Posts Tagged ‘garden’

I am completely discombobulated for no really obvious reason on its own, but just as a combination of small ingredients that all have added up to what has been my perfect rush by day that has not ended yet. Somehow I have to get back to earth and calm my brain down and be a mellow woman who is soothed back into a quiet place.

I guess the thing that really disturbed me the most today is, that my sister told me that my niece’s English teacher is an ‘America basher’ and a ‘conspiracy theorist’ and he is taking the opportunity to tell his students all the familiar theories about there not really having been any men on the moon, and that the government was behind 9/11 and placed dynamite in the World Trade Center towers and that there are UFO’s in Area 49. Basically he is starting them down the path of everything conspiracy theorists believe in and we think this is just the beginning.The children have to make their homework about these subjects.

My sister and I are outraged about this and are planning a course of action, which involves going to the head of the school to make an official complaint and stating that the man is unqualified to teach impressionable teenagers. None of the other parents seem to see the danger and some of the children are already becoming persuaded by his arguments.

If I were a dragon, I would be spewing fire from my nostrils just now. His partner teaches English at that school also and tells the kids that American English is just a bastardized form of proper English, which the children learn to speak, they speak Oxford English and American English is frowned upon quite heavily.

I do not like people like this and think they are dangerous to have around children. That’s all I’ll say about it. Bah humbug!

This morning I went to my creative therapy class and managed to finish my collages. Some of them took as many as 7 color washes before I was happy with them. I got the hang of it after a while, getting the right thinness of paint, getting it almost opaque. I am quite pleased with the outcome and now that I sort of know what I am doing, I am ready for the next project, which will probably be a painting, but maybe a mixed media collage. I have to think about it long and hard. I’ll have to put my thinking cap on. I like the effect of the scraped away images and people commented on them the most, besides the text, of course.

My sister kept complaining that the Überhund smelled bad, so today we took him to the doggy trimster where he got a cut and a bath and he looks splendid, but when we got him back in the car, my sister said that he still smelled bad and I thought that it could only be his breath then, but he had his teeth cleaned in March. I don’t smell it, of course, because I am around him all the time. So, this evening I took him to the vet and the vet had a look at his teeth and said there was enough plaque build up there for a year, therefor his bad breath. He figures it was because of his old dog food that was too soft for him to eat, and I very proudly told him that I just switched brands and that this kind should be better. It’s harder to chew.

So, on Wednesday at 2 PM the Überhund is going in to have his teeth cleaned again. I also got him another 2 months worth of pills for his osteoarthritis which is helping him so much.

In between everything, I tried to bring some order to the apartment, but I did not get a lot done. I had palnned to buy a new shower curtain, but couldn’t find one quick enough when I was at the department store the other day, so I decided to wash the one I had in the washing machine and much to my amazement, it came out looking brand spanking new, so that problem is solved. The bathroom is tiled halfway up allaround and to the top where the shower is and I need to scrub the tiles really well, so that’s another job waiting for me. I do love it so much.

I have decided to be brave and weed the flower beds and in between the tiles to make the patio a little bit more attractive and to cut back the jasmine which is taking over everything. I’ll make some room for that strange bush that is growing there. My sister is convinced that I can make it an attractive place to sit and commune with nature. We’ll see.

The Überhund is giving me those looks again of, “I want you to take me out now,” So I suppose that’s wat I’ll do now. Did I tell you that I sort have my eye on our vet in a very innocent way. I think he is married, but I always make sure I look good when I go there. I like to flabbergast him.



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I am full of exhaustion and I don’t want to be, I am going to fight it all the way to the sofa if I have to and not give into it one teeny little inch. It isn’t as though I had an especially tiring day, although I did do a variety of things and maybe they left their impressions on my easily impressed mind. I mean, I am not used to much, so doing anything out of the ordinary is bound to thrill me to pieces and wear me out at the same time from the processing of the details.

I started out the day really slow, because I went back to bed after I had been up for awhile, but I decided that my head was still in slumber attitude and that I was not ready to tackle the day and all it’s details that it would bring. So I laid me down to sleep, with Jesker beside me, and didn’t wake up until the phone rang and it was my sister to remind me of our appointment to go to Ikea, as if i would forget that outing!

I very slowly got dressed and walked the dog and then went grocery shopping and to the tobacco store, where they see me as one of their favorite customers, at least, that’s the kind of welcoming smile I get. They almost know what I come to get, and one day soon I won’t have to ask for it. They’ll just reach for the items on the shelf the minute they see my bright and happy face.

Back home, Jesker and I shared a pudding with berry sauce and then my sister came to get me in her new Peugeot, which is a sporty little 4 door car with a hatchback. She had the radio on and I felt like Thelma and Louise when we drove down the freeway. Luckily, we don’t need to make our escape, as it is our men that we send on their way.

Ikea had just had another grand opening and there were people in yellow jackets directing the parking traffic ineffectively, but we found a good spot anyway. The thing is to ignore the pointing fingers and to go by your instincts, which will direct you to the empty parking space. It will also get you a dirty look, but this particular yellow coated traffic director had a big earring in and we figured he wasn’t really anyone important at all, even though he had a decent haircut.

We were good shoppers and followed all the arrows and didn’t take any short cuts through the store, even though we new exactly what we wanted. We also wanted to look at all the things we weren’t buying and in the meantime we were talking and chatting like two chickens in a hen house, like we have a tendency to do. We must go back soon and really linger and spend an afternoon there, when we both have extra money to spend on gadgets and stuff. Things you don’t really need, but can’t live without that will improve your life so tremendously. That’s what Ikea is for, and oh, I walked by the sofa I want and it hurt me to leave without it.

