Sunday 30 January 2011

One of those days

Yes, it's one of those again. Those days where you don't really have much to tell, so you keep quiet. Yet at the same time you're busy doing stuff. Like trying to make another book and failing. Like making another blog to try and sell your stuff (up and running now, I've already sold two things as well). Like doing the laundry. Oh, and like working of course.

But with all that busyness, I still don't think I have anything to tell. Although... there is another give-away coming up. Not talking about that yet though. Ah well, never mind, I might as well tell you now, seeing as how I've got nothing else to talk about.

As you know I've made a book of my ABC's (which is about 100 pages by the way), but I've also made another one: The Weighty Kitchen, which is also for sale. However, I will be giving away one hardback copy of 'The Weighty Kitchen'. It contains stories concerning food and of course recipes I've posted on my blog (although some are new). For a chance to win? Easy: just leave me a comment, telling me about your favourite food  or a foodie memory. Entry to this give-away will be closed next Sunday midday CET.

Good luck!

Thursday 27 January 2011

I am sailing...

My mother told me this morning that there were a lot of photos of my parents floating about on the internet. When I heard that I was quite surprised, since I don't know about that. But, since my mother is quite the digitally challenged I had to wait for my dad to be home so I could find out exactly what this was all about.

When he phoned me back about an hour later it took me a while to find out what they were talking about and even my dad couldn't find the photos at first. Until something clicked with me: photobucket. Back in the days of my very very first Dutch blog (around 2005/2006), I had put up quite a few photos of some of the trips I did. Also several photos of little outings with a singles club which I thought were lost in the big crash (the one where I hit my computer and killed it stone dead). In the end I downloaded them all on my computer again and then deleted them from public view.

So, which photos did I find? Well, the one at the top for example. This was taken sometime in 2006 or 2007 when I took some sailing classes with that singles club. Day one had been cloudy and there had hardly been any wind. Day two had the sun come out and the wind pick up. I tried and tried to do some proper sailing, but I never really got the hang of it. I am great with the 'doing as you're told' bit, but doing it by myself proved a lot more difficult. I think I will stick to driving a bus!

Wednesday 26 January 2011


I wasn't bothered by vampires last night. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not usually bothered by them anyway, but last night I definitely wasn't. Because I had chicken for dinner. No ordinary chicken though, chicken absolutely covered with garlic. We could smell it from the restaurant and we were sitting furthest from the kitchen!

The job I had to do yesterday was to drive some insurance company to their annual new year's reception. While waiting before we were due to leave again I and several other drivers plus the support staff had dinner at a chicken restaurant. Starting off with rather a bland chicken soup, followed by garlic with chicken wings, accompanied by nice chunky fries and salad. Afters was a tasty yet quite boring ice cream. Although I wouldn't really have like a chicken chocolate mousse instead!

Fortunately I'm off today, so all that garlic can work itself out of my system, even if it does come in handy for warding off vampires!

Monday 24 January 2011

I can feel my tongue again

I had to go to the dentist again today. To have those cavities filled. I had thought of asking my Mum to come along, but felt that at 39 I should be able to do it alone and I am glad to say: I was! Mind you, if I hadn't had the anaestheasiasiaas-whatever, they could have scraped me off the ceiling, but the dentist is a nice man and gave me two little pricks in my mouth. Of course, once he started drilling I realised I needed more knock-out stuff, but even that was fairly okay.

He drilled, he brushed, I swallowed and nearly choked, he filled, he sanded, he hoovered and I nearly choked again. Right now I am still half drooling, although my tongue has gone back to normal and my lower lip is on its way as well. My top lip however is still numb and not even tingling yet.

Do you know, when looking back at what the dentist did, it sounds more as if he was a carpenter and not a dentist!

Saturday 22 January 2011

The Alphabet

My first book 'The Weighty ABC' is about to go global. Well, as long as people buy it I mean, otherwise it will only be a book by me and for me. Interested? Click on the thingy on top of the sidebar and off you go...

I managed to figure out the paypal thing and the other thing about the book and combine it all and ah well, you get the idea!

Friday 21 January 2011

Waking up is never easy to do

I hate getting up early. Which is why I have an alarm clock at either side of my bed (two in total). So I won't oversleep. I have learned over the years that the snoozebutton is a great thing, since it allows me to wake up a bit easier I guess. Hitting that snooze button is the best part in waking up.

