It’s nearly December, which means that Sinterklaas is on his way in the Netherlands. During the recent board meeting it took quite some time to explain to Celeste how Sint works. One good resource is the Sinterklaasjournaal. It’s basically the evening news — produced by the same crew and hosted by Dieuwertje Blok, who was the national news anchor in the lates ’80s — related to Sinterklaas.
Anyway, the kids are big into Sinterklaas, and dutifully set out their shoes when the time comes. Here’s the kids (six and seven years old) after setting out their shoes, complete with a drawing for Sint and Piet and a carrot for the horse. The next morning they had both received a letter of their name in bread; see here Amiel’s initial. You will notice the bite out of the upper right — that’s because this year there is a Baby Piet who is taking bites out of all the candy being made in the candy factory in Harderwijk.
Yes, this is madness, but it’s the best kind of madness. No worse than late-friday-afternoon wrestling with the KDE e.V. website or policy documents.
The bun in the oven is a whole-wheat-and-sesame loaf, actually.
It’s been a while since I posted stuff about the kids – that is, stuff that is neither FSFE (legal, licensing or policy) nor KDE (development, porting) nor NLUUG (open standards, open systems) related. I could even have titled this post “Who is my family?” to keep with the recent theme of posting random pictures of (sub)groups of people.
My youngest child is five years old. Among other things, that means that he now has “leerplicht”, which is a Dutch way of saying he must attend school during regular school days and hours — so no more rushing away to random countries for conferences for him. I had a vague scheme to take him to FOSS.in at one point, but this year that wonderful conference overlaps with Amiel’s birthday (ok, it would have been cool to have a party in Bangalore) and Sinterklaas (high point of the Dutch family social calendar) which meant that the MOMC put her foot down and said “you will (both) stay here.”
So now it’s december, Amiel is five and happy at school and about to start English classes — maybe I should try to teach Mira some python so she can start writing plasmoids (after all, she’s six).
The mother of my children (MOMC) is in Norway for a few days, leaving me with the kids for the long weekend and the school days following. This is a reversal from our usual roles, where I’m galavanting about to Free Software conferences and she’s at home dealing with the kids (and acting as editor for the town paper). It’s been great weather so far, but how do you keep the kids busy?
Oddly enough it was the EU parliamentary elections that provided a solid friday afternoon’s entertainment. I don’t know how it is elsewhere within the union, but the distinguishing trait of the run up to the elections has been a total lack of a campaign, debate, or even information on what the whole darn thing is about. Sure, there’s a few posters up saying “party X is against Brussels” (have you been there? the Brussels cheese is awesome in its horribleness). Friday’s Trouw had a column decrying the lack of content in the election; saturday’s NRC had a half page on this same lack.
Anyway, the Greens were out on the streets handing out invites to a picknick in the park. Since the kids were tagging along on my shopping expedition (shopping list: blue cheese, espresso coffee and soy sauce) I figured it would be a good thing to attend. I added a baguette and some camembert to the list. The campaign trail was said to contain a trampoline and a speech by the leader of the Greens in the Netherlands; one of those must be applicable to a 4- and a 6-year old.
One thing that particularly struck me was the lack of security at the event. National politicians who wander into a park and give a speech and then stick around for a glass of apple juice just seems odd. Good, but odd. Also I realised that explaining democratic structures to small kids is kind of complicated: “but dad, why is there a Dutch parliament as well as a European one?” Is that the principle of subsidiarity at play there?
I’ll leave out the actual political content of the afternoon — it was quite light in payload, but at least there was something, and that made for a refreshing change.
PS. The alternative would be to send the kids to the Glory Hole with Paul Adams (congrats on completing your thesis, dude). That would be humongous indeed.