Posts Tagged ‘more of everything and then some’

The Artful Eye Images number 11.

Well, as you see in the post below, I have been a little creative with the non-linear adding machine. Andrea pointed me to the website for it and it was the first time I had tried it. It really could be a new way to create free verse poetry if you worked with the text a bit. I haven’t done that yet, I just wanted to see what sort of raw material came out of it and I think it is rather amusing. There are bits of the text that are interesting and funny and that have potential for making great passages in a poem. I will try more of these and see what comes out. You can take any bits of text and enter them and see what they result in.

Something else I did, was download Fractal Forge, which is freeware that is a fast fractal generating application that you can use to draw your own fractal images with and explore Mandelbrot Set’s branches with.

A fractal is generally “a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be subdivided into parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole,”[1] a property called self-similarity. The term was coined by Benoît Mandelbrot in 1975 and was derived from the Latin fractus meaning “broken” or “fractured.”

Natural objects that approximate fractals to a degree include clouds, mountain ranges, lightning bolts, coastlines, and snow flakes. However, not all self-similar objects are fractals—for example, the real line (a straight Euclidean line) is formally self-similar but fails to have other fractal characteristics.

I won’t even get into what a Mandelbrot Set is, it is too complicated for me to understand, let alone explain to you.

Anyway, I’ve downloaded the program last night, I haven’t worked with it yet, I still have to figure out how to do it, but the download was very fast and the program looks pretty neat. It was Constance Rose who pointed this possibility out to me.

Now I have to tell you that I am not a mathematical person, my knowledge only goes as far as simple algebra, so I don’t know how well I am going to do with this program, but I will hope for the best and assume I will do just fine and throw in some fractals that will make great images, but where I am to find these fractals, I don’t know yet, but I am sure the “help button” will inform me.

I had such a pleasant day yesterday. I really feel like apologizing to all of you who lead very hectic lives and who don’t have time to think about what they need to do next, but my life is simple in comparison. I did a lot of blogging and I did a minimum amount of housework. I could have done more than I did, but it all didn’t seem that important and all of it can wait until Monday, when I am home alone and free to fill in my time as I please.

Eduard went to the library and picked up three Henning Mankell thrillers for me, so I am okay in the reading department for awhile. I had to give up the Julia Glass book in order for Eduard to pick up enough books for both of us, but that is alright, because I would rather read a good thriller now than read good literature and I think a good thriller is good literature. At least in the sense that it captures your attention totally and you are completely wrapped up in the book and very much out of touch with the world around you. Uncomprehendingly, you listen to your husband talk about things that don’t sink into your conscious at all. You just smile and say, “Yes dear,” absentmindedly, to whatever he says.

Isn’t it awful when the phone rings just when you are in a very exciting part of a book, or when you are blogging and you forget to listen to the people on the phone, because you are doing things on your computer instead? Suddenly there is a silence and the person on the other end asks, “Are you still there?” Then you have to be nimble of mind and pretend you have been listening all along.

I think I am eating too much non fat yogurt with bits of fruit in it. As a matter of fact, I am eating so much of it that it is coming out of my nostrils, as they say here in the Netherlands. I just love and adore the stuff and Eduard always makes sure we have an ample supply of it in the house, which I then proceed to eat. I am like an aardvark slurping up ants. I slurp up yogurt. There are, of course, worse things to be addicted too, but there is a limit to anything you can eat, even to non fat yogurt. I just don’t know how to stop eating it, except to not have any in the house at all and then I’ll have to think of something else to fill my stomach with and I know I’ll be just as bad about that food, because I just get fixated. Why do we women always have issues with food, what is this oral fixation that we have? I know that today I will want to eat chocolate chip cookies, because I have been craving those for a week and I don’t know how to get them out of my mind.

I know I’m dead meat if I ever try to stop smoking, I will compensate by eating and it will be awful. Before you know it I will be a rotund woman again, beyond Rubenesque, and my own stomach will get in the way of me when I try to pull on my socks.

Anyway, this is not going to be a heck of a long post. I need to go back to bed and sleep some more, because I have been up for the better part of the night and I think I have some amount of sleep left in me yet. It is also tempting to sit here and think about goat cheese, which I can eat while I blog, you see, I can multi task.

I am going to leave you with very pretty images, but by the time you have come to this part of the post, you have already seen those. Jeez, I can never keep a surprise from you. Well, the source image is a surprise.

Have yourself a wonderful Sunday. Remember, it is the Sabbath and we have to keep it holy, no chores that require a lot of effort, so it is written and so we shall do, or rather not do. Ciao…

P.S. Image courtesy of Andrea.


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Lighted lamp.

I am up, but there is no guarantee that I will stay up, so I may head back to the sofa, we’ll see.

As per Frances’ suggestion, I have been taking naps in the afternoon and they have allowed me to stay up a bit later in the evening, so I have been a little bit more sociable to Eduard, although I still fall sleep on the sofa, but not as early this time and I do wake up and stay up for a while and communicate some before I go to bed.

