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Diary, December 2000

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Friday, December 1, 2000


I was phoned by my sister in my office, and I immediately understood what had happened:
my father had died. After the call, I switched off my computer, went to the restrooms, informed my boss, and my colleagues, and went to my parents place after having made some arrangements for Annabel and Andy.


I arrive at my parents place. My three sisters and an aunt already had arrived, and my brother was on his way. They were discussing all the details with the mortician (undertaker). After he went away, I went to look my father, who was laying on the bed. My mother and my oldest sister both being nurses had already layed him out. Not much later, a coffin arrived, and the body was put in the coffin placed in the guest room. My mother wanted to keep my fathers corpse with her until the evening vergile.

Not much later, my brother arrived as well, and we had to make the funeral card, which was not an easy job. Finally, we faxed it to the office of the mortician, and we started to collect addresses and write them on the envelops. After we had checked the proof, which was send by fax from the print shop, the cards were printed, and brought to us at around half past five. Quickly, we put all the cards in the envelops. However, we were too late to deliver them at the local post office, so my brother had to deliver them at one of the central mail sorting and distribution centers. Luckily, he managed to do this without much problems.

Around half past eight, I went home. On the way back I contemplated about a message to be given during the funeral service. I was thinking about using scripture portions from Acts 17 "the speech on the Areopagus" and John 6 "I am the bread of life". I arrive around ten o'clock and I saw the picture that Annabel (the eldest granddaughter of my father) had made with the text "Voor Lieve Opa" (Dutch for: "to my dear grandpa"). Seeing this made me feel really sad for the first time this day. She had lost her only grandfather left. I sat down with my laptop and worked on the messages for almost one and half hour.

Saturday, December 2, 2000

Andy says goodbey

When we arrived at my parents place,
Andy curiously looked around to see if he could spot his grandfather, who died yesterday. Later on the afternoon, Li-Xia carried him upstairs to the room where the coffin was put up. Andy reacted enthousiastic when he saw his grandfather through the glass frame of the cover. He even touched the glass with his fingers. My mother, my sister, Annabel, and I were also present. We told Andy that we were going to say goodbey. He waved to my father and said goodbey. It was very touching to see him do this. I am very happy that Li-Xia took him upstairs. I wonder what he will remember of this. Of course, at his age, and with his handicaps, he does not understand at all what has happened.


Tuesday, December 5, 2000

Evening Vigil

A short evening vigil for my father was held in the R.C. church that he attended. It is a rather small church, an almost square room with chairs placed around the altar. The coffin was placed in the middle of the room with four candles on each of the corners. The evening vergile consisted of the following things: Afterwards, the people could condolate us with the loss of my father. When this was over, my mother and us (her children and some of her children-in-law) gathered around the coffin in order to close it. Uptill now, it had been covered with a removable cover which had a glass frame in it. First the cover was removed. Then we talked about him for some time. My mother made some remarks about my father how he denied that he had slept when he had taken a nap while sitting in the living room just before dinner. These and some other remarks almost made me laugh. It seemed as my mother had inherited the humor of my father. Then we closed the lid, and together we screwed the nobs on the lid to fix it.

Wednesday, December 6, 2000

Funeral service

The funeral service consisted of:

Crematorium "Den en Rust"

I was surprised by the hall of the crematorium "Den en Rust". At the end of the hall there are glass doors giving a view to a lane of trees. Before these doors there is a grey marble area on the floor. The coffin was placed on a segment of this marble area that can sink into the floor. Above the glass door there was a leaded window depicting a man in white. At the top there was an Alpha and Omega symbol. Especially, the view on the lane gave the hall a very special dimension. A truely marvelous architectural design, I have to admit. I suppose that the glass doors are opened in the summer time.

We as a family were seated on the first row. When we entered the hall the Adagio of the Concert in D for violin and horn by Bach was playing. After the music had finished, the M.C. spoke a welcome, and asked if there was anyone wanting to give a speech. There was none. Then the Panjus Angelicus was played. On behave of my mother and the rest of the family, I thanked every one for attending and showing sympathy. Then again the Adagio was played, and the coffin sank into the floor.

Thursday, December 7, 2000

How to make your application look amateuristic

If you want your program look amateuristic, you could consider to give it the following funny features: Don't laught, I have seen an application being used in a commercial environment that implemented all of these features.

Friday, December 8, 2000

Weather: no snow yet

The weather is very soft for this time of the year. Until now, I haven't needed to scratch my car a single time. This morning, when I stepped outside, I was surprised by how high the temperature was. More than 10 Co, I would guess. If this continues like this, it will be a long time before we will see some snow.


Some mathematics

While driving home, I thought about how to estimate the area of a
Cauliflower fractal. I already knew for all solid Cauliflower fractals, a2 + b2 is larger or equal than one. At home I derived that the estimated area of a solid Cauliflower fractal equals to the sum of the area of the two circles Cf and Cg subtracted by 2 pi, and then divided by the area of the intersection of these two circles and multiplied with 2 pi. An attempt to represent this as an expression of a and b led to a horrible formula, which I am not going to present here. A formula for calculating the size of the overlapping area of two circles is given in my discussion about the Goat problem.

