Monday, January 30, 2012

Illnesses

Last week a nasty headache was bugging me. I didn't pay much attention to it, though. There are always reasons for a headache.
I also had the runs, but with the meds I take it's not surprising. It was one of the main reasons the specialist put me on avandamet when it was still available. So when they withdrew it from the market I knew what to expect.

Then the girls started to display the same symptoms.
By the time I was having a bit of fever and such it was clear that most kids were ill too.

We were lucky to have bought an enormous amount of toiletpaper last saturday. LOL!
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Mini hamburgers

Today we went to the celebrations of the chinese new year.

Because it's one of the last times we're able to make such a trip we first went to Schiphol airport, where we discovered my son lost his gloves and shawl in the train.
It was a very, very cold day with a nasty wind, so we didn't spend much time watching the planes. It was nice to be there, though.
I like to see all those different people either waiting, returning or leaving.

After that we went to Amsterdam where it was co-o-o-old!
In the shop of grandma Lotus it was warm however. She was very busy helping her customers and overlooking them all. Shoplifting is a huge problem and I think she should put too heavy items near the door and hang the handbags on locked rings.
We said our wishes and with a heavy heart we left her. She shouldn't work so hard. She does it to give her children the opportunity of a social life. And they accept it with gratitude.

Ofcourse I visted the temple, but it was too crowded there. Tourists walked in and out and only a few people stood there because they are buddshists.
The assistants sensed whom to leave alone and whom to approach to give information.
So I had some silent circle around me.

At the celebration area it was very crowded. We got some fortune cookies, but couldn't read the message inside. They were handed out by a bank, so I guess the message said something about becoming wealthy and use their bank. LOL!

All around the area small temporary shops were made to sell food.
We first made a round to see what they had available. Well, we couldn't see anything as it was too crowded. So we started observing what people were eating.
Then we saw a familiar face at the stand for the small chicken hamburgers and decided to get one each. I stood almost half an hour in line...eh in the chaos, then he saw me, smiled, mumbled a new year's wish, and gave me two hamburgers that had been baked and assembled in front of me.
I was happy to be able to get out of the crowd and sit down at our favorite bench.
The hamburger was small, about the size of a fist altogether, but delicious.
I'm sure that when my son is here we'll try and make them ourselves. One of the secrets is the sauce. I think I have to visit the right shop and ask the guy which sauce was used.

I was so cold that I suggested my son to go to one of the small restaurants and eat more chinese food there. He liked the market however and in a way I agreed with him. He wanted to taste something else, and so we stood in line...eh in chaos again.
After that tasteful small item we left and went to one of the warm shops to wish some people a happy new year. They were not able to celebrate at the terrain and were happy people thought to come to them.

In one of the shops we got a huge surprise.
Instead of the young girl, with piercing through her lip, we found her granddad.
We'd never spoken with each other in a proper way as he was always speaking chinese in the grocery of his son.
He was as surprised as we were and tried to speak english.
I wished him a happy new year and he gave us the whole traditional new year's wish, which I was happy to return in english.
We stood there bowing and smiling and it must have been fun to watch. Two cultures trying to get in touch.
He gave us extra discount on everything in the shop, so we could do nothing else than to buy something. Not against our will though. One of the girls needed a belt and we found a beautiful one with a clasp with a delicate butterfly in iron. And we found a very cute clock, now safely hidden until the receiver gets her schooldiploma later in the year.

So our visit to the buddhist chinese community was a nice one and hopefully not our last.
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Sunday, January 29, 2012

How Do You Mend a Broken Heart



1. How did you cope with your biggest heartache?

I cried, told myself not to enjoy self-pity and gave it time.

2. Who was the last person you visited in the hospital?

You'd better ask who was the last to visit me when I was there.

3. How many jobs have you held in your life? How many of those were part of your chosen career field?

I grew up in a time that people didn't even know that a career field could exist.
My career is to be a humane human, so all jobs fitted in that.

4. How did you discover Saturday 9?

Don't know anymore. I think I saw it when surfing blogs.

5. If you could take the train from anywhere to anywhere, where would 'anywhere' be?

I guess some people will say from here to eternity, bit i will do with: from here to Oban.

6. When was the first time you cooked for someone else?

Oh my dear. The next question is when I first walked by myself holding a self embroidered bag, yes?
I guess I cooked for my gram.

7. What is the worst beverage you've ever tasted?

I keep only a list in my mind of the best three.

8. Is there anything in life you are "certain" about? Firm in your beliefs? Strong in your convictions?

Haha! Certain! I'm certain I will die. I'm sure I won't be disappointed. It will happen.

9. Do you know anyone who has as very unusual pet?

Not really, although I think that a few people in the neighbourhood keep strange husbands as a pet.




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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Happy birthday to me





Today was my birthday.

'nough said.

I won't be home next year.
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Friday, January 27, 2012

Interview


The interview went very well.
Even though we were caught in a traffic jam, we arrived in time.
I got some interesting statements, was able to get a good relationship for the future and we had a good time.
He enjoyed the interview so much that he gave us 15 minutes extra.
Sorry, collegues of a larger paper, you had to wait.

It was a pity that the parkingsystem now entails paying before leaving the car.
We were just in time to hurry back to the car and leave the parking lot. We planned to do some shopping and have a coffee somewhere, but it didn't happen.

The girls had a day off because the teachers were on strike.
We had a good time even though their autistic brother had some difficulty coping with his mom gone in the early morning and his sisters present at a weekday.
We made brownies and did some other nice things.
All in all we had a relaxing day.
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Thursday, January 26, 2012

No meeting, but a lot to do.



