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Posts Tagged ‘family’





Remember how I told you I was stuck in my work book and couldn’t move forward? I had to make a life chart and name all the events and situations in my adult life that had been significant and traumatic enough to have caused a change in mood such as a depression or a period of hypo mania. When faced with that exercise, I completely blanked out and couldn’t think of much significant, which is really kind of silly, because I have had a very eventful life.

Then, yesterday morning, as I was sitting on the sofa getting ready to take the dog for a walk, my mind opened up and I got a piece of paper and wrote down a list of 30 events and situations that had been of great significance and had caused me to have major mood disturbances. Once I started writing, I couldn’t stop and I just kept adding to the list, realizing every time that there was more and more.

Recollecting all these events and situations was actually quite emotional and didn’t leave me unmoved. I hadn’t realized that there had been so much and of such significance. I am not surprised now that my mind has been in such upheaval. Given the genetics and my vulnerability to manic depression, it is no surprise that it did come about full stop. All the ingredients to develop it were in place, if you also keep in mind my childhood, which I am not even adding to the equation.

Vulnerable people ought not to lead very eventful lives, I realize that now. It is not a good combination, but then I also see how many of these events were outside my circle of influence and would have happened no matter what I would have done. The most traumatic things I could not have prevented. However, there are things I could have done differently had I known about manic depression sooner. It would have required a whole lot of insight and understanding into the disorder to have made a difference and I would have required excellent psychiatric care early on.

The problem is that most people who are manic depressed, don’t get diagnosed early on and walk around with the disorder for quite some time. Especially if they are hypo manic and do not get true mania and get psychotic. I know that I hid a lot of my feelings and always pretended to feel a lot better than I actually did and that when I felt happy and carefree, this was just a huge relieve to me, even when it meant that I made insensible decisions then and put a lot at risk.

I hardly ever discussed with anyone the truly miserable state of my feelings, thinking they were a result of my circumstances and that nothing could be done about them. I hardly ever showed anyone the true depth of my despair. I suffered in silence.

Greatly relieved was I when the curtain of depression lifted and I could be happy. I was silly and crazy and daring and carefree. I had fun. I didn’t realize then, that this carefree period was always followed by a depressed period. I wasn’t that smart then. I didn’t have that much insight into myself. Looking back now, I see it all clearly. I always used to think of it as going back into prison. Getting back into my inescapable life sentence.

It’s almost 14 years ago now when I first got my diagnoses and another 7 years ago when I got the diagnoses for the second time. Most of that time, I have tried to live as if it weren’t true. I never really accepted it. Part of me never believed it. A big part of me.

Some time ago, I embraced the whole diagnosis and realized that it did indeed apply to me and that the specialists were right, but it wasn’t until quite recently that I realized that I needed to do more than just embrace it. I also needed to be proactive. Hence my more assertive approach of reading books and becoming a member of the association for manic depressive people. Know your disorder! That’s the most important thing I can say. The worst thing is to be ignorant about what ails you.

Anyway, that’s what I have to say about the manic depressive part. I always hope that people will recognize themselves in this and have a light bulb switch on above their heads. That they will have a ‘Eureka’ moment. It’s hard struggling by yourself in the great unknown.

Yesterday was a nice day. I didn’t accomplish that much, but then again, there wasn’t that much I absolutely needed to do. I did some laundry and cleaned up the kitchen and did exercises in the work book. I walked the dog twice, Eduard walked him the other two times.

It was cold outside and we actually had to turn the heater on for a while during the day, which is unusual. It did get below freezing during the night. We try not to turn the heater on during the day, but we do have to air the apartment, otherwise it gets very damp in here and condensation starts to collect on the windows of the bedrooms and forms in puddles on the windowsills and then drips down the walls. If we don’t air all the time, we get mildew on the walls there and everything in the apartment gets damp. So we open the windows on a crack and also let in the cold air. The problem is, that the windows in the front of the apartment are double glazed, but the windows in the back are single glazed, so this needs to be remedied, but we don’t think the housing corporation will invest.

Eduard worked for a bit in the early afternoon and the dog was beside himself with joy when he came home. It’s so funny how the dog reacts to Eduard coming home and how he is almost lackadaisical when I come home. The other day, he didn’t even get up from his pillow, he just kept right on sleeping. I should be insulted, but I am not, as the dog and I have a good relationship. The cats wait by the front door when they know we are coming home. If they happen to sit in the windowsill and see us walk by, they quickly run to the front door. Sometimes they keep going and run up the stairwell and we have to go and get them and bring them down again. They think that is great fun.

My sister and her family are going to Rome next week where it happens to be cold right now, which she is really bummed out about, because the weather there had been nice until recently. They are going to see all the famous sights and I am sure they will come home with fabulous pictures and equally fabulous stories. They have been to Italy several times, but they have never been to Rome. I am sure that they are going to have a great time, as there is so much to see and I would love to go see it all myself some day. I am sure that the Colosseum will be mighty impressive and so will the church of St. Peter. Much fun will be had and the kids are just old enough to appreciate it all.

I want to go to Paris with Eduard and I really hope
we can make that trip next year. I would love to see the museums properly and just walk around or hop on the metro and journey from one interesting sight to the other. I was there on my own 14 years ago and saw a lot, but I know there is much left to do and see and it will be extra nice to go with Eduard as he speaks French fluently. When I was there, I spent some time in the Louvre, but I know I didn’t see half of it and I very much want to see the Dutch masters better. I know I was very disappointed with the Mona Lisa and I thought it was really no big deal and wondered why everybody made such a to do about it. Maybe that was because it was behind glass and behind a rope and because there was a large group of Japanese tourists in front of it. I probably didn’t appreciate it well enough. Sometimes you see representations of a piece of art so often, that when you see the real thing, it is almost a let down.

Well, I think that’s about it for today. I have switched to decaf now after drinking four cups of regular Senseo and feeling quite well because of it. That caffeine really is wonderful stuff. It really is made for people like me who enjoy their early mornings all by themselves with a pack of cigarettes and a bright computer screen in front of them.

Have a great day, people, whatever you do, wherever you go. Ciao…

P.S. Omega Mum saw it fit to give me an award today and I am very pleased with it. You can admire it in my side bar. I have to pass it on, but I need to think of who I am going to pass it on to, so give me a little bit of time. Thanks Omega Mum!

