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Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

For some reason I weigh 95.3 kilos and it seems to me that I weighed this some time ago and that I am going backwards now and I sure as hell don’t want to be doing this! Excuse my language. The deal is that I loose weight, not that I gain it! Whoever is in charge of lost ounces and kilos, please pay attention! This woman here is supposed to be losing weight! Well, really!

This is what I had yesterday: one small glass of juice, one piece of cumin cheese, two little cookies, one piece of Maasdammer cheese, some potato salad, some Melba toast, another piece of Maasdammer cheese and one tall glass of milk. I could have done without the potato salad and the second piece of Maasdammer cheese, but I did have to eat something. The pears are all gone, I had to throw some away, because they had become overripe and some fruit flies were swarming over them. Eduard and I both seem to like the cumin cheese very much, because it is shrinking rapidly. We’ll have to get a bigger piece next time.

Yesterday was a pleasant day. The morning was nice and easy and we took our time getting started like we do every Sunday morning. Sunday mornings are definitely our quality time together. I go back to bed and the animals are used to the fact that we stay in bed forever then and the cats make room for us to stretch out in. Eduard wears his birthday cologne. He only wears it on Sundays, he doesn’t want to attract any women during the week. Although I tell him that that is fine too.

Anyway, we take forever to get started, and once we do, we take our time eating breakfast and having some more coffee. In my case eating breakfast consisted of having a piece of cumin cheese and a glass of juice. In Eduard’s case it means having several sandwiches with cheese and liverwurst. I guess we are really having brunch then, although it is something else altogether to what Americans call brunch. Not for us the scrambled eggs with bacon and hash browns and toast dripping with butter. Yum, I can taste it now! I will never be able to eat a breakfast like that again. It’s a good thing that I don’t live in the States, I would have to forgo so much.

I remember how amazed I was when I saw what Americans ate for breakfast when I went to a Denny’s for the first time. It didn’t take me long to start liking that kind of food also. Here was this whole eating culture that I had to be introduced to. Steaks and baked potatoes, hamburgers and pizzas, burritos and tacos. Ketchup on the French fries instead of mayonnaise. It was like waking up in dreamland, where everything was made of food and so cheap too. Buying steaks for the barbecue was no big deal, we just slapped those things onto the fire. Potato salad and baked beans. Fish and chips at the Costa Mesa fish fry. My mother, who was a food lover, thought she had died and gone to heaven. And then the ice cream, like banana splits! How decadent! Yes, the land of plenty.

Now, Europeans have caught up and eat equally big portions of fattening foods and we are all getting fatter. It’s the new health problem. Little kids drink lots of cola and eat too many chips. Their parents take them to fast food places like McDonald’s. There is no such things as hunger, but there is lots of eating because it is there and wanting more of it. It’s a greedy kind of eating. People want lots of fat and sugar. Little kids do. And parents don’t say no, they just keep indulging the kids. Listen to me, I am a former obese person, I know all about overeating and the cause for it. It is all very emotional. Like eating chocolates and not being able to stop until the box is empty, because it makes you feel better. Fast food means very quickly feeling good! And you keep eating, because you keep wanting to have that experience of feeling good.

Now, I have to capture that feel good feeling after one piece of cheese or one glass of milk, and I do. I look forward to eating and drinking those things and feeling the satisfaction afterwards. It helps that I feel full so quickly. That a small portion is enough. It helps to know that I will never be able to eat a Big Mac again. I can’t imagine eating something like that now. If I am ever a condemned woman and they ask me what I want for my last meal, I’ll say, just give me a piece of Maasdammer cheese and a cold glass of milk!

Anyway, in the afternoon we rode our bikes into town. The weather was looking unpredictable. There were many ominous looking clouds in the sky, but when the sun was out, it was warm. I took my umbrella just in case, but we ended up not needing it at all. There was a strong wind from the west and we had to ride our bikes into it when we went to town. That was a bit of a push. We took the pedestrian/bicycle bridge across the river, the one with the elevator that is so handy, and we went to the chapel first. There weren’t too many people there, luckily, but somebody was practicing the organ in the basilica and was making quite a racket. He kept playing the first part of Here Comes the Bride. It sounded promising every time, but every time he stopped and started again. It is just a little bit harder to have a conversation with your Higher Being under those circumstances. There was also a woman who had taken it as her job to pull out all of the candle stubs and dropping them in the large catch area under the candles and she was making quite a lot of noise, so I gave her a dirty look and she stopped. Really! There were people praying there! Sometimes I suffer no fools!

After the chapel, we rode our bikes to the film house, because Eduard had to pick up some of his tools there to work on his motorcycle. There is something wrong with his gearshift and he has to take it apart. There were no films being shown that afternoon, because no films are shown in the afternoon in the summertime, unless there is something special going on. So we were all alone. We had coffee with cookies and welcome they were too. I could have had more cookies, but I was wise and didn’t. In the Netherlands, cookies are always served with the coffee. The coffee is always served in a cup and saucer. Just so you know.

They have a box there in the store room with items that visitors have lost and have never returned for and Eduard found me a really nice pair of sunglasses there. They are really hip and fashionable and they look good on me. Eduard says that they make me look like an Italian movie star. It is amazing what people leave behind and never return for, like mobile phones and sets of keys and coin purses. They stay in the box forever, until somebody decides to put an item to use. As I did with the sunglasses. I needed a new pair, as my old ones were scratched in the lenses and I had been planning to buy a new pair at the Hema. So now I have a whole new perky look.

After we had coffee, we rode our bikes to the library, where I picked out three travel books by Paul Theroux. One is about Great Britain, one is about Oceania and one is about his train ride through Asia. While I was looking around, I saw lots of other interesting books and I realized that there is so much reading material left and that I will be reading books from the library for the rest of my life. A really nice young man helped me find the books I was looking for and then he pointed out another section of books with travel stories that he thought I might be interested in and I am. So, from now on, I’ll have to go to the library with Eduard when he goes. He can’t just pick out books from my lists anymore. I am in the mood for travel books anyway. So, I’ll be reading those for a while, I think. It is also nice that they have such knowledgeable personnel in the library and I realized it is more than just putting the books back on the shelf in alphabetical order. I do suppose that everybody has their area
of specialization as the library is divided up in four different floors plus the basement for foreign language books. Becoming a librarian takes three years of training, I suppose the CWI will not offer me that kind of schooling. Ha ha.

I get very greedy when I see so many books all together. It is just like a book heaven to me. I feel the same way in a good book store. The more I look, the more I want. Especially once I understand the system of how the books are arranged and where the best stuff is to be found. I suppose I got my love for books from my mother. She was an avid reader and was especially fond of American writers. My father didn’t read as much, but he was interested in books about nature and science. Especially those with good photographs in them. My oldest sister doesn’t read at all, but I think she has dyslexia that was never identified. My younger sister and I always read a lot, as does my daughter and my sister’s daughter. My nephew likes books about soccer and my grandson also likes to read a lot, in German as well as English.

Like I said, I get very greedy when I see so many books. I think, oh, there is so much to read still, how will I ever find the time? I am weary of reading during the day, because I am afraid that I will fall asleep on the sofa and I don’t want to do that. Also, I don’t want to do such a lazy activity during the day. Somehow, I am not allowing myself to do that right now. I sit up in bed in the evening for about 15 minutes before I go to lie down and read, but then when I lie down, I quickly fall sleep, so I don’t read enough. I really need a good reading chair to sit in and a little table handy to have my coffee on and my ashtray. But many times, Eduard falls asleep in his chair also when he reads, so I guess that is no guarantee.

