Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A mother's heart

By heart goes out to both my beautiful and intelligent daughters. As usual, they did real well in school. They get very good grades and they are good students. We never nag about a bad test, because that's life. We can't always get good grades. In the end, they do just fine and we are proud of them!
School's out kids! Let's have some fun! Thank you for being such wonderful children. I feel privileged to be your mother..

For those who can appreciate piano music: A mother's heart, by William Joseph, an upcoming piano talent.

Saying my prayers

If I were even a weeny bit religious, I would be burning a candle for myself, for the upcoming days. Since I'm not, I won't burn any.

I have written several letters to our Bishop. I no longer want to be a member of the catholic church. I never believed in any religion anyway. You can call me an atheist, if you wish. A staff member of diocese Bruges, sent me his answer in return. He wants to know my motivation for leaving the catholic church. If they really want to know my motivation, why do they give me no more than two pathetic lines to write my motivation on? It's not that there's just one reason to leave this group??? But they insisted, so I gave them my motives. No problem. I hope my lines will be enough to exclude me from their church.

It made me laugh, that they asked me if I knew the consequences of leaving their "group".

  1. 'Did I know that I can no longer get married in church??' Hello? I'm already married in church?? And that was not my choice either..
  2. 'By no means could I help out in church or have a catholic profession if I decide to withdraw?' As if..
  3. 'I can no longer be buried on church ground or have a catholic service after I die...' Exactly. Now I finally have the guarantee I will not be buried in church.. Just in case my will would not be respected.
  4. 'If I show any remorse on my death bed, church might reconsider my decision of leaving Christianity'.. Right.. Again: as if!
  5. 'I can no longer be a godmother if I decide to leave catholic church..' I don't need any church if I want to godmother any child. There's more to life than Christianity... Catholic godmothers are no guarantee to being a good godmother. And I speak out of experience now..
So I sent the Bishop another letter, with motivation and a copy of my ID. I hope they will get the message now..

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fairly Nuts

I have found the most delicious ice cream ever! Honestly! It was sitting in my freezer, for I bought heaps of Ben & Jerry ice cream. The sun is out and that type of weather just screams for ice cream.

Fairly Nuts is a caramel ice cream with praline almond clusters and caramel swirls. Those praline almond clusters are to die for. I'm a nut lover and the crunchiness of those clusters.. whoppa! Big hit!

So if you decide to get yourself a serious treat, forget about the calories. Hop in your car, drive to your favorite store, race through the aisle, open that freezer and grab yourself a huge container of Fairly Nuts. Get the cash ready, so you don't loose any time. Open that car, get yourself seated and rip the lid of the container. Don't worry about the spoon, you may use your fingers. Wait for the explosion in your mouth and indulge.. Heavenly..

I am nothing but a speck

Some days, we think we are so important, trying to conquer the world and making the best of it. But in the end, we are nothing but a speck on this planet. I am a speck. A small speck. A tiny speck. Not of any importance. People will remember me after I die. For a while. And then they will forget.. That's okay. I don't need to be remembered. Because after all, I'm nothing but a speck..

Monday, June 28, 2010

Rosemary and Thyme

I just love my herbs. The cabinet above my stove is packed with herbs. A friend of mine brought me some fresh and dried herbs from Greece, where she spent her holidays. That was so thoughtful of her. I couldn't imagine a day in the kitchen without herbs.

It's always exciting to get to know new herbs or new herb mixes. Nowadays, there are a lot of herb mills available. I like those, because you ground the herbs yourself. They add a delicious taste to your dish. Some herbs I buy in large containers, like my South-African pepper/salt mix and the red spice mix. I have to drive to Holland to get them, but that's more like a field trip than a hassle to me.

Cinnamon is still one of my favorites and so are cumin and cilantro, besides garlic-pepper and cajun mix. Ginger has entered my home not that long ago. I do prefer freshly grated ginger over dried ginger and I love to add it to my apple-carrot-celery smoothie.

The Indian cooking classes I took, got me acquainted with mustard seeds, cardamom and fenugreek. Not every day herbs in our cuisine, but it gives me a reason to cook something different.

So if you come across some herbs you think I might not have yet, do feel free to bring them for me. I'll refund the cost.

Soccer City

I never understood about soccer. I don't get the game and it can't keep my attention. I hate the noise soccer makes and those vuvuzelas make it even worse. Hubby likes to watch soccer games. Too bad he's the only one in the house. Even the dogs go to sleep when the soccer games start. Go figure..

So no, I won't be devastated when the soccer season will be over. I won't miss the reporter's comments nor the vuvuzela sound, nor the shouting and jumping up and down on the couch. Thanks for watching but no, I'll never be a fan.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Moving house

The new dog run is going to be delivered this week. It will give us some peace of mind, knowing that both whippets are safe and sound in the backyard. I no longer wish to come home to see one of the dogs is missing.

We went to Holland to pick out a kennel. Hubby is going to make a custom fit dog house for Rebba and Inthe as well. They do need a shelter for rainy days and a sunroof to prevent their delicate skin from getting sun burn. The backyard is big enough to put the dog run in. There will be less space to grow vegetables, but that also means there will be less weeds as well.

By no means are we going to prohibit the dogs from living in our house. Their new dog run is only for parentfree days. Meaning they will have to stay in the pen when we're out. It's no punishment whatsoever, in fact dogs like to be in an area with boundaries. They will feel safe. And we will regain our peace of mind..

