Posts Tagged ‘bike’

I’m so bloody tired and I haven’t done enough to warrant it at all, so where does that leave me with my good behavior? Up the chimney, I would say. Tired and no excuse for it and longing to lay in a sweet meadow filled with four leaf clovers and other good luck greenery and lots of wild flowers to adorn my weary head. Oh yes, and for good measure, a gentle meandering brook with super fresh water to quench my thirst after I have finished off the bottle of cold white wine that I happen to have with me. The Überhund is there too, frolicking in the tall grass, chasing butterflies and being droll.

Ach, such fantasies are permissable when you get to be my age, it’s all doddery and senility from now on and foolish old woman talk. Which still leaves me tired from I don’t know what and how did this day get started in the first place anyway? Well, let’s look back…

It started with me almost forgetting that I had an appointment with my SPN. She had been on vacation and I had gotten so used to her being gone, that I had forgotten that she was back. AT 8 AM I thought, “Wait a minute, I am supposed to be somewhere at 9 AM.” Quick dramatic flurries of activities ensued, with me  making sure I looked great in the least amount of time, because I never leave the house for anything important unless I am put together well. I have to look good and smell good and have great hair before I go anywhere important. Luckily, I am very practised at this and I know how to do it in a hurry and have that casually put together, blown by a little bit of wind look. I tell you, man, I have to be able to meet the queen at a moment’s notice and look good enough. She has ‘able to withstand hurricane hair’ herself.

So, I had a very productive meeting with my SPN in which we talked about a lot of sensible things and made some headway in understanding where I am in my head nowadays. Which is basically in a very good place, so my next appointment isn’t until 3 weeks from now. I think we are both mighty pleased with the state of things.

Then I went to the big drugstore, because the Exfactor had given me a gift certificate and I wanted to spend that on food supplements. I got a big bottle of  Omega 3 capsules and a bottle of Kelp tablets, which are also good for your metabolism, and some other odds and ends. I now have 5 bottles of vitamins and supplements and some of those pills are big suckers and I worry about getting them down, but somehow I do. I am very brave that way.

I do love the way I so casualy hop on my bike and race from point A to point B as if it is no problem at all and no obstacle stands in my way. I hardly slow down for an uphill slant or a round about. It’s all a piece of cake.

Then I went to the pharmacy to pick up a supply of ‘feel good pills’ and fully supplied, I went home again, where the Überhund greeted me as if I had been gone on a Northpole expidition and was very disappointed when he found out that I didn’t bring home anything ‘good’ to eat. Good as in pudding with berry sauce, but I have sworn that off.

I took him for a walk, because after a certain point I had to stay home and wait for the delivery of my tunic and duvet cover. When they arrived, I tore off my clothes to try on the tunic and found out that it fit, but it fit just a bit snugly for my taste and it needs a lose garment to go over it like a cute little three buttoned vest in black that I just happened to find on line and that will get here on Thursday and will make the outfit complete. The tunic is very pretty and ever so nicely made and it looks very pretty, it just shows my tummy a little bit too much, so 5 kilos later it will look better by itself.

The duvet cover caused a whole bed change, of course, and I will go to sleep with clean sheets tonight. I would have liked to wash the duvet cover first, but I was too impatient and wanted it on there right away, I will wash it after a few nights when I change the bottom sheet and pillow cases again. I drool while I sleep, I kid you not.

I paid bills, which is like taking a rib from my body, because I makes my bank account shrivel quickly and the month isn’t over yet, which leaves me down to couting euro’s and how far I can make them go.

I did laundry and washed the dishes and wiped dog and cat hair of furniture, which is a never ending battle when your furniture is black. I think at night the dust fairies come with their little bags of dust and sprinkle a a light dusting all over the smooth black surfaces and the animals do the rest. They are in cahoots.Trust your animals to have strong bond with the creatures of the nether world.

It’s impossible to come to terms with the day. It wasn’t a good day and it wasn’t a bad day. It was just an ordinary hausfrau day. Well, you have to have days like that too, I suppose, although I like a bit more excitement in mine, ot am I forgetting something? No, no handsome man came to the door, I wasn’t swept of my feet, I didn’t dance the tango at noon, I didn’t go to a den of sin and debauchery. So, I guess it was just an ordinary day then.

It seems to me that ordinary people should have little escape clauses written in to their existance descriptions. That every day, for one hour, they get to debauch without dire consequences. Get drunk, smoke pot, have a torrid affair, have group sex, dine romantically with Rudolf Valentino, make love to Cary Grant and then, floops, they are back into their normal life again without any hangovers or social diseases. Oh, such heady stuff. Could we handle it?

Well, after such wishfull thinking, I can only hope that Harrison Ford shows up witha flat tire in front of my aprtment one of these days, but in the meantime, I am going to get into my pajamas for my regular eveing of relaxationa and fun in front of the dummy box and wach the news and see which country is getting hit by which hurricane tonight and not watch any news on John McCain and his token female vice presidential ‘candidate’ who makes me laugh, although she is a bit scary.

Right then, off I go. Tell no fibs, tell it like it is, bigger and better than life.



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I wanted to go to the second hand goods store yesterday afternoon and there is one in the little shopping street close to us where I had never been, so it was time to check out the place. I was full of expectation, as I usually like to browse in places like that, but this one was a big disappointment. Upon entering I was greeted by a large group of people who were all congenially sitting around a big table in the middle of the store, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. What was left over of the asisle to walk in, was taken over by a very large dog that had to be stepped over. I could see at a glance that they did not have any of the things I was looking for, because what I saw were racks and racks of clothing and one tiny shelf of dishes.

I wanted to replace some of the items that the Exfactor had boxed up to take with him, but I could see that I wasn’t going to be able to do it there. So I walked out and moved a few doors down to the houdhold goods store where I happened upon a gigantic moving sale. It was chaos in there and people were moving about with loaded up baskets, pulling at piled up items not to miss anything that was really marked down a lot. The term looting came to mind and I joined in and had a very good time. It was so much fun to see what I absolutely could not live without that was narked at 50% of 50% off.

