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?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


It has been A LONG couple of months, and I'm not sure I'm getting ahead of it all, or just keep trying to crawl out from under....... at some points I was just hoping the light at the other end of the tunnel isn't a train. LOL.

Without getting into details, there's been: family things, housing things, job things, pet things, weather things, internet/phone things, neighbor things and car things, and I almost things! Needless to say. I need a vacation! LOL, but all things considered, we're doing good.

I DID take my exam, finally, and when I started building my first website (my own) I realized that the course had in no way prepared me for what I was attempting to do. I know I missed a switch somewhere, but I have pieces that won't go together into a cohesive, and potentially VERY cool website, so I hit the books some more :-)  Well, let me rephrase that... I downloaded the books I could, while I had internet, and read them when I didn't have internet. But no internet does hamper the checking and testing what I learned.... You kinda need internet to upload to the server, or so I'm told...... Internet has been humming away for the last week or so, and I'm getting thru emails, banking, catching up with people (by phone or email) and hope to be into a schedule of sorts by next week. PFFOEI!

Because of the internet thing (6 weeks without is like a lifetime of missed things to look up!) I haven't posted my Point in Time challenge, haven't played with any of Boo's kits (Haven't even been able to catch them come by!) and because of the EU-VAT rule on top of that, I haven't been able to play with any of the beautiful kits from Carena or Monja either, missed a couple of very interesting webinars over at LegacyFamilyTree and I'm sure I missed some stuff I'll find out about later, but what can you do?!

I haven't scrapped at all except for making birthday cards, no genealogy either, just study. Poor me, huh.....? LOL. LOVE to learn, so that's not the problem, its the fact that everything else in life just keeps going, while I'm trying to concentrate that just plain drives me batty at times, but that's a personal problem I think. LOL.

Even so, I'm looking forward to calmer waters, I can tell you that :-) and to start that process off right.... Friday night the zoo will be open till 9PM, and guess who's going..... We'll run errands as early as we can, and than Mike will drop me off, and pick me up at 9..... HEAVEN!  I'll bet it will be busy, but I'm hoping to catch the wolves out this time around.... My niece went a couple of weeks ago, and she said she sat in front of the area for half hour, and never saw them, so I'm not sure what is going on there. I haven't seen them but once in the time they've been here, and that was the first night their enclosure was open to the public.  Keep your fingers crossed for me:-)

I DID start a new thing... Tourguide at the castle I've been trying to get a 4 season photo shoot of. SO COOL! There is so much history in that place I had no idea of! And I get to tell people about it. Last Sunday was my first official work day..... and it was great. Kinda busy, but not so busy you don't have time to enjoy. People walking away with a smile on their face, and a promise that they'll be back to keep track of the changes....... No better way to advocate a new project. There's a long way to go yet (only 30 years or so) but it will be so neat when it gets there.....

My plans for the near future are to get a job, so we can keep eating (always a good idea) and on Sunday, when Mike works anyway, spend my time at the castle, learning and teaching. This will cut down my "down time" to just Saturdays, but it will work out better in the long run. It will force me to speed up my "me time" or at least streamline, and it will show me what is important to me, and what I'm hanging on to, because I have nothing else to do.... So it will be good!  For the first time, in a long time, I'm actually believing that change can be good..... Such a wonderous feeling :-)

This is it for me, for now. If the internet and my schedule keep playing nice, I'll be back in a couple of days, so in the meantime, don't forget to hug a loved one, stay cool (It's going up to mid to high 90's here) and enjoy life.... It's too short as it is!

Love and hugs,

Sunday, July 12, 2015

This is what life has been like since we last spoke......

and I'm NOT the cheetah! LOL.

Got this in an email, not sure where it originally came from.

I will catch you up when/if I can. Soon, I hope.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

I hope you didn't give up on me...............

I had no idea it had been this long since I visited with you!

Quick update is in order, I think :-)
- I haven't taken my exam yet. The site is still experiencing difficulties. There's a drawback and an upside to that.............. The upside:  I can keep studying...... The drawback:  I want to move on, but at the same time, I'm a little worried, that if I start looking into things more in depth than what is covered in the test, I will get confused at testing time and "think too much" LOL.
- I am now the proud owner of (yet) another drivers license.  Since our car is registered on base, I had to take my base drivingtest as well, so now, I am pretty much covered for who ever wants to see my drivers credentials: Iowa, Nato, Dutch and Base................. I'm going to have to ask for a bigger wallet!  I'm not the only one though. Since there are a couple of countries that don't like the Nato license and others that don't like the American one, Mike will have to get his Dutch licence as well. He's not looking forward to it. He keeps complaining that his wallet is poking holes in his pants pocket and there is no more room in it for more crap..... :-)
- The Point In Time challenge has been posted at The Studio, on time
- The EU VAT thing is sorted on several sites, and I can shop again. I now can also get back to my CT duties over at DigiDesignResort, if they'll still have me. But to be honest, I've been so busy studying, I have missed the scrapping, but I wouldn't have had much time for it, so  maybe it is time to re-evaluate some things.
- My 6 month cancercheck is over and done with, and I'm all good!! :-) it is so weird. I know I'm healthy, I now have as much chance to get it again, as someone who gets it for the first time and I still go in a flying panic every 6 months, just because that appointment is coming up........... If anybody knows of a way to turn that little bit of craziness off................. I'd be grateful. I HAVE noticed though, that as long as I keep so busy that I forget which day it is... the worry starts a lot closer to the appointment date. LOL.   There's a thought :-)

