Hi There!

(For my Dutch-English translating and proofreading business, please go to my D-E Translating WordPress site. Thank you.)

Welcome to my blog.

I’m a 57-year-old Dutch immigrant. I didn’t come to America for a better life. My life was just peachy in the Netherlands. I came here for love — no other reason. I met my American husband while on vacation in Scotland. He tried to get a job in the private sector in Holland, but since he could only speak two languages — neither of them was Dutch and English really didn’t count, because everyone in the Netherlands can speak English –that wasn’t going well. So I moved to America. To the Rio Grande Valley first, and after twelve looooong, hot years we moved to Austin, where we’ve now lived for almost twelve years as well.

I love living in Austin but I’m chock-full of criticism of America in general. The Rockies bring me to tears, but so does the health care system. I’ve adopted Thanksgiving, but not the Pledge of Allegiance. If I seem elated and unbearably grouchy in sometimes dizzyingly quick succession, this is why.

I love the usual: my husband, my children, my friends and our pets. I hate heat, willful ignorance, bone spurs, spiders, and walking or cycling in place.

I collect raft books and I’ve developed a weird obsession with the bottoms of bridges.

When I lived in the Netherlands, twenty-three years ago, I loved hot tea, wild camping in Great Britain, gardening, reading for days on end, and I walked and cycled everywhere. Now that I live in a pretty darn hot part of the U.S., with kids who have to be driven everywhere by car, I love reminiscing about hot tea, wild camping in Great Britain, gardening, reading for days on end and walking and cycling everywhere…

My blog is a crazy—some might say completely unhinged–collection of posts about any of the above-mentioned issues and then some. Nothing is sacred. I blatantly ignore all American no-nos. Which means I talk politics, religion, I don’t idolize  teachers and I swear (though not that much — well, maybe a bit more than usual since November 2016).

As you read my posts you might laugh, seethe, weep or shrug your shoulders. If you like a post, great. Let me know. If you hate a post, great, let me know. I like to think I’m always right, but don’t let that stop you from telling me if you disagree. We Dutch love a good debate.

If you want to know more about how I got here and an overview of how that’s been, visit my About page.

Otherwise, have at it!

(In my posts, I refer to my husband as T, my 21-year-old son as B, and my 18-year-old daughter as R.)

Meringues! A Tasty Bit of French Fluff in Austin, Texas

meringues, fluff meringues, fluff, fluff austin, meringues austin, austin meringues, meringues, ausitn restaurants, restaurants austinI always love coming across things that remind me of home. This reminds me of Paris, but it’s close enough. If you’ve ever been in Paris, you know there are lots of little bakeries with the most beautiful meringues and other baked goods in the windows. You just can’t walk by without buying something.

 

 

 

 

 

 

T and I were at a great little restaurant in Austin this weekend (Picnik), and before we walked in, we also noticed an interesting place across the street: Fluff. A shop and coffee shop that bakes and sells meringues! Real ones! So we decided that we would have dessert there. It was lovely.

Once inside, we found that they also sell other pastries and pasties. Hmm!

 

 

 

 

Aren’t these beautiful?  

 

 

 

 

And this? Too bad I can’t stand honey, because I love the color.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

T and I each got one of these meringue clouds. Mine had walnut bits and apple-pie-flavored cream inside. Delicious! And too big to eat in one sitting. Okay, I lie, I managed, but I really shouldn’t have. They are about 6 inches in diameter!  

 

 

 

 

 

T had coffee and I had hot tea. They do afternoon tea, too. Something to remember for when I want to do something girly with my youngest.  

 

 

 

 

They also have meringues in gift boxes — a nice idea for Valentine’s Day.  

 

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So if you’re in the neighborhood, they’re located at 4800 Burnet Rd #450, Austin, TX 78756, Texas, USA. If not, sorry.  🙂

25th Anniversary of My Emigration

Today it’s twenty-five years ago that I emigrated from the Netherlands to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, USA. And for the last twelve years my family and I have been living in Austin, central Texas. So it’s time to make a list of ways I have changed, living here, and, to be fair, by and simply by being a quarter of a century older.

  • I often eat with one elbow on the table.
  • I have learned to whoop like the best at concerts.
  • I have lost interest in fashion.
  • I think and dream in English.
  • I no longer walk, cycle and take the train or bus everywhere, so I’ve gained about 70 pounds.
  • I eat more healthfully, overall, because I’ve become more conscious about saturated fat and empty calories. (The memory of rookworst no longer makes my mouth water.)
  • I can spot a bullshitter from a mile away.
  • I put off going to specialists and the dentist, because it costs an arm and a leg.
  • The mention of “health insurance company” drives my blood pressure up to dangerous levels.
  • I gave up taking my own grocery bag to the supermarket, and I have a hard time remembering to now that it’s finally a thing here.
  • I have learned to like (diet) Coke.
  • I say Howdy and y’all.
  • I have a dog and multiple cats (instead of just one cat) and I’ve become quite find of T’s horse.
  • I don’t keep our home perfectly clean and organized (because none of the others in my family do, so I gave up).
  • I eat out several times a week.
  • I’ve become more politically outspoken while at the same time being more careful how I word things. (Yes, I was worse before!)
  • I love long road trips.
  • I read a lot less and I hardly ever put on music at home.
  • I don’t garden anymore; in fact, I hardly spend any time in our huge yard at all (too hot).
  • I seldom drink hot tea.