Last night as I went to bed (after first rescuing the big ginger monster who I had locked in), I set my alarm clocks at 4am. Which really means 3.50am, but never mind that. For some reason though, I didn't hit the snooze button on my radio alarm, but the off button and when I woke up again at 4.20am by my beep beep alarm I was in a bit of a panic. I realised I was running late. So, after a quick wash I got dressed and made my way downstairs. I fed the monsters, I got the drinks out I wanted to take to work with me and looked at the kitchen clock. It was five minutes to five. I wasn't due to start work until 6.30am. I had gotten up an hour early!!

I had breakfast at home (oatmeal) and was even able to write this post. Now I have to psyche myself up again for a full day's work (I won't be finished until 7.30 pm tonight!).

Thursday 20 January 2011

To be married or not to be married, that's the question

One of the things I often hear is 'are you married/in a relationship' and the next question is almost invariably: 'why not?' (since the answer to the first question is obviously no). But I am lying a little really. As a matter of fact I did get married once and I also wore a wedding dress. Though not at the same moment. Have you got question marks in your eyes now? Are you looking at the screen now and thinking: what on earth? And she never told us?

The thing is you see, I kind of forgot all about it. Because it happened quite a while ago. About 33 years in fact. The marrying part that is. The wedding dress was about 29 years ago. Totally unrelated.

Now, don't think my parents gave me up for a camel and three goats (although they might have done, we didn't go to my grandparents' farm that often). In fact, I don't even think my parents knew about it. SURPRISE!!!

So, since you are all great mathematicians and you can count and you all know of course I am at this moment 39, you have gathered that I must have been 6 when I got married. Well, that wedding. It was great. I think it was attended by my brother and the groom's sister and it happened in my bedroom. I think I wore a veil, although it has been so long ago, I can't quite remember. His name was Kees and he lived on a river freighter (a boat). I had seen him once before and our 'wedding' was the last time. We never did officially get divorced though...

More counting fingers proves that I was about 10 when I wore the wedding dress. My teacher wore the grooms' outfit (albeit only the top, the bottom was a soccer outfit) which caused quite a bit of hilarity. This time my parents knew of it: the dress I wore was my mother's actual wedding dress. Shortened a bit of course. 

Of course in latter years I have been proposed to three times (one drunk, one for sex, one for money, all turned down) and I have had some very dodgy boyfriends or nearly boyfriends. A Northern Irish guy who looked great. Even in the Interpol 'Wanted' photos after he held a couple at gunpoint while robbing their hotel. And a baker with a sideline in stripping (didn't stay with him long enough to actually see that). 

So, now you know! Any questions? 

Tuesday 18 January 2011

I blame Gattina

And what do I blame her for? Well, I went to bed at 2.30am this morning, that's what! And all because she mentioned the dreaded B words: Blog to Book. She wasn't the first one and I had been thinking about it before as well, but it had gone a bit out of my head. Until she mentioned it. Now, any normal person would have decided it would be a great thing to do and since I have the weekend off... But no! Not me. I got started last night. And finished it last night as well. My first blog-book!

I didn't put in all my posts. If I had, I wouldn't have made it into work today! I only did the ABC's and that was enough work in itself. But I have to admit, it turned out beautiful. If I say so myself. It's on order now and you should be able to order it as well. As soon as I have this whole paypal thing worked out that is, but I felt that was going a bit far last night. Nor will I be doing it tonight, since I have to get up tomorrow morning at (help) 3.30am! This coming weekend though, in between the biathlon races, I might be able to sort everything out!

Monday 17 January 2011

Down in the dumps

According to a newspaper article I read this morning, today January 17th is the most depressing day of the year. Because Christmas is past, Easter, Mothering Sunday and spring are still far away and the only thing looming in front of us is winter, cold, snow and other dreary things. Are you depressed now yet?

Well, I won't be going along that depressive path. For starters I like the winter with its cold and snow and ice. Not rain though, that's horrid. But snow and cold, yes, I can handle those!

And to prove that I am not an unhappy chappette, a little proof that I like cats. I don't know who's it was, certainly not ours, but I liked it then and I like them now!

Happy January 17th!!!

Sunday 16 January 2011


Something that made me laugh today as I was watching an old black and white German film from the sixties. A father made his son brush his (longish) hair out of his eyes and said: "Aushilfs Beatle". Now I don't know the proper English word for it (Gattina, help!), but it means something like: extra Beatle help. I think.

Well, it made me laugh anyway!

