Monthly Archives: July 2010

It’s been a strange week in retrospect. I met some very interesting people, engaged in mind challenging discussions, were given some sever reprimands and got the brunt of some people’s emotional reactions. Knowing it would be foolish to let these events pass into obscurity, I’ve taken some time to think things through.

One particular discussion stood out. We were at Viqhs, talking to some semi-famous DJ turned business man (or was it the other way around?). We went from Persia and the Shah’s fall of 1979 (after all I am a history buff) to DJ’s, the beautiful girls of Cartagena Colombia, Online Casinos and the rearrest of one of Amsterdam’s top criminals. Makes for good conversation over wine and tapas, and I felt like a fish in water.

At one point (and I’m not sure how we got into this), our conversation ventured into fidelity, or rather the lack of. I declared my undying love for my husband, vowing I would never be with another man. In fact when times of self pleasure, I would only think of my husband. My husband remained silent. I continued to babble (it must have been the wine) and at one point my husband took my hand and through silent eye communication told me it was sweet but enough.

Our DJ/business man was of another opinion and appeared to find the conversation intriguing. Had I even thought of that a man might want a bit of fresh flesh once in a while? Of course I had. So much to the point that 5 days ago, whilst wanting show my husband our dog’s football skills, knowing he was closing off the office but wasn’t there, and three phone calls later all ending all in voicemail greetings, I started walking through a cloud of monsoon rain towards the red light district just to check. Just to check…. You know, calm my mind. Or perhaps finally find proof of any suspicion that harbours my warped mind. Paranoid yes, but there were mitigating circumstances…

Now infidelity comes in many ways, all being based on trust. And so it became the final definitive question. The question, or paradigm if you like, of Trust versus Freedom. I’ve been thinking about it, every single hour, minute and second that was not preoccupied by something more important. Was he (the DJ) right? Were the best relationships the ones based on utter freedom? And what about Love? Will it diminish as we care less about our partners sexual exploitations? Or will it grow stronger thought the ultimate gift granted? I’m admittedly still pondering…

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Reinout in negotiation??

As with all good things it had to come to an end. It had started in a rather stressful fashion, at 6.30 am walking the dogs, doing the laundry and then off to the gym. More laundry, getting dressed and off to work. At Central Station I detoured picking up cakes at Hema and plasters for my feet that rapidly were developing blisters from my Christian Louboutins. They are obviously not made for comfort nor walking on the Dutch hole studded streets.

A raspberry and blueberry cocktail later and too many cups of coffee I’ve lost count of, I prepared myself for my meeting. An hour later I was happy not having been crucified but instead being granted the extra bonus of birthday hugs and presents.

Leaving 5 minutes before 5.30 pm I naturally managed to miss the bus by 10 seconds and was forced to wait for another half hour. I came home exhausted and frankly not in a mood for birthday celebrations. A slight headache that had developed throughout the day had transitioned into a migraine. Champagne, cigar smoke and small talk only seemed to make matters worse. At 10 pm and Sebastian throwing pens and tantrums with what seemed to be with a certain premeditation, my husband and I had settled for cold war. It continued until I was ready for bed.

Although we talked, and the next morning promised a new beginning, the path of war was already trodden. After an over reaction from my side I snatched a 20 euro note and walked off with brisk steps to the train station, determined not to miss another train nor bus.

Almost an hour later and I’m on the last bit of the journey. I’ve gone through my emails, and written an apology to my husband. I am not sure he will accept. My iPhone is blasting with Madonna, my sure-fire tactic for chic survival. Today is just another day, and thank God that birthday is done and over!

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Nightmare shoes…at least for catching the bus

At work, so little time for a longer blog entry but here comes some pictures from the day! Birthday girl got lucky!!

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Morning essentials

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My colleagues celebrated me at lunch….sweet 🙂

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I got “A touch of Sunrise” from Rituals

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Happy camper!

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Nice smell too…

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Healthy lunch at my desk

As of today, I am 35! We’ll strictly speaking 34, but since the age of 20 when I really needed to add some numbers to my meager age, I’ve been in a habit of adding an extra year. It works fine, also in later years. When I say I’m 34 (and in this case 35) people always look so astound. “Oh, I thought you were in your late 20’s!”.

