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I fell asleep on the sofa at 4 PM this afternoon and now I am semi-awake, but slightly disoriented and I keep thinking that somebody is going to come home any minute and I cringe every time I hear a motor engine or a door slam. I have just made myself a large mug of coffee and I hope that with the aid of it, I will soon return to the reality that is my life and not this half awake life in which I am only imagining things. I am sure you all know this feeling of waking up in the middle of the day and having to place yourself in the right context again and sometimes that takes awhile.

The Überhund is sound asleep at my feet. His solid presence comforts me and i realize how much he has changed and how nice and mellow he has become. He used to be such a pain in the neck and constantly want attention and beg for it by being slightly obnoxious, but he does none of that now. He is a nice and quiet dog and talks to me if there is somethings he wants or needs and I can usually figure it out. I think he was in competition with the Exfactor for the Alpha dog role and it made him insecure.

I am not sure which role I have now. When we go for a walk, I am the boss, I made sure of that, but I don’t know for sure if I’m the Alpha dog at home. I hope I am, because he does listen to me and follows me wherever I go, so I must be. When I get home, he is very happy to see me, but he always turns his butt to me to be greeted, does anyone know what that means? Is that submission? Or the opposite?

I have decided on Facebook, that as soon as a person I am ‘friends’ with keeps adding friends at a phenomenal rate and does not communicate with me, I remove them as a friend. I have gotten rid of two so called ‘friends’ that way today and I think I will be removing more. It is after all not a competition to see how many ‘friends’ a person can gather, although that seems to be the purpose for some people. I am not in it for that. I like to approach people myself and sometimes that works out, but sometimes people approach me and I take a chance. There is always the remove button, though. It’s nice to have your occasional comments reacted to. It means people care and are paying attention.

We’ve had a hot weekend, but just now it has started to rain. It is assumed that this was the last of the summer weather and that now the fall will start, although it seems to us that process has been going on already for a while. I was just about to go outside to water the potted jasmine, but now I won’t have to. It looks like it survived it’s haphazard transplant and i think I will have a really healthy plant there next year. With any luck, it will bloom this winter.

The weekend went by quickly. I didn’t actually do very much, except for vacuum and that was a real fun job, because i had changed the bag in the vacuum cleaner and then it always works extremely well. It would suck up the cats if they didn’t get out of the way. It works well on the new area rug and that is good, because I was hoping it would take care of the dog hair there and any fleas or other nasty things that decided to drop off the animals, although I think that the Überhund is flea free now. I ended up buying him Frontline, as I thought the stuff that the vet gave me wasn’t working that well, but the Frontline seems to have done the job. He is also wearing a flea collar, but I don’t have much faith in it. Vacuuming a lot does the trick.

In a way I am happy that the weekend is over. I do like the laziness of it, but tomorrow i have creative therapy and I am looking forward to that, when I finish peeling the backs of those images and start putting the paint washes on. It also means the bureaucracy starts up again and I will have to gather the paperwork on why I don’t want to pay city taxes to go with the objection I sent per Internet this weekend. Basically, because I don’t have an income and I have to show that.

I also have to make an official objection against them withholding my welfare check. It’s all a pain in the butt, but it has to be done. I have to find out where to send the paperwork.

Well, my pall the Überhund really wants to go out now, so I suppose that’s what we will do.

Have a nice end of the weekend and tell me how you deal with adversity, I would so like to know.

Ciao…

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I just finished filling up the fourth and last 1 GB MP3 player and I tell you, it looks like such an easy little job that you’ll just do in your spare little hours between everything else. Well, it is not. It takes hours to find the right music and fill those suckers up and, of course, once you start, you can’t stop. At least I can’t, because I am so obsessive. I want it done and I want to listen to it. Well, now I am and I still have the other three to listen to properly, but at least I know that I don’t have to do this anymore and that I can get back to my normal life. Jeez, get with the program, Irene!

I have neglected my housecleaning and my poor animals and I have not given them special belly rubs and talked to them all nicely and given them extra treats because they were being so good, I am a bad mother. I should be put in the hall of shame. The Uberhund was so patient with me. he looked at me longingly, but my eyes were fixed on the computer screen and my hand was attached to the mouse and I barely petted him.

Well, I guess it wasn’t all bad, I did take him for his walks and pick up his turds and dispose of them properly, and I did make a big deal out of him when I came home and he was waiting patiently by the door. You should hear the endearments I call him. You would be embarrassed for me. They’re hard to translate into English, Ha, that’s my excuse and that’s my story and i stick to it. Somebody has been commenting and telling me that a lot lately, but he is a mystery person to me. It’s probably John.

