zaterdag 31 augustus 2013

The Importance of the Color Red for Us....

Today I went to the graveyard to bring flowers. I usually go there twice a week. A cycle-trip from 20 minutes. It is a very calming and healing place to go. I go there to talk to him and to be silent with him. To think and to cry. Just to be with him.

Sometimes the day starts well, but it can change in a second. 

This morning I went to the market to buy flowers and vegetables. My favourite stall is from a Chinese family. You buy your veg and fruit and they always give you some extra for free. Some apples, a basket of strawberries...a melon..

The "mother" asked me: How are you and how is the other Mister? I answered that Bram passed away in April, and in a split second there was emotion on both sides. It usually happens once a week that I am asked how Bram is doing (last night too, while in the open air cinema on the square) and that I have to tell what has happened. it is very logical because we have been living togehter here in the centre all these years. We have been a well know couple here in town. That is why it is not strange that people ask me, and in a way it is nice that we "have been seen" all these years of our relation.

So, it might have been a bit too much, because from this morning on, I feel out of balance.

Every week I buy flowers..for him and for me as we used to do. Always flowers on the table in the hall. The table we used to have diner at together, but a -no sit- place  now for me. Too emotional to sit there alone. My place is now at the table in his former workroom behind the kitchen. The new dining-room. My safe haven to go.

Today I bought red Dahlia's for me and him. I always buy them at the same stall we used to buy,and before I met Bram he also bought his flowers there. Huub, the owner also organised for me 130 red tulips to be used at the funeral. 30 for each year of our relation, and the rest to be thrown on the coffin instead of sand.

A week before the funeral I went to him to ask if he could buy them for me, and if I could pick them up the next saturday. He assured me that he would pick the most beautiful for me and him, and that he could see that Bram wasn't well a few weeks before. His twinkle in his eyes was gone. So true, so wel seen and observed. That twinkle was his signature. A

We picked them up the next saturday, and after he gave me his condolences he told me that the name of the tulips was: "Strong Love". How appropriate and touching I thought.

They were beautiful.

And there are a few reasons why tulips...

Reason One
Bram was born in a poor family in the far North above Amsterdam. His family worked in the bulbfields during season. Peeling bulbs. He has been surrounded by tulips during his youth.

Reason Two was the color red. We both are left wing in politics and red is the color for that. 

And Reason Three:
We both have always loved to have red tulips at home. In the Christmas season you can buy them and for us that was always a tradition to have them than at home. As simple as that. And always tulips during the season.

A few years ago I have organised a school project with the name "Red Thread"
No coincidence..
Today I found some information about the color Red: 
Red is the color of blood, and as such has strong symbolism as life and vitality. It brings focus to the essence of life and living with emphasis on survival. Red is also the color of passion and lust.
There is an ancient Chinese belief which states that there is an invisible red thread that connects each of us to all of the individuals who have been, currently are, and will in the future be important to us in our lives. 
This red thread can stretch, twist, and bend… but will never break. 
The color Red is often used in embroidery. A few years ago I got for my birthday 2 beautiful  pillowcases with this text embroided -by dear friend Tiny- on it. 
Bram got his one with him and I kept mine. He is surrounded by Our Love.

And we used red embroidery-thread for the word Silence (Stilte) on the handkerchief that everyone at the funeral got when entering the building at the graveyard. 
A memento for everyone to cherish and keep. When I visit friends I often see it somewhere in their room.

In the week after the funeral I decided to make a little sign on his grave. I didn't like the text: A.D. Borgo number so and so. 
That is why I stitched - with red thread ofcourse- a handkerchief around it.
Now, after 5 months, the sun and rain have bleached it out, and the red stitches at the front have become sort of pink.

The stitches on the back are still bright red.

In a way everything comes together with this bleaching. 
Bram loved to wear his Ralph Lauren -always Ralph Lauren...Nothing else, because they had such great colors in the collection..and always Button-Down- shirts even more when they were bleached out a little. That they were worn and used and that life had came into them.

