Monday, August 31, 2009

So incredible!

I bought a true tajine in Agadir, Morocco. I love the Moroccan cuisine and I was looking forward to learn how to cook the traditional dishes. So the first thing I bought, was a Moroccan cookbook on traditional Moroccan food, translated in English. It is a wonderful book and I read it, laying by the pool at the hotel. Reading the recipes made me drool and I was sorry I couldn't try the recipes right away. Every day, at least one of the dishes was prepared in the hotel. I love tajines and I wanted to buy one.
Eva and I took a cab and asked the cabdriver to take us to a local pottery to buy a good tajine. He was very nice, but didn't speak anything but Arabic. But we managed to talk to one another and he took us to a small local pottery where we could pick out our own tajine. The young seller charged us 65 dirham (6.5 euro!), which was a real bargain for us, although he thought it was way too much and he was even afraid to ask us that much. We gladly paid him and the cabdriver drove us back to the hotel, charging us no more than 30 dirham (3 euro) in total.
It was kind of tricky to get the tajine home in one piece, but we managed.
And yes, I have cooked my first traditional couscous: beef meatballs with couscous, dried prunes and tomatoes and lots of parsley and coriander. I absolutely loved it!!
The tajine is a great piece of decoration as well. But I'm sure I'll use it pretty often and as a manner of speaking: I feel like making the 7 vegetable couscous right now! Bismillah!

Mr Cabdriver

We were in Agadir, Morocco and we wanted to take a cab to go to the local supermarket: Marjane. It was a 10 min drive, so not that far by car, but too far to walk. Especially if you don't know the exact location.
So we decided to take a cab. We had asked our guide the other day, and he told us the cab fare would be about 20 dirham (2 euro) per ride. That seemed like a very reasonable fare!
The cab driver told us the ride was going to be 150 dirham (15 euro) in total. We were amazed, but he convinced us it was the best price he could give us. He said there were no taxis on the parking lot of Marjane, so we needed him to bring us back. So we got into the cab and drove off. On the way, the cabdriver tried to sell us several excursions, to make more money. Too bad for him we were not interested. The longer we were in the car, the unfriendlier he appeared to me. In fact, I didn't like him at all.
We got to Marjane and the first thing I saw, was about 20 cabs.. Hhmhmhm.. We paid the cabdriver 100 dirham (10 euro) in advance and told him we would pay the rest on our way back. We told him what time he could pick us up. The supermarket was a lot of fun. We had some time left for coffee and cake and in the meantime, I went to the other cabdrivers and asked about the fare. Does it surprise you that they told me the fare was 20 dirham (2 euro) per ride? I decided we were going to take another cab home. I was not happy with our first cabdriver and as soon as he saw what we were up to, he rushed to the cab stand and started to yell at us and at the other cabdrivers. We ignored him and urged our new driver to drive to the hotel. Bad luck! I gave the cabdriver some extra money. And we told him the other driver was a crook. We taught him the Dutch word: "zeveraar" and he liked that! By the time we got to the hotel, he called everybody a "zeveraar"! LOL

Moral of the story: Make sure you know your prices when you are abroad and stick to them. Tip your cabdriver if he deserves it. Stay away from crooks!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

What are you waiting for?

I hear so many people eat out instead of do some home cooking. But what are you waiting for? What keeps you from cooking? It's so much fun and it's relaxing and it gives you that much satisfaction. At least, that's what it does for me.
When I was at my friend's house, she showed me around in her archery. She has three different kinds of apple trees and we picked quite some apples for me to take home. I tried to figure out what to do with all the apples and this is what I did: I made apple pie and apple butter. Let me give you the recipe for the apple butter. It's easy and totally easy for lazy bones!
Okay, this is what you need:

3 lbs of apples (1.3 kg)
1 pint of apple juice (500 ml)
granulated sugar
all spice

You wash the apples and you dice them, without peeling or coring them. Now that's easy, isn't it? Don't tell me this is too hard!
Dump the diced apples in a pot and cover them with the apple juice (I used ginger bolero because it's sugar free). Bring to a boil and let it simmer until the apples are mushy.
Sieve the apples and throw away any leftover skins or core. Weigh the pulp. For every 1 lbs of pulp (500 gr), you use 1 level teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1 level teaspoon of ground all spice and 12 oz (350 gr) of sugar (6 oz or 175 gr of Tagatesse - a sugar substitute). Bring to the boil again until the apple butter has the desired consistency. Pour the apple butter in sterilised warm jars and screws the lids on immediately. Let the apple butter cool upside down on a damp cloth.
Keep the apple butter in a cool and dark place and in the fridge after you've opened the jar. Enjoy this delicacy on toast or on English muffins or Belgian waffles!

Staying alive

In order to stay alive and remain healthy, we need to take good care of our body. Because after all, we only have one body and we only have one life.

I had my annual check up at the hospital, just the other day. Some testing needed to be done and I won't have any results until September 22nd. That's when I have an appointment with the professor, who looks into my medical records. I don't think the results will be better than last year's. On the contrary. I haven't been doing too well this time. Most of it is my own responsibility, although I have conditions that make it harder to keep healthy.
I never look forward to the check up. You need to be weighed (as if I don't know how much I weigh, thank you very much!), measured (do you think I will have grown or shrunk this year? LOL), there is some blood work to be done (twice to be exact). A chiropodist checks my feet for foot sores and blisters and calluses. Sometimes, they prick needles into my legs, to see if there is any nerve damage, due to the diabetes. My eyes are being checked as well (I wear glasses since the diagnosis). And last but not least, a cardiologist tells me what condition my heart is in. I know my heart rate is way too fast. It's always been like that.

You could say it's like taking your car to the shop, to get it checked and fixed. The big difference is: you can buy another car if your beloved car doesn't do what it's supposed to do. I kind of like to hang on to my body just a little longer. You never know how long I plan to live.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Smokey Robinson

I call them Smokey Robinsons... By them, I mean the relatives and friends that smoke. I have never smoked and I don't know why I am that opposed to it. I know it has got worse over the years. Assuming it has something to do with my diagnosis of diabetes? On a daily basis diabetics have to struggle to remain as healthy as possible: we need to watch our food, calculate the right amounts of insulin we are injecting ourselves, keep low on the fats and sugar, .. We know how people all of a sudden get a chronic disease, just like that. Only a finger snap and you are "gifted" with a condition you can no longer ignore. Maybe that's why I find it so painful that first of all: my own husband smokes.. He has taken numerous of efforts to give up on smoking, but his attempts never last long. It makes me really sad to witness him destroying his own, healthy body. Why do people keep on doing this? It's not that they don't know the hazards, because they do, trust me.

