Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Tuesday 28th February, and one more day to go!! Leap year this year. Glad to know I have another 24 hours to complete all I wanted to do in February. The day started with a gift. Had a lovely skype with Reece, Ros, Max, Kirk and the new pup. She is gorgeous. Could almost feel how velvety her coat is.

Last night was a hoot. On the 18th March is Hinriette's 50th birthday. ( Hinriette always gives me gifts for the grandkids when I visit down under) Our special "group" of friends with whom we spend weekends away twice a year and celebrate birthdays with etc are all BUT one 50. Hinriette closes this mammoth  milestone already reached by the rest. Without her and her hubby Harry in attendance we formulated how we are going to put the spotlight on het at her party. Hinriette likes to dress properly. Her blingbling match her clothing to perfection, her make up always impecable. She looks more than just tidy, she looks perfect! And Hinriette is a bubbly fun loving but OH SO FORGETFUL person.

We spent a few hours making our own "jewelry" from inner tubes, bottle tops and decorations. Friday we are off to the op shop for granny clothes! And I also spent a few hours writing 5 short blurbs about cheapie items we bought at a dollar store. All whilst enjoying a wine, beer and for me a cuppa t! I was the sober driver. Roll on 17th March. We are ready for you!!!!! The scary part is, next year I will be 60 and then the round of parties start afresh. These full on parties started when Leen turned 50. We never looked back. The inspiration came from the fact that we know each other well and I take copious photos. Slide shows, t-shirts, albums. Made them all in various forms and all personally flavoured. Fun, Fun, Fun, yes with a capitol F.

I will post photos when we are all spruced up. Should be a hoot.

Off now to get new paint. The satin paint I used isn't satin but gloss. Leen isn't happy with the look....So I will cover it with the newly chosen paint. Glad the shade is good though. Photo to follow. Hihohiho it's off to the paint shop I go!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Monday morning. Woke up early ( 6am is early isn't it?) headachy and squeamish. Not a good start after such a  great weekend. Got up anyway, glass of water and a cracker was all I could muster. Ran a bath... swallowed some paracetamol and had a catnap under lavender bubbles. After an hour, got out of bath and went to Anita's. She had to bring her car to the garage for a 20 thou km check. I promised to be her " to and fro driver" so had at least an urgent reason to be up and about.
After a cuppa with Daan and Anita arrived home to find a couple of bills in my email, got those sorted..... feeling dreadful actually but don't want to give in to it. Got painting to do, got my admin to update - and have to drive Anita to pick up her car later. Yukyukyuk!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Those last additions make it look like we party and spend our time in hotels - but reality is - we work. Leen dives into his office round 8:30am and tackles his two jobs as city councillor and co-ordinator for his work for the foundation for people with disabilities. And I am plodding on try to set up my business with Ozmozpots.

It is a trying time..., there are days when everything falls into place without a hitch and then there are days! I have made contact with a couple of wholesalers ( one English firm and one dutch) keen on the product. I have got quotes for the packaging, I have a website ( not yet filled with relevant info because I don't have any- nice photo I took and text on it though) I have found a plastics production company wanting to /willing to make the product. I have got people helping me get the financial request for the bank on paper. To do that I need more information, which I need from NZ and that is where I keep hitting snags. Man oh man... in the era of communicational means and possibilities it seems harder than ever to get hold of anyone. So frustrating. And I don't want to overkill on requests of " send me a txt/email when you are available" or " I will be online from .. till ..." like I have been known to do on occasions ;-).

Still, God loves a trier and I will keep battling on. Believe in what I am doing, and so do a few more people. All the tricks I learn now will help me with my next project.

Yesterday, (Saturday) I spent at home with the SPRING BUG. After my chores, shopping and post office errands I started on the interior painting in the lounge/dining. The woodwork is all dark. And I have tried to like it, but don't. So we are now going to paint the window surrounds a creamy pale colour. I managed to prepare and undercoat the divider between the lounge and dining room. Seeing I needed fresh air, I do so dislike the smell of enamel, I opened the french doors onto the deck and decided it was time to scrub the winter green away. So I did! After these epic chores I sure was ready for an early bed. Leen and his brother Arie were in Eindhoven for the day on a brotherly outing so I could suit myself as to when and what I ate and set my own timetable. Just as well I didn't wait up, Leen arrived home round 1:15am.

