I wanna go home

T.  woke up singing “I wanna go home” (from Sloop John B. by the Beach Boys). I didn’t really know that song, but goodness, that jukebox in his mind is always spot on…

Today we were supposed to fly to The Netherlands to see our kids and our family. Our flight has been canceled for a while and I thought I’d processed it, but the closer we came to this date, the harder it got. And today it just sucks.

On top of that, my mom called Friday to tell us that she thinks it will be over soon. She can’t eat anymore and the doctor told her to stop forcing it. She’s also very, very tired and I think she’s ready to go. She wants to see our girls and her sister one more time. That’s all happening this week, and I think that will be it…

If the borders were open, the timing would be just right for us to arrive tomorrow. But they aren’t. And there aren’t any options. Even if we could get Curaçao to let us go and The Netherlands to let us in, even if we’d ignore that we can’t afford to stay in The Netherlands for months (we wouldn’t be allowed to return) and what would happen to our house if we’d just let it sit, even if we don’t take all those things into account, we’d have to stay quarantined for two weeks. And that would make it all rather pointless.

I won’t even go into the fact that we’re both having cold symptoms (so we’re probably not even allowed to fly).

Anyway. I know I’m not the only one with problems like this and I know there are people with much worse problems (on this island alone 50.000 people are in poverty right now – that’s one-third of the population). But I am having a hard time right now.

I know people worry when I don’t post for a while (and I can’t even begin to express how much I appreciate that!), so here’s a head-up. I probably won’t be posting often for some time. I’ve been blogging since 2001 and I know by now that I just can’t keep blogging when life gets a bit too hard to handle. I’m going to try to post when I feel like it, but I won’t force it since that usually ends with me quitting blogging altogether and I don’t want that.

So… hope to see you soon! Wishing you all a much better week than I’m having 😉

Random three

1. I am so tired! I try to work in the garden at least an hour a day, but my body isn’t as strong as it used to be. Or this is harder work than I’ve ever done, that could also be the case. I’m still in the phase of cleaning the grounds. Need to kill or dig out the stumps of the thorn bushes before I can really start planting. So it’s hard work that I can do only for a short time. But I am having fun with it.

2. We’re allowed to go swimming! And since we’re on walking distance from a beach, we can go each day again, if we want to (driving somewhere in your car is still only two days a week). That feels like so much freedom.

3. I went grocery shopping yesterday. Okay, I mostly went potting soil shopping and picked up some groceries too. That last part made it into quite the experience since I had to visit a lot of shops. T. told me I could pack a total of 200 liters in the car, but I only managed to buy 150. Oh well, at least I can pot some plants. Seeds are coming up faster than I can buy potting soil. I may have to make another round Saturday (Wednesday and Saturday are the days our car is allowed on the road – they check the first letter of your license plate).
I deleted my rant about social distancing that followed here (we all have thoughts about it, I’m sure). I’ll just say that if that virus is as contagious as they say, we’re about to have a really big breakout here. Two of the shops I don’t visit usually were really crowded and nobody was keeping their distance…

linking up with Carole’s Three on Thursday

DITL :: look what he built!

Last Friday I didn’t know yet that I’d decide to keep doing the day in the life blogs, but to do combine Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for a Monday post and do Monday through Thursday on Friday (um, does that make sense to you? – doesn’t matter, it does to me). So I didn’t really take pictures of what I was doing, except for this one of me grating ginger. I’m trying to make ginger oil.

On Saturday, I spent a bit of time in the garden, but I had a headache (again!), so I mostly sat in the shadow and read (an Agatha Christie novel – The Pale Horse) and we had this beautiful sunset.

On Sunday we had a lot of visitors. Of the iguana kind, that is. I guess they’re hungry (it’s been dry for a while) because they’re coming closer and closer, hoping to find some greens.

I spent a lot of time with this book lately. It’s about the medicinal herbs that grow or are widely available on Curaçao. Very interesting, though I wish it had better pictures and/or drawings of the plants. I don’t think I can identify them with the information in this book. But we’ll see if the internet can help with that. I was planning on visiting her garden (where she grows most of the herbs and trees she mentions), but it’s closed because of the lockdown.

