Archive for December, 2007

Christmas Cards

As of yesterday I am officially on the depressed side of my scale of ratings and knowing that, and admitting to it, already makes me feel a lot more hopeful that things will start looking up soon.

Early in the morning, I sat at the table making cigarettes and I just wanted to give up and cry and not give a hoot anymore. It was a mood that had been on its way for about a week or more and that finally broke through.

Eduard had been waiting for it to happen, because he had noticed that I had not been my usual cheerful self lately. It seems that I had done a lot of quiet pondering on the sofa and had been steadily gloomy and silent, without me realizing so much that I had been. At least not to the point that it was that noticeable to me, but now looking back, I know that is true.

I called my psychiatrist, and I must say that I am really lucky that he is available on the weekends. We briefly discussed the situation and came to the conclusion that it was the beginning of a depression and he decided on the steps to take to cut it short. A change in my medications is the most important one. Trying to get enough sleep is another one and staying on a regular schedule is the third one.

I am keeping track of how much sleep I am getting and it is maybe enough all together, it is just not at the right time of the 24 hour cycle that people are on. I sleep in the afternoons and in the evenings, but I am awake during most of the night, so it is all a question of timing. I am going to be drinking a lot more decaf to see if that will help any and generally try to stay up more during the day, although that may be hard to do. Add to that the fact that I like being up at night and you can see the problem.

Anyway, we’ll see how the change in medication works. Usually I am pretty susceptible to that and it works quickly. This time we are actually going to lower one of my medications and that is the anti psychotic, because it acts as a brake on your feelings, as he explained to me. I should be feeling a lot better soon. It is not unusual to get a low after having been hypo manic like I was. I like the way my psychiatrist is so proactive nowadays. He immediately looks for practical solutions that work. It has not always been that way in the past.

As a result of that low pressure system moving in (see how I am like the weather?) , I didn’t do a heck of a lot yesterday. I cleaned the apartment a bit in the morning and made sure I was dressed properly and applied my make up and combed my hair, because it is too easy to let these things go. I pretended that I was expecting company and made sure I and the apartment looked okay. When I am really not motivated to do that, I pretend the queen is coming over for a cup of tea and I make sure that the toilet is clean.

Eduard had to work in the afternoon and before he was gone, I was already asleep on the sofa and I woke some two and a half hours later to a silent place, with only the radio softly playing an opera aria. That was a perfect time for me to go visit all the blogs that I hadn’t visited during the night. You have to be in a proper mood to visit other people’s blogs. You have to be receptive to their ideas and their art and you have to be coherent enough to leave sensible comments. I wasn’t coherent enough during the night.

Oh, bugger snot, I just realized that it is New Year’s Eve today and I have to go to the store to buy some things that we need to get past the next few days of store closure. I think the shops close at noon today. I am so not in the mood for shopping, I am so tired of shopping, it seems all I do these days is shop and I don’t want to anymore. I must talk Eduard into going to the store for me instead, I just can’t face it. I think I’ll have a mini nervous breakdown if I have to walk behind a grocery cart today. Stress? Who? Me? No, not at all! I never feel stress.

Anyway, not to get distracted, when Eduard came home from work, neither one of us felt like cooking and Eduard went out for Chinese take away, of which I didn’t have any. I have decided not to eat another normal dinner again if it kills me. So Eduard had a nice meal all to himself and I had a piece of apple pie and that will be the last of the good stuff that we have in the house, because that is the last of the sweets we will buy. From this point forward it is Cup a soup and yogurt and cornflakes again. Man, it has been so disgusting to eat all those pies and cookies and other sweet things! It can be the downfall of a woman.

In another fourteen days I am seeing the gastric band man and he will have me go on his scales and I always weigh more on his than I weigh at home so it is all rather tiresome. I will have to weigh myself at home before I go, which is something I have avoided for some time now. I know that I am not going to be happy with what I’ll see. I am postponing it as long as possible.

Regularly a feeling of dread washes over me and I feel overwhelmed with negativism. I know it is the depression acting up and that I must not put too much value on it, but it is not a nice feeling. Sometimes futility wants to win and toss all positivism out the window. When even a cup of coffee and a cigarette don’t fix things. I’ll be damned if I give into it, though. I’ll go down kicking and screaming. In my mind I will be anyway. You won’t notice any of this on the surface. On the surface I’ll be as cool as a cucumber.

