Friday, 30 July 2010


Tonight there will be three guests in my house. My parents are here and my ideal man is coming over from Germany to spend the weekend with me. I enjoy when people stay over. For that reason I always have enough beds and linen to host at least two people. A home that cannot fit two guests for a night is not a good home. Even when I lived in a twelve square meter room at a student house I had one or two guests every once in a while.

My parents sleep in the living room and my ideal man will sleep on the couch in the dining room. The rooms are divided by built in closets and stained glass doors. When the doors are open the two rooms make one. I looked around the place imagined my friend sleeping on the couch and thought that with three guests the house would be rather crowded. It will be fine tonight, but I'm sure I'd grow tired of it pretty fast if this situation were to last.

And then I thought of my grandparents' place in Saratov. It was an apartment of twenty-eight square meters. The place fitted three rooms, a kitchen, a bathroom, a toilet and, as I remember it, a very long corridor. I can clearly remember one time when I was there at my grandparents' place with my mother, her friend, my aunt and my cousin. My mother has just brought me from Kiev. She would stay for a couple of days and then go back. Her friend lived on the other side of the town. She came to catch up and stayed for the night because there was not enough time in an evening. My aunt and cousin lived in Magadan at the time. If you don't know where it is, look it up on the map. It's quite far from Saratov. It's far from anything. So they were staying as well. This means there were seven of us on twenty-eight square meters. And somehow the place didn't seem crowded at all.

So what happened in the past thirty years? Do I experience space differently because I grew up? Or did I (partly) lose my ability to enjoy company of people?

My new Putumayo discovery: Beatriz Pichi Malen - Canción para dormir a un niño

Thursday, 29 July 2010


Tonight I spent several hours sorting out pocket calendars with my mother. Officially it's my collection, but for the past three years it has been maintained by my mother. I haven't touched them for a couple of years.

It's amazing how someone can enjoy this. Imagine thousands dusty cards stored in shoe boxes. First we divide them into topics. Then within one topic we sort them by year. Then within each year we look for calendars that are double. Those go into exchange boxes. After we removed all the doubles within one topic we take the album with that topic and start comparing 'new' calendars and the calendars in that album. We remove the doubles again. We put the rest of the 'new' calendars into the album. Sorting out one large topic (like airplanes and air companies) can take a couple of days.

Collecting is a strange hobby in the first place. Collecting pocket calendars is plain weird. When friends ask me to show my collection I never refuse. But the attention span of a normal human being is usually not long enough to browse through more than two albums. After that I recognise the terror in their eyes when they realise they will have to spend the night looking at my calendars if I insist on showing the entire collection.

Well, you may think I'm weird - I don't care. I've just spent two hours looking at dusty pictures and I am happy!

A calendar from Thailand-->

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Losing friends

"Sasha and B.... are now friends." Does this sound familiar? Yes, Facebook. In the past two years I've sent about 100 friend requests. More than half have been confirmed. About 35 have never been answered because those people either do not have a Facebook account or don't ever use it. Some requests have been ignored or left unanswered because people do not want to be connected to me. No hard feelings. Every once in a while I see my friend count raise. That's when I go to my notifications to see who accepted my request at last.
What Facebook doesn't tell you is who has erased you from their friends. This doesn't happen very often - just a couple of times a year. A guy I met at a dance lesson once and never talked to again. Another one I had a couple of dates with. Those people vanish from my life and my Facebook quietly and relatively painless. If they weren't very active I will probably not notice very soon. When I notice my reaction can differ depending on my real relation to the person in question. Up until now it was no big deal, although it does sting a little. It does feel like a refusal.

Some days ago I noticed my friend count drop. Someone has deleted me from their list of friends. A big summer clean up? Did I hurt them? Are my status updates annoying? Did they stop liking me? WHO IS IT? I browsed through my friends list, but couldn't find who's missing. I keep on guessing and trying names but with no success so far. It drives me crazy! Which is weird. How can I be so worried about 'losing' a 'friend' I don't even miss?

