Monday, December 31, 2012

Year 2012

I'm glad this year is over.
It went fast, far too fast.

There has been a pending feeling of unfairness above our heads.
What happened last year turned out to be not enough, and next year we will have to deal with an official decision about it all.
Don't think justice will be done.
Not with all those people who feed the official channels with things they don't know anything about, just assume.

At least two young people got in the news who killed themselves because of bullying.
None of those best-knowers acknowledged my daughter's need to deal with the bullying of classmates ànd teachers.
The bullying has ended, mainly because the teachers were finally unveiled as unfit...by me. The bullying of the classmates stopped because the girls moved on to another level and got rid of those bullies. One of those ill doers even was moved to a school for kids with severe behavioral problems.
It could have been the end of it all, were it not for a vindictive woman and her sharp tongue. We didn't do anything wrong to her, but she was out to destroy our family life. It felt that way then and it still does now. Nothing we said had any influence.

It's interesting how eager some people are to see only the worst scenario and are not open at all for the truth. Well, maybe the truth is less interesting for them. They rather create their own truth and create hell for others. I wonder what this woman's past has been.

Well, she'll leave her footprint in next year too.

I'll write a book about all that happend with more clear insights than I can give here. I'm still emotionally far too involved to do it now. The details will be too much and many. I need more distance.

But the past year has been mainly good for our family.
Even though we got a huge kick from the recession.

One of the girls passed her final exams and was accepted as a student at the nurses' school.
The other studied at a higher level and is now doing her final exams. She's having her audition for the ballet academy in april. Her training is intensive, but her teachers are very happy with her.
I saw her last performance and was flabbergasted by the grace and technical level she reached. No wonder she wants to go on in arts.

One of the boys who was living in a minimal protected environment got his own appartement. The request for support he should receive according to the people who provided it at the time was not granted. He feared he needed to leave his appartment, but that was not requested, because they considered the withdrawal of support because of governmental financial problemsm no good reason to kick him out.
His girlfriend moved in with him and they're doing fine.

Our autistic boy was supposed to move out too, but it didn;t happen because of the unclear financial situations and rapidly changing rules about it all.
We just didn't know what the new year would bring, and moving out to his own place and then coming back home was too much.
He was re-diagnosed and it turned out his IQ was far below what was said a few years ago.
Now it's one, yes a simple one, point above the level at which he would receive all support.

We'll see what happens next year, when we have more clarity about the possibility of him living a rather protected life and not a life in an institution. The new governmental rules state it's not possible anymore. if that's the case we should move to another country as soon as the girls are settled on their own.

The most intensive change in my life was taking over the paper of a friend who was ill. The whole organisation was a disaster. People just being there in name.
I'm not sure what to do, but the past months my motivation just sank below sealevel. The only person working there was my trainee.
She did very well, and even though she's got special needs, she's learned a great lot.
Maybe we'll keep the online paper.

One of the other issues I had to deal with was worsening of the pain in my hip.
The x-rays showed nothing, but the pain increased. I assume it's a tendon problem.

I also had to deal with a false positive at the breast cancer screening. In the middle of the summer vacation, when my own doctor wasn't available. The back up doctor was kind of a pannic type.
Because I had a huge suspicion the way the initial mammaogram was made caused the problem I was not nervous at all. As I know how to "read" x-rays and echo's it was evident fast enough nothing was the matter, just too much compression of scartissue in the breast. The way the nurse upstairs dealt with it was terrible.
She took away all my confidence in that department. They say women can make an informed choice when something is the matter, but I think women are forced to make the choice that offers the department the most financial gain.
I've never been treated so ridiculously in a hospital, and I've seen quite a few from the inside.

The past year has brough my dream to move to another level.
In my mind the idea is taking shape of a house that is environmental friendly in all aspects. As little waste and pollution possible, using as much natural energy as possible, and as invisible as possible in the natural surroundings.
I need someone with the technical knowledge to think along, and someone who wants to built the idea...or better said: someone who wants to invest in it.

Something else that took shape was making hats.
The very creative dear mother of a friend died and one way or another I took up making hats. Felt hats. And they look marvellous!

So maybe the next year will be even a more creative one.
Inspired by people around me, by people who were here before me and by people who are yet to come.

I'm lucky with such great kids and dear friends.
I'm sure more kids will fly the nest, just as life should be, and I grow more close towards friends and my own age.
Closer to the realisation of my dreams.

I don't care what work is involved: working with sheep, working in a shop, in a buddhist center or anything else.
We'll see.

Happy new year!















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Thursday, December 27, 2012

My future.

My dream to be in London at the change of years won't become true this year.
Another year of dreaming has passed.

But we're planning more and more. Our ideas are crystalising into real plans.

My wish is to meet some wealthy developer who wants to work with me on an idea to make a very environmentally friendly house. Not only do I want to use as much natural light as possible, I also want just a little bit of waste, and I want the building to sink in the surroundings. I want to feel like I live in the middle of nature, and preferably I will.

It's great to think about it all. Reading a lot about what others did, thinking about what I want.
But I don't have the money and I need it.

So I'm also looking for a job that fits my family now.
I'm tied up at the paper until the second half of january, after that it's a moral tie.
With all those other people doing nothing it means that I will leave. I'm not their slave.
Already I have looked at temporary jobs, especially those at Dutch parts of UK businesses.
When the kids have moved out I will apply for whatever is available in the UK. Helping at a sheepfarm, binding flowers, teaching at a university, or being at a helpdesk of an insurance. I don't care at all. It should mean a step towards my own future. That's it.

It feels like going back to my roots.
Genetic roots.
Most kids, if not all, want to go too.

We plan to make a trip to Scotland at the beginning of 2014 to meet people who can help with realising our plans.
We need housing and such, jobs and all.

One way or another I have a very strong sense it all will happen.
Something will happen that will bring me to the place of my dreams.

I'm curious who it is and what will happen.

Untill then I work hard to realise my plans.


























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Awards for moms

Moms should get trophies and medals for everything they do.

So, that's said.

Myd ays are filled with caring, cleaning, organising, cooking, and a lot of other things ordinary momes do.
On top of it I'm a caregiver of an autistic person and a volunteer worker with people with special needs at a paper.

We don't have corporate awards at the paper. We should have.
My patience has outgrown my ego.
Well, that's not a real problem, as I don't have a huge ego. Anyway.
I would have won the corporate award. I guess I would have organised it myself.

For the collegues, when they ever read this: order the acrylic pointed one. I like that one best. And it arrives within two days, so you'll hand it over before the new year. Yes?

My son can give my an award of his own choice. He's got great taste. I've been fighting for his wellbeing for over 20 years now and it has far extended beyond changing nappies and breastfeeding. The battles with school, and all sorts of people who know best and don't know anything, hasn't been stopped yet.
I guess this week will bring another invitation to make him work at a regular job, whereas he hardly leaves the house. Now we've got the new diagnosis, displaying an IQ 20 points lower than the former one. Will this bring them to their senses? Or should I bring an award with me and put it firmly on the table.
They think I'm nuts and stupid. Am I?
Well maybe I am. But in the good way.

Leaves the award for being a fulltime mom, without pension, so the nearing days of old age won't be much more than what live has to offer now.
Maybe I should take that evening smile for an award.

That makes me rich.













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Rain

As expected the world didn't come to an end last week.
It would have been quite an event if it really had happened.

I don't know if I'd mind being involved in the greatest change on earth.
Ofcourse I would be worried about my children, family and friends, and I would mourn the lost lives of all those unknown people, but it would have been my death too.
After all I wouldn't have considered for even a moment that I would have been among the chosen few.

The world would be cleansed from all those with evil throughts, all those who rather believe others commit a crime than assume their innocense and act on that.
maybe the grease, radioactivity and all the other toxins would destroy the earth after all. Who knows.

We didn't get the end, we didn't get the snow at christmas.
But we got rain.

Lots of rain.

Flood warnings in the UK, just 15 cm below the top of the dykes here.
If it doesn't rain a bit more than expected.
Right now it's puring down again.
Wet raincoats pile up. Well, I don't pile them, I hang them in a row. But you get the meaning.

The ground is soaked, meaning the harvest of next year starts to be in danger.
And that's not the first year this last decade.

Maybe that's what brings us on our knees: lack of vegetables and fruit. Caused by the weather.

In America people are dealing with snowstroms, thunderstorms and hurricanes, we're told on the news.

But the days are lengthening: spring will come...eventually.

