The colors of a sunset

Last Sinterklaas I got five skeins of cotton yarn from the girls. They didn't select them to go together (I just asked for cotton to add to my stash), but when I was thinking about what to make with them, I realised they actually do. So I decided to start a shawl with them.
It took me a while to actually get into knitting again, but now I'm back at it. Can't stop knitting.
The pattern is just something I made up when I felt the stockinette was getting too boring. I also decided to alternate colors with each pattern repeat. My first idea was to do big color blocks, but this is much more fun. It actually works up pretty fast and I love how it looks.
The colors remind me of a sunset at sea and I love seeing the shawl grow.

Linking up with Frontier Dreams' Crafting On

Our weekend

We had the most wonderful Easter Weekend. Well, in fact, we're still having a wonderful weekend, since it's the Second Day of Easter (that's a real thing in Holland and apparently also in the Dutch Caribean).
Good Friday is also a thing here on the island, but very different from Holland. Not only schools and offices are closed, but also shops and even supermarkets. So weird. They're open on Easter Sunday, but not on Good Friday.
First, we thought we'd just keep working, but it was so silent and relaxed around us, that we just finished the most important things and then we went with the flow. T. helped our landlord to fix the remote opener of his gate and then we drove to the west to visit our maybe home (it's still not ours, we're waiting for the tax office to respond to a request by the notary now), We do that often, but this time we got out of the car and walked around, dreaming, talking.
Then we went to Mambo Beach for our Friday night tradition of eating fries at Aloha Beach bar and having a few drinks at Bonita.
On Saturday we had a very relaxed day. T. fixed something on our car (the break missed a few bolts) and I decided I wanted the apartment to be clean for Easter. That was a very last minute thought, but it took me only about four hours to deep clean it. That's the good side of living in only 215 square feet (ha! that sounds so much bigger than 20 square meters!)
I even washed the curtains, which I guess none of the previous renters had ever done before.
Then we just relaxed for a while and read and knit, because we were going to a friend's house at three o'clock. At least that was the plan, but he got stuck at work. So we delayed the appointment to the evening and just kept reading and knitting.
We had a good evening with that friend, admired his home and got some great ideas for ours.
On Sunday we had Easter breakfast like we traditionally did with the girls. Freshly baked rolls and croissants, eggs and some watermelon instead of orange juice (because forgot to buy juice) Then T. tried to help our landlord to fix a refrigerator, but it didn't work out. He did have fun with it (can you tell we're both really ready for a home and garden and stuff of our own to take care of?).
I packed our lunch and we went out for a drive west again, but apparently, everybody else on the island was. It was extremely crowded everywhere. Even on the quiet beach we usually eat our Sunday lunches. People were actually camping there.
We've never been on the island on days like this before, always spent holidays home, so this is a first for us. But we liked seeing how people spent their Easter Weekend.
We spent Sunday evening at our usual beach bar to enjoy the (rock/blues) music and the sunset.
Today the local people celebrate a harvest festival, Seu. There's a big parade, but we're not sure if we're going to watch it. If you don't have connections or money to be one of the lucky ones with a seat on the shaded chairs and benches waiting for the parade to pass by can be quite exhausting.
So we'll just see where this day will take us. I am looking forward to knitting. Somehow my knitting mojo returned this weekend. So happy about that!
How was your weekend? Hope you had a great one too!

Three on Thursday

Feeling a bit overwhelmed lately. Moving to another country involves a lot of paperwork and here on Curaçao that means you have to physically pick up and deliver forms all over town. That takes a lot of time. I also have someone else's novel to edit and some writing of my own to do. I got a weekly column on a big online magazine – six of them to start with, but if their audience like me I will become part of the team. I'd also like to write another novel (my 11th came out last month) and I have a lot of bookkeeping and household tasks to catch up with.

But I still can't keep my mind of blogging. I miss it and the connections I've found through it. I like Instagram, but it just doesn't feel the same way. I tend to think a while about comments before I actually post them and love when I get a reaction, but on Instagram I just press the heart and keep scrolling.
So I decided to try and post on my blog a bit more again. Get into the habit again, visit my list of favorite blogs and comment more often.

I really have to stop myself from making too many plans for this blog though. See #1. For now I'll just try to post once a week and I'll take it from there.

How have you been? (I'm going to catch up on all your blogs soon, I promise!)

A little update

We didn't get the house I was talking about last time... We made an offer and the seller reacted by taking it off the market.
I know...
We were shocked and so were both the realtors (ours and the seller's). It was just an opening offer, but the owner stated she was tired of not getting what she wanted.
We tried to reach out to her and raised our offer, but she didn't even respond to that.

