Monday, January 1, 2018


I wish you and yours all the best in the coming years, and on the chance that I'm repeating myself....

May the best of your past, be the worst of the future!!

This pretty much sums up my wish, for everyone :-)

I think life has simmered down to a dull roar. Mikes surgery on his right eye was a perfect success! He completely freaked me out on the day after surgery, when we went in to get the bandage taken off. We're sitting in a waiting hall, about 10 feet from a door with writing on it, and all of a sudden he asks me "what does "kunden hilfe" mean? After telling him that it means customer service, I'm trying to figure out where he got it from, when I spot the grey door, with white writing on it........ I'm floored! He always made fun of himself, saying that if he takes off his glasses, he might as well close his eyes, because he can't see past 10 inches, and here he is, reading at 10 ft..... When we got home is when it really hit me what he's been going thru the last couple of years....... Miepje, the neighbors calico-cat that he's been feeding, because its owner kicks it outside 23 hours of the day in wind, rain, snow or heat, usually comes running when he comes home, or out the door. When we got out of the car, she did what she usually does... came out of nowhere, and circled his feet, rubbing his legs and purring. He does what HE usually does, bends over and rubs her and talks to her. Only this time, he stops with his hand on her back, gets real quiet en says...... Sweetie, you're beautiful! I just about cried. Turns out he hasn't seen colors in a couple of years! He told me later, that it got gradually darker, greyer and blurrier.... No wonder he hasn't been into going places!  So I made this sneaky plan, to take him to Amsterdam, to the national museum this summer. Not entirely sure how to pull that off yet, but it's going to happen! :-)

At his pre-op we got a little bit of a shock though..... We're getting information on what time to be there, what kind of lens they're going to put in, how long the healing will be and a date for when he'll have surgery on his left eye! WHAT!? We're looking first at each other, and than at the doc like he has 2 heads and horns when he tells us that. On our initial visit, he said that his left eye has a little bit of a problem, but it will keep, and not even 6 weeks later, it needs done as well?  Turns out, that Mikes eyes need such a high corrective lens that with one eye almost perfect and one with the strength he has, will give him headaches and balance problems. And after seeing that he hasn't wore his glasses since he got home from surgery......... We're ok with it. So, January 15th is pre-op for that, and January 31st is surgery, and the start of a new look on life for him. I AM SOOOOO HAPPY FOR HIM!!

Shoulder is progressing slowly, but progressing. Work agreed to pay the bills, but there was initially no indication when, and whether they will also pay the enormous late fees. I did get an ETA after I completely freaked out because the hospital was going to send a court appointed appraiser to our house, so they can see what we own that they can take to sell and pay our bills that way.... The appointed person taking care of his account looks at it every 45 days........ so if they look at it today, and we send them a bill tomorrow, it will be 6 weeks before they do anything with it..... (i.e send it to the translators, get it back, look at the charges, decide on payment, send it to accounting and cut a check, mail it out, and hope it goes priority mail and not by boat)  but at least I have something to tell the doctors offices when they call for payment 😕

Today I'm taking the day off. We have nothing planned, no "need to do's" so I'm not even getting out of my jammy's. LOL.  Tomorrow we have a check up for Mikes eye, Wednesday Physio, Thursday Physio, Doc and base and we're back to the races.... 

My appointment in Maastricht got rescheduled to the 8th of Januari and the 12th of January I'm spending the morning at City Hall........ Appointment with my caseworker, appointment with someone that may be able to help me actually work at being a webdesigner after all, and pick up the parking permit, so we can park in front of our own house on Saturdays........ 

Castle is open one more week, and than it closes until Carnaval vacation to open up for the season day after Easter.... Other plans than this......... I don't have at the moment :-)

I hope you have an awesome year, I will keep you posted on our goings on and plan on doing it a little bit more often, but mainly a little bit more upbeat. I was reading back a bit, to see where I left off, and noticed a trend of whining, complaining and grumbling....... NOT what I want to be! So my plan for the new year is, to notice something that amazed me and makes me happy at the end of every day.

Well, there's a bacon, eggs and waffle breakfast calling my name, so I'll take my leave. Don't forget to hug a loved one?

Love and hugs,

Monday, December 11, 2017


Things are mellowing out....... I think :-)

This whole proces has been an adventure of no information......
No news from the surgeon, no check ups into how the healing is progressing, no indication what should be happening, or when. There was no indication when he should start physical therapy, but after we asked when the stitches were taken out 2 weeks after surgery, we were told he should have been doing physical therapy within 5 days of surgery!
The only answer we got without asking was from work..... The day after he got out of hospital we got a letter stating that his claim for work comp was denied because the employer contested the claim. No explanation, no nothing, just a "you're on your own, and have a nice life"  I was sooooo mad, it took me a day and a half to simmer down enough to organize my thoughts and make a plan of attack.

