Friday, 17 January 2020

Job

As you know I am temping at the moment. Not the best of situations for several reasons. One is that I have no set income each month. It all depends on the amount of hours I make and sometimes that is around 20 (this week, with four days at work), other times it hovers around 30 or more. In fact, since I started working last April, I have had 6 weeks of 40 hours or more, 3 weeks of 37+ and most of the rest has been between 20 and 32. 

The second reason it is not good, is the fact that without a set or steady income each month, it is nearly impossible for me to find a place to live. Rent and utilities and food and everything will come to more than I earn at the moment. 

The third reason is that there is no guarantee. If there is little work, the people who have a contract get first dibs and I get the dregs. I understand, but that doesn't mean I like. So, for all those reasons I have already tried to find other jobs. 

Last year I did a lot of the tourist line 270. I met with some people who knew me from days gone by and that made it easier for me to slot back in. But unfortunately at the end of the season, there was no work for me and the chances of me getting work there were slim. 

Imagine my surprise today, when I got a phone call from the temping agency, wondering whether I would like to work for that company (as a temp again, but with a view to eventually get a contract). Ah. Well. Yes. No. Perhaps. 

Because as luck would have it, there is another company that I approached myself that is hiring this year after winning a large tender. Not only that: it is actually right here in my home town. Plus they are hiring directly, instead of using temps. 

I am still in the early stages of the application, but I have good hopes of getting accepted. Fingers crossed. 

But it is nice that people are thinking of me! It made my day even better (the other things that made my day were not having a headache today, almost finishing a cabled hat and taking my mum home without her being bandaged up*).

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Knitting, knitting, knitting

Recently I have been knitting like mad to get stuff made for Mice for Mama. I had started a lovely bear back in 2019, but had not finished it yet (it is now), I bought plenty of yarn in Northern Ireland I was dying to get started with (I did) and of course I have plenty of yarn myself to make more than enough things with. 

Then last week my parents came home and asked me about something crafty. Apparently the choir my dad sings in (Great Zwolle Men's Choir), is organising a sort of fair where people can sell their crafty stuff. It wasn't official just yet, but will be pretty soon. Hm...

This sounded interesting, especially as they assured me that all proceeds were to be mine. Another good thing is that it is about a month and a half away, giving me plenty of time to make more things. I still have some mice and other things that I made last year and haven't sold, and now I can make even more. 

I think I might say yes to this offer. Better tell them at work that I am not available that day!

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Talking about zoos...

You may remember that last year my sister and I made our way to a great zoo right here in the Netherlands. If not: click here. Now, that zoo was originally situated in the center of town. Almost like Artis in Amsterdam, but even more central. They had a big problem though: they wanted to expand and couldn't.

In the end, a site was found for them not far from the center, but with great potential and that's where they moved to. And you all know what happens to prime real estate in the center of a town, don't you? 

Well, not in this case. The town council decided that even though the zoo was no longer there, the area would remain as was, more or less. You can still see some of the animal enclosures and even though quite a few of the buildings were removed, plenty remained. 

The whole zoo area is now used by galleries, acting/art schools and classes. It is a park still with plenty of people using it. And yes, there are even some animals in a small petting zoo/pet rescue. 

There was also a tea house where my friend Pepperfly and I enjoyed our tea and nibbles. It may not longer be a zoo, but I am so glad no property developers were allowed in! This is much better.

Monday, 13 January 2020

Artis

I showed you some photos yesterday of several different animals. Not animals I would encounter in every day life (apart from the gold fish, which would be quite possible). And in fact, I did see them all in the zoo.

No, not that long ago...
It was a zoo I had only been to once and that was so long ago (I was a small child I believe), that I couldn't really remember anything. The zoo is called Artis and is located in Amsterdam. Not a city I want to drive a coach in, but that was exactly what happened last Friday.

Stone coral
I had looked up how to get there and I did. Just don't ask how, because I don't think the route given to me was the route taken by me! It kept sending me to small streets adjacent to canals where driving a car is bad enough, let alone a massive coach! But, as I said: I got there and parked and everybody got off. While I prepared to wait until they came back.