You may call me a bore and you can say I'm not very tolerant, that's your right. I know smoking is bad for you. My grandfather had lung cancer. I remember how he suffered and how difficult it was for him to catch his breath. Why would one intentionally destroy his health? Because that's what they are doing... What profit does smoking give them, that is so pleasant, that it is more important than their body and health?

My husband always asks me what present he can buy me for my birthday. I always give him the same answer: stop smoking.. I would hate it if our daughters would start to smoke one day. He says it would be their choice. Kids that grow up in homes of smoking parents, are more vulnerable to this disgusting habit in their future life. Hubby never smokes in the house and that has been his own choice. I'm very grateful that he doesn't. I can't even stand the sight of him smoking, because it breaks my heart. It's like slapping me in the face and taunting fate. Will I or won't I get lung cancer???

A good friend of mine is so excited about having a baby. She promised me that she and her husband will stop smoking as soon as she gets pregnant. How come it's so hard for me to believe? Why do they think only a baby is worth quitting? Do they think their own life isn't important or valuable enough? What if they get sick before they get pregnant? What if their body is already that poisoned, that it will harm the baby before it is even conceived? I know she hates it when I ask her to give up on smoking. She's not serious about it, but I am.

Three other friends of mine, who happen to be brothers, smoke as well. They are very precious to me and I really value them for many reasons. I would hate to see one of them get sick because of their smoking habits. I love them, just like I love my other smoking friends and relatives. Why don't they love themselves enough to give up the bad habit?

My sister-in-law is a single mom of a nine yo son. She's doing real well at raising him and she has a good job. Her son nags about her smoking on a daily basis. He hates it, probably as much as I do. So yes, we fight a lot about cigarettes and cigars and all the other sh*t.

I love you guys. I do not want to loose you..

Sweet dreams

I was struggling in my sleep. I was too hot, my sheets were already thrown off the bed. I kept on hearing this voice of my eldest daughter: mommy, mommy, mommy, wake up! I had no idea where she were and I tried to locate her. I saw her fade away and then come closer again: mommy, mommy, mommy, wake up!

All of a sudden, I woke up, because I actually thought I really heard my daughter. But she wasn't in the room. A beep-beep came from underneath me. I was laying on my insulin pump and it was giving me an alarm: insulin reservoir low.. That's why I heard my daughter call me in my sleep. She tried to warn me, because I didn't hear the beep.

I believe in dreams. Many of my dreams warn me or tell me something about me or my relatives/friends. Not many dreams are scary, but if they involve my diabetes, I have to be cautious. Nightmares come when my sugar level is way too low. Those nightmares wake me up and when I test my glucose levels, there was a reason for the awakening.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Spank me

Did your child ever ask you to spank him? I have never heard of any child asking to be spanked.. I was truly amazed to watch this show on American schools that are convinced that spanking is a correct way of disciplining children. Over here, spanking was allowed in the old days. Now it is unthinkable that any teacher would spank a child! You would be on the news if you would ever lay your hands on a student, no matter what that student had done or what trouble he had got himself into. By no means is spanking allowed. So I was shocked to hear that the US approves of this. How can spanking be of any good? Do you feel you would be better off if your boss or your husband would spank you whenever you did something they didn't approve of? This really makes me sad.. Nobody is allowed to spank anybody else or abuse them in any way. Who gives us the right to hit other people and especially children? How could they ever defend themselves? We want our children to grow up to be responsible adults that are good to the people around them. And we would spank them in order to do so?? It just doesn't make sense.. I can't understand people still believe that spanking a child with a paddle is the right way to discipline. What happened with positive reinforcement? What's wrong with that? Why would we always point out negative characteristics of a child, knowing that positive reinforcement does so much better? Do we think WE are perfect?
My heart goes out to all children that are being abused, either by their teachers, their parents, someone else.. The hand that is supposed to protect them, hits them once in a while. These children grow up in fear and many of them become abusers when they are adults.. It's scary. The physical aspect of spanking is terrible, but the emotional bruises are even worse. How long does it take to spank a child? No more than 5 minutes! How long does it take for the emotional bruises to fade? Many many years.. And knowing that many of these kids are still loyal to the abuser. Just because it is so twisted and they get so mixed up. They never know when the hand that comforts and holds them, will hit them again, to give them a cuddle afterwards.
Some people even use belts to hit their young children. Those people state it is the only way to make them obey. Wouldn't you obey if someone beat the sh*t out of you??? Hello???? This has nothing to do with obedience, it's all about control versus fear. What a coward you must be, to hit an innocent child.. These children grow up in fear, they will lack self worth and they will become disturbed grown ups. These kids will mostly become parents that will raise their own offspring in a violent environment. Because that's the only way of discipline they know. Discipline is not about spanking.
People that spank are people that loose control. They freak out and they are at the end of their rope. Instead of spanking the other, they should seek help and guidance. Because they are victims as well. Don't create any more victims. Don't spank. Just don't.

E.T. phone home

I'm sure you heard about it: the creepy alien baby that was found in an animal trap in Mexico. It looks pretty creepy to me. But is it real? Or is it science fiction? We have heard this kind of story before and none of the stories appeared to be true. Its eyes look a little bit too familiar to me. Like the aliens you would see in a movie. Why didn't they give it different eyes, to make it look more real?
There are believers and non-believers. I must say: I'm a non-believer. I believe in spirits and I love to watch the Lisa Williams shows. But I must admit: I have never been a science fiction fanatic. The movies make me laugh and I can't even watch it for 10 min because I think it's so stupid and ridiculous. I prefer real life movies.
But anyway, this Mexican farmer found the creature in an animal trap. He was scared and he tried to drown the "thing" (wouldn't you call someone to come see it???). Of course he took its picture before he drowned it. This event occurred somewhere in 2007 and only in 2008 scientists have looked into it. What a shame.. lol
Apparently, the poor farmer died a terrible death afterwards. Revenge of the aliens? Maybe it is a good subject for a new movie?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Clouds across the moon

We were promised a whippet puppy to come live with us. We have been looking forward to having her for a couple of weeks now. But there are clouds across the moon.. The puppies are born, but there aren't as many as they expected: 7 instead of 8-11. Meaning we won't have a puppy from that litter.
I found another puppy. She was born in May 2009 and had the right age to go live with another family. But then the host family decided to keep the dog after all, because she is so sweet..
A third mail came in today. One little puppy that was looking for a new home. Too bad the family can't prove the ancestors of the puppy. I was told that there is another breed involved, so it wouldn't be a true and pure whippet.
It is disappointing and I'm rather sad. I have waited 15 years for a baby whippet, and finally my husband agreed to have a whippet in the house. And now I can't find any.. Maybe I have to be more patient, but the thing is: I'm not a real patient person. Although.. 15 years is a lot of patience.