In the end, I bought 4 senseo cups in a bright blue color, 4 drinks glasses, a new wallet with lots of space, a corkscrew, office supplies, and a bright blue basket to keep them in, all for under 5 Euros. I felt very righteous and satisfied after that, because in my mind it had added up to more, so when she said it was a total of 4.48 I was quite surprised. I love it when I get loot cheaply.

This morning I had the brilliant idea to loot the piggy bank, which actually is a doggy bank, but you put your change in it anyway. I took out all the 20 and 50 cent pieces and that added up to a grand total of 12 euros and 60 cents. I thought that was just good enough to go over to M&S Fasions and browse in their sales racks, where they practically give the stuff away.

So, on my bike I hopped, with a wallet full of coins and into the brazing westerly wind I rode on my trusty steed. I climbed the long bridge across the Meuse and didn’t swear once. I’m getting better at it all the time and that is on a bike without gears. I am developing lung capacity and muscles in my legs.

Once in town, I illegally parked my bike where everyone else does too and walked to the shop with much anticipation and once I was inside i had a god look around at the possibilities. I ended up buying three tops that had been marked down twice already, but that were still attractive and would look good on me. I could see that. So I got those and the lady at the cash register was very happy with all of my change and she meant it genuinely, because they are always short of it.

Feeling smug and satisfied, i then walked to the Hema and bought a necklace to go with the new purchases and a candy bar, because I craved one. Then I visited my sister at her work and saw her work her magic charm on the customers while she didn’t know I was there. I love taking a peek.

I keep all my necklaces in a drawer at home, but it does mean that after a while they become entangled and today I had a heck of a time disentangling them, so I had an idea. I have a kiddie coat rack next to my bedroom door in the hall with a little shelf on top. I took all the odds and ends of that coatrack and hung all my necklaces on the knobs. On the shelf, I put some little meaningful mementos and now it is a whole cute corner by itself and my necklaces are not tangled up and easy to see. Ta da! I am turning this into a female place yet. Gone are all the nuts and bolts and spare parts to obscure machinery. Things I didn’t know what to do with, but that kept laying there forever.

Once the Exfactor’s bookcase and chair are gone out of the hallway, I may even be able to park the new bike there that he has been promising me through the bike plan at his work. I hope I still qualify as an ex. It would be an expensive bike with 3 gears that I would not want to be left outside overnight, even when locked up.

I walked by a Belgian waffle place in town and the smell nearly did me in. I had visions of hot waffles with freshly whipped cream and strawberries on top. Mmm…That candy bar was the second best thing. It was a Bros, I don’t know if any of you are familiar with those. It is chocolate wit tiny air bubbles in it.

Well, I am going to change the sheets on my bed and go with the floral scene this time, something romantic and reminiscent of the olden days when all ladies sept between floral sheets. Actually, I need the sheets to fill up the washing machine and I do like clean sheets on the bed.

It’s been nice chatting at you. I think I will mostly be lazy today and do odds and ends as they occur to me. Can’t spend any more money! Will have to think of some other decorative ideas to brighten the places up and me. I am sure I’ll think of something.

Have a great day,


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Lake Wobegon Days.

Firstly, let me do a good deed for two people who made me smile especially wide when I read my comments tonight. All my comments make me smile as a rule, but these two made me smile more than usual and it is so funny that these two people both had the same sort of idea. They are Miss Understood and Stinking Billy who both sent me a silly poem that was just right to end the day with. I would like to give them this special award:

So, please pick it up and feel free to pass it on to others who made you smile today or any other day.

It’s a little past eleven PM on Tuesday night now. Eduard and I just came home from the film house where I leaned on the bar in my usual spot next to the nachos machine. A man and a woman came to stand there and they were obviously on a date, because the man said very apologetically to the woman, “Well, this is not the most romantic spot to drink our wine.” I could have told him that, because I eavesdrop on everybody and everybody feels that way about the nachos machine.

A funny thing happened. A volunteer colleague of Eduard tried to pick me up. He didn’t know who I was, but I knew who he was and I kept silent about who I was, so it was quite funny and we had a very animated conversation during which I was much flattered. His name is Milout and he comes from Morocco and speaks French fluently and his mother makes the best couscous. He talks very excitedly and with much body language and he is obviously an intelligent guy, but he was quite embarrassed when Eduard walked up to him and asked him in French if he was trying to pick up his wife. Milout said, “Oh no, she is your wife, surely not, you must be joking!” I was most charmed by this Arabic man who understands how to woo a woman. You don’t meet many men like that anymore.


Early Wednesday morning. I suddenly had to go to bed, I was overcome by sleep and nodding off behind the computer. That was before I took my sleeping pills, imagine me afterwards.

I discovered something about being wobbly on the bike. I realized since I had become so much calmer, that I did not need that much oxazepam anymore and that it was even starting to make me feel drugged. So, yesterday I cut back my massive dose of 200 mg to a more sensible dose of 80 mg, which is still a lot and suddenly I feel a lot more clearheaded. I needed them when I did and felt fine on them, but now that I don’t need them that much anymore , they make me feel drugged and drowsy. I am going to cut them down to 40 mg a day and stay on that amount, because I think I will always need a little and it is handy when I can increase the dose if I suddenly have to.

So, I am much less wobbly on the bike and can go at increasingly faster speeds now and that is ever so nice, like last night when it started to rain and we made it home by riding our bikes quickly between the raindrops and we hardly got wet. I am still having a tendency to veer to the right, but I feel much more secure now and that makes a lot of difference. I can’t quite say that I raced Eduard home, but I gave it a try anyway. He would always win that race. He’s like Speedy Gonzales.

Roadside Trees.

