Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Stepping out of your comfort zone

You knew this week was coming, but still you were kind of apprehensive. That's completely normal. After all, you are stepping out of your comfort zone, to try something different. You haven't been a diabetic for that long. It took me 4 years on syringes, before I made the transfer to an insulin pump. Thinking of the day we met, I remember the look in your eyes when you saw my pump. It was nothing you would choose. But that's okay. Nobody should be pumping if they're not ready for it. So I never pushed you. You did what you had to do and so did I.

After you joined www.diabetesforum.be you got acquainted with so many other diabetics. They embraced you immediately, because that's the kind of person you are. And you loved them back. I could tell your eyes and ears were open and you are very good at soaking up information. So it didn't surprise me that one year later, you decided you were ready to start pumping. Your nurse gave you the chance to take the pump home for practice and that's exactly what you did. Things didn't always go smoothly at first, but that's okay too. It's a process. To us, it looks real easy and logical, but if you're totally new to pumping, it's scary, I admit.

This afternoon, our mother-in-law and I will come visit you. Because we want to wish you all the best of luck. Welcome to the world of the Combonauts..

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sons and daughters

Being pregnant for the first time, I had no idea what to expect. People asked me whether we wanted a boy or a girl. I had no preference. I wanted the baby to be happy and healthy, that's all. Maybe there was a slight preference for a boy as our first child, followed by a sister. But it didn't matter to us.

In my seventh month, I nearly went into labor because kidney stones were playing rough house inside my body. The radiologist asked me if I knew the gender of my baby. We didn't at the time. So he told us we were going to have a boy! Great! A boy huh? We would call him Nathan..

My gynecologist didn't agree with the radiologist. She said she wasn't sure so she wouldn't tell us tales. We would see..

You came three weeks early. It was full moon, just like I had predicted. You were not a boy by far. You were a beautiful baby girl. We instantly forgot about the boy. We were thrilled with your birth and the fact that you were a girl! I thought pink leotards and pig tails in your hair, nailpolish and Christmas dresses. We would shop together and I would teach you how to cook..

Over the years, every now and then, I wonder what you would have looked like if you had been a Nathan instead of a Lana. Not because I really wanted a boy. Just out of curiosity..

Last night, you and I had a special mommy - daughter night out. We went to see the Russian Bolshoi Ballet Coppelia. It was amazing.. I knew you were going to love it. You no longer wear pink leotards, but you're still a dancer and I know how much you love ballet. So I guess it was the perfect idea for some special together time. You're a wonderful girl xx

PS if you had been a Nathan, I probably would have taken you to a soccer game. I'm not sad.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Culture Club

Photo taken by Lana Joos
There are several nationalities in your class. Some of the teens were born over here, others came by later in life.
It's interesting to relate to people from other cultures. It teaches you about life and customs.
You love to travel - guess that's something genetic you got from your mom - and explore new cultures. But guess what? You don't always have to go abroad to indulge. Maybe Lela can tell you all about Albany and Katarina can teach you about the Russian regime.

If I would have had different nationalities in my class, I would have taken the opportunity to learn a different language. I still love the Arabic sound of words. Whenever I have the chance to learn some lines in a different language, I will happily grab that opportunity.

Sniff the foreign culture in your own classroom. Enjoy it and learn.. You will benefit from it.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Message in a bottle

Photo by Lana Joos
What if you could only reach the world by sending a message in a bottle? You have 1 small pencil and a tiny piece of paper. Do you have any idea what your message would be? Would you cry for help? Let someone know where you are? Or wouldn't you bother and enjoy the time by yourself on a deserted island?

We are so used to being available at all times. Maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing to let those cell phones get lost for a while. Would the world fall apart if you wouldn't answer your phone? Are we that important that we can't be missed?

Give it a try. Put the volume of your cell phone on mute for a couple of hours (nighttime doesn't count). Wanna bet you'll be a whole lot more relaxed? Maybe not the first hour, but don't give in. It's all about quality time. Don't let your phone interrupt an interesting conversation with a friend. Why would you want to be disturbed right in the middle of baking cookies with your child? Is that phonecall more important than the private time you're having with your partner?

Have some empty bottles around the house. Whenever you feel the need to text someone, write down the message on a piece of paper and stuff it into a bottle. Think about whether the message is important enough to be read. Make your own conclusions..

Friday, May 27, 2011


I'm pretty sure there's nobody out there who doesn't own at least one Tupperware item. Really, Tupperware is known all over the world and there's no need to chant the quality, since it's just a fact.
I have been collecting Tupperware for at least 15 years and I can say: I have plenty.. But nevertheless, I love Tupperware parties! There's always new stuff to discover and I love to hear the tricks and recipes and what other people use their favorite containers for.

