Friday, December 31, 2010

I walk slowly but I never walk backwards

It's about time to welcome the year 2011. Wow.. things have gone so fast in the past year. Reflecting over 2010, it has been a year full of commotion and turmoil, but also a year of happiness and good memories. We have done some great outings abroad, had fun over the dinner table with friends and not the least: my health has improved dramatically. I like to recall the good things of 2010 and forget about the minor facts. In fact, there's not much use in looking back. The only thing to do is look forward and cheerfully jump into 2011 with both feet.
Tomorrow we'll be in Florida. A totally different environment. Sun, pleasure, shops, outings, Disney, luncheons and dinners, friendship and love. I couldn't think of a better way to start a new year.

I won't be texting you all for the upcoming year. That doesn't mean I won't be thinking of you, okay? Know you're all on my mind xx

Swapping kids

Imagine you would be given the opportunity to swap kids with a friend. Would you do it? Not for ever, just for a while, let's say 6 months. It would give you the chance to a fresh start. You could try out new methods of parenting on these children, who are not aware of your way of educating kids. They wouldn't know about the numerous times you screwed up. They wouldn't hold a grudge against you for long time ago punishments. Would you gladly accept the new chances given?

Are there things in your parenting skills you would like to alter? Are you afraid to admit to your kids you were wrong at certain times? Well, listen to this: there's no need to swap kids at all. Kids are forgiving. They won't hate you for admitting your mistakes. On the contrary, they will embrace you for being so honest with them. They will realize mom and dad are not perfect either. Will that make the world fall apart? Not really. Is it embarrassing? Probably. The first time is the most difficult one. But after that? Piece of cake. It's not that hard to say sorry to your children. After all, we teach them that saying sorry is a good thing. And from there we move on.

Don't swap your kids. That would be horrible. Your children are the most precious creatures ever. I wouldn't want to trade mine! Every now and then I would like to glue them behind the wallpaper, but you know what? They would probably say the same about me..

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Don't you worry 'bout me when I'm gone

Imagine you were given a date that was going to be your day of death. I hear that terminally sick people are being told how much longer they will have. Would you want to know? Would you ask the doctors how much longer you would be on this planet? Or would you rather remain oblivious?

I think curiosity killed the cat. It's in our nature to desire to know everything. But if there is one thing in the whole world we can't predict exactly, it's our dying day. There's not much we can do about it and we surely can't prevent death. We can try to make the most of it, but in the end we will all die. That's just the circle of life.

A friend of mine was told he had 3 months left. That was a horrible thing to hear. Cancer had eaten his body and there was no cure or treatment left to make him better. In the mean time, 3 years have passed and he's still here. What is it like to keep on living after having heard your death sentence? Can you still dream your dreams? What do you do on a daily basis? Do you keep working? Do you plan an extra holiday or gathering with your family? That must be so hard to grasp.

This morning, a 38 yo mom was buried in our town. I wonder if she knew she wasn't gonna make it. Did she plan her last days? Did she discuss her funeral with her husband? Did she say goodbye to her little girl? Or was she too sick to understand what was happening? Imagine having to say goodbye to your children. What do you tell them? That everything is going to be okay??? It's not okay.. Little girls need their moms. They can't do without yet. I can't get the face of this beautiful young girl out of my mind. It's there all the time. I wonder how she feels. At the age of 12, can one understand that death is for ever? Who will take care of her? Someone will have to help her grow up without her mommy..

To me, talking about death is not taboo. I'd rather stay alive for many more years, but I do realize we're here for only a short period of time. Life is so fragile and death lurks around the corner to come jump at us when we least expect it. I know I do not want to be buried or have a Christian funeral. I want to be cremated. No fuss, no tears, no black clothes. Just a gathering of a selected group of friends, to say goodbye to my life. And then a nice meal to celebrate life and move on..

Moving on

I'm impressed. Not because I thought you were not capable of finding a better job, but more because it was so sudden. Maybe those are the best choices. No hesitation, just go for it!

You are an intelligent young woman. You're good at translating in several languages (I still suck at German and I envy your talent) and over the years, you have built up quite some experience. You have worked under pressure and you have worked several functions within the same company. Sometimes to sit in for sick colleagues. You are a good colleague and a good employee. I'm sure your employer will know what she will be missing once you leave the company. But you know what? Don't feel guilty about it.. Life goes on. If you have the opportunity to improve your life, why wouldn't you? Look how fast you were offered another job? Doesn't that mean anything? I think it means a whole lot! They have seen your talent and your energy and attitude. I'm proud of you!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Helicopter moms and Free range dads

As you know, we have two beautiful young teen daughters. Well, young, they are not that young anymore. The oldest is turning a sweet 16 soon and her sister will be 14 in no time. They are no longer considered children, meaning they can sit with the adults at family parties and have grown up meals.

Growing up comes with responsibilities and doing chores and taking good care of yourself. We trust our children in that manner, that they will behave and do what's appropriate. Meaning I'm no helicopter mom, breathing in their necks and chasing them in whatever they do. They have a certain amount of freedom, the kind of freedom they can handle. The oldest has more freedom but also more responsibilities. The youngest needs more guidance and steering before she comes to her responsibilities, but she's learning. She's more the typical teenager than her sister. But that's okay, it's part of growing up.

Their father used to be more of a free range dad. He's not that strict and more willing to give in, but lately I have come to realize he has changed somehow. He interferes more in the education of the girls and they listen to his advice. He's so patient - so much more than I am - and good at letting them know the rules. He may not be as consistent as I am - the girls know I mean what I say and I'll persevere in what we have agreed on - but that's okay too. Whenever the girls trip over an issue, the issues aren't that big they can't be solved. They are just minor problems, often not worth mentioning.

Both the girls are pretty independent. They have learned how to cook a simple meal, how to mop floors or iron shirts and sheets. That's what I wanted for them: independence. I want to make sure they will be able to live by themselves before they decide to live with a partner. That's why I'm a big fan of letting them live apart when they decide to go to college. And yes, the girls agree. They like their independence. They like the fact that they can be by themselves for a while, without mom or dad constantly stepping in.

I'm leaving for Orlando, Florida this week. The girls will be at home with their dad, but at the same time, they will spend some time alone when he's at work. That doesn't worry me at all, because I know they are capable of doing so. They will cook and clean up their mess and take care of the pets. I'm proud of them..


Passport: check!
Dollars: check!
Medication: check!
Insulin pump:..

Getting organized for our upcoming trip to Orlando, it hit me that I had not asked my diabetes nurse for a spare insulin pump. Darn! That was so stupid! I can't believe I actually forgot something that important. I cannot take the risk to go abroad for 12 days without a spare insulin pump. It's just too tricky. You never know what happens and I have no intention to drag along syringes, absolutely not!

That's where my diabetes nurse - bless her - comes in. Immediately she started making phone calls. And yes, she pulled it of! She got a hold of the sales representative (he's adorable) to make further arrangements. I was late to submit my order, but nevertheless, the people at Roche company assured me they would get a travel pump ready for me. Hubby could pick it up after work in Brussels. What a relief! I don't expect any abnormalities, but I'd rather be prepared. Although the US is way ahead of our teeny tiny country, they don't have access to this marvellous Accu-Chek Combo pump. Bummer! Let's keep our fingers crossed I won't have to open the emergency box with the travel pump. I won't screw up this time.. ! I may hope..

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Diabetic Living

Some time ago, I ran into this website on diabetes and I must admit, I have found very valuable and clear information on it. Ever since, I try to check it on a regular basis to see if there are topics I can use to put on our own diabetesforum. It was a comfort to read certain topics. They confirmed my own vision on how diabetes is supposed to be treated. It makes me feel safe and it gives me faith and selfconfidence. There is some responsibility in meeting and talking with other diabetics. They want to hear your advice and how you deal with this condition. You want to make sure the information you provide is correct and truthful.

