iselima: (London)

I am not Haunted
I see no Ghosts
I am no Sylvia Plath
writhing in Anger and Pain

instead I choose to Wallow
Luxuriate on my sofa
with my puter and pen
and the remote control

I safely splatter
poetic Droppings
whilst sitting 
on the couch

iselima: (Default)
Watched Ladies in Lavender today for the first time. Beautiful, quiet movie. I liked the scenes of the life in a small fishing-village in Cornwall, short after WWII. It looked very authentic.

But of course, the main reason I bought it was for Maggie Smith and Judi Dench and I loved them! They made it so easy to feel how a different past made them react differently to the young man who suddenly entered their lives. They were so believable as the older and the younger sister. Can never get enough of watching them, and that goes especially for Maggie Smith.
Maggie Smith, marvellous as she is, is always the person who she acts, utterly believable and captivating. (Unlike for instance Robin Williams, who is always Robin Williams IMO, no matter which role he plays.) I've not seen enough of Judi Dench till now, to know about her acting.

They had me in tears, for the wish that everybody ought to have a lover at least once in his life. The yearning for love, for the touches that go with it...if you never had it in your must be destructive. It takes a real strong person to be able to do without such love, I believe. And I'm not talking about sex here, when mentioning the touches. Just, to know there was someone who loved you, who was interested in you, even if only for a few's a fulfilment and it gives strength and self-belief. I feel we all need and deserve it!

It's both sad and great that we are made like that. 

In a way I'm talking from experience, as I believed myself to be 'unlovable' when I was in my twenties. Sometimes I can still hardly believe that I suddenly found my partner and that we're together now since over two decades. Seeing a film like 'Ladies in Lavender' reminds me of that time when I was rather lonely and hurt.

Maggie and Judi portrayed most convincingly what it means to have been loved and not to have been loved. They made me want to see 'them sisters' many times more! 
iselima: (Default)
No, this is not about a make-over or shopping for fashionable clothes. It's about Gmail and Google.

Google has decided all their products should have a unified look, and in the line of that they're changing the Gmail interface dramatically. And dramatically it is indeed. It not only looks horrible and unclear, it also works very bad. It's a most ridiculous update.

You could give it a try since a few months and revert back to the old look. So I tried it for a couple of hours early in November and disgustedly went back to the old look (which they made quite hard to achieve!). I sent detailed feed-back about all that I didn't like about the new look and requested that we could please keep the old look too.

It appears I was only one of many who posted their objections and who requested to keep the old look as an option. But what was to be expected: 'they' couldn't care less.

And so it happened that yesterday my secondary account was suddenly dressed in the dreaded new look. And before being able to see my mails, a video was imposed on me with a tour of the new look. No option to skip it or to close it. No, like a dumb, resisting patient I was being force-fed Google's advert. It made my blood boil! I prefer to find out everything by trial and error all by myself!. But of course, what I really prefer is the old look or if there is need for change, a sensible one.

So what now? It's clear from the hand full of their replies in Gmail-forums that the Google-people are not going to accommodate the wishes of it's clients. It makes me sad, I LOVED Gmail in the more than five years I used it, I have even introduced it to quite a few friends and relatives. But now I strongly feel to jump ship. I hate companies who think themselves more important than their clients and who turn a deaf ear.

It's why I left Windows and Microsoft behind in 2006 and am enjoying Linux ever since and it's why I've stopped considering wanting any piece of Apple-equipment.

I was perfectly satisfied with my Chrome, my Gmail and my Google and suddenly it's all gone sour. So now I'm on the look-out and unhappy about it. I've already found its not going to be all that nice and easy to replace the Google-stuff. My new search-engine may be Cuil or Dogpile or simply Yahoo. Emai from Yahoo? Or Fastnet? Browser Opera or Firefox, which I've used both for years in the past and Chrome was definitely more of my taste, better, easier and faster (I had often forty or more tabs open in Chrome and it would work perfectly nevertheless. Would Firefox or Opera allow such lavishness?)