Nevertheless, I still feel 100% Dutch. Being an immigrant here is a permanent part of my identity. It gets easier, but it never goes away.

 

 

 

What Have the Dutch Ever Given Us?

technology, science, food, discoveries in rhyme, inventions in rhyme, creative writing, poetry, Dutch inventions, Dutch discoveries, world history, history the Netherlands, humor,

I was posed a question by a troll:
What have the Dutch ever given us?
I found the question rather droll,
Since the list is almost endless.

So, let me see. Where would we be
Without Dutch imagination?
Or the Lorentz ether theory?
As the first capitalist nation,

It was Holland that came up with
Investment banking institutions,
The modern financial center,
And many money-stuff solutions.

The rational Enlightenment,
The law of corresponding states,
31 equal temperament,
And temperature in Fahrenheit.

Thanks to us you have Holstein cattle,
Reproductive biology,
And the first international
Substance control treaty.

The dining philosophers problem,
The compact music cassette,
The feedback control system,
Brussels sprouts and the orange carrot.

The Dutch make grand discoveries
Like photosynthesis, Oort’s Cloud,
Fiji, New Zeeland and brandy,
Saturn’s rings and the Brouwer Route.

The Dutch made the first fire hose
Nuna, the solar-powered car,
We came up with really smart clothes,
And the springy Springtime guitar.

The laserdisc and compact disc,
We gave you artificial hearts,
Polychoral music and the
First atlas of nautical charts.

Mutual funds when you like them mute,
The first national anthem, and
The evolute and involute
Curves and how to find them.

We had the first wind-powered sawmill,
Cocoa powder, Rutger Hauer,
The first big science trip to Brazil,
And the first modern naval power.

There’s soccer’s Tiki-taka and
International jurisprudence,
The traffic enforcement camera
And foreign direct investments.

We gave you capitalism,
The pendulum grandfather clock,
Early liberalism and
The first European pound lock.

The telescope, Cape of Good Hope,
F = q(E = v x B),
The phase contrast microscope,
The study of human anatomy.

Miffy, physical chemistry,
Enrichment culture, dark matter,
The modern chocolate industry
And the famed Van -t Hoff Factor.

When kidneys fail, what would you do
Without kidney dialysis?
The Netherlands also gave you
Game of Thrones’ Daario Naharis.

The accurate Norden bombsight,
The Leyden jar and stock trading,
Gas light, Mennonites, ambilight,
Donuts, speed- and figure skating.

The cool, cool Moodswinger zither,
The sleeping barber problem,
TomTom, the Hollander beater
And Dijkstra’s algorithm.

We reclaimed land, we had Rembrandt,
And proof of galactic rotation,
Johan Cruyff and your Manhattan and
The Permanent Court of Arbitration.

Tellegen’s and Koopman’s theorems,
The giant bicycle garage,
Tiny microorganisms,
And the Guarded Command Language.

Predicate transformer semantics,
And Bosch of nightmare paintings fame,
Also classical mechanics
And, oh yeah, the Olympic flame!

We discovered Australia,
Liquefaction of helium,
Protozoa, Tasmania,
Hafnium and rhizobium.

Then there’s molecular physics,
And, so you can truly feel alive,
The very first car with a 6-
Cylinder engine and 4-wheel drive!

Blender, schooners, the Dutch tiger,
Mutex mutual exclusion,
Melisandre, M.C. Escher,
The commercial revolution.

The Grotian conception of
International society,
Helium solidification
And stereochemistry.

Volvox, Mandeville’s paradox,
The gyrator, Kipp generator,
‘Coffeeshops’ and the Cracklebox
And the first capacitator.

And good heavens, what would we do
Without the New York stock exchange,
Or solid proof of the law of
Equilibrium on an inclined plane?

Girl with Pearl Earring by Vermeer,
The pentode and the metronome,
Methane in Titan’s atmosphere,
And don’t forget Boerhaave syndrome.

There’s fair trade certification,
Blue-Ray, Jeroen Krabbé, and
The first Jewish congregation
In the good old US of A.

Kramer’s law of opacity,
The holographic principle,
Yachts, kolf, marriage equality
And living below sea level.

We first saw Neptune’s moon Nereid
Uranus’s moon Miranda,
Your narrow tidal straight Hell Gate,
And the dangerous giardia.

Electrocardiography,
Big Brother and Fear Factor,
The law of freedom of the seas
Az well az azotobacter.

Then there’s bow dye, Wi-Fi, hardstyle,
EPROM and the pyrometer,
The cannon-shot rule (3 NM),
And the mercury thermometer.

For math there’s Heyting algebra,
For star geeks lots and lots of stars,
For storms the storm-proof umbrella,
And we found CO2 on Mars.

The study of virology,
And, Oh my goodness, what a sight!
Polarization of light by
Double refraction in calcite!

Those round stroopwafels, red blood cells,
Analytic geometry,
Zernike polynomials and
The oldest university.

Korfball, the submarine snorkel,
Sport sailing, stochastic cooling,
Spinozism, total football,
The first watch with spiral hairspring.

