Being silly

This is a perfect example of how my brother makes us all laugh. He got together with the kids and with not much more than plastic cups and plates, inspired them to these magnificent works of art ;-) He always makes us laugh! He was here today and we had a good time acting silly. Which for me means singing falsely and loudly, dancing weirdly and really goofing off. A nice break from all the stress I've been feeling!
Marinda labelled his and my humor the other day as being silly humor. Which is pretty much what it is. We don't tell a lot of jokes, or have intelligent witty conversation, but there's pretty much always somebody ready to burst into ridiculous song or dance. It's a side of me that does not show up at all with my inlaws, somehow it's reserved for my sisters and brothers, or me with the kids. Good to have some place where the goofy side of me can come out of the closet!

A new morning

It's amazing how things can change within such a short period of time! I woke up to a phone call saying that we have an option on a rental house. We can go see it next week. If we want it, it's ours! Later today somebody offered to assist us financially. An offer that makes our options to buy a lot more attractive. I called my work and arranged for some flexibility as to when I will quit working. That was also nagging at me, especially the financial side, so there is some relaxation there as well. Marinda fixed me brunch this morning, with scrambled eggs and all. I came out of my shower to find the table set and my coffee waiting for me. It gave a whole new perspective on the day!
I'm still feeling tense, but certainly a lot less than yesterday, so hopefully I will be able to get some good sleep tonight and relax further and trust that things will, after all, work out for us!!

Burning the midnight oil

It's midnight. Marinda has taken over my side of our bed, because she wasn't feeling well. I'm not feeling too great myself. My head is just spinning with all kinds of thoughts and questions and insecurities and fears and anxieties. So I thought I'd get out of bed and see if writing would help.
Today I realized that what's really getting to me right now is the total insecurity of where we are going to. I can handle a lot of shit, to put it bluntly. Like having a son with hemofilia who is also going bald, like having a husband who has been sick a lot of the years of our marriage, like having to struggle to make a marriage work, like having a real hard time knowing how to raise my kids, like having my son operated on 4 times, like 8 years of sleepless nights, like combining college, moving and a new job all within two months, like dealing with depression and so forth and so on. But somehow this seems to be defeating me. I think it's because I have no perspective. Herman knows what he's looking forward to, his dream job! I have no idea what the future is going to bring. No house, no job, no schools for the kids as of yet, no clue as to what I am going to be doing and a strong feeing of financial insecurity. And that is pretty much driving me insane. I can deal with things as long as I have a grip on them. But I have no grip on our current situation which means my stress levels are sky high. And I can't help but worry and wonder and WAIT, and I hate that!
I feel fine as long as I can DO something. But now I feel like all the things that I want to get done are on hold until we at least know where we're going to live. And I have no idea how to deal with this feeling of powerlessness.
Suggestions anyone?


Feeling crappy today. This morning I woke up and was so dizzy standing up I decided to lay right back down again. I think the stress is getting to me :-(
And we were going house seeing today! So I stayed home, called in sick at work, and felt rather bad all day. I sincerely hope I'll feel better tomorrow, I feel guilty enough already as it is for being ill today.
Sometimes I wish I could enjoy being sick a bit more, but my conscience always nags at me. I think it must be a mother thing.

The best food ever

The best food ever is, of course, ethiopian food! This is a picture of celebratory meal at our local ethiopian restaurant in honor of our friends finally getting his permit to live here in Holland. We don't eat out a lot and I don't cook ethiopian food myself, so when we do have it I enjoy it to the full!
One time I was at the restaurant with some injera lovers. We almost attacked the waiter when he brought our food, we were so eager. It was finished in no time at all, all our hands in the plate scraping it clean. Then I noticed two older women sitting at the next table eating primly and precisely. If they could have asked for a fork, I think they might have! It almost ruined my appetite looking at them. I mean, what is this food for, if it's not to guzzle it down when it's hot and fresh?!?


