December, 2022 browsing by month


December 5th 2022. Saint Nicholas Eve

Wednesday, December 7th, 2022

Merry Christmas


This is the day Saint Nicholas or Sinterklaas goes around in Holland and makes sure all the good children receive a gift. The bad children get a spanking with the “gard”. Fortunately, I have always been good. You already knew that.

Today there was a package for me on the doorstep. A brand-new cellphone.

December 6th.  Well, yes finally after another day of long phone calls, I can be reached again by my old US phone number (ending in -7204). And I use Whatsapp on the same number.

It took exactly three weeks in the process of a zillion phone calls from Skype through inconvenient time zones and Asian call centers. Good thing robots are immune to my wishes for them. They’d screw up names, zip codes and I have to start the whole process all over. It took 10 days to establish that the phone I had bought in Amsterdam does not work in this country. Meanwhile there is no way, without a confirmation to my phone, to change dollars to euros in my Dutch account and I watch the dollar dropping, like the melting snow. (Meanwhile Dec 7. Insult on injury, after phone bouncing back an forth across the Atlantic, I find out that there never was any need for a phone. Ms. Kosten tells me how to do this online. Apparently the rest of her colleagues on the international desk are clueless of this. It would have saved me $ 100.12 in the exchange rate.)

Now I can begin making plans for friend/family visits and VA appointments. I’d like to start and try schedule a trip north from here to the Vancouver area from the 12th of December onward. Later south as far as Southern California.

And a visit in late January/February to Virginia before flying back to Amsterdam. Lisa will fly to the French Alps on December 23rd to have Christmas with the Scottish branch, her daughter Corrine, husband Euan and my great-grandson Spencer Wheatly. Lisa hostesses an early Christmas dinner on the 22nd here. Her son/my youngest grandson Tyler will be with us after his graduation from the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles. We had a very nice small gathering with part of the local family for Thanksgiving Dinner.

“Fleetwood” has a new bottom and stands under a tarp on the hard at the W.V. “Amsterdam” in, you guessed it. My nephew Dirk Jan sent a picture yesterday showing all is well. I left Amsterdam on the 10th of November and flew from Hamburg via Frankfort to the North West, spending time with my twin brother and family near Hamburg. There is still much repair work hiding under the teak deck. With luck I’ll get some sailing in this summer. It is hard to imagine what prompted the seller to expect to get away with this kind of deception. I have a pile of bills to sort and evidence to arrange in a presentation.

In a warm home, visiting my daughter Lisa, I have been working on updating and improving my books. The E-books in Epub format have been a struggle to format compared to the Kindle Amazon format. This time the conditions allowed me to get them much easier to read. Check them out in both languages at and  The print versions have also been updated.

Because I could not make the boat repairs within the maximum 90 days stay under the West European Schengen countries rule, I applied for a residence permit. There was some apprehension if there might be a hassle on leaving Frankfort with a passport that clearly showed that I had overstayed my welcome. But I did have a letter from the Dutch immigration that I had a pending application. In the meantime, there is some positive news that native born Dutch may be able to obtain dual citizenship. Holland is one of the few Schengen countries that does not have this option. That would solve my problems for my remaining 15/20 years.

I had wonderful bright cold fall weather in Northern Germany and also the first ten days in the Northwest, we had snow twice but it has not lasted. My twin brother treated me and his gang to a superb East Indian dinner in Hamburg on Saturday, November 12th.

L.R. Sita 2006 daughter of Carl and Steffi, my twin Jan, Maren partner of Jacob, Jacob v O (my name sake) 1964, Catharina wife of Jan, Me, Carl v O 1966, Steffi








A loaded Plum Tree






The Christmas cactus is full of buds for a full bloom on the 25th. Started in 1973 from a good friend’s cutting .







I expect to give a presentation and book sale in Gig Harbor organized by the Gig Harbor Boat Shop. I’m available for any other opportunities after Christmas.

Just in case you support the idea that our voting system is foolproof, let me tell you about my experiences. In 2020, while living on the boat in Virginia, I requested King County to mail me my absentee ballot to the address of my daughter in Chesapeake, Virginia. Shortly after, I was caught in badmouthing my son in law and (rightfully) exiled. When close to the election I had not received my ballot, assuming revenge, I discovered that I was able to register in Virginia. Since my vote goes nowhere in urban Washington state anyway. Shortly after, my daughter texted that she had received my King County ballot. So, what kept me from using both ballots? You guessed it, because I wanted to get my Saint Nicholas present. Yes, they are supposed to check multiple votes by your SSN. Really?  So, for this midterm 2022 election, I requested an absentee ballot from Northampton County, Virginia, by e-mail, from Amsterdam. It was bounced as spam. My dear friend Susan Kovacs, who is a voter aide volunteer, interceded and passed them my ballot request. I mailed them back even though the system allows to do it by e-mail, but I did not want to take my chances, even though the County Registrar assured me that the problem with their fire wall had been fixed. Then on voting day November 8 they opened my ballot and found that I had omitted to include the witnessed signature page. So, I get an e-mail to “cure” the problem by November 14. It just so happened that the power was cut and the internet was down on the 9th and I departed Holland on the 10th and I had no access to a printer. My twin brother in Germany witnessed my signature and I e-mailed the form to the voting registrar on November 11. And sure enough, same spam notice. In anticipatian, I had copied my friend Susan. She was unable to handcarry it to the registrar, she was in Sri-Lanka. So, after all this effort, I was not ready to give up and put out an S.O.S. on Facebook to anyone in the Cape Charles area to pass my e-mail to the registrar. Well, so much for FB friends. Just to test the possibility that the Fire Wall was bullet proof for out of country e-mails, I sent a mail from here in the States and took out my URL’s, which can be a problem. Result, same spam bounce. So, my question is: How many other e-mailed absentee ballots bounced in tis county. I reported this to the new Republican congress woman. I have not heard back yet. So the moral of this rant is that I have my doubts about the foolproofness of our voting system and which side might have been cheated this time? I was, but so might have Elaine Luria.