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Land of the Mad Lupin Lovers

Ramblings from a geek

Friday Five!

OK so it's Saturday now but eh, whatever. Also hey what's up, first post in uhhh.... six months? Whoops. 

Anyway this Friday Five has art as a theme so what's more perfect?

1. Do you make any kind of art or craft? Please share.

Whoo boy, let's see. I paint, draw, knit, embroider, sew, write (well, used to anyway), play the ukelele, I occassionally mess around with a tin whistle (Irish flute) and I dabble in photography. Whew! Oh and I used to make jewelry but there's only so much jewelry you can make before it's too much to wear.

2. Would you rather make art (paint, sing, play an instrument) or observe someone else’s art? Why?

Depends on the situation I guess? I mean, I'm an enthusiastic amateur but I know there are people who are way better at whatever I do, and I enjoy watching them perform. But if it was a case of "you absolutely HAVE to pick one", I'd go for making art myself.

3. If you could be really good at any creative endeavor, which would you choose to be really good at?

Probably painting? I do urban sketching, and seeing some other artists' work is, ugh, jealousy inducing. I would love to be able to just.... paint what I see.
The fun part is when we get together as a group and everybody gets jealous of everybody else. :p

4. Do you prefer recorded performances or live performances? Why?

Read more...Collapse )

2019 resolutions!
New year, new chances! Nearly typed 'changes' there - who knows, maybe I WILL change.
Anyway, here goes.

General stuff
- Get a new job, or at least make my current job more fitting for me and my interests.
- Finally set up a blog? Admittedly I have been keeping a diary for the past three months, which is a record for me, so maybe I can translate that into blogging, too...
- Read at least 25 books (setting my goal a little lower this year so as not to stress myself out again)
- Read an Italian and a French book
- Be able to read and write Japanese Hiragana; work through a Japanese workbook
- Take another sign language course and have a conversation in Sign
- Start a book club
- Do more hiking, at least 15 kilometers
- Try out yoga to see if it's any good for my health
- Visit Krakaw, Poland, with my brother in spring; go to the US and visit Amy in the summer (yay!). Maybe go on another trip in the fall for my parents' 40th wedding anniversary?

- Finish my Celestarium shawl
- Knit a new hat
- The Celtic Myths shawl
- A fisherman sweater/gansey
- The 17th century stockings
- New gloves
- Sew a skirt and two dresses

Other hobby stuff
- More sketching/drawing. Attend the monthly urban sketching meetings and maybe even the Urban Sketching symposium in Amsterdam.
- Take ukulele lessons
- Learn to juggle (hope springs eternal, lol)
- Practice photography; make photobooks of my past vacations

364 days left to do it. Aaaaaand... go!

2018 overview
So... I basically only post for these things now? Man, my LJ is on live support, it's practically died. Oh well!
Overall 2018 was... better than 2017? But not super much or anything. I didn't get as far as I wanted to get in my life, but I'm not dissatisfied, really. Just kind of meh, haha.

Let's see how I did with this year's resolutions!

