Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Assumptions

Like many others I got asked what I was doing during the holidays and when I explained Hanneke was coming over and staying at my place a few went on their way assuming. Others went on asking how Nath was feeling about that and when I told them she would be there also for the most part left it at that. The raised eyebrows were a give away though. Assume what you want.

Now I'm one who likes to play with assumptions so I do not deny nor confirm anything. Essentially it is impossible because I simply don't know what is going to happen.

And thus it can happen that my one and only bed in this house turns out to not accommodate three persons and yours truly finds himself at the feet of the two women sleeping in the bed. On the floor that is. I didn't object to that as much as my back did. But what also can happen is that today I wake up and feel a hand moving around on my chest. Because Nath went to visit her parents the day before I can pretty much be sure it belongs to Hanneke. After she woke I told her what she did and she explained she lately likes to feel the heartbeat of the person in bed with her. It comforts her sort of.

And now I'm left with an assumption or question. What happened the night I slept on the floor? Do not answer that because in my mind I have a way better answer then reality ever could come up with.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Round up

For the 12th year in a row 3 DJ's have locked themselves into a glass house and in exchange for money play our favourite songs 24/7. During these 6 !! days they do not eat. They do this to collect money for the Red Cross in support of the so called silent tragedies. This year the topic is the 5.5 million babies that are either born dead or die just after birth. Every 6 seconds a baby dies.
Here is a link http://seriousrequest.3fm.nl/live/

Have a look. If only to view the weather in The Netherlands or the current fashion trends here :) I've caught the bug and have this on whenever I'm awake. Last year they collected 8.6 million euro's (10.75 million $$) and even with the current financial crisis it seems they will top it this year. Yesterday evening at 7PM they were already at 4.2 million. In comparison, last year they were at 1.9 million at this stage. Traditionally on christmas eve the door will open again. I feel something that's best described as pride.

___________________________________________________________________


The pope gave his christmas speech and had the balls to tell the world gays are a threat to the family. Here is a man, at the head of an organisation that is infested with paedophiles and knowingly shielded them from prosecution only to protect the interest of the church (read money) whilst wrecking whole families in the process, having the audacity to tell us gays are a danger for society.

I was so appalled I decided it was time to act. I asked my mother where I was baptized and filled out three forms to have the roman catholic tag I bear stricken from all official records. A small gesture perhaps but because I'm still registered as a roman catholic I count as one and tied to that the church gets a certain amount of subsidy and airtime on our national PBS. I hope that many will do this and the signal gets across. I feel something that's best described as utter disgust.


___________________________________________________________________


Nathalie and I spend yesterday in bed for the most time. With the aforementioned Serious Request playing in the background we just spend time together. Talking, laughing, eating, cuddling, drinking and what else you can do. I was asked last night by a friend if I had been drinking and I think my answer: "Only the nectar of Love" covers it all.
Next to that I got a great holiday surprise. Hanneke will visit us for a week from Monday. I have 5 successive days off from work and she'll share the last two of those with us. She will have a hard time to better the 1st day though.
I feel something that's best described as LOVED.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

What she said...

After Nath read last night's FB update she called me if she needed a reason to sleep in my bed and in all honesty I had to say no. It was more the unexpected that drove me to that update and perhaps to a certain degree the fact it didn't make sense.

"René (Using my birth name I knew she meant business otherwise she calls me H., Hun or whatever she comes up with), you have a history of unexpected women sleeping in your bed and you question it when it happens with the woman you are actually in a relationship?"
"In my defense I questions those occasions also. Heck, I even blogged or updated about those as well."
"True, but it seems to me you do not expect women in your bed. Period."
"Good point. Maybe I do. Maybe that's the reason I'm always pleasantly surprised when there is one in my bed. I know of two occasions I forgot there was a woman in my bed. One almost gave me a heart attack when I went to bed and she started moving around and the other made me breakfast in the morning. The fact I asked her how she entered my home didn't go down well."
"You're bad. It seems to me you are the problem and not whether I have food in the house or need warmth during a cold winter night."
"I fail to see how I am the problem when women end up in my bed unexpected but I guess I'm partially to blame. From now on I'll be expecting women."
"Hehe, you'll get disappointed."
"I can't win this one, can I?"
"Nope, but you are a lucky bastard anyway."
"I love you too."
<click>

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Explaining the non truth

Because Nathalie and I do not visit each others relatives there are a lot of questions left unanswered. My dad for instance has seen Nath but doesn't know he has and I briefly encountered Nath's mother when Nath was in hospital but managed to escape her dad. Avoiding them is not a deliberate ploy but meeting them isn't either. We are in the relationship and frankly no one else is.

And so it can happen that yesterday my 14-year-old niece, who hasn't seen Nath and I don't think heard of her, told my sister that I had a rather big bed for someone sleeping in it all by himself and she wondered why. My sister told her she could ask me but that she probably wouldn't get the answer she was expecting. She turned to me.