Had a quieter day today, though the first hour or so I spent in the garden relieving it of some of winter's mess. Leaves everywhere, shrivelled up plants and falling branches. Hoed the garden too so the soil gets some fresh air. Looking good. Can't plant anything yet as the frost danger period isn't
over yet. Not long now though. Roll on spring!

Spent a couple of hours visiting an aunt of Leen's, tante Jaantje. She turned 85 today. She is such a  sweetie. Still goes to her choir practice and she and Leen's dad enjoy the odd ride to visit old friends ( well they would be old wouldn't they!). The rest of today was spent mucking round on my iMac. I need someone to guide me through the initiation period- I am coping but sometimes I wonder.....

Cooked a lovely dinner for 2. Yep, we both had our own course. Leen had rabbit with carrots, leeks, celery, sprouts and mashed potatoes and I had prawns in green curry sauce with rice. We are used to restaurant meals...each preferring their own menu. Just kidding. It doesn't happen every day. Just that Leen loves the " wild dishes" and I don't eat meat. Was fun though cooking two meals and getting the timing right. A red and a white wine on the table. Yum!!

Well, think I have just about filled February in. A few days to go and the month of March will set the pace. Till next time.... oh and by the way Kylie, so glad to have chatted with you (3). A treat to see Summah so grown up already. Received her kisses with much love. Till next time.
Wednesday 22nd February 2012

Like I said, we managed to squeeze a lot of activities in the short month of February. It is leap year!

After the high tea, Leen and I packed a overnight bag and trained off to Amersfoort.

We had a one night stay over so we could explore the city. The hotel room was nicely furnished, clean but very impersonal. A hotel used by businessmen who meet overseas clients, hosts conferences and the like and serves as a meeting place for a variety of groups and services.

I have to say, and that isn't to show off - the kitchen was so-so. Nice but not WOW! The breakfast buffet did have an element of WOW as the spread was very inclusive. Shame the waitress found it necessary to reorganise the breakfast area to a dining area while the guests were still arriving and some, like us, were still having their breakfast. Very unsettling. Still our main purpose was to visit the city... so after leaving our luggage in the care of the hotel staff we trotted along and followed the instructions to the inner city.

How beautiful. An old city with tons of history ( not to mention endless shopping possibilities). The weather was for the first time in months extremely mild. As it was a holiday week for schools, there were more shoppers than normal I suspect.

We spent all day walking round in awe of the buildings ( some from the 1600's) which were till in use as either shops or homes. Some of the cobbled streets looked like they had been there since day one. I could almost hear the horses' hoeves clattering on the rounded square cobbles. Building faces showing their quaint design and peculiar architecture.

As spring is approaching the stores, still filled with winter ware, were keen to hold a sale. Leen was fortunate to score 2 pairs of high quality trousers for a song. I couldn't resist a "funny"  purchase which are now winging it's was to Steve and Reece. A card in the mail to opaopa and a yummy prawn noodle dish at a Japanese eatery and we headed home. I would say, Amersfoort, you are worth another visit in the spring or summer when the sun shines, and the terraces are packed with people all in holiday mode. A boat trip through the canals is also on my hitlist now.

February is drawing to a close. It may be a short month but we managed to jam pack it with activities.
Last Wednesday I treated two friends ( Dicky and Anita) to a High Tea ( 22nd February 13:30) for their birthdays. They  share the date 5th February and seeing I couldn't think of anything in particular, I chose to invite both of them so they could get to know each other a bit better. It was fun with a capitol F.

22nd February 2012 Den Witten Haen, Dordrecht
 Next to me is Anita and opposite her is Dicky. She hates being photographed and was pleased the person who offered to make the snapshot stood to Dicky's side. We went to a coffee lounge-lunchroom called Den Witten Haen ( translated - The White Rooster a name from the 17th century). The service was impecable. This lunchroom is run by people with possibilites and guided by mentors who ensure that things run smoothly. The food and service is amazing. A favourite " haunt" of  mine.Check it out; www.denwittenhaen.nl

We travelled by Waterbus from Oosteind, close to home and returned the same way. On our return trip I made a snapshot with my phone...and Dicky later said, " we behaved like schoolgirls on a bus trip". And I have to agree. We (all 3) hadn't laughed so much in months.