I went to creative therapy today and worked with clay. I attempted to make a woman’s head. It was very funny. I got the general shape right but she could have been an old croon or an old man. She had no upper lip. It was completely hidden away behind her extremely large nose. She also had very large nostrils. She had no forehead and very heavy eyebrow ridges, Sort of Neanderthal like. I did get her cheekbones right and her eyelids. I didn’t bother giving her ears. I figured that was too hard and I gave her hair instead.

The instructor came I sliced a good part of her nose of and remodeled it and then we could see her upper lid, which she turned out to have after all. It did improve her appearance a bit, but she still looks like an old croon. Maybe I am a character artist and I only do funny heads well, by accident.

I didn’t quit and made a new head avoiding all the mistakes I made in the first one. Now I made a woman who looks like Barbara Streisand, she has the nose and the heavy lidded eyes. At least she looks less like an old croon, but it isn’t art. So I give up on the clay and next week i will try something else again until I find my specialty. Which may be bookbinding or something like that. I am a pathetic student of the arts. I know what I like , but I can’t make it. Here I thought I was, and had the reputation of, being artistic. It’s all a damn lie, I tell you.

Well, luckily, it was finally time to go home and I hopped on my bike and when I was almost home, it started to rain like crazy, so I peddled like mad and got wet anyway.

My new second hand bed is going to be here on Thursday and I think the Exfactor is coming to get the double bed on Wednesday, so that means one night on the sofa, but it does give me a chance to clean up the bedroom really well. There are going to be huge dust bunnies under the double bed, I know that for sure and God only knows what other surprises. I do have three cats, after all. I just hope there is nothing dead underneath there. Like a petrified mouse. I found one once when I moved the bookcase.

I am making a new friend at the place where the therapy classes are held. There is a common room and veranda where everybody from all the classes have their breaks and I met someone I know from an earlier time in the hospital. We hit it of right away again and I think she and I will end up being friends again. We’re just testing the waters now. You have to when all of you come with an instruction booklet. You just take it nice and slow.

I said to everybody that I was getting a single bed on Thursday and that they knew what that meant for my future life as a single woman, didn’t they? They all had a good laugh about that.

It does mean a lot of room in the bedroom to roller skate in and do other activities that need a lot of room. Like playing croquet, for instance, or shuffleboard.

Well, now I am going to end this and sit down on my rear end on the sofa, because I have a sore butt from sitting in his computer chair. Oh yes, will somebody give me Kaycie’s proper website address? I think I am looking in the wrong place. Is she no longer living in the Bible belt?

Have a terrific day. Be artistic and spread your knowledge to us less gifted people. We poor souls.

Ciao…

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Demian-2008

Sunday in the wee, wee hours of the morning. Let me start off by saying that I always like getting comments on my posts very, very much. I get emails with the contents of the comments all day long and I always look forward to them and then hate to delete them and leave them up for several days before I do.

The thing is, I don’t like commenting on the comments, sometimes I want to on one of them, but then I think, if I comment on one, I’ll have to comment on all the other ones too and what will I say? “Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment,” or a variation there off?

I like going to the person’s website every day, if at all possible, and being a loyal reader and leaving my comment on their post and I always hope that suffices, but maybe I am breaking all the rules of protocol here, I don’t know.

My point is, that I really do like all of your comments and I am not ignoring them, I read every one of them at least twice. There, I hope I have explained myself enough about that subject. I do admire people who comment on comments, I just don’t have the discipline for it, or the good graces.

Yesterday, I found out that Sonific Songspot is stopping on May the 1st, so I thought it was time to go look for some other way to play music on my weblog. I found several others, but found not all of them that user friendly or with the choice of music I wanted until I got to Deezer.

They have a modern website and lots of music to choose from and they are fairly easy to use. You can download all the music you want and then have it played back randomly, which I think is the fun part, because I listen to it constantly when I am behind the computer. I just open one browser with my weblog on it and then open another browser to do the other stuff.

Now I can’t imagine sitting behind the computer in silence, I’ve gotten so used to the music in the background. It’s mostly just a question of thinking of enough artists that you really like well enough to download and want to listen to regularly. I like women performers, but I couldn’t think of too many quickly enough yesterday to really fill the bill, or my bill, I should say. I like them a little raw, like Amy Winehouse.

Poppies-1928

I sure like the rawness of Rammstein, because if you understand the lyrics they are kind of strange and violent, not in a cheap way, more in a disturbed poetic way, but not for the faint of heart, but because they sing it in German, the message is somewhat softened for me. I am sure Babaloo would feel differently about this, but she is in New York, so we can’t ask her.

