Status Update

Happy Hallo-Birthday!

Happy birthday to me! 😀
And a happy Halloween to everyone else!

pandastic birthday

(Also, a big “get well soon” to my mother, who most likely has pneumonia, and myself, because I have the flu – probably not my best birthday ever, but still. Pandas everywhere, they’re even coming to the Netherlands next year, so I’ll live :))

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The World

“No man ever looks at the world with pristine eyes. He sees it edited by a definite set of customs and institutions and ways of thinking”Ruth Benedict

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Sunday Summary

(Week 43)

sunday_summary“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination”Albert Einstein

My laptop has picked this very day to quit working, so I am a little upset (I don’t want to spend a lot of money buying a new one – money I can’t really miss at this moment). But despite my current state of grieving (and sulking), I have seven newly acquired points of wisdom to share with you:

  1. It’s nice to be appreciated. My Monday-morning client and I were enjoying a cup of coffee when he told me someone from my company contacted him to plan a visit. They want to come over to his house, have a little chat with him, check out his house, make a list of the chores I do, and then cut back on the hours I can work there (it’s called a “re-indication” and I’ve also done such visits for a while – check this post). I told him I hope they won’t cut back too much on his hours, after which he said: “I don’t care much about that. I think it’s a lot worse you’re going to be replaced, I much rather keep you as my help.”
    I know to outsiders my work isn’t very valuable, but it’s moments like these when I feel really appreciated, and realise how something as simple as cleaning someone’s toilet can make that person very happy.
  2. Old movies are twice the fun, because it gives insight in what people looked liked and what was “in” when I was a baby/didn’t even exist. Forget Freddy Krueger, don’t even pay too much attention to the special effects and how much better they’ve gotten over the years. It’s really the hair styles and what the characters are wearing (apart from Mister Murder) that are fascinating. Wow, did people really look like this when I was two!?
    I should really start looking back in old family photo albums to see what my sisters and parents looked like then… Amazing! (Also: is this going to be the same for my niece and nephew when they grow up and look back movies and pictures from the 00’s and 10’s?)
  3. Reading the ending of a book before you really get there kills the suspense (and definitely takes the fun out of reading the whole story). I am an idiot. I was reading The Running Man from Stephen King/Richard Bachman and it was so thrilling I just HAD to know the end! So I did the unthinkable and flipped to the back of the book. It’s happened before and I can’t help myself when I do this! I know it is probably the biggest sin to commit when reading, but sometimes I can’t take not knowing what’s going to happen and I simply have to look.
    But now The Running Man lies on my bedside table and hasn’t been opened since I sinned… I promise, for the love of reading, writing and everything in between, I shall never do this again!
  4. On self-destructive days, it’s best to just give yourself a break and take it easy. Last Thursday was a bad day. I was tired, cranky, and nothing seemed to go right. Eventually I gave up telling myself I had to make the most of it, that I had to stay positive, and just let it go. Best decision I’ve made in a while. If you feel unproductive/lazy/tired/a mixture of those, just let yourself have some rest and relax. Don’t push yourself too much, it’s okay to have an off-day every once in a while.
  5. DHL is a liar, as is Hunkemöller. I ordered something online from Hunkemöller and they gave me the option to choose the delivery date and time. DHL was supposed to come around on a Thursday, between eleven a.m. and three p.m., but: nothing. Normally, I’d expect my package to arrive late (the national mail is a disaster in the Netherlands), but since DHL is an external delivery team, AND because I could choose the date, I honestly thought DHL would be on time. Such a disillusion. I am not sure who’s the real bad guy here, Hunkemöller or DHL, but still. They’re all liars.
  6. Every beginning is difficult. There’s a new girl at my gym, an intern. She is learning to be a group lesson instructor, like I am, and the owner of the gym wanted her to try out her stuff by taking over three tracks of my body pump lesson. She didn’t do too bad, but it wasn’t great either, and I could sense the negative judgements from the people in the classroom. Myself, I remembered my first lesson, which was a complete disaster (as was the second, and the first time I gave the full lesson – it lasted half an hour longer than normal!), and I reckoned she did okay.
    It is hard, you know. Everything you do for the first time, no matter how hard you studied or prepared, it’s always difficult. But: practice makes perfect. So never give up trying!
  7. Reverting back to Standard Time* as opposed to Daylight Saving Time is absolutely awesome! I get to stay in bed for an extra hour for free! I don’t have to hurry to catch up with something or worry that I’ve overslept. Woohoo! It’s the only morning a year when being lazy is actually allowed (or just doesn’t show, I’m not sure), even if it’s just for an hour.

I really hope point one of week forty-four will read: My dad is an absolute genius and fixed my laptop in a blink.
REALLY hope so. If not, it will probably be: It’s best to be prepared before you buy a new laptop, because the personnel in some shops these days is completely morose and inadequate.

But that’s all future-talk, let’s see what happens 🙂

Anything new and fun you’ve learned this week or did your laptop die, too? Let me know!

