Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

Whatever I want.

Since it is my birthday and since it is Sunday and since I live alone, I wasted the whole afternoon very enjoyably making a very large playlist on Deezer of mostly women artists. For some reason, by some twist of fate, I kept running into very good women arists, so I had a field day. I almost couldn’t keep up with myself and there was nobody here to say, “Irene, why are you wasting your whole afternoon doing this?” Oh, isn’t it lovely? In the meantime the phone kept ringing with people calling to wish me a happy birthday, which was nice, because I never knew who was on the line when I picked up the phone, so it was a surprise every time. I didn’t recognize the numbers quickly enough, because I answered the phone too fast. That’s how eager I was. It’s so nice to get so many phone calls.

The Exfactor and my sister came over this morning and they had joined forces and bought me a big bottle of Chanel no 5 eau de parfum. I was so happy with that, I just love and adore that scent and I haven’t had any for a long time. I love the way it lingers on my clothes too. I had asked for eau de toilette, but they said I deserved better. How sweet of them and so generous and my oldest sister sent me enough money to pay for the new clothes that I ordered on line yesterday, so that worked out very well. She is also always very generous and I am thrilled to pieces.

I would say that I had a very good birthday even though I didn’t give a party. I had considered it, but decided against it and keep it nice and quiet. You will possibly remember that I had two birthday parties last year and that a week later I found out that the Exfactor was in love with the Paramount. Next year I will be in the mood to give a real party again and drink a bottle of white wine.

I am going to keep this short, because it is my birthday and I want to sit cosily by the corner lamp in which I just placed an energy saving light bulb. It does make a difference in the room for atmosphere with that light burning. I have to cuddle the Überhund for a while and pet some cats, because I have been very preoccupied today.

Have a good rest of the Sunday.



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I had two pieces of toast early this morning and it is now almost 1 PM and I still feel very full, as a matter of fact, I am burping, so that gastric band is really doing its job. Usually, around this time, I would have been eating again, but I don’t feel like it yet. Even the vitamin pills that I took this morning made me feel full, well, they were quite a handfull. That reminds me that I have to look for Omega 3 capsules, because they are supposed to be good for whatever ails you and I do want to add them to the supplements I take. I also want to be taking those kelp tablets again as a supplement to my thyroid medication. You see, I am on a real health kick. I’ve got all my bottles neatly lined up on the kitchen windowsil, next to the Überhund’s pills, so I don’t forget to take them.

Just now, out of the blue, and anticipating some money I will get for my birthday, I ordered a new tunic on line and some ankle boots. They were both very reasonably priced, so I don’t feel all that bad, and it is my birthday and it made me happy. Happy people live longer, I’m convinced of it, so do people who look good. The better looking you are, the longer you live, it’s a theory I have that anyone can shoot holes through without any effort, I know. I need my fantasies, don’t I?

I’ve done the grocery shopping and bought the Überhund some reatively expensive dog food especially for older dogs. He had not been eating well lately and I worried about him getting all his vitamins and minerals. So, I brought this food home and put some in his dish and he ate most of it, so he seems to like it. Which is another relief, because about dog food, he is a picky eater. This stuff is called Benifull, I don’t know if any of you have ever heard of it. It is a no nonsense dog food without all the colors and shapes. The same as the food that the cats are getting now. The colors and shapes are there only for us humans, after all.

I vacuumed the kitchen and the living room and the hallway and the sofa and the chairs. I bet I have to do it again tomorrow before the Exfactor and my sister come.  I bought them each a pastry, but I got none for me. I figure I can’t eat that and I don’t need it anyway. I did buy a container of fresh juice, so that is different than the soda I usually buy. More calories too. I am trying to be very conscious about my health and what little I eat, has to be healthy. That’s why I buy the really good bread and not the factory bread and the margarine with the good start vitamins in it. It’s a bit more expensive, but then I eat so little that I can afford it.

The thing I don’t eat anymore is eggs. For some reason they don’t agree with me and i always end up upchucking them, the same with cheese, I can’t eat that either. I can eat yogurt and curd, lovely with fruit in them and then the non fat kind. I sure am lucky that I live in the dairy country, there is a infinite choice of dairy products and varieties, although there probably is all over Western Europe.

I always make a list before I go to the store and stick to it, otherwise there is too much temptation to buy other things as well, like those little containers of potato salad that I like so well, or the chocolate mousse. I must stick to the shopping list and if I want to cheat, I have to write it on the shopping list beforehand, otherwise I don’t get it. There will not be much cheating now. My stomach feels so full.

