Thursday, November 10, 2011

Our 11.11.11. Weekend

It's been a long day, so for now I leave you with a summary of how our weekend will be!  Hope to share the actual pictures in the coming days in corresponding blogposts.

How are you spending your 11.11.11 weekend?

Friday, 11.11.11

Littlest's 4th birthday!
archive picture of the Littlest from 13.10.11 before one of our Autumn walks

Saturday, 12.11.11

Off to Germany for a day of thermal spa/Pick-up of my bib at the Olympic Stadium

archived picture of one of our Saturday swim in Bad Bentheim - 12.08.11

Sunday, 13.11.11

10K ~ 36th edition of Olympic Stadium Amsterdam Run (perhaps the older girls will accompany Littlest to run the 1K)
collage of my first 8K run - finish line was in the Olympic Stadium - 16.10.11

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Simplifying Yule

this image was the album cover of our online advent calendar album 2010

Tonight, I still feel a bit of pain on my left shoulder and the length of my arm caused by the strain of  pushing the Littlest in her jogger as I power walked/jogged the 10 kms distance from yesterday.  It has been a long while since she last used the jogger because she usually prefers to use her bike trainer, and I simply bring the jogger along in case she gets tired during our walks, and would like to take a short nap on our way back.

Curiously when one is exhausted, nursing a bit of pain, all the fun things you have planned and carefully thought  and laid out, no longer feel planned, carefully thought and laid out but all seems to be threatheningly looming over one.

I am trying not to feel over-whelmed from the upcoming events, appointments this month, and the thought that although on the calendar we still have enough time to prepare for the Yuletide season, there is always never enough time to prepare of this ideal picture of Yuletide we all seem to have even though we all should know better!

Each and every year, I feel that around this time, I have to revisit in my consciousness an informal pact I made with myself a decade ago, that I will not let myself be swayed by what seems to be the hectic attached to the Yuletide season but make sure that I focus on what is most important: it is a season for the family.  A time of quiet contemplation.

Simplifying Yule.  I think this year will be a good time to write a series of blogs on how I try each and every year to achieve this with the help of my family.

Are you interested to read along?  How do you prepare for the Yuletide season?  How do you simplify, and at the same time celebrate this feast?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Autumn Days & Walks (A Season of Transitions)

Another quick post for today!  It's been one of those days when I am almost tempted to skip a day. (this is backdated, since it is way past midnight and I am rushing that I can go to bed)

Littlest spent another sit-in at her new school today. Last week Tuesday (see image above), she met for the second time with her new teacher (first time was last month when we talked about the schedule of the sit-ins), and for the first time her new classmates (20+ little ones like her!). It went great!

Today went well, with a little challenge here and there which is understandable - more on this some other time, when there is more peace to write out Littlest experiences and adventures at school.

In the late afternoon, until early evening, I walked with Littlest - packed warmly in her jogger - the 10 km distance, that I would run on Sunday - again more on this, before the weekend!

Below is a collage of one of our Autumn walks in October, parts of which I walked/jogged past today.

There are several transitions the family and I are going through, and I am proud to say, that although we are stressed, we - each and everyone of us!!! - are trying are hardest to not let it affect us too long, and we either talk about how to lessen and diminish it, or we take concrete action to not let stress rule us completely.

Hope you are all taking time to make sure that you enjoy the Autumn season!  It goes by way too fast, I feel.

Monday, November 7, 2011

March Eats Mozzarella! (A Day in the Life)

It makes such a huge difference when P is at home, even when he is convalencing, and recuperating from a very exhausting work week. His presence gives off this positive source of energy I could feed on, and need to simply gain strength and better perspective, again.

from Summer 2009 - 03.07.09

from Summer 2009 - 26.06.09
Although he could have slept in this morning, he stood up with me and help prepare the girls for school by finishing the paper work for the application of days away from school, they need imperatively this month. After,the girls left, we shared a quiet breakfast together, while the littlest slept in. P took a nap on the sofa beside me, while I replied to emails, and wrote down how our week schedule will be.

Tomorrow, littlest will go again for a second Tuesday meeting to get to know her teacher and classmates before she officially starts with school on the 14th of November. The first getting to know day, a week ago, went marvelously. We were SO proud of her, and she was SO proud of herself. Since we were welcome to stay, we did, and was able to see how the day (at least half of it) went for the children. We left as they were taking their snacks, and two hours later we picked her up again.