"H. (how strange btw that none in my family uses uncle with me but do with my brothers) you have such a large bed but you sleep in it all alone, why is that?"
"Okay, I will neglect the red riding hood opening you provided and give you a honest answer. You have a single sleeper, right?" She nodded. "Well that sort of limits your possibilities and I don't like that. I want to have a choice. So every night I stand exactly in the middle of the bed and then close my eyes and spin around my axes 14 times. Just enough to lose my balance and whatever side of the bed I fall on, I sleep on."

Somehow not questioning my story she asked what happened when I would fall on the floor. "Why do you think I have that lush carpet?" I answered.
She looked to my sister and then looked back to me. "You two are so different."

Monday, November 12, 2012

Leadership

When we met with friends yesterday there was a 'new' friend to greet. And at some point he said to me: "No offense but you don't strike me as a leader." "None taken. I don't see myself as one either. But people tend to follow my lead."
I then called Nath to bring me a beer. She just shrugged her shoulders and carried on with her conversation. The new friend took that as a failure of leadership but I told him to just wait. Fifteen minutes later Nath came to us and asked where I wanted to go for dinner. I told her and we all went there. I nudged the new friend. "See."

I've always wondered about the why. I have memories of the captain of our soccer team telling everybody what we would do and then the teammates looking at me and only when I nodded we would actually do it. I have memories of walking in the middle of a group of twenty or so guys in Antwerp and when I slowed the whole group slowed. I have memories of a midnight dropping in my army days and everyone wanted to go left. I said right and without much discussion we went right. I have memories of declining a client and nobody argued. And they can argue the silliest things I tell you. I have memories of my entire family agreeing on a family bowling event before turning to the youngest member to ask what he thought about it. All I said was "nah" and the plan was skipped.

Why are my views/opinions/hunches so valued? I truly wonder about that.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thanks to the teacher

Back in the days, during Math class, I often got lower grades because I couldn't be bothered to explain how I got to the answer. It was the correct answer but the teacher wanted to see the road to it and not (only) the right result.
In the end it was costing me too many points so I reluctantly complied.

Why this flashback? Well earlier this week an employee of a client came to me with a question. He had asked two others but they weren't capable of helping him so he ended up at my desk. He wanted to calculate a selling price based on the purchase price, a preferred margin on sales and taking into account several other costs including a 15% commission over the selling price by the website, he was selling it through. I told him to give me an hour and then I would let him know if it was at all possible.

This is what I came up with: VP ex = ((IP+2,88)/0,9)/(1-(0,1685/0,9/0,9))

It worked but he and his superiors wanted to know how I came to this. That I couldn't explain. "It works. Don't worry about it, Just use it." I told them but they persisted and so yesterday I spend another two hours into making it something for them to understand.

And thanks to the teacher I made sure to write down every step on the way beginning from:
Margin = VP ex -/- IP -/- Csts to the end result: VP ex = ((IP + 2,88)/0,85) / (1 - (X % / 0,85)
where IP is the purchase price and X is the preferred margin.
In MS excel it will look like this: ((C4+SOM(E13:E18))/(1-C12))/(1-(C5/(1-C12))) so they will be able to play around with the variables.
I guess in the end I can say going to school was useful.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Lamps

Just a little something.

When turning on the lights this evening the main source of my lighting, a floor lamp, decided not to burn any longer. Nathalie asked if she should look for a new light in the morning. But I told her not to bother because I'll be going out for a whole new lamp.  She thought about it for a sec before she said that going through life this way could get costly. Buying a new car when the ashtray is full or buying a new phone when the battery is empty.
I just shrugged my shoulders. "We don't smoke in the car and I don't have a cellphone. But I guess that righting something what I somehow must think is wrong is worth it."

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Why do I end up in these situations?

After "all alone" Saturday today was entirely different. Nath and I woke up together, actually I woke up and she was there, and she told me we were going to have dinner with friends. As stated before I do not like all her friends so a little worried I wanted to ask which friends but before I could she put her finger on my lips to silence me. "Don't worry. You'll like them. We're going with John and Nicole." Nicole is a actress who also did some presenting on TV and John is the manager of a theatre in Amsterdam.
Their names are altered for reasons that will become obvious later.

After spending the day more or less just hanging out we got decent and went to the restaurant where we would meet. Nicole and John arrived a little later and after the best part of three bottles of wine and three courses of food we had covered all kinds of conversation topics. I had just ordered us some coffee when Nicole wanted my view on a delicate matter. John had gotten very angry about some pictures of Nicole that had surfaced on the Internet. Topless pictures to be exact, stills taken from a TV-movie. "Oh. I've seen those." I said innocently. That earned me an angry look from John. "But what did you want to ask?"
A little insecure she went on. "Well John thinks I should make a complaint and have them taken down. And I'm not sure about what I should do or think. And we thought you may have an answer for it or a more neutral view."

