Fourier Analysis is a mathematical tool which can do a number of things: separate out signals from noise; help identify patterns or trends in data; filter out all unwanted data and focus on a single signal; use approximations to make generalizations; make approximations of real world signals (think electronic music); combine harmonics to get a stronger signal. That's what I'll be trying to do here!! Won't you join me with your comments?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

In Search of my Inner Elf...

I am really not ready for Christmas this year. Oh the presents have been bought and mostly wrapped. The tree is decorated and we have a few lights up in the kitchen and decorations placed around. I have put Christmas cards through the mailbox, and survived the various holiday events at the kids' schools. Christmas music has been on the stereo since Thanksgiving. But still I am feeling like the Grinch.

I look at my list and realise that yet again the Christmas newsletter to friends and family has not been written to go into the cards. And though I got away with the joke of "Merry Christmas, er...oops!" in the Easter greetings once, really it is not even funny anymore. And when so much of the news is bad you don't even feel like talking about it for fear that it will be such a depressing missive that no one wants to read this time of year. So how do I explain all this in the short note included in the Christmas greetings? (sigh) Go to the next item on the list.

Christmas baking has never been my forte. Okay, baking and cooking are not skills I brag about. I am great at chemistry, which generally prevents any major disasters in the kitchen. But it is not something I do for fun. However, my children love it and I have made the preparations, but still the spirit has not moved me. Besides, I insist that the house be thoroughly cleaned prior to taking on a task which itself will require a major clean-up. So that's what I have been working on all day. Now I am to tired to take on such a major task so maybe it will be something for tomorrow. Back to the list.

Christmas crafts. This was started at the beginning of December, and some cards and decorations were made. But it hardly puts a dent in supplied I have collected and really the kids got on with it by themselves without me having to do more than referee and nag about clearing up. However, since then they have hardly touched the stuff and now I am making the "Tired Mommy" decision and relegating all the supplied back to the storage from whence they came. Finally, something I can check off the list! But of course not without some twinge from a guilty conscience.

Delivering presents round to friends. Now this is something I can get into a bit. Unfortunately as I must drive, I don't get to partake of the wine/eggnog/gluhwein etc. But I can share in the fellowship and I find this does start to thaw the winter chill that seems to have taken over my mood. For some reason this year everyone seems to be tired and run-down. We all joke and moan and commiserate. And I get fussed at for breaking the promises we made not to do any gifts. But I had to do one basket for a friend and it was just easy to go ahead and do 5. And yes, I got a bit carried away and seemed to find the perfect little something that made each gift personalized. But it was the only fun I had in terms of buying for Christmas so all the recipients laugh and grudgingly accept that this was "therapy" of the retail nature and all is forgiven.

There it is. The spirit of giving. That's what has begun to revive the memories of merriment. The thaw in my heart has begun and I am starting to relax. Now may be the time to get out the DVD of "A Christmas Carol" and gather the family round. I might even get a few cards written while settled on the couch in front of the TV.

It won't be a big family holiday, but a small one with hubby and the kids. And in the evening of the 25th we will get together with friends and their kids and the accompanying chaos. On the 26th we will travel to Germany for a visit with in-laws, returning in time to celebrate the New Year with other friends and of course fireworks. The weather has thus far co-operated with some lovely cold days and spectacular frosting of trees and plants, although very little snow has covered the ground and the roads have not been too bad for driving.

I shouldn't complain but I do. It has been a hard year. And the coming one promises to start with further difficulties. Still I have good friends and good blog-friends and that is really what Christmas is all about.

Merry Christmas to you all. I hope you too can find your "Inner Elf" and enjoy the holiday as it is really meant to be celebrated, in the love and warmth of good company, friendship and affection. And here's hoping that the New Year brings joys to temper the sorrows, warmth to ease the coldness that seeps in from the dark corners of the world and hope that somehow in some small way we can all help to make things better.

Peace

Friday, December 14, 2007

Trouble Comes in Threes...(Update)

I know, I seem to have disappeared from the blogsphere. I have hardly been near my computer lately except to e-mail the school about DD1's absence. You see, the third "crisis" finally showed up. What started out as a cold and developed over a week or so into the "crud" has finally manifested as full-blown pneumonia. And as this is my first experience with an almost-teen being ill, I am afraid I have not handled it very well. She vacillates from not wanting to be talked to or touched to crawling into my bed or lap and needing to be held and rocked just as she did when she was 3 years old and sick. And of course we have the battles about trying to get her to eat/drink/take medicine/measure fever/dress warmly/take a bath/cough hard/ blow her nose/go to the doctor/etc. (sigh)!

