Trending in Twente

Trending in Twente


Gevonden op


Someone from beautiful Twente, a part of the Dutch Province of Overijssel




Twente Juniors


Twente is a nice place to live. Closer to Germany than it is to Amsterdam, dull in the best way possible, rural pockets surrounded by rust-belt towns and a truly excellent University, it is a fine environment to raise a family, walk the dog etc. etc. It is not known for being a ” fashion forward” locale. Imagine my surprise when I caught a look at this while watching Team Twente juniors from the sidelines.




Tukker Nikes

I have a feeling that this is the beginning of a serious trend, here in the wild, wild east.

Poems Lost & Found

Poems Lost & Found

Poetry Folder

I spent most of this evening cleaning up my work area. It is where I write and paint and store most of my books and stuff. I noticed the other day that the stuff was getting to be too much. I couldn’t sit at my desk anymore because of the stuff and the idea of going through all the stuff was rather intimidating so there it remained. Until tonight.

After spending a lovely afternoon with my MIL at Ikea (she needed a new kitchen table, a lamp and a tiny trashcan) I came home to a dark, gloomy house and a sky that was threatening to snow at any minute. I’d promised myself a run before dinner and sundown, but it was just too cold and the time was right to tackle the stuff on my desk.

Clearing away the bills, the junk, the stuff that seems magnetically drawn to my desk because it has no proper place in our house or my life felt great so I moved on to the big messy, cluttered bookshelf. Among all the books I think I should read, but never will and other assorted flotsam, including a statue of Shiva I’m afraid to toss because it will most certainly bring bad luck, I found an accordion file of my writings over the years. Even better, I found a manila folder of poetry in the file.


I’d forgotten about the manila folder. It wasn’t even mine to begin with. It belonged to my parents’ next-door neighbor, the unsinkable Mary Dwyer Currier, or Maribel as her wonderful husband, Richard and I called her. They had
“adopted” me as their ersatz granddaughter when I was very young and I adored them.

At their house I could escape the drama and chaos of my own. Richard would crack open a few Cokes in the kitchen, put a few Milanos on a fancy plate and we’d spend hours talking about music and art and books and politics. They introduced me to Bach, the theater, Jesuits and John Cheever.

Richard was a gifted pianist, philosopher and mathematician as well as former head of the school district. Maribel was a card-carrying Feminist, Truman-democrat and renegade Catholic. They both loved poetry and collected clippings from journals and newspapers in a manila folder that came into my possession shortly before Maribel passed away. Before tonight I never looked to see what was in there.

The clippings are carefully done. Long strokes with the scissor, not like my choppy haphazard cuttings. The New Yorker, NYT, The Atlantic, American Poetry Review...The poems themselves cover a variety of themes, which give my older adult self new insights into the hearts of two people I loved when I was young, who I love still.

I’d like to share some of the poems in this blog and see where they take us.
I don’t know if I’m breaking any copyright rules, so if I am, let me know.

Late Winter Afternoon
by Charles Wharton Stork

Near and afar now, low and high,
The sharp black boughs and the dull
gray sky.
The air grows chilly, the faint light
Dismal the hush of the woodland
As the gathering twilight settles
Over the fields of withered brown.

Little of beauty is here, you say,
At the somber close of this winter
But study the exquisite traceries
From trunk to twig of the passive
And note how toward the horizon’s
The tones of the hillside soften and

The time between January 2 and the first glimpse of spring is a year unto itself in the Netherlands. It snowed a bit today but not much more than meager white dandruff over crusty flat fields. Driving my car over a sandy road no dust rose behind me although my car door felt gritty when I stepped out onto our driveway. The sand itself is frozen down to a distillate that produces no clouds but settles without any fanfare. My gloves make everything clumsier than usual. It seems to take forever in the freezing cold to open our mailbox to collect the post before I go inside. When the front door opens I smell them. My husband brought me daffodils from the market last Saturday– Here, March preview! Yellow flowers with a sunny scent on a January afternoon, by which he means to say he loves me.




I am getting old. This manifests itself in many funny little ways, not the least of which is my reaction time on all fronts: physical, emotional, intellectual. After the attacks in Paris on Friday, I needed time to absorb the basic information. It was important to knowwith which lunatics we (as an ex-pat, I feel safe in the use of “we” in matters European) were dealing this time. Was it ISIS or one of her newly spawned twisted sisters? Were the terrorists home-grown or imported? What is their beef this time?

