Monthly Archives: February 2017

Hanging in the lounge

I must say, one of the best perks of Schiphol is being able to hang out in the KLM lounge. I can sit here in relative solitude (it is a big lounge) and I have a coffee in front of me and a Spa rood. I am plugged in, at a long circular table with the headphones in. This is the way to wait for your flight. I am only looking at the clock every 5 minutes πŸ˜‰ I don’t need to leave for the gate for another hour so I have plenty of time.

Why am I here so obviously early? Well, at home, the pets were picking up on my travel stress even through I was trying to keep it from them, including not packing my suitcase while any of them were in vision range. But they knew something was up because they were barking at everything and running back and forth. For all our peace of mind, I decided to leave for the airport a little early.

I am off to Munich today. Short flight comparatively speaking to the usual ones. I have two days of training on the latest and greatest features of VS 2017. As a bonus, I get to see my colleagues from Western Europe, who I like a great deal and don’t see nearly enough considering we live on the same continent. I usually see them at NerdCamp or NerdCamp Light. Since those will no longer be taking place in Seattle but Las Vegas, I don’t know how often I will be back in the Pacific Northwest. That’s kind of a strange thought. Not that I can’t buy a ticket myself (and have before) but it was a rhythm of sorts, knowing when I would be in Seattle each year.

Of course, if I have the new job, I won’t be invited to NerdCamp or NerdCamp Light anymore. I think I am okay with that since everything is recorded anyway for people to watch at home or on their vacations. πŸ˜‰

How much my life has changed in the past four years. If I think about where my career is going, that’s a surprise because I didn’t see this path coming without leaving the industry entirely. Now it seems as if the job I have always wanted (and training ground for the grown-up job I want to have) is within reach. It’s definitely a reason to be doubly grateful and to make sure I do not let it slip through my fingers.

Little C has aΒ new family member, a puppy named Mika. I am a fan in general of puppies and the name Mika or any variation thereof, such as Mikha, my dragon cat that was Lientje’s companion for the first 11 years of her life. I’m going to visit on Friday after I am back. Turns out Little C has to go through a round of treatment we were hoping she could avoid. In the meantime, Mika will need to go to puppy school so she doesn’t grow up to be the boss in the house (she’s a Husky mix).Β  It’s my privilege to be cheerleader and a reminder of what happens when your pets do not know you are the boss πŸ˜‰


Back in front of the class

I think somewhere, I must have a yen to be a teacher. This morning, at 830, I was standing in front of a class of 25 11 year olds. The goal? No, I wasn’t practicing my Dutch – rather it was to teach them to create their own computer game. I’ve done this a time or two or three and I always enjoy it, even if I am totally nervous the night before.

The class this morning was awesome – they were funny, rambunctious, curious and eager to learn. I’ve learned to pair them up with each other so they will keep each other on track and figuring stuff out. It is only supposed to be an hour of code but we went easily to the 2 hour mark with other teachers stopping by to see what was going on. This is a school doesn’t have a lot of resources.

After that start, I was ready to rock. πŸ˜‰ It was off to the office. There was a meeting scheduled this afternoon from someone in charge of National Empowerment Plans and I really wanted to talk with him. IΒ  am glad I did – I shared with him the plan that Little C and I made up for our business/foundation over the summer and he asked me if he could take it back with him since we solved a problem they had been trying to address. I told him that Little C and I are available to consult with his organization πŸ˜‰

After that, it was off to the dentist to pick up my new nightguard. I managed to put so much wear on my last one over the past three years that it broke over the weekend… I know what you are thinking… impressive, huh? After that, it was off to home to finish out the afternoon.

GG is off at Wintersport. Not sure if that is one word or two but it refers to the practice of going away for a skiing holiday in the mountains of Europe during Feb. I haven’t actually done it yet, I am still getting the hang of taking summer vacations. Next year, I might try Wintersport. As it is, I ended last year with 10 leftover vacation days. I have 26 per year and I never manage to use them all because there are also national holidays. I have to work into it, gradually. πŸ˜‰

I’m off to Munich on Tuesday for a quick two day training. Unfortunately, it is not adding to my four new countries per year. However, the summer vacation plan that I am noodling on certainly will.

As for the weekend, well, I am going to get started on my spring cleaning. Including the refrigerator and the windows. The weather is getting warmer, tonight I turned the heat down to 15 degrees C, which means it won’t go on at all.

Stranger things have happened

for sure. It started last Thursday night when I was going to start the dishwasher up. I went to the kitchen and opened the drawer to reach in to get the tablets for the dishwasher. Right there, shocked by the light was a rat measuring about 6 inches long without the tail. I slammed the drawer shut and screamed. In that order, no less. There was no way this was allowed to continue… so off to the utility room to grab mops and my bamboo gardening stakes, door to the garden open and GG positioned on one side of the kitchen to keep it from coming further into the house.