First we went to base, only to get an email address from the regional HR person, no other information was provided.
So we asked what the problem was, because
a) it happened at work  
b) there were witnesses, including his supervisor AND her boss
c) he filled in a mountain of paperwork....
and what else was needed to make this a workmans compensation issue?

Mind you, that was October 25, and we still don't have an answer from her! Not a "got your message, but fU!"...... nothing at all. Although we did figure out the answer to be just that. We sent all information we received by way of diagnosis and prognoses to the company we got the paperwork from, telling us work was contesting the claim, in hopes that all they were waiting for was that, but since no-one is getting back to us from work, we don't know what they need. We're guessing!  Still haven't gotten ANY of the dokter bills paid for that we sent on, but no further information whether they ever will, or when, if they are..... Meanwhile, every couple of weeks, we get a whole new set of bills, with collection charges added to it, because they really don't care what is going on, they just want to get paid.
My problem is....... we don't have the money to pay them, and we hope that if they ever decide they're going to pay us, they'll include all the late fees. If not, be it that they don't pay at all, we'll be selling everything we own, to make the payments after all, and if they don't pay the the difference, I hope they'll take installments.

Wednesday we're taking a dear friend to the station to fly back to the US. He's selling the house he's had here for going on 20 years, so we're thinking he won't be making too many more trips back for visits......  He's been in de same boat as all none refugees that live here in that he can only stay 3 months at a time. He has had the good fortune to be able to come and go every 3 months, so we cram 6 months of visits and socializing in  the 3 months that  he's here :-)

Thursday Mike goes in for Physio, after which we have to "fly low" to Maastricht, so I can give blood and wait 2 hours to hear that I'm OK and Friday Mike has Pre-Op for his cataract surgery, which is to take place on the 19th. Plans after that include: healing, healing and working to get range of motion and strength back for Mike and for me getting my website figured out, again (Did I mention that I broke it? LOL) and work on my presentation for the castle. I'm doing a presentation on archeology in April.  So there is some fun to be had, a lot of "have to's" and I'm quietly dreading the stuff we didn't plan for, and are going to hit us out of left field........but the optimist in me keeps thinking that we have everything figured out as best as we can, and we'll cross any treacherous, rickety bridge when we get to it!

Mike is healing ok as far as the Physical Therapist is concerned, and way too slow for the patient. I'm hoping that after his eye surgery, the climbing the walls will be replaced with being able to read, since his computer/tv time will be drastically decreased for a bit, that he will be more up to "doing things" and enjoy himself a little more than he has been.  Please keep him in mind on the 19th and send good thoughts his way?

I think you're all caught up, or at least got the highlights, LOL, so I'll sign off, and see if I can straighten out my code a bit :-)

Don't forget to hug a loved one?

Love and hugs,

Thursday, October 26, 2017


It doesn't feel like I stopped running since September 20th............. But that's nothing new :-) although the fact that I know the date is!

Mike had shoulder surgery last Friday, and I spent 3 days in the hospital with him. As bad as my German is, it's still better than his, and better than the English a lot of the hospital staff spoke, so it was kind of helpful as well as nice. Turned out he had a tear in a shoulder tendon, and a tear in a bicep muscle,  and because of where the muscle runs, they couldn't put it back where it had to be, so they had to cut the bicep muscle, screw it into the bone. He'll be tied up for a couple of weeks before they attempt physical therapy and I'm fulltime chauffeur, cleaner, caretaker of hubby and cat, administrator and a couple of things I can't remember LOL.  Odd thing is, I hadn't slept much before his surgery, being that he doesn't like to wake up from the anesthetic and has a heavy reaction to almost all pain meds, except Tylenol, but I've been sleeping pretty good, starting Friday-night. We had to be at the hospital by 7, and being who we are, we were there at 6.30 and I got home around 8.15, was sound asleep at 8.30 woke up at a little before 6, went tot he hospital, got home around 7.30, watched one episode of the "the black tower" mystery, went to bed by about 8.30, got up at 6.30, went to the hospital and waited for Mike to be released, and the pattern has been holding, an average of 7 hours per night..... I got more sleep in the last week than I have the month before. LOL.

