Posts Tagged ‘ergo therapy’

Poor Überhund had his teeth cleaned yesterday and in the process it was found out that he had an infection in one of his top incisors. A a matter of fact, the vet showed me where there was puss coming out of his gums, so he must have been suffering with this for a while.  So the option was to cut away the gum there or to pull the tooth and I told him to go ahead and pull the tooth. That seemed to me the most straight forward thing to do.

I stayed with the Überhund while we waited for the anesthetic to start working and he literally was standing up one moment and was toppled over the next. He was very floppy after that and the vet could do anything with him at all.

When I came to pick him up in the evening with my sister and the car, he was still very drowsy and almost incapable of walking. At home he sort of tottered to wherever I was sitting, so I tried not to move too many times and ended up taking a nap on the sofa. When I woke up at 10 PM, he was standing there, looking at me quite expectantly, as if to say, “I have to go out now, are you going to take me?” After that, he ate a whole bowl of food and maybe that bad tooth was the reason why he had not been eating so well lately.

All’s well that ends well.

I had ergo therapy in the morning and we had to sit around a very large sheet of paper and keep moving up one place and with each of us, in a different color paint, had to take turns being the manipulator or the manipulated. We could not talk and everything took place in great silence. After two turns, the sheet of paper was changed to a new one until we al had a turn with each person in the group. There was a discussion afterwards about how we interpret what manipulation is and how we do it and if it is always a bad thing.

It turns out that, when I am on my guard, I am a good manipulator and I am not easily manipulated. The person who is the best manipulator in the group, had the hardest time with me, because, while I was manipulating her, she was trying to manipulate me and it didn’t work.

You see how these exercises can be so very educational to a person and really give you a lot of insight into your own psyche.

Social Services is asking me to send in forms, in a rather mildly threatening manner, that I have sent them twice already and that I will now be sending them for the third time. Am I happy about this? I think not. That’s all I’ll say about it for now.

I did, what I hope was, a week’s worth of grocery shopping yesterday. My bike was so loaded with groceries that it is amazing that I made it home in one piece. I did almost get run over by a bus, but he was going slowly, so major injuries were avoided. I just made a little detour to the sidewalk. Actually, I don’t think they’re going to all last for a whole week, but I hope they’ll last past the weekend.

It seemed as though I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off yesterday, but it was all very carefully orchestrated pandemonium. None of the housework got done, but numerous other things did, I just seem to have no recall of most of them. I was running here and there and forgetting to do this and that and then remembering things at the last minute. My shopping list was very good, I know that. I only forgot the sliced sausage for the Überhund.

When you’re gone all morning until almost 1 PM, there is a lot of catching up to do, so I know I would hate to have a fultime job, or I would have to get organized much better and cut out the navel staring times. The umbelical contemplation. Woe is me.

I waste time, though. I know I do. I could become much more efficient and move around the apartment at a much quicker speed and get more done, more quickly. That is just not my style, though. I am not a race horse, I am more like a Belgian draught horse. I am slower but steady. If I go too fast, I become inefficient.

Well, that’s all I have to say, really. It’s not much, but I’m not very inspired. It’s too early in the morning for it. I need numerous cups of coffee still and my medicines and a good walk with the Überhund.



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When we asked our mother what we were having for dinner when we were kids, she would sometimes answer, “Poop and dung,” and the Exfactor’s mother would add to her kids, “Windowsills with noisy sauce.” Such are the strange things Dutch mothers tell their children in the Netherlands when they are tired of the same old question about what’s for dinner.

Sometimes, when I am very silly and tired and I don’t feel like answering the phone, but I must, I say those things when I answer the phone, regardless of who is on the other line. I pick up the phone and say, “Poop and dung and windowsills with noisy sauce.” So far, it has been someone I know, it has yet to be a stranger and that is not because I have call recogntion, because I don’t even look at the number without my reading glasses on. Sometimes I get hit by silliness and I don’t want to take anything seriously anymore.

I tried to take today seriously, as a matter of fact, my brain was taking things way too seriously and I revolted by doing all the opposite things that it wanted me to do. So instead of bending my frustrated head over a lot of new mail and paperwork, I vacuumed, and instead of filling out forms and gathering paperwork, i did laundry, and instead of writing a letter of objection, I went grocery shopping. I just didn’t want to deal with it today, although I know in my head exactly what I need to do.