So finally when she felt bad enough to let me take her to the doctor it was of course in the evening and we had to get to the night-clinic. I felt so guilty when describing her symptoms to the doctor because she obviously thought I had waited too long to come. How do you tell someone who has obviously never had kids, much less a prickly pre-teen, that in between bouts of fever and really feeling sick, she was complaining about being bored, working her way through all the computer games and DVDs, asking if she could ride her bike outside, talking on the phone to friends about being at school the next day, and so on? And even when her fever was so high that she was shivering under the covers and I had to hold her for almost an hour, she was absolutely insistent that she did not need a doctor. Unfortunately DH was traveling, so there was no way I could man-handle her into the car by myself if she did not want to come voluntarily. So I sat sheepishly in front of the doctor who informed me that a virus or flu usually starts out with a fever that goes away after 3 days or so, but as she had already had a cold for more than a week before she got the fever, this was obviously an infection and that it was very important that she take all her medicine, drink fluids, rest, stay warm, and try to cough to clear her lungs. As if I had not been trying to do these things for the past week. Nonetheless, my own feelings of inadequacy have now been supported by a medical authority. I am officially now a "Bad Mommy". Maybe I need to design a button for my blog...

I have to laugh or I would just collapse in tears. The other news is also not so good.

My FIL has now had the second surgery in this round of his bladder cancer and the news is not good. They are recommending that he have his bladder removed. This is a hard operation on anyone at any age, but for man of 81 it comes with ominous overtones. It is especially disheartening for him as shortly after he was diagnosed over 2 years ago, his own Brother-in-Law, who is younger than him, got the same diagnosis. But his BIL's course of treatment involved the immediate removal of his bladder. He went downhill from that point on and died 6 months ago. So for my FIL, in his mind removing his bladder is basically a death sentence. But his doctors are telling him that not doing so is just as bad. So my DH is under a lot of stress trying to cope with our homefront issues and support his parents as well.

And the progress in diagnosing DD1 is going so slow, as is the case wherever there is socialized medicine. We have now completed the psychological evaluation, which only confirmed what I already knew about her. First of all, the mental evaluation shows she is "gifted" and very intelligent, almost off the scales for the tests they were using for her. However, emotionally she is behind girls her age. But that is not an unusual combination. All the other evaluations show she is not ADD or ADHD, though she has some concentration problems. And while she has often expressed she "wants to be a boy", she has no body issues which would indicated some sort of trans-gender issues. If there are other sexual issues that contribute to her stress level, it is still to soon to tell. Because of the pattern of behaviour, hormones definitely have some contribution. But clearly there is a chemical imbalance and as the stress builds up she gets more hostile and irritated until we have a meltdown complete with the kind of temper tantrum she used to have as a 2-year old. The trouble is it comes with the ugly back-talk and threats of a teenager as well as the physical strength and violent temper. At times I think instead of a psychiatrist we need an exorcist.

But we have now the preliminary diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive-Disorder showing a number of symptoms including the self-harming behaviour of pulling out her hair. She now has pulled out almost one-third and my biggest fear is that this will progress to an even more severe pattern. So we now have our first appointment with a child psychiatrist on 17.January. I am hoping that the holidays don't bring any more stress. I am not sure if I can handle it.

But at least I know what number 3 was and am not so worried about any more bad surprises. I know it is a silly superstition, but for me it does seem to have a pattern and somehow I am comforted by this. And I call myself a scientist...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Who is Coming to Your House? (Part VII)

Hij komt, hij komt, de lieve goede Sint...

This is the last in my series about the tradition surrounding SinterKlaas here in the Netherlands. For more information, please look for my posts under the same title over the past month: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V and Part VI.