Friday 14 January 2011


Years ago, my sister, a friend and I made our way to Rotterdam to see a performance of Lord of the Dance. We loved it and to this day I love watching the dvd. And then yesterday I saw another performance of the main song (you all know it), just slightly different. I loved it and it gave me a great laugh. So, I hope you love it as much as I do. (Thank you AC for this gem)

Thursday 13 January 2011

Confusion reigns!

Sometimes things get so confused don't they? I recently wrote a post which contained mention of the Queen. Of course I meant our Queen, Queen Beatrix, but not everybody cottoned on to that fact immediately. Not to worry though, I have some very clever readers and you all got there in the end. However, as a result of that post, I've had an e-mail conversation with Gattina, which had us both wondering about the other. Here's how it went:

On 8 January 2011 17:13, Gattina wrote:

I first misunderstood I thought you were talking about THE QUEEN, but you talk about your Queen! Because THE QUEEN is a big computer fan!

I don't know why, but I realized that I am the only one my age (67) who is an internet blogger etc freak except the 86 year old mother of my neighbor, lol! All the others think computers bite. Three people found me on Facebook, where I am only to see the pictures which my son puts there. A friend from 1968 living now in Thailand, another living now in Finland and the only cousin Mr.G. has! they saw each other when they were 6 years old, lol! and thanks to Skype I can see little grandson in Amsterdam!

On 9 January 2011 12:39, Mara wrote:
She is The Queen. Just our The Queen!

My mother is still computer illiterate, partly out of choice, partly because my dad is afraid to teach her: she won't be away from the computer anymore then, just spending every spare minute doing something or other. Or so my dad fears...

On 9 January 2011 16:33, Gattina wrote:

That will never work! Mr. G's profession was Computer and Programmer analyst, I didn't learn anything from him, we just started to fight. If she really wants she has to learn it with someone else and get her own computer. I have to admit that he showed me the basic things like how to use internet and send an email but all the rest I learned by myself.

On 9 January 2011 16:59, Mara wrote:

Right now she's not really interested in learning either. She prefers spending time making lace or watching television. She watches every single sport known to man! If it moves and there's a game element involved: she will watch it. She's worse than my Dad!!!

On 10 January 2011 09:20, Gattina wrote:

Lol! does she make the models for her fancy hats? she is worse than all Ascott together!

On 10 January 2011 18:48, Mara wrote:


On 10 January 2011 21:18, Gattina wrote:

I mean the hats that the High Society wears during horse racing in Ascott!

On 12 January 2011 00:08, Mara wrote:

Nope, still don't get the connection between the hats and my Mum. Unless it has something to do with the lace making. In that case: she did make a complete hat out of lace (or she's still working on it), which might look good at Ascott!

On 12 January 2011 07:45, Gattina wrote:

You were talking about your mom??? I thought you were talking about your queen! I mean Beatrix! Sorry I didn't get it, lol!

On 12 January 2011 10:45, Mara wrote:

Oh! The Queen, now it all makes sense! I love her hats (ahem), but I don't quite think they are Ascott material: not nearly flash enough.

On 12 January 2011 15:44, Gattina wrote:
Hahaha! now all is clear!

Wednesday 12 January 2011


Cry said in one of the comments about my bad night the other day that she hoped someone would make me a teddy bear so I would sleep better. The thing is though, I have a teddy bear. I've had it for years and years.

Now I never was what you would call a girl who played with dolls and/or teddy bears. I don't know whether I ever had a 'tea-party' where I would invite all my dolls to be present. I don't recall doing that anyway. Although my Mum always tells me I did walk to town one day with a little stroller and my doll. I must have been three.

No, my area of play was outdoors: hide and seek, climbing the climbing tree in the playground, walking over bike racks (don't do that, you fall off and have to go to the dentist), falling in ponds and cycling. When it was raining we would stay indoors and I tended to play more with my brother's lego and race track than with my dolls. At least from what I remember.

When I went to bed though, race tracks and lego went out and Brom (as my bear is called) came in. Because I wouldn't go to sleep without him. On one occasion we forgot to pack it as we went to visit my grandparents. My parents bought me another bear, but it itched and wasn't a good fit. They would have had more luck with a (clean) pair of rolled up socks!

I took Brom with me to Yugoslavia, Italy, Belgium, France and England and he was my bedfellow until I was about 24, when I finally retired him. And the reason for that was that he was getting old: one eye missing, his tail is loose, the side of his head is open and today I found out one of his arms is spilling as well! I don't need a new teddy, I need a teddy doctor!

