Author Archives for Ellen

White asparagus and potatoes with hollandaise sauce

One of the new vegetables in springtime is asparagus. Here in the Netherlands they are mostly grown in Limburg, a province in the south eastern part.

I just read the wikipedia page i’ve linked to, and it does seem that it’s almost exclusively eaten in the north western part of Europe. Please correct me if i’m wrong. The countries mentioned in the wikipedia post are: Netherlands, Spain, Poland, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland.

I’ve grown to love asparagus. I do love green and white, but yes, i do prefer the white ones in springtime. There are many recipes for asparagus, most of them not very complicated. You can add a nice ham, or salmon, or boiled eggs which are finely sliced. The asparagus itself is quite tender. You do need to break of the lower part of it and peel it close towards the top. I use the peelings and lower buttons in the water while i get it to boil before i add the asparagus itself.

The potatoes i skin and boil for around 20 minutes. I used Roseval, a good waxy potatoe ideal for this recipe. I also use herbs, in this recipe some flat leaf parsley and chives.

The hollandaise sauce i made is easy. It’s a sort of mayonaise with melted butter. An egg yolk, some white wine vinegar, a bit of mustard, salt and pepper are first whisked together. Then the melted butter is slowly added and whisked at the same time.

It is a light and a bit sweet recipe. Wonderful!

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Published on April 29, 2015 at 6:00 by

A walk in Rotterdam: the Rottemeren

It was King’s Day yesterday, Monday April 27, in the Netherlands. I did watch the start of the official celebrations in the morning, but turned it of after an hour and decided to go for a walk. It was not warm, quite chilly really, around 12 degrees Celsius, but the sun was shining. I did wear a woolen sweater, which made it good to go for me.

A walk i wanted to make for some time was a walk to the Rottemeren. I actually live besides the Rotte, so it was easy, simply walk past the small river out of the city towards the country. In the beginning i was in the city mostly, with many houses around. Towards the Rottemeren they did disappear, but i was two hours walking by that time. It is one of the most densely populated areas in the Netherlands, so it’s hard to be all alone with a clean view of the land.

I did meet a nice woman halfway, Nelleke. We walked up for an hour or so, talking about plants, birds, the royal family, and lots of other things. I did ask her if she would mind if i mentioned her in this post. As you can read, she didn’t! I also took a picture. I gave her the address of this blog, so hopefully she reads this post.

When we reached the Rottemeren, she turned back and walked back home. I went further along. I had decided to take a bus back to Rotterdam from Bleiswijk. There was a restaurant at the corner, Meerenbos. I had two croquettes with brown bread and sat there for a bit. I then walked to the center of Bleiswijk and, after around 15 minutes of waiting, the bus came. I had asked in the restaurant how to get back to Rotterdam, so i knew i had to take the bus to the RailstadRail metro from Rodenrijs and travel from there to Rotterdam. By the time i got the bus, it was almost half past five. I had left home half past one, so it was quite a walk i had made. I’m guessing it was around 18-20 kilometers.

Right now i’m still tired. I’ll be off to bed soon. Hopefully for a good nights sleep.

Good night lovelies, don’t let the bed bugs bite!

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Published on April 28, 2015 at 6:00 by

Brushes

I started to buy brushes i think like 6 years ago. Make up brushes that is. They are wonderful! Most are MAC brushes, one Bobbi Brown, and a couple i bought in the art shop not far from where i live. I actually bought my paints, water colours, papers and all other stuff in that shop, Harolds, when i was still making real drawings. Like two months ago, when i was looking into some of my old boxes with pencils and charcoal and eraser i found a couple of really thin brushes i actually put into my make up pot. I could use them for doing a really thin eyeliner. One time i used one of these for it, it worked really well!

I did clean my brushes today. To be honest i don’t do that enough, it was months ago since i last did that. It is usually advised to clean your brushes once a week at least. But ooh well, i don’t use that much make up lately anyway. But i do admit, it is a good feeling having them standing there all clean!