I dreamt about books last night. Maybe because I allowed myself the joy of getting some new books at the library this week. I dreamt about finding some of the books that I read when I was a child. I have a couple that I have carried with me from country to country; the Chronicles of Narnia, the Little House on the Prarie Series, and the Anne of Green Gables series. I remember how dissapointed I felt when I found out that Marinda doesn't like any of these books! To me, these are books that define my childhood. They are a tangible record of something that I enjoyed doing as a child. These books, and others, have shaped me. And I had hoped to pass on some of this legacy to my kids. Now I just find other ways to pass it on!
The weird thing is that there are not many ways to relate to my kids in how they're growing up. I don't know what it's like to grow up in Holland, to know the same people the whole time. I still don't understand the social etiquette that's needed on the playground, or the unspoken rules about how to celebrate birthdays or which presents to give the teachers at what point in time. I'm experiencing all these things for the first time, just like the kids. That's why I'm so looking forward to showing them Ethiopia, the school I went to, the house I lived in, the atmosphere I grew up in, the food I ate. I'm hoping that it will give them a feel for how I grew up. It's not the most important thing in the world, but I get a lot of pleasure from thinking about it!


I was just looking through Tristans photograph albums, of the first two years of his life, and I'm just overcome with a feeling of regret. Looking at the pictures and smiling at the memories also reminds me of how hard it is to treasure the moment when it's there, instead of living life automatically and routinely. I wish I wasn't so handicapped by my drive to plan things, my need to look forward and be ambitious all the time. I wish I could would have treasured those moments in the pictures at that moment, instead of looking at them now with longing in my heart. I wonder what it is that keeps me so driven to look forward instead of relaxing and enjoying the here and now.
Maybe that's one of the hardest things in life to learn. To take what you have and treasure it and let ambition and longing and desires rest for a while. I know it's a major struggle of mine. I struggle with discontent and disappointment, the feeling that life owes me more than what it's given me. And yet when I look back, I can see the moments of enjoyment that have been there which have been clouded by my own lack of insight into them.
Somebody quoted Kierkegaard to me the other day: “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” It's painfully true!
The hope lies in this: that which is understood when looking backwards can then be applied to living forwards. In other words, the choices I make now will affect the way I look back later.

Lord of the Rings

One of my favorite memories is of watching the Lord of the Rings movies with my brother. He and I are unique in our love of science fiction and fantasy. Only with him can I watch Star Trek, Lost or anything else that is remotely weird or otherworldy.
But this one time was the best. I read in the newspaper that there would be a marathon session of all three movies on an evening in december. Movies one and two before midnight and then the first showing of movie three right after midnight. Wow! Too unique to pass over! I think I must have gotten the last two tickets available, and I gave them to Renzo for his birthday. I worked that day, and borrowed a bike from my friend to get us back home (no trains that late at night). Renzo fixed us up with a lot of munchies and we settled down for a long evening of fantasy, thrills and excitement. It was great!
But almost the most fun was going back home. It was 2.30 at night by then, and we had one bike and about 12 kilometers to go. We took turns sitting on the back, getting bruises on our butt. To top it all off, we couldn't work out how to shift the bicycle gears so it was really hard going! It was great fun though, I wouldn't trade that night for any other regular movie night. Brings a smile to my face every time I think of it!

Herman the Great

I met Herman when I was working as a receptionist at a Bible school here in Holland. When I first came here in 1989, after graduating from RVA, I decided to work for a year. I hadn't applied to any schools yet, and was too late to get started straight away. Working in the Bible school was one of the odd jobs I had that year.

Lise and I decided to get to know some of the students so we invited them over to our house for pizza and a movie. Herman was one of the guys in the group. I noticed him that evening because he was acting real crazy, making us all laugh when we were talking a walk. After that I kept my eye on him and at a certain point decided that he was mine (oh, the arrogance!!). So I set my cap for him and eventually he decided I was pretty nice as well :-). The thing that kept me hooked on him is the fact that he let me be me. When I was in doubt about our relationship he told me I was free to leave, he couldn't force me to love him. That only made me love him more. Finally a guy who didn't claim me and make me feel closed in! He also told me then that if we did decide to get married, that he wouldn't let me go but would chase me to the ends of the earth if neccesary (I doubt he stated it quite so poetically, but that was pretty much what he meant). And that's they way it's been since then. Despite the differences, we stick together! And he still has the most amazing sparkle in his eyes when he's happy!

So tell me, how did you meet the love of your life?


