Monday, December 17, 2007

Elf

So what do you do when the stomach bug decides to kick in and stick around?
You Elf yourself!
Look at me as an elf:
http://www.elfyourself.com/?id=1495629238

Friday, December 14, 2007

Parent-teacher?

This week I had my very first parent-teacher conferences ever. For some reason, the parents of my students never cared to talk to their kid's music teacher. But this year it's different: I'm a mentor. And with that I have the responsibility to oversee the grades of my students. Parents want to talk about the behavior of their child, and sometimes they just want to meet the mentor.
But I never knew that parent-teacher conferences could also be about the teacher's parents.
I was talking to Betty's parents. (You may already know that I never use my students' real names). I was pretty proud of Betty's grades, and so were her parents. So after discussing her behavior at school we got to talk about how Betty's mom had been a student of my dad's. (Who still teaches music at a different branch of our school.) She talks about how consistent he was, and strict but good. At that point Betty's step-dad says "Music, oh my gosh. Our teacher was horrible, SO strict! Yeah, I'll never forget Mr. M. He was awful."
Betty's mom cringes and elbows her husband, who looks like he's about to start another anecdote on the horrors of playing the recorder. "That's the teacher's father!".
Step-dad shrugs and says: "No he's not, her name is Ms. S!"
"Yeah, just like her husband."
mother says, and looks at me apologetically.
Step-dad turns pink.
Betty, her mother and I just laugh..

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Biscuits

Yes, it's a recipe again.
No, I didn't come up with it myself.

After finding my own perfect (well, close enough) chicken pot pie recipe, I found the best biscuit recipe to match it. I've tried sooo many biscuits and they never turn out the way I remember them from the United States. But these were pretty close....
For all you non-Americans: biscuits are little bread rolls that are very fluffy and flaky (if you bake them right). They make a great side dish to any oven casserole dish you can think of, and soups as well.

On Allrecipes you can find basically any recipe you want. And, the coolest thing of all: you can have it in Metric or US measurements. No more converting, yeah!!!
OK, big time copy/paste action following (of course in Metric measurements, I am still European):

INGREDIENTS
250 g all-purpose flour
15 g baking powder
6 g salt
10 g white sugar
70 g shortening
235 ml milk

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually stir in milk until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.

Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead 15 to 20 times. Pat or roll dough out to 1 inch thick. Cut biscuits with a large cutter or juice glass dipped in flour. Repeat until all dough is used. Brush off the excess flour, and place biscuits onto an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges begin to brown.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

No clue

Lately I've had no clue as to what to write next on my blog.
I've been thinking and came up with lots of ideas, all of which I dimissed.

- Should I write more about my chicks?
No, they're definitely past the cute stage (actually, they're pretty ugly right now. And noone wants to read three consecutive blogs about chickens. That would be boring.

- Should I share a recipe?
Which one? I haven't thought of any new dishes lately and I've already posted my favorite ones.

- Should I post a Youtube video?
Why? You definitely don't want to do too much of that either.

- Should I write about how my sister-in-law had a baby and I became an auntie for the first time?
No, I don't want to do that. I generally am not a great fan of Hurrah-I-am-an-auntie-and-my-nephew-is-the-cutest-baby-in-the-world-type blogs. Besides, none of my in-laws read my blog (I think) so why bother?

- Should I write about Sinterklaas?
No, I already did that last year.

- Should I write about the remodeling?
There's no real exciting news on the remodeling. We're talking to contractors now and waiting for their bids.

- Should I write about my sewing?
No, who cares about that? Besides, this is not a craft blog.

So that left only one option.

I think I'll write about how I don't know what to write about.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

More chicks


Look, now we're chicks with feathers! Out of the ten eggs, nine hatched. One chick died on the second day, so now we have eight little chicks. Four are dark yellow and four are light yellow colored. I wonder what color they'll have once they're grown up...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Here we are!

video

Yesterday, there were two. Today there were four (one still wet) and one egg was moving. This is so cool!!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Night Air II

After my walk the other night I really wanted to know if my memory of the Little House on the Prairie book was correct, and it was! I started to read the books all over again, and in the second one of the series (that's the one that's actually called Little House on the Prairie) I found what I was looking for, I couldn't find anything about my night air recollection, though. In chapter fifteen, called Fever 'n' Ague the whole family gets sick with malaria.
That's where I read this:

"Mrs. Scott said that all this sickness came from eating watermelons. She said: 'I've said a hundred times, if I have once, that watermelons - '
'What's that?' Pa exclaimed. 'Who's got watermelons?'

Mrs. Scott said that one of the settlers had planted watermelons in the creek bottom. And every soul who had eaten one of those melons was down sick that very minute. She said she had warned them. 'But, no,' she said. 'There was no arguing with them. They would eat those melons, and now they're paying for it.'

[...] No one knew, in those days, that fever 'n' ague was malaria, and that some mosquitoes give it to people when they bite them."

Monday, October 08, 2007

Kitty present

Sorry about the length of this fragment, but if you fast forward to 2:00 you'll understand what Dennis the cat left me on the yellow carpeting in our study today! Thank goodness for Biotex.
Love this movie, by the way. It's so funny!



Making babies




No, not me! I know that we are married now, and that I am 26 so in the making babies-demographic, but sorry: we're not ready yet. However, two of my chickens are working on making babies: Kuifje and Ellen. They had both been broody for a few days already, and I had tested how determined they were by letting them brood on one of their own eggs. But since we don't have a rooster anymore, that would never work out. M's uncle donated some eggs from a chicken who does have a husband, and now they're both hard-working brooding chicks. In about three weeks we'll hopefully have ten little ones in the hen house!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Concert

Paradoxically, I hardly ever went to a concert while I studied at the conservatory. There just wasn't any time. Now I'm totally making up for that, though: this month I'll be going to to several concerts.

Last night was the first one: I went to Darlene Zschech and Michael W Smith in a big soccer stadium close to where I live. I had never seen or heard Darlene before, but I did know Michael's music. I have several of his cd's (thanks to Those Crazy Jarboes who introduced me to his music) and had been to one of his concerts before. I was able to sing along to almost everything! Thank goodness the lyrics were projected on the big screens so I had a reminder for the lyrics that I hadn't memorized. Of course I bought one of his new cds (Stand, even though the Christmas cd looked good too.)

It was so cool to hear 15000 people sing along to the songs. Especially "Let it Rain" and "Above All"(video) were really impressive and touching. If he ever comes back to the Netherlands, I'll be there again!


Saturday, October 06, 2007

... Makes you stronger

My teaching this week was so much fun! Apart from my little difference of opinion (which will be talked about on Monday) I had such a good time. My students this year are really cool. It seems to be so much easier than it used to be to work with them.

