Posted in Personal

Internet Hug

Thank you. I really mean it. Thank YOU! For taking the time to read my posts and look at my pictures. For liking and commenting. For dropping in and leaving beautiful footprints. You bring joy into my life, smiles and sometimes tears. But always warmth and gentleness. So again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Come here for a huge hug.

~ Marion


Posted in Books, Border hopping, Guest writers, Inspiration, Writing

A Book, Dancing Across The Ocean

Christine M Grote. I met her last year. Out there, in Blogging Land, and I have been following her Random Thoughts From Midlife ever since.

I have opinions about many things, but am trying to age gracefully and not continually tick people off with them. Sometimes I can’t help myself.

I write about what is on my mind when I wake in the morning unless my mind is blank in which case I ruffle through my digital photos and slap one up.

Her posts are gentle, insightful and full of humor, writing about nature, animals, her parents and other people, genealogy, the places she visits. And about little Arthur. Her wildlife photos are stunning, some are made in her own back yard (foxes, birds, deer).

Christine wrote a book about her sister Annie, who was was permanently and severely disabled at birth, called Dancing in Heaven.

My sister Annie never outgrew the needs of an infant. She didn’t walk or talk. Our parents fed her, changed her clothes, and lifted her from her bed to her wheelchair and back  for her entire life. Although the doctors who initially diagnosed her predicted she’d have a life expectancy of eight years, Annie lived to be fifty-one years old.

Dancing in Heaven is an inspirational story about Annie’s life, death, and her significance in the lives of those of us who loved her and others who were touched by her. This memoir provides a window into my family’ s life with a severely disabled member. But more importantly, Dancing in Heaven is a testimony to the basic intrinsic value of human life.

The love Christine has for her sister is present in every word, and those words reach out to others, to me. So when Christine asked me if I wanted to receive a copy of Dancing in Heaven, I was delighted. She wrote about what happened next in the humorous post Dancing in Heaven dances across the ocean. Dancing in Heaven needs to be read – to be heard – throughout the world. And its first journey across the ocean will end in the tiny Netherlands. Awesome!

So now I’m in my hallway, keeping an eye on the front door. Waiting for Dancing in Heaven to land in my hands.

Posted in Humour, Inspiration, Personal, Writing

My 7 Links

My sweet friend and writer Marian Allen – author of Eel’s Reverence – nominated me for participation in My 7 Links. THANKS Marian! We met online last year and have been in touch ever since.

Here are the rules, and here is list of the already nominated bloggers. At least most of them.

Are you ready? If not, I’ll continue anyway 😛 Here are my seven links:

  1. They Will Become A Memory In The Future for me is my most beautiful post. In this letter I express the things I have learned in the last ten years and then send it to myself. This post made me look back and relive the pain after my divorce, only to emerge stronger.
  2. My most popular post would be Padaung, the Long-Neck Women, a post I wrote in my developing series on the things people do and have done through the ages, for the sake of beauty only.
  3. The most controversial post would be Mother Nature. She Gives And She Takes. One minute I was admiring nature’s treasures in my garden, the next this same nature was shaking the world in an awful earthquake in Japan. Suddenly things were massively out of control, many lives (human, animal and plant) were in danger. This controversy was just incomprehensible.
  4. Death, Harsh Master, is my most helpful post, expressing my sadness and unbelief when colleague and fellow columnist Ab Bobbink died of a heart attack. Many people reacted to this poem, talking to me about their feelings, how they miss Ab. It helped them unload.
  5. A post whose success surprised me is Amazing Pictures. Sometimes it’s not the text that counts, but the images.
  6. Four rings to rule them all is a post I feel didn’t get the attention it deserved.  For others, this is just jewelry. For me these rings symbolize very important daily aspects of my life. And each and every time I slide these rings onto my fingers in the morning, I am aware of their meaning.
  7. The post that I am most proud of is The Second Room On The Right. This is the way I want to write, totally lost in the images in my head and typing with my eyes closed. To catch this state of mind again is what I strive for in my writing.

Now enough about me! We came here through Marian Allen, and it is time to move on to other blogs. My five choices:

  1. Sarah May is a delightful and spirited young woman who writes with humor and heart on  Sarsm’s Blog. She often makes me spit my tea all over the screen with her witty posts. Sarah, you rock girl!
  2. In These Are Days, Terri writes about her life, her children and husband, about Lucy (their new dog) and about life in general. She does this in a kind and compassionate way and I love sharing a bit of her life.
  3. Nandini Dhiman publishes breath taking photos on Life just is. Take your time to wander through her images and beautiful poems.
  4. Gil Gonzales, by Gil, of course. Thoughtful posts on various subjects, offering me a glimpse in the male point of view on things 😉 Exchanging comments is a joy.
  5. Life in the Boomer Lane, where Renee Fisher shares her point of view on life in an open and expressive way. A delight to read and think about.

Thank you all for broadening my horizon. And please pass on the torch! 