I have developed a strange physical complaint. Whenever I try to sit up straight, my upper body starts to sag to the right and before I know it, I am bent over sideways. I have sore muscles in my back from trying to stay sitting upright, because Eduard keeps pointing out that I am bent over sideways again.

I also have it when I walk the dog, my upper body starts to sag to the right and when I ride my bicycle I keep wobbling to the right and as a consequence I am now an insecure bike rider.

When I sit up in bed, within the shortest amount of time I am completely leaning over to the right side and Eduard tries to push me back up. I really am most comfortable bent over to the right and subconsciously I take on that stance. It’s just hard to type that way.

So, I keep sitting up straight again, but it is a real strain on my back and slowly I sag back to the right again. I first noticed the problem when I was walking the dog a few months back, that I did that and in the last couple of weeks this whole sagging thing has started to happen.

Any ideas? Eduard thinks I should see the doctor, although I have little faith in him. I think I will check on line myself and see what horrible disease I have.

Yesterday was Eduard’s first afternoon off by himself. It was a beautiful day outside and he went off on his new bicycle and was gone for hours and came back sweaty and tired. I am not supposed to ask where he has been and he is not supposed to tell me and we did real well, although this is a little tough for us, because we always tell each other everything that we do and that happens to us, but that is part of the deal.

His Saturday afternoons are not open for discussion. He takes a shower when he comes home and changes his clothes and that is it. It’s a real responsibility we have taken on and we have to stick to the rules, neither one of us can break them and I’ll stick my fingers in my ears and start singing, “La, la, la,” really loud if he starts to tell me anything.

I didn’t miss him for the time that he was gone, I was too busy downloading music and making metamorphics and generally having a love affair with my computer, because, man, I do love that piece of electronic hardware (or is it software?). We had to do the trick with disconnecting the wires two more times yesterday, so we probably need a new modem. I can not do without an Internet connection! It is my life line to the world, for God’s sake!

The other day, out on the field, I told a weird woman that she was treating her dog badly and she got her teenage son to follow me home and threaten me. So now Jesker and I don’t go to that field anymore, but we go to a different field, which he likes just as much and he can sniff to his heart’s contend there. Oh, life is full of compromises like that isn’t it?

Anyway, Jesker and I have a different route and it’s okay. At least we are away from the boys playing football and the other kids playing on the field and in reality, this is a better route because we can make it wider if we want. I’ve heard that the woman’s husband is quite aggressive, so I am just keeping myself out of harm’s way. Apparently, she doesn’t have all of her marbles either.

Il y a longtemps que je t’aime

You’ll have noticed that I changed my banner again from the metamorphic of the yellow tulips to a metamorphic of three glasses of white wine. Don’t ask me why I do these things, just now when I have stopped drinking white wine. I liked the yellow tulips, but this one was a little more sedate and it is possible that I will change it one more tim
e, or twice. Yes, I am fickle that way!

I haven’t rapid cycled since Thursday! It was Thursday, wasn’t it? Yippee! Maybe some amount of normalcy is returning to my life. My friend Joost called me yesterday and said that he had been slightly psychotic again, but that he had realized it himself after awhile and had increased his medication and that he was starting to feel a lot better and more normal now. He says we are alternatively normal.

You see, you are never safe. There are always stressors in life that affect your state of mind and make something go haywire. Power shortages, burnt fuses, electric surges, you name it.
Mis-firings. Electrical storms, lightning! Positive and negative charges. It all happens in your brain. That’s the way I look at it anyway. When I am rapid cycling, I imagine a big electrical storm happening in my brain and I have to wait for it to be over. Or sleep and take medication if I still have enough sense left.

Yesterday I started ironing, there wasn’t that much to do, so I started with some of my things first and when I had the most important ones done off that, I stopped ironing and put everything away again. How is that for true dedication? The rest was almost all Eduard’s T-shirts and he has so many of those! He doesn’t even care which T-shirt he wears, as long as it’s clean and ironed. Which reminds me that I have to wash my bathrobe, I am starting to look like Andy Cap’s wife.

Well, I’ve come to the end of my ramblings. I have just caught a glimpse of Eduard who came to drink a glass of juice, but it doesn’t mean anything, he will go straight back to sleep. He probably wore himself out yesterday. Oh, that was mean of me!

Brion’s Ashes

Have yourself a suddenly super Sunday with a sumptuous breakfast at Denny’s. That’s where I used to like to go when I didn’t know about fat and cholesterol and heart disease.

