Monday, May 28, 2007

I am sorry to have to break this to you over the internet: I have sold my soul.

Yes, today we booked a 12-day holiday to an ALL-INCLUSIVE RESORT! Not only that, we are going to the mother of all inclusive resorts; Club Med. We will be in the Dominican Republic in July, with no possibility of escape, we have been assured. We are calculating the entertainment of children during the day will outweigh the burden of the themed beach parties at night.

But first back to Europe. Tomorrow we fly to Amsterdam. See you both in Normandy in a week, dear sisters. Is the sun shining where you are? I have certainly packed for it.


sister 1

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Just an average day in expat land (with pictures)

Dear sisters,

So what do I do all day? You may ask, and you have. As I, myself, have often wondered where my time goes. So for today's posting pretty much a minute by minute account of an average day: Tuesday 22 May 2007.

6.30 am: I get woken by the soft calling of my sweet daughter.
6.35 am: I stumble to next room and am greeted by a big grin, jumping up and down in crib. Jip is still sleeping, so we creep downstairs for hot milk.
6.40 am: we make a puzzle while drinking milk. I check my e-mail. No personal mails.
6.45 am: we return upstairs. Rosie hears her father in the shower and runs to him, shrieking with delight. I flop back onto bed and close my eyes. Get woken by two clumpy arms around my neck. Jip snuggles up to me for a few minutes. We discuss the quality of our sleep. It was good, but too short in my case. A leaves early.
6.55 am: I make breakfast for Jip and Rosie. I manage a conflict about the right to hold the Spiderman collection.
7.15 to 8.25 am: back upstairs Jip, Rosie and I get dressed in various stages. Slower than we usually do on a Tuesday, as we get distracted by things today.
8.25 We trundle down through the basement to garage and get in the car. We start on the rounds.

It is a bit of a drive every morning but it has, by now, a certain meditative quality. When we first moved to SF, I listened to National Public Radio in an attempt to keep in touch with world news, but I have shamelessly switched to 97.2 Energy Pure Dance, a station primarily catering to the vibrant gay community in SF, which means they play lots of Kylie and dance music from days when I was still destined for great things. I tend to play it rather loudly.

For the last few weeks Rosie and I have been swaying arhythmically to this song by Bananarama. Jip pretends to be unaffected by the catchy tune.

8.40 am: drop off Rosie at day care.
8.50 am: drop off Jip, who has a difficult morning, meaning he growls when I talk to him and blocks my way out. This means I will be late for boot camp.
9.13 am: arrive 13 minutes late for my boot camp in the Marina. Even with the shorter class, it is tough, after a weekend of wine and cheese in Napa Valley (of which you may hear more.)
10.15 am: the Tuesday after work-out coffee on Chestnut street with M, who expertly manages a conference call at same time.
11 am: pop into book shop across road to look at travel guides, oh and the shop next door for the shoes. Do not buy a thing, which may or may not have something to do with limit of credit card having been reached this month.
11.25 am: drive home.
11.45 am: back home, ring water company about very high bill and arrange for leakage inspection. Check e- mail (nope, nothing), shower, get dressed, eat something, call D in Amsterdam for long overdue chat.
1.45 pm drive to one of the schools that refused Jip admission to kindergarten, basically to beg. I get told to come back in half an hour as the Head of Admission is in a meeting.
2.00 pm drive to Safeway, get shouted at on parking lot because I make a perfectly innocent manoeuvre. Decide on the spinach, ham, nutmeg, pasta recipe for kid's dinner, one of the few dishes that still meet all round approval. Decide to come back later to buy crickets for Lizardy due to heat. It is hot today and I have too many clothes on. Drive back to the school.
2.30 p.m: The head of admission of school has fled the scene. I leave phone number, but decide to write a letter instead.
2.40 pm: drive back to buy crickets for Lizardy.

