Thursday, 31 July 2014

Emptiness


OK, I did it. And it was so. very. difficult. I feel a bit guilty for whining about it and other people fast not for one day, but day in, day out for a month. I don't think I could do that. I didn't set the alarm at three o clock in the morning to eat. I wish I would have done that. I was hungry,and thirsty and grumpy. My wife and daughter were not all that amused with my experiment in fasting and stayed out of my way today. Wise, very wise thing to do.

Anyway, there is a lot of negative publicity about the Muslim faith, but the thought of being hungry yourself makes you understand how people must feel, who are always hungry, well there is nothing wrong with that. I have new-found respect for those who partake in the month of fasting.

Giggles, Grins, and Reflections

If you haven't done so you really should visit Cat's Giggles, Grins, and Reflections today. There is a lovely post there "Mother of the Brides" and is it so funny like all the posts on this side. I really love her sense of humor.

OK, back?

This is what the mother of the brides got from her daughter in law after their honeymoon. Just a postcard with CHASE & SANBORN COFFEE

Mom blushed

Quattuordecim encouragement

Correction does much, but encouragement does more.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Challenge is still on

Hallmark week: A daily odd compliment to my loved one




Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Sunday, 27 July 2014

The toughest challenge in Quattuordecim

Life is not a book. The quattuordecim challenge she choose today (number 7) would be in a book after her safecard had been taken. But it's only a random game. And today my beloved choose the biggest challenge in the game. It's making a tattoo of your safeword on your body, where is your choice, how big is your choice the font is your choice. But it has to be done within 14 days.

The task is extra difficult for her because she's afraid of needles. Even donating blood is something she is terrified of. So a double challenge, without a safecard to hold on to. And 14 days to decide.

She didn't expect this challenge and it frightened her a bit. I think she is more than a little mad at me right now.


Sunday poem - line 4

A contemplative poem on Sunday. Just like it should be.

Once upon a time flew this rambling Dutchman,
from his loose stool holding his eruptive abdomen.
That's Gross, my reader said with a frown,
at least now I know why your blog is brown. ...

Next line, Next week.




Saturday, 26 July 2014

Last Post

Today was the fourth day in a row we have seen these pictures on TV. The fourth time the trumpet play the Last Post. And we, as a country, and I guess so am I, have brought to and end a week of grief. On Time magazine (Time article on Dutch mourning) there is an interesting article about the differences between Americans and the Dutch. If you've got the time to read it, I can recommend this article.

74 hearse on their way to be identified



Result Dare 2 Quattuordecim

I had high hopes when I begun this challenge to let you join in the tension if the challenge was met within a fortnight. And a few days without Wifi and my fancy plans lost it against real life. Anyway a chance to do a challenge without the chance of "being caught". So my beloved chose challenge number 2. I forgot to ask her why 2. Second challenge? I somehow doubt she thought of that.

It's the ruler challenge. We have three wooden rulers at home. One of 30 cm, one of 40 cm and one of 50 cm. She could choose the length of the ruler and thus the number of spanks. She took the 40 cm ruler with us on the trip.

On Monday she said after we had eaten somewhere in a small village, "let's go back to the hotel". I didn't ask why. And 40 was no problem for her. I didn't think it would. And so she got herself another 10% of the wellness day.

Congratulations, girl.





Home sweet Wifi

Just got home from a short break in Germany. Childless short break in Germany. We spent four days in a hotel with people of on average 74. Not that I have anything against 74 year old's, mind you. It's just that dinner and breakfast are the highlights of the day, and the seating arrangements in the dining room is the thing to quarrel about.

Anyway we had a good time (and felt a little guilty for having such a good time without our daughter) in Northern Germany. As flat as a pancake. Because the Netherlands is so flat I'm so naive to think every other county has mountains and hills and puff, puff steep hill, huh? Nothing. Nothing. As flat as our Freezeland. Beautiful corn fields, you know. If the sun is shining just good the corn seems like gold. Really. Don't laugh at me. Not a man of the world, I am, I know. More like a man of the village.

The "free wifi" in the hotel was free. Downstairs. But not in our room. Just like der Aufzug that broke down a day after we arrived and is probably not fixed as we speak.

We went back one day early to do a Quattuordecim challenge - more about that later - and it was fun. Just a few days and it looks like such a long time. We drove home avoiding the motorways and drove trough all the small villages and countryside. 

It's good to be back.


It's good to be home

Friday, 25 July 2014

Photo week Story of O dress

OK, fans of pure and the faint of heart, close your eyes. I saved the naughty one for last this week...









Monday, 21 July 2014

Photo week Vulva

It's the holiday season so I planned a photo week this week. I do hope you like them all.

Vulva

Sunday, 20 July 2014

A gentle man

Not a boy, but a man

“A gentleman holds my hand.
A man pulls my hair.
A soulmate will do both.

