This post will be about emotions first and outfits later. You can choose to skip the emotional part.
Usually I am quite content with myself. I think I am an honest person with decent values and moral. Yes, with flaws but no biggies. All in all: content. And then two events threw me.
My colleague remembering our first meeting
As I am going to retire soon, the conversations in the office are often about the past. Last week I met a colleague with whom I haven’t worked much the past 10 years but have done in the years before. He said: “What do I hear? You are going to leave the company? Retirement?… Gosh I can still remember the first time I met you….” I was immediately on alert as usually first meetings with me tend to upset people.
He continued: “I turned up for a project meeting you were heading and you asked me who I was. When I stated my name, said that I was new to the company and explained the role I was going to fulfil in the project, you replied: “Oh no… this is a very difficult project with too little time to do it. I don’t want you on the project, I want <name senior person>. She is familiar with the work and can move quicker.”
Aiiii… that was not very polite or friendly of me. Although I was right in my assessment (I stand by that) I could have handled that much, much better. We Dutch are the only people who are so very direct / honest, to the point of being blunt and rude. But that is the opinion of other people than the Dutch. The Dutch are fine with it. Nevertheless, this approach of mine really crossed the line, even for a Dutch person.
My friend’s reminiscences
Then last week my friend Marjolein and I got to talk about the different ways people act/react. The reason for this subject was her performance in a theatre as a member of a dance group (two weekends). They had rehearsed for 4 months and Marjolein was rightfully proud. I didn’t go to her performance. Dance is not my thing and I weighed my reluctance to go against the loyalty to my friend. In the end I phoned her, explained and said I was interested in seeing the video afterwards, but I wasn’t going to come. I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Is that a nice thing to do to a friend? No, it is not and I am aware of it.
Friends know I am not a thoughtful person. Not at all even (big flaw). When I am at a birthday party I can easily forget to congratulate the birthday boy/girl. When it is my husband’s birthday I have to put notes all over the house the night before as otherwise I will forget to congratulate him on the day. Or worse, I might totally forget it is his birthday. And I always forget our wedding anniversary; Ron never does. (Remember the story when Ron had bought me 22 red roses for our anniversary and I had no idea why?)
My mother is exactly the same, it is hereditary. We are a strange family anyway. Take the time I was graduating from secondary school. My father asked me: “Is it going to take long?” I knew it was going to take several hours and told him so. I also said it would probably be better if he went fishing, which he did. Some people might be totally upset by this, but I was grateful he did go fishing and didn’t have to suffer through all the waiting hours (not his thing). My mother could stand this much better. Strange family.
So far the flaw of not being thoughtful is not that bad. However, this flaw manifests itself on many occasions. Talking to Marjolein I realized I can totally forget really important stuff friends tell me about their life or about their health. That is not at all nice.
To add insult to injury, we were going back in time and she reminded me of the tantrums I used to throw when we were in our twenties. For instance: were the boots no good with the outfit I wanted to wear that night? I would throw them across the room and get as angry as Donald Duck. She always put up with it, the poor dear. Thank goodness, I have finally overcome these temper attacks, although very late in life I have to add.
Marjolein didn’t remind me of these things because she doesn’t like me. It just came up in our conversation.
On the bright side: I must also have good sides to my character as my colleague from the first anecdote likes me a lot. He says he really likes and appreciates my clarity (once he got used to it, no doubt). And Marjolein is my friend now for 45 years. But these stories made me realize, I am not the lovable person I sometimes think I am. Just so you know.
It doesn’t happen too often that you get a mirror held up to you, causing you to do some soul searching. I had to share it with you.
Over to nicer things
It was supposed to be a dry Saturday when I set out to meet my friend Peggy in The Hague. Well, it wasn’t. It was a cold, miserable day with lots of rain and wind. We had arranged to meet at a coffee specialty place near the water called Capriole Café. It took us quite a while to get there as the main road to it was totally blocked (from one side). In the end we parked our car and walked for 5 minutes, clinging the umbrella. It was worth it though. Their cappuccino was superb.
