Making Jam

Our blackberry bush is loaded with fruit. Now I love blackberries, but it looked like I had to eat nothing but blackberries for weeks. So I decided to make jam. I had no idea it was this easy. And the smell is amazing. The whole house smells like jam. There’s a ton of fruit still on the bush, so I think I’ll make more jam later this week.

My blackberries are really sweet, so I didn’t use a lot of sugar. About half of the weight of the fruit. When I tasted it it was delicious. I can’t wait til we can try it!

And I started again…

It’s been months since I last played my Sims 4 game. A lot of other games have been played in between the last time I started my Sims game and now. But today, after hearing some music that vaguely reminded me of The Sims I booted the game up again. After a lot of patching and downloading updated hacks (really, who can play without them?) I began playing. And I love it again. I wonder how long it’ll take before it’ll sit dormant on my pc again…

I’m probably going to hell for this…

I’m sure I’ll have to cross the gates of hell for this…

This week I was in town. On my way home I saw an older woman walking on a bridge. She was yawning so bad her false teeth dropped out of her mouth. The teeth fell onto the road surface of the bridge, jumped up a little and then flew through the gap under the railing, into the mucky waters of the canal below…

I laughed…

This post has been written for Today’s Daily Prompt.

Long time no see

It’s been a while since I last updated here. So I thought it’d be time for a new theme and, hopefully, some new posts.

At the end of last year our gorgeous girls, Candy and Dipsy both died within weeks from each other. It’s been hard without them. Dipsy had heart failure and Candy had been ill for years. She had kidney failure. They were born, to different mothers, nine weeks apart and died nine weeks apart.

I didn’t see it coming with Dipsy. And I’m still feeling guilty about it. She was a lovely big girl, kind and a bit of a loner. She loved being with us, but she didn’t want to lie on my lap or anything. She just wanted to be in the same room as us. When she showed signs of being ill we took her to the vet immediately, but it was too late. Her heart couldn’t cope with the buildup of fluid in her lungs anymore. She died at home, with us being there, but not holding her. I really wanted to hold her, but I knew she wouldn’t have wanted that.

Nine weeks later we had to call the vet for Candy. She had been clinging onto life for months, but that faithful day she knew she couldn’t hold on longer. She passed away in my arms.

After a while we really couldn’t get over the emptiness and the loneliness  at home, so we went searching for a breed that would suit us. When picking up Candy’s ashes the vet told us about Birmans. And we quickly fell in love with the breed. So we searched for a breeder relatively close to where we live. We found one about 45 minutes away.

We were lucky one of her cats was pregnant and she allowed us on her waiting list. On March 14 we got a phone call saying her cat had had four kittens and we could have two of them. We really wanted two girls again, but it wasn’t yet certain we could get two girls as, at first, the breeder had said she might want to keep one. But after six weeks we were told we’re in luck and we would get the two girls from the litter. So I’m presenting to you; Pinky and Dexter!

My Love Of Reading

A few days ago a fellow BookCrosser asked for children’s books. I had a few so I send her a box. There were a few books I had read as a child.

Lotje

These books were used for learning to read. Nowadays this happens in small groups I’ve been told. Groups of children that are on the same level. In my time we had to read with the whole class. It didn’t matter if you were ahead or behind on your reading skills. This is what we read and you have to do it.

Now I’ve always been an avid reader. Ever since I started to read I’ve been reading everything that I could get my hands on. My mom took me to the library when I was very little and when I was 4 I got my own library card. In these days (and it’s not that long ago) a child couldn’t get a library card if they were younger than 4. It’s quite different now, thankfully.

So these books triggered a few happy memories and quite a few bad ones as well.

“Frouk, would you read the next paragraph?” Well, I would, but I had no idea where in heaven’s name we were. Being ahead of my class in reading I silently read more than I should have and lost where the rest of the class was in the book. This, of course, got me into trouble quite a few times.

“Frouk, you can’t read that book, it’s too advanced for you.” No, it wasn’t. I had read that particular book from the library and enjoyed it so much I wanted to read it again. It was supposed to be for the class ahead of ours and me reading it got me into trouble again.
This happened a lot and after a while I didn’t want to read books from the library anymore. When my mom heard why not she went to our teacher and I got moved ahead (as the only one in my class) just for reading. I know soon after that they’ve changed the way they taught children how to read, but I’m not sure if my case had anything to do with that.

