Monthly Archives: April 2016

Simple pleasures

I realize that as I start another morning, my one of my favorite combinations in the world is coffee in bed. Over the past few days in hotels and now tucked up high above the floor in Jan and Keri’s guestroom, I find myself unusually happy. I think partly because I don’t do coffee in bed at home since it is too dangerous. Let’s not forget the fact that if I do get up at home and were to walk to the kitchen to make coffee, I would have three of the four following right after me, delighted that it was time for them to have breakfast, go out, etc πŸ˜‰ Henry always stays put until you go and wake him up with personal attention.

Last night, I think I went to bed around 10PM and didn’t wake up for real until 5AM so that was pretty nice. I have broken the 2AM curse. Of course, just in time since I fly back tomorrow πŸ˜‰ To go with the flying theme, I went for sky blue glitter yesterday during our time at the nail salon. It was such a good time, I am still not sure we shouldn’t go again tomorrow before I leave! Just to make sure I have enough pedicure energy to tide me over until the next time I am in the US.

Yesterday had a lot of different moments. I needed to go back up to the dollhouse because one of the viewers wanted to take measurements. While he was roaming through the house and Skyping, I sat on the front porch in the sun and went through all the mail. Mom still gets a lot of junk mail both addressed to her and to her pseudonyms. Those were easy to process, shaking my head at the stupidity and wastefulness of the sending companies, I dumped them in the recycling bin. Then there wereΒ a few pieces that were not junk and those were reaffirming her death from various institutions. I was like “No, really??”

Interestingly enough, after that I was in the back yard picking up Mikha’s marker and the people over the fence started talking to me. In that conversation, I found my fence maker πŸ™‚ Which was awesome for two reasons – that morning I had been dialing all the regular fence companies and they were telling me it was 3 weeks out for an estimate. Number two, this man wrote his contact information on a piece of a wood, a shim, and his name is Bubba. I couldn’t resist, I really responded to his energy. I liked him a lot. So, the fence will get fixed.

From there, it was off to lunch at GLC with my hilarious and painfully insightful friend, Mark. I’ve often felt that if I were a man, I would be like Mark. GLC is still not sanitized for Seattle’s protection, which is what I like about it. Over vegan corndogs and ginger beer we caught up. It is funny. You think you know someone and they know you and then they say something that completely shakes you up. We had one of those conversations yesterday. I am not sure yet how I feel about it or what I want to do with the insight, if anything at all. I am grateful that my friend was so open about what he thought and observed.

From there, it was off to Jan and Keri’s to check in πŸ™‚ While waiting for them to come home, I got the chance to meet their daughter in law and play with the grand kids – who are such funny little people. They have really expressive faces. It is good to be surrounded by them and their family. I feel privileged to be here and not just because they let me drink coffee in their guest bed!

At 8 this morning, I am headed out to fix the internet problems at their business. It should be straightforward and it is the least I can do to return their hospitality. From there, it is off to meet and sign with the new renters. Making the choice was difficult actually. I think I chose the right ones. They weren’t the most attractive on paper, in terms of the others, but they were the most attractive in terms of all the other factors I was looking for.

I am humbled by the connections on this trip. From sitting in the park with the Rose Princess, minus the rose due to the damn open container laws, to being in the heart of Jan and Keri’s family life, this whole trip has deepened my connections with the people here. I know that is something that I am really grateful for. While I know that Seattle and I don’t fit together anymore in terms as living together, the people and I are still connected. That feels good πŸ™‚

Okay, I have 20 minutes before the household gets up so I think you know what I am going to do… powernap!

I seem to like 2AM

Yes, here we are again. 2AM and wide awake. Except this time, the only coffee available is decaf – which I would rather skip than drink. I went to sleep around 10PM and then only fitfully. When I woke up for the third time at 2, I decided to go with it. They say that sleep is important for allowing your brain to process information from the day. Apparently my brain says that it can do that while awake…

After I wrote yesterday morning, I went to PCC for my favorite vegan breakfast – vegan biscuits and gravy piled over a tofu scramble. Okay, it might sound disgusting and even seeing it on a plate is not that attractive but it so GOOD. It is something I try to get every time I come here. It is not always available but yesterday morning I was in luck.

Having lunch with the Rose Princess turned out to be sitting in the sun on park bench, eating apples and cucumbers, while having a really deep conversation. I was tempted to have a bottle of rose wine handy but the US has these silly open container laws. After our time was over, I spent return drive to Seattle thinking about the importance of connections and how we are bound to each other in ways that are often unexpected and unseen at first glance.

My phone has been ringing steadily tonight. It is all work related so I am not answering because technically, it is the middle of the night here πŸ˜‰

Okay, I think I am going to try falling asleep again since there’s only decaf in this hotel room and I won’t be able to find regular coffee til 6AM πŸ˜‰

Hmm, has anyone seen my sleep?