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Published on April 27, 2015 at 6:00 by

The world and the people

There are many more people who do know more than me about this world and the people, the animals and the plants living on it. You just follow facebook, twitter, the news to get links to the places where they talk. I just discovered ideas.ted.com, no videos, but articles. Earlier this week i wrote about Brain Pickings, a site i only know for a couple of months. Earlier this week i found Undernews through a twitter link by Jorn Barger.

It is deafening.

The uproar earlier this week about fugitives drowning in the Mediterranean. They flee from their countries in ramshackle boats paid for by their hard earned money. They flee from war, terror, sickness, cruelty. They flee to us, Europeans. This still rather safe haven in the world. Where we have spring. With yellow green leaves opening up towards the sunshine. With purple bluebells in big patches growing between the roads. With yellow daffodils waving in the wind.

hallerbos20070421
Natural bluebells flowering in the Hallerbos south of Brussels. Photography: Denzil

This week i watched part of a program about Alaska on Discovery. A family was flown back to where they lived in the north western part of Alaska, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). They had a short talk about the government wishing to get to the oils in the earth there. I had never heard of this issue.

There are so many things to worry about. IS, the USA, people who don’t believe in global warming, Chinese and other Asian countries fumes spreading out, old people in the Netherlands getting less taken care of, escargots being put into another snails shell, the EU wanting to destroy the boats fugitives might get into to get into Europe, the war in the Ukraine, a pilot killing himself by diving down a flying plain from Spain to Germany, the financial crisis in 2008 and its after effects, bee families suddenly dying and not helping us anymore for fertilizing crops, TTIP giving companies the ability to actually charge governments when they make rules minimizing their chance for making a profit.

It is deafening.

I do not know how to proceed with my life. I can only follow my heart. My heart that still dreams.

My dreams are not very complicated. I just don’t have the husband, children and friends who will make the dreams go away. Which is what happens to most people. Their lifes take over.

My dream still is to join Scritti Politti. As a singer. I used to be in love with Green. I’m not anymore, not since he got married. But i love the music and the lyrics. And i would love to live in London once again. And have friends there. And i would love to travel a bit more, see the world, meet new people, talk with all different sorts of people. People who work on making this world a better place. To actually write about them on this blog. Because yes, this blog will stay with me.

It is hilarious, preposterous. Crazy. But i actually do fantasize about Scritti doing a gig in Rotterdam on the big market square where i get interviewed by Matthijs van Nieuwkerk before. And then i feed my newborn baby, walk on the stage and say ‘Hi Rotterdam!’. And then we start to perform a great gig, which is getting recorded and broadcasted all over the world, or well, youtube. And then we get so famous, so rich. And then we set the whole world right. Everybody wants to rule the world. And then i ask Joss Whedon to think of a clip he can make for us. And he does! Because he has a bit more time now he stops doing the big Marvel movies. So yay!

Crazy.

The baby is very unlikely. The interview by Matthijs too. The gig on the big square, hmm.. bit far of too! Joss Whedon… pffff. These are all things i simply would love to happen. But i’m still sitting at home.

There is one thing though which is a bit more plausible, which could happen.

The past months, since the sledgehammer moment, i’ve been thinking about these drawings i made, in 1986.

about-verse

I gave these drawings away, twice. First time i gave them to Iris, who was my friend when i made these. She is actually on the first drawing. The girl dancing with the yellow hat. After a time she gave these drawings back to me. Maybe because, if i remember correctly, i was looking at the drawings a lot when i was at her home.

The second time i gave them to Femke. She gave them back too. I don’t remember what she said. But i have the feeling she felt it was too much.

After that i kept these drawings. I actually almost forgot about them. Until the sledgehammer moment. I got them out of the cupboard. I made a photo of the seventh card, which has only text on it, which is the last part of the song A little knowledge by Scritti Politti.

