One Hundred

One hundred.

My beloved mother.
Had she been alive today, she would have been One Hundred.

mother at 18
my mom circa 1936

Maria Engelberta Heijboer – Staaijen. 
27-06-1918 ~ 28-02-2003

The picture above is probably taken around 1936 when she was 18. This is one of my most loved pictures of her and one that I really cherish. I love the look in her eyes, her hair, always so perfectly styled in finger waves, fashionable at the time. But it’s a look that suited her and she never really left it behind to follow fashion. She was a natural beauty.

I love how the photographer drew in the necklace, not even sure if she had a necklace like that one. But at the time, before Photoshop, it was customary to fill in the blanks as it were.

The wedding photographer took it one step further and actually hand-coloured their wedding photograph, as well as painted in the flowers in the vase in the background.

wedding day
my parents on their wedding day, April 14th, 1939

Despite the glare of the glass,  I cannot bear to destroy the backing of this picture to remove it from the frame and get a matte reproduction of it. I may have to have that done professionally sometime. But as I said, I can’t bring myself to do that really. It is what it is.

My parents were married right before WWII, the crisis was already rearing its ugly head and it was at the time customary to wear a dark wedding dress.
My father was 26 and my mother 20 (almost 21) at their wedding.

It just boggles the mind to think about One Hundred.
My mother was born when WW1 was nearing its end, and times were hard. The eldest of 10 children, she had to sacrifice much to help raise raising her brothers and sisters on limited means. She spent the first part of her married life surviving another war, raising my oldest sister (born in 1940) in times and conditions that are hard to imagine for us right now.

Our age gap spanned almost half a century, and it still pains me to think about how little time we were allowed getting to understand one another better. But I do know I am the woman I am today because, despite being from a completely different era, she was progressive. As was her mother before her.

Born at a time when women’s rights to vote were still up for debate. Forced to leave her job on the day she registered to get married, solely because of the fact that she was getting married.

It’s unthinkable to us now, yet to her, that was the reality. And she told me again and again, that I had it good. And that I should take and use all the liberties I had and that I needed no one. “You will be able to take care of yourself,” she told me. You don’t need anyone. Not a man. Not ever.

The day I turned 18, she had me take driving lessons and get my drivers licence. Being able to drive a car was the greatest freedom in her eyes. I remember how she enjoyed driving around just for the fun of it. For the feeling of being free and going wherever the heck she wanted. And that feeling I inherited from her. Of being free. And the need to wander.

She made me take all the classes and training I would need (in her eyes) to give me a good base to lead my life.
I am picking up my sewing again today, thankful for the couture sewing lessons she made me take at a young age. And enjoying it more now than I ever did, as she knew I would.
Her crafting Thursdays with all my aunts were legendary in the family and taught me all the skills I enjoy today. Knitting, crocheting, embroidery.

Cooking. Oh her cooking. The kind of uncomplicated comfort food I still crave to this day but can never exactly replicate. The importance of real food, good pasture-raised beef, fresh young vegetables, and no shortcuts. Simple uncomplicated food with wonderful flavours. A particular kind of potatoes because they taste better than the others.. Cooking with the soul.
Singing together in the kitchen while doing the dishes. She had an amazing voice and could have been a great singer if only the times had been different.

Typing. On one of those mechanical early machines that needed hammering to get text on paper. And Typex for all those errors. But it’s served me well over the years.

Ballroom dancing. Oh, my. I secretly kind of enjoyed those classes although I never found a boyfriend or husband even, who could dance more than a bad quick step. But if I do ever meet him, I am ready mom.

But the one thing I am most grateful for is that she let me do whatever I wanted to do. Even if she knew I would probably fail, I was allowed to do it and find out for myself if it was for me.
Because, as she said: “you can do anything you want”.
She let me take ballet lessons from age 4 because I dreamed of being a ballerina and dancing was my joy. My lower leg primary oedema made sure I would never in my life become a ballerina, but she never destroyed my dream. I was allowed to dance and live my dream.
And I still do.

Thank you, mom. I love you.



Self care – baby steps & Yoga By Adriene

selfcare babysteps yogitea

Hello lovely people!

While we are all yearning for spring to arrive here in the northern hemisphere, it seems we have a final bout of King Winter coming,  in the shape of another fierce and freezing Eastern front, bringing yet more snow and sleet and sub-zero temperatures this weekend. I do hope my birthday is going to have a few rays of sunshine, but I will settle for dry weather.
Fingers crossed!

Today is a dreary rainy Tuesday, so I thought I’d share this wonderful, healing recipe from a lovely lady who’s youtube channel I discovered a few months ago. Adriene is a veritable ray of sunshine, and her videos are very soothing, loving and at the same time funny and grounded. In a world of fake images, she is an authentic breath of fresh air, to me at least and from the count of her subscribers, many more.

I started making this yogi tea at the beginning of this year and it’s not only a wonderful, warming drink but the process of making it, is very soothing to me. A ritual that brings calm to my morning and grounds me for the rest of my day.


My personal “recipe” consists of Adriene’s ingredients:

  • 1 l of water, brought to a rolling boil
  • black peppercorns (about 15)
  • sliced ginger, unpeeled (about 8 or more, I like lots of ginger)
  • cardamom pods, crushed (about 10 )
  • cinnamon stick, whole
  • cloves, whole (about 6-7)
  • 1 black tea bag

plus, (and this is taking liberties with the original recipe but it works for me):

Add the ingredients one at a time to the boiling water, keep it rolling, put a lid on the pot and give it about 30 min. Adriene says you can leave it for up to 3 hours but I haven’t the patience for that, plus I feel the black tea would become too strong. Taking the bag out after 30 mins would remedy that of course.

Ok.. after your Yogi Tea has steeped, strain the liquid into another container and discard the spices.
Pour yourself a wonderfully fragrant mug of tea, and enjoy.
You can add a spoonful of honey and a splash of milk to taste. I used almond milk because I don’t drink regular milk anymore.

It’s the small things

What I am taking away from viewing her videos, in general, is that self-care is hidden in the small things. It’s not about forcing myself to hit the gym 3 times a week, (unless that’s what works for you, more power to you of course!)

For me, it’s about taking time to make this tea for instance. And to make it with love.  I have been watching, and later practising her shorter yoga routines for a while, and even though I feel frustrated sometimes that I cannot even do a decent Downward Dog, she always reminds us that it’s not a competition and that it’s about the feeling.
So even if I am in pain because my body is protesting that particular morning, I try to get on the mat and do what I can. And it will be enough.

Just as an introduction if you don’t know Adriene, this is one of my favourite videos of hers. Even if you can’t join on the mat (like I often can’t), and are just watching it,  I hope you enjoy and it brings you peace 🙂

Thank you for stopping by on my little space of the Web, and:

I am curious to know, how do you practise self-care? what helps you feel grounded and centred? I would love it if you let me know in the comments!

Make it with love.