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Things I've written about weeknotes

Week 11: Meeting Patrick

  • I got to meet one of my Internet heroes this week: Patrick Rhone and his family were on a Europe trip, and I was lucky enough to catch the planning stage on his blog right in time to extend an invitation. We spent a rainy Monday evening in de Jordaan at Cafe de Tuin, talking ye olde Internet productivity culture, the arts, politics, hopes and dreams, and how his teenage daughter apparently woke up one night singing “raise a glass to freedom”. Fine people, they are.
  • After another week with Lemonade, I’m beginning to feel more confident about raising her to be a well-behaved, confident puppy. For the most part, she’s doing very well. The only real challenge we have is the barking to which she’ll resort every time she’s in the crate but not sleeping. Through trial and error, we’re slowly learning how to help her settle down more easily, and this week, the efforts have begun to pay off.
  • I’ve got some exciting news forthcoming that isn’t quite ready for the public just yet, but it has managed to lift my spirits greatly. I’ll be able to write more in the next few weeks, but for now it’s safe to say I’m feeling hopeful, inspired, and ready.
  • While Anja had apparently been around to watch season one when it was released, I’ve only now turned onto the wonderful journey that is Abbott Elementary. I would never actually ask the universe for a reboot of The Office: US, but this new mockumentary revolving around a poorly-managed, underfunded Philadelphia public school has exactly the vibe I would’ve hoped to get from that nonexistent reboot. It’s just nice that, with this show, Black people are at the front and center.
  • Spring has officially begun, but as one of the regulars at my coffee place said: “the question isn’t when spring begins but when rain ends”. It seems the weather’s getting better, though, and I can feel I’m on the cusp of storing away my winter coat. It has been a long time coming.

Week 10: Outings

  • It snowed a few times this week and I was as baffled as I always am to see it happening in March. I don’t have a great understanding of what the weather’s supposed to do in a given period of the year.
  • After two weeks of cocooning, we’ve finally been taking Lemonade out to various places. I aim to take her out at least once a day, usually to the park or a walk around the block. We also visited my favorite coffee place twice. It’s wonderful to see she’s such a relaxed and curious dog.
  • This was my last full week off. I still have a few days left and then I head back into work. I don’t know how people work after they first got a puppy, and I’m grateful I was able to take this time off.
  • I attended service at All Saints again. It was an intimate gathering with a rather inspiring reflection comparing “giving up” to “letting go” for Lent. I feel like I never get Lent right: I drop in too late, don’t see it all the way through, and this always makes me feel like I’m not a proper Christian. Regardless, it’s great to become acquainted with All Saints. Its focus on inclusivity gives me goosebumps.
  • Lemonade met the other corgi in the building, Lalo. At only ten weeks older than she is, he towered over her as they played, but she didn’t let that bother her. He was so sweet playing with her, using his strength in a very gentle way. Here’s to hoping they’ll become best friends.
  • Annelie came over for tea and lemon punitions. She had been gone for a few weeks and I had missed her. She’s Lemonade’s godmother, and as they met in real life for the first time it was clear to see why this is so.
  • Anja started her ceramics course at Studio Pansa. On Sunday she had her second class, and she took pictures. She’s such a fast learner, and the pots she made came out beautifully. I’m proud of her.

Week 51: The piano

  • Happy Hanukkah and/or Christmas to those who celebrate!
  • Even though our house is (reluctantly) multi-religious, we forgot just about every tradition we were ever taught for this time of the year. On Hanukkah Eve, Anja said “where are the tea lights?”, but we had no luck finding them to produce a makeshift chanukiah. Probably for the best. I don’t mind that we didn’t put up a Christmas tree, but I did find myself missing our outrageous ornaments.
  • This week was all about the new piano I bought. I can’t stop thinking or talking about it.
  • All I’ll say is: this piano project is the first one I’m approaching through a neurodiverse lens, and it’s making everything so much smoother and funner.
  • Illegally, I’m mentioning something that happened in week 50. A. took me for my annual Fancy Birthday Dinner. For the first time since we began dating, I told her to leave it a surprise. I suppose it’s one of those benefits of having gone to in-patient eating disorder treatment: chill vibes about food surprises. If you ever have an appetite for exquisite 10-course Asian fusion dining, book a table at 101 Gowrie, where the atmosphere is as beautiful as the tableware, the bread is to cry over, and the umami is so intense that you’ll have trouble putting it into words.
  • We needed a two-nighter to finish watching Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. I’m very much at that point in my mid-thirties where finishing a feature film under a warm blanket on the sofa after 8 p.m. is a challenge. I love whodunits — the genre might be in my top three — but I was quite disappointed to learn that both A. and I were able to guess the ending within the first five minutes. Janelle Monáe and Kathryn Hahn looked great nonetheless.
  • All week, people kept asking me what I’d be doing for Christmas, and I’d cheerfully reply “Nothing! You?” every time. I feel liberated from the pressure to spend time with family or friends during the holidays, to eat more than I can carry, and to be and have fun. We certainly did have fun, just in a “really couldn’t be bothered” kind of way.
  • I made my first batch of heavenly mud, a rich, creamy chocolate dessert. It was heavenly.

