Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2015 almost loaded...


2014 is almost done and in a few moments 2015 will begin. Be careful with the fireworks. Until next year...

Smile,

Han

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Kissing again

In an interview with William Cane, author of “The Art of Kissing”: Women’s favourite spot to be kissed, other than the mouth, is the neck. Ninety-six percent of women reported that they like neck kisses, while only about 10% of men do, so a guy will not even believe that a girl likes being kissed on the neck because it doesn’t really do anything for him. 

It is just a question of having the patience to find the right spots...


Monday, 29 December 2014

First Snow

In honour of the first snow yesterday in the Netherlands, a lovely poem for a change. What other way to celebrate our snow that makes the world a winter land?



The Snow Fairy


I.


Throughout the afternoon I watched them there,
Snow-fairies falling, falling from the sky,
Whirling fantastic in the misty air,
Contending fierce for space supremacy.
And they flew down a mightier force at night,
As though in heaven there was revolt and riot,
And they, frail things had taken panic flight
Down to the calm earth seeking peace and quiet.
I went to bed and rose at early dawn
To see them huddled together in a heap,
Each merged into the other upon the lawn,
Worn out by the sharp struggle, fast asleep.
The sun shone brightly on them half the day,
By night they stealthily had stol’n away.


II.


And suddenly my thoughts then turned to you
Who came to me upon a winter’s night,
When snow-sprites round my attic window flew,
Your hair dishevelled, eyes aglow with light.
My heart was like the weather when you came,
The wanton winds were blowing loud and long;
But you, with joy and passion all aflame,
You danced and sang a lilting summer song.
I made room for you in my little bed,
Took covers from the closet fresh and warm,
A downfall pillow for your scented head,
And lay down with you resting in my arm.
You went with Dawn. You left me ere the day,
The lonely actor of a dreamy play.



Claude McKay

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Quattuordecim challenge number 8

After the safe card, we decided to choose another envelope. For your convenience I put in the right column an overview of the results of the challenges so far.

The assignment


In this bag are two clothes-pins and some weights. Write down the weight you think you can take I put on these clothes-pins on a piece of paper and put it in a envelope. Close the envelope without me seeing what you have written.
In the challenge I blindfold you. After that both clothes-pins will be put on your nipples and I will add another weight at your request. The weight are different sizes and weights. You say “less please” or “more please”. If you think it's enough (and enough is the exact amount you have written on your card), you'll say your safe word and we weigh the total weight. After that we will open your envelope and decide if the challenge was won or lost.

The challenge is won if the weight is equal to the weight you stated in the envelope, lost if it is not. Your hands will be unbound, but you can earn a bonus Q-point (10% of a wellness centre visit) by keeping your hands behind your back during the challenge.


Quatuordecim: Have a look at envelope number 6!

Smile. I don't know who is more relieved: Wanita or myself. But today she chose envelope number 6:


The safecard is kept by Wanita and handed over if there is a challenge she does NOT want to do. There will be no P-point counted (no Q-points as well of course). It is a gentle way out of a game play she doesn't care for.

Congratulations on the safeguard, Wanita!

Archaic


In Dutch Sir is in common daily use "meneer". A receptionist is calling "meneer Jansen you can go into room number 6 now". Meneer is a degeneration of old Dutch Mijn Heer. And not used anymore, unless religious people address their Lord. But in a time of manors and Lords of manors who had not breakfast, but " broke their fast" it was common daily use. Mijn Heer was a respectful way of talking of a powerful man.

In a play situation my Wanita like to address me as " meester" (master) inside the security of our house, and "meneer"(Sir) or "mijn heer" (Sire) outside. When we are in formal mode speech, every sentence ends with the title. And that can be confusing sometimes.

A few months ago our play had ended. We gone back to regular, unnoticed selves again. We had played for a few hours outside, because there had been too long we could not play inside. So we played the little game of following orders to perfection, and it was mutual fun. But it was time to go home, and all things come to an end. Anyway we are walking on the street and we meet a former colleague of mine. We talk a bit and this man is huge and has like I have a dark voice. At a point my colleague asks her a question and she only answers with "Nee, Mijn Heer" (No, Sire). I have never seen her that red. She kept her eyes on the ground and her head lowered. My colleague only raised her eyebrows a bit as I resumed our conversation.

