Monday, December 26, 2005

'tis the season

some of my very favourite people have posted tree-ornament shots, so i find myself, this festive december day, in excellent company...
happy holidays!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

long time passing

"how did it get so late so soon?
its night before it's afternoon.
december is here before it's june.
my goodness how the time has flewn.
how did it get so late so soon?"

- dr. seuss (american writer and cartoonist, 1904-1991)

in a month or so, tender snowdrops will nudge their greenness through the frost, and the neverending cycle of growth - flourishing, fading - will begin again.
in the meantime, though, there is mimicry.
and there are memories.

Monday, December 12, 2005

just around the corner

come summer, i leave the north sea beaches - one of which is just a quarter of an hour away - to the vacationing throngs. crowds, sand, and very loud transistor radios: it's a combination i avoid with total conviction.
when the season is low, though, and the tide, and the sun, too, and when the view stretches spacious into another province, i can be tempted into a late afternoon stroll along the coast.
this is the camera i pocket when i anticipate vistas. i'm its second owner - we're still getting aquainted - but sometimes it seems to perceive the wide world exactly as i do.
(a larger version is here.)

Monday, December 5, 2005

winter branches and old bones

it rained, of course. it is december, after all.

but - by times - there was lamplight, and sunlight, too.

there was even, finally, in laon, a bit of rust and peeling paint.
colour me content.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

off to see the wizard

a touch of winter flu has tossed a slight shadow over my first few days off, but hopefully i'll be fit enough tomorrow to (gently!) throw a couple of cameras onto the back seat of
the car and join my patient partner on a little, not-too-far-afield, road trip.
we're thinking northern france by way of bruges, but i'm fine with anywhere, really,
as long as it's picturesque, and photogenic.
and as long as it doesn't pour.

Friday, November 25, 2005

to kingdom come

he was a prince of stances, effect above essence: she knows this now.
but it takes little - a posture, a profile, a pair of pigeoned toes - to remind her poignantly of something she no longer truly remembers.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

hasta la vista

an autumn day can be an imagemaker's dream in the netherlands, with a pure, crisp, glorious light, and colours that - joni mitchell says it perfectly - stick to all your senses.
it can also (think wet, grey, relentlessly matte) be an imagemaker's nightmare.
i'd like tomorrow to lean the first way.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

be my, be my

tsk. i know:
the "sweet spot" on the top image is mi-ni-scule and hovers awkwardly somewhere in the corner of a shutter, but the lensbaby - mounted as it is on a lovely old nikon - has been an exercise in coordination, faith and patience.
an analog camera means no preview, no review, no tossing away; it also means
finishing the roll and waiting for processing and then discovering that i need a lot more practise before i am rewarded with wonderfulness like this.
and this.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

holding the roses

"almost all words do have colour, and nothing is more pleasant than to utter a pink word
and see someone's eyes light up and know it is a pink word for him or her too."
- gladys taber

my fascination with colour has not diminished, but my fascination with film has flourished, and i find that my older cameras tend to render what i see in a subtle and subdued - but infinitely true and beautiful - palette.
i do wonder, though, if my using long-expired film could have anything to do with it?
i am a late and plodding learner, but i am a learner nonetheless.

Saturday, November 5, 2005

a latte to go

wim, and his beautiful etchings, can be found sundays at the weekly art market on the spui; if i happen to be in amsterdam i always drop by to say hello, and to watch his stall while he stretches his legs and goes for coffee.
i was grateful, on this particular day, for the shelter of his canopy: the heavens
suddenly opened and even the next doorway would have been a leap too far. there is a special calm, truly, in a steaming latte sipped surrounded by a storm.
the top image? i forgot - not once, but twice - to forward the film. it's because i'm three times older than i feel.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

on the eve of all saints

i was going to grumble on and on - after stumbling, a few weeks ago, upon a garden
piled high with pumpkins, price-tagged every one - about the merchant mentality that turns other people's traditions into money-making enterprises.
but i'm tired (i know, i sound like a broken record), and tomorrow the orange streamers and the fake spiderwebs will be tucked away till next october, and i suppose i shouldn't begrudge anyone their fun and profit...
as long as they keep their hands off thanksgiving.
happy hallowe'en!

Monday, October 24, 2005


i'm still dealing with the newness, with the commute, with the four-in-the-morning-wake-up-calls one day and the two-in-the-morning-bedtimes the next.
bear with me.
and in the meantime: my links - all of them - are more than worthwhile.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

from china with love

between being slightly overwhelmed by my (great) new job, and distinctly overwhelmed by a nasty flu, i haven't had the time or energy for a lot of important-to-me things.
i did manage, though, to spend a splendid evening (smiles and recognition and endless camera-talk) with the wonderful tomo in amsterdam last week...
and i did manage to pick up some developed and printed test rolls from a couple of new/old cameras.
these two images are from a great wall DF-2 which my husband, sweet person that he is, negotiated at a beijing market stall during his recent holiday in china. i confess: my inexperience with the waist-level viewfinder had me waving the thing wildly in all directions, much to the puzzlement of passers-by, but i am not displeased with the results.
my second oriental souvenir was a seagull TLR, which turned out, like the great wall, to be in delectable working order - and it smells ravishing - but i'll save its little efforts for another day.

