26 December 2009

Ukelele boy

If I'd known you tube when my boys were younger, they would have become famous too.

Right now it's this boy's turn:


25 December 2009

Merry Christmas and be careful!

I want to wish you all a merry christmas.

The snow is raining away here.
Such a pity, even though it's a relief for traffic.
So many more people arrive healthy at the place they want to go to.

You have to be careful though, as this proofs:


24 December 2009

Letter from President Obama

Although it's Christmas Eve, I wanted to share some exciting news: The Senate just passed a historic health reform bill.

In all the back and forth, it's easy to lose sight of what this incredible breakthrough really means. But consider this: This Christmas, there are millions of Americans without health insurance who risk losing everything if they get sick.

There are mothers and fathers who wonder how they'll provide for their children because an illness has wiped out their savings. There are small business owners who worry that they'll have to lay off a long-time employee because the cost of insurance is rapidly rising.

If we finish the job, all this can change. We will have beaten back the special interests who have for so long perpetuated the status quo. We will have enacted the most important piece of social policy since the Social Security Act in the 1930s, and the most important health reform since Medicare in the 1960s.

In Decembers to come, millions more will have access to affordable coverage. Parents will have the security and stability of knowing their insurance can't be revoked at a moment's notice. And the skyrocketing costs plaguing our small businesses will be brought under control.

When you make calls, write letters, organize, this is the change you're making -- a better life for your family and for men and women in every state.

There is still more to do before I can sign reform into law -- a last round of negotiations and final votes in the Senate and the House -- and I'm counting on your help every step of the way. But for now, I hope that as you celebrate this holiday season, you remember that the work you are doing is making our union more perfect, one step at a time. For that, I am grateful to you.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays,

President Barack Obama

P.S. -- Organizing for America supporters are signing a note of appreciation to all the senators who have worked so hard to make this possible. I hope you'll join them:


Merry Christmas!!


23 November 2009

A fast way from water to water

No, I'm not referring to the flooding in the UK. I feel very sorry for all those who are stick at their house or who have lost their home and cherrished belongings.

No, this is something to make you smile or get the chills.


07 November 2009


Representing a country when sporting can lead to complicated situations.
Because countries have all sorts of rules and regulations it's almost impossible to know for sporters.
They have to rely on the information they get from others and sometimes the information is not good.

Studying the law can be from two point of view: what is allowed and what's not allowed.
Both areas should meet seamless, covering all situations.

But at times things go terribly wrong.

A few sporters wanted to represent Kazachstan at the Olympic Games.
They got information, were told it was possible to have two nationalities and passports, someone even called the ministery of foreign affairs and was told it was possible, they were not stopped, and they thought all was well.

Until they wanted to participate in the national championships of their country of birth.
They were not allowed to subscribe, because they didn't skate the selection contests in this country and someone thought they might not be considered to be a citizen of The Netherlands anymore.

They were reported to their councils and now they're facing to be thrown out of the country because it's said they're here illegally.
One of them is a young father!

After all discussions about people with two nationalities I can understand these sporters thought they were able to keep their Dutch nationality.

But bureaucracy is so important int his country nowadays that individual people just don´t count.

It´s about rules, countrol, and certainly not about trusting the good intentions of people.


01 November 2009

influencing the weather

Yes, the weather can be influenced by humans.

Before the Olympic Games at Beijing scientists were able to prevent rain at the main events by injecting chemicals in clouds and have them rain before the event and/or at another place.

This time they were motivated by the lack of rain in Peking.
At a temperature of minus 2 it snowed half a day.

All I want to ask is to lower the temperature here... a lot!
It's raining a lot at the moment and it would make a marvelous pile of snow for children to play in.

Come on... it's almost peanuts, it seems.


18 October 2009

the boy (not) in the balloon

This week the news and internet were full of the story of a balloon taking off with presumably a child in it.

Turned out the kid had been hiding in the shed all the time.

My intuition told me there was more to it.
How could the balloon get in the air?
Why would the child hide itself?

