Monthly Archives: July 2017


Yesterday, I went to Den Haag for my Lean In circle meeting. I thought that I would throw the boys in the car and afterwards we would go walking in the dunes, where my grandparents used to live. I felt like it would be a good thing to take the boys walking through the same dunes that my Mom had spent years walking through.

When I was growing up, the address in the Netherlands I had memorized was Kramsvogellaan 25A, 2566 CB s’Gravenhage. Talk about a mouthfull. We’d see this address on the blue onion skin paper letters that would come with the red wax seal on the envelope point and know that there was something from Oma and Opa. Opa would type, to maximize the room, and Oma would handwrite her messages.

Opa and Oma moved to this house sometime after 1950. I know this because they were sent to the Netherlands (and thus coming to Marum where Opa’s parents lived) by the Red Cross after WWII and the war for Indonesian Independence. This is the house that my Mom grew up in from about the age of 10. This is the house where I spent summer mornings relearning algebra and geometry from Opa before being released to go spend the afternoon in the stables. This is the house from which that same table I sat at now sits in my house here. The very desk I am typing this at used to sit in this house in my Mom’s bedroom, which was at the back of the house with a door to the balcony.

It doesn’t look like I remember it. The people who bought it in 1999 (thanks, Internet) had done alot of remodeling to their taste, they also bought the ground floor (#25) and as such own the whole house. I’ve been in it and seen what they have changed. The only two things that remained the same were the toilet in the hall and my Opa’s office. That’s the window you see above the door. The front used to look very different, with a proper place to sit outside the living room window. Well, at least stand on and have some flower pots. The fence was definitely not there. Where my Mom’s room used to be, they put in a hot tub sized bathtub for their sons and build a wall through what used to be one big living and dining room and made two bedrooms out of it.

What is the same is the easy access to the dunes right around the corner and the wide open streets. Mom used to walk in those dunes for hours with Scarlett, their Irish Setter. And there was a terribly mean dachshund that lived on the corner that would always try to bite her when they walked by. So, I thought to bring it full circle, I would take the boys for a walk along those very same dunes. I wanted my Mom to see her boys were still doing well, despite the fact that I am raising them, and to feel closer to her. I wanted to be somewhere she had been.

Once parked and properly leashed, we headed off through the gates and into the dunes. The skies opened up. It was not according to my plans… We took shelter under a tree because I was convinced it would pass. Henry was not impressed. Once it seemed that the rain was tapering off, we tried again. Twelve feet further and again, the drenching. And yet, reminded that my Mom would certainly not have stopped because it was raining, we kept going. Until it became obvious that the rain was going to stay.

It’s been raining like that all weekend. As a matter of fact, in the time it has taken me to type this, it went from a sunny morning to a pouring down. In theory, that’s passed now as well. I’ve had enough of it. I know the boys have. It’s almost August, people.

We’ll try the dunes again another day. 🙂


It’s taken me a week but I am finally feeling back to sorts. Last Saturday, I was so eager to get out of the overwhelming Sin City that I was on a shuttle to the airport 3.5 hours before my flight left. And still, they managed to reroute one of my bags to SLC instead of on to AMS. Luckily, it wasn’t the tortilla suitcase – to the relief of the dogs. I have to say, I was probably overdue since it is has been about 10 years since I have had a suitcase not travel with me.

Of course, I stayed awake the whole flight from LAS to MSP and then on to AMS. I can cross the following movies off my list, having viewed them on the airplane – Hidden Figures, The Zookeeper’s Wife, The Hangover, Beauty and the Beast and one other which escapes me at the moment. At the end of next month, GG and I are flying to the states for the annual siblings week – this time to be held in the mountains of North Carolina. Or another chance to binge watch movies 🙂

My interns are off this week, having vacation time with their families. It’s a nice break for me as well, because it means I can focus on getting some things done. I love their enthusiasm and the belief that anything is possible – it’s a great antidote to always doing things the same. However, it also means that I am very conscious of being sure not to discourage them. I try to redirect them. Which then makes me wonder if I am not being fair to them? I mean, at the end of their six months, they will go on to other companies and other experiences in their life. I am going to do some thinking about this over the weekend and before I see them again. I spoke with John today and he shared some of his thoughts and experiences with me from his internship days (like a year ago). He leaves Sunday morning on his first airplane ride to go from Nairobi to Kigali, Rwanda to start graduate school at CMU – Africa. I am really proud of him.