Friday, October 7, 2005

a kind of a hush

all is past, he tells her, all is healing, all is well; in his eyes, though, transparent and blue, is a sadness that belies his story.
circumstance has tatted his existence into a mystifying intricacy, and she wants to reach, touch, reassure him: that someday, though the curtain may stay draped, he
will see the fineness of the filaments and not the empty grimness in between.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

an open book and an empty cup

"the sky really was that blue", says graham, in his first post about the europephotobloggers meetup*.

it wasn't just the perfect weather, though, that bestowed brightness on the weekend - it was, first and foremost, the people: those i had met before and was delighted to see
again, those i had hoped to meet and whose aquaintance i was happy to make, and many, many new, but now-familiar names and faces.
the energy, the sharing of creative insights, the good humour, made the get-together
a great success, a true feast.

and london itself - whose sidewalks we explored at length: thank you, eric! -
was the icing on the cake.

*many more impressions (everyone's) on flickr!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

with somewhere to be

the week to come will be spent picking and packing, and peeking daily at the weather forecasts - rachel and i are off to london on friday for the europephotobloggers meetup.
this new old camera will, without a doubt, be slipped into my suitcase: it has an
uncanny ability to make even the greyest of days glow.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

and counting

a week has become ten days, and i have been twisting myself into knots trying to translate everydayness - a summer cleaning, a profitable garage sale, a beautiful
concert in theater carré, too few sessions at the gym, and the dilemma of what
to take to london in ten days time - into some sort of uniqueness.
but there are places in the world where, sadly, such simple things would be sorely appreciated, so i feel - though subdued and uninspired - singularly blessed.

Sunday, September 4, 2005

Friday, September 2, 2005

piece of cake

"birthdays are occasions for looking forward to the making of plans, for dreaming dreams, and hoping they will come true."

well: what a coincidence!
that was precisely what i had in mind for today.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

tea with grandfather

he sits, silhouetted by light and lace, corduroy rustling on corduroy, composed, hands clasping cup, pensive.
gazing solemnly over his straight and weighted shoulders is himself, as a boy. between them, dust dances, filling the metres, the minutes, the decades, with movement and memories, and the space between black-and-white and grey with a lifetime of colour.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

if pigs could fly

i suppose this was their reasoning:
if you won't brake for cows, and you refuse to slow down for geese, perhaps - just
perhaps - sheer incongruity will stop you in your tracks.
it did us.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

closer to fine

i can finally stop feeling like i've been put into storage for the season, and start toasting the future:
the job interview i had last week left me feeling so positive, and so enthusiastic, that even the substantially "irregular" shifts involved - and the major commuting - couldn't keep me from accepting...with delight.
i start october first, which gives me time to aquaint myself with a few new/old
cameras, and to enjoy the europephotobloggers meetup at the end of september in
london (you, too?).
my cup runneth over.

Sunday, August 7, 2005

out on a limb

"curious people are interesting people, i wonder why that is?"
- bill maher (american comedian, actor, writer and producer, b.1956)

i understand the term "pear-shaped", as used when life - ah, life! - goes slightly awry.
but i wonder, sometimes, what one calls life-going-well.
when i have things on my mind, like i do right now, i ponder the silliest things.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

that is the question

when i am asked, "what do you miss most about canada?", i always answer "kraft macaroni & cheese dinner".
but i jest, of course i jest. i miss my family most of all, and then i miss kraft macaroni
& cheese dinner. but i also miss things like maple syrup, and browsable bookstores, and chips with gravy, and, especially, space.
a few weeks ago, we viewed - at my quiet insistence - a house-for-sale, and it had space.
well, i saw space: a kitchen large enough for a table and chairs, a generous study, bedrooms aplenty, endless storage, and nothing - oh joy, oh bliss - attached.
my husband saw, above all, chores: a roof that needed repair, a floor that demanded replacement, a lot of plastic panelling, fake brickwork and definitely-not-us colours that would grate, aesthetically, very quickly.
i fell in love, despite, and envisioned myself getting old(er) there; he envisioned
himself sanding and sawing to kingdom come.
sometimes twains meet; sometimes they don't. we'll see.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

and stretch and bend

weight-watching can be, in the long run, a frustrating business, once your constitution has recovered from the eek-what's-with-all-this-healthy-food shock and reached the inevitable this-far-and-no-further plateau.
a mirror like this (we call it a "lachspiegel" - a "smile mirror", but rachel and i,
when we discussed it, could not for the life of us remember what its actual name is) can offer welcome, if slightly misleading, encouragement.
and the aforementioned smile, of course.

