The Christmas Cactus (or “Lidcactus” as it is called in Dutch) is a very popular plant for indoors. They belong to the genus Schlumbergera (part of the Cactaceae family). Its origin are the coastal mountains of Brazil.

Cultivars of the this plant can have white, pink, yellow, orange, red or purple flowers. It is an easy to keep plant with low demands.

If taken care of properly it will bloom around Christmas (hence the name) and/or Eastern.

Lidcactus

So why an article on this plant?

Well, in 2014 we had a family reunion (from my father’s side). It was very nice to meet all these people. A very enjoyable day. There was a special gift, a cutting from a Christmas cactus that once belong to my grandmother. My grandmother passed away just before I was born (March 1963).
I have to say that I was very happy with this cutting.

Lidcactus

Sorry for the low quality of the photo above, but it is the only one I have of the cuttings.

In the months after the reunion the Christmas Cactus started to grow, so it showed it was a healthy plant. And as said, I was happy to have it. Then, a few moths after the reunion, a nephew posted a photo of his Christmas Cactus with a beautiful flower. So I was hopeful that mine also would bloom soon. But no, nothing happened.

And since then, the plant was growing, but no flowers.

Lid cactus

Until a week ago, when I noticed that, the plant started to grow flower buds. Now, more as 3 years later, my Christmas Cactus starts to bloom. And such beautiful flowers!

Over the winter I will take some cuttings from the plant. You know, just in case!

Lidcactus Rob
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As regular visitors of our weblog will know, there is an overview of restaurants of which consider they are good to exceptional (you can find that overview of Cafe’s and Dinners here.

As Marion and Rob go often out for dinner during their weekends together, I guess you can say it so kind of hobby of them, the list of restaurants grew quite some over time.
Especially around Haaksbergen (where Marion lives and Rob grew up) and Heemskerk (where Rob currently lives) there are a lot of restaurants they visit. Mind you, only restaurants they consider good or better will make it to the list.

Somewhere last year Rob opened up his weblog for his close friends and with that he opened also this list.
This leaded to more entries around Haaksbergen and Heemskerk. But our dear friend Mel also started to add entries and as she lives in Greece (Lesvos to be precise) that area also started to show good restaurants.

But there is even more to it. Marion travels very often through Europe for her work. She does not always like to eat at the hotels she is staying and eats at restaurants that were recommended to her. Some time ago, she started to add restaurants she enjoyed to the list, giving it a more European coverage. Patricia, who works as a flight attendant for a big international working airline company, followed up the idea of Marion. This made the list really international.

So some time ago Rob and I were pondering if we could not do something more with all this list of good restaurants. Quickly the idea was there to put them on a map. We both liked that idea.
But this map should be dynamic and easy to maintain. After some time we found exactly what we were looking for…

Map Restaurants

The map above is not the dynamic map, just a picture and nothing more. For the dynamic map you have to go to the actual list of Cafés and Dinners.

Restaurant map

At the top of the map there is an option to search the map. You can enter there an address, city/town or country. You can also change the way the result of the search will be displayed (map, satellite, hybrid or terrain). Next, you can select which map you want to see. Actually, we are trying to remove this because there will be only one map.
And you select from a dropdown-list the restaurants from the list. The list is sorted on the name of the restaurants.

Restaurant map

While holding the left mouse-button it is possible to move the map around, basically in all directions as long you hold the mouse-button.Of course it is also possible to zoom in and out. This can be done by holding the CTRL-key and using the scroll-wheel of the mouse. Also, there are on the right bottom of the map two buttons that can be used for zooming in and out.
Zooming in can be done to street level and where available Google Streetview can be used.

Restaurant map

When clicking on the pin that locates a restaurant, a window with more information will pop up, such as the address.
When known, it will show who of our group has been there and when. In the beginning the kind of information was not placed in the list, so there may be restaurant without this information.

Sometimes a small message may be added as the “back, because we loved it the last time” in the screenshot above.

The “More information’ link in the window will open the website of the restaurant (in a new browser window).

We are thinking about doing more with this window, but there are so many options and possibilities that we will leave it for now like this.

Not all restaurants on the list are already on the map. It is quite some work to do.
Amsterdam, to mention one, still has to be done. Rob lived for more as a year in Amsterdam without the possibility to cook. So in that time he often visited restaurants in that time. But of course, in the Amsterdam will also be added to the map.

One thing we noticed while checking all the websites on the list: Many restaurants are closed. Now I can imagine the world of restaurants is very dynamic and that it changes fast, still it is sad to see…

Anyway, enjoy the new map :-)


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Starbucks Cup
Yesterday I was at the Central Station of Utrecht. There we decided to get some coffee at one of the Starbucks there.
Every year Stabucks has a specially designed cup for the Holidays Season. So they have this year, a colourful and bright design I would say. I really like it, but again is not everybody happy with it.

