Friday, September 30, 2011

Summer in autumn

During the summer we had 7 real summerdays, this september counted 4 of them and tomorrow will be another 1.

26.7 degrees celcius was officially recorded as the highest temperature, but locally temperatures of 29 degrees and even higher were recorded.

I wish I had been able to enjoy the sun, but there was too much to do.

We had a short meeting about the organisation of the paper.
There are in fact two groups. People who only do something when they feel like it and a group of enthousiastic people who are willing to invest time and energy.
My experience with working with volunteers is a good help, as is the training in editing I had a long time ago. Volunteers want to be valued and those who are eager to work should be able to do something worthwhile, whereas one also needs to keep in mind that the readers and advertisers need to be served too. Time enough to write, but not so much that the readers and advertisers walk away.
At the moment there's no one who is officially in charge.
I'm not waiting or wanting to be the one, but after the boss went ill the second one in charge just didn't take over as an organisor nor as a coordinator. A paper takes ages to grow and just a few weeks to wither, so someone should step in.
One of the reasons the person in question isn't too eager to take up his responsibilities is maybe the financial situation of the whole business.
I wish there was some financial expert who would volunteer with free advice.
Running a paper during recessiontime is hard, but running a free paper is a real challenge.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

The boy

Suddenly the house seemed to tremble because the doorbell rang so loud that even the spiders under the roof tried to close their ears.
Immediately the noise was followed by loud knocking on the door with relative great force.
I hurried to the door, but when I arrived in tha hall I saw it was just a small boy disturbing the quietness of the warm afternoon.

When I opened the door he showed an attitude that was far greater than his height. The look in his eyes was clearly one of intolerance and impoliteness.

"Where is the fire?"

He was caught of guard. "Fire?"

"Yes, only when there's an emergency people are allowed to behave like you just did."


It was clear he was not willing to change his attitude, nor was I.
So I told him we don't have a chair behind the door so we can open as soon as someone is standing there.
He stayed impolite, and dared to ask if I would buy something from him.

"No, not from people who behave like that."

I guess his parents forgot to teach him how to deal witgh doorbells.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A new subject at school, do teachers use brains?

Today one of the girls wanted to talk with me.
She said that one of the subjects she's taking at school is absolutely not offering what the information made her think.
So we got the information and compared it to her experiences until now.

The subject is about moving and sports. It's relatively new.
The purpose is to inform pupils about the theoretical aspects of sports and to give more insight. A last goal is to teach the kids in such a way that they can coach others, umpire and watch the safety of others.
We also got a list of sports that will be the focus of attention.

To my daughter's surprise she didn't get only the expected task to make a trainingschedule she was/is also forced to take part in a cross country run of 10 km. Trainingstime: 6 weeks.
She's never done a thing like that before, and as a ballet dancer she's not supposed to untake activities that put her in danger of injuries.

To assess the risk for injuries I contacted the organisation of the cross country run.
Within a few hours I got an answer from one of the people working there. I was right, the time to train for the run was too short. Maybe 5 km would be an option, but even then the risk of injuries would be large. The event was the heaviest in it's sort within a large area.
He's a teacher himself and he suggested an alternative task.

So I contacted the groupteacher and asked for a meeting.
She too replied quickly, telling me she would involve the head of the sports department and contact me again.

Surfing on internet I found the organisation behind the subject at school.
The purpose of the part of the subject is not to expose pupils to topsports as active particpants, but to teach them to develop a trainingschedule.
So it seems the teachers at the school of the girls didn't understand their own task.
The lack of care for the wellbeing of the pupils, in fact, the lack of use of their brains is not new/
We've seen it in the past, at the expense of pupils, we're seeing it now.

As I don't want my daughter injured in such a way that she can say goodbye to her balletcarreer I have to step in. Ofcourse I'll watch the wellbeing of the other kids too.

This school doesn't have an active parent's organisation and it sure is a pity. Let's hope I can tackle them on my own.