So we keep on looking, asking around, writing e-mails and making phone calls. One day, we will have a whippet to take care of. I'm convinced it is going to happen. I have a guardian angel and she is helping me out. She's doing the best she can to help us find the puppy to fit our household. And I'm pretty confident that puppy is to be found in the near future. So I am not desperate (yet). Don't tempt me too much..

Potbellied men

Men with a little belly can be adorable and charming. Men with potbellies are not. Especially not, if they think the potbelly is something to be proud of. Men that pull up their shirt to show their potbelly to anyone who wants to admire it, are a big no-no. It's just not done. I'm sure you can picture the potbelly man, sitting on a stool, pulling up his shirt and clapping on his belly, being absolutely proud of the belly he's created!

Did you know that men and their potbellies are socially more accepted than woman with a belly? Women must have flat bellies. If not, they are considered fat and lazy and unattractive. How come many women don't bother if their men have potbellies? And even worse: how come men with potbellies feel they can ask of their wives to be slim and have flat tummies? I see them in the streets: the potbellied men with the slim and attractive women by their side...

I'm glad my husband is slim and I'm glad he doesn't have a potbelly at all. He has some love handles, but I find those rather amusing and cute and charming than disturbing. They come with the years and it makes him more huggable. I'm pretty sure he will disagree and say that the love handles bother him. But I like them. I wouldn't like him to have a potbelly though. Just imagine, his pants being pulled over his belly. Ugh..

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Flip flops and nylons

I have talked about it before. I'm not very happy when I see men wearing white socks in sandals. They are becoming more rare. Do you think women tell their husbands it's not done, or did they finally realise it themselves?

In Morocco, I didn't see any white socked sandals. But what I did see, was even more ridiculous: nylons in flip flops!!! Many Moroccan women wear nylons in flip flops on the beach. Some of them even manage to wear regular socks in flip flops. Unheard of... It was kind of tricky to take pictures of it, because Moroccan women do not really like their picture to be taken by strangers. Right away, they hide their faces. So I didn't disturb them. But it makes me smile whenever I think of this Arabic habit.

Risky business

One of the luxuries of staying in a 4 star hotel, is that you don't have to do anything but relax and enjoy. Making the beds, cooking meals, running errands, mopping the floor... Forget it. You're not doing anything. There's a whole crew of people taking care of everything so you can enjoy a wonderful holiday.

The three of us headed towards the pool, after we had finished our lunch. Hubby had to go back to the room to change his clothes for swim wear. The cleaning lady had already mopped the floor and changed the beds. Hubby went through his suitcase to dig up his swim shorts and trotted to the bathroom to get changed. Apparently, the cleaning lady had left the room to get fresh towels, in the time hubby got in to get changed. So she came back and went straight to the bathroom, not expecting anyone. Behind the door of that same bathroom, hubby was standing butt naked, not realising he was about to scare a young moslima.. She yelled, he yelled back. She ran, he was stunned.. I bet his heart pounded in his body and she had the shock of her life. Poor girl.. She didn't come back to our room. Her elder colleague took over her duties. Hubby wasn't looking forward to a surprise visit of a 50 year old cleaning lady, so he made sure to bring his swim shorts to the pool the following days..

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sbah elgier!

We had a wonderful time in Agadir, Morocco. During our stay in hotel Decameron Tafoukt, we got to meet several sellers from the little shops (souks) next to the hotel. They were very friendly and not too pushy at all. It helped that we were friendly too, and we wished them a good day whenever they spoke to us. There was this one man in particular, an older man, no front teeth left, with an amazing grin on his face. Whenever he spotted us, he yelled: Sbah elgier!!! Meaning: good morning! So we Sbah elgiered him back and the grin on his face grew even bigger. It was contagious, because all of the other sellers started to Sbah elgier us as well. It was very nice to meet them and have a little chit chat now and then. The conversation between us and the other sellers didn't go much further than Sbah elgier, Masa elgier (good evening), shokran (thank you), aafwan (you're welcome), bislama (goodbye), felous (money), .. They did their utmost to make us understand them. Of course they wanted to sell us gadgets and souvenirs and yes, we did buy way too many gifts, but we liked them.

I love the Arabic language. The sounds are wonderful but not easy to mimic. It is funny to hear our daughters teach Moroccans Dutch. What a blast! And they mimic real easy, without any accent at all. Languages are important and without it, we wouldn't be anywhere!
Our youngest daughter and I took an orange "petit taxi" (little orange cab) to go to the supermarket Marjane. The driver only spoke Arabic, so it was somehow difficult to make him understand what we were up to. But he was patient and funny and he even took us to a small soukh because we wanted to buy an original Tajine to cook in. I tried to speak French, but although he understood some of it, he couldn't answer my questions. It's frustrating if you want to speak Arabic but you lack the knowledge. We're learning, definitely. I'm sure we'll visit some other Arabic countries in the future, so our language skills will improve in time.

Goodbye sunshine!

We came in last night. Everybody in the family is still sound asleep, but I wanted to check my mail.. Sorry, can't help it. I can't explain it. Call it exhibitionism, call it ego, call it whatever you want to call it. I missed the Internet! But not to the point that I didn't enjoy being away.

I need to sort some things out, before I can start blogging again. The pile of laundry is enormous and there are no buffet dinners left, so I'd better get some groceries before the Brady Bunch wakes up!

Glad to be back peeps!

Friday, August 14, 2009

All or nothing

For nearly 4 months now, I have written my blogs twice a day and I have loved every bit of it. This evening, we will take off to Morocco, on a holiday. I'm not sure if I'll have access to the Internet, and to be honest: I don't think I will try to find out. No Internet, no cell phone. Just the 4 of us and the Moroccan sun!