Anyway, I don’t do much impulse buying. Very rarely do I buy something that is not on the list and I very rarely let myself buy something that is advertised and that I was not plannning on buying, unless it is something I know I will use in the very near future. Like the cleansing towelettes for my face that I bought this week that were on sale. That is an exception. I am probably a rotten client for the supermarket, but I am steady. I do tend to buy products that are on sale if I was planning on buying some of that already, like dishwashing liquid. If the expensive stuff is on sale, I buy that. I don’t buy cheap items just because they are cheap, many times they are inferior and you get a bad product. Like hairspray, for instance. I bought the cheap one once and regretted it very much, because my hair was like a sticky bunch of spiderwebs.

I just took the Überhund for a walk and he was his usual scrounging street dog self again. Anything that was even remotely edible ended up in his mouth from where I can not dislodge it.  I don’t even try anymore. It is a lost battle for me, he suffers the consequences, except that he doesn’t seem to put two and two together. His instincts are lost to him. Dumb dog.

I saw the strangest woman.  She looked like a stereo typical gypsy woman and she had a small child with her. She even wore those kinds of clothes and had the skin color and the black hair done up in a lose bun and a weather beaten face. It looked like she was a character out of another time, that’s how much she stood out. I was quite startled, because you don’t see many real gypsies around here and she was so very much like one. She had a cigarette dangling from her mouth and she seems a bit uncouth as if she had a chip on her shoulder. She may have been Rumanian. They have a tough life and can’t seem to assimilate, but I can’t figure out what she was doing here. It’s a puzzlement. When I came back, she was gone. Another mystery for Miss Marple.

One streets over, they are having a block party. The street is blocked off and a big party tent has been put up. Various cables lead to the tent and I saw a big barbecue. That should be fun. You see a lot of streets organize these kinds of things. I don’t see our street doing it. We are not cohesive enough. We’re only on saying hello terms.

For some reason my spell check has stopped working and if I do want to double check a word, it gives me a Ducth option, even though I have my language settings in English. It also does this in comments on Blogger and on facebook. Something screwy going on. We are now in the Twilight Zone.

I have two scabs on my left arm that I keep pulling off, not allowing them to heal. It’s a nervous habit that I have. Every time there is a scab, I pull it off and the whole process has to start all over again. I am trying not to do it, but it almost is like an automism, I have to do it. I like pulling off scabs. This way I always look like the walking wounded and people always ask what I have done to my arm, when it is realy nothing at all. I must stop doing that.

I haven’t put my face on yet and went to the store with a bare naked face. Sometimes it is nice not to bother with your make up for awhile. I am going to check in my closet to see what I am going to wear, because what I have on now, I was wearing yesterday and I need some excitement in my life. Pick out a different necklace too. You never know which jehova witness is going to show up at the door.

I think I will go do that now and clean the bathroom. I almost can’t stand the excitement in my life. I could have gone into town today, but it is too much effort and it will be busy and I will have to walk over the heads of the tourists. Oh, those ankle boots I ordered are so cute, but I don’t get them until next week. That’s a long wait when you are impatient.

I just got a card from my oldest sister witha large gift of money in it. That will take ample care of the clothes I ordered. See how it all works out?

Have a good one.


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I wrote that one letter of objection that I thought was going to be the hardest one and that I was putting off until last, but I had written it in my head quite a few times already, so when the time came to sit down and write it, it went quite easily. I sat down and wrote it in long hand first and then typed it and referred to the attachments that I had numbered and I think it all was rather comprehensive and understandable. It is very important to back up your statements with the right documentation, so I made sure I included everything I could think off. I have visited the copier in the grocery store quite a few times now this week. I have just about used up all my nickels and dimes.

It’s a relief to get it all done and now I have to wait for the various outcomes. I feel like a little person fighting the big system with every bit of arsenal I’ve got. I’ve got to try and do my best, though. If I don’t do it, I’ll forever regret it.

This morning I went and had my gastric band filled some more. I took the bus to the hospital, which takes all of 8 minutes including all the stops it makes. I like taking the bus, because there is a big bridge across the railroad tracks I would have to take if I went by bike and I’m not quite up to it. The bus is an enjoyable way to travel, because you get to people watch, which is one of my hobbies. I like it when there are little kids on the bus, because they provide some comic relief and grab everyone’s attention with their sweet little faces and their shenanigans.

