One song for the rest of your life

Stephen Colbert periodically confronts his most celebby of guests with the fifteen carefully selected questions of “the Colbert Questionert”. See Bradley Cooper’s answers below:

So, I’ve watched pretty much all of the episodes in which these questions are presented to some superstar and there is this one question that bothers me every time I hear it:

You get one song to listen to for the rest of your life: what is it?

That’s such a confusing question. The answer most people give, reflects what their favorite song of all time is. But that’s not the question at all.

Also, I feel the question is carelessly phrased. Are we talking about a situation in which you would hear the song 24/7? Or is it simply the only song you can put on when you choose to press play on the jukebox of life?

Hearing your favorite song played back to you over and over again would turn into torture real quick, don’t you think? In this case, the song you should really want to choose shouldn’t be your favorite song at all, but rather one that can blend in with the background, like a trickling stream, without distracting nor annoying you.

If on the other hand you are granted silence throughout your life but allowed only one song to choose from on at your moment of choice, then maybe yes it should be the most complex and awesomely inspiring thing you know. Right?

So, in either of these scenarios, what would I choose?

Scenario 24/7

If I could only listen to one single song and it would be played back to me constantly I think I would choose something instrumental. No trumpets, no violins. Something like Agnes Obel. Or some chilled out acoustic guitar song. Preferably a long piece of music, so that it doesn’t get too repetitive.

If I were to choose something with vocals I would probably go for Sade, who I’ve been listening to very often throughout my life without getting bored. Any song from her ‘Lovers Rock’ album would do (and the whole album if I were granted that), but ‘ All about our Love’ has to be one of my all time favorites.

Jukebox scenario

If I were allowed to live my life in silence, with only one song in my playlist, I would choose something quite different.

Coldplay’s ‘Adventure of a Lifetime’ is a song that always manages to pick me up when I need it. Many of Queen’s songs have a similar effect. Other candidates would be songs by Jamiroquai, Sia or Nothing but Thieves.

However a song that never goes by without giving me goosebumps is Stevie Wonder’s song ‘I’m New’:

I don’t listen to it often. But when I do, it gives me all sorts of feels. It deserves more credit and yes, I wouldn’t mind it being the only song I would ever hear again (whenever I press play).

The second song that fits in the same category for me, is Mercedes Sosa’s version of Gracias a la Vida. I think I have shared it on my blog more than once, but here it goes again.

It’s such a tender reminder of how beautiful life is, which in a way is also what Stevie’s song boils down to.

So, looking back, I guess I’m actually not following my own advice at all. I thought I would choose something more upbeat and energizing.

In the end I guess I’m just glad I don’t have to make such a choice and am allowed to cruise through all my guilty and proud pleasures whenever suits me.

Mind Cleanup January 2022

January. The month of new beginnings and new years resolutions.

New Job

This new year is looking good for me so far. I started my new job in the first week of 2022 and have been looking forward to each new work day since. My job title is “Communications officer” which makes me very happy to say out loud for some reason.

My position is a part of the company’s new sustainability department and in my first month I pretty much had only one task: write the Communication on Progress report. It was a great way to get to know the company and I think everybody was happy with how it turned out. Yay!

Music

A friend recommended me a band, called AnnenMayKantereit. Some of their songs remind me of Mumford & Sons. Only without the banjo. The lead singer on the other hand, seems to be a cross between Paolo Nutini and George Ezra.

Oh yeah, and they sing in German.

For us Dutchies, the German language is easy to understand as it is quite similar to our own language. Also, it is a mandatory subject in the first two years of secondary school, along with French and English. Because many of us still have an inherent and intergenerational aversion towards the language, it takes a bit of effort to admit when it is actually beautiful. Like now.

Go on, give it a chance. Look up other songs as well (they did some super interesting covers too).

And if you’re feeling ambitious, look up the lyrics and give them a spin through the Google Translate monster.

New word

I learned a new word. Or actually, I learned a new meaning for a word I already thought I knew.

