Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Forget it. I don't have any. I hope your problems will last as long as your New Year's Resolutions. Because that's how long NY Resolutions last. They don't. As soon as you have spoken your resolutions, they're gone. Wanna bet you have forgot all about them the next day? People are not made to stick to NY Resolutions. Why would we wait for January 1 to improve ourselves? Why stop smoking on January 1 if you can stop today? Why would you decide to start working out from January 1 if you know you won't do it? So you are right: I don't believe in it. Maybe you do, maybe you don't, but every year, people come up with the same old NYR. Good for them. Just don't fool me.
I wish you all the best for 2010. Don't worry about any good intentions. Being your best self is plenty.

Finger Food

My sister-in-law and her son - Hubby's godson - are coming over to our place to celebrate New Year's Eve. Hubby is going to take the kids to play bowling first, while my sister-in-law and I will take care of the food. We're going to have tapas this time. All different kinds, from different cultures and exotic countries. Both of us love tapas and I have made so many things, that even the children will find something they like. They are not that picky anyway and they prefer special foods over bangers and mash. Guess who they are looking after?
My back is still hurting, so I'll take it easy. I'm glad I had already made preparations in the beginning of the week. And that all the shopping was done. That'll save me some time to take care of myself and take a nap in between. I really need to look after myself now, to make my back better.
2009 is coming to an end. Are you ready for the New Year?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Here and now

We can't change the past. We cannot alter our future. The only thing left for us to take care of, is to live here and now. That's more than enough to keep ourselves busy, don't you think?
As Dr Phil says: we can't change what we don't acknowledge. In order to make changes in our life, we have to stand up and look at ourselves and think: hey! what can I do to make life better? Don't try to change the people around you. Try to help yourself and see what you can do to improve yourself. You don't have to become a different person. Just try to find the better you inside your heart. That'll be plenty. Trust me, we all have a better side than we are showing right now. People that claim that there is nothing to be improved.. hmhm... I don't know..
Why don't we give it a shot? It's worth it. We'll all benefit from it. How is that for a new year's wish?

Festive tidbits

Do you have enough ingredients in the house, to make festive tidbits for unexpected guests? I always try to have something at hand, so I can feed my guests if they come without notice. Here are some useful tips and a list of items to keep in your pantry.
  • slices of stale baguettes (keep them in the freezer in a ziploc bag)
  • pesto or tapenade
  • anchovies
  • bite size cooked meatballs (freezer - ziploc)
  • pita bread (split open - freezer - ziploc)
  • garlic butter snails (freezer)
  • olives
  • sundried tomatoes
  • feta
  • puff pastry (freezer)
  • bite size sausages (can)
  • goat cheese (fridge)
  • apples
  • pine nuts
  • honey
And this is what you do with it:
  • Grill the slices of baguette on one side in the oven. Top with pesto or tapenade.
  • Put the anchovies, feta, sundried tomatoes and olives in small bowls.
  • Spread pesto on the pita halves. Cut each half in 6 wedges. Bake them in the oven till crisp.
  • Shove the snails in a hot oven until bubbly.
  • Thaw the puff pastry. Rol a sausage in a piece of pastry. Go on until you run out of ingredients. Bake the mini sausage rolls in the oven.
  • Bake the cooked meatballs. Serve with ketchup or mustard or just plain. Warm or cold.
  • Peel and core the apples and slice them. Bake the slices and swirl some honey on top. Grill some slices of baguette. Top with goat cheese, baked honey apple slices and toasted pine nuts for an instant festive tidbit.
Don't forget to add your own creations to this list. Tape the list to the inside of a kitchen cabinet. Comes in handy at any time.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What's going on?

This morning around 5:30 AM, I was still asleep when all of a sudden I heard this banging on the front door, followed by the sound of the doorbell ringing. What the heck is.. I hopped out of bed (if you can call it hopping - you should've seen it) and rushed down the stairs. I thought it were the police, coming to tell me that Hubby had been in an accident. He had left for work already. But it was not the police.. It was Hubby himself. He had walked down to his garage to get the car, but then realized that he had forgot his car keys. So he walked back and tried to wake me, so he could get his keys. That's what he did and he left again.

My heart was still pounding and I sat down on the couch for a while. I was ready to go back to bed, when this terrible pain hit me in the back. Ouch! I could barely move. It was there, in a jiffy, without any notice. I stumbled up the stairs and tried to lay down again. But I couldn't. The pain was too fierce and I couldn't lay down or sit up or do anything. I cried in pain and crawled down the stairs again. I reached for my cell phone and called Hubby to see if he could come back home and take me to the ER. The pain was horrific and I couldn't stand it.

Second time in the ER in 2 months. They still remembered me. I don't know if that's a good sign..? MacDreamy asked for a full body scan, to see what the problem was. They called it bulging - a hernia - of the L4-L5 vertebra. Great.. just what I needed.. grumble.. I have had facet arthrosis since I was 24. Same vertebras..

I need to rest. Not go to work. Take it easy. Maybe it will heal. Maybe it won't. I have arranged an appointment with a physiotherapist this Monday. I hope she'll be able to tell me more..

Living the American Dream

Aren't we all dreaming of a nice house in the suburbs, surrounded by white picket fences, two children, two cars in the drive way, a cat and a dog and enough money in our bank account not to worry about our future? I think the American Dream isn't much different from ours. But how about happiness, health, love, friendship, family, joy and freedom? Isn't that more important and all that really matters? I agree, having a nice house is very welcome and comfortable. Not having to share cars is as pleasant and so are the cat and the dog. But what is the meaning of all these material items if you aren't happy? We all need money to live. If you only have enough money to survive, times can be real hard. I've been there. As long as you are living by yourself, you can cope. It's not that important if you eat nothing but cereal all week. Hot meals aren't that important, if it means freedom to you. Once you have a family and children, things change though. You want nothing but the best for your beloved ones. You want them to grow up in a good home, without any shortcomings.

Our children are doing well and they have everything they need. They are dressed and fed, they have activities to attain, they have a cosy bed and an allowance for their special treats. I'm sure they would want a whole lot more if they could choose. But they don't ask for it. All they want, is to have their mom and dad around to take care of them. They like this special one-on-one attention, an extra cuddle, someone to catch them whenever there's a chance they might fall. They need a shoulder to cry on, an arm to embrace them and a pair of good ears to listen to their life stories.
I hope our children will grow up to become good adults. I hope they will understand life isn't a game and money is not some piece of paper you get from an ATM machine. It's hard work. It means making sacrifices. It takes organisation and effort to save money. And that's what we want to teach them, so they will be able to make the best decisions in life. Both daughters have a checking account, a savings account and their own bank card. We would never ever take money from their accounts for our own pleasure. It's their money and they are fully entitled to it.

I hope - in a couple of years - they will find themselves some job to do on the weekends or during school holidays. It will teach them that they get rewarded for working hard. It will give them the opportunity to save some money, so they can move out and start their own life if they are ready for it. Things were different for both my husband and I. We didn't have a penny when we met. We had worked hard before we left the nest, but neither one of us was entitled to the savings we had put in our account. It was hard, but we survived. And it made us realize there is more to life than money. Happiness is much more important. Money can be replaced, if you work hard enough. It gives you stability and independence and you don't owe anyone an explanation of whatever you would like to spend your own money on.

