Saturday, May 20, 2017

so this happened...

In my head, I've written so many witty, insightful, beautiful, and remarkable scraps these past months. At least once a week, there was something to share. we are, I was too busy with things like mastering the sour dough,

studying for my clinical license, letting 'my' politicians know how I think/feel about things, and other work/hobbies. But. This past week, this happened:

Vera with her BFA (Bachelors in Fine Art) from the School of the Art Institute Chicago 

Emma in Bryant Park, NYC, after walking for her BFA and French
So naturally, celebrations were in order! And thankfully, we could attend both ceremonies, in appropriate birth order. And fortunately, my mom could be there for all of it as well (like last year for Thijs). And when we celebrate, we celebrate in style....

Emma and Thijs enjoying dollar pizza on the streets of NYC...

the crew with beer at Fraunces Tavern 
We also take in other cultural aspects of course, such as the Metropolitan Museum and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.

some reflection on past and future was done
No witty insightful things to share, just joy at the accomplishments of my smart and kind daughters. They worked hard, learned a tremendous amount. They have plans, dreams. Just like the other graduates I'm assuming. 

Vera and proud dad
Next week it is back to the usual, for my love and me, although things are going to be different. A new phase in life for the four of us, one that Thijs started last year.

processing the good byes
Maybe I'll keep you updated, maybe I won't. There will be new places and new paths to explore. Exciting and scary. Here we go.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

dragons and unicorns

Already it seems long ago and therefore even more of a dream- our week in Roma, Italia. My love was already in the eternal city for work and I followed to meet up in front of a large round-top wooden door of a 16th century palazzo, now divided into many apartments.

balcony and inner court yard
We enjoyed breakfast and aperitif on the balcony and in between walked the ancient streets, took in all the art and more than we could process, and marveled.

view from Castello San Angelo
The dragons (and some unicorns) are of course symbolic although by now I've seen so many depicted that I am starting to believe that there may have been such creatures roaming (and reading LOTR and HP).

Dragon fountain Villa D'Este, Tivoli
Our apartment was small, a bit too bare, but essentially all we needed (and climbing up the old stone stairs, passing through several heavy wood-with-iron-locks castle doors to arrive added a lot to the charm). It made me rethink -only for a little while- whether I would want to jump on the tiny-house band wagon.

along the Tiber
A bandwagon that I could join is that of the beautiful, delicious, deceptively simple food.  Buffalo mozzarella bought at the supermarket and so tasty that all you need to pair it with is an equally tasty tomato. Grilled artichoke hearts, not otherwise enhanced...'home made' fresh linguine with just a hint of Gorgonzola and pepper... paper-thin pizza crust lightly topped...

church on the Piazza Navonne

Pizza and pasta and house wine every evening, and still not gaining an ounce. That is the miracle of the Mediterranean diet (you do have to walk all day, everywhere, and climb all those stairs to make this happen).

frescoes everywhere
quilt pattern mosaics everywhere

And I got to experience all that with my love.  Now, if only I could figure out how to download the pictures from my phone onto my computer (darn windows 10), I could show you some more dragons and perhaps the one unicorn!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

about midlife, rivers, and roads

I'll say this: my personal midlife is excellent. I'm privileged and lucky and I know it.
Jake, Vera, Emma
See: privy.  To have the opportunity to tackle another bucket list item with these excellent travel companions. The hiking in RMP (Rocky Mountain National Park) was bonus! We had to cross some rivers and drive many long roads to get there. So very worth it.

Because this is what we came to experience:

The Tallest Man on Earth, and the Head and the Heart, at Red Rocks Amphitheater. And it was as amazing as the rest of the trip.

I guess that once you are over 50 years young, you feel the finite nature of your time on earth a bit more and you start with ticking of the bucket list items. At least, we seem to be doing it, my love and I. Most of our items seem to involve traveling.

my amazingly comfortable camelbak, I've had it for many years and it still looks new
Lucky us then, that we have the amount of days off that Europeans find no longer incredible (starting with 5 or 10 daysoff is just inconceivable for most Dutch people). But there are other advantages of being over 50. Priorities change, and I care less to impress other people.

During the hiking, I often walked alone (being the slow poke and least fit) which suited me in the most excellent way because I am such an introvert. However, another highlight of hiking arrived in the form of my friend Julie, who was kind enough to keep pace with me. Like a true introvert, I do not have many close friends, and it is difficult to describe what I felt: joyful recognition of the meeting of minds/souls...which went way too fast. Telling me that I should make it a point to connect more with those precious few, in my 'old age' (ahem).

