A walk in Rotterdam: Eiland van Brienenoord

A quiet walk on the Island of Brienenoord. There were only a couple of other people. One was at work on the allotments in the middle of the island. I saw two cars passing by. At the east part i sat on my coat for a while, in a mossy green patch. I ate an apple. I watched over the river. I stared at the boats passing by. At the end of the walk the sun came through a bit more.

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Published on March 20, 2015 at 6:00 by

Computer life

Computers entered my life around 1990, when i started writing my end paper for art school. At school there was a computer room, with the little all-in-one Macs. I had to buy two floppy discs. One for the system, one for the program and for my file. I loved the copy and pasting. A lifesaver. When i was done writing, after a few months, the computer person helped me with laying out the paper in Pagemaker.

My first own mac i bought in 1994, a IIsi. The years after i spend most of my money on upgrading computers. The 4400, which i blew up trying to upgrade the RAM, i replaced with a G3. The Quicksilver was the most beautiful computer, which i still have standing in a cupboard. The MacBook wasn’t right for me and i sold it to a colleague, who still uses it. The 20″ iMac was great, but i did fall for the 27″ in 2010. I sold the 20″ to my sister who still uses now.

The Macbook Pro i bought for work. I’m not sure what to do with it now. At my last job i had to work on a pc from there. So my MacBook Pro has been standing in its bag for almost a year now. It might be better selling it.

The new iMac 27″ Retina is a lovely computer, but for a hefty price. If i choose the options i would wish for, it will cost 3.479 euros. For now my current iMac is just fine.

For 21 years i have worked on Apple computers. I did work as a desktop publisher, so it made sense to me. That feeling has grown a bit less, i admit. But it’s hard to get away from. I do love the look of the computers. I love Mac OS X. Even though i haven’t updated to the newest one yet. I don’t need the newest and the best, i got an iPhone 4 and iPad 1, both for 5 years. For now i’m sticking with Apple.

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Published on March 19, 2015 at 6:00 by

The post after sex

Yesterday, Monday, i spend around 5 hours writing the previous post ‘Sex’. Afterwards i felt very tired. I got the idea in the morning, and for some reason i liked it. I still do. I don’t have much trouble talking about these so-called private things. But writing and getting the response to a post like that takes a lot of energy. So today it’s gonna be a bit of a nothing post.

Today, Wednesday, i will cast my vote for the provincial election. And this evening there is a VvE (Homeowners Association) meeting in my house, so i gotta clean up a bit and get some coffee and cookies.

Tuesday was a lovely day. I went to the market with no coat on. All around were people sitting on the stairs and chatting and enjoying the sunshine. Lovely. I might do a walk today. Depends on the weather. I still want to walk around the island below the Van Brienenoordbrug. Take the tram there and walk around and then see if i walk back or take the tram back. I’ll decide tomorrow!

I’m gonna watch a bit of tv now and go to bed early.

*hugs*

Published on March 18, 2015 at 6:00 by

Sex

When i was around twelve years old erotic feelings came into my life. Masturbation was my secret pastime during the evenings. I loved doing it. I lied on my belly and and rubbed against the sheet. I still remember the orgasms. They were wonderful.

My first kiss was on Tenerife on holiday. In the moonlight on a beach. We had sat in a disco. My holiday friend was kissing this other guy and i felt completely embarrassed. When we left the disco and went to the beach, he kissed me. Woah. After the holiday he came along, all the way from Blackpool, England. I remember buying a XTC record, Black sea, when we visited the record store Plato. I also remember my mum telling me he had said to her he didn’t get it why i went to the gymnasium, the Dutch highest level high school. I would get married anyway? Sorry Jim, you shouldn’t have said that! Bye bye!

Back at school i developed a crush on Marc. We went out one time. I didn’t say a word! We didn’t go out after that. Duh. And he got back together with his former girlfriend. But i did fall in love, and we did get this sort of intermittent thing. We did kiss on the exams night when we set up tents on the school ground. And there was more kissing on other evenings. We never went all the way. Not for lack of trying. It just didn’t happen. We both went to Delft to study. But there it was left to fade away. And then i left Delft and went to the Rotterdam art school after four years. Never to see him again.