Since he passed away I wear his faded shirts at night. His second skin on my second skin. 
It reminds me of a scene in the movie: "Brokeback Mountain". . the two shirts hanging over each other in his wardrobe.

Writing for me can bring me back in balance. 
I think it has worked now...

donderdag 22 augustus 2013


It seems that at this phase in my life things have changed. Things I loved to do before Bram passed away suddenly don't work anymore for me..
Not much enjoyment in cooking anymore....
I used to knit for years everyday, but I haven't knit now seriously for months. Guess it is because of the importancy knitting had in that difficult period we both had. Knitting always brought me into a relaxing mood. Sitting and knitting  next to him while he watched tv. Knitting is connected to him in a way, and that is why it is so difficult to start again...might not make sense to you, but it does to me.

I have to block a finished scarf..

And finish off an Icelandic cardi for myself..
Just a buttonband and ordering buttons....not that much work..

Than there is a simple Ishbel on the needles..waiting to be picked up..

Really should work on all of them....
And, I bought some Beautiful Shilasdair yarn while on the Isle of Skye, for an upcoming Winter sweater..

I did do some crochet. Simple granny squares (1 each day for a while) in Shetland yarn, for a blanket..
Haven't worked on them after I came back from holiday. But, at least there is a little pile already.. I am sure one day my blanket will be ready.

Suddenly out of the blue spinning appeared.
All because I went to a spinning meeting a few weeks ago. 
I drove to Nordhorn with the lovely Tien and met up with Agnes and more lovely women who taught me the first tricks..
And I did spin...and was very uneven for the start...(but they told me that Merino is not that easy to I call it my own ArtYarn..)

But I was Very Very proud of my first little ball of homespun.. (probably will always keep it as a trophee..or is this a silly idea??)

And I found out that it was lovely to do.
Calming and relaxing..
And that there aredifferent types of wool and some of them are really easy to spin..
Pimmie gave me a big home made batt..(forgot the type) but it was so much easier to make a nice thread out of it..
And out came this..

Already much better..still uneven, but rather country looking I would say..

At that meeting I...well not be honest..the chairlady of the Dutch Landelijke Spingroep sold my old Louet for €125,- to a fellow spinster spinner..Thanks again Elske!!

All because BLISS has arrived... MissBliss I met on that meeting and it was Love at first sight..and Elske offered me kindly to borrow MissBliss to experiment.. 
So..I went home without my Louet, but with a Bliss in the back of the car.

And than I was hooked...even more after more spinning goodies had arrived..
A beautiful Ashford Turkish Drop Spindle..Thanks Judith..

Beautiful coloured roven from Feikje..check out her website HERE.

And from Meta... check her site HERE.

Guess you can call them both Dutch Color Queens..

A few years ago I had bought some Ashford Silk Merino fibre to start spinning again. But I kept it in a bag, till it came out last week..

Not easy, but love to spin with this smooth and silky-soft fibre..
Still uneven, but it will be plied and than waiting to become something else..

As said before...
I seriously did fall in Love with MissBliss...Made by Lou√ęt and sold by Woolmakers

But..being attracted to Men, I wanted a MrBliss here at my home..
One for to cherish and love forever..
So I ordered one...
And it arrived yesterday...

It is a DIY assemble yourself..

I am not very good in DIY...(IKEA..HMM...why is that screw coming out there??)

After opening I found this rather intimidating pile of elements..
And a clever to add that..

It even has a magnetic point...if you look very close you can see that is was heavenly used...
There is a Manual...(I am not good in manuals..hmm....)
With lovely words...

Yes, I love spinning..No..I don't love assembling...
I was hoping for a Handy Man to jump in at that point..having images in my head from screws coming out on various places where they shouldn't be...but No One rang the doorbell...
So I started...
All is cleverly packed in little seperated plactic bags..

The manual has clear instructions..and next to that MissBliss was there too. Nothing could go wrong I thought..
But at some point..almost at the end..
Why is something different than the pictures..the hinges....
O dear...the front part is...