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I realize that I write a lot about my father in the positive sense and that, if I talk about my mother at all, it is more in the negative sense. That is because I have resolved my issues with my father mostly, but not with my mother. My issues involving my mother go much deeper and involve some deep seated anger that I have been unable to deal with until now. I don’t know if I will ever be able to resolve it. My childhood was effected by her very much in the negative sense and she did not stop having this negative impact on me until I graduated from high school and landed a job with some status. It seems that I didn’t become a legitimate human being to her until that time and I am left to this day with a lot of questions and unresolved anger. Mostly I don’t give it much thought anymore, but when I was writing about my father yesterday, I realized that I could not write with the same amount of fondness about my mother and I started to think about why that was. A lot of memories rose up and I have been unable to stop thinking about them and I realize that I have to deal with them somehow.

Until I was a teenager, I very much was my father’s child and my mother never let me forget it. She had a very complicated relationship with my father and a lot of it was built on her contempt for him. Because I was my father’s child, I was the recipient of a lot of this contempt also and it was hard growing up with it. I have thought about going into details here, but I have decided against it so far, because I don’t want to speak badly of the dead who can not defend themselves. Let it suffice to say that my mother had a cruel streak and that I very much felt that and that, as a result of that, I grew up to be a very insecure person. It took me a lot of time and energy to get over that later on in life.

When I became a legitimate person in her eyes, our relationship changed, but because of that, I was unable to ever have it out with her. I never confronted her with the things that she was responsible for. The dynamics of the relationship changed and because I lived so far away, it was easy to forget the past and to only concentrate on the here and now, which involved seeing her for a few weeks every year. I pushed away my own childhood and the indignities I suffered. I never demanded retribution.

My mother has been dead eighteen years now and I notice that I still at times get angry about a lot of it. I still haven’t figured out what made her the way she was and what made her such a cruel mother at times, the way she could be a cruel wife to my father. I don’t remember her with love in my heart, although I cried like a child when I saw her laying in her casket. I think that was also because of the way her life ended so abruptly, so cruelly.

So, I can write with great fondness about my childhood with my father and not write with equal fondness about my mother. I will keep writing with fondness about my father and my memories of him and my childhood. Even though he was an emotionally unstable man, he was not a dangerous man for me. He never was an angry or hurtful father. My mother, on the other hand, was also an emotionally unstable person, but she was dangerous to me by way of her cruelty and I can’t forget that. She took out her madness on me. I just don’t know what her madness was. She always thought it was fine if my father was put away in a psychiatric hospital, but she denied ever having any problems herself. I hold her responsible for that.

Anyway, the things your childhood can do with you! It lingers on forever. I was so determined to have a ‘normal’ life when I grew up and had my own family. Sometimes I succeeded, sometimes I didn’t, in the end I did not. I entered adulthood burdened with emotional baggage, the extent of which I didn’t even know. It’s a shame that it has taken me all these years to get the story straight. I was so good at pretending that everything was alright when it wasn’t. I thought a tortured mind was a normal ingredient of life. I thought eternal sadness belonged to it. I thought that if you really did your best and if you had all the right things, i.o.w. the right house, the right furniture, the right car, then life would treat you right and you would live happily ever after. I thought the reward for suffering was goodness and happiness.

Now I know better and I know that suffering has no function at all and that it is a complete waste of time. The object is to get it out of your life as quickly as possible and to strive for a ‘normal’ life as quickly as you can. Normal is not waking up in the morning filled with self hatred, it means loving the person you are with, it means having the least amount of emotional baggage to lug around. It means having the space to breathe deeply and to look around and see all of life, not just the shallow space you are suspended in. It means unconditional love and being loved unconditionally. I always aim for normality and soberness and discover uniqueness and variety along the way.

Anyway, yes, I loved my father and yes, my feelings for my mother were very confusing. I hope never to have feelings like that for anyone else in this life again, not to that extent. I have learned not to get into relationships with dysfunctional people, at least not the kind of relationships in which I am a dependant. In which my emotional well being is dependent on that person’s emotional stability. Eduard is incredibly normal, while at the same time he is not at all, but very unique and not at all an average sort of person. He just doesn’t carry a lot of emotional baggage with him and he is very functional. He doesn’t play any sort of games that I am aware of. He is a very healthy person to be with.

So, today I weigh 92.9 kilos and I really don’t care that much today. I know that I am not losing the weight I should, because it is too easy for me to still eat too much. Sometimes it feels as if I have no gastric band at all. No, I am not overeating, but I am eating more than I should for losing weight. I basically just keep going up and down a few ounces and I never seem to go on a downward slope anymore. I could if I really watched what I ate, but sometimes I am just hungry. Yesterday I had raisin crackers because I craved something sweet. I searched the kitchen and found those. That was very satisfying. I also saw that we have some powdered chocolate to make hot chocolate with. That is so very tempting. This gastric band really needs to be filled, that’s the whole purpose of the thing.

Yesterday, I gave the cats some special food out of little pouches. They loved that! Having the three of them certainly makes life very easy. I think the cats like the fact that there is more room for them and I make it a point to give them the proper attention. When I see one, I pet him/her and I get rewarded by a purring cat.

Eduard went to see about Lotje and Pieke yesterday. It turned out that Lotje was up in the attic, but she came down immediately when she heard Eduard’s voice and started purring and rubbing against him to be petted. She does come down to eat, so she is okay. There is no sign of Pieke, so she most likely has escaped and is now on the run. The new owner is going to hang up lost cat notices in the village. I have to honestly say that we don’t miss Lotje and Pieke very much, as it is a lot less stressful around here and there a no more cat skirmishes. We think about their well being, but that is as far as it goes. If we know they are alright, we don’t mind them being gone. We do hope that Pieke shows up again, but maybe she will adopt another family if she gets hungry enough and that problem will solve itself.

I have different feelings about Nour
i
and giving her up would be very difficult. I really hope not to have to do it. We have thought about giving the neighbors some boxes or bags of pellets that will keep the cats out of their little garden. We will talk to them anyway this week and hope to reach some compromise with them.

I slept late this morning after going to bed early, so that was nice. I did some more laundry yesterday, but I was unable to dry it outside because of the rain. I ended up hanging it in the bathroom to dry, it will just take longer. I did all the ironing, but there wasn’t that much to do. I do keep on top of that. As long as I am doing the laundry and the ironing, all is well with me.

This morning I have my appointment with the people of the city about my job training. I just hope that the weather will be dry when I have to go, as I am going by bike. The bus won’t take me there. Outside it is very stormy. We saw on the news last night how bad the floods are in parts of England. People there are up to their waists in water and worse. The rivers Avon and Severn are flooded and they think the Thames will flood also, because they are expecting much more rain. Let’s all hope that Eleanor and her family are okay.

Now I have to go and feed the cats and walk the dog. Duty calls me, but I do it with pleasure. Boy, you should hear the wind howl around the building!

