This time

This time this message is reaching you from my office. Where I have decided to linger a little bit longer in order to make use of some internet time. The windows and shutters are closed and silence prevails.
Last week I had dinner with colleagues, a goodbye dinner for our director. During the dinner conversation the work atmosphere came up. I mentioned something along the lines of not feeling quite at home. Nobody responded to my comment at that moment, but today a colleague did. Leading to an interesting conversation about the whys and why nots of my feeling at home here. Both of us couldn't quite figure out what the deal was BUT it's just good to have unspoken thoughts spoken, and to have at least told somebody about how I feel. Besides that emotional moment (I get teary eyed over everything right now) there was another this morning when I ended up talking about how sick Herman is. More tears and also sympathy.
Some good may just come out of all this bad!


I never realized how much the setting in which I type determines what I do and do not write. Somehow the library is not conductive to deep personal thoughts. I can hear children crying in background (which is never conductive to deep thoughts!). And I feel harried and rushed because of the time limit that is set here. So I will have to make do with fragments of thoughts and a lot of sweet (HA!!) nothings.
Sunday I took a walk with a friend and took pictures of the beginning of autumn here. Never would have done that before! Blogging has made me more camera aware. The pictures will have to wait though, as internet is still not functioning. I know, I'm becoming repetitive.
We had a bit of a scare this morning, thinking that Herman would have to be hospitalized. It could still happen, depending on what results come out of the samples he is sending out to the lab. It's just not going well, there's nothing much else to say about that. If any of you are prayer-like then prayers would be appreciated. I do not have the faith anymore.
You know one strange thing though? Despite the fact that a lot of things are not going well, I am able to stick to a diet of sorts. No overeating going on here. It makes no sense at all, but I'm enjoying it while it lasts!


Time is running out on me. I'm in the library right now, getting my internet fix. You do realize this means I check my personal mail, my family mail, my work mail, my blog, and my google reader. I don't think my husband understood this, as he is now (hopefully) patiently waiting for me to finally finish. We agreed I'd call him when I was done so that we could go visit the art market together but he decided to come by in his own time instead, leaving me halfway my internet fix, frantically trying to get everything done!
Oh well. At least he's up, and that is quite something. Yesterday I had to go to a wedding on my own because he was still feeling so sick. He still is, and it's worrying, to say the least.
But, the sun is shining, it is a glorious day, I got to sleep in, and there are not other heavy pressing plans for this weekend. So hopefully all of us will feel better by the end of the weekend, internet will become available to us again, our phones (land line and mobile) will all work again and we will feel ready to start the week cheerful and happy.
Off the art market now!!

Alice in Wonderland

You know that rabbit in Alice in Wonderland who runs around with a clock in his hands yelling about things being late?Or is that the mad Hatter?

Whatever... That's me.

Meme (kinda)

My friend Debbie sent met this e-mail today. I thought I'd answer it on my blog, making my life easier. This way I don't have to come up with something myself!

*1.* *What time did you get up this morning?*
The alarm went of at 6.30, got out of bed at 7 to get the kids up and at 'em.

*2.* **Diamonds or pearls?**
Diamonds. Pearls are to reminescent of old ladies wearing cardigans.

*3.* *What was the last film you saw at the cinema?*
Narnia, Prince Caspian. Good, but not as good as the book! And not enough like the book either.

*4.* *What is your favorite TV show?*
Only rarely do I get to watch a TV show regularly. There are just too many others that have " urgent" tv needs. BUT.. I would have loved to watch Lost on tv instead of on DVD and I think Heroes looks pretty good as well, but that will be a DVD thing too.

*5.* *What do you usually have for breakfast?*
2 slices of brown bread with cheese or chocolate sprinkles or jam or ......

*6.* *What is your middle name?*

*7.* *What food do you dislike?*
Vegetables boiled to mush

*8.* *What is your favorite CD at moment?*
A CD my bil made for us called simply 1989. It has about 11 hours of music from 1989 on it. Just lovely!! I put it on and it helps immensely with the housework!

