One more won't matter

I've fallen into the trap of "one more won't matter". One more cookie won't make a difference. That extra piece of meat? I really need my protein! I'm tired, so I need some extra energy, a bit of sugar will help. I deserve this treat, after all it's a really busy time and there's a lot going on. Tomorrow I'll feel beter and THEN, yes THEN I will watch my food again. But for now, one more won't matter..........

Sound familiar anyone?

Engrained habits are so darned difficult to get rid of. Even after a year of watching my weight,( and losing a lot of it!) I still fall back into old habits. It's like it will take another 10 years before new good habits will catch on and become normal to me. And in those ten years I'll just have to keep being aware of my own pitfalls, recognize my "bad" thought patterns, and consciously chose to change whatever it is that wants changing.
Aaaahhhhh, don't I wish life was just a little bit easier! :-)

Last day of work

Yesterday was my last day at work. Despite the fact that my manager couldn't be there to say goodbye to me, it was a good day. I got a lot of gifts, nice e-mails and a great speech. And knowing me with my love of compliments, it was as good as it gets! It felt strange though to leave a place that I've worked at for 6 years. And to leave a project that has become "mine" in so many ways. I still feel quite possesive of it though I think that will pass rather quickly with the distance that there is now! I took the time write a couple more e-mails after everybody had left and to consciously stand in my office and be aware of the fact that I was leaving. I can be really bad at goodbyes, moving on to new things really quickly, forgetting that it's not only something new I'm moving forward too, it's also something old that I'm leaving behind. But I think this went ok. No tears anyways!
Today we also hand over the keys to our old house. Then hopefully Herman and I will find some time to actually BE together in some significant way, instead of both rushing around doing anything but being together!

Pimping my blog

I don't know if the "pimping" principle is known to everybody. It seems to have blown over from MTV from the States and has even been incorporated into the dutch language. When I use it I only mean making something look better. Weird how something that has such a bad sexual connotation can become so normal in everyday language. Maybe I should protest the term instead of using it?
Anyway, as you can see, I decided to change the blog a wee little bit. I do stuff like that with regularity. Though I now realize I limit myself to small things. I'm not the kind of person who drags around furniture to change the way the living room looks. I do regularly change my hairstyle. I've had it really really short, dramatically asymmetrical, long in layers, long one length, and the shapes between long and short. I have had no glasses, very bland glasses, dramatic black glasses. I've weighed a lot and I've weighed less and adjusted my clothing style. I've had several different jobs, changed sports a number of times, want to go on vacation somewhere different every year and so forth and so on. When things get to be too much of routine I go a little crazy. So a little bit of "pimping" can be a real lifesaver then! (and getting yourself painted by your children will do the trick too......)


I just read a post from a fellow blogger who has also just moved and read with envy how she is receiving invites for dinner from people. So then I decided to write a post about the aweful dutch culture, how cold it is, how no neighbors have come by to say Hi, there have been no invites for dinners and how miserable and sucky it is here. BUT then I had another think. Because all the things I have mentioned are absolutely true but there's also another side to the story. The last 2 weeks Hermans brother has driven us to soccer matches, saving us a bike ride through the rain. He has also done shopping with me, saving me another bike ride through the rain. My parents in law have watched the kids on numerous occasions and have also cooked for us. My sister in law watched the kids. My other brother in law cooked us a great meal and helped us figure out our new sound system. We have borrowed my father in laws car so often that I'm feeling awefully guilty. A lady I met once took the effort to come by the next day and give me some welcoming roses. She also invited me to her pottery class, which I will now be attending regularly. Tristans soccer coach really made a big effort to inform the kids correctly about Tristans hemofilia and alopecia which means he is accepted and there are no strange questions asked. Another woman I just met gave me her phone number just in case I wanted to ask her daughter to invite mine to the youth group. So maybe people here are not as forthcoming as I'd like them to be, but I really have no reason to complain. If I make the effort to smile and be friendly, then that is returned to me. So shame on me for feeling envious. I should be counting my blessings!!

Life in general

Can't believe it's been so long since I last posted something. I find myself so tired that I can't think of what to write, that's part of the problem anyway. And if I want to keep this fun (which I do!) then I don't want this to turn into something I have to do. I'd rather just want to do it and enjoy the proces!
I figure it's about time we started planning our lives a bit more instead of just doing what happens to come by. That's my way of getting a grip on situations, to sit down and plan, make lists and DO something. Herman and I have hardly had any time to talk since we've moved. I mean conversation which reaches beyond the obligatory "how was your day". Time to pick up our date nights. I want to plan a sleepover with Marinda. She has a new big bed, so we'll get together and do something girly. And I want to do some major roughousing with Tristan. He doesn't like to cuddle so I have to pummel, push, tickle and poke him in order to give some form of "affection" which he's willing to accept. And I want to get back some structure into our meal times. It's always a lot more fun when we sit down at the table to eat at the same time instead of grabbing something and then eating in front of the tv. Easier said than done though, seeing as I have little cooking inspiration!
Enough on my list anyway. Right now I will go and see if I can make myself useful doing something in the house, that shouldn't be too hard!!


