School diaries

A couple of years ago i cleaned up my diaries collection. The last ten or twenty years i used a refillable one, up until i finally got a smartphone. I threw away all the fills. There was nothing of interest in it. But my old school diaries i couldn’t throw away. Especially the two which i photographed for this post, the ones from 78/79 and 79/80. The pages of these diaries are filled with pictures of pretty girls, stories and most of all, music!

You can actually see the shift in my taste. Up until 78 my taste was very much influenced by my elder sister. She is eight and a half years older than me. So Steely Dan, Little Feat, the Eagles, Crosby, Stills Nash and Young, J.J. Cale, Stevie Wonder and so many others were coming out of her world. Over the years, Steely Dan has come back into focus and is now one of my favourite bands of all time, but the other bands didn’t fare that well.

The first band that got my attention, fired me up, with bells and ringlets and triangles was the Nina Hagen Band. She performed on a Dutch show from Sonja Barend and i was totally in love!

Other new bands from this time were Gruppo Sportivo, Elvis Costello and yes, of course the Police.

Enjoy!

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Published on May 5, 2015 at 6:00 by

A normal day

Today was a normal day. I did sleep well. Honestly! And i did feel a bit tired, but not too much. I actually watched this BBC show on tv ‘Homes under the hammer’ this morning for a bit. Well ok, i missed half of it, but still! It was months ago since i last saw that. And then i went out for some shopping. I needed to get some catty litter, mustard. I also got some chocolate. Hmmm 🙂

In the afternoon i went out again and walked to Joline Jolink‘s shop, which is around 25 minutes walking. I got myself the green sweatpants which were alluring me for quite some time. They are the ones you see at the top of this post. I am wearing them now and they are wonderful!

When i got home one of my customers called about work. I needed to do some logo refinements.

After that i made some dinner. A salad with fennel, lettuce, potatoes and parsley and chives. The dressing had anchovy, garlic, mustard, salt, pepper, an apple vinegar and olive oil. It was lovely.

2015-04-30-17.26.35

Tonight i’m gonna watch another Harry Potter movie on tv. Hopefully i will have another sleepfull night.

Good weekend!

Published on May 1, 2015 at 6:00 by

A woman

Being a woman is a given to me. It is not a property which i question. I am actually quite happy being a woman. I love my own body. I know i should loose a couple of kilo’s. Well, let’s say ten, or well, twenty. But i am not that bothered by it. Not anymore.

In the last talk i had in the company i worked at last year, my boss there said to me:

You’re such a woman!
Je bent zo’n vrouw!

To which i replied

You are so right!
Daar heb je helemaal gelijk mee!

There was also a bit of an eye movement going upwards. A bit of a sigh. At least that is how i remember that moment. This was towards the end of the talk.

After this talk, i walked a floor up and asked the team i had promised to do some work for if they really needed me. When they said no, i said i was going home that day, or rather, in few hours or so. I went back to my workplace, went out for lunch to get a bit more quiet, got back and turned of my computer and brought it to the service desk. I then gave the remaining moo cards to my then present colleagues and exchanged phone numbers. I then walked down to the cafeteria. I told the barista that i was leaving. He did react surprised. He actually got a bit more angry than me. But it was ok.

He gave me some coffee. After a few minutes my boss came in. We had a short talk, i don’t even remember what was said. Then i saw the scrummaster of my team. I went up to him, shook his hand, told him i would be at the farewell lunch the next week, and said goodbye. With my boss i walked to the reception, i gave my key and left the building.

I know it was a mess. This has never happened to me before. But i also felt that this was enough. I could see an upcoming fight to try to get things a bit more right. I wasn’t sure i would succeed at it. But i felt the road ahead was closed to me, partly by my own actions and feelings. So i left. Relieved.

The expression my boss had when he said to me ‘you are such a woman’ was mostly one of exasperation. Which to me meant that i wasn’t supposed to act like a woman. I was supposed to act like a man? Like a child? Like a hermaphrodite? Like something neutral?

I’m not even sure what behaviour of me caused that remark. But the remark is still with me. I still think about it. I’m still puzzled by it.

Today i read two articles about Joris Luyendijk and his book about the London City people working at banks and making millions: Dit kan niet waar zijn: onder bankiers (This cannot be true: with bankers), which he wrote after interviewing many of them for The Guardian. The first article was in the Dutch paper Trouw: Het amorele systeem waarin wij leven. Joris speaks about this travels through the Netherlands and the speeches he gives. People keep telling him: it’s not like that only in London City, it’s here too. There is no inherent value anymore in our work, it’s all measurable targets, figures, efficiency.

Joris: ‘Morality has become suspect. There is only one thing which gets moralized about and that is that we can not moralize anymore. But the absence of a talk about who we want to be leads to a shattering.’

The next article was in the Dutch paper NRC (you need to get a initial subscription and read Dutch): Bankiers leven in een amoreel universum.

Joris: ‘The biggest compliment in the world of the amoral shareholder value is calling someone ‘professional’. It means that you keep your emotions outside of work, including moral convictions. Those are for the home environment.’

Being called a woman by a man or a woman means, for me, being called emotional. Being called a person who feels. Being called unprofessional.

I do not consider myself unprofessional. I do enjoy delivering quality in my work. I do enjoy thinking along and together with the customer. But there have only been a handful of customers who appreciated that from me, in the twenty years i’ve been working. Most simply want me to do what they ask from me. Even if what they want is so wrong for them.

As i said before, this post does not end in a definite answer to last for eternity. I’m thinking. And talking to you, the person who reads this. I do have so many questions, about the world, about the people, about us leading our lives, with fear and uncertainty and love and friendship and loneliness.

I wish you many thoughts. Enjoy.

Published on April 30, 2015 at 6:00 by

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