I went to the zoo in Emmen today with Nienke and Kim. I hadn’t been there since I was about three, when this picture was taken. That’s my aunt with her children, my other aunt, little me, and my Mom. I don’t really remember anything from when I was that young, thus I have zero recollection of the zoo. So everything was new, and I had a great time.There was some rain early in the afternoon and again near the end, but on the whole it was nice. There were not that many people so we had good access to everything. And most animals were present and willing to show themselves 😀
I’d brought my camera and am very pleased with the results I got. I ended up, after culling it, with 169 pictures. I’ll show highlights here, if you’re friends with me on Facebook, you can see the rest there. So, without further ado, let there be pictures! I’ll also be featuring a few in bigger sizes over the next few days.
Wednesday, Mom and I went to the Schouwburg to see Sara Kroos play her latest show “Van Jewelste”. Sara Kroos is someone I’ve seen on TV and always liked, she’s spontaneous but does always seem to make a point. So when Mom suggested we go see her back when I was deciding which shows to go to, I happily agreed,
As it begins, Sara enters the stage and starts telling about her life, obviously fictionalized or embellished in places, but I believe it has a significant core of truth in it. She tells us how her parents showed up at her door to tell her that they had bought the house next door, isn’t that fun! From there she slips in a flashback to an earlier moment where her mother embarrassed her, and from there on to another story and so on. She occasionally comes back to the present day situation, but other than that she jumps back and forth through time in a period of about four or so years.
The stories are hilarious and the jokes she makes are very funny. She’s good at improv so she reacts very well with what the audience is saying. Particularly a gentleman who, at a slightly risque joke made an oh-oh-ho kinda sound. She jumped on that and warned us, with a great smile, that if we thought that was much, we’d better not listen to the rest. And true to her word, that wasn’t the most risque joke by a long shot 😀
In between stories she sits down at the piano and sings a song. And the songs are the counterweights to all the laughter of the stories. They are calmer, and more serious and light the other side of parents and different generations and time, which are the main themes of the show. And by combining these elements, she really drives the point that time goes ever on.
Especially since I’m of a similar age as she is, and my parents are of a similar age as hers are, a lot of the things she said, and sang, hit home. You reach this point in your life where you’re in the middle. Your parents are still young and healthy enough to have a life of their own, you have your live (generally busy) and your children are doing their thing. And you look around and you kinda want to freeze the moment and keep it like this forever. Because it’s never going to be as good as it is now.
With time, there will come a day when you no longer think “oh, at least they’re still healthy” but it shifts to “at least they’re still here” and then they’re not. And you shift from annoyance and embarrasment at what your parents do to endearment at what they do, the older they get. And the same with children; who grow up and become more independent and eventually move out. And through all that, you need to realise that things always change, there will always be new moments that are good, or awesome, or fantastic, or even just sorta okay, but even the most awesomest thing is an individual thing. And as such, nothing is ever going to be as good as it was right at the moment you experienced it.
So yeah, many feels. And I was really happy I got to see this show with Mom.
Afterwards, Sara sold CDs with the songs from the show from the stage and would sign them, so Mom and I made our way there and each bought a copy.
My mother, her friend and I went out last night to see Marcel Hensema, an actor and entertainer, perform his second show, aptly named “Mijn Tweede” (My Second). I hadn’t heard of him before, but Mom had heard of his previous show, and said she would like to go, would I like to go with? I said yes, so tickets were bought and off we went.
I wasn’t sure what to expect exactly. I saw some photos of his previous show and got slightly worried as it seemed very dress-up and sketch-based and I’m not always a fan of that. Fortunately, the evening turned out great.
Hensema started out by singing old songs adapted to be about places in the province. He then did dress-up as a character and started doing a sketch-like story, which morphed into another story, as another character and so on. As he made his way through characters, repeating some, and stories, it became an interconnected whole showing this big slice-of-life of all these characters. All to make the point that life isn’t this grand tale, it is everything in between, and so it is also for the people around you. Everyone influences everyone, and you’re a part of more lives than you think. So look around you at your life and don’t pass it by waiting for special occasions, grand accomplishments or other extraordinary things. As the saying goes: “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans”
In the end, I liked the moral and the sentiment he wanted to get across, and I liked many of the stories he told; but I feel I would’ve liked it better with less dress-up and sketch, and more as a sort of ‘regular’ cabaret.
