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Here I would love to share with you our travels and adventures as international consultants. About living in Italy, the Veneto area near Venice; in Indonesia, central Java. Why we love the southeast of the United States and moved back from Italy. Our love for gardening, the botanical way. Sharing with you our manifold treasures from exotic places and even offering several in my Mariette's Back to Basics LLC Boutique, for others to enjoy. As well as high end silver items from Giovanni Raspini, Italy |  google.com/+MariettesBacktoBasics 
I also do classes and consulting... too much to list here! Check out my google.com/+MarietteVandenMunckhofVedder ABOUT page, where you see my other LINKS and email address; you just scroll down.Thanks!
Love to bring back some romance and quality to the daily life of others... 

Translate to ANY Language | Click on▼ to select, than on ► to translate...

Monday, December 30, 2013

{65 Year Old Pine Tree Cut Down}

On December 17, the weather was wind still and finally the people from Soles Tree Service, Inc could come and cut our HUGE 65 Year Old Pine Tree down.
We had to cut it for keeping the water away from our home...
You will find out below!
Here it was... Funny enough our cats think their Papi created a huge litter box for them!
This tree was on the border line with our neighbors and it could become a hazard to either one of us.
But the main reason that we cut it, with permission of our neighbors, is to prevent the rain water running down from the higher areas towards our home.
There it is; tall like the oak tree next to it. Our home is out of perspective due to the distance...
It really was a HUGE one...
This photo I took from the neighbors garden and you can see the steep slope running down towards our home...
The total length of this tree measured about 27 meters or 88.5 feet.
The traffic was temporarily stopped as it fell on the road.
We already did have these white vinyl picket fences up there on the border.
BUT as a matter of fact husband Pieter had requested the builder to erect a retainer wall on the border when he was constructing the house. We were working and living in Indonesia at that time. He did NOT erect that retainer wall... 
We paid the price for it this year!
Right through this opening, to the right of the pine tree, was a track where the water would run down straight towards the bay window area...
Now you can see the plan. In the center where the vinyl picket fence has been plucked out, husband Pieter already started pouring concrete and putting concrete blocks on top. Thus creating a shallow retainer wall for keeping the rain water behind it and forcing it to run down hill, alongside the retainer wall towards the back. No more threspassing of rain water!
Yep, here I stand next to parts of the top...
You can see the first part of the picket fence about 4 meters off the road. 
This photo is from August 20, when the water did rise up against our front door steps.
That's the time we had problems with our basement and we want to avoid having to mop up water again for 4 days and nights non-stop!!!
For the time being; this mission is accomplished and in about ten years this huge pine tree could have caused problems as its core was hollow.
Will show you soon the finished project!
Have you had to do something on your property to keep rain water away from your home?

Related links:
Rainy July Day in Georgia II - iPhone upload  | shows you how it looks like with heavy rains...

Saturday, December 28, 2013

{Our Pansies in December}

Pansies are such a JOY to grow in the fall and winter season as they are so GIVING! 
Look here at Our Pansies in December:
Husband Pieter took these photos on December 3...
Fresh rain on their friendly 'FACES'
These white Pansies are in our Fiberglass Window Boxes alongside the retainer wall on our driveway.
These boxes are from Flower Framers of Cincinnati
Stepping back a bit further to show them better...
This is looking the other way, towards our fragrant double flowering Magnolia Grandiflora 'Namnetensis Flore Pleno' tree.
Do you have any flowering plants outside?

Related links:
{OUR FIBERGLASS WINDOW BOXES} | previous post by me



Thursday, December 26, 2013

{Merry Christmas to all my 193 Countries reading my humble blog! PEACE to ALL!}

During this very hectic time of the year I do want to extend a Merry Christmas to all 193 Countries reading my humble blog. May PEACE be with you ALL!
Beautiful pillow that I won in 2010 from +Rebecca Nelson from A Gathering Place.
Paperwhites are always blooming in our garden around Christmas.
Candle is from Point A La Ligne 
Merry Christmas
Feliz Navidad
Joyeux Noel
Frohe Weihnachten
Buon Natale
Very special Our Mouth Blown Glass Nativity set on our silk brocade table cloth...
Our Nativity scene with Angels from Italy

Related link:
For the Pope, Jesus was born 7 BC | Interesting historical facts
Pour le Pape, Jésus est né 7 ans avant J.C | for the above in original French language
{Silk Brocade for our PRINCE OF PEACE} previous post by me
{MERRY CHRISTMAS 2010} previous post by me about A Gathering Place's pillow from above
Christie's Mandalay by Masons showing you the Mandalay by Mason, as is my vase above...