We hurried home, I ate some sandwiches while dinner was cooked and was brushing my teeth when the family was having dinner.
I was ready in time to step into the car... was waiting... saw the clock ticking and waited a lot more. When we nearly had no time left to be in time for the meeting, I called my son. He was called that the meeting was cancelled.

So I sat down again.

It the way things go at the paper.
No responsibility, no questions if certain subjects should be discussed, just a cancellation.
Grrrr...

So I mailed those who should dó something, to do their bit and otherwise let me know.
The site needs to be renewed urgently if we want to stay in touch with online readers and maybe attract some readers of other papers to read ours too. And certainly to get some advertisers.
If they can't manage..give me the passwords and let me put the whole site online.
After helping so many people making their sites, designing them, etc etc, I can do in a few days of concentrated work what needs to be done.

I also urged the only board member which is left to decide on a new board.
Someone needs to take responsibility and I want to, but fully backed by a board, not as some volunteer who works hard and is only confronted with people who don't care.
The decisions which are taken at the moment are not businesslike enough. There's no insight in economical responsibilities.

At some moments I ask myself why I bother so much.
My friend contacted me and just yelled some orders through the phone. He doesn't feel well, I can understand. And my phone is a mess. Sometimes I have to ask for a repeat.
He orders me to do things I can't unless people work with me and for the paper.
He's irritated that he needs to call from a mobile phone to my mobile, which is more expensive than calling to a regular phone. Well, I can't afford to have a home-connection, not with so many kids in puberty. Not with people who won't respect the fact that my life is more than sitting by the phone waiting for their call.

I don't want to accuse the last board member of neglect, but he's got more than 2 years to get a new board and I've handed him a new one on a platter.
The guy can't make decisions. Or should I say can't make decisions that might make his ego seem to be a little less.

So I mailed the people involved what needs to be done.
I assume my need for efficiency made the mails less friendly.

I created my own work today by mailing people to request interviews.
The new major doesn't give them before his duty for the town starts at february 1.
Kind of strange as another paper already published an interview.
But one of the councilmembers is pleased to receive me tomorrow morning.
When I did some research on his person and the hot issue of renting houses to people who are in an urgent situation, I found out he's got the same birthday as I have.
It's fun!
We share ours with Lewis Caroll, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Mozart and Jerome Kern.

So wish me luck.
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

These boots are made for walking...

After we finished the meeting of the paper last week one of the journalists decided to entertain us with a description of some of the most interesting people in our town.
It's a nice and relaxing way of keeping us up to date with their activities.
I don't have a problem with that. It's more of a display of his love for the city and it's certainly not gossip.

We all smiled when we were talking about our conversations with one of the most remarkable men who lives downtown.
It's a guy who dresses like a movie-cowboy. Big hat, leather coat and ofcourse cowboy boots. With spurs.
All high quality as he sells them in his shop.

He's a nice guy, always ready to talk and to have fun.
But the past time he's dealt with a few robberies in his shop.
We admire the way he copes with the resulting stress, and maybe some other shop-owners can learn from him.
I think that he should be interviewed for our next edition. The more people know each other, the more they will help each other. And maybe he has some good ideas.

My birthday is approaching very soon and this all made me realise I can put a few items from his shop on the wishlist.
A few years ago someone gave me a cowboyhat and a real leather cowboycoat.
It's a pity I hardly wear it.
With a nice pair of cowboyboats the outfit would be complete.
The present discounts at Bootcity might help.

Now I've got a song in my head: "These boots are made for walking..."
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Notes behind a paper



Life takes strange turns.
We were friends at college, always disputing each other's contributions to the schoolpaper and later -papers.
I got the opportunity to learn all the details of how a magazine is run, wrote books, translated books and wrote a lot of other stuff.
He was the one who ran a real paper, was an active part of it for 30 years, did it all.

Then suddenly he withdrew from the stage of life and all I could do was step in his world when I heard the ship was sinking.
How could I allow others to mess up his life's work?

Well, they already did before I realised there were problems.
No money, no active writers, no good organisation, old fashioned site, and even a caricature of a paper's office. An old one. Good for an old day movie.

I didn't know if he wanted me to take over.

But this week I learned he does.

The weeks before I've witnessed power plays, lies, laziness, stupidity and a lot more and I'm not sure whether there are enough words for the drive to blow up ones ego and being so lazy that a 30 year old paper is almost completely ruined.

I feel I've practiced on my children what I have to do now: teach a group of people that when they want to accomplish something they have to dó something and they have to accept coordination.
In fact I feel that I would accomplish there more when I take all my kids there and throw those people out.

There is so much to do.
Find money to pay the taxes in march, to pay other bills, and to pay the new edition.
Reorganise the whole lot into a good running business.
Network, network and network.
Find reliable writers and other people, etc etc.

Any rich reader who wants to invest?

Tomorrow evening another meeting.
I don't even dare to think what to expect.
But I want a new board, streamlined responsibilities, and some fresh common sense.
Working on it!
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Monday, monday, tada tatada!

The storm yesterday cleaned my head.
What a pity the alarm woke me up early, but I was not really bothered. I had a song in my head. Monday, monday....

The days here are never alike.

Today my second son came very early, and we had a nice talk about all sorts of things. Right when he was ready to leave the phone rang and a friend asked me over for coffee.
I was almost flattered that she wanted to spend her only free morning of the month with me.
It was nice to have some proper mom's talk. Our kids grew up together and she also has autism spectrum disorder in the family.
We had a giigle when her sone came home from school and I asked without thinking: "How was it at school? Did it go well?". I alsways ask that when my kids come home and use the time when saying the words to stop what I'm doing and go to the livingroom to sit down and listen to the answers. So I sat there waiting for his answer and he bursted out telling us about lost hours and such.
he was happy to vent and after that he was very relaxed and had a few sandwiches. They tasted him well, I could see that. :)

After that I went home and did what needs to be done on mondays: cleaning and such.
The afternoon went by very fast. Before I knew it was time to start dinner.