3.00 p.m: have one hour before pickup. Too short for something and too long for nothing. I make a detour to drive past the new hairdressers I have an appointment with on Thursday. I don't find it, because I cannot recall exact address, but enjoy new sights of the city. Must come back with camera. Make another detour for petrol. It is still very hot, the music is still playing. Drive past dry cleaners to drop off A's shirts.
3.30 pm: drive home to drop off crickets, check e-mail (I should know better by now). Make list of things to do. Watch mess in kitchen for a while.
4.00 p.m: leave for pick up. Run back to get two Oreo cookies for Jip and Rosie to give in the car.
4.10 p.m: pick up Rosie.
4.25 p.m: pick up Jip. As usual I ask "What did you have for lunch today? As usual he asks back " Before nap time?" "Yes", I say. "Pasta." Jip assures me he can eat more pasta for dinner tonight.

4.55 p.m: home again, make chocolate milk, turn on cartoons, cook dinner with Rosie on my arm.
6.30 p.m: feed the kids. Let them loose upstairs for free play.
6.45 p.m: I make a salad for myself (A. is coming home late) and sit down with New York Times. I read an article about Buenaventura, apparently the most dangerous city in Colombia, an article on legislation making it possible to issue birth certificate's for stillborns, an article about former President Carter calling Bush the worst government ever and an article about a website that lists informers and undercover cops.
7.10 p.m: happily load new dishwasher which has just been installed after the old one broke down two weeks ago. Put note on floor at bottom of stairs to remind myself to put garbage out later.
7.20 p.m. go upstairs and give Rosie a wash - in view of water bill, skip bath - put pyjama's on, give pyjama's to Jip to put on, make bedtime milk, read a book to Rosie, put Rosie to bed, give Jip ten more minutes of TV, listen to the story about Pompeii he heard at school today, which was rather scary he thought,get persuaded to quickly make a paper octopus before bed, read a story about pirates, brush teeth and sit by bedside.
8.20 p.m: go downstairs to collect things. Jip shouts down that he cannot get to sleep. I tell him to try harder and that I will be up in a few minutes.
8.40 p.m: I go upstairs with laptop, check on Jip who pretends to be sleeping but starts grinning when I inspect closely.
8.50 p.m: catch last ten minutes of American Idol, the first time I have watched television in weeks. In the meantime try and write this post. It is still very hot in our room. I cannot concentrate. Stare blankly at moving screen.
11.15 A. returns from his dinner. I ask him to put garbage out. We talk.
11.45 Lights out.

So, you see, my days are more about the details than the sweeping statements. Sometimes there is inspiration, sometimes a bit more cleaning, sometimes an e-mail or two, always the driving through the city.

Now, if I had described the next day, I could have given you a full description of the mother of all tantrums, had by Jip on 24th street, our local shopping street, climaxing in him screaming that he HATED everything in the whole wide world, EVEN HIS TOYS!. I stood for twenty minutes next to our car, with one child screaming and shouting hysterically for no apparent reason (we were on our way to get an ice cream, after all) and the other one on my arm screaming because she is upset by the screaming. I got many sympathetic looks from passers by, while I smiled feebly, trying to think of a new tactic. Sympathy, anger, back rubbing, ignoring him, eventually it was an ice cream WITH DVD rental that did it. An obvious highlight of the week.

So for any of you who were worried that my many years of education are not being put to their full use, you may rest assured.

What do your days look like?


the one obviously on the verge of an artistic breakthrough

Thursday, May 24, 2007

wishing you a good weekend

ahoj as we say to one and another like sailors
in this eastern country without a sea
do not ask me why
i am just passing a quick note to wish you all a happy weekend
i will be spending it partly in a village helping my friend shoot a black and white 8mm film
partly in a pscychiatric reserve with lots of trees doing my new puppetshow about the sea
its a huge music theatre festival called between the fences
and im quite curious
i will send you pictures of the results

take care , have fun , see you soon

by the way , thankyou for birthday wishes
i had a lovely day
and as for the presents
very amusing
i cant wait to pick my nose in public with a plastic cup and a clear face
but i just want to remind you i am no longer fifteen
have entered a new era
complexion wise as well
but thankyou for the concern sister
im sure it wont do any harm
sistar number three

Sunday, May 20, 2007


See this for more information on the pleasant image given to us by the PALE ONE. We certainly hope you will not be troubled much longer.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

a different kind of flow

dear sisters

trying to rake through my distorted and scattered brains for some words which will sense you, yet I am not receiving the divine inspiration today. I know I am overdue on the message payments, I shall make up for the backblog, honest I will, i have been really busy and now I have a nasty kind of food poisoning you don't want to hear about, call it a different kind of flow, shall we, a focus point in existence which points out how we are but bowels and things and when they don't work well, well, then it is a miserable thing, so I'd just like to state here that I am so grateful to be in good health, I mean usually, and my heart goes out to those who aren't, cos it's a bummer - forgive the pun - when you don't feel your usual self.

