maandag 31 december 2007

My December

Sorry I haven't blogged in 15 days... I've been to Romefort with Martijn and my mom. I planned to blog from there, but I couldn't find the time :-)

So what happened? First we spent 3 days in Romefort with Caroline, Kor, the kids and a friend of theirs: Derk-Jan. Worked hard, trying to finish the gite we are going to move into in January. The tiles turned out very pretty! It's a brownish colour ('noisette') and very classy. The floor is now completely tiled and also the bathroom walls.

On Saturday Derk-Jan left by train to go back to the Netherlands. On Sunday Caroline, Kor & kids left to spend X-Mas & New Years in the Netherlands. They took their cats Wolfje & Beertje with them and even their bird!

On Monday we drove (3 hours) to Martijn's parents in the Cantal to spend X-Mas with them, Martijn's sister Saskia, 4 of her friends and 3 friends of his parents: 13 people in total. It was a very nice group, we had a great time. We played games (poker (I won € 12 LOL) & learned the first principles of bridge!), hiked through the beautiful surroundings (cold but nice sunny weather) and had amazing meals.

After 3 days we travelled back to Romefort again for another 3 days of work. We finished the tiling and painting and met with a new Maitre d'Oeuvre to make us an offer on my mother's house.

Friday was my birthday! It was really different to spend it away from 'home' (where is the home now?) and with only Martijn & my mom. But we had a great time! In the morning I opened all the presents Caroline left for me and Diana gave to my mother to take with her. So sweet! I got lots of nice things and Martijn gave me items for when I start to learn riding a horse! Yes, I can't wait!!! We finished work early, went to Limoges, walked through the city and found the one and only tanning salon in the city.... I had asked for a tanning package, but this is the only place we could find and oh my.... Freaking old beds and only walk-in sessions... I think I might try it one day, but it didn't appeal to me haha. We then had dinner at a Mexican restaurant. Very nice.

Yesterday we came back and although I'm pretty tired, there is a whole program for today! I'll tell you about it later :-) Have fun everybody!!!

zaterdag 15 december 2007

My Green


By D. H. Lawrence

THE DAWN was apple-green,

The sky was green wine held up in the sun,

The moon was a golden petal between.

She opened her eyes, and green

They shone, clear like flowers undone

For the first time, now for the first time seen.

My Sunny Conviction

I'm convinced Sunlight is essential to a healthy life. I'm a moderator at a forum about the positive effects of UV light and more and more research shows the importance of getting some Sun!

I'd like to share something:

Benefits of Indoor Tanning by Katie Bryan

Indoor tanning can reduce risk for bone diseases, types of cancer, and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, according to the president of the Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center.

William Grant, president of SUNARC, said tanning in a controlled environment such a tanning bed increases vitamin D in the body. "Indoor tanning lamps are a good source of vitamin D," Grant said. "UVA entails the risk of skin cancer and melanoma, but indoor tanning has not been convincingly linked to increased risk of melanoma." Grant also said one of the most important benefits of vitamin D is the reduced risk of cancer. According to a study done by Grant, 85,500 cancer-related deaths from males could have been prevented if those men increased their vitamin D intake.

Besides increasing vitamin D, tanning the skin gradually is the golden rule of tanning, according to Jim Shepherd, president of the UV Foundation. "Burning is a definite no-no, so people should rely on reputable tanning salons and trained professionals for all tanning needs," Shepherd said. Shepherd also said Americans are fearful of tanning because the dermatology industry targets tanning salons as a prime source of skin cancer. He said the business scares customers from using tanning booths and is doing patients a disservice by not informing them about the positive effects of tanning. "Dermatologists have made people afraid of their shadow," Shepherd said.

Although dermatologists are adamant in saying no to tanning salons, they are "begrudgingly accepting that vitamin D is beneficial, but they realize that admitting that to the public would dilute their message," Grant said. Also, American dermatologists have not done enough research on UVA versus UVB light. He said tanning beds use primarily UVB light, and UVA light from the sun is the most harmful and most likely to cause melanoma, according to Grant "Use of sunscreen that does not block UVA, and travel to sunny vacation spots is behind the rise of melanoma throughout the world," Grant said.

Grant said the outdoor environment is not a controlled one, so tanning indoors is the best way to regulate the amount of UVB exposure one receives. Shepherd said skin cancer is usually hereditary and is influenced by lifestyle, diet, smoking and other factors such as natural skin and eye color. Shepherd also warned that people with lighter skin should use tanning beds with caution. He said small doses are the key and following recommended guidelines will prevent individuals from burning.

According to a study done by researchers at the Dana-Faber Cancer Institute, the greatest risk factor for skin cancer, particularly melanoma, is an inability to tan. The study found people with darker pigmentation and who tan without burning are less likely to develop skin cancer. "As human populations have scattered throughout the globe, increasing numbers of fair-skinned people have come to live in sunny climates, and melanoma and other skin cancer rates have shot up," according to the Dana-Faber Cancer Institute`s Web site.

