Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hold on Tight

"The heart that truly loves never forgets"
-Ancient Proverb

Mom made sure made sure my scrunchy matched my outfit, while Dad told me Black Jack stories. When I paint by numbered the living room chairs, Donna was there to save me. Parents are like that, the things they do stick with you. I think about our quirky lives, the Opera House, The Mayan Dude Ranch horse back rides, and O'Neils Lodge fishing trips. Where angst once existed, there is now peace. Habits that once made me crazy, now make me sane. I think back to the posed pictures, and the Boat Club pool, and know that life is good.

Lesson #10: Remain grateful

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Play with your food

There is nothing like knowing where things come from. No artifical flavors, no food coloring, no red dye #8. Just goats milk, just eggs, just pears and honey. Don't get me wrong I've had my fair share of Whataburger's, but you are what you eat. I'd rather pursue products that support people doing what they love. Most soap is made in a factory, but hand made soap is personal. Someone named Laura Stone feeds those goats, she treats them like family, she gets the milk, she makes the soap, she cuts it by hand in her kitchen, wraps it in paper, puts your address on it, and sends it off to you. That means something. I wish it were all as simple as that. In the real world, when I'm not inhaling something before I move to the next task, it's nice to slow down, sit in front of a plate, at a table, and eat what I know. I am not perfect, I still eat string cheese from a plastic packet and buy ramen noodles in a styrofoam cup. My oven is primarily used to heat up DiGiorno's but when I can, I stand for what I love. At the end of the day, when I take a deep breath and settle in next to Roo, just before watching CSI, I thank God and I hope that's good enough.

Lesson #9: Slow down

A Touch of Dutch: My Mini-Interview

Woohoo ! I am at this moment being featured on Isabella's A Touch of Dutch blog. It has become one of the "classic" and must read blogs about the Netherlands. I love mini-interviews because they are easy to make, easy to answer and not so serious. Plus: the reader can get within a couple of minutes a different perception of the interviewed. Go there now accessing it here.
Thanks Isabella, obrigada !

Eyecandy: bike delivery, Amsterdam

Luckily I had my camera with me.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


"In violence we forget who we are."
-Mary McCarthy

Sometimes I wonder what the world has come to. Who are we as people that we resort to anger? What happened to the Mickey Mouse Club era, the harmless world of Leave it to Beaver? I miss the innocence of being oblivious. I wish we could go back to simplier times. I question now if they ever actually existed. The truth is, the world has evolved, and and in that evolution, out of greed and angst, come criminals and gunmen. I am a member of the Shel Silverstein generation. I will be my own light source. I will find ways to stay simple. I will believe in something greater than myself. As I write this I am hopeful.

Lesson #8: Keep the faith

Monday, September 27, 2010


The wind in the trees, the crisp air smells like fresh blankets. The dirt looks richer, the green is ripe. I can wrap myself in fluffy comforters and drink warm tea on the porch. For the first time all year I asked to sit in the sun. It's scarf season, I can use my dark nail polish, and wear chunky sweaters with tall boots. I can't wait to fall asleep to the sound of the cold snap. A whole new life to look forward to. Just around the corner are Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Let's celebrate, I'll act like a kid, we can wake up to chilly mornings, make indoor forts, or camp in the great outdoors. I want to make a fire, stare up at the stary night, snuggle in bed and watch movies and feel my cheeks turn pink in the breeze.

Lesson #7: To every thing, there is a season.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Little Black Dog

"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself."
    -Josh Billings

My dog Roo plays well with others. You'll never meet another dog like her. Once a rescue, and run away, now free to run but she stays. Our story starts about 4 years ago. We found each other accidentally, actually she found me. It was love at first sight, I didn't even want a dog, but there she was shivering in her tiny crate at the Town Lake Animal Shelter, my little soul mate. Now on a bad day it's me and Roo against the world. You can say what you want but she's my best friend. If you take everything then please leave my dog. My bug, my buddy, my little dog Roo.

