Monday, July 25, 2016

If we could think of this.....

why didn't the "powers that be"?

The EU rules and regulations are really starting to grate at me. They're so stupid!
Case in point: PRIVACY. You're being bombarded with any kind of hurdle when you're on the internet because of privacy rules. There's site that don't even function because of the cookie messages, if you click no, you can't even go there, some are put together so bad, that there's no button or anything to click off the cookie message, some have it where it comes up everytime you switch pages. It's enough to make me stop using the internet sometimes. I don't know what they're protecting, because the marketing people are now starting to put way worse intruders up, that are not cookies, but they collect things as to what computer you're using, including the programs you have on them.... How small is the step to checking the data that's IN the programs!? Cookies you can block, these things you cannot!

Besides THAT point, if they don't want businesses to know where you are, why is every phone equipped with a tracker, your bankcard (chip MANDATORY) has identifiers on it, not just your bank account and tracks what you buy, the customer savings cards track what you buy, when and in which store and most people that are whining about privacy show off their whole life on facebook, twitter and what have you.

However: Hanging camera's to protect monuments is agains EU privacy rules! We have had Hunnebedden (which are stone-age burial mounds) destroyed but nothing can be done about it, because "camera's are an intrusion on people's privacy". BULLCOOKIES! If you're just enjoying the monuments, you have nothing to worry about, if you're there to damage the monument, you SHOULD be on camera! And for all I care, it should be broadcasted.

After the shooting in Munich the other day, the policemen's faces were clearly shown, but the moron holding the gun was blurred out, for privacy reasons..... Give me  a break. There's no shadow of a doubt that he's the shooter, he's holding the freaking gun and pointing it at people! Show his face, so we know who we're dealing with.  Ive seen it before, where they ask help to a crime, there is a video where the people they're looking for are clearly visible, but the faces of the criminals are blurred out..... WTF!? What's the sense in that? How can any one identify someone that way?

On the other hand, if there is money to be made, the powers that be don't give a hootennannie about privacy. The work that the shop owners have to do to sell in EU is unreal. And it doesn't even matter where you call home. If you're in EU borders........ they'll take your information, including things that website cookies will never get their hands on, and it has to be saved for 10 years!! It is killing small businesses. Heck, it would kill a medium size business. If they figured that it would bring back brick-and-mortar stores, they went about it the wrong way, all it's doing is killing off the little guy that wants to do his thing. I don't even think that it gives any more revenue, because I've seen too many of the scrapbook shops close over the last 2 years.

I copied the notice that was posted for EU customers, it's the first time I've seen it spelled out like this clearly.

EU VAT Changes
It truly saddens us to have to exclude our EU vistors from purchases in the store. I have been searching daily since this has come to my attention for alternatives and a way to continue to take payments from EU countries, but so far have not found anything that is really a feasible time or financial option.
I have not given up yet, and am still trying to look for alternatives that will work again in the future...
EU vistors can still use the store to "order" free items, and any order that results in a zero balance at checkout either with a discount coupon or gift certificate balance. 

At this time though we are just not able to accept orders that require a payment from EU countries - in addition to managing time wise to collect the tax and remit it and required data several times throughout the year which all cost time and money for 28 countries (and even more individual zones), I would need to securely collect and hold several types of verified collaborating personal information to prove where the person purchasing is at the exact time they made the purchase (not necessarily where they live), for each EU customer on each EU sale and keep all of that data securely (again a cost factor) for *10 years* - or I could be fined an unlimited fine - from each country if for some reason the data was not correct or to their standard. It's not a risk that bears taking at this. There is no minimum threshold on sales for this law either, so for even just one dollar, or less, of sales in a specific EU country I would have to collect and submit tax and information.

I suggest everyone who canneeds to contact your tax representives or officials and let them know the burden this places on micro businesses, work from home businesses, mom businesses, kitchen table businesses, and craft businesses, and how it limits the resources available to you. The more people speak out the more the law may be reconsidered / rewritten and some of the burden lifted for those in micro markets like ours. We aren't anywhere near the likes of Amazon, Apple, Android, etc that this law seems to be geared towards and we simply cannot afford at this time to take on the financial obligation to majorly modify site coding, to catch all EU sales prior to payment to collect and verify several collaborating personally identifying factors, secure storage to hold identifiable data for 10 years on each order, or pay for outsourcing services to manage those international taxes and secure information.
Many designers and even site owners make only supplemental income, not even "minimum wage" at times... Our market is so competitive with huge discounts. Many designers sell quality packs at only a few dollars (or less sometimes)... But many do it because they absolutely love it; the creative outlet it provides and seeing the beautiful uses that come from their passion, and because the choice to supplement their families income is better than an alternative in their life, or no job at all. Most don't even meet income levels that are considered anywhere near average for a "small" business.
If circumstances change or a reasonable financial and store coding solution becomes an option we would LOVE to be able to open the store back up to EU customers. We love our EU friends and wish this was not a burden affecting any of us.
Help us take action and get this law changed into something manageable for micro businesses selling inside and outside the EU... This affects you no matter what country you are in as the EU expects sellers across the world no matter their business size to collect VAT tax, remit it to 28 countries, and hold the verifying information on the sales for 10 years. Contact your local tax authority, where ever you are, and get your voice heard! At a minimum we need reasonable thresholds before tax collection become a requirement. And hopefully we will see even more changes happen that benefit everyone.

