Monday, April 16, 2012


a collage of my Monday's spontaneous nowacation
Thanks to mijn liefste P, I was able to rest and rejuvenate my mind Sunday.

He was the one that urged me to take a ride on the bike, when I told him I was feeling very tired after I showered.  Normally, I don't need urging but the last days has been mentally stressful for me.  My own doing.

Biking without any destination is not quiet back yet in my system.  Since our fridge and cupboards always needs refilling, I went biking for some Sunday shopping.

It served me well not only for refreshing my mind but it made my Monday's spontaneous nowacation possible.

Today, I brought our Littlest again to school.  It was great that she had a relatively peaceful weekend without the tiring coughing through the night. This helped start the Monday right.

We were the very first in front of her classroom door, and I helped her start her day at Groep 1 (the equivalent of kindergarden in the Netherlands); I felt lighthearted to see that Littlest felt at home right away even after a period of absence.  This feeling alone already made my day.

I could have rushed home to do the chores because I did not have to do groceries, like I usually do after I brought the Littlest to school.

Somehow, something strong willed me to stop. Perhaps it was the exhilirating Dutch wind blowing against my contented demeanor, or the beautiful sun which always seem to make the skies bluer here in the Netherlands. Whatever it was, my mind called out in a melodious voice, "Nowacation!"

I have the camera almost always in my bag, and I took several pictures of many familiar spots, which I am very fond of to rediscover each time the season changes.

It was simply a day of letting go of the pressure, that constantly nag at you to go, to hurry, to do and finish everything NOW; I  literally followed the adage, "stop and smell the roses".

Well in this case smile at the smelly sheep and their stretching lambs.

More pictures of this day, well...tomorrow! :)

Have you ever had a spontaneous, nowacation?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

M - Minuet in the Woods

I was looking for a classical music for which I once said, "I would love to listen to this piece while biking through the woods!". 

My sleepy mind would not let me remember, though.

As I randomly searched online I stumbled on a clip of a minuet from Luigi Boccherini.

It is a lovely music but not quiet dramatic and exhilirating compared to the classical piece I am desperately trying to recall.

Perhaps it will come to me after a good night's sleep.

Friday, April 13, 2012

L - Life in the Netherlands

a four Seasons collage of the image in front of our window done from 2009-2010; it is a collage that never fails to soothe me, whenever I feel rushed by life...

In my Easter Greeting post, I announced that I will be back after the long Easter weekend, on Tuesday with the blogs for F-H.  This decision was a part of my baby step with unplugging.

Well, it's a big surprise to me, that we now have Friday because of how busy the week has been!

I'm late. Very late. But not gone and definitely not giving up on the #atozchallenge.

You might wonder what kept me busy besides our three daughters, and the daily life of a stay at home mom!

After the long family weekend, Tuesday thru Friday simply whooshed by.

If you are also following my running blog, Happy Feet in the Netherlands, you will know that I am preparing for the 38th Berlin Marathon.

You might have also read there, that as part of my preparations, and as a long time dream, I've been meaning to fulfill for my 40th year here on earth: I will be running a marathon in our old home town Hamburg.

Not a full one but as part of a relay team, which I put together with the help of the Amsterdam Running Junkies.

In it's 27th year, Hamburg Marathon will have a marathon relay team participation for the first time in it's history.

Summer, 2011 in front of the Hamburg Rathaus (city hall)

Last night,  I ran together with my team-mates around the Vondelpark twice, and after our shared fun run, we discussed how we will spend the marathon weekend, together in Hamburg.

More about it - detailed accounts with pictures! - at  Happy Feet in the Netherlands.

What kept me also pre-occupied is the Filipino Bloggers Worldwide, a group who has generously supported my bid to be Flying Blue Running's new community blogger.

More about the group , at My Daily Mooosings in the Netherlands, in the coming weeks.

My bike at the Smidsbrug, 's Graveland, January 2011

And on top of all the responsibilities at home, organizing of my first marathon relay team, and networking, I had to park the bike away for days (my daily destressing activity!), while the Littlest was home to recuperate from her stubborn chest cold.

She is better now but still has to stay home today, and rest the whole weekend.