We soon enough got the items we wanted and headed for the cash registers and after some indecision ended up in the right line. The fast one, where my sister found out that she had bought the expensive duvet, but she didn’t feel like going to customer service and undoing the whole sale and going back into the store to find the right one, as it has taken us some searching to find the one that we thought was the right one, you know, with all those names on the products.

We shoved the bought items in the car, my carpet was a little long, and then went to the garden center next door, which has the same sort of planned route through its shelved products as Ikea has. Lots of temptations to buy things. “Oh yes, I’ll have 3 of those and 5 of these. And that plant is really pretty too.” Friendly customer service all over the place, attractive prices, overabundance of goods, you think you are in Fantasy land. It’s best to be strong of mind and keep a steady hand on your wallet and be determined to only buy what you had come for.

When I came home, I unrolled the carpet and found out it was bigger than I had imagined, so that was good. Jesker laid down on it right away and Gandhi sharpened her claws on it, which made Jesker angry. I told him, “Good dog.”

Then I had to walk him and go to the pharmacy to pick up a large supply of medication that I had ordered two days earlier, but when I got there, I found out they never received the fax with the prescription, so I had to make a phone call and at the other end of the line a frantic search took place to find the missing prescription, which showed up in the fax machine 20 minutes later. I love mayhem, especially when it is about my precious pills.

On the way home, I stopped by the flower and plant shop and bought two plants of heather in pots and I have those sitting here instead of the ‘child in mother’s lap’ plants that weren’t doing so well. They cost me 2.50 Euros for 2. It’s a steal. Jesker thought I was bringing home food and was mighty disappointed.

I was just out back, and besides a lot of weeds, I have the jasmine and the golden rain and the 3 trees and now another unidentified bush has grown up amongst the jasmine. I have to try and find out what it is, but it is staying. Anything that wishes to grow here, stays. I’ll have to pull out the weeds this weekend, although that is not my favorite job, especially not now that my left knee is bothering me so much. It really hurts to bend it, especially when the weight is on it. I am wearing out, I guess.

I hope you all like my header. I went through some trouble to find something to represent what I thought was Another Bright Day and I thought this little child was perfect. There is innocence and happiness. It is a challenge to find the right photograph to express a meaning. I liked the gray slate too, until Maggie said it looked like elephant’s skin and I don’t want that. Besides, it didn’t express much emotion.

Now I am going to rest my weary bones on the sofa, after I have looked up a TV guide on line. I must remember to do that. I hope there is a good British thriller on tonight. Those are the best.

Have a good evening, get yourself ready for a lovely weekend.


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Lisa Sarsfield Images number 6a.

I used to have a Basset Hound called Baby May, who liked beer very much. I have forgotten how we found out about this, but when I had a beer on a hot summer’s afternoon, from a very good small brewery, out on the veranda in the hot Sonoma sun, she would sit beside my chair and look at me with baleful eyes and beg for some beer. I would pour some in a dish for her and she slurped it up quickly with much delight and would have had more if I had given it to her, but I did know her limit. This beer made her the tiniest bit drunk and I think she liked that feeling. She would sit there for awhile, kind of stoned looking, and finally collapse beside my chair and take a good nap.

What made me think of this, was a comment on someone else’s blog about snails being a pest in the garden and putting out dishes of beer for the snails to drown in. Snails are common pests and if you have many of them, they will ruin your beautifully cared for garden and you will do anything to get rid of them, but most of these methods are not that humane. Some people don’t give a damn and toss them in the road for cars to drive over them and other people put out poison. I remember my father sprinkling salt on them, but they must have been slugs and not snails, and to my child’s mind at that time, it didn’t seem like a horrible thing to do at all. As a matter of fact, I found it kind of interesting.

Children can be hard hearted that way and often it isn’t until we grow older that we get softer and start to care about the suffering of our fellow creatures on this earth. I would have a hard time now hurting a snail, and thankfully, don’t have to do so, because we have very few of them in our bare flower beds.

Anyway, everybody pretty much seems to agree that the dishes of beer seem to be the most humane way to kill the snails, because at least the snails are happy when they die. This is assuming that the snails drink the alcohol and get drunk and go into a coma and die. In reality, I have no idea what makes the snails die and what it is in the beer that kills them. It’s very possible that they die an agonizing death and that they actually drown in the beer and that it is not at all pleasant. So, more information needs to be gathered on this. One thing is clear, we don’t have a humane way to kill snails or other pests yet.

I found the link to the TV Villain on The Caffeinated Librarian‘s blog. She was “Sylar,” whoever he is.

Which TV Villain Are You?

More on Supernatural. Created by BuddyTV

Isn’t that an awful description of the evil side of me? You should all go running and screaming in the other direction now and become friends with some Super Heroes.

Stinking Billy, wrote a post about a female TV presenter, whom he had seen often, because she is quite attractive, but whose name he did not really know and he blamed this sort of hiatus in his memory on old age and the ensuing forgetfulness. I left the following comment on this post of his:

“That’s so funny, I am in middle age myself and am very bad at remembering names and faces and affiliations. I vaguely am aware that I should know someone from somewhere and that I should know their name, but I do not connect the dots well. I think it has to do with not taking enough interest in those people to store up enough information about them. If I cared enough, I would. I think I have a selective memory and subconsciously only store information that I think will come in handy to me. A lot of things roll off me like water off a duck’s back. Maybe this is because of being afraid of becoming overloaded with input and getting some sort of shortage.
I also daydream a lot, that may be another cause. Some bits of information get my train of thought going and I drift off into a whole different direction than the subject was from the start.”

