Monthly Archives: March 2015

I need a new gym!

On Monday afternoon the 23rd of March I swam in the World Gym pool in Lowell with my daughters. That evening I attended a kickboxing class in the same gym with Esti Corcoran. Esti is one of my favorite trainers. The people in the class are great too. We’re not close friends, but we kind of know each other and laugh and work out. Oh boy, do we work out; Esti is a very strict coach. I left 10 minutes before the class finished. I’m sorry I did because that night the gym closed down.

Last year in January, my husband, three children and I moved to Bentonville. We are originally Dutch and lived in South Africa for three years. We looked at a few gyms and decided on the World Gym of NWA. They offered fabulous classes, the employees were friendly and the kids could even take swimming lessons. So far, so good.

I never even thought of checking whether this gym was reliable. I assumed people would notify you when things don’t go according plan. But they didn’t. Having lived in Africa makes you believe you’ve seen it all. But we never, ever experienced anything like this. It’s disturbing and I feel betrayed. How come nobody notified me when I renewed my membership a month ago? What will happen to all the employees?

I also notice that I miss going to the gym. I don’t function like I used to; my routine is disturbed and the girls can’t take swimming lessons. I got angry and it didn’t really help. I run outside and I cycle, but I miss my classes. I miss my gym-buddies. Already.

That’s why I decided to take action:
1. I’d like my money back. I’m sure there’s reasons for this, but members are not the ones to blame. I emailed and phoned but without success…
2. I called gyms to check if they are looking for new employees and I recommended my favorite instructors. (Esti and Jamie are great; gym managers and owners, take note!)
3. I’m of course looking for a new gym. It’s almost summer, hello; I need a hot bikini bod!

I’ve been thinking this through and I’m going to try out different classes in Bentonville, Lowell and Rogers’ gyms, taking pictures, describing the atmosphere. My goal is to find a new, friendly, reliable and affordable place – although it will be more expensive than World Gym which might be one of the reasons etc….
It will hopefully inspire other ex-World-Gym-lovers to find a new good place. Let’s spread the word for the fantastic gyms out there!

The first class will be at Define Fitness Studio. Happy to hear other good stories too!

Eva in Gym

Crystal Bridges is Love

Crystal Bridges is amazing. I wrote about their drop-in-art-classes before and they keep amazing me. I’m also blown away by the light and the beautiful pictures you can take there! Go and bring your camera, or just use your phone and capture special moments. This Sunday was busy, but it never feels busy – as you can see. Yesterday it was packed! We had to park in the overflow parking and used the museum trolley (bus? golf cart?)
Anyway, the kids loved it!

Crystal Bridges is Love. No more words, just pictures :)


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Falling impersonal love

A few weeks ago a friend asked me if I wanted to edit an Art Book for a painter. Of course I did! The artist – the Dutch painter Iris Frederix – had put together a book of her paintings over the past decade. She had written a description for every painting. I read and edited her book and we skyped several times. Iris’ paintings are beautiful, but there was something in the process of creating a painting that impressed me even more.

Iris loves painting portraits. In her book she describes the process of taking pictures, making sketches and meeting her ‘sitters’ before she starts painting. She prefers to meet the people she paints in person to get to know them and to be able to really connect with them. She describes this as impersonal love. Iris doesn’t fall in love with the people she paints, but she does develop a certain kind of love for them.

Impersonal love. I immediately fell in love with that combination of words. It’s being truly interested in the other and getting to know someone. For Iris it’s about being able to create an image of someone that doesn’t only reflect the person, but his emotions, his soul. Iris says it ‘just happens’ during the process and is important for the quality of her work.

It sounds beautiful right? I guess it’s about a goal that you greatly value and are deeply committed to. This is how sharing your life with others should be. You set aside your daily stuff, you focus and listen and the world around you will stop turning for a while. Or well, that’s how I imagine it would be. How often are you working, but thinking of random things at the same time; you might be hungry, shouldn’t forget to run some errands and did you forget to lock the door?

I guess it’s about focus, about fulfilling an assignment or job or an arts and craft project with your children in the best possible way. It’s about setting aside yourself and truly focus on the other aiming for the best result. The goal can be attention, simply having a great time, or painting the best painting ever.
 We should all try falling impersonal love for a while and forget about the world around us! I certainly will.

This is Monte Carlo, not a portrait indeed, but beautiful!



Thunderday/ Donderdag

De gedichtjes die Machteld maakt en die ik illustreer, zijn vaak gebaseerd op een uitspraak van een kind. In dit geval is het maandag en alles lijkt rustig. Tot er een donderslag klinkt. Of was het nou een donderdag?

The poems Machteld makes are often based on something a child said. That could indeed be one of our kids ;) 
It was Monday and there was thunder. Was it Thunderday instead of Monday maybe?)


picknicktafel geknipt


Snow and a bird feeder

On Friday it started snowing, again. Snow looks nice and you can sled and you can make a bird feeder. A beautiful looking, easy to make, DIY bird feeder project. Right.

The idea of a snow day is that it’s cozy and fun and that you will be able do things you normally wouldn’t have time for. In reality you’re waiting for the snow to melt. I discussed it with the husband and we think that the biggest problem is uncertainty.
Uncertainty as to when the snow will melt and until that time, you wait. It’s the same as waiting for the bus, a delayed plane or when you’re waiting for food in a restaurant that doesn’t come and you’re really, really hungry. In the meanwhile you start saying things like:

‘When do you think it’s gone?’
‘I haven’t seen someone to clear the roads, when will they come?’
‘I think it will be gone soon, hey, it stops, oh no, it it still snows.’
‘Do you think schools will be open on Monday?’

Saturday morning we made a plan. We would clean and tidy up and I would make a bird feeder with the kids. I googled ‘DIY bird feeders’ and found several recipes. They looked complicated,  you needed gelatine and in the description the word ‘messy’ popped up several times. I googled some more and found a wooden thing that you had to glue together. We had the wooden sticks they mentioned and I figured that I could totally do that with my glue gun!

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The girls sat down and we made it exactly as described. When it was finished we added the birdseeds. Of course the seeds were tiny and they fell through. So I glued the sides of the bird feeder to stop the seeds from falling out. It didn’t work and I thus added wooden sticks on the sides AND extra glue – seriously, the stress. After that there was a fight who could fill it up and then we FINALLY went outside.


The bird feeder attracted some birds and we all loved that. On Monday morning it looked like the birds either had a party, or big bird had made an emergency landing in the feeder.


My snow-DIY-conclusion so far: Snow is especially nice when you’re on vacation and a DIY project is especially nice on pictures.