I shrug my shoulders helplessly as in a way of saying “What can I do? Some people have all the luck!”
Talking about luck (or the lack of it), my husband who had bought an iPad for me, hijacked it over the weekend. He showed me net-a-porter.com as a teaser (looks very glossy and I wish I had a no limit credit card) and then went on to spend the weekend with his new toy. He even brings it to the toilet, being the optimal magazine reading for a number 2. Well at least it’s cleanable and I will make sure to install kitchen wipes in all our toilets as of now.

My husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday. Ideally it would be a piece of antique but knowing it would make a 10k hole in a near empty pocket I opted for something more recession minded. My underwear are the ones I bought when I was pregnant, and admittedly have seen better days. So I dragged him into one of Haarlem’s better establishments for a lingerie excursion. It was indeed Valhalla, as I found numerous sets of La Perla and Valisere (an amazing set I might add), whilst my husband was checking out the clientele. A 30’ish something woman (she could have also been late 20’s) proudly put her assets on display sporting triple F cups whilst she strutted an equally boosted booty. My husband being one of the few men in the store stood as transfixed at the sight. He assured me later I was way more beautiful than the latest incarnation of Venus de Milo but needless to say I have my doubts…

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Valisere lingerie. Love the exquisite lace!

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Aubade set in white

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Aubade set in black

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Same set as the white Aubade one….love it!!!

I’ve been thinking about my professional career, business, my future if you like… Whilst not completely stuck in a rut, it wouldn’t suffer from getting a bit of a revamp, and I humbly admit I have got a lot to learn. So I’ve decided to set up personal career program for myself to look at where my gaps are and get in contact with people that would be able to fill those. I presented my idea to my husband and he was all ears for it. So this weekend is somewhat of a new beginning, putting plan into action. A kick-start to the new business me.

In the meantime, my husband went and bought me an iPad with the argument that I need to get more techno savvy. I can only agree…

Last but not least managed to totally clean out my inbox. Hooray, weekend can offically begin!

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Whoohoo, I got an iPad for my birthday!

It’s summer time and with summer time comes summer scheduled. Trains and buses are reduced to an hourly (and if your lucky a 30 minute) schedule. With my luck I miss the bus by 2 minutes. And this because the train was delayed by 5.

I had set the alarm clock to 6.30 am as Victoria left for Greece today and I have promised to take care of the dogs. Reinout would substitute this word with “the Beasts” and in all honesty I’m inclined to as well. Alarm clock fails to go off, and I wake up spontaneously sometime just short of 7 am. I rush to get dressed, put on the laundry (because it’s Friday and our cleaning lady is coming), and walk downstairs to feed the animals and then get my paraphernalia (i.e. phone, keys, sunglasses and my sneakers). It takes no more than 2 minutes and when I walk into the kitchen, Cecile (I presume) has decided to start off her morning with an inside wee. I frantically clean up the mess before I open the door and the dogs run out, oblivious to any potential threat of a car driving by. I secretly wish one would get hit and there would be one less worry in our family.

But the street is empty and as I reach the park, it’s completely deserted. I walk with brisk strides, trying to reclaim some of the lost time from this morning. It takes about 10 minutes, and when I’m home I grab my bike keys and head for the gym. It’s very unexcited as I watch the profession of a Cobra catcher on National Geographic whilst killing the cross trainer. It feels good getting my aggressions out on a piece of equipment that can’t defend itself!

A coffee for Reinout, another set of laundries and I’m about 20 minutes late for my train. An in-and-out shower, quick brush of my hair, 5 minutes make-up and clothes from yesterday and I’m ready to go. Last check… “Where the fuck are my sunglasses?”

Sebastian got sent home today. With a slight fever and a cranky mood he was not welcome anymore at the daycare. Reinout sent me a clip documenting the evidence….

17.39. I’ve known him for exactly three days, 17 hours and 34 minutes. I try to calculate the exact amount of hours this would mount up to but fail. Hours always sound more impressive. As long as they go beyond the number 48. He’s standing in front of me, frying up an improvised risotto using whatever leftovers are available. It doesn’t amount to much, but it’s either that or a large pack of M&M’s. I casually pop a yellow, chocolate coated peanut, offering him one too. He shrugs, says he doesn’t like them.

“So why did you buy them?” I ask.
“I didn’t.”
He leaves it at that. My imagination is running wild and after a pregnant pause I can’t hold back.
“So who did?”
“A girl I met some time ago.” “They’ve been there for ages” he adds.