Graphic made by me with tubes from Outlaw by Design.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wangari Maathai

Wangari Muta Maathai caught my attention many many years ago.
It was 1971 when I was at the doctor's office and from the corner of my eye I saw a small message in the university paper at the table: "First East African woman promoted at Nairobi University. She was 31 and studied in the USA".
At that time it was unusual for a girl there to go to school, let alone to go to a far away country and finish a university study.
I was about 15 at the time, just realising I was rather bright and maybe could go to univeruty too.
All my doc said was: "What she can do, you can do too."
I don't know if she influenced my decision to go to university. Sure I felt that my uncle who went to university should not be the only one in the family and that I, a woman, could do what he did.

She was in my mind however when I stood in front of the examination board without family and friends, because the final examination was moved forward and there was no time to warn the people who should have been there. I waited alone for the final results. Maybe she did too.
I was lucky that my father was always early. He was just in time to see me happy all over because I made a dream come true. I'd finished my studies.

By then Wangari had already started campaigning for the Green Belt Movement (she initiated in 1977) to keep the forest of Kenia alive and replant what was already damaged. By now more than 40 million trees have been planted.
By then I didn't know she was also protesting against dictatorship and fighting against injustice. I heard about that just before 2000 I think, in an overview of the century in which she was mentioned as someone who had done a lot for the nature of Africa, but also for the people.

As she seemed to pop-up in my life so often I looked her up and found out that she was valued very much for what she tried to do to end injustice and strive for peace between people.
She had a hard time fighting for the rights of women, but she kept on working hard, against all odds, threats and acts against her life.
As precisely at that time something about the Nobel prize was on the radio I thought it a good idea to bring her to the attention of the committee, as never before an African woman had won the Nobel Prize.
She won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2004.

By that time she was part of the new democratic government of her country, but the old ways and the male dominance where too powerful to enable her to reach all her goals.
Nevertheless has she created a lot of awareness for the value of nature, for the way rich people deal with nature and poor people, and she has empowered the african people.

Wangari has won a lot of prizes, travelled all over the world to bring her message, she even adressed the UN a couple of times. She became professor and a lot more.
But most of all she kept true on what she saw as her mission in life.
And she stayed the wonderful woman she was.

She died from cancer at the age of 71 at september 25.

Thank you Wangari for be an inpsiration in my life too.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I forgot

Today the zipcode lottery was taking place. As we decided at the end of last year to enter, we took part. Ofcourse we were curious if we would be as lucky as the first month, when we won a box with icecream.

Well, the results aren't online yet, so we don't know.

All evening the kids were speculating and imagining what they would do with the money.

It's interesting that some of them wanted to use the money for studies and others didn't even think of investing in that part of their future.
They rather wanted to go on vacation or buy a vacationhome somewhere nice.

Then they asked me what I would like to do.

Well, when I would win 500.000 euro I would probably spend it on a home in the UK, so I would be able to spend my last days and hopefully a lot of years where I want to be.

I completely forgot I want to travel a lot.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Saturday again

No space debris on our heads today. So we were lucky.
Until now no one has found a large piece of the old satelite and some people here are speculating about the USA shooting the satelite debris in a thousand, ready to burn away, pieces.

After weeks, what do I say, almost a whole summer of grey days, we had a wonderful sunny day. It was really hot. Above 20 degrees celcius.

We went to Germany to get the groceries and hopped in a shop where I found a very nice sweater. Didn't fit me, but one of my daughters wanted to try it on and she looked amazing! I felt really old, realising that I was so proud to see her that handsome, and that I still had "nothing to wear".

On our way back we took another way out of the city and had a wonderful trip back through the countryside. The light was amazing.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I Put a Spell On You

1. If you could put a spell on someone, who would it be and why?

Ofcourse I can't mention their names, but some people have misjudges our family in a very bad way. I would love to put a spell on them, a good one, so they will see the good in people as it is, and they will see the beauty of the world. I think these people have a gloomy and depressive look on the world and it would be great to give them something better.

2. If you could go back in time and relive one moment, what would it be?

There are many. But the evening with my oldest and my best friend a few weeks ago would be OK. Maybe I could put some extra words in the evening for my friend to make clear I really do understand why he wants to go through his chemos alone, but I also would plead for friendship and that friend want to support.

3.If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?

I don't think we can influence the future by going back to the past.
But maybe I could keep my father alive.

