The source unveiled

The sketchOne good thing of being a portrait is that I become 37 every year.
The date to celebrate my birthday (November 30) is always a battle with our Dutch Sinterklaas on December 5. He and I both want the closest Saturday evening to see our family and friends. Usually HE is the winner. I presume because he is supposed to hand out gifts and I grab gifts …
Sometimes I don’t even try to make arrangements and wait what will happen.
And as usual; if you don’t expect anything, everybody is popping up. So I had a wonderful evening last Saturday with a lot of thoughtful gifts.

One of the gifts I want to write about here, is a book called ‘the Drawing Lab’. It’s a guide to dig up your creativity. For some reason I never could find the time, reason or inspiration to draw. I always got inspiration at the wrong moments. For example; like in the stationery store if I see the covers of all those crazy cool notebooks. Once at home my inspiration is gone, because of the laundry, the cooking or the drumming neighbour.

The drawing Lab has 52 weird and funny exercises. The first exercise was to spend 10 minutes drawing as many cats in as many positions as you can think of, while laying in bed! Then pick a favorite and redraw it again using several other materials. There were some more steps, but this is the tone setting.
It worked. How easy was that?! Soon I didn’t follow the directions anymore and I was playing with white acrylic and ink on some decorated paper. And I was quite proud on my humble results. I even found some old frames to properly display them.



I’m not sure if I will write a blog about it every week, but I certainly keep you up to date.


Fixed gap

The sketchIt’s a sour fact that me and my parents don’t have a firm bond. As long as I remember I’m secretly convinced that I’m not their biological child, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who is thinking so.
Of course when I was younger I made some insinuations, wrapped in a joke or shouted out in an argument, but I never got a clue in return.
Just because of that vague distance between me and my parents I have never seriously tried to find out if my thoughts were true. For some reason it feels a bit ridiculous to do, if you are 37 years old already. What can you do more than what you did as a kid? Force your parents down and stick a cotton bud in their mouth, to swab some dna???

Another suspicious fact is that there are no baby photos of me. The story is that during the messy period after my parent’s divorce, some photo albums were lost. So, I don’t know what I looked like as a baby.
Those days my mother had stored up her stuff on the attic of grandmother’s. Several times I have asked them to get the albums off for me, but there was always a reason to postpone.

Granny died when I was 18 and my mother and me had to clean out the house. That was my chance! But after thoroughly inspecting mum’s stuff, no albums were found! I was totally upset and mad at my mum at that time.
But to my surprise it turns out that it is possible to live your life without baby photo’s. It would have been nice, but it’s no drama.
I didn’t think about it anymore.

Until yesterday.
On the internet I bumped on a picture that made me stare at it for a 5 full minutes. I gasped … and I knew THAT’S ME!!!
Well, of course in reality it is not me. I mean … duh, Afghanistan?!
I could not find a source, so I don’t know the name of the photographer, but I guess this snapshot was taken not so long ago. At least not 37 years ago.

Anyhow, I printed this beautiful photo, framed it, put it on my shelf and embraced the baby as being me.
Click on it to compare!


Somewhere in Afghanistan ...


How’s that?

The first sketchAfter reading your letter I have been speechless and confused for a couple of days. I’m still not ready to reply, but I won’t let you wait any longer.

Oddly, I never have imagined that things could fall back to how they were. It felt like a dead person has risen (and you still look good, haha).
Well, in reality of course things cannot fall back into how it was before. Not exactly. It has been 3 years. We both have changed. Yes, you won’t believe; even I -who still lives the same life, same job, same house- have changed.
After you left us, I picked up my old life from the hook. And strangely enough, that old life was nòt changed. It was waiting there in the same shabby cast as I left it 15 years earlier. And now I have added 3 new years to it.
So, you left me at 52. I went back to 37. And now I’m 40, instead of 55. You are so lucky!

If!
You are lucky, if I would let you (evil grin).

If I start thinking about a possible reunion, my brain stops working. It’s not that I don’t wànt you back. You may know I have missed you terribly and the first months were horrible. It’s more that it scares me to gain again what I can lose again. Can you understand?

So, that’s where I stand now. I don’t know what to answer …
Maybe we better not start where we ended, but start if we are two strangers with coincidentally some mutual acquaintances, known as Errol and Tamara.


Dear Errol

tamara01potlood

Although I haven’t written any comments these last weeks, be I surely followed your trip around the IJsselmeer with great interest.
After reading your first blog I was in shock. Don’t worry, it’s not my intention to rub in your weight, I just want to explain what happened in my mind after this info was sunken in.