Last night I didn’t go to bed until ten o’clock after we watched “Coast” on the BBC and “The Best of Top Gear”. “Coast” is a beautiful program and lets you see the beautiful coastline of Britain to which the Dutch coastline is no match with is sandy and duny beaches. Who would have thought there was that much beauty in Britain? These are all well kept secrets, as far as I know. We always enjoy watching the BBC, because they do have these sort of spectacular programs in which no cost seems to be spared to make the best program possible. Did you know that Dublin has the most spectacular beaches, but that the water is so cold that it makes you want to cry to get into? Therefor the beaches are deserted.

We also always enjoy watching the nature programs with David Attenborough, because he is such a unique character and because his programs are so well made and so informative and we would never have anything like it on Dutch TV.

“Top Gear” is hilarious as usual, with their car Nazis and their constant bickering about which is the best car. You can’t take any of it too seriously, although I guess there are people who do. We watch for the entertainment value and not because we are into expensive fast driving cars that we can’t afford. You must take it all tongue in cheek and not take it seriously at all.

Dutch TV is very provincial compared to British TV. We just don’t seem to have the kind of budget that they have to make those kinds of programs. Of course, we don’t pay a license fee to watch TV, but still…Our three Dutch channels are shared by multiple broadcasting corporations, that each have their own time slots and it seems to me that it would be better if they all joined together to make the best programs, but then they would probably never agree on what those would be, because they are catholic and Christian and socialistic and humanistic and populist etc. They each want their own share of the pie and their own input, making for little programs with smaller budgets depending on their membership and subsidies. Nothing grant can come out of it.

We do have good and critical television, but no great nature shows like the BBC. And nothing like Top Gear or a series like Pride and Prejudice. We import all of those.

Yesterday was a little bit more active for me, although I can’t quite figure out the mood I am in. It is completely undetermined and I can’t give it any sort of a rating, because I have no way to describe it to myself. I am sometimes happy and I am sometimes sad. I swing between these two feelings. Mostly I am none of the two, but I just am, period. I did manage to get the apartment cleaned up and vacuumed, which had to be done badly.

Vacuuming on a Sunday is normally not done, but I figured need broke law and I did it anyway. Eduard had to go to work in the afternoon and was gone for a couple of hours and I hung out with the dog and the cats and pretended that it was siesta time and took a nap. It’s nice to doze off on the sofa and to barely be aware of my surroundings. The dog lies down next to me and one of the cats was laying on top of me. This was all very cozy until the phone rang and I very disoriented answered it. There should be an off switch on the phone for when you don’t wish to be disturbed.

Tomorrow I am seeing my SPN after a two week absence and I tell you, it is about time, because I have missed talking to her. Even now I know that I have a lot to tell her. I’ve got a lot on my mind. My psychiatrist is okay for the medication, but he can’t take the place of my SPN and I have missed her sorely. I think these last weeks have been hard and I want to be able to talk about them and get them out of my system. I feel like I have been floundering and missing a stable influence in my life.

I think a lot of my depression had to do with my daughter having been here and my inability to forge some sort of meaningful relationship with her that is new to us both and away from the mother daughter relationship that we have had in the past. I felt her presence as a heaviness that wore me down and made me sad and downhearted. I feel that there are all sorts of things that have not been resolved between the two of us and that new bonds have not been forged and that this time no opportunity existed to even come close to doing any of that. She is a part of my old life that I have left behind me and I somehow need to pull her into this new life I have here now and I have been unable to do so, therefor my downheartedness when I see her. She reminds me of my old pain. I find it very difficult to be cheerful around her.

Well, what a confession that is, I will discuss this with my SPN tomorrow. It is hard to get things right all at once, especially when more than one person is involved and there are numerous road blocks on the way. It is hard to say that the presence of your child makes you downhearted.

It would have been different if we had been able to spend a significant time together, but we didn’t. I spent no time alone with her and I saw her only on several occasions. There was no chance to talk to her and share some of my feelings with her. I needed some time to articulate what I felt and I could not do that in some squeezed in five minutes. I needed a leisurely afternoon over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.

Maybe I can write her a letter, or maybe I can wait for her to come back.

It is raining again outside. The rain is splattering against the window. Luckily, it only seems to rain at night and during the day the sun even comes out sometimes. It isn’t very cold out and Jesker and I can go for longer walks.

Yesterday he decided to do his business in a flowerbed and pulled me in with him and it was very muddy. There were roses growing there and the thorns stuck to my jeans and my boots sank into the mud. I yelled at him to stop, but it was too late. Muddily and thorned we walked home, after I gave him a severe talking to for not listening. He did look a bit guilty, but I don’t know if he got the message. I gave him quite a speech about listening when I tell him to stop and not pulling me a
long into muddy thorny flowerbeds.

We met a horse along the way and the horse came galloping up to the fence, which scared Jesker and he started to bark, which made the horse stop in his tracks and shake his head. Jesker can be such a ninny. He is scared and not in the least curious. He just gets away as quickly as possible.

Last week I had a vision about someone dying in our street and yesterday there was a funeral procession leaving from the house across from us. It was sad and eerie. The man was only 64 years old and died quite unexpectedly. Do you ever have a vision that comes true?