Week 47: Booster

  • I forgot how the COVID booster can make you feel as though, temporarily, the world may well be ending. I got it earlier this week, and it left me with a sore arm and that dreadful, ridiculous sensation that accompanies a flu that lasts a week too long. I mimic my late stepfather, who used to wimper like a puppy whenever he got a cold.
  • I still do well to limit my hours of screen time. Before I know it, I’m stuck with a headache and dizzy spell.
  • Spotify’s Discover Weekly was on point this week. Aside from lovely “beards and log cabin” tunes, as I call 70s soft rock, I’ve fallen hard for the hyper pop track “Notice” by Moe Shop and Toriena.
  • We raced through another season of The Crown, this time with the excellent Elizabeth Debicki as Diana. I love how she manages to capture Diana so well despite and because of her camp-adjacent interpretation of her. I wonder if she ever got a sore neck during taping.
  • After protesting for weeks, I’ve finally let Anja turn on the heating. So far, I haven’t had much up-close experience with the energy crisis the world is currently facing, and I don’t want that to change. It’s great to feel my toes, though.

Week 44: Coat

The weather has officially reached a temperature that requires me to buy a new coat. I dread it. Unlike most other types of clothing, coats and jackets never seem to suit me, regardless of the style. To soften the blow of having to order several coats on the Internet hoping one will work for me, I granted myself three sets of retro socks.

I finished reading The Midnight Library, which I had borrowed from Annelie. It sure has been a long time since I last read a book that was both so entertaining and easygoing. It feels borderline young adult, and entirely unpretentious.

Week 16: Springtime holidays

Each year I’m less embarrassed to say it: I don’t like that stretch of time during the Dutch Springtime when no work week is normal. Aside from the usual Christian holidays there’s King’s Day and Liberation Day, and I’ve found it really messes with my head. I don’t mind them much looking ahead (like I did last week, but having to live through it could well be too much for me.

This week, I learn that bolognese is a great base for chili, as long as you add enough cumin, beef, and beer. We watch The Undoing, which is a surprisingly great decision of Hugh Grant.

Week 15: Ironic

Brushing my teeth on Friday morning, I think about the weekend ahead, secretly complaining that my social engagements will keep me from getting the rest I need. Then I remember Easter Monday. The true marker of my mid-thirties is the excitement I feel at the prospect of a bed, and nothing but it.

I hold a baby this week, one of my favorite ones. His face has two states that exist simultaneously: the one of utter shock and surprise only newborns can have, and the one that reminds you that babies know everything about the world and forget it as soon as they start to speak. He laughs when I bop his nose, although I quickly learn that the force with which I bop Anja’s adult nose shan’t be applied here.

There’s a French bakery in Amsterdam that I visit on Wednesday with my colleague Ruby. Since their actual oven is somewhere else, I wonder if the shop even calls itself a bakery. After all, French standards would forbid it. The caramel éclair reminds me of that time at Un Dimanche à Paris, a high I’ve been chasing since mid-2018. The bread has been in the window too long. I ask if they have plastic bags, and I’m told no. I say I think that should be illegal in bakeries.

My childhood friend Mathilde comes for dinner on Sunday. Anja and I are giddy with excitement. In preparation, we practice our harmonies to Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic”over voice messages. Her husband asks her if she, too, heard the cat meowing. We’re celebrating her birthday, and I got her gifts at Java Bookshop. When I ask them about the East-Asian gay guy who writes letters to his mom, they immediately give me Ocean Vuong’s new book of poetry. Seeing her again, I better understand what It means to have a soulmate. I sing so loud I give myself a migraine. It’s worth it.

