Sunday, 11 May 2014

Happiness can grow – diamonds have healing powers!

Four years ago I bought a ring to remind me that everything has an up-side and that there is always hope for better times. The redundancy that turned my life, my career, upside down had an up-side. I received an large redundancy payout for the many years I was employed. A little was used to invest in a diamond ring. Why? I believed it would heal me. The diamond ring I bought, can grow! Every time I came into some money, I invested a little in the ring. As I have been made redundant twice past 4 years, luck was on my side although I didn’t see it that way. Two years ago – I was able to let it grow again and yesterday I made it grow a little more. The reminder that things can only get better has proven its worth.

Look at this beauty.

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Happiness can really grow – if you believe it.

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It also helps that I got some extra money for my birthday this year. Turning 50 has some advantages too. This is the third upgrade. 


I love this (new) ring. From my perspective, the diamond is huge. A funny coincidence – a diamond is also my birthstone. A diamond symbolizes power, strength, brilliance and unparalleled beauty. Diamonds are also believed to be a healing stone. Well it worked. I’m pretty content with my life (and my ring).

Some might have noticed, but I wear two rings. The other ring symbolizes my infinite curiosity in research and people. I got this ring when I got my PhD.

Both have become my lucky charms.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Last quilt class for this quilt season 2013-2014

From September till June we have our quilt season in Europe. Or is that only in the Netherlands? Within this period we have our classes and workshops.  Last Wednesday I had my last quilt class for this season. I’m always a little apprehensive after the last class as this means I now have to rely on ‘me’ to get some quilting done in the next 4 months. I have to find and plan ‘time’. I never seem to be able to create time to sit down and just pick up one of my WIP’s and work on them for a while. The primary reason – I have so many others things that take up my time. But I have some hope for the future – that my time issue will be solved. I’m really hoping that my summer break – 6 weeks of having nothing planned – will enable me to get my quilt MOJO back and get something done.

Not going away for a vacation this year. Six week that I’m pottering in and around our home. So in 9 weeks time, I should be able to continue with Tess her quilt, the Dear Jane, and Jane’s Garden. Wouldn’t it be great if I have sometime left to continue with all those others WIP’s?

But back onto the subject of my last quilt class last Wednesday. I’m busy learning how to do a ‘quick’ Trapunto. Don’t really know why we use the work ‘quick’ here, as you most probably know by now I’m not making much progress quickly. But you won’t hear me complain as I really enjoy learning this new technique. I’m sure I can apply it to some of my other ‘projects’.

A reminder of what I did during the first class in March.

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Cutting away the unnecessary extra batting.  

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Last Wednesday I cut-out an extra layer batting. Impressive, don’t you think? Can’t wait to put on the backing and start quilting.


Eventually it should look like something like this. This is the teacher’s sampler.

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My classmates – the other quiltmakers – are a little further along then me, but than again they didn’t miss a class like me. Sadly, I had to give the class in April a miss. Instead, due to some health issues, I was able to experience a ride in one of these that evening.

After the consultation by a paramedic, who came on one of these, yes a fully fitted motorcycle.

I now know how it feels to be transported on a mobile stretcher in an ambulance. Not real comfortable! But not a bad experience. The ambulance nurses (paramedics) were real nice and good looking. A nice distraction from the distress I was experiencing.  It was nice and a little funny to be greeted by the ER personnel as if they knew me.  To be truthful, one or two, did. Anyway, after a thorough check-up I was discharged after 4 hours. A little disillusioned as they weren’t able to find the cause of my symptoms. After some clinical reasoning on my part and getting some insight on the results of my blood tests I can say I’ve fixed/tackled the problem myself. Added a little more potassium to my diet. I now only need to figure out why my potassium levels were so low in April and why this happens every so often.

So this explains why my fellow classmates are a little further along, as you can see here




During this last class – some other projects were shown to.




A tradition in this class is to give the teacher a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Our way of thanking her for a great quilt season.


Thankfully I’ve got a lot of summer bee’s to look forward to as well as my 6-week summer break.


Sunday, 4 May 2014

Thinking cap


For some time I’ve been trying to find the answer to why I haven’t been blogging (or writing). I still haven’t found ‘the answer’ but I thought I would share some of my thoughts with you. Hopefully this will also help me get back into the rhythm of writing.  

Wondering while my fingers hit the keys on my keyboard if you still read my blog or have chosen to give it a skip after seeing hardly any updates recently. Are you still there? Maybe I should conclude like the rest of my life that too much has changed for anything to remain the same. You have changed too and so I might be writing for someone new. I’m finding myself a new niche (theme).

