Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dangerous infection in Germany

Gradually the flu is leaving the house.

None got seriously ill, so there's nothing to worry about.

In Germany people have a hard time, as there's a very dangerous bacterial infection going around. Mainly grown up women get ill.
It's the enterohemorragic E. coli (EHEC) causing the problems. It's carried by animals.

It's said the outbreak might be caused by infected cucumbers, but that's not sure.

I think they need to investigate the possibility of some outsider contaminating the food.

In the meantime 14 people have died and the cucumber farmers here are in serious problems because all export has stopped.
That's ridiculous, because nothing animal is used by growing them here.
Cucumbers are grown on a substrate and I wasn't surprised that they announced in the news that there was nothing evil found in the samples they took of 168 batches.

We bought some cucumber in Germany too, when we were there.
I've thrown them away.

With kids I don't want to take any risk.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Ballet performance

Today the girls had their balletperformance.

One of my friends has a daughter dancing at the same school, so we threw our plans together and came with a schedule of fetching and bringing that was of benefit for all.

In the afternoon we sat in the theatre with our friend, her mother and numerous other people and watched the performance.

Both our girls did very well.

I was really impressed by what they have learned and with me their former teacher.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A special day for the girls

As sisters of autism the girls have access to a special organisation that organises a few times a year events to pamper them.
The motivation behind it all is that dealing with a brother or sister with special needs is not always fun. Sometimes you have to wait, sometimes you have to think about what you say, etc etc.

Days like these are just for the siblings.
They get lots of attention, they can enjoy themselves the way they want, they get something special to eat and drink, and they are away from everything.
All is set for positive experiences.

The girls already went to a make-over day, a survival event, a play event.
Today the theme was theatre, but as lots of children don't care for making a play, there were lots of toys and equipment for other fun available.

There were over 200 children of age 2 to 16 today. They were all in small age-groups.
Today the girls were together in a group with other kids who also loved to make theatre, and so they did. They made some athletic statue after the logo of the organisation.
They also painted, and organised a stand with olympic games for the other kids.

When it was time to go they all sang a song they learned today, gave flowers to the volunteers and got a medal themselves and a small bag of very expensive chips.

Both girls were very relaxed, happy and tired.

They've had a great day and at least one of them will apply to become volunteer when they're not able to go as a member anymore.
The whole organisation runs on donations and volunteers, so when you want to donate, please contact me and I'll bring you in contact with them.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Supplements for muscle building

The past week quite some family members have been ill, but slowly we're finding our familiar routines again.

At the work of one of the boys there are still quite some people on sick leave and with some pregnant women absent they have to work very hard. So they have less time to go to the gym or fitness studio.

Yesterday they discussed pre workout supplements.
In the security business showing off muscles helps sometimes and all of them work out regularly not to fall behind.

I told my son to discuss supplements and energy boosters with our family physician.
I want his health to be most important under all circumstances.

At the moment I still feel tired, because I was ill myself and had to care for all others. But it's something what a good sleep, some relaxation, a good cup of coffee and a positive attitude will deal with.

Less paperwork?

Isn't it interesting? There's an organisation that checks if people have to deal with too much paperwork. Wow!

They have found out that people who need assistance and support for special needs have to deal with too much paperwork.

Well I could have told you that, and I'm sure I did.
The forms are multiple and endless.

Every two years we have to provide new forms about dyslexia and autism, we need to have the kids retested and it costs fortunes. And why? There's no cure for those and many other conditions and handicaps. Kids need the same assistance at school.

Even people who are handicapped forever, like people who can't walk because of amputation, have to deliver proof, over and over again.
And when they have support they have to keep all receits, bills and whatever to have them checked, so they won't put money into their own pockets.

In the past I used to have special hours each week which I used for filling in forms and dealing with the correspondence.
At times I needed two whole days each week to deal with it and I was always glad when the kids came from school and I could spend my attention and energy elsewhere.

So now suddenly all the distrust has disappeared and things need to change.
The government needs to trust us again.

Well due to that tremendous amount of paperwork I've missed out of life quite a lot.
I bet I won't get that back!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Education for the best

A new government and new changes. We all know that.

The former secretary of state for education is now the minister.

I mailed her when she was still the secretary of state about the lack of places for autistic kids in our area. I never got an answer. I moved up to the minister, got an answer and not long after that more places for autistic kids were created at the schools here.

I also mailed the secretary about some other issues, but one way or another she was not able to formulate an appropriate answer and all I got was some leaflets of an organisation, Which gave me the idea she was putting that organisation on top of others who do the same and do it at least equally well.
I never expected her to become minister as her own personal views were more important than the needs laid before her.

She's minister now.

Around here others take away facilities for those with special needs to save money.
Even the special workplaces are almost all closed down, so people with special needs have to compete on the jobmarket to find a job.
I expected that maybe rules would become that people with special needs get more opportunities in education to get special diplomas. Maybe for limited areas. So they can show they can, for instance, wrap parcels well, solder parts on a printboard, or something like that.

No way!

This woman wants to open more opportunities for those with high intelligence.
She clearly is not aware what schools already do for those children: special classes, extra subjecs, more subjects for the final exam, skipping classes, and there are even special schools for them.

I fear that adolescents and others with special needs will have a terrible time with this government.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Our internet and TV are crap. Thanks UPC!

Hi Hans! ;)

Our internet is complete crap. It's speed is changing, and at times there's absolutely nothing.

Our TV is as bad after UPC did their bit of maintenance.
OK, we have the national programs, and some foreign ones.
But we lack all RTL, TMF, others, and what's worst: BBC.

BBC is most watched here at home. Not only because some series are absolute fabvorites and we're not able to see them online, due to the i-player, which can't be used here.
But also because the BBC is good.
I can say that the children learned a lot. The language ofcourse, but also about customs, history and how the UK looks.
We enjoy programs about the nature of the UK to bits.
And the BBC made history an interesting subject by having people live like they were living in the past, thus giving the phantasy of the children a boost, and by giving facts to cling to.

But now it's a mess.

So I started contacting UPC for support, and all I got was the whole protocol they use: cables, how many metres away from the contactpoint the TV is supposed to be, etc etc.

They did maintenance, we did nothing. We didn't move anything, nothing.

Trying to find something on internet was worthwhile. Me oh my! Even in 2008 people had the same complaints after maintenance, and the protocols were exactly the same.
On email I landed to the point that they forced a technician on us.
I said that it was their problem, so no thank you.

Hubby went to their office and started to believe the whole cable toodoo. He came home telling me he would put new cables on the TV and the technician would come.

After a good talk from woman to man (no he isn't blonde) he agreed with me.
No technician.

So we phoned the company.
The guy we got jumped on the protocol and didn't even listen.
He was plain rude when I wanted to say something.
All in all I got the idea calling the helpdesk is just enabling them to keep you on the line so the coins come in roling... smoothly.
Well, in the end I got something to say.
I told him : no technician. Cancell the appointment.

The next day I opened my mail and found.... a mail from someone telling me they couldn't send a technician as they couldn't call me.
At the same moment the doorbell rang and a nice guy told me he was the technician...

He checked the whole net outside the house (the whole net? Wow!) and nothing was wrong there.
So it must be us.

No way it's us, we didn't change anything and there was nothing in the paper we should.

When I turned on the TV that evening we had still disturbances on RTL 4 and BBC1 and 2, but overall it was a bit better than before.
And we had the rest of the RTL's and BBC 3 and 4. The last two we were not supposed to receive the technician said, but I verified it: we pay for it.

All we need now is about 4 or 6 programs fixed.

Maybe we need to post a technician on the doormat for half an hour and the issue will be fixed.

Now let's wait for the bill. I won't pay for the technician....