I have been asked to give workshops on diabetes. That came as a real surprise to me and I have thought it over carefully. I wanted to know what they expect of me. I'm not a doctor after all and I can't do much more than tell others about my own experience with D. But that's exactly what they want me to talk about. Ideas are bubbling in my mind and I'm starting to write down what I could talk about. I'm definitely looking forward to these workshops. It's always good to spread the word on D and to make other people aware that yes, diabetes is a chronic disease, but you can still live a meaningful and happy life. And that's exactly the purpose of my workshops!


Five years ago, Belgian journalist Annemie Struyf went to Kenia, to find the family of her adopted daughter Hope. Together with HIV positive Achieng - who had saved the life of baby Hope - Anniemie hopes to learn more about the country and the people of her precious little girl.
As a result of this adventure, there is this moving TV series called "The mother of my daughter". It tells the story of Hope and the life of so many orphans in Africa.. Achieng wanted to create a safe haven where orphans could live towards a bright future in a warm home.

The viewers of "The mother of my daughter" were moved by the series. They raised money for Achieng so she could realize her dream. Hope Home is a place where many orphan babies now get the care and love they would never have got without Achieng.

Five years later, Annemie goes back to Kenia. Her daughter Hope is 7 years old now. Annemie and Achieng keep in touch and are still good friends. They have both a personal and a professional relationship. Project Hope Home is a project they put a lot of effort, time and money in.

In "The sisters of my daughter", Annemie and Achieng look back to what happened five years before. They talk about how their lives have changed ever since. We can see Annemie and Achieng continue their mission. They tell us about life at Hope Home. But they don't hesitate to tell us about the life of young, black girls and women who are fighting to get a better life.

Check the website and open your heart to Annemie, Achieng and all of the orphans out there. They can use all the support we can give. It's Christmas time. Why don't we donate a little extra to Hope Home, so Achieng can continue taking care of these little babies nobody else wants to look after?

Watching the series always makes me whimper. It is so real, so true, so heartbreaking. But it's also motivating and positive, to see that there are still people out there, who are prepared to donate their time, love and energy to innocent children..

Monday, December 27, 2010

It's the end of the year

You have no idea how much I have been looking forward to the end of this year.. We never really celebrate Sylvester, but this year is going to be different. Our house will be packed with family, although Hubby and I won't be home. We'll be celebrating the end of 2010 in Holland, near the airport, where several rooms have been booked for us and our friends. It's a very special occasion, since a holiday in Orlando, Florida is waiting for us! I'm so excited and at the same time, it's kinda weird, since Hubby and the girls are not joining me. This time, it's just me and the friends.

I'm still not done packing my suitcase. I have no clue what to put in it. Times have been weird lately and sun and snow are altering in Florida as well as over here. I know there are plenty of stores to buy whatever we need, but I'd rather be prepared!

I'll bring the MacBook along, to keep in touch with my family and friends. I hope to post some pictures every now and then as well.

Happy New Year!!!


I want to go hunt for new clothes! Really... I mean, my dresser is close to empty. I keep filling bags with clothes that need to go to the clothes bin or vintage shop. Same for my shoes... and that is more painful. I hate to throw out shoes, but after some fitting sessions, I came to the realization that some shoes will never be worn again, so they have to go.

I like my nearly empty closet. I gives me a sense of freedom and a better overview of what to wear. Some pieces have hardly ever been worn and others were so worn out, I should have let go a long time ago. I'm ready to make a list of basics I will need. Two pairs of well fitted jeans is the first item on the list. A crisp white tailored blouse is another must have. And an amazing belt! I would like grey dresser pants too, and a warm wool sweater. I need some color in my dresser. I have bought some beautiful dresses last months, so no more dresses, or it would have to be another dress I simply can't resist.

Who wants to join me??? I need a personal shopper!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I know a little

My handyman comes in handy at many occasions. He knows a little about everything and that's a very good virtue. Trying to solve all the little problems around the house, it has saved us a lot of money and aggravation. I'm completely helpless without my dishwasher, since I spend so much time in the kitchen. Please don't make me do dishes! So Hubby got his tools from the shed, screwed the panel off and sat down in front of the machine, trying to figure out why no water was coming into the appliance. He checked the Internet, thought some more and came up with the solution. And yes! my dishes can be washed again.. what a relief!

I hear appliances start to show failure after 10 years and that's completely true. Dishwasher, oven, freezer, fridge, dryer, toilets, washing machine... Been there, several times. But every time, hubby could fix the problem. He would be a great mechanic!

I know a little about how to work all of my appliances but Hubby knows a lot about how they work.

Don't speak

Italian grissini
Photo by Lana Joos
If you would speak now, you would miss the sound of my crispy home made Italian grissini. They are absolutely delicious.

Grissini are golden bread sticks. You can serve them with soup or as an appetizer with artichoke/spinach dip. Have them as a snack, dipped in home made chocolate spread.

There are so many reasons why one should make his own grissini. They are easy to make and a good start for a beginning baker. You don't need a whole of ingredients and you won't need hours in the kitchen to finish them. And they are absolutely worth the effort. Why don't you invite some guests to have soup and grissini, before you make them a good ravioli?

what do we need:
  • 200 grams of all purpose flour
  • 50 grams of semolina flour (00 flour)
  • 1/2 package of dry yeast
  • 140 ml luke warm water
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of good olive oil
  • a pinch of salt
  • herbs to taste (basil, oregano, marjoram, thyme, ..), chopped finely if you use fresh herbs
  • poppy seeds, sesame seeds or coarse salt
what do we do:
  • Combine the flour, semolina and salt.
  • Let the yeast leaven in the luke warm water with the sugar.
  • Add the oil and the yeast mixture to the flour.
  • Sprinkle the herbs over the flour and add a pinch of salt.
  • Mix with a fork and form it into a dough.
  • Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for about a quarter of an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  • Divide the dough into 12 little clumps.
  • Roll each ball into a long grissini.
  • Roll each grissini into poppy seeds, sesame seeds or coarse salt. Or have them plain!
  • Bake the grissini until crisp and golden (approximately 15 min).
  • They will crisp up even further when they cool down.
  • Store them in a tin or serve them in a glass.
So what are you waiting for???

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The day after

Last night, we had a great time. Everybody was there and they were all in a good mood. The children all got along well. Just look at how tall have they grown.. We were digging into our memory to bring up some good stories about their childhood. It made us realize how fast things go and how quickly they have grown up to become young adults. It won't be too long before they bring their boyfriends and girlfriends on Christmas Eve. And they will all be welcomed into our family.

The sun was out today. The combination of both the sun and the icy temperatures was interesting to say the least. The dogs were longing for a good walk in the park. They didn't join us on Christmas Eve. Too dangerous with all that food around and too little space on the couch for the kids with two whippets in the house. But they behaved well and they were cuddled when we came home in the middle of the night.
The year is passing by and 2011 is getting closer. We have no idea what the new year will bring us, but we will surely start 2011 in the best manner possible: with a well deserved vacation abroad..

Jingle Bells

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Arigato, obrigado..

Gracias, thank you, danke schön, merci bien. So many ways to thank someone in as many different languages. Isn't that what Christmas is all about?

I'm grateful for the beloved ones around me: in the first place my family.. For 16 years we have been a family and we are so lucky to have been given the chance to raise two beautiful, smart girls. Nowadays, it's no sinecure to still be a family after 16 years of marriage. Life hasn't always been easy, but things are going swell. 