I saw my SPN in the morning. I told her about my newly acquired insights into my Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and she seemed relieved about that and said she had always been kept up to date about that by my psychiatrist and he had always shown her my emails to him about the subject. I showed her the notes I had made for myself and she asked if she could keep those. She said there is a bit of a waiting list for the personality disorder team, but that she would care for me in the meantime and that there should be no problem with the transfer of me from one caregiver to the next, that is all streamlined.

Actually, for me it is also a relief to have owned up to this bit of myself, especially when I read the various reports and letters about myself that I have always had the copies off in my big organizer. I was so obviously derailed and in such bad shape for such long time and there was such concern for me and my mental state of health. I have so stubbornly refused to see the writing on the wall these past 6 years or so, in the end I only hurt myself with that contrary attitude. It has to do with trusting other people and assuming that they have your best interests at heart.

I see it this way, manic depression is like an illness that you cope with and BPD is like a behavior disorder that you can teach yourself to change in.

Market Stall Shampoos.

Eduard and I wanted to have a cuddle moment yesterday afternoon, but we ended up having such serious talks about all sorts of things and then, worn out, I fell asleep. We are both going through a lot of changes right now and are discovering a lot about ourselves and each other. Sometimes it’s quite scary. I sometimes don’t know where we will end up. I do love him very much and am still very much in love with him. I realize that when I see him in a crowd, like last night at the café and I see him in comparison to other men, and I realize that I wouldn’t want anybody else. “It’s a puzzlement,” as the king of Siam said to Anna.

Oh, I am seeing the physiotherapist on Friday and I am looking forward very much as to what sort of therapy I am going to get. I am secretly hoping for massages, but I should be that lucky, right? “Please massage my back into the right place, thank you!”

I walked to my SPN’s office, which took me 30 minutes, and after that, I walked to the film house for some coffee and that took me about 30 minutes. I tried to walk straight up, but I think I may have given the appearance of a drunk woman. You know how drunk people really do their best to walk like they are stone sober? Well, I looked like that. I could have gotten a ticket for disorderly conduct.

Well, it’s time to hang up. I have to change my music download list. Fo
r some reason I thought it would be interesting to have a French rapper on it, but now it seems that every other song is one of his, so I am deleting him out of the system and I am going to find something better instead, so wish me luck. I was thinking of Linkin Park, but I think they may be a bit too hip for us middle aged folks.

Gotta set my priorities, am I hip or am I middle aged, or am I middle aged because I am hip?

Have a wanky wooly Wednesday and for all of you people who don’t have a queen, I say, try it, you may like it. There are some noble houses floating around Europe who could use a country to rule over symbolically. Then you wouldn’t have such abnormal moral expectations of your presidents. You could transfer all of those feelings to your Royal Houses. They’re good for that.


P.S. One for the road.

Market Stall Fabrics.

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Today’s opening sentence is:

“It was quite impressive when God intervened in his life.”

I thought this in Dutch, so I had to translate this, but apparently I was dreaming in Dutch, which surprises me, having been so busy writing and reading in English these past days. I don’t remember the dream, I never do when I remember the sentence. I wish I could remember the dream and the sentence, it would make it so much more interesting. It was definitely about a man, but not somebody I knew, I know that much. I am dreaming about apparent strangers and I don’t know what they are doing in my dreams. Very frustrating!

I like it so much when new people leave comments on my posts. It is like getting to know a whole new set of interesting friends, especially after I had visited their blogs already and saw and read what they had done. Some of these women are very talented and make me want to be very creative in my writing as well as the digital art. But I have a long way to go and I see that I really need a good digital camera or easier access to Eduard’s camera. I wonder if he would mind me using his on a regular basis? His camera does take good photographs if you know how to use it well. I have a bit of a problem with the focus part of it since I wear glasses, but maybe that is something that can be overcome easily. I am used to my smart camera that had an auto focus and never took a bad picture.

I have found a good way to read during the day without the danger of falling asleep with my book on my stomach on the sofa. I lay the book down on the coffee table and sit on the edge of the sofa. Then I bend forwards over the book and rest my elbows on my knees. I rest my head in one of my hands, leaving the other hand free to turn the pages or drink my coffee or smoke my cigarette or pet the dog. You see how I am multi tasking again. This way I don’t fall asleep and I can actually read rather quickly and assimilate a lot of information. This is how I sat and read the Power of Myth yesterday afternoon.

I have come to realize that my picture of God is actually quite limited. In mythology God plays an important role. He is sort of the star of the story and I see how I still think of God sometimes as this bearded man sitting on a throne surrounded by a host of angels up in a cloud somewhere. Now, my intellect knows that this picture isn’t right, but the child in me still believes this a little bit and it interferes with my idea of what God is all about. My God picture is still very much that off the Old Testament God, a wrathful God who can punish you if you get the instructions wrong and who can withdraw his love if this pleases him.

In reality, God is not an old man sitting on a throne. God is not even able to be caught in an image. God is not a person in a place. You can’t point somewhere and say there is God and this is what he looks like. That is way to limiting. God is not a He or a She. God is undefinable and indescribable. God is everywhere and nowhere. God is in all things, in a rock and in a blade of grass and in a mosquito. He is also in every human being, be they good or bad. That is, if you wish to believe in a God at all.

There is the question of course of there being such a thing as God. There seems to be a need for people to believe in a Higher Being, that’s what a lot of mythology is all about. Religious mythology is anyway. I seem to have a need to believe in a Higher Being, but I also see that my knowledge of what this Being would be like is very limited. I need to do a lot more reading on the subject before I can even come close to forming any sort of picture of It and then I will probably find out that no picture can be formed of It. It is suggested to look at nature and see God in it, but as we get closer to unraveling the mysteries of it, we are less in awe of it and less in awe of God. Yet, again we are in awe of God when we travel into the universe and look back on the earth and see the wonder of it and feel a need to describe that wonder. We keep feeling the need for a Higher Being who had a hand in shaping the universe or at least our little part of it.

I think the closer we come to explaining everything with science, the more miraculous everything seems to me. Science doesn’t take away the wonder of things for me, it only makes it more fascinating. But I definitely think that my picture of the probable maker should change quite a bit and I wonder if I can believe in something as simple as a Creator. I believe in the Big Bang theory, but then I am very curious how that came about, what caused the Big Bang?

