Monthly Archives: November 2014

Almost warm hands….




So my mother-in-law-but-not-formally-in-law, better known as TDH’s Madre, read about my ‘suffering’ and surprised me with this gift in the mail:



They’re called bike pogies, apparently, and I’d probably call them something else, but the idea is that they keep your hands warm on a bicycle.

It’s 4 degrees C today and I decided to try them out on my 30 min bike ride to church. The pogies come with tie wraps to attach them to your bike and ideally prevent them from getting stolen, however, I think leaving them on my outside-sleeping bike would defy their purpose when it starts raining. I just fastened them with the elastic.

They actually match my bike very well, by the way.

I wore my fingerless gloves and double layer mittens (wool and fleece) as well.

And off I went.

Or, so I thought. Getting my one hand in wasn’t such a problem, but the other one was because I didn’t have a third hand left to keep the pogie open and in place. Used my teeth, very charming.

So, off I went.

Just about halfway I had already lost sensation in my fingers (and toes, for that matter).

Before I got to church I was miserable: I couldn’t feel my feet, my legs felt frozen, my face felt like it had no blood in it (which it probably didn’t), and my brains were feeling slightly frozen too. I’m guessing it was a bit colder than 4 degrees then…

The pogies also had another slight drawback: push buttons at traffic lights. Remember how I got one hand in just fine and the other less fine? Some buttons can be pushed with my elbow, some can’t, and I’m not one to go riding through every red light I see. (I find that a bit anti social, to be honest, expecting everyone to look out for you like that). The velcro strips, intended to keep the water out when you’re not using them, added to the hilarity of getting my mitten back in.

I had 3 frozen fingers when I got there, and it took only 5-10 minutes to thaw. My feet were a different problem!

On the way back they really did prove their worth: they’re wind proof and water proof. It started raining a bit, and even if the rain isn’t that bad… a bit of wet gloves = pain.

Oh my gosh. I am becoming Dutch. I’ve used ‘not that bad’ to describe rain on a bike at 4 degrees C. I’ve been infected with the insanity!

Anyway. This is what my hand looked like when I got home.



It’s really not that bad. I didn’t realise it was only 4 degrees, the forecast was 7 and sunny. (It wasn’t sunny either). I didn’t even have my leather gloves on underneath the mittens, which I usually wear if I’m aware of the low temperature before leaving home. Ok, I may have lost my leather gloves. I experienced discomfort, but not pain.

Although, I think the product would be a lot better if it could provide an extra layer between your hands and the handle bars… because the handle bars are just as cold as the outside temperature… and my hands do not provide enough heat to change that.

All in all, they’re doing something. I do find it both hilarious and brilliant that such a product exists (An is made out of recycled plastic bottles).

And it’s of course really sweet of her to send them to me, out of the blue, just because. (I’m blessed with his family too!)



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Posted by on November 30, 2014 in Brilliant ideas, Random


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Winter is coming

Sometimes I wonder how much I’d gain in total from emigrating to a climate more suitable for me…

Winter is coming. It is autumn formally, but to be honest, my perception of the Dutch climate is basically this:
– 9 months of winter
– 2 weeks of autumn
– 2 months and a week of something possibly resembling spring
– 1 week of summer.

Perhaps I’m exaggerating a bit. Where I come from, we had 6 months of summer, about 2 months of autumn, 2 months of spring, and 2 months of winter. Winter meant hibernating, more or less. I never felt comfortable with winter.


I still don’t.

See, I don’t tolerate the cold very well. Never have. I am cold, when others aren’t cold yet. I’ve already missed a couple of hours of sleep due to the cold this week: cramps in my feet, or just simply being unable to drift off because my body was too busy trying to keep myself warm. TDH was sleeping soundly, wearing short pajamas.

I have Raynaud’s phenomenon, meaning a tiny bit of cold cuts off the circulation from my fingers. At 15 degrees C it’s uncomfortable but still funny. I start wearing gloves when others haven’t even dusted off their winter coats yet. When the thermometer hits below freezing point, I can’t use my bike any more because wearing leather gloves underneath double layered mittens don’t protect me from the excruciating pain associated with Raynaud’s. Numb, then it starts hurting when my bones go cold. And if you think that’s not bad… when it starts warming up it feels like the very bones of my hands and feet are on fire. It’s so painful, it makes me cry.. and I’m definitely not a sissy when it comes to pain.

So at this moment, I am looking forward to a few months in which I will be rather tense, in which I will be trying to keep myself warm. A few months, in which I’ll have less energy… not because I’m much affected by the shorter days (at the moment, I’m rather happy with sunset at 5PM because it makes going to bed on time just so much easier!)… but because I am perpetually cold. Constantly heating the house isn’t really an option either, it’s a cold house and it’s pretty expensive. Being cold makes it a bit harder to be cheerful and to enjoy things. It also scares me a bit, I’ve been mildly hypothermic twice and it’s pretty scary.

Usually I can begin to feel a bit more relaxed towards April or May, when the temperature raises to 20 degrees Celcius on some days. I miss the sun. There’s not enough of it here for my body to make adequate amounts of vitamin D.