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

{Wishing YOU a Happy 4th Advent 2013!}

However short, we can light candle #4 for a couple of days before we reach our Christmas day...
Wishing YOU a Happy 4th Advent 2013!
Wishing you all a meaningful time leading up to Christmas 2013!

Related link:
Christie's Mandalay by Masons | showing the Mason Ironstone like the plate above

Sunday, December 22, 2013

{French Baccarat Crystal Tallyrand Ice Bucket}

One more item added to my Zen Cart powered on line Boutique: Mariette's Back to Basics: French Baccarat Crystal Tallyrand Ice Bucket. A lovely +BACCARAT Crystal Tallyrand Ice Bucket in great condition, only minor wear to the gold on the handle. No chips or whatsoever. Perfect for use during New Year's Eve parties! Just click on hyperlink...
This is the discontinued pattern Tallyrand.
The Ice Bucket is 6" tall or 15.2 cm and quite heavy with 2.5 kg or 5.8 lb of solid crystal.
This vintage French Baccarat Ice Bucket only shows some wear to the gold on the top part of the handle.
Showing you the bottom part...
On the bottom part is also the authentic Baccarat France crystal mark etched.
This piece is also available at Replacements Ltd. (click link)
Picture from Replacements Ltd via above mentioned link.
Webquote from Replacements Ltd. with occasional discount...
Sold out...
It is the time of year for serving some special drinks... Shown here are our Baccarat crystal Piccadilly Champagne Flutes.
Or here the same Baccarat crystal Piccadilly Champagne Flutes filled with Prosecco the sexy Italian cousin of Champagne!
For other drinks that require some ice, such a bucket comes in handy...
Whatever the occasion will be for a special toast; do it the elegant French way!
Wishing you a happy weekend.

Related links:
House of Crystal | The making of French Baccarat Crystal video
Elite Auctions | Showing the very Baccarat Ice Bucket with Tongs
Buckets of Elegance | Easy and Elegant Life blog with Champagne cooler

Friday, December 20, 2013

{Like Princess Diana, I also Tried to Tackle the Leprosy Stigma}

So many people have told us that they envied us for all our travels. Well, let me share with you our trip # 3 to Indonesia for Consulting. That's right - NOT vacation!
It was the exact same day that Princess Diana was staying in Jakarta, she did visit the Sitanala Leprosy hospital to shake hands with those patients in order to tackle the stigma.
We flew on +KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, from Treviso, Italy where we were living at the time, via Amsterdam, The Netherlands to Dehli, India and on to Singapore for one last stop before reaching Jakarta, Indonesia.
By 18:00 o'clock we sat in our taxi on our way to the hotel and we departed Jakarta on the 7th of November, 1989 to the center of Java where we actually worked.
We had no idea that we were spending those two nights in Jakarta while Princess Diana was there at the same time.
Below you see me at the very same Leprosy hospital where Diana visited, only several years later...
This is on November 16, 1997 and trip # 19 to Indonesia for work.
From Atlanta, USA to Amsterdam, The Netherlands where we had a layover of 12 hours.
We killed that time by making phone calls with my Parents. Called my youngest sister Gert and obtained from her the telephone number of the hospital where my sister Diny just had had surgery on her shoulder. Calling with Pieter's brothers and on to Singapore, non-stop in some 13 hours.
One hour layover and the last 1-½ hour to Jakarta, Indonesia. Two nights on the plane...
You bet that once we arrived at the hotel by 19:00 o'clock we only needed some fruit, a good shower before finally hitting the mattress.
Next day around noon we went to the Jakarta leprosy hospital and to the compound where about 800 leprosy families were living. We knew a German Jesuit, Siegfried Binzler, with whom we worked for handing him the money we collected from our local Rotary Club, Rotary Club of Savannah West and friends. I say 'our' even though I myself have never been a member but for decades I've always supported husband Pieter with these international projects. Pieter has been a Rotarian since May 11, 1976.
We did hand Father Binzler US $ 9,030 on November 16, 1997 and he was quite surprised.
This was on June 3, 1997 when we did hand over the very first US $ 1,000 in cash to the administrator of the Leprosy compound, an ex leprosy patient himself. Look at his hands... He was lucky that they saved his fingers and hands by surgery. Splitting the tendons in two for functioning in another finger, with lots of therapy over the duration of several years. Most people don't have the money for it so they just have no choice other than to amputate...
Here the ex-leprosy administrator is signing the receipt for the US $ 1,000 for us to carry back home to our Rotary Club. Mission accomplished...
100% being used for the cause!
Now back to November 16, 1997...
This poor soul has one leg amputated and the other foot is severely infected, and also both her hands... Just imagine having to live like that!
We never complained about jet-lag after sitting two nights in a row on the plane; that is pure luxury compared to the life of all people with leprosy!
We did this always the next day after arrival, to get the money and other goods to safety first. Than we would travel on to our work area.
It really hurts when you see a girl covering her face (that too was affected!) so I signaled to Pieter that he had to put the camera away... But we HAD to bring home material in order to raise more awareness for the need of money to support the poorest of the poor for giving them a prosthesis.
This girl had had surgery on her leg.
Speaking their language, I engaged in conversation in order to distract them from the camera.
Husband Pieter had to zoom in as you absolutely cannot hang with your camera above their misery. 
This hurts like hell and when you return to the hotel, with a mega headache you need time for getting all that misery out of your system. And yet, you want to SCREAM at the world for awareness. These poor souls become OUTCAST of society due to the stigma around leprosy. Also their family becomes outcast. But behind the hospital there are only a few square kilometers where already at that time about 800 families lived... and how can they make a living?! 
Do you recognize the exact same beds and room? Mind you, there is NO air conditioning and only the bare minimum as you can see.