General stuff/self-improvement
- Challenge myself more, workwise. I'm keeping an eye out for a better, more fitting job, but right now this one is ideal because I can basically fill in my own hours. The downside is that it's way too easy for me to just show up whenever and end up underperforming, which is bad. So I need to put more effort in and work towards a place where I can show my skills and talents. I kind of did this! I still work in local government but I switched departments. HR also got off its ass and is now actively supporting my search for another job, including a jobcoach, so let's hope 2019 is the year for me in that regard.
- In that vein, maybe look into volunteer work that's more up my alley, maybe even disability advocacy. I did exactly this and I actually pretty much stumbled into it! I write articles for my job's magazine, and in early 2018 I interviewed someone who deals with accessibility. I mentioned that the subject interests me because I have a disability myself, and she asked if I wanted to join this disability advocacy group she deals with a lot. It's volunteer work, but it's a lot of fun and we do a lot of great activities.
- BLOG, DAMNIT. Can also tie into the first two points. Fail. I didn't even keep up with this LJ. :p Although I did post a lot on my Instagram!
- Read a French book. Non, je n'ai pas lu une livre en Français...
- Read an Italian book and hold an Italian conversation I did not read an Italian book, but I did have a lot of Italian conversations (including some 50+ year old guy who was flirting with me, ugh), so yay.
- Learn to read Japanese (I want to go to Japan in 2020) Yeaah.... no. I think I'll be happy if I'll be able to puzzle out words in Hiragana at the end of this year.
- More hiking to where I can do at least a 15km hike I wanted to do a lot more hiking but I never got 'round to it, ugh.
- Read 50 books (my Goodreads challenge) By the skin of my teeth! I read 51 books this year, according to Goodreads.
- Visit England in the spring (London for the Hamilton musical, then Bath and maybe Glastonbury) and Florence in the fall. In Florence I want to do a language and art course where you do Italian classes in the morning and drawing/painting classes in the afternoon. During the weekend I want to hop over to Venice and Siena so I can pretty much tick those off my list, too. Did this! Well, I didn't go to Glastonbury as I couldn't make it work with the public transport. But I visited London (never did make it to the Hamilton musical either - it was sold out and I didn't win the lottery) and Bath at the end of March. The weather was DREADFUL, I had rain every day, but I absolutely adored Bath. I also visited Stonehenge, which was a lot more fun than I remembered it from like 10 years ago. I also did the Italian trip: two weeks in Florence for language/art classes (great, learned a lot, managed to do all the interactions in stores and on public transport in Italian by the end of my trip), a daytrip to Siena (absolutely gorgeous, I want to go back) and four days of Venice. I actually went to Venice with the idea of just ticking it off a must-visit list, a sort of "you can't say you love Italy if you've never visited Venice since it's the city everyone knows, but it's probably way too crowded and touristy so I'm doing four days so I'll have seen everything and then I never have to go there for the rest of my life" thing. So, expectations were below sea level. And then of course I absolutely fell in love with it! It helped that I was there at the end of October, which is fine weatherwise and crowd-wise. I did a mask-making workshop, rode a gondola, and had gelato on St Mark's Square. So yeah, definitely want to go back! Pics of all my travels on my Instagram page.

- Sew a dress and a skirt Sewed four skirts but not a dress!
- Sew a coat Nope.
- Knit a pair of socks I... finished a pair of socks! That counts, right?
- Knit myself a new Hogwarts scarf Did this! I knit an infinity scarf with Ravenclaw stripes. Sadly it's not wide enough to go around my neck twice. Ah well.
- Knit a fisherman's sweater/gansey No. Hopefully next year.
- Finish at least 2 works in progress I finished a pair of socks, so... one out of two!
- Work on a pair of 17th century stockings! (I'm a volunteer for this project!) I started this! Buuuut turns out knitting on 1mm needles is a pain in the arse and it takes ages. So I... kind of sort of abandoned it? Sigh.
- For the love of god, finish something crocheted Nope. I did attend a crochet-for-beginners workshop but then I never continued, lol.

Other hobby stuff
- Do more urban sketching Yep. There's an urban sketching group where I live and I attended most meetings. Also did some sketching in Italy. I want to do more of it though, maybe even attend the yearly Urban Sketching symposium which is in Amsterdam in 2019.
- Practice the tin whistle and the ukelele to where I can play at least five songs on each Sort of but not really? I didn't really do much with the tin whistle, but I messed around with my uke quite a bit. In early December I even had a try-out class for it, which I liked a lot, so I'll probably continue classes next year.
- Learn to juggle Heh. I tried for one evening, in November, and then promptly abandoned it again.
- Learn how to work my new mirrorless camera I took classes, even! Which were fun and I learned a lot, not just how to work my camera but how composition works and stuff. Very helpful.
- Follow an art course in Florence Yes! Although in the end it was only 4 classes so it wasn't an actual art course, but still, learned some stuff, and honestly I'd like to go back and follow more classes for longer than two weeks.

New Year's resolutions/plans tomorrow! 8 hours and 9 minutes to go until it's 2019! Gosh, I'm getting old.