*9.* *What kind of car do you drive?*
Either none, or something borrowed. As we don't have a car, I can't be picky!

*10.* *Favorite sandwich?*
Dark brown whole wheat with raisins baked in it. Topped with soft goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes, and rucola.

*11.What characteristic do you despise?*
When people don't let me see them as they really are.

*12.* *Favorite item of clothing?*
Shawls or scarves. Clothing multifunctionality at its very best.

*13.* *If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?*
the States, Mauritius, Alaska, New Zealand....

*14.* *Favorite brand of clothing?*
Ha, Ha, Ha!!!

*15.Where would you retire to?
Someplace by the sea, maybe?

**16.What was your most recent memorable birthday**?
My combined birthday and celebration of my bachelors degree. Surrounded by loving people, overwhelmed with lovely gifts (this was in 2003).

**17.** *Favorite sport to watch?*
Puhleese, spare me!!

*18.* *Furthest place you are sending this?*
the Internet, in its entirety

*20.* *When is your birthday?*
August fourth

21.* *Are you a morning person or a night person?*
Night, but by neccesity I must also be a morning person.

Ok, now I'm getting a wee bit bored and time is running out on me. I'm at the library again and have run through my free half hour of internet. The other questions will just have to wait for another time!


Saturday I went to the libary to rent some movies for Herman and I to watch together. I figure with him spending so much time at home, he would be glad with the distraction! And it would give us something to do together.
So today we watched The Pianist. If anything, that will put anyones woes into perspective. Besides that it's a pretty stunning movie. I have a tendency to avoid these kinds of war movies. I still havn't watched Schindlers List, for example. Though that may be something to do together with Herman as well.
I rented the Tom Hanks movie which is about WWII as well. Can't remember the title, and the Butterfly and the Bell Jar (not sure about that title either). Any suggestions on what other movies are good? Nothing to corny or romantic for Herman though, and no science fiction for him either.

Meanwhile, on another note. Internet is still down, so I am again in the library. Of for dinner with my sis and mom later. Hoping to get some new clothes and a badly needed hair cut, though most hair dressers are closed on mondays. Is that a uniquely dutch thing? Herman might be improving, I'm not confident enough to firmly state that he is but I surely do hope so. And I'm worried about a work thing tomorrow.
So, that was enough of the boring details!

Take care all of you. Hope your life circumstances are good!

Short note

Well people, I am in the library blogging because our internet is out at home. Not something that I could really use as this moment as Herman is usually the computer guy and he's pretty much too sick to do anything right now. Even his handwriting is suffering due to the weakness caused by this damned colitis.

For those of you who want the medical update: Hermans hospital visit went well, but the aftermath is unpleasant, painful and worrying. He's on Prednison but it's not kicking in yet. Marinda has some kind of cream for her infection which, she tells me, is even effective against pimples. Lord knows why she wanted to test it on those, but she did! So she's a happy camper. Tristan has tendonitis by his ankle and has to go to a podiatrist (right word?) and fysiotherapist.
I am ok except for aches and pains due to digging out a colleagues back yard, which was meant to be a fun, binding experience with all my colleagues. Next time I will stop by for the lovely cakes and snacks and leaving the hard work to others!

Anyhow.... I will do my best to log on here and there, whenever the opportunity presents itself to keep my lifeline to the world open!

Meanwhile I have a ton of chores to do, so I will go do them.


Despite the busy times, the stress about my job, the lack of sleep, the house cleaning and whatever else gets put in my way to distract me, I have still managed to have some meaningful thoughts. Meaningful to me, that is.

I told Herman the other day that I was becoming more and more aware of the fact that this family needs me. Not so much a practical need, more an emotional need. Marinda likes to do things with me, Tristan could use more of a helping hand in coping with settling in here, my hubby likes my moral support and an encouraging presence. Why should this be new to me? It really isn't new, it's just something that I have often felt as a claim upon my time, instead of something that I can give freely.