Oh yea, and let's wait for another provider to come to our area. I don't mind switching.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sad news about Ronald Naar

This morning we got the news that Ronald Naar died when descending the Cho Oyu in Tibet.

He didn't slip, fall or anything like that.

He just collapsed and when his sherpa, Kaji, who was slightly ahead, reached him, he was already dead.
He dead just before the descend of the icewall.

Due to bad weather and a very thick layer of snow they didn't attempt to go to the top.
Ronald didn't feel well at camp 3, where the wind was blowing with great force, so it was decided he and his sherpa would go down to camp 2.
They rested there and on their way down to camp 1 Ronald died.

The three sherpas of the expedition have now brought his body to camp 1.
The yaks that will carry Ronald and equipment to the chinese basecamp have arrived already.
His body will be brough to Kathmandu and from there to his last resting place.

Ronald was a great inspirator for many.
He knew what he wanted and he was not always trying to be kind to get things http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifdone the way he wanted them done. But those who worked with him learned to value his straightforwardness and his humor.

Before Ronald went to the Cho Oyu he had a thorough health check.
He planned this expedition to be his last large one, but none imagined that nature would take over and make the decision for him.
He died at a place where he was himself and where he was happy.

My heart goes out to his wife and children and to his climbing-companions.

The official condolance register can be found ::here::.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The "You Can't Be Missed" Meme, Part 3

31. What is your absolute favorite dessert?

Dame blanche with hot cherries

32. What can someone do to make you smile, no matter what?

Smile at me.

33. What do the hip people think of you?

I'm considered to be OK by them.

34. What was the last gift you bought someone?

A nice bag.

35. What was your favorite class in high school?

Hmmm... the fifth.
Lots of time to spend with lots of friends. Organising parties, long and interesting discussions, open idea to the future, lots of ballet performances,etc etc etc.

36. How many spouses would be about right?

For who?

37. What would you say was the most embarrassing moment of your life?

I don't want to dwell on that.

38. Have you ever donate money to charity?

Yep, haven't you seen the title of this blog?

This is a family friendly site, so some questions have been skipped.

41. Have you ever disowned one of your relatives?

No. not yet. :)

42. Would you think it's OK to cheat on someone if they've already cheated on you?


43. Did you ever consider becoming a teacher?

I have been teaching at university, both at psychology and the department of medicine/hospital. I loved it.
I would be OK to start teaching again, if I could combine it with my present living circumstances, but either back at psychology or as a buddhism teacher.

44. Would you ever give a hitch-hiker a ride somewhere?

I don't think the bicycle would hold another person.

45. Would you ever try fasting for a whole week?

No way! Diabetes is a bad combination.

Click the logo to see the main site and find more participants.


1. It's Spring, grilling begins! If you plan a picnic, do you bow out if it rains?

Well, here we don't grill, BBQ or picknick as much as in other countries, because open fire isn't allowed everywhere. I don't like it often, because most of the time people don't know how to handle the fire and cause so much smoke that they trouble my asthma and I have to go inside the house and close windows and doors.

To asnwer the question now:
Why picknick in the rain?
I wouldn't take an umbrella with me on a picknick.

2. Do you prefer food grilled on a charcoal or gas grill?

I like charcoal grilled, if it's handled well.

3. We're at the first grilling picnic. What's your meat order?

Don't know. Depends on what's available.
I wouldn't chose chicken as a first, though.

4. What side dishes do you want?

No raw carrots, as I'm allergic to them.
I like good sauces though. With loads of garlic. Yummy!

5. Now, where do prefer to eat: at the picnic table or inside?

Huh, inside? Then you can cook in your own kitchen too.

6. You were asked to bring a dish. What do you bring?

I used to be asked to bring sauces. I was great at them.

7. Does it bother you to have citronella candles burning if you are eating or cooking outside?

Aha! Where does that question come from?
Yes, I hate the smell of them.

8. What fellow bloggers do you want to meet at the picnic?


9. Does there need to be a pool at the picnic, your choice?

No, not necessary. But some trees would be nice.

Have a nice weekend!

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

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Buddha day or final day?

Tomorrow it's Buddha day. Many buddhists celebrate the birth of Buddha, and a part of them also the enlightment and death.

We're invited to celebrate it with the buddhist community in Amsterdam, which we regard as a great honor. Ther openness towards other buddhists than the chinese alone has surprised us, because in China Tibetan buddhism is not very much accepted.
But here there's close contact between the different groups of buddhists. Maybe because we're not with many.

It's strange to realise that someone has announced the end of the world for tomorrow.
Only 2% of humanity will survive, he days.

Kind of strange, as I think that a god who created man and in whose name forgiveness and kindness is preached, would throw away his own creation almost completely.

If the end really would be tomorrow I don't fear it.
I've tried all my life to live as good as I can, with care and compassion.
I've made mistakes, but I didn't make them with bad intentions and I learned from them.

I wonder if the computers will take over when we're almost all gone.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Address plaques

I love address plaques, and it's a pity they're not used in our neighbourhood.
I'm sure I'll have one when we have moved to our little coattage in who-knows-where land.

The one I love most is a double sided hanging arch with the name of the family and the streetname.

To me a hanging sign is pure luxury and it adds to the feel of a house.
It's kind of romantic, I know, but after seeing square, grey buildings yesterday, buildings without any personality, I'm ready for some romantic scenery.

A friend of mine moved to a farm two years ago and she said she would have a party when the sign was in the garden.
She loved an oval one, with the number of the house only.
We all put money together and ordered one. In green with golden figures as she wished.
Just before the party we all put it in the ground with some sort of ceremony, and panted flowers around it. Her favorite ones.

It really gave the feel that everything was finished, that the house had it's personal touch.

Funny enough her house is now called: "the house with the sign".

Animals for research

Yesterday there were protests at the university by action groups against the use of animals in scientific research.

Security was on alert and even the police was available on the terrain.

Not much happened.

I didn't expect a lot of problems as this involved only a small group of protesters and the birthdaycelebration of the university is not an event that draws a lot of attention. The main events are inside and only people with a clear opinion about matters attend.

The opening of the study year however does.

That day a lot of new students can be influenced and even indoctrinated and a protest like that of yesterday would attract agressive protesters from all over the country.

I was amazed that the prostesters still use the same slogans as in the seventies.
They're clearly not aware that a lot has been changed and far less animals are used.
We can't do without though, even if it's pityfull animals need to be used.
But it's either people dying or animal tests.
So sad to say that.

The future is now

A few days ago I witnessed the launch of the Endeavour.
Because our internetconnection was adjusted we could receive it in HD and I even enjoyed the event more than ever before. The knowledge that it's Endeavour's last trip to space added to the excitement.

Since the space program was started and thanks to that very same program a lot of new developments have reached our homes.

In fact the whole home automation software is derived from it.
Take for instance the home security devices.
Isn't it amazing that you can control your house even when you're far away? Sensors are able to detect fire, burglaries ad even carbom monoxide, waterflow and flooding and they can alert you or support services.

When I saw the first House of the Future I was impressed by the remote control for TV and curtains, and that a terminal of a computer in the kitchen could be used to order groceries.
It was in the seventies, I think, and I never thought it would happen.
But it all happened and we moved far more in the future than I ever could imagine then.

I would love to be able to monitor the waterflow in my house, because someone in the neighbourhood had huge flooding due to problems with the washing machine. Something like that can happen to anyone.

So talking about that is on the agenda for this evening.

Annie MG Schmidt

We were surprised by Google today.
They showed a nice image of the book of Jip and Janneke, written by Annie MG Schmidt.
It's her 100th birthday... if she would have been alive today.

I know the books of Jip and Janneke very well.
For years the kids wanted me to read a bedtime story from the book.
The adventures of the boy and the girl were very realistic, yet had enough to enjoy them and sometimes teach them to deal with situations.