When the girls came home from ballet we had a nice dinner and a lot of fun.
We also wondered why school keeps on requesting the kids to be present at information evenings about professions when they've made their choice clear and firm.
One wants to be a nurse and won't become anything else and the other has chosen for a balletcarreer and has a plan B as a yogateacher or dancetherapist. We're looking tinto the courses given in Glasgow for the last profession, as they are the best in Europe. Interesting is that the school of the girls has no information at all about studying abroad, so we don't know what to do on those evenings. Especially not as she misses out on her balletlessons.

I still think the school has lost touch with reaility a bit.
They tried to withhold the kids to strike against cutbacks on education, but on thursday the school has given the pupils a day off because the teachers will be on strike against the same cut backs.
It's also known that many parents struggle with the extra costs and yet today one of the girls told me they have to go to Rotterdam and The Hague for some cultural events. I bet the school won't pay for that. They don't even ask the parents if they agree with these scheduled events.
Well, we should be happy as one of the other groups will visit another part of the world: they'll go to India.
After all these years I get the feeling the teachers like to go there and they bring it as an educational trip for the students.

I hope the expensive trip will involve a visit to one of the famous dance companies of our country. Just one to go and my balletgirl has visited them all.
I thought she would hesitate to make the choice for a balletcarreer when she would see how hard dancers have to work, but instead of it she's even more motivated.
I myself have a careful way of selfreflection. She has to make her own choice. I won't push her, knowing the world from isdie out and the other way around, but I also won't plead against her choice. I want to support her though.
Her present school offers a lot of facilities for sporters but nothing for balletgirls. Maybe time to write the government again. Last time I did the facilities at school didn't improve, but the ballet academies got in closer contact.

well, that's for another day.


Kung Hai Fat Choi, dear chinese friends!
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Monday, January 23, 2012

A trip

The children were very young when they feel in love with duplo trains and when they expressed an interest in real trains we took them with us. First on a short stretch, to town. Later on trips all over the country.
We taught them how to travel, because the might be autistic, but that didn't mean their world should be limited.

The oldest in particular loved traveling by train, and he was the one who introduced daytrips for me as a birthday present.
My birthday is next friday, but today he took me on a trip across the country.
(We first planned yesterday, but we had too much to do).

It was nice to be back in Amsterdam.
We didn't stay very long, because we planned to go to a kind of bazar in Beverwijk. I've never been there and I was curious, as many people told me it's nice to shop there.

First we had to ask where to go. The guy we asked was very unkind. Pff.
We're from the other side of the country and deal with people in a slightly different way. We take out time to be friendly.

It was a firm walk. It started to storm and the wind made those great stormy sounds. Great!

Entering the bazar was quite interesting as I didn't know what to expect.
It was HUGE!!!!

We walked there for hours and we didn't see everything.

But we were at the part of the eastern countries. Which was in fact more the islamic part. Some parts were very crowded and more than once I was the only woman not wearing a scarf. Men staring at me, older men looking at me like they were saying hej..what are you doing here looking like that. It was like I was in a foreign country. (Yep, I was the one with the almost grey hair.)
I respected them, for instance by stepping aside when they were called for prayer (yes it was even broadcasted there), so they could move fast to where they were going. But I have a bit of doubt if it worked the other way around.
When we arrived in the chinse part I felt far more at ease.
And when my favorite buddha shop was present I was delighted. LOL!

Ive never seen so many different restaurants at a few square kilometers. Me oh my! When we walked on the pavement of the main "street" I got nauseated by all the different smells.
Ofcourse I was invited for a free meal by a turkish man who wanted a smiling woman in his restaurant to attract other people. I didn't accept it.
And one of the chinese women we bought food from on buddha day invited us in her restaurant too. But we didn't accept that either. We thought that we would never be able to walk when we would sit down.

Well, my son found a sweater he liked for 2 euro 99!!
And I bought a cape for 5 euro. Very, yep, very red. Haha! I can use it when we start our new journalism project for the paper. People can find me easily when I walk around in my red cape.
In the train I saw it was from a very good designer. Wow!
At home I saw it was not fleece, but 80% wool. Wow!
And on internet I saw that the cape is sold for 149 euros. Wow!
I looked if something was wrong with it... No!

We planned to go to the boach to have a walk while the sun was setting, but we missed the train by a few seconds. It was gone too early.
I said that maybe it was delayed a lot and it was the former train.

Well, we decided to skip the beach and go for dinner to our favorite frites (french fries) restaurant. Something went worng with the order and I got no sause, but I didn't mind at all. Even plain everything was delicious.

Through the blazing storm we went to the train and before Amsterdam we got stuck for 20 minutes. According to the train organisation it was because the police was hunting down some people. Can't find anything in the online papers about it, nor on TV. Strange.
All trains were delayed and it was a mess at the station.
My oldest doesn't display many autism spectrum disorder symptoms anymore, but he does know all the schedules by heart and he has an insight in the solutions for massive delays. I was talking to someone I vaguely know and who had to go to Utrecht, when he said he wanted to go elsewhere. We were just on our way when the announcement was made that.... We were the first to reach the train. When I looked back many people were running to catch the train in time.

