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A divided decision

3 weeks have passed since Serah came to us. Training has paid off, she listens whenever we tell her no, knows her commands and has improved a great deal when walking on the leash. She does turn deaf when she plays with other dogs, though. That’s alright, she’s still a pup. She’s very sneaky, too. She’s not allowed on the couch and she knows it, yet she seizes every opportunity to jump up on it and then look all innocent when we catch her. Most the time, we don’t need to tell her off, she’d jump off on her own and then give you the saddest puppy face on the planet before laying down in her own bed.

During the time Serah’s been here, I have loved 90% of it. Finally having a dog feels amazing. Actually, it feels more than amazing even though it didn’t really turn out the way I wanted (I want a shiba, remember?). I haven’t felt any anger when I’m bored since Serah came. I’ve always had something to do. Zoe is very independent, so a dog fills the gaps where I feel I really want to do something. Whenever I’m bored, I could just train with Serah. She’s very eager to please, which has made our training sessions very easy.

However, I can’t say the same about my family. Patience have been shortened and there haven’t been much understanding to the fact that Serah is a puppy. Zoe has a few phrases on repeat whenever Serah’s around.
I’m scared of Serah. Does she have to live here? Can Haylee live here instead? Haylee can sleep in my bed. Serah’s too big. I love small dogs, like Haylee. 

Haylee is a chihuahua our beloved friends have. She’s indeed adorable, but a wee bit too small for my taste. I understand Zoe, though. It is intimidating to have a dog that’s about twice your body size and it isn’t very helpful knowing the dog will only grow bigger and much faster than Zoe does.
For two and a half weeks, the Dutchman and I have sat down every day, several times a day, with Zoe and Serah and have them become more accustomed to each other. We’ve put up a gate to Zoe’s room to help the progress. Serah keeps laying outside said gate, wagging her tail, hoping Zoe will come play. But Zoe just ignores or teases from the other side. We’ve also tried walking Serah with Zoe, playing out- and indoors with everyone involved and tried doing simple tricks. None of these work and what has happened is that Zoe even more repeats her phrases.

Now, we feel like we have two options. Either return Serah to the adoption bureau, in which case she will again go to a foster family, or keep her and try to make the best of it. Chances are, though, that Zoe will forever emphasise the size of the dog. I’m very divided. I’m a mother, first hand and that makes me feel like I need to listen to my child no matter what. That includes if I have to take the fall (of feeling bad for giving up the dog) if it means Zoe will feel better. The Dutchman seem to have little problem with this aspect, less than I do at least. An equal part of me does not want to give up Serah. She’s amazing. And the voice echoes but you have to think of your child. I don’t know what to do and it just feels awful.

//c_Cae; adulting is hard, parenting is sometimes harder.

Mother daughter time

Zoe and I didn’t do a lot while the Dutchman was away. Mostly, we’d just head out to the parks nearby and played at the playgrounds, hunted Pokémon together and went to see my mom. Other than that, we just had some quality time together. It was great.

I had intended to head for a BBQ as well as an art exhibition with Zoe, but the exhaustion and an ill-timed headache put an end to all that. It sucked, most definitely but at least Zoe had a lot of fun at the playgrounds. We did however drop by the Aquatic Ecology unit on the Friday and hung out with the people there. Marie showed Zoe pictures of her hens and guess who now wants hens?

So now we gotta buy a house with a yard and raise hens.

//c_Cae; any houses for sale? :P 

The last day

The days Frank were here went by so fast, it’s what happens when you have fun, I guess. I forgot to mention that the previous day, I had a pho dinner as a goodbye dinner for Frank.

I’d never done pho on my own before but it turned out alright, not quiet as the one my mom does but I’m close. I also invited La Familia. I knew they’d get along with Frank, and guess what? They did. They got so well along, Max asked me where I had hidden this gem :) Sometimes I wish distance wasn’t such an issue. I have so many good friends, and I really want them all to come together. This dinner was one step closer of getting them all (no, I don’t treat my friends like Pokemon).

The dinner was a success, as usual when food is involved. I also realised that I can handle two girlfriends, which is nice because I have never really gotten along well with girls, but these two are <3 (looking at you Vera and Jenny).

The next day came, and Frank was bound to leave. It was a slow morning, and Zoe was playing with Frank as usual. The two got along so well, and Zoe was clearly not ready for Frank to leave just yet. We all decided to see Frank off, with me going all the way to the airport while the Dutchman and Zoe stay behind after the train station.