Jip and Janneke lived in the same neighbourhood and a hole in the hedge gave access to each other's house. They also had a small dog and ofcourse friendly parents who were merely background figures.

The stories were never too stressfull to cause bad dreams or fear to go to sleep.
They were long enough to relax them after a busy day, not long enopugh to make them fall asleep and just good enough to read completely.

Each day one of the kids was allowed to open the book and at that page I started to read.
That is...after the whole book was read already 4 times!

When I hae grandchildren I'm sure they'll enjoy those stories too.
They're timeless.

A call about business cards

Elaine called me just before we were ready to leave to fetch the paperwork for this afternoon's meeting.

She often has sensible, but difficult questions so I was not too happy to answer the phone.

This morning she realised she was running out of business cards. Even more: she wanted a whole new house style for her firm.
On top of it she said: "...and I don't want to spend all my money on it."

I asked her a few questions. The size of the card, how many, if she wanted the rest of her printing with the same style, what colours the curtains of her office have.
She was puzzled I asked the last question, but it was because the cards can be printed in 4 colours at printdirectforless business card printing, and it would be a waste not to use the colours she already uses in the building.

We decided I was mail her a design when I'm back from my meeting and she can order online at any time she wants.
I'm also OK with her using the design service of this printing service. They're good and they can advice her about what more she needs to present her office to relations.

Changes at school, wow!

Because the teachers didn't communicate the homework they requested, the kids sometimes worked so late that I had to tell them to stop.
I don't allow them to miss sleep because of homework, as simple as that.

I'm happy they've become quite disciplined with schoolwork. Sometimes I hear mothers complain a lot.

I observed the tendency to let it all slip when they were well underway in puberty, but I took them apart, one by one and told them that I managed to get all the diploma's I wanted and I was proud that I did it myself.

Again I explained why homework is given and told them that the more they spend on schoolwork (in an efficient way) the more choiced they are able to make later. Investment now is for the future.
I also told them that nagging about it is part of my job as a mom, so I'm quite willing to create a row each day. But that I didn't want to create a bad feel in the house, so that I gave them the choice: just do your homework or have me bothering you about it.
They made the best choice possible. Great!

I've kept track of their homework anyway and when it was getting out of hand I signalled the school.
As expected they said it would be an item in the teacher's meeting, and nothing changed at all.

As one of the kids has easy access to the national pupils organisation I asked him to signal the problem there too.

So for a while everything went rather well,
until last week.
The national exams started sthis week and maybe the school feels not observed anymore, who knows.
Homework is piling up, when it's still a problem next week I'll inform the school again that coordination of homework is a must, otherwise subjects will suffer and that probably will be maths for most kids.

Cleansing your inner me,

Yesterday I was watching TV and it showed research about food and health.
Do you know that eating tomate each day firms your skin in such a way that a sensitive skin is far less sensitive after three months?

They showed a few people who were put in two groups at random. One used tomatoes and the other not.
The tomatoe-group showed remarkable improvement of their skin sensitivity. They didn't get sunburn as easily, for example.

They also showed people visiting a health clinic and taking terrible cleanising things or eating the normal way.
There was no difference between the working of their body. The explanation was that the body itself is made to deal with day to day toxins.

Well, in case you want to use natural colon cleanse it's wise to read the reviews and maybe even talk to your familyphysician.

Some people report feeling light and better after it.

Have you tried it?


I grew up bathing once a week in a bathtub.

We already had a seperate bathroom in the new house, where we moved in when I was 4 and something that was supposed to wash your feet in, I think.
It was a lot of marble, with a large place to sit and a deep place for your feet.
My mom could do the laundry in there, and I could use it as a bath when I was small.

It took a lot of years before the houseowner installed a shower above it, but the whole thing was unconfortable as one needed steps to go in there.

My gram had to give up a storage room to have a shower installed.
I loved her shower as it was as covenient as the showers in school and at the pool.
The shower at home was almost never used, as I used to go to swimtraining in the early morning, before school.

All what's left from that time is my habit to shower efficiently and fast.
Within 5 minutes I'm showerd, hairwash included.
I only enjoy a longer shower when I have to get rid of muscle ache.

Unlike the kids.

So when one goes upstairs I have an unconscious look at the clock and you'll understand what happens when I think there has gone enough water over the body.

Back acne

With puberty in the house with so many kids we've had the complete package enter and in most cases leave again.
That makes me a person who is sought for advice about all sorts of puberty issues by friends and even people I don't know. "Just ask her", they're told.

One of the issues that was a subject last week was back acne.

Some people think that acne only is a problem of the face, and forget acne can be very bad at other places too, especially the back.
It can be vert troublesome, because it can be very itchy and the clothes can rub over the worst spots and cause bleeding.

In most cases people can't handle it themselves.
For good back acne treatment a family member or friend needs to step in to treat the area with the proper lotion or cream.

Often people forget to find out what causes acne to get worse. Chocolate is wellknown for it.
Adjusting the daily diet and adding more vegetables and fruit helps a lot.

Most acne disappears in time, but some people will keep their susceptibility for it for a long time.

Not a silent one

A very large school in a town nearby was not dealing well with their money.
It was so bad that someone informed the police about fraud.

Ever since that person has a hard time there.
The school had been accusing him of all sorts of things and has brought him to court one time after another.
Their punishment for exposing their malfunctioning.
The guy stepped up and got a benefit people get when they leave work for a positive reason.
The school didn't want to pay their part in the benefit. And went to court.

Finally the minister was informed and she stepped in.

No result.

The school who has comitted fraud goes on pestering the guy who exposed it.

So sick!!

But that's what happens in our country.

My daughter exposed that her classteachers didn't handle the bullying.
See where we are now.
Both daughters need to be assessed by a psychologist.
This would never have been the case when people just admitted their mistakes and were honest about the truth of their behaviour. I'm talking about grown ups here, at important positions in society. Ugh!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

He and the dentist

One of our sons was very afraid of the dentist.

It was caused by two women dentists who scared the hell even out of me.
They were able to make me more afriad than the dentist we had when I was a child, who never smiled, had a harsh voice and sticked the pin of thet mouth device everywhere and caused bleeding and pain.

These women were slaughterhouse evils.
They messed up my jaw in a bad way. A very bad way.

Our family dentist now is a nice one.
He can be. The cars he drives!!! Oh my dear! They're the best our roads carry. I can tell you that.

He earns it by being nice and patient, by hiring lovely assistants who can talk about anything to divert your attention and by doing a good job.

So today one of my sons had to go.
He's been afraid of the dentist ever since those slaughterhouse dentists ebntered our lives and he dealt with the wordt echos of their existence.

Today he went alone, had his mouth fixed and didn't even bother to let me know how it went.
So I was waiting for him, as he said he would come, and smiled more and more each minute passed.

This is how it should be.

Go to the dentist, have things fixed and forget.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The flu

The flu has entered the house.

I thought we'd escaped it this year. But we didn't.
Like other years it slipped inside and took hold of the fortress.
Regardless of piles of fruit and vegetables we consume, healthy sleeping habits and exercising, one by one the family members are starting to sniff, complain of all sorts of things and then land in bed.

As a zombie I try to care for what needs to be cared for. With dizzy spells and runs to the bathroom. Well, you know that sort of stuff.

I used to see the flu or whatever it is, as an unhealthy affair with life. A simple try to undermine us.
But I've changed my opinion. Forming new antibodies and goinf through a rough spot makes us value health a lot more and maybe a bit of flu is a sign of a healthy respons to changes of the season and in the season itself.

Well, it lasts just a few days, so why blog long about it?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I used to play there

The car has been fixed and we all are happy about that.
Oh, so fast and smoothly we got used to the thing. Ugh!