"Hmm, my first thought is that if you don't want to be on the Internet you shouldn't have become an actress. Then if you don't want any particular body parts on the Internet you shouldn't bare them for the public. Artistic reasons and such aside because that's just a bunch of hoopla. I've seen the most romantic and erotic scenes filmed without any nudity. And vice versa.
But fact is you did show them and they are out there. Whatever you'll do they will remain out there and putting emphasis on the fact they are out there by making a complaint will probably only spread them to a wider audience.
Do you go to the beach and sunbathe topless? I'm guessing you do and so I ask you: Do you want to enjoy that or be focused on who has a camera pointed at you? Don't answer that. All I'm saying is that when you make a complaint you'll be known to a wider audience and thus run the risk of being noticed at that beach. Look, I only saw them because a friend knew that we were friends and he forwarded them to me."

Out of earshot from John I did tell Nicole however, that showing her boobs to the world had not hurt any eyes. I'm still me after all.
I guess we'll read in the newspaper (or not) what her decision will be.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

All alone on a Saturday evening

Don't bring me any tissues. Being all alone on a Saturday evening wouldn't be my first choice but it is up there for me. Nath is out with the girls and for the first time in weeks I'm finding myself all alone. Next week for different reasons will be the same.

What I of course knew already but never thought about was that a relationship takes up a lot of time. I had to do some stuff today and when I was done and looked at the clock I couldn't believe so little time had passed. You got to wonder if couples should give each other a day off in order to get to the stuff that's needing to be done.
"Hey Hun, why don't you take a day off. I've got work to do."

Anyway with time on my hands I picked up a book and again I realised this goes way quicker when she is not around. I admit mostly because I have nothing to glance at. Glances that lead to all kinds of thoughts.

I even got to see some shows I recorded. And again, way quicker when alone. No pauses for potty breaks, drinks or food.

Perhaps you're thinking by now that you're reading nothing and that there is nothing worthy in my life at the moment that warrants a blog post. Well perhaps that goes for the former but the latter is not true. There are several things I want or could blog about but today is just not that day.

Enjoy your weekend (and/or your alone time)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Old people (continued)

A few weeks back I told you about the old man I met during my polling stations duties with whom I made a deal for a visit to our offices. Well since, he has done so twice. But let me begin with the first visit.

We had Hendrik, friends call me Henk, picked up by a cab and delivered at our office on a rainy Thursday morning. Because I was in a meeting that ran late Henk had to wait a little in the reception area and used the time to chat up Sylvia, my personal assistant/our office manager. When I finally came to get him she winked me over. "I think I know why you liked him."

I showed Henk around and when we sat down in my office his first question was if there were any men working here. I told him there had been two others. One had left and the other one, I think, was eaten. I still haven't found out exactly. He smiled and said he liked the atmosphere.

Over coffee I explained to him what we did and more important how we wanted to conduct our business after which he started telling what he had done in the past and by the time Sylvia brought us fresh coffee we were sharing anecdotes.

I used the opportunity to ask her if she could see if Vivianne (Viv) was in and available to join us. By the stories Henk had told, I had established that if he was to be involved with us in any form her area of expertise was where he would be useful. Viv is what you would call a very open person. Totally at ease with herself and the limits of her knowledge, as high as hers are. And always looking for other solutions or ways to make things happen. On more then one occasion I've called her a sponge, soaking up all the information available.
After I introduced them their conversation took off and I became a mere spectator. Before we knew it lunch time arrived and we invited Henk to join us.

I think I should explain how we do lunch at our office. We all lunch together at one big table, schedules allowing of course. In my opinion there are two plus sides to this. One is the fact social conversations do not interfere too much with work time, we are a business after all, and also that eating together keeps some sort of family feeling alive. Little observation skills are needed to see who is and who isn't talking to each other. A quick word sometimes helps to normalize relations.

Anyway. Henk joined us and after a reserved start was targeted with all sorts of questions. He got a real feel of how we challenge and question one another. And also that there is nothing that can't be discussed. I almost choked on my sandwich when one asked him where I had dug him up. But he answered without any facial reaction that he was discovered in the Lost and Found of the Elderly home. After that, without him having much of a say in it, an agreement was reached to call him Gramps. When asked why they wouldn't just call him Henk he was told that they felt it would be disrespectful to call him that. Gramps had a more loving touch to it. I'm sure they worded it like that so he couldn't complain. LOL.

After the lunch-scapades Henk, Viv and I went back to my office and I asked him about his thoughts. It turned out that, although he enjoyed the time he had spend at our office tremendously, he couldn't see how he could play any role. Viv interrupted him and asked if he was willing to read her draft reports and comment on them. He, and I, were surprised by that. She went on to explain that neither she nor Henk could decide if there was a role for him without testing it out. All she really wanted to know was if he knew how to use a computer and had one. Turns out Henk is the go-to guy at the home for computer issues.

So we settled on a try-out phase and Henk was safely returned to his home.