Chunky cute meets Cheeky monkey

Every now and then, I love to read the ads in newspapers and magazines. People are trying to find a mate for life, by advertizing themselves in a short note. Some ads are just hilarious.. Other advertizers are boring and their ad doesn't say anything about them. Is this how people meet nowadays? By placing ads in a paper? Would you ever contact someone this way?
I was thinking of a title, just in case I needed to place an ad one day. How about: Chunky cute meets Cheeky monkey?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

One tough cookie

The veterinarian was going to free you from your stitches, Inthe. That's when she noticed it was not a crust that was holding together your damaged skin. It was nothing but clotted old blood. She had to remove all of it and open up the wound again. Poor Inthe.. She said it was going to be painful for you, but she wanted to give it a go without sedating you. And you did so well. You had your front legs on my shoulder and your nose in my neck, while the vet was removing all of the infected icky things. She cleaned the wound and told me she was going to staple it this time. You were still doing fine, so she didn't sedate you for the stapling either. What a good girl you are, Inthe! Good grief! So now you have 5 staples instead of 5 stitches. You're kinda looking like some pirate! You're one tough cookie, sweetheart!

June has not been the best month for neither one of the whippets. Let's hope July will be a whole lot better, without accidents, without any attempted escapes..

A scary situation

My oldest daughter and I were having a good time with her godmother yesterday. Around 4 PM, hubby called to ask where whippet Rebba was. I told him both dogs were in the backyard? Not? No.. Inthe was there, screaming and whining, but no Rebba.. She had escaped from the backyard. No idea how she did it, but she had fled!

I pushed the panic button right away: contacted the police, animal rescue, the vet, my friends, family, neighbors. Two friends hopped into their car right away and drove to our town to look out for Rebba. She had been spotted on the highway, headed to Antwerp. Poor Rebba.. The most dangerous road she could pick.. Hubby drove around town in an attempt to find her.. He feared the worst.. He thought he would find her, run over by a car or maybe she would have caused a car accident.

And then my friend called me! She had seen her, racing on the hard shoulder of the highway. She and her companion had tried to capture her, without any result though. Rebba was frightened and tired and losing her mind.. My friend ran bare feet on the highway, yelling for Rebba. Her companion raced around as well, ignoring his painful hip.

Some time later, the police called me. They had Rebba in their van. They caught her throwing a loop over her neck. She was 6 km away from home. What a relief... She was okay. She had not caused any accidents (my friend saw smokey tires and heard harsh brakes...) and she was not injured. Her foot soles are pink again, instead of black. She's so tired and I can tell how frantic she must have been. I'm so happy she's okay. I'm so happy I had people who cared enough to rush to her rescue.. Thank you all for helping out. My two little girls are reunited..

Friday, June 25, 2010

Nightmare on Elm Street

Last night, I was sleeping on the couch. The alarm on my new pump is set at 3:30 AM and 5:30 AM. Time to measure my blood glucose. The dogs were sleeping next to me and tomcat Arthur was sound asleep in his own bed behind the couch. I heard the beep of my alarm, but I didn't feel like opening my eyes yet. I reached for my glucose meter and pen, when I felt something furry. I opened my eyes and these yellow eyes were staring at me. AAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH! Some strange black cat was laying beside me on the couch! The dogs didn't budge, Arthur didn't move and the stranger ran off.. My heart was pounding in my throat.. Good Gracious..

At night, I leave the back door open, so the dogs can go for a pee whenever they need to. I guess I will have to find another method to let the dogs out. Now that was scary!

A safety net

You're going to the hospital today and the surgeon will operate you this very same morning. Don't be afraid. You'll be just fine, my friend. It's a routine operation and the doctors know what they are doing. You were not looking forward to this operation and it nearly stopped you from going away on vacation. But I'm glad you found a way to postpone the surgery. Your vacation was good for you. You came back with fresh energy. Energy you will need to recover. Not only from surgery, if you know what I mean. A new life is awaiting you. Take your chance. You deserve it more than anything.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

How can you mend a broken heart?

In the week I was born, the number 1 song in the US hit charts, was "How can you mend a broken heart", by the Bee Gees. I didn't recall the song, so I looked it up. I must say: I kinda like it! It is fun to go back to your birth year and find out what was important or new in those days. Another popular 1971 song was "Me and Bobby McGee" by Janis Joplin. Mariah Carey, Winonah Rider and Lance Armstrong were born in that same year. The first microprocessor was big news and the pocket calculator a true gadget, although still very expensive.
Richard Nixon was the American president at the time and King Baldwin the King of our country.

I remember writing down similar things for our children, the year they were born. Things like, how much a loaf of bread cost, the number one hit of their date of birth. It is funny to see how fast life evolves and how technology keeps amazing us.

The longest journey begins with a single step

I had to sleep over the news I received yesterday. This morning, I checked the forms the doctor filled out for me. It's true! I have his permission!!!! And I have a date! July 8th is marked in my agenda as the beginning of my new life. It's exciting but scary at the same time. Am I doing the right thing? Have I put enough effort in other methods? I can honestly say: yes, to both questions.

It's going to happen real soon now. I'm ready. I have plenty of time to make arrangements so things will go smoothly around here. I think I might need an extra pair of pyjamas and maybe some slippers. I might cook some extra meals to freeze, so my family won't starve while I'm in the hospital. My mood will improve in the upcoming days, I'm sure about that. It'll be a relieve to get rid of the stress. I will find peace now..

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A step up

It's here!!! My new pump has arrived and I've survived the transition. It's a whole lot more sophisticated than the one I had before. That's exciting and challenging at the same time. I've been so looking forward to getting this pump and I never thought I would get it. But now, nearly one year after getting my former Paradigm 722 pump, I have traded it for the Accuchek Combo. And now let's hope my HbA1c will go down even more! I'm ready for it.

I would also like to thank my diabetes nurse from my former hospital. He always made extra time to see me and we liked to discuss pump therapy. He stood by my side and he knew things weren't going smoothly all the time. He was professional but human at the same time. He's a good man.

I have a different diabetes nurse now, in a different hospital. I hear she's very good. I have already experienced her concern and knowledge. We'll get along just fine. I'm ready to learn more about diabetes and insulin pump therapy.

