“Zoethout” (licorice root)

by Miranda on

Zoethout

Tomorrow my niece and her two children will be visiting us. So I thought to go and buy some candy for the kids, but I didn’t want to get the standard super sweet sugar rich stuff. So I made a little trip to Enschede to see if I could find something nice for them.

And I found something from my own youth… “zoethout”. It has been ages ago that I have seen this for the last time, which doesn’t mean it was not available. I just didn’t see it.

Maybe I should explain what “zoethout” actually is. “Zoethout” are small pieces of the root from the Lycyrrhiza Glabra plant. The plant contains a sweetener that some 30 to 50 times as strong as sugar, but is not harmful for the teeth. You really have to chew really on it to get the sweet fluid extracted from the root, which seems to be good for your teeth.
When I was a young girl I was crazy about “zoethout”. We had it often at home, so I could often be found chewing on a piece of it. I can remember that my father also used it a lot when he stopped smoking (and he was successful at that).

Talking about smoking, liquorice was in the past used for flavouring cigarettes, moist snuff, chewing tobacco, and pipe tobacco.
It is also used in many kinds of candy. And over here in The Netherlands in our famous (loved and hated) “drop”.

Well, I am curious what the kids of my niece will think of this “zoethout”. I have to be honest, I tried it this morning and it seems that my taste has changed since I was a young girl: It is not terrible, but tasteful is something else. And in case the kids don’t like it either, I have some very nice chocolate for them *SMILE*

Miranda
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Greek Goddesses

by Marion on

When Rob was a young boy, he once went on a holiday with his parents to Hellendoorn. They stayed a week at hotel “De Uitkijk”. This hotel still exists and this year Marissa, Richard, Rob and I will go there for a long weekend.

Anyway, when Rob stayed there with his family, he went often to a nearby amusement park, which also still exists. Mostly Rob, as he told me, went there to play arcade games. He mentioned an arcade game where you are in a submarine and have to destroy enemy ships.

On one of his trips to the amusement park, he bought at a souvenir shop a small replica of a statue of the Greek goddess Aphrodite.

Leda

This statue was the beginning of Rob’s interest in Greek mythology.

Over the following years he bought more statues of Greek Goddesses at all kind of places. He knew which Goddesses they were, their stories and where they original statues are.
He had and still has quite an extended knowledge of the Greek mythology. Of course, his love for Greece has come from somewhere!

Statue

Then, years later, Rob met his ex-girlfriend. I dare to say that his ex did quite some wrong to him.

Rob was during the time he went to school deeply in love with a girl. He wrote beautiful texts for this girl and made some kind of bundle of it.
His ex-girlfriend requested him to get rid of these texts and he did. These texts, expect some he got back through another resource, are gone forever. I would have loved to read those texts, even when they are about another woman. It is all long ago, it is Rob’s past. He has full right on his own past, after all, it is what made him what he is today.

More things like that happened.

Aphrofite

And then there were Rob’s Greek Goddess statues. Some of those goddesses statues are naked, which is very common for Greek statues.

And also these statues were not to the liking to Rob’s ex. He can recall that words as unfriendly for women were used. With that the statues had to go to.

I really cannot understand this. Did she not realize that these statues were important for Rob? She should have known this.
And is a replica of an old Greek statue, nude or not, woman-unfriendly? I don’t think so. Calling nudity woman-unfriendly is bringing the rights of women back to the dark ages. These day women are allowed to be proud on their bodies and don’t have to hide it under all covering clothes. And is a woman’s body not beautiful? And apart from this all, the statues are not even very detailed.

I cannot get rid of the feeling that Rob his ex tried to control and manipulate him. Something that always will fail in the end, as it did.

So some years back on one of our holidays to Greece I saw in a shop a nice replica of a statue of Aphrodite. I remembered directly what Rob told me once about these kind of statues. Of course I bought it. A present that maybe will undo a little what was done in the past. Rob was really happy with the statue. So now I try to buy on every holiday to Greece such a statue for him

So Aphrodite, Leda, Sapho and others are back in Rob’s house. As they should…

Sapho Marion
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Sweet Scented Geranium

by Rob on

Sweet Scent Geranium

A few days ago I was at Patricia’s house. While we had a very good conversation, I noticed this very beautiful big and healthy Sweet Scented Geranium again standing in her living room. A strong and full grown plant, a pleasure to look at.

The Sweet Scent Geranium is also known as the Rose Geranium. In Dutch the plant is called “Citroenplant” or “Citroengeranium”. The offical Latin name is “Pelargonium graveolens”.

Most people will know this plant because of the very nice lemon scent the plant spreads when you touches it leaves. And it is very well known that this lemon scent is very effective against all kinds of insects. This made the plant very popular.
And yet, for some unknown reason to me that popularity faded away.