Princess Diana made huge strides in tackling the stigma surrounding leprosy by touching those affected by the disease. She brought the plight of leprosy affected people to the world's attention and dispelled one of the myths surrounding it - that it can be passed by touch - by visiting hospitals and touching patients.
Below post you can also see a video from Princess Diana's Leprosy hospital visit in Jakarta, Indonesia... 
Back again on New Year's Eve of 1998.
That's right; December 31, 1998.
This girl lie there moaning, just out of surgery on he hands... Look at that foot.
A beautiful teenager and so mutilated for life!
Worse; being OUTCAST for life...
This woman received a new prosthesis from our Rotary Club.
In 1989 she received one through Princess Diana's visit and it was worn out.
We did deliver US $ 8,500 this time and $ 1,100 from other friends.
We also had started to collect those toiletry bags from +KLM which we received aboard our flight when we got an upgrade into business class when economy was sold out. We saved them up and brought them all with us to hand out to these poor souls.
BUT, how you want to dissolve after having handed out the LAST one...
You would need a truck load for actually giving something to all!
Yet, they always smiled and were so happy and when I asked them they were quick to reply: 'We believe in a better life after this!'
Those leprosy patients taught us so much. 
They really understood to give back so much with their gratitude.
Sorry for the poor quality scans, this is not from an actual slide as I have yet to find it.
This is Sanah, she had her leg amputated and was told the other foot had to go and also her hands.
That is when we stepped in for saving her hands at least through surgery and tedious therapy and more surgery by splitting the tendons.
Speaking the language has proven to be very beneficial.
Who would have thought that I would be in the country of my Great-Uncle; guess he has guided me from heaven, many times! See post about him below...
 What can you do?
What to say... there is so much suffering and it looks like the entire world is looking the other way... ostrich politics. When you don't want to see it; it is not there.
These poor souls have no voice and their disease is not political correct for receiving aid; like for HIV. 
This New Year's Eve of 1998 was quite shocking for us.
There were still military on the leprosy compound for protection.
Also near our hotel were military patrolling and had their tents set up.
To me that Thursday trip looked closest to a war zone that I ever saw. Of course, husband Pieter lived through WWII but the video tape we took from some 6,000 burned and vandalized banks, shops, car dealers (mostly Chinese Christians) made quite an impression. The riots from May and November totaled 1,200 deaths.
We did go shopping, for my niece Maartje I got 2 dresses and we were in bed by 21:00 o'clock after a little bite - WORN OUT! That was our non-glamorous New Year's Eve for 1998...
Saturday, November 20, 1999.
Back again for delivering some Cashier checks and US $ 13,120 this time. Our local Rotary Club has supported the Leprosy victims in Jakarta for years. Photo shows US time, hence the different date as Indonesia is 12 hours ahead.
You bet that I felt so relieved each time for arriving safe with all that cash in my purse... quite a responsibility.
Again, making the rounds in the Leprosy hospital as so many times before...

Aside from cash money we always did carry as many clothes and things we could take with us. Our allowance with the Royal Wing Card from +KLM was like that for business class and we did carry each 2 heavy suitcases + heavy carry on + totes etc. We never did shun the load as it brought so much joy to so many. Here are lots of clothes we received from a Jewish friend for taking with us; some were new and all in a small size so the Leprosy male could wear them. Most US sizes nowadays would be way too large.
We no longer went to Indonesia after 2001, our trip # 21 but the Dublin Rotary Club has continued for many years to send funds, now using our liason John H. G. Soe from Rotary Club Jakarta Sentral. 
Photos posted on Flickr about our combined Leprosy Project for which we earned a Matching Grant from Rotary International in 2010, you can see when clicking on the hyperlink. Many wheel chairs and prosthesis could be provided in order to make life more bearable for those poor souls.
All those years of involvement in charity for the poorest of the poor, did change us quite a bit.
We cannot participate in the hype for shopping and more shopping around Christmas. 
It is a harsh world with too stark contrasts and most people never even stop for a moment from their ongoing rush to more, bigger, better - their Credo for the twenty-first century.
There is more in life and being content and trying to share and reach out provides us with real happiness.
We always have shared and given to others freely. Since we do live off one pension with three adults; Pieter's ex and both of us, we no longer can afford to generously gift relatives the way we used to. 
What we learned from it is that they became kind of dependent on it and more or less expected us to bring each time special gifts for them. They smiled but did it foster gratitude? 
I doubt it, as we seldom hear from any of them. They are all so involved in their own little world of racing with all others through the never-ending WANT...