I powered through yesterday, without a nap and then gave in around 9PM local time. Only to find myself awake at 230AM local time. So, I have been sitting here for the past two hours working, drinking hotel room coffee and patiently waiting to either fall back towards the sleepies or for daylight so I can run out and get breakfast. Somewhere nearby either someone can’t sleep or fell asleep with the TV on. I can’t actually make out the words, I can just hear the sounds.

Technically, I am on vacation days while I am here. However, since I know that if I really ignore everything like a vacationer should, I will come back to regret that and then I will also have too much time here to think and reflect… And we wouldn’t want that πŸ˜‰

I saw the house last night and walked through with the old tenants. It was very, very emotional. Not because I am attached to them but they were the first people to live there after Mom was gone and I remember doing all of the open houses with Rupert. Rupert and Meredith had lived there when Mom was sick so they could have a little place of their own. Walking back into and seeing all of the places my mom had put so much of her time into was really tough.

The trees that she planted are so big now. The first thing I thought was “Mom, we have really got to get busy with bringing them back into check”. The old lilac tree was in bloom which was heavenly to smell. That’s the one I associate most with my garden there, the lilac blooming. When it blooms, you can smell it from everywhere. The magnolia tree had already bloomed and lost it’s blossoms. The last tree she planted, the Japanese maple by Mikha’s grave is thrivingΒ with leaves a bright, bright green. I can’t bring plants back to Amsterdam, otherwise I would be taking cuttings from my garden.

The house is in pretty good shape, all things considered. That was a good thing to see. I would have been really devastated if it had been damaged. The street hasn’t changed other than all of the other little houses have been sold multiple times. Tonight I will go back there to meet some prospective tenants. I also have to get the fence replaced while I am here because the last major windstorm blew a good portion of it down.

When I arrived yesterday, I was through Customs and Border Patrol in record time and out into the rental car. I had forgotten to rent a car before I left and suddenly realized it when we were boarding. Oops! I ended up with a blue VW Jetta that I couldn’t find the ignition for. I was really puzzled and just getting ready to walk back to the counter when I saw a button that said Engine Start and Stop. Being brave, I pushed it and what do you know? Apparently, keys are now an accessory πŸ˜‰

First place I stopped was Dub Sea to get a coffee and see if I could track down Sybelle. I got the coffee and I got the information of when to find her next πŸ™‚ From there, it was off to track down Jan. I am so glad I did because I needed to refill my emotional charger before going to the house. So, for a good two hours, we sat outside in the sun at C&P Coffee, where my mom’s Dutch porcelain cups are on the wall display and caught up. I let all that good karma and warm-heartedness wash all over me. πŸ™‚ I needed that. Once I was charged up, I was ready to head to the house.

On the way back, I did the all American thing and went through the Taco Time drive-thru. And I ate my bean burrito behind the wheel. I was laughing at myself while I was doing it because it so American πŸ™‚ Taco Time was the exception to healthy eating that Mom and I would do. It was our go to if it was time for a junk food excursion. While it is not great food, compared to other options for junk food, it isn’t too bad. Not like getting a bucket of fried chicken. Which my Mom would always threaten me with. She would ask “What do you want to eat?” And I would say “Fried chicken” which would make her nuts and she would come back with a super sassy “I will get you a bucket and you are going to eat the whole thing”. To up the ante, we expanded the bucket to include disgusting side dishes from pots of gravy to the terrible cakes that they offered as dessert for a while at KFC.

I’ve never actually eaten anything from KFC but I think I had a pretty accurate idea of their menu for a while! That reminds me of how much of a clown my mom was and how I miss that.

Later today, I’m having lunch with the Rose Princess. Or maybe it will feel like dinner to me, with the time difference πŸ™‚ I am looking forward to it, even though I know that they will not be okay with us taking up a table for 8 hours like I can so easily do in Amsterdam!

It is supposed to be 80 degrees today. Wow.


Almost too good to be true…

Howdy from way up in the air… and hello from 19CDE. Guess who has a row all to herself? Plus there’s also wifi – which is something that most carriers in Europe don’t have onboard yet. Normally, I like the airplane to be my unplugged time but today it’s not so bad.

Of course, the airplane food is coming down the aisle and they couldn’t get my vegan meal so this might be a little counterbalance to the delight of having a row to myself! It is okay, I don’t fly for the food πŸ˜‰

I was up early this morning at 6AM to get everything done before my banjo lesson at 9AM. I packed in 25 minutes – which was pretty good, even for me. I don’t need much because the weather in Seattle is beautiful and since you all know me anyway, you would be shocked if I turned up in anything remotely fashion forward πŸ˜‰ I did need to make up the guest room and get pet food. All while trying to convince the pets that nothing was up.