Oort constants, corporate governance,
Minnaert resonance frequency,
Behavioral finance, Remonstrants,
And superconductivity.

We gave you Brownian motion,
The world atlas, the electron spin,
The internal combustion piston
Engine, and don’t forget about gin!

Stock futures and the Dutch guilder,
Jan Steen, the meat-slicing machine,
And you’d be bored at war without the
Invention of the submarine!

No, we’re not the ‘Home of the brave’,
But we discovered viruses;
We gave you the rotational shave
And Intracellular Pangenesis.

The central bank, the thermostat,
Neostoicism, polders,
The blood bank and the female gonad,
Herring, corporate shareholders.

The galactic halo, Van Gogh,
The famous Cruyff turn, dividends,
Arminius, hardcore techno,
The first bourse, the Falkland Islands.

We made Bluetooth (with a Swede),
Found gas, and the Crystal bar process,
And we’re world famous, yes indeed,
For Goalkeeper CIWS!

Naturally there’s plant respiration
And technical analysis,
Temperature standardization
And continental drift hypothesis.

The modern market economy,
Investment funds, the Kuiper Belt,
Software engineering study,
And don’t forget: we had Rietveld.

We exported Audrey Hepburn,
The eyepiece, levees, DVDs,
Edam and Gouda and Beemster
And all the other proper cheese.

This list is not definitive;
I’m sure there’s stuff that I forgot.
As to what did the Dutch ever give —
I hope you’ll agree it’s quite a lot.

So I think I’ll end it here, with
Amstel, Grolsch, and Heineken beers.

Op je gezondheid! (That means Cheers!)

My New and Improved Blogs: Yes, Plural!

The Big No-No, fascism, fascism in America, American fascism, authoritarianism, WordPress, WordPress business plan, fascism in American society, authoritarianism in American society

Image: mine

I’ve created a separate blog about fascism in America titled The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism. It comes with a Facebook page. For now, titles of the emigrated posts will stay here, with links to their new homes.

I keep coming back to authoritarianism in American society and it was crowding this blog, which should focus on immigration and related issues.

Setting up the new blog took a long time and blood, sweat and tears – don’t ask – and now it’s up. It’s on the WordPress business plan, which means, among other things, that I get SEO (Search Engine Optimization) support. This is great – I learned a lot, like that I’ve been doing everything wrong! No wonder I only have about six regular readers on Resident Alien. So, from now on I’ll be SEOing my tail off, and sometimes that will hurt my language a little. That took me a long time to accept, but ultimately the goal is to get my point out there.

So yes, I know, that subtitle needs a verb, but the perfect title for SEO is fifty to sixty characters; therefore The Big No-No: An Outsider Addressing American Fascism didn’t work. Let alone … Fascism in America.

I’ve always liked to come up with creative, intriguing titles for my posts, but I now know that for search engines they might as well not exist. From now on my titles will have as many of the important keywords in them as I can cram in, as well as a headline. Both on The Big No-No and on Resident Alien. I might retroactively change the titles of my Resident Alien posts, too.

I’ll bold keywords throughout the text, as well. If you see bolded keywords that should be hyphenated but aren’t, and I do have the same keyword hyphenated somewhere else, that’s because some people will look for the term unhyphenated, not because I’m not sure how to deal with hyphens.

Well, about 75 posts have emigrated to The Big No-No and anything else I write about Trump and the dangers of fascism and authoritarianism and police violence, etc. I will publish there. Having two separate platforms will allow me to write more on Resident Alien as well. For instance, I really wanted to write about the undocumented immigrants and the child separation at the border, but I was in the middle of a series about black and white social and wealth disparity and I didn’t want to break the order of the posts. Now I can. (And on the business plan I can add a series plugin to posts in a series, so even if I don’t write them all one after the other, they’ll still show up as a series.)

I emigrated posts with comments and all, because in some cases there is more in the comments than in the actual posts. They definitely add value that I didn’t want to lose. If you have commented on any of the posts and for some reason you don’t want your comments to show up on my awesome new blog, let me know and I’ll delete them.

The Big No-No has a plugin that provides more privacy for blog comments. According to the creator “it hides the input fields for e-mail and URL in new blog comments and omits storing the IP addresses of commenter in the WordPress database. It also disables the notice that e-mail addresses are not being made public. This helps to reduce the data collected from users.”

Another nifty plugin allows you to edit your comments for a brief period after publishing them.

If you followed Resident Alien primarily because you are interested in my posts about American politics and fascism and authoritarianism and such in American society, I invite you to move to The Big No-No. If you were getting annoyed with all my posts that really didn’t have anything to do with the original intent of Resident Alien, I apologize that it took me this long to think about simply creating a second blog, and you’re welcome. If you’re interested in both, great! Hop on over, follow me, share me, follow and like the Facebook page (there’s a link to it on the blog, too) and share the heck out of that as well.

I hope to see you here and there!