May you all have a blessed Christmas in the true meaning and may you find Peace!


Related links:
Princess Diana visits Lepers in Indonesia | video from Diana's hospital visit on November 4, 1989
Diana, Princess of Wales listens to children during a visit to the British international school in Jakarta, Indonesia, on November 6, 1989 | photo
Leprosy Symptoms | info about the disease
{March 14, Written Life Message for me by my Favorite Great-Uncle} | previous post by me about my Great-Uncle (Heeroom) who spend 30 years in Indonesia
{Winter Sale | At the time we were Millionaires} | previous post by me when I bought those 2 dresses for niece Maartje on New Year's Eve in Jakarta, Indonesia + Versace jeans on January 1st
{World Polio Day - Nobody's child everybody's man - Jakarta Post} | previous post about John H.G. Soe our liason from Rotary Club Jakarta Sentral
{3 Hibiscus Varieties 'KONA' - 'CONFEDERATE ROSE' and a RED variegated} | previous post about our stay at the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty Six, Fort Lauderdale, FL at the time of Diana's funeral...
Former Lepers struggle to survive after crackdown | The Jakarta Post article from 09 09 2009
Leprosy sufferers face social stigma | The Jakarta Post article 01 28 2009
Plans leprosy center tangerang rejected | The Jakarta Post article 08 18 2009
{We saw FOUR Armadillos at Lunch Time!}Humans can acquire a leprosy infection from armadillos by handling them or consuming armadillo meat, and are a presumed vector and natural reservoir for the disease in Texas and Louisiana. - previous post by me
{World Leprosy Day} | previous post by me
{My 6 Min Presentation The Truth About Leprosy for GPDLI, AtAmerica U.S. EMBASSY JAKARTA} | post by me with video + Pdf link of presentation
{My 8th Blog Award - Sunshine from Japan} | previous post by me mentioning our fight for the underdog

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

{Rose Bracelet from Enma in Spain - Blogger I Admire}

This week was one with surprise parcels arriving to our home. One of them came from Blogger friend ENMA-SW - El rinconcito artesano de Enma (just click the hyperlink). Enma is one of those Bloggers that I Admire! In about 2010, at a time that she was not feeling well, she started creating jewelry with Swarovski crystals and other beads and such. She caught my attention for several items she created and I was brave enough to ask her about one bracelet in particular; the grayish Rose Bracelet that she called 'Chan Luu de luxe'...
Here is the Rose Bracelet next to my Escada silk dress with roses... 
Enma had mailed it out via Registered Mail from Sevilla Spain on December 2nd.
We both got worried as it got kind of 'stuck' for 5 days at the ISC New York or the United States Postal Service's International Sorting Customs
Once it got cleared it came via New Jersey in 3 days to Dublin, Georgia.
On December 13, I got to sign for this special parcel...
Finally it ended its long journey across the Atlantic Ocean, all the way from Montequinto in Sevilla, Spain...
Both of us have visited Sevilla during our 19-day tour Spain and Portugal in 1994...
Look at 'Luces de Navidad en Sevilla 2013' (Christmas Lights 2013 - just click and see all 20!)
Lovely gift wrapped with lots of hearts... and with a Christmas card tucked inside as well.
Wow, look here what a cute little coin purse that is! 
With a Rose pull...
Enma sure knows how to keep it very exciting...
Here it is! A beautiful Rose Bracelet, all done between two Macramé cords with beautiful beads in-between.
Here it is on my arm, glistening beads stitched one by one between those two Macramé cords. 
What a work of art! 
Enma, thank you very much  for this beautiful and unique piece of jewelry. 
This dear blogger friend wanted to send it as a gift but with all the extras and the registered mail, I insisted to reimburse her at least for part of it.
Knowing very well that no one could ever repay all the time that went into making this fine piece!
Wish it would be warm enough to wear my Escada silk satin dress again + Rose Bracelet!
This photo is from Pieter's Birthday dinner a few years back...
Enma, thank you very much!


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