Thursday, January 31, 2013


She's in love... I can tell it by the look in her eyes.. They look radiant. She speaks in a soft voice now and I can almost see the butterflies twirl around in her tummy. She's nearly 16 and she has become a beautiful young lady. Her shiny hair and her beautiful smile could make any boy turn his head. Hold on to that wonderful feeling sweetie. It's the best feeling ever...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hot flashes

It's just not possible. I'm only 40. Or am I 41? Doesn't matter. It's just not possible. I'm too young to be having those hot flashes. They are not there all the time. Lately, I have been experiencing those flare ups especially while cooking. So it must be the range cooker or the oven for that matter. Seriously.. hot flashes? Me? naaah...

I miss my old kitchen windows. I could open them whenever I felt the need. Since we have renovated the kitchen, the wood windows have been replaced by more modern and energy saving double insulated PVC windows. The carpenter who came to replace the windows, talked us out of having windows you can open. He said there was no use. There are small fans on top of the windows and that would do the trick. NOT! I hate him. I should not have listened to him. I should have listened to my inner voice and I should've known I would need those windows to open in case I had hot flashes. Damn him..

So I walk outside, on the terrace. I throw off my clothes and finish the cooking in my underwear. Sometimes I put on an apron, especially when using searing hot oil in my Chinese wok. Don't want to splatter hot oil on my bare skin, right? I am too hot to even sit down and eat. So I wait. I cool off and I eat cold dinners.

I am not old enough to have hot flashes. I'm just not.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A tragedy with a happy ending

On his way back from Hamburg, Germany - with Shirley Bassey still on his mind - our friend got notified that one of his whippets was missing. Both dogs had been staying with different dogsitters during his visit to Hamburg. Little Stephanie had escaped from the fenced backyard and she had not looked back. She had no idea her dogsitters would miss her so much and she was not aware of the anxiety her daddy would have to face. Being a sporty whippet, Stephanie loves to run and play and she's full of energy to chase squirrels and rabbits. Is that what she saw that made her flee? We don't know... the only thing we knew, that our friend was torn apart. He wanted his baby girl back. It was freezing cold out there and snow was to be expected later.

When I read the news on FB, my heart stopped for a second. O no! not Stephanie!!!! She's so tiny and slim and lovable  Just the thought of her being out there on the run, while our whippets were covered up in blankets on the couch, was unthinkable. Our hearts went out to our friend, who was in despair to retrieve this little cutie. He jumped on his bike as soon as he got home, racing around town, trying to see a glimpse of this grey whippet. He didn't spot her once.. Hours went by without news. The police force had been alarmed and the animal shelters too. An add had been put on Binnenbeest just in case someone had found her. We all went to bed, worried about her well being and the sanity of our friend, who was probably going mad by then..

Getting up the next morning, I checked my cell phone. Stephanie was still missing. Some other whippet lovers were organizing a real network to find Stephanie. Flyers were being printed and people were asked to come to Antwerp and spread the word. I never thought so many people would get up and brave the cold. Some of them had not even met our friend, nor his dogs... Wow... I was truly moved by this gesture. There are more dog lovers out there than we were aware off..

There were numerous phone calls, of people asking if we had contacted the police or the animal shelters or just to know if she had been found. That's how our friend initially missed the ultimate phone call!! Thank goodness for voice mail! Stephanie had been found! And she had not spent the night outside in the cold. A lovely lady had been chasing her for a while the day before. Not prepared to give up, she hopped out of her car, ignored red lights and moved around town as fast as she could. She lost track of Stephanie once, but like half an hour later, she spotted her again. Determined to grab her, our own Super Whippet Woman chased Stephanie again and she finally got hold of her.. What a relief.. She had no idea who the poor girl belonged to, but she could tell she was well taken care of: clipped nails, cleaned teeth and a shiny fur. Stephanie had a good night rest in a warm bed and Super Whippet Woman took her for a walk in the morning. Until she made the phone call to the Animal Shelter CAD..

What a happy ending for a story that could have turned in to a tragedy... Stephanie had crossed the most dangerous intersections of Antwerp, all by her self. She had faced the wild goings of the Sportpaleis in action and she had endured the icy cold. Thank you for bringing Stephanie home, safe and sound. You truly are Super Whippet Woman! Thanks to everybody who helped out looking for Stephanie and spreading the word. You are all amazing!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A barrel full of mixed emotions...

In 2006, people said artificial pancreases (you know, the most ugliest organ in our body that is, among other things, responsible for making insulin) were never going to happen. It was just impossible to have a device regulating your bloodsugar. But here it is!!!! IT IS POSSIBLE!! The man in this video nearly made the tears roll down on my face. THANK YOU SO MUCH! Your story was moving and motivating and encouraging for so many T1 diabetics out there. I think of parents who have young children with diabetes. How they could finally have a good night of sleep or how they would send their child on a summer camp with just one thing to worry about: if they would not miss their parents. No worries about highs and lows, no worries about counting the carbs correctly.