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Karaoke

The girls had a party and they didn't feel like going.
There's far too much to do this vacation and they planned enough funny things.
But as always, their friends asked them and they went.

When they came back they were all happy and full of stories.
At the party was a terrific karaoke machine.
At first they didn't want to sing, but friends went and they didn't want to stay behind.
They had the best time ever.

My experience with karaoke machines is from a couple of years ago.
It was at a party too.
The machine displayed the texts far too slow, so it was more of a hum along than a sing along.
As I had been in a band I knew quite some songs, but most of them were not available on the machine.
So I was glad to be at home again.

The girls would have gone back straightaway though, they've had so much fun.

When they were young they went to a church nearby and applied for the choir.
They were accepted.
Then they told us. LOL!
It was quite interesting that they made such a huge step just to sing.
But that's what talent does in our family.
It's the same as with ballet.
One of the girls is talented, but she's got the persistence too.
she can go over and over a difficult exercise just as long as it takes to get it perfect.

And perfection is what she brings during performances.
But that's another blogpost.





















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Flea Circus

The other day I was watching TV when a scene about a flea circus was on.
The kids liked it, but I remembered a far more elaborate scene.
The past days it has been on my mind, and I started to wonder slightly if I'd romanticised the whole thing.

Then today I heard some famous music, watched and there it was: the flea circus from my childhood.

It turned out I remembered every single tiny move.
Absolutely wonderful.

The whole scene was acted so well that I again started to believe real animals were there to perform. LOL!

I pity people who can't remember things like that from their childhood.
I won't say things were better then (oh yes, they were), but the phantasy of children was used far more than nowadays. Or should I say: in a different way?

TV programs nowadays are so fast that one forgets right at the moment what's going on.
In the past we had one hour of children's TV on saturday and afterwards we tried to reenact the whole program.

The friend of my sister was good at organising and when we had our acts ready she made kids pay five cents to sit in our garden and watch our show.
We all kept a cent a visitor and faterwards went to the shop to buy two sweets, as we used to get ten cents a person for our show.

Yes, the rewards was as tiny as the fleas in the flea show, but so much more real and very sweet,
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A friend and some last minute ordering

There's always something to do before the new year's celebrations take place.
I'm always happy to jump in and arrange things even though we have a sober new year ourselves.

A friend is organising a huge happening in a town nearby and he mailed me for some assistance.
He's seen a bogner at Musician's Friend and wanted me to order a guitar amp.
I asked him why I had to do it, as it's so very easy to do.
He didn't know why.

So I invited him over as it would save him a lot of time and effort to know how to order his musical equipment himself.

He came in a huge black stationcar. Me oh my, I would have dressed in eveninggown if I'd know that! Half the street jumped from their coaches to have a look.

I asked him if he wanted a welcoming committee with a bagpiper. LOL!

Well, I explained to him how to order things online and he was a smart student.

Then we sat down and he told me about the new year's concert he's organising.
The bands he has invited are on the top-20 and I can't mention the names of the solo-singers here, because it's a benefit and he agreed their names wo'n be used in any way.
But boy, wish I had no family and could go.

We've had a good talk about a musical I've seen recently, going through some technical aspects and my opinion that the main part should hev been given to someone else. he agreed completely.
And then it was time to say goodbye for the last time this year.






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I feel ashamed

This year I felt rather ashamed to wish people a merry christmas.
There's so much going on in this world that has nothing to do with peace.

Researchers found out that the most rows in families are at christmas.
Those days people have to be together by tradition and not by free will, and that makes people feel uncomfortable, protesting and thus arguing starts easily and can hardly be stopped.

On a larger scale: there's still war everywhere in the world.

many people are concerned about Syrea, because the media are able to report about it, photographs included.

But almost nothing comes out of Tibet and how the people there are treated worries me most.
Children can't go to school unless it's in the chinese language and culture.
People can't follow the rituals of their religion, can't even buy their traditional clothes anymore.
It's a huge concentration camp, worse than in WW2.

All I can do is speak out against it.
My blog will be blocked again by those in change there.

So freedom of speech for all is just a dream.
Peace is just a dream.

Those who have the courage to speak out against injustice are hunted down.

I wish people would work more together to bring a better life to all.
Take for instance America. How the democrats are fought against by those who only care for their own wellbeing. They are against higher taxes, but they won't compromise for a better share of wealth for all.

That's what this world is about.
And I feel a shamed about it.

Is that strange?















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Guitars in my life

My dream has always been a top prs acoustic guitar.

Not because I was such a great player, but because a friend was exceptionally good at playing guitar.
After I left my shyness in the past, he used to accompany me when I was singing.
We made a good team. No matter what I sang, he made it sound perfect.

He taught me a few things on the guitar.
Then I bought one myself, well adviced by the local guitar dealer.
It was a beautiful one, great sound, but I never bothered to look which brand it was.
As long as I could play and sing I was happy.

Beside school, ballet and work not too much time was left to practice, but even when I had only two minutes I used that time.
So gradually my playing improved.

Then we went with a group of young people on vacation to the beach.
We rented a small house, cooked together, and had fun during the evenings.
Then my friend arrived, with his guitar.
He looked at me, but i didn't respond as i didn't want to sing in front of that bunch of critical people.

It was late that evening when he started to play.
Just some background music while the others were talking.
But gradually people fell silent and the music got more in the centre.

Then he payed my favorite song and soon I hummed along.
I forgot everybody around me and without even realising I sat there singing and enjoying his music.

That performance was one of my best.


Now my daughter plays the guitar.
A very cheap one, but she plays well.
Maybe one day she'll have a good one and feels confident enough to share er music.
It sounds so very well.






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Boots 2012

I didn't have boots.

It hasn't been a problem for years, but this year it was.

Walking for about half an hour each day to and fro the office means going through the filthy streets of town under all weather conditions.

So when the first batch of snow fell I made my mind up while my socks got wetter and my feet colder: I will buy boots.

But looking in the leaflets and shopwindows made my heart shrink.
Me oh my, those boots were so expensive!
Even the old fashioned rainboots were about 20 euro.
Let alone real leather boots or those with the new materials that prevent moisty feet.

I looked around some more, but gave up.
My old shoes would be my footwear this winter. "Let's hope it won't be freezing.", i thought.

Then, when shopping for vegetables and other cheap products in a large supermarket in Germany I saw boots.
At first I didn't even look at them, but then the price caught my eyes. 12 euro.
"Can't be anything", I thought.
But I'm so curious! So very curious!

I had a look, fitted one.... fitted the other and then I was sold... eh.. the boots were sold.

Great fit, warm, modern breathing material, and when walking the top didn't rub my leg to pieces.

At home one of the girls took an interest, fitted them and wanted them too.

The other girl...

I was so happy those legs were girls' only!


So now we have three pairs standing in the hall.
Two of the same size, but with another footbed, and one smaller pair.

And on top of it: this winter breaks all records of rain... rain and rain.

My feet are still dry... well, except after a shower.

Lucky me!

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The humidor at christmas

A few years in the past the second christmasday was not at my gram's but at home.
Visitors would come, like my other grandmother, my uncle and aunt and a family friend.

He was huge!
Not only in length, but also in.. volume.
He got a couch of his own and space on the table, because he would bring with him his
travel cigar humidor.
This marked for me a special day, as he always used to carry a plain wooden box of sigars with him. The humidor was saved for christmas.

To me it was extra special because I was the one who was allowed to open it for him.
A small key was taken from the chain of his pocket-watch and handed over to me with a smile and: "Be careful, child, there's only one such key in the wide wide world."

I would put it in the lock with utter care and turn it under the watching eyes of the whole family.
Opening the box was an utter delight.
The smell of expensive sigars has never put me off, and I loved the sight of a soft beige satin with which the box was lined.

In the meantime my uncle would have grasped the small cigarcutter from a small pocket and my mother would have lighted a candle, telling all to be careful as she didn´t want her house burned at christmas.

When I was very young, my uncle would take out the cigar himself, but when I was somehwat older I was allowed to take the cigar between two fingers and hand it over to him.

He would hold it in front of him, smell a few times and then have me clip of the tip.
With a few small takes of breath he would draw the flame to the sigar and then suddenly light it.
Only then I was allowed to close the box, turn the key and hand it back over to him.

He would lean back, the people in the room would start breathing again and my mom would move the humidor a bit more to the centre of the table so my uncle could put a small glass in front of it.