Can't be tamed

I'm not the easiest person to live with. I'm very aware of that. It's possible that I can't be tamed. I try to be as independent as possible. I cannot imagine another life for me. So many women have to ask their husband's permission to do whatever they want to do. That is mostly a one way direction, meaning, the husband does not ask the wife's permission for his outings. I'm not used to asking permission. My husband is not my parent after all. In a relationship, partners are supposed to be equal. I don't claim you cannot discuss things and compromise, but as far as that goes.. It would really startle me, if one day, hubby would prohibit me from doing something. I don't know how I would react..

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


So are you a good typist? Try out this game and you'll know. Just click the flag of your country, to get the words in your language. I believe I did real well. I typed 60 words per minute in English and 63 in Dutch. Strange though, that I typed only 2 faults in English and 6 in Dutch. I guess typing school paid off in the end after all.
Try it out, will you?

A number on a scale

I know I'm much more than a number on a scale. On some days though, that number takes over my life. It determines the outcome of my day. It tells me I'm not healthy. It tells me I need to work out. It tells me my appearance is not great. Some days, I would like to fling the scale through the window. But I'm sure it'll come back like a boomerang.
The scale tells me everything I do not wish to hear. It's such a negative object. I hope, in time, I will love my scale. But as soon as that scale will change me as a person in a negative way, I'll trash it. Promised!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mr Mom

What if men would stay home to take care of the household and the kids? For centuries, men brought home the bacon. They provided for their family by working long hours. Times have changed though. Many women have chosen their careers and refuse to stay at home any longer. They want to live a different life than the life of our grandmothers. They wish to have colleagues. They look forward to having money of their own. That money gives them joy, pride and strength. It makes them more independent.

I imagine it's not always easy for men, to have their wives go to work as well. They feel kinda lost, now that they are no longer the only breadwinner. They had to step down from their pedestal and reprogram themselves.

If both partners have outdoor jobs, some things need to be changed around the house. Someone has to take care of the children and no elves will come and do the housework. Solutions have to be found, to prevent the wife from feeling guilty over having a job. This sometimes lead to the man giving up his job or starting to work parttime. Some men even decide to be Mr Mom for a while. We're not used to that concept yet, but hey, why not? Maybe they would even be good at it. Men are good at making checklists, aren't they? I bet they could be wonderful at running the household, if it weren't for the neighbors or relatives to make fun of them. Because after all: what's wrong with being a Mr or Mrs Mom? It is more than a fulltime job and it can be as fulfilling as any other "paid" job. For now though, I'm very fine with my husband working outdoors and me being Mrs Mom..

Scrap booking

The first time I really heard about scrap booking, must have been in 1992, in Oregon, US. A distant relative of mine, had invited me over to her house. She was a teacher and her main pastime was scrap booking. I thought that was such a fun idea, that she didn't need much persuasion to talk me into it. So I got myself some tools and paper, glue and glitter to get started. I have made some fun projects in the past.
Once the children were born, scrap booking was not something I had time for. I did make photo albums for the girls, but they were not as fancy as I wanted them to be. Some were decorated with drawings and colorings, but that was about it.
Some years later, I had some spare time and I started scrap booking again. Every now and then, I make a scrap book after we went on a holiday or an outing. I know it's easier just to have a photo book printed online. Most of the time, that's what I do for myself. But if I want to do something special for a friend, I prefer to make a creative scrap book. It takes some time to work out an idea, but once I get the hang of it, I can't put it down until it's finished. So if you ever receive one of my handmade scrap books, it's because you're worth the effort!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Yes, I'm a diabetic!

The diabetes police is everywhere. People tell you how to treat your diabetes, even if they have no clue what diabetes is about. They command you to poke your fingers and check your blood glucose (don't you think 8 - 10 finger pokes a day are enough??). Of course you have to tell them the number (then they ask what the number is supposed to be!) and then they give you that look while they nod their faces.. GGGgggggrrrr...

Conversation: Are you sure you can have a cookie? I thought diabetics were not supposed to have cookies...? What do you mean you need a regular coke? Yes, I need one, I'm low! But diabetics are not supposed to have sugar, are they??!!! AAaarrrgghhh!

Another anecdote: Are you experiencing a low? Hurry up and have an insulin shot!!! NO!!! Insulin makes my sugars go down even more! What??? But diabetics are supposed to take insulin!!! That's what I saw on TV??!!

One more: What insulin are you using ma'am? Apidra.. Apidra??? That's not insulin, you probably mean Actrapid? No, Apidra.. You must be mistaken ma'am, Apidra is not insulin. Yeah right, so what's in my pump?? water?? (this is what happened when the ambulance came to pick me up after a severe low - the doctor had no idea..)
It's pretty obvious why you're experiencing a low, ma'am, you turned off your insulin pump.. Of course I did! More insulin means I'm going to drop even more! (same doctor). As if..

Some mean well and are really concerned. They also know what diabetes is about and they know the difference between lows and highs. They ask you to check your blood glucose if they see you're not feeling well. That I don't mind at all. But the diabetes police is not welcome.. If you're interested, really interested, I'm more than willing to tell you about diabetes. I will tell you that the numbers are preferably between 80 - 120 mg/dl. I will also tell you that I rarely have a day that my numbers are in that range all day. I will explain to you what it means if my sugars drop below 60 mg/dl. You will hear that I don't feel well then. If I don't have a sugar intake at that time, my sugars may drop even lower, sometimes below 20 mg/dl. I will tell you that I shiver, that I feel nauseous, that I'm starved, that my legs feel like rubber bands. I will tell you that my mind isn't clear at the time. That I may refuse regular coke or juice although I desperately need one. That I may pass out if no action is taken. That I will not die, but that I do need help at the time. That most of the time I can help myself, but assistance is welcome if I'm not responding well. I will tell you that, if only you are truly interested.

