Saturday, March 31, 2007

Auto Rai 2007

Some cars we can only dream about.



They came home with bags full of stuff.

Cars, cars, cars

This is what my boys will be seeing today: cars, cars and even more cars! Guess they will return home with all kinds of unreachable dreams.

They are off to Amsterdam to visit the Auto Rai 2007. In fact our eldest son is taking two schoolfriends along as they are going there for a school assignment. They should look at design, colour etc. so that they can make a piece of work to get a mark for Cultural Activities (a subject they have in Secondary School).

Our son is car crazy and he even made a site for his favourite make of car: Subaru.
Click here to visit his Subaru site.

Cars don't interest me much but if our car hadn't been filled with boys I would have gone along to roam around Amsterdam. Now I shall spend the day cleaning the house (not my hobby) and I must go and buy some presents for my husband who is celebrating his birthday this coming Monday. Besides that I shall go and watch our daughter playing badminton at a tournament. Enough to do, so I won't be bored.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Project week at school

We had this lovely sunrise this morning and it is promising us a wonderful Spring day.
I won't be able to enjoy much of that sun for I will be spending the whole morning at the primary school of our son and the afternoon is filled with houshold chores but perhaps in between I will find a little time to catch some sun.

At school they are busy with a project about the world. Each class has a country about which they are doing a project. Our son's class is doing it about America and they are all busy making American things. Our son and 4 other children decided to make a powerpoint presentation and as I am good with computer's he asked me to help them make it. So all my free time this week has been claimed by him to help at school. Must say I am enjoying myself very much helping them out and the presentation is becoming quiet nice. We even managed to put in a film of a group singing the national anthem.

Besides the presentation the rest of the class is busy making and doing other American things. For example yesterday the wole class went streetdancing.

And so every class is doing a project about another country and it should be fun to see what they all made and invented. So this coming Sunday the whole school will be opened for public so that everybody can see what the kids have been doing in this project week.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Language mix

For those of you who don't know this: I am also keeping this blog to make me think and write in English again and my it is difficult at times.

In a way it is very funny for when we moved to Gozo many years ago I wasn't happy at all. Besides leaving friends and family behind in Holland nobody could understand me at my new school in Gozo and I couldn't understand anybody! Being somebody who likes to talk and take part this was very hard on me! Good thing it took only 3 months of living in Gozo to make the language no longer a problem. After 3 months I could speak and write in English. Just a few years ago I learned how hard it was for the teachers too. The last time I visited Laura Vicuna School in Ghasri Sr. Antoinette let me know how hard it was on them having to teach kids who didn't understand a word. Well in the end it turned allright!

During my time living in Gozo English became the language in my head and we only spoke Dutch at home. Even then we spoke Dutch with English words in between. Because if we didn't know the Dutch word we would use the English word. So we talked a mix of Dutch and English.

When I returned to live in Holland my Dutch was not perfect at all! In fact I talked the same mix of Dutch and English we used at home in Gozo. People often laughed when they heard me talking and maybe partly because of that I lost a lot of weight in the first months back in Holland. LOL for that was the only part of my life I had the perfect weight!

Living in Holland again slowly Dutch became the language in my head once again and nowadays I think and write in Dutch. Reading in English is still no problem at all. But writing English, is not always easy because now it is the other way round for when I write in English I do think in English, but when I don't know the English word I say it in Dutch. Then to write the proper English word I need a dictionary or the internet!
Anyway in the meantime my English is getting better again and that's what this is all about.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Summertime

Jippie, summertime is here!
And it looks like the weater is going along, at least for the coming days. This morning I woke at my normal hour and that was an hour later on the clock then yesterday and guess what: the sun was already shining! Really nice weather to awaken to and it made me jump out of bed quickly so that I won't miss any more daytime.

For me this is the best time of year. Looking forward to summer, days slowly getting longer, bearable temperatures and hopefully not too many rainy and cloudy days.

Won't be able to enjoy much sunshine today though for I have a lot of homework to catch up with but surely I will try to get out a little just after lunchtime (when the temperature should be at its best).

Wishing all of you a nice Sunday!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Letting go is so difficult!

Pffff yesterday passed by quickly and our daughter returned home safe and sound. She went to Amsterdam the whole day with school and they did a lot with the whole group but in between they had some free time too and that's when they took this picture.

So they were allowed to roam around Amsterdam on their own. Knowing our daughter we didn't worry too much about that but we did warn her before she went. Besides that we took care that she took her mobile phone along so we could reach her and she could reach us. According to her we fussed too much and there was no need to worry. And of course she is right but I guess that's what you are a parent for: to worry every now and then. Forgetting that we were young ourselves and that even I lived in Holland on my own for several years. That time I was only 17 and just left a very secluded boarding school. So my parent's must have worried a lot but they gave me that trust and that chance. Thanks mum and dad for doing so.

Still I am glad everything went well. In a few months she will be going to Paris for a whole day with school and being a parent most probably I will fuss all over again. It is fun to see them growing up but it is difficult to let them go!

