Friday, May 23, 2014

My weather people

Across our street, there is a red brick building, sitting several stories high on the opposite side of the canal. It was built not that long ago, although thinking now it must be at least ten, even before we left for America. It is social housing and doesn’t look that bad compared to other buildings built for the same purpose, as a consequence of the red brick.
All the inhabitants are way beyond retirement age, bundled together at the edge of the neighborhood they were born in.
The building blocks our horizon, as it sits right in front of our window, just across the canal. This means I cannot just look out of the window to see what kind of weather it is. I have to walk up close and strain my neck looking up at the strip of blue or grey or white cumulus, peeking over the top of the red brick to know if I should wear a jacket or not. 
I have taken to watching my neighbors instead. It looks like they live in little boxes, as that is how the building was designed. They will pop in and out, sliding across their gallery. They seem to hang around the building a lot, enjoying each others company When it is warmish, they will be picking the leaves off their geraniums in the morning, watering them a bit and when that is done they will sit together on the windowsill, with their doors wide open, chatting. There is a bigger lady who talks more than the rest.
On really warm days they will migrate to the tiled strip alongside the water around about 11, pull out their plastic chairs and mill around in their sarongs and swimsuits. The bigger lady, still talking, manages to persuade two men to rub sunscreen into her wrinkled shoulders at the same time, one shoulder each, as another lady who has distanced herself with a lounger, looks on in distaste.
On these days I know no jacket is needed. 
On medium days, I see the elderly gentlemen act with purpose in the storage spaces, down at the waterside, one often wearing a combination of yellow and pink, walking back and forth until their business is done.
Then a light jacket might be needed.
When it is cold, the weather people stay inside. Sometimes visitors come in thick coats and ring the doorbells. I will see the faces of the weather people pop up behind their curtains, cautiously looking out, before they let their visitors in.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Circus pictures and transitioning

Well howdy sisters, 

Eureka, there is life on the other side of the internet! Welcome back S3!
I will be taking your lipstick advice to heart, as I have decided to wear more of it. The thought crystallized recently after being confused with a man on the streets. It went like this. A mother walking with her daughter said “Maybe this gentleman can show us the way” and she walked up to me, looked me in the face and proceeded to ask where the market was.  Gentlewoman” I said back to her and she stared at me with a blank expression, far too long, in my opinion, before she realized her mistake.  Her daughter could not stop laughing. When I came home, a little confused,  and told my children, Rosie tried to comfort me. “But mama you do not look like a man. When you wear makeup you look quite nice. “

So, ruby red lipstick it is.
Otherwise on the western front, Jip is on his way to mastering the basics of puberty. He is already doing really well at sarcasm. “You see where practice gets you”, I compliment him and he nods. “I see now.”  He holds rants on needing more freedom in this phase of his life (he will be 12 in April) and is thereby making an excellent start at tearing himself from the mother skirt, which we all know is a necessary step towards manhood. His main strategy is to pretend I am not talking. Either that or implement above mentioned sarcasm, say no when he means yes, or vice versa, and keep it up for a very long time. Sometimes he slips up, and asks for a random hug in the middle of his puberty practice. I give it to him, but warn him not to do it too often. 

Admittedly I have been dogging him quite a bit lately on various aspects of his behavior (too much screen time, dirty clothes on floor, continually untied shoelaces, sneaking biscuits from the tin before dinner), which does nothing for the general mood in our household. I realize I should be a bit more selective in the fights I pick. My excuse is that I also have to get used to the new situation. I, too, am transitioning. While we were biking to another open day for a secondary school, he told me very seriously I should let him make more of his own decisions, as he is capable. He has developed the habit of buying cans of coca cola with his pocket money, which I do not like, and I keep telling him as such. He is right, I decide as I listen to him, maybe I should let this one go. There are worse things to worry about.
“Yeah and while we are on the subject, if, when I am, say twenty, I should decide to try a cigarette, you should not go crazy either.”
At twenty, or do you mean thirteen? “  He shrugs.
I will be glad when we make it to twenty.
Ciao, ciao,

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Winters Tale about lipsticks

Greetings humble humans,

As I slowly shuffle into the scattered sisters blog,
 brush the cobwebs from my shoulders,
shake the white dust from my hair,
and wipe the croissant crumbs from my lap,
I skip in the air with joy and say :

Greetings !

I have awoken from a long blog sphere sleep
but lets not dwell on that
 and just proceed with a little winters tale.

The other day about a week before all the christmas celebrations
I went to visit sister 1 in Amsterdam on the train from Brussels.
As I was contemplating the misty morning view from the train
i got a little suspicion that maybe I resemble Coco the clown.

Due to my excitement on going on a little trip
I might have overdone it with my new 'liquid golden' eyeliner
and 'trust in red' lipstick
and 'smutty green' eye shadow
but decided to ignore these passing moments of panic
and just looked on at the landscape of fields and trees.

Just then the sun was appearing
it was actually liquid golden
with a big trust in red circle in the middle
and it was shining brightly through the mist
 and over the smutty green fields.

Then i remembered a story a friend from Prague
 had told me many years ago
and this is where our winter tale really begins :

It was a very cold Prague day , the one where the light is bright
yet the air is ice cold and freezes your fingers off to a fright
( I would like to continue this story in rhyming form
but that would be a bit out of my norm)

This friend of mine was visiting a relative in a little town outside of Prague
so she was waiting for the bus on this very icy day
In cold countries one becomes accustomed to owning a transparent lip balm
to ease the dry cold , for the lips at least.
Along came the little czech bus and my friend had the inspired idea,
whilst looking for her lip balm in her bag
to put some on other dry areas of her face.
So a little went in between her nose and upper lip,
a bit under her eyes ,
above her eyebrows
and on her cheeks
in long streaks
seeing as it was an especially cold day.
Now we all know that eskimo's cover themselves in seal fat
to keep away the bitter biting cold
so my friends alternative seems quite logical.

So she sat in the bus for the remaining hour ,
when she got off ,
her friend was waiting for her and yelled : " Jesus  Marie ! " in czech,
" What have you got on your face ?! "
My friend then realised she had mistaken her red lipstick
for her transparent lip balm.
This is a true story.
And a good lesson to all who own a lipstick.

Happy new 2014 !
Sister 3