Of course now you are wondering about the doll in the top photo. Well, from the looks of it, it's one of my grandmother's dolls and was not really for playing I think. She is in Frisian dress though! 

Tuesday 11 January 2011

Z is for...


Have you ever been in a zoo after the zoo closed its gates? Well, if you ever get the chance, don't just sit around, move around and take your camera. Because for some reason all the animals behave completely different when there's nobody about! No pressure to 'perform' I guess.

Humboldt Penguin

In October 2009 I found myself in the zoo in Rhenen, the Netherlands. A zoo with a history. The owner personally shot his animals when the Germans invaded the Netherlands (nobody seemed to want to have lions and tigers roaming free), but saved a few polar bear cubs. And lately they've established a bear zone. Not with wild bears, but with the bears that were rescued from dancing in the streets or from 'medical' purposes, ie being locked in a tiny cage and having their bile removed every day: painful and stupid.

Rescued bear looking out into his new world of relative freedom

Like many zoos around the world, their main goal nowadays isn't showing off animals in tiny cages, but education, preservation and breeding. That's why most zoos nowadays don't have the full range of animals anymore, especially if they have space issues. Having three types of animals in nice large pens or enclosures or ten types of animals in small cages...

Baby Barbary Macaque

Anyway, after the gates closed I was still in the zoo. On purpose, since the group I had driven had a special arrangement. But it meant I was able to look closely at some of the animals, for example those bears! They came out and were a lot more active. And the polar bears were more playful and behaved like a family of teens.

For more Z-words from around the world, please check out ABC Wednesday and join in the fun!

Photos taken in October 2009 in Ouwehands Dierenpark Rhenen, the Netherlands

Monday 10 January 2011


Don't you just love going to bed when it's all freshly made, ironed sheets (yes I do) and all? And don't you just hate it when you then can't get to sleep and when you finally do, you wake up all night long? Well, that is exactly what happened to me last night. I think I must have lain awake for about an hour and a half, tossing and turning and turning those ironed sheets into messy sheets again, before finally dozing off. Not even sleeping: just dozing off. And then I woke up about ten times during the night. Never very long, but every time I got a look of the alarm clock!

Very annoying!!

Sunday 9 January 2011

The Thief of Time

I bought this book back in late summer and started it almost immediately. But just as immediately as I started I stopped again as well. Other books, work, other things all got in the way and it wasn't until early this year that I picked the book up again.

The blurb: Matthieu Zéla has lived his life well. In fact, he's lived several lives well. Because Matthieu Zéla's life is characterised by one amazing fact: his body stopped ageing before the end of the eighteenth century.
Starting in 1758, a young Matthieu flees Paris after witnessing his mother's brutal murder. His only companions are his younger brother Tomas and one true love, Dominique Sauvet. The story of his life takes us from the French Revolution to 1920's Hollywood, from the Great Exhibition to the Wall Street Crash, and by the end of the twentieth century, Matthieu has been an engineer, a rogue, a movie mogul, a soldier, a financier, a lover to many, a cable TV executive and much more besides.
Brilliantly weaving history and personal experience, this is a dazzling story of love, murder, missed chances, treachery - and redemption.

This book is the first book by Irish writer John Boyne, who recently claimed fame with his book 'the Boy in the Striped Pyjamas', and it was quite rightly being published again after the fame of that book. Because this first book is brilliant. The combination of real life characters (Robespierre, Charlie Chaplin to name but two) and fiction is great, as is the switch between current day and past. Matthieu Zéla stays on the side of things, never really getting involved with history as we know it, but he gives you glimpses of that history, telling his story. He also tells the story of his brother and consecutive (great) nephews all named after his brother. Sometimes the brother/nephew is prominently in the story, other times he is just a line on the side, but always necessary for the story.

There was only one thing I wondered about: at one point in the book Matthieu states that it was a certain year where he felt he stopped ageing, but once the story in that time took place, not another mention of it, which I felt was a shame. Other than that it was a highly enjoyable book and showed John Boyne as a very good writer. A big thumbs up from me!!

Saturday 8 January 2011


In 2009 the Queen's Christmas speech was very anti virtual cyber friends. According to our (clever) Queen, it wasn't the same as meeting someone in person, talking to them face to face. A few weeks later she twittered (well, the State's Information Service in her name) that she hadn't meant it to sound so harsh.