It is not the first time she has used formal speech in a public situation. But we like our play private as a rule there is too much to lose when narrow-minded people know too much. But every once in a while when we come out of a play situation and we meet a handsome or powerful man, instincts kick in.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Second Christmas Day

Today go Dutch again flocking around the shopping malls and enjoy the British from a day full of sports, because it is Second Christmas Day or Boxing Day.
But why do we Europeans actually an extra day after Christmas, a tradition that for example doesn’t really exist in the America? In short, why do we actually celebrate Second Christmas Day?

Even before the emergence of Christianity the pagan Germanic celebrated the “Yule”, also known as the “Midwinter Festival”. In total, the festivities lasted twelve days, but the climax was reached on the shortest day of the year, December 21st. After this date, the days were getting longer and the amount of sunlight became more every day again, and thus celebrated the Germans during the “Yule” that the worst of winter had passed.

Saint Stefanus


With the rise of Christianity in the first centuries after Christ, many pagan traditions were converted to Catholic holidays. Like “Yule”, which was included in the so-called "Christmas season", a period of twelve days between December 25 and January 6, each devoted to at least one Catholic priest. Boxing Day came to this classification to be dedicated to St. Stefanus, the first martyr of Christianity.

Council of Mainz


However, at the Council of Mainz in 813 it was decided to extend the Christmas celebration itself. Henceforth, the Christmas party lasted four days. In all these days it was furthermore forbidden to work, because that would bring bad luck. The four Christmas needed, and got, each its own focus. So the Fourth Day was a Children’s Day and Second Christmas Day was completely dominated by the animals. Farmers allowed their horses galloping through the village to "guarantee" they would not be sick for the rest of the year.

Boxing Day


During the Middle Ages arose in Britain yet another tradition on Second Christmas Day: Boxing Day. This name could have been derived from the box with gifts that many nobles gave their servants on that day. These servants had to work on Christmas Day, but in return they were often the day after Christmas free from their masters. Good employees are also given as a “thank you box” with all kinds of gifts and food leftovers to take home.

Second Christmas Day


In recent centuries, the celebration of Christmas, however, was again gradually curtailed. Thus the tradition of Fourth Day soon lost. In 1773 the Dutch government decided to abolish The Third Christmas Day. Even Second Christmas Day appeared to be in danger, but the 18th century initiatives led to nothing. Indeed, in 1964 both Christmas days have been declared official Dutch holidays.

The religious character of Second Christmas Day however, is lost. Meanwhile, most Dutch people spend their extra day because usually by the shopping malls or at the in-laws. A similar development took also place in Britain, where Boxing Day today primarily known as an important day in football and rugby matches.


Thursday, 25 December 2014

Christmas Story

Today a story I wrote myself a few years ago in 2011, to be precise. I translated it in English as well as I could (with a little help from Appy). I hope you enjoy it.


I want to be a writer so much it hurts. The beauty in writing is the absence of talking. I don’t like talking all that much, and to be honest I am not very good at it either… I stu stu stutter a bit, and if I can prevent talking , I will do my utmost to avoid it. I’m better at writing. In primary school I’ve earned good grades for writing and reading. It is fashionable nowadays to have a presentation about something in front of a classroom. It’s your turn to talk. About anything and everything. You are supposed to learn that way to talk in front of a group of people. But I don’t want to talk in front of a group of people. I’d rather not talk at all, if you don’t mind. To write what I am thinking, now that I can do. There is but one huge disadvantage about wanting to be a writer: you want to be read. It is like applause after a performance: your book in some one else's hands. In the hands of a pretty girl of course. Fat chance at that, ever. Somehow it hurts more if a girl laughs at you in your face than when a boy does the same. Most boys don’t laugh, by the way, they have other ways to show how they think of my stu-stu-stutter.


To have my book published is as easy as getting rid of the stammer. But I am a modern guy so I made a blog on the Internet. Unfortunately a blog no one ever visited. I watched YouTube and saw the three-minutes-movies where people told a story. Now, that is what I wanted! There was only one problem. I don’t have to explain what it is, do I? The only thing I needed was some one to tell my story on YouTube. Right. One half of my class were half baboons that like to mock-fight all day long, and the other half were Barbie dolls. To the girls the special bargains at the local drug-store would be the highlight any day. So none of the kids on my class were in my target group. Besides, I would never, I mean ever let a guy read my text aloud. I mean. Not ever. But where would I find a girl that would be crazy enough to read my texts out loud and be seen worldwide on the Internet?

