Author Archives for Ellen

A good Sunday

This morning i baked another courgette chocolate cake. Hmmm. In the garden most people enjoyed it. Hellen came by with a vegan banana date and blueberry oatmeal cake. Lovely!

I picked a whole row of green beans. After that i wandered around and made photos. Talked a bit with the people working. Talked with Nina about her tiny hands, nails and feet. Daniëls hands were bigger than her feet. Not by much, but still… bigger.

I went home in time, around six. Made something to eat, some potatoes and green beans with a bit of cottage cheese and sambal. Listened to some music. Then Daniël called, asking me if i could come by and help close the wagons. Someone else had forgotten to give back his keys. So of course. I took my compost bucket with me to empty.

A lovely day. Dry. Quite a few talks. Some good ones, some a bit less. But still ending up good. And no, i’m not an angel. 😛 Still have many faults, many thoughts in my mind which i shouldn’t have. Aware of them more now though. But still a struggle. But it is getting better!

Published on September 11, 2017 at 6:00 by

Walking back home

Walking home from social security. I told them i wasn't continuing my application. They seemed to appreciate i actually came there for my appointment. It was a friendly conversation. I went to Kiem Foei and got me a small saoto soup. I was relieved. Also a bit tired.
I went past the Central Station and cleared my travel card. I can use it again now. I will stop the automatic transfer of money from my bank account. Cash money only.
The old clock on the station building. Making photos of the time.
The trams that will arrive soon
Trams going the other way. Seven and eight go past my house.
The clock on Hofplein
The clock on the city house
I went inside the old Shell building looking for Sophie. She came by on an evening opening of the Tuin on the Hofbogen. She forgot to take her reflector with her. When we talked in the garden she said she worked in the Shell building on the 15th floor. So i went up there to see if i could find her. I did!
The Tuin op de Hofbogen
The Peace Garden
Somewhere close, but hidden behind the flats is my house
Published on September 8, 2017 at 6:00 by

Time

Two weeks ago i had a talk with Kaat. In the garden. I was having these cramps and was squatting at the vegetables beds. We talked about the experience of time. How for her time was going faster. As it goes for most people.

It is different for me. I said. My experience of time has slowed down. I remember most things that happened to me clearly. Some more than others, of course. Not in a grand story kind of way. But in a chronological way. One after the other. To me, a day is long. While it happens. I don’t think of the future that much. Well, not as much as i used to. Not even at night. Well, sometimes i do. I still don’t sleep to well. I can lie awake for hours. Tossing and turning. Sometimes i turn on the light, read a little, or watch some youtube clips. To try and get tired. But during the daytime, especially when i go outside, for a walk or to a supermarket, i’m simply there. Smiling at people. Feeling good. Apart from last Monday of course. Walking like a ghost. Oh well.

I was thinking about this while i watched a youtube clip from Vera Camilla. For her, this summer was not great. Not any real warm weather. Gone too fast.

I was surprised. This was completely opposite my own feelings about this summer. Yes, there were some wet days. But that is only good for the garden. There wasn’t a single day i needed to wear a coat. Yeah, some days it was around twenty degrees Celsius. But that is my favourite temperature. It is also hard for me to generate a thought about this summer. It is too long. Three months. Or more even. I remember the night we celebrated the solstice. The evening we went to the beach. The talks we had in the garden. The fun we had. How the new greenhouse is slowly being built again. The day i saw the burned down greenhouse. Somewhere in April? May?

What i am trying to say, is that for me my life is slowing down. Over the past three years, its speed is turning into a crawl. I sometimes find myself sitting at home, reading, and a sound drops in. And i completely hear it. The sun shines on the trees standing in front of my house, and i completely see it. I see the green change from a dark greyish green to a bright full sunny green.

This post came into my mind somewhere this morning. A post on brainpickings.org called The Shortness of Life: Seneca on Busyness and the Art of Living Wide Rather Than Living Long seems to be related to this. I read it earlier this week.

It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.

Tomorrow i’m going for my second appointment with social security. I haven’t subscribed myself to five temping agencies. I haven’t written fifteen job applications. I do feel i need to be honest about this. Tell them.

And then i just keep on going here. Here on ellenpronk.com. Because this is what i want to do. This is the one things from which i learn. The one thing in which i can talk about my life. Smile. Be honest. Working here is what i love love seriously.