Right, I have to pick out some images. Let’s see what it will be today…Christmas cards, that’ll be my last salute to Christmas then. Just one more day and the holidays will be over until Carnival, which will be early this year, I believe in February. Some more days of madness will ensue and the whole town will be dressed up and drunk and everybody will have confetti in their hair and in their pockets. Eduard and I are Northerners, so we don’t have Carnival in our blood and we don’t know how to celebrate it properly. If you’re born into it and raised with it, it comes as natural to you as breathing and riding a bike. We don’t even go and see the parade anymore, although it is the best in the south and the most authentic. A real tourist attraction.

I have no other news than to tell you that I look forward to drinking many more cups of coffee and watching it become morning slowly. Then I will go and walk the dog and hope it is not too cold out, just enough to wake me up properly and get my blood circulating through my veins well enough.

So, I greet you all, my fellow bloggers and anybody else ou
t there who can’t sleep and who finds comfort in the darkness of the night in the wee hours of the morning. Ciao…


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Sue O’Kieffe of Sacred Circle Mandalas has tagged me for a meme, so here we go:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

Here are five random , if not weird facts about me:

1. I was born in the city of Utrecht where I lived until I was eight years old. We then moved to the town of Emmen, where all the kids teased me because of my city accent and where I learned first hand what discrimination was all about. Having the shit kicked out of you for talking wrong when they felt like it.

2, I never shave my legs and as a consequence there is no hair left on my legs to shave except a stray hair here and there that I can easily pull out with a pair of tweezers. I think that qualifies as a weird fact.

3. When I was an adolescent, I wanted to be a boy and I was sure I was stuck in the wrong body. I didn’t like frilly dresses and girlish things. I was very unaware of my feminine capacities. I had my hair cut super short and wanted to be called René, although I never came out and said so. It was a secret wish. Luckily, I grew out of this later and at one point became the female I am now, but it did take some doing.

4. I was 13 years old when Robert Kennedy died and I thought a real hero had gone. I kept a scrapbook of all the stories I could find abut him in the press. When I met the American man who was to become my first husband, I thought I had met another Robert Kennedy.

5. I used to be an incurable romantic and actually listened to the lyrics of the songs I listened to and believed in them. I took them literally. I thought life was like the song lyrics and like the stories in books and I lived my life accordingly, with lots of feeling and emotion and drama. I thought, “They sing about it and they write about it, so it is real and it can happen to me too.” I made it happen.

I tag Bev from Heavenly Body, Frances from Holy Carpet, Babaloo from Fairymix, Eileen from A Life of Triggers and Sandollar from Life in the Sunshine.

Well, so much for revelations. Now you know some more intimate things about me and do I care? Well. just a tiny little bit. I reveal enough as it is in these posts, a little more won’t hurt, I guess.

It is an hour past midnight and I have slept since about 9 pm and woke up all ready and roaring to go. Needless to say, I was pretty disgusted when I saw what time it was on the alarm clock. Nevertheless, full of good cheer I got up, because I can do like I did yesterday and lie down on the sofa and catch a few hours more sleep when the need arises.

Yesterday’s dinner went fine. My brother in law was only a little bit obnoxious, but no more that his usual self and it was all very bearable. He was as agreeable as he could be and that is saying a lot. The fact that his normal self doesn’t quite sit right with me is neither here nor there, it is just a matter of personality clashes, I guess. The drinking was kept to a minimum and things only got a little bit sentimental. I think between the three of them, they only drank two bottles of wine, so that is still within reason.

I was again complimented on my scalloped potatoes and I only smiled mysteriously as if it was all a big secret. Well, it is. I am not going to tell them that the sauce comes from a jar. The chicken was finger lickin’ good and the green beens were done just right. But I can not eat a normal meal. I ate the small portion of everything there was and then went to the bathroom and upchucked it all, then came back and filled my stomach with the baguette with butter that I was also serving and that went down fine and I had no problems. I can not eat meat of any size bigger than a slice of luncheon meat. I have to stop being an optimist and stop eating dinner. My little stomach does not like it!

My little stomach likes yogurt and Cup a Soup and cornflakes and bread. It also likes chocolate chip cookies and apple pie, but surely those days are almost behind us now and I will not have to eat those things anymore. You see, somebody has been holding a gun to my head and making me eat those things. I am sure you are familiar with the problem at this time of the year. There is temptation all around us and the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