Of course, five years ago I walked into a VMBO-school ready to take on my first job as a middle school music teacher. I taught in a music/geography room with little or no musical instruments. I'd never taught a thirteen year old before, because I had just graduated from elementary education college. But I was armed and ready to take on whatever came on my way. And boy, did I find a lot!

Teaching music to these teenagers turned out to be a difficult thing. Especially the second years (eighth graders) gave me frequent stomach aches. But every discussion and every problem was a new bit of experience. And now, I find myself free of stomach aches. The kids don't surprise me anymore when they ask if I am pregnant. I now know that whenever I am a little tired and don't think to straighten my back and suck my tummy in, it makes the kids think I'm expecting. So I can reply with a joke and not be shocked. And this is true for so many other things that happen every day or week.

The fact that I am done with music college probably helps, too. The past four years I always had a mind full of to-do-lists concerning college. Now all I have is my four day job (and of course husband and house) to worry about and I'm so much more relaxed. The kids probably feel that, too. And especially my mentor group is a "warm bath", as we say in the Netherlands. They're a joy to teach!
After a few less positive entries, here's a happy one again. I love my job!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

What doesn't kill you...

... Makes you stronger. Isn't that a famous expression? I'm going through one of those times at work at the moment. One of the other teachers (who shares a room with me) called me last week and accused me of all kinds of horrible things. I block her progress, I say no to everything she wants to change, I can't think outside of the box. In short, I'm a horrible person at work and there's no fun working with me.

It totally made me think, and shocked me too. Am I really that narrow-minded? Do I really get scared when things go differently? After a lot of thinking and talking to different people, I realised that I do say "no" to a lot of things she wants to implement. But only because they're against school or music department rules or agreements. And maybe I sometimes try to stop her, because I know ahead of the time that the thing she wants to try won't work. I've shared lots of lesson plans and work sheets that I've made with her, thinking that she would appreciate not having to make them herself. But she accused me of trying to make her into a copy of myself, teaching wise! I was baffled. Here I was, trying to be nice, and she totally used it against me! That taught me a lesson. I won't share things with her any longer.

Last week I sent her an e-mail, inviting her to stay a little longer on Monday and talk to me about this situation. She did not reply, but Monday she had called in sick. Of course, there is a flu going around. But it did seem like an awful coincidence in my narrow-minded suspicious mind.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Big fat bummer

It's a big fat bummer if you get a €69 ($97) bill from customs. Especially if this concerns "import taxes" over a $100 wedding gift. And it's even more frustrating when you find out that appeal is not possible. Grrr.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The joys of home ownership

"Good morning ma'am"
"Good morning."
"Well, that's obvious, isn't it? It's broken."
"That might explain the cold in here."
"How much longer did you say you'd live here?"
"Probably not more than three months."
"It's not worth fixing ma'am."
"It's not?" (thinking: but I'm cold already and it's only september!)
"I'll call the office and ask them how much the part costs."
.....
"Yup, that's what I thought. Not worth fixing ma'am."
"Well, how much would the part cost?" (thinking: can I please make my own decisions?)
"At least €200, and that's without taxes and installation costs. Would you like my advice?"
"Sure."
"Put an electric heater in your living room and put an extra blanket on the bed"
"OK, thanks."
"Can you please sign here? Because of the road block down the road I had to charge an extra 15 minutes for the detour I had to make. My office will send you the bill later this week."
"Sigh. OK, thanks again."
"Have a good day ma'am."
"You too."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Kayama

We're going to sing this in our choir soon. Isn't it beautiful?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Night air

Do you remember reading that Little House on the Prairie story where they ate watermelons that had grown in the night air and they got sick? I don't remember in what exact book it was, but I had to think of it as I was taking a walk tonight.

It's so cool to have the time to take walks after dinner, without constantly thinking either "I have to do this and that assignment, why am I walking instead of working" or "I'm really too tired to walk but it's good for me and will help me get better soon". Tonight, all I had to think about was how beautiful the scenery around our town is, and how lovely the fresh air felt. I could feel that fall is not far away. It gets dark sooner and because it's been rainy, lots of leaves have fallen. But you know what? That's ok.

Soon we'll be closing the curtains before dinner. It'll be apple pie and tea time. I love the coziness of fall. And when we live in the trailer it's bound to be cozy anyway so I might as well enjoy it!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Getting to know each other

First year camps are always exhausting. The point of the camps is to get to know the kids, and have them get to know each other. We definitely achieved those goals.
Not alone did I catch a total of only eight hours of sleep in two nights, I also had to be on the alert all the time. Because with a camp house full of twelve year olds, lots of things happen.

Usually, these things are limited to "Mrs. S, Andy stole my shoe and now he won't give it back", "Mrs. S, I can't find my shoe and I promise I looked everywhere!" or "Mrs. S, I need a band-aid because I fell". This time around however, I received some very different complaints: "Mrs. S, George went up the attic (not allowed) and found pancake mix which he dumped all over our sleeping bags". "Mrs S, George is smoking in the orchard" (Of course smoking was not allowed, and the orchard was off-limits to the kids.) Two minutes later: "Mrs. S, George says he wants to sleep with me" (he said what??? he's twelve!), as well as (different girl) "Mrs. S, George tried to choke me but he says he was only kidding".

Needless to say I went and found George, and the other three teachers and I had some serious talks with him. At first he didn't confess anything! But, after only two hours (!) of interrogation he finally fessed up to smoking, and "some other things that you probably don't allow". He had lied and did so many things against the rules that I took him home on Thursday morning.

After that, things quieted down in the camp house. Of course there was some (ok, a lot) of talk about George, but at least everyone agreed that what he did was not ok. And for some reason, the all seemed to want to be good examples after seeing this bad example. The kids were nice and polite, and some even voluntarily took their dirty dishes to the kitchen. There were no kids complaining about boring games (whiny tone: "I don't want to do that, that's stu-pid), and when we had to clean the camp house on Friday morning everyone pitched in. Boy, did we get to know each other!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Camp II

It's time for the annual first year camp. I'll be back on Friday, probably very tired (because I don't expect to sleep much in a camp house with 32 12 year olds). I'm sure I'll have lots to talk about!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Creepy


When I see a spider, I usually grab a cat, put it near the spider and then it eats it. This is one of the reasons I am happy to have cats. Unfortunately even the cat didn't like this one: it ran away from it!
Thank goodness my mother-in-law was close and was able to kill this horrible creature. Brrrrr!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Mentor

Because I'm graduated and work four days a week now, my school asked me if I wanted to become a mentor. Dutch people know what this is, but for Americans it's something mid-way between a home-room teacher, a guidance counselor and an elementary teacher. Every class of 20-30 kids (I only have 18) has their own mentor. The mentor is the person who monitors their grades and who they can talk to if something is wrong, or if they just need some attention. The mentor is also the person the parents contact when they want to contact school for questions or remarks.I teach my class music, Dutch and study skills, so I see them 9 times a week.The school year is only three days old but already being a mentor gives a whole new dimension to my teacherhood. (Is that a word? It is now.)