Barbara

But That Was Then, This Is Now: Part 4: The Racial Wealth Gap

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my now blog

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Facsism, where it resides under the title:

“The Racial Wealth Gap: Two Reports on Income and Asset Disparity”

But That Was Then, This Is Now : Part 3 A Little Property History

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

Slave-based Economy: Slavery Was the Source of White Real Estate and Power

But That Was Then, This Is Now : Part 2 Housing Inequality

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Segregation Policies, Redlining and the Present Racial Housing Disparity”

But That Was Then, This Is Now : Part 1 Introduction

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Racial disparity: Institutional Racism from Black Codes to the Present”

Trump’s Telephone Tangle, Untied

Fox and Friends interview Trump 4-26-2018

Image: mediamatters.org

In an interview, the interviewers generally ask questions and the interviewee answers as best he can. Here’s an analysis of Trump’s interview with Fox and friends this morning.

I listened to it, and then I listened to it again, writing down the questions and only anything, any combinations of words, that formed direct answers. I did need to paraphrase here and there. Then I timed my reading the questions and the actual answers: just a little over two minutes. The interview lasted thirty minutes, so obviously he said a whole lot more, but the rest of it was  just a lot of static and deflection and stream-of-consciousness filler. Continue reading

From Facebook to Flipboard: How I Avoid the Information Bubble

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Fake News, Real News, Custom News: Facebook Information Bubble v. Flipboard”

 

 

Salsbury’s Slavery Spectacular!

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Revisionist History and Slavery as Entertainment at The Black America Show”

School Shooting #18 on Day #45

school shooting Florida 2-2018

Image: usatoday.com

This Entire Fucking Country is Mentally Ill!

So there was yet another school shooting. The eighteenth this year, I believe, and the year is only 45 days old.

Again we hear the nightmare stories of children hearing and watching and feeling their friends get murdered in the next classroom, in front of them, on top of them… Continue reading

Covert Centralization?

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“ICE and the Justice Department: Covert Government Centralization?”

Loophole

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Angola: From Slave breeder’s Asset to Prison Plantation”.

American Eugenics and the Holocaust

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“American Eugenics Programs, Hitler, Nazi Breeding Programs and Genocide”

Finally Going to the Aldi!

20171216_224158The Aldi store has come to Austin, Texas! Or rather, to Pflugerville, but that’s close enough. When I read that it was coming I was thrilled, because on the Dutch International Cookbook/Kookboek Facebook page I regularly see posts by folks elsewhere in America and Canada showing photos of their Dutch and German finds in Aldis. Now it’s here, so today I decided to include a trip to Pflugerville in my list of errands. Continue reading

Zwarte Piet : Putting the Racial Struggle Into Perspective, Again!

zwarte piet again

Image: cnn.com

So let me get this straight:

Sinterklaas can still be Sinterklaas.
He and his Pieten can still arrive in Amsterdam on the steamboat.
They can still have all the processions through cities and towns.
People can still come out to welcome them.
Kids can still wave at Sinterklaas and give the Pieten their drawings.
The Pieten can still wear the same costumes.
They can still hand out candy.
Everyone can still eat pepernoten,
and taai-taai,
and marzipan,
and kruidnoten,
and suikerbeesten,
and amandelstaven,
and chocolate letters,
and speculaas poppen
and drink hot chocolate.
Everyone can still sing Sinterklaas songs.
You can still have Book Piet, Organizer Piet, Grumpy Piet and what have you Piet (a relatively new phenomenon).
Everyone can still buy Sinterklaas and Piet dolls at Xenos (also relatively new).
Kids and adults can still place their shoes at home on Sinterklaas Eve.
Kids and adults can even place their shoes at school, at work, on the street and in the bars (again, new).
People can still exchange gifts.
Children can still make surprises.
A good time can still be had by all.

The only thing that would change is the color of Piet’s face and hair.
And this is how you react?

1376638_196615273855651_1602619297_n

(Welcome to the Netherlands, where all cultures are accepted except our own.)

Have you all lost your mother-loving minds?

My original series on the whole Zwarte Piet issue starts here.

When I was a Kid : Showing my Age

img304

When I was a kid my mother was against school uniforms.

When I was a kid we emigrated to Australia in a BOAC plane that had to stop three times to refuel.

When I was a kid my parents rented a television for one night. They watched a movie that had something to do with a leaking submarine. Continue reading

Propaganda’s for Chumps

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Hitler and Trump: Propaganda for the Poorly Educated in Mein Kampf”

The Thanksgiving Gremlins

Halloween wreathIn her book Daring Greatly, self-help guru Brené Brown talks about gremlins as being the voices in our heads that tell us we must do this, we must behave so, we should have done that, etc. The gremlins are the critics–our parents, society, or our own (unrealistic) expectations for ourselves. The idea is to identify those gremlins and then basically tell them to shut up. There’s a little more to it than that, but that’ll do for the purpose of this post. Continue reading

The Zwarte Piet Debacle From the Outside, Again

zwarte clownOkay, it’s the end of November and that means that Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) is arriving in the Netherlands, with his helpers, who have traditionally been all called Zwarte Piet (Black Pete). The Zwarte Pieten are traditionally white people with blackface. People of color in the Netherlands have gradually become vocal about not liking that and the Dutch reaction is incredibly embarrassing to me. Continue reading

Dubious!

Okay, today’s prompt is too good not to link to yesterday’s post!

Playing the Scammer

20170507_173005And now for something completely different.