I have always had a hard time remembering names and facts and I have often been rendered immobilized by not being able to retrieve something that was just barely out of my reach in my memory. Something just so elusive, I could almost smell it, but I could not find the pathway back to it. I can’t blame middle age, I have always been this way, I was this way as a child.

I use little tricks if I have to really remember something now and I do it with associating names and numbers with other facts that I know. I still remember my pin code to my bank card from Wells Fargo Bank in the States, because it was the year before The Nazis invaded Poland. I’m surprised I remember the name of the bank, but that has to do with the Pony Express and imagining fast horseback riders traveling across the desert at the peril of their own lives.

When I was visiting my son in California one time, I forgot the pin code to my Dutch bank card and put in the wrong code three times and then my card was blocked and there was no way I could get it unblocked from where I was. Luckily, I could borrow the money, but imagine being stuck without family or friends in another country and no bank card. I didn’t have a credit card, so I would have been up the creek. Now, I would just get a credit card if I were to travel abroad.

I have an appointment with my SPN this morning at nine and I have to make it a point to thank her for the large amount of courage she was able to give me last week. It has really helped me get through the week well and just about all of my anxiety is gone and what little there is at times, doesn’t bother me and is quickly dealt with, and I have been able to reduce the dose of tranquilizers by half. I am just the teeniest bit proud of myself.

Well, I think that just about brings me to the end of my post. Oh yes, I have discovered the most hilarious blogger. She is a real kick in the a**. You can find her here.
I would wish to write with as much humor as she does.

Okay folks, I am off to eat some breakfast and take my pills, not necessarily in that order and then I need to get dressed and made up a little. Maybe a necklace for a final touch.Ciao…

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The plant I was talking about named Child on it’s Mother’s Lap, is actually called the Piggy Back Plant. Here is some information on it:

Common names

Piggyback Plant, Pick-a-Back, Youth-On-Age, Thousand Mothers, Mother of Thousands

Scientific name: Tolmiea Menziesii

Explanation of scientific name:

TolmieaNamed for Dr. William Fraser Tolmie (1830-1886), a Scottish physician and botanist who worked for the Hudson Bay Company at Fort Vancouver.

Menziesii – Named for Dr. Archibald Menzies (1754-1842), a naval surgeon and botanist who collected plants in western North America.

Many indoor gardeners know the Piggyback Plant as a durable houseplant that can tolerate conditions that would prove fatal to many other plants. It is especially tolerant of low light conditions. What comes as a surprise to many people is that Piggybacks are fully hardy in our area, and are reliable perennials that will do well in a shady location.

Native to western North America from northern California into Alaska, the Piggyback’s natural habitat is an area with cool, moist soil that is protected from bright sunlight. They commonly grow under the canopy of tall trees. While each plant is under a foot in height, it can slowly spread forming a large colony. When cultivated indoors Piggybacks make dense, full potted plants and nice hanging baskets. When grown outdoors they make a great groundcover.

So, another mystery solved. I looked the plant up in my Sunset Western Garden Book and while looking through it I suddenly remembered the name Piggy Back. That Sunset Western Garden Book used to be my bible when I gardened in California. I learned everything about gardening from it. Most places in California have tough soil, so you really need all the help you can get when it comes to soil conditions and how to improve them and what to plant where. Some things I grew easily and some things just wouldn’t take at all; it was a real trial and error process. It wasn’t like it is in the Netherlands, where you just stick something in the soil and watch it grow. In California you really had to cultivate things and water them every day.

Well, I weigh 87 kilos again, so that is good. I was a little bit hesitant about getting on the scales fearing that it would be a lot worse, but this isn’t bad at all. I know, people have said that I shouldn’t weigh myself every day, because it may be disheartening to do so, but I am compelled to and I am always afraid that if I don’t weigh myself, things will get away from me and I will gain weight without realizing it. So the scales are there in the bathroom and I have a piddle and then I am compelled to weigh myself early in the morning; I can’t help it.

Eduard and I are going to paint the dresser that the TV sits on black on Wednesday. He is going to work for just an hour or two in the morning and then he is coming home to help me paint. I asked him to, because I didn’t like to face the whole thing by myself. It really needs two people to do it, as it is quite a large piece of furniture.

All the drawers need to be emptied and it will be a chance to sort out the stuff that is in them and throw some things away as well. Some of those things belong to Eduard, so he needs to be here and tell me what can go. It’s going to be so much nicer to paint with two people. Just think, it will mean half the work and half the frustration. Unless we get into painting arguments! I’ll make sure and take an Oxazepam before we start.

Yesterday was a totally dull day here at the ranch. Nothing of importance happened. I didn’t really need to clean the apartment as I had done that really well on Saturday and I had only one load of laundry to do. Actually, I was kind of bored and this caused me to feel hungry and tired. I slept all morning on the sofa with the dog beside me and we didn’t get up until 11 am. I walked him then and did the dishes from Sunday. Eduard came home while I was doing them, because he had to work late that evening. I was generally pooped and kept feeling like hanging out on the sofa watching the cats sleep on the new chair. I wasn’t even interested in reading all the advertising booklets that came in the mail in the afternoon. I just didn’t care.