My mentor group is a class of first year students (7th graders, for the Americans). Everything is new to them in our school, and most of them don't know any other kids in their class yet. So it's up to me to make them comfortable with each other. I'm really going to try and make them bond, because I want the atmosphere in the class to be as positive as possible, so that when they're settled in and the hormones start acting up there's already a good relationship between the kids.

Yesterday I taught "my" kids 7th period, which was their last period of their very first day of high school. They were so enthusiastic! They told me about how they walked to the gym and it started to rain, how the math teacher's glasses were crooked and how their German teacher told them they would start working when the class didn't have any more questions for him, so they chatted with him all 50 minutes.I think they're cute. And they're my kids!

I sincerely hope they stay this upbeat and happy...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mobile Home

Last night I bought a mobile home. Or should I say "manufactured home"? In Holland we call it a caravan. Whatever the name, it's going to be our temporary housing while we remodel our house. We need somewhere away from all the dust and dirt, that is water tight and will keep our feet warm. But it also needs to be put in our back yard because we can't (and don't want to) afford to rent a second house while we remodel this house.

I was having coffee with my mom in law when my dad in law walked in. I was telling the story how I had ridden my bike to some local camp sites to hang up ads asking for a mobile home. Dad in law said he knew someone in town who had one for sale. He called the guy and the two of us went over there (M was at the fire station). He showed us the trailer. It was everything we wanted! It has two bedroom (so we can make one into a closet), seperate shower and toilet areas, a kitchenette (with gas stove and lots of cupboard space), a dining corner and a big couch, and gas heating. It looks old but neat and well taken care of. Unlike so many trailers for sale this one doesn't smell like cigarette smoke and there was no visible fungus. And the best part of it was the price. We were willing to pay no more than €1000, but the guy asked for only 250! And an apple pie, but that was because he said the price was low and so I said ok, I'll bake you an apple pie and we'll seal the deal. So after sealing the deal at 250 I guess the apple pie was part of the deal.

Hurrah! We're going to live in a trailer! (People that know me well know that I am not a big fan of camping. But trailers are ok).

The trailer in the picture looks just like the one I bought. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of it, but I'll post one later.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Blessed and lucky


Blessed and lucky, that's what I am. I come from what we in Holland call "a warm nest". We have a great relationship with my parents and my brother and his girl friend. We don't fight, we just get along and respect and help each other. My brother and I have had every opportunity to study and broaden our horizons.
I have a great husband and within a month I received my college diploma, my wedding ring and the offical ownership certificate of our house.

The past few days I've seen that I shouldn't take all this for granted. Blessed and lucky. And grateful. That's what I am.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Sad

We're really sad. One of my dad's brothers, who had been an alcoholic for a while, decided on Tuesday that it had been enough. He left a note saying he no longer wanted to bother everyone, and he didn't know what else to do. He was sorry and he loved us. Then he commited suicide. It's horrible. The viewing is tomorrow, he'll be cremated on Monday.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A tale of two bunnies

The people M works with gave us two rabbits for our wedding. They said the way he talks about the cats made them feel that more pets would be welcome at the M+N petting zoo... And apparently he had talked about his new lawn mower a lot so they wanted to give him two other "lawn mowers".

The girl next door was at our wedding too, with her sister and her mom. They immediately offered to watch the rabbits for us when we were on vacation, because they have a bunny too and a big rabbit hutch. We thought that was a good idea and so there they went. This week they are on vacation, so I'm watching them.

I went over to feed them last night and everything was ok. This morning I went over there to check on them, and the door of the hutch was open and I saw only two rabbits, not three! My little brown bunny (whose name is Worm, because that's his boss's last name) was gone.

I looked around and looked around, but I couldn't find her. I went home and called M, who of course could only advise me to go back and look. The neighbors have a walled garden, so she couldn't go anywhere.And when I went back, she sat underneath the garden table, looking at me! I'm so happy... I put her back with the other two and made sure everything was closed really tightly. Phew, what a relief. I don't know what I would have told the little girl if the bunny hadn't come back. Well, I do know: the truth. But I would've felt really bad about it...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Confetti confetti confetti

Because we had made a mess of our M's sister and our brother-in-law's house while they were on their honeymoon, we did expect our house to be slightly upside down. This is just a hint of what they did to our house...
- There's confetti everywhere. In the bed, in the oven, in every drawer. In every cup, on every saucer, plate. Between the socks, in the plant pots. Everywhere. Everywhere. Confetti Confetti Confetti...
- Our 1/2 bathroom which had white walls, now has a whole under water scene painted with fish and plants and even a fire truck on it. I'll post pictures when I'm done vacuuming all the confetti confetti confetti away. It's really pretty. Made us wonder why we hadn't thought of that sooner.
- All my books which were sorted in order are mixed up on the bookshelves. And of course on the bookshelves there's also confetti confetti confetti...
- All the picture frames in the whole house were mixed up in random order. All the clocks too, basically everything that was attached to a nail is now on a different nail.
- Our 1/2 bathroom was filled to the ceiling with boxes, which all had something (rock, pine cone) in them. There was also a tower of empty plastic plant containers which of course toppled over as soon as we opened the door.
- All our clothes were put on different shelves. The drawers in our chest of drawers had all been relocated. And of course: confetti confetti confetti.
- I'm sure we'll find other things. We got home from our honeymoon at 11 last night and cleaned up until 1:30. Now M is back to work and I'm cleaning and vacuuming.
Good thing about all this is that I was already planning to clean out all the cabinets and armoires. Now I can't put that off anymore and in a few days we'll have a very clean house....

We had received a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle (without example) with a secret message on the back as a "first step" to our wedding present of M's brother, sister and significant others. The secret message had to be texted to an unknown phone number. We then received a text saying the mail man would deliver the second step soon. This morning we received a 4 page schedule with how to find the clue to our where our present is:
find book so and so. Write down the 5th letter of the 4th word on the 19th line of page 235.....And so forth, 4 pages long! We won't be bored tonight.....Well, I'm going to fix some lunch and then get back to the confetti parade...

Saturday, July 07, 2007

We're in Switzerland...