I'm grateful for my friends, who back me up and give me the support I need. They are always there, whenever I need them. It's not that obvious to have good friends, so yes, I'm lucky again.

Let's say grace, for whatever we are thankful for. Let's not forget the meaning of Christmas and let's celebrate life.


I like to make goodies as little treats for our guests. Christmas Eve at grandma's house is an ideal occasion to make goodies for the aunts, uncles, grandparents and children. This year I even made cookies for the pets! Since my father-in-law doesn't drink a drop of alcohol, I decided to make a non-alcoholic treat for the men in the family. They will each get a small jar of home made cranberry-apple chutney, to serve with cold cuts and leftover turkey. This year, the ladies will be treated with little bottles of home made eggnog. How is that??? Lana just filled up small cans with candy for the children and I'm still working on the biscuits for the pets.. I'd better get moving!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Joy of Diabetes

You will probably say: what do you mean, the joy of diabetes? Are you out of your mind??

Recently I ordered Bob Hawkinson's book "The Joy of Diabetes". Bob was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was just a one year old baby. He's 45 now and one could say he's a veteran when it comes to diabetes. What struck me most, was his positive attitude towards D. In so many magazines and newspapers, we hear nothing but bad and sad news on diabetes. Okay, it's a chronic disease and the possible complications are not minor. But we have a choice in life, also when it comes to living with diabetes. That's exactly what Bob is trying to let us know by writing this book.

A positive attitude in life is such a good deal. Whether you believe you can or can't do things, you are right. I prefer to believe my diabetes to be manageable. It's easier to cope with, if you believe in a good ending. I don't want to think of loss of eye sight, amputation of limbs, strokes or kidney failure. I prefer to be in control and keep my blood sugars in the green zone. You feel so much better about yourself if your numbers are fine. There's no need to feel guilty.

Bob, you rock man! You did a really good job at writing your lifestory on diabetes. I hope your story will inspire many of us.

Food heaven and Food hell...

In cooking class, once again I realized how important food is in my life. I love food and what creativity does with it. I love to taste new things and trying out new recipes is a daily pastime of mine. I have no idea why food has become that important. Could it be because diabetes has changed my life in that matter? My condition forced me to take better care of myself. Before my diagnosis, I never thought much about food or (healthy) cooking. It just wasn't that important. I didn't care about the veggies I missed out on. No fresh fruit in my shopping cart wasn't an issue. And why would I not eat pork every day?

But that was my life before D. Nowadays, food has become more of an issue. And you know what? I see my diabetes as an advantage to leading a better life. Really, it was a true eye opener. It helped me cook healthier and eat more greens.

Of course there's food heaven and food hell. There will always be certain products I won't eat. Call it childish, I don't care. Just don't serve me braised Belgian endives, Brussels sprouts or hotchpotch. You really do not want to hear me ask for a barf bag.
Food heaven.. that sounds a whole lot better. To me, it's the only heaven out there. Just imagine having all of your favorite food available at all time. Without consequences, without guilt. No counting carbs, no injections of insulin, no scale to weigh your portions or your body for that manner.

What is food heaven to you? Suppose your doctors tell you your last days are in sight. What would your last meals look like? Do you have any idea?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


In our days, we used to watch Sons and Daughters or Home and Away. Later we switched to programmes like The Bold and the Beautiful. Does it surprise you that this last series is still on air? Nothing much has changed over the years. Many characters are still playing their role. I can't remember what Brooke and Eric looked like 20 years ago, but it seemed like they didn't age at all. Would they say the same if they could take a peek at us?

Nowadays, our oldest daughter is a fan of DOOL, better known as The Days of Our Lives. She doesn't always have the time to watch every single episode, so she records whatever she can. And then - on a day off - she has a DOOL marathon, watching one episode after the other. Sometimes I take a glance and you know what startles me every time? Nothing really seems to happen.. things appear to go on forever, month after month, year after year. To discover that, a decade later, things haven't changed dramatically. To be honest, if you haven't seen the show for 10 years, you can just cuddle up in your chair and pick in where you left off..

What is it with people that they want to watch series like DOOL or The Bold and the Beautiful? Is it an escape from reality? Is it he consistency of the daily TV show? A daily appointment with people we get to know through a TV series? It's not that the series are that interesting or exciting.. or are they really?

A clock radio for Christmas

Admit it. You must have had at least one silly present for Christmas at some point in your life. Some people really get a hang of it, to pick out the most ridiculous Christmas presents ever! So tell me: what was your most disappointing present ever? A pair of socks? Handkerchiefs? An album full of dull Christmas songs? A third corkscrew?
Then what do you do with the presents that are absolutely too ridiculous? Do you keep them aside for future raffle prizes? Do you politely thank the giver and give him your broadest smile ever, because the thought is more important than the present? Or do you burst into tears, whining about why this always seem to happen to you?

The whole year round, I look out for presents for my beloved ones. I buy them at whatever time and keep them in my special box until Christmas peeks around the corner. Sometimes I wrap the presents in advance and provide them with a gift card. And then, so many months later, I find presents for any Tom, Dick and Harry, but I can't remember what's in it. So by then, it's become a surprise to me as well!

Some people are absolutely easy to find presents for. Because they are not demanding nor picky, but also because they have many hobbies, making it easier to pick something pleasant. And there are people who are so hard to please.. Nothing makes them happy. You can't but see the disappointment on their faces while opening their presents. No matter what you buy, it will never please them, just because they are that kind of people.

I keep a wishlist and that has come in very handy at times. Don't you ever have people ask you what they could make you happy with? Exactly.. right there and then, you are tongue-tied and you absolutely have no idea what to wish for. Now that's when you end up with a vibrator or an ashtray or a silly keyhanger.. Be prepared!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


The end of the year is coming up. There has been more snow than ever, announcing wintertime. Family traditions are important. They are comforting. Every Christmas Eve, the inlaws invite all of their 5 children and their families into their home, to spend a wonderful night together. Nobody ever misses that night. It's too important for all of us to be there. The women have a great time preparing the food, while the children play their games. The men have their talk in the living area and drinks and appetizers are being brought into the room incessantly. As usual, grandma will have decorated her table the night before. It's a joy to have all of our beloved ones at the same table. It's quite a crew by now: 19 people in total!

After dinner, some of the men get up and do their share of washing up. It's time for the ladies to relax now, before we get ready for dessert. The children will be jumping up and down by now, begging to open their presents. It is fun to watch them rip the paper from the boxes and hear them scream their ooh's and aah's. They compare presents and comment each other's gifts. There are rarely tears or negative sighs.

Last year, the grown ups joined the kids to play Buzz! What a fantastic game! It was just hilarious to watch everyone do their best. Even the teens knew quite some answers to the questions on music from the 80's. I was impressed! Looking forward to playing some more games this year!

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Winter Wonderland

Photo by Lana Joos

The white scenery is so serene and peaceful. It's completely zen. Yin and Yang have rediscovered their balance. It's so quiet outside. No footprints in the snow that has fallen overnight. Just a completely snow white carpet.

Inthe is ready to go play outside. She has no time to put on her jacket. She wants to roughhouse in that fluffy material out there. Trying to dig up her lost toys that are hiding underneath the white mass. She tries to convince Rebba to join her, but Rebba pretends to sleep.. She's laying on her blanket before the fireplace. One of her ears is listening to Inthe trying to communicate with her, but the other ear is not interested one bit.. Can't blame her. I prefer the fireplace too. I'm planning a couch potato day..

