Posts Tagged ‘travel’


Oh, hurray, today is Sunday. That means I don’t have to pretend I’m on a holiday, but can really take it easy and not feel guilty for it, because yesterday I was as lazy as I was the day before that.

It seems that everybody is on a holiday now or is just leaving for one or coming back from it and I must subconsciously be wanting one too, except that i can’t go anywhere. Not that I mind that all that much. Think of the stress involved in going on a holiday. I would have to make arrangements for the Uberhund and the minion cats and decide on where I would want to go, which would be a whole large problem in itself, because I do so hate to fly and almost feel that a person can’t do it anymore nowadays what with leaving a large carbon footprint. The guilt involved with the discomfort would be too much to bear.

I think that if I were to go on my next vacation, I would like to travel by train. Get a Eurail pass and travel through Europe and see where it takes me on some sort of itinerary. Stay in cheap hotels that serve breakfast and eat what little I eat from supermarkets or other little convenience stores. I think that is my idea of a proper vacation. Nice and relaxed and I wouldn’t worry about time and weather.

I’m definitely not one for laying on a crowded beach or at a swimming pool on the Costa Brava. Give me the cool interiors of museums and libraries and churches. I think I could singlehandedly admire the whole collection of art in the Louvre for about three days, given the opportunity. That’s why I should travel alone. Imagine being with someone who wants to rush through it and wants to say that he has been there and done that. Horrors!

You know, that really gives me an idea. I think my sister and I should plan to go to Paris for a few days and do the museums, because we do like to do the same things and admire the same things and since we are both about to be single…

I have never been to the Musée d’Orsay and I know it is a wonderful building with great art, so I have to go there. Then again, there is so much I haven’t done in my half a century of life. I have so much catching up to do, it is ridiculous. I must make a list of things I haven’t done yet. It thrills me to pieces that I can do these things as a single autonomous female. I must get a good camera.

So, anyway, I am in a bit of a holiday mood here at home. I piddle around and do some chores and don’t get overly excited about anything. The laundry has been dry for three days and is still hanging on the drying rack. Small effort to take it down, but somehow that seems like too much work right now. I can’t be bothered, but I know I will do it eventually when I get into the right mood.

I love sitting behind the computer reading blogs and commenting with my trusty friend at my feet. Every time I get up to get a mug of coffee, he thinks I am going to do something very exciting and jumps up and looks around him with a very anticipating expression on his face. He just lives for happenings.

I wonder what people do who don’t have animals in their lives. I’ve had the Uberhund for 4 years now, but I can’t imagine life without him and I don’t remember what it was like not to have him. I think it was more boring and less structured. I got him just before my son died and I know that the Uberhund played a large role in my process of grief. It was good for me to have to take care of him and take him for his walks and have him to cuddle and talk to. There was always this other living creature to care about and care for.

Well, I’ve got to start the day now. We’ve got to take our pills and go for our morning walk.

Hope you have a lovely Sunday.



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For those of you who were looking forward to read all about my adventurous journey to Amsterdam, I have to disappoint you, because I didn’t go.

I woke up at 4 AM and dreaded the thought that I had to go all the way there and just could not find the motivation to and was hoping there was a way to get out of it. I called my daughter in Texas and asked her if there was any other way to get my request for the marriage certificate notarized. She said, yes, if I could find a competent and recognized notary in Maastricht, then that would do also.

Of course, I reached for the yellow pages immediately and started my search and soon found one that I thought would do and when it was a decent enough hour I called and made an appointment, which I was able to get this afternoon. Notaries are university educated people who do estate planning and last wills and testaments and make up contracts. They usually have their offices in the most beautiful old buildings in town. This one did too.

Anyway, my request was notarized and it will have to be good enough. They even notarized a copy of my passport. If this is not good enough, I will travel to Sonoma County and pick the darn thing up myself.

The rest of the day was spent walking around in the heat with the Uberhund and riding my bike to the store to make copies of important papers for Social Services and to do groceries, again. I drink a liter of milk a day, so I constantly have to replenish the supply and then there is always cat and dog food to get and fresh bread.