You know, once I’ve got an idea, it is NOT gone the next minute or so… Just like the stutter, a thought keeps re re repeating itself. On the Net there was a place where you could leave a message or a request. And so I did. “Is there a girl who is willing to record one of my texts?”. Two weeks went by. Nothing. Of course not. After three weeks one message: Could I send some samples of my texts? I sent her a couple of Christmas stories. I had enough of those.
New message: Did I live at travelling distance? Could I come to her house and meet her? Bad idea. Ve Ve Very B B bad idea.

I replied: “Do you have a camera so you can record it yourself if I just delivered the text?”
“No.”.
Oh. Now what? “Nice to have met you, goodbye?”. Or try to send a “semi funny” mail? My only line of defence left was self mockery and I sketched my dilemma in broad outlines.
The mail was quiet for a week. Of course there was no message. Because I checked my mail on average 52 times a day, it wasn’t possible I could have missed it. On the eighth day DingDong, new message. Elise van Zanten. Elise wrote she was willing to do it, but she needed me to make a decent clip for YouTube. Could I bring my video camera and meet her at her address at eight next Friday?

Now if I wanted to be a famous writer, (and I did) that meant I had to go. Get on with it. My tripod trembled with nerves as I rang her doorbell. Elise opened the door. Not what I had expected of course. Not the buxom goddess of my age with long blond hair, but a woman in her fifties, long and dignified. Sandy hair, in a colour on sale this week at the local drug-store. She was a lady, that much could not be overlooked. I noticed how she sat. Not like our generation: flop into one’s chair and chill. You know, chill. No, with a straight back a bit towards the edge of the chair, without the slightest slouch. The conversation went well. A breath of fresh air, really. After three sentences I locked up completely and couldn’t say a word for as long as a minute. I got all red, became more nervous, and after that I couldn’t say the word video at all of course. Elise smiled and asked if I would rather finish my sentence or if I preferred she could try to finish it for me? I started again using different words and somehow that went quite well. And so we breathed trough of a few embarrassing moments. We decided to make a trial recording. Against the white wall in her room she put a chair and a few meters away I put up my video camera on the tripod.

She spoke in a calm, well articulate voice. My text sounded more like a melody then anything I’d written. I tried to tell her I was enthusiastic about her performance, but she understood that anyway, even if I cou cou couldn’t say it. We cleaned up and sat on the couch again. I got a Cola. No trace of a mister Van Zanten anywhere. We made an appointment as to which stories we would record and the sequence of it. What made her human, or should I say feminine, is that she said: ‘I have nothing to wear’. We agreed on meeting next week Saturday at eleven.

At eleven o clock sharp I was at her doorstep again. She offered me coffee, but I didn’t care for coffee. Instead I said: “No, lets go shopping”. Well, of course it sounded more like: “Nn, nnn, nn n no, lets go sh sh sh shopping.”
She drove me to the nearest mall, because I’m going for my drivers licence October next year. I would have asked a blond goddess of my age at the back seat of my bike, but not a prim and proper Mrs. Van Zanten. I had done my homework and so I knew which store to visit. So we went in a straight line to that store. Elise understood what I had in mind and started to protest: “O, no my friend that is so no going to happen. You are not buying me something expensive in there, you are going to spend your money more useful.”

She didn’t knew me well enough to realize that once I’ve made up my mind, I can be rather stubborn. And so we left the shop with a black evening gown that would have fitted a movie star and made me spend about 70% of my savings. The rest of my money went to the hairdresser.
Compared with that the recording of the text was easy. Elise knew all the texts by heart and when we took three takes to record, she didn’t complain. That evening and night I edited everything together and the next morning I was on her doorstep again with a bunch of flowers and a YouTube movie.



I had the miniature Christmas tree in my hand, decorated and all. 17,95 on sale at Wallmart. I watched a black shining stone that read: Here rests Elise Johanna van Zanten 21-09-1959 – 14-09-2007. It did not say: Run over by a drunken driver. I did not say: The guy had already served his time in prison and was now driving again, free as a bird.

She hadn’t been forgotten in the four years that have passed since then. Fresh flowers, a  small stone heart, two little stone angels on her grave and a small candle in a glass jar made clear she was not forgotten and she still warmed and lit the heart of many. After I was satisfied the frozen grave was neat and tidy again I stood up and said to my wife that stood motionless next to me: “Your mother looks decent again”. She nodded, grabbed my hand a squeezed it for a moment. That was enough.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas Eve 2014

A long time ago, in the town of Nazareth, lived a young woman named Mary.  Mary did her chores, was kind to others, and loved God very much.  She was engaged to be married to Joseph, who was a carpenter.