Monday, 26 July 2010

Own business

"Listen, you want to run your own business, right?"
"Does it matter what the business would be about?"
"I guess not. As long as I like the idea."
"I have an idea. And I need your help. You'll have to do the talking. Take some time to think about it."

Now I'm thinking...

Rediscovering Moloko - Downsized

Saturday, 24 July 2010


Today I went to the market and bought 56m of organza.

Wish me luck!

Friday, 23 July 2010


My mother and I have had a shopping raid on the Batavia City today. We bought about 10kg of clothes, but at the moment I can hardly remember what it was exactly. Too exhausted to look in the bags...

Wednesday, 21 July 2010


Today was definitely a bad day. I went through irritation, weariness, shock, disappointment and ended with desperation at about ten o'clock in the evening. Feeling helpless and miserable I sat behind my computer. Unable to do anything however insignificantly productive I was switching from my gmail to Facebook and back. Somewhere in the process I have discovered that aimless clicking works better in Windows explorer. My documents - click; My received files - click; mirskykh4165200609 (what is this?) - click; History (???) - click...

WOW! Is this what I think it is?! I couldn't believe my eyes. In front of me were xml files with all my MSN conversations from the past three years! Suddenly I felt a joy - a very welcome feeling for a change. This was also the moment when I realised there was a devil hidden inside me. Not that I'm an angel in everyday life, but I've never felt such a joy of being evil. The beast was just waiting for the right moment and now, when I was too tired to fight, it turned loose. The mean reckless creature was jumping around my room giggling and squeaking.

Among those conversations there is a couple that could help me to seriously disturb a couple of marriages and at least one career. Yes, men. Men who were not nice to me. Men who lied. Men who showed disrespect. The possibility of revenge as a sweet balm covered all the frustrations of the past day. It's not the first time I think of doing something nasty to someone. Usually these thoughts vanish after a couple of days because realisation of my plans would take too much effort. But this time it's easy. And my creativity kicked in. I've even scribbled down a few scenarios (list of actions, plans B and everything).

You may try to convince me to change my mind, but I don't think you'll succeed. I'll give a small (250ml) bottle of vodka for the best argument, though. Shoot!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Utrecht – The Hague

“Ladies and gentlemen, the train to The Hague Central Station departure time 17:44 will be leaving from platform 5a.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, in the summer less people travel by train. The time table is adjusted accordingly. Please check the departure boards on the platforms or consult our website for up-to-date departure times.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, the train to The Hague Central Station following through Gouda departure time 17:44 will be leaving from platform 5a in about 5 minutes.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, platforms 7a and 7b are inaccessible due to renovation works on the platform roofs at Utrecht Central Station. Departure platforms of some trains have been changed. Please check the departure boards on the platforms or consult our website for up-to-date departure platforms.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome on board of the intercity train to Gouda and The Hague Central Station. Due to intense cargo traffic around Utrecht our train will be leaving with a delay of about five minutes. This is the intercity train to Gouda and The Hague Central Station.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, our train is moving slowly because there is a cargo train that has to pass first. Our apologies for the inconvenience.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, due to some infrastructure failure earlier today some trains have been cancelled. Our train will make an extra stop in Zoetermeer to pick up stranded passengers.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, our train is about to arrive to The Hague Central Station. This is the final destination of this train. Please don’t forget your belongings when you leave the train.”

At last!

My new discovery : Maria Montalvo – India Song

Monday, 19 July 2010


He is not tall – when I wear heels we are about the same height. You certainly can’t call him handsome, but something in his face tells you he is very sweet. At first we never interacted. I’d see him every Friday. He is good. I watched him move his body and felt slightly sorry for myself. It will take me years to reach his level. After some time I started to greet him.

It took months before he asked me for the first time. And then, that first time I was stunned how nice his touch felt. His has very soft hands. But that softness can’t fool me: his hands are strong and secure. He knows what to do, knows how to do it and does it very well. His hands and arms are firm when he holds me, he keeps me close and he never lets me fail. It was pure pleasure to let him lead me. I never felt so much physical attraction right from the first time. I keep on coming for more.