So, when she finally woke-up this morning, and joined P and me on the couch, we enjoyed the moment with her even more knowing next week, she would no longer be there as we are used to, and that her days will also follow, albeit slowly, the school calendar.

One important email we got today, is from the doctor' clinic, telling us that the doctor's certificate, that I need to submit to qualify me for the Rome marathon will "only" cost €24,80! It is still costly but at least it is not € 60 or € 160! This was a huge relief for us.

We then checked again the cost of the room in the hotel we would like to get which is 20 minutes away from the city centre of Rome. I can't share specific details here now but I'll share some other things about the hotel in another blog of this series "Baby Steps to the Road Leading to Rome", as soon as we have made a reservation to give you a picture where we will be staying.

Both of us agreed, that if the prices stay as they are, until I have submitted all the papers and have gotten a confirmation of my participation in the Rome marathon, we will reserve 5 nights in our chosen hotel. We will get to stay 3 more days after I've ran the marathon!

The girls are all excited! Specially the eldest, who has been fascinated from Italy for quiet a while now, and intend to learn Italian outside of the school curriculum. It will be a short visit for now for the family but we think enough time to give the girls lasting impressions to initially satisfy their curiosity and fascination.

While I was once again checking the current prices for airline tickets, we searched for information regarding the climate and weather around mid-March in Rome. We stumbled upon this Italian phrase,"Marzo è pazzerello" - meaning March is crazy, as the weather at this time of the year, to quote the travel guide we read: notoriously capricious.

This reminded us of the German saying, "April, April es kann machen, was es will!" (literally meaning, April can do whatever it wants; this saying explains more or less, that April in Germany/Netherlands, can have almost every kind of weather in a day from sunshine to hail!)

Well, we are not at all daunted by this! :) The family lives by the saying, there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing!

When we searched how to pronounce "Marzo è pazzerello" , we had the giggles! It almost sounded like March eats mozzarella! lol

The rest of the early afternoon was spent simply repeating more Italian phrases; some words were even familiar because of our previous visits to an Italian restaurant in Hamburg, ran by an Italian family. I think it is the best way to learn a language, learn while you eat!

We all have at least 4-5 months to prepare, and perhaps we can order a simple family meal in Italian by Spring 2012. I think my family will even be happy if they can just each order one scoop of gelato by themselves! lol

Marzo sarà pazzesco! Gelato consumo pazzesco!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Jij Bent Zo

P worked from midnight, and came home at 10 am today.

It's been a hard week, but we are glad that at least we could spend Saturday evening together on the family couch. even if he has to work again late Sunday afternoon, until way past midnight.

Sometimes, you have to make the best of what you have.

While watching a Dutch TV programm: "Wetten dat ich het kann!" (I bet that I can do it!), P and I reminisced on the song, one of the very first Dutch song that he shared to me online.

Hope you like it, and may you all have a whole weekend to share with family, love ones, or simply to relax from a whole work week in peace.

Jeroen van der Boom: Jij bent zo

Zeg ik nee, zeg jij ja.
En wil ik gaan slapen,
wil jij ineens graag en oh
Zeg ik stop ga jij toch,
nog even door
En ik krijg geen gehoor.

Stroomt het bier uit de kraan,
wil jij naar huis.
Zeg ik laten we gaan,
geef jij niet thuis .
Maar het kan me niet schelen, want

Jij bent zo
Ik heb je dan nooit anders gekend, en zo
zou ik jou 't liefste houden.
Je bent zo
Met jou verveel ik me geen moment, en oh
Ook al doe je echt geen moeite
Je bent zo
Ik raak gewoon nooit aan je gewend, zo
Wil ik verder leven samen met jou

Zal ik jou ooit begrijpen
Ik zou het niet willen
Ik hou van je grillen
Jij maakt dat ik nooit een dag
niet heb geleefd
Dus verras me maar weer
Ook al doet het soms zeer

En is wit in de mode
draag jij zwart
Weet je 't zeker
dan nog volg jij je hart
Iedereen zou zich schamen, maar