One day, while Mary was at home cleaning her room, an angel suddenly appeared.  Before Mary could say anything the angel told Mary that she was favored by God, and that God was with her.
Mary was surprised.  She was trying not to be afraid, but she had never seen an angel before.  After all, Mary was just a regular lady like you or I.  Why was this angel visiting her?  What did the angel want?

The angel quickly tried to reassure Mary, "Do not be afraid!"  the angel said.  "God has found favor with you.  You will have a baby boy, and are to give him the name Jesus."
Mary was confused, she was not yet married to Joseph, so how could she have a baby?  The angel thought that this might concern Mary so he said, "The Holy Spirit will perform a miracle, and because of this your baby will be called  the Son of God."

To Mary's surprise the angel had more exciting news;  "Even your cousin Elizabeth is going to have a son in her old age.  Many thought that she couldn't have children, but she is already pregnant.  Nothing is impossible with God."
Mary couldn't believe what she was hearing, she didn't know what to say.  She realized that she was trembling, and knelt down.  When she was finally able to speak she said, "I am the Lord's servant, and I hope everything you have said will come true."
The angel then disappeared, and Mary was left alone.

Soon after, Joseph found out that Mary was going to have a baby.  Joseph was confused and upset by this. But an angel came to him in a dream and said, "Joseph do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.  The child Mary is going to have is God's son, and you are to give him the name Jesus."
When Joseph woke up he remembered what the angel had said.  He knew that everything was okay, and he wasn't upset anymore.

In those days the government decided that they should count everyone that lived in that area of the world.  So Joseph had to take Mary to his town, Bethlehem to register.
It took Mary and Joseph a long time to get to Bethlehem.  They didn't have cars back then, so it probably took them a lot longer to get there.  This was very tiring for Mary because she was soon going to have a baby.

When they reached the town, all the hotels were full and there was nowhere that they could stay.  Finally, someone felt bad for them, and offered them a place to stay.
The Bible doesn't say for sure where they stayed but most people think that they stayed in a small barn where animals were kept.  In any case, doesn't it seem strange that Jesus, the King of the Jews wasn't born in a fancy palace or even a hospital?

Mary and Joseph were thankful that they at least had a place to lay down.  It was warm, and there was plenty of straw to lay on.
That night an exciting, wonderful thing happened.  Mary and Joseph had a baby!  But it wasn't just any baby, it was Baby Jesus!  The creator of the whole world, the King of Kings, the one who would save the world.
The little baby boy fell asleep in Mary's arms and she wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger on some clean straw.
Mary and Joseph soon fell asleep, they were so glad to have this special baby join their family.

Gerard van Honthorst 1622

Sloth 7


Thursday, 18 December 2014

Sloth 1


Sloth

Wrath, Greed, Gluttony, Lust, Envy, Pride and Sloth. 
Sloth is the seventh and last of the seven mortal sins series.

Sloth is one of the seven deadly sins in Christian moral tradition, particularly within Catholicism, referring to laziness.
Sloth is defined as spiritual or emotional apathy, neglecting what God has spoken, and being physically and emotionally inactive. It can also be either an outright refusal or merely a carelessness in the performance of one's obligations, especially spiritual, moral or legal obligations. Sloth can also indicate a wasting due to lack of use, concerning a person, place, thing, skill, or intangible ideal that would require maintenance, refinement, or support to continue to exist.
Religious views concerning the need for one to work to support society and further God's plan and work also suggest that, through inactivity, one invites the desire to sin. 

Medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas said Sloth is:
"sluggishness of the mind which neglects to begin good... [it] is evil in its effect, if it so oppresses man as to draw him away entirely from good deeds." 

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Most Sexy Picture Ever (MSPE)

The MSPE is undoubtedly these two pictures here below. No nakedness, but trust, submission, intimacy and closeness. They seem each in a world of their own, and not having any attention for another, but take a second look. They are very much aware of another. Did you notice on the first picture her hand is around his leg? Did you notice he holds her hair in his fist?


Do you see the peace in her face? His hand on her soft hair? Do you think she is reading or just closed her eyes to enjoy his touch?