When watching an interview with the child and parents he said something that triggered my attention and made me think it had all been a set up to get attention for the balloon.

I was right.

The father will be brought to court, it's said.
The charges are not known yet.


17 October 2009


Once in a while I stumble upon a website that should get far more attention than it does.

The site from Knowitall.org is one of them.
It's ETV's educational Web portal, and is filled with all sorts of interactive items for K-12 students, teachers and parents. In fact, many of them are websites that can be used as a whole to cover a subject.

The diversity of the subjects is large, so there's something for everybody.

There's a good mix of fun and educational content. For example the song: Wash hands, and the manual for writing a Haiku.

Have a look yourself.


13 October 2009

I'm changing the template.

I'm in the middle of changing the template.

Almost ready with the changes.

How do you like it?


11 October 2009

Plant bulbs for christmas now

I want some flowers at christmas.
When do I need to plant the bulbs?
Or am I too late already.

The next two to three weeks is the best time to plant bulbs.
Some people begin as early as september 15 to be sure to have flowers all days of december. They keep the pots outside for some time and move them inside when it gets too cold.
But you can plant them and keep them inside all the time.

Get some good compost for potting or special bulb fibre that you soak well.
Use clean, fresh smelling, bulbs without a trace of fungus. (That goes for the compost too).
Put the bulbs close together or in layers, but make sure they won't touch each other.
Make the tip come above the sand just a tiny bit.
Keep the pots cool for a few weeks. No need to keep them dark, just cool, but not in the freezing cold.
You will enjoy to see the shoots grow.
When they're 5 cms you can raise the temperature a bit, but not too much at once.

Depending on the growth and room temperature you can move them to the livingroom.

Maybe you have to experiment a bit the first year.
Write down which bulbs you have used and what you have done.

I'm sure there will be a christmas you'll make some photographs to send to me to. :)


Give-away for scrappers

Want to get in the mood of the december month?

Go to Paper Cakes Finds and take part in the give-away for scrappers.

It's a december daily album kit from Shabby Chic Crafts, which will bring you a lot of fun during the whole month.

When you enter don't forget to wish them a happy thanksgiving weekend, because in Canada thanksgiving is celebrated now.


06 October 2009

Gold, dollars and euros

Never ever before has gold been so expensive.
1 ounce, just a little bit more than 31 grams, was sold today for more than 1040 dollars.

For quite some time now investers have been selling their dollars; buying gold, because gold is considered relatively stable. They are afraid of inflation of the dollar...and by their behaviour they're making it a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Today some newspaper reported that the Golfstates are considering to stop using dollars for the oiltrade, and using euros and yens instead.
Even though there were as many articles denying this step, this couldn't prevent a further fall in the dollar.

Right now a euro is about 1.47 dollar, which is almost the topvalue


04 October 2009

Mercedes Sosa

With her deep warm voice she could cry, yell and dream.
When we were young, my friend and I, she was used to teach us the perfect way of singing with full use of our airways, deep, while the sound ran round through the depth of our being.

She died in Buenos Aires.
74 she was.

Ending her life after traveling around the world and after a life full of commotion.
At the beginning of the military dictatorship in Argentinia she was arrested during a concert, and a large part of her audience with her. After that she went to live in Spain.

She gave concerts with Luciano Pavarotti ,Shakira, and many others, at the most prestegious places.
She won many prices and was nominated for the Latino Grammies of this year.

She will be missed by many.

May she rest in peace


29 September 2009

Calling to work that he's ill

Because everyone is so afraid for the mexican flu my working son is told he's not welcome at his job, a shop, when he doesn't feel well.

So this morning I woke him up at 7 because he had to call work in time so they could ask someone else to cover for him.

No one there.

8.30 Colleagues have arrived, but none can handle a call about illness. But someone would be in at 8.

8.01 Another call. No one has arrived yet. But someone knows management will be in at 9.

Let's hope so.
It'll be too late to call in a substitute, because the shop is already full functioning at 8.


27 September 2009

Alicia de Larrocha

It's fascinating that some people have such a talent and commitment to music that they really touch the lives of others.