Yesterday, when we rode across the market square, there were many colorful salsa bands playing there. They were playing all at once and there was a big joyful racket. I didn’t say to Eduard, stop, I want to listen, and I wish I had. It sounded so nice and happy. Eduard just kept on riding his bike and I figured he was not interested. Later on, I asked him about this and he said, oh, you should have just told me to stop and I would have stopped. I didn’t know you were interested. So, it’s my own fault, I was too hesitant. As it was, we could hear the drumming when we got home when the wind was in the right direction and I really regretted not saying anything. I assume too much.

Well, I found out that there are not many shoes that I can wear yet. Yesterday, I wore my brown sandals and they ended up hurting my toe and I took them off as soon as I came home. The toe had bled a bit and it kept hurting, even when I wore my slippers. It still hurts this morning. I have a pair of very open toed black sandals that I will try today, otherwise I will just have to wear my slippers all the time. They are kind of clunky looking, but they are comfortable. All I can do is keep changing the band aid and keep the wound clean. I am so afraid to stub my toe!

One of the things I washed the day before yesterday, was my gilette and it shrank just a bit, which I wanted it too. I also washed the kimono top and it looks a bit smaller too. I just hope it didn’t become too small. Actually, I didn’t think it would shrink at all, it being a synthetic material, but it looks like it did. Well, I am losing weight, or at least I am supposed to, so I will fit into it again soon. I also washed a tank top and a long sleeved shirt, but they stayed the same size. They are made of a stretch material, so they will fit me for some time yet. Anything that stretches is good to own right now. Every time I wash the jeans, they become a little bit smaller, but then when I wear them, they get baggier again. Jeans do that. So, I just wash them often.

This morning the weather is very stormy and the sky is full of threatening looking clouds. It looks like it is going to rain. We’re not really having summertime right now. I never know what to wear. Yesterday I had to change my clothes halfway through the day, because what I was wearing was too warm. Now, that will be perfect. I am sort of hoping to be able to wear those sunglasses, but it doesn’t look like I will today. Eduard never wears sunglasses, but yesterday I gave him Brion’s old pair and he put them on and looked in the mirror and thought he looked kind of snazzy. He can wear them when he drives the car. They are perfect for that.

I see two cats, but no Jesker yet. All is quiet and the coffee tastes good. The wind howls around the apartment sometimes. Bbbrrr

I just reread some of my oldest posts and see what a mess I was in then. I feel sorry for the person I was then. I start off having all those screwdrivers and I must have been in bad shape having needed them. Then I start the Topamax and you can see how expectant I am and how very much I want it to work. Skip ahead a few months to now and everything is so much different now. I don’t drink anymore, even though there is still a full bottle of vodka on the shelf in the kitchen, and the Topamax has started to work. I have also realized how depressed I had been for such a long time. It is amazing what you will accept when you don’t know any better. Back then I was full of questions, now I have many more answers.

It’s a shame that people have to go through mental pain because of lack of medication or the lack of the right medication. I guess I am very lucky, regardless of the years that I was not that lucky. When I was ignorant of how well I could feel. Eduard’s birthday was such a difficult event for me, all those people to talk to and entertain. Now that wouldn’t bother me one bit. It’s a shame that life’s events happen while people are in less than optimum moods, because they are not getting the proper treatment. Imagine all those decisions being made and reactions taking place because of faulty wiring!

Well, yesterday was definitely a seven. I tell Eduard about this and I said, you only need to worry about it when it becomes a nine! I should be so lucky! An eight would do!

Have a good day people, ciao…

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This morning I weigh 95.1 kilos, so 2 ounces more than yesterday. I still have lost 30. 3 kilos, so I am not complaining! I just didn’t want to go back over 95 kilos again. Well, It will be less again tomorrow, so I am not going to worry about it now. It is the natural yo-yo effect that everybody goes through and we’re only talking about ounces after all.

This is what I had to eat yesterday, a small glass of juice, a soft caramel toffee, an almond cookie, three bites of apple pie, a salmon steak and a tall glass of milk. As you can see, it wasn’t all healthy food, but that’s just the way it turned out yesterday. The salmon steak was the healthiest thing I ate, the toffee was the worst thing. It was really good, although it stuck to my teeth and I had a hard time swallowing it and not choking on it!

Yesterday morning we went downtown to buy salmon and cheese on the open air market. We bought Maasdammer and cumin cheese. The Maasdammer is called Dutch hole cheese, but somehow it looses effect in the translation. The cumin cheese is much better than the factory cumin cheese. We bought two salmon steaks, a bigger one for me and a smaller one for Eduard and they only cost us 3.50 Euros. That is really a steal!

After that, we rode our bikes to the chapel and when you ride your bike over the cobble stoned streets, it makes you shake all over and it is a good thing that you don’t have any loose parts, because they would fall of in a hurry. The cobble stones are pretty to look at but to walk on and ride your bike on is a whole different story!

At the chapel I lighted two big candles. One for my daughter and one for my grandson. I am a bit confused about the image of the God I pray to. On the one hand there is the statue of Mary very much present, then there is my idea of the Mother Goddess that gets mixed up with that and then there is the idea of the more traditional God, and these three are all trying to form one image in my mind. Somehow I manage to successfully pray anyway, as I feel this in my body when I do. I didn’t kneel this time, because of my tender toe, but just sat on the bench, and Eduard said, it’s a good thing I didn’t kneel because of the poor shape my knees are in. He was sitting on a back bench getting ready to have to pull me to a standing position in case I got stuck.

Then we went to our café, but found out they didn’t have the terrace set up yet. They were still putting up the umbrellas and none of the tables had been set. So we browsed a bit in the bookstore in the Dominican church and then went to the big square and had coffee on a terrace there. The coffee came with the caramel toffee and the cookie and we ordered one piece of apple pie between us. I do love my self discipline when I only have the three bites of it and that is very satisfying. The caramel toffee was a treat. I haven’t had anything that sweet in a long time, but I can see how you can get hooked on eating sweet stuff like that. It’s a good thing that we don’t have anything like it at home!

Then I asked Eduard if we could stop by M&S Fashions just to have a look and they must have known we were coming there. We browsed around for a while and I saw some really nice things but then I spotted a tunic that had been marked down to 7.50 Euros, which was ridiculously cheap. It was my size and I said to Eduard, I just have to try this on. I tried it on and it fit and I was happy and Eduard really liked it and the lady who was helping us liked it as well, so everybody was happy! The reason it was marked down like that, was because it had a print mistake on the back, but if you run fast you don’t see it at all! So we bought that and I ended up wearing it out of the store with my own clothes in a bag. There was another woman trying on the same tunic, but she must not have spotted the one marked down.

Then we rode our bikes home and I am getting better about making the climb on the northern bridge and I am getting especially good at the climb on the way home through the railroad tunnel, because I can make it in one fell swoop. I even surprised Eduard by passing him at the top. I had a good momentum going and my legs were just peddling a hundred miles an hour!

At noon time, my sister and I took the dogs to the pond. We had to go after it had rained like crazy and we took umbrellas with us just in case. We used them once when three drops of rain fell out of the sky, but that was it. The whole walk takes us 45 minutes and when Erica and I walk like that, we talk a lot and we have very interesting conversations. They are very much more psychological in nature and Erica reveals much more of herself then. So, we talked about her job and about her marriage and her kids and about herself and our parents. I find out so many things and I can give her so much feedback. It’s like the act of walking creates an intimacy that allows her to speak more freely and I am a good listener, so that is perfect.

The dogs had a good time. Jesker is so much more adventurous when he is out with Quinto. The water level in the pond was much higher and Quinto splashed around in it, but Jesker just thought that was very interesting and basically just stood there and watched Quinto splash around. Jesker doesn’t like to get wet and walks around puddles! But other than that, they have a good time together and they roam around all over the place. We saw some wildflowers that we could not identify, but were very pretty and we saw a little frog jump around in a puddle. We had the idea of scattering wild flower seed there next year and really watching it grow. It should do really well there.

