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Make that the Tuesday on which I will set straight all the things that I thought were straightened out last week and I will not bore you with any of the details. Besides, that would be very frustrating to me and that’s the last thing I want to feel right now. If everyone did their job with as much consciousness as I do mine, we would be miles ahead of ourselves. That’s all I’ll say about it.

I’ve been up for hours and that seems to be the schedule I am on now, to bed early and up early and no one seems to mind, not even the Uberhund who loyally follows me to the bedroom early in the evening and plops down on his pillow for a nice long sleep.

I am so busy keeping track of the details of everything, that when I am not actually doing anything, I have the nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I am forgetting something or that I am overlooking an important fact, but I do write everything down, so I should be on top of things and not have anything escape my attention.

I am very conscientious. I have an extreme sense of responsibility. I think I must at all times hold up my end of the bargain. I seems that other people are more careless about these things and worry less about when and where and how it will all turn out in the end. I must depend on their goodwill and efficiency, but I sure as hell don’t let my guard down.

I am going to make a collage booklet at my creative therapy class. The idea is slowly evolving with the help of another very creative woman there. I mean she is creative, whether or not I am is yet to be seen. I am cutting bits of text out of magazines and am sorting them into the far past, the middle past and the now and the future. It will involve ink and watercolors and special washes applied to the paper and god only knows what else. I am not that informed about all the special techniques, but I will know more when I am done, I am sure. It is good to finally find some purpose in that class besides making ugly clay heads and it makes me look forward to going there instead of dreading it.

I was supposed to have vacuumed yesterday afternoon, but nothing came of it, as my aunt Elizabeth called me and we talked for about an hour. We always seem to have much to chat about and find it hard to put down the phone. She has a skin disease that is causing her quite a bit of discomfort and it is a chronic condition, that luckily no one else in the family has. She is trying both regular and herbal medication and hoping to find one that works the best.

My financial situation is not settled yet and I am still waiting to hear about my rent and health insurance subsidies. The bureaucratic gears move slowly when you are waiting for news and are watching your bank balance. I am sure all will work out in the end, as I am an honest and respectable citizen, but sometimes you assume the worst and think you will be that person who will slip through the holes in the safety net.

Apparently, Social Services sees me as a person with special needs and will treat me as such, which is kind of them, although lately I have not felt like a person with special needs at all. That’s how normal I feel. It does mean that they will give me extra leeway in making demands on me and give me extra opportunities to get forward in life. I think that will be wonderful and I think it is great that I have people watching out for me like that.

This morning I am seeing my SPN. I think we will have a short meeting, as there is not much to discuss, but I tell you, she does feel like my safety rope. I always have it in the back of my mind that I get to see her and talk to her, so that if anything were to go wrong during the week, I can at least see her and talk to her to get that feeling of security and steadfastness. It would be scarier if she weren’t there and I only had my psychiatrist to fall back on, who doesn’t have the least bit of common sense.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. I’ve got to hit the shower and get the show on the road. The Uberhund is gently snoring by my feet, but we must get going.

Have a great day.

Ciao…

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It’s fairly early in the morning and I haven’t quite had enough sleep yet, but I am up nevertheless. I am working on my second cup of coffee and I am waiting for it to do its magic, so I will truly wake up. We went to bed rather late last night and I thought I might sleep in just a bit, but no such thing. I woke up at 3 am, and that was it for me. Now I am sitting here yawning, so you may say to yourself, “Go back to bed, Irene,” but that is really not where I belong. I really do belong here behind the computer with my coffee and my cigarettes. Parts of me are awake, other parts will be shortly. All it will take is just a few more cups of coffee and just a few more cigarettes. On top of that, I’m plugged up and I don’t know why, because nothing bad has passed these lips, I have been a good girl. Three bags of tortilla chips were eaten last night and I didn’t have a single one of them! Such powers of control! Such self sacrifice! Such drooling on my part!

Being 53 is very special. I feel like I have achieved something akin to a great milestone in a woman’s life. Like I have made a major discovery, or have landed on the moon, or have discovered the cure for an incurable disease. That’s how major this birthday feels to me. There should be throngs of people outside the apartment building and photographers and news crews and people asking me, “Well Irene, how does sit feel to have achieved this major milestone in your life?” And I would answer, “Excuse me while I pin on this medal in honor of my fine achievement. I will answer all of your questions at the press conference tonight.”

All kidding aside, but just briefly, I want to say, “I can’t believe I’ve made it!” I am here all in one piece, with my mind and body intact and all of my faculties working and I’ve come out better than I thought was possible. I’m a living, breathing, functioning human being and more than that, I am alive! I have climbed out of the deepest, darkest bottomless pit and I am standing here in the sunshine again and I figure I have 30 years of living ahead of me. How’s that for a miracle? Jokingly I may add, that that is no small potatoes and quite an achievement for a girl who didn’t feel like her life was worth living on several occasions. Who added the deed to the word and tried to top herself. No Ma’am, that’s not bad at all!

So, this 53rd birthday is one that I am going to look back on with a great deal of fondness, because it is the first time in seven years that I have celebrated my birthday. And I think that this 53rd year will be a very good year.

Now I hear the sound of a violin orchestra in the background playing very gentle but uplifting music and a voice starts singing jubilantly about what a very good year it is going to be. Just like in a TV commercial, and me radiant in a field of flowers with the gentle summer wind catching my flowing skirt, smiling, glowing face in the sun, staring into the future with a look of confidence on my face and a look of hopefulness in my eyes. End with a spectacular sunset. Voice over, “Yes, you to can be like this happy, fulfilled, middle aged woman. Try all of our pharmaceutical products and you will have a good year too.”

No kidding aside now, folks, I really am glad to have made it and I really thank the pharmaceutical companies for making it possible, them and my psychiatrist for not giving up on me and Eduard for not kicking me out of the house.

Well, I think all the parts of me are awake now, all that coffee is doing its job.

Actually, yesterday was a very good day. I had that interview with the lady from the temp agency and I think I made a good impression and that they are willing to take me into their project. They will let social services know their decision and the whole ball will start rolling next week. I will be officially in the project then and they will have to find me a job/training within 4 moths time. This is to gain work experience and to learn different computer systems. In the meantime they will help me with getting a permanent job within a year’s time. They help you with such things as putting a proper resume together and writing job application letters and they help you match you up for the right jobs that they have on file there. There is a weekly get together with your case worker who keeps a close eye on you and your progress. It all sounds very promising and I can’t wait to get started, as long as they don’t place me in a care home for the elderly or something like that. I would really feel like I was wasting my time then.