Published on September 7, 2017 at 6:00 by

Garden work and homemade soup

Today i felt a bit better. This morning i went to the garden at the Hofbogen. Weeded a bit. Harvested courgettes and green beans. Rutger harvested oak leaf lettuce, parsley, chard and basil. We also got an apple each! It was good, even a bit of sunshine. Towards the end it started to rain. Heavy downpour. Still alright.

In the afternoon i spend most of the time reading. Last Saturday i got the Veronica Roth books Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant. Reading the third book now. Last Sunday i watched Divergent once again. Didn’t quite watch it till the end. I like the books. The films too. But i do prefer the Hunger Games. More original story, good characters. But still, while i wait for the Hunger Games books to be available in the library, any books are good right now.

This after noon i finally made the soup i planned to make Sunday. Vegetables from the garden: the green beans, chard, herbs, potatoes, kohlrabi. Some from the market: leek, tomatoes, bell peppers, celery. And a pot of tomatoes i got from Conny this Sunday. Dumpster dived as a thank you for the soup i made a week ago for the garden. The soup is nice. The kohlrabi a bit stringy, not too bad though. Like all the soups i made over the past two months. Yum 🙂

Published on September 6, 2017 at 6:00 by

Cramps

For over two years i didn’t have any periods. Now, since a week and a half, i have cramps. A little blood. Not that much. Today, while i was sitting in the library watching chess, the cramps got worse. Man. And then i got nauseous. I stood up, walked to the restroom, but it is not free. A tearoom is right besides it, i asked a girl working there if i could use the restroom there, that i was getting sick.

Pfff. I walked out feeling a bit better. The girl, very friendly, offered me a glass of water.

I sat for a little while longer. After around ten minutes i went for a quick run in the supermarket. I didn’t feel good. I felt like a ghost walking carefully.

Back home i lied on the couch, still feeling cramps.

So, that was my day today. Hopefully one of the last times ever i have these cramps. I was so happy to get rid of them. Soon. Soon!

Published on September 5, 2017 at 6:00 by

A wonderful day in the garden

This morning i baked a chocolate courgette cake. It was wonderful. I did grate a whole courgette. Apart form the inner seeds, which i had cut out. I also used olive oil instead of butter. It was very chocolaty. Very dark. With some moist dark brown bits where the chocolate tips were melted. Wonderful.

I did some weeding. Harvested the courgettes. Some green beans. Rosehips and buckthorns. Talked. Great.

Happy.

Salute!

Published on September 4, 2017 at 6:00 by

Living

A week ago on Facebook i came along an article on decorrespondent.nl about an article posted in 1970, Wat een krantenartikel uit 1970 ons kan leren over de milieuproblemen van vandaag (What a newspaper article from 1970 can teach us about present day environmental problems).

The start of this article from 1970, called Als we voorzichtig zijn kan de aarde ons voeden (If we are careful the earth can feed us).

De aarde heeft op het ogenblik nog ruim voldoende capaciteit om ons allemaal en ons zeer talrijke nageslacht in leven te houden. Maar als we die capaciteit niet aanzienlijk zorgvuldiger gebruiken dan we tot nu toe hebben gedaan, dan is het einde in zicht.

De biosfeer, het dunne laagje aarde, water en gas om onze planeet waarin zich alle leven afspeelt, is een uiterst fragiel ding. Plaatselijk hebben we daar al zo in huisgehouden, dat er onherstelbare schade is aangericht, met o.a. als gevolg dat er hele menselijke culturen zijn ondergegaan. Daarvoor kan nog de verontschuldiging worden aangevoerd van onwetendheid. Als we nu hetzelfde doen is dat onvergeeflijk.

The earth still has enough capacity to keep us all and our very abundant offspring alive. But if we do not use this capacity more carefully than we did up until now, the end is near.

The biosphere, the thin layer of earth, water and gas around our planet where all live is, is a very fragile thing. Locally we have carried on in such a matter that irreparable damage is done, with the consequence that whole human cultures have been ruined. For that the excuse of ignorance can be brought up. If we do the same thing now, that is unforgivable.

Richard Heinberg says the following:

Our core ecological problem is not climate change. It is overshoot, of which global warming is a symptom.’

‘We must restrain ourselves, like an alcoholic foreswearing booze. That requires honesty and soul-searching.’

The average Dutch person uses and pollutes like there are 3.6 earths available. A large part of the damage we cause we do not see.