Our oldest daughter is doing really good at saving money. She's studying economics in school and she's very aware of what things cost in life. She compares prices and saves for whatever she wants to buy.
The younger daughter has recently got her own bank account and she needs a little more guidance. She's a caring and giving personality - she would treat all of her loved ones with presents. We are still teaching her to save some money and not spend it all. She's a fast learner though. I'm convinced she'll get the hang of it pretty soon.

Monday, December 28, 2009

On the first day of Christmas

my true love gave to me: home made crisp and oh so yummie waffles! What can be better than make your own crisp waffles to give as a Christmas present to your inlaws? All you need is a waffle maker and a lot of patience. Because this recipe will keep you busy for a while. Have a glass of cold Chardonnay ready and get going. Have fun!

  • 300 grams white sugar
  • 300 grams brown sugar
  • 500 grams butter
  • 1 kilo flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 sachets of vanilla sugar
  • a dash of salt
  • a dash of baking powder
How easy can it be? Just mix up all of the ingredients in the order as mentioned (put in eggs one at a time). Roll walnut size balls out of the dough and keep them in the refrigerator until you are all set to start baking. Put your favorite CD on, keep the bottle of wine nearby (you can't leave the waffle maker unattended so be prepared), go to the bathroom now you still can, preheat the waffle iron and get going!

These waffles are to be stored in a tin, in order to keep them crisp. You can also pack them in translucent wrapping paper as a gift to your loved ones!

Huggy Bear

If you know me well enough, you must be a true friend of mine. And that means you will also know that I'm a hugger and a kisser. I love physical contact in that manner. I'm not talking about any sexual acts, just the hugging and the kissing amongst friends. It feels good to hug and be hugged back by people you love and nurture. It gives you strength and warmth and it makes you feel loved. You can show the other one how precious he/she is to you, by giving a meaningful kiss or a heart warming hug. So don't be surprised if you get hugged or kissed by me. It's totally natural and sincere. People should hug more. It would definitely make the world a better place..

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Four little monkeys

I used to be a kindergarten teacher, if that's what you call it after having worked as one for 4 months. LOL. I had 4 year olds in my class at a certain time and I decided to tell them the funny story of the Four little monkeys. As English is not a national language in my country, my principal could not agree with me, to teach these young children a foreign rhyme. She was so short-sighted and not open for any creativity. So I ignored her and I told the kids anyway. Need I say the children loved the story? They made me tell it over and over again, without the need for translation into their own language. The signs that go with the rhyme, were clear and it didn't take them that long to monkey along.
My teaching career is 16 years behind me now, but every now and then, I run into a young men or lady, that used to be in my class. They still remember me. And they still remember the story of the Four little monkeys. How funny they do not recall the principal..

jumping on the bed
One fell off and bumped his head
Mommy called the doctor
and the doctor said:
no more monkeys jumping on the bed!

Sing Star

Joy oh joy! How much fun that was! The kids had the best fun with their grandma, when all of them were singing "old songs", like Imagine and Blue Suede Shoes. Seeing grandma with a microphone in her hands, murmuring along with the children, was the best experience ever. Grandma is so loveable, the kids tell her all the time. They hug her constantly and love to go there for a sleep over. I'm sure they will have great stories to tell their children once they are parents themselves.
Have you ever tried to be a Star? Try Sing Star! Fun guaranteed!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

You make me wonder

The other day, we were chatting on Facebook. We get in touch every once in a while, although we live miles and miles apart from each other. It's always good to hear from you now and then. It brings us back in time and we laugh and joke about those good old days. Life goes on and both of us have a family of our own now. I'm curious about your family and I know you are about mine. So we talk and we tell each other how we are doing. You told me so many things about the months we spent together, that I had forgot, but other memories came right back. I never thought I would hear from you again, but I'm glad you got in touch. You're still a great guy!

Nearly Fat Free French Fries

It's there! I got it! It's sitting on the counter, looking at me as if it wants to say: turn me on!!!! So I will.
My Christmas present was a Nearly Fat Free French Frie maker, called ActiFry and produced by SEB. It's quite an invention and I have waited for this one for more than over one year. But it's finally here and I'm sure I'll use it quite often. Imagine you can have French Fries that are very tasty, but not fat? Does that sound wonderful or what? To make one kilogram of fresh Fries, you need only 1 tablespoon - ONE tablespoon - of oil. The fries come out nice, golden, crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Just the way I like them. Goodbye guilt! I can have fries now, without the guilt of craving all those calories. Using this appliance, your French Fries will contain no more than 3% fat per kilogram fries!
It is an expensive appliance and although the booklet says you can cook 40 different recipes in the ActiFry, I believe it will only be used to make French Fries or potato wedges. It takes 40 min to bake one batch of a kilo. But that's about the same time it would take you to go out for French Fries or to heat the oil of your regular deep fryer. And you don't even have to watch it. It comes with a timer and a translucent lid, so there's no need to worry about the oil boiling over, since there only is one pathetic little tablespoon in it.
Need I say more?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Enough is enough

We have been eating way too much this month. Outings, dates, restaurants, family dinners, Holidays.. Today was the last day of overindulging. If we eat any more, we'll explode! Enough is enough.. Today we had leftovers - Can you call it leftovers if you can feed 15 more people? - and I couldn't have any more. I'm stuffed like a turkey, without having any. Holidays are great and I love to spend them with the relatives, but the food is just too much. I'm glad I don't drink! Just imagine..
So the plan is, to start eating healthy again. Not that we didn't eat healthy before, but we had too much to eat. We'll have the same, but less. And since less is more, we're not going to do us any harm. It's not that I overeat, because I eat a lot less than other people. I'm mostly full when others are still having second and third servings. It's like my stomach is a whole lot smaller.

Next time, I'll freeze the leftovers instead of eating the same things day after day. And if it were up to me, there wouldn't be any leftovers, because I never cook for the days to come, I like to cook for just one meal only. My mother-in-law is always afraid she'll run out of food when she has guests. She should know better by now... there's always more than plenty. After all, the food is nice, but we are there to spend a good time together and enjoy each other's company.
Do you have a plan for the coming year? Do you need to go on a diet? Or have you been good and in firm shape?

Top Models

You are a true artist. Even though you went to drawing school for only one year, you are very good at crafts, drawing, painting. Your favorite pastime nowadays, is designing clothes for your Top Models. It's a huge hit in your school and all your friends have Top Models Drawing Books. The naked models are printed in the book and your task is to design clothes for them. Most of the time you use colored pencils to draw their outfits, but you could also use markers, stickers, paint, fabric,.. You must have drawn over 100 models by now and each one of them is totally different. The way you do their hair, the make up, their clothes, shoes,.. We give you hints or you roam around the dresser to get ideas. Sometimes you browse fashion magazines or you come up with your own creations. Anyway, I'm proud of the way you keep yourself busy. You say you would want to work as a creator or a fashionista or a designer. You definitely have the talent and the will power. And in the meantime, you are being very creative! Maybe you should start to figure out a name for your own designer's label?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

What did you expect?

You didn't think I was going to blog tonight did you? What did you expect? It is Christmas Eve after all. I'm having a wonderful time with the inlaws and the other grandchildren. No time for the Internet. Sorry guys! Enjoy your evening, just like I will enjoy mine.