Well, I have to find some images now, I don’t know if it is going to be anything touristy. I may go for something completely different. Something very colorful and intricate. Let’s see what it will be…

Well, I stayed up the better part of the night despite my good intentions. I don’t feel especially tired, although I know I will take a nap sometime today. I suppose taking a nap in the afternoon is an alright thing to do if it gets me through the day properly.

I am not looking forward to this day especially. Eduard has to go to work and he has to work tonight also and the late shift as well. Of course, I won’t notice this as I will be asleep. This post has been a confessional and I don’t know how comfortable I am with it. Still, I am going to let it stand and take my chances. It’s all about given airspace to my thoughts and getting them down in print.

Have a great day, people. Be good and be brave and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. Which allows you a lot. Ciao…

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Street Images number 3.

I just got up and Eduard just went to bed. He said, “You don’t have to get up yet, you can go back to sleep,” and I said, “No I can’t, I am wide awake now,” and I really am. I went to bed very early, after having fallen asleep on the sofa like a log. I sort of stumbled to the bed and crawled under the covers with my book and was gone out like a light in no time. It was a very pleasant experience, to be so sleepy and to go to bed and lie down on the soft pillows and pull the duvet over me.

It does mean that my schedule is still all screwed up, but I’ll just have to accept that for now and not worry about it. I’ll pretend that I live in another time zone in another country more east of here, maybe somewhere in Mongolia. I’ll pretend that I am just getting out of my yurt to milk my yaks after having had a cup of tea flavored with yak butter. Or don’t Mongols keep yaks? Anyway, in another timezone I am right on time to be starting the day.

Maybe this is a practice run for my next life and I will be a nomadic Mongol living on the steppes
in my yurt, following my herd of yaks around. I will be a man, of course, and ride a pony in my native costume. What an experience that will be. What does a bipolar Mongol do when he gets depressed? Does he get depressed? I bet he rides off into the sunset and communes with nature and doesn’t come back until the mood has left him. And when he gets hypo manic he rounds up his yaks and leads them to better pastures. At night he drinks some sort of fermented potion made of yak’s milk and sings songs in his yurt by the fire.

In the meantime, I am a Dutch woman sitting here behind her computer making the best of her night.

It seems that everyone in the Netherlands is suffering from the flu, but Eduard and I are not, as usual. We seem to be immune to these kinds of bugs. I had bronchitis some years ago and that was the last time I was sick. Oh yes, I forgot that upper respiratory thing I had this summer, although I still think that was allergies, no matter what the tests pointed out. If you get that beginning every springtime along with your eczema, it must be allergies.

My mood has increasingly become better and I am now steadily at a seven, which I like very much and prefer above being a six. When I am a six, I find myself a bit dull and slow witted, so I like a seven ever so much better and would like to be it always. I feel that my thoughts are more interesting when I am a seven, but that may be my imagination, just like a drunk thinks his conversation is extremely witty when it is not.

The fact that I have gone out in the cold on my bicycle and have bought myself new clothes is a good sign. Next thing you know, I’ll be doing that more often, but that is not supposed to happen either. I would like to walk around downtown with Eduard some more and take pictures and pop into cozy cafés. I can taste the cappuchinos and hot chocolate now.

Chocolate is such a heavenly thing for me to eat. I crave it regularly and it is a good thing that the store is not around the corner, because I would pop in and buy me a candy bar all the time. Well, come to think of it, there is a shop around the corner, so I must have some self control after all for not going there. Of course, they don’t sell my favorite chocolate, so that makes a difference too. I do get picky about those things.

When we walk around downtown on Sundays, there are food stands open where you can buy all sorts of goodies to eat and I am always able to resist them. Such as Belgian waffles dipped in chocolate or butter flavored croissants. I don’t even bother, because I would only be able to eat half of it and I would have to give the other half to Eduard and I don’t know if he likes those things and it seems so greedy of me to want them. I myself dislike seeing fat people eat fattening food in the streets. I think, “Well, no wonder that that’s the shape you are in!” No doubt people have thought that about me when they saw me eat a double ice cream cone.

Now that I just have this little stomach to lose, I must have some self discipline and not give into the lure of sweets anymore. After the holidays, I have gone back to “normal” eating again. I had gained two kilos (4.4 lbs) and I need to get rid of those in a hurry as I am not proud of them, but it is no surprise when you think about what I have eaten over the last three weeks or so. Pies and chocolates have done me in.

I need to do a lot of walking with the dog and a lot of bike riding. Those are all good reasons to get out of the house as much as possible. Riding my bike into town is always fun, but I do need an excuse to go there. Taking photographs would be a good excuse, which leads me back to the camera and we have decided that I am definitely going to get one as soon as we have the money, which may be any day now. They are on sale now and a good one can be had for a very decent price. I’ll probably get the same one Eduard has, because that will spare us having to install the software and will make it easier for me to learn to use it.

I am quite excited about the idea, as I haven’t had a good camera in a while. I had a very good Minolta with a zoom lens, but it broke down some years ago and I haven’t been able to take good photographs since, so it has all been rather frustrating. Eduard has been the photographer since that time, and I have let him, but I know that I can do a good job myself. I am artistic enough to take a good picture.