It's autumn vacation here, so the kids have a week off school. I was looking forward to some peace and quiet but it's not quite working out that way! Though maybe tomorrow will bring a little rest with it. Meanwhile it's 11.20 p.m. and my eyes are blurred with sleep and burning with tiredness. Lord knows why I'm even bothering to write!
We just had another house hunt on the internet. We didn't get any of the rental houses we applied for (it works with a point system and we had enough points to make it to 12th place on the list... not a very hopeful number). So now we're back to looking into buying again! I sincerely hope that this merry go round we're on will come to a stop soon.
Tristan is now at my parents in law, Marinda has just come back from there. Tonight Marinda and I hung on the couch watching medical mysteries while eating loads of popcorn. Our ultimate way of relaxing.
Now I must get my butt to bed, after leaving you behind with nothing of any interest at all to read. Alas, sometimes my life is just a plain old bore! Hopefully tomorrow will bring some more creativity and joy.

Washing clothes

I've just been teaching Tristan how to wash some of his clothes. He has another game tomorrow and his soccer uniform was still crumpled up in the laundry bag. Plus he has to wash his bandanas regularly, seeing as he sweats so much. And I don't want to be the one stuck doing all the laundry in the house!
This reminds me of the fact that I learned absolutely nothing about doing laundry when I was growing up. We had a nice maid who did it all, when we were in "civilized" countries my mom did it for me and when in boarding school I only had to hand it in and get it back fresh and clean. When I first started living on my own I washed three loads of pink laundry before I realized I had to separate my colors. My roommates were not amused! I can remember one of them coming in and saying that she would do her own laundry from now on, she was clearly angry with me. I used tons of the stuff you need to get things to turn white again.
Now I practically have a laundry obsession. I separate colors into reds, blacks, blues/greens, lights, black/white combinations (somebody tell me, how are you supposed to wash a black and white striped shirt???) and whatever else has my fancy. I hang up laundry in a specific way. When somebody else has hung it up I always have to walk by and rearrange whatever they've done. Nobody else can do it quite like me! When did I ever become so housewifely? Really, if anybody had ever told me I would get so obsessive about this I would have laughed myself sick (old roommates can probably testify to this).
I guess the motto is that people really can change!



Dawn breaks
the sun sheds teardrops
on the grass
Light vibrates
amid the leaves
Slowly, shyly
the world awakens
and trembles
at the coming of a new day



While driving back home today after a busy day on the soccer field, viewing 5 houses and a birthday visit with Hermans folks, I had decided to write about being discouraged. Mainly the houses that we viewed were disappointing to me. There were three rental houses, only one of which was remotely appealing. One house was an option to buy but was so run-down that it wasn't an option at all, and another house looked really good but is not available for a while and is in a slightly unappealing neighborhood. Herman and I also went shopping in town and all of the little things I usually like about the town suddenly weren't quite so appealing. Instead of viewing things through visitors eyes, I was viewing them as if I already lived there. And I found the town disturbingly country bumpkinish. The town is in the middle of the dutch Bible belt, quite a conservative belt at that, and being in the bosom of the family suddenly made me wonder if that's where I really want to be! In other words, it was a day to make my courage sink down into my shoes (this is a dutch saying which I have translated into english for you!).

So maybe you can imagine my discouragement. I was trying to make deals with God in the car. Along the line of "if we get the rental house here, then that's a sign from God that we should stay here; and if we don't then it's a sign that we should try elsewhere." Very disturbing to be doing that. When I get discouraged I try to avoid decision making and rely on fatalism to get me where I hope fate wants me to be. I forget that I have my own common sense I should be using as well! I also had a little inner conversation with God saying that I could use some encouragement.
Well, He listened! I came home, logged on to facebook and found my brother had dedicated Keith Greens song He'll take care of the rest to me. A more appropriate song I cannot imagine! So that's what I'm going to keep trying, do as much as I can, and trust that God will take care of the rest!! Maybe the heading of this post should be Encouraged instead of Discouraged?


These last couple of days have been full of nostalgia. Knowing we're leaving makes me feel nostalgic about everything we have here. I have a bad habit of not truly appreciating something until it's almost too late. I guess I should be happy I have the time to appreciate this house and home before we move on to another! I bike my daily route to work and anxiously hope that my new route will be as nice as this one. I drove by the hospital and remembered all the times Tristan has been there (numerous, numerous times, including 4 operations!). I bike through the city and remember the house calls I've made for my work, the playground I used to study in while the kids were playing, the different places I've worked at, our old house. Lots of memories are coming up and I've been wondering how to hang on to the good things in order to keep remembering them. One of the places I can do this is this blog, so you will be subject to some specific memories of mine, with pictures, the coming time! I've always wanted to write an account of my life and I guess this is as good a place as any ;-) I'm hoping that remembering the good will help me make a good transition from one place to the other. I know how important that can be!


