Though our visit to Aqualectra to apply to be connected to water and electricity went smoothly, we expect that it will take a few weeks to actually get connected. But in the meanwhile, we needed water. There was a big container on the porch when we bought the place, but it was slowly getting drained when I was cleaning, but the guy who is building the new cess pit needs water for the concrete and the cement, and now we were nearing the end of our supply.
So, this morning we drove up to the house with a barrel containing about 100 gallons of water. And then we moved all that water to the big container by hauling buckets twenty meters up the hill and then eight steps up to the porch. Times eight.
And then once again when we filled up another barrel at the apartment. So I guess I had plenty of exercise today…

We were catching our breath after the last bucket when our neighbors came over. Two ladies who just speak Spanish and Papiamentu, while we only speak Dutch and English. But with google translate we managed to find out that they were coming over because T. asked the builders next door to ask her to contact us when she came (she’s the sister of the owner and the one that cleans the apartments they rent out) and then we were also able to communicate that we wanted to ask if we could fill up our water supply by buying some water from them (and using the tap and a hose instead of buckets). She had to ask the owner, but it seems we will get water a little easier now.
And we also heard Aqualectra tends to be very quick with water connections, so maybe we’ll have our own tap shortly.

This makes me realize more than ever how blessed we are to have running water available. In Africa, there are still lots of villages without water pumps. Women have to walk for hours to haul buckets and jerrycans of water to their homes and they have to do that every day. And we just turn a knob and there it is…

Three things on Thursday – to do/doing/done

Three things I had to do today before I could sit down and write a blog post (apart from giving the cat his morning dose of attention):

– go to the Aqualectra office and apply for water and electricity to be connected to the new house. Done!
That went rather smoothly, though we don’t know when we actually will be connected. But we are in the system now, so that’s a start.
And yes, we had to go there physically. That’s how things work here. You go to the office, take a number, wait for at least half an hour (sometimes a few hours, depending on how busy it is) and when it’s your turn they get things done. It takes some time, but I like it better than how things were in the Netherlands, where in most cases it’s really hard to talk to a real person if you need to take care of things.

– computer work. Partly done
Sent out a press release, answer some e-mails (my publisher needed my permission to make one of my books into an audiobook. Yes!), write a column, promote this week’s column. Still have to write the column and this week’s column isn’t online yet.

– grocery shopping. Decided to postpone that to Saturday.
That is making me nervous because I like to have things prepared and we have a barbecue to go to on Saturday where I’m supposed to bring some food and drinks. But it’s probably better to buy the meat fresh and I’m not going to fuss about making something special. They all know we’re busy with the house. Maybe I’ll just make some chicken/veggie skewers, those are really easy to put together.

Linking up with Carole’s Three on Thursday

Knitting and Reading :: all over the place

I’m all over the place, but there’s not much progress. Oh well, sometimes it’s like that.
Working on:
– a topdown sweater/tunic, depending on how much yarn I need. I’m knitting it topdown, to make sure I end up with something usable (I’m pretty sure I have enough to knit a sleeveless sweater)
– a scarf
– potholders (still the same pair I was working on last week)

Hmn, all over the place too.
I finished the novel about the girl from Curaçao. I loved reading it, got me thinking about a lot of things. It’s set in the late sixties, early seventies, which was quite a turbulent period here.
Then I found a few simple novels ‘for older girls’ in the free library and brought a few of them home. I’m actually sad that I didn’t bring the other ones too, because I really loved reading them. It was just what I needed. Simple, mindless reading about simpler times and simpler problems. One of them is a keeper though, it’s an autobiographic story about a couple moving back from Indonesia to Holland in the fifties. Loved that one! The others will probably go back to the free library. I’m not sure yet.
This morning I started the Sue Grafton novel. I’m not sure if I read this one before, but I reread the older ones often anyway. I love her books! It is the first time I’m reading one in English though, so I’m curious to see if that makes a different experience.
After that, I have two classics lined up. The Hobbit, well, no explanation needed, and De Aanslag, a novel set in WWII. I can’t remember if I read it for literature in school, but I do know most of my classmates did. We’ll see if I can work up the mood to start reading these. I’m tempted to dig through my boxes and find more simple novels…