It’s funny how you can worry about the technology beforehand, because you know there are so many possibilities with a digital camera and you wonder how in the world you are going to master them all. I suppose you start little and add to your knowledge as you learn. First the basics and then the more comprehensive stuff. First the on and off button.

I said my goodbyes to my daughter yesterday and explained to her that I had been depressed the whole time she had been here and that I had just come out of it. She accepted this quite easily and said that she could see that I was in much better shape now. I think she knows me well enough to know when I am not doing well. It’s amazing how the look of your eyes and the look on your face changes when you feel better. Also your body language becomes much different. You are upright more and moving about faster and more gracious. People notice these things.

She is gone to Spain now, but she did talk about coming back to the Netherlands over the spring break and bringing her son with her. I haven’t seen him for nearly two years, so that would be quite an exp
erience. The last time I saw him he was seven and still a bit mischievous, so I am very curious to see what he is like now. I hear good things about him. He spends most of his vacations in Germany with his father and his grandparents there and as a result, I am not very close to him.

I always had a vision of myself as this hip grandmother who drove a convertible with her grandkids in the back and the wind in our hair. We would all scream with laughter and stop and eat banana splits in a café by the seaside. Well, life has decreed differently. I am not that grandmotherly and I don’t have a convertible. Instead I have become this ponderous woman who takes life way to seriously and who doesn’t know how best to communicate with little kids. Things happen. Life gets in the way. You meet your real self and you turn out not to be who you thought you were.

Encore et bis. Enter this woman. Stage left. Who am I instead? Well, you all read my blog so it should be clear to you by now. Sometimes I read my blog and I am amazed and amused. Is this who I am? After all this falling down and getting up again, this is what has become of me. I am so different than how I pictured myself to be at age twenty. So not at all the wise and maternal figure whom I thought I was going to be. Not at all the matriarch of a large family. I have become an Einzelganger, a lonely wolf sitting on a rock in the wilderness just outside of civilization. Oh, do you notice how I dramatize it? It’s all literary freedom.

I have mixed feelings about being hurt and becoming cynical and losing my innocence. It is a two edged sword. It has it’s pros and cons. Being cynical is more fashionable, of course, and more mature. Being innocent is being naive and childlike. It leaves you open to all sorts of blunders, but also to all sorts of miracles. When you are cynical, you lose the ability to be amazed and impressed. There is always a large part of you saying, “Yeah, right!” Your whole believe system changes and I don’t know which is better, to be a fool and to believe nearly everything, or to be a jackass and to believe nearly nothing. There must be a poetic middle of the road.

Well, now would be a good time to go to bed again, except that I am wide awake and I need to find a way to get through the rest of the night. It will be a long one, except in Mongolia where they are already hard at work. I wonder if they know that they have a kindred spirit here and if they would say a prayer for me here if they knew. Surely they have a shaman or something. I must get an amulet from there to ward of the spirits of the long night. That would be quite an achievement. Maybe they would be upset with me if I got that part about the yaks wrong.

Maybe it would be best if ‘t Pothuiske stayed open until the wee hours of the morning and I could hang out there and drink hot chocolate and cappuchinos. I dreamed I was smoking marijuana and getting high and that nothing in the world bothered me. I remember what a starry night sky looked like when under the influence and how I raided the refrigerator. Best not do that again.

I have often wondered why I didn’t have the misfortune of becoming an alcoholic. The opportunity has presented itself and there have been times when I have longed to hang out in bars and get inebriated and numb to everything. Somehow alcohol does not serve that function for me and I have a holy respect for it. Maybe it is my fear of losing control, although there are times when I just wish I would. I would probably have too much of a guilty conscious and feel very bad the day after and be very embarrassed. Somewhere in me a wild woman lives, better leave her there.

Okay, I’ve got to find some images now, so let me see what it will be for today. Something touristy or something colorful? Let’s see…okay, it’s a touristy little street. I am not that impressed with it myself, but maybe it will satisfy your curiosity about the town. Next time I am going for colorful!

Good, people. I will end this epistle now and go find some other way to amuse myself. Twiddling my thumbs is not one of them. Maybe this would be a good night to rearrange the books on the book case by color. That wouldn’t be very noisy. We’ll see how mad I get.

Have a wonderful day or a wonderful night, which I am sure some of you are still about to have. Those of you in other timezones who are sticking to the regular schedules. Ciao…

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‘t Pothuiske Images number 3.

I am getting behind on reading other people’s blogs. I start to, but then I get sidetracked doing other things instead. Yesterday I ended up looking for interesting widgets. I actually wanted one for my own web log, but only found widgets for other stuff. I remembered that Frances used to have a widget for hers, but I don’t see it anymore. Blogger is supposed to have a function where you can add widgets under add a page element, but it doesn’t show up under my choices yet.

Well, anyway, I had a good look around at what is available and there is lots out there. I just have to make up my mind about what I want. I don’t want it to be anything obnoxious.