Just a little while ago, a friend of mine started throwing Tupperware parties. He's a great guy and we get along well. I would really like to recommend him as your new Tupperware consultant. Although he's new in the field, his knowledge on Tupperware isn't that new. I can tell he's a die hard fan. It's great to find people who share the same passion.

This consultant - his name is Eric - is so fond of his Tupperware Smart Steamer, that I wanted to start cooking healthy right away. He showed us the product and by telling what you could prepare in it, I was all ears. I have had steamers before, but this one is different. So yes, it's on my wish list..

On Saturday June 25th at 6 PM, Eric is going to come over here, to host another Tupperware night. How about you all come over? I'm sure there's some empty space in your cupboards or fridge? Why not fill it up with this wonderful product, so you can enjoy fresh and tasty food? Or maybe you are looking for the perfect wedding or birthday gift? I know a Tupperware set would please me!!! Who wouldn't be happy to receive some Tupperware containers instead of the more common flowers? After all, there's still a lifetime warranty on Tupperware. Flowers may be as nice as a gift, you can't keep them much longer than a week...

Please join in and mail me your coordinates, so I can send you your invitation. Or contact Eric and make an appointment with him right away. It's up to you! I'm looking forward to having you people over here! And thank you Eric, for bringing this wonderful product into my house! Check out the catalogue and start making your wishlist.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I may need your assistance

I truly believe you deserve a medal. Honestly.. The way you befriend your diabetes patients, is remarkable. You're the most devoted nurse I have ever met. Wouldn't know what to do without you, because I do need your assistance every once in a while. You're not only my diabetes nurse. For quite a number of months now, we have become friends. I really like you, and not only because you're the best nurse ever, but for who you are as a person. Warm, friendly, loving, caring, concerned, motivating, did I mention caring? That's why I advise all of my diabetic friends to have you as their nurse. Diabetics who need help in their diabetes treatment and who are willing to put effort in it, can only benefit from having a nurse like you. Because you don't belittle them. You treat them with respect and you make them part of the treatment, meaning you don't alter things without discussing it with your patient. You don't scold us if our numbers weren't that great and you praise us for the tiniest improvement. You're a wonderful motivator!

Thank you, my friend. You haven't got a clue how important you have become.. You are on my list of most important people in the world..

I'm looking forward to June 4!! We'll have a great time at the Neil Diamond concert! Thank you for inviting me!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

An artist

Photo by Lana Joos
It's what you like to do. Being creative and having some alone time goes well with who you present.

The walls in your house have been decorated with the numerous paintings your imagination allowed you to create. While working on a new project, you are having the time of your life. You prefer to copy other paintings or even just pictures out of a book.

It's a nice hobby and I'm glad it helps you relax. It's always good to have something to call your own. You don't harm anyone by enjoying your crafts and it gives you the opportunity to be productive in your leisure time. Because sitting in a chair is so not you.

Feel free to make some more paintings. It keeps you busy.
Happy 19th anniversary, gramps. Keep up the good work. We're proud of you.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A panic attack

In 2003 I had my hysterectomy and that operation went perfect. My body healed well and things went back to normal pretty soon.

I have a new gynecologist now. She asked me to come in for a yearly check-up. You know, the usual routine control. She suggested an internal ultrasound to take a look at my ovaries. They were pretty as always :-) There were no more signs of PCOS, what made me happy. Before she let me get dressed, she wanted to do a breast exam as well. It had been a while since my former gynecologist had performed a breast exam.

At first, she didn't speak. Then I heard her mumble.. I held my breath, prepared to hear the worst. She asked me if my breasts were always that hard to examine? eeuurrgghh.. I don't know?

She continued her exam and then she went to her desk, grabbed the phone and made an appointment with the radiologist. I overheard her conversation. She asked if I could come for an ultrasound right away. She had a bad feeling about the numerous mammary she felt. I took a deep breath, jumped off the examination table and buttoned up my shirt. I had a hard time swallowing my saliva and I felt numb. What did she mean? Was something wrong? She didn't have much time left, because they beeped her to go deliver a baby.

So off I went to Radiology. There was a crowd in the waiting room and I couldn't focus on the magazine I had in my lap. All kinds of nasty words crossed my mind. I tried to calm myself and picked another magazine. My fingers txt some lines to my husband and my friend and I wasn't sure whether I was going to send the texts or not. Maybe I should wait for the outcome of the ultrasound?

The radiologist asked me to undress and lay down on his examination table. It was freezing in his consultation room. I had goosebumps all over. The slippery gel was smeared over my chest and the doctor started his exam. He didn't speak. Not at all. I didn't look at the screen. Why should I? It's not like a layman can tell cancer from an innocent swollen gland?