My special attention goes out to some people in particular tonight:
I think of a very fine man, who is affected by cancer and is very courageous. I wish a very special Christmas for him and his precious family..
I think of a young single mom by choice, who is about to celebrate Christmas with her baby for the first time..
I think of my sister-and-law and her family, because they lost their brother-in-law 3 years ago in the Holiday season. He left behind a wife and two precious little girls..
I think of all the lonely people out there, who have nobody to celebrate Christmas with.. hang in there..

Great footage!

Both of you are pretty good at taking pictures or filming people. So I decided to get the two of you a small camera for Christmas. It's not any fancy expensive camera, not at all, but it's your own and you can use it whenever you want to film whatever you feel like. I'm looking forward to seeing all of your footage, especially the footage Eva will take in boarding school. It's different if you can see the people you tell stories about it, instead of imagining what they look like. So go ahead and start filming!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Moved by a picture..

Our oldest daughter has been practising classical ballet since she was 2.5 years old. She has done several dance performances by now, in different dance schools. Last year's performance was breathtaking. For the first time, we were not allowed to see the rehearsals, so it all came as a surprise to us. It was absolutely magnificent and I was really moved by her performance. All young ladies were dressed in black and their hair was tied in French knots. A professional Dutch photographer took pictures and it was not till last month until they were online.
I decided to buy all of her pictures and have one enlarged as a Christmas present for Lana. She hasn't been to dance class for a couple of weeks now, since her knees are still hurting big time. When she opened her present, she was so moved by the picture, it made tears well up in her eyes... She had not seen any of the pictures yet, so it all came as a surprise.
My sweet little dancer.. you are so in love with classical ballet and you miss it terribly. I'm so sorry I can't relieve your pain. You were touched by the grace of your own performance. You looked like a Spanish or Portuguese dancer, all slim and elegant and gracious. Your teacher is so proud of you Lana, and she keeps telling us you have the best dancer's legs and a wonderful attitude. We knew you were good, but that last performance was really touching. We're so proud of you, sweet girl xx


Snowflakes are so fragile if seen apart, but see how strong they are if packed together? That's what friendship does. You can feel lonely all by yourself, but then you remember how many friends you have.. and how special they make you feel. They think of you, they call you, come by or send you an email. The text messages are numerous and some are really special! Can you imagine my surprise when I got this text message from my very dear friend:

I don't want to scare you, but I just had a check-up at the hospital. I appear to have kidney stones, sand grains in my stomach, blood clots,... but worst of all.. they found you in my heart and they can't get it out.

I'm so lucky to have so many good friends. I wouldn't know what to do without them. I know I would feel terribly lost. Family is important, but having a true, warm, understanding group of friends is as important, if not even more..

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sing along

We had great fun this afternoon! I bought a Sing along DVD, some time ago, and I totally forgot about it. Until I was cleaning out some cupboards. There it was, sitting there all by itself, lost in time. Our youngest daughter was thrilled and she wanted to Sing along right away. So we did! And we had so much fun, singing all those children's songs (and some grown up songs as well).. The red chubby cheeks and the sparkling eyes said it all... It's a blessing to have children and I'm so happy to have my beautiful and talented girls.

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

Could it be? Yes it could... It's been snowing for a number of days now, and the chance we're going to have a white Christmas is getting bigger every day. I love to set my eyes on the snowy scenery, as long as I don't need to drive anywhere. The fresh and crisp snow in the morning, when you let the dog out, is something special. It was so quiet outside, so clean, so sterile. And then she races through the back yard, leaving little foot prints in the white carpet. I'm not a real winter person and I would not visit snow countries by preference. I love the snow behind glass.. No skiing for me, no snow ball fights. Not even snow dolls seem appealing to me. But I must admit, that a white Christmas is special..
We're going to spend the holidays with the inlaws. That's something to look forward to. Everybody is going to be there and all 9 grandchildren will enjoy their playtime together. Even Rebba is going to join us, on request. They all want her to celebrate Christmas with us.
If the roads are getting worse, I'm sure most of us will spend the night at grandma's. She's a pretty special person. Our daughters are really lucky to have such good grandparents. They are loved and cherished and nurtured and grandma is always there for them. She often calls them and they see each other almost on a weekly basis. I'm sure we'll have a merry merry Christmas..

Monday, December 21, 2009

When I need you

When I need you
I just close my eyes and I'm with you
And all that I so wanna give you
It's only a heartbeat away

When I need love
I hold out my hands and I touch love
I never knew there was so much love
Keeping me warm night and day

It's not easy when the road is your driver
Honey that's a heavy load that we bear
But you know I won't be travelling a lifetime
It's cold out but hold out and do like I do

I just hold out my hands
And I'm with you darling
All I wanna give you
It's only a heartbeat away

An empty room

An empty room is like a blank sheet. I like empty rooms. It's a chance to start all over again. No furniture to worry about, when you try to work out a new plan. As soon as the room is empty, you get a chance to see the real size of the room. It makes you wonder what destination the new room will get. Maybe an office, or a bathroom or another guest room? Plenty of choices. You can take a sheet of paper and a pencil and start to draw whatever crosses your mind. You might be surprised to see the result of that brainstorming. Then you ask someone else to do the same exercise. They might come up with similar ideas, but maybe they have a totally different plan with the room. Are there things you can use? Or do you think the other idea is better? Time will tell. It certainly is a challenge, to completely re-design a room and give it another destination.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

West Side Story - the Musical

West Side Story is an American musical with a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The musical's plot is based on William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
Set in New York, mid fifties. The musical explores the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The Sharks are Puerto Ricans and they are taunted by the Jets, a white group who consider themselves the true Americans.
Tony, a Jet, falls in love with Maria, the sister of Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks.

We went to the Fortis Circustheater in Scheveningen, Holland, to see this Bernstein's masterpiece. As expected, it was superb. You should have seen it. The costumes, the decors, the actors, the music,.. It was another one to remember!

Need I say that we had another wonderful time with our lovely friends? Even the trip back and forth is worth it. We snuggle up in the car and have a good time.
This year, our outing was even more special, because it snowed and the scenery was breathtaking. We took a long walk near the coast line and some people were daring the waves with their surf boards!! Just imagine being in the ocean on a snowy winter's day!
We had a really good time and we ate marvellous dinners. Our friends know how to surprise us and they pamper us like we are royalty. I can assure you: having dinner at the Mangerie Oxo (Europa Hotel) is to be recommended.
Too bad one friend couldn't join us. But then again, he welcomed us home with another delicious home cooked meal... I was full, stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey. I needed to roll out of the car..
My batteries are loaded again. Our next musical is in March: Notre Dame de Paris and just a few weeks later Mary Poppins. I'm looking forward to that!

I'm sick and tired

I'm sick and tired, of always being sick and tired. I'm convinced the lack of sleep is tempting me. There's this constant fight between health and well being. I do the best I can to take care of myself and to live a healthy life. But the lack of sleep is not doing me any good at all, on the contrary. It takes away my energy and I feel like a worn dish cloth. My body is trying to fight back, but the lack of sleep is still in charge. It keeps me awake at night and my blood glucose is playing games with me. Not exactly the kind of games I like them to play. The constant changes in my blood glucose levels, are really wearing me out. I would like just a little more routine there.
I have a cold. A serious cold: runny nose, stingy eyes, a terrible cough that sounds like an old dog's barking, more sneezing than is good for you. My diabetes is not very helpful here. The blood glucose levels are on the roller coaster again. Very contradictory, because I love the swirls and screwdrivers of the roller coaster, just not in my health system. I need some rest..