So as you know who these lovely people are: Anita helped me with my household chores while I was bed bound. We have know each other about 6 years and met in de National Park de Biebosch. Anita and her husband Daan have a (small) boat and spent last summer 3 months travelling to and through France. An incredible feat seeing the size of their boot. Dicky is my neighbour across the waters. She and her husband owned the local garden centre. Dicky loves photography and takes the most incredibly beautiful nature photos I have been privileged to see. A true talent. She also visits regularly and on occasion I go with her to the garden centre to " have a cuppa"  with Dicky's husband and their son Ton, who know runs the garden centre.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

It is Saturday evening... no it isn't. Midnight been and gone! It is Sunday morning. Couldn't sleep so thought I would update the BLOG. Glad to hear Reece has read it. Although this is something I thought would be helpful for me to keep track of what I am doing, it also serves as a bit of a communication tool for those I selected to follow my trials and tribulations.

It has been a busy week. Lots happening. My Mondays are pretty standard at present, Tuesdays to Fridays I keep myself busy with the setting up stuff and also try to keep the household chores under control. Don't really have " things to do today"  chores. My weekdays haven't as yet found a real structure as far as that is concerned...kinda go with the flow. Wash when the basket is full ( or we run out of socks or something), shopping when the shelves are bare, dust before visitors arrive.... that sort of routine!! The only consistency is feeding the livestock.

Thursday I went to a garden centre that had been recommended I go see. and WOW! HOw I would love to have a day there with Toni, Kylie and Ros. And a whole day we would need too. I didn't take anymore photos. They wouldn't have done the place justice. Just go to www.eurofleur.nl AWESOME!

Friday I met a friend in Dordrecht. Hinriette and I enjoyed a yummy coffee and apple strĂ¼del ( freshly baked) then off to the Didi store. There we managed to find the perfect clothes for Hinriette's 50th birthday coming up next month. Later that afternoon I went for a rather longer than planned walk with my neighbour and her 3 month old daughter. Was the totally ready for a long hot soak in the bath. Watched a couple of Hyacinth Bucket's hilarious episodes and drifted off to sleep. Once the water was cold.... yukyuk I got up and made dinner. A lazy night on the couch and that was that.

Saturday was a normal run of the mill day really. Housework, shopping, coffee with a friend and cooked a lovely dinner for Leen and myself. Leen had been out all day " bird watching". An annual outing I declined for this time. Had heaps of other things to do.

I am still trying to get the hang of my computer, the " slide mouse pad" and the BLOG, which now appears to have undergone a transformation while I wasn't paying attention. I think I re invited people and
mucked up some settings....Time will tell.

Off to bed now, think I will manage a wink or two before morning. Night night all. xx

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Wednesday morning, off to a Open Coffee morning a sort of Meet and Greet for newly started businesses to expand their ( and my) network. The weather is stormy and not very appealing to be outside. Hoped there would be a space in the car park close to Grand Cafe Willaerds in Papendrecht ( where we were to meet)Was interesting. Never been to one before and din't know what to expect. Met a few lovely people, all with dreams they were attempting to realise, names being bandied about, thoughts and ideas exchanged ( as well as business cards for future reference). My card has been in the pipeline a while. I am proud of it's design and the story behind it... but not sure whether it was " the way to go". After discussions with a few I am now confident my choice is a good one...so off to the printers it goes. Will post a copy when it is ready.

Had a meeting also with someone at a packaging firm today. I need
prices so I can present an all inclusive financial package at the bank when I am at that stage. Have also made contact with a freight company in NZ to see what the costs of getting 100 pots here are going to be. The next 8 will come by regular mail...but 100 is another story. Need those to "do business" and tempt potential clients to place orders. I planted this one last weekend. Now am keen to see that I won't get yellow leaves anymore... and that it thrives in it's new environment. I had to cut the " dead" stuff out... it was in a bad way.Will go to the garden centre tomorrow for a sad looking fern so I can experiment, take photos at fortnight and monthly intervals to follow progress for brochure and sales promotion.

This project is certainly keeping me busy and am learning new things very day. My aim is to have a sound and financially rewarding business and in the process help people keep their plants alive and healthy. Once I get this off the ground I will add another product(s) to my list. Hi ho hi ho it's onward and upward we go. I'm up to the challenge.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Yes, ofcourse I managed to get the memory card out of it's wrongful place in the iMac. Just a bit of a wriggle, shove, tug and hey presto. That was yesterday. A totally different day today. Yesterday I spent nearly all day working, researching, organising, mulling over and attempting to get ahead in the task of setting up my business. Had square eyes and finally shut down the computer and had an early night.

