Monthly Archives: May 2010

I find it hard writing on a regular basis. Time is so short, and even if I try to optimize and cut corners those strategies starts to look like futile attempts solving something much more inherent. Yesterday was such a day, waking up at 8 (I overslept…mental note to buy a new alarm clock this weekend), walked to the gym, quick 40 min session before heading home.

Shower, coffee and breakfast (cottage cheese with orange and cinnamon). Going through my emails. Lunch appointment with the physiotherapist. She performs a number of tests on me to ascertain the source of my back pain. Test shows I’m over-straining my body (in resting mode) by 250%. Not good. “Do you work a lot?” She queries me. “Define work?” I counter back. “I would say 60 hours a week, but if you want to factor in house hold you’re pushing the 80 mark.” She looks at me with a mixture of empathy and foreboding. “Do you enjoy your work?” “Yes…Yes definitely” I say defiantly, as to put extra weight to every word.

She goes on to once again read my chart along with a questionnaire I’ve filled out, back pain, some numbness in my right side, headaches and insomnia. Hey it could be worse I try to transmit the telepathic way. I’m not sure my thought reaches hers.

She proceeds to feel my spine, then makes a sudden movement with my left hip. After this I walk, feeling somewhat lighter. Next stop is the famous neck crunch. It doesn’t hurt but it makes an awful sound. I cringe.

I feel lighter, but not necessarily a lot better. Instead I continue my schedule, last conference call ending at 10 pm. At midnight I’m a sleep, waking up at 6.30 for a run. I try to walk but my legs are heavy and I’m sporting a limp with my left leg. What the heck did she do? I last for about a km before I give up having tripped numerous times over my limp feet. Now on the bus, foot resting on the seat opposite me. Ah well, it’s probably just some pinched nerve. As long as limp is gone by next week’s salsa lesson.

Champion’s League (and certainly the Finals) gives me a perfect excuse to nip over to the local salsa hangout on Haarlem Station, which arranges salsa parties in the weekend. I texted my friend W, but as she was at a party I had no choice but to go on my own. I was secretly hoping that my previous salsa dance partner E would already be there which would mean I would be in full swing within less than minutes.

I went upstairs to the bathroom and put on some salsa music, one of my favourite’s being Rumba from La India. As I was applying my make-up, a top that had started to sag over the course of the day, to a tight Filippa K version, I was making some moves getting into the rhythm of La India, Hector Lavoe and Frankie Negron. I was feeling good.

The evening was still warm as I headed the 500 metres to the station. I noticed one or two guys giving me a second look, but then again not so strange as most girls were adorning their jackets as darkness was descending and promised a chilly night. But those concerns were not of mine as in less than a few minutes I would enter a steamy salsa floor.

I walked inside and was asked to hand over 8 euros as entrée fee. After this brief exchange of money I went over to the counter to buy a diet coke. Anything to mitigate my previous alcohol infusion taking place over a heavy dinner. Salsa dancers are not the greatest drinkers, or at least not the girls attempting triple spins.

I took my coke and stood overlooking the dance floor. If anyone took notice of me, they didn’t show, at least not with action. I must have stood there for about 10 minutes, when I decided to try my luck elsewhere. So I sat down on one of the chairs strategically placed on the side of the dancefloor. I was sitting there for another good quarter of my hour, having almost finished my diet coke when a guy asked me to dance. He wasn’t he most handsome of the pool of opposite sex, but then again that’s not what salsa is all about. As long as he’s a good dancer, smells good and has dry hands I’m all in! The guy fulfilled 2 out of three, but to my dismay he was a beginner. A real beginner, only doing the mambo and a couple attempts to what appeared to be a personal version of sidebreaks. There I was standing, mirroring his efforts and within seconds my own sassy sways were but a memory.

It took at least 20 minutes before guy number two approached me. He asked if I was a good dancer. Keeping in mind my previous less than impressive performance, I said I was somewhere between a beginner and semi-advanced. He nodded in acceptance, like this was exactly what he had been looking for. It took a moment or two to register that he was in fact friend with guy no 1. And so I was stuck for another dance consisting of basic mambo and some cumbia. When La Rebellion, by Joe Arroyo ended, I gracefully thanked for the dance and walked away to a spot as far away from the two beginners in hope of meeting someone more advanced. In the meantime I ordered another coke. Another 10, 15 minutes must have past before someone walked up to me. The only guy marginally looking good, like a cross between a banker and a marketing executive, I was intrigued of his dancing skill. Although salsa is for everyone his dresscode was far from average. When he asked why I was texting on my phone, I said I was attempting to blog. But this wasn’t apparently enough to make an impression and he walked away.