4. What movie/TV character do you most resemble in personality?

Maybe mother Walton. Lol!
I don't know.
Maybe Karen von Blixen of Out of Africa.

5. If you could push one person off a cliff and get away with it, who would it be?

None, I couldn't live with murder.

6. Name one habit you want to change in yourself.

That I postpone to visit the dentist. Just postpone though, I always go at least once a year.

7. Describe yourself in one word. one can!

8. List your top three memes that you like to respond to.

Noop. I just do one at the moment.
But I would love to have manic monday back and the one I did on friday's.

9. Why do you blog?

I started blogging because someone asked me. Soon I used my blog to vent. With all those small kids it was a great relief to blow away stress and such. In the meantime my foreign friends and friends abroad kept updated.
Now my blog is a mix of this all and added are information and opinions.

Have a nice weekend!

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Good news

One of my sons, the photographer, is going to work at the local radio and TVorganisation.
He's very happy about it and so are we.

The past year he took it upon him to go to fires, accidents and other events and take photos.
Gradually the fireworkers accepted him and the past months they helped him to move relatively free around an object. Because of that he was able to help our own dentist to get his insurance in motion.

Often he was sooner at location than the other press earning respect. And because of his young age he got shots no one else had. Including a very nice photo of the queen.

So with a filled portfolio and his cv he went to the meeting, the guy recognised him and he got the job, including an option on the photo of the queen.

It's fun to see the movement of the family towards journalistic work.
He's doing work for the radio and TV, and my oldest and I are running the local paper with a few others.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Financial prognosis for 2012

Today was the opening of the new year of the Dutch parliament/governmental year.
It was the Dutch day of the parade of the hats, but I didn't have any attention for them. That's a first in a very, very long time.

Next year we will be hit by many cutbacks.
To mention just 6:
  • We're in the wrong income group. The middle group will suffer the most.
  • Higher medical costs for those with chronic diseases.
  • Handicapped people won't get the same amount of support as they had or should get.
    That's one of the kids at home hurt very hard. And maybe those that live elsewhere need to be either supported or to come home. (Where do they need to sleep? Share the bath as a sleeping place?)
  • Studying will be more expensive...meaning impossible university studies.
    That's one of the girls influenced in her future plans forever.
  • No increased income next year.
  • Less psychological sessions, far higher psychiatric costs.
An additional problem is that the european union created a law that people of our income can't rent a house anymore. We have always lived rented as does the largest part of our fellow countrymen. And it was a free choice to do so. We wanted to be able to move houses when it was necessary for the children or their father's job without all the problems of selling and buying. One of the neighbours opposite the street has his house on the market for almost two years now. When one wants to move for a job or a school two years is far too long.
Because of the new rule we're stuck. We don't have the capital to buy. When we leave our house we can't rent. So we have to stay here or move abroad.

So it's one worry after another or to live by the day.

So let's enjoy the sunlight and the air which are still free.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Batteries in our family

Sometimes it seems our family runs on batteries.
The alarms in the morning, the clock downstairs, a light, the phones, the calculators for school, the camera, another clock, etc etc.
You name it and the chance it runs on batteries is very high.

So we use a lot of batteries. In fact we have a special drawer full of batteries, so people can find full ones anytime. That's especially handy for my son the photographer. When he's run out of batteries he comes to us.

We don't often buy batteries. There's absolutely no need to spend a lot of money. We use rechargeable aa batteries, even in equipment that comes with a note that rechargeable shouldn't be used. We've never ever experienced problems. It should be noted though that we always use a battery until it's completely empty and we keep them in a very dry and clean environment.

Just an ordinairy september sunday

The temperatures are dropping a bit. It's clearly autumn.
It's strange to say after such a dull and grey summer.
I wish I had a good camera to take pictures in the late afternoons, when the light just catches the tops of the grass, making the world green and silver.
The camera I got as a present started to get episodes of stubbornness. The whole thing blocks when I want to take pictures outside.
It would be nice to work alongside my son as a photographer, but with a camera like mine it's impossible. So I dream...and keep on dreaming. :)

I started messing up the house, to put summerclothes away and put autumnclothes instead and winterclothes ready.
With one of the sons plainning to move out his stuff has to be organised in a different way and I can't put his stuff together with the clothes of his brother, like I used to do.

