Monthly Archives: January 2011

fresh snow

Wishing for just one more round of snowfall. The temperature in Amsterdam is about right for flurries, but the ground is bare. Snow would make the bitter cold wind more bearable (photos by Jakob Wagner).

Weekend Links #15

Weekend Links is a collection of the interesting bits and pieces that I’ve come across on the streets and online. The weekly post is my chance to share with you a few things from the week, in a list compiled during the weekend. I hope you enjoy them as well.

A few things I enjoyed this week:
1. Seeing the quiet captured in the photographs of Joseph O. Holmes (pictured above, via paper tastebuds)
2. Wishing I were in New York to attend the opening of the exhibition of the work photographer Autumn de Wilde made for The Decemberists (pictured below, via The Impossible Project)
3. Browsing through the lookbook of nümph, a danish fashion label (via blackwhiteyellow)
4. Reading an article about the science behind bacon’s power to seduce vegetarians. Makes perfect sense, but I will still resist.
5. Reconfirming that De Nieuwe Anita is one of my favorite places in Amsterdam

Perhaps It Was a Late Summer 아마 늦은 여름이었을거야

Perhaps It Was a Late Summer (아마 늦은 여름이었을거야) is a zine of photography from Seoul made by Satu Palander. View on blurb (via thank you, ok).

snow

Beautiful. The Sensing Nature exhibition by Tokujin Yoshioka at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo (via 11.54)

Sights on the Street

So far Weekend Links has been a great success, with lots of encouraging feedback from readers. Inspired last week by the most adorable boy in a Bakfiets, I’m going to start a new weekly post titled Sights on the Street. Every day I ride my bike through Amsterdam and see some really odd, beautiful, crazy and/or wonderful things. Maybe like this guy:

This week’s Sights on the Street: a man tossing an umbrella out a third-story window to a grateful friend on the street below. Four Polish men laden down with shopping bags. One man crossing the street with a giant, old school TV in tow.

For me, the idea came from the little boy, sitting in the front basket of a bike with his cute dark-framed glasses. As he spotted something curious in the air, he lifted a pair of binoculars to his face. Words can’t do justice to the perfect scene he created, but it is etched in my mind. Maybe lots of the Sights on the Street will be like that, but let’s see how it goes.

Also, whether you live in Amsterdam or elsewhere, I’d love to hear about some of the sights you see on the streets of your city. Join in!

“We can’t really know what a pleasure it is to run in our own language until we’re forced to stumble in someone else’s.”

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

A quote that rang true for me, with my collection of foreign language books and an ever-evasive fluency of German. I have lived in three countries, but somehow I have never had that privilege of (passionately) studying the language of a country in which I was living. Here in the Netherlands, I have a comfortable level of Dutch, but my real aim has been fluency in German, the language of Marcus. While living in Seoul, I picked up Korean quickly and still scribble away bored nothings in Hangul, but my heart was busy improving my French. Growing up in the States, I studied Spanish, Latin and French. A foundation for each is there, but now is the time to focus on just one. Stumbling on.

The demands of the mind

Weltschmerz is a German word meaning world-weariness and denotes the feeling by someone who understands that the physical world can never meet the demands of the mind. (via constant wanderlust)

After three years of studying German, I’m beginning to think it might just be one of the most poetic languages out there.

Weekend Links #14

Weekend Links is a collection of the interesting bits and pieces that I’ve come across on the streets and online. The weekly post is my chance to share with you a few things from the week, in a list compiled during the weekend. I hope you enjoy them as well.

A few things I enjoyed this week:
1. Tempting my mind with thoughts of a holiday in the sun…
2. Admiring the work of New Zealand photographer Louise Hatton (pictured above, via & everything nice)
3. Trying out a delicious recipe for spicy cauliflower with sesame (pictured below)
4. Devouring the next book on the pile, Shantaram

Weekend Links #13

Weekend Links is a collection of the interesting bits and pieces that I’ve come across on the streets and online. The weekly post is my chance to share with you a few things from the week, in a list compiled during the weekend. I hope you enjoy them as well.

A few things I enjoyed this week:
1. Seeing the beautiful 2011 NPR calendar (pictured above)
2. Listening to The Decemberists’ new album The King is Dead streaming online at NPR until the release date on 18 January. Looking forward to their concert at Paradiso on 14 March
3. Anticipating the release of the latest film adaptation of Jane Eyre directed by Cary Fukunaga, which appears to be very inspired by the 2006 BBC production (via spaceships, pictured below)
4. Reading Tom Waits new poem Seeds on Hard Ground about homelessness and poverty
5. Watching Jon Stewart’s response to the events in Arizona

Detroit and the Land of Stumps

On our return trip through the mountains, Marcus and I stopped at Detroit Reservoir, enticed by the tree stumps exposed when the waters are released from the dam each winter. During the summer, the lake is alive with boats, skiers, and campers enjoying the water and sun. I might just prefer the quiet winter version of the emptied lake, the still air, and clouds of fog resting between the trees. (Mushroom photo taken by Marcus.)

Thoughts on a bike ride home

Remember the summer when we camped out in the living room, sleeping near the open balcony doors to escape the heat? Our heads on a pillow, a book in one hand and a popsicle in the other. The mattress lifted off the bed. A single white sheet over our figures. The sound of the trees outside moving in the stifled air. (image via)

Over the Mountainpass

During the holiday to Oregon, Marcus and I headed across the mountains to visit some friends in Bend, a small town located in central Oregon. Getting there requires a crossing through the Cascade Mountain Range and, as nervous as I was to drive through snow for the first time in many years, I was excited to show Marcus the beautiful mountains of Oregon in the wintertime. Our route took us past the Detroit Dam and Reservoir (pictured above), up the Santiam pass (first picture below), past Suttle Lake (second picture), and through the town of Sisters (third picture). Ridiculously beautiful, isn’t it?