Now I can eat a little less than I did before, which is good and the whole purpose of it. I just had toast and I am very full. I had cup a soup earlier and it had the same effect. I won’t be able to eat that pudding with berry sauce anymore, but that is good. That was cheating anyway. For a person who used to get such joy out of eating, this certainly is a very different life style.

On Sunday it’s my birthday. I will be 54 years old. The Exfactor and my sister are coming over in the morning for coffee and pie. The Exfactor send a card in the mail that I got today, but I’m not allowed to open it until Sunday. It’s a thick card, it feels like there is something in it. It is very hard not to open it, but I’ll be good.

My sister’s husband is moving out this Saturday. They have made arrangements for when he has the children. My sister can’t wait for him to move out, every hour that he is still there is one too many. She has finally gotten over her adoration of him and it is about time. It was not normal the way she looked up to him and the way he treated her. Now all of us sisters will be single and we will all be emancipated women, although my oldest sister is not so by choice. Still, she finds herself to be very emancipated and that is the good part. Somewhow, comng from the dysfunctional family that we did, we do all manage okay on our own and are not helpless females, even though some of us started out that way in our late teens – early twenties.

I just took the Überhund for a walk. Without me noticing it, it had rained again, just a short shower, and evrything was nice and fresh. I had to cut back the jasmine that I planted in the pot, to the part where there were new little leaves growing, so it lookes kind of puny right now, but I am full of hope. Close to our house, a weed filled piece of land was cleared and smoothed out and grass seed was sprinkled on it and now little blades of grass are popping up out of the ground. It is an amazing thing. You think nothing will come of it, but somehow it does. We are very lucky to live in a neighborhood with lots of open spaces with grass and trees, although I do notice that the clover and the dandelions take over most of the grassy areas.

It’s oh so silent here. There is hardlly a sound coming in from outside. Thank goodness that this is a quiet neighborhood. The teenagers next door get kind of rowdy sometimes, but just very briefly and not at night. The boy thinks he is quite a guitar player and he has an electric one with an amplifier  that he turns up every once in a while. He just doesn’t quite have the talent. It’s all a lot of noise and he’ll never play for Linkin Park. The girl has a good voice and is pleasant to listen to.

Well, it’s pajama time again, and toast time and TV time. Tomorrow I will sleep late, hah, watch me do it until 7 AM and that’s it.

Have a great day,


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Eduard and I have been up all night. Eduard keeps getting up to make himself cups of decaf Senseo and then, with a look of bravery, goes back to bed, only to reappear some time later for another cup of Senseo.

Actually, we went to bed at about 9 pm last night, as Eduard wanted to call it an early night. I fell asleep almost instantly, but then woke up at 1 am, because I had to go to the toilet urgently. Then I was wide awake and found out that Eduard was wide awake also and that he had not been asleep yet at all. We’re completely discombobulated. I have not gone back to bed, as I am truly wide awake and there is no sense in me trying, so I have been reading every body’s blogs and leaving comments and poor Eduard has been trying to get back to sleep. He figures that if he just keeps going back to bed, he’ll fall asleep eventually, because he does have to get up in the morning to go to work. I think he is an optimist and he should just get up and sit in his comfortable chair and read a book. There is nothing worse than laying awake for hours on end in bed with your eyes wide open. I avoid that at all cost. But, to each his own method.

I don’t mind having sleepless nights, unless I am sitting here being really tired and yawning and unable to sleep for some reason, but not when I am wide awake and perky. Maybe if we had two computers, Eduard would sit behind one now and be visiting all of his forums, leaving technically interesting messages for the fellow geeks at the modeling airplane places and the motorcycle places.

Yesterday was a nice day. I actually got some work done around here. Not enough for the queen to come over and have tea with us, but I did get some things done. Mostly laundry, which I hung outside to dry and then forgot to bring in at night, so it is still hanging there now as we speak. Luckily, the weather is nice and it isn’t getting rained on. It will be something for the neighbors to discuss, how I left the laundry out all night! Such a shameful housewife! It will smell good in the morning when I bring it in.