Added to that other changes make it all even more complicated.
Other hobbies and even another way of living.

I've offered to volunteer at an international organisation, but only at special days and near home, so that's not such an issue.
But I'll also start to work at the paper of a friend and that will take more time. For as long as necessary I'll take it upon me to run his paper. As a gift, in return for all he did. He never got a cent, nor will I. But it's important to keep an independent voice.
And I love the challenge.

So my whole household needs to be reorganised.
I can put certain things away, other things need to be more available.

The next years will bring even more changes, as the girls will finish school and move on.
And you all know my dreams... :)

The first chestnuts have fallen. The pine in the back garden is loaded, so we can expect some downfall there too.

I have to cut some of the shrubs in the garden and prepare it for winter.

There's so much to do and no extra time.
Parent's evenings, meetings, and making ends meet so we can have some extra's in december.
It won't be much as the recession has hit the country hard. But we can deal with that. We have each other.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A special air force day

Yesterday I went with my 2 oldest sons to the air force base in the north of the country to attend one of their public days.

It was a huge event with lots of f16 stunts, helicopter dances and displays of every single part of the air forces, and some of the ground forces and marine too.

I didn't expect the boys taking so much time to research...yep to research, each single shop and stands for all sorts of items.
When I'd found a pin to add to my collection of spitfire items, I was perfectly OK. Especially as I already bought a cap of this year's event for my collection and one for one of the kids at home.

Maybe I've seen more of the shows than the boys. While they were turning badges, screening emblems and more of those items, I enjoyed the sun and tried to hear each plane that approached before I could see it.
I'm very much against war, but I understand why nations defend themselves and train to do so. During the day I could see how special the bond between groups of the young people is and how the enthousiasm drove the pilots to show off...a lot!

When we were allowed to enter a dark room to experience the night binoculars, it presented nothing new to me. I already know the system. I didn't know however that I could see without those binoculars more than enough to find my way in the dark and see people approach me, even when they couldn't see me.
I thought I'd lost the ability to see well in the dark, but it has even grown better.
My son couldn't see anything without his nightviewer. Wow!

I interviewed one of the men of the weatherservice of the air force. Which was quite some fun as he started out with the idea that the person in front of him didn't know anything about his work. Pity. Not only is one of my nephews a very honored pilot, but I've always been very interested in the relationship between the space shuttle and weather conditions. It was fun to ask him some good questions and if I'd worked for one of the national papers he'd been in problems with what he said about applicants for a jon there and those who worked there. I had the luxury of sticking to the ethics I've set for myself.

The day also contained an unexpected encounter.
I'll write about that later.

Tuesday Afternoon

1. Where will you be and doing this Tuesday afternoon?

I assume I
ll be preparing for one of the meetings for next week.

2. Do you belong to any group(s)?


3. Do you feel energized or drained by being in a group situation? (If the answer is "it depends," on what does it depend?)

Most of the time I feel energized.

4. Is there a role you naturally put yourself while adapting when in group situations?

Depends which role I have to play in the rgoup. But ususally I'll listen first.

5. In business or formal situations, do you mind hugs or are you offended if it goes past a handshake?

We have a nice in-between: 3 kisses consisting of cheek to cheek.
But when I don't know people a handshake will do fine.

6. Do you find what we'd call “ice breakers” a playful way to build community in a lighthearted manner, or a complete and utter hell of forced fun and awkwardness?

Depends on the reason people meet.

7. What word do you use far too frequently?

Hmm, ask my kids.

8. What word do you use not frequently enough?

I don't know. Strange question.

9. What word do you use when swearing is not appropriate?

Silence is loudest in that case.

Have a nice weekend!

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Looking forward to...

A few years ago I applied for a place for both girls at an organisation for siblings of handicapped people.
A few times a year a special day is organised for the siblings to give them a chance to be the centre of attention, to relax, and to forget about the special challenges life has for them.

Last time it was a day for of games and sports, but they also had a survival event and a make over including a new hairdo.