I always felt that i shouldn’t keep these drawings. I was actually thinking of giving them to Green in 2006. I talked about this idea with friends, who advised against it. I do think they were right, then.

Now, I actually would like to give these drawings to Green.

No strings attached. Well, apart from my crazy dreams, but hey!

This could go many ways. First, of course, is that nothing will happen. Which seems most likely to be honest. But i hope not. And there are of course a million other ways this could go. Yes, i have thought about this too! For many many years. And its scary. Yes. But i do feel i gotta do this. To sort of liberate myself? Maybe? And i know i could let it go. Which is what i said two days ago. No i won’t write. No no nononono. I have my pride. I’m not gonna do this.

But every dream i have comes to this point. And i can’t get around it. I always get stuck. I change things, twist them, but it always happens. And i don’t know why.

I’ll miss my drawings. But i do think they will go to a good home.

Hopefully.

Published on April 24, 2015 at 6:00 by

Resting

I played a bit of vanilla wow, watched some tv, did some shopping, had some beer. I feel really tired. So this is it for now!

Published on April 23, 2015 at 6:00 by

Thinking

My head was spinning around all over the place today.

First i thought i’m gonna write Green! Then i sort of stepped back, thinking hmm.. no i won’t. I might send it to Rhodri first. And then i .. hmm.. i don’t remember! But no, i won’t write anything.

This evening i suddenly became so angry! I thought i don’t want to live this life! I don’t wanna have a mortgage. I don’t wanna have insurances. I don’t wanna pay all these silly things like VAT, like taxes. Take it away! Which is silly. Well, i still don’t want to be here and grow old quietly and obediently. I don’t want to get sick and be left all by myself and be taken care of by uninterested young people. I don’t! I wanna have friends and a family. I want to have a warmness around me. I don’t even know if warmness is a word. But i don’t care! Fuck!

FUCK!

Last saturday evening i spend with an old friend. She asked me on facebook. We ate something simple. We drank three bottles of wine. One of which was a Reichsrat von Buhl Pfalz Riesling Sekt Brut 2012 – not entirely sure this was the one, but it’s close! – , which i bought and took there with me. One of my favourite bubbly wines ever. We talked about many many things. Also about my dreams. And about love. And sex. And men. And age. And children. Her two almost mature boys. A fun night. And my following sunday a bit hungover. But still good.

And now i’m a bit more quiet.

I’m reading Brain Pickings a lot lately. I love it. Today there was a new post, The Art of Stumbling: David Brooks on Character, “Résumé Virtues” vs. “Eulogy Virtues,” and the Humility Code of Living a Meaningful Life. In this article was a reference to an earlier article about Joss Whedon’s commencement address. Which was wonderful too! I will quote a piece here, but there are many more quotes which i could have picked.

This contradiction, and this tension … it never goes away. And if you think that achieving something, if you think that solving something, if you think a career or a relationship will quiet that voice, it will not. If you think that happiness means total peace, you will never be happy. Peace comes from the acceptance of the part of you that can never be at peace. It will always be in conflict. If you accept that, everything gets a lot better.

And a quote from the David Brooks article.

We are all stumblers, and the beauty and meaning of life are in the stumbling — in recognizing the stumbling and trying to become more graceful as the years go by.

The stumbler scuffs through life, a little off balance here and there, sometimes lurching, sometimes falling to her knees. But the stumbler faces her imperfect nature, her mistakes and weaknesses, with unvarnished honesty, with the opposite of squeamishness. She is sometimes ashamed of the perversities in her nature — the selfishness, the self-deceit, the occasional desire to put lower loves above higher ones.

But humility offers self-understanding. When we acknowledge that we screw up, and feel the gravity of our limitations, we find ourselves challenged and stretched with a serious foe to overcome and transcend.

The stumbler is made whole by this struggle.

It’s like, i have read these sort of words before. I have read psychology books, filosophy books, literature. I have also read many science fiction, fantasy, romantic books. I read Tolkien. I love young adult books: Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, Tonke Dragt books. I’m not sure why words from Brain Pickings now hit me so many times.