Friday Five
Bit late, but eh.

1. After your first language, what language would you like to learn? (Say first language too.)
- My first language is Dutch! I'm currently learning Italian, Japanese and sign language, and occassionally practising French on the side. I want to learn Spanish eventually, too, and maybe even Frisian.

2. Does your country have a second language? What is it?
- For such a tiny country, we actually do have an official second language! Frisian, mostly spoken in the province of Fryslân, or Frisia, home of stubborn, tall blonde people, ice skaters and majestic black horses. Frisian is quite similar to English, and it's the native language of my dad - he spoke nothing else for the first five years of his life.

3. How many languages can you count to 5 in? To 10 in? List them.
- Dutch: één, twee, drie, vier, vijf, zes, zeven, acht, negen, tien.
English: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.
German: eins, zwei, drei, vier, fünf, sechs, sieben, acht, neun, zehn
French: une, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit, neuf, dix
Italian: uno, duo, tre, quatro, cinque, sei, sette, otto, nuove, dieci
Japanese: ichi, ni, san, shi, go, roku, nana, hachi, kyuu, juu

And I can do it in Dutch sign language too but that's a little harder. :p Basically you hold the back of your hand towards the person you're talking to and extend your index finger for 'one'. Then add the middle finger for 'two', etc. The thumb is the final one for five - all fingers extended. Then six is thumb plus index finger (thumb = 5, index = 1, so thumb + index = 6), thumb + index + middle is seven, etc. Ten is all fingers extended again but with the palm of your hand towards the person you're talking to!

4. What is the first overseas country you visited? And from where? (ie/ timbuctoo to mars)
- This is a bit of a weird question when you're in Europe because there's a huge difference between overseas and foreign countries! The first FOREIGN country I visited was France - we used to go there on holiday a lot when I was a kid. The first overseas country, technicaly, was the UK - the North Sea is a sea, even if the distance between the UK and the Netherlands isn't that big!

5. What country do you most want to visit? And why?
- I love Italy! And I'm saving up for a trip to Japan in a few years. :) And I want to go back to Ireland and the US someday.

2018 resolutions
Is it just me or does it already feel a little different than 2017? Somehow I like the numbers better. They feel... softer. But then I have synesthesia so hey. (In that vein, 2018 has a nicer colour, sort of a blue/green mix, whereas 2017 had some red mixed in from the 7, so maybe that also worked against it?) Weirdly enough for me personally 2017 wasn't even that bad a year, but I still feel some relief that it's done. On to making 2018 kickass! This year, I want to do the following:

General stuff/self-improvement
- Challenge myself more, workwise. I'm keeping an eye out for a better, more fitting job, but right now this one is ideal because I can basically fill in my own hours. The downside is that it's way too easy for me to just show up whenever and end up underperforming, which is bad. So I need to put more effort in and work towards a place where I can show my skills and talents.
- In that vein, maybe look into volunteer work that's more up my alley, maybe even disability advocacy.
- BLOG, DAMNIT. Can also tie into the first two points.
- Read a French book
- Read an Italian book and hold an Italian conversation
- Learn to read Japanese (I want to go to Japan in 2020)
- More hiking to where I can do at least a 15km hike
- Read 50 books (my Goodreads challenge)
- Visit England in the spring (London for the Hamilton musical, then Bath and maybe Glastonbury) and Florence in the fall. In Florence I want to do a language and art course where you do Italian classes in the morning and drawing/painting classes in the afternoon. During the weekend I want to hop over to Venice and Siena so I can pretty much tick those off my list, too.

- Sew a dress and a skirt
- Sew a coat
- Knit a pair of socks
- Knit myself a new Hogwarts scarf
- Knit a fisherman's sweater/gansey
- Finish at least 2 works in progress
- Work on a pair of 17th century stockings! (I'm a volunteer for this project!)
- For the love of god, finish something crocheted

Other hobby stuff
- Do more urban sketching
- Practice the tin whistle and the ukelele to where I can play at least five songs on each
- Learn to juggle
- Learn how to work my new mirrorless camera
- Follow an art course in Florence

There, quite a list! Let's see how this goes. :)

2017 overview
Wellllll it's been a year, hasn't it? Pfff.
Let's see how many of my resolutions I kept.