People are so limited in what they can imagine about what a God should look like, because we have no idea what something as unworldly as that could look like. It probably doesn’t look like anything, it probably just Is! It is a state of mind maybe. I don’t know, like I said, I need to do a lot of reading about this still, but I think the Power of Myth takes me on the right road. It is a good starting point. If any of you have suggestions, please make them. I need all the help I can get.

Yesterday was such a mellow day. I didn’t do much in the morning but ride my bike to the place where I had to take my profile test. It was way out in the industrial complex and it took me twenty five minutes to get there, which isn’t too bad, I guess. The place itself was kind of a dump. Typical of something that was old and underfunded. It is run by social services and the people who were also waiting to take the test, looked like the kind of people who were reliant on the social services for their income. I definitely felt out of place there and wondered why I had to take the test when they clearly had such good test results available to them already. But I suppose I am just a little cog in the big machine of bureaucracy and I have to go through the system to reach my end destination.

The tests themselves weren’t too bad, except for one that was a timed test and that consisted of groups of objects of which one didn’t belong in the group and you had to be very analytical and figure out which one didn’t belong. I am sure that I failed that test. The first few ones were easy, but they became increasingly difficult and these sort of things have never been my strong point. It was about sequences and sometimes I just didn’t see the sequence, no matter how hard I tried. There was also a test with word interpretation which I think I did well on, but there were some words that I had never really used and that I had to guess at. I am sure that if this had been done in English, I would have done a lot better. I understood the Latin based words better than some of the plain Dutch words.

I was done quickly and rode my bike straight home and then thought how amazing it was that I was riding my bike so easily, into the wind too, when just a few months ago this would still have been a problem. I have gone from not riding my bike at all, to riding my bike easily. Even without any gears on it.

When I got home, Jesker was very cute and lovable and he leaned into me while I petted him. I like having a him there behind the front door when I get home. he always makes you feel so welcome. That dog is this woman’s best friend! The cats come in at a close second only.

Eduard was home early, because he had to work the late shift at night, so we hung out together and discussed my inability to do sequential tests and my concern that this showed a lack of intelligence on my part. Eduard was not convinced of this and tried to reassure me, but I think for someone who is supposed to be smart, I can be real stupid sometimes and I wish there was another way that my smartness could be measured.

When Eduard and I watch tough quiz shows on TV together, he always knows many more of the answers than I do, while I know that I should know them also, because I have read about those subjects myself. I just seem to have a really difficult time recalling bits of
information. It is not old age, I have had this problem my whole life and it is so frustrating! Things get lost in the maze of my head and I can’t retrieve them. I wonder if there is a way to train your brain to remember bits of information better? In school they always said: “She can perform better than she shows here.” That’s the story of my life. Under performance!

I remembered to hang up the laundry that was still sitting in the washing machine from the day before. I have been known to forget about that completely and have it partially dry in the machine, causing it to be very wrinkled, requiring lots of ironing on my part. The weatherman keeps predicting rain, so I don’t hang the laundry outside to dry, but then the weather turns out to be nice, so the weatherman isn’t getting any kudos from me.

I watched inane programs on TV last night and sort of fell into a slumber watching them. It is no wonder when I get up so early in the morning. I think Nederland 1 can be at the top for offering silly programming. At least it is completely harmless TV and when I fall asleep, I don’t miss anything. There is always a medical program on at 7:30 and I watch that and there is always someone who didn’t survive their operation and at the end of the show they announce: “Sadly, Mrs So and So died shortly after this was filmed.” And I think, how awful to announce that and for her family and friends who are watching the program and for the other patients watching the show, what sort of a message is it giving them? Oops, the operation went well, but the patient got up and died anyway? Despite our optimistic reporting, she is no longer with us?

I watch the news and never cease to be amazed at man’s inhumanity to his fellow man. The problem with the news is, that it shows you horrendous conditions from all over the world, without you actually being able to do anything about it. That is the frustrating part. Sometimes it makes you feel so helpless and you wonder if watching the news is good for your mental health. You almost have to become cynical in today’s world. It seems that if you are an idealist, there is not that much room to hang on to your ideals for fear of other people treading all over them. I keep believing in the basic decency of human beings, but sometimes I wonder if this is too naive.

We live in a global village now and Joseph Campbell said that we need a new global kind of mythology that we can all believe in and live by. We need to have common heroes and common Gods and common ethics. Local mythology and communal mythology are no longer sufficient in a world that is aware of itself globally. The first millennium Christian God needs to be brought into this modern world. We need to have an idea of a global God that we can all believe in.

I understand that there are some other books by Joseph Campbell that are worth reading and I will have to check the library to see if they have any of them. Otherwise it is to Bol.com to order them on line.

Well, it is that time of the morning again. I have to go and get on with my ritual of the cats and the dog and getting the day started properly, not to forget the medication and the make up and the decorating part.

Have a great day, everyone, ciao…

P.S. Some of my favorite blogs are from women who do amazing things with digital art. I am blown away by their talent and technique. I hope to be able to do a little of what they are able to do, so I am practicing as much as I can. There are some places where you can go for free digital art help and one of them is Picnik, just type that into Google and it will lead you to the right place. It is not a download but an on line program that allows you to manipulate your photographs quite extensively. You just need to register and that is quite painless. You can download the pictures from your own computer and save them there also.

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When I make a pot of coffee in the morning, I make a cup of Senseo while I wait for it to get done. The Senseo gets done very quickly and it tastes delicious. I would wish for all my cups of coffee to be Senseo, but that would be too expensive, so I limit them to three or four cups a day. Just as special treats. I now have the regular and decaf pads for the machine, but I know they have some other special coffees for it, like Kenyan coffee, so I will try those also. This way I am going to become a bit of a coffee connoisseur. It can be a whole new hobby! I can try all the different cafés in town and see where the best cup of coffee is to be had, although usually they all have very decent coffee. Still it may be a fun thing to do.