Since, Henk has commented on three reports and Viv is very happy with the input. Last week I bumped into Henk at the office without knowing he would be coming. He and Viv had a meeting and he would stay for lunch. "Hmm, facing the Amazon-horde once again. Are you up for it?" I asked. "I think you may need the support." He answered.

(We still haven't discussed compensation for his services.)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Old people

A friend, I believe it was Holly, posted a status update on Facebook that more or less was an order to listen to the stories of the elderly. It reminded me of something I wanted to share that happened during my stay at the polling station during the election.

Our polling station, like many, was located in a home for the elderly and some of the residents were the first to vote. At some point a mobile 80-something man walked in and greeted us enthusiastically. He told us he had done our duty for over 40 years but was judged to old by 'them' to provide the service any longer. I told him I'd still allow him to vote nevertheless on which he replied: "Oh son, I'll vote until the day I die. We built this country, you know." I couldn't help to smile and say: "Oh, we all make mistakes."

He gave me a hard look but then smiled. "You young guys think you know everything, right?" "Not everything, just different things." With a soft 'Hmmm' he walked into the booth to cast his vote.

When I walked to a counter a few hours later to get us some coffee I saw him sitting at a table nearby. He gestured me to come over and when I did, asked what I meant by the different things I knew. I told him that, as much I knew about current affairs and the way businesses need to be run nowadays, I do recognize that we lack in the history of things. And this history is sometimes needed to get to the problem.

"You know. I used to consult businesses." "And what do you do these days?" I asked. "Look around. This is what I do. I sit here and read the newspaper." "Why?" It was clear he hadn't expected that question. "Good question. I guess I'm no longer wanted." he said after some deliberation. "Has anyone said that?" I went on. "Not in those words but that's the feeling I got."

"I make you a deal. I'll have you picked up by a cab in a few weeks and you'll visit me in my offices. We'll drink some coffee and have a chat. If nothing comes from it you at least have a day away from this." He thought about it for a sec and then handed me a very old business card. "That's my phone number." he said. "You have to add a 6 to it for it to work." I laughed. "I'm old enough to know that." And he laughed too.

This Thursday he will be picked up.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Oh yeah

The results of our elections on Wednesday were more or less predicted. The polls hadn't taken into account the fact that voters would switch to the lead candidate in their perspective political corner when push came to shove. But I, for one, wasn't surprised.
What was somewhat funny however was the analysis made by most international media. From the US to Korea, from the UK to Russia, the elections were judged to be an enormous vote of confidence for the Euro and the European Union but the reality is that we didn't care about that in this election.

Yes, the two parties on the left and right that are against the Euro and EU didn't have as much success as was predicted but if we for some reason will have new elections in 3 months, one year or two years I can give you in writing that exactly those two parties will show huge gains. Not because we are tired of Europe but they are the alternative to the mainstream party on the left and right. The only thing that can prevent us from 'moving from Europe' in the next election is a full term (4 years) in office of whatever coalition is agreed on. They probably will need some economic progress during those years as well and that may be something beyond their control.

Anyway the elections were followed by our 16th anniversary on Thursday and Nath's birthday on Friday. I could mention it was her 43rd but I won't. What I will mention is that they were two days of good food, good wine and good company. I have a few things that happened that I may share on another date but more as a funny then a serious.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The decision

Thursday morning I was in the office trying to create a solution for a distribution problem (software related) when a knock on my door interrupted my thought pattern. My partner Lisa and her life partner Alex asked if they could have 15 minutes of my time. I gestured them in and they sat down.

First off they told me to listen and not interrupt. Good thinking on their part *LOL*. And then they began. Five years into their relationship they feel they want to get married and have picked a date next spring and also got the location tied up. Problem however is that in that town there is no public servant who wants to close a same sex marriage. Religious beliefs, consciences difficulty, bla bla bla. However if you provide one you can still use the location as it is public property. And they had caught a rumour I was qualified to be that person.

They went on with mentioning the fact I don't like to speak in public and will not ever marry myself but countered those downsides with my support for gay marriage and expressing they couldn't think of anyone else they would love to marry them. They sugarcoated it even more but I won't mention those because it will make me blush. Let's just say they respect me.

So after they finished with "Will you be the man who marries us?" I had several emotions competing for first place and couldn't answer and had to ask for a day to think things over. Lisa quickly added that the thinking should include talking to Nathalie about it. Clever woman she thinks she is. Lisa knows that Nathalie and Hanneke are the only ones I would go against myself for.

But here was my dilemma: It is not that I don't like to speak in public. I hate it. Also I do not support gay marriage. I support equal rights but am still at war with or undetermined on (depends on the day) the concept of marriage. But also was I extremely honoured to be asked and this was my business soul mate asking. And yes, would I apply, because of other things I have done, I qualify for a special permit to marry people.