The hospital is odd. Visiting hours are "whenever you want to be there, between the hours of 7AM and 9PM, so that was AWESOME!! The rest was kinda weird. His surgery was scheduled for between 10 and 11, and around 9, 3 nurses fly into the room, and while one is taping up his arm and one is putting in an IV, the third one takes the brakes off the bed, and starts running with it..... I watched her flying down the hallway with it, and the way she had to hit the brakes, literally by digging her heals in, was a little disconcerting.... My sister came up and we sat together, cutting the waitstress to almost nothing, until I realised how long it had been, and than I just paced. The half hour surgery turned into almost 4 hours, without a word from anybody. I saw him be rolled by the visitors area and followed him into the room, otherwise I have no idea if they would have thought to come find me. The surgeon never came by, we were never briefed whether the surgery went according to plan, what the next step was, what to look out for or anything. A very far cry from what we were used to in the US, but nobody seemed bothered by the proceedings, but me.... (Take the hint and let it go, maybe?)  What really bothered me, was that they measured his blood-sugar when he came in, and it was high. (He was taken off his meds on Wednesday, so it wasn't a total surprise) They gave him a shot of insuline, and it came down. After surgery, they kept checking it, and it kept going up. All the way to 418, and they didn't do anything. He started to look bad, before he started to feel bad, and I finally went off on the chick that did the blood-checks, that he was not feeling good, he was dizzy, sweating and shaking, what was the sense in taking down vitals, if you didn't do anything with it because they should have seen that it was getting higher and given him insuline, and to get a goddamn nurse in there!? The nurse never came (They pretty much stayed in hiding), but the orderly, did give him a shot of insuline, which made it almost instantly better. They also added an EKG to the treatment. Gotta love it. Not doing anything, and than pulling out all the stops to figure out what happened.....
The cafeteria was cool. Only about 20 tables, but the food was super good, with portions that would stump a woodsman! While we were there for pre-op, we had coffee there, and I saw a plate of spaghetti go by that would have fed me for a week, but it smelled SOOOOO GOOD! :-)  Odd thing was, they stopped serving food at 2.30, and closed all together at 6... Weekdays they opened at 7, Saturday and Sunday at 10.30, so that was a little bit of a bummer, since both days I flew out of the house without breakfast :-) It almost felt like it was a staff cafeteria, and if the public wanted some, they would accommodate. (Prices were good too, having a full dinner, including coffee and desert, for about 6€) It reminded me of the cafeteria when I worked at Saint Mary's in Reno. Good memories :-)

The brace they gave him is a trip. It came with a pictogram on how to put it on, but there are way more options to put it together than pictograms! We've been fighting it ever since the physical therapy lady came in on Saturday and took it off. I thought we had it figured yesterday, after he showered, but this morning it was a total mess, which should not happen, so we're going by the physical therapy office at the end of the street here, and ask for a demo. I'm so lucky I "do" DumbBlond really good! LOL

While he's off for this, which we still don't know if the company accepts the claim as Workman's Comp, he also needs surgery on his right eye. They're going to have to replace his own lens with an artificial one. Not sure why the guy here only hinted at the procedure, and never said it might be cataracts, because that would have leveled out the stress considerably.... Thing is, we are having problems with his insurance, in that we can't get into the "secure member website" to see what we need to do, and what we will have to pay before we make the appointment. Our account has been "disabled" and they want us to call. I really don't want to pay 3€ per minute to make a call that they could, if they were so inclined, take care of by email. So we're still working on that. Once life comes down to a dull roar, and I have time to think, I will work on that.  I'm still waiting on the pre-cert for his shoulder, that I put in for on the 13th.

Castle is closing for the season after Sunday, except for appointments, and will open at Christmas, Falconer ok'd some of the dates for workshops, and I'm waiting on the others.
Drumroll.....  I have a whole afternoon with the regional archeologist on November 28th! I couldn't believe it. I had contacted her to see if I could drop off a list of questions, to pick them up later, so I could get clarification on some things I've read in different reports, and she emailed me back to tell me she had cleared her afternoon for me, so we had some time! SOOOOOO AWESOME!!!!  What's funny (in a super cool way) to me, is that she, as well as our archeologist, knew me by name the last time they were at the castle for a presentation a year ago, and I had only talked to them once before that. They either have a steeltrap mind for names and faces, or somehow, I stood out. Don't know, don't care, as long as I can pick their brain. LOL.

well, I think you're all caught up on my shenanigans......  I'll swing by every once in a while and keep up the intel, until we have some sort of "normal" :-) Don't forget to hug a loved one, twice if they're fuzzy and count your blessings     :-)

Love and hugs,

PS: Did I mention that Mike is the color of HellBoy for most of his right side?  It's awesome! I think they used a mop to put it on him. It's all over! LOL.


