Thursday, March 31, 2011

Voices from the past..

I'm a bit puzzled. Give it some time.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Take your time

In about an hour, I'm going to call you to wish you a happy birthday. This year will be different, a little awkward too. In one year notice, you lost both your mom and your dad. Your father-in-law isn't doing very well either. Things have changed in your life, and I'm not sure whether that will change your future as well.

You're a strong person. I look up to you for being so strong. You always seem to handle things pretty well and you keep going, no matter what. So I guess it's ok to wish you a happy birthday, despite the problematic situation lately. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you, that there won't be any more painful circumstances in the future. Because you deserve better..

Have a wonderful day, my friend!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Grief is the price we pay for love

When my friend told me this quote by the hand of Elizabeth II, I could do nothing but agree. There is such a thin line between love and pain, that we must truly believe you cannot love without feeling pain. Both love and pain are strong emotions and still they go hand in hand.

Have you ever loved a person so deeply, that you could physically feel your heart ache? The fear something might happen to that person (or to the love for that particular person) could prevent you from loving someone. Once you loose yourself in the love for someone else, you become very vulnerable. Not one single thing you wouldn't do to please that person.

Love is beautiful, love is a gift. I remember our stay in London (June 2010), where we enjoyed Webber's Love Never Dies. That is what this quote is all about.. It was a very emotional play and it touched our hearts.

Would I give up love to prevent the hurt? I don't know.. I don't know what it feels like to live in this world without being loved or without the capability to love someone. I do believe that people who can't love another person, become bitter. It all starts with loving you! You can't love someone else as long as you don't accept and love yourself. Even that might hurt..

Grief is the price we pay for love.. A good lesson in life. Don't be afraid to hurt.. because hurt means that you are able to love as well..

Monday, March 28, 2011

Defying gravity

Are you up to date? Do you watch Glee? You know, the series on the singing highschool kids? I first saw an episode of Glee on our way to Florida last January. I was really impressed by the good voices on the show and my intention was to start watching Glee. To my surprise, our daughters had been watching Glee before. And now Glee is back! and I'm their number one fan!

My favorite Glee song so far, is Defying gravity, sung by Rachel and Kurt. I find it very emotional and it makes the little hairs on my arms stand straight. These kids are so devoted to their role as singers/actors and they do real well. I'm hooked! We record every episode, so we can watch it together as a family. I love the enthusiasm of the singers! And isn't Mr Schuester a hottie??? The way the tears well up in his eyes when he listens to his students, his heart filled with pride? He's really awesome! Haha, I sound like a teenager with a crush on her teacher. That is so not true! But I do enjoy the songs, the series, the stories behind the characters. Why not?

I looked into buying the Glee music. Can't wait to play the CD's in my car and sing along. That's a place where I can sing my heart out, without disturbing or annoying anyone. It's very relaxing to sing in the car and let the tension out. So yes, again I have something to look forward to!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ganz kaputt!

For a while, you had been talking about getting a student job. We thought that was a very good idea. After all, you were nearly 16 and it would teach you about life and money and it would be another step in growing up.

So you did what you intended to do: get a job on Wednesday afternoons. Work was a little harder than expected and you were absolutely tired when you came home. You were offered a job in a nearby warehouse, where you make sure there's enough merchandise in the store. You have to bend over, kneel down, lift heavy bottles of soda, help clients find products, clean up the mess. I'm sure you're a good employee and you do whatever your employer asks of you. He pays you well and you have been asked to go back on a weekly basis. You were very happy to get your paycheck. It helped you to get your own camera. I'm proud of you!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


To life, to life, l'chaim!

What a great night that was! Again, we celebrated life and had a wonderful time together. I know you are nervous when you're having people over, but there was absolutely no need to stress out. You are an excellent host and we felt so at ease. Your place is very cosy and clean and inviting. It was a delight to hang out with the gang and enjoy a pleasant evening.

I knew you guys were going to beat us. You are so clever when it comes to music and songs and movies and so. I truly enjoyed your knowledge and your memory. Hold on to each other. Your family is so different and you cling to one another. I have great respect for that. Love you guys! Thank you for the invitation. xxooxx

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pen pals

Did you ever have pen pals? Strangers you wrote to?