Sometimes when I get discouraged at work I have an experience that lifts my spirits. Today it was a talk that I had with my intern. She had to write a paper for college, explaining what her goals were and how she meant to achieve them in the time that she's working with us. Since she's been around I've had a hard time with her. The thing is, I can't get a grip on her. She seems bored, but doesn't say she is, she sound arrogant sometimes, insecure at others. I get no feeling for what type of person she is. And that always bothers the heck out of me. I'd much prefer it when somebody has a strong personality, then at least I know how to adjust to them. With her, I just don't know where she's at, and consequentially, don't know where I'm at. I hate the feeling of helplessness it gives me. I know, I know, I have to deal with it! Not avoid it!
We had an appointment today, so I had already decided to grab the bull by the horns and see if I could raise this issue and at least talk about it. She handed me her paper beforehand to read and there were some things she wrote that helped me direct the conversation to how she comes across to me. It's such a relief to talk about it! And to get the impression that I was getting through to her. I love conversations when I get the feeling that I may actually be saying something meaningful (or perhaps even wise?). This was one of those conversations. Always makes me feel like I've actually done something, maybe made somebody think, or at least made myself think or act beyond my usual boundaries. I usually like the coordinating part of my job, in contrast to the more personal contacts that I sometimes need to have. But today was one of those one on ones that reminds me that it can really be worth the while to invest in a relationship. Hopefully this talk will help me to look at my intern differently and give her a chance to show more of who she really is.

The inlaws

This is the family we'll be moving closer to if we get a house in the new town, which we are kind of aiming for right now. We'll be moving back into the bosom of Hermans family. The kids love the idea of being so close to the grandparents they love so much. Somebody once told me that I was blessed with my parents in law because they have been such a constant factor in my kids lives. I can't help but agree! My parents in law are well known for sticking to their promises, no matter if it inconveniences them at all. I, on the other hand, am notorious for either not knowing my mind or changing it regularly which does not help at all when raising children! Both kids still love going over to their grandparents place so moving closer is an appealing option to them. I am comforted by the thought that although many things will change when we move, the contact with the family will offer a sense of security for all of us. We just have to be careful that the sense of security does not get replaced with a feeling of being stifled!

Friends, old and new

Today, on impulse, I biked by my old neighbor. Not that she's old (though she's older than I am), but she's a neighbor from our last house. She's actually the key person who got me out of my depression and into life. Through her I got my first job after Marinda's birth, which was the start of a life which was filled with routine and different forms of fulfilment, instead of depression and lack of structure.
My neighbor was at home and we had a good time catching up. Since our move almost 6 years ago we don't see each other often. But when we do we get right down to basics and don't talk about the weather! I find it special to share my life with somebody who has known me for thirteen years, has seen all the ups and downs, and can still show so much appreciation for who I am, and who we have become as a family. Friends like her are special. The kinds of friends you know you will stay in touch with even if you move. And the kinds of friends who you can not talk to for half a year and then still have a good time with when you see them again.
Our upcoming move makes me more aware of the friendships that we have here. Most of them are rather superficial. People I meet in church, have a chat with, but don't really get close to. Some mothers I've talked to when I've been around school, neighbors I greet. Somehow this house has always felt like an imbetween place and I've never really invested in long time relationships. Perhaps that's something I'll focus more on in our new home.
Thankfully we also have a number of friends that don't depend on regular contact. When we get together there is time for sharing and good company. We won't be leaving those behind!

(unfortunately I can't post pictures right now! Otherwise I'd post a charming picture of my neighbors feet..... I really don't know why somebody bothered to photograph them, and I figure this blog is as good a place as any to post it!)

Date night

A number of years ago we decided to implement date night into our lives. Herman and I plan one night a week (if possible) and then go out for coffee somewhere. Usually we bring along our calenders to match up all the different appointments we make! Because we both work we have had to coordinate who will be doing what, especially during the kids vacations. Whole discussions are based on "if you take care of the kids this day, then I will take that day, and then we will ask the grandparents if they can stay over on the other days". Good planning is a neccesity!
We used to get a babysitter to watch the kids, but now we leave them home alone. Mostly we just go for a basic cup of coffee and are back after an hour or so.
Some of our dates have been spent doing homework. For the Marriage Course for example. Trying to get to know and understand eachother better by writing things down and doing little tests. Some of our dates have been spent in argument and disagreement. Some of our dates have been spent looking at one another wondering if we're wasting our time, and some have been spent in close harmony, feeling like a unity. All in all though, it's worth the time and money spent!