So I guess you'll have to be patient to read about our life until we are back, safe and sound. Talk to you later!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sugar mamas and boy toys

Oh my gosh! I saw this show on sugar mamas and boy toys and I thought: people always talked about older men and younger girlfriends, but times have changed and older women are falling in love with younger men. I mean: YOUNG men, like 22 yo's! The women (sugar mamas or cougars) take care of their boy toy financially and in return they get sex. A lot of sex. No viagra involved. I can't believe I heard that... But hey, if both men and women agree to have this kind of relationship, what harm can they do? And who says they must have a long term relationship? So what, if they are happy right now and their relationship doesn't last longer than 5 years? Do 50 yo women need to ask permission to their children, if they want to have a new relationship? Heck no! It's their life after all. And if they want to spend their money on that younger boyfriend, who will keep them from doing so? It is different, if the woman has no intention to financially support the younger man. What if she is madly in love and the younger man is only looking for a sugar mama for financial purpose?
I'm happy I'm married. I'm happy I no longer have to look for a partner. I hear these women look for a boy toy, because men of their own age are mostly divorced, have to pay child support, spend the holidays with their ex-families.. They look for younger men, without any baggage of any kind. Just young, handsome and willing to give love. Lots of love..

Life is a mystery.


I love the house we live in now and we live in a wonderful small rural town. But I know, one day, we will build our own house. I'm already dreaming of the pantry I would like to build then. It will be a cool storage room, full of shelves, an extra refrigerator and a large freezer. The purpose of that pantry will be, to have a reasonable amount of food available, so that I can cook what I want whenever I want. The pantry I have now, is not that small and hubby and I built it ourselves. The only disadvantage is, that the shelves are too deep and too many other things are stored in the pantry as well. Those things - like the waffle iron, baking trays, food containers, clothes pins, .. - require their own space.
I believe my pantry is already full of good ingredients and I do real well keeping up with supplies. I love to have people over and I can always cook a meal from the storage room.

Things one should always keep in its pantry:

* pasta in all different shapes and colors, ramen noodles, rice noodles, ..
* canned tomatoes (whole, diced, with herbs, passata, paste, sauce, ..), good pesto (red and green), roasted peppers, salsa, fresh tomatoes (plump tomatoes as well as cherry tomatoes), ..
* rice in all different shapes (jasmin, basmati, Greek rice, dessert rice, risotto, brown rice,..)
* flour: all purpose, whole grain, self raising flour, 00 Italian flour, corn flour, home made pancake mix, ..
* good dark chocolate and chocolate chips, good cocoa, côte d'or milk chocolate (for night time cravings), ..
* milk, condensed milk and condensed sugared milk (to make chocolate spread or some kind of dessert)
* all kinds of nuts (pine nuts, pistachios, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, ..)
* sugar: brown sugar, packed brown sugar, granulated sugar, icing sugar, sweetener, liquid sweetener, honey, molasses, ahorn syrup, dextro (only if you are a diabetic), ..
* dried bread crumbs (seasoned and plain)
* soft bread (to make French toast and grilled cheese/ham sandwiches), pre-baked ciabatta, pre-baked French bread, flat bread (pita bread), tortilla, ..
* coffee and tea
* coca cola light.. loads of coca cola light! (small cans, regular cans, small bottles, large bottles, extra large bottles)
* legumes: wax beans, cannelini beans, black beans, kidney beans, string beans, borlotti beans, chick peas, split peas, dried and canned lentils,..
* chicken stock cubes and vegetable stock cubes as well as liquid stock
* Asian foods like good soy sauce, fish sauce, wasabi, lemon leaves, sliced ginger, coconut milk, curry paste (green and red), ..
* onions (red, white, sweet, shallots, ..), garlic, ..
* oil: extra virgin olive oil, vegetable oil (I prefer Isio4 oil), sesame oil, walnut oil, wok oil, ..
* vinegar: apple vinegar, plain vinegar, rice vinegar, ..
* mustard, Belgian pickles, sweet and sour onions, gherkins, tabasco, worcestershire sauce, ..
* dried herbs: oregano, parsley, chives, basil, sage, bay leaf, coarse salt, black and white pepper, coarse pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, all spice, ..
* avocados, lemons, limes, apples, bananas, fresh pineapple, ..

Contents of your fridge:

* 24 eggs (free range, of your own chickens)
* cheese (blue cheese, sharp cheddar, young gouda, a hump of parmesan (not the powdered substitute!), emmenthaler to grate, good mozzarella, feta (full fat and 10%), ricotta, mascarpone,..
* vegetables: celery, leeks, spring onion (out of your own garden of course), cabbage, carrots, peppers (I hate the green ones!), zucchini, ..
* butter (the real stuff) and vegetable shortening
* serrano ham
* puff pastry
* anchovy stuffed green olives or garlic olives (for late evening munchies)
* double cream, cream, soy cream
* fresh ginger
* smoked salmon, shrimp, surimi crab
* two bottles of white wine (you never want to run out of white wine)
* two bottles of lime/lemon juice (it's gone before you know it)
* Greek 0% yogurt, sour cream

The freezer:

* sliced stale French bread to make crostini
* French fries for emergency meals
* first class ice cream (pick your favorite taste and brand: Ben & Jerry's will do perfectly well)
* egg whites in small containers or ziploc bags
* home made meringue (they don't actually freeze and they are great on ice cream)
* home made spaghetti sauce, full of veggies that are good for you
* home made chili con carne (in case you need instant comfort food)
* home made chicken ragout (for the same reason)
* home made cookies that are ready to be baked (double chocolate chocolate chip cookies, nothing less)
* scallops and large prawns
* left over white and red wine for sauces (use the ice cube tray)
* berries (never freeze cut up strawberries, they will be soggy when defrosted) of all kinds
* peeled and sliced ripe bananas (for milkshakes, smoothies, banana bread, ..)
* peas, leeks, ..
* ice cubes
* boxed orange juice (to use as a cooling element for unexpected picnics - you can drink it afterwards)
* home made chocolate pistachio fudge (it keeps wonderfully well in the freezer and it will not really be frozen, so you always have a nice chocolate treat for unexpected guests)
* your best home made tomato soup (freeze it in ziploc bags, so you can break off any piece you instantly need for a quick meal)
* home made and precooked meatballs in all different sizes (for soup, for pasta, to be baked, ..)

I hope you're still with me. Otherwise, you probably just left to run some errands. I promise you, you will be able to cook fresh and express meals if you have these things in your pantry.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Love and marriage

We did most things the other way around. We got pregnant within 14 days after we met. We moved house before we were pregnant with our second child. But most of all: I proposed! Yes, you heard me! I asked hubby to marry me! He's not the typical romantic man, sitting on his knees, holding my hand to ask me. So I asked him!

I planned the whole thing in private. I made reservations in a very nice hotel just across the border, in Holland. We went out to dinner in the restaurant of the hotel and all I could think of was: when are we going to go back to our room??? After dinner, hubby wanted to go into the basement, to have coffee and brandy. DUH! What if he got drunk? What if I could not even propose to him, without him falling asleep?