At the age of 12, I started writing to peers around the world. In English of course, no doubt about that. Despite the fact that I had never had English classes before, I thought writing in English could be a true challenge. I'm pretty sure the contents of my letters were no big deal, since I used nothing but a dictionary to help me translate the words. But I had fun and I always looked forward to the letters my pen pals sent me. I used to keep them in a box, that I lost overtime.. with pain in my heart. Those letters were handwritten. No computers nor email in those days.. The charm of getting a handwritten letter someone had struggled on, without a spelling corrector or online translator nearby, is priceless.

I remember - at a certain time - I had 42 kids I corresponded with. That was probably a couple of years later. Some kids I wrote to for many years. I'm thinking of Ginny Tan Tit Sang from Singapore and Kelvin Lai from Hong Kong. Tom Gort from Holland was another person I used to write to. Although he lived (lives) in Holland, we wrote in English. Tom is the only pen pal I actually met in real life. Every now and then, we still hear from one another. Isn't that cool??

The year I spent in the US, my pen pal Kelvin Lai stayed there as well. I was working as an au pair back then, in Oregon and Massachusetts. He was an exchange student in Chicago, Illinois, at the time. We started corresponding again and we planned to meet up in Chicago. I don't remember the exact reason, but Kelvin never showed up. I wonder how he is now..

I have facebooked both Kelvin and Ginny, but there are so many people that share their name, that it's real hard to find them. I believe somewhere in the attic to find a yellow tape, recorded by Kelvin Lai. He wanted to teach me some Chinese phrases. I believe I sent him a tape as well, to teach him some Flemish lines. That was pretty funny, you know. I remember some of those words, like lam hai and loi hai or mu than and fu than. I might try to locate that tape, to see what else I learned from Kelvin.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bring it on!

Panda Express is a great Chinese fast food restaurant throughout the US. Unfortunately, they haven't expanded to this part of the world yet. Meaning we have to be creative, if we want that typical Panda Express touch in our food. Or we need to go to Florida more often..

I tried out this recipe and it's a keeper. I've altered it a little to our taste, but it's still pretty close to the original. Just try it out!

what do we need:
  • 675 grams of chicken breast, chopped up in small pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 175 grams of corn flour
  • 1 tablespoon of white wine (see, you should never toss out left over wine nor finish the bottle!)
  • 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
  • 3 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • a small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (you can use bottled juice)
  • 2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled, whole
  • 3 tablespoons of ahorn syrup
  • 2 oranges, peeled and divided in sections, no membranes left (canned tangerines are fine too)
  • jalapeno, to your personal taste, finely chopped
what do we do:
  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  • Make the marinade and pour it over the chicken pieces. Let it sit in the fridge for 20 min.
  • Put the sauce on the stove on medium heat.
  • Sift the cornflour over the chicken pieces and make sure all pieces are coated.
  • Deepfry the chicken pieces until golden. Use a sheet of paper towel to drain the chicken.
  • Cover the chicken with sauce and let it simmer until all pieces are coated with sticky sauce.
  • Serve with white rice and stirfried veggies.
Do enjoy this excellent meal. I'm sure you'll keep the recipe. Or come over here and pull up a chair. I'll be happy to make this orange chicken for you!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Speedy Gonzales

It had been ages since I last heard the song, but as soon as I heard it, I was back in summer camp. That was the song we heard every morning. It was our wake up call and we were all happy and chipper to get up. How could you not be?

I loved going on summer camp! If it had been up to me, I would have stayed for 2 months. Hanging out with friends and having a great time: what more could a child wish for?

Both our children attend summer camps too. It's always something they look forward to and they have good memories of their time away from home. It helps them grow up and be responsible and it's a good way to get to know their friends better. It's a good pastime. Summer will be there before we know it! It's like Speedy Gonzales: it will be there before we realize it and it'll be gone way too soon..

Enjoy Speedy Gonzales by Pat Boone

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's all coming back to me now

I have fed and nurtured two babies. I know how to change diapers and feed a baby a bottle. No big deal! Right? Well... I must admit.. it's been a while. Our daughters are 16 and 14 and they can help themselves pretty well. We don't have to feed them any longer - well, at least not in a high chair and their meals are no longer mixed.

Today, I'm babysitting a nearly 6 month old baby boy. He's absolutely gorgeous and adorable. I have held him before, but then his mommy was around. Today, it's going to be just the two of us. We'll have some time by ourselves to enjoy. I'll put the dogs outside in their kennel, so I can keep all eyes on this little cute face. I know his mommy will feel more at ease with the dogs outside and so will I. After all, they are not used to babies in the house. I'm pretty convinced they wouldn't hurt your little boy, but I do not want to take any chances.