As I said, I haven't scrapped much. We haven't gone anywhere, and I even haven't been to the zoo. I have severely neglected my friends and family as well, so that will all be taken up in the re-evaluation plan. Mike is off tomorrow, and he said he would take Perky for his daily walks, and I will spend some quality time on the couch, thinking, planning and eeeevalu-atin'. Somewhere, I have notes on a seminar I took about 20 years ago, on time management, and I think I will revisit that as well. LOL.  I guess if your TO DO list only works if you increase the week to 8 days of 32 hours, and downgrade sleepingtime to 3 hours a night..... it's time for a sit down and prioritizing session.

Well, I'm not sure where this mood came from, but I will excuse myself and sit in a corner until it passes, so I don't bug you with it anylonger. LOL. Sorry it has been so long since I visited, and I hope I can improve on the times between posts within a reasonable timeframe.
Hopefully this found you all in good health and spirits, and we'll visit again soon. Don't forget to hug a loved one!?


Tuesday, March 24, 2015


I didn't make the exam, yet. I rescheduled for first Tuesday in April, reluctantly.
I discovered that I will have 30 minutes, to answer 40 questions. Let me tell you, realizing this, I almost immediately reached for the "new email" button to ask for an extension. LOL. Knowing all I need to know, and knowing what I DO know......... Lets just say, I'm hitting the books a little harder!
Bad thing is, having extra time, makes it easier to get distracted, and now I'm still running to catch up.
BUT! ........ You didn't stop by to hear me whine, so I'll leave you be, but please, check in around the 1st of April for the new Point In Time challenge, and an update:-)

Boo is taking a sabbatical, so that front is quiet. Still am not able to go to/pick up anything on DigiDesignResort or The Studio, so all is quiet there too. For a little while longer, I have no time to scrap-for-fun, and no energy to go to the zoo, so no new pictures to play with. I will have to prioritize, go thru my tera-drives, thin out things around the house, streamline the chorelist and work on getting good at webdesign, but I'll be back as often as I can :-)  I'm looking forward to do "my thing" and I know I will need the scrapping to keep me creative, on my toes, and happy, so you'll see pages soon. I promise!

Enjoy spring, and in between sniffing those first flowers, don't forget to hug a loved one?
Talk soon.


Monday, March 2, 2015

WOW, it's been a while......

Didn't think it had been this long since I visited, but there you have it. Obviously, part of my "good intentions" for 2015 didn't make it already, but I had a good reason. Honest!

I didn't make the deadline for the exam. A 10 day migraine made sure of that, but, I rallied and I'm done with the course, and taking the exam March 10th. Now "all" I need to do is study myself silly and find a way to break into my website, so I can learn things "hands on" and I'm home free.

I took today off, to clean house and to scrap a little. You see, we went to the VOC Sailing ship in Lelystad with my sister and her husband and had a blast!
The ship was amazing! When we first saw it, we thought it looked awful small, but there was an whole lot of stuff crammed onto it and also, the closer you got, the bigger it got..... There was a secondary ship they were supposed to build, but after a fire, they ran out of money and stopped the build, so now the ship is slowly disintegrating. The one that we took the tour on was so beautiful. The wood, inside and out, the way things were put together. Splendid! They had little ceramic heads at all the stations that would have been manned around the clock while at sea, and the little fence separating the "working men" from the officers. I didn't know that was done. Of course, Hollywood is not known for its True-to-life portrayal. LOL. They are restoring a Roman ship, found in the same area, and as soon as it is open to the public, I will be in line to go see it. The ship is moored behind a rock breaker, because the IJselmeer still has current, as well as healthy shipping traffic, and they turn the ship every other year 180 degrees, to keep it straight and balanced.  It no longer sails, but it DID sail across the ocean after it was rebuilt. That must have been a sight to see.....

On the breaker is a huge wire statue of a man, squatting down, looking out over the see. It seems an odd place for art, but it somehow fits. :-)

And last Saturday we went to the motorcycle convention in Utrecht. we took the train, and we both had a beer with lunch, because we didn't have to drive. We expected a hotdog, grilled cheese kind of offering, but were surprised with ciabatta's, chicken in peanutsauce and my personal favorite Filet Americain. Now don't think there is anything American about this. It's raw ground beef with spices, jammed on a piece of crunchy French bread. Mike can barely stand to look at it, but it tastes SOOOOOO GOOOOD! I only have it maybe once a year, so it's not too bad. I know you're not supposed to eat raw meat, and that ground beef comes a very close second to raw chicken, but don't knock it until you tried it. LOL. I grew up with it as a treat on holidays, before everything you ate was bad for one part or another, and I have missed it, so every once in a while, I indulge :-)  As a matter of fact, it was the first thing I ate when we came back, even before we left the airport. LOL!