Have a wonderful day, ciao…

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Today I weigh 94.2 kilos again, so that is encouraging. Got rid of those 2 extra ounces. I ate funny too yesterday. I had one small glass of juice, two pieces of fruit pie with whipped cream, one piece of cheese, some Melba toast and one tall glass of milk. I thought I really blew it with eating those two pieces of pie, but maybe that wasn’t too bad after all. It was fresh fruit, glazed just a little bit and oh, so delicious.

So, yesterday morning we celebrated my brother in law’s birthday, and I was wrong, the kids weren’t there. My nephew was at football camp for the weekend and my niece was at a dance rehearsal, so it was just us grown ups. And my brother in law turned 44, not 46 like I thought. Shows you how well informed I am. Anyway, he liked the socks and is taking them to Italy with him next week, when he will be riding into the mountains with a large group of friends.

So we talked and talked and enjoyed the pie, of which I only had one piece then, and then my sister and I went to pick up my niece at her dance rehearsal. This was at a village some miles from town in a pretty river valley. We got there a little early and watched my niece dance and saw what natural talent she has and how uninhibited she is when she dances. She is actually good enough to go to the Academy of Dance in Antwerp, but she does not want to become a professional dancer.

Anyway, we drove home the scenic route and enjoyed all the pretty countryside. Everything was so lush and green with all the rain we had been having. When we got back to my sister’s house, Eduard and the dog had left to go home already, after Eduard had installed a new outside electric box, so I went home also. Once home, I vacuumed the whole apartment and then Eduard mopped everything and we can’t get it much cleaner than that, but I am still itching this morning, although not as badly as yesterday.

Then my sister called to say that all the electricity had gone off in the living room, so Eduard went to check what the problem was, if it was the new electric box, and came home with the extra piece of pie and let me eat that, because it looked so good and I couldn’t withstand the temptation. Eduard shares easily. Well, in this case he didn’t share, he gave away. Sometimes I have to be really bad, or as bad as my gastric band allows me to be. The pie is very light and airy and I think that if it were anything else, I wouldn’t be able to eat it all at once.

I didn’t fall asleep on the sofa once yesterday. I managed to stay awake the whole day, even when we were watching a boring program like the motorcycle GP in England. But when it was 9 pm, I was more then ready to go to bed and I conked out in no time at all. Still, I am only sleeping about six hours every night and that really isn’t much at all and I wonder if I will last the day today.

I talked to my daughter in the afternoon and, because she doesn’t call me every day now, she said that she doesn’t want me to feel neglected. I think that is very sweet of her, and no, I don’t feel neglected. I think that, as long as I know that every thing is okay at her end, I certainly don’t have to talk to her every day. It isn’t necessary and I think even an email every now and then saying, hi, everything is fine, would be just fine. I think we are both grown up enough to go and each live our separate lives without checking in with each other all the time. Although I am always available as a listening ear day and night, of course. But that is normal. I don’t want her to feel the burden of having to call me all the time. I want her to call me when it is necessary for her to talk to me, when I can help her with something. Other then that, she can call me once in a week and tell me about all the good things in her life and I will do the same.

As I type this, the rain is literally pouring out of the sky by the buckets full. There seems to be no end to the amount of rain that we are getting. More is coming our way this week and it isn’t supposed to ease up until the end of it. I just hope it is dry when Eduard has to go to work this morning. He had his mobile phone on for five minutes last night and promptly got called by one of the volunteers who was having a problem with one of the projectors. Eduard shut his phone off again after that.

I am so sober minded this morning and so little inspired to write things down. I am sitting here thinking of stuff to write about, but my mind is coming up empty. Yesterday wasn’t such an exciting day, nothing spectacular happened, and nothing is weighing heavily on my mind. All that comes to mind are song texts like, You Are Always On My Mind, and Running on Empty. That won’t do at all, Irene. Think!

Oh yes, I was wrong about my nephew taking Latin and Greek, it is my niece who takes Latin and Greek, not my nephew. He will just take four foreign languages, English, German, French and Spanish. My niece takes three foreign languages and Latin and Greek. She doesn’t take Spanish. It’s so hard to keep track of it all. The Gymnasium and the Atheneum are equally difficult high schools, just some of the subjects that are taught there are different, like the Latin and Greek. They are all in one college. The subjects that they have in common are all taught at the same level, like mathematics, for instance. The grades are from one to ten, with five being a failing grade and an eight being a very good grade. You would have to be very good to get a nine. That’s all I know about that.

I just went to a regular high school for kids who were smart enough, but not quite smart enough to go straight to university. I wish it had been different. I could have gone on to another kind of college and prepared for university, but I think we were all relieved when I got my diploma and found a good job. I was secretary of the purchasing department of a large American company in my hometown. That’s how I met my ex. Yes, those fateful days. Little did I know then what my eventful life would look like. I could not have imagined it.

My job was a lot of fun. I worked for some great people and I always enjoyed going to work. I was always full of stories when I came home at the end of the day. A lot of fun was had by all in my office that I shared with another girl. Everybody who had to be in the purchasing department, came by our office first to have a chat and a laugh. Sometimes it was pure slapstick in there. I don’t know how we got any work done sometimes, but we did. Sometimes it was dead serious and we really felt the time pressure. My immediate boss was a great human being and we are still in touch now and always have been. I will see him and his wife when I go up north in the fall. I was fond of all the people in my department and had good working relationships with them. For some of them, I also baby sat, so I got to know them really well. I worked there for two years before I left to go to the States. So, I left behind my family, my friends, my job and my colleagues. And I did it so lightly, as only someone my age could have done it. Boy, what were we thinking!

When I came to the States, I saw palm trees outside the airport terminal and I thought a hill was a mountain, coming from a flat country, and I thought my mother in law was like Lucille Ball. My ex had had rented an apartment and furnished it with second hand furniture, which was fine, as we were just beginning, but the lamps were very American. It was all a lot to take in and I think it was a bit overwhelming at first. My ex came from a large family and we had a hard time remembering who everybody and their partners were at first. They were a noisy family and we had to get used to that a bit. Everybody drank a lot, but we thought, and saw, that this was an American custom. I think in the seventies, everybody drank a lot. It was like everybody was an alcoholic, although the term wasn’t used then. Everybody arrived with a six pack under their arm. What
did we know! We really were so naive!