But it sure is handy.
We needed something from a certain shop and we were able to go there without any problem or unneceesary loss of time.

Because we talked yesterday about the changes the town is undergoing rapidly, we drove to the neighbourhood I grew up.

The amall houses of the elderly were demolished and the ground was used for large, multistory buildings with rounded edges to make them look friendly.
To me it was just a pile of bricks where the roses grew and the enormous hydrangeas from a woman who should have had another name: Mrs. Rose.
She was rather small. Petite, as they call it now. And her hydrangeas were as large that she could between in them.

The church has been demolished too. I knew that. I've seen it.
It was a beautiful church.
Now a smaller one has been put on not even a quarter of the ground, a modern one.

Strangely my old house looks more familiar than the last time we went there.
Then it looked messy. The garden was uncared for, and a strip of glaze plastic tool the place of curtains.
Now it looked a bit more like my former home, with curtains, a nice garden and even with a small kids bicyle in front of the door.
How nice to know children laugh there again.

The streets between the main roads of the neighbourhood all looked the same.
Even the trees. So they must have been taken away the old ones and planted smaller ones.

We went to a shop and I had to wait in the car for a few minutes.
I had the door open and suddenly realised how silent it was there. Only birds, but no cars, nor trains.
A new car parked and the smashing of the doors didn't even sound as loud as where we live.

I knew the architecs had tried to build the neighbourhood in such a way the the quietness would be served as much as possible.
They succeeded.
I've never realised that better than today.

Monday, May 16, 2011

More bricks

Our whole town is changing rapidly.
Not only at the outer borders lots of houses are built, they're also built in such a way that the new neighbourhoods almost touch the next town.

Plan is to merge them two together.
Not ny name, ...yet...., but all infrastructure will be.

Also near our house a lot of nature has been used to build.
When we leave our neighbourhood we have a main road and beyonf that a stretch of nature with water and green, and beyond that office buildings. Recently a large steel hall has been put in the nature area. It's all white, so it catches the eye.

It makes me feel that my town is taken away from me.

It sounds strange, and ofcourse It's not my real feeling.
Just the best description of it.

Luckily I don't depend as much on my surroundings as when I was young and used to walk a lot around there, photographing and watching the animals.

But more bricks is never a good choice.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ballet dresses

In the past I danced with the teacher one of the girls has now.
She's a good teacher, but she has some peculiarities and one of them is that she keeps changing the performance dance until the last moments and she can't decide on the performance outfit.

Our daughter was told she had to look in the shops for something colourful, which would be good to use on the podium.
So the girls went to town yesterday and had a look at all the shops after prescreening on internet.

They came home disappointed.
Fashion dictates small flowers and they're just not wanted on stage.

When I heard about it all, I was rather annoyed as the balletschool has a huge wardrobe and all it takes is ask the key and open the door and take what's wanted.

But the girls won't be empty handed.
A few houses from here a girls lives who works at one of the fashion shops for young people, and I'm sure she's able to advice well. She knows what's in stock and maybe that's just the knowledge we need.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bad TV

Since they tried to make the cable TV from normal to HD we had problem receiving some channels and it has kept a problem ever since.

I think one of the boys needs to have a look at the bandwith and things.
But after reading on internetforums I'm afraid we're having a TV which is too old.
We bought it two years ago, so we should be able to use it.

I think we've stumbled upon one of the main problems of our era.
Technical advances are so fast that the equipment can't keep up and people are not willing anymore to follow each step of the improvements.
Do we need to throw away our TV just because the cable company has changed the rules?

It irritates me we have to throw away equipment which should still work and we have bought to work now. And it irritates me that we're forced to make costs to buy new stuff we don't want to have now.
We can't afford it at the moment and we had no trouble until the cable company, without any warning, changed everything.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Today we had the second of the presentations about the exchange.

The first one was rather annoying as the kids of that group weren't able to keep silent. And on top of that they were rather unprepared. They just got a few photos and the accompanying texts were: "and then...." and "and then....".
Our daughter had taken a lot of effort to look up things, make nice collages and write down a lot. She presented her part very well, and I think it was a well considered idea of the teacher to make her do it alone and put her straight in the middle of it all. It was interesting that even the oudest kids kept silent when she was talking.
She got the highest mark and it was well deserved.

Our second daughter had to do the presentation as part of her final exam.
They had to team up and she was lucky to have her friend as a teammate, even though their schedules didn't match.
Ofcourse that group was as loud as the other one, but when the presentations were given it was silent.
They were well prepared and it was fun to hear the spontaneous accounts of what happened in Spain.

Our daughter and her friend had to tell us about food and they made nice snacks to accompany their presentation.
That came in handy, because the last team had trouble with the computer to open the visual part of their presentation. So the girls came to the rescue and made another round with the plates. Breaking the stress.

We had such a good evening!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The hottest summer?

One of the boys came in and wanted my attention.

"Mom, this year we will get the hottest summer up till now."

As we have had a few warm springs, and this spring blew all the records I was apt to believe him.
But as a habit I take the weatherforecasts with a lot of caution. Especially those who forecasts over a longer period of...let's say...about 5 days.

Our climate has changed though, and we all experience that.
We went from mild winters and moderate summers, with lots of rain in autumn, to a complete different picture.

Cold winters we had the past years, with snow. Warm springs with record high temperatures, even into the tropical realm, then lots and lots of rain, a greyish summer, nice autumnweather and a sudden, too early onset of winter.

Kids are not learning at school anymore we're having a sea climate.
Teachers tell them anything about the name of our climate.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I know now: I'm an artist!

One of the main difficulties with artlessons was painting skies.
I remember one of the teachers, who is now a famous artist in this part of the country, yelling at me that every stupid person could paint a sky.

The small smile I send to him made him even more angry than he was before.
I was send to the principal, who had been standing outside the classroom (with open door) and she waved her finger and I followed it: straight back into the classroom.
He was called out and all pupils could hear her whisper (thanks to the resonating stone walls and lack of curtains for the windows) that he was not spuuosed to yell at pupils but to teach them, howver stupid he thought hèr intelligent children were.

We didn't like each other, that teacher and I.
So he told me to draw a thousand flowers, and so I did. With ink. And with utmost precision. The piece de resistance is still somewhere at the attick, hidden between the booklets of schoolcamp I suppose.

So I never thought of myself as a painter, even though I managed to create a lovely sky when painting a scene at the wall of the girl's room. I glued teletubbies over the part that was not good enough for my eyes. LOL!
As you might understand that's about ten years ago.

Since then I've never spend time thinking I might have become a painter.
Life is interesting enough, and music and writing have enabled me to keep busy and earn a bit now and then. So you won't hear me complain.

Today however some thoughts I never expected popped up in my brain.
Me oh my, was I surprised!

The municipality will be selling artworks the next weeks and I had a look at what they want to sell to make money in this sad time of recession.
With a humble attitude I went to the site, expecting my self esteem to reach terrible depths at the sight of artwork that was important enough to be bought with our hard earned tax money.

It's a pity that only in movies angels sing when spirits are lifted otherwise the whole neighbourhood would have had a sensational experience of heavenly bliss.
Instead I looked in deep silence to the expressions of courage and lack of self reflection of people who for some reason are called artists.
Let's say schoolkids produce better work.

Why on earth haven't I thought of presenting my doodles to the municipality when they still bought art?
I could have been rich!

I feel happy though, because discovery is life changing.

I know now: I'm an artist!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The best stroller

Today I was asked to hop over to a friend and advice her on the purchase of a baby stroller.

She's 8 months pregnant and apart from advice from a mom with lots of experience with strollers she needed some comfort, some vitamins for her chaotic thoughts.