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Time runs through my hands

There are not enough hours in one day, to do whatever I would like to do. Time is going too fast, the end of the year is going to be there before I'm ready to embrace 2010. I don't know what to do first. There's chaos in my head and in my house. I want to get organized and I'm normally a pretty good organizer. But lately, time runs through my hands.. I want to speed up, so I can get everything done. And then again I want to slow down, because I'm tired.. I'm just so tired.. I have been on the Continuous Blood Glucose Monitoring for a couple of months now. My diabetes has improved, but the sleepless nights are ruining me. It's like having a baby again, or twins at least! My sensor wakes me around 6 x a night. As soon as I fall asleep again, another alarm wakes me up. I want to sleep.. just sleep..

The blond thing

Men like blondes. They just do. But how many blondes are truly blond? Most of them had a different hair color, before they decided they wanted to go blond.
I remember this particular day, when I used to work in the hospital as a secretary. The female doctor I worked for, came in to my office and she looked at me and said: "Do you even remember your original hair color? Every time I see you, you have changed hair color!" I told her my original hair color was blond. Since there are that many jokes on blondes, I decided I wanted to dye my hair. She nodded and replied: "Then maybe I should start dying my hair as well..", walking out of the office. That's when I realized.. she was blond.. by nature..

Friday, December 18, 2009

It's the end of the year

Our oldest daughter was saying how weird it was, that all of us were born in a previous century, while some of her cousins were born in this century. It makes me feel kinda old, knowing that I was born in another century - the 1900's!
It's the end of the year and we know it. All over town, you can tell 2010 is coming soon. I like to say "twenty-ten" instead of "two thousand ten".
Time to look back on 2009 and think about what has happened this year. I would also like to think ahead and see what I can accomplish in 2010. Do you set goals for the coming year? Do you flashback over the past year?

The glam smile

I love to watch the Bill Granger cooking show: Bills Food. Bill Granger is an Australian cook. He owns several restaurants down under and he's also a TV cook. He cooks simple but delicious dishes and I just love to watch him prepare food. Today, I would like to share one of his favorite recipes, that is sitting on my laptop, ready to be prepared. Maybe you will make it before I do. If you plan to, please let me know what you thought of it!

Pistachio and Raspberry Semifreddo

Separate 6 eggs. Pop the yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add 1/3 cup of honey and give it a whisk for 5 min until nice, thick and creamy. Add one cup of thick whipped cream and a couple of teaspoons of rose water. Gently fold the cream and the rose water under the egg mixture. Line a tin with cling film and pour the mixture into it. Cover the mixture with the foil and freeze it for 2 hours.
Unfold the foil. Add raspberries and chopped pistachios. Gently fold the fruit and nuts through the ice cream. Fold the film over the top and freeze overnight.
Let the ice cream soften in the refrigerator. Slice the ice cream and serve with fresh raspberries, whole pistachios and fresh figs.
Enjoy this festive dessert!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Happy Hound

My sweet Rebba, you are such a Happy Hound! You are amazing and I love you to pieces..

It's sheer magic when you have been home alone and someone comes home after work or school or just an outing. You go bananas and if only you could smile, you would have the broadest smile ever! Your tail wags and you jump up and down on the couch as if you want to say: I'm so happy to see you!!!! You are a typical sighthound Rebba. I love the way you hide your head underneath your paws or the way you lay down like a camel near the fire place.
There's only one negative point: you are a little thief.. You love to sneak into the kitchen and grab whatever the corner of your eye catches. You then race to the living room, to hop onto the couch and munch on your little treasure. Sometimes you even steal meat from a pan on the stove. You know, the other day, I was making fresh pasta for our guests. That pasta was drying to be cooked afterwards. I should've known better.. Of course you came running into the living room, strands of pasta on either side of your mouth. You little rascal! I shouldn't laugh when you do things like that, but you're just such a comedian. You know better, I know you do. The guilty look on your face is so obvious.
You have done so well at night, sleeping in your bench or on the couch. But the last couple of days, you started to pee in the house. So we lock you up again, either in your bench or in the bathroom downstairs. First time I put you in the bathroom, you cried like a wolf for half an hour. And then you stopped and I thought: she got it.. NOT! when we came downstairs the next morning, you were laying on the couch, hiding your head underneath your paws as if you were saying: I'm not here!!!! How you opened the bathroom door, is still a mystery to me. Did Arthur help you??

Dress up for grown ups

We are going to the Theatre. Not just a theatre. We're going to see the English version of West Side Story, in Scheveningen, Holland. We are so fortunate to have good friends, who arrange our outings together. There's nothing for us to do, than relax and look forward to our week-ends together. Our friends take care of ordering the tickets, arranging the best hotels and restaurants and making sure there is a mall in the neighborhood, so we can do some shopping as well. If it weren't for them, we would never have seen that many musicals as we have seen by now.
This week is not going to be any different. We will be gone Thursday through Saturday. It is so exciting to have these outings!!! I feel like a 5 yo on Christmas morning, opening her colorful Christmas presents!! Joy oh joy! We have just had our friends over this Sunday, but nevertheless, it will be great to meet up again and spend some wonderful days together..

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

You've got mail!

Don't you just love your mailman? I always look forward to the mail falling in our mailbox. Just like you, I don't like the bills that come in the mail. But I do love to get presents in my mailbox. I like to order thingamajigs online, which are home delivered.
Today I got a Christmas card from a very friendly lady from the US. She's a diabetic too and although we haven't been in touch much lately, she still sent me a holiday card. It made me smile. I need to start writing my Christmas cards... She will get one!
There was also a parcel to be delivered. Since nobody was home, the driver dropped it at the neighbors and now they aren't home. So I still don't know what's in the parcel. Pretty exciting!!!

Getting a card in the mail is not the same as getting e-cards. It takes an effort to send a personal, hand written card and it is still much appreciated. I'm a fan of hand written cards, although I don't get to send many that often any more. My handwriting is no longer what it used to be, since I have had surgery on the same wrist twice. But it is still pretty okay, so people tell me.

So if you get a hand written card by me, it means that either I have found the time to write it, or that you are a very special friend..

Make a wish

Hey buddy!

Today is your birthday! Things are about to change in your life and my birthday wish to you, is that you may find new goals in life. Think about the future and the things that matter to you. You have so much creativity in your mind and if flows out through your fingers. Don't fight it any longer. I believe people out there are waiting for you to use your talent.
Buddy, have a very happy birthday. I hope to see you on Saturday. I hope you can take some more hugs!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Twinkle twinkle little star

It's dark. It's only 8 PM but it seems like 11 PM. Days are getting colder and darker. Those are not the best days if you're feeling blue. But there are things you can do to make those days better. Turn on the fire place, light a whole load of candles, load your favorite CD or watch a good movie on TV. Get yourself a cold glass of wine, grab your most fluffy blanket and curl up on the couch. Maybe, just maybe, you'll be able to see the stars twinkle in the sky. And you will be grateful for that dark cold night, that gave you the opportunity to look into the stars and make a wish..

