Sunday, 31 October 2010


I am going to do it - I am going into thirty days of literary abandon. I’ve joined NaNoWriMo and I am going to write a novel in 30 days. I've bought a notepad (it was slightly cheaper than a laptop) to be alble to write on the go. Tomorrow I'll spoil the first pages. Most probably I will never let anyone read it, but I’ve got to start somewhere. I am still not sure how much time the novel writing will consume. I do suspect however that there will be no time to blog everyday anymore. Let’s see how me, this blog and the novel will make it through this month. Wish me luck!

Friday, 29 October 2010

Fern flower

Looking for a parking place in and around my street after dancing is like looking for a fern flower on Ivana Kupala night. Both take place at night, both are equally impossible and both are equally rewarding.

Thursday, 28 October 2010


Consuming a sufficient amount of fluids every day is important. Not drinking enough can cause a headache. It’s just one of the thousands of bad things that can happen to you if you dehydrate. But it’s a reason enough for me to make sure I get my minimum of 1,5 liters of fluids a day poured inside. Fluids = tea. Summer version of fluids = tea or water. I hardly ever drink anything else. Do you have a problem with that? I don’t.

I mean, I didn’t. Until a smartass friend of mine (I love my friends, really!) said the other day that tea dehydrates and this needs to be compensated for with more fluids. So all this time I’ve been drinking just enough to avoid headaches, but not enough to prevent all those hundreds of other bad things from happening! I didn’t have enough energy to panic.

I was just determined to google out a formula that would help me to calculate how much tea is equivalent to 2l of ‘regular’ (non dehydrating) fluids. And I was going to make sure I compensate. So I googled a little (a couple of minutes). And then I googled a little more (some more minutes). And then I suddenly found a review of black tea published by The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (yeah!).  And this fantastic review says 'there is no evidence base for the assumption that all caffeine-containing drinks should be avoided in situations where fluid balance is, or might become, precarious'. According to the review ‘it was found that tea consumption did not produce a diuretic effect unless the amount of tea consumed at one sitting contained more than 300 mg of caffeine (equivalent to six or seven cups of tea)’.

I am going to whack my friend with the review from The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Eat (or rather drink) this! And stop scaring the hell out of me (like the last time with the dentist's x-rays photos).

Oh, and I am going to drink more tea, because it’s good for my heart, my teeth, my mental state and helps me look young so I can still get attention of those twenty-something boys. ;)

Discovered by pure chance:  Boozoo Bajou – Night Over Manaus

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Images of Italy

Instead of boring you with details of my trip I thought I’d feed you some pictures:

Rich colours.

Romantic corners.

Local traditions.

Arts and culture.

Picturesque places.

Narrow streets.

Ever present eye for detail.

I know I have time. And I know I will need it. Trying to conceive that this country might be my new home.

Monday, 25 October 2010


I love travelling. And I love flying. The idea of getting some place far just in a few hours makes my heart leap. A big YES to flying. Except for one little problem: I get really-really sick during the take-off and landing. Which is no problem, because I have my magic travel pills that make sure I don’t get sick. The side effects are a little problem, though. I get slightly dizzy and very sleepy for hours and hours after the flight. And THAT was not an option when I was flying to Italy last Friday. I wanted to make sure we’d still be able to enjoy the rest of the evening.

I remembered my victorious Efteling experience last August and decided to give it a try. No pill. I just need to sleep enough, make sure I eat well, drink enough and have no headache. Then I’d have a chance to win this one too. The plan looked perfect. It just didn’t work. I slept for five hours, had to do some biking around the city which meant no proper drinking. I had no time for a proper lunch either. I still had pain in my back and shoulders and I was tense because of the idea I might get terribly sick on the plane. This combination gave me a headache.

I travel alone pretty often and it’s never a problem, but this time I felt really lonely. There was no one to hold my hand and tell me it’ll be all right. There was no one to chat with to forget my worries during the take-off. It was the first time I was kind of afraid to fly.

I’ve survived the take-off, the whole flight and the landing. I came off the plane tired, still a little scared and suffering quite a headache. I was not so fit for an enjoyable evening after all. Hmmm. We had an enjoyable evening though. The headache was gone after I’d had my pizza and a glass of wine. And the tension dissolved into thin air after a nice massage when the candles and the fireplace were lit.

It’s only on my way back yesterday that I was able to truly enjoy the victory. I was flying! And I was not sick. Another victory! So what’s next? Sailing? Space travelling?
Escher in Lounge 4 @Schiphol

Sunday, 24 October 2010


I didn’t write for the past several days because I wasn’t there. I’ve had an overwhelming weekend in Italy. And I had to get away from the computer because my back and my neck were in pain. Now I’m back and I have a lot to share. Hopefully I’ll find a way and the time to catch up.