Yesterday morning it rained, but in the afternoon things cleared up. Eduard and I had already decided not to go to the Carrefour, because of the traffic, so when Eduard sat behind the computer and I was being a bit bored, I said: Lets go into town! Eduard agreed and two minutes later we were unlocking our bikes. The ride into town is so easy for me now. I do it without giving it a thought. I go through the bicycle tunnel and up the old bridge as if I have always done it without any problems. My knees don’t protest too much.

It was busy in town with all the usual tourist walking mindlessly into the traffic. I yell at them when they do really stupid things. I told Eduard that I am just going to be a very verbal lady when I am on my bike. It’s unbelievable how dumb people can be!

Anyway, we parked our bikes by the bridge and walked into the downtown area. We went to M&S Fashions first to check their sales. Luckily, some things were marked down very much and we bought a wrap around dress with long sleeves to be worn in cold weather for seven Euros. You can wear this over a pair of leggings, which they were sold out of, so we walked to the Hema to see if they had any, but they didn’t. The woman at M&S Fashions had said they would get more leggings at a later date, so I will wait for them to get those.

While at the Hema, I bought some very good shower gel and a new tube of face wash. The shower gel is supposed to be good for people with sensitive skin and I know the face wash leaves my face feeling very soft, because I am already using it. I don’t spend huge amounts of money on stuff like this. I don’t think it is necessary to spend 25 Euros on a jar of moisturizer, for instance. I just find the stuff that works for me and the Hema usually has good products that they develop themselves and sell under their own name and that is good enough for me. I had a shower gel with sea minerals, but they were sold out of that one, so now I am trying this one that has a rice emulsion in it, and we will see if it leaves my skin soft. I have a tendency to have dry skin, so that is my main concern.

Then we wanted to have coffee and pie at our regular café, but because of all the tourists, there was not an empty table to be found and we walked down the sidewalk until we found an empty table at an other café. This one was called La Différence, which is funny, because all the cafés look alike at that point. We ordered coffee and their last two pieces of pie and watched the people walk by on the sidewalk.

It’s really interesting to sit and watch the tourists. A lot of them come from the west of the country and come to Limburg because Limburg is like a foreign country to them. We listen to them talk in their Western accents with their Western attitudes which are all over the place. They’re kind of like New Yorkers, very present. They’re mostly older couples who want to have a foreign experience, but not be too far away from home. The women all have big hairdos and the men drink their beers stoically. I should be an anthropologist, I love observing people.

We had very good coffee and very good pie. There were separate little glasses with whipped cream and an almond extract in it to put in the coffee which was good. At one point the sky became very dark and ominous looking and the wind kicked up and threatened to blow away everything that wasn’t attached. It looked like it was going to rain, but this passed after some time and the sun came out again.

When we were done, we walked to the chapel where it was very busy and where I just found one place to place a candle after pulling out one candle stub. I prayed the Our Father, but I am not very inspired lately. I don’t feel very much in touch with my Higher Being. This may be a temporary situation. I don’t know, I want to keep going to the chapel and keep the communication channels open and see what happens. I don’t feel that the Higher Being is doing much in my life right now, but maybe I am overlooking the obvious and missing some things that are good. That’s going to require some thought on my part. I must pay attention to the things that are going right and concentrate on them and not worry too much on the things that turn out differently than I had hoped. I mean in the lives of my loved ones.

When we rode our bikes home, we nearly had an accident because two women decided to cross the road just in front of us. It was very strange. They looked right at us and then stepped right off the sidewalk. I was so surprised, that I could only yell at them in English. I couldn’t think of the Dutch word for pedestrian crossing. People must think that you are just going to hit the brakes and wait for them while they go their merry mindless way.

When we got home, the dog was being his usual cuddly self and I had to pet him for quite awhile. I don’t mind doing this bonding with him, as I think it is a good thing to do for him as well as for me. It is very relaxing and makes us both feel good. It is like coming home and having your child be happy that you are there again. It makes you feel loved.

It was too hot to try on my new purchase, so I just hung that in the closet for another day. I did change my clothes, as it had become hot and muggy again. Nowadays, it is hard to figure out what to put on in the morning. Usually, I have to change my clothes half way through the day.

This morning it is raining and it is supposed to rain all day. Well, it is good for the garden. I should say, it is good for the trees, because there isn’t much in the garden yet.

I’ve got an appointment to do the profile test on the 13th of August. I am curious about what kind of a test this really is. What kind of competencies it is going to measure. I suppose some of it will be like an I.Q. test. Maybe a bit of an aptitude test. I am not worried, as I think I will do fine. I do believe in my own competencies well enough. I just think that it is a shame that they don’t look at the tests that I have al
ready done and draw their conclusions from those. I guess that is bureaucracy for you. I have looked at the address where I have to go for the test and I think it is somewhere in the industrial park, so I have to make sure to look up the directions before I go, otherwise I will get hopelessly lost.

That’s how I got my first job ever. I was looking for the place that had placed an advertisement for an administrative assistant. It was in the industrial park and I couldn’t find it anywhere. So, instead, I went to Honeywell which was a big company even then in our town, and where my cousin had recently found a job. I just walked in and said that I was looking for a job and they sent me to the head of Personnel who interviewed me right away for a job that had just come up, but had not been advertised yet. I made such a good impression that I was hired almost immediately and I started working there a few days later. My mother was beside herself with pride and practically stopped people on the road to tell them about it.

It was nice to be earning my own money. I saved some of it, spent some of it and gave some of it to my parents for room and board. That was quite usual in those days. I don’t know how things are now, but then it was normal that you paid your own way. I was very frugal and really made my money last. I bought a new article of clothing once a month and saved up my money to buy stereo equipment. I did love listening to music, classical mostly. My father decorated my room very nicely and my mother had a hot meal on the table every night. I didn’t go out much, as I did most of my socializing at work and that was good enough for me. I had my friends and visited with them. They all had jobs and we were all saving our money. Once in a while I went out on a date, but there was never anything serious. Eduard had gone to university and I didn’t see much of him anymore. Our relationship sort of petered out.