I thrive on compliments. Compliments are the most direct way to get into my heart. Recieving compliments is my number one love language. Living in Holland with compliments being your number one love language can be really hard! In dutch culture big emphasis is placed on being as normal as possible and not doing anything to stand out. The number one saying is "be normal, then you're being crazy enough". In other words; do not, in any way shape or form, draw attention to yourself or even dare to think that you may something special. With me being the expressive person that I am, with a certain amount of attention seeking qualities :-), it has not been easy to live here. Compliments are given sparingly and almost grudgingly. On the other hand, if you do something wrong, somebody will make sure to come along and tell you so!
When I first came here the lack of compliments really bruised my ego. I hadn't realized how much I thrived on them, and how many compliments I got when I lived elsewhere. Living with a lack of them really shattered my selfimage. Add a major depression and there wasn't much left of my original selfconfidence.
I have now learned to appreciate the dutch soberness. And thankfully there are some dutchies out there who do manage to hand out positive words. And I've also learned to give myself compliments and ask for them if neccesary. During the last couple of years I have made sure to tell my boss that I need a compliment every now and again, it makes me work better! Thank goodness she paid attention, and she does her best. I also have to nudge my husband now and then. His way of showing me he loves me is by doing things for me, and he does a lot! But somehow nothing quite hits my heart like a good oldfashioned word of appreciation.

Church group

This evening we were with our small church group, for lack of a better description. Actually it's nothing more than 3 couples trying to figure out how to get more in touch with God. There's room for lots of questions and debate and most importantly, room for everybody to be themselves!
It's the funniest mix of couples though. One couple is young (she's 22, he's 23), their 3 children are all under the age of 6 (yep, they got an early start!). The other couple is old(er), she's 46 and he's 48, they have two children under the age of 6 (yep, they started late!). And then there's us in the middle with our children who are much older than theirs. Doesn't make sense to put us together but the unusual mix works!
What it all boils down to is that we all have the same questions. Who is God exactly, and what do we want with Him? And when we've found out what we want, how do we go about acting on it? It's refreshing to talk to people about this without getting stuck in christian dogmas. That's one thing that I've developed an allergy to. I hate people telling me what I should or shouldn't do, or telling me how things are supposed to be! I really believe that a lot of our "spiritual insights" are nothing more than cultural baggage that we carry around and then use to tell other people that they're doing things wrong.
In this group, and others I've participated in, respect for other opinions has been a major part of the group culture. Another thing we try to do is "agree to disagree" without flying off the handle. Sometimes it can be hard when I'm really convinced of something, but I think that the relationships I develop with others and the relationship I have with God is more important than fighting over biblical interpretations. I've often found that living by example is a much stronger witness than beating people over the head with the Bible.



Feelings flowing
gently swirling
ripples of contentment
tingles of excitement
My mind opens
a new horizon appears
unused options
unopened wells of creativity


Bandanas for Tristan

A couple of days ago we went online and ordered a number of bandanas for Tristan. His baldness is getting worse every day. I was vacuuming today and was again shocked at how much hair was lying on the floor of his room. Ordering bandanas was another step in accepting the fact that he is going bald. There were a lot of options, and we let him chose (almost) as many as he wanted :-)
Today he wore one of his bandanas with a baseball cap on top. Also a very cool look! He's now experimenting with going out in public with his bandanas on. I sincerely hope he gets a lot of positive reactions. The better people react, the easier it will be for him of course.
I'm glad he's adjusting so well and thankful that we have had the time to do so. Some kids go bald within a couple of days, I think that might even be harder to cope with. Isn't he great though?

To buy or not to buy

Today we found out that we can actually get a mortgage! That was quite a revelation to me, I always assumed we didn't earn enough money for that. And we've also been perfectly happy renting houses up till now. It's definately a mortgage for the small of purse. We can only afford a very small, tightly budgeted house, with large payments on it, so we may have to rent after all. But it's very satisfying to know that owning something is actually within range. We don't even own a car, so you can maybe imagine this being a big deal!
We spent all evening on the internet looking at houses close to where Hermans new job is. We discovered huge price differences depending on location. Living in the town where Herman grew up seems impossible. The prices are way up there. Living in a village close to there is an option, but it's just so small! So now we're looking at a big larger town a bit farther away that seems to have more possibilities. Added to the fact that it's close by a lake, and I love water!
All in all it's an exciting proces we're in. At dinner there were big discussions with the kids about what they want. It kind of brings us all together. After all, when we first move, we'll be the best friends that we have in the neighborhood!