Then I didn’t open up outlook express and I didn’t read any blogs and I didn’t go to Facebook. I just didn’t have the energy for it and after dinner, I took a nap on the sofa. I think I am temporarily overwhelmed.

When I woke up from my nap, the Überhund was laying beside me very patiently looking at my feet and my shoes, so I asked him if he wanted me to put my shoes on and he got very excited, so that meant yes. That good old dog, all he wants from me is a walk and that was just what I needed.

I had to deworm him today so he had urgent business and I read the enclosure to the package well and found out that dogs need to be dewormed every 6 months, which is something I didn’t know, because the Exfactor always took care of that. So I wrote it down in my diary and will transfer that information to the new diary that I will get in December. He thought it was great, as he thinks anything from a package is great as it all gets wrapped up in good slices of sausage. The pills for the cats are chewable, but do you think those cats will voluntarily chew those pills? No way. I don’t know what the solution is yet. A karate hold may do it with oven mitts on.

This morning at ergo therapy, three of us had to play three different roles and try to trip up two other people who had no idea of our intentions, they were only told to be on their guard. So, one of us was agressive, the other one was neutral and one was overly nice. That was I, the last one. We did it with paper and paint and we had to act out our roles in paper and paint without talking. Our body language and our manner of painting had to clue them in and their reactions were a clue to how they dealt with these different approaches. I was overly sweet and mushy and one of them handled that well and the other one got quite uncomfortable with it. It was very interesting and it was about bounderies and when you set those and how far you let people go. Can a nice person get away with things? Do you let an aggressive person walk all over you? How do you deal with a neutral, equal person?

I really learn a lot there, although with every task we are told to do, there is a huge resistance on my side to do it that I have to overcome. My first reaction is not to do it, that I can’t do it, that it is impossible for me to do. It is like a fear in myself that I have to fight. Then I go and do it perfectly and I wonder why I had all that resistance. Every time it is the same thing.

I am tired people. It is pajama time. Tomorrow will be paper work day. Face reality day.


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There comes a time, when you have read so many blogs that you are saturated with them and that you can not leave another sensible comment. Then it is time to quit and save the rest of them for another day ,says I, who is not a quitter and who goes on until the bitter end, but even I have to admit when i am beat. Much as I would like to leave an amusing or other form of astounding comment, at one point my brain is not capable of it anymore and I just blank out. That’s why I take turns beginning either at the top of the list or at the bottom, so that all people will get an equal share of my attention.

Today I had the fortune of sharing the woes of my pitiful financial situation with the group of people at my ergo therapy and let me tell you, a worry shared weighs less and there was much compassion all around making me not feel so alone in all of this. As I heard myself speak, I realized how ridiculous the whole thing was and how strange bureaucracy works and how I need to fight the system by being a dishonest citizen. I will nver be gullible and naive again and always watch out for number one.

I stayed home this afternoon, waiting for the tax people to call me, which of course they didn’t and they probably won’t until the very last day in the very last hour, but if that is what they are planning on doing, I am calling them first. I do have a mouth to open and a brain to form the right words to say what’s on my mind. I am not some easily intimidated person whom they can talk under the table.

This morning I had a stomachache worrying about it all, but it quickly disappeared and I am now my usual feisty self.

I am making friends on Facebook and collecting an eclectic bunch of people, one of whom wants to flirt with me, but I think I am old enough to be his mother and he lives in South Africa. It’s all in good fun, though, and I can take it as far as I let it go. I try not to neglect anyone and go by everyday to send them each a message. Not good karma or flowers or eggs with surprises in them, but just a plain old message.

Jesker is being his regular spoiled self and thinks he needs to be walked every hour. Of course, I don’t fall for this and he is very disappointed when I don’t. I try to give him some other kind of attention to divert his mind and that usually works, until he gets bored again and wants to go out. He has a great need to look for inedible substances and thinks he will find those all over the place whenever we go out.

I am so tired at the end of the day. I look forward to going to bed, yet try to postpone it until I am a zombie and barely capable of coherent movement. I have put clean sheets on the bed today, so it will be extra nice to go to sleep tonight. I love crispy clean sheets.

