Monthly Archives: June 2016

Still here

I’m not ready to write a great deal, I am saving that for Friday. I am still here and it’s getting harder and harder to keep the compartmentalization in place.

I had to hide in the bathroom at work on Monday because I started crying. It is like I am 100 times more sensitive to everything right now.

I promise I will write on Friday. I’ve got a great many things to say to and about R.

In the meantime, know that I am still here and I’ve got some amazing support of the two legged variety who keeps a pretty close eye on me.

Delaying the inevitable

I need to acknowledge that right away, that I am holding off on grieving. It would be more accurate to say I am holding off on actively letting myself grieve. These are the days that I am grateful that compartmentalization is a well developed skill for me.

I’m asking myself to hold it together until next Thursday, the 30th. Very few people know what’s going on and those that do, I have asked to treat me as normally as possible because nothing brings emotion faster up than kindness.

And while I might have myself convinced that I am in control, I know myself well enough to see the little signs that indicate I am not. I am trying and that’s what I will have to go with.

Yesterday was the longest day of the year already. In terms of daylight, not in terms of work. I’m focusing on finishing this year properly and that means that it is crunch time. In addition, I’m looking to do something else in this upcoming year and I have started verbalizing that intention. In this sense, I feel that the more people know that I am exploring, the better.


I got the news last night via a one line email that my son, my R., left this life on Sunday afternoon. No further details other than a phone number to call in Washington.

It’s true, despite my first reaction that they must have the wrong 16 year old. It is going to take me some time to find my way through this one. In a three year span, I’ve lost the two people who gave some of the strongest definitions to my identity. I’m no longer a daughter and I am no longer a mother.

I’ll be okay at some point. But right now, I am not.

A weekend full of music

Wow, Pinkpop was awesome! I wasn’t sure what to expect because hearing that you are going somewhere that 10,000 other people are going to and it is legendary in regards to camping could be a little overwhelming for your average introvert. And if I spent too much time thinking about what that might look like, I thought I might not go. I spent Friday working right up until the time Caroline and her son, Dennis showed up to pick us up. Then it was off for a two plus hour car ride to the south, to Landgraaf.

We had so much fun in the car. At one point, I couldn’t breathe because I was laughing so hard. We arrived in time to see Bastille, James Bay, Major Lazer and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Β It was a great evening πŸ™‚ It was a long drive home but I managed only to snore for about 20 minutes, I think.

Saturday afternoon, GG and I took the boys to a rockabilly festival on the outskirts of Amsterdam. It was the best place for people watching. Henry and George got a great deal of attention, two little hound dogs that they are. I was pretty good, I left with a small glitter wallet instead of the following – which was also available…


a 1972 Chevy Surburban converted over to run on LPG. Which would solve all my problems with going into environmental zones since it is older than 30 years and doesn’t run on gas or diesel πŸ˜‰ GG’s practical question was “Where would you park it? It is enormous” I said the same place I park Astrid, they have truck parking. And then I made the argument that it would also be an excellent camping vehicle – then you wouldn’t need to tow a camper after you.

George was just in a deep sleep, whistling and making all kinds of doggie dreaming noises. I am pretty sure he was not dreaming about rockabilly but maybe about an endless supply of hard boiled eggs and other people food. He briefly woke up to see if I was getting food and then went back to sleep when he realized that I was making coffee. Henry is simply continuing to keep his eyes closed.

Tomorrow it is Monday again – which is fine. That means that I need to do at least six more domestic things this evening. Perhaps you can tell that I am procrastinating πŸ˜‰

Progress at last

Guess where I am sitting? Yes, in my garden! On the assembled terrace furniture! No, don’t get the wrong idea, I still haven’t received the fasteners. Yesterday, GG and I went to the local Gamma because I decided I was going to buy the missing parts. I needed 45 bolts, 90 washers and 45 nuts. Of course, this is the Netherlands, so you can buy things in modest quantities – 4 per box. If there was ever a moment I was wishing for the bulk volume tendencies of US retail, this was one of them. They didn’t have enough in the size I needed so I had to go with a couple of different kinds. GG told me that I have to realize that in the Netherlands, a hardware store or bouwmarkt (building store), a tuincentrum (garden center) and a furniture store for outdoors are three distinct things usually. I may never take the usefulness of a Home Depot or Lowe’s for granted again πŸ˜‰

Anyway, three hours of painstaking assembly later and we were able to sit outside with the celebratory beverages.


We sat outside til 1130pm, enjoying the very warm weather and the sense of accomplishment! As you can see, the cats were camped out on the packaging that still needs to leave the garden but I will do that later.

After watching a particularly painful episode of “Call the Midwife”(Season 3, episode 10) and crying, I decided it was time to channel Mom and I started planting all of the hanging flower boxes. Of course, I punched a drainage hole in one of them with too much strength so now I have one empty rack.I was a little more careful with the other seven and in about an hour and a half, I had all of them ready to go. I didn’t set them in the planters to see if I would still like them arranged that way next week πŸ˜‰ I committed to it and filled them all in. It looks good, a cheery chaos of color combinations. I still have four plants over, which would have been the perfect fit had I not been the Incredible Hulk.