Friday, October 13, 2017

There's still some ......

undiscovered animals out there. Oddly enough, they seem to be illusive most of the year, and more out in the open around October........
I stole these from a YouTube feed by Marco, by the way.

I realize there are people that do not like Halloween the way we do, but I hope you will take these as they are intended. I am amazed at the creativity, and the painting skills on these!

Don't forget to love a hugged one? :-)

Love and Hugs!

PS: I wish I would have thought about this when I was trying to teach 9 year olds what was happening inside their horse. LOL.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

"He got better"

is one of my favorite movie quotes. It is said after the question.....  "I thought he died?"

The reason this one came to mind this morning, is because I was looking at an add for clothes and the mention of this new fabric called Tencel. I got all happy, it won the EU- Flower prize, because of the way it is manufactured, it claims to be all natural, without chemical additives, cool is summer, warm in winter, breathable...... WinWin!  I never heard of it, so I looked it up. The proces is chlorine free, but uses oxygene, hydrogenperoxide and ozone.....and this "environmentally friendly process releases acids and water in the air, plus the process uses a lot of energy (it partly re-uses the leftovers from the process for this, but the rest has to be generated thru the grid) As contrary as this may be to "all natural and environmentally friendly" this is not the part that got me here....

In a study into "health issues and the air we breathe" from Belgium, this is mentioned:
"Ozon concentrations in the air can be unhealthy for individuals and can cause shortness of breath, irritation of the airways, inabillity to breathe due to irreversible damage to the lungs and dizzyness.  Plants die before their natural time and crops have lesser yields." This also wasn't a big shock. However the next part of this study was.....  "Although there is no direct connection between Ozone and chronic disease, during the period between 1997 and 2003 an average of 120 people  PER YEAR died prematurely because of increased Ozone in Flandres" ...... Now, I'm not a doctor, but DEAD seams pretty chronic to me! As is an increased amount of COPD, Lungcancer, Skincancer, and deminished lungfunction.....

This makes me wonder how BAD you have to be for the environment to be passed over for the environmental prize?

It also drills down to do your research if something is hailed as "all natural" and "environmentally friendly"............  Maybe we should just go back to the ways of early man..... wool, linen and such. Grab a sheep, shear it, spin it, weave it, wear it...... Plant some flax watch it grow, harvest the seeds to make oil, save some of the flowers for coloring the fabric and use the leftover bits to make linen clothing. No muss, no fuss, all natural. REALLY!

Getting of the soapbox now, but wanted to make you think, just a little :-)

Don't forget to hug a loved one!?


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Just pile it on......... I can still carry something.

Just heard from the powers that be...... I can't start my business!

Last week Monday, I got a  visit from an independent counselor to decide if my business was viable, and I have what it takes to make it work.  He started off pissy, and didn't improve during the inquisition. He was here for 3 hours, and nothing I had done, or was planning on was right, so somehow I didn't expect it to go my way, but because to make it out of the financial help plan, I only need to make 500€ per month, I was hoping it was not going to be a big deal. Well, I was wrong. According to him, I have no business being IN business, my office space is laughable, and anything but professional, he hasn't seen anything that gives any indication that I'm the least bit creative, let alone creative enough to be paid for it and I'm not even close to being even a mediocre business owner.  I don't think I could have felt any smaller by the time he was done talking, and can't wait till I get that in writing!  (His attitude when he visited was so obvious that 3 different neighbors who knew he was coming asked me about it, so I know it wasn't just me.....) 

I tried to tell him... All I need to make my business work, is a place where I can sit, do my thing and be alone.... I can do that. I don't expect, or even want people in my house. And as for not being a business owner, I indicated I needed help in the "doing business" part. I know I don't have the experience. But he wouldn't listen. I'll have to wait for the official send off, but I'm busy replanning. With everything that hangs in the balance, I'm nowhere near ready to give up. My own business will be the only thing that I've found sofar, that will allow us a little more security and stress relief.

The thing that urks me about this whole thing, is that they rather pay me the rest of my life, than give me a chance to get out from under. I don't need to earn 60K a year. I just need to earn enough to keep us here, if anything happens to Mikes job, and a little extra so we can take a couple of days vacation per year, and not have to look seventeen times at every penny we spend.

While I was writing this, this morning, I got a call from Mike. He has blown out his shoulder while unloading a truck at work, and if I could come and get him........ It never stops.  We have an appointment  with the doctor tomorrow morning. I initially made the appointment, because after he got to work, Mike called that his right eye was so cloudy, it was like looking thru a dirty window in heavy rain, and he would like a referral to a specialist. The doc wanted to see him before he wrote the referral........ So now, tomorrow will be a "two-fer".......  I don't know how to do this anymore, and I'm taking the rest of the week off .........  If the saying "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" holds true, I should be as strong as Ayrs Rock by now :-)

For now, take care, don't forget to hug a loved one, and please count your blessings.....