Well, we were home in time to see the new series on BBC one about midwifes, I showed off the cape and after coffee and such I started to catch up with household tasks.
Can't leave the house for a day.

It's time to put the second load of laundry in the machine and find my bed.
Tomorrow is a good day to do the rest that's left.
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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Home



1. Do you live close to where you grew up? Why?

I live in the same town, but in another part of town.
Why? Because I had all the educational opportunities here. And after I married and got kids we had all the facilities near.

2. Have you ever been so angry that you almost lost control?

You mean become violent? No. I'm not that kind of person.
But I lost clear thinking, I wasn't able to keep enough distance from myself to reflect on what I was doing. Luckily I didn't do anything stupid, just got caught in being angry. Happened once.

3. Are you a fan of a musical act that slightly embarrasses you?

Huh? No.

4. Is there a movie that always makes you cry?

Yes, Out of Africa.

5. Who is the most famous person that you've met?

Hmmm... I've met quite some famous people. Writers, bisshops, singers. All very nice people.

6. Before you leave your home, what must you have?

Lipcare.
And the government wants us to take our passport with us. Especially in the middle of summer I don't know where to put it.

7. What do you miss the most about being a kid?

Being with my gram. Helping her.

8. Tell us about a passion of yours that your readers would not expect.

I don't know what they expect.
But OK, I
ll have a try.
I would like to go on a trip in october to the base camp of the Mount Everest.
I won't ever be able to find 2295 euro to go there, but I would practice for it if I had the opportunity. And succeed.

9. At what age do you think you'd be to think, “I've had a great run”?

I don't know what you mean.




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Friday, January 20, 2012

Dresses

We all know the show must go on.
Today we had to take this literally.
After discussing Rudi van Dantzig, we took a cup of coffee and sat down to prepare the next ballet performance.

The idea of my daughter to use the back wall for a projection of snow was welcomed.
Good.
Then we discussed the looks of the dancers.
As this is a rather large group of amateurs we need to dress people of different ages and sizes.

One of the foreign dancers told us she had very good experiences with ordering from Sydney's Closet who have a large collection of dresses online, including plus size dresses.
She was right.
The collection can be surfed by prize, size, occassion, length, availability, designer and even colour.

Within minutes we made our choice.
So I'm sure you can too.
The 24/7 life customer support service enables you to use the expertise of people who know which problems you face and which insecurities.
So why not give it a try?
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Rudi van Dantzig died today

It's very long ago.
With a balletcollegue I'd witnessed some dancing sessions with choreographers and I stayed in Amsterdam for a few days. Her mom was a great cook and wanted me to taste about everything of her specialities.
She needed some castor sugar one of those days and I said I would get some at one of the small groceries nearby.

I was near a corner when someone on a bicycle came towards me, smiled to me, said "Hi, keep on dancing" and touched my heart for a moment.
It was Rudi van Dantzig who greeted me. I was quite surprised that such a great man had remembered me from one or two looks he gave us when he passed the window of the room where we were dancing and that he took the effort to give me a push in the balletdirection.

He was one of the best 3 choreographers our country ever had. (others: Hans van Manen and Toer van Schayk)
He was inspired and inspirational, he could invest a tremendous amount of emotion in his work, and on the other side could request in a very businesslike manner pure perfection. The intensity in his facial expression when observing dancers one way of another has become part of my intensity when dancing. It was complete being in the moment and at the same time being reflective.

To me he always had something boyish in his face, even when he was 70 and older. His looks resembled my best friend's looks a lot, especially when he had some innner fun.

It's strange he isn't among us anymore.
But those who have known him, even for a short moment, will keep his spirit with them.

Bye Rudi, I took your advice serious. Thank you,
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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A day with lots of surprises.

Remember our christmasbox was a huge disappointment?
I mailed the factory of the cookies and snacks asking if they wanted feedback on their products.
They wanted it, I gave it and this morning I received a box with luxury chocolates and a bag with licorice. Topproducts!
So that was nice.

Our autistic boy asked us to fetch a game which brought us near the Ikea. We took the opportunity to have a good look around, as we'll need a new couch in the near future and the rooms of the kids can do with other wardrobes.

When we went back to town and got out of the car to get the groceries a cold wind swept in our faces, and a freezing cold drizzle lashed our faces. It was sooooo cold!

In the library I found a book of our former queen. It didn't look nice anymore, but it's a welcome addition to our home library. Cost: 1 euro.
Got it!

The meeting I had this evening didn't have any important content. Result: 1 hour earlier at home than planned.
Yes!

A mail of the wife of my terminally ill friend suggested he's not at home but either in hospital or in a hospice. The appointment we made to see him at saturday was very welcomed by her, but in the mail she didn't refer to him being able to talk to us then.
That was quite a surprise, as we thought to have made an appointment with them both.
I'm going to mail her back after this blogpost with some very concrete questions. It's OK he wants to go through this proces of detachment from life in his own way, I want to respect than and I've respected that. But I'd rather give him a hug and say nothing, than have a telephone call with some dull jokes.
He wants to call me. I hate telephone calls.
I'm able to visit him this weekend. So I'd rather do that.

I searched on internet the last information about the study one of the girls wants to start in september.
Great! The hospital has updated the site very, very well, and we now have all the answers we wanted.

And then finally, after discussing glassfiber internet, I sat down to watch one of the last episodes of As The World Turns.
Suddenly I felt something... molar broken.

My birthday is next week. So there goes the money to receive some friends at home.
The dentist has become a lot more expensive here....
That was not the way to spend that little bit of money I saved... that little bit that won't be enough...
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Saying goobye forever to dearest friend

Step by step life is leaving him.
Tomorrow we're going to speak to each other on the phone and saturday I will visit him at the place where he is now, at the other side of the country.