I’ve been afraid of the dentist ever since I was about, seven, eight years old. Before, I never had any issues, but then, when my adult canines came through, my baby teeth didn’t budge. So when I went to the dentist for my normal check-up he hmm’d some, and yanked them out. It broke whatever trust I had in him, and I never got it back. I was forced to see this dentist until I turned 18 after which I promptly registered with another dentist, went once and then stopped. In the intervening years, I’d never had any problems with my teeth, so I wasn’t really worried.
About two, three years ago, one of my wisdom teeth came through. It took some time, my jaw isn’t very big so there wasn’t a lot of room for it to enter. It was also hard to reach with a toothbrush but I figured it’d be okay. About a year ago I hit the side of that tooth with my finger while pulling something, piece of popcorn probably, from between the te18eth before it, and I felt a sharp edge.
Over the next year I occasionally felt with my tongue and it kept being there. I knew it had to be a cavity, and that it would probably be best to get it out. So last month, I finally gathered up my courage and registered at the dentist here in town. I went in for a check-up, discussing my fears before hand (loss of control, not knowing what’s going on, not so much pain). So for that first appointment, my dentist just looked and poked a bit and x-rayed my teeth. Turned out my teeth in general are in good shape. I have tartar, but that can be removed. The wisdom tooth, on the other hand, had three cavities. So it had to come out, what I had already been expecting. Fortunately, the x-ray also indicated I have short roots, so it should not be a problem to do so.
This morning, I went in for the extraction. I was actually surprised how calm I was, but I’d been telling myself for weeks now that it was necessary and it wouldn’t be that bad, especially with the roots being short. I sat down in the chair, and had the dentist tell me briefly what she was going to do. Then she injected the numbing agent, once on the inside and once on the outside. This was okay, since I’m used to needles both for injections and blood draws. I didn’t even feel them.
After waiting half a minute or so, she poked my gums to see if it was numb, which it was. Then she started working around the tooth. The pulling and pressure was a bit scary, but since I didn’t feel any pain, I just clenched my hands and managed. Then she clamped the tooth, said I might hear some creaking since it was so close to my ear and then it was out.
Some suction, and clamping down on a gauze, later I could sit up and everything was done 🙂 I had a bit of the shakes as a release from tension, but once I was outside and back on my bicycle that, too, went away.
I rode to the Parents, since it was my free day. I had to clamp down on the gauze for half an hour, so I couldn’t talk very well, but it went okay 😀 I’d been given an extra gauze in case it was still bleeding after half an hour, but that wasn’t even necessary. Once I was gauze-less again, Mom and I went for a wee bit of grocery shopping and then I joined them for lunch.
The rest of the afternoon I rewarded myself with glorious Warcraft (Stable Master achievement, woohoo), and a quick stint of vacuuming 😛
Yesterday, Mom and I went to see the theater production of War Horse. It was beyond amazing.
It tells the story of the English boy Albert who acquires a horse, Joey, and then loses it to the military when World War I comes around. He enlists in the army to try and find Joey again and promises to bring him home. We then follow both of them through the war. Joey is used in the cavalry, pulls medical carts and cannons. Albert goes from trench to trench. In the end, just as Albert, wounded, is about to give up, he and Joey get reunited.
The animals in the show are puppets, made by the same company that made the Lion King puppets. There are a number of horses, but only two of them are main characters. So these two are the most elaborate and require three people to play them.
It was an amazing show, the story line itself is a bit simplistic, but seeing as how the book it is based on is a children’s book, that is to be expected. The decor was very understated. Freestanding doors and a window frame on a string to indicate the houses, iron poles held by people to signify fences, a plow, a cannon. High above the stage was a big projector screen shaped like a torn piece of paper. On there, throughout the show, hand drawn animations were shown to display scenery (extrapolated from what was shown on stage) and drive home the horrors of WWI (which really packs a punch) with also occasionally dates and places to give an idea of when and where everything takes place.
The horses look fantastic and the choreography and movement is so well done that, within minutes, they transcend their form and become real. We were seated first row on the balcony giving us an unencumbered view of the whole stage and allowing me to lean on the balustrade and just be totally immersed.
After Christmas dinner it was time for prezzies. First we exchanged gifts with my parents, and after they left, Nienke and I continued the unwrapping party with our gifts for each other.