In my "off" hours, I did a little scrapping. Not much, not long, but a couple of pages, none the less.
I'm no longer able to shop, and I had to put one of my ct"jobs" on hold, because I cannot go to the store and "shop" but with study and reading manual after manual on HTML, CSS and the likes, who has time to worry.....

Here are the pages I made.

Booland's part of the Morning Mist Collab
This is the female wolverine at our zoo. It was the first time I caught her outside in the year and a half she's been there. I haven't read that they're expecting baby's, but than, the zoo staff gets surprised with offspring a lot, so I still have hope. LOL.

Boolands kit Love is. The Teddybears just asked for a window to look out of!

DoubleDip Romance over at The Studio.
The March Point In Time Challenge add got posted today.  A little shameless plugging going on here, but it's the 3rd month in a row that I'm on time and I am so proud of me I had to share :-)

Silly as it may sound, I have not been able to scrap the Giants of the IceAge, The Batavia OR the motorcycle show, so there's still some in the works. I'm planning on doing a little every night. Just to unwind, but I have been feeling guilty when I did anything but study, so we'll have to see which part wins. Otherwise, I will get back in the swing of things after the exam(s).

For now, I'm going to quit here and have some dinner (Yes, I'm successfully multitasking today. LOL) and than I'm getting ready for tomorrow, have a cup of tea and hit the hay....

Until next time..... Don't forget to hug a loved one?


Thursday, February 12, 2015

coming up for air......... :-)

Been hitting the books pretty hard. Learning lots, getting more information than my brain sometimes can handle, but I'm still happy with learning, and as long as our fuzzy roommate cooperates and I get away from the books every once in a while, I'm ok. But I realized I hadn't visited for a while, so here I am.

No, I'm not goofing off, per se. LOL. I was looking for a hosting site, to do my "testing of knowledge" before taking the exam (hopefully next week) and came across this "oh so adobrable" site. It's a fox sanctuary in Japan, but..... they are sooooo cute! I couldn't help downloading a picture from it.

Sunday we're going to see a East India Company 3-master in Lelystad. I just hope we can keep the frost off things for the day. Being on the water, on the North Sea in February may not have been such a smart plan, but hey, we decided that weather, unless hazardous to our health or the cars, would not stop us from having fun. Plus, the tickets expire March 1st. LOL. So Monday, I should be all recharged and back to study. I'm almost all the way thru the study materials, and I have 2 shots at the exam, so I have high hopes. (I don't really expect to flunk the first try, but I have no idea what to expect in way of questions, and whether I can check coding for answers, or have to know ...... and there is no one to ask, so I'll have to find out the hard way) 

So, break is over, just checking in. Talk to you after the exam, ok?

Dont' forget to hug a loved one!


Monday, January 12, 2015


Watching the fireworks the other night, looking back on the last year, taking stock of the years since I was diagnosed and the second chance that followed,  I made a resolution.
              This year is going to be BETTER than 2014!
I'm done with being told I'm old, and feeling that way, feeling left behind because of it, being discouraged and frazzled. Especially the last one! LOL.

In order to make this work, I have a lot of work to do, lots of bad habits to break and all of that, starting today.......
- I have till March 1st to finish my WebDesign course, so I will study 8 hours a day when Mike is at work and 4 to 6 on his days off, depending on what the plans are (read  how much we have to catch up on)
- I will thin out the chore schedule, and fit it in 7 days, instead of the days Mike is working
- I will stick to a schedule of going to bed at 10.30 and getting up at 5. No more all nighters, no more sleepless nights for this girl.
- I will make meals from scratch, and 80% will be healthy. (EEK!)
- I will take one day a month, that is completely mine. To do with as I please, wether it be going to an exhibit, zoo (always an option!), the archives in Den Bosch, the National Archives in The Hague, or just hang out and play, read, watch movies. (It depends largely on the budget how far I can stray from the house, but...... It's a thought!)
- I will spend 3 hours a day on household chores, including fixing dinner, and what I don't get done, will roll over to my "short" study day.
- I wills spend 3 hours a day, one website a day, on jobhunt, putting in applications and getting ready to go back to work, and will not listen to the powers that be, that I am too old, too long out of the Dutch workforce and too unplaceable to even help. If they don't want to help, I'll find another way to get to work.
- The first week of March, I will catch up on the house. By than, all chores will have fallen behind at least a little bit, it will be spring(ish) and I'll have to paint the planters, and plan what I want to put in them, and find a way to finance it. LOL. 
- That week, I will make a plan of attack for the next 3 months, including a schedule, that will keep the same hours, and such as the first quarter, and when I get a job, I'll never know the difference, won't be dead-on-my-feet at the end of the day and life will be grand! We will be able to save for things we have been putting off, we may be able to plan a day or 2 away from home, without having to worry that we won't be able to eat at the end of the month, and we may, just maybe, be able to sit back and enjoy for a little while, before stuff starts hitting the fan again. I know, I'm pushing it with that thought, but it could be.........

