What to do with birthdays?

6/30/2017 Syl 0 Comments

It was so easy when the children were small. I just planned a birthday, with a cake, visitors, decorations and the whole lot, and whatever happened that day, the child was happy.

When they were a bit older, they had wishes, ideas and dreams. A princes's birthday, no visitors, but cake at a railwaystation, a day in the swimmingpool with icecream, and fries at the skatinghall.
We've went through it all. The privilege of a large family.

In puberty some of them disappeared. Wanted to go to the movies with their friends, wanted to go shopping, and some of them enjoyed a day at the beach, with me, and I felt grateful to be included in their special day.

Gradually friend's birthdays with visitors, sitting together on the couch, singing with cake and candles, and talking with the family changed. They dreaded their thirtieth birthday, tried to ignore the fortieth, and despaired at the fiftieth.
In a way sometimes it was a relief, depending on the social behaviour of their friends and family and on their wishes for presents. My creativity to find the right birthday present disappeared with age (and lack of money), and I refused to give bottles, candles or giftcards.

I decided I would go with the flow.
So I developed the strategy to sneak in a question about the upcoming birthday somewhere in the conversation or in a mail, offering the opportunity to ignore the question or jump on it and invite me for whatever might happen. I want to honor the wishes of the person in question, whether he or she might feel old, doesn't want to be remembered another year has gone by, or wants to celebrate life with all who want to be involved.

The result is that I often feel lost at birthdays.

I know what I want myself: a surprise party at a restaurant near a lake or the sea, with lots of old and new friends, my first cardiologist, piles of small presents, candles and cake I'm allowed to eat. I don't mind if it's on my real birthday, or on the day my life could have ended, but went on: june 4th.
I've always wanted a surprise party, but it never happened.

But the birthday of friends?
It's about how they feel, and not about my need to congratulate them.
But on the other side:.....

.......Happy birthday, Hans!



The re-examination

6/29/2017 Syl 0 Comments

The government has decided that more people with special needs should get a job.

So today my classic autistic son needed to be re-examined.
The meeting was a combination of the present need for re-examination and a regular re-examination because his evaluation isn't right.

A few years ago I went with him for his first evaluation. We were accompanied by a very handsome and friendly woman of a care-organisation.
We expected he would be considered to be unable to work.
But the doctor who evaluated his case didn't look into the files, didn't read the paperwork, but was delighted by us women, and he started flirting with us.
I could understand he was infatuated by the woman from the care-organisation. But I was a busy mom of 6, not looking very well. Still he flirted with me too.
We received his written letter stating my son was very able to work.

I was furious!
Filed a complained against that so called doctor, and told the woman who was assigned to his case that he wasn't able to work at all, but I didn't want to have another ridiculous examination by a doctor who couldn't find a proper job at a hospital or private practice.
We had a couple of talks, my son tried some daycare, and at last she wrote the conclusion that he wasn't able to work.
When he moved to another city she wrote a good report, the new case manager was pleasantly surprised by it and within 20 minutes of trying to talk with my son told me he agreed with the woman.

But when we got yet another case manager the whole problem started again.
She phoned me and the result was that she proposed a re-examination so his case could be closed.

The doctor was not really friendly, but he was correct.
He had a tick and especially when my son looked at him it intensified. I felt pity for the guy.
He started with a long story, the standard story for the present governmental re-examination, so I had to tell him my son needed a complete review, and why.
Then he started questions, got caught in the daily routine of my son and was amazed by what he heard. But on the other hand: the guy knew more about autism than the docs I've seen the past 10 years, so he was able to ask the proper questions, he got the answers, and soon he came to the obvious conclusion. I saw it in his eyes.
He asked some more.
And then told my son he was aware he was stressed, but that he needn't be stressed. he would keep his benefits ad he was convinced my son was not able to wok at all. he adviced my son to concentrate on tidying his room (which he can't) and gave us a friendly goodbye.

What a relief!!

While I went home I worried about the son of my friend.
Her son is also autistic and he had a re-examination too, but at a different office in another city.
Soon after I arrived home I heard he was told he was not fit to work either.

So good to close all these years of stress.

I know other stress will start next year, when their benefits will be just 70% of minimum wages.
Almost all these young people are in debt, because they lack the 30% income for a normal life in poverty. But the letters they received where full of threats, telling them that if they didn't work they would loose their benefits. It got so bad that I brought it under the attention of the minister and an official letter of the government was send to all the offices telling to stop the threats.
But the constant reminder that you're not good enough for society gives a low self-esteem and makes one feel a failure.
Tht stops now.
They'll get their bit of money to live and that's it.
No nagging social workers anymore.




Changing, changing, oh and changing.

6/26/2017 Syl 0 Comments

I was trying to get things arranged for a whole list of meetings this week. Some days had two meetings at different places, an as I don't have a driver's license, I have to rely on the boys to drive me around.

I'm OK with meetings, even though I tend to get bored after an hour or so, unless I'm the chairman or I can participate enough to keep my brains busy. :)
But running from one to another... no please.

So I was trying to get things sorted, so none of the boys would feel used, and I could be certain to get in time where I needed to be.
Then the mail came in.
Meeting cancelled because of this, meeting cancelled because of that. A meeting that was cancelled before was scheduled anyway..... and a few hours later cancelled again.
I felt like a secretary at a busy office.
Phone calls, mails.

I had to sit down and schedule my whole week again... to find out all new meetings were rescheduled to next month or later, and only one meeting was left.

It kept me busy all day!!

What a waste of time and energy.



36. Learn to play the Bodhran

6/25/2017 Syl 0 Comments

The bodhran is an Irish frame drum. The size varies from smaller than a normal drum to larger, that is 25 cm to 65 cm in diameter.
The side or rim is small, and at one side a goatskin is fixed in such a way that the drum can be tuned.
The other side is open. Some have a rope grip, like on the photo, others have a wooden cross or nothing at all.

It is played with a tipper/cipin, but those who don't know how to use a tipper, use a soft headed drum stick. The use of the cipin requires quite some practice as the movement is very tiring, and as the bodhran is used as a rhythm instrument one needs to keep a regular rhythm.

Buying a bodhran should be done with experience and knowledge, otherwise one ends up with a decoration item, instead of a good instrument that can be used in different ways.

A friend of mine played in an Irish band and she had a bodhran. I had the opportunity to practice a bit and I enjoyed it very much.
Especially I could sing while playing, and it was possible to play with different cipins, resulting in different sounds, and playing with bare hands.



More surprise-bills

6/24/2017 Syl 0 Comments

My income is so low that I can't do anything extra. That's why I'm looking for a job at the age of 61, knowing that not even 3% of my age can get a job.

When I got the small income I cancelled a lot of things: memberships, magazines, the local paper, educational stuff, etc etc.

I didn't know the father of the children still had a library membership. But I know now: with a bill of 60 euro.

None uses it.
So I wrote the library a mail, explaining the situation, and they told me not to pay the bill, and they cancelled the membership.

The same day I got a bill for about the same amount from the workers union.
This gave me a huge shock.
I cancelled them in January, the woman stopped it back in time in December, and the bill is for January, February and March. Clearly two different departments not knowing from each other what they are doing.
They too got a mail, but they haven't been back to me.

I hope they have saved their own mails, so they can see themselves it was stopped completely.