Jij bent zo
Ik heb je dan nooit anders gekend, en zo
zou ik jou 't liefste houden
Je bent zo
Met jou verveel ik me geen moment, en oh
Ook al doe je echt geen moeite
Je bent zo
Ik raak gewoon nooit aan je gewend, zo
wil ik verder leven samen met jou

Ik wil je echt niet anders
Ook al wil je meer tijd voor jou alleen
Toch voel ik me met jou zo samen een
Want ik weet dat je van me houdt

Jij bent zo
Ik heb je dan nooit anders gekend, en zo
Zou ik jou t liefste houden
Je bent zo
Met jou verveel ik me geen moment, en oh
Ook al doe je echt geen moeite
Je bent zo
Ik raak gewoon nooit aan je gewend zo
Wil ik verder leven samen met jou

Jij bent zo
Met jou verveel ik me geen moment, oh
Je bent zo
Ik raak gewoon nooit aan je gewend zo
Wil ik verder leven samen

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Introducing ~ Happy Feet of a Couch Potato

first day of training

Almost three months ago (8th of August), I started an 8 week training regimen towards running an 8 km goal, which I happily completed last 16th of October at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam.  Unbelievable that it's only been 3 months since I finally started dedicating time to a childhood dream!

Below is the summary in images of how I - a certified couch potato - became a running junkie!

All the stories of the past three months, each journey of individual runs depicted in the images below, as well as future adventures in running will be told on a blog page, I created to specifically store all the images, impressions, experience of this metamorphoses.
Please, hop on over and check out : "Happy Feet of a Couch Potato"!  Learn how "Dreaming of Paris" is just as fulfilling and empowering as actually going there!

collage of  my first ever 5K run

Medal for the 6.4 km Run2Day Ladies Run in Amsterdam

Good Morning Run Amsterdam
Just after crossing the finish line!

Medal for the 8K run in Amsterdam

Halloween Run Amsterdam
Edit (20.02.12): While Happy Feet of the Couch Potato will be the home of my musings (philosopical thoughts :D) about running, and how I (TRY to!) conquer the battles of daily life, that I may be able to run well, Happy Feet in the Netherlands will document the journey, the challenges, triumph and yeah, occasionally failure of running through the Netherlands, and bringing this happy feet abroad with me to run for pleasure, recreational races, or simply discover different running trails.

UPDATE 18.06.14: I think I did not make much sense in this blog! In fairness :D I was still sorting myself out. I am still sorting myself out as I write these lines actually. hahaha But I have gained more clarity since I wrote this post.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Morning or Evening Blogger?

Image borrowed from NaBloPoMo-BlogHer

It feels good to be in real time blogging once again!  As I wrote in my previous blog, I backdated it for it to be yesterday's post although written this afternoon - mainly because my OCDiness can't handle it.

Now, it's half  past 10 PM, and I am making mental plans of  my blogging schedule for this month, either early in the mornings or before I go to bed.

In the past, I have seen that although it is nice to start in the morning, the day could sometimes bring more interesting topics.

On the other hand, the day could also become so busy that one could forget posting, and not be reminded of the deed until one is lying in bed!

I'll probably be doing a free style blogging this week while I continue to think how the schedule of the next weeks of November will be.  I've always wanted to see how it works with scheduled (drafting posts for pre-publishing) blogging, and perhaps this month will be a good way to find out if I like it or not.

I have a strong inclination to give 365 days of blogging another try in 2012.  Life in the Netherlands is settling into a beautiful, (almost!) rhythmic routine.  P (my life partner) and I could (almost!) plan ahead our travels with the family, and it's (almost!) going well with scheduling, juggling and balancing family life, work and hobbies.

Speaking of hobbies - one thing that speaks for starting the day early with blogging is,  it will be one good incentive to stand up really early and follow it up directly with a jog/or a run.

After the Summer, and before the girls went back to school, I started training for running - finally!  This is one subject that I still have to share in many blog installments.

Another subject, is the littlest starting with kindergarden or it's equivalent here in the Netherlands.  Eldest will be in her last year of school, and we are busy trying to find a new school for her (equivalent of high school). 

Writing all that does motivate me to commit to a 365 days of blogging project.  As I wrote before journaling has a way of calming me when changes seem to be moving me and the family to new, and different directions in light speed.

How about you fellow blogger, dear readers? How do you start your day? How do you make sure you live your day consciously? Do you often experience the feeling of, "where did the day(s) go"?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaBloPoMo - November

Hello, November!  Hello fellow bloggers!