Five no-no's

Being in a relationship, is a fulltime job. A relationship is a verb, not a noun. It needs your attention on a daily basis. Too often, you have no time for the other half and life becomes a rut. Is there something you can do to keep your relationship healthy and sane? Of course..
Let me give you 5 no-no's, 5 things you shouldn't do if you want to continue living with your partner.

  • Don't blame him for whatever goes wrong in your relationship. It just can't be his fault all the time. There must be a more constructive way to solve issues.
  • Told you so!!! This sentence is spoken way too often. What's the use in trying to convince the other, that he was wrong and you were right..? The damage has been done anyway and there's no way you can rewind it. So don't patronize your partner by telling him you knew the outcome from the beginning.
  • I hate you for..! Never ever attack your partner in front of other people. It's not of their concern to hear you pick on him. Don't even hate your partner. There may be things you don't like about his behavior, but that doesn't mean you hate him as a person. Hate is ugly.
  • Why do you always.. or how come you never...? Life is not just black or white. There are so many shades in between. It's not fair to blame your partner for whatever goes wrong. It may be better to focus on the things that do go right.
  • Don't ask for his opinion if you don't plan on following through with it. Ever heard a woman ask her husband which dress he wants her to wear? He picks out the red dress and immediately she trashes the red one and picks the black dress. It's not very good for his self esteem if you act like this..

I plead guilty to all 5 accusations.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Behind closed doors

There are so many things to see in London and one wouldn't know where to start. There are plenty of guided tours, buses, riksjas,.. to let you visit the main attractions in London.

This time, our friend planned a different guided tour though. The tour had the mysterious name: Behind closed doors.. That made us very curious of course. What a juicy accent that guide had! It was a true joy listening to him. He never bored me one minute. He was very good at telling anecdotes and even though I'm not sure whether all of his stories actually occurred, that didn't matter. He knew how to draw our attention.

I really enjoyed the tour and it was surprisingly interesting. Too bad we had some rain showers, but hey, we were in London after all. It was part of the game I guess.


If you go to London, you definitely need an Oyster card. Let the tube transport you all around London. It's cheap, it's fast as lightening and it's everywhere. You shouldn't be too particular about hygiene and smelly armpits, but hey, a shower afterwards washes off all of the tube smells that cling to your hair and outfit.
Even with the Oyster pass, every now and then, we took a cab to drive us to our next destinations. My sprained foot was not doing very well and hopping up and down the stairs at the metro station was exhausting. Our friend was very aware of that and he knew when to trade the tube for a more luxurious way of transportation.

There's some money left on our Oyster card. I guess we'll have to go back in the near future, to improve our metro map reading capacities. Trust me: yellow line, green line,.. to me they were all the same. I'm very happy they didn't let me handle things, because we would have been on the tube all day otherwise..

Friday, June 18, 2010

I'll be back in a jiffy

Nowadays, people are always in a rush. Things have to go faster than fast. Patience is no longer in the dictionary. Slow cooking is old school. So what do we do? We eat way too much fast food for our own good. Fast food and healthy cooking is not really the same thing. That's exactly what the people behind Leon's must have thought, when they opened their first restaurant in London. They have expanded their restaurants, so you can enjoy their food on different locations. They know they can't do much about the rushing and hurrying. But they do know about good and healthy food. They wanted to make a healthy fast food place, where people could enjoy a fresh meal without having to sit there for over an hour.

I had a delicious Vegetable Tagine at Leon's. Full of chickpeas, zucchini, peppers, brown rice,.. and the most delicate herbs. Some Lebanese flatbread on the side.. Yum Yum.. I'm a fan! That's why I bought Leon's cook book as well. The recipes are so easy and the ingredients are not that hard to find. Tonight, we even had our own homemade Lebanese bread! Right out of the Leon's cook book.
Do you think Belgium would be ready for Leon's?

Blown away

We were blown away by the appearance of the staff at Abercrombie and Fitch, London, UK. A naked male chest welcomed us in to this magnificent store. Oh my gosh.. the girls would say. Nothing but perfect bodies. Trust me.. you feel like an elephant when you walk around this shop. All those skinny and pretty girls, trying to sell you as much as possible. Hot studs dancing on the top floors, looking around the shop, making the lady customers go mad. I've never seen anything like it. It is a great building as well. Plenty of room, great interior and I've never seen such neat dressers when so many customers are in the shop, pulling out shirts and pants from the shelves. You should've been there.. If you are an Abercrombie and Fitch fan, there are only two shops in Europe you can visit: London and Milan. Don't forget to bring your VISA card.. and your Mastercard.. and maybe some change, so you can have your picture taken with one of the hot shots..

I called our youngest daughter, to tell her where we had been shopping. She yelled at me: "You've got to be kidding me!!! you went to the shop where the guys have no shirts on???"
How the heck did she know that??? Thirteen year old girls..

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Some like it hot

If you like Mexican Food and you're in the London area, why not hop in at Wahaca Mexican Food Market? It's a very trendy restaurant, right in the centre and they sell excellent fresh food.
I was pleasantly surprised by the view of the sink as soon as you enter the restaurant. It's nice to know that you can wash your hands after a ride in the Underground. Because Mexican food is often eaten with the flesh forks, you do want clean hands before you start digging in.

You can go for the traditional Mexican dishes like nachos supreme and beef burritos. But why not try fish on the grill with a side of grilled vegetables? Of course chili con carne is still a hit and so are their famous quesedillas. In fact, I think I'm heading to the kitchen right now. Because after all, I bought the Wahaca cook book and I have the ingredients sitting in my pantry. Fiesta fiesta!