Last Saturday we looked at another house. Same price, same area, better view, house in better condition, a lot twice the size and owned land instead of long lease. So we offered the asking price and it was accepted.

All is well that ends well, one might think. But while we were asked to send an e-mail to affirm our offer as soon as possible, we got nothing back to confirm that it was accepted and yesterday it looked like this was another one of those situations.
We've been trying to buy a house here for years and when we get close there's always something going wrong.
But this morning we found out they had been sending e-mails after all. But to the wrong address (their own info@). So now we're setting things in motion to get the mortgage and sign the contract.
I'm still not really convinced it's going to be okay until we close and I've got that key in my hands. One time we already signed a contract and everything looked okay and then the seller sold it to someone else.
But then again... This really might be the one.
Yesterday I was depressed and just about to give up on everything, but now I'm feeling positive again. I even joked that since every time something goes wrong the next house is better, we might end up with a house in perfect condition on an even bigger lot with a private beach or something like that if this one doesn't work out.
But I do hope this is it. The house is quirky and needs a lot of love, but I just know we can make it work. It won't be too much work to make it livable (I hope) and we'll take it slowly from there.

Anyway. That's where we are right now. Next week we fly back to Holland for ten days to empty the Dutch house and close on the sale. We hope to be lucky and receive notice that we've got our licenses to stay on Curaçao this week so we can handle our official migration in those ten days too.
I'm really looking forward to quieter, less stressful times. It seems we're really close now...

Three things that make me happy

1. Organizing stuff. I told you I was going to buy things to organize our tiny cupboard. Couldn't find the right stuff (will be looking again tomorrow), but did find this drawer set for our growing stack of papers. That will do for now. We needed the clipboards to hold papers when we're working outside (which we usually do). Clipboards make me happy too. The green one is mine of course ;-)

2. Bringing home books. There's a bookcase at the supermarket where you can leave or take books from. I wasn't feeling like reading digital so I went to see what they had. I wanted to bring home more, but I showed some restraint (the top one is a Dutch classic, a diary from a school teacher in the 1920s. Love that author's writing style and insights.)

3. This view. The house that has this view. And the slight possibility that it will be our view soon. There will be a building inspection this week and if that's okay we'll make an offer. Keeping our fingers crossed! (also: we got a message that the buyers of our Dutch house got their mortgate approved, so it seems that's also going to end well)

Linking up with Carole Knits' Three Things

Empty nest

I keep thinking I want to blog and I keep pushing it aside. I'm not sure why.  There are a lot of things I'd like to talk about, but I don't know where to start.
Yeah, I know. Let's start at the beginning. But I have no clue where that beginning would be. 
So I'm just going to jump in and share some thoughts. Maybe that'll help.
There's a lot happening right now and also there's not much happening at all.
We're still looking at houses, but they're either not what we're looking for or already taken or there's something else wrong with it.
I'd like to be all cool about that. After all, we still have a roof over our head if we don't find a house. We're still renting that little apartment and can keep doing that for as long as we need to.
The apartment is exactly what we need. It has a bed, a kitchen, and a bathroom. If it was ours, I'd change about everything, but it's functional. We spent most of our time outside anyway. But lately, I find myself feeling... ungrounded? lost? I don't know how to put it.
Not myself. That may be it.
Last week T. traveled to Bonaire for a day and I was home alone. I didn't feel so well, so after I did some shopping and finished my daily cleaning routine, I decided to give myself a day off. I spent the rest of that day on my bed, watching youtube channels like this one, this one and this one. Yes. I know. Not good.
Why would I waste time watching clean-with-me video's and vlogs from cute thirty-year-old girls with cute young children (or pregnant with another cute one)? I'm almost 48 and my children are all grown-up. I'm in a completely different stage of life.
It took me a few days of being annoyed with myself to realize that I'm having some empty nest issues here.
Our youngest girl moved out over two years ago and I thought I was coping with that just fine. But she was working with T. at that time, so she was over at our house every weekday. And the other girls visited often. Now they're 5000 miles away and we'll see them only a few times a year. We do talk on the phone a lot, but it's still different from having a noisy house full of people. So my empty nest syndrome only just really kicked in (having D. over for a week was fun, but also made us realize what we were missing).
And then this empty nest... is not a nest at all. It's just a place to stay while we're hoping to find a real home. And that's driving me crazy too, because if you take away the glitter and glamour (ahem) of being a published author, blogger, editor, bookkeeper etc. I'm just the simple housewife I've always been. I'm not happy to admit it (because I'd like to be more adventurous than this and I'm on a tropical island so why can't I just be extremely happy about that, for goodness sake) but I miss having a house to take care of. I know it sounds boring and old-fashioned, but I like cleaning, decorating, organizing, decluttering and cooking. That's who I am. And I miss being me. So sue me.
This blog post isn't leading to anything and doesn't really solve my problems, but it feels good to get it off my chest. We've scheduled another house viewing for Wednesday morning. Maybe that'll be the one.
Now if you'll excuse me. I think I'm going to buy some containers to reorganize our tiny cupboard.
(picture is a random cute house, not for sale)