Tomorrow is the big day here, and preparations are well underway in most places. At school they have already had visits by the Piets, many of whom left a big mess behind. One of the things that some classes get to do, if their school has access to an oven, is to make their own "kruidenoten". Kruidnoten are a sweeter, harder version of the pepernoten and I actually find them tastier. Kruidnoten are crispier like Spekulaas or ginger snaps, whereas pepernoten are more like gingerbread. Pepernoten have a more bread-like texture and are more complicated to make. This is an easy, fun recipe for Kruidnoten and I have used it when I helped out many classes through the years. So if you are curious, or just want a fun activity for the kids, I have translated it to ingredients more familiar to the US:

Kruidnoten
50 grams (1 3/4 oz) butter
100 grams (1/2 cup) brown sugar
100 grams (1/2 cup) white sugar
1 Tablespoon milk
250 grams (1 cup) self-rising flour
Spices:
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinamon
1 teaspoon ground aniseed
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Mix all these spices together until well blended before adding to the rest of the mix.
NOTE: If you have access to commercially mixed "Speculaas kruiden" (spices) then you could use 2 3/4 teaspoons of that instead of the individual spices listed. Allspice can be substituded for ground cloves/aniseed/ginger.

1. Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the spice mix (or spices).
2. Add the flour and milk, mix together until well blended. Sometimes, this means you need to get in there with your hands!!
3. Make very very small marble sized balls of dough and place them on a flat baking sheet with enough room to allow them to spread out and rise a little.
4. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 160 C (320 F) until golden.
5. Let cool until they harden. Eat and enjoy!!

Now I admit to having a weakness for kruidnoten. And especially as they are on sale very cheap after 5.December, I have a tendency to go overboard. Thus I often find myself around Christmas with more than I can eat and the days of throwing at children have already passed. Thus it was great fortune for me to find this recipe that goes well for SinterKlaas, but is also perfect for Christmas get-togethers.

Sint-Tiramisu
I usually double this recipe as it goes very quickly! But you may want to try it first and some portions may need adjusting depending on the ingredients.
250 g (8-10 ounces) kruidnootjes (Instead you can use ginger snaps, German spekulatius, Swedish "pepper-cookies" or similarly spiced hard cookies spiced with cinammon, ginger, nutmeg or allspice.)
100ml (1/2 cup) strong espresso coffee -cooled
3 egg yolks
100g (1/2 cup) sugar
1 packet vanilla sugar (1 tsp vanilla extract)
250 g ( 8oz) ) mascarpone cheese (This may be difficult to find in some areas and may also be rather expensive so one of the following substitutions can be made: 1. 8 oz of softened cream cheese combined with 1/4 cup whipping cream, whipped until smooth or 2. ricotta or cottage cheese combined with 3 tablespoons sour cream, and 2 tablespoons sweet cream, whipped until smooth.)

Beat together yolks, vanilla and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Beat in mascarpone until just combined. Lightly butter a large flat-bottomed glass serving or baking dish and line the bottom with about half of the kruidnoten. Pour half of the espresso coffee and let it soak into the cookies. Add about half of the mixture, spread evenly over the cookies. Distribute the remaining kruidnoten over the mix and pour the remaining coffee over the cookies. Add the rest of the mix, spreading evenly until all the cookies are covered. Cover the dish with cling-film and let it sit in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours. Before serving, I like to sprinkle cocoa powder over the top.

Now while I love-love-love the original Italian tiramisu, I find this as an acceptable substitute during the holiday season!!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Who is Coming to Your House? (Part VI)

The songs that are sung to welcome SinterKlaas and Zwarte Piet into our celebrations are a big part of the Dutch tradition. On Jenn's blog you can see a video of one of the songs. There are sometimes different versions of the old standards with some rap versions making the rounds the last couple of years. Whenever you see Sint or if he is coming, or maybe you'll see one of his Piet-bands making the rounds, it doesn't matter, you will always hear singing! And the tunes are kind of catchy so they are not hard to learn! But of course if you don't speak Dutch, then these don't mean a lot. Therefore I give you some of the translations I have found of some of the most popular songs. But please note, these are not literal translations, but rhyming songs that have a similar meaning to the Dutch songs. This makes it easy for the ex-pats to take part in the celebration with their own English versions (Sint of course understands English, unlike many of the Piets).

Click on the titles of the songs to hear a recording of the music only and try to sing along yourself! And with this I make my first entry into:

Wanna hear more tunes? Check out Soccer Mom in Denial. In fact, have a good look around 'cuz Allison's always coming up with cool stuff like this!

Enjoy!! Only 3 more days until SinterKlaas!