As part of these "good intentions"............ I will try and visit once a week, and keep you posted.
I used last week to "get it together" in way of tweaking the schedule/task line-up etc. but today is the beginning of a new me :-)

Don't forget to hug a loved one (twice when of the furry variety), and I will talk to you in a couple of days.

PS: The Point In Time Heritage challenge over at the studio is also back on the schedule! And posted for January.....

Thursday, December 18, 2014

It's been a while..... again!

I have a hard time keeping up these days. Seems like last week that I was here, and I just noticed it has been almost 4.

I've been busy. Busy with finding the Christmas cards, so I could send them out, and realizing I was looking for something that wasn't there, so I made them. There's a couple that got mailed, most will go in Email, and I sincerely hope I don't tick anybody off with it this year LOL.
Busy with trying to get the house in any kind of Christmas mood, and not having much luck. You see,  I cannot find the tree decorations. I found some, but to put 5 ornaments in a 6 foot tree, just doesn't seem right now, does it? :-), so we will have a very minimalist tree this year...... lights only. I finally found a (very ugly) tablecloth that will fit the table. I never thought our little diner was an odd size, but I have not been able to find anything that doesn't looks like it's dropped there on the way to someplace else, or something that looks like it ate the table.  This size is more or less right. It will be a little long on the short side of the table, but you won't drag it off the table while sitting down to eat. (that was a definate must) I got most of what we want for Christmas dinner figured out. Picked up the Pecan Pie on base the other day, still have to pick up the meat and than we're set. Veg is in the freezer, ready to go. And THANK GOD we're going to my sisters the day after Christmas, so I will have at least a little bit of the "Seasons Feelings"! LOL.  Her house is not a Christmas Store contestants, but there's a tree, candles, decorations on all the flat surfaces, and just an overall "happy feeling" when you come inside. The downside, at least for me, is that the majority will be playing Minecraft, so I'll bring a book for something to do, but I'll be huddled near the fireplace, in the company of people I love so life will be good. The kids have been planning on doing this for a long time, and I have to say, Mike has quietly been too. He got the box to the computer down, stocked up on batteries for the mouse and keyboard and when asked said very happily.... for when we go to your sister to play! He'll have a blast! The only thing missing will be our fuzzy roommate, otherwise it would be absolutely perfect :-)  I wondered for a split second if I should take a stab at taking him with us..... but it probably would be a very selfish thing to do to him, so.... no! If he was more like Boo, he would have a blast. New people, a good lengthy car ride, new places to figure out and explore, and room to run, but Perky doesn't travel well. The rest would be cool, but the more than an hour car ride (one way) would put too much stress on him. He's got New Years Eve Fireworks coming, and that can get bad enough. I hoped they'd ease him into it, and start a couple of days early with here and there a thump, so that when all hell breaks loose at midnight on the 31st, he just sits in the window and enjoys the lights just like he did last time, but it's been very quiet this year. We haven't even heard firecrackers yet, and that usually starts on December 1st, when the sale of fireworks starts. Oh well, we'll see what happens. We'll make him hideyholes, plan for the worst, hope for the best, and that's pretty much all we can do. Either way, I'm as ready for Christmas as I'm going to get. I still have to put the emails out, so I will start on that here in a bit, and that will be it for this year.
I've also been busy getting my insurance figured out. The only time I can change is January 1st, but somehow I have a hard time sifting thru the double talk. My insurance takes my deductible as part of the monthly premium, and I can't get an answer what happens if I don't use it. I was told, everybody has a deductible, as if I haven't done this for the last 30 years..... I know I HAVE it, but besides my cancer checks, I haven't seen a doctor all year, so I shouldn't have USED any of it! In their defence, I guess, we got a bill from Mike's heart attack last July (a good 2 years after the fact!) so they're not very quick on sending them in, which means, the insurance can basically keep the money forever, just in case there's a straggling bill out there, but the money would come in awfully handy for paying bills that actually DID hit the mailbox, and are due now, so I want to change companies, to one that will ask for the money, when they actually need it.
I'm still busy looking for a job, but getting a little bit discouraged. I get a lot of age related rejections. The rules say that employers cannot discriminate, but if you get rejection after rejection that tells you that "you do not fit the demographics of the team" it's age related, politely put, but it still boils down to the same thing, or am I being negative? It just makes me more determined to get my web-design business going. I don't even mind if it is a regular job, as long as I can make a living at it, and enjoy the next 45 years of work.  I found out that all the years of benefits I built in the US, may be out the window, by us coming here, and I don't have any benefits built here, so I know I will be working until they nail that box shut, and all I'm hoping for now, is to at least have fun doing it.