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I want one of these.......

I found this site where you can build yourself a cat, in lego's! Well, not Lego's but something just as cool.  Check these guys out!

The site sais it takes about a day if you don't have any interruptions to build one, but who cares how long it takes.... SOOOOOO COOOL!!!   facebook JekcaWorld

Check out their website as well......  there's a contest to win a kit on The Purrington Post

Don't forget to hug a loved one? 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Anybody there?

I went to Amsterdam to my nieces' house yesterday!

OK, I'll play nice and catch you up gradually. This may take a while, so grab a cup of something ( I promise, it won't have to be strong, this time. LOL)

It's been a while...... a long while...... but although not completely over the moon, I'm not so far underground that all I need is a shovel with dirt to finish the process. If you've been reading my blog for a bit, you know that nothing ever goes easy, streamlined or even halfway according to any other rule not to mention (dare I say it out loud?) PLAN, and that bit hasn't changed. But I think I'm just a bit better equipped to deal with things.

What did the trick, was an email from my sister in law, after I asked if everybody was ok, since I hadn't heard from anybody, and was basically told: "Nothing personal, but F-off!"   That's as clear as a message can get! Sent one back that I will not bother the family again, and I meant it. I didn't sleep for 3 nights wondering if I could have done more, better, different and caught a whopper of a migraine because of it (on top of everything else) and decided enough was enough. I'm no longer trying to appease people that will not listen, at ANY level of my personal interactions. Somehow, making that decision grounded me. I will do what I can, I will help where I can, I will care about people as far as I can handle it, but mainly, I will make sure that my family of 2 is taken care of, and if anybody, and I really mean ANYBODY has anything to say, about this family, they can take a long walk off a short pier as far as I'm concerned. Nothing personal, of course! LOL.

SO! Next on my project list, is cajoling the Gemeente into letting me start my business, and starting to enjoy the second chance we've gotten almost 6 years ago, by taking a day here and there and do things that make us happy, even if it is on a baby shoestring :-)

THAT part of the program happened yesterday. I'd been talking to my cousin (my moms sisters daughter - I can never keep that straight! LOL) about the family pictures she has, from when her moms house got put up for sale, and that she has no idea who some of these people are.... Her daughter had to make a family tree for school, and also came up empty, so we exchanged information for about a year. She's closer to the archives, and I had more family information as in dates, names and lines.... It was decided we would get together, and finally made it a date, yesterday.

Mike dropped me off at Schinnen station at 7.25 to load up my OV-chip card, and I hopped the train at 7.32. Had my morning coffee at the station in Sittard, while waiting until I could travel at 9. Train-trip took 2.5 hours from there. Out the backside of the station I went, onto the ferry that would take me to the busstop, and at 12.15 we saw each other for the first time since my granddad died in 1983.

It was like we had been visiting for all the years we hadn't seen each other. Well, except for questions like, how old are the girls, where do you work, how long have you lived here, and "OH! CAN'T BELIEVE YOU HAVE A GARDEN IN AMSTERDAM!!"  LOL, but it was really comfortable. We had lunch (eierkoek with strawberries ARE the best!) and than started on the pictures. She had started separating them, but if you don't know who you're looking at, there are going to be way too many stacks to make it really organized ;-) We looked at the different packets she had made, and A LOT of new information surfaced. we also made the decision, I would take one packet home, scan them, and return the originals to her for safe keeping and take the next stack, untill all pictures and memorabelia's were scanned and returned.  I would send some of the scans to my dad, to see if he recognized people, because (This is going to sound obnoxious, but it's not meant that way. )  most people in the pictures are younger, most having lived through the Second World War, and by the time I met them, they were already old, and not just because I was 10. LOL.
So this will keep me occupied in a good way. I have limited myself to one hour of scanning a day, or figuring connections, and only on days that Mike is off. I know me... if I don't set boundaries I'll keep at it until I'm done to the detriment of anything else. I'm learning.... boundaries are good :-)
Last year I tried the concept "change is good" but I'm not yet on board with that one. LOL.
(I wonder what's next on that list of life's lessons to learn.... "Love thy fellow man"? Hope not, there's some serious wankers out there!)