I really enjoyed my job. It was a pleasant place to work and my colleagues were nice people. There was a lot of laughter there. We only really got uptight when the president of the company came to the department to have a talk with somebody. Luckily, that didn’t happen too often, but he did intimidate me quite a bit. He was that kind of man. Of course, I was awfully young and easily intimidated by a man of power. Everybody else in the company was my friend. I was naive enough not to realize when somebody developed a crush on me. I didn’t find out about that until much later. I thought everybody was just really friendly. I would love to find that kind of a job again.

I am waiting for it to stop raining so I can take the dog for his walk. He has been out here already to be petted, but has gone back to the bedroom to sleep some more. Eduard is sleeping late, because he worked the late shift last night. He won’t be up for another hour at least.

Last night, I talked to my daughter and even though she is having a heck of a time finding a job, she does keep her spirits up. Having a law degree doesn’t guarantee anything. She has been contacted by a head hunter, so maybe something will happen there. Her ex wants to move to Northern California and wants Nick to go with him to keep their son close by and she may go. It is where she comes from, after all, and if she can find a good job there, it may just work out. We’ll see. Personally, I would like it if she lived in California, but that is just selfishly thinking. It is my old stomping ground and I feel very much at home in Northern California. I would love to see San Francisco again and Sonoma County. So, I guess I am not the right person to ask if she should do this, because I would say yes right away.

Well, I think I will read the news until the weather clears. Feed the cats if they are around. They shouldn’t be too far away with this kind of rain.

Have a great day everyone. Ciao…

P.S. No, I didn’t go on the scales this morning and I won’t for a while because I expect the worst. First I need to go back to eating little amounts of food and then I will weigh myself again.

I had claimed that the tortilla chips hadn’t caused me to have an allergic reaction, but since the last time I ate them,which was yesterday and the day before, my left ear is in bad shape. Fluid is leaking from it and it is itching quite badly inside and out. Big patches of skin are peeling from my ear and it is getting all kind of raw looking, so I think I will not eat the tortilla chips anymore. It was an experiment that proved the point. My head is also itching quite a lot, so today it is back to the lotion and the ointment. That can’t be a coincidence, can it?

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Today I weigh 92.4 kilos, so I am back to having lost 33 kilos exactly. Yesterday I lived on a piece of cheese and raisin crackers. I find that those are filling and satisfy my craving for something sweet, so this will be my latest thing that I eat for a while now. There is always some food I get hooked on for a while after I have discovered it. When I first had my gastric band, it was Cup a Soup, then it was crackers with cheese, after that Melba toast was popular for a long time, and now it is raisin crackers. I have to remember to tell Eduard to get a supply of them at the store. Once I know I like something, and it works in the weight loss department, I will keep eating it and I don’t want to run out.

Yesterday I had my appointment about my potential job training and that was a kind of interesting experience. Firstly, I had to get there and as you will recall, I had decided to go there by bike. Luckily, the weather was on my side and it stayed dry the whole time. The wind was blowing something fierce, though, and it came from the west, the direction I had to go when I headed into town. That made for an extra challenging bike ride, to say the least, but I am becoming quite good at it and I peddled as hard as I could and I even made it through the bicycle tunnel and then up the old bridge, which I couldn’t do a month ago and which has quite a steep slant. I was so proud of myself that I made the whole trip without getting off my bike, except for waiting for the red lights.

I got to the CWI just in time for my appointment and met the man from the city who, it turns out, actually works for the social services. Anyway, he had my paperwork in front of him and he started a very optimistic discussion with me about my chances of re entry into the job market. I though: Great, I must really have made a good impression on him on paper. So, on and on this discussion went until he said: I see you have a lot of work experience. Well, then I knew something was wrong and I told him that no, I did not have a lot of work experience. He looked very confused and checked the paperwork and then asked me some questions about my past employment, which I all had to answer in the negative.

Well, it turned out that he had the wrong pages three and four attached to the pages one and two, and pages three and four weren’t about me at all, but about someone else altogether. He searched for and found the correct pages and after he read them, his eyes started to glaze over and he completely lost his train of thought. Everything he had said about me and my chances suddenly didn’t apply anymore. So, he had to backtrack quite a bit. I wasn’t such a good candidate anymore and my chances of re entry had suddenly shrunk down to almost zero. Still, he was willing to give me a try if I would be willing to take one more test, a so called profile test. I know that this is really a test to see if I am not a complete hopeless fool on whom they should not waste any money or time. It’s how the system works. Never mind all the other tests I have done so far and that speak for themselves.

The deal is, that I will take this test and then I will have one more appointment with this man to discuss the test. Then, if all is well, I will be sent to one of two temp agencies that they have employed to give the re entry people a job training and in the end a job. The temp agency has to find me a job training place within four months time and a job within a year’s time, otherwise the social services doesn’t pay them their fee. The man put great emphasis on the fact, however, that there are no guarantees and that, if I can find a job on my own, then that is all the better and to please go ahead and do that. I really think they don’t see me as a promising candidate, in spite of my good test results. I think a lot of it is jumping through hoops to do all the right things, with which nothing much is done then.

I am going to search for a job on my own and I think I will have a better chance that way than if I go their way. I don’t have a lot of faith in the whole project, as they seem to have little faith in me. I think that someone like me should have lots of opportunities to have lots of job training experiences and I know I can be trained easily to do a number of things. But it all comes to nought in their eyes. They have people who have diplomas and work experience who also need jobs and who will get them before me. I will go to the CWI once a week and see what jobs are available and try and go for as many as I can, regardless of the fact that I have little experience. I think the whole project is turning out to be a popcorn fart.