It does have something to do with that sledge hammer feeling i had in October 2014. Since then i feel more alive. And i do remember the first half of 2014, in which i felt so empty. So silent. I don’t think i even cried then. But i do remember thinking then, that i couldn’t see a life worth living. That i would rather die. Well, not straight away. When my cats have died. Not with any seriousness. But i did feel hopeless.

So now i’m here, in 2015. There are so many things i dream of, it’s like almost too many. There are so many things i want. It’s hard. But, it’s also just in my mind. Outwardly i’m quiet, friendly. I chat to people in shops. I smile. I actually do enjoy that. That’s true! I bought some kibbeling (fried cod fish) today at the market. I sat in front of the markthal and ate it slowly. And looked at all the people passing by. Just watching them. Some quiet, others loud. Little children. Old people. Young people. Why am i looking now, and why wasn’t i looking a year ago?

This post will not have a big final. It will not point to a grand solution. I’m not saying my life is just beginning. It started 51 years ago. I can see my whole path towards this point in time. Some parts i have forgotten, some parts have stayed with me.

I’m not sure where i will end up. Where i will live. Where i will work. I still have hopes for myself. Wishes. Wants. Needs.

I’m tired. I will go to bed. Hopefully for a good night’s sleep.

See you tomorrow 🙂

Published on April 22, 2015 at 6:00 by

A beautiful day

The cats wake me up this morning, scratching at the door. I get out of bed and give them something to eat. Then i get back in bed, i read some blog feeds in Newsify and then i fall asleep again.

Around 11 i get out of bed once again. Mieke is lying on my bed, sleeping. I empty the litter box, clean up the floor around it where there are specks of white litter spread around. I take my pills. I got a light form of diabetes, which i can handle so far with pills only. I fill the water pot in the room with new water. I give the little plants from the supermarket water, also the grass for the cats.

Then i make breakfast. I bake some bacon, whisk an egg with some pepper and salt and add it to the bacon. In a minute it was baked. I put it on two slices of rye and spelt. It’s the first time i’m having this bread, and i love it! I love my bread with egg and bacon. Yummy!

I listen to some music. Just my mix tapes on spotify shuffled. I look outside, i see the blue sky and the sun shining. I get up, brush my teeth, dress up and put on some sunscreen. I go outside. It is lovely!

I walk slowly through the center to the West Kruiskade and go inside Kiem Foei. I order a small saoto soup with no egg and sit down inside. Then i see someone else saying that he will go and sit outside. I thought about it for a few seconds, then stand up and sit outside too, in the sunshine.

My soup is served. I chat a bit with that rather lovely guy. About the soup, about the weather, about the things to see happening on the street. He is cute.

When i am done i sit for a short time, then i stand up and walk to the Nieuwe Binnenweg through the park next to the oriental supermarket. Towards the end there is a green grass field where i walk on. I lie down for a bit. My head on my bag.

It is beautiful. I close my eyes and feel the sunshine warm my arms and my face. My arms are spread out. I feel the short grass. I take a little wooden stick in my fingers and twirl it for a while between my fingers. I look to the left, to the back of the houses, to the gardens. I can hear the traffic around. The deep hum of all the machinery and cars moving around. But in between there are birds whistling. Insects flying around. A soft whirl of wind cooling my face. I turn to the right. I see people walking on the paths. I can’t hear what they talk about. I don’t care.

I sit up. I see a small red beetle in the grass. He was like two three millimeters large. With a stick and some small dried up leaves i made a shelter for little beetles like that. Not that it will last. But i enjoy doing it.

