them he heard on the news the earthquake had been one of the worst ever, so he allowed them to stop working and try to contact family members. Some did and some still worked.
Then the news came that the earthquake started about a 125 kilometers out of the coast of Sendai, where the family lives of one of my friend's coworkers.
They couldn't get in contact and worry and panick about the safety of those people started.
Then a firm aftershock started and it was decided it was better to stop working completely and give all effort to reach the family members in Sendai.
Phone numbers were handed out and all workers were trying to reach one these people. Which finally happened and it turned out that they were all safe.

Soon after the tsunami hit the region. But they were called by one of the family members that they were still fine.
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When you move sort out your insurances

A friend planned to move with her family to North Carolina last month.
It has been her dream to go back to the country of her grandparents and she was very happy to realise her dream.

We were sad to see her and her family leave. Their children are so adorable, and she is such a lovely lady. But witnessing someone realising a dream is very inspiring, as we've found out.
It gave our dreams a new push forward.

Dealing with a move to another country is quite something and I've learned a lot.
Not only did they need a new house, the job was already arranged, they also needed new schools, a new car, new passports and other paperwork and new insurances.

I was quite happy to be of help, because I'd heard a lot of good experiences with
NC Blue Cross Blue Shield.
So she got in contact with them and was able to personalize a good insurance plan for all members at reasonable cost, including dental insurance.
With young children it's a real must.

I remember we discussed it with a group of friends when my children were still about 3 years of age. We had a proper dental insurance for all the children from day 1.
One of the women said to me I was nuts to throw away money as kids only need proper dental insurance when they need braces.
A few days later her son fell with his bicycle and broke one of his frontal teeth.
As she had no proper insurance it has cost her a fortune to make him painfree and look well.

So my friend in North Carolina took well care of it all and by now she can rest on her new sofa and enjoy her new home.
Wish I could pop over for a coffee.
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Helicopter crew released

The Dutch helicopter crew has finally been released yesterday evening, our time.
They were imprisoned by the Libian government after they were caught on Libian territory more than a week ago.

The helicopter was based on the frigate HNLMS Tromp.
It was send to evacuate two people who were not able to leave the country during the protests against the Gaddafi regime.
One of them was a Swedish citizen, the other a Dutch one.

The rescue operation with not agreed with by the Libian government and should have been unnoticed. But the helicopter hit ground.

Local TV showed the helicopter and it's crew, and quite a lot of fighting equipment, part of it not beloging to the helicopter or it's crew. Which is ofcourse quite interesting.

The evacuees were set free immediately, the crew was imprisoned, but it's said the 3 people were treated well.

After lots of political and personal efforts the crew was released yesterday.
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Car insurance

The cost of gasoline is rising to unknown heights, so we are re-considering the use of our new car.
Well, new. It's a very nice looking second hand one. We bought it after a friend who is a car-mechanic reviewed it completely and made some improvements.
At that moment the prizes of gasioline were high but not extra ordinary.
We agreed with one of our sons to use the car together and we bought a notebook we leave in the car, where we put in our hours of use and destination. That way we can see at the end of the month who used it more often and who should pay the largest part of taxes and insurance.
We did the same in the past with friends and it worked out perfect.

Ofcourse with a son we end up paying the most.
It makes me smile.
Isn't that what life with kids is all about at a certain age?

He did however have a good look at cheapestautoinsurance.net to sort out insurances and such.
Which saved us a lot of time and thought I assumed, until I had a look at that site myself.
It's so easy to use that site, that I could have sorted things out for myself.

Well, we got a good quote, so the outcome is the same.
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Be careful on twitter

Be careful on twitter.
A while ago a 17 year old girl joked on twitter that she was going to put her school on fire. She was arrested and released the following morning. So she had to spend her night in a policecell.

Kids never learn from each other, do they?

So a boy made the same boring joke and was arrested too. He was 13 year old, and probably too young to spend a night in a cell, so he was released the same day.
It still has to be decided if he will be brought to court.

Ofcourse kids can't burn their school down. Well, they can, but they shouldn't.
And ofcourse they should show respect for belongings of others, public properties and authorities.

But how serious do authorities take themselves?

One of my classmates said the same when I was at school. The teacher told him he was ill in his head and sick to take good education away from himself and his schoolmates.

Now a lot of money is invested in finding a kid, arresting it and jailing it.
Where are the people with a degree in child psychology?
Do they really think that display of power has a good influence on jokes and on kids?
Do we really want children to grow up in a culture of fear?
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The best engagement rings

It's almost spring and the first announcement of a new engagement landed on the doormat today.
About fifteen minutes later the phone rang and my friend asked if I had coffee so she could come over to discuss engagement rings.

Why do people think I know everything about everything?

While I was waiting for her I looked at the most beautiful rings I've ever seen: scott kay engagement rings.

Scott Kay is not only very creative in designing the most delicate looking jewelry, he's also the person who created a whole new market for platinum. Apart from that he's the person who's in favor of using SK Cobalt for rings that should last for more than a lifetime.

His statement that one never should compromise when making a choice for an engagement or weddingring made me remember him.
So by the time my friend arrived his website was on the screen.

