Thursday, February 28, 2008

What I meant to say

When I wrote to a supplier today
"I hope we can count on xxxxxxx's professionalism to communicate to us pro-actively any changes in timing and cost as soon as they are identified"
I really meant to say
"Gosh, you guys blew it again ! You can't get anything done right, nothing is ever communicated. I am tired of begging for information, I am tired of chasing you guys, I've had it with you!! You have no idea what the smallest bit of professionalism and customer service looks like. I'm so sick of it. The worst thing is that I don't even have the slightest bit of hope anymore that you'll ever change."

Oh and when your technician asked me to test your fix in the test environment this week and I reported a problem in those tests, I did not give green light to move the fix in the live environment while assuming that my reported problem wasn't linked to the fix. It was, and now the problem is all over the live environment. ....yes , you blew it again! Thanks a lot.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, amateurs.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My heritage

  • As a little child I got lectures because I left my toys cluttering at the floor at my grandma's place. I had to put the chair back on its exact spot so my grandmother would be able to find her way through the house at the touch of her hands.

  • My aunt sometimes has to ask where the sugar is on the table, when it is sitting right beneath her. She has to look down to see stairs.

  • My dad has taken eye drops for years and years and about 15 years ago he underwent eye surgery.

  • Several of my cousins are taking eye drops and apparently so would have my greataunts and their decendents across the Atlantic .

Glaucoma is part of my heritage and I've seen it around me all my life. I'm familiar to intraocular pressure numbers, the concept of shrinking visual fields, etc... "Do you have to take eye drops" is a quite normal question at family gatherings. All my life I've assumed that I'll get it as well, altough that's not certain yet.

Now that I've turned 30 I got tested for te first time. I really wondered what the verdict would be? Would I start walking the family's steps from now on or not?

Several eyedrops and shiny lights in my eye later, after staring at blue dots without blinking and facing hell flashes, I can now say that my test was negative. My intraocular pressure is 16 (nicely below the 20) and the pictures taken of my optic nerve didn't show any enlarged cup yet. And in the mean time my vision got tested as well and received a 10/10. Woohoo, no glasses in the near future, no chronic medication yet, ....that was a good visit :).


And I loved those pictures of my eye! Wow, wicked cool. They are like a nice big full moon with wriggling blood vessels on top of it :p. I wondered if it would be appropriate to ask a digital copy of those pictures for my blog, but I didn't dare to ask. I wouldn't want people to think I am a blogging freak, right ;).

source: University of Toronto, faculty of Medicine

For those readers among you older than 40: 2% of the population has glaucome. Do get yourself tested every 1-2 years! More info can be found in this good website from the Belgian Glaucoma Society.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Haiku Buckeroo finalist


Last week was so busy, so tiring, so emotional....so I just haven't had a chance to let you all know that I am twice a category finalist in the haiku contest. 2 of my haikus are selected as finalist:

Yellow daffodils
witnesses of past warm days
silent in the fog

=> finalist in 'evocative' category

Rotting hairy fruit
leaks sticky juice in drawer
I must clean fridge

=> finalist in 'most disgusting' category.

If you want to cast a vote for these...or for one of the many other splendig haikus in the multiple categories, go over here!



Eurosong semifinal I

I told you that Eurosong generates the necessary gossip and discussions etc...This week the Serbian embassy complained that this Belgian Eurosong show would show a negative image of the Serbian people because there were some actresses playing "Serbs" drinking lots of vodka etc etc... Our national tv station had to appologise. Hmm funny that the Serbian embassy had time and energy to react on something like that. You'd think they'd be too busy with the declarance of independence in Kosovo and our government accepting that independence. But Eurosong seems to be important for them too :p.

Anyway tonight is the first semifinal... in 3 week we'll know who will represent Belgium in the Eurovision song contest. The good thing about semifinals is that all the horrible failures have been kicked out already. And other songs that seemed alright, now look pale and weak next to the others. Our vote is for the rock band the Paranoiacs. No cheesy predictable calculated flowerly songs for us, but an energy bomb.

Krakelingen in Geraardsbergen

One of my good friends invited us over today to go and watch the traditional yearly folkloristic parade and the throwing of the 'krakelingen' (some local donut sized breads) and the drinking of fishes in her town.

Since centuries they celebrate the start of spring with a (Celtic ?) rite where the town's politicians drink a bowl in which tiny living fish swim. This always catches the attention of the press and often of animal activists. Nevertheless the tradition continues to exist.

This is preceded by a folkloristic parade evocating the city's history and it is followed by throwing 10000 'krakelingen' to the people. Apparently this is attributed to a legend when the city would have been strangled under siege and they successfully would have bluffed the ennemy that they still had an abundance of food by throwing all their bread over the city walls.

Anyway, it was an interesting and fun afternoon :). We didn't stay for a fire ceremony in the evening though.