I hate those surprise bills. They upset me, make me feel very stressed and they cost a lot of time too.



35. I want a job at the dance academy

6/24/2017 Syl 0 Comments

The past years it's regularly been a topic of discussion: teaching at the ballet academy.

So many lines of my life converge there, over so many years, and I've come up with so many ideas for improvement and changes...

In the past I've had the opportunity to realize some of them, working together with the boss of the academy. And it was fun to see they were still used when I entered the building with one of my other children.

During the years I've learned a lot, done a lot, and I think I'm ready to work there.

There are a few aspects missing in dance education.
They have to do with inspiration, understanding the public and ethics.

I also think there needs to be some new blood in the hall.
Too much routine is not good in such a creative environment. And there are so many teachers that are very experienced and good, but who can offer the students more. I'm sure that with the right discussions and ideas they will even be better.

Other subjects that have grown on me the past years have been dance as a way of cardiac revalidation, and dance for the elderly.
I started dance for the older age group in my country (I was the first in my country to teach them.), and it will be interesting to research the subject with dance academy students, meaning that research won't be a small subject on the side table, but a main subject at the academy.
With my experience in teaching research at the university, my knowledge of dance and my personal experience with an aging body, It would be a beautiful end of my working and dancing life.

It's such a pity that many only look at age, not at enthusiasm and motivational qualities.
I know I'll fit in, both with the team and the students.

So yes... this is something for my bucketlist.
This is something that is a part of me... a precious part, that I want to share, and I hope someone will take this serious enough to make it work, to give me this job.



And we saw daughter 2, finally.

6/23/2017 Syl 0 Comments

After a hectic day we dressed up and went to the ballet performances. Far too early, because we expected problems on the road.

Celine Dion was about to give a concert that evening in a huge venue, and we had to drive on the road leading to the venue to reach the bridge near the academy.

We thought traffic would come to a standstill, but it didn't. We had some slow traffic with people changing lanes without signalling it, but it was at the place where they were guiding all cars for the concert to the right, away from the main traffic.
Very clever.

They even had signalposts saying that the parking place near the bridge was full, and there were lots of guards and police, so people even didn't dare to go there, so there were no lines at all.
We arrived at the academy and had a parking spot straight in front of the entrance.
It's always a terrible affair to find a parking space there,, so we were lucky.

We had time to talk with one of the girls and joke in the restaurant where we wanted to buy something to eat, but it was closed.
The guy had us pay by pin for our drinks, then went to the other side of the restaurant to fetch a coin of 50 cents so I could get coffee from the machine. I had the money in my purse!!
We had a good laugh, joked some more, got the coffee and went outside to sit in the sun.

When the performance started I took my camera. Last time we were told there was an official photographer and we were not allowed to take photos or film, but we saw no one. And some of the dancers know I take photos and wont publish them without their permission, but they will get them themselves, and some parents know me, so I got some smiles, a few grateful looks, and started what I do best at a moment like that. And because I'd seen that part of the performance just two days before I could take the best moments.

The same happened when they danced in the break.

I walked around like I belonged there, as I didn't see any photographer at all, and took some memories for them all.

It was fun.

Ofcourse there were photographers. Two. In the back of the theater. So all the photos will be from high up.
Such a pity.

Earlier this week we sat in the front at the left, now we sat in the middle front, and the whole performance seemed to be different. And even more interesting.

And ofcourse we saw the performance of our daughter.
I didn't like all the parts, but that's not surprising, knowing who the choreographer was. But my girl did well, and that's most important.
Her choreography got the most compliments along with the choreography of an international guest choreographer.

So a very proud mom stepped outside in the warm humid evening, passing the concert of Celine Dion on her way home.



34. Watch seals near Texel

6/23/2017 Syl 0 Comments

Spotting seals on or near Texel can be as easy as you wish.

On Texel they care for seals in a seal hospital.
For children it's a very interesting place, as they can see how the seals are cared for, and they can even watch feeding them.

And when you're lucky you'll see them when you're on the ferry to Texel. I haven't been that lucky.

You can also go to those beaches where they visit regularly or from where you can see them on a sandbank with your binoculars. Mind the time: two hours before low tide until an hour after.

But I want to go on a special seal boat trip.
The captain knows what he does, and certainly won't come too near mothers with their young.
When a boat comes too close the mother will get afraid and will save herself. She won't care for her young and when it isn't able to follow here she won't go back. The baby will be lost without her, and will die when none of the seal hospital finds it.

There are lots of seals around Texel and Terschelling. There's lots of food, and the tide frees the sandbanks, offering them large areas for sunbathing.
Two kinds can be seen. The regular one, which is the smallest. Mature men can be up to two meters long. They can be distinguished from the other ones by their V-shaped nostrils.
The other kind is the grey seal. They have straight noses with separated nostrils. The mature men can grow up to three meters long.

Texel is a wonderful island to stay a while. During the summer all is done to give the tourists a wonderful stay.
I don't mind whenever we go there. I don't care for sunbathing, I want to walk on the beach and have a good time. Even when a storm is raging I feel fine.



Art & architecture

6/22/2017 Syl 0 Comments

Quite some years ago my second son was a student at the dance academy.

Often people could find me there participating in activities to improve either his school and the academy.
It was a time of money and plans. and because I had some architecture courses at the university I was invited in the building commission, first of the school and soon after of the new to build academy.

I enjoyed working for the school. The architect was an old man, with lots of knowledge and a good insight in what the school needed. We had to use the old building, but we had lots of ground for extensions, an interesting landscape, as it was in a valley, and none had problems with replacing walls with huge glass panels. My courses had provided me with knowledge an insights that fitted in the team, and none had ego's to prevent changes. So the end-result was a merge of all ideas, options and a lot of suggestions.
It didn't only look good, the school was a good place to use for both students, teachers and other personnel.

Planning and building the academy was a complete different experience.
It had to be a new building, with a large part build under ground-level.
It needed to be a building one of its kind, prize-winning and not too expensive.

The former academy had a seperate theater, very nice, with a great atmosphere.

The new building needed a theater incoorporated in the building, accessible at all times without opening the rest of the building.

I worried about ventilation. Dancing is a very intensive sport and good ventilation is crucial for the performance and the health of the dancers. The buildings with multiple layers of cellars I know have no proper ventilation and with a limited budget I worried.

The team of architects had some good ideas, but the costs were too high, so we were spending part of the meetings discussing materials and adjustments, tiptoeing around vulnerable ego's, stubbornness and lack of insight.
In the meantime time passed, the ground was prepared, the bills were piling up, and nothing was approved.

There were some parts I didn't agree with.
On the photo you can see the red bench at a lower level than the walking corridor. There is nothing to prevent people from falling. Not even a colour difference. And there would be no elevator, so the building would not be accessible for people in a wheelchair. Not for theater, not for injured dancers who should be able to view the lessons. And not for people with equipment.

I also thought there should be a good size theater, not a small one, and one with movable rows of chairs that could be fixed flat to the wall. One large theater would mean a seperate entrance at the level of the theater, so no elevator would be needed. Heating in the weekend and evening would only be for that part of the building, so the exploitation would be cheaper.

The whole team started to grow apart. We wanted more colour, they wanted grey, so it would safe costs. The whole feel of enthusiasm changed into a kind of contest. And I don't like ego games.

