Wow was it good to see you again after a 2-month hiatus. All this time I thought I needed heavy nights of drinking and extra sleep to forget about my problems when what I really needed was to visit you and sweat it out. I’ll never make that mistake again.
Dear Treadmill closest to the wall in front of the MTV screen,
I heart you the most. Not only do you give me prime MTV ‘My Super Sweet Sixteen’ viewing with few people walking in front of me, but also a nice view of the pool so that I can pretend I’m swimming along with everyone else if the heat gets to me. But what do you mean I can only run for a maximum of 60 minutes?! Don’t tell me how long I can run for, Treadmill. You don’t know me like that.
Did you purposely make a gym playlist that reminds me of every guy friend that I have ever had, because seriously running to the soundtrack of my male friendships always keeps me in good spirits, laughing along to memories. So thanks! But that’s a blog for another time.
Dear Fella Running Next to Me,
Oh so this is a race now?
It’s on sucka.
Dear Body of Mine,
When I finish my run with an uphill sprint and go upstairs to stretch it out in front of the mirror, I fall in love with you. Call me narcissistic, I don’t even care. You are not at your most gorgeous right after your workout, that’s for sure, but the endorphin rush makes you glow. Your heart is pumping rushes of blood to your every corner, causing your face to flush red and your skin to look toxic. You have a sheen of sweat over your entire body that sparkles under the flourescent light, and to be honest you stink more than a lady should.
But damnit as I sit there stretching I just want to lean forward in the mirror and french kiss my own reflection because I am reminded once again that pushing my body to its physical limits is the absolute best cure for what ails me, hands down. Thanks for holding up under the pressure.
Dear Bike Ride Home From the Gym,
Thank you for being slightly downhill and with a fair wind at my back. Awesome.
Dear Rocky Theme Song,
Without you, I don’t think I could have made it up the two flights of stairs to my apartment, so kudos to you!
Thanks to my change in attitude this morning (starting with the last post), I had an entirely different day today. I felt positive and upbeat all day, the work day at Lush flew by, and I walked home with a spring in my step. I have so much energy that I’m heading back to the gym tonight, something I haven’t even been able to fathom lately.
And to top it off, I just heard from a company about a position that is recently vacated again that I applied for months ago. I’m not sure yet if I will express interest in the position again, but it’s made me hopeful that I even heard back from them.
Surely the tide is turning.
Let this be a lesson to myself to stay positive. AND STOP FEELING SO FUCKING SORRY FOR MYSELF.
Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone.
I know this is going to blow your mind here, but today I feel in love with the world again. I feel like my old self!
(Dear Me, Welcome back! Love, You. )
And I know that comparing lyrics of a political song to the piddly little problems in my life is a bit absurb, but I can’t stop listening to the first couple lines of ‘The Times They are A-Changing’ by Bob Dylan, and gathering strength from it.
Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.
Sometimes life just kind of sucks, and it’s not fair, and things happen and you feel shat upon, but that’s just life. So you can let it drown you, or you can roll with the punches and swim.
Or…just kind of float like I’m doing right now.
Things are changing, I just have to deal with it.
Ooooo deep, right?
Anwho, speaking of that Dylan song, did anyone else think that the opening sequence to The Watchmen was the most amazing intro ever? I can’t remember the rest of the movie making that big of an impact on me, but the intro (which is here if you want to see it) is mind-blowingly beautiful.
And a year ago today I was in the States for the first time in 5 or 6 years, visiting friends and family in the New Jersey/Philly/New York City area and laying in soft suburban grass in my grandmother’s backyard. After 9 years of concrete city living, to feel the cool grass on my face on a warm summer’s day actually brought a tear to my eye.
My Aunt: ‘What’s the matter?!? Don’t they have grass in Amsterdam???‘
The dog wondering why I'm crying on the ground.
Man it was good to be back. I survived those 3 weeks solely on soft pretzels, italian water ice, and a little too much alcohol. I met up with dozens of friends and family that I hadn’t seen in years, and met some for the first time ever.
When it came time to leave, a little piece of me died inside, and for a split second I reconsidered my life abroad. In fact, I’m still reconsidering it. Despite all of those years of fighting to leave New Jersey, and this decade spent away, all it took was one step back in the good old Garden State to realize that I miss it. I miss the humid Jersey summers, the shore, the friendliness, my friends, and especially being close to my family.