But here's a picture of us on our wedding day...

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Taking a break

Tomorrow is the big day. We leave for Switzerland on Saturday. That's why I'm taking a break, I'll probably be back in about two weeks...

Friday, June 29, 2007

Graduation

Today I will receive my official diploma. I will be a bachelor of music education (as well as a bachelor of primary education). I'm so excited!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Musical cat

Dennis just jumped on the piano stool. He touched a key with his paw: e'. He looked up because the noise startled him. Then he touched another key: e''. That's exactly an octave higher.
It sounded nice and he didn't even look up. I have a musical cat! It's rubbing off!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Traveling Cat


My Dennis has been a source of worry for me again. He decided to take a little vacation and not show himself around or in the house for an entire week. M and I had already discussed the fact that he was probably dead or lost, when he walked in the back door, attacked the cat food and begged for attention.

It made me wonder. What did he see? Where did he go? How many mice did he kill and eat? And did he secretly come by the house without telling us?

It's amazing how independent cats are, yet how cuddly he is now. He won't go away from us and lies down close to where we are all the time. I believe he thinks he is the King who deserves all attention now, because if we ignore him for over an hour he draws attention to himself by either crying out or using his nails.

What can I say.. I am but his humble servant...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Almost done

Today I presented my thesis and passed with an 8 (out of 10, equivalent to the american A)! I'm so proud! They gave me all kinds of compliments and told me I was no longer a student but a colleague.

I have to complete 1 more assignment with the school choir (next week) and then I'll get my diploma on the 29th. I'm so proud!! Despite the mononucleosis and working part-time, I managed to graduate from this full-time college within the regular 4 years. I'm so proud!!!!!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Panda dream

You haven't heard from me in a while and I'm too busy preparing for the wedding and rounding up my studies to write a lot. So long live Youtube, once again!
Now this is beautiful music. It's written for the "Pandadroom", an attraction at the awesome Dutch theme park "De Efteling".

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sunday afternoon

Because I finished writing my thesis this week, I gave myself the weekend off, school wise.

Today has been a lovely lazy Sunday. We slept in, had a slow breakfast and then decided we would do nothing today. Well, hardly anything, anyway. So we spent the afternoon sitting outside on our terrace, enjoying the lovely view of a freshly mown field. The cats had fun chasing after mice and birds and we read our books. It was almost weird to just sit and be lazy, it's been so long since I've done that! A while ago that was all I could do, but then I couldn't enjoy it. Now I had the choice so I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Yesterday I worked in the garden, pulling weeds and watering. The beans are little plants, the shallots as you can see have started growing greyish green leaves and last night we had the first two strawberries! I just took a picture of one of the plants and noticed a few other red ones.

Oh, how I love the summer! Three more weeks of school and then I'll be off for about two months. But today was a nice little foreshadow, I can feel my batteries recharging...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Lord Bless You and Keep You

This is one of the songs that our school's choir will sing in our wedding service. They'll sing it a little slower, though. I think this version is a little fast.
Long live YouTube!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

It's over!

This is a little video of me, singing Van Jonge Leu en Oale Groond (what do you think, Janneke?). It's the leader theme to a popular tv series here in the Netherlands.

I'm pretty proud of my exam. I passed, my grade was 6.5 out of 10. That doesn't seem very high (5.5 is passing) but that's ok. I agreed with the comments the jury made. After I "messed up" (ie played some wrong notes) I got a little tense and found it hard to relax and let the music flow. And that could be heard. But the jury also said that they could hear I had made a lot of progress in four years. When I started the conservatory I was terrified to play in front of musical people, and the slightest wrong note could make me panic (not exaggerated!). Now, I started a piano piece but noticed it was a little too dark. So I stopped and asked the light technician to give me some more light, and then started over. And that went well!
Considering the fact that three months ago I still slept about sixteen hours a day, I'm pretty darn proud of myself. And I'm so glad this is over!! Now all I have to worry about (college wise) is my thesis and 2 small assignments and then June 29 will be my graduation date!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Very close

Monday the 21st is the date of my final practical exam. I've been very worried and stressed about it, but now I'm pretty confident. Monday night we had the dress rehearsal and last night was the last walk through. It didn't go very well yet, but that's why they were rehearsal. The teacher that guides me told me he was confident and he thought it was a good exam. My piano teacher told me she had never heard me play like I did in four years, and she had never expected me to come this far! Boy was I flattered... And I know I'll pass, otherwise my teacher would have told me to cancel the exam.
Even though I've had sleepless nights and worries, today was a stress free day. M and I worked in the garden. I planted tomatoes, peppers and zinnias that I had sown eight weeks ago. I sowed radishes, lettuce, carrots, beets, leeks and planted potatoes. I've noticed before that working in the garden soothes me. I think I'll be ok. It's only an exam, it's not the end of the world...
(And those of you that have been following me closely know that it's a big step for me to say this!)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Green

You Are Mint Green

Balanced and calm, you have mastered the philosophy of living well.
Your friends seek you out for support, and you are able to bring stability to chaotic situations.
You're very open and cheerful - and you feel like you have a lot of freedom in life.
Your future may hold any number of exciting things, and you're ready for all of them!

Little update

Because M was paged by the fire department, and other than the depressingly awful Euro-vision Song contest there's nothing good on TV, here's a small update on the life of Nicolien...

- I'm counting down to my practical exam. Monday 21 May at 19:00 (OK, 7 PM) my final musical exam will take place. I'm horribly nervous and practicing every day. The day after tomorrow I have my last regular rehearsal and Wednesday will be the dress rehearsal. Thank goodness we'll have 2 days off because of Ascension Day, so I'll have some time to relax (or totally stress out) before the big day.

- June 1st is the due date of my thesis. I only have 20 pages so far (need about 3 times that amount) and I'm not satisfied at all so far, so there's loads of work to be done. But when? Oh, that's right, I had a long weekend to relax. I guess I'll have to use that. And the nine days after my practical exam as well.

- I mailed out our wedding invitations today. That was 110 envelopes that had to be addressed, as well as 110 cards that had to be folded. Why did we choose such a complicated invitation? Because it was pretty. We have the second meeting with the minister on Tuesday.

- I took 2 days off school this week because of the stress level in my mind and body. I could tell I was getting unusually tired again and anything could make me cry. That's why I went to my assistant principal and told him how I felt. When he asked me how he could help, I told him 2 days of sleep would do me good. So he gave me 2 days off! Too nice for words. I did sleep, but I also worked for my exam. It was some good catch-up time.