Ciao…

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So, okay, today is a brand new day with a whole brand new attitude and a whole new set of unlived minutes and hours and I will give them some meaning if it is the last thing I do. I will not let yesterday’s depressed mood spill over into today’s new early morning hours. There has to be a clean break between what I felt then and what I feel now, I decided that last night before I went to sleep and it was my resolution this morning when I got up. And so I will proceed.

Luckily for me, my Oxazepam decided to work really well this morning and I can actually tell that I have taken it, which was not always the case the past 48 hours, making me doubt if it was working and if it was doing me any good. On top of that, I had some really good comments waiting for me and I received a very nice email from Frances with a collage attached to it, which I am very happy with and which is a very good way to start the day.

Then I have gone already and visited many blogs of my favorite people and was able to appreciate what they were writing about and read their comments and leave a few sensible comments myself. So, you see, when you start your day like that, there is not much that can go wrong with it.

I must assume, that my mood may fluctuate during the day, but that I must not despair and take advantage of the fluctuation and when I am up, act on it and appreciate that I am truly feeling well then. There is a lot I can do when I feel good. I find that I am especially prolific when I am in that sort of a mood and that it is easy for me to write and express my feelings, so that is what I will do when I am up. Be a prolific writer and it is a shame that it is not my profession, because like a famous woman once said, “When I am manic, I write, when I am depressed, I edit.” And so it is with me. I feel it in my bones. I can’t remember now who this famous woman was, she was an American writer, but her name has escaped my memory, like so many other bits of data. Anyway, she said it and it is true.

I think I am slightly hypo manic right now, but I am not in the least concerned about it. It is a very nice feeling, especially after feeling such despair last night when I officially declared myself depressed. I always forget about these mood changes that I get, they always happen to me as if every time is the first time. Then when I get them, I look back and think, “Oh yes, this is all so very familiar, I have had this my whole life practically.” It is called rapid cycling and not too many days ago I diagnosed my friend Lucien with it, claiming that at least my moods were always steady. What was I thinking?

Anyway, it is nice to sit here with my cup of coffee, which must have some sort of drug added to it, because it is sure making me feel good. It was a new pack of coffee and maybe there is something contraband in it. It may be a misplaced package of a drug smuggler, who knows? Let’s just pretend for a while that it is and that I am drinking magical coffee. Like Alice in Wonderland eating magical mushrooms. I am having my magical coffee and I wonder if it will have the same effect on Eduard. That would make for a real happy day then, wouldn’t it?

Oh, and then we have my cigarettes, which of course can have an illegal substance in them too and I may be feeling especially good from smoking them. Maybe little elfs have come by during the night and spiked the tobacco with some Neder weed. Which is supposed to be good stuff. Well, for as long as it lasts, I am flying high for whatever reason and I hope the sun doesn’t melt the glue with which my wings are attached or I will be like Alfonso and plummet to the ground.

I decided to sleep in my bed again last night, instead of falling asleep on the sofa, comfortable as that is. I went to bed at 9 pm, while Eduard was listening to some music from the sixties and smoking his pipe and being a total intellectual in the rattan chair, where he has to sit when he smokes his pipe, for fear of burn holes in his leather armchair. So, he was being a retro intellectual and I thought how interesting that was and how cute to see him revert so to his teenage years, but still that could not keep me awake and I took all of my pills and went to bed. I very briefly read my book about mythology and listened to The Very Best Of The Byrds, or something like that.

I fell asleep while Eduard was having his solo retro evening and I don’t know when he went to bed and I don’t know how much his music influenced my dreams, because they were very weird indeed. I won’t go and tell you the details of any of them, because they were crazy and lunatic and scary and you would all have me committed if I told you what I dreamed about. It involved all the unpleasant aspects of human nature. Let me not get side tracked by that however.

Eduard doesn’t smoke his pipes very often anymore. He would if I let him smoke them in his armchair, but he does spill the hot ashes and I do worry about holes being burnt in the leather. He has several pipes and several kinds of tobacco. I personally like Davidoff very much, but it is a little bit expensive. I also like the cans it comes in. As Eduard smokes less cigarettes, he will smoke more pipes as a way to compensate. I don’t mind too much, as long as he doesn’t ruin his clothes with burning bits of tobacco. If the tobacco is good, I like the smell of it, but it does make everything very brown, although cigarette smoke does too, so we could argue about that endlessly.

Eduard has a beard, so the combination of the beard and the pipe, and his very keen eyes, makes him look very intelligent. Luckily, he is this in real life also, so it is not a facade he has to keep up. Although he would argue with me about that and claim that he is not an intellectual when I say he is. The man does know so much and does have so many opinions that are well founded and well argued and he has always been this way, for as long as I have known him.

