Sunday, December 30, 2007

IN MEMORY



30 December 2006-30 december 2007

Today it is a year ago that our friend Bastiaan died.

We have not forgotten.
We are thinking about Sara and Elliot.

S1

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The holidays in SF

And then "poof" it's over. The weeks of preparation and anticipation, Jip asking everyday how many days until xmas. We lit the lights, we baked the cookies, I attempted to balance the selection of presents perfectly, just occasionally getting carried away. And now we are left with piles of stuff, that still have to find a space in this house, if they ever will; we side step the police car, that makes shooting sounds, screaming "drop your guns, drop your guns" over and over (thank you, opa Dick), hop over the baby bed lying on it's side, that has already lost its pink ruffling, ignore the children pinching each other for possession of the educational video game and give in to the first call to watch Scooby-Doo for the 383rd time today, whilst softly rubbing the emotional sores that any good xmas seems to produce.

So, are the two hours of excited - let's call it hysterical, -shrieking, because Father Christmas has left "humongous" presents in front of the fireplace, worth it? Probably.



We never gave Rosie her bike because it came in a box in many pieces and had to be put together. We did not have all the tools, besides A. feels strongly against the principle of home assembly, so were sending it back, but have now missed the 30 day return period, so will be keeping it after all. I will assemble it, probably. The basketball hoop we gave Jip was actually too small for him so he towers over it, meaning there is not much challenge for him there, Rosie has not shown much interest in her biggest present, the Mickey Mouse club house, which falls apart at the slightest glance. Otherwise the children are happy.



The hot issue this year had to do with low resolution photo's, a wrong setting on my camera for 8 months, a photo book I took three weeks to make, A. taking my photography very seriously, stubborn, hurt, blah, blah blah. Please don't ask. Basically, A. and I did not talk much on xmas day, sulking beautifully as we squashed ourselves into a cab with kids and grandparents, food and presents, to make our way to Isabelle and Jeroen's house for xmas lunch.

Jeroen and Isabelle have just moved to a house in
Hillsborough , which is a very respectable suburb, south of SF. American bungalows set amongst green, leafy hills. A few of J & I neighbors had gone to great lengths to decorate their house and gardens for the festive season. I did not take any picture, as I was intending, but if you go to this site and scroll down a bit you will get the general idea. Fascinating stuff.

As soon as we arrived, Allard had to borrow a car to drive the 30 minutes back to SF, because we had forgotten the cheeses we had bought for dessert. This did not lighten the mood.

The ten adults started off with drinks around J&I's new swimming pool in the warmish sun, while the kids ran around, chasing each other. Xmas?



I wore a wig and a 1940's dress and looked like a drag queen, attempting to look like a young (dark) Farah Fawcett, which complimented the surroundings quite well.



Everyone drank a lot of wine and became a little rowdy. I ate a lot of chocolate and vowed to drink a lot of wine next year. At eight 'o clock we all squashed ourselves back into a cab to go back to SF, several passengers falling into a deep sleep on the back seat shortly after, however, not before declaring the day a "GREAT" success.



On boxing day, which is not a holiday here, we, kids and grandparents, in one car again, drove down to Half Moon Bay, which is not as romantic as it sounds, but a nice stop on the Highway 1, just down the coast from SF. After lunch, we stopped at the beach, but it was cold and windy. All cobwebs gone in a matter of minutes.





My birthday was super duper. A and I, cheerful as ever, went into town in the early afternoon and watched not one but two movies, while the kiddies stayed at home with grandparents. We saw "Charlie Wilson's war" and "Juno", both of which come highly recommended by us, so you know. Afterwards a meal. For this birthday, I couldn't have thought of a better way to spend the day. Next year bar hopping.

For New Years we will be keeping a low profile. A quiet start to what will undoubtedly be a better year. Not that this one was all terrible.

Hope you all have a great start to the New Year in Normandy.

Love, S1

Poem in anticipation...

Taken from this weblink, some words by another of my favourite novelists, Ben Okri, of whom I am now reading his latest publication, STARBOOK, of which you will find a review in the Guardian here. I have yet to read it so will let you know if I agree.

Just to get us warmed up for 2008. All is well in Normandy, where the Czech homemade Schnapps prevails! Who dares to be idealistic and visionary may get knocked down from time to time, but we should never be deterred by fear. Even people who look at things completely differently may find each other in what they truly feel.
Vamos à 2008.

