This article is written by my cousin. If you live in Holland or in Europe and you’re able to donate to keep the magazine Lotje&Co afloat, please do. Parents of special-needs children can feel so isolated and this magazine helps them with support and communication.
Yesterday I discussed Habitica, an app that I find not just helpful, but fun to use as an incentive to improve my mental and physical health. Today I’ll discuss the other three, as promised. Continue reading →
Twenty-three years ago this month, I emigrated to the United Stated. Or so I thought at the time. I now know that emigration is a process that lasts the rest of one’s life. Maybe it’s easier for someone who emigrates from a developing country, for someone who always wanted to come to America. I never did. And when I came, I thought it was temporary. I now know it’s not. Continue reading →
A Trump surrogate recently stated that, without stricter immigration policies, we’ll soon see a taco truck on every street corner. Now, I’m almost per definition against anything coming from the Trump camp. I’m liberal, anti-bigotry, anti-fascism and all that. However, I’m not that easily pigeon-holed. Because I have to say, I agree that having a taco truck on every street corner would be a terrible scenario on every level.
I’m being lazy this week; can you tell? One of the effects of a shitty health care system in America is the amount of self-medication that goes on, and the number of commercials for medicines. These commercials are always good for a laugh and a spoof.
Happitame! For temporary relief of minor symptoms associated with colds and fever. No more sneezing; watery, itchy eyes; no more congestion, or runny nose. Enjoy life again: with Happitame!
Dosage: Adults: Take 1 pill twice a day for relief from minor cold symptoms. Do not exceed 2 pills in a single day. Also, do not take fewer than 2 pills a day. If you should be unable to take a second pill 12 hours after the first (exactly 12 hours), induce vomiting and consult a physician immediately, after which you should induce vomiting again. Continue vomiting until no longer physically possible.
Warnings: Happitame should be kept out of reach of children, the elderly, and the insane.
Happitame should not be stored within 3 feet of fresh produce.
The other day R needed some physiotherapy. We had had a long, hot day and a rushed drive in heavy traffic after school to make it on time for the appointment. When we got there, all flustered and five minutes late, I first had to do the paperwork before the therapist could see R, which made her even later. The lady at the window grumbled a bit because I hadn’t come fifteen minutes early to fill out the forms.
In light of the restrictive abortion law the Texas Republicans are going to get passed, and considering the reckless manner in which many conservatives throw around terms like “communist” and “socialist”, this post by someone from Russia is a must-read. The number of times she uses the word “stupid” n the first few paragraphs may be off-putting, but she gets it out of her system and gets going with the real meat!
As someone who grew up in a totalitarian Communist state, nothing infuriates me more than the incessant conservative droning-on about progressives being “communist”, “socialist” and “Stalinist”. People who say these things use such words as mere slurs, not much different than calling someone an asswipe, and of course, they betray both a profound ignorance of history and a great deal of contempt for it. But more than that, they’ve got it completely backwards. Truth is, American conservatives have remarkably a lot in common with Russian communists: the same obsession with ideological purity, the same irrational intolerance towards loyal dissent, the same prioritizing of ideology over practicality, the same preparedness to sacrifice liberties, human dignity and lives for the sake of ideological totems, the same clash-of-civilizations thinking, the same pretensions at worldwide cultural and political hegemony. And of course, the modern American conservative and the Russian communist of the bygone era…
I was in a school gym, remembering how we would be made to run laps around a gym just like that in high school in the Netherlands. And I remembered that I could. I’d be tired, and I’d be protesting loudly like any self-respecting un-sporty teenage girl should, but that’s all. And I resented–in this dream–that I can’t run for two minutes now without having a gimpy knee for the next two weeks (this is real; I ran for two minutes last weekend, and now it hurts when I walk down steps). Continue reading →
You probably have the same image popping into your mind as I do at the word “hospital”. Big, drab building with endless, oppressive hallways that all look the same, right? Well, it seems that the architects of Dell Children’s Hospital have been primarily intent on challenging that stereotype. Continue reading →
The hospital in Cody, Wyoming had what you expect to get as hospital food: completely cooked-to-death veggies, blah mashed potatoes and bland, greasy meat. Pretty close to the high fat, zero fiber diet in hospitals in south Texas when we had the pleasure. They had a cafeteria in Cody, but it seemed to be closed most of the time. However, they did give any of us with B at mealtime a hospital meal as well, free of charge, which was really nice, because they didn’t have to do that. Continue reading →
A commenter on a previous post wanted to remind me that it’s never fun to have to be in the hospital, however nice it is. Of course not. So don’t get me wrong, I’d much rather B be better and at home, but that doesn’t stop me from being impressed with the hospital, and everything they have and do to make the stay as comfortable as possible under the circumstances. Continue reading →
As I’ve explained in previous posts, we were on vacation when our son B’s appendix ruptured. He had an appendectomy and was in the hospital in Cody, Wyoming for four days. Six days after coming home to Austin, he had pains again, and had to have a follow-up surgery, and he has been in the hospital here in Austin for six days now. And when I say that B has been in the hospital, I really mean our family has been in the hospital. Continue reading →
Okay, I’ve put it off long enough. I’ve managed to prolong our vacation through these photo posts, but now I’ve come to the end. Not that there won’t be more photo posts about the Rockies, but they can wait. Continue reading →
Although I’ve lived here for 18 years now, and although there are a lot of things I’ve gotten used to and in some cases even adopted, there are some things that, by now it’s safe to say, I’ll never get used to. Here are ten of them.