I think a lot of times in my life I was too young to be doing the things I was doing and I was taking on too much responsibility for the age I was. I wish my parents had slowed me down and kept me younger for a longer time. Had kept me in school longer and had kept me from growing up so fast. I just wasn’t ready for a lot of it. It has taken me a while to really become a grown up, I am a bit of a late bloomer. I didn’t realize that myself until it was too late. When I was twenty and had two kids and an alcoholic husband and a depression. Boy…

On to happier times and those are now. I have never felt as much in charge of my life as I do now. I am not always in charge of my moods, having a mood disorder, but I know what happens to me and what to do about it when it happens. I have read so many books about it in the past six months that I am well informed now. And I have a very good partner who is also my best friend. I see this as the second half of my life and I am going to get this right. As they say in the Netherlands, with a lot of falling and standing up again. Actually, I don’t think there will be that much falling, at least not from any great heights. I am happy when I wake up in the morning, that is important. I remember the days when I got up and turned around and went back to bed again, utterly defeated. It won’t ever get that bad again, I hope. I won’t be doing any magical thinking about this. I have to be sober minded and practical. That’s the way to tackle that.

Oh yes, by the way, I called a movie that I watched the other day, The Inside Man. That was the wrong title. It was called The Island, about the clones that were bred for replacement parts. Duh…

Well, now the cats are really being persistent about being fed. I will walk the dog shortly, because it has stopped raining and I have to take the chance.

Have a wonderful day you all, lost of sunshine I hope. Ciao…

P.S. It is very quiet in the apartment with Eduard gone and the cats and Jesker asleep. I don’t mind the quietness, it is kind of nice. There is a tranquility to it that is pleasant. I am going to clean the bathroom and hang up some laundry to dry. Eduard’s clothes and rags that got very dirty from having worked on the motorcycle. It was a challenge to try and get those clean. I have to make another pot of coffee and I am trying to decide if I should switch to all decaf yet. My eyes are constantly stingy, I assume that is from the allergies. Ciao…

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Today I would like to be weightless, instead of that I weigh 94.4 kilos, so that is 2 ounces more than yesterday, but is it is still a total weight loss of 31 kilos. Therefore, I shall not complain too much. I’ll grumble just a little bit…

This is what I had yesterday, one small glass of juice, one piece of cumin cheese, one pear, one piece of Maasdammer cheese, some Melba toast, another piece of Maasdammer cheese and a tall glass of milk. Oh yes, and a small piece of bread that I shared with the dog. Eduard had gotten a fresh loaf a bread from the store and it was so tempting, so I had a piece of that. Luckily, the dog was there to share it with. That way I didn’t have to eat it all by myself. Somehow that makes it less bad…

Yesterday was another sleepy day. After getting up so early in the morning and doing some housework like the dishes and the laundry and the ironing, I went back to bed for an hour and a half and slept really well. I thought I got it out of my system then, but later in the afternoon, I fell asleep again on the sofa for a few hours. Then, after dinner, I fell asleep again for another hour. I guess it wasn’t the Oxazepam that was making me sleepy, but lack of sleep during the night. I’ll have to refigure things all over again.

That doesn’t mean that I’m going back to the Oxazepam, I see no need to. I fall asleep fine with the Temazepam and I seem to get the same amount of sleep. I also like not being under the influence of anything during the day, that is important to me. If my religious feelings were a manifestation of the Oxazepam, I am certainly not going back to it. I want any experience like that to come out of a sober mind, as I want to experience all things sober minded. I even want to wash the dishes sober minded. And I am sure that the Oxazepam, which is a tranquilizer after all, influenced me in my daily life, because I notice that while watching TV, for instance. I am much less patient with watching dumb programs. I was probably experiencing things more through rose colored glasses.

Regardless of having slept so much yesterday, I still rated the day a seven, because I did feel good. That is in spite of the fact that I didn’t wear any make up and no jewelry. I just scrubbed my face with face wash and that was it. My nose was shiny and bright all day. Just like Rudolf’s. A seven rating is always very welcome, I like rating myself with a seven even when I am out west on the sofa. Being out west means being sound asleep or unconscious.

I looked up allergic dermatitis on the Internet and found out that you can get that from airborne allergens too. I already thought so, but I wasn’t sure. It is also called atopic dermatitis. Today I also have it on my hands, it started off with a small patch some days ago and now it has spread to both my hands between my thumbs and forefingers. It’s very irritating, because I want to type and scratch at the same time. I’ll have to use the ointment on that also then. We used the new lotion on my head. Eduard applies it with cotton balls, and it really burns when he puts it on. That’s the alcohol in it. I don’t think it will get rid of it, but maybe we can stop it from spreading. My head is itching as I type this, and I realize that I scratch it a lot without really thinking about it. I remember having eczema behind my ear as a kid and my mother putting ointment on it. Nobody thought of allergies back then.

This morning we are going to my sister’s to celebrate my brother in law’s birthday. He is turning 46, I think. We bought him two pairs of socks to wear especially for when he is on his racing bike. He is real serious about that and goes with his friends to the mountains in foreign countries and climbs them like they do in the Tour de France and the Giro. The socks are very special and expensive, so we hope he is happy with them. It will be a nice visit, as Pa and Ma will be there still and the kids will be there also. My nephew has gotten his report card and my sister said that it was very good and next year he is going to Atheneum Plus, which is a very high form of high school. He’ll be taking four foreign languages plus Latin and Greek. The kid is just a whiz and so is his sister, who is going to Gymnasium 3, which is another high form of high school. They are both very much like my daughter, who was always also very good about making her homework and whom we never had to push when it came to anything school related. We are very lucky that way. My ex always says that my daughter got her brains from me, but I never performed as well in school. My daughter was much more tenacious.

Lest I forget, it is officially summertime now, but you can’t tell by the weather. It has been cool and very rainy. The 21st of June was the longest day and the sun didn’t go down until well after 10 pm. The long term forecast isn’t very good. It doesn’t look like there is any warm weather coming our way for a while. Well, I have clothes for both kinds of weather, so that is okay. It is so nice to open the closet door and to just reach in there and pull out something that fits and looks good. On Friday, Ma saw me come walking down the street with the dog, and she said that she recognized the dog, but she didn’t recognize me. Apparently, I am also walking differently, besides being skinnier. There is more bounce to my step. She saw me last when I had lost 20 kilos and it seems that those extra 11 extra kilos really made a difference.

Eduard has been up to get his glass of juice and his first cup of coffee. He watched Young Orange play Young Serbia last night and Young Orange won 4-1. Eduard said it was a very good game. These are all under 21 and they were playing for the European Championship. I remember falling asleep while Eduard was cheering them on. Shows you how deeply I sleep, because I didn’t hear him after that and I am sure he made a lot of noise with every goal. Eduard doesn’t watch football a lot, but he does watch all the important games and then he is very enthusiastic. I also get excited when Holland plays for the European Cup or for the World Cup, I sure yell a lot then. I am also among the first to critique them when they play badly. Dutch people are very good at critiquing their own teams. That’s to prevent us from getting an attitude. We’re very Jewish that way.