My participation ended at my own free decision.

When the whole thing was finished I was and wasn't surprised.

At the last moment elevators were fitted in.
Instead of going with one, people who wanted to use it needed to go from one to another,, with very small turning space. The main entrance wasn't accessible for wheelchairs, due to stairs, and the other side was not accessible because of stairs in front of and behind the door!!!!

Ventilation isn't always good enough. Some rooms, even at the top levels, can't host more than a certain amount of students.

People have tripped and fallen from the main corridor.

And the theaters don't work well enough (but the ventilation there is rather OK.). And the whole school needs to be opened up to host the visitors.

I've learned a lot from being part of such different architecture teams.
To get an insight in the needs of the users and to translate them into a building that gives a happy feeling and enhances creativity is a challenge and it always should be balanced by a healthy attitude towards the funds available.



33. I want to learn sheepfarming

6/22/2017 Syl 0 Comments

In the past I didn't like sheep. I considered them to be a stinking lot, but the little ones were cute.

Gradually my opinion changed, and I started to get interested in what's needed to farm them.

I don't expect to be able to keep sheep unless I can realize my dream to live somewhere in the UK and some money shower hits me.
But as life never stops to suprise me, I decided to put this on my bucketlist too.
I have far too many items on it I'll never able to afford anyway.

So let's value the dream, and enjoy dreaming!

I would love to go crofting and keep some sheep.

I know there's a lot to learn, as keeping sheep is not only taking the wool and selling it. It's keeping them healthy, help them lamb, protect them, and a lot, lot more.

I've seen a farm with sheep along the road to Germany.
We went there when they offered the public a peek at their farm, but I didn't get the opportunity to talk with the farmer.
I feel a bit shy going there and asking to learn there without being able to offer them money or something else. I think that students from the agricultural school should be first to get a place there.
And I wonder if I'm able to go there, as there are no bus stops in the area.

So I've got excuses enough at the moment, but, knowing myself, they'll disappear as soon as an opportunity of a small farm lingers nearer at the horizon.



We only saw one of them!

6/21/2017 Syl 0 Comments

The dance academy offers lots of opportunities for students to be creative, but there isn't enough tuition about the influence of their actions on the public.

Most of the time it's about messy performances, chaos on the floor and completely not artistic issues.

This time the decision was made to have a couple of performances at the same time and the public was supposed to walk between them.
We got a very large leaflet, with lots of test, two schedules, one with a lot of text, and the message when we arrived half an hour early: it's starting within two minutes outside.

So we went outside, in the bright sun, sat on the stairs and had no time at all to read anything.
We just followed what happened, walked with the rest, and assumed that the performances in hall 2 and hall 3 had to be followed both, regardless of which one was viewed first.
There was also something in hall 4: reality check. So we assumed it was for the dancers to check things they needed to know, and in hall 5 movies were planned. Well we didn't come for movies.

We had a good time.
A good friend and one of what we call ballet-mothers of the twins joined us. Which is always a joy, because we both have the same ways of criticism,
She saw the performances of daughter 1 (who was a guestdancer, she's not studying there), saw the choreography of daughter 2, and left before the last part, because she thought she'd seen enough.

After the whole event we realized we'd missed the performance of daughter 2.

Right at that moment one of the teachers asked me for my opinion about the event.
I'm always a bit hesitant to give my honest opinion, for several reasons.
I've worked in the organisation of the academy 10 years ago, was part of the auditioning committee, and been a ballet reviewer.
One of the things I've learned is that ballet teachers there have huge ego's, expressing in extravagant clothing, pouted mouths and straight backs. None is even allowed to touch the ego, it should be slowly and softly caressed, with a nice smile. No matter when it's mean, as long as it's a smile.

I turned around, like stung by a wasp.
'I can't give my opinion, I haven''t seen it all.... I haven't seen my daughter dance!!'
If I'd wondered if her eyes could have opened under the heavy load of make-up I now got the answer:
they opened.
'Then you'll have to come back tomorrow'.
'I would, if I could afford it', was my rather straightforward answer, referring to the high cost of the evening.
'Then it's on me...' and to my daughter: 'contact me for free tickets for your mom and brother. Or do you need more tickets?'

She left on her high heels like she wanted to take off for a flight high to the roof... She'd done her good deed of the day.
She didn't even bother to say something nice about the twins dancing....

Photo made by me.


32. The Settle-Carlisle Railway

6/21/2017 Syl 0 Comments

Even though I was (and am) a girl, Ron wanted to show one of the Welsh most remarkable features. He told me we would go to see a viaduct, and first wanted to hear from me if I knew the meaning of a viaduct. I was 11 and knew the meaning. He smiled.
I remember his smile and the way he looked to my dad, as if they had prepared a huge surprise.

Well, he didn't prepare it himself. Lots of hard working men did that before it opened in august 1875.
I was surprised indeed: 24 arches to cover the distance of a beautiful area in such a way that human design and nature merged to enhance each other.

When I stood there with those two veterans at my side I was silent. The first thing I said when we went away was: 'I'll be back', followed by: 'and then I want to be on top of it'.

When I learned that the Settle-Carlisle Railway enables to be on top it had my attention.
Maybe I can make my promise become a reality?

With sons who love railways, and certainly love steam engines...

This railway journeys is one of the best in the world. The scenery is so outstanding.
And my memories are so special.
Two friends from the war showing the country they loved so much, showing the best it has to offer.

Maybe I can give that heritage to my children....

In case you want to know more: click here.



Heatwave 2017

6/20/2017 Syl 0 Comments

We're dealing with a heatwave.
And 'we' in a broad sense.  Even in England the temperatures are at a high that is seldom seen.
I believe London has its warmest day in 20 years.

Here temps are above 30 degrees Celsius.
I opened the door and it was like pushing against a wall and then someone pushing a pillow in my face.
Laundry doesn't dry in the wind, it's steamed dry.

The brambles dry before they become fruit, the red berries are already dark red and juicy and the clay is drying out and killing all new life in the ground.

The past week I've dealt with a nasty cold and it feels ridiculous to have a old with this weather.
Some people feel they need to explain to me that it's hay fever. Yea... right.
I know the difference. I'm always sniffing and using hankies, this is far worse.
Well, it'll soon be over, before the warmth has left the house.

My daughters school has made another mistake.
Advising her to take an exam, even though she was on her way to cancel it.
And now they say she can't take the exam anymore, because she took it.
Why give wrong advice?
They gave her an extension of 6 months and the only requirement was that she had to hand in a paper before January. Why give an extension when you create rules after giving it?
This school makes me feel sick.
It has been a constant battle, first for one of the boys and now for her.



Dolf Toussaint has died.

6/19/2017 Syl 0 Comments

Today it was announced that Dolf Toussaint has died last Tuesday at the age of 92.

Dolf was wellknown photographer who was valued and admired for the way he was able to tell his story not with words, but with photographs.
He taught me that photographs should speak for themselves and one should depict people in such a way that no extra information is needed.
So one should not only focus to get a sharp image of a person, the environment is just as important, and needs a true representation which is at the same time artistic.
Dolf was the first to make photodocumentairies. He portrayed one of the most well known neighbourhoods of Amsterdam, the Jordaan, during one of the most outspoken changes.
He loved Amsterdam and thanks to him we can see how during the sixties, seventies, eighties and nineties not only the housing changed and the overall look of the neighbourhoods, but also how the people changed.
He was also closely connected to politics. Had friends in the government, which enabled him to portray political leaders in spontaneous ways.