Flakey

‘Flakey’ apparently means unreliable? Apparently its also used as a verb: “to flake out”, which means to miss an appointment… Really? Since when? I clearly missed the memo, but I recently heard it in a youtube vid and had to look it up.

OK, I did some more research. This video helped:

Am I a flaker? Eum… Yes, sometimes for sure.

Luckily, I have friends that can handle the truth, making “Sorry, I can’t deal with the world today” a totally legitimate reason to call off an appointment. And in general I really like their company, so that makes me really want to actually show up.

On to February!

Mind Cleanup July 2020

July was not a good month for blogging, apparently. My goal to publish at least three blogs per month was not met. It was my Alphabet challenge that got in the way. The letter D… Ddddamn you, letter D.

C-words

Words that were more prominent in my life were all C-words: Communication, conspiracies, consciousness and, you know that other C-word.

A double C-word that featured in a discussion I had with my boyfriend G was crowd control.

He was telling me about how 5G technology has the power to stun and paralyze people through milimeter wave frequencies. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes, and G couldn’t help but notice.

It turns out that Mona Keijzer, the Dutch State Secretary for Economic Affairs, helped fuel this idea when she mentioned crowd control during a debate on the implementation of 5G in the Netherlands. For Dutch speaking people interested in hearing her exact words, click here (but please close your eyes while you listen, as the imagery in the vid is misleading imo)

My first reaction was that she was referring to the capacity of 5G to be more precise about peoples’ exact locations, making it possible to anticipate where it could become undesirably crowded (and of which individuals that crowd might consist). Cynically enough, I think we’re already past the point that that is shocking or secret, troubling as it may be. This New Yorker article from April 2019 explains my feelings about that quite well.

My boyfriend challenged me to read into it further, as he felt my filter bubble may have been keeping me away from seeing the full picture. So, I did. And I hereby admit that I did find reliable, science based information, backed by governments and mainstream institutions, that affirms that “hypersonic weapons” are a thing and that 5G could play a role in making the application of such weapons easier.

That’s all I’ve got to say about that (for now).

Music

Time for a musical interlude.

Can we all just take a minute to appreciate the talent of this young man?

And can somebody please make him a sandwich?

‘Good’ communication

During the lock down period, when we were all working from home, a lot of communication was conducted in writing, rather than in spoken form.

It has been interesting to see how eloquent people who have no problem explaining something face-to-face can have so much trouble doing the same thing when those words need to be presented in writing. I witnessed a lot of sloppy communication that I knew was meant well, but could be interpreted in so many ways, that it made my brain hurt.

I find the power of language wildly interesting. Learning about meanings behind words and the unintentional damage that can be done with them is something I wish everybody would take a little time to think about.

Luckily, I actually like my co-workers. They are cool peeps with good hearts, making it easy to forgive their verbal clumsiness.

I have been re-listening Marshall Rosenberg’s teachings myself, which have turned out to be excellent running and cycling soundtracks.

As a lover of sarcasm and brutal humor though, I have always needed to check myself every now and then. I don’t always get it right but I do try to fix any damage I may have done and do better the next time around..

It did make me realize that, once again, ignorance is bliss.

The fact that I have knowledge of Marshall Rosenberg’s teachings and the implicit idea that there is such a thing as ‘violent communication’ turned out to be a bit of a burden for me.

It made it harder to let things pass, even when I knew what the message was that someone was trying to convey. Words that I have come to identify as ‘aggressive’ make me frown, where I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought in the past.

These spasms of annoyance also demonstrate that I’m not done learning. I know that the way I receive and process a message is up to me. How I feel can never be somebody else’s responsibility (or their choice of words).

Still… I just wish they would just ‘do it properly’.

the letter D

Deodorant. Doom’s day preppers. Defunding the Police. the Daily Show. Dancing. Drought. Dominance.

As I said, I’m having a hard time finding something to write about that starts with the letter D.

