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Posts Tagged ‘prayer’





I am working on my first cup of Senseo. I think I am awake, but don’t take my word for it. Oh, I think that first cup was decaf, well, no wonder! I’ve gone and made myself a regular now. It ought to start working any time now. They should mark the little pads too, so you know that you’ve put in the wrong one! I guess they don’t count on sleepy headed people grabbing pads out off the wrong bag early in the morning.

What a way to start the morning! All is well as long as I can have my coffee and cigarettes. I am so easy to please. I would make a model prisoner, as long as I got my coffee and cigarettes, but a bad hostage if I didn’t.

I had such a lovely day yesterday. It is so easy to have a good day when you fit well into your skin, as the saying goes here. After I finished writing my blog, I slept on the sofa for a while, under the yellow blanket, and that was very pleasant. Luckily, Jesker was in no hurry to be walked, as Eduard had let him out real late the night before. When I woke up, I was most definitely an eight and that was a very welcome rating. So, I got myself all ready and walked Jesker in the fog and then I hopped on my bike and rode it downtown to go to the chapel.

When I got to the chapel, it was very quiet there. There was only one other person inside and he left when I walked in. There were candles burning there, but not that many that there was not a good place to put the three I wanted to place there. It was very pretty inside. You don’t get to appreciate that when the place is brimming with tourists. The light of all those candles is beautiful and the statue of Mary with the little Jesus all dressed up is impressive. If you just sit there for a while and take it all in, you do get into the proper mood to pray. The walls and the floor are so old and the benches are so worn, yet everything is solid and permanent and you know that it will be there for centuries yet to come.

I said my most fervent prayer and just as I got done, someone else walked in, so it was not a disturbance. The tourists are always very noisy, but the regular people who come are quiet and respectful of the place. I know they pray to Mary directly and there is a prayer on the wall that you can recite to her. I always talk to God, as I haven’t learned to talk to Mary. I see her as sort of a representative of the Mother Goddess, or the female part of God, but I talk to God directly as I imagine Him to be somewhere in my head in an indescribable way. An entity that I can’t give a shape or a face to. Something large and powerful and all encompassing.

When I was done, I rode my bike to the film house and had an espresso with Eduard. I always take the large cup and saucer and have a double espresso with two cookies. That’s a real treat. Eduard picks out the best cookies for me, as they are wrapped in foil and you can’t see what’s inside. Through experience, Eduard knows which ones are the best.

Then I had to go home again to clean the apartment and do the dishes from the night before. The funny part was that, although the weatherman had predicted rain, there was none all day long yesterday. I was just a real autumn day, with fog in the morning and a tiny little bit of sunshine in the afternoon. That was fine with me, of course. The leaves are really falling of the trees and when I walk Jesker, he drags his long ears through them and he always comes home with bits of leaves stuck to them.

Eduard came home soon after me, because he had to work last night and he went and took a nap, because he had not slept well the night before. He had stayed up way too late, doing things a man his age ought not to be going that late at night. When he woke up, my eight rating suddenly dropped down to a four, it happened very quickly and it was pretty awful. I had a talk with Eduard and it very quickly became apparent why my rating had slipped so badly. I ended up feeling a lot of stress and taking an oxazepam, but in the evening my rating went up to a seven again and stayed there until this morning where it still is now. Eduard’s episode of nearly three weeks ago is not played out yet and there are some aftershocks and some debris to be taken care of. Three weeks is not that much time, after all.

When I was home alone last night, peace returned and I was able to have a simple evening surrounded by the animals. I watched a few dumb programs on TV and didn’t get too excited about any of them. I ate some of Eduard’s hutspot, which is mashed potatoes and carrots with milk and butter, and that was nice. I totally resisted his gravy, which was made of pork and, I thought, too sad for words. Eduard agrees that we should boycott pork, but he realizes that that means having to give up most of his luncheon meats, as they almost all have pork in them. It is easy for me, as I don’t eat meat at all. I think it is harder when you have to pick and choose.

I like the taste of meat, but I just think of the animals that went into making the meat and what they had to suffer for it. I wouldn’t mind so much if I knew they had had happy lives and were butchered in a humane manner. If that is possible. I would mind less then, I guess. I love bacon and ham and pork chops, I just won’t allow myself to eat it, because when I do, I think of where it comes from. It is easier for me to do without, than for a pig to have that sort of life.

Well, anyway, as has been pointed out, I have enough other things to worry about, but I really don’t when my head is clear and I am not ultra rapid cycling. If I can keep my life simple, I will rapid cycle less, that much is clear. I can’t avoid all the road blocks, but I can try and keep as many of them out of my way as possible. The problem is, that you can’t control other people. You think you can, but you really can’t when it comes down to it. Life is fraught with danger, really. I can’t prevent Eduard from falling in love with someone else, no matter how good of a wife I try to be. I can walk on my toes for the rest of my life and it still won’t make any difference.

So, I have to make sure that I wear enough protective armor. And you do that by becoming emotionally strong and resilient. I need a lot of practice there, as if I haven’t had enough. When it comes to love, I am not well equipped. Can anybody be?

Well, that is enough for today. For some reason, I am not getting around to reading the many blogs I want to read and leave comments on them. I find myself shutting off the computer and contemplating my navel in complete silence instead, which is nice too. I enjoy the quiet moments, because then it is quiet i
n my head too. Still, I am going to try and read some blogs now.

Have a terrific day you all. Ciao…

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Wow, yesterday turned out to be such a good day. It was amazing. At one point I was actually rating myself with an eight and that sure hasn’t happened much lately!

After I wrote my post, I visited some other blogs, but realized that I was still very sleepy and I laid down on the sofa under the yellow blanket and went back to sleep. This was very pleasant, as Eduard walked the dog for me, so I wasn’t in any sort of rush to get dressed and out there in a hurry.

When I woke up, I felt like a seven and there was an email from my psychiatrist with an appointment for Wednesday morning. Then I called my case manager at the temp agency and made an appointment to see her that afternoon. Having done that, I very merrily cleaned up the kitchen, vacuumed the apartment and walked the dog. As I was walking the dog, my heart grew very light and the sun started to shine inside of me and I felt happy and I thanked God for helping me solve the problems. That’s when I rated myself with an eight.