Yesterday I was suddenly fed up with Christmas and took down the decorated branches and bought a big plant to put there instead of it. I walked to the flower and plant store and bought a Fatsia Japonica, also known as the Aralia Japonica.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fatsia japonica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Apiales
Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Fatsia
Species: F. japonica
Binomial name Fatsia japonica
(Thunb.) Decne. & Planch. Fatsia japonica (Fatsi or Japanese Aralia; syn. Aralia japonica Thunb., A. sieboldii Hort. ex K.Koch) is a species of Fatsia, native to southern Japan. It is an evergreen shrub growing to 3-6 m tall, with stout, sparsely branched stems. The leaves are spirally-arranged, large, 20-50 cm in width and on a petiole up to 50 cm long, leathery, palmately lobed, with 7-9 broad lobes, divided to half or two-thirds of the way to the base of the leaf; the lobes are edged with coarse, blunt teeth. The flowers are small, white, borne in dense terminal compound umbels in late autumn or early winter, followed by small black fruit. The name “Fatsi” is older Japanese, meaning ‘eight’ (in present-day Japanese hachi), referring to the eight lobes. The name “Japanese Aralia” is due to the genus formerly being classified within a broader interpretation of the related genus Aralia in the past. It is commonly grown as an ornamental plant in warm temperate regions where winters do not fall below about -15°C.

After I picked out the plant and the pot to put it in, I walked home with it with the real sense that I was taking home a living, breathing thing that I would bear responsibility for. It was so big and so hard to ignore like a little plant. I thought, “I can’t screw up with this plant, I have to take good care of it, it is like taking home a pet.”

Once home, I unwrapped it from its tissue paper that the shop lady had carefully wrapped it in and gave it a good soaking in the kitchen sink and let it drain there. Then I put it in its pot and put it on the plant stand and turned it to its maximum advantage. I kept looking at it all afternoon, expecting suddenly the leaves to start drooping and falling off, but so far, so good. It seems to have made the trip home well and nothing bad has happened to it yet.

It completely dwarfs my other plants and I realize that I really do have to go out and buy plant food now and start feeding them every week if they are to start growing as vigorously as this big guy. Eduard said to my sister in law last night, “Oh, we never have any success with house plants,” which makes me even more determined to make this project successful. I’ll be darned if those things aren’t going to thrive. Eduard is thinking of the depressed Irene who couldn’t take care of a blade of grass, let alone a house plant.

I got a neat coffee mug from my brother in law that he won from his local newspaper. It seems that every week they have a satellite image in the paper of some place in Friesland and they ask the readers to identify the place. The winners get an interesting coffee mug and so far my brother in law has won three of them. Mine is too big to put under the Senseo machine, but I just pour the coffee from the smaller cup that I make it in into the taller mug. I did feel honored that he gave one of his mugs away to me. Its a slender tall mug with a graceful handle and perfect for my cup of Senseo.

My sister in law is a therapist, so when she asks me how I am doing, she really asks me how I am doing and she really listens to the answers, which I can keep quite brief without having to go into all sorts of details, because she knows the situation and the jargon. I don’t have to go into long explanations about things with her, but can keep the conversation quite simple and to the point. She sees all sorts of people in her line of work and has to refer them to psychiatrists when the need arises and has people put on medications etc. So she is quite familiar with all of that. It is nice to talk to someone who knows why you take a mood stabilizer and an anti psychotic medication, for instance. We don’t need to waste too much time on that.

There is a tendency for people around you to say, “Oh you were hypo manic? Well. don’t we all have our up and down moods?” So, there is a tendency to dismiss it. And then there is the tendency to say, “Wow, you sure get depressed a lot!” As if there are only a certain amount of times a person is allowed to get depressed. Most people dismiss your moods as irrelevant and exaggerated and if you only did your best you wouldn’t be a victim to them. “You must not be very strong of character if you so easily give into these things.” Those are the people who have studied the subject least of all, but pretend to be experts on it. It can be very frustrating.

That’s why it is so nice to talk to someone who knows their shit. Who doesn’t question what you tell them, but just accepts it as the truth and a fact. To all the other people you feel that you come across as a liar and an exaggerator or a very weak person who is not quite right in the head. Who gives into her moods because it is so interesting and fun.

Well, I best not get started down that road, I would start ranting and raving and that would not make for a fun post at all. I’ll save that for the nincompoops who cause me to feel that way.

I have to find some interesting images to share with you today. Let’s see…we’ll do the curtain today. That’s nice and bright and cheerful. It’s to compensate for the heavier subject I just started to approach.

Yesterday, it started raining off and on and it hasn’t stopped yet. Even now it is raining, but at least that means that it isn’t as cold outside and the heater is off. The apartment is not cold at all.

We are the bottom apartment and we are boxed in at three sides by other apartments and a house and that makes a difference in how cold this place gets. That, and the double glazed windows in the front. We had the heater on last night for a while, but shut it off when we went to bed and I haven’t turned it on yet. That really saves on the energy bill.

Fact number 6. I really hated my childhood and wouldn’t want to repeat it for all the money in the world. If there weren’t the troubles inside, then there were the troubles outside. There just was no safe place to be. Damn it all to hell anyway. What a bunch of sh*t!