While I was in Sin City, the banjolele arrived. It is indeed disco purple and is a fine, portable alternative to my big banjo. GG, being a musician by long training, was able to pick it up and play several recognizable songs in a row. Me? I took it to Paul and got some lessons on where the basic chords are 😉

Tomorrow I am off to Den Haag for my Lean In Circle meeting. I am meeting them for the first time so it should be interesting! The topic for tomorrow is what to when you are in a culture that does not want to change? 😉 Very fitting.

Information Overload…

Wow, that’s an understatement. It’s almost 6PM and I have just woken up from a nap. The past few days have been kind of overwhelming. It seems like everything here is a just a little too much.

Yesterday, we (my former manager aka Big C) went kayaking on Lake Mead for half a day. It was really beautiful. We left early in the morning when the heat was only 93 degrees 😉 I’ve never enjoyed 55 degree water so much! I couldn’t figure out why I was having so much difficulty keeping up and keeping the kayak on a relatively straight course. When I gave up being worried about not doing it right and deciding just to enjoy my slow and awkward and off course journey up the river, I was rewarded by the site of big horn sheep right by the water’s edge. He had his head in the bushes, in a small bit of shade and seemed to be working with the idea of “I can’t see you so you can’t see me”. Here’s what I was looking at:


At the turning point, we were the first fools into the 55 degree water and stayed in until the last possible moment. On the way back, one of the guides switched kayaks with me and we were off. It much easier downriver, which I attributed it to the kayak having a rudder. When we got back to the launch site the guide told me he wanted to show me something. He pointed to the kayak I had been in going upriver and there was an enormous dent – he called it the kayak equivalent of the Titanic Iceberg. I thought I had caused it and he told me no. He did say that’s why I had so much trouble on the way out because on the way back he had to fight it to keep it on course as well. What a relief 🙂

After getting back to Las Vegas, the C wanted to go to a mall. I know. Both Cs in my life have this similar shopping kick. Into the heat and off to an outdoor mall no less. Luckily, it was Sunday and the shopping time was limited due to the mall closing at 6PM. It was relatively peaceful because it is an outdoor mall. I am going to guess that it gets much more business in the winter.

And then we topped the day off with going to see the Cirque du Soleil’s “O” . It was breathtaking. I’d never seen something like that before. It promptly made me want to learn to dive like that. Don’t worry, I won’t. Walking back from the Bellagio, it took nearly 30 minutes. Which doesn’t make sense when you look at the distance but you can’t move at top speed because of the heat, the insane crowds of people and the way nothing seems to be laid out in a straight line between two points. I get the feeling that Las Vegas is all about trying to distract you from your purpose.

This morning, I went to the Boys & Girls club to spend some time volunteering and getting grounded back in the regular world. I had a great time with the kids and it reminded me again of how great they are at the age of 7-8. ‘That’s the age Raven was when we met, a month past his 8th birthday. You had to be 8 to attend the summer camp and he had just made it in.

I’m having dinner tonight with my friend from Portugal. She asked if we could meet for dinner at 830PM, which is typical for Portuguese meals 😉 We compromised and settled on 730PM. I’m looking forward to seeing her.

Tomorrow, there are Sessions and parties. In particular, a party to celebrate the end of the organization that I was part of until 1 May. I expect to see old teammates and colleagues. Then two hours after that party starts, there’s the one for the Netherlands.

I’m drinking bottles of water, applying lavender oil under my nose frequently and trying to remember to breathe. 🙂

On the way to Sin City…

There’s quite a bit of turbulence today and Ruth the Purser keeps needing to get on the PA system and tell people to take their seats. Ruth seems like she is a little stressed or it could be that there are a large number of passengers that don’t seem to realize that turbulence is not a special effect and when the flight attendants are sitting down, your ass probably should do the same!

Let me tell you, Andre Rieu was great! I fully recommend making Reservations for dinner on the great square instead of buying regular tickets to sit in the concert area. I think my mom might have been around. While we were at the long table, the people next to us asked how we came to find Andre Rieu and I mentioned that my mom had been an enormous fan. All of a sudden, a big piece of bark came falling from the tree above me and landed right in front of me. I took it with me, thinking it would be a nice souvenir. However, we kept talking about my mom and at one point GG got a little teary eyed. Guess what happened then? Something else came falling from the sky! Right at that moment, I was gifted with some pigeon poop right on my shoulder. Even better, GG got three separate deposits! Clearly, my mom was mixing things up, things must have been getting too serious. Or maybe she really wanted to make GG feel welcome 😉

It is true, David Hasselhof was the special guest. Only for three songs and once he took to the stage, the entire square of nearly 11,000 people went wild. It was impressive…

On the other end of the cultural spectrum, there were 65,000 people at Guns N Roses. I bought tickets the day they came out last year. We went with Little C and her oldest son. It was excellent. They certainly know how to rock. They seem a little tense with each other but as far as playing together, it was amazing!

