Saturday, July 27, 2013


Last week, with Squirt at my parents' for four days, I spent a lot of time online. I was hanging out on FaceBook, posting and commenting away, and I had some nice - almost conversations there - from inside my own space, my own life. And instead of being uncomfortable, or even angry - for wasting time when I could have [...], I took a long hard look at what I'd been sharing, and found myself happy! I've been on the other end of the spectrum more often, and for longer than I care to ponder right now, so there was a sense of wonder at finding myself... okay!

Of course, spending time online means you're not consciously breathing, feeling your feet, being present in your life, exactly. I know that. It's all by comparison, even if you're not actively comparing yourself. I was looking at my life in a mirror, and it reflected back to me how I was sharing my life, what I was sharing, perhaps even how I was selling myself. But I wasn't. I was actually sticking with me. I was posting about what made me happy, what made sense, what was good inside my day. Maybe I wasn't inside my life down to my toes, digging in, growing roots; but I was standing tall with my life.

I think I've quietly stumbled upon the why of my need to document Summer! It's a way of being aware. Maybe not always exactly in the moment, but it's a good start. Being aware of the fact that there is joy, and happy, and beauty - finding out where I see it, what catches my eye - what do I draw, what do I photograph? - the journey through my days...

I love and appreciate and see the need to feel my feet, to breathe slowly in & out, to be where I am, but it's not enough. That - doing that - being present? It helps to combat the fear of being present, and I need that, solidly! But I'm also on a journey to find treasure in my life - to document and take it out of the moment, to fill my travel pack, my water bottle.

And it's not to hold on to moments - although I don't think there is necessarily something wrong with holding on to memories, as long as life doesn't become all about yesterday - it's about documenting, or maybe even more accurately, about mining my life. To find soul where I travelled. To learn about where it hides, on a deeply personal level, inside my life!

Because - and I deeply appreciate how this falls into place and guidance emerges - what I've written and cried about so many times is - I've never known where to look, where to find something, anything to help me claw out of that dank pit I fall into when I do (it's quite too early to say 'used to', but here's to hope, nonetheless!). I don't know where my happy really lives, and that's the sad truth.

And I'm not there yet, I haven't found the well - but that's okay, because this is fun :) I'm catching glimpses by looking at what I've gathered in my Summer 2013 file, so far! Glimpses, not storylines - nothing set in stone, trapped by cement, unmovable, fixed. Because it's impossible to recreate a happy moment, trying only dispells the magic and adds frustration and sadness to the mix. But I can find a similar colour, hear a sound, catch the light, indulge in sweet, salty, sour tastes, reflect in droplets, kiss a flower, or find that coffee at the exact right time!

I'm going from moment to moment right now, and it's... pretty :) I relish, revel, remember and rock - but I'm also collecting treasures & imagining a map. I'm looking for what makes me curious, for what makes me smile - I'm looking for what I'll know when I feel where it is :) That's what I'm after - but quietly, furtively almost, because these are secrets and surprises. Here is no place for brute force or overthinking. These things will reveal themselves to me, over patience and time. I won't have to wait for them - I can draw and photograph and capture beyond words. It will further unfold with life and time. It's elegant in its simplicity and imperfection - who knew? - and it's all as much here as ahead!

I realise this means that - apparently - I need proof. Proof of being well, being okay, being enough. But being who I am, knowing where I was, it's exactly right, like that. There is victory in the realisation that there is much to document as proof of being well :) I've conquered ground, I've kicked and left behind hurdles I never even knew were in my way - and I'm... taller for it all. & if I need proof for a while, before knowing, finding, seeing becomes second nature? If I need any permission, for any of this? Here it is:

You GO, sweet pea! To your heart's content! Gather clues and document! Find out what makes your mouth water and give IN! Find out what makes you smile and get some MORE! Be wild, mudane, Fabulous and boring! Find yourself there - exactly where you are & draw it - take a photo, sing a song - do whatever it takes to find it and bring it home!

