The Ultimate of Lists

I’m talking of course about the famous bucket list.

Everyone seems to have one, everyone seems to want one.

Including me (the wanting part, still haven’t made one).

There are about a gazillion places I want to visit, at least six languages I want to speak fluently, three instruments I want to play like a pro and I can think of endless other things ranging from having the perfect bikini body to writing bestseller novels.

But..

If I want to do all those things I need to work more so I can travel more.

I need to delete all useless time devouring things from my schedule.

(Which is hard. I find Breaking Bad very appealing. Same goes for useless internet browsing).

I don’t want that. I guess the trick would be to make the List of Lists achievable and specific.

One of the things that would definitely be on my list is to experience the 24 hours of Midnight Sun in the Artic Circle during the June Solstice. (Because thinking about it alone generated three solid novel ideas and it would be all kinds of awesome).

Ticking this one of the list would mean I need:

-a plane ticket to Honningsvag, (North Cape, Norway). From Amsterdam that costs about 700 euro.

-free days in June

-Accommodation (around 300-400 euro)

-Rental car (200)

So basically I would need 1200 euro and time off.

Another example: I don’t want to make the time to learn six languages fluently, but three or four would be a doable goal. Since I already am fluent in two (Dutch and English), have limited proficiency in two others (Italian and French), this is something that could be accomplished.

Anyway what I’m saying is that if I finally get around to actually making the list I would make two versions.

One with every cool thing I can think of. The other with the things I really want, the things I’m willing to work and sacrifice for.

(And yes: experiencing the 24 hour Midnight Sun in the Artic Circle would definitely be on the latter).

I’m very curious about your top three!

When I think of Summer

Once upon a time, in a practically underwater country, not so very far away, a person named Irene was feeling rather bored.

And wrote a blog post about Summer, because Summer is cool.

*

June’s already halfway gone! How did that happen so fast??

The good thing is that it’s almost July and July means GOOD THINGS.

In case you’re wondering what these good things are, behold a list!

  • Summer (for details of my thoughts on things to do in Summer, see below)
  • Summer vacation part 1: Bretagne
  • (a ten day break at a wonderful piece of coast in France with four happy kids and one very handsome man, starting July 31st ).
  • Campnano is coming again!
  • (in which I intend to work on my writing goals like there is no tomorrow (Ha! As you may know I find “tomorrow “ an elusive concept).

These are some of the things that come to mind when I think of summer:

get a tan/eat a coconut/have weekly BBQ’s/swimming&beach/read books/drink champagne/have picknicks in the park/ go to a festival of sorts/ attend a wedding/buy a bikini/write an entry for a YA contest/edit Draft that Must not be Named until it’s worthy of a name/ dabble in contemporary YA because the idea won’t go away/ finally make that Polaroid branch I was supposed to make in May/make my own icecreams/figure out how to make Mango juice.

Ahh Mango Juice.

And she lived happily ever after.

(Back to work).

 

 

Worlds Apart

Writing has always been important to me.

It’s woven into my life like a silver thread, sometimes front and centre, catching the daylight, shimmering amidst the normal.

Other times in the background, overshadowed by all other things that happen.

I know that I’m just as much a writer as I am an employee or even a mom, but those roles take place in the real world.

Writing, on the other hand, takes place in the realm of thought. It’s a part of me that’s turned inwards, looking for story elements hiding in memories, stored knowledge, strange conversations I overheard.

Normal life and writing are worlds apart, but one cannot survive without the other.

Without the lovely life I live, filled with people I love and value, music, plants, food, books & art I would have very little to write about.

Without writing there’s no silver lining.

Picture Perfect Copenhagen

 

Last weekend I was in Copenhagen and so lucky to have summer weather!

Copenhagen is a real cool city for several reasons, but I will name a few:

  1. It has Tivoli Gardens: a permanent fair in the middle of town, which happens to be very old & very cool.
  2. The food is awesome. Vegetarian/organic heaven.
  3. Houses have different colors (always a good thing in my humble opinion).
  4. Botanical garden! The plants here rule their glass kingdom like something I’ve never seen before.

So if you ever go to Copenhagen make sure not to miss these things ( Tivoli, FOOD, Look at the Houses, be Jealous of Plants because they live in a Glass Palace).

P.S. You can click on the pictures to see what they’re supposed to represent, some are kind of blurry. 🙂

Happy Tuesday!

 

Step Into the Future

Imagine you’re trying to lose some weight and you’re about to forget what you were trying because your primal senses have picked up the scent of a Snickers bar, hiding from you behind a closed cupboard. The beast in you roars and your body is making happy hormones because it knows it’s getting sugary/fatty food.

What do you do?

A. Attack the cupboard. Rip paper from bar. Swallow whole (some chewing allowed). FEEL BAD AFTERWARDS

B. Ignore primal need for Snickers. Drink water instead. Eat a healthy cracker. FEEL GOOD AFTERWARDS.

Most of the time A. is what happens. Call it lack of discipline, call it sugar addiction. Call it weakness.