Afterwards I went and had coffee with Eduard at his work and said to him, isn’t your company looking for job/training people who have to learn the ropes and who will work for free to gain work experience for 4 months? A light started burning in his eyes and he said that he would discuss it with his director and his office manager, so there is a possibility there. The office work there is very diverse and I would learn to do all sorts of things and it would look good on my resume. His office manager is out of the office right now having some surgery done, but the director said he would discuss it with her as soon as possible, so keep your fingers crossed.

In the afternoon, I cleaned house. This included washing all the wineglasses and the good cups and saucers and vacuuming the whole place and cleaning the bathroom and moving chairs around for people to sit in. I was interrupted in this by my niece and nephew who brought me a big bouquet of white flowers very artfully arranged and ready to be put in a vase without me massing with it. My niece then searched through my artwork and found a nice painting that she wanted for her room and we found a brand new frame to go with it, so she was happy. I didn’t show them any of the stuff I am doing now, because I had the computer turned of and I just couldn’t be bothered, because I had so much left to do, so I promised I would show them another day when I had the time. They also wanted to read my winning poem, so that was another promise I made them.

I still had the vacuum cleaner laying right in the middle of the living room and all the rooms still had to be mopped and I was starting to show signs of stress, quite badly as a matter of fact. Luckily Eduard was home then and he told me to take an Oxazepam and to sit and wait for that to start working, while he mopped the floors where I had already vacuumed. For a while there I thought I was going to have a bit of a nervous breakdown, but then the feeling passed and the Oxazepam worked and I was okay again. I moved the large scratching post for the cats to a completely different place in the hope that they will
find it interesting again, as they seem bored with it now. Sometimes I don’t handle a whole bunch of things happening all at once all that well, especially lately, therefor the Oxazepam, which thank goodness I have now. I can’t even handle Eduard telling me an ordinary thing, I think I will fall apart if he tells me and he has to stop talking to me and not say anything.

Anyway, the apartment got cleaned up well enough and we had ample room left before our guests arrived and when they did, all of my stress was gone and I could enjoy the evening. I got some lovely gifts, including three large bath towels for which I had asked. My sister’s article of clothing that she had ordered for me did not arrive on time, even though she had been tracking its progress via the Internet, so it will probably get here today. I can’t wait! So tonight we are having 7 more people over and that should be equally fun and we will have to get more supplies today, as the cheeses and the tortilla chips and the salsa dips have all but disappeared. We still have stuffed olives and guacamole dip and some wine. Oh, and coca cola, that would be good to have right now, as I am very thirsty!

Of course, today I don’t have all of that housecleaning to do, I’ll drag the vacuum cleaner out one more time, for the odd bits here and there and do the dishes and I promised Eduard that I would finally iron his T-shirts. Our friend Joost is arriving this afternoon, so we have to pump up the air mattress to put up in the work room. In the meantime all I have to do is take the Oxazepam and stay relaxed and enjoy myself.

Now you people, I am going to end this epistle and sit and stare into the middle distance for awhile and I may even contemplate my navel for a bit. I feel like having an empty head for just a little while. I am such a delicate creature that even the fun times will upset my tenderly wrought balance. If I don’t comment today, it is not because I don’t love you all, it is because my head is in another sphere.

Have a wonderful day, be good, be B.A.D. don’t be S.A.D. just be happy. Ciao…

P.S. After I wrote this, I laid down on the sofa and slept for four more hours. Shows you how wide awake I really was!

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Today I weigh 92.6 kilos and yesterday I had three pieces of Maasdammer cheese and 6 raisin crackers and they made me feel very full, so it isn’t as though I starved myself. I took a tall glass of milk to bed with me, but I fell asleep before I could drink it and it is still sitting on my night stand now. I’ll give it to the cats this morning, as it is the kind of milk that doesn’t spoil.

I woke up at 3 am this morning and I was wide awake immediately. I went to bed at 9 pm last night and fell asleep quickly, so apparently I have had enough sleep, because I am bright eyed and bushy tailed. I always imagine me being a raccoon when I say that, as I have no idea where the saying comes from.

I have visited my favorite blogs, but I have not left any comments yet. I will do that later when I have had some more coffee and after I have thought about everything that I have read and seen. Sue made a beautiful mandala which you can see here, and Neda showed some of her older artwork which you can see here. Rima posted some of my images of the Old Pisa Door here, which I am very grateful for. I do feel very privileged to get so many of them on the this website, not really being an artist yet, but trying very hard to be a bit artistic.

I have started to read The Hero With A Thousand Faces, but of course I fell asleep after about three pages, so I am going to have to read it during the daytime if I am going to finish it anytime this coming month. Joseph Campbell uses the psychology of Freud and Jung to compare primitive mythology with the dream conditions of modern man. He also joins together a lot of the old myths and shows how they all give the same answer to the riddle of life and how all the lead players from folklore and legend act out the same story. It is a book about the mythology of heroes of the eternal struggle of man in search of his identity.

It was written in 1949 and some of the psychological interpretations are going to be a bit outdated, but still it should make for an interesting read and I will keep the more modern psychology in mind while I read it. I think Freud especially is a bit dated with his various complexes , but Jung is still very applicable as I have found out recently. Freud has all the boys in love with their mothers and hating their fathers. They all have potential Oedipus complexes.

I am actually waiting for the other book about Carl Jung to arrive in the mail. I ordered it last week and I should get here any day now. I am looking forward to reading it and will do so with a notebook and pen by my side. I have really taken to Jung, especially since Debi also had us all take the Jungian personality type test, which was a bit of a coincidence and perfect timing.

