Monthly Archives: February 2014

I just got confirmed that next week I’m off to Copenhagen. It’s years ago I visited my own backyard so to speak, so I’m quite happy to get this opportunity. It’s a short trip arriving March 4 and leaving March 6. But as I would love to take the opportunity to meet up with friends, just mail me if you are looking for company coming Wednesday evening đŸ™‚

Most likely will be staying at Kong Arthur Hotel downtown.

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Tonight I am meeting up with a good friend of mine, Greg and his partner, for dinner and a movie in Amsterdam. We are trying out what I understand to be a relative new eatery in Amsterdam – Saigon Cafe on Leidsestraat 95-1. Our Vietnamese dinner will be followed by 12 Years a Slave – a film by British director Steve McQueen, based on the memoirs of Solomon Northup, a free man of colour who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the 1840’s. I’ve been eager to see this film for a long time now, especially after my recent spell delving into colonial history, slavery, the civil war and reconstruction era. Moreover having seen Shame, Steve McQueen’s odyssey of addiction (sexual addiction in this case), I can’t wait to see his cinematic magic on the big screen once more.

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Saigon Cafe on Leidsestraat 95-1, Amsterdam

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as Solomon Northup

All warfare is based on deception.

~ by unknown

And so very true. As ugly as deception is, it is part of human nature and can only be understood and managed by the experience of it. The Prince of Machiavelli shall be my next read. Most appropriate after the 48 Laws of Power.

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 Machiavelli himself. Do note the Prince in an observation in

Florentine politics already prevalent at the time

I don’t require a lot of time for myself. I take it typically wherever I can, precious little moments but enough to give me solitude and time to think. Generally it is in the morning, on the cross trainer or in the evening whilst cooking. It’s rarely moments where I can sit still, read a book, contemplate… So tonight, given the rare occasion with Sebastian watching a cartoon downstairs with Hubby, I found myself with some time to kill. Wonderful I thought to myself, seizing the moment. I turned on the taps, poured generously with a lush bath foam and continued on a book, I should have finished a long time ago (one I would highly recommend) – The 48 Laws of Power. It really deserves a post on it’s own, but I will have to refrain from making one until I have read it in its entirety. But it resonances with what I have learned, not necessarily in how I would preach and practice my own principles, but rather knowing that these 48 “Laws” are indeed foundation for power and control. A wonderful ending to a great day – especially when it comes with invaluable learnings.

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Bath paraphernalia and intellectual reading…a beautiful mind anyone? đŸ˜‰photo 3[3]

More beauty by Abahna – White Grapefruit & May Chang bath foam

And just as winter was on its way it decided to turn around once more. For good I hope. Won’t miss you for another 6 months….at least. With sunny weather comes a sunny mind and a deep craving for sunny music. So I’ve been listening to Brazilian music the whole day. Bossa Nova, Samba and Brazilian lounge in a delicious mix.

Here is a great one that will keep you in a good mood đŸ™‚

 

…and just as spring was in the air, winter sets in. it’s been incredibly cold and dark today, and as I haven’t got around to changing the light bulbs in the ceiling (they went bust months ago) there was no other option than to light the candles at 4 PM in the afternoon. Quite cosy actually #lovemyoffice đŸ™‚

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Work corner

 

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In this weeks Steal the Style we are looking into the style of one of the worlds most famous actresses – Nicole Kidman. We have seen her in Eyes Wide Shut, Stoker, Australia, the Stepford Wives, Cold Mountain and the list just goes on and on and on and on. It is easy to say that this woman has made a name for herself!

So, back to this woman’s style. We are used to being impressed by her amazing gowns as she’s walking down the red carpets but I thought we should choose a more casual look that is possible to wear to work this week. The outfit above may not look that impressive, but with the right key pieces it will both be appropriate for work and for a night out with friends!

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It’s sports vacation here, and I hate to say it but Sebastian is very happy not having to go to school (I suspect our oldest feels the same too ;). Every Sunday evening he will ask if he has to go to school the next day, so colour his surprise when he was told there was no school for a whole week. Instead I suggested we build that enormous lego castle which stood still boxed up from the birthday. Perhaps I shouldn’t have said that. Building a lego castle, or any lego trinket for that matter, is not like building – let’s say for sake of argument – a BILLY Bookcase. It’s not even on par with a FAKTUM IKEA kitchen. So imagine this, I sit down at around 4 PM on a hard floor with a ton of lego and three (3!!!) instruction booklets. 8 hours later you find me in bed, putting together the last level of a tower and fixing a trebuchet. After all to seek peace one has to prepare for war – right ;). Sebastian wakes up intermittently, because he Knows (with capital K) that something is in the making. The next morning, before possible destruction sets in, I just stand there, in awe and marvel of my engineering feat! Even Husband couldn’t put that together (well he could but doesn’t have the patience for it). Sebastian doesn’t bother about the beautifully aligned lego pieces, or my own little inventions that came in handy when pieces were missing (the only thing in common lego has with IKEA). No he just wants to play.