I spend most of the evening thinking about this and went to bed with my mind occupied. It was 4AM when I woke Nath and let her in on my decision. Her reaction was simple: "Ah, so that was what had you today. Well you obviously put a lot of thought into it but you couldn't wait another three hours before telling me?" I probably could have but without her judgement I would probably have been awake those three hours whereas now I slept like a baby. I don't think she will mind once she reads she 'saved' my mental health.

The next morning I caught Lisa in the hallway of our office and together we called Alex so she could hear my decision directly. I told them straight away that I couldn't do it and explained that my hate for public speaking would be something that I was willing to undergo because of my passion for them as a couple. But what in the end decided it for me was that this would be a very special day for them and that my views on marriage itself wouldn't allow me to express that special feeling on that one specific moment. And that I love them too much to allow that to happen. Lisa stood up and gave me a kiss. "Thank you for being you." she added. Alex told her to give me one on her behalf as well.

"I think this was the first time I had two lesbians thinking of me all night."
"I think it was the first time you were ..... Oh nevermind." Lisa smiled and left my office and the connection with Alex went beep beep beep.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Are we..?


We called it the Arab spring when in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya the people stood up to their dictators demanding their resignations. Many thought this was the road to more freedom and less corruption. Support poured in from the western world. Elections, democracy and a host of other terms were used in an effort to build sympathy but were we really considering all implications?

What we see is that women's rights are quickly becoming non-existent. Not surprising when you hold free elections in an Islamic country and the only real organized Islamic organization, and therefore the most serious contender, sees women as property and baby-machines. Male baby-machines to be correct. Not being able to produce a male baby could be seen as a direct insult to the husband and he can punish you in every way he likes. He is after all The man.

Now in light of the success of the Great White Leader (Geert Wilders, ed) here in The Netherlands I can see how you follow in his footsteps and think that Islam is a backwards religion and that will never happen here. But I beg to differ.

We have a long history in liberalism. Think of euthanasia, separation between church and state, legalizing prostitution and allowing but not legalizing marihuana. But all of the aforementioned are challenged from the outside. Whether it is the European Union, The US or any church everyone has something to say. And they may become louder.

In the US we have seen the influence on the Republican Party (GOP) by a political movement called Tea Party. The GOP candidates and representatives are trying to outdo each other in attempts to not fall out of favor with the Tea Party. This has led to some ridiculous proposals and some sort of comfort zone in which they feel you can say anything you like.
To give you an example. The proposed vice-president for the GOP, Paul Ryan, supported banning all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest. Interesting in light of the hoopla this week surrounding Todd Akin.
And the proposed President for the GOP, Mitt Romney, attempted to deny rape victims the morning after pill and withdrew his support for legal abortion, embryonic stem cell research, comprehensive sex education, and gay civil rights while he was Governor of Massachusetts.

You may, at first glance, not see the similarities between the US and the effects of the Arab Spring but in both cases there is a rather large religious influence for the proposed policies. And it is not that many share all these views. No, a minority is that well organized that they are able to have a majority follow them.

Let’s just hope for the US that come November a majority will say enough is enough and that as a result the GOP will reform and be able to break away from the Tea Party. In our political spectrum we would envision a group breaking away from the GOP but in the American system of winner takes all this would mean handing the reigns to the Democrats for the foreseeable future and that is very unlikely.

So I ask you: Are we at the eve of a global war about women's rights or will common sense prevail?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The cops

Around 10AM the house phone rang. A little irritated, this was disturbing me doing nothing, I answered.

"Yes!"
"Hello, we would like to discuss this beautiful day and the part the lord, our saviour, plays in it."
"I'm sorry. I've no interest in that. I cannot grant you access to the building."
"Okay, thank you for your time. Have a nice day."
<insert grunt>

So far it was nothing more then a little disturbance and not something you'd blog about. But about an hour later my doorbell rang and a tad more irritated I went to answer it.

"Hello, we would like to discuss this beautiful day and the part the lord, our saviour, plays in it."
"You rang my house phone earlier and I didn't allow you in. How did you end up at my door?"
"One of your neighbours let us in and..."
"Sorry for interrupting but as is posted by the front door this building has restricted access. So would you be so kind and return to the lobby and use the house phone system to get access to a particular person. I'm sure my neighbour didn't say you could go door to door."
"But we are only spreading the word of our lord, our saviour."
"Or you could be scouting the place and return on another day with other intentions. Now could you please return to the lobby?"
"You think we are thieves?"
"That's another discussion but for now it is your word against my idea so it's 50/50. Please return to the lobby and do as I advised."

They started to move in the direction of my neighbour and not in the direction of the lobby.

"I'm sorry. I politely asked you three times. This is private property and I order you to return to the lobby. If not you leave me no option but to call the police."
"There is no need for that tone. We are friendly people."
"Friendly people wouldn't invade the privacy of others and certainly would do what's was asked of them. Now go. I'll be following you."
"Pfft. We'll go."

But they didn't go back to the lobby. They went up one level. Their choice.