The soft light of the candle would bring the wood of the laquered box to life.

Sometimes my father would start singing± `Oh holy light...` and break the magic of the moment.

What a good time it was!














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Singing at christmas

When I was young christmas was a very special event.
In fact it was the highlight of the year.
That was because we all sang in a choir.
Not the same choir, and that complicated things a lot.

In the afternoon of the 24th I had to sing in a sort of preparation service for the children. The children were told what happened before christmas and the story stopped where the real christmasstory began.

Then the kids were told then when they came to the shepherd's mass early in the morning, they were allowed to dress up.
A Catholic attempt to get them in church.
It worked well, I have to say that!

Late in the evening of the 24th my mother had to sing and after that my father had to either conduct the choir or sing himself, or do both.

Far after midnight we had a meal with all of us. I had sleepy eyes and was told to go to bed as soon as I had eaten something and had a cup of cocoa.
I had to be up and in church at 5.30 hours!

So at 6 we sang the shephers mass: me and my friends.

My mother sang at 11.00 hours and my father ànd mother, ànd I sang in the afternoon all those christmassongs we know so well.

Right after that my mom had an attempt at burning the christmasmeal, which made us long for the next day at my gram's.
Ofcourse we thanked our mom for a perfect dinner.... which might never come... and she was glad we were happy with it.

The second christmasday was much easier, with only my mother and father singing at the same time. I used to be with my gram and they would pick me up afterwards.

We watched a show at TV, or listened to Mario Lanza and ofcourse sang along.

Those were such happy christmasdays.....













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The solution: flyers

As soon as Christmas was over my mind was on how we can earn enough money to make the paper survive.

I don't know what it was. maybe an eangel whispered in my earn, but as soon as I woke up I thought that cheap flyer printing might be an option.
With a catching photo and a good text we might be able to reach those who can donate money.
We need about 3000 to catch up, and about 6000 to cover all the costs until the next paper issue.

In the past I've made flyers to bring a cultural event to the attention of people who would not have gone otherwise to the event.
We attracted about 3000 more visitors than usual and that's quite a lot.

Ofcourse we need a donation to buy the flyers. But it can be done online and by what I've seen they deliver perfect flyers.
There's no problem distributing them as we have enough volunteers to do so.

The idea sopunds great and I will arrange a meeting soon to get it organised and done.
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Second christmasday 2012


Today is second christmasday and in our country it's celebrated within the family or by going christmasshopping.

We are, by tradition of our family, invited over to the house of the eldest and we have dinner there.

He always makes far too much, so we all told him to keep it simple and plain, and not too much.

He made chepherd's pie, which I love to bits, with rösti and things.
And ended with a nice pudding with a huge home-baked wafer with whipped cream, fruit and some very special spiced sugar.

For some this might sound not enough, but I can assure you, even a farmer would have had more than enough of it.
So I took the pudding and wafer home.

We had a very good time together.
We watched Brave to complement the rather British farmer's lunch.

We had such a good time and I didn't even have to cook and do the dishes. LOL!












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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!





I wish all my visitors, readers, pop-inners and passers-by, as well as my dear friends a very merry christmas!

I'm sorry, I can't visit you all at the moment, but I will later.

Huggggggssss



.
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Saturday, December 22, 2012

HAPPY HOLIDAYS



1. As you can see, Sam loved giving her annual wish list to Santa. Yet some children are reluctant to climb into Jolly Old St. Nick's lap. Did you enjoy the tradition or were you shy? Or did you by pass it altogether -- either because you wrote him a letter or because your family didn't celebrate Christmas?

Well, as written often before, we don't celebrate Christmas with gifts.
We celebrate Sinterklaas, where the tradition of Santa Claus springs from.

When I was small I was a bit shy, like almost every small child used to be.
When I grew a bit older, I wasn't afraid of Sinterklaas. I was a kind and caring kid, no chance to be naughty, and I admired Sinterklaas for giving away everything he had.

2. Are you currently on the Naughty or Nice list? How did you get there?


For most people I'm on the nice list.
Some misplaced me on the naughtly list, because they think they know me and my family. They're very mistaken. But Santa will find out. He knows.

3. Did you ship any gifts to friends and family this year? If so, which one traveled the farthest?

No money.

4. Did you buy yourself a gift this year?

No, others first.

5. What's your favorite holiday-themed movie?

As long as it's jolly and binds the family together. I love watching a christmasmovie with the whole family.

6. Thinking of movies, Christmas is lucrative for Hollywood. Have you ever gone to a movie theater on Christmas Day?

No.

7. Have you ever suffered an embarrassing moment at the company Christmas party?

We don't have those parties.

8. What's your favorite beverage in cold weather?

Hot chocolate/cocoa

9. What will you remember most about 2012?

The recession.

Want to read more answers?
Want to take part?
Click the logo.







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Friday, December 21, 2012

She explained a lot

Yesterday I had an interview with a broker here in town.
She owns a wonderful house, with a large area to receive her customers, or "clients", as she prefers to say.

She explained a lot of what she needs to do for a living, and gave me a good insight in her online work.
"Here you can see the floorplan of the houses, she said and you can find the outer banks mls listings here ", she showed.
She also drives people to the houses they want to inspect, explains all about the financial aspects of buying a house.

She was such a vivid person that she got me really enthousiastic about her business.

Before I met her I thought people like her were all in for a good profit, but it turned out that her main priority is to enable people to find the house of her dreams.
I'm glad she freed me from some stereotyped thinking.

I wish we had a good location for the office of the paper.
She told me to come back with that very same wish when the recession is over.
Maybe... maybe...
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The teacher who called

One of the girls has to run today for a special cause.
The school supports another school in Africa and today a sponsorrun was on the program.

Preparations started a few weeks ago with training and asking people to be a sponsor.
My daughter took it very serious, but people don't have much money to spend on such a cause. She collected a fair amount, however.

This morning iI was busy cleaning the house when a teacher called: she wasn't at school. If we knew where she was.

I'm not of those people who panick immediately when something is the matter, but this time I started to worry straightaway.
She left home over an hour ago, where could she be?

The decision to try and call her was made very soon and within a moment we knew she was safe at school, standing in line to get her turn for the sportive event.

Because the teacher alarmed a few other pupils she decided to turn on her phone and answer a call immediately. She's not allowed to at school under normal conditions.
She said she already heard that the teacher was phoning parents, causing a lot of concern about the wellbeing of their schildren, whereas the kids in question were standing in line for or already participating in the event.
The teacher had forgotten this....



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She's eager to move

For many the christmasseason is a time to gather with the family and have a good time.
But for one of my friends it's a time for looking for a new house.

She's got a new job and needs to move.
So she's looking for houses for rent in fayetteville nc.

I would feel stressed, but she's relaxed and perfectly comfortable with the pending move.
She's found a good team of brokers who have offered her already a few good options.
Someone she knows from internet will have a look at the houses she likes, so she'll get a good idea what to expect before leaving everything she knows and moved into the unknown.

Her eagerness to start a new life is very inspirational.
We have our dreams and cherish them, but she puts her ideas for the future into practice and goes for it with all her energy.

Her children love her for that.
The older ones will stay and handle cleaning the old house and such.
The younger ones go with her and already enjou the prospect of a new school and meeting new people.

How would you feel?
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

We've won a cake!

Everybody knows I'm not lucky with winning contests and draws.
Apart from winning an enormous yellow suitcase two years ago, which has never been used, because I can't afford a vacation, I've never won anything else.
But, very stubborn, I keep entering contests and draws.
One dat that vacation to New York in a 5 star hotel will be mine, the cruise to antarctica, and even that spacejump. It's just a matter of waiting and waiting even more.

The bags with sweet, wellnessweekends, luxury beds, beadsboxes, jewelrychoices and al sorts of coupons just passed my eye, but didn't land on the doormat.
No mailman will get a backinjury because of the presents I win. Ever. I'm sure of that.

Today, today however, fate made a mistake.
Or maybe some weethearted cakebaker took pity or just was impressed by the way I wrote why we deserved a cake.
He hads out a cake a day to someone in the country and... today the cake is ours.

Me oh my!!
I almost jumped from joy.
As a matter of fact I had a smile from ear to ear for hours!!

So now we're going to wait for a cake to arrive.
As far as I've seen on their site there's a photo involved.

No problem.
The cake I won is for the girls.
I wrote I wanted to give them a surprise because they're so kind for their handicapped brother.

So ... it's showtime for them.
