He asked me to get up and get dressed. He was going to forward the result to my gynecologist. Hello??? Can you at least tell me what's going on?? He turned on his heels, looked at me and said: everything's fine ma'am. You have a good day now.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dancing queen

Wow! What a great recital that was! So many students and 3 hours full of excitement and dance. Grandma, aunties, mom, dad and your sister where there to cheer for you. This year, you choose ragga as your dance style. Since classical ballet is no longer an option (bad knees - remember), you had to make different choices. We had no idea what to expect and we were very surprised by the excellent performance.
I was happy to see the smile on your face. Although you had 3 performances that day, you didn't complain and you looked happy and content. I could tell you had the time of your life and that's so important. You started dance lessons at the age of 2.5 years old. Still a toddler at the time, but you never lost your love for dance. Classical ballet has always been your favorite style and that shows. Your long muscular legs and the slender arms, the grace of the moves you make and the pointed toes say it all.
It's been a hectic day for you and you rehearsed so many times the last couple of weeks. Congratulations sweetie. We're proud of you! xx It's an art to be able to bring joy into people's life by dancing. And that's exactly what you did.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Et maintenant, que vais je faire?

Yesterday was the day where we had to say goodbye for the last time. You're the first member of our diabetesforum that has left us for the other world. It's kinda weird to know that. You joined us right at the beginning. I remember how we got acquainted. We started to type long conversations late at night. You told me that you were diagnosed with C and that the doctors had given you only 3 months. But you were courageous and prepared to fight this battle. That's what you did for the upcoming 3 years.

Not too long after that first conversation, you started to talk about your beautiful family. Your wife, who was always by your side. About the long hours you and your wife had worked, to make sure you would have a good future and a nice house to live in. About the son and daughter you had raised. The foster children from Ireland who were so precious to you, that you gave them the chance to spend their summer holidays at your place. All your life you were there for other people. You are the least selfish person I have ever met. Always there for others, caring over them while you stood at the sideline. That didn't go unnoticed.. you have left many good friends behind, who will miss you terribly. There are quite some people who never met you in person, but their world was turned upside down when they found out about your passing away..

Your grandchildren were lucky to have you as their grandpa. They loved you deeply, those 4 little ones. The pride in your voice when you told stories about the times you spent with them. You helped your wife in the care for those precious wonders. They will miss you.. It was heartwarming how the oldest boys, Devlin and Kyaro came to the coffin to hand their drawings to their "pappie".

Cobra and Zora were your best mates. Long walks and a lot of playtime with the dogs was your favorite hobby. How sad you were, went Zora became sick and passed away. You were inconsolable.. The loss over Zora was too much. And then - out of the blue - you ended up with a wonderful pup: Joker. He looked a little like Zora and when Joker's people parent was struck by the C word as well, you and your wife adopted Joker. He couldn't replace Zora, but he brought you joy and laughter. Although Joker was full of mischief, he sure made you laugh and live again. Do you remember how he gobbled up your favorite straw hat? The grin on your face was golden.
Cobra was as sad over Zora's loss as you were. He felt miserable and was depressed for quite some time. It won't surprise anyone that only 3 days after your passing away, your wonderful dog decided to join you on your journey to the other world. It's a comfort to me you didn't have to undergo this journey all by yourself. You and Cobra will find your way to Zora. Cobra will lead you.

The service at the crematorium was very personal and serene. We were honored to be invited. It was nice that we were given the opportunity to come and say our goodbyes. As soon as they played Et maintenant by Gilbert Bécaud, the tears ran down my cheeks, because it reminded me of the numerous times we talked about your love for the French chansons. Ann Christy sang The Rose and the silence in the theater was too much..
Ave Maria was the moment where I realized it was time to let go of you..

No more pain, no more sorrow over the family you had to leave behind. Take care now, buddy, take care. Have a safe journey. I'd like to dedicate this song by Dalida to you.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

For me, for me, formidable

Thank you for inviting us over. We hadn't seen each other in a while and it's not always easy to get everyone together, but somehow we manage to meet up several times a year.

Last night, we were invited into your parental home. Your mom was prepared to cook dinner for all of us and that was not necessary but highly appreciated. She's a great cook and we love to eat her food. Wasn't she pretty? Always dressed up to the nines and looking like a million dollar! Last night wasn't any different. Keep an eye on that leg for us, okay? It does worry me. Please take a rest every now and then, Mrs T. You don't need anyone's permission but your own..

My friend, thank you for all the work you have done for us so far. You are one of a kind and we could not have done what we did without you. I do believe we were able to surprise you? Have fun and let us enjoy the result huh?

Brothers, my record keeps playing the same song: I consider you my true brothers since you're always there for me and I can really rely on you all. Each one of you can read between the lines and the love you offer is true and sincere.. Thank you xxx

Friday, May 20, 2011

Cute as a cupcake!