We planned a day out on a cheap trainticket that enables people to travel by train during one day in the weekend.

I hope to visit chinese friends in Amsterdam and wish them a happy new year, go to the beach, which will be one of the last times as those cheap tickets will disappear, and in the evening we'll visit my friend, spending a lot of money on the bus, but I want to visit him.
It depends on the chat on the phone tomorrow if saturday will be a relaxing day.

I hope I'll be able to see him then and say a proper goodbye.

He's my best friend of over 40 years.
I think he knows me better than anyone else.
So sad... and yet I feel grateful to have known him and take care of his paper.
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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Colour coincidence?

My former glasses had a rim around them with a colourline.
I was the only one in the country with such a rim, and I still am.

The whole rim story started about 8 to 10 years ago.
I needed new glasses but couldn't find frames that looked well on me. So the shopowner and I started brainstorming about the framelss glasses and decided that a rim with a colourline would do well.
And we were right.

So I had glasses like that ever since.

But when my former glasses were made the shopowner said he didn't want to put colour in the rim anymore. It's done with a fineliner and each tremble of the hand could be seen. So it needed a steady hand and pure concentration, both diminishing with age.
So you see... two years later...
I got the rim,. but not the colour.

Today I was tidying some old stuff when I found a fineliner with permanent ink. The colour is exactly the one of my glasses.
Coincidence?
Dunno.

All I know is that I will fill in the rim when I'm ready with the look of these glasses. When the colour is in the rim I'll have a different look.
So that's two looks for the prize of one.

Mmmm, I like that!
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Monday, January 16, 2012

GPS systems

Today the local paper reports about an invention of a group of students: a child tracking system based on GPS.
I feel sorry for them and even more sorry for those who awarded them for the socalled innovative project. They didn't invent something new.

GPS locators are available at The Source and at other places both on- an offline and they're widely used. For instance when a mountain rescue is needed or to track a lost or stolen car.

GPS means Global Positioning System. The device enables real-time satellite signals to establish the place where the thing or person to which it is attached is.

Right now there are so many systems on the market that it's good to review gps systems before buying one. There are levels of sophistication and prize levels. It's good to know what you expect from the system and what the experiences of others are. The Source provides you with that information.

Scotland is still on the list of future dreams and I've already talked with the children about needing a GPS system when we want to walk freely in unknown areas. It's also far more easy to find the spot of land we own and to find our way home when we've got lost or want the straightest way home.

I don't like all the technical advances we're confronted with the past years, but this ome I like very much.
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Interesting family connections

Yesterday I found the picture of my gram back.
I couldn't find it for a while, but I know it wasn't lost.
I replaced it when tidying up, and I found it back in a booklet. Carefully put aside there.

Knowing that more about the war was put online I searched internet again.
Now I found my gram's brother among those killed in the war. In fact I found him again. He was on the list a few years ago, but taken from it. Now he's on the list again with some more information.
She also lost a sister, but the sister is called her niece in the reports about the war.
Well, het year of birth still is wrong on the geneology sites, as is the year my parents married. I'm sure these people themselves knew the dates well, so I stick to the dates they mentioned themselves.

Rummaging through the families I made an interesting discovery.
One of the former collegues at work was a family member. Haha...if my mom had known. My mom worked at the same office then, and she didn't value my gram's side of the family much. Just an ego thing. If she had know that one of the collegues she admired so much was one of that part of the family. Haha!!

I also got more insight in the relationships between the people that visited my gram regularly and to whom she took me often. They all had a close family relationship, like my kids have between them. I now know a bit more about who is who and where they were positioned in the family tree.

It's quite interesting and also very time consuming to dive in the family history.
I still know a lot of stories and still remember a lot of faces. So it has been fun to take some time to look into this.
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Saturday, January 14, 2012

I Know I'm Losing You



1. Have you ever still been in a relationship that you knew was ending, but you hung in with it anyway? If yes, why?

Yes. Kids. I also think that a relationship can be changed into something mutually rewarding, even if it's not a husband/wife love relationship.

2. Tell why people around the world should be completely enthralled by you.

Completely enthralled? Haha!!

I'm nice, always smile, I can sing well, and impersonate some people rather well. So in other words, I'm good for a good laugh.

3. Other than where you live, what's your favorite city and why?

Not as much a ceity. I would love to live in a small house in Scotland, Wales or at the outer Hebrides. Somewhere with the sea, mountains or winds.

4. What is something you are really passionate about?

Music, the paper

5. What has been your most exciting prize that you've won?

I'm not a winner of huge prizes. Most exciting was a nice handmade glass bead and a christmasornament.
So let me win something....now.....pleassseee.

6. Do you think there was there a second gunman behind the grassy knoll?

Huh?

7. What was the silliest, most fun, crazy or impractical gift that you received?

Two huge glass candlesticks.
They're the best weapons of defense when we're ever attacked. They're so heavy that they can crush a foot.

8. What was the most practical gift that you received?

2 t-towels for my small house in scotland. Dreamhouse still.

9. What blogger has been in your blogroll the longest? How did you discover them?

Several. Found my friends surfing.



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No phone for a month?

I'm trying to live without a phone.

It's marvellous to do without a phone.
Getting things done is so much easier without being disturbed and one isn't any longer the playball of people who are bored or who have too much time at their hands.

Ofcourse it's not all rosey and nice.