Frankly, I’m getting a little battle weary for knee-jerk symbolic gestures and calls to prayer for peace to be inspired to join the tragic chorus without knowing more facts. My Facebook photo is not sporting the tricolors of France because the people who know me and about whose opinions I care know how I feel about terrorism and empty symbolic gestures.

Saturday, still ruminating on the attacks in Paris, I went to the sauna with my sister-in-law, who, as we were settling down in the earth-sauna opined that this particular terrorist event was scary because “our kids could have been at any of those places”. Joe College and Charlie Brown went to Paris together this summer for the first time without us. I worried about them getting robbed or separated or falling in with a bad crowd, but I did not worry about terrorists for some reason. Silly me. A week after their return, in the same train, a terrorist was taken down by 2 French and 3 American guys about the same age as Joe College before he could do any damage to the other passengers. I know what my sons would have done in the same situation and that frightens me.

Monday morning I spoke to a friend who thinks that the reason for this terrorism comes down to “haves” and “have nots”. She may have a point, however in disagreements between “haves” and “have nots” the pursuit is based purely on material want and not purely nebulous idealism. These jihadists don’t want Europe’s music or food or fashion. They don’t want more money (except to buy arms), they don’t want anything to do with our way of life. In fact, they want to take away our way of life, to make us fear them. Why?

Well, I have a theory about that. My ride is a snazzy little Mini and I try to stick to the speed limit most of the time, which some male (yes they are always male) drivers situated behind me find annoying. Most don’t have rides as cool as mine (sub-zero, ask Clarkson) and their need for speed seems to arise from a feeling of inadequacy—I never checked, but I’m sure most, if not all are under-endowed and have no say at home. Why else would anyone need to drive 80 kph in a 30 kph zone?

The so-called jihadis have no locus of power except for that which they receive from being terrorists. They are disenfranchised losers who lack the intelligence and grit to better themselves any other way than violence. They are like stupid sheep listening to poisonous words which only enhance their conviction of their disadvantage and taking their direction based upon it. They have lost any ability to think and reason. I am weary of trying to understand these people and worn out with worrying.

The last time I worried this much was 1969. Vietnam was being broadcast into our livingroom and at 5 years old, I was sure the Viet-Cong were going to burst through the door any day. The Viet-Cong, which sounded to me a lot like King Kong, who was one badass gorilla, were also “gorillas”. Every morning at school we’d have to pray for the soldiers in Vietnam and at recess we’d discuss how we’d escape if the gorillas ever came knocking at our door.

On the train to Amsterdam the other day, I sat thinking, not really interested in the book I’d brought along for the 2 hour journey. I spent the trip eyeing up my fellow passengers, sizing up their terrorist potential, checking out possible escape routes and finally considering what I’d do if somebody pulled out a gun.

As a teenager, I was a bit of a mall-rat. Spencer Gifts was always a favorite. My friends and I could spend hours looking at the goofy wallposters. I always liked this one:


All things considered, the best way for me to respond to the massacres in Paris last Friday is defiance. I will continue to go about my daily life, travel on airplanes, talk to strangers, enjoy a concert or a sportsmatch…and if somebody pulls a gun I won’t hesitate. If I’m going down, I’d rather go down fighting.

The Shabbos Goy at Leiden U.



Our firstborn is at university on the other side of the country. That sounds far away; it’s only a 2 hour drive, but still! We’ve had the necessary sleepless nights worrying first about how he was going to make it on his own,keeping on top of his busy schedule, laundry, feeding himself proper food, then about his choice of study, followed by what would his wacky first landlord come up with next, and shouldn’t he be spending more time on his study than his music? Lately we’ve seemed to have arrived in calmer waters. Olivier’s study is going well, he’s still singing but it’s no. 2 on the priority list for the time being, he doesn’t come home in the weekend with a week’s worth of laundry anymore and disappear until Sunday dinner, he actually spends time with us when he’s home, he’s learning to drink wine…in short he’s turned into a delightfully civilised young man and we’re getting a good night’s sleep because of it.

He’s been writing a few articles lately as part of his minor at Leiden U. as well as just setting his thoughts down to make sense of the world. Here’s what he wrote about the shooting at Umpqua Community College last week.

