Another sunny day

Sunny Day


Just when I was feeling inspired to post a picture of myself playing clarinet, Dori did it for me! (yes, yes, that's me on the right, with the wonderful pants. Don't you love them?).
I was inspired by her post of herself in all her "saxy" glory.
So yes, I did play the clarinet. For a grand total of three years. Three very enjoyable years! When I first went to join band I wanted to play the flute. So elegant and lovely and ladylike. But, much to my dismay, the band teacher bluntly told me he had more than enough flutes. So I had to pick something else. I thought the sax was much to huge and masculine and then opted for the smaller clarinet. It was not a choice made by my passion for the instrument, that's for sure!
I then spent the next couple of weeks painfully practicing in a little room by myself until I got caught up with the musical level of the band after which I was finally allowed to join them.
When I was in RVA, band practice was during the lunch hour. So I have no memory at all of long leisurely lunches on the grassy fields. I always ran to the head of the lunch line, gobbled my meal and then sprinted up the many many steps to the band room. I'm guessing that that did wonders for my breathing technique.
One magical time, I was even allowed to direct the band. Oh wow! When we had our concert, I lost my timing and somebody had to wave their trumpet at me to get me back on track.....

Since living in Holland I have made several different efforts to start playing again. The efforts usually last about.... say.... two weeks. I never got back in a band, there's a whole different band culture here, and lessons are just terribly expensive. I still have my clarinet though, up in the attic. It has survived numerous moves. The case is covered with stickers which hold special memories.
Though I think that one of these days, I will have to give it away to somebody who will actually play the thing!
Nostalgia can only go so far.

First job

I'm reading a book by Toni Maguire called "Don't tell Mummy". It's about her experience with incest as a child. It made me think of my first job after Marinda was born. It was an office job, transcribing the dictated reports that doctors made on different cases of child abuse. It was very strange, sitting there with a headphone on my head, typing away, while details of the different cases were dictated into my ears. Thankfully, there were no graphic details involved, and something about hearing a monotone voice (even mentioning where to place commas and points) managed to make even the most awful story seem almost humdrum.
I worked there for a year.
I havn't worked with anything even remotely resembling child abuse since then. I don't think I could handle it. Though I am a qualified social worker, getting into the sad details of somebody's life is not something I handle well. Like my friend exclaimed the other day.... "so you're really not a counselor!". No, I really am not. I am perfectly capable of listening to somebody's story and showing sympathy, and I like to think that I can empathize, but there's not enough of that in me to want to commit to personally helping people with therapy or counseling.
I guess I should just be thankful that there is also room in this world for an organizing junky like me, paving the way so that others can do the helping (of which I have been the grateful recipient on many, many occasions).

Another game

During the vacation some good friends came over to stay with their kids. I love having them over, they are the best "couple" friends that we have. By that I mean that we get together in all combinations, it's not a question having a friend who's husband is tolerated, or the other way around.....
Anyway, to get to my point, the evening they were here we ended up playing a game of sorts. I had a number of cards with questions on them and we each drew one in turn and then answered them. It was a really fun way to get to know each other better! Questions like: "what animal would you like to be" or "how do you want to be remembered" or "how would your best friend describe you" or "if you could change anything in your life, what would it be".
I've been thinking that I'll use these cards whenever I'm out of inspiration to write. They are thought provoking enough to inspire a post I think!
Besides this game, there's another one that I've played at work, but also with family members. In dutch it's called het kwaliteitenspel, the english translation is the feedback game (not too charmed with the translation!). The game has cards with positive human qualities named on them such as: helpful, honest, enterprising, creative or responsible. (there are also cards with negative qualities, but I never bother with those!).
There are endless versions of the game, but they way I played it with family we each got handed cards and then had to either give them away to the family who had the most of that quality, or keep it for ourselves if we thought we had that quality the most. In the end we all had a number of cards with qualities that others thought we had, as well as qualities that we "gave" to ourselves. I found it wonderful to have my siblings and parents tell me why thy thought a quality suited me, and I got a kick out of telling them the good I saw in them. A positive feel all around!
I even went so far as to write it all down, so that I could look at it when I wasn't having such a hot day.
What games have you played to get to know people better?


