Tuesday, December 23, 2008


A while ago I blogged about my running and my new approach to food (I really dislike the word diet). I don't understand why (for usually these attempts don't last very long) but things are still going really well with that.I wrote about my Start to Run course that I've been taking (a podcast that helps you build up to running 5 km in half an hour). Well, I've been done with that for about a month now, and since I really enjoyed the running I decided to move on to the next course (5-10 km). I have no clue whether I'll be able to finish it (because running ten km does sound awfully far) but so far, so good. I've been running two to three times a week and I still am.

The running obviously helped me burn lots of calories. My eating more healthful food didn't hurt, either. All in all, I'm proud to be able to say that I've lost 7.6 kgs so far (almost 17 lbs) and it's still going down. My goal was to lose 6.4 kgs (nice rounded number, don't you think?) so I'm way past that already. I'm happy the way my weight is now. If I lose more, that's ok, if I don't, that's cool as well. The Christmas season usually doesn't make me lose weight so we'll see how this year goes.The running has really gotten me in better shape. I've had less colds and feel better all around. Let's hope I can keep this up!

Friday, December 12, 2008


Inspired by Hette... Have you ever?
1. Started your own blog: obviously!
2. Slept under the stars: Not without a tent
3. Played in a band: yes, in music college
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity: I give to charity but never more than I can afford.
7. Been to Disneyland: yes, in LA
8. Climbed a mountain: lots of times
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo:I´m a music teacher, I sing solos every day.
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris: yes, with my parents, host parents, and later with my now ex-boyfriend. He broke up with me as soon as we got back.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch: does playing piano count?
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables: every summer.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France: yes, I thought it would be larger.
20. Slept on an overnight train:
21. Had a pillow fight: lots of camps.
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill: my host mom once told me she allowed her kids 1 "mental health day" per semester. I've done that before.
24. Built a snow fort: on skiing trips and in Indiana.
25. Held a lamb: growing up, our neighbors had sheep. I used to bottle feed the abandoned lambs.
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon: no, 6.5 km is my record so far
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice: no but I have been to Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset: I watched the sun rise over the Grand Canyon. That was very impressive.
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person: yes, in the snow in the fall of 2002.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors: Yes. I also live in the house of my husband's ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community: yes in Ohio and Pennsylvania
36. Taught yourself a new language: yes, Italian (I've been taking classes for a while now but I started on my own).
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelos David
41. Sung karaoke: obviously. I'm a music teacher.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt: in July 1999 on my Rotary youth exchange West tour.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight: my grandpa lives 3 km from the sea so I've done this several times. Also in Crete on vacation
46. Been transported in an ambulance: no, thank goodness.
47. Had your portrait painted: I think a charicature counts.
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person: yes, last year.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris: yes, twice.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling: no, too claustrofobic to breathe through a tube.
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud: of course.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class: some self defence classes.
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies: no, I've bought them before, though.
62. Gone whale watching: we wanted to when we were in Vancouver Island, but they were too far out at sea.
63. Got flowers for no reason: yes, from my husband.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy: my teddybear went to the USA with me and now lives in a basket in my bedroom (even in the trailer)
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial: yes, in May 1999 with my parents.
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London: twice.
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person: yes in July 1999. I saw a lot of these things in 1999.
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican: a year ago.
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper: yes in local newspapers.
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House: I repeat, in 1999. It's not possible anymore, so it's pretty cool that we had the experience.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life: no, my husband has, though.
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous: define famous.
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake: my toe did, in 1999.
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day: I do this every vacation.
Well, I did 41 out of a 100 in only twenty-seven years.. Pretty good!

Saturday, December 06, 2008


Every year around this time of December, I keep telling myself "It's almost Christmas". I count the days until Christmas vacation and time can't go fast enough for me. I'm typically fairly exhausted, and to use a Dutch expression, "walking on my gums". (That means you're ready for a break!)

This year, it seems to be different. I don't really know why, but time has flown by like crazy. I'm not trying to use that cliché to excuse my absence here, but it's really true! The remodeling isn't done yet, but the house is starting to look like a house again. Latest development: windows! We have underfloor heating (don't know if that is the correct translation); a system of hot water tubes connected to each other. This week, a layer of cement was poured over it so we can start laying tile. (I obviously use the term "we" very loosely.) Six weeks from last Wednesday the cement will be dry and we'll be able to turn on the heat. Hopefully we'll be able to move in not too long after that. The kitchen will be installed in the second week of January.

The heating system.

The cement floor in the living room.

One of the windows in the back wall!

So instead of the "It's almost Christmas" this year, I'm thinking "Is it Christmas already?".