After the walk, we had espressos at Erica’s house and talked to my nephew, who was home early from school. He is such a sweetheart. That is such a good natured kid, he doesn’t have a bad bone in his body. I always want to cuddle him, but he is getting a little bit too old for that. He is going to be 13 in September. I am sure he doesn’t want to be cuddled by his aunt! That’s the way I would want to cuddle my grandson if he were here.

In the afternoon Eduard’s Belgian friend came to visit us. She is the one who is taking her motorcycle apart by herself. I met her for the first time and she turned out to be a nice woman. She is also a sculptress and she is fixing up her house at the same time, so she is handy and talented all around. She has short blond curly hair with one long braid, blue eyes with no make up. She wore a sweatshirt with army fatigue pants and sensible sandals and a big butt pack. She is the kind of woman Eduard would have been attracted to before he married me, who is the complete opposite. Eduard is so cute. All he did was talk motorcycles with her and she didn’t seem to mind. He even took her to the shed and showed her a two tact motor. I think that is how it is spelled. I know very little about motors. She spoke Flemish, which is Dutch with a very nice accent, which we are used to, watching Belgian TV a lot.

Late in the afternoon I talked to my daughter and we had a long conversation and I think that she really got to say a lot of things that needed to be said. It was like she was unloading a lot of things that she had been walking around with, so that was good. I think people should always be able to have conversations like that, to help get their thoughts straight about a subject. I get to talk to Eduard about things like that, and he talks to me, and in this way we all need somebody to talk to. There is nothing better then getting feedback and listening to yourself talk about a subject that is on your mind. Most people have a lot of inner wisdom and can solve a lot of their o
wn problems once they have a sounding board and they start talking about a subject that keeps them busy.

For dinner, I fixed the salmon. As usual, it was delicious, but my steak was so big that I shared it with the dog, who was very happy about that. Eduard had his salmon on toast and he said that he liked that better than just eating the salmon plain. The cats had some too and they did wait politely at one end of the table for little pieces to come their way. Once I have had salmon to eat, I am not hungry for a long time afterwards. Even the next morning I am not hungry.

After dinner, I fell asleep on the sofa and that was a nice nap. When I woke up, I wanted Eduard to take my picture with the little digital camera that we have, but he couldn’t get it installed right on the computer. I wanted to surprise you all with a picture of myself in the new tunic, so I owe you that one. We still both have our regular cameras and they are very good ones, but I suppose we will have to invest in a good digital camera one day. They are becoming less expensive it seems.

Well, after all is said and done, I rate yesterday with a seven and that has been a long time coming. Even though everything isn’t perfect, I am sure it was a seven. And the reason I am so sure is, that it is starting to feel a little bit like a movie again and that is a very good feeling. I still have all my wits about me and I am clear of thought, especially so, but life has taken on that special feeling that I like so much. Technicolored and sharp in the details. It is not a feeling that I can make happen, it happens all by itself and I don’t know why or how. But it is a gift when it does.

Still, I went to bed early last night and I was really tired and was asleep in no time. I dreamed a lot, but I can’t recount any of them. All that’s left are many vague images of people and places. I always dream in color and was surprised to hear that there are people who only dream in black and white. I also dream in great detail. I can see the pattern on the rug, for instance. And the color on the walls. I have dreams whose themes always return. I very often dream about a house with many rooms and every time I dream about it, I discover a new room in a whole different style and the view from the window is different also.

By the way, my toe is doing well, but it is a bit sore, even when I wear my sandals. I have been wearing my orthopedically correct slippers and those are much better, as my toe has lots of room then. I change the band aid a few times a day, because I really want to keep the wound clean. It all looks rather tender and a bit scary looking, but I suppose it will all heal well in the end. It is still not a dry wound, that is why I have to keep changing the band aid.

Well, those are all my words for today again. I will now go and read the news. It is always so pleasant to sit and write a new post first thing in the morning. Shows you how well awake I am so early. Have a great day, people. Ciao…

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Today I weigh 95.5 kilos, so go figure. It’s a mystery to me again, as usual. Yesterday I had a small glass of juice, a piece of cherry pie, a banana, a piece of Maasdammer cheese, some Melba toast and a tall glass of milk. It’s not nice to fool mother nature! That was the slogan of an American TV commercial many years ago and I think it applies here.

Anyway…yesterday I had my little operation on my foot, which turned out to be quite a happening. I was treated as an out patient and they have special operating rooms for that. We arrived well ahead of time and had to wait a bit in the waiting room, which made the suspense even higher. No, I was actually pretty calm. I just wasn’t looking forward to the shot in my toe. Then I was called to the changing area where I had to strip down to my underwear and put on a cap and gown and wait for them to call me, which happened shortly. I went into the operating room and everybody introduced themselves, and then the procedure started.

The first shot in my toe really hurt and I squeezed the nurse’s hand very hard. The second shot hurt also, the third and fourth shot less so. After that, I had no idea what happened to my toe, because I was laying down on the operating table and I didn’t see any of the procedure. I do know that the surgeon cut a strip of nail off the side of my toe and that there was no infection. I also know that he burned the nail closed and put out the fire with cold water after two minutes. It’s a chemical burn, of course. I didn’t feel any of it. I know the nail bed was worked on for some time, but I am not sure what he was doing there. The whole procedure took about 25 minutes, that includes wrapping the pressure bandage around my foot and toe. Then I could get dressed and I wore very easy to get on clothes and Eduard was there to help me, so that was done quickly. Eduard had a wheelchair with him, so he got to push me through the hospital back to the parking lot.

I hobbled into the car and out of the car into the apartment when we got home, and after that it has been laying on the sofa with my foot up, which is very boring. Eduard is very good about getting things for me, but I find it very frustrating to have to ask for things and to not get them myself. I did hobble to the computer twice and to the bathroom. I have some little disposable socks that I wear over the bandage, so that will keep it clean. I took paracetamol when the anaesthetic wore off and that helped, and this morning it isn’t too bad at all. I still am not supposed to walk on it, so I get around very carefully.

When I got up from the operating table, there was quite a bit of blood, so I did wonder about that. I am not to walk on my foot to keep it from bleeding. The pressure bandage has to stay on for three days and I will go to my GP to have it removed and have my toe looked at and have a new bandage put on. I hope he isn’t squeamish about it, nor that I am.

I don’t like being incapacitated. It wouldn’t have mattered so much when I was depressed, but now it is a whole different ball game. The cats come to me to get fed, and the dog comes to me to tell me that the cats want to get fed. I am helpless in doing anything about it. Jesker even started to give me kisses to get me up off the sofa, but it didn’t work. I have everything within easy reach. Both telephones and both TV tuners and the ashtray and cigarettes and my reading glasses. I just have to hobble a bit to get to the computer.

Lucien called me yesterday afternoon to wish me luck. She is going to Spain on holiday today. She had a family reunion for 42 people this weekend and it had been quite a success, but she was exhausted afterwards. I can imagine! Well, she gets to recuperate on the beach in Spain now and get a nice tan with it. She’ll be gone for twelve days and I should be back to normal when she gets home again.

My sister called and said she wished she had a reason to lie on the sofa for a few days, because the kids in the class are really giving her a hard time and she is finding it harder every day to go to work. I feel so sorry for her. Some pupils are quite rebellious and are supported in this by their parents, so it is sort of open warfare. Erica said that she is never going to substitute again after this and wants to do something totally different with her degree, the only question is what? She will maybe have to take an aptitude test herself. She has a master’s in education and can go and do several different things with it, but there have to be jobs available too, of course.

