Update: chaos & creation – the result

The offset: 

In my post from April 15th, I talked about projects that turn long-term, and how they often get finished at some point, if only for the trouble and time they took you so far. A soothing thought, even if things get locked away in a closet for years [this shouldn’t turn into an attick full – I don’t evne have one – but you’ll get my drift.

Thus, the upcycled-jeans-project got completed last May, and my son had been wearing his trousers with many pockets happily – they already have some permanent stains and wear & tear on them.

Next time I will have to add a zipfly – a good chance to practice producing those. And also a larger size – children have this weird tendency to grow while your project just keeps lying there unchanged.

Another reason to get on with my next project – copying a friend’s dress. Although I don’t intend to grow myself while making it..

The result: 

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               & creation…

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           … in action !

So Far So Good

Hello everybody,

It’s been some time – I’ve encountered myself a couple of times these past weeks and felt a bit off. Maybe I’ve been a bit too busy – you may think that being out of work, I’d be sitting at home doing nothing.

Actually, despite being out of work, somehow small assignments find their way to me. Today, I translated a synopsis for a friend. I have to get busy making 3 pair of pants for 3 brothers, that were ordered by a colleague my husband’s.

Apart from that, I have been visiting some friends, and went to a few meetings about how to find work, manageable with AD[H]D. These trainings are quite intense – 10 people with a similar set of brains, spekaing about that – that couldn’t be boring.

Now I try to take more time to sit and think and write – with pen & paper: the best way to write, in my opninion. I have my ADD-book, I make marks and later on, I write these marked passages down, Maybe I will digitalize these later on, as was my intention woth The happiness Project. Unfortunately, that book is kind of starting to bore me. But I really plan to finish it.

As for the future, I see a vague shape of a good situation for me. Actually, it is similar to my situation before I plunged into a fulltime office job that didn’t suit me at all. I worked parttime at a newspaper, nothing huge, and translated with that.

Now I might do some work for the newspaper again, just on the side, and I have been getting small translation jobs. I feel pretty ok with not being too structured and fully booked, but at the same time the lack of structure and fences for my endless thoughts is a danger.

So, I’ll have to think more about that.

Now I have to do some fabric cutting, and then sleeping 🙂

Take care !

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This fellow I met during a school trip I joined my son in. The noise and crowds were very tiring to me, but my son was over the moon about my presence & I got some nice pics. The beetle-ish animal was quite small – one of the kids pointed it out to me – children so often see beautiful details we completely miss.

This week’s mantra could be:

“Gather ideas, ride their waves – well, at least don’t drown and learn to stay afloat.”

On monday afternoon, I ended up in our Central Library, It’s next to Central Station and a wonderful place. On the top floor, you can have coffee and there’s a roof terrace with a great view of the city:

View from the Amsterdam Public Library

Actually, this part is my favorite part of Amsterdam: coming from home, I cross the bridge coming from the green-ish building – which is a fantastic scientific & play-inducing museum for children aged 1-99 – it’s called Nemo.

What I also like about the route, is that although this is The Major Place In The Netherlands – touristically seen: next to Central Station, zillions of tourists hoovering around it… still, it has a feeling of desolation and emptiness. My theory about crowded places is: turn 2 corners and you’ll find an oasis of peace.

Also, I once drove through LA, now THAT’s a big city right there. Amsterdam is pretty tiny, actually. But – I am drifting from the subject.

Here’s what I took home with me: 

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“Miracles in Bricks Wonders of Nature & the World in Lego”

LEGO

This is the book I found in the hobby section. It shows famous buildings and statues you can build with your own lego. I like that they use the tiniest of lego bricks, so it’s really gratifying to finish it. My youngest son aged 6 started a project in bed – he was supposed to go to sleep, but he is as hardheaded as.. well, in the Netherlands we say: hardheaded as a donkey. I am sure that is poretty clear. So, loooking at the pictures in the book, he got a heavy case if Inspiration and built 3 figures. When finished, these MUST be showcased in front of the living room window, presenting:

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A high-rise building (he made that one up), a mini-colossus and the Sfinx.