Of course the last few years I noticed a slight change. You have always been a more or less 240 pounder and in the pictures Donna showed me I noticed you had gained even a bit more. But, your poses in the pictures were always taken partly in the dark, or you acted funny behind curtains, wore covering coats or you were blocked by other people … I wasn’t blind, but the gravity (sorry pun) of the transformation was excellently hidden.
Especially the load of the shock, made me comprehend I had to admit something to myself. It accelerated my suppressed thoughts. The worries about your health made me realise how much you are still a part of me.

We both know that I’ve always missed my sudden interrupted life in Virginia. It was my own decision to move to the Netherlands for the birth of Donna, and I was expecting our bond would grow. It did. But it didn’t replace my homesickness. Somewhere in the back of my mind I never got rid of the feeling that I was on the wrong place. Although I loved you and our baby to bits, a little voice told me this was not the plan for my own life.

After almost 16 years Donna started to need us less. She was such an independent kid and we knew soon she would leave the nest. She had advanced plans for studying at the other end of the country.
The job offer I got from my former boss in Virginia, came a bit too early, but it was a big chance for me to go back to the USA on a comfortable base. I went. To find out if my nagging feeling was right.
I have enormously enjoyed the company of my old friends and family and Donna visited me twice a year for a longer and intense period.
But for the second time, I felt I was on the wrong spot.

“Did I do the right thing to leave you and Donna? Was it my departure that caused so much unbalance? And after these 3 years, could I be able to reunite our parting ways?”
In other words; Do you allow me to cook for you again?
For, let’s say … another 16 years?


Last two days

The first sketchI thought I had booked just nothing more than a luxury hotel room with swimming pool after my voyage through hell. But when checking in, the lady at the desk asked me if I wanted to book some of the arrangements.
“What?”
“Arrangements?”
The building looked awesome with all those interesting lighted areas, but I hadn’t any notion what kind of arrangements were done there. For a second I thought I had made an embarrassing mistake, until she started telling about their fabulous buffet, their sauna, the massages, the hammam, the pedicure, the solarium, etcetera, etcetera.
For some reason I got stuck at the word ‘buffet’ and didn’t understand the rest of her velvet words. Without knowing it I apparently start hypnotized nodding.


I ended up with a sauna/spa session, where thank God nobody saw me. Don’t blame me; I’m a virgin in the world of naked appearance in public, you know. Then there was a lunch that I anxiously tried to lengthen with a bottle of burgundy, but in spite of the fact I wore the same white bathrobe as everybody else in that area, they found me and 4 bodybuilders came to take me away. They brought me to the pedicure to carve my hoofs into human feet. I have to say they created two impressive pieces of art.
The next arrangement was an introduction to yoga, some fresh wine to bring me back in my comfort zone, followed by a deep black out.

The chilly next morning, back in the saddle, it was like I had woken up from an uneasy dream.
A few kilometers before my house I knew a bench located hidden off the road. I put my bike against the back, sat down and pulled of my shoes and socks … the carving was still there, with shiny red nails.


At Mum’s & Muiden

The first sketchAfter arriving last Sunday night at Mum’s, it would be too cruel to left immediately on Monday. So I had a break. Not mentioning that I wanted my laundry got done.
I repaired the light in the toilet (pooping in complete darkness needs some practise) and I tidied up the garden a little bit.
While Mum confessed me that I am an adopted Chinese boy, I cooked her favourite dinner (Brussels sprouts with apple, onion, garlic, ginger and chilli with fried potatoes on the side).

I have been fed, boosted, refreshed and pampered, but I still had some things on my list. So Tuesday I headed to Muiden, because there were a couple of inviting tours to do at the ‘Muiderslot’.
The most animating part of the show was the falconer. I’m not sure if the whopping falcon liked me.
After visiting the impressing rooms of castle (700 years old) I have slept on this sailing ship.
And thàt … was OUTSTANDING!!!

If I’ve finished my coffee, right here, right now, I’m heading to the last part of my holiday. I’m very looking forward and curious to my new target and I have an inkling I will be the only male …..



Urk & Lelystad

The first sketchDonna warned me that grandma was angry because I left Donna home alone …
Donna is 18!
My aunties always have said that my Mum is peeved off since the day she has given birth to me.

I have to do a confession; I seriously considered to use the train for this part of my trip … The long way to Lelystad & the reunion with Mum is a lot to bear for 1 day, ha. But the railway makes a huge loop to the wrong side of the country. It didn’t make sense to sit in the train for the same amount of hours as sitting on my bicycle seat.
There is one propitious point … this home-hotel allows me to ‘check in’ late.

My stop-over was in Urk. The weather was not too bad. My drive was not too bad. Lunch was not too bad. And the location was hunky dory. But at the end of the day I was more tired than I ever have been this week.
Tired, fully cracked and stinking, but … Mum let me in 😉