Friday morning, when I planned to sleep in and then do some work, I got a call from my Microsoft support company, or so I thought. Continue reading

The November 4 Demonstration

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Talking Fascism With Militia and Homeless at Fake Anti-Trump Demonstration”

Fascism in America 11: Conclusion

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Conclusion: American Fascism Won’t Be Gone After Trump”

Fascism in America 10: Suppression of Dissent and Propaganda

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Propaganda, Censorship and Other Suppression of Dissent”

Fascism in America 9: From Toxic Masculinity to Annihilation?

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Toxic Masculinity: Male Aggression, Anti-intellectualism, Dictators, War”

Fascism in America 8: Violence and Intimidation

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Government Violence, Militias and Intimidation in American History”

Fascism in America 7: Totalitarianism

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“American Totalitarianism: Authoritarianism and Christian Dominionism”

Fascism in America 6: Authoritarianism

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Authoritarianism: Respect for Authority — the President, Teachers, Police”

Fascism in America 5: A Little Detour to the Dutch Police

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Dutch Police Training: From Authoritarianism to Deescalation Techniques”

Fascism in America 4: Symbols and Rituals

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“The Flag, the Pledge, The Anthem: Patriotism or Nationalism?”

Fascism in America 3: Language

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Fascism and Its Language: America is the Greatest Country on Earth!”

Fascism in America 2: Exceptionalism

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“American Exceptionalism Is a Dangerously Naive Form of Nationalism”

Fascism in America 1: Introduction

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“What is Fascism and What Does American Fascism Look Like?”

To Respect Symbols Or To Respect Ideals

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Patriotism: NFL Players Kneeling for National Anthem Have American Values”.

From Nationalism to Patriotism, Again

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Charlottesville: From Patriotism to Nationalism to Malignant Nationalism”

Neither Racist Nor Responsible?

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“The Blurry Lines Between White Responsibility, White Privilege and Racism”

From Nationalism to Patriotism: A Girl Can Dream

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Recognizing Fascism: Introducing History Education in Post-Trump America”

 

Whenever You’re Ready

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“American Re-education: America After Trump”.

Collective Stockholm Syndrome: The Reason Facts Don’t Convince?

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Collective Stockholm Syndrome, Battered Wife Syndrome and Trump’s Base”

Open Letter To Livid Boy Scouts Parents

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“To Livid Boy Scouts Parents: Trump’s Speech at the 2017 National Jamboree”

The Myth Of Parties Of Ideas

Today’s conservatives and the GOP have no values. They just have talking points.

via The Myth Of Parties Of Ideas — This Ruthless World

A Personal Request

Akke en FlorisThis article is written by my cousin. If you live in Holland or in Europe and you’re able to donate to keep the magazine Lotje&Co afloat, please do. Parents of special-needs children can feel so isolated and this magazine helps them with support and communication.

Adrift in Books

007_edited-1Today’s writing prompt is the perfect excuse to revisit the post about my raft book collection.

I’m not big on collections. I used to be. I had all sorts of collections. If I saw something I liked, I would start a collection. Until I felt that I was surrounding myself with things just for the sake of surrounding myself with things, and I got rid of most of them. Continue reading

Followed By the Pound Key

water billSo I was brushing my teeth before leaving home to go work out. I had it all perfectly timed: I would get more than an hour and a half on the treadmill at the YMCA before having to pick up R nearby. I turned on the tap to rinse… no water. Continue reading

Plenty of Reasons Why

13-reasons-why

Image: Netflix

I finished watching the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why this morning. High school in America is so vastly different from my high school experience in the Netherlands on every level, and it never ceases to shock me. Continue reading

My Magnificent Salad of the Moment

saladMy mother’s idea of a salad was a floppy lettuce with one sliced tomato and one sliced hard-boiled egg. Salad dressing was mayonnaise and oil. So I like my salads to have plenty of ingredients and per definition no lettuce! Continue reading

Get Real, America!

sean spicer

Image: cnn.com

This week White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer uttered what may be the most offensive garbage yet, claiming that Bashar al-Assad is worse than Hitler, because even Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons, at least not on his own people and not in their cities and villages. Continue reading

Belated Note to Self

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(It’s April, so it’s National Poetry Writing Month. One prompt I saw this morning was to find a picture of your younger self and write a poem describing the mood and telling your younger self something about the future. I had just the thing already on my mind.) Continue reading

Famine, War and Love: a Novel

famine, war and love

Image: amazon.com

A reader of my blog recently published a novel and he has been kind enough to send me a signed copy!

The story makes the connection between the famines of Ireland in the nineteenth century, the Netherlands during the Hunger Winter of 1944-1945 under German occupation, and Ethiopia in the early 1980s,  thus bringing into view the universality of the effects of hunger, war and displacement. Continue reading

Breastfeeding My Babies

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Breakfast in Central Park, May 1998

Yesterday I was reading something that reminded me how much I loved breastfeeding. I’ve been meaning to write about it for years, and I keep forgetting. It’s one of the best things–if not the best thing–I’ve ever done. Talk about having a purpose! My very body was keeping this brand-new little human alive and thriving. Continue reading

A Visit to the Gandhi Bazar

janakisToday I rediscovered the Gandhi Bazar, an Indian grocery store I frequented ten years ago, when we lived in an appartment nearby. (For Austinites, it’s on the corner of Brodie and William Cannon, catty-corner to HEB.) I love going to Asian grocery stores–they smell wonderful and everything is strange, except for the occasional item we used to have in Australia, like the proper Ovaltine or rusk. Such is the Commonwealth. Continue reading

Wish

This week’s photo challenge is “Wish“. I took this picture on the Brooklyn Bridge in the summer of 2014.