Fast forward to banjo, which was fabulous! I knocked Paul for a loop when I randomly starting playing a song out of my head. It went really well and he told me that he noticed that I wasn’t thinking but feeling and that’s the best way to play music and it shows. I get so much out of my lessons with him. I do out of my Dutch lessons with him too but banjo is special, it lets me explore the non-logical side of myself.

Yesterday afternoon, I had a meeting for work which went really well. I like it when I get to be in the room and watch people figure out how they can solve their problems if they make one little change. A little extra spice was that Sunday’s Terrace Company also works there. So, in the middle of the meeting I discreetly sent a message figuring I am here, maybe I will get an answer…

Well, I did and that turned into dinner behind the train station. In a restaurant, not just somewhere back by the extra cars or something πŸ˜‰ I know what you are thinking… you are wondering just what the hell I am doing that is working… Well, I will share my awesome pickup line with you – you can use it too. Ready? It was “I am done at 1700. Any interest in coffee?” I know, such a simple sentence and yet so powerful πŸ˜‰

The point being that I am riding pretty high lately on the happiness horse πŸ™‚ I am supremely grateful for that too. I’ll be using a lot of that energy to make it through the next couple of days when seeing the house again and doing all the Seattle administrative things. Something I am dreading is going through the mail. I don’t know which is worse, the mail addressed to her or the mail addressed to the Estate of…

P.S. still flying… I am thinking about the customs process that I will be going through after we land, which then makes me think about arrivals overall. Schiphol is really a city, I think you could live there – I know my mom and I did. I always like the sensation when you come out of the mysterious doors from the custom area and everyone is looking, wondering if it finally going to be the person they are waiting on. People with their flowers, their dogs, their signs and posters. It’s cute and it seems like the Dutch put such a big emphasis on arrivals. But that makes sense really because every flight into Schiphol is an international flight of one sort or another. I like it and I do it too, when people are coming to visit me. I am not expecting that same kind of experience when I land in Seattle.



That is how I feel right now… which is good preparation since I still have to spend some more time Power Pointing tonight and I have to do my Dutch homework for tomorrow morning.

It was interesting this weekend. Friday afternoon, UPS picked up my busted Surface and then Saturday morning, my laptop wouldn’t boot past the security console and I couldn’t get a recovery code from my mobile. So, what did I do? Said “It is the weekend. Bring the laptop into the office on Monday and try it there”. And that’s all it took! I know that if I had been still in my old ways, I would not have stopped until I had either solved the problem or everything was broken beyond repair. This time, I figured that means I have nothing to worry about this weekend regarding being connected πŸ™‚

All that is left of the elephant is a few pieces. Pretty amazing, actually. Which is freeing because that means when I come back from Seattle, I can start building out my garden. The weather has improved so much that I want to sit outside and work. Of course, at the moment, there are only the pet loungers on the terrace and those are usually occupied when the sun is out πŸ˜‰

Saturday night I went to see the Broadway musical “Pippin” at the Carre theatre with a group from the meetup. Not 100% my thing but I wanted to try something new. I did learn a great deal about the theatre from the other people attending who were all big musical fans. I think that I am okay not following musical theatre like I do music πŸ˜‰

And then yesterday, was one of my best days ever. I sat on a terrace in Amsterdam Noord for 8 hours… I know…Β  And in case you are wondering, I wasn’t by myself πŸ™‚ And that’s what made it one of the best days ever, the company. I am still not entirely convinced that yesterday wasn’t one big figment of my imagination πŸ˜‰ Even if it was, it was still one of the best days in my life.

Okay, I am going to try and pull myself together and be serious about the work I need to do and all the other stuff that has to happen before I leave on Wednesday. πŸ™‚


Friday again!

Okay, only Friday morning but still! I am waiting for my toast to cool and I thought I would sneak in a few words before my first Skype call of the day. Not going into the office today. We spent the day together yesterday in an offsite related to fixed vs growth mindsets so I need to some time to recharge my introvert battery and catch up on the regular work stuff that still went on yesterday.

It was a good day, sunny and in something of a nature preserve. I learned a great deal, especially when my manager told me about 15 minutes before it was going to happen that I would end up leading one of the afternoon sessions. Mindset in action πŸ˜‰

Funny how all that kind of energy usage can wear you out. Last night, around 915PM, I climbed into my fort, turned on the music and fell asleep surprisingly quickly. It had been a big 24 hours in terms of other news as well so I think I was just worn out.

As for the weekend, it is back to the elephant again. I have now another factor that is influencing the timeline. Plus I will be in Seattle next weekend so I have a shortened window to get things done. It is good pressure but pressure all the same πŸ˜‰ This is one of those moments that I am wishing Bex was here to give me a good swift kick of motivation and clear sightedness!

However, I can do it (I think).

Thinking about Mom today for no reason other than being reminded of her affinity for starting new things, not worrying about whether or not she should be a certain way and for always pushing us to do better. I am working on it, Mom πŸ™‚Β and I wish you were here to see it and give me a hard time about it…