I stand up. Walk out of the park at the Gouvernestraat. Walk past the old Lantaren Venster. Turn towards the Nieuwe Binnenweg. Walk to the Oude Binnenweg. Cross the Coolsingel and walk besides the Hoogstraat to the market and to the Pannekoekstraat. My intention is to go and drink some coffee at the Coffee Company, but i change my mind and go to Charlie’s Kitchen. I order a latte and cheesecake. Since a week i don’t drink coffee at home, so i do allow myself a bit more coffee outside. And the cheesecake was a bonus.

I sit there, outside in the sunshine quietly eavesdropping on some talks going on around me. Miss half of it.

I walk home. Around the corner. Basically. I checked e-mail, looked a twitter and facebook. Read some posts. I wrote an e-mail to a friend who i would like to interview for this website. I link the two interviews i already did and write a bit about the questions i want to ask. I watch the Great British Menu. It’s a rerun on dutch tv. I have already seen it, but i do like it. So i watch it again. After that i watch Gino’s Italian Escape on belgian tv.Then i lie on the couch and listen to some music.

Around half past six i make a salad with tomatoes, spring onions, cottage cheese and a roasted pepper. It is fresh. I watch De wereld draait door and after that i start to write this post. I give myself 45 minutes, until The Avengers start. The last movie i saw in the cinema. I am still a Joss Whedon fan. I actually saw Buffy the Vampire Slayer at the Rotterdam Film Festival in 93. It was a nice fluffy break in the rather serious movie schedule. I do remember enjoying it. To be completely forgotten of course for a couple of years.

I did enjoy seeing the Avengers again.

And now i’m here, finishing this post. I actually go through the whole post and rewrite most of the verbs i use to the present tense. I like the present tense!

It is a beautiful day.

Published on April 21, 2015 at 6:00 by

A tired day

For tomorrow’s post i did have some ideas. I did want to do a beauty post and make up my eyes. But i do feel really tired, and it shows, so yes, that’s a bit vain, but hey! it’s a beauty post! So that will be a post on a later day.

Then i thought of these two old agenda’s i still have. Or well, i actually do have more, but these two have pictures in them of my favourite bands. They are from 78/79 and 79/80. But i didn’t come around to photographing them, so that will need to wait for a later date too.

Then i played a little world of warcraft. On Friday my subscription will end. I have already said goodbye a few weeks ago. I did collect a few more music scrolls for the music box in my garrison. The Ghost one, where you need to be dead. The one from the vendor walking in Grizzly Hills. I don’t think i will log in again.

Then i started to feel really tired. While i was playing wow that is. So i stopped and lied on the couch. I didn’t sleep, but i was starting to relax a bit more. Which is good! To be honest, my sleep is still very irregular. But today, when i do relax, i start to feel the tiredness creep up in me.

I bought some wine. I made a pasta with veggies and chicken thighs.

And now it’s nine o’clock. I might just see if there is anything interesting on tv. But i don’t think there is. I might dance a little. That’s been like more than a week ago – i would like that.

And then i go to bed. Trying to fall asleep. It’s OK anyway, i don’t mind too much not sleeping that well these days. My mind is still racing.

Good night lovelies, have a good weekend!

Published on April 17, 2015 at 6:00 by

A walk in Rotterdam: around the Kralingse Plas

Wednesday it was gorgeous weather. A blue sky, a bit of wind, around 19 Celsius in Rotterdam. I went out for a walk around the Kralingse Plas, a lake in Rotterdam with a large park around it. It was busy in the park, especially at the water. People were lying in the grass in swimwear, standing at the water and playing. I walked through them and went for a path going around the water. It got quieter.

I did notice the work of the forest managers. They left the remains of the chopped off trees lying around all over the place. Moss grew on it, i even saw some mushrooms. When i got at the water again, i saw a pier stretching out into the water. I walked on it and sat for a while at the front, looking out over the water, the sailing boats and the view of the Rotterdam skyline.

I went further along, saw the many people with dogs walking about. Then i walked back over the the Oudedijk and got home. It was around 10 kilometers, took me around three hours, with me sitting for a bit and taking the photos. Loved it!

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Published on April 16, 2015 at 6:00 by