Rain rain go away

Rain rain go away,
come again some other day
We want to go outside and play
come again some other day..

I don't like rain. I just don't. Not even from inside the house. I don't like the sound of it, the feeling of rain and certainly not the mood people are in when it's raining. I do like stormy weather though, thunder and lightening. I don't care if it rains during a storm, but that's the only time I like rain.
We've had way too much rain this year. I've had it..

Monday, December 14, 2009

The wrong hole

I'm not familiar with golf at all, but when I heard the story on Tiger Woods, it made me think of writing about "the wrong hole".. What a joke.. oh please..

Tiger's soon to be ex-wife, Elin Nordegren, has finally filed for divorce. They have agreed to spend Christmas together in Sweden, but afterwards, she and Tiger will no longer be a couple.
It's no secret that Tiger is a womanizer and a sex lover. Nothing wrong with that. But did he forget he had a wife and a family? Don't think so. I guess success has got to his mind and the rest went lower. He didn't have 11 mistresses, he had many more. Word goes that he loves to have sex with multiple women at the same time. Too bad for him, his wife found out. It will not only cost him a huge amount of money, but it also means that he'll have to give up on his family. I wonder what he will tell his children when they grow up.. I bet he won't tell them about "the wrong hole"...

It's all so quiet

It's so quiet in the house, since you've left for boarding school. I always look forward to Friday evenings, when I get to pick you up in Bruges. We talk on the phone every night, about the little things that happened that day, but it's different. I can't see you when we call, I can't hold you or give you a cuddle. You're not even that far away. But still, it's not the same.
So yes, I'm looking forward to the Christmas holidays. You'll be home for 2 weeks and we'll be able to enjoy one another. How about that?
I know you miss us and you miss our pets. You haven't seen Rebba as much as we have. You love to pet her and she's so happy with your one on one attention. Maybe we should take Rebba on a walk, just you and me. So we can have a good conversation. Because I'm sure we still miss out a lot.
I see you do well though. You love your school and you're a popular kid. The teachers love you as well. Did I tell you how goodlooking you are in your school uniform? It does look great on you and even you are happy with it.
You have two new roommates: Adam and Eve. They are goldfish and you get to keep them in your room in Bruges. They were given to you by a class mate, as an early Christmas present. I'm sure you'll take good care of them. It's good to have this kind of responsibility over a pet. And you will do just fine.
I miss you sweetie. I'm looking forward to some mommy-daughter-time.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A challenge

Photo by Lana Joos
Photo by Lana Joos
It has been a challenge for me, to have five people over for lunch and give them a menu they could choose from at the moment. But I think everything went really well and smoothly and we enjoyed both the company and the meal.

What a great day it was. We finally got to meet the next brother in the family, the youngest duckling, who has built a life for himself and his family (wife and three gorgeous sons) in California. He was pretty serious when he arrived, but very soon, we could tell he was related to the other brothers. What a blast we had! He's certainly a good entertainer and I must say: I have closed him in my heart, like I did with the other brothers.
Sweet mom, you looked ravishing! You haven't aged one bit and you were sparkling as always.
And for the other brothers: what can I say... I'm always happy to have you over or be around you. I enjoyed your company and I embraced your hugs and kisses.
Thanks for coming over... it was my pleasure to have you all xx

Just don't

Don't talk to me. I just woke up...

You like to be left alone in the morning. That's why you get up half an hour before we do. You like to have the house to yourself. You turn on the radio, to hear your favorite music channel. Time to take a hot shower and get ready for school.

It's good to let us know, that you're not a big fan of a crowded house early in the morning. We used to get up around the same time, and you were not really happy. But now we let you do whatever you need to do and that works pretty fine!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Complete control

Those who know me, know that I'm a perfectionist and a control freak. I've been both for as long as I have been on this Earth. I thought time would soften the edges a little, but the edges have only become sharper. I want things to be perfect or at least the way I want them to be. I dare myself all the time and I like to be challenged. I want to be good at whatever I undertake. That's why I put so much effort in working on getting an acceptable HbA1c. We only have one body and I want to honor and cherish that body. Is it a surprise to you that I take my diabetes very seriously? To me, it's normal..
Some people tell me to slow down and make less fuss about it. I hear about the complications of bad HbA1c's: kidney failure, amputations, blindness, neuropathy, .. If the goal is to get an HbA1c of < 7%, then that is what I'm aiming for. I have reached the magic 7 so far and I'm pretty proud of myself for that. I have put a lot of effort in it and it takes a lot of control and checking and poking your fingers. But it pays off in the end, and that was my goal, wasn't it?

I realise I cannot always be in control. Some factors are just so unpredictable and unexpected, that there's not much you can do about it. Other things are easier to control. And that's where you need to start: trying to understand your own body and how it works. Then you need to take a look at your food intake and start to count carbs. Carb counting is an effort, but it's not as difficult as you may think. You are smarter than you think. If I can do it, why couldn't you? Give it a chance.
Try to find some role model, that can inspire you. Preferably someone with diabetes as well. Someone with a positive attitude, who can help you get better control. Don't give up. There's hope for all of us..

A second opinion

Many patients are afraid to ask a second opinion. They are afraid to hurt their doctor's feelings. Some doctors are okay with patients asking for a second opinion. They consider it a smart thing to do. Because another opinion can bring light into the darkness. After all, if they are being honest with themselves, they know they are not God Almighty..

But then again, some doctors are offended if their patient asks for a second opinion. They think it's rude and disrespectful and they feel their patient has no trust in them.
Do you think doctors wouldn't ask for second opinions if they got a diagnose or advice they couldn't agree with? Maybe that second opinion could change the medication you take or the diagnosis you were given or maybe even your life!

Second opinions make the system run better. It's not about backstabbing your doctor or not having respect for his advice. It's all about you. It's about your life, your body, your future. Trust your doctor, but don't be afraid to ask for a second opinion if the answers you're getting are not satisfying. The best option is if both doctors could meet and talk it over. Maybe they would come to some kind of agreement? Maybe your doctor might want to reconsider his first advice?
If both opinions are pretty similar, what's the loss? Then you are sure you are doing the right thing. But you will never know, until you asked for a second opinion..

Friday, December 11, 2009

Let it snow

People want snow for Christmas. It makes the holidays cosier. Sitting by the fire place, watching snow flakes come down and turn the streets into one white snow carpet, is my idea of having the perfect Christmas happening. Having your loved ones nearby and enjoying each other's company.
It's a little early to celebrate Christmas, but I hear any occasion is good enough to have friends over to enjoy a nice meal together.
This Sunday, we're having our good friends over for lunch. I'm totally looking forward to it! It took me a while to figure out what we were going to have, but I think I have finally made a choice. Just to make it a little more exciting, I'm going to let my guests read the menu and decide what they would like to have as an appetizer and as the main course. I'm curious to know which they'll prefer.
Are you anxious to know what we're gonna have? Okay okay, I'll tell you:


Home made blini with smoked salmon, a dollop of sour cream, red salmon roe and a sprig of dill, on a bed of cress, accompanied by a glass of Cava or Cassis with pomegranate seeds


Raisin bread toast with foie gras, on a bed of watercress, home made onion confit on fresh figs, accompanied by a glass of red Port or a glass of sweet Monbazillac

Creamy soup of Belgian endives

Main course:

Grilled beef tenderloin with gorgonzola or pepper sauce, a jacket potato with garnishment and a winter vegetable casserole


Home made tagliatelli with scallops, shrimp, leeks and diced carrots in a creamy chive sauce, topped with samphire

(home made personalized bread rolls)


Home made Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Ice Cream, home made brownies and chocolate mousse, strawberry topping

Coffee/Cappucino/Latte Macchiato

Do you think our guests will have a good time? I know I will! Can't wait to dress the table and pick out the wine. Two more nights to go before they're here! I'll turn on the Christmas lights.