Photo by Lana Joos
You must have picked up the cupcake hype by now. There are plenty of workshops if you want to get a guided start. Or you browse the Net to let the ideas sprout.

You will need a good cake recipe to start with. It is the base of your cupcake and it needs to be moist and full of flavor. There are tons of recipes out there, but to give you a little hand, I'll write down our favorite cupcake recipe. Visit the specialty shop to get fondant and some tools and you're ready to give it a try.

What do we need:

  • 250 grams of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 250 grams of butter, softened
  • 200 grams of sugar
  • 50 grams of runny honey
  • a splash of vanilla extract
  • 250 grams of eggs

What do we do:

  • Preheat the oven on 180°C.
  • Sift the flour with the baking powder over a bowl.
  • Mix the butter with the sugar and the honey until all the sweetness has melted into the butter. Add the vanilla.
  • Alternate adding eggs and flour and mix well in between. 
  • Pour the dough into 20 muffin cups (paper or silicon, whatever you like the best). 
  • Bake the cakes for 20 minutes and let them cool down.
  • Use your imagination to decorate your cupcakes. Make a mixture of powdered sugar, egg white and a few drops of lemon juice to use as a glue. 
  • Enjoy! And don't forget to mail me your pictures!
See this activity as a wonderful pastime. It's fun to involve your children. I haven't met any child who doesn't like to decorate cupcakes! Let your imagination go wild and admire the result before you indulge!

Photo by Eva Joos

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Around the clock

What a great day we had! We monthly meet on any Thursday "to go to the market". That's how we call our day out, because Thursday is market day in the town we go to. That's where we meet to catch up and have a ladies day.

We sit down on the deck to enjoy a first glass of white wine. Most of the time we pick the same little restaurant. The menu is simple but good and the interior is crisp. That's when the chatting begins. We always have so many things to discuss and we laugh and we have a good time over lunch.

Lunch is most likely a salad, vegetarian or non-vegetarian, depending on our moods. Last week we had a great salad, packed with fresh greens and crunchy bits of fruit. How we enjoy those healthy dishes without having to get all of those ingredients from the store!

We're lucky most of the time, since the sun likes the market day too. So we stay outside on the deck to have our coffee(s). We discuss husbands, children, recipes, activities, shops we like to go to.. you know, the usual female talk. And we have more coffee.. up until we realize it's about dinner time. Without discussion we decide we're not done talking yet, so we order dinner. No salad this time, but a sandwich. I had tomato shrimp and that was a good choice. I hear shrimp poison your body with cholesterol, but every now and then I like to indulge my shrimp.

The owner of the restaurant joined us at a certain point. She couldn't believe we weren't done talking yet. For 11 hours we had been sitting there, babbling our way through the day, over wine, diet coke, coffee and something to munch on. Hahaha! It's great to have those days out. Too bad the parking lot closed for the night.. Thank goodness my friends car was parked down the street..

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Eye for an eye until the whole world goes blind

She didn't want to marry him.. That's the only "crime" she pled guilty to, but it was enough for Majid Movahedi to loose his pedals and mutilate the woman who rejected him..

Iran, 2004. Majid Movahedi had set his eyes on the young Ameneh Bahramai. At the age of only 20, she had no intention to marry Mr Movahedi, so she waved him aside, on multiple occasions. He had a very hard time accepting that. To him, a woman cannot reject an islamic man. So he decided she had to suffer for hurting his ego.

Without any form of compassion, he mutilated Ms Bahramai by throwing a bucket full of sulfuric acid over her head, leaving her maimed for the rest of her life. She will never be able to see properly again and the pain - both physical and emotional - she has gone through is tremendous.. Spanish doctors tried to help Ms Bahramai to gain back her sight, but the operation didn't give the result they had hoped for. Ms Bahramai underwent 19 surgeries but none could give her back her face..

The Teheran court listened to Ms Bahrami's lifestory and they decided she had the right to disfigure Mr Movahedi the way he disgraced her. Mr Movahedi will be waiting his trial in a Teheran hospital. His victim will dribble 10 drops of sulfuric acid into both his eyes, robbing him of his sight. If she's too soft to do it or if she's opposed to doing it herself, a team of doctors will be beside her, to do the act for her. Mr Movahedi has shown no remorse whatsoever. He still claims he hasn't done anything wrong. He feels he was entitled to do what he did..

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

In honor of your memory

You were a wonderful person. So many people looked up to you and the courage that came with you. The C word did it again.. We know you were running out of time, but we had no idea it was going to be this soon. Last time we visited you, you were so enthusiastic about a scooter you had bought. It would take you everywhere! That was so exciting for you, because C had weakened your body and you were no longer able to walk by yourself.