Just a thought. Books are calling, so I'll sign off. The 10 minutes of "go see what's new in the scrapbook world" turned into half hour, and a bad mood, so I probably should take our fuzzy roommate for a walk and make a huge cup of tea before I start "work" for the day :-)

Hope to catch you all later, in a better mood, and with exam results.
Don't forget to hug a loved one?


Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Exam is turned in, I'm fried (physically and mentally), tired and on to the next foik in the road. LOL

Last week I was at my sisters, and very unexpectedly received a crash-course in PHP. My biggest nemesis in getting my exam turned in. I just couldn't get my head around what was in the book vs what was expected in the exam, but by the end of the night, I more or less "got it" enough to put the required form together. After that, I had to put everything together into a cohesive assignment, check, double check and for my own peace of mind check it again, and make sure I didn't miss some little thing that would turn around and bite me, and I was ready to mail it out 2 hours before deadline. Not that I'm slow or nothing, but the site where I had to upload the packet had some issues and it took about 3 hours to get it there, where after I freaked out with the "what if!?" thought, and send it straight to the school office, with an explanation that I really didn't trust the first try.  It really gets me, the week that all exams are due, they completely revamp the website! Nothing works the same, if it works at all, and there you are, sweating that you get your things to where they have to go, so you can graduate.......  Go figure!

Sunday, as promised we went to Bokrijk. WE HAD A BLAST, got blisters, sunburn and were in bed by 8, but it was so much fun! The old breeds was kind of a bust, because the one stand that had information didn't want to give any, after they found out that a) I was from Holland, and thus for some odd reason wouldn't be interested in preserving old breeds from Belgium and b) referring back to a, I wanted information on Dutch breeds, and they didn't have any. I couldn't get across that I was interested in any old breed, because the older the breed, the better for our castle, whether it was Dutch or Belgian, because, let's face it, in 1650 both were Spanish. LOL. Supposedly, there were several groups of the old breeds in the park, but they weren't marked as such, and I found out almost at the end of the day, that all the animals in the park are actually old breeds.... I found a book, I wouldn't mind getting into the store at the castle, so I took a picture of it.  There were a couple of things that made this day absolutely perfect.............
- I had my buddy all to myself.... No TV, no computer, not even a phone, because that's on my sisters' dinnertable, right where I left it!
- We were in our favorite place, outside and amongst other old things.
- We talked, like we haven't talked to each other since I started my study, and just enjoyed each others' company.
- The weather was nice, although it seemed a lot hotter than the 82 that was predicted, but there was a little bit of overcast, so we didn't get the full sunblast. (Obviously not enough so we didn't get a sunburn, but we just put a little extra cream on our faces, neck and head and we're good to go)

Today, I just caught up on all the emails I just glanced at over the last couple of weeks, generally got my barings and vegged. Laptop on knee, kitty close by, tea within reach... pretty much a pretty relaxing day :-)

Tomorrow I will organize my pictures, and notes and such and try and find the Dutch Group that preserves old breeds, finish my schedule of more studying, setting up my business, networking, marketing etc, as well as chores around the house., and the promised research for the castle.  I'm going to try and study less than the 50 hours a week I have been studying, so I have time for my best friend, the fuzzy roommate and family and friends and still have a couple of hours to sleep at night....This requires careful planning, and sticking to it. We DID decide that we want to take a couple of days and do fun stuff. One day to the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam to see the Nightwatch, and if we have time, the 17th century 3master ship that's anchored in the harbor, one day to The Hague, to see the architecture, and eat a maatjes haring on the pier (mike, not me... YUCK!), one day to the Roman ship in Utrecht and the old fort that is rebuilt there, and if I can slip it in there, one day to a zoo we haven't been to yet :-)  We got word that the castle will be closed for winter this year, so I may actually get the house decorated for the holidays, and some scrapping done thru november/december..... Although I WILL miss going to the castle and hanging out!

Thursday I will start the day with going to Maastricht at 7AM for a meet and greet/networking event, and after that, I will have to break down, and go pick up my phone. LOL, followed by a tourguide meeting at the castle at 7.30PM. No plans for Friday or Saturday yet, and Sunday is marked in my dayrunner as "First day of the new ME!"

Well, I think you know just about everything that's been keeping my mind in frenzy... I will try and keep you posted on the proceedings a little more regularly, but for now, I'm going to say... Goodnight, and don't forget to hug that loved one! :-)


Friday, July 1, 2016

Just to prove....

that you can pretty much do ANYTHING with a KA and make it look good. LOL.

My brain needed a break from learning, so I went looking for KA-stuff. Actually, I needed an air intake valve, but this was way more fun..... I came across one, and searched for more, and more I found. Don't ask me who they belong to, because I blatantly, just downloaded and moved on. All I can say for sure, is that they're NOT my pictures!