I had so much fun yesterday. When Eduard and I were walking around downtown on Tuesday, we went past my favorite shop and saw a tunic on sale, so yesterday I went back to see if they had my size. Well, they didn’t, but I found another one that is equally attractive and it was marked down to the ridiculously low price of 6.40 Euros when it had been much more expensive before. It is a multicolored, long sleeved, v-necked tunic and to go under it, I bought a soft yellow long sleeved stretch T-shirt for 4.40 Euros. To finish the outfit, I bought a matching necklace for 6.50 Euros and voila, I was done and looking pretty for very little money. That is my kind of shopping!

It was cold outside and freezing several degrees, so it was very dedicated of me to get on my bike and go downtown. I just had to get out of the house for a while and shop for a bit. Of course, I had a cappuchino at Eduard’s work to start with, with a foamy milk layer on top with chocolate sprinkled on top of that. Mmm. After my little shopping expedition, I returned there and had a repeat of the same. By that time Eduard was ready to go home and together we rode our bikes home, into the cold wind, which was no fun and made us gasp for air and our noses runny. It was so nice to come home to a warm apartment, but I had to go out again to walk the dog who had been waiting patiently for me to come home.

Jesker is such a dedicated “going for a walk” dog. It doesn’t matter how cold it is outside, he takes his time sniffing every little interesting spot. It doesn’t matter to him that a cold wind is blowing, he just takes his time and won’t budge. I have to cajole him into moving to the next interesting spot. I can’t pull him along if he won’t move. Well, it is his outing and we are there for his pleasure and not mine. I do have to keep that in mind. He is a true hunting dog and always has his nose to the ground. I think he is a little nearsighted too.

My daughter and her boyfriend are leaving for Spain and Portugal today. They will be going to Paris from there and then back to the States, so this morning I will be saying goodbye to her. It was good to see her, but she has to get back to her normal life and so do I. And I do it gladly.

Your life never is normal when there are visitors from a long way away. You are always sitting in anticipation of their company. More often then not they are off doing totally different things than hanging out with old mom. They are off in town visiting the many cafés and shops and being tourists. You learn too late not to keep staying home, but to go off yourself and do your own thing. No matter how old you are, there are always wise lessons to be learned. One of them is, that it isn’t the most important thing in the world to be the mother. That’s just a side issue.

I am looking forward to having my “normal” life back again, with it’s normal rhythm of every day things. You do come to appreciate the little things that make your life so comfortable. I very much like things to be as I anticipated them, with a lot of structure and timing. I like the predictability of my life, even when I am hypo manic. It gives me a solid base to operate from.

I am thinking more and more about having my own camera. I am thinking about all the photographs I would take. I wonder if I would become a compulsive photographer and if I would always have my camera with me and if it would drive me crazy always wanting to shoot pictures of things. How do you deal with that? Do you stop seeing potential photographs ever? Do you pick a day on which to photograph? Of course, there is the matter of money and being able to afford to buy one. That will need looking into first. It may be possible. I’ll solve that problem first. But it is an attractive idea to own my own camera and to use it at will and to point and shoot when I feel like it. I have the feeling that I might become very addicted to it.

I went to bed at 7:30 pm, which is way too early, of course, and I woke up a little after midnight, when Eduard was still awake. I wasn’t really properly awake, but insisted on getting up anyway and turning on the computer and having a cup of coffee. Than I sat there like a fool trying to read my emails and falling asleep doing that. I would start to read one and then accidentally delete it and start to read the next one. Well, that didn’t work and I laid down on the sofa and slept another few hours. I was much more coherent when I woke up the second time. The first time I was what we call “sleep drunk”, when you do irrational things because you are really under the influence of a sleepy brain. You are convinced that you are capable of performing when indeed you are not, but sleep drunk people are stubborn, just like drunk people.

Impairment of ability

According to a 2000 study published in the British scientific journal, researchers in Australia and New Zealand reported that sleep deprivation can have some of the same hazardous effects as being drunk.[15] People who drove after being awake for 17–19 hours performed worse than those with a blood alcohol level of .05 percent, which is the legal limit for drunk driving in most western European countries (the U.S. and UK set their blood alcohol limits at .08 percent). In addition, as a result of continuous muscular activity without proper rest time, effects such as cramping are much more frequent in sleep-deprived individuals. Extreme cases of sleep deprivation have been reported to be associated with h
ernias, muscle fascia tears, and other such problems commonly associated with physical overexertion. Beyond impaired motor skills, people who get too little sleep may have higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression, and may take unnecessary risks. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 100,000 traffic accidents each year in the USA alone are caused by fatigue and drowsiness.[16][17] A new study has shown that while total sleep deprivation for one night caused many errors, the errors were not significant until after the second night of total sleep deprivation.[18]

The response latency seem to be higher when it comes to actions regarding personal morality rather than in situations when morality is not in question. The willingness to violate a personal belief has been shown to be moderated by EQ, so people with high EQ are affected less by sleep deprivation in such situations.[19]

So anyway, The cats and the dog certainly don’t suffer from sleep deprivation, because they sleep whenever they are not doing something else like eating or going for a walk or grooming themselves. The cats sleep a lot now that it is wintertime. I think they are in hibernation mode. They don’t even go outside to piddle, but use the litter box, which is unusual. They certainly avoid the cold. They are not like Jesker, who doesn’t give a hoot.