Isn't it strange that I am so very calm in those situations?
I've been there, I went through it all, and lots of memories are waiting to bounce between the walls of my brains, but as soon as someone else needs me I'm focussed, calm and caring. I completely forget myself... well, the part that's not needed.

She was nervous about labor, especially after one of her friends got a baby and got a hospital birth instead of a homebirth.
I was able to ease her mind. And she got calm too.

About the stroller I could be clear.
I've spend quite some time with back ache during the days that baby strollers couldn't get from street to pavement and from pavement to street without using all muscles in my body. The very same strollers didn't like turns and were only easy to handle on a flat surface going straightforward all the way to the horizon.

So easy handling is a must, as is light and compact folding, all terrain tires, a good space to put the groceries in without crushing the baby or torpedoing it on the pavement, adjustable height, a good cap that stays at it's place even when it's storming, and easy reversal.

With that list we went on internet and she bought a uppababy vista. With all the extra's like free shipping and other convenient extras you can see on the site, it's the perfect choice for her.

Some grandparents buy strollers for their grandchildren without asking what the mother wants.
In my friend's case the bill could be send to the grandparents and they will come and have a look when the stroller has arrived. So she was able to take the colour she wants and added extra's.

Step by step the new baby takes a place in their home, even while the baby isn't born yet.

Just a few weeks to go....

They've used my kitchen!

Today I was confronted with the results of mother's day.
They've used my kitchen all weekend.
Let's say it's not my kitchen anymore.

Me oh my!

I can see what we've eaten, who cooked, and I saw no other sensible thing to do than to spray the whole stove with desinfectant. After removing the pans they kept on it to hide the disaster underneath.

I'm amazed it can even be cleaned.

Funny thing is that those who have their own kitchen are very clean there. So they heard my lessons about cleanliness and hygiene.

Well, let's say they cooked well and I appreciated them volunteering to cook.
I've certainly worked of all the carbohydrates.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Anniversary gifts

The time of a golden watch and a huge financial bonus at an anniversary is well behind us.
In a way that's good.
One can't give one person an enormous amount of money and tell others they've lost their jobs due to the recession.
But leaving the expensive tradition in the past opens the door to more creative solutions and more personalized anniversary gifts for men.

I like that.
All people need acknowledgement of their individuality and a standard gift doesn't belong to that.

Interesting is that personalized gifts are sometimes valued for generations.
I still have a booklet which was given to my grandfather to honor his composing skills. If there wouldn't have been a personalized dedication in it we would never have kept the book.
Now it's an inspiration to my children and probably even to their children.

I'm glad that it's not the monitary value that counts but the histroy of the person mentioned.

Water: lack of and flooding

Here we're doing all we can to prevent fires in nature and to fight them where the occur.
After weeks without rain and extremely high temperatures everything is very dry and there are areas where farmers are not allowed to use water out of the ground. Now they fear their crops are lost.

At the other side of the world, however, the Mississippi is at the highest level since 1927 and lots of people are evacuated due to flooding.
In 1927 the level of 14,84 was reached and hundreds of people died.

Tomorrow the highest level of the Mississippi will be reached, and it's feared that the high levels also will affect the river delta. Causing more flooding.

Already almost a week ago President Obama has been asked to declare 11 counties along the Mississippi as desaster areas.
The official site of the Mississippi Government doesn't state if the President did in fact do so.

Peope think they're the major force on earth, but it's only a wish. The true force is nature, and we have to deal with that the best we can.

Sales Jobs

After a few wonderful days, which were a bit too tropical for us, the grey clouds are drifting above us, a murmour sounds through them and a few drops of rain are already falling down.

I've put the delicate new plants at a safe place, some hidden under large branches with lots of new leaves of the old trees, and the dry laundry is in and the rest at a protected place too.

Time to shift the focus of attention.

The past week we've been speaking about sales jobs overseas and the appropriate education.

One of the boys was training to become a shop owner, but the receccion forced him to make other choices. He did well enough, however, not to look out for jobs in shops and with the summer vacation as a good opportunity to work he asked me to be on the look out for something he would be able to do.

A friend works as a representative of baby food and maybe she's able to help him to what he does best: creating the feelings of needing something very much.
He would be a good collegue for her.

But I first have to talk with her or her boss about the best education for the job.

Mother's Day 2011

Have a happy mother's day!!

Yesterday my country was the warmest country in Europe.
Today the temperatures were a bit lower, but the humidity far higher.
But it didn't keep us from celebrating mother's day.

With kids in and post puberty there's no chance of being woken up at 5 or 6 o'clock like in the past, when they couldn't wait to recite a poem and give the macaroni bracelet.

I was the first to be up and about. I didn't mind.
Outside the birds had a good time together and I fitted in in silence perfectly.
By the time the kids woke up I had seen a lot of nature in my garden, had breakfast and some relaxation.

It was good I prepared this day well, present-wise.
So all had a gift, even though I bought some small things myself, and the ritual started in a funny way.
As the oldest boys were not present yet, and the younger kids couldn't wait, we used the luxury of a large family: youngest kids gave their gifts in the morning and the rest when the oldest bunch was present.
I was surprised with a mug stating I was voted best mom and a picture frame containing a few old photos, because they weren't able to arrange a new photo yet...but it will come...oh yes mom, it will come.... The other gifts were given with a conspiracy smile between the kid and I. Ofcourse I loved the pendants and the rest.

The applepie was delicious, the kids had fun, and I leaned back on the couch observing this nice bunch of kids. All different, some of them dealing with autism spectrum disorder, but all dealing with life the best they can.
I have a full load of motherhood on my plate and I have a large diversity of motherhood pains in my history, most caused by other people, not by my kids, and some by the majestic force of nature itself, but I made the choice to be a mother and at a day like this it's good to be one.
What some other people say about me makes clear that they just don't know me as a person and I doubt if their tunnelvision will ever allow them to see the mom I am.

When I dreamed about a large family I had one huge goal in mind: that my kids would feel happy to be the person they are, and that they would be good people in their hearts and for other people.
They are.

Most enjoy discovering the world and the way they can deal with it. Except for our classic autistic son, who feels good with himself and us, but needs a lot of support dealing with society.
Strange or not, most problems he faces come down to lack of respect for the person he is.
We live in a society where there is some ideal image of a person, and all who diverge from that are pulled with rules and regulations to that very same image.
He's just himself.
Like many moms of large families I see one sitting at the side of the nest, not even daring to look down, let alone to fly all by himself.
Oh, I wish he would. And maybe he can.
But he needs far more time than others, far more skills and loads of patience and support even to face the wonderful world around him.
There's no respect in this society for people with different thoughts and needs.
So I think he needs mothering even far after the others have waved me goodbye and have gone to live at their own place at their own insights.

I can deal with it, he can deal with it in his own way.
But can all those with their preconceived ideas handle the fact that he is different and I can deal with it according to his needs? Or will I find some people who are able to assist me, so he gradually can loosen him from the ties he needs? I know there are better places for him to develop himself and all I can do is show them, motivate him and motivate more.
It all will be well, in due time.

Motherhood this year is shadowed by people who think they know more about our lives than we know ourselves. Some people go far in creating a dream image, even if that's a nightmare. I think they feed on it in some way. I have no other explanation. These people are so locked in their own frame of mind and give their feelings so little space, that I think that maybe I worry more about their wellbeing than they ever think about ours.
Such a waste of life to be that way, such lack of using the true talents people have been given, the talents we all got: kindness, openheartedness, empathy, compassion and real care.
It's difficult for me to deal with these people. I feel I need to defend myself and my family, and in reality there's nothing to defend.
We're perfectly OK.
But the fact that people look at you like you're dirt creates tension. The fact that they're not able to see you the way you are is creates a kind of desperate feeling.
I know it's not important what people think about me and us, as long as we're OK and doing well. But it deeply hurts and it makes me ask myself what I'm doing wrong that they won't see us the way we are and keep on laying pressure on us to be the way they want to see us: not living up to the standards they have set (and probably can't keep themselves. Hence why the firm belief we can't be OK? )
I've dealt a lot with jealousy in my life. But this is more. And it casts a shadow over our feelings and happiness, because out there there are people who want to take it away.
They say the want to offer help. but I haven't even sen the smile and attitude of help.