I am sure today will be a whole other day, as it is now in the wee hours of the night and I have already had lots of sleep. I am bright eyed and bushy tailed, as the saying goes. I will never have a normal sleep schedule at this rate, although I did sleep in my bed this time and not on the sofa, even though I find that the most comfortable place to sleep.

Yesterday I ate an orange and I didn’t chew it well enough, causing a blockage in my gastric band with all the consequences that come with it. After much suffering I was able to upchuck it and that was a great relief. I must not eat oranges anymore, because they are too hard to chew into small pieces. Better to stick to the yogurt and the Cup a Soup. And the bread with very lean chicken. I am sort of relieved that we have decided to eat chicken and fish, I was worried about us getting enough proteins, especially Eduard, and I must say that chicken is a meat that works well in a number of dishes. My conscious is not bothering me too much about the chickens, although I suppose it ought to. I am undecided about it. I don’t feel as badly about it as the pigs. I am truly horrified about them.

My brother in law doesn’t eat fish
or chicken, so he didn’t eat the salmon that I served on Sunday. He was good natured about it and it was his loss. I told him that Eduard and I only eat chicken and fish, whereas he only eats red meats such as sausages and steaks and meatballs. He says that he likes Bolognese sauce, so I suppose I will make it for him with the meat substitute and just not tell him that that is what it is. The next time they come.

My sister very often serves my nephew meat substitute , although he is a real meat eater, and then he claims that he absolutely loves it without knowing that it is. My niece is a complete vegetarian and refuses to eat anything that has meat in it. She has been for some years now and she is only fourteen. She is very strong minded.

When I was a child growing up, we didn’t make choices about food. We didn’t even think about it or know that we had a choice. We just ate everything that our mother fixed for us. We all had our favorite food, but we ate everything. It would have been impossible to refuse to eat anything that was put on the table. Of course, my parents lived through the war and the terrible hunger winter of 44-45 and they had a holy reference for food, any food. They had gone hungry, after all. I remember being about 4 or 5 years old and sitting behind a plate of Brussels sprouts and not being allowed to leave the table until I ate everyone of them. I now love Brussels sprouts, although maybe that was a cruel thing to do, I don’t know. I never did that to my kids and they ended up liking lots of food.

I have eaten a lot of different kinds of foods, but I have never eaten snails, or escargot as they are called. Somehow that just doesn’t seem appetizing to me. Nor have I ever eaten frog’s legs. I stay away from slimy things. I have never been challenged to eat an unusual food, such as guinea pig or snake or raw sea lion.. Thank goodness. Chances are that will never happen to me here in the Netherlands. We do eat raw herring and think nothing of that.

Today I am seeing my SPN and for the life of me, I can’t really remember what we talked about last week or what decision we came to about that. I was manic then and I have bad recall. I do know that she asked me to write down my experience of my shopping trip to Ikea with Eduard on Tuesday and I have done that. Of course, on Tuesday afternoon I had taken 25 mg of Oxazepam, and I was as tame as a lamb, as they say here. Nothing spectacular happened that afternoon. But I can’t remember the other things we talked about and I know there were other things. I am experiencing blankness. It is a black void mostly. I hope she will help me remember and that it will dawn on me.

She is turning out to be such a good counselor and such a smart and well informed person. She has managed to get my complete trust. She knows how to have a meaningful conversation with me and how to answer my questions. I can be totally honest with her and I don’t have to hide anything. For as young as she is, she has a lot of wisdom already, more than I do, which is as it should be.

I am thoroughly enjoying my cups of coffee and my cigarettes, Everything tastes very nice right now and I feel rather splendid. For as early as it is, I am quite wide awake and I could do all sorts of things now. It’s too bad that I can’t make any noise for fear of waking up Eduard. I would be cleaning out those dresser drawers now if I could. I bet there is a lot of stuff I could throw away myself without having to ask Eduard about it.

Eduard is a real hoarder, whereas I am a real tosser out. I always think, the less baggage, the better. Eduard has been known to toss out things that belonged to me that shouldn’t have been tossed out. I have been quite peeved about that. Such as a bag with totally nice shoes. Gggrrr…

We have a lot of tapes with music on them that we never play anymore. We want to replace the ones that we really like with CD’s. I am all for tossing out the tapes, because we haven’t listened to them in years. They are slowly disintegrating in one of the drawers. I also have lot’s of handy work that I have started and then abandoned, because I became bored with it. I suppose I should toss that out also or give it to the recycle store. Then there are all the little kid’s games that my niece and nephew used to play with. They are too old for them now. They can go.

There’s nothing better than having a good old toss out. It clears up the clutter in the apartment and it clears up your mind. Less mental baggage, less to keep track off. When we went to clean up my parent’s house, you wouldn’t have known that three girls used to live there. All evidence of us was gone, except for the photographs. It made cleaning up the house a very easy job and void of a lot of sentiment. It was all pretty straight forward and concerned furniture and clothes.

Part of me wants the night to last forever and to sit here and keep writing, but I know you’ll get bored after so many paragraphs, so I will stop dawdling and make an end to this epistle. I will go and read other blogs and drink lots of coffee and smoke many cigarettes while I wait for morning to come.

Have yourself a terrific day, or a wonderful night, whichever comes first. While you read this, think of me sitting here, thinking of you. Ciao…

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I woke up this morning at 7 am, just a minute before Eduard’s alarm clock went off, so we were up at the same time and I didn’t like it at all. I am so used to having my quiet time in the morning during which I can just do what I want and wake up as slowly as I want and I thought I was always in a good mood when I got up in the morning.

