Wednesday 30 November 2011


I did it: I sent my resumé to a Eures consultant in Bergen, Norway. I don't know what will come of it, but I am keeping my fingers crossed. Wish me luck!

PS: I am having severe problems with uploading photos. On occasion it works fine, but most of the time it just doesn't. As you can see, I did add a photo to this post, but it should have been included on another post! Which didn't work... Anybody any ideas on how to solve it?

Sunday 27 November 2011


And there I was on Friday, sitting in church when all of a sudden my phone went off. Fortunately it happened before the service and I turned it off immediately (others hadn't been so clever or thoughtful). When I finally remembered I had received a text it was well after the service and it was from my sister-in-law: whether I would like to come to the birthday party of her youngest. Which of course I had completely forgotten about, since I forget about a lot of birthdays.

Anyway, I phoned my parents yesterday morning to ask whether they were taking the train or car and when it turned out the were driving, I asked them to come pick me up as well. So, off we all went to my brother and his family.

My youngest niece had turned three and was very happy to receive all those gifts. Although at first she was a bit confused 'because she hadn't put her shoe out the night before'. In the Netherlands we celebrate St Nicholas on December 5th and in the weeks leading up to that day, children all over the country will put out their shoe, containing wish lists, carrots and hay (for his horse) and the next morning there will be a little present in said shoe. But she wasn't one to shy away from presents and when there were none more coming, she found a mug and some wrapping paper to make her own present! So cute...

Unfortunately my parents couldn't drop me off at home at night, so I took the bus home, which of course had left five minutes before I arrived at the busstation! Or so it seemed to me. Never mind though, I had to get some money, find a toilet and I wanted something to drink anyway. And I did make it home in time for my favourite Saturday show of the moment: Strictly Come Dancing. Yea...

Friday 25 November 2011


Late August a colleague of mine went to see a doctor about some swelling in his groin area. A few days later he was diagnosed with colon cancer. Unfortunately not in the early stages, because it had already spread to the blood and bones, but the doctors still gave him 9 months, more if the medication would work. His weight kept dropping though, since he couldn't keep his food down and he was admitted to hospital with severe dehydration.

While in hospital they discovered it had also spread to his brain and the nine months was quickly changed into a couple of weeks. He passed away on Monday. Today all the colleagues from our lot said goodbye to him for the last time. He will be very much missed.

Wednesday 23 November 2011


A few weeks ago I was told by my manager that I wasn't working enough! Since we don't have nine to five jobs, it sometimes makes it harder to actually reach the 173,3 hours of work needed in a month. Especially when work is very thin on the ground. But to then blame me is a bit much I thought and I told him so as well: if you want me to reach the hours, plan better! I will work!!

So, over the last few weeks I have been working more than 'normal'. Last week was a six-day week for me, filled with school runs, army rides, more school runs and yes, even more school runs. This week it was going to be more of the same, even if today is an easy day: just the hither in the morning and the tither in the afternoon.

To top it all off, it has been extremely tiring to drive lately: we have had a persistent fog for about a week now and on Monday especially, it was hard going: visibility going down in some cases to less than 50 meters! Very tiring on the eyes, even if I do sport a fancy yellow pair!

Whenever I have a few minutes in between runs or even during a run, I am cramming my head with Norwegian words. I thought it would be easy, but I don't know whether I underestimated the language or overestimated my ability to learn a new language, but it is proving to be harder than I thought. The reading and writing and even the hearing are okay, but the speaking? Ten words on paper and you can just hear one single sound! Incredible. I've found a solution though: Norwegian radio and every time I recognize a word or phrase I whoop. Not much whooping yet though, but it will come! After all, I only know about three hundred words so far! And according to the dictionary I just got there are a few more out there!!! Just a few...

Anyway, my head is just about swimming with Norwegian words, fog and work and (og) unfortunately (dessverre) there hasn't been a lot (mange) of time to write (skrive) my blog or read (lese) any other blogs.  

Saturday 19 November 2011


We have a new emergency number in the Netherlands: 144 to save an animal. If, for example, you see a horse in a ditch, you can phone them and they will put you through to the emergency service needed.

So, when I saw a horse in a ditch, I phoned 144 and was put through to the police. I told them where I had seen the horse in the ditch and that I didn't think it would be possible for the horse to get out of said ditch by itself, since the banks were too high. Fortunately I wasn't the only one who had phoned in and I hung up, relieved something was going to be done to this poor horse.

