Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Breaking the barriers

This weekend I finally had my break. I had a new running record: almost 10 kilometers. Since I got trouble with my knees when running long distances, I never ran more than 5-6 kilometers. That's about half an hour running. This weekend I suddenly felt I felt could do more. What helped a lot was the fact that it was finally cold in the mornings after weeks of hot weather. Since this weekend was so successful, I'm going to try to add another kilometer to my route.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Ester's home again

Just a fast post.

Ester's home again. She has to be very quiet and build up her activity. This should keep the contractions under control long enough.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

No medication anymore

Ester's off the medication. And she's not getting them anymore although she gets those hard bellies (cramps) again. The doctors don't think she will give birth right away. But our guess is that without the contraction stoppers to mellow the womb, the chance will be higher then before :(

Friday, June 30, 2006

It's getting better

They checked Ester today and it's getting better. They couldn't detect contractions and the anti-contraction medication is cut down to the half of the initial dose. Finally some good progress.

I made dinner for myself yesterday and I'm still living :)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ester's in hospital

Seems like our life keeps is in the disaster format. Ester's in hospital. But if I can write about that on my blog, you know that whatever it was is under control now.

Ester had on the night of Monday to Tuesday painful cramps which kept her almost all night awake. The midwife checked her first thing in the morning. In the afternoon Ester was checked again. The womb had opened a tiny little bit by then and the cramps still hadn't seized. So she was sent to the hospital.

The next two days I was in a flux of going back and fro between hospital and home. Ester has to keep quiet and musn't do any exercise. She constantly gets medicine to stop the cramps/contractions and already had medication by which the development of the lungs of the baby accelerate.

I was hoping it would be just the initial 48 hours, but it still hasn't stabilized. Because of that she will still be in hospital for some time.

It is an insecure time for us. Ester's almost in week 34 (coming Tuesday). They then will stop the contraction stoppers and our baby might be born prematurely. It could also take to week 42.

Either way: there's no reason to doubt the baby will be in bad health. And that's most important.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Fire water burn

Did we thought we'd have a normal day. We just got home from the supermarket and I wanted to build up the box for the baby, when I saw fire and smoke coming out of the window. Our Turkish neighbour's house was on fire. Like, serious on fire. We instantly closed all windows and I tried to fight the fire with my garden hose. My efforts were hardly enough to make any difference, but you do what you can. The leaves of some plants in our garden dried up and could be going to burn as well.

When the fire fighters arrived we were forced to leave our home. Giving us just enough time time catch our rabbits, put them in a travel cage and go to our other neighbour. We were lucky. The wind was not blowing into our direction. So our damage are some plants and a misformed drain pipe.

The strangest stories are going on when there's a fire. I heard from a friend of the old Turkish man that he was outside when the house started to burn. Other people said that he was trying to remove weed between the stone slabs in his garden with a gas burner. Strange story, but I must say that it is in-character.

While we were visiting our other neighbour for 1,5 hours with the rabbits still in the cage (almost a time record!), we heard that she's moving out in about 3 months because of her bad health. That leaves us with a totally different view on our neighbourhood in a few months with other neighbours on both sides.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Amidala's sick

Yup, amidala's good for a blog entry. She refuses to eat hay, so we have to do what's possible to keep her eating, so that the flow of food through her digestive system doesn't stop. If it should stop, it would be fatal in a matter of a few days.
So we got up at night at a 2,5 hour interval. Trying to get Amidala to eat without force can take at least half an hour each time. Annoying her with fresh herbs and little tree branches. As you can see on the picture: our room is exploded with food everywehere on the floor.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Oblique Strategies Everywhere 2006 is out

It took some time, but i finally "published" my compilation cd with some of my favorite songs and a lot of songs I discovered last year. It took me almost a year to complete the job (well, I didn't work the whole year on just that off course). The compilation consists of songs that I find one way or another original, without being too weird to listen to. Otherwise I could fill a compilation every month :)
So if you think you want the cd too (and you're not a stranger to me), just ask me. the cover will be lo-res though. I re-installed my Windows and saved everything except the Photoshop-documents for printing the jewel case cover :(

the picture of the cover was shot by me in Liege by the way.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

My first exposition!