Today’s images are of the café ‘t Pothuiske, where I had my hot chocolate and Eduard had his red wine. You can see how tiny the door is to get inside. It is like Alice in Wonderland. In the summertime, Hollanders sit here, because it is nearly the first café when you enter downtown and every Hollander sits on the terrace and watches the people walk by. That’s why Eduard and I have said that we would never sit on the terrace, but always inside as becomes real townies. We aren’t Hollanders after all. We are not Limburgers, but we are also not Hollanders. Never confuse us with them.

A Limburger will call everybody from outside the province a Hollander, but we always very clearly point out that we are not. Eduard is a Twenth and I am a Drenth, both Saxon and that is something totally different from being a Hollander. Actually, to be perfectly correct, I am a Groninger and a Frisian, at least my ancestors were, with a bit of French and German thrown in. But you can see how we are far from being Hollanders, or Limburgers for that matter. That’s why we don’t speak the regional language. Understand it yes, but speak it no. It is very tongue twisting.

Okay, now I really have to go and read some blogs, there is still time. I wish you all a grand day and whatever you do, do it well and happily. Ciao…

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Christmas Cards

As of yesterday I am officially on the depressed side of my scale of ratings and knowing that, and admitting to it, already makes me feel a lot more hopeful that things will start looking up soon.

Early in the morning, I sat at the table making cigarettes and I just wanted to give up and cry and not give a hoot anymore. It was a mood that had been on its way for about a week or more and that finally broke through.

Eduard had been waiting for it to happen, because he had noticed that I had not been my usual cheerful self lately. It seems that I had done a lot of quiet pondering on the sofa and had been steadily gloomy and silent, without me realizing so much that I had been. At least not to the point that it was that noticeable to me, but now looking back, I know that is true.

I called my psychiatrist, and I must say that I am really lucky that he is available on the weekends. We briefly discussed the situation and came to the conclusion that it was the beginning of a depression and he decided on the steps to take to cut it short. A change in my medications is the most important one. Trying to get enough sleep is another one and staying on a regular schedule is the third one.

I am keeping track of how much sleep I am getting and it is maybe enough all together, it is just not at the right time of the 24 hour cycle that people are on. I sleep in the afternoons and in the evenings, but I am awake during most of the night, so it is all a question of timing. I am going to be drinking a lot more decaf to see if that will help any and generally try to stay up more during the day, although that may be hard to do. Add to that the fact that I like being up at night and you can see the problem.

Anyway, we’ll see how the change in medication works. Usually I am pretty susceptible to that and it works quickly. This time we are actually going to lower one of my medications and that is the anti psychotic, because it acts as a brake on your feelings, as he explained to me. I should be feeling a lot better soon. It is not unusual to get a low after having been hypo manic like I was. I like the way my psychiatrist is so proactive nowadays. He immediately looks for practical solutions that work. It has not always been that way in the past.

As a result of that low pressure system moving in (see how I am like the weather?) , I didn’t do a heck of a lot yesterday. I cleaned the apartment a bit in the morning and made sure I was dressed properly and applied my make up and combed my hair, because it is too easy to let these things go. I pretended that I was expecting company and made sure I and the apartment looked okay. When I am really not motivated to do that, I pretend the queen is coming over for a cup of tea and I make sure that the toilet is clean.

Eduard had to work in the afternoon and before he was gone, I was already asleep on the sofa and I woke some two and a half hours later to a silent place, with only the radio softly playing an opera aria. That was a perfect time for me to go visit all the blogs that I hadn’t visited during the night. You have to be in a proper mood to visit other people’s blogs. You have to be receptive to their ideas and their art and you have to be coherent enough to leave sensible comments. I wasn’t coherent enough during the night.

Oh, bugger snot, I just realized that it is New Year’s Eve today and I have to go to the store to buy some things that we need to get past the next few days of store closure. I think the shops close at noon today. I am so not in the mood for shopping, I am so tired of shopping, it seems all I do these days is shop and I don’t want to anymore. I must talk Eduard into going to the store for me instead, I just can’t face it. I think I’ll have a mini nervous breakdown if I have to walk behind a grocery cart today. Stress? Who? Me? No, not at all! I never feel stress.

Anyway, not to get distracted, when Eduard came home from work, neither one of us felt like cooking and Eduard went out for Chinese take away, of which I didn’t have any. I have decided not to eat another normal dinner again if it kills me. So Eduard had a nice meal all to himself and I had a piece of apple pie and that will be the last of the good stuff that we have in the house, because that is the last of the sweets we will buy. From this point forward it is Cup a soup and yogurt and cornflakes again. Man, it has been so disgusting to eat all those pies and cookies and other sweet things! It can be the downfall of a woman.

In another fourteen days I am seeing the gastric band man and he will have me go on his scales and I always weigh more on his than I weigh at home so it is all rather tiresome. I will have to weigh myself at home before I go, which is something I have avoided for some time now. I know that I am not going to be happy with what I’ll see. I am postponing it as long as possible.