I want to go into town on Friday and I hope I will be able to get about by then. I think I will be and I can’t wait. I really need to go to the chapel and I just want to sit and have coffee at the café and watch the people go by and I want to go to the market and buy some salmon and cheese. I miss going downtown. It is so nice there, so cozy and pretty and I especially like that I have a goal there now every time I go, namely the chapel. Eduard keeps giving me any change that he has in his wallet for me to buy the candles with and I have been buying a tall one for my daughter and a slightly shorter one for my grandson. That is about one Euro every time I go, which doesn’t break the bank.

I ordered the book that my daughter has been reading and that she praised so highly. It is called: Against Depression, by Peter Kramer and it should get here in about a week. It is a scientifically written book about depression, but written in such a way that anyone with a bit of intelligence can understand it. Nick said that you do have to read it carefully to absorb all the information.

Depression runs in my family. My younger sister takes antidepressants and I think my oldest sister is chronically mildly depressed, although she would never own up to that. My mother, I suspect, was bipolar herself and my father suffered from major depressions. My aunt Elizabeth is chronically depressed. My son had depressions also. He coped with them his own way. We’re all coping with our mental problems, but it is important to see them for what they are and those are purely biological dysfunctions in the brain and are inherited. Yes, they are exacerbated by life events, but that is just part of the story. It is important to get the chemistry right first and then to deal with any issues that are lingering, such as early childhood traumas, or traumas from later in life, such as I had with the unfortunate events around my parents or my unsuccessful first marriage and move to the States.

I had my first real depression when I was eighteen years old and I spent several months in bed. I didn’t understand what was happening to me, nor did anyone else. Of course, I was far from my own family and friends and pretty much on my own, so nobody knew except for my ex. We were too ignorant then to know what was wrong. Maybe he thought I was lazy. After I had my daughter, I was depressed again and I was depressed again 5 months after I had my son. After that, depression was sort of my middle name and I was almost never without it, although there were good and bad years. Good years happened when I had a lot of stability in my life and lots of support from my friends and I led an fairly normal life. Anything at all could get the boat rocking. Sometimes big events happened and I was temporarily out of the depressions for a little while, only to plunge back into them even harder afterwards. Sooner or later, it all catches up with you and you have a major crisis and a very big major depression, if you don’t do something about it ahead of time. I didn’t do that. I understood things too late. I had to learn the hard way what depression was all about really. How it happened and how it was treated.

Maybe we are all going to have our proverbial good seven years now. It is about time! Someone was talking about manna from heaven this past weekend a
nd maybe we will have some now. I know my daughter has some coming to her. She called me yesterday when I was in the operating room. I had left my phone with Eduard and he called her back to let her know where I was. So I called her as soon as I got home. She wanted to know if I still had all of my toes and I said that I really didn’t know, because I couldn’t feel one of them!

While I was laying on the operating table the nurses and the student doctor and I had a chat about my gastric band and about my having lived in California, because they wanted to know where I was from. They could tell from my accent that I wasn’t a local and that got the conversation going. So the surgeon was working very concentrated on my toe and we were all having a good chat. That shows you how relaxed we all were. People are always very interested in my coming from California as they know so much about it from TV and the movies. So they want to know all about that. I tell them what they want to hear, how beautiful it is and that they should definitely go there some day. Mostly by that I mean Northern California, although I suppose you should see Hollywood and Beverly Hills and Venice Beach and Malibu. But my heart lies in Northern California, especially in Sonoma County. So, go there people, if you want to see beautiful nature. And San Francisco is definitely worth a visit for a few days.

I keep forgetting that I can’t take the dog for a walk and I was just looking at the clock to see if it was time to go yet. I will miss our morning walk, that one is always the best.

Yesterday I rate with a 6.5, so that is a bit better already and I am aiming for a seven today. I will get dressed properly in spite of my toe and made up and decorated. I will look good laying on the sofa and hobbling around the apartment! I hope someone comes to visit me, otherwise it gets so boring. Maybe Eduard and I can be extra silly to pass the time more quickly. Yesterday we were making up silly songs as we were singing them and Eduard is very good at this and has a better singing voice. I always want to throw in obscenities, because I can’t think of proper rhyming words fast enough and I have a dirty mind. But, like Eduard says, it is a terrible thing to waste.

Now I am going to read the news and get smart about the world. See what old George Bush is up to. And see what is happening in Belgium after their elections on Sunday. Have a good day people, ciao…

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This morning I weigh 95.6 kilos and that is close enough to 95.4 kilos that I’ll be able to say on Sunday in Almelo that I have lost 30 kilos. By then I probably will have. I am surprised that I have lost 2 ounces since yesterday, because I did eat a big piece of salmon for dinner, but it is nice anyway. This is what I had yesterday: one small glass of juice, three bites of Bavarois cake, a cookie, some tomato salad with a hard boiled egg, one salmon steak, one piece of Maasdammer cheese and a tall glass of milk. It always seems that on the days that I think I eat more food, I also loose more weight. There must be a very logical explanation for this, having to do with metabolism and the amount of energy required to burn your food, etc.

Yesterday morning, we got an early start and hopped on our bikes to go downtown. We went across the more northern bridge, to the market square, which has a slow but steep climb and I hooked my hand around Eduard’s arm and together we made it to the top. That was fairly painless. My knees didn’t protest too much. Eduard is very strong and seems to pull me along effortlessly. Of course, I do peddle a bit myself. I don’t let him do the work all by himself, that would be cheating.

When we got to the open air market, we first bought the Maasdammer cheese and then the salmon steaks. The fish is being sold from stands in a separate area from the market itself. There are quite a number of stands that sell fish and you just go and find the one that has the best looking fish at the best price. The smells of the various fish, but especially the salted herring, brought me right back to my childhood, when the fish man would come by with his cart full of fresh fish on Friday’s. The cheese was bought at a stand that had all sorts of good looking cheese, and I could have easily picked out five of them. Some people buy their cheese by the kilo like we do, and others buy their cheese by the ounces and sliced. We have a special cheese slicer to slice the cheese for sandwiches, as do most Dutch people, but I eat mine piece by piece.

We walked around the market a bit and I wanted to look for a jeans jacket, but didn’t find one and I was a bit grouchy. I didn’t know why. Then I said to Eduard, let’s go and have a cup of coffee. So we went to our favorite café and had a coffee each and a slice of Bavarois cake together and after that I felt much better and I realized I had been grouchy because I hadn’t eaten anything before we left the house. Big mistake. I was so busy taking care of everything before I left, that I neglected to do that. So after three bites of the cake and one Café Noir cookie I felt better.

Then we went to the post office to mail a book that I was sending to my daughter and then to the chapel for me to light some candles and pray. I tried to pray to a universal God of indeterminate sex, who is part of the whole universe and all that exists in nature on this earth. Whatever He/She is and however He/She is. I wish I could get a clearer picture in my mind, but I think it will evolve over time. For a change, it wasn’t that awfully busy in the chapel, nor had it been awfully busy in town, but we were there early, so it may have looked differently the rest of the day. It certainly was hot and muggy!

We went to the CWI to see what kinds of jobs were on offer for me and I quickly found out that for almost any kind of job, I need some kind of diploma or some sort of certificate, so I am going to have to do a course. Right now, a bookkeeping course seems to be the most attractive and also a job that is offered a lot and a skill that will always be handy to have. I think it is the kind of work that I will enjoy doing, having been treasurer several years for the PTA with a budget of about 20,000.00 dollars a year and always enjoying that very much. Making monthly reports and making the final yearly report and having all the money accounted for. It’s a job you can do very much independently and you don’t have to interact very much with a larger team or be under any sort of pressure like making sales or making some sort of a percentage. Not that I am not a sociable person, but I do like to work on my own.