At sixteen i got on to the pill. Together with my mum i went to our doctor. Periods were giving me lots of pain. The doctor suggested that the pill would be a good option for me. So for the next five years i was having no trouble with periods and protected from getting pregnant at the same time! Not that i was having sex. When i was around twenty-one twenty-two, i decided i would quit the pill. I wasn’t having any sex anyway, and i would see how my periods were going. It was alright. Maybe i was getting a bit fiercer and the periods simply didn’t bother me that much anymore. Or maybe they were getting less painful. I didn’t know. The thought of taking these hormones each day was not a pleasant one. The pill was out!

In Delft, I do remember sitting with a friend, Marcel, in his room. Later on he said he was surprised there was no attraction between us. I do know that i simply wasn’t thinking about sex with him at all. I just liked him. No other guys attracted me in Delft. Well, apart from this gorgeous guy whom i only stared at in the college room. That got to nothing at all, of course.

I did meet another guy in a pub Dizzy. I went out alone. I actually said i to Rens was feeling recalcitrant. We had a long talk. Not sure it was that same evening or later, but i also do remember going out to McDonalds with him and having a long long talk about all sorts of things. He asked me to come to his place and have dinner. So i did. And then we tried to have sex, but sadly no. I couldn’t go along with it, it just didn’t feel sexy at all. It did pain me to say it, but that is what i did. He was a bit upset. I did stay and sleep over, the next day we had breakfast together. And that was it.

Rotterdam. Where i lived from December 1985. School started in August 1986. I had a talk with a teacher in a pub. He asked me what i really really wanted. For someone to really love me, i answered. I meant it. A friend pulled me away from him and i went home. A week later, in his class, he was sitting there with a his face turning red. We never talked about it. He was having sex with other students. Not for me.

No other boys at art school got me interested. Or girls. I was thinking that maybe i was lesbian. But i simply didn’t fall in love with a girl. I did have best friends. I believed. After art school, from where i graduated in 1991, me and a friend organized an exhibition about sex, Sexposition. It was in the Fabriek, a squatted old factory with studio’s and a large exhibit room, in the west part of Rotterdam, close to the Delfshaven tube station.

We worked on it for a year. We got a subsidy. Marlies Dekkers showed her exam work. We also organized an evening of sex, with art work, a lingerie show, some singing and other things happening. It was sold out. All that time, i never had gotten any sex myself.

The evening of the show, i went out with a small group afterwards. We went to Tudor bar on the Nieuwe Binnenweg. I went to this place so many times in the 80s. At the end of the evening this guy named Bart asked me to go to his home with him. And i said yes! He had a waterbed! Man, that was a surprise when i stepped into it. We made out. No sex though, grrr. I fell in love a bit, but nothing happened. I think a few days or weeks later i went by and we talked a little, but no, nothing.

Around christmas 1992 i gave a dinner party at my place. I read a story to a couple of my friends. Ben, a friend of a friend, was there too. A few weeks later, at new years eve, we started to kiss.

So yes, a couple of days after that Ben asked me to have dinner at his place. I stayed the night. Not completely sure of the timings here (it’s been 22 years!), but we did have sex around that time. What i do remember is that we tried and the first time it didn’t go. But when he was asleep and i was awake, i went to him and started kissing and he woke up and yes, then it happened. For the first time. I was 28 years.

We were together for like two, three months. He gave me one of his works, a foamy yellowish cast of a painting. It still hangs in my house. Then we broke up. We were not in love. We liked each other, but that was it.

Well, i knew that. But still, it was a lot for me to come to terms with. And i got a fever. I was sick for a week. A close friend Femke took me out to the Veluwe, a national park in the center of the Netherlands. We walked and talked. I was not feeling good.

I didn’t see Ben for many years. Only later, when i bumped into him at a friends house and i was too surprised to not say hi, i realized he is just a nice guy. Now when i see him, once every two three years, we can do some small talk.

A 1997 i started to work on lfs.nl. Or rather, home.luna.nl/~ellen. In July 1998 i got an e-mail from Jeroen, ‘hulde! prachtige site!’ (‘honour! beautiful site!’). A friendship started. With Jeroen who also lives in Rotterdam, of all places. And i fell in love. And he did not. With me anyway. I have some e-mails in which we talked about it. We were outspoken and honest with each other. But no, it wasn’t going to be. No no no.