There. Piero Manzoni would never have managed to can his shit if he'd had this. Mind you, Wim Delvoye says that there's probably nothing in those cans anyway. Who shall tell. Did you know that the bowels are supposed to be a reflection of the brains? For the body I mean. I can't remember precisely but it has to do with emotions; I assure you my brain is all over the place but my emotions are quite okay, so it really was a bad piece of fish; anyway, I will let you know if the cleaning out of the lower brains leads to some mental clarity up there. I mean, if the eldest one can show us the lard she is losing, i can talk about this. greetings,
the particularly pale middle one.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Dear Queen of the Dance,

You may think your birthday is over, but here in SF we are still full of the celebrations, and we still have ONE whole hour to go!


Of course I meant to get your gifts to you on time, but due to a time warp in the Bay area, it did not happen.
I will, however, show you what I have in mind, so you can start getting really excited:

The useful gift

It worked for Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Lohen. So.

And the annual silly gift

I hope you had a great day.

Your pasty faced elderx

Monday, May 14, 2007

dancing queen

after a few months of moping around after being kicked out of dancing school because i was too lets say avante garde
i decided enough is enough. It is forbidden to forbid and i will dance if i must
so i went with my friend to a small but cosy african club where there are lots of funny characters to be seen
lots of africans suprisingly and a few weirdos , nymphs and us ! but everyone was very chatty and friendly and then they announced they were going to do a dancing queen competion and they needed five girls to compete.
i was a bit reserved at first but my friend convinced me saying i would win and i hopped along and one by one with the nymph we did our little trot and i went a bit wild and imitated a horse and did some other unseen before very cool queenly moves...
there were applause and cheers and laughs ( because i was so good ofcourse !) and i won a keyring , a blue hat and a puzzle !
Just what a girl needs to keep moving ! I went home laughing and the next day too as i never thought i would do something like that and i thought it was a good story to tell . if you are lucky i will willingly try to imitate some of these new moves i invented, when i next see you all. well , thats all , all is well , and im enjoying my last day of four and twenty years , tomorrow i enter a new era of a century as a dancing queen. what else could one ask for? by the way , i think Jip is very wise. he knows that pizzamaking is very helpful to humanity and he just has a good sense of humour !
lots of love and before i forget here is a documentary film you should try and find , its really interesting and funny
its called Grey Gardens and its about Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter Edie. Its by David and Albert Maysles. Its by the criterion collection. i reccommend it.
see you soon , enjoy the warm sun ! Byee from beerbelly

Sunday, May 13, 2007

2 reasons why I know my son is headed for great things.

1. After listening to a mother talk about her job as firefighter at school, Jip concluded she did a job that helped other people:

Would you like to do a job like that when you grow up?"
Neh, I want to be pizzamaker".

2. After talking about the pyramids:

"I will take you to Egypt one day to see them in real life."
"I don't want to go to Egypt. I have already seen the pyramids in a book."