She was 6 when she first performed, and 4000 performances later she retired.
But music stayed with her as a dear friend.

Today she died. 86 years.
Leaving us lots to remember her by.

Alicia de Larrocha.


21 September 2009

Earthquake Bhutan and Assam

Today Bhutan and the north Indian state Assam were hit by an earthquake of 6.3 on the scale of Richter.

The epicentre was 180 km east of Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan, and 125 km north of Gauhati, the capital of the Indian state Assam.
Reports of feeling the quake come from as far as Bangladesh and Lhasa, but no damage was done there.

Not many reports are in yet, but from Gauhati we hear about buildings with cracked walls.


20 September 2009

old age is fun

There are days that the passing of time really frightens me.
Getting old seems to be a curse, when I should believe politicians and economical oriented fellow citizens.
It's like old people are good for nothing and it's so depressing to read the papers and see how people consider old age.

My gram was a very energetic person until she was beyond 90, so I should be able to balance all the bad news. But I keep forgetting that.

Now I've found something that will make me smile whenever I see it.


18 September 2009

Remembrance of WW2

In the area around Arnhem and Nijmegen in The Netherlands many veterans, their family and dutch people are gathering this week to remember those who lost their lives during Operation Market Garden and to thank those who fought the terrible battle to free Europe from the German occupation.

It's now 65 years ago that thousands were dropped at different places above the area with the aim to take the bridges over the Waal and Rhine and secure them, so the roads would be open to free the rest of The Netherlands.

The operation wasn't completely successful, so the people in the north half of the country suffered the hunger winter, while the people in Nijmegen faced massive bombings and shell attacks as a frontline city.

Queen Beatrix and Prince Philip of England will be present at the memorial service on sunday and the festivities of gratitude afterwards.


15 August 2009


I don't understand why people still smoke.
They know all the dangers, they know it will harm them and the people around them.

Sometimes I come across people who are just not using their mind.

Like a pregnant woman nearby who told me she didn't mind that her child would be smaller than usual, so she wouldn't stop smoking. In fact, she said, she was helpign herself, because delivering a smaller baby would be easier.

Well, the brains of the child will also be smaller, with lesser chance of survival.


01 August 2009

demolishion doesn't always go as planned

No, Ramon, demolishion doesn't always go as planned.

In turkey this happened:


10 July 2009

Right contactadres

Helen, can you give me the rigth contactadres so I an answer your question immediately.


04 July 2009


We were supposed to travel with this organisation!


01 July 2009

How to make a link

Lani asked how it's possible to put a link in a comment section.

Because blogger would take away the fun and display only the link here I've uploaded a graphic with the code.

The quality of the graphic was OK, but blogger blurred it.
But I'm sure you'll grasp the meaning.

Have fun commenting!


05 June 2009

which laundry machine

Astrid asked which laundry machine is best for a large family.

Well, that depends.
When you dry your clothes in a dryer, it's best to have equal heavy loads.
That way your wet laundry won't stay in the machine too long, causing smell.

When you dry on the line I prefer a washing machine with as large a load as possible.
I can't afford an industrial machine, because it requires large wardrobes, so I opt for a 7 kilo one.

I don't care for many buttons.
Just the temperatures, full and half load and the possibility of centrifuge only.

It needs to give a good balance between clean clothes and saving energy.

For me a front loader is best, because I can put the basket under it and just pull the laundry out.

The filter needs to be at a level that I can put a small bowl underneath it to let the water out.
A filter that's too low is a problem, because it means using towels or stuff to catch the water.


01 June 2009



14 May 2009

For you

A friend called to tell me he will be here this summer.
He asked for some musicians and then my memories just started to flow.


11 May 2009

thousand hands

Thousand hands...creating beauty from single movements.


24 April 2009

fool for fundraising

I'm bombarded by mails of people who want me to publicize their fund raising campaigns for autism.

Like last year I'm fundraising for autism too.

But unlike last year people don't have much money to spend.

In fact: I haven't received one single euro or dollar.

That means that overpowering people with even more fundraisers would be foolish.