Friday, 22 October 2010


Why are insurances and banks so keen on making full colour magazines? I’m talking about those dull publications consisting of photos of happy people and irrelevant articles. The ones you get in your mail whether you want it or not. They come packed in a plastic bag and go straight into garbage bin in the same plastic bag, unopened. I once opened such a magazine from my health insurance company. It was so intensely and depressingly boring that I didn’t even manage to remember what it was about.

A bank where I have my savings account sends me a magazine that’s called ‘Spaarmotief’ which literally means ‘saving incentive’. Huh?! I already have a savings account. Which means I already save money and do not need incentives. Spaarmotief is not about saving money for a new gadget of education for your children. The magazine is packed with articles about all kinds of environmental projects run by the bank. They suggest that if I want to save the nature I should put more money on my savings account. I must admit I do find it a rather weird incentive. I also fail to understand how sending me a magazine that I throw away immediately contributed to a better environment.

Today I received a magazine that beats them all. This one is at the top of absurdity that my simple mind is not able to comprehend. Today I received a magazine from Dela – an insurance company that covers the costs of your burial. I already pay for the insurance. What else do they want from me? Why do they have to remind me about my mortality? On the cover of this issue of the magazine (called Chronicles) they have a smiling man. Apparently his father is dead. Why is he smiling? Who the f**k is he anyway? At the back of the magazine there are loads of coupons you can fill in if you want more information. Help! How do I unsubscribe? Where is the coupon for less information?!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010


“She came in this morning and asked where J. was. I told her he’d come in later as usual and she said ‘Pff’.”
“What?! Did she say ‘Pff’?!”
“Yes!!! I don’t trust her.”
We have a new colleague and it seems she’ll have a tough time getting accepted.

I have mixed feelings about the concept of being accepted by a group. I didn´t feel accepted when I was a kid. And it always felt terrible. But somehow I never did anything to change that.

Later, when I grew older I found myself perfectly accepted by the groups I wanted to belong to. I didn´t have to do anything for that, I just fitted in well. I also grew to realise that changing yourself for the sake of being accepted is just not worth it.

I could say I don´t care much whether I am accepted or not. But now I think it´s not true. Because when I heard that conversation about the new colleague, I felt the warmth from being a part of the group. Although, sometimes I do wonder what they say about me when I am not around. ;)

You’ve heard this some weeks ago here, but it’s too relevant to skip. So now the video: Gabriel Rios – The Boy Outside

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


Just curious: what kind of incentive and how much of it exactly do I need to stop suffering the pain and start doing morning exercises for my back and shoulders?

Monday, 18 October 2010


It’s been three years since I had a decent vacation for the last time. My definition of a decent vacation is going to some country I’ve never been before and travel all around it visiting as many places as possible in the shortest possible period of time. I like to exhaust myself visiting the sights, exploring the cities, ‘hunting’ for food and watching people. I like to see the differences. I like to get familiar with places. I like to go shopping discovering some unfamiliar shops. I like to buy jewellery.

One day several years ago I was suddenly struck by the idea that I wear jeans from Italy, shoes and underwear from Belgium, a sweater from Portugal, a jacket and a necklace from Kiev and a ring from Spain. But lately more and more of my wardrobe is from the Netherlands or from Kiev. I do some shopping in Brussels every once in a while and I did manage to bring some stuff from Riga earlier this year. But my country list is still three countries too short and the international element is disappearing from my wardrobe. This needs fixing!

I urgently need a plan on how to generate extra income enough to pay a vacation to three new countries plus shopping. #challenge

Sunday, 17 October 2010


Yesterday in Blijdorp, at the apes pavilion someone was speaking of silent forests and apes threatened with extinction. He talked about the importance of the protection work that’s being done by various international organizations in Africa, projects that stimulate local population to turn to farming (breeding) rather than to hunting and about how difficult it was to make the local organisations sustainable and self supporting. I found it very interesting. I listened till the end and didn’t have a slightest inclination to switch to another topic or simply walk on to next pavilion to admire butterflies. That sudden interest surprised me. Engaging in this sort of topics is just not me. How come I stood there and listened?

I found the reason pretty soon: the person I listened to was not trying to convince me (or anyone else) that he’s doing important work. He was not trying to convince me to engage in this sort of activities. He was not blaming me for my consumptive behaviour. He was not asking for support of any kind. He didn’t look or sound fanatic in any way. Wow! I wish all nature, political or humanitarian activists were like this. I mean ALL of them. We all would be much better off.