Eduard and I organized a bunch of paperwork as we are trying to consolidate some outstanding debts into one cheaper loan and we have an appointment for that today, so we had to rustle up a lot of statements of various accounts. We are paying some hefty interest charges on some bills and we are trying to get a cheaper loan to lower our monthly payments. All it took was for me to fill out one form over the Internet and we got a phone call the next day. Lenders are eager to lend money for personal loans, even if you have no collateral. As long as you have a good credit record, they are willing to talk to you and hopefully offer you the loan you need. So, keep your fingers crossed on that one. We’re still waiting for that long, lost, rich relative to kick the bucket.

In the afternoon we went to my sister’s house for my nephew’s birthday. We were met by a house full of boys who were busy eating cake and playing computer games. They were well behaved boys and didn’t need to be entertained by any of us, so that was good. We grown ups moved outside on the patio and had some wonderful vlaai there, that was so delicious that I could have eaten it until I had passed out. It’s just heaped with fruit and whipped cream and a crust that is so delicious. Yum! We had espressos to go with that and then Eduard had to leave to go to his work’s drinks party.

So, the dog and I stayed and my sister brought out French cheeses and some salads and they were great. There was a cheese called Port Salut, which I had never had before, but which is a very soft cheese and very good on wheat crackers. She also had a Roquefort that was nicely blue veined and pungent. I notice lately, that I am starting to like all sorts of cheeses more and more. I never thought I cared for a Brie, but we had one at one of my birthday parties and it was at room temperature and I thought it was delicious and really ate my fill. My sister had a mustard chicken salad and a curried seafood salad that we also ate on crackers and none of us could stop eating it. When everything was almost gone, Eduard reappeared and had the leftovers. He had stayed at the drinks party only long enough to be polite and then excused himself saying that he had a birthday party to go to, so that was nice.

My sister’s in laws were there, so we had lots of interesting conversations, but I noticed that when I talked about my blog, everybody’s eyes sort of glazed over, as if I was talking about something far away from their experience. I may as well have been talking about Eskimos in Greenland. My sister is apparently not even curious enough to try to find out what my blog is called, which is good, because I would not tell her anyway. It is strictly something I want to keep separate from her and her family. I would not want my oldest sister or my oldest niece to be reading it either. As a matter of fact, the only family members who read my blog are Eduard and my daughter. All other family members (relatives) either don’t know about it, or aren’t privy to the blog’s name. And that’s the way I plan to keep it.

Anyway, I ate more cheese and salad than was good for me, probably, but I didn’t make myself sick eating it. My gastric band didn’t suddenly start to reject all the food, which it should have, but that is another matter. It is very strange, the other day I ate an omelet and I had to go hang over the toilet for a bit, but yesterday I ate quite a bit of food and I was fine. I suppose it has to do with how well I chew things and how slowly I eat them.

My brother in law is an odd fellow. While we sit at the patio table having drinks and food, he goes off by himself and settles into a deck chair with his sunglasses on and his iPod stuck in his ears, totally cut off from any conversation with us. He always goes his own way and does his own things, whatever he feels like doing at a certain moment. He never feels that he has to be polite and make conversation if he doesn’t feel like it. I would be embarrassed if Eduard did such a thing, but I guess my sister is used to it. She thinks he lives in higher spheres than us mere mortals and that he has different needs. I am so glad that I am not married to him! When my brother in law is bored with the company, he just goes and does something else. Except that you are painfully aware of that. He
doesn’t play the role of the host.

My other brother in law is a bigot. He is someone who’s company I only tolerate because he is married to my sister. He holds terrible points of view on minorities and votes extreme right. And he is always convinced that he is right and that he has an awful lot of insight into the human character and that he knows exactly what makes people tick. He doesn’t have any manners, even though he has the money to own two Mercedes sedans. The problem is that through her marriage to him, my oldest sister has become influenced in some of her points of view also and she believes certain things to be true now, when I know that if she had been married to somebody else, she would not believe these things. So, I always have very mixed feelings about visiting them. There is the resistance I feel towards my brother in law and the compassion I feel for my sister, whom I can still reach when we are alone together. I can’t just dismiss her.

You sure don’t pick your family, do you? At the same time, you feel some sort of loyalty towards them. Sometimes you want to remove them out of your life forever, but you know you can’t. There is always that tie that binds you, no matter how suffocating it can be at times. No matter how odd you think they are at times. My two sisters are 12 years apart in age and they don’t have a lot of things in common, while I am stuck between the two of them and feel connected to both. I always feel that I have to be loyal to both of them, even though that is hard sometimes.