Curiosity made me ask her why she came to me and didn't go to town with her future fiancee.
Because she wanted to know what she really wanted, she said. Which sounded quite rational.

And there we sat. Two friends. Commenting on the most beautiful rings in the world.
After an hour she had made her choice.
And I will carry it to them during the engagement.

Let's hope I don't want to exchange hers for my simple engagement rings of 25 euros.
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New meds

My autiboy got new meds.

Within two days his behaviour deteriorated.
Ofcourse we told him that he needed to take it anyway, because meds need some time to work properly.

But there was no improvement at all.
His behaviour even got worse.

I think he feels the changes of the medication and he won't accept them.
One of the reasons is that he's told the meds take off the sharp edges of high and low feelings and he doesn't want to be controled by pills. So he fights the new feelings.

They also make him more hungry, and as hunger has been his greatest problem alongside a tremendous weight, he can't accept that at all.

So today, after yet another outburst, we decided to stop these new meds.

Starting new meds with autistic young people like him is that they want to be in control of everything. They want to make decisions like everybody else, but in the back of their minds they know they're not making all the right decisions.
It takes for some of them quite a while before they accept proper help.

Ofcourse we, as parents, would, but support without young people accepting it doesn't work at all.

And he's angry.
Angry that other people want too much from him.
He knows what he can deal with, and other people won't accept that, including his new psychiatrist.

What a pity he lives in a time that all people have to work, whether they're able to do so or not. Society doesn't care for those with special needs anymore.
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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Don't take your washing machine for granted

We take our washing machines for granted.
We shouldn't.

I've been confronted with deadly silence a few times in the past at the most inconvenient times.

Take that one time that I watched a machine that showed no movement or sound at all, two days before I was due in hospital to give birth.
Three small kids produce a lot of laundry and right at that moment I wanted to wash it all away.

Oh, did we feel lucky there was a shop nearby that sold washing machines.

A year later we found out that I'd been fooled, just as I thought.
They assembled a washing machine from old parts and sold it as new.
The repairman charged the shop. They paid.
There is some strange feeling of justice to know that the whole chain is closed now.

They didn't survive the quality tests on TV, the complaints on TV and the recession.

The washing machine they assembled lived as long as the others. It slowly died. First it didn't turn as well as it did, then it failed at certain programs and one morning I opened the door and water gushed over my feet.

The farewell was a happy one.

We bought a large machine I should have bought when we got a large family, just 3 months before one of the boys moved out and started to wash his own laundry.

Life is strange, but I've told you that before.
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Monday, March 7, 2011

It's vacationtime

It's vacationtime and the sun is shining abundantly.
For the first time this year I stepped outside without a coat and stood in the garden for a few minutes.

Plants are showing a light green haze now.
Crocusses are out.

Even the sounds are different, as so many birds are feeling free to fly and talk to each other.

No springsongs yet to lure potential partners into the territoriums.
They're wise, those birds, as we need so much technology to understand that winter hasn't gone yet. They just know.
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Sunday, March 6, 2011

School is nuts

The day after the exchange students left the girls had to go to school again and the normal schedule was functioning again.
The result was that many students didn't hear anything that was said and some were even openly asleep.

On thursday one of the girls got so much homework for the next day that I saw it fit to jump in and remind the replacement head of the school about the enormous amount of hours that were put into the exchange. As they were supposed to follow normal school hours they exceeded them a lot, so I asked him what went on in his mind to give so much homework.

When my girl was in his group he just mentioned her name and said it was OK.

He could have thought about that himself.
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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Medicate



1. Do you take a lot of medication?

I'm used to it, so I don't think so.
Others do.
Asthma meds, diabetes meds, allergy meds, and meds against a metabolic disease.

2. Name one of your flaws and tell us about it.

Flaws?

When I'm gardening I don't watch the time and forget it completely.

3. Have you ever won first place? If yes, tell us about your victory!

Yep, with swimming. It´s very long ago. I was 16. Regional championships.
I remember the water around me and the enormous amount of noise when my ear came out of the water. It created a rhythm and I remember thinking that when I got stuck to that rhythm I would certainly loose. So I tried to be ahead of it...
In fact I was beating myself and my time. I won.

4. Who is the last person to make you smile? What was happening?

One of the girls.
We saw something funny on TV.

5. Describe a time when you should have tried harder.

Why live a life full of regrets. Move forward. Live more in the present and enjoy.
So I'm not looking back at the moment.

6. What are you best at?

I don't know if I´m the best at anything.
But right now the room needs to be painted and in the house I'm the best at it.

7. If someone was going to make a movie or TV show about your life, who would play you and why?

Maybe I should play myself. At least I would understand the person who plays me.

8. Name 3 things that you think are strange.

  1. That people want to hate others and accept their hatred as normal.
  2. That people qualify war as acceptable.
  3. That some poeple think they are more than others.


9. What is one lesson you have learned in the past 12 months?

That people at certain places at society tell you they're there to help you and all they want is to rub their ego until it shines. The consequence is injustice.
Speaking out about that works against you.

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