Slowly, it is starting to come together.Next payday, I will go to the tuincentrum and score some more. Assuming, of course, I won’t need to replant the existing ones because everything was eaten by wall climbing brown banana slugs or hungry zombie shelled snails.

I went to brunch with the meetup today which was fun. Lots of new to me people so we had some good conversations. I finally got Suzanne Vega out of my head, mostly by putting the tunes in other people’s!

I didn’t get around to going to the carwash today to get rid of the last of the Angry Birds messaging but since I have about 45 bolts to return to the Gamma tomorrow, I figure I will combine and do it then. I bought 100 bolts in total and they are not cheap – no discount for volume πŸ˜‰

Busy week ahead. While I was creating yet another Power Point this evening and preparing for a meeting tomorrow, I came across some very good work news. So, that takes a great deal of pressure off of me. Not all of it, but enough to give me some breathing room. You might almost say I am looking forward to going into the office tomorrow πŸ™‚

Henry keeps trying to squeeze between me and the pillows of the terrace furniture. He’s looking at me like “Lady, there are all these pillows but a dachshund needs a blanket, dontcha know?” All the pets are fans of the new furniture, especially when the sun is overhead. Β But don’t just take my word for it.


I am enjoying the last of my bottle of Douro. It’s the red wine I got in Lisbon and it is really quite good. I am not normally a red wine drinker but when I tried this one, I knew I needed to bring a bottle home! I also only have one bottle of white left from Italy, which means I need to travel again or do some ordering.

Things are pretty good right now πŸ™‚ I was thinking that last night, that even though Mom isn’t here to run my garden or sit outside on these long summer nights with me, she still is because I wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for her inspiration. Someone at the brunch today asked me the story behind my bracelet. For a moment, I thought they meant my shiny green FitBit holder but they meant the bracelet that I never take off, the one that was Oma’s first and then Mom’s and now mine. So, I told the story of how I ended up with this one. The woman who asked me was of a certain age and she told me that such bracelets were very popular for a long time here. She works for the Central Library so she always has such interesting factoids.

I said to GG last night that the danger of having such a great outdoor space now means I might never again leave my house to sit on another terrace. πŸ˜‰ I think that might be slightly exacgerrated but for the moment it feels that way!


How they grow up

Today R. turns 16. His birthday is precisely two weeks after mine which we always found an interesting factoid. It seems hard to believe that the boy who I met a few days after he turned 8 should now be 16. No less the path the past 8 years has taken us. Something I have learned over the years is that when I least expect it, I will hear from him. I guess that’s really the definition of a bond. It works like a yo-yo.

Jan sent me some pictures today from her vacation in Hawaii today. They are there with her oldest grandson. I can’t believe how much he has grown up either! Seeing the pictures reminds me of how much I miss my friends and how great Hawaii is πŸ™‚

Speaking of growing up, last night at Suzanne Vega, the man sitting next to me was a clear fan and had been for a long time judging by how excitedly he was reacting to the three terrible get stuck in your head songs. You know the ones I mean. I am not going to list them because then they will get stuck in my head all over again πŸ˜‰ We sat just to the left of the stage, in the very first row. I need to say that I would have been fine sitting further away. I was not converted to a fan! Luckily, GG is fan enough for the two of us!

Before the show, we had dinnerΒ  in a very charming restaurant located in a side street. It was picture perfect, Utrecht has a beautiful centrum. They had an great concept that you could order two half appetizers and two half mains so you could try four different things from the menu. It was really delicious! Kind of the like the best option for people who can’t or don’t want to choose.

I went into the office today. Whew. That was a long day. I had a good talk with the Carolines. It is a pity that we’re not all on the same team anymore but at least we’re still in the same country πŸ™‚

Oh, and still no screws for the terrace furniture. I am at the point of returning the whole thing. We’ll see how long that takes…

Still not sitting outside…

Yep, in theory, there are two more days to go that it is possible that I will still receive the fasteners for the terrace furniture. Saturday was an exercise in email frustration with the merchant and Monday, I finally extracted a promise that their warehouse would send me the fasteners within 4 days.

In the meantime, I ordered a mini shed on Saturday from Blokker and it was here Monday afternoon. I put it together last night and it will give me a place to keep all of the gardening tools and right now all the cushions for the terrace furniture since there is nothing to place them on…

I went to the dentist today for my teeth cleaning and I got a special fluoride treatment apparently. The dental hygienist warned me that when I go to brush my teeth tonight, I will feel pieces of the treatment come off. Now doesn’t that sound appealing?? πŸ˜‰

The weather is beautiful, warm and windy. Not too sunny which suits me fine. Tomorrow I have to go in the direction of Rotterdam for work and I will be taking public transportation. I’ve decided that I feel like I need a little holiday so I will take the train. I always get a vacation feeling when I take the train. So, tomorrow I will take slightly longer to get to my meeting and enjoy the feeling of staring out the window, drinking my coffee and reading my book.

Tomorrow night, off to Utrecht to see Suzanne Vega with GG. She’s the fan. I tried gracefully to suggest taking someone who might be a bigger fan πŸ˜‰ Apparently, there wasn’t one which means I am going to do my utmost not to let “My name is Luka” stuck in my head. I’ll let you know how successful that is! The plus side is I can sit through a great deal of Suzanne Vega if it means sitting next to GG πŸ˜‰