Meanwhile, T. got busy with scrap wood (beams from the rotting balcony we removed and ceiling panels that used to be in the kitchen) and built me this planter table. Isn’t it great? He even added some protection. The birds seem to love some of my seeds.

And then he was on a roll and built me two other ones that fit exactly under the windows in the kitchen. We were out of screen material, so no protection here. You can vaguely see the plastic bottle I used instead. In the other planter, I started aubergine from the fruit and turmeric and ginger from the roots.

Loved the meal I made (I don’t always do). This was minced meat, a yellow onion, a leek, a zucchini and a little can of small red beans. I added shredded turmeric and black pepper for taste.

Sunset. My camera didn’t really catch the colors again. It was a much deeper red.

A bit of knitting to end my day. The shawl is going slowly, but it is growing.

How was your weekend?


In my garden

More garden content… I’ve been thinking about starting another blog for my garden and things related to that (herbal medicine) because there may be a lot of that in the nearby future, but I decided to just keep it all together and go with the flow. This blog has always been very personal and changing along with my interests, so maybe it’s time to accept that it is what it is, instead of trying to be “more professional”. It’s supposed to be fun. Don’t worry though, there will be knitting/crafting too 😉

Anyway, this morning I started early (before it got warm) and walked around.
Here’s what I’ve been doing:

:: watering the banana tree and wondering if it’s a plantain (banana in Papiamentu) or a banana (bakoba in Papiamentu). I asked when I bought it, but I was talking English and the woman I bought it from was speaking Papiamentu and Spanish (she wasn’t from Curaçao). I only realized there might have been a miscommunication about this being a banana tree when I was driving back home. I tried to look it up online, but I’ll have to wait until more leaves and fruit are growing to know for sure.

:: watering my papaya trees and wondering who’s eating the leaves. All six of them look like this or worse. I suspect iguanas, but we’ve also seen a deer on the other side of the fence and there is a part missing. I do hope this will stop soon.

:: hoping the geraniums (pelargoniums) I planted out yesterday will survive. Over the day they lost about all their color and they don’t look too happy. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from all those years of working with plants, it’s that you have to give them time. Even if you think they’re dying, they’re often just trying to adjust. So we’ll wait and see. I did move them to a spot that has a little bit more shadow though.

:: noticing the neem tree is flowering. I checked online to see if neem flowers have any use. Oh yes, they do. So I gathered a few to dry them and I will be clipping more this evening or tomorrow morning. I also want fruit, so I have to be careful not to clip too much.

:: thinking this ancient Kalbas tree just outside our property may grow one kalbas this season. At least if I’m right about this being the flower. It’s fun to get to know these local trees and plants.

:: treating my desert rose with dish soap (diluted of course) and hoping that will get rid of the bugs that are bothering it. It’s still flowering (all year long!), but it doesn’t look as happy as it usually does.

:: wondering what tree this is. It’s almost always bare (iguanas eat the leaves), but right now it has flowers that smell wonderfully sweet and there are berries on it too. Maybe it’s time to join some of those local gardening groups on facebook so that I can ask if someone knows.

:: planning to do so much more. Sow some of those seeds I bought Wednesday, plant my avocado tree (it needs more room than the planter can give it), remove more thornbushes to make room for more plants, make ginger oil, look up more recipes like that… Oh, the list in my mind is endless. I think I’ll start by writing it all down, that might help 😉

Three in the garden

Before the lockdown, I had big plans for the garden. I had some work to finish and then I’d spend most of my days doing what I love most. Well, that sort of backfired. First of all, that work took a lot long longer than I thought (still not done). Then I started to feel sick and wasn’t even able to work in the garden and because of the lockdown it wasn’t possible to go anywhere else than the supermarket anyway, so buying potting soil and seeds was out of the question.
I have to admit this sort of sent me into a downward spiral towards depression again (that and some things I’d rather not talk about right now).
But… I am slowly feeling better now (fewer headaches, no more arrhythmias) and I’m working hard to snap out of that downward spiral. Gardening always helps a lot with that.

Three garden-related things that are making me very happy right now:

1. I went to Goisco yesterday and was delighted to find they didn’t stop selling products other than essentials and groceries. So I was able to buy potting soil, planters, and seeds (and I’m planning on going back for more).