The three of us are very different, but I think the things we find irritating about each other, are the things that we have in common and are the traits that we are the least happy with. We remind each other of the worst in ourselves and we are all afraid to be like our mother, who had some of the worst traits. That is the worst insult you can give us, that one of us reminds you of our mother.

I think it is possible that Eduard has actually gone to sleep now. I kept hearing him turn his bedside lamp on and off, but all is quiet now. He is going to be a broken man in a few hours when he has to get up again. I don’t know what I am going to be after this long night. I still feel fine. Maybe sometimes you just don’t need a whole night’s sleep. Maybe it is okay to skip a night once in a while. I certainly don’t get bored sitting here. I still have to replace all the patterns in the series of images that I have made. Well, I have done a lot already, but I am not quite done yet, so I will finish that in a while. It’s so nice to finally get the series of images together that I want. It was a bit of trial and error, but I got there in the end.

My niece says that she really likes to learn Latin, but that she is going to drop French in her fourth year. She is in her third year now. How do you like that? I thought Latin was going to be harder for her. And my nephew has started with German this year and is having a bit of a hard time with the pronunciation, no doubt he has not heard enough German being spoken. His best languages are English and French. My sister is taking a refresher course French on line, because she needs it for her work, getting many French speaking tourists that ask for information and directions.

My French and German are elementary, I get by, barely. If I could go though life just speaking English and Dutch I would have it made. If I could only get a job in which that was a requirement. I should say, American English, because there is a difference, isn’t there?

Okay, now I have to go and make some cigarettes, because we are all out. If there is anything else I can think off to ramble on about, I will do it in a P.S.

In the meantime, I wish you all a happy day, with lots of Monday morning happiness and good cheer. Go team! Ciao…

P.S. It’s almost 9 am now and Eduard has just left for work. He was actually quite chipper and walked the dog for me. I, on the other hand, am quite wiped out and I am going to lay down on the sofa and see if I can get some sleep. The night passed by quickly, but it has caught up with me and now I feel like I have jet lag. Everything will have to be put on hold until I am caught up on some sleep again.

The animals have been taken care off and I have taken my medicines. Maybe if I turn on a movie, I will fall asleep watching it. That normally does the trick. There is only so much you can do when your body tells you it wants to sleep and your mind is not far behind. I know I want to sit here and play with Paintshop, but I can’t. I am not capable of it.

So off I go now, off to sleep, ciao…

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Much to my surprise, a Nice Matters Award has been bestowed on me by Rotten Correspondent of Confessions of a Rotten Correspondent for reasons that are only a little bit clear to me, but apparently have to do with being nice and kind, having a good blog and leaving good comments. Oh well, it makes me blush to think about it. I am very proud of it, as I have never gotten an award in the blogging world before.

As a courtesy I am to pass this award on to three people whom I think are especially deserving of it and I don’t have to think long about who those people are. They are Frances from Carpet Full of Holes, Bobbie from Great Grannie Blog and Rima from MaraZine. These women have not only very interesting blogs, but are especially supportive in their comments and are always ready to help out if the need arises, so a big applause to them. They, in turn can pass on the award to someone they find deserves it. I have downloaded the picture of the award on my blog, but I see that it is a little squished, so you may want to download it from Rotten Correspondent to put on your own blog.

I have also be tagged by Laurie from Three Dog Blog for the name meme. That means I have to come up with traits that start with the first letters that make up my first name, Irene. So, I will have to think long and hard about this and think of some really good traits and if I can’t think of any good ones, I will write down the lesser ones instead.

So here we go:

  1. I – Important, because I always think that what I have to say is of importance, as if I hold the key to all things wise and I always feel that I have to put my two cents worth in.
  2. R – Rational, because I would hate to think of myself as being the opposite, irrational, because that is a big fear I have, to be thought of as an irrational person.
  3. E – Empathic, in that I feel that I will always try to understand the feelings and attitudes of another human being.
  4. N – No Nonsense, that means just that. Don’t fool around with me, tell me the story straight and no bull****.
  5. E – Embarrassed, for having confessed all of the above and making myself sound so important, which brings me back to the first letter.

I, in turn, tag the three ladies that I have also given the Nice Matters Award to, So Frances, Bobbie and Rima, it is your turn now. If you don’t want to do your first name, it is alright to do your middle name as well. If Frances has a shorter middle name, that may be advantageous to her, for instance. Remember to pass on the meme to some other people as well.