Once Frank and I got on the train to the airport, Zoe started crying and hearts were broken. It sucked to see her cry. Damn ID-controls over the Danish/Swedish border. At the airport, we bumped into a Chinese couple, who turned out to be siblings, and asked us for help. My Mandarin is crap, I understand a little but I can’t not for the life of me speak it. They were asking us for help as their carryon was way to heavy for the lady of the two to carry. Of course we help, even though some things were left unsaid because of it. At the gate, there was a quick goodbye and a long hug before Frank took off to Amsterdam to continue his Euro-trip.

It was short, but a great visit. Hopefully, we can meet soon, after all, it was only a temporary goodbye.

Jetlag day

On the third day of Frank’s visit, my intention was to get him and my brother out while I was at a meeting at the university. Plans quickly changed though as Frank’s jet lag took the best of him.

I didn’t mind, travelling east is always painful and it was better for him to feel the worst with the lag here at my place than somewhere else. While he rested up at home, I took off to my meeting.

The unit was kind of empty. Barely anyone was there, so I just put my stuff at the office and headed for the meeting. I was asked to TA earlier this summer and this was an introductory meeting for the class I was going to help out at. I love to TA and so I said yes, thinking maybe I would have less on my plate at the time. I was wrong, but that’s for later. My tasks as TA seem fairly easy, guide students and encourage them to keep up the good mood. I’m pretty good at that, I’d say, so off we go and I head home.

Once home, Frank’s feeling better, which was great because I had made reservations at Bastard, one of the most renown restaurants in town. I had a reservation for three, but since my brother fell ill, it was just Frank and I.

The menu wasn’t huge, but it had enough choices for us to become indecisive about things. It later became obvious we’d order different things and just share it all. Once the food came, we were taken to foodie heaven.

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The Bastard Plank (right to left); serrano (or was it prosciutto?), cornichons, lard, liver paté, duck breast, chorizo. It was amazing.

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My drink of the night: Left Lane, English tea with some kind of peach infusion, I can’t really remember but it was a 10/10. Non-alcoholic.

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Look at the photographer feeding the camera before feeding himself.

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We really showed who was boss.

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Oxcheek with potato mash and roasted onions. Perfect blend of texture and fall tastes.

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Left: Oxcheek. Right: Pork collar with roasted vegetables and plum mustard. The plum mustard was clearly the star of this dish.

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My semifreddo with raspberries and pistachios. Not as much of a highlight as the entrée but good enough to wrap up the dinner. 

I didn’t take a pic of Frank’s desert, but he had a dulce de leche with caramel and coffee. It tasted better than mine, I was just too overwhelmed by the raspberries and pistachios.

Overall, it was definitely a 9/10 experience and I’ll go there again once my thesis is defended. There’s a lot at stake here, so I better finish it. Anyway, we basically rolled home after that. Full and satisfied as we were.

//c_Cae; still missing that glorious dinner

lvl 30

Oh yeah! I also turned 30 about a month ago. It feels great being 30. I’ve had a lot of people telling me stupid things like “you’re old now”, “your life is over”, “hello midlife crisis”. Whenever I hear them, I feel like they are way more insecure about their ages than I am. They kind of have to be. To me, turning 30 feels AMAZING. Why? Because I’m no longer in my 20s. Because I now have 30 years of life experience that no one else has (no one lives my life, only I do). Because people might take me a little bit more seriously now that I’m 30, although I’m still a child at heart). Because I’m 30 and I’m still laughing.

There are way too many reasons to be happy about it, than to feel anxious because of it. And it’s not just a number. Your age tells others a lot. I look up to older people because they have stories I have never heard. I look up to younger ones because they too, have stories I have never heard. Yes, listening to stories teaches you so much. If told right, they’ll be your experiences too. Experiences that you can apply to your life. There’s no shame in getting older, you just get more of that precious XP and SP (skill points, speaking like a gamer here). Use them wisely, because we don’t have any save points.

//c_Cae; always try to see things from a different angle, you’ll be surprised how much you’d learn…

Good things

come to those who wait, they say. I say good things come to those who work for it. Last Friday, I had a meeting with my supervisor to discuss the results of my thesis. I really want to finish, but I keep on stumbling upon problems. The good thing is that my supervisor has a lot of faith in me. He told me I’ve done a good job so far (in my head, I still haven’t done smack). He also told me to interpret my results, write them down and send them to him.

