Monthly Archives: April 2009

I love an invitation out, especially if it involves oysters and champagne. So when my husband suggested dinner at Stempels to celebrate Queensnight, I could hardly refuse. I had pretty much been a recluse for the past 48 hours holed up in bed with tea and soup, but as I started to feel better I jumped in the shower and slapped some make-up on. It felt good to finally emerge from our bedroom which had started to take on a rather drab and gloomy shade. Fortunately our cleaning lady will be with us tomorrow…


Getting ready for the evening


Having drinks after dinner


I won a teddy bear for Sebastian at the fairground!


Proud dad and son


My sweetie

I’m ill, in bed with the flu. Reinout made a joke about having caught the swine flu. In fact all the symptoms are there – fever, diarrhea, pain in the body, headache, cold sweats. But it’s a simple flu, I know because it’s finally passing through, leaving in its wake the trembles and aftershocks. As a result I feel exhausted. I can’t recall feeling this tired since giving birth to Sebastian, and even then I blogged.

But with everything bad comes something good. In my case the flu seems to have restored a physical equilibrium that since long has been out of balance. For the first time in months I slept. A deep sleep that brought vivid dreams of my subconsciousness to the surface. I woke up this morning at 10 am, my husband gently kissing me on my cheek. It ended my dream. A most obscure dream in which I discovered Reinout was suffering from from some illness, which had been in remission for years. Then the dream fast forwarded some weeks or months and we were sitting on a hill overlooking a castle. Suddenly Reinout made a rather perculiar remark.
“I find the style of this chateau rather dull and unpleasing. Completely not in the style of contemporary architecture of the time.” I looked at him, astonished at his comment. First of all, I never thought history nor architecture was of any interest to him. Secondly he got the time period wrong, The castle, which was not a chateau, was designed in the 15th century for the main purpose of protection, taking advantage of its strategic location. Hence the thick walls and the small windows.  Lastly, I became concerned of his sudden interest in history and medieval warfare and architecture. Was this as a result of the onset of this illness? Would it alter his already warped mind?

Dreams rarely make sense, although I am sure there are underlying reasons for their themes, structure and compositions. When I told Reinout of my dream, he thought I had really lost it. “You know, I think your subconscious is smarter than your conscious. In fact it is trying to outsmart it.”

This was good. A clear acknowledgement of my intelligence that I’d been longing to hear. I reacted, on the fly, without too much thinking “I always knew that I am smarter than I look!” Reinout looked at me seriously. “And with that you just proved my point. I can hear your subconscious being really pissed with you conscious now; How the hell could you just say such a thing? I really did you a huge favour with that dream and now you just blew it all to pieces.”
Reinout continued, “Susanne you’re a lost case! Where the hell did I find you?”

We didn’t launch our site last week as anticipated, but things are looking good for this week. We’ve been working hard on getting it live so with only approximately a day away from soft launch, I’m one happy and excited gal. But I also feel that working long hours, coupled with diet and training…and blogging for that matter, is taking its toll. The last few days I have been waking up with headaches and apart from Sunday, when I managed to sleep for a whole 9 hours, my sleeping is still not what it should. This morning I woke up to feed Sebastian at 5 in the morning, and it didn’t feel quite early enough to go back to sleep, nor late enough to go for a run. Because of my indecisiveness, I kept on drifting in and out of sleep until Sebastian woke up two hours later. After the second feeding I was off to the gym, albeit very tired.

I now start noticing drastic improvements with my diet. The scale pointed at 55.8 kg this morning and my target for this week is 54kg. The lean and mean me is definitely emerging and I could feel the difference whilst on the cross trainer. Although tired and with no breakfast (I always train on an empty stomach when I’m aiming to loose weight as this revs up the fat burn), I felt much lighter and this accelerated my speed. Time passed quickly as I was watching CNBC (without sound) following the headlines reporting of a slight upturn in the market, and online networking reaching a new high. I then turned to 20 minutes of fitness for stomach, butt, legs and arms, followed by a 5 minute stretch routine.

