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”