This job of mine, which I'm not blooming in, has made me realize that my job (or how well I succeed at it) does not define me as much as I thought it does. When all is said and done, it's just a job. And it can be done just as well by anybody else. I have found out that I am capable of functioning without the acknowledgement and appreciation that I thrive on. That there is more to me than work, just as there is more to me than weight. I learned the weight thing a while ago (though that will often come back to haunt me I think), this lesson about work is the next thing to learn.

Learning this has made me more aware of that which really does matter. My family. My friends. It is more important to have a family functioning well, than to have a job functioning well. I think the balance has often been off in my life. Now I feel more of a desire to invest in my family, instead of feeling it to be a moral obligation. It changes how I look at things, and will hopefully make it easier for me to spend quality time with those I love.

Now, I think what I just wrote may sound pretty uncaring, unsympathetic, and maybe downright awful. In many ways I am or have been a degenerate mother and wife. (degenerate: a person who has declined, as in morals or character, from a type or standard considered normal). On the other hand, I have done my best with what I had, even if that falls or fell below the standards set for motherhood. Going through depression, being a young mother, struggling in our relationship and experiencing some of the side effects of being a TCK have not made things easier for me. It's not an excuse, but maybe it will make things more understandable to those of you who don't know me well.

It feels like my world is getting smaller, my dreams are growing smaller. Instead of longing for a bigger career which includes travel, I am now hoping to find a job closer to home so that I won't have to stress so much about the travel time. Instead of longing for big changes and challenges I'm looking forward to family dinners, movie nights, or moments like now, when my family is sitting on the couch together, watching tv, while kidding around, laughing and making jokes with each other. Togetherness, in the smallest way. Ultimately making it something big.

I think I will go and join them.

Lookie, Lookie

Look at what Marinda made!

A fresh strawberry smoothy with orange chocolate.


I'm sitting behind the computer with a cup of hazelnut coffee. Herman is watching Walk the Line, his alltime favorite movie. It was actually the first movie that we saw together that we ended up talking about for a while afterwards!
Herman's clutching a heat pack and drinking some kind of disgusting stuff to clean out his insides. Because... we're going to the hospital later today. He's getting an internal exam so that the wise doctors can determine how bad his ulcerative colitis (IBD) is. I've already been to the doctor this morning with Tristan. He has an inflamed tendon by his ankle which is limiting his football playing capabilities. Marinda is going to the doctor tomorrow for persistant tiredness and some infections. We're a house full of "kneusjes" right now. I tried to find a translation for kneusjes but I don't think "losers" really covers it. It's more like we're a house full of weak, half handicapped people. Kneusjes! (pronounced kuhneusyes... I think?!?).
That was my dutch lesson for the day.

I feel the onset of a huge pity party for myself. Lack of sleep, sick people and a demanding job will do that. I should of course be feeling sorry for the sick people, but alas, I often end up feeling sorry for me instead :-(.
Or maybe I should give myself some credit. I do feel sorry for the others, but sometimes I have a hard time coping with the extra demands that are then made on my time and energy, and then I end up feeling sorry for myself.

Well, hidy ho! Now that I've written this down I will gather up my good cheer and return to being a (hopefully) supportive wife and mother :-)


While browsing through the junk at one of the markets I was at this weekend, I happened upon a piece of sport equipment. One of those step kind of things with rubber bands on it so that you can work your arms as well as your legs (so much for my descriptive capabilities). And that all for the grand price of 5 euros.
I've had a fantasy of throwing out the matrasses in my room and putting in a gymmy kind of thing. Because I don't go to the gym any more and all motivation to go walking or to do anything active on my own has disappeared like clouds before the sun. But I thought I might just possibly be active if some kind of equipment was readily available to me indoors. So after much thought and deliberation and asking peoples opinions at home, I went back to get the darn thing.
Only to find it being sold in front of my very eyes! Bummer. There go all my wild aspirations of becoming a svelte, sporty, sexy thirtyseven year old.
Maybe it's a sign, the equipment being sold.... Maybe it's just not meant to be..... ;-)

Pumpkins (or rather, the lack of them)

I have been itching to get my pumpkin pictures up here, but it just isn't working! So terribly annoying to want to do something and not have it work!! And yes, I know I can just google a picture of pumpkins and put it up here, but somehow that just doesn't feel the same.
I guess it says a lot about the state of my life when I can get worked up over pictures of pumpkins....