I saw the weightloss, I saw how skinny your nose had become. You reminded me of a fragile, little bird. But even so I still saw the person you were: courageous, courteous, loving, caring, interested in the people around you. It was a comfort to me that your brain was not affected by this awful disease. You know what was so typical you? That you never complained... Pain was never out of your life since the diagnose, but you were very good at hiding it. It was of no use to you, to tell others how much pain you had. What a role model..

We'll miss you, buddy. Take care. Send us a signal from where you are. I hope your dog Zohra will have waited for you up there. You take long walks with him now, okay? We'll have a private talk every now and then. You were always interested in hearing the latest news on diabetes treatment. We'll keep you informed.. We'll give your lovely family a warm hug every now and then xx See you on Saturday..

Monday, May 16, 2011

Come and get fat party

Grab some cling film and cover the inside of a glass bowl with it.
Arrange 4 basil leaves on the bottom of the bowl and lay 4 sundried tomatoes in between the leaves.
Spread 1 container of cream cheese over the herbs and top that off with dried tomato spread. Pour some green pesto on top and finish off with another container of cream cheese.
Fold over the cling film and let it rest in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Remove the cling film, tip over the bowl on a plate and serve the cheesespread with crackers.

This recipe sounds delicious, but it's not something we will prepare today. My sister-in-law and a friend are coming over today. We're going to cook Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean food. As we all know, the Asian cuisine is known to be healthy and low fat and that's what I would like to teach these two ladies. I'm not a fan of Asian drinks, so a bottle of South African Chardonnay is keeping its cool in the fridge for the girls to arrive.
I need to run some errands first and do some more tidying up before they get here. Most ingredients I keep in my pantry at all times, but I do need some crab and meat.

The first dish will be the Vietnamese springrolls, packed with veggies, crayfish and crabmeat. Those wraps are so delicious I could have them every day. So simple, healthy, colorful and easy to make!
The Chinese kitchen is rather new to me. I'm still learning a lot, but I know how to make dim sum. I must have made around 250 pieces by now and I'm still not bored. We'll have those in a chicken broth.
My Korean cookbook is a favorite of mine. Korean flavors are so different from what we are used to. I like their combinations and I love to stir fry. We'll have a cashew noodle stir fry with tons of vegetables.

I'm sure we'll have a great day! I'm glad the girls will help me chop the veggies. Let's keep our fingers crossed they will be as enthusiastic about Asian cooking as I am!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

You've got a friend

From the early days in kindergarten until today, you have always had many friends. You are like a magnet, that draws people's attention. People want to be your friend and they like you a lot.

Since you left our town to frequent a school in a bigger city than ours, you got new friends - but you didn't forget about your old friends either. Some girls you get along better with than others, but that's okay. After all, you can't be friendly to the whole world, huh. 

These two girls may be called your best friends. The amount of time you spend together and the laughter I can hear coming out of your room when your friends stay over, says it all. I don't know if you noticed, but sometimes I feel like the three of you could be sisters. Over time, you started to look like one another! How scary is that? Your hairdo is practically the same, the features in your faces resemble and you even use the same lines when you talk.

I'm so happy for you. You don't only have girl friends but there's also a group of boy friends you like to hang out with. Times have changed. In our days, it wasn't appropriate for us - girls - to have boys as friends. Boys didn't frequent the same schools and we were not able to meet up like the youngsters do nowadays. There were no cell phones and Internet - well.. you know.. and I know you can't believe we had a life without the Net. It's great that you can hang out with girl friends as well as their male opponents. It makes life a whole lot easier..

You and your friends

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A sweet tooth

I don't have much of a sweet tooth. Although I like to prepare desserts, I'm not a huge dessert lover. I guess I'm a lucky diabetic! Can't imagine how hard it must be for a diabetic who craves sugar!

I have not lived the days when sugar was forbidden for diabetics. I do have deep respect for people with D who had to live up to a very strict diet. They must have been deprived of so many good things. How about children? They come across so many events where products are loaded with sugar: birthday parties, trips to the amusement park, fun fairs, treats at the grandparents,.. Nowadays, treatment for diabetics has changed. It all comes down to counting carbs. Okay, rapid sugars are not the best choice, but they can be eaten within moderation. As long as you count your carbs and make sure you inject the insulin needed. That's exactly what I do when I enjoy my favorite sabayon!

I have tried to make desserts or bake goodies without sugar. There are numerous kinds of sweeteners one can use, but no thanks, I'm not a fan. Cakes and cookies really need sugar to get their crunchiness and nice tan. I do use less sugar in my desserts as what the recipe calls for and I haven't had any complaints so far. It's my way of cutting down on carbs without losing flavor. Wouldn't you rather eat a dessert full of flavor than some tasteless piece of crap? Exactly..