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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Carols



1) What's the first holiday song that comes to mind?

A carol my grandfather wrote.

2) Are you sending cards (either by postal service or email) this year? If so, have they gone out yet?


Yes, a couple. But just a few.
I always write them the weekend before christmas.
The email ones will be out today.

3) Can you see any holiday decorations from where you're answering these questions?

Yes. A small felt angel hanging in front of a red felt snowstar. Very nice.
It's dangling just before me.

4) Do you wrap gifts in paper or take the gift bag route?

Well, our gift event has been at december 5-6.
We did wrap the small gifts we had this year. But don't speak about it.
It makes me feel sad and small, because lack of money dictated our ways of celebrating Sinterklaas.

Christmas is without presents in our country, just plain christmas.

5) The holidays are an important fundraising time for charities. Here's an opportunity to do a shameless plug for your favorite. What organization or cause do you wish got more support at the holidays, and all year around?

At christmas I always feel a lot of compassion with the homeless. Imagine living on the streets, being cold, and seeing all these warm bright livingrooms behind those windows, with people opening bottles of wine and eating special food.
It makes me melancholic of our relatively richer days, so imagine when you're in need.....

6) Andy Williams was famous for his family holiday specials. What TV family would you most like to spend Christmas with?

Didn't know christmas was about TV.

7) The holidays are a big time for travel. Where did you go on your first airplane flight?

I was 12. To Birmingham England. I loved it.

8) Does the weather have an impact on your mood?

Under normal conditions, no. But when christmas is almost there and those days are as dark and rainy as they are now... well, I have to fight to keep positive and bright.

9) Snack time! You're about to make yourself your favorite sandwich. What ingredients do you need?


It depends. Now I like everything with cinnamon. So give me something with that and I'm ok.
What about applepie instead of a sandwich???

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Yoga supplies

To step outside daily routine I asked a friend if she could do with some help.
She owns a large studio and was painting the walls, putting new mirrors in, and doing all sorts of other things to make it look like new.

She was very happy to hear me on the phone.
we discussed the kids and then she asked me to come over and have a look at the renewed studio.

It looked wonderful.

All she needed was an extra balletbar and yoga supplies.

She thought a new shop in town would be the best to go to, but not after she had a close look on those supplies on internet.
That was a wise decision.

The new shop turned out to be very nice. But also very expensive.
We ordered a complete studio kit for 10 students from the site we found and then went for a cup of coffee.
We ended up sipping hot chocolate in front of an open fire, listening to christmasmusic and discussing a christmasmenu for her collegues from work.

I would love to do that every day.
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Decisions

Today a new memo from the friend of the paper arrived.
It was negative and on the border of insulting to people who work at the paper.
He wanted "capable" people.

The whole negative attitude and the way he looks down on others, including me, makes me wonder what has happened to the guy who respected people, had a degree of wisdom and who certainly cherished his friends.
His note sounded like he's become a grumpy, selfcentered and bitter old man.

He also asked if people had done their tasks in such a way that it made me feel angry.

So I wrote him a letter back stating he shouldn't complain, but start to be active himself.

The way he deals with things makes me want to quit.
It takes all the energy out of everything.

So more and more I think it's best to take the online paper and move out with it.
I think that working with the shopowners of the streets nearby will enable the online paper to thrive. Especially after the recession. LOL!

Dealing with the online paper without him makes me feel energetic, full of initiative and in the middle of town.

So in my mind I'm already forming a new team.
The student will stay with me. So will my sons.
With a few more people and a large financial injection all will be well.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

A personalised baseball bat as a gift

It's the month of gifts and happiness.
Unlike some other countries here in The Netherlands we celebrate our day of gifts at the beginning of the month.
Our Santa Claus is called Sinterklaas, en he leaves his gifts at the homes of people during the night from december 5th to december 6th.
Christmas is more of a get-together around some nice food and drinks, and is ofcourse about peace in the world, and the original christmas story.

But finding out which gifts kids and grown-ups want is the same in all countries.
This year it was not easy, because we don't have much money to spend.
But I started in time and found something nice for each of the kids.

A friend had an easy time for his son.
The boy wanted a bat to add to his collection of personalized baseball bats.
What a perfect idea!

It was just a pity he expected the bat, instead of not knowing what to expect at all, as is a rule in our family.
So we ordered the bat online, made a fake present which was much smaller and arranged things in such a way that he thought he surprised us with a visit and he saw the present without his father wanting him to.
It took quite some muscle power to keep our smiles away from him, but it worked.
He nagged for over a week about wanting to know what he would get. LOL!

So when he finally got the most perfect bat for his collection he was all over the place. He was so enormously surprised!

Isn't december a wonderful month when you're full of ideas?


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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas market

We suddenly realised it was the last day of the German christmasmarket in the borderarea.
We went laSst year and had a good time, so we said we wanted to go this year too.

But in all the huzzle and bustle of daily life at the begiing of december we forgot.
Well...almost.

One of our sons asked if we wanted to go with him and his girlfriend and we did.

The large market was a disappointment.
Maybe due to the weather. It was raining, the paths were terribly muddy and still slippery with large bumbs with iced snow, and it was still light.

The choir which was supposed to bring happiness and joy was awfully nervous and didn't have any volume at all.

We had a cup of warm wine, which was delicious, had a look around and went.

On our way we saw two other markets, so we wanted to go there.
We passed one with about 2 or 3 stalls before we knew it, and then went to a small village where they had some stalls in a very small street.

It took ages to find a place to park, due to all regulations, but we managed to find something, only to discover the marketpeople were packing their stuff.

But... we saw lights in a churchlike building and decided tyo have a look there.
We were welcomed by warmth and light, nice smells and lots of stalls with wonderful items for almost no money.

It was marvellous!

I got many ideas for velted hats, saw lots of of jewelry and..we even bought a few things.

Two glass stars, one kind of snowy white, one a bit smaller dark blue.
And for the dollshouse I bought a handmade well for just a few euro's and got a gift package with it which was as expensive as the well itself.
The people where so very nice.

Then I saw some pendants and I love them. Just transparent raisin with a little flower inside. Just a few euros. But so very lovely!
The woman was gathering a few things and forgot to take a bead, so I gave it to her.
Sje was very nice and started to talk with us about being bussy and loving to make bracelets.
I said I loved making them too and that my daughter was even more of an artist. If she was allowed to come over and have a look?
She was enthousiastic and told she gave one-day-courses for 3 to 4 people, teaching them to make beads, bake them and create something with them.

So I know what I'm blogging for the next few weeks.

My daughters are so kind for their autistic brother that I think they deserve something special. A belated birthdaypresent.

Sponsors will be welcomed. :)

They didn't get much for or boxing day, so a decemberpresent for them would be perfectly right.

Maybe that's even the best of that market: it gave me a bit of the christmasspirit, the wish to make the house all christmassy and make all people around me happy.












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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Blue Christmas



1) Do you ever suffer the blues during the holidays?

Yes. After one of my children, my father and gram died I always remembered them during christmas.

2) More than 18 million visitors have toured Elvis' home, Graceland. Have you ever been there?

No. I'm not amwrican. It's too far away.

3) Elvis dyed his naturally light brown locks black. Do you dye your hair?

Not at the moment, but before christmas I will.

4) He also insisted his young girlfriend, Priscilla, dye her hair jet black. If your lover asked you to change your hair, would you?

No.

5) Elvis served his country at an Army base in Friedberg, Germany. Have you ever been to Germany?

Yes, almost every week. We live in the border area.

6) Elvis famously had an affair with Ann-Margret during the filming of Viva Las Vegas. Have you ever indulged in a dalliance with a coworker?

No.

7) Thinking of his movies ... Elvis was, by and large, unhappy with his film career and once said, "The only thing worse than watching a bad movie is being in one." Are you happy with the way your career is going/has gone?

That doesn't matter, does it?

8) Elvis lost "the battle of the bulge" toward end of his life. Are you happy with your weight?

I'm not happy with it, but I'm staying on the same weight, so I consider this natural for my age.

9) As a teenager, Elvis worked as an usher at a movie theater. What was your first job?

Typing adresses on envelopes.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The car, a trip.

We were sitting in the livingroom, discussing the appointment we had at school at the end of the afternoon, when our second son came in.

He was all over the place.

Right at that time he should be on his way to Belgium with the family of friends.
One of the cars broke down and now they were short of transport, so....

