Monthly Archives: December 2016

All tucked in

Except for me, I am working today. Henry and George are tucked into their basket by my desk. Rupert and Meredith are tucked into my guest room. Outside it is cold, grey and foggy. I feel quite content knowing that Administrator is still running the Asylum ๐Ÿ˜‰

I am listening to the soundtrack of “Juiste la fin du monde”, the film by Xavier Dolan that GG and I saw with the meetup on Monday night. It is melancholic and meditative which makes it good music to work by.

I have a call with my mentee this afternoon. He’s applying for a graduate scholarship from Carnegie Mellon’s branch in Kenya so we’ve really got to get his essay right. I think we will probably meet some day. I know that I am redirecting some of my grief over Raven to this relationship. I am okay with that. I know that for me, working on something helps me process the grief, it makes it feel safer to have the emotions and feelings rather than trying to shut them down.

The construction crew is back at it next door. They took Monday and Tuesday off, which was so nice even if I did have to rely on an alarm again instead of their noise. They also removed the honey bucket from the sidewalk out front so I believe that is a sign that the toilet has been installed indoors ๐Ÿ˜‰

The mail just brought my absolutely lurid new phone case. It is terrible, so terrible, no one would want to be seen dead carrying it. Just my style ๐Ÿ˜‰ The second thing was a Christmas card from my Dad. Reading his handwriting made me realize how long he has been writing cards and letters. I would recognize his handwriting anywhere. Growing up, that was how we heard from him: postcards from exotic locations stamped with US Navy postage and cassette recordings of his voice. So outdated now in the age of the internet but that’s the way we knew him when we were kids.

I heard from the HR person yesterday. My interview rounds are finished but those of other people are not yet. I should hear something from them at the end of next week. If I do, it won’t be another set of interviews (I asked), it will be an offer. That could be exciting, it could be disappointing but either way it will be a way forward. If I give notice in January, that means I will be able to start on 1 March. None of this two weeks business!

Okay, time for my call ๐Ÿ™‚

Breathe deep…

I’m just back from meeting Cedric and Dylan at Schiphol early this morning for breakfast before they continued on to Innsbruck. It was intense… it took about 9 minutes to get into the political. WOW. The twins are going skiing for a few days and then will return here on Friday.

We went up to the Panorama Terrace to drink coffee and eat breakfast. My mom and I used to go there when we would land. It was a good time, even if the conversation was intense. And it gets to that level fast!

Like many other people out there today, I am also listening to George Michael. I wouldn’t say I am a fan, it’s more like listening to the music and remembering the time period that went with it. It’s suitable music for trying to prepare another computer – which is taking forever – and for working on a Power Point.

It is super quiet, not a single coworker online. YES! Can you say productivity goes up? I thought so ๐Ÿ˜‰

First Christmas Day with GG’s parents, sister and some friends was actually really nice. Also intense conversations, mostly related to skating, sport and the Elfstedentocht. Since I didn’t really know anyone very well or at all in the case of the friends, it was less emotionally overwhelming. Since it was all in Dutch and Vlaams (Belgian Dutch), I also really had to pay attention to the words which put my emotional stuff firmly in check. The boys were on excellent behavior, super charming, until George was sitting comfortably in someone’s lap and started letting them rip… You quickly get your dog handed back to you at that point!

For Christmas, I got a framed Shepard Fairey print of Henry Rollins. It is signed by them both and for the 2016-2017 tour, which I saw twice this year. It is super cool and now hanging in my dining room thanks to GG. She got the Raspberry Pi Starter Kit so I look forward to seeing a robot that will walk the dogs or other such useful thing ๐Ÿ˜‰

Not your usual

It’s Christmas. GG just left to go to start working in the kitchen. We will head there much later this afternoon. Although, I have to leave extra time since I can’t actually park Astrid near GG’s since she lives inside the milieu zone in Rotterdam and my girl is too old and too polluting according to the law *rolling my eyes*. I park outside the zone, under a bridge, and then the boys and I cross the highway and walk into the milieu zone. And every five steps, I mutter “good plan, Rotterdam”.

As you can tell, I am full of the Christmas spirit ๐Ÿ˜‰

Last night, the service at Marum was good. It’s a very different kind of church, from the start when you walk in, they offer you wine and cake (GG didn’t believe me) to the choir (all 8 of them) singing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. Last night’s message was based on the concept of Welcome. What does it mean to you? What do you really mean when you say it? And what are you (or not) open for?

