Category Archives: family

Lost!

For some reason or another, I googled Ian Somerhalder today (to be honest, does one need a reason?). You know, Damon Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries. To my surprise, I found out that he was a character in the series Lost. He played the character Boone Carlyle and died in the twentieth episode due to his injuries from being crushed inside a falling plane.

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Now, I didn’t watch all the seasons of Lost. I think I managed to get to the end of season two, by which time I was fed up with the non-endings and unrealistic happenings. The only reason I watched season two was because I wanted to know what was in the hatch. Maybe, deep down, I was no longer interested because Ian Somerhalder was no longer in it.

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My kids don’t know the series Lost, they are too young. I think I need to watch season one again with them. You know, because it’s good for their all-round knowledge 🙂 .

It’s the Season of the Witch

Yesterday, I had to play the Wicked Witch of the West, a mother’s prerogative. We booked tickets to see the second Kingsmen movie. As they’re working on the freeway to go around Aberdeen, we were guided along a detour that almost got us to Aberdeen via Inverness, but we managed to get there just in time. I got my phone out and showed the lady the Q-code. “Okay,” she says after scanning it, “Can I see some IDs please.”

Now you must know that we are regular visitors at the cinema. Not that I’ve seen this particular lady before, but we are visiting this place about twice a month.  Never before have we been asked for IDs. I have, however, since my kids turned fifteen, told them to bring IDs to the cinema. We buy them student tickets and to see a 15-rated movie they need proof of studentship and being older than fifteen.

I turned to my children and they are both shaking their heads. They didn’t bring their IDs. The woman said we couldn’t go in without proof they were students and older than fifteen. I browsed my whole photo gallery on my phone, but she wouldn’t accept any photo of my kids in school uniform. Of course, I didn’t have any proof of their age either. My son looks like he could be eighteen and my daughter could pass for twelve (they are twins nevertheless).

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I ‘lost the plot’ and reacted very badly, cursing at anybody who tried to get my attention. We got a refund and drove back again. I didn’t speak a word the whole trip. I even refused a chocolate as a peace offer and the kids know it’s bad when their mother refuses to eat chocolate. My husband didn’t get it. He even tried to soothe me. I was laughing on the inside but put up a wicked face until the end. When we got home I gave everybody a hug and told them to never to forget their IDs again. We then watched the first Kingsmen movie from the comfort of our home instead.

Sometimes, you just have to let your kids know they screwed up big time for them to remember not to make that mistake twice 🙂 .

 

Images from NMgnCP.com

Nostalgia

In case you’ve been wondering what happened to my posts these last few days; I’ve been visiting my family in Holland. My sister was coming over from Curacao and my nephew had graduated and was embarking on a three-month-long trip, so it was good to be there when the family got together as these gatherings are rare happenings. I left Monday morning and returned this Thursday morning. It was a flash-visit and also a very late decision. Hence I was traveling on my own, which was a shame, but it was great to catch up with everybody. Tuesday, my Mom and I took a short trip through memory lane. We walked past my old primary school. It was being rebuilt and the whole terrain was different. We continued to the place where my Mom’s auntie used to live, to the place she was born, and to the place her Nana used to live. We walked past shops I used to do the grocery shopping as a child. Some of them were still shops but no longer the shops I visited. 20171017_171551When my Mom showed me where her Nana lived, a memory popped up in my mind. It was of an old woman in black clothing (including a very big, black skirt), sitting in the middle of a small, dark room. My Mom said that her living room was indeed a very dark one and that she did wear black clothing (as her husband had died years before). The funny thing is that I must have been only one-and-a-half to remember this as she died when I was about that age and there are no photos of her (as far as I know). I also thought there were stairs in the room, but Mom said this was untrue. My Nana, Mom’s Mom, did have stairs in her little apartment and I must have mixed up the two houses in my memory. Mom also said that whenever we passed her Nana’s home, I, as a toddler, would always point to her Nana’s house and say ‘Opoe, Opoe,’ which is the Dutch word for Nana. That, I can’t remember.20171017_170644.jpgAs we walked through memory lane, I thought about how familiar it all looked. The streets, the buildings, their style. The fact I had spent my youth here, ran around, had fun, did some mischief, it all had an impact on me. That time is gone. It will never come back. Only in my memory of course. Where I live now, my kids don’t run around in the street. They don’t visit friends on their own. I have to drive them everywhere. They will never enjoy the fun we had when hanging around in the neighborhood, meeting other kids, secretly setting fires, pulling people’s doorbells, and other kinds of naughty stuff. I felt sad, but I am so glad I have those memories. They will always make me feel good. Sad as well, but a good type of sad.