When I got home, I vacuumed the sofa and Eduard came home and found a happy housewife, much to his relief. We promised each other that never again would we put that kind of pressure on me to perform at any cost.

This is what I think happens. When things are going well with me, I and the people around me have a tendency to overestimate me and what I am able to do. Intellectually I can do a lot, but emotionally my load bearing capacities are not that good, setting me up for failure time after time. I am not stress proof! As a matter of fact, I do very badly under any kind of stress. This continuously leads me to situations in my life where I overwhelmingly under perform, causing me to get huge dents in my self esteem. I always end up traumatized and wounded and it is only now, when I know what is wrong with me, that I can walk away from it and not be totally damaged.

So, it was with this knowledge in mind that I went to see my case manager and was able to explain my situation to her. I told her I was manic-depressive and that I should have told everyone from the start and that I regretted not doing this. I gave a brief explanation of the above and what happens to me under stress and she didn’t get angry at me for not informing her sooner. She was really nice about the whole thing.

Now, my contract was with the city’s social services, so they had to let me go and release me of the obligation to fulfill my end of the contract. My case manager called the person responsible and he told her that they would let me go. He could have insisted on having me tested and having me fulfill my obligation some other way, but he didn’t, which was decent of him.

There is a subsidized program for people such as I, who can be tested to see how severe their disability is when it comes to their functioning in a work place and in doing any sort of work, and those people can be helped by maybe working special hours, or doing special jobs or working in social work places. I still may do that, if it is possible for me to get that sort of adaption. I would gladly work at any sort of job if it meant low stress and reasonable hours. I will look into that.

In the meantime, I feel good again. Yesterday my ratings were up and I had such a pleasant day. My friend Lucien called to say that she and her husband are leaving for a holiday in Spain today and, luckily, she is feeling well, so she should have a good time. I got a card from my daughter with the latest picture of my grandson in it, on which he is grinning very widely. So nice! He’s such a good looking kid, but I suppose all grandmas think that about their grandsons.

Today, if it is not raining, I am going to the chapel, as I feel that God has been especially kind to me these past few days, as I have prayed very hard to make things please turn out alright. I prayed for a solution and I prayed not to go crazy and I guess He was listening, so candles have to be lighted and prayers of thanks have to be said. After that, I am going to have coffee with Eduard at his work and eat many good cookies. The weatherman did say that today and tomorrow it is going to rain, I just hope it doesn’t rain until the afternoon.

So you see how something that would just be a minor irritation in someone else’s life, becomes a major point of stress in my life, to the point that I become suicidal. Yes, I was thinking along those lines and thinking how awful it was that I had a gastric band in case they were going to try and pump my stomach, so I had already decided not to swallow pills. Really, when you are in the depths of despair, you think these things! When the solution is so close by and you don’t see it! The line between sanity and insanity is very fine.

Well, anyway, not to become morbid, it is all past me now, except for my talk with my psychiatrist and I am sure that we will come to a solution too. I have my thoughts organized around that. I have rehearsed it in my head.

Eduard was fixing himself pork yesterday. While he was cooking it, he asked me if it smelled good yet. I said.”Yes, it does, but do you realize how much a pig has to suffer for that?” Eduard said, “Yes, I suppose you are right.” I answered, “I guess I could become really militant about that, 12 pigs are kept in 12 square meters. It’s an outrage!” Eduard said, “Are you going to vote for The Party of The Animals?” I answered, “Well, I just may, somebody has to!”

I am really serious about this, people. Think about the living conditions of pigs, how they are housed and how they are transported. It is a very sad thing. It says a very sad thing about human beings and their treatment of animals. Just contemplate it and wonder if you can live with that. Boycott pork!

Well, that’s all I wanted to say today. Happy tidings plus a boycott. When I feel good, I start to care about the world around me, otherwise I don’t have the mental energy for it.

Have a great day, do wonderful things, ciao…

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I have started reading Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth, but last night I only got as far as the introduction, because I fell asleep with my raisin crackers uneaten and my milk half finished. I know that I read this book along time ago, when I was younger and much less wiser, so it will be interesting to read it again, being older and wiser and looking at life so much different now than I did back then.

One thing I did conclude then, is that people have a lot of personal mythology too. That you go around thinking a lot of things are true about yourself that aren’t, and that very often these are things that you learned about your self in your childhood and early adulthood, and don’t realize aren’t true about you anymore as you mature and grow into wisdom about yourself and the world around you.

Such as, you will grow up and be happily married and buy a washing machine and have a couple of babies and live happily ever after as a wife and a mother in the suburbs and you will have no other longings and you will be fulfilled. That’s a myth about myself that I grew up with and believed in for a long time. It was hard to let go off and I believed it well into my thirties, never imagining that maybe it was a myth and that it was high time to throw it overboard and get me a more realistic narration instead. A true story about myself to live by.

It takes a little time to find a new story and it can be painful to throw the old myth overboard, especially when there are other people involved who have also come to believe in your myth. It is painful extracting yourself from the old story and it is not wise to not have a new one to believe in and ready and waiting for you to try on for size. It has to be a hell of a story to replace the old myth. A success story that makes the old myth like a worn out fairy tale that has lost all its power and magic. One that you really can’t believe in any longer.

That’s the tricky part. You have to really stop believing in your old myth before you shed it. You can’t toss it overboard and secretly believe in it still, because that will mean that maybe you failed at it, when you would have succeeded had you been stronger, wiser or anything better than what you were. You can’t shed the old myth and at the same time keep believing it.

According to Joseph Campbell, we are surrounded by mythology all of our lives. In our daily lives and in our rituals. Mythology is what we used to make the world around us explainable too ourselves. The rituals are necessary to appease that which we could not explain and to bind us together in a single common action. I am a great believer in rituals and I can see how they will strengthen people’s resolve to accept their sometimes insecure hold on and understanding of life.