I had an idea about the word Dixie, but I have to admit that would just be a sorrow attempt of me trying to be relevant and probably failing. I know too little about it and simply do not have a strong enough opinion about the matter, which means I lack motivation.

And then there was Democracy. I do have an opinion about that. But I just wish I could come up with something easy for once… A topic that not only makes for easy writing but also easy reading.

I’m sure something will get written in the upcoming weeks, but July 2020 will have to go into the history books as one without an Alphabet-inspired post.

Alright, August Blogust. I’m ready for you.

Mind Cleanup June 2020

June twentytwenty was one for the history books for sure. You’d better hide that book though, because I might tear that page out and burn it later on…

USA.? WTF.!

US politics have always been dominant in the news of the world, at least during my life time. As a non-American-citizen who never lived in the USA but did go to an American school for some years, I felt I belonged to the in-crowd a little bit. I didn’t always agree with what was going on in the White House, but I could follow.

Nowadays, I am just baffled by the political chess game and its bizarre ripple effects. Don’t get it. Not in the slightest. Don’t even really want to…

I must have done something right in previous lives to be allowed to carry a Dutch passport during this one… Being American must be so confusing right now…

And then the murder of George Floyd happened.

I haven’t actually watched the footage of his assassination, but I have read transcripts. I’m speechless. About all of it. The fact that it happened, how it happened, where it happened, why it happened. All of it.

…and then the protests erupted, the anger spilt out, the statue-iconoclasm began, the “church & bible photo op” happened, flags were put up for discussion, the Tulsa Rally flopped by and the golf cart drive by was shared…

Oh and John Bolton just happened to release his hypocrite ‘tell all’ book, as well as some Drumpf niece or cousin or whatever.

And let’s not take our eye off that report regarding Taliban fighters being payed by Russia to kill Western service personnel

Who makes this stuff up?? I mean… yeah… the Russians apparently… but… DAFACK?!

And now elections are coming up. You would think it’s a no-brainer. There’s just no way Americans are THAT foolish… right?

VOTE!

Please fellow earthlings, do the right thing and put an end to this madness. One term is more than enough for #45.

Music

And now, all I want is to put on some music.

Michael Kiwanuka – Light

First, allow me to share a sweet and meaningful song to drive out the darkness of my mood a little bit…

Jorge Drexler – Asilo

This next song is to warm up the heart (and once again admire the beauty of the Spanish language). This song is about two lovers asking for one night of ‘asylum’ in each other’s arms. Just forget the world for a bit.

the Chicks – March March

And after a good night’s sleep and a cuddle, it’s time to hit the streets again. Just follow the Chicks, they know the way…

Tiny Desk Concert: Jon Batiste

Jon Batiste is incredibly talented, but oftentimes a bit too heavy on the jazzy side for my taste. This tiny desk concert is awesome though. If you have to choose, definitely listen to the last two songs (starts around the 07:00 mark), for a taste of that feel good jazz that Jon Batiste does so well.

Tiny Desk Concert: Cimafunk

And this one is to shake off any bitter or sour taste you may have left in your mouth after reading the first part of my blog (for which I do apologize… but it is a mind cleanup, so I couldn’t not…)

Mind Cleanup – March/April

Just like my previous mind cleanup this one encompasses two months. While my motivation to fuse January and February was that I felt I hadn’t collected enough mind clutter after the first month of the year had passed, I can not say the same about March and April.

I would have loved to not write about the C-word… but a mind cleanup can’t be a real cleanup if it tiptoes around the elephant in the room…

Early stages

Working at a company that relies mostly on people’s travel plans, the situation has been in my face every day for many weeks now.

I started an overview document on the COVID-19 epidemic somewhere around the end of February. It was meant for internal use only and looked very similar to the briefing I had made a few months before to put the Australian bushfires into perspective. I had previously done the same for Typhoon Ursula/Phanfone in the Philippines and the social unrest in South America.