It’s very warm outside. Tomorrow it is going to be equally warm with rain and thunder storms. That should be quite a spectacle. I am already planning on wearing the least amount of clothes, because I was overdressed today. Trying to make a good impression on the notary.

I have lost 8 kilos since I have told the Exfactor that I wanted a divorce. Don’t worry, I am not starving myself. I eat when I am hungry, but my little stomach gets full very quickly. Today, for lunch, I had pudding with berry sauce and it went down well. Those kinds of foods always go down easy. Sometimes I let myself have a treat.

I have stopped taking the Temazepam during the day and have found no averse effects from it.  I am as calm as I was before. I take one 10 mg pill at night before I go to sleep and I sleep better. It is so nice to go to bed and feel myself getting drowsy and hear my book plunk down on the floor beside the bed.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for you today. Positively boring, isn’t it? I tell you, there is no drama in my life anymore. I am turning into just your everyday boring old blogger. Pretty soon I’ll have to start making up events to keep your attention.


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Remember how I told you I was stuck in my work book and couldn’t move forward? I had to make a life chart and name all the events and situations in my adult life that had been significant and traumatic enough to have caused a change in mood such as a depression or a period of hypo mania. When faced with that exercise, I completely blanked out and couldn’t think of much significant, which is really kind of silly, because I have had a very eventful life.

Then, yesterday morning, as I was sitting on the sofa getting ready to take the dog for a walk, my mind opened up and I got a piece of paper and wrote down a list of 30 events and situations that had been of great significance and had caused me to have major mood disturbances. Once I started writing, I couldn’t stop and I just kept adding to the list, realizing every time that there was more and more.

Recollecting all these events and situations was actually quite emotional and didn’t leave me unmoved. I hadn’t realized that there had been so much and of such significance. I am not surprised now that my mind has been in such upheaval. Given the genetics and my vulnerability to manic depression, it is no surprise that it did come about full stop. All the ingredients to develop it were in place, if you also keep in mind my childhood, which I am not even adding to the equation.

Vulnerable people ought not to lead very eventful lives, I realize that now. It is not a good combination, but then I also see how many of these events were outside my circle of influence and would have happened no matter what I would have done. The most traumatic things I could not have prevented. However, there are things I could have done differently had I known about manic depression sooner. It would have required a whole lot of insight and understanding into the disorder to have made a difference and I would have required excellent psychiatric care early on.

The problem is that most people who are manic depressed, don’t get diagnosed early on and walk around with the disorder for quite some time. Especially if they are hypo manic and do not get true mania and get psychotic. I know that I hid a lot of my feelings and always pretended to feel a lot better than I actually did and that when I felt happy and carefree, this was just a huge relieve to me, even when it meant that I made insensible decisions then and put a lot at risk.

I hardly ever discussed with anyone the truly miserable state of my feelings, thinking they were a result of my circumstances and that nothing could be done about them. I hardly ever showed anyone the true depth of my despair. I suffered in silence.

Greatly relieved was I when the curtain of depression lifted and I could be happy. I was silly and crazy and daring and carefree. I had fun. I didn’t realize then, that this carefree period was always followed by a depressed period. I wasn’t that smart then. I didn’t have that much insight into myself. Looking back now, I see it all clearly. I always used to think of it as going back into prison. Getting back into my inescapable life sentence.

It’s almost 14 years ago now when I first got my diagnoses and another 7 years ago when I got the diagnoses for the second time. Most of that time, I have tried to live as if it weren’t true. I never really accepted it. Part of me never believed it. A big part of me.

Some time ago, I embraced the whole diagnosis and realized that it did indeed apply to me and that the specialists were right, but it wasn’t until quite recently that I realized that I needed to do more than just embrace it. I also needed to be proactive. Hence my more assertive approach of reading books and becoming a member of the association for manic depressive people. Know your disorder! That’s the most important thing I can say. The worst thing is to be ignorant about what ails you.

Anyway, that’s what I have to say about the manic depressive part. I always hope that people will recognize themselves in this and have a light bulb switch on above their heads. That they will have a ‘Eureka’ moment. It’s hard struggling by yourself in the great unknown.