Sorry, I just had to add that to the 5 interesting and weird facts about myself. It didn’t feel complete without it. Life sure was no picnic. Some people get lucky and some people don’t. I sure as heck hope there isn’t really a reincarnation, for fear that I end up in another dysfunctional family and I have to do the whole thing all over again. People who believe in second and third lives, must have been very lucky in their first ones. I shiver at the thought of another one.

So, anyway, I put away the Christmas decorations and sort of declared Christmas to be over. I thought, “Enough is enough already,” and I was glad that I didn’t have to take down a whole tree. Imagine the work that goes into putting it up and taking it down again. No wonder people leave it up until the first week of January. My friend Laura send me a picture of her tree and it is so loaded with ornaments that you can’t see the tree and it is going to take her a week to take it down again. It takes real dedication to do that. A real commitment to the spirit of Christmas, which I am lacking. Bah humbug!

I always like getting things back to normal again, therefor my eagerness in buying that plant. I know I ought to decorate branches for Easter, but I am already loathe thinking about it and I don’t know if I will. Bets are on that I won’t. And no, I don’t want a Cadburry chocolate Easter egg, Easter Bunny! I only want a hardboiled egg. Jeez, really!

Okay, enough already of this rambling. I’ll go now and read some other blogs while
I wait for the morning to come. You all have yourself a wonderful day and a happy night, whichever comes first. Ciao…

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Well, as they say in the Netherlands, now my wooden shoe breaks. I fell asleep sometime during the afternoon, after consuming a large amount of chocolate, which may or may not work as a sleep inducer, although I have been told it works as a aphrodisiac as well, although I sure didn’t notice that. Then, I woke up promptly at 5 pm to take my medication, had a bowl of cornflakes and promptly fell asleep on the sofa again until ten pm, when I woke up quite refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the night.

So, what is a woman to do, I ask you? Does she take the rest of her medication, including her sleeping pills and go to bed? No, of course not! That would be so boring. No, she turns on the computer and reads blogs and checks her emails. There is always something interesting to read there and isn’t that much more entertaining than going to bed with a very sleepy headed husband and reading a dull book and nodding of to sleep a medication induced sleep, from which she will wake in a few hours only to arrive at the point where she is sitting now, which is behind the computer? It all sounds very logical to me and I have the sofa as a back up. The yellow blanket is laying there and I can hop under it in a moment’s notice.

Will I ever wear pajamas again? Well, maybe not, there is something to be said for sleeping in your clothes. It is very warm and I am a very neat sleeper and I hardly get wrinkled. Even my make up doesn’t become smeared and has to be removed in the morning with a face wash. I feel like I am on one long journey, during which I take little naps and I come up every once in a while to watch the scenery. Although it does keep looking awfully familiar.

Never mind, I can sleep enough in my next life. For now I will be a nap taker. I must make it a point to stay up tomorrow night, though. My brother in law and his girlfriend are coming to have dinner with us and I do have to stay awake, because I know they will not leave early. This is Eduard’s twin brother, the evil twin! No, I am joking, but I am convinced that I married the better half of them. Let’s just say that all the less lovable characteristics of Eduard are exaggerated in his brother and he drives me up the wall. But his girlfriend is very nice and I am sure we will have a good time, unless all get drunk and then we won’t and I have seen it happen.

I am going to make chicken with scalloped potatoes. Boy, those scalloped potatoes are turning out to be my old stand by. Everybody likes them and they are easy to fix. My secret comes from a jar, but of course I don’t tell anybody this. To them it is all home made. If they ask me for the recipe, I just tell them that it’s an old family secret and that my lips are sealed. A woman does have to have some secrets.

My daughter and her boyfriend rented a car for the weekend and went off to France to the Champagne region. They will be back Sunday evening, on time to celebrate New Year’s at a party they are going to with my sister and brother in law. Eduard and I are old fogies and will stay home, as we do every year, and keep the animals company at midnight when all hell breaks loose and the whole city sets off fireworks. It is like WWIII out there then and for a good hour there is a noise like you would not believe and a fog hangs over all of the streets. It is impossible to go to sleep or to go outside for fear that a stray rocket will be shot at you. We keep the cats inside and the cat door closed. Jesker is unperturbed, nothing bothers him. He is a cool dog.

In the north of the country, it is customary to go visit all of your neighbors and friends after midnight to wish them a Happy New Year and to not make it home until some time in the morning, which is great if you are young and you don’t have kids.