When I was fourteen and he was seventeen, I would sit and listen to him have discussions with his friends about subjects that I knew very little about and really be in awe of him. He was never a delitant, though, he didn’t show of his smart mind. He just took it for granted. Even now I know that there are many discussions he does not have, because he lets the other person believe that they are right, when I know he holds a very different opinion on the subject and he could really come out of his shell and let go verbally.

I sure appreciate being married to s
omeone who is smarter than I am, although Eduard would argue about that too and say it isn’t true. I know that I have my own bits of wisdom when it comes to emotional knowledge, but I like the fact that Eduard is such an omnivore when it comes to bits of general information and when it comes to remembering important things like when political upheavals happened and who was involved and when important social changes took place and which factions took part in those. My mind is like a sieve when it comes to stuff like that and I can never have the discussion with Eduard that I would like to have about these things. Generally, it ends up with Eduard telling me a lot of information and me trying to remember it all, knowing that I will forget it and that I will ask him again at a later date.

I am good when it comes to talking about things like emotions and interpersonal relationships and the more female aspects of discussions. I like to talk about things that I have thought about very quietly all by myself in my own mind and about which I have drawn my conclusions and then, one day, that subject will come up in a discussion and I can say something sensible about it.
As I formulate my words and sentences, I realize that I have already formulated my opinion too, when I was really not that consciously aware of it. There is actually much more that I make decisions about on my own than I give myself credit for. I always think that I need to hear all sorts of points of view, but when it comes down to it, I have my own point of view ready and waiting. All I have to do is formulate it.

Well, I must say that feeling this good certainly is quite an improvement on how I felt yesterday evening when I was ready to call my psychiatrist and ask him for a mega pill of something, which I know doesn’t exist. My poor psychiatrist is always getting phone calls from desperate clients who need that one pill that is going to take the pain away. I know, because I am one of them. At any rate, with this kind of coffee and these kinds of cigarettes I don’t need any sort of other pill, I do just fine, although I did just take another Oxazepam, but that is more for keeping me calm and collected so I don’t fly too high. I sure do appreciate the pharmaceutical industry, but I don’t want to know how they develop their medications, because there are probably all sorts of practices that can’t see the light of day, as they say.

I want to say one thing, that in response to my very negative post of last night, I have received many very supportive comments and I sure do appreciate that. They really, really help. You are all a great bunch of wonderful people and don’t you ever forget it. You all deserve an award for being very decent human beings. So, consider this award symbolically given, as I don’t have a real one.

I am very excited about starting the day. It is possible that Eduard and I will meet in town later and go to the bookstore, because Eduard has found a gift certificate for books that he had gotten for his birthday and had not spent yet. So, that gives us 65 Euros worth of books to pick out and that is not bad at all. When he suggested this to me last night, I was less than enthused, but this morning I can see how this would be a fun thing to do, as long as it doesn’t rain. I want to get a book on dream interpretation by Jung, if they have such a thing. I do think that I dream very symbolically, so I would like to learn to interpret them better. Some of the things I dream are so disturbing, that I would like to know their meaning also, not because I think that I am a disturbed person, but because I think there is a message in them.

Eduard is up now and so are the cats and the dog. Eduard is making his breakfast and the dog is looking at him longingly. The cats will want to eat too. I must tell Eduard about the very good coffee, or shall I let him find it out for himself? To celebrate the new day, I am now going to make myself a cup of Senseo, because I have only had one of those this morning and that is not enough yet. I hope the Senseo is spiked also, I sort of count on it.

So, I say, let the day start and let’s see how we attack the bugger. There is lots of new hope in the new morning and lots of potential happiness in the new hours of the day. All is not lost yet, there is much to be found. I must read many blogs yet and be inspired. Did you all see the wonderful mandala that Sue O’Kieffe made? It is a true beauty and very inspiring. It looks like God’s own heart and I think that she should have called it that. Oh yes, God, who works in mysterious ways, let’s not forget about him, let’s not forget about the chapel and the candles and the thankfulness. No, let’s not.