Well, I am, when there is nobody else around, but I am in a lesser mood when I have to share the kitchen space with another body while I am making coffee and I am in an even lesser mood when that body wants to also be all hugging and loving and affectionate and I’m thinking, “Just let me get my cup of Senseo and my cigarette and my Oxazepam and don’t talk to me for half an hour and I will be your friend after that! A reluctant friend, that’s true, but I will be friendlier than I am now!” Eduard the Eternally Cheerful can’t read my mind, of course, and just feels rejected, and I feel like a real mean person, so we will have to have a talk about that later on today.

I don’t know why I woke up so late. I fell asleep on the sofa after watching the news last night and I didn’t wake up until 10:30 when Eduard was home again already. I talked to my daughter briefly over the phone and then took my medicines and stayed up until I felt them working, so I was in bed by 11:30. Kept falling asleep with a piece of cheese in my hand and Eduard kept bumping me with his elbow to wake me up again to eat my cheese or to do something with it. I gave it to the dog and crawled under the duvet and was out like a light. So, my point is that I did get enough sleep.

I had the strangest, incredible dreams which I won’t be able to tell you about in any sort of coherent fashion. I dreamed about my son and that we were wearing some sort of a wristband with which we could read other people’s emotions. The problem was that these other people also wore the wristband and nobody was safe anymore as all emotions could be read and Brion was especially vulnerable as his emotions were of a very delicate nature. So he had to fake his emotions in order for his real emotions not to be discovered.

Then I dreamed that Eduard was roasting baby rabbits in the oven while they were still alive and I don’t know why I dreamed that, because in another dream he was roasting Lotje our cat.

Then I dreamed that my breasts were starting to come lose from my body, they were separating from it as if they had been cut there with a knife and I was wearing a special bra to prevent this from happening. I went to a Japanese house to have them help me and they gave me special food to prevent this from happening and when I was done I went to a woman’s cloister in a tropical country to pray, but I found out that they had all converted to the Islam and that they were praying to Allah.

I am leaving out a whole bunch of details, as I would sit here all morning telling you those, but that is just about the drift of the dreams. Very confusing, aren’t they? I wonder why Eduard is always roasting cute animals? And in my dream I was confusing Brion with me, as I was giving some of my attributes to Brion, such as not being able to talk clearly when I was a kid, according to my mother, and having sly fox ears, according to my mother. And in my dream I thought, but that’s not true at all! He isn’t like that at all!

The nuns praying to Allah were happy, although they were a little manic in their religion, as all newly converted are, and for some reason, they had a statue of Allah on which they climbed and chanted slogans, so I know that can’t be right! They spoke an archaic form of Dutch, but were still understandable to me.

I need Carl Jung to help me interpret my dreams, as it is too early in the morning for me to be doing this. I am only recording them now and not really analyzing them. I’ll leave that for when I am more awake and clear headed. For when I have had enough coffee and the Oxazepam is working.

Yesterday, I got started really late too. I was sitting behind the computer in the morning and when Eduard and Joost got up at 10 am, I realized what time it was and that I hadn’t walked the dog yet or taken my medicines. So I did those things in a hurry. The dog never complains, he just sleeps on his pillow and waits patiently for me to get my act together, which I am very grateful for. Some mornings I am not that perky and I need a little bit of time to get started up properly. It’s like I am an old timer car with engine starting problems and I need to sit and idle for a while.

Eduard had to work in the morning and help setup things for the annual Parcours. This is an event in which all the cultural institutions in town have their open house and arrange non stop showings of whatever they have on offer. So, the film house shows short films and the theater shows short stage performances and concerts, etc. It’s an opportunity to emphasize and highlight the strong presence of cultural opportunities there are in town. There are events all over the place, none of which I went to, because when Eduard came home at 1:30 pm, Joost was just leaving and Eduard turned on the Formula one race, which he absolutely did not want to miss. I didn’t mind and hung out behind the computer and read all the weblogs that I had not got around to the last couple of days, with having been so busy with the parties, and now I am all caught up again.

Eduard had to work again in the evening and that leaves me to my own devices, which is not really a problem, because I sort of hang around not doing anything special, but watch dumb shows on TV and talk to the animals who also need their entertainment. Jesker is especially cute when it is just he and I together at home, as he thinks that is just very cozy and he sleeps right by my side and wakes up on a regular basis to get cuddled. He lies on his back and gets his stomach scratched while his eyes roll back in ecstasy.

Then he tries to make himself clear to me by walking from the kitchen to me and barking at me. That means, “I want a treat!”, but I pretend not to understand him and really make him work for it. When he really moans very hard and I ask him if he wants a treat and his whole body is contorting, I walk to the kitchen and give him one. It is an amusing pastime and rest assured, I am not torturing the dog by doing this. It is a game we play and we both enjoy it.

Toby is the one who lets me know when the dried cat food is all gone in the cat dish and can really walk around complaining until he is heard. He meows in a special way that means, “The dish is empty and it needs to be filled now in a hurry!” Nouri follows me around the house when she thinks it is dinner time, she follows me to the bathroom and complains loudly and then runs ahead of me to see if I am following her to the kitchen. Gandhi leaves it all up to chance, she doesn’t have any strategies. I guess she relies on the other two to make sure things get done on time.

Etienne is the one who was supposed to have taken Nouri if we still would have given her away, but now that I’ve talked to Etienne, I really don’t think it is a good idea, because, although he is very good with cats, he isn’t home much and Nouri would be home alone very often and I wouldn’t like that, nor would she. I can just imagine her going though the trauma of moving house and then sitting there by herself without her friend Toby in a strange place without human company on top of that. No, I don’t think that that is a good idea at all. She is staying here with us where she belongs.