He stood up for better working circumstances for photographers and more opportunities.

Present photography is an expression of his influence to make people the center of the story of their environment.

Thank you Dolf for taking the time to explain things to me when I was training as a photographer and journalist. OK, you sold a photo to the magazine I worked for and you got a cuppa, but you enjoyed explaining to me that the attitude of a photographer doesn't give a visible expression on the photo, but that it makes the photo and is as much part of the process as pushing a button.

My respect will be forever with you.



31. Go to Glastonbury

6/19/2017 Syl 0 Comments

In the past I've enjoyed a lot of concerts and a few festivals.

A few times I've even worked at festivals, because I couldn't afford the entrance and wanted to be there.  The jobs were different: handing out leaflets, bringing VIP's to their dressing facilities, accompanying them to and from their performance and talk with them during meals to prevent people bothering them, singing in background choirs, and being the first to dance.

I'm in the lucky circumstances to live in a city where each year a lot of free open air concerts are held.

But I would love to go to England and visit the Glastonbury Festival.
I'm sure some of my friends would love to go there too.



30. Shepherding

6/18/2017 Syl 0 Comments

Working with a sheepdog seems to be such a privilege.
Even being present at a contest in the UK would make me feel very delighted.

Dog and shepherd are such a close team. It's fascinating to see the dog react to each and every whistle and thus bringing the sheep where the shepherd wants them to be.

To be a good team, it's best when one teaches the dog from the moment he's born, preferably with a well trained older dog.

I don't think I'll have enough time and money to do so.
But I've learned in life never to say never.
And even when it never happens, I've enjoyed what Country File showed.



A bicycle again

6/17/2017 Syl 0 Comments

Finally I've got a working bicycle.
One of my daughters doesn't need the one in the garden and she adjusted it for me.
I was so happy that I planned  visit to a friend nearby. And when I went, I forgot to take a present.

The last time I used my former bicycle I could hardly turn the wheels, because something was wrong with the thing.
Now I just went on my way, enjoying the ease of movement, and I only got tired legs when I was nearly at my friends.

We had several hours with coffee, enjoying talking, the dogs and even the demented cat.
And going home wasn't a real problem either. Just tiredness when I was nearly home.
I have to exercise a lot more.

I expected another evening of listening to lots of stories from daughter 2., but she didn't make it home after all
Strange not to have them all at home.



Money, money, money....

6/16/2017 Syl 0 Comments

'Money makes the world go round'  Liza Minnelli sang in Cabaret.

Yea... a lot of the world and of life turns around money.

Finally the whole problem with the health insurance is resolved and I've got all the medication I paid for. What a relief!

And then.... a blue envelope arrived.
So that's the annual result of their accounting.

I expected to get money back or nothing, but I didn't expect a bill of 193 Euro!
My son did the admin over last year, next time I'll do it myself.

I was trying to save a bit of money for a vacation of a few days with the children, as we've never been on a vacation, and I haven't had a vacation in over 30 years.
But it'll be gone.
Money makes the world go round, and brings my life back to the utter basics: a roof and food.

I feel sad I can't give my children the experience of a vacation all together.



29. A phone box

6/16/2017 Syl 0 Comments

The British phone boxes are the most well known telephone-related items in the world.

They were designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and could be found all over the UK.

We had one in our town too, but don't ask how it came across the Channel. It stood in front of a cafe opposite my school.
When the cafe was sold, the box disappeared. I guess the former owner of the cafe took it with him.

Ever since I was in England I wanted such a phone booth either in the garden or in the house.
It might seem a strange wish, but  when you know me well, you know it's a wish that can be expected from me. :)


Did she just paint herself as a gossip?

6/15/2017 Syl 0 Comments

Another meeting is over.
Each month a volunteer organisation of our region meets to discuss all sorts of subjects.

After a few meetings I started to get an insight in the ways people reacted, which opinions they have, and some other aspects of behaviour.
Years of being a chairman of some very difficult meetings have brought some experience, I dare to say.

Most people are easy to deal with. It' not a group of people that contains one or two non-speaking individuals. There is a good feeling of equality.. at least at first sight.

This time we had a lot of fun. The weather was outstanding, no difficult decisions to be made and the vacation just around the corner for many., and a new member.

But underneath the surface a bubble is growing, which wonders me, and puzzles me.

There are three women. One from HQ, someone else and me.
It's those last two which are part of the growing bubble.

I've felt intimidated in the past by a certain kind of women.
It changed my attitude and feelings in such a way that quite a few years ago I decided not to compete with them, as I felt their target was attention, self-confidence and social esteem.
These are not my goals in life, except for self-confidence, but I don't want to gain that at the expense of others.

The result of the presence of such a person in a meeting is that I tend to think more before I say something, or I simply keep my mouth shut. (It both speeds up a meeting, so no problem there. LOL!)

This meeting was filled with so much humor and smiles that I forgot my guarded attitude.
One of the hospitals just finished and reported a pilot study which involved telephone calls.
In the resulting changes in protocols a call is involved and she and I have said we would be willing to do these calls.
I've worked in that hospital for years, at a different department and as a researcher's assistant, and I've been present at many meetings in which important decisions regarding patient-hospital communications were made. That provided some insight in the way they deal with important matters there.

So I said that the knowledge that we re not just volunteers, but we will be trained for the job and we are both bound by the laws regarding privacy, as we are both psychologist,s might be positive input in the decision making process of the hospital.

I forgot she is always against statements I make.

It was like some hidden bee had stung her with unknown violence.
She grew 10 cm's within a second and stated that she doesn't feel bound by those laws in normal life.

I still feel flabbergasted while writing this.
The privacy law of psychologists should be a normal social law. What is told to you in a room stays there, unless you need to discuss it with a wise professional in order to help that person in the best way possible.

So it's not her daily life adagio....

Did she just paint herself as a gossip?



28. A couple of days in London

6/15/2017 Syl 0 Comments

It's long ago that Dad and I went to London.
We had been with the family where he stayed during part of WW2, in Wolverhampton, and before going back to The Netherlands he wanted to show London, some places he had been during the war and get a good feel of the city.

We went....almost everywhere. It seemed.

I remember many great moments, places and events.
We went to see the Koh-i-Noor, the largest diamond in the world, had to wait in line for over 3 hours, but it was well worth the wait. I loved to see the crown jewels, and of course the bright diamond.

I can write about the experiences in London for hours and maybe even days.
I was impressed by Westminster Cathedral, but St. Paul was more my style.
And we were lucky to find the Houses of Parliament open to the public and because almost no one knew that, we had the opportunity to talk with one of the members, making a comparison between The Netherlands and the UK. I still enjoy the special ceremonies on TV and the kids have often heard: 'I've been there, and there too!'

Since I was in London in 1968 a lot has been changed. I'd love to see it.

We can go by car, using the tunnel, (even though I love to go by boat), but hotel costs are far too high, so we have to find a solution for that.


New kitchentap

6/14/2017 Syl 0 Comments

Finally...a new kitchen tap.
I didn't enjoy the old one. It didn't close easily, the spout was too low and I didn't like the look. The thing didn't shine anymore soon after installation, and that bothered me too.