I didn’t have the regular cat food for the cats this morning and gave them some that they had stopped liking some time ago, but now they are eating it with gusto. Except for Toby, he doesn’t like it at all, but then he eats a lot of dried food, so that is okay. The cats will never cease to surprise me when it comes to their food. I think all the cat food smells bad, so I’m always surprised that they eat it anyway.

If the weather were better, I would like to go to Aachen this afternoon and see the cathedral there. It is in Germany and Charlemagne is buried there. I had visions of going places on the motorcycle with Eduard, but the weather has really not been cooperative. Then, of course, there were those four days last week when Eduard was working on the motorcycle. It has been out of commission longer than that. Then there was I with my toe, not being able to walk, or not being able to walk long distances. Eduard’s three weeks of vacation have passed by very quickly and tomorrow he has to go back to work, but he says he is going to take some weeks off later in the fall. He has quite a few hours of overtime left that he can take as vacation time. We had many plans, but real life caught up with us, as is usual. I was lucky that Eduard was home wh
en I had my toe operated on.

Aachen isn’t too far away from here. It would only take us a half hour to get there. It is a pretty town with a nice downtown area. In the restaurants they serve wonderful coffee with very nice Torte. The cathedral is beautiful, even when you have fallen of your faith, it is historically interesting. My daughter is related to Charlemagne through her father, so that makes that more interesting. She is related to a lot of royalty through one woman marrying into the family in the 17th century, if I remember correctly. I have it all written down somewhere. The family even has its own coat of arms stemming out of England. My family also has a coat of arms stemming out of Germany. My German ancestor came to the Netherlands in 1648 at the end of the 80 Year War. He fought in it on the Dutch side. I don’t know exactly when my French ancestor came to the Netherlands. He was here in 1724, but he was probably a French Huguenot, escaping prosecution in France, or a descendant of. A lot of Huguenots escaped to The Netherlands and also to the Channel Islands. On Jersey you find people with French surnames. In the Netherlands too. Some Huguenots went to the New World and settled in places like New Amsterdam, which later became New York. Because their surnames were pronounced differently in English, the spelling changed too and you don’t always recognize their surnames as being French. La Maitre became LeMeter, for instance.

Oh, everything about me is itching, my ears, my head, my hands. It is driving me crazy! I probably need to vacuum more often and why do I have to have five cats and a dog? I must not have been thinking straight. I am definitely vacuuming later today, even though it is Sunday, it can’t be helped. Ma was saying that nowadays, they think it is better to have carpet when you have allergies, because it holds the allergens better and doesn’t allow them to blow around all over the place like they do when you have a smooth surface like we do. Well, you live and learn and that may just be true. Still, I don’t see us going out and buying carpet for the apartment. It would cost a small fortune and we do have to think about any fleas that the cats bring home with them and that then would jump on the dog. Nothing is perfect.

Well, it is time to walk the dog and get a bit of fresh air. Hopefully my immune system will like that. Some fresh rain cleaned air.

Have a wonderful day, people. When are any of you starting your own weblog? Ciao…

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I am up very bright and early today, but I went to bed very early last night. It was just after 8 pm and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I went to bed and read my book, sitting up in bed first while I drank my glass of milk, but I fell asleep sitting up and slumped sideways toward the nightstand and woke up in a funny position a few minutes later. I am on the last page of the Joan Didion book and I will have to go back to my boring old library book this evening. It has never taken me so long to read my library books! Normally I read whenever I sit down, but lately I have not been doing that at all, reading only when I go to bed at night, when I fall asleep so quickly. I think I associate reading with being in a more depressed mood and being sleepy, so I am avoiding it during the day. Of course, there have been times that I was so depressed, that I could not read at all. That was a real tragedy. I couldn’t follow the plot of a book or remember from one page to the next what it was all about. Even reading a tabloid magazine was hard then. Then there are times when I read up to eight books a week and hardly do anything else. Eduard is that way, when he sits down, he reads. It an automatism. It runs in his family. His mother knitted and read at the same time.

This morning I weigh 95.7 kilos. Do you think that is close enough to me saying that I have lost 30 kilos when I really have only lost 29.7? Well, I think so, so that is what I am going to say. Darn the three ounces. Yesterday I had a small glass of juice, a pear, a small piece of peach pie, a tomato salad with a boiled egg, a piece of Maasdammer cheese, a small piece of cherry pie and a glass of milk. You can see that I really partied yesterday. Eduard brought home the little pies from the bakery. I don’t know why, but they sure tasted good. They were really one person pies, at least, that’s the way I looked at them, but I only ate half of them. I shouldn’t have, but I did. Sometimes my self control is out the window. I was full, but not uncomfortably so, and I think it is a good thing that my gastric band is going to be filled some more in the very near future.

I think the tomato salad is a definite keeper in the menu right now. It tastes good and it is healthy and I feel that I do get my vitamins from it, plus the oil that I need. It is my main meal of the day, but when the gastric band is filled again, I don’t think I will be able to eat it all in one sitting, it will take me twice to eat it. The tomatoes are very good. They taste like real tomatoes and are very meaty. We keep them at room temperature, because they taste better than when you take them out of the refrigerator and eat them cold. Some of the flavor is gone then.

Yesterday, I made a leek pie, although I suppose you could call it a quiche, which we don’t. It is to take with us to Almelo, as we are all providing some of the food. I won’t be eating any of it myself, because it has meat in it, but it is one of Eduard’s favorite dishes and I make it for him.

You finely cut the white parts of the leeks with a bit of the light green parts also. About three good sized leeks. These you cook in a large pan in some butter on medium heat while stirring, until everything goes limp and is reduced in size. For flavor you add a small handful of marjoram, some nutmeg (be liberal) and salt. When the leek is limp, take it off the fire and stir in half a bag of grated cheese. Could be cheddar. Stir well and let it sit with the lid on the pan. Brown some lean ground beef, salted and peppered, and drain of any fat. Mix the beef with the leeks. Butter an oven dish. Layer the dish with puff pastry, don’t cut of any that hangs over the sides of the dish. Fill the oven dish with the leek/beef mixture. Spread out well. Beat three eggs and pour over mixture. Fold over it any puff pastry that is hanging over the sides. Bake in oven for about 45 to 50 minutes. The pastry should be golden brown when it is done. Bake it at the same temperature as any pie. I bake it at gas stand 5, but that won’t help you too much, I guess. Let it sit for about 15 minutes before you cut it into pieces. Don’t be too eager to eat it, it will be hot. You can also eat this cold or heated up piece by piece in the microwave.