Horrified by the shooting in Roseburg, OR. I couldn’t imagine the lack of safety, and fear I would feel if this would happen at Leiden University. With eight school-shootings in the US in the past three years, the most painful being the one involving the first-graders in Newtown, CT, it makes you question if school environments are safe in the US. Especially, since this one happened in a gun-free zone.

It’s frustrating to see this happening over and over again. The Charleston-shooting is just 3,5 months ago. A very memorable quote from a family member of a victim was: “Hate the sin, but forgive the sinner”. It stresses the importance of environmental factors leading to such a crime, be it gun-control in whatever form, lack of good parenting or the lack of a community that exercises social control on its members.

Sending strength and consolation to the families in Oregon, while hoping larger steps will be taken in addressing the root cause(s) of these shootings. And finally, enjoying the safe community around me, consisting of tolerant people allowing different people to live together safely. Tolerance is necessary, but in this case, as a (world-)community, we need to speak out a collective vote to stop tolerating these crimes, not just in the US, but everywhere.

I couldn’t wait to tell him in person how well put I thought this little piece was.

We usually get the week’s drama out of the way when I pick him up at the train station. By the time we’re at our front door I’m listening to his stories of college life, the new experiences, hearing his (wild) plans for the future. Its fun to see his old highschool crew when they come to our house to drink beer and play cards on the odd Saturday night, and hearing him sing the Magnificat when he’s under the shower on Sunday mornings is a treat not to be missed.


This weekend he announced “Mom! I’m a Shabbos goy!” I can’t remember the last time I heard that term, certainly not in this country. Simply put,a Shabbos goy is a non-Jew who performs work that a Jew is not permitted to do at Shabbat. There are a shedload of specifications and exceptions if you look into this properly, but this is the short version. After I got done laughing he told me the details. Apparently one of his friends at university has returned to the faith and our Ollie puts the lights on in D’s apartment on Friday’s after sundown. The days are short at this time of year on this parallel, so this qualifies as a “life threatening situation”– 18th century buildings, high, narrow stairs…you dont’want to think about the consequences of stumbling around in the dark because you aren’t supposed to turn on a light switch. Is my kid a mensch or what?

We shipped him back to Leiden on Sunday morning. He sent me a funny Facebook sticker last night.


This afternoon the phone rang and it was my friend, Marjolein. “Did you hear about Leiden?”

The phrase “Did you hear about…” in the middle of the afternoon sends chills up my spine. Nothing good comes of it. Another afternoon in 2001, my mother-in-law phoned and asked, “Did you hear about the Twin Towers?”

The earth tilted and my world started slipping away.“What about Leiden?”

There was a threat posted in social media about a gun massacre somewhere on the Leiden campus. I’d been too busy bumping up my Candy Crush score all morning to look at the news, so I hadn’t heard about it yet.

I hung up and quickly phoned my son. I heard his voice. The earth tilted back to a normal position. He was at home, studying for his exam this afternoon. Olivier wasn’t worried about the threat. He assumed it was just some nutjob being stupid online. My son is 21 and still immortal. The immortal train left my station a long time ago, I think it was when I became a mother. I was scared. He wasn’t. He was going to his exam as planned. I made him promise me that if he heard gunfire to hit the ground and play dead. I couldn’t believe what I was saying as the words left my mouth. What kind of world do we live in?

Murder for Breakfast


Crazy Jack

I have a terrible addiction. I wake up to it in the morning, binge on it all day long and if left to my own devices, it’s the last thing I do before hitting the hay: Crime TV, or as my family calls it, when they walk in on me enjoying another episode of Homicide Hunter with my morning coffee, “Murder for Breakfast”.


Cat ci


Frankly, I never knew I lived in such a dangerous country the first 22 years of my life. Along with my man, Joe Kenda, the Homicide Hunter, you’ve got “Women Who Kill”, “Nightmare Nextdoor”, “Blood Relatives” and on a good day, something icky and maggoty on “Dr. G. Medical Examiner” or “Forensic Detectives” all happening in the U.S. Of A. keeping law enforcement busy as can be.