Why is it, when some companies grow to be that large, that suddenly they seem to think they know better than their clients? Years ago, when Google kept growing and run from success to success, I already feared they may be getting too powerful. But I liked many of their things so I kept using more of it. How sad it is that today my fears have become reality. It is not just for the new-look that I'm getting away from Google and its products, it is mainly for the way they (don't) communicate that I'm going: asking for feed-back, but in such a way that you can guess it's only done to pacify the clients and not to actually use it; making it impossible to directly contact them with a question or problem - everything has to be done through the forums, where then hardly any one of Google itself will reply; offering people to try out the new look, but then make it so hard to go back to the old look, that many were stuck against there will with the new look. The final push was that video yesterday, which you HAD to watch, not even reload or close and re-open your Gmail did help to get rid of the vid. It all has started to feel like we customers don't matter and Google is King...

So, like I said, it makes me turn away from them, in the hope that many will do the same and that ultimately Google will be forced to listen. If they do, I'll be among the first to return!
iselima: (London)
Just now on Sky Arts they told that there are one million people per week watching those opera's from the Met which I'm also watching.

That's a lot! Opera is fashionable!
It gives a shimmer of hope for levels of musical and cultural awareness. 
But that is a pretentious way of thinking and wording.
Nevertheless...a shimmer!
iselima: (Running Horse)
Opera's next week: Hansel und Gretel - Turandot - Romeo et Juliette - Aida - La Boheme. All again from the Metropolitan.

Wednesday however we'll travel to Holland and in Holland there is no Sky Arts. Perhaps I can succeed to plan the recordings in advance and watch them leisurely after our return on Jan. 1st. I've never programmed any recording so far, so I'm not sure if it will work.
Turandot, Aida, La Boheme...I'd love to see and listen to them, they 'ring a bell' (doesn't Aida have a great and famous aria?), but only with Turandot we'll be home.

I'm looking forward, as always, to the long drive to Amsterdam, via Dover-Dunkerque-ferry. The longer the ride, the better I drive, I like to think. I love also our old work-horse Nissan Serena of '93. I sit high like a Queen. Only disadvantage is that it slurps petrol when going at 'decent' speed. So it will be a 525 km journey at 95 km/hr. Yet the workhorse is worth it: so much space, seven people can fit or a complete students-room inventory, it has done only 85000 miles in its long existence AND we were able to afford its purchase. :-) 

I hate it that I don't know how to use diaeresis and so on. I mean "Aida" like written here looks pretty crippled. I used Gnome-applets before for those things and it worked easy and perfect. But now that Ubuntu has taken up that dreadful Unity desktop and I've been chased away to Kubuntu with KDE-desktop, I'm no more able to get the Gnome-applets to work. I feel very handicapped in my typing!

This must be Abracadabra to all the Win-users, but believe me, if you get Linux even a little bit 'in your fingers', it's all more than worth it. I've never looked back at least. I also hate that I always have to clean up the Windows-mess of my family-members for them: 
viruses, flooded caches, unrecognised hardware and what not. And that while my own 'Linuxes' never have any problem, except now with the desktop-switch. Attach a printer or a router and it works 'out of the box'! Virus? Never heard of! And that while I did not even use the slightest virus-protection in six years (sshhh!).

I'm all the more frustrated as today we've got a new printer - old one broke down after five years - and, gods, I've been spending hours already to get it recognized by Win7. But no. Win keeps telling there is no printer attached, no matter if we switch cables, ports or whatever. I'm going to try it on XP now. My own puters are sadly too far away from the printer to make a connection possible.

Sorry, my hobby-horse! :-)

Well, I must say this post is very much like a diary-entry, not really suitable for 'public use'. Nevertheless, it serves well as page-filling - give a bit of body to this still meagre journal. And, who knows, interest a passer-by in Linux. Though I guess I would have to use a different tone to properly advertise my favourite Operating System. :-)

Wishing Happy Holidays to All!

iselima: (Default)

Picture of  "Manon Lescaut" at the Metropolitan Opera 2008, Karita Mattila and Marcello Giordani in the last act, dying in the desert.