A girls best friend

Hey you birthday boy! We have already celebrated this day last week, but nevertheless, I would like to wish you a very happy birthday. I hope it will be a memorable year. If ladies are looking for a best friend, there's one person I can recommend and that is you. You are great fun and always in for a good conversation or discussion. You love to shop and visit restaurants and nothing can keep you from dancing and having a great time. You are a true gentleman and you like to pamper the people you care about. What more can a lady ask for..

Have a piece of cake (or two) and don't forget to blow out your candles. Happy Birthday my friend!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Shop 'til you drop

You cannot go to London without having had at least one shop 'til you drop day. Yes, we did Oxford and Regent Street, but apparently, we were not fully satisfied yet. So our friend pulled another surprise out of his sleeve. After having shopped at Topshop, Next, River Island,.. we took the Underground to Canary Wharf.
With over 200 shops, boutiques, bars and restaurants, Canary Wharf is the place to be if you like indoor malls. It's ideal for any food or fashion spree. There are plenty of Starbucks's for the caffeine lovers and the Venti Latte Macchiatio was my favorite. Especially if sweetened with my favorite Hazelnut Splenda!

If you're done shopping, there are plenty of restaurants and bars along the Thames. Go and take a look. I'm sure there will be a place for you to hang out.

Don't walk away

Where would I go?

I had another doctor look at my ankle yesterday morning. He's a foot expert and a surgeon at the same time. He hit the sore spot right away. He could tell me there was a cyst in my ankle, that has probably been formed around a chip of bone. That chip must have come loose at the time of my fall. It's been 2 months now, since I fell in Bruges, and the pain isn't getting any better.

Today, I'm going to have some more scans taken, 3D, to make sure the chip is the cause of the pain. Next week, I'll have a bone scan as well. The doctor will discuss the results no sooner than July 1st. There's a chance I'll need to have the bone chip surgically removed. Great.. If only they can guarantee me the pain will be gone then. Because this is no fun anymore. I have a hard time stretching my foot and walking is dreadful. I hang on and I do whatever I need to do. A swollen foot in the evening is the result of my ignoring the pain. I'm afraid I will need another cast. That would really tie me to the house and I'm not a housebound girl, remember?

I'm curious to see the results of the CT scan this afternoon..

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Holding back the years

You may wish to hold back the years, but that's not necessary. No matter what age you are, you will always be memorable and precious.
This year, you treated us in a very special way. We went to Belgo - Belgian Restaurant in London, UK. We had been there before, on a previous occasion. And again, we had a ball. The place is unique and situated in the basement of the building. An old elevator took us downstairs, to enjoy a good Belgian meal. There's an open kitchen and the dishes served were excellent!

You gave us the choice to pick an appetizer, a main course and dessert. There were several things on the menu I wanted to try, but I made up my mind pretty fast. As an appetizer, I had the grilled goat's cheese salad and that really tickled my taste buds. I just love goat's cheese and when it's served on a thin slice of toasted ciabatta... mmmmm... count me in!
I had the grilled Red Thai lobster as well. Succulent meat and perfectly grilled. I decided to have two appetizers because I also wanted dessert.. Who can resist a piece of chocolate cheesecake??? Could you?? I know I loved it! It was light and tasty and smooth. Just the way I like it!

I asked waiter "Becky" to put a birthday candle on my cheesecake, since you decided to have no dessert. I know you're not fond of being put in the centre of attention, so we didn't overdo it. We sang a birthday song for you and that alone made us all emotional already. You're a special person and we were very happy to share this splendid evening with you.

The British need to work on later pub curfews, but in the end, we stranded in the hotel lounge bar and that cut the deal as well. The drinks were cold and served fast. Maybe we had a little too much to drink (I behaved! I had only one glass of wine) and maybe we talked too much, but it was fun. There's a strong bond among us, that can never be broken..

Karma Kars

We knew our friend was planning a special surprise for his upcoming birthday. We knew it was going to be something different. He asked us to stand in front of the Lancaster Hotel - where we were staying - around 6:50 PM. We were to be picked up then and there. He was pretty secretive about the plan and he wouldn't give us any hints. I knew it was not going to be a limousine that would pick us up. It had to be something unique, more personal, more him. And so it was..

Lifestyle guru Tobias Moss and his friend Kawa from Karma Kars picked us up in two unique Indian cars. The journey is more important than the arrival, is the logic behind this idea. And what a journey it was! We had the time of our life! As soon as both cars drove up the hotel parkway, we all had broad smiles on our faces! How colorful the cabs were decorated! Just awesome! Flower garlands around the cars, Indian tapestry on the inside. Kitsch pink metallic car mats, beads, Indian outfits. It was all there!

Tobias and Kawa drove us around London in their unique vehicles. Trust me, we have been noticed all right. Tobias had this special horn in his car. It made animal noises. You should have seen the look on the faces of the pretty ladies he honked at. Making people smile is a very fun way to earn money. We haven't seen one ugly look towards Tobias and his Karma Kars.

Thank you my friend, for another unique experience..

Monday, June 14, 2010

Keep the curves

Since we're not planning on becoming anorectic, we had another dine out along the Riverside near the Canary Wharf in London, UK. What a spectacular view, having our cocktails with a view over the Thames and the approaching boats. The weather didn't look too promising though, so we were invited to have our dinner inside this gallantly designed restaurant. All black and ivory, Gaucho Canary is a unique place and very popular. Make sure to make reservations, because the place is packed before you know it.

Gaucho Canary is just one of several Gaucho restaurants around London. Experience Argentina and let your taste buds be surprised by the freshness and the tenderness of the freshly cut pieces of beef. What a joy to have the waitress at the table, with a board full of meat, explaining you about the different cuts. Whether you are in for sirloin, ribeye, rumpsteak,.. they have it and it all looks so delicious.