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Dinner and books in an Austin Strip Mall

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Image: telegraph.co.uk

R and I looked on Yelp for a place to eat in north Austin this evening, and we ended up in Troy, a Turkish/Mediterranean place in a little strip mall where we had been once before, a couple of years ago. Continue reading

How to Find a Balance

Image: amazon.com

Image: amazon.com

Sometimes I think that I should take a break from the news, just turn the car radio to music and not read my Flipboard or Facebook feed for a few days, because it gets too stressful. But right after that I think, what a luxury to be able to contemplate turning it all off for a while because it’s too hard to hear, too much to read about. Continue reading

I’m At a Loss For a Title Today

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Trump’s Muslim Ban and Hate Crimes Against Muslims by Trump Supporters”

Trump and Fox, Good Luck!

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Trump and Fox News and Fake News and Sweden”

Working on Wellness: Yoga Studio, Sworkit and Calm

034_edited-1Yesterday I discussed Habitica, an app that I find not just helpful, but fun to use as an incentive to improve my mental and physical health. Today I’ll discuss the other three, as promised. Continue reading

Working on Wellness: Habitica

Image: habitica.com

Image: habitica.com

Twenty-three years ago this month, I emigrated to the United Stated. Or so I thought at the time. I now know that emigration is a process that lasts the rest of one’s life. Maybe it’s easier for someone who emigrates from a developing country, for someone who always wanted to come to America. I never did. And when I came, I thought it was temporary. I now know it’s not. Continue reading

America, Your Democracy Just Got Fired

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“American Democracy Is Only As Strong As Its Separation of Powers”

How Stupid Is This? Let Me Count the Ways

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Millions of Illegal Immigrants Committed Voter Fraud, Trump Insists”.

Civil, Angry, Civilly Angry?

Image: snopes.com

Image: snopes.com

My friend and neighbor had a dilemma two days ago. He wanted to “like” my post to support my family going to the march, but he himself has started holding meetings in Austin to discuss how we can bring back the civil discourse, and my last post wasn’t that civil. Continue reading

Women’s March Successful

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“After Inauguration Day: Women’s March to Protest Trump a Huge Success”

Caught By Surprise

homeless, denny's, Once a week I have three hours to kill in East Austin. I kill them at Denny’s, because it’s close to where I need to pick up R when she’s done, and because they play 60s and 70s rock–my music. I usually take my laptop and sit at one of the two tables near an outlet, so I can write. Continue reading

I Pledge Intolerance to Bigotry

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“The Safety Pin: My Pledge of Intolerance to Bigotry: Bullies Beware”

America, I Just Want to Slap You!

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Last Chance to Prevent Fascism in America: The Electoral College”

The Days After

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“The First Days After Donald Trump Wins the 2016 Presidential Election”

Graceful I Am Not!

crocsToday’s writing prompt is Graceful.

Ha-ha-ha!

If there’s ever a word that describes what I am not most completely, it’s graceful. I’m the epitome of the proverbial bull in a china shop. More like a stumbling drunk bull in the British Museum’s Asia section. Watch out folks, here she comes. Hide your valuables! Continue reading

From Gaming Faux Pas to Immigration Insights

Image: innogames.com

Image: innogames.com

Sometimes I go over my blog, to see if there is at least some semblance of balance between positive and negative posts. I don’t want to always sound angry and whiny, especially in my posts that are more directly related to being an immigrant in this crazy country. That wouldn’t be an accurate reflection of my state of mind outside of this blog. Nevertheless, anger and resentment do seem to crop up on a regular basis. How is it that I am still able to keep that up after twenty-three years? Continue reading

Dear NBC, About that Episode of The Blacklist…

Image: nbc.com

Image: nbc.com

Dear Blacklist producers,

I’ve been binge-watching season 3 on Netflix. Since you probably won’t actually be reading this and others will, allow me to set it up.

James Spader plays a larger than life, debonair master criminal who helps the FBI bag other master criminals, but really, the FBI is helping him in plans it has no knowledge of.

It’s an enjoyable enough series, but the end of episode 10 got my goat. Don’t worry, producers, I won’t spoil anything. Continue reading

Fun Facts About Facts, Truth, and Reality

Image: addictinginfo.org

Image: addictinginfo.org

Donald Trump is worried that the mediator in the first presidential debate on Monday will fact-check his statements. That right there should tell you everything you need to know about what he plans to say, but only if you still know what facts are. So let’s explore the language around the issue for a bit. Continue reading

My British Hiking Goal

A quick photo prompt post: This is an old slide, and not great quality, but pobody’s nerfect, am I right? I took this photo in the Lake District in England in 1989, and I believe H and I camped on that little flat spot by the tarn in between those two streams down below–which was already up there. As part of reclaiming my hiking identity, my quest is to get to this spot again some day and camp by that tarn.