A new event is scheduled for november 5th and it involves a talent show. In the letter that announed the day some parts are very suggestive for a celebrity taking part in the event.

The kids didn't know if they should jump from joy or cry like babies.
One of the talent shows on TV hosts a few judges that are absolutely NOT popular. They impress as stupid and not knowledgeable on the subjects at all.

I said that maybe they are acting different away from the cameras.
What would you have said?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Money for cancer research

Volunteers collected money for cancer researh. It was about 60.000 euro.
Even though the building where the boxes with the money were kept was full with safety equipment, thieves found their way and stole the boxes with money.

One of the national dj's was so shocked that he spontaneously said during his radio program that he would stay at his job as long as necessary to collect 60.000 euro.
That was at 16.00 hours.

He thought he needed to stay up all night, but at 20.30 hours, so 4 and a half hours later, he had already collected 63.000 euro's.
He was very impressed by the way people reacted. He never expecetd such a positive comments from people all over the country.

The thieves are not found yet.
But I think they should get psychiatric treatment for stealing money that is so clearly meant to help lots of people.

Dressing up?

More than a month ago I saw people blogging about halloween, and when I was surfing online yesterday I saw quite some posts about what the children and the parents themselves would wear for halloween.

But would you wear a halloween costume in the privacy of your own bedroom? I bet you won't.
For those who would I recommend french maid outfits.
The decent ones will be perfect for a costume party, when you dare to wear them, and with the right stockings and hairdo also good for at home.

I remember that as a child I didn't care to be a waitress.
To me the best way to dress up was being a nurse.
I took it very serious, because I really wanted to be a nurse. And I was very happy to receive bandages and a lot of other things that friends and family gave me. Now I guess it was old material saved from the waste bin. But then I felt like the sister of the queen who worked for the red cross. Isn't that cute?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fish oil a no-no?

Until now it was not known why some people could deal with multiple courses of chemoptherapy and others showed a growing resistance.

It's now known that fish oil is the influence that puts the lives of people with cancer at risk.

Our bodies produce fatty acids themselves as a consequence of chemotherapy. Not much, just a bit.
Adding fish oil, especially with omega 3 and/or omega 6, or other substances containing fatty acids, like algae, to our diet is not healthy at all, as some people claim. At least not for cancer patients.

The mechanism by which the fatty acids make the body resistant against chemotherapy is still unknown, but research has shown the effect, and it's alarming.
So professor Emile Voest from the university of Utrecht advices cancer patients to be very aware that supplements they can buy in the supermarket can be dangerous.

The researchgroup also found certain chemicals that keep the body from building resistance. More reserach needs to be done, but the outlook is very promissing.

Read more:

Monday, September 12, 2011

Surprise, surprise

Ofcourse we had quite some talks to prepare just for the thought.
And we are all ready for it.
But we were still very surprised that today our autistic son made the announcement he felt he was ready to find a place to learn to love on his own.

The past months he has seen more conscious how fast things are changing in the care for people like him. His brothers had long term assistance of a social worker, he only got a few talks and then she tried to make him move to a facility. It scared the hell out of him.

Others changes and awereness issues were the fact that the government wants to take away the income of grown up people who are handicapped and live with their parents and the fact that we are growing older and don't have eternal life.

Add to it a chunk of male ego... one of the girls finishes school next year and might move to another town for further education, and he can beat his one level older brother by moving out earlier, and it's clear his decision is a motivated one.

His criticism on everyone here has been a subject of quite a few discussions, and I managed to swallow "mind your own business" and replace it with: "I hear you know what people should do in many situations, I can see you've grown up quite a bit".

So the big decision has been made.
We know a protected living environment which would be best for him and there's no waitinglist at the moment, so all depends on administration and all those other things that take lots of time and lots of energy.

So tomorrow morning I'll get in contact with the organisation that owns the place and we'll go from there.

I think we'll all benefit from the change.
I really think so.

I have full confidence he can live on his own with some support.
The past years I've seen a tremendous change into the positive direction with the oldest two. It's like they matured later, and living at their own place learned them to deal with their weaknesses and strengths far more independent than they would have done at home.
It's like autistic young people need an in-between-step between home and society, and this young man sure needs that step. So as long as it's possible we should grasp the chance.