Reading those e-mails, thinking back about those days, i do see now i was so serious, nice, but also close to impossible. It reminds me of the thoughts i have about myself while i was in art school. I see now i was very closed up. Nothing the teachers said to me really got through. I was like this knot all tied up.

I came closer to the dark years. The years of not working on lfs. Of me trying to get away from it all. Of me playing warcraft. Of me not seeing anyone. Of me going though the motions. Everything seemed to be coming to a full stop, while time was running onwards.

Looking back at it, the first half of last year, 2014, was the ultimate full stop.

I talked about it with a friend, and he came with this job offer later on. In August i started working there.

I’m not sure what happened. I felt like i was hit by a sledgehammer. It was a short crush on this person which felt very strange to me. Which i could switch off rather easily once i realized that he was married.

I started to work on lfs.nl again. After 8 years. I started to daydream. And i felt aroused. I felt alive again, which was a really good feeling.

So now i’m here. March 2015. My sixth week of working on ellenpronk.com. I still feel that sledge hammer hit me when was it? September 2014? October 2014? I still feel the energy inside waiting to be pulled out and used.

Looking back at my life. It does feel like completely mine. I’m truly happy with that. Nothing really bad has ever happened to me.

I will take my steps into the future. I have said it before, i gotta stay close to what i want, deep inside. I managed that so far, i hope i will keep on doing that.

Published on March 17, 2015 at 6:00 by

A busy week

Exactly that, a busy week.

Finding myself taking things a bit slower than i would have liked. But hey, that’s just how it goes.

Last week i had an interview, which i recorded. I’m still in the process of translating and writing the article itself. I do enjoy it, but it’s moving on a bit slow.

Last week, after the interview, my initial thought was getting straight at it, but instead i made a long walk in the sunshine. I got really tired. That tiredness didn’t move away the next days. Today i still feel it.

I will start cooking soon. Two sausages. Simmer them in red wine with shallots, mushrooms and bacon. And a mash with parsnip and potato.

But yeah, it was a busy week. Even though i’m moving on slower than i wish, i’m taking steps. They might be tiny, but they are in the right direction.

Gonna go cooking now. I do hope you enjoy your monday.

Best wishes.

Published on March 16, 2015 at 6:00 by

Beet feta salad

Apart from preparing the beetroots and cooking the potatoes, this is a quick salad to make! The combination of beetroot and feta is great. The potatoes are optional. They do make a more filling salad. If you don’t have potatoes, a slice of toasted bread can be served alongside.

I do like to bake my own beetroot. It’s easy, you wrap it in tinfoil and put it in a hot oven for an hour. If you want, you can buy the already cooked beetroots in the supermarket, but you should try baking your own, it does taste better!

You may use the regular deep purple red beetroots like i did today. But you can also use the yellow beetroots. You may use the chioggia beetroots, but i do prefer these rasped raw in a summer salad. It leaves the color rings intact.

It’s hard to imagine someone not liking the taste of beetroot. I do love it myself. But, if you really don’t like beetroot, i’m sorry. I can’t think of another vegetable taking the place of beetroot. Better skip this recipe if you really can’t stand it!

Ingredients salad

  • 1 beetroot
  • 2 potatoes
  • around 80 grams of feta
  • a handful of rocket salad
  • 1 -2 spring onions

Ingredients dressing

  • vinegar, white or red wine or apple
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard
  • fresh thyme, picked loose
  • salt
  • pepper

Preparation

  1. wash the beetroot, wrap it loosely in tin foil and bake for an hour in a 200°C warm oven
  2. after around 40 minutes, wash the potatoes and cook them for the remaining 20 minutes
  3. press the garlic, put all the ingredients for the dressing in a small bottle and shake the dressing
  4. put the rocket in a bowl
  5. slice the spring onions and add
  6. slice the feta and add
  7. slice the potatoes and the beetroot and add
  8. drip a few tablespoons of the dressing over the salad and toss the salad a bit
  9. eat!
Published on March 13, 2015 at 6:00 by

A walk in Rotterdam: Van Brienenoordbrug

A walk to the Van Brienenoordbrug in the east of Rotterdam. A bit longer than i thought! My idea was to walk to the island which lies below the bridge, but i didn’t manage that. I saw a McDonalds and i couldn’t resist. I got me a Big Mac menu and took the tram home.

This was after a two and three quarter hour walk, so i gotta give myself a bit a leeway here.