Study is going... not great, not really rotten, but going. One more week, and than I have to turn in my exam, and than another 6 weeks until I hear the result. Meanwhile, I'll be spending the first week after exams, catching up on the house. I'll bet there's a whole extra kitty under the bed, and in corners that are hard to reach by now. The windows need cleaning, although, with the wind/rain combo we've been having, I'm not sure it will do any good, but they're on the schedule, so they're getting done. The  top of the books in the bookcase have a thick layer of dust on them, which goes against everything I believe in. (Books need to be taken out of the bookcase and dusted atleast once every other month, and preferably every month.) I picked one up the other day, and got a sneezing-fit. That just won't do, so that's going on the list as well.... And than there's the kitchen cabinets, and .... and..... You get the picture? :-)

The day after the exam, I'm taking the day semi-off. There's an old breed exhibit in the Open Air Museum in Bokrijk, about 45 minutes away, and I offered to do the research for our pettingfarm, so as a streetch, you could say that I'll be working, but it will be so much fun!  I miss going to the castle, and was actually a little bummed when I found out that the exhibit was on my first day "back", and I would have to bail the castle in favor of it. But it really didn't last all that long! LOL. Mike promised to take the day off. A rarity for a Sunday, because they're always short staffed, and he actually starts his vacations the day after, and ends his vacation the day before, so he doesn't inconvenience anybody....... So that's when I realized that he missed me :-) Cool, right!?

Coming week, I'm going to hide out at my sisters, so I can concentrate on my study. It's a lot harder than it should be, navigating between a fuzzy roommate that has no idea why you're not "available" when he needs you to be, while you're sitting "right there" and Mikes schedule of work and doctor appointments.... Add to that, that the books OR the teacher are no help at all in learning what you need to, and you know what I'm worried about. It was kinda funny though. My sister apologized for having to work, and I didn't have the heart to tell her that I preferred it that way... I can study 10 hours, uninterrupted, and at night, when she's home, we can catch up and relax, sounds like heaven to me!

Well, now that you're updated on the going on, I'll show you the pictures that started this note.....

Have a wonderful 4th of July, pray for the soldiers that are not home so we can celebrate and for the ones that paid the ultimate price for our freedom........ (I know it's Independence Day, but I can't help but think of the men and women that are not home to celebrate it with us)

Don't forget to hug a loved one?

Love and hugs!

The friendliest looking police car I can think of.....

I bet this guy had a "mudwhompin' good time"! LOL. (Wish it was me....)


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

UPdates :-)

Hi all,

The first hurdle is taken. I passed the first part of the course that will give me a new lease on a career. The second half is a bearcat (the family friendly version of what I think of it) Really, it is an extension of the quagmire of the first half, but it has more of an impact on studying. Imagine this: You sign up for a a course of 6 months, with a minimum of 20 hours of homework per week, it gets scrunched into 4 months, you get an "online learning part" that only gives instructions on what to read, textbooks that refer to chapters that aren't provided in the material, a teacher that will not respond and instructions within the textbooks that are wrong.... and all this, with subjectmatter you're trying to learn. Needless to say, I don't sleep much these days, and google search is my bestest buddy!

I'm thankful for Mike, he's putting up with cooking when he gets home, most days, because I haven't come up for air since sitting down to study when he left that morning, my family and friends that stick to "no contact" between the hours of 6AM and 8PM, and fellow students that DO respond to questions, and actively try to help eachother, because, except for the guy that has been doing this for a  living, we're all in the same boat. July 9th is the last exam, the 10th I will return to doing tours at the castle and July 11, I will spend some quality time at the zoo. In front of the gate when they open up at 10AM, and leaving when they close (Or a little after, to enjoy the peace and quiet around the wolverine paddock, and barring being recognized as "that one that always stretches leaving" and being herded out with the rest of the visitors. LOL)

After which time, I will start setting up my business as a webdesigner, and practice as if my livelyhood depended on it...... :-0

Last Sunday, I took the day off, and we went to Waalwijk, to the Dutch KA group meet. There were severe thunderstorms in the forcast, and we drove up there in a deluge. We couldn't see more than about 2 carlengths ahead at some point, and were seriously questioning our sanity but it was fun. When we got there a total of 21 KA's were in the lot, and we were the only red one. Both older models like ours, and the newer ones were there. People were friendly to us "newcomers" but you could tell, they'd been getting together for a good while, by the conversations you'd catch here and there. Hopefully, we can go next year as well, and do the pokerrun as well. About 20 minutes before we got there, it dried up, and stayed dry the rest of the day, so that was cool.  I stole a couple of pictures of the KA groups facebookpage, but this is my favorite :-)
Our little rucksack at it's first meet........ AWWWW!  LOL.

Picture by Annemarie Kuijt from facebook

Well, you're caught up with what's been going on here....... obviously, not much :-) but I thought I'd let you know that I'm still around and kicking (and occasionally headbutting the walls) and doing fine.

Talk soon, and in the meantime.... Don't forget to hug a loved one?


Monday, May 2, 2016

One down..........

at least one to go!