Admittedly, this is a backdated post (it's actually the 2nd of November 3:39 PM as I write this and not 1st of November 3:39 PM). 

An hour ago, I was reminded by a post of a favourite blogger that NaBloPoMo for November has begun. The event basically remains the same but has moved on a different site; it is now housed at NaBloPoMo at BlogHer, and managed by Melissa Ford.

There are so many reasons, I could use to skip partcipating, but like everyone else, who has fallen in love with blogging, the theme for November: “Blog­ging for Blogging’s Sake,” was simply a melodious call to simply blog, and be part of the month-long blogging madness. 

Before I started with today's post, I read the daily writing prompt: “What is your favourite part about writing?”. I could not come up with a quick answer, and so I continued writing...

It's been my intention after the late Summer to go back to Daily Mooosing...but like everyone else, I slide back to the old habit of waiting for the "perfect moment" (when chores are all done, when I totally feel positively about myself and the world at large) to do it, instead of creating this  perfect moment in my head.

I seem to often times achieve this by writing down for example: positive thoughts I would like to affirm daily, impressions of how the day went, as simple as they might be.  But again, like everyone else, the simple seems to be not good enough to share. 

When  life starts becoming hectic though, and there seems to be no time for those simple things that give you pleasure, it is exactly the "perfect moment" to do exactly that - do the simple things, bask on the simple pleasure, and share them!

Going back on today's (or November 1st's) writing prompt: “What is your favourite part about writing?” - this is my favourite part, when I feel that I come to answers through written reflection, and the best part is when all these reflection will resonate with other readers, may it be right after I published this post or weeks, months and years later.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Back to Blogging & Daily Mooosings!

I'm back from a long Summer and blogging break!

Today the girls' Autumn school break officially begins, and I take this day as an opportunity to blow virtual cobwebs from this beloved online writing corner.

How is everyone? How was your Summer? What are keeping you busy this Autumn and what are your plans for Winter?

I have to admit a personal defeat for not fulfilling the challenge to myself to blog 365 days this year. Life priorities needed reviewing before the Summer begun, and I used early Autumn to talk to my partner and family about important matters we need to think through and plan before the year ends and before the onset of the New Year 2012.

More changes, more transition, and more personal & family adventures!

All these I will be writing about in the next days, and I hope to enjoy once again your reading company.

For now, I leave you with the collage of our memorable Summer 2011.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

34th Birthday Pictures Resurfaced!

image was taken by my old  Nokia mobile


While sorting through 5 years worth of images, I stumbled upon what I thought were lost forever - pictures from my 34th birthday!

I am very sentimental, and this set of pictures is not only important to me because it was my birthday but it was the last "grand celebration" (in my humble grand way!) I had in Germany.  I did not wait for my 35th birthday to celebrate it in a big fashion but wanted to use the 34th birthday as an occasionto give thanks to all the girlfriends, lovely ladies, who have helped me through a difficult period.

Now, in hindsight, I am very grateful I did organize that birthday celebration (although I spent my wages from a new job, I started only a month before!)  because it was the last time I gathered them before we moved here in the Netherlands.

I am hoping for my 40th, I could do something special and gather girlfriends again! I wonder if with enough preparation, and "begging" I could make them come to the Netherlands for it?! Or maybe, I could celebrate it in Germany because I never did have a formal goodbye party.

What do you think is better?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Positive Essence of the Self

Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes).
Walt Whitman (1819-1892) American poet.

It seems contradictory, that I write about wanting to take a break from blogging and here I am maintaining not one but several blogs.

I seek balance and peace.  Sometimes, I find it in the midst of frenetic creative activity.  Contradictory?

Tonight, in the process of editing a 365 self-portrait, two different version came out.

Ultimately, I chose the sepia version as the 365 self-portrait of the day, and shaed it as Being Beautifully 40's post of the day, my page counting the days to my 40th birthday.  I feel it was more self-empowering image, compared to te orangy version, asking for more juice.

I acknowledge both, and feel I am learning more and more to internalize the more positive side of me.

How do you highlight your positive side in daily life?

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Comforts of PMS

One of the many reasons for the 365 is my struggle with PMS. It has affected the quality of life in many ways that I can't describe in only one blog; it's only this year that things have improved since I begun having my cycles at the tender age of 10 y.o.