An evening at work

Here I am, at work, sitting behind my computer. It's almost 6 in the evening and I have a work thingy at around 7. Thought I'd blog from here today!I'm eating bread and pea soup and cucumber, in case you were wondering.....
Yesterday we started packing at home. We have a guest room that Marinda was using as a sick room but I kicked her out of the bed unmercifully and started piling in the boxes. Needless to say, she was not very happy with me.
I'm kind of daunted by the task. I emptied out two shelves of a bookcase and packed some games and filled 4 boxes! We're going to need twenty trillion boxes to fill with all our junk. I have a friend who has had to move a lot in the past year. My admiration for her is growing by the box. I've started emptying things here at work as well. I get to throw away about 500 business cards, isn't that a waste of money? I don't know why they thought I would hand out so many of them! I will, of course, keep a couple to commemorate the time when I actually had a business card! I don't know if that luxury will be given to me in my next job. I have to hand in my cell phone too, bummer. I mostly used it for private calls and will now have to pay for them myself. Hmm....
Tonight some volunteers from a local project are coming by to get some information about what I do. I usually enjoy that. Getting in front of a group, getting my message across. It's only a small group today though, so I don't have to do a lot of preparing. Just give them lots of coffee and sound enthousiastic. Both I can manage tonight, though the enthousiasm is lagging. I thought that knowing this job is running to its end would encourage me to end it with a big glorious bang but instead I find myself doing almost anything but really working. So I have to gird my loins, so to speak, and get my bum in gear and get to work despite my lack of motivation.
So on that note I will stop writing and start doing something!


A rather funny subject to chose right now, considering none of us are close to our birthdays at the moment! But I thought I'd share one of our family traditions. It's actually a tradition that goes back to my roots.
Birthdays always include waking up early, being sung to falsely, and presents and "breakfast" in bed. It doesn't matter if it's a school day, or weekend or whatever, we take the time to do this. Somehow a birthday does not feel quite complete without it.
I'll never forget my 18th birthday in Turkey when my parents showed up with weird hats on their heads, singing (we have raised false singing to an art form!). I have a picture of them in my album, too bad it's not digital or I'd post it! The pictures we take are definately not beauty shots, as you can see. All of us with our tousled heads and sleepy eyes make for some real life drama sometimes. But I thought I'd share anyways.

E-mail, blogs, and facebook

Posting this blog, joining Facebook, joining Hyves.... All stuff that's been keeping me pretty busy these last couple of weeks. In a very fun exciting way! Hyves is the dutch version of facebook and I've been having fun looking up old classmates, colleagues, and old friends from my dutch days.
This blog is mostly meant for non-dutch people, I like the idea of writing about my dutch life without actually having the people I write about see what I've written. Gives more of a sense of privacy. But I've already found that sometimes my life can't be split that easily into dutch and english. My family for example, are part of both, and so are some friends here in Holland who have the same kind of background as I do! Makes me more aware of what I'm writing and it's kind of scary. Because people who don't live in Holland can't come to me and approach me about what I've written, and get real personal. But those who do live here can.....
Keeping in touch with others feels kind of like a life-line to me. I'm not a super social person, I don't do a lot of visiting, and I don't want people around me all the time, but I absolutely LOVE getting e-mails and writing to people in my own time. I love looking at my blog, seeing that the numbers have gone up, wondering what people think about it, reading reactions. And I love the little jolt I get when I see that I HAVE MAIL! Always gives me a little boost of energy. It's the same at work. The little pling on the computer always makes me wonder what's come in now, and keeps me energized. I read in a newspaper once that some people are addicted to e-mail. I think I'm rapidly turning into one (or maybe I am addicted and don't want to know it!).
Part of why I like e-mail, and reactions on my blog, or facebook, or hyves, is that it gives me the feeling that I'm being seen. Somebody has me on their mind at that moment and it helps give me the feeling that I matter in some way, it defines me to a certain degree. Messages from outside are a form of confirmation that I sometimes need quite badly. I guess that sounds pretty insecure. But maybe it's just part of who I am. I like being part of a bigger picture, seeing beyond my rather insignificant life here and getting a feel for life in a broader sense. Maybe it's one of my legacies from being raised as a third culture kid.
Something to think about anyway!