When closing the tap became difficult last week, the only problem was when to fetch a new one.
Well,,, we've got the new one.

For the last year I said that when a certain tap of the Ikea would be in the sales I would buy it.
But I didn't watch the sales....

So I was quite surprised to find at the site that the tap was on sale.
We enjoyed the 1 euro breakfast, had a quick look around, and waited a long time to be able to pay. But the coffee was good, no traffic problems, and at home the second son started the exchange.

The old tap was really rally broken. Not only the opening and closing mechanism was completely gone, the spout appeared to be broken out of sight, and the plumbing was as bad as the rest. It was leaking, because of oxidation and a bad connection.

Well, it's gone now.
The new tap is installed, and it looks wonderful.
Better: it works perfect.

Problem: there was so much stuff in the cupboard that I can't get it back anymore.
I don't think I want it all back. Why stuff 2 woks in there when there is a good wok hanging in the kitchen? It's one of those things the 'man' in the house left me to deal with.

Slowly the house is becoming more mine.
That's nice, but I want to move.
Yes, I'll take the tap with me. :)



27. Bee keeping

6/14/2017 Syl 0 Comments

That so many bee populations have died worries me.
I love remembering the fields of grass or grain, with lots of flowers at the borders, covering the sides of the country roads.
Summer was not as much the sun; the symbol for me were the flowers.
And to keep them we need bees.

In the city where I live the council first wanted to have bees at the top of the council house. A kind of ridiculous plan, as the bees would live far away from flowers and have more dirty air than fresh air.
Luckily we have a very active organisation of beekeepers and the result of protests was that a new bee home was opened in the largest park of the city, on march the 27th, 2015. 150.000 bees are kept since then at the place where beekeepers worked for a 100 years.
Of course the plan to have a population at the roof of the council house was realized too.

In april this year some nuts destroyed the beehouse in the park, so the population were moved elsewhere.

I don't understand why people do this.

Socalled 'primitive' people take good care of their bees. They know exactly when they can take the honey, and they try not to disturb the bees, so they have not only honey the next year, but also a good fertilization processes of their plants and flowers.
The effort they take, can't be compared with the way the beekeepers here work.

I want to be a beekeeper for a day.
I think I'll be a bit afraid some of those animals might find their way to my skin. It's possible I might get an allergic reaction. I had one in the past. But being so close to this interesting part of nature... These little creature make honey! Wow!!




Volunteer work

6/13/2017 Syl 0 Comments

What a way of starting the week!

First I had to give a speech in front of a large audience room, with about 50 to 60 people.

It's a part of the first session of 2 information days for people who have had heartsurgery and/or a heart attack.

They get a lot of information in a few hours from the cardio-nurse, the cardiologist, me and the hospital-psychologist.

Now the nurse knows me a bit, she trusts me more. But she still impresses me as looking down on the activities of our heart-organisation. During the next months the presentations will not only be directed at the patients, at the same time I will inform her of the importance of our organisation when people have left the hospital and are at home.
We all work for the well being of the patients, whether we're paid or not.

At the end of the session there are always some private talks and I enjoy them very much. It's so special that people trust you with their deep inner feelings without any hesitation.

After this I had half an hour to prepare for the next meeting.

It was a meeting between the patient representation board of the hospital and patient organisations, at a location I didn't know.

I tried to find the personnel exit, because it would lead me to the back of the building where we would have our meeting.
When I finally found it I couldn't open the doors, because I had no ID card of the hospital, so no chip to open it. Had to walk all the way back, and had to trust my instincts to find the way.

I enjoyed the wind, as it blew away the high temperatures. So I didn't arrive all sweaty.
Found the building without problems, like I'd been walking there ever so often.

In the hall I was welcomed by two people who were very kind and easy going.
Turned out that there were 4 people from the patient representation board, one person who gave us information about quality and safety monitoring, and.....me. None of the other patient organisations had turned up.

It made the meeting even more interesting, because there was no struggle to find the level of communication. I've worked in a hospital in the past, so I already knew lots of abbreviations.

I've witnessed in the past the first steps of computer registration of goods in a hospital. Now I saw plans for a new system, new wires and rewiring, and education of all layers of staff.
It was also a good opportunity to talk with all members of the board, exchange opinions and of course ask one of the crucial questions to keep them on their toes: the morbidity and mortality of waiting lists for cardiology. The chairman recognized the question.

I asked the same one 4 years ago and they had no numbers at the time.
Now I expect numbers.
I also asked them to check the accuracy of the published waiting times.

I don't think I would have asked this with the other organisations present.

Besides that I had the opportunity to talk about some other subjects.

When I left I had a good feeling about the meeting. I expect some good cooperation.

I was very tired when I arrived at home, but did some gardening for 15 minutes or so together with one of my daughters. Just to have some fresh air before dinner.

Next wednesday another meeting and then a bit of rest before working on the magazine.



26. Indoor skydiving

6/13/2017 Syl 0 Comments

Indoor skydiving is the nearest to parajumping I can think of.
I might even consider it a test for myself if I dare to jump out of a plane and bring myself in the right position to float on air.

I've always enjoyed seeing indoor skydiving.
It looks easy, but I know it isn't.
But I think it's a great experience.

So who knows....


Where was the weekend?

6/12/2017 Syl 0 Comments

Some weekends are such a succession of events, activities and lack of a few moments of relaxation, that they're over before it feels like a weekend.

On saturday we had my youngest autistic son celebrate his birthday here.
We wanted to surprise him with applecake, but it wasn't available. so we had an applepie.

He enjoyed his time here. Especially because both his sisters were at home. one of them coughing like she could win a championship.

Since he officially complained about the noise in the apartment building people have taken their noise level down and it was clear to us that he was more relaxed than before. It was beneficial to all of us. He wasn't speaking as loud, not as agitated, and he had some laughs and smiles.

For each sip of water we had to go upstairs, as the kitchen tap was broken. So annoying.
I stopped using it completely after I felt it was a problem to stop the waterflow.
And as we were afraid the changing waterpressure might cause problems too, I left the laundry for later this week.

Kids walked in and out, and I had the opportunity to have a few good talks with them.
As I have two meetings on monday I also had some preparations to do.

And then the weekend was over, balletdaughter gone home, and the plan to buy a new tap on tuesday.
Where was the weekend?



25. Fly in a hot air balloon

6/12/2017 Syl 0 Comments

When the flame is ignited again and I hear the sound, I feel like a kid and run outside, with the camera.
When it drifts over my house I can't resist to wave, and often I see the people in the sky waving back.
Then through the house I run, so I can see the balloon once more before it fades and lands at an unknown place.

I know the balloon is huge.
When it's still laying on the floor it looks like an apartment building asleep, brought to life by men running around to stretch the fabric and then shooting the hot flame as far as possible.

I was quite near when I was 11. Feeling the warmth against my face, before I stepped back.
That year I entered a drawing contest to win a balloon flight. All I got was a ballpoint.
The disappointment was huge, but soon forgotten..

After that I entered more contests and raffles to win a flight, but I never was the lucky one.
But..maybe in the near future?



24. Make hats

6/11/2017 Syl 0 Comments

Most little girls love hats.
I was lucky to grow up in a time that older women had to wear hats. So there was always one laying on a hall table, hanging from the corner of a bed or a chair, or given to me.
I was not going for the look, but for the feeling.
It made me feel rich and nice.

