Monday, March 30, 2020

On a lighter note

Hm, that was a depressing post, wasn't it? I don't want to delete it, but we could use something else to think about. So here's a bonus post about something silly.
The cat brought a blau-blau (a blue lizard, about the size of a  big mouse or a small rat) with him to play with. He usually eats them where he catches them (in the woods), but apparently, he got the idea of this lockdown. Shop quickly, eat at home. It would have been okay, if he'd killed it first. But well, you know cats...
He had a lot of fun chasing it around my pepper plants. I didn't think that was funny at all. First of all, I don't like watching this rather cruel playing with food. I accept that's what cats do, but I prefer to be able to ignore it. And second... stay away from my plants, please!
The lizard fought back though and somehow got the chance to clamp its teeth around one of the cat's toes (I presume it has teeth by the way Poes reacted - he literally howled) and it only let go after Poes ran around our (luckily unused) upstairs room, dragging that lizard with him - it was on one of his hind legs - and got out through the bars of the side window. I think that knocked the hell out of that lizard and it finally got off that toe. I don't have pictures of that part, but I think you can imagine how it looked.
The cat is trying to catch his breath now and I guess (hope) he won't be bringing his catches with him again soon.
And that's the end of this exciting story. ;-)




Taking shelter

Well, that was a weird weekend...
I was going to try and ignore Covid-19 a bit more on my blog, but that's not really possible. It's all that's on my mind right now.
On Saturday we had 9 infections (there are only 160.000 people living on this island) and they announced an evening curfew. It's not allowed to be out on the street between 9 PM and 6 AM.
On Sunday morning, during the 11.30 AM press conference, there were 10 infections, one of them confirmed to be local. They announced another press conference later that day.
We were out during that first press conference. T. was going cabin crazy, after being home for a full two weeks, so I proposed to get in the car and drive around a bit. We stopped at a beach promenade and had some fries at a take-out and drove a bit more until we were glad to go home. It was just what he needed to feel a bit less restless.
I must have felt it coming...
At 6 PM they announced there is an 11th infection and we're in full lockdown since this early morning (but since the curfew was already in place, actually since 9 PM last night). We're only allowed to go out for essentials. Grocery shopping, getting gas or going to a botika (pharmacy) is allowed, but only one person at a time. No walks, no swims, we have to stay home. They compared it to taking shelter for a hurricane. I have to say that didn't make me feel any better. If they compare the expected outbreak here to a hurricane, they probably already know that things will get bad.

Oh well, at least we had those few hours on Sunday to look back at and a good house to take shelter in.  And there will still be beautiful sunsets to admire...



Friday, March 27, 2020

Right now




Right now I am...

:: tired. I have felt really tired for two weeks now But I slept quite well last night, so maybe I will feel better soon.

:: excited to mention that I finished the yearly taxes as far as I could yesterday. It's not that much work, but it always weighs me down and it takes up a lot of space in my head. And this time it was worse because we moved abroad. The Netherlands doesn't have clear rules about taking your business with you and wants us to do our private taxes on paper and through snail mail (because, you know, that's so much easier than online if you're living abroad). That last part isn't finished since the paper forms are with our daughter in The Netherlands. I have to find a way to get them here safely (we were supposed to go there in time to do the taxes, but I don't think we will be able to).

:: looking forward to cleaning, reorganizing, gardening and things like that

:: trying not to give in to the temptation and use that headspace to start writing a new novel right away, since that would mean lots of screentime again. On the other hand... writing is even better than reading if you want to escape the real world for a while. And well, with that view (second picture) screen time isn't too bad...

:: knitting along on the shawl. Picked up the hat I started a while back too.

:: wondering if that cat (he's kneading my stomach right now) will ever lay down. He's so happy, but he still hasn't learned to fully retract his nails when doing that. Ouch!

:: looking forward to the weekend. No, we won't be going anywhere, but it's still weekend, you know?

:: considering to make this an offline weekend. I used to have those a lot, but lately... well, you know. Maybe I need a little reset.

:: wondering why I'm so obsessed with keeping up with the news. It doesn't make any difference if I know right away if there are new cases on the island (we're up to 7 now). Well, okay, if we plan to get off our own property, we should probably check for any new rules (they're considering closing beaches and installing a curfew), but if we don't... just carry on. Also, knowing exactly what is going on in The Netherlands as soon as it's posted, doesn't do anything to prevent my family from getting the virus. (talking to myself here - sometimes that's how blogging works)
Need to stop this. Now.

:: planning to take some pictures of plants and trees this weekend, to have something else to talk about next week

:: wishing you all a good weekend. Make it special, even if you've been at home the rest of the week too ;-)

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Grateful


Three things I'm grateful for these days:

1. our house. We're so blessed and privileged to have so much space and to live in this climate. Quarantaine isn't too bad when you can be outside all day, walk to an (empty) beach to take a swim and stroll around in half an acre of garden.