 

 

 

How do we stop Sexual Harassment?

The big news at the moment is the Weinstein saga. So many actresses are coming out about being sexually harassed by Weinstein, it’s not funny anymore. It’s never funny, of course; one harassment is already one too many. Unfortunately, in this day and age, it’s still happening. To men and women alike. And people know about it but do nothing. When is it ever going to stop?

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Women think they are safe because they live in a civilized country. Define civilized. Women still earn less than men for the same job, they still are expected to stay at home and raise the children (in most Western countries), and they are still asked sexual favors in return for moving up the ladder career-wise. I don’t think this is civilized. No sir, not at all.

I’ve had this happening to me first hand. I’ve had a boss who thought he could get away with it (and unfortunately he did as I decided to resign). And I’ve been put down by a film director because I was a woman (I think, can’t prove it of course). It sucks when it happens. And worst of all, women (like me) condone it. They keep their mouths shut, afraid of being called a slut, afraid of losing their job, afraid of making an elephant out of a mouse. If there is one thing I like to teach my daughter, it’s that she never ever tolerates this behavior and will always speak up when it happens to her or knows it’s happening to others.

If we want to change men’s attitude to women, it’s up to us women. We’re 50% of the world population after all. We need to speak up. Not afterward, not to other women, but right there and then, to the men doing it. Tell them they are demeaning, that they are cruel, that they are barbaric. Tell them you won’t have it happening, not to you, not to others. Expose them for what they are; sexual predators who are misusing their position. If you keep quiet about it, you risk them doing it to others. Would you want that on your conscience? What if it’s your friend, your sister, or your daughter? Would you keep quiet then?

The cast is off!

I took my son to the hospital yesterday and, after five-and-a-half weeks, they took his cast off. For those of you who don’t know this, he broke his fibula when doing long jumps in a sandpit during lunch at school. He does karate and Parkour (which is sort of Free Running with more acrobatic stunts), so to have him break his leg in a sandpit at school was a bit of a surprise 🙂 . I must admit I thought it was a bit early to take the cast off, but hey, I’m not an orthopedic surgeon. His ankle wasn’t as swollen as before (you can see this clearly in the X-ray), but not completely normal yet. The calf muscles not too wasted. All in all, my son is doing well.

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We had a coffee and donut in a coffee shop afterward. As he had two free periods at school, he asked me to take him to the hairdresser. When that was done and dusted, I took him back to school, only to find out he forgot to bring his schoolbag. Duh. So I took him grocery shopping instead (serves him right, the little bugger). Although I didn’t do any writing yesterday, it was a nice day spent with my youngest offspring 🙂 .

Fun Friday!

I have mixed feelings about the past week. The worst thing about it was that I did my back in. I had gone to the gym on Tuesday. Had no problem doing my exercises at the time, but on Wednesday my back was killing me. I kept getting spasms in a muscle on the left-hand side with minuscule movements. Extremely painful. I didn’t get much sleep that night. I took ibuprofen which helped a little, but it didn’t stop the spasms. I got my husband to pick up some diazepam from the pharmacy, which my GP prescribed me, which would function as a muscle relaxant. I am very happy to say it worked. I only got up twice last night 🙂 .

What were the fun things? Well, I got some feedback back from my beta-readers. Only four typos found so far. Pretty chuffed with this as I think it could have been far worse. I chatted with someone I met via Twitter. He started reading my book and said he found it a good read. Music to my ears! Last week, I forgot to mention, another author told me she revised her book after my review. I was very humbled that she took my words to heart.

I’ve also figured out how to work with Amazon Associates. I may start to earn something now. For a change.

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I’m still listening to the ‘Good Omens’ audio book. It’s too good to put away. My daughter actually began reading the book when I started listening and she’s finished already! We had to get the box with Terry Pratchett books from storage for her. She’s totally hooked on his humor now. You can get ‘Good Omens’ here.