I'm going to feed this little one veggies for lunch. I guess it will be a bit like spitting image? But that's okay. We'll cope. I even think it might be fun!

Photo taken by Lana Joos

Monday, March 21, 2011

For your eyes only

Photo by Eva Joos
You look great in your glasses! I think you picked the right kind for you. They make you look even more interesting and bright than you already are.

One day, you told me your eyes were tired and you had problems focusing. That's when I decided to make an appointment with the eye clinic. You warned me you were not going to wear glasses, absolutely not, by no means! 
When the doctor was done examining your eyes, she suggested you'd wear glasses.. I had no idea how you would react and your answer came as a total surprise: can we go get some right away?

So we went.. and you wondered which glasses you should choose. There were two pair you had in mind and they both looked great on you! You made the right choice sweetie. You look amazing and pretty and your eyes will get the rest they deserve!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mystery Man

Just one year ago, he joined us on our diabetesforum. In no time, he became a well respected member of our group and his contribution to the forum has been pretty interesting so far. He's the first young type 2 diabetic I met who is so involved in diabetesland. He counts carbs, injects insulin, cooks healthy food and makes the most of it. Always there to share experience and to help out his friends. He's a good motivator to other D-people.

I'm sorry for him he had to get diabetes type 2 at such a young age. I wish it were different. But then again, we never would have met him otherwise. This week, I finally met him for real! What a surprise! We had been joking around that he only existed on the Internet. Maybe he wasn't a he, but a she. Because on the Internet, you never know who's behind the nicknames, right? (we didn't really think that, it was just a joke!)

But it was him, just the way we got to know him. I hope he'll join our group again in the future. Having a household of three young children, it isn't easy to attend our meetings. But he's a good organizer and his wife and him are a great couple, so I assume they will work something out.

Thanks for coming over! It was a pleasure to meet you!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My best good friend

Best friends are not to be found just around the corner. They are rare and therefore very precious. It takes some time to get to know a good friend. You don't become best friends overnight. Some friends I have known for over more than 20 years. Others I'm still working on getting to know. Friends can be very different. It's like they complement each other.

Good friends are a gift. They support you and love you and nurture you all the way. They know about you and your dreams and you know about them and their goals in life. You tell each other your deepest secrets. You laugh together and you wipe each other's tears..

I remember a moment in elementary school. It's not really one moment, but a thing I recall from those days. We had a good class and we got along pretty well. Until some stopped liking the others. It lead to disputes, where one would say: if you keep hanging out with X or Y, you will no longer be my best friend! And that was devastating. Because we all wanted to be best friends.. Nobody wanted to choose sides!

Life is good. Loving your friends and family is essential to lead a healthy social life. Invest in your friendships. Make them worthwhile.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A bubbly personality

Sweet sixteen.. You have been longing for this particular birthday for some time now. Being 16, you say, means you get a lot more privileges. We're still trying to find out what those privileges are, but I'm pretty sure you'll let me know.

I wonder what this year will bring you. First of all, you and your friends from school are going to visit Paris. You are so excited about that event!!! You will have a wonderful time in Paris and it will be a week to remember! In August, we're going to have our vacation in Florida. You adore the summer and your legs need some sun to regain their tan. You are so ready to buy little dresses and tops and shorts. To put on huge sunglasses and show off your shaved, long legs.

You're in love again, with a very nice young man. He's a decent kid. Polite, well mannered and well educated. We like him too! And he's even cute, with that head covered in blond curls! Enjoy your time with him and love him back with all your heart.

Maybe we'll let you go out every now and then. You like to dance and hang out with your friends. Being a responsible young lady, we trust you. Times are not easy for teens growing up, with drugs and alcohol available on every street corner. You're not stupid, by no means, but temptations will always be out there and we can only hope you will use your common sense.

Have a very happy birthday, sweetheart! You're adorable!

PS Your cousin is having his 16th birthday tomorrow! The two of you get along real well. So Cousin, I wish you a very happy birthday too! Thanks for looking after Lana. She enjoyed going out with you!