2. the internet. It's hard to be so far away from family, especially now that The Netherlands is having so many cases of the virus, but at least we can stay in touch easily. And being able to send my parents flowers to celebrate their 51st wedding anniversary? So grateful that it was so easy to make that happen.
It's also a great way to connect to people that aren't family or even real-life friends, but somehow turn out to be an important part of my life. I have blogging friends that I interact with on an almost daily base and treasured blogging friendships that go back years. I feel so blessed to have those.
I also feel blessed by the bigger bloggers and vloggers, that don't even know me but inspire me one way or the other. Last night I found out one of my favorite bloggers is back, or at least thinking about blogging more regularly again. Yay!

3. well-supplied supermarkets. I went shopping yesterday. I have to admit, it wasn't really necessary yet, but I don't want to wait until we're out of everything, like I usually do. There's still a chance that we'll both get sick and won't be able to get out of the house for a few weeks. There's no delivery service here, our friends live far away from us and we don't really have neighbors. So I'm trying to stay on top of things. I felt a bit nervous about going to the supermarket. Would there be empty shelves, would it be hard to get what I needed? It made me realize how blessed we've always been to be able to just go and buy whatever we need.
And yes, we're still blessed. Full shelves, just like normal.

linking up with Carole's Three on Thursday

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

(almost) Wordless Wednesday


I can come up with so many captions for this picture and I could connect it to so many thoughts about feeling safe and cozy and things like that, but I thought I'd let it speak for itself...

Monday, March 23, 2020

Let's talk about the weather




I can't find the words to talk about things today. (As for my family, no facts to share, just going back and forth between hope and fear.)

Looking at my pictures from this weekend (I was trying to do a day-in-the-life, but got sidetracked after a few hours) I thought these three made a nice combination to share.
Well, to be honest, I was going to get all philosophical about them, but I think I really want to talk about the weather a bit. You know, since it's a nice and neutral topic. There's already too much fear, anger, and sadness on the internet these days. There are also a lot of people trying to turn that around, but I don't think I can add much to that.
Okay, there's one thing I want to say: Let's all try to be kind to other people, even if they do or say things we don't approve of; they are scared too. This world needs love and kindness, not hate and anger.

Anyway, about the weather... Lately, it's been raining each morning, but that's actually a good thing. I planted a banana tree and I was prepared to haul buckets of water around the first few weeks, but now I don't need to. Rainbows are always a nice bonus, and we still get (normal) sunny and hot weather in the afternoon. It's not the right season to plant vegetables (summer is way too dry and hot), but I hope I can at least get some things going if this continues.

Wishing you all a very good week. Stay healthy (or get better) and carry on.
This too will pass...

Friday, March 20, 2020

Knit on


Hey, look! I'm knitting!
I still have to work around that cat, but I solved my "don't know what to knit" problems by casting on for a very simple asymmetric shawl. I had so many ideas for this beautiful soft cotton, but I need mindless, simple knitting right now.
And well, a shawl is good for many things, isn't it? I can wrap it around my shoulders when I'm cold instead of a cardigan and I can wrap it around my waist on the beach instead of a bikini coverup. And, most importantly, it's comforting and mindnumbing to work on it. Need that. One of our girls has all the symptoms of Covid-19. Except for the fever, so they won't test yet, but at least she's on the radar of the doctor now. She had underlying issues with her heart and lungs, so we're worried, but there's nothing we can do but wait it out.

Anyway... let's just keep calm and knit on.

Hope all is and stays well with you and yours!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Three supermarkets


(random iguana picture)

Yesterday I went grocery shopping. When I (finally!) got home I realised that I visited three supermarket where things were all very different. So now I have something to blog about for Carole's Three on Thursday ;-)

1. I started at Van den Tweel. That's an hour drive for us, over the Juliana bridge, to the other side of town. It's a supermarket that's rooted in a Dutch chain and therefor very populair with Dutch people. I go there for bread (they have one type that my body can handle), rice cakes and anti mosquito spray (natural, low DEET that still works). In this supermarket I saw what I expected to see after our Corona measures were issued. Not very busy, people keeping their distance, hand sanitizer at the entrance, cashiers wearing gloves. There was enough food on the shelves, luckily, but they were out of rice cakes.

2. Then I went to Centrum. This is my go-to supermarket and I get the bulk of my stuff there. It's the one closest to us and they have the best products (for what I need). Shoppers are a mix of local people and Dutch and Americans from the big gated resort close by.
Here, much to my surprise, it was business as usual. I saw some Dutch and American people standing close to each other, talking about how silly it all was. People were not keeping their distance at all. There was hand sanitizer, but nobody used it. Cashiers were wearing cloves, but the boys that help you pack were not. Shelves were filled like normal. They were out off eggs though.