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Outfitting Then and Now: Hiking (Non)essentials 3

image: happyhousewife.com

image: happyhousewife.com

As I’ve mentioned before, I hadn’t had a good look at camping gear in decades, because it was too painful. Now that I’ve been surfing Pinterest for hiking and backpacking articles, I’ve found a lot of stuff a serious lightweight backpacker doesn’t need, but also several items and ideas I’m going to incorporate. Here they are: Continue reading

My Super-amazing Tent: Hiking (Non)essentials 2

img356Well, I might as well keep going and make this a series.

Of course, the most important item for backpacking is your tent. It has to be as light as possible, keep you absolutely dry in driving rains that last for days, be able to withstand pretty windy conditions without tearing or flying away, and preferably have enough space to be comfortable, even in driving rains that last for days.

I absolutely love my tent, for all the above-mentioned reasons and then some, so I’ve got to brag about it a little. Continue reading

To Spork or Not to Spork: Hiking (Non)essentials

img837_edited-1Today’s prompt is conveniently Hike.

I’ve been on Pinterest a lot, lately, pinning stuff related to hiking, backpacking and lightweight camping, and Wow! There’s been some improvements these past twenty-five years! The best hack I’ve seen is using a walking stick as a tent pole. Especially since my tent has just one pole, this is perfect. Assuming you use walking sticks, of course.

There is also more stuff out there that looks cute, but that you probably don’t need. Continue reading

Land of the Free to Be Ignorant and Ridiculous

Image: talkingpointsmemo.com

Image: aslkingpointsmemo.com

In the spirit of refueling, I downloaded an app with Dutch news from different media. And right away an article in Elsevier caught my eye.

It’s about a Muslim school in the town of Zaandam, that sued four parents of former students for slander and libel. Continue reading

Boycott Those Damn Mexican Taco Trucks!

Image: azcentral.com

Image: azcentral.com

A Trump surrogate recently stated that, without stricter immigration policies, we’ll soon see a taco truck on every street corner. Now, I’m almost per definition against anything coming from the Trump camp. I’m liberal, anti-bigotry, anti-fascism and all that. However, I’m not that easily pigeon-holed. Because I have to say, I agree that having a taco truck on every street corner would be a terrible scenario on every level.

Here’s why. Continue reading

Open Letter to Trump’s Deplorables

Image: talkingpointsmemo.com

Image: talkingpointsmemo.com

Dear Trump supporters,

By now nobody  can ignore that Trump’s an outright racist, misogynist, homophobe, islamophobe and xenophobe. The evidence in speeches, interviews and on Twitter is overwhelming. I agree with Hillary Clinton that most of the folks that still support him are also racists, homophobes, islamophobes and xenophobes, and that’s definitely deplorable. Continue reading

Refueling: Filling my Tank With Drukwerk and Stroops

immigration, homesickness, refuleing, stroopwafels, drukwerk, doe maar, andre hazes, dutch food, dutch pop musicWell, waddaya know? The daily writing prompt is “Recharge“, just as I was getting ready to write about refueling as an immigrant. Another term I learned recently, from Akhtar’s book Immigration and Identity.

What do you do to refuel (or recharge) as an immigrant–to get your home fix, as it were? Continue reading

Greetings!

011_edited-1Vagabond Urges wrote in yesterday’s post, The Secret to Europe, about greetings in Paris shops. He observed that when a customer comes in, he or she greets the person behind the counter. Who then reciprocates and things go on from there. If you don’t start off with a greeting, you get the cold shoulder. As an American, he had to get used to that.

So I started thinking about different greetings. Continue reading

Cairngorms, Here I come! : Mourning My Losses 5

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Image: H

It’s amazing what one successful hike and a pair of good hiking boots can do. On the road back to Texas, I found myself scanning the maps of Canada, looking for canoe trips T and I could take in the future. Maybe an easy, non-portage one to begin with, like a part of the Peace River… Suddenly everything seems possible again!

Continue reading

Plain of Six Glaciers: Mourning My Losses 4

20160811_162048In my previous post I described how I bought a new pair of proper hiking boots. (Don’t ask me how on earth I managed to lose my old pair; I have no idea.) So the next day T and I went on a hike rated “moderate”, and about 12 km round trip. I didn’t look at the survey map, because just looking at those made me feel blue, so T told me that it was two kilometers along Lake Louise, which should be pretty level, and then 4 km uphill to a tearoom near the Plain of Six Glaciers.  We had all day and if I didn’t feel up to walking to the tearoom by the time we got to the end of Lake Louise, I would turn back and T would go on alone. Continue reading

New Boots: Mourning My Losses 3

new bootsT wanted a fitness tracker for his birthday, so the kids and I went to REI. Back in the day I would have been in hiking heaven at REI; nowadays it’s depressing and I usually get what I need as quickly as possible and leave again. But I had the kids with me and though I knew I was asking for trouble, I felt I should look around with them and point out gear that resembles mine, and tell them how I used to do this and that, and hey look, that’s about the size my backpack was, etc, etc. Continue reading

Mirrors

A non-edited photo challenge quickie in between introspective immigration posts: New York City, summer 2014. 021

My Hiking Identity: Mourning My Losses 2

img659So in yesterday’s post, I mentioned some of the ways in which immigration has changed and/or affected my identity. Continue reading

Immigration and Identity : Mourning My Losses 1

img593_edited-1I’ve started reading Immigration and Identity by Salman Akhtar. He speaks about the loss of identity and the mourning process involved for emigrants. I had never thought about it in those terms, but yes, when you emigrate, your identity changes to a degree, and yes, there is definitely mourning involved. Continue reading

Narcissists and Power

Here’s a good article about narcissists, and why they should never be given as much power as Americans could give Trump in November.