Much love from S2


start of quote:

One of the magic centres
Of the world;
One of the world's
Dreaming places.
Ought to point the way
To the world.
Here lives the great music
Of humanity
The harmonisation of different
Histories, cultures, geniuses,
And dreams.
Ought to shine to the world
And tell everyone
That history, though unjust,
Can yield wiser outcomes.
And out of bloodiness
Can come love
Out of slave-trading
Can come a dance of souls,
Out of division, unity;
Out of chaos, fiestas.
City of tradition, conquests,
And variety;
City of commerce and the famous river,
Tell everyone that the future
Is yet unmade.
Many possibilities live in your cellars.
Nightmares and illuminations.
Boredom and brilliance.
Tomorrow's music sleeps
In undiscovered orchestras,
In unmade violins,
In coiled strings.
Spring waits by the lakes,
Listening to the unfurling daffodils.
Summer lingers with the hyperborean worms,
Awaiting an astonishing command
From the all-seeing eye of Ra.
Tomorrow's music sleeps
In our fingers,
In our awakening souls,
The blossom of our spirit,
The suggestive buds of our hearts.
Tell everyone the idea
Is to function together,
As good musicians would
In undefined future orchestras.
Let the energy of commerce flow.
Let the vision of art heal.
Technology, provide the tools.
Workers of the world
Re-make the world
Under the guidance of inspiration
And wise laws.
Create the beautiful music
Our innermost happiness suggests.
Delight the future.
Create happy outcomes.
And while Autumn dallies
With the West wind
And the weeping nightingales
And while Winter clears its sonorous throat
At the Antipodean banquets
Preparing for a speech of hoarfrost
And icicles conjured from living breath,
I want you to tell everyone
Through trumpets played with
The fragrance of roses
That a mysterious reason
Has brought us all together,
Here, now, under the all-seeing eye of the sun.

© Ben Okri, December 2002. All Rights ReservedBen Okri
Lines in potentis
Writer

(b. Minna, northern Nigeria 1959)

Poet and novelist Ben Okri was born in 1959 in Minna, northern Nigeria, and grew up in London before returning to Nigeria with his family in 1968. At the age of 19 he returned to London; “I went to London because, for me, it was the home of literature”. Much of his early fiction explores the political violence that he witnessed at first hand during the civil war in Nigeria, and later turned to African mythology for inspiration. In 1991 Okri was awarded the Booker Prize for Fiction with his novel The Famished Road and in 2001 was awarded on OBE. He continues to read, write and live in London.

end of quote

Friday, December 28, 2007

And this is where we are going...


Tomorrow, in a couple of cars. Hope you are well and enjoying your beepday!
s2

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, S1!!!!


Many happy returns for a velvety soft time to come, S1!!! And may you long continue to be a fount of inspiration and good humour to us all. Greetings from a sunny Antwerp. (the image is a picture of a picture on my computer screen, of what used to be my regular walking place along the river Scheldt, before I moved to another side of town, and exchanged it for a walk around a lake and in some trees)
Stars and sparkles abound in you. (watch this space for another posting...coming up!)
love from
*S2*

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I want a bit of rock an' roll for christmas

I am thinking Bianca Jagger, Debby Harry, white shiny tuxedos, gold serpent bracelets, a night on the town. Not too much garlic.

Actually none of the above were included in my 'e-mail of guidance' to my husband. I gave him a lot of choice in gifts this year, not one functional or educational. I have been internet window shopping again, I'm afraid. Doesn't require much concentration and can be done in a horizontal position. I hope I asked for something nice.

I am doing quite well. Treatment # 5 was much better to deal with. Aches and pains and that 'darn' fatigue again, but the nausea has gone, just like they said. I have moments of clarity, which is refreshing.

Presently recovering from treatment # 6. I just had my Neulasta shot, to pimp the production of white blood cells, which it does, but it also gives me bone pain for a day or two. Tomorrow is my bad day, but at least I am able to watch a movie again. The only new addition to my complaints is a VERY low irritability level. Whining children trigger all sorts of things in my body. Mostly a desire to scream. It feels like a hormonal thing. I think they are being messed up.

My hairs are growing back. The hairs are too fine to observe with the human eye, as of yet, but I can feel them. I might just escape the brow and lash fallout.

Only two more treatments after this . We are getting down to the low numbers.

I have been absent from the blog. I had visitors again. This time my old friends AvT and M came for five days. We drank tea and they talked a lot and made the most of the low dollar. The $50 fine for excess bagage was reasonable considering the amount of purchases they made. It was good to have them here.