My first post was in June 2007. An anniversary is coming along again soon. Can my lack of blogging be because of the 7-year-itch? Is that the reason for my writers-block and should I reevaluate whether I wish to continue for another 7 years?

The past 9 months have been great. I’ve found my new niche career wise. I never thought that teaching would suit me so well. The past months have shown me that I find it hard to combine my previous habits with my new life. I finally have gotten a fix on some of my old traits.

I’ve learned that being disappointed does funny things with me, actually it is pretty damaging. It not only does something to me personally but it also effects my interaction with people on so many levels. I’ve been let down too many times the past 4 years. I’m sooooo naive and too trusting. I always see the good in people, which in hindsight is so naive and stupid. My way of coping when I realize how stupid and trustworthy I was – my survival skill – is to challenge everything and everyone. I go into fight mode. I become angry and a little negative (which is an understatement) and worst scenario – I shut down.  

But I’ve found my (new) bailiwick.  A bailiwick is an area of knowledge in which a person has expertise and/or control. I’m in my element when teaching. I love my roles as a teacher.




Sadly as an assessor, planner and resource developer I sometimes have to interact with ‘others’. It is than I realize I’m still transforming / growing. I still relapse into old habits. As a ‘shaper’, ‘monitor’ and ‘teamworker’ I have some weaknesses that I’m still trying to overcome.  I’m prone to provocation and therefore offend peoples feelings, I can be overly critical and can be indecisive in crunching situations. I rather avoid confrontation, which is not always possible. That is because I’m primarily someone who is co-operative, perceptive and diplomatic. I’m a listener and avert friction. In my element I’m sober, strategic and discerning. I see all options and judge them accurately. I love challenges and a dynamic environment. Working at a university of applied sciences provides me that environment. I thrive under pressure when I’m in my ‘flow’. My greatest asset is that I have the drive and courage to overcome obstacles. I’m not scared to show my vulnerability. However, I’ve learned from past experience it is then that I get let down by people. I don’t adapt well to the political arena of an organization. People usually doesn’t know what to do with me. As a ‘monitor’ I feel responsible that all worthwhile options have been considered. Not everyone appreciates my gift of insight (analysis).

When we look at Belbin’s team roles I score high on the role of monitor. Who would have guessed?

The emotion of sadness can be particular profound in the experience of disappointment. The good thing about teaching and the interaction with students and colleagues is I’m able to stay away from feeling sad. When sadness is triggered, a heavy emptiness is felt because my brain’s appraisal system has determined that I have experience a lasting loss. And now we are back onto the subject for my writers block. I don’t want to feel sad. I don’t want to face that what I’ve lost. Blogging (writing) is associated with my previous state of being. Sadness is a painful emotion of disconnection with something of great value. I’ve lost something I valued greatly and I had tried to achieve for nearly 10 years. I loved being a project manager of large research projects. I loved being a researcher. What a great way to satisfy my curiosity!  Sadness helps us to remember, rather than forget, what it is we desired. The past 3 years still last August have been a time of personal reflection where I turned my attention inwards. After the bankruptcy I had to reinvent my career, I struggled with the painful, existential question of ‘who am I’ now I longer am a researcher and project manager. I identified myself in these professional roles. Disappointment is the experience of sadness involving unfulfilled hopes or expectations.

Past years I seem to have developed skills so that I can avoid possible disappointment. Disappointment comes with finality – the recognition that you don't have, didn't get, or will never achieve whatever it is that you wanted. It was a lot easier to express my anger. And a lot of you know I’ve held onto that anger for a long time. Certain situations can still trigger that anger. In an obstinate way, anger allows me to continue idealizing what could have been while consciously denigrating it, and I hang onto it only because it's what I needed at the time. Disappointment accepts reality.

According to the findings of a recent study. Under certain circumstances, valuing happiness may be self-defeating and result in disappointment, depending upon how people evaluate their progress toward that goal (Mauss, Tamir, Anderson, & Savino, 2011). These researchers found that valuing happiness can set people up for disappointment, especially if they compare themselves to an ideal. And I had high ideals! Still do! I also value happiness and contentment.

I’ve finally come to terms with what I have. I’m happy again and feel content with what I have. Teaching provides me with realistic appraisals. My bailiwick is not dependent on a specific situation. I don’t have to be scared to be disappointed again. As I realize I can teach anywhere.

Teaching is however a time consuming occupation. A new challenge it to manage my time better allowing time for my other passions (writing and quilting).

Mauss, I.B., Tamir, M., Anderson, C.L., & Savino, N.S. (2011) Can seeking happiness make people happy? Paradoxical effects of valuing happiness. Emotion, 11(4), 808-815.