Thursday, 31 July 2014

Morning light

pretty hallway
This morning I woke up at my friend's place in The Hague. I slept well, normally I don't sleep very well the first night at a 'strange place'. After I had showered and got dressed I went downstairs to make some tea and lay the table.
vintage pitcher
When my friend Tosca got dressed she went outside to get some bread and other essentials for breakfast.
shadows on a scarlet wall
While she was away I was sitting on the couch and looking around in the living room and hallway. I saw the morning light coming in and giving shadows on the walls.
fallen angel
She spoilt me rotten: she bought croissants, French cheese, tomatoes and boiled some eggs. It felt like a being in a luxurious hotel but then it was even better: there were no strangers around us and everything was quiet.
shadow of a bush in the window
shadow of a bush in the window
light on the couch
light on the couch 
water lily bud
The water lily had closed herself during the night and I saw her opening herself slowly when the sun started to shed her beams on her. Amazing.
the corridor
the corridor
light from underneath the door
light from underneath the door
main window in living room
main window in living room
This was a very nice way to start the day.  In the afternoon we went to the Rosarium, a rose garden. I'll post some pictures about that later.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

My birthday

water lily
Today is my 49th birthday and I'm telling everyone already that next year I'll turn 50. Fifty, it sounds so old and it is not at all how I feel. But I'm way ahead, this day I turned 49 and I went to my friend Tosca in The Hague to celebrate it a little. I didn't want to throw a party, because I'm planning to do that next year.
light on yellow couch
Tosca lives in a three story-house pretty close to Scheveningen, a Dutch beach town. She lives in a real house, not in a group accommodation like me and her house is like a big surprise house to me: everywhere I look I see beautiful things: lovely china, pretty flowers, old ornaments and lots of light in the afternoon. She also has a small pond in her back yard with goldfish and a water lily.
red flowers 
pretty hallway
We hadn't seen in each other in ages so we had a lot to catch up and because the weather was so good we decided we'd go to the beach at Kijkduin. We took a long walk and I talked about my splitting-up with H. and she kindly listened and made comments about how she had witnessed the relationship over the past years. She could understand my anger and grief over the break-up.
bike on beach
We sat down for a while and watched the tide coming in as she talked about her health, the holidays with her mother in the USA and her work situation. This is the good thing about being friends: even if you don't see each other a lot, you just hook on where you left off and immediately the months fall away. You know what I mean?
little clouds
I have enjoyed this day tremendously. Who needs to go far away if one can simply go to the beach in one's own country? I felt like I was on a holiday, bought us an ice-cream and loved every minute of the sun, sounds of the sea, friendly company and the people around us.
guys playing in the sea
We finished our day with a lovely meal at one of the beach pavilions with a platter of fish and chips and a plate of selected cheeses. Fantastic, I'm loving this staycation so far!

Book review: Plant Power

It's been a while since I reviewed a book on the blog and I thought it was about time. Last week I bought the lovely book Plant Power by Dutch author Lisette Kreischer.
cover Plant Power
In the preface she explains that the book is not a diet or a scientific book, nor a cookbook in the common sense of the word. Plant Power is a guide to a way of healthy eating, of life.
Plant Power: Funky, plant powered food
Plant Power: Good food is fun, fabulous and fantastic
This book is for everyone who is interested in learning about pure and vegetable Food (vegetarian, flexitarian and vegan) which will give you energy, spirit and a well balanced weight.
The book is divided in four main chapters, the four seasons, and each season has its special fruits and vegetables. She explains about the effects of certain ingredients, about super foods, what you'd better avoid and about blood sugar levels. Each season is divided in three categories: breakfast, lunch and dinner. The photography, by Yvonne Palsgraaf, is simple and direct.
I would highly recommend this book: it's clearly explained and well written and the recipes look attractive. I will definitely try out some of her dishes in the near future.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Fruit-carrot juice

chopped fruit and carrots
This morning I felt like making myself a delicious juice. I had bought lots of fruit yesterday so I could take my pick, I made a fruit-carrot juice.

2-3 carrots
1 orange
2 apples
1 pear
bit of fresh ginger
Put all the ingredients through the juicer and pour in a glass. This juice is for those who have a real sweet tooth: it was a lot sweeter than I imagined. I love the light orange colour of the juice, it feels very much like summer.
fruit-carrot juice

Monday, 28 July 2014

Trying out my fixed 100mm lens

One of my goals this staycation is to try out my new 100mm lens. It is a fixed lens so it doesn't zoom in or out, I have to do that myself by coming closer or moving away from an object.  Also, a 100 mm lens has a macro function so I can actually shoot texture from close by and it has little depth of field. That is quite trendy nowadays, but it is totally not Miksang because the human eye sees a surface totally in focus and not partially.
moss on wooden bench
Today it rained dreadfully most of the day, but when it finally stopped I took the opportunity to go out and take my camera to our front garden. Drops were everywhere, it was such a joy to see. Here are some of the first pictures with this fixed lens.
raindrops on leaf
I could get pretty close to the leaf. Because it is a flat surface most of the leaf and drops are in focus.
orange flower with raindrops
In this photo the focus is in the middle of the picture, but looking at it now I would have liked the focus to be on one of the wet petals of the flower. So this is something I have to take into consideration: know beforehand where I want the focus to be.
red and yellow flowers
This is also a picture that is not quite successful: the focus seems to be on the green leaf and that is not where I want it to be. Again: think before I shoot.
orange flowers after rainfall
This picture comes more into the lines of how I want the lens to work for me. The focus is on the two flowers close by and the flowers in the background are really out of focus so the viewer experiences depth.
yellow flowers after rainfall
This picture is ok but not spectacular: the flowers are close to each other and the depth of field is so that all the flowers are pretty much in focus.
I am quite happy with the above picture: the snail and part of the wooden bench are in focus, but the left part of the picture is out of focus, that part is further away from the viewer.
I can safely conclude that I need to practice way more to understand how this lens can work for me at its best.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Banana-spinach smoothie