* I don’t know if Standard Time applies to all countries, in the Netherlands we call it Summer Time (Daylight Saving Time) and Winter Time (which we’re in now). Standard Time is what Google came up with, but it was a bit vague on a general term.


Autumn (aka Why Fall Is The Best Season Of All)

Pronunciation: /aw-tuh m/

autumn“Love the trees until their leaves fall off, then encourage them to try again next year”Chad Sugg

Maybe it’s because my birthday is in autumn. Maybe it’s the smell of the falling leaves and nature getting ready for winter. Maybe it’s all the colours around me, some ever so brightly popping out against the fifty shades of green you see everywhere. Or maybe it’s because it’s the season when all the scary, vicious, aggressive geese decide to move to warmer places, which means I’m safe.

It’s probably all of that.

I don’t think I can fully put into words why each year I am happy September comes around, but I am going to give it a try anyway.

First of all, fall is the season of change, more than any other season. If spring encompasses new life, autumn is all about slowly bringing nature into a deep sleep. It’s as if it’s giving nature a new start, by getting rid of all the old and preparing her for a new, fresh beginning. It doesn’t matter if nature has screwed up: fall is here to wipe the sheet clean!

Then the colours. The leaves on the trees everywhere are stunningly beautiful. And sometimes unexpectedly so; I’ve seen deep purple leaves as well as bright red ones, gorgeously combined with yellow, orange and brown. It’s breathtaking, and a true pleasure to the eyes.
Above all, it’s a source of inspiration; I haven’t worked on my rune project for a while, but some colour schemes I’ve seen outside got my fingers itching to get back to work.

And not only does everything look great in this last season before winter, it also smells amazing! Walking through forest areas or natural parks always is a pleasure to me, but even more so now with the brilliant smells of fallen leaves, newly grown mushrooms, and rain everywhere around me.

It’s disappointing how you can’t catch a smell and keep it in a jar so you can enjoy it all year long, but the smell of fall is worth the wait, for it makes the season more typical, striking and generally pleasing.

Moving on to the typical autumn-weather. Where I find winter infamous for its snow, fall is lovely because of its rain storms.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t like it when it rains all the time, but a good storm I surely enjoy once in a while. Just imagine a pitch black sky with rain pouring down from it, and now and then a bright bolt of lighting tearing the heavens apart. Great, isn’t it?
Now imagine yourself sitting inside and watching all this from behind a window, your pajamas on, a cup of tea within grasps, and your tired feet in a foot bath. You’re covered under a snug blanket and the heating’s on so you’re all comfortable and cosy.
The image just got better, am I right?

You can’t do this in winter, you know. Snow fall is not half as much fun as a rain storm, because usually snow sticks to the ground and rain won’t. Plus, although driving your car through a rainstorm is no picnic, driving it through snow is nothing but utter mayhem.

A good rain storm can last all night, but after fifteen minutes the water of your foot bath is cold anyway, so you just go to bed to wake up to a damp (but dry) morning eventually.
I’d like to point out I still live in the Netherlands and that we don’t have extraordinary weather in general. Although we did have a huge rain storm some years back, which did quite a lot of damage in my region, as well as some heavy snow fall two winters ago. But nothing too dramatic.
So please do not steal my ideal image of a mellow-rain-storm-foot-bath-experience. I’ve lost so much already, I need something to hold on to. Thank you.

My birthday is coming up, and believe it or not: it’s on Halloween. Yes, I was born on October the 31st!
I like my birthday (although this year I am struggling to find something fun to do – I am super late with making arrangements for basically everything I’d like to do), I like to celebrate it, and I like that it’s in my favourite season.
I am not sure how the causality of this works, though (do I like my birthday more because it’s in autumn, or do I like autumn better because my birthday is in it? Hmm, I’ll probably never know).

Fall also means my favourite season-dependent candy and foods are available! Think gevulde speculaas (it’s truly Dutch, the spice “speculaas” has no English translation, although Interglot calls it “brown spiced biscuit” – “gevuld” means it’s a two layer biscuit filled with an almond/sugar filling), almond pastry (om nom nom!), and boerenkool met worst (kale-stew with a special type of sausage – that’s right! We were onto kale long before the present kale-rage! It’s our traditional dish). It’s all back, and it’s all good 🙂

And finally, the geese. Jeese, the geese! They are finally on their way to warmer horizons. Fine by me.

I like all animals, really I do. And I like birds too, geese included.

But from a far.

Trust me about them. I’ve been hunted by a goose once when I was little and out on a walk with my dad and sisters, and I’m still traumatised. Really, really scary birds.
But they’re gone now 🙂 For the time being, it’s safe to wander past creeks again.

This all makes autumn the best season for me. I am going to intensely enjoy it, all three months of it. What’s your favourite season and why?

PS: I told you they are scary!

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Those who are envious of other’s achievements, fail their own talents.