After another 10 minutes I was asked for a bachata dance, and then a couple of salsa dances. But the result was meager. I stood there savouring my Coke as I was contemplating this unexpected result. I was (in my own humble opinion) good looking, my salsa dancing was on par with the more (semi-)advanced dancers, and I was alone, thus making an excellent target for someone asking for a dance. But I remained a wallflower throughout the evening. At midnight, as to break the curse that had hung over me for the past 2 hours, I made my escape, interestingly enough getting my shoe caught in the door opening. And so the wallflower transformed once again to the Cinderella she really is…

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I read not too long ago that the effect of a holiday only lasts 2-3 days. And I can feel it, as soon as Monday hits, the brain (albeit slowly) is getting back into a sluggish action. My long, Sleeping-beauty-like nocturnal bed rests are a mere memory. Instead I struggle to keep myself on an average 6 hours sustained with a cocktail of tranquilizers and whiskey shots. It works. It knocks me out and at midnight, although my mind is still making circles, like a rat trapped in a wheel, it’s slowly switching off. Like the few times I’ve had the luxury of going under general anesthesia. If heaven was on earth, it would be found in an operating theater with a needle in your arm. Needless to say I long for my next bout of plastic surgery!

I’m now on my way to work. Working my fake nails off (the nail varnish is beginning to chip) responding to a far too crowded inbox. I am down to 14 items and by the time I leave the office they shall be under the number of 5. I can’t stand a full inbox. It simply clutters my mind, adding chaos to a carefully built up structure with related processes which allows me to lead a somewhat normal life. I’m not sure my husband would agree as his definition for this is control freak. I on the under hand call it neurotic, having a far more sophisticated not to mention sexier ring to it.  And after all the neurotic girls are the ones that always get to leave that lasting impression…

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Still smiling…on my way to work

I’ve made a wove to start cooking more. Instead of the usual steak or chicken with vegetables, I’m resurrecting an old repertoire of recipes such as my spaghetti Bolognese (I leave out the spagetti for myself), stuffed pepper (brilliant to make with the left overs from the Bolognese sauce) and my all-time favourite; garlic chicken with roasted potatoes. Yesterday I did a mean Bolognese, taking extra time with cutting the vegetables to a perfection whilst watching the historical documentary of the reign of Bloody Mary. All well and done! The family loved it and even Sebastian was gulping it down. But at midnight I started feeling queasy. I’m not sure if it was in fact the cooking or a raw steak I had prepared at lunch. In any case it all was lost and so was another 0.4 kg’s. I’m now down to 56.4 kg’s (4.5 to go!).

Exactly 2 weeks and 5.4 kgs later I am starting a new journey of weightloss. When I’ve gone on my crash course diets in the past they have been rather extreme as there was a lot of weight to loose (think 20 kg’s in 3 months and you get the picture). This time it should be easier, 5.4 kg’s (about 11 lbs) has been piled on through eating pasta, potatoes, couscous (the prefabricated ones that you find hard and stale in an over sized fridge of a gas station, numerous cookies as Carcassonne seems to have created a little industry of their own and of course the fat and carb heavy dish of the cassoulet.

This calls for immediate action, foremost my stewardess diet, refrain from anything close to be carbohydrate and a lot of hours in the gym. If it was down to me I would be 52 by the end of the week, but this may be a bit too much to ask for, especially since we have a friend visiting this weekend. But a goal of June 1 should be feasible and perhaps even down to my previous (pre-pregnancy) weight of 50.

Wish you me good luck in my diet endeavours, because this little porker needs it!

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I was not anticipating a 2 week blog stop when I left Holland for the south of France. For weeks we had discussed, agonized over and debate a possible holiday. Our holiday to Gran Canaria was cancelled due to the Icelandic volcano eruption and with a new job it didn’t seem like the best timing going away. But as we debated and colds and flues kept on attacking our family, it seemed like the only wise thing to do.

So two weeks ago, pretty much the last moment, we packed our bags and headed for Carcassonne, a medieval, fortified town in the Languedoc region. On the way we secured a hotel room at Hotel de la Cite, a beautiful boutique hotel situated in the heart of the city. As we set off we came soon to realise it was not going to be a warm and sunny holiday. It was pouring down with rain, and as we approached the Pyreneean landscape snow even hit us. Fortunately the hotel had a large fireplace where we stationed ourselves.