Well, wait? I was going to visit the zoo myself, no way was I sitting on that coach for several hours! Now, Artis is located in Amsterdam as I said. Not in the center itself, but close enough. And it is surrounded on all sides by houses, so it is not that big a zoo. But it was quite a nice zoo to spend a couple of hours. 

There was a large aquarium housing smaller and larger fish, but also fossils and the like. Very interesting. There were birds of all plumage. There were some camels (no photos), monkeys, lions, elephants and several other animals. As I said: perfect to spend a couple of hours and there were plenty of people with toddlers doing just that. 

There were also some bronzes about and there were two that really stood out for me: one of an animal keeper and one of a giraffe. The latter was one that I wouldn't mind having myself, as it was just a fun sculpture.

When all the children and the teachers had returned to the coach, we left and took a different route back. Not quite sure how or where that went, but we made it to the motorway and back to the school. 

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Photo on Sunday 2020-02

Blacknecked swan

Beaver rat

Fennec fox

Gold fish

Star fish

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Good thing

Well, after two whole weeks off (paid no less) and an extra day to recover from all that off-ness, I was back at work yesterday. I was on time, the journeys went well and all was good. But all that work (I finished one book and started another), did require a recovery day apparently. 

Which means that today I have a day off. Basically we are back to 2-3 days a week, the way it looks now. Not the best, but it will have to do, at least until the end of March, when the tourist season starts again. 

These buttons were bought a few years ago and are still waiting to be used
Mind you, today is filled with those tiny things I need to do: buy buttons. I bought a lovely Christmas cardigan while at my sister's, but the buttons are a. too big and b. not red, but a dull grey/black. Which means new buttons. I also want some buttons for a hat/mittens/scarf combo I just knitted. I was actually pleasantly surprised to see how they came out. Show and tell will be done once finished. They will be for Mice for Mama. 

Talking about Mice for Mama, last year's total came to 77,45 euros, which I doubled to 154.90 euros and sent to MIND, a Dutch charity for mental health. I hope they can do some good with that money. 

This year's charity is one that deals with sports for the mentally and physically disabled. Very often those people are (not able to be) accepted by regular sports clubs, making it harder for them to build friendships in their own community. The charity's main aim is to make provisions for those children/adults to actually go to the regular clubs. A ramp might be enough to get people through the door, so to say.

A bottle cosey in the making
In turn this means that I will be making and selling mice this year as well. I have also branched out a bit into other things and occasionally my Mum Janneke will put some items forward to be sold as well. 

This all means a busy day today. It's a good thing they gave me the day off then...

Monday, 6 January 2020

Money

Ever since I moved back to my parents, I have been saving a lot of money. I reckon I am on about 30-35 percent of my income that goes into savings. That is a lot, although some of the money is just put on hold elsewhere, until I might need it. I have a piggy for Miss Oswin's vet bills, a piggy for the dentist and a piggy for Eurovision (fingers crossed for tickets). Plus several other piggies. 

Then my sister told me about something she had read on Facebook. About saving money. Basically, you equate the x-th day of the year with the same number of cents/pennies/whatevers. So, January 1st equals one cent, January 2nd 2 cents etc. February 1st would be up to 32 cents already and so on and so forth until December 31st equals 366 cents. 

According to this method, you could save well over 600 euros/pounds/whatevers in one year! Around 667 my sister said. Hm...

I am up to 21 cents right now! 

Sunday, 5 January 2020

Photo on Sunday 2020-01

During our Christmas holiday, we decided to make some decorated cookies. My sister made the dough (she is good at dough), we baked the cookies and then...

...we had to decorate. We had never done it before in our lives, but the icing was easy enough to make (yes, we made it ourselves) and once we had gotten hold of some tooth picks, it became a bit easier as well.

The first photo shows my sister starting to decorate, the second my decorated cookies and the third my sister's batch. And they tasted yummy! Definitely something to do again...