The day before yesterday, I was talking to mijn liefste P, and I told him that I miss the simple joy of watching a bird, which we did that day.

Wednesday, 11th of April, a day of bird-watching with mijn liefste P

The quote below did not come to me then, but it does in a way summarize what I felt.
Be careful what you set your heart upon - for it will surely be yours.
James A. Baldwin
I guess, this is why I am willing myself not to feel guilty for pausing with the #atozchallenge.  I simply want to have time to let the flurry of all wishes coming true settle down, that I might have a chance to savour them longer than it seems possible with all of them rushing towards me.

The preparations for the Hamburg marathon, the Berlin marathon, working together with creative, supportive people, and my beautiful & loving family, are all wishes I treasured in my heart.

Now, they are there: the family I long for and am thankful for everyday, and the other dreams I enjoy, and some just within hand-reach.

Taking a day to look out of our front window to watch the changing of the season, and at the back window, to see how our resident blue tits prepare their nest in the bird house we provided, is a way for me to pause, and be receptive to what is being realised in our lives.

Wonderful Spring; new beginnings.  They are wonderful cycles of life.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

E - Easter Greetings

Littlest, 4 y.o. has been writing her name multiple times, since liefste P taught her how to; I had to preserve at least one of her efforts for posterity. The drawing on the other hand, is one of my many art-present-after-school from Middle daughter. Together, I thought they would be a nice "Easter Greeting card" for this year.

For this year's long Easter weekend,  I've  decided to share the letters F-H of my #atozchallenge blogs, next week Tuesday.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge April 2012

It's a baby step to my "Unplugging Project", a part of simplifying our lives here in the Netherlands. 

Do come back to find out more about this project, and check out all  bundle of posts from F-H on Tuesdsay! :)

Happy Easter, everyone!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D - Defeated?

I am feeling a wee bit defeated, and we are only by the letter D! Not even a quarter to the challenge!

Well, I have to admit, it's only logical specially since I am participating this year with not on but two other blogs for the AtoZ Challenge. With My Daily Mooosings in the Netherlands, & Happy Feet in the Netherlands.

Today, I created a collage of races I will be running from the 9th of April to June, and the highlight running event for this year for me, the Berlin Marathon in September.

Happy Feet in the Netherlands
It's an image I would like to look at to calm and cheer me up at the same time. A kind of motivational running poster for myself.

The unedited image below, on the other hand is a "painful" and happy memory caught on camera.  I'll share the detailed story of this picture in the next days during this blogging event.

June, 2010
I had to revisit this image to remind myself, that I never give up, and for such effort, always rewarded!

The quote that went along to the story of the picture above was this:

I praise myself for big and little things. I am a wonderful being. I used to scold and criticize myself because I believed it would help me improve my life, yet criticism has not improved me over the years." - Louise L. Hay
Nope, not scolding myself for feeling defeated, or dragging the schedule to share the daily posts (for three blogs!).

Like how I mastered biking, I might have fallen a lot of times (and still do from time to time!) but I always get up and go back on the sandle, again.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Changing Saddles

 Edited & Updated with images (11th of July, 2012)
Something I wrote 9 months ago...(July 2011)

Das Glueck der Erde liegt auf dem Ruecken der Pferde is probably the best known German proverb modified to quote on riding - it was originally written by Friedrich von Bodenstedt (see below) and is considered a dictum.

"Das Paradies der Erde // liegt auf dem Ruecken der Pferde, // in der Gesundheit des Leibes // und am Herzen des Weibes." - Friedrich von Bodenstedt. The words are the first lines of a poem in his book, A Collection of Poems and Sayings in the Vernacular.

The paradise on earth
lies on the back of the horse
in one's good health
and in the heart of a woman
(my own rough translation)

I encountered this proverb while Googling horse riding schools in North Germany. As previously mentioned in Giddyup! eldest will have a riding holiday in the South of Germany.

Unedited pic of Eldest in their old room in Hamburg, taken (31st of July, 2011) a couple of hours before I brought her (P was under the weather, and the girls stayed back with him) to the train station for her horsebackriding holiday in Thuringia (South of Germany) - added 11th of July, 2012.