So I convinced him to go upstairs. I asked if he wanted to take a bath before we went to bed. But he said he had already taken a shower and all he wanted to do at that time, was get a good night of sleep. That was not according to plan. Hmhmhm... I had the whole thing set up in the bathroom. The letter, glasses, a bottle of bubbles. I finally suggested he would make me a nice hot bath and so he did..

The moment I will never forget, is when he came out of that bathroom, stunned! Saying: look honey, there's champagne and glasses! Do you think they will charge us for drinking it???

I couldn't help but laugh..! Then he found the letter, burnt corners and tied in a red velvet ribbon. He lay beside me on the bed when he read it. He didn't understand it at first. But then he came back to this world and he couldn't do much else than say YES! For the first time since we met, I saw a tear in his eyes.. It still moves me when I think of it..

No regrets

Today is our 14th anniversary. We got married in church on August 12th 1995. It was not a traditional wedding at all. In fact, the ceremony took no more than 15 minutes. Both our parents wanted us to get married in church although neither of us ever goes to church (funerals and baptisms don't count). But hey, we wanted to please our parents (I can't remember my parents ever going to church??), so we got married in church, in our own way. The ceremony was that short, that my youngest brother-in-law didn't make it to church in time, to see us get wed. In fact, nobody remembered to bring him along..
Because one couple got married the hour before us and another couple was getting married after us, there was a red carpet and loads of flowers in church. So it did feel kind of special after all. I don't remember too much of that day. We didn't have much money to spend. I didn't even have the money to go to the hair dresser on my wedding day. My wedding gown (do you call it a gown, even if you wear trousers? lolz) was too small (I had given birth to our eldest daughter a couple of months prior to the wedding), so I had my zipper open all day.
We had a small reception on the school yard in my husband's hometown and later on that evening, there was a BBQ for the relatives. We couldn't afford anything else. It was easy going and we didn't hear any complaints. Our daughter Lana, who was 5 months at the time, came along (we had no baby sitter as everybody we knew attended the wedding) and she slept all through the party.
My favorite aunt didn't get to spend much time at the wedding. She was rushed into the ER with kidney problems. What a day..
It was great to have hubby's grandfather at the wedding. He danced all night, having the time of his life! He died a couple of years ago. We were really attached and he always joked around.

Apparently, outer appearance isn't important after all, because we are still married right? So I guess we are doing pretty well and I have no regrets about this marriage.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Heavy petting and making out

Our eldest daughter, who's 14, was invited at her boyfriend's house. Yes, she has a boyfriend. He's a very nice and handsome young man, of a family of three sons. Lana and her boyfriend have been together for about 6 months now and they are so in love. He called the other day, to ask if she could come over. They don't see each other that often, because of the summer holidays. Otherwise, they see one another in school. I was a little nervous about her going over to his house, but Lana told me his mom was home and she thought it was okay for her to come over. His mom is a medical secretary in the hospital nearby. I know her. She's the secretary of our pediatrician.
The boyfriend is 14, a good student, he plays soccer and he sings. He's had a leading role in the school's musical some time ago. I've seen him and he's polite and sweet and cute. I think they make a great match.

I'm happy for my daughter, that she has someone to love and love her back. She doesn't have to be afraid to tell us about being in love. We won't use it against her. We give her the freedom that she can handle. She doesn't have to lie about meeting him. It's kind of awkward for me though. I'm not used to that much freedom. At least, not in my teens. By no means could I have a boyfriend. I remember being punished for holding a boy's hand in summer camp when I was 13. The punishment was that I couldn't go to Switzerland on summer camp the following year!!! Hello??? I told my daughters about this kind of punishments and how I resented it. It hurt me big time and never could I attend that summer camp again, because it was for 14 yo's only... It is sad to be punished for holding someone's hand and being in love. It is a wonderful feeling to be in love. But not if you are to be punished for it.. We try to raise our girls in the belief that if they are truthful about what they are up to, we won't use it against them. We won't hold back on them in their growth to adulthood. It's about giving and letting go.

We trust our daughter. She's responsible and she knows about the birds and the bees. I believe the boy to be responsible as well. I'm glad he loves her and she's making her first steps in the world of the grown ups. She's happy. I can tell by the look in her eyes and the smile on her face. And that's all that matters right now..

Good day sunshine!

There's this joke in our house, about the weather forecast. Hubby is a true believer and he and Lana watch the weather forecast several times a day. Since we live near the Dutch border, I tend to rely on the weather forecast of Holland, while hubby and Lana go for the Flemish weather forecast.
We've been checking on the weather forecast of Agadir for a couple of days now. Some links predict rain for the rest of the week (thank goodness we didn't go this week!), while other links talk about 28°C and no clouds or rain. Go figure!
I don't see the profit of watching the weather forecast. After all, there's nothing we can do to change the weather or prevent rain from falling. We can only wish for the best and the best in this case, is sun. Otherwise we would not have chosen Morocco as our holiday destination. So let's be cheerful and hope for a lot of sun and as little rain as possible..

Monday, August 10, 2009

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

There are 9 grandchildren to cherish in our family, that we see on a regular basis. Our daughter Lana is the first granddaughter (14), followed by the first grandson (14), who was born the following day. They get along real well, although they were often in a fight when they were toddlers. They even text message each other pretty often!
Then there is our daughter Eva, who is 12. She loves to play with her cousin, that turned 10 just the other day and her other cousin. He's 9 and a single kid, but great fun!
Don't forget the 8 yo! He's so cute and has the most beautiful blue eyes I've ever seen! We have a special handshake, amongst the two of us and he'll probably be a farmer when he grows up. He's so interested in farming and cattle and John Deere.
Then there's the almost 7 yo. She's my sweet little niece and I'm going to take her to the mall this week, to shop for new earrings and some girly stuff. We love to polish each other's nails!
The youngest is 3. He's being spoiled by the other cousins and he loves it! He's a single child too, but he loves to be around the other children.

It's a great group! They get along real well and we like to go on outings together. In September, we're going to Boudewijnpark, in Bruges, with all the aunts and uncles and all of the cousins. We'll have a blast! It's great to have a big family, even if they are the inlaws!

My number one fan..

never skips a day on reading my blog. Every morning around 8 AM, my number one fan starts to read my blog. It's interesting, to see how people keep coming back to read about one's life. It's like having a shadow, that follows you wherever you go. In a way it could be comforting, but on the other hand it's also freaky, if you know who that person is. Because it's not my favorite person after all, on the contrary.. Later on that day, that person comes back to read my evening blog. Or some other pages. She probably knows my blogs by heart by now. LOLZ. Have fun reading. For once in my life, I'm important enough to you to be heard.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Cut me some slack, will you?