Well, so much for playing catch-up with you. Lots of other interesting things happened, but I don't feel like typing too much. It's time for a glass of white wine and some chips (I know that's not a sophisticated combination but it does taste good). If I don't write a lot the coming weeks, the above post must have explained why.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

I wish I was a chicken

Despite the wonderful summery weather, my head has been pretty stormy lately. So many things have been going on, and it's hard to keep track of everything. The short version:
This week I had to go to my college town 4 nights. Monday and Tuesday three of my friends had their final music exams, Wednesday I started rehearsals for my own exam (which is scheduled for 21 May) and last night I went to a friend's house for dinner and help on some exam arrangements. Of course I played the piano (almost) every day to prepare for my exam, and did voice exercises.

On top of that, we also met with the priest, set up an appointment to meet with the minister, picked out and ordered our wedding invitations, picked out rings and flowers and did some other random wedding prep work.

Just so we wouldn't get bored, we also gathered paper work for the mortgage company (unbelievable how much stuff you need to sign and copy). Oh and of course I had my last practical day for my thesis, and did a bunch of reading and writing.

I think I remember teaching school too, and doing housework.

I remind myself that in a month from now, my practical exam and most other stressful things will be over. After that it's just preparing for the wedding and enjoying the summer. But so many things have to be done before that... Please think of me and forgive me if I don't write as often as I usally do!
And yes, I still schedule nap times and lay-out-in-sun times and try to enjoy them without thinking too much of the things I have yet to do.
I wish I was one of my chickens, then all I had to do was eat, sleep, drink and make an occasional egg...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Too busy

Sorry folks, I'm too busy to blog actively at the moment. I'm studying and working and I'm still tired too... I'll catch up soon, I promise!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Proud


Inspired by Ashleigh at Stitched in Holland, I took this picture. Call me crazy, old-fashioned, weird or silly, but looking at this just fills my housewifey heart with pride and joy.
Can't wait to sleep between the air-dried sheets!

My fireman

When I drove home from work yesterday, I noticed big black clouds of smoke coming from a campsite close to our town. I thought of M: he would probably be paged because it was a fire in our municipality. As I got to our house and parked our car, M came running to me. "Can you take me to the fire? I missed the truck, I was too late." So off I went, with him.

At this campsite (which is also sort of a trailer court, because most people there have a trailer that they use as a weekend house) one of the trailers had caught fire. The person in the trailer had started to cook food, but then fell asleep. Thank goodness he wasn't hurt but as you can see the trailer was totally ruined.

M jumped out of the car and I helped him put on his suit. He ran off but asked me to wait, so I parked the car and waited. Because I had recently bought a new cell phone with a pretty good camera, I decided this was a good moment to give it a try. It was interesting to see him work (isn't he a cool fireman?) and to see what all happened. Because of the long Easter weekend, lots of people were at the campsite and they all came and watched. It was an interesting crowd of people.

If you're interested in all the pictures, click here and click on "view as slideshow".

Monday, April 02, 2007

Small town

The town I live in is a small town. There are about 2000 of us so it's a pretty close-knit community. Of course my M is involved in both the fire department as well as the shooting guild so we know a lot of people. But the people we don't know, are usually friendly too. We try to contribute to the community.
This afternoon I was studying in my back yard (I had to enjoy this sunny 19 degree (70F) day) when I heard the girl next door cry. She's 9 and considers herself a big girl, so when she cries something is wrong. I heard her talk to an adult voice and say: "but Mommy said she'd be home, and I have the key but she bolted the door and now I can't get in!". The adult said: "Why don't you use my cell phone to call your mother and ask her what time she'll be home". I decided to walk over and see if my assistance was required. She was on the phone and said: "Mommy, Nicolien is home, I'll go over to her house and wait for you" which of course was ok. So I took her home, gave her some lemonade and a cookie and listened to her story of her day. And by the time she was cheered up her mom was home.

Today I took a walk after dinner. The weather was still awesome (I didn't even need a jacket!) and the days are getting longer and longer, so I decided to get some exercise. I walked on the dykes by the river and enjoyed the view. I heard lots and lots of birds sing. I noticed that tulips are popping up in many gardens, and some are already in bloom. The narcissi are everywhere (there's hardly a garden without them) and everything seems to be sprouting and budding.
I had such a good time during my walk! People walked their dogs, their children or - in my case - themselves. And almost everyone I encountered greeted me. Some didn't, but that was ok too. When I got home I decided that I love living in this town. And I love the fact that it's spring again.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Mmm

I love Quizgalaxy.com. But this one was weird:


Nicolien --

[adjective]:

Visually addictive



'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at QuizGalaxy.com

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Egg salad

After my last -pretty heavy- post (thanks for your comments!) it's time for something a little lighter. I thought a recipe would be in place, since M had his birthday on Wednesday and we're having a party for him tonight. I celebrated my birthday with a recipe too.
This is one of the snacks I'll be serving.

M's birthday egg salad
You will need:
- 5 hard boiled eggs
- a minced onion
- pepper, salt, curry powder
- a little ketchup (about a teaspoon)
- mayonaise
- a tablespoon of yogurt
- a tablespoon of sweet soy sauce (ketjap manis)

Boy, this recipe is easy this time. Cut eggs up and throw together with the onion. Add everything else to taste. Easy and great!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Boy/girl

Even though I sometimes consider myself a pretty experienced teacher (is that ok after 3 1/2 years?) something happened a few weeks ago that I had never seen before, and won't easily forget.

In one of my wonderful second year groups, one of the girls announced that she is no longer a girl, but wants to be a boy. She had had thoughts about becoming a boy ever since she was seven years old (she now is 14) and had made the decision to change her name and appearance.
I had already heard some gossip about this, but decided not to pay too much attention to it. After all, if it was true, her mentor would inform me. And so she did. Two weeks ago we were informed that Anna (name changed of course) was to change her name to William. The teachers were asked to call her that and pay attention to her (or his?) wish to be approached as a boy. So no more "Hurry up young lady, get your book and start to work!" but rather: "Hurry up, get your book and start to work!".

Even though this situation seems weird, I'm already used to it. The kids in her class are handling this wonderfully and this has really calmed her down. Her behavior had been going through the roof lately, right before she made her announcement. Thank goodness she's in a wonderful class (I know I already said this but I love them). Any other second year group would have picked on her horribly. Not this group. They say things like: "Hey Billy, come on!", "Look Miss M, this is my brother" (for some reason 13 year olds like refer to each other as siblings when they get along well).

Isn't this an interesting situation?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Cats




Isn't this a too cute picture of my cats?