We made it home again by 10:30 and I was a bit hot and tired, but I called my sister and we decided to take the dogs to the pond right away. So at eleven o’clock we met at her house and walked to the pond from there. I enjoy the whole walk, because we chat about everything as we walk and we enjoy the scenery at the same time. Jesker enjoys being out at the pond with Quinto and he is much more adventurous when Quinto is there with him. Together they go off into the high grass and the bushes and walk along the water. Luckily, neither one of them has felt the urge to jump in it. We almost never meet anyone when we walk there. We have that bit of nature all to ourselves, although I know that in the weekends it is more busy. I think Erica enjoys meeting me more this way than just sitting around and having a cup of coffee, because Erica is such an active person and always needs to be doing something. She was tested not too long ago and found out that she actually has a slow metabolism, but that she keeps in shape because she is always so active and rarely sits still.

When we got home, Jesker and I were both hot and tired and Jesker just plopped down on the ground. He slept most of the afternoon. I did laundry and cleaned up the kitchen, which I hadn’t done before we left in the morning. I made the tomato salad with less garlic and less vinegar and it tasted better than it had the day before. I should have vacuumed, but by that time I wasn’t in the mood for it and I figured it could wait until today. It was hot and muggy all afternoon and in the evening suddenly there was thunder and lightening and it started to rain fiercely. It came straight down out of the sky. This morning when I got up, it happened again and it scared Jesker who started to bark. It scares the cats too and they hide under the bed.

Buy two large salmon steaks. Sprinkle them with salt, pepper and dill weed. Put them in an oven dish. Cover them with microwaveable plastic wrap. Microwave them at full power for about six minutes. Let them sit under the plastic wrap for about 5 minutes and they are done. They should be a nice pink color. Eat carefully because of the bones. Give your cats and dog a piece too. Everybody will be happy.

I talked to my daughter yesterday and this morning too. This morning I tried to talk not to loudly, so I would not wake Eduard, but I think I need not have worried about that, because he is out like a light. Sometimes I hear him snore.

What I like best about talking to my daughter is that she feels that she can be completely honest with me. So, she talks about her childhood, for instance, even when it is not always very flattering to me. But don’t we all have memories like that of our parents and aren’t they all legitimate and don’t we all rectify a lot of things by talking about them? I was never able to talk about things with my parents and had to deal with all of it on my own and it took me a long time to get it all straight in my head. I know that my daughter has issues with us, her parents, and I think it is good that she airs them. Besides, it can’t always have been easy having had a bipolar II mother and an alcoholic father, even when those thin
gs where not discussed then. Such ignorance we lived in then in our quiet suburban home! Such an average family we seemed to be! Skeletons in closets? You bet! As parents, we have to be brave enough to face up to them.

Today I’ll have to vauum the whole apartment and mop everywhere too, so I hope it isn’t going to be hot and muggy like it was yesterday. I think the rain cooled things down a bit. It is raining as I write this. I hope it won’t rain too much tomorrow when we will be on the road to Almelo. We stop along the way to let the dog out for a run, and we don’t want to get the car muddy with dog prints. An old blanket will help.

I have just a bit of a sore ear from one of my earrings, so I will have to put ointment on it today and not wear my earrings, which will make me feel naked and undressed. I have washed my new jeans and it looks like they shrank just a bit, which I wanted them to, because I want them to fit me tightly. I’ll wear those tomorrow. Nobody has seen me since I have lost all this weight and I want to make a good impression. Maybe I’ll wear the high heeled Esprit sandals that my sister gave me. That will be sexy and make me look tall.

Instead of washing my hair with the Head & Shoulders, I used a shower gel from the Hema and it has made my hair very soft and manageable. The Head & Shoulders wasn’t helping me anyway, so there is no sense in me using it. I still have the dermatitis on my head. I am not calling it eczema anymore, because I am not sure it is. I think it is allergic dermatitis and that I need something else to get rid of it. I won’t get rid of the cats and the dog and I won’t stop eating dairy products. I am already not eating so many foods. I was tested for a number of foods some twenty years ago and I have a slight allergy to dairy products and wheat also, but I am not giving up these things. Corn, chicken and peanuts, I can do without, but I like milk and cheese too much. I am a true Dutch woman from the dairy country after all.

The birds are singing in spite of the rain. They must have found a dry spot in the trees. The grass on the field will be very wet this morning, no hanging about there! Our white cat Nouri is curled up like a little ball on the yellow blanket in the rattan chair. It is her favorite spot to sleep. Remind me, someone, if I have told you the story of how she got her name, which is Nouri de Confiture.

Okay, that is all for now. I’ve got to read the news a bit. I do have to stay informed, after all. Stay a good citizen of the world. Have a wonderful day, ciao…

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Today I weigh 96 kilos exactly again, so that is just the way it is, whether or not I like it. It’s okay, it means I have lost 29. 4 kilos all together, I just can’t make it any less then that. I can’t stand on the scales any differently than I do now and holding my breath doesn’t help, so that’s it. I had hoped to maybe have lost a little weight today, but I was not that lucky. I weighed the same thing last night, before I went to bed, when normally I don’t weigh myself, but I thought, what the heck, why not. At least I am consistent. Yesterday, I had a small glass of juice, some Melba toast, a piece of cumin cheese, some tomato salad with a boiled egg, a piece of regular cheese and a tall glass of milk.

The day started off nicely, with Eduard luring me back to bed again, after I had already been up for a few hours. Now that he has his vacation, he can practically stay in bed all morning. We didn’t get up then until about 10:30 and had some breakfast. I cleaned up the kitchen and organized the paperwork in my purse. I had all sorts of odd bits with appointments and do not throw away, but save forever, or at least until next September paperwork. I love to clean out my purse. I wrote the appointments down on the calender, as well as little reminders to myself. Yesterday I realized that I had forgotten that it was my oldest sister’s birthday the day before that, so I called her late, as I do almost every year. She forgives me every year too and never forgets my birthday. I have a birthday calender, but I don’t have it hanging up anywhere. It is laying in a drawer and very inaccessible. I have to buy a new birthday calender, because I don’t like the one we have. It was a gift and it has romantic little kitties on it and it is just not my style. A new one I will hang in the bathroom next to the toilet, so we will see it every day. That is custom in the Netherlands, to have it hanging beside the toilet and it gives people something to do while they sit there.

I walked the dog at noon and ran into my sister, who was walking her dog, and we made a date to go to the pond today. She was on her lunch break and not looking all that happy. The elementary school is across the street from her house, so she is there in a skip and a jump and she can go home for lunch, but she looked like she wanted to stay home.

Then Eduard and I rode our bikes to the hospital to have my toe looked at in the clinic. The doctors there were very nice, but they didn’t help me there right away. My toe was looked at very closely by two doctors, one of them being a student doctor and a decision was made as to what to do about it. They said it was definitely ingrown and that there was probably an infection underneath it. It seems that when I stubbed my toe hard one time, this caused some change in the way the nail has grown and changes in the nail bed. They explained what they are going to do about it and that is the following.

On Monday I have to go to the surgical out patient unit and get operated on under a local anesthetic. That means I wear a funky hospital gown and cap and no jewelry and I have to be operated on in a sterile environment. They are going to cut away part of the nail and burn it closed, so it will not grow back. Then they are also going to tackle any changes that have
occurred to the nail bed and take care of the infection that they think is there. When they are done, they apply a pressure bandage and I am not allowed to walk on my foot for several hours, so I have to be taken to the car by wheel chair. Then I am not allowed to really walk on it for three days. I will not be able to wear a shoe on that foot for that length of time anyway. Then there is a follow up appointment to look at the toe and change the bandage to a plaster and then I will be able to walk on it again. Apparently it takes about 5 weeks for the toe to heal properly. The first week, it is not supposed to get wet and you can’t take any foot baths or regular baths. I don’t know about showering, but I don’t think so.