I wish I never brought up the subject. My head is filled with questions. He asks me to open a bottle of wine, and I’m relieved to be provided with such simple, yet effective distraction. I pour a glass, watching it condense in the heat. A drop of water forms and runs slowly down the stem of the glass to be united with its base and eventually the table. I pour a second glass, this time for myself, and place it on an already existing wine stain. The glass fits the red circle perfectly on an otherwise smudged, stained and burnt dining room table. It’s some cheap wood. Not the solid oak we have at home.

He picks up the glass and propose a toast.

“To friends”
“To lovers” I am quick to counter. He waits for a moment and smiles.
“To lovers”
His voice is deep, dark, with an undetermined accent. Eastern Europe, maybe Balkan. He doesn’t want to say. It’s another part of the illusion that goes by the name of Milan. Like the football team. I haven’t met any of his friends, although he gets frequent calls (always in English). All his books are in English too, ranging from Paolo Coelho, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Arturo Pérez-Reverte and Umberto Eco to John Connolly and Jeffery Deaver. They say you can tell the person by his choice of reading. If so we must be soulmates….

The apartment is spartan. A couch and two armchairs made out of bamboo, a TV on a small glass table, a dining room table, doubling as an iron board (hence a number of burn marks), three functional chairs, one broken one and a rocking chair. All in the same cheap bamboo material. Someone either had very little money, or very poor taste. Probably both. Which is in fact neither…

The bedroom is even less furnished. A queen-size mattress, slightly alleviated on some sort of frame. Similar design to an IKEA bed I seem to recall. A computer table hosting a an old desktop PC, and a standing lamp. The mattress is clad with a single sheet, roughly draped over three quarters of the surface.

There are two big fans, one in the living room and another in the bedroom. A third, smaller one stands unplugged at the entrance. I presume it to be broken.


Milan announces that the risotto is ready. He places my plate on the table.
“Can I sit here?” I not so much ask but presume it to be a wish instantly granted. The rocking chair keeps my nerves at bay as I continuously puff on a Dunhill Menthol. He offers me the plate and I kill the cigarette, stomping it out on a makeshift ashtray.

Food is delicious. I add it to a growing list of positive attributes of my new-found lover, and against an equally diminishing one of my fiance at home. I quickly dispel any thoughts of him. It will ruin a beautiful moment. Like in a film. And as ‘All I Want’, by Air comes on the speakers, the scene is complete.
“I want you.” I say.
“But you are getting married.”
“Fuck the wedding, fuck marriage. I want you.” I say this almost pleadingly, as to make a poignant statement of no return.

He turns away, cleaning up a dishevelled kitchen table. Haphazardly shovelling empty cigarette packs and a stack of bills that are way past their due date. I look at the new composition, for a moment an improvised still-life, before he puts down a steaming plate of risotto and drench it with HP sauce. It appears to be making a blunt statement of what may become my future. Or not. I weigh my options whilst fiddling with my fork, pushing around grains of rice and crumbles of minced meat, until they’ve been rearranged into a circle. Hunger becomes a secondary concern. Tomorrow I’m suppose to be on a plane home. A mental note to self I must send off that post card to John…

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I start feeling better. My throat is less sore and I’m beginning to loose that husky, sexy voice of mine. A deep Marlene Dietrich whisper, crossing my lips whenever necessary. And it’s not a lot. A save my vocal cords to the most essential of occasions. But this pleasant side effect is starting to dwindle, alas…

Reinout comes home sometime after the hour has turned 6. I’m upstairs in the guestroom, doing some minor emailing after three days of utter neglect of my inbox. Reinout suggests we go for dinner, get me some fresh air as he puts it. The thought is tempting. And given my plan to be back in the office tomorrow, not all too impossible to say no to.

I agree to my husband’s cortious offer. We walk to a steak restaurant only a couple of hundred of metres down the road. Two Chardonnays and a main course later, and we are in full discussion over my latest interest, European colonialism, social Darwinism and the repercussions on today’s society – globalism and terrorism alike. I go on giving a full encyclopedic recap over King Leopold II of Belgium’s brutal venture into Congo (Congo Free State under his rule) and the subsequent annexation to Belgium in the early 20th century (Belgian Congo). The origin of concentration camps and the use of machetes in guerrilla warfare. Admittedly not very nice topics, but for once I feel completely in my moment…oblivious to the drifters and locals alike walking past our table.

For once Reinout seem marginally interested too, giving me confidence I must be doing something right. It ends in the sphere of US and International politics and I realise then I should have become a historian, or possibly a journalist…

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Beautiful scene over the Haarlem bridge