Ritual can be carried to an extreme and become an obsessive compulsive disorder, but that is taking a whole step to another thing altogether. For awhile, in the seventies, I was convinced that there was one window that was not properly locked at night, and I would close it 20 to 30 times before I was sure of it. That was more than a ritual, that was a disorder which I was cured off when we moved.

This is how it is described in Wikipedia:

A ritual is a set of actions, often thought to have symbolic value, the performance of which is usually prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community.

And this is what it says about mythology:

Stories that a particular culture believes to be true and that use the supernatural to interpret natural events and to explain the nature of the universe and humanity.

The sagas that our Germanic ancestors used to tell the stories of their Gods were mythology, just as the Greeks had their myths. We are just not fortunate enough to have been taught those stories in school, the Greek ones being thought of as more interesting and evolved. All the religions in the world are myths in the end, and I hope I don’t do anyone an injustice by claiming this, because I am not denying them their believe in their God.

There are all the wonderful rituals of prayer, such as reciting the Lord’s Prayer or the Hail Mary. It would be interesting to know what the ancients recited as they performed their rituals to appease their Gods. It’s a shame that those words weren’t written down anywhere.

There is ritual in our daily lives. I, for instance, have a ritual of doing things in a certain order, and if I don’t do this, the day doesn’t feel right and I invariably forget to do something. I like to do certain things in a certain order at certain times of the day. If something or someone comes along to disturb the order, I try to get back to it as quickly as I can. I think that is true for most people.

Nowadays, you find that people believe in mythology other than that of their own community. We are exposed to other cultures and we accept concepts and truths from other cultures. We are not afraid to touch and integrate the things that are foreign to us. With our Western minds we find ourselves evolved enough to embrace that which a hundred years ago would have been alien to us. What we decide to ‘believe’ about it is up to us. It can only be an exercise of the mind or a true acceptance of everything. Through knowing another culture’s mythology, we can understand that culture better and maybe in the process come to understand ourselves better also.

Personal mythology should be held up and examined closely, however. It is not good to blindly accept things about yourself that have not been picked apart for their truth value. There are always elements in the story that do not ring true and that most likely aren’t true. Luckily, with today’s psychology, we get to examine our minds and our deeds closely and we are no longer unread books to ourselves. As we mature, we get to read what is stated there and agree with it or not and change it as we see fit.

I read Greek mythology when I was in my early teens. Had Germanic sagas been available to me, I would have read them also. I was fascinated with the Greek ones and also read them during boring lessons in school. I was most fascinated with the story of how Icarus tried to fly with his wings of wax and feathers, but flew too close to the sun and fell to earth. I always wondered how much truth there was in this story. If someone really made wings and tried to fly. Mythology is fascinating to a growing teenager. It teaches you about the mortality of man and the fickleness of the Gods.

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I have been playing with the Paint Shop Pro, but I see there is a lot that I have to learn yet. Other people are doing lots of interesting things, such as Bobbie here. Rima here also does some very interesting things. I will practice a little bit every day and see what sort of things I can come up with. It is all a matter of trying things out and not being afraid of screwing it up. Luckily, there is an undo button. My version of the Paint Shop Pro is in Dutch, so all those handy terms in English are worthless to me. I’ll have to translate them as well as I can. I think my very artistic friend Laura may be interested in doing this sort of art work.

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Yesterday afternoon we went into town. My sister had told me that there was going to be music downtown and salsa dancing, but we must have looked in the wrong place, because we didn’t see or hear any. We walked around a bit and it was not that busy, because the shops were closed and only the cafés were doing good business. On the big square, there was a huge Jeu de Boules tournament going on and there must have been a hundred people playing all at once. The whole square had been covered with sand and was divided into different courts. They were playing in the hot sun, so we only stayed and watched them for a few minutes.

We had coffee and apple pie on the terrace of Café Monopole and people watched. On the terraces on the square, there are always many tourists and it makes for an interesting sport as we try to pick out the foreigners before we hear them talk. Some people are so Dutch looking though, that you can spot them from a mile away. We walked the long way back to our bikes and had a soft ice cream on the way. It wasn’t necessary that I eat this, but I was struck by the opportunity and figured it was my last chance before my gastric band gets filled on the 20th. I was disgustingly full afterwards. My eyes are always bigger than my little stomach pouch.

Eduard had to work again in the evening and I drank many cups of Senseo to make my evening as pleasant as I could make it. Actually, I was very tired and was struggling to stay awake. I had taken a nap around dinner time, but still I felt as if I should have been in bed already. When I was ready to go at nine o’clock, I realized that I still had to make cigarettes, so I did that and then stayed up watching National Geographic, which had a program about a terrorist airplane bomber. That’s real uplifting programming just before you’re off to bed! I took all the books that I had tried to read, but wasn’t enjoying, out off the bedroom and put them back on the book case and got The Power of Myth out instead and I have vowed to myself to read nothing else but that until I have completely finished it. I need a bit of intellectual stimulation after trying to read two really not so very good books.

I know there comes a moment when I go out cold and I fall into a very deep sleep, but I always think I can postpone that moment. I try to stay sitting up and keeping my eyes wide open, but it is all for nought. Nothing works once I have taken the sleeping tablets. I can be in the middle of eating a raisin cracker and I will fall asleep with it in my mouth. In the morning I still have the raisins in my mouth to attest to that.

Well, I really can’t complain about that. It is so much better than laying there for hours not falling asleep. I just hope I get to read that book a little before I conk out.

Well, I’ve got to feed the cats and walk the dog. My morning rituals await me. This morning I have to go and have my profile test done. I get the results right away and I am curious what they will tell me.

Have a great day, everyone, ciao…

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This morning I weigh 93.5 kilos. That’s more like it! I can say I have lost 32 kilos now, more or less. Yesterday I ate one cookie, one chocolate and the rest of the day I snacked on Melba toast and cheese. Finding out I can eat more certainly has made me want to eat more. I eat the extra bit of cheese now, because I know I can. I really have to watch it.

This morning I didn’t wake up until 6:30. I enjoy sleeping late. When I wake up, I really feel like I have had enough sleep, like I did yesterday. But I still managed to fall asleep on the sofa anyway.