Yesterday, I vacuumed, but I didn’t mop the floors. After I vacuumed the floors and the sofa, I was out of breath and thought, the heck with it! I’ll mop another day! Eduard was in and out running errands for himself and doing some shopping. He kept going out in between rain showers and thunder and lightening. I watched the movie Jaws on the film channel and had forgotten what an exciting movie that was. Especially that last part on the boat when they end up killing the shark. And that wonderful bit of music! It’s a real classic!

I talked to my daughter in the evening and she told me that she was reading a book about depressions that was very interesting and informative and did away with a lot of the misconceptions that the average person has about depressions. For example, that a depression is a lack of willpower and if you only tried hard enough, you wouldn’t have one. Or a depression is a fault in your character that needs to get fixed. And that some people still question if a depression should be treated with medication, while nobody questions if an infection should be treated with antibiotics. Anyway, she said it was a real good book and she is going to send it to me as soon as she is done with it. I have just sent her a book about dysthymia which is chronic mild depression, interrupted sometimes by a deeper depression, sometimes by a better mood. I don’t think interrupted is the right word, but I can’t think of a better one. There is so much to learn about mental health as there are still so many myths about it. That is why I always want to write about it openly.

For the past week, I have only given myself sixes, once even a five, and these aren’t very high ratings at all. There is a real difference between a six and a seven. I think I am getting the sixes because I am feeling some degree of anxiety. I notice this because of the chest pains I sometimes get and I know that I don’t have any heart problems. I also get grouchy sometimes, and that is not my normal cheerful self at all. I am not constantly anxious, there are just periods in the day when I am. Usually it helps to be distracted by something, but sometimes it is nice to just sit in silence and contemplate my thoughts. Then it is really nice to be home alone, all by myself, and to just stare into space. Some moments of total nothingness. I feel the weight drop off my shoulders then. It is easy to get into a meditative state, something I have been able to do since I was a kid. Drop out for a bit, so to say.

So, today we are off to Almelo. The dog gets to travel in the back of the Volvo. He likes going places, because we stop a couple of times and let him have a run in the rest areas. He always thinks this is very interesting. It is more fun to go places when the dog comes along. He is like our child and we see the world through his eyes. It will be good to see the family also. My one sister in law is a therapist, but has been suffering from a burn out herself and I am curious to see how she is doing now. Eduard’s twin brother will be his normal overbearing self, and after a while, I will wish to paste him behind the wallpaper, as the saying goes. Although he does behave better in the company of his oldest brother. Eduard’s twin brother is the less appealing version of Eduard. It is the evil twin. No, just kidding. It isn’t really that bad!

I think I will go now and walk the dog and clean up the kitchen and do all that stuff before we leave bright and early. Have a wonderful day everybody. Ciao…

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Today I weigh 96 kilos, so a little bit too much, but I know it is because I am constipated and I have not been to the bathroom properly in some days. I have been drinking natural laxative tea and I am waiting for that to work. See how I reveal all in this weblog! Yesterday I had Melba toast twice and Maasdammer cheese twice and half a boiled potato, along with some juice and a tall glass of milk. I wasn’t that hungry and that was enough food for me.

Yesterday was a restful day. I cleaned up the kitchen and hung up some laundry to dry and that was it for the house chores part. I could have vacuumed, but I decided it wasn’t that urgent and I will do that today. I watched some TV and I checked the film channels a few times, but there weren’t any films on that I wanted to watch. I pretty much just contemplated my navel and was lazy. I did get all dressed properly and fixed my hair and put on my make up. Still, I rated the day with only a six, because it was just not a very exciting day and I didn’t feel very excited. Maybe I should give yesterday a six and a half for having put my make up on. Nah…

Eduard was gone to Belgium all afternoon to help the fellow motorcyclist, who turned out to be a woman who is also a sculptress, so she sounds like a very interesting person. It seems that she does a lot of restoration work, besides making her own sculptures. Any woman who rides her own motorcycle, and isn’t afraid of taking it apart, earns a merit in my book. I will have to meet her some day.

Anyway, Eduard came home at six, all worn out, smelling of motor oil, with dirty clothes and oil on his face and hands. You could tell he had a fun afternoon. When he left there, his motorcycle wouldn’t start and they had to change the motor oil in it before he could leave. Luckily, she gave him two glasses of juice and a cheese sandwich, because he was about to pass out from a hypoglycemic attack. Too much work and not enough food and Eduard will faint. That’s why he always eats so much and so often. I told him that from now on he is not to leave the apartment without a bottle of juice in his back pack. We don’t want him ending up in the hospital again!

Yesterday afternoon I went to my GP. Firstly to ask him about my chronic constipation and secondly to ask him about my painful knees. As to my constipation he said that it was fine for me to drink the natural laxative tea on a daily basis. As long as it is a herbal remedy, he has no problems with me using that. He also said that I should take a spoonful of olive oil every day. This has been known to work.

About my painful knees he said, that they had been overburdened by the extra weight for ten years and that they had become worn out in the joints a bit. Now I am very active and overburdening them again. He said I am running around like an eighteen year old and I just couldn’t do that and that it will take a year for my knees to catch up with my level of activity and to take it just a bit slower from now on. So, no bicycling up hill. I suppose I will take the bus a little more often, or avoid the tunnel at the railroad tracks. He said not to wear any braces on them (which are like cuffs), because that would give me a false sense of security and make things even worse.

Then my daughter called and I told her about having to take the spoonful of olive oil and she told me to make a little salad with cut up tomato, some garlic, salt, pepper, oil and vinegar and eat that. Then I get the olive oil and eat tasty and healthy at the same time. Smart girl! I had not thought of that myself. I just saw myself take a spoonful of oil, Yuck! I can make a small enough portion for me to eat at once and if I can’t eat it all at once I can eat it in two sittings.

Eduard and I went to bed at 9:30 and I fell asleep quickly. I woke up in the middle of the night, because I had to go to the bathroom very urgently and almost didn’t make it. Then I decided that I was awake and turned on my bedside light and tried to read, which of course I couldn’t, because I passed out again very quickly. I think Eduard turned off my light. At least I am not getting up to get food and waking up in the morning with bits of food in my bed of which I don’t remember how they got there. That was when I had diabetes, but didn’t know it yet. I was always craving sugary things then. Like raisin bread and cake.

My diabetes is gone now. Every once in a while I check my blood sugars, but they are always okay, even when I have had juice to drink. I am assuming that my cholesterol will be better now also and my blood pressure. It hasn’t been checked for some time, but one of these days my thyroid needs to be checked and those things can be done then also. I am still taking 2 mg of thyroid medication, but my GP thinks it will be lowered as I loose more weight. I think I will notice myself if it is becoming too much. Increased heart rate and the shakes, etc. That’s what happened when it worked too fast a long time ago. And talk about emotions gone haywire!