The International Smart Tan Network, a training company for tanning salons, says vitamin D deficiency is an epidemic in American adults today. The network`s Web site indicates 90 percent of vitamin D production comes from UVB rays. "Dietary `supplements` are just that: Supplemental ways to produce vitamin D," according to the network`s Web site. Grant advises 2,000 international units of vitamin D per day. He said a four to five minute tanning sessions generate over 10,000 international units. Grant said vitamin D is important at all stages of life and the public needs to take measures to replenish the vitamin in the body. "Indoor tanning once about every five days will suffice," Grant said.

I am SO glad that we have sunbeds in our center (thanks Dad! ~ he saw this a long time ago!). I can get my Vitamine D whenever I need to. It's a luxury but also crucial. I do hope people will get less scared of tanning and see the positives AS LONG as they do it in moderation.

Some people maybe be afraid of aging quicker when they tan, but let's be honest, what's more important: being healthy with some 'normal' wrinkles or being unhealthy with less wrinkles. I'll choose the former any day!!!

Tanning will dry out your skin a bit and this will cause some fine lines, but the major wrinkling is mostly caused by laying out in the sun hours on end. When you use a tanning bed and you use good moisturizing lotion BEFORE AND AFTER you'll hardly get any more wrinkles than when you wouldn't tan. Moreover your skin gets more healthy, because it will moisturize itself more and the sun clears up blemishes.

Anyone who is interested in the positive effects of the Sun, check out and inform yourself!

x Marca

p.s. just got in a lotion line that I imported from the US. It has THE best nurturing and hydrating properties, even a DNA repairing enzym. My skin never felt so soft, I love it LOL

vrijdag 14 december 2007

My Frustration

One of the things I find the most difficult in my job is dealing with employees... I know it's part of the job and I like to think I have become a lot better at it, but sometimes I cannot believe people can make life so complicated.

Lately we have been suffering a lot of sickness. Each week at least 1 person is sick and mostly it's more than 1. Consequence is an immense pressure on the rest of the staff, especially now we aren't there as much. We have a great group and when everybody is fine, it's a lot of fun! Personal problems just seem to arise more and more.

I really detest the Dutch system. Why should employers pay for sick staff, when the illness has nothing to do with the job? And if someone is unable to work, you can pay for 2 years... This is really tough on the small companies. These regulations are supposed to protect employees, but IMO it backfires, because who wants to hire someone if you have to pay for 2 years when they get sick? Or when you get into a conflict and the employee stays home faking a burn-out? Consequence is, we are forced to offer more and more min/max contracts (0 hours) and that is not profitable for the employees at all. Ugh. Can you tell I'm frustrated? I would like to offer our staff steady employement, but with all the regulations, we just can't afford it.

woensdag 12 december 2007

13 Days Till X-Mas

13 Days till X-mas and I don't have the X-mas feeling AT ALL. I wonder, do I ever have that feeling??? Maybe not and does it even matter? Decorations at home are useless anyway, because the cats would ruin them. I'm so glad our staff took it upon themselves to decorate the Sports Center. It looks really good!

So what's the X-mas spirit then? Giving gifts? Meh. I do like to compose the gifts for the staff, almost everything is ready. Usually I collect it during the year. This year I started a little late, but I think they will turn out well.

This year will be the first in 12 years that we are not working between X-mas and New Year. We're going to France!

December 24 - 26 we'll spend in Prat Niau together with my mother, Martijn's parents, sister and a lot of friends. They will have no guests and it will be 'entre nous'. I'm looking forward to it!

Between X-mas and New Year we'll be in Romefort, with just the 3 of us (Caroline, Kor & kids will be in the Netherlands), even on my birthday. We'll have time to get the gite ready where we'll be living after New Years ~ Yayyyy :-)

So... 13 days till X-mas. Well it's just another day.

dinsdag 11 december 2007

Mirror Me

I spend
Time – love – energy - thoughts
I waste
Time – love – energy - thoughts
Looking for ways to save

This is it

This is gonna be our 'new' life: converting an old farm in France to holiday 'gites'.

We've been renovating for a year now. The first months it was travelling back and forth for a few weeks at a time.

In april of this year Caroline & Kor and their kids Dane, Nova, Joshua and Nadia moved there permanently! A lot more progress was made since then.

We hope to move this January. Looking forward to it, but I'm also scared. It's going to be different!

maandag 10 december 2007

My first blog

Welcome to my first blog. Inspired by a friend (thanks Rijks!), on the verge of starting a different life, this seems the perfect start for a blog...

In English, so all my friends whereever in this world, can find me.

Please leave a message whenever you feel like it!

Take care, Marca