In the morning I walked the dog and fed the cats and cleaned up the kitchen. I always clean up the kitchen in the morning, because I am too lazy to do it the evening before. I only wash the dishes once a day. But it is a nice routine in the morning, a good way to start the day and I clean the cat and dog dishes at the same time.

After I had gotten properly dressed and made up, Eduard asked me if I wanted to go to the library with him and I said yes, because I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to also go to the chapel and to go have a coffee. Eduard misunderstood me at first and thought I wanted to have coffee at the café in the library, but that would have been too boring to me. I meant Café Monopole downtown, of course. So, after we got that straightened out, off we went to the library. There is a little sitting area on the floor where the novels are and you can sit and listen to a spoken novel with headphones, so I sat and did that while Eduard searched for books. Soon enough, he was done and we checked out his books, which you can also do yourself at the ‘do it yourself counter’, so that makes everything very easy. Then we rode our bikes across Square ’92 to the elevator of the pedestrian/bike bridge. The square is named after the year of the Maastricht treaty.

When we got to the Our Dear Lady Basilica, it was very busy there. There were a lot of tourists there as usual and let me tell you here, the most dangerous people in traffic are pedestrians, especially tourists. Without any regard, they walk into the road, regardless of traffic. It is like they have suicidal tendencies. They don’t look left or right or up or down, they just walk straight ahead with no worries or cares about any other traffic at all. I always end up shouting at them: Sure, go ahead, lay down under my bicycle, no problem!

In the chapel I prayed the Our Father, and after that I said, Hi God, it is me, Irene, are you taking good care of my daughter and my grandson? Just checking, really, if he is paying attention. I haven’t addressed my Higher Being directly for a while now and I thought I would give it a try. I guess I feel secure enough to be able to do that now. You can feel it in your bones if the timing is right.

After that, Eduard and I rode our bikes to Café Monopole, all the while avoiding those dangerous pedestrians. We managed to find an empty table on the terrace and ordered coffee and a piece of strawberry pie. The coffee came with a cookie and a chocolate this time and that is one reason why I like to go there, because they aren’t skimpy with their sweets. I had four bites of the pie and it was delicious. The strawberries were freshly glazed, so they tasted very good.

Eduard was very sweet and went to M&S Fashions with me and we looked at the sales rack. M&S Fashions constantly has items on sale. As soon as they have a new collection in, they put the old stuff on sale. This time I found a wrap around tunic at 70% off, so that was a real steal. It has long sleeves, so I will be able to wear it for a while yet, and I bought a little tank top to go with it with little beads along the top of it. Very cute! You must all realize by now that I am clothes crazy, especially when I can get stuff marked down so much. I cleaned out my closet to make room for all of my new clothes and all of the old clothes, that are to big on me now, can go to the recycle store. I’ve got all of my stuff on hangers, so they are easy to find.

I walked Jesker in my new clothes and, because the weather was so beautiful, we hung out on the field for a while. The grass was dry, so I could sit down, and Jesker especially likes this, because, after a while, he lies down beside me and together we watch the people and other dogs go by. The clouds were beautiful, huge, white, cottony looking heaps of whipped cream in the sky. That’s the best about the end of the rainy time, the clouds are great. Whenever Jesker sees a dog, he waits for that dog to be gone and then goes to sniff all the places that dog has been. I guess he finds out a lot about that dog that way.

In the afternoon I sort of watched a movie. The Interpreter with Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn. I fell asleep halfway through and didn’t wake up until the end of it. Still, I saw enough of it to get what it was all about. Then I was supposed to watch The March of the Penguins, but I realized too late that I was on the wrong film channel and that I had missed most of it, so I’ll have to watch that the next time it is on. It’s supposed to be a very good documentary about penguins and Eduard showed it at the film house with a lot of success.

I realize that I write this blog with an audience in mind and that makes it hard sometimes, as my audience is so diverse and I keep picturing different people when I write it. So now I have decided to write this as a diary for myself, keeping the audience out of mind mostly and maybe that will make it a bit easier to write. If I just write it for myself, as a reminder of my days, maybe that will loosen up my thoughts a bit and make it less artificial. I will just write as I think of stuff, as it comes to me.

Yesterday I did two loads of laundry and dried them both outside on the new washing lines. The laundry dries in no time at all and it smells so good! I love hanging the laundry up to dry and taking it in again. It makes it much more fun to do laundry. I have another load to do today and I look forward to doing it. Silly me for having such fun doing that. It is a good sign however. When I enjoy doing laundry, things are going well with me.

Last night was a perfectly lazy night. I went to bed at 9:30 after spending some time watching silly programs on TV. There wasn’t that much on worth watching. Saturday night never is a good night for watching TV, they figure most people are out that night doing more interesting things. They don’t think about us old fogeys, staying at home, being boring. I suppose I would be more fun if Eduard and I were real drinkers and we enjoyed going to a pub regularly. There are people who have their special pub to go to, but we have never gotten into that habit. Let’s face it, it is better if I stay off alcohol completely, the stuff doesn’t do me much good. I am a lousy drinker and get sentimental too soon and too down. The last screwdriver I had made me realize that. That’s when out neighbors were here and I felt compelled to tell the story of my parents. Bad move!

I think about my parents every day. Not constantly, but they pop into my thoughts regularly. I am always reminding myself how I feel about them and how that affects the way I think about a lot of things now. I know that there is behavior in me that comes straight from my mother and some of the least likable things I have to keep an eye on and make sure they don’t pop up too much. I also know that I recognize some of my father’s most likable trades in Eduard. That, for instance,
is the very caring and kind side of him. Also the very comical part of him. So you do subconsciously choose the parts of your parent in your partner. I have my mother’s intelligence, but that can be a drawback too, in thinking that I know everything, when in fact I don’t. My mother always thought she had great psychological insight, when in fact she didn’t. So I have to make sure that I don’t make the same mistake. I think I have my kindness from my father. I can be a bit of a pushover, though. But I definitely see things of my father in Eduard and I am happy about that, because they are lovable things and I am glad to be reminded of these things of my father. There are many grey areas when it comes to my parents, it isn’t very simple all in black and white. There are no good guys and bad guys. There is responsibility and lack thereof. There is weakness of character and lack of understanding and lack of guidance. Everybody s a victim.