I was hoping to feel invigorated on the way back, but the sudden boost of energy I had experienced at the gym, quickly dissipated, as I stepped outside. The skies were grey and I had about 5 minutes until the next shower would break out. I hurried home, not thinking much, just laying my gaze on the next step, the upcoming bridge, a street light that was still flickering. When I came to Kenaupark, which is just around the corner from where we live, I noted the discarded beer bottles and transparent joint capsules. Someone or more likely a few had a party last night…

It’s our wedding anniversary today. It’s incredible how much has happened in a year. Reinout reminded me that it has been an expensive year, which I’m largely responsible for with my careless burst-outs (think dented diamond rings and a lost diamond) and demand for extravagant lifestyle. I remind him that it has also been a very good year. We made it through all the storms. Dreams became visions, visions became seeds, and seeds started to grow. This is all rather metaphorically speaking, but can be applied on so many things and levels. In fact during this turbulent year, companies were founded, Sebastian was born, and our family…well it kept on growing, through love and traditions, strong wills, opinions and arguments, reconciliations and acceptance.

I sense a new phase coming of age. The one of peace and harmony. I’m not sure why yet, but I feel that finally my own anxieties are slowly fading away giving space and room for tranquility. I see this as some undefinable, syrupy brown mass finally escaping. Not a hurried escape, but a slow, not-want-to-let-go departure, its empty space being filled up by a clear, watery fluid, that penetrates every vacant pore and cavity.

And thus on our anniversary, I sit here in bed, feeling rather content and pleased with life. I relish the seconds, minutes and hours that are granted me. I enjoy my lunch in bed – Parma ham and a piece of dry cheese. The blackberries are filling my mouth with a sweet and sour taste. I enjoy the contrasts, the paradoxes. A room that is filled with precious antiques and artifacts mingled with discarded clothes and  some sex toys that we bought for fun the other day. Most of them are still in their original boxes, perhaps they will never be opened. But last Friday, after the wine was flowing and the oysters had been consumed, I suddenly felt the urge to pay a visit to the local red-light district in Haarlem. With a 2 month old baby in a pram. Yes the contrasts make life all the more interesting. May God bless me with them, and may I see them for what they are….just another shade of the colour called life.


Sexshopping can be so much fun!


I love lollipops!

I am so happy it’s Friday. I’m looking forward to a weekend of nothing but utter bliss. It’s been an intensive week, at least for a woman with a 2 month old son. But things are also starting to shape up. My routine is finally in place. Early mornings around 6 am, 1 hour at the gym at 7 and work from 10 to 6 pm. I hail routine. Without it I’m lost, as I simply lose the overview of life and work.

Yesterday I had a woman from the baby-clinic over to help me with my breastfeeding routine. She looked in horror when I told her of my schedule. “It’s not Dutch you know. You should be taking your rest, and enjoy spending time with your son.” It was well meant advice, but yet something I find hard to apply to my life.  Or perhaps more accurately, it’s not something I would even consider. The life of a Dutch mother, with all due respect, doesn’t strike me as particularly appealing. After 7 years of bringing Victoria to school I know their reality all too well. Early mornings with kids breakfasts, biking to school and hanging around at the school yard after the kids have been dropped off, for a smoke and a chat. Picking up the kids at noon to prepare for lunch at home (yes Dutch schools are not equipped with canteens as their Scandinavian equivalents). At 3 pm the activities starts.

The other day I called the childcare organisation that administers creches and afterschool care. I was told that there is a 3-5 year waiting list for a place. This ended our conversation abruptly. There was nothing more to say really. Apparently I’m not expected to work for this duration. One often hears that women choose not to work or only work part time. In fact reality is very different. They don’t choose, they just can’t. Because the opportunity is not given to them. There is a great deal of difference between the two. Unfortunately one the Dutch government is doing very little about.

But I shall not succumb to peer pressure. Fuck the expectations, the advice and the rigid structure that society imposes. I will go my own way anyway…

I woke up from a terrible nightmare. It left me somewhat unsettled but at the same time immensely happy when I turned around to see that my husband was laying next to me and all was as it should. Sebastian woke up earlier than anticipated and I struggled to stay awake an extra half an hour before it was time to hit the gym. There are days when I feel incredibly energized, even with my 4 to 5 hours of sleep per night, and there are days when my body and mind feel like they’re about to cave in. I know this from the little tingling sensations I get in my hands and feet. They go all numb. Add to this eyes that are stinging and and an impaired memory, and you get the picture. Simple questions cannot be answered and if I’m challenged on my view on certain topics my mind freezes.