I’m looking forward to the weekend as I’m attending a creative writing workshop in Elgin and we’re filming with AFP again. Busy, busy, busy. On top of this, I am getting some unexpected visitors from down south for lunch. I haven’t seen them for a year, so I’m looking forward to catching up. I better go make my house a bit more representable 😀 .

I’m not forgetting the memes. Here they are:

Time Management

I just got back from ‘an hour at the gym’. It’s now 11:11am. And I haven’t had my shower yet, so that’s the morning gone. I still have the grocery shopping to do, which will take another two hours. By the time I sit down to work on my cover revamp, it’s time to pick up the kids from school again. Somewhere I have to fit in the sanding and painting of the repatched dressing room ceiling as well.

My husband said this morning, “What are you going to do today?” In return, I asked him, “What are you going to do today?” He answered, “I’m going to work.” I was so jealous. I wished I could say that. I wished I could leave all this household stuff behind and spend eight hours a day five days a week working on my books.

‘Why don’t you?’ I hear you ask. Because that’s not how it works. I am a housewife. I don’t work. I have a hobby. He said so the other day.

Sigh.

Banner photo by Cliff Johnson at Unsplash
Cliff Johnson

A life or death situation

About two weeks ago I read on Facebook that somebody’s friend had died of asthma. I remember thinking ‘do people still die of asthma?’ Apparently they do. My daughter has asthma. Not severely, thankfully, but when she gets a cold, she gets it extra bad and needs to use her inhaler. Again, she’s doesn’t get it as bad as some people do, but enough to worry you as a mother.

Last weekend I went back to Holland to visit my family as my sister turned fifty and her husband had a retirement party. My Mum and I met my sister for lunch and found out she just came from the breast clinic where they found suspicious lumps in her breast. She needs to have more tests done and will hear the results a week later. That means a whole week in anxiety for her (and us). Both my sister and Mum were coughing from the other side of the lunch table as they apparently had a ‘bad cold.’ As I was staying with my Mum for the weekend, I naturally picked up this ‘bad cold.’ It actually was a H1N1 flu strain and had me knocked down within a few days. A sore throat, headaches, snotty nose, muscle aches, vomiting, chills, and sweaty spells. I got the lot.

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I hadn’t had a cold in years and it knocked my off my socks, as a matter of speech next to literally, that I was so susceptible to it. I didn’t have any existing health issues, yet this tiny little thing had me crawling on hands and knees in no time. What would this bug do to people who do have health issues? People who’s immune system is compromised by an illness, elderly people, people with asthma? And then it hit me that it may kill my daughter.

I’m not so short sighted that I think that I can shield my daughter from any outside effects. But what if I’m the one that brings in the rot? What if I contaminate her with a bug that hospitalises her? As we will have no doctor close at hand over the Christmas holidays, I had another issue to deal with. Do I try my best not to contaminate her and keep my distance for a week until I’m no longer contagious or, suspecting that I can’t prevent contaminating her as we’re living in the same house, do I contaminate her asap in order to get it over and done with now we still have access to a healthcare professional? I felt I had become her judge, jury, and executioner. I had to decide whether I actively made her sick or not.

However, you don’t say to your child ‘come here because I want to cough in your face so you can get this horrible illness.’ There is always the chance that she doesn’t get ill at all. Maybe I was not as healthy as I thought. Maybe she had this flu strain before, when she had that awful asthma spell a few years ago in Australia (the strain did start in Australia in 2009). You try to think of all sorts of reasons not to make your child ill. You have got to keep weighing the pro’s against the con’s though. What if she finally picks this highly contagious bug up elsewhere and we haven’t got access to a doctor at short notice? Is it worth the risk? Of course not. So I try to cough as ‘accidentally’ as possible near her. Because I love her.

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Tomorrow is the day that my sister will hear her test results and the last day my daughter can safely show the signs of contamination. If my daughter has a sore throat, she will have a rough time ahead, but will be able to get the healthcare she’ll need. If not, I will have to keep my fingers crossed she won’t show any symptoms for another three weeks. For both a moment that could possibly decide their fate.

A three-act day

Three Acts

After almost two weeks of school holidays I got my act together. Well, acts (plural) I should say. I now get up early -ahum, at 9am- and work on re-writing my first novel. Then at lunchtime I drag my kids away from their electronic entertainment and I teach them math. And as the grand finale I work on renovating my house until DH comes home. You could call it a four or five act day, if you include cooking and spending the evening with my family. But I’m talking about my ‘daytime’ act for the moment.