Now the cats are starting to become very noisy. They want to be fed, but Jesker is still asleep in the bedroom. He was out here once, but has gone back to sleep some more. He saw that I wasn’t ready yet. It is so late already! That is one drawback of sleeping late, you get started later with everything too. Well, it doesn’t really matter. I am a master of my own time, after all.

I want to say, well, dear diary, that was it for today, but I’ll say, well, dear audience, have a terrific day. Ciao…

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This morning I weigh 93.8 kilos, just one ounce more than yesterday. I won’t worry about that, but I will be careful about what I eat today. This is what I had yesterday: one small glass of juice, one piece of Maasdammer cheese, one pastry, some Melba toast, a big helping of pasta, some more Melba toast and one tall glass of cold milk. I think I overdid it just a wee bit, just about an ounce too much.

There is not much to report about yesterday. Eduard and I had our usual lazy Sunday morning. After I walked the dog and took my medicines, I went back to bed with a cup of coffee and woke Eduard out of his deep slumber. He had been awake once before and had already put on his special cologne, so he smelled very nice already. I do love the smell of Hugo Boss on a man. I push my face into his beard and have a good sniff! Sunday morning has become such a ritual, that the cats have all resigned themselves to sharing the bed with us. They either stay put or go find some other place to take their morning nap. Jesker just sighs very deeply and goes to sleep on his pillow beside the bed. It is nice that we don’t have any children running around the place and that we can take our time. Spending quality time together is a big thing at our age!

When we do finally get up, it is almost noontime and we still have to eat breakfast. Eduard always boils eggs on Sunday mornings and sometimes I have one too, but mostly I don’t, because I eat so many eggs during the week. I don’t know if I still have to watch my cholesterol, but just to be on the safe side…

At noontime I walked the dog and stopped by my sister’s. She had a friend over with her three kids and I had not seen this friend for some time and, of course, she was impressed with the way I looked. I guess it really does make a difference with how I used to look some time ago. I am getting used to how I look now, all dressed up and decorated, but I am sure there is quite a difference. All of my sister’s friends are skinny and well dressed, as is my sister. I always felt like a blimp around them and I sure don’t feel that way anymore now. I did have an enormous inferiority complex about my body that I tried not to let bother me, but it can’t be helped. When you’re fat, that’s just the way it is.

After my sister’s friend left, we sat outside on the patio for some time with an espresso and my niece was there too, counting herself among the grown ups now and participating in the conversation. So we discussed vacations and countries to go to amongst other things. They are going to Italy in July, first to Tuscany and then to the Garda lake where they will be sailing and canoeing.

My sister and the kids took sailing lessons on their vacation last year, so they are going to put this into practice now. I have only been sailing once in a tiny little sailboat and I managed to capsize in it and that was quite hilarious, so I suppose I better take some lessons first too. I was picked up by a passing boat and the tiny little sailboat was pulled upright without any problems, but that is as far as my experience has gone. I would like to go sailing in a bigger boat one day and really go fast in the wind.

When I got home, Eduard was watching the Formula 1 race and, because there was nothing else to do, I started watching it too. It can’t be helped, it is sort of hypnotizing watching the cars circle around the track. Luckily I was saved from this after a while by a phone call from Lucien, who had to move up the date that we are meeting downtown by two days. She said that she had been a bit hypo manic the past week and I said, Great, did you have a good time? But she said that she didn’t really and that is mostly had just worried her, which is really a shame, because when you are hypo manic it is supposed to be fun in the first place. I know that I enjoyed it very much the last time I was and I see no point in being it unless you have some good times. It really can’t be helped, can it? So I wonder if she was truly hypo manic or if she was maybe just very anxious for a while. I guess not being her psychiatrist, I’ll never know. I know that when I am hypo manic the overall feeling is one of happiness and I don’t feel very worried about that.

Anyway, we made a date to meet on Friday when there is the open air market and Lucien wants to buy a new pair of jeans and a new purse and I suppose I will look some more for a jacket. Maybe I’ll find one at the market, they do sell all sorts of things there. Sometimes you can find some great stuff there, although you have to be careful because they do cater to a certain kind of public. Some of the things can be a bit tacky. But a jeans jacket is the same no matter where you buy it, so I hope I find one.

For dinner I made a vegetarian pasta sauce from scratch. I was trying to sort of duplicate the sauce that my sister had fixed, but I didn’t have the recipe. I do know that Eduard likes lots of garlic and onions, so I started with those and then added tomatoes and zucchini and basil and oregano and let that simmer for a while. It turned out very well and Eduard enjoyed it. He likes pasta or rice with any sort of sauce. I think those are his favorite kinds of food to eat. I’ll fix any kind of food, as long as it doesn’t have meat in it and without meat, you quickly end up making some sort of sauce with all sorts of vegetables in it.

I really hope that I turn out not to be allergic to fish, because we could eat that more often. Not just the salmon on Friday’s, but all sorts of fish during the week. It is so easy to fix, after all. I like cod and mackerel, for instance. Or trout. Although mackerel has a lot of bones in it. On the market they mostly sell sea fish and some fish is hard to come by nowadays because of overfishing. There are the talapia filet’s that are very popular now, but I don’t care much for those. They taste kind of fishy and sandy. Or maybe I had a bad batch of them. When I was a kid, we ate a lot of plaice, that was a fish that was good for deep frying.

Anyway, in the evening, Eduard had to go to work. Which left me with the TV under my complete control, which was a dubious pleasure, because at first there was not that much interesting on. There was a program on about Dutch rappers and I really tried watching it with an open mind, but I suppose I am of the wrong generation and of the wrong language, because I just don’t like it. I appreciate the deeper message, but find it hard to understand it under all the obscenities which rap generally is filled with. I suppose within a certain kind of group of people this is acceptable language and the message is understood, but I think for the larger public it defeats the purpose. I guess I won’t be listening to any Dutch rap, regardless of what it tries to tell me.