This is for you, too. Permission! To do what needs doing & document. Or not! Whatever you need to kick a home-made rule or two to the curb & hang out with what makes you tick! Go! Go tick! I'll be here, waiting to hear where you took yourself today :)

Thursday, July 18, 2013


There were brief thoughts of blogging daily, and thoughts that lingered longer, about blogging a few times a week. All those thoughts lie abandoned, there where abandoned thoughts go when they're redundant ;) It's a solid week later, and it's okay. I'm okay; still strangely, newly okay with a lot of things these days, and I'm hanging out with it. Getting to know it where it shows up. There's a lot of acquainting myself going on here, and it's... succulent :)

Meanwhile, Summer is still hot and happening in these parts, and I've been documenting! Here are some of the highlights - the condensed version ;)

The slug, as promised - documented in paint and photographed :)

Speaking of wildlife, at 6.15 am last Friday morning, I heard someone's kid screaming. And shout again. And again. Wondering vaguely - while sipping coffee - what parent wouldn't do something about it. Till I realised it was my kid, and that parent doing nothing was me ;) Big drama - a mosquito - "no, there's TWO I think!"... Slapped some stuff on him, hung his mosquito net & left him happy in his tent. He slept until 9.30 am, when I had to actually wake him up! I'm thinking he was awake a while before he shouted for me - pangs of mamma-guilt...

On Saturday, because of snot, I missed the Sketchcrawl Koosje organised in Amsterdam (her blogpost of what I missed is here...). I spent that day getting flowers while reading and watching Squirt and the kid from next door have fun in our blow-up swimming pool - which wasn't necessarily punishment, but I would have preferred to be out sketching! So, I bought myself some new - extremely cheap - cups & drew them to cheer me up.

On Sunday, we went to Leiden, to visit a (boring!) museum, and while I still wasn't feeling entirely wholesome, I sat and drew anyway - because I could :)

The kid is with his grandparents at the moment. He was packed and picked up on Monday, and since he asked for an additional night, I'm not expecting him home until tonight... Luckily I've got this to remember him by ;)

So on Monday, I had time for chores and a drawing ;)

I finalised my attic studio space, too, and found out I didn't need it, per se ;) I've ended up drawing at the coffee table quite a few times, lately, and it's - good. Because drawing is good. And having choice as to where to do it? Is just that, really; choice!

There were two more projects that didn't involve pencils, pens or paint directly:

Squirt's new knotted bracelet that replaced the old one he wore for 18 months (!), and my Inspiration Jar :) If we're friends on FaceBook, you might have added to it already, and I thank you! I intend to continue to draw daily, and there are days when I can't seem to think of anything to draw. Eventhough life is present in abundance, yes. It happens... So this jar will be filled with little slips of paper with words and ideas, along with the name of the person who contributed - and the idea is, I will let you know when I draw one of yours, and let you know where to see it. Because that's the only thing I haven't figured out quite yet ;) There might even be a personal postcard in it for you - so if you want to add your magic to the mix, please do so in the comments section of this post :D And if you're in dire need of ideas to draw? I've got the list on file, and I'm willing to share - in exchange for some extra themes ;)

Nope. This isn't everything. But I'm rethinking the idea of dumping it all in one monster post. I'm going to schedule another one. 

While in quiet mode, this morning, I slowly saw something emerge. About the why of documenting my Summer, or my life, for that matter. And it was eye-opening. And I want to share it. But it warrants its own space, I think. So I'm going to leave it at that, here, for now. You're all updated on the whats of my Summer so far - and I'd love to hear about yours! There's plenty of time for the whys, right?!