All that for an ingrown toe nail. After I heard all that, I put my reading glasses on when I got home, and had a good look at my toe and I could see how the nail was deformed and how red the skin was. So, I can’t wait to have this done and we are very lucky that Eduard has his vacation now, because there is the dog to walk also and me to get home from the hospital and everything. It’s a shame that it is eating into his vacation time, but hopefully we will be able to make up for that afterwards, when my toe is better. Otherwise his colleagues will ask him, so, what did you do for your vacation? And Eduard will have to answer, I hung out in the hospital with my wife. Next week Wednesday I have an appointment with the Obesitas Nurse Specialist to be weighed and to determine how much my gastric band is going to be filled. I’ll have to use a wheelchair for that visit also.

We rode our bikes back home, avoiding all the little hills and tunnels, so that I would not have to put any strain on my knees. Eduard pulled me through any tough spots, of which there were only a few. I hook my hand around his arm and peddle along while allowing him to pull me at the same time, so it is a concerted effort. I think that is what you call that. Eduard is very strong from lifting and moving around all those 25 kilo movie reels. He has muscles in his arms! And Eduard knows his way around, so he knows the way to go that has the fewest ups and downs.

When we got home, I read the little booklet that they had given me about this little operation so I would be prepared. I think it is a shame that I won’t be able to wear my jewelry and that I will have to wear that silly cap. I won’t be nearly as good looking! Of course, they are not going to be looking at the top part of me anyway. All is vanity! That used to be the name of this weblog for a while. Very appropriate.

For dinner, I made a tomato salad with some very good tomatoes that Eduard had bought from the Turkish vegetable man, who always has the best vegetables and fruit. They are always better than you can buy them at the supermarket. I cut up the tomatoes and added garlic, salt and pepper and a little sugar, olive oil and white wine vinegar. I hard boiled some eggs as a garnish and it tasted very good. I think I was a little heavy handed with the garlic, but Eduard liked it, and I think a little less vinegar would have been okay, but you live and learn. Tonight, I am going to make that again. I think I would like a little bit of mustard in with the olive oil and vinegar, but I think we don’t have any at all. Eduard is not a condiment person and rarely buys things like mayonnaise or ketchup or mustard. I, of course, don’t eat those things either. We fix our sandwiches with margarine or butter, as all Dutch people do, but I very rarely eat a sandwich. And guess what? Eduard doesn’t like peanut butter! Can you imagine that? He is the only person I know who doesn’t like peanut butter. Except for my friend Laura, who is allergic to peanuts. I have also never seen him eat jelly. He mostly eats cheese on his sandwiches. Any kind of cheese, stinky and goat!

This morning we are going downtown to the open air market for some good cheese and some salmon steaks. Mmm…I can’t wait for those, we will have them tonight. And the cheese will be ever so much better than the factory cheese. The cumin cheese that we have now is also a factory cheese and, although the cumin tastes nice, the cheese itself is chewy like plastic. I think I will have to fix the tomato salad for lunch, because it will be impossible for me to eat the salad and the salmon for dinner. Even Eduard was full after eating the salmon last week.

I will go to the chapel and light a candle and pray. Do you think I can address God as: Our Dear Mother God who is in the Universe? Or: Mother Earth My God? How can I make God a neutral being, who is neither male nor female, but an all e
ncompassing It? Do people pray to Mary to address the female part of God? Does a Mother God care better for my son’s soul than a Father God? No, of course not, that is an earthly thought. I am too human to handle the concept of a super human God or Goddess. I keep wanting to put a face to It, Her, Him. However vague it is. I am trying to humanize God. I’ll have to find a way to address my Higher Being and to ask Him, Her, It for the things I most want to happen and most of those have to do with my daughter and my grandson. I wish I had a holy object, but I have no idea what that should be. It can’t be a crucifix or anything like that. I have the stones from Goat Rock Beach, and the pictures of my children and grandson…

I have a pinched nerve in my shoulder and I am trying to move it in such a way that it doesn’t hurt, but if I do, I can’t type or do anything else. It’s not nice when your body plays tricks on you like that. At least I don’t have a mouse arm or a tennis elbow! Imagine not being able to sit behind the computer and type. Oh, horror!

I was supposed to have gone to bed at nine o’clock last night, but I started watching a choir competition at 8:30 and it didn’t finish until 10 pm, so I stayed up for that. But I love the way I pass out so quickly with my book. I say to Eduard, I am going under now, and I make the sound of a submarine, Aahoogaa! Then I am gone. Yes, with Irene you always get your share of amusement!

Eduard and I do have our silly half hours when we do our Monty Python sketches and other stuff that we make up as we go along. We are totally weird sometimes. We are especially funny when we do our dialects and completely screw it up and the most horrible things come out. We have a competition in who can speak the best dialect and we are both equally bad. We do British English well, a la John Cleese or the queen of England. Sometimes, I try to speak French to Eduard, but I find it very hard to be funny in that language, although Eduard thinks I am very funny, but then I am not being it on purpose, but by accident, because I get the words all wrong. And he wants me to go live there when he retires! I don’t think so!

Sometimes, we are completely nuts and you would think we had a mental affliction. It is a good thing there are no hidden cameras here. But at least I get to make fun, and there is nothing like it in the world. Leave it to me to finally find a partner like that. Someone who is equally nuts. Sometimes we really confuse the dog and he starts to bark at us as if he wants to say, cut it out guys! We make the cats nervous too when we do our little waltz across the living room. The only other person I knew who was like that, was my father. With him I acted nuts like that.

Well, the dog just came out to look at me, so I guess it is that time of the morning again. I will have to walk him and feed the cats, whose favorite food is all gone and I will have to give them some that they like much less. It can’t be helped.

Oh, by the way. Eduard put the Energy Lamp on a high table that we used to have a plant on. Its surface is just big enough for the lamp. The table is a little high, but then Eduard tilted the lamp forward and downward, which I even didn’t know you could do. He had kept that knowledge to himself all this time! Sneeky guy! So now the lamp is in a perfect spot and I can have it on every morning again as long as I need it. It’s too bad you don’t get a tan with these things. I’d have a healthy glow by now, but I would probably become wrinkled, so maybe better not!

Have a wonderful day, people, ciao…

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I went to bed at 9:30 last night and slept until 6:15 this morning, so that is pretty darn good. I woke up once to go to the bathroom at 3 am, but fell asleep again almost instantly. I am having my first cup of coffee now and my first cigarette and both taste very nice, thank you. I went on the scales this morning and I weigh 95.8, so the same as yesterday and the day before that. I won’t even tell you what I ate yesterday, but it involved apple pie, which we had got because Lucien was coming by in the afternoon, and I had some of that and then some more.

Yesterday was a much better day than the day before that. I gave it a six rating, mostly because I was not so darn tired and also because I was a bit more cheerful. I am not quite all the way back to my old self yet, but I am getting there. I still think the cure is lots of sleep and I am taking care of that.

Yesterday morning, I cleaned up the apartment, but Eduard was kind enough to clean up the bathroom for me. He does a much better job than I could and quicker too. One of our cats had peed in there and it smelled to high heaven. Now it doesn’t and to be sure, I sprayed some air freshener in there as well.

Oh yes, to answer Eleanor’s mum’s question. Our Cat Gandhi was originally named Gandalf when she still was living with my sister in law in France. My sister in law had gotten her as a kitten and had been told that the cat was a boy. She named her Gandalf after the character out of Tolkien’s books. Then she took Gandalf to the vet to get her castrated and found out she was a girl and had her sterilized instead. But she kept her name. When we took Gandalf home with us after my sister in law’s death, we changed the name to Gandhi. We could have just called her Gandie, but we thought Gandhi was more interesting and there was Indira Gandhi as well one time. Now, some people still think that Gandhi is a boy cat, so it is a little bit confusing, but we like the name, and it is of a peace keeper and Gandhi is a peaceful cat. We have had her for four years now and from the first day she acted as if she had always lived here. She was not in the least shy. She made her own place along side the other four cats that already lived here. That is the story of the name of the cat Gandhi.