Alessandra Torre



GENTLE spanking, that is...

Sunday poem - line 3

A contemplative poem on Sunday. Just like it should be.

Once upon a time flew this rambling Dutchman,
from his loose stool holding his eruptive abdomen.
That's Gross, a reader said with a frown,
...

Next line, Next week.


Saturday, 19 July 2014

Young and Old on a holiday trip

We've just waved goodbye to our daughter on her way to a cruise to Norway (first time alone on a holiday) and after that we waved goodbye my Mother in Law on the bus to her holiday address in the Netherlands. Ok, Ok, my daughter has help to tie her shoe laces and cut her meat at dinner. Ok, Ok, my Mother in Law has help to take a shower and get dressed. But out feelings were about the same. We hope they will find a companion or a friend to spend the lonely hours of the trip to talk to, we hope they will not be lonely and we hope they will have a good time and return home safely.
60 years between the two of them, but the feelings are exactly the same.

Sometimes I feel my whole life has been one big rejection

Marilyn Monroe made that quote. She said some very interesting things by the way. Must look into that later. For now I will leave you with another rejection on a perfectly good answer in a match making application:



Harmony huh?

Friday, 18 July 2014

Dutch crash death toll rises to 189

The number of Dutch nationals killed in Thursday’s Malaysian Airways plane crash increased to 189 on Friday afternoon, after all but four of the passengers’ nationalities were confirmed.

The dead include Antoine van Veldhuizen, director of the expat website group Expatica.com, along with his wife Simone and two small boys. The family were going on holiday.

Meanwhile, more details are emerging about the 189 Dutch nationals who died in the crash.

Senator

Labour senator Willem Witteveen was also killed, as was Aids researcher Joep Lange, who was one of a number of people on their way to an Aids conference in Melbourne. Pim de Kuijer of Stop Aids Now is also thought to be among the dead.

So far, 12,000 people have signed an online condolence register for the victims, who include up to 80 children. Many of the dead were families off on their summer holidays.

Six of the dead – parents and their four children – come from the tiny village of Neerkant in Brabant. A teddy bear and a bunch of flowers outside their home are testament to the loss, Dutch television said.

The Boeing 777 was carrying 283 passengers and 15 crew members when it crashed close to the Russian border, possibly brought down by a missile. So far 181 bodies have been recovered.

At Amsterdam's Schiphol airport a place has been set aside for flowers.

If it should disappear, this is what it looks like

A young Dutchman posted a picture of the downed Malaysian airliner on Facebook minutes before he boarded it, writing: "If it should disappear, this is what it looks like." Cor Pan, who appeared to be going on a beach holiday to Malaysia, posted the photo as a joking reference to another Malaysia Airlines flight that mysteriously disappeared over the Indian Ocean in March.

A few hours later his flight too would disappear from radar screens, taking him and the other 297 people on board the Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur flight to their deaths in eastern Ukraine. Although there has been no confirmation that Cor, from Volendam, nine miles (15 kilometres) north of Amsterdam, was on board, his photo of the aircraft on the tarmac is tagged "near Schipol airport" and appears to have been taken from the gate as passengers waited to board.

The comments by his friends on Facebook, however, seem to indicate that he was on board the flight. Late on Thursday his picture had been shared more than 10,000 times on the social media site.

Cor had earlier post pictures of idyllic tropical beaches on his Facebook page, saying: "A few more days to wait yet..."

A song I just had to share

Just found this one and I just had to share it with you. Hope you like it as much as I do.



Collie Caillat: Try

Oooh
Oooh

Put your make-up on
Get your nails done
Curl your hair
Run the extra mile
Keep it slim so they like you, do they like you?

Get your sexy on
Don't be shy, girl
Take it off
This is what you want, to belong, so they like you
Do you like you?

You don't have to try so hard
You don't have to, give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don't have to change a single thing

You don't have to try, try, try, try
You don't have to try, try, try, try
You don't have to try, try, try, try
You don't have to try
Yooou don't have to try

Oooh
Oooh

Get your shopping on, at the mall, max your credit cards
You don't have to choose, buy it all, so they like you
Do they like you?

Wait a second,
Why, should you care, what they think of you
When you're all alone, by yourself, do you like you?
Do you like you?

You don't have to try so hard
You don't have to, give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don't have to change a single thing

You don't have to try so hard
You don't have to bend until you break
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don't have to change a single thing

You don't have to try, try, try, try
You don't have to try, try, try, try
You don't have to try, try, try, try
You don't have to try

You don't have to try, try, try, try
You don't have to try, try, try, try
You don't have to try, try, try, try
You don't have to try
Yooou don't have to try

Oooh
Oooh

You don't have to try so hard
You don't have to, give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don't have to change a single thing

You don't have to try, try, try, try
You don't have to try, try, try, try
You don't have to try
You don't have to try

Take your make-up off
Let your hair down
Take a breath
Look into the mirror, at yourself
Don't you like you?
Cause I like you



Writhen

I cannot make a blog without a dictionary and a thesaurus. I have found both good ones online and it helps me to express myself in a foreign language. At my 50th birthday I made a resolution to come to be better in written English, not speaking the English language, but to write in English. The only thing I notice now, writing more often in English, is that my vocabulary has increased a bit and I don't have to look up so many words anymore.