Why am I re-writing my first novel? Because I have learned a lot since I wrote it nearly a year ago. I realised that the build-up was a very slow, action only started to happen on page seventy, so I had to do something about that. As I am shuffling text around, creating flashbacks as to not lose my already written text (I can’t kill my darlings, not yet!), I am picking up a lot of mistakes too. I find my vocabulary has grown and I have learned to ‘say’ things in different ways. All in all a good thing, but time consuming.

The reason I all of a sudden got my ‘act’ together on this is because I received an invitation for a book fair in December. I have decided I want to promote my third book then, but I still have to write it. I can’t write it before I have re-written the first and second one, so there you have it. A stick behind the door!

Trigonometry

Why am I teaching my children math? Because I don’t agree with the school system at the moment. In August they will move to Year 3 of high school and they (basically) can only do one science subject; biology, physics or chemistry. Not all three at once. I wanted to let them make up their own mind and tried to organise for them to get some work experience in a hospital. Not that I want them to work in a hospital in particular, but I had to start somewhere with giving them options. It appears that they have to be sixteen before they are allowed to get experience. That just threw me. How can they limit their education now, when they have no possibility to find out what direction they want to go into? This system is just not working. So I collaborated with the school and I am now making them catch up half a year of Year 4 math work in the six weeks of holidays that we have, so they can join the Year 4s math class when they go back to school (as Year 3s) in August. I am also hoping they get extra lessons in the other science subjects, with pracs done at school and me teaching them the theory at home after school. This way they get a normal base of science knowledge and it will increase their options later. Some say I am cruel, I say you have to be cruel to be kind. It appears that Year 3 material is not amounting to much anyway, so why waste that year? And it beats them sitting in front of a computer/TV the whole day (from my point of view 🙂 ).

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And of course there is the forever renovation going on at our house. We recently finished our bedroom, so now we have moved on to the dressing room (the room next to our bedroom). We initially thought of putting a door between the two rooms, but that will cost us another cupboard, so we won’t. Saves a lot of work too! DH already took the window out for me to strip of paint and of course I found out today that my dust mask is broken. So tomorrow I will have to go get a new one. The problem is that the shop is a 45 minute drive away. I, unfortunately, will have to combine it with a cinema visit. To be cost efficient, of course 🙂 .

 

New story idea…

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Yesterday evening and this morning I had some discussions with my sisters. I had indicated on WhatsApp that there was something wrong and I must admit I was surprised they took the bait. We finally talked. Mind you, ‘talking’ on WhatsApp is a very simplistic form of communication. I always am annoyed that you can only see the last ten words you have typed and have to scroll up to see what you have already typed before. But it was communication nonetheless.

Was it good communication? Hmmm, I don’t think so. Yes, some things were cleared up. Like that my older sister is still upset I didn’t attend the cremation of my ‘brother.’ I put that in between apostrophes as I haven’t seen nor had a conversation with the man in over twenty plus years (apart from the fact that he was the son of my second father and I didn’t hear from him after my parents’ divorce, unless he needed me to take care of his cats). The last time I saw him I hadn’t even recognised him. I thought it would be hypocritical for me to come to his cremation as we were, in all effects, strangers. But my sister was there when he died. She had taken care of him in the previous months and she needed support, which I didn’t give. So I don’t blame her for being upset about that. I still stand by my actions though, but that has more to do with solidarity towards my mother, who also didn’t attend the cremation.

More things were said, about how we all make choices. The sad thing was that they didn’t have a clue why I made the choices I did. And that they probably still don’t. People hear what they want to hear and start pointing the blame finger as soon as somebody suggests something that doesn’t fit up their alley. I don’t say I’m without blame, I could have handled a lot of things different. I’m only human and, heaven’s knows, far from perfect. But like the saying at the top of the blog says; my sisters were listening to reply, not to understand.

The distance in a relationship doesn’t get any closer when you reduce the amount of kilometres between people. I learned that now, the hard way. After about half a year of trying to organise it we finally got together as a family (my mother, my two sisters and myself) a few months ago. I thought it would close the gap. As you can read from my blogs it hasn’t. Today this sprung me as a nice story plot for a new novel. I think I will write it one day. Because, you know… once a writer, always a writer…