And thus, I got a taste of wind-in-my-hair-let-it-all-go, causing me to drive with the windows open and blasting the Head and the Heart singing along out of tune at the top of my lungs this afternoon.

view from our cabin
With everything going on in the world, it is not always easy to forget that others may never have these chances (for too many reasons to count). And I don't actually forget. I just try to make the best of my life in spite of it , and I try to do what I can to alleviate things, and I will vote, with my head and my heart.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

our house, is a very very very fine house,

with four cats in the yard, life used to be so hard, now everything is easy cause (adapted from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)- no really, because we are white, highly educated people, who make a decent living- let's be real about this. (all pictures to follow from my phone, will post more later)

evening in Bowmore, Isle of Islay

When we were visiting family in the Netherlands (for two days) last week, we enjoyed connecting with my brother-in-law and his family sitting in their backyard retreat. Our nephews and their girlfriends were all saying how much they would like to visit the USA and how cool they think that will be. They seemed to think we live in a gigantic house and were surprised we do not have a pool in our backyard. If and when they do accept our open invitation, they may be very disappointed to find our home shabbier and less tastefully appointed then their own (albeit larger in size and acreage).

Glasgow Botanic garden

London dock lands view of downtown
We visited my own brother and his family as well- they have been here and know the real deal: it's a very very very fine house. Which we are grateful has not been swept away by floods yet or been a victim of wild fires- watching the devastation in other parts of our country on the news means we feel even more grateful that we are safe and sound right here.

The Prospect of Whitbey, London's oldest pub

another very old pub, owned by sir Ian McKellen- it's  very nice for drinking but the food is atrocious (except for the fries)
Before spending the last days of our trip with immediate family (some highlights included my niece proudly  showing me her school and a Sunday afternoon family gathering for fresh asparagus and delightful company, not to mention I actually had an evening with my 'best' friend), we had the good fortune to explore the UK before Brexit.

a Koran, Islamic art, the Victoria and Albert museum

National Gallery (London), detail, Crivelli

West Minster Abbey, private quarters
London, for a couple of days (pubs, musea). Then the Isle of Islay (pronounced counter-intuitive 'eyelah') for two short days, and an evening in Glasgow. Kind of a whirlwind of a trip- we spend a lot of our time traveling and will not plan any future trips in a similar way, still, we are fortunate to even have been able to experience all the things/places we did.

landscape, Isle of Islay

street view, Isle of Islay

Port Ellen, Isle of Islay

road side view

Upon return, we found a less than fresh offering of maggot-invested chipmunk on our dining room rug, and some 'pissed' on clothes in our closet, and welcoming (four) cats in our very very very fine house.

sunset, Bowmore harbor

Sunday, May 22, 2016

lightning fast,

time is going.

So many things happened since last time I posted. My mom came to witness her oldest grandchild Thijs graduate from college (a bachelors and a masters in 4 years, 1 major, one minor, with distinction, I will just brag a little); almost everyone came together to celebrate in the big city (just our youngest, Emma, was terribly missed) and then life went on...with more adventures.

Minor events included major bloodletting for the wallet with a new airco/heatpump system, satisfaction guaranteed however we are not satisfied so that needs some work... Major loss at work of our research person (what's a research project without?), and it is that time of year of open doors and windows on occasion, and cool enough nights that we have had fires in the hearth as well, making me happy.

When my mom was here, it was her wish to see deer in our backyard. Here you go mom, the past two days we have had regular visits:

Mostly, my love and I work long days and try to enjoy this and the hours off to celebrate life as much as we can. Because :

Sunday, April 3, 2016


My birthday is coming up- but this isn't about those wishes. I'm a lucky girl (I've said that before) and although it is nice to be surprised with gifts, that's not really what birthdays are about: the celebration of the gift of life to me.

I have wishes for everyone- why not. Wouldn't it be a better world  if we would forget about all the boxes we try to put ourselves and others in and make rules on how people should behave according to their box and instead, the individual approach would be: what do you need to grow to be the best you that you can be, and how can I help you to achieve that? 

We would not need any diagnoses and boxes and labels. Just ways to find out how we can help others grow and be happy. And a system that would be responsive to those 'needs'.

Right now, the system looks a bit like the picture above: it is near impossible to find a way and there are too many dead ends. People can only get what is available to their box (if they know how to jump the hoops), and if they happen to need something that the next box over is eligible for, they are simply sol.

what my love and Thijs are working on right now
So that is my wish. I am not sure if I explained it well. It might sound like somewhat of a Utopia. How sad though- if that sounds unattainable.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

patience is a virtue, my grandma always said

(And she was right). You, my readers, whomever you are, have been waiting for a new scraps for a while. Maybe patiently, maybe not, I don't know.

The thing is, I'm doing well, I'm busy, I'm happy, but my laptop is 'on the fritz'. For instance, scrolling is difficult, and it won't read my camera card- no new pictures available. These are random oldies but goodies...

The battery requires to be plugged in at all times. In any case, it is time to back it all up and put a new laptop on my wishlist (birthday maybe?). And  so you see why I am not writing new scraps.

I thought I'd let you know. Not  much news from this end either- no changes including my backpain (in spite of what I have to  assume is the docs' best efforts).

Also, it is near impossible sometimes to write a scraps that is not politically tinted, in these tumultuous times, and I was trying to keep all of that for some other place.

The weather here- always a great small talk topic- is roller-coastering from freeze to short-sleeves warmth yesterday, and I had really forgotten how nice it is to walk around barefoot and have the windows open...

Wishing you all well until my wish comes true (just the one material wish ;-)