It took a while before I settled into a suitable solution for the way I produce content on this website. I write Markdown, and had set up mdx in case I ever needed some more complexity in my content files. I would mostly update content through my desktop client, but have Working Copy for iOS installed, which I enjoy as much as anyone could enjoy a touchscreen Git client. I was missing some functionalities that are natural to the way I generally write, and so I decided to move my content into an Obsidian vault. I could make a spiel about how I love the “slow web”-ness of writing things on my phone and only publishing them when I’m on my computer, but I simply haven’t figured out how to do it any other way.

Week 13: Recruiting

It has been snowing in Amsterdam. As the years go by, I’m having trouble understanding whether I’m experiencing the effects of global warming, or whether I’ve never paid attention to what was always in front of me until now. It is likely a combination of the two. Either way, it is sad to see Amsterdammers retreat into their homes after two weeks of shorts and drinks in the sun.

At work

Leeruniek’s Product team is hiring, and I’ve been the one taking care of the recruitment process for two engineering and one design role. So far, I’ve found a new front-end engineer as well as a designer within two months, so I suppose you could say I’ve been busy. If this process has been teaching me anything new, it’s that 1) I very much enjoy meeting people and learning about their (work) life stories, 2) there is such value in building strong relationships with recruiters who make you smile, and 3) it takes two weeks of introdutory chats before I begin to regret having to listen to my own voice give the same pitch over and over again.

At home

Another secret blessing of Covid has been the ability to spend more time at home, which, for me, immediately translates to the ability to better consider how I value my home environment. We’ve been churning through a pretty long list of home improvement projects, the absolute highlight so far having been installing a projector and theatre screen in the living room. Last weekend, we finished most of the work on our kitchen remodelling by putting in new counter tops.


A while ago, we found some new recipes that we’ve enjoyed refining:


I’ve been watching a lot of Dutch documentaries on the effects Internet culture has on children. 2doc has a selection. I particularly enjoyed My Daughter, the Vlogger. I can’t imagine what it’s like to raise a child, and I can’t imagine what it would be like in 2022. Still, “all her peers will have a YouTube channel by the time they are six, she might as well get a leg up” sounds sad coming out of the mouth of a 3-year-old’s mother.


I’ve been playing Heardle and loving it.

Week 12: Bonsoihoir

The tourists are back in town. Lots of Germans with face masks. I suppose we’re all beginning to venture out into the world again, just a bit closer to home. Anja and I are considering taking the ferry to Norway. Apparently you can camp virtually anywhere in that country, as long as you “leave it cleaner than you found it” and make sure you’re gone after two days. At this point, we’re vastly underestimating how attached we are to luxury. I can still hear myself whining “Bonsoihoir”. This was the catch-all name we used anyone who would come to the door of our Parisian hotel room with a bucket of ice, “no, not for champagne, just for the drinks”. I also really don’t like ticks, and I simply can’t imagine that Norway somehow doesn’t have the national health crisis taunting its neighbor.

We’ve begun hosting dinner parties again. Eggplant bulgogi and roasted squash with soy-glazed gingery tofu make for a great Asian fusion. With a side of steamed rice and homemade furikake, of course. I also seem to be making improvements with the dough I typically use to make challah and jam buns. The buns came out spectacularly well and were fluffy and delicious even without having been covered during the refrigerator proofing.

At work, I’m preparing for our new designer to join the team. Practically, this means cleaning up our documentation and our design system so that she has a place to land rather than a hot mess. I’m being more verbose than I normally am in my design documentation, and having to write about my decisions makes me notice all the techniques and frameworks I’ve come to use over the years. One of my favorite’s is Cohesive design, which is now so second nature that I forgot I didn’t even think of it myself.

On Sunday I watched a few horror films, Midsommar being the favorite. I also watched Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022), which wasn’t even that bad until I got to the final scene. Anja and I are watching season 4 of Killing Eve, which I imagine and hope will be the last season. Assassin résumé aside, I get Villanelle. I get every little bit of her.

Week 15: Streak

I am on a 33-day streak picking my teeth before bed. I’ve designed a temptation bundle, pairing the activity with a few minutes of garbage television. During these days, I’ve made it through two seasons of Love After Lockup and six seasons of Sister Wives. It shouldn’t surprise you that my watching habit has extended well beyond the time it takes me to pick my teeth. Earlier this week I decided to tone it down and return the temptation bundle to its original intention. Not because I want to watch less garbage television, but because I don’t want Sister Wives to end.