Again? It happens very often that people are not happy with the design of their Holiday Cup. And who are not happy with it? Conservative christians! Who else I am close to say?

According these folks Starbucks is supporting the LGBTQ community. First thing that hits me here right away is: And if they do, what is wrong with that?
But with the statement in my head echoing that Starbucks supports the LGBTO community and I look at the cup, I hear myself say “Wot???”.

It seems that it has been decided that the two hands holdings each other are the hands of two women. And we all know that two women holding hands are lesbians (duh, my head starts to hurt).
The thing is, there is no official statement about the gender of the hands. And I really wonder why should there be an official statement.
Even the designer of the cup says nothing about this none-issue created by people who seem to have nothing better to do. He stated: “I like the idea of hands at the center point, a symbol of connection, love and giving joy — whether it’s wrapping presents or decorating a tree, writing cards or enjoying a mug of cocoa”. And that is all there is to it.

Maybe this year’s promotional video of Starbucks is related to this controversy. There are at a certain moment two women holding hands… and yes, clearly for these people two women holding hands are lesbians (argggghhh… my head). And even it was meant as two lesbians? Nothing wrong with that I would say. Not everyone is that narrow minded and people should finally stop with pressing their own opinions, convictions and beliefs upon others. Sadly, I have say that specially religions are guilty of doing this (but not alone…).

Conservative christians having problems with the Holiday Cup of Starbucks are nothing new, It is a recurring event since 1997 when they made the cup purple! Yes, I mean purple! How can they make a cup purple? Bah, purple is a lovely colour. How can you have problems with a colour, apart from liking it or not?

You can see here all the holiday cups since 1997: 20 Years of Starbucks Holiday Cups.

And as far it concerns me: Go to Starbucks to enjoy their coffee. If you don’t like their coffee, then stay away from there. But please stop creating this kind of stupid none-issues.

Rob

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10 Years “dimrost.nl”

by Rob on

10 years

It almost slipped by without noticing it. By coincidence, I just saw it today: Our weblog on “dimrost.nl” was in October 10 years old! On 26 October 2007 the first article on this weblog was posted. And now we are more as 10 years further.

I remember well how at first the weblog was titled “Life is there to live again”. But at a certain moment I made the conclusion that I am living my life fully again, so the title was outdated. With some other titles in between, we ended up with “The Fellowship of Friends”. The name was based on the idea that during our holiday with our friends on Lesvos and we were walking along mountain slopes towards that high mountain and someone remarked that we were as the Fellowship of the Ring. And after I opened my weblog for my friends to write here, that was the perfect name for our weblog.

Looking back over some of the articles I wrote over those 10 years, it feels like a diary without really private stuff. But very good to bring many memories from over the years.

Oh, fun fact: The 3 most used keywords that leaded to our weblog?

  1. Kruidenbitter (herbal bitter)
  2. Sexmuseum (in Amsterdam)
  3. Lucifera (a soft erotic comic from seventies)

Why am I not surprised? Oh yes, most searches came from the countries where they “should” not come from *WINK*

I have many plans for our weblog. First thing planned is bringing the weblog to SSL, which will make it all more secure. But there are more (fun) things coming.

Well, up to the next 10 years! And special thanks to Marissa, Richard, Miranda, Jennifer, Sanne, Patricia and Marion, who all made this weblog even so much better, specially the last year. Thank you all!

Rob
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A longing for Lesvos…

by Rob on


(Click on the image to zoom in)

Rain, cold wind, temperatures that start to call to turn on the heating, all signs autumn is really arrived. And that is how it is here now: Wet, cold and wind.

I was standing in front of a window looking outside, Marissa and Marion behind me sitting on the couch. I was only half aware of what they were talking about. Until a certain moment I understood one word very clearly: Lesvos! And right away my thoughts were 3000 kilometres away from here.

Yes, specially on days like these I am missing Lesvos. The beautiful landscapes, the mountains, the sea and the beaches. How I would love to eat a good stifado and drink a cold Mythos beer. Make long walk in the healing sun. Swim in the cooling sea. To browse among our olive trees.
And of course it would be lovely to get a big hug from our Greek friend Mel again, because there is nothing as a Greek hug… believe me!

It is hard to believe that it is already two months ago that Marion and I were on Lesvos. It feels like yesterday.
But lets be positive, in 10 months we, and then the whole group including Patricia, will be going there again. And before that we will meet Mel again some times, which will be awesome.