1. Bobby socks for men. Yep, men here (including T) often wear socks that barely show above the shoe, just like girl bobby socks in the fifties. The only difference is the absence of pompoms. I know they’re considered perfectly normal here, but to me they will always look ridiculous. Sorry, guys. Continue reading →
Rush Limbaugh, an extreme right-wing radio host here in America, is in the real news right now. At issue is the fact that Catholic institutions don’t want to give their employees health insurance that includes the contraceptive pill. Continue reading →
The plinky writing prompt was What Makes You Nervous?Well, let me tell you.
The man who was bagging my groceries yesterday couldn’t have been a day under seventy-five. There’s a woman from eastern Europe who’s a cashier at my local Walmart who has to be at least that old as well. And it really freaks me out to see an old man sweating away during this Austin summer getting shopping carts together in the HEB parking lot. Continue reading →
This is an almost 20-minute video, but the information Robyn O’Brien gives is important to know. Coming from Holland seventeen years ago, I felt like almost everybody here is allergic to something. My husband would jokingly say, “Oh sure, the Dutch are never allergic,” thinking it was just another of my everything’s-better-in-Holland observations, but seriously, there didn’t seem half as many people allergic to stuff in Holland as there are in America. Now it turns out this might be true. So there, hubby! Continue reading →
My father-in-law, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, had a stroke in August, and he has been in a wheelchair ever since. He was in a nursing home for two months. You would think that at least my mother-in-law would be relieved that he would be taken care of professionally, wouldn’t you?
In the late 60s Richard Proenneke built his own cabin in the Alaskan wilderness with only a few simple tools. He spent most of the rest of his life there. Sam Keith fleshed out Proenneke's diary of his first 16 months, when he was making his home by a lake. I love these kinds of books!
An old Oji-Cree healer and her nephew canoe down a river in Canada, away from the world of white people. They both have to come to terms with their past. The woman has lost most of her tribe and the young man is traumatized from his recent experience in the Belgian trenches of World War One. My second book by Boyden. Can't say enough about him.
An incredibly comprehensive history of everything related to slavery in the Southern United States, from the beginning of the colonies to the end of the Civil War. Over 700 pages and I took over 30 pages of notes. I will be sharing over many posts to come!
Hamid's debut novel. I love this author. A young man in Lahore, Pakistan, is the victim of love, drugs, obsession, the class system and his complete lack of self-awareness.
A golem, created in Poland and brought to life on a ship to America, and a jinni who was trapped in a flask a thousand years ago and released in New York -- the most unusual immigrants you'll ever meet.
The only part of her life a Korean woman can control is her body, so she withdraws into it. Harrowing.
Autobiography lightly disguised as a novel about the son of Southern migrants growing up on the streets of Harlem, New York City, in the 1940s and 50s. Written like you're hearing the whole story in a bar. Quite a feat.
The story of a man struggling to make a living in Morocco. No plot, no clearly defined characters, but fascinating in its authenticity.
Pakistani man tells an American about his experience as a college student and employee of an assessment firm in America years ago. Smart, nuanced and pretty darn honest considering the unreliable narrator.
Wow! The answer to the inane platitudes about how all parents love their children and how children should always respect their parents. The protagonist must come to terms with his deeply flawed immigrant parents in order to change himself.
Seven short stories about life during the Kim Il-sung regime, by a writer who still lives and works in North Korea, were smuggled out of the country and translated. Mind-boggling stuff.
A 15-year-old autistic narrator wants to know who killed a neighbor's dog, and ends up much further out of his comfort zone than he planned. Wonderful read!
In politics, education, religion, agriculture, business--it turns out that dumbing down has been here from the start.
Fifty years of Istanbul seen through the eyes of a street vendor who migrates to the city as a young boy. It's also a window into the complicated dance between men and women in Turkey.
Hey, don't laugh, at least I'm trying.
A Norwegian immigrant is cooped up with six other people on a tiny island off the coast of Maine all winter in 1873. A woman in the present researching the Norwegian immigrant is cooped up with three other people on a tiny sailboat. What could possibly go wrong?
A man stuck between two worlds in more ways than one. Fascinating!
Historical novel about early contacts between first nations and the French in Canada. Beautifully written story that doesn't pull any punches. I bought his other two novels right away.
Beautifully written. By my children's favorite English and Creative Writing teacher! It's got rave reviews and we're all very proud of her.
Suki Kim is a Korean-American journalist. She poses as an evangelical Christian posing as an English teacher at a school for the sons of North Korea's elite. Her experience and the information she manages to get via writing assignments are incredible. Definitely a lot more eye-opening that any CNN special.
This. Explains. Everything!!!
Why has Islam not undergone a reformation like Christianity? Why is it so easy for Islamic extremist groups like IS to recruit young muslims? What would it take for Islam in fundamentalist Islamic countries to enter modernity? Does the West have a role to play?
Amazing! A man wanders endlessly through a dreamscape, becoming other people, himself in the past, everything is fluid. Kafkaesque disconnect between people and their different needs.
A multi-layered novel about the history of Libya. A fast read, but one you can repeat and find something new each time.
Twelve Americans go missing in Burma/Myanmar during a tour. Touching and hilarious, but mostly hilarious.
The most unusual murder mystery I've ever read. Incredible writing. It haunted me for days.
The quote on the front mentions that these stories are exhilerating. I couldn't disagree more. They are almost unbearably painful to read, and yet I couldn't put them down. Very well done, apart from the third story, which is written in the second tense. Please let me know if you know of ONE story that works in second tense.