Lana and her cousin

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cutting the cord

You and your mommy are very close. The two of you are like peas and carrots. You spend a lot of time together, and you're always there for each other. I could say you are best friends! And that's not something all children can say of their parents! Your mom will always back you up and support you and love you for who you are. Part of growing up, is letting go of your childhood and becoming a man. When you told me you're no longer a child, but a young man, I believed you. I can tell by the sound of your voice, the size of your feet and the way you have changed. You are such a smart boy - can I still call you a boy? - and at the same time very emotional. Your heart's in the right place, you know? You care about people and animals and that's a good virtue.

Growing up also means cutting the cord. Since you and your mom spend so much time together and the two of you rely on each other all the time, it won't be easy to let go. You want to be a young man, but at the same time, you are still a young boy who needs his mommy. No offence, but at the age of 10, by no means can you cope on your own. You like to hang out with your mom and talk to her and it's great to see the two of you enjoying each other's company. I can no longer count the numerous times tears from joy were rolling down your cheeks because you and your mommy got the giggles. There's such a bond between the two of you, that nobody will ever be able to break that by any means. It's something only you and your mom will be able to release. Maybe the two of you should try to stretch the cord a little, to see how far you can get? You will still have the opportunity to come closer again. 

Your mom is absolutely right when she occasionally lets you stay with friends or family or your daddy. It's good for you, to spend some time with other people beside your mom who you love the most. Don't worry, she'll always be there for you.. You're the most precious person in the world to her! There's absolutely nothing to worry about..

Photo by Eva Joos

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thank you for loving me

The two of you are a true delight. I'm so happy that you came to live with us. The joy you have brought so far, overwhelms the damage both of you have caused around the house. It doesn't matter that you ruined the couch or ate my glasses (twice).. since the love you bring me, is priceless. Of course I'd rather have you not damage anything, that's pretty obvious. Your separation anxiety takes over some times and that's when you go nuts.

Yesterday, hubby put up another fence in the backyard. Inthe has found some opening in the back of the garden, where she likes to escape at night. We can hear her bark but we can't see where she is, since there's no light out there. We can't take the risk of her running away, so hubby went to the DIY shop to get some wired fence and wooden poles and he did a great job! The dogs are safe again!

My favorite spot on the couch, is the chaise longue. I like to stretch my legs and lean back with a blanket in my lap. Little Inthe likes to lock my legs by sitting on them, so I can't get anywhere. Is that her way to express that she doesn't want me to go out again? Maybe.. Rebba snuggles in as close as possible - and that's much closer than one can imagine. If she could, she would just be absorbed by my body.

Their love is eternal. Even if I scold them for not behaving well, they try to make up right away, licking my face and putting their legs on my shoulders to ask for a hug. How could one not love them..

photo taken by Lana Joos

Monday, March 14, 2011

My dear old friend

This week, in the middle of the night, I got an email from a lady I didn't recall right away. She wrote me, to let me know she and her daughter had been trying to locate me for some time now. Of course I was curious about this lady and her daughter, so I mailed her back. I got the chills reading her second mail..

Almost 30 years ago, I met a wonderful family of three. The little girl in the family was my playmate. We liked to spend time together and I loved to go over to their place. Her parents were so gentle and kind and loving people. I don't remember them raising their voice once. They loved me and welcomed me into their home like I were a child of their own and they made sure I had a great time while being with them.

For some reason, we lost track of one another. I'm so happy they traced me! My friend is married now and she has a beautiful 17 yo daughter.. Her younger brother - I don't believe I ever met him, but I do remember his birth somehow - is married too and they have a baby girl. Their parents are still a great couple and it will be heart warming to embrace them. Thank you for trying to locate me.. xx
I hope we'll meet again somewhere soon. We have so much to talk about.. I'm looking forward to seeing pictures of me and my friend at the time..

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Being on cloud 9

Last night was your first "real" night out. You and your friends went to a local dance night. You had been looking forward to this event for months! This week, you and your friends went shopping in Bruges to get a new outfit and the blisters on your heels from testing out your new dance shoes, have almost healed. You were all ecstatic about the party!!! Your cousin (the two of you were born in 2 days time) joined you and so did your boyfriend and your girlfriends. I'm sure you all had the time of your life and you danced your hearts out.

I'm really glad you had fun! It's satisfying to see your girls grow up to be responsible young adults with an interesting social life. Both our girls are loved and they like to love their friends back. For us, parents, it's about letting go and cutting the cord. Don't worry about that.. we're fast learners.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Flipz.. are you flipping out?