Nope, I'm not the only one here taking pictures of sunsets...

Not a beach or palm trees

I'm trying to break up the beach and palm tree pictures by coming up with three other subjects.
It wasn't easy ;-)

(unrelated picture)

1. I challenged myself to hide the scales and not to weigh myself for a whole month. We're half way the month and it's killing me. Yes, I have some (ahem) issues about my weight.
My plan is  keep eating sensible like I've done for almost two years now and accept whatever weight comes of that, but I had some stressful moments these past two months and ate too much comfort food. Normally I'd be all over the scales to find out how much damage that did. And then I would need more comfort food to still my nerves about gaining weight and being afraid not getting it off again.
That's not helping, so instead I'm trying to get back to eating like I did and staying away from those scales. Only two more weeks to go.

2. When things get stressful I tend to look into buying a new planner, but the truth is, I don't need one. My current system (a mix between bullet journaling and the Moleskine week with notes layout) is serving me very well. I just have to figure out a way to write down everything that's on my mind in a way that convinces me I will manage to work through it all.

3. When D. was here, we went shopping and we both bought a new handbag. I love mine, but I have a hard time finding my stuff in it (because it's narrow and deep), so I'm sometimes considering going back to my old one. Or maybe I should try carrying less stuff?

Linking up with Carole Knits' Three on Thursday

Through her eyes

We've been very busy. Work, buying a car, looking for a house. But also... having fun with our oldest girl visiting.
It all started as a joke. She posted a picture of the snow in our family group app, T. answered with a picture of the beach. Then she posted: 'Can I come to stay with you?' And T. answered: 'Of course, if you bring an air mattress.' (we're still living in a studio apartment and have only one bed).
All in good fun.
But a day later I got a private message, quoting her father. 'Can I take this seriously? I'd love to come and I can take some days off right now.' (she works as a freelance make-up artist)
Well, why not? It turned out she didn't even need to bring a mattress, as our landlord had a third bed the fits perfectly in our 'living room'. It's a bit crowded, but we can manage for a week.
The joke started on Wednesday, the private message was on Thursday, she booked on Friday and arrived Monday evening.

So this week we've been driving around the island even more than we usually do, showing her all our favorite places, the houses we didn't buy, the beach and everything else. It's so much fun to see things through her eyes. I'm still enjoying every palm tree, every sunset and every time we visit the north coast, but for us it's familiar. For her, it's all new and exciting.
We've still got a few more days ahead of us. She flies home Wednesday evening. I'm constantly trying to fit things in with work deadlines and other stuff that can't wait. But I so happy she's here! It makes us feel like we're really living here now.

Right now

Right now I am...

...feeling more positive than I have in a long time. I was on the slippery slope to depression.
...happy to be back on Curaçao
...smiling at the plant we bought immediately after arriving. I needed something to make me feel at home.
...trying to prevent getting homesick this time. I was in November. Not good.
...getting more confident about our Dutch home really being sold. We have a buyer and will close on it by the end of March. We will travel back to empty the house before that (and to celebrate my parents '50th anniversary).
...reading a lot. Currently reading: The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah. Read it before and didn't like it back then, but it's growing on me. Still think this Poirot is not the same as Agatha Christie's Poirot.
...knitting... something. A cotton rectangle. Not entirely sure what it will be. I hope to have enough of this cotton yarn to make (small) bathroom rug, but if I don't, I think I'll use it as a drying mat for dishes.
...working hard to get everything that's on my plate done in time.
...enjoying sunsets at the beach. I never, never get tired of those.
....looking forward to swimming tomorrow. We arrived Thursday, didn't get to it Friday and on Saturday T. cut his thumb, so we had to wait a few days for it to heal.
...learning to work with my new camera. I traded my DSLR (that I hardly ever used because it was to heavy to lug around) for a high level compact, but I feel clumsy operating it.
...trying to get back into the habit of blogging. Right now posts are always a good start for me to make that happen.