I have added another blog to my list of favorites. It is called Petite Anglaise and you can find her here too. It’s about the life of a young single English mom living in France and apparently it is a very popular blog. I came in just as she is going on a two week vacation, but I have read some of her older posts and her ‘about me’ information and she seems like a really interesting person. Through Rima, I have also found the blog of Alfonso Brezmes who makes collages and does photography. He writes in Spanish with the English translation underneath. His prose is poetic and so is his work. I actually think he uses Babelfish for his English translations, which makes for interesting reading. He is also on a break, but you may want to visit him to get a taste of his work. You can go there here. I am still trying out some other blogs and if I find them interesting enough, I will add them to my list of favorite blogs.

Yesterday, I downloaded Adobe Photoshop CS3 for a free 30 day trial. It took a while to download, but once it did, it seemed like a interesting program to use. It is similar to Paint Shop Pro, so it wasn’t completely unfamiliar and I didn’t feel completely out in left field. I am planning on fooling around with it today, but I think that I am not going to familiarize myself too much with it, because I looked up on line how much it actually costs and it is more than a 1,000 Euros. Ouch, that hurts. That is quite a difference compared to the 80 Euros that Paint Shop Pro costs. I checked the library, but they don’t have a copy of Photoshop, nor does any other library around here. That means I’ll stick to Paint Shop Pro 8 and Eduard took the time yesterday to pick up a manual from the library with a CD on how to use it. So, guess what I’ll be doing today, after I have vacuumed the apartment?

Eduard says that I should have gone to art school and I have to agree with that. When I was a child, I was always drawing and I was always creating something. Everybody was aware of the fact that I was a creative child and it really is a shame that I was not allowed to develop this further. I don’t know why I wasn’t. It wasn’t even considered as a possibility. I don’t think I or my parents even imagined it. I think my parents had small imaginations when it came to thinking up futures for their daughters. We were basically raised to grow up and get married and buy a washing machine and have babies. In that order.

When my younger sister rebelled and went on to get her degree in education, that was considered a very big deal and something quite out of the ordinary. I still don’t quite know how she managed that. I know she put up a long hard fight. I believed in my mother’s dream for me and thought I was going to live happily ever after then. Well, guess what? I didn’t and by the time I fought myself free, it was too late and too impossible to go to art school or become anything else that I might have dreamed of. I sure as hell hope I get a next life after this one!

I am not complaining about my life now. I’ve come a long way, as they say. I have fought myself free of almost chronic depressions and I have married someone who is the right husband for me. I know that I have a chance now to live happily ever after. The only obstacles in my way are my age and my inexperience. I have to do a bit of a catch up race. Learn a lot of things very quickly. But I am not pessimistically inclined and if I get a job that is only mildly interesting, I know that I’ll do enough interesting things in my spare time to compensate for that. I have found a lot of my happiness within and I don’t need to look for it elsewhere so very much. I amuse myself and keep myself busy well enough. A job will not be the ultimate fulfillment for me, it will just be a means to an end, a financial end.

It will be interesting to see what comes out of the on the job training possibility. I would like to do something in accounting, as I am a very accurate worker and that might just be something for me to do. I also like producing text and translating into English. I am not a very fast typist, but I do keep up some speed and I know that I am not among the worst. I took typing lessons in high school and absolutely hated them. I got my diploma, but don’t ask me how. It was all a bit of stunt work. I didn’t have to type much in my job then, because we had a typing pool with women who did nothing but type all day long. I worked before there were computers, back in the old days. I remember the computer was just introduced and one computer had to have a whole little building for itself. We had to hand write information on special forms, that was then added into the computer by special typists. How archaic that seems now.

I was glad that I was able to overcome my initial fear of computers. I used to be afraid to push one single button for fear that all would be lost forever. I used to get total panic attacks when I was confronted with a keyboard and an empty screen. Once I knew what I was doing, I became hooked very quickly, but I am still learning things now and there is so much that I don’t know yet, because I haven’t tried it yet. At least I am not helpless and I usually do figure things out. Like that time when the old computer was dying and I kept it running for a few more days. I do get very impatient when I see Eduard struggle with something and I want to reach and grab the keyboard and the mouse from him and do it myself instead. That’s a very bad habit I have and I mustn’t give into it.

Eduard and I are both very stubborn people, which is good in that we don’t give up quickly and usually try to fix a problem until it is done. But it can also be a hindrance when we both think we are right and one of us has to give. In that case I am the meanest one and I win, which is silly, of course, because Eduard is such a gentle person and there is no need for me to be so assertive and pushy. Diplomacy and tact are better tools to use. Sometimes I forget that and I sound just like my mother and I hate that. I know that I can have the upper hand verbally, but if Eduard really wants to, he can cut me back down to size in a hurry, he just doesn’t do it enough.

But being stubborn isn’t always a bad thing to be. It does help you solve problems and you don’t call it quits easily. Of course, there are things in life that you should call quits before you spend too much energy and time on them. Those things have already gotten past their due dates and I am mostly talking about relationships with other people. You can be stubborn and hang in there with a really dysfunctional relationship with someone else, forgetting all the while that you should say, “Enough is enough,” and walk away from it. Stubborn people can be overly loyal. They don’t know when to get out. They always think they can fix the problem. You can spend years trying to fix a problem until you are plain worn out and crazy from it and afterwards you blame yourself for not having fixed the relationship.

Well, anyway, I am running out of words again and feel that the well is almost running dry and that whatever is there needs to be saved for another day. Hopefully it will be replenished today by my interesting experiences with Paint Shop. It is a good thing that I am up so early. That gives me lots of time to fill the day with fiddling around with the program and getting the apartment cleaned up as well.

Have a great day, people. Hope the sun shines, because here it is raining again as usual. Ciao…

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Man, digital art sure is addicting, although I hesitate to call it art in my case and I’ll call it digital manipulation or something like that. Man digitally messing around with photographs sure is addicting! I try to get some house work done around here, but all day long I wanted to sit down behind the computer and try things out with Paint Shop Pro. I forced myself to do some other things as well, because I did not want this digitally messing around to be an addiction, but I did end up spending more than a normal amount of time behind the computer and loving every minute of it.

I am beginning to figure out Paint Shop Pro and yesterday I even learned how to cut and paste from one photograph to another. Now I have to learn to do this free hand and I am sure there is some sort of a grid to get the pieces the right size, so I will have to figure that out today. I will post whatever efforts I have made here, even if I think they are not yet what I would like them to be. That way you can all be part of the process of me figuring things out and I am not going to be embarrassed about the not so good stuff. I am just going to honestly place a piece here every day. Whatever I think is best for that particular day.