I need some time to myself.. My agenda has been pretty full lately and I need some time off. I'm glad we're going on a holiday soon. I'll turn my cell phone off (I do that quite often lately), read a lot of books (I bought some new books the other day) and relax.. Looking forward to that.

Sweet child of mine

Sweet child of mine.. You've been away for more than a week now. Today, you'll be home around noon and I'll be so happy to see you! I want to hug you right now, because after all, I did miss you heaps! I'm sure you will have spent a wonderful time in summer camp, fooling around with your friends, dressing up, having a tan and eating rhubarb-banana sauce (you hate it! but it's tradition!). You said you were going to refuse the rhubarb-banana sauce. That would leave you to do all the dishes, but you preferred that chore over the hateful fruit dessert.
We couldn't reach you by text message, because the supervisors found out all of you brought your cell phones. And if there's something they don't like.. at least not from you girls! I bet they kept their own phones?
It'll be a very busy day. Your cousin has her 10th birthday and she and I will have our birthday party at grandma's. You don't know about that yet. I know you will be looking forward to the goodies!
I missed you sweetie and I'm glad you'll be home in a couple of hours, safe and sound.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

No sweat

It's pretty hectic around here. Tomorrow, we're having two birthday parties at my mother-in-law's place. So I'm preparing some goodies to take along. The kitchen is a total disaster right now, but hey, we'll all be fed tomorrow, so no sweat, right?

I just put a Southern style goat cheese/red pepper/zucchini quiche in the oven. Meanwhile, I'm making the Moroccan B'Stilla again: the chicken is being cooked and all the other ingredients are waiting to be used.
We have a lot of rhubarb in the back yard, so I'm going to make a rhubarb crumble as well. The dough for Brussels waffles is sitting in the sun, until it's time to bake some waffles for the children. And how about a good old fashioned caramel apple pie? Does that sound like a plan or what? Okay, I won't forget to make some cream puffs, covered with chocolate glaze, I promise! Or maybe chocolate mousse??? I don't know yet.. And kahlua syllabub with golden hokey pokey... Oh my gosh. Who's going to eat all of that?

And no, I'm not going to clean up afterwards.. forget it.. Cooks don't do dishes.

Another one bites the dust

Belgium is the ideal place for prisoners that want to escape. In the last months, too many prisoners have left their habitat, on their way to freedom. If it weren't that serious, I would think of it as a joke. But the guys that do run, are not the men you would want as your son-in-law. You surely wouldn't want to run in to them.

Remember we were thinking of going to Mexico? The Mexican flu prohibited us from going and we chose a different destination. But is it safe to go to Morocco now? The 3 criminals that escaped the prison of Bruges, fled to Morocco, their home land. Two of them are captured already, the third one, Ashraf Sekkaki is still enjoying his freedom. People noticed him in Morocco, near the border of Algeria. The 25 yo Sekkaki fled with his companions Abdelhaq Melloul Khayari and Mohamed Johri. They had the opportunity to board a helicopter on their way to freedom.
Khayari was busted in the Brussels' area. Johri got caught some time later in Morocco. He's waiting to appear in front of a Moroccan judge, to be sentenced in Morocco. I hope they will not let him enter our country again.
Apparently Sekkaki is also in Morocco. He's had a car accident over there, leaving him with an injury to his shoulder. I heard he's hiding in the mountains and the police are looking for him. He'll have his trial in Morocco too, if they catch him..
So I guess we will not do any sightseeing in the mountains. Let's hope they will catch him some time soon, so he won't hurt anyone on his way to more freedom.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Cubs

During four years in my teens, I took care of tiger cubs, as I told you in my blog The eye of the tiger. I worked in Bellewaerde, an amusement park in Ieper, Belgium. I did several jobs, until I got the job I had longed for: taking care of the tiger cubs.. The cubs were taken away from their mother from the day they were born. We had to raise them by hand and feed them bottles of formula. They were super gorgeous! I raised so many of them, during those 4 years. Some years I had 11 cubs at the same time, other years I had about 7. Each one of them had a name (I could pick their names) and all of them had pacifiers. I had my favorite cubs: Miro, Tiba and Fuji. They were the only cubs that stayed in the park for longer than 6 months. And there's this bond, when you take care of animals. I still think of them , once in a while. Most of the time, the cubs were sold to a circus in Durbuy, Belgium. I didn't like the idea of it, but that's just the way it was. There were enough tigers in the park and they couldn't keep them all. I have no idea what the price of a cub was, but I suppose they weren't cheap?
The cubs I took care of, were Bengal tigers, you know, the orange ones with black stripes and some white in between. Sometimes I watch animal shows on TV and once in a while, we see little Bengals. It takes me back in time..
I hear there haven't been any tiger cubs since I left the park. There have been lion cubs, but no tiger cubs. Or at least, they never survived. It is a commitment after all, to feed them that often, even at night. Who is willing to do this job for free?? I know I was.. It was a unique job, I must say.

Move along

It wasn't easy. But you are moving on. You turned 50 and you decided it was time to make your own life, your own truth, fullfil your own dreams. You are an intelligent woman. You are a great mother. You are a wonderful friend. Sometimes you are my own private therapist. You are creative, you are eloquent, you are a teacher. But most of all: you are a very loving person, with an open mind and a true friend..
You have moved. You've met someone. The two of you understand one another and you get along real well. It's different. He's not like the man you married a long time ago. You and him are on the same level in life. That's important to you. I'm sure you will always love your ex-husband, because of the time you spent together and because of the son the two of you raised. He will always be part of your life. So it is possible, to move on, have a new relationship and still keep in touch with your ex. That's because you are so open and liberated and because you are not crossed with your ex and neither is he. I'm glad for all of you, that things are working out just fine! You deserve it!
You invited me into your new home.. I was stunned by the possibilities the house has. What instantly hit me, getting out of the car, was the silence. I heard nothing. It's so peaceful where you live. Your neighbors were looking at me, passing by, like they had never seen a car before. Your lovely garden is so inviting, with the little table in front. That's where you and your friend have breakfast when the sun is out, right under one of the apple trees.
We picked fresh and juicy raspberries, had magenta blackberries and for the first time, I had home made apple ginger jelly. Too bad I missed your friend's rain shower!
We had lunch together. I brought my home made B'Stilla and we made a salad to go with that. You are a true organic food lover and you always introduce me to things I have never had before.
You're happy.. and that makes me happy too.