Already for some time I have been looking to find a place where I could buy this plant, but without any luck.

So when talking with Patricia, I asked her if she could remember where she bought this Sweet Scented Geranium. Maybe they would still sell them and I could get one. But sadly, she told me that the plant was a gift from someone and that she had no idea where the plant was bought.

We changed the subject and continued our very nice talk. Patricia is a good person to talk with. Intelligent, sharp and fast conclusions, never hateful and a good sense of humour.

Just before I wanted to leave for my home, she walked up her kitchen to get a scissor. She looked at the Sweet Scent Geranium and very determined she did cut one branch from the plant.
She turned to me and told me to put the branch in a glass of water, put the glass on a light spot and made sure the water stays clean. After some times the branch would start to grow roots…. And I would have my Sweet Scent Geranium.

So simple! I have done this many times before… But so many thanks to Patricia for giving the branch to me!

Rob
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“Atak” is no more!

by Marissa on

Atak

Today I read some very unexpected news… “Atak” is no more. As of today it is officially bankrupt and that is a great pity!

For those those who don’t know: “Atak” was a music centre in the city of Enschede. Atak organized pop concerts of all different kinds, including rock, punk, metal and many more styles. There were also dance parties and festivals.

I have been many times to “Atak”, alone, with Richard or with Marion and Rob. Over time I have visited a nice number of concerts. Seen bands as Uriah Heep (I had to go there by Rob… and it was great :P), Red, Normaal, Racoon, Serious and more.
Richard and I have been to dance parties and other festivals organized by “Atak”.

Now it is all gone…

And yes, I do understand that an organization as “Atak” only can exist when subsidised. But what I really don’t understand is that the local government of Enschede can give millions to a soccer club as “FC Twente”, but takes away all from something as “Atak”. That is really beyond my understanding.

There will be people who will say that they don’t regret that “Atak” is now gone, because to their opinion “Metropool” (another concert centre in Enschede) is much better. Maybe they are right, but I will miss the times I had at “Atak”.

So sad…

Marissa

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Oh wow…

by Rob on

When I just was taking care of my plants, I noticed something at the cacti that I have next to my computer desk…

Cacti

Yes, one of them is growing flowers!

It is the first time ever that a cactus that I own grows flowers. I am really surprised to see this happening.
Apart from that, it is winter! Yes sure, my house is heated when I am home, but it the period that the cactus should be in rest, I reduced to the amount of water it gets now accordingly.

Really awesome. I will keep a close look on the cactus and its flowers. And maybe I will add some more photo’s to this article when the flowers grow!

Rob
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And more cookbooks…

by Rob on

Of course, everyone wants to win a big prize in a lottery. I think for many that is the main reason to play a lottery.

If the money that people pay to be part of a lottery is used for charity, culture or use it where people are in need of help, it already another good reason to play. And yes, I hear people already grumbling that the biggest of the money goes to the salary of directors and such. Please get your facts right and don’t believe every first hoax that is going around.

But if a lottery gives away small prices as reduction on tickets of concerts of museums or other small prices, it makes it even fun to play along.

Kookboken

And so I have three new cookbooks again. Yes, a small, but fun prize, in a lottery.

The names of the cookbooks are “Tosti’s met een twist” (“Toasted sandwiches with a twist”), “Eten met stokjes” (“Eating with chopsticks”) and “Pasta’s en Sauzen” (“Pastas and sauces”).
I think I will have a lot of fun in the kitchen with them. Especially the one about toasted sandwiches seems a lot of fun to me. I saw some great ideas for nice sandwiches for a Sunday afternoon.

Cookbooks 3

And these books add nicely to my still growing collection of cookbooks, with as oldest book the one that my mother got at the domestic science school (wow, that sounds so much better as the Dutch “huishoudschool”.

As said, I can enjoy this kind of small prizes very well… (which doesn’t mean I would mind a big one :P).


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Okay, so why Plomari?

by Mel on

Anyone ever wondered why Rob made the decision to go the town of Plomari this year? Yes, Rob made the decision for the whole group. They just wanted to go back to Lesvos and where on Lesvos was less important (the Lesvos-virus is so contagious). Yes yes Marissa, I know that you had the demand of beaches, but I really wonder how strong that demand was :-).

Anyway, as you already may have expected, there is a small story to tell on how Rob made the decision to go on their next holiday to Plomari. :-)

It started last year when Marion and Rob stayed at my place. One evening we were sitting in my garden enjoying the very nice evening. We had the pleasure of a nightingale singing for us. Did you know that nowhere in the world the nightingales sing so beautiful as here on Lesvos? No, you didn’t? Ah, there is another story to tell, but we will do that another time.