In a minute

Having a household is something special. You're always busy, running around, doing whatever needs to be done. The children ask this and that, while you keep doing whatever you're doing. You keep telling them: in a minute! You promise them you'll come and see what they are up to. But then you think of the laundry that needs to be washed and the letter that needs a stamp so it can be mailed in time. Then they ask you again and once again, you tell them: in a minute!!! You know you should check on them first, but you also want to make the beds and clean the fishtank. And once you're ready to sit down and listen to the children, they have grown up.. They no longer need you. They no longer ask you to come sit down with them. You regret those "in a minute" lines. It's never too late for regrets. Laundry can wait. Children can't. They grow up before you know it. Take your time and pick your priorities. It's worth it..

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I don't wanna work today

I didn't want to go to work today. I have so many other things I wanted to do. Things to prepare, things on my mind, things to look forward to. But I was a good girl and yes, I went to work. After all, I have a job and I have to do my duties, right?

Do you ever skip a working day? Do you call your boss and tell him you're sick, when you are really not? I have never done that. I would feel too guilty I guess. I know some people do it and that's their choice. But it wouldn't feel good to me.

Tomorrow is my day off. I guess I will have so many things to do, that I'll be nacked by the time it's 10 PM. O well, it makes me feel alive..

Falling of the treadmill of life

Life is going too fast at the time. I can no longer keep up. I feel like I'm falling off, I'm falling of the treadmill of life. Too many things are happening at the same time. I want to handle one thing at the time, but so many things are presenting themselves that I no longer know what to do first. It's confusing. It's hectic. It's troubling me. I want to shout: STOP! I want to scream: NO MORE! I want someone to take over.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I feel empty. Drained. Today I had a very important meeting. It confused me. It was emotional. It was interesting at the same time. I don't know what's going to happen from here. I have a wonderful person behind me, who has no idea how much he's done for me so far. He's been a real help to me and he's always available for conversation. I can learn a lot from this man. He hasn't given up on me, although other people have. Please let him find a way to solve this issue.. I'm counting on him. I'm thankful for what he's done so far..

I need to go on and find more information. I want to make sure I have done everything within my power, to succeed in what I'm trying to achieve. And if that is not good enough, I will have to settle and accept reality. But I'm not there yet, not by far. I'm not prepared to give up now.

In the picture

Photo by Lana Joos
Our oldest daughter loves to take pictures. She's really good at it too. So I advised her to enter a photo competition. It took her some time to accept that her pictures are truly good and even longer to become convinced to enter one of her pictures in a contest. But she did! So now I'm asking all of you to vote for her picture of our tomcat Arthur. I think she did great on taking Arthur's picture. It would give her self esteem a great boost if you would vote for her. So check the link and vote for picture 14. You need to scroll down and fill out the form. Thanks!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Nourishment or nurture?

We eat to feed our body. Sometimes we eat to feed our heart. That's when we start to eat for the wrong reasons.
Food shouldn't be a substitute for love or attention or whatever you eat it for as nurture. But it happens. We are not always aware of it, but if you think it over, you may be surprised. For example: whenever our children come home with their school reports, we go out for dinner to celebrate. I thought about it the other day. Is it okay to celebrate with food? Or am I teaching my children to nurture themselves with food? It startles me how many times we treat ourselves with dinner to celebrate one or another event. It's comforting to eat a good meal or enjoy a delicate dish. But it is as comforting to get a compliment or a tap on the shoulder for whatever we have done right.
Do you ever treat yourself with a bar of chocolate when you feel blue? Do you have a glass of wine when you are sad? Or do you eat crisps to eat away your sorrows? Maybe you have an eating disorder. Maybe you are not happy and you're eating to compensate for what you miss out on.

Nourishment or nurture? Something to think about..

WWW or ..

What Women Want..
If you think women want nothing but expensive jewellery, a fancy car or designer shoes, you're misinformed. The only thing women really want, is time for themselves..

We live in such a hectic society and women are running around like crazy, trying to do as much as possible to help the world go around. Yes, there's a tendency that men help out more and more, but still, women do most of the household chores, they take care of the children and school, they prepare lunches and dinners and clear out the dishwasher. They shop for the entire household, they drive their kids to all their activities and they organize perfect birthday parties for the offspring.

The chores women are still doing, are mostly chores that cannot be delayed. Manly chores, like cutting the hedge, painting a wall or washing the cars are not that urgent that they need to be done on a weekly basis. Imagine the clothes not being washed or ironed, the fridge not being filled, the kids not being brought to school. There's this constant pressure that makes women want to slow down, but doesn't allow them to. Women still do a lot of thinking and organizing in the household as well. Do men ever think of what to serve at the next family dinner? Do they have any idea how much time it takes to run errands before you can have friends over for Sunday lunch? Do they even appreciate it?

It's strange that many men have their own space in the house. Or they have the garage, a shed, an office or a work out room to call theirs. Even the toilet is private. Not to a woman... try the toilet and your kids will accompany you in an instant. Women don't have a place of their own in the house, unless it is called: the kitchen! Do we need to say more? That's why wellness centres do so well. Women need to relax and forget about the household. What could be a better place, than a spa, to have a talk with their friends and discuss their lives.. Don't be surprised if your wife tells you to back off and leave her alone. She might need some private time..

Monday, December 7, 2009

Smart or casual?

Two years ago, you were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 23. Pretty fast, you got used to having this chronic condition and your purse was packed with insulin pens, your blood glucose meter and several other diabetes supplies.

Most insulin cases are dull. Maybe the manufacturers think that diabetics are old and not fashionable? Why don't they make cheerful insulin cases or meter cases? That's exactly what the Dutch Marijke Koning was thinking when she designed these 4 colorful insulin cases. Her line is called "Prikkedief". So when are you going to order your first insulin case? Too bad for Marijke I'm a convinced pumper of insulin, because I would have ordered all four cases at once. I'm looking forward to her meter cases and pump packs! Coming up soon! You go girl!

Déjà vu

I have them all the time. Déjà vu's, I mean. Don't you? At so many occasions, I hear people say things and I think: I have heard this before. Sometimes I can even predict the next sentence in a conversation we are having. Or sometimes I end up in some place I'm pretty sure I have never been to before. But still and again, I think: I was here before and this is what happened at this exact spot, mostly at another time period in life.
Is it intuition? Or have I really experienced these happenings before? I don't know. I believe these things do happen. I believe we have lived previous lives and we live multiple lives at the same time. My family makes fun of me and they ask me what scene of the play I'm living in at this very own moment. I let them have their laugh. That's okay. But I know. I know I have had multiple lives and this is not our only life on this earth..