General stuff
- Find a new job as my current one is... not a good fit for me Sort of? I switched departments, from HR to Servicedesk, and my new colleagues are a lot more fun.
- Start and maintain a blog (for real this time) Hahaha nope... I didn't even manage to properly keep up with this LJ. D:
- Improve my French enough to read a book and comfortably hold a conversation Sort of did this! I had a few conversations in Paris and Chartres, and I bought two books (so yeah they were French translations of P&P and PoA, what of it? :p)
- Improve my Italian enough to read a (children's) book and attempt a conversation I think I can have a basic conversation now, not entirely sure I would be able to read a book, haven't tried it yet. I did manage to follow quite a bit of the Italian-spoken parts of The Young Pope, that was a nice surprise!
- Do more hiking, getting good enough to do at least one 15km hike once (I got a health tracker at a Black Friday sale last year so that should help keeping track of how much I've walked) LOL nope. We had a bad summer, very changeable weather with a lot of rain, so it wasn't at all hiking weather. Boo.
- Read at least 60 books (my Goodreads challenge) By the skin of my teeth (finished the 60th book last night) but I did it!
- Practice the tin whistle more Well, more than "once every three months" is still more, right? :p
- Learn how to play harp Never got around to doing this. Instead, I decided to learn to play ukelele!
- Learn how to juggle Nope. OK, it didn't help that I only remembered this in like, November, and then only did a few halfhearted attempts. :p
- Visit Paris and Chartres in the spring, Naples in the fall. Also maybe London to see Hamilton??? I did go to Paris and Chartres! It was mostly fun - Chartres is beautiful, but the weather was way too hot in Paris. I don't really like Paris anyway, but it's even less fun at 30+ degrees. Ironically, I went BACK in late September, this time combining it with a visit to Reims for the other famous French cathedral. I liked Paris a little better this time around, but I'm not in a hurry to go back. I never got aroun to going to Naples - I had some financial setbacks and it was just too expensive. Hamilton didn't open until December  21 so that was a no-go for 2017 to start with, but I'm probaby going to see it in 2018! Also Naples is back on the 'maybe' list; it's a toss-up between Naples and the Amalfi coast, or going back to Florence for an Italian language course, combined with trips to Venice and Sienna.

Knitting & sewing
- Sew at least three skirts
- Sew a corset
- Knit a pair of socks
- Finish my 2016 weather scarf
- Knit a fisherman's sweater
- Knit a pair of gloves
- Finish at least two works in progress that have been on the needles for ages now
Yeah this was mostly a bust. I find I don't have enough time and energy (mostly energy) left over for creative pursuits anymore, and it sucks. :( I need to work on that. I was going to do a corset workshop but it was cancelled due to lack of participants. I did sew three skirts, although they were really simple a-line affairs, and I at least made a design for my fisherman's sweater/gansey so that's something. Oh, and I crocheted... a square. :p

Drawing and other papery art
- Do more urban sketching, while on holiday for example
- Practice calligraphy more
- Practice the trois crayons technique more
- Set myself a drawing challenge and actually stick to it for once...
Like the knitting and sewing above, I put too little time into this. I did do some drawing in Paris, Chartres and Reims - I even got photographed by some tourists while I was painting the Reims cathedral! That was fun. But I need to allot more time in my schedule to do stuff like this.