I love reading with a passion. If I'm honest, it's practically an obsession. During my depression I read books as if my life depended on it. In some aspects it may have. When I read I could escape from the life I was in and I felt ok for a while. As soon as I put my book down the world came crashing in with a vengeance. I read everywhere, anytime. And I mean everywhere! I've been known to read while riding a bike (the path was straight though, why should that be so weird??), and while baking pancakes (in the time it takes a pancake to turn brown, you can read about half a page ;-) So books are a form of escapism that I turn to when I feel a bit down, but they are also a form of reward because reading a good book is an immense pleasure. And that to me is an understatement!
In september I finally started keeping a list of books I've read. It turns out I read 23 books that month, including re-reading the whole Anne of Green Gables series (how I love those!). My husband claims I read diagonally instead of horizontally. It is a great blessing to be able to read fast, that's for sure.
I'm kind of bummed about my taste in books though. I would love to claim that I've read Jane Austen, and Dostojevsky and Shakespeare, or that I've read the Bible from cover to cover 20 times. But even though my taste in books is as varied as my taste in music, I usually go for a kind of quick fix. Nothing to hard or difficult for me unless I need to study it or really impress someone (and why should I bother with that?).
More about books another time, for now I need to run downstairs and get myself to work and my sonny boy to school.

(on vacation on a rainy day. Tristan with his PSP, Marinda watching TV, father in law with the newspaper, and me with a book)


Music has brought a smile to my face a couple of times today.
Yesterday my brother in law was here. He's making collections of music per year on his computer and has now landed in 1982. His talking about that reminded me of a radio program I sometimes listen to called "The Tacky Hour" in which everybody can write in with their top 10 of favorite tacky songs. I love that hour! I hear all kinds of golden oldies come by and get that "remember when" feeling. I had been wondering what kinds of songs I would come up with and talking to my brother in law encouraged me to start a list.
What fun that is! Out come all the good memories which make me smile. Here's my list up to now:

- Lady in Red, Chris de Burgh
- When I'm feeling blue, Phil Collins
- Say you, say me, Lionel Richie
- The song from Top Gun (can't remember the name, but you know what I mean!)
- Sailing, Rod Stewart
- Alone, ....... some kind of rock band?
- House for Sale, Margiet Eshuis
- Love on the Rocks, Neil Diamond
- Mother Earth, Within Temptation
- Take on Me, AHA
- Played-a-live, Safri Duo

These eclectic varied songs all have some kind of special memory attached, or a special gut feeling. I'm looking forward to discovering what other songs I will put on my list, and maybe I will then ask aforementioned brother in law to make me a CD.
Think of the fun I'll have from listening to that!


So today at work I told a lot of people that I would be leaving the job in January. It felt pretty good! I got some nice reactions as well, from colleagues who said they'd miss me but also wished me well. I felt especially gratified by my managers reaction. She was clearly not happy with my leaving but also gave me a big hug and wished me the best and said she believed this was a good opportunity for us as a family. She's not a very huggy kind of person so that made me feel good.
I spent the day at work clearing out my e-mails in preparation for leaving (one can never start cleaning up early enough!). Doing so I ran into the huge amount of things that I've done in my years at this job. All kinds of memories came back of the different activities I've either organized or participated in, people I've met and worked with, volunteers I've seen and coached, conversations I've had. Wow! I didn't realize I had done so much! I've been jotting down some notes so that I will be sure not to forget these things when I'm applying for my next job.
Looking back also made me realize how much I've grown. When I came into the company I was trembling from insecurity inside and not totally sure of my worth. These last couple of years I've really had the opportunity to grow as a professional and discover my talents and my shortcomings. I can remember being surprised at the fact that I had something worth mentioning and listening to. Now I think participating in a meeting or coming up with an idea is the most normal thing in the world. I've done some major growing up! It feels good!
I do wonder what the next step will be though. I seem to be out of ambition for the moment, so I hope the right job will come along in the right time. I guess believing that will be part of my proces of trusting that all things will come together for good in the next couple of weeks when our whole lives will be turned upside down.

Me and two of my colleagues