When I got back at night I wondered what had happened to the horse and after a bit of searching I finally found it. Now, I phoned at 11.15am or thereabouts and somebody else had already reported it before me. The fire department got notified at a little before midday! Anyway, the fire department made their way over to the horse, where a car rescue service and highway patrol were already on site. The fire department tried to put a harness on the horse, but that didn't go as smoothly as they had hoped.

Then the owner of the horse arrived and told the fire department that he didn't need help, he could do it himself. First he used a rope to get the horse closer to the field, then the harness was put over the head and using a tractor, the horse was pulled into the field. However, the horse was quite dizzy and actually fell back into the ditch! So, the farmer tried again and this time he was successful! The fire department did not assist and distanced itself from the method used by the farmer.

If you click on this link, you can see the photos that were taken.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Admitting defeat

Those are two of the three words I know in Norwegian. But it's not something you can use in every day life of course, unless it's Christmas all year round (it means merry Christmas)! So, I have ordered a Norwegian course to learn the language, so I won't have to say God Jul all day every day!!

And the reason I did that? Well, I think I can safely say Canada is a no-go. I always knew it was going to be extremely difficult and that the chances of me finding work there were always slim, but I tried my best and in the end... I failed. I talked it over with my mum and even though she feels sorry I haven't reached my goal, she is secretly (and not so secretly) really happy Canada is out. Norway is of course a. closer and b. it's closer and most importantly c. it's closer.

Now before you start thinking any strange things about how I can suddenly shift my focus from one to the other, it's not so sudden and it's not so different. Let me explain...

The up sides about Canada: it's roomy, the weather, nature, they speak English, the cost of living is somewhat lower and according to some who shall remain unnamed (Kay, you know who you are), there are wild animals roaming free!
The down sides: it's far, it's hard to emigrate to, I wouldn't be able to do my preferred job and I would earn a lot less than in the Netherlands.

The up sides about Norway: it's roomy, most of the weather, nature, I would be able to do my preferred job, I would earn more, it's easier to move to and it's closer. Oh, and biathlon is one of the national sports!!!
The down sides: the cost of living is higher and they speak Norwegian, which is a language I don't speak (yet).

All in all, weighing up the pros and cons (there are a few more, but I don't want this to become one of those mile long posts), I think Norway would suit me quite nicely. As long as I get that language learnt of course. Fortunately I have a knack for languages, or so I am told and I do speak Dutch and German and English and I understand Frisian, so it shouldn't be too hard (she says...).

So, now you know.

PS: I just thought about this tattoo thingy. If I were to make my new life in Norway, there is no way I will get a troll tattooed on my shoulder!

Saturday 12 November 2011

The winners

Venice in the '90's. Not in the calendar!
Ah, that give-away from last week. Filled with photos from my travels. It would look fantastic on anybody's desk, but it is only won by two. So, drumroll please...

Debby (@Just Breathe) asked for an extra day next year and guess what: she got it! Especially for her, I put an extra day in. I stuck it in at the end of February, which now has 29 instead of 28 days. An extra day to just breathe and live life to the fullest!

Cry (@Thru My Minds Eye) gave a little ditty that didn't rhyme, so we can safely say she has the modern poetry down pat! I've given her the extra day as well, so she can do some more modern poetry!

Congratulations to both of you, the calendars will be heading your way asap!

Thursday 10 November 2011

I should have known

Remember when I told you I was feeling a bit under the weather? Well, I should have known it was a precursor for what was to come. I should have realised a hint of a headache means a headache is coming. I should have known a cold is not just a cold anymore. I just... should have known!

I had a beer on Tuesday. Nothing strange about that at all. And normally they are fine. And this one was fine. But on Wednesday morning I woke up with a headache. Which was a bit annoying: can I not have a single beer anymore? However, the headache persisted and persisted and instead of just fading away, it seemed to be getting stronger. Until at about 9pm it clicked: it wasn't the beer. It's the sinusitis. Again!!

So, paracetamols in my bag and off to work I went this morning. A day filled with primary school children and noise. Fortunately they were all reasonably quiet after I told them to be quiet because I had a severe headache. One school actually whispered all the way home! But alas, the headache didn't abate. It actually got worse and worse. Until I realised that working tomorrow would be a pain (no pun intended). I phoned my boss who was able to change my shift. I should have done an all-day trip to Germany and back, I now have to drive high school kids to school and back. A lot better. (By the way, the colleague who took over my job is off tomorrow, because the whole trip was cancelled!)

I am feeling fine(ish) now. The headache has lessened somewhat, although I know that doesn't mean it's gone. My mum got me some steaming stuff (bowl of hot water, steaming stuff and a tea towel are involved in this) and nasal spray and fortunately I still have some paracetamol. Hopefully this episode will pass soon enough!