In the afternoon, my friend Lucien came to bring the Energy Lamp back and very welcome it was too. Well, both Lucien and the lamp were welcome. We had coffee and apple pie, which Eduard served as I was busy chatting up a storm and Eduard is always so thoughtful and remembers to do those things. I had a tiny piece of the apple pie, served on a tiny saucer. Lucien said that she had used the lamp that morning and I asked her if she still needed to use it, but she said no, they were leaving on their vacation to Spain next week. She will get lots of sunshine there. Her husband is reluctant to spend the money on a lamp himself and wants Lucien to try the lamp out one more time before they buy one themselves and she asked me if she could borrow it again if she needs it. Of course, she can, if I don’t need it myself at that time. If I need it myself, nobody can borrow it, not even the queen if she needed it.

In the afternoon I took two tests via the Internet for the CWI. One was a personality test and the other one was a work aptitude test. There is no pass or fail, luckily, and I answered everything as truthfully as I could. Of course, there is a difference in how I answer the questions now as opposed to how I would have answered them 6 months ago, when I was still depressed. I know that, I just don’t want the CWI to know that and when the woman there asked me if I had any physical or mental disabilities, I lied and said there were none. My psychiatrist had told me to do this. He said for me just to assume that everything will stay just the way it is now. And I will. I do feel like a bit of a cheat, nevertheless. But I do feel like any other person at the moment and it is only fair that I get the same chance.

My friend Lucien worked at the time of the start of her illness and gets a compensation check every month, because she has been 100% disqualified for work. That is nice for her, but I would hate to be in the same boat. For a long time, my psychiatrist said that I was not suited for any job at all, but now we think that this is all behind me and I can go ahead and give it a try just like anyone else. I am constantly knocking on wood when I talk about me feeling this well. I don’t want to tempt fate. I would not want to be 100% disqualified.

My daughter called me in the afternoon and again in the evening. She sounds good and is getting her thoughts straight. After spending some time thinking about it, and me helping her think about it, she has decided not to come to the Netherlands now, but to get a job lined up, especially since her son is going to be gone for six weeks visiting his grandparents in Germany. This will give her time to take care of things at her end. Her son speaks German, by the way, and has a good time when he is in Germany. His grandparents make sure he is kept busy, and line up things for him to do while he is there. Anyway, this means that I will still be going to the States in September, which I really like. I will see my daughter and my grandson.

In the evening, yesterday, Eduard and I vegged out. We watched TV and talked. Eduard noticed that I was a bit stressed, because a few times I acted irritable and he was right. I did act that way, but I told him why and that he shouldn’t worry about it. It will be over shortly. I just need to get enough sleep, which I am doing now. I called my friend Joost, but got his answering machine and he called me back at nine, just as I was getting ready to go to sleep. We talked for a short time and he said that he will probably come and visit us in July. He is really good about sleeping on the sofa, which is a little bit short for him. Joost is just a bit shy, which makes for awkward pauses on the telephone, but in real life it isn’t as bad. You just have to be patient and then it will all come out when he is ready.

The street outside is almost ready. The brick layers are putting in the last little bit of bricks. Yesterday, there was a very noisy machine stamping down all the bricks. You couldn’t hear yourself think! When the street is opened, all the traffic will be back and I will have to put Jesker on the leash again, because he walks right into the street when we leave through the front door. Can’t have that! People use this street as a short cut and they don’t care that they are supposed to drive very slowly here. We could have a run over dog in no time and that would be very sad. I am glad that the cats aren’t out there a lot. Actually, this year I have only seen two of them out there a few times by the elementary school and we keep the kitchen window closed, so they can’t get out that way. Cats are smarter about traffic than dogs are. The dog doesn’t have a clue when there is a car coming. He just stands there!

Today I am not planning anything special, except for doing a few more tests for the CWI. I am not going to town. This will be a day of rest. Tomorrow I am going to the clinic for my toe and on Friday Eduard and I are going into town for the open air market to get some salmon and cheese and I want to stop by the CWI and see what sort of jobs are on offer. I’ll go to the chapel too, of course. That speaks for itself.

I think my prayers have to be more all encompassing. They have to be more universal and more about the world at large and about nature and about my unity with it and with people as a whole. I think I can pray for my daughter specifically, but as a unit of the world at large. I can pray for the spirit of my son and for the spiritual parts of my daughter and my grandson. And I don’t think my prayers should be frantic. They should be peaceful and not so demanding. I think I should learn how to pray, but with practice, I will get there. I still think my Higher Being/God is listening to me. He/She sees me fall down and get up again. God has mercy on us beginners.

Well, Eduard is up and so is the dog and the cats are starting to ask for their food, so I will get going now. Duty calls me again. You all have a good day, ciao for now…

P.S. I walked the dog on the leash and only let him off on the field. He could have a good roll around there and then Quinto and my niece came out as well and Quinto had a good run around while my niece and I talked. She commented on my clothes and the fact that I have lost so much weight. She always likes what I am wearing, so I guess I am making good choices in the clothing department. She looked like a movie star herself with her sun glasses on. She is also very much into wearing earrings and we always admire each other’s.

My sister is working part time at the elementary school, filling in for an absent teacher, but she told me that the class is a tough one and that she feels very disliked by the pupils and it is causing her some grief. Some of the parents don’t like her either and this is a new situation for Erica, so she doesn’t quite know what to do about it, except for hang in there and grit her teeth. I couldn’t do it, I know that! She has only three weeks left to go until vacation starts and I know she wants to hang on until that time.

Well folks, now I am going to get going. Do my little chores and enjoy the fact that Eduard is home. This afternoon he is going to Belgium to help a fellow motorcyclist fix his motorcycle. Ciao…

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This morning I weigh the same as I did yesterday, although I did not eat that much. I weigh 95.8 kilos. I had a small glass of juice, some Melba toast, a piece of cheese, a pear, some more Melba toast, another piece of cheese and a tall glass of milk. That’s not much food, is it? When I went on the scales this morning, it first said 95.1, but then I realized that one hand was leaning on the bathroom sink so that didn’t count. If it were that easy, I could lay various body parts on the sink and weigh myself that way. Let’s see, one leg should be worth a couple of kilos!

I went to bed at 8:30 last night. I was so tired. I dragged myself through the day and I seriously thought I was getting depressed, but at the end of the day I thought it might just be fatigue, so I called it an early day and when I laid down in bed, I went out like a light. I woke up at four o’clock this morning and I am still yawning, but I am having my first cup of coffee and I am hoping to be refreshed by that any moment now. I was supposed to have called my friend Joost last night, but because I went to bed so early, I forgot, but I see that Eduard sent him a mail with my apologies, and that I will call him tonight, so that was nice of Eduard. It is a very nice thing when your husband picks up your thinking cap when you have dropped it yourself. I had written myself a note to call Joost and then forgot about it completely due to my tiredness.

Yesterday I went to the CWI for my intake and I had that with a very nice lady with the Swedish name of Solveig. I don’t know if she was Swedish at all, she sounded very Dutch and had a Dutch last name. Anyway, we talked about my opportunities, which are not all that many considering my age and education level, but there are opportunities for me to take courses. And of course, I do have certain skills that I bring with me, such as my fluent English and my computer skills and the fact that I am not dumb and that I learn quickly. And I must say that I have the right attitude and that I rank myself highly, because I think I can do many things.