Last weekend I exposed for the first time some pictures some pictures of mine! The photoclub in Schaijk had their yearly exhibition during a village-festival (braderie). It wasn't a large exhibition, but I still found myself thrilled to see my pictures hanging there, while people were watching them. It sure is something I'd like to try do some other time again.

I was already making plans to gather pictures to expose them somewhere sometime. Maybe I can hang some pictures of mine on the walls in the local hospital or whatever. At least I know now that I like to see my pictures hang in a public place. So if there's someone who needs to fill some public space: let me know! :)

Visitors could vote for what they thought was the best picture. I don't know who's the winner yet, but if it would be me, I'd know it by now.

I'd almost forget: there was also one picture of Ester hanging there! She voted on one of my pictures and I voted on hers.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Baby room in progress

Pfff! It was some effort, but the work on the baby room is progressing. My parents were back in Holland for just 3 weeks and since my father is good at placing wallpaper, we waited to hear his advise on the room. Ester thought that we could glue the new wallpaper over the old one, but my father helped her and me out of that dream: the old wallpaper had a grainy structure and had to be taken off.

So we did although not very efficient. And after that we painted the doors and window and while I was ill I even painted the ceiling. Well, it's all not that hard to do, but we don't like it DIY, so this is a victory for us. And we did it without (much) complaining! Now we only have to let some people in that will put a floor on the planks and screw the IKEA-stuff into recognizable furniture.

My parents are off again to South Africa to warm up. They haven't really experienced a Dutch winter for some time, so they had a hard time getting used to the cold again.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Palm in coma

Well, everybody knows that I like my Palm PDA. And I'm still happy with it after a year of intensive use, but now it'll have to be repaired. It won't switch on again. My Palm can do almost everything except sing and dance. It is my agenda, contact list, notepad, newspaper, mp3 player and even my remote control to control the shutter of my digital camera. I also read books on my Palm, but that was less of an success. The best thing to read a book is still a paper book. I hate to say it but it's true.

Anyway. I read the warranty conditions of my Palm and I saw something peculiar.

3. damage caused by accident, fire, power changes, other hazards or acts of God
What the hell do they mean with "acts of God"? I guess natural disasters, but then they could just write that down. I mean: I'm an atheist. Will I get a telephone call back from PalmOne where somebody on the other end of the line says: "Well mister Bos. We checked your warranty claim and ...ehrm... well, how will I bring this to you... We checked the divine database and it seems that you pissed God off. So the malfunctioning of your Palm E2 is no technical problem. God just hates you. I'm sorry."

Well one thing's for sure: God is everywhere. Even in a limited warranty statement.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Link dump #2

Pfff! I am now tremendously busy with school, but I found the time to do a little link dump.

  • Google Quick Reference
    Let's face it: we use it everyday. Why not delve into search techniques for just 5 minutes. I assure you that you will from time to time use other techniques than just cramming that text field with all the words you can think of to narrow a search down.
    To assure you: It may be a large list of tips, but you'll only need the first ones mentioned.
  • Babynamewizard.com
    Not only just interesting when you're looking for baby names. The names you find and the developments or declines they make through the years are both interesting and amusing. Now I know why I don't like the name "Walter": It's so old-fashioned.
    Anyway: just click in the text field and start typing a name or just a few letters. A graph will appear immediately.
    You need the Java virtual machine to see it.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Taking zen to the next level

Zen meditation is all about being able to be in the here and now, without being distracted by jumping from one thought to another. The latter is what your brain is doing most of the time. If you don't believe that, try to stop your thinking for half an hour. And that's without sleeping off course!

Stopping the thinking, or at least tempering the mind is a daunting task and progress is made with baby steps. No, make that rabbit steps. At most.

Since our house is more than 50 years old, we still experience the fact that (sound) isolation was a low priority after WWII. That's not handy while meditating. I once heard a complete episode of the GTST soap opera from the floor below, while I was doing zazen (sitting zen)!

So then I'd start yelling "I'M GOING TO MEDITATE NOW!" to Ester on the floor below. Not a tranquil way to start a meditation session. So I tried the official way. I bought a (very) small zen bell. Well, it's more a kind of a bowl. And a small one too. I couldn't get enough noise out of that little thing, so I had to hit on it several times before ester heard me. Most of the time I hit it that hard that fell from its cushion. But then I discovered a new technique to hit it in such a way that it gives so much noise that you won't believe it's coming from that little thing.