2. My kitchen herbs are catching on. Okay, the chives are iffy, but I have thyme, parsley, peppermint (that’s the one below) and outside the frame there’s some rosemary too. I’m hoping to save the oregano I neglected when I was sick and I bought some tarragon yesterday.

3. Early this morning, T. and I worked together to give this dieffenbachia another chance to live. It was in a container but kept tumbling over. We’ll see if it makes better roots this way. It’s not exactly a useful plant (it’s toxic), but it’s beautiful (when it’s healthy) and I hate killing living plants. I love that T. knows this, agrees with it and helped me to do this.

Linking up with Carole’s Three on Thursday

DITL :: 4.8-10.2020

Good morning! Trying to catch up again (though I have a really hard time to find words today). This was Wednesday. I decided to be done with that headache and went shopping.

I did it! And that was all I did that day. It’s still just a headache (no cough, no fever), but it keeps going a lot longer than normal.

Dinner. Boneless chicken thigh,  Kippendijfilet, beansprouts, zucchini, eggplant and a can of green pepper puree.

It looked nice and it was edible, but that “a tart and citrusy flavor” of the puree was not our thing.

I forgot to take a picture until the sun was already down, but the sky afterward is always nice too.

Thursday morning. What a night! Had nightmares about lions and tigers attacking my children. I have those sometimes and usually, that means that I’m sick. It’s still just a headache though.

The moon is setting, the sun is rising.

Ah, there he is. Every. Single. Day.
It’s one of those days again. I wish I was more productive, but I’m just too tired, can’t concentrate, can’t see clearly and it hurts too much.

Anyway. At night T. makes a fire in the bbq again.

And I make a simple salad. On the bbq: chicken leg, corn cobs and beef.

And then the sun is down again.

Friday morning. I slept rather well and I feel a bit better. This is part three of that series of books about the woman from New Jersey that solves murders (but not because she’s so good at it). The keep getting better!

I finally felt up to doing some work. Taxes done for the month (and the quarterly ones too). Now I can try to stay away from the computer this weekend.

I did a load of laundry,

made the bed,

and did a little bit of cleaning in the bathrooms.
It’s not much and I was really tired when I finished, but it felt good to pick up a bit of that daily routine again.

My second avocado is coming up! I posted a link to a tutorial on how to grow avocado earlier and those people really want me to link to them again (I got emails about it), but the truth is I didn’t follow that tutorial. I just stuck the pit in soil, watered it and had a lot of patience.
This does me want to do something with my other plants and in the garden, but I’m really tired again, so it will have to wait.

I decided to take some time to update my DITL blogging (but I’m not sure if I want to keep this up) and now I’m going to knit and watch some youtube. That’s not computer free, I know, but it does feel like a nice start to my weekend.

Wishing you all a great Easter weekend!

DITL :: 4.4-7.2020

I wasn’t feeling well these past few days. Headache. Not Covid-19 (I think – no other symptoms). Just a normal cluster headache, that lasts for a few days. I didn’t feel like blogging or taking pictures, but I hope things are back to normal now (Wednesday), so here’s some catching up.

Saturday morning it was not too bad. The cat had its breakfast.

And breakfast for us too.

I was reading a different book, but couldn’t concentrate enough to read it. This one is in English (not my native language), but it’s a simple murder mystery. I really liked it. The main character is a New Jersey lady (Lucille) who is about my age (and has the physical problems that go with that age), which makes it really fun to read.


Sunset with cat.

T. made dinner. It was really good.

Sunday morning. A little bit of knitting.

T. played some music.

I finished this book. This was everything you expect from a Vatican thriller. An ancient text that will shake things up, lots of action and in the end the Catholic Church (the institute, not the building) is still standing strong. Unrealistic, but entertaining.

A simple dinner.

It tasted better than it looked.


Part two of the series, but my head hurt too much to concentrate.

Monday. I spent a few hours in bed, but that didn’t help.

The cat was happy I’m up.

I played some Mahjong, read a bit, tried to avoid the news and had a phone call with my parents.
T. made dinner. It looked awful (spinach from a can) but it tasted quite nice (for something that has spinach in it).