Friday, May 13, 2011

A beautiful flower

I really love artichokes. This delicate flower shaped vegetable is a joy to eat. A very basic recipe is probably the best: stock poached artichoke with a simple mustard vinaigrette. I'm not talking about just the artichoke hearts! Don't forget to munch on the leaves. It's a pleasure to tear off the leaves from the flower, dip them in the vinaigrette and suck the lovely "meat" out.

I sometimes eat artichokes for lunch. It doesn't require anything else and I find it very fulfilling. You may serve artichoke hearts as an appetizer if you prefer. But if you do want your artichokes to be a whole meal, you could try this recipe. It doesn't ask for fresh artichokes, so you can make it any time you want.

what do we need:
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (try to find marinated artichokes, it will add to the taste)
  • 60 grams of Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 90 ml of good mayonnaise
  • 90 ml of sour cream
  • a pinch of salt and pepper
  • a clove of garlic, minced
  • 4 chicken breast halves

what do we do:
  • Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  • Mix the artichokes with the cheese, mayo, sour cream, pepper and salt and garlic.
  • Place the chicken in a greased baking dish and cover evenly with the artichoke mixture.
  • Bake the dish for 30 min or until the chicken is done.
  • Serve with slices of fresh baguette and a green salad.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A new me

You have no idea how good it feels to finally have a size 38! I have put so much work, energy and effort into losing weight and it's finally paying off. I'm having mixed feelings over it though. One day I'm so happy I got rid of that overweight and the next day I feel miserable because people keep saying how good I look, what makes me think of the past and how bad I must have looked then.. Do you know what I mean? Of course I know that's not what people mean, but it's the simple truth: I was overweight. And that weight needed to come off..

My clothing size has dropped 5 sizes and that is amazing. Last week I emptied my walk in closet for the third time and there's practically nothing left now. I'm still getting used to this new body and the scale is still not my best friend. Because some days, I fear it's all been a dream and the weight will come back. 

I'm a big fan of healthy food and small portions. Always have been, at least since I became a diabetic. Being diagnosed with D gives me mixed feelings too. I'm not too upset about being given the disease. It made me realize how precious life is and I got to meet so many wonderful people. But the constant fight with insulin resistance and slow digestion, wasn't very motivating to keep my BG in control. I wasn't happy in that body that I despised but it's all I had. I tried so hard to keep the weight off, but D decided otherwise. 

Things are getting better now. No more slow digestion and the insulin resistance? Well, what can I say? My total dose of insulin has dropped from a daily 135 units to around 35 units a day. That is so rewarding! It still startles me at times. Sometimes I need to pinch my cheeks to let myself know it is true!
Having lost weight has altered my view towards clothes as well. I spend more time in dressing rooms and I like to sort out my clothes in my closet. Before the weight loss, I couldn't care less.. I just picked out whatever was comfortable or available in my size. Now I pay more attention and I'm getting pickier over my choices. I can shop in different boutiques now and there's so much more available! I love to wear dresses and skirts and cleavage tops. I finally have a shape! I no longer look boxy!

It's hard work. I spend quite some time on making menus and finding low carb & healthy recipes. I love to experiment with different cuisines and try out new produce. As long as it's fat free, low carb and healthy: beam me up! I gave up on several types of food, but that's okay. It doesn't bother me anymore, since I know it keeps my weight of. 

Every now and then, I have nightmares about growing bigger again. I don't want to go back there. I've been there, I know what it feels like and I don't want to relive it. So I'll keep on track and I'll keep eating healthy food. Because I like that number 38. I like those fitted blouses and skinny jeans. My legs do well in knee high pencil skirts with matching high heels. I like me a whole lot better now.. And that shows..

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Material girl

I know we have many things and you could call it materialism. Although that's not how it feels, because by far: I'm not a material girl. I prefer giving over receiving. But some things are precious to me: especially pictures we've taken and presents I have been given are taken good care off.

Can you imagine my despair when I found out I lost my beautiful bracelet? I felt like crying, because it was so special to me.. My friends chose this delicate gem for my birthday a number of years ago and I have worn it ever since. I never took it off, not even to shower or work around the house. Last summer, I had to put it aside as a preparation for both my surgeries. It felt so uncomfortable not to wear it. As soon as I returned to my room, I opened my locker to retrieve the bracelet.

And now it's gone.. the lock must have gone bad I assume. It did come off at times. And yes, I should have brought it to the jeweler to fix it. It's too late now. My wrist feels weird without this special gift.. But the bond I feel with my friends, will never be lost. I'll keep the bracelet in mind. It will keep us together..

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It must be love

Thank you, for loving our daughter. Thank you, for bringing joy into her life. Thank you, for being who you are and making life a feast.