Handed in my exam project in Saturday, with 12 hours to spare. LOL.
I did not think I would make it.... I had coded, built and double checked the website to be turned in, changed one little thing....... and broke it!
I tried frantically on Friday night to figure out what I had done and how to fix it, when finally at 2AM I figured.... F-this and I started over. I STILL have not figured out what happened but I got it mended. I cursory checked for typos, completely blew past the grammar, because my Dutch is not really great on a good day, and it gets worse as stress sets in, so I had NO illusion that I would even recognize it if  it was completely backwards. LOL. Blissfully, content is not judged, coding and functionality are, and I think I'm good there.... I won't know for another 6 weeks.

Meanwhile, I went to the castle yesterday.... It was GOOD to be home -) A couple of ours, and lots of new things to discover. The building crew has been busy this last month. Access to the cellar is complete, the garden is all but planted, the water tortoises have awakened from their winter rest and we have goslings....... 3, out of 5 nests with 3 to 5 eggs each. I was told that the nests were checked, and all but the eggs that hatched (nest is under the bridge, surrounded by water) were opened up and emptied. So we're thinking fox, weasel or badger maybe...

And this morning, reality hit, as I started on the second leg of this re-schooling journey, 8 chapters  totalling 263 pages, with 4 exercises each plus 6 extra exercises and 10 days to get them done in.....
Can you say "allnighters"?   I had purposely NOT looked at the books, the lessons or anything related to the second half of the course, because I knew it would take my focus away from the exam, so I sat down this morning to do the planning until next trip to Utrecht. Did I tell you that instead of going to school closer to home, as signed up for,  I'm actually 20 minutes farther away? Only 3.5 hour by train, but still "reasonably accessible by public transport, according to the school...  I must be unreasonable, but I'm taking the car, and be there in 2 hours, thank you very much :-)

Well, break is over, time to get back to work. Just wanted to sit and chat for a bit. Seems like I've neglected everybody these past couple of months, and I think I will for the next few, as well.... So, think of me, bent over the computer, with a HUGE cup of coffee in my hand,  freaked out beyond reason (but enjoying the crap out of it at the same time) for the next 9 weeks, while you enjoy being outside, in nice weather, visiting. Don't feel too sorry for me though! I get to "go out" to the castle on most Sundays and have the prospect of making a living soon...

Don't forget to hug a loved one!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Still there?

Good! Thanks for not giving up on me..... I had no clue it had been this long since I visited! I'm having a blast, just no time to breathe.... I broke down, and cancelled doing tours at the castle for the month of April, so I can concentrate on my exam piece. YES it has been that long! The first part of school is already over with, and I have to have my exam piece turned in by April 30th. After that, back to the books, with the first class being scheduled for May 14th, and final exam on July 9th..... After that, I'm SO going to spend a day at the zoo!

There has been some fun stuff going on here as well. I won a hotair balloon ride! I did my research, and it is the going consensus that if you are able to enjoy an airplane ride, you will have absolutely no problem riding in a balloon.... So, scared of heights or not...... I absolutely loved being up in the air in a cessna  airplane, and I decided that I'm going to thoroughly enjoy the scenery! There is no date set yet, I guess they want to make sure that there's no high winds, and no chance of thunderstorms before they put us in a basket a couple of hundred feet in the air...... I think I like that idea. My sister said that if I know in time, she'll come take pictures! So cool. I'll need proof that I actually went up, but if I have Mike take pictures of the me in the basket, I will have no camera while I'm in the air.... Sister to the rescue! LOL.

And I went away with my sister for a couple of days after the last class. Last years birthday present and we finally managed to synchronize dayrunners.  Actually her smartphone and my dayrunner. LOL. Saturday Mike dropped me off after class, Sunday I made a plan of attack and did a little prework and Monday morning, we left for the National Park De Hoge Veluwe. We saw elk, bighorn sheep en lots of trees LOL. We had a ball. The next day we went to the hunting palace of the Royal Family Het Loo. We had a tour, that was supposed to last 1 hour, but we spend a little more than 2. There was so much to see,  and once the lady figured out I did tours as well, she REALLY told us everything she could think of... but by the time we were done with the tour there was no time to go back around and look at everything at leisure, so we'll have to go back, and do that some other time. It really is nice to get the inside information, because you notice things you might have missed, but than there is also a lot you see, but don't have time to really look at..... If I can talk Mike into going away for a day, or maybe even 2, the second half of December, they'll have the house decorated like they did Brucemore in Cedar Rapids.... It will be so impressive! (and I'll have so many ideas on how to do things around the house, it will drive Mike nuts..... which will be not so good) But it will have my Christmas Spirit recharged for a couple of years, for sure :-) Wednesday before we had to go home, we visited Ouwehand Zoo. IT WAS SO COOL!!! They have a polarbear tank where you can be at eye level, and at eyelevel I got!  I was standing right at the window, when I noticed there were heavy waves and I figured one of the bears got in the water.... You can imagine my surprise when at the end of that though I saw a head pop up right at the other side of the glass........ I couldn't believe my eyes!  Lucky for me, my sister saw him coming and made pictures. He did this twice!  After I'm done with school, I will take a week of catching up on the fun stuff and some chores before getting into the business of "getting into business" with writing a business plan, getting a licence to BE in business and all the other good stuff...... but I'm pretty sure you'll see the pictures come by.....