My week

In the past week:
- the weather was awesome;
- we finalized our mortgage;
- I went from teaching 9 hours a week to teaching 12 hours (almost back at my regular 15);
- we spent the week-end to my grandpa's who lives by the North Sea, because he turned 94;
- I graded lots of papers;
- I took some more walks by the river and took some more pictures of the high water level;
- I worked in the garden for the first time this year (and how lovely it was to be outside again);
- I did lots of laundry (which was all dried outside, oh how I love the smell of air-dried clothes);
- I actually cleaned my house (hadn't been done in too long).

I'm sure you will now understand why I haven't been online much! I've been doing so many things, while trying to keep in mind that I'm still sick and need to rest. So I've also carefully scheduled nap times and reading times, which works well for me.
Spring is in the air and I love it!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Energy

My blogging frequency has gone down (again). I've been going back to work half days, and it turns out to cost a lot of energy. After teaching 3 periods I usually go home and sleep for at least an hour, sometimes two. I do love going back to work, though. All my music classes changed, because of the second semester. I have some new groups and a few that I know from last year. They're all pretty enthusiastic, and the one that I had last period on Friday topped it all. It's a second year group (eighth grade), which hasn't been my favorite year to teach so far. Usually the first years are so much easier excited and they seem to express their enjoyment more. But this group is an exception. Monday I met them on the stairs, and they said: "Miss M! Music on Friday, we can't wait!". Thursday I saw them and some said: "we're looking forward to tomorrow Miss". Well, so was I.

When they walked into my room Friday, it was like they had never left, even though the last time I taught them was in June. I gave them some info on the 2nd year curriculum, and then a boy asked: "can we sing now?". So we did some warm-ups and I taught them a song. That was all I had prepared for the day, but the period was only half over when we were done! I was able to squeeze in some glockenspiel playing too, combining what I usually do in 2 lessons, into one. That was a wonderful way to end the week and start the week-end, believe me!

Yesterday, M and I went on a bike ride. The weather was lovely and we covered 15 km (9.3 m). I was tired, but it was fun. We live close to a river, it was beautiful to see the water level. It's risen a lot because we (and Germany)'ve had so much rain lately. The trees have wet feet and it was lovely to see the sun reflect in all that water.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007



Doesn't this picture look like one of those standard desktop wallpaper backgrounds? It's not, M took it with his phone. The Dolomites are beautiful...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Dolomites

A few skiing statistics.... (sorry, no photos yet. We only took 8 on the digital camera and they didn't turn out very well. We'll have to check some of the other's photos and have them send them to us).Thanks to the amazing people at http://www.dolomitisuperski.com/ who keep track of everything you do with your skipass...
- I skied 179 km in 8 days. That's 111 miles for all you Americans.
- I took 97 skilifts.
- I covered a total of 29369 m of height difference. That would be 32118 yards.
- I lost my clip-on sunglasses twice while getting in a chairlift, but got them back both times.
- I gained 2 kg, or 4.4 lbs. But muscle is heavier than fat, right?

So much for the statistics. We had an awesome week. Both the busrides went fantastic, the skiing was great (good snow and lots of sunshine, which did turn the snow rather soft in the afternoons). I didn't fall too many times and I was able to ski until about 13:30 every day, after which I would eat lunch and slowly ski back to the hotel. Then I'd take a shower and a good long nap. I felt really good and people at work told me yesterday that I look a lot better than two weeks ago. But that's probably the tan, too.We were with a group of 21 people, so we had lots of fun at dinner and playing games at nights.That's the short version. I really need to iron and do some school stuff now. But I didn't want to keep you guys waiting for too long...

Friday, February 16, 2007

Bye bye

I'm gone skiing. I'll be back in a week or so!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Work, study and vacation

You may have noticed that my blogging frequency has gone down. That's a good sign: it means that I am spending more time on work and study.

I went back to teaching Dutch to a group of eigth graders of the lowest level (vmbo). It definitely costs a lot of energy, because it's a really noisy group. But they're nice kids and we'll get used to each other quickly I'm sure.Next week we have our spring break and M and I are going skiing in the Italian Dolomites (Southern part of the Alps), together with lots of family members. We're really looking forward to that! I'm sure that some outdoor exercise, combined with amazing Italian food will do me good. I hope to look better than I did last year. But if it snows like it did last year, I'll look just like this again! :)
I've also picked up my studying again. I'm working on my thesis. The main question I'm trying to answer is: "What extra skills does a music teacher in vmbo need, as opposed to a music teacher in havo/vwo?". (click here for an explanation of vmbo/havo/vwo) The reason for that is that I seem to be the only person who enjoys to work with the lowest level kids. Most graduated music teachers start in job like that, but move up to higher levels as soon as they get the chance. I think that is because they weren't properly prepared in college. That's why I will be teaching a group of third year college students, as a part of the practical part of my thesis. And the dean has so much faith in me that the students that take my class will actually be awarded credits, how cool is that?

All in all, I'm back to a busy life. Although I must say that the study discipline I used to have, isn't really back yet. Take now, for instance. I went to the computer to start typing on my thesis (I already have 2 pages) and now I'm blogging again...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Foo Yong Hai again

One of the results of having four chickens, is that I have three eggs a day. I assume the ladies take turns in taking a day off and that's fine by me. They're small eggs, but, nevetheless, very edable. We eat lots of quiches, fried eggs and omelettes now (which reminds me that I should start giving eggs away, if I don't want our cholestorol levels to run through the roof). In my quest for the ultimate foo yong hai recipe, I had already decided that Conimex Foo Yong Hai from the box isn't anywhere close to what I have in mind. That's why I did a little searching on the internet.

I checked out my favorite supermarket's web site. It's in Dutch, sorry. Part of their site is a recipe search. You can search all the recipes that they have posted in their monthly magazine over the past ten years or so, but you can also make your own personal recipe book, and browse through other people's recipe books. In Suzanne Heijligers' personal recipe book I found this recipe for Foo Yong Hai. I tried it and it was very close to my friend Sheila's recipe. I'll keep searching though, because I'm not satisfied yet. I know I used the wrong ingredients (I didn't have the vegetables Sheila usually uses so I substituted them) so I'll have to try again. This is getting exciting! I've never really tried to exactly copy a dish I've eaten somewhere else before. Usually I just ask for recipes or make something that kind of seems like it but isn't exactly.