I have been planning for a long while to change my gynecologist for very personal reason but everything else took priority over it.  I know, I know, nothing should be more important than health but again, that is the reason for the 365,  to aid my family and I adjust our priority carefully and focus on them.

Yesterday was the first time, I simply did not think of being on time with posting the blog, I gave up being anal, and went to bed to rest my mind, my body.  So, you would notice that this once again is a backdated blog (meant for yesterday - Friday but posted  today, Saturday).

 I will be posting more backdated blogs from the time we went to Germany and the first two weeks of the girls going back to school. It's a lot of work but I have to do it to keep me motivated with the 365 of blogging.

This decision is partly influenced after watching Julie & Julia with the family on our Friday Movie night.

This blog, the blogs I created are personal projects to aid me with the transitions of living a new life here in the Netherlands, and although I care very much for my family and friends, who are supporting me, and are grateful to them and all the readers I have thus far connected since I created this blog, I was reminded by the film, that this journey is ultimately my journey, and I can take any path, or do anything to continue that path I chose, as I began the blog.

It's always a challenge to think straight before and during PMS but it's a relief once the cycle is finish and one can think clearly again. With 365, I realise with much clarity, that I am not crazy all the time, but only most of the time. In between, I am rational, and I contribute positively to the lives of my family, my community and the world at large. I am not only the one, who is comforted but I comfort a lot of important people in my life, too.

On those crazy days, meanwhile, I take solace where I can, usually with the simple comforts of  pizza, cola, and brownies.

What are your  comforts for PMS (or you partner's) ?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Being Beautifully 40

Last month, I created a blog to celebrate counting down my 40th birthday, which I called Being Beautifully 40, I blogged about it here.

While writing the post, and fighting an onset of migraine, I came across this quote:
Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful.
Sophia Loren 
 I felt myself relax, and was able to finish putting my thoughts in words and pushing the publish button confidently.

Writing, blogging, biking has helped me find my center, and rediscover that beauty in me - believing in myself.

What keeps you centered?  The secret of your beauty? :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Life is Sweet

Eldest treated me today to a FULL BLAST of "sweetness".

I've been having terrible back-pains the last days, and have been taking it easy. The girls tried hard to do some chores that are not too heavy but also very important and needs to be done, so that it does not pile up when I am finally alot better to resume my daily duties.

Wednesday is always a half-day at school; as the older girls got home, and have eaten lunch, they took out Littlest for a walk to give me some quiet time.

As they came back Middle daughter took nap while Eldest further took care of the kitchen. I smelled something delicious, and that is when she told me she baked brownies for all of us!

As you can see from the upper right corner of the collage, Littlest took the first bite and loved it! It's not for nothing that we call her ChocolaBaby(this is actually a substitute nickname because the actual one will reveal Littlest name)!

Thanks, darling Eldest child, for the wonderfully prepared tea-time snack and for always being the sweetest and most thoughtful daughter and sister.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sleeping Blogger

Welcome, friends, readers, ICLWers! It's been at almost three weeks since my last post here due to a lot of personal matters.

Last night, I was debating with myself whether to post all the drafts meant for the daily blogging (3 weeks worth) to attempt to catch up or go simply on a Summer blog break, and decide what to do later on about all those drafted posts.  I still have not completely made up my mind yet but I am leaning towards a 3-month blogging break so far.

I was thinking if there was a way to delete my name on the list of ICLW the past couple of weeks but I was experiencing a fatigue that everything was such an effort, that I procrastinated about dealing with anything regarding blogging until the ICLW week finally arrived!

The comment on my last posted blog re-awakened this slumbering blogger, in all sense of the word!

I'll see what the ICLW week will bring, and take it one day at a time, just like the idea of this page...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Barefoot in Naarden (Vesting)

As part of 30 Day Bike Challenge in my other blog The Lightness of Being on the Bike, the family cycled together to Naarden Vesting today.

Littlest needed a lot of convincing to say goodbye to the playground we discovered right across De Grote Kerk (Dutch for big church) in Naarden Vesting.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Summer Feeling

Yay! June is here! With it came the sunshine back in Holland!

Today,  my personal challenge of riding the bike for 30 consecutive days commenced.  I will be documenting this experience in The Lightness of Being on the Bike; it is a project to jump start the blog, which I created last April.

