Tag Archives: minimalism

Meaningful souvenirs

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Meaningful souvenirs

Bringing staff from trips is tempting. Money is easier spent on vacation. A new item brings into the house the need for space and care. Only thinking about dusting off all those trinkets on shelfs makes me tired. And there is not so much space on the fridge for new magnets. If it is not integrated into your kitchen furniture.

In Amsterdam I discovered a new kind of souvenir – make your own mug. It is proposed by Heinen Delfts Blauw, the ceramics maker.

It brought a new experience of coloring it together with my kid: discussing the colors choices, dividing the work, waiting for the final result while it is in the oven, sharing the first sips of water, … And that is what I call souvenirs.

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The power of No

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From these my fav is “Learn to say No without explaining yourself”. 

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/simple-living-images/

My first unexplained No was loud and clear. I was in a meeting room with our former business partners and their lawyers. The wanted a deal and made an offer. I could hear their expensive watches ticking. I said No. To their disbelief. To my astonishment. And a silent joy. Threats followed. My No stoods its ground. It made them say Yes to our offer. We cleaned the accounts and closed the noisy chapter. The rest is history.  It was cool. And worth it.

You may want to Try it next time. Try it. And enjoy it all!

Thank you, becomingminimalist.com for inspiration. 

I am mini. I like mini

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Our first car was a tiny Opel Corsa. My husband’s parents did not talk to us for months. They owned a large BMW. We did not miss the small talk. We like our air unpolluted.
My grandmother fed a family of eight and the neighbours occasionally. Her oven was 1,5 meter deep, one meter wide. She needed wood, a match, flour, water and her hands. Her bread and pies were a local legend. I need an oven, a blender, a mixer, and a handful of appliances and moulds to make a dozen mini brownies. You can see the difference. If I need a mini boll for my Magimix to bake a new recipe, i’ll say ‘thank you’, but no, thank you”. I knife and my old cutting board will do the job.

Since we moved to a rented apartment, half the size of the one we were used to, two Ikea wardrobes suffice. “One thing – in; one thing- out” is a custom now. Why i needed a dressing room before is foggy to me now. I have everything I need. My family has everything they need.

If i need to buy something to see if i am able or willing to do something, i say no. Planning of teaching my kid checkers?  Why buy it when i can download an app for free to see first if she will like the game.

I recently discovered the Minimalism. When the shopping urge kicks in, Minimalism gives you three criteria. I minimised it to two: is it truly necessary? Is it of value to last? If no ‘Yes” finds its way to these questions, I steer my attention to investments into learning and travelling. The return is a promise kept.

Last Christmas the gifts wraps were recycled from previous years. And, more importantly, the gifts of joy and time together needed only the  wrapping  of love, in abundance.

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

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It was the Times review that made me choose the book in my pursuit of reading all authors on the Noble prize in literature list: “One of the most noble and moving plays of our generation, a threnody of hope deceived and deferred but never extinguished; a play suffused with tenderness for the whole human perplexity; with phrases that come like a sharp stab of beauty and pain.”—The Times (London).410Gy48yLzL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-67,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

Beckett got his noble prize for literature in 1969. It is my first encounter with Beckett. Paul Auster is right “Reading Beckett for the first time is an experience like no other in modern literature.”

My feminist friend would call the play sexist. “Where are female characters?!” is her usual criticism in such cases and not even the great Becket can escape her criticism, knowing in particular that Beckett famously objected when, in the 1980s, several women’s acting companies began to stage the play. Beckett was quoted as saying “Women don’t have prostates”, a reference to the fact that Vladimir frequently has to leave the stage to urinate.

To me, this is a play about human character, gender neutral. Hope and despair, pain and relief, human support and disappointment, laughs and tears, non sense and struggle are genderless.

This book is minimalist poetry that brings existentialism to unexpected levels as the story evolves. I’ve seen myself in Vladimir and Estragon as they wait for Godot, someone or something they do not even know, but hope to get to know. The boy who comes with news from Godot is hope and future incarnated. The slave Lucky is the allegory for change of perspective to me. A slave can still be lucky and luck is very much a subjective beast. Being led versus leading. Who is the lucky one? In Beckett’ s words, “he is lucky to have no more expectations.”

That willow at the end of the play is both tearful and hopeful. Russians call a willow “iva plakuchaea”, a willow which cries. Tears of sadness or tears of joy. Quite symbolic. As it is the case with the entire book.