Well, I and we can perfectly deal with life without them.
We would have crashed before they came into our lives; long, long before that.
The challenges of having such a large group of kids in different ages with different needs, guiding them through social life, self discovery, school, etc etc. And always keeping in mind that each of them is a true individual and should be regarded as that.
I haven't raised a small army or football team, I've raised and I'm still raising individual beings.

So whatever is going on in our lives, I'm filled with gratitude and it has only grown today with each kid telling me in his own way at his own time how happy they are with me as a mom.
It brings me to tears.

And it makes me grateful for the enormous gift my grandmother has given me by sharing all she experienced as a mom of even more children. I still see us sitting at her table at a day like this. The gardendoors open to the small balcony where lightning would hit at times.
She lived with all her senses, and left us the greatest gift of all: insight in being the best mom according to our talents.
Of all her wise lessons there are only a few I still need to learn: one is that each day really has just 24 hours, that there's no way to feel ashamed that I can't do everything in 24 hours, and that feeling guilty the house isn't in perfect order puts myself down.

Well, it helps that I know I've given the best time of my life to my children and that they all said they have had a wonderful childhood and happy memories.
When I see how they help their friends, stand beside them when life isn't easy and work to create a good future for themselves and the people around them, I feel so happy and so glad.

I hope I'm able to support them and motivate them all to their needs for may more years.
I know it means more and more just being where I am and being available, because flying is what I taught them and is what they have to need to do themselves.

Happy mother's day.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Invitations and invitations

There must be something in the stars for me about invitations.

Yesterday I was invited to Shanghai.
I don't think I'll ever make it that far with what I earn, but who knows what life brings?
They could invite me to teach at a school or university when the kids are old enough to stand on their own feet, and I might even go there.
Waiting for me is a very nice lady, willing to show me the town and the people and do everything to make my stay perfect.

What a generous gesture!

Today we were in Amsterdam with a few of us.
One of our sons needed his dad to bring something to a friend near Amsterdam and we decided to create happy memories and went there.
Last year we went there too near mother's day and it's a nice tradition to break with daily routine and see other things.

We didn't make it to sea, as I would have loved, due to the weather, it was almost tropical, and due to bad train connections.
But our stay in Amsterdam was nice, between all kinds of people enjoying the sun.

Goal was to find a nice mother's day present.
I came home with nothing.

But one of the girls found her dream.

But not without some struggle ...

Dad wanted to go to the chinese part of town, but I wanted to go to a special shop first. My oldest and I discovered it last time we were there. I wanted to buy a proper buddhist small altar. But they had none at all at the moment.

I wanted to walk back a few metres and go to the chinese shops, but dad wanted to go to the right, then to the left and to the left again. He probably wanted to see what was behind the houses in front of us.
I told him that we would not be able to enter the chinese part of town that way, due to the fact that we would land on the main streets which won't grant easy access to the streets beside the canals.
He wanted to go there anyway.

So we landed in an unknown area, and I turned to be right.
Don't tell that to him. LOL!

So he muttered and complained when he had to walk a long way around the place where he wanted to be, and he was even more annoyed when we finally arrived at a place he recognised.
He forgot I brought him there.
I've been to Amsterdam more often and I have walked a lot there with a dear friend who lived there a couple of years. So I know the central places to find my way again.

We finally went to the chinese shops and he couldn't find the one he wanted to go to, because he verbally remembered it and not visually.
He remembered: opposite the Buddhist temple. But it was in the same street.

When we found it it turned out the shop had two entrances... one I wanted to go into before and he refused, because it was not the shop he wanted to go to according to him. LOL!
It was too hot and we were too tired to say anything. So we all had a nice time anyway.

Then we went to the shop I wanted to go to.
My daughter saw a nice chinese jacket and it turned out the perfect fit.
The woman turned out the grandmom of the baby we saw last time and she appreciated to talk about the baby, receive compliments and have some normal woman to woman talk. I felt at home with her. She was very kind.
Then suddenly she said to my daughter: fit this, and gave her the matching skirt.

We didn't know what we saw when my daughter entered the shop again in the chinese outfit.
It was like a movie.

We're not chinese at all.
My daughter has a very pale complexion and is blonde-brown.
She was wearing the outfit though like it has been her costume for many years.

"I'll give you the skirt as a present", the woman said.

When dad was away to get money from the bank, because they had no electronic pay system, we were talking about a few subjects and then landed on buddhism. She told my girls a few things about the migration of buddhism and chinese buddhism, and we got to talk about the way we buddhists relate to each other. I said I lacked good buddhist contact in my town and people are not really interested in people outside their small group, and others practice more of a form of commercial buddhism. That I could not afford the lessons and other events because they were far too expensive for normal people.
She said that she understood what I meant and then suddenly we were invited to her people.
The girls could lean from their peers, like buddhists do, and I could practice with the others and talk with them, etc etc.
If we would like to come to Buddha-day celebrating the birth of Buddha with them.

I was flabbergasted and happily touched.

So we talked some more and had a good time, and then she invited us over to celebrate another special event with the chinese people there.
It didn't feel awkward at all to accept and to express my gratitude and happiness about it.

Before we left she wrapped the outfit in a box I was looking at before and clearly likes, and gave the girls some lucky coins.

When we lwft we were light and had the feeling that we have found a place to be ourselves, to learn to be educated about buddhism.

In a few weeks time we will be back there for the celebration of Buddha day and to meet the other people. There will be plenty of kids for my girls to speak with.

What a wealth of invitations!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A special international anti-diet day

You won't belief it, but it's international anti-diet day.

As most people know we shouldn't be overweight.
But that knowledge is the easiest part of it all.

Men grow their bellies, and women gain wait creating offspring.
It's said the past generations lost that extra body when working on the fields, but the easy way we gain the wait suggests something different.
Maybe people didn't become old enough to carry that extra weight around.

Most people have tried a diet or even more of them.
They lost weight, but almost none was able to keep it off.

Instead they gained even more weight than they lost when they resumed normal eating habits.

So the anti-diet day has been created.

We should eat healthy food.

Well, I do.
But it doesn't make a real difference.

I've got my kids and my extra weight.
People look at me like I eat every day french fries with lots of mayonaise.

I don't.

I was 55 kg when I got diabetes and since I got medication for that my weight has increased steadily while my intake has stayed the same.

I've tried diets. Thanks to people who told me they would really really help. Those were nice young dieticians, straight from college or middle aged ones with lots of exerience.
They were all blessed with a slim line.

I just keep cooking without as little fat as possible, using healthy greens and a lot more that should create a slim line. Most of my kids are top of health and slim. Just like I was in the past.
I just hope they haven't inherited my "later you will be fat anyway" genes.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Freedom day

Freedom is real freedom as long as you respect the freedom of others.
That's not limiting your actions, but that's creating peace in an active way.
And freedom and peace belong to each other.
In many ways.

When you don't respect the freedom of others and when you have some sort of conscience, you won't have peace of mind anymore. And ofcourse you have created negative energy between you and the other person, which might lead to unexpected and unwanted actions.

This goes on the personal level, and on the international too.

Many people are not aware that bath mouthing about people of another race, religion, lifestyle or whatever has consequences. Children who hear it are indoctrinated by the views of tha parents and they will act against freedom and peace when they deal with the people the parents talked about.