He really tried his best – by nature, he’s very critical of everything he produces. I was glad he was satisfied this time, so he went to sleep. He’s inherited his perfectionism from his dad, and I still don’t know how to deal with either of       them once they get fanatic (read: when   they can’t enjoy what they’re making or doing, just because it isn’t perfect.)

** Lego: plastic magic **

** Lego: plastic magic **

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SEWING

I chose this one beacuse it looks catchy inspiring. I have no idea if I’ll ever actually make something from it – it looks complicated and precise,

Then again: trying is always ok, and who knows what inspiration I will draw from it. It’s worthwhile mentioning at any rate, and I am not surprised it’s a Japanese artist who came up with these ideas:

Tomoko Nakamichi.

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Great to have lying standby on our piano. I’m no pianist, but I can play some chords and sing along and have fun doing that. Sometimes my husband will play the piano (he is the pianist) and we’ll sing together, a favorite song we do now and then is A Song for You by The Carpenters. It’s too bad his perfectionism and my laissez-faire-attitude often get in the way of enjoying making music together. We were in a band together for 5 years though, quite an achievement. We had 3 other band members, keeping us civilized.

This monday, I picked good old Lenny from the library shelves (never mind these weird jeans, although they match the sewing project above). Fleetwood Mac is always fun to try and play, and of course John Mayer’s chords are way too complicated, let alone the lyrics and tone. But I enjoy just sitting down for a bit and put my hands and ears to work this way.

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Gathering ideas & staying afloat

Still here

 

The idea behind this blog was it wouldn’t matter if I didn’t write for ages. In that respect, 5 months isn’t that bad, is it?

All in all, a lot has happened since last summer. Apart from a bumpy summer holiday  with my family – needing personal space & peace doesn’t go together very well with two children, growing up into all directions and a partner who in some way is the same as you are.

This tiny family of four is in the middle of a process started who knows when – probably ongoing since the day we were born. We are making progress though. I guess we’re all growing up.

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I’ve started my own business, in both disciplines I love. Right now, after two weeks of Christmas break, I feel a little insecure and wobbly about all that, but the past 5 months actually went pretty well – getting back into the groove coming Monday.

 

Some lessons learnt:

  • Be your own best friend (whimpering & barfing allowed at this point).
  • Don’t chase after people that don’t get you.
  • Don’t be distracted (haha!)
  • Even better: prevent from meeting distractions. Getting my own workshop was a big step – a room of my own; sewing and translating in my own time, after my own manner, without homely distractions.
  • Stop working in time to get groceries & pick up the kids: that remains difficult – once in my ‘zone’ I just want to keep going until… that’s it. There would be no end to it and I would soon turn into a tired wreck. Right now, it is past 1am and I should be calling it a day – will be back though. For one, this “Happiness Project” is still unfinished business I want to attend to.

Take care !

 

 

Photos generating happiness

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The freckles I passed on myself… nothing to add

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A ‘see-through shrimp”, according to my youngest son, a happy little biologist never scared to pick anything up.

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Waiting patiently to see which creature inhabits the shell, in Croatia.

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I passed this view on a run through my neighborhood, There is a patch of rough grounds close to where I live, even though this is officially the ‘City Centre’. I love these weird, lost places with odd vehicles parked in them. Too bad this state of no-mans-landishness never lasts too long – they have started construction there now. I guess it will be luxuruous apartments showing up.

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A monstrous machine, eating away at the [now ex-] building next to the one I used to work in. We heard and felt it – and outside there were always people taking pictures & gazing at this Thing gnawing at the concrete. Mesmerizing!

My plan with ‘The Happiness Project’ by Gretchen Rubin

When I bought this book from a small book shop at the station, I grabbed it because it looked readable, not too complicated and positive. I hadn’t been able to finish a book for a long time – I constantly overstimulated my brain in a way that left no room for anything else, and concentrating on anything longer than 2 minutes seemed almost impossible [except, of course, unleashing my hyperfocus on random stuff on the internet].

Now that I have my tiny white friends to help me to focus on more important matters, such as: how I could design my life in a way that makes me feel fitter, happier, more productive… ? Of course, my psychologist and ‘ADD-bible’ help me with this too.