Then the first episode of the news series ‘Lewis’ came on and that was more my kind of thing. I thought it was very well done and I thought the Lewis character had substance and presence. He can carry the show and his sergeant was the right choice also. Just a little bit more scholarly than Lewis and good for all sorts of more obscure information that turned out to be helpful. I think the Lewis character is very sympathetic and you just have very positive feelings watching him in action. You want him to do well without Morse and you want him to shine without Morse. And he does. Leave it to the BBC to produce a good show, they never fail.

That left me going to bed at ten o’clock and ready I was too. I barely drank my glass of milk before I was asleep. That Temazepam is wonderful stuff, but I think even without it, I would have been ready to go to sleep immediately. Going to sleep at ten o’clock is late for me, after all.

A number of times a day, I recite, in my head, the Our father, or the Lord’s Prayer as it is also known. I do it to keep remembering the words, so I don’t forget them, but I suppose I am like a person with a rosary who keeps repeating the same prayer at every bead. I find some amount of satisfaction every time I recite it without making a mistake. I don’t know exactly why this is so and why I don’t learn to say it in Dutch, except that for God it probably doesn’t matter in which language I recite it. It is a bit like saying a magic formula. If you keep getting it right, something good will happen. Or nothing bad will happen. See, my magical thinking again. I have to stop that.

I am reciting the version of the 1662 Anglican Book of Common Prayer. That is the one I learned a long time ago and that is the one that stuck in my head. I don’t remember why and how I learned it. It may be something I just picked up from watching TV. I do find some amount of comfort in it, because it is a formula and because I do have to recite it and not sit there and make up my own way and wishes to address God. I feel like I am not specifically demanding anything and that I am not having to struggle with the image of God. When I recite that prayer, I just concentrate on the words and what they mean and getting them right. There are no other thoughts in my head at that time. I think it is a very helpful thing to start this relationship with my Higher Being off with from the beginning again. I suppose it would be the same with reciting any bit of sacred religious text. That you would find some amount of satisfaction in getting the words right and stating the precision of the formula. There must be a reason, after all, why specific bits of text like this exist to comfort and ease the way to God.

I am glad that I am going to the chapel again, but I am also glad that I am not sitting there desperately asking for good things to come my way. I felt it was too humbling an attitude on my part and I don’t think it was the right way to go about it. I don’t think God wants me to be all humbled and unequal if I am created in his image. And no, I don’t think He created the world and the universe in seven days. I do believe in the theory of evolution. Somehow I do think that all can fit together somehow. It’s just a mystery that I haven’t figured out and never will. And yes, under other circumstances I could be a Buddhist or an animist or whatever. Whatever circumstances I was born under. Like I said before, I borrow from the religion that is the closest at hand and that I know the best and incorporate it into the one that I try to create for myself. It is just starting to look like a more traditional religion now. That’s because I am going back to the basics and I am borrowing the basics. Hopefully I will be able to elaborate on it later on. Let me stick to the beginning for a while first. No hasty moves!

Today I am seeing my GP about the results of the allergy tests and to ask him about allergy drops for my eyes and allergy pills to take every day. I think whatever inflammation I had in my eyes is gone, but they still burn a bit, especially when it is a windy dry day like it was yesterday. You should have seen the clouds in the blue sky. They looked like they came straight of a 17th century landscape painting, they were so beautiful. They were stacked up in the sky like mountains, all round and rolling and white and huge. And it was warm too, I hung the laundry outside to dry and it took only a few hours.

Well, now I have run out of words again. I have just poured myself another cup of coffee and I think I will read the news for a bit. Jesker is still asleep and there are no cats yet. They will all show up now for having written that.

Have a great day you all, ciao…

P.S. The pastry came from my sister and was called a Bossche Bol. It is a chocolate covered pastry that is filled with fresh whipped cream. She gave it to me to take home to Eduard, but he didn’t want it, so I ate it instead. It was very messy to eat and my cheeks and fingers were covered with chocolate. It was very good, but it was so airy that it was gone in a few bites. I do so love chocolate. I could eat a whole box of it. Oh no, I can’t, that’s right, I forgot!

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This morning I went on the scales and, much to my surprise, I weigh 93.7 kilos. Yes, I really did! I can’t believe I made it below 94 kilos. that is another little victory for me this new month. I wasn’t expecting it, because I thought I ate too much yesterday. I had a small glass of juice, some Melba toast, a cookie, three bites of apple pie, two pieces of Maasdammer cheese, a three egg omelet, some of Eduard’s pasta with vegetarian sauce and a tall glass of milk. Now, I really thought that it was too much food, especially the pasta, which was totally extra and not planned. I ate it standing up out of the pan in the kitchen and gave myself a stomachache doing it. But I guess it all didn’t matter in the end. The vegetarian sauce was my sister’s, who had made too much of it and gave some of it to us and it was really good.

Yesterday turned out to be a really nice day. Eduard did some grocery shopping in the morning and I cleaned up the apartment a bit. I had already gotten dressed properly and made up and decorated, so I am keeping my promise to myself. Besides, I get compliments from Eduard when I look good and I can always use a compliment or two. It does give me encouragement.

At noontime we got on our bikes to go downtown. It is becoming easier all the time to ride my bike. It is becoming almost a routine thing and I no longer worry about my legs getting sore or me running out of breath. Eduard is keeping in mind that he does not have to be all that anticipatory with me on the bike and that makes it all the more easier for me and much more relaxing. Anyway, we used the pedestrian/bike bridge across the river and went to the chapel first.

Now, I had planned a bit on what I should do when I got to the chapel. I had decided to not pray for anything specifically, in other words, I didn’t want it to be a personal prayer that I said. I didn’t want to sit there and ask for things for myself or my loved ones specifically. Instead I planned to say the Our Father in English, as it is the only standard prayer that I know well. I had Googled it before we left to make sure that I remembered it correctly. My thought was that this would make for a whole new start in my approach to God and that this prayer was a generic one and it is prayed by millions of people all over the world every day, so I could be one of them that day. I hoped it would give God and me some neutral ground to meet on.