Rebba enjoying the heat of the fireplace
Photo by Lana Joos

Monday, December 20, 2010

Double trouble

I have a sensitive stomach. It doesn't need much to become upset. Hubby on the contrary, has a stomach made of steel I suppose.
He can eat most anything and overdue products don't make him sick. People make fun of me when I tell them that a cup of yogurt can make me terribly sick if I eat it on the same day it's due. Honestly. And it's not because I saw the expire date on the wrapper. The moment I eat something that is overdue, my stomach protests. Sometimes I tell myself it's in my head and I finish the snack - with hesitation. That's when the problems begin. Either I have to throw up or diarrhoea makes me rush to the toilet instantly. If I have really overdone it, I'm in double trouble. It will come out one way or the other or both.

It had been a while, but last week I ate overdue cinnamon custard. Darn! why did I do that?? I thought it was kinda running, and it tasted a little different, but I finished it anyway. Stupid me.. when will I learn and listen to my gut feeling??

The sweet intoxication of love

The best present a father can give to his child, is to love its mother..

Photo by Lana Joos

This little baby is the perfect result of the love between two people. Both mom and dad have been longing for this little boy for a long time..

He's here now and he's gorgeous.. Just look at him. Wouldn't you want to hold him and never let go? An innocent child, born into this world. A little boy with a mission, I would like to say. Because I have this feeling, this little cutie will matter. He will unite people from different worlds, different cultures, different believes. He will be loved and honored and cuddled and embraced by many. One day, he will speak for himself and let others know what he stands for. He will have a mind of his own. He will become a great man..

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Back to normal living

Every now and then, I would like to take a day off from diabetes-life. Most of the time, I cope well and I have incorporated D into my daily life. It's become such a part of me, that it's no effort to do whatever it takes to control my blood sugars. But every now and then, things go wrong. Because I'm distracted. Because of something I ate. Because of an unforeseen activity. Because of..

We were having dinner in a restaurant and I was enjoying the company and the food. Estimating the amount of carbs in my food, I gave myself a mealtime bolus. At least, that was the plan. My remote control decided otherwise. It said the bluetooth connection to my insulin pump had been interrupted. I checked the history on my pump and that's where I verified the bolus had not been delivered, since the symbol was colored grey instead of blue. I remembered the amount of insulin my pump had suggested and I gave the remote a second order. This time, I felt a vibration under my armpit, telling me that my pump was receiving the bolus of insulin. We went on with our conversations and I had another bite of Thai Pho. Life is swell and having a night out with friends is a true joy.

Later that night, we went to a nightclub where we could dance and enjoy good live music. I had to sit down. Wasn't feeling too well. My lips were stinging and I was shivering. I checked my blood glucose and it read 53. That was not a number I expected. Not at all, after eating a fair amount of carbohydrates? My friend rushed over to the bar to get me a regular coke and I tried to think about the reason behind this after meal low. I couldn't figure it out. The drink made me feel better and we continued to dance and have fun.

Later that night, we drove home. Being in the middle of a snowstorm, I did my best to focus on the road, so we wouldn't wreck the car. I felt dizzy and I stuffed several pieces of candy in my mouth. By the time we got home, I checked my BG again and it said 41.. What was going on??? I had some more candy and a cookie, before I went to bed at 03:30. Only to wake up a little later, feeling weird again. Another finger poke taught me my BG was not raising at all: 32 mg/dl.. I had some Dex4 before I laid down my head and tried to sleep some more..

The next morning I wanted to figure out what had happened. So I checked my meter history again and I was very surprised to see the outcome! My first mealtime bolus I had given, had allegedly been interrupted. I remembered giving myself another shot of insulin. The renewed bluetooth connection must have set that previous bolus to work as well. Because that's what the history showed: no more grey symbols, but 2 blue mealtime bolus symbols. Leaving me with 24 units of insulin instead of the 12 units I intended to give myself. No wonder my blood sugars were dropping like crazy..

D is full of surprises. All the time you have to be very aware of what you do. A moment of distraction, and the outcome can be completely different than planned. Life with D is not always that complicated. But it makes you aware of how vulnerable a human life can be. One has to be alert all the time.

The end of the road

Yesterday, you buried your husband. For over 50 years the two of you were together. We never saw one without the other. We knew the end was in sight. Your soulmate had been sick for quite a while. He needed oxygen 24/7. He was a nervous personality, always worrying about his beloved ones. In the end, his worries focused more on his own person. He wasn't ready to go yet. He didn't want to leave you behind. His own mother had passed away just a month ago. That didn't do him any good. He wanted to hold on to life, but life had become a battle he couldn't win.

Your son compared his fathers life to a card game. His father liked to play cards with his friends. He never had the intention to become a winner. He just didn't have that mentality. "No winners, no losers," he would say. But he didn't want to lose this game - the game of life.

He passed away peacefully. There couldn't have been a better way for him to go. He fell asleep in his hospital bed and he didn't wake up. I'm glad he didn't let go of life at home. It would not have been good for you. The two of you were happy in your new cosy home. Nearly 3 years did the two of you enjoy the comfort of a modern house. Do you remember the discussions on an inside bathroom? He never wanted a bathroom nor an indoor lavatory. It took you many many years to convince him of the contrary. He wanted to invite Hubby - his godson - and me to come take a look at his perfect little bathroom. But we never got there.. It's too late now. He's no longer in this world..

We won't forget about him. How he liked to make jokes. How he enjoyed his family and friends. He was crazy about our whippets, you know! And whenever he visited my mother-in-law, he wouldn't leave without saying: give my love to my godson and his wife..

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Snow snow go away, please come back another day..

The snowstorm has truly disturbed our plans for this evening. Our oldest daughter got tickets to go see The Swanlake ballet in Antwerp tonight. She was so happy with the tickets, since she's a true ballet dancer herself and seeing the disappointment in her eyes, was just too much.. I'm so sorry we couldn't make it, but it just wasn't worth the risk driving all the way to Antwerp and back. It's still snowing and it seems like the whole world has become one white snow carpet. It's a beautiful scenery, I won't deny that. But it's such a pain if you have to get somewhere in time. I'm lucky to drive a 4x4, but still, I will not jeopardize our safety.
We will figure out a way to see another ballet performance in the near future..

Maybe we'll rent a movie tonight and make a big bowl of popcorn. That might dry up her tears.

Fun to be around

We are all very lucky Hubby has a very good job. He has responsibility in his job and he's pretty good at doing what he does. 

Every now and then, his co-workers organize a dinner party, mostly around the end of the year. Last night, we were invited to the party in Brussels. The crowd wasn't too big and most of the people present, I knew. That's a whole lot better than the first time I attended one of those parties. Since he works an international job, you shouldn't be surprised to hear Dutch, French, English, German, Spanish, Bulgarian,.. I love to speak different languages and to mingle with all kinds of people. It had been a year since we last met and it was a pleasure. 

I'm happy my husband is doing so well at work. To hear his boss praise him, makes me happy. To see him get along with his colleagues and being appreciated by all, is a joy. It's good to attend these parties. I'm glad our friends joined us too. Because it wouldn't be the same without them..

Friday, December 17, 2010

Losing you

How long had we been separated? I can't remember the exact date, but we stopped seeing each other right before you got pregnant. I was thrilled when you texted me that you were expecting your first baby. I was anxious to see you, but I didn't. We didn't get together throughout your pregnancy.
The day you let me know your baby boy was born, I was ready to hop in the car and come tell you how proud I was of you. I wanted to hold that baby and tell him how much his mommy and daddy loved him.

It was good to see you today. You have changed. You're a mommy now. It's heart warming to see you nurture this little creature. It has awakened feelings deep inside of you and it has made you a better person. Because that's what children do: they make us better people.. Our children are our mirror to the soul. They let us see who we are. They reflect different aspects of their parents and there's so much to learn from our offspring. If only we are willing to see..