Today at ergo therapy we had to rob each other’s territory with paint on a large piece of paper and the battle between me and my partner became so heated that we ended up taking the whole bottles of paint and squirting them directly on the paper. It was hard to see who won, it was a close draw, but a lot of fun, as opposed to the other couple who neatly stayed in their own territory. It was all a matter of interpretation and how far you were willing to go. I will go far to defend my territory. You learn something new every day.

The other obvious thing is too, that I am full of humor there and I am not so in real life. In real life I have a tendency to be too serious, so I have to learn to carry this humor out into the outside world. Apparently I make people like me through my sense of humor and my big mouth and everybody will tell you that I am a nice person.

I receive lots of good kudos there, if only I could do that in real life.

I’ve got to find myself a new book to read,as i finished the one about Chicago May. I am hoping there are some books on the book case that I haven’t read yet. At least ones good enough to put me to sleep. I have my whole sleeping ritual of making toasted bread and a glass of warm milk and getting my book and my strongest reading glasses. The warm milk really helps me sleep, it works better than a sleeping pill. The toasted bread is comfort food, to make it more cozier, I share it with the dog.

Well, that’s all she wrote for today. It’s time to sit back and relax for a few moments before walking Jesker again and putting his eye drops in. There is never rest for the wicked.

Sleep tight everyone, treat your alarm clock with patience, it’s only doing its job.


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Because I had to live on a teeny little welfare check for two months, that was not even enough to buy groceries with, Eduard supported me financially the best way he could by also borrowing money and making ends meet. Because of this, Social Services sees this money as income and is therefor not giving me my regular welfare check for this month. As a matter of fact, I am getting no money at all. So, until September the 20th, I will have to live on the money I borrow from my Visa card, because money borrowed is not considered income, because you can show that you are having to pay it back. I can not receive money from anybody else, as that will be considered income and will be withdrawn from my welfare payment. I can submit an objection, but it is all going to take precious time and in the meantime I am going to be very poor and owing a lot of money.

Still, after the initial shock of it, I decided to put on my happy face and consider myself lucky that I even have a credit card with enough credit left on it that I can borrow the money from. I would have to go through all sorts of lengths to get money otherwise and frankly, I would not know how, except for hanging a red light in the window. So, I’m trying to look at it cheerfully.

The man who is handling my case at Social Services now is new and he thought that the money I had received from Eduard was an alimony payment and that I would get that much money all the time. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry and I told him that I was sorry, but that I had to pull myself together and that I would call him back shortly. I did have to pull myself together emotionally and I don’t like to do that while on the phone with a well meaning, but complete stranger.

This also explains why the tax people, who decide about my rent and medical care subsidies, told me they would call me back later this week between 1 and 3 PM. They are probably also assuming that I received a large amount of money in alimony payments and will forever. I sure do have some straightening out to do.

Anyway, this bright and happy news did set the tone for the rest of my day, even though I did not want it to, but I couldn’t help but be affected by it. The best thing to do is put on my brave trooper face and act like the whole damn thing is not going to get me down and it won’t in the end. I just hate bureaucracy and the stiff unbending rules that make it work against the little honest people. Eduard and I should have lied our heads off or have made different arrangements, but c’est la vie.

In the meantime, life at the Pondorosa continues with all the regular things that take place, although today was a little bit off. I did walk Jesker four times, but we didn’t make a long walk once, because he gets out of breath so quickly. He pants for a long time when we get back. I have been noticing that this summer. It’s not the heat, because it hasn’t been warm here at all for quite awhile.

I am having fun with Facebook, because this time it is I who picks out who I want to be friends with and I have a eclectic set of rules that only I understand. It comes down to instinct basically, guided by some very basic standards. I manage okay that way and have made some new friends. I even got Eduard to join, which is a miracle of itself.

Tomorrow I have wonderful ergo therapy and we will discuss detachment. I feel I have to crawl into my shell when I get bitterly disappointed, but maybe the thing is to seek your solace amongst people and their healing presence. At least I assume their presence can be healing. I am Irene the Brave, master of all my emotions. Right!