She'll be staying for 6 days with other girls of her age at a horse-riding boarding school. I'll write more about the program of the school, in the days to come, or next week when we are settled in HH (abbreviation for Hamburg).

added 11th of July, 2012.
  Eldest & her horse Ataman ♡ {{{heartsqueeze}}}

She had a fantabulous one week at the horseback-riding boarding school, and left a piece of her heart withAtaman. But they will be reunited again this coming weekend, and everytime she visits her Oma H in the South of Germany.

We had deliberated long about this part of the holiday, first P and I, then both of us together with the girls, then I with K. The greatest hurdle was me overcoming my separation anxiety with eldest.

Although they have been spending a huge part of their school breaks in Germany with their Oma H and with K, this is the first time, that eldest will be by herself with numerous group of new people to adjust to. She's been to school excursions where they spent a week togeter with their class at a destination selected by their teachers in cooperation with the parent body, when she was still going to school in HH as part of end of the school year tradition.

We trust our eldest sense of responsibility and independance, and of course the establishment that will be responsible for her in the duration of the week. One important factor that made me choose the school is that it's only 5 minutes drive from where Oma H lives, and I coordinated with K, that he will check on eldest during the week. I will also be calling her everyday from Hamburg, to know how she is doing.

This decision is the family's baby step into the world of horseback-riding. If you have followed my collection of 30/31 days of blogging here beginning 10 months ago, you are aware that we live in a quaint village, and are surrounded with idyllic countryside surrounded by horse ménage.

The family counts it a blessing to live where we live in the Netherlands. I've always wished that the girls will grow up in the way described in the books of Swedish children's book author Astrid Lindgren, and our home, our community, our surroundings are the fulfillment of that wish.

I envision the family sharing moments together in various ways, and one of those moments are riding together. Last Summer we successfully began riding bikes together, and we can all happily look back at a very rich year filled with shared moments riding our bikes.

The Summer feeling

For Summer this year, we would like to slowly make time to learn and ride horses, that we may all share this experience with each other as well.

In the next weeks, as I put order to the hundreds of pictures I took in connection with my varied 365 projects I'll be sharing random images of horseback-riding in our region, which I was not able to share.
Now off to do some packing for our trip!

On the way to Germany

I leave you all with a horse joke which made me grin:

I came down with laryngitis last week.
One day, while I was petting a Shetland Pony at the zoo, a friend of mine asked, "How are you today?."
I responded, "I'm feeling a little horse."

Monday, April 2, 2012

Biking Along an Ever-Changing Landscape

A look back blog & repost from 10th of January 2011,  originally published @ My Daily Mooosings in the Netherlands

Rereading this blog always makes me smile because it reminds me how rewarding personal blogging/journaling is, most specially at times of life's transition. It can makes you focus on what's most important in your life, and when you look back, it reminds you how far you've come. :)


Back on the saddle today after a very long pause due to the weather conditions, and recurring ailment.  

It was a joy to take the first image this year, which  I am archiving for our 's Graveland album, of my bike on the Smidsbrug.  

taken on Smidsbrug at 8:45 am

I plan to slowly build up an archive of images of different places, in different villages of Wijdemeren, through different seasons; I am aware it is an ambitious project, that is why I am doing baby steps towards it.  At the moment, we have a simple point and shoot camera from Panasonic DMC - FX30 (Lumix), and we are saving for a better camera.  All in the future, no hurry.

For the meantime it is all about  making sure the girls are in school on time, and that we are back home safely at the end of the day

taken at 4:08 pm in 's Graveland


There was frost when we set off to school at 8 am today, but luckily the roads were not slippery.  Tomorrow we have to be up much earlier, and leave for school before 7:45 am because P will be leaving early for work, too, which means the littlest will need to be prepared to come along for the school ride, and preparation takes much longer!

Back to routines!

What makes all these routines worthwhile for me is what seems like an ever-changing feel to the landscape we see everyday as we bike along them.  