Considering the fact that I find myself blogging an advertising post for 2 dollars, spending a lot of time to write a decent post for a firm that could buy me my dream, an autism house, within a second without blinking an eye just once, I have declared myself a fool for fundraising this month.

I hope this last week will change things a lot.

Well, there's 2 dollars.....


21 April 2009

Introducing nature to your child

I was asked when I started to make my children aware of nature.

Isn't it strange that we're now so conscious about introducing nature into the lives of our children?

In the past we just lives and nature was part of us.

When my children were born, the first 23 years ago, I wasn't conscious at all about the subject.
I just took my baby walking a few days a week.
Which was quite an enterprise... taking the pram downstairs three steep stairs.. and after that the baby. (Well, that was the reason we moved.)

When we moved, we had a garden and I put the pram in the garden for the afternoon sleep of the baby.
When he woke up, he heard the birds.
(And me chasing a cat! LOL! I didn't want cats to jump on the pram.)

I also often walked into the garden holding my child and pointing out the flowers, smelling the roses.
There mini-walks learned them that some insects needed to stay away and that could be done by slowly walking away. Not by trying to slap them.

When my children got a bit older and were able to walk themselves I took them to the park and we tried to find the plants we had in our garden and to see which animals were new. Like the ducks.
I taught them the difference between swans and geese, and warned them for their power.
Etc etc.

I just followed my heart and explained everything my dad explained to me, like never stepping at the part between the land and the ice on the lake, because the rim is the weakest.

It was fun!!

Over and over again.


18 April 2009

Yes! ShopWiki in The Netherlands too!

2 items that made this week into a memorable one:
Susan Boyle (Need I say more?), and....



ShopWiki is available for The Netherlands too!

I'm so glad, because ShopWiki really makes a difference.

I know, because ShopWiki already exists for Germany and France, and ofcourse in the UK and the USA: http://www.shopwiki.com.

Wiki means "fast", and in this case it means that you can get a fast comparison of products and prizes.

Because shops are not charged to be added, no advertising is involved.
For us, Dutch, it's the way it should be: clean, no ornaments and elbow work.
Just a plain representation of the facts.

Right now over 7000 online shops are participating and I'm sure that number will increase.
I don't know the amount of products are in the system now, but I'm sure it's huge.
Being the cheapest means not only that the consumer gains, but also that ShopWiki sends a lot of customers and potential customers to a shop.

Yesterday I had a dynamic discussion with the man in the house. I want to have one of those little hand-vaccuumcleaners and he'd seen one for 82 euros.
I had seen one for 49 euros, but I knew they were cheaper.... somewhere....
He just didn't believe me because I couldn't prove it.

Just a moment ago I showed him this page, and he was amazed how easy it was to find products and prizes.
Just chose the name of the brand, chose the product and your at a page where a lot of information is provided.

When it's too much: adjust the prize range at the top right.
Or when you just want to know the information about a certain color, chose the color.

ShopWiki gives you the best prizes and the shops where you can go, links included.
New products are added as soon as possible, with the date of addition mentioned.

Additional information, like descriptions and warnings are given too.

Whenever a similar product is available you'll find a link at the top of the page.
In this case I went to this page, where I found items with more gadgets attached.

Another way of shopping is using the list.
We wanted to know more about cleaning the computer and found good tips. The links in the text and a list of related products at the bottom provided us with the products we need, ofcourse with the welknown ShopWiki prize comparison.

We've bookmarked http://www.ShopWiki.nl and take my advice: you should bookmark this site too.


15 April 2009

When to plant bulbs

This week I was asked when to plant bulbs.

Well, it depends.

Some bulbs need to be planted six weeks before it starts freezing, so that's before winter.
When you're not sure, then follow another rule.
The ground should be to 55°F, that's 12°Celcius or cooler.
When the soil is too warm or moist the bulbs will start to rot.

Some bulbs can be planted in spring.
It will say so on the package.

When you're not sure, buy bulbs in containers and put them outside at the time their collegues bloom.
Never ever put them outside just like that.