With a highly elevated blood pressure, I pulled the first drawer open. No rat. Then the drawer underneath that one, no RAT. Ugh. So then we had to go all around the kitchen island, cupboard by cupboard. Coming back to the original drawer, I could see there was a hole in the back of the cupboard where the pipes go down from the sink. Aha, that must be where it disappeared to. In the meantime, I saw what attracted the rat… my recycle bag of Nespresso capsules. So now I have an overly caffienated rodent to consider as well.

Only thing to do is bar the access. So, I delegated GG to writing messages in Dutch to exterminators so that someone would come Friday. No way was I spending the weekend with this kind of access. You might wonder what were all my pets doing during this? Sleeping under their various blankets, COMPLETELY undisturbed by the idea that this might be considered failure to perform their job responsibilities…

Friday morning, a really nice technician Β came and took apart the base of the kitchen island and spent some quality time blocking the access point and taking other precautions. It was quite handy, GG called City Hall and they transferred her directly through to a line that translates to “Lose Your Beasts”and this is how 30 minutes later, we had him in house and taking things apart. He did tell me that he thinks rats are disgusting and never quite gets used to them, even in his line of work.

After that excitement on Friday, I needed a weekend of non rodent related experiences so Friday night we went to the Escape Haarlem with GG’s friends. It’s based on the WWII history of the building and Haarlem. It was very clever and hard to solve – we did though. Saturday afternoon, I went by to visit Little C since she was due to be discharged Sunday. She was up and about, looking good. I didn’t expect it to be otherwise but it is nice to be able to hug someone and not worry that you might accidentally disconnect them from something πŸ˜‰

Sunday afternoon was time for brunch and we might have agreed to set up a jam session/brunch for next month. Details to be figured out…

Oh, and really what I was trying to do all weekend was distract myself because late Friday I got a message that HR wanted to talk to me on Monday. That’s not really ever a good message if you have ever worked in the US πŸ˜‰ So, we met Monday afternoon at the end of the day. I have been offered the job to run the National Empowerment Plan πŸ™‚ We still have to agree to terms and then I will need to sign a new contract but the job itself is mine, if I want it. Do I ever!!! It will start 1 April so as not to leave my current manager completely in the shit.

So, that’s kind of where things are today πŸ™‚


P.S. Cedric and Dylan, Happy Birthday (Monday). Here’s hoping that 41 is a year to remember – after all, it started out with you being here with us all so it can only reach total awesomeness, it is going to be YUGE. πŸ˜‰Β  love you!


I’ve got to do something with how I am feeling right now. I spent most of today at the hospital waiting for Little C to come out of surgery so I could tell her bad jokes, the latest job situation and make other silly remarks as part of our continuing quest to improve our irreverent behavior. That was a success because around 1345, they brought her out of recovery and she was in possession of her mental faculties. That would have been the moment that I would have expected her to make the most of and pretend not to know anyone πŸ˜‰

I got there around 1030 this morning because I knew that I would only be watching the clock so it made more sense to take my stuff and work from there. The beauty of internet access. I camped out on the floor they would bring her back to and acted as if I completely belonged there. A fine example of bluffing your way in. Turns out her partner, Edwin, was sitting in the patient lounge probably 15 feet away but I couldn’t see around the wall. Once we ran into each other, we had a long conversation about development, the cloud, etc. You know, the stuff that takes the waiting off your mind.

What I didn’t realize I was holding at bay until I was on the tram home was all of the memories of the last time I was waiting for someone to come out of surgery. My mom. She came out of it, they asked who her favorite child was to check her mental faculties. She gave the same answer as she had before going into surgery “I’ll never tell”. It is hard for me to see people I love in a hospital bed. It makes me feel so powerless because I would much rather spare them and do it for them. The logical side of me is aware that it would certainly not solve the problem, totally inefficient use of resources. But the emotional side of me wants to put on full scale armour and wade into the mess, tossing my dear ones behind me like some overdone cartoon.

This morning, when I started my meditiation (which is really hard work), I tried it lying in the bed with the timer set. See, normally I sit in a chair to do this but the pets come and try to sit on my lap or get attention because they are thinking “”Hey, look! She’s sitting there doing nothing right now.” Today, I really wanted to focus on Little C so I thought if I try meditating while I am lying right next to the pets, maybe they won’t figure it out. Except Lientje stepped on the timer and turned it off, without me knowing so I ended up going way longer… never a dull moment.

I know that sometimes I express myself awkwardly. Or more like the Dutch word, onhandig – which means unhandy. I like unhandy better because it fits more of what I feel. I have this enormous gratitude that the surgery went okay and that I have this amazing woman with her affection for stripes and Star Wars as my friend. At the same time, I am conscious of how frail each one of us really is. So, like I said, I am not really sure what to do with all of this. Except throw it on a page…