Yesterday was a nice day. I didn’t accomplish that much, but then again, there wasn’t that much I absolutely needed to do. I did some laundry and cleaned up the kitchen and did exercises in the work book. I walked the dog twice, Eduard walked him the other two times.

It was cold outside and we actually had to turn the heater on for a while during the day, which is unusual. It did get below freezing during the night. We try not to turn the heater on during the day, but we do have to air the apartment, otherwise it gets very damp in here and condensation starts to collect on the windows of the bedrooms and forms in puddles on the windowsills and then drips down the walls. If we don’t air all the time, we get mildew on the walls there and everything in the apartment gets damp. So we open the windows on a crack and also let in the cold air. The problem is, that the windows in the front of the apartment are double glazed, but the windows in the back are single glazed, so this needs to be remedied, but we don’t think the housing corporation will invest.

Eduard worked for a bit in the early afternoon and the dog was beside himself with joy when he came home. It’s so funny how the dog reacts to Eduard coming home and how he is almost lackadaisical when I come home. The other day, he didn’t even get up from his pillow, he just kept right on sleeping. I should be insulted, but I am not, as the dog and I have a good relationship. The cats wait by the front door when they know we are coming home. If they happen to sit in the windowsill and see us walk by, they quickly run to the front door. Sometimes they keep going and run up the stairwell and we have to go and get them and bring them down again. They think that is great fun.

My sister and her family are going to Rome next week where it happens to be cold right now, which she is really bummed out about, because the weather there had been nice until recently. They are going to see all the famous sights and I am sure they will come home with fabulous pictures and equally fabulous stories. They have been to Italy several times, but they have never been to Rome. I am sure that they are going to have a great time, as there is so much to see and I would love to go see it all myself some day. I am sure that the Colosseum will be mighty impressive and so will the church of St. Peter. Much fun will be had and the kids are just old enough to appreciate it all.

I want to go to Paris with Eduard and I really hope
we can make that trip next year. I would love to see the museums properly and just walk around or hop on the metro and journey from one interesting sight to the other. I was there on my own 14 years ago and saw a lot, but I know there is much left to do and see and it will be extra nice to go with Eduard as he speaks French fluently. When I was there, I spent some time in the Louvre, but I know I didn’t see half of it and I very much want to see the Dutch masters better. I know I was very disappointed with the Mona Lisa and I thought it was really no big deal and wondered why everybody made such a to do about it. Maybe that was because it was behind glass and behind a rope and because there was a large group of Japanese tourists in front of it. I probably didn’t appreciate it well enough. Sometimes you see representations of a piece of art so often, that when you see the real thing, it is almost a let down.

Well, I think that’s about it for today. I have switched to decaf now after drinking four cups of regular Senseo and feeling quite well because of it. That caffeine really is wonderful stuff. It really is made for people like me who enjoy their early mornings all by themselves with a pack of cigarettes and a bright computer screen in front of them.

Have a great day, people, whatever you do, wherever you go. Ciao…

P.S. Omega Mum saw it fit to give me an award today and I am very pleased with it. You can admire it in my side bar. I have to pass it on, but I need to think of who I am going to pass it on to, so give me a little bit of time. Thanks Omega Mum!

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First things first. I have been reading two new blogs for a while and have added them under my favorite blogs today. They are A life of Triggers and Lost in the Bible Belt. You may want to go see for yourself if they are anything you are interested in reading. I’ve tried them on for size and am enjoying them, so maybe you will too.

Today Eduard is making his Grand Tour on his motorcycle. He is going to travel to France by way of Belgium and Luxembourg and then back again to the Netherlands through Germany and Belgium. I think he is going to travel about 500 km. Maybe something like 550 km. The motorcycle is all ready to go and he has his sandwiches made. I have his itinerary in case something were to happen on the way. I am just the least bit worried that something will, but he has his heart sat on it and he has to go. You can’t stop a man who has the distant horizon in his eyes and in his mind. He is bringing a set of tools and a set of spark plugs. I’ll light a candle for him while he is gone and all should go well.