First water them and keep them in a cool area with temperatures above freezing for a few days.
When the narcisses and tulips are flowering you can put them in the ground.
Remove the container and plant the bulbs in the ground. Not too deep, but at the same level from the top as they were in the container.


12 April 2009

recycling chemical waste

When I blogged the other day how we deal with waste, someone was amazed we even have a seperate system for getting rid of our chemical waste.

We're talking about small chemical waste.

  • batteries
  • medicines
  • paint and other DIY products like thinner
  • lampbulbs
  • oil
  • mercury thermometers
  • injection needles
  • products used when developing photos

These are products that shouldn't be burned with other household waste, because they contain lead, mercury and other materials that will contaminate the restproducts which are recycled, they'll cause airpollution or waterpollution.

All these products are collected at special cars which are found at special times at shoppingcentres. (Chemocars, we call them.)
And we can bring these products to the waste organisation where they have a chemocar available too.

Some products, like batteries, are even collected in many shops that sell them.

As much as possible of the elements is recycled.


29 March 2009

earthquakes in The Netherlands?

I was asked whether we experience earthquakes in The Netherlands.

The answer is: YES.

But we're not in a ring of fire or an area where the bottom is moving because of the shift of continents.
Our earthquakes are relatively small.

In the south of our country, Limburg, coals where mined for generations.
Once in a while part of an old coalmine collapses and it causes some shaking.
There are some breaks in the earthcrust which cause some movement too.

I've witnessed the worst with a magnitude of 5,8.
It was during a night that the earth moved.
It was like a huge truck was driving into our back yard.

Then everything started shaking and my meds fell from the shelves.

First I woke up my husband and he told I was nuts.

Then I switched on the radio.
The studio is situated far more north, and the quake even reached them.
They called: "What's that? What's that?"
Then my husband finally believed me.

In the north of the country quakes are induced because gas is taken out of the ground.
The quakes are minor too.


21 March 2009

ShopWiki, not only for your best buys, but also to silence the guys

My autistic boy is all over the place, because his MP3 gave up.

Sometimes I get stressed because of his persistent requests for new items, but this time I told him I would look for one online. I have no plans at all to go shopping this afternoon.

The kids here wonder why mom is able to "organize" things in no time, especially when it comes to products they use and we have to pay for.

While they are visiting online stores they find with the usual search engines, I just visit my own secret place, and come up with the best prizes and the most advanced items.

Unlike other mothers they know, I suddenly speak their iPod language, so I've already used USB connection, Gig, and I even know that the red iPod shuffle contributes to helping AID's victims in Africa.

I'll share my secret with you as long as you don't tell the kids.
I use ShopWiki.com.

It's as easy to use as Google and at least as fast and certainly more targetted to what is needed when one searches for a special product.

Just enter the name of the product, click, and you'll get a list of information, which includes:

  • photos for fast browsing,
  • name and short description
  • 5 stars rating system (with reviews one click away)
  • best prize
  • number of stores
  • and a pop-up with the list of stores and prizes, clickable, so you'll land on the right store in internet.

To get additional informations you can find at the right side a list of Wiki Buying Guides.
The one I used today was highly informative about the iPod and all related products including the MyVu Media Viewer, which might be something to keep my son busy for a longer time.

I love ShopWiki, because I feel like I'm taken serious as a customer.
Over an over I'm guided to the best buy and I'm even warned when I'm prepared to make big mistakes, something I don't often experience in normal shops.
Take for instance the compatibility between iPods and speakers.
Not all iPod speakers dock at the same speakers. ShopWiki made me aware of this and guided me to the right choice.

At the bottom of the products you can find "related searches".
I was ready with my choice, but clicked some of the links to know more about what young people talk about.
Which came in handy.

I was in the garden, talking with one of my other sons about the iPod when the neigbour asked how he could use his iPod in the car. While my son took a breath to answer, I already said: "Just use iTrip".
The silence that followed was a consequence of their amazement.

They both looked at me and I smiled back.
"Use ShopWiki guys", I said and went inside.