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

You Got Me Singing




You got me singing
Even tho’ the news is bad
You got me singing
The only song I ever had


You got me singing
Ever since the river died
You got me thinking
Of the places we could hide


You got me singing
Even though the world is gone
You got me thinking
I’d like to carry on


You got me singing
Even tho’ it all looks grim
You got me singing
The Hallelujah hymn


You got me singing
Like a prisoner in a jail
You got me singing
Like my pardon’s in the mail


You got me wishing
Our little love would last
You got me thinking
Like those people of the past


Writer and performer: Leonard Cohen

Monday, 15 December 2014

PP over at Mona Lisa's blog

If you are interested I made my PP (Penalty Post) for Mona Lisa on her blog. I think she has published it today. That is one deadline I did make. LOL. Please visit Mona Lisa's blog over at A Viking Wife's Journey.

Safe in his arms


Sunday, 14 December 2014

His Gentleness

He gently creeps into her room
to rest tenderly near her side
while thoughts of melancholy zoom
in ~ of his once vibrant bride
she's been there for him
so many, many years
he sniffles~and tries to hide
the sorrow and the tears
she has been injured and hurt
but has lost the fight
she will not make it through the night
she will be in paradise by tomorrow's day
he reaches to sniff her best skirt
holds it tight~ it smells of her perfume
he drags over to the vanity to spray
her familiar scent around the room
he cradles her head within his arm
then musters an adoring smile as he whispers in her ear,
"Time travels fast, and I will see you in a while, my dear"
He provides her warmth by stroking her hair
he wants to capture this image of her there
he wants this moment painted on the wall
so that he can always,always recall
how peaceful she seemed while adrift somewhere.

MCWA
26 November 2010

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Tribulations

In the huge project all of Bach I would like to bring to your attention a wonderful cantata written in or about 1746,  BWV 146:

Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal in das Reich Gottes eingehen

 ‘Though you are sad, your sorrow will turn to joy’. These words from the sermon that was read in Leipzig on the third Sunday after Easter – Jubilate Sunday – sum up the message of this cantata. Here on earth, life is miserable, but fortunately it does not last long, and then there is heaven. The sorrow of earthly life is juxtaposed with the joy offered by faith and the promise of heaven.
The cantata begins fairly cheerfully, with a mini organ concerto as a sinfonia. But immediately afterwards, the misery on earth becomes audible as the singers have difficult lines filled with obstacles. The alto then turns aside from this terrible world and yearns for heaven. The heart of the cantata is formed by the emotional aria ‘Ich säe meine Zähren’, in which Bach illustrates the transition from the bitter present to the sweet future through minimal changes in the solo parts of the soprano, flute, and oboe d’amores. In the final duet and the closing chorale, all the suffering is forgotten.
This beautiful piece of peace is sung by the Netherlands Bach Society, conducted by Jos van Veldhoven.

Friday, 12 December 2014

I said I was SORRY

I said I was SORRY, my Wanita said to me one day. Even experienced sub missives cannot apologize properly sometimes. Or prettily as I call it often. It is not strange, people are not thought nowadays what a proper apology looks like. 

The power shift between two people never is so evident after the dominant finds something that the submissive did wrong. Often this just used as a starting point to begin a BDSM-play situation. The "offence" is often a minor mistake and fair or not, the submissive will apologize for her "bad" behavior. Fairness is important however but that path leads to another post. 
So in daily life a proper apology is important, in a D/s relationship even more so. Too often the sub gets away with a mumbled "I'm sorry." Time to have a look at the basic requirements of a pretty apology:

A pretty apology is:

1. A detailed description of what has happened. If you describe the " offence" in detail, the sub makes it clear that she knows in what situation she hurt her Dom. Just concentrate on WHAT went wrong. Not WHY of WHO or a justification or rationalisation. Not: "I'm sorry, but you made me ..." Just describe what has happened. 

2. Recognition. Say: " I know I hurt you with that." or in your own words with recognition of the damage that has been done. In a minor offence this seems extremely overdone, and even might look silly. But it is not. It is the essence of a Dom/Sub relation. Those words reflect the humility in the speaker and an acknowledgement of the very nature of their relationship.

3. Take responsibly. Say what you should have done, but didn't do, say what you did wrong and you see it is your fault it's gone wrong. The body language should match the words. If the apology is not sincere the body language will tell. Always. If there are rules between you and your sub about postures, follow them to the letter. If there aren't  eyes looking to the ground, on the knees is a safe way of proper submission. 

