Almost a year passed

A year.

Wow.. it’s been almost a year since I actually wrote a blog. I just realized that when updating and fiddling around with the website. I didn’t start my year traditionally with resolutions or even recapping them, probably since my new year wasn’t all that traditional traditional to even begin with. Well sure, we played games with family at a table, watched fireworks and ate the traditional oliebollen (deep-fried raisin buns) en apple beignets. But we did actually do that at an attraction park while riding rollercoasters, watching shows and eating at a buffet diner in cowboy style on New Year’s eve. Certainly not the typical New Year’s eve.

Is it pause or paws?

So, what’s happened?

When realizing it had been this long ago, I immediately tried to recap what actually happened last year. Some of the things that occurred, not necessarily in chronological appearance:

  • We’ve lost Taris, but Dex adopted us
  • Saw my brother and sis-in-law going through the same thing ending up with adorable Mette
  • Supported them with loss in her family
  • Helped Maikel + Natasja to cut & clear trees after a storm
  • Went to some Star Wars movie with Egmond, added to our lightsaber counts.
  • Visited the Amsterdam Light tour in a canal boat with my niece and in laws
  • Picked up a bit of mixing/making music again
  • Rekindled painting with light, revived 500px contribution
  • Ate a bit of sushi, steaks and more higher end food+ discovered new places to do just that (i.e. La Terraza Del Gourmet, Walt’s, a sushi church?)
  • Visited a bunch of concerts (Stereophonics, Guns ‘n Roses, Anouk, Train, Lisa Lois
  • Visited Disneyparks multiple times
  • Bought new human powered bikes, so more exercise 🙂
  • Spent way too much time bingewatching and Netflixing
  • Bought a new car
  • Visited a certain Paul’s too much (or according to Cynthia: never too much)
  • Saw Cynthia get a cat tattoo
  • Visited our favorite guys in Spain and they even visited us
  • Enjoying all kinds of stuff with friends and family
  • I got a new job
  • My mom (-in-law, but sure don’t feel like it) got cancer and got rid of it
  • Learned a couple of new skills
  • Did some laps of swiming
  • Reached level 40 (admittedly took a bit of grinding, you’ll understand if you know me a bit 😉 )
  • I probably forgot a bunch of things.. Been a challenging year.

The future

While my job is to set the bigger picture for IT Workplace Services in the future 3-5 years, I like to plan less far ahead in personal life. And live more.
That should continue in this year, despite anything that should happen. So we already know we’re going to be having fun in the sun, giving our niece her first Disneypark experience(s), visit some more concerts (even Toto with my mom-in-law :-)), visit another Star Wars movie and enjoy every bit of sushi and steak we come across 🙂 And renovate that damn bathroom, finally 🙂 Maybe even redo the garden, if possible. And take care of my personal well-being and maybe wait less longer to write a blog.

Still: the best of it all is sharing it all loved ones. And especially sharing all good and bad things to come with Cynthia.
Let’s grow old together, sharing and living.

Love you honey.

A view – a picture and a magic perspective

A view

This photograph was shot from our regular vacation address in Spain, courtesy of our Brit friends Shaun & Phill. Alright, Ellie too.
Sitting here in sub-freezing weather with snow and an agenda sometimes overflowing, I cannot help to reminisce last year and this view. I just sit there, staring at the sun going down. Calm, at ease, not a care in the world. Take a last splash for the day in the pool..
I wish it could be like that anytime soon, but alas, we have to wait quite a few months..

In the meanwhile

So, what to do in the meanwhile, besides work? Well, the package I received today helps with that 🙂 In it was a letter, a map, a business card and 2 annual passports to Disney Land Paris!
I guess we’re going to be visiting even more frequently the coming year, starting our first one in 2 months now. I think it will help us to get our minds off of things.
And: Celebrate the 25th anniversary of the park of course! Like we weren’t certain before 😉

Economics

I think we ordered just in time, since the tickets are going back to the original rates now. We basically bought 2 passports for 280 euros, which includes parking and some other stuff. A regular day ticket to all parks is around 80 euros (+20 for parking a car), so if you plan to visit twice in a year, it’s cheaper (280 vs 360). Plus, you get discounts on all restaurants and boutiques (10%), Disney hotels (25%), Buffalo Bills Wild West Dinner Show (20%) and a day ticket for a friend (10%).