Freedom and celebrating freedom is a central issue in our family.
As a large family we often encounter the opinions of others and it's seldom positive.
People have asked me hundreds or maybe thousands times how I can mange, making it sound like it's an impossible task.
People have told me it's irrespionsible in these days to get so many children. Well, I received them, and are those people lucky that there are still young people around to become nurses for the elderly and keep society running when they are too old.
People are jealous, because we can cope, no matter what.

Freedom day is a special day in my country, celebrating freedom of war.
Like last year an enormous amount of people celebrated this day.
But I wonder how many realised that it's not about one day and not really about not being under occupation?

It's about an everyday attitude and it's sad to say, many people create their own mini wars almost every day.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Remembrance day

It's remembrance day.

We remember those who have lost their lives in war.

This day started out as remembrance day for the victims of WW2, and only recently the other war victims were added.

To me remembrance day is to remember the friends of my father. He went to England during the war and served in the RAF.
He never said much about it, so I only have a few facts.

I want to know more about what he experienced.
The past years I've tried to find more about him, but couldn't find anything.
The information about his army chaplain was also completely gone.
Like the two never existed.

Then suddenly some files were opened and info about the army chaplain came online.
They underlined what I already knew about him.

But nothing about my father was found.

One of my sons started to participate in the search and he found someone who stepped in and is now searching too.

Thanks G. for doing so.
Your last mail touched me to tears, and even when we find nothing about my dad, I know we have found a friend in England. Another person who has touched our hearts deeply.

Remembrance day is different this year, because there's a bit more hope of knowing more.
But we still remember all who have made us the people we are.
Including the family members who were killed in the bombing of our town, who were on the list of missing persons and were accepted to have died, and suddenly were gone from that list last year, like they never existed.

But they were on this world.
Their photos were on the wall in my grandmother's livingroom.
She remembered them and so do we.

She also taught me the poem that has become so very famous:

In Flanders fields

by lieutenant-kolonel John McCrae, 1872-1918

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A garden fire good for asthma patients

The past years I've had more than enough of the woodfires between the houses.
I've got asthma and the fun of other people made me close doors and windows and sit in a far too warm house, waiting until the fores were over and the neighbours to bed, so I could open the windows and maybe have a few moments of enjoying my garden.

Developments of furniture allowing woodfires to be a bit safer made the sparks go away, but even intensified the smoke.
I've learned that many people don't care about the health of others. Their pleasure goes first.

Today I saw an outdoor fire pit that doesn't pose the problems the woodfires cause.
It's a wonderful table, with a circle with fire inside. The fire burns on propane that can be regulated.
The table contains an OriflammeTM Designed Fire Burner which is guaranteed for a year. We know the quality.

The table is not cheap at all, but that might make it even more attractive to people who want to show of their gardenfurniture.

To me, it's furniture that keeps me healthy and it enables asthma patients for the first time to enjoy their garden as much as other people.

The car is not a real car anymore

We've had a good time with our car, but last week it started to show some problems.

Our son took it upon him to find out what was the matter and according to him and the person who advices him it's the dynamo.

Well. it's good to know what the problem is, but it's a pity we can't go to some special events for tomorrow, freedom day.

There are a lot of special events organised all over the country to celebrate the end of WW2 in 1945.

I know it's a long time ago, but we still honor the freedom we've got.
When I was younger the freedom was tremendous.

Now we're living in a society that tells us far more what to do and when to do it. At school children are taught how to be model citizens and the law is all around us.
People feel they can't speak freely anymore.
But we're still more free than people in a lot of other countries.
So we celebrate and hope that soon we'll get a governemtn that allows the former ways of freedom again.

Brother printers

Visiting the university here is always a pleasure.
It's nice to see old friends and collegues for a cup of coffee and exchange some news and discuss the latest developments in the fields.
It's always a good opportunity to vent ideas and sometimes I come across research based on it.

My life provided me with another carreer, but my heart still lies there.

The years I've studied were a real pleasure. Not only because i had a busy social life, but also because I loved to study.
No wonder I got a good job there. But as the youngest staff member I lost my job due to the recession of those days.

One of the people of the "paper department" as we used to call it, asked me to come with him because he had to show me something I would like.

I made a small museum of typewriters and printers and found the old typewriter I would love to have here at home. He also had a nice line of brother printers, from the old mechanic one to the latest version... at his own desk.

It was also fun that someone of the older professors walked in and looked at me and said: "I know you".

It made me feel like I want to work there again. If only they would ask...

Hyves and remembrance day

The Dutch version of Facebook: Hyves takes away the responsibility of people.

I'm not a member of Hyves, but a well trusted source who is told me that Hyves will prohibit all activities at their site at the time of the remembrance service, this evening at the local time of 8 o'clock.

So people don't have any choice but to stick to respecting the national silence for remembrance day.

I'm one of the people who have taken this silence and the remembrance service seriously. I've taught my children to do the same, and even when they're not at home they keep silence at that time. Most of them are home at remembrance day anyway.

But I've never forced them.
I told them why this day is important, that we also remember friends of my father who died in the war, and that we remember those who were killed during the heavy bombing of my city and the occupation of my country.
That was enough to make them realise they want to tell everything to their children, if they ever have any.

I've never enfourced this tradition. Never.
People who visited us were told about our tradition and that was it.
They just kept silent too.

But now Hyves is going to enforce it on internet.

To me it makes clear how controling our society has become.
People want to enforce their own vieus on others, and even though they say it's due to respect, it's not really a sign of respect.

My father and friends would never value a silence that is enforced.

It's the freedom of commemorating them that they fought for.

Wish: a new stove

One of my dreams is to have an electric fireplace in the livingroom with the appropriate electric fireplace inserts.

In fact I would love to have a Duraflame DFS-450BLK Freestanding Electric Stove.
It looks old fashioned, but it's very modern (again).
because it's not embedded in the wall it can be placed everywhere, even outside on a chilly summer's evening.

It remembers me of the farm where I used to come. In the evening we would sit around the woodstove in the large kitchen, the watercan boiling, and sometimes we would roast marshmellows on top of the stove.

The children were small, both ours and those of our friends, and we did a lot together.

On the farm there was enough to do for the boys. Ranging from watching the piglets and giving the other animals their food, to helping on the land.

We felt tremendously rich. Waking up in the attick and seeing the fields against the blue sky (or the grey world with floods of rain), eating fresh products and walking around.

I guess I've attached some of that good time to that small stove which is afforable to a small purse.
I first have to buy a new kitchenkabinet though, so I can store my stuff there and unclutter the house a bit.

Online magazines going too far

I think some online magazines have lost their own sense of being.
A few moments ago I went to the site of one of the main women magazines and found in the centre of the page the same newsitems as on the site of the national newsservice.

They didn't even bother to mention the subjects of the new edition or even of the present edition: no it was the news, even now Osama Bin Laden is old news again.

I'm not sure if they want to deliver an extra service or assume the IQ of the readers has lowered.

In the past I've learned a lot from the magazine. They had very good subjects on crochet, cooking and dealing with every day issues.
Now it seems they're struggling to find people to write artticles, or to find subjects that are interesting for the modern woman.

I think that diverging from their origin towards being more of a news provider isn't the right decision.
We can find our news all over the place: on TV, the radio, on paper and plenty on internet.

But women subjects from a trusted place? That's a difficult problem for many young woman nowadays.

Cigars online

The anti-smoking policy in many countries has not really diminished the number of smokers.
Here in town a few people lost their jobs, because the cigarette smokers now buy their packages at the supermarket, but sigarsmokers can't buy their cigars there.

Dedicated cigarsmokers now buy gurkha cigars online.