Bit disappointing, but eh, I did enough other fun stuff. :) My list for next year is coming tomorrow!
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End of year fandom meme
Stolen from author_by_night :p
Your Main Fandom of the Year?
Harry Potter, always and forever. :p I did a full reread of the entire series, and I was going to do a rewatch of the movies but that sort of... petered out. (I'm at PoA and I guess I'm subconsciously avoiding Moustache!Remus.)</div>Your Favourite Film Watched This Year?
Uhmm.... Good question! I really liked Coco. The Last Jedi was impressie, as was Wonder Woman. I really enjoyed Get Out, Moonlight and Hidden Figures... I saw too many movies. :p</div>Your Favourite Book Read this Year?
Probably The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn, one of my favourite authors. And the HP books, particularly PoA. It's like sinking into a warm bath.</div>Your Favourite Album or Song to Listen to This Year?
Either Hamilton or the The Young Pope soundtrack.</div>
Your Favourite TV Show of the Year?
The Young Pope was BIZARRE and fascinating, and said some really interesting things about religion and the Roman Catholic church. Plus some STUNNING shots of Rome and the Vatican.

I also really enjoyed season 3 of The Leftovers, another bizarre but fascinating and deep tv show. The final episode was... wow.</div>Your Favourite Online Fandom Community of the Year?
I have been really enjoying the Jane the Virgin fandom. They're all so... nice. :) There are shipwars but they're more pleasant than those in big fandoms. Although I guess that's not hard. :p

Best New Fandom Discovery of the Year?
I'm... not entirely sure what they're asking here? I didn't discover any real new fandoms, at any rate.</div>Your Biggest Fandom Disappointment of the Year?
The reaction to The Last Jedi, which seems to be taking blue/gold dress levels of disagreement. I don't mind people thinking the movie wasn't great (I mean, it was over long, some of the gags were on the edge of cringy) but some people are SO BUTTHURT about it! God.
I saw someone on Twitter point out that the downside of all those "examination/trope discussion" youtube videos is that people seem to have sunk into a sort of mindset that you have to pick everything apart and judge it on its parts rather than the sum of those parts. Star Wars is of itself very much a series of tropes, but it's HOW it deals with those tropes that gets interesting. But if you keep judging for using a trope ("omg Rey is Naturally Good At Something, she must be a Mary Sue!!") rather than how the story uses or twists a trope to tell a story ("Luke was hailed as the Chosen One, how does such a status/reputation work out 30 or 40 years later?"), you get really lame stories. And as TVTropes puts it: Tropes Are Not Bad.
(What really gets my goat about this whole "omg they ruined Luke" thing is that Avatar: The Last Airbender did exactly the same thing with Aang in Legend of Korra, but there was way less whining about it then. Even that horrible The Cursed Child brought down the famous hero of the first series! Come on, like Luke was immune. The kid was whiny in his first ten minutes of screentime!)

Oh, and the fact that Johnny Depp is still Grindelwald.

Your TV Boyfriend of the Year?
Um. I guess anyone from The Young Pope is inelligible because of being a priest? :p I'm going with Michael from Jane the Virgin, even though he left the show last season.</div>Your TV Girlfriend of the Year?
I really liked Nora fom The Leftovers, although I'd mostly want to give her a hug and buy her a coffee, haha.</div>
Biggest Squee Moment of the Year?
The Last Jedi had some GORGEOUS cinematography. I saw it twice already and am seriously considering seeing it a third time just so I can see some of those shots on the big screen again. Absolutely stunning.</div>The Most Missed of your Old Fandoms?
Just... peaceful, respectful discussion?</div>Your Biggest Fan Anticipation of the New Year?</div>Erm. Dunno? I might be seeing Hamilton in London, that's gonna be a squee moment. :p</div>

Christmas Meme part 4
And the last few  questions. Merry Christmas everybody!

20. Favourite Christmas meal
I... don't really have a favourite? I don't like too much meat, but I don't like that in general. For some reason I enjoy Brussel sprouts, so I guess... Brussel sprouts with potatos and a small amount of meat on the side? I dunno.

21. Do you travel on the holidays?
I live in the same city as my parents, who only live a seven-minute bike-ride away, so no. :)

22. Eggnog or hot chocolate?
Never had eggnog so hot chocolate by defaut. :p (I literally have an empty mug standing next to me as I type this, haha.)