Two Owls

Back in Amsterdam, life has eased into January. Although the skies are grey, I’m filled with anticipation for the coming months. 2011 is off to a great start. I loved ringing in the New Year with some of my favorite people and ending my trip West with old friends. They will be missed now that I am back in Europe, but I’m happy to have returned to my cozy life in Holland. Back into rising for early morning yoga, a cup of tea over the day, quiet evenings of reading and cooking, my seven-minute bicycle ride to my lovely office, and some interesting projects on the horizon.

One of these cute little owls now sits in my living room, reminding me of home, family and a dear friend.

New Year’s Eve Masquerade

New Year’s Eve was such a fantastic night that, 12 days later, I still want to share some photos. The evening started with an early dinner at Jake’s Grill followed by a 7pm performance by Pink Martini at the Arlene Schnitzer concert hall in downtown Portland. A NYE tradition, it was my second time attending the show, a wonderful mix of favorite songs and Christmas songs.

After the show, my parents, my sister, my brother-in-law, Marcus and I headed over to the Benson Hotel for music and a masquerade. Dancing in masks was actually a bit tricky, but we rang in the New Year with style. Shortly after midnight, I petitioned that we head outside for a Berlin-style, on-the-street celebration. Maybe even fireworks? It wasn’t how we imagined and we reached the hotel sooner than expected. Which was when we grabbed our champagne and headed out to enjoy the fire on the terrace. How did you celebrate?

Weekend Links #12

One last edition of Weekend Links coming out of Portland and Seattle. Weekend Links is a collection of the interesting bits and pieces that I’ve come across on the streets and online. The weekly post is my chance to share with you a few things from the week, in a list compiled during the weekend. I hope you enjoy them as well.

A few things I enjoyed this week:
1. Checking out Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, an interesting gallery, production and educational space
2. Watching the beautiful production Paris: The Luminous Years (thanks Dad!)
2. Eating a delicious breakfast at cozy Citizen Cafe in Seattle with dear friends
3. Seeing the photography of Amy Blakemore made with a Diana camera at the Seattle Art Museum (image above)
4. Taking a ferry from downtown Seattle to Bainbridge Island to feel the water and wind (images below)
5. Watching the documentary Pelada, in which two football (soccer) players travel around the world seeking out pick-up games in unexpected places

A Taste of Hint Fiction

Inspired by the NPR broadcast ‘Hint Fiction Celebrates the (Extremely) Short Story’, my father challenged my family to a competition over the holidays. The genre hint fiction is defined by a story of 25 words or less, which stimulates the imagination through its brevity. Take Ernest Hemingway’s six-word story for example. “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” In the end, five of us participated, anonymously presented our stories, and voted on the favorites.

I imagined a scene taking place on the roads through the mountain pass between the Willamette Valley and the Cascade Mountain Range. Marcus’ story described his morning view on an Amsterdam weekday. My father wrote a mystical tale about time past. My mother wrote about her favorite summer activity, water skiing. My brother found inspiration in murder mystery tales. Below, the stories:

My story:
The mountain pass
She turned onto the all but abandoned logging road,
the entrance graced with a worn-down cross staked into the earth.
Her fingers drummed to the beat of the music, turned just a little louder.

Marcus’ winning story:
9:12 am
Dense fog covering the river makes it difficult to see over to the other side.
The start of the week.

My mother’s entry:
An Afternoon of Surface Tension
Strong breeze creates a tangled mane
Nostrils filled with sunshine
Cool mists in rhythmic sprays
Mechanical roar
That quiets the smiling soul.

My father’s entry:
Ringing
Below lake waters,
Tossed long ago
Lay ring shining.
Fish fin by, sunlight reflects back
To her hand empty unhealed
It’s giver lay below earthen cover of European war.

My brother’s entry:
Christmas Cheer
Walks on the beach and candlelight dinners and the ad read, but the light kicking in her stomach made her body shake with rage as her fingers tightened around the pistol.

New Year Wishes

Happy New Year to all! I hope you enjoyed a lovely celebration wherever in the world you celebrated. I found myself in Portland this year, a lovely night filled with music, masks, and martinis. Admittedly, I did miss the Berlin-style celebration that I took part in the past two years with fireworks and dancing past dawn. How did you celebrate? Wishing you a wonderful year, here’s to 2011! (image via derekskey )

Weekend Links #11

Weekend Links is a collection of the interesting bits and pieces that I’ve come across on the streets and online. The weekly post is my chance to share with you a few things that I have enjoyed, in a list compiled during the weekend. I hope you enjoy them as well.

A few things I enjoyed during a very Portland week:
1. Eating a sumptuously creative dinner at Castagna, the Portland restaurant of 2010 (pictured above, a baked apple with black walnut, smoked milk, and cinnamon sticks)
2. A lazy afternoon of relaxing at Löyly Sauna
3. Ringing in the New Year with some of my favorite people, kicking off the eve with a performance by Pink Martini at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
4. Book shopping at Powell’s Books
5. Mourning the closure of Berbati’s Pan, an old haunt where I used to interview bands then get kicked out for being underage
6. Enjoying a taste of Lovejoy Vodka, a creation of a local Portland distillery, at the Night Light Lounge (pictured below)