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sleep is good for you

We all need a good night rest, don't we? I don't go to bed that early, although I am tired and I could use some extra sleep. I have an insulin pump with CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitoring). Every once in a while, the pump wakes me up because of some alarm telling me my blood glucose is high or low. It's an annoying beep and that's what it is. It's supposed to be annoying, it wouldn't wake you otherwise. I have the choice between the beep and a vibrating noise. That is not an option, because it doesn't wake me. So there's the beep of the CGM and there's the snoring. Apparently my snoring is pretty bad. Not that I'm aware of it, but it bothers my husband that much, that it's disturbing his sleep. I try to be as quiet as possible. Whenever my CGM alarm wakes me, I try to solve the problem as fast as I can. I don't turn on the light to determine my blood glucose, using the light on my insulin pump to read the number on my glucose meter. I really try to be as quiet as possible, so I won't wake anyone. I don't have a good night rest, because of the alarms, because of the rollercoaster in my blood glucose and the snoring.

Yesterday, I went to Ikea with the girls, to pick out a single bed. We also bought a duvet, new bedcovers, soft and fluffy pillows, a night stand, some decoration, .. so I can decorate my own bedroom. My father-in-law will come over in some weeks, to paint the room and put new carpet in. I'm looking forward to that. It's rather exciting to have my own room again. I hear many married couples have separate rooms and we are no different. I'm getting used to it, since I have slept all by myself for nearly two weeks now. I can go to bed whenever I feel like it, without disturbing anyone. I can prick my fingers as many times as I want with the light on, without waking anyone. I can snore as loud as I want, without annoying anyone. It makes me feel less guilty about ruining someone else's night rest. I thought I would never get used to sleeping in a single bed again, but it's not that bad after all..

Rise and shine

Time to get up kiddo's! Saint Nicholas is in town!!! LOL. They are way too old to be receiving Saint Nicholas presents, but hey, who doesn't like to receive gifts once in a while? Especially Eva has been looking forward to December 6. She loves surprises, but we cannot tell her she's going to get one. If we do, her tummy hurts days in advance and the stress is too much for her. So we don't tell.

I remember the times when the girls were younger. They used to write a wishing letter to the holy man, telling him how good they had been and what presents they thought they deserved. Of course the holy man did the best he can to fulfil those wishes. Some years, he even came to our house, in person, accompanied by his Black Peters.

Just the other day, I told Eva about the last year Saint Nicholas actually came to the house. She must have been 8 back then. She was so impressed by his appearance (he wore gold shoes and gloves), that she was totally gobsmacked. This time, it was the REAL thing!!! Not some clumsy frumpy helper, but the REAL man himself! I remember the size of her eyes when she nodded to every question he asked her. She must have been really surprised about all the details the Saint knew about her. Of course he looked in his holy book, where everything was written down.. By then Lana knew the Saint wasn't that real, but still, she too was impressed.

It was not until a couple of months later, that we just had to tell Eva the truth. Most children in her class knew the truth and they started to make fun of her. So we told her, that the holy man was not really who she thought he were.. She was devastated, hurt and totally in denial. How could he not be real??? He had been to her house! And we were sitting next to him! How could we say he was not real??? He knew all about her! He even had things written down in his book!!!

She eventually got over it and now she thinks it's a good laugh. She's very good at keeping the secret to the younger kids in the family. She won't spoil the fun. When both Lana and Eva open their presents, they go back some years in time and the sparkle in their eyes remembers me of their toddler time..

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Happy Hour

Yesterday I had a lunch date with two wonderful women I have met through the diabetesforum I frequent. We tried to find a meeting point somewhere central and this time it was Gent. I was supposed to take the train, just like the other two did, but I wanted to cheat.. I'm just not a public transport - person. I need my car. I'm nowhere without it. I don't like to pass control to some public transportation, not knowing if it will bring me where I want to be. I like to be in control. But hey, I did it! I took the train and it wasn't that bad after all. In fact, it was a smart move, since the restaurant was so close to the railway station. I'm sure if I had taken my car, I would have been forced to park it so far away from the restaurant, that it would have been a waste of time and gas and parking fee.
So we met for lunch at Café Parti and we chitchatted. What a great place to meet for lunch. A very exciting and interesting menu to choose from. There was such a variety of delightful dishes that I decided to have two appetizers! The first one was Grilled Eggplant with Parmesan, rocket and extra virgin olive oil. What a wonderful dish that was! My second appetizer was Fresh Tuna Tartar with ginger, seaweed salad and a wasabi dressing. You didn't think we were going to leave without dessert, did you? I had a Sweet Springroll of filo dough, filled with chocolate and honey, accompanied by roasted nuts and frangipane ice cream. And of course, I finished that off with a good glass of Latte Macchiato.. My blood glucose wasn't that much out of range and I had a superb lunch!

It is always exciting to meet forum members and especially these two. We get along real well. We take advice from one another and we laugh a lot.
Thank you ladies, for making my day!

There's nothing you can do

I have heard this sentence so many times. I'm sick of it. There must be something I can do, something that can help me. That's why I have asked to arrange a meeting. And that's exactly what's going to happen. Wednesday, I'm going to meet up with several people who can tell me more than "there's nothing you can do". I've had it and it's about time a solution presents itself. It's going to be an emotional meeting, I'm well aware of that. But at the same time, I'm looking forward to it. I have a lot of questions to ask. I'll be prepared. Hopefully there will be answers too..

Think of me on Wednesday. Let's hope someone knows the answer.. I might need a strong shoulder by the time I leave the meeting.. Or some extra pep talk beforehand..

Friday, December 4, 2009

Duck Fiabetes

Hippo and Friends is an organization for children with diabetes. Barbara Flamand has started this project, after her own young daughter was diagnosed. She couldn't find the information she needed, to help her child the best she could. Maria had to give herself multiple injections on a daily basis, in order to keep her blood glucose in range. It's no fun for any child to get shots for every meal or snack they crave. They poke their little fingers 4-8-sometimes 10 times a day, to determine their glucose levels. Children are supposed to play and be innocent and have fun. They shouldn't have to sob about their fingers being poked. They shouldn't have to worry about kidney failure, blindness or amputations. They shouldn't have to cry over every insulin shot they have been given. That's what Barbara must have thought, when she designed HIPPO. Hippo is a hippopotamus and hypo is short for hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar. Hippo is designed for children with diabetes. Hippo has diabetes, just like them. He needs shots of insulin and finger pricks. Just like them.. They can practise on Hippo and give him finger pricks and insulin shots, before they learn how to treat themselves.. Every diabetic child under the age of 12 (in Belgium) has received HIPPO for free. Because Barbara cares.. Because that's what she does. Maybe you would like to adopt HIPPO and make a contribution in that way?

Barbara has accomplished a lot in the short time her project has existed. Her latest project is the Wishing Well. Kids with diabetes can mail their wish to Hippo and Barbara does the best she can to make their wishes come true. Read the wishes of these children on Hippo and Friends. Barbara is not that fortunate that she has spare money to spend. She has a full time job, but still, every day she tries to find sponsors who are willing to help out to make these wishes come true.