I grew up with the notion that wasting natural resources is plain bad. You don’t throw away stuff that can be reused. You switch off the light. You don’t let the food spoil. So I didn’t. Until I moved to the Netherlands. Where food is going to the waste bin every day. Where plastic bags are being used in huge amounts and thrown away after a half-an-hour use. Where shops are warm in the winter even though the doors are open. And where an enormous amount of people is fanatically engaged in an organisation of some sort or other trying to ‘fix’ things with nature, politics or human rights somewhere else on the planet. Living here has gradually turned my default settings to “screw the environment”, “fuck the politics” and “who cares about human rights anyway”. Which is quite scary when I think about it.

No, I don’t blame the Netherlands or the activists. It’s me. And I have to do something about it ASAP! And without being fanatic about it.

Very sweet discovery: Lisa Mitchell – Neopolitan Dreams (the official video is very nice too)

Friday, 15 October 2010

The Tree

It’s neither too sweet nor too bitter, not too heavy or too light, not too sophisticated but not too simple either. It’s certainly not cheap. It’s just good. It’s certainly a good choice if you want entertainment, but don’t want any mainstream humdrum. The Tree. It’s just a very nice film. Go and see it.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Not happy, guilty

Remember I wrote how I felt happy when a friend of mine had a big problem? That was a pretty weird feeling. Yesterday I came to the conclusion, that one friend with a problem is really enough. When the number of friends with problems grows I stop feeling happy. The good thing about this is that it confirms that I actually do care about them.

There is one more side to the coin, though. If the number of problem friend is more than three and the time the problems last is more than a week, I seem to lose the ability to support them. In the past seven days six friends were ill, three feeling depressed, a very nice colleague had a miscarriage and another one appears to have cancer in a very advanced condition. I was checking up on the ill ones and giving encouraging talks and listening to the depressed ones. I felt my energy flow away and didn´t seem to be able to restore it anyhow. And all of a sudden I just stopped giving support. It feels like a spring that dried out. Realising that I actually do not have problems didn´t help to revive the energy and support spring.

Now I feel a little uncomfortable because I´m letting my friends down. I also all of a sudden felt admiration for Mother Theresa because of her ability to accumulate energy and divide it efficiently. That´s something I certainly need to learn.

I´m going into a long and hopefully very inspiring weekend. After that I´d have my energy back. In the meanwhile I hope some of the friends will get well.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Traffic action

It’s been more than a month now and I’m getting used to it. Traffic jams twice a day three days a week are a part of my weekly routine now. I move along with hundreds of cars patiently waiting until we pass the bottle neck and can move freely again.

You know, patience is not one of my main virtues. And though traffic jams offer an excellent possibility to train my patience, I try to fight back and turn waiting into some sort of activity. I’ve discovered that while you stand packed in the jam, you can see the drivers in the car in front of you and the one behind. The distance is very small and there is enough time to seek contact. You check the driver in your mirrors, wave, smile or move and sing along with the radio tunes.

Excellent! For several weeks already that’s what I do while stuck in a traffic jam somewhere between Den Haag and Utrecht - flirting! I consider myself quite an experienced flirt , but traffic jam flirting is a whole new field for me. Given the amount of response I’ve received so far I still have a long way to go. Where in a bar or a meeting 55% of men would respond one way or another, my score in the traffic is about 2%. I’m still trying to figure out the reasons for such a low number of reactions. If you have any tips, please do share! I’d be grateful.

Before hitting the road on my way from work today I stopped at a gas station and cleaned my car windows.

Monday, 11 October 2010

A new coat

I need a new coat. I love shopping, I really do. But there are two things that don't make me cheer if I have to buy them: shoes and coats. The shoes have to fit well, otherwise the feet will hurt. And then they also have to combine well with various outfits which of course is a great challenge given the amount and the diversity of the outfits I can pull out of my closet. It's nearly the same for coats. A coat has to look nice and be comfortable and practical at the same time. And it has to combine with different types of shoes which makes the challenge even greater.

Tempted by the sunny weather I went downtown for a walk. The shops are open, why not have a look at coats? I went into three shops that sell coats and tried one coat on. I came home with a bag of 75 tea-lights, two aroma candles, incence sticks, two mascaras, loads of perfume samples, new pyjamas (which I probably will not use as pyjamas) and a toothbrush. No coat.

Another try next weekend?

Another discovery: Revolver – Get Around Town

Saturday, 9 October 2010


I am in a romantic mood lately:

Friday, 8 October 2010

Magic road

The mist again. Up until now I've only experienced it looking out of the train window. Every time I was admiring the fields covered with a blanket of mist with cows slowly swimming in this strange substance. Today I was in the car. No cows - cars. And trees along the road. And giant wind turbines (or rather their feet).