I will be blogging on that page daily this month while developing the idea : 30 Days of Bike Challenge, afterwards I would be setting selected days of blogging all about biking, by July.

This project would not have come to life, had I not blogged consistently for the last 5 months.  I am very grateful for the blog events I have participated in April  & May (A to Z Challenge and WordCount Blogathon) and the monthly one week long ICLW.  They, all in their own way, gave me the courage, inspiration, and most of all they brought back the magical delight in blogging!

What plans do you have for June? for Summer?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jammin' in My Jammies

I was listening to Katie Melua, as I celebrated the completion of the 5th month of 365-self~portraits, WordCount Blogathon 2011, and going on strong with 365 days of blogging, also in it's 5th month! 

Sometimes, the only way to overcome the feeling of being closed in, feeling helpless, desperate and hopeless - as if the world, your world is coming to it's end is to simply take life ONE minute, ONE hour, ONE day at a time.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Wordling Daily Mooosings!

I finally am able to participate in at least one of WordCount Blogathon 2011 theme days!  Today is Blogathon Wordle Day.  You could see "My Daily Mooosings in the Netherlands" version in the image below created through Wordle.

As early as now, I am making a promise to myself, that for next year's Blogathon, I would prepare ahead to not miss the fun of doing the suggested theme days. 

Better blog organization is one of the foremost things I have learned from this event.  One does not have to compromise a lot of quality time nor creativity, if one plans ahead.  I use to feel strongly about being spontaneous with the blogs I post but the more I progress towards goals I have set in my life (conscious and unconscious ones!), the more the need arise for scheduled blogging and online time. 

All these progress has been gained through writing/blogging, I feel it very ironic but it is a reality I am facing.  The more I feel confident at  blogging (less self-conscious or obsess about details), the more I would like to have little time spent online but more on creating experience I can share in brief writing, and continuous regular posting.

Does that make sense to you dear fellow bloggers?  How have you evolved in the last weeks of WordCount Blogathon, or in the time period since you started blogging?  

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Birthday, Blogathon & Being Beautifully 40

What a beautiful Sunday filled with simple pleasures!

Today, Omi B, the girl's adopted grandmother here in the Netherlands, and my soul mom celebrated her birthday.  It was also a family get together since the Yuletide season, not everyone was present, still it was very heartwarming to see everyone who was there.  Specially, L, P's daughter, who called this week to say she would like to come for the celebration.  This needs special mention because teen-ager's usually drift away from such gathering because of their own busy social schedule, and we understand it perfectly.  So it was very endearing to know she made specific plans to join us and call ahead about it.

While P drove the girls to Omi B (we would not have all fitted in the car), on the way he picked up our present for her: digital picture frame (Tomorrow, I will edit here tomorrow, what it is exactly, how Omi and the family reacted, our own impression etc. because I am too sleepy to write about it details now!).  Then he came back for me, and stored in our memory card the pictures we put together for the digital picture frame.

I used the time that P was on the go to finish the first post in a blog I created yesterday, entitled Being Beautifully 40.

Initially, the idea is to record thoughts in a 9 month period before the big 4-0 milestone. Plans developed to expand this idea to include: writing articles based on improving life stylishly and affordably; it will also be about healthy living through simplifying life and balancing priorities. In short living life to the fullest! Life does not simply begin at 40, you savour it more intensely.
Also, as I mentioned in a previous post, there is another blog born from this mother blog, entitled The Lightness of Being on the Bike.  I thought it is only appropriate to give this particular passion it's own home.
There were many things that I learned this month, which gave me confidence to put into action the ideas of creating those two mentioned blogs.  Most of it was through reading Michelle V. Rafter, who is the blogger behind WordCount, and spearheads the WordCount Blogathon I participated for the first time this year.
As I put my feet up with my Sunday's best shoes, I bask at the warm feeling of experiencing the rewards of living life simply, one day at a time, and the simple pleasure of being able to record them in words, which used to elude me.
Sending my love to all faithful readers, followers, generous commentors from ICLW, and WC Blogathoners!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I Grasp Still Life - (celebrating a Book Anniversary belatedly)

On the 27th of May, 2008, I self-published a book with a collection of poems, using Blurb under my pseudonym Paper, which also served as it's simple title: Paper Poem.