See, this weekend was one of those perfect fall weekends with blue skies and a tang in the air. Saturday morning I went to two rummage sales and to a pumpkin market. The colors of those pumpkins! Oh my... enough to make my mouth water. I took pictures with my cell phone because I had forgotten to bring my camera with me. And now they're stranded on my phone.
I did however, manage to take these other pictures later on in the weekend.

I love scrounging around at rummage sales. I bought this colored glass to add to the collection that I'm putting on the shelf by the shed. I usually have flowers there, but seeing as summer is gone and my flowers are dead, I opted for this colorful option instead.

And today the sun was shining so brightly I went out for a bike ride by myself. Herman is to sick to accompany me, and the kids are not up for a bike ride........ ever.
I went down the usual pretty lanes and past this pretty harbor and town.

All in all it was a weekend to treasure. A moment of rest after a busy week, and a time of peace to prepare for the busy week ahead.

One year

One year ago I started this blog.
I'm smiling at the thought.

One year ago I decided blogging would be fun. I still remember my first enthousiasm and the pleasure that I had writing my posts. And I just love the fact that it's still fun!

I found a meme which might be appropriate for this bloggiversary of mine:

Write about 5 specific ways blogging has affected you, either positively or negatively.

1. My world has become a bigger place: Sharing about my life has made me much more aware of it. I'm aware of the perks of living here, of the differences in how other people live. I live vicariously through other blogs, and love seeing comments on my own posts. I have "friends" that I didn't have before, and have gotten back in touch with old friends and know more about their lives than I ever knew before. And all this through either blogging or through reading other blogs.

2. My blog is a dumping ground: you name it, I write about it. I love the freedom of ranting and raving, being introspective, happy, joyful, surprised or whatever. It's a wonderful place that is MINE!

3. Blogging helps me define myself: by writing about my life I'm so much more conscious of it. It's harder to just let life pass me by in a blur when I sit down regularly and think about it. I like to think that blogging has helped me become more me.

4. Posterity: Is it appallingly arrogant of me to want to feel that I have left a mark on the world? Though I know that there are thousands and thousands of blogs out there... mine is there too! It feels like an accomplishment, this writing of mine.....

5. A downside? Maybe the time that it costs?? Especially the reading of other blogs ;-)

Thanks you all, for bothering to read this little blog. I appreciate it more than you know!!

Home Sweet Home

Somehow it feels good to be home. Despite the fact that Herman, Tristan and Marinda are sick. Hermans ulcerative colitis is taking a turn for the worse, Tristan is "school sick", and Marinda seems to be heading toward a nice batch of the flu.
And yet, it's nice to be home.
Maybe it's because it feels good to be needed. Needed for remembering not to put butter on Marinda's bread. Needed to pick up the phone and hear the details of a day. Needed to sympathize with aches and pains. Needed to cook and clean. And needed to be me.... plain simple naggy old me; imperfect, impatient, restless old me.
Somehow, I can't be missed, and I can't help but feel grateful because of it!


I'm sitting at home after my "london experience". Marinda is at dance class, Herman is off to the soccer field with Tristan, so the house is quiet. I just finished looking at the pictures we made in London (which are not great, so you won't see many of them here!) and I've been thinking about how I feel about my time in London.

I had hoped I would be stunned and amazed. I wasn't. Was it due to the fact that we were rushed and harried before we good and well got there? Perhaps. Perhaps it was also due to the fact that we hadn't gone into great detail in the planning. Maybe it had to do with the weather, which was not aweful (no rain, thank goodness!) but not great either. I'm not sure. But whatever way I look at it, I was not terribly impressed.