So – I started reading this book by Gretchen Rubin about a month ago. I am nowhere near finished, but that’s ok. I just keep it around together with a pen so I can scribble things into it.

I just looked up the author online for the first time. Only now I discovered the book is from 2009 already and she has written 2 successors on the same subject by now – it was a NYT bestseller after all, and the magic must be prolongued, or: money must be generated as long as possible! – Or am I acting shallow?

Probably. Anyway, the plan was to apply this book’s contents for better things – not for sarcasm.

In the book, Rubin seels like a completely different kind of person than I am. And as a sober Dutch person, the American character of some of the content is a bit much for me. Then again – there’s a lot of useful ideas in there and also: reading about someone testing ways to feel happier, or to grow happy-awareness, is inspiring, even if your own life is quite different.

In her book, Rubin, has listed all kinds of resolutions / themes / commandments / plans that worked for her [although some didn’t work]. I intend to quote/discuss the texts that spoke to me. Thus I hope to create an overview of life lessons & resolutions that apply to my situation – and hopefully some of you will join in and share what you think, and how you live your lives.

Stay tuned !

Lunar-matic Insomnia

For some reason I woke up at 4am, after having gone to sleep late already, at 1.

Lying awake, waiting for sleep that won’t return to your tired limbs, it’s hard to stop thinking – especially about how knackered you’ll be in a couple of hours, when the day sets off for real. I’m sure you’ve been there. After a while of tossing and turning, I decided to make some tea and let my husband sleep before I grump him out by waking him. Now I can use this time to add a new blog post, which is about time!

Last thursday was my last day at work. I am officially out of work – politically correct: in between jobs. I knew this for some time already, and I’m in the luxurious position to have a partner with a steady job. I’m not saying we won’t need any of my income, but I feel positive about the future: I know now what caused me to feel so bad about myself before. I found good help now and I am full of ideas – I always was, but now I hope to be able to enjoy thinking about them, and pick the ones that are realistic and good for me.

The final week at work was quite busy and the weeks leading up to it felt weird, like counting down. One moment I couldn’t wait to be done and drop the tedious parts of my job, then again I felt I wasn’t ready to just step out. In the end, it was good to hand in my laptop and leave the building. There is so much I want to do now, like cleaning, fixing up the house a bit, sorting out heaps of papers from past and present… and of course meeting friends I’ve been neglecting for too long and making things.

About the past: now that I know more about the way my brain is set up, I might re-read old diaries, type some of it out and then get rid of the paper versions. They always depress me, because of all the teenage and early adulthood drama, but in the light of ADD, I might learn from it and also, it feels less vain to occupy myself with that stuff now. After all, I should grow awareness of “being my own best friend” (Ah! There is a website with that name and it looks half finished & shady, haha!). I’m glad to have a bit more time on my hands to see what’s next and have more influence on it.

What will always be strange to me is how situations differ and fluctuate, and I don’t even mean on world scale – I’ll just skip that part or I’ll get overwhelmed. In moments of stress, which are usually work- or child-related, things can seem quite tough. But compared to some of my friends’ current life issues, I am so well off where I am! I can feel my energy increasing to be able help them out in some way, which feels so good, I’ve missed that feeling. It’s the feeling of loving someone and wanting them to be or feel better, without agenda, no Samaritan-syndroms. Just because it feels right.

Soon I will start as a volunteer, visiting a parent with a young child who has asked for Someone to just come over and listen once a week. I went to a training for this, meeting some nice new people, and I’m really looking forward to it.

A bit of a mish-mash this post – I hope you enjoyed reading it anyway. I’ll be back later today with an update on the jeans-project I hope to finish soon.

Have a wonderful day !

From Queen to King

… well, that could be a rather long and dull story. In short: two years ago, our Dutch Queen Beatrix stepped down literally and handed the crown over to her son, Willem-Alexander of Orange. About whom many a joke has been made since he was young, but let’s skip that part for now, just like the story of Argentinan Máxima Zorreguieta who became his better half in 2002, causing quite an uproar because of her father‘s dubious past.