You’d be right.

Because if you go for B, you feel good afterwards. And if you go for B often enough it will become your default setting, and opting for A. isn’t so bad when it happens, because it’s an exception.

It’s a matter of self-discipline. And self-discipline is a muscle that can be trained. The only thing you need to focus on is the AFTERWARDS FEELING.

To do this we must learn to stretch our imagination into the near future and focus on the feeling yet to come.

Having trouble starting your story/drawing/whatever?

Imagine how you’d feel when it is finished. Got that feeling? Yes? Try to keep focusing on that.

Cut the goals in easy pieces. Want to lose weight? Then you only have to make sure you eat healthy today. Make choice B and forget about the Snickers (well, to be on the safe side, don’t buy Snickers, because Snickers ARE NOT EASY TO RESIST).

Want to write a story?

Write a page today, or scene today.

Want to exercise more?

Skip the elevator today. Walk around your block today.

Want to think about the environment more?

Recycle something today.

Everyday you self- discipline will grow, it will get easier to make decisions and you will become more confident.  Step into the future of today and focus on the feeling you want to end up with.

Today is all you have.

 

 

 

 

Blue Monday

Of course I managed to postpone this Monday entry until Tuesday.. I started typing yesterday and then had to do something else and then I forgot.

I should have waited for next week’s Monday for this post to make more sense. Or I could have changed the title.

But I didn’t. Because *insert valid reason I’m too lazy to make one up*

So that said, I have a confession to make..  I like Mondays.

No hard feelings if you stop reading now.

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Still here? Good 😊

Let me explain myself. Most people dread Mondays, because it symbolizes a week full of MUST DO THINGS (like work) ahead of them. When Monday arrives it also means the weekend has already flew by and the new weekend is still very far away.

To me Mondays are like the blank screen. It symbolizes opportunity, a new start. It’s the perfect day to start something because it’s a beginning. Not a BIG beginning like January 1st but one that happens 52 times a year. So if you resolute on doing something that day or week, and you fail, the next Monday is already waiting around the corner for you to try again.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m the most healthiest person I can be on Mondays. After the weekend it always seems a good  idea to eat more healthy and walk more . (Stairs are also less daunting on Mondays, trust me). Monday is also the day I don’t really mind going to work.  Probably because I usually don’t have to go on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Did you know there’s such a thing as a blue Monday? It’s believed to be the most depressing day of the year, the Monday in the last week of January. The holiday season has left most of us broke, the New Year’s resolutions were too big to take on and are tossed aside, the days short and dark. Enough reason to feel sorry for ourselves, right?

Wrong 🙂

Blue Monday is one of my favorite days. BECAUSE OF THE NAME.  How can a blue Monday make you feel depressed. (I however, would cringe at the thought of a purple Thursday).

Since today is Tuesday I’m trying to tackle this day with as much energy as I would do a Monday.

And so far I have been very productive, after getting the kids to school, I went to the gym, the grocery store, volunteered at my boy’s school, did the laundry and made sweet potato soup.

(Not to mention that I’m about to publish a Monday post on Tuesday) .

So what I’m saying is that a day is shaped by the energy you bring to it. There no real reason to look too far ahead or over your shoulder. Focus on being a happy you today and I promise that even Monday can be the prettiest day of the week.

Ciao!

Magic Hour

Morning! A short post (because I’m at work and I should be doing other things…).

At first I was going to name this post “Golden Hour”. The term used in photography for the light just after sunrise or before sunset. In this short period of time the low sun creates shadows that seem softer and the yellow and orange blend into a perfect golden colour. Good for picture taking!

But then I changed my mind.

Because I don’t want to talk about photography specifically, I want to say something about finding your creative moment. All creative endeavours need a special mind-set. Some people can turn it on and off as they wish (also known as PEOPLE  WHO NEED TO LEARN ME THIS TRICK).

Others, like myself, have to show up, do the work and hope for the best. Sometimes that best is horrible (No, I’m not exaggerating, you should read some of the things I wrote). But sometimes magic happens. Shiny, sparkling words make their way to the paper.  I think this is when people start talking about their muse, when creativity takes over your conscience brain.

Not all the words that are written during this magic hour are good.

(All That Glitters is not gold. – Shakespeare)

But sometimes they are.

(All That is Gold Does Not Glitter- Tolkien)

Yes I really wanted to use both sentences because I like that when you switch a couple of words the meaning will be the exact opposite. And yes, it probably doesn’t make sense in this context, but I don’t care.

So even though I have to show up, do the work and hope for the magic to follow, I still think I fare better at a specific time. Early in the morning is my favourite writing time, but those hours are sparse so I usually settle for second best : the hours between eight and ten in the evening.

I’m curious what your Magic hour is and how you found it. Let me know 🙂