Eduard was here this afternoon, because his mobile phone is in my name and we thought his subscription had to be renewed and the person who owns the phone has to do that. It turned out that the subscription didn’t need to be renewed, it does it of itself, so that was a waste of time, even though they told us last year that we would have to do this. I had my passport and client number all ready for it too. Good intentions all the way down the line.

I am especially looking forward to going to bed tonight, even though so far I am postponing it, but it does mean an end to this rather disappointing day. At the same time, I don’t want to go to bed with even the slightest defeated feeling, so I am staying up until that is completely gone.

Jesker is snoring beside me after he has been very good about letting me put his eye drops in.

The differences between the cats and the dog are really so large. The dog is so dependent on me and the cats are hardly at all. Well, yes they are for their food and water and milk and they let me know very loudly when they’ve run out, but other than that, they are independent creatures that make up their own mind about when they come and go and when they need attention and how much they want. I am much more like a cat that way, because I like my independence too and I hate to be shackled to a time and a place and a person. I would hate to be a dog and I would probably bite my owner in his bum out of frustration. Maybe that’s why I am always so overly nice and patient with Jesker, because I would hate to be him and be dependent on a human being. I try to be an understanding human being for Jesker. I felt the same way when my kids were little and they were dependent on me.

I swept the apartment with a broom and a brush and dustpan this afternoon, because i thought the tax people might call me and I don’t hear the phone when I have the vacuum cleaner running. It worked equally well and you would be amazed by how much sand and hair I swept up. Actually, it was a meditative sort of job and kind of pleasant to do and I may do it again. The drawback is that I don’t vacuum the sofa and chairs then, so I will have to do that another time or wave my magic wand and have them turn out perfectly clean that way. Ha, I wish.

Well, I’ll end this epistle and go and do some other things until I am good and ready for bed. I could go on forever, but I don’t want to bore you with every tiny detail of my life, fascinating as it all may be.

See you all tomorrow, sleep tight.


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This morning I was very good and went to my ergo therapy class, even though I was half asleep and nearly nodded off during the first hour, because I had not had enough coffee. I woke up at 3 AM and could not go back to sleep, so read blogs instead, but I got so distracted by them that my caffeine consumption dropped to a very low level and as a result I was not so very perky at 8:30 AM, when I was supposed to leave.

I tried to do some damage control by drinking some coffee very quickly, but sleep was settling into my bones and I was getting mighty weary. I almost didn’t go at all, but then thought that the vigorous bike ride would wake me up. Well, not quite. It made me more like a unguided missile rushing through the traffic that luckily was light, because I wasn’t about to stop for anything, I just kept on moving until I got there and then it started to rain, hah, I got there just in time.

Very droopily I sat and listened to the other people tell their story of how their week had been and at times my head almost hit the table. Luckily, halfway through, we took a break and I had 3 espressos extra strong which gave me a kick in the pants and woke me up properly, so when it was time for me to talk, i could do so quite coherently. I made complete sense to myself and everybody else, although I do keep having this strange tendency to want to speak English as I find it easier to express what I want to say and I find myself struggling to find the right Dutch words. Everybody asks, “Irene, are you English?” And I grumpily answer, “No, I am half an American.” Nobody asks which half, but they leave me in peace and continue to let me struggle with a lot of patience.

We have something in the Netherlands like Facebook called Hyves and I had my pages there and had them quite organized, but yesterday I discovered that I had been hacked and all sorts of pictures of all sorts of strange people were on them and lots of weird messages. I had been completely infiltrated. There was nothing to do but delete them and sign up again under an assumed name with a picture of the Überhund in my profile and let the people who counted know where I was now. Actually, I am only on there for the sake of some of my relatives who like to keep in touch that way and I go along with the program and I very often forget to go and have a look to see if there are any messages. At one time, I even forgot my password and my sign in name. Then I get badgered to get on there and read the messages and look at everybody’s photographs from weddings and vacations. I try to be good, I really try…

So, I got that all organized this afternoon and I didn’t do much else, because I also downloaded music videos from Youtube for it and pictures and lord knows what else. Actually, it is a lot different than Facebook in that way.