I’m still tired. Yes, this post is gonna be a short one. The pictures with a caption. Enjoy sweeties!

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Published on March 12, 2015 at 6:00 by

Contact

Online since 1995, i have made many steps online, some of which are still visible.

lfs.nl
The biggest step i ever made, lfs.nl. My personal site, filled with presents. The pre-presents have a place here too, starting with retrospective. The first webpage i wrote, publicized on 1 July 1997, almost eightteen years ago at the time of this writing.

Maybe, when you read this somewhere in the future, you will know more than i do now. Maybe than, where there is nothing now, there will be something for you to discover.

Presents started 14 May 1999, with a full day of photos. Shortly after that i made my first flash piece. Two days after that my first square story: Happy Single Square. I kept on working until 2006, with some breaks in between.

A long pause from 2006 till 2014. Only a to do list in 2009, which i never fulfilled. In October 2014 i started to make presents again. As i see it from now, only to write a few pieces i missed. The About page is the final present.

I can only invite you to visit lfs.nl and go through the presents. A list of my personal favourites may guide you. The square stories which are linked on the homepage are not to be missed. There! I said it! Not to be missed!

Spotify and last.fm
Joined last.fm in 2005. In spotify you can post the music you’re listening to to last.fm. So at the time of writing i do see i am listening to The Knife with Heartbeats.

I have known many periods of silence in which i hardly play music. At the time of writing, march 2015, i am in full music listening mode. I mostly listen to my own MIX playlists.

flickr and instagram
Joined October 2004. Comes and goes too. With my blog don’t see myself picking up flickr that much again. But you never know. I’ve instagrammed a bit as well, but i do prefer flickr.

The sunrises of October 2014, the two walks with Urban Photo Collective, the Lord of the Rings Online screenshots, the World of Warcraft screenshots, my cats, food, a walk in Brussels. All for you to see.

Delicious
A bookmark service i used extensively between 2005 and 2010. I spent hours tagging and bundling my links. Most are about my work, front-end development. For now it sits quietly between my daily bookmarks.

Twitter
Joined January 2008. I do still like twitter. I do! Not the ads though. But it’s still a decent enough interface. I’m not that much of a twitter talker, but i do tweet about a post from this blog frequently. And yes, sometimes i do read tweets about a program while watching. Like the Zomergasten cycle each summer.

Facebook
I took a Facebook account around 2009 and did nothing with it for years. I got more active last year, November 2014. I added some photos, began to post a bit more. But i have to say, now, after a few months, it’s all just messy. Now i simply post when i have a new post online.

I did set an Ello account a few months ago. I do like the look of it, but it does need some energy from my side put into it. I simply haven’t had time yet to really start using it.

Published on March 11, 2015 at 6:00 by

Skincare: face and body

Over the years i’ve used many different types of skincare.

I did use mostly Clinique things. It was high end, but not too expensive. I used the Superdefense moisturizer SPF 20. As a night cream i used the Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer. I did try the Clinique 3 step system with soap and moisturizer, but it never stuck. I still have a small Super Rescue tube, which i will use up in the coming months.

A few years ago i started to read about skincare on blogs and watch more make-up and skincare youtube clips. Some recommended Dr. Jetske Ultee, a research physician in cosmetic dermatology. She has a list of recommended products (in dutch) on her site, which i now use as a starting point. It is hard though not to be tempted by all the beautiful selling talk which is thrown at you on the street, in the shops and online.

Skincare: face
For cleaning i mostly use warm water. Since i do not use make-up daily, water is enough for me. I do have a Body Shop Aloe calming facial cleanser and Aloe calming toner for when i do need to remove make-up, but i only use it once every two or three weeks.

As day cream i now use the Olaz total effects day cream perfume free. It is a soft cream with hardly any smell which does get absorbed into the skin quickly. It leaves my skin feeling soft and fresh, just what i need. The Total Effects most important ingredient is Niacinamide (2).

This cream will cost you around 20 euros, but the Kruidvat shop does have regular 50% discounts on this brand, so keep an eye out for that. I also have a Olaz serum i irregularly use, the Olaz Total effects Instant smoothing serum.

I did use Ren for a short time in between the Clinique and Olaz products. I did enjoy the feel and packaging of this brand. Sadly it’s getting a bit too expensive for me right now. I still have a Bio Retinoid anti-ageing concentrate i sometimes use in the evening.