We were getting some questions from backbackers and digital nomads in Asia but everything seemed under control, as far as our work was concerned.

The first case was confirmed in the Netherlands on the 27th of February. On the 11th of March it was declared a pandemic. The next day was my last day at work before a week long holiday to Ireland.

Pandemic travelplans

I checked up with my oldest brother, T, (who works in the medical sector) if it was OK for me to go on with the trip I had planned long ago; he said it should be fine, if we didn’t mingle with large groups of people and washed our hands often.

I double checked with my second brother, D, if he was still OK with my plans to come visit him in Ireland. He was. My boyfriend and I had already decided to go by ferry which proved to be the best choice for so many reasons:

  • No stressy airport queues and waiting areas.
  • It was just the two of us in the car to the ferry, just the two of us in the ferry cabin, just the two of us from the ferry to my brother’s home. So very little chance of contamination!
  • As we came by car I could take some larger gifts a long, such as a reasonably sized painting my dad had made of my newborn niece.
  • Smaller ecological footprint than air travel (which was the original motivation to choose this means of transportation)

Lock Down

During our stay in Ireland, Saint Patrick’s day celebrations were cancelled, which was probably the first moment the Irish realized the severity of the situation.

A few days later we received word that all non-essential human movement was now prohibited in France. We were assured our trip home would not be a problem. We did decide to cancel our initial plan to follow the “cute windy roads” home and just stuck to the boring (but efficient) toll roads back.

During the week that we had been in Ireland everything had changed. My workplace was now closed and everyone was working form home. The clean cut and standardized information document I had started on a few weeks earlier had exploded into a monstrous behemoth with chapters and themed infobundles and newsflashes and hour-by-hour updates… It was pretty insane.

April

The first moment I realized April had made its entrance was when I started seeing A to Z blog posts appear. At that point, I realized I was too late, too unprepared and too exhausted to catch up. I also decided that I could do the challenge on my own at any moment in the year, if I wanted to. Instead of stressing myself out with the obligation of having to write and post one blog a day I could even spread it out a bit more, if I wanted to.

That way, every month would consist of a mind cleanup (or every other month), one lifetip and an Alphabet inspired post. Being able to publish a minimum of three posts a month sounds like a satisfying idea (and it’s close to one a week, which would be ideal).

Music

A category that I never have trouble writing about, is the music category. Songs that featured in some way in March and April were the following ones:

Flowers is not a new song of Ms Arie’s, but it is new in my life. Her songs always make the world look a little bit more beautiful and this one is no exception.

What triggered me to re-listen this next song from the 1995 Disney rendition of Pocahontas, I don’t know. Its effect actually caught me off guard and I couldn’t hold back a tear or two when I took in the words. It was as if I had never really listened to it. Every sentence in it hit home at that moment and it moved me deeply.

Another song that felt quite prophetic, albeit in a completely different category was the new Nothing but Thieves song “Is everybody going crazy”:

When I saw that my favorite Dutch hip hop artist Typhoon had finally released a new song I couldn’t help but smile. The lyrics are in Dutch but the title of the song translates to “Everything is blessed” and I guess that is just something we need to focus on sometimes.

Another song that put a big goofy smile to my face was a song called “Think About Things”. I first heard it on Spotify and wanted to share it with my brother, as the lyrics reminded me of the mental conversation I had with my one year old niece in Ireland a few weeks earlier.

When I looked it up on YouTube I … needed some time to process everything that was going on in the video.

When I read the comments I realized the awesomely, awkwardly tall viking of a man was actually the artist that would have performed at the Eurovision Song Festival as the entree for Iceland, had it not been cancelled.

Seriously… Tell me you watched that video and didn’t crack a smile… It can’t be done. You’re welcome.

Mind cleanup – Jan/Feb 2020

As January passed me by, I realized I had very little mind-rubbish to clean out. So I decided to wait until the end of February to go through my mental cobwebs.

I hope everyone had a wonderful leap day!

Musing: What is pride?

