Healthy feels so much better

Last Monday I noticed I almost felt, like, normal. The cold that bothered me for over three weeks disappeared. I finally felt like doing stuff again. Like paint a bedroom pink. Or write. Read books. Make phone calls. Go to the shops to buy a new winter coat. Play with Daughter. Meet with friends in the park. Go for a long walk. Being without a cold feels so much better.

Get to know Irma Boom (297)

When it comes to book design, Irma Boom is one of the best. I’m not in the book design business, so I hadn’t seen her work or heard her name before I saw a short video during the Adobe Max event. Her work is simply amazing. She studied in Enschede at the AKI, the art school in my former home town, but she decided she was not good enough to become an artist, creating something out of nothing. Then she got introduced in the world of books by Abe Kuipers and figured out she was a (graphic) designer instead.

The video I saw during Adobe Max is not available, but there are other videos available on Youtube. I recommend watching those of the Louisiana Channel (by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art). Boom: My Manifesto for a Book, Irma Boom Interview: Passion for Books and A tribute to Coco Chanel.

MoMa has bought some of her work. That does qualify her as an artist, don’t you think?

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Project Pink

I haven’t shared it here before, but in February Daughter’s best friend thought it to be a good idea to redecorate Daughter’s bedroom. Daughter went along with her friend. They covered a lot before I went into the room and caught the two of them. Obviously I was disappointed with Daughter for doing the one thing I told her not to do with the markers she was allowed in her room to draw on her magnetic drawing board the Man and I bought for her a month before. Lots of tears were shed, as Daughter hates being naughty.

Afterwards she confided in me that she thought the walls in her room were boring. I painted those walls two years before. She was still a baby when she moved into this room and I chose to keep the room as stimulus free as possible. I painted the walls with shades of grey. I knew at one point she would want something else. That point came in February. But I couldn’t jump in the car and buy paint at the spot. That would almost feel like handing Daughter the biggest present in her life for doing something wrong. So we made a deal. We wouldn’t redecorate until after summer holidays. Until then she had to live with the consequences of her actions.

Summer holidays came and went. Summer turned into Autumn so I couldn’t postpone my end of the deal. This week’s autumn break created an opportunity to spend a few days painting the walls in Daughter’s bedroom. I promised her she could pick the colors herself. She wanted pink. I managed to talk her into a toned down version of pink and she agreed. I added a touch of creativity to make it even less boring. It took two days to prepare the walls, paint them (and the door), and let it dry.

Project Pink is now finished.

Daughter was very excited to see her walls pink. She is very happy with the end result. She even rewarded me with a medal. Mommy points in the pocket! (And I have to confess, I’m rather pleased with the end result as well. It is now a bright and cosy room.)

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Covid Confessions

Earlier this week Dutch government ordered to close pubs and restaurants, is finally advising to wear a face mask in public indoor spaces including high schools (the legal ground to make it mandatory is pending), group sizes indoors and outdoors are now limited to four and alcohol sales are not allowed after 20:00. That last rule is probably a result of people massively buying alcohol in supermarkets after the previous 10PM closure time of cafes. This limited lock-down was to be expected since the daily count of new infections, nearly 8000 today, still has an upward trend. Luckily there are exceptions to these new rules, mainly for those under eighteen. That means Daughter can still go to dance classes.

It doesn’t really affect my behaviour as I already decided to retreat from public life as much as possible over a week ago.

The thing that bothers me though, is that people who are skeptical about these rules tend to focus on the number of deaths. There is undoubtedly a clear trend towards the elderly dying from covid-19. People who might also die from the common flue, or another viral or bacterial infection their bodies are too fragile to get rid of. However, the number of deaths is only half of the explanation why we need to tread carefully around this new virus. Even in the healthiest of people it can do a lot of damage. Long term fatigue and lasting organ damage are two of the things I’m hoping to avoid. Another long-lasting effect can be change in smell and taste. You may not think of this as a big deal, but when your beloved morning espresso smells like exhaust gas, you probably wish you never were infected with covid-19. And it can be a dangerous thing too, when you can’t properly smell. You might accidentally eat something that is overdue, resulting in food poisoning. Or you miss a gas leak in your home.

I think it’s really important for us all not to focus on death rates, but acknowledge that this virus can do a lot of damage in your body regardless of age. The medical world made huge jumps forward in finding treatments, tempering the progression of the illness. Countless vaccines are being tested on humans already. But hope is for tomorrow, reality is today. Today there is still a big chance to get seriously ill, there is no vaccine, there is no definitive medical treatment. Today (and for the coming weeks and months to come) we just have to dig in and wait until the shittiest part of the storm has passed. C’est la vie.

With covid-19 flaring up all over Europe again, only a month until US elections and Johnson announcing today he is ramping up to a no-deal Brexit, this is a time for me to follow a strict news diet again. I wrote a long piece about this in Dutch. Long story short, the best way to stay mentally healthy during the coming period is to limit your news intake and focus on the reality around you. You are in control. Unplug. Make your own life great again, while staying at home. But I bet that you, reading this, are already happily distancing yourself. Well done!

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An octopus is awesome (289)

I can’t seem to get rid of this cold. It was gone last week, it came back again this weekend, it was gone by Tuesday morning, but revisited the cavities in my head Tuesday night. Yesterday I managed to finish and publish a long article on my other site, but after dinner I felt wrecked. This morning my voice is nearly gone. Therefore I decided to stay in bed today, to give my body time to heal itself properly. To keep myself entertained I took the iPad to bed and opened Netflix. The top banner after opening the app presented me with My Octopus Teacher. Normally I’m not that into documentaries on nature, but for no other reason than curiosity I started playing it. I’ve watched it to the end and I can only say to you: never eat an octopus (I never did, by the way). They are too incredible to kill for a short moment of mindless chewing. They only live for a year. Let them live to die after creating offspring. Let the sharks feast on its body after many failed attempts to catch the darn beast while still alive. So yeah, my tip for you to watch today (or sometime soon) is My Octopus Teacher on Netflix. You won’t regret it.

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That one shot (283)

Every now and then I watch Peter McKinnon’s adventures on Youtube. He’s a Canadian photographer and videographer, a rather popular one. About a year ago he shared a short documentary on making his bucket list shot. I loved watching it as it brought back memories of visiting Lake Louise and the Canadian Rockies twelve years ago. Breathtakingly beautiful and completely different than the European Alps which I’m more familiar with. I hope to revisit some day. For now, I’m just rewatching McKinnon’s quest for the one shot he dreamed of making.

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