A number of episodes of “Nightmare Nextdoor” occur close to where I grew up, but on the other side of the highway, aka “down there”, which provides a comfortable degree of separation and Dr. G. works out of the county where we vacation in Florida. Having watched many seasons of “Homicide Hunter”, there is no way I’ll ever willingly go to Colorado, it is just too damn scary and Lt. Kenda is retired. Don’t get me started on the murderous goings-on in the Midwest; Capote’s “In Cold Blood” is just the tip of one very creepy iceberg.

Creepy, but entertaining. No, seriously. I’m not a ghoul, not really, hear me out. My life is pretty boring (in the nicest way possible) and it is the drama of looking for a solution to the crime, cracking the code, tracking and catching the perp that I enjoy, the crimes are heinous. I cannot watch any programs dealing with child murderer and “Criminal Minds” gives me nightmares. For me its true crime, solved, done and dusted with a Joe Kenda, “My, my, my” thrown in for good measure.

my my


Finding Amazing Grace



We are well into the 2nd week of gorgeous summer weather here in Hengelo. For the first time in years, our family is spending the entire summer in the lowlands. Our California adventure was in early May and we were hoping for a nice summer back home. Most of the time we’re in Florida during the two weeks of nice summer weather in the Netherlands, and we return to a premature autumn, around mid-August. Not this year.

The weather has been so hot, the guys doing a bit of remodeling on our house are on a “tropical roster”. This means they begin at 7 am. and down tools by 2 pm. Not a problem. 5 past 2 and it is bikini on and poolside for the rest of the day for me and the dogs. The dogs keep it au naturel, I’m wearing the bikini, just so you don’t get confused.

The past few days have been perfect weather for reading Faulkner. I left off with “The Hamlet” the last warm day of last summer and picked it up recently with “The Town”. You love Faulkner or you hate him. It might help to know that just as one should never attempt to read the Dostoyevsky in winter, Faulkner should only be read on very hot, lazy days with a mint julep or a tall home-brewed iced tea (I’m training this week) close to hand. A little old-school blues in the background is also advisable. May I suggest the following: Etta James, B.B. King, Bobby Bland, a bit of Elmore James (no relation to Miss Etta) would go down a treat too. Faulker reads like music. The music only adds to the atmosphere.

Being a fan of southern literature, I’ve been eagerly awaiting Harper Lee’s “Go Set A Watchman” which finds our girl, Scout all grown-up and headed back home to Maycomb for a visit. So eager in fact that I broke one of my cardinal rules and read some of the pre-release publicity. If the Huffpo (source of all truth and wisdom, I’m sure you’ll agree) is to be believed, Atticus is a racist. I was glad I was sitting down for that. Of course the Huffpo is notoriously lacking in the journalistic quality of nuance, so I am hoping that Miss Lee didn’t present Atticus in such (ahem) black and white terms. Looking forward to downloading the book on the 14th. Eula and the Major will just have to wait a bit while I’m busy at the Finch’s a little further north of the Delta.

When it gets too hot to read outside, I’m hitting the summer sales online, baby! Books and protein powder and new Crossfit gear, cute summer slingbacks that don’t hurt my feet, new bedlinen…..

DSC_2925001 (2)

Scents and SensibilityWatchmanthe town

All this reading and shopping is a distraction. I’ve had something heavy on my mind.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor distraction

Someone I know had brain surgery on Friday to remove a malignant tumor. It was one of those things that came up out of nowhere and turned out to be serious trouble.

What do you do? Where are the etiquette guides to tell you how to behave when you hear this news?

Truth be told, my first instinct was to bake (which I hate to do) and smother the family with food, but this of course, was not necessary. The friend with the tumor is Ms. Organization. Food was covered. So I offered to be available if the family needed any practical help. My friend was going to need a cleaner during the recovery period, I tipped her off to my cleaner, St. Michiel, Defender of the Faithless but that was about as helpful as I could be at the moment.

Like just about everybody else, I’ve got a Facebook account. Mostly I use it to keep up with what’s going on in the lives of my sons and gym-buddies, globally scattered friends and a few wacky relatives. I ‘m not big on posting except for the occasional Crossfit brag or a tune of the day selected from Youtube. A lot of times I forget to post anything at all. About a week or so after her diagnosis, my friend sent me a heads up wondering where “Tune of the Day” went because she really enjoyed those posts. I had no idea anybody really looked at them. There was something I could do to make her feel better and it made me feel better as well. Talk about amazing grace. My friend has it in spades.