Here are some pictures our daughter took in Amsterdam yesterday. We had lovely weather (but cold) over here in the East but in the West it was a drairy day!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Open Air Museum

Now that I mentioned that museum in Arnhem I might as well tell you some more about this Openluchtmuseum (Open Air Museum) for if you ever visit Holland that surely is a place worth visiting.

Here you can enter many historic houses, farmhouses and mills, and spend the day discovering how ordinary Dutch people have lived over the last few hundred years.

Whenever we had foreign visitors over in the past we took them to this museum. Not only because it is only half an hour by car from where we live but it is a very interesting place to discover all kinds of typical Dutch things. Besides that the park itself is lovely just to walk through and enjoy the buildings and nature.

The last time we visited was in 2003 when we took our children to discover this museum. In the paper mill they saw how hand-crafted paper is made and a little further in the wood we visited the printer's, where the printer demonstrated the old printing process. We also entered many farmhouses to see how people lived in the past.

The kids also learned how to milk a cow and they tried cycling on an old bike with only two wheels: a large front wheel and a small back wheel. How they managed to cycle on such a bike I don't know for I wasn't able to do so.

Well we had fun that day and really enjoyed our visit.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Milk

Last week there was this article in the newspaper that really amazed me. It was about children not even knowing where milk comes from! Funny that we live in a world where it seems that even children living in a country with millions of milkgiving cows don't know where milk comes from! According to the article in the newspaper children have lost contact with nature because they spend too much time behind a computer and so if there is no on/off button they don't know about it.

To let children get acquainted with nature farmers have become parttime teachers and children of primary schools can visit these farms to learn about nature. In a way I think it is a good thing that this is the way kids can learn these things but it also saddens me a little that the next generation seems to have lost contact with nature.

A few years ago we visited a museum in Arnhem and see here how our children learned to milk a cow.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Arschkalt!

Outside nature seems to be awaking slowly from its wintersleep but like Sabine wrote in her blog just over a week ago outside it feels "arschkalt" and the best English word I can find for that is ice cold! And that's what it feels like outside right now.

We just had a rather changeable weekend concerning the weather. We had wind, rain and hail. The best place to be was inside! The weatherforecast is even talking about snow but I really hope they are wrong for I don't like that stuff. Not now when Spring is supposed to have arrived. The coming weekend the clock will be put on Summertime and hopefully the temperatures will follow.

On my way to work this morning tears were just rolling down my cheeks because it felt so cold outside. In fact this winter I hardly needed my gloves but today I really wished I had put them on cycling the small distance to and from my work. Just now I looked on the thermometer in our backyard and it showed a low 4 degrees C. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr, much too cold for me!

At least nature shows, even in our small garden, that Spring is slowly approaching and here are some pictures to show. Just a little more sun and warmth and everything will bloom even more abundantly! Can't wait to see that happen!












Sunday, March 18, 2007

Clay balls

I got this e-mail about clay balls from my English friend Naomi who lives in Nashville nowadays. I liked it so much that I want to share it with whoever reads this blog.

So here it is for all those clay balls that read this blog.


A man was exploring caves by the seashore. In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay balls. It was like someone had rolled clay balls and left them out in the sun to bake.

They didn't look like much, but they intrigued the man, so he took the bag out of the cave with him. As he strolled along the beach, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could.

He thought little about it, until he dropped one of the clay balls and it cracked open on a rock. Inside was a beautiful, precious stone!

Excited, the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls. Each contained a similar treasure. He found thousands of dollars worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left. Then it struck him.

He had been on the beach a long time. He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves. Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have taken home tens of thousands, but he had just thrown it away!

It's like that with people. We look at someone, maybe even ourselves, and we see the external clay vessel. It doesn't look like much from the outside. It isn't always beautiful or sparkling, so we discount it.

We see that person as less important than someone more beautiful or stylish or well known or wealthy But we have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside that person.

There is a treasure in each one of us. If we take the time to get to know that person, and if we ask God to show us that person the way He sees them, then the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine forth.

May we not come to the end of our lives and find out that we have thrown away a fortune in friendships because the gems were hidden in bits of clay.

May we see the people in our world as God sees them.

I am so blessed by the gems of friendship I have with many people and I am really grateful these people look beyond my clay vessel.

Pass this on to another CLAY BALL

Saturday, March 17, 2007

"La Promenade"

Here we are entering Restaurant Bistro "La Promenade" in Winterswijk where we are going to have dinner with my husband's family. His mum turned 84 this week and it has become some sort of tradition to go and eat in "La Promenade" for that occasion.

Funny thing was that they still served an Autumn menu but nonetheless it did taste good. I had a chicken cocktail for a starter and a schnitzel with mushroom sauce for the main course. And If you know my addiction to chocolate it won't surprise you that I took a Dame Blanche for dessert mmmmm.




