Monthly Archives: March 2017

Live from Dubsea…

I am sitting in my very favorite coffeeshop,  Dubsea . Over the years, I have probably spent more time drinking coffee and eating Mighty-O vegan donuts here than anywhere else. I’ve also had some of the most important conversations in my life here, even if I didn’t always know it at the time they were happening.

I came here around 12 this afternoon. It’s now 4pm *snicker*. Shortly after I got my first coffee, Sibelle walked in. What followed, after I walked up to her and said “Ma’am, I want to make a complaint” was three hours of totally amazing conversation. I am collecting inspiration to draw on for what kind of impact I want my new job to have. I have Sibelle to thank for today’s dose and Jan for yesterday’s.

The day started a little rocky because I needed to sign over all the documents for my mom’s van and send them to my brother. So, you know, signing the title was another concrete reminder that she’s gone. My brother had a really good idea to donate her van to an animal rescue group where he lives in NC. This has been a struggle for me. So many memories of my mom involve her boxy white 1989 VW Vanagon. If I wanted to know where my mom was hanging out, I’d check the usual places for signs of her van. When I was getting ready to move,to the Netherlands, I shipped the van to Cedric in NC, thinking he would get good use out of it and go camping with his dog. Well, Cedric has a truck and turns out he didn’t really need a van. While we were in Cologne, he said he wanted to donate it. I know it is a really great idea, I am just having a little trouble letting it go out of the family. Really, my first instinct was to have it put on a ship to Rotterdam and I would get it from there and drive around Europe. Hello. I know. I barely drive Astrid 8000 miles a year now, what the hell would I do with two elderly cars?

So , I sniffed up the tears and went to the post office and sent the documents off to NC. While I was standing in line, I noticed that they now have Wonder Woman stamps!!! You bet I bought a sheet, exclusively for framing. I thought that was so cool, Wonder Woman stamps. If I still lived here, I would be writing extra letters just to send mail with these stamps!

I am sitting at the long table at Dubsea and the women at the end of the table are having a huge discussion about their sexual choices. Whoa. I am not sure if I should put my ear buds on out of courtesy or if I should give their conversation the space it clearly needs – public airing.  Well, the question answered itself, one party left.

I have another 90 minutes before I am due to meet my tenants. The point is to hear if they have decided to stay another year or if I am going to need to make other arrangements. I think they will stay, since the housing market here is pretty competitive.  In the mail, I had 8 unsolicited letters wanting to buy my house, as-is. Umm, no thanks, creepy property tax stalker types.  They range from the down home aw shucks kind of letter to the would be sophisticated types with made up names that sound like pharmaceuticals. I haven’t finished opening the mail, I kind of got tired of it.

Tomorrow, I’m off again. I’ll be landing Thursday morning, heading home to unpack and shower, and then off to the TechSummit, where I am expected. I guess that means that I can’t be watching movies the whole flight home. It’s a good thing I watched three on the way over 😉

So close…

While I was waiting for the bus this morning in the drizzle, I got a message from Delta that they already knew my flight out of Amsterdam was going to be delayed and that there would be downstream impacts on my connecting flight. Because it was early, the buses were only running every half hour and then when I got to the train station, there were two stranded trains so the airport trains were not running every 6 minutes like normal either. Fast forward to going through the security lines, which where slow moving and full of extra checks, even the priority ones and I made it to the gate just as they started boarding.

Due to exceptional headwinds, they were already predicting an hour of extra flight time. Yeah… so when I got here to Portland, I missed my connection and the next flight available isn’t for another 5 hours. I did the only thing you can do in these kinds of situations… walk to collect steps so your Fitbit competitors don’t get too far ahead of you because you spent 10 plus hours sitting in a chair. Luckily, Portland has a Burgerville inside the terminal. Burgerville is something of a local awesomeness that Lawyerella introduced me to first. And then we got my mom into it as well. It sort of became the theme that whomever would be driving past Portland or flying through it would bring Burgerville veggie burgers back for everyone. One time we even brought 30 back – we called from another exit. It’s funny, it is something I hadn’t thought about for years and suddenly there it was. In honor of my mom’s favorite I ordered the Anasazi burger (veg) spicy. It brought back alot of memories.

I have been thinking about that lately, memories and the trajectory of my life over the past few years. Especially now that I am at another crossroads point and going to start something new in terms of my worklife. And it’s been nearly a year with GG. I wish I could say I had some shining insights to share that would solve multiple problems but it’s not that far along 😉

Anyway, by the time I land in Seattle tonight, it will be somewhere around 5am Dutch time so I am pretty sure that I will mange to fall asleep in record time. I have a list of things and appointments to take care of between now and when I leave again on Wednesday.



A quick note to let you know that George is stuck in one of those very unhandy collars that has him banging into everything. The vet called today while he was having his teeth cleaned to let me know that there was a pretty big growth over his eye and it would be a good time to remove it before they couldn’t. So, poor George is now walking around with a pirate like right eye, complete with stitches. Henry had a wart between his toes that needed to be removed. Amazing what they find during teeth cleaning. It’s a bit of a nursing ward here since naturally we were sent home with two types of pills, an eye salve and gum gel.