Anyway every day I get a popup from a dictionary site there is a new "word of the day". Today it is writhen. I like that word very much, it has a bondage association to me. I don't know why, but it's the first thing I'm thinking of (and no! that is not always the case :-) closed bracket after smiley.

Writhen should be pronounced as rith-uhn and is an old word and, so it seems, not often used anymore. It means twisted. The dictionary gave two examples:
The huge park held an enchanted forest of trees; the long avenue of giant limes, their writhen limbs arching and interlocking, their writhen roots deep in velvet moss, was an approach suited to a fairy story. 
 Frances Hodgson Burnett , The Methods of Lady Walderhurst , 1901 

They were like the roots of a huge tree uncovered, the earth broken momentarily upon the writhen , thick, fetid tangle of its lightless and outraged life. 
William Faulkner , "Red Leaves," These 13 , 1931 

The meaning of Writhen is indeed old (I like the word association with written as well) and has been in English since before 900. It is related to the Old English verb wrīthan meaning "to twist, wind" which in turn is a cognate with the Old Norse rītha meaning "to knit, twist."

So my first thought was didn't prove me all that wrong. This time.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Lost and Found

Since April, 28th 2014


I hope in your country there is a "lost and found" department where you can collect the objects you have lost somewhere, in the train or bus for instance? I lost this quote and now I have found it again. It widely published before, so you will probably know it already.

I don't care. I lost it, and now I found it again.
I want to cherish it.

They do






















































































What else?























Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Be a man!

Hmm, lots of guys don't pay attention to how they look. That's OK. A man should have different things on his mind. But how about a small one minute video and look smart?

Now we're talking. Watch this:

How to roll your elbow cuff like a gent.

It's in the details, all women can tell you that, guys. It's hot and sunny in the Netherlands right now, so I will keep an eye out for your elbow cuffs today!

Be a man!

When I grow up I want...


When I grow up I want a secret room in my house. The kind of Batman secret, secret room. With a spiral stair case behind a bookshelf door, kind of room. Not a modern one with electric doors. No, a latch will do just fine. In case I need to escape after a power breakdown. The moment I hear in in the music something is going to happen soon. like in the movies.

I love secret doors in the house, secret drawers in a cabinet, and above all else a hidden door to my Achterhuis. Life is never dull, not for one moment. If life threatens to become dull, find your own secret.


Holy Cow, Batman. It's a secret drawer!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

What do Hindus eat?


Vegetarians

Hindus have a deep respect for other living creatures. As a result, many are vegetarians.  Generally in Hinduism, not eating meat is a way to maintain good health and happiness. Hinduism also strongly believes in the cycle of ‘karma’ or action. According to this belief, if a person causes harm or pain to any living creature, they will receive the same harm or injury in their turn in this life or the next. Hindus will typically eat milk and cheese products. Typical meals may include lentils, rice, wheat, pulses, grains, ample fruits, and vegetables spiced with a myriad of Indian spices, chutneys and pickles.

Some Eat Meat

While vegetarianism is commonplace, some Hindus do eat meat. Some may tend toward a mostly vegetarian diet, but may eat meat as a sacrificial ritual or during special times of the year, such as the time of sowing or harvest or during a big social event. Among the Hindus who do eat meat, most will not eat beef, due to the Hindu belief that the cow is a sacred animal. The cow is a symbol of health, wealth and abundance.

Eating pork has not been strongly prohibited in Hinduism. But at the same time, the religion would not entertain the eating of pork because it would lead to the killing of a living creature which is an act of violence and is looked down upon. Another reason for not eating pork could be because of hygiene issues. The pig is often considered a dirty animal and therefore eating its meat is thought to be unhealthy.

Hindus who absolutely do not eat meat also do not eat pork while some Hindus who are meat-eaters may have pork occasionally. There is no text in Hinduism that specifically forbids pork, however often Indian restaurants do not have pork on the menu.

Three Types of Food

Hindu philosophy also divides foods into three categories, each which have a particular effect on the body. Sattvic foods are the ideal types of foods, as they are light and easy to digest, and are thought to offer a feeling of lightness or contentment. This includes most fruits and vegetables as well as organic dairy products and legumes. Rajasic foods, meanwhile, are salty or spicy, and can lead to feelings of anger or discontentment, according to Hindu doctrine. Examples include pickled foods, spicy foods, and fish and chicken. Tamasic foods, meanwhile, are heavy and can induce sleep. This can include mushrooms, garlic, onions, and heavy meats such as lamb and pork. Ideally, Hindus choose Sattvic foods and try to avoid the others.