Anyway, besides walking the Überhund and eating, I haven’t done much. Oh yes, I opened the mail, but it was not that important, except a reminder from the bank that I have no money in my account and if I am going to do something about that soon. Well, yes I am. In about 2 days, as a matter of fact. The signature was printed, so I am not going to bother to call. I don’t expect any gangsters at the door yet.

This morning we had to pick out cards form a large deck of cards that had lesser personality traits on them. We had to try to pick 5 cards, which I did. Mine were, overconfident, strict, cynical, distant and too detail oriented. We had to tell what our cards were and what we thought about these lesser traits that we had, but when it was my turn I said that I wasn’t at all unhappy with my traits and that I could very easily live with them. Well, I wasn’t supposed to like them and I am supposed to work on them! Jeez! Really, Irene.

Hey, I’ve worked hard to become the person I am today. I am not just going to give that up without a fight. I want to be cynical, actually, I want to be all those things.

Well, now it ‘s raining like crazy again. It has been on and off all day and yesterday too. One moment the sun shines and then it rains. It’s like we live in the tropics. Tropical Holland. Buy your seafront property now in the Limburger hills.

Okay, that’s enough of that. I am going to watch some TV and get some much needed head rest. That’s not a thing to rest your head on.

You all have a good day or evening or whatever you are having in whichever timezone.


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It’s been another wonderful day here in the low countries. although living in the part that has the hills doesn’t quite qualify me for that, so the altitude must be blamed for whatever strangeness the day brought me. Call it altitude sickness at 90 meters height.

I was so not in the mood for ergo therapy and would have gladly bowed out, but I did that last week and didn’t think I could not show up again this week. I think it is because I am confronted with myself that I try to chicken out of it and pretend to be bored with it. I always make a lot of noise when we are told what our assignments are and balk at them quite a bit and state very clearly that I won’t be able to do them, because I feel to much resistance, and I do.

Today we had to make a drawing in sets of two and try to cooperate with each other to come to a somewhat pleasant whole. I felt ornery and not like cooperating and threw a wrench in the works by drawing flowers called “I want me nots” and one that was decapitated by the queen of “off with their heads.” In the sky there was an KLM airplane with escaping “I want me not” flowers, who were going to the Costa Brava to dance in discos. My partner drew happy blue clouds and a sun in the sky and a bird flying around and wanted to create a happy scene, but felt very frustrated by me. After talking about it with the instructor, we added a glass of wine and 5 cans of beer and a bowl of sour cream Pringles and a parachuting “I want me not,” who changed his mind and became an “I want some after all.” So all ended in laughter. I have been accused of having a sarcastic sense of humor. I said that happens when I feel cornered and I can’t get out.

Then I raced my bike to the pharmacy to get my supply of “make me feel better drugs” and the girl there thought there was a mistake in the way they were prescribed and I said that no, it was strange but true and I was the living proof of it. It bothered me that on the box I was still identified with my married name, when yesterday on my thyroid medicine I was on there with my maiden name. I must make a fuss about this. I can’t wait to get my insurance I.D. card in my own name, I know it’s on its way. Then I’ll really make some changes. I love being Irene S**ders. It comes out quite easily now and Irene is not a common name in the Netherlands, so I don’t meet many people with that name. They never look like me and I think they should.

I wasted an afternoon doing administrative work and cleaning up the house and walking the dog, whom I have discovered really understands three things really well and those are all you need to know. Those are the words NO and HERE and a good hard tug at the leash. If you say or do those things with conviction, you have no problems. All the rest is just extra noise to him that he does or does not listen to sometimes. I discovered that, because he has been testing me lately and I decided not to put up with any of his shenanigans and get tough with him and short. I saw he was waiting to see what I would do in anticipation and I tried to stay one step ahead of him. Darn dog, I’ll show him. The Uberhund, really. I am the Uberhund.

The exfactor and his friend Hans showed up at five to take his stuff to his new house. They loaded up the car quickly and the small trailer that fit the bed and some odds and ends, but took the time to have a coffee. Now this Hans is an artist whose wonderful contraptions could go straight into a museum as far as i am concerned. The man is a genius. He is also very good looking and quite sexy in an odd sort of way. I certainly would fall for him, but he is taken quite seriously. Still, he is a sight to behold and I enjoy that. I bet he looks great naked and I don’t think that about many men. Every once in a while you just meet one.