I encountered a new way of online shopping. At least, that's what I thought it would be like. The company compares itself to eBay, but better. I don't know whether you have heard about flipz before? Maybe you should check it out and find out for yourself.. Make up your mind!

This is the concept: using Paypal, you buy "flipz". That's the virtual money you will need to bid on the auctions presented by the website. Unlike the items on eBay, promises new products for ridiculous prices. So you buy flipz. Depending on the amount of flipz you buy, one flipz is worth between 0.42 and 0.56 euro a piece. You cannot start to bid on the products, before you have purchased a number of flipz's. Once you're settled with your flipz-money in your account (assume you have bought € 100 worth of flipz's - that equals 200 flipz), you can check out the auctions and decide what products you would like to bid on. The product says how much the minimum price is and how long you have for the auction to begin. This is the tricky part! Assume one auction shows: 3 minutes left, it doesn't mean the auction will end in 3 minutes! Beware! It means the bidders will play it hard from then on. You bid and so many others bid as well. Once you start the bidding, you're not very willing to give up (if you do stop, you loose all the money you have used bidding so far!). It won't be a surprise to you that you spend € 100 in very little time. So you go back to Paypal to purchase some more flipz-money. And you go on bidding.. and so do the other bidders. After all, the homepage gives you the impression that the eventual prices for the products offered, are ridiculously low. And indeed: 34 euros for a brandnew iPhone4 is an offer you can't refuse. So you keep bidding.. Until you run out of flipz-money (again) and you need to refuel (again). And then, all of a sudden, the game's over. One person wins the auction, the others are left with a big hole in their wallet and major disappointment. No iPhone4, no more flipz's. Only a loss of over 400 euros. Because that's what happens when you are not the winner. The homepage does not say: iPhone4 auction € 34 + € 400.

It says: 2011-03-09 21:08:20
Apple iPhone 4
Apple iPhone 4

€ 34.12 (i.p.v. € 659.00)
door brennan7


2011-03-06 17:22:06
Apple iPhone 4
Apple iPhone 4

€ 10.20 (i.p.v. € 659.00)
door Diablo

People who are not familiar with this kind of online shopping, will be tricked for sure. They will assume they are able to buy an iPhone4 (worth € 659) for no more than € 34 or even € 10! But what the site doesn't say, is the amount of flipz's the bidders have bought in advance in order to be able to bid on these auctions. This is no more than a gambling site, trying to trick people into buying a bucket full of virtual money to play an auction they are very unlikely to win. In the end, you will have lost a lot of money and you still won't have the product you were bidding on. Don't make your favorite website. In fact, you should ban it from your computer!

If you have not been able to resist the temptation and you feel like you have been taken advantage of, don't hesitate to serve your complaint with eCops. They are familiar with these circumstances and they can give you advise.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mom jeans

You know what I'm talking about, don't you: those comfortable sloppy jeans, without any shape or attractive line whatsoever. Women start wearing them in their pregnancies and that's when they realize how comfortable mom jeans are. Mom jeans make life easier. They don't require ironing ; they can have stains or greasy finger prints. It doesn't matter they don't fit well. As long as they hide your curves and make you feel comfortable.

But hey! Why not choose to be a sassy mom? Sassy moms do care about their look! They want to be hot and sexy and they like to dress well. What do you mean by saying that hip and fancy clothes aren't comfortable? Hello? You must be out of your mind! There's such a wide range of clothes and there are way too many shops to visit. So please! Get out there and treat yourself with a sexy make over! Throw away those sloppy pants and smelly sneakers. Have your locks colored, wear the highest heels you can walk on and flaunt your bum in those tight dark jeans! Make your kids proud of their mom!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

People are people

Some first impressions of Lana's first day out with a real photographer..

All pictures were taken by Lana Joos. Today, she got her first assignment for a photoshoot. I'm so proud of her! Check out her website for more pictures.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Nascent life

Photo by Lana Joos
Spring is a very good time of the year to go outside and make beautiful nature shots. That's exactly what our daughter must have thought, while taking a series of pictures in the backyard.

A friend of mine introduced us to a great photographer, by the name of Niko Deleu. We started mailing back and forth and I forwarded some of Lana's pictures. He was impressed - and so are we.