Well, what a busy and exciting way to start the morning. I have barely had my second cup of coffee and already I am carrying out quite difficult instructions for such a sleepy headed person. Luckily, I got enough sleep, so I felt quite refreshed when I woke up this morning at 5 am. I saw that I had eaten my crackers, but that I had not drank my milk, so it is back in the refrigerator with that glass until tonight when I’ll try it again. It is the kind of milk that doesn’t spoil, so don’t worry, I’ll not get food poisoning or something awful like that.

Yesterday was a humongous lazy day. I barely cleaned the apartment and didn’t feel bad for it at all. I should have vacuumed and the vacuum cleaner was calling me from its place in the broom closet, but I managed to ignore its pleading cries. I thought Eduard and I might have gone into town to hang out at the book store, but he had an extra training session for some of his volunteers and was gone for a good long time, because he also did the grocery shopping and the library pit stop. So, when he got home, all he wanted to do was watch the Formula One racing training, which was okay, because by that time I was sound asleep on the sofa and I didn’t even hear him come home.

These naps sort of attack me out of the blue, I start to watch a film and then only see the first ten minutes of it. I have been trying to watch the same film three times now and every time I fall asleep and I don’t think its the film’s fault. It’s just me not managing to keep my eyes open. I notice that the same things happens to Eduard when he sits in his comfortable chair. He starts to watch something interesting and suddenly he gets very quiet and I look over and see that he has fallen asleep. Hum, it must be middle age that causes it. Or it’s something in the water. Of course, we live in the south of the country and that means that we are like all southerners and we need to have our siestas. That’s probably it! Gee, I hadn’t thought of that before.

So, what did I do all day long? Well, I hung out behind the computer and read other people’s blogs and left comments, which I hoped were supportive and witty, whichever was needed. I finished organizing my images files and now have everything in very easy to access order and in separate files for different time periods, otherwise they become to big and I spend forever looking for an image. I threw away things that I thought were really crappy, I do have higher standards now than when I first started. I added another feature, but you’ve already noticed that and I like the off center image and the subsequent pattern I get from it.

So, I have some work to do there in changing the patterns in all the series of images. That will take me the better part of a day to do. But I don’t mind and I am such an organizer that it is almost obsessive and I have to watch myself for signs of social withdrawal and such. Glazed over eyes, open mouth, non comprehending look on face. These are all signs that I am about to go off to lala land and I may never return and become totally fixated on the order of things and having to do just one more thing and then all will be right with the world. Talk about having things under control! Jeez! Me thinks I do get a little crazy sometimes!

All kidding aside folks. I want to get this stuff organized before I have my next appointment with the temp agency, as I now have been officially informed by social services that I am in the program and they are going to spend their money on me to get me a training and the accompaniment that I need with getting a job. I am very glad that they see the potential in me in spite of my age and in
spite of my lack of education. I must have made a good enough impression on them and I am happy for that. So, pretty soon I will have less time to spend with leisure activities and I will really have to become more organized than I am now, when I can just take my time and be my own boss as to how I fill in that time.

I very much would like to keep my mornings the way they are now, but it may not be possible, because I do take a large chunk of time out writing this bog and reading other people’s blogs. Most likely, I will have to forgo that pleasure and just find time to get dressed and made up properly and have enough coffee and cigarettes to last me the rest of the day. And I do hope that there will be a smoking room or something wherever I end up.

I do so appreciate airports that have smoking lounges for their passengers who have just been on a long flight without a cigarette. You have no idea how nice it is to walk into a smoke filled space and light up after not having been able to smoke for eight hours. Your whole body screams for nicotine and it is wonderful to inhale. Some airports don’t have that facility and it is almost impossible to find your way outside, because of the size of them and all the security measures, like New York for instance, where I sat and waited for five hours without a cigarette between two long flights. It’s a shame that smoke bashing takes on the form of not even giving people the chance to light up after they have not been able to on a long flight, when they so very clearly need just that one cigarette to feel better. Have some compassion for the smokers who only want to pollute their own air, people, and who may be a bundle of nerves anyway after flying on a long international flight and having had to go through all the security measures and the indignities there off.

Another high horse I get onto. Smoke bashing seems to be such a sport, as it attacks not the behavior, but the character of the smoker and makes them feel as if they are evil people on par with big criminals. It is possible to love and like a smoker, after all.