We also eat things called “oliebollen” and “appelflappen” and they are similar to donuts and are only eaten at this time of the year. My father used to make them himself and he made large amounts of them and we would eat them until we were literally sick of them. They are very good, but I am not having any of them this year due to my gastric band. One oliebol would be enough. One appelflap would upset things and they are very greasy and fattening. You want to keep eating them after you have had one of them.

In the north people eat something called “kniepertjes”. They are thin waffles rolled up and filled with whipped cream. They are as brittle as cookies and best eaten warm when they are just made. You need a special kniepertjes iron to make these. I am sure Trijnie knows all about these.

You see how all of these customs are always a celebration involving food and the abundance off. And drink, of course. Copious amounts of it. I am not a drinker myself, but it is customary to drink yourself silly at this time of the year. The bigger the hang over, the better, it seems. But there is always the food, although in the Netherlands, it isn’t very exotic, although the party snacks are becoming more so now that we have modern times. People don’t just eat oliebollen and appelflappen anymore. In the south, it is customary to cure your hangover with beer and herring. I can’t think of a worse way to get rid of a hangover. Imagine downing a herring covered in onions while you are in the throws of a hangover and having a cold beer to go with it!

Under age drinking is really becoming an issue here in the Netherlands. The legal drinking age is 16, but there are kids drinking a lot who are much younger and being brought into the hospital with alcohol poisoning. It is considered quite a tough thing to do by the younger crowd to drink a lot before they go to the disco. They get together at someone’s house and have beer and breezers and get drunk before they go out, because it it cheaper than buying the alcohol at the disco or at the pub. There is not much checking for age. Kids pretty much drink when they want to and parents don’t run too much interference. They rather have the kids drink at home, where they can keep an eye on them, than away from home. Everybody drinks, so the problem is not being taken seriously enough yet. You’re considered to be able to handle your alcohol when you drink and if you can’t, then you are pretty stupid, but lately, it seems that that peer pressure isn’t there anymore.

The coffee shop around the corner has closed down, because apparently they were selling to minors, which is a pretty stupid thing to do. When something is being allowed by law, you better stick to the law. My sister says that they get a lot of American tourists who want to go and have a look at a coffee shop just
out of curiosity, not to actually go and have a smoke, you know. Apparently it is a big deal. A real tourist attraction. I am sure the customers really appreciate that. It’s like all the tourists that go window shopping at the red light district in Amsterdam and who don’t realize that it is no longer the quaint industry it once was, but a cover for illegal prostitution and drugs and all sorts of dark practices. I wouldn’t go there if they paid me.

Well, I do fall from one subject into the next and how did I end up here anyway?

In her Christmas speech, the Queen said that she didn’t like the intolerant attitude of some members of the government and that they spread hate and fear and now these certain members feel very singled out. I say, good for the queen for saying so. Somebody had to. There is one fellow in particular who is a real hate monger and he gets people who don’t know better to have all sorts of irrational fears about other people. He is a dangerous man and it is important that he is not taken seriously by too large a group of people. He is guarded 24 hours a day and has received death threats. He is a joke.

Now, how did I get on that subject? My mind is jumping from one thing to another. Only I see the logic in it.

Sometimes you get the feeling that you live in a banana republic. Things happen and circumstances exist which you don’t expect from a modern western country. I am sure that all modern western citizens experience this feeling. Sometimes it seems that the government is playing a bad joke on the citizens and that we are supposed to be laughing at the cleverness of the humor of it, when in fact we want to bury our face in our hands and stop looking. We’re all being bamboozled one way or the other. If it isn’t by the government, it is by big business and it is our task to see through the bullshit. Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees, but there is a lot of nonsense going on out there and sometimes we are more than willing victims of it. Sometimes we are willingly blind to what goes on. Or we are just plain lazy and don’t bother to take a different attitude. Sometimes we are just plain old gullible people.

I hear Eduard snore in the bedroom ands the animals must be there also, because I see only one cat here. It is so odd that he lies there all sound asleep having all sorts of dreams and I am here wide awake letting my thoughts jump from one subject to the next in the middle of the night. I wonder if, at this point, we spend enough quality time together with me taking all these naps on the sofa. He did take a picture of me sleeping and I hope he is not going to use it against me in any possible divorce proceedings!

I am postponing the inevitable and that is the end of this post, but it must come. I can sit here for another hour and write more on whatever subject, while you are all asleep or off doing other useful things in the other parts of the world. I will read some more blogs and see if I can find any new ones that are interesting, Maybe I will even try to sleep a little bit. Who knows? I feel so full of spit and vinegar, anything is possible.