I’m not sure when, where or why it started, but something triggered me to try and decipher the concept of “pride”.

I know the word has somehow gotten entangled with the LGBTQ community, but that is not the aspect of it that has been on my mind.

What I have been gnawing on, is the feeling of pride in general.

How do you describe it? Does it have something to do with love? It usually has to do with an accomplishment, I guess.

You can be proud of yourself, which I kind of get.

But how is it that you can be proud of someone else? What is that and how does it work? If a mother is proud a child, you could say she feels pride for having created a being that is now accomplishing so-and-so. But how can I be proud of a friend? Is it the same as saying “I am happy for you”?

I’m still untangling that one… Insights are welcome!

Films / Series

I started watching ‘The Good Place‘, which I found wildly amusing. Such an interesting storyline!

Questions of morality and defining what makes someone “good” remind me of some of the episodes in Black Mirror. Contrary to Black Mirror though, the Good Place does not emphasize how shitty we are as a species and actually let’s you sleep comfortably at night.

I also watched A Monster Calls, which is a beautifully touching movie about grief. It reminded me of ‘Big Fish’. I definitely cried.

I also re-watched the Avatar (Last Aribender) TV series, which first aired 15 years ago. I have an odd fascination for the series. I admire the simpleness of the individual episodes and the intense complexity of the overall story. I started watching the Korra spinoff years ago but it didn’t quite have the same effect on me.

Music

My wonderful friend Zeef gave me tickets for Avi Kaplan‘s concert in Paradiso, Amsterdam on the 22nd of January. It was awesome. Anyone who has the chance to see him live, should go. His studio songs are good, but live he is breathtaking. My favorite song of the set is a song he hasn’t released yet, but I’m sure he will soon. It’s called Nature Girl. Once it’s available on Spotify or YouTube, I’ll be sure to post it.

If you’re into Avi’s music and also enjoy bands like Coldplay or Keane I’m sure you would also enjoy Dutch band Haevn. I was about to say they just released a new album, but it turns out it’s actually an old album that I’m only now discovering. It’s music that’s comfortable to have on in the background but also interesting enough to listen to on the foreground.

And for the true romantics among us, I recommend John Legend‘s song Conversations in the dark. I know, I should’ve mentioned it before Valentine’s day… But hey, there is always next year,

I just remembered I also recently stumbled upon a Youtube vid in which John Legend explains the lyrics and meaning of his song Penthouse Floor. If you didn’t already love him, you will now:

Other recent discoveries:

  • Shey Baba
  • Sam Brookes
  • Cynthia Erivo (yes, thanks to her Oscar performance)

I realize all of the above musicians are quite… eum… solemn? Apparently that was my mood these last two months.

Tech

At work our laptops run on Linux and I’ve been considering switching over at home as well. The only thing stopping me is that, at work, I can ask my IT-buddies to help me update or change things which makes me feel like I would completely fail with my own PC at home… I’ve watched a few tutorials. It’s a lot of Abracadabra lingo, but the steps seem doable. All I’ve got to do now is find the balls (and time, I guess)…

My list and taskmanager app of choice, Wunderlist, will be discontinued this May, after having been taken over by Microsoft. Booooo!

I tested a few non-Micorosoft ( I know, I’m childish that way) alternatives and came to the following conclusions:

  • ToDoist
    • It’s too strictly a planner thing.
    • It all revolves around what will I do today & tomorrow
    • It wants me to order everything in projects… So even my groceries are a project now?
    • In Wunderlist I have a lot of useless lists (names I would give a Cat, Places I want to go, Gift ideas for my mother, etc) which I wouldn’t know where to put in todoist.
    • CONCLUSION: Nope.
  • Any.do
    • Looks pretty basic, but turns out having a lot of different pages and views
    • I found it all kind of confusing , especially since you need the premium account for a lot of the options. It annoys me that all the stuff I can’t use are constantly in my face (Todoist did the same btw).
    • CONCLUSION: No
  • Ike
    • A bit rigid in its layout (every category always has to have the four priority blocks).
    • I did some experiments and could definitely work with it…
    • CONCLUSION: OK, but not quite.
  • Meistertask
    • I used it for a few weeks now and kind of of like it.
    • I am annoyed by the limits of the “free version” which makes me not want to switch to the Pro-version (because it makes me feel like I don’t have a choice).
    • CONCLUSION: It’s the one I’m sticking with for now
  • Trello
    • I’ve been recommended this one by several people.
    • CONCLUSION: Haven’t tried it yet.