Rain pouring down, low temps, but why refuse a kid what's needed?
Ofcourse his father said "no" at first.
But when we discussed his and our options it was clear: he should take the car, we would go by bus.

And so we did.
When we went to the busstation it was dry.
The rest of the time the rain opured down again and we could only be glad it was not icerain.

At school we didn't have to wait for our turn.
So that was a good thing.

The guy was nice withouty being overfriendly and giving us the feeling he was hiding something. (We always had that feeling with our former contactperson.)

He told our daughter that she had take the weights of the marks for het schoolwork more serious, so she wouldn't spend time and effort to tasks that wouldn't contribute much to her endresult.

I already told het so too, and he already said it in his lesson, so that was a trip that didn't add anything at all.

Lost time, lost money, and no gain.
We need't even have had our talk with our son about the car.

Well, we were glad to be at home. That was something!







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Friday, November 30, 2012

Beer Barrel Polka



1) Have you ever danced the polka?

Yes, several times at balletperformances. And I loved it.

2) Frankie Yankovic was a stellar accordion player. What instrument have you mastered, or would like to learn?

I'm not going to write them all down, but I play many instruments, ranging from flutes, guitar, organ to the highland bagpipes.

3) When Frankie died in 1998, his obituary proclaimed him as "America's Polka King." Lucille Ball was "The Queen of Comedy" and Michael Jackson was "The King of Pop." What royal title do you deserve?

Queen of wishes.
Most of them never come true.
They become more modest in time, but some will stay until the end.

4) Do you like light beer?

I almost never drink.
I don't like it particularly.

5) In 1901, daredevil Annie Taylor successfully went over Niagara Falls in a barrel. She was badly bruised but otherwise fine. How much money would it take for you do to do something that dangerous?

Well, the costs of traveling there are already quite high, so cover them and a trip to Nepal.

6) When was the last time you visited a pet store?

Years ago, when the kids were still small and liked rabbits.

7) What's your favorite salad dressing?

Some sweet mayonaise.

8) Sam Winters is crazy about her smart phone. She uses it to take pictures, record videos, listen to tunes, answer emails and surf the net and, oh yeah, she even uses it to make calls. How indispensable is your mobile phone in your day-to-day life?

I can call with it, receive calls and that;s almost it. The cost was about 30 euros. That says it all, doesnt it?

9) "Kocham cię" is "I love you" in Polish. Can you say "I love you" in a language other than English (and Polish)?

Yes: Dutch, German, French, Swedish and probably a few more.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Suede shoes

I saw at www.thegardengates.com that suede shoes are in fashion again this winter.

It immediately made me remember the suede shoes my gram gave me when I was about 12.
They were made of patches of different colours of brown, beige and black, and were the most comfortable shoes I've ever had.

Now many shops don't present individual items in their wintercollection, but present concepts, it makes me feel I want to work in the garden for one last time this year and redo the livingroom, to create a warm, brownish winterstyle.
A kind of rustic countryfeel is OK for me.

Some of my friends will smile when they read this.
The past years I've enjoyed the bright and shiny summery colours, and after I decided it's my house and it doesn't matter what people think, I've used them freely whenever I wanted.

The kids loved it.
Coming home into a world of almost festive creativity is great for kids.
Their friends said they loved it here because at their home they felt gloomy and bored in the livingroom, like they were visiting their grandparents. Haha. My gram was not boring at all, so maybe they will be surprised when they look past the dull colours.

I don't think refurnishing the livingroom and using brown and beige will result in a dull room. Not here. I'm sure bright red will be the accent colour, brightening up the room and intensifying the brown colours to give them a warm feel.

I have to wait a long while though.
With a girl starting her studies next year and one almost half a year in nursing school we need every little coin we have.

But times will change, and it's never too early to dream.




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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My gram's birthday

What a pity my gram died a long long time ago, otherwise we would have had a good party with her tasteful cake.

Now I celebrated in my mind.

She was such a wonderful gram. I wouldn't have become the person I am without her.
She taught me a lot, from cooking potaties to singing.
She used to be an actress for part of her life...in musicals.
Our family had their own men's choir and they practiced a lot at her home.

So music was something that belonged to life. Great!!

Well, today I wanted to do some shopping and couldn't find my shoes.
2 years ago the boys could make a choice from a short list of products for christmas, and one fo them didn't find something nice for himself and offered to order the n-ikes for ladies for me.
I wear them often en with pleasure. They have their own place to stay overnight.

This morning I couldn't find them...

Almost everyone here at home looked around.
In the evening they were still lost. They were not behind, in between, on top, or under whatever they could be with.

I started to feel utterly stupid. Where did I put them? Not t\at the usual place, not....

Then it was about 23.00 hours.
Some were already asleep.

None entered the house through the front door anymore after the last one came in and didn't see the shoes either.
I started to think I must have put them in the bag with second hand clothes that went away last monday...but i was wearing them tuesday, so that was a stupud thought.

Near midnight I gave up.
When I went to close the front door for the night, the shoes were standing in the middle of the hallway.

GRAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!





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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The blister

I didn't pay much attention to the burnmark of yesterday.
Just kept it cool.

At the office my mind was taken from everything else than from what needed to be done.

I tried to phone the teacher of my intern, but she was not available.

Did loads of other things and then hurried home.

At home I put on other trousers, not realising they were a bit rough on the inside.
When I sat down I felt a large blister pulled open! Auch.

I didn't even know there was one on my leg. Stupid, not to look more often.

We never have silver bandaids, never. Except for now. We bought a package in the sales last week out of curiosity.

Now I could cover the burning wound with it.
I know it's better to dry the wound in the air and leave it like that.
But it's on my upper leg, in touch with my trousers all the time, so...

My mind was taken of it by all the stories about Paris my daughter told us.
She's had such a good time!
She had a great time with the group. No bullying ot anything else. Everyone was on time for the bus, etc etc.

She didn't buy a souvernir from the Eiffeltower though, and she regretted it a bit.

Until my best friend came and gave her one as a pendant. LOL!

We all had a good laugh.


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I'm not accident-prone, but today...

The past week has been very tiring, and with a kind of cold or flu bothering our town, things didn't get better.

I'm not accident-prone, but today was a kind of nightmare. Well, for those with self-pity, and luckily I'm not one of them.

We almost overslept, but with some skilled direction-work everyone arrived in time at school or work. Phew.
I think even the bathroom was surprised the sounds of water finally stopped. Well at least they went clean and with brushed teeth, lol!

I was so busy going around the house, doing the laundry and a lot of ther things, in the meanwhile thinking how I could fit in everything I need to do in just a normal week when I nosedived from the last steps of the stairs.
The huge laundry basked I was carying landed first, and I landed on top of the laundry.
My left foot didn't like it, nor did my right knee. And, to be honest, nor did I.
But I didn't need an emergency room, so I carried on after a cuppa.

Later, when I was cooking, I took the boiling potatoes to shed off the water and a large splash of water went my way. I'll never know why. It never happened before.
I managed to put it down immediately and pull the wet part of my trousers from my leg, but already I was burned.
The mark was as large as my hand.
I cooled it and hoped for the best.

Needless to say I took it a bit easy after that.
Well, let's say I had my mind more concentrated on what I was doing.


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Monday, November 19, 2012

Birthday 2012

Another birthday of the twins.
They're 17 now.
Nice young ladies, with a bright smile, good sense of humor, and a sound opinion of the world around them.

It's the first time they're not waking up in the same house on their birthday.

It was still night when we prepared to fetch one of them, who came back from a schooltrip to Paris.

When the door of the bus opened she jumped out and embraced her sister, congratulating her.
Everybody was watching and one of the teachers said he liked the way they're twins.
Very independent, but at times a unity.

When we went home we heard lots of stories about Paris.
She likes the city.
When it was 00.00 hours of her birthday they were all in the bus and everybody sang her birthdaysong.
Two of the teachers had bought her a nice embroidered T-shirt.

At home she was so sleepy we said she'd better go to bed, and we all did.
In the afternoon we shared birthdaypresents, ate cake and did all the traditional birthday things.

We agreed that inviting friends over will follow this week or the week after, depending on school.

So it was a strange and quiet birthday. But a nice one.

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Live and Let Die



1) "Live and Let Die" was nominated for an Oscar as best song. Do you have a favorite movie song?

The track of Out of Africa, and Pappa can you hear me? from Yentl.

2) The latest Bond movie, Skyfall, is crazy successful. Have you seen it/do you want to see it?