Larger bowls are even harder to hit right. It's so easy to hit it too hard or too soft that you have to be concentrated when hitting a large bowl gently. Since you have to hit it 2 or three times you also have to make sure that the volume is each time the same. As you see: you can meditate with everything. Even with a very small brass bowl.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Photographic adventures in Belgium

I'm not a very adventurous person, but since I've taken already a lot of pictures of Oss and the surrounding area, that I wanted to make a real photographic adventure now and then. This month I had my first in Liege, Belgium. And although it was a lot of driving and was bored after 4 hours of walking and shooting pictures, it was a success. Most of the pictures that I shot there and passed the quality check are now online on either flickr.com or istockphoto.com.

Strange thing that happened that day: After I parked my car, I went to a shopping mall to go to the toilet. When I was on the toilet in the basement of the shopping mall, the alarm went off and everyone was asked to go outside right away, preferably through the emergency exit. But nobody used the emergency exit, but went quietly to the main exit. When I was finally outside, while not even have buttoned all buttons of my trousers, I saw that there were already people going in again! So much for an alarm.

River mirror

Monday, January 16, 2006

I earned $100!

...and I got a sticker for free!

Yes! Finally my first $100 cheque. Earned by taking pictures and uploading them to iStockphoto.com. It took me from February 2005 to December 2005 to reach that amount, but the next $100 milestone can only get faster now.

For those who don't know what iStock is: it's an online databank with photographs and illustrations for sale. People like desktop publishers can purchase a few pictures (mostly $1 to $3) for a very reasonable price. 10% is for the photographer and that percentage will grow as the sales grow.

I celebrated that occasion with a photographic trip to Liege, Belgium. More of that later. For now, I'm still amazed by getting a cheque from some Canadian company (I thought Vancouver-based) that I only know by their website.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I bought a salami!

Great news! I bought a salami! And let me explain right away why: Unlike Ester I only want to eat meat from animals that could lead a happy, 'normal' life. On top of that I do not want to be a very strict vegetarian, because it's just not that black and white. But because Ester does the cooking and has resentment against all kinds of meat, I don't eat meat that often. Once a year is a lot.

That situation is ok with me. The only thing I sometimes miss, is chicken paws and salami sausages. Since I do not like to cook, the only thing I wanted to try was a biological salami. Last week I found it in our little reform supermarket. And I can say you: it tastes deliciously! Real Italienischer salami. With Schweinefleisch. Go figure...

Monday, January 02, 2006

Some pictures of New Year's Eve

Just some pictures I shot at Paulien's place on flickr.com.

Children with fireworks

December was -as always- a month of fun. Lots of social events and the o so needed time to relax. There's one thing that's always bugging me though: New Year. Or to be more precise: fireworks.

Now you may think it's stupid to be scared of fireworks. Well, I'm not afraid of fireworks but of the people who use it. In particular the children. And these children can be sometimes so young that they shouldn't play with fireworks no matter what. I mean, I've seen in our neighborhood children at the age of 8 playing/throwing with fireworks! That's why I try on the last day of the year to be indoors as much as possible. When I become a dad, I'll try to make sure my children don't get fireworks.

When I think of fireworks and children, I always have to think about the 'funny' story in the local media a few years ago. It was about a boy that lost a bit of his fingers because of fireworks. He said that some older kids had thrown fireworks to him, while he was playing. I knew the boy vaguely, because he lived in my neighborhood and I reckoned that he'd rather be a perpetrator type than a victim type of person.

A few days later a local newspaper issued an interview with the father of the boy. He was very angry about the fact that the people who had thrown the fireworks to his son still were not found by the police. I don't remember exactly what he said, but in my memory he complained about how the hell it was possible that children can play with fireworks and on top of that long before New Year's Eve.

A few days later after that it finally came out that the whole story wasn't true. The boy had to make up a story because he had to go to the hospital, so he had to give his parents some explanation.

So although I'm afraid of children (younger and older) playing with fireworks, I should pity them the most.