I'm not sure if they cigars improve on their way from factory to consumer.
The conditions in which the cigars are kept are not watched at all, whereas in the past the cigars were shipped and transported under controled conditions so the shops would present first class cigars without any problem.

Strangely enough the prize hasn't been brought down, what might be expected when expensive climate control is no longer used.

But maybe I'm a bit too critical and do smokers taste no difference, because the best still are the best.

Disturbance on remembrance day

Right now the whole house is shaking and a lot of noise is in the air.
A loud thumping noise is disturbing the sleep of the children in the street.

No, it's not war!
And apart from the fact that it's remembrance day today it has nothing to do with it.

But it's very disturbing.

"IT", is a cleaning machine of the local council.
It's rubbing the surface of the street with large turning brushes under a loud car to clean the street.
Maybe they're desinfecting it (LOL), because we don't have junk or lose papers on the street.
I'm OK when they come once a year, in autumn, to remove the fallen leaves from the inlets of the sewage system, but that's enough.
In fact we can brush away those few leaves ourselves too.

In a time of recession that's a good way to save money.
There are other places that these guys can be employed very well, so they won't lose their income.

Now WW2 is moving in the past more and more, people seem to think there's no need anymore to respect this day.

Well, I think this day should be respected.

Dealing with drug problems

The news reports today about the new policy in town to approach everybody who seems to have used drugs or who might sell drugs.

They've done it before and all they gained was the money of a few fines and problems in other neighbourhoods.

Handing out fines and sending people away doesn't make a real difference in the lives of drugs users and -dealers.
They just go on at another place and won't change their habits, so lives are destroyed at the same rate.

I think that the latest developments in heroin detox should be used to help drugsusers to gain control over their lives and problems again.

But strange ways of thinking have developed in our society. Becoming a druguser is a personal problem and it's like society doesn't want to help people who are not able to find the right direction in life. Do the lawmakers really think that telling someone they should stop is enough?

Fighting addiction is one of the hardest things to do, but maybe there's an addiction too in telling others what to do.
Well, at least it's the easiest way to deal with problems.

Blogging for autism

The past month I've been blogging for autism.

I didn't create as much posts on the subject as other years, because my days were already filled enough with the subject.

The days of giving general information are over, unless we're dealing with people who have just heard the diagnosis.

Many people have questions about the trustworthiness of autism research or socalled research, autism medication and living environments for autistic people.

Ofcourse autism research can be commented on, most of the time rather easily, as research is bound bij design and conditions, rules and regulations.
There's a lot on internet that's stated to be research outcome that in reality is not backed up by scientific research, and a lot that is based on something that can't be called research at all.

On top of that I've come across a lot of mistakes in using statistics and in interpreting statistics.

I'm kind of tired explaining that some of the self called experts are no experts at all, only in their own eyes and in those of people who belief.

The recent years I've been rather busy with living conditions for autistic young people.
What they need, and how to arrange it.

And there are people who are involved in strange cases, even to and after court, based on mistakes of social workers who don't understand the dynamics of autism and autism families and report metldownsd as reactions of being abused or of bad parenting.

So how we put it, one way or another there is still too much to do to say our organisation isn't needed anymore.

I raised 50 dollars. Not much, but in this time of recessions donations are gone and work for blogs is limited.
It will either be used for some decorations for a house for autistic people or to make a pile of standard letters to inform grandparents about what autism is and how they can deal with it.
Maybe some donations will follow after this post and both good causes can be served.

Mowers on the farm

Yesterday we had a talk about my youth and the children were very interested in my stories about the farm near my home.

I loved to go there to help out and a question about milk triggered a lot of memories.

They had a couple of cows and each day the car of the milk factory came to fetch the milk.
Except for a few cans the farmer kept apart to use himself.
The rich milk was boiled and the cream was taken off and used on the coffee and hot chocolate.
Nothing resembles the taste of it.

The farm is still there, but the fields have gone.
I don't think they have cows or horses left, and apart from a few chickens it's rather quiet there.

Maybe they sell machines to farmers and gardeners there.

The other day I saw a few toro mowers shining in the sun.

I'm sure the old farmer would have loved to use them on his fields.

It was a time that horses were still thought to be best, and machines were only used on megafarms.

Now toro mowers are in reach for everyone.

Maybe I should go back next week and see if there's someone to talk to.

Helping in a large family

It's so nice to have a large family.

One of the girls had problems with her bicycle.
Her father tried to fix it, but it didn't work.
So the bicycle had to be brought to the repair.

First she tried to do it herself with the help of her sister.
But they couldn't bring it all the way, because they had to lift the back part and it was too heavy to reach the repairman.

Today their oldest brother called to ask something. The problem was told and he said he would hop in and fetch the bicycle.

He didn't even enter the house when he came.
He just called my daughter, gave me a quick hello and went with her and the bicycle on their way.
He's long and lifting the back of the biccyle was no problem for him.

I watched them leaving.
He, walking with the bycicle like he was lifting a bag, she walking beside him, telling him something that made him laugh.

When they were out of sight I could still hear them.

So nice!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Pos systems

It's always interesting to have friends in all corners of society. One can symply learn a lot by asking questions about what's unknown.

Take for instance: POS systems.

A friend went through the whole process of rebuilding his restaurant.
Not only was the old place demolished and a new one built, but he also went for a complete new look and refurnishment.

He came by with photos and new cards, pens and other gifts to make his name known again. He also told a lot about all the new items and services in his restaurant, including new pos systems.

There he had me. I didn't know anything about that.
So I asked.

After more than an hour I think I understand what goes on in a restaurant behind the desk.
I never thought that it would be a great idea to put a barcode on the menu.
But it is.

Simply scan it when customers order their dinner and drinks and a whole cycle of services is set in motion.
The stores are adjusted, the kitchen is served with ingredients and from one piece of butter in the pan the costs are calculated.

There's no need to close the shop for a day to make an inventory of everything present. He can see it at his computer when he wants and when he needs to order things the orders are printed automatically.

Now I understand why he said he had more time for his children and wife.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama Bin Laden is a martyr now

Today the news was all about Osama Bina Laden.

So there´s not much to tell about that, you can read what is released to the press everywhere.

It´s strange that the speech of Obama mentioned that Osama was killed after the gunfight.
Well, it´s clear they didn´t want to take any risk of people wanting to fight to free Osama.

Questions are posed all over the world, including the one that Bin Laden never was brought to court after 9/11. Didn´t they have enough evidence?

Well, they've killed a man who was seriously ill. Assuming the news of some years ago that he died was not true. Bin Laden was not the leader of the much feared organisation anymore. So all they did was create a martyr for those who though Bin Laden served a good cause.

I think violence is never the answer to problems, not one way, not the other way.

Fires due to dry weather

There are several fires in nature due to the dry weather of the past weeks.
It has rained a bit in certain areas, but not everywhere.

In the dunes near Bergen, a famous tourist village, firefighters Are wrking hard to gain control of a fire that is assumed to be caused on purpose.

What a shame that so many areas of nature are disappearing.

Here we live not far from large woods, which have been set in fire a few times in the past. We can only hope that no one is so stupid to start a fire now.

Only think of all the animals that live there, and flowers that are nearly extinct.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A quiet Queensday

Another Queensday.

In the past we had a busy day with the children decorating bicycles, enjoying the parade, selling toys at the children's market and watching the fireworks in the evening.

What a lot has changed since then!

Today they had their own things to do. They went to see the market, but didn't bring home the junk of others.
We all watched the visit of the Queen to two town in the south of the country and, I have to say, we ernjoyed it a lot.
And then we found a movie we all wanted to see.

After dinner we ate traditional cake and discussed going to the open air concerts or not.

Because of the weather we decided not to go and have a quiet evening.
No problem at all.
It was a very relaxed evening for all of us.