We had different preferences. The ladies had a seafood platter, with a choice of raw scallops, raw tuna, raw salmon - that was a little poached because of the lemon dressing it was topped with -, raw shrimp and some crispy sourdough bread, with a side of garlic stewed spinach. All three men picked a nice piece of beef and they let us taste it. Just perfect! Sabroso!

I skipped on dessert this time, although the menu was very tempting. I had another hazelnut Latte instead.. In the corner of my eye, I could spot a rich cheese platter but hey, although we do wish to keep some curves, the fat it leaves on the hips is not that attractive..

Say Aah

My sweet little Inthe.. Yesterday, I had to rush you to the vet's emergency room. You and Rebba were roughhousing in the backyard at grandma's, when all of a sudden, this accident happened. Rebba was chasing a ball and tried to catch it. You tried to catch that same ball. That's when Rebba accidentally took you for the ball, leaving you with a hole in your right side. Ouch.. You surely screamed in pain.. Rebba felt so guilty, even though it was nothing but an accident.
I checked out the wound and it didn't look good at all. I could see muscles and I rang the vet right away. She said she was expecting us in 15 min. So I picked you up, my little girl, put you in the car and drove you to the vet's house. You were somehow in shock and peed all over the vet's examination table. He gave you anaesthetics and antibiotics right away, cleaning out the wound at the same time. He told me to go home and let him operate on you.
I got to pick you up three hours later. You looked like a little alien, with that silver spray on your side. Five stitches and a shaved spot on your fur. You need to rest and you may not lick the wound. Neither can Rebba. I know she will try to pamper you as much as possible. She felt so lost without you, in the three hours you spent at the vet's. The two of you belong together, no doubt about that. I guess the balls will remain in the shed for a while. The vet told me you will need a little over a month to recover from your injury..

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Love never dies..

The sequel: The Phantom and his Christine, ten years later. It took Andrew Lloyd Webber quite some time to figure out whether a sequel would be a wise idea. Since The Phantom of the Opera is still a hit and there wasn't much room for a better version. But he took the risk and despite some deserved critics, I'm glad I was there. Love never dies was worth the trip to London. How I enjoyed the voices, the decor, the costumes and the music. Webber did it again. He's a true artist.
The Adelphi Theatre is not the most comfortable theatre in London. But once you're seated and the music starts to play, you forget about it. The characters take you along on their musical journey and you swallow your tears as the story continues.

Christine Daaé and the Phantom meet again, on Coney Island this time. Christine is married to Raoul now and there is Gustave, the 10 yo son. The Phantom is still so much in love with his Christine. The tragic ending was not foreseen, but at the end of the tunnel, there was a light..

I was very moved by the story of Love never dies. Look with your heart, not with your eyes. A very important lesson in life. A very important lesson in love..

What I like about you

Today is Father's Day. For 15 years, you have been an excellent father to both our girls. You take good care of them and you provide for the whole family. They can count on you whenever they need you. They love you very much and I'm sure that's not a one way direction.

Happy Father's Day, hubby. You are very special to the girls.. Time to get up now. Your daughter has made you a complete breakfast!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Life's what you make it

For exactly 12 years I have had diabetes type 1. I remember the day of my diagnosis as if it were yesterday. For months I had not been feeling well. In November 2001, the fatigue and the frequent bathroom visits kept me out of my sleep. There were several doctor's visits and I had my blood work checked on as many occasions. He couldn't tell me though, what the problem was. In fact, he said, it was imaginary. Go figure..

Some weeks ago, I was going through some paperwork and I found a diary of 2001. That's where I wrote down how I felt and how poor my condition was. The results of my blood work were written down as well. Reading it again after having had 8 years of diabetes, it opened my eyes. My blood sugars were way too high all along. How come nobody ever mentioned that? How come my GP kept telling me there was nothing wrong with me? At the time, I had no idea what those numbers meant. I know better now. He should've known better then..

I have accepted my diabetes. It's become a part of me. I admit, it's a nuisance but I can live with it. My insulin pump is a big help to me. On the other hand, being on a sugarcoated rollercoaster day and night is not pleasant at all. Trust me, you feel like crap when lows and highs jump in an out of your body. It wasn't any different in London.. I've had several lows in their 20's but I also drank litres of diet coke to calm down the 400+ hypers. I hate those high numbers even more than the lower ones. It's no fun to slow the group down, because the high numbers make you stroll. The cramps in my calves, the constant thirst, the blurry sight and the overall uncomfortable feeling kill you. But you go on. You don't want to ruin the fun. So you give yourself an extra insulin shot, to make the numbers go down again. The speed at which that happens, makes you feel even weirder. And then there are the lows.. You start to shiver. Sometimes it's even hard to hold your meter to test your blood sugar level. And then your friends surround you to give you a hand. They open your box of orange juice for you, they find you a place to sit down, they help you think straight and force you to keep seated until you're feeling better. Even if all you want to do, is act normal and not be a nuisance to anyone. It's moving to have people around you that care. People that take care of you when you're no longer able to trust your own instincts..

Even the musical made my sugars drop. Because that's what emotions do to me. I lived that story and the songs were so touching, that my sugar level rushed down. A pathetic 22 ruined the game and made me leave the theatre for a while. I didn't want to miss the show, but there's not much else I could've done. I felt like passing out and the heat struck me. What a relief there was a nurse in the lobby. He ran over to me, brought me a chair and sat me down. He could tell I was not doing well and I mumbled I had a diabetic low. He stayed with me until the sugar intake did its job. Perhaps my skin tone looked a little like the Phantoms?

Breakfast at Sotheby's

It's not the most obvious place to have breakfast at, since Sotheby's is an auction room, not a restaurant. But our friend's research led us to New Bond Street 34, London, UK. He had arranged a table for five, in this unique setting.
What a joy it was, to see the rich come in and out, debating with their financial advisers. After all, £ 704,000 priced painting is not an impulsive buy.