This afternoon Sky Arts showed "Manon Lescaut" from Puccini. I loved it, beautiful opera, very dramatic and surprising story I thought.

But what I loved most was to hear Karita Mattila. Her voice is so beautiful to me, there were several moments I just had to close my eyes and feel how she deeply filled my heart (I can't help it, I'm not a fan of sentimental descriptions, but such moments are a physical experience as much as an emotional: the area around my heart told me undeniably that 'something is going on here' :) )

I'm happy to have found a soprano who's voice stands out to me: now I can look for her performances in the ocean of performances which are available. Handy! Promising!

Not to say of course that I'm not looking for other wonderful singers, the more the better. But there are so many singers and there are not so many who really touch you deeply. To know which ones do, that is...magical.

iselima: (London)
Hmm, after a long hiatus in the pie-baking field, have I recently picked up this old habit of mine again  - with family members volunteering to test. Today, while watching Verdi's Macbeth, I prepared the dough and the Bramley apples (sitting on the sofa made it a relaxed job)  and afterwards made it in to a pie. And of course, I proudly had to picture the result:

t's a quite tasty pie, though I was careless and didn't read the recipe well - too much sugar in the dough - so now the pie is sweet but chewy instead of crumbly. In Dutch it's called sand-pie, and not without reason. It should be a bit like short-bread when baking cookies from the same dough.

This is said to be a Dutch pie (though to me it looks rather international), with sour apples, flaked almonds, a hand full of raisins and cinnamon.

It seemed a razor-sharp picture as a thumbnail on my phone, but it puts me to shame here on my journal . Next time better. :)

And do not worry (in case any one would do that, which seems doubtful on a low-traffic blog, ha ha): this should be the only time I will share the results of my cooking with the world...

iselima: (Sring time blossom by 'Dan')
Last week I discovered that Sky Arts broadcasts full opera's in the afternoon. Normally I don't watch TV in the daytime, but I wanted to listen some classical music and gave a try at Sky Arts...and what a surprise (to me at least): they were showing Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde" from the Met's 2007/2008 season.

It was with Deborah Voigt as Isolde, hugely powerful in voice and personality, it will not be easy to sing and act 'up to her', I believe. Tristan was performed by Robert Dean Smith, he held his own against the soprano luckily. My favourite voice was the mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung as Brangaene, I loved the warmth in her singing. 

It was great to know that Sky is giving a full opera, all performed in the Met, every weekday afternoon. Thus, at two o'clock you can find me in front of the TV, with a cup of coffee AND tea, so that I don't have to run to the kitchen for liquids during the performance. I've always loved opera, but am ashamed to admit I hardly ever saw or listened to a full one - no time, no money - so this is a wonderful opportunity. Afternoons are perfect to watch opera for me: children are at school and time is mine. Husband is working or busy with his poetry-pages on Facebook and doesn't object to the 'noise' in the background. 

After "Tristan und Isolde" I've seen "Peter Grimes" by Benjamin Britten, half of "Der Rosenkavalier" of Strauss and today they showed "Simon Boccanegra" of Verdi. For me the star of today was soprano Adrianne Pieczonka, as she was the only woman in a major role and had so much to sing. I loved her voice and her quality of singing and acting. Placido Domingo was Simon Boccanegra and was doing fine, but not more than that I feel. I liked the choruses of this opera very much. Warm female voices, from contraltos till sopranos, and chorus-singing have always been my love.

I guess "Peter Grimes" was my favourite, but probably because all these operas are new to me, hence i did not yet recognize any thing. Peter Grimes was most melodious and 'easy' to get into. Also it was the most memorable character  so far: performed both shocking and touching as well as very beautiful and expressive by Anthony Dean Griffey. 

Actually I would dearly love to listen all of these operas a couple of times more, so that I get familiar with the music and the singing and can get 'lost' in them more easily. Now I have to concentrate so very much on every thing at once, especially as I am trying to understand the 'story'. So I'm more watching than listening so far.