I was admiring the view. I had enough time for that in the huge traffic jam this morning. I looked at the cars disappearing behind the mist curtains. What's behind that turn? A misterious dark tunnel with green lights and strange sounds? Will the road turn into river and cars into boats? It will be quiet and the silense will be disturbed by the sounds coming from strange birds flying around in circles, curious about the boats. I imagined a magical forest with giant trees and exotic flowers. I saw misterious landscapes.

I know the road by heart, but the mist makes it very easy to believe I don't know what lies ahead. Amazing!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

My Best Face

Remember this article? Some time ago a friend posted the link to my wall. According to the research of the dating website OkCupid iPhone users seem to be more attractive and even have more sex. Well, guess what? OkCupid is the dating website I've joined a month ago. I came there not so much for dating, but rather for adventure and inspiration. I didn't rule out the possibility of meeting someone special, but was rather attracted to the shiny stuff. Like the flowchart to my heart. Or the photo research.

Yes, the photo reasearch. I have submitted my photos to be judged by random men who use OkCupid. Interesting results. My best photo is the one of me in my Dr.House t-shirt taken in my bedroom. Somehow most vegetarians find it very attractive. What's the link? Dr. House is not vegetarian as far as I can recall. The picture of me that you can see on the right side of this blog is less popular. Although, it is more popular among children between 18 and 22! The picture of me in Riga, trying to picture Vovka with my iPhone seems to be the least successfull. The only people who appreaciate it are artists, deviants, dorks, geeks and liberals. Maybe I should remove it from my profile. You can see the full report here. And if you are curious how your own photo's would score - you know where to go.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Good news

My accountant has finally completed my tax declaration for 2009. Good news - I seem to be getting some "free money". I also already seem to know how I'm going to spend it. My life is certainly not getting any cheaper, but hopefully much more beautiful. The trees outside are losing their leaves. Why am I in such a spring mood?

I made this photo a couple of years ago: Christmas in Lisbon

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

5 euro

I found five euro on the street today. I was walking, looked down and saw it lying on the pavement. There was nobody around, I took the banknote, put it in my bag and went on. It's not a great amount to start jumping around in joy, but great enough to have a nice feeling about it.

It's been a long time sinse I'd found money for the last time. There are all kinds of explanations for that. I don't walk so much. I don't consider coins of less than one euro to be money. I don't look and hope to find any. Anyway, I've forgotten how it feels. So I was 'listening' to the feeling.

To me finding money feels more or less like getting money for my birthday, or receiving a tax refund - free money (although in the latter case not really, but still feels that way). I don't know how you treat this kind of money, I usually tend to spend it for a little extra. I imagine what I could do with that amount of money. I come up with three or four things that fit in that 'budget'. Then I try to choose one. And finally I end up buing at least two or even all of them. Thus, I tend to spend my free money several times which is physically impossible. Meaning: free money make my life more expensive.

Maybe I should just drop the 5 euro banknote on the street next time I go outside. That might save me five or even ten euro.

Monday, 4 October 2010


A toothbrush, toothpaste, some make-up, clean underwear, deodorant, perfume, painkillers (just in case), chewing gum (never without), my wallet, my phone, the phone charger to use in the car and prints with the driving directions. It’s 00:30 and I am ready to go. 596km in 5 hours and 38 minutes.

He: “You are crazy!”
I’m afraid he is right.

Well, instead of driving through the night I am going to take a bath now. But tomorrow I will refill the oil in my car. The oil was not the reason I didn’t go, but it did give me an anxious feeling. I know there will be no next time. But if there is, I’ll make sure I’m ready!

Someone reminded me of this song some days ago, love it: The Gossip – Heavy Cross

Sunday, 3 October 2010


Saturday, 2 October 2010


The usual check up at the dentist’s. There is work to do and he wants to check the tooth he treated half a year ago. This means a photo. Or actually three because the first two where too dark and unclear. He always makes loads of photos. X-ray photos as you might have guessed. Finaly we made an appointment for the next Friday to replace some fillings and do other stuff that has to be done.

“How was it at the dentist?” – a friend asked later today.
“He made some photos, as usual” – I answered.
“Ow, but that’s not good for your health. It brings damage on DNA-level” – he said.

HELP!!!! My DNA is being ruined! Suddenly I was covered
by a wave of panic. Huh? Usually I don’t have to think twice before taking in a heavy antibiotic to cure whatever even though I know my liver might suffer. My stomach probably looks like a colander by now because of all the painkillers I use to fight my headaches, but that doesn’t bother me. But my DNA is apparently off limits. You can’t touch it! I’m not very consistent in my concerns about my health, am I?

Search This Blog