“You can’t borrow book from that section.” Our library had three children’s sections; 6-9, 9-12, 12-16. And in these days you weren’t even allowed to wander into a different section of you were choosing your own books. Now I started reading books for the ages 9-12 when I was 7. My mom and dad applauded this and always encouraged me to read whatever I wanted (within limits of course). But the library wasn’t that encouraging and it got me into trouble a few times.

“You can’t come in here 3 times a week and constantly borrowing books.” Yes, this was actually said to me by a librarian. Our library was open three afternoons a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And every single one of these days I was there, borrowing more books. By this time the limit was only 3 books and I read them all in two days. Kids books just aren’t as thick as adult books. Luckily my mom was there and told them I could come in as many times as I’d like, provided I brought back the books I’d previously borrowed.

“You can’t borrow boys books.” My favourite book series are ‘boys’ books. But apparently girls can’t read those books. I’m still not sure why. In the following years I’ve heard this many times (never by my family) and never stopped reading those books. On the contrary, my love for ‘boys’ books has grown and I’m buying them whenever I find them in charity shops.

“Your mom needs to borrow her own books.” By the time I was 14 I’d pretty much read the entire children’s section. My mom gave me permission to borrow ‘adult’ books. Of course the library did not agree with me borrowing adult books and my mom had to come with me every time I wanted to borrow books. By this time I was in high school and had homework, friends and sport, so my reading time was reduced quite a bit. The maximum amount of books was upped from 3 to 5, so this meant I was only in there about once a week. It took quite a bit of persuasion before I was actually allowed to take adult books and sometimes still got into trouble with it.

“Why are you always reading?” Again, said by a librarian. And still, I have no idea why she said this. You are in a library, what do you expect people to do? Maybe it was because I was in the check out line and many times I started reading while waiting. I don’t know.

“Why have you chosen the hardest books?” We had to read 10 books for our exams in high school. And I did not choose the thinnest, easiest books, like my classmates did. And of course this triggered a lot of abuse from them. They thought me reading thicker books would have an impact on their grade. I don’t think it had any effect. Only their own actions had an effect on their grades.

“Why would you even read such a thick book?” Said to me by a teacher. Yes, a teacher… I was reading The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough at the time. And, as you might know, this books is almost 700 pages. So why? Because I’d seen the mini series and I enjoyed them and I enjoyed reading the book as well.

Luckily, all these snarky comments have never stopped me from reading. I’m very grateful to my dad, who let me borrow his Kameleon books when I was just 7 years old, and to my mom, who always encouraged my love of reading.

old cover (1955)

What does a medication switch mean for a thyroid patient?

25 years ago I got the diagnosis Graves’ disease. I’d been having problems with weight loss (22KG in 2 weeks), terrible headaches, palpitations, fatigue and psychological problems. After the initial diagnosis I’ve been taking Thyrax. The pharmacy tried to switch me to different antithyroid drugs twice. Twice it nearly got me into hospital.

So, now Aspen Pharmaceutical has stopped all production of Thyrax for a so-called “move”. They basically said they won’t be producing any Thyrax for the next 6 to 9 months. What does this mean for me?

It means fluctuating thyroid levels. This will make me very ill. It’ll mean psychological problems, it’ll means heart problems, it’ll mean bowel problems, it’ll mean eye problems, it’ll mean pain, it’ll mean fatigue, it’ll mean regular blood work to be done, it’ll mean weight loss, it’ll mean weight gain, it’ll mean skin problems, it’ll mean hyperventilation, it’ll mean headaches.

Is there anyone who cares? Basically, no. The GP says he can’t do anything, the pharmacy say they can’t do anything, the government say they can’t do anything. It certainly looks like they are trying to kill off the first group of chronically ill people…

 

Do you donate to your local food bank?

Last year all the provincial broadcasters got together to coordinate a giant food donation drive for the food banks in the Netherlands.

This year they are doing this food drive again.

voedselbankactie

Last year I donated lots of food. This year I intent to do it again. But what is best to donate? Mum in the Madhouse made a lovely list, that I could borrow for this post!