We'll do.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I remember when I heard about the first plane flying into the WTC, and I saw the second plane fly towards the buildings too.
It was awful!

Only later I heard about flight 93.
This flight too was highjacked, but the people on board had heard about the fates of the other highjacked planes in New York and Washington, and decided not to grant the terrorists the same. They stormed the cabin and as a result all on board were killed when the plane hit the ground at a field in Stonycreek Township, near Shanksville in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, about 80 miles (130 km) southeast of Pittsburgh and 150 miles (240 km) northwest of Washington, D.C.
The passengers and crew, 40 peope in total, had been able to divert the plane and prevent it from crashing at the target the terrorists aimed at, presumably the white house.

10 years after the crash finally some sort of permanent monument has been unveiled.
It's not finsihed however, because 10 million more dollars are needed.
Unbelievable that after 10 years a memorial still is not finished, a memorial for the true heroes of 9-11.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ready or Not

1. When severe whether happens, generally speaking, are you ready for it?

Yes. Light, radio, drinks, the whole shebang. We also have places where we meet in case of flooding here.

2. If you could wake up tomorrow with a new talent, what would it be?

I can't look in the future. So either the talent would be here already or you won't get an answer.

3. What do you strive for in life?

I'm a buddhist, so you can have an informed guess now. LOL!
I want the people around me to be happy and I want to assist them as much as possible to have a good life. I also try to reach further and help others and nature as much as I can do.

4. If you were given a vacation home and you could have it anywhere, what location would you choose?

Scotland, either at the hebrides or near Oban.

5. Do you feel energized or drained by being in a group situation? If the answer is "it depends," on what does it depend?

Most of the times I feel energized, because there's so much to see and hear in a group.

6. When you're sick do you take "sick days" or do you force yourself to continue working?

I go on working, unless it is really impossible.

7. What is your absolute favorite piece of furniture you have and why?

Rocking chair.

8. When you go out, where do you like to go? What do you like to do?

I love to go to the beach to have a walk.
Near our house is not much to do for an evening out. Dinner, cinema and such are far too expensive.

9. How's life? Is it treating you well right now?

Better than a few months ago. Oh yes. But I would like to have a nice gesture: work and a house in the UK.

Have a nice weekend!

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Friday, September 9, 2011

My second earthquake

It was just one of those evenings.

One of the girls was upstairs making homework, one of the boys was upstairs at his computer, we (2 kids, mom and dad) were downstairs. On of the other boys, the photographer, came in and he was still standing in the room, telling us about a very large order he got, almost ready to go to his brother to ask for a special cable for his computer.
Then suddenly we heard a strange noise and something falling, either at the neighbours or at the attick. I thought that someone was coming down the stairs in a rather ungraceful way and then the couch and floor started shaking like a short wave. The orchid on the table shook too as did a lamp.
I immediately realised it was an earthquake.

The epicentre was at a place we were yesterday afternoon.
We drove another way home from the shops and landed in an unknown area.
At a certain place I felt very unconfortable, even though there was no reason at all. I said that we needed to leave the area as soon as possible, even though I didn't know why.
Kind of creepy.

Today at a shalow depth the earth started to move. The magnitude of the quake was 4,5.
Nothing special for certain areas at the world, but for here it's huge. In fact that was the third large quake ever here.

My second one.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Flowers I love

I absolutely love orchids and dahlia's, but they were not on my mind when we went shopping.
The grocery list in my head was a mix of what we needed for ourselves and what the oldest sons wanted us to bring too.
With less money to spend, I was on the look out for special offers; with the girls going to school again I was looking for healthy snacks to eat between lessons.
My mind was certainly not with the other shops in the area, so I felt a bit irritated when we were told to bring the empty bottles to another building. What a loss of time and energy, especially with the rain and wwind.

But when we were near the building we saw there was a gardencentre beside it.
OK, we noticed that before, but never consciously paid attention to it.

We got curious and went in.
We left with the flowers I love: a dahlia, orchid and hydrangea and with a plastic bag with packages with small beads for ten cents each instead of two euro each.
If I had more money I would have bought the whole place as empty as could be, becaus ethe prizes were so low....