So, when I got to the chapel, I lighted one tall candle and I sat down on the bench and I prayed the Our Father and I did feel very much a great deal of satisfaction as I prayed and I felt that it was good and sufficient. I think I can pray the Our Father every time I go to the chapel and that, for now, that will be good and that I don’t need to do anything else for the time being. I was concentrating on the words so much, that there was no struggle about the image of God or the substance of Him and I felt much more at ease. I am not going to try and figure anything out right now. I am not going to try and figure out the why and wherefore of God and the why and wherefore of any religious feelings that I do or do not have. I am just going to go to the chapel when I am in town and light a candle and say the Our Father and leave the rest up to God, whoever or whatever He is. Whatever my relationship with Him is. That’s it.

Then Eduard and I walked all over the place trying to find a jeans jacket for me or another kind of summer jacket, but we were very unsuccessful. Every store we went into was out of jackets and the ones we did see, were the wrong size. We looked until we were sick of looking and we just gave up and ended up going to M&S Fashions to see if they had anything on sale. Of course they did, as usual, and I ended up buying a India style blouse, a black silky tank top and a very pretty necklace all on sale for under 15 Euros. What a steal. That made not finding a jacket not as bad and to celebrate the good buy, we went in search of an empty table to have some coffee and apple pie.

Finding an empty table on a terrace was a real chore, as bad as finding a jacket, because it was very busy in town with all the tourists and it was lunch time and all the places were filled up. We finally found a table on the market square that had just been vacated by four people with a large appetite, because all their dishes were still sitting there. We ordered coffee and pie, the coffee was good but the apple pie was only passable, so we won’t go back there again unless it can’t be helped. The waiter was grouchy too. He really acted like he was not enjoying himself one bit. Eduard did give him a tip to try and help him get over it.

We stopped by the housewares shop and bought a gadget that you attach to an outside wall and allows you to pull out five lines to hang laundry to dry on with a total length of 20 meters. So that should do me well. Now, if it would just stop raining so much, I could start using this thing.

Then we rode our bikes back home and we were happy that all this time it hadn’t rained, because the sky had been very cloudy and it had looked like it was going to rain any minute. When we got home, I immediately tried on my new clothes and I am happy to say that everything fits perfectly and that it looks good too. The necklace matches the new blouse very well and it also matches my earrings, so that was a good choice. Oh, I guess I am really vain, aren’t I? Well, I am glad that I am, for me that is a good sign.

While Eduard watched the Dutch Motor GP, I started reading the diary of Anne Frank in English. My sister had given me that book after she had read it herself. She had gotten it from her husband and daughter after they had visited the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam. My sister was so impressed with the book that she insisted that I read it also. I think I read it a very long time ago, but I am not sure and it can be that my memory is playing tricks on me and that I only think that I have read it. You grow up with Anne Frank and think you know all about it. The problem is that I started to read it and then fell asleep on the sofa and I didn’t wake up until some hours later. That is no reflection on the book, of course. That is just me needing some more sleep.

When I woke up, I was ravenous and I had the omelet and then ate some of Eduard’s pasta straight from the pan. Boy, that tasted good! My sister had used a meat substitute in the sauce and it tasted as good as ground beef, so that made it a real treat. I’ll have to ask her what it is. I had not had anything like that in a long time. But as I said, it gave me a stomachache for just a while and I think I just ate too much of it. Never stand up in the kitchen eating food straight out of the pan. You will become greedy and eat too much!

I went to bed at a very decent hour. Eduard stayed up to watch our very favorite Dutch comedian who happens to come from the town Eduard was born in. He is very funny in a very dry comical way that only people from that part of the country can be. I didn’t hear a thing, I was gone from the world, as they say. I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and managed to upset my glass of milk that I hadn’t finished completely and half of it ended up in the bed, so I got a big towel to cover that up. I was half asleep when I was doing that and mopping the floor, so I only have a vague memory of it. I think I was trying to read after that, but Eduard must have turned off my light, because this morning there was no evidence of me reading and I didn’t have my glasses on anymore. When in doubt, read! When awake in the middle of the night, read! Your mind will be so addled that you will not have any memory of it.

I didn’t wake up this morning until 6:30 am, so that was a nice surprise. That must have been because I had such a busy night. I very
rarely wake up that late. Today there is another Formula 1 race on TV, so we won’t be going anywhere in the afternoon. Eduard is glued to the TV when that is on. So are his brothers and they email each other back and forth after the race. I think Formula 1 is so boring! It is only exciting when something goes wrong and, of course, it is not supposed to go wrong. You’re not supposed to be happy because one car climbs onto the back of another one. Or crashes into the wall. Nowadays, drivers rarely die in crashes anymore, so that is good. You don’t have to worry about that happening.

I think that, when I walk the dog, I will go by my sister’s and show her my new outfit. I was on the phone with her for a long time yesterday talking about a lot of things that were weighing heavy on her mind. She said, I don’t want to bother you with all this stuff! And I said, You are family, it is normal that we bother each other with this stuff.

Well, now I have to go walk the dog, because he has been waiting patiently. I have fed the cats, because they were very impatient this morning. Eduard is still sound asleep, but I know he is waiting for me to come back to bed with my cup of coffee. First I have to do my part of the morning ritual. Have a great day, people, ciao…

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Starting yesterday I took some steps back in everything. I wanted to go back in time a bit to when I felt better and when I felt that I had a bit more control over things and I was less in a negative mood. That meant doing things the way I had been doing them some time ago and that includes writing about my weight and about my food, getting dressed properly and getting made up and decorated, going to town and going to chapel to light a candle and generally being in a more upbeat sort of mood. So I started off yesterday with taking good care of myself and making sure that, above else, I looked good. I wore something completely different too. A combination of clothes that I hadn’t worn before, but looked good on me. I haven’t been to the chapel yet, but I will go there this afternoon.

This morning I went on the scales and I weigh 94.1 kilos, so there is a tiny bit of weight loss. And this is what I ate yesterday: some Melba toast, a piece of cumin cheese, two pieces of Maasdammer cheese, a salmon steak (a smaller one this time), some more Melba toast and a tall glass of cold milk. I was perfectly full after all of that food and felt very satisfied and happy. Now I am waiting for the scales to show me going below 94 kilos, which I hope will happen soon.