3. I really needed eggs, so my next stop was Esperamos. Not my favorite supermarket, but also not too far from Centrum, so the best option to find eggs without driving all over the island. I had to park my car at the edge of the parking lot. I had to wait for my turn at the hand sanitizer. And the lines at the checkout were crazy!
I actually checked my phone to see if there was some disturbing news, but this was before the press conference*. There was still a lot of food on the shelves, but they were also almost out of eggs. Weird, since eggs are local. And why would you stockpile eggs? You can't keep them that long. Anyway. I got my normal amount of eggs (I always shop for two weeks at a time), but they were all in boxes of 6, so I couldn't get the fast lane, because I had too many items (I also bought a few rolls of rice cakes). So I waited and observed.
Lots of full carts. That's not normal, because locals tend to shop for smaller amounts at supermarkets and get the big stuff at Costuless and Goisco (comparable to Costco I think). I saw a couple that had two carts and there were two overflowing carts standing in the middle without an owner. I guess he or she was filling up the third one.
Since I had a lot of time to think I realised that it was probably also busy because restaurants are closed and lots people are home from work. They tend to eat out a lot and get their food on their way to work/home or in their breaks. There is still take-out, but I guess more people are cooking their own food now.
Even though people were sanitizing there hands, nobody was keeping their distance, except one man who was constantly telling people to back off. Nobody talked about Corona, but I think it was on everybody's mind. I just wish they would be more careful about protecting themselves.
It felt like an alternative reality. So strange. I was glad to go home where things were quite normal. We are used to being home and work from the porch most of the time anyway.


* Since the first case was reported on Friday we have press conferences daily at 11.30. On this day they started out by reporting there still were only three cases and the first one was still in IC, but stable. After a few minutes though, word came in that he died.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Update



I still don't really feel like blogging, but I thought I'd do a little update today.

:: I'm not knitting at all lately. This cat of ours had decided he wants to be on my lap early in the morning and evening (my usual knitting time) and he doesn't want to share. He's sort of okay with the laptop, but typing is kind of hard like this.

:: Well, it's not all his fault. I'm reading and studying a lot too. This morning I found out that the CuraƧao government finally decided to issue summaries of press conferences in Spanish, English, and Dutch. That's such a relief.
I was panicking a bit because everything was in Papiamentu and though I can get the drift of things I don't really get the details yet. Don't judge, I am aware that one needs to learn the language of the country where one is living. I started, but lots of things happened in the past two years that took too much headspace, so I didn't get far. Also, up until now the government's main communicating was in Dutch, so there was no real rush to learn.
I'm so happy that they realized not everybody understands Papiamentu. Still, I felt so left out and alien that I decided to dive into Papiamentu right now. I want to understand what they say first hand.

:: We have three confirmed cases of Corona here. That's not much, I know, but we have only 160.000 people. And I'm guessing it's just starting. I hear so many people coughing and sneezing. Hygiene is not a really big thing here and that first case arrived on the 5th on a plane with 400 other people that spread all over the island.
Right now they closed borders for Europe (The Netherlands mostly) and are working hard to get the European tourists off the island. Schools will be closed tomorrow (but not for grade 8 and high school last year classes). I suspect more will follow.
There is another press conference this morning. We'll see what they've decided now. I suspect closing the borders for the America's too since that's what Aruba has done already.

:: In The Netherlands things are getting out of hand. I try not to worry too much since there's nothing I can do, but almost everyone in my family has a higher risk background. My parents the most of course (age and underlying decease), but there are also a lot of asthmatic and heart issues among my children, siblings and their partners. I just hope they keep themselves safe.

:: We still feel fine, though T. is worried that his coughing might be it. I'm not sure, he's a smoker and he coughs a lot anyway. I started trying to boost our immune systems weeks ago, so I hope that helps to keep it away, or to at least have only a mild case. I'm not sure we can prevent getting it, we might have been infected already (we've been to happy hours and gatherings before there was a confirmed case).

:: I decided to try and stop checking the news as often as I've done the past week. Not healthy. I'm going to focus on work, my garden, my house, my studies and hopefully a bit of knitting and sewing. I think I will start blogging regularly again when I have something to show for it, or when I find some normal in this new crazy situation.

Wishing you all the best. Keep safe!

Monday, March 9, 2020

Silent



This weekend was filled with talking. Some inspiring, some tiring, as it goes.
But now I feel like being silent. So here's another non-post (sorry, I will snap out of this soon).
I did want to share the beautiful full moon and the pink sunrise clouds that we had earlier this morning with you though.

Wishing you all a great week!