Today is my nephew’s birthday and I am already looking forward to having a piece of very good fresh fruit vlaai with a very good cup of espresso. My sister always orders her vlaai at the Noblesse bakery and they do a terrific job. Her in laws are going to be there too and a nice time will be had, and hopefully my nephew will be happy with the card and the money we are giving him. Eduard has to leave early for a drinks party for all the employees at his work and I am not invited, nor are other spouses or girlfriends and other better halves. I don’t know what to think of that. I would seem like a perfect opportunity to do some very good team spirit building, but then again, maybe they don’t feel they need that. What is the value of a spouse anyway? What does he/she add to the company and to the employee? It would have been a nice goodwill gesture anyway.

I am not going to make any empty promises about what I will do today, but Eduard and I will change the sheets on the bed, that is a ritual we won’t forgo. Then it will be extra special to go to bed tonight, which it isn’t really now anyway. Oh bed, who can be bothered? I may do several loads of laundry and if the weather stays nice, I may dry them outside. I may or may not vacuum, I’ll see how bad things really are. I will clean up the kitchen, but that is something I will always do, unless I am so depressed that I am comatose. And I will walk the dog, because that is still a pleasure. It gets me out of the house and into the fresh air.

Okay people, time to get the show on the road, although there is not a living creature stirring here. Everything and everybody is asleep still. Nevertheless, I will get going. Sundays are always our ritual days and I do want to prepare myself properly for that.

Have a really great day, enjoy your morning cup of coffee, ciao…

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Birthday Tile.

Here is the birthday tile that Neda of Papiers Collés made for me. I was very touched and honored that she had done so. Tomorrow I’ll let you see what I did with it, because of course, I had to do something with it, as I have to do something with every image that gets into my hands lately. But for now, we will just enjoy this beautiful tile and say: Thank you, Neda!

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It’s fairly early in the morning and I haven’t quite had enough sleep yet, but I am up nevertheless. I am working on my second cup of coffee and I am waiting for it to do its magic, so I will truly wake up. We went to bed rather late last night and I thought I might sleep in just a bit, but no such thing. I woke up at 3 am, and that was it for me. Now I am sitting here yawning, so you may say to yourself, “Go back to bed, Irene,” but that is really not where I belong. I really do belong here behind the computer with my coffee and my cigarettes. Parts of me are awake, other parts will be shortly. All it will take is just a few more cups of coffee and just a few more cigarettes. On top of that, I’m plugged up and I don’t know why, because nothing bad has passed these lips, I have been a good girl. Three bags of tortilla chips were eaten last night and I didn’t have a single one of them! Such powers of control! Such self sacrifice! Such drooling on my part!

Being 53 is very special. I feel like I have achieved something akin to a great milestone in a woman’s life. Like I have made a major discovery, or have landed on the moon, or have discovered the cure for an incurable disease. That’s how major this birthday feels to me. There should be throngs of people outside the apartment building and photographers and news crews and people asking me, “Well Irene, how does sit feel to have achieved this major milestone in your life?” And I would answer, “Excuse me while I pin on this medal in honor of my fine achievement. I will answer all of your questions at the press conference tonight.”

All kidding aside, but just briefly, I want to say, “I can’t believe I’ve made it!” I am here all in one piece, with my mind and body intact and all of my faculties working and I’ve come out better than I thought was possible. I’m a living, breathing, functioning human being and more than that, I am alive! I have climbed out of the deepest, darkest bottomless pit and I am standing here in the sunshine again and I figure I have 30 years of living ahead of me. How’s that for a miracle? Jokingly I may add, that that is no small potatoes and quite an achievement for a girl who didn’t feel like her life was worth living on several occasions. Who added the deed to the word and tried to top herself. No Ma’am, that’s not bad at all!

So, this 53rd birthday is one that I am going to look back on with a great deal of fondness, because it is the first time in seven years that I have celebrated my birthday. And I think that this 53rd year will be a very good year.

Now I hear the sound of a violin orchestra in the background playing very gentle but uplifting music and a voice starts singing jubilantly about what a very good year it is going to be. Just like in a TV commercial, and me radiant in a field of flowers with the gentle summer wind catching my flowing skirt, smiling, glowing face in the sun, staring into the future with a look of confidence on my face and a look of hopefulness in my eyes. End with a spectacular sunset. Voice over, “Yes, you to can be like this happy, fulfilled, middle aged woman. Try all of our pharmaceutical products and you will have a good year too.”

