03 May 2013
And so I make the trek south three days a week. It’s a great program and I really enjoy being part of it. Permanent residents who are interested in becoming citizens are offered assistance with filing the naturalization application, English language and US civics classes, and the possibility to practice citizenship interviews, all free of charge. As the coordinator who navigates between the three partners and the applicants, I hope to meet many interesting people on this road to citizenship.
26 October 2012
Our small town holds an annual Fall Festival every first Saturday in October. The whole town is decked out with fabulous fall displays and there is music, food, hayrides, pony rides, and an ever growing arts & crafts fair. This year Dutch Girl Originals participated in the craft fair for the first time ever.
Of course, as soon as I signed up for the fair, I was offered a job. I briefly contemplated cancelling, but I really didn’t want to. I decided to go for a smaller booth instead. So I worked my butt off at night getting ready for the fair while working a regular job during the day. It was a little stressful but I am so glad I did.
The first sale of the day went to Lola. She had worked hard on making drawings and cuttings and sold them on the side. I did okay for a first timer. My big seller were the owl pillows. It quickly became obvious people were not yet ready to start thinking about Christmas. A glance at the ornaments was the best I got.
The wonderful garland display did not attract as much attention as I had hoped. Ryan built it by mounting two thin poplar trees cut from my parents-in-law’s yard, not for this purpose though, in Christmas tree stands. I strung the garlands in between the posts but they didn’t show up very well against the park back drop. A white wall would have been better.
It was cold though. So cold. We kept it dry for most of the day but did see a little bit of snow (!) come down, smudging every single one of my tags. I should have listened to Ryan who suggested laminating them. Every now and then my mother-in-law would walk down, my booth was just down the road, to allow me to warm up inside.
Despite the cold, I had a blast. I am already looking forward to next year. Now I need to get my Etsy shop ready for the holidays. After I finish Lola’s Halloween costume, that is. A crafter’s work is never done.
19 October 2012
Our Fairy Godmother is my aunt. Some twenty years ago she, my uncle, and my cousin moved to the US and ended up in Wisconsin. My cousin and Ryan went to school together and when T. got married, I flew in for the wedding and my aunt seized the opportunity to hook her niece up with a nice looking usher. That was in July. We were married in September of the same year.
23 July 2012
:: Lemon Verbena is not a hardy plant, at least not in this part of the country. (I have quite a few in the backyard, and they are not in pots.)
:: A furnace filter needs to be replaced every thirty to ninety days, depending on the filter and whether or not you have a cat.
:: I don't hate ironing anymore.
:: There is no such thing as 'wrinkle free' cotton.
17 July 2012
I remember this so clearly because I used to rip her posters when I was angry at her. Not full on tearing and trashing, I didn't have the guts to do that, but tiny little tears along the edges of the poster. Just to make a point, albeit a very sad and pathetic one.
Fast forward three decades. I walked into my craft room yesterday where I have a project laid out that I am currently working on. It consists of six felt squares with appliques. Some squares are cut from craft felt and some from hand died, rather expensive, imported all the way from Holland, one hundred percent wool felt.
In one of the cheaper felt squares I noticed a few small cuts along the edge. I was pretty sure the felt was whole when I cut my squares. I suspected Lola or her friend B. accidentally cut the felt when they were cutting up some paper.
I was wrong. As it turns out it was not an accident. My daughter fessed up to cutting the felt on purpose. She was "just so mad" at me. Not that she knew why she was mad, she just remembered she was. And to make her point, she cut my felt. Like her mother, she did not have the guts to really go for it and cut the good stuff, so she went for the cheap felt instead. A wise choice.
Naturally she was reprimanded for this little stunt and threatened with eternal banishment from the craft room (a fate worse than death in our house) if she ever pulled something like this again. But I had a very hard time actually being angry with her.
As I was talking with her, I was chewing the inside of my cheek, trying to suppress a smile. I could not believe she did the exact same thing I did as a child. And all the while I could hear my sister laughing in the back of my head.