Well, it's eleven o'clock, and the mechanical alarm is set to go off at 5, but more likely the fuzzy alarm will go off around 3, so I best try and get at least a nap in before that happens. I'll try and get in touch in a week or so, but I can't promise I'll make it.

Well, it is "good night" for me. Don't forget to hug that loved one?!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Couldn't believe my eyes....

in a good way. LOL

I was studying yesterday, and while on break, I did what I do, about once a week.... I googled Slot Schaesberg. Normally, I see our website come by, the weather, information on the town and what have you, but yesterday I saw something awesome.

I added the link here and hope you go watch it. It starts with a couple of pictures of the castle, followed by a 3D walkthrough. I have no idea if this gentleman has ever been to the castle, but I can imagine it looking like that again, within our lifetime...... I hope he makes a rendering of the castle part as well. We have no pictures of the interior, but it would be cool to "walk thru" it....

Well, it's time for me to hit the books. First class is Saturday, and I have about 60 hours to study..... I finished the first lesson within my schedule, and actually started on my second lesson a day early, but I'm having a whale of a time with it. All my computer knowledge, I learned in English, the class is in Dutch and I have to say, some of the translations on the terms they used make no sense to me. I know it is probably a "personal thing", but it does slow down the thinking process, quite a bit. LOL.

Stay warm, or cool, depending on which side of this marble you're on, and don't forget to hug a loved one?


Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Hi all,

I know, I've been telling you a lot about the castle, but today, I could use a little help.

Our national tourist board, ANWB is holding a poll as to the most "maatschappelijk uitje" project. Translated, this means the project that brings the most to the community, be it historical/fun/tourists etc.  The prize will be a year long advertising on their website. This is HUGE! We would be able to use part of the budget we have slated for advertising, and put it towards the building!  Plus there will be some advertising done in their stores, and I counted 76 stores on their website this morning..... THAT is a lot of exposure!!!

I want to ask, if you would look at the Castle site
Than look at the ANWB site

I hope you vote for us, of course, but if you see something that you think better suited... Lets just say, vote with your heart :-) 

Well, I hope this found you in good health and spirit.... It's been raining here for near a week, so the days are a bit grey here, but the spirits keep being lifted by a fuzzy but on my lap, as soon as the other end of me hits the couch LOL!  

Don't forget to hug a loved one, stay warm, or cool depending what part of this marble you're on, and I will sit down and talk to you soon. PROMISE! 


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

It's been quite a week!

I wish I could put this post in columns, so I wouldn't have to decide which news is more important to tell. LOL.

Oh what the heck! This is too big to do second.  
The Castle received almost 800 000Euro's from the lottery! Once a year the lottery assigns part of their proceeds to "good causes". Now every one at the castle knows that we are the best cause, but we weren't sure the committee divvying up the money would think the same way, THEY DID!!!!
this means so much! We can start building the Gatehouse and bridge this spring!! This one act, gives me project so much momentum. It will enhance the experience for our visitors, it will give the whole place a new look and WE WILL BE BUILDING!!! Well........ first we wil have to get going on the archeology, which means I will be digging in the dirt, as long as it is not before April 30th.... (second part of the news) After the archeology, and brainstorming/deciding on the best course of action on building the foundation, the building will start. There are plans in place, of simultaneously building the building and the tower roof. The roof will be built and dry-fitted on the square, taken apart and put beam by beam on top of the tower, when it's done...... If I wasn't hurting so bad I would be dancing right now...... 

What seemed so cool at the beginning of the week, seems kinda "ladeedah" after the news on the castle, but it's important and frustrating enough to let you know about it.
I was to do a professional web designer course in Eindhoven (1 hour by train) but I didn't hear anything and about 2 weeks ago, the first part of the information on the course dissappeared from my account, so I started emailing...... no answer, new email no answer, new email. Finally last Friday I heard back.... Course was cancelled due to not enough students signing up and I now had 3 options.
1) wait till september, and hope it would go thru      2) go to Utrecht on Saturday, instead of on a weekday   or 3) do the whole thing online.

I considered waiting till September, but I really want/need to get going on this, plus, if in September it turns out that there's not enough students, I'll end up going to Utrecht anyway, plus it will be winter. With a 3 hour one way travel schedule, I don't want to do it if there is the slightest chance that they'll cancel trains due to frost or snow on the tracks. The 3rd option wasn't really an option at all. I will need the face-to-face interaction on this one! So February 27, I'll be on the first train out of town at 6.40, an make class with about10 minutes to spare. I don't know who figured that having a class that has 3 different busses after you get off the train at the main station is a good idea, but when they said "accessible by public transit" that was not coming up as an option in my brain..... I thought about going by car, but they have 7 parking spaces in front of the building and 21 rules and regulations as to where not to park in the area with a footnote that there is a bigger parkinglot about 20 minute walk away...... (The nearest busstop is only 12 minutes....) But, all this means that I'll be leaving the house at 6AM, and re-enter at 10PM....... thank god it's only 6 classes!  
I checked today, and found another surprise...... The 6 month course, will take 4! YAY! I wonder if the 20 to 30 hour homework took in account that they're shortening the time, or if that was geared towards the 6 month timeframe.... We'll see. I'm still excited to do this, but I'm getting a whole new level of panic attacks!