Never mind, I must stay optimistic and so I will. I do believe in my own abilities and my own potential. I am an intelligent person and I know that if I can have a conversation with someone I will make a good impression. I just need to get my foot in the door somewhere.

Anyway, back at the ranch…my pretty beaded necklace has given me a bad rash in my neck, so I am not going to be able to wear it for some time, if ever. I will try it again when the rash is completely gone. I had worn the necklace a few days in a row and that probably wasn’t a smart thing to do. It probably isn’t nickle free. My left ear lobe is also bothering me, because I wore the same pair of earrings often. I now have stopped wearing them and I have put in my little gold studded earrings and I hope that my ear gets better soon. I am applying some ointment to it a few times a day. The pair of earrings that I wore often are my favorite pair. I do have other ones that I can wear instead. Eduard is going to go to a crafts store to see if he can find me some nickle free earring hangers that we can put on all of my earrings. It’s always something when you have allergies.

The dermatitis on my ear and my head hasn’t been too bad. I am assuming that the Loratadine pills are working, because I am itching a lot less. Whenever I say something like that, I feel a terrible urge to scratch, shows you how suggestive that can be. My toe is healing very well. It has stopped hurting and a scab has formed over the wound. I can now wear any kind of shoe, so that is nice. Yesterday I wore my pointy black boots for the first time in a long time.

For the past two days, my eyes have been bothering me less. I can sit behind the computer without my reading glasses on and without my eyes watering or hurting. I suppose my eyes are getting used to the glasses. I can’t do without them anymore now, as things aren’t nearly as sharp without them. The first thing I do in the morning now, is put my glasses on.

The picture at the top of the post is of Nouri and Toby and the new book case. Toby is inside the book case, you can just see his head. I will try and take a better picture of him, because he is a good looking cat with character. I will also take a picture of the dog, as I don’t think that I have shown him properly yet. He is a black and white cocker spaniel with just a bit of a brown spot by one of his eyes. The pictures of Monschau and me with my glasses weren’t done yesterday, so I still owe you those. I may be able to post those tomorrow.

Today we are actually goi
ng to have a nice day of weather. It isn’t supposed to rain or storm, that isn’t happening again until tomorrow. Right now the sky is bright blue, we haven’t seen that for a while. At least, what I see of it through the kitchen window is blue. I don’t mind the rain that much, except for when I have to go out in it. We have not had any flooding like they have had in England. There has been some storm damage, mostly of trees having been blown over.

My sister and I send each other text messages every day, so I know they are having a good time and good weather on their vacation. We even got a postcard from them already, which is amazing, because usually postcards that people send on their vacations get here after people have already returned themselves.

This year, I am getting my birthday present very early. It is a Philps Senseo Coffee Maker and I ordered it myself. It will get here today and Eduard already bought the coffee pads to go with it. I got it on sale, 20 Euros off. It was that or a bottle of very expensive perfume and I went for the coffee maker. I have that kind of coffee several times and I like it very much. It is much better than regular coffee, but I will only make it for special occasions, like that first cup in the morning or that last cup in the evening or when we have company. I have been told to put the milk in the cup before I add the coffee for better flavor and consistency. I can’t wait to try it.

The cats have been behaving superbly. Toby has established the order of things and everybody knows their place. Gandhi has accepted that he is boss and Nouri still adores him. I have called the animal shelter and canceled the appointment to take Nouri there. No matter what happens, I will not take her there. Eduard now has two possible people that she may go to, but we will see. I may not let her go, even though things have not been settled with the neighbors yet and may never be. I think Eduard really wants to try and find Nouri a new home and just have the two cats. I think I should let him try and not be stubborn about this. There is a woman who used to own a white cat with one brown and one blue eye that got killed in an accident, and she may want to take Nouri, her mother said. The woman herself is on vacation, so we will have to wait for her to come back. It’s okay, as long as Nouri doesn’t become traumatized and beat up by other cats. I do get sentimental about Nouri.

Eduard is sleeping late this morning. He has to work this afternoon and this evening. That has to do with a shipment of films coming in and the timing of that. Films come in on five or so separate reels and they have to be put together on one big reel in the right order for showing. All new films come on the same day. I know that Eduard enjoys sleeping in, especially if he has worked late the night before.

Now it is time to feed the cats and walk the dog. I enjoy feeding the cats, as we have some really good food for them now, that all three of them enjoy eating very much. And the dog is always more than happy to go for his walk, so I make a lot of animals happy in the morning. Sometimes life is that easy.

Have a wonderful day, hope you all keep your feet dry, ciao…

P.S. Lest I forget, I am very happy about the Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian doctor finally having been set free by Libya. The family of the Palestinian doctor lives in the Netherlands and they were shown on the news yesterday in all their joy and tears of happiness. Truly a great day!

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This morning I went on the scales and, much to my surprise, I weigh 93.7 kilos. Yes, I really did! I can’t believe I made it below 94 kilos. that is another little victory for me this new month. I wasn’t expecting it, because I thought I ate too much yesterday. I had a small glass of juice, some Melba toast, a cookie, three bites of apple pie, two pieces of Maasdammer cheese, a three egg omelet, some of Eduard’s pasta with vegetarian sauce and a tall glass of milk. Now, I really thought that it was too much food, especially the pasta, which was totally extra and not planned. I ate it standing up out of the pan in the kitchen and gave myself a stomachache doing it. But I guess it all didn’t matter in the end. The vegetarian sauce was my sister’s, who had made too much of it and gave some of it to us and it was really good.

Yesterday turned out to be a really nice day. Eduard did some grocery shopping in the morning and I cleaned up the apartment a bit. I had already gotten dressed properly and made up and decorated, so I am keeping my promise to myself. Besides, I get compliments from Eduard when I look good and I can always use a compliment or two. It does give me encouragement.

At noontime we got on our bikes to go downtown. It is becoming easier all the time to ride my bike. It is becoming almost a routine thing and I no longer worry about my legs getting sore or me running out of breath. Eduard is keeping in mind that he does not have to be all that anticipatory with me on the bike and that makes it all the more easier for me and much more relaxing. Anyway, we used the pedestrian/bike bridge across the river and went to the chapel first.