Motherhood is a blessing. There's no greater gift in the whole world. Just imagine how miraculous things are.. Two people come together and out of their love, new life is born.. It still startles me.

Did I tell you how beautiful your baby is? Perhaps a dozen times. I can't express how much I missed you. I've cursed you too, you know. I don't like what we do to one another every now and then, but somehow we always make up. It was good to give you a hug. It felt warm and sincere and familiar. Let's keep it that way, okay?

Family dinner

Friday evening is the first evening in the week when we have the chance to eat dinner together as a family. That is if Hubby is not working the late shift. Since Eva is in boarding school during the week, there's always one person missing at the dining table. That's why we really put an effort in getting everyone together on weekends. I truly enjoy the time together around diner or lunch. It's the perfect time to talk things over. The children talk about what happened in the last week, jokes are being told and we enjoy memories of previous adventures.
Weekends give me the opportunity to add that little extra zing to the meals we have together. I make sure everyone is pleased with the meals they are being served. I know what everybody likes to eat and seeing the kids enjoy their food is a true joy.
I'm so happy the girls are still at an age they enjoy being home and have our meals together. They appreciate that quality time as much as we do. I hate to eat all by myself and I always look forward to having people around the table.
So let's think about our next Friday meal!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Don't forget me when I'm gone

Something strange is happening in our small community. Over the last 10 years, I have known several women - young moms - who have lost the battle against cancer.. They were all in their 30's - early 40's when they were diagnosed and within a year, they had to give up their fight. Leaving young children and a husband behind..

What causes this turmoil? It's kinda scary, since we do live in a very small town. I haven't heard of any young men who suffered from cancer and were diagnosed a terminal cancer patient. Nothing but young moms, diagnosed with breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterus cancer, leukaemia,.. Just two days ago, another young girl had to let go of her mommy, who was diagnosed with uterus cancer several years ago. She won the battle until recently, leukaemia had taken over her body. She didn't make it.. It is so sad.. Another family ruined..

Why are people so convinced nothing of that manner will happen to them? It happens everywhere, it doesn't spare anyone. We are so small and there's not much we can do about this horrible disease. It is scary, thinking about the consequences of leaving your young children behind.. Whenever I run into the young children of deceased moms, I feel for them. They grow up too, I know they do, but still, they miss out on so much. Life isn't fair. It just isn't..

Put your shades on

I know some dogs have sunglasses and no, I'm not going to buy them any. It is funny though, to see them hide their eyes behind their legs when the light in the house is too strong at night. They like to take a nap (okay, every now and then - in between naps - they are awake) and then they prefer darkness. So they cover their eyes.. Maybe I ought to get them a beauty mask?

Keep getting better

Hey you cute face! I can't believe it's been a year since I last congratulated you for your birthday. What happened the last year, that we have grown older again? You haven't changed much over that year. Well, not dramatically, I may say. You do change the way you look quite often - another hairdo, hair color, outfits, .. - but deep down, you will always remain the same wonderful you.
Things have changed in the last year, careerwise. You started going back to school after you and your colleagues lost your jobs. Maybe that was the little push in the back you needed to do what you love to do most: design! You didn't need any school to tell you about your capabilities and talents. But the certificate you'll get in the end, will help you in these modern days of computers and graphic designs. I'm proud of you for persevering.

Have a very happy birthday buddy! I'm sorry we won't be able to make it to your birthday party, but we'll make up, okay?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A standing O

Photo by Lana Joos

My oldest daughter gave me a standing ovation for this delicious home made meal. I had this feeling I wanted to make ravioli and was still looking for a filling, when I remembered an appetizer of goat cheese and fresh cheese, rolled in finely chopped nuts. And immediately I knew that was going to be the base of my ravioli.

Home made pasta is so easy to make and it tastes a whole lot better than the storebought stuff. Being in control of the ingredients is another benefit we can't deny. So yes, I'm a fan!

First I made the pasta, using 500 grams of Italian pasta "00" flour, a pinch of salt, 5 free range eggs and two tablespoons of oil.
For the filling, I made a mixture of 150 grams of fresh goat cheese, 50 grams of cream cheese and a handful of toasted, ground hazelnuts. That's when I discovered a leftover summer truffle in my fridge and I decided to chop it up and add it to the cheese mixture, enriched with a few drops of truffle oil. I kept the filling in the fridge until the pasta dough was ready to work.

I made the ravioli and boiled them in salted water. Leaving them to dry on a kitchen towel, I chopped a shallot and a couple of slices of bacon. Those were to be baked in a bit of oil, before I added the cooked ravioli, soy cream, fresh chives, pepper and salt. A piece of parmesan cheese was sitting on the table, ready to be grated over our delicious meal.. Life is beautiful..

What were you thinking?

My hair was still wet from the shower I just took. I used a bath towel to clear the steam from the bathroom mirror. Looking at myself, I stretched my skin to look for wrinkles - that I didn't find - and grey hair - didn't find any either. I'm 39 and I wonder: where has time gone? Do I feel 39? I don't know. What is 39 supposed to feel like? I feel young. I feel healthy and fresh. A bit wiser than 20 years ago. A bit more mature too.

Our bathroom is stuffed with health care products and make up, fragrant soaps, razor blades and hair removal gels. What do you want with three girls in the house? Even the girls are particular about their looks. They have their own blow dryer, brushes, make up, creams and shampoos. They manicure, pluck their eyebrows and color their lashes. 

I just finished blow drying my hair. I think it could use some extra hair dresser care. Maybe a different color. Rich, glossy and a chestnut shade. Taking good care of yourself is important. We have to honor our body, since we only have one. Let's try and find that body cream, so my body can enjoy a good layer of luscious body lotion. I'm ready to be pampered..

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A people pleaser

Being assertive is a good way to get what you want. So many of us are not assertive at all. They are afraid to speak up for themselves. They are anxious to hurt someone's feelings. They say whatever their opponent is willing to hear. But how about themselves? Don't they have desires or wishes? Do they really agree with whatever someone else suggests? Or is it just because they lack assertiveness to stand up and let the other person know what THEY want.

Being assertive has nothing to do with an aggressive attitude. It is totally different. Assertive people are not aggressive at all. They know what they want out of life and they are not afraid to let others know their opinion. In fact, assertive people are the best friends. Because you know what to expect. You know they won't stab you in the back, because they are so straight forward that they will let you know how you feel. If they don't like your new best outfit, they will tell you. Not to hurt your feelings, but because you asked their opinion.

I used to be a people pleaser. Running around like crazy in order to please everyone. It doesn't make you any more loveable though, on the contrary. You end up being abused by your so called friends. They talk you in to doing whatever they feel like making you do. They know you won't say no. They know you'll ask: "How high?" if they tell you to jump. It's okay to be a bit more assertive. It'll do you good. It'll be good for the people around you. Real friends respect each other's point of view. Saying "no" to a friend, doesn't mean you don't love them anymore. Cancelling an appointment doesn't mean you never want to meet up with that person ever again. If a friend tells you he doesn't want to go out to dinner with you, because he's tired, then that's okay. Your friend has the right to be tired. Don't try to make him feel guilty. Respect the "no" and ask your friend what you can do to make him feel better, instead of being upset about your delayed night out.
And it goes the other way around. If you have planned a candle night dinner with your partner, don't let your friend spoil the fun. Say "no" when he asks to come over so the three of you can have a good time. Because it's not the right time, nor the right place. You need some private time with your partner, and it's your job to let your friends understand you're entitled to some time without your friends. Don't make up any excuses. If your friends don't respect your wishes, they are not your friends in the first place..

Beloved ones

If there's something one could do for his beloved ones, there's no effort in doing so. In fact, the effort has become a pleasure.