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Jung said: “Personality is the supreme realization of the innate idiosyncrasy of a living being. It is an act of high courage…”

It is said that Jung wrote with logic and common sense and with passion and compassion and after having read the Primer, I have a tendency to agree with that. I finished it yesterday afternoon after a long sit at the dining table. I decided to sit and read there, so there really would be no danger of me falling asleep and I could take notes while I read the book. I find that taking notes helps me understand what I read better and it works better than highlighting it with a pen. Besides, I have learned all about highlighting in another life and that wasn’t very successful, was it? Better stick to note taking, that makes my mind work twice, once in reading and once in writing. Double imprinting, sort of. I think I literally have gray matter in my head, you know, squishy and wet and soft, it is like a sponge, and you can wring it out but it has almost stopped absorbing, ha ha.

I read about dreams and how they are the clearest expression of the unconscious mind, so it is important to pay attention to your dreams and to try to decipher them as much as possible. Apparently we dream in symbols and symbols are an outward manifestation of the archetypes. Jung found that the same archetypes were expressed in myths of primitive races all over the world and also in religion and art, both modern and primitive. A symbol is an attempt to represent an archetype, but the result is always imperfect and man’s history is a record of his search for better symbols.

So, I dream in symbols and this symbolic language I need to interpret, but it will not be the obvious explanation, because the symbolism comes from the unconscious and that requires a little bit of digging. I ordered another book on Jung on line and it should get here in a few days, so maybe that will give me some clarification on this.

I also read about his psychological types and how we more or less fit into one of the eight combinations of attitudes and functions. In other words, someone can be an extroverted thinker or an introverted feeling person. Every personality has these attitudes and functions, but they are there in different proportions and at different levels of consciousness and unconsciousness.

So, I may be an extroverted thinker consciously, but be an introverted feeling person
unconsciously. I will be these things in different degrees, one will be more developed that the other, because the unconscious is always underdeveloped.

I haven’t quite decided which type of person I am. I think a lot of it depends on how well things are going with me. When things are going well, I am extroverted, when I am depressed, I am introverted. Maybe I am an extroverted thinker consciously and an introverted feeling person unconsciously. Maybe I am some of both, but more one than the other at different times. I think I am mostly extroverted, but I am not sure, because I do like my “alone time” and I don’t need that many people around me to be happy. Maybe I am an introverted thinker, I’ll have to check and see what Jung said about them. It isn’t in my notes. Then unconsciously I am an extroverted feeling person, I think. How is that for a combination? How would you like your sandwich Ma’am, would you like that extroverted with mayo and feeling?

Jung also said: “The best marriages are achieved between fully individuated persons in which all the attitudes and functions of both their personalities are developed.”

I don’t know how Eduard and I made our marriage work at the beginning when I so very clearly was not individuated. As a matter of fact, I was a mess. He must have seen something in me, some possibility of what I could be like when I was not in a mess. I think there must have been enough “sane” moments then for him to figure that out. Well, I was a normal person at times. It wasn’t as if I was completely around the bend, It wasn’t as bad as that! Still, to be individuated is quite a chore. You really have to know what you are doing or you have to have had some great guidance along the way in the years of your formation. I think some people come by it earlier than others. Some people are late bloomers, maybe that is what is meant by that.

Well, Jung is making a difference in my life. He certainly got me thinking along some new lines. It is very refreshing to apply his thoughts and theories to my life and it is not too difficult at this stage, all it requires is some diligent reading and note taking and committing some of it to memory. That may be a little tough in my case, I have been known to forget crucial bits of information. I am sure that when I get into it deeper, I will find out that maybe it is not all that simple, but I am going to keep it as bare boned as I can. I don’t want to complicate it too much with all sorts of new theories and explanations. Better stick as close to the original source as I can.

I found a book by Joseph Campbell in the library and Eduard is getting it for me today. It is called The Hero With a Thousand Faces and I think it is a book that made him famous. I will finish The Power Of Myth before I start this one, but it is slow going because I fall asleep so quickly at night. I don’t even drink my milk. I think I will read The Power Of Myth by the dining table today. That straight hard chair keeps me awake and gives me a sore butt. I should find a little cushion, but I can’t make it too comfortable! No nodding off!

——————–

I find that by reading and doing digital art and cleaning house and taking care of the anim
als, there are not enough hours in the day to do all the things I want to do, and I don’t even have a job yet. Yesterday I had to vacuum and I reluctantly did that, although I knew it was very necessary and it looked good when I was done. The poor dog does need to go for his walks, I can’t neglect him and I do need to keep some semblance of structure in my life. Things do have to happen at a certain time or I am in trouble. I need to eat on time and go to bed at a reasonable hour and spend time talking with Eduard when he is home, although I neglected him a bit yesterday too. He came home, but I was barely aware of it and kissed him absentmindedly.
I wonder what he thinks when he sees me so preoccupied with something so completely new and how I barely have time to speak to him and have my eyes glazed over when I do? He doesn’t complain on the first day and I don’t think he will even complain on the second and third day, so I will have to be my own disciplinarian and make sure my eyes aren’t glazed over too often. He very enthusiastically tells me things and I say, “Yes, really?”, and then ask him to repeat himself because I didn’t hear a word he said.

Eduard is always very tolerant of me. He never gets the least bit irritated when I have discovered something new and it takes up all of my time. When we first had the computer, and I was still depressed, I spent hours Googling things and Eduard didn’t complain about that at all. I discovered all these really neat animation sites and sat and watched animated films all day long one summer and Eduard didn’t seem to mind one bit. He is like an indulgent father with his impatient child sometimes. I have to make sure that I am not the impatient child too often. I have a tendency to self indulge and become obsessed about things and I always have to watch myself and make sure I don’t overdo things and make enough time to stay in my normal mode also. That means walking away from things even when I want to keep going.

Anyway, we have this very simple digital camera that takes very simple digital photographs and we tried to install it yesterday, but it didn’t work. The computer says that it can’t find the camera after we have installed it and we tried it twice. I think that maybe we should get another simple little digital camera until we can afford to buy a really good one like this one here, which is very costly, but it takes wonderful photographs, which you can find out for yourself when you go to Debi’s blog here. Of course, we don’t need such an expensive camera, but I am being a real modern consumer here in that I only want the very best. Yes, and we need to win the lottery very quickly and make all of our wishes come true in the shortest amount of time. Actually, that is why I need a job very badly, to save some money and do things like this.