I made my own version of Moroccon B'stilla. I need to prepare myself for Morocco, right? I had an idea of how it was supposed to taste, and although I didn't have all the right ingredients, it came out wonderfully well! I'm proud of myself!

So this is what I did:

1 big, fat and juicy chicken
2 carrots, 1 onion, 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, a dash of salt, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of harissa

3 carrots, peeled and finely cubed
1 onion, diced
1 teaspoon of oil

1/2 cup of pine nuts (I didn't have any blanched almonds, sorry)
1 tablespoon of sugar

2 sheets of puff pastry
1 egg yolk

2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and diced

Give the chicken a new home in your largest cook pot. Cover it with water and the seasonings, to make a wonderful chicken stock. Don't bother to peel the carrot nor the onion. They are only meant for the stock. You won't eat them afterwards. Cook the chicken for about 45 min until tender.

Stir fry the carrots with the onion in the oil. They don't have to be tender all the way. Some crunchiness is required. Let the carrot mix sit on a plate until you need it further on.
Throw the pine nuts in the pan you used for the carrots. Let them toast until golden. Don't walk away, because you might get surprised! Sprinkle the sugar over the nuts and toss, so they all get a sugar coating. Let the nuts rest on a plate.

Once the chicken is cooked, it's time to get it out of its pot. Be careful not to burn yourself, removing the skin and bones. Tear the chicken into small strips. Grab a bunch of coriander and chop it. Mix it under the chicken strips. Don't forget to feed your taste buds! Add some chicken stock, if you think the filling is too dry. Add the chopped eggs and give it a last stir.

Now it's about time to preheat the oven, to 200° Celcius, or 400° Fahrenheit.
Unwrap the puff pastry. Lay one sheet in front of you. Spoon the chicken mixture out onto the circle of dough, leaving some space to seal afterwards. Spoon the carrots on top of the chicken and sprinkle the sugar coated nuts over the carrots.
Take the second sheet of puff pastry and cover the first one. Press well to seal in all the flavors!
Brush egg yolk over the top for a golden and tasty B'stilla!


* the original recipe asks for phyllo pastry instead of puff pastry
* the original recipe asks for blanched almonds, but pine nuts or even pistachios will do
* next time, I think I will add some snipped, dried apricots as well!
* In Morocco, the locals sprinkle powdered sugar and cinnamon over the baked B'stilla. I skipped that part. I would want to try it though. I'm sure it tastes wonderful!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A mind of its own

My car has a mind of its own... It's been in repair at numerous occasions and I'm kinda fed up with it. It's a great car, really, and I love to drive it. Especially with the top down. But when it doesn't do what it's supposed to do.. gggrrrr..
We were shopping in Bruges and we had the top of the car down. I had to close the top, because we parked the car to enter a store. And my window wouldn't close. Jammed.. nothing I could do about it. It just wouldn't budge. So we opened the top again, turned of the engine, turned it on again, closed the top again, but by no means could we close the window.
There was nothing left to do than go home and call the mechanic to see if he had time to work on it. I don't have a garage, so the car sits in front of the house at night. Not the best place if your window stays open, right? I was lucky, because the mechanic had some spare time and he helped us out right away. It took him over an hour to fix the problem (apparently there were several problems with the electronica), but we're all set to drive again! Keep your fingers crossed, will you? And Herbie, you'd better behave!!

Emergency call

It was pretty embarrassing.. Unloading the trunk of my car, my daughter said: mom, it's like someone is talking on your phone?? So I looked for my purse and indeed, I heard someone on the speaker of my BlackBerry. I thought it was hubby, trying to reach me. So I picked up, my hands full of grocery bags and I said: what's up??? A stranger asked me if I were okay, since I called Emergency.. DUH!! I don't know what happened or how I dialled their number, but apparently I did. I apologised and the operator confirmed the fake call as a mistake..
I'd better check the phone and see if Emergency call is programmed in speed dial..

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Just what I needed

I had this craving for home made Brussels waffles! How about that? A warm, crunchy, Brussels waffle, topped with double cream and fresh strawberries. To die for!
I couldn't find my Brussels waffle mold, so I went to the store to buy another one. Unfortunately, they didn't have it in stock, so they ordered one, to be picked up by the end of the week. But I wanted Brussels waffles now!!!
Eva had already made the dough and it was sitting on the counter, waiting to be baked. I decided to make the waffles in a different mold and you know what? They came out just right! I made 24 delicious waffles and I had about 4, until I couldn't have any more.. Maybe I'll have some more for breakfast tomorrow.. right out of the toaster and topped with blueberries..

Maybe you would like to make your own? I'll make it easy for you and I'll share my recipe:

500 gr of plain flour
1 sachet of yeast
1/4 litre of lukewarm water
200 gr vegetable shortening, melted
1/2 litre of lukewarm milk
4 eggs, free range of course
a dash of salt

Pour the flour into a large bowl and make a hole in the middle.
Separate the eggs and beat the egg whites into snow, with the dash of salt.
Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and let it sit for a while until it starts to foam. Pour the foamy yeast solution into the flour and cover it with a tablespoon of the flour. Mix it all together.
Add the shortening, the milk and the egg yolks and have a final mix session. Cover the bowl with a lid and let it sit for a while, until the dough has doubled in size.
Bake 12 big Brussels waffles or 24 smaller ones. Top with double cream and strawberries or dust with powdered sugar before you drop some dollops of butter on top. Enjoy!
If by any chance you have leftovers (which I doubt, unless you're home alone), pop them in the freezer, in airtight ziploc bags. Just throw'm in the toaster in the morning, for a delicious home made breakfast. Much better than the store bought brand!

The blue pearl

Don't you just love blueberries? They are my most favorite fruit ever! I had tons of blueberries when I was living in the States and ever since, I'm truly hooked on this wonderful blue pearl. I have tried to grow my own, but so far, I haven't seen a single berry on the shrub...
Every once in a while, I find cheap blueberries and then I buy heaps and freeze them in ziploc bags. You can eat them without defrosting. It's like having an ice cream, only healthier. I love to eat them as they are, but they also do very well in yogurt (Greek yogurt is divine) or on cheese cake. Arrrghhh...just thinking of it makes me wanna have some..!
Blueberries are full of vitamins and they contain 14 gr of carbs per 100 gr. So you can eat a lot without your sugar level spiking. It's such a shame that they are so expensive over here. My youngest daughter has the same expensive taste as her mom: exotic fruits and berries are much more interesting than apples or pears. But hey, I rather have them snack on expensive fruit than on store bought cookies that are loaded with fat and excess sugar! Not?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

On the road

I love to take the car and drive wherever it takes me! This time, it took my sister-in-law and my youngest daughter to Goes, Holland. It's a wonderful town for shopping (no kidding?!), having a drink on a terrace, to look out for the best lunch around. The Internet told me that near the Zeelandhallen, you can park your car for free and take the free shuttle to the centre. Now is that a blessing or what? On my previous visits, I had to make sure to be back in time to make sure not to have a parking ticket. That ordeal is gone!