Posted in Humour

Hilarious post by Renée Fisher: And she Spanx, too

For quite some time I have been following Renée’s blog Life in the Boomer Lane, Musings of a former hula hoop champion. And yesterday’s post simply cracked me up.

You really need to read this: And she Spanx, too. Enjoy! 😉

Posted in Personal, Writing

Home – 10K hits @ Figments of a Dutchess


Slender trees shelter my garden
Tender sun in light blue dome
Caring warmth inside is calling 
Come home to me, come home… 

Ten thousand times, posts on my blog have been read… I mean, TEN THOUSAND TIMES!! And though it’s a day like any other, still YOU, my readers, have made it special. Thank you all so much for visiting Figments of a Dutchess. Feel free to stay a while and leave your shoes and boots at the door. Be at home 🙂


Posted in Writing

Milestone: 5000 Figments Hits!

Today we are having a little party over here at Figments of a Dutchess. You see, my English blog has hit the 5000 milestone post-read and I’m speechless about that! And happy! This celebration coincides with completing one quarter of the Post A Day 2011 Challenge. So come on in, sit down and have a cup of tea. Or a glass of red wine. Something else perhaps? We have all, in a digital way 😉

Figments of a Dutchess came to life in April 2009, when I moved my old blog to WordPress. Back then, my attention was focused on my Dutch blog Drieske Dartelt though, where I could write in my native language. Until I decided to join the crazy PostADay2011 challenge… a double challenge, because this meant writing in English. My daily schedule was adjusted to enable this increase in writing and it resulted in 1200 views in January, over 1600 in February and again 1600 last month! I’m really overwhelmed and touched.

My word for this year is Expression. Blogging for me means communicating, which takes me straight to you, my dear readers. Over the months together we’ve built a relationship, a network of blogs where we share world news and personal news. Things to laugh about and things to cry over. Words to ponder, others to fully embrace. I really want to thank you all for visiting Figments of a Dutchess and for giving us the opportunity to visit your blogs.

My 226 posts in total have almost 900 comments! And for that I want to give a special hug to these comment-contributors: Genn, JM, Roxie, my sisters Nancy and Monique, my heart’s friend Julia, Jeanne, Theresa, Christine, Chesshirecat, my friends Karin, Esther, Marcel, Sandra, Edo, Ida, Kel and Dawn, Tilly, Marian, V.V., Terri, Vman, Hugmamma, Trisha, Lisa, Tamela, Rashmi, Charlotte, Michelle, Aaron, Tim, White Lady, Nettie, Athursdayschild, Julie, Sarah, MJ, Michael, Gil, Lee and Erin. Some of you drop in every day, others every now and then, to share thoughts, to encourage and support. And I do love that so much. Thank you.

These last three months have been wonderful, a super boost for my writing. Now let’s cut the cake and open the bottles. It’s time to party!

Cheers! Proost! Gesundheit! Salute! Skål! Santé! Saúde! Salud!

~ Mar

Posted in Stories

When the muse hit me… ever so gently

Day 14 of the ‘Post A Day 2011′ challenge: What made you decide to start a blog?

In 2000 a severe intervertebral hernia cut its way into my life. And when I say cut, I mean CUT. The little bastard attacked me in the middle of a karate championship. It came, dressed as a lightning bold straight through my body into my left leg and foot. Which went numb. My back was on fire though. And it never left, ever, not a single day. At that moment, I had absolutely NO idea what hit me and, more importantly, what great impact this would have on my life. I simply finished the match, more or less, and hobbled back to the sideline.

For three months I sat. I couldn’t walk – each step sent two knives straight into my spine. I couldn’t lay down straight, which meant no more sleeping on my belly. And my patience sank beneath sea level. Up until that day, I used to go to karate training three times a week, I loved horseback riding and played tennis. And there I was, in a couch prison. The good news is, that this couch prison was the secret hiding place of my muse! And she hit me… ever so gently. After all I was a trained karateka 😉 My muse told me to wake up and look deep into myself. To feel what was inside of me and bring it out in the open.

Madly missing the social interaction of work and sports, I went online. Guided by my little muse, I soon found The One Ring forum – it was the time when the Lord of the Rings movies were immensely popular. This place, these people, have saved my soul and prevented insanity from hitting as hard as the hernia. I started writing. And writing. Took part in a role playing story, which brought out the best in everyone. A truly magical time which lasted for years.

Meanwhile I crawled back up and went back to work. The hernia happened ten years ago and as long as I sit down and take it easy, my back is behaving. But the minute – and I mean MINUTE – I have to stand or stroll, it will whistle me back into submission real quick. Last year we traveled to New York and I had a great time, but half of the time I could cry with pain when we ventured into the city on foot. Of course I didn’t! Stupid back!

I still visit The One Ring Forum, though not as frequently as I used to. In stead I started my own blogs (I write in English and in Dutch) and it feels like I finally came home. Writing, writing is what my life is about. And living it of course, else there wouldn’t be much to write about. Stories canter through my brain, whenever something happens my fingers start to itch. And these stories I love to share with you all. Please stay with me 🙂