We have noticed that every day, somewhere around 3 pm, my mood goes down the tube and I start to question everything about myself and then some. It happens quite suddenly. One moment I am fine and the next moment I am questioning my past parental skills and Eduard’s love for me and becoming very down and out. We have also noticed, that if I take an oxazepam then, the worst of it can be avoided and if I keep in mind that it is a mood that is striking me, I can also stop some of it’s action from overtaking me.

We haven’t figured out yet what happens at that time to trigger the change of mood, if it has something to do with anything at all. It must, but we don’t know what it is. I can go from a seven to a four or a three quite quickly. It would probably also help if I slept then, but I am usually not sleepy, so I can’t take a nap. So, it is a mystery we need to solve.

It had been our neighbor’s birthday in the end of September, but with all the excitement here, we had not had a chance to go over and give her our congratulations. So, yesterday I went over with a nice bouquet of flowers that Eduard had bought at the flower shop. She was pleasantly surprised and I explained my tardiness by saying that I had been suffering from mood disorders and explained to her briefly about manic depression and rapid cycling, which was a subject that she was quite interested in, having had a father with psychiatric problems and she was quite easy and open minded with the whole thing and so was her husband. We had a nice talk over a good cup of coffee and we all decided that we are happy that we are each other’s neighbors, because it is so easy for us to get along. Aren’t I lucky to have such people living next door to me? She knows about depression, having recently suffered from one herself, so she was not unfamiliar with the subject of moods.

I feel that I am really coming out of the closet with this manic depression. In the literature that I received from the association for manic depressive people, there was also a small size poster with the text: Manic Depressive? It’s Not That Crazy! It took me nineteen hours to find the courage to hang that up in our front window. I thought, “You silly fool, what are you embarrassed about? If you had cancer or heart disease you would hang it up!” The front window is right beside the sidewalk, so anyone walking by can see it.

I have decided to call it manic depression instead of bipolar disorder mostly. It describes what happens to you better and I follow the lead of Kay Redfield Jamison, who says that it is not that clear if mania and depression are two opposite poles. They may be two gradations of the same thing. It is popular to call it bipolar disorder, as this seems to take some of the stigma off the disease and make people sound less crazy, but I like the term manic depression better. It grabs the bull by the horns more.

Eduard has gone out and bought himself the eau de toilette that he had the sample of and that made me take a bite out of this neck. It came with the shower gel and last night he smelled good all over. Neither one of us has ever smelled anything as good as this one. It is called l’instant de guerlain from Armani. I highly recommend it for many romantic nights. Don’t have your husband wear it if you are very sleepy! That would be a waste of a very good eau de toilette.

That brings me to the end of my words. Lately, my posts have been shorter, but, hopefully, more to the point. I do not go on and on about things like I have in the past. I do have a tendency to keep chatting and I know that sometimes I can’t seem to find the finish line.

Today I will be all by myself and we will see how I like that. I don’t know what time Eduard is planning on being home, but I suppose I will not see him before dinner time. I really don’t know if I can last that long without him!

Have a terrific day, everyone, ciao…

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Today’s opening sentence is, “…trying to remember when I wasn’t comatose because of my medications.” I woke up thinking this when I had to go to the bathroom very badly and barely made it. Apparently, I had been trying to wake myself up sufficiently to go and was having a hard time doing so. This became part of my dream and therefor I uttered that sentence when I finally did get up. I was sort of comatose when I went to the bathroom, my eyes were barely open and the light of the bathroom hurt them. Nevertheless, I decided to stay up and try to become awake properly with some cups of Senseo and some cigarettes.

It took me about a half an hour of sitting here bleary eyed and half stoned before I could function properly, but now I am wide awake. It took two cups of Senseo and two cigarettes and now I will drink some regular coffee to keep the momentum going. I pretended that this was nothing worse than getting up in the morning very early to go on a holiday, and that people somehow have to manage to become awake then too, so I could certainly manage this. Albeit that this is strictly voluntary and I could easily go back to bed, but I really can’t, because I don’t like to be in bed and waste my time there.