4. Say you are sorry. Say it from the heart. In whatever words come to you.

5. Ask for forgiveness. It doesn't matter if the offence was deliberate or not. What has been done has been done. After you said you are sorry for that you ask your Dom for forgiveness. Again that may seem overdone in situations. But again it is the Dom that decides what is needed for his or her forgiveness.
 
6. Ask what you can do to repair the damage. And that is your opening to a play situation where after whatever has been done, the Dom thinks that should be done, the Dom can forgive and all is forgiven and on both sides forgotten.
OK, I can hear the question coming, but what about the Dom, if he is wrong? Doms are people and people make mistakes. And grown up Dominants apologize for their mistake. In a way it is more easy to the submissive. She is granted forgiveness.
The Dom is the only person that can forgive himself. Even if he is forgiven by his submissive, he, or she, is ultimately the one that can forgive himself.



Thursday, 11 December 2014

It's a male thing.. giving points


I know. It is a male pig thing to do. But we are not rating her body here, we don't say anything if we like the parts of her body or not, we are rating her submissiveness here. Obviously this is a submissive woman. But how submissive is she in the picture?


OK, we are the judges and this is a contest. Let's give points, shall we.
Face: 8 points,submissive look down to much stuff around the eyes, hair nicely pulled back, but a simple ponytail would have been so much perkier. It is now a messy bun. I know it is fashionable, but I like a simple ponytail, high on the head, better. No earrings. Big earrings would have been nice.

Neck: 6 points. The collar seems heavy because of her posture. Maybe it is heavy, It is metal. The leash makes the picture interesting. It is secured outside the image somewhere. I think the photographer wanted the leash in a straight line downwards. Wrong choice, very wrong choice.

Upper body: 3 points. OK, I looked at her breasts first. Nice breasts. But why not a proud straight back, huh? This bent posture ruins the picture, really. On her knees the submissive must maintain a straight back. She is proud of what she is. The metal cuffs looks nice, but if the back was straight there would not be so much attention to her elbows, because her elbows would rest against her sides.

Lower body: 6 points. The hands. What are they doing? Holding something? Why? Why are they not in a flat position on her thighs? It looks so very untidy like this. Distracting even. Her buttocks make the picture wonderful. Made for spanking, don't you agree? Boy does this girl have a nice butt. Yum.
The legs are pretty as well. The tension in the toes, the deep seating, the legs apart leaving her all vulnerable and yet secret to us...

So I come up with 8 + 6 + 3 + 6 = 23 points. And you?

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

So many books, so little time....





I have always something to do. I have always a books to read. And some books I like to read again, and again, and again. Years and years ago (no TV-series to be seen yet) I asked my librarian of the public library to order Dragonfly in Amber for me. He looked at me funny, but ordered the book anyway. I read and reread the series a couple of times...


Monday, 8 December 2014

Reading.... Grin





Did you know the extent of the branches of the tree are about the opposite of the root system below the ground? It is a beautiful thought is it not?

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Result Goodreads challenge 1963

Mmmm, look at the column on the right, zero days of the Han van Meegeren - Mona Lisa Da Vinci Goodreads Galore Book Challenge of the year 1963. The year Barbra Streisand sung the Colouring Book. And this is the day the homework must be turned in. Today it is the showing of the cards, write the review of the book, or pay the penalty and write a guest post about a subject my opponent has determined.

I'm not naive and I knew a book of 560 pages would be a real challenge. On the other hand most of the letters are quite short and read quite easily. So I thought it would be difficult, but not impossible. But life is not a book, and you cannot plan life ahead. Smile. And things come up in real life that need your attention more than Van Gogh does. He doesn't mind, his letters will be patiently waiting next week. I reached page 134 and by far not the whole book.

So it is another personal challenge lost. And I will have a look later today at Mona Lisa's blog. If you want to know what subject she has chosen for me to write on, I suggest you do the same.

Congratulations on winning this challenge, Mona Lisa!
And there is always a rematch in 1964...

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Colouring book

Yesterday I got from Sinterklaas a colouring book, I was quite happy with. Such a thoughtful gift I want to share today with an amazing song of Barbra Streisand, singing Colouring Book.