The problem with the period between March and August is that I have allergic asthma, mostly triggered by grass pollen…

I know I said at the moment I’m rather pleased about the 5PM sunsets. There are a few weeks every year in which I don’t have to battle the day in order to get some rest and enough sleep, I’m still in it. A few weeks after changing back to winter time, and the few weeks (less than a month every time) before Daylight Savings. I still really don’t see the point of Daylight savings. The rest of the year is a struggle for me, almost like being perpetually jet lagged. I still don’t know how I am supposed to be able to fall asleep at 10PM in summer when sunset is at 10:30PM.

The climate is just very uncomfortable for me. I don’t mean to whine, it just is. And to be honest, I don’t really enjoy typical wintery stuff either. I miss sunny Christmases by the poolside. I don’t like wearing layers and layers, I feel most comfortable with my long legs in shorts or a skirt and my feet bare. (I’d love to be a barefoot bride, even!) Hot chocolate can be very nice, but doesn’t beat ice cream on a hot day. Winter = inside or suffering cold… I prefer to be outside and comfortable.

I am not made to be here. I’m built to tolerate heat, and to have the sun tell me when to get active and when to get some rest and sleep. Because that’s also true: when people around me complain about heat, about not being able to function in the heat… I’m wondering where that heat is they’re talking about because I’m quite comfortable, thanks.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put on some extra socks because I can’t feel my feet. (Not kidding)



Posted by on November 23, 2014 in Uncategorized


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‘Normal’ seems pretty overrated!

My two cents on the issue from this NYT article… The one promising a natural fix for ADHD.

Without trying to dismiss the burden of having ADHD: I think they have a partial point. Speaking for myself: 90% of my problems related to ADHD has everything to do with ‘normal’ people.

ADHD is not a ‘psychiatric illness’ that needs ‘fixing’.

I see ADHD as a neurobiological variety which needs special attention (pun intended) in today’s society. The problem with it is real, the burden is real.

ADHD is formulated as a disorder by normal people. The DSM was not written by ADHD individuals.

Saying ADHD is a disease or an illness is the same as saying I am a disease or illness. ADHD is how I am. Not to say I am a bunch of symptoms, but I have ADHD in the same way as I have dark blue green eyes and a skin type 3 according to skin cancer risk charts.

A fair skinned person needs sunscreen else they burn in the normal sun. I need concerta, else I burn in daily life. Knowing I have ADHD helped me look at myself and the troubles in a different way, so I can find a better way to deal with life in the West in the 2010’s. ADHD individuals are a minority, you know.

But I don’t think the world could do without us.

I’ve been through a lot lately, and thanks to my ADHD I’ve been riding the buzz, and actually: I am ok. (Apart from some non ADHD issues). In part, I suppose, I am also OK because I’ve learned from prior experience.

I hate how ‘normal’ is seen as something desirable. I’m grateful that I am not ‘normal’.

It seems extremely dull, to be honest.

I’m just me, and can’t speak for everyone that has anything to do with ADHD…

A few random points:
– No, I am mostly incapable of sitting still for as long as most non ADHD individuals. Guess what? Normal people usually need more exercise than they’re getting. Sitting still is overrated: the only times I actually need to sit still are times in which it bothers others if I don’t. I’m not bothered by my tapping foot!

– I lack the ability to think in ‘boxes’. It is a gift, really.

-actually: understimulation stress is a real problem for me. Boredom can cause me physical pain. The flip side? When stimulated I can do twice as much. ‘Normal’ people can’t always handle the amount of stimulation I need. Why is that a problem? I can’t focus in a white room, they can’t focus in my living room. Why exactly is my white room problem any worse than their living room problem? Because I am part of the 3-5%?? I am also probably part of the 3-5% when it comes to IQ, and that’s not a problem, is it?

– I don’t fully understand why schools and uni’s work like they do. My observation is that most normal students would do better with the study adjustments I’d need too.

– Normal people usually don’t have the amazing high-energy creativity ADHD individuals often have.

– Just imagine: having a quiet mind most of the time, not being able to do multiple things at once, sitting on your bum all day, only thinking of one thing at the same time, not being able to think clearly during high adrenaline moments… (Tip: choose an ED doc with ADHD!!)… Imagine having so much trouble thinking out of the box! I mean, normal would be handy sometimes, but it seems awful to be normal all the time. It seems horribly boring. I’d miss my fantasy, I’d miss my random brilliant ideas… (Have I told you about the chai hot chocolate I invented the other night because I was curious how that would work out?) I’d miss the intense joy I can experience. I’d miss the ability to think the way I do, I’d miss …

Yes, ADHD has it’s problems.

Being normal has its problems too, actually.

We are all people.

And I believe my God isn’t going to ‘fix’ my ADHD because He made me like that.

Saying that my ADHD is an illness is devaluating.

I am not broken in that sense, I do not need a natural or unnatural fix. I just got a more challenging set of cards to play in a world that is -quite frankly- rather control freakish and boring. Good thing I like a challenge!

I am Busy Darling. Never a dull moment.


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