Fasting

Many Hindus also practice fasting on a regular basis, in the thinking that the practice brings one closer to God. Some Hindus choose to fast as much as once a week. The various Hindu deities are assigned to the various days of the week, so some Hindus may choose to fast on the day assigned to a deity they're trying to evoke. Others may choose only to fast during special holidays.


Monday, 14 July 2014

Bondage inspiration

My bondage inspiration I found in the Two Knotty Boys, retired by now, but their website is still very much alive. I want to present to you a very simple instruction video found on their site.

A complete tutorial, and easy to do. Have fun.


Coloured Mandala Window


Now be gentle with me..

Hush, it's my first attempt!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Sunday poem - line 2

A contemplative poem on Sunday. Just like it should be.

Once upon a time flew this rambling Dutchman,
from his thin stool holding his eruptive abdomen.
...

Next line, Next week.



Saturday, 12 July 2014

My wife doesn't understand me

You know the feeling right? I guess you don't. Sigh. Women!

I was in the living room and I got a set of crayons out of our closet. You know a big set of colored pencils from one end of the rainbow to the next. Those really expensive crayons you buy and never touch. A gift perhaps. Anyway I opened the tin box and started coloring. Minding my own business, you know.

"Han, what are you doing?", my beloved asked.
"I'm making a Mandala window", I replied.
She came looking over my shoulder, she is a curious woman, and then she started laughing. No, laughing is not the right expression giggling, snickering, howling, in short she cracked  up. For minutes.
Of course, I kept coloring in a dignified manner.
"If you give me the time to explain", I said, "these are spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the Universe. Mandalas like this one exhibit radial balance. In spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of practitioners and adepts, as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space, and as an aid to meditation and trance induction. In common use, mandala has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe."

She just kept on laughing. Didn't listen at all. She got the hiccups from laughing.
"You making - hic -  a coloring picture, just like - hic - my clients at work!" She works with mentally handicapped people.
To make things worse my daughter came from her room attracted to all the noise. She looked at me the same way I used to look at her. She gave me a pat on the head and said:
"Try to stay within the lines, dad".

Remember, only a few hours ago my wife begged to me in the Quattuordecim challenge. To those people that think submissive people are the meek, quiet little wives that are always in awe with their husbands. Think again.

My wife just doesn't understand me.

Mandala window

Friday, 11 July 2014

Result Quattuordecim Dare 5


Congratulations, girl! You've earned 10% of the Spa Wellness day!


Variations on a lady

This is what I consider the most beautiful music the world. It is performed by a Dutch band called Flairck in the late seventies. Each artist could play three or four different instruments. The music is mysterious, magical. It's a long as well, 21 minutes. I wonder how many of you will listen it to the end. I hope all of you do.



Thursday, 10 July 2014

A good read

To those of you who are not familiar with Goodreads, it is a kind of online book club. Authors publish the metadata ( data about the book, not the book itself) on Goodreads. And readers can say I want to read this book, or i'm reading this book now ( 20% done ) or I have read this book. And like on Amazon you can rate it in a five star system and review the book. Goodreads is probably the biggest reading club in the world. Independent writers can place their books as well, so it is another marketing tool for writers as well.

There are also many book clubs on Goodreads. People who like to read the same kind of books. I'm a member of the " our novel escape" book club. 95% of the members are women, but I like the company of women. And to keep their members busy these book clubs organize "challenges". Some monthly, they all choose one book, read it, and discuss it in the group, some are less frequent.

A real challenge is the " Books Galore Challenge". The goal is to read a book published for every year of your life. If you are in your twenties you have one year to complete the challenge. Add six month for every decade. So in my case, 54, that means 2 and a half years to read 55 books. It doesn't matter what kind of book, it just has to be published in each year of your life.

Such challenges are irresistible to me. Truly. I tried to make a list with a lot of books I haven't read already. Some books I don't mind reading again and again and again. There are a few of those on the list as well.

There are two things I overlooked when I made the list:
1. Not all the books are digital available. I live in an era of e-books. But the first one from 1959 of Pablo Neruda is only available printed on dead trees.
2. Buying all these books I want to read is more expensive than I first thought.

I started the challenge with the books I did have. And I thought it would be nice to make a review of each and every book and put that on the blog. Kind of a check huh. Did he really read them all? Then I thought that is only nice if you read them in chronological order.

And so I ordered at my local bookstore Pablo Neruda's 100 love sonnets. For all things start and end with love.



Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Never be afraid to ask!

What the does referee in a soccer match is obvious to me. What the linesman does - or assistant referee (word inflation) is obvious to me. But the guy with the board who goes out and who stays in. The fourth official. How I pity him. I think there is a number pad on the left and if you touch 2 and 1 in red the number 21 is displayed on the left. 21 out. And if you type 6 on the number pad on the right in green the number flashes on the right hand side. Anyone can do that, I think. Oh yes. He has a stopwatch too and when the game is paused, he presses the button and again the other button when the game begins again.