 Tuesday: more headaches. I hope this is the last day since tomorrow is the day I’m allowed to go shopping and I need groceries. Waiting till Saturday is not an option. Making a list and sending T. is, but I prefer to go myself.

I forgot to take a picture of our dinner (pasta sauce with white beans instead of pasta).

But here’s another sunset.

DITL :: 4.3.2020

Good morning! Yes. Every. Single. Day. It’s sweet, but I wish he’d learn to retract his nails…

I had an off day. It took me hours and hours to work through my normal bookkeeping chores. I was not interested in the news either, though I did watch the daily press conference to check if there were any new infections or any new rules. There weren’t, so that’s good. They presented a plan to help people who are financially struggling because of the lockdown, but The Netherlands still has to approve it and find the money for it, so it’s all pretty unsure. I do think it’s good that they informed people that they are working on it though.

After I finally finished the bookkeeping, I shut down my computer and watched this troepiaal feeding on bugs for fifteen minutes. Way more interesting than the news and social media.

I started in this book. It’s a Vatican Thrillers (don’t know if that’s a real genre, but that’s how we call it). I’m not really hooked yet, but I kept reading while T. did a virtual happy hour with some friends we normally meet in person on Friday.

I didn’t feel like company and talking, so I stuck with my book and this chuchubi that wanted his part of the bugs.

Sunset. A bit less red than yesterday, but still rather red. I read that usually has something to do with dust particles in the air.

We did bbq for dinner, so all I had to do in the kitchen is making a simple salad. Cucumber, tomato, red onion, iceberg lettuce, a bit of vinegar and a bit of mayonnaise.

Yes, he’s eating lettuce. He loves it and even begs for it. Granted, he also gets chicken when we do a bbq, but he really wants the lettuce too. Silly cat.

DITL :: 4.2.2020

Good morning! Actually, I had been awake for about half an hour before I took this picture. Made some coffee and tea, knit a bit until it was light enough to read (yes, we’re outside on the porch already).

This is after breakfast and after cleaning the kitchen, making the second pot of coffee for the day. Yes, we drink a lot of coffee.

I did a bit of cleaning (trying to keep up with my daily chores at least) and a load of laundry. It still feels so good to be able to hang it outside each time.

Work, work, work. Editing a novel by an author I’ve been working with before. I was actually looking forward to it, because I like her books, but this is a sad one. Still, it’s work, need to do it. I sent out a few emails and then I listened to the press conference for a while.

I’m finally getting fed up with the news. This morning the first time I checked was 9.30 (!). And I stopped watching the press conference shortly after it was announced that there are no new cases. The rest was a lot of:  “Stay home!” from the government and “Yes, but I have to…” from everyone else. So fed up with that!

We had lunch and I finished the first round of editing on the sad book. It did have a happy ending, so I guess all’s well that ends well.

I needed more tea! (T. drinks lots of coffee, I drink two cups of coffee and two pots of tea).

So on top of things… Got the laundry off the line and put it away immediately. If I don’t, it sits in the basket for weeks.
After that chore, I decided to call it a day. I wanted to finish my book.

Uh, first I had to feed the cat, of course. He makes sure I don’t forget.

Finished! The second half was a bit disappointing. Not that the story wasn’t good, but I hoped for more about that clay Bible. You know, a bit of biblical controversy, some new ideas about how things could have been. But they were nothing but a stage setting for the rest of the story. It actually was a tale about past (WWII) crimes, evil people and revenge. The end was… sad, mostly.

I switched to this book for a while. It’s by a Catholic Priest who lived on Curacao in the late ’60s, early ’70s. He spoke a lot with the locals and wrote down everything they told them, to preserve their culture. No explanations, no thoughts about the backgrounds, he just documented it. His early series of books was reprinted in newer books, sorted into subjects. This one is about religion, superstition and rituals. Very interesting, but I have to read it bit by bit because it’s just too much to read in one sitting.

Uh, yes. My mama told me never to stack glasses. Ahem… One of them broke. And that’s sad since we only had two of these.

Today’s ingredients: minced meat, half a cauliflower, can of green beans, can of red beans, taco seasoning.