The churchyard was dark, they don’t have a great deal of artificial lighting out there. The wind was quite busy and yet it didn’t feel anything other than it normally does, peaceful. I put new hellebores by the Greats and by Mom and Oma. I got my tears out by Mom and then managed to keep it dry during the service.

We got home around 1:30AM. Henry wanted to go straight to bed whereas George was ready for a late night adventure. I noticed last night that Henry has some hair loss on his tail over each bone. It’s making me anxious so we will be going to the vet and I am stopping with searching on the internet for a possible cause.


That’s what I am trying to achieve today, keeping myself distracted from the next few days. Of course, it is not really working so I just fired up Elvis Presley’s Christmas album and I am getting ready to let the emotions out. Or as someone recently said “emotional incontinence” which has a certain truth to it.

Let’s be honest, I really don’t like this time of year. There are number of dates during this time of the year that remind me anew of how many people are missing from my life. This year, I can add Raven and Moortje to that list. So, what am I doing? Poking the dragon, so to speak. I know I will feel better if I let some of this emotion out. So far, it is stuck somewhere around my chest and doesn’t want to come up higher.

This afternoon I still need to get food for the pets, flowers for the graves and a few basic groceries for the next few days since things will be closed here for 1st and 2nd Christmas day. I also need to take out the trash, the recycling to the 3 different drop off points and the boys to the park. Tonight we’ll go to the church in Marum for the Christmas Eve service. I am going to try to keep the tears down to 50% of the service…

Good thing I am getting some of them out now.

My aunt called last night since we won’t see each other on 1st Christmas Day. GG’s family got their names on the schedule first so that’s where we will be tomorrow. I am dreading it. Nothing to do with them at all, it is all me. I don’t want to be around anyone’s happy family at this time of the year. The boys are also invited so I will have my service animals handy. Also, having to take the dogs out to pee is a handy and polite way to get breaks to tell myself to “Pull yourself together” in my best English accent.

It was really strange not to spend lots of time on picking out the perfect gift for Raven and getting it in the mail so it would get to him ontime. It will be even stranger not to talk to him via phone during the next few days.

I’m going to struggle for the next few days, until the family is here — which will then distract me into Big Sister mode.

I love you all, thank you for being part of my life. I’m wishing you the celebration that fits you best this time of the year — xoxoxoxox, C

Has it really been a week already?

Oops… where does time go? Let’s see, here we are on another Tuesday morning, waiting for the phone to ring from a particular HR type. Actually, I am not really waiting that impatiently. I have pushed the whole process slightly to the side. If they come around to wanting rounds 7 and 8, I’m going to ask them nicely what information are they looking for? Because it might very well be that I don’t have what they are looking for or that I do. I feel like I could save everyone’s time with this question ๐Ÿ˜‰

Last night, a coworker called me at 1830 and left me a voicemail telling me that I could reach him up until 2230. I was like “WTF?” It’s not like it was about anything urgent either, he wanted to discuss the meeting we had yesterday morning with the customer. I did not call back. I have worked hard to set boundaries for myself regarding my work-life balance and I have to be very careful about not backsliding! This past Saturday, another coworker sent me a message wanting to talk about another customer. The meeting is scheduled for 26 January 2017 and he wanted to talk on Saturday morning about it. Umm, NO. In case you are wondering, both of these coworkers are Dutch and not in my immediate team. One of them I have never even met prior to the email exchange.

I also work odd hours. Sometimes it is 2100 and I am working on something. However, I am very careful to only expect my coworkers to respond during normal work hours. And I certainly don’t call them at night. Let’s face it, none of us are brain surgeons or first responders – there’s nothing we do that is that urgent or that needs a night time response.

Speaking of odd hours, there’s 11 days left to 2016. I’m not quite finished with my work for this year yet. I am taking the first week of the year off since the whole gang will be here. I am looking forward to that, even if it means that I might need to find some additional chairs somewhere ๐Ÿ˜‰

So much for that idea…

It seems that I will indeed have to be patient a little longer. I didn’t hear anything on Friday. You can imagine how my brain was working over the weekend! Yesterday afternoon, just before my weekly call with my mentee, they called. It seems that there will be another two interviews. Number 5 is tonight and number 6 will be on Thursday evening.