Source: "Saint Nicholas in Holland", Het Parool, Theo Ramaker

Sinterklaas Kapoentje

Sinterklaas Kapoentje
Gooi wat in mijn schoentje,
gooi wat in mijn laarsje
dank u, Sinterklaasje.

Nicholas I beg of You

Nicholas I beg of you
Drop into my little shoe
Something sweet or sweeter,
Thank you, Saint and Peter.

Sinterklaasje kom maar binnen

Sinterklaasje kom maar binnen met je knecht.
want we zitten allemaal even recht.
Misschien heeft u wel even tijd,
voordat u weer naar Spanje rijdt.
Sinterklaasje kom maar even bij ons aan
en laat uw paardje maar buiten staan.

En we zingen en we springen en we zijn zo blij,
want er zijn geen stoute kinderen bij.
En we zingen en we springen en we zijn zo blij,
want er zijn geen stoute kinderen bij.

Good Saint Nich'las

Good Saint Nich'las is in Holland once again
With his horse and Peter from sunny Spain.
And even if he can't stay long,
We hope he'll stop to hear our song
Dear Saint Nicholas the door is open wide,
For you and Pete to step inside.


And we're singing, voices ringing, and our hearts rejoice.
'Cause the Saint loves all good girls and boys.
And we're singing, voices ringing, and our hearts rejoice.
'Cause the Saint loves all good girls and boys.

O, kom er eens kijken...

Meisjes:
O, kom er eens kijken,
wat ik in mijn schoentje vind.
Alles gekregen van die beste Sint.
Een pop met vlechtjes in het haar,
een snoezig jurkje kant en klaar,
drie kaatseballen in een net en een letter van banket.
O, kom er eens kijken,
wat ik in mijn schoentje vind.
Alles gekregen van die beste Sint.

Jongens:
O, kom er eens kijken,
wat ik in mijn schoentje vind.
Alles gekregen van die beste Sint.
Een bromtol met een zweep erbij,
een doos met blokken ook voor mij,
en schaatsen en een nieuwe pet
en een letter van banket.
O, kom er eens kijken,
wat ik in mijn schoentje vind.
Alles gekregen van die beste Sint.

O, come have a look at...

Girls:
O, come have a look,
at what I'm finding in my boot
Dropped through the chimney,
Yet no speck of soot!
A doll with pigtails in her hair,
Her dress as white as Saint's own mare,
A sugar bunny sweet and quaint.
We thank you, dear old Saint.



Boys:
O, come have a look,
at what I'm finding in my boot
Dropped through the chimney,
Yet no speck of soot!
A jumping jack with woolly head,
My name in letters of gingerbread,
A book with pictures and some paint.
We thank you, dear old Saint

Zie de maan schijnt...

Zie de maan schijnt door de bomen,
makkers staakt uw wild geraas.
't Heerlijk avondje is gekomen,
't avondje van Sinterklaas.

Vol verwachting klopt ons hart,
wie de koek krijgt, wie de gard
Vol verwachting klopt ons hart,
wie de koek krijgt, wie de gard

Bright December moon...

Bright December moon is beaming,
Boys and girls now stop your play!
For tonight's the wondrous evening,
Eve of good Saint Nicholas Day.
O'er the roofs his horse unshod
Brings us gifts or else the rod.
O'er the roofs his horse unshod,
Brings us gifts or else the rod.

Zie ginds komt de stoomboot

Zie ginds komt de stoomboot
uit Spanje weer aan.
Hij brengt ons Sint-Nicolaas
ik zie hem al staan.
Hoe huppelt zijn paardje
op het dek op en neer,
hoe waaien de wimpels
al heen en al weer.

Zijn knecht staat te lachen en roept ons reeds toe:
"Wie zoet is krijgt lekkers,
wie stout is de roe!"
Och lieve Sint Niklaas, kom ook eens bij mij,
en rijd toch ons huisje niet stil voorbij.

Look here comes the steamer

Look, there is the steamer from far a-way lands.
It brings us St. Nich'las, he's waving his hands.
His horse is aprancing on deck, up and down,
The banners are waving in village and town.

Black Peter is laughing and tells ev'ry one,
'The good kids get candy, the bad ones get none!'
Oh, please dear St. Nich'las, if Pete and you would
just visit our house for we all have been good.


