BloPoMo conclusion

I’ve run out of October days, which means Blogtober is over. And just like the time I tried to post a blog a day a couple of years ago, I found it really hard. I don’t understand how other people do it…

At this point I am satisfied I managed an average of a post “(almost) every other day”.

As far as work stress is concerned, I probably should have chosen a different month… I’ve been really tired after work, feeling like I never get enough sleep, even though I did usually manage my 7-8 hours of shut-eye.

C&H timeout.gifSo maybe I should give it a go again in the new year, when things have settled back down at work and my energy levels are restored.

To all of you that completed the Blogtober “blog a day” goal: you are awesome!!!

 

Oh hi there, November… You sure sneaked up on me. Make yourself comfortable, old friend. You are most welcome here!

 

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Buitenplaats de Plantage

As I mentioned in my first Blogtober post, my boyfriend took me out on a mystery dinner last week to a village carrying the poetic name “Vogelenzang”, which means “Bird’s song”.  A very fitting name for such a beautiful place!

The restaurant we went to was actually a former plant nursery, with a green house and outside gardens. Check out the pictures below, to see what they turned it into!

The weather was a bit on the chilly side, with rain constantly in the air but thanks to the good company and the beautiful location it ended up being a wonderful wonderful day!

So, if you are in the Netherlands and are looking for something different: visit Buitenplaats de Plantage in Vogelenzang (about half an hour’s drive from Amsterdam airport)!

 

 

 

 

 

Hutspot, herring and happiness!

It’s the fourth day of Blogtober and I have published a blog only once (but this will be two, as soon as I press the button).

A bad start? Maybe.

Leiden-geuzen

But I have a good excuse. I live in a Dutch town called Leiden, which explodes every year around the 3rd of October, when the siege and relief of the city is commemorated and celebrated. It’s a actually a very interesting history that you can read more about here.

The 3 October festival is something kids and grownups from Leiden and surroundings save up for all year in every sense. People go CRAZY!

There is a huge funfair with rides and attractions throughout the city center. There are several parades, food everywhere and a fireworks show at the end. The traditional dishes, for historical reasons, are herring on white bread and “hutspot”, which is a dish made of mashed potatoes, carrots, onions and a sort of beef stew.

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A masher; kitchen tool to mash potatoes with.

This year we celebrated by eating hutspot in our new neighborhood. About a dozen volunteers had made their take on the meal and a jury of local restaurant chefs decided which version would take home the golden “masher”. The winner ended up being an adventurous neighbor that decided to flavor the hutspot up with some asian spices.  Yummy!

Besides being a super handsome and historically interesting city, Leiden is also has the oldest University of the country, which the city was gifted by Prince William of Orange for the city’s perseverance, suffering and bravery during the Spanish sieges in the 16th century.

For students and outsiders, the 3 October festival is something they love to hate and hate to love. Most straight out hate it and flee the city, as the University closes its doors during these days anyhow.

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After having learned the hard way that trying to get from A to B was futile during these two days of local insanity, I embraced the celebration and am now a big fan, which is actually surprising considering I am not a drinker and the whole city is completely WASTEDDDDD for two whole days.

So, I am in doubt if I should recommend coming to Leiden during the beginning of October or not… In the end it’s actually about personal preferences. You have to be able to see and hear the beauty of it all, amidst rowdy crowds, flashing lights, annoyingly repetitive funfair music (and all other types of music) and stale beer. I love it!

Read more about the festival here.

 

Surprise! I don’t like surprises.

A couple of weeks ago my boyfriend, G, came home after work and told me he had found out about something really cool that I was going to love and that I needed to ask such-and-such Friday off from work.

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I asked him what this cool thing was, where it was, why I would love it, if I needed to take my bathing suit with me or hiking shoes, if we were going by train or bus or bike… and guess what; he just smiled and told me “wait and see”.

So I did… and then completely forgot to ask the Friday off. (In my defence; I did tell him he should remind me again; maybe text me or something…) When we woke up on Saturday morning and I told him I needed to work that day, he looked really disappointed.

I realized I had forgotten to not-work on Friday and even added an extra day to the workweek… Wupps…

And then, on Saturday evening his frown (luckily) turned upside down when he found out the super-special-special-mystery-thingamajig-I-shouldn’t-ask-about-but-would-totally-love would also be available for us on Sunday… which was today…

 

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I have to admit, I had the hardest time convincing myself to not tie him to a chair and force more information out of him somehow. Admission number two: I was kind of surprised (and taken aback) by my reaction to all of this… and I think G was too…

After a truly lovely day (that I will tell you more about in a blog later in the week) we got home and twisted comfortably back into our evening routines. I was exhausted though, which had very little to do with the actual physical strain of the day.

So yeah, what the hell, right?

G told me he thought this was an important lesson for me and that he would continue to organize little surprise outings for me every now and then until I learnt to deal with them properly…

My first thought:

Pfff… Thanks for making me feel like a five year old, dude….

And immediately after that:

OMFG, why can’t I just be grateful and trust that he knows and loves me enough to only take me to awesome places?!

He said I surprised him with little thoughtful gifts and gestures all the time and that he wanted to be able to return the favor, which… yah… is a sweet thought (all though I don’t recall being such a tease with anything I ever gave him, but hey…).