Today is the 1st of March. It’s my dad’s birthday. Happy 73rd, daddyo!

UPDATE: WordPress tells me this is my 200th post on this blog. Congratulations to me!

Mind Cleanup Nov 19

The “wiggle room” I was anticipating in my previous mind cleanup didn’t fully materialize yet, but I have good hopes it is on its way (all though I do realize chilled-outness is not what Decembers are usually known for…).

Bee Family Day

November started out with a family reunion, thought out and partially organized by my dad. His health and energy level didn’t really allow him to be as involved as he might have liked, though. I did all “the online stuff”, prepared the slides for the presentations and did some of the small logistical stuff.

Because my name was at the bottom of all the invitations, confirmations and additional info I got a lot of credit for the whole day, which was nice, but perhaps not entirely justified. I just played along though. 😂

In the end, the day was a success and my dad was super happy. I met a lot of new family members and had a chance to re-evaluate some of our “typical family traits”.

After my father welcomed everyone, my aunt held a presentation about the family tree and what you can see on the My Heritage website. An uncle / cousin (several times removed) played a classical guitar piece he had composed himself. He also held a short speech about the finances of the family’s foundation that takes care of the family graves.

My hope that a third family member would come forward with some cool family stories, didn’t really come to fruition… so I decided to do it myself… which is actually atypical behavior for me… but it went well and it also means I get to strike “get better at public speaking” from my bucketlist. YAY!

Bolivia

Bolivia is the heart of South America and a notoriously complicated country. I lived there for eight years as a child and always joked with my brother that I would be the president one day, but that he had to be my front (as he was born in the country and I was not).

The current state of the country really breaks my heart. It angers me that Evo Morales clung to power in the way that he did and that he did nothing to make a smooth change of power possible. It saddens me to see the country so terribly divided (which in all truth it always kind of was).

I’d pray my heart out for Bolivia, if I believed in such things. It’s a country that has so much going for it but always relapses into self-destructive behavior.

Lines from the country’s national anthem have been ringing in my head the last few weeks (like a prayer?):

Al estruendo marcial que ayer fuera y al clamor de la guerra horroroso,
siguen hoy, en contraste armonioso, dulces himnos de paz y de unión.

The martial turmoil of yesterday and the horrible clamor of war are followed today, in harmonious contrast, by sweet hymns of peace and unity.

Vamos Bolivia, you can do it. I believe in you. I know you don’t need a white European girl telling you how to fix your shit but at least take the message in your own national anthem to heart and look up those sweet hymns of peace and unity!

Music

This new Jamie Cullum song struck a chord.

Rudi & Freddie Self Help tips

Earlier this year I heard a podcast episode from one of my favorite Dutch journalists that I have been recommending to anyone who might be (slightly) interested.

The podcast show is called the Rudi & Freddie Show, staring Rutger Bregman (Rudi) and Jesse Frederiks (Freddie). Officially they are a historian and economist but most of all, they are two smart dudes that can’t help but ask “why is that?” at every corner they turn.

Absolute facts make them suspicious and their skills as academics and modern day journalists give them the tools to disentangle the facts from the opinions, gut feelings and bullshit arguments. They don’t always agree with each other. Better even, they don’t always agree with their own (past) selves. I have tremendous respect for people that are able to admit they were wrong when presented with new facts or experiences and are willing to change.