He doesn’t look at me much, but when he does he smiles. I try to give him some extra eye candy by moving my body a little extra, but I’m never sure he sees that. He holds me very close for a while, I let his temple gently touch mine and can’t resist the temptation of closing my eyes for a few seconds. I wonder whether he closes his eyes too. Did he just stroke my back or is this just my imagination? This never lasts for long – just a few moments and then he lets me go again. He holds my right hand. Our fingertips touch. It’s not a usual way to hold hands, but we do it deliberately. At least I do. Does he? The next moment our palms are tight together with our fingers interweaved. He squeezes my hand. This is real, I didn’t dream this. I squeeze his hand and immediately let go. My heart skips when he places his hand just above my waist and lets me spin – I feel his soft touch around me.

I wonder: does he feel the same as I do? I left without saying good bye. As usual…

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Booty call

My phone rings. It displays a mobile number I don’t recognise. I pick up.

A male voice: “Where do you live?”
Me: “Excuse me?”
Man: “Do you live somewhere in Amersfoort?”
Me: “Who are you looking for?”
Man: “I’ve found your number on the internet.”
Me: “That’s possible, but what do you want?”
Man: “I want a massage.”
Me: “My number is not listed as a massage number. Not by me at least.”
Man: “Not as a sex number either?”
Me: “No.”
Man: “Ok, my apologies.”

I hope the guy has dialled the number wrong.

Saturday, 17 July 2010


Friday is the dance till you drop day. No blogging.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Daniil Kharms

My mother brought me some Russian books. I prefer to switch languages when I read fiction: a book in Russian, a book in English, a book in Dutch and start anew. Today I was reading Daniil Kharms in the train on my way home. I grew up with his stories for children. His stuff for adults is priceless too. Just a couple of pages were enough to make me forget the yesterday's accident and the busy day at work.

I found some translations online just to give you an idea:
"An encounter
On one occasion a man went off to work and on the way he met another man who, having bought a loaf of Polish bread, was on his way home.
And that's just about all there is to it."

«Один монах вошел в склеп к покойникам и крикнул: "Христос вoскресе!" А оно ему все хором: "Воистину воскресе!"»

Just go and get a book by Daniil Kharms. Really. You won't be sorry.

PT Cruiser

Brand new Chrysler PT Cruiser 2.0 - 16V Classic in deep water blue pearl. That's him. I have his number. A very old Opel Corsa in greenish blue with a crack in the windscreen, flat tires, never washed. Yeah, that's me.

I tried to be calm and easy, made some jokes. He was kind. He even smiled at my jokes. He suggested he'd started first. It took me several minutes to see how nervous he was. His hands were shaking when he tried to write. That's when I took over. He was giving me all the details and reading out the numbers while I was writing. I was trying to entertain him with a social talk in between by asking him questions about where he worked and what he did. "You have a nice car" - I said. "Or should I say: you had a nice car?" - I was still trying to joke. He smiled.

When I was done writing and tried to draw a situation sketch he took over. By then his hands were not shaking anymore. He can draw much better than I. Although, that's really not difficult. Anyway, when he was drawing I saw he'd calmed down. That's when I was more or less sure he'd get home all right.

It's funny how I was more concerned about him than about myself. I had to go much further than him, but I wasn't shocked and my hands were not shaking. I was the one making jokes. I was the one who caused the accident after all. I was driving out of the parking lot and hit him while he was passing by. I hadn't seen him. I should have, but I hadn't. Obviously I wasn't looking.

It's just now, hours later, after I got home through the horrible rain, after the dinner and some chat with my parents, I start to feel. I feel so stupid and dissapointed in myself. I feel ashamed. I feel sorry for the bunch of money I'd thrown away by scratching that Chrysler. I feel sorry for the friend who lent me his car. He trusted me and all I gave him is damage and insurance trouble. I feel small. I feel so sorry for myself - I want to cry. But I cannot cry because I want my parents to think I'm all right.

Heaven, I feel so miserable!!!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

My world upside-down

The couches from the living and dining rooms are changing places. More clothes have to fit into my closet. There's tea (loads of tea), chocolate, red caviar, vodka and way too much sweets. There are Russian books and several new paintings and drawings. There is a white car parked in front of my house.