I have an appointment tomorrow morning with social services to talk about the results of the profile test that I recently took and I am real curious about the outcome of that. A lot rests on this, because they may not offer me a free training, but suggest I go and do volunteer work instead and that just won’t do at all. If I am going to put in all of the effort, I do want to get paid for it, I am not in it for the charity. Not at this point anyway. We need the charity ourselves now. They can’t force me to do anything, luckily, because I don’t get any unemployment benefits, so the choice lies with me. If you do get benefits, they can make you take on anything, so I am glad that I am not in that position.

Today I am seeing my GP about the results of my allergy test and I am also curious about what that will say, as I have been especially allergic lately. I walk around with a plugged up nose and a sore throat constantly and my head and ear have been itching quite a bit. Then he has to give me a form to go and have my thyroid tested at the hospital lab. It has been a month now since I have been on my new dose of thyroid medication and the new levels should be able to be measured now. I really feel good, so I think all is well with that. I think maybe this dose of medication is better for me, because I feel a lot more mellow and calm than I did before and as I said before, your thyroid functioning does play a large role in your mental health. When my thyroid was very hyperactive, and I needed the surgery badly, I was a very neurotic person and I thought I was losing my mind. I lost a lot of weight and had a constant tremor and my resting heartbeat was 120 per minute. Boy, that can really screw you up.

I also need to talk to him about my eyes. I do really well now behind the computer with my regular glasses on, I don’t need my reading glasses at all anymore, but I still have my eyes bother me sometimes when I watch TV. They start to hurt and water and I can’t figure out why sometimes they do quickly and why sometimes they don’t until much later. Sometimes I think, that when I think about it, they start to water, but then I think that is all in my imagination too and I need to stop thinking about it. See how your mind gets screwed around that?

Eduard is sitting here eating his breakfast and Jesker is protecting it from the cats. He knows that he will get the last little bit of it. That dog knows exactly which side his bread is buttered on, ha ha. In this case there is cheese on it also.

I need to get the show on the road, so I will stop here and continue in a little while, see you then…

Well, it had stopped raining when I took Jesker for his walk, so that was good, and then I thought what I would take pictures off if I had a camera like Eleanor’s Mum does when she walks around the neighborhood. We live in a very modern neighborhood and there aren’t any cute little cottages with cute gardens to take pictures off. There are lots of very modern looking houses which I like architecturally, but may not make for very interesting pictures. I would really have to go into town and take pictures there. The downtown area is pretty and there are lots of interesting buildings. That may be especially fun for you American readers. A bit of history and all that.

I really need to be able to justify buying a good digital camera and I am trying to think of stuff I would take good photographs off. It would have to be the town and the countryside. Eduard and I would have to make lots of long walks around here and get on the motorcycle again and make trips to interesting places. We haven’t done that for awhile because of the weather and pretty soon it is going to be too cold to do that. I bet none of you have ever been on the back of a motorcycle when it was freezing and snowing out. I don’t recommend it to anyone. You need to be pretty foolhardy to do it and wear lots of layers of clothing.

Eduard said last night that he is getting me something for my birthday which I am not expecting and now I am really curious, because I thought I had already gotten my birthday present and that was the Senseo Coffee Machine. So, I am completely in the dark as to what it can be, but I am all for surprises, so I can’t wait.

Well, darn it, now I am all done writing, I have nothing left to write about. I have to save some for another day, after all. I can’t send you in rapture all at once, I have to do it in little bits and pieces. I am going to visit my fellow bloggers, then I am going to clean up the kitchen and then I am going to play with Picnik and Paint Shop again. Oh, I can’t wait, I am going to cut and paste, oh how wondrous an
d miraculous!

Have a great day, people. Ciao…

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Today I weigh 92.7 kilos. I thought: That’s more like it! I guess I am forgiven for eating those chips yesterday. This is what I had: A small thing of potato salad, some tortilla chips with guacamole dip, a piece of Maasdammer cheese, some Melba toast and a tall glass of milk. It was more than filling and I was afraid that I wouldn’t have lost any weight at all, so it was a nice surprise to see that I did.

Now I absolutely have to keep losing weight and not go up anymore! It’s a rule I just made up. I have to keep losing weight and have none of this going up and down any longer. Enough of that! I’ll have to have a good long talk with myself when I apply my make up in the bathroom mirror this morning. What will the consequences be? I don’t know, I’ll think of something. Maybe just a day of Melba toast or something Spartan like that.

I had such strange dreams last night. About murder and suicide and people having their alter egos killed and drinking Twinings tea and all sorts of odd things. I won’t try and tell you all of the details here, because some of it was very disturbing, and some of it I can’t tell, because it absolutely doesn’t make sense to me. At one point, I was back in the States, packing my ballet shoes to go back to Holland, while my in laws wanted to put me on trial for having buried girl scout uniforms in shallow graves. Very odd! I never owned ballet shoes, but my daughter did belong to the girl scouts. Maybe I was tip toeing a lot like a ballet dancer.

It was such a mellow day yesterday. I purposely fell asleep on the sofa again in the morning and when I woke up, I had some nice cups of coffee to clear my head. I have the TV on for background noise while I sleep to make it less official. Like, I am not really sound asleep on the sofa here, I am just dozing a bit. Yeah, right! When I was sufficiently awake, I cleaned up the kitchen and watched a very good movie called Heat with Al Pacino and Robert de Niro. I missed a little bit of it, because I had to take the dog for a walk, but I saw most of it and it was good. I can see how you could completely fall in love with Al Pacino, he has such beautiful eyes. Like an angel’s. Anyway, Robert de Niro pretty much shot himself through the movie, I mean he killed many people, but still you don’t want him to die in the end. At least I didn’t. I like the way Robert de Niro can be a complete villain in one movie and be completely lovable in another. That’s great acting, I suppose.