When I go to bed at night I say to myself, “Well, all you have to do now is close your eyes for a little while and then you can get up again. It will be like no time has passed at all.” That’s the way I make it bearable to myself, otherwise I wouldn’t go at all. I much prefer taking unofficial naps on the sofa, which are really sleeps, but don’t feel like it because of the spontaneity of them and the ease with which I wake up from them.

I have often thought that, if I could decorate a special bedroom for myself, I may enjoy sleeping more easily. If I had an unlimited budget, I would have a bedroom of sheer opulence and elegance and I would leave the light burning all night. I would have many pillows on my bed and a Hästings mattress. A really thick and fluffy duvet with silk covers and sheets and thick carpet on the floor. Lots of window decorations and interesting paintings on the walls end one wall filled with bookcases. A chaise lounge and a side table with a lamp on it and a tall dresser for all of my delicate underwear and sweaters. A walk in closet for my clothes and, of course, an adjacent bathroom with a big bath with bubbles. A room of my own, with a writing desk by one of the windows and a fireplace that really worked. Then, if I woke up in the middle of the night, I would fluff up all of my pillows and read a book by the soft light on the nightstand, after I had gotten myself a snack out of my built in refrigerator that is hidden in my walk in closet.

Sure I would, and we all still believe in fairies, right? And Santa Claus lives on the North Pole.

Actually, I like this time here by myself early in the morning, when there is nobody around. It gives me ample time to wake up properly and to sit here and type this and visit blogs and leave comments and just indulge in myself for awhile. I jealously look at the clock for fear that it is getting too late and that soon the cats and the dog and Eduard will be getting up and it will be done with my peace and quiet. There is no place I would rather be right now than here. That’s why I can’t go and stay with anybody, because I would have to forgo the pleasure of my early morning rituals. Unless I knew they had a computer to which I could have unlimited access.

I was supposed to go up north this month, but now I don’t know if I will. I have that job/training thing happening now and I need to get some firm dates on that before I make any plans. I may still go. It will be nice to see my oldest sister, whom I have not seen in more than a year and to visit some family and friends, but it isn’t absolutely necessary that I go, I could just as easily not go and that would be fine too. I could also see my aunt Elizabeth in Zeeland and stay with her for a few days and that would be nice, except that she sleeps really late in the morning and I get up so early. It is hard to leave home when you are so set in your routines and are so comfortable in your own place and your own life. It really has to be worth it to go. There has to be enough satisfaction in it.

I am supposed to go and see my old boss from when I was still a teenager and worked in the purchasing department at Honeywell. We always have kept in touch all these years and he is really getting on in age now and so is his wife and I know they would like to see me one more time. They live in the same town my sister lives. I am sure that there is a lot we would have to tell each other, there would be no shortage of conversation subjects. That alone should motivate me to go.

Well, I’ll see, I’ll have to think about it. First I’ll find out what is going to happen with the job/training thing. Get some firm dates on that and then move on from there.

Every time I think my hands are nearly better, they start to itch again, so it is a non ending battle of applying the ointment. I am not in touch with any chemicals that I know off and I think I will start wearing latex gloves when I do the dishes and see if that helps. My aunt Elizabeth says that eczema runs in the family and she has it herself also and my uncle had psoriasis. Apparently my mother had eczema on her hands when she was a young woman. It is claimed by some people that it is stress related, other say it has to do with diet and still others say it has to do with temperature. My head is not especially bad now, but my ear is, so it is all a mystery to me and I can’t make heads or tails off it. All I can do is fight the symptoms and not second guess why I have them.

For my birthday I got two gift certificates for books, so I have that to look forward to. I will go to the book store in the Dominican church and really have a good look around before I pick something out. They have such a large selection of books, it is going to be very hard to decide on something. Maybe they’ll have a good English language section. I may also get a book about Jung, if I can find anything satisfactory about his theories or maybe a book on dream interpretation. It’s been awhile since I have really been downtown. This has partly been due to lack of funds and partly due to my lessened interest in going there. Now I have a good excuse to go and have coffee with Eduard at his work and eat all those wonderful cookies with it. If I am a smart girl, I’ll go this morning.