There will be good food. And a little travelling around. My front yard fence will be fixed. Together with the bathroom lamp and the kitchen ceiling. My garden and front yard will receive a makeover. There will be conversations, jokes, gifts and shopping. A lot of shopping.

My parents are in town!

Amsterdam Klezmer Band - Sadagora Hot Dub (Remixed by Shantel)

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Topics concerning feet

I did it again. Danced till 3:30 in the morning. My feet don't talk to me anymore. No heels till Tuesday evening. Foot baths, foot massages and sweet ointments. After 3:00 in the morning I started to fall off my feet. Literally. Was in bed by 5:00.

I can tell you DJ El Chino doesn't look Chinese at all. He looks like a nerd (because of his glasses). And that's because he is a nerd. I asked how he managed not to repeat songs when playing for 6 hours in the row together with two other DJs. "I remember them all" - he said. He is very sweet, though. Too bad he fell victim to some other East European beauty years ago.

No, I am not swept off my feet by El Chino (very close, though). I am just very disappointed in our football team.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Wise advice

He: "Do you always wear trousers for dancing?"

Me: "Mostly. Today I wanted to put on a miniskirt, but I wanted to go by bike and I knew the men in passing cars would be looking too much. So I didn't do it at the end."

He: "The men are looking at your knickers, you should take them off when you bike."

Hmm, interesting approach...

DJ Disse & Batina Bager feat. Fred Astaire - Cheek to Cheek


It's 4:45 in the morning, I'm wearing a men's shirt. And I am at my desk writing a blog post. Everything I wear will go straight to the laundry basket. Not that I wear much, but whatever I wear has been soaked with sweat. My feet are on fire. There are two Silicone "Nippless" Covers laying on my desk. Outside the birds are singing and I have seen the sun starting to raise at the seaside. Writing at such an hour doesn't sound healthy, but then again - I've spent seven (7!!!) hours at the Salsa Beach Festival and most of the time I danced. Who in their right mind would ever do that?! I danced with the Colombian DJ El Chino and he said: "You have it in your blood!" I know it's a sweet talk, we were flirting right from the beginning of the party. I'm still flattered, though. Many freaks like me went to the Burger King afterwards causing a queue at half past three in the morning. I had a cheeseburger. And now I'm going to wash my face and my ruined feet (no energy for a shower, sorry) and pass out in my bed.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010


By now the mood in the Netherlands has gotten so orange - even I haven't escaped the fever. I have watched three (!!!) football matches so far and I even enjoyed it.

I don't really care about football. Two weeks ago the name Wesley Sneijder didn't ring any bells and in a month from now I will probably forget it.  I will probably never get the concept of offside.
I don't have a vuvuzela. I find tooting cars intimidating when I am cycling. I don't paint my face in 'Dutch' colours. And still I enjoy the World Cup.

So what is it I enjoy? I enjoy all things common: the talks, the expectations, watching the game together, having orange snacks together, being happy together. I enjoy the sense of belonging to a greater mass. The one dressed in orange and armed with vuvuzelas, bitterballen and beer. The one stuck to the screen at The Hague Central Station. The one tooting. The one laughing and jumping around. So much for my individuality.

Guess what my post next Sunday will be about? Unless I fall deeply in love and/or get a broken heart before that of course. With me you never know...

Tuesday, 6 July 2010


Yesterday I talked to someone who’d had his naturalisation exam last week.

Me: “And did you pass?”
He: “I don’t know yet. I’ll hear the results next Monday.”
Me: “Was it difficult?”
He: “No. There were five parts: reading, writing, listening, speaking and an IQ-test.”
Me: “An IQ-test? What a brilliant idea! Indeed, we don’t need MORE stupid people here! This country has enough idiots of its own.”

Monday, 5 July 2010

Berry Delight

The maker of Banana Sensation has surprised us with a new dessert for this bbq season - Berry Delight. He didn't explicitly forbid to share the recipe this time, so here it is.