No news yet from Mikes job, as indicated, no news yet on my business, only more and more things to figure out, decisions to consider and more of the same that put me on the ropes a couple of months ago, but I've made a decision on that as well......
- Make plan and stick to it,
- until something gums up the works,
- adjust course and lett-her-rip!
Not sure if it is a  healthy approach for the long haul, but for now, it will have to do. If you have any ideas on the subject, let me know?

My sister has a new roommate. D E R E A M Y! If he wasn't hers, I'd seriously consider of stealing him! Meet Tommy.......

Not sure what you were thinking..... :-)
He's a Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix, and just the cutest little hellcat you could wish for. LOL.  I'm sure you'll see him come by once or twice more....

we also discovered we have really big gophers at the castle......

So, I guess this is my longwinded way of saying.... "SHE'S BAAAAAACK!"

Don't forget to hug a loved one?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

I'll be back, hopefully.....

Maybe it's the "having walked on eggshells since January", maybe I'm just too damn tired to get excited, but it's been a calm couple of weeks....... of sorts :-)

I was perusing "the net" this morning, and within 20 minutes, I found the following 2 pictures.... Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something.....

The one with the Panda's is telling the Panda's that arrived in Ouwehand Zoo to have fun with "inburgering", which translates into the legal adjustment to Dutch laws, regulations, customs and language, before being able to stay in the country......
De second one is advise to have your animals chipped and not let them become Asylum Seekers. The word "asiel" means both asylum and pound......

I know both signs are meant funny, and 6 months ago, I probably would have been rolling with laughter at the play of words,  but after the last couple of months, the puns taste a little sour. I never thought I would lose my sense of humor, mainly because I kept it through the worst of time.... but I think I sadly have to admit, that it's happening. I'm too tired to fight anymore, too far down the hole to claw my way up again, and no end in sight of the downs-piral. Every step I take to make our life better, even if it is in the (forseeable) future ends up biting me in the backside some other way. Not enough time in the day, or energy left, to fight the battles that need fighting and although I'm not giving up,  I think for everybody's sanity, it's better that I'm closing down the blog for a while......

Signing off......
Don't forget to hug a loved one for a long long time!?

Love and hugs,

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

What do you get

when you take a Ford Fiesta, and slap ugly all over it?
The new Ford Ka+ 😕

Maybe if they hadn't called it a KA, it might not be so bad, but to call this thing a KA, is an insult to the name :-) IT IS UGLY! It is NOT a KA...... Whoever thought this was a good idea, needs to go back on his medication.  I hadn't seen one "in person" yet, you can't find them in the dealerships, so when I had to go to check on the name of a part for my baby, Mike took a stroll thru the showroom, and showed it to me on the way out. Except for the signature eyeblinding yellow they put on it, it looked nothing like a KA, improved or otherwise.
The KA is not meant for families, speedcontrol for parents that have young drivers (controlfreak much?), voice activated ANYthing or being able to plug in every gadget on the planet. It is meant to get you from A to B in a fun way, easy to handle, easy to fix, and fun to kick around in, and especially in a country that figures that a 1.5 lane 2 way street, with parking on at least 1 side, needs planters every 50 feet to slow traffic.... easy to park!

To illustrate....

The original

The "improved" version

What is funny to me, is that on the page where they introduced it, in the middle of the text, were 2 adds..... one was for a foil to change the paint job on your car, the other was "wanna get rid of your car fast?" next to a picture of the KA+..... 

Maybe I'm not being fair,  (I'll admid, I'm not impartial by any stretch of the imagination) maybe it's not as ugly as I think it is, maybe it's a good car..... Just don't call it a KA and think you're going to endear KA-lovers to it.   One thing I've learned since we've had ours...... There are 2 kinds of people. Those who absolutely LOVE the looks of the KA, and those who absolutely hate it..... So who knows, maybe the people that absolutely hate the rucksack version, will end up driving a KA afterall.......... Silverlining? LOL.

Well, this is all I had to "get rid off" this morning...... There's more, like how I lost 3 weeks of work in 3 minutes, and the special event at the castle on the 22nd and 23rd of April, but that will keep till after "work hours" :-)

For now, I'm going to work, so don't forget to hug a loved one?

Love and hugs,

Friday, March 3, 2017

Another day in the jungle.....