Reason enough to go to the FIFA and ask what that man's job description is.

Han: Mr. Blatter what can you tell me about the fourth official?
Blatter: Nichts.
Han: Thank you, mister Blatter for your comments.

Better to ask a Dutch referee. This is what he said:

  • Assisting with administrative functions before, during and after the match;
  • Assessment of players' equipment;
  • Ensuring substitutions are conducted in an orderly manner (waving with the board, Han);
  • Notifying the referee of the details of the substitution, by means of numbered boards or electronic displays (where supplied)(no, this is waving with the board, Han);
  • Notifying the teams and spectators, by means of numbered boards or electronic displays where supplied, of the amount of time added on at the end of each half, after having been advised of this by the referee (stopwatch, where is the stopwatch? Han) ;
  • Acting as the contact point between the match officiating crew and any non-participants (such as stadium managers, security personnel, broadcast crews, and ball retrievers);
  • Maintaining decorum in the teams' technical areas and interceding in situations where coaches, bench personnel, or substitutes become agitated (ah, now I understand, decorum!, Han);
  • In practice, the fourth official becomes a key member of the officiating team, who can watch the field and players and advise the Referee on situations that are going on out of his sight. The fourth official keeps an extra set of records, and helps make sure the Referee does not make a serious error such as cautioning the wrong player, or giving two cautions to the same player and forgetting to send off the player (Key member! Han).

Key information. You always wanted to know what that man was doing there, but you were afraid to ask. I understand. But Seppppp Blatter and I go a long way back. So if you want to know something about the wonderful game of football, ask Han.





Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Meditation


Each morning my alarm clock wakes me up at 6 am. I make my lunch (cheese sandwiches what else would you expect from a Dutchman), I shower, I dress and I meditate.

That in itself is strange because I thought for 53 years people who meditate walk with their heads in a cloud and it would not work for a down to earth man like me. And after my friend said: give it a try with an open mind, I did try and changed my mind. Alone in a spot in my living room I am with myself and I would miss it if I stopped. I try to meditate every day, but not always succeed in doing so. But 5,6 times a week on average, I meditate.

A lot of people think strange things about meditation, and I understand them well. In this post I quote a website that says what meditation is not. In another post I will tell what it means to me.

1. Meditation is NOT Concentration

A big Misconception: Meditation is just one form of concentration. When you concentrate, you constantly project your attention towards a particular task or activity whereas in Meditation you do not project your attention towards a particular task or activities. You just remain aware of the moment without choosing anything to concentrate upon. Concentration is important for learning meditation. It will greatly help you (particularly in the initial phase) in learning mediation. However, it is not Meditation.

2. Meditation is NOT Relaxation.

What does relaxation do? It relaxes you, makes you calm, gives a sense of serenity and rejuvenates you. Meditation also makes you relaxed. But Meditation is not Relaxation. When you meditate....... its natural outcome is relaxation.

3. Meditation is NOT a serious religious practice

Meditation is not a specific ritual demanding sitting in a particular posture, chanting some specific Mantras (powerful words having phonetic significance) or burning incense. Neither it means doing a particular exercise in a particular pose. Meditation is a quality of our existence. When you are aware of your true 'self' and perform anything (yes I mean anything ) with awareness, it becomes meditation.

It is true that it takes some time to learn Meditation and it requires some genuine effort on the part of seeker to learn meditation, but it does not mean that  Meditation is connected with any specific religion or ritual. Anybody, irrespective of his background, religion, caste, creed or nationality can do it. Meditation is not even a serious thing. One you understand it, it will be a pure fun to meditate.

4. Meditation is NOT a state of mind.

Rather - It is a state of no mind. Many gadgets are available in the market that promise to take us into a meditative state (often known as the alpha state of mind). Scientists have observed that there are basically 4 states of mind depending upon the frequency of mind waves. These states are alpha, beta, gamma and theta. Beta is the state in which we live and perform all our day-to-day activities. Alpha is the state just below Beta. This (alpha) state is often known as the state of Meditation. Gamma and Theta are the other states of mind in further depth.

Now what all these scientific Gadgets can do is to take us into the state of alpha. In the alpha state one become still, tranquil and calm. There is no tension, no stress. Your whole inner being becomes peaceful.
But please note  that alpha state itself is not meditation. Alpha is the state of mind in meditation. Meditation is the awareness of our true self in alpha.
   
You will be in meditation if you remain awaken and aware of the present moment in the alpha state of mind i.e. in the state of absolute calm. No Gadget or mechanical device can create 'awareness'. They can only create right condition for us to realize what is 'true awareness'.