For two persons you'll need:
- 400ml of fresh fruit juice (with pulp) of your choice (berries work the best)
- a handful of blackberries
- a handful of blueberries
- 250g of strawberries
- 2 tablespoons of lemon sorbet
- a couple of redcurrant twigs for decoration

Put some blackberries and strawberries aside. Blend the rest of blackberries, strawberries and blueberries together with the juice until you get a smooth liquid substance. Cut the strawberries you put aside in halves. Put the berries in two bowls. Pour the berry-juice mixture over the berries. Add one spoon of lemon sorbet and a twig of redcurrant in each bowl. Serve.

Fast, simple, delicious!!!!

Saturday, 3 July 2010


It's amazing how mother nature finds her way to make you do what she thinks you ought to do. Like getting enough of sleep. It seems she considers five hours of sleep a night not sufficient for me. So what did she do to tie me to my bed and make sure I catch up on sleep? She gave me a headache and a hangover (yeah, full pack)! Apparently staying up till 5:00 in the morning and drinking two (!) glasses of wine was a wrong signal. I don't know anyone who gets a hangover from two glasses of wine. Except for myself. So I didn't do a thing today, except for sleeping and, ehm... you know... whatever you do when you have a hangover...

Friday, 2 July 2010


The temperature has reached above 25 degrees Celsius and they talk about heat. If the temperature stays above 25 degrees for five days in a row and of those five days at least three days have a temperature of 30 degrees or more then it's an official heat wave in the Netherlands. Come on! Get real! Our body temperature is way higher. Ok, this might be unusual for the Dutch climate, I get it. But it seems Dutch entirely has lost their ability to survive. Apparently 30 degrees is something to worry about. Authorities advise people to stay inside and warn to drink a lot of water. Do people really need a warning for that? If it's hot, what do you feel like doing? I speak for myself, of course, but drinking water is the first thing that comes to mind. Apparently that's not the case with many people. Anyway, Netherlands gets quite pathetic if the temperature goes beyond the range of 0 degrees to 15 degrees Celsius. It's remarkable though how I get annoyed by that every single time even after I lived here for 13 years.

I was bored in the bus and decided to make pictures of my jewellery to show off:
New earrings (bought at the artists' market in Kiev)

A year old ring (found in a shop in Utrecht)

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Debts resolution

I help a friend of mine to resolve the debts or rather survive the municipality debts resolution programme. For me it sure is a very informative process. But if you have neither debts nor an obsessive urge towards solving complicated puzzles you will find most of my findings rather uninspiring. So I won't bother you with that. Ok, maybe some of it. I will blur it into a little fantasy sketch.

I am not a person likely to lend money. I never did anyway. I don't have any debts apart for the mortgage for my apartment. But that doesn't mean I don't have problems. My problem is time. I manage to throw away more time than I actually have. Procrastination is my twin sister. One day the problem will hunt me down and then what do I do? They say time is money. Suppose, just suppose time is actually something like money, something you can spend, save for later or borrow.

I've just imagined this special arrangement the municipality has for people who borrowed so much time they would have to give most of their life to pay it back plus the interest. So you go to the social services and apply for the arrangement. They will force you to take part in their time management programme. Your supervisor will sit with you and write down how much time you need per month to do what. And how much time you owe to whom. What happens next is that they make a special time account for you. From now on all your time goes to that account which is managed by the municipality. They will give you a certain amount of time to eat, wash yourself, clean your house, eat and cook. Not much, just the real minimum. You are free to spend this time as you please. For example if you decide not to wash yourself for a week, you might save enough time to go out on Friday evening. Or if you decide to eat under shower. The rest of the time they will distribute themselves. They will spend your time for you. That's sleep, travel to work, doing groceries, maybe some sport if you're lucky.

The social services will negotiate with your time creditors and make arrangements to resolve your debts. To whom do you owe time? Your boss, the fitness club, local activity centre, library? They don't negotiate your debts to family, friends and neighbours. You'll have to deal with it yourself either within the limits of time you're given free each month or by postponing the actual payment for three years. Three years is how long the time debts arrangements takes. After that you have no time debts anymore and you can start your life anew.

I wonder how likely I'd be going to the social services...

What a wonderful summer song is this: Nouvelle Vague - Road To Nowhere

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