Not a whole lot of news to tell. There's a couple of pictures I want to share with you from our Bird of Pray workshop last Sunday. Finally got around to downloading, distributing and organizing them. My computerstudent didn't show, so I'm freed up. Just discovered that our fuzzy roommate has food in his bowl, but no more than that, so as soon as the petshop opens up, I'll be heading there...... But the highlight of my day is that I get to go visit "Lars" in Maastricht. Remember I told you that a couple of the tourguides were going to the History Museum in Maastricht, and that I might be able to "see and feel how things are done"? Well, TODAY IS THAT DAY! I'll be picked up at noon, and will not hit the house until about 5..... And in between? BLISS!!!  (Information on the museum and Lars )

It's always a joy to see the faces of people when they're doing something they never thought they could... and the workshops are no exception. The kids are the most obvious, because the grin won't leave their face the whole time they are there, but if you look closely at the adults, you see the same thing in their eyes :-)  The group was really small this time, There were about 10 people signed up and 2 didn't show, and it completely changed the dynamic of the workshop compared to the first one. I think I like the smaller ones better. It's less hectic, and more personal, but we'll take however many people sign up :-) The photo-workshop is not happening this spring, but it's a good possibility for the fall, since we'll have a full 6 months to make it happen, instead of 2. I'm quietly planning ahead, keeping track of castle to-do's, and what people are saying they would like to see. The trick is going to be to set a date to talk to Wim about things, after he closes for the season at the zoo, and in time to get things figured and going.

But you didn't stop by to hear me think, now did you? LOL. Enjoy the pictures. (Someday they'll show up as scrapped pages, just don't ask me when....)  I adjusted my camera with higher ISO and depth, but looking at the pictures on the computer, I may have sacrificed a little in quality. Something to figure out before the next workshop.....

My favorite moment of the show was when Wim brought out the Great Horned Owl, and told me to get in line to hold her.... SO SO COOL!!  I protested only ever so slightly that I wasn't part of the workshop, just the fotographer, before I gave in. These majestic birds always have had a fascination for me, but I never, ever been this close to any of them.  I'm interested who's in the "mystery box" on the 19th :-)

My favorite picture of the show..........

Couldn't believe how soft the paws were, and how much they reminded me of the wolfspider you see in zoo's! LOL.  Paul told me that she used to fly over tables at a restaurant to show how little air displacement a big bird like her has..... so maybe we can incorporate that when we have the owl-workshop in the fall........ It's a thought :-)

Well, my ride is going to be here soon, so I best get going :-)
Don't forget to hug a loved one?

Love and hugs,

Monday, February 20, 2017


 Nope, not a newborn or a puppy, and  (gasp!) not even a kitten, but a Chiliean Eagle!

Yesterday was the first of 3 Bird of Prey Workshops at the castle, and I was one of the "contestants". IT WAS AWESOME!!

My sister was in on it as well, and even though we didn't get to sit and talk (I had duty at the castle as well, so I was also doing the coffee, cake and general running interference) it DID feel like an impromptu sisterday. She asked I didn't post any pictures of her on line, so I kinda found a way around it, just to share the fun. LOL.

I don't think anybody'd recognise her, so it's ok...

Harris Hawk

Boobook owl  (Ninox Novaeseelandiae)

Bengal Oehoe (Bubo Bengalensis

Fisher Eagle

Redtailed Hawk (Buteo Jamaicensis)
and........ SARAH!

It was sooo much fun to watch the little  (and not so little) kids' eyes gleam when they were holding the birds. One little one would not let go of the boobook owl, thru a piece of pie, cup of soup and glas of soda! He kept the glove on, with the owl attached thru a cord looped from the "shoe" on his leg to a ring on the glove.

It was a great day, and there are 2 more to come before the falconer has to go back to his "day job" at Planckendael Zoo in Belgium...... Already can't wait till he gets back in November. LOL.

Life may suck on so many levels right now, but yesterday was a "definite awesome" on this slippery rock we're on! You HAVE to love "friends" who, when you tell them  your life is coming apart at the seams, simply look at you and ask what this will do to their computer-class or a ride you promised in the future..... You reschedule a  class, because you just can't handle the histrionics that day, and you get a complete meltdown that "you've changed, and what, oh what did I do wrong, for you to do this to me?" Let me tell you, there's a lot of  things that would make not having "friends" a real good feeling right now.... At least I would know I was in this alone. Whatever happened to thinking of a friends wellbeing before your own?

Signing off to do a little coding and redesign on my website. Haven't heard from the coach since I turned in my homework a week ago, we're off to a Motorcycle show on Friday, castle on Sunday and in between, I keep learning :-)

Don't forget to hug a loved one?
Love and hugs,

Friday, January 27, 2017

We're somewhere between


and sometimes I think it's just more humane if somebody would just take us out and get it over with...

As you can tell, I'm not having a good time right now. The Tuesday after inventory, everybody got called in a meeting, and it was announced that within 18 months, they have to be down to 9 jobs. One job is considered somebody that works 20 hours, meaning you take the 40 hour people as 2 parts (being management), and you guessed it... that leaves actually 3 people out of 18 with a job.
Top that with.... "We don't know if the lay-offs start next Monday or June of next year" and "performance will not be taken in account" and you really know you're screwed!