And meanwhile I keep dreaming of those lazy mornings at some beach on Lesvos…

Skala Sikamineas Rob
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“Suske & Wiske, Het Monamysterie”

by Sanne on

Suske & Wiske 341
Just as Rob I am a big fan of the comic series Suske & Wiske (or “Spyke & Suzy” as they are called in Britain or “Willy & Wanda” in the US), but unlike Rob I don’t collect the albums. So every time I see a new released album, I warn Rob not to buy it. This because after I read it, I sent it will all kinds of pleasure to Rob so he can read it and add it to his collection.

So this week I saw a new release in a book store, it was number 341 in the series called “The Monamysterie” (which translates to “The Mona Mystery”). The album was released on 12 September (ISBN 9789002263149).
I sent Rob a text-message asking if he already had bought this album, which was quickly answered by a “no”, which I answered with a “Don’t buy it, it will be soon laying in your mail box!”.

In this album professor Barabas examines, commissioned by the Louvre, the Mona Lisa. When he turns the figure from the painting to life with his Teletransfor, it seems to be a man. He claims that he had modelled in 1911 for the copy and fleas from the lab. The Mona Lisa is a fake! And this is the beginning of the adventure!

The album is on its way to you, Rob. Have fun with it!


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“Buy a cow” (koopeenkoe.nl)

by Miranda on

Cow

Last weekend Rob and I chatted through Skype.and the conversation turned to meat. Don’t be scared, this article will not be about vegetarianism. Not that anything is wrong with that, but Rob and I both can appreciate some good meat.
But having said that we both also care about the well being of the animals.

Rob told me that someone he knows very well (and sorry, I forgot the name of this lady) who gave him last year some meat from extreme good quality. Very clearly no bio-industry meat, but very well prepared meat and never has been frozen in before.
Believe me, every time you deep freeze meat it loses some of its quality. Often meat from a supermarket has been frozen before you buy it. There are even stories going around that meat in a supermarket can be 2 years old (beware, I said “stories”. I have no idea how true these are). All in all, for me, enough reason not to buy any meat at a supermarket.

For me it is very simple: Something that has been frozen, you never freeze again.

Anyway, Rob really loved this high quality meat that he got last year and he has been looking for a way to buy it for himself. He found one organisation, but you had to collect the meat yourself and only throughout the week during office hours, this was not doable for him.

But very recently he was pointed by someone to another organisation who sounded really good to him AND they deliver at home during two evenings in a week. This organisation is called “Koop een koe” (“Buy a cow”).

People buy a part of a selected cow. When the cow is “completely” sold, the animal will be slaughtered with as less stress as possible (which can be a lot less as in the common slaughterhouses).

These cows are kept in a friendly way. When possible they can walk outside. The sheds are modern, clean and with lots of space. A calf can stay for 8 or 9 months with their mother, which benefits the health of both.
No preventive antibiotics. No not needed medicines at all.
The meat is really pure 100% beef. There are no E-numbers, sugar, colourings or preservatives used.

Some people may not like the idea that you buy a cow that is still alive for its meat, but on the other side you know that this cow had a good life.

When the meat is delivered is it all ready to be placed in the freezer (labelled and all). But I would like to advise to pick one piece of the meat and enjoy for once the wonderful taste of meat that never has been frozen before… it is worth it.

The package meat is marked with an ear tag number, that is the cow’s ear tag, so the meat is always traceable.

The thing is that Rob told me very excited about this organisation, but privately I already often buy my meat through “koopeenkoe.nl”. Apart from the well being of the animals, the meat is of superb quality. And for me, with my background, that is also very important.

Miranda
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“Koetjesrepen”

by Sanne on

Koetjesreep
Yesterday, when I was doing my weekly shopping for groceries and alike, I suddenly saw something in the supermarket that surprised me: “Koetjesrepen”!

I was convinced that they were not made and sold anymore. Turned out I was very wrong.

But maybe let me first explain what “Koetjesrepen” are, because I assume it is something only known in The Netherlands and maybe Belgium. The photo at the top of this article may let people think it is a chocolate bar. But no. It looks like a chocolate bar, but it isn’t. The bar contains less as 35% cacao and according Dutch regulations it isn’t chocolate bar. So they call it a “Cacaofantasie”(cocoa fantasy, which is also in The Netherlands a protected name).
Originally the “Koetjesreep” was made by the Dutch company Promena Boon & Comp (Wormerveer). Currently this is done by the Belgian Chocolate Group.

I will not go into the discussion if the “Koetjesreep” is healthy or not (I am truly amazed about the nonsense that is said about food).

When I was a young girl my parents had always these “Koetjesrepen” as treat, as so many parents I guess. It was a good and cheap replacement of the more expensive real chocolate bars. And I loved them. But just as with Rob when he recently discovered that “Quality Street” still were around, nowadays I find the taste acceptable, but not more as that. Maybe I am spoiled by too much “real” chocolate that contains more cacao.