During the concert of the nightingale Rob was sipping of a glass of ouzo. He developed quite a taste for ouzo (another reason why my grandmother is so fond of Μουστάκι, which is Rob’s nickname around here). He made a remark that he tasted at the many places Marion and he have been in Greece tasted ouzo, but this was one of the best he ever enjoyed. Of course I had to brag that it was ouzo from Lesvos and everything of our island is simply the best (I know… I know… :-) ).

One day, back in The Netherlands, Rob wanted to enjoy an ouzo again, so he went to the local liquor store and asked for a bottle of ouzo. The owner of the store remembered earlier talks he had with Rob and remembered that Marion and Rob have been to Lesvos. To the surprise of Rob he told he had an ouzo from Lesvos. There was no discussion needed any more and Rob bought that ouzo.

When in the evening Rob sipped from his new ouzo, he suddenly realized with full conviction that this was the ouzo he had at my place!

He called me on Skype and we talked. He explained to me about the ouzo, he bought that day. I had to laugh because the possibility that he bought the ouzo that I always have would be very small.
I told Rob that I have always ouzo from the Isidoros Arvanitis Distillery, Plomari Ouzo.
On the screen of my laptop I saw Rob reach out beside him. When his hand returned his hand was holding a bottle. He turned the bottle around so the label was visible for me. And there it was… Ouzo of Plomari, Isidoros Arvanitis!
Unbelievable that “my” ouzo was for sale in The Netherlands. And even more special, that is for sale “around the corner” (as Rob said) from where he lives.

It was that day that Rob decided that he wanted to visit the town of Plomari. And when “the group” made Rob in charge of the planning of the upcoming holiday in August, the destination of Plomari was set.
And they will love it. Plomari and the surrounding area is just beautiful. And of course a visit to the Isidoros Arvanitis Distillery will be on the agenda for their holiday :-)

Plomari Ouzo Mel

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Today a book that I ordered arrived, “Origin” written by Dan Brown. The Dutch title is “Oorsprong”.

Oorsprong

Dan Brown belongs to the select group of writers that I really love to read. As many others his book “The Da Vince Code” was my first contact with his work. “The Da Vince Code”, the fourth book written by him and published in 2003, was his international breakthrough.

I truly love how he combines in his books facts and fiction into a fast exciting story. Mostly likely I am not the only one who has trouble to put one of his books away while reading it. I just want to know right away what happens on the next page.
By now I have read most of his books and I really like them all.

And now I will start with his newest book that was published in 2017: “Origin”. Again Robert Langdon is the main character in the story. It all seems to start at the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao.

And what makes it really very promising to read is the text in the beginning of the book:

“Fact: All art, architecture, places, science
and religious organisations in this book
really exist!


Later this evening, when we have returned from our dinner, we will spend some time reading… a glass of wine, some small snacks… and our books. How wonderful an evening can be.

Rob
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Utrecht… and a surprise

by Rob on

Marion suggested some weeks ago to go sometime to the city of Utrecht again. Utrecht is a beautiful city to have a good walk, visit some shops and enjoy some good food.
I found this a very good idea and so we planned already a few weeks ago to go there today.

As we do very often, we went by train. No stress of the traffic, no being annoyed by other folks on the road, no parking problems and wine or beer by a dinner is no problem at all.
Marion suggested to bring along my camera, because Utrecht is, as said, a wonderful city.

Once we arrived at the central rail road station of Utrecht, Marion pulled me in the direction of Starbucks, because she wanted badly some coffee.
Maybe she really wanted coffee, but that was not the main reason to go to Starbucks. Because on the moment we walked in I saw to my surprise, Marissa and Richard sitting at a table.
It was so obvious that this was all planned this way. But Marissa and Richard are good company and more than welcome to join us on our visit to Utrecht.

After enjoying the coffee and some chatting, Marion suddenly said that we had to hurry a bit to get the next train.
At that moment I was really confused. What next train? We were already where we had planned to go.
I was just told to come along and so I did, wondering what was going on.
We got on the train in the direction of the Hague. Marissa explained that we just had to the next station in another part of Utrecht. She opened up her handbag and took out 4 tickets for “Star Wars Identities: The Exhibition”.

I was so pleasantly surprised.This is so typical Marion. I mentioned a long time ago, when this exhibition was announced, that I would like to go there. I almost forgot about it, but Marion didn’t and planned this day together with Marissa and Richard (Marissa is just as me a Star Wars fan). Really awesome.

Fun fact: When I was driving yesterday home with a colleague and I mentioned that we would go to Utrecht, his first remark was about the Star Wars exhibition. And I told him that we would not go there, but that we would visit the city itself.