1970. That is 47 years ago. Forty seven years. I turned six years old in 1970.

I don’t care what we should call the movements which caused this devastating affect on our planet. Neoliberalism, capitalism, consumerism. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are here, in 2017, and we are still fighting against this. What matters is the damage we put on the earth ourselves. Half of the wildlife is lost over the past 40 years. Great Barrier Reef Coral Growth Rate Falls by 40% in 40 Years ‘Due to Ocean Acidification’. An estimated 13 million hectares of forests were lost each year between 2000 and 2010 due to deforestation. There is a strong, credible body of evidence, based on multiple lines of research, documenting that climate is changing and that these changes are in large part caused by human activities.

We are not taking good care of this earth. The reasons for this behaviour are not difficult. We want to have an easy life. We want to eat good tasting food with minimal effort. We want to make money, lots of money. We want to be happy. We want it all. Yes, all.

It is extremely difficult for us, humans, to think on a global scale. We are not used to that. In earlier times this wasn’t necessary. What we did only affected the smaller section of the planet we were living on. Yes, the Romans had a large empire, but it still contained only the Mediterranean, parts of Europe and the Middle-East. But after several hundreds of years of technological and scientific advances, decisions we make now can affect larger areas of the world. Especially the energy we use, the fossil fuels we burn each day, each hour, each minute.

What can we do to lessen our impact on our planet:

  • Household solutions
    • Turning heating down by a few degrees
    • Turning off televisions and similar equipment instead of leaving them in ‘standby
    • Composting vegetable waste
    • Buying locally grown food to save on transporting it
    • Using energy-efficient lighting
    • Insulating homes properly
    • Using a gas cooker instead of an electric one
  • Driving more fuel-efficient cars
  • Using more public transportation
  • Tripling the world’s nuclear power
  • Scaling up renewable energy, such as solar and wind power
  • Pumping back emissions to below the sea bed

It is strange, even for me, to think of these examples of rules, think of my life and the things i love doing and match them.

What i have done in the past years:

  • i don’t have a driver’s license, never will get one, so that is easy
  • i do walk most of the time, my life is within two kilometers of my house
  • since i started to work in the garden, i do compost my vegetable waste
  • for years i threw away my paper and glass waste seperately, now i added plastics to that as well
  • a week ago i closed my television subscription, my television is off the whole time now

I thought of the title for this post a few months ago. I have a vivid imagination. I imagine myself sitting in some television show and being asked questions. One of the questions: Will you bring love and peace? To which i say: NO! No love and peace from me. No pretty little things, no starry nights and blossoming fields. WAR! We need to stand up and fight! You are either with us or against us. No in between business!

I didn’t realize i had a previous post with the title WAR! already. Well, i did add two exclamation marks to this new one. There is a difference.

Hmm, i will change the title of this post. War!!! doesn’t sound good to me. Not anymore. Not while i am writing this. My life? No, living. Yeah, that sounds good. Living.

Yes, i do believe in what i am thinking here. We do need to lessen our impact. Lessen our desires, lessen our consuming patterns. We can not eat the amount of meat we do today. Buy all the things we buy. All the useless stuff we surround ourselves with.

No, this will not be pretty. It will not be a party time. This is a serious work we need to do, with serious conversations with people who think differently.I’m not simply talking about Trump here. I’m also talking about so many European politicians with their mouths full of promises to forget about these once they have gotten any power.

I simply do not see any other option available to us.

And yes, i actually think i’m late with this. I have been working so many years, buying my food in the supermarket, watching television to get my mind of thinking about things that were making me unhappy. I have spend many years being alone, losing all courage and hopes for a better future.

These past years i have been working hard on this website. I have been working hard in the garden. I have been thinking and dreaming and wishing for something better. A better life.

So no, i am not going to try to find work just to pay my bills.

I still want to live in this world, with my eyes open.

Trying to do the best i can. Fight!

Published on September 1, 2017 at 6:00 by

Chess in the library

Two weeks ago my internet and television was cut of. I really missed it. I know there is wifi in the library, so i went up there and asked about it. They offered me a trial subscription of three months for free, with which internet access is free.

I took it. Of course. I used to be a member of the library years ago. Ten years ago? Maybe even longer? I started to look for books i would like to read. And ended up in the young adult section, foreign languages. Yay! I read The Hunger Games Catching Fire last week. Yesterday i finished The Maze Runner. I watched the movies after i read the books. Some differences. But still. Today i burrowed two new books. Capital in the Twenty-First Century written by Thomas Piketty, in Dutch. Lets see how i deal with that one. And the Endgame: The Calling written by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton. I did read a bit in both books already. But, judgement is still out.