5. Meditation is NOT self-hypnosis

In both Self-hypnosis and (in many techniques of) meditation at least an initial period of concentration on an object is required. However in meditation, the meditator maintains an awareness of here-and-now and stay conscious of the meditative  process which is not exactly the case in hypnosis. In hypnosis the person enters into a state of semi-conscious trance and become unaware of the moment which is not the case in meditation.

6. Meditation is NOT thinking

Rather it is the process of transcending the thought process. Our mind is a non-stop chatterbox that continues to create all sorts of good/ bad, relevant /irrelevant thoughts incessantly. In meditation we realize that we are not just our body and mind. There exists in us an awareness independent of all kinds of thoughts. Knowing this awareness is what meditation is all about.

I quoted this site because if I told it in my own words I would have needed seven times the words, and there are so many misconceptions about mediation, it is difficult to explain what is it not. Next post about mediation I'm explaining what it means to me.



Monday, 7 July 2014

The first line


Each Sunday I intend to add a line to this Poem. I want it to rhyme in English, but I don't know if my English is good enough to do so. I have absolutely no idea what the Poem is about, nor do I have a clue if I can finish it.

OK, now we have established the fact that I don't know what I'm doing at all, here is the first line:

Once upon a time flew this rambling Dutchman,
...

Next line, Next week.


Sunday, 6 July 2014

Quattuordecim: The game is on

Life is full of surprises. Not number 13 first, but number 5. The enema dare. 14 days to complete the challenge ends Sunday July 20th, 17 hours.




Blood wedding

My daughter watches a show on television about empty headed girls screaming OMG every two seconds choosing their wedding dress. It reminded me of a blood wedding.

Allow me to take you back to Europe, 1572.

The Reformed Church was established in France by the mid-1530s and by the middle of the 16th century, there were about 2,000 congregations and perhaps 1.5 million believers. The new religion rejected the excesses and doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church and the French monarchy. From the 1530s to 1560, the French Reformed Church experienced rapid growth, particularly among the nobility.  By the 1560s, the Huguenots had their own churches, schools, garrisoned towns, manned castles and fortifications.  But as the Protestant Church grew, conflict with the Roman Catholic Church and the Crown intensified.   As early as the 1530s, the first religious refugees began to leave France.

The Catholics and Protestants have been fighting a civil war of three terrible years. On August, 5th  1570 Catherine de Medici declared the Peace of St. Germain. It was the end of the third of the French Wars of Religion, but the peace was short-lived. The Protestant Huguenots found a new leader in Henry of Navarre.

The Catholic King Charles IX had a sister Margaret of Valois. And Charles the IX and his wife Catherine de’ Medici thought it would be a clever idea if a marriage was arranged between the Kings  Catholic sister Margaret and the Protestant Henry of Navarre. A gesture of good will, and all that. We don’t know if Margaret even liked her future husband Henry but the date was set: the were to be married on August 18th 1572 in Paris.

 A large number of well-born and the most wealthy Huguenots were invited to attend the wedding ceremony. Paris was a violently anti-Huguenot city, and Parisians were extreme Catholics. A dilemma for the Huguenots: not going would be an insult, going would mean dangerous journey. There was a lot of tension in Paris: Catherine de’ Medici hadn't obtained the Pope Gegory XIII’s permission to celebrate the marriage and this Catholic sister of the King was going to marry a Huguenot leader.

After the wedding the leading Huguenots stayed in Paris to discuss some outstanding grievances about the Peace of St. Germain with the King. Four days after the marriage an attempt was made on Admiral de Coligny’s life. He was shot and seriously wounded. The Admiral was one of the most respected leaders of the Huguenot and was in a close relationship with the King.

Painting by François Dubois (1529-1584)

However in fear of reprisals of the 4000 Huguenots camped outside Paris, King Charles IX closed all Paris gates and took the decision to eliminate the Huguenots who were still in Paris. It led to a massacre. At the low end of the figures of about 2000 in Paris up to 20000. Man, women and children. The bodies were collected on carts and thrown in the Seine. The hunt on Huguenots lasted three days.

The royal couple survived their ‘the blood wedding’ by the way. Henry III of Navarre became the Henry IV of France. There is a lot more to tell about his wife, Margaret of Valois. But I'll save that for another time.


Friday, 4 July 2014

Orange Orgasm

Family

William of Orange, Father of our nation, was born in 1533 and killed in Delft on July 10th 1584. The first political murder (by Balthasar Gerards), but certainly not the last in the Netherlands. The family Orange has played an important part in the history of our country and our King Willem Alexander of Orange is a decedent of William of Orange. He is married to an Argentinian woman (Queen Maxima) and they have three daughters Catharina-Amalia (2003), Alexia (2005) and Ariane (2007). 