Now, as to going to the chapel. I will go and light a candle and sit and contemplate things and if the mood strikes me, I will say a prayer. But I will go to the chapel every time I am in town. Why am I doing this after I claimed to have fallen off my faith? I want to make sure that indeed I have and that it was not some sort of a trick that my own mind was playing on me, like it wants to play on me with some other things too. I want to make sure that I wasn’t rationalizing my decision to not go to the chapel anymore. I want to give myself a chance to really think about that decision and to allow myself a chance to let the little bit of magic stay in my life where it was doing absolutely no harm, after all. I will have to readjust some of my thinking about the Higher Being and not be so uptight about it. I can be sure that whatever conclusion I come to will not be influenced by any residual effects of any medication I have taken. I will be cold sober.

I think I was too harsh and hasty before in making so sudden a decision to not go and pray anymore. I was doing some amount of black and white thinking too, one moment praying very fervently and the next moment turning my back on it completely. As you will remember, I was uncomfortable with the image of the Higher Being I was praying to, I had not formed one too solidly in my mind. I will let that be for now and just let whatever image enters my head be the one I pray to eventually. As always is the case with anything I undertake, I was going about it too earnestly, too intensely, and I wasn’t allowing any room for doubts and wobbles. I think faith is all about doubt anyway and about not knowing and hoping that the path you take is the right one and having faith in that. I don´t need to have it all figured out today, I will just go and light a candle and say a standard prayer and see what my general mood is after that. Maybe it will help me get some things clear in my head.

So, this afternoon Eduard and I are going into town to go to the chapel and have some coffee and pie at Café Monopole and to walk around a bit downtown and to maybe go to M&S Fashions and see what is on sale today. That will be a clear mission to the day. Hopefully, there will be something interesting going on downtown and if not, we just hope for the weather to be good and for there not to be too many tourists, but there just may be, because school vacations in the south of the country have started this weekend.

Yesterday was a pretty good day. I went to bed again in the morning to sleep just a little bit more and then got up at 10:30 am. Then my sister called me to find out when we were going to walk the dogs and I said for her to just hang in there a minute or two while I got myself all ready and dressed. I quickly showered and washed my hair and then did all the other things to make myself presentable and walked to her house where we had an espresso and talked for a long time about a bunch of things that my sister really needed to talk about. It is amazing what comes out in these conversations and I appreciate her taken me into her confidence like that. She trusts me well enough to open her heart to me.

Then we walked the dogs to the pond where they had their usual amount of fun romping around and we had our usual conversation about anything and everything under the sun. It was a bit cold, but I didn´t wear a jacket and managed okay without. At least it didn´t rain, although the sky looked very threatening. We really take our time walking around the pond and the whole walk takes us about 45 minutes. We walk leisurely and are in no hurry. It is fun to watch the dogs having fun. At one point, Quinto was so absorbed in marking all the bushes and clumps of grass, that he peed on Jesker´s head and that was kind of comical.

Then I went home, because I thought Eduard would be there, but he wasn´t and I had some tea, because I was very thirsty. Eduard showed up shortly after that, but he had to go back to work, because he had a problem with the sound in one of the films and he had come home to see if he had a little replacement part for one of the parts for that projector, which he did. Such dedication! Anyway, he fixed the problem and was home again shortly. Initially, I asked him to go downtown on Sunday, because it is Shopping Sunday coming up and all the stores are open, but he has to watch the Formula 1 race, so that is why we are going this afternoon.

I had planned to do some major house cleaning, but I thought better of it and decided to leave that for today. If I have to get started on things in the afternoon, I never feel like doing them as much as when I get started in the morning. It´s like I can´t vacuum in the afternoon. Or clean the toilet then. I always have to get those things started in the morning, otherwise I don´t get my momentum going.

I fixed the salmon with a dill weed sauce for dinner and that was very good. The trick is to put enough dill weed in the sauce, you can´t skimp on it. As a base, I used a vegetarian bouillon and that made it very tasty. It was a bit salty, but the overall flavor was good. Eduard bought smaller salmon steaks, it got to be a little too much to eat the bigger pieces, although the animals appreciated that. My head is itching a bit and so are my hands, but it isn´t too bad and nothing I can´t handle. I just realized that I went to bed last night without my eye drops and without Eduard having rubbed the lotion on my head. Oh well…we´ll have to do that this morning.

Much to our surprise, we got a film guide for the film channels in the mail yesterday, so now we can see what movies are coming up in July. Eduard said that there are a lot of movies that they showed in the film house, so that should be good. I am glad we have a guide, because it was impossible to figure out what was going to be shown when.

Now I am going to walk the dog and get the day started properly
. I really do have to vacuum as there is dog hair floating around. As you walk around the living room it picks up and floats around in the air. My sister has the same problem with her dog, but she vacuums every day. She is very dedicated.

Have a terrific day, people. Wish for lots of sunshine, enough of all this rain already. Ciao…

P.S. When I walked Jesker this morning, it was cold outside. The sky was threatening looking as if there was much rain coming and there was a strong cold wind.

We saw my neighbor with the gastric band and her dog, Rex, but she never really wants to stop and have a chat. I feel as though she doesn´t want to get closer than just having a very superficial sort of interface and I suppose I shouldn´t worry about that. It is a shame, because we do have the gastric band in common and we could exchange a lot of information.

There was also a woman there walking a small dog, I think it was a Maltese lion, but Jesker has been weary of small dogs ever since he got attacked by that small Jack Russell. He just looks at them and then walks in the opposite direction. We walked the long way home and ran into a man with a Scottish Terrier and Jesker thought that was an interesting dog and spent some time sniffing him, before he decided that was enough of that and turned around and headed home.

I hope the weather improves a bit, as I have no really good jacket to wear and I realize that I need a new jacket, preferably a black one to go with most of my clothes, or a new jeans jacket to go with everything. I am not sure I can talk Eduard into that. They may be just a bit expensive. Much as I like to shop, there is always the budget to consider.

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