It's 1.30AM here, so I think I'm going to see if my bed is as comfortable as I remember, but I wanted to share the good news with you.

Don't forget to hugs that loved one!  

Monday, January 25, 2016


Hi there,

I just received an email from a friend, with cats, kittens, dogs and puppies, in various positions, on various, previously never considered to be comfortable snuggle-spots.....and some really inventive ones too :-)

The other day it was about 20 degrees fahrenheit here, and our fuzzybutt wanted to go for his usual after-nap-walk, so I put him in his harness, snapped the leash on him, grabbed the keys and trotted outside........ only to be pulled off my feet by a fuzzy cream colored lightning bolt, trying his darnedest to get back inside. LOL. I had warned him, but would he listen? NAH!

In explanation of the next bit, I have to tell you something. The computer sits on the dining table, next to a small bookcase which houses the printer, dictionaries and some other books, on top of which, is our desk lamp. Next to the computer on the table, under the desklamp is one of Perky's beds....... (Can you see where this is going? LOL)  I've never laughed so hard in my life. After I got his harness off again (I think it was a record in time that he had it on before it came back off) and opened the door from the hallway to the living room he leaped!  He never touched the table, sailed right over it, into his bed and was cosying up to the desklamp as best he could in one move!
The picture is taken on one of his more sedate moments, but it is quite fun when you're working, and one of his paws reaches out, touches your hand, and dissappears back into the basket :-)

Some of the pictures from the email are:  (Actually, it's all of them, they're so darn cute!)

See what I mean?
Nothing to tell on the news front, I was just hoping ease you into the week, and maybe make you smile :-)

Don't forget to hug a loved one?

Friday, January 1, 2016


Have you survived the "changing of the year" ok?  Did you make it till midnight? :-)

Although we weren't able to last till midnight for some years, while living in the US, we have a whole new reason to stay up here..... Fireworks started at 2 PM New Years Eve, and it was still going around 10 this morning..... Perky was in a state. Not flying around the house like he did the first year we were here, but he was definitely trying to get under and in places, we all knew he wouldn't fit, so we stayed up with him. Mike called it good around 12.30, I went and took a nap around 6 this morning. Right now, the little fuzzybutt is laying on the back of the couch, his head on my shoulder, gently snoring and all together too tired to care...... We're good for another 364 days.

We have no plans for the day, no "list" of things we want to do in the coming year, we just want to "do better" in a lot of different departments of our life, as I'm sure do a lot of people. If you watch the news, be it national or international.... there's crap of different proportions going on everywhere, and it's hard not to get gloomy over it. Knowing that that state of mind does nothing to improve the situation, does not seem to change it though.

Just saying HI and apologize if it sounded like I would hiss if anybody wanted contact :-)  Nothing of the kind will happen. I wouldn't want it that way. I think it was more of a "thinking out loud" to keep a close eye on priorities for the next year. To make a plan and work things out around it, instead of adjusting the plan. LOL.

Kitty moved from the back of the couch and wormed himself under the computer and it's starting to get very tiresome to keep the laptop off the lapkitty, so I'll be on my way. I hope this year will bring you all you need, and nothing you don't.

Don't forget to hug a loved one?


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Still there?

Hi there!

I know I'm obnoxiously late with this, and the only real reason for it, is that time got away from me.
No major breakdowns, no fires to put out or out of the ordinary health things going on, just not being able to keep track of time.  You know the nagging things that won't go away, that shouldn't take a whole lot of time to take care of, but inadvertently always do...... That's been my life for the last 5 months or so.

Lots of little things that have been needing my attention adding up to one big time consumer.... resulting in the sneaking up of the Holidays. For being my favorite time of the year, I've managed to have to scramble to get any kind of decoration or even getting in the mood for Christmas for the last 3 years. Even while "doing the chemo-thing" we had more of a Christmas vibe. Go figure!

I DO have a major thing to report, that got finalized the day before Christmas.... I'm going back to school! It's a 6 month occupational course for webdesign. It comes with a 25 to 30 hours of homework-tag and once every 2 weeks an 8 hour class, in Eindhoven. The cool part was, when I told my sister, the first thing she said was: "Cool, you come up the night before, and I'll get you to class in time and rested"  So I'll have a mini sisterday as a bonus. LOL.
This starts in February, and lasts through August. The biggest thing is going to be that on my study days, I will not answer the phone, email or the doorbell...... and if I can convince everybody I know, that just because I'm home it does not automatically mean that I'm available, that would help in the concentration as well. I figured I can study when Mike is at work, and if everything pans out, I will have our little junkroom actually done up as a little office space and I can shut the door if I need to. They're talking about cutting everybody's hours down to 20 a week, so he'll either be working 2 full days and one half, or 5 halves, or they're going to mess his time up so bad, that I'll have to study when he's home... But we'll see when that happens, and deal with it accordingly.

Depending on how everything works out, I may have to put the CT "duties" on hold, or do less, but I hope I can find time for it. It has kept me more or less sane over the last couple of years, and I have the sneaky suspicion that I will need all the help I can get in that department.