It’s my nephew’s birthday this Sunday. He is going to be thirteen. We’re going to give him money, so he can go and pick out his own birthday present, because it is so hard to pick out something for a boy that age. My sister said that she had already ordered my favorite ‘vlaai’ at the Noblesse bakery, so I am looking forward to that. My nephew is a real cute kid and not at all a rotten teenager and I don’t think he will become one either. He has a ge
ntle character and he is a good student. I am still allowed to kiss him!

I am still yawning a little bit. I have a theory that the regular coffee doesn’t wake me up as well as the Senseo does. It may just be an excuse for me to drink more Senseo, even Eduard has started to drink it in the afternoon. We have stopped our tea drinking ritual, which is kind of a shame, but it always made me run to the bathroom many times. It really works as a diuretic. And then I had to get up in the middle of the night too a few times or run the risk of wetting the bed. There is nothing more embarrassing than being 53 years old and finding out that you’ve wet the bed because of poor bladder control. So, I’ve stopped drinking tea.

It is really funny how there are parts of your body that decide to start to malfunction for no reason that you can think off. And how they spontaneously clear up again after a while. Take my knees for instance, they were bothering me so much a few months ago, but now I hardly feel them. Just the odd twinge now and then. I also used to get heart palpitations and for awhile I took medicines for that, but now I never have those anymore. I also used to get horrible migraines, but I seem to have completely outgrown those. I used to have to lie in a dark room and avoid any noise and light and I really used to suffer, but that is all over now.

Oh, by the way, speaking of body parts functioning, my thyroid levels came back as being completely normal, so I am on the right dose of medication now, which leads me to believe that I was taking too much before and this may have caused some of my agitation and high flying emotions. I knew the levels would be normal, because I felt better myself, I felt a lot calmer and more at ease mentally. It had been more than a year since they had been checked and that was too long a time to wait for that, they must be checked every year, so I must remember that myself also.

Well, it is getting to be that time of the morning again when I have rambled on long enough and other things need to get done. Not that those things aren’t a pleasure to do either, they’re just different than sitting here being self indulgent and self absorbed.

I sure appreciate being able to sit here and let my thoughts wander on the screen like this, though. It gets my head cleared up properly to start the day with, even if I discover nothing earth shattering about myself or life in general. Sometimes, I am more astute than others. Lately I have just been less obsessed with issues and more contemplative about the little things that really don’t matter much. Those are just little pin pricks in my mind.

Have a great day, people. Be good for goodness sake. Ciao…

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After I posted yesterday, I sat around feeling pretty lousy for a while because of my allergies. I took care of my sore throat by taking paracetamol and my runny nose by carrying around paper tissues in my back pocket. I slathered ointment on my sore and itching ear and that was about all I could do. Then I fed the cats and walked the dog and saw that my sister and her family were home again, because the car was parked in their driveway. When Eduard left to go to work, I cleaned up the kitchen and vacuumed the apartment and visited some more museum websites until I had my fill of that. You do get an overdose at one point.

Then I tried to find some interesting web logs by pushing on the button ‘next blog’. Have you ever tried that? I came to all sorts of web logs, some which looked interesting, but were in languages I don’t speak. There was also a lot of junk there and some pornography. I haven’t found anything yet that looks really interesting, but I may want to try it again and see what I can come up with. There may be other ways to search for good blogs that I have not tried yet. I’ll go to the home page of blogger and see what they have to offer there. I can also Google for best blogs or something like that, of course.

My sister called me. They had gotten home from their vacation in the middle of the night, but she hadn’t slept much and had been up since seven. She sounded very happy about their vacation and ready to share all of their adventures and I promised to come over when I walked the dog next. First I turned on the TV and I thought I might take a little nap, but Eduard came home before I could fall asleep and greeted me with much enthusiasm. He told me a very excited story about the amount of visitors that they had the night before at the film theater, but it didn’t quite penetrate my already sleepy head. I fell asleep.