Instead of blowing his mind, he blew mine. I’m actually pretty stunned he believes in me that much. I remember when I was doing my bachelor’s thesis, my then-supervisor and I actually sat down and looked at the results and discussed what they could mean. Now, it’s like I’m all grown up and ready to fly. I felt like he pushed me off a cliff, yelling You can do it. I’m not so sure I’m ready to fly solo yet. I am however struggling to get those damned prediction intervals to my normal quantile-quantile plots. Not going very well if I may say so myself.

Anyhow, a great thing happened even though it’s small. One of the reasons I wanted to become a marine biologist was because of Jacque-Yves Cousteau. His exploring of the oceans had me falling in love with the ocean like never before. I was 8 at the time. Now, his family continues his legacy and the ones that stand out the most to me are his grandson Phillipe and his youngest son Pierre-Yves. So the other night, I was on Instagram and saw a notification. I thought to myself that it’s probably some random person following me, but it turned out to be Pierre-Yves Cousteau. I nearly fainted and then got so excited I couldn’t sleep.

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So uhm, that’s a life goal I didn’t knew I had, haha.
Back to work, write you folks later.

//c_Cae; damn those prediction intervals. 

7 years here

3 days ago I got a notification that I have been on WordPress for 7 years. It sure doesn’t feel like 7 years. I’ve blogged for longer, just on different domains. I haven’t been on much lately, mostly due to the fact that I’m preparing for the overwhelming work that is the month of May. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love it, but being busy sometimes makes me forget about my blog.

Since my last post, I’ve been up to a few things. Without further ado, I’ll keep you guys posted, a little late, but it’s here now.

2 weeks ago, I went to meet a shiba breeder! I was really nervous, mostly because I’d only had one encounter with the breed prior to this meeting. That was enough to toss me into the rabbit hole that is shiba-information on the internet. After reading a lot, I figured it was no longer enough to just read. Sooner or later, I just had to talk to someone that makes a living out of this magnificent breed. So I mailed a local and reputable breeder and it turned out she has training sessions every two weeks! I signed up faster than I could ever type on a computer keyboard and off I went.

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If there were words of how happy I was, I would use all of them a million times over to describe this picture.

On this grass field, stood probably a dozen shibas. Just standing outside the fence had my heart pounding so hard, I could swear it was up my throat. After two seconds of grasping the reality I found myself in, I walked in. I was greeted by a few dogs and also got to play with a few 6 month old puppies. The breeder and I got to talk a little bit. I told her how I found out about the breed, but I never got to the part where I am very nerdy about the things I’m passionate about. I’ll get there. There’s another training session this Saturday and I’m thinking of bringing Zoe. She’s been telling us that she wants a dog. The funny part? We haven’t told her we decided on getting a dog. The catch is that this week’s training session is on agility, and I’m not sure I can run with a dog with Zoe with me. We’ll see how I’ll solve it. It’ll be fine if Zoe isn’t too clingy.

On another note, the Dutchman showed me a Final Fantasy event. To those unfamiliar with me, I adore the series (another thing I’m nerdy about). During this whole 2h long event, I went full fangirl. I think the only thing that can top my reaction to that event, is if I got to meet sir David Attenborough.
Anyway, I got all happy and the Dutchman went and bought me a PlayStation 4. Yay! Another console added to the family. Now I just gotta finish the thesis before I indulge in all the games I have had to put aside the past few years.

I also applied for a PhD at my home university. I didn’t get it but for some reason, I’m not disappointed at all. I think it’s one of two reasons, or maybe a combination of both, that I don’t feel disappointed at all. 1. I didn’t want it bad enough. Don’t get me wrong, I really would love a PhD, it’s just that the project wasn’t interesting enough to throw me off the planet. And reason 2, that the position should definitely go to the best fitting candidate. I mean, it’s an investment after all. Would you employ someone not fit for the job, if you knew it would cost you approx half a million dollars?

I don’t know why I don’t feel much about it. Maybe because it was a limnic (freshwater) project and not a marine one. My heart does beat for the ocean. I stopped thinking about as to why I don’t feel much over it. Colleagues have asked and everyone has been more bummed out than I have. I don’t know. I love my colleagues and it’s really sweet they care enough to be bummed out for my sake. I’m sure, though, that there is a PhD out there for me. It’ll show, and until then I’m just going to enjoy this ride.

And I’m going out to sea next week, woho! A lot is happening and I’m over the moon about it. That’s about it for now, I can’t remember anything more that’s interesting enough. Okay, maybe that the Batman vs Superman movie was a huge disappointment (2/5). I’ll be back soon, promise!

//c_Cae; back to analysing and writing