What’s new?

I’m really looking forward to all the new stuff and special celebrations this year, including:

  • Star Tours: The adventures Continue – Yay! New scenes and ride from Star Wars: The Force Awakens!
  • Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain – They postponed the opening, so we’re missing it on the first visit. Good reason to plan ahead the 2nd one 🙂
  • Disney Stars on Parade – Complete new parade, including fire-breathing maleficent dragon? I’m curious!
  • Disney Illuminations – A new nighttime spectacular with scenes from Frozen (meh), Pirates of the Caribbean and the new Beauty and the Beast. Replaces Disney Dreams.
  • Mickey presents Happy Anniversary Disneyland Paris – New entertainment and beloved characters taking over the heart of the park
  • The Starlit Princess Waltz – A meeting of all Disney princesses for a waltz on the Royal Castle Stage. I wonder if Leia participates 😉
  • Experience Enhancement Project – Basically the sum of all reinventions and re-imagineering finished for the 25th anniversary

I’ve read that for Star Tours there are now 13 segments of film + simulator movements, which can be combined to 96 different ride combinations. Re-rides guaranteed as long as you can last 🙂

I think that, with all the finer and smaller details Disney usually gets spot on, this will indeed be a magical year and THE year to get a year passport once again!
If this doesn’t hurl us trough the year towards our beautiful Spanish destination again… maybe even visit on the way there or back.. hmm possibilities..

How’s that for a view?

Merry everything and happy always!

Merry Everything and Happy Always LBG14-MDBN-01Merry again

Yes, ‘ tis the season to be jolly! Since my blog about the 10 years after my mom passed away, I get the feeling every Christmas is getting better again. Writing does have certain healing effects I guess..
For the first time in a few years, I am actually enjoying setting up the Christmas tree. Though it is a small one this year as per the missus wishes. I bet the cats would have liked the one reaching the ceiling more though 😉
Through time, patience and education, I can now honestly say I am ready for Christmas. I just feel I can enjoy it to the fullest once more and I think that’s a beautiful thing. At the same time, I find some smaller things more valuable.

More personal or easy?

I know, times change. But I do really miss the times when people would actually write a card to wish a person a good winter/Christmas/new year. Sometimes with a personal note.
Or hand pick a card to match the person/situation/attire.

So every year, we send Christmas cards to the whole family, friends and folks in our street.
And rush a bit to write back to people we get cards from, so we always return the favor.
I find it a simple, personal and thoughtful way to express you wish each other luck, good health and pleasure for the times to come. Unlike Facebook.

Merry Facebook?

On Facebook and other “social” media, people smack a random non-personal greeting on their own wall as clickbait or wait for people to like it.
I did see some folks actually put more than 2 seconds of thought and effort in a wish trough Facebook. Even saw some posts of customized wishes on other people’s walls, but it’s a rarity. More kudo’s to them though!
I know, Facebook is a lot easier and faster to send out your greetings to the world, but it’s hardly personal.

Ask yourself

Would I appreciate a personal card more than a undirected message on Facebook?
Would I write a card back if someone took the effort to send me one?

I invite you to buy a stack of cards, some stamps and pick up a pen.
I personally think that writing a card shows way more interest and effort towards the receiver opposed to that impersonal broadcast-to-all message on social media.

And when a person writes back to you and undertakes the same effort, that’s golden in these times.
I applaud you, it’s much appreciated! 🙂

Scrooge

I almost forgot: some argue the cost of sending cards. Please go ahead and post something on Facebook. But as I already wrote once:
Please donate (part of) the savings to a good cause, there are people actually needing it to be on their way to a merry everything and a happy always.
And I assume most of our Facebook friends can easily afford a couple of cards anyways.. And you can go around the postal fees by delivering in person, with more appreciation to show for it by the receiver 🙂

If you do want to send a card: Buy a stack of 10 from a national post office (10 euro’s including stamps), make personalized ones through a printing company (10 for 2 euro’s) or be creative yourselves (priceless)!

Either way: Remember it’s about more than those 2-3 days in december, have a