For those who follow my blog, it's no secret that I like to spend a lot of time in my kitchen. Cooking, baking, trying out new recipes, there are so many challenges to face and so little time.

This time, I'm giving you the recipe for amazingly good cookies.
Try them out, you won't regret it. And your beloved ones will love you for it.

What do we need:
  • 80 grams of rolled oats
  • 75 grams of margarine
  • 235 ml of boiling water
  • 90 grams of cornmeal
  • 1/2 cube of stock (beef or chicken)
  • 120 ml of milk
  • 120 grams of shredded cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 360 grams of whole wheat flour
What do we do:
  • Preheat the oven to 165°C.
  • Combine the oats, margarine, boiling water and the stock cube. Let stand for 10 min.
  • Grease your cookie sheet or use baking paper.
  • Stir in cornmeal, milk, cheese and egg.
  • Mix in flour - 1 cup at a time - until a stiff dough has formed.
  • Add the rest of the flour, kneading the dough until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky.
  • Roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to make perfect cookies.
  • Bake the cookies 35-45 minutes in the preheated oven or until golden brown.
  • Store the cookies in a loosely covered container.
Did I mention that these cookies are for your beloved dogs? They'll be begging for more!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

I love you

Three little words. No more than that. Then why are they so hard to pronounce? Because of the meaning? Because we're not used to it? Does it make you feel uncomfortable?

In our youth, we were not accustomed with the words. We never heard them nor did we say them out loud. We may have considered saying it, but something kept us from doing so. I wanted things to be different for our children. I wanted to be able to tell them I loved them. And I did. I tell them all the time. They know they are loved. They can feel it. They can hear it. They can believe it.. Because it's true.


Photo by Lana Joos

Yes!! She did it! Our little Inthe won her first contest as the best looking whippet in her category. It doesn't matter there were only two contestants, does it? I didn't walk Inthe on the show. Her people parents from Holland - Fiefoerniek's kennel - did. They are used to walking whippets on dog shows and I was very happy they took over. Inthe had no idea what to expect. She couldn't understand the thin line around her neck. Why couldn't she wear her own leash?? I could tell she was mesmerized. The moment she was supposed to stand and hold still, she kept looking for Rebba and me. She had to look straight forward, not to the sides. So I was asked to stay out of her sight and not speak. After that, she did a whole lot better.

The judge found her ears to be a little too big. We have had the same thought, but we love her ears! Even the ear with a missing piece. She's our little girl and we're very proud of her!

So now she has her first report card. Pretty impressive huh? Am I planning to do more shows with Inthe? I don't know. Only if they ask her. And only if the people of Fiefoerniek's walk her..

My other purpose of the day: selling goodies in favor of Whippet Rescue Ireland. There wasn't a big crowd present, but my sister-in-law and I managed to sell enough to hand over 65 euros to the organization. It's not the world, but every bit counts. One of our goals was to let other people know about the work of Whippet Rescue Ireland. And we did well. People took the flyer home and read about the organization. After all: it was a tiresome but satisfying day!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


There's a certain truth to the saying: those who indulge bulge. Whoever made food so good, never realized about the consequences it could have on one's health.

Every now and then, we are allowed to treat ourselves. The pudding I'm going to share with you today, is a dessert we endeavoured during our stay in Egypt. It's the Arabic version of bread pudding and I must say: it's heavenly. It is called Um Ali or Om Ali, meaning the mother of Ali.

what do we need:
  • 1 package of frozen puff pastry sheets
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of double cream
  • 3/4 cup of pistachios, shelled and chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup of pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup of blanched almonds, chopped finely
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
what to we do:
  • Preheat your oven to 200°C.
  • Place the pastry sheets on greased baking sheets and bake them for 15 min or until golden and puffy.
  • Remove them from the oven and let them cool.
  • Break the puff pastry into small pieces and mingle with the nuts.
  • Place the nuts and the pastry in a greased baking dish.
  • Heat the sweetened milk, vanilla and water on medium heat in a saucepan. Let it cook for about 5 min. Allow the mixture to cool.
  • Pour the milk over the bread/nut mixture and pour the cream on top.
  • Bake the dish for 15 min until golden.
  • Dig in!

Shammy skin

They are so soft. The skin holding their ribs is so tender it feels like shammy. It's so fragile it tears easily. We have to be very careful not to scratch their delicate skin. Unfortunately every now and then they get injured. Our tomcat Arthur pretends to be an evil tiger when he awaits them on the seat of a dining chair. He sits there patiently, wagging his tail, until one of the whippets comes by. His catlike eyes follow every step they make, so he can jump at them at the best time. Both whippets know he's there and they are very reluctant to pass the table. Sometimes they are too excited to go take a nap and that's when they forget about Arthur. For him, it's the signal of victory! He scratches their delicate shammy skin, making it bleed and leaving them in pain.. I can't protect them all the time. They have to work things out between them.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I had warned the girls they were going to have a bubble bath tonight. Inthe was looking at me, with that typical head-to-the-side look. It was like I heard Arnold say: what are you talking about?

I know they are not too fond of the bath tub, but every now and then, I really want to give them a good scrub. They don't have long hair, but the rain and the snow have left their trace. After all, tomorrow we're going to meet up with so many other whippets and I want my babies to look great. Inthe is going to participate in the test for young whippets and veterans. She has to look her best! I'm so proud of both our dogs!

The things I've said

Yes, I've made mistakes.
But life didn't come with instructions, did it?

The two of us are something else. There's this bond between us, that makes us come together no matter what happened. Sometimes we split up for a couple of months, and then all of a sudden, out of the blue, there is this trigger that makes us meet again. That is just so weird!

I was thinking of you quite a bit lately. You have given birth to a very goodlooking little boy. He's gorgeous, just as expected. I saw his picture on the Internet and yes, he stole my heart. What a cutie! He's the perfect mix between you and your husband. I'm looking forward to cuddling him..

So yes, we got in touch again. Meaning we are arranging a meeting over lunch at my place. You want to treat me with dessert, although I asked you to bring nothing but your precious baby. But I'm glad you're coming over. We'll have the time to catch up and tell each other the stories of the past year..

Friday, December 10, 2010

Chilly Willy

You are the funniest girl I have met in a long time. You are so fresh and chipper and your expressions make me smile my broadest smirk. Your spontaneous personality is truly catching and I always look forward to hearing from you. We met in the hospital, where I came to visit you. I had a can full of sugarfree candy for you, but the wrapper said it was a can of green beans. That made you laugh out loud! I can still hear that laughter. You are absolutely funny!

I hear you're studying to become a translator. Dutch-French-Italian to be exact. Sounds interesting. Meeting new people is interesting. Meeting you was interesting.. you are very chilly willy, to use one of your expressions.

Eat with joy in your heart

If you have a heart for animals, you will definitely understand why - this Sunday - I'm going to sell home made dog biscuits in favor of Whippet Rescue Ireland. Let me explain..

This Sunday, my sister-in-law and I are going to attend Whippet Day for puppies and veterans, in the western part of Flanders. The owners of the kennel we got our whippets from, have asked us if we would be willing to let them show Inthe. She has just turned one and they feel she's ready to attend her first show. I'm so curious to see how she will do. She's still very playful and energetic. But I have complete faith in Sandra and Lucien from the Fiefoerniek's kennel in Holland. They'll know how to deal with her. I'll bring my camera!