So we enjoyed the latte macchiatos, the velvety smoked salmon and buttery soft scrambled eggs on toast. The honey glazed home made granola, covered in rich Greek yogurt and topped with day fresh apple puree was a true delight. After all, whiping your mouth corners with a snow white logo embroidered Sotheby's napkin is a very delicate experience.
It doesn't always have to be breakfast at Tiffany's. Breakfast at Sotheby's was as satisfying and maybe a touch more interesting.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Phantom of the Opera

For the first time, I had the chance to go see the English version of The Phantom of the Opera. Of course I knew the story and the songs were not unknown either. But hearing the Phantom and Christine Daaé sing, made my spine shiver. Extraordinary voices, full of emotion and warmth. The love of the Phantom for Christine, his Christine, is never ending and so deep. It was touching to be in that wonderful Her Majesty's Theatre with our very best friends. I consider myself a lucky woman, for having had the chance to be there.. Even though they had seen the show 13 times prior to this show, they were still as enthusiastic as always. The tickets aren't cheap, but they still wanted to give us the opportunity to see the first Phantom musical before we saw the sequel.

The Phantom..

The Phantom of the Opera was the theme of our 4 day visit to London, UK. Our good friend had put many months of preparation into this trip and I can assure you: it was definitely worth the effort. I'm sure he was anxious about the outcome, but he can start breathing again: it was perfect! Notwithstanding the fact that some of us were disabled in one way or another, despite the rain showers and the sore throats, despite the fatigue: we enjoyed every minute of it..

There's so much love in our group. We enjoy each others company and try to hang out as often as we can. Although we all have busy lives, we try to set priorities to make sure that we do have time to spend together. It's not always easy to get everybody moving, but our organising talent did it again. He planned this great trip and we had the time of our life. Isn't that what matters in life? That we indulge the love of the people around us? That we make each other happy?

I'm still tired and my head is full of blogging ideas. I'd better start writing down some keywords, because this was a trip I do not wish to forget..

Monday, June 7, 2010

The time of my life!

We're off to London! See you when we get back! I'll have loads to tell you.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Let's play ball

Hey sweety pies! I drove you to Mrs S and Mr L this morning. You are staying there for a couple of days, until we get back from London. It was like the two of you knew something was going on around here. You followed us around the house like shadows!
I know you love going to Mrs S. She's so good to you! And you have so many friends to play with. Rebba, your mom and dad were so happy to see you! And Inthe, your mommy and twin sister Ebba sniffled and licked you as soon as you came in.
Try to behave in Holland, okay? No chewing on couches or electric cords.. We'll be back before you know it and then we'll play ball, okay? I'll miss you girls..


A date has been set: on June 23, I'm going to return my Paradigm 722 insulin pump. For almost one year, this pump has done what it was supposed to do: deliver insulin. Nothing more, nothing less. I was able to use a CGM system for 6 months and that gave me some good information. But since sensors are not refunded by the system yet, it's just way too expensive to pay for them yourself.

This is going to be my fourth insulin pump in 4 years. I have owned two Cozmos, one Paradigm 722 and the Accuchek Combo is coming up! This pump is much more sophisticated. I'm so looking forward to becoming a Combonaut. A representative of Accuchek is going to meet me at the hospital. He and the diabetes nurse are going to explain everything I need to know about this new pump. And then it's up to me! It'll take me some time to get used to it and to get to know all of its features. But I'm pretty sure I'll get acquainted with the Combo very fast. And I have quite some friends who can help me out, since they are Combonauts themselves.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I can see clearly now

My new specs have arrived! Finally! It was just embarrassing to keep wearing the old pair, because Inthe had eaten half of it. It's a totally different look, but I'm happy with the change. There were way too many glasses to choose from. What a difficult task that was.. ppfff.. the glasses kept coming and so did the doubt. But then, all of a sudden, I saw the glasses I wanted.

It was a surprise that my former glasses were stronger than my recent ones. Apparently that's what happens when your blood sugars stabilize. High blood sugars mean worse sight. So I have another proof that I'm doing well. All the little bits count, right?

I got a nice case for my glasses. In that manner, it will be dog-proof. That is, if I don't forget to put them away..

London bridge is falling down

It's about time to start packing. We're going away for a couple of days. Four days, to be more specific. This time, the Eurostar will be our transportation to London, UK. I have been looking forward to this trip for many months. And it's about to happen. Time to reload the batteries. Time to enjoy our friends. Time to have a ball in this blooming city!

We're going to see two musicals. The first one will be Phantom of the Opera. A classic, absolutely. I have seen the movie and I can hum the songs. And now I'm going to add the musical to our Musical list. I'm sure it will be fantastic! The other night is reserved for the sequel: Love never dies.. This one is totally new for all of us. Our friends have seen the Phantom over and over again, but still, they are prepared to join us to see it once more. That's what I call true friendship. Making it your goal in life to please the people you care for..

Of course there will be time to shop, to visit good restaurants, to do some sightseeing. London is so versatile and there's so much to see, that it will never be boring. And boring is a word that never crosses my mind when we go out with the gang. Words like pleasant, fun, exciting, fulfilling, satisfying, .. are more suitable. I would like to thank the leader of the gang, who has put so much effort in preparing this trip. For several months, he has roamed the Internet, to look for the best deals, the best restaurants. Trust me: it's no sinecure to fill 4 days and please every one of us. But that's exactly what our leader does. He knows what each one of us likes. He knows what we like to eat, where we like to shop, what we want to visit. And all the rest is one pleasant surprise..!! We appreciate the efforts, the energy, the ideas, the friendship. Follow the leader and Mind the gap!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Home sweet home

Rebba and Inthe have a new playhouse. We transformed the shed in the backyard into their own little house. We have put a dog's bed in there, food and drink bowls, a box full of toys, blankets,.. Everything they need to keep them busy while we are out.