23. Your plans for Christmas 2012.
I'm beginning to suspect that this meme was made in 2012, haha. My plans back then were to take it super easy - I had JUST reached the end of my six weeks of only liquid and soft food after my oral surgery on November 15 (technically that period would end on December 27, but my orthodontist said I would be free to eat whatever I wanted at Christmas - not like I WANTED to eat chewy food right away, haha. So I was still pretty weak. Christmas Day was (I'm guessing) spend at my parents'. Normally I would spend the day after at my aunt and uncle's, but because I was still recovering I skipped that year and just stayed home.
This year, my mom had to work on Christmas day, so I spend Christmas Eve at my parents' instead. Went to see Star Wars with my brothers first, then over for games and food at my parents'. Today (Christmas day!) I'm staying home and doing basically nothing, whoo. And tomorrow is another visit to my aunt and uncle's.

24. Favourite Christmas Eve tradition 
I... don't really have one for Christmas Eve specifically? Sometimes I go to church, if my parents are singing in the choir, and sometimes I just do whatever. In 2013 I had my last checkup with my oral surgeon (on Christmas Eve, yes), then went to see Frozen, that was fun. :)

Well, that was the entire meme. That was fun!

Christmas Meme part 3
And onwards!

14. Real or artificial tree?
I got a fake one, 40cms high. I have a tiny apartment and a cat, a large tree wouldn't be a smart idea. :p Plus a real tree gives such a mess with the needles and everything.

15. The best gift I've given
Uhhhhmmm. A few years ago I gave my brother a hat I knit him, then I knit an identical one for myself (ok, the colours were different) and just now my dad mentioned he wanted a similar hat for himself, so I guess that gift was pretty succesful!

16. Hardest person to buy for?
My dad. He rarely seems to know what he wants, he already has everything he needs, he has no real hobbies he is really into, and to add insult to injury his birthday is in early January so when you've finally figured out what to give him for Sinterklaas, a month later you have to do it all over again for his birthday. Sigh. At least now he mentioned wanting that hat!

17. Post a picture of an old christmas card.

First hit on Google for "old christmas card" haha.

18. When do you open gifts?
For Sinterklaas, in the evening. We usually start at 7:30PM after having dinner together.

19. Favourite stocking stuffer?
Shoe stuffer for Sinterklaas as kids put out their shoes in the hope of gifts! My favourite are chocolate coins. Or maybe a small Playmobil box.

Christmas Meme part 2
Next questions!

6. Favourite tree ornament
Uhmmm I don't really have one? This year is actually the first year I have a tree of my own! So I should get onto buying or making some tree ornaments, haha.
Maybe I'll knit some tiny socks or something.

7. Most memorable christmas
Hmmmmm.... They mostly sort of blend together? Sinterklaas 2004 was pretty memorable because my grandpa had passed away only a week before. :/ He was my father's father, and my last grandparent. So that was a pretty subdued Sinterklaas...

8. Post a picture of a Christmas decor.
Eh. I'll take a picture once I'm done decorating I guess. :p

9. Easiest person to buy for
... probably my cat, lol. Buying gifts for adults is hard because they usually have enough disposable income to buy whatever they want themselves!

10. Favourite holiday scent
Toss-up between cinnamon and pine, mmm.

11. Favourite Christmas tradition
I'll make it Sinterklaas as we don't really have a Christmas tradition in my family. Every year we draw names and you have to buy a gift and write a poem for the person whose name you've drawn. On Sinterklaas Eve (5 December or the Saturday or Sunday closest to it) we get together and spend an evening unwrapping the presents and reading the poems. We don't just randomly grab the presents: they get put in a large sack, roll a dice and if you roll the number you've called you get to take a present out of the sack (randomly, without searching for one that's for you). The fun part is when nobody managed to roll their number for a few turns in a row, we start shouting at the dice and stuff. :p

12. Wrapping paper or gift bags
Wrapping paper! I'm pretty decent at wrapping gifts, too, I like to think.

13. Favourite Christmas book
Uhmmmm.... Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett, although it's not really Christmas. :p I like Jostein Gaarder's The Christmas Mystery, too. And last year I read A Christmas Carol which was better than I thought! (I don't like Charles Dickens.)