PS: if you still want to have a shot at winning one of the desk top calendars I am giving away: go to Over Mara's Shoulder and leave a comment!

Monday 7 November 2011

One of those weeks

As I wrote on Facebook the other day: I am tired. And not so much tired as in sleepy, but tired of everything. Of waiting to hear back from any of the 26 hotels I sent my resumé to last week (two so far and they have both put me in the pile to 'hang on to for three months'). Tired of doing the laundry that seems to keep coming back faster than I clean it. Tired of my television that has decided to not give me the sound I should (which makes it difficult to watch a region 1 dvd: I have to sit two feet away to actually be able to hear anything). Tired of the weather that still has summer temperatures, even though it's now November. And even tired of work. Because that last thing tends to be the same every day: pick up children and drop them off at school in the morning and do the reverse in the afternoon. On occasion we do the swimming pool run, which isn't that different.

On Saturday there was a bit of change from the normal: I had a football run! A local ladies' football team were playing against a team that was a bit too far to drive to themselves, so they hired a bus. It wasn't so bad. The girls were friendly, the weather was good and I managed to find the venue first time round and was able to park there without any difficulty. They won and we drove back.

Today is another break from the normal: I have to pick up a group of people at some resort or other, drive them to a town on the other side of the country, where they will visit a brewery and then tonight we will drive back. Hopefully they won't be completely drunk and will be on time.

Perhaps I just have the autumn blues, perhaps I just feel ick (yes, I spelled that right) because I am getting a cold. Either way, I hope I will win the lottery this week so I can go and have a nice holiday in some nice and warm and sunny country. Ooooohhhh....

PS: If you still want to have a shot at winning a lovely desk-top calendar, leave a comment on the following post: Over Mara's shoulder

Friday 4 November 2011

Coffee Klatch 3

A bucket list she asks for! A bucket list!! (imagine my voice going up a bit now) But then again, it was easy for me this week, since I've got a bucket list all ready and waiting to get out of that bucket. Which is a weird thing to say in the first place. Bucket list. Anyway, here's mine!

This is more my size of horse!
Learn how to tapdance
When I was younger I was allowed to take tapdancing classes, but unfortunately I had to go to bible class. Since they were on the same night...
Learn how to ride a horse
Even though the horse I have been on was huge, I think there must be smaller ones out there. A shetland pony or something similar!
Do a sky-dive
Not really sure about this one, but once I get over the fear of jumping of the high board in the swimming pool, I might give this one a try.
Do a bungee-jump
See above!

Have tea at the Ritz in London
Ever since the doorman at the Ritz saved my life (or so it felt at the time, he only pointed me in the direction of home), I've wanted to go there some day and take tea! With scones and sandwiches and such...
Have a professional photo-shoot
Fancy clothes, great make-up, possibly a handsome model to pose with, what's not to like?
Learn how to play a musical instrument
I've tried the recorder and I've tried that Irish flute, but the only sound I have produced was a high screechy sound. I won't be playing in the Boston Philarmonic any time soon...
Emigrate to Canada
If you don't know this by now, you haven't been reading my blog at all and I suggest you go back to all the posts about me wanting to emigrate to Canada!

Own a bright pink car
And I mean properly pink. None of that baby pink for me.
Get a tattoo
I did! I got myself a tattoo!
Go mud-flat hiking
One of the great mucky things to do that sounds like it's great (albeit cold) fun. One day though, one day...

The next question was about my favourite candy. Well, when I was younger I used to love liquorice all-sorts, although I tended to pick those awful coconutty jobbies out of there: yuck! Nowadays, jellybeans I love, but since my stomach doesn't...

If you want the chance to win a desktop calendar, please leave a comment on my previous post! Click here to get there. 

Thursday 3 November 2011

Over Mara's shoulder

Yes, it's that time of the year to give something away again. And like last year, I will be giving a desk top calendar away. Which is full of photos I took on my travels in Europe and Canada this year.

If you want to have a shot of winning one of two calendars, just leave a comment on this post! Easy peasy. You've got a whole week of thinking of a great comment, closing time is Friday, November 11th at midnight (GMT).

Wednesday 2 November 2011

The heating

The heating was fixed and the showers were nice and hot again. But there was still a problem: every other day or so, I had to refill the heating system because it was leaking. So, on Monday I made another phone call to the company who fixed the heating system and yesterday another man came out to fix the thing. And he replaced the same thing the guy replaced last week! You've got to wonder.

Anyway, since yesterday the water level in the system stays at the same point, so I can safely say the leaking has stopped. I wonder what will be next to go...