Most of all, I miss the history that I had there. I’m building a history here in Amsterdam, but it can only go back so far. Friendships can only go back so far.
I know that if I were to live there again the novelty would wear off in no time, but right now, the New Jersey grass just seems a little greener.
OK, if you’ve been reading this blog for even a second you’ll know that:
a) I work at Lush, and
b) I have a Fresh Face Mask fetish
I’m slowly trying them all, and the other day I tried Cupcake- a gorgeous chocolate and mint face mask for hormonal or problem skin.
Cupcake- a treat for your face....or is it?
Another girl who works at Lush told me awhile ago, “If you don’t have problem skin, this mask will GIVE you problem skin!”
Why didn’t I listen???
My face erupted in problems the day after I used this mask. I hear wonderful things about it from customers, though, so I think I just didn’t have oily enough skin to tolerate something as strong as Cupcake.
We live, we learn.
However, it did remind me of my favorite character from my all-time favorite grotesque comedy TV show: The League of Gentlemen (BBC).
Meet Papa Lazarou, the scariest circus ringmaster you’ll ever see! He steals wives and keeps them in a cage!
If you don’t know The League of Gentlemen, then you are missing out! Seriously some of the most disturbed but hilarious comedy I’ve ever seen!
Here is the first clip I ever saw of the show, when I was living in a hotel in Brussels. It was Christmas time, and I was alone in the room when I stopped on the BBC and this came on and scared the holy living hell out of me:
I remember thinking, “This is supposed to be a comedy?!” But I quickly grew to love it and now own every season on DVD.
Here is another classic scene, and following it one of the writer/actors of the show explains how the character of Papa Lazarou came about.
The other morning when I couldn’t sleep I hopped on my bike and rode about town and took some videos before work, so I thought I would share two videos for those of you who don’t live in the Netherlands and are maybe curious about what it’s like here.
I consider Amsterdam one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to, much less lived in. These videos don’t even do it justice, but I was on my bike riding one-handed and trying not to run into a parked car or the canal, so it’s the best I could get.
Riding around in the early hours of the morning when all was quiet reminded me once again just how lucky I am to live here.
In these videos you can see the Jordaan area- lots of bikes, canals, bridges, houseboats, tall beautiful canal houses, narrow streets, and at the end of the first video (at 3 minutes 43 seconds)- the Anne Frank House.
By the way I added whatever music I could find on youtube to cover the sound of my bike basket rattling, faint music from my ipod, and the wind in the camera. One day I hope youtube will let you add your own music, but until then I made do with their generic songs.
I’ve been up since 4 am, but even sleep before that was erratic and interrupted by the soft snoring of the two dogs.
I’m glad at least they could get some sleep tonight.
I’m starting another blog to work through some ….shall we say issues that I am having right now. The cause of all these negative blog posts you’ve been seeing lately. When it’s ready I’ll let you know. I’m hoping that my experience can help others who might have the misfortune of going through something similar.
But actually I’m starting it because I don’t know what else to do with myself at 5:41 am when I can’t sleep because the thoughts are at me again.
Next I shall invent a machine whereby you snap your fingers and are miraculously able to conquer anything that ails you, mind or body.
For those of you that have stuck around through this morose period, I thank you.
Here is a video for you, because I can’t stop listening to this song and it’s making it hard for me to sit still here at my desk.
So far this blog post has been the following: I’ve written a sentence, stopped to dance a bit, written another sentence, another dance pit stop, etc. It’s making it hard to get anything done, but I love it!
The original video is here (embedding disabled) but the above is the concert at the Melkweg late last year. What luck to find this on YouTube! (Dear YouTube, you did it again! I heart you! -Amanda)
Notice the crowd in this video. That kind of energy almost NEVER happens with a Dutch crowd. It’s usually stony faces, reserved demeanor, and lots of talking in the crowd (rude!). But Hot Chip got everyone jumping, which was unexpected and totally awesome.
Listen to this song and remember how fucking rad the Hot Chip concert was way back in November with the lovely Alex V. What a fantastic night that was.
While listening to song, swivel your hips inside your brand-spanking new hoop picked up from the Mexicans this very morning! Hand-made for me, to my height specifications, with purple stripes because that’s what I asked for!
Then, with spirits soaring and caffeine pumping through your veins, book a girly weekend away in Glasgow with the inimitable Alex V, and start counting down the days (29 to be exact).
And then welcome yourself back to sanity with a smile!