On to more fun things....... I'm back on CT for Carena and Monja! YEAH!!!  I thought I finally had the internet conquered, but right after I mailed them, telling them so, it started acting up again. Checked into other ISP's and found out that there aren't any that are wiling to service this town, so we're kinda stuck with what we got. (I do this check every couple of months, not because I'm a glutton for punishment, but in hopes of being able to switch. LOL) I'm hoping for a rapid implementation of optic fiber, so they will want to set up service, and I'll be gone so fast all they'll see is dust :-) and for now.... we deal. But, I have been able to get done what I needed per their rules, so all I have to do is make sure I can keep that up. Boo has been busy, and her kits are flowing at an alarming rate, but she has a little more lea-way on the timeframes, most times, so I can do the pages and what nots, and ship them her way when the internet plays nice.
Downside on having the "fuzz brain" thing so long...... I promised a Point In Time challenge, and have yet to post it. At first, I plum forgot, and once I remembered, I thought that I just couldn't get my passwords straight anymore, and changed them, just to find out that the new ones didn't work either....... Turns out, for once, it wasn't on my end that things were squirrily.... All is fixed now, I saw on their blog this morning, so it's time to try it again after the Christmas mails are out, and hope I can figure out which password stuck. LOL!

Speaking of blogs! The Studio has a blogtrain going, and I saw that several designers have others running as well, so there are A LOT of neat things floating around, there to be picked up for a kind word of thanks to the designers.  I'm hoping to be able to actually do some downloading over the weekend :-)
Also at the Studio, there is an advent calendar with daily downloads. I missed A BUNCH of them, so I'm not even going to try and catch the remainder, but, that's just me.
Booland has her own thing going on her blog, as well....
Go check these out if you have a chance!

Last but certainly not least....... I'm NOT going to try and come back before the New Year, so....
from The Kelley Clan in Holland.

Be safe, hug the ones you love  and I'll 
See you next year!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I saw something amazing......

It was advertised in the newsletter of the zoo..... Warhorse was going to be there for 30 minutes as an introduction to the show coming to our area in April of next year.

Knowing  it was a  “puppet” I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it blew me away. Having been around horses since I can remember, it didn’t take  more than a second to forget I was looking at a person-animated contraption. It moved like the real thing! It was incredible! You know it's not an actual horse, but the movements are so real.....

The sounds it made were dead-on, the movements that accompanied them, were a perfect match in timing as well as transferring what was going on. You could close your eyes, and see him move through the crowd, just by the sounds.... the sniff of discovering someone new, the little grumble of surprise when the person moved, the snort of anxiety when touched and the whinny that seemed to come from its toes....... awesome!!

I was too slow to catch the whole movement, but when "it" reared, everything was going in the right order, complete with the shifting of the hind legs to carry the shift in weight.

The crew was funny. They had a question/answer session with the crowd, and it was hilarious. They weren't making fun of anything, it was just the way they answered....
For example, they introduced themselves as follows..... (From right to left)

I'm the head, expression and sound starter since the horses' lungs are 3 times as powerful as a humans, we need all sets of lungs to make the sounds real. As I have direct sight of what is going on, I start most movements. You could say, I'm the brains.
Since I'm in the middle, I start the feet moving, in accordance of the head movements, so I'm the front legs, shoulders and take over the sound when the head runs out of air.
I'm the horses ass and also control the tail. I have to think real quick, because even though there is a certain script, that's not to say the the middleman starts out with the same foot every time... I also finish up the sound when the middle man runs out of air.

Since we have different tasks, different parts of our bodies cramp up, so at the end of the performance we are a pretty pathetic bunch.

They also explained that as a team, the puppeteers stay together, but the work is so exhausting that, to keep them healthy, there are 3 teams rotating  for the 7 shows per week. (In the actual show the horse also carries gear and a rider).

I'm not much for dressing up and "going to a show", but this coming April, you just may find me going to this.  I have the movie taped, and the "how it's made" documentary, but haven't had time (or inclination) to watch it... I have been waiting for winter, so I can bundle up on the couch, with a pot of tea........ It's coming...... I know it is.... Last night we had frost!

Even though this was the main reason for going to the zoo yesterday, I had to check up on my favorite animals. The zoo was nice and quiet, the weather was cold, but not so that it kept me from going. (It probably should have, because I haven't gotten warm yet, and I've been home for almost 24 hours. LOL!) There was no wind, it did not rain, but the sun didn't show its face either, and it was 42 degrees, so a little on the brisk side after all....... It was so relaxing though. I took the Ka, so I wasn't tired before I got there, but I still started off with a cup of tea, overlooking the safari basin. Believe it or not, I was the only one in the outdoor dining area, but it was so hot inside that I couldn't breathe.... Go figure! Than I started my trek through the zoo, with an eye on the clock so I wouldn't miss the WarHorse presentation. This was a little bit of downer, because I'm not used to keeping track of time when I'm there. Usually they have to drag me out, half hour after the joint closes......

The lynx kittens, aren't kittens anymore. They're nowhere near grown ups yet, but the fuzzballs I visited in June are definitely gone.