Regularly a feeling of dread washes over me and I feel overwhelmed with negativism. I know it is the depression acting up and that I must not put too much value on it, but it is not a nice feeling. Sometimes futility wants to win and toss all positivism out the window. When even a cup of coffee and a cigarette don’t fix things. I’ll be damned if I give into it, though. I’ll go down kicking and screaming. In my mind I will be anyway. You won’t notice any of this on the surface. On the surface I’ll be as cool as a cucumber.

Right, I have to pick out some images. Let’s see what it will be today…Christmas cards, that’ll be my last salute to Christmas then. Just one more day and the holidays will be over until Carnival, which will be early this year, I believe in February. Some more days of madness will ensue and the whole town will be dressed up and drunk and everybody will have confetti in their hair and in their pockets. Eduard and I are Northerners, so we don’t have Carnival in our blood and we don’t know how to celebrate it properly. If you’re born into it and raised with it, it comes as natural to you as breathing and riding a bike. We don’t even go and see the parade anymore, although it is the best in the south and the most authentic. A real tourist attraction.

I have no other news than to tell you that I look forward to drinking many more cups of coffee and watching it become morning slowly. Then I will go and walk the dog and hope it is not too cold out, just enough to wake me up properly and get my blood circulating through my veins well enough.

So, I greet you all, my fellow bloggers and anybody else ou
t there who can’t sleep and who finds comfort in the darkness of the night in the wee hours of the morning. Ciao…

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Plant and Candle Images number 2.

Dear readers, I am sitting here in my royal red robe in the wee hours of the morning again, having my first cigarette and my first cup of coffee, which all taste splendidly.

I was so happy when I woke up. I very quickly turned on the computer and the Senseo machine and impatiently waited for both to warm up. Luckily, the Senseo machine beat the computer, because I need that first cup of coffee badly, being all thirsty and in need of caffeïne. Then I inhale the smoke of that first cigarette and I am completely satisfied. Those of you who don’t smoke will not be able to imagine that, but trust me, when you smoke, that first cigarette in the morning tastes wonderful. As does every cigarette after that, by the way. And every cup of coffee.

Today’s images are rather Christmassy still and they came by that completely by accident if you ignore the Christmas candle on the original photograph. They just turned out rather green and red because of the dominant colors in the original picture. Still, I thought it was appropriate to use them today as we are not quite out of the holiday season yet.

I had a heck of a lot of fun making new images of photographs yesterday, as it can be quite addictive to do. You never know what the results are going to be, although you do have some hand in controlling the outcome. Some things are quite surprising, though, and leave even me stunned and stumped. The dullest objects can turn into very interesting mandalas. Our wall clock made for some very interesting images that I would not have expected at all. I’ll have to show you them one of these days. I have so many to share.

Yesterday afternoon, I had my daughter all to myself for a while and that was nice. Her boyfriend had not come back from Paris yet and my sister and her family are still in England. So we sat and had cappuchinos and talked about different things as mothers and daughters do. They were just every day things, nothing earth shattering.

I think it would be nice if we could meet over a cup of coffee once a week and talk like this about non important things or about semi important things. I don’t need to be a major figure in her life, but I would like to be a regular fixture in her life, someone who is always there and part of it on a regular basis to create some familiarity with each other. I don’t need huge amounts of her time, just a bit here and there to see how she is doing.

I am leaving a lot unsaid here, because I find that talking about my maternal feelings is something very personal, although I do not deny having them. I think I need to adjust them a bit to fit the situation as it actually is. I struggle with that, but not at a level where I will not find a solution to it.

I can’t take Jesker with me when I go to see my daughter. It is as though he knows that she is very important to me and he does nothing but beg for attention the whole time we are there. When we had dinner with her the other night, he was a regular pain in the butt and Eduard had to take him home. That dog knows who is important and feels very insecure because of it. Luckily for him, he only has to worry about this once a year.

Well, that’s all I’ve got really. I don’t have much to share today. I find that I am not in a great philosophical mood and I am not feeling very funny either. I must not have had enough coffee yet.

Have a great day, everyone. Toady the stores open again and we can be normal people and shop for groceries and other non important items such as all the stuff that is on sale. How wonderful! Ciao…

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Toby and Nouri in Chair Images number 2.

Let’s pretend it isn’t some ridiculous early hour of the night and that it is perfectly fine for me to be sitting here already in my fine bathrobe with my good cup of coffee and my delicious cigarette, and let’s pretend it is perfectly normal to not want to be asleep when everybody else is and that this does not mean that I have a screw lose somewhere. Okay, everybody got that straight? That’s good, now I can proceed…

When I just got up, Eduard was still reading his book and he said to me anxiously, “It is too early to get up, you can go back to sleep, it is okay.” But then he saw that look of determination on my face and capitulated. I told him, “I can always go back to bed when I feel like it,” and he said, “Uh, yes, I guess you can,” knowing I won’t until sometime in the morning after I have been up for hours and hours.