Linking up with Kat’s Unraveled Wednesday

Crafting on :: simply knitting

The last few days I didn’t really feel like picking up my knitting. It happens, but I wondered what the reason was.
I had three projects going, but none of them called out to me. This morning, trying to decide which one to take with me to the house, I realized why. None of them were simple. Even the dishcloths require a lot of thinking and deciding, since I’m using scraps, and I’m a bit OCD about matching colors and identical pairs.
I’m also working on a topdown shirt, but I’m making it up as I go and I’m right at the point where I’m working out the sleeves. Not simple at all.
And then there was the scarf I started. Sounds simple enough, but I was planning on making it into a sampler scarf, using my grandmother’s patternbook to learn some new stitch patterns. So I got stuck at deciding how big to make the blocks (or rows) and which pattern to use next.
I’m very good at making things hard for myself…
I took the scarf with me and I think it will just be a plain patent stitch scarf. I never did patent stitch before, but I love how easy it is, once you get the hang of it. It’s just interesting enough to keep my mind from wandering too far.
(I’ve been googling it, I think it’s the same as brioche, or fisherman’s rib – but I don’t do purls or yarnovers, just single and double k’s.)

I still have a long way to go, but I think this will be perfect for these last weeks of going back and forth to the house.

Linking up with Nicole’s Crafting on

Snapshots from the weekend

Our Saturday was spent working on the house, but on Sunday we took a day off and went to the beach. Just the two of us, swimming, talking, resting. It was good. When we came home we napped (yes, really) and then we went to a friend’s house for a bbq. 
It was a good, relaxing weekend and I actually feel, more or less, up to facing a new, busy and difficult (my mother is starting treatments) week.
Wishing you all a great week!

The poncho (cowl?)

I finished the poncho two weeks ago but never got around to taking pictures of it. Time keeps slipping away these days. Anyway, here it is. I just love, love, love the color changes.  So glad I decided to use both skeins on one simple project, instead of splitting them up for hats.

(Um, ignore the face, I was very tired when I took these pictures).
I started with a cowl and then proceeded with 4 increases every two rounds like in this pattern. If I make a poncho like this again, I’ll do a round of many increases right after the cowl part, to have more room around the shoulders.

Since I had only the two skeins it’s actually a rather small poncho. Or maybe it’s not a poncho, but just a cowl? Or a shrug? A shawl cowl? I don’t know. I do know it’s soft and warm and really comfortable. It won’t get much wear here (cause it looks quite silly with a t-shirt and shorts), but it is perfect for when I travel back to the Netherlands.


Three on Thursday :: on my mind

Three things I’ve been thinking about a lot these days.

This. I’m not a feminist at all, but I can’t understand why there must be a difference between men and women in the workplace. Yes, men and women are different and sometimes that makes one of them better for the job, but caring men can be great nurses and strong-minded women can be wonderful CEO’s. On the other hand, I also don’t think we should place women in higher positions, just because they’re women (I don’t know about the US, but this happens in the Netherlands). Each job should be done by the best person available, regardless if it’s a woman or a man.
I hope that someday gender will not be such an issue anymore. The same goes for race and sexual orientation, by the way.

Aging. Not the physical part, though of course, I feel that too. I’m talking about being well past half your life. Looking back at almost half a century of life and knowing that you still have a lot of time ahead, but not as many years as you’ve already had. I try not to have regrets (and I don’t), but I sometimes feel I’m late to the game, wish I had started something earlier. I guess my mother’s condition makes me realize that our time is limited.
On the other hand, it does feel great to decide that I’m too old to change some of my ways (the things that don’t harm me or anyone else, like never using patterns or recipes). One thing I’ve learned over the years is that you can’t really change who you are, you can just correct some of your habits. I’m still the girl I was when I was eighteen, I just have a bit more experience. The real goal is to put that experience to good use.