I didnn't get to see the wolves....  The night-cabins were closed, so I didn't think it was their choice, but so far, I haven't seen any of them since that first visit, when they were freaked out from the amount of people, and hiding in the back of the enclosure. I'll see them, I'm sure of that, I'll just have to keep going back..... probably over and over and over! :-)

The wolverines were ornery as ever towards eachother, but they were both outside. The male was playing, the female walked around close to the night hut.. I think it's the colder weather, and the fact that there were maybe 100 people in the zoo all day..... They still don't seem to like each other much, but the female at least came outside and at one point walked right up to the fence and looked up at me. So cool! At the end of their area, there is an elevated platform, with hanging chairs, where you can sit and watch (Or sit, spin and scream, depending on who's in the chair) and their night space is to the side of it. Every once in a while the female would go in for a bit, and the male would follow after a while, and they were fighting, screaming and hissing and you could feel the structure shake..... They were either having one heck of a row, or we're welcoming baby wolverines in about 6 months LOL.

AND, big news in the zoo was that there are, once again, baby lions! This time though, I think they got it right. The part of the path that goes by the lion enclosure was closed to the public. YEAH!!!! I was so happy to see that! They even turned off the loudspeaker in that area! The cubs were born on the 14th, and it is now the 20th..... I hope they make it this time. For their sake, I hope it's a mellow winter....

Well, that's it for me for now..... We have Sisterday planned for tomorrow, and I still have to sort the pictures I took yesterday. I think my camera is on the verge of giving up. It can't decide what shutterspeed it needs (2 pictures taken right after eachother, one is too dark, and the next is overexposed), and there are A LOT of out-of-focus pictures. (More than normal, and I DO have the antishake thingy set....) I hope it will hold out for a while yet. We just picked up the Neon from the shop, and there is NO way in hades that I will be able to afford a new camera in the next 2 years. This one shouldn't be bad though, it's only 2 years and a week old!

Have a great rest of the week, stay thawed, and don't forget to hug a loved one!


Sunday, November 9, 2014


A personal one and a Birthday bash over at Ivy Scraps

She's turning 5 this month, and there's bunches of things going on

There's a bloghop, daily download and challenges, so there's something for everybody, and ofcourse there's the shop..... 
New things, pretty things, older things but mostly THINGS TO SCRAP THOSE PICTURES WE ALL HAVE :-)

I haven't scrapped seriously for a while now, and I'm not really happy about it. The computer problems have made it very difficult to sit and play without frustration, than there's the stress about juggling chores and aches-and-pains as well as jobhunting, getting the computer fixed and finishing the web-design course..... Should be fairly easy and straight forward. Get started, and don't stop until you're done, but somehow it doesn't want to work that way LOL.

I'll try and do better, on all fronts, but for now, I'm going to try and figure this computer out for about 30 more minutes, and than off to bed with hopes of at least 8 hours sleep. (I can dream, can't I?)

Don't forget to hug a loved one?


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Apple! WHAT THE ....... ?

Well, finally got around to playing with the new and supposedly highly improved Mavericks, and I must say........ I am far from impressed!

It seems like Apple is ruled by a Microsoft reject these days. The features I used most, are no longer there, and IF they are there, they're no longer functional..... Case in Point: 
Dashboard: It used to be this nice see thru overlay of widgets, like currency converter, calculator, sticky notes, weather, college football scores and what have you.  The fact that it was see thru, made it functional. You could look at a list of figures that were on the desktop, and position the calculater in a way that you could see them, and add them up, or whatever you needed to do to them.
Sticky notes: You could easily copy what you needed on a sticky note, and deal with it at a later point. This was especially handy with research, because it worked just like a notepad.... a quick jotdown so you can use the information later.
Currency converter: Same thing, you're looking at different things on one page, and you can quickly and easily see if you're paying more or less than you thought. (This is especially handy for us, since we're trying to juggle expenses between currencies in which we get paid and currency we spend in))

The improved version, has a solid background, so you keep flipping between screens... At that point, you might as well keep a notepad handy. And I have one laying next to the keyboard as we speak!

The big surprise was that they completely took out the functionality OF THEIR OWN MOUSE AND KEYBOARD!!! The function keys no longer work! The sound up and down keys do all kinds of things, except what you'd expect, and the eject button...... has issues.  Awesome move there. 
The other thing that doesn't work anymore is the swipe function on the magic mouse. You used to be able to go thru finder windows, or any stacked part of programs (Safari, PDF's etc) and by swiping left or right on the mouse, you would move back and forth between folders/pages...... no longer, except within safari (sofar). So, in my humble and teed off opinion....... They went Microsoft! Put something new out there every couple of months, functional or not and please, never-mind the bugs, you'll get used to them......   However, the thing that they are very proud of improving, is synching between devices.... Whoopee! 
I agree, that  may seem very important, but what if you can't do what you need to on your primary device? At least you won't be able to do it on multiple levels? Interesting business plan.

