Monthly Archives: November 2017

Oops, 2 weeks of silence…

I knew that I felt a little busy but I didn’t realize until I looked at the last time that I wrote two weeks have flown by! It’s Thanksgiving weekend in the US so I hope that you are all where you want to be, surrounded by people you love and in places that make you happy!

As for me, two of my interns are finishing their time with my team on the 30th so on Monday night, all four of them are coming to my house for dinner. It’s going to be a Thanksgiving dinner, American style (vegan). I need to get one extra chair since I only have 5 in total. I am looking forward to it, I will start cooking tomorrow since it looks like it is going to rain all day.

This past week, I’ve been to a few cities in the Netherlands with my team and other volunteers, collecting wish lists for the giving tree and cooking and eating with the adults. On Tuesday, when we were in the far north, we were at an organization that has among another things, group homes. It struck really close to home and as I was running around the kitchen, answering questions from the young women who live there, I realized that I knew this space and it is time to open the doors again. There’s alot I can do to be a safe place for a young person on their way to adulthood.

Thursday night, we were in the south and at a refugee center. This time, I was a magnet for bodily fluids. One little girl wanted to be picked up and when I did, she started hitting me. So I held her hand and said “Niet doen” (don’t do that) and she responded by peeing all over me. Then after dinner was served, a little boy came running to me, grabbed my hands and then threw up all over them, two tremendous geysers. Yup… seems like the universe reconfirming for me that I am much more successful in relating to older children! πŸ˜‰

Marianne came to dinner last Friday night and we had a nice evening catching up. A bit of peace and conversation before the holiday madness starts!

In the meantime, I am practicing my banjo since I have to perform before my class. I don’t think any of them know what a banjo should sound like so I should be okay. Even though Paul said I should consider a plan B πŸ˜‰

Oh boy, it started raining again. It sounds like it is raining in the house. Even the boys lifted their heads up to check from their post dinner nap. We went on a walk today and they were disappointed when we stopped at the pet store to get their food that they did not get a treat. While we were there, a very needy customer was chasing the owner around with his questions and he got sidetracked. Normally, the boys can always count on him for a treat. Don’t worry about them, they have plenty of cookies at home!

Lastly, GG and I went and picked up the Rollins painting from Sound Garden last night. It fit into the rental van and we delivered to the original painter for a little restoration. While we were leaving with it, various people tried to stop us which was super irritating since it was full and the painting is easily 6 ft x 6 ft. I got pretty Amsterdamse back – not mean but more like “butt out of my business, go run it by the owner – he’s okay with it” – surprised me a bit, because usually I am not that abrupt πŸ˜‰

The painter is a reasonably well known Dutch tattoo artist and one of the most interesting people I have met in a while. I am super honored to have a piece of his art in my house and more so because I have met the creator.

Back from sunny Portugal…

When we left this afternoon, it was 18C in Lisbon. When we landed at Schiphol, it was 6C. Glad to be home, GG is already sitting on the coach with the pets circling her to find the right place on her lap or under the blanket depending on their preference. They are all making various barks, meows and grunts to catch us up on the week. I have a feeling that Lientje is saying “Let me tell you what those dogs have been up to”.

I think we are done travelling for the year. At least via airplane. That’s okay by me, even if I keep getting emails that it is only so many more miles to the next level πŸ˜‰

Last night, we had one last dinner with Mariana at a vegetarian restaurant in a park, which was delightful. So much of what I love about Lisbon is how the city has all of these pockets of surprises, little uneven courtyards with trees and benches and succulent plants. You can’t help but feel that you have disappeared into a little time warp.

During this past week, we also caught up with Big C for drinks overlooking the city. The cafe was built on the back of the ruins of the Carmo Convent (built circa 1400). Before the earthquake of 1755, it was the primary place of worship in the city. After the earthquake the roof caved in and it has sort of been standing in ruins ever since. It’s breath taking. See for yourself…



We also had the tremendous good fortune to meet her husband and spent a great couple of hours over Indian food and Portuguese cherry liquour. That evening and this whole week reminded me again of how important spending time with friends is.

Tomorrow, the Lean In circle I am part of is meeting at my house… I am still not quite sure what I was thinking when I volunteered to host… probably something along the lines that we would have moved somewhere new by now. πŸ˜‰

I’ve also got to get cracking with my banjo because on the 6th of December, I have to perform “Shady Grove” at my Wednesday night class. I really hope that no one knows how the song is supposed to sound, in case it goes awry.

Okay, time to unpack and tackle a week’s worth of Web Summit laundry. I wore my minions socks many days in a row since George eats them and well, they are overdue for a wash!

I love Lisbon…

I really do. Not just because today we had a four hour brunch with Mariana and Thiago and we weren’t once made to feel that we needed to vacate the table for someone else. Not just because of the wide streets with a really strange system of parking, bicycle paths and traffic lanes. Nor because of the beautiful buildings that are clearly in need of some TLC – or as I keep saying to GG “I bet we could buy that one for cheap”. Β Or for the Portuguese language which sounds Russian to me and I can’t follow a word of it (which is good for that vacation mindset). Really it is a combination of all of these things.

I have been here a couple of times. I really need to see more of the country. I think I am going to put it on my vacation list for 2018. When we landed yesterday afternoon, it was raining a bit. The rain here comes in quickly, then ends and then comes back later. It’s also always a treat to see how well dressed the Portuguese are. We are, of course, walking around in considerably more casual attire. πŸ˜‰

We haven’t made plans for tomorrow yet. It’s too bad Little C isn’t here because then we really could get ourselves into quite a bit of trouble. Little C and I have some favorite spots in Lisbon and we also have a fine appreciation for some of their local cocktails. Of course there’s also the city park where I nearly pushed her into the duck pond to see what would happen – poor impulse control, I know. However, she turned around right in the nick of time and said “You were about to push me in, weren’t you?” I was trapped… I could only ask “How did you know?” and she said that she felt a darkness coming up behind her πŸ˜‰ BUSTED.

Makes it quite clear that I can be difficult πŸ˜‰ Probably someone should get GG a card for sympathy or at least nominate her for some kind of community service award!

The pets are home with Nikah and I know that things are in good hands. It makes it easier to travel when she is there. Our other housesitter was very nice. With Nikah I know that everything is under control and the pets are very comfortable with her. Okay, I might be feeling slightly guilty that they are at home.