Yes.. placed it the opposite as it should be...
Said some really rude words...
But at that time my Screwdriver and Me had become Very VERY close friends..
Step by step back..and step by step onwards....
It came together..I kept thinking:

Keep calm and Assemble a Bliss.

And PROUDLY PRESENT.....MRBLISS or should it be Mr.Bliss?

So now I have two at home...see if you can find differences in them..

But MissBliss will leave the house... 
Probably in October when I go to a Dutch Spinning day..

I am sure I will miss her, but Mr.Bliss will give me so much pleasure..I am sure of that..

donderdag 8 augustus 2013

First Time...

Yesterday was my birthday. I have turned 55.
It was strange to wake up alone after an evening full of tears before the morning.
No one next to me to give me a kiss and a present, as I was used over the last 30 years.
First time... there have been many "First Times" over the last months. 

First time going to a party alone..and first time coming home alone after that party...
First time going on holiday alone..and first time coming home alone...
First time cooking a meal for me alone..and eating it alone.... 
(to tell you the truth..I hate cooking at the moment..and I used to love it..)
First time sleeping alone in our double bed...
First time telling people that he had passed away...(that still happens..)
First time going to the market and realizing that you don't need that amount of oranges anymore..

And there are more...many more First Times...

Living alone after living together for so long will take a lot of time to get used to it..if I ever get used to it....
I don't see the benefits of it..
We used to make important decisions together..
and making them alone is not that easy for me.

But I see a change happening also..just a little change within myself.

Being home now for 2 weeks after being away for 1 month I realize that in a way I get my own life back. A big part of my life over the last 6 years was dedicated to my care for him. I will never ever regret doing that, because it has taught me important lessons of life.
I realize that my life moves on..but..his death is moving with me. And that will always be the case in the future. So it a double move..which can be hard to see and feel..
Unexpected sad moments..unexpected tears out of the blue...On and off...

And it is only 18 weeks ago he passed away..

That is the double and sometimes triple feeling you get from mourning and grieving.
I can say that I love life...
I have an optimistic character which helps me...
But I also miss my life with him..
A part of my life is missing..he is missing....

The holiday has done good. It has been difficult -but also good and very needed- in Scotland. The confrontation was every moment round the corner, because we have been there so many times together. But is was needed too, to have a close look at it, and to realize how wonderful the holidays we have had together over all those years.
The luck we had with each other that we both loved those kind of landscapes.
And the luck I have with dear friends living there, who took such good care of me.

In London I realized that I could stay hours in a museum without having the feeling that I needed to go home because I was needed there. But I missed his eyes. His sharp eyes. But I guess his eyes are in my eyes too. So I went to several museums during the four days I stayed there. It was easier to walk around in London than in Scotland, because we only have been there together 2 times years ago. There is no history together over there.
So a part of me came back...

We have never been together to Guernsey. That made it easier to go there. But the ferry trip to Guernsey was unexpected difficult for me. We both love ferry-trips..and now I was alone. No one to talk to, no one to drink coffee with and sit outside in the sun.
But staying with my soulmate there was in another way very good. Nice weather, swimming in the bay, barbecues with her friends, cooking together and drinking wine outside and talking about our lives we live at the moment.

A lot of people think it is brave that I took this step. Perhaps it is, but Bram and myself have talked about this. He told me to go away this summer. So in a way I had to do it. And he was right telling me to has brought me important insights.

Helping me a lot during difficult moments in the holiday have been the idea to write letters to him from the moment the holiday did start.
I love writing, and while writing those letters clear moments and insights appeared to me.
"Dear Bram...and Lots of Love from Me" was the beginning and the end of those letters.
Maybe I am going to do something with them in the future..For the moment I still write him letters, but not on a daily basis anymore..and they are only for him to read.
And also I take a picture each day for my Getting Grip visual diary on Tumblr.

I could write much more...
but time to pour me a glass of wine..
There is some leftover from last night, and it would be a shame not to drink it.
To life..To Bram..and to you All..Cheers..