As I sit here, I am bathing in the light of the Bright Light Energy Lamp. Even though it is summertime, I want to keep using it when I rate myself with fives and sixes as I have done for the last couple of days. Actually, I need a better table to set it on, even closer to me next to the computer. I’ll have to ask Eduard if he can think of a solution to this. Maybe something can be arranged quite easily. I suppose we could move the computer closer to the lamp, but I don’t know if there will be enough room for it then. Problem number one for today. Find a high enough table. Or, find a bigger computer table. Ikea may have the solution. I’ll have to check the website.

Some cats have gathered, but the dog has gone to sleep patiently on his pillow. I have just started a new pot of coffee. Eduard has been out here twice to get a cup. I think he is laying in bed now reading a book. It has been nice for him to get to sleep early in the evenings. Usually he goes to sleep quite late and now he is catching up on all of it. That’s part of the function of a vacation, after all. One of the other parts is to get a tan, but we won’t bother with that, being the sensible people that we are.

Last night I dreamed that I was sitting in a bus with some people that I had not seen for a long time. They were old acquaintances and they were asking me what had been happening in my life. Then they asked me about my children and I had to say that Brion had died, and when I did, I started to cry something awful. It was as if I heard it for the first time myself and I just buckled under by the grief. I suppose that inside of me, there is a part that will not accept that Brion is gone and that part is keeping him alive. As if he is still living in Alaska and I could get on a plane to see him there. It is such a long journey, that I will not undertake it lightly, so I will not go and check to see if he is still there. But a tiny part of me believes it. It will not accept that he is not there. In a small part of my mind, Brion is in the wilds of Alaska, fishing for salmon in some wild rough river. I suppose he will always be there.

These last three years, my focus has been on my daughter. It has been so important for me to see her happy. It has been hard for me to give her much support when I was not feeling all that great myself, but in my better moments, I was able to support her and talk to her like any other regular mother. My depression waned like the moon. From a full moon to a new moon. It is amazing what you can mean to another person even when you are depressed for yourself. There is some inner well out of which you dip some wisdom. You are not totally inarticulate and incapable of thought. I love my daughter very much and I see her being brave in her life and being a mom and a student and I see how much energy that requires. I am glad that she has her inner strengths and so much insight into her o
wn mind. Losing her brother was hard on her and I know that she carries the spirit of him with her closely.

This family has had quite a bit of grief to deal with during its existence. When you think of it all, it sounds like s script for a movie of a draft for a book. That isn’t even funny. It is a shame that life didn’t slow down and become more manageable until quite recently. At least, it feels that way to me. It may not be that easy to deal with yet for some other members. I would love for everything to settle down to a dull roar. Having said that, I do like it when my own life isn’t quite a dull roar, I do appreciate the hypo-manic episodes, but that is because I am not doing anything crazy now. Eduard is watching out for me, as I am myself. But for everybody else I would like the dull roar. Or does that sound too boring? Maybe a life that is mostly very stable with some highlights every once in a while. When I talk about this family, I also mean my sisters and their offspring, not just me and mine.

I never talk about my older sister. She lives in the north of the country and her husband has been living with a transplanted heart for 16 years now, which is pretty incredible. He does have complications sometimes and he takes all sort of medicines, but so far, so good. He can’t work anymore and they have their own store attached to their house and my sister runs the place along with my grown up niece, who is their only child. My niece is married and also has a daughter, who is ten years old and a very pretty and sportive girl who plays tennis. I don’t see my oldest sister very often, but we talk on the phone about once a month. The trip there takes about 4 hours with stops to let the dog out and smoke a cigarette. We did it last summer, but it was very tiring. This sister is five years older than I am and we spent lots of time together when we were children. We have a lot of shared memories. I don’t get to spend much time with her alone, there are always other people around, but I would love to have a good talk with her some day. She doesn’t leave home much on her own, for fear that something will happen to her husband when she is gone. She also has a very busy life without much time off. She is a smoker just like I am, as was our father. It’s how we medicate ourselves.

My younger sister is seven years younger than I am and I left home when I was seventeen, so I did not watch her grow up, although I spent a lot of time with her before that. I was kind of her second mother and taught her a lot of things like reading and math and sex education. Yes, I really did. My mother thought I would be good for that along with a detailed pamphlet out of a woman’s magazine. Anyway, after I left, my youngest sister raised herself and became quite rebellious in her relationship with our mother, just as our mother had been in her relationship with her mother. She did go on to university and got a degree in education, so everything turned out fine. She was a very dedicated student. But I don’t know how she turned out the way she did. I missed all of that. I think that if I had been around, things might have been a little different. Not better maybe, just different. I know she felt very much alone in it all, in the battle between my mother and my father.

Well, such memories. I always wanted to have a brother and had a son instead. I knew nothing about boys and found it a whole new ballgame. I did like all the boy toys. Electric racing cars and Lego’s.

Now I have to walk the dog and feed the cats, they are all becoming quite pushy, I can’t ignore them any longer. So, have a good day people, ciao for now…

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This morning I went on the scales and much to my relief, I weigh 97.1 kilos. So, now I have lost 28.3 kilos, but why I have after yesterday, I really don’t know. I ate my fill, and at one point I even wanted to eat a slice of bread with peanut butter, that’s how much I was craving that, but I stopped myself and just had a glass of milk instead. I did eat two pears and three pieces of cheese, even though I had said that I would stop eating the cheese for now. Well, now all the cheese is gone, because I ate it all, so there is no temptation left there. I also had Melba toast twice and drink yogurt and I felt like I had a lot to eat, but it had a lot to do with me feeling so tired and trying to get some energy out of the food I ate.

I slept on the sofa in the morning and in the afternoon and they weren’t little naps, they were genuine sleeps. It was as if I had a lot of sleeping to catch up on. Then I went to bed at 9 pm and I slept until 7 am this morning, so that is about 10 hours of sleep, and now I am starting to feel like that has been enough and I am caught up. Every time I woke up, I wanted something to eat and not a little bit, but a lot, well, what is a lot for me anyway.

Now I am sitting here with my first cup of coffee, yawning and still waking up, although that coffee ought to start working soon now. I think I must have had such a busy and exciting week that my body had to catch up with my brain, and it finally did yesterday (or maybe my brain was tired too). I did wake up each time to walk the dog, so I did get some fresh air and some exercise. My oh my, then last night I dreamt about my ex in laws and that was an interesting dream filled with rejection and misunderstandings, pretty much how it was in real life. Very frustrating!