Tomorrow it will be "Macbeth", Thursday "Manon Lescaut" and Friday "La Fille du Regiment". A lot to look forward to!
iselima: (Sea and Clouds)

The sea never the same
Floating on her back
carried smoothly
to and fro the shore,
dozing off.
How could she forget
the suddenness of storms?
Engulfing waves
of harsh sounds...
The sea never the same.

iselima: (Horses at play)

Trying to capture horses when among themselves, and what they mean to me...

Cinquiano on Horses

talking through face, ears and motion.
Oft it flares to shouting,
all emotion.


Dec. 11th, 2011 07:07 pm
iselima: (Default)


when you've seen destruction
blood and limbs scattered all around

when you have seen suffering
slowly eating children alive

can you still see
the soft green light
filtering through the trees?

iselima: (London)

~ ~ ~

Filtering Chaos...

Filtering the chaos,
distilling words,
till clarity sets.

Moulded emotions,
sculpted lines,
the essence captured.

No clutter but order,
no wool but silk,
clear as water.

Relieving my heart,
finding ease,
in short sharp lines.

~ ~ ~

Is this a poem,
am I a poet,
or a labourer with words?

Written after a slightly heated discussion with my husband, who is a recognized poet in Urdu. I feel at least part of my poems can be called just that and I love poetry that is straightforward and clear. Short sharp lines, expressing something in precious little words...that can be poetry for me. For him however, poetry would be poetic, at least to a minimum level; it would pose questions, not answers; and there should be a lot open to interpretation by the reader. If it is not that, he'd rather call it prose.


Dec. 9th, 2011 05:34 pm
iselima: (Magnolia in front of our old house)



"The magnolia symbolizes sweetness, beauty, and love of nature.

"A hint of spring."
SwannieAdded by Swannie

Although it has no specific heraldic symbol, it has developed over time into a symbol of femininity, nobility, and perseverance."

A bit of (too) lyrical prose...

Magnolia -- she has been colouring most of my adult life. I started to note her on my long cycle journey's in Winter's cold and darkness, when the growing buds on her branches were among the first signs of approaching Spring. They were hope giving and warming on those moments of lonely freezing tiredness.
Ever since I would always look at any Magnolia with love and admiration.

Isn't she also beautiful enough for such feelings?

About fifteen years later, married and with three children by then, we got our first real house, with upstairs and downstairs and a front and rear garden. We couldn't be happier!

Read more... )

It was a house with a little added magic, for it's street was named Magnolialaan and you would never have seen another street so richly planted with Magnolia's, white and pink, trees and shrubs. And not only in the gardens, but the council had decorated the whole street along it's full length with Magnolia's. 

In Winter our street held the promise of Spring, with Magnolia's strong buds on naked dark branches telling so obvious of the season to come.

In Spring our street was worth a detour, with it's awesome abundantly white flowering Magnolia trees and it's pink flowered shrubs. Our street bathed in the sweet fresh scent of the blossom and smelled heavenly for a few weeks. 

I felt like living in one of the most special and blessed streets imaginable. And more so, as it almost seemed my special love for Magnolia's had brought about this little miracle in our lives. Nonsense of course, it was sheer luck or fate that brought us there, as in Holland there is very little to choose when you are in need of a house. You get an offer when it's your turn and you can not even say no, or you may have to wait for years more. At least that was the case in out area and in our financial position.

Three years ago we decided to migrate to London and Magnolia's lost their prominence in my life, sadly. You see them in gardens in our area, but they are spread out and often small, not attracting attention like the Magnolia's in our old street.

Still, if I feel a connection with any plant, it is the Magnolia. She came in my life when I started to discover myself and she sort of symbolizes my struggle for independence, my deep, longing and enduring search for my femininity and my perseverance not to give up, to keep searching and not to give in to depression and feelings of 'being no one'. 
I will not call myself noble, not at all actually, but femininity and perseverance, traits which the Magnolia would symbolize...well I'm happy that it are precisely those things she seems to stand for.

So, like my previous blog - started when we were still living on the Magnolialaan - was named Magnolia, let me subtitle this live-journal with that name too...

Magnolia quote and picture taken from:


iselima: (Default)

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