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I hope you are enjoying this series and learning a bit about Dutch culture. Tomorrow is the last one and I will be sharing my favorite recipe for using leftover "pepernoten" (but don't worry, it also works with ginger snaps, and "Spekulasius". Or if all else fails, I include a simple recipe to make your own Pepernoten!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Who is Coming to Your House? (Part V)

This post probably doesn't really qualify as being a true "Soap Opera", but as I truly hate to miss the fun at "Soap Opera Sunday", I beg the indulgence of our fearless and brilliant leader 'Twas Brillig and her partner in crime fun Walking Kateastrophe.


For real soapy stories, be sure and read the posts of the other players in our on-going Sunday series by visiting this week's hostess Kimberly of Temporary? Insanity and seeing who else has joined the fun!

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This is one of the last in a series of posts I have been writing about the December traditions found in the Netherlands as they compare to Christmas in the US as well as UK and Germany. Look here for Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.

With my multi-cultural family I have an "unusual" perspective which has come with its own challenges! My daughters started out in a Dutch daycare and later began in a Dutch public school. But of course we visit DH's family in Germany regularly and occasionally also make the trek back to the US, even managing a couple of Christmas visits. And of course our social circle includes not only Dutch, but many UK, Italian and other ex-pats from different countries.

So how do you explain to curious and intelligent children the differences in all the traditions and still keep the magic and wonderment of Christmas and the local traditions alive? How do you as a family teach some of your native culture to children when their friends are raised with a totally different tradition? The choices are sometimes hard and even heart-breaking. As a parent you don't want your children to be left out of the fun and you don't want to spoil things for them or their friends by debunking the whole drama. And surely SinterKlaas/Santa would not leave someone out just because they are from a different country/culture? But how do you explain that Sint comes on 5.December in the Netherlands, St. Nikolaus on 6.December in Germany, and Father Christmas and Santa Claus on 25.December in the UK and US? And what about their French and Italian friends, who comes to see them? Or is there a different one in every country? So why can't we celebrate 3 times with 3 times as many presents? Or if it's the same person, then why does he talk and dress so differently? And where is Zwarte Piet in the US?

In the Netherlands and in Germany, where exposure to US and UK culture has brought the man in the bright red suit with white fur trim to these countries, they refer to the visitor on 25.December as the "Christmas man" (Kerstman in Dutch, Weinachtsmann in German). He is not generally referred to as St. Nicholas or Santa Claus as these names are so obviously similar to Sankt Nikolaus and SinterKlaas. In the Netherlands they have gone so far as to pretend that Sint and Santa are competing against one another in some television commercials. In some families the story is that they are brothers, with Santa working in different countries and at times coming to visit Sint. This also explains why they look so much alike!

But neither of these explanations would completely satisfy my tri-lingual offspring who are tuned into the differences in the cultures. So in order to keep the myth and magic alive as long as possible in all the cultures they were exposed to, I thought up the following story, adding details as more questions came up through the years. It proved to be very effective as DD1 embellished some of the explanations as she tried to show off her knowledge of the whole affair to her less-informed younger sister! Any ex-pat families facing a similar dilemma are more than welcome to adopt this story into their family traditions.

Here is the story I have told my daughters through the years:

"You see SinterKlaas started coming over to the Netherlands from Spain a long, long time ago when he heard how good the Dutch children were from the sailors who visited his land. He brought along oranges and his faithful servant Zwarte Piet (Black Peter) and his wonderful white horse Amerigo. SinterKlaas saw that the Dutch children were so much fun, that he stayed to celebrate his birthday with them on 6.December. But instead of wanting presents, because he was such a generous and kind man, Sint wanted to give presents to the children. And thus the tradition was started of bringing presents to the Dutch children, riding around on his horse with Piet, and letting Piet climb down the chimney to put the presents beside the hearth. The soot from the chimneys made Piet even darker than he was, which is why he is now so black.

However, Sint learned quickly that not all the children in the Netherlands are nice, and some of them are quite naughty and don't deserve presents. For these children, Sint leaves a reminder that if they don't behave they will not get any presents. But how does he know which children are naughty and which ones are nice? Well, he comes with Piet to the Netherlands a couple of weeks early and starts to update his list. And Piet goes around peeking into windows and listening down chimneys to see if the children are behaving or if they are being rude to their parents or fighting with their brothers and sisters.

And the children through the years started leaving notes for Sint outside the door where they left their wooden shoes at night. They would ask for something special and thank Sint for their presents from the previous year. And sometimes they would leave him drawings and pictures because they know Sint really like such things and took them back to Spain with him to decorate his home there. And as thank you for the drawings Sint started leaving oranges and sweets for the children in their shoes.