They didn’t get everything done today, so they are coming back on Friday. Mmm, get to enjoy myself again.

The thing in this apartment is, is that when you move furniture away from the walls you are either left with mildew stains or peeling wallpaper of both, so I have spent some time tonight getting rid of mildew and repasting wallpaper. I’ll have to paint over the mildew stains with special paint, which we happen to have some of and we had some thick wallpaper glue that will last for a thousand years. Besides, it’s where my new bed is going to go, so it isn’t such a big deal, but it’s a shitty apartment and you always have to have a window open because of the dampness of it. It’s like a cave. It’s got severe disabilities.

So, now I have to wait for my nice little single bed to get here. The bedroom is all ready for it. People joke and say that it’s going to get awfully cramped in my bed, but I think I will do quite well there on my own. That’s why I got it, to be there on my own. I I ever have another man in my life, he will have to sleep on the sofa or go home to his own house.

When the guys were loading up the stuff in the car, the Uberhund kept running in and out of the apartment and had a great time. he thought it was so exciting. At one point he came to get me, who was in the kitchen, but he wanted me to come and join in the fun of it. So, I took my coffee outside and sent admiring glances at the work that the guys did while the Uberhund stood beside me wagging his stubby tail. He is truly a fun and games dog.

Of course, he made a terrible big deal out of the fact that the minion cat was sitting on the Exfactor’s lap and he was ever so jealous and moaned and groaned like an old woman with arthritis. It’s all a terrible show he puts on. He does no such thing at any other time.

Now I am sitting here waiting for sleep to over take me, which it should any minute now. I feel it creeping up on me. I feel hunger in my stomach and thirst in my mouth, so I will go and satisfy them too.

Have a great evening, what’s left of it.


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You can tell that I am suffering from it when I fell asleep behind the computer this afternoon writing an email to the Exfactor. I was nodding of and writing it at the same time and then somehow pushed the send button without properly finishing it and somehow made it to the sofa to fall into a comatose nap, from which the Uberhund awakened me at six o’clock to go for his walk. He is a smart dog. Later I read the email that I sent and it was a bunch of gobbly gook, which I had to rectify with a proper email, because the Exfactor would have been puzzled about what I had been trying to communicate to him. He would have thought I had been drunk or on drugs.

I goes to show you the somewhat delicate nature of my psyche in that I do deliver the product when I have to, but I need days to recuperate afterwards, as if i have been on a dangerous and reckless mission. Simple intensive effort exhausts me and I walk on my knuckles afterwards and drag myself emotionally through the ensuing days. I don’t quite know when I will recover from this completely, because I am still dealing with things like getting the utilities and phone etc put in my name, as if I have not been a user of these products all along for all these years. I have been anonymous tot them, these companies. To them I have not existed and I am a whole new entity.

I am taking the opportunity and changing the Internet, TV and telephone provider to a good old well known Dutch one, but I just hope this doesn’t bring its own whole new set of problems. I may end up with a new telephone number and certainly with a new email address. I will let you all know when the time comes. I will not be making a lot of phone calls, because I have unlimited calls in the country only in the weekends. We wont even speak about calling outside of the country. It is my wish to keep my phone bill at the total limited price, so my sister in Emmen will have to call me instead of me aways calling her, because I am such a good sport. Call me Frugal Momma. It is the survival of the keenest that counts.

Ergo -therapy went fine until we ran into an assignment that I found absolutely impossible to do, while the others threw themselves at it with great enthusiasm, I just froze up and was unable to do the the work to the point that I became distraught and started crying. I was assigned a totally different safe thing instead and my problem will be worked on. The thing is, that you had to take a good sized box and make the inside like yourself the way you are inside and the outside the way you are outside yourself. This seemed like an impossible task to me and very overwhelming and I could not see how it could be done and I froze up with fear. I was afraid of the chaos and the choices and the mess it would create and not knowing how to represent myself and the box was good and perfect the way it was. Even thinking about it now, I feel the resistance.

I am falling a sleep again and I have to walk the dog still, so I better say goodbye now. Have fun slaying dragons.


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