Barbara is also selling terrific T-shirts. They show a rubber ducky that says: Duck Fiabetes! and on the other side: what type are you? (referring to type 1 or type 2 diabetes) The profit of the shirts sale is going back to the project, to fund more wishes.

A parent of another diabetic child has nominated Barbara for the Gouden Pluim (Gold Feather). If Barbara wins the contest, she will win a price of 2000 euro for her organisation. Meaning she will have extra money to make even more wishes come true. Please help Barbara and vote for Hippo and Friends. Text TVOPLUIM(space)4 to 6007, or pick up your phone and call 0905 56 660 and vote 4 and let Barbara know you care.. I care. Do you?

Break down and cry

Last night you crashed. Your knees have been bugging you for several months now. Doctor's visits haven't helped much as far as treatment goed, but at least we know that there's some sort of fluid surrounding both knee caps. You are hurting. Big time. I bought two special knee braces for extra support. They were meant to help you support your knees in dance class. But sometimes your knees hurt so much, you want to wear them to school as well.
The doctor has taken a NMR scan and a full bone scan. It proves that there really is fluid in the knees. We also have been told it has nothing to do with growing pains. So the doctor is at the end of his rope and he's referring you to another doctor in Gent, who is more specialized.
School exams are starting today. You are doing the best you can, but the pain is getting so bad, that it's hard for you to focus on your school work. Last night, you broke down and cried. I gave you some extra pain relief to make sure you'd have some night rest at least.
Let's hope the other doctor has an idea how to help you, because you definitely need help. I'm thinking of you sweetie... Take care..

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Somewhere over the rainbow

The days are cold and dark. All the friends around me seem to be falling apart. What's going on? Is it the time of the year? Is it the age? Or what is it, that makes everybody unhappy at this time of the year?
I hear loneliness can be contagious.. Being lonely doesn't mean you have no friends or you don't socialize. It is no exception to be popular and surrounded by friends and still be lonely..

I need a hug. My friends need a hug. We can hug one another. I hope it will do the trick. And I hope, that somewhere over the rainbow, the sun will shine for all of us..

My wish list

I love to keep lists. I keep them all over the house, in my cell phone, on my notebook. One of those lists, is my wish list. Whenever I think of something I would like to have, I write it down. Just to give you an idea, here are some things that are still on my wish list. The things are not listed in any order of preference. I will add new things whenever they cross my mind. Some things might be crossed once in a while, if I couldn't resist it any longer.
  • a subscription to Delicious magazine, Culinaire Ambiance magazine
  • Thermomix TM5
  • a device to hold my iPad on the kitchen wall while cooking
  • a CD by Barbra Streisand
  • dinner at Burg9, Nuance or The Jane
  • lunch at Pure C or at Upper Room Bar
  • a full automatic pasta machine
  • interesting cookbooks/DVD, any cookbook by Ainsley, Jacques Pépin, Paula Deen, Gary Rhodes, Justine Schofield, Julia Child, Eric Lanlard, The Pioneer Woman, Alain Ducasse
  • a professional photoshoot of our family at Fotografie Schutte 
  • professional cooking class
  • a black bread mold by Emile Henry
  • Larousse brood book
  • a black leather belt

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A life stylist

I promised myself a total make-over in 2010. It won't be at the beginning of the year, but probably by fall. I'm really looking forward to that. Maybe I should hire a life stylist. Not only to go through my dresser, but also to take a glance at my inside. I'm sure I could use some extra confidence in me. I want someone to teach me to hold my head high, to straighten my shoulders and walk with pizzaz. I want that someone to teach me to walk with the soundtrack of my life in my mind. I shouldn't worry what the perception of the world towards me is. I cannot control how I am perceived. I can only control how I am presented. I'm confident that life stylist is out there, somewhere. We just have to run in to one another.
I'm getting ready to pick a mirror in life and love myself for who I am. I'm learning to be proud of me and not to be afraid to show myself. Selfworth is so important in your education. If people enjoy to humiliate you and pull you down, it affects you on the long term. I would like to teach my children that they are more than okay. They don't have to live up to someone else's standards, to be special. They are special! And that's exactly what I tell them: that they are unique and special and most of all: loved..

So if that life stylist is in the neighborhood, please help me out rearranging my closet. Because I will need some new basics.

* a basic black dress
* a trench coat
* a sweat suit alternative
* classic dress pants
* a going out to dinner - dress
* three different heights of shoes, at least
* a pair of jeans
* a classy white dress shirt
* a skirt, to the knee
* a dress you could wear to work

My eyes are glowing

I was cleaning up the clutter room upstairs, when I found an envelope full of old pictures. It was a delight to go through them. It surprised me though, that with almost every picture of me, I thought: was this before I was diagnosed with D, or some time later? In some pictures, my eyes were really glowing. I could tell I felt real good in that period of my life. I think I'm gonna keep those pictures in my wallet. Just to remind me about good times and forgotten memories. I have this thing with pictures you know. My pictures are the only material item I would want to take along if my house were to burn down (well, maybe I would also try to take the Kenwood and some cookbooks). There are so many stories behind pictures. One silly picture can bring you back in time, to relive those days. I cherish my pictures. I used to spend a lot of time making photo books. I don't know why I have stopped. Maybe I should start again..

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

These boots are made for walking

Word goes that Imelda Marcos had 3000 pairs of shoes.. I have around 50 and I can't stop buying shoes. I'm always looking for that perfect pair. There's always a particular color I had been looking for and boots are always a present to me. One day, when I will be a whole lot slimmer than I currently am, I would love to wear a very feminine knee skirt, silk stockings, a classy white blouse, a matching jacket and wonderful, soft, long leather boots.. I would almost forget the exclusive jewelry! That's what I'm looking forward to. And I believe those boots will be made for walking..

A diamond in the rough

Each one of us is born as a pure, unpolished, perfect diamond. Growing up and experiencing pain in life, this pure brightness gets dusted with a lot of crap and rubbish.
Once we have grown up, we put a nice new and shiny layer on top of the rubbish. This is the layer we present to the outside world. But then again, we wonder why nobody is impressed. In the meantime, we start to believe that we are that fake shiny and shallow layer, on top of the rubbish. It's what we make of it and we try to live up to the standard we have created. If we are lucky, life gives us a wake-up call in time. Sometimes something needs to happen, for the bright diamond to sparkle through the other layers. We peel down all the shiny parts, through the darker parts, to discover the true diamond we are..

Brandon Bays is an interesting therapist. She was recommended to me by my good friend and therapist, Mrs C. She has met BB en she has attended some workshops. She also told me the story about the diamond. We talked about it on several occasions. She's helping me to find my shiny, sparkling diamond, underneath the layers of dust and the flashy coat layer. I believe getting diabetes has been my turning point in life. What was the use of wearing a mask? Why was I not prepared to let people see the real me? Was I afraid they wouldn't like me? Did someone teach me to wear a mask and pretend to be someone else? Who am I? What's underneath the dust? It's a painful longterm process, but I know I will peel through the layers, to find the person I really am. And I will embrace that person and the little innocent child I ever was. I will forgive the inner child for whatever has happened in my childhood. I will forgive the child, and the teenager and the young adult. I will forgive me. I will love me. I will cherish the person I have found and become. Are you prepared to peel your layers?