But first I have to do a series of tests and rather than take those there, I get to do them at home, where I will be sent a link with a code and I can take them when it is convenient for me. She will then be sent the results and depending on those, an advice will be given as to what possible courses I will take, if any. You then get a personal advisor who helps you through the rest of the process and puts an appeal for financing in for you with the city for your further education. This way, not only people who get unemployment benefits get a chance to get onto the job market, but also women of a certain age like me. It is all about reintegration and getting as many people as possible working and financially independent, especially now that the population is getting older as a rule. They like people like me whose husbands have good jobs and who are not a drain on society. They like the success stories!

Anyway, I spent an hour there, and then went to the chapel and prayed for my daughter specifically and everything under the sun in general. Mother Earth, the moon, the stars, the animals, the flowers, the trees, world peace. It was a whole integrated prayer. I thought, I have to start somewhere, so I am starting at the beginning, with all that matters the most, starting with my daughter. Thank God for all the good things! Really! And pray for the rest. I wish I was closer to nature here. I need some really good trees and some hills and meadows that go to the horizon. They are here of course, I just don’t happen to live in them. And everywhere you go in the Netherlands, there are bunches of people sharing nature with you, it can’t be helped in a small country like this.

Oh, by the way, there are two little trees growing in the patio. They arrived there all on their own and for now, we are leaving them there and are waiting to see what they are going to be. One is in the dirt and one is between the tiles and the dirt. I don’t rightly know what to do about that one yet. I had always wanted to plant a tree for Brion, but then we lost a bit of land to the new houses and we didn’t think we had the space for a tree, but now we will have to wait and see what happens. Mother Nature is making independent decisions! We are to have one tree at least after all. I wonder if Mother Nature and Mother Earth are the same entities? How do you tell them apart? Anyway, in my prayers, I want to integrate these “Mothers” with God as if they are one and the same, which they most likely are. That what is in nature is Godlike. The nature of God is nature itself. I think “primitive” people get it right.

I went to exchange my T-shirt for a smaller size, but they didn’t have one, so I had to pick out something different. I didn’t see an article of clothing that I absolutely wanted to have, so I decided on a nice leather belt that I sort of tried on around my waist and decided fit me. It is a really nice one and I need one, with my pants becoming to big on me. I have been wearing an old belt that belonged to Eduard and that he used to use to strap luggage onto his motorcycle, so it wasn’t a very fashionable one, to say the least. But you couldn’t see it under my clothes and it fulfilled its function.

Then I went home again, withstanding the temptation of the various food places I passed, because I was hungry and everything smelled very good. I knew that if I bought something, I wouldn’t be able to eat the whole thing any way, just a few bites and that would be it, so I didn’t and was proud of myself. If I want something special to eat like that, I have to do it with Eduard, because then I can have a few bites while Eduard eats the rest of it and we don’t waste any food.

Once I got home, I tried on the belt properly, and Eduard immediately had to make two extra holes in it, one of which I already have to use and one for some time later when I have lost more weight. By the way, the woman at the CWI saw my passport picture and said that she could see that I had lost a lot of weight since that one was taken. Now, you all know that that was not such a long time ago, so go figure! My face is skinnier!

When I got home, I said to Eduard, I don’t feel well, I am so down! All of my joy is gone! I sat with a cup of decaf and just sort of meditated on the sofa for a while and petted the dog. I think petting the dog is a very wholesome thing to do. I took half an Oxazepam to get rid of some of my anxiety and after a while, it started to work. It made it so that I could relax a little bit better. I don’t often take it during the day, only when I really feel that I need it and I can’t calm myself down well enough on my own. When I can’t find that peaceful spot inside myself.

I talked to my daughter, who sounded remarkably cheerful, and I think she likes the fact that she knows now what her life looks like in the near future. No more living in “what if”. Everything was so unsettled and so unsure. She can take charge of everything again and find her own way. I was right to exchange the photographs. I have to admit that I was swept along by the momentum also, and that I was seeing her future also along side this “fabulous” person. Now I see that she can manage quite well on her own and arrange her own life along with her son in it. She will be fine and I will keep praying for her for lots of wisdom and happiness. More than anything I wish for her to have wisdom, as I think that this is the greatest treasure a body can gain on this earth.

Our cat Gandhi is looking at me very intently. She thinks she can hypnotise me into action, but none of the other cats are here yet. At least none that are awake.

My friend Lucien is coming this afternoon to b
ring back the Bright Light Energy Lamp. It worked for her and I think I may be needing it myself now. I am definitely going to be using it tomorrow morning! I so much prefer being hypo-manic to being down. Being down is so draining. And you always have that threat of depression behind it. Yesterday I rated with a five, and I don’t think that is a good grade at all. So far my lowest days have been a sixes. I definitely don’t want to go below a five. I still think it is a good idea to keep track of my days in the little notebook. I write some comments down about the day along with the grade and my weight. I can look back in an instant and see what it was all about. My average day is a seven. That means I am up and dressed and made up and that I am wearing jewelry. I have also cleaned house. With a six I have done less than these things, such as just washed my face and not bothered to make up. I am more inactive then and not so up. I really like being an eight, that’s a very nice rating, because I am up and get a lot of things done, but a nine means I am hypo-manic and I’ve got to watch out a bit. I would hate to see what a ten looks like, I may not even report that.

Eduard was just up to get his first cup of coffee and his morning kiss and the dog was at his side to get petted. The cats are still asleep. I gave them some different cat food last night, but it seems that they liked that one too, because their dishes are empty and Jesker didn’t have any of it.

I have sore muscles in my legs from having walked around town so much and having used my bike so often. Especially that bit where you have to go through the tunnel under the railroad tracks. That is quite a push going up again. Then there is that bit going up the bridge into downtown where I always have to get off and walk my bike. It is steep, but one of these days I will make it up there. Then there is also that bit going home, that is what we call a “false flat”. It looks like it is level, but the road is actually going up and you have to push the peddles just a bit harder. When you are not used to riding your bike anymore, all of these things have to be taken into consideration. And take the bus when your muscles get too sore. Of course, for years I had no exercise to speak of, I was mostly vegetative, now I am so active. I move around more quickly, I am no longer moving in slow motion as if I am drugged.

Well, now I have to stop and make some cigarettes. I forgot to do that last night as well…

When it comes to going to bed on time and sticking to the schedule, I have not been following my own rules and I have thrown caution to the wind. There have been quite a few nights now when I have gone to bed quite late. This is not good and I think my fatigue is partly a result of that. A schedule of going to bed late doesn’t work for me, even if I sleep a bit later in the morning as a result off that. I just need to go to bed early and rise early, that works! It is tempting to not end the day yet and to stay up late, but after a couple of nights of this, I do notice that I get more tired in the evening and that I am not as perky in the morning, so who am I fooling? I am too stubborn for my own good sometimes. I mean, being stubborn can be a good thing if your life depends on it, but sometimes it can be a real hindrance.

I have made four packs of cigarettes, so that should last us for a while. By making our own, we only spend half of what we would spend if we bought regular cigarettes. Next to chewing tobacco, I don’t see how we could do it any cheaper. Yes, we could quit and Eduard is always threatening to. Just like he says he ought not to eat meat!

People are in an uproar about so called pig apartments. Layers of living quarters where pigs are housed and bred and fed. Of course, to a pig it makes no difference. His life is confined to a little bit of fenced off concrete space and it doesn’t matter to the pig if this is on the first floor or or the fourth. It is no life for a pig regardless. People should think about that. It is kind of hypocritical to get excited about that kind of an issue when the animal already has such poor living circumstances. You can’t even call it a farm anymore, it is just a factory for producing pigs. Dutch “pig producers” move to Poland, because the regulations are less strict there and they can get away with more. And see how the animals are transported across Europe.

Okay, I’ll get off my high horse now. Nothing worse than a converted meat eater, right? Anyway, it’s time to take the dog for a walk and feed the cats. So I wish you all a good day, ciao…

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