Five minutes later the police asked them to leave the premises.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Being a champion

We were discussing Epke Zonderland when Nath said that she wondered how it felt when you are able to do something nobody else in the world is capable of at that moment. When I answered: "It feels great but isn't really that special." she paused for a second. "I'm probably going to regret this but how so?"

"Well you are the only woman able to sleep with me tonight."
Another pause....
"I'm also the only one able choosing not to sleep with you."

Touché !

Sunday, July 8, 2012

She knows

It should be known by now that I do like to challenge people's thought patterns. Not to prove them wrong, there is nothing malicious in it, but to let them see other possibles. So when someone said the other night that Nath was my rock my response that I didn't hope so 'cause I tend to throw rocks caught her, how surprising, off guard.

A few moments of thought passed before she countered with that she then had to be the love of my life. Of course I couldn't agree on that either. In typical fashion I answered that she, currently, was in the running but that my life wasn't over yet so "to soon to call".

Another few moments passed and I was asked if I could agree she then was the love of my life until now? "It really is a 50/50 decision. I can say she has been the so-called love of my life for most of the past 5.000 days or so. It comes down to your view on love."

I went on: "Look if you want me to I can say about her that I love her today and an educated guess would be I will tomorrow also, don't take her for granted, depend on her from time to time, get an automatic smile on my face when I see or hear her and hope to have that smile for the foreseeable future. That I would give my left arm for her but not my right. There are too many others depending on my right arm. That I would give her a kidney if we were a match. But I can't say anything definite about what's not and that... she knows"

After some time letting it sink in she turned to Nath and said: "He loves you." Nath shrugged her shoulders and replied: "What's new?"

 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Boring isn't a negative. We assume way too much.

My life is boring. This is usually assumed to be a bad thing. As I would not be satisfied with my life. But whatever way you look at it my life is boring and I do not consider that to be a bad thing. I'm perfectly happy with boring. Boring isn't negative.

When I told a colleague my life was boring she wouldn't accept it. She pointed out that
  • I must be one of the few employers in my line of work that is outnumbered 1 to 12 by women.
  • I'm in a relationship that needs constant clarification (to others)
  • I've not a day where I don't find myself in a not-work-related discussion often caused by my somewhat strange views.
  • few weeks go by where one of the above doesn't land me in a situation most people would call 'not normal'.

But that's all normal to me. I have come to expect it and that's why it is boring. Others may find it really interesting and stepping into their shoes I might also but I'm wearing my own.

I post approximately once a week here or on FB about things that happened that I consider to be interesting. One incident a week that I think is worthy of noting. Actually, some posts are made for my friends. I don't think their worthy on their own but give my friends a little more insight into me. And also in between there are some posts that have a soul searching background. It helps to write about stuff that's keeping me busy. Call it an effort to get my ducks back into a row. So I guess it is even less then once a week, probably more once a month that I think "Hmm, that's interesting" when it comes to my life.

But this does mean that, albeit interesting for some, for me it is a boring life. And I never have been happier. Do not assume otherwise.



Sunday, May 27, 2012

Well...I'm still here.

You can say the last few days have been interesting. A friend didn't take our offer to settle his various debts and, although we agreed to keep this to ourselves, it somehow became public. I can hear you think "Well you posted it on FB" but a glance at my friends on there will tell you there is nobody on there that could have made the connection.

But it became public knowledge and I got attacked for it. Now, I hardly ever give any insight into my personal finances other then "Don't worry about me" or "I've enough to live the life I want" so I admit there is room to speculate about it. But to claim our offer was an attempt to better ourselves at the expense of someone already down shocked me.
When I offer around 100k of my personal assets without any ROI (return on investment) and even a small risk on losing some of it to help a friend I don't expect to be attacked about it.

So the shock became anger. I can't even recall the last time I was really angry but when I am I become very unpleasant. I don't ask for answers anymore. I demand them. And I will get them.

Let's just say the friend we tried to help is lucky he has two daughters that we need to keep an eye out for.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

How we met...

Debs status update earlier this week has led to some discussion in the Houssie household. Nath claims we met in school whilst I claim we met in bed. Technically she is right. We met in school, shared some classes for two years and even the occasional bench was shared. But did we really meet?

I say no. I certainly noticed her. May even have used her notes (she claims I did because I never took any). But to have met, I feel you need to have some sort of interaction. Not just the fact you sat next to each other for 50 minutes at some point.

I don't even think we met when two of our common friends led her into my home some 16 years ago. I think we met some 12 hours later. She, due to circumstances beyond our control, was sleeping in my bed and during the night had noticed the couch I chose for the night was giving me back trouble. She invited me in and only the next morning when she caught me 'scrutinizing' her body with my eyes I think we really met. The rest is history.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Friends

One evening, a long time ago, I told Nath I was going to meet a friend of mine in a bar. When I answered her question "Who?", her face made pretty clear she didn't like him.
It was that evening I explained my philosophy on friends and even though it went against most of her, I guess female, thought pattern she agreed with me on it. Occasionally I see glimpses of the opposite, mostly when she really wants me to like one of her friends. And those times I do try to make an effort of getting to know these friends before deciding whether I like them or not.