This week I have been extremely aware of, and very annoyed by the amount of dependence that I have on Herman concerning the "masculine" issue of getting our house fixed up. I am a reasonably intelligent woman, I can paint a room, but I have no natural (or learned) ability for doing odd jobs around the house. That is Hermans department. And unfortunately there's a lot that needs to be done and not enough time to do it. So I walk around the house, washing dishes and hanging up laundry, fervently wishing that I could get that hammer and saw and whatever other tools that are needed to put down a laminate floor, put up shelves in the closet, put together some closets, place a shower and so forth and so on. Mind you, I'm not blaming him for anything, it's just so darned frustrating not to be able to do it myself! Makes me feel like a real wuss and it makes me feel like a walking cliche of an old-fashioned woman who is incapable of existing without a man. And it's doubly frustrating because at this point I have time on my hands and Herman is really busy with his new job. AARRGHHHH! I have an underlying annoyance as well (as if this isn't enough). It irritates me that all that is left to do in the house are things that I don't even like doing..... the housework. And even more irritating, they are all things that leave no lasting impression. Clothes get dirty and need to be washed, in contrast to putting down a floor, which will stay put down and give a lot of satisfaction. I feel like it's pretty unfair that I don't get a lot of that satisfaction!
Now I have to stop whinging, otherwise I'll just get myself more and more annoyed just thinking about it :-)

More memories

During my rummage through my box of memories I didn't only find my diary, but I found some lose pictures as well. What to think of a picture of my classmates from 3rd grade? I will scan it and post it on facebook to show to those classmates who can also be found on there. Looking through my box brought the hugest grin to my face. I stood there in my uncomfortable attic, next to the dryer which isn't working yet, hunched over this box in the most unhandy way, but I couldn't have cared less. It was great to feel the past re-live, also in the context of just having been back to Ethiopia. Makes things that much more real. I even found an entry in one of the diaries about an old boyfriend of mine and why we had broken up. Funny thing is that we saw eachother for a short while in Ethiopia and I could hardly remember anything about him. Reading the entry brought some of the memories back. And to my astonishment, I discovered that my memory had failed me in some details! I guess time distorts memories more than I'd like to think it does. And writing things down really does help to remind you! I hope this blog will have the same function for me a couple of years from now.


Looking through my box of memories last night, I ran into the following entry in a diary I had to keep when I was 9. I will copy it here, including all the errors.

January 4, 1980

Dear Diary,

Today I will tell you about the most fun things that happend during these two weeks. On Christmas night we had a guest. We ate sweet-bread an raisen-bread for supper. For desert we ate strawberries-with-cream. Later I begged and begged to open our presents. My mom said okay. I got about seven presents with lots of candy. Later I read my book called Treasure in the fog. I went to bed a little later then 9:00. On wednesday it was my brothers birthday. On tuesday my brother had fallen into a box and had hurt his wrists. On Wednesday we found out that they were broken. I went to the hospital with my brother for his cast. His birthday party was no fun. That night we had guests for supper. Then at 12:00 we had to give eachother kisses but insted of kissing my sister I bit her. We went to bed at 12:30. One night (I don't rembrer what date) my Mom, Dad, my sister and I went to eat at koceb. Later we went to seey hiyenas. We saw one. On Tuesday we went to Awasa. We stayed in a little house. We swam in a little pool and had loads of boring fun.

Your friend,


Sunday Music

There's not a much bigger contrast to be made than the difference between the church service pictured above and the church service we attended this morning. Maybe all the grey heads I saw when we walked in should have warned me off! We went on our first churchseeking expedition today and ended up in a building with a large number of older people singing even older songs. I nudged Marinda and told her I felt like I had been transported back in time, and we al lhad to supress a smile every now and again. I have a sneaking suspicion that this will not become our home church here!
The church in Ethiopia, although pretty traditional, at least had the added pleasure of a Nigerian choir (love those deep deep african voices!) and a youth group that did their best to show some groovy moves. Our old church had is own enthousiasms, including people waving flags, and some people who did this little evangelical dance where you jump up and down and clap at the same time. I'm looking for some place where I find like-minded people, where there's room for spontanaiety should the spirit hit you, but where people are also sane and down to earth and willing to share sorrows and doubts. And where there is room for laughter!