This morning I wanted to make a spinach smoothie, but I didn't exactly know what to put in it, so I grabbed some available stock.
banana-spinach smoothie
1 apple
1 avocado
2 bananas
bunch of spinach
splash of coconut water
drizzle of coconut cream
1 teaspoon of macapowder
1 teaspoon of hemp grains

Blend and enjoy! I hope you have a wonderful day.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Staycation 2014

my photo of a photo by NTI
I am not going on holidays this year, I mean that I will take a three week leave but I will not travel to faraway places. Instead I will stay at home, enjoy the weather, see friends and take day trips to friends out of town. Also, I have a list of things that I really would like to do during those weeks. I am in a creative flow and the coming weeks I intend to take good use of that time. To help me out a little bit, because I've been there before and nothing came of my good intentions, I have made a list of little projects and at the end of my staycation I will update my list with links to the mentioned projects.
Here is what's on my list right now:

  • start my calligraphy E-course (I have received all the materials last week)
  • finish organizing my study
  • upload pictures from former travels and citytrips from before my blogging time (i.e. numerous trips to Paris, various Queen's Days, former costuming trips to Venice, minibreaks to cities like Warsaw and Istanbul, visits to exhibitions, the list is endless)
  • finish my photo book on Summer 2013
  • do little DIY projects like: folding envelopes with pretty paper, painting quotes or words on canvas
  • be a tourist in my own town of Amsterdam and visit at least two museums
  • try out my 'new' secondhand 100 mm lens that a friend gave me
  • paint a wicker chair and a dining room table
  • go to Ghent on a weekend trip
  • try out more exotic juices and smoothies
Most of all I would like to be in the moment, do the things that I want to do, relax, enjoy the little things and be happy.
My plan for today already fell through: the friend I was going to visit in a beach town cancelled our appointment because of heavy headaches. So I'll have to cope with that, too. Enjoying the moment, doing what I feel like doing. Now my relationship with H. is over I have all the time to myself.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Maitri workshop: the follow-up part III

reflection in a black car
As a follow-up of the Maitri Practice Day last 6 July I had taken the white pair of glasses home with me to practice the effects of the colour of WHITE
reflection of gable in a car
After I got home from work yesterday I meditated for about 15 minutes to clear my head, sat in the appropriate posture for WHITE for about 17 minutes and noticed great discomfort in my neck, shoulders and knees. That is not so surprising as the posture is sitting on your knees and elbows with your head resting in your hands.
shadow of an arch on the wall
Apart from the uncomfortable posture I felt like being in a fog, it was the same feeling I had when we were doing WHITE during the workshop in June although not as strong.
shadows of scaffolding
When I went outside for my aimless walk I took a different route than I usually do, I walked very slowly and saw lots of shadows, light, reflections and white objects. I felt at peace and was enjoying looking around me.
shadows on blue-and-white tiles
Above is another example of shadows. It was quite windy and the shadows were moving all the time.
light on knotweed
Light, I noticed light everywhere. Especially in the summer when the sun is a little lower and the shadows become longer, light pops up here and there.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Reflections in the park

Last night I walked in and around the Vondelpark with my yogafriend Tabita. It was a warm but windy evening and lots of people were out having a picnick or simply having fun with friends or family. I had my camera on me just in case and there some moments that I had to stop and take a photo. Normally I find that a bit uncomfortable when I am in company with a non-photographing person, but these flashes of perception were so strong, I couldn't pass them by. Below are a few reflections that stopped me dead in my tracks.
reflections of people in a pond
reflections of people in a pond
reflections of buildings in a pond
reflections of buildings in a pond
reflections in a black car
reflections of a building in a black car
reflections of a building in a window
reflections of a building in a shop window

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A Sunday afternoon at the beach

The past few days have been terribly hot in Amsterdam, so hot I didn't know where to go or what to do. My family came over for my birthday last Sunday which is actually on 30 July, but there was no occasion to see each other closer to that date so I decided to celebrate it last weekend. My parents came over and my sister with her three daughters, Katie, Emily and Lisa. My sister suggested we'd go to the beach after lunch and although it was actually a bit cooler, we went and we had a wonderful time.
Emily's hands
Emily's hands
my father and my niece Lisa
My father and Lisa building a sandcastle. 
shadows of seashells
shadows of seashells in the sandcastle
my nieces Emily and Katie
Emily and Katie also working on the sandcastle
seagull watching a strolling boy
seagull watching a strolling boy
too much sunscreen
too much sunscreen on my face
Emily under the parasol/umbrella
Emily under the parasol/umbrella
family in the sea
a family in the sea
Katie's arms and legs
Katie's arms and legs
a lock of Katie's hair
a lock of Katie's hair
my mother
my mother enjoying the small waves
my sister's feet
my sister's feet

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