In my world friends of friends are not automatically liked. They can become "liked" but if not, there is no man overboard, no harm done. And I don't held it against my friend that he/she is friends with this person. Just do not involve me in that friendship.
I have friends I like to drink with but do not invite to my home.
I have friends I go out to dinner with but never would meet up with in a bar.
I have friends who do not invite me to their home.
I have friends I played soccer with.
I have friends I have intellectual discussions with.
And I have friends that are included in more then one of the above categories.

So when I went to Nath's place earlier this week and she said she had some friends coming over later I only asked good or bad? As in do I like them or not? As in do I have to run or can I stay?
Her answer was: "Six good, two bad. But I really would like you to stay because  I may need you later." Being who I am I thought I be needed for sex later on but it went a little different.

During the evening I stayed as much away from the bad  and did not react to anything they said. I noticed some glimpses from the good whenever something controversial was said by the bad but I just acted as if I didn't hear it. What I did notice was that the good and this includes Nath obviously got more and more irritated by the remarks the bad made. But for me this was more a sign as to why they were good in my book then anything other.
When Nath stood up to get another bottle of wine she asked if I could help her so, although she is quite capable of opening those herself, I followed her into the kitchen.
"What do you think of them?" she asked.
"I don't think. I just give them the silent treatment."
"Yeah I noticed that. Could you do something for me?"
"You can open bottles yourself so I'm guessing that's not it?"
"Could you get rid of them? I want them gone."
"Hmm, okay. Your way of mine? Because you know what happens when I do it my way."
"Yours."
I went back into the room and one of the good wanted another beer but I stopped his "H, while you're up could you get me.." with a small hand gesture. I looked at the bad and said: "You two. Stand up and leave." They looked a little amazed and wanted to say something but my "There wasn't a 'please' in that." cut that short. They looked at Nath who was right behind me but got nothing in support from her nor from any of the others. They stood up and I accompanied them to the door.

When I walked into the living room there was a little tension but my "Sorry. I needed to take care of something. I'm guessing you wanted a beer?" was then met with laughter. "I told you he wouldn't even flinch." Nath said. "Cold, effective and a little frightening." One of the good said.
"Don't worry. I didn't like them. You're good. But if I was supposed to do this you all could have told me earlier and saved us all an hour of that garbage." More laughter.

See sometimes it is handy to not be friends with your friend's friends.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Passion for passion

First let me react to all the mail from ‘Doglovers United’ I was fortunate to receive after my last column. I do not hate dogs. I just do not love them. That is a deciding difference.

No one is obligated to take my opinion as the one and only truth. I merely challenge people to think about their actions or about things that caught my eye. When my opinion isn't yours this doesn't mean I’m against you. It just means I have another opinion or point of view and I'm glad I was able to have you think about it. Nothing more, nothing less. Which brings me to today's  topic. Passion. Or better my passion for passion.

With Easter upon us we are targeted with and can read about all sorts of passion. The mattheaus passion,  the passion of the christ or the TV screening of the passion. You name it, it is there. This made me think about my own passions and I found that one of my passions is for passions.  I just love it when people are passionate about something they believe, love or possess as long as they don’t harm anyone else with their passion. When a passion crosses that boundary and becomes harmful you'll be likely to find me on the opposite side.

Years ago I talked to a model train enthusiast. He didn't but his passion for the little riding carriages almost made me feel guilty about my model train set ending up in the garbage bin years before that. Luckily my set was so standard that no actual harm was done but I changed my view about model trains and their fans.

Last year I talked to a neighbour whose money request was turned down by a bank. The pure passion for what he was trying to sell had me offering to read the proposal and make a few phone calls if I liked it. Not only did I find the money I also got one of my own clients interested in a progressive distribution deal. Perhaps as a favour to me but I guess that’s my passion paying off. The first real items will hit the shops in May.

This year a friend of mine, and this will surprise some of the members of ‘Doglovers United’, started a blog about the puppy that entered not only her life but also that of her cats. The puppy being a Pit Bull does add to the already interesting mix. On almost a daily basis, this in itself requires dedication, she writes about the effects the puppy has on her and the household. The passion for the puppy (and the cats) is visible in every entry and even with my no love policy for dogs I have to admit I wish she would write every day.

You can't live of another person’s passion but when you are confronted with it you have the obligation to think. Not about what motivates them, that's often a personal matter, but about your own view on their passion and why you feel the way you do. Sometimes you end up with no change at all. Sometimes you end up with a totally different outlook. And sometimes you end up sharing that passion.