I'm so tired I could almost cry (most probably I will before the end of the day!). It's been a busy hectic week and I guess this move and all that accompanies it is finally getting to me.
It's almost 8 in the morning on saturday. Tristan has a soccer match in an hour, so I will get myself into my clothes, bike through the rain, and do some socializing. Stick on my friendliest smile and hope that people will feel inclined to get to know me! Every once in a while I feel a stab of ... I guess I would call it loneliness, though it also feels a lot like feeling incomplete. I tend to fill that gap with food, even though that doesn't really help! (Actually it just doesn't help, only gives me something else to feel bad about. Have you ever noticed that bad habits often have a function? There's always a reason why you do something!) Part of my "loneliness" is the move, and partly it is because I miss the feeling of being at home that I had in Ethiopia. I guess you could also define it as a sense of longing. My head entirely understands that I live here and I also like it hear, but a small part of me will always (or that's what it feels like) feel slightly lost. So I keep up a search to feel fulfilled, but often end up looking in the wrong places! I know I should be talking to God about this, but that is an issue all on its on which I may post about another time. In the meantime I try to keep up my spirits and find fun things to do, which always helps at least a little. Now before I sound too depressed and traumatized, I will tell you all that tiredness has a lot to do with how I'm feeling right now. So don't be surprised if, after a good nights rest, my next post will be upbeat and cheerful!


The first rumors of Tristan having cancer have hit the town here. Funny how that happens so quickly and spreads so easily! I accidentally heard it through my neighbor, who I had over for coffee for the first time, who heard it from her son, who heard it from a soccer player on Tristans team (or so the story goes). Amazing, the conclusions people jump to! I can imagine the questions, especially with the baldness, but it would be a lot nicer if somebody just came and asked instead of assuming the worst. Hopefully we will nip that rumor in the bud before it starts spreading even further. As you can see, I've got a handsome boy who's glowing with health and sunshine!
His adjustment here is going really well so far. He's played a lot of soccer outside with his new friends, and went over to play at somebodies house today. No confrontations about his bandana or anything like that. It's a load off my mind, and off his as well. I know he was worried about it, even during our trip to Ethiopia.
All in all we're not doing too badly here. I had my first social integration at a church ladies morning this morning. Met some new people and heard some encouraging words. I hope to meet lots more nice people though. Sometimes I can get real envious of Herman, and all the new contacts that he's getting at work. And I have some moments of worry if I will adjust and if I will find a job to my liking. But that could just be the tiredness talking. Speaking of which, I will get to bed now and see what I can do about that!


This will be post number 100. I figure I should make it memorable, but I'm not sure how!
One thing is for sure though, I am really enjoying this, and it really does help put my life into perspective. Which is one of the reasons I started it. Sometimes I get the feeling that I must be really boring. After all, who wants to read about my life, and some of the humdrum details that fill it? Yet I have found that it has helped some people understand me better, has given a lot of family members a broader peek into my life, and it has given me a real boost to finally do something that has been on my list for so long! And I'm also happy to note that my husband reads this and enjoys the way I write :-)
One reader gave me his "two cents worth" and told me I should stop taking myself so seriously and just enjoy life more. Not a bad piece of advice I think. But also a challenge in itself. After all, how does one enjoy life more? I have found that sometimes writing down the unenjoyable things has helped me to enjoy the fun things more. By writing about the disagreeable things I can move beyond them, hopefully on to more enjoyment. On the other hand, focussing on the good in life also gives a natural boost and helps create more enjoyment!
There has also been a big change between the young me, who used to butterfly her way through life, and the person I am now, who has been formed by some of lifes rather nasty circumstances. I sincerely hope that some of my cheerful spirit and normally outgoing nature will reassert itself in the coming time. On the other hand, I also want to stay true to myself. So if I'm having a particularly nasty day and feel like shit, I will write about it!
Please keep the feedback coming though. I love it when people take the time to write a reaction. It's very encouraging! Here's to the next 100 posts, and a lot more pleasure in life!!