Eduard came home early in the afternoon and he had bought for me a jar of hot salsa and a jar of guacamole dip. I told him that he was a very bad person, leading me astray so very much. He just smiled and looked very satisfied with himself. Of course, I had to try the guacamole right away and it was very good. I don’t know how many calories there are in it, but I never count those anyway. Maybe I should and I would be unpleasantly surprised.

Right after Eduard came home, the heavens opened up and it started pouring by the buckets full. The weatherman says that we got 50 millimeters of rain in an hour’s time and it caused flooding in some places. There was thunder and lightening too and Jesker always starts to bark when it thunders. The cats hide out in the apartment.

We watched the Tour de France. At least I did until my eyes started to bother me too much and then I closed them and just listened to the commentary. Eduard asked: Are you asleep? And I said: No, I am just resting my eyes. And I literally was! The countryside that the Tour rode through was very beautiful again. France is such a pretty country. Parts of it remind me of California, both the South and the North. But the villages are so beautiful, you wouldn’t find those anywhere else. Much ado was made of Rasmussen not having been available for spontaneous doping controls during training, but I think it is all turning into a sort of witch hunt and every body being holier than the Pope now. We don’t let it spoil our fun of watching the Tour.

Just as I was getting ready to walk Jesker again, it started to pour again and I said to Jesker: Look, look out the window and see it rain! He did look out the window, but I don’t know if he put two and two together. I talk to him a lot, but I don’t know how much he understands. His ears perk up at familiar words. I waited until there was just a slow drip and then we went out. Of course, the field was sopping wet and we could not go on it, but I don’t think Jesker understands that. He just thinks he gets a short walk. I do try to make it interesting for him by going home a different way.

Eduard talked to our neighbor on the left and heard that Lotje had escaped a few times, but that she always comes back for food, so that is good. Pieke, on the other hand, is hiding in the attic and so far has refused to come out. Eduard is going there this weekend to bring their vaccination booklets and he will see how the situation is then. Maybe he can get Pieke out of her hiding place. I do worry about that a bit. I feel bad for her sitting in the attic all this time. Pieke is a shy cat and she may not be able to get used to being there at all. I don’t know yet what the solution is to that problem.

Today we are supposed to go to Hasselt, which is a medium sized town in Belgium not too far from here. There is an old downtown shopping area and there are several museums. The weather is supposed to be good today, so we are counting on that. We may not go to any of the museums and just hang out downtown and see the sights there if the weather is especially nice. We’ll see, we have never been there before, so this is a whole new experience. They do speak Dutch there. It is in the Flemish part of the country. I do love the way Belgians speak Dutch, as long as it isn’t in dialect, which I don’t understand, of course.

I think
Eduard wants to leave at a reasonable time so that we will be back to catch a lot of the Tour de France, but I think they are doing time races today, so that is less interesting to watch anyway. It won’t be as bad as missing the regular stages.

I have to tell you that having fewer cats is a much better thing. It is much easier to give them the proper amount of attention. Nouri pretty much sticks to herself, but Toby and Gandhi regularly come to be petted now and I feel I have the time and energy to do so. I make sure I make the time. I stop what I am doing and pet them. The dog gets jealous, but I have two hands, one to pet the dog and one to pet a cat. The cats aren’t the least bit impressed by the moans and groans of the dog. They don’t even care when he barks at them. Eduard has bought some smaller containers of food now that there are fewer cats and they really like this food. They eat it with a great appetite and I worry about them becoming round and chubby. The dog is confused because there are no left overs. I show him the empty dishes and tell him: See, it is all gone! He looks quite disappointed, as if he has such a bad life here!

Well, all of my words are running out again. I’ll have more to tell you after today, I am sure. Eduard says that the pictures won’t be done until Tuesday, so I owe you those.

Have a terrific day, hope you get rain if you need it and sunshine if you don’t. Ciao…

P.S. I almost forgot. I got a letter yesterday confirming an appointment with a representative of the city’s reintegration program for people who have not had a job for a long time. I will see him on Tuesday and I can’t wait to hear what they have to offer me. The letter said that I will have to accept volunteer work or work at a minimum wage to take part in the program, but I think that is just on a temporary basis as you go through your training. I just hope they don’t offer me child care! Please!

P.P.S. Toby and Gandhi just got into a short, loud fight. Some hair flew around. I don’t know what that was all about. I’ve never seen them do that. Gandhi is okay, I think Toby instigated it. Showing that he is the tough guy around here, no doubt. I am glad that Gandhi doesn’t let herself be intimidated. She is here on the dining table licking out all the cat dishes.

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I think I am not going to comment on my weight for a while, unless I am really losing some. I am not losing any now and haven’t for some time, so it is getting kind of boring. I weigh 94.3 kilos this morning, so you see what I mean. So, I’ll just skip the whole story about how many ounces I have lost or gained, and what I have had to eat, until I am really losing weight again. It was a nice habit, but it isn’t much fun when nothing is happening.

Yesterday was an alright day. In the morning I didn’t do too much. Just the usual housecleaning and TV watching when I sat down. There is a movie on the Film Channel that I am watching in stages. It is called The Truman Show and last week I watched part of it. I’ll call that part the second quarter. Yesterday I watched it again, but fell asleep on the sofa, so I only saw the first and last quarters of it. So now I have seen three quarters of the movie and I only have the third quarter left to watch. I don’t know if I’ll ever watch that part, I’ll have to wait and see if it is on again and if I want to sit through the parts that I have already seen.

In the afternoon, I had my appointment at the CWI and, luckily, it was dry when I had to go there, so I went on my bike. I would have taken the bus if the weather had been really bad. Riding my bike is becoming easier every time, but I do notice that I am more sure of myself when Eduard is not with me, as he is always anticipating what I am going to do and this is making me feel insecure and wobbly. I do a much better job when I am on my own.

Anyway, at the CWI the nice woman named Solveig spend an hour with me going over my test results and I have to say that those were very good. Most of the results were above average and some of them were way above average. One of the tests was a personality test and I was very interested in how I had done on that. It turned out that I had a very sunny, optimistic personality and that I was a very positive person. This is especially interesting to me, of course, because I had not taken such a test for quite some time. I think the last time was when I was very sick and the outcome was much different. So I did feel redeemed.