I'm thinking of many of my friends. What their lives would be like if they would have an artificial pancreas. They would no longer get lows at the most inconvenient times. Their numbers would not skyrocket in stressy periods.

It would make life so much easier for T1 women with a baby wish.Do you have any idea what an effort T1 women have to do, to prep their bodies for a possible pregnancy? It takes months of strict dieting and perfect BG numbers, before they can even consider the attempt?

I'm thinking of the students with T1, who would be so happy if they could go out with their friends, have a drink, stay up all night and eat junk food. They wouldn't have to get up early in the morning to check their blood sugar levels and their parents wouldn't have to fear a coma due to an unnoticed hypoglycemia.

Wow... I'm truly flabbergasted.. I want to hug this man and thank him for this positive message. I never realized this news would hit me this hard. I have accepted my diabetes. After all, it's been my partner for 10 and a half years now. I'm not mad I have to count carbs and I can deal with lows and highs. I was a disbeliever of the artificial pancreas, just like so many others. But thank goodness there are people out here, who have faith and knowledge and who are smart enough to make this happen. The fund raising must go on. This device could help 10% of the diabetics out there, to lead a "normal" life. We never asked to be different. We never asked for diabetes. Our pancreas failed on us. I think I am going to put this "smartphone" on my wish list. It would be the greatest gift of all..

Monday, January 21, 2013

Nothin' much

Photo by Lana Joos
Grmbl grmbl.. the monotonous sound of the Kenwood kneading the dough of two buttermilk breads, is comforting. I'm home alone. Monday is my favorite day to roam around the house and get some chores done. Around 8 AM, I made the white carpet in the backyard grind with my rubber boots, while I was stumbling  all the way back there, to feed the chickens and refresh their (frozen) water. Only one peeked through the entrance, but decided not to come out. It's freezing cold and the air is fresh. I love the smell of this early morning. Rebba is too lazy to come out of her cosy bed and join me. Or maybe it's because she is startled I am going out this early to feed the chickens? Inthe wouldn't want to miss a play in the backyard, but it's not going to happen this morning.

By 9:30 AM the towels will be ready to be put into the dryer. I love plenty of warm, soft towels to dry me off when I come out of my shower. I keep my fingers crossed there will be hot water this morning. We have had some problems with the water heater lately. Hubby has installed a new one and he's still working on getting it to operate properly. We have hot water in the kitchen but the bathroom is still a problem. Thank goodness for warm water in the kitchen sink. It's almost nostalgic..

There's not much on my to do list today. I'm thinking about what I can serve my family for dinner tonight. I'm sure Hubby would like black pudding with mash and home made chunky apple sauce, but that's not something the three of us crave. So I need to find a second option for the rest of the family. The mash will serve us all. Maybe some home made burgers and the best onion sauce we call "klittesaus" to go with it? I have carrots and celery and leeks and Chinese cabbage in my fridge as well and there are ripe tomatoes (as far as you can ripen them in wintertime) sitting in a bowl in the kitchen. The grocery list on my BB is getting completed as my mind drifts off to certain recipes. Maybe this afternoon, I could clean out my pantry and feed my family for the rest of the month with pantry staples? I know there's plenty of food in the freezer that could do with a defrost. That is quite a challenge I guess, making a menu with pantry staples. I'll think about it..

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Just the way you are

Every day I discover new things about you and your personality. I'm happy with who you are and what you stand for. You're a smart girl and you look gorgeous. You take good care of yourself and spend quite some time in the bathroom. I guess you are ready for a boyfriend and want to show the best of you. You are beautiful just the way you are. There's no need to put on make up. Show your natural beauty and highlight your smile, because when you smile your broadest smile, your eyes laugh and that's irresistible. Boys like girls who are not afraid to be themselves. There's no need to copy someone else. We have seen you go through different stages in puberty. Trying to discover yourself, you try out different styles and attitudes. That one special boy will find you, don't worry. He will be there before you know it. You already have lots of friends, and quite some male friends. They like you sweetie. Don't try too hard. It all starts as being friends...

Listen! Just listen for a change!

I love you. I really do. You are my friend and I like to spend time with you. We laugh and we cry, we cuddle and babble. But oh how do I hate your disrespect when it comes to following up appointments.. I was so looking forward to seeing you and hearing about your life. At the same time, I was dreading and fearing that you would postpone the date or come late or change the hour or place of meeting. It made me nervous and it gave me mixed feelings about the date. I know it's not of any importance to you. You could care less, to be exact. If only we meet, you keep saying. To you, it's not important if we meet at 7 PM or 9 PM. It doesn't matter to you if you postpone a date 4 times for reasons I can't even remember. Reasons I can't remember, because they are nothing but fallacies. You give me the feeling that I am not important to you. You have other priorities. That's okay, it's your life. You can have your own priorities. Can I have mine too?