I got the two biggest birds from my dad for my birthday. We went for a bike ride and discovered a man selling them from a little roadside shed. It was his winter activity, he said. Summertimes he spent growing pumpkins , courgettes, potatos and sunflowers from the farmland behind the shed.
The little bird was given to us by a friend. It was made in Mozambique and sold here in a Fair Trade Store, where all kinds of native art is sold and the profits are used in developing countries.

They stand guard in my garden, on a corner of the lawn close to my kitchen, where I can keep an eye on them.


I have a subscription to, a resource I often use in my search for the correct spelling of english words. The subscription means I get a new word sent to me every day. My word (ha! pun intended I guess!), that has really opened my eyes to the limitedness of my vocabulary!
There was one word sent to me of which I was convinced I knew the meaning. Sadly, I was wrong. I did not know the meaning of the word enervated. In fact I always thought that it meant exactly the opposite. Kind of humbling, but also slightly
shocking seeing as I often pride myself on my knowledge of the english language. :-(

And what about words like quondam, brummagem and sesquipedalian. Do you know what they mean?? Have you ever used these words in regular conversation?

The most fun up to now has been to discover that there is a specific word you can use which means to throw something out of a window. That word is defenestrate. Like... I'm going to defenestrate this computer if it doesn't get started up any faster.

I get a kick out of learning stuff like this. Maybe someday it will come in handy in scrabble... Or I will become unbeatable when playing the dictionary game.

The rules are as follows:
One person looks in a dictionary and finds a word that
nobody knows the meaning of. Everybody then writes their own definition of the word on a piece of paper. The real meaning of the word is also written down.
The person holding the dictionary collects all the papers and reads all the definitions out loud. Then votes are taken on which is the real definition. The person whose definition is voted for most wins. And those who guess the true definition also gather points.
Does this make any sense at all? If it does, do try it. Because it can be a huge lot of fun, especially if you have a lot of expressive creative people in the group. The definitions people can come up with are just hilarious and all you need is a dictionary, paper and pens.

Mobile confusion

Ever since I got my new mobile phone I have been plagued with phone calls for a girl called Fleur, who evidently has not bothered to tell people that her number has been changed. The messages have varied from thrilling announcements of the latest party at Boode (whatever that may be) to love messages from one of her many swains. It either annoys or amuses me, depending on my mood.

This evening however, I was highly amused. I received a call from an unknown male, asking to speak to Fleur. I attempted to tell him that my number was not her number and then just hung up on him, seeing as he was either being really silly, or maybe just plain drunk.
A couple minutes later he called again. I picked up the phone, and told him it was no use talking to me as I don't have the famous Fleurs phone number. No worries he said, he'd love to get to know me better. Would I be interested in going out with him? Where did I live? And where did I come from? With giggles in my throat I told him to give it up. I am a thirty seven year old mother of two! I don't think he knew how to handle this shattering news so I then I said bye and hung up on him.
It still makes me grin to think of it.

I guess I have to add this to the
huge list of conquests I have made lately!


Today is the first day of possibly a whole weekend of no kids. Hmmm.... wonder what we'll do with our time!
Although we will have to take it easy. Unfortunately, during our vacation, Hermans colitis acted up quite badly making him feel very tired and also giving him a lot of pain. So he's had to call in sick and he's having to take things real slow.
But despite that, some time without kids is not something to be taken lightly! It's great to watch whatever I want on tv, to eat food that the kids don't like, and generally enjoy the peace and quiet. Especially knowing that the kids are doing something that they enjoy doing. Tristan is spending a couple of days with a friend from his old school. He's really been looking forward to that. And Marinda watched a movie with two friends who are over from Russia and is now staying with one of my friends in Utrecht.
Well, that was a lot of words spent on something that is most likely not interesting to anybody but myself!
Anyhow, I will now install myself in front of the tv, snuggle up to Herman and watch Secret Millionaire. Gotta love that program!