Star Wars

The exhibition was truly awesome. For someone like me (or as Marissa) who really love the Star Wars sagas, this is wandering through a daydream. Maybe what it made even more special is that many of items that were on display were actually used in the movies.

Yoda

I have learned many things about Star Wars that I didn’t know. I didn’t know that eyes of Yoda where based on the eyes of Albert Einstein, to show great wisdom. And that his name was created by playing around with words. It also seemed that George Lucas and the people he worked with had trouble with designing the way Yoda would look.
Also I didn’t know that Jabba the Hutt was first a character that walked on two legs, instead of this super sized snail. And there were 3 persons in the puppet of Jabba to make him move in a natural way as possible.

Star Wars

There was an audio guide available. I must say that it was one of the best audio guides I have seen at an exhibition or museum (and I have seen some by now).
When you got close to an item that was covered in the tour, the device started to play automatically (you could also recognize these areas by markings on the floor).

It described in a very good and understandable about what makes the identity, covering some scientific and biological background. There was really something to learn. And all of course in references with the Star Wars stories.

Han Solo

To make it even more interactive, every visitor got a bracelet. Throughout the tour the bracelet could be used to store the result of questions that would determine your Star Wars identity.
I became the most cuddly creature of the universe, an Ewok Jedi. Marissa a human princess (of course). And Richard a Wookie mercenary.
And Marion? She complained that we always call her evil and so she answered all the questions in the most evil way and became indeed a Sith Knight :-).

Star Wars

The exhibition was really awesome We all enjoyed it very much.

Afterwards we had dinner together at restaurant “De Zwarte Vosch”, a place Marion and I knew already. A very nice restaurant to be with friends.

And then the time to say goodbye again. Marissa and Richard travelled back to Twente, while Marion and I moved back to North Holland. But it was a wonderful day well spent!

Trooper Star Wars Star Wars Fighter Rob
Expo Utrecht - Star Wars Identities The Exhibition
Restaurant De Zwarte Vosch

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There was something that I planned already for a long time to do, move the weblog from http to HTTPS/SSL.

HyperText Transfer Protocol, that is where HTTP stand for and it is the protocol that is used by a browser (Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer/Edge) to communicate with a web server. So basically this makes it possible to see the websites on your computer or any other device alike (lets not get too technically).
Already for some time there has been an adaptation of the HTTP protocol to make it more secure: HTTPS, which stands for HyperText Transfer Protocal Secure (well, that you didn’t see coming, right? *SMILE* ).
So what makes HTTPS more secure as HTTP? Well, the communication between the browser and the web server is now encrypted. The encryption of the communication between a browser and a web server protects against eavesdropping and tampering of the communication that is happening. There is a lot of technical information and discussions on HTTPS, but I think we should not go here into that here the weblog.

http https

So the whole idea behind this all was to make the weblog more safe for the people who read and write here.

I was afraid that this all would be a huge job. After all, every internal link must be changed from “http: //www.dimrost.nl” to “https://www.dimrost.nl”. This includes every link to a photo or picture stored on the same server as the weblog, every link to a page or post. We are talking about 18080 fields over 50 database tables that needed to be updated.

I reserved quite some time to do this all.

Some days ago I requested a SSL certificate and installed it. Yesterday I started with the real work with the idea to finish it off today.
I changed to configuration of WordPress so it would used the https-address, I forced that WordPress would use https by default and that it would handled redirects correctly.

I started to create SQL update queries to update all the http-addresses to https, when I read on the website Webtalis about a WordPress plugin to do this all for me. And it worked wonderful.

Yesterday evening within 30 minutes I migrated our weblog from http to https. I should have done this already ages ago!

https safe

I have checked many post/pages manually, but all pages show the green lock as in the picture above, which means the pages is secure and communication to the web server is encrypted. I also ran some automated test tools and those also showed all is fine.

https unsafe

In case the post/page is not secure, a yellow warning sign will be shown, as can be seen in the picture right above here (I changed for the example picture a https-link back to http… which I should not forget to set back to https again *grin*).
If you ever see such a yellow warning sign here on our weblog, please let me know. Then there is something wrong on that page which should be changed. Please mail the address of the post or page to me (you can use the “Contact us” link at top of the page).

Gives a good feeling that it all went so good and fast :-).

Edit: It turned out there was a problem afterwards, it was not possible to write comments to articles anymore (thank you for spotting it so fast Marissa). It turned out a plug in was causing the problem. It was not a very important plug in (it was displaying the “recent posts”-overview in a nicer way), so I deactivated and removed it.
But also it turned out that the GEO plug in was not working anymore. Not critical, just not nice. I am looking into it.

Rob

 

(Source http vs https diagram: Wikipedia)


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