I told him I would prefer he would just tell me he was taking me somewhere on the day of the actual outing and not leave me in the dark for a whole week first.
He said that this method was necessary so that I could ask a day off from work.

I told him I didn’t get the point of being so secretive about it. If he would tell me he had found out about a super special place and would describe it then and there, I would be super excited to go with him. Why build the anticipation like that?
He said he wanted it to be special. He felt talking about it beforehand would ruin the magic and might even make it disappointing.

I told him keeping expectations low was actually one of my specialties; keeping my cool while handing over all control to someone else was not.
He said “trust me”.

 

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But I do trust him.

 

Just not as much as I trust myself.

 

 

I’m working on it.

 

Blogtober

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My mind is cluttered and slow but my motivation is back. The only way to get this blog train going again is by hopping on the Blogtober wagon. So that’s what I’m going to do.

The last time I challenged myself to do a blog a day was August 2015, aka Blogust. It was actually quite challenging and I definitely didn’t manage to write something every day, but it was good practice.

Wish me luck.

 

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Mind cleanup : Septem- and Octo- ber

As I gave this blog a title just now, I realized that September and October have pretty weird names, considering Septem and Octo sound a lot like the Latin words for seven and eight but in our calendar actually represent the ninth and tenth month, respectively. O.o

Anyhoo: I cut my hair and donated a 30cm long braid to wig charity, finally fulfilling a point from my bucketlist! It was really really short, making it impossible to put it up in a ponytail or anything of the sort for the last 5 weeks. I have managed to keep it out of my face but can’t wait for it to grow a little more so it actually properly fits in a ponytail again. It doesn’t look horrible on me though; that was a relief. 😛

Music

The music scene has been pretty interesting lately!

A song that is not necessarily brand new anymore but I still feel I should mention is Alicia Keys’ song In common. I am fascinated by this song and the video clip even more so. It’s got and old school feel and sounds pure, ethnic and raw. I’m not always a big fan of the way Alicia uses her voice but this one has been on repeat, if not in my playlist then definitely in my head.

On a sidenote: my goodness, that woman is really beautiful!

A new band, at least for me, is Equador. This song below is haunting and beautiful. Great for chilled out evenings. It’s one of those songs that I plug in my headphones for to hear it in all its complexity.

I don’t know how she does it by Sia always manages to touch a chord with me. Her new song the Greatest is so beautiful and the video is another one that I love to re-watch every now and again. In my mind I dedicate it to my brother, who sometimes needs reminding that he is in fact “free to be the greatest”.

A man-shaped woman called LP came smashing into my living room the other day with her song “Lost on you”. You’re welcome!

Epicurious

Earlier in September I experimented with brownies with date-based dough. Really really nice! The recipe can be found here.

Film

In remembrance of the 09/11 attacks the film Extremely loud and incredibly close was on TV here in the Netherlands and I was quite blown away by it. A recommendation for those of you who haven’t seen it yet.

Self reflection

The other day I saw a book called 999 questions to ask yourself. All though I didn’t buy it, I did like the idea. So yes, this cheapo right here did NOT support an upcoming inspirator and author, possibly preventing her to ever publish a book again and instead decided to look up and invent 100 questions of her own. So yes, this may possibly be the answer to one of the questions I should be asking myself: Why might people consider you a sucky person?

What I will be doing is answer 5 open questions and 5 this-or-that questions in every Mind Cleanup blog, starting with this one. So here we go:

What nicknames have people given you?

Name: Epi
Who started it: Maria Isabel, our Bolivian help’s daughter, a long long time ago
About the name: It’s the one nickname that kind of stuck with me and that has always re-surfaced even when I moved or created a new group of friends.

Name: Flavio
Who started it: my brother gave me this name when we could both barely talk.
About the name: My brother still calls me this. Nobody really knows why.

Name: Piep
Who started it: My mother
About the name: This name is actually one of the many derivatives that has come from the first one, Epi. My last name starts with a B, so my mother would sometimes call me: Epi Bee, which somehow got shortened to Peebee, and the finally Piep. In Dutch this translates to squeak, as in, the sound a little chick would make. 😛

Name: Konijnenkont (translates to Rabbit butt)
Who started it: my dad
About the name: I don’t think my dad really refers to me with this name anymore. Probably because my butt is no longer small and cute.

What fills up your heart to bursting level?

  • Baby animals
  • my goofy, kind-hearted bf

Which three things did you not have or do as a kid that you wish you did?

  1. music lessons
  2. a (cooler) tree house
  3. more time

What was topping music charts on your date of birth?

Prince – Purple Rain

Can you handle blood?

Yes, I once aspired to become a veterinarian (before I found out I suck at chemistry and that this was a requirement) and as a matter of fact I donate a pint of my own every now and then.

This-or-That

  1. Overworking or out of a job
    All though I am lazy by nature I did not enjoy being unemployed.
  2. Pizza or pasta
    Tough choice! As a poor cook I am a big fan of both of these options. I think pasta has more variety options though, so I’m going with option 2 in this one.
  3. Hard Truth or White Lie
    Hard truth.
  4. Knitting or Crocheting
    Neither activities are things I know anything about but as a clothing wearer I will go with knitting.
  5. Starters or Dessert
    Starters. I totally have a sweet tooth, but little snacks and pre-dinner bites make me so much happier than ice cream or cake.

And even though October is no where near finished, I am going to hit the publish button on this one. Next time: the moving house edition!