  1. Tuna – It’s packed full of protein and can be cooked as part of a meal or eaten straight from the can
  2. Things with ring pulls – Yep, This is probably one of the biggest tips I can give you! Homeless people often don’t carry tin openers due to the amount of stuff they have to carry around so if the tin of food you give doesn’t have a ring pull on it then they might not be able to eat it. Such a little thing that can make a difference!
  3. Baby formula. As anyone who has formula fed a baby knows, formula is a big drain on your finances. This is a great way that you can support familieson a low income with young kids.
  4. Nappies. Yep, same thing. No one should be worrying about how often they can afford to change their child’s nappy or if buying a new pack means less food that week.
  5. Chopped pork or corned beef. These both used to be cheap sources of protein but the price of them has really risen. They’re super versatile as like tuna, they can be used as part of a meal or can be eaten cold.
  6. Baked beans. And yes, apparently the value ones are more than ok to give!
  7. Tinned curry. A great way to help people have a nice meal with some flavour in it. They also often contain some vegetables in them which is helpful.
  8. Irish Stew. This is also something that gets requested a lot.
  9. Kids snacks. As all parents know, kids can eat a lot and need topping up with food regularly!
  10. Pot noodles. A good source of protein and carbohydrates.
  11. Big Soups. Tinned hearty soups need to be better nutritionally than others.
  12. Rice Pudding. Stodgy, filling and very popular.
  13. Coffee and tea.
  14. UHT Milk for people who don’t have access to a fridge.
  15. Financial aid rather than sleeping bags. If you want to give a sleeping bag for a homeless person then it’s very much appreciated, but food banks and homeless centres don’t always have a lot of additional room for storage though and can also often get deals when buying sleeping bags in bulk, meaning that your money can go further.
  16. Help throughout the year. Your help and support at Harvest and Christmas is really, truly appreciated, however please don’t forget food banks throughout the rest of winter. January, February and even March can be exceptionally cold and people living on the street or in poverty need your help just as much then.
  17. Feminine hygiene products. You really don’t want to choose between buying food or tampons. And, lets face it, tampons are expensive enough when you do have money.
  18. Animal food. Animals can’t help their owner have hit a rough patch in life. They need help too.
  19. Laundry detergent.
  20. Sugar.

The last four are added by me, as I know these things will often get overseen and most people on a very low income don’t have the money to buy these more expensive things. If you have to choose between food and tampons pr laundry detergent, I know what I’d choose…

 

thank you, mum in the madhouse, for letting me use your post! Make sure you check out her blog!

Quick Gift Box

Hello, long time no see. So much has happened over the last year. Much of which I don’t feel comfortable sharing just yet.

But to kickstart my blog again I thought I’d make a quick tutorial on a gift box I made.

What you need:

  • Thick Scrapbook Paper
  • Scissors
  • Knife
  • Protractor Triangle
  • Scotch Tape or Glue

scrapbook paper

I used this paper. It’s 21X15 CM.

How to fold

Measure out how big you want your box to be. This depends on the paper. My measurements were 8X2X8X2X1 CM.

Cut the paper lightly with the knife, just to make folding easier. After you did this, turn the paper and measure 2 CM for the overlap on the top and bottom. If you made the sides of your box bigger, make sure you’ll measure out the top and bottom accordingly.
Cut the sides on the top and bottom like the picture above shows.

Glue the 1CM overlap and the bottom or, if the glue won’t hold (like on my boxes) use scotch tape to put them together.

Gift Box

And that’s it, really. Quick and easy.

What’s in a name

Yesterday there was a guy called Moose on Pointless. Which is a strange name for a person, especially since he said his brother is called Ben.
It got even worse when his wife told Alexander and Richard that their son has Danger as his middle name…

But I can understand Moose’s dicision to name his son Danger. After all, if your father called you Moose, good have to get revenge somewhere…

Daily Prompt: A Plot of Earth

Yesterday’s daily prompt asked:

You’re given a plot of land and have the financial resources to do what you please. What’s the plan?

This has always been a dream of mine. But the answer depends on how big the plot of land is, really.
For good measure, let’s go with a large plot.

green roof

First of all, my husband and I would build our dream house. A modest house, with ample space for our hobbies (library for me:) ), a nice big bedroom, a couple of studies, a nice big kitchen and a cosy living room. It would be a green house. I would like green covering on the roof, solar panels, a heat pump and a reed bed to filter waste water. It would have a large underground tank to store rain water to use for the toilets, the sink in the utility room and the garden.

home library

The garden would be a wild flower meadow, and walled kitchen garden with plenty of space for my veggies and fruits. It also would have an orchard for fruit trees and berry bushes. And a field for our alpacas!
It would also have an underground garage for our Kate.

All of this sounds great. Let me research our family tree to see if we have an uncle with lots of money…

Photo’s from Focx and LoveMaegan.