It chronicles a difficult period through poetry.

book cover

The image below is the catalyst and inspiration for the book. This single image gave me hope, and helped my struggling spirit and clouded mind to write simple words, which I always struggle to find in times of stress and conflict.

I usually find it very hard to share, which is one of the motivation behind my 365 projects. It is very easy to slip into being a hermit when one is going through major transitions in life.  I have found comfort, strength, and focus in living life literally one day at atime

image originally taken April, 2008
I Grasp Still Life

There is utter happiness in a simple moment

There is simple joy in a basic action

As a little hand grasp the still life

Hope is rediscovered

Looking back, life has indeed changed a lot since I wrote this poem three years ago.  There are still a lot of major changes ahead, the only difference is, I feel my spirit is much stronger, my mind clearer.

celebratory collage for  the 365~self-portraits

I found this quote, that I would like to share to celebrate the third year anniversary of this book, that empowered me:
Words are a form of action, capable of influencing change.
Ingrid Bengis

How was life for your three years ago? Has writing words changed your life?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Snapshot of History

Today, I found out that this picture of the family with the Van Gogh Museum in the background has gained historical significance aside from having nostalgic worth for us. The sign of Van Gogh Museum has been changed and the new one is up, with official launching on the 1st of June!
My first visit of Van Gogh Museum was in 1998, a couple of days before it closed for a year long renovation - what luck!  It was very spontaneous, and unplanned, thus I did not have any picture from the time.   This picture was taken by a kind tourist last year in January, who saw me happily taking pictures of my family (preserving our first visit together of the museum!), and offered to shoot one with me on it.  Afterwards, I took a picture of the thoughtful lady, with her equally lovely companion.
Next week will be an interesting week since the girls will only have school until Wednesday, then onwards to an almost a week and a half break. P also got a message from the office that after Monday, he'll be free the week!  So, I am thinking of suggesting a visit to Van Gogh Museum over the weekend, specifically on Friday, when they have extended opening hours until 10 pm, featuring special events.
I'll take pictures of the new logo sign, perhaps even convince the family to recreate the picture above.  If you can't wait to see how the new sign looks like, you can also check it out on Van Gogh's Museum's FB page, where I learned about this news through the album they shared.
Do you have a picture of yourself taken with the old logo signage of Van Gogh Museum? Any plans of visiting?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

How I Silence the Noise

The only way I silence the noise of everyday life in my head is to empty it first through prayer, then read and fill it with words of wisdom.

Some words of wisdom, I would like to affirm for today:

We find greatest joy, not in getting, but in expressing what we are... Men do not really live for honors or for pay; their gladness is not the taking and holding, but in doing, the striving, the building, the living. It is a higher joy to teach than to be taught. It is good to get justice, but better to do it; fun to have things but more to make them. The happy man is he who lives the life of love, not for the honors it may bring, but for the life itself.
R.J. Baughan (no known info about the source of the quote)

How do you silence noise of everyday life at the end of the day?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

De tweede avond

De tweede avond ~ tonight was the second evening of de avondvierdaagse, an annual (four evenings) walking event in Holland, which started in 1909.

It has been a long day, and I decided to simply share quotes I am meditating on as part of my nightly ritual to positively end the day, instead of writing an account of how the day has been.

I have shared them previously in past posts but they are worth sharing repeatedly.

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
Robert Brault

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense out of the past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
Melody Beattie

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
Leo Buscaglia

These are great days.
Winston Churchill

How do you positively affirm your day?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Today eldest participated for the first time in "De avondvierdaagse"  here in the Netherlands.  It is an annual four day walking event, introduced in 1909 in Holland.

It is a tradition we hope we could share as a family starting next year.  For now, we are very happy to support the eldest in the next four evenings of her walk.

If you would like to know more about this Dutch national tradition, as I myself would very much like to do, please check NWB Dutch Hiking Association.

An image of eldest is very rare now a days because she is at that stage that she does not want to be photographed at all. Except for the self-portraits she does herself, which I have to ask permission to share!

♡ ♡ ♡ I love this because I was not aware, neither was eldest, that Dada took a picture of us. ♡ ♡ ♡

Littlest wanted the tiara to be edited in, as she sat beside me and watched while I tinkered around picasa.