We have been getting into the Christmas spirit. Singing "away in the manger"around the Christmas tree, because Jip had to practice for school. I assumed Jip's ability to hold a tune was similar to his mothers and his grandfathers. Minimal.
But it could be our first big culture clash. This is the British version, how I have been attempting to sing it, and this is the American version, which Jip probably has been learning at school. Whatever it is, we both like singing it loudly, each in our own special way. Rosie likes it too. It is now number one request after Twinkle, twinkle little star'.

This is my gaurdian angel. It is in fact a candle but I will not light it. It was a gift and it shines. I like to fondle it.



To get you into the Christmas spirit, I will leave you with Rosie's daily mantra.



Loved the pictures on the blog, sisters. Hope you are all resting and fasting in preparation for next week.

Love, S1

another recipe and a book

Here is another suggestion, but I think we should just stay with the fresh garlic, okay? So maybe instead of garlic flavoured cheese, just take fresh garlic and add cheese on its own. Red, sweet potatoes are good.

Something tells me we should consult with the expert in the family, she who also possesses The Great Food Knowledge. I will see what information she is willing to extend to us over the Xmas period!

While I am at it, cos you can tell I really have the nutrition bug, I am reading this book, the Slow-Down Diet, by Marc David, which tells you lots of interesting things about food and the process, or should I say, presence of eating. It turns out we do indeed have a second brain in our gut. (that link summarises the amazing facts)

The book also has a very wholesome and human friendly approach to eating, ie not based on guilt but on presence of mind, and common sense. The way he explains it you really do want to slow down while you eat, and contemplate what you are eating. Food becomes your friend. So next time you are feeling lonely, smile at your food.

Meanwhile, sister 3 has arrived in Brussels, and is very tired from her travels and is relaxing on the couch. It was only yesterday that I showed her your Xmas card on skype, S1, when she was still in Prague, so you know it is wishing you all things Christmassy but it is a little bit delayed...you know I covered for that by writing a really early one to you before I left your house...these new ones shall be aerial.

love to you both!
S2

fancy tricks with garlic in the layperson's cuisine

To be fair, it will be useful in all this garlic evangelising, to provide some handy recipe tips. Never fear, for I am here.

It just so happens I have a special source in terms of all things nutritional on a cullinary level: my friend F. She used to own a vegetarian healthy food restaurant, and after many a healing meal at her house (somehow I always end up there when I am ill or starting to become so) I can attest to it, the woman knows what she is talking about. I trust she will not mind if I divulge this little kernel of her Knowledge as it is for such a good cause: how to avoid the smelly garlic breath after eating lots of it.

Here's how it goes: when making your vegetable soup, chop up a red onion, and toss it in the pan, not in olive oil of a first, virgin pressing, but of a second or third pressing. According to her, the virgin oil goes funny when taken to temperatures which are too high. Toss in the onions, and then take a whole head of garlic (yes, you read it correctly) and put the peeled cloves, all of them, whole in the pan. Let it simmer with the lid on and then slowly add more vegetables, as is your wont, and add a little water and all that, and then you have your wholly delicious meal soup!

Apparently cooking the garlic in this way takes the smell away whilst keeping all the valuable nutrients. Corect me if I'm wrong, F.

Secondly, a mish mash recipe I tried out on some friends on Monday as a starter. Cherry tomatoes, chopped in 8 pieces, chopped fresh basil, crushed garlic, virgin olive oil and balsamico. Mish mash together in a dish. Allow to stand. Take a ciabatta loaf, slice it into small pieces, brown on one side in the oven, then place with the un-brown side up in an oven dish and SCOOP the mixture onto the bread; salt and pepper, but everything in good measure. Place in the oven under the grill and take out when it seems ready. You'll know when. In more classical terms this is known as plain BRUSCHETTA (and my roommate pointed out the correct pronunciation, it is indeed Brusketta, not brushetta which can make her cringe)

This one doesn't take away the smell of garlic but it's frighteningly delicious!
merci for you attention, sistas! Anyone else out there got any secrets about garlic they want to share?
s2

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

i pledge allegiance to the garlic press

dear sisters,

a little zap in-between. On the whole I feel pretty clueless as to what to eat and what not to eat for optimal health. S1's predicament has got me thinking more actively than I ever have before...

