Wednesday, 5 March 2014

heart granny love

Dutch translation of this beautiful crochet pattern by Ginger Badger for Heartmade Blessings, with the help & for the benefit of the ladies at Dutch Crochet, a Granny a day 2013 and all my fellow addicts at Stitch Leidscherijn.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

death

I am not afraid of death
only of pain
death would be a relieve
but we mustn't take the easy way out
for the sake of our family and friends we must keep on fighting
this is the price we pay for love

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

nerdy husband

So what does my loving husband get up to on a romantic winter evening at home? - Play with Lambda expressions in .Net, of course!

Oh well, at least I don't have to worry about him getting drunk down the pub or paying too much attention to the secretary ;-)

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

flotsam

am I but a tiny flotsam in the ocean of life,
helplessly tossed about by the waves and prevailing winds,
eventually to be swallowed up and disappear without reason or consequence

Thursday, 15 July 2010

birth control

As a Christian I have been taught to hold all human life sacred, and as a mother I have a vested interest in the future prosperity of humanity in general, and my family in particular. Growing up in the Black Forest, I have always felt an affinity for nature and environmental concerns. However, lately I am getting increasingly despaired about our seeming inability to acknowledge and effectively address the huge threats caused by pollution, scarcity of resources, and overpopulation.

Due to Germany's declining birthrates, procreation is strongly encouraged, and parenthood praised as a great benefit for society. But considering global facts of exploding population growth, this seems a rather short-sighted and selfish viewpoint; Is it more important to provide for a carefree, luxurious retirement, or to ensure that our children will be able to live in an environmentally and politically stable situation, with access to sufficient food, water and other provisions?

Of course, within limits, we are trying to raise our children aware of the environment, save energy, avoid unnecessary pollution, recycle, eat responsibly, and generally reduce our negative impact on our surroundings.

But no matter how hard we try, I no longer have faith that this will be sufficient to cause a big enough dent, and our planet just won't be able to sustain all of us for very much longer. (And as a Christian I do not feel that we have been taking due care of this wonderful world, and there won't be a miracle to bail us out!)

In nature, any species multiplied beyond its limits is faced with massive death tolls, or even extinction. To avoid such a faith, population growth has to be reduced!

In my opinion the only viable option to achieve this is through voluntary means, which in turn can only be accomplished through information and ability. Thus to avoid terrible suffering, we urgently need to provide education for all young women (and men) about the necessity and benefits, as well as access to free and save birth control for all, particularly in poor and disadvantaged areas!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

dreaming on route 66

On a Tuesday afternoon, about twelve years ago, I was chatting with a young IT student near Grand Canyon. With all our belongings stuffed in a U-Haul van, my husband and I were in the process of moving from San Francisco to the east coast. This young man was eager to hear about our work. The local community were sponsoring his education, for which he was very grateful. But he was also sad, as it meant having to leave the 'Big Rez' to find a job.

It was in the early days of the Internet boom. I was amazed by Navajo culture and craftsmanship, by the beauty of the painted dessert and its people, and a dream began to form; I should set up a web-design group to benefit the local community, while making use of the incredible talent and creativity surrounding me.

Unfortunately, I never managed to follow up on my plans. I still think it would be a wonderful opportunity, but due to the lack of a green-card, and the addition of two children, I probably never will.

In England, I had been part of a group of woman in technology who provide role models, presentations, and tutoring at girls' secondary schools. When our son started primary school in The Netherlands, I volunteered to teach computing, web design, and English lessons to young children. As most parents at our local school, we also took out paid subscriptions to publishers and sites that provide additional material for our children to practice at home.

At the same time I started helping my niece with her maths homework, as I used to do with the girls back home in grammar school; It seems many teachers have difficulties to explain or present logical questions and solutions very well.

And a new dream began to form; All children - regardless of their location, culture, gender, religion, or financial means - should have access to education resources that teach logic and maths in a fun and easy to understand way. I don't know yet how to achieve this dream, but I guess every journey has to start with the first small steps ...

p.s. If you have any ideas or suggestions, or want to help fulfill this dream, please get in touch!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

mustn't give up

once everything has been stripped away, there remains just my pitiful soul

but I mustn't give up, must keep on going, for the sake of my family & friends

help me, lord

Sunday, 17 January 2010

pity

I do not want your pity.
But I crave your praise and respect.
And any true love or friendship you might have to spare.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Lonely

Feeling lonely, in this desolate gray country, devoid of hills and forests, with leaden skies and orderly rows of identical houses.

Lonely in this clumsy, harsh language that does not allow me to express my emotions.

Lonely amongst busy, self-sufficient people, with no patience for lonely strangers.

Lonely in a world that favors the strong and ruthless.

Lonely, far away from family and friends.

Lonely during the day, when the children are at school.

Lonely with my children, who do not speak their mother's tong or grew up with her culture.

Lonely at night, all alone in bed, while my husband prefers the guest room.

Lonely in the bathroom, cleaning myself up after yet another incident. Who would ever want to love this scarred and broken body again?

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Sort of Date @ Design by Fire Café



Yesterday evening, the first Design by Fire Café took place at Café Midi in Utrecht.

As locations go, Yohan certainly managed to find another hidden gem! - What I first mistook for just another beer-swishing corner joint, turned out to be a cozy pub offering a feast of amazing fresh, natural, excellently prepared vegetarian food, with a select choice of wonderful organic tea!

After dinner followed another treat as the team behind Sort of Date presented their amazing labor of love.

First, Marrije Schaake talked about the process, how a small, multidisciplinary group of colleagues and friends managed to created a fun & useful website for organizing appointments within a few weekend sessions. Next, Ivo de Boer shared a collection of drafts, wire frames, and screen shots of the service.

Initially, the group intended to 'do something' along the theme of cooking and dining. Renting a cottage for a weekend of intense teamwork, they came up with Sort of List, an interactive website for planning shopping lists.

However, despite some success, the team found that they had been over ambitious, not well prepared and suffered from lack of communication; the intended solution had not been well defined and too complex.

After a year's break, the group was ready for 'take two'. This time more effort was invested beforehand using online chat sessions to define the intended solution, and prepare the infrastructure and setup, resulting in the creation of Sort of Date.

Via Twitter and personal connections, a wealth of user feedback was then collected, and resulted in an updated version during a third weekend session a few months later.

Marrije considered the fact that all team members knew each other well, both personally and professionally, as a prerequisite for the success of these sessions. She also stressed the importance of a well defined and achievable goal, good preparation (ranging from items such as Internet access, to food supplies), lots of ongoing short meetings to catch up with the status amongst the team, and having a tactile result (e.g. online site) at the end to serve as motivation.

All in all a very enjoyable and interesting evening, and a nice appetizer for the Design by Fire conference next month!