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First autumn storm

The first autumn storm of this year is a fact.
No fun for kids going to school, but I love it.
It's a pity I didn't have the chance to go outside and have a walk near the lake.
My headache might have been blown away.

To my amazement the last 4 apples on the trees were still hanging firm, like they couldn't let go of their familiar home. The two CD's I hung in the tree to protect the apples from being eaten by the birds have done their jobs amazingly well.
Don't worry, the birds had enough apples to eat. They stole and attacked nearly all my apples this year. I've eaten three up till now, utterly happy that I didn't have any signs of allergy.

It's no wonder that on a day like today I found the music of The Dubliners again.
Makes me long for applepie and lots of singing with friends.
Wouldn't it be nice to see some old friends again and let the winds go on blowing around the house until deep in the night.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


The time that I almost as a pioneering phanatic each day the papers fully opened and the columns eagerly read in a hunger to be inspired, to learn and to be gifted with a complete other view on life is over.
Since the right wing politician here in The netherlands started to call one of the world religions a threat to peace and autonomy of my country my interest in the opinions of other columnists faded.
There were too many parrallels with the time right before the outbreak of WW2 and we all know what brought that to us. And the fact that that politician felt the need to be protected all hours of the day didn't fill me with awe or pity, but wth the thought that he was a ridiculous idiot to think he was as important that all those he looked down on whould grasp up to ty a rope around his throat.

The only positive effect of the presence of this guy in politics is that he's revealed that the tolerance in my country was nothing more than egoism and a complete lack of care for other people of a large part of the inhabitants.
The brainless crows cheer for he who yells loudest, regardless if his messages have any content or not.
Are you able to sniff the resemblance with the past?

Today I broke with the newest habit of not reading other columnists and enjoyed myself to bits.
Thomas von der Dunk wrote in the Volkskrant a great opinionated article and I even forgot my cup of coffee when reading, which is the best proof of great quality of writing.

While scribling this my internetcomnection is lost, but I'll refrain from complaining about our internet and internet-safety issues and post this article first thing in the morning.

Good night.

Monday, September 5, 2011

No smoking

One of the main subjects that are enforced on parents is prevention of smoking.
I'm OK with the subject, but not with the way the government and other organisations are dealing with it.
In a way they're signaling young people that they're not responsible for their own behaviour, but their parents are, regardless of their age.

I think parents are responsible for raising their children. I also think that a good upbringing stretches far into adulthood in most cases, but people are responsible for their own choices.

Another important aspect is that at the moment advertisements suggest children should be informed about smoking when they're going to secondary school or whatever the school is called when they're 12 or older. This to prevent kids from smoking at an early age.
I strongly disagree with this.
At 12 they're at an age that many changes are taking place in their lives and they're less open for good advice and information. Some will be even acting directly opposite the behaviour that's expected from them. They're too young for a critical review of research and they will pick out what they want to hear, not what they should hear.

Teaching kids the difference between right and wrong should be done earlier than at the age of 12. That's not only for matters of the law, but also with matters of health.

My children grew up with non-smoking parents.
We set the example, and we made clear that smoking was not healthy. At a young age very simple and more educational when they grew a bit older.
It's a pity not all teachers were an example too. But those smoking people, standing in the cold outside the schooldoor, raised serious questions, and we answered them each and every one. We showed respect to the teaching skills of the teachers, so the children wouldn't disrespect their teachers, but smoking was unhealthy nevertheless.

I'm happy my children didn't feel the need to try out smoking.
That's a lot of self-respect.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Money Grabber

1. Has anyone ever intentionally ripped you off? Or perhaps unintentionally?

Oh yes. But I always try to forget a thing like that as soon as possible. It's only money.
I also try to forget the person as soon as possible.

2. When was the last time that you made a quip that fell completely flat and embarrassed you?

A quip? Have to look that up.
It's a joke, yes?
Can't remember I made a joke that went wrong or backfired.

3. When you go to sleep, does it you need to be absolutely quiet or do you need a little noise (radio, TV, music or white)?