I am not nervous, per se. I need to find my enthusiasm and energy by later today since the interview is with the US. I’ll find it, probably some time after I go to the dentist at lunch.

On the other hand, there are now conversations at work regarding other roles. For the moment, it is just discussion about what might be created in the future. I’m not putting too much stock in it because I know that I need a change now, not the possibility of a change in 6 months.

I’m waiting this morning for the plumber to call me back. In a fit of determination and exasperation with the washer flooding the floor, I attempted some self repairs. Let’s say those didn’t work out so well ๐Ÿ˜‰ You have a new found appreciation for how much water washers use, even on the eco cycle when it’s on your floor!

Psst, brother, did you know that cats make great pillows?


Not just the song although I just fired up the Spotify playlist “This is: Guns ‘N’ Roses”. It seems like a good music to write by. I should also mention that I scored early purchase tickets to their show this summer. As soon as I saw the presale notice, I knew that I had to have those tickets. My best friend in 9th and 10th grade, Tricia, and I were obsessed with GNR. We used to address letters to each other using our GNR nicknames. I still have them. It took a while to teach the postal carrier to deliver the letters, no matter how ridiculous the name seemed on the envelope. I seem to recall that between the summer of 9th and 10th grade, we even wrote letters to the band. Lots of them. Of course, now you would just Twitter or something but back then it was all about trying to create the perfect fan letter.

I am titling this one Patience because I am trying really hard to have some. After my interviews last week, I managed to hold out until yesterday afternoon before asking if they had some feedback for me. A few hours later I got the response that they would be discussing my interviews Thursday with the whole group and get back to me on Friday. Ugh. Still two whole days away…

Tomorrow morning, it’s time for my weekly date with Little C. This is treatment number 10 so she’s well over the halfway mark. We’ve generated some fame, which can be aย little awkward. Today someone came up to me in the office and starting talking a mile a minute to me about Little C and would I mind bringing her a gift? I was like “Sure”. The whole time I was trying to see her badge so I would know who she was. Here’s the worst part, I know I have spoken to her before and more than once. I just couldn’t remember her name for the life of me. So tomorrow Little C will have guess who the gift giver was from the description I can give. Too bad I am not artistic, I could draw a sketch of the suspect er, I mean giver. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I interviewed a potential replacement for me this afternoon. That was interesting… those conversations are always a little awkward because I want to answer their questions so they have a good idea if this will be a fit for them. I try to be overly objective which then makes me wonder later if I was not telling the truth. It is a strange thought pattern. I thought he was very interesting, very different energy than I have, much quieter. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Anyway, we’ll see if he wants to go further with the process.

Interesting times!

Happy Birthday, Meredith!!!

It is official, it’s Meredith’s birthday. I cannot disclose her age, her height, or other identifying characteristics so I will simply say it is a birthday somewhere between 1-100 ๐Ÿ˜‰ If you guess the right number, you will win an unlimited order of fried cheese, since that is her favorite snack. This is proof that she definitely belongs in this family, since we are all variants of cheese addicts.

I am really excited because in 27 days, Meredith (and Rupert) will be landing at Schiphol. In two weeks, I will start practicing the arrival greeting process ๐Ÿ˜‰ It is very convenient that our office building is at Schiphol.

I am trying to think of the right words to convey what Meredith means to me. Let me make it easy on myself and use simple sentences… I am really grateful that she is part of our family and my life. Meredith is our linchpin. We all strive to behave better around her than we do with each other, she inspires us to be better versions of ourselves. Or at the very least to show up using our party manners ๐Ÿ˜‰

Meredith reminds us to be in the moment. She’s always present when she is with you, not distracted or planning for the next day. That’s a quality that my mom had and all of her kids didn’t. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Meredith shows us that you don’t have to be bossy, loud and full of bigย opinions to make your point. I’ve learnedย from herย how to use the power of listeningย  and the secret craft of stillness ๐Ÿ˜‰

I guess it is easiest said like this “Thank you, Meredith, for loving us and being part of our family”. And as for your birthday and year to come, I’m going to wish you even more chances to touch people’s lives, good memories to make and places to see and a birthday cake made entirely of fried cheese. Big hugs today and even more when I can squeeze you on the 29th!