It doesn’t look like much, but it tasted very good!

Watering my plants. Today it was exactly one year since we officially registered ourselves as residents on Curacao. These plants are descendants of the plants I had to throw away in The Netherlands. When we arrived here a year ago, I had a few small cuttings in my suitcase.

This is how they looked a year ago.

And this is now. They grew quite well. I’m not going to write about everything else that happened during that year. There was some good stuff (this house!), but also a lot of sadness. But such is life.

Today’s sunset was hard to capture on camera. The sun was red, really deep red. Very special.

DITL :: 4.1.2020

On my Dutch blog, I started posting “day in the life” blogs last week. Don’t know why, but I felt a pull towards documenting the normal parts of my days as well as the things that are so different right now.
I decided that I might as well copy those posts and translate them for this blog. I’m not really sure if that’s what I want here in the long run, but let’s see how it goes for a while.

This was Tuesday afternoon. Reading a bit in my book. Trying not to pick up my phone to read the news.

Time to start diner! I took a picture of my ingredients (boneless chicken thigh, a leek, red onion, yellow onion, half a jar of corn, half a can of white beans, half a jar of tomato sauce and a packet of tomatoes that were going bad). I forgot to take a picture of the end result. It was really good though!
(I made a tomato sauce loaded with veggies and stewed the thighs in it).

Sunset! Each day is different.

I finished my hat that night. Took pictures the next day, but I’ll post them here. I know I said it would get its own blog post, but really, it’s just a very simple hat, there’s not much I can say about it anyway. The ribbing is 8 rows  K5 P3, then 3 rows P5 K3 and then 8 rows K5 P3 again.

We were both wide awake at 5 o’clock on Wednesday morning. That’s an hour early, but we decided it was no use to stay in bed, so we got up.

Did some knitting until it was light and then I read a bit. I was able to stay away from the news until 6.30. Since I have been making a habit of checking the news immediately after getting up, this is a bit of an improvement.

We had breakfast, I cleaned up and then I went out for grocery shopping. Just one person per household allowed, so I went alone.

This was outside, waiting to get into the supermarket. Two meters distance between the lines. It didn’t take long though, I only had to wait for five minutes or so. Inside keeping my distance was a lot harder. Not everyone was into it. I messed up too, didn’t notice the arrows indicating that the paths were now one-way only. I usually skip the second path, since it’s all sugar drinks and things like that, so my normal route was completely opposite of what was allowed. I have to get used to that. I do think it’s a good idea to do this though. Less people bumping into each other.

On my way back I got stuck in traffic.
Huh? Yes, we’re in lockdown. But there were actually a lot of people on the road and the police was trying to check why. I had a lot of trouble understanding the guy through his facemask (and because of my ear infection).
“Where are you going, ma’am?”
“Where’s that?”
“Okay, have a nice day.”
I had papers to prove I really live there, but he didn’t even want to see them. I guess this was meant to intimidate and demotivate. (This was before they issued the license plate rule.)

I needed some medicines, so I got into another line at the botika. It took a while before I could get in, but they had everything I needed (T. takes aspirin as a blood thinner for his heart problems and I needed some painkillers), so all was well.

When I got home, I quickly unloaded the stuff that needed to go into the freezer and the fridge and then I listened to the press conference. That’s when we heard we are now only allowed to be on the street (and only for essentials) two days a week.

We had lunch and the rest of the day escaped me. I was tired. Tired of shopping, tired of the impact everything has right now, tired of everything. T. felt the same. I read a few chapters in my book and browsed a bit on the internet.

At five o’clock we had our daily snack: cucumber (with a bit of salt and vinegar). I always look forward to that!

I took another picture of a sparrow.

And of the sunset of course.

Time to cook diner! These were my ingredients: two eggplants, a can of corn and a can of black beans (I didn’t use the mushrooms), a lot of garlic and some steak.

The end result doesn’t look great, but it tasted so good!

After cleaning up the kitchen I did a bit of knitting. That’s my favorite time of the day. Just sitting, knitting and thinking, and talking with T. Too dark to read, trying not to pick up my phone (was mildly successful at that today).  It’s the best way to end the day.