No, Can't afford to go now.

3) What do you think makes Bond movies so enduringly popular?

Good marketing.

4) Do you have a favorite among the actors who have played "Bond, James Bond?"

The original one.

5) Bond orders martinis -- "shaken, not stirred." What's your regular drink order?

I don't order drinks. At the band I drank whiskey with the others. Not on the rocks, but pure.
And I like port.
But, as said, I hardly drink.
Just at christmas a glass and at newyear.

6) Moving from the bar to breakfast -- do you have a favorite cereal?

No. We eat bread for breakfast here.

7) Let's daydream about warm weather. Would you rather swim in a lake, the ocean, or an outdoor pool?


Considering I want to live near the ocean I have to say in the ocean.
I've been in the sea though, and I enjoyed it very much.

8) Did you get 8 hours' sleep last night?

No,I'm a bad sleeper.

9) What are you wearing on your feet right now?

flipflops

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She's in Paris

One of the girls left for Paris yesterday morning.
Well, I'd rather say: yesterday night.
The bus left before 6.

It was very cold when we drove to school. Unlike another school we know well, this school stays closed, so people have to wait outside.
We were lucky that the bus arrived well before time, and the teachers wanted them all to enter as fast as possible. Maybe because they were feeling cold too.

She'd looked forward to this trip very much.
The group differs a lot from the former one. The kids are a lot nicer.
She sat down in the upper part and within no time one of the boys took the seat before here and there were both talkign with the other classmates.

They hardly had time to wave goodbye.

We went home and tried to sleep a bit before the daily activities took over.

The drive to Paris costs 6 hours. So in order to have plenty of time there, they went early. The first night will be spent at an hotel. Then they'll have a full day, and at 24.00 hours they'll go home again. They'll try to sleep in the bus.

The teachers who accompany them are very nice.

I hope they're going to have a good time.
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Friday, November 16, 2012

The man and the trumpet

The past week it was remembrance day in a few countries.

It always makes me remember the time I was young, and a member of the band.
I playes a small flute with a few friends, but the man who played the trumpet was the only trumpet player we had.

He needed to exercise a lot and when we got the request to play at a formal event he even exercised more. He also got lessons, because he had to play "The last post", a famous solo which should be played to perfection.

When he was about to pay it, we all were nervous, but he managed to do it well.
So well he lost the mouthpiece of his trumpet when he went home. I don't know how, but he did. He was ever so sad.

I forgot about it, until last week I saw a blessing trumpet at WWBW.
I was enjoying my time at the site looking for a flute headjoint.

It made me wonder if the moutpiece of the trumpet of this man has ever been replaced.

His son lives nearby, so I asked him.

He said his father never did, because he wanted to remember his last performance, which went so well.
Talking a bit more it turned out his father was about to celebrate his birthday.
I told him that a new mouthpiece can be bought without problems and that maybe a silver one would be a nice present.
He can always decide to keep it as a nice piece for himself or use the trumpet again.

The new mouthpiece is on it's way to his house now.
I wonder what will happen.
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Finally something social

The paper runs on donations and advertisements.
This was OK in the past, but now with the recession and with shops going online with a site of their own, it's starting to become a huge problem to get enough money.

Things have changed at the paper.
Now my friend is back I've withdrawn from some activities and I'm concentrating far more on teaching.
Now and then I take care of some officework, just because no one else does.

But as always with volunteer work, doing one thing means you're asked for a hundred.

So no one takes care of the acquisition and people look my way.

Let's say I decided to look in the same direction.

I'm not going to work far too much while others sit there waiting with folded arms, leaning comfortably in their chairs.

One way or another they didn't get the message that I can't do and won't do it all.
One picked up that it's not up to the ladies to make the coffee, but that was it.

Well, today someone finally saw the light and made the others aware that they should do something too. Wow!

Up to now just one person replied.

But with the writer of the mail it's two.
That's a start. isn't it?
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Monday, November 12, 2012

Bullying

I thought we were way beyond bullying, but alas.

One of the girls came home from school and told about some ugly remarks made after she gave a speech about autism. She ended with: "autism can't be seen from the outside."
One of the boys said: "but it can be seen with you."

There were more incidents of that kind.

Remarks like these don't really upset her, as she knows it's the problem of those people and not her. But she takes the space to be herself and expects respect.

She went to one of the teachers and reported the bullying.
The teacher had a talk with her and...adviced her to go to a social worker or a psychologist.
My daughter made clear she's not the problem and she doesn't have a problem, but the person who is bulling does have a problem.

I wrote a letter to school and we got an invitation to talk.

The teacher was...

She asked us how we wanted to solve the problem.
She didn't listen at all.


She was not able to tell us if the school uses a program against bullying (how well prepared she was!), but she didn't deny it.

I tried to get a repy from the schoolboard about it and from their repy it was clear they didn't want to admit they have none.

When we were talking about something else I suddenly said to no one: "Isn't here a person that takes complaints about bullying?"
The teacher jumped on it and acknowledged that there is no bullying program.

When we went home we were not happy about the way the school deals with bullying.
Time to collect complaints and make things change.


.


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Friday, November 9, 2012

Good Morning, Heartache



1) Do you come up with your brightest ideas early in the morning or late at night?

Late at night, that's for sure.

2) Are you more likely to feel romantic at night or in the morning?

Well, I'm writing this very early in the morning. No need for romanticism right now, so the answer is: at night.

3) Do you shower in the morning, after work or before bed?

That depends.

4) Billie Holiday was just 44 when she died. Is there an artist whose early demise surprised and saddened you?

Janis Joplin

5) Billie was known as "Lady Day." Do you have a cool nickname? (If not, feel free to give yourself one right now.)

No, I don't. As far as I know.

6) When was the last time you had the blues?

I'm not a very blue-ish person.

7) Crazy Sam is eating Trader Joe's Snickerdoodles as she composes this. What's the last snack food you ate?

A few days ago I had some honey and something cookies.

8) Do you worry about preserving endangered species? Or do you believe in survival of the fittest?

I think we need to be very careful with nature. The time has begun that there's no fittest, only endangered.

9) Would you ever hire a lawyer who runs commercials on TV? Do you know anyone who has?

Lawyers are not allowed to do so here.

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Key Largo



1) This song was inspired by the Bogart/Bacall movie of the same name. Do you have a favorite Humphrey Bogart film? Which one?

No. Not a Humphrey Bogart one.

2) Where do you rent movies? (...)

Don't rent.

3) Have you ever been to the Florida Keys?

No. I don't live in the USA.

4) According to government statistics, more than half the people who currently live in Florida were born in another state. Were you born in the state where you currently live?

I'm not american.
But I live at the same town where I was born.

5) To be honest, Crazy Sam really hates this week's featured song. (Hear it here.) Do you like it? Loathe it? Or are you unfamiliar with it?

Unfamiliar.

I start to feel a bit left out in this meme...

6) Local authorities in a suburb of Sydney blasted Barry Manilow songs into a neighborhood park to keep "hooligans" away after dark. Is there an artist or song that would make you run in the other direction?

Sure.

7) Two of the most common fears are going to the dentist and speaking in public. Do either of those really get under your skin?

I like the dentist as long as he stays out of my mouth. LOL!
I love speaking in public.

8) We're having burgers. What do you want on yours?

Pff...burgers. It's not our national food. I don't particularly like burgers.

9) Here's your chance to do a shameless plug -- What charity or cause do you wish got more support?

Well, our paper needs a financial injection, so....

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bike racks

Yesterday I was trying to tidy up the space in the garden where we put our garden equipment and other things.
Just before it started to rain I found a black thing, but I didn't know what it was so I put it at a dry place and left it there.

In the evening I asked one of my sons and it turned out it was one of those hitch bike racks that can be fastened to the backside of the car.

Because they went away to an event in the woods with several cars last weekend and their luggage was spread over all the cars, he had two racks in the back of his car.
He found that out when he was already here to bring the car, so he put the rack in the garden. He planned to call his friend to tell him to ask me for it.
Not very clever without telling me.

We often use our rack.
One of the girls needs to go to balletlessons in the evening and there's not always someone available to bicycle back home with her. In that case one of my sons fetches her at the balletschool, puts the bicycle at the back of the car on the rack and drives her home within 10 minutes. It saves a lot of time and energy, which is especially important at days when she has to make her homework.
And it's safe.
We're happy we decided to buy the rack. We bought it online and we never regretted we did.