In the meantime, I'll be selling home made dog biscuits, chocolate fudge, granola and chocolate spread (not for the dogs, please!). All week, I have been trying out several recipes and the whippets were the judges. They would sit right by the oven window, peeking at whatever was baking in there. I could tell by their faces they would love the cookies! They were allowed to taste every different kind and I must say: Inthe is not picky at all, but Rebba is more specific about her food. And even Rebba approved of the dog biscuits! After all, I use nothing but fresh and good ingredients. Even humans could eat them, although they smell like dog biscuits..

As I said before: I'll sell the goodies in favor of Whippet Rescue Ireland. I've previously blogged about this non-profit organization and I'm sure they could use some extra money. So the profit of the bake sale is going to be deposited into their account integrally. I'm nervous and I need to chill a little. Let's hope we'll do well! Let your dogs eat my cookies with joy in their heart.. They have a safe and warm nest to come home to. That's exactly what Whippet Rescue Ireland is trying to achieve for their whippets..

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Family reunions

I must have been 19 at the time. I had saved to buy a car of my own, so I could be independent and drive myself to school. One of the first things I did after buying this car, was visiting three aunts of mine that I hadn't seen in many years. Due to family disputes, us kids were no longer allowed to see our aunts/uncles/cousins. One of those aunts was my godmother, the other one has a personality pretty similar to mine and the other was my favorite auntie. I had missed my cousins growing up.

The first time I paid my godmother a visit, she didn't recognize me right away. After all, we had not seen each other for about 7 years. And kids do change quite a bit. I couldn't remember her exact address, but I drove around town to look for points of recognition. I knew I was in the neighborhood and although it had been even more than 7 years since I last visited them, I clearly remembered their house. So I sat there, in my car, in front of the house. Trying to figure out what I was going to say or how I was going to introduce myself. I was excited and anxious at the same time. Not knowing why my mother had made the decision to stop seeing both of her sisters and one of my father's sisters, I walked the steps to the door and rang the bell.

My godmother opened the door and it took her a few moments to realize who was at her doorstep. She was real happy to see me and it didn't take much to go on where we had left off so many years before..
It was good to hear that my godmother didn't hold any grudge against me. In fact, she had missed me too, but she couldn't find a way to keep in touch. I never blamed her for what had happened and I was happy to fix our relationship. After all, us kids had nothing to do with those family disputes..

We could say "l'histoire se répète". Due to family disputes, I'm no longer seeing my siblings. I'm sorry that my children can't see their cousins/aunts/uncles. They don't remember them at all, because it's been so long. Maybe, one day, they will get to know one another. I will never keep them from meeting their other side of the family. They know they have more family out there and they know I spent a big part of my youth without my aunts/uncles/cousins.

I tried to keep in touch with my sister and her daughter, but that contact was never encouraged from my sister's part. That's okay. I understand why. It's a shame I can't see her daughter grow up, but that's okay too. It was not my choice and she will always be welcome in our house. As will the children of my brother..

Tik Tok

The father of her friend is a music producer. He invited his daughter and a couple of friends to join him to the Ancienne Belgique. She was completely over the moon that she was going to Ke$has concert!!! Go figure!! She's not even 16! I had not even heard about the AB at her age.. let stand had I been to a concert. I'm happy for her. She's a great kid! Exams are starting at the end of the week, and she has done quite some studying in the week prior to the concert. It's a good way to start the exams: full of energy. It will be a boost for her. We R who we R, right?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

That time of the month

Don't make me laugh! Did you honestly think I was going to blog about menses?? Absolutely not! I'm so happy I had a hysterectomy 7 years ago, so don't even go there..

No really, it was that time of the month to shop for clothes. Or should I say dresses? Because lately, I'm in to dresses and skirts. I must say, I have bought 6 dresses in two weeks time. I can't believe I did that, but guess what? Dresses make me feel feminine and I just had this feeling that I wanted to feel like a woman. So every time I walk into my dresser, I admire the dresses I bought. I can't wait to try them on and enjoy the feeling of wearing nylons and high heels, in combination with the little black dress.. In fact, I could wear that fuchsia dress today! Why not!

I don't buy it

She showed us her report cards and her tests. Most of them were good, a few weren't. It was clear that she hadn't studies for some tests. Very obvious, although she claimed she did study. She had tears in her eyes even before she showed her tests. Sorry kiddo, but I don't buy it. You can do better and you know it. In fact, you don't like bad grades. That's why we don't make too big a deal of it. Because we know the bad grades by themselves are your biggest punishment. I hope you learned your lesson. We'll see.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

C'est vachement bien!

Photo by Lana Joos
It's great to see you and your sister get along so well. The two of you went out in the cold to take pictures of each other and the surroundings. You went pretty far, so I heard. I'm glad you share the same interest: photography. It is a great hobby and you have a wonderful time when you take pictures.

One of the subjects you really like to take pictures of, is your sister Eva. She likes to pose and you like to photograph her. You have a very good eye, I must say.

So many people tell you to never give up on making pictures. You could even make a living out of it. Why don't you present yourself as a photographer for friends and family? Maybe you should ask around? You make extraordinary pictures of still lives, animals, people. Black and white is your favorite, but you're good with colors too. Think about it. I know I would pay you to make a photo shoot!

A state of mind

Photo by Lana Joos

What can I say.. This is the exact state of mind I'm so looking forward to. Just chilling, not thinking, just being..

Monday, December 6, 2010

Economy Gastronomy

It's often said that healthy cooking costs a fortune. But is that really the case? Do you need to earn a lot of money in order to eat healthy? I know I spend quite some money on groceries. I like fresh food and a lot of fresh vegetables and fruit. I hardly ever buy pork as I prefer the more healthy pieces of meat. Or we pick fresh fish or scallops. So maybe, just maybe, this programme can teach me something on grocery shopping on a budget..

There's this show on TV that teaches people to cook healthy on a budget. It was interesting to say the least. I'm not the type of person that buys prepared meals. It never even crosses my mind to do so. And I guess I wouldn't even like it! I do prepare our meals myself and that's the way I want to keep doing it. But I could use some tips on spending less money on healthy food.. So I'm a fan of this kind of programmes! I'm up for it!

Here are some useful tips to save quite a bit of money on your grocery shopping and still eat healthy!
  • Make bedrock recipes and turn them into different meals (cooked ground beef can be the base for spaghetti sauce, shepherd's pie or chili con carne)
  • Plan before you shop (make a list of what you're going to cook that week and stick to that list)
  • Check your leftovers and use those before you race to the shop
  • Make sure you have healthy basics in your pantry
  • Use affordable but healthy and tasty ingredients
I would say: grab your wallet and let's do some shopping and cooking!

Walking on rooftops

Hush.. be quiet! Do you hear the noise on the roof?
Is that the click clack sound of horseshoes above our heads? Could it be???

On December 6, Christians celebrate Saint Nicholas, who was a Greek Bishop in Turkey and later became a saint. He had the reputation for secret gift-giving and was a children's friend. He would put coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him.

Nowadays, we still celebrate his memory. Children are totally excited about this event and many days in advance, they write letters to Saint Nicholas, to let him know about their wishes. They send their letters to Spain, the place where Saint Nicholas is living. That's where the parents come in. They make sure some of the wishes are fulfilled. That is if the children behave well. If they don't, they risk being captured in the jute bag of Black Pete (Zwarte Piet), the helper of Saint Nicholas. That rarely happens, but it does scare the kids and it helps them behave better. Some families choose to hire someone dressed up as the holy saint, to come to their house and hand over the presents and the candy to the children. The white bearded saint wears a long white dress, a ruby red mantle and of course his red miter. He holds a golden crosier and has several ways to travel through the country. Sometimes he comes by steamboat, some years he rides his horse.