Voetbal

Our national team plays in the Orange colour. Orange is ours. And if "our boys" are playing at the European of the World Cup of Soccer and if you are in the Netherlands it is very hard to miss that. Just to give you an impression what is going on here, this is a street in a village but there are hundreds of streets like this one:

Orange fever (yes all those houses are wrapped)

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Judgment, the book review

On the recommendation of a friend I read the book Judgment, by Denise Hall. Maren Smith writes under the name Denise Hall her stories border harder core.

The Cover




The blurb

"Judgment–the ultimate disciplinary establishment, a forbidding mountain fortress where unfortunate young women are taken and trained to become the perfect submissives for a world-wide market. Abandoned to the whims of Judgment’s ruthless masters, Callie McGuire descends into the depths of this prison, discovering a new capacity for sensuality as she becomes Mischief, the personal plaything of the Mountain Lord."

The story

OK, so those in need of a warning, are properly warned.

An American girl takes a taxi from the airport and is kidnapped by her taxi driver. She is taken to a remote castle in the mountains, Judgment. She is not the only one. Quite a few girls - sister slaves - are abducted as well. The regime in Judgment is based on hierarchy, the lowest caste are the New-Comers the highest Elite. When a girl is a Elite she seldom says long at Judgment anymore. Her training in obedience and one additional skill (pottery?) is finished and she is ready to be sold to the highest bidder.

The training is based on punishment and reward and those with a strong will, like Mischief, our protectionist, is rewarded with severe punishment.

Better food, pretty hair pieces, soft towels are the rewards for the Elite, the highest in rank. They never did chores, never washed their own laundry or food dishes after meals. Mischief attracts the attention of the alpha male of Judgment, Tane, and he is quite good at breaking her will with harsh punishment and rewards her with just enough gentleness to make us believe he is fond of the girl.

The backstory

The book is two stories one taking place in the present time, one looking back. The present time story is in cursive letters, to separate it from the main story line. It is not my personal favourite writing style and after two chapters it did't make much sense to me. I skipped all the intro's in cursive  and read them after I finished the book, and so I read the complete story in chronological order. Although the end of the book the two stories come together, the contemporary pieces were just a distraction, I think.

Stockholm Syndrome


The story has only one purpose: to entertain, to arouse maybe. There is nothing wrong with that, mmm, that is the reason we buy these books. There are many aspects of abduction Denise Hall didn't even mention. Nothing about worried people outside the castle, nothing about police investigations She creates a fantasy world where pain and fear are the reasons to obey.

The Stockholm Syndrome, people become friend with the captor just to stay alive and eventually can fall in love the the captor, is one of the strong points in the book. Ms. Hall describes that very well.

The first part of the book where Mischief rebels against her captors is the best. The slow acceptance of her fate never made any sense except to come out alive. The real problem in the book is of course the lack of consent. The sexy Thane is nothing but a criminal that should be locked in a castle with bars.

Judgement


If you take in consideration it is just a rape and pain fantasy book, it is an enjoyable read. But I don't like the non-consent book very much even the book is well written. A man is not a man to hit a girl just because he can. A man is a man to hit a girl because she wants to submit to him. And Mischief in the end never did, not really.

The book is controversial and there is nothing wrong with that. It is not for me to judge whether you should read this or not. If you begin in the book you don't want to put it down anymore, true. You want to know what happens to Mischief and Thane. Denise Hall is a very skilled writer. But there is too little consent in the book for me to actually enjoy it.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Rituals

What is it?


According to  (very well written) Wikipedia a ritual "is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, and objects, performed in a sequestered place, and performed according to set sequence." Rituals may be prescribed by the traditions of a community. They include not only the various worship rites and sacraments of organized religions and cults, but also the rites of passage of certain societies, atonement and purification rites, oaths of allegiance, dedication ceremonies, coronations and presidential inaugurations, marriages and funerals, school "rush" traditions and graduations, club meetings, sports events, Halloween parties, veterans parades, Christmas shopping and more. Many activities that are ostensibly performed for concrete purposes, such as jury trials, execution of criminals, and scientific symposia, are loaded with purely symbolic actions prescribed by regulations or tradition, and thus partly ritualistic in nature. Even common actions like hand-shaking and saying hello may be termed rituals.

Value in BDSM

Rituals have a  purpose or value to people, but not every ritual is a formal show for lots of people. Nor are all rituals celebrated with music, dancing or talking. Some of the most important and meaningful rituals are often silent ones, done in complete privacy or alone between two people. A daily walk, for example, used to soothe, relax, dream and/or relate with a partner is a ritual. In BDSM things such as kneeling quietly for a few moments, writing in a journal, or other things are "rituals of acceptance". In so much as those actions are intended to refocus the person on the power exchange, their role within it, and the relationship itself. They become a reawakening of themselves.

In her blog Dragon's beloved (closed 6 years ago, after only a few posts) Dragon's beloved writes that BDSM rituals are meant to "create an atmosphere of intimacy and help both partners to become closer to each other. Rituals should be pleasant for both participants. Rituals should help to easily pass from everyday relationships between a Dom and a Sub".