It’s the thrill of being up, people, it just excites me, all by myself with the computer screen in front of me and the gentle slow tapping of the keys…notice how I say slow, if I type to fast, I make all sorts of mistakes in the semi dark here. It comes out quite garbled. You wouldn’t understand a bit of it. That’s why it takes me so long to write a post. I have to go back in every sentence and fix the mistakes. No, auto spell doesn’t work. It underlines the words I get wrong, but it doesn’t give me the correct spelling to click on, so I have to go back and fix it by hand the old fashioned way. Some SNAFU* in Blogger, it seems.

*Situation Normal, All F**ked Up
At least I am sitting here royally in my new red bathrobe, feeling quite regal. I can receive my audience any minute now and take their accolades in grace. I could be the wily queen, scheming her plots by the half lighted gloom of the darkness of the night, planning war and coups d’etats in other countries. My emissaries would come and go by the light of the full moon in full gallop on weary horses, carrying my secret orders on scrolled papers with sealed waxes on them. I would have to speak Elizabethan English to really stay in character. What sayeth thou?
I noticed yesterday, that it is becoming harder for me to speak English, I don’t mean writing it, but actually speaking it. Forming the letters and sounds with my mouth is becoming more difficult and I find it tiresome and I find that my vocabulary becomes rather limited to one liners like, “Oh really?” and “Wow, that is really something!” I can’t seem to say many sensible things in English anymore. There seems to be a disconnection between my brain and my tongue.

My Dutch is getting in the way definitely and now I am wishing that I could say what I want to say in Dutch when it used to be the other way around. I notice this especially when I am tired and my mouth wants me to go to sleep and is refusing to cooperate any longer. I just want to say,”Blah, blah, blah,” and have everybody understand that.

Last night my daughter made a very nice dinner for us, or I should say “our” daughter, because Eduard told her how proud he is to have a daughter like her and she took the compliment gracefully. Well, it is true, she is the closest thing that Eduard will ever have to a true daughter and he sure got lucky with her, but that is just my humble opinion. She has been calling him her step dad and that is one thing different than calling him “my mother’s husband.” I think Eduard is very happy about that. It is an honor for him to be called that by such a bright young woman.

So she made this lovely dinner for us with chicken and sun dried tomatoes and some very good aged Italian cheese and pasta. It had fresh rosemary in it, of course. We had a salad for starters with some real Maastrichter salad dressing that is made with mustard and beer and is sold at the tourist information shop where my sister works. Delicious!
The only problem is, that the food tastes so good and that I can have so little of it and that is so frustrating, because I really just want to sit down and have a regular meal and enjoy the things like the warm oven bread with sunflower seeds and the special dip that came with it, but it is all too much for me too eat. Imagine my frustration when my stomach starts to heave in protest and I haven’t had that much food yet. I have only just begun to enjoy the meal.

Oh well, that’s why I have the gastric band and it isn’t selective. It doesn’t shut off when your daughter has made you an especially nice meal. I must adjust to the fact that I will never have gastronomic culinary highs again. Now it’s all, a little bite of this and a little bite of that. It’s physically impossible for me to sit down and have a regular meal, no matter how much I would like to. I do notice that it’s aways meals like regular dinner that give me the most problems. A bowl of cornflakes doesn’t, nor does a small roll with chicken fillet. It must be the chunks of meat in it.

It’s not very regal to hang over the toilet to upchuck your dinner, but then again, I wasn’t wearing my royal robe. When I wear my royal robe, I am all dignity and form, becoming of my station in life.

I spent a lot of time yesterday playing with Paintshop Pro. I can’t believe I got it reinstalled without any problems. We’ll see how long my good fortune lasts, but I am taking advantage of it now by manipulating lots of photographs that Eduard has made. Eduard said that I should also print the original photograph that I make the images from, so I think I will do that when possible and show it at the bottom of the post. If there are people in the picture, I won’t, because I don’t want to publish anybody
else recognizably without their permission.

It’s so much fun to manipulate the photographs. I try different tricks and in different order and different combinations. Sometimes, even I go, “Wow!” Sometimes, doing some very simple things give a great result. Sometimes, you have to do a lot of things in the right order. I am still learning myself what to do best. Every time I think I’ve found a magic formula, it turns out there is another one that works better for another photograph.

If you enjoy art blogs, you may enjoy Joy Logan at This Joy of Art, or John at Typos.Daylight.Fate. These people do interesting collages and photography. If you have been visiting Trijnie Mohlmann at Woman in Glass, you may enjoy her website Vrouw in Glas, where she shows all of her artwork and it is quite a bit and very good and quite overwhelming, so take some time out to see all of that properly. There is another good artist at Creative Every Day, she has a lot of good art to see in her Art Every Day archives in the sidebar.

Okay, it is still very early, but I am going to hang up now. I have got to pick some images for the top of this post and the original for the bottom. I’ve got a lot to choose from, so we’ll see what I come up with.

Have a great after Christmas day, Boxing day isn’t it, for you English people? What does that mean, anyway? Do you box up all of your gifts and take them back to the store? Here is is still a holiday, Second Christmas Day and all the shops will still be closed.

Anyway, I hope you all got the presents you wanted. I got a bottle of perfume from Eduard so I can smell good all over. I use perfume like it is water, generously. Ciao…

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