Author Archives for Ellen

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

My futures

The night between last saturday and sunday i was lying awake thinking. Thinking about choosing between a private life and a public life. At one point i got out of bed and took the I Ching out of the bookcase and started reading it. I was looking for the line about that same choice. Which just happened to be in the first hexagram of the book.

I Ching Hexagram 1 – Ch’ien / The Creative
Nine in the fourth place means: Wavering flight over the depths. No blame.

A place of transition has been reached, and free choice can enter in. A twofold possibility is presented to the great man: he can soar to the heights and play an important part in the world, or he can withdraw into solitude and develop himself. He can go the way of the hero or that of the holy sage who seeks seclusion. There is no general law of his being. If the individual acts consistently and is true to himself, he will find the way that is appropriate for him. This way is right for him and without blame.

A part of me wants to shout out and go and bang and dance. Another part wants to stay quiet and think and observe.

The past months have been sort of crazy in my mind. I had many many daydreams, all different kinds. I did feel happy most of the time, but i also felt sad, hurt even. It usually stayed in me house. The walks… i love the walks. Going outside, looking around, watching the trees and shrubs and houses and roads and birds and people. A time out. Sometimes it felt hard going back inside once again.

These few months mean something for me. It’s six months ago since i had that sledge hammer feeling. Since then i am on this journey. A tightrope. One step at a time. I remember writing the about present on lfs.nl. The sudden realization that it was the last page of lfs.nl. This wasn’t me thinking rational. I just.. knew.

At the time i didn’t know i would start blogging on ellenpronk.com in a few weeks time. But that is what i did. After a week of designing, working out the categories, the layout i was. The domain i already registered a couple of years ago. I never got around of setting it up as a work website. I had tried. But i thought of a better way of using it.

My life has been very solitary so far. On the whole i didn’t mind that much. I enjoy my own company. But i would like to have friends. I would like to cook for more people. More people than just me. I would like to laugh a bit more. Talk some more.

I do listen to music a lot these days. I actually do sing along too. I like that. But it doesn’t fill the void.

I know the private life. I have lived it for the past thirty years. It’s difficult and hard work. There is peace and quiet. And loneliness.

So, if i have to make a choice, i’d rather choose a public life. It will be equally hard work, it will be equally difficult. But it is also filled with friends. I will not have complete freedom in choosing the things i do. But on the whole, i think i will be happier. A bit messier too. But that’s alright.

Ooh, in both scenario’s i will continue with ellenpronk.com. Of course. It’s what i do. I love this place. Truly.

Published on April 15, 2015 at 6:00 by

Shop: Wijnkoperij Platenburg

I do love to drink a glass of wine during the weekend. In the winter i usually drink some red, in summer i tend to prefer white. Or rosé. It’s not that i know enough about wine. It is such a vast area. I only know some little corners here and there. I do follow a wine tasting channel, WineAlign. But i don’t even dream of ever getting that level of knowledge.

Wijnkoperij Platenburg is my favourite shop to buy my weekly wine. A few wines i do know. The Syrah from La Tour des Dames is by far the wine of my choice. A dry Riesling like the Reichsrat von Buhl Pfalz is another pick. And i do sometimes go for the sweet Moscatel, which i was only adviced about a few months ago.

In my series of posts about shops i do enjoy shopping at, i asked for an interview. They know my blog is still very young, but the owners Ger and Lia Platenburg happily agreed.

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Published on April 14, 2015 at 6:00 by

A walk from Scheveningen to Hoek van Holland

Friday i walked from Scheveningen to Hoek van Holland. The train brought me to Den Haag. There i got on tram 12. The old tram was still running to Duindorp as i remember from when i was a child. My parents are from Scheveningen. My grandparents used to live there, on the Wieringsestraat at the end of Duindorp, looking out over the dunes.

In Scheveningen the sun was shining, but the moment i got on the beach it was misty. I saw the wet clouds driving in from the sea. I loved the look of it.

I don’t remember when i was on the beach the last time. It could be ten years ago, fifteen even. I do remember walking this same walk in the 90s. It did make me feel very happy to be there again. When i used to visit my grandparents, i usually did make a walk over the beach. Sometimes with my nieces and nephews, other times alone. Some of these walks i still remember. It is a part in the Netherlands where you can feel nature a bit. Even though it’s all man made. The sea and the sand and the dunes make a lovely area to be in.

After Kijkduin i saw a high mast standing on the beach. It was a special observant tower The Sand Motor to watch a man made peninsula.

At ‘s Gravenzande i sat in a beach pavilion and ate a plate of chips with mayo. I did have a banana, an apple and water with me. But something savory was too good to let go. I also was a bit tired at that time. To be honest, i thought that maybe i was already at the Hook.