The two little mountain ash berry trees on the patio aren’t so little anymore. They are now almost as tall as I am and I am 5 foot 7 inches. They’ve really grown this summer and we have all the rain to thank for that. The little tree that’s growing in the winter blooming jasmine is only about two feet tall now and probably won’t get much bigger before winter starts. I never did get around to planting a climbing vine against the fence. Somehow that completely slipped my mind and I will wait and do it now in the springtime. After having seen photographs of Frances’ garden, I really realize what a little space we have here in town and that we need to be happy with whatever will grow here. So, whatever decides to grow here on its own, gets to stay, unless it is a weed, of course, and in the springtime, there is no shortage of them. They grow in the flowerbed and between the tiles and they are a real pain to get rid off there.

Well, I need to get the day started properly now. Sometimes you just can’t postpone that, no matter how much you would like to and sit here forever and just ramble on. I’m a rambling sort of woman.

Have a wonderful day, are the leaves changing color yet anywhere in the part of the world where you are? Ciao…

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This is the opening sentence for today:

“They did a lot of Internet dating.”

Again, there is no dream sequence to go with it and I have no idea where this came from. I must have a whole secret life at night that takes place without me actively being aware of it and I just hope that I stay in bed while I am being this active in my head and that I don’t go wandering around the apartment acting anything out, such as visiting dating websites or putting on wide brimmed hats.

I have never gone to a dating website obviously, being very married to Eduard, but I do hear about it from other people and I know it is a jungle out there. Apparently there is a group of men on any website, who continually contact all the new girls in town, to check out if they are potentially any good and if they could possibly be prospective dates, but aren’t seriously looking for a partner. They just like the dates and only act like they could be more than that. So I am glad that I am not in that rat race.

It’s dry out, people! It may actually be a half way decent day today. It is supposed to be in the twenties and maybe the sun will shine. That would be a nice change for the better. I don’t know why August can’t be just an ordinary summer month in the Netherlands, unless this is an ordinary summer month and all the other Augusts weren’t. In my not so reliable memory it was never this wet and gloomy. It is making everything in nature very green, but I know the farmers are having a harder time with their wheat harvest, for instance, because of everything being so wet. It will be interesting to see how the fruit harvest will be this year, as I don’t know if we have had enough hours of sunshine for the fruit to ripen properly.

Yesterday I watched Death Becomes Her with Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn. I had seen it a long time ago, but decided to watch it again, having written about Meryl Streep so recently and wanting to see how she did comedy. Well, she did comedy just fine and the movie was interesting, as it had Bruce Willis in a very untypical Bruce Willis role. I had forgotten about that. Meryl Streep does comedy with a dead pan face, as she should, and Goldie Hawn was clever as ever.

It’s neat how they made the women seem really super young after they drank the potion and I wonder how they did that, what sort of magic tricks they had to do for that. I suppose it is similar to photo shopping and I wish it could be done in real life, because I have some areas of concern that could require some attention. I would love to photo shop my mouth and my hands and my arms. I have these little pucker lines in my upper lip that definitely have to go and maybe we should shoot some botox or something in it as well. It would be nice to fool mother nature just a bit.

Speaking of mother nature, or should I write that with capital letters as in Mother Nature? It makes me think of my Higher Being and I wonder if I should be addressing myself to someone like Gea instead as is made clear in this bit of information:

Gea was the great goddess of the early Greeks.
She represented the Earth and was worshipped as the Universal Mother. The Greeks believe she created the universe and gave birth to the first race of Titans (gods) and the first humans.
Greeks believe that Chaos was first to come, which was made of Void, Mass, and Darkness then came Earth in the form of Gaea. From Mother Earth came the sky god Uranus and the starry heavens. Mountains, plains, seas, and rivers also came from Gaea.

She became the oldest god of early Greeks and supreme goddess of gods and humans. Gaea was the one who presided over marriages and oaths. Gaea was honored as a prophets.

That may be something for me, what do you think? Maybe I have been approaching the wrong Higher Being, or the wrong interpretation of the Higher Being. I am very attracted to this idea of the female deity, but I would have to figure out a whole new way of approach. I don’t know if I could enter a Catholic chapel and worship a Greek Goddess there. But then again, isn’t there the female Goddess hidden inside Mary, the mother of God? I’ll have to read the book The Power of Myth, by Joseph Campbell again and see what he says on the subject. It is going to require a bit of intellectualizing on my part and I hope my brain can handle that. I always wish to instinctively figure things out and that is not always possible. Sometimes you have to do a bit of research and let your higher functions do some of the work.

Anyway, I can see that this would require a closer connection to all things earthly, meaning a closer contact with what is in nature, but then I do have my three little trees to care for and look at. It would be nice to have one of those primitive fat female figures that date from the new stone age and that they found in the painted caves, if I am not mistaken. I wonder where those can be had?

Which leads me to my name, Irene:

The Greek personified goddess of peace and wealth. Irene was portrayed
as a young woman with a cornucopia, scepter, and torch or
She is one of the Horae. Famous is the marble statue of
(ca. 380
BCE), which shows Irene with Plutus on her arm.

Just a bit of information I am throwing in. I was always very much aware of the origin of my name when I was a kid and I always thought that I had to honor my name and be very peaceable. I have no such delusions now, life has straightened me out on that one.