Stay cool! Or warm - depending on where you are & your taste in temps ;) Thanks for sharing my Summer with me :)

Thursday, July 11, 2013


I've been getting messy with ideas, thoughts and concepts in my head - struggling with the whats and how tos - because I would love to document this Summer... It's been, and still is, interesting ;) I'm running into a lot of things I sort of knew about myself - stuff involving rules and guidelines. Being good enough, and allowing myself. Full stop. Allowing myself is very inclusive, and even if I wanted to get less vague, explain myself, I can't. Not yet, maybe never. What I'm finding out is - perhaps it doesn't matter. And that - is revolutionary

I don't have the peace and quiet to come out with everything in my head right now. It's Summer. We're halfway through the first week of Squirt's school holidays and life is different around here ;) It's noisy, filled with life, questions, blow-by-blow reports of how to build the perfect Lego Duplo house - and everything else ;)

"Can I ride my bike, mamma, where are we going, what's next, can I have ice cream, will you come to the playground with me, what's for dinner, why does everyone go on holidays, don't you think I could get a present because it's holidays?"


It's good, and I mean that ;) But the main thing I'm confronting at the moment is - how do I document this Summer? What do I draw, what's important, where does joy live, and does that matter? Where am I, what am I looking for and what do I need to remember about being here, now, in this moment, Squirt's first Summer holiday after starting school? Yes indeed, where am I in the middle of all this? Can I let go, enjoy? Can I hold onto my newly found sanity without all this time I've learnt to spend with myself? Will I still be here, at least somewhat, when Squirt goes back to school, or will I need to reinvent the wheel all over again? 

Questions. Lots of them. But what I was thinking this morning is - if I don't start doing, documenting things - putting them somewhere, sharing it all - then there is nothing that can grow, either. As long as everything that's in my head - stays there, concept-form, nothing happens. What isn't out there can't evolve into something new, can't be tweaked. It can be thought to death of course - I'm good at that, that I know. But can I work it? Can I be there & do? Can I be here, can I - at least try - to blog about it as it happens? The blue skies, clouds, the humidity and the rain? The happy and the something - the mundane, the questions and the yays of it? 

The only thing I know now - is that if I don't try, nothing happens. So I'm confronting another little truth about myself here. The belief that without a script, nothing comes of any plan. I'm here, and I'm going in without a plan. I'm all organised around this new-found - blankness :) I'm going to photograph what strikes me when it does, and draw what bites my pencil. Daily, as much as I can. That's my plan. So here's what's happened so far:

We went to the local swimming hole ('t Twiske) on Monday, and had a lot of fun :D I'd completely resisted the idea of going there, putting on my bathing suit and being where I was - playing with my kid in my white and less-than-perfect body with all these other people there - but I went. For the first time since we moved here back in 2010, I'm one of those moms, and it felt like a weight was lifted! I know it sounds dramatic, but it's true nonetheless. I don't have to wish a cool mom onto my kid - I am one now, and not just because he had fun, either ;)

I cleaned the garden on Tuesday, and here's where we can lounge now:

Of course, that depends on the weather, too ;) It's not as hot or sunny anymore, but to be truthful, both me and the kid are better for it. And it looks cozy ;)

I cleaned out the sand pit and returned it to the neighbour we borrowed it from. Weepy moment. On the bright side, I found and photographed the biggest slug EVER underneath :D But that's a drawing still waiting to happen, so you need to hold your breath for it ;)

Yesterday was a bit of a non-event because I didn't (and still don't) feel too hot. A cold in the wings, in fact. But I did draw nonetheless:

Squirt said he thought holidays warranted a present, and I agreed. A non-pedagogical moment perhaps, but us parents are allowed some of those. Well, I am, anyway ;) Plenty of those, let's not get started ;) Besides, he only woke me twice during my sort-of-sick on-the-couch 15-minute-nap. So there ;) He chose a small Duplo Zoo set, and I drew it. Memories are where you colour them, right?! ;)

That's what Summer 2013 looks like, so far :)
& I'll be back. That's as solid a promise I can make, being here without a plan ;)

How are you?! How's Summer, or Winter, where you are?