Saturday, 4 January 2020

The case of the missing hat

When I lived in Norway, the mother of a friend of mine made me a hat. It was orange and it kept my head nice and warm on those cooler days. However, when I moved to Northern Ireland, I didn't want to keep that hat, as I used it a lot. So, the same mother of the same friend knitted me a pink hat. Which could also be worn on colder days. 

I wear that hat a lot. So, when it went missing a couple of weeks ago, I was not pleased to say the least. And the thing was: how could it have gone missing. I had had it in my hands not minutes ago and then it was gone!

Picture this: my friend Pepperfly and I are driving to Amsterdam to see, amongst others, Gali Atari from Israel (see video) at the Eurovision Party. There are plenty of spaces to park, but a sign at the entrance states that it will be closed as of 10 pm. The show doesn't finish until 11 pm. So, Pepperfly parked the car (somewhat), I got out and asked a parking attendant. We would be fine! No new entries, but exits were okay. 

I got back to the car, Pepperfly decided she needed a different and better spot and drove around to a different and better spot. We got out, put on our coats and walked away. Hold on, where's my hat? I had it only a minute ago on my lap in the car. It is not in the car. *Sigh*

We walked off anyway, but I wasn't happy about it. That hat had to be somewhere after all. It couldn't have just disappeared into thin air. What if it fell off my lap when I first got out of the car. So, I walked back. But instead of my hat, there was a big big car. Right where we had been. 

There was nothing for it: I had to look under the car. And when I did, what did I see shimmer in the distance: my hat! Now to get it back though. Which proved to be a bit more problematic. See, Pepperfly's car is quite small and we had not been parked perfectly anyway. This car was huge and was parked as it should. There was no way I could get hold of my hat.

I did what any self-respecting person who is missing her hat does: I got up, walked around and tried on the other side of the car. Where it proved to be a bit more possible. *Pfew* I had my hat back!

Photos by Pepperfly, hat by a Unique Mamma

Friday, 3 January 2020

Thankful

Perhaps you remember when I wrote about the gratitude jar last year. If not, let me refresh your memory: click. Because I already started late, and was in the middle of yet another international move, I didn't think I would keep it going. But lo and behold...

I did! Every Sunday without fail I would write something I was thankful for. Not always the most inspired of things, but I wrote nonetheless. Occasionally I would write during the week as well. When something really momentous had happened. 

With my mum at the orchid farm
Yesterday I transcribed the lot and there was definitely a pattern. I thanked my parents a lot (in fact, three weeks in a row at one point) for letting me live here. I thanked work a lot. Getting a job, continuing the job, returning to work. There were also plenty of health related posts. From the good (no headache for a week, good news at the gynaecologist) to the bad (gall bladder and headaches), but still thanking medication, doctors and nurses.

I thanked the fun things: Duncan Laurence outright for winning Eurovision for the Netherlands, seeing Cats, seeing We Will Rock You with my mum, going to the zoo with my sister, seeing Rome with my sister, visiting my sister, going to the orchid place with my mum. I never mentioned the sand sculpture thing I visited with my parents, but I am thankful in retrospect!

Here are a couple I felt stood out!

10.02.2019: I am thankful for aunties who don't need to hear the whole story, but just comfort you when you need it.

The good health care was definitely something I was thankful for!
28.03.2019: I am thankful for people who recognise me and believe in me, resulting (finally) in a job starting this Sunday.

09.04.2019: I am thankful for my pay check! Money

16.06.2019: I am thankful for being home alone for nearly three weeks. No tennis, darts, cycling, football or whatever! Bliss

11.08.2019: I am thankful for my Kindle coming back to life, after it was nearly drowned.

10.11.2019: I am thankful for the continuing job; friends who got married and I was invited to celebrate; no headaches to speak of; plenty of time to make stuff in. Life is better than I sometimes feel it is.

Brom in Rome
Writing all those things down at the time is one thing, going over the list again yesterday has made me realise that despite the things that are still not working properly in my life, there are so many more things that do. I might not have the job I want (yet), or a place of my own (yet), I might still have headaches and migraines (grrr), but all in all, I have a good life. 

I will continue this year with the gratitude jar and hope there will be plenty more things to be very thankful for!