When I woke up some time later, Eduard was gone and it was already 1:30 pm. I still had to walk the dog and go to my sister’s. Jesker is always so patient when I don’t take him out on time. He never starts to protest because it is taking too long. He just lies beside the sofa and waits for me to wake up. I got the butt pack ready and off we went and when we got to my sister’s house and she opened the door, Jesker was beside himself with happiness. He wagged his whole body when he saw her. He isn’t always that enthused about other people, so my sister felt real privileged.

We drank espressos and ate numerous cookies while we talked about the vacation. She had downloaded some of the pictures already and what I saw was beautiful. They were pictures of the island Elba. They went to the Tuscan Coast and to the Garda Lake. She said that all the Italians spoke with their hands and they all liked the bambinos and the bambinas. The food was great and reasonably priced and the weather had been beautiful. My nephew, however, had been homesick for Holland and was very excited to be back home and couldn’t wait to see all of his friends to play football with on the field. My sister said that my fourteen year old niece got looked at a lot by the Italian men and that it was just a little bit disconcerting, because she is still so young, but looks like she is going on nineteen.

Anyway, I left with a bag of gifts of things that my sister had left over from their trip. Bottles of wine, oregano, plastic containers with air tight lids (which I need), matches, a book, a dish washing brush. Just odds and ends. Stuff I like to get. I want to save the wine for my birthday, so I must tell Eduard not to drink it. They are good rosés and I am sure people will want to try them. The book is an English language paperback, so that will be handy to read in bed. It’s called Bergdorf Blondes by Plum Sykes and it was a New York Times Bestseller. Should be good.

I took another paracetamol when I got home to get rid of my sore throat. I didn’t know if I was supposed to, but I did it anyway. I didn’t bother to read the enclosure. Eduard was still gone to his friend in Belgium to put the motorcycle back together. It was very quiet in the apartment and all the cats were asleep on the bed and the dog went to sleep on his pillow in the living room. I thought of laying down again on the sofa. but then decided to look for fun web logs instead. I found them on the homepage of blogger and in the archives of blogs that were spotted. So, now I have some extra ones to read regularly.

Eduard came home with Lieve on the back of his motorcycle. He had invited her for dinner and proceeded to make that North African dish of which I now can’t remember the name. Oh yes, it is called couscous. So Lieve and I visited while Eduard cooked and she is actually such a kind and interesting person to talk to and she isn’t in the least bit shy or unwilling to talk about anything and everything. Eduard and Lieve ate the couscous while I sat and had a good cup of coffee. I didn’t want to eat the couscous, because I was trying to watch what I ate yesterday and I was planning on eating some raisin crackers later on. After dinner, Eduard left with Lieve to put her on the bus back to her home town in Belgium and Eduard had to go to work. I walked the dog and then visited the web logs I had found and read a bunch of them. Some are better than others, but all will be interesting to read, but you do overdose on them after awhile.

I read the paracetamol enclosure and found out that you can take those four to six times a day, so that is good to know. Having your allergies kick in feels a bit like having the flue, so taking paracetamol makes you feel better. My ear and head have stopped itching and now I just apply the ointment to my ear. Eduard will have to do my head this morning, we mustn’t forget to do that.

I stayed up last night until Eduard came home at 10:30 and then I took my medication and stayed up some more, so by the time I went to bed, the Temazepam was really working and I did strange things in bed, like sit there with a half eaten raisin cracker in my mouth and a glass of milk in my hands that I threatened to pour all over the bed if Eduard hadn’t warned me and told me to put it down on my nightstand. He kept telling me to eat my cracker and put down the milk and to lie down and go to sleep, until I finally stopped being stubborn about it and did. I don’t know why that was so difficult!

This morning I still have a sore throat and I am still plugged up, so I will take more paracetamol and keep the tissues handy. Eduard is sleeping late, because he has to work all afternoon and in the evening.

Today’s picture is Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, but you had already seen that, of course. I put it in for cheerfulness. If I find a really good blog, I will send you all the link to it, first I have to really read them myself and see if they measure up. I am still trying to figure out a way to better list my favorite blogs on the left side of my posts. I think there may be a better way to do it, but I don’t know how yet. I have asked my daughter, but she has been busy with other things and I am sure it has slipped her mind.