The rest of the test were about work attitude and work choice and work culture and all sorts of other things. It turns out that I am a very adaptable person and I will be good at a number of things and I have a lot of potential in me. There are some lines of work that I am more drawn to than others, but working independently with a lot of autonomy seems to suit me well. Working with clear goals in mind inside a definite structure also suits me. Accountancy and manager assistant were some of the jobs that popped up. Also working in health care.

A letter about me with a synopses of the results of the tests is going to be sent to the responsible people at the city offices, who will invite me for an appointment to see which training, if any, they will be willing to offer me. It could be in accounting or it could be in Microsoft Word or other computer programs. It could be something completely different. They may offer me an on the job training deal, working and going to school at the same time. Oh yes, today I am doing one more test. It is a specific job choice test and I will get the results right away and so will the woman at the CWI. It is a little bit more precise than the other tests. I have copies of all the test results and it makes for interesting reading and there are things in there that I can mention in any letter when I apply for a job.

When I was done, I walked outside and saw that it had rained and that it was about to rain some more, so I hopped on my bike end went home as quickly as I could, totally forgetting about going to the chapel. It was very far from my mind. All I thought off were the test results and the threatening sky. Half way home, it really started to pour and I peddled as fast as I could to make it home as quickly as I could. I did get very wet, but Eduard was home and hung my wet jacket to dry in the bathroom and I took off my wet sandals and dried the rest of me as good as possible. Then I made some fresh coffee, which I had been craving, and let Eduard read the test results. He agreed with most of them, but we both were sort of surprised with the result that said I would do well under hectic circumstances. We both disagreed with that. So the test results aren’t a 100% right, but mostly they are.

Jesker was happy to see me and while I drank my coffee, he sat beside me and I had to pet him. He needs to be all reassured when I come home. Like, she loves me very, very much. See how she pets me. I do enjoy coming home after an outing even as brief as that one. Especially if Eduard is already home.

I’ll have to go to the chapel another time. I think it wasn’t such a big priority or otherwise I wouldn’t have forgotten it. See how I changed from being so devoted to be so nonchalant about it. No, I don’t think nonchalant is the right word, because I do care about giving it a right ending. I’ll have to do it when I can give it my proper attention.

Yesterday Lucien called me. She was home again after her vacation and we made an appointment to meet in town next week. I had to make it next week, because I have no money to spend now. I don’t want to meet and not be able to even pay for a round of coffee. Thursday is payday and then we’ll be fine again. There is always too much month left over at the end of the paycheck. It is easier for Lucien, getting her compensation check. I am sure we’ll have a wonderful time in town and lots of fun will be had by both. She was talking about the Bright Light Energy Lamp and how she had heard that you can get manic from it, and I said, if that were the case, I would turn it on right away and sit in front of it until I did. Boy, if things were that easy!

In the evening, Eduard had to work and I was by myself, watching my regular, sometimes boring, TV programs. They’re just a way to pass the time and sometimes, I don’t pay all that much attention. I sit and think about other things too. Road Abusers was on and I love to hear people come up with reasons for why it is okay for them to drive too fast or to ignore red lights or to not wear their safety belts. Everybody thinks they are the exception to the rule.

Anyway, I was looking forward to going to bed and have been for these past few days. I really don’t feel like staying up late. I look at the clock and can’t wait for it to be 9 o’clock. I take my medicines and get my cold glass of milk and off I go. Even while I drink my milk, I am sleepy already, thanks to the Temazepam, so I am never laying in bed having to think that I will not fall sleep and how awful that is. I absolutely avoid that at all costs and I appreciate my psychiatrist knowing this and keeping this in mind when he prescribes my medication. The worst thing that can happen is laying awake at night while trying to go to sleep and being overwhelmed by all those thoughts and images. I really appreciate not having to go through that and knowing that I gently nod off into a deep sleep. If I can’t go to sleep, I have whole movie scenes play in my head and they aren’t pleasant.

I am glimpsing some blue sky through the kitchen window. It is possible that today will not be such a bad day, after all. We may get some showers, but not that many. If you read Eleanor’s Blog (see the link on the left side of this post), you will see that in England, they have lots of pro
blems because of the bad weather. As they had in Switzerland and some other places.

Well, that’s all for today. There have been no words of wisdom or profound thoughts. I guess I am not too inspired today. I am looking forward to the day, although nothing special is on the schedule. I’ll just let the day unfold as it comes. By the way, my toe is healing well. It still hurts a bit and I still have to keep a band aid on it, but it is starting to look a lot better.

Have a great day everybody, ciao…

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I’m stuck at 94.2 kilos and I suppose that is not such a bad thing, but I would like to move on to some other weight now. I mean, I would like to move down to some other weight now. Listen to me, you minor God of the kilos and ounces, I may have fallen of my faith, but just for now, lets pretend I still sort of believe in you and lets get the show on the road already. Okay, okay, I’ll be more careful about what I eat, I promise. Let’s just stop this fooling around and really drop the weight now.

This is what I had yesterday, a small glass of juice, a piece of cumin cheese, some Melba toast, 2 pieces of Maasdammer cheese, a three egg omelet and a tall glass of milk. The second piece of Maasdammer cheese was sheer indulgence and completely unnecessary. I had it because it was there and for no other reason at all.

Yesterday, was allergy day. My poor eyes have been burning and tearing for some time now and yesterday was especially bad, so I called the GP’s office and had them fax a prescription for eye drops to the pharmacy. Then I did some surfing on the Internet and finally found a pill that you only need to take once every 24 hours and that should help with the burning eyes and the dermatitis, so when I am next at the GP’s office, I will discuss this medication with him. It is called Loratadine and maybe it will help me. Apparently, it doesn’t make you drowsy and it is safe to take with my other medications. I printed the information sheet about it and I will show my GP that when I see him, which should be next week on Monday or Tuesday to hear about the results of my allergy tests. Thank goodness for the Internet, there is so much you can find out yourself. Loratadine is sold over the counter as Allerfre in the Netherlands, but the active ingredient is Loratadine and I can get a prescription for that and my insurance company will pay for it. I found that out by calling the pharmacy about it.

Yesterday was the day of tranquility. I was home by myself until the early afternoon and I didn’t mind it at all. I did some house work and I watched some boring TV programs and generally amused myself in my own company. The dog and the cats slept mostly. The boring TV programs were on the BBC and yes, even on the BBC they do have bad programs on during the day, such as Homes Under The Hammer and Cash In The Attic and To buy Or Not To Buy. These are completely brainless programs and it is almost as good as watching no TV at all. Anyway, I sit and watch them, while I get up every now and then and do something completely different like clean the toilet or scrub the wash basin.