Orange trams for the crowning of the King

Orange trams for the crowning of the King

In 2013, the trams in Amsterdam turned the same color as the Golden Coach the Oranges use for official events, and to be honest, I actually enjoyed watching them from our window – I had just returned to my home country after over 2 years in exile, maybe this was the reason for my admiration of anything explicitly Dutch, let alone the crowing of a King for the first time in 123 years! During the wedding ceremony which father Zorreguieta wasn’t allowed to attend because of his dubious past, hence the Argentinan musical intermezzo causing Máxima to shed her nationally-famous tear.

Where was I? From 2013 on, we have a King and like his mother, he has a national day of festivities devoted to him, whether he wants to or not. Before, he was sort fo obliged to come alomg with his mother, visiting sleepy towns in the Netherlands who had prepared for their arrival for months and months in their “Orange Committees”. The maximum and also horrifying outcome of that: our Crown Prince, throwing a toilet bowl during “Queen’s Day”, 2012. A year after that, he was crowned our King and made himself, or/and his wife, the promise to never engage in such ridiculous activites again.

This year, no traditional or regional bullshit activities. The date of “KIng’s Day” has shifted to April 27th [instead of the 30th] and apart from a boat tour and royal waving, there was’s too much he rather wouldn’t do.

For us, normal creatures, not much has changed though, Some people start drinking and partying night before and sleep in on King’s Day. Some just keep on going ’til; the end – it is a national holiday, after all! Others try to dig a holer and crawl into it, not to emerge until everuthing is back to normal. Others have kids and they spend the day outside, hoping the weather will be ok, and stroll one of the many many flea markets – many sell their own old stuff, children’s toys and clothing and knick-knacks.

I did a little bit of everything, which was fun. At 7, I dragged my husband to a posh neigborhood where the fleas are loaded, so to say. Slightly disappointed there, we continued on to our own neighborhood: the Eastside. We found some tnice things – not too much, because we try to de-clutter/1 In the meantime, my mother was at home woth our children and helped them prepare the rest of the price tags for their own ‘flea stall’ – well, we sat on the grass with all the items on blankets. The children were playing with their frineds from school and spending their hard-earned wages on candy and ugly crap. School of Life, right? We had a beer and cleaned up in the end, leaving us wioth a big bag full of leftover fleas. That bag is in the trunk of the car now, ready to be taken to the 2nd store, which will probably be bursting with other people’s unsold.. items.

And so, King’s Day isn’t much different from Queen’s Day at all, to me, so far. Maybe when I get older ~I will follow the tv registrations and mutter something about traditions being neglected and thrown out the window. Until that time, I will enjoy and appreciate this day, which is so different from other weekdays, maybe that is the best part: undertaking something with your partner / family that you usually don’t do.

Buying second hand brand clothing for 1 or 2 euros per item… that’s great, We Dutch love bargains!

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The magnolia tree in our garden has performed its magic trick for us for the third time since we moved here. Even with our children climbing and ” decorating” it, it still looks perfectly beautiful with its unfolding leaves. By now, the blossom had started to fall down. Upon being asked why the tree would bother to make all these beautiful flowers, mu oldest son said: “Maybe it is for the people to enjoy them!” Sweet answer.

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DSC00565This was two weeks ago at our caravan. The one in the picture is our neigbor’s. Actually, our spot is quite small, but we don’t mind. It’s a 15 minute bike ride to the beach, the children bike across the campground and can join in all sorts of actviities during holidays.

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These are the feet of two of my men, both reading: the paper and a comic.

Pretty much all we do there is make tea and coffee and keeping warm or sun-bathing and do some reading. Do the dishes now and then and cook on the camping stove next to the caravan. Back to basics, but luxuriously: with electricity: a small heater and a lamp to read and play games by.

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Picknick at the beach, beginners’ fault: nice and sunny at the campsite; too windy and cold for sitting down let alone eating anything without being sandwashed. Alweays good to see the sea though.

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An extra: some urban knitting across the “IJ” – the water that separates the North of Amsterdam from the rest. Behind it is Amsterdam Central Station. A ferry takes you to and from several locations on the North side – and back – for free.


Spring in the city