Repost and Revision : In the Wake of Charleston


A post from about 2 years ago, edited, re-written and revised.

I’m back. Did you miss me?

The past week or so offline, I’ve been, as they say, “gathering material” with which to entertain you and my gathering has taken me to the American Deep South. So, grab an iced tea, a mint julep, hey, I’ve even got beer (domestic) if you’re a redneck, kick off your shoes, scooch up on the porch swing, settle back and enjoy…

Now, ya’ll might find this a bit strange, but I have come to the disconcerting realisation that I am, deep in my heart, a dixie chick. But for the mere happenstance of being born above the Mason-Dixon Line, I could have been a daughter of the south. Let me present the evidence and see what you think.

Item 1: As soon as they hit the Orlando airport, my teenage sons pick up the “ya’ll”and odder still, sprinkle their speech, particularly to strangers with liberal “yes’ms” and “yessirs”. This phenomenon remains constant until we arrive in Europe where they promptly revert to Euro teenspeak.

Item 2: Weird things happen to me in the south; I get friendlier. I can do small-talk. I can do small-talk like nobody’s business when I am in the south. Who’d a thunk? In Chattanooga, just last week, I found myself on the CARTA free shuttle sitting across from a charming matron from Augusta, Georgia and her five year-old grandson. Somehow we got to talking and the talk turned to families and before I knew it, I’d missed my stop for talking. The CARTA rides in a loop, so it wasn’t a big deal and I eventually got off at the right stop with a cheery “Byah now!” to the driver and all the other passengers.

Item 3: At the Riverfront Restaurant in New Orleans, Charlie Brown tells the waiter he has a question and the waiter says, “Ya’ll wanna know whatchem boudin is, right?”

And my son informs the waiter he’s had boudin, likes gumbo and can tell him exactly how to fry up an egg with “trinity”*. What he really wants to know is this: Those alligator poppers on the appetizer list? They really got ‘gator meat in ’em?” They did. He ordered the poppers and ate all of them himself, no sharing. That child has no manners when it comes to food. I blame his mama.

Item 4: I noticed that I no longer say “Civil War” when speaking in reference to that conflict from 1861-65. A few years ago I began, as they do here, calling it “The War Between The States”. I cannot bring myself to calling it “The War of Yankee Agression” because I’d have been an abolitionist, but “Civil War” sounds well, a bit unrefined.

Item 5: For the most part, Dixie turns on manners. One of the things I enjoy most about the south is the way people I’ve met have been unwaveringly polite. They might be telling you they hate your guts and God don’t like ugly, but a southerner will do it with such grace, you’d think they were giving you a compliment. This is something I strive to achieve but have yet to accomplish. Where I come from it is gloves off and no holds barred for insults. My favorite is: You ugly and yo’ mama dress you funny.

Other things I love about the south are grits, pecan pie, the warm weather, the pace of life, William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, jambalaya, country music, Harry Connick, Jr., people who call me “dahlin’” or in the case of one extremely dishy public transport employee “baby girl”, the general pace of life…really I could go on for days.

Still, driving down from Tennessee through Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, I saw the names of cities and places that sent chills down my spine: The Lorraine Motel in Tennessee, Philadelphia, Mississippi, New Orleans’s 9th Ward, Birmingham and Selma, Alabama. We marvelled at the enormous magnolia trees along the Natchez Trace and unbidden, Billie Holliday’s haunting “Strange Fruit” snaked its way out of my memory.

I may love a lot about the south: her charm, her music, her literature, her cuisine, but I am not prepared to accept the bad history along with all the good and glorious. I am forever a daughter of the liberal northeast, who saw the city of Trenton burn that April of 1968. I was almost 4 years old and had no way of comprehending what was going on, but deep, very deep inside, I knew that something was very, very wrong.

At the half-century mark, on another continent, I read the news uncomprehending. Charleston? My Charelston? The place I’ve been trying to convince my lovely husband would be a good spot for us to retire. This morning I read about the lives of those 9 good people; 9 Americans gunned down on American soil in their own church in prayer and fellowship by some misguided, home-grown racist child. It is not my nature to despair and I know what that “very wrong” something is: Visceral and institutionalised racism. Take a sledgehammer to those statues of Jeff Davis, burn the “stars and bars” out of existence and in doing so  remember, understand and accept that our country was born  and is borne on the notion that “..all men are created equal…”