Have a great day or a super night, whichever comes first to you. Thanks for letting me ramble at you. Ciao…

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Bowl with Junk:

I am not sitting here in my regal red bathrobe, but in my clothes, as that is what I was wearing when I fell asleep on the sofa last night. I hadn’t planned to fall asleep there, it sort of overtook me by surprise and before I knew it, I was gone from this world completely.

I had very intricate dreams about a very evil child who was not me, nor was she my daughter and I don’t know who she was instead, but she was a sheer devil. She could put on her wily charms at the drop of a hat and she was a very calculating little b*tch. It is almost scary that I am capable of dreaming these kinds of things and I wonder what Jung would make of it.

It is a good thing to wake up to reality when you dream like that and realize that you real world doesn’t look like your dream world. I check all the different parts of it for evilness and find out that, no, there is none such in my life. I did have a very scheming and conniving grandmother, but she died and I don’t think it was her in the dream.

I have had two cups of regular coffee and now I am drinking decaf to see what will happen. Maybe I will get sleepier sometime during the wee hours and feel the need to go back to sleep again. It’s an experiment. Of course, it is possible that when I do start to feel sleepy, I’ll switch to regular coffee again, because I am having too much fun staying up. Decisions, decisions…

One thing is for sure, I tried not to turn on the computer right away, but that was as impossible as not breathing, so that experiment failed. I wanted to sit and just enjoy my cup of coffee and my cigarette, but then I thought, “Who am I fooling, turn that darn thing on already!” So I did and I felt much better. Some habits are best not broken, they just feel good.

Yesterday morning the dog and I went for a longer walk. I forgot my gloves and came home with quite cold hands. I could have frozen ice cubes with them. The dog enjoyed his morning constitution and we ran into one other dog who took one look at Jesker and decided to go the other way. It is funny to me that Jesker can be intimidating, because he is such a kindly looking dog, but I guess not always when you are another dog.

I always look at Jesker from the rear when we go for a walk and I think he is quite comical looking, as his rear legs are kind of bow shaped, as most dog’s are, and it makes him look kind of like a little tough cowboy. He ought to wear a Stetson and have a cigarette dangling from his lips. I am sure he thinks he is really tough looking the way he swaggers down the street, but he doesn’t fool me one bit, although I am sure he is a hit with the ladies.

I am always surprised that he isn’t bothered by the cold, while I am wrapped up in layers of clothing. He never shivers. He must have the ability to stay warm even in the cold and he must have an internal mechanism to keep the heat up. I wish I did, as my extremities are always very cold and you can ask Eduard about that. He has felt my cold hands and feet.

I didn’t feel like going to the grocery store and we didn’t really need that much, so I went to the little Mom and Pop shop around the corner where are the items are packed to the ceiling and where you really can buy just about anything. It is fun shopping there if you know where to look. I couldn’t find the cornflakes until they were pointed out to me some seven feet up on a shelf. They do have a good enough selection of cookies there and those were what I was after. Butter spritz with chocolate and little rolled up cakes with whipped cream and jam. Oh, so fattening!

My daughter and her boyfriend came to dinner last night and that is what the cookies were for. I figured we’d have them afterwards with coffee. but we never did get to the coffee part, because the wine tasted too good.

I made a wild mushroom soup, courtesy of Unox with extra mushrooms added in and a container of creme fraiche. I had also made my famous leek pie and I must say that it turned out very well last night. Sometimes, it is especially good and last night was one of those times.

My daughter keeps regaling her boyfriend with amusing and comical stories about her childhood and tells him about people and events that I have half forgotten, but that jar my memory when she tells them. I am so amazed at what she remembers. Apparently I told her, when she was little, that it was good to have lots of pets, because when war broke out we would always have something to eat. I know this is true, it is something I would have said, remembering the hunger winter of WWII, but hearing her say it, it seems so shocking.

She has lots of stories about her and her brother and the kinds of adventures they got into together and some of these things I know nothing about. I am just hearing about them for the first time. And then she says, “But Mom, we were good kids,” and she is right, they were good kids for the most part and I could trust them not to do anything too stupid.

I am glad that she is remembering her childhood with lots of humor. It seems to be a great source of amusement to her and I am happy for that. I think the fact that she had a brother who was so close to her in age and who was her buddy really helped her. They always had each other in the good times and the bad times. At least they could ridicule their parents together when we were being completely disagreeable.

My daughter talks about her brother a lot. He is most definitely a big part of her life still. I think she misses him a lot. But all her stories of him are happy ones and she talks of him with joy in her voice. She is very happy when she finds a photograph with him in it that she hadn’t seen yet. Especially one in which he looks very handsome. He was such a good looking young man.