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Noise

Last week I saw a video at a satirical TV show about a women's talkshow I used to watch.
I don't have the time anymore to spend in front of the TV during the day, so I've outgrown it.
It was nice to see part of the show again, but I could understand it was broadcasted at a satirical show, because the women, even the hosts, were all talking at the same time. And one of the hosts answered the questions she herself asked the guest!

I thought it was a one time violation against everything on TV, so when i had the opportunity this morning to watch the show I took a cup of coffee and sat down.

Not long.
I was appalled by the low level of conversation.
The women around the table delivered nothing more than what I hear on the bus when I go to work.
And the chaos was not a one time occassion, but something that's a structural problem of the show. I couldn't even follow what those 6 women were saying because they all started to shout.

I don't often comment on shows, but this time I felt I needed to comment on it.
Imagine being old and with such hearingproblems that one can't discriminate between voices!

Afterwards I switched to the BBC and was even more amazed about the quality of their shows. What a difference!
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Toggle clamps

Dealing with the friends of my son means fun.
Yesterday I was at the home of one of them. A boy with autism, but gifted with his hands.
His father created a workplace for him in the garage and he wanted to show me some new equipment and what he can do with it.

I don't know anything about his technical abilities, nor his equipment. I only see the most amazing things done. Welding things together, carving wood and making a wonderful fitted desk at my son's room.

So I stood there and he started to create something from a piece of wood and some iron things.
I kept a safe distance, trying to listen what he said.
Then he suddenly asked me for the auto-adjust toggle clamps.
He was very concentrated, and when his opened hand didn't catch anything, he asked the same question.

I felt utterly stupid when i told him that I didn't know what to look for.

He looked up at me with frowned eyebrows, then looked around and smiled very kind to me.
"They're not even here. I'll get them. Sorry".

When he came back he showed me what toggle clamps are and how to use them.

Do you know?
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Young people protected by law

I don't know how the laws are in other countries, but here young people are protected against heavy lifting by the law.

The other day I was in one of the supermarkets, when my eyes caught a girl trying to lift a box with elements for a wooden wardrobe. Whatever she did, she wasn't able to get it in the space that was made for it.
She blocked the way of many people who wanted to leave the shop. After a few remarks that she needed to hurry an her reaction that she wanted to be able to give more space people left through one of the other shopping paths. No one lifted a finger to help her.

So we tried, but the box was too heavy.
One of the boys came to help, but all he could do was shift it, with our help, aside. He couldn't lift it on the shelf.

The showowner came and started to criticise the youngsters.
He was unkind.

I stepped forward and told him that there was no reason at all to deal with these young people this way. Perhaps he could show them how they could do their job properly.
I smiled: "perhaps they need a good rolemodel."

The guy tried and I think he stretched a muscle too far.

I stood straight in front of him and told him that by law these kids could only lift so many kilo's and that he should be reported for violating the law. This work should be done by a liftcar.
I told him we would keep in contact to see if the requirements of the law were met, otherwise we would report him and his shop.
In his presence I called all the young kids together and told them about the law, and that the rules were to protect their health. And eh...would they be a bit kind to their boss. He stretched a muscle in a very bad way.

A few days later he had a small forklift standing in front of the shop, and offered me a box with bonbons.
I rejected the box and told him to give them to the kids in his shop.
"Good for bonding, those kids wanted to harm their health to please you."

Inform yourself about the laws when you're going to work somewhere.



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Testweek again

This week is a testweek at the schools.

Now it's the turn of the girls to go through that I'm still a bit of amazed how they deal with it.
The boys always needed a lot of support, waking up and other involvement of "mom". They also had to deal with the stress involved and often launched complaints about the difficulty of the questions.

The girls just accept what they have to do and even enjoy being tested.
They feel they can show off what they have learned, and experience, because of that, less stress. Or deal with it in a complete different way.

Instead of waking them up ten times each day, and telling them it's really, really time to leave home, they like it when I sit down with them afterwards and listen to what they have to tell.

In a way and in that way, this week is an extension of the autumn vacation: no lines in front of the bathroom in the mornings.

For one of the girls it's the final year, so her tests are very important.
Everybody takes that into account, except... one of her teachers.

She was supposed to send some paperwork before the autumn vacation, but it didn't arrive until this week. The pupils who prepared for the testweek during the vacation were very disturbed and they decided to file a complaint. because it's the final year they can do it, because the teachers need to deliver their part far in time.

Let's see what happens. This school can't deal well with criticism, as we have seen so often before...
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Stable mounts make a difference

The hurricane that is approaching the United States and in fact hitting New York forced friends out of their houses.
They had to take all of her furniture upstairs and had to seal photoalbums and important paperwork.

She couldn't take everything upstairs, so she had to use whatever was available to get equipment and other items higher.
We discussed her buying peerless mounts for her musical instruments.
Now they came in handy.
She didn't have her TV installed on them yet, but a neighbour helped her this morning and they installed the TV, covered it in plastic and sealed it.
Now it's high near the ceiling, so probably safe.

For a short while she considered to stay in the house, but she had to take into account that her children need to be safe too, so they left.
They're with family now, probably watching the same TV station as I am.

well, at least she can be sure the damage will be minimal.

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New governmental plans

Today the two parties who want to form the new government presented their plans.

In The Netherlands we've got a multiparty system.
The elections involve the choice of one person in one party.
The parties that gain the most votes have the opportunity to make plans for a new government. The persons in that party who receive the most votes get a seat in the parliament.

The election campaigns are less negative than in America, but this year manipulation of the voter was enormous.
"Vote for Rutte when you don't want left to win, vote for Samson when you don't want a rightwing government."

The result was that the two parties rose to high levels and that people afterwards had the scare of their lives, because they saw the two leaders stick their heads together in a back room and didn't involve anyone in their plans.

Only during the last stage of negotiating they talked with employee's representatives, etc..

Today they presented their plans.

I don't know what's going to happen with my family but I think we'll bleed euro's a lot.

Pray I won't loose my husband. I have to find work within 3 months otherwise they'll give me a zero income.
No special support will be given to my autistic son. There's no need to move on with getting care, because he won't get it.
Rent will go up. No rising income.
We need to pay for schoolbooks again.
Etc etc.

U think the next time will be terrible.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

He used a retractable knife

I've always tried to keep the small kids away from knives. I always thought there was plenty of time to learn how to use them when they were older.

Ofcourse I was right.

Even better: now we've got a retractable knife to open up boxes and do all the other things that need a very sharp knife.

My autistic son has an inbuilt fear for knives and scissors.
With the knife retracted i could teach him how to use it and diminish his fear of holding it.

A few days ago he got a package in the mail and as I wasn't at home, he needed to open it himself or wait until someone else was at home.
He took the knife and used it properly.

Ofcourse he was very proud. I was just happy he had all his fingers attached to his hand...like always.
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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Somewhere Over the Rainbow



1) Do you ever fantasize about flying, beyond the rainbow or anywhere else?

Oh yes. I wisjh I could fly.
I've been in an airoplane above the clouds and it was so wonderful. I wish I would experience that again.

2) Do you think you have seen The Wizard of Oz more than 10 times?

Hmm, yes, I think so. Love the old one best.

3) Which Wizard of Oz character would you most like to dress as for Halloween?

We don't celebrate halloween here.

4) What will Trick or Treaters get when they come to your front door?

Same answer as last question.

5) Did you ever TP a neighbor's house or indulge in other acts of Halloween vandalism as a kid? (Don't worry, that statute of limitations is up.)

No ofcourse not!

6) Who annoys you more -- people who never respond to your texts/emails, or those who never look up because they're always checking their texts/emails?

The last ones.

7) Who was the last person you hugged?

My daughters

8) What two colors do you like to wear together?

Black and red/blue...knowing black isn't a colour.
Dark blue and pink.

9) Did your alarm clock wake you up this fine Saturday morning?

No. I woke up myself.

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

I fell

Today I fell with my bicycle.

I don't know what happened, but when I was falling I was near a wall and I consciously turned the wheel towards the wall to have some control over my falling.
I was able to lean a bit against the wall during the last part of the drop, thus preventing my leg to make a strange turn. I probably prevented a broken leg.

Interestingly no one helped me in any way.
People saw it happenening, I saw them looking, but they didn't lift a finger.

I was wearing my favorite shoes. One has a damaged nose.
My bag had damage, as had my bicycle.