So what did we see? We saw the Houses of Parliament and the Big Ben. We saw Westminister Abbey, inside and out. We saw Buckingham Palace. And we walked for miles and miles, crisscrossed through Soho, and stopped by in a couple of bookshops. Sat by the Thames munching english baked goods, had dinner in an italian restaurant in the middle of the Chinese Quarter. Rode in the metro, admired the cabs, enjoyed the buses and peeked into shop windows. Felt our feet ache from pounding the pavement, were surprised at how polite people were, were given a Krispy Kreme doughnut for free at the airport, and were utterly exhausted by the time we finally got back home.

Westminister Abbey was impressive, actually. But somehow I didn't quite get the feel for all the history that is encompassed in that one building. Because really, talk about history!! It's all in there. Factually I got a lot of information, but it didn't grab me by the guts as historical places will sometimes do to me. Maybe that was because it was utterly jampacked with tourists. I could almost walk over peoples heads (as the dutch say).
Maybe we should have gone for the prepackaged tourist deal and had all kinds of history dished out to us in ready made portions. There's a certain ease to that! You don't have to spend time thinking about which metro to take, or which bus goes where..... maybe next time?

The flight was an experience in itself. My friend hadn't flown in 30 years, so I had to explain some of the rituals of travel to her. I was a bundle of nerves myself, until we got into the air. I can get airsick sometimes, and I have a strong dislike of turbulence. But the trips were good. We sat in different seats, got a good look at the dutch countryside and seaside. Went through clouds, saw the sunset, had some turbulence and saw Holland by night. About as complete a journey as we could wish for!

So, how would I sum up this trip? As a pretty unique experience. And one that has actually made me pretty happy about where I live now. Lots of history to be seen here! Maybe next time I would be happier going to someplace smaller like Stratford-upon-Avon. Someplace that is not quite as huge. Maybe I need to go see London with someone who comes from London, to get a much better feel for the place. Maybe, just maybe, I'm not as adventerous as I like to think I am, and I should just stay at home and enjoy what I have!!


I must admit nerves are beginning to get to me. It's not like I fly on a regular basis! I'm talking about the trip to London of course.

So how did I come by a trip to London? It was a gift from one of my special friends. She's flying to France by herself later on this year but wanted her "virgin" flight to be with a friend. She therefore came up with the brilliantly original plan of having me fly with her...
Oh the dismay and the sorrow when I realized that SHE WANTED ME TO GO TO LONDON WITH HER!!

This precious person even gave me a choice, in the most original of ways. She sent me ten e-mails which each had two pictures in them. I had to choose which one of the pictures had my preference. Somewhere halfway the pictures I started to an inkling of an idea where this picture session was going. The last set of pictures was the big giveaway. I had to choose between the Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower.
Now, part of me was feeling that I really should choose Paris, as I havn't been there, and it is said to be a wonderful city. And I have been to London, even though it was a long, long, long, long time ago. But when I heard our trip was to last for one day I decided on London. The key was language. I don't speak french at all, and the thought of one day spent with people I don't understand just didn't make me happy. The thought of spending a day hearing english though, made me very happy!

So Tuesday is THE DAY. We leave the house at an ungodly hour and will also return at an ungodly hour. I'll stay over at her's the night before and the night of our trip, so all in all it's almost like a weekend away.

But somehow, the reality of it is still not hitting me. Maybe it will take until I'm actually sitting in the airplane for me to realize that I'M ACTUALLY GOING TO LONDON!!


"What should I cook?" is a question I regularly ask myself. Tonight I had a hankering for tuna spaghetti (tuna, anchovies, olive oil, garlic and fresh basil... who couldn't like that??), but I knew I wouldn't be doing my kids a favor. So I cooked two meals. Crazy me. Though both are easy. Macaroni with cheese and bacon bits (real cheese, real bacon) and salad for all of us on the side. I didn't hear any complaints, thank goodness!

I have been watching my food intake for a week. Wow, a week! Here's to the next week.