I am very happy that my daughter is keeping her brother’s memory alive so well. I don’t get a chance to talk about him that much and when I do, it is always with a certain amount of sadness. It is good to talk about him with a certain amount of joy. To remember the happy times. To remember who he was apart from the person who had cancer and suffered so. I’ll make it a point to ask her to tell me more good stories about him and about them.

Some cats are sleeping on the kitchen counter as if that is the most comfortable place to sleep. I don’t know what they are waiting for. Their dishes are filled with kibbles and there is milk in their other dish. Maybe they’re hoping to get lucky and
get some spare luncheon meat. I have been known to give that to hungry looking cats. I think these cats may have me figured all out.

The dog is eyeballing me from his pillow as if I am wearing something that belongs to him. Sometimes I think that these animals have ulterior motives in so innocently hanging around here. I think they want things. They’re constantly keeping me under surveillance to see if I’ll do something that will be to their advantage. It’s a cat and mouse game.

My life wouldn’t be half as amusing without the animals. They are a constant source of humor to me. Actually, there is a lot to be said for the study of animal behavior, although I am studying them in a domestic setting, which influences the outcomes of the results I get, because we do influence the animals quite a bit.

Eduard says, that the animals have nothing better to do than to study us all day long, so they know us better than we know them and they know exactly how to get us to do the things they want us to do. They are only limited by the language they can use to express their desires.

Toby makes urgent noises by the kitchen door when the kibbles are all gone. Gandhi becomes very affectionate when the milk is all gone. Nouri is kind of dopey and leaves it all up to chance. She just takes advantage of what the other cats do for her. I think when push comes to shove, she’ll let me know that she needs something, but so far it hasn’t been necessary. There is always Toby ahead of her demanding new kibbles in the dish and when he meows, she meows too. She is codependent.

I have taken some pictures with Eduard’s camera, but the deal is, that it is Eduard’s camera and that it is hands off for me and that I can have my own camera if I want to. I haven’t decided if I want to yet, so for now I am dependent on him for interesting shots to make my images with. I suppose I could sit down with the instruction booklet and really get to know Eduard’s camera, but that would imply that I would be planning on using it and I don’t want to seem presumptuous. He really and truly wants his own camera and really and truly thinks I should have my own if I want to seriously take photographs. I don’t know how serious I am yet and if I want to spend the money. I’ll have to think about it for a good long while.

He does take photographs keeping my hobby in mind and there are always lots of shots I can work with. You know how I make a series of four images? I know the first and the third image of the series are the best, yet somehow I am compelled to post all four, just because I make all four. I have thought about only posting images one and three and then doing double images. I don’t know, I have to think about it. Maybe I’ll come up with a solution today.

Tell you what, lets take a vote, should I only post images one and three or should I post all four images of the series? You tell me and please, be brutally honest. I know you can do it. I’ve seen you do it on other blogs. I like to show the whole sequence, because that’s what I make and they are connected, but I can see the charms of only posting one and three, because they are maybe the best.

You tell me!

I have been so busy doing other things, that I have forgotten to polish my nails and now I look like a floozy. I can’t have that and either have to wear nail polish properly or not at all, none of this half off stuff. I have always disliked that about other women’s nail polish when it wasn’t on right anymore and I used to think, “Oh, I would never walk around looking like that!” Well, now I am and in just a few minutes, I am going to wipe it all off.

I realize that I am no fun in the evening. Some time after dinner, I start to yawn and my level of energy declines rapidly. My ability to keep up an acceptable level of conversation fails and I start to give one syllable answers. My daughter suggested a game of Scrabble and I could only decline with some amount of horror, even after she offered me the chance to play in two languages. I am intellectually not up to that after dinner and I could probably only make one syllable words like “What” and “Who” and “Why”. Or words like “Poop” and “Pee”.

I am not a great one for playing games anyway, as it requires a level of concentration that I just don’t have. I get distracted and bored to quickly and I don’t have a killer instinct. I like to play poker if it is a fast game, but Scrabble and Rummy Cup take too long. I also like a fast game of dice, as long as it moves quickly. I’ll have to remember that the next time I am almost falling asleep. If people would just get up early in the morning like I do, we would all have a great social life, but they all sleep late and don’t get going for hours later than I do. I get bored in the morning waiting for the world to wake up.

I’ll be happy when the holidays are over, because I have been eating things other than what I usually eat. I have had a lot of sweets and I haven’t weighed myself for some time and vow I will not until I start eating more normal again. I have an appointment with the Obesitas Nurse Specialist on the 14th of January, after I have my first appointment with the dietitian. Lots of good and sensible advice will be given me, but mostly it will be the moral back up that I need to get rid of the last kilos. And I hope that the gastric band will be filled one more time, because I think there is some room left for improvement. I definitely should be eating smaller portions.