Suddenly someone who hasn't been in contact for over two years wants me on the phone. Urgent. Now!
It reminds me of the time that I had a phone and had to take it with me wherever I went, otherwise I had to call back too many people. No way I could hang one load of laundry at once. Or whipe the floor.
People jumped into my life the way and at the time they wanted too. Even a polite "is it convenient ?" was a disturbance. When you think it's not convenient, don't call.

It's about one week without a phone now.
I think everybody should try this.
Imagine being in the shops and enjoying your daydreams about a long bath with that deliciously smelling bathfoam. Putting that heavy bag of potatoes in your trolley is suddenly something that's not important or a burden anymore. You can use both hands, and keep daydreaming.

I also liked the fact that none of the boys was able to call me when they were on their bicycle. No strange breathingnoises in my ear anymore.

I can recommended this to anyone.
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Friday, January 13, 2012

Ballet and cars

Ballet and cars don't go together in our town.

A few weeks ago the council tried to install new meters for the parkingspaces.
Because people gave their tickets to each other, meaning that the 10 minutes they paid for were not used by the owner of the ticket and he gave it to another car owner to use, which is his good right, the council thought it better to claim that unused time for the council's benefit.
The new meters need the input of the carnumber, so unused tickets and unused tickettime can't be used by someone else.
Parkingspace will be paid part of time time twice or maybe three times.
Who is going to benefit?

Well, the new meters didn't work properly so they had no choice than to give free parkingspace.
Me oh my!
They thought we all were waiting for free parkingspace, but those who never come to town by car anymore have already found another place to do their shopping.

But...yesterday the shops in town were open all evening (the only evening in the week) so it was very busy in town. We drove around for half an hour. We decided to go to a parking building. It said it was not allowed to go there for a short time only. Well, when people are ready to pay 10.75 euro, why not?
I got out of the car to get our tickets for the balletperformance.
Wasn't it fun for the first time in ages we were in town?

In the meantime I found out that a mistake had been made with the ballettickets, but I got them for the second performance.
A good thing as the car could be parked only after search for 45 minutes and the ballettheatre was a 10 minute walk away.

In the meantime that the car was parked I spend some time in the hall of the ballettheatre. There was a lot of noise and people drinking wine and such. They had fun. Those were people of the council spending an hour there at the restaurant.
I was delighted to be able to leave the building and sniff the cold air and hear the town's noises.

The girls did well.
It was great to see their progress.
I had a good time, a really good time.

Afterwards, when we were waiting for them I spoke to their ballet teacher. She's my former teacher too.
We managed to find a solution for the soft pointed of one of the pupils, discussed a nice feature for the next performance and discussed some other matters in almost no time.

I love that! Being a former balletdancer and -teacher myself, having choregraphed quite a lot, I was so happy to help out.
Each time I leave there I feel like applying for a job again.
There are none....
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Thursday, January 12, 2012

New glasses, old eyes

Finally the new glasses were ready.
I remember that I got my first pair when I was 4 and suddenly the world was bright and clear to see.

I didn't expect the same experience. Instead I was a bit curious if the new glasses would be an improvement after the woman found out that the axis of one of my eyes had shifted.

Well, I didn't know what happened when I put on the new glasses. I could see clear, sharp, and had a better vieuw both far and nearby.
So I'm happy with that.

Tomorrow will be a well filled day.

First I have to do quite a lot of work for the paper. The new temporary mayor has been nominated and I'm quite curious why he has never been able to stay longer than 4 years at a job. He's like a bee, flying from flower to flower. I want to know why someone who is considered a good one has such a lot of short stays on his CV.

In the evening we'll attend a balletperformance of the girls.

It'll also be a change of weather. From the double digits celcius during the day we'll experience a drop after the afternoon due to change of winddirection and cooler air. Winter? Finally? Maybe snow at my birthday? Imagine!!!
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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Results

I had to think about her performance quite often while I was working. (see yesterday).
Pity I had to wait until the evening, because she went to ballet lesson straight from school. Eating with her brother in town today.

When she came home with all her bags, looking like the professional balletdancers I've had around me for so many years, she smiled.
"I know what you want to ask. Let me first get my stuff upstairs and put on other clothes."

When she came downstairs she was still smiling.
"You were right.
There was no need to perform in front of the group, he wanted to take the exam without the group. And he gave us a try out first. All I have to do is learn the words and sing without reading them. That can be managed in 14 days. He said we will pass without any problems, because we did great.
And mom, they've asked me to dance on stage with modern dance too at the annual performance of the balletschool. That'll be three times on stage: ballet, pointe and modern dance."

I can't keep myself from saying that performing ballet is as difficult for others as she thought it to be for her when singing. With the only exception: she also has a good voice and comes from a very talented singing family.
"Yes, that's what I thought too when I went to music classes today."

On saturday it's open day at the musical academy here.
She doesn't want to study musical, but ballet. Having a peek what others do can only broaden the horizon, so we agreed to go together.
Maybe there's more talent to be acknowledged, I thought. But she has to discover that herself.

The world of ballet and theatre isn't always a fun place to be. The competition is harsh. If she wants to go and study there it's up to her. I'll help her and support her. But I won't push her one little bit.
I know that world far too well. Without a strong inner drive one won't make it there.

She has that drive though.
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Monday, January 9, 2012

Acknowledging your talents

I sensed some tears crawling to the surface. The skin around her eyes got a bit red.
"What's up?"
"Nothing"
"No nothing. Tell me."

And she did.
With a classmate she had to present a song of Michael Jackson in a different style. She doesn't like Michael Jackson's music.

I see that's not the reason.
"Come on... tell me."

Most of the kids have piano lessons and some play the guitar very well. She can't compete with them.
"Are you going to use a piano or guitar?"
Immediately I see rockstars using a guitar as drums and play a piano with spoons.
"I sure have some ideas to make a different composition."