Anyway, here's what I fixed today. We had strawberry cobbler for desert, and that tasted good too!
Suzanne Heijliger's Foo Yong Hai
- 4 eggs
- about 100 gr. of chopped leek, carrot, onion
- 250 ml (a little over a cup) tomato ketchup
- little bit of vinegar
- tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp sweet soy sauce (ketjap manis)
- 1 clove of garlic, pressed

Whip eggs, mix with chopped vegetables. Add pepper and salt to taste. Melt a little butter (I used vegetable oil) in a frying pan, and spoon in 1/4th of the egg/veggie mix. Keep warm in oven dish (I put a little tea light under it) and bake the other omelettes.Meanwhile, heat ketchup in pan. Add vinegar, sugar, soy sauce and garlic. Stir well, but make sure it doesn't boil. Pour the sauce over the omelettes. Serve with rice.

I used deep fried Asian stir fry vegetable mix, and I had chicken out of the freezer so I put that in as well. Next time I'm going to leave the vinegar out because we thought the sauce was a little too sour.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A really cool egg


Look what I just found in the hen house! It must be the smallest egg ever...

Back to work

Slowly but surely I'm going back to work. I went to my college yesterday (first time in ten weeks, and of course the trains had a delay...) and presented the book that I had read for my literature class. It went fine, and I passed the class, yay! It took a lot of energy but that was totally ok.
Today I had a household day. I ironed and cleaned like as if my life depended on it, while watching my new box set of Sissi dvd's. LOVE those movies! Then I went to the market to buy some fresh tulips and narcissus so now everything is clean and looks really good. I'm going back to work tomorrow, I'll be teaching Dutch to one class. I'm anxious to see how it will go, but I am looking forward to it. I can't wait to be myself again!

Friday, February 02, 2007

A little

Yes, I'm feeling a little better. I have more energy in the day time now, so I do way more than a few weeks ago. My body isn't used to that yet though, so I'm in bed before 21:30 most nights. But that's ok. It's worth it. I went to work today to talk to my assistant principal about returning to school. We agreed that I'll come back slowly, building it up step by step. Next week I'll return to my Dutch class (3 times a week, one class period) and after doing that for two weeks we're going to see how many hours of music I'll add to that.

I also started to study again. I received an e-mail from a professor that a make-up presentation moment was scheduled for Monday, and if I wanted to do my literature presentation that I could still make the credit. Of course I want that! It's a nice way to pick up studying again. I set my kitchen timer for 45 minutes and make myself concentrate on my book. Then I allow myself to do something else before returning to the book again. It's not easy, but I can do it.
I'm slowly climbing out of the pit that is mononucleosis... Yay!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Decisions

M and I are going through a time with lots of decisions. Planning a wedding and buying a house are both pretty expensive, important things. I think it's hard, because they both cost a lot of money. And, especially the mortgage, is an expensive commitment for a long time.

Where do we have our wedding, and what choices do we make? Do we have a reception? What kind of dinner would we like? How many people will we invite? And who do we not invite?.
And then the house... What kind of mortgage do we want? How much money do we want to invest in the remodeling? How much money do we want to spend on our house every month? Which bank do we choose, and for how long do we want to set the interest?
Deep sigh.
I have trouble making choices. Sometimes I find it hard to decide which pair of socks to wear today. And now there's all this.. Thank goodness I have my M to share this with. I know I want to marry him and I know we want to buy the house. So even though it requires a lot of thinking and a lot of time, we'll figure everything else out!

And, totally off topic, here's a little music:

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Just the way

Reading She's blog, I was inspired to post a little bit of music on my blog. I am, after all, a music teacher!
So here it is. "Just the way you look tonight", by Frank Sinatra. It's such a moving song, it always makes me a little teary-eyed. I love the lyrics, the arrangement and the way Mr.Sinatra sings it. So here it is...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Chicken pot pie

Yes! I've done it!!! I've created my very own recipe for chicken pot pie!!
When I lived with my first American host family Schwan's chicken casserole soon became one of my dishes. And when I moved to Those Crazy Jarboes, TheeGeneral's chicken pot pie soon took its place.
Since I've been back in the Netherlands, I've had these occasional cravings for this wonderful dish. But unsweetened pie crusts are not available here, unfortunately. So about 6 months ago I started to browse the internet for chicken pot pie recipes. And, using some of my own Dutch common sense, I came up with a good alternative for a pie crust: ready made deep frozen puff pastry dough (bladerdeeg). It tastes really good.
Want the recipe for the casserole? Here it is!

Dutchnic's chicken pot pie (serves 4)

You will need (these amounts are all relative and depend of what I have in my pantry and freezer):
- 500 gr. chicken breast
- about 2 cups of frozen peas
- 2 big carrots, sliced
- an onion, cut up
- 4 potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 herb bouillon tablets (but you can also use l. chicken bouillon)
- some dried sage (about 2 tablespoons)
- 50 gr. flour
- 50 gr. margarine
- dried garlic, salt and pepper and of course
- 4 slices of frozen pastry dough, taken out of the freezer

Start by dicing the chicken breast and seasoning it with some dried garlic, salt and pepper. Using a few table spoons of olive oil, fry it in a skillet until brown. Keep stirring and make sure it browns evenly. Add the onions and stir until those are nice and soft. Add the bouillon tablets, a liter of water, the frozen peas, carrots, potatoes and sage. Let simmer for a while (about half an hour or so) until all the flavors mix up nicely.

In the mean time, grease an oven dish. I always grease the outside edges too because that's where the dough will go.
When the 30 minutes are over, strain the chicken soup but make sure you keep the bouillon. So don't pour it down the sink!

Put the vegetable/meat mix in the oven dish. Melt the margarine in a small pan, adding the flour as soon as the margarine is melted. Stir until brown, then add 1/2 l. of the chicken bouillon and keep stirring until you have a nice thick sauce/gravy. Pour the gravy over the vegetable/meat mix and cover the oven dish with the pastry slices. I usually seal the slices together, rubbing over them with a wet finger and cutting it until it has the shape of the oven dish. Using a fork, make a few holes in the crust so the hot steam has a way out.
Bake in a 200 C (about 400 F) oven for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Enjoy!

PS: No, don't worry, I haven't eaten my chickens. But since this is a chicken recipe, I thought they'd make a good illustration..

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Stormy good things

My country is currently going through the worst SouthWest (which means rain and horrible 110 km/h (68 mph)) storm since 1990. It's lovely to sit in the house, drink tea and watch the news while I hear the wind going crazy around the house. I don't have to go anywhere (M drove to work today, instead of riding his bike, so he's getting some groceries that we do need) so I'm staying in!I feel a lot calmer than I did on Monday. It's been a good decision to cancel my exam. So now, instead of complaining, I'm making a list of good things that happened to me this week.