Back in the autumn I talked about this with Carolina when she came to help me with my garden. And she and I both agreed that we didn't understand what the Queen was on about. After all, we had met because we had 'met' online!

A little while later I got an e-mail from Kay in Canada. She and her husband were coming to Europe for a holiday and would I like to meet up for lunch? Of course I would. We have been e-mailing back and forth for the last few months about the date, their trip (and any suggestions I have) and other stuff.

And then yesterday I found a little package in my letterbox. I knew a package was coming from Crystal who lives in the United States of America, but didn't know what was going to be in it. So it was a wonderful surprise to see a beautiful and very intriguing book inside. At first glance it looks like some sort of correspondence and there are even letters in envelopes inside the book!! Thank you so much Cry for this beautiful present!

She may be clever our Queen, but she really doesn't have a clue about this. I have made friends I would otherwise never have known, let alone meet. I learn a lot about other people and find out we're not all that different. But it shows as well, that even though you might never meet some of your cyber friends, it doesn't mean they are less of a friend!

Friday 7 January 2011

Way back when...

Since I have a split shift today, I thought I would see my parents. My mother is at work and for most of the time I sat upstairs scanning old photos. Going through old photo albums and finding hidden gems. I had done so before, but most of those were lost after my fight with the computer, so I took this opportunity to do so again.

Of course my parents are extremely proud of me (says she with a lot of confidence) and of my siblings and quite a few photos were there with just me and my brother. The main reason of course being that by the time my sister started school, I was about to move onto high school where photos like these were not usually taken.

Now, when looking at this photo I even doubt whether this was taken when we were both in school. I look about four or five and my brother is 17 months younger, so too young to go to school. I don't know what my Mum was thinking when she put my brother in that horrendous outfit, but it looks as if he didn't agree with her! And also note the lovely haircuts we had: used the pudding bowl much Mum??

Tuesday 4 January 2011

Y is for...


Well, I found him! The real yeti. At least I thought it was. And then I saw his boots... Massive disappointment of course. No fame and fortune for being the first one to spot a live yeti.

Mind you, if this had been the real yeti, it would probably have felt a bit lost, since its habitat is somewhere in the Himalayan region of Nepal and Tibet! Of course I am now assuming it's real and not a myth, which quite a lot of people seem to be thinking! A legend, a myth, a relative of Bigfoot (who by the by lives in North America) and never captured in real life, on photo or film. Not counting the hazy and vague photos and films that have emerged over the years.

So, what is this if not a yeti? Well, it's a soldier in camouflage. Because soldiers don't only fight in hot countries, sometimes they see cold countries as well. And if you can be invisible, you're ahead of your enemy!

For more Y-words from around the world, please check out ABC Wednesday and join in the fun!

Photo taken at the Army Days in the Netherlands, May 2010

Monday 3 January 2011


What a great way to start off the new year: two cavities! And before you say (or think) anything, just remember: THEY ARE THE FIRST ONES EVER!!!

Yes, you have read it correctly: I have my very first cavities at the age of 39 (and a half). I have to go back in three weeks time to get something done to them. With anaesthiaseiasiesasaaeei of course. Because having them do something not nice inside my mouth which is bound to hurt and me being squeeker number one (just ask my hairdresser), I will not have it done without anaesthiawhatever.

Things can only get better. Yes?

PS: I found the photo on the net. That mouth bears no resemblance whatsoever to my teeth. Well, apart from the lips. Which I have as well...

Saturday 1 January 2011


A few years ago I made a resolution to get rid of my debt. I owed the bank over 17,000 euro due to overspending and a massive hole in my hand. Well, for once I managed to keep that resolution. Of course it took a while, but early 2009 I was debt free. Everything paid off. The reason for that resolution was my wish to emigrate to Canada and with a debt I didn't stand a chance.

Once I had gotten rid of my debt I had to start saving. Because with a debt they won't allow you in, but neither will they if you haven't got two cents to rub together. So, I started saving. And saving. And saving. There were some spanners in the works: Sophie became ill with cancer; my computer crashed and I even went on holiday. But as I looked at my savings account yesterday I realised: I've made my second goal. So, I will start looking for an agent and a job in Canada asap and hope to cross the pond one-way in late summer!

My resolution this year: emigrate to Canada... What's yours?

PS: I wish all my readers and followers a very happy and healthy 2011!