Oh, and by the way... did I happen to mention that I will be going to London for a day next week?!?

One of those days

It was one of those days when nothing quite goes like you've planned. Couldn't get the kids up, had to really drag them out of bed. Then couldn't get myself up and moving. By the time I had mentally prepared myself for at least an attempt at housework one of my new friends popped by for coffee (which was just a great excuse for sitting down again and having a nice chat and letting all mental preparation flit away!).
Followed by lots of standing around, sitting down, taking a couple of steps, looking at dust, sighing a little, preparing some soapy water only to let it cool, aimless meandering around the house type of activitity. Which then led to an afternoon filled with driving back and forth to pick up broken bicycles, getting a present for my sister in law, birthday visit to aforementioned sil, rushed dinner, packing up for Tristans slumber party, more driving (which included long stretches of traffic jam).
Well... you probably get the picture.
And the poor sick people around me! Dear sister is struck down with a nasty infection, brother dear with a migraine, Herman sneezing his head off and as he himself said "leaking out of every orifice". My heart is with you all!

Secretly Blond

Blond jokes are international I think.
In Holland there's also a saying that brunettes sometimes get flung to their heads when they act dumb. And it's a saying that I quote when I'm doing something kinda dumb....
It's "stiekem toch blond" or "In secret, I'm a blond". In other words, I may have brown hair, but I just did a really blond thing!!
What made me think of this was what happened today. I went out for a lovely coffee and lunch with a very dear friend of mine. We came back to the car and found out it wouldn't start. There were no starter cables to be found either. So we walked the neighborhood looking for a friendly man (how cliche) to help us out. We even went into the local bar to look for help! But all to no avail. Then one kind lady looked up the number for the local garage for us and we called them and asked for help.
About 20 minutes later help arrived in the form a friendly mechanic. He came with some kind of wonderful starting apparatus and asked my friend to open up the car so that he could reach the engine.
This is where the blond crept in...... she nor I knew how to do that!!
We had a good long laugh and convinced ourselves that although we were confirming every single prejudice that is made about women and technology... we were also making our friendly mechanic feel manly and heroic.
So, even though both she and I are dark brunettes, sometimes we are secretly blond :-)

The power of the blogosphere

Today I've been struck by the power of the blogosphere.
A couple of weeks ago I was utterly amazed at the overflow of love and money when one blogger started giving away a certain toy. It started off with a small gift that turned into many! I was struck then by the positive power of the blogosphere, the willingness of people to participate in a spontaneous act of goodness and increase it.
Today I was stuck by the other side. Another blogger was very (understandably) furious at a family betrayal. But I was shocked by the virulent hatred that I felt in her posts and even more shocked by the hateful comments made by her readers. Readers who do not know her family. Comments along the lines of "I'll smash his face in when I see this person". It made my stomach turn.
Maybe it's because I can't help but wonder why this family member was driven to his act. That must be one damaged person. Maybe I am more saddened than angry that there can be such a lack of trust and safety within a family.
I'm deliberately not linking to either of the two bloggers. I don't think it would serve any purpose to feed into the second negative situation, and the first has already received a lot of positive attention.
I am still pondering on the wisdom of placing a comment of my own in reply to the second situation. I think I might be scared of the repercussions it may have. But something in me is nagging at me to do something.
Maybe this post is that "something".

First day of school

Kids first day of school today. Got off to a pretty good start. Woke myself up on time, woke up the kids on time. But an hour later I was yelling at Marinda on the bicycle path and got into the train all hot and bothered. Long story!
But now she's calling me to come up with popcorn and watch some TV with her. She nodded off to sleep after supper, I guess the early morning is getting to her! Tristan described his teacher as "fat and lazy". That doesn't sound very exciting.....
Hopefully all will go well with my kiddies this year. Marinda has some catching up to do, especially in the math area (an area I WILL NOT be joining!) and Tristan really needs a good year, poor guy. He's had a tough time getting adjusted here.
So I'm off to make popcorn, and then maybe nod off to sleep myself.