His Dutch name is Sinterklaas. Does it ring a bell when you think of Santa Claus? Exactly, that's where the name Santa Claus is derived from. Sinterklaas is not the person you expect around Christmas. Sinterklaas comes on December 5 in Holland and then crosses the border to Belgium on December 6. I wonder what our children will have written in their letter to the holy man this year..

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Showcase your talent

It must have been approximately two years ago, when I met this man. A contest in a diabetes related magazine ended positively: I was offered a free blood glucose meter by Terumo. The sales representative contacted me to see when he could come over to my place. He was going to hand me over the meter and explain me how it worked. Ever since, we get along well and every now and then we get in touch. He's been a good sales rep for many years and his company was real happy with him.

Over the years, he dedicated more of his spare time to photography, his hobby. I was impressed by his pictures and thought he did a great job. So it didn't surprise me at all, when I heard him say he was going to change careers. He had come at the age of retirement and a challenge was what he was facing. And now it's final: in the beginning of January 2011, he will open his very own gallery, by the name of Galerie Zebra. The focus will be on gelatine silver bariet print. I'm curious about his gallery. I have seen the building before and it's a great location. There's no doubt he will attract fine and young photographers to display their art.

Frederiko, I wish you all the best. You'll do great and you made the right move. Looking forward to seeing you.

A remarkable person

I may not say it as often as I should or could, but I'm letting you and the whole world know: you are a remarkable person. Not demanding, not dominant, not violent. You are more of the quiet type, a calm personality with little words. You do what you do: at work and around the house. I never have to ask you to do things for me. You help out whenever you can, even with a fulltime job. During the week, there are 2 days off for you, since you work weekends every other week. You are free to fill those days in according to your choice, but you prefer to stay at home and help out. Of course you have your sports you like to do, but you come home right after the match, instead of hanging out with the guys in the pub. Like I said: you are a remarkable person..

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A quiet but demanding way

Especially moms have a hang of it: the quiet but demanding way. Us moms know how to get people to do things without specifically asking. A specific look, a subtle but clear hint or pure silence may be triggers for others to get moving. It's not always the best quality one can have, and there are other ways that may be more pleasant and as effective, but every now and then, being quiet and demanding can be very satisfying..


Yes!!! I did it! I had my bloodwork done and the result was very satisfying. For the first time in 8.5 years, I have reached a HbA1c of 6.5%. Now that's awesome! I think I can glue a feather on my hat for the effort in achieving my goal. Finally I have reached the number I have been chasing for so many years. It's been an ordeal to get there, but it was worth every sacrifice.

I didn't do this on my own. I had help monitoring my blood sugars. My diabetes nurse has been a great help and so have my family & friends. So I would like to thank all of you for baring with me in this struggle against diabetes. A good HbA1c is not a cure, but it's a good way to prevent complications later in life. So yes, that gives me a very good feeling..

Friday, December 3, 2010

Snowball for Christmas

Advokaat is a Dutch liquor that I tend to like. When I saw Nigella Lawson make her favorite Christmas drink, I immediately googled the reciped on the Internet. It was real easy to make and the Snowball cocktail used to be a favorite in the 70's. It's made its comeback since Nigella hyped it to be one of her favorite drinks. So I guess we'll have to make some for Christmas this year.

Fill a high-ball glass with ice cubes. Add 1 part Advokaat and top up with 3 parts of chilled lemonade.
Spritz in a squeeze of lime juice to taste. Stir it up and enjoy!

Less is more

If I consider the numerous times I go out to dinner or lunch, I should way 150 kg by now..

I love to frequent restaurants and enjoy good food with friends. Although I love to cook, it's always interesting to see and taste someone else's food. People sometimes ask me how come that I'm not bigger than I am, since I dine out a lot. Well.. this is the secret: less is more! I skip on the carbohydrates as much as I can. You should give it a try: have the cook replace the carbs in your meal by vegetables. How about that? Ask the waiter to give your basket of bread and butter to that friendly man at the other table. Let the Italians indulge their delicious pasta and pick a salad or an exciting vegetarian dish instead. There are so many options to enjoy a good meal without adding any calories to your body. Does that mean that my restaurant meals are boring? Absolutely not! Or I would give up going out instantly. After all, I'm paying for a good meal and that's what I wish to get. Try to find a good restaurant with an inventive cook who isn't afraid of vegetables. There are so many good things to choose from, that you don't need to feel left out if you have the tendency to gain weight just by smelling food.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's hard to take back stupid

What was I thinking??? One of my diabetic friends had some questions on her insulin pump. She wanted to know if you could interrupt an insulin delivery. I was pretty convinced it was possible, but I wanted to be sure, so I decided to try it out. I gave myself a bolus of insulin and tried to cancel the delivery. That didn't work. There's this saying that donkeys don't kick the same stone twice.. Well, this donkey did. I gave myself another bolus because I just knew there had to be a way.. And once again, I didn't find the button to cancel the bolus. Within seconds, I felt dizzy and I started to shake.. My sugar levels were dropping like crazy!! What had I done??? HELLO??? I can't believe I did that, without unplugging my pump. Shoot! That was just too crazy! I had given myself a total of 6 units without any carbs to cover that..

I grabbed my glucose meter, poked my finger and tested my blood sugar: 25 mg/dl. Great! Well, not so great. In fact: pretty bad! Way too low. I felt this was not the end yet. My levels were definitely going to drop even lower. So I stopped my pump right away, grabbed several pieces of candy and stuffed those in my mouth. Man, it's hard to take back stupid, but this time I wish I had paid more attention..

I cooked my heart out

My first series of cooking classes for diabetics (does that sound like cooking class for dummies or what??) has come to an end. I missed the last class since we were in Holland at the time.
Today, the sequel will start. I'm so looking forward to it. We're going to cook a bit more exotic and exciting now. It won't be more difficult, but definitely more challenging. I hope my peers will show up. Don't let the snow keep them from attending class.

On TV, there are so many cooking shows that I like to watch. And yesterday a new channel by the name of NJAM went online. It sounds promising! I know.. it'll be another addiction to watch those programmes. Oh well, my family will benefit from it. They will never be able to say my cooking is boring or predictable. I don't get it when people say they have no clue what to cook. I have so many recipes I want to try out, that there aren't enough mealtimes in one day to prepare all of them.. Sometimes I cook 4 meals at the same time. I should have had a larger family!

On Monday, I spent some time with my mother-in-law. We cooked together and that was great fun. We made Osso Bucco, meatballs, meatloaf and a Chinese noodle dish with mushrooms and ginger. She loves to watch me cook and she's always excited when I bring her food. But this time, she helped out cooking and it was a very relaxing and fun activity. It was a good moment to talk things over and have some private time with her. She's a doll and I love her to pieces! I'm lucky to have a fantastic mother-in-law.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The right thing to do

You had questions and that's why we met for dinner. We talked things over and we shared experiences. Your diabetes is pretty much under control but there are other issues. You should be in the recovery room by now. I hope things went smoothly and you're not too sore. Please let me know you're okay. I'll be expecting your text message.
The operation is major but there's pain relief available and you shouldn't hurt too much. I'm wishing you all the best for your new future and I hope to meet you again somewhere in the beginning of January, to see how you are doing and to hear about your new life. Thinking of you big time..

I got a feeling

I'm freezing my butt off! Holy macaroni! It's way too cold for this time of year. I got a feeling we're going to face a very cold holiday season. I so don't like winter and cold and snow or ice. Honestly, please let December go by as fast as possible. December is my least favorite month of the year and I'd rather skip it. I have great plans for the beginning of January and I'm counting down already. I'll do my best to give my family a great Christmas and I'm thankful that my inlaws invite all of their children on Christmas Eve. Traditionally, Christmas Eve at the inlaws is a great event and that's the only December day I can appreciate.

30 more days to go..