The Upswing of the class is, that I will have a way better feel for setting up my business, I just have to figure out how that works, if/how I could work internationally etc. It will be so nice to help pay the bills again. It may take a load off Mike. His stresslevel is way up there, between the currency exchange/bills and the job situation..... If they decide that cutting hours is not enough, and they're having more lay-offs, I don't know what we would/could do if I don't have a steady income.  I hope they take in account that he's breadwinner, but also that he will have to leave, if they cut his job, but I try not to worry about that. If it happens, we will have to deal with it. If it doesn't happen, we will be ok. I'm starting to learn to cross bridges when we have to. Not because I'm getting wiser in my old age LOL, but because I'm too darn tired of everything that's been thrown our way over the last years and just don't have the energy to spare.... Not sure if that is good, or if it will come back to bite me in the butt, but I need to concentrate on getting my diploma, so I can start helping out again.   The major thing is, if I make enough money to support him according to the laws at that moment, he can stay even if anything happens to his job, and although I cannot see him being happy sitting home all day..... atleast we wouldn't be forced to leave the country within 3 months.  Part of the "getting the office set up", is thinning out our belongings, for an efficient move..... NOT a good feeling.

SO, I think you're all caught up, although my brain is so scrambled, I'm wondering whether this update makes a whole lot of sense. LOL.  I wish you a very happy New Year, and hope you had a perfect Christmas, and promise I will try to visit with you more often next year. This year just has been one thing after the other, with really nothing to show for the lack of time when you look it in the rearview mirror...... Hoping for a better devision of time next year :-)

Don't forget to hug a loved one? (twice when they're of the fuzzy variety! LOL) I will catch you next year.

Love and hugs,

PS: If you know of a way to watch The Rose Bowl from here, PLEASE shoot me an email? GO HAWKS!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Checking in

before you start imagining where I've gotten off to :-)

I don't think I've scrapped more than 5 hours since I was here last. It's been so long since I did anything genealogy, that I had to double check if  I had the spelling right, and I can't remember the last time I had a thought that didnt involve finding ways to pay the bills. I know, none of this is keeping you up at night, I just wanted to share that nothing has changed, really :-)

On the flip side, I'm understanding more of how I WANT to build websites that look good, are functional, and just a tad different from "The other guys". Now that I know that, I'm focussing more on how to get that done, than to learn every last little thing there is to learn in ways of programming. I was reading every book I could find, only to get turned around on codes, best practices, order of code to get a certain effect and serious doubt about whether I understood any of it at all... So I decided to take the "learn as you go" approach. You see, I realised that this is the way I learned to scrap, research and how to use any of the computer programs I ever learned.
You figure out what you need to know to get the result you want, and go from there.... And it works for me. Sure I may miss the latest greatest gadget that everybody and his uncle puts on the website, (and every-other-user wishes they had given a miss) but there is time for that, once I have down what I NEED to know to either get customers, or a job. At this point, I really am on the fence on which one I'd rather have, as long as I can pay the bills, contribute and do what makes me happy... I'm good. Having my own business will come... in time.

The house starts to look just that little bit more like we've moved in, and a little less like we're in the middle of the move, although........ there's boxes I've not seen the inside of in quite some time, and if it weren't for a note on the outside, with what's on the inside........... I wouldn't know whether I needed to see inside or not. LOL.

The castle is AWESOME! I love going there, and I really have to bite my tongue when they're asking for tourguides on other days, so I don't volunteer! Most of the customers are nice, not all start out that way, but mostly, they revise their view after the tour. Sometimes there's one I'd just as soon push in the moat, but overall............ I'm having a blast!
We're gearing up for a Christmas market on December 12 and 13. I've heard rumors of hot chocolate, firepits and a jazzband on the square, surrounded by stands, where people sell their wares. I'm trying to convince Mike to go with me on Saturday as a visitor, so when I work the event on Sunday, I'm not tempted to visit.... but it's a hard sell. Mike and Christmas are not what you'd call "on speaking terms". Holidays are a necessary evil to him, and if it wasn't for me loving them so much, I don't think he would give them a second thought. There are 2 exceptions to this....... Halloween and Thanksgiving, but even that is a lot less, since they don't really "do" Halloween here, and there's no parades and/or football to watch on Thanksgiving. But he may surprise the beyiebies out of me, you never know :-)

I think you're caught up, so I'll take my leave, update the castle page with the poster we are putting up around town, and get back to studying.

Don't forget to hug a loved one!


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

So little time

and so much to do,  to tell and to think about........
 So, since I'm not doing anything right now, let's start with the telling part:-)

I am a tourguide at the coolest project  E V E R!!!!!
It has it's own page on my blog.... Castle Schaesberg. There will be lots to read about it here, and for me lots to learn, and SO MUCH more that I WANT to know, not for the tours, but because I'm naturally nosey about these things! I admit, with hanging head, after 30 years of vehemently denying it, I am nosey. I want to know things, I want to know how people think, I want to see things, I want to learn what makes things and people tick. I always told Mike, when he said I was nosey, "I am NOT, I'm just interested in people!", but I think he may have had it right all along LOL.  Well, now that we have that cleared up, I should tell you a little about the project.