I LOVE technology, I really do. I'm in awe of what is out there, and can't wait to see what's yet to come! But those personal computers..... It seems to me they're trying too hard to get something new out there even if it IS at the cost of the user.  I may sound old and grouchy, but can we have 2 versions of things? The crazy stuff for somebody who likes it, and the simpler things for others. Just give us options? 
I know that choices need room in an OS, but just an "either - or" option would be nice. I miss my function keys, I miss the swipe function (Swapping between several external drives in search of that one piece of information takes A LOT time if you have to use the back button!), and I miss that I can't do our books without having to find a calculator, and now have to print out the columns so I can tally them. There's probably features I haven't found, and will love, in time, but for now............. I'm not happy.

I am working at the computer a lot (a bout 90% of my play time is here, in one program or another), but I don't necessarily need to be in constant contact with the world, while freaking out when the internet quits, because I won't even be able to read a book!? Technology is awesome, but there is a limit. If technology does all the thinking, except for knowing which button to push to get a certain result.... were will we end up?  I catch myself when we don't have internet connection that I get fidgety, because there's something I want to look up, but can't. Or when we're in a strange city and we're trying to figure out if there's anything to do besides having a cup of coffee.... Or knowing Johnny-GPS is sending us the wrong way, but not having information that can save us a 3 hour detour because of it..... I get that. But being on a family outing and having everybody check mail every 5 minutes, and completely tuning out a conversation because they receive a text.... not for me, thanks! :-)

Well, that's it for me for today. I'm going to the store and figure dinner, maybe talk to the neighbor lady, definitely hug our fuzzy roommate, and after that....... who knows? I may pick up a book and read a while! LOL.

Don't forget to hug a loved one?


Thursday, October 23, 2014

End of October already

We've been busy, flustered, frustrated, frazzled and what have you over the past few months, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and this time, I'm pretty sure it's not a freight train...... I hope.

The car is actually being fixed, as we speak! We got tired of the changing prices, estimated time of being done, and the "whatever" attitude at the dealer we had her, so I went looking "up north" where people are different, and you're more readily helped, even if you don't speak the local dialect.... We found this dealership in Eindhoven, and I explained what had happened with the car, and asked what they could/would do. To my amazement, he was very friendly, put up with my half Dutch half English car-part description and talked to me as if I was human.... Didn't dumb it down, didn't BS me, just told me what the going process was when they got a car in like ours. He quoted me 3 prices depending on scenario, and told me that just a second hand engine wouldn't solve our problem, and possibly would cost us more in the longrun, than putting ours through a check-up. So he gave us options.... unheard of! At the end of our conversation, I asked him how much difference there could be in the end estimate, and he sounded confused, so I told him, that where we had the car now, we were made to believe that we would have it back within a week or two, because they would be able to find a revision engine, in no time, than they needed time to put it in, and we'd be driving by the end of the month..... Once we got the car there, it dragged out to 4 months, with no idea where they would get a second hand engine, with a warrantee...... Not one that been gone thru, as they first promised, but one out of a wrecked car, and the warrantee being that it would start! and the quoted price of 4 to 600 Euro's fluctuated now between 8 and 1200...... He started laughing, and said he would put all we had discussed, with prices quoted, estimates and time frame (barring weird things happening, or parts not being readily available) in an email to me.  What do you know..... He gave a hoot.  I told him I would discus things with Mike, and we would get back to him. We set a tentative time and date he would pick up the car, so he could work it into the shop schedule, and I'd get back to him the next day.

The day before the car was to be picked up, we got a call from the garage we had it at, to tell us they had found an engine! SAY WHAT!? It came with a warrantee, as promised, and the grand total would be about 2500 Euro's, give or take a couple of hundreds. I told him that we had sold the car, and it would be picked up tomorrow, as I had already told him the week before and he started to argue that he had put time and effort in getting the engine, and it was a good engine, it came with the guarantee that it would start because it had run last week.... To which I told him that our engine had run up to the moment it quit, and that a guarantee that it would start, was no guarantee at all, and that with everything they had promised and renaged on, this was too little, too late.  So, he gave us a bill of a couple hundred Euro's for time spent and supposedly putting oil in the oil pan after they drained it to see if there were metal-shavings in it.  I couldn't figure out, if you are going to pull the engine, and replace it why you would want to replace the oil, if you're not even going to run the engine, but.... I didn't want to get slapped with a storage bill, so we  paid. When I came in to pay the bill, he told me that if he had known we were thinking of selling the car, he would have given us 200 Euro's for it.... HA!  It proved that it was exactly as Mike and I expected from this shysterbunch.... Drag it along, until you can pick up the car for next to nothing, fix it up, and sell it on.  NA-AH, no way, not anymore!  The funny part of it was, that he told me that "Even with a warrantee we would still have to pay labor if anything went wrong if we bought any car under 3500 Euro's. But we were the kind people that would always buy old cars, and try to get things cheap, so if we had sold the car, good luck finding another one that would run on our budget....." Nice, huh?  (By the way, if you're in this area, and looking for a car, give me a shout, and I'll tell you where NOT to go!)  We should have known better, because when we first got here, we looked at a car there, and when Mike told him the throttle AND the brake felt sticky on use, and the check engine light was on, we were told that "People like us, that had had a lot of old cars were more picky, and most of their customer would have never even noticed....... The upswing, in their eyes, was that they could fix it though, but it would add about 4 grand to the car! We ran, and should have kept running, but what do you do, if they're the only Chrysler Garage in a 150 KM radius.