I had some nasty bruising on one foot and one knee, some scratchwounds on hands and knee and my hip hurts more than ever.

At home I dropped my earring, and it took quite a while to find it.
I guess I was far more shaken than I wanted to admit to myself.

I skipped some plans for the paper and gave my legs a rest.

It has been a long time ago that I fell. That time I was on a men's bike so I took a risk.
This time I was just bicycling as always.
Maybe something got stuck in the wheel?
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Living near the ocean

Moving to a better pace to live becomes more and more a reality in my mind.
It's not a dream anymore; it's a reality that needs to be created and become true.

Even now money is a real issue and lack of it might prevent realisation of the plans for the future my mind goes over and over the possibilities and opportunities.

One of my friends lives in aocean isle nc real estate. She's very happy with her home near the beach.
During the summer she enjoys the free concerts that are given to please the tourists and during the winter she enjoys the quiet and the ocean itself.
Living there means she's able to enjoy the small community and it's social life. Being among people of the same age never appealed to her, but now she enoys it very much,
maybe because advanced age needs recognition and care.

I always imagine my future home to be a small cottage with thick white walls, standing proud in the storms. She shared my dream, but now lives in a light, modern home, with wonderful views.
It makes me curious about my own future.



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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Meals

It's fun to see history repeat itself.
The last one of my kids wants to cook meals.

She had some basic lessons at nursing school.
Fun thing is that she learned to cook at home already, but she never cared for cooking for others.

The more social motivation comes from the experience at school, where they need to cook for good results and need to share the creations with others.

She managed to make a decent dish of spaghetti with sauce.
She was very proud and we liked it.

Interesting is though, that she's able to cook far more complicated meals, but that she's able to do what school requires has more meaning to her.

I'm very happy she loves her studies.
Not all subjects are favorite, but the prospect of being a nurse makes her enjoy what she didn't like in the past.

Even the second hep-b shot didn
't bother her. Wow!
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Monday, October 22, 2012

The End of the Innocence



1) "The End of the Innocence" is one of Crazy Sam's favorite songs. Do you like it? Loathe it? Or is it before your time?

haha, it's outside my time. I don't know the song....I think.

2) Obviously Don Henley was a smoker back in the 1980s. Do you smoke? Are you a former smoker? Or did you never start?

I don't smoke.
I smoked 6 weeks, a long long time ago, and quit when I looked at myself and my wallet.

3) Childhood is generally considered an innocent time. In what town did you spend yours?

In a town that had been occupied during WW2 and was still recovering from it.
History against new. Interesting.

4) Do you abide by "innocent until proven guilty?" Or did you come to your own, pre-trial conclusions about famous defendants like Casey Anthony and OJ Simpson?

It's not up to me to judge others.

5) Is there an old TV show whose cast you'd like to see reunite?

As The World Turns.

6) Do you know how to ride a horse?

No, I don't. Never cared before about last year. Now I think I missed something.

7) You're ordering ice cream. Cup or cone?

The one with the most icecream!

8) Do you believe a gentleman should help a lady with her coat?

I love that!

9) Which search engine do you use most often?

The g one. Don't expect me to write an advertisement for it. LOL!

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Friday, October 19, 2012

A gold chain

Those who know me well know I love pocket watches.
I collect them, but to be honest: I don't have any of real value.

But most of them have emotional value.

One of them has a blue enameled top and very nice crled hands inside, with nicely callygraphed letters and cyphers.
It doesn't have a chain, which is a pity.

So I started to look for one, which matched the enamel and the golden line on it.
But I couldn't find anything in the shops nearby.

Discussing the matter with the kids resulted in the question why I wouldn't opt for a gold chain.

It appeals to me to have something of real value, which keeps the value, even during the recession and the time after it.
It's so nice to have something timeless in the family.
Maybe we can replace the pocket watch by a valuable one in due time.

A plain gold chain cabn always be a part of a fashionable outfit.
It would even match my scottish costume very well.

Oh dear...I've made the decision already, haven't I?



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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sneezing

I can only imagine how many people are ill or under the weather this autumn vacation.
The strange changes of weather, from cold to 20 degrees cencius, from terribly dry to very humid, are tearing down the physical resistance of people and the results are devastating.
Just before the vacation about 25% of the classmates of the kids were ill.

I think the way the schools and businesses recycle air is also due to the high number of ill people. Many buildings have closed windows, which can never be opened. The airconditioning reacts to outside temperatures, but they change ever so often. Filters clean the air and re-use it.
Even though they say it is healthy, it sounds nasty.

And maybe it is.
Science hasn't identified everything that's in the air and it's far from known what affects our health.
So maybe we're creating a lot of illness ourselves.

I have to say I've felt far better when I left working at the university.
I loved my work and I would jump on the occassion to work there again, but what the building does to people? They've got stuffed noses, tearing eyes, etc etc.

The past days I've been sneezing a lot.
My family often bursts out in laughter, as I'm not known as a sneezer.

I've felt under the weather the past week, so I guess I've had the autumn flu, as we call it here.
Soon they'll start those flushots again.
Too late??
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Monday, October 15, 2012

Falling with a chair

When the children were small, and even now, it was strictly forbidden to balance on two legs of a chair.
I know all kids love to do it, and even grown-ups love to balance and feel the excitement of not falling. Probably because they never fell.
But the risk involved is too much for my conscience.

The children didn't like the strict rule, untill the saw what happened with a classmate.
He was warned numerous times not to balance, but he ignored the teacher. And maybe she ignored him after so any warnings.

He fell flat on his back with the chair.

Hitting his head on the table behind him, hitting his back on the chair and hitting his shoulder on the bag of his fellow student.

The ambulance was called, his first aid consisted of keeping him lying there exactly as he fell, and all the pupils around him got a good lesson of first aid after a nasty fall: leave him alone, talk nice and wait until the paramedics arrive.

They did. The teacher got a huge compliment, and the boy was aching when he was put on the stretcher.
Hundreds of eyes followed him when he was brought to the ambulance and rushed off.

He had a contusion, broken shoulder (he didn't hit only the bag, but also the horizontal stand of the table behind him), and he had to lay down for 6 weeks to prevent lasting damage on his spine.

My kids took this lesson to heart, but many others simply forgot what happened after the boy came back to school.

No balancing with a chair will be a rule at their home too.





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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ain't No Other Man



1) Do you believe there's only one person (and there ain't no other) for you? Or do you think we can truly love several partners over the course of our lives?

I hope several during a lifetime. Not necessarily more at a time, but I think the different stages in time create different relationships.

2) Do you have this, or any other, Christina song on your iPod/mp3 player?

Don't have such a thing.

3) Christina Aguilera won a Grammy for her performance of this song. What do you deserve an award for? And who would you thank in your acceptance speech?

According to my kids I deserve an award for mothering.
I would thank them, and for all those who stood by and didn't lift a finger, for making me work a lot and be as fit as I am now.
And I would thank school and all those other organisations and people in them for making my life as difficult as possible, for hurting my children and me, for providing so much paperwork that our neighbourhoodorganisation certainly got a lot of money out of it when I threw it all away. I learned a lot about myself, but doubt if they really looked inside their hearts and had our best interest as a focus or their own ego.
And I would thank all those who have been my friend, for a short or long time, who made us grow, reach out to others to help them, and who enabled us to be ourselves.

4) Christina Aguilera has her own brand of perfume. Do you have a fragrance or scent you regularly wear?

No. I try to be as smelless as possible. When I'm at the shops. in the bus etc and the awful smell of young people reaches my nose....ugh... They think they're doing well with all those terrible smells. But they're not.

5) Do you have any allergies?

Yesp, for certain smells. Like for one of the main brands of deodorant young peope use. Some food allergies too.

6) There's an older lady who proclaims during a TV commercial, "I will give up beer, bread, wine or soda but I won't give up Life Alert!" No, we're not going to debate her diet. Instead the question is: What are some of the staples that are always on your grocery list?


Nothing for me. Just healthy food for the family.

7) What's your favorite sitcom of all time?

Is As the World a sitcom? It's my favorite.

8) When it comes to your socks, do you prefer solids, stripes or prints?

Haha. I have some nice ones with flowers the girls bought me years ago. They won't perish... I wear them. I hate stripes.

9) At what age do you consider a person "middle aged?" And when do they transition to "old?"


There's some official age for all that isn't it?
But I think it's mental age that counts.

You're old when you're not participating anymore, and middle-ages when you complain a lot about younger generations. LOL!

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