Food. I wrote about this before, but I’m trying to find out what my body needs and what it doesn’t cope with very well. Staying away from gluten has proved to be a good idea, but combined with not eating sugar, cheese and soy it’s sometimes hard to deal with, especially when eating out. My girls have been through this too, so now I try to do what I’ve always told them.
Be prepared. Always have something you can actually eat with you, even if it’s just potato chips. Have a (small) meal before you go to barbecues or food-related parties, to make sure you’re not so hungry that you’ll cave and eat the wrong things.
For real and/or formal ‘at the table’ dinner parties you talk to the hosts – timely, not at the last moment -, explain the problem and ask if you should bring some of your own food.
This works, but it sometimes feels like I’m just making things hard for everybody. And then I eat what is provided to find out a few hours later (or the next days) that I shouldn’t have. I really have to train myself to be more mindful of my own needs…

Linking up with Carole’s Three on Thursday

Knitting & reading

This is what happens when you leave your knitting outside during the night. It got wet. We were so tired last night that I left my knitting bag on the porch and there was a big shower early this morning. Oh well, luckily it was the cotton project I’m working on (potholders again), not the wool one. This will dry a lot sooner, I think.
I finished reading four books by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and I think that is enough for now. It’s fun to read them, but the idea of stash building (or actually not being able to do that) started to haunt me and that’s not fun at all (not her fault, I’m just susceptible to worrying right now.
The book in the picture I found in the free library at the supermarket. It’s an older book (1970’s) by a Curaçaoan woman about a girl moving to the Netherlands and then back to the island and how she copes with all things related to that. I hope it’s a bit more uplifting than the cover suggests, but I really want to learn more about the people on this island.
This morning I’m also driving into town to pick up my order from Amazon. It took a month to arrive here and I have to pay taxes before I get it, but then I will be the owner of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s ‘The Opinionated Knitter’.
It’s been on my wishlist ever since Amanda wrote about it, so I’m really happy about this. Can’t wait to start reading it!

Linking up with Kat’s Unraveled Wednesday

Keep calm and craft on

It really feels like that, right now.
Yesterday and today we had to be at the new house early because we were awaiting deliveries (material to repair the cesspit). That meant getting up even earlier than normal, getting ready faster than usual. Not the best way to start the day.
But once we’re at the house, I can relax. Well, yes, there is a lot to do. But I’m still not feeling great, so I’m taking it kind of easy. I’m so grateful to be able to sit on the porch, watch that view and knit. We have internet here now, so we can work and blog from here too. It’s starting to feel like home more and more, even though we can’t really move in yet (no running water, no electricity, no cesspit).

I’m working on a few things at once right now. Potholders from cotton scraps, a sweater/shirt/tunic from light gray wool and (not pictured) a scarf from dark gray wool. Not the most exciting projects, but just what I need to stay calm.

linking up with Nicole’s Crafting On

Right now

Right now I am…

:: sitting on the porch of the new house
:: listening to the birds singing
:: looking at that view (I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of it)
:: so happy that we have internet there now. Still no electricity though, so I have to be mindful about my battery.
:: thinking that being mindful about how much to use the computer isn’t too bad actually
:: catching my breath after another morning of rushing about (though this time I knew it from the start – that helped
:: hoping the delivery we had to be here for so early is coming early too (between 8 am and 5 pm is a bit of a wide window of time)
:: planning to get some painting done
:: wondering if I can’t just sit and knit for another day though
:: glad that I have done that last week
:: feeling a lot better now, though I could use another week of rest
:: looking back at a fun weekend (lots of gatherings with friends)
:: smiling because in that second picture I keep seeing more birds the longer I stare at it (the bigger ones are orioles, but there are a lot of bananaquits)
:: hoping this will be a good week
:: wishing you all a great start to your week