I chose two of her mantra's: one as a daily ritual, the other mantra as a ritual she is to say before and after her bath of shower.

Daily ritual:

"My master loves me... 
my master wants me... 
my master is my master 
because he wants to be 
and chooses to be, 
and he loves me for me"

Cleansing ritual:

For my Master I bathe myself
So that I may smell sweet
So that I may feel clean
So that I may taste good
So that I will be healthy
And so that he will be Happy
That I bathed myself.

So simple, but yet so radical. I was touched and very interested to know what you think.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Quattuordecim project and other nice things to do


To keep myself busy I have a few things planned this summer I'd like to share. First of all this month starts the Quattuordecim project, well project sounds a bit bombastic, but in a way it is. I have been taking lessons "how to make a slide show" (follow link above), but I have a lot to learn as you can see for yourself.

Another challenge is still on, the Goodreads challenge. I plan to make a book review on each book I have finished reading.

Finally I plan to write a line on a poem each Sunday. Every week one line, without knowing what is it about, or what the final poem will look like. I am very open to suggestions, by the way. Next Sunday my first line, my first poem in English. I want (most of it)  to rhyme so be duly warned for some more bent English sentences.


Vanity


A Silencer


Is it possible a still life painting makes you still inside? To me it does. Do you like museums? I do. And wandering in a museum I sometimes stop in front of a still life and try to be as motionless as the painting itself observing all the hundreds and hundreds of details.

A still life is a an allegory, a symbolic representation without living beings. The painter’s focus is on the composition, the use of colour and tone. A still life is therefore a work of study. Still life paintings in the Dutch Golden Age are famous because of the reproduction of the materials used and the objects in the painting. The object is diverse. Often used were food and fruit, flowers or a wine glass.
In many still life paintings it doesn't matter if the objects are in the forefront or the background, the composition is painted in equal detail.

Flower still life

The still life painting with flowers were very popular in the 17th centuary. Flowers are transistory,  like life is and is also symbol for vanity. Flowers are beautiful, but in fact dead already when they were put in a vase. They are short-lived. And a symbol for human emotions. They have every aspect of the 17th Centuary Dutch morals: Calvinism was the mainstream of religions in those days.

The accuracy of the objects in the painting is characteristic of the composition. To the painter it was an opportunity to display his abilities. Flowers are not seasonal anymore (we load them in a plane and bring them to your flower store), but in the 17th centuary the artist had to wait until the flowers were in full bloom. Besides, they were very expensive.

Tulip book


In the Golden Age tulip books were quite common. Those albums contained hundreds of tulips drawn in great detail. We know that famous painters used those albums and were able to paint a vase of flowers that contains flowers that didn’t bloom at the same time. Not obvious to us anymore, but a 17th centuary citizen would have noticed at once.
Flower paintings were not very popular anymore, until the impressionism period and Van Gogh f.i. painted his sunflower paintings.

Vanitas still life

Vanitas, ( from the Latin word "vanity" ) in art, a genre of still-life painting that flourished in the Netherlands in the early 17th century. A vanitas painting contains collections of objects symbolic of the inevitability of death and the transience and vanity of earthly achievements and pleasures; it appeals to the viewer to consider mortality and to repent. The vanitas evolved from simple pictures of skulls and other symbols of death.  It had acquired an independent status by c. 1550 and by 1620 had become a popular genre. Its development until its decline about 1650 was centred in Leiden, in the United Provinces of the Netherlands, an important seat of Calvinism, which emphasized humanity’s total depravity and advanced a rigid moral code.

Although a few vanitas pictures include figures, the vast majority are pure still lifes, containing certain standard elements: symbols of arts and sciences (books, maps, and musical instruments), wealth and power (purses, jewelry, gold objects), and earthly pleasures (goblets, pipes, and playing cards); symbols of death or transience (skulls, clocks, burning candles, soap bubbles, and flowers); and, sometimes, symbols of resurrection and eternal life (usually ears of corn or sprigs of ivy or laurel). The earliest vanitas pictures were sombre, somewhat monochromatic compositions of great power, containing only a few objects (usually books and a skull) executed with elegance and precision. As the century progressed, other elements were included, the mood lightened, and the palette became diversified. Objects were often tumbled together in disarray, suggesting the eventual overthrow of the achievements they represent. Somewhat ironically, the later vanitas paintings became largely a pretext for meticulous virtuosity in the rendering of varied textures and surfaces, but the artistic quality of the genre in no sense declined. Several of the greatest Dutch still-life painters, including David Bailly, Jan Davidsz de Heem, Willem Claesz Heda, Pieter Potter, and Harmen and Pieter van Steenwyck, were masters of the vanitas still life, and the influence of the genre can be seen in the iconography and technique of other contemporary painters, including Rembrandt.

Vanitas (Heda)

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