Yes, it would be nice if we could talk about this and NO, I don't want to talk about it. You always give me a bad feeling when we try to discuss this subject, like I'm some hysterical woman who can't deal with changes in her schedule. It's not about that one single time you choose a different location one hour before we meet. It's about the previous 99 times I waited for you, without avail. I'm just fed up with rearranging my schedule for you. I could care less if I eat at 8 PM or 10 PM, if we meet in this restaurant or another one. That's not the point. The point is, that you don't hear me. You don't respect me. And I give in, every time. I wait in the car for 45 minutes, biting my nails and getting all wound up. I don't want to do this any more. I thought we had an agreement. Why can't you, just for once, keep an appointment the way it was meant to be..

I'm sad. I'm disappointed. You hurt my feelings. I still love you though. I want to spend time with you. I want to slap you in the face, but I would never do so. I have to let go of this aggravation before it starts to eat me. I need you to apologize. I need to hear from you that you are sorry.
Just listen to me. LISTEN TO ME!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A personal invitation

Photo Lana Joos
He puts on his clothes. She's standing beside him, still like a statue. He walks around the table, to get his shoes. She's like a shadow, following wherever he goes.. Rebba is spread out on the couch, pretending to be fast asleep. She's covering her eyes with her front legs. One ear is pointed though, like she doesn't want to miss anything. Inthe is still sticking to Hubby's leg and moves along with every step he takes. He's getting ready to take them for a walk. Inthe is all excited, but she's not jumping over him. She knows what's about to happen. She trusts his rituals and she knows it won't be much longer now before they leave. He puts on her leash and Rebba is still not moving an inch. She's waiting for a personal invitation. After all, she's the oldest and she got here way before Inthe (like 6 months..). "Wanna go for a walk, Rebba?", Hubby asks. She looks up, all excited and she jumps from the couch like she's a one year old puppy. It doesn't take long to put on her leash. They are all set to go. Inthe doesn't look back. Her body is headed in one direction: the front door. Rebba pulls her leash in a desperate attempt to see if I'm coming too. I'm not. This is my quiet time. Hubby does real well. He throws balls on the soccer field for Inthe to catch. He walks around the soccer field numerous times and he then takes them for a longer walk around town. I can't keep up with them. It's my time to take a shower and clean up the clutter in the house. I can rearrange the pillows on the couch for the girls to come home and throw them all over the place again. I know they love these walks. I wish I were better at going along.. Maybe I need a personal invitation too..

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Growing up

Tapas Bar Catala - Photo by Lana Joos
The girls are getting taller as we are getting older. One will leave for college in September. Only our little one (who's going to be 16 before we know it) will stay at home for a couple more years. We are lucky that at least one of the girls is still going to live with us. The house would be really empty without children and I will even miss the argy-bargy between the two of them.

7 bridges - photo by Eva Joos
We have done quite some traveling as a family so far. We started to realize that maybe those vacations together are coming to an end. The girls have their own activities and they have friends to do fun things with. Summer holidays also means time to find a job and make some money of their own.
We decided to take the girls on a city trip as a Christmas gift. We both knew they were looking forward to going Amsterdam. There were so many things we wanted to do, but the main goal was shopping. After all, three out of four are ladies.. sorry hubby...

Anne Frank - photo by Lana Joos
Amsterdam was wonderful. Hubby had planned the trip and everything went just well. The hotel was in the center of Amsterdam, giving us the chance to stroll down the Kalverstraat as often as we wanted. Visiting the House of Anne Frank was on our list too. We did see the house.. well.. that is, we saw the facade but we didn't go in. Although all four of us were curious about this historic monument, the line waiting in front and around the corner was just way too long. It was cold and dark and not exactly pleasant to stand there for a couple of hours. We were running out of time.. It was good that hubby already got tickets to do some sightseeing by boat. Yes, I am deeply ashamed that I fell asleep on the boat.. Too much shopping, way too many low diabetic episodes and sore shins made me doze off to another world. I missed most (read: all) of the explanation since I didn't use the headphone.. Sorry! I'm glad you all filled me in on the tour and the meaning of the crooked houses along the canal.

photo by Lana Joos
We had a pleasant stay in this wonderful city with its hundreds of shops! Nevertheless, we took the train to Zaandam to shop some more (the girls just had to go to Primark) and we didn't regret fleeing the bustle of the city for a couple of hours.
If you ever get the chance to visit Amsterdam, grab a bite at Tapas Bar Catala or endeavor a juicy Argentinian steak at Cau. You won't regret the visit.