Then one day my aunt or gram gave me a basket.
I used it as a lady's bag, until I suddenly popped it on my head. I remember my aunt laughing.

I was allowed to keep the basket. And I started to pin things on it, like flowers and nice buttons, a little piece of lace and ribbons.
It was the first hat I made, and it wouldn't be the last.

A few years later I got a black french beret. I was very happy with it and soon I was wearing it all day and the years to come people didn't know me anymore without a beret. I had all colours, and when people didn't know my name I was called: the singing girl with the beret.
By that time I had learned to crochet hats, and friends and unknown people asked me to make crochet hats for them.

The past years I've made a few felt hats, and I enjoyed it so much, that I bought a few berets,
A couple of large summer hats, and in the sales two fedoras (one summer and one winter hat).
Of course after a few times wearing the hats plain, I started to decorate them.

I would love to be able to decorate hats in a more professional way. It's an art of using materials  to create a feeling of flow and beauty.

I see more women wear a hat, women of all ages.
So who knows... maybe in the future they'll wear a hat made by me.



23. Visit Petra

6/10/2017 Syl 0 Comments

Petra is a very old Jordanian city, dated at 312 BC, one of the new 7 wonders of the world.
The rock architecture is what's most attractive bout the city, but very interesting too is the water conduit system. Because of the rose coloured rock, Petra is also known as Rose-city.

Petra was one of the places at a trade route, in the middle of the dessert. Because it's founders, the Nabataeans, were real experts of water control, Petra was an oasis in the dessert.

Nowadays Petra is entered through a narrow gorge, but in ancient times the entrance was from the other side and even from the high plateau on the north.

Lots of archaeological research resulted in a careful description of the rocks and area around them. And the publications about the discoveries has lead to tourism and actions to preserve the area. The need for protection has led to a detailed plan for the next 20 years.

When I saw a TV program about settlements in the dessert the cameraman entered the city through the gorge, not knowing what to expect. He was completely in awe, his hands were shaking, and so was his camera. But it only added to the experience.
At the very same moment I knew I wanted to go to Petra myself.

I don't know if it will ever happen, but if ever given the opportunity I won't say 'no', because even though I know things about Petra, I will be overwhelmed....




Rain showers like rivers from heaven

6/09/2017 Syl 0 Comments

Some fridays are like days at an office.
Got mails cancelling two meetings, no mail to indicate the health insurance finally got my payment added to the system, so that resulted in another mail to them.
Also no mail from a friend and colleague from the heart organisation, so I assume he's in hospital.
And lots of others from people who wanted to get things finished before the weekend.

Then it was kid's time. One came home in between school and work, with stories.

Then I was told that the kitchen tap acted strange. I first thought it was a joke, as the weather was crap. Rain showers like rivers from heaven, warm sun, and more rain, and wind. But something was wrong with the tap. It didn't close like before. It felt like a spring was inside holding it open far longer than before.

So the rest of the day we had to go upstairs to fetch water.

But we had a nice time nevertheless. Our ballet-girl came home for the weekend. With a nasty cold, and I guess we'll all have a cold next week, but she's home.

It was nice to talk, cook together, and talk some more.

And maybe I've got a bicycle again, as I can use hers.



22. Become a falconer

6/09/2017 Syl 0 Comments

When I was 4, I saw a wild bird of prey in the woods. It was a large buzzard. Probably very hungry, because he didn't pay any attention to my father and me.

The intensity of the moment was so strong, that the memory lasted all those years.

When I was a bit older we went to a falconer's place. He had many birds. The people who accompanied me were afraid of the birds, and stayed far away. I was so fascinated by the birds' curiosity that the falconer had to warn me to keep a safe distance.

He didn't give a show, because there were too many people that afternoon.
And the next opportunity to see a show we missed it, because of the traffic.

Maybe I won't like a bird of prey as close anymore. I don't know.
Maybe it's too heavy on my hand.
But right now I think I would love the experience of becoming a falconer.



Celebrating survival

6/08/2017 Syl 0 Comments

Am I the only one?

It's a few years ago, and a few days, that a kind cardiologist told me I might not make it through the night.
All he could do was to give me all the medication he had, leave the protocols at the office, and hope. Resuscitation was not possible.

It was more than 3 months later when he dared to show me the images of the MRI to explain how bad the situation had been.

The first year family and friends expressed their gratitude that I still was alive, but now this new birthday of survival was completely forgotten.

It's not important anymore. I'm taken for granted again.
And in a way I'm forgotten.

I wonder if there's anyone who remembered it's so many years ago. Certainly none cared to mention it.

Survival rate after grave heartfailure has gone up, due to better diagnostic techniques, due to more patient-knowledge, better revalidation,, and due to better medication.
So the kids haven't been bored with prognosis and such. But maybe they should have been.
They should rely less on me being their housekeeper, carer, psychiatrist, banker, laundry woman etc etc.

When I don't feel well it's for them some work in the house that isn't done, for me a reminder that all might be over far too soon, and when I feel depressed: soon enough.
Being confined to the house almost all the time isn't helping.
The last months I feel far more tired than before, and I can't find out why.
That's part of the reason of starting this blog, of changing the room: giving a new content to life, new meaning, new dreams, a feeling of accomplishment and distraction.

If nothing happens this 4th anniversary of survival has no real meaning than adding to the good side of the statistics.

So yesterday I wrote a job application for a job at my dreamplace.
I need to take that stream of positive energy and direct it, use it, and enlarge it.
It's what I did to survive: do what I thought was right, and don't bother about what others might think.

Yesterday someone said to me that this blog is very personal. Yes, it is.
I think there is no value when I won't share what keeps me busy.
I'm not the only one going though this: fighting against self-pity and depression. Dealing with daily tiredness, doubt, and feelings that life should be different from being boring, always the same chores and money-problems, dealing with stubborn organisations, and feeling inadequate.
I know I have many talents, I can be a positive, cheerful person who can deal with almost anything. If only.... if only given the opportunity to shine. (And some help at home to clear the clutter.)

It's just one step to take to be a survivor.
One step.

I took it that night, and I'v taken it more often, like yesterday evening, when I saw myself packing my things and taking the boat, to float to that place my heart longs to be.

Because it's that deep inner feeling of belonging elsewhere that gives me no rest.

It's not about my body. I can train it, influence it in such a way that I can use it better.
It's about taking that one step: from the low energy stream to the positive energy stream.
Imagine someone standing at the other side and reaching a hand.....



21. A garden house

6/08/2017 Syl 0 Comments

One of my oldest wishes is a garden house.
A mini-place of my own, to sit quietly, write, think, create.

Ofcourse an internet connection would be nice, and flowers in the window.

I've never managed to have such a place of my own. I didn't even have a room.

But I gave my children a small house to play, and maybe we can do something with it.

It's a very small wooden house. It can only contain a chair, and maybe a shelf in front of the little window. That's it.

When we make a basis of stones, and build a part if a stone wall which fits the size of the little house, it will become higher at the inside. We can place the wood on the stone. I hope.

The roof can be split into part roof, and part plexi glass, so there will be plenty of light, and at the same time shelter against the rain.

But, to be honest, I'd rather have a new, proper garden house.