We had a lovely dinner and it was nice chatting to the rest of the family who we don't see very often. After dinner we returned home where we weren't very productive any more after that great meal. So we just watched a little television before going to bed.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Thanks

Thanks to all those dear people who thought of me on my birthday in whatever way.
It was a lovely day with lots of nice presents. Besides that the weather was just gorgeous and so at lunchtime we could even sit outside for a while before I had to go back to the office.

The kids really surprised me with their sweet presents which they gave to me before going to school.

Today I went around the house and gave everything a nice place. Especially that babyhead my mum bought at a hobby fair got a very special place!

Of course the house needed a little cleaning after all those visitors but with the sun shining bright outside I didn't mind doing that at all.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Garlands, flags and balloons

Today the garlands, flags and balloons are there for me as I am celebrating my 43th birthday. However I prefer to turn it around (still can do that trick, in a few years it won't work anymore). It looks as if we are going to have a nice sunny day just like 43 years ago when I was born. Well I don't remember that but my mum told me. Perhaps that's also the reason a shining sun always brightens my day. I will be spending the whole day in the office, though at lunchtime I shall surely eat my bread outside.

My husband surprised me with tulips for my birthday. He brought them home on Saturday and so here they are. I really lovely tulips even though they don't last that long on a vase.


As I am writing this post late on Monday evening the rest of the presents are still a big surprise for me. The kids have been doing very secretive the past few days and so I am curious in an old-fashioned way. For many years it wasn't like this but this year they made a big fuss about it and each kid went to buy his own present. In a way that makes it even more precious and me more curious.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Perfect day

It was a perfect day today, the sun was shining bright. Early in the morning I went cycling around a little to enjoy the sun and get some exercise. I didn't put on my gloves for it looked warm enough but while cycling I did regret not putting them on for it did feel cold. Later on in the day the temperature became OK and it was wonderful outside.

We spend most of the day inside because my family came over already for my birthday. They live too far from where we live to come over on Tuesday. So from 10.30 till 19.00 we had visitors.

The weather was really too nice to spend the whole day inside so we went for a little walk just before lunch. Our youngest took his cousins to the shetland pony's he takes care of and of course they wanted to make a ride. We passed them on our walk and of course our youngest nephew wanted to sit on a pony too. Not for long for that horse did feel a little hairy!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Coloured feelings

A few weeks ago when I was in Doetinchem I took a picture of the D-tower because this is a piece of art that you won't find anywhere else in the world (as far as I know). This piece of art is commissioned by the city of Doetinchem to measure the emotions of the citizens of Doetinchem. The D-tower measures the feelings of HAPPINESS, LOVE, FEAR and HATE by asking citizens of Doetinchem their feelings on different subjects.

D-tower consists of a 12 m hight tower in the centre of Doetinchem, a website and a questionnaire. People living in Doetinchem can take part and fill in the questionnaires online. Questions like: "Are you happy with your partner?"
have to be answered and the D-tower collects all answers and puts them in scales. These scales can be seen by everyone on the website. From the scales you can place the emotions in a street or a part of Doetinchem and so it is known in which street people are very happy, if people are frightened and you can also see in which season love blooms.

Every emotion is linked to a colour: RED is for LOVE, blue is for HAPPINESS, YELLOW is for FEAR and GREEN is for HATRED. Every day the D-tower measures which emotion has been most intensily felt that day. In the evening the D-tower will give the colour of that emotion by lighting a lamp on the inside of the tower. So if the tower colours blue that means that the city was feeling very happy during the day.
To see what feeling was felt during the day have a look at the D-tower webcam in the evening.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Better weather

Am I seeing this right?? I can hardly believe it! After all this rain we had the past weeks the weather forecast is showing the sun! and temperatures above 10 degrees C. WOW that would be great!

It even seems as if we might be sitting outside during lunchtime on the 13th, my 43rd birthday! Well that would be a nice birthday present.

It also looks as if we are going to have a nice and sunny weekend and that always uplifts my spirits and makes me feel really good. But if I am not mistaken they say you musn't count your blessings before they really take place. So we'll wait and see.

Wishing all you of you a nice weekend and hoping the sun shines on your side too!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Learning new things

Perhaps most of you won't understand this but I love to learn new things and that is why I am still studying. This year I am studying business economics and I got my certificate for part 1 in December and now I am studying for part 2 (examination in June).

Every monday evening I go to College to follow a lecture about business economics. Very interesting! The lecturer works in the branch himself so he knows all about it. Besides that he has been given these lectures for a very long time. So for him it is quiet easy but for us "the students" it is quiet difficult at times.

Last Monday I followed another lecture for financial arithmetic because I had some problems using the calculator and in this lecture they explained the use of this calculator. It is not just a simple calculator but one with many functions. You can even attach it to a computer to download stuff.

After following this lecture I was very excited for I have always liked maths and algebra. So there I went and I sighned in for this study too. You might be thinking I am crazy but don't worry I am not. I am just very excited to start learning all kinds of calculations. Besides that it keeps me of the road and with this kind of rainy weather we are still having here, that's no problem at all!