Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Don't get me wrong, I'm the first to admit I'm not a very patient person. I think I used to be, but maybe that's just my own delusional memory twisting my memories to suit myself. In any case, I can vividly remember in about 2004 when I worked for my former employer, a major publisher with a huge office in Doetinchem, and I passed a colleague on the stairs one day. I worked for the International Department, a relatively small group of about 30 people in a building containing more than 600.  My office was on the fifth floor but I never took the lift; too slow. One lunch time as I ascended a woman I didn't know passed me on the way up, and said something like "hi Joanne...yes I know who you are, you're the one who's always in a hurry!".
I was pondering my lack of patience last week, the day after hubby left for his first assignment for his new job. Exciting times, starting a new job. I'm thrilled for him that he's doing something new and so interesting, he's excited by the challenge. However he has spent the previous seven (yes SEVEN) weeks at home and to be frank, I was spoilt rotten by having a 'House Bitch' on hand 24/7. I'd become accustomed to going to work and having more or less everything domestic done by the time I'd arrive home. So there I was, taking down the washing in the attic and bemoaning the fact that he uses two (yes TWO!!) pegs for every item of clothes. The waste of time! It's not like there's any wind inside, why not just use one! I could save at least 30 seconds on each load of washing! I know, trivial stuff unless you've got a really busy day. And you're really impatient. Like me.
This was all brought into painful perspective for me yesterday when, rushing to get the kids ready for school and myself ready for work by 8:15, I asked Niels to hang up the washing for me while I took a shower. He's never done it before so I gave the briefest (time effcient!) explanation then left him to it. I had my usual 3 minute shower, dressed in 2 minutes, almost ready to go. I called up the stairs: "Niels, are you still up there?"
"Yeeeeeeees" was the drawn out answer.
I joined him in the attic to find him half way thru the wash. Facing me with a damp towel in his hands, he declared, in a style that clearly shows he's inheritied his mother's genes: "Now I know that being a parent SUCKS!!!"

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This is NOT a Valentine's Story...

Every now and then one of my colleagues, Jan, travels abroad and invariably something so awful it's funny happens to him. Fortunately, he is happy to share his experiences and I'm pleased to be able to give you his latest adventure. Enjoy! 

Hi lovely colleagues,
Just back in the office, want to thank you all for the really nice time I had in Shanghai, it was nice to see you all again. Now suffering jet lag. Let me tell u a small story that happened to me, I want to share something...

The flights were all on time, no delay and all went smoothly, unbelievable!!!
But one day in Xian I maybe ate something wrong but at the end of the day I told Gert and Hui, I need to go to my hotel and go to toilet. 
I jumped in a taxi and had to cross my legs hehe, soon as I arrived in the hotel I ran to my toilet and.....well u know sat there and the smell was really not like roses. I flushed the toilet and then the story began. My toilet could not handle it and water didn't flush away, oh my god....... I was thinking what to do, then called the house keeper that I had trouble with my toilet and needed someone to fix it. 
I felt sooo ashamed when looking at my cute toilet but anyway I need to go again but couldn't go otherwise it will flood on the floor, so after 10 minutes I called again, told them my room number, (I think it was not even not needed they only had to follow the smell hehe) then after another ten minutes they sent the cleaning lady. I pointed her at the toilet, she ran away and said she will send a guy to fix it. 
I couldn't wait that long but had to. I still didnt felt well and then Gert called me and asked how I felt, during our talk I could feel that I had to throw up too and that stupid toilet was still not fixed, what a hell. After I finished the  call I had to run to the bathroom again and the only choice I had was to throw up in hand basin. After I did I felt better again but then my sink was blocked too, so now toilet and sink were broken, I really felt sooo dirty. 
Then I put my hand in the sink and took out the thow up stuff because I didn't want the house keeper to see I damaged both toilet and sink. It was disgusting but I had to do it. Put everything in a plastic bag just before he rang the bell of my room, I scooped the last bits out of the sink with my hands and then I let him in.
He saw the mess in the toilet and started to unblock the toilet...he did it in such a fast time hehe, I think because he also didnt liked the smell of my roses. But at least he fixed it and he ran away from my room, 
I closed the door, even locked it and finally could sit on my toilet again, I stayed there for maybe 10 minutes and then felt better again. After taking a shower I jumped into bed and the next day I felt much better again.
The next day I saw the Terra Cota warriors and I felt happy for them that they are just terracotta clay and don't have stomach problems hahahaha.
Ok dear colleagues , welcome back in the dragon year
Bye for now,

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

...Where I Don't Complain About The Cold

No need to use the bridges over the canals...we can just walk over!
Anyone who has read this blog for a while will know that I'm not a fan of the winter. Give me heat, humidity, the sweaty damp extremes of the tropics any time...just don't give me winter. Problem with that obviously is that we live in Europe where the winters are getting more extreme and if climate change reaches its seemingly inevitable conclusion, we will eventually be chipping ice off the windscreens from November until March every year.
However...we didn't really have a winter over here until about 10 days ago. The weather wizards had predicted this would be a "severe winter" with temperatures dropping to an estimated -23C!! Bah humbug I declared, and then bugger me if Mother Nature didn't open that big fridge door in the sky, with the mercury dropping to a record low of -22.9C a couple of days ago!! It's never been so cold in the Netherlands before. The good news is that we only had one day of very light snow, meaning the outdoor ice skating rinks are enjoying perfect conditions. Dry and extremely cold, the ice is dense and uniform and ideal for skating. We bought the kids some new skates (they outgrow them every year) and even Holger decided to treat himself to a decent pair.
Beautiful blue skies and sunshine have tempted them out onto the ice almost every day, and we're lucky in that the rink is right behind our house. I tell you, nothing makes kids fall asleep more quickly at night than racing home from a busy day at school to skate in the freezing cold for 2 hours, followed by dinner and a hot bath.
And me? Well, despite the fact that it looks lovely outside the temp is regularly -10 to -15 in the mornings and only moves up a couple of degrees throughout the day, so I'm hiding inside as much as possible. Tomorrow I'm taking my slippers to work because the floors in the office are so cold that by lunch time I'm numb from the waist down, and gusts of wind force blasts of icy air in through the wall sockets!! But I am definitely not complaining.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Tunnel through the centre of the earth...

This is a very cool app that allows you to tunnel through the earth and see where you would come out. If I tunnel through from where I live in Holland, I come out just a little to the east of New Zealand! So it would save me time if I could just go through the centre of the earth. A little hot though.