I was discussing art with Lieve yesterday and I said that I had discovered that I didn’t much appreciate modern art past the first few decades of the 20th century and that maybe this was because I didn’t understand what I was looking at, but she said that art has to hit you in your guts when you see it and that you shouldn’t have to read a four page explanation about it in order to appreciate what you are looking at. She is a sculptor and that is why I wanted to discuss it with her. She said that art is about emotions first and that modern art is a lot about intellectualism and therefor less approachable. She said that, if she was commissioned to do a sculpture, she couldn’t really do it unless she was emotionally in the right space, even though intellectually she would now how to do it.

So, in my case, a piece of art has to speak to me emotionally and I do feel redeemed a little bit, because I thought maybe I was missing something crucial. Van Gogh speaks to me emotionally. His colors and shapes do, but especially his colors. He must speak to an awful lot of people, because I know there are always enormous lines to get into his museum. A lot of them are Japanese tourists. That makes me want to go to the KröllerMüller Museum first. It’s a good thing that the museums show their collections on line now, because I can enjoy so much without actually having to go there yet. Maybe my sister and her husband will want to go there also and we can go together.

I am going to concentrate my efforts on art of the period 1880-1930 and see what there is that I find especially attractive during that time. I want to limit myself to that period, because I think a lot was happening then. I want to know which movements there were in the art world and how they were expressed in painting and sculpture and architecture and furniture. I think that covers a lot actually and I may limit myself to painting, I just realized that, because you have the whole art nouveau and the art deco movements then. I just want to find out what I like best about that time. I think I already know that Van Gogh is at the absolute top, but their may be surprises still like Charley Toorop, whom I don’t know a lot about yet or if she even belongs in that period. I would like to see more early work of Picasso before he became a cubist, like the Sleeping Peasants. I still have to find out where I can find work like that from him.

When I took my art history courses I had to drop out of the last part of the second course because of a herniated disk in my back. I missed the period that was discussed after the impressionists. So Mondriaan and Picasso and Kadinsky etc. The professor was such a good teacher, she made the subject come alive with a lively lecture and many slides to complement the textbook. I was taking the courses for my own enrichment, I had no big plans to do anything with them. It was all for my own development as a human being. I made a friend there who was seriously pursuing an interior decorating degree, specializing in lighting. She was a dedicated student and very serious about the classes. We did our homework together.

I also took an interior design class and that was interesting. I don’t think the teacher for that class was very good, but she was adequate and I did learn some things, which I have not all forgotten. I just don’t apply much of that knowledge now due to limited finances and limited space. There is so much more you can do when you have the money and the room to do it in. In a way I am glad that I don’t have to worry about it anymore, because I did really sit and nitpick about those things and I was forever looking for ways to improve the interior of my living room. I was too focused on it. Now we just place things where they will fit and keep it orderly and are happy with that. I am out of the middle class rat race and it is a bit of a relief.

Now I am just into decorating myself and I find that a lot easier and cheaper to do. It can be done for little money if you spot the sales on time. I don’t have to keep up with anybody either, I get to decide for myself what I look like and I don’t have to fit any sort of stereo type. It would be different if I belonged to the upper middle class, I am sure that I would have all sorts of peer pressure then, but luckily there is none of that now. Now I belong to the X-class, non describable and I don’t have to have the right car and the right house and the right clothes.

Eduard has been up to get his first cup of coffee and has taken it back to bed with him. There is the dog and some cats, but it is still early. Jesker just wants to be petted, so I did that for a while. He is a sleepy head in the morning, so cuddly and cute.

Today I will organize my film watching schedule with the help of the film guide and the calender. It’s a shame that I can’t read the film guide with my regular glasses on, the letters are too small, I have to wear my reading glasses and then I forget that I am wearing those and wonder why I can’t see anything from a distance. Life sure gets confusing with more than one set of glasses. Or is it getting older that makes it so?

Anyway, I will get going and feed those sweet looking cats that are waiting so patiently for me to get done. Hope you all have a wonderful non confusing day. Ciao…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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