Thursday, March 5, 2020

This is not a blogpost (three reasons why)



Three reasons why I don't have anything to blog about today:

1. I've been out grocery shopping and running other errands yesterday. Somehow it all took a long, long time and it was so busy in all the shops! When I finally got home I was too tired to prepare a post (I usually do that the day before).

2. I can't take the time to write a blogpost now. I need to work. I have been putting things off lately, but now I need to get my act together and finish stuff.

3. I want to write fiction. Somehow I find myself writing stories that probably will never be published, but I enjoy writing them very much. Too much to be honest, since I have a hard time focussing on other things and if I choose to focus on writing I should be writing a feelgood novel in Dutch (it's almost a year since my last one was published), not silly "mystery stories" (the mysteries need some work, but I'm pretty fond of my main characters) in English.

Linking up with Carole's Three on Thursday

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Knitting and reading


After that case of startitis my knitting came to a full stop. Not immediately, but that shawl I was trying to make... didn't work out. Also, I started to doubt if I really wanted to make a bikini coverup. Wouldn't it be better to make a cardigan with that yarn?
And then I started a baby hat for a baby shower that will be held this Saturday. How simple is that? Well, I blame the yarn, but it can also be my sluggish knitting, but I was almost done when I noticed it just wasn't something I'd want to give as a present. So I started again with a different yarn. I'm not really motivated to finish it though. Those double pointed needles are not really my favorite way to knit (but my circulars are too long). Maybe I should just let it go. I need to buy a present anyway because I just don't have time to make more than just that little hat. It's a really cute pattern though.

My lack of motivation for knitting may also have something to do with my reading. I've been reading so much lately! I have a small collection of books about Curacao (history most) or set in Curacao and once I started reading one of them, I couldn't stop myself and had to read them all. It took some time, but I love knowing more about the island (I will probably pop into a thrift store to find more books like this today).
And then I found the book on the right. It's in Dutch, but the title translates as "Secret Medicine of the Gypsies". It's written by Pierre Delon. My goodness. His writing is... well, different, but it's so interesting. Reading this book stirred up my latent, but always strong interest in herbal medicine, so next thing I knew, I was downloading books about that on my e-reader. Starting with the classic: Culpeper's Herbal. I can't believe I never read that one before. And then 20 more modern books. I'm enjoying working my way through The Natural First Aid Handbook (thinking about buying a paper version for reference). And then there are so many more interesting books. I think I also have brought one home with me from that book market I visited a few times (as I said, latent, but strong), so I'll have to dig that up.And I'm waiting for this book to arrive, but that will take some time (Amazon takes about a month to get thing here, and then it needs to go through customs. I ordered it two weeks ago, it will probably arrive mid-April.)

Oh well, I won't be bored soon, that's for sure.

linking up with Ginny's Yarn Along


Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Dresses!



One of the things on my (long) list of things I'd like to be able to do, is sewing my own clothes. Now, I don't have the time nor the patience to look through intrigate patterns, adjust sizes and things like that.
Or, to be honest, I tried that and failed miserably. Not my kind of sewing.
So I was on a quest for an easy dress pattern, that would tick all the boxes (comfortable, suitable to wear outside the house, preferably a little bit flattering) and that I could make over and over again. There are some nice patterns online, but I found most of them didn't really have a defined waist shaping. I like to see my waist, while I still have it.
I had this storebought (well, thrifted) dress that I really liked. I can put it on over my head (no buttons or zippers!) and it had an elastic waist, that was simple but looked nice.
So I decided to copy that dress. Drew the outline on pattern paper and made the bodice (since the waist of this dress was too far up for me) and the skirt a bit longer (these dresses are meant to wear for my normal day-to-day happenings. I like not to worry about what's showing when I bend over).
And then I just started cutting and sewing.
Much to my surprise, it actually worked.



I used the second option (baby hem) in this article about edge finishes to hem the armholes and the neck. Worked like a charm.

It's a little bit too wide, because I tend to cut bigger seam allowances then I sew them. (Weird, I know.)
But it still fits nicely and I love wearing it.

So I did it again, this time paying a bit more attention to seam allowances.






I love these dresses. And yes, I will be making more soon.
But next, I'm going to try to do something similar to T.'s favorite shorts.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Right now



Right now I am...

:: looking back on a wonderful, relaxing weekend

:: gearing up for a busy week

:: trying to keep that feeling of "getting there" that I found this weekend

:: feeling a bit weird because there are painters setting up their gear right in front of me

:: excited because they are here to paint the outside of the house

:: listening to the painters deciding on a game plan for the ladders  (it's a high house, on a steep hill)

:: happy that we decided to invest in professionals to take this off our hands (we're both afraid of heights)

:: thinking I need to make a list of things to do because my mind is going back and forth between so many things

:: finding myself with very little to say here today

:: thinking I'd better go do something useful

:: wishing you all a great start to your week