Okay people, have a terrific day, I am working on it already, so I hope you will be too. I hope that lots of good things will come your way today. Ciao…

P.S. The American writer I was referring to is Kay Redfield Jamison who wrote a book length consideration of mood and creativity called Touched with Fire, concluding that manic depression is the artistic temperament. She claims that flights of fancy, mercurial moodiness, tempestuous brilliance, visionary imagination, brooding, morbidity, despair, sensuality, mutability all are aspects of bipolarity, i.o.w. manic depression. I quote from the book Against Depression by Peter D. Kramer, “Because it includes vigor and confidence, hypomania, which can persist for long intervals in manic depressive patients, seems helpful in a number of careers.” And, “If manic depression confers a benefit, it may be through increased productivity in general.” And, “In literature on creativity, a good deal of attention is paid to hypomania, an agitated state – it can occur also as a personality trait – that sits just shy of mania. Hypomanics are expansive, energetic, and pleased with themselves. Bipolar affective disorder, the full-blown disease, may have ties to literary production as well…”

As someone who suffers from a Bipolar disorder, this is very interesting and I see how the fluctuation in my moods affects my productivity and my ability to think creatively. When I am hypomanic, I feel invincible and always that my words are magic and hold a certain truth and conviction that they may lack otherwise. I am very sure of myself and will opine ideas as if they are God’s only truth. I am not creative when I am depressed, but I am like a God when I am hypomanic, I am touched by heavenly hands. I suppose it is similar to being high on a drug and thinking that you do your best work then, when maybe it is only mediocre and only gives you the impression that it is off enormous significance. I am now, at this point, convinced of the significance of what I write. I have a lot to say and rue the fact that this post has run out of room to say it in. Which leads me to believe that I will write more later, as a matter of fact, I am pretty sure of it.

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Well, I have already been up for a while, but I didn’t get up at such an ungodly hour that is was beyond ridiculous. I have been up since 4:30 am and I think that’s not half bad. As a matter of fact, Eduard has been up to make himself something to eat and has gone back to bed with a cup of coffee, so I wasn’t the only adult up and about. Jesker was momentarily confused by the early hour, but has gone back to sleep on his pillow beside Eduard’s side of the bed.

I am working on my third cup of coffee and my third cigarette and my Oxzaepam is working. That’s always very important, because that means I feel relaxed enough to write and hopefully write with my senses wide open. When I took my Oxazepam, I took it with a swig of milk from the carton and for a second I had visions of the pill having ended up in the carton and not my stomach, but I think all is well now, because I distinctly feel it working.

Neda has a fun activity today. She wants us all to write a story together to a collage she made, so for a good try at that go here. Rima wants us to cheer up her niece’s life and to find out how to do that go here. And you can try and find out the Crime and Punishment theme in Frances’ life by going here. I couldn’t, so let me know if you could. I am a little slow in these things. I never would have made a great detective or another Agatha Christie. There hides no sleuth in me.

My friend Lucien called me yesterday to find out how my week had gone and if I had done any fun things, such as go into town, to which I replied, “No, I have become a complete home body and all I want to do is stay at home and sit behind the computer or hang out on the sofa and drink numerous cups of Senseo.” She asked me if I was depressed and I said, “Well, my body acts like it is depressed, but my mind isn’t.” And this is true. I don’t have my normal get up and go and I would rather not do something than do it, but I don’t feel unhappy. I think I would feel unhappy now if I weren’t taking the Oxazepam, but that is making me into such a nice and mellow person that I can truly still give all my days sevens, even though I accomplish so very little. Well, if you don’t count the hours I spend behind the computer generating ‘art’ and organizing it and planning on what I am going to do with it.

So, my body is sort of in a hibernation mode, but my mind is not completely shut down yet and I am still capable of thought, albeit in a nice and easy sort of way. All of this is fine with me, it doesn’t bother me at all and the days go by easily. This opposed to Lucien who seems to fall from one mood into another, as she goes from feeling fine to not feeling fine at all and it seems to change rapidly. Which makes me think she is a rapid cycler, which is a psychiatric term for people who switch moods quickly and often. I wonder if nobody picks up on this or if they think she is just a moody person? I am always surprised by the mood she is in when I pick up the phone, because it is very seldom the mood she was in when I last spoke to her. At least I am consistent. When I am down, I stay down and when I am hypo manic, I stay hypo manic.

Right now I am comfortably mellow and consistently low performing and it is all very familiar to me and causes me no great alarm, because I have seen it all before and I have experienced it all before and I know it is part of the package of how I am put together. The thing to do is not to panic, and I might easily have done so if it were not for the Oxazepam. I think when Jung speaks of the Shadow, then it is this Shadow that comes out in the wintertime and it is this entity that I grapple with and loose from if I don’t have the proper medication. It’s an antagonist you don’t want to meet in a dark alley on your own without the proper back up.