After around 30 minutes i continued and made it! I sat on a bench for a bit at the way in and looked at the sea and the people. The mist had slowly vanished while i was walking south.

I got the train back to Rotterdam. When i got home and looked in the mirror i got a shock. I was actually a bit burned! My face, the lower part of my arms, a spot on my neck and two small bits on my legs were red. The next day i bought a sun protection cream for my face, for the next walk. Not gonna go all red once more.

My new shoes held out great! This was the longest walk i made this year, and i did feel it. Next week i will make a few shorter walks. Not sure i will make posts about them, but i will post something on facebook.

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Published on April 13, 2015 at 6:00 by

Reading blogs

When i saw my sister this Easter Monday, she asked how to keep up with blogs. Not mine alone, but others as well. A friend of hers just started one and she didn’t know, apart from visiting it each time, how to keep up with the contents. She mostly visits Facebook.

When i’m happy with a post, i do make a Facebook and a Twitter entry. But that’s usually two or three times a week. And i do post 5 times a week.

I’ve been online since 1995, twenty years already. I’ve seen blogs coming into existence and fade out again. The way i use to get the content is an old fashioned one, RSS.

There are other ways to follow a blog. Flipboard, Bloglovin and many more have ways to follow a blog. I do use Flipboard on my iPad, but i’m not sure if you can add a single blog to it. Bloglovin i researched a bit, but it’s just not that appealing to me.

Until 2013 Google Reader was the main source for most people to have their RSS feeds collected. Most apps used Google Reader to get the feeds delivered to them. And then Google dropped it. Because RSS was becoming less popular.

I had to reorganize my trusted systems. I did some research. Most people were using feedly.com, so i decided on that. I imported my feeds from Google Reader.

Let me explain where you can find a feed on a site. On my old site lfs.nl i made a feed myself. As is my custom, i made this in a present, called rss. I had to do a search for rss on the homepage to find it.

On WordPress blogs it is a bit easier to find than that. The main feed you can usually find at the url of the site with /feed added to it. So on ellenpronk.com the url of the feed is ellenpronk.com/feed.

On feedly my list of blogs looks as follows:

Cooking

  • 101 Cookbooks
  • Chocolate and Zucchini
  • David Lebovitz
  • Lottie & Doof
  • smitten kitchen

Design and Coding

  • A list apart
  • Ars Technica
  • Daring Fireball
  • kottke.org
  • Subtraction
  • Lea Verou
  • markboulton.co.uk
  • Quirksblog

Make up and Perfumes

  • Mascha’s Beautyblog
  • Miss Lipgloss
  • Painted Ladies
  • Beautyscene
  • Dr. Jetske Ultee
  • Fabulous over Forty
  • Lisa Eldridge
  • Nathan Branch
  • The Non-Blonde

Personal

  • Ellen’s blog

Stuff I like

  • Minimal Mac
  • The Dissolve
  • trendbeheer
  • Whedonesque
  • ftrain.com

Wow

  • Blizzard Watch
  • Tobold’s MMORPG Blog
  • Power word: gold
  • Tarou Wow guides

On my iPad 1 i use Newsify to read my blogs. It syncs all the unread posts and gives me a list of around a 100 posts each day. I don’t read all of them, i browse and read the ones i want to.

This is my way to read the blogs i want to read. I actually should go through my feedly list soon, as i see now many blogs don’t update anymore. And there might be other blogs i’m interested in.

For all the people who have less time online, there are many ways to get content to you. You may depend on Facebook, but to me that is a fuzzy way to get content, where many things are out of your control. It’s not my way. Pick a way that fits your life. That can be Facebook, or Twitter, or Flipboard, or any other way. And it might change in a years time!

Published on April 10, 2015 at 6:00 by

A walk from Rotterdam to Delft

Yesterday morning it was misty when i got out of bed. When i checked the predictions i read that it would get sunny in the afternoon. So I could keep my plan to walk from Rotterdam centre to Delft Central Station.

When i checked what would be the best way to walk, i knew i would go past the Schie past the village Zweth. In Rotterdam i went through the neighborhood Blijdorp. After the big freeway junction Kleinpolderplein i would enter Overschie. Walking through the centre i would get at the Schie at the end of it and enter the countryside. Sort of. There is a freeway at the horizon, a train at the other side. But it was quiet, i could hear the birds sing.

In Delft i walked past some old Technical University buildings. Many were still the same as thirty years ago, when i studied there. But there were also many new areas. The centre i did recognize though. The Brabantse Turfmarkt, the Breestraat and de Oude Delft.

The new railway station is underground. It opened March 1 this year. I ate my apple and waited for the train to arrive.

To be honest, i felt my legs. I was able to walk, but I was tired! I had left my house at 11:25, i got back at 16:10. Glad i got home in one piece. A day rest and then i will go for another walk!

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Published on April 9, 2015 at 6:00 by