I am sad to inform the majority of the planet that their podcasts are only available in Dutch, but if you ever needed a motivation to learn our impossible little language, being able to understand their discussions should help.

After having made fun of (the popularity of) self help books, they decided to embrace the “if you can’t beat them join them” philosophy, and come up with their own recommendations for a better life. In an episode that was posted online last April they discussed their ideas.

Starting in December I want to share a few of the R&F Self help tips. I will share one per post, perhaps continuing with the tradition with tips of my own, after the R&F ones run out.

Mind Cleanup – Sept ’19

NEWS

  • All though I have been trying (again) to lower my intake of Drumpf related news, I would be lying if I said the anticipation of a possible impeachment has not been on my mind. Small as the chance may be that he’s actually kicked out of office before his term ends, I do applaud the effort. At the same time, I also realize it will fuel an already polarized situation, with potentially violent outcomes.

  • Another news story I’ve been trying to keep track of is the Saudi Arabia – Iran conflict. This could possibly be the start of something major. I don’t want to say WWIII, but…. The additional tragedy is (once again) Yemen, that never seems to be taken seriously; not when they say they are starving and beg for help, nor when they say they have taken matters in their own hands and have bombed Saudi oil supplies. They are the angry child that quietly turns into a psychopathic killer while the parents are too busy making each other’s lives miserable…

MUSIC

Mayra Andrade is a fascinating singer. She’s from Cape Verde. As a Spanish speaker, I can understand a bit of Portuguese but when Mayra mixes it up with Cape Verdian creole all I have left to go on is the melody and her voice. And Oh my goodness, she is so pretty!!

Because I listen to her regularly YouTube recommended the above video to me, which in turn introduced me to the COLOR channel… which indeed added a bunch of colorful new tunes to my playlists. Look up the Teskey brothers, for example, that bring some pretty convincing blues from down under! And what about BJ the Chicago Kid (I’m guessing he’s from the windy city), Brazilian Luedji Kuna, French Angele or Cameroonian Blick Bassy. The list goes on and on!

MOVIES / TV

I started watching a Danish series called Rita. Remarkably entertaining. I’m not hooked in a way that I want to binge on it, but definitely amusing.

FOOD

Even though I am nearing the age of 35, my mother still doesn’t believe I can cook. I don’t blame her. Until quite recently, I didn’t believe I could either. Life is funny that way.

When I told my mom I wanted to cook for her for a change, she couldn’t help but laugh at me. Even when I started chopping away at her kitchen counter, she shook her head at me in affectionate ridicule. My dad was a bit apprehensive as well.

The sweet potato curry won them over in the end (even though my dad felt the need to mention it looked like something that had already been eaten and eeummm regurgitated by someone else).

The ingredients (for 2p):

  • 1 onion
  • grated or chopped ginger (approx 3 cm-ish)
  • 2 small (or 1 larger?) sweet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons of currypowder
  • tomato paste (I must say I have made this recipe several times, with different amounts of tomato paste each time and it always turns out OK. All I can say is that it should be somewhere between one and four tablespoons)
  • 250 ml of coconut milk
  • red lentils (again, superbad at estimating the right amount… but eummm… somewhere between one and two handfuls. :P)
  • fresh spinach (as much as you (and your pan) can handle)
  • fresh koriander
  • pumpkin seeds

It’s just a matter of chopping, mixing and cooking all of the above in one pan until everything is soft and yummy. The last two ingredients are nicest if you add them as a garnish.

Eummm yah, reading that back does explain why my mom was laughing at me, I guess… 😛

Mind Cleanup – 2019

My last Mind Cleanup blog dates back to October 2018. They used to be a regular thing and I had some fixed categories I could choose from, to help my cleaning session along, which I have included below (mostly to help me write the next one).