Karma is a b*tch. So is payback.
30 March 2012
The technician told me I would receive a phone call on Thursday for a follow up appointment should anything show up. If not, they would just send me a letter with an invitation to come back in one year. When I spoke to Ryan on the phone at the end of the day yesterday, I told him I had not gotten a phone call and everything must be alright.
I had spoken too soon. After I hung up, I checked the missed calls. While I was accompanying Lola to her ballet class, the local clinic had called. And they had left a message that they would like to go over my mammogram results with me. Of course they were closed by the time I listened to it and I was left stewing over the possible implications until this morning.
I had a hard time keeping it together at first. While I knew in the back of my mind that this was nothing but a courtesy call, I could not get my brain and my heart to believe it and act accordingly. Things got better once Ryan came home and I was able to talk about it. He reassured me, and undoubtedly himself, there was nothing to worry about. I calmed down enough to be able to make jokes about it.
This morning I called the clinic as soon as they opened. It took them approximately ten minutes to answer their phone by which time I was thoroughly worked up again. If you insist on scaring your patients, at least have the decency to be open for business when you say you are. When I was finally connected to the nurse, she told me the results were negative ("What does that mean, is that good or bad?", my frantic brain was yelling at me) and that they would like to see me back in one year.
Good news then.
After taking a deep breath, I was able to calmly tell the nurse what the mammography techs at the hospital tell their patients and how she had scared the living daylights out of me with her message. She was very apologetic and I could tell she genuinely felt bad about the whole situation. We parted on a good note.
I called Ryan with the good news, made myself a cup of coffee, and painted my toenails a beautiful taupe color. I don't care if it's snowing outside, things are looking sunny to me!
06 December 2011
Despite the fact that the woods look a lot different in the dark than they do during the day, I was able to locate my stand without a hitch. The light on my blaze orange hat hit the reflecting markers we had left the day before perfectly. Getting lost in the dark was one of my two big concerns. The other was wounding a deer instead of killing it. I didn't have to worry about either as it turned out.
My resolve to go hardcore without turning on the heater lasted about an hour and a half. With my toes nice and toasty, I must say hunting wasn't half bad. Of course, my stand was the cabana among the deer stands. A view to all sides, a shelf to rest my gun on, ample space for a heater, and a portable potty. All that was missing was the beverage cart. And a buck.
Just before sun up on opening day, a shot was fired close by. I thought it was perhaps my brother-in-law who was hunting about 300 yards away. He thought it was me. Ryan and his dad were hunting fifteen minutes northeast of us. Ryan, who generously gave up his spot to me, had the added excitement of sitting on top of a hibernating bear. Sometime in the previous two weeks, a bear dug out a den and went to sleep about twenty feet from his stand.
There was an animal raising a ruckus somewhere in the trees in front of me. It turned out to a blue jay. I am fairly certain he was telling on me. Aside from that blue jay, the only wildlife I saw for hours was a squirrel and a few chickadees. And then, out of nowhere and without a sound, a deer. Less than fifty feet away. My heart skipped a beat. Alas, it was a doe. We looked at each other for a minute or two, before she continued on her way. It was the highlight of my day.
10 November 2011
I shocked quite a few people back home when I included in my newsletter this picture of a five month pregnant me, wearing camouflage and sporting a magnum. Surprisingly I was a very good shot. I even out-shot my husband.
Opening day of hunting season is coming up soon and this year I “chopped the knot” to use a Dutch expression and decided to join my husband, his dad, and his brother in the woods. Not to keep them company, no, I will have a stand of my own and a loaded gun by my side. Naturally I needed to practice shooting. Being a good shot five years ago with a handgun doesn’t mean I am a good shot today with a rifle. For all I know, it was the hormones controlling my aim.
I needn’t have worried. I am still a good shot. Apparently it comes naturally to me. But this time Ryan out-shot me by half an inch. And we found out that being out-shot all those years ago by a pregnant woman with no experience stung a little. He is very pleased to have righted this wrong and now lovingly refers to me as “Number Two”. But I know deep down inside he is very proud of me.