Imagine being seventeen years old and moving from the Netherlands to the States and marrying into a large right wing family where all the men order all the women about and all the women listen to the name Honey. Honey, get me a beer, will ya. The men all watch football on TV and the women are in the kitchen cooking the Thanksgiving dinner. That was so alien to my experience. I thought these people had never heard of women’s emancipation. None of the men had ever vacuumed or washed the windows or done anything domestic in their life. And the women acted very helpless when it came to anything that took place in the men’s domain. Such preconceived ideas, about the races too. About black people and illegal immigrants. Oh, horror!

I have to say though, that my ideas and concepts did rub off on my ex and he became more liberal about some things as a result of that and he still is. There was one uncle in the family who was very much to the left and he was a union organizer who lived in Boston. He was my favorite person in the family and how he turned out the way he did, I have no idea. It was very refreshing to talk to him when he was in town. He managed to get himself jailed every once in a while at protests and when the kids were younger, he got them Solidarnosc T-shirts, which they wore with pride.

When my daughter went to high school, her first ever boyfriend was a tall black basketball player and her grandfather especially had a hard time with that, but Nick really stood up to him and talked like a lawyer to get her point of view across. That relationship lasted until the boy went away to university. I think they are still in touch with each other now. Of course, we made damn sure that we made no issue of it, even though I knew that deep in his heart my ex worried about it. But he censored himself and let it be and accepted the relationship. The ones that didn’t accept it, were the black girls at the high school, they really gave Nick a hard time about it, which we didn’t find out about until later. She didn’t tell us about it at the time.

We now live in a mixed neighborhood. There are real white middle class families, but also Moroccan and Turkish people and black people and immigrants and mixed working class families. I hope it stays that way, as it is a more normal reflection of our society. It has to do with there being different kinds of housing in a relatively small amount of space. I think a mixed neighborhood is good, as long as there are no bad elements in it like there were when the bad neighborhood was still across from us. That was a white trash neighborhood and that added absolutely no value to the neighborhood as a whole. They trashed their own houses and the space around them and had no idea what it was like to be responsible citizens. And no matter how you turn it, it does come down to that in the end. You have to take the responsibility for your own space and behavior and for the space around you…

…I have fed the cats and they really like the brand of cat food that we have now. They eat most of it right away, leaving little leftovers for the dog. That’s okay, he doesn’t really need it. He just thinks he does. The dog is wandering around, but he doesn’t act as though he needs to go out yet. Eduard walked him late last night, so I suppose he is okay for now…

When I first came to the States, my mother and my little sister came with me. My sister was ten years old at the time. We came six weeks ahead of the wedding and I think my mother had decided on this time to check out the family, and my ex, to see what kind of people they were. I think even during this time she was having her doubts, but she saw my determination and let it all go ahead. We really didn’t have a clue as to how it would really be once I was there, married and on my own. The thing is, that I always had this very grown up air about me, as if I always knew exactly what I was doing, when in reality I was very naive and I really didn’t have a clue. I think I functioned fine in my own familiar surroundings, with my own family and friends around me, but I sure functioned badly on my own in the States. My ex worked all day long and had to go to university at night. We lived in the suburbs and I had no driver’s license or car, nor did I have the comfort of family or friends. It was all a bad scene and soon enough I had my first genuine depression, although I didn’t recognise it as such at the time. It is strange, I was so very unhappy, but I stayed. I didn’t go home, even though I should have. I did talk about it and asked my ex if he would come with me, but I knew he would not and I could not go back on my own, for fear of the embarrassment.

That was the first of very many instances when I stayed in the marriage, when I should have gotten out. Many more followed. When I finally got out for good, there was no going back, it was impossible. But I don’t get any points for getting out gracefully, on the contrary. I left my kids along with the marriage, even though I convinced myself that they were old enough to leave with their father. I knew that it wasn’t okay, but I could find no way to stay, I was dying. Mentally I was dying. Later on, when I came to my senses a bit, I realized that I couldn’t live without the children, but I knew no way for me to fix that, and I punished myself for that unmercifully, more than God could have punished me for that.

Somehow I had to forgive myself for that, but it was a long hard road to get there. I owe my daughter a lot in that process. Now I am here in this life that is so very different, so very much more healthy than my life had been before, so very much not dysfunctional. I am very grateful for that. And I have love, let’s not forget that, it’s an important ingredient. Is it true that, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger? I don’t know. I gladly would have gone without some of these lessons of life. To go back to the
first decision and change that.

I am not writing this down out of a depressed sadness. On the contrary. I am writing this as a journalist commenting on a life and I now have the dimension of objectivity on my side. It really feels as if I am talking about a whole other life in a whole other time. The link is the children, and one of them is dead. Remains my daughter who has made her own journey and who is her own journalist commenting on her own life with the same objectivity. That’s how far she has come. Together we can reminisce and recall how things were from each point of view. And we have so many years ahead of us still, years in which to get it right, in which to make good decisions.

I like my new in laws a lot, although they all have their own eccentricities. I really miss my one sister in law who used to live in France and who died four years ago. She was a good woman with a kind heart and was very intelligent. I felt close to her and very safe. You felt that you could trust her with anything. It’s a shame that my other sisters in law are spread around the world and that we so very seldom see them, because they are good women also and I enjoy spending time with them. The women in Eduard’s family are definitely emancipated and stand their ground. I really appreciate that, especially since the men in the family are strong characters who require and demand a lot of space. The women know how to deal with that. No nonsense, boys!

I have to go walk the dog now, it is getting late and before you know it, it is too late…

Anyway, yesterday, and the day before that, were real low energy days, both physically and mentally. It worried me and I was hoping it wasn’t a sign of bad things to come. When Lucien came and got my Bright Light Energy Lamp, I was worried about needing it myself. I just felt like things weren’t going well with me. I kept trying to feel up, while I really felt down. Now, I think after all that sleep I have had, I really do feel better and it just may have done the trick. Going to bed on time last night was also a good idea, after I even considered staying up for Eduard to come home. I thought I wouldn’t fall asleep after I had slept pretty much all day. Wrong, I did! You know things aren’t going well when you are trying to artificially make yourself feel better than you are. When you don’t want to get dressed and put your make up on and your jewelry and when you don’t want to clean house and you only want to lie down on the sofa or on the bed. And you keep saying to yourself: I’m okay, I’m okay, when you are not.

Now I really am. There is some joy back in my spirit and that is good. I think I may want to go for a bike ride today and stop by the chapel to burn a candle. That might be something to do this afternoon. Now I have to stop writing, because my husband is calling me. He has today off, tonight also. Yippee! Ciao…

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