Speaking of my little trees, the neighbors have asked me, with much suspicion in their voices, what sort of trees they are. They are probably thinking that I have planted trees that are going to grow to be huge and overshadow everything. When I told them that they were mountain ash berry trees, they didn’t really react and I think maybe they don’t know what those are, but I can already feel the storm brewing and I know that next summer, when the trees are bigger, they will complain about them. I am not going to cut them down, as they are a gift from nature and I am so happy with them. The neighbor will have to find another spot to grow his tomato plant, which he said he was already going to do anyway. Grumpy old people!

Well, the cats are starting to show up, it is almost that time of day again. The dog has been out here once and I know he is waiting for me to get done here so we can go for a walk. Eduard is snoring, so he is really gone from this world.

I just realized that it is Saturday today and that Eduard will be home all day, except for tonight when he has to work again because of his colleague still being on vacation. It will be nice to have him home, because I have the feeling that I have seen very little of him lat
ely. I don’t know if we will do anything special. A lot depends on the weather and the health of the budget. I would love to go and have some coffee and pie, but I don’t really need it. My stomach is still sticking out enough without it and I still have nine days to go until my gastric band is filled.

Right, time to go and get the day started. Have a terrific one, people. Ciao…

P.S. Here is a bit of text that goes with the photograph I found of the statue I was talking about. It turns out it was not found in the painted caves like I thought, but you can’t win them all.

Venus or Goddess of Willendorf is one of the most famous early images of a woman, made more than 25,000 years ago at a time when, scholars say, women were revered for their ability to give life. She was found in 1908 by archaeologist Josef Szombathy near the town of Willendorf in Austria, and is the oldest religious image in the Western World. The Venus of Willendorf is a Mother-Goddess. She symbolizes the nurturing and support that womanhood creates. Her exaggerated breasts and hips represent her abundant Life Energy. To many, she is the symbol of life itself, and the creative side of womanhood.

I would almost say that it is what I used to look like, but I would be exaggerating just a little bit. I don’t quite look that way anymore now. I suppose I will have to go to Willendorf and get me one of those statues. I am sure they have copies of it, or maybe I can find out which museum it is in. I suppose that I would still be worshipped back then now, as I am still of ample size if no longer fertile, but who is to know?

Anyway, I would like something like this on my little altar, where I burn my candles and have secret prayers and thoughts. It is a little like a Buddha statue too, isn’t it? It’s great, how fat people used to be worshipped. It was a sign that the community had more than enough food and that all was well. I suppose fat women were great bearers of children, having so much to spare with their great hips and their ample bosoms.

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While looking up the Van Gogh paintings at the Van Gogh museum, I also ended up at the website of the KröllerMüller Museum on the Veluwe in the Netherlands, which has a very good collection of Van Gogh paintings, some of which I like better than the ones at the Van Gogh Museum. One thing led to another and I started visiting websites of other museums and I had a lot of fun doing that. The amount of art in the world boggles the mind. I ended up at the MOMA and at Musée d’Orsay and at the Guggenheim amongst others. I still have a lot of looking around to do.

This picture on the bottom is one of a gouache, watercolor and pencil drawing by Picasso that was made in 1919 and is called Sleeping Peasants. I do appreciate his cubism, but I like this one very much, because it has an abundance of color. The people are still recognizable and have all of their body parts in the right places, still they seem loosely jointed and carefree, even in their sleep. I found it while visiting the website of the MOMA. The other picture is the painting of Van Gogh of Gauguin’s chair which I really like and is very colorful and lively too. Notice the pattern on the rug and the beautiful green on the wall.

While extensively browsing through the collection of the MOMA, I did discover that my appreciation of ‘modern’ art ends pretty much in the late 19th and early 20th century with all the obvious artists like Picasso and Chagall and Gauguin and Van Gogh. After that things become a little too minimalistic and bare for me. I like abundance and solidness in my art.

I like how in the late 19th and early 20th century you see the whole evolution of art from realism to modernism. Seeing Van Gogh move from realism to post impressionism and seeing Picasso move from realism to cubism. I guess I like to see that process and you don’t see that later on anymore, everybody just goes straight into modernism and you don’t see the evolution from one style to the other. There are exceptions that I do appreciate like Karel Appel and Claas van Oldenburg. I think you see less of their realistic work and more of their abstract work emerge right away. Or Jackson Pollock with his dribble paintings which I also like and which have nothing to do with any realism at all.

Maybe I need to take another art appreciation course and really concentrate on modernism or should I say post modernism or what ever it is now. I am sure that I don’t know enough about it and I am just letting my guts speak. I think given the choice, I would not go to the MOMA, but I would go to the KröllerMüller Museum, which isn’t hard to do, because it is only a few hours drive away from here. The museum here in town gives a guided tour on Sundays with an explanation about the art that is exhibited there and I wonder if it would make me appreciate any of the exhibits better. Would I look at it with a different opinion? I came away from that so disappointed, it might help. I’ll think about it.

I very much like Van Gogh’s later work and the brightness and looseness of it reminds me of some things that my father did when he was just doodling around. When he was testing different flower patterns to paint, for instance, or boat scenes. There is the same kind of lunatic disconnectedness, although my father didn’t even come close to the genius of Van Gogh.

So, so far the conclusion is that I am most awe inspired by some of the work of Vincent van Gogh and possibly some of the earlier work of Picasso, but I have a lot of museum websites to visit yet and I may run into other artists I like also. I don’t like most of the work of the later 20th century painters. I don’t know what that style of painting is called and what it is all about, except that is is so bare and minimalistic.