I didn’t vacuum yesterday. The floors looked very clean and I wasn’t sure about turning on the vacuumcleaner and in turn having the dust whirl around the air. Today I will vacuum again and also mop the floors. I should wash the dog’s bedding, but then it will take forever to dry, so I may want to do that in stages. He has three pillows now and they probably all need washing. It would be nice to have a big washing machine and a big dryer to put them in. I talked to Eduard about putting up some washing lines on the patio to dry the laundry on, because it dries so much more quickly in the outside air. When it isn’t raining, at least. The laundry also smells good when it has been drying outside.

When Eduard came home in the afternoon, my first question to him was, how it was for him to be back at work after a 3 week holiday, but it seems to have agreed with him alright and he didn’t seem extra tired yet or discouraged. Of course, he still had to go back to work that evening and I don’t know if he had the very late shift, because I went to bed at 9 pm and I didn’t hear him come home. Usually, he likes to work in the evenings, because he enjoys spending time with the volunteers and teaching them new tricks about projection. Working until midnight can be a bit rough and they take turns doing that. One person stays and the other people leave after the last batch of films has been started at 10 pm.

Yesterday, I was in Eduard’s workroom and stubbed my sore toe against the oscilloscope. Now, his brother had given him this scope when we were in Almelo and I had seen Eduard playing with it a few times, but I had not paid too much attention to it. After stubbing my sore toe against it though, I got curious about what it really was and had Eduard explain it to me. The oscilloscope make electrical waves visible. It really also makes sound visible. So whatever electrical wave, or tremor, comes out of an electrical system, the scope makes it visible. The visible waves have different lengths and heights and frequencies. They also can have three different shapes, depending on the source. So the electrical wave from a computer has a block shape, for instance. Other things have a triangular shape or a sinus shape. You can measure the length of the wave in seconds or in microseconds. You can measure the sound of music or the sound of a voice, but also the sound of an electrical pulse coming out of a computer. It gets too complicated after this for me. This is as far as I understand it, but that is more than I knew before, so when next he is playing with it, I will pay attention. And yes, my toe is fine, there was no bleeding or anything.

Eduard has a very technical mind and he understands electrical systems very quickly. He knows why things work the way they do and why they stop working. That is very handy to know in his kind of work. He knows a lot about the projectors and how to keep them all up and running. He also understands computers to some extent and how to get them to do the things you want them to do, which is handy with the digital projection that they have nowadays. His brain works very quickly and he sees the connections very quickly. I rely on him a lot to figure things out, and no, I am not dumb myself. It is just that Eduard is smarter. He should have studied to be an engineer instead of becoming a librarian.

In the afternoon, just before Eduard came home, I fell asleep on the sofa. It can’t be helped, I need my little cat naps. At least they aren’t the deep sleeps that they were a few days ago. Eduard kissed me awake, sort of. I became coherent after a while, it was so nice to be drowsy. I am rating my days with sevens, even when I take my naps. Nothing spectacular is happening, my days just get to be sevens.

I am relieved that I don’t have to go to the chapel this afternoon, after I have gone to the CWI. It is like a load off my shoulders. I realize that the last time I was there, it had started to feel like an obligation and not like a joy. I prayed because I felt that I had to, not because I felt that I wanted to. And I was unsure about who I was praying to. I couldn’t get an image formed of my Higher Being. I will spend some times thinking about this. Who this Higher Being is and what that means to me and how to approach that. It is not a discussion that I will avoid or a theme I will not engage in. Mostly I feel very sober minded and I feel more attracted to the rational point of view, although I realize the the ratio does not explain everything either. Maybe some things will remain a mystery. Even to scientists the universe is a wonder.

I think I want to be in charge of my life myself and not have it be dependent on a Higher Being who’s favor I am trying to gain. Because that is how it felt. Maybe that was the wrong point of view. I want to make the big decisions myself and be responsible myself for the outcomes. I don’t want them to be unexplainable or God inspired. I want there to be a cause and
effect. I make this decision, do that deed, and, most likely, this will be the outcome of that. I think my lack of clear definition of a Higher Being and my approach were also lacking quite a bit of inspiration and if ever I am confronted with this situation again, I will have to try harder to make something of it.

Today it is supposed to rain some more, but it should clear up a bit in the afternoon, which is good, because I have to go to the CWI to get the results of the tests that I had taken and I have an appointment for that. I am very curious what will come out of them and if they will offer me a training. The possibilities are endless I am sure. There are probably things I have not even thought of that I can do.

I just reread the posts from the past week and I see that I mentioned that I would go to the chapel today to light one last candle to say goodbye, so I suppose I will do that. That is actually not such a bad idea. I will do that and sit and contemplate the whole scene for a bit and let the impressions roll over me. I’ll have a good look at the statue of Mary holding the baby Jesus and try to figure out what the allure is. It is set up as a pieta and it will be good to have a closer look at it, which I have never taken the time to do, as I was always kneeling and praying and ignoring Mary. I thought of her more as the Mother Goddess and didn’t want to be too influenced by the Catholic idea of her.

Well, now I have to go and walk the dog and feed the cats. It’s been nice sitting here ruminating, but the show must be got on the road. Have a terrific day everyone. Ciao…

Eduard has put the eye drops in my eyes again this morning, but I don’t think they are going to work, as they are an antibiotic and I don’t see how that is going to work for allergically burning and tearing eyes. There must have been some misunderstanding at the GP’s office. I will use these drops in the meantime, but when I see my GP, I will tell him of the uselessness of them and ask for something else. I think he sometimes doesn’t have his mind on the job properly. It’s up to me to keep the ball rolling, unless he knows something that I don’t know and I don’t think he does.

It was cold outside when I walked the dog. I wore a sweater, but could have used a jacket too. It’s only supposed to get up to 15 degrees Celsius today. The wind is blowing hard and the sky is very grey. It is real Dutch weather like it gets in the springtime and fall. It’s just not supposed to get this way in the summertime.

Okay, I am going to get going now.

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