Sunday, March 30, 2008

Wijvenweek: my man

Today is catch-up day for Wijvenweek. I guess I did skip the subject of men on Wednesday. Kruimel had asked us all what our men can do as the best.

I could make a long list of how incredible delicious he can cook, and how he can make me laugh, how he can iron faster than I can, how he cleans more precisely than I do, how he laughs at my morning grumpiness, how he tells me that he loves me each day, etc...

But today I thought he can make incredible cute pictures of our family :). Great memories for the future that we can always treasure. Don't you think so as well?

Brabantse Pijl

I came back home this morning, finding a note on the floor in the hall way. It was in Jan's inreadabile handwriting and to make it more challenging, he had used a dying pen.

"I am off to ........r..ce..., you... phone me"

Knowing that the Brabantese Pijl (a classic one day cycling race in spring) was starting this morning, I assumed he had decided last minute to go and watch the start. When I phoned him, he told me to rush as they'd leave the city centre any minute.

A quick calculation told me that they'd be passing by a crosspoint 4 blocks away from us, while they had to race a 6 blocks themselves. Without taking the time to realise this was hopeless anyway, I jogged away in the pouring rain. While approaching the crosspoint I heard the police whistling while managing the traffic. That seemed a good sign.

But when I arrived and saw the busy traffic going by, I realised that I was late. Jan's phone call could only confirm so. The only thing I could do is turn around and walk back home in the pouring rain. Jan fortunately did have some pictures to show me what I had missed.

Lesson learned for next year: I jog 4 blocks much slower than professional cyclers race 6 blocks!

Wijvenweek: busy day

Today there is no fixed theme to blog about at the last day of Wijvenweek. Great, time to blog about my period, my favourite hygienic pads and tampons and how absorbant they are ('Always' important to have that safe feeling, right ;) ), my PMS attacks, ...

Unfortunately I was too busy today

  • Cleaning the house
  • Admiring my new purses
  • I wanted to go to the start of the Brabantse Pijl to admire the legs of all those cute cyclers...but I was too late.

A busy "Wijvendag" :)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Wijvenweek: what men don't get

i. claims that men always look for a purpose in their actions. Just phoning a friend to see how he's doing is not done: you phone them to arrange a meeting or to ask something. Not just to have a conversation how they are doing.
And in case they do have such a conversation, they look for problems to solve.

Just imagine yourself coming home after a tough day. You had a big discussion with your boss or your supplier screwed it up again or a friend misunderstood something you said or a passer-by made some nasty remark out of the blue, .... It's been weighing on you since it happened. Confusing thoughts whirle in your mind. You feel hurt, upset, defensive, angry... and mostly tired by the emotions.

And then you phone him, chat with him online or come home to him and you start talking about what happened.

Men don't always get that we just want to tell our story at that moment. That we didn't throw out a question "how should I have handled this differently? How should this situation get solved.".
Nope, we are merely looking for someone who wants to listen to what has been bothering us.
We're not interested at that very moment in suggestions to make it up, to use our social networks at work, to defend our position , the arguments to use ...
Nope we'd like to hear at this moment our supplier truly is an amateur, that our boss might have overreacted a bit, that this passer-by is some kind of jerk, that it's understandable we feel troubled by it (even maybe they'd really not be troubled over such a thing)...
We don't want to hear questions that surely we have answered X and Y this and this (which we didn't as we were fighting tears at that very moment), that you don't have to let such things get you, ...
Nope we'd just like a listening ear and a hug.

And then afterwards, after we've found our safe place were we can come to as we are : confused , troubled, hurt, ... then we can come to rest, take some distance, feel safe and understood. And then we are ready to talk about solutions and suggestions for this situation that clearly went wrong. And laugh about our own emotional exaggeration of the situation. And feel stronger for the next time it might happen. The we are ready for all that, but not earlier.

What my blogging this week is all about:

Intrigued by this singular word post? Find out other players over at Jenn's . They are super cool!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Wijvenweek: Children bis

Conversation at the pharmacy a while ago:

"goodmorning, I'd like to have x (brand of anticonception pill) and some y and z"
"Ok no problem"
"So how's your little boy doing? I bet he's grown a lot lately"
"Oh yes he's doing great, ...almost a year now! Can you imagine? ...
And no children coming yet in your house?" (while she is putting my goods in a bag)

eumm, I hope she does realise what the pills that she is selling are for. Maybe she needed a 'fokkieetje' first to wake up.

Wijvenweek: Children

Huisje - Tuintje - Boompje (House - Garden - Tree) ....and children? That seems to be the society's expectations.

After renovating our house together during 2 years, I moved to Leuven last year and Jan and I were officially living together. I can't remember how often I got the question then "And when are you going to start children?" As if it was mandatory to get pregnant right away.

Maybe I was talking too proudly about my little nephews and nieces? Maybe there is a ticking clock printed on my forehead? But at one point some of my colleagues were placing bets when I'd be pregnant.
  • January 2008 according to one ....sorry mate, but you lost your bet
  • May 2008 according to another one.... sorry mate but I can already tell you you are going to lose your bet as well.

So I'm up for another round of bets. You can leave them in your comments. And hopefully some of you will some day win :)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wijvenweek: wishfull thinking

I've got 24 hours in a working day:

Remaining :

- 8 hours: that's really the number of hours sleep I should have

- 7.5 hours I need to be at work minimum (usually a bit more)

- 2 hours I need to commute to work (usually less)

- 2.5 hours to have breakfast / lunch/ cook dinner and have dinner

- 1.5 hour to go to aerobic/yoga/diving club or choir

- 1 hour: getting dressed in morning/ going to bed/ inefficient time at home

- 0.25 hour: check e-mails and respond to e-mails / check post

- 1 hour: watch tv combined with blog, read blogs, facebook, e-banking, ...

=> half an hour to
  • (un)load the dishwasher,
  • put trash outside,
  • clean shoes,
  • do laundry
  • iron clothes (yes I want them ironed!)
  • clean up paper piles
  • vacuum sofa (anti-mite)
  • vacuum house
  • wash floors (anti-mite)
  • change sheets and bedding regularly and throw them in laundry regularly (anti-mite)
  • clean the windows
  • water the plants

Of course I always manage to do so! I am superwoman. What else did you expect? And I do it with only one hand too while whistling.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wijvenweek: fashion

Unlike Anneke I always have a purpose when I go shopping. Either I am looking for one or more specific things (a cardigan, a raincoat, outdoor pants, ...) or I simply want to update my garderobe with some trendy fashionable things to combine with my existing look. If I don't have that goal in my mind, I'll never really do more than windowshopping.

These shoppingtrips only really happen once or twice per semester, once looking for winter clothing and once looking for summer clothing.

When I do shop, I try to make sure I buy things that are in fashion and will remain in fashion for at least another year afterwards as I tend to keep on wearing things for a long time. But I have a big advantage: one my best friends Sofie owns a store, Pastel, in Geraardsbergen. Not only am I certain to leave her store with what I was looking for, I get spoiled by all her undivided attention (sometimes after closing hours) and I only have to try on things while she runs around finding the perfect combination.

I also always question her about the fashion that is coming up: in this winter they are actually already to start looking at collections of next winter. That comes in handy to know what becomes obsolete or not. Lately she does answer me "Everything is possible, there's always a wide range of things in fashion nowedays". Hmm not handy if you intended to write a post about the new fashion trends.

But here are some evolutions nevertheless:

  • All shades of grey become popular this summer (as was this winter already) and the touch of color is often yellow. Next winter you'll see bright red as well (remember that semi final of Eurovision: all the men had red shirts!). Brown and dark blue is less visible.
  • T-shirts/sweaters remain long, at least hip length or a longer tunic. You also see a lot of longer knitted sweaters.
  • Still lots of skirts, kneelength or shorter
  • Bermuda shorts slowly disappear
  • Pants are straight and narrow and there's still skinny pants although fasion literature starts talking about the return of very wide pants. Store collections still have mainly straight legs though, no more boot cut....but the very wide ones are coming in as well.
  • Trenchcoats are still in
  • Dresses with flashy prints remain as well as empire dresses...above knee-level.

Hmm I can come up with some things that would be nice additions to my wardrobe. Now I need to find shopping company and it needs to warm up a bit to get me in the mood...and off I go for my summer update.

Wijvenweek: problem solved

Problem description:

  • white high back-pack type handbag: worn, ready for retirement, dirty, unsafe against pickpockets

  • white rectangular handbag: deep scratch, needle that holds the handle has one handle loose, discolored a bit

  • Red big bag: leather strap broken, inside cloth torn

  • Black purse: leather strap broken...sewn by the shoe repair shop twice in vain

  • Brown purse: magnetic closure falls off all the time and gets lost for weeks, so has an open gap all the time

  • Green old bag: >10 years old, color doesn't fit with anything, looks cheap, unpractical

=> urgent need of a non-broken purse. No make that 2 purses. A white/beige one for the summer and a dark one for the winter


Ask boyfriend to buy 2 handbags in India during his business trip there

Planning progress:

  • Describe desired properties in e-mail to India - done
  • Check the windowshopping pictures received - done
  • Check the online catalogues of the available local brands - done
  • Pass order - done
  • Await purchase confirmation - work in progress
  • Transport to Belgium - scheduled
  • Show off new handbag - scheduled

Monday, March 24, 2008

Wijvenweek: my new haircut

You know what is very frustrating when you get a new haircut?
....when no one notices the change!!!!! Argh

So here I give some close-ups of my new haircut that is 10 days old now. It has significantly cut the lenght in my neck, creating some type of bob haircut that is a little longer in front than in the back. From facial side it isn't quite that different, but in this freezing Easter weather I sure feel the difference in my neck! But now it's shorter I spend less time brushing it and I can simply play around with a bit of gel. As a matter of fact, the lenght in my neck has not been that short over the last 20 years, so it deserves a post, right?



Wijvenweek: my red swollen eyes

Today's theme for Wijvenweek is "our wijvenlijf" (our body). Generally I am quite happy with my body. No frustrations on my boobs (and I just tested Eve's post and apparently I do wear the correct bra size...very important to check that now and then ;) ). I'd like to lose some kilo's that I've gained over the last years, especially when I was living in hotels all of the time. But so far it clearly hasn't bothered me enough to really do the effort of weight watchign for a while, but it's still on the to do list. Not because I feel bad about my weight, but I'd rather stop the trend before it does get out of hand in the coming years (3-4 kg a year cannot continue like that).

The thing I do get frustrated about is my skin. I have such a problem skin: too dry, too many allergic reactions causing red itchy cracked skin, ... The best part of that is: it is always first shows in my face...on my eyelids first. As if they knew that I wanted to write about my body today, I got up with nice swollen red eyes again. Lately they seem to come and go in waves of every 10 days.

I put Elidel creme on them , take my Cetirizine antihistamine pills almost non-stop, ...yet I seem to be stuck with it chronically. Well hey, I'm allergic to the dust of house mites (there is no way that I can make my house totally mite free without turning into a cleaning freak), to grasseeds (hurray for me all spring/summer...) and to nickel (ok..this should be easier to avoid). So I have to air our bedroom as much as I can but not in the morning as then there is a boom in grasdust in the air. I should not touch the first water coming out of the tap in mornings as it might contain nickle, ...I have to be careful in chosing make-up as the cheap ones add nickle to give it a metal look, I should only have leather sofa's in the house, I should vacuum my mattras weekly with a dust mask, ... The more I read about allergies, the more I feel helpless in battling them. I can't start living in a sterile environment , right?

On top of it all, my face skin is too greasy in the T above my eyebrows to my chin. Oily skin produces a yeast which triggers seborrhoeic excema which looks extremely dry. But "feeding cremes" , after sun, body lotions, ...are forbidden as they turn my face in an itchy chapped madness. Nope, only the hydratating Aquatain (R) is allowed until my menopause, according to my dermatologist.

But I seem to suffer from it ever my frequently. I wonder if it could be following a hormonal cycle as well? I think I need to go to a new dermatologist to check up whether I am still having the correct treatments. After all, I loose track of which type of "dry skin" I am having again.

So next time you meet me: nope I did not forget to put pink eyeshadow on my left eye. And I didn't get into a fight as well. It's my all natural face you see :).

PS: anyone interested in some Garnier Ultralift daycreme? I got too tempted last year in the nice packaging and could not resist buying it. But after one week use, I had to put it idle on the shelf again.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Wijvenweek: Let's start!

Female bloggers don't necessary make "womenblogs" that would be less interesting than those written by their male counterparts. Most female bloggers write over a whole range of topics that are not necessarily stereotypical feminine. Some topics will be, some won't.

But sometimes we just want to dig up our feminine side and go all the way: make-up, diets, high heels, our hairstyle, our children, ... and lots of pink.

So here we organise "Wijvenweek" : > 40 top female bloggers will blog all week about topics "my body", "shopping", "men", "our household", "children", "what men don't get", ...and whatever else that is on the top of our mind. You can read all our posts together on . And if you want to join still: leave us a comment or send an e-mail to with the URL of your blog.

I've got my lipstick by the hand and my hairbrush, a little mirror, a purse full of practical goodies, hormones and hygienic pads, nylon stockings, ... I think I am ready. Here we come in the next week !
Woooohooo "Wijvenweek"!!!

Easterchicks and chocolate eggs and family time

It was Stef's first time that he could search for Easter eggs in the garden....although he was more interested in searching and catching an Easter Bunny in action. All bundled up on this cold Easter, with a bit of guidance, he managed to find all the chocolate hidden in the garden by the Easter bunny and the Easter Bells.

In the flower/garden store he was excited to see little chicks, bunnies, turtles, ... in their pet section.

Happy Easter from our family to all of you! Bye bye

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A new Belgian government

if you are not sitting down yet, please do go sit down ....

Yeah, really, I am not kidding. Yves Leterme has reached his deadline and in his third attempt, he has succeeded in forming a government just before the interim-government was going to expire. Guy Verhofstadt who has preceded our country for 8 years and who stept in after 6 months of unsuccesful negotiations to form an interim government despite his election loss, has resigned this afternoon as prime minister of our country. The new government will start 282 days after the elections in 2007.

The government Leterme I is made up of 5 political parties: CD&V (Flemish christen democrats) without their kartelpartner NVA, VLD (Flemish liberals), MR (Wallonian liberals), CDH (Wallonian christen democrats) and PS (Wallonian socialists). This is the same composition as the interim government that was ruling the country over the last 3 months, however there has been a slight shift in minister portfolio's. There will be 15 ministers and 7 state secretaries, carefully balanced among the political parties and even more importantly over the 2 major Belgian language groups using different formula's. Politics in Belgium is a juggling act.

The negotiations about the government agreement en who would become minister lasted until this very moment. Interesting fact is that the NVA, the kartel partner of CD&V (Leterme's party) does not have a minister in this government. As a matter of fact, it was for a long time uncertain if they would vote for this new government in the parliament. That is because the government agreement does not hold any guarantees that the state reform demanded by them will decided. That agreement had been postponed until 15th of June and NVA will then decide whether they continue to support the government lead by their kartel partner. CD&V itself threatens in every speech or statement as well, that a state reform needs to be guaranteed by then or they'll blow up the government that they are leading themself. Interesting huh? During the elections they had promised not to be in a government if there were no such guarentees, but that decision seems to have been postponed.

It's not the only decision or hot issue that is still pending. Issues that prevented the forming of the government last summer and fall are still undecided. Although Yves Leterme claims that his government agreement holds a lot of specific measures, he also had to admit that another bunch of them needs to be agreed and specified still in the coming weeks/months. Especially the numbers/quantities/ the measures would still be missing, a budget was invisible.
If the world was worried last year that Belgium would split up, the national press on both sides of the language borders were interestingly sharing the same opinion over the last days

"the only merit of this government is that it is a government " (Het Nieuwsblad)

"premature" (De Morgen)

"government of postponing" (De Morgen)

" ready to be the worst government of all times" (De Standaard)

"hot air" (Het Nieuwsblad)

"doomed to fail" (Het Nieuwsblad)

" Vague and not ambitious " (Le Soir)
" This is not a government" (Het Nieuwsblad)

"A catalogue of good intentions" (La Libre Belgique)

"No future" (La libre Belgique)

Nice list huh? Don't worry, there's still fans on the forums of all these newspapers defending their heroes in the government. But the poll shows that 60% of the readers expects the government to fall before the summer. As de Standaard writes: the pessimists expect it to last 3 months, the optimists until the regional elections in 2009. There's a lot of advocates to combine the regional elections with the federal ones in order to ensure that the same political parties are in power in all levels to facilitate negotiations. If this government is not stable, the political stress for the regional elections in 2009 will definately doom them. After all, all the non-resolved hot issues (state reform, split of BHV electoral district, ...) are still vague in the agreement . So all discussions still need to continue while the government is operational.

Obviously there is no law obliging the government to have everything agreed upon beforehand. That is probably impossible anyway. And it's not like there is nothing agreed yet either. If they have the necessary agreements before all the budgets need to be signed off, I guess that's ok. After all they do represent the majority , so any agreement is valid. But it's not very credible if all discussion points keep being pushed forward into the future.

So I wonder...what is the difference of this government with the interim government before that was only there to take urgent measures and to buy time for the necessary negotiations??? You tell me.

Oh you might find it interesting as well that in Humo's Pop Poll (a popular Flemish magazines extensive popularity election) ,

  • Yves Leterme was first in the category "Man of the year" but also in " Ass of the year" (beating George W Bush in this category who had been first here the last 7 years!) and came in 2nd in the category "Most competent politician".
  • Guy Verhofstadt was voted "Most competent politician".
  • Joëlle Milquet (saying no to all state reforms requested by the Flemish) scored very high in "Woman of the year" but won "Most irritating politician".

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The advantage of vandalism on your car that the car repair shop cleans your car inside and outside before giving it back.
and if that shop happens to be in the neighbourhood of your aunt and uncle whom you should have visited already a long time, you can pay them a pleasant surprise visit.

Hihi , it's not all bad. But please don't let it happen again though.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

What you don't want to ...

...hear on your voicemail during your vacation:

"Hi Goofball, I just got an e-mail from the lease company. Apparently the police has found your car this weekend and its window had been smashed in. They've taken the precaution to tow your car away. Please phone the towing company at ....". first thing when you are back from vacation after a delayed flight in the middle of the night:

* phone the towing company to find out that they never towed your car at all.
* phone fleetmanager at work in vain
* phone leasing company to find out where on earth your car might be
* wait
* get phone call back to inform you where your car would be
* sit and wait for them to come and pick you up to bring you to a replacement car
* drive to the correct towing company to drop off the car key and pick stuff out of the broken car so they can start the needed repairs.

The under-water world

Jan jumping for a drift dive

Sandra and Sofie


Saturday, March 15, 2008

It was great

My friends and I spent last days sending a couple of e-mails to each other per day "oh the first dive is going to start" "I feel like an after-lunch nap on the upper deck" "ready for the second dive?" "the boat must be back by now" "first a quick shower, then a drink outside?"...
We are back...but not yet in our minds. After only 6 days on the boat, we all seem to have trouble realising that our diving vacation is over! I suppose it's been good :)

It was the second time we went to Hurghada, Egypt and so it felt already a bit like home: we knew where we were going, which restaurant was nice, we knew the instructors at the dive club, ... But this time there were for of us: Jan, me and 2 of my good friends who were willing to try diving after our enthousiastic stories. They took a course and got certified as PADI Open Water divers and after their first hesitant attempts, they now seem to be bitten by the bug as well. And I must say they dive better than I did last year !
I also gained more confidence, managed my buoyancy much better than last year (no more shooting upwards without control during the safety stop, not much waving with my hands anymore when hoovering above a reef while checking out a fish hidden in the corals), ... and I got the PADI Advanced Open Water certification after taking 5 specialty dives with an instructor: deep dive (29m), drift dive, boat dive, navigation dive and peak performance buoyancy. Yihaaaaa :)

We dived with a mirror like sea, we dived against (ouch! I have pudding legs) and with (huh are we here already?) current, we tanned on the deck and we cudled up with our sweater inside, we enjoyed pancakes with our without sugar (thanks sunjets :p) , we smoked a shisha, we ate camel meat, we probably took far too many Clarinase pills, we laughed a lot (yes Karl, ge kunt mijn loodjes ook kussen) (Sofie, stop swimming to unknown groups of divers ;) (Jan the casanova man) , we read books and gossip magazines, we observed other people, ...

We saw a turtle, we swam after some dolphins that showed up after our dive, we saw lots of murrays, stingrays, lionfish, butterfly fish, stone fish, puffer and porcupine fish, octopus, starfish, tuna, schools of barracuda, schools of sardines, groupers, goatfish, unicornfish, napoleonfish, surgeonfish, triggerfish, ....

Did I say it was great already?

Our last day in Egypt, for the first time in our hotel during our "no fly time"

My PADI advanced open water !!

Smoking a shisha

Assisting the captain

Back after another good dive