So, Lucien struggles with her demons and she hasn’t found a way to do that properly yet. I think there is a lot of psychology she has to learn still, because she seems to lack an awful lot of insight into her own behavior and relies too much on other people’s points of view to determine how she should feel about something. She doesn’t realize that she is an independent and free human being who is liberated and capable of making choices that she can base on information that is also available to her if she tried to find out about it. There is much to be said for the emancipation of the psychiatric patient and this is what is meant when my psychiatrist says that people should come out of their roles as victims and become active doers. Take matters more into their own hands. Be assertive and responsible. Become the managers of their own disorder.

I used to be a terrible victim of my disorder. All I could think of was that I was the disorder and nothing else, as if I had no personality left to me, but that of the disorder. As if all I was, was a list of symptoms and nothing else. Every word, every deed, every thought, was suspect and a direct result of the disorder. All of my innocence was gone and all of my spontaneity. Everything was held under a big microscope and examined and analyzed for faulty wiring and faulty logic. I didn’t trust my own common sense anymore, because I thought I had none. Whatever I wanted or needed was second guessed at and rejected for being probably unreasonable and coming from some deep dark recess of my mind where the disorder was settled in very well. I didn’t trust my own feelings and the people around me didn’t trust my own feelings.

Well, I have left all of that behind me now. Now I am just Ee-ray-nuh, the mostly pragmatic Dutch woman with the large amount of common sense. I do trust my gut instincts and other people trust me too. They have forgotten the time when they didn’t, because I have acted so ‘normal’ for such a long time now. Coming up on three years. No, it is three years and one month now since I have been ‘normal’. Actually, it is five years, but I don’t count all those years, because I was still depressed for a lot of that time. People think you are ‘normal’, they just don’t remember what it is like when you are your ‘normal’ cheerful self.

The church clocks just rang seven. Pretty soon we will also have people calling us to prayer from the minarets of the mosques. The country is changing. One million Muslims live in our country, so you can’t call them a minority any longer. Only sixteen million people live in this country, after all. American studies have shown that it takes three to four generations for immigrants to be integrated into a s
ociety and people here are already getting very worried about the second generation and what is to become of them. There is a disproportionate high school drop out rate and an equally high crime rate and some radicalization. Maybe we should look to the United States, which is a country of immigrants, and see how things work out in reality. Dire things were claimed about the Italians and the Irish and the Poles and many other immigrant groups, but they were all integrated eventually. We are trying to reinvent the wheel here.

My ex husband was Danish, Irish, French, British, Swiss and some other minor nationalities. None of them came over on the Mayflower, except that one British ancestor did come to the United States in the 17th century. The rest were later immigrants who came to find their fortune in the land of milk and honey. I am sure they all arrived with nothing but what they could hand carry and a small amount of money maybe. They were coming for the same reasons why South American people are trying to cross the border now. To escape a life of poverty, which is why immigrants come to Europe, mostly. We welcome them when there is enough work, but hate them when we are confronted with their social and religious systems and subsequent difficulties of integration. We like it when they do the dirty work that nobody else will do, but when, after twenty or thirty years, those jobs are gone, we don’t like them to stay here and receive unemployment benefits. And we don’t like their children, who don’t want to conform. Or so we think, because we only point our fingers at the bad cases.

Well, now, how in the world did I get on that subject? Oh yes, it was those church bells ringing. Silly custom, but you stop hearing them after a while when they ring all the time, except for when you live right next door. Limburg is a very Catholic province, so there are always church bells ringing for reasons unbeknown to me, not being familiar with those customs. Here, everybody is a Catholic, but nobody goes to church, except to be baptized and married and buried. There are no Atheists.

Well, it is time for me to be a good owner to the pets and to be a good wife to my husband, whom I think I hear waking up. We didn’t go to town yesterday, because he helped Lieve place a carburetor or something in an engine block. I don’t know, they do mysterious things with motorcycles and I don’t know anything about it. So, I missed him all yesterday afternoon, which wasn’t too bad, because I got a lot of things done behind the computer and didn’t have to worry about being anti social.

Right, have a great day, have a great Saturday, ciao…

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Well, let me see, where was I when I left you last? I know, I had just slept another four hours on the sofa after I claimed to have been wide awake after I wrote my last post. Well, that was a little bit of a miscalculation on my part. Apparently I had not been wide awake when I wrote that post. I woke up at eleven o’clock in the morning, with the dog beside me and Eduard gone to do some job at his work. The dog was very relaxed, so I thought Eduard must have walked him and I very leisurely made myself several cups of Senseo to wake up properly with. That was very nice and I smoked some cigarettes and just took my time waking up and it was lovely. Then I decided to call Eduard to find out when he would be home and heard from him that he had not walked the dog that morning. So the poor animal must have some terrific bladder control, because he was not making one bit of noise about having to go out.