When was the last time you walked/hiked with friends and/or your family in the evening?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Apple of Our Eyes

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
Audrey Hepburn

Littlest~ apple of our eyes, has in numerous occasion saved the 365~ self-portrait project from going bust.

She makes us laugh, she can sometimes be exasperating in her stubborness but she always inspires! 

If you like to see some of the 365~ self-portraits that the littlest took, I archived (will archive) them under the tag LittlestLens.

Who inspires you, when the going gets tough?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hilversum, Horns and Horses

The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.
John Vance Cheney 

please click on collage for better view

For the first time today, since we moved to the Netherlands, the girls and I biked to Hilversum a total of 22 kms to and fro.

I was very proud of them, as was P, when he welcomed them home.  He had to work today, and I shared and showed our bike outing to him, through the pictures I took of our tour, while he let the dinner he was cooking simmer on the stove..

This week was a pretty hard week for me - emotionally, and psychologically rendering me physically weak as it mostly happens.  For this, I am extra grateful, that today, a lovely sunny Saturday, I was able to finally fulfill my promise to the girls of going with them to Hilversum on the bike.  

It was not only a fun laid back Saturday excursion but also a graspable experience for them, that although I deal with depression, I do not let it affect the plans we set out to do.  We might not do it right away, but we will eventually.  A promise is a promise.

As we planned we got scoops of their chosen ice-cream at a shop we discovered last week, after buying middle-daughter's first communion dress.

I'll be writing more about our bike tour in my other blog, The Lightness of Being on the Bike,  which I finally shared to family and friends on my FB page this afternoon; now I am sharing it here, as well.

The first post and currently the only post on the blog page, was posted on the 11th of April, also the same  day I created the blog and had the idea to record bike tours, travels, thoughts, ideas, experiences and memories recalled while on the bike.

I felt inspired by Tina Su, a blogger I admire, creator of  Think Simple Now, whose words on her FB post (talking from her personal experience), to put  ideas into reality, and share it "out there" even if it is not yet fully developed, and it is still taking shape, made me move into action myself.

Sometimes, somethings simply needs an inspiration from the outside and empowering roar in the inside of one's being, to make it happen.  And I did my mighty roar: just do it!

 How do you celebrate when the darkness has lifted from you, and the sun shines again in your heart?

Friday, May 20, 2011


Family film night! Today we added to our DVD collection of The Chronicles of Narnia, last year's third installment in the film series of C.S. Lewis epic fantasy series: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

What are your plans for TGIF evening?

Have a lovely weekend, one and all!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Perserverance & Persistance

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
Th above quote is my battle cry not only for how so far my participation in WordCount Blogathon 2011 is going along but for all my 365 projects, and my ultimate professional goal as well.

I am currently having a challenging time with myself, and I have always found that reading quotes helps alleviate the pressure I feel from within me.  With today's post, I share the selected quotes I am meditating on to keep me focused and centered, as well as a self-empowering personal poster, which is also today's 365~ self-portrait.(I was channelling, The Thinker by Rodin, but I feel my apathetic disposition was in my way of making a better effort.  Sorry about that!)

In the realm of ideas, everything depends on enthusiasm. In the real world all rests on perseverance.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
Thomas Alva Edison 
How often—even before we began—have we declared a task ‘impossible’? And how often have we construed a picture of ourselves as being inadequate?...A great deal depends upon the thought patterns we choose and on the persistence with which we affirm them.
Piero Ferrucci
We can do anything we want to do if we stick to it long enough.
Helen Keller
Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.
Anne Lamott
 I hope you have been uplifted by the wisdom behind these quotes, like I have.  If you would like to read more please check out Joy of Quotes, my source for inspiration!

What quote inspires you to perservere and be persistent?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Slice of 365

Most often, the most simplest expression is the most strongest.

Tonight, I dedicate my 365~ self-portrait to P, and to the girls just because...

I love you, guys SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much!
♡ ♡ ♡

P brought home two bouquet of gerberas after his three days' job out of town (Scheveningen, The Hague)

I wanted to remember with this picture our day, and that the small thoughtful gestures each member of the family does for one another is more than any wealth and treasure on earth.

Health issues are slowly  becoming a big challenge for me at the moment, and this morning I was contemplating whether I should go on with my 365 projects.  I shall have to see at the end of this month, how everything goes.