He offered to take her along one day, to teach her more about photography. The plan is to go to Bruges. There are so many interesting tourists to take pictures of. I'm sure Lana will love that, as well as taking shots of the authentic buildings.

We'd better pack our things. The battery is charged, the camera put together. Time to hit the road and go meet Niko.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Difficult divorces

You won't find that many children looking forward to their parents getting a divorce. Children like to be loyal to both parents and that works best if they stick together. That doesn't mean they have to live together, but it makes it easier if they can still walk through one door.

Several friends of mine are divorced or separated. Apparently it's very difficult for either parent to have a healthy bond with their ex. After all, there's a reason or a number of reasons why they decided not to spend the rest of their life together, right? If there are no children involved, it's only a material matter. But if the couple shares a child or several children, things are a whole lot more complicated. There are so many situations where the children suffer the most. It is sad, you know. People communicate with one another through their children, hoping they will let the other parent know their discomfort. It's not very adult like to act like this, but it happens all the time. Sometimes I wonder why ex partners decide to make the other's life miserable. Shouldn't they be happy that they finally split up? Why not hope for the best for their ex? People are complicated..

Monday, March 7, 2011

Korean cooking

On our last weekend abroad, I bought about 7 new cookbooks. I can't help it, but there's something about cookbooks that makes me happy. I like to stroll around cook shops, pick up some cookbooks and loose track of time. I forget about the rest, when I'm going through those books. They make my mind go mad and brilliant ideas sprout from what the pictures tell me.

I'm a creative cook and I like to try out foreign cuisine. For the first time, I bought myself a Korean cookbook. I had never eaten Korean food before, but it sure looked very appealing to me. Some ingredients I already had in my pantry, because every now and then I look to cook Thai food. While shopping around Aalst, I ran into a small Asian supermarket. Great! Just what I was looking for! I got the final ingredients for my new recipes and I rushed home to prepare my first Korean dish.

I like the freshness and the tang of Asian food. Plenty of crispy vegetables, lovely spices and healthy components make excellent dishes. One of my favorites was a beef stock filled with meaty oyster mushrooms and bean sprouts. Let me share the recipe with you! My guest the other night was pretty excited about this stir-fry, so I'll make it again!

What do we need:
  • 500 ml of beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • oil
  • 4 oyster mushrooms, cut down in strips
  • toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 zucchini, shredded
  • 1/2 broccoli, cut up
  • 100 grams of Asian noodles or a package of bean sprouts (depends on how many carbs you want to eat)
  • 3 spring onions, chopped diagonally
  • 1 red chilli, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • toasted sesame seeds

what do we do:

  • Add the soy sauce to the stock and set the pan aside.
  • Make an omelette out of the eggs and cook it on both sides. Don't forget to season with salt and pepper. Roll up the omelette and slice it.
  • Bake the strips of oyster mushroom in a small amount of oil. Sprinkle some sesame oil over the mushrooms and set them aside.
  • Stir-fry the zucchini and set them aside.
  • Stir-fry the broccoli and set it aside.
  • Cook the noodles and drain them.
  • Heat the stock and add the bean sprouts, if you're having those instead of the noodles. Season the stock with garlic and chilli.
  • Divide the noodles (or the bean sprouts) over 2 bowls. Top with the mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli and omelette.
  • Pour the stock over the veggies and top with spring onions and toasted sesame seeds.
I like my Korean soup with some extra zing: sambal oelek! Absolutely perfect for this dish. I wouldn't have a problem adding beef or shrimp or tahoe or substituting the bean sprouts for Chinese glass noodles.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Living up to your potential

You're not even 16 and you already have your own Canon EOS 400 D camera, my sweet girl. You were so happy with the news and right away you started to make plans. You had ideas you wanted to share with me and I'm looking forward to your pictures. We know you will take very good care of your camera. You'll cherish it and you will be able to expand your talent. Trust yourself and have confidence. You are more than willing to learn. It would be great if you could find a weekend job where you could help out a professional photographer. You have an open mind and you absorb information well. Dare yourself. Go out there and make some exceptional shots. I'm proud of you!

Saturday, March 5, 2011


You must know by now I'm not much of a meat lover. I can do without meat, although I like to eat some meat every now and then.
The first time I ate sweetbreads, I must have been 18 or 19. I was working in a fancy restaurant at the time, and the cook served me sweetbreads after work. I wasn't exactly thrilled to taste it, since I had seen her cook and peel the gland. It looked kinda freaky to me.. But I wanted to be polite, so I sat down, fiddled a little with my fork, pricked a piece of sweetbread on my fork and tasted it. What a surprise! It tasted heavenly! They were crisp on the outside and so smooth once you took a bite.