Well, I suppose this epistle has grown long enough for one sitting. It has been most amusing sitting here writing it and I could go on for hours. I won’t, though. A woman does have to know her limits and the limits of her audience.

I wish you all a very good day, with lots of productive and creative hours. Ciao…

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Plant Images number 2.

Because I can’t leave well enough alone, I have to add a series of images I made of my Spathiphyllum, one of the plants that I bought last week. It is really a lot of fun to see what you can do with a slightly monotonous picture of a plant sitting in green pot on a brown mahogany brown table. Hope you enjoy this one as much as I do. It makes me feel like it should be springtime soon, even though I know that is very optimistic. I dedicate the series of images to the Goddess of the earth, Gaya.

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Clock Images number 1.

I am adding this extra post, because I wanted to show you what could be done with the simple photograph of the clock. When you look at it, it doesn’t look as if anything very spectacular will come of it, but something quite interesting did. That is the challenge with the simplest photographs, to get the excitement out of them that is in there.

I find that you can’t cheat and add colors that don’t belong there, as I have done this in the past, and it upsets the balance of the final images. You can tell that the color doesn’t belong there. So you have to stick to the colors that are in the photograph if you add a border, for instance.

Sometimes using lighting effects gives it an extra dimension and sometimes that doesn’t work at all. It can create depth or give the images a very washed out look.

Sometimes, doing very little is the best thing. You can be surprised at what comes out then. Although it is hard to do very little, as you want to do a lot. I have a tendency to be baroque in my images and overdo the detail when, in fact, sometimes it is better not to have so much. I do like exuberance, however.

Here is the original photograph. You can see that it isn’t much to start with. I added a grayish border at the start and that got incorporated subsequently in the following movements.

Right then, ciao…

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Plant and Candle Images number 2.

Dear readers, I am sitting here in my royal red robe in the wee hours of the morning again, having my first cigarette and my first cup of coffee, which all taste splendidly.

I was so happy when I woke up. I very quickly turned on the computer and the Senseo machine and impatiently waited for both to warm up. Luckily, the Senseo machine beat the computer, because I need that first cup of coffee badly, being all thirsty and in need of caffeïne. Then I inhale the smoke of that first cigarette and I am completely satisfied. Those of you who don’t smoke will not be able to imagine that, but trust me, when you smoke, that first cigarette in the morning tastes wonderful. As does every cigarette after that, by the way. And every cup of coffee.

Today’s images are rather Christmassy still and they came by that completely by accident if you ignore the Christmas candle on the original photograph. They just turned out rather green and red because of the dominant colors in the original picture. Still, I thought it was appropriate to use them today as we are not quite out of the holiday season yet.

I had a heck of a lot of fun making new images of photographs yesterday, as it can be quite addictive to do. You never know what the results are going to be, although you do have some hand in controlling the outcome. Some things are quite surprising, though, and leave even me stunned and stumped. The dullest objects can turn into very interesting mandalas. Our wall clock made for some very interesting images that I would not have expected at all. I’ll have to show you them one of these days. I have so many to share.

Yesterday afternoon, I had my daughter all to myself for a while and that was nice. Her boyfriend had not come back from Paris yet and my sister and her family are still in England. So we sat and had cappuchinos and talked about different things as mothers and daughters do. They were just every day things, nothing earth shattering.

I think it would be nice if we could meet over a cup of coffee once a week and talk like this about non important things or about semi important things. I don’t need to be a major figure in her life, but I would like to be a regular fixture in her life, someone who is always there and part of it on a regular basis to create some familiarity with each other. I don’t need huge amounts of her time, just a bit here and there to see how she is doing.

I am leaving a lot unsaid here, because I find that talking about my maternal feelings is something very personal, although I do not deny having them. I think I need to adjust them a bit to fit the situation as it actually is. I struggle with that, but not at a level where I will not find a solution to it.

I can’t take Jesker with me when I go to see my daughter. It is as though he knows that she is very important to me and he does nothing but beg for attention the whole time we are there. When we had dinner with her the other night, he was a regular pain in the butt and Eduard had to take him home. That dog knows who is important and feels very insecure because of it. Luckily for him, he only has to worry about this once a year.

Well, that’s all I’ve got really. I don’t have much to share today. I find that I am not in a great philosophical mood and I am not feeling very funny either. I must not have had enough coffee yet.

Have a great day, everyone. Toady the stores open again and we can be normal people and shop for groceries and other non important items such as all the stuff that is on sale. How wonderful! Ciao…

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