We had a great time. The sun was out, we could catch up talking, do some shopping (you can't believe what a nice figure my sister-in-law has...), have coffee, enjoy a couple of Vietnamese egg rolls, do some more shopping.. My sister-in-law has a great nine yo son. She does very well, raising him all by herself. He's quite a funny guy! My husband is his godfather and they get along well. It's always a pleasure to have Nat over. He loves to help me out in the kitchen or go for a swim with the girls. He and Eva get along real well and both of them still love to play.

It's nice to know, that you have a sister-in-law you can go out with. We love to talk about life, try to solve issues whenever there are any, wonder about self improvement.. She has a very good job and she's had promotion a couple of times, due to her character, her commitment to work hard and her perseverance. I'm proud of her! The last ten years haven't been easy on her, but she's coped well and she has pulled herself together to make the best of it. And that's exactly what she's done!

School uniforms

Our youngest daughter is going to attend a very good boarding school in Bruges, Belgium. She's so looking forward to it! Even to the school uniform. I think she will look handsome in her navy blue uniform (that we still haven't bought yet, because the shop was closed when we went to Bruges..). She needs navy blue pants (so difficult to find!), white polo shirts with a thin blue stripe (uniform), grey blouses (uniform), navy blue sweaters (check), a navy blue coat (check) and shoes (white - navy blue - black). It reminds me of the book Mathilda by Roald Dahl, one of my favorite writers of children's books. I wonder who Eva's new friends will be. Will she share a room with another girl or will she get a single bedroom? Will she be homesick a lot or will she have the time of her life?
The first and second graders have no access to the Internet or TV. Eva says that won't be a problem for her, since she will have many friends to do activities with. Every Monday evening, they will run in group. On Wednesdays, they will have indoor sports like climbing, ball games, dancing,.. And of course, there will be plenty of time to study! She will become such a clever girl!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Look who's talking now..

Today, Facebook for dogs is available in Flanders, Belgium. What a great initiative! Of course I subscribed, what did you expect? It is a good way to keep in touch with other pet owners. There are subgroups per breed. I signed in for the whippet group. And I hope many others will do the same!

Check it out, and see if your dog would be happy to join. There's also the possibility to upload pictures of your sweetheart and share them with the world. How about that... Facebook for dogs... unbelievable, but true.


Some days, I do not like to be available for anyone. But you can always reach me by mail, since I do spend quite some time on the Internet. When things are getting pretty hectic around here, I prefer not to answer phone calls, because they distract me too much of what I was doing. Whether that was preparing a meal, having an outing with the girls or a friend, having a rest, cleaning the house (if you can catch me do that, you'll be very lucky),.. I always like to give attention to the person I'm with. So if I'm with someone else or in some sort of interaction, I'd rather not answer any phone calls. So remember: I may not always be available, but I'm always mailable.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Have a happy period

Periods. I don't remember anything happy about periods. Do you? Some women feel they need their periods to feel feminine. I'm not one of those women. I hated my period from day one. It never made me feel feminine. It made me feel awkward, embarrassed and not clean. I dreaded the day my period would break through again and I felt so relieved when the last day announced itself. Up for another period-free couple of weeks.
Having my uterus removed was one the best decisions I made. Our family was complete with two gorgeous daughters. There was no need to keep on having periods and taking birth control pills. I asked my gynaecologist about it on several occasions. She said there was no actual reason to keep the uterus. I had anaemia because of my intense periods and the constant blood loss wore me out. The hormone swings weren't any good in maintaining good blood glucose control either. So in 2003, one year after being diagnosed with diabetes, I had a hysterectomy. She told me to be careful for 2 months, but soon enough, I felt better and more energetic.
And you know what? I haven't missed one single period!!! I'm so happy that I got rid of them!! It won't surprise you that I couldn't be very thrilled about my daughters' menses.. They don't have tummy aches, no back pain, no excess blood loss. I'm happy for them. Because they have a long life of menses ahead of them.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

We're here for a good time

A couple of weeks ago, I met a new friend I got to know via Facebook. I visited her twice already and we spent a great time on both occasions. What a lovely lady she is. She has a heart for people and animals. She has two cats (one of them is white, has two different colored eyes and is deaf) and a fantastic black Labrador, Nox. He is a guidance dog. Maggy is in a power chair, due to a muscular disease (SMA) and she's a very independent woman, although she needs help at times. She lives by herself and she has a way of handling things the best she can. And I must say: she does real well! It's a joy to go visit her and go out for lunch and do some shopping. She's fun to be around.

It makes me humble to be around Maggy. She makes me realise that life is important and we have to live it the best we can. Some people have more difficulties in life than others, but life is worth living. We may complain about silly things, like the weather or a flat tire on our bike, but how about people that spend their life in a wheel chair, depending on the good will of others to help them out? I think those people are very brave. At times, their disease causes a lot of pain, that is almost unbearable. I don't know if I would have the courage they have.. It's always good to meet people like her. Her character makes you forget that she's physically disabled. She's a good friend to hang out with. Period.

Summer camp

My sweet daughter... you've left for summer camp. You were very excited to spend some time with your friends and away from your family. I'm sure you will have a ball and all of you will have a wonderful time. There won't be much time to take showers or blow dry your hair (and we know how peculiar you are about that) and you will certainly lack a lot of sleep. But I'm so glad you still go on summer camp! Maybe one day you will be on the other side of the group, guiding young children to go on camp.
You had to bring "religious clothes", whatever that means. So your daddy's aunt Erika, who is a nun in the convent, gave you her first uniform to take along. I thought that was a little too much, since she is very attached to that uniform and it is way too precious to ruin it. You still have a lot to choose from: a priest's gown and a nun's outfit, little cap and all. You looked pretty much like a saint wearing it, although we all know better, sweetheart.. you will never be a nun...
Let's hope you will have a wonderful time! We'll see you on the 9th of August! Have fun!

If you feel the urge to surprise Lana with a card, please send it to:

Chiro Mago - Dobo Neeroeteren
Chiro Ekyrpak Lana Joos
Zandbergerstraat z/n