How the different light of the day affects how green the grass is; what herds of animals are grazing on the fields; what flocks of birds are flying over the sky.  For me it feels like the places are the same canvas but the details of the landscape, which I always see as a  painting before me is ever dynamic.

almost at the entrance of Ankeveen, taken at 9:22 am

almost at the entrance of Ankeveen, taken at 4:27 pm

Photo P.S. to this blog... (11th of April, 2012)

I added the images below, which were taken on the same route above because the eldest, J is on them.  It's only now, that it occured to me that she was not present in the blog I reposted from My Daily Mooosings in the Netherlands, here in The Lightness of Being on the Bike!

She quiet often request not to be photographed, or occasionally tell me clearly not to feature here in my blogs. :) But with these images (from 7th of February, 2011; the images above were taken - 10th of January, 2011), I did not only receive her permission  take her picture, but she also was generous enough to allow me to share them. 
Add caption

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A - April Biking Challenge

Hello, fellow A to Z challenge bloggers, new readers & loyal friends! :)

This is my second year at participating in Blogging from A to Z April challenge.  Last year, I did through the mother blog of The Lightness of Being on the Bike, My Daily Mooosings of the Netherlands.

If you are curious you could check it here: my Blogs from A to Z April Challenge 2011.

I'm taking the opportunity of this blogging event to reintroduce the idea (and put it at the same time into action!)I had last year: 30 Days Biking Challenge

What could be more fun than biking & blogging about it, a whole month long  yes, 30 consecutive days!

This project is the first of many challenges that will be featured here in The Lightness of Being on the Bike.  The page is still currently in development but I thought it best to put it out there, share and let it be a work in progress,  than for it to remain a dormant idea.

I love biking and it has helped overcome my anxiety and panic attacks.  Once on the bike, I feel empowered, liberated and joyous.  The only draw back is when I stopped for a while, it becomes challenging to go back on the saddle.

This is how the first challenge - 30 Day Bike Challenge -for this blog came to life.  Also, almost all my projects are something I share and do with my partner, and our girls.

I would love for my family to spend a lot of time outdoors together; it will be wonderful for our three girls (11, 8, and 3 y.o.) to grow up to appreciate and respect Nature surrounding us.  It is also my wish for all of us in the family to have a deeper understanding of the history, language and culture of the Netherlands through our biking tours, and most of all find joy in the simple yet precious pleasures in life.

These are what I hope to document in the 30 Day Bike Challenge in June 2011 (and perhaps other months of the years to come!) - for lack of a better name for this project (I will have to think up another title during the course of the challenge or after it's completion, to be used for the next years ):

  • Family time together outdoors
  • Discovered new bike paths  around the area (through the woods, along the lakes and in the forest)
  • Images of scenic routes, monuments, historical places
  • Anecdotes about our talks regarding the places we visited and things we each learned during each bike tour
  • New words/phrases in Dutch, we learned through  each bike trips
  • On trips abroad, a quick comparison of biking cultures
  • Images of happiness, joy, appreciation for the Summer season, for the place we are blessed to be able to visit and our good healthy life, that enables us to enjoy all of it.
Here is wishing this challenge will inspire and perhaps next year it can be a blogging project for the community  here in the web! Come along for the ride and be a part of the journey!

originally posted, 21st of June 2011
updated 1st of April 2012

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring On the Bike!

Hello, I'm Back! @My Daily Moosings in the Netherlands!
Hi, Bike Lovers,

I'm back to blogging about my bike adventures with my family! :)

My last post was last year in Summer, 21st of June 2011.

30 Day Bike Challenge 2011 (firs attempt) Day 1
My girls, my part-time photographers during our bike tours
Since then I have taken a long hiatus from blogging about biking, but have not stopped biking at all. Not even through Winter 2012!

Friday Outdoors in the snowy Netherlands with my bike
One snowy Friday  in February in the Netherlands
As Spring begins, I'll be sharing adventures I had on the bike by myself, and with my family, and adventures as I plan them, and live through them.

Spring, May 2010 - as I was still adjusting to a biking lifestyle in Holland

Spring on the bike with me beginning Spring 2012! Share your adventures on the bike, your favourite places, routes - shared fun is multiplied fun!

Spring is Visiting Keukenhof for me, this year hopefully it will include biking around the town of Lisse