No kidding aside now, folks, I really am glad to have made it and I really thank the pharmaceutical companies for making it possible, them and my psychiatrist for not giving up on me and Eduard for not kicking me out of the house.

Well, I think all the parts of me are awake now, all that coffee is doing its job.

Actually, yesterday was a very good day. I had that interview with the lady from the temp agency and I think I made a good impression and that they are willing to take me into their project. They will let social services know their decision and the whole ball will start rolling next week. I will be officially in the project then and they will have to find me a job/training within 4 moths time. This is to gain work experience and to learn different computer systems. In the meantime they will help me with getting a permanent job within a year’s time. They help you with such things as putting a proper resume together and writing job application letters and they help you match you up for the right jobs that they have on file there. There is a weekly get together with your case worker who keeps a close eye on you and your progress. It all sounds very promising and I can’t wait to get started, as long as they don’t place me in a care home for the elderly or something like that. I would really feel like I was wasting my time then.

Afterwards I went and had coffee with Eduard at his work and said to him, isn’t your company looking for job/training people who have to learn the ropes and who will work for free to gain work experience for 4 months? A light started burning in his eyes and he said that he would discuss it with his director and his office manager, so there is a possibility there. The office work there is very diverse and I would learn to do all sorts of things and it would look good on my resume. His office manager is out of the office right now having some surgery done, but the director said he would discuss it with her as soon as possible, so keep your fingers crossed.

In the afternoon, I cleaned house. This included washing all the wineglasses and the good cups and saucers and vacuuming the whole place and cleaning the bathroom and moving chairs around for people to sit in. I was interrupted in this by my niece and nephew who brought me a big bouquet of white flowers very artfully arranged and ready to be put in a vase without me massing with it. My niece then searched through my artwork and found a nice painting that she wanted for her room and we found a brand new frame to go with it, so she was happy. I didn’t show them any of the stuff I am doing now, because I had the computer turned of and I just couldn’t be bothered, because I had so much left to do, so I promised I would show them another day when I had the time. They also wanted to read my winning poem, so that was another promise I made them.

I still had the vacuum cleaner laying right in the middle of the living room and all the rooms still had to be mopped and I was starting to show signs of stress, quite badly as a matter of fact. Luckily Eduard was home then and he told me to take an Oxazepam and to sit and wait for that to start working, while he mopped the floors where I had already vacuumed. For a while there I thought I was going to have a bit of a nervous breakdown, but then the feeling passed and the Oxazepam worked and I was okay again. I moved the large scratching post for the cats to a completely different place in the hope that they will
find it interesting again, as they seem bored with it now. Sometimes I don’t handle a whole bunch of things happening all at once all that well, especially lately, therefor the Oxazepam, which thank goodness I have now. I can’t even handle Eduard telling me an ordinary thing, I think I will fall apart if he tells me and he has to stop talking to me and not say anything.

Anyway, the apartment got cleaned up well enough and we had ample room left before our guests arrived and when they did, all of my stress was gone and I could enjoy the evening. I got some lovely gifts, including three large bath towels for which I had asked. My sister’s article of clothing that she had ordered for me did not arrive on time, even though she had been tracking its progress via the Internet, so it will probably get here today. I can’t wait! So tonight we are having 7 more people over and that should be equally fun and we will have to get more supplies today, as the cheeses and the tortilla chips and the salsa dips have all but disappeared. We still have stuffed olives and guacamole dip and some wine. Oh, and coca cola, that would be good to have right now, as I am very thirsty!

Of course, today I don’t have all of that housecleaning to do, I’ll drag the vacuum cleaner out one more time, for the odd bits here and there and do the dishes and I promised Eduard that I would finally iron his T-shirts. Our friend Joost is arriving this afternoon, so we have to pump up the air mattress to put up in the work room. In the meantime all I have to do is take the Oxazepam and stay relaxed and enjoy myself.

Now you people, I am going to end this epistle and sit and stare into the middle distance for awhile and I may even contemplate my navel for a bit. I feel like having an empty head for just a little while. I am such a delicate creature that even the fun times will upset my tenderly wrought balance. If I don’t comment today, it is not because I don’t love you all, it is because my head is in another sphere.

Have a wonderful day, be good, be B.A.D. don’t be S.A.D. just be happy. Ciao…

P.S. After I wrote this, I laid down on the sofa and slept for four more hours. Shows you how wide awake I really was!

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