In the meantime, it is the middle of the night and I woke up with a very sore throat and a plugged up nose. I don’t know if this has to do with my allergies or if I am just having a cold. Either way, it is annoying, especially the sore throat. My nose is plugged up at the left side were my ear was bothering me so much too. I very seldom get sick. I had bronchitis quite a few years ago and that was the last time I was sick. Eduard had a cold a few weeks ago, but I am sure I didn’t catch this from him. Oh well, it will pass.

Yesterday I had a bit of a cleaning spurt. I got the day started very late, because I had gotten up late and as a result I kept running behind with everything. After I finally cleaned the kitchen really well, I cleaned the bathroom, after I had hung up the laundry to dry outside. I even cleaned that pesky toilet! I also cleaned every little bottle that sat on the shelf above the bathroom sink and now they all shine and sparkle. Sometimes I don’t see the dirt and I don’t realize things could look differently. Then, I start cleaning something with a bottle of Windex and I realize that there are lots of things that could look better and before I know it, I have cleaned some things that hadn’t been cleaned in ages. There are still things in the bathroom that I need to clean today and I hope I don’t forget to do them now.

Anyway, after most of the laundry was dry, I moved my area of operation outside and weeded the flowerbeds, which turned out not to be such a bad job at all. The rain had made the soil really soft and the weeds were pulled out easily. I discovered another little tree hidden in the winter blooming jasmine and I trimmed the jasmine to give the tree some room to grow and trimmed some side shoots off the tree to give the main shoot a chance to grow really well. It is only about a foot tall now, but I am going to keep an eye on it and maybe it will grow quicker if I pay proper attention to it. I also trimmed one of the three shoots that wasn’t going anywhere off one of the other trees. It is about four feet tall now and a foot shorter than its neighbor. There are new leaves growing at the top of them constantly and it is so exciting to see them grow. I would like to put a chair out there and just sit there and watch them.

I loosened the soil really well and raked it with a three prong whatchamacallit. The soil is now ready to be planted with some ground cover and I need to go to the nursery around the corner this week to buy some of that. Hopefully they will have something
interesting there with maybe a bit of bloom. I also want to get some plant food to mix in the watering can that I water the trees with when it isn’t raining. I would like to buy a climbing plant to climb against the fence that separates us from the neighbors to our left, but I am unsure yet what to get. I think maybe a honeysuckle, but I am not sure. It has to be something hardy in case I forget to take care of it. I could get another jasmine, but not the same as I have now, because it is a bush and I am not that fond of it. It was a bit of a mistake to get it.

Eduard swept the patio and now that little place looks good. He also bought a new doormat for the outside and it looks spiffy and cared for. I am sure the neighbors will be happy about this, because both our neighbors care very much for their gardens and we hadn’t. It was still a post depression garden pretty much. I would like to get two chairs and a table out there for some spontaneous outside sitting and having a coffee there to watch the trees grow. I sat outside to watch my garden grow a lot in California and I know that it is a very peaceful pastime. You can contemplate your navel and nature at the same time.

I was going to vacuum yesterday afternoon, but then I got side tracked visiting all those museum websites. Browsing through the MOMA collection took a lot of time. I still need to have a really good look at the other websites. I am very curious about the Guggenheim one and the Musée d’Orsay. Eduard and I have pretty much decided that we will go to Paris next year and we will visit it then. Unless we need a major appliance before that time, then we don’t go. I am hoping that the washing machine will last for a few more years, but it is a second hand one and it may not. We’ll see. So far, so good.

So, I didn’t vacuum and I see drifts of dog hair under the furniture, so that will have to be done today most definitely. It just appears suddenly overnight as if by magic. One night everything looks fine and then the next morning all this hair is suddenly all over the place. Maybe the dog goes around shedding bits of hair on purpose. Let’s see…a little bit here and a little bit there. He does this while we sleep to make my life more interesting.

As I am up so early, I have gone back to the museum websites and looked up some more artists. I found someone else at the KröllerMüller Museum whom I find interesting and that is Charley Toorop (1891-1955). His work is a little bit manic, but fascinating none the less. I have also gone back to the website of Musée d’Orsay and looked up all the obvious artists like Degas and Renoir and Monet and find Monet still to be very good and I take back what I said about impressionists being too common now and that we have been overexposed to them, because looking at them again does make me appreciate them all over again. Not everything and everybody, but a lot of it I do, Monet being my favorite one of that group. I just wish there was more of a description of each painting, besides the title and the date, so you would have a little background on it.

I am sorry if I am boring you with all of this art now. When I get stuck on a subject, I really get stuck on it, but I also realize that I don’t know enough about it and that I could use some help in seeing what I am looking at. Maybe I can find some books at the library on modern art that would help me look at it better. I have a book here about the history of art into the 20th century that should give me some information too. I think it may be a very good idea if I read some chapters of it and get some information before I go on with this search for good art.

Toby is looking at me as if he is trying to figure out what I am doing up so early. He is pondering the meaning of it. Maybe he thinks that he will get to eat now. I fed the cats twice last night, after their first meal they were actually begging for more and I could not resist them and they ate the second helping too. It must be because we have especially good food lately. We found the stuff they really like. I am waiting to see them turn into big round cats who sort of waddle through the apartment like ducks.

Well, I’ll end this epistle now and go and make myself a really good cup of coffee and put on my bathrobe, because I just realized that it’s a little bit cold just sitting here in my pajamas which don’t amount to much.

Have a great day, people. If any of you know anything about art, please feel free to comment. Ciao…

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