Fortunately today seems like a better day.  Although I’m tired, there is a great deal of work to be done. I have Sebastian laying next to me in the baby gym gurgling away. I’m still in bed but will soon move downstairs which has become my temporary office. Last night I went with Reinout to his office which is only 2 minutes walk from here. It’s a beautiful building from the turn of the century. I’ve been promised my own office there, on the first floor. It’s not very large but will be perfect for me and Sebastian. The office has a very nice vibe and so I found it hard to pull myself away from it. I felt incredibly inspired and could have happily sat there until past midnight.


The office at the Kenaupark

I’m in love. Madly in love. That’s what spring does to you. After a long cold winter, wrapped up in my incapacitated pregnant body, I am now breaking free. The sun is melting away every bit of shield and armour that has protected my heart and mind from completely going haywire. Tjohoo, there’s no turning back.

Reinout walks past me this morning, and I notice his scent. In fact I notice his whole being which I’m ready to consume.
“What cologne are you wearing?” I pause waiting for an answer which doesn’t come. He is busy looking for a pair of shoes. He has many of them.
“It reminds me of our holidays in France” I continue. “Lunches at the beach, a Sancerre wine in the cooler.” I conjure up a picture that is vividly painted in my mind.
“Yes, I wore it on our last holiday. It’s Canali He slides on his other shoe. Always without socks. He doesn’t even wear socks in the winter time. I love him for this. That and a million other strange and quirky habits of his. I’ve still to find a word that captures the pure essence of Reinout. Eccentric doesn’t cut. That’s a word belonging to the world of the cultured and the self-proclaimed intellectuals. Nerd is not the right word either. Although he can program and type to the tune of a 180 beats per minute, he can actually carry a conversation. He is by far the verbal one in our family. I’m not.

I continue rummaging my head for a proper description. Classic fits to a certain degree, because of his dress sense, and his general outlook on life. But it’s classic with a twist. He is certainly not old fashioned, and thus the word classic would have to be used devoid of such connotation. Perhaps the only true word capturing all  aspects, 360 degree Reinout is “Renaissance man”. I’m not even sure he is familiar with the term as the classics doesn’t interest him in the least. According to wikipedia, Renaissance Man and, less commonly, Homo Universalis (Latin for “universal man” or “man of the world”) are related and used to describe a person who is well educated or who excels in a wide variety of subjects or fields.

I find myself content at having found the perfect epithet for my husband. I relish the word, like a strawberry flavoured lollipop. It’s indeed striking. I shall tell him this later. I am sure he will be pleased.


Renaissance Man and his loyal Buddy

The mood is good. I arrive back from the gym and as I enter our boudoir I’m greeted by a sunshine smile of our son. He is laying next to Reinout who is still asleep. Or at least is trying his very best. But it’s difficult sleeping with a 2 month old son that is working on his morning gym routine, with little kicks and punches. Luckily I’ve made a cup of coffee and Reinout seems happy and contempt as he takes his first sip.

Sebastian is looking with jealousy at his dad who is clearly enjoying his morning juice.
So I start feeding him to calm him down. Once at my breast all is peace again. I feed him for 10, 15 minutes but decide to stop as Reinout is interrupting. He is in a playful mood and finds it highly amusing to tease Sebastian forcing him away from his food source. Sebastian is not as amused though. He kicks and thrashes his head to show his acute displeasure. Reinout looses interest and go for a shower. I’m left with Sebastian in bed and once again calm returns. But not for long, as it’s interrupted shortly after by a loud, farting sound. My son looks very happy at me, almost proud of his great dead.

As I change him we discover a monster poo to end all poos. It’s everywhere, even covering his penis. Reinout finds this hilarious.
“Haha, his dick is covered in poo, priceless.” He laughs at this, and funny enough Sebastian laughs too. I’m the only one not laughing as I’m left with a thick yellow sauce that is smudging everything that comes in it’s way. I clean it up, including his little bits. It’s of course standard work and I normally don’t reflect on it, but because of the vast cleaning operation taking place, I can’t help but reflect that his private parts seems to have grown somewhat too. I guess this is highly normal as all things else grows. And what else is, it seems to have taken on the shape of his dad’s. I tell this to Reinout who appears very happy to hear my observations.

“Brilliant! That’s my boy!” He exclaims. “This is good news for my son. I have the greatest dick in the world.” We both burst out laughing and Sebastian is completely with us, happily unaware what he is laughing at.
“Honey, this might just end up on the blog.” “If I put your comment as the headline my uniques will go up, from about 10 to at least 20! ”
“Honey, you do that!”