For the next 10 days we set out to explore the various towns, trailing the local museums and churches and devouring their famous cassoulets. 2 weeks later, and 5 kg’s heavier (I need to get on a serious diet as I can’t even get into my jeans!) we are back home again. I’m trying to get back into the mood of working but if truth be told, I would have wished for another week of relaxation. It’s done me good to be off my computer which is accompanying me at all times. To spend time with the family, and to catch up on my sleep. But now work is awaiting, and good run to burn off those extra pounds!

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The weather picked up and we spent a few days at the pool….check out the fantastic view!

I love horror movies, especially the more psychological ones based on ghosts and demons. Tonight we saw a film which we bought on Queensday called White Noise. It’s based on what’s called EVP, or Electronic Voice Phenomena. In other words recordings of spirits transmitted through tapes, TV or radio.

Although not the scariest film, it left a dark presence, and I was clinging onto my husband when he decided he was tired and had to go to sleep. Ever since I was young, really young, I’ve had a fascination for the paranormal. But then again which girl didn’t? It all started with a weekly magazine my mum would get and it would feature every week some curious cases, from famous murders to hauntings. Those articles (which I would skip at once to, as soon as I would have the magazine in my hands) would act like fuel to a curious, yet frightened mind, seeking proof to a world beyond this. When I later met my beloved friend C, I had found a kindred spirit for continuing this quest. Murder and mayhem mixed with parapsychology (and often the three intertwined) became topics we’d exchange our amateur knowledge of.
There are many stories, legends, books, films and personal anecdotes that have since become historic memorabilia, always close to heart. I must profess they are of the more darker nature, but where there’s light, there is also darkness. For those, like me, fascinated by such stories, here are some, with links, I’m happy to share…

1. Faces of Belmez – still controversial to this date

2. Madame Lalaurie – The haunted house of New Orleans

3. Elizabeth Bathory – The female Dracula

4. The story of Vlad Tepes – aka Dracula himself

5. Lizzy Borden – Did a female mass murderer go free?

6. Victoria practice of Memento Mori

7. Gilles de Rais – A medieval serial killer?

8. The Borley Rectory – what’s been known as the most haunted house of England

9. The curious case of Jumping Jack

10. …and of course no list is without Jack the Ripper …which has particularily haunted me since the age of 10, thanks to an interesting book called Unbelievable but True (not sure if it’s in print anymore)

So for those whishing some Saturday night’s entertainment….have fun! As for my own paranormal experiences. Not that many, I must admit. Apart from sometimes having a feeling when visiting certain places, that something is lurking – sad, evil but also  kindred presence – I have not experienced much. Well, coming to think of it, this is not entirely true, as on two occasions, both within a matter of months, and being pregnant I may add, I did see something I can’t explain.

The first occassion may in fact have been a dream. It happened during our holiday in the South of France where we stayed at a turn of the century villa. I woke up in the night, going to the toilet. I didn’t even bother to turn on the light as the toilet was just around the corner from my bed and I didn’t want to wake up Reinout. When I was ready and turned around to walk out I saw a man standing in front of me. As it was quite dark, apart from a small window behind this figure, he looked tall and quite dark to me. I screamed, I’m sure waking up half of the hotel and Reinout too. Whatever I saw vanished and during the rest of our stay everything was quiet. Having said this, Reinout (who is probably more “spiritual” than I am) always claimed to feel a presence in the hallway of the hotel.

The second “sighting” happened a few months later in late autumn. We were having dinner with friends, and I sat facing the doorway from our dining room. I see a girl, very briefly, sort of skipping past the door. It was over in less than two seconds, and I first thought it was Victoria, so I call for her. But Victoria was sitting watching TV, in fact in the adjourning part of the room. And I realized then that it couldn’t have been Victoria, as the girl was wearing a cotton dress and knee high black boots, sort of late Victorian style. A discussion errupted amongst our guests, as I was positive I had seen this girl. Whatever it was (or if it was just a optical illusion) I’ve never experienced it again. Other people have claimed feeling a presence in our house, but I can’t attest to this. Reinout felt something in the beginning of our relationship, and this often centred around the doorway to our bathroom. An old mahogny cupboard stands next to it and on a couple of occasions taking photos of it, orbs have appeared. It was someone reading my blog once that made me pay attention to it.

Talking of orbs, one derelict chateau we once visited (which Reinout refused to go into) I did take some very interesting pictures of. Some of the rooms where full of orbs. If they were dust particles or not, I cannot say. But Buddy (our Cocker Spaniel) did react very strange on a certain spot refusing to cross the room. Pictures hereunder…

Goodnight folks. And happy ghost hunting!

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Multiple orbs, but could also be dust particles

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This room however, was close to where our dog had enough of our visit