We’d already given each other one of the prezzies the day before, but now it was time for the rest. We usually set a budget, and always go over, but I think we never went quite as far over as we did this year 😀
Mom and Dad gave me the CD with the soundtrack of Guardians of the Galaxy. A definite hit as the songs keep getting stuck in my head 🙂 I got Mom a bath set with lotion and fluffy things, and for Dad dried meat sausages, he always likes a good sausage.
Nienke gave me awesome things! Starfleet Academy and Medical Academy buttons, a necklace of the Elven brooch given to the Hobbits, a colouring book and a cute story book, a letter E, and the best thing ever: a USS Voyager model kit. I’ll have to order paint first, but I can’t wait to build it.
I got Nienke a Comic Con Exclusive Buffy Pop Vinyl, the eleventh Doctor’s sonic screwdriver, a 1:64 model of the Impala from Supernatural along with a replica of Dean’s necklace that Sammy gave him, blue fuzzy gloves, a guitar stand and the unicorn plush from Despicable Me. The cats each got a toy, as well.
Then tonight Kim came by to watch the Olivier B. Bommel movie Als je begrijpt wat ik bedoel and then we saw Flushed Away before also exchanging gifts.
I’d gotten both Nienke and Kim a chocolate bar, and gave Kim a set of mugs with owls on it, as well as a bracelet with a Mockingjay pin. I’d also gotten some toys and candies for her cats. She got me chocolate, fudge and a Pop Vinyl of Invisible Bilbo!
I started yesterday morning with making the dessert and the starter. Like last year, I planned a cheesecake, but unlike last year, I went for slightly smaller portions and more decorative. So I baked it in a cake tin so I could press out shapes.
The starter was a combination of two tiny cream-cheese and ham pastries and two pieces of deviled egg. The pastry cups were store bought so I stuffed them with herbal cream cheese and topped it with prosciutto. I then boiled the eggs and made a mustardy filling.
By the time noon came around, the cheesecake was cooling, the pastries and eggs were in the fridge waiting for the evening, and all the vegetables (carrot, potato, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts) for the main courses were sliced, diced, shredded and what not.
This left me enough time to have a cuppa tea and relax 😀
Later in the afternoon I finished the dessert by using a ring mold to cut out four circles and decorated it with blackberries on top and sliced strawberry around it.
After that, it was time for actual cooking. I started with a traditional oven roasted chicken and veggies. After quickly browning the chicken in a pan I put the sliced and diced carrots and potatoes in an oven dish, mixed with herbs and spices, spread the chicken on top and shoved it in the oven to forget about it until the rest was done.
Then I put the cut broccoli and cauliflower in another oven dish and made a cheese sauce. When that was done, I poured it over the veggies, and added this dish to the oven, also.
For the third dish, I stir fried shredded Brussels sprouts and cabbage with bacon bits and curry powder.
And finally, I made chicken saltimbocca: chicken covered with prosciutto, spinach and parmesan and then rolled up. First it gets cooked on all sides so it stays together better, and then the pan is filled with a chicken broth and it is boiled in that for a while.
While these were finishing up, I got the rest out of the oven/off the stove and on the table and starter plated up. Time to eat!
The food was well received, even Dad, who normally doesn’t really say anything about it but just eats, came out and said he liked it. Even the dessert, which I think he skipped last year, went in smoothly. I call that a win 🙂
Tonight it’s Nienke’s turn to do dinner. The plan is roast beef with broccoli and cream sauce and roasted potato. Sounds delicious!
Wrote Holiday cards with Mom yesterday as we usually do.
In the evening I went to the city to meet up with Gert to go see The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. It was a good movie with many things I liked and loved, but it just felt a bit off. I’m curious for the extended edition release next year because I felt, at several moment, that things were cut that would be excellent moments to restore for the extended.
Then tonight, I went again, but then with Nico. I’m not sure if I’ll be seeing it more than these two times (in comparison, I went to see Desolation in cinemas thrice).
Saturday, Kim is coming over to watch the Extended Desolation of Smaug in preparation for watching Battle, later on.
Both Mom and my new glasses had come in to the store, so today we went to pick them up. Dad also came along, as Mom has decided he, too, needs a new pair. Unfortunately, the store didn’t have room in their schedule for an eye check today, so they made an appointment to come back.
Then we went to HEMA for lunch, it’s kind of a tradition when we’re at the mall here, and did a bit of shopping. After which they dropped me off at work.