The French doctor David Servan-Schreiber who wrote the excellent book GUERIR (explaining 7 ways for dealing with depression naturally)called Instinct to Heal in the English version, has made a booklet which you can download for free, with graphs, etc, giving a keen indication of what is advisable to eat and what is best left aside. As you will see GARLIC comes pretty high in the cancer-fighting department. So I feel my instincts of overdosing on the vampire-repellent substance are somewhat vindicated; as it is also, it seems, cancer-repellent.

To be read by all. I am on the lookout for an English version, this one is in French thusfar. The booklet accompanies the book Anticancer, which I hope will shortly also be available in English! In the meantime the French version of the booklet should also provide some mental exercise!

This same doctor also describes the benefits of Omega 3. It has helped me immensely; order it at isodisnatura; on the Instinct to Heal site you can find comparative tables regarding Omega 3 tablets. (which is said to be helpful also with chemotherapy treatment)...

He also recommends walking, so your regular walks are just what you need, S1.

Here in chilly Belgium things are getting into a flurry before the Xmas period. I am happy to say that I now finally have hot running water (as opposed to luke-warm) although today when I got into the bath I ended up with lobster red footsies. I have never seen my feet that way before. They looked cool, I mean, hot, as if they weren't mine...very strange. I felt like part of me had turned into a Flemish painting of angels:
The above image is by Fouquet. It is rather obscene, something art historians are very proud of around here. I think it is very cool.

Here's to limbering up for a healthy new year, everyone, and don't forget those vegetables, I'll do the same!
Love
S2

Sunday, December 9, 2007

mashing up with Sue teller

hey there cool sistars ,`
heres a cool link about making your own
adventure with granny Sue teller, shes a star !
Peace
S3

i love fairylights too!










So here you are dear sisters ! A visual refreshment of what i have been up to this month : my first painting and print in my art school( sorry my puter doesnt seem to want to download these pictures, i will try tomorrow morning), a silver teapot in my favourite cafe , a dog sleeping in an old cinema where i went to see Edith Piaf ( there are very nice costumes in this film ) , me in my ball gown getting ready for christmas day, me taking my daily bath in my spacious bathtub with fairylight costume on, the hight of prague fashion ; the fake leopard skin winter coat, a painting by the director of my art academy, my prince puppet in his snazzy breadbin, fairylights and more fairylights!
Otherwise all is well , am thinking of you all very much and am already in the christmas spirit. Wishing you all a wonderful and peaceful time before christmas !
All my love
s3

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Treatment # 5 and fairy lights



Dear sisters,

With treatment # 5, I have started a different kind of chemical: Taxol. Everyone at the hospital has hopefully exclaimed that this chemical, for most people, is easier to handle than the "AC" I have been given for the last four sessions. Less nausea, rather bone pain and numbness of feet and hands. I cannot say yet. I am still affected by the steroids they gave me along with the Taxol. They warned me I will crash on day 3 and 4. This morning I still felt like reorganizing the living room and the kids room, just for starters, but after a little sit down, I decided against it.

There were a few minutes of excitement during the treatment. About 5% of people have a strong allergic reaction to the stuff within the first few minutes of administration, resulting in a bright red face and tightness of the chest. Luckily I didn't. I did fall asleep as a result of the Benadryl they gave me first and again with the Taxol. The infusion takes three hours. Isabelle sat next to me while I slept and snored (but not too much she assured me).



Somewhere in between all this we managed to get our Christmas tree up. So no, that is not a dead body on top of my car, but our very own fir, freshly cut, which now graces our window with no less than 800 fairy lights. Jip was in charge of the hanging of the balls. The tree may therefore not be completely balanced, but it does make me childishly happy.



Early you say for the tree? Well, here the pressure is on after Thanksgiving. They do like their Christmas lights in America. There are various houses in the neighborhood that are already flashing from roof to bottom. Which is okay by me, as I have a weakness for Christmas lights. Draping 800 lights in a single tree is the least I could do.

What about you? Getting into the holiday spirit, sisters?


Love S1

Monday, December 3, 2007

Walk through the rainbow: San Francisco visit cont.

