Hi There!

(For my Dutch-English translating and proofreading business, please go to my D-E Translating WordPress site. Thank you.)

Welcome to my blog.

I’m an energetic, slim, reasonably pretty thirty-year-old. However, I reside in a rather shocking, obese, aching, apathetic 55-year-old body. I love living in Austin but I’m chock-full of criticism of America in general. The Rockies bring me to tears, but so does the health care system. I’ve adopted Thanksgiving, but not the Pledge of Allegiance. If I seem elated and unbearably grouchy in sometimes schizophrenically quick succession, this is why.

I love the usual: my husband, my children, my friends and our pets. I hate heat; stupidity; bone spurs; spiders; and walking and cycling in place.

I collect raft books and I’ve developed a weird obsession with the bottoms of bridges.

When I lived in the Netherlands, twenty-three years ago, I loved hot tea, wild camping in Great Britain, gardening, reading for days on end, and I walked and cycled everywhere. Now that I live in a pretty darn hot part of the US, with kids that have to be driven everywhere by car, I love reminiscing about hot tea, wild camping in Great Britain, gardening, reading for days on end and walking and cycling everywhere…

My blog is a crazy—some might say completely unhinged–collection of posts about any of the above-mentioned issues and then some. Nothing is sacred. I blatantly ignore all American no-nos. Which means I talk politics, religion, I don’t idolize  teachers and I swear (but not that much).

As you read my posts you might laugh, seethe, weep or shrug your shoulders. If you like a post, great. Let me know. If you hate a post, great, let me know. I’d like to think I’m always right, but don’t let that stop you from telling me if you disagree. We Dutch love a good argument.

If you want to know more about how I ended up in America and an overview of how that’s been, visit my About page.

Otherwise, have at it!

(Oh, and it would really help me if you like my Facebook page. You get there via the little widget on the right. Make sure to like the page, not an article–although that’s always nice, too, I want to get to 100 page likes so it becomes an official page.)

(In my posts, I refer to my husband as T, my 19-year-old son as B, and my 16-year-old daughter as R.)

The Stuff of Memories

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I just created a new page, titled Emigration / Immigration. It took a while, but after six years in I realized that that might be a good one to have. Anyway, as I was looking through some of the early pictures taken in our first house after I moved to America, for a featured picture on the new page, I came across the one above. Actually, this is cropped from a larger picture that  I took to show the ugly blue paint and the built-in corner cabinet phenomenon.

At the time it was kind of random what I had on those shelves, but looking at it now, I notice that–seen from the emigration perspective–it’s actually an interesting time snap.

The tins are Dutch tea and cocoa tins, mostly. The big one on top was one from my mother’s collection. I got rid of most of my empty tins much, much later–that’s another story–but not my little cocoa tins. I actually bought them before I left, and they’re full of cocoa. Yes, present tense, twenty-three years later. It’s too hot for hot cocoa here.

The photo on the left is of T and me, and it was taken during one of my Christmas visits to Texas while we were living an ocean apart. The other one is me, taken by my dad for T. I look sassy, and–I realize now–pretty darn good, wearing a sweater my favorite aunt in Australia knitted for me. It has gum nut babies on it, from one of my favorite children’s books during my first emigration, to Australia. Of course, since I emigrated to South Texas, I never wore it again. Too hot. And soon too small as well.

The small wooden box on the second shelf is my great-great-grandmother’s sewing box, made for her by her husband. The pincushion on top is almost worn through, but I still use it. I started a family tree in My Heritage a few years back, and I have since learned that, before my grandmother moved to Utrecht–a full day’s cycling away–and her brothers emigrated to America and South Africa, her relatives in Broek op Waterland, in the province North Holland, pretty much lived within the same 30-kilometer radius for centuries.

In the Netherlands I used to be a chain tea drinker. As soon as I’d finished one pot, I’d put water on for the next one. Now I rarely drink hot tea anymore. Too hot. But I do still have my tea cups.

Behind the sewing box is a glass lamp in the shape of a candle. Too hot for that, too, but my best friend–since we were fifteen–gave it to me, so I keep it.

The brown thing depicting a soldier on a horse is a speculaas pop, a traditional Sinterklaas cookie, in this case made in an antique mold. It was also a gift, from a colleague and friend at the police school, whom I’ve long since lost touch with. Sorry, Bebbie. It’s hard to keep relatively newer friendships going when you emigrate. Maybe more on that some other time, too. Anyway, I varnished the pop to preserve it, but after a year or so it got moldy and soft anyway, so I had to throw it out. That’s what photos are good for, I suppose.

The little Baileys bottles are empty, but they reminded me of my first college year in Deventer, where I discovered Baileys at the Steile Trap, a bar all week and the library school bar on Wednesdays, and where I danced all night to The Police, the Commodores, Pink Floyd and the best darn reggae ever. Also, my dad worked for an advertising agency, and for a while Baileys was a client, so he regularly got free bottles of Baileys and little Baileys glasses. He also got me a train station billboard Baileys poster, which I had in my student room.

And the doll. I’ve written about Sinterklaas, and how it’s a different holiday from Christmas in many ways. One of the differences is that a lot of people give smaller, and often self-made gifts for Sinterklaas. I was always creative as a kid, and the weeks before Sinterklaas were my busiest in that department. When I was around fourteen, fifteen, I made a lot of character dolls. For friends’ birthdays, and for several people for Sinterklaas. This one I made for my mother. A few years later she didn’t want it anymore, so she gave it back.

Somewhere halfway college my creativity kind of died out. Or rather, I used it in my job, as a librarian. But one of these days I’m going to make a doll again. I’ve been saying that since 1981, though…

 

Cherry on Top

Photo challenge: Cherry on Top:

In 2013 we went on a family trip to the Rockies. My daughter took her stuffed unicorn along, and it shows up in several pictures. I like the effect.

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How Separate Are We, Really?

image: nairaland.com

image: nairaland.com

On July 14, a man ran his truck into crowds of people enjoying the Bastille Day fireworks in Nice, France, killing eighty-some and wounding so many others.

Bastille Day celebrates the birth of the French Republic, with its motto, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Fraternity means, among other things, communal support, friendship, brotherhood. Continue reading

Burnt Lodge Pines

Photo challenge: Look up:

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Curves

Photo challenge: curve.

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Will Trump Become Presidential?

trump sleaze

Image: dailymail.co.uk

It is June and Trump has been spewing his verbal sewage for more than four months now. For four months we have been witness, up close and personal, to his every move and utterance, and still there are pundits and politicians who believe that Trump will not be a dictator. Continue reading

Me, Forging Empires

forge of empiresA while ago I started playing Forge of Empires. It’s the first time I’ve ever gotten involved in any kind of digital game, at least not since getting addicted to Pong when I should have been studying, back in library school. Continue reading