Cleaning House

I rediscovered today how much I hate housework. New rule in my life, limit myself to two hours of housework at most during a day!! Really, there's nothing quite as frustrating as endlessly vacuuming with a vacuum cleaner which is falling apart, dusting a house which will only get dusty again with an hour or two, washing dishes which pile up again behind your back, or cleaning up a room which will only get messed up again within a discouragingly short period of time.
Two hours I can handle, anything more and I start getting seriously grouchy, whiny (whiney, winey??... the mood, not the drink!!) and full of selfpity.
In my worst periods, during my depression, I couldn't do dishes for more than about two minutes. Doing dishes just automatically turned my mind to the miseries of life and I would end up feeling even more depressed than I already was. Or, out of pure frustration, I would break the dishes instead of washing them :-(
Thank goodness things aren't as bad anymore. But a limit to household chores sounds like a good idea to me. A way to remain sane and in a good mood. Why put myself into misery over some dust or a dirty toilet?

More pictures

Lazing on the couchThe local electronics store

By the poolside
A break on a day out

Dinner at my parents house

Looking at the pictures of my Ethiopian road trip


For any of you who were surprised to see an unintelligible e-mail posted on my blog.... it was my mother, accidentally using my blog adres to send me a mail! I was quite surprised, but decided to remove it anyway.
I'm feeling totally shattered after spending 3 and a half hours getting to and from work. I'm so glad that there's only a couple more days I have to do that! I know it may seem like nothing to many of you living in the big United States, but to me it seems an inordinate amount of time to spend in a train or on a bike or even in a car for that matter. My nice pleasurable half hour bike ride has disappeared. Maybe it wil reappear when I finally find that new job that I'm looking for.
It was nice to be at work though. Like I said to some colleagues; it's practically the only familiar place to me at this moment! Everthing else has changed, but work is comfortably the same.
Though all the changes are working out ok. We've had family over every day we've been here!! And I've already got a first date with an old friend who will be coming over for a visit. Got back in touch with her with the dutch version of facebook, and she lives close by, so that might be fun.
And another friend of mine is coming over saturday with her adopted ethiopian son. They are really looking forward to seeing our pictures (as am I!). By "coincidence" I passed through the place where there son was born while I was in Ethiopia so I took a lot of pictures for them.
Enough rambling for now. I will post a picture from ethiopia each day until I get tired of it. If anybody wants to know why a particular picture is posted, just ask!

3 days in Holland

I've been here for all of three days I think, yep... three days! I have to remind myself because we've done so much in those three days that it feels like three weeks. We arrived in Holland and went to our chaos of a house, slept and then packed vans full of all of our stuff and brought it to our new house. And now we're here and everything has more or less started up.
Herman is at work, the kids are going to school and I'm trying to handle laundry, unpacking boxes and finding my way around here. Actually, one of the first things I did was get a library card and come to the pleasant discovery that they actually do have a number of shelves of english books here. I know it doesn't sound very important, but with my love of books it was a pleasant surprise.
It's hard to believe I left Ethiopia crying only a few days ago. At the airport I started leaking tears all over again. I was glad to let it out though and I feel ok here. I think we will adjust quite well. At least the kids seem to be doing ok up until now, and that is always a big source of peace. Funny thing about being a parent, when your kids are doing ok, then you feel better too!
I'm so glad that we have internet installed, it's a lifeline to the world. And we have a fantastic sound system, thanks to the gift of a family member. It's much more fun to unpack, do dishes and cook while listening to 80's hits on a dolby surround system!
Today I'm heading back to our old house to show the new people around. I hope they will be willing to buy our curtains and floors and kitchen appliances, that way we won't have to remove everything and it will save us a lot of time and hassle. I will use my best sales pitch.

Some pictures

Last Post from Ethiopia

I just spent ten minutes with my son, jumping on the trampoline in the dark. We will be leaving to go to the airport in about an hour. Before the trampoline I was lying in the hammock, crying. Just this evening it hit me that I'm leaving and the emotions that I expected when I arrived came out after all. It's hard to leave something that feels so comfortably right! Not that I want to live here especially, it's more the sense of feeling at home that I'm going to miss. Everything seems so familiar here, even though things really have changed a lot. But the smells and the sounds and the looks of the place make it feel right in a way that Holland may never feel. It's not a people thing, it's a place thing.
However, Holland is my home and I will make it as home-like as possible. We have bought enough souvenirs to transform the house into a kind of mini ethiopian tukul I think! We may feel quite disgusted with ourselves once we arrive because it will look so out of place :-). And there is so much to do once we get back! One night in our old house and then the weekend spent moving into our new house. And on monday school starts and things will get up and running and our new life will begin.
It's been a gift to be here, to be able to share some of who I am with my lovely little family. The husband and kids I love so much. My growing appreciation of them is an added gift that I didn't expect.
My next post will be from my new home. I will post lots of pictures to compensate for the lack of them the last couple of weeks. I'm looking forward to looking them over and treasuring the good memories that come with them.