Mind Cleanup Categories:

  • NEWS
  • MUSIC
  • MOVIES / TV
  • FOOD
  • SELF REFLECTION
  • LOOKY HERE (pages, blogs or info you recommend others to check out)
  • THUMBS UP
  • THUMBS DOWN
  • EPIPHANIES

I am also thinking of adding one more category honoring a person, organization or story that “won the month”. This idea is inspired by Fivedotoh.com’s Fandango, who in turn was inspired by MSNBC’s Joy Reid (Who Won the Week).

So, if I were to do a quick mind cleanup of the first half of 2019, it might look a bit like this:

NEWS – people-on-the-streets edition

  • France in turmoil with yellow vest movement taking to the streets to express anger towards status quo. The 26 minute documentary below, explains what sparked it and what fuels it:
  • Venezuelan turmoil is so very different from the anger in France. And at the same time, it’s very much the same.
  • A heart-mending reaction to the sorrow felt after the Christchurch Mosque shooting in New Zealand:

MUSIC

Since it dropped I have been listening to songs from India Arie’s new album, which includes this meaningful gem:

Who won the first half of 2019?

  • My big bro had a little girl in March. Her name is Jasmina and I suppose you could say she is a winner for landing in a family with my brother and his awesome girlfriend. In all truth I think it is my brother who is actually the true winner in this equation.
  • Also, Boris Johnson did some big time winning and is now prime minister of the UK. Boo to that, but do check out John Oliver’s take on his persona.

Self reflection

Let me answer one question from my list of 195 questions:

What is a controversial opinion you have?

I am not a fan of Oprah’s. Actually she kind of annoys me (particularly her hysteric behavior when she enters a room). There, I said it.

Epilogue

  • I intend to pick up the habit once again of doing a mind cleanup blog every month.
  • Join me if you like and ping back to me when you do!

Lil heartbreakers

The other day I heard the Jason Mraz included below, called Have it All. In this song he expresses his generous wishes for you.

He lays out a rich banquet of positive scenario’s, varying from managing to “keep the chaos and the clutter off your desk” to being awarded “prizes shining like diamonds”.

It’s a sweet song with a carpe diem attitude (which I actually wrote a blog about once).

The line that got my little brain-wheels going into overdrive is the one he casually throws in there at the beginning of the chorus:

Here’s to the hearts that you’re gonna break
Here’s to the lives that you’re gonna change
Here’s to the infinite possible ways to love you
I want you to have it

Should everyone get the chance to break someone’s heart? Does anyone have that on their bucketlist?

I know cute kids are affectionately referred to as “little heart breakers” sometimes. This is meant to be a compliment. I suppose charming girls and boys can’t always help that people fall in love with them and breaking some hearts along the way is inevitable. More even, it may happen without them ever even knowing about it.

But getting back to the song; Is breaking a heart something you want everyone to experience at least once in a lifetime? Does mr Mraz actually mean to say “I hope someone opens their heart to you and loves you intensely (making heartbreak a possible outcome)”?

When I told my boyfriend, G, about this conundrum, he said something to confuse me even further. He said he didn’t believe that heartbreak could ever be the outcome of love… I asked him to explain it to me again just now and to be honest I still don’t understand it enough to be able to put it into words of my own.

His exact words were:

You are responsible for the condition of your heart. If your heart gets broken this means you have allowed it to be in a position where it could be broken.

I mean… yeah… I guess… but… wait… whut?

So then… we had to talk about what “being broken hearted” or “having your heart broken” really means.

Acoording to G, a broken hearted person is beyond despair. Lost, adrift and beyond reason. Inconsolable.

If I understand correctly, what G was trying to tell me (but I’ll check with him later) is that it has to do with caring for yourself enough to no be reckless with your heart. You can’t truly love someone else if you don’t love yourself first… That sort of thing(?).

I’ve actually never had it happen to me. I’ve been sad, but never heartbroken. I guess I’ve also never been that deeply in love (before my current relationship) and also… well… I was never actually on the receiving end of a breakup…

Did I ever break someone’s heart? Eummm… hard to say… but quite possibly…

Am I glad I got to go through that experience? No, most definitely not.

It was something I learned from though!