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Zebragras
Chlorophytum comosum is a well known houseplant. The common name for this plant is spider plant, but is also known as airplane plant, St. Bernard’s lily, spider ivy or ribbon plant. In Dutch the plant is known as “Zebragras” or “Graslelie”.

It wants a light place, but preferably not too much direct sunlight. Apart from that it is an easy plant to grow. Regularly water and once per month a little fertilizer is all that is needed.

The plant is also known for it air-filtering capacities and for these reason NASA is interested in this plant.

So why an article on this weblog about this rather common houseplant?

Well, during the last years of mothers life, she had a “Zebragras” plant in her house. A nice big and healthy plant.

When my mother was taken in to a home because her health didn’t allow it to live on her own any more, the house where she use to live needed to be cleaned and everything removed from it.
Among other things, I took the “Zebragras”-plant with me to my home.

Since then, this plant was standing in my living room, growing strongly.
That is until summer this year. I noticed the plant stopped growing and clearly the heath was getting weak. I realized that this plant was slowly dying and nothing would stop that.

Luckily, many plants have a special way to multiply: Rooting plant cuttings. Basically this means you take a healthy sprig of a plant and put it in a glass of water. If everything goes well after some time the sprig will start to develop roots. When there enough strong roots the sprig can be placed in potting soil and with a little luck the sprig will start to grow.

Even more luckily is that rooting from cuttings is mostly successful for the “Zebragras” plant.

So some weeks before our holiday to Greece, I took the two most healthy sprigs from my mothers plant and placed them in water. Already after a week the first roots started to grow. One week before we left for Greece, I placed the two sprigs in potting soil.
3 Weeks later on our return the sprig had started to grow and formed new leaves.

I waited two more weeks and the sprigs had grown into strong healthy young plants. The plant I had taken the sprigs from was really almost dead. And the time was there to replace the old plant with the young strong sprigs.

I am happy that I could save the “Zebragras” plant that once belonged to my mother this way and that there is now a strong and healthy plant again, as can be seen on the photo at the top of this article.

The white ceramic pillar and pot on the photo belonged to my parents and was given by my brother, my sister and me to them for their 25th wedding anniversary. The “old plant” was also placed in this plant pot.

Happy that it worked out this way!

Rob
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Tokmakia

During our vacation this year we have been visiting the Eastern part of Lesvos. A beautiful area where wild horses roam and turtles can be found. Also the home of many bird species, there are more wild bird species on Lesvos than anywhere else in Europe.

At a certain moment we made a break aside a road that led along the East coast of Lesvos. I looked over the sea and saw there some islands. I turned to Mel, our Greek friend from Lesvos, and pointed towards the islands.
Before I even could say something she confirmed smiling that these were the Tokmakia islands (when you look at the photo above, the islands more to the horizon, not the small one closer to the coast).

Last year, when we travelled with our best friends as a group to Lesvos (and Mel certainly belongs to that group), we sailed around Lesvos with Richard as our “captain” as he his the skills and experience to handle a sailboat as the one we rented.
The Tokmakia islands was the place where we dropped the anchor.

It is said that the Tokmakia islands attract, like the ancient Sirens, everyone who is passing by. And that is true, when you are standing on your boat and you see those islands you will feel a strong desire to explore those islands.

The water around the Tokmakia islands is crystal clear, it almost looks as if there is no water. It creates the image that your boat is floating in the air.
The islands are home to many bird and plant species, a wonderful place for those who are interested in these.

As said, last year with visited these islands. The water was too shallow near the beaches, so Richard decided to drop the anchor on some distance. After we made sure that the anchor was properly secured, we swam as true explorers to the island holding food and other stuff above our heads so it would not become wet. After a few times to the sailboat and back we had anything we wanted on the beach of one of the islands (the one called “Ασπρονήσια” or Aspronisia).

On the beach we had the nicest pick nick and even a small BBQ (very good secured so nothing could go wrong).
We swam in the crystal clear water of the sea, we enjoyed the sun on the beach, we explored the island and were amazed by the beauty all around us.

Our time on Ασπρονήσια was truly amazing. Something never to forget. When we left (and made sure no garbage or anything else was left behind) we all were feeling great.
Back on the boat we prepared to sail away and when the anchor was raised I heard Richard say to Marissa that they would come back to these islands.
And oh yes, one day we will go back there…

I must have been standing there for a while, dreaming and watching the Tokmakia islands there out in the sea. Suddenly I felt an arm around my shoulders… Rob… He smiled. And do you know what he whispered in my ear? “We will go back there… “.

And now I know for sure that we will return to the Tokmakia islands one day!

(The photo’s below were made during our holiday of 2016, when we visited as group these wonderful islands).

Marion Tokmakia Tokmakia Tokmakia Tokmakia Tokmakia

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