Nowadays, we dread to leave the house without the dogs. For Inthe doesn't know how to behave properly in our absence. She's still full of mischief. Maybe it's separation anxiety or plain boredom, I don't know. But I'm not a fan of her ripping apart the couch. So they have a spot of their own now. I wonder how they will like that? Now I'll have to teach them to clean their dog house.

I got a feeling

I got a feeling, this handsome young man is turning 10 today! That's a milestone! He absolutely looks 10 and he acts like a 10 yo: bright, alive and kicking.

His godfather is still trying to find him the best present ever. Because that's what godfathers do, right?
We'll see him this Sunday, for his birthday party. Have a very happy birthday, Kiddo!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I just love Martha Stewart! I like to watch her shows, visit her website, try out her recipes. She's an incredible woman. Knowing where she came from and how she started her career, I have deep respect for her. Too bad her family life didn't survive her career.. she's a true business woman and yet, she always looks calm and stress resistant. Did you know she's originally Polish?
I like the concept of her show. We should have something similar over here. But then again.. I can't think of anyone over here who could do what Martha does for the US residents. So for the moment, I'm happy with her show and I tend to watch it as often as I can.

Sit on the side line

My foot is still bugging me. It's been more than a month and a half, since I sprained my foot.
It's difficult to walk on cobblestones or stand on one leg. My foot hurts if I have to walk for a long time or take the stairs.
So I went back to my GP to see what he could do about it. He suggested I'd have some more X-rays and an ultrasound. So that's what I did.

The radiologist told me there was a cyst in my foot, bursitis caused by friction of the cyst against tendons, edema in my ankle and severe bone spur under my foot. Great.. Just what I needed. It does explain the pain. I can't see the orthopaedist before June 15. So I guess I'll have to cope until then. My brother-in-law, who works for the orthopaedist I'm about to see, is going to talk to the doctor this morning. Let's hope he will be able to help me out, so I won't hold anybody up during our visit in London next week.

Being a diabetic, it's very important to take good care of your feet. Ulcers may occur before you know it, leaving a hole in your foot. In the worst case scenario, that might lead to amputation of the foot. So yes, it worries me. I'm planning a session with the pedicure to have callus removed. Callus is always a sign that either you wear shoes that don't fit your feet properly or that there is some pressure of some kind. I don't recall having callus free feet..

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Starting over

I'm seeing a different endocrinologist. Meaning that I'm no longer going to my previous hospital, but to a hospital nearby. It was good to meet the diabetes nurse and communicate with her about what I want and what they expect in return. This week, I'm keeping a food/diabetes log for her, to give her an idea how I cope with D.
Last year, when I had to give back my Cozmo insulin pump - the manufacturer went out of business - I had no options. I was given the Paradigm 722. A good basic pump, but that's it. It's basic. Nothing fancy, nothing special. Compare it to having a cell phone. Some cells are designed to make phonecalls and to text messages. That's fine, because after all, that's what a cell phone is meant to do. But then there are more sophisticated cell phones. They provide a camera, Internet, bluetooth.. And that's what the Combo pump is to me. A more sophisticated pump, compared to the Paradigm. So yes, I'm pretty excited my new endocrinologist is prepared to give me this new pump. The Paradigm will return to sender. Without any regrets. I did grieve when I had to hand over my first pump, the Cozmo. It had kept me alive for 3 years. This Paradigm has done the same job for almost a year, but I'm not sorry to see it go.

I guess it's time to start over. New hospital, new doctor, new diabetesteam, new pump. And later this year: a new me!

Honey I'm home!

I'm very avid to shop at my favorite grocery shop Delhaize. Whenever I go there, I get to buy all the healthy food I want to have. Lots of greens and veggies, succulent fruit, dried nuts and seeds, lean meat, fresh fish, yummy Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. I make a grocery list before I leave, to make sure I have at least the items I need for my weekly menu. Most of the time, I bring home other products, mainly for the kids. I eat more fish and veggies than they do. Hubby prefers pork over chicken or beef. So I end up cooking different things for every one of us. That's okay. I don't mind.
These are some products I would like to buy for my personal menu this week: asparagus, zucchini, young spinach leaves, peppers in different colors, carrots, artichoke, green beans, fresh yellowfin tuna, fresh salmon, flatfish, smoked salmon, steak, chicken breast, chicken sausage, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, apples, nectarines, peaches, strawberries (lots of strawberries)...
Is it time to go yet?? I will need someone at home to bring in the groceries, so I can start putting them away in the fridge and pantry.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


The unthinkable happened: you quit smoking. May 20th 2010 will be a day to remember. That is the exact date you convinced yourself you don't need to smoke. You are taking classes and you really need that back up. You have support in that group, people who know what you are going through, because they're on the same wagon. It's good that you have found that method. You have tried to quit before, on your own, or by using medication. Every time you started smoking again after a certain amount of time. But this time, I have the feeling it's going to be different. Maybe because you finally convinced yourself it's better for you? I'm proud of you, for making this huge decision.


Photo by Lana Joos
Photo by Lana Joos
I have a new hobby. Since I started watching Cake Boss Buddy on Discovery Channel, I'm totally hooked on decorating cakes. What a fun pastime! I bought some books and checked different websites on the subject. There are some special tools you need. I had a hard time finding the right ingredients, but they are sitting in my pantry now. I have made several cakes by now. My favorite fillings so far are: hazelnut mousse and strawberry mousse. Just so creamy, fluffy and delicious.

Buddy is a real joy. He's a big kid and he loves to fool around with his staff. His sisters are so hilarious and ecstatic, that you can't but love them. The cakes Buddy and his team decorate, are just awesome. I've never seen anything like it. Maybe I'll visit him one day, and taste one of his perfect little cupcakes. Sounds like a plan to me!