I read an article in a dutch newspaper today which made me feel good about myself :-)

The subject was cheating.
I have a strongly developed conscience. Maybe that's because of my moms eagle eye. Somehow she always
knew when I was lying, no matter how honest I tried to look. And to me, cheating is like lying. You're pretty much telling somebody that you did the work that you didn't do. Besides that, it has always bugged me when people take advantage of my hard work by cheating off of me. Go do your own hard work, will ya!!

So this article in a dutch newspaper was food for my ego.
Did you know that "
The study of students at one Ohio university found that students who scored high on measures of courage, empathy and honesty were less likely than others to report their cheating in the past – or intending to cheat in the future."
People who don’t cheat “have a more positive view of others..”.

Yeah for me!!



I arrived at the train station this morning panting for breath. In my befuddled and dread-filled state of mind, I had taken a wrong route and was running terribly short on time.
The train was not on its usual track. There were men standing on the rails, pointing the way. I walked hurriedly up to the ticket machine, meanwhile pleading for the train conductor to wait for me to get on.
He didn't.
I uttered a foul word and continued to frantically type my destination into the machine, hoping against hope that I just might make it.
The train left, I kid you not, about 10 seconds before I had my ticket in hand.

Then the men standing by the rails waved me over. They apologized profusely for the discourtesy of the conductor. They had already called his manager and told me that someone would be waiting to reprimand him at the end of the ride. They offered me coffee and a seat in their canteen.

I cried. I wiped tears from my eyes, meanwhile sobbing about the miserable start of the day. The men couldn't handle it. I was petted and coddled and more offers of coffee, tea and a seat were made.
And then, to top it off, I was offered a ride to work in one of their cars. Seeing as one of the men had to go in that direction anyway.
I got dropped off at the entrance to my work, ready to start the day in a less "dread"ful state of mind.

A little kindness goes a long way.....


I'm getting off to a wonderful start when one of my first posts after my vacation is entitled "dread". Nevertheless, that is what I am feeling at the prospect of going to work tomorrow.
Well, if there's one thing that I have learned from my husband it is that things will fall into place sooner or later, and that things are never quite as bad as I can make them out to be. Sooooooo.

Meanwhile.... have you noted my new look? Any critical comments to make? Or nice things to say? EH????

My New Look, otherwise known as "Ode to Renzo"

Renzo totally pimped my blog.
I love it!
Do you?

I'm spending the last weekend of my vacation at Renzo's house. I wish he still had his site up, so I could link you through to it. Working on the computer is only one of his many talents. He also made a curry that made my tastebuds leap with joy and he painted the selfportrait you can see on the right.
When I'm with Renzo, I get pampered and spoiled, a lovely experience that I recommend to everyone!
I spent a lot of my time reading Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. Wow, that's one heck of a book! Meanwhile Renzo was sweating away behind the computer, tweaking and tweaking and tweaking some more in order to create my new look.

See the logo in the right hand corner? Renzo made it for me a couple of years ago when I was looking for new jobs. I still use the logo on the letters I send. I love it because of the primary colors and the figures in it. I see myself in each one of the figures. Sometimes I'm the individual on the outside of the group. Sometimes I'm the one bridging the gap between the group and the individual, and sometimes I'm just a group member.
We used the colors as the basis for the rest of the blog.
I can't believe how much work it took though! We (or I should say Renzo) even tried a little sidetrack to Wordpress but then logistics forced us back to blogger.

I'm feeling ready for writing again. Looking forward to getting back on track. I missed the blogging enough during my break to make me realize it's not a fad, it's something I really enjoy doing! And this new look is a lovely incentive to keep on going :-)

Do let me know what you think of the new look, and be fulsome in your praises. I will send them on to Renzo....

p.s. please note the fact that my labels are all prefaced by a little tulip!!

Tiny Update

I think this is just about the longest time I've gone without blogging since I started about ten months ago (I guess I've got a blogiversary coming up!). It's been good. I've enjoyed having the pressure off and having a bit more creative juice flowing.
Creative may be too big a word, but I have felt ideas popping up into my head a little bit more frequently lately. But even so, I've decided to stick to my break for the duration of my vacation and then I hope to start again with a whole new look. Keep your eyes peeled!