However that was long ago, and since then there are a lot more children in the Netherlands, Sint started having to come the night before on 5.December so that by 6th December all the children in the Netherlands would have presents. And because he is magical, Sint made his horse and Zwarte Piet magical too, so that they are able to get into the smallest chimneys and fly up to the tallest roofs. But of course that is a lot of work, so the children started leaving carrots and hay for Amerigo, and sometimes even cookies or a cup of chocolate for Sint and Piet. And after a while it got to be too much for just one Piet, so Sint started to get more and more Piets to help out so that now each Piet has one special job and sometimes more than one Piet are tasked to do the same thing, like go around the markets and schools and see how the children are behaving. At some schools, the children even leave breakfast for the Piets who look into the teacher's records to see what they are saying about how the kids behave at school.

Now the children in some of the other countries also heard about Sint, and asked him to come to their country. So Sint and Piet also started visiting in Belgium. But the Piets did not know how to speak German and got lost on their first visit to Germany and had to ask a poor old farmer for help. This man, Ruprecht, was dressed in rags and a dark cloak and was a bit scary looking, but he was a good and honest man, and he helped Sint out in Germany. So ever since, Sint leaves the Piets to go back to Spain when he is through in the Netherlands, and on 6th December he comes to Germany and goes around with Knecht Ruprecht as his helper there. Knecht Ruprecht looks out in December for Sint to see which children have been naughty and nice in Germany. So the children in Germany should be aware when they see someone on the street in December who looks kind of raggedy and scary, as it might be Knecht Ruprecht who is taking notes! In Germany, they are a little more formal and maybe they don't know him so well, so they call him Sankt Nickolaus instead of his nickname Klaas.

After he finishes in Germany, Sint goes to some other countries in Europe bringing toys there. In each country he has a different helper because he needs someone who knows his way around and who speaks the language to help him out. And other countries also have different names for him and of course Sint speaks the language of each country he visits because he is a very clever man.

After Amerigo has jumped up to all the steep roofs in the Netherlands, he is pretty tired, so Sint lets him return to Spain with the Piets. But Sint uses a sleigh in Germany, which is especially useful in the places where there is lots of snow this time of year. In some other countries he gets around other ways, using a Vespa motorbike in the narrow streets of Rome and other cities in Italy and a donkey in the steep, winding village roads out in the countryside. And sometimes Sint has to change clothes because of the weather and because he wants to be recognized by the people there.

Of course the children in the UK and US also heard about Sint and wanted to celebrate as well. But by then Sint was so busy that even with all his magic he could not be everywhere at once for his birthday. So instead he decided to treat the children when they celebrate the birthday of Jesus on 25.December. So after he finishes his rounds in Europe, you start seeing him in the US and UK where he is making his lists of the naughty and nice children there. Because these are very big countries, Sint enlisted the help of some magical elves who have a workshop at the North Pole. There they make the toys that Sint then brings to the children. Only in the US they call him Santa which is "Sint" in English. And in the UK, they call him "Father Christmas", not because he was Jesus' father, but because he helped to make the Christmas holiday so special as it is today.

Because there are so many children in the US and UK, Santa or Father Christmas needs a magical sleigh to help him get around. And this is pulled by the flying reindeer that we have heard about. And even though there is a time difference between various parts of the US, Santa has to work very hard in order to get all the toys delivered by the morning of 25.December. So he wears more of a working uniform instead of the fancy clothes he usually wears in the Netherlands and Germany. And in some places like Florida and Arizona where it is so warm, he might even wear shorts and sandals!

So even though sometimes in the Netherlands they don't recognize Santa is Sint because he is dressed so different and they might hear him speaking English, we know he is the same person. And he of course knows you and that is why wherever you are, he will bring you presents. So if we are in Germany on 6th December, then Sankt Nikolaus will visit. And if we go to America for Christmas, then Santa will leave you a present there. Now it might night be very big, because he has already left you something on 5.December at your home in the Netherlands. But even if you have already gotten a present, you will still get something so that you know that Sint looks out for you wherever you are."
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Only 3 more days until Sint comes!!

Look for two more entries to come under this same title, including my first "Music Monday"!

Saturday, December 1, 2007