Below: As I knew I wasn’t going to walk much, I put on my high heeled IRO boots, a pair of black trousers and this cream Sportmax dress which you have seen before (here and here). I am too tall to wear it as a dress.
Below: Peggy, leaning on bags full of coffee beans. The poster above her head looks a bit strange but it is a nice photo of her.
Below: I sat on the coffee bean bags.
Below: In the sale of Essentiel Antwerp I found this modern brooch. Ron says I cannot wear a bird that is shot with an arrow. I told him that the arrow missed him.
Below: Close-up of Peggy’s earring.
Peggy and I caught up with each other’s life and enjoyed the fabulous cappuccinos. She went off to see her parents and I drove to a jeweller shop where they sell second-hand watches of fine brands. I have had my heart set on a particular watch for 4 years now, checking an app on my smartphone offering such second-hand watches. Finally I saw one that was right in wear and tear (very little to none) and right in price (affordable for me). I specifically chose a vendor with a shop in the Netherlands as I wanted to check out the watch in real life and not “pay first and check later”. Hence, the jeweller shop in The Hague. I am fulfilling my expensive dreams before retiring. The watch was everything I wanted so I bought it.
My friend Marjolein lives 4 minutes down the road from the jeweller shop, so her house was my next stop. Took me longer to find a parking space than to drive to her house. Crowded on a Saturday.
Below: Marjolein, dressed in her favourite colour (purple). The photo is taken indoors against the light, with flashlight, so apologies for the bad quality of the photo.
Below: Marjolein had bought a second-hand ring with many different coloured stones (ladybird on a flower?) and uses it to tie her scarf. Beautiful and clever.
What happened in my life this week
Saturday: that is already told above in the post.
Sunday: chilling indoors. Haven’t been outside the house as there was a storm raging the country. We kept all the windows closed and I looked in fear at our summer magnolia tree which still has leaves. (It was fine.)
Then we heard a crash: a tile had fallen from our neighbour’s roof onto the car roof of another neighbour. Crashed right through it. Annoying of course, but the liability insurance of the “tile neighbour” will cover it. (Nearly everybody in the Netherlands has at least a liability insurance.) No further incidents so I went on with my blog and doing laundry etc.
Monday: normal workday; easy for me as I do not have real tasks anymore. When we had a meeting about a project where my successor and I were both present, I couldn’t help myself and gave my two cents. Fitness in the evening and my knee was a teeny weeny bit better. Still hoping to heal completely.
Tuesday: again a normal day at work with some small tasks. I did however, “resign” from the team I am working in. The Monday meeting taught me it is time to pass the baton to my successor. I am now breaking in another new colleague.
As I only have 6 more weeks to go at the office, I want to look my best. From my Outfit Gallery (top navigation of this blog) I have selected the outfits which I really love to wear these last weeks. Below the outfit I was wearing Tuesday (cream with brown). This photo was taken in the evening, therefore very grainy. If you want a better look at it, click through to the blogpost about this cream pleated skirt.
Of course I do not walk around like this at home. Not with a dog. Not with high heels. The minute I walk through the door, I’ll go straight upstairs and change. Like in this stretchy pair of jeans with big socks:
Wednesday: have had a terrible night with very little sleep and a great big headache. It was really necessary to stay in bed, so no fitness this day. By noon I was feeling a bit better and kept my dentist appointment. Nothing much to tell about this day.
Thursday: the headache was back. Bummer. Went to work later after the pain was gone. Had a nice day at work. Easy. No big events.
Friday: worked from home. Did some shopping in the afternoon as it wasn’t raining then and it would be on Saturday. Another storm is approaching. Not nice as I have to go to the hairdresser on Saturday and I have a photo shoot planned with Loes. We will see. This is what I was wearing on Friday.
And to demonstrate the difference in thoughtfulness, the photo below. My husband bought me Valentine’s flowers while I just told him “you are my Valentine” in the morning. Saying that was already a big improvement as normally I wouldn’t think of Valentine’s day at all.
Below: livingroom with Watson who fetched the Saturday paper. Bit of a blurry photo but dogs move a lot.
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