Now, I had planned a bit on what I should do when I got to the chapel. I had decided to not pray for anything specifically, in other words, I didn’t want it to be a personal prayer that I said. I didn’t want to sit there and ask for things for myself or my loved ones specifically. Instead I planned to say the Our Father in English, as it is the only standard prayer that I know well. I had Googled it before we left to make sure that I remembered it correctly. My thought was that this would make for a whole new start in my approach to God and that this prayer was a generic one and it is prayed by millions of people all over the world every day, so I could be one of them that day. I hoped it would give God and me some neutral ground to meet on.

So, when I got to the chapel, I lighted one tall candle and I sat down on the bench and I prayed the Our Father and I did feel very much a great deal of satisfaction as I prayed and I felt that it was good and sufficient. I think I can pray the Our Father every time I go to the chapel and that, for now, that will be good and that I don’t need to do anything else for the time being. I was concentrating on the words so much, that there was no struggle about the image of God or the substance of Him and I felt much more at ease. I am not going to try and figure anything out right now. I am not going to try and figure out the why and wherefore of God and the why and wherefore of any religious feelings that I do or do not have. I am just going to go to the chapel when I am in town and light a candle and say the Our Father and leave the rest up to God, whoever or whatever He is. Whatever my relationship with Him is. That’s it.

Then Eduard and I walked all over the place trying to find a jeans jacket for me or another kind of summer jacket, but we were very unsuccessful. Every store we went into was out of jackets and the ones we did see, were the wrong size. We looked until we were sick of looking and we just gave up and ended up going to M&S Fashions to see if they had anything on sale. Of course they did, as usual, and I ended up buying a India style blouse, a black silky tank top and a very pretty necklace all on sale for under 15 Euros. What a steal. That made not finding a jacket not as bad and to celebrate the good buy, we went in search of an empty table to have some coffee and apple pie.

Finding an empty table on a terrace was a real chore, as bad as finding a jacket, because it was very busy in town with all the tourists and it was lunch time and all the places were filled up. We finally found a table on the market square that had just been vacated by four people with a large appetite, because all their dishes were still sitting there. We ordered coffee and pie, the coffee was good but the apple pie was only passable, so we won’t go back there again unless it can’t be helped. The waiter was grouchy too. He really acted like he was not enjoying himself one bit. Eduard did give him a tip to try and help him get over it.

We stopped by the housewares shop and bought a gadget that you attach to an outside wall and allows you to pull out five lines to hang laundry to dry on with a total length of 20 meters. So that should do me well. Now, if it would just stop raining so much, I could start using this thing.

Then we rode our bikes back home and we were happy that all this time it hadn’t rained, because the sky had been very cloudy and it had looked like it was going to rain any minute. When we got home, I immediately tried on my new clothes and I am happy to say that everything fits perfectly and that it looks good too. The necklace matches the new blouse very well and it also matches my earrings, so that was a good choice. Oh, I guess I am really vain, aren’t I? Well, I am glad that I am, for me that is a good sign.

While Eduard watched the Dutch Motor GP, I started reading the diary of Anne Frank in English. My sister had given me that book after she had read it herself. She had gotten it from her husband and daughter after they had visited the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam. My sister was so impressed with the book that she insisted that I read it also. I think I read it a very long time ago, but I am not sure and it can be that my memory is playing tricks on me and that I only think that I have read it. You grow up with Anne Frank and think you know all about it. The problem is that I started to read it and then fell asleep on the sofa and I didn’t wake up until some hours later. That is no reflection on the book, of course. That is just me needing some more sleep.

When I woke up, I was ravenous and I had the omelet and then ate some of Eduard’s pasta straight from the pan. Boy, that tasted good! My sister had used a meat substitute in the sauce and it tasted as good as ground beef, so that made it a real treat. I’ll have to ask her what it is. I had not had anything like that in a long time. But as I said, it gave me a stomachache for just a while and I think I just ate too much of it. Never stand up in the kitchen eating food straight out of the pan. You will become greedy and eat too much!

I went to bed at a very decent hour. Eduard stayed up to watch our very favorite Dutch comedian who happens to come from the town Eduard was born in. He is very funny in a very dry comical way that only people from that part of the country can be. I didn’t hear a thing, I was gone from the world, as they say. I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and managed to upset my glass of milk that I hadn’t finished completely and half of it ended up in the bed, so I got a big towel to cover that up. I was half asleep when I was doing that and mopping the floor, so I only have a vague memory of it. I think I was trying to read after that, but Eduard must have turned off my light, because this morning there was no evidence of me reading and I didn’t have my glasses on anymore. When in doubt, read! When awake in the middle of the night, read! Your mind will be so addled that you will not have any memory of it.

I didn’t wake up this morning until 6:30 am, so that was a nice surprise. That must have been because I had such a busy night. I very
rarely wake up that late. Today there is another Formula 1 race on TV, so we won’t be going anywhere in the afternoon. Eduard is glued to the TV when that is on. So are his brothers and they email each other back and forth after the race. I think Formula 1 is so boring! It is only exciting when something goes wrong and, of course, it is not supposed to go wrong. You’re not supposed to be happy because one car climbs onto the back of another one. Or crashes into the wall. Nowadays, drivers rarely die in crashes anymore, so that is good. You don’t have to worry about that happening.

I think that, when I walk the dog, I will go by my sister’s and show her my new outfit. I was on the phone with her for a long time yesterday talking about a lot of things that were weighing heavy on her mind. She said, I don’t want to bother you with all this stuff! And I said, You are family, it is normal that we bother each other with this stuff.

Well, now I have to go walk the dog, because he has been waiting patiently. I have fed the cats, because they were very impatient this morning. Eduard is still sound asleep, but I know he is waiting for me to come back to bed with my cup of coffee. First I have to do my part of the morning ritual. Have a great day, people, ciao…

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