Just for me

6/07/2017 Syl 0 Comments

Today I wanted to exchange the wooden living room table with a black one, or maybe even two black ones.
So I put one together, and saw it wasn't the right size for the room.
When I decided for the black, we still had the deep couch standing in the room, but now, with the two chairs, we have more space and the black table seems to be more to be a black spot than a table.

I sat down and suddenly it hit me that I didn't know what to do.
Go through all the effort of exchanging the lot and then take my time to get used to it, or just let it be... hungering to look better.

After 30 years with kids I've been through all stages with the room.
An empty table, very large, so we could put our tea or coffee in the middle and the kids couldn't reach it, so they wouldn't burn themselves, a table full of papers, soft folded flowers and lots of glue, a table full with homework and a vase with flowers taken from the playground and from the side of the road, to what it is now. I don't know the history of all the little dents anymore, or who messed with the hot tea.

A long time it hasn't been my table anymore. They threw all sorts of things on the table, and I tried to claim space back by putting a plant on it, and a kind of fairy garden, and some of my stuff, and more, and a bit more because I would unclutter it the day after, but that day after never seemed to arrive.

I tried to get used to all the things kids in puberty leave in the room, because the room is theirs too, and because I never moaned a lot about it, because it would upset the autistic brother and cloud the day.
I tried to accept it all as a part of life. Even made a good friend accept it, because he felt part of the family too.

But now I'm home alone so often, I feel I'm failing. I don't feel well, and it's like I'm not in my own room. I never fully relax.

I've always been busy for others.
As a small child my mother made me do the chores in the house. Cinderella seemed to be my sister. But the fairy godmother still hasn't arrived, I've still got all my shoes in pairs, and dancing with my prince....will it ever happen. (And will I recognize him? Because the former seemed to be prince appeared to be no prince at all.)
It says something about my grandmother that I didn't mind helping her. But I did, and caring for her changed into caring for the kids.

All those years, almost my whole life, putting others in the center of life, placed attention for me outside the circle.
A few weekends ago a dear friend spent a weekend with me and it was like a dream.

I'm OK with creating a good time for someone else, enjoying it together with someone else.

But just for me....

It's best to break with the past, I feel.
Moving would be so much better than staying here.
But I have to deal with the fact that I can't find something I can afford.

I have to make this room into a place for me.
So I won't feel lost in life anymore.
I need to care a bit better, a bit more just for me.



20. A real vacation

6/07/2017 Syl 0 Comments

I can't remember the last time I went on a true vacation.
It's more than 30 years ago.

The reason why we haven't gone during all those years was simple: 4 kids with special needs and two kids with normal needs was just too much. Too much luggage, as we didn't have a car, too much money, and too many problem to deal with.
Our children were autistic, and they didn't feel happy in another environment. They had enough to deal with when there was no need to go to school.

I've had some individual days that were a kind of vacation, but staying in a hotel, no cooking, no dishes to deal with...  being pampered, sleeping in, or not, emerging myself in a day long experience...I don't know that.

Now the children are grown up, they don't need me anymore as much. So I should be able to go...if only I had the money.

.Imagine me...lazy, not thinking of daily life for days on end......



A swift decision

6/06/2017 Syl 0 Comments

Yesterday is in the past.
Today is a new day, with lots of wind, the much needed rain, and more wind.

It's like the garden grows a few cm each 10 minutes when I look outside. I love this weather, and I long to go to the beach. That's one of the reasons why I want to live near the beach. To struggle against wind and sand, and be caught in the sounds.

Here I feel confined to my home, and I experience a bit of fear that the large tree in the garden might drop on the gardens of others.

The magazine of the Heart-organisation is ready.
A bit hesitant I asked if this group of people always deal the same way with all the work. Just one elderly lady struggling with her eyesight doing everything, and the others having their name on the list and accepting compliments during the regional meeting.
The answer is 'yes'.
My decision is on impulse, but I stand behind it for a full 200%. If she wants someone to cooperate with, I'm the one.

It was the first time I worked with her, a few weeks ago. It was a surprise to discover she's lived near my gram. We were able to chit chat about all sorts of things, and a moment later to discuss the editing of the magazine. I liked her dog, and felt perfectly at ease.
So volunteering to work with her is only costing time, and it's something to look forward to.

It's the way I like to lead my life: go with the flow and help out where ever I can.

Ofcourse I need money to live my bucketlist, but a job and helping her out doesn't exclude each other.
If a job would come as easy as that......

Screened quite some jobsites, found nothing.

Then heard that Sandra Reemer has died from breastcancer.
I feel sad for her family and friends. she was such a lovely lady, such a good singer and she always gave me the feeling I was watching and listening to someone special. She always gave me a good feeling, a lot of inspiration.
It was special to drive under a moonlit sky (we had to bring some stuff to someone) and after that sit down to watch a program about her.
Another one of the great gone.

I know almost no women who have survived breast cancer. They all have died, including one of my best friends.

Again I wonder why I survived that night when my heart was expected to give up....



One of those days

6/06/2017 Syl 0 Comments

It was one of those days again.
Lots of plans and no energy at all.
I've learned not to fight days like these. I tried, often enough, but it only ads to the problem, because it makes me feel miserable, failing, and I only see more things that need to be done.

I was lucky. The temperature finally went down.
For the next days wind and rain are expected.
Even better: storm at the beach. I don't think it's possible to go there this week I don't have the cheap train tickets we use for that. Such a pity.
But the week will be interesting enough, I expect.

Tomorrow one of my girls has a couple of important tests, one of the boys will be celebrating his birthday a few days later, another one told me today he would help me with one of the items of the to do list, a magazine needs to be ready for the printer, I need to prepare and give a lesson on writing press releases, and I need to prepare a speech and an important meeting for next week.

Today I've been thinking a lot. About Manchester and London, but also about the fact that this week two girls of 14 were murdered. One of them murdered by a 16 year old, the other presumably by a 14 year old.
Something is terribly wrong in this world.
Why do so many people lack empathy and a conscience?

Before going to bed I'll give myself an injection again. I told I would do it to the doc's assistant on Friday, so I'd better not postpone it. Tomorrow I'll be more active, I expect. Hopefully with less pain and muscles that work. No time to take a rest anymore.



19. Visit the Grossglockner again

6/06/2017 Syl 0 Comments

I was about 15 when we went to Austria.
We stayed in a hotel in W├Ârgl, Tirol.
We had a great time.
My mom could stay at the hotel with my little sister, enjoying the sun. And my dad and I went with the busdriver to all kinds of places.

It was the busdriver's own holiday too and with a small company we went into the mountains.
I enjoyed the feeling of freedom, the height, and the enormous panorama.

We also went to the Grossglockner, the highest mountain in Austria. It's 3.798 meters high. (The second peak is at the same mountainridge, called Kleinglockner.)
We drove on the High Alpine Road and had a good look at the scenery, until the road ended at a place where tourist could have a good look at the mountain from a restaurant. So my mom and sister and many of our tourist bus went there. We went further up and had a better look at the glacier, where a few climbers where crossing the river of ice, intending to spend their next days to reach the summit.
We stood there watching in silence. Nature was so majestic, and I felt so small and yet part of it all. Like I belonged there.
Someone told about the cross at the summit, and when we went to a tourist shop later I bought a card with a painting of the cross loaded with snow and ice. The everlasting ice was formed in the wind, like it tried to hold unto the cross as a soul clings to live.