On the market i bought a pure argan oil for use on my face as well.

I did stop using a dedicated night cream all together. I use the oil now sometimes. I could use my day cream as a night cream, since it doesn’t have an SPF in it. This was also a conclusion i reached after reading about on the blog of Dr. Jestke Ultee.

Skincare: face, soon
There are two more product types i will start using soon. First it is an exfoliant. I should read more about the two different types – salicylic acid and glycolic acid – and make an informed choice. My skin seems fairly normal to me, not overly oily or dry. I do get a red face quickly though, so i think i have a sensitive skin. It seems that salicylic acid is the best for me, since it’s a bit milder and suitable for a sensitive skin.

The other product i want to start using is a sun protector. This does coincide with the exfoliant, which makes your skin more sensitive to sunshine, since your upper skin layer will be thinner. I will go through the list on the product advice page and will pick an affordable one out to start with.

Skincare: hands and body
I did find my favourite hand cream of all time, the L’Occitane Shea Butter Ultra Rich Hand Cream. I use a bit in the morning and a bit in the evening, rubbing it into the upper side of my hands. It’s a wonderful thick cream, with a faint honey and almond smell. I just bought my second tube of this stuff. I simply don’t wanna use anything else.

I was tempted and bought a Shea Butter Body Cream as well. It is wonderful stuff. Yes, the price is a bit high, 33 euros for 200 ml. I will go back to making a homemade body butter. I do like the idea of knowing all the ingredients in what i use. It’s also pretty easy to make it yourself, you only need a few ingredients.

Skincare: body butter recipe
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Shea Butter
  • 1/2 cup Cocoa Butter or Mango Butter
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 cup light oil like almond, olive or jojoba
  • Optional: 10-30 drops Essential Oils for scent

Instructions

  1. In a double boiler or glass bowl, combine all ingredients except essential oils.
  2. Bring to medium heat and stir constantly until all ingredients are melted.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  4. Move to fridge and let cool another 1 hour or until starting to harden but still somewhat soft.
  5. Use a hand mixer to whip for 10 minutes until fluffy.
  6. Return to fridge for 10-15 minutes to set.
  7. Store in a glass jar with a lid and use as you would regular lotion or body butter. If your home stays above 75 degrees, it may soften and need to be kept at the fridge, but it will stay whipped at a temperature lower than that.
  8. Enjoy!

A year and a half ago i went to drugstore de Lang in Rotterdam to buy the ingredients for this butter. Soon i will go back there and get more ingredients. Just a short trip with the tram is all i need. Or… i could go for a walk!

Skincare
I do feel the products i use are fairly basic. But i admit, i do love a bit of pampering. I do not use the body butter each day. I do use it around twice a week on my arms and legs. I try to show a bit of restraint in the products i use. But yeah, i do get tempted!

I am curious about using an exfoliator. I have never used it, so i will make my skin get used to it slowly. I’ll keep you informed about my experiences with it.

For Dutch people, the website of Dr. Jetske Ultee is a great resource. I’m afraid i do not know any similar site in english, or any other language. If you do know any such site, with clear and precise information about beauty products, please share that in the comments below.

Published on March 10, 2015 at 6:00 by

A walk in Rotterdam: around North

It is the first spring day of the year. I walk out the door around half past one. I go over the bridge and start to walk to the Noordsingel. Looking through the houses i change my mind and walk past Gare du Nord, a lovely vegan restaurant in an old train. Then i walk to the Noordsingel.

It is so lovely. The trees start to show buds, a first cherry blossom is visible. Birds are flying through the air. Two gooses sit along the water with their five hatchlings. There is only the quiet sounds of sunday traffic buzzing around.

I walk to the Gandhigarden at the end of the Noordsingel. A year and a half ago i went to the garden a few times and helped out with weeding and binding up the tomato plants. It is a communal allotment garden with several other functions. I walked around the whole garden, through the forest edge and through the other individual gardens. I drank a cup of tea, enjoyed the sunshine.

I say goodbye to everyone there and start walking back. This time i walk along the old unused traintracks to the old Hofplein station. I go up the stairs to the luchtsingel and then head back home.

A lovely day.

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Published on March 9, 2015 at 6:00 by