Monday, July 25, 2005

a sentimental journey

my husband clocked his early kilometers in a rickety citroën ami, and yesterday, when our sunday drive took us to ijmuiden harbour, where dozens of citroën afficionados were queuing for the newcastle ferry (some kind of get-together in great britain), this aging beauty caught his eye and - bless his usually unsentimental soul - he sighed.
i gather - i don't drive, so i wouldn't know - that one's first-ever car cruises into a spot in one's heart and parks there forever.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

ready for the rain

"the trouble with weather forecasting is that it's right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it."
- patrick young

the skies here have been inscrutable lately: sunny and serene one moment, glowering and aggressive - teemingly so - the next.
preparing for a day out and about has become an art.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

many springs gone by

my daughter, my lovely daughter, with her anxious heart and her adventurous soul, turns twenty-three today.
i wish her - now, always - happiness, prosperity and peace of mind, but also: faith in herself, patience with life's imperfections, and the confidence and courage to continue pursuing her dreams.
gefeliciteerd, marieke!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

to distraction

i haven't been (very) busy, nor have i been (very) ill, but i have been (very) absent, i know, and this (very) ordinary image is part of my excuse.
last sunday, after a dinner with dear friends, i came home with an unexpected
purchase: a large black trunk of excellent, and venerable, photographic gear - a couple of cameras, some lenses, and accessories, all of it around 30 years old, most of it in mint condition.
i've spent the whole week - natuurlijk - trying things out (it's been ages since i last owned an SLR) and this is one of the test results.
it works: i am so pleased...and, stuck in the routine monotony of unemployment, so ready for a bit of a new challenge.

Friday, July 8, 2005

the day after yesterday

"the world is too dangerous for anything but truth and too small for anything but love."
- william sloan coffin

my loved ones in london are allright.
i hope and pray that yours are, too.
sometimes i wonder: did i bear my children into a world of fear and uncertainty? and that mere thought makes me fearful and uncertain.
and sad.

Sunday, July 3, 2005

non sequitur

someday, somewhere - inevitably - they will meet, and they will be near and imperfect strangers, pausing awkwardly, a hesitant handshake apart, and passing the time of
day, of months, of years, of a heart's age.
the distance between them will be peculiar and profound; no confidences will be shared, no explanations made, and no hurts healed: since the sweet sequence of their story was interrupted, simply too much time has passed.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

and read all over

"colour television! bah, i won't believe it until i see it in black and white."
- samuel goldwyn (american movie producer and founder of MGM, 1882-1974)

black-and-white feels, sometimes, like a welcome shadow when the sun is hot and high, like a haiku's sweet purity following a volume of fine but flowery prose, like an oasis of subtle simplicity in a world of exuberant summer hues.
black-and-white seems, often - and these actually are - technicolour after all.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

left dangling

donald's roof garden is a spectacular five square metres of lushness: he has, as we say here - and logically, i always think, since thumbs aren't a whole lot of use on their own - "green fingers".
during the relentless heat of last weekend, my house-sitting/cat-sitting tasks expanded to include plant-sitting, which meant hauling jerrycans of water up three flights of stairs and then - carefully - up the glorified ladder which accesses the lofty terrace, and i did that successfully time and time again.
on the very last evening of my holiday, though, i preceded my husband - come to
dinner - upward, and, as i pushed the hatch open, balanced on a halfway rung, the
whole ladder lost its grip, and disappeared from under my feet, sliding backward and falling forward until my husband, caught by surprise, stopped it.
now, three days later, my right thigh is still swollen, and more black than blue, and i can't sit for more than a few minutes at a time. (responding to comments and e-mails, for instance, is very slow going: my apologies.)
and now, three days later, i continue to thank my lucky stars that someone was
with me on this trek to the roof-terrace: alone, i would have suffered far worse than bruises.
i shiver - typing standing up - at the thought.

Friday, June 17, 2005

love the one you're with

he's a still-waters-run-deep kind of cat, is basil, and i perceive his demeanor as stoic, although he has nothing, actually, to be stoic about. he is cherished by his owners, and when they're on holiday, like now, he is cherished by me.
caring for him, and caring for this little white house on the water, even for just a week, satisfies my soul: i wake up with the weight-watching bulk of a purring pussycat draped over my ankles, and the sights and sounds of morning amsterdam in the street below, and (though, i know, house- and cat-sitting is a serious responsibility) this is the perfect holiday, and i am content.

Monday, June 13, 2005

things gold, and things silver

"a wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and
tenacity. the order varies for any given year."
- paul sweeney

my husband, strolling just ahead of me last week along the oudegracht, stopped short, but before i could ask why, this sweet little still-life-in-yellow distracted me.
he grinned. "i figured you wouldn't want to miss that," he said.
he knows me well.
and so he should: we've been married for 25 years. today.

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

destiny's child

this photograph, surfacing suddenly during a spring clean, bewildered me a bit: not
that i don't remember exactly who took it (my lovely roommate carole) and where (the alleyway next to our apartment, bidwell-just-off-robson in vancouver) and when (the early 70's); nor do i wonder what on earth i am wearing - i couldn't, and can't, resist a second-hand shop for the life of me.
what i don't understand is the brown bottle in my one hand and the cigarette in my other. wine has always been my beverage of choice, even in those days when there were only ghastly screw-topped domestics to be had. and i certainly didn't smoke - well, not tobacco, anyway - back then.
they were, i suspect, simply whimsical props; in hindsight, though, and wryly, i ponder the portent-factor of beer and bright orange: perhaps fate was setting the stage for a dutch future, for a life exactly where i am living it right now.