On to better things though. Our new garage! They've had the car a little over a week now, and within a day, found out it wasn't the engine at all! It was the oil and water pump that were giving us problems. They also found one of the A-arms was broken. They did go thru the engine, and the engine is good. They give a 2 year warranty on parts and labor (so if anything goes wrong, we don't have to pay labor, or parts) and they have checked over the rest of the car for things to keep an eye on, and have found nothing....... YEAH!!!!  I don't know what it is about the cars here, but that's the second car that has a broken A-arm? In all our years driving in the states, we've never had ONE, not even on the trucks! (And I took the mustang successfully up dirt roads I tried later with the Jeep, and she wouldn't pull it.....) Must be all those darned turn-circles/round-a-bouts and tight corners..... :-) But, we should be good for quite a few years, after this.

Not sure if I mentioned it or not, probably not, it seems like forever that I was here..... Mike's brother had a stroke, so, even though we can't do anything about it or help in any way, you can't help worrying about him, and his family. Mike's sister has kept us posted, and last we heard, he was on his way to a rehab facility. Haven't heard from her in a while, so when I'm done here, I'll check in with her, see if all is going to plan.

Over the last month or so, the computer decided enough was enough, and couldn't remember how much free disc space it had... I took of about 300 Gigs of stuff from the 500 Gig drive, figuring it needed the breathing room and it came back within an hour that the disc was full, and it was going to shut down.... I emptied another 50 megs off, and it still showed it had 7 mb room available. We took it to the Mac store in Eindhoven, on our way to see my dad, and they couldn't figure out what was wrong, and why it was doing what it was doing, but they advised to upgrade to Maverick OS........... NOOOOOO!!!! I So didn't want to do that! I like everything about my Snowleopard, the way it works, the way it looks, the fact that the swipe mouse works between finder windows when I'm looking for things on one (or all) of my 4 external drives, and I've read nothing but bad things about Maverick, and you want me to voluntarily upgrade to it?  Well, no, not voluntarily, per se..... Mac is forcing the issue, by no longer putting out security updates, and by making nothing at all compatible with Snowleopard within 2 to 6 months........ So I upgraded, and I've been in computer hell ever since! It DID manage to find the 300 extra gigs on the hard drive, but it's a small price to pay...... Now, it won't charge the mouse, I'm arbitrarily being locked out of my drives, it didn't recognize one all together (I fixed it, but still) the passwords that were in keychain are the only ones it remembers, no matter how many times you change/update them, it keeps putting in the wrong ones, and they're already starting to push for people to upgrade to Yosemite......... It's like having Windows!  As an extra bonus.... I think the superdrive is going out. Every time I put in a disc, it sounds like you're trying to start a really grumpy old dirtbike! (Normally, I would say "beautiful sound", but not if it is being generated from a computer! LOL)

I feel like I've been godawful busy, although, if you ask me with what...... I couldn't tell you. I guess that's where the frazzled part kicks in. I have my check-up a week from Monday, and I haven't been feeling well, so I'm double in a panic. Perky scares the bejeebees out of me, because he is constantly sniffing and doing the mouth-open grimace face, on the spot where they took the first biopsy, and than he lays on it and purrs......... (not helping in the re-assuring department) and on top of it all, Mike has been having trouble breathing, and actually asked me to make a doctors appointment for tomorrow. He assured me it wasn't his heart, but he still feels as if there is a very heavy humidity in the air, and he isn't breathing well.

And I had to go thru this without my therapy of scrapping! Finally, over the last couple of days, I managed to play along in the Progressive Scrap challenge over at the Studio. Not on the regular schedule of days, but with A LOT of patience from Min, whenever I could play, but I got 'em done! Also entered the QP exchange. There were some REALLY NICE pages, so I hope they didn't change them before submitting them as QP. Go have a look in the gallery here

OH! I almost forgot!  Our KA got broken into..... Thankfully, they "only" broke the lock, so we can't leave anything in the car. (Haven't gotten an estimate on fixing it, we're a little short......)  We already had taken the stereo out of it, because it kept falling out anyway, so that's on the hatshelf of the coatrack in the hallway, so what they took, was all there was; the Fuelcard, and the parking permit for Market-day. Neither one is any good to anybody but us, because they are car/base/person bound..... If they were lucky, there was an old broken set of earbuds in the glovebox, but I don't think so.

If you're still reading...... thanks for hanging out with me! And at the same time, sorry for bending your ear this long. Writing the blog is totally opposite of sitting down and writing letters...... There, I think of all sorts of stuff I want to write down, and when I sit down to write come out with nothing as to here, I just sit down to drop a line, and keep everybody posted on what's going on in our little corner of the universe, and I won't stop yacking! LOL.

Well, I hope this found (and left) you in good health and spirit! Don't forget to hug a loved one, (twice if it's a fuzzy roommate) and take care. Hopefully I will be in sooner next time, with less to say :-)