Even more accurate estimations are possible. But the fomulaes for these do not fit on a single page. These need formulaes for the unified area of three or more circles. The construction of good estimation algorithms for the sequence of improving estimations is not that complicated. Maybe, I will program it one day.

Thursday, December 14, 2000

Dreaming about my father

This morning, I was having a silly dream about
my father, dreaming that he had not died at all. As if he had been really dead all the time. This was already the second time that I had such a dream. When I told it Li-Xia, she told me that she had had the same kind of dreams after her father died, which is no more than ten years ago.

Friday, December 15, 2000

Andy being ill

Andy has been ill for at least three days now, suffering from a fever. Yesterday evening, Li-Xia went with him to a doctor. The doctor did not find anything to worry about. Today, we had hoped that he would have recovered a little bit, but again he refused to eat. He is already very slim for his age, but it seems he did loose some weight again in the past days. This evening he started to vommit again as he used to do before. He only got about 600 ml of food during the day. And as he does not drink anything besides his food, that is also his about his water in take for the day. We gave him some 80 ml of apple juice. Hope that stays in. Him being ill, and me not feeling optimal, really drives me crazy, especially, because this is alreay the third day like this.

Tuesday, December 19, 2000

Scratching ice

This morning, there was ice on the windows of the car for the very first time this year. Really amazing. This is a record as long as statistics have been kept. Annabel was very happy when she saw it, and she immediately started to search for the ice scrapers in the car. She resisted when I claimed the first one she found. Quickly after she gave in she found the other one. She ended up cleaning half of one window, while I did the rest of the car.

This afternoon, when I wanted to go home, again the car had a thin layer of ice. So, I had to scratch it again.

Saturday, December 23, 2000

The Magpie

This morning in the city, I happen to pass by a gift shop which was having its final closing down sale. It was the very last day, and posters were being sold for 75% of the original price. I didn't hesitate to go inside. Soon, I found some posters with reproductions from paitings by
Claude Monet. I picked one, "Le Pie", in English "The Magpie", and bought it for ten guilders. This painting was painted in 1869 by Monet. Wildenstein gave it number 133 in his Catalogue raisonné. It was rejected by the Salon in 1896. Then Monet contacted Latouche, and arranged that it was put on display in the Rue de la Fayette. It is painted near Etretat and currently owned by the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. It measures 89 by 130 cm.

I walked through the city with the poster under my arm. It was wrapped into a plastic bag together with a large piece of carton. When I showed it to Li-Xia, she immediately suggested that I should buy some more. So, I went back, and bought "Flowering Garden" (no. 69) and some water lilies that I haven't been able to identify yet.

Sunday, December 24, 2000

Black ice

When I looked out of the window, I saw that everything was frozen over, as they had predicted last night. There was black ice on the road. When we went outside, I warned Annabel that the pavement was sloppery, but before I could finish my warning, she had felt on her bottom.

Some snow

In the afternoon, Annabel played with some friend in Hengelo, a nearby city. We met this friend and her family in church this morning. Around five, I went to catch her. On the way back it began to snow, but the snow barely stayed. It was still too wet.

When we arrived at home, we noticed that a thin layer of snow was on the pavement. During the evening it kept on snowing.

Christmas day, December 25, 2000

A white Christmas

When I looked out of the window, everything was covered with snow. There was about 5 cm (2 inches) of snow, even on the plants and the trees.

Thursday, December 28, 2000


We are staying with my mother for a few days. Yesterday, I went through all the old books and papers from
my father to see what should be done with them. One of my brothers-in-law already had cleaned up my fathers room upstairs. He also cleaned up his computer, and installed some games for the children to play. My mother complained that my father always collected so much "rubbish". Today, I concluded that he inherited this from his father. When my grandfather died they found a large attick filled with things which "might be of some use", including more than 800 cans of food. This is not so strange, if you realize that during his life the two World Wars took place. The Netherlands was occupied during the World War II, of which the last winter is known as the "famine winter".

It seems others descendants from my paternal grandfather are also affected by this collecting habbit, although it is expressed in different ways. My "Useless lists" is certainly also an expression of this. From my father possessions I took some of his maps, his old study books, his writings, his genealogic notes, and a Cannon BJC-250 inkjet printer.


Today, I was introduced to the game clickomania. This puzzle game is even better than the famouse Tetris, is my first impression. A game of such simplicity, almost purely mathematical, yet far from trivial.


Snow storm

Today, I visited my cousin Frans together with Annabel. On the way back it started snowing. A little snow storm, I would say. Not at all as bad as the ones that occured in Brittain and the U.S.A. these days. Yesterday evening, it also snowed, but the temperatures here are to high, which causes most of the snow to disappear again during the day. I wonder how much snow there will be in Enschede, where the temperatures are a little lower.

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