But the problem is that she wants to sing and is afraid to sing in front of the classmates.

She went to a choir, a catholic churchchoir (being a buddhist,) to ask if she and het sister could sing with them without asking us. LOL! When they were 7 or 8, and they sang with them until they were too old for the children's choir.

She, her sister and her friends have their own band.

It´s about self confidence, about looking at a situation without using her sense of reality.

So we talk about it. About dinging, what it means to her, what singing has done for me and what to expect at school.
"Maybe that teacher wants to take that part of the exam just by himself, without the group. It's not about performing in public, but about keeping rhythm and being creative with music."

I give her one of the rhythm instruments I have collected and offer her to take my bongos with her. She doesn't need them, she tells me and goes upstairs to make her homework. Much more relaxed, smiling.

When she comes downstairs again she's happy and OK with what she rehearsed.

Let's see what tomorrow brings.
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Planning the week

Today we had the first birthday of a whole list of them.
It was also the last day of the vacation.

Tomorrow will be a very busy day.
Not only because a lot of chores were impossible to do with a house full of people, but also because the winterstorms have caused a lot of dust to come into the house,
the christmasstuff should go back to the attick, because of the balletlessons I have to cook twice and there's an awful lot of other things to do because of some changes in the house.

We wanted to go and talk with some other parents of autistic children last week. This time not organised by us, but by another pair of parents. We realised the date was already in the past the next day. Oops. Luckily we hadn´t told them we wanted to come. So maybe next time.

This week the girls will have a balletperformance. We won´t forget to go. LOL!
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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Nobody Told Me



1. When you grew up were you ever told how to deal with problems?

Yes, the word "ever" says enough.
My dad and gram were problemsolvers and they were very good with it.
My gram should be, as she had 7 children, one of them chronically ill.
I was very interested in how she handled things as I wanted a large family too. And she was quite willing to share everything she had learned. She was a great storyteller so we've spend a lot of time with tea and cake or cookies at the large table.

2. What was your first apartment like?

When I was a student I was able to get a large attick with a built in level for a bed and closets and wardrobes. It didn't look like an attick, but as a luxury appartment. It was opposite the balletschool (I was a balletdancer then) and I was a nanny for the kids of the family below.
I don't know how I managed then. Life was one large clockwork of studying, running to and fro college, earning my own money (in the street behind my appartment) and ballet.

3. What was the first car you owned?

Never had a car, I don't even have a driver's lisence.
Our first car was the old one of my dad.

4. Tell us about a crush or relationship that you had at high school.

He was tall, was a great organisor and everything else I wanted in my future husband. When we'd left school we planned to marry, but it never happened because we both went to university and he put his life on hold and I didn't want to.
Maybe, in hindsight, I should have. Life would have been a lot easier. He became one of the CEO's of a worldwide company, terribly rich, etc etc.
I wouldn't have been a bagpiper but a cellist. LOL!

5. Have you ever had an “enemy” in your life?

Yes, and she had a huge impact on our lives. It was terrible to experience something like that.
She was so driven by her own convictions, her ego and the distortion which working too long in her profession creates, that she didn't ask the necessary questions to see things in pespective but just sailed on her own mistakes and those made by others.
I expect more problems because of it this year, unless others are able to ask the questions needed and are able to see things in perspective.
It's terrible that people are not able to see the truth and that they won't believe teachers, for instance, are able to make the most basic mistakes.

I have learned a lot though. And one of it is that there's no defence when people like her press you against the wall and play with your emotions by using the kids.
Another thing I learned is that people won't belief it when socalled professionals use blackmail on you.
It makes me value my friends even more.

6. What were you doing the first night that you got drunk?

That was many many years ago when one of our best friends lived next door.
He gave me a glass of whiskey and it tumbled down rather fast and heavy. He took several glasses, the plant near my chair got drunk. Lol! I was a bit lightheaded and went home, drank a lot of water, took some bread and went to bed.
He'd been thinking for three years that I drank almost a bottle of whiskey and he couldn't get rid of the strange smell, untill I exchanged the plant when I had to water the plant during one of his vacations. Haha!!
His ego suffered most because he thought he couldn't drink as much as a woman.

7. Ten years ago, what was your job and did you like it?

Was a mom and a writer. Loved it.

8. What movie had the biggest impact on you as a child and why?

I'm not sure which one.
Heidie was about a young girl who had to stay with her unfriendly granddad in the mountains. She was able to make him feel he wanted to be nice.
Tarzan made me want to be adventurous and do something in my life that was out of the ordinary.
Old Shatterhand made me curious about native american religion and the roots of people.

9. What are your plans for this weekend?

Running off now to go to my favorite second hand bookstore. They're selling books for 50 cents today.


Happy New Year!!

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Friday, January 6, 2012

Flooding

Our country, The Netherlands, lies for the main part below sea level.
We're protected by dikes.

In 1953 a combination of springtide and a northwestern storm.

When the tide was at its lowest the waterlevel was as high as at high tide. So people were warned. But they didn't takeit serious or didn't understand the implications and afterwards the watertide ran high so fast that the dikes couldn't hold the enormous pressure and boke through, and people got trapped.

Again we had a northwestern storm yesterday that pushed up the waters in The Canal, the waters between England and The Netherlands. No springtide though.
The winds were also targetted at the northern part of the country and it rained a lot. Luckily just half of what was expected.
And the dikes were reconstructed.