I can deal with a bit of music. As long as it's not a discussion about I subject I care about, all is OK.

4. Do you have a memorable "ripped clothing" moment in your life? No? How about in someone else's? (Come on, you know you have something to contribute!)

No. Sorry.

5. What's changed on your blog since its inception? ...a redo? ...a change of pace? ...or is it still business as usual?

I used to change my blog every month, then every season and now just when I have the time.

6. Can you remember where you were in life ten years ago? If you could travel back in time and whisper something to yourself ten years ago, what would it be?

10 years ago.
Life was very busy then, with schools and such.
I would whisper that I did very well and far more than could be expected.

7. Okay, let's have it! What's the craziest, most impulsive thing you've ever done?

We went over the fence of a swimmingpool at night. Well, we've got an excuse. It was full moon. We didn't dare to go skinny dipping, but we swam.

8. If you were having a bad day what or who would you turn to for comfort?

A bad plenty past year. Just a big sigh, shoulders straight, chin up and move on.
Comfort is the thought that my friends are always there for me, even when I see them just a few times a year.

9. According to the song White Rabbit, "one pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small". If you were offered these pills today, which pill would you take and where would it take you?

I would take the small one and go to a dear friend who's going through a very heavy time with cancer. I would kiss him softly on his cheek and tell him that fairies really excist, and that he always can remember that kiss when he feels alone or low.

Have a nice weekend!

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

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Press conference in the middle of the night

The Dutch government gave a press conference in the middle of the night to explain ICT problems which presumably have only hit governmental sites of The Netherlands.
According to the minister the firm that delivers safety certificates on internet was hacked by iranian hackers. It was suggested it was to spy on iranian people in The Netherlands. It was suggested that the Iranian government had been able to monitor email from gmail accounts, for instance.
The press conference was not only at an unusual hour, but it was also a bit chaotic. Maybe because the minister is not an ICT expert. He came straight from a meeting, with his tie and coat far from as tidy as usual.

Questions from journalists were limited. Ofcourse they asked why the sites are not taken offline. The answer was that it was not necessary, that it would hinder internet traffic between governmental departments (so what...when that traffic is not safe?). There was also an unclear statement about internetbrowsers that would make sites unaccessable, and other issues that are not of real importance.
When a journalist asked if it would be wise not to go to governmental sites the minister first said no, later he acknowledged it would be wise.

Personally I don't care of they're able to see if we have to pay a lot of taxes or not, or if they want to plant more trees in our cities. As long as they don't increase the taxes I'm OK with it. LOL!

My main concern lies in the safety of the country and that issue was not discussed, and should be addressed. Were the sites of the national intelligence, the army, and other safety departments also involved?

Clear was that the firm already knew at july 19 that something was wrong and they failed to inform the police or the owners of the sites who were using wrong certificates.

I think this press conference raised more questions than it solved problems.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fresh fruits

One of the main challenges of being a mom of a large family is seeing that each and every child gets enough fresh fruits and other foods which are health promoting.

I have to say it has always been a joy to get all sorts of fresh fruit and vegetables.
When the first baby was born and ready for some fruit, I went to the market and got myself a few fresh bananas. The farmer who sold it to me enjoyed giving me the best and he did.

When I was pregnant again he always gave me a few apples "all for you and not for others" and when the season was over he always had a few for me in his car. He kept them at a special place to keep them well.
Such sweet memories.

Not all of my children feel inclined to take an apple or other piece of fruit when they see it.
Especially my autistic son needs some motivation, and preparation of the fruit to make him eat it.
So we peel his apples in a nice way, put raisins in oranges to create eyes and nose, and take other efforts to make fruit fun.

Last week however we found a new way to make him enjoy fruit.
We bought a basket with fruit and vegetables for a friend who was healing from surgery.
Our friend loved it and offered my son an apple.
Without thinking my son ate the apple and he said he really liked it.
I can't remember the last time he enjoyed his fruit as much.

So since then we put the apples in a basket and make him pick one.
That works perfect.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Topdroppers august 2011

I want to thank all my droppers and visitors and especially those who commented this month.
Thanks a lot!!!

Topdroppers are: