Saturday, April 20, 2002

Friday Five:

This seems to have become somewhat of a fad, but I think it's fun, so here goes:
1. What's your favorite TV show and why? That's a hard one. I don't watch a lot of tv. I do record "Keeping Up Appearances" from PBS and BBCAmerica, though. I much enjoy that show. On American tv, it's a toss up between ER and Judging Amy.

2. Who is your favorite television star? Dana Carvey. I think he's great at impersonating and I find him truly funny!

3. What was your favorite TV show as a child? As a child, I lived in the Netherlands and my favorite Dutch shows were Stuif es In and Hamelen. But that doesn't mean anything to my American friends. We had American shows there too, though, and my favorite was the Partridge Family.

4. What show do you think should have been cancelled by now? I read on the site, that Third Rock from the Sun still survives. I *hate* that show. But I also dislike the Drew Carey show, so it's a toss up.

5. What new show do you hope escapes the axe this season? I don't really know what's doing well and what's not, but a show I find refreshing and hope continues is "Scrubs".
Yesterday was one of those days, where I had grand plans, that never materialized. It started out with my workout. I was going to have a one hour personal training session (usually it's a half hour, but we're making up missed sessions from when I was in Paris). So I didn't think about what I was going to do (I usually mentally prepare myself), because I figured Mimi would tell me. But when I walked into the gym, another personal trainer stopped me and said Mimi had tried to reach me to tell me she wouldn't be there, her car had been towed. So suddenly, I was faced with having to create my own workout. Wah! It didn't work. I kind of drifted from one machine to the next and chatted more than I worked out (also important sometimes :)). Oh well, an easy workout once in a while won't kill me either.

At 12pm, Laura came to give me a massage. She was really surprised to hear I don't like massages. I get them, because I know they truly help, but if they weren't so productive, I wouldn't get them. Unlike Rick, who just loves massages. I guess I'm weird that way. I do wish our insurance would start covering the massages. After all, they are therapeutic, on doctor's advice. But Laura is "merely" a certified massage therapist and they'll only pay for physical therapist masseurs :(.

After the massage, I started cleaning our bathroom (every half year or so, I go through our medicine stack to throw out outdated stuff and take inventory), when the phone rang. It was Saskia's teacher. Whenever I hear that during the day, I feel this jolt going through me, fearing something terrible. It turned out, Saskia was spiking a temperature again :(. When she woke up, she complained of a sore throat, but I didn't give it much thought, as she often sleeps with her mouth open and a quick drink usually takes care of it. But she has had strep 3 times in the past 2 months, so something kept nagging at me about it. And when I picked her up and saw how miserable she was, I was just certain it was strep again. So off to the doctor we went. When we get appointments that late in the day, we usually have to wait and wait. And this time was no exception (with Saskia feeling so miserable, she was sleeping on the table). Thankfully, another doctor was done seeing patients and took over.
And within 10 minutes, she came back with the test results: strep again. This time, Saskia has a vile tasting and smelling antibiotic (Cleomycin) and she has to take 2 teaspoons 3 times a day :(. Poor kid!

Once back from the doctor, I quickly dropped Saskia off at home and went off to CVS to fill the prescription. At first I was told they didn't stock this antibiotic, but then, luckily, it turned out they had one bottle and the rest would be available on Monday afternoon. While waiting to have the prescription filled, I went to Safeway and got Saskia her wishes of: Dole fruit bowls, Gatorade (I think we should get stock in Stokely-Van Camp!), numerous popsicles (always helps her get the medicine down) and Reese's Peanut Butter Puffs cereal.

Once home, I stayed with the kids, while Rick went off to IKEA, to get a bookcase and desk for Kai's room. We had intended to do this together, but with Saskia feeling so miserable, we obviously couldn't.

This morning, Kai had a racketball lesson at 10am and Katja and I wanted to work out at the gym. We dropped Kai off at the rec center (he has a very gung ho teacher, who calls and makes sure he signs up for the next session. Kai seems to enjoy it and I'm hoping to soon play some games with him and Rick!).

Katja and I went on to the gym and did a great weights workout. She also ran a mile in 11.5 minutes, a personal best. And we played some basketball, that was fun too. By the time we were done it was 12noon and we were hungry. So we ordered blueberry smoothies. I have never had such a good smoothie in my life! I'm not exaggerating! They were truly delicious!

Then we went to Zany Brainy, where we got Saskia a Barbie, she has been playing with it all afternoon!

Kai in the meantime went to a birthday party at the pool, which finished at 2:30pm and Katja needed to be at a 4H woodworking lesson at 2pm. So off we went, Saskia and I, on a taxi ride: dropping Katja off, going to Big K for some errands and then picked Kai up. It turned out the pool had to be closed, because one of the party guests had thrown up in it! They closed the pool for 2 hours, so the party coming after them couldn't swim. I kept wondering what one would do, if their swimming party was not possible and there is nothing else to do there! It was a girl party, so maybe that's easier than a boy party (or am I being sexist now?).

The rest of the afternoon was spent putting a book case and desk together for Kai's room. My dad came over to help Rick do it all and it looks great! We ordered Indian food, which was great. And we had a nice visit. Tomorrow my dad is taking off for Bosnia. Not a safe place to go, so I hope it'll all be ok.

Now we're just vegging. Tomorrow I'll have to organize Kai's new closets.

Thursday, April 18, 2002

Another scorcher today! I just went out to the nursery to get some hanging baskets and put them on the porch and I was drenched in sweat! We did have quite a thunderstorm move through (I sat on the porch the whole time, the lightning bolts were gorgeous! I so love watching t-storms here!) and that cooled things down a bit.

And maybe the pollencount will be down! It was over 2500 yesterday! And today not much better: 2449. I'm not allergic, normally, but I had an itch in my throat and my contacts were bothering me all day. Cars are not colored anymore, they're just all green now ;).

This morning, I had a really good workout. I did an interval running/walking (8 mph for one minute/4.5mph for one minute etc.), I went for 5 miles. Christine had a massage and when she was done, we treated ourselves to lunch. Something we hadn't done in weeks. She just "survived" a visit by her parents and I, well, I didn't really have an excuse, but was all too happy to tag along ;). We went to Artie's and had their goat cheese and spiced pecans salad. Yummy!

After lunch, I went on a wild (and unsuccessful) goose chase for green and white cushions for our patio Adirondack chairs. The only place that had them was, but at a cost of $65 a piece, they cost 3 times what the chairs cost. A little steep!

Then I stopped by Blinds to Go, to order a new blind for Kai's room, as the kittens chewed through the string, which made them fall apart. Everything has to be ordered there, so I have to go back in 5 or so days to pick it up. Our windows are standard size, so I just don't get why they don't stock some of those blinds! They're just white, not like it's some custom color or anything.

Final stop on my tour around town was the nursery, as described above. They have gorgeous plants, but they're so expensive! I wanted to get more perennials, but the 3 hanging plants were all I could afford today!

At home I performed mundane tasks, like watering the plants, cleaning the litterboxes and putting in the laundry. I can't believe how our laundry mushrooms these days! Thankfully, Rick likes folding in the evenings, while he watches his favorite shows.

Katja went skating and swimming today. I may not be a soccermom, but I sure shuttle a lot of kids back and forth all afternoon! Thank goodness for the van, it's usually full. A friend had a license plate that read: "KIDS HOV" (High Occupancy Vehicle). That certainly could be applied to my van these days!

And Kai's interest in Pokemon cards has been rekindled, as he's receiving them from a 4th grade class in the Netherlands. So we went to 7 Eleven, where he got 2 neo packs. And he told me on the way back, that he is just the luckiest boy in the world, as he got some rare cards in those packs :). That made my heart melt. He's such a happy kid!

And I just booked my trip to go see my sister and my new little nephew mid May! Yippee! And I got a great fare!

I may write twice today, I just didn't have a chance to write last night. Rick came home around 6pm and we had a nice dinner from California Pizza Kitchen. I had Singapore shrimp rolls and Balsamic Provencal salad, delicious. I love their salads and you can order half portions.

Yesterday was a productive day! I had a great personal training session. I had to do squats until fatigue, but I never fatigued so we got bored and went on. My lower body strength and stamina is great. My upper body stamina is good too, but my strength there, despite more than 4 years of training, still leaves much to be desired. And given my neck problems, I'm not sure how to improve it. That's sometimes a disappointment, on the other hand, if I look how far I've come (I used to not be able to carry a 30 pound bag of dog food and I now without problems carry a 42 pound kid around on one arm), it's still pretty good.

When I came home, it was around 11 and the temperature outside was already in the high 80's. I just had to do something outside and the weeds were already taking over in the back yard. So I pulled weeds for an hour (sweat dripped off me, gross, huh!) and then tried to tackle the grass growing in between the bricks on the patio. If anyone reading this has an environmentally friendly solution to preventing that, I'm all eyes! I didn't get far and I'll search online to see what can be done, maybe some solution sprayed or something.

I also "harvested", as Rick calls it. I have to being quite lazy when it comes to walking the dog. So she goes out in the yard most of the time. Now that the weather is getting nice enough for the kids to play on our backyard playground, I wanted to make sure we wouldn't get poopy shoes. So I scooped up a bag full of poop, yuck! I read somewhere, that someone in South Carolina has started a business cleaning people's yards after their animals, um, used it. I could see how he could make a lot of money (and it made me feel a little better, knowing I'm definitely not the only one to let the dog out in the back).

Then it got too hot to be outside, so I ate lunch (with the hot weather, the soups I've become accustomed to eating are not the best choice, so I have to find myself another low calorie nutritious lunch) and then started on Katja's room. It took me 2 hours and a bag full of trash and one full of outgrown clothes, but it's all neat again, let's see how long that lasts!

Initially, the plan was to go to the gym with Katja after school. Then she changed her mind and wanted to go ice skating. But when her friend Leah came to say the neighborhood sprinklers would come on (this time at our neighbor's and our houses), that was too much to pass up. So 10 neighborhood kids enjoyed the sprinklers, ages ranging from 4 to 12. That's what I love here, the mix of ages playing together. Girls and boys alike. It's fun to live on a street where everyone has kids and the adults are no more than 10 years apart in age (with a large concentration around my age, late 30's-early 40's).

Well, I'm off to the gym. It's less hot today, but still very nice. I hope it stays at least shorts weather from now on (warmer than 65 degrees warrants shorts for me).

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Whenever Rick is on travel, I feel like I've jumped in the deep and am swimming under water. When he gets home, I finally get up for air!

The weather is downright gorgeous, it was 91 degrees today and it's still 90 degrees out! Unreal for April! It's fun to wear summer clothing again and it's so much easier to just be able to step outside without coats. And, best of all, I notice such a difference in how I feel! Especially my level of energy is up. This whole week is supposed to be warm, yay!

This morning, after dropping Saskia off at school, I dropped Brynna at the vet. We're still in limbo as to what ails her. She drinks and pees too much, her blood tests show her liver enzymes are too high, but the tests for Cushings Disease keep being negative, stumping the vet. She does have a UTI/kidney infection and has antibiotics for that for 6 weeks. I'm hoping and praying the antibiotics will somehow take care of the problem, as the alternative (blindly treating for Cushings) sounds cumbersome and is expensive.

Then off to the post office, where I mailed a huge package with Saskia's outgrown clothes to my niece in Canada. Amazingly, Saskia was very careful with her clothing this season and many things still looked very good.

For the first time in several weeks, I made it to biblestudy this morning! I really like going, I like the women there, the materials make me think. I'll miss the next two weeks again, because of commitments at the school. The church where the bible study is held (my friend Christine is the leader, that's how I started going), is doing a 50 day adventure. While I find many parts of it too Christian for me, it's good to focus on my right and wrong choices daily, for example. And to set a goal to work towards (mine is to find fulfillment in every single day, I too often feel the day was just "wasted", when, of course, it really wasn't).

After the study, I made my way to the gym and did a hard cardio workout for 1 hour. Then my friend Ann and my dad arrived and I stayed longer than I had planned (as is often the case!), just chatting with them. I was also procratinating, as I'd half planned to start on Katja's closets today and they're such a disaster, I'm dreading the task. So, I came home, ate lunch, had a shower and then it was too late to do the closet.

The older kids came home and Katja had a hair appointment. The girl that does her hair is not much older than her and does a really nice job. This time Katja wanted some highlights and she did just a few, enough to look fun. Katja has gorgeous hair, straight where it needs to be, curly at the ends and very thick. Wherever she got that is beyond me, as neither Rick nor I have any wave in our hair and both of us have thin hair.

While Katja was at the salon, I picked Saskia up from school and Kai up from home. Once Katja was done, we went off to TGIF for dinner. We had hoped to sit outside on their patio, but they didn't have their seats out yet. I guess it is unexpected to have summer like temperatures in April.
When I ordered a glass of wine, I was carded for the first time in many years! And I truly think the guy wasn't sure about my age. I choose to take it as a compliment :). Maybe it's my newly acquired truly blonde look ;).

We had to rush through dinner, as it took forever to get our main courses and Brynna was still at the vet and needed to be picked up by 8pm. We just made it.

Now, I just have to go lie down with Saskia (I'm truly grateful to Katja right now, as she's brushed Saskia's teeth and washed her hands and feet and is reading her her book right now, it's great to have an older daughter!) and fold the laundry. Then... me time. We just discussed today, how we often stay up too late, especially when our husbands are gone, to just get an hour or two with no interruptions. Of course, I'm getting some time now. Thank you, Katja!

Monday, April 15, 2002

Ok, so Rick is out of town. The kids always sleep in my room when he's gone and I truly enjoy that (Saskia always sleeps there, Kai occasionally and Katja only when Rick is not here). Last night, Kai asked to sleep in Rick's spot in the bed. Sure, nice and cuddly. Except, at 3:30 he started wiggling and no matter what I did, I couldn't get back to sleep. So I asked him to go back in his sleeping bag on the floor. He was fine with that, it's almost as if he just couldn't get comfortable in the bed.

Then the dog, who never wakes up when Rick is here, started peeping and whining to go out at 4:30. So I let her out, swearing and cussing (ok, it is super annoying she does this only when Rick is out of town!!! She proceeds to bark and bark and bark outside. Fearful of waking up neighbors, I stepped outside (it was warm!) and called her. It took for me to get the dog treats, to get her to come back in. Tonight she's going in her cage!!! I hate to do that, but I need my sleep!

This morning we kind of slept in, because Katja and Kai had to go to the orthodontist and Saskia didn't have to be at school until 9. It was heaven to "sleep" until 8! We quickly ate breakfast and then took Saskia to school and we went off to the orthodontist. Kai has a tooth coming in in front of a baby tooth (which isn't loose yet). The doctor said to wait till summer, he was hopeful the new tooth would push out the old.

Katja got new bands and chose orange, yellow and red for her colors this time. We have to be back in 6 weeks and if she continues like this, she only has a few more months to go. Her whole profile is changing, now that her teeth are being pulled straight!

I dropped Katja and Kai off at school and scheduled the next Artsmart dates for Kai's class. The next artist is Georgia O'Keeffe, I think the kids will have fun with her. In Kai's class, I'll teach about her on the 30th of April, just when his Dutch friend, Mark, will be visiting (for his birthday, a big surprise for Kai!).

Next, off to the gym. I did a really good workout (the weather is so nice and warm and physically, I immediately notice the difference, my energy levels are up and pain levels down, yay!). I did a tough interval: 5 minutes on a cardio machine as hard as I could go (so my heart rate stayed near 80% the whole time) and then 2 sets of 15 repetitions of different weight equipment. This for an hour and 15 minutes, so I had had all major muscle groups, by the time I was done. I wear a heart rate monitor and it also keeps calories burned. I know I can't totally count on that to be accurate, but I do use it as a quide as to how hard I worked out.

Feeling good about the workout and happy about the weather, I went to Zany Brainy across the street and got the kids a thing with bubbles, not just bubbles, but the ones that harden slightly and can be caught and piled on top of each other. Big success!