I want to add some pictures to this post but the bandwidth of GoGo Inflight is not really up to that kind of exercise so I will try to do that later from the ground.

I have some agita around going to Las Vegas. I think I have only been there once. I think after one trip there, Reno and Lake Tahoe were alternatives I liked more. I think I am definitely going to be overstimulated from all the lights and nonstop racket. Normally I would roll with this but with all the new things lately, I find myself craving quiet more than ever. I am going to try to build some time into this week that isn’t sensory overload. For example, on Sunday morning, my old manager and I are going kayaking in the Black Canyon. I think this time, I will want to fall into the water, as opposed to when I did it last time in Iceland 😉 There are also some volunteer activities available, like reading out loud to a classroom, etc. I signed up for that.

In previous years of attending Nerd Camp, I always had a team to connect with or a community. Now with the reorganization and with my new role, I feel like I don’t know anyone. Which is ridiculous because I know plenty of people. Whether any of them will be in Las Vegas too is unknown. Okay, the recirculated cabin air is pushing my eyes closed 🙂


It is Saturday afternoon and it’s been quite some time since I last wrote. I could tell you that the Attention pilot was so successful that I simply haven’t done anything other than sit in cross legged position and had deep thoughts about all of the questions about the meaning of life. However, funny as that image is in, since even sitting still for 10 minutes to meditate here motivates all of the pets to come around and head butt me until I show signs of life, it’s not the truth.

The truth is, I am tired. This morning I woke up at 935 and by 1135, I was taking a nap again. One of the interns, not on my team, wanted to throw a hackathon to reach students. I agreed to support her in this. Which really meant letting go and only stepping in if shit hit the fan. After many weeks of planning, it finally happened yesterday. It wase officially from 10AM-10PM, however, it went way over and I was there for the whole thing. She was really happy that she had done it, the students had a great time. This morning, I had several requests on LinkedIn already from the attendees.

This week also mean an enormous reorganization at work. At this moment, I don’t know how many people I won’t be working with anymore since everyone is under an NDA. I know of a few and I can figure out that if I had stayed in my old role, I would have been impacted. Unexepectedly, someone was named to head my one woman department and it wasn’t me. That was a little weird at first since I heard it fifteen minutes before it was announced. However, we have spoken yesterday and it’s my understanding that this is more of a resting place for him while he searches for his next step. In the meantime, I will keep going with the work we are doing. By we, I mean me and my mighty team of two interns.

I also end up going to the office now 4 times a week. Originally, the interns and I agreed to two days a week in the office together but with all of the change and projects we are tackling, it’s getting out of hand. I leave on Friday for Las Vegas, for our annual conference. When I come back, I am going to recommit to the twice a week in the office goal. 😉

Tomorrow, GG and I are headed to Maastricht to see Andre Rieu. I have been informed that David Hasselhoff, yes, that real one, will be a guest performer. I am not entirely sure what to think about that. Applying what I learned last year, we have reservations for one of the restaurants on the square instead of buying concert tickets. This means we’ll be able to enjoy the whole concert with dinner and wine. I am looking forward to it. I have to be back in the office on Monday (poor planning) so it is a 24 hour escape 🙂

Last Sunday, we went with the meetup and the dogs to spend 3 hours boating through the Waterland reserve. It was really nice, I was at the helm the whole time. George was there occasionally to lend a wise paw. However, I left all my sunblock at home because it was overcast and windy and I figured that wouldn’t change. Wrong. Five minutes after we cast off, the sun came out and stayed out the whole afternoon. Which resulted in a lovely shade of really red. It was really relaxing though once I stopped worrying about drowning everyone in the boat by not paying attention.

As for the rest of today, it’s off to walk with the boys, do the laundry, host the monthly meetup tonight at Amsterdam’s last women’s bar and get to bed on time so I can be fully rested for the wonder that is the ‘Hoff 😉