To write this post for you.


11 March 2009

Call for help

No need to say more.
Just watch the video and do what needs to be done.


01 March 2009

Informing schools about autism

I've been asked how I have dealt with informing schools about the autism of my son.

Well, at basic school it was clear something was the matter with him.

The teachers followed their intuition and were able to deal with him, but the new principal had serious problems with him,, because he wanted all children to look him into the eyes and he had the habit to put his hands on the children's shoulders to emphasize what he was saying.

I told the teachers when I requested a diagnostic procedure at a cetre with exprience in autism, and told the teachers that maybe it would be better the principal was informed by the teachers about the influence of his actions on the wellbeing and behaviour of my son.

So they called a meeting, but he was not willing to listen at all.

My next step was making an appointment with him and informing him about the diagnosis.
With it I had a leaflet with information about autism and about how people best react to children with autism.

He didn't know I'd made that leaflet myself.

At that time there was almost no written information available.

The guy didn't care much about the info, until a fill-in teacher was confronted with a situation she could handle, because she had worked at a facility with some autistic children.
He was walking towards my son, when she took a step faster and arrived earlier at the scene.

She handled the situation in a perfect way, so the principal was very amazed.

He never acknowledged his own problems with my son, but when he was able to back out of a situation he would.

The next school told me they were informed, but it turned out they were able to make a mess of the whole schoolexperience of my son, because one man ruined everything that was gained by teachers and caretakers.

He considered to own the truth and told everyone autism is the result of a bad upbringing.

Where the teachers were eager to get more information, he declined everything.

Well, in the end my son dropped out of school.


21 February 2009

easy tomatosoup

Want to make a impressive soup in an easy way?

Take some tomatoes, slice them and put them in the blender.
Add pepper and salt.

Take a pan add the tomatomash,
add water.

Bring to a boil.

In the meantime take two teaspoons and mashed meat.
Grasp little pieces with the spoons and throw them in the soup.

Add 2 bags of instant tomato soup,
a few slices of union,
a bit of vegetables you have left over from the day before, or fresh from today.

Slice bread to little squares.

Put no butter in a baking pan, but rinse the inside with the open part of the union.
Throw in the bread and stir well.
Until they get brown.

Take a few ready cooked potatoes.
Slice them in squares.

Take the soupbowl.

Put a few potatopieces at the bottom.

Soup on it.
The baked bread either on top, at the side, or in a seperate little bowl.

Eat well!


18 February 2009

planting bulbs

Are you ready to start spring yourself?

Buy the bulbs of flowers you like, a huge pot (or more), good compost.

Plants the bulbs that flower last the first, add compost and plant the ones that bloom a bit earlier and plant the ones that signal spring the first on top.

You'll have a long time of fun of a pot like that.

When you put the pot inside the house, the bulbs will flower sooner.


12 February 2009

fire alarms in the house are important

I can never stress enough that smoke alarms in the house are a must.

When my son moved out he got a package with a smoke alarms, and he was very happy with them.

Even though you don't smoke, an alarm in a bedroom might save your house from burning down (when there is someone to respond.)


Read this experience.

Inform your neighbour about the alarms and give them a key to the house.

It's a few years ago that I heard the alarm of my neighbour.
Because I had the key, I went to see whether it was an empty battery causing the problem.
It wasn't.

It was a haircurler she forgot to unplug.
The towel it rested against caught fire.
I ran downstairs to switch the electricity off, then filled a bucket of water.

A demonstration of the firebrigade a while ago taught me how to kill a fire, and I managed to do so.



30 January 2009


Those who suffer from hayfever know how tiring it is.

A stoffed nose, wooly brains and some even have terrible itching eyes, like I have.

There are not much working meds against the eye-troubles, so it's important to find something that works for you.

I'm blogging about this outside the season, because anti-allergy meds take time to work properly.

It's better to prevent that to fight the symptoms after they've occurred, because the preventive meds don't cause as much foggyness in the brain.

Start now taking your meds when you're one of those who are the first with hayfever.



Main image by Comteche.




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