Of course, only time will tell if I can actually shoot a deer.
19 October 2011
So why the silence? Because there is something I have to write about first, something I have been struggling with. I am looking for a new job. Why? Because I lost the one I had. About a month ago I was told my position had been eliminated, effective immediately. In fact, an entire layer of management would be cut out, I was told. Seeing that the casino is a bit top heavy in that respect, it makes perfect sense to me from a business perspective. From a personal standpoint, not so much. Enough said.
Dancing around that subject has caused me to clam up, save that one extremely frustrating kitchen cabinet door incident. I have started several posts, but haven't been able to finish a single one. Now that my secret is out, it should get better. So brace yourselves for lots of fall pictures. In between the job applications and painting projects, there is plenty of time to update you on the adventures of a housewife.
25 June 2011
My mother-in-law and I decided to join in on the fun. And I even took it one step further; I quit smoking at the same time. If I was going to mess with my metabolism, I might as well do it right. Those first three days were hard. Very hard. Not so much the not smoking, although I did have a hard time focusing after 2 PM, but the hunger... All I could think about was food. No doubt fueled by the fact I was no longer suppressing my appetite with nicotine.
I did not lose the promised ten pounds that first week, or any week thereafter for that matter, but I did lose some. More importantly, I did not gain any. Had it not been for my diet, I would have snacked non-stop those first few days after quitting smoking. I still diet three days a week and lose about six pounds, most of which I eat back on again during the four days I can eat what I want. I don't think this particular diet is really for me.
To be honest, I am not the dieting kind. I just need to watch my portions, make sure I eat more veggies, and get moving. Lack of exercise is my main problem. I guess we're breaking out the Richard Simmons records tomorrow morning...
25 May 2011
I am truly thrilled to be the featured blogger today at The Secret to Success is Support, the wonderful circle of support made for and by bloggers. When I first moved from The Netherlands to the United States, I wanted to let the folks back home know how things were going. I started with a letter, added some photo's, played around with the lay-out and before I knew it, I had a newsletter; Olympic Adventures, since we were living in Olympia WA back then. I sent out two newsletters and then I had a child.
Fast forward two and a half years and out of my New Year's resolution of doing better at keeping in touch with people, Olympic Adventures - The Blog was born, nowadays know as Northwoods Adventures. It is a place where I record the goings on, big and small, of my family. Our good and bad fortune, the funny things my daughter does and says, the occasional crafty endeavor, and whatever else is on my mind. I enjoy blogging tremendously because it is therapy, a journal, a scrapbook, and a family history all rolled into one.
On special today are three posts I have selected for you. First - the cliff notes of my life so far, second - funny stuff my child says, and third - what an unbelievable adventure the outdoors can be. Thank you for visiting my corner of the Northwoods. I hope to pop into your neighborhood for a return visit very soon!
The Adventures of a Dutch Girl
Trespassers will be shot
18 April 2011
One of the no-show mothers overheard us and explained why her daughter wasn't able to make the party. "It would have been nice to know that so I could have prepared Lola for no-one showing up," I shot back and gave her a dirty look. "Oh," she replied. Filled with resentment I walked out of the daycare, got in my car and left.
A few minutes later at the traffic lights, I pulled up behind a car with LVG NRGY on her license plate. I am assuming the driver was a she, I don't think many men up here are prone to driving around with Loving Energy written on their cars. It made me smile. I took a deep breath and all my anger flowed right out of me.
The universe was talking to me again. Thanks for the reminder.
25 February 2011
While Lola was clearly feeling better by the minute, my health rapidly deteriorated. When it was time for her nap, I decided to take one too, rather than enjoying some free time. She slept until three, I woke up around dinner time. Ryan had come home in the meantime and spent the afternoon entertaining his daughter and looking after his wife.
I am feeling much better now and tomorrow will be business as usual. I will go to work as planned and Lola will go back to school. But at least we got the party hat project out of the way.