In fact he doesn’t even want to go to afterschool for a Pirate themed play day. Not even when I tell him his best friend will be there. No, no and categorically NO. He is staying. I have to make threats about Hells Damnation (which in the 21st century is not about Hell – let’s face it, our kids would just say “Cool! Bring it on Mum”). So I tell him he is not allowed to play with any castle until he comes with me. A few screams and tears are shed but it works. He capitulates – if he can be dressed up as a knight. I oblige to that concession.

Fast forward a few hours later. I enter the afterschool just as he is making a treasure map – old school style. To the untrained eye it looks like a 500 year old parchment probably having belonged once to Henry Morgan or Edward Teach. I have to once more utter threats of Hell and Damnation (now in front of a bewildered audience of 5 and 6 year olds – thank God they don’t understand English I hear myself saying).
Speech therapy is a breeze. Arianne has her dog with her, and within minutes Sebastian has found a new friend. The trouble starts when we come home. My castle is still rocky. It’s not a Krak des Chevaliers – yet! It just needs further inspection, which I had neither the time nor the inclination to do the previous evening. Thus as a result it stands on a table with the admonition that it can be played with as long as it is not moved, shaken, lifted. JUST DON”T TOUCH IT FOR GOD’S SAKE!!

Whilst I am preparing in the kitchen I hear a yell. I hear my husband and my little guy in tears.

Honey, the castle is broken, my husband informs me matter-of-factly.

What? I hear myself utter. Like in slow motion. Like I am in a film, with Hospitallers and all. Suliman the Magnificent has thus finally managed to breach a wall to my impregnable fort (wishful thinking). I storm upstairs to find indeed the tower broken off. I wonder if it wasn’t attempting fate fixing that trebuchet the other night. It clearly fell into enemy hands (at this point Sun Tzu’s Art of War flashes by me and all the lessons I have just broken).

I curse, I swear, and breath like I am in labour with twins. The first problem: the instruction booklet for this particular tower is gone. Problem number two: we are talking reverse engineering at its most complex as it is not neatly broken off to a point I can just re-attach it. No, other parts of the fort lies scattered too, and this castle needs more than a bit of fixing. Only way to do it right is to dismantel and re-build. An hour later (only focusing on the broken parts obviously) I have managed it. I am not as proud as I would like to be as it tested my patience severely and I did curse (and for every curse my son shouted at me from the other room that I wasn’t allowed to say that word (shall not say which)). When my husband comes upstairs and fumingly tells me cursing like this is childish, I have to say he has a point. For someone who wants to see herself as a modern stoic I am falling short of the ideals. So another lesson is taught. I still have some way to go. On a good note, castle is finished and looks splendid as ever. The proof is in the pudding right?

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Schloss von Waldau

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with catapults

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and trebuchet

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Sebastian was having fun earlier in the day

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With a new friend đŸ™‚

It’s a lazy Sunday. One of those days I haven’t got out of my PJ’s yet, let alone had a shower. I reheated a chicken risotto which Sebastian was not too enamored with…the chicken meat had gone rather dry since its Friday night debut. With a cold cup of coffee as my only companion, I am covering all the bits and pieces that didn’t make last week’s schedule. But all in due time, I still haven’t recovered from yesterday (dinner and drinks with hubby which ended up with cocktails at Fidel). On that note I might actually take a snooze before continuing on my self inflicted chores.

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Love was in the air at Fidel last night đŸ˜‰

It’s late, approaching close to midnight. All is quite at home, with the only exception of a buzzing computer going into overdrive. I’m sitting on the floor, aimlessly watching it for what seems like an eternity. When I get up my back is aching and my legs are asleep. I massage them but they remain stubbornly painful. If my legs and feet are sleepy, my mind is not. Like my Mac it is buzzing with energy….thoughts, ideas, problems that have currently no resolution. I rarely feel this way anymore. That’s someone from a long, long time ago. Sometimes I wonder if she is a mere figment of my imagination. Yet here she is again, slightly altered, but fragments are noticeably there. And yet what should be tormenting my soul, only tickles it. So I decide to let it run free, whilst I cover the urban grid of my city.

I put on my running shoes, a warm turtle neck sweater, close the still restless laptop and with light steps sneak out of the front door. It clicks, barely audible. I imagine the household remaining quite and serene.

The first steps are heavy, my feet still tingling. But as I turn the corner of my street the sensation is gone and my strides are lighter, the pace picking up. I keep my gaze on the horizon, beckoning me to move further. For a Friday night the streets are quiet, almost silent as I run on the other side of Spaarne. The road less taken, the forgotten, the archaic, the desolate.

My energy is waning for a moment, and although I don’t want to surrender, the beauty of the landscape urges me to stop. I find a vantage point overlooking the river and centuries of sprawling history. And as I stand there I grasp it. I see Mr. Teyler as he proudly views his lifework of science. A young Ms Hodshon brushes past me, barely 19 and about to embark on building the most magnificent of homes in the city. This whilst the mighty Pallas Athene stands guard. Ready to defend her citizens like the true warrior she is.

Coincidence or providence. As I turn around and look at her, I hear a passage of Rumi

In love…nothing is eternal, but drinking your wine. 

 There is no reason for bringing my life to you, other than losing it. 

I said, I just want to know you, and then disappear. 

She said, knowing me does not mean dying.

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