You are a very warm young man and we were happy to welcome you into our home. I can tell by the look in my daughter's eyes how happy she is. She loves you a lot and your eyes tell us you love her back. Do you think you could let your parents know they may be proud of their son? They raised you well.

Last week, you stayed over for dinner. I had no idea you were going to be here, but it was a pleasant surprise. I served you Thai chicken with rice and your appetite was a delight. You were excited about the international cuisine in our household. I hope you enjoyed last night's Moroccan tajine as well?
We were happy with your presence at the kitchen table. Do feel free to come over and spend time with us.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Slow living

Do you recognize the lifestyle of wanting to do as much as possible? The feeling you don't want to miss out? But then again, having the feeling that life is flying by and you're missing out on so much?

I think it's time to step back and cut down on the hectic lifestyle. There are just too many activities going on at the same time. Last week, I was in a conversation with a lady from the union. We were discussing different jobs and careers and the lady of the union asked me if I ever took the time to take care of me. Not someone else, just me. She was not the only person to ask me that question lately. I always thought I had so much me time, but I have come to realize that is not true.. I do spend a lot of time helping others and being of meaning to friends and family. Because that's who I am and that's what I like to do. It fulfills me to be there for other people and motivate them in their life. I always thought that was what gave me energy to go on.

Limits. That's what it's all about. I need to set boundaries. Thank you, my friend, for making me aware, because I keep forgetting about boundaries. I don't know what makes it so hard for me to set them. It's not that I'm afraid to speak up for myself, not by far. It's more of an addiction, I guess. An addiction to help others and be there at all times.

I'm trying to cut back and I have caught up on some sleep already. I'm still very tired and it feels like I could sleep all day and night. Maybe this time I need to give in and catch up with myself. No pressure, no rushing, no nothing.. Just a little bit more slow living..

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Today is Mother's Day. Today, yesterday, tomorrow, bad day, good day,... No matter what day it is: once a mom, always a mom. At least, that's the ideal situation. Once you gave birth to a child, you will remain its mom forever. Unconditional love, they say. A blood bond that can never be broken.

I love being a mom. It fulfills me and having children is the greatest gift in life. Waking up in the middle of the night, to make sure you thought of lunch for your child to take to school ; picking out little bras in a boutique, to surprise your daughter on her first night out ; baking their favorite banana bread by the time school's out ; rubbing her back with anti-zit cream while she's in the shower..
It's all about the little things. That's what makes moms.. moms.

Moms are special. They are unique and they cannot be replaced. Even if children have a wonderful father, there's always the need for their mom.

I think the picture in this blog is right.. or at least it is to some moms. I can agree to the quote up to a certain point. That is if it's meant to be sarcastic. Because, you know, moms too can be wrong at times. Good moms can admit their faults and flaws. It makes them better moms..

I'm looking forward to this beautiful, sunny day, together with my family. We're going to pay my mother-in-law a visit this afternoon. Because that's what makes her happy: her family. I'm sure we'll have a great time together. Happy Mother's Day to all mothers out there. xx

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Goodbye is the saddest word

It's the C-word again. I hate the word, I hate the disease. How many more victims will C make? You were too young, just 60. On the day you and your wife had been married for 25 years, you sighed for the last time. You had gone into a coma the previous night and we all knew you weren't going to get any better. But still, we were not prepared to let go. How could one be?

You and your wife made a very good couple. Joy and laughter was your way of life. Having a glass of good wine with your spouse over a nice conversation, made you happy. She will miss you so much..

You have two beautiful, young independent daughters. You loved them so deeply and you raised them well. Even though you were not the biological father of your oldest daughter, you never treated her any different from the youngest one. Because that's the person you were: reliable, joyful, pleasant to be with, responsible and best of all: loving.. And that's how we will remember you.

You go to sleep now, forever. This morning, all your friends and family will be there with you, in church. Till we meet again, because goodbye is the saddest word.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Different choices, different destination

This is it. It's been decision time. It took you some time to make up your mind about the upcoming school year. Your heart goes out to your favorite school in Bruges, where you have all of your friends and where the teachers still know all of their students. You wear your school uniform with pride and you are happy with the way things go around in school.

It is a shame though, that there aren't many options for the students once they turn 14. Either you choose Economics or Science. Or you frequent some other school that has other options as well. Humanities is what you would like to do, and with pain in your heart, you will have to say your goodbyes.. I'm so sorry for you, sweetie. I know how much you liked to be in boarding school and a student of this wonderful city, Bruges. But you'll do just fine in your new school. It isn't that new to you, since your sister has been in this school for 4 years now. And it's a good school too, you know? It's a whole lot bigger, that's true. You can't compare 3.000 students to a handful of 350, can you? And no, there won't be any friends at night to spend time with and to help out with homework. It'll be a big change for you and for us as well. But we'll manage, we will. You made the right choice to go to Bruges two years ago and you made the right choice again this time, to go to Eeklo. I'm sure you will love this school as well and Humanities will be interesting. After all, at the age of 14, you're still eager to learn.