Poor George will be banging around until the 27th with his awkward headgear. I modified it with scissors so he can at least eat and drink slightly easier. His urine was too diluted to test so that still needs to be collected. An attentive reader sent me a link on how to collect a specimen from your dog, using the previously mentioned soup ladle or a cookie sheet, depending on which one you think your dog will tolerate more…

It is election day here in the Netherlands. GG got a pass to cast her ballot in Amsterdam instead of Rotterdam so we followed her to the voting place, where she proceeded to unfold an enornmous poster sized paper and armed with a pencil, made her choices. The voting system is differrent here since it is a multi party system. You vote for your party choice first and then one person from that list. However, each party might have anywhere between 1-100 people on their list. From all the votes, seats are assigned based on the number of votes. So even the smallest parties have a chance of getting a seat or two. From there, a coalition has to be formed from the parties for the government to go to work. Mostly it works out.

And as for me, tomorrow morning I am telling my immediate coworkers that I am moving on to another role. I am excited to do it, since I feel like I have been carrying around a secret. It will also make things suddenly very concrete as they will have to figure out what they are going to take over…

There’s a great deal of press coverage over whether or not Geert Wilders and his party would win here, building on the UK and US elections. While final results won’t be in until Friday, right now, that’s not looking so likely 🙂


Tap, tap, is this thing on?

I know, I was wondering what happened to myself! 😉 You know it has been too long since you last wrote when the entire WP interface looks different.

The boys are having their post dinner nap, the dryer is running and I have the Game of Thrones soundtrack on repeat. I’m taking a break from work for the moment since I started today with a lengthy tasklist and I only added to it. Only one item actually got checked off today *sigh* and I added six more items.

When I last wrote, I was waiting on the details of the offer from HR. Well, let’s say that turned out to be “Thanks but no thanks” kind of thing. I advocated for myself and the responses were mixed. In the end, a week later we came to an agreement and on International Women’s Day, I accepted the offer. I thought that was a pretty good example of liberation! That was Wednesday, by Friday my manager had already asked me to postpone my departure from 15 April to 1 May. I agreed to it because she’s been an incredible inspiration to me and I know that she had a very concrete reason for asking. But inside, I was stomping my feet and scowling. It will be announced next week officially. Before then, I need to tell my immediate coworkers because I think it would be unprofessional not to. It makes it hard for me to sit still in meetings though 😉

Banjo today. I’m working on the tune “Shady Grove” which manages to involve some complicated technique with every single bar. Just when I think I have reached the end of the bar and can breath again, here comes the next one. Paul makes it look so easy *sigh*.

GG and I went to the Roze Filmdagen Festival last night and saw the movie “Southwest of Salem”. It was pretty powerful documentary. Now that the worst of the weather is past and the sun is out, we’re practicing our cycling. Let me tell you, the tourists are already here and in full swing on their rental bicycles. I am reminded that when the weather is good and you have properly inflated tires, riding a bike is like being set free. I actually make sound effects while I ride my bike, like braking noises and when I take a sharp turn, there’s a swoosh sound that I make. I know, it’s a little weird, but probably not the craziest thing Amsterdam has ever seen 😉

Off to Seattle on Saturday for another 3 day trip. I need to take care of some stuff, including tortillas. So, try to schedule that snow for somewhere else, won’t you?

We all went to the vet on Friday and the good news is that Lientje’s kidney values are staying stable and she even gained two ounces so that’s exciting. Henry and George are both going on Wednesday for their teeth cleaning, that’s less exciting. But they are 11 and it has been 2 years since the last cleaning. George’s kidney values are a little high so they would like me to collect a urine sample. The vet said the easiest way to do this was to use a soup ladle… I think I know George well enough that if I were to suddenly show up with a soup ladle while he is writing his pee-mail, he would immediately stop what he was doing and check the ladle out. I think I am going to have to figure out another method 😉

Not quite how I expected it

to go… the strong windstorm that socked Europe last week caused KLM to cancel my flight back from Munich. Not just my flight, of course, but 90 in total. The earliest they could get me back was Saturday morning… that was not an option. Ultimately, they found a space for me on Lufthansa on Friday night which was better than nothing. I had long day in the airport on Friday, pacing Terminal 2 back and forth – go ahead and quiz me on the terminal layout and location of amenities.

I’ll spare you the details of my frustration with the local cuisine, with the exception of the reason that I decided not to go to the group dinner on the second night. On the daily special of the menu, it said “Pan fried calf’s head” . Yup. I knew that was not something I wanted to see in my range of vision. Turns out I made a wise choice since the next morning my colleagues advised that it was a bit like a Game of Thrones banquet with entire animals being served at the tables. I don’t think I am an unreasonable vegetarian, I just know there are some things that I do not want to be part of or look at. Pan fried calf’s head is one of them. I also think it is a waste of money for me to go to a dinner where I won’t be eating anything. So it was off to find a salad bar that resembled a bad version of the 80’s era Pizza Hut ones but with sauerkraut. For eleven euro, I had a salad that involved a large amount of pickled vegetables which was unusual flavor in a salad but not bad!

The past two days I have been one of the roaming proctors in a hands-on DevOps workshop, with 100 participants. So, today I am working from home so I can get everything in order, catch up and recharge the introvert battery. I’ll go to the office tomorrow. It’s the 1st of March. This morning I had a conversation with HR about the potential new job. I’m waiting now on the “written”copy of the information and then I will need to make a decision. In theory, this afternoon I could be sending an email that says “31 March is my last day so get your complaints in fast”;)

The contractors next door are hammering away again today. It comes down to turning up my music loud enough to drown out their air compressors 😉