Belasting. Or as we say in English “Taxes”. I am waiting for my call to do my US taxes tonight. I have the privilege of paying taxes to the Dutch government and the US government every year. And having just added up all the expenses I can document from 2013, I am slightly dreading the outcome of this conversation. The Dutch taxes had to be filed by the 1st of April so that’s out of the way. To recover from my in depth Excel skills, I am having a small glass of wine and listening to the new Boy George album in preparation for Monday’s concert. Henry and George are giving me their tax advice. It seems to consist of sleeping back to back and letting the human worry about every thing. Oh wait, I think they do that all the time 😉
I had a really great banjo lesson yesterday. We have moved to up to chords. This means that I am trying to coordinate both hands at the same time. It will take a lot of practice. The hardest part is that I can’t seem to relax my left hand, which I need to do so I can reach the frets in the right places. I know, what is this ridiculous word “relax”? I have a super great teacher, which helps. But I also am starting to get it, which surprises me because I wouldn’t have thought I would be able to make sense of reading music. But they are patterns and I am really good at patterns and discipline. I think composing might be exceptionally difficult for me. Luckily, I have a book of classic banjo tunes. Just you wait and I will be happy to perform them for you…
Today marks 23 years since Oma passed. In some ways I can remember it like it was yesterday. I still remember my mom feeding her beets and other nourishing foods in the hospital, trying to get Oma’s strength up and encourage her to go for another day. That’s how I learned to care for my mom, by following her example. I have been thinking a lot about them over the past few days. Partly because you can really smell the manure on the fields since the weather is warming up and I can only imagine what they would be saying. My mom and my Oma could fool you with their ladylike behavior but I really got my oddball sense of humour from them. My Oma is the one who taught me to stand on the sidewalk, in my pretty handmade embroidered dresses, slapping my knees with laughter every time I passed a pile of dog poop on the sidewalk. My mom who would always set me up to catch the blame. Like when we were walking around Green Lake and she tripped over her shoes and promptly and very loudly said “Now why do you have to hit me so hard? Don’t you know I am delicate?” and everyone stopped to look at me in horror. I am lucky no one called Elder Protective Services!
In addition to the manure, the cows are back outside and the lambs are everywhere. I drive past these vast green fields and think of how much I would love to walk them with my mom and Oma and the boys. Or passing a smaller farmhouse and hearing my mom say “I could live there, let’s see if it is for sale”. I wear the bracelet that my Oma wore first, then my mom and now me. So, I do carry them everywhere. And I have the name as does Joanne – her’s is in the middle. But all the same, I really miss them both. I hope I can live up to their examples.
I have observed an interesting phenomenon in myself. I am starting to lose words in English. Especially when I write. And some times when I am talking, I have to search for the words. Which is not to say that I know them in Dutch either. It is an interesting transition place. Perhaps I won’t be able to communicate at all soon! I will only be able to play banjo and people will have to guess what I am trying to express. That could be alarming.
Tomorrow will be time for the bike commute to Schiphol again. I am excited. I especially want to see how much time I save when I don’t go the wrong direction twice and have to double back! I am pushing for 51 minutes. I’ll let you know if I make it in that time.

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