Marching bands


The history of a local convent

A fire-eater and clowns dancing around snowmen to inaugurate the coming spring




Some "druids" showing the bowls with fish to the crowd

The throwing of the 'krakelingen'


Our catch of the day

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Arnold


Dear uncle,
Tonight I went to visit you for the last time. This time you didn't tell me any old stories anymore with twinkling eyes. You couldn't take me outside and show me some of your growing grapes on the vines that were just outside before the veranda was built. You didn't offer me any sweets from the famous candy closet in the living room. You didn't teach me any Latin where I had to admit that my knowledge of Latin was too limited to talk to you in your favorite language. Tonight you were beyond fragility and silence.

My eyes kept being drawn to the empty chair in the kitchen. You've always lived in this house, from birth to death. You belonged to the house. A couple of years ago your children asked which present you'd like for your anniversay and you answered "a new wheelbarrow". But there will be no more pictures in the famous pose with the wheelbarrow full of grandchildren...more recently full of great-grandchildren. Many images and memories whirle through my mind tonight: my baptism pictures, us talking on my confirmation party, me reading new years letter's too you always ending them with a solemn "your godchild".... They'll be saved in my heart.
Farewell uncle, farewell godfather.... I will miss you.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Friday, February 15, 2008

Haiku buckaroo

You might have noticed that Jenn in Holland has recently left some comments on my posts in haiku style. That's because she takes part in a haiku blogging contest and I challenged her to leave some haiku comments. She's really not afraid of a challenge.

But it felt a bit contageous and tonight is the contest deadline. Just in time.


I should be working
but making up a haiku
is so much more fun
Chores remain waiting
while I'm counting syllables
I'm stung by the bug
The deadline is close
but I am gonna make it
my post is ready

-------------------------
Buttons are sprouting
spring is around the corner
my heart jumps a beat
--------------------------

An itchy pimple
in an embarrasing spot
damn so annoying
-------------------------
Bubbles rise with ease
while floating above the reef
deep under the sea
Weightless scuba gear
opens up a brand new world
to be discover'd
-------------------------
Yellow daffodils
witnesses of past warm days
silent in the fog
-------------------------
Rotting hairy fruit
leaks sticky juice in drawer
I must clean fridge
Do you get stung by the haiku virus as well? Be sure to participate in Leslee's great competition over here. The rumour goes there's great prices ;-).

No record bis

Dear accreditors of the Guinness Book of Records,


May I express my displeasure to the fact that you've already moved my car up your control list by 20 places! It is true that a group of birds has executed last night an evil complot against my shiny car resulting in many "bird decoration marks" on the right hand side. However those do not justify 20 places in my opinion.


Yours sincerely,



Goofball

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

No Record

Dear accreditors of the Guinness Book of Records,

I recently started fearing that my car could get nominated for the world record of 'dirtiest car'. I must in all honestly admit that I have neglected the task of washing the car in the last months.

I wanted to inform your administrators that I have taken action today and have visited a car wash. When you are planning your future agenda and send out your accreditors to control some world records, you do not longer need to come by to check out my car. I can confirm with some pride that it no longer deserves a nomination in the category of 'dirtiest car' .


Yours sincerely,


Goofball

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Eurosong III

Last week I missed the live broadcast of Eurosong, because we were out for dinner, but tonight I am back in the sofa.

In the mean time I did see last week's recording and Jan is totally totally crazy about the winning group Ishtar. Well it sure sticks out, its original and it sticks in our mind forever. Jan has been whistling it all week, so I hope a little bit he'll get a new song that sticks. It even inspired him to post again on his own blog after 6 months of silence!!! Go and listen to this catchy catchy song which we might send to the Eurovisionsong contest. Check it out, it's hilarious!

So what's up tonight?

  • Ellis-T: yuck yuck yuck. Fluoriscent yellow and pink outfits? And it was totally out of tune! Please go to the junior eurovision song contest, you still belong there. They might like your dance music.

    why on earth is Katrina (of the Waves) always positive on everything. Can't she give criticism when she is supposed to?
  • Tabitha Cyon: is she wearing a blue 70ies judo outfit???
    Oh it's a gospel song. Very good strong voice but a very cheesy song. Although it has something happy contageous though. ....as the jury says "up with people" atmosphere. I like Up With People as a matter of fact. But I can't keep their songs apart as they all sound the same ;)
  • Di bono: hmmm could be interesting, what does a Belgian well-known rockband in a competition like this?
    The song is ok, but this style is not kitch enough to send to a eurovisionsongcontest I fear. Lordi was rock, but Lordi was kitch as well. Not sure if this could work.
    Mr Di Bono your pitch is not always 100% correct either though!
  • Nelson Moraïs....Oh you remind me of your sister a couple of years ago. She had a really fun catchy song which I liked! .....

    oh yuck a cheesy ballad at the piano. "yeaaaa-aaaah" "wooooo-ooo"....Yawn yawn yawn zzzzz. I hate this type of songs. Please get your sister back for some tropical swinging songs.
    Obviously Miss Positivo Katrina loves it again. Why do we even let her talk still?
  • Geena Lisa: oh Yves Barbieux from Urban Trad has been writing along...I feel more positive about what is to come already...aaah there's his folky sound.
    heh, what is this? this looks like a mixture of last year's British stewerdess song that was a total flop, a Janet Jackson video clip and a showbusiness dancers group opening a show without any enthousiasm.
    Her voice doesn't come out well enough.