I would love to be there once again, preferably without many tourists, in deep wintery conditions, to feel the intense presence of this part of nature.



18. A medical emergency course

6/05/2017 Syl 0 Comments

More than a first aid course

In the past I've assisted at accidents before the ambulance arrived.
I know I stay calm and  act medically appropriate, even when improvisation is needed.

After the terrorist attacks of last weeks civilians were of utmost importance in taking care of the victims before the ambulances arrived.

I live near a railway station, shopping center, and at walking distance of an important roundabout. At the other side of my house a couple of schools are situated.
So I'm available within minutes.

A simple first aid course doesn't seem to be enough anymore.
Gun wounds and stabbing injuries, shock and panic, need a different approach than taught in a first aid course.

I urged my son, who is a crisis journalist, to apply for a place at a medical emergency course especially created for journalists. He's often the first st the scene and he's got quite an ethical attitude, not to take photos of wounded people.So he can use his presence far better after the course.

I think a special course needs to be created to act well after terrorist attacks. It's important not to destroy evidence, but at the same time people need help, and maybe even adequate triage. To direct people who are able to help too and keep them calm requires a firm attitude. Etc etc.

I hope I'm able to motivate the new government to take action.


The day of the Manchester Concert

6/04/2017 Syl 0 Comments

Finally the temperature was down a bit. It felt so good, almost strange, after so many days.

Don't think we did nothing today.
I helped a young lad, studying journalism, to feel comfortable with his own texts. Proper research proper thought, and proper wording, and especially: asking feedback.
I love to do this, but there in't a job available at the moment. So I volunteer. And I'm happy they know where to find me.

In the meantime one of my daughters was working very hard to get her final written assignments done.

After dinner I was so tired that I couldn't keep my eyes open. Felt like putting some pillows on top of each other and then I just put my head there and sleep hit me. It's not nice to sleep bad at night and fall asleep during the day. Ugh. But I'm hurting no one.
I missed the very beginning of the Manchester concert, but it was like an inside alarm set off and made me wake up.

The concert was very emotional, as expected. I admired not only Ariana Grande, but also the children and parents who were there again.
Many moments touched my heart, but what will stay in my mind is the moment the schoolchildren sang. A lovely choir, with a girl singing solo, with a lovely voice. Her emotions took hold of her an right at the moment she had to stop, Ariana ran towards er and took over the singing. She comforted the girl and at the end of the song the girl as able to finish it, all by herself. The care Ariana took of the girl is for me the symbol of the whole concert.

This afternoon I found on a post of Reuters an Australian guy putting Ariana down. None had taken the care to write a comment. Maybe because he looked like a body builder with an oversized ego?
Let's say I reached out all over the ocean and gave him a slap on his hand like he was a young boy who had stolen a cookie (even though I've never slapped my kids for that.). Of course stupidity can't be cured that way, but I thought he had to have a learning opportunity by offering him some facts and the choice for empathy.

I finished the day by writing a mail to a textile company.
My autistic son is not only very large, but he also has quite some weight, due to medication during the first years of puberty (and a psychiatrist who promised all would be well. Get lost lady... nothing got well. He lives in protected living conditions, can't take care of himself properly and doesn't know how to deal with money, so he consumed all our savings.)
This young adult needs new trousers. I planned to go to the shop in Germany on Tuesday, until I realized that Germany demands a spare tire in the car. As we have some shops of them in the country I decided to write them a mail, asking if they have those very large denim trousers in the nearest shop. Let's hope so. It's his birthday at the end of the week.

And then the day was over.....


This world seems to be a bad movie, without a hero.

6/04/2017 Syl 0 Comments

Again London has suffered terrorist attacks on innocent people.
I feel so sorry for all those people who just wanted to have a nice evening in town, and ended up in terror.
At least seven persons died, 48 are injured. Three hospitals are on lock down.

I saw a photo of a police woman. Her fear was flooding her eyes. To think that colleagues of Richard are caught in the middle of events, makes me freeze. It also makes me grateful Richard is safe with his family.

The past years I've been thinking a lot about having children in this time.

When I got my children the world was in a kind of hopeful era. We were just creeping out of a financial crisis. We were full of hope for the future, thinking the youth had all opportunities they needed and wanted, and we trusted each other. I even posted my bicycle against shopwindows or streetlights without a lock on it, and I didn't even think it could be stolen.
People accepted their differences, swallowed their criticism, and didn't speak out just to hurt each other.

Now the time of promises is over.
Young people are not longer the hope and future of the country, but are subject of deep criticism, object of loans for education and housing, are aware they can't even earn what they need to live in this society and are susceptible for psychological and even psychiatric influences.
I think that people are just as easily manipulated as in the thirties, and maybe the young adults even more.

Groups that pretend to bring the message of a god, bring terror and fear, they kill and create life-lasting injuries.
A few weeks ago I entered a train, and just before the doors closed two heavily armed policemen jumped in, locating with their eyes other policemen without uniform. They were supposed to be there for our safety, but I was very aware my head was in front of their guns if something might happen.

Is this the world I would start a family in?


This world seems to be a bad movie, without a hero.

I don't want to start a family in a world where they have to look around to see if someone behaves in a way that a terrorist attack might happen, a world in which their friends might be killed.

Some of my kids love to travel or need to travel for their studies or jobs. Another one works at a public place. And another is a crisis journalist, well known for his fast presence at incidents.
I know children can die before their parents die.
Two of my babies died, so I know the grief.

But to imagine they die because of some nutcases who are not able to think logically and rationally, who think there is a god who gives them presents in an afterlife where they at least have no body and no personal identity.....
(None of them answered what they will do with those virgins they expect, as they don't even have eyes to see them, let alone the rest of the body to...)

I feel sorry for my children and other young people to live in this time.
They've inherited  a world their parents are not responsible for. We're victims, just as much.

This world seems to be a bad movie, without a hero.



17. Be a travel reporter

6/04/2017 Syl 0 Comments

Today I got the question; 'Would I be able to be a travel reporter?'

Wish it was a job offer.
The answer is 'YES!!'

How I know?

Before I studied psychology I studied English. Just a year, but I learned a couple of things that came in handy later in life. One of these things was being a radio reporter. Of course it was to encourage us to speak freely in a foreign language and to have a clear pronunciation.

The choice our team made was for a subject that was in the news at the moment: Mexican archeology. Not very wise. It took us hours and a few broken tongues to pronunciate the names of the old temples of South America. :)
But we did it.

Later we worked together to earn some money for a hotel nearby, they needed a short movie about the hotel and the surroundings. I was the presenter. Showing the viewers the hotel inside out, and the beautiful woods and some interesting museums. I interviewed a few people in front of the camera and I loved it.

I didn't feel the need to see my face in the movie, but I loved to show people around, and rely part on script and part on improvisation.

The secret wish that I wanted to travel with Michael Palin was never expressed and certainly not to him (hiding now), but my friends know I would have liked to travel the world with Erica Terpstra, to show that older female travel reporters can be a true gem for the older traveler.

Now I think I don't need more than a good team to travel with and show the world some very interesting places.

I'm keeping my mail and the comment section open for offers... LOL!



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