In the northern part of the country special dams were closed or closed itselves by the fast rising water.
And 3 larges areas were opened to take a lot of water to lower the pressure on the dikes. Lots of extra pumps were working. And ofcourse the permanent pumps.
This one is able to pump 30 large tanktrucks of water to the other side of the dike.


The artificial waterlevel dividers were opened to enable water to stream out of the land.
This one is at Warfsum.


Because the land is made in a sort of compartments by the dikes only a small part was flooded when a dike broke through.
Some other dikes started to leak and people had to be evacuated in the middle of the night.
To assess the situation well the army was asked to send an F16 and use infrared. In fact they used the same procedure which is used to find bombs in Afghanistan.
And planes were used to have a full eye evaluation of the situation.
Groningen:


And more:



In total 3 small dikes broke through and two dikes had severe leakage.

Luckily it didn't rain as much as expected and the wind turned a bit, otherwise more problems would have arissen.

When dikes get soaked they start to leak and the leaking water will take with it small particles of sand and when this continuous larger particles will be torn away by the the force of the water resulting in a hole.
Rain also washes out the dikes, and the fluctuating waterlevels are not good either.

Right now the main problems are at the north of the country and at the coast in the western part of the country.

Other parts will have to deal with high water starting today and this weekend. Highest levels are expected on monday in the south.

photos
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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Another storm

We had another storm today. The temperature was quite resonable: 10 to 12 degrees celcius, but the wind was fierce. Especially in the north of the country.

I love storm, so as soon as I had a chance I went outside for a short walk near the lake. I was a bit disappointed, because I wasn't blown from my feet.
Ofcourse I should have been at the beach, but it's a bit too far away.

We had to fetch the girls in the evening.
Me oh my, when a truck passed we got struck with a full force of storm and a slash of rain.
On our way back we had a bicycle on the carrier. We were lucky the wind was not as bad at that moment.
The girls were happy we didn't allow them to bicycle home in the dark. The bicycle path was full of branches and stuff, and we didn't want them to get hurt either by falling over the branches or by a branch falling down on them.

They had a great time staying at the home of their brother: baking, reading and being lazy. It's so good to see the children get along so well.

On our way back with the second bicycle the winds got worse and at one moment I thought the steer might get right through the back window. Ofcourse it didn't happen. But I checked the window well when we came home, just in case.

I planned to tidy the attick but ofcourse I didn't do so. Our autistic son would have been quite fearful that the roof might blow off, something he has seen happening at another house on TV.
As a small child he disliked even the least bit of wind in his face. We couldn't talk with him like we could with other children to ease his feelings. He just hated wind. So on the bicyle he sat behind a huge screen or hidden behind my back.
Funny, because i simply love weather like this.

Well, offer me a job in an area with lost of storm and a small house and you'll make me very happy.
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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Supervulcana near us?

The daily mail set a whole lot of writers and scientists off by placing an article about a supervulvacano 390 km from London.
Under the Laacher See, which in fact is about a 120 km from here, or maybe less, a caldera vulcano is sleeping well.
It erupted 12.900 years ago and according to the Daily Mail it erupts every 10 to 12.000 so it's far over time. Even worse, they say, there's carbon dioxide bubbling, so the disaster is near.
When it gets active it will be like the Pinatubo, causing death, lowering of temperature and the whole lot.

I don't know who has been on holiday at the Laacher See without knowing that the bubbling there has been going on for centuries. It's a kind of passive discharge of the magma in the middle of the earth and no one ever makes anything of it. Yep, except the reporter of the Daily.

I guess we'll be confronted with doomsday scenarios this whole year, and when they're clever they save something for 2013, because, well, the 13 is not giving much hope, is it?

I have to say however that we did have an earthquake last year and that doesn't happen often here.
Maybe that's a sign of the supervulcano getting ready?

No. It was probably due to the mining in Germany.

Londoners shouldn't worry.
When the vulcano erupts it'll get us first and ofcourse we'll call your prime minister to warn him some ash is coming your way.

So don't worry...
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Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy 2012



Some say the world will end at the 21th of December according to the maya calendar.
But according to those who live acdcording to that culture and tradition, there will be a time of renewal.

I feel that way too.

We will have a struggle this year at the financial level.
When you're prepared to share what you have, there's nothing wrong with this year.

During the change of year we went outside and it was a surprise to find that far more people than usual came outside to wish each other a good year.
I got embraced by dear friends, but also by people I hardly know.

For the first time I got real champaign at the change of years. From a friend who doesn't deal with fake drinks.
I stood there, watching the enormous amount of fireworks in the middle of her family, with my family and some others and we looked at each other and knew that no matter what we will make it until another change of years. She runs a business against the tide, but she will make it work, no matter what. In fact we share that strong feeling: she for her business and I for the paper. We want our enterprises to succeed. Not because of our ego's, but because we feel inspired.

We will make this into a wonderful year when we're able to share and inspire each other.
There are plenty of families around us who need a hand, so I started to sort out clothes and toys and I'll find a way to give them without making people feel embarassed. I saved clothes because they were too good to throw away and the charity organisations put them into a shredder. It makes our house cluttered, but this year that will change a lot.

One of the girls will start a new life as she'll get her diploma (we hope), and one of the boys will get a job (we hope). Perhaps that will mean moving for them.
They're ready to fly from the nest.
I also hope our autistic boy will find a protected place to live. With all the changes in healthcare it will be difficult. But like with the others I feel his moment has come.
So sorting out things will be really sorting out things.

2012 will also be a hard year, as my best friend is dying. For him it will be the end of pain and struggle, but it will be very hard to his friends. And he's got many.
But for now we only look at the positive.

We'll make a good one of this year, and I wish you the same.

Happy new year!
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