Pff tonight is harder to say who I want to win than who I don't want to win. I am almost tempted to say Tabitha or Di bono. Pffffff the winner should not come from this preselection!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A spring walk and lots of books



A nasty cold and a restless night isn't too bad if your agenda for the weekend is totally empty. If necessary we can stay both the entire weekend on the sofa. But the sun was doing so much effort to invite us both outside and we couldn't resist.

With a package of paper tissues in each pocket and a throat pastille in our mouth, we were both ready to go and to walk through the field roads behind our house towards the "Brabanthal" . The boekenfestijn, a yearly book fair was taking place there this weekend.

The walk there was fantastic in the sun (in Brussels it got almost 17C today which is a record for a Feb 9th) and we were certainly not the only ones out there walking or biking.






After the good exercises, we continued our walk among the long tables full of books. After a couple of hours we were a few packages of tissues lighter, 60 € poorer but...we had 16 new books! Woohoo what a deal. You can't by at the boekenfestijn the latest hottest books, but more end of series etc, but who can complain in a huge hall full of books?
Our catch of the day includes multiple comic strips, a soup cooking book, a yoga instructions book, a wine dictionnary, a child stories book, 2 thrillers by Michael Connelly and 2 by Ian Rankin, "The nannies diaries" and "The last templar". I am so thrilled!

And the walk back home was tiring, but just as beautiful.


And now we are on the sofa with our tired feet up, our stomac full of Chinese delivery and tissues and coughing pastilles withing hand reach and the dvd with Eurosong of last week on and the new books withing reach.

Ahh life can be great, even with a cold!

It's spring!

...or has it simply never been winter when daffodils are in flower at the start of February and seeds in birdfeeding balls are sprouting?


Thursday, February 7, 2008

Adding color




We are getting spoiled by my parents who come and work on our staircase so often!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Blèèèèèh

  • I woke up with a slightly soar throat ,
  • I waited an hour for the window firm to come by for a final control, only to find out that they had cancelled the day before on jan's voicemail which we didn't hear,
  • I came at work with my dry throat to find out that all the coffee machines were out of order...because there was once again a unannounced water outage (the plumbing problems in the office become really tiring!).
  • I couldn't do the planned work since I had to investigate some newly discovered bugs in our supplier's software.
  • I didn't digest my lunch very easily.

Blèeeh, not a good start of the day. If I would have had the guts, I would have returned home to crawl into bed... but I am not enough a rebel to do so. Damn, I have to get rid of that sense of duty one day.

Oh well, in the afternoon all stabelised (throat and cramps) or got better (water again in the office). My evening at choir rehearsal was good. And now I am off to bed. Zzzzzz, tired.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday

Let's hope this becomes a true super Tuesday for the USA with a great turn-out of voters and a victory for inspirational leaders with good pragmatic plans rather than a lot of blablablaa.

...the world is watching ;)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Jan got a present!

...from his brother and sister-in-law.



(translation : our baby would love to have you as godfather)


Popular uncle Jan

Last weekend was a very family oriented weekend:
  • Saturday evening Jan's brother came over for dinner with his family.

  • On Sunday we were at my parents for lunch where my sister and her family was as well.

  • In the afternoon I went to see my uncle/godfather as I hadn't been there to wish them a happy New Year yet.

  • On Sunday evening we went over for dinner at Jan's sister!

Luckily Belgium is a small country and our family lives all relatively close to each other so we could combine a lot of visits on one day. It was fun to see all our little nieces and our little nephew in the same weekend. They are so cute!

Upon arrival at my parents place, the others were already at the table, but little Stef had saved us 2 cheesecubes as appetizer which we had to eat first. You have to know that he'd kill for cheesecubes :). And Rénee taught us how to eat "ghost chips". Mmmm.

When Luisa had to leave with her parents to go home on Saturday, she wanted to stay with us in our home. While she was sitting on my lap, Jan joked that if she stayed in our house, he had no more bed to sleep in so he'd go home with her parents to sleep in her bed. Oh oh, that was not a plan she agreed with.....
"No no, Uncle Jan stay here, auntie Ellen go and sleep in my bed. I'll stay here with Uncle Jan"
Haha, children are so bloody honest :p. And there is no doubt who is the most popular relative for them :)


Luisa having fun with her uncle Jan