I'm so messed up right now, I'm crying half the time, and pissed-off he other half. I didn't want to come back here, but I'm finally settling in and figuring out how things are done, and building some kind of normalcy in a place that feels more alien to me than The States did when I first got there but I have my family within reach and a little bit of my passion back, and I'm working on getting my business going, so we have options..... but obviously that was way too much fun and something needed to be adjusted...... We don't know if he's losing his job, we don't know when we'll know whether he has a job or not, unless you figure that if we haven't heard by September of next year, we're good......  I'm scared to death that Mike will have another heart attack with the stress that it's putting on him.  He's convinced that losing his job in Iowa had a big part in his heart-attack, so even thinking that puts him at risk for another one....And I'm not even considering what the thought of his feeling this way does to me, aside from the uncertainty and no safety-net what so ever. We don't have another income, or a pension to fall back on. This job is not so we can shop on base, and no big deal if it goes away. We're completely, utterly and royally screwed without his job, because we'll have 3 months to leave the country, and no place to go, or money to get there if we did.... So to spare you my rantings, ravings, doubts and outburst,  but also because I'll be busy going crazy.... I'll probably won't be around much for a while.  Wish us luck, and if you have an opportunity, if you could send some good thoughts our way, it's appreciated....

Don't forget to hug a loved one? And remember.... hug them twice if they're fuzzy :-)
Love and hugs,

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Happy New Year.....

Our little gumdrop never liked winter. Pretty much like the cat, when the temperature drops, she didn't want to leave the house. LOL. It got to the point, that we needed a jump twice in the last month, and while trying to start, she sounded like she had a bad cough.  Yes, I'm still talking about our KA. LOL. So Friday, I called my "go to" guy at EDAC, and he could check her out this morning and yesterday, I arranged for a jumpstart this morning, in time to get me to the garage to have her looked at. By the sounds we heard,  the little harder start every time until it finally wouldn't start, the fact that she doesn't like cold weather,  and putting that together with what I found online.... we were afraid, that the engine was losing compression, which would have meant that we would have to put a "For Sale" sign in the window, so I went to the garage preparing to lose my baby....  I'm pretty sure Edwin has never seen anybody happier when he showed me the battery test, that read 185 out of possible 395 of whatever he tested, and told me that I needed a new battery. LOL.  It wasn't really a decision that needed lots of thought, without a new battery, I would have had to leave the car where it sat, because it wouldn't start, just from doing a 3 minute full load test, until we got a new one..... so he ordered it, handed me a cup of coffee, and said it would be there in about an hour while I sat in the car and made my weekly plan....

When the battery got there and he started to take the old one out, I heard him mumble, so I went to look. He is used to me hovering when he's working on the car, asking questions and wanting to know what he's doing and why. Not because I don't trust him, quite the opposite, actuallly, (if he tells me it needs fixing, I KNOW it needs fixing, because he will also tell me if it doesn't need fixing, just cleaned, adjusted or what have you).  I want to learn how our KA fits together, and he gets that, and happily answers questions, and points things out if I don't get the connection right a way, but for a simple battery swap, I figured, I'd done it, seen it done, and honestly, I didn't really want to leave my seat..... When I get around to the front of the car, he is holding up the battery, looking at it from all angles and points to the Ford logo on one side of it........ IT WAS THE ORIGINAL BATTERY!!! The "born on date" of our Lady in Red is January 2000....... so that battery lasted 16 years, and more than 100000 KM! I considered taking a picture, just for a second :-)   The new one has a 2 year warranty, and as far as everything I read on batteries these days, if you get 5 years out of them, you're a lucky duck, so she did good :-)

On a castle note.... Bird of pray workshops are set for February 12th and 19th, and more will be added if there is a need. I will be there, so I will "report" afterward.

Mike is in the middle of inventory this week, it's starting to snow, (well actually, there's 10 raindrops followed by one snowflake that melts with it hits the ground, but I'm not complaining.  LOL)  and I should be getting back to work. I found this really cool looking menu for my website, but I have a hard time getting it to work, but I am also adjusting my logo and colors, to see if there is a more professional way that still looks like "me" .... If I'm not happy with anything I'm coming up with, I'll stick with my first idea..... I think.....maybe...... Oh, I don't know. LOL.

This is all I have to tell you today, so I'm signing off. Don't forget to hug a loved one, may they be human or of the furry variety, and enjoy your day :-)