The Stuff of Memories

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I just created a new page, titled Emigration / Immigration. It took a while, but after six years in I realized that that might be a good one to have. Continue reading

Cherry on Top

Photo challenge: Cherry on Top:

In 2013 we went on a family trip to the Rockies. My daughter took her stuffed unicorn along, and it shows up in several pictures. I like the effect.

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How Separate Are We, Really?

image: nairaland.com

image: nairaland.com

On July 14, a man ran his truck into crowds of people enjoying the Bastille Day fireworks in Nice, France, killing eighty-some and wounding so many others.

Bastille Day celebrates the birth of the French Republic, with its motto, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Fraternity means, among other things, communal support, friendship, brotherhood. Continue reading

Burnt Lodge Pines

Photo challenge: Look up:

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Curves

Photo challenge: curve.

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Will Trump Become Presidential?

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“2016 Presidential Election: Trump Is the Presumptive Republican Nominee

Me, Forging Empires

forge of empiresA while ago I started playing Forge of Empires. It’s the first time I’ve ever gotten involved in any kind of digital game, at least not since getting addicted to Pong when I should have been studying, back in library school. Continue reading

Empty, Spent, Blank, While the Pundits Catch Up

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Trump is the Republican Candidate: It’s a Bit Late to Face American Fascism”

Democratic Socialism or Social Democracy?

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Bernie Sanders: Democratic Socialist or Social Democrat? Why It Matters”

Harmony

154This week’s photo challenge: Harmony.

Last summer we stayed a week in upstate New York with my wonderful brother and sister in law. They took us to visit their friends’ small farm. About thirty acres, if I remember correctly. A stream, a pond, wooded area, swamp, meadows. An open barn where the animals can come and go as they please. Continue reading

American Crossroads: Reagan, Trump and the Devil Down South

Image: ew.com

Image: ew.com

I posted this awesome article by Ben Fountain on the Resident Alien Facebook page, but that only has fifty readers. So here it is as well, my borrowed submission for yesterday’s writing prompt “Inevitable“. (And it’s never too late to like my page for more stuff that’s relevant to my blog posts.)

How the Republican party slowly but surely got Americans ripe for a …hm…man, person, specimen, angry goldfish like Trump. Also, I now know what “dog whistle politics” is.

I Question Your OCD

Image: fanpop.com

Image: fanpop.com

Do you recognize a lot of yourself in Monk?
Are you detail-oriented in your cleaning?
Is your house in perfect order, everything in its place?
Do you feel the need to straighten crooked pictures?
Do you dislike getting dirty? Continue reading

Seasons

The week’s photo challenge is Seasons.

I took this road trip photo last May in Wyoming, but it sure looks like winter to me.

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No Pat On My Back

image: camstockphoto.com

image: camstockphoto.com

Today’s writing challenge is to tell someone that I’m proud of how proud I am. Continue reading

Call Me Crazy

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Under a President Trump, Would Democracy Survive or Would Fascism Win?”

Vibrant

Vibrant, the theme for this week’s photo challenge.

New Orleans, spring 2012

New Orleans, spring 2012

Surprise? I Think Not

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Was Trump Success in the Republican Primary a Surprise? Look at History!”

Surfing Against the Current

My picture for this week’s photo challenge, taken in Missoula, Montana, 2013:

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Hot Messes

image: Guardian

image: theguardian.com

Like the Hot Mess Stephen Marche mentions below, this article feels like at least four separate articles all scrambled into one. But it’s worthwhile as an impression of America and its politics by a (Canadian) outsider.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jan/10/white-man-pathology-bernie-sanders-donald-trump?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+USA+-+Version+A&utm_term=148973&subid=14420186&CMP=ema_565a

 

 

Gravity

The photo challenge this week is weight(less). Here’s mine, taken at the Austin Zoo a few years ago.

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Oops, The Secret Is Out!

Yep, I have porn on my computer.

squirrels mating 5

And I took these pictures myself. Continue reading

Table Manners

image: pinterest.com

image: pinterest.com

How do you eat a salad? How do you cut your steak?

In Holland, I learned to eat with knife and fork, the European way. Holding your knife in your right hand, in a certain way, and your fork in your left hand, in a certain way. The cutting or folding of leaves happens just so and you keep your knife an fork in your hands the whole time you’re eating. Not just with salads, anything that isn’t finger food. Continue reading

Who’s That Caroling From Muscle Memory?

xmastree_edited-1Every year, on the first Saturday in December, John Aeilli–host of the KUTX program Eclecticos–and a few other public radio people lead the Christmas caroling on the steps of the Texas Capitol and my family and I always join in. Yes, I know, no separation between church and state, but I pick and choose which principles I stand for as much as the next person. So sue me. Continue reading

Eye Spy

Photo challenge pic.

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Good Grief And Happy Holidays!

Source: Good Grief And Happy Holidays!

Great post about the War on Christmas by a blogger I follow.