I watched the trailer for Them and it didn’t take long for me to decide I wasn’t going to watch the series, despite how much I love Lena Waithe. People who are close to me know this already, but the classroom scene could have been taken from my life. I think I’m ready for Black narratives that don’t just center around the entertainment of collective and private trauma of Black people.

We’re in the process of perfecting our tossed pasta recipe.

Week 2: Home office

I’m terrible at keeping it a secret: my favorite time in the week is when A works from home. We spent the past month building a home office in a one-bedroom apartment, and I’m happy about the result. Monday is Uni day for her. I find it endearing that her Statistics course is throwing her for a loop a little bit.

“Work is so great!” I think to myself on Tuesday. My onboarding period is somewhat odd because of two separate parental leaves in my team. Now that my fellow designer is back again, I have to conclude that she is an utter blast. A attempts to use her iPad as a sidecar but doesn’t get the audio right. This makes it so that I can hear all of her pupils wrestle through 1984. When she discusses a particular rainy scene, a girl says “like, I don’t know, it’s, like, just typically English”, and we both smile.

After work on Wednesday, I take a bike ride on A’s super fast ebike and almost run over a young woman in Vondelpark. Running after dusk without lights should be prohibited. I bike for miles and get lost a couple times, one of the perks of living in a large city like Amsterdam I call that. I plan to go to bed early, but find myself drifting in and out as we watch the second impeachment of Trump until past midnight instead.

On Thursday, my Now page is published on nownownow.com. After a beautiful day at the home office, I’m excited to play around with the Apple Watch I got in the mail when my mother calls me at 9 p.m. On speaker phone, she pours a wide variety of complaints into the room, and I tell her I don’t need her parentification1. It’s no use expecting that she will remember what I say three months from now, so I tell her the truth.

I accidentally have myself a total Miracle Morning on Friday: I meditate on kindness, I take a walk in the neighborhood, and update my finances. We hate-watch the Surviving Death episodes on mediums. A tells me she’s been to more than one seance in her life. I wish there was a separate TV channel just for medium weekend retreats.

On Saturday, at 990 days of sobriety, I sign up for a queer-friendly AA meeting. Not drinking is easy, but I haven’t begun to connect my alcohol abuse to the rest of my life, and it makes me feel weird. I spend the better part of the day tinkering with my personal site.

  1. It took some deep searching, but finding the work of Jonice Webb has been of great significance. 

Sunday seeds

  • If you ever happen to find yourself in the sleepy fishing town of IJmuiden: the fish, service, atmosphere, and cheesecake in the fish restaurant De Meerplaats are all very pleasant.
  • For my birthday, Erica Bouma gave me Jesus by rebel theologian Hans Küng. It’s a great and easy read — a recommendation for anybody interested in the history of Christianity.
  • The Son and the Stranger is a beautiful Dutch-language documentary about Daan, a man who, after studying Hebrew in university, converted to the ultra orthodox Jewish faith. Filmmaker Thomas Vroege attempts to understand his motives.
  • Ghost Shark, in which the translucent, bright blue ghost of a murdered shark jumps up from the smallest water surfaces to eat innocent holiday goers, is the worst worst Syfy-film of 2013. With a comeback from 7th Heaven‘s youngest daughter. Totally worth the choke by laughter, though.
  • I think Noah Kalina’s photo series Internet/Sex (2007-2009) is something very special.
  • My poet friend Jelmer van Lenteren runs a very nice Tumblr, where he shares his beautiful work and many great music tips.

Week 42: Facts

  1. I can remember what was taught in my Applied Linguistics class by the shirt my professor wore.
  2. My biggest secret is an unending fascination for the Momversation in which mommy bloggers discuss motherhood.
  3. Some people in my Dutch Language and Culture program are bad at spelling. All of them want to be writers.
  4. Times a day I realize I probably don’t want kids: 17.
  5. I’m terrified of failing University. During the day I’m scared, and when I’m not scared, I’m asleep. I’m a 4.5 GPA.
  6. Sometimes I miss Frédérique Huydts.
  7. Annual occasions that prompt a re-reading of Bridget Jones’ Diary: birthday and New Year’s.