So what's your passion?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Secret crush

"I really need a shower. Mind when I join you?" I stepped into the shower.
"I don't mind but don't you think Nathalie might?" And she turned around.
"Hi, I'm Margeritha but friends call me Harry and I think we better be friends now that we have seen each other wet and naked." Her hand reaching out to mine.
"Hi Harry, I'm René but friends call me Houssie and yes, we better be friends. Nice tan." I shook her hand but left the shower.
"Thank you. I see you're not wearing any." I heard her laugh.

This is how we met over a decade ago. Nath had been out with friends the night before and when I went over to her place in the morning I heard the shower running. I didn't think it through and jumped in. I escaped somewhat unharmed and with some blushes but it has been the start of a great friendship.

Harry is the only one of Nath's friends, I think, I can call my own friend as well.
She is as direct as you can be. Very bright. Totally uninhibited. And she has this way of making room in her head for whatever idea you may want to share. She'll form her own opinion and share it with you but she will never interrupt you half way through. I really like her.

Today Harry turned 40 and gave a party. Unsurprisingly the weather turned from winter to spring this week to allow for a garden party. Next week we will probably end up below zero again *LOL*
Anyway, It was a great get-together. I had been on my best behaviour the whole time and was talking to some people in the same line of work when Harry sneaked up on me and gave me a kiss.

"Hey Whitey."
"Hey! it is grey not white."
"Nah, It is white. I've seen."

The people we were talking to looked a little bewildered.

"Are you trying to embarrass me?"
"Perhaps. Whatcha gonna do about it?"
"Hmm, maybe ask you if you're still tanned all over?"
"You just want to get wet and nekkid with me again, don't ya?"

She winked at the people we were talking to. They looked uncomfortable.

"Oh boy. I don't think I can win this one. But you didn't answer my question"
She gave me another kiss and was off again.

I think I secretly love her.

Monday, February 20, 2012

No(t) more

We were in a bar yesterday and this song came along. Apparently you are required to sing along whilst looking in your loved ones eyes, as one of our friends was friendly enough to point out. Now, I know some of my responses raise eyebrows or shock people but telling her that I didn't want to lie, even when singing, stopped her in her tracks.

How could I not love Nath? How dare I just drop that on such a nice occasion? What rock did I crawl under from? And she hurled a few explicits my way.

Not faced by this I started to explain. I do not love her more each day. There are days I do but there are days I do not. I love her differently each day. Some days I love her eyes. Some I love her hair and on others I love her mind. There are even days I love her breasts and occasionally this is combined with one of those mentioned earlier. Some days I love her smile or wit but most days I love her entirely.

Thus I said I can not sing along with this song. She apologized but couldn't help herself saying I could have faked it.

And THAT, I told her, is something I don't have to do because she loves me more and more.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A few quickies

I could make full entries out of all of the next segments but I just won't spend the time necessary for them.Perhaps if anyone reads this and wants further explanation I might be tempted.

  1. I've finally found someone that truly hates me. This is a good thing. It enhances the sincerity of those that like or love me.
  2. Yes, I know shame and restriction. I'm open about myself but I can't throw everything out there because other people are involved and they don't ask for my openness. And I'm like many people when it comes to my flaws. I hide them as good as I can and in my case try to make up for them.
  3. People portray themselves more interesting on social media then they really are. Yes and No. Yes when you believe what's posted on social media is their entire life. No, when you take into account that you don't get a by the minute report and what you read may be that one minute out of the day that was actually worth posting. Face it. People are interesting and boring at the same time.
  4. I'm lazy and selfish to a point I feel I need to compensate for it.
  5. I don't get the whole circus surrounding pregnancy. On one hand I only think it to be a natural thing whilst on the other I'm intrigued by the hoopla. I will step aside for a pregnant woman but get over it you are not the first nor the last to experience it. As if THAT is the point you realize you can create life.
  6. Street lights are cool.
  7. I'm a man and I need to carry that weight with me. I'm not allowed opinions on certain aspects of life but I'm me as well so Bite Me.

Enjoy the rest of your day/week. ;-)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Start tasting, I'd say.

I was having dinner with my friend Leo this week and she said something that I found intriguing.
According to her I'm a flavour you need to taste several times before you can recognize and appreciate it.
She thinks I'm too different for most to instantly love or like but when you find the taste interesting and you'll keep me around long enough, you will learn about 50% of what I'm about. That's enough to start liking me.
After that it depends on me whether or not you'll taste (part of) the other 50%.
She's a friend so she thinks that the second 50% make people love me. She also thinks I intentionally keep people in the dark about the other 50% because I, perhaps subconsciously, put people into two groups: the large 'not interesting' group and the smaller 'interesting' one. That is the reason why so many think they are my friend but  find it hard to really describe me unless the term enigma has qualified for that.

She clearly had put some thought into it and I can agree to a certain level with her analysis. When I asked her how she, after all the bites she had taken, would describe me she came up with: Loyal, trustworthy, loveable, funny and perceptive.

Like I said she is a friend but I think I could have done worse.