While we were in The Hague, Holland, we had dinner in the Novotel Hotel. And yes: the menu looked promising. I decided to have the veal steak with sweetbreads and I had no regrets. It was absolutely delicious!

I have no idea whether I would succeed making sweetbreads at home. Maybe I should order some at the local butcher and just give it a try?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Happy Feet

My feet are sore. I started wearing my insoles again - after having lost them a year or two ago. Insoles are very good for my feet, sometimes too good. Because once I'm used to wearing them again, it's hard to walk without. Whoever invented insoles, didn't think of women's hunger for nice shoes. And no, elegant feminine shoes don't take insoles.. Since I love to wear high heels, my insoles lead a longer life. They fit well in boots and flat shoes, but forget about sandals, pumps, high heels, .. I do want to wear them more often and high heels are probably not the best choice if you have lower back pain, but they make me feel so womanlike, you know? I don't have that feeling when I wear Mary Janes (yes, I keep those for tiring shopping days) or sneakers (yikes! although I must admit I have worn them in Florida) and there's no way I would wear them by choice. Around the house, I could consider wearing more comfortable shoes where the insoles feel great in too. Maybe that's a better option.. Let's find that cream to give my exhausted feet that enjoyable foot rub they truly deserve.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Burdens of the past

I'm really proud of both our girls. They do real well in school, getting good grades, making precious friends. I like to give them compliments and motivation is important. Why focussing on the negative, if there are so many good things to talk about? That's exactly what I missed in my youth. The focus was on what we didn't do right. The good things were always left unnoticed and considered normal. To some, that may be a motivation to do better, but it sure wasn't a good method for me, nor for my siblings. Maybe that's one of the reasons why neither one of us is professionally active in the direction of what we studied to become?

I can only wish my girls will have the feeling that whatever they choose to do in life, will be a choice we will support them in. It's possible that one exam didn't turn out the way they expected it to be like. So what?? They'll survive. They feel bad enough already when they get their charts. So why reprimand? Kids don't get bad grades to aggravate their parents. But trust me: parents that aggravate their children, end up with children who have bad grades..

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Help yourself

2010 was a very special year for me. I have made a couple of drastic decisions and I'm benefiting from them now. I wanted to live a good life and a complication free future is one of my goals.
Diabetes is a chronic disease. You need to take good care of yourself every day, all year round. It will pay off in the end, making it worth the effort. It doesn't mean you can no longer enjoy life or the goodies of life. I enjoy life to the fullest, trying to make every day worthwhile.

My average bloodglucose has improved big time. When my nurse called me to let me know my latest HbA1c, I was thrilled to hear the number. Having reached another goal, I can only be thankful for all the help I got in the last year. That 6.6% is truly awesome and it makes me proud of myself. I have put hard work in it and sacrifices have to be made. But it's all so worth it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Confessions of a sweetbee

Over the years I have learned quite a bit about diabetes. It triggers me to know more and to understand this condition. In my surroundings, there are a bunch of diabetics (I like to call them sweetbees, that sounds nicer than DIE-abetics) I like to hang out with. They don't look any different, they just share this one common factor in life.

I have been asked to talk about my life with D for different organisations. It came as a total surprise and I had to think it over. One of the things that startles me when it comes to D, is that the word still needs to be spread. So many people have it, but so little know what it's really about. Not too long ago, there was this middle aged man with type 2 diabetes for many years. He had no idea why his sugar levels were elevated to the 300 region. We asked him about his nutrition. Apparently he had been drinking 4 small bottles of regular coke!! with his multiple sugar loaded snacks.. He had no idea.. The only thing they had told him, was that he couldn't have sugar. Did he take that too seriously? Thinking of lumps of sugar? That was so shocking, that I thought indeed it would be a great idea to have those workshops on diabetes.

On several locations I'll be giving these workshops, for a variety of people. Not specific diabetics. I will tell them about my life with D. There's nothing depressing about diabetes. Not all diabetics end up blind or limbless. And that's exactly what I would like to let the world know.. You can have a positive attitude when it comes to D. It's a part of who we are, but it doesn't define us..