I finish off my post, but the headline remains empty…ah well what the heck. Let’s spice up the life of my 10+ readers.

It’s with excitement and dread that I’m facing this week. I’m tremendously happy about a project I’ve been busy with whilst on maternity leave is going live. The project has developed from something to keep me occupied when I was spending my days in bed to something that I want to seriously go for. It has given me direction and purpose, which had been lost for some time and at the same time inspired, engaged and challanged me.

But set aside long term plans, the week has just started and although the excitement, I’m also very tired. I’ve been trying to catch up on my sleep this weekend, but I still feel exhausted. It shows. My eyes are puffy and I’ve developed dark circles that can’t even be fixed with my standard concealer.  I need an energy boost, physically and mentally. To achieve this, a good structured and rather rigid schedule should keep me in check and also provide the motivation I need to get through the week:

Work: Only one goal. Launch the  project with all objectives and deliverables met!

Health: 2 priorities.
1) After some restaurant dinners I haven’t been able to loose any weight, so this week my goal is to drop from 57kg to 55kg. This time around I shall adhere to my diet strictly. No alcohol, no cappucinos, and only a handful of nuts per day instead of three or four.
2) I have to get more sleep. No TV this week. Work between 9 and 11pm. In bed and asleep at midnight.

Family: On Wednesday I have promised to take Victoria and some of her friends to the fun fair. Victoria is travelling to Malta with her dad at the end of the week, so it will be nice to spend some time with her before she leaves. On Sunday is our one year wedding anniversary. I still need to figure something out for the day. Suggestions?

Other: There is not much else this week. It’s full on as it is so in fact I shall be cutting down on a whole lot of stuff I would otherwise attempt to squeese in. This week, only high priorities shall get my attention.

The funfair is in town. You notice this from the constant stream of people taking on the annual pilgrimage to the city centre where the attractions are waiting. Music is streaming out of speakers strategically put at the entrance of each attraction. Flashing lights adorn every square meter as far as the eye can see. I’m met by the smell of sugar spin and lollipops. It’s sickly, sweet smell is overtaken by an even more sweeter odour when a group of young teenagers passes me. Their designer fragrances, or cheap imitations of, completes the experience.

Victoria wants to try out all the attractions. Reinout gives her 20 euros with the parting words “Have fun!”. We retreat to Ludic where we can follow it all on a safe distance. It’s Thursday evening and I feel the weekend is going to be a particular good one. My intuition doesn’t fail me.

Friday is in fact Sebastian’s 2 month birthday. Time flies. And at the same time it feels like he’s always been a member of our family. Anniversaries are there to be celebrated and I book a table at Restaurant Fris, an absolute pearl in Haarlem cuisine. It’s a fantastic evening, Victoria has brought a game which we play and as the wine and food is served I throw my diet out the window and savour on the excellent gastronomic delights that are being served. I also become somewhat tipsy. We battle ideas and convictions, which in my delight I win when I prove the point that Languedoc is a coastal district and not in the middle of France. My happiness knows no boarders!

We take a taxi back and I fall asleep on the couch in front of the TV only to be woken at midnight. My nap has invigourated me and I don’t want the night to end…not just yet. I probe and poke Reinout until he wakes up. “Honey, I want to play with you”

I don’t fall asleep until 5 am. Largely because I’m waiting for Sebastian to wake up, which he does around 4.30. After feeding him I can relax. At least for three more hours. So with three hours of sleep I wake up to a headache. Reinout wants to relax so I take Victoria into town for lunch at Bagels and More. We find a beautiful bikini for her trip to Malta. She’s leaving in a week with her dad and is incredibly excited. I’m excited too! I get some rest.

The weather is fantastic and I decide to go for a run in the late afternoon. I haven’t been running since I was about three months pregnant. It goes well and I manage 6 km.

Sunday Morning

I sleep until noon – with interruptions of course. But still. It feels fantastic. Reinout asks if I want coffee. “Yes please” I say happily at the prospect of getting some hot caffeine juice.
“Me too” he says. I was expecting that. I know his domestic strategies by now. I ease myself out of bed and notice how stiff I am. Must be the run from yesterday. It makes me happy. No pain no gain…


Getting ready for dinner out


I love this picture


Saturday lunch


Just me and Victoria