  1. I went to the market Tuesday to buy myself some flowers. I figured, if I have to spend so much time in my house, I might as well make it look really pretty! I was tired of all the green plants in my house, nothing was in bloom except for some crocuses a friend had brought me over Christmas break. And I'm Dutch, so of course I bought some tulips!
  2. My amaryllis is in bloom, and it's so pretty! I love to look at it.
  3. On Wednesday I went to the garden center to buy some other plants, among which this orchid. It's small, but so pretty! The picture is a little blurry but I love it.
  4. Last night I took the tv-IQ-test, and according to it my IQ is 128. I like that figure, it makes me feel smart :P.
  5. And because I had nothing else to do today and was out of cookies, I decided to bake cookies. So now the kitchen and living room smell really good and we have something fresh to nibble on tonight.
  6. Last but not least: after taking a few days vacation, both the chickens laid an egg today.

It's so much better to be able to list good things than to complain. But sometimes it's good to complain too (relieving anyway). I hope you're having a good week too!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Sad

Tonight I was sad and felt sorry for myself. It was because I made a decision. I feel I won't be able to do well on my practical music exam which was planned for 19 March. I had been worried and stressed over it, even losing sleep (which is weird, if you have mono).

That's why I decided that I am going to try and postpone it. Today was a bad day, all I could do was lie on the couch, basically. I did a few loads of laundry but didn't even feel like putting the clean clothes away. But I did make that decision (which was also a lot of work!).That's why I called my counselor and told him about my worries and how I felt like postponing. He totally understood and said he expected the committee to agree, because this was on medical grounds (and not lazy grounds, which tends to happen sometimes). But when I hung up the phone I was not a happy camper. I called my dad and cried, and then I called my best friend and cried. She immediately came over (even though she lives half an hour away). I was happy to have her company. M was away (Monday is his fireman-night) and I felt lonely. All I do is sit in this house, by myself, not being able to be my usual self. She told me all the sweet things I wanted to hear, and said I was totally entitled to complain. And that helped, so now I'm going to bed (once again)...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Pretty

After browsing and trying on 10 or so wedding dresses on Tuesday, I narrowed the choice down to two. But really, I knew which one I liked best.

Today mom, mom-in-law and sister-in-law went to the store with me and helped me confirm my initial decision. They all loved it too.I bought my wedding gown! It makes me feel so pretty.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Tag

Sheila tagged me a while ago. And after thinking for a week or so here it is. The assignment was: name and explain five things that we don't know about you yet. At first I wasn't too happy to be tagged, but then again, why not?

  1. I'm a counter. I count how many people were at someone's birthday party, or how many buttons are on my new jacket. I weigh things when I cook, so I always know that everybody shares equally. I count the pages in the book that I'm reading, so I can keep track of how long it will take me (or has taken me) to read a certain amount of pages. I count the number of plants I plant in my garden, so I have equal rows. And so on...

  2. I skipped a grade in elementary school. Apparently I learned how to read and do math really quickly. And because the 1st and 2nd grade (group 3 and 4) were taught by the same teacher, it was really easy to move up a grade. I took advantage of my extra year by going to the United States as an exchange student when I was 17. But most of you already knew that.

  3. I can't stand repetitive noises and sounds. Don't click a ballpoint any more than necessary when I'm around. And please don't tap your nails on the table continuously while you talk. Don't chew your gum with your mouth open so I can hear the sound. And turn off that kitchen timer! All these things drive me crazy, I can't stand them, especially when I'm tired.

  4. I get really attached to things. I have a hard time throwing out clothes or shoes (even when they're ripped or stained) because they all have a story. Remember this and that that happened while I wore those sandals? Remember the lovely aunt that gave me this otherwise really ugly teddy bear? It used to drive my mother crazy... I still have loads of keepsakes in a box in her attic.
    M really had to get used to my thing-attachment, but we found a way. The other day my alarm clock that I had had since I was 11 broke. I had already bought a new one, but the old one was still on my night stand, or so I thought. It wasn't though, because M had thrown it out. He knew that that would be hard for me. And now I could blame him... :)

  5. I didn't get my first "real" kiss until I was a month away from my 18th birthday. I always wanted to save that for someone I was really in love with, and not some sweaty fellow eight grader that just thought it was time..
    But my first real kiss was like a Hollywood movie. You know what, I won't tell you about it yet. I'll write about it later...

And since this is a game of tag, Yoastie and Cltgrace, you're it!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Slow germs

It's been a while since I last posted anything about my health situation. Which is good, because I don't want to bore you all with daily updates on how I don't feel better..
Before Christmas I hoped to be able to partially go back to work after Christmas vacation. Well, forget that! I am so not better yet. I still need 12-14 hours of sleep a day and can't do without my daily nap(s). And with buying the house and planning the wedding on top of everything else I've had some difficulties falling asleep at nights. That's annoying, to be in bed, and know that your body is really tired but yet stay awake..

Today I made some decisions. I e-mailed some people and did some planning. I asked some questions to my guidance counselor and thesis person. I arranged a drummer, pianist and guitar player to play in my band at my practical music exam. I started to think that I can ask the committee if I can postpone this exam a month of so, because of my medical situation.

All in all: I physically don't feel any better yet, but my head feels a lot lighter than it did last night and the night before. I'm sure I'll be able to sleep much better tonight. I just need to give in to the mono (again or still?), and not start working on things that I know I'm not ready for yet. My doctor told me not to go back to work until I had had the feeling that I had just had a week off, with normal energy level. I'm not there yet... but then again, it's a little better than it was in November and December. So there is a little progress!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Chicken news

Tandoori the rooster was a very noisy animal. He turned out to be noisy at the most annoying times. He cried 27 times at 4:30 in the morning on Christmas day, for example. So when my uncle offered to adopt him I was only glad, because our neighbours had started to complain.

After I had given him away, I only had 2 chickens left: Kerrie and Miss Tok. I decided to give them a good start of the new year: I was going to clean their house. Their house is half of the chicken shed. Usually when I clean it, they walk around in the other half of the shed until everything is in order for them to go back. But that day they decided the world was bigger than the chicken shed and walked outside. When they were on the lawn I thought they looked so cute that I would let them be outside. After all, they couldn't do any harm.
But then the neighbour and his hunting dog came walking through our yard, on the way to his business which is on the other side of our house. The dog discovered the free roaming chickens and dove right in. I heard a lot of noise and saw the chickens fly away. We could easily catch Kerrie but Miss Tok was nowhere to be found. I was all worried, but at the end of the afternoon she was found by M's father and put back in the shed.

While she was away, I had found an internet ad for chickens for €2, only 10 km away from here. So I called the guy and M and I picked up 2 new additions to the hen house last night.
So now we have four young ladies in the hen house. From left to right: Ellen, Kerrie, Miss Tok. And the little girl on the left's name is Kuifje.