Once home, I quickly ate lunch and showered, as Katja and I were to go to a make up lesson at my hair salon. The person doing the make overs was William Whited, a well known make up artist, who has also done the make up of quite a few actors and actresses . He has a studio in Georgetown ($60 for a lesson, um, I think I'll just do it myself!). He did do a really nice job on the ladies that we saw. There was some nice food too and it was a fun mother-daughter thing to do. Too bad we had to leave, as Katja had skating, I would have liked to have received some recommendations. I'm not a huge make up user, but for parties and the likes it's fun.

Katja and Saskia are taking skating lessons and they're both enjoying it. Saskia has no fear of falling and goes quite fast (and then falls). Katja is a little more careful, but then, she has a lot further to fall! I'm afraid to skate after having broken my ankle on black ice 18 years ago. But I keep thinking I'll try it again, helping Saskia along may be the perfect occasion.

We went to Sweetwater Tavern for dinner. When Rick is out of town, going out to dinner with the kids is something I've really taken to (and they as well). It gives us all a chance to relax and chat over dinner. If we eat at home, I don't really get to eat, as I'm busy catering to requests. Plus, this way we can each have the dish we enjoy. When Rick is home, there are usually 3 people (Rick, Katja and me) who enjoy the meal I cook, that's worth it to me. Anyway, Sweetwater was great, they had outside seating, so we had a great dinner outside. I had a nice rare tuna salad (with pine nuts and dates).

After dinner, I cleaned up the mess from this morning and took Saskia upstairs to help me sort out her clothes. She is so funny! She genuinely gets attached to clothes. But the knowledge that her most favorite (that she has definitely outgrown) will go to her cousin in Canada helped. It feels good to have at least one small part of the clutter taken care of!

We watched some tv together. The kids really like the new CBS series Baby Bob. This week's episode had kind of an adult theme (the parents were too exhausted to make love, so they struck a deal), but it went right over the kids' heads. All they saw was a very tired dad and a talking baby. I am not really fond of the series, it's too far fetched for me, I guess.

Saskia slept in 5 minutes, Katja will be in my bed tonight and all is quiet right now. I'm looking forward to an uninterrupted night's sleep!!!

Sunday, April 14, 2002

This morning I woke up in a funk. It was Sunday, great, sunny out, great, but we only had half a day really, as Rick went on a trip leaving at 2:30pm. I *hate* those Sundays! They're lost days. All we do is hang around, waiting for him to leave. Somehow it doesn't bother me during the week. We have our own schedule then, say goodbye and he goes on his merry way, whenever he needs to leave for the airport. Not so on Sundays. Then, everything is done by the clock. I usually don't want to go off to the gym, because I somehow feel I should spend every last minute with him. I usually get bent out of shape over the shape the house is in (messy, kids not cleaning up after themselves, what have you), mainly because I need some outlet for my feelings of frustration at him having to leave on a weekend, cutting it way short.

We also had to take Katja to her 4H sewing lesson, a half hour there, a half hour back and then the same to pick her back up.

Ok, so that's a major whine. Then I'm thinking about how good we have it and how great, that I'm not staying home alone, but with 3 fun kids and that cheers me up somewhat.

And then he leaves... Kiss, kiss, one last honk and there we are, just the 4 of us. And suddenly, the countdown for his return can begin. I read some outside on the stoop, as it was *gorgeous* weather. Saskia and I did some of her "homework" (about plants and roots) and then my dad came and we chatted on our deck, enjoying the blooming Dogwoods(we have 4 white ones in our backyard), Azaleas , Redbuds(these are the coolest trees in spring (besides the dogwoods), as it's as if their very branches are purple, really unique) and our resident Cardinal pair.

At dinner time, we went to the Japanese restaurant close by and had sushi and sashimi. Except Kai and Saskia, who had chicken katsu, their favorite. For dessert, my dad treated to a Dairy Queen dipped cone and then back home. It's the first truly warm day and night of the season and it feels good! Katja is still outside at 9:15! Yay! Summer is here!!!