12 February 2011
16 January 2011
I got up shortly after 5 am, got dressed, and made myself a cup of coffee. As I started loading the ingredients in the crockpot, something seemed off. Three cups of rice and only half a cup of water? I looked at the recipe again.
Snag #1: the recipe called for cooked rice.
No problem. I hauled out the rice cooker, filled it up, and turned it on.
Snag #2: sometimes our rice cooker jumps back to the "warm" setting.
When I walked into the kitchen twenty minutes later, my rice was not done. I turned it on again. Why hadn't I just cooked the rice on the stove? By this time, I was running seriously late. Lola had gotten up in the meantime and I dressed and fed her. When my meal was finally ready to go, it was almost 8 o'clock. We decided I would take Lola to daycare and Ryan would pick her up, instead of the other way around, so I could work a little later to make up some time.
I dropped Lola off and was on my way. I was happily driving along, bopping to the music, feeling pretty good. There was no sense in stressing over lost time since there was nothing I could do about it. The sun was shining and the roads were clear.
Snag #3: at the Oneida/Forest county line a power line had fallen onto the road and all traffic had come to a full stop.
For the first time ever since I moved to Wisconsin I was stuck in traffic. I reached for my blackberry to call work and answer some emails while I was waiting.
Snag #4: my blackberry was still sitting on my nightstand.
Since Big Blue has a built-in cell phone, I was able to let my staff know I was going nowhere at the moment and I would be very late coming in. I also called Ryan to chat.
Snag #5: Ryan was not too far behind me, on his way to a dentist appointment that had already been rescheduled three times.
I told him to let them know he probably wouldn't make it. Not too long after that though, WPS pulled the power line back up and everything started moving again. Ryan made it in time and I finally clocked in at 9:52 am. Only three hours late.
10 December 2010
Every year I purchase a seasonal cup at the Goodwill or another thrift store, just for me. And every year they get bigger. Somehow they only last for one season, but that's okay. I'll find a new, bigger, one next year.
07 December 2010
Grandma's Briefs is sending me a parking target, another blog give away. Perfect timing because we have just started parking the cars in the garage and it's a very tight fit, I tell you. Thank you, Lisa!
It took me more than a week and several trips to Home Depot, but we finally have a lighted Christmas tree. I have strung up 900 lights over the past few days. The tree is bigger than I thought. I wonder if we have enough ornaments?
Green Girl in Wisconsin surprised me with my third give away win in one week. I can pick out any gift I want from Anne Marie's NaDa Farm Shop. That bank bag has my name on it. Thank you, Green Girl and Anne Marie!
At yesterday’s Christmas get-together organized by the YMCA's Children's Learning Center Lola would not sing. She has been practicing Christmas songs for weeks with her friends and teachers, but at the sight of all those moms and dads in the audience she was overcome with shyness.
I just spit out seventeen seeds from my supposedly seedless clementine. It was very sweet though.
Any sweet surprises for you this week?
21 November 2010
"He's the little boy that Santa Claus forgot,
And goodness knows, he didn't want a lot.
He sent a note to Santa, for some soldiers and a drum,
It broke his little heart, when he found Santa hadn't come."
Doesn't this bring tears to your eyes? Or is it just me, am I such a sap? Either way, while I was driving home, listening to the soft baritone voice of Mr. Cole, I thought about the child we have been assigned by the Rotary to buy Christmas presents for. A little girl, one year old, who needs warm clothes and loves Minnie Mouse. There are many more children like her out there, the little boys and girls that Santa Claus forgot.
I am so grateful Lola is not one of those children, that we can afford to dress her and buy her gifts. I am so grateful we are in the position to help when and where needed, after coming dangerously close to being on the receiving end. It seems like an eternity but it was just last year our situation was so different from what it is now.
During our trials and tribulations I would, from time to time, voice my frustration and anger at the universe on my blog. And without fail, the universe would answer me somehow. I realized I haven't properly and publicly thanked the universe for our reversal of fortune. I think it's time.