Two more months and your time in Bruges will be over. We'll miss your school and the surroundings. We'll go back to shop every now and then, to relive the joy we once had. It's time to move on. It's life.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Life's been good

May 5 1995. The day we got married. I had given birth to our first daughter just a couple of weeks earlier. We wanted to get married, to give our daughter a good future. Things had gone real fast for us as a couple, but we were confident about our future as a family.

Our firstborn turned 16 in March. Today we have been married for 16 years.. It doesn't seem that long, but the date proves the contrary. For 16 years we have lived our lives as husband and wife, father and mother. We have been through some turbulent moments together, but we hung on and relied on our love to make things work.

Life is an adventure. Marriage is an adventure. An adventure worth living.

Happy Anniversary!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bienvenue à Paris

You have always been an early bird, and this morning wasn't any different. Your teachers were expecting you kids around 6 AM at the sports facility near school. It's finally going to happen, sweetheart!!! You have been looking forward to this trip all year!! I am almost as excited as you are. It's always an adventure to go on a school trip and if that trip leads you to Paris, well, what can I say? It's such a romantic, bubbly town and it's full of excitement and joy. You'll love it!

There was some discussion on whether you should take your new Canon to Paris or not. I know you're a responsible girl and you'll take very good care of it. So go ahead sweetie and make your best pictures ever! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. That's the best you can do. I hope your stomach won't be too much of an issue. Take care and text us every now and then, okay? Bisous xx

Photo by Lana Joos

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Just one letter...

Osama and Obama. Two names that were very hot yesterday. Only one letter is different, but their worlds are so far apart.

I heard the news at 07:00 AM while I was in the bathroom getting ready to drive our youngest daughter to school. It gave me goosebumps, to hear that the Americans had killed Osama Bin Laden. For 10 years they had tried to track him down. For 10 years, Osama succeeded in hiding from the world. What will happen to this very same world, now the leader of Al-Qaeda is murdered? You honestly don't think Al-Qaeda will say: okay, you won, we will surrender???

Last night, I watched the news and the excitement at Ground Zero gave me more goosebumps.. It chills me, to see how people cheer over his death. It's scary to see the joy but at the same time hatred in the eyes of the American people.. Because the death of Bin Laden is definitely not the end. What will happen now? Does Obama have the answer to that question? They have just opened a can of worms they won't be able to close..

Monday, May 2, 2011

A little uptight

I'm sure you'll be a bit nervous this morning. Your stomach is still upset and medication doesn't do anything for you. Last week, you started to throw up and your appetite vanished instantly. That is so not you! You love to eat and you love desserts. Now even hearing about food, makes your stomach twirl. The doctor asked you to rest and stay home from school for a couple of days, so you can catch up some sleep.

Today, a doctor will perform a gastroscopy to find out what's bothering your stomach. You're a bit apprehensive about that and that's absolutely normal. I asked the doctor for a light anesthesia, to help you relax and to prevent you from gagging. I remember the last time I had that same exam and I can (but I won't) tell you it was no fun at all, especially without any form of anesthesia...

Let's keep our fingers crossed that the doctors will come up with a correct diagnosis. After all, you're leaving for Paris in two days and you wouldn't want to miss that event!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Dear vandals,

last Friday night, you (and probably some friends of yours) were wandering around town, looking for things to destroy or steal. I'm sure you had a great time. It's not the first time you guys chose this small town as a target for your stupid mischief. Last month, you broke the windshield of my car and you ruined several other cars.

I'm sure you didn't enjoy the police on your doorstep, because they did track you down. You being minors, there's not much the police can do, unfortunately. I feel for you, that you haven't had the best youth possible and it's no fun for you either, that you don't have other pastimes to keep busy. But have you ever thought about the consequences of ruining other people's belongings? Did you know that my daughter had saved up to buy this beautiful bicycle? How will she go to school now? Why did you steal her bike? I'm pretty sure you won't ride it.. It's not even of any use for you. You probably had a good laugh over it with your friends. Maybe you'll try to sell it for money to get another game for your playstation. Maybe you just ditched it somewhere, after you were done laughing over your useless theft. I really feel for you.. it's sad,  you know. Let me tell you this: you ain't cool.

Just as a reminder: this is the bike you stole from our daughter. And guess what? We drove around town and checked every street and corner possible. And we were delighted to find the bike hidden in the shrubs. Maybe you intended to come pick it up some other day. Bummer! It's ours! Have a fruitful weekend..