A special day today.... A visit from a young ex-pupil. A very special pupil. After 3 years in my group she was finally admitted to a small specislised school best ( and better) suited to her needs. What a honey. She had asked last year to visit but it was deferred when I landed in hospital.
With a gorgeous bouquet flowers Kiki and her mum Sandra turned up for a special visit. We had a ball. A tour of the house. "Where is your computer? where do I sleep?" and when she met Leen, "does he sleep here too?" She met and fed the chooks and rabbit and we had ' tea' in our tea- house at the bottom of the garden. A trip into our town centre, window shopping and lunch at Cookers. Due to the nature of the day and the extra hours Monday, I didn't do a lot in respect of my project. I did however spend a pleasant evening with Leen and our friend Merie as we went out for dinner. A relaxing evening, good food, lovely company and loads of laughter.

Monday, 13 February 2012

It is Monday morning. Winter is gently leaving the building. Haven't seen the quick rise so fast in months. It has been a mostly dry, frosty winter...mustn't grumble. And I won't. Have loved it so far. Now the thaw has set in... the ducks are happy to be getting their swimming pool back anyway!

The day started with much promise. Have been working on my " project" which is steadily taking shape. I will report new developments as they happen. Just received a draft of a contract... needs LOTS of tweeking but I am sure we will reach an agreement that suits both parties. Feel like I have achieved quite a bit this morning already and it is only 11:00am. Looking good I thought.....

Yes well, you know what thought thought! As I casually went to place the memory card from my camera in the iMac, I misjudged the angle. The card is now in the DVD slot and I shudder to think I am going to get it out short of turning it on it's ear and shaking it to bits. Gggrr... Has anyone experience with shaking an Imac to retrieve something?? HELP!!

This afternoon I will once again join my fellow " starters" at a weekly gathering held by the Chamber of Commerce. This programme has been initiated to help starters make a success of their ventures and support new enterprise. I have a coach who is active at PriceWaterhouseCoopers...so financially he has a lot of advice and info. that I can use. My responsibility during this programme is to have a business plan supported by a sound and solid financial plan. Once this has all been approved I then have the added support of a mentor for the next 12 months as I venture on in my quest to run a successful business.

My time is taken up with research, appointments with retailers, wholesalers, production companies and such like. Have to develop my website and design a business card....... hihohiho it's onward and upward we go.

Time for coffee................

ps. I have just re written this posting. Apparently the internet connection failed whilst I was busily typing. when I went to post my BLOG it disappeared. Had only saved the first paragraph then must have had a break in communication..... the day goes on!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

A new day

Finally winter. Just when most people are looking forward to warmer temperatures and lichter mornings, Winter appeared. You have no idea how great I felt when I saw the white coloured rooftops, the powder dusted trees. I know I physically sighed a sigh of relief.

WINTER IS HERE - it did remember.

Somehow, all sorts of tensions left my body.... my eyes sparkled and my step quickened.
It has been winter for about 2 weeks now. Freezing at night in places to -22 degrees. We had a lowest low of -17. The "lake" in our back yard, known as "het Waaltje" froze over leaving a small residue for the ducks out the area to gather.

This doesn't happen every year, the frozen lake becomes " the place to be". Young and old, experienced and novice - they want to try out their skating skills. We have to be quick... as mother nature can decide in a blink of an eye that THAW can set in!! Just before the fun starts, the snowfalls return. Oh no, snow isn't good for ice..... the blanket of snow prevents the ice layer to grow stronger. What now? Days go by, it is decided that if we remove the snow the ice will survive. The brave few "sweep" the ice clean. Now all we can do is wait and hope before the all clear is given. Friday morning: The ice is strong and thick enough to hold the weight of those keen to test the conditions. The neighbourhood are quick to gather, arrange events and fun activities. 't Waaltje is all a buzz, a hive of activity. The shed is transformed into a warm haven, with hot chocolate, punch, hot dogs and other delicious food for the cold and hungry.

It is Sunday morning. Last night was amazing. The weatherman has predicted warmer conditions. the severe frost conditions are behind us. Warmer weather is on the way. My word we have been spoilt. Every now and then the light snowflakes flutter by my window. I am at peace.... winter was here! And it was FUN!