My intrest started on a trip we took, just to keep me from going crazy, after we got here, and I wasn't able to walk half the time. It grew from wanting to finish my 4 seasons scrapbook page to the background of the castle, once I found out they were going to rebuild it in old style. I tried keeping up, but over time, lost the website, and visited several personal pages from people that wrote about the castle. And than, one day in July, I found a link that stated.... Volunteers wanted.  I almost broke my fingers trying to get an email out, and got a response the next day to come on by for an interview the day after..... I did, and got "hired" on the spot. I spent all day on site, getting briefed on the family, the castle, the project, and everything I heard made me more curious.... Not a bad state to be in, right?

The project is, I truly believe, one of a kind. Rebuilding the castle, is not so much the goal as it is the means. A way to re-introduce the old artisan crafts to the younger people. The problem is, there are SO MANY monuments, and so few people that know how to fix things, it's really not funny. The older craftsmen wanting to retire, look behind them, to pass the baton, and there's just nobody there!
We've seen interns from the schools that produce builders and such, that come, get handed a square with instructions to measure and mark a beam, and they look at you with a total blank stare, asking what they are supposed to do with that.... If it's not computer generated, or laserguided, they don't know what it is...... but by the time they leave, they have a few calusses and a new understanding of carpentry :-)
The thing that to me means a lot, is that if they make a graduation project in school, it gets looked at, graded and destroyed.... when they build something at the castle, it gets looked at, graded, and it will stand for at least 300 years more!

The whole project, except for two leading positions, is run with volunteers, interns and the likes. People between jobs, people trying to get back in the workforce, retirees, or people with jobs, that want to invest in the future......... A very varied group of people, with a shared goal. It's a nice place to be in life!

I already had a couple of English tours. LOVING that and hoping for lots more! And a whole bunch of Dutch ones. Average of 8 per day, so a nice turn out.... The trick with those, I've found, is that when I get excited (and what's not to get excited about in this project?) my Dutch really leaves a lot to be desired, and I have to kind of explain the word I'm trying to look for, and hope somebody fills me in on it. LOL. I have found though, as long as I explain that I haven't been back in Holland very long, after not speaking the language for a good 23 years, most people take it in stride, and help me out when I'm stuck. I've been  working most Sundays, if there are 2 people that signed up to be on the grounds, although, since our official opening is this coming weekend, it will pretty much be inevitable to have to be there, and have staff for the register, as well as atleast one tourguide.... So, my leasurely Sundays will be a thing of the past............ and I'm loving every one of them!  I WILL take off the 25th of October, because my Bills are playing in London, and I have high hopes that the game may be televised! WHOO HOOO FOOTBALL!!!! How I miss that!

I'm still working on getting my website set up, but there are snags to having a business here I had not thought of, so besides working on the site, trying to get my head around designing and building the back-end, I'm also trying to find out what I can, cannot, have to and absolutely should not do.........  Never a dull moment, trying to get out from under asking for help from the government, because not only do I have to watch the Dutch laws and regulation, I also have to take in account what will happen if I do business in the US, where to pay taxes, so I don't pay twice, or torpedo Mike in any way....

I haven't scrapped in ages, not sure I still know how. LOL! I do a little ct work here and there, but nothing major, nothing like I did a year ago, and I'm not sure I like that, but I'm not sure where I would find the time either. I'm working on a schedule............ Had several over the last 2 years, none really worked longer than a month or 2, so I'm constantly adjusting, and I have to admit, it's getting tedious. I'm about to make a global To-Do list, and call it good, if I get things done once a month, except for the business part, that needs done daily, as soon as I figure out what it is...... and set a "work schedule" and stick to it, throw the phone off the hook, dis-engage the doorbell and go from there :-)

I have to take the KA in for a fix. The Shocktowers are wore out. Wouldn't have anything to do with the milion or so turncircles and the milion and a half "traffic slow down alleys" they build in the already tiny roads here.... In all the years we've driven old cars with most of them having more than 200thousand miles on the clock,  we've never, EVER had to replace the A-arms on a vehicle, and we've taken them up some really bad roads, and not just once, either :-)  Here, we've done it on 3! And the mechanics diagnosing them, don't seem surprised, while we just about fall over when they tell us, and than they happily tell us that it is a natural occurrance every 5 years or so!?  I think when they passed the law on those circles and alleys, someone made a killing in the stockmarket buying carpart company stock, and probably still is cashing in nicely....

So, on that rant, I think you're caught up, at least on what I can think of right now, and I think I will call it good for now. Hopefully, now that we have a working internet again, I can come back more often than once every couple of weeks. Up to now, I've been doing what absolutely had to happen on line, if and when I could GET online, and print what I thought I might need later, resulting in more paper, instead of streamlining/dumping that was so high on my list of things I needed to do last time I made a schedule..... LOL.
 Right now, I'm on base, waiting for the store to open, so I can grab some groceries, keep Mike company for lunch, and get back home to get dinner started, only to turn around, and go pick him up, so we can eat.... And this weekend is my sisters birthday, so I'll be taking a train to go see her as well.

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