In a way, the day fit together ingeniously, like a Chinese puzzle should do. After dropping Rosie off at school, S1 and I went to meet my friend S. at the Opera House where she was working, to meet her happy recently born son F. over a cup of coffee (having failed to do so in Brussels for the last many months, San Francisco seemed a good place to finally meet). We had a glimpse in the rehearsal, then left S. to her finetuning, and we tuned into an exhibition at the Asian Art Museum as curated by and with work by Hiroshi Sugimoto entitled History of History. It was a masterpiece in understatement, and of just the kind of finetuning I imagined S. to be doing a couple of blocks away in the big orchestra run-through with the singers, in tandem with our viewing. I realised (perhaps a little late in life) that I would never fit in in the classical music world. Must be something to do with its formality, although I do think it is a prerequisite for getting great works of music on the road. S. on the other hand has great patience and insight at many degrees, as well as a vivid poetic imagination and a profound sense of beauty, and that's why I think she is good at her job. But I am still studying my friend and hope to come up with a more comprehensive description of her sometime soon. As I do of her sister who also does extraordinary things.

After the Asian Art Museum (boy, if the US was as hugely sensitive and together on the world stage as it is in museology, what kind of a world would we be living in?)we headed for SF Moma. There, Jeff Wall revealed himself to be much more of a romantic, absurdist with an art historical bent turning photography in its end, than I expected. The audioguide helped significantly in accessing the works, although I had no idea his work was so diverse and that it looks so different from the reproductions I have seen of it. Size does matter...when it comes to art in any case.

S1, you then scooted away in time for picking up Rosie. I stayed. I went to Joseph Cornell's exhibit; it was almost too much: room after room after room after room of his universe. While I thought the Jeff Wall show was just right, let's say even modestly sized, Cornell's had me saturated with his vision. This is not a bad thing, and I can understand the curators' desire for offering something comprehensive. After I don't know how many rooms of his boxes I just needed to get out for some air. Stendhal syndrome no doubt.

After having the strange experience of having someone ask me if I preferred my green tea "grassy or flowery?" (I wanted grassy and it was grassy) I went back in for more, this time for Olafur Eliasson's exhibition. One optical phenomenon after another. What I liked very much is that he did not hide the means by which these phenomena were created. Naked truths as it were: it's sheer trickery, but such beautiful trickery.
One room, black, and dark but for a spotlight, had a curtain of fine droplets descending, creating a diagonal rainbow. I noticed not many people walked through it, because they didn't want to get wet. I am glad I did, because I got the present: as you walk through it, the rainbow becomes whole: a perfect circle. This is another rainbow showing the same effect since I was not allowed to take pictures in the museum.





Later I hit the streets and realised that all the Joseph Cornell boxes with their glitter had spilled out onto the street and followed me.

A final little treat: I did not know that Cornell had made films. He had. Here, in part one and part two, is one of the most mesmerising, ahead of its time films I have ever seen. He originally projected it through a piece of blue glass, and Dali is said to have knocked over the projector during the screening..so aghast was he that Cornell was doing something that seemed to him to be JUST RIGHT.
Cornell has often been described as an "outsider artist"; but what I learned in the exhibition, is that he assisted Marcel Duchamp in making his suitcases, and was a sort of protégé of his (Duchamp is said to have called him a genius) and that he frequented many other artists throughout his life. So whatever denegrating undertone is held in that term, outsider, is plainly untrue. I also found the works to have great coherence. I shall be reading more about the man, but the work really does speak for itself; I would venture to say that it was simply, to use a worn phrase, misunderstood and ahead of its time. In a wholly refreshening way. Or, before I slip into hagiography, let's just say I really enjoyed discovering the work even though the volume of it was a bit daunting.

Ok I shall leave it at this. I think I shall have some tea to soothe my second brain. This has become a url-packed posting, it does not even start to describe the inspiration of a friday in San Francisco. I had written this a couple of weeks ago and thought it had not been saved. Thank goodness for autosave!
love from s2

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The old woman of Noe Valley



Dear sisters,

It has been awhile. But now I am back. The old woman of Noe Valley.
Treatment # 4 has been digested. We are now half way and counting. Yeah.

This time the recovery was lightened by the arrival of N and MC who flew the 11 hours from Amsterdam to fold my washing, bathe my children and cook meals for five days. These good friends of mine, just as an example, iron their sheets, -uh, have their sheets ironed - unlike me, so not surprisingly the running of my household went smoothly again. After 19 years, our friendship has reached new levels of intimacy; I had told them often enough, but now they have witnessed first hand what good taste Allard has in underwear.

As for me, I am a bit fed up with this chemotherapy treatment. It' a very tiring thing. And not getting better. The fatigue physically hurts, concentrating in the shoulders when it comes. I also have a good case of brain fog, which means I cannot concentrate for very long and am somewhat forgetful. My children stiffen at the first screech of the words "WHERE ARE MY KEYS!?" It happens everyday now.