Anyway, I got dressed in a hurry and walked him and Jesker peed against every bush that we encountered with a look of relief on his face, or so I imagined.He’s such a good dog and could have easily just peed on the linoleum in the hallway or something, but he didn’t.

When we got back, I cleaned up the kitchen from the night before. I still had to do all the dishes, but that was no big deal as they were fun dishes such as wine and beer glasses and cups and saucers. It is nice to get those all sparkling clean again and dried off and back in their proper places in the cabinets. As opposed to boring dishes such as pots and pans, I mean.

Then, just as I was taking some time off from cleaning the apartment and I was playing with Paint Shop, the doorbell rang and it was the man with the long awaited package with the clothes that my sister had ordered for me. Well, I thought she had just ordered on thing for me and that was a hand knitted gray vest, half long, that you can wear instead of a jacket when you go to walk the dog, for instance. It is very nice and very soft and luxurious. So I was happy with that, but there was also a tank top with a matching vest with big buttons that is just simply adorable and that I put on right away and that looked smashing. So, she had spoiled me quite a bit. I called her to tell her that the clothes had arrived and she came over to look at them and all met with her approval, we both thought it all looked great. So, we were two happy women. And I am glad that my sister is always so generous with me and spoils me with nice presents.

Anyway, looking good also meant putting on my make up and jewelry and I did that and looked nice for the rest of the day, so when Eduard came home, he was suitably impressed and I got lots of extra kisses, which made the dog jealous, which we completely ignored.

Our friend Etienne came by in the afternoon with a bunch of roses for my birthday and stayed for dinner, because he had to work that evening, but when he heard that Lieve was going to be there that evening, he promised to come back after 10 pm and have some drinks with us. I think he secretly has an eye on Lieve. Our friend Joost arrived just before dinner time and it was good to see him again, even though he looked a little tired and he said he had had some stressful weeks at work, so this was supposed to be a relaxing weekend for him.

So, Joost and I walked Jesker while Eduard fixed dinner, so Joost and I could have some time to talk about things, which we always do when we are together. We get to say what is on our minds and sort of function as each other’s listening post. It’s nice to have a friend to do that with and with whom you don’t need a lot of words to make yourself clear and that applies to the both of us. Joost always feels free to tell me all that is on his mind and is not the least bit shy about talking about his feelings. I like that in a man and I respect that by handling them very gently but firmly and to always remind him that in all things, he comes first, because he is such a gentle person and gives a lot of him self.

A boisterous dinner followed, because Etienne can’t be serious for too many minutes at a time and is always full of jokes and word plays and stories. So we laugh a lot and he gets Eduard going too, so between the two of them, there is quite a racket at the table. Poor Joost and I, who are such serious people, just sit there and grin and can’t get a word quick enough.

After dinner, Eduard and I very quickly did the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen so all would be done for our guests to arrive, who started arriving at 8 pm. Well, I have to tell you, as good as the party was on Friday night, that’s how poorly the party went last night. I don’t know what the problem was, but we must have lacked the proper chemistry between people, because the thing just did not get off the ground and it was sort of a popcorn fart. Small talk was made, but there were lots of silences for me and Eduard to fill up with interesting things to talk about and we were grasping at straws. Three people didn’t show up at all and didn’t call either to say they weren’t coming, but I don’t know if it would have made any difference. Joost and I decided to just start eating and we attacked the tortilla chips and the hot salsa and the very good French cheese, which I think was a Gruyere and it was delicious. The other one was a Camembert, but I liked that one less. When in doubt and frustrated, eat!

So, anyway, next year I am having just one party and I will just pile everyone that I like into the apartment and we will find room for them somehow. The party was saved somewhat when Etienne arrived at 10:30 pm, but I was really glad when everybody left at midnight. We stayed up for a bit after that and Eduard and I even took turns behind the computer, until my medication started to work and I literally stumbled to bed where I don’t know what I did anymore, but it involved a piece of ‘vlaai’ and I don’t know if I ate it or if the dog did. My glass of milk was still sitting there this morning. I think that when I have taken my medication at night, some supervisory person needs to make sure I end up in bed safely, because I can’t be held responsible for my actions. I may do all sorts of irresponsible things.

Well, now my birthday is well and truly over now. I can’t make it last any longer than this, which is kind of a shame, as I would have liked to have drawn it out longer than this. My two days in the spotlight! I did get some really nice presents!

Well, people, those are all my words for today. I’ll leave you with some images I made of Neda’s birthday tile. Have a wonderful rest of the weekend and be good y’all!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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