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Sunday, May 6, 2007

exhibition in Brno

Hello there all ! This is really the best i can do in sending you some art from my little postcard exhibition i have just hung up in Brno. My blog instructions are in german as my flatmates computer is from german switzerland so please understand the slight delay ja ?
Brno is a very nice town about 250 km from prague to the east, there are about 400 000 inhabitants so it is quite a cosy town. the poeple are very friendly and there is a general good feeling to this place. To my suprise i found that my little exhibition was in this amazing pink house in the middle of this gorgeous park where loads of people were playing petang around it inbetween the lovely trees.
i was amazed when i entered this grandioza building full of light and high ceilings. I walked through and found the space where i would hang my pictures , a long corridor leading to a garden and a glasshouse full of tropical plants . it is infact a centre of free time for people after work and school where they can do ceramics , drawing , looking after rabbits and plants.
It was very gezellig indeed and i immediatly felt at home there. In my next blog i will send you pictures of the place as this computer for some reason doesnt want to download pictures from my camera which is a bit annoyong . Anyway i hung them all up in these glass frames that were already hanging there and then i went for a walk around the glass house where there were all these monkey children having a watercan spray war to the advantage of the tropical plants. It was very nice and i spoke to the main gardener who turned out to be the most famous czech plant trimmer and had his own radio show every week ! I almost asked for his signature but in the excitement of the moment i forgot. It turned out he really liked english culture and people because they are fond of gardening like him , but he didnt like Winston Churchill because he signed the Czechs off to the germans at one point in history, woopsadaisy . But he had just started to learn english as Russian wasnt very ueful to him and he likes the doubledecker busses. Yes, who doesnt ? Whats this i hear ? They are no longer to be ? Is it possible ? Well absolutely anything seems to be . But to continue about Brno , it was lovely weather and when i finished hanging them i was quite pooped and went for a walk around the park and found this Huckleberry Fin tree in the late afternoon sun that was curved to fit my backs exact laying back position and i fell asleep in the warm sun, gorgeous ! Then it turned out that by coincedence some friends of mine from arty farty school were doing a sound performance, concert in this club in Brno and i popped along to see what was going on and to my suprise there were friends there who i hadnt seen in a long time and it turned out to be quite gezellig after a few beers . The concerts were interesting but nothing to write home about , that means they were very experimental and difficult to listen to but in the end we were a group of ten poeple going back to Prague on the train at one in the morning . After meeting a brazilian musician and speaking of world music we arrived at four in the morning in Prague and all went our seperate ways . And here i am again , back to normal life , babysitting and writing to my loved ones. Now i am wanting to make a new puppetshow AND I NEED STORIES PLEASE SISTERS , FEEL FREE TO SEND ME STORIES FOR PUPPETSHOWS ! lots of love, will write soon , love the blog ! hugs from not so blotchy as usual as cream seems to be working. P.S. will be sending you a painted postcard after the exhibition in june, byeee !

exhibition in Brno

some fotos of postcard exhibition

Friday, May 4, 2007

Please don't talk to me just now; I am following a program

After bearing two large children and adhering to a strict diet of wine and cheese, my body mysteriously transformed itself into a blob with two rather sturdy legs under it.
I hoped that moving to California, well known for its fit people, would encourage me to recover a body, finally enabling me to buy cheaper clothes. My first strategy: 'eat less, excercise more' only got meagre results. Maybe because I didn't eat less. The American brunches took a while adjusting to, and the wine and cheeese just kept popping up in my diet.

Anyway, in SF it was enough. The diet cynic has joined a program. It is very good. Basically you eat nothing in a healthy way. THEY monitor you every other day, and motivate you to keep up the good work by letting you hold mounds of fat to show you how much you've lost. When you have had a bad few days, basically every weekend, THEY look very dissapointed, but speak words of encouragement.

I've lost two of these and my goal is to cradle this lump in my arms.

I sometimes cheat a bit at the weekends, because it gets a little boring eating nothing, but we are going in the right direction. Now, if I breathe in and you squint, you may actually see a waist and the fantasies about big, smelly cheeses, sitting on a plate right in front of me, are perfectly controllable.

And then there's my bootcamp.

Love from California,


a different kind of stick

kitty helps me sometimes to get my thoughts clear. Thank goodness for that. I recommend you all get one. Still haven't been to the church on the inside in St. Nick but the cellist has a house nearby so we established that the bell tolls in E. He also told me that when renovating his house he had to kill 50 pigeons with a stick with a nail on it. I can't think why but part of me is impressed. Considering the refinement and virtuosity with which he plays his instrument (after all, using a stick with hairs attached, ie a different kind of stick) i think this is an interesting contrast... I have teased him enough about it. It's a busy time but I wanted to share these inspiring images with you.