Movies are a challenge. Series of about 25 minutes are perfect.
This is why I - or, I should say we - are so, so sad that
Californication has ended. For 13 episodes it was the perfect ending to yet another weekend at home. You Europeans, it will come your way. Watch it. David Duchovny is great. We laughed. I cried during the last episode, but that does not say very much at all. I cry at the drop of a television hat.

Another side effect of brain fog, in my case, is lack of sleep. I lie awake at night worrying about things, which my brain cannot accommodate. For example, I lie awake and worry about the fact we have not got our earthquake packs ready, and what would we do if the BIG ONE came NOW. Or did I leave the iron on downstairs? And what would we do if the room downstairs was on fire? Not inducive to sleep. Luckily my Lorazepam pills are within hands reach -also given to relieve anxiety. After treatment I go into rehab.

I don't want to stress the point but the similarities to pregnancy are continuing, although superficial. I am having strange food cravings: chocolate croissants and blue cheese being recent ones (now I understand how one gains weight). Luckily I have switched to cooking Vietnamese, three nights in a row already, which is at least getting the vegetables back into me.

I have discovered sucking Werther's originals temporarily takes away the horrible metallic taste in my mouth.



This week was my 'good' week, so I have been focussing on Christmas shopping. The thought of entering a 'Toys R Us', with chemo, in holiday season, was daunting. But not necessary; long live the Internet!
The shopping for the kids has been done. A whole load of plastic junk is on it's way. They should be delighted.

And your gifts are in the posts sisters. It is so timely, I scare myself.



My car does not look like this anymore. I went to the car wash, where four pairs of hands polished my car, inside and out. It almost feels as good as a new haircut. It will have to do for the time being.

Treatment #5 and Christmas lights in the next post,

Love S1

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Sugar Auntie, still reeling


Rosie had picked out the pompoms book after she had made it known that she wanted to enter the bookshop and I had told her she could pick out something nice. Naturally, and all children who live far away from their aunties somehow inherently know this, I wanted to be their Sugar Auntie, even if it is just for a few days. The pompom book was an active thing, a project if you like. Pompoms, glue and jiggly eyes were provided, as well as some step by step instructions showing you how to make a penguin, or a frog, or a butterfly... For the more adventurous ones among us, aliens were hinted at.

As we were making it and Rosie had said the eyes in the bag were scary, I realised they were. I also realised, a bit late, that seeing pompoms suddenly transform into cuddly creatures with faces and googly eyes could be a little too much on the abstract front for a 2,5 year-old. You know how the rest of the evening went, S1, for that was the day you came home from the cinema just to put them to bed.

Nevertheless, I do believe the children were happy with their crafty gift, even though Rosie had much fun pulling apart the little mouse we made together. I see that as just another facet of exploring construction and deconstruction...

The red clay was a great success (you know you still have half a packet left), as Jip built Pompei, just like that! Please remember you can paint the objects they made. I am also eagerly waiting a report on what happened with the Fimo, which we didn't get around to doing. Not to speak of the Chinese horse and dragon puzzles which I didn't quite succeed in completing!

And how is Rosie's bubble blowing?

What I learnt from them, other than that they are very psychic, very funny, and tremendously headstrong (in the best possible sense, ie in terms of expressed personality) and kind and loving (I am very serious), is that time breaks down into lots of little, joyful portions: two hours can contain as many as 12 little victories. Be it a new word adopted or an insight gained about whales. It is very rewarding hanging around children. They are amazing creatures.

Okay so perhaps I am just a little proud of being their Auntie. Can it do them any harm?


How are you doing these days, S1? You know I have tested my "ambulant musical device" and almost got run over by a bicycle. It is great fun indeed, especially the Spanish audiobook I bought, El Principito. I don't understand half of it but since I know the story it is sort of understandable and the narrator has a soothing voice. Also, nothing beats cycling home in the rain while listening to Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder. I wear my headpones under the spanking new white earmuffs of which I also bought you a pair, S1. I am waiting for some kind of photographic evidence that you actually do wear them from time to time. Rosie's puzzled look of: "what on earth are these?" should not stop you! Time to start educating her in essential fashion items...

And: how are you doing S3? Are you smothered in logs?
Until very soon. By the way I am still on SF time which makes for interesting conversations. It could be said jetlag is a cheap drug.
love from S2