For those who fancy coloring books
As certain people do
Here's a new one for you
A most unusual coloring book

The kind you never see
Crayons ready?
Very well
Begin to color me

These are the eyes that watched him
As he walked away
Color them gray

This is the heart that thought
He would always be true
Color it blue

These are the arms that held him
And touched him
Then lost him, somehow
Color them empty, now

These are the beads I wore
Until she came between
Color them green

This is the room I sleep in
Walk in and weep in, hiding
That nobody sees
Color it lonely, please

This is the man
The one I depended upon
Color him gone
Songwriters: FRED EBB, JOHN KANDER
LIVE performance by Babra Streisand, 1963
My Coloring Book lyrics © TRIO MUSIC COMPANY, INC. , ALLEY MUSIC CORP.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Pakjesavond

In the Netherlands, Saint Nicholas' Eve, 5 December, became the most important occasion for gift-giving during the winter holiday season. The evening is called Sinterklaasavond or Pakjesavond ("gifts evening", or literally "packages evening").

On the evening of 5 December, the presents will somehow arrive, or a note will be "found" that explains where in house the presents were hidden by Zwarte Piet who left a burlap sack with them. Sometimes a neighbour will knock on the door (pretending to be a Zwarte Piet) and leave the sack outside for the children to retrieve; this varies per family.

When the presents arrive, the living room is decked out with them, much as on Christmas Day in English-speaking countries. On 6 December, Sinterklaas departs without any ado, and all festivities are over. In Belgium, most children have to wait until the morning of 6 December to receive their gifts, and Sinterklaas is seen as a festivity almost exclusively for children. The shoes are filled with carrots and sugar cubes on the evening of the fifth and often, a bottle of beer for Zwarte Piet and a cup of coffee for Sinterklaas are placed next to them.



Sinterklaas largely replaces Christmas as a gift-giving occasion, usually for as long as the children are living at home. Also, when it is time for children to give up their pacifier, they place it into his or her shoe ("safekeeping by Sinterklaas") and it is replaced with chocolate the next morning.

The present is often creatively disguised by being packaged in a humorous, unusual or personalised way. This is called a surprise (from the French ). Poems from Sinterklaas usually accompany gifts, bearing a personal message for the receiver. It is usually a humorous poem which often teases the recipient for well-known bad habits or other character deficiencies. When the children reach the age when they know "the big secret of Sinterklaas", some people will shift to Christmas Eve or Christmas Day for the present giving. Older children in Dutch families where the children are too old to believe in Sinterklaas anymore, also often celebrate Christmas with presents instead of pakjesavond.

Instead of such gifts being brought by Sinterklaas, family members may draw names for an event comparable to Secret Santa.

PS: Still no news of doctor Piet. We will have to wait tonight and see!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Panic in the Netherlands: Sinterklaas has gone mad!

 Alarming news! Extra! Sinterklaas journal reports:


We have a huge problem in the Netherlands. Sinterklaas seems to have burned the wish lists of all the children. Now our wish lists have been burned by Sinterklaas we can safely assume that pakjesavond cannot continue this year. It seems now obvious Sinterklaas has gone mad.

The past few days it's gotten worse and worse. While all the helpers were panicking about the missing wish lists, Sinterklaas  slowly
went to feed the ducks - in his underwear dress! He also just traded his loyal horse in a new black horse. Even though Sinterklaas said we shouldn't worry, we do worry! Surely. Is he insane by over-fatigue? We know Sinterklaas did take a lot of naps in recent times and so often fell asleep. The reporter of the Sinterklaas journal asked the Doctor Piet. Who noticed two weeks ago already that there was something wrong with Sinterklaas: "Sinterklaas showed already very alarming fatigue phenomena and that is unfortunately so has become a classic case of Prorsus-Deperdita.
A difficult word, but in the Doctors language it means that Sinterklaas completely has gone mad. "According to the doctor Sinterklaas is very lucky that there is a real doctor is present in the Big Piet house. He told us that he knows exactly what to do.

"I've even taken action. Tomorrow everything will change." What the plan of Doctor Piet exactly was, he couldn't tell us.
"Professional confidentiality", he said.  

Hopefully it works and we can go ahead with pakjesavond this year.

 
Has Sinterklaas gone MAD? Doctor Piet takes measures!

Sins of youth


Ah, to be young. Kayak was a symphonic rock group in the late seventies. Kayak records made it to the number 1 spot in Holland Hit Parade, but for some reason, this song didn't. It's top position was #6. And for some reason this somewhat bombastic song I kept stored in my memory somewhere.

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