I also started to watch the chess game played in the big hall of the library. I started to talk a little to the people around the game. And last week, i actually played a game! I lost, of course. Still so used to playing to a computer, still very much better in defensive play than agressive play. I do love to watch it, look at all the moves people make, trying to figure out the thoughts behind it. Hopefully i will get a bit better. And play some more.

Published on August 31, 2017 at 6:00 by

A hostess

The last week i am hosting two special opening evenings in the garden on the Hofbogen, the fruit garden i work on at Tuesdays. Last week it was very quiet, only two people came by. This week five people!

It was a lovely evening. Warm. Sunny with a bit of clouds. The noises of the city all around me, while i was sitting in this silent garden on top, with a beautiful view. Lovely.

Published on August 30, 2017 at 6:00 by

A request

The past two weeks have been stressful. Yes, i took a holidays. I did celebrate it.

But there was also a not so pleasurable reality i had to deal with. My lack of money. The past three months i was not able to pay any of my monthly payments. Not for the mortgage, not for the energy, not for the healthcare, not for the internet and tv, not for my travel card, not for my municipal taxes. Or any other bill. Apart from food, for which i had cash money set aside. Also my bank credit was withdrawn for both the accounts. That was an extra 2000 euros i needed to pay back.

So i did finally cave in and applied for social security. And i had a talk with my mother who gave me enough money to pay most of my debts.

I am still thinking though. I don’t want to let this get to me. And it is trying hard. It does feel like a blanket is spread over me, clouding my vision. I still need to fight back.

Today i worked on completing the copies for a request from the municipality about my house, about my debts and about my business. I did set my autograph underneath an agreement about me writing fifteen applications before 7 September. About me registering with five different temping agencies. I am still thinking.

What sort of work would i be willing to do? Something to do with gardening? Something to do with taking care of older people. Something with taking care of children? Or back to front end development? Not my favourite, i admit.

What i did decide was to talk about this. Here on this website. To use this to fight against this mechanism employed by the Dutch government to keep people inline. Not that i’m saying this is all bad. No. But for me, now, this is bad.

I dpn’t know why people do not see what i am doing here. Maybe it is because this is a blog. So simple. So many other people have it. To me it is clear i want to do this. Because it is simple. Which is exactly the reason i love this. Because i want to talk to people, show things to people. About all the things on my mind. I don’t want to make things difficult. I don’t want to hide behind anything.

Of course i know many posts here have failed. But there is always another day, another post. It is so obvious.

I need to be honest. So this is what i wrote in a letter about my company. I know it will fall on deaf man’s ears. But still. Honesty rules.

De afgelopen twee jaren is het steeds rustiger geworden.

Ik ben zelf voornamelijk bezig met mijn eigen website, ellenpronk.com. Op deze site maak ik vijf updates per week. Het onderwerp varieert van koken, mijn eigen verhaal, wandelingen die ik maak rondom Rotterdam, het tuinieren wat ik doe sinds anderhalf jaar, het werk wat ik op de kunstacademie maakte, mijn gedachtes over de wereld en Nederland, en nog veel meer.

Ik ben online bezig sinds 1 juli 1997. Sinds 2006 is er een lange pauze geweest in mijn werk online. Oktober 2014 kreeg ik een realisatie dat ik weer verder moest gaan, door mij omschreven als een mokerslag. Sindsdien heeft dit voor mij de hoogste prioriteit. Ik ben toen verder gegaan met lfs.nl, de website waar ik sinds 1999 op werk. In januari 2015 heb ik de laatste ‘present’ gemaakt. Twee weken daarna ging ik verder op ellenpronk.com. Vijf updates per week, gepubliceerd om zes uur ’s ochtends. Eenvoudiger, ja, een blog, ja, maar nog steeds al mijn aandacht opeisend.

The past two years it has become quieter.

My main work is my own website, ellenpronk.com. On this website i have five updates a week. Subjects range from cooking, my own story, walks i make around Rotterdam, the gardening i dosince a year and a half, the work i used to make in art school, my thoughts about the world and the Netherlands, and much more.

I am working online since 1 July 1997. Since 2006 there has been a long break in my work online. In October 2014 i had a realization that i needed to work again. Refered to me as my sledgehammer moment. I went on with lfs.nl, the website i have been working on since 1999. January 2015 i made the final present. Two weeks after that i continued on ellepronk.com. Five updates a week, published at six in the morning. Simpler, yes, a blog, yes, but still demanding my full attention.

Published on August 29, 2017 at 6:00 by