Lesson #6: We all need companionship


"There is no such thing as defeat except when it comes from within. As long as a person doesn't admit he is defeated, he is not defeated-he's just a little behind and isn't through fighting."
    - Darrell K. Royal

In Texas, religion and football are everything. My father used to sit on the couch in the ever stylish men’s short shorts (a style he has never abandoned) and say, "Well Sarah, are you ready for some football?" We watched teams like the Cowboys and Oilers. (when they were in Houston not Tennessee) Ok so admittedly I don't really know what's going on during the game. I have no idea what off-sides means, I judge penalties by boos, and I think screaming in public is embarrassing; but I love when my team runs for a touchdown. I love when total strangers give each other high fives. I love watching the replay. In that moment the entire stadium erupts and we all stand for the same thing. In fact I don't just love cheering, I love winning. However as any good fan knows, even the best team will experience loss. We put it out of our mind because losing the game is the worst case scenario, but without the possibility there is no game. More than winning, more than cheering, what I love most is the spirit, the fight, the grit. That's what football is all about. That's what life is all about.

Lesson #5: Respect Adversity

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Nothing to be afraid of...

Downtown Austin is fraught with hauntings, stories of murder and mystery, lynching’s, and accidents. We walk by these buildings every day; they are now bars or parking lots where homes once stood, office buildings where we spend our days. We see the names but know nothing about the people. You have to wonder if you've passed each other day in and day out? Are you in their home or are they in your office? On the exterior you read the stories but what you share is greater. You are inexplicably linked, you walk the same floor, you are separated by 1883 only by years. Now that you know where they live, what will you see?

Lesson #4: Face your fears.

Susannah Dickinson Williams Herring
Alamo Survivor
Susannah set up a boarding house to support herself. E.A. Masur says "Hannig was a pioneer blacksmith, a man who really appreciated a good meal. When he sampled Susannah's cabbage, bacon, and cornbread, he just up and married her."In Austin circles, Susannah became somewhat of a celebrity she was very active in relating her experiences in the Alamo and commemorating its heroes whenever called on. Hannig had a marble marker placed on wife Susannah's grave in Austin's Oakwood Cemetery stating: Sacred to the Memory of Susan A. Wife of J.W. Hannig Died Oct. 7, 1883 Aged 68 Years. She is known to haunt the 3rd floor of the Hannig Row Building located on 6th and Brazos.

A Curious Birthday

Picture that:
you live in the Netherlands, it is autumn, it is grey, it rains a lot, you and your kids have recently had a cold and your sister-in-law invites you to celebrate her birthday with the whole family in a tour in the nature. "Saturday 25th of September, Recreation area Het Twiske at 12h30", to be precise.
And there goes the family into the recreation area Het Twiske. I have previously posted here about Twiske (for more about it click on the tag list "twiske") and about this hobby of my sister-in-law. Today she told us she would guide us through pads with lots and lots of mushrooms. Ummm, it starts getting interesting for me because I am fascinated about these funghi.
Above, the S.I.L. shows the "classic" type of mushie from fairy tales to my little girl : a red one with white dots. Lovely.
The mushie above looks like an apple that was beaten by gnomes, doesn't it ? Chomp, chomp, chomp !

My SIL in action. With little mirrors, she shows us how the mushies look on their under. She doesn't take any of them from the trees or the ground. But the broken ones she does collecst in a bag for her future tours. She knows how to preserve them for a while.

It was one and half good hour spent in the middle of uncountable and odd mushies. Oh, no way I can remember the names and functions of all of them !

Below: big fox holes.

My sister-in-law advised me never eating blackberries from the lowest branches of bushes, 'cause foxes pee on them. But enough mushies and fruit. It is time to sit down and go drink and eat something, thus we headed to Pavillioen.

We were so lucky with dry weather. The location of Pavillioen is really amazing, near water, bushes ... there were even rainbows. We decided to sit on the back outside so that the kids could run freely - and make some noise.
During years and years, we have always sat outside in The Pavillion and asked some snacks and beer. French fries or bitterballs and a beer. Just that. I didn't know that you actually could have a fancy dinner at there.

Prosecco was ordered...
Most of the grown-ups decided to go for a classic Dutch chocolade truffel, and the kids asked muffins and hot chocolate.
Many Dutch people like having something sweet and light for their lunch: slices of bread topped with chocolate, some fruit or yoghurt, or maybe a soup, or sometimes just a pie. I preferred to order a tosti - cheese /tomatoes. However, deep inside of me I would rather have a tagliatelle with mushies, garlic, cream, parsley and parmesan cheese. Or a small risotto... with lots and lots of mushies, of course !

I enjoyed a lot such unusual birthday celebration.
And we were sooo lucky it didn't rain.
Gefeliciteerd Anja ! Happy Birthday !