Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A wee hours of the morning post.


Contrary to all well laid plans, I promptly fell asleep on the comfortable sofa last night at about 8 o'clock. I was fully dressed and just sort of toppled over sideways, but I don't actually remember a darn thing about it. It was a spontaneous sleep attack that struck me like a super bolt of lightening. It was an instantaneous case of falling soundly asleep and nothing could have stopped it.

It was very late when I woke up again and all the lights were burning brightly and the blinds were still open to the dark night and the TV was on. I changed into my comfortable pajamas and put my warm gray cardigan on to keep me from feeling chilled and took all of my medication, including my sleeping pill. I figured I would sit behind the trusty computer for about 20 minutes and be sound asleep in no time.

Well, several hours have passed and I am still stubbornly sitting behind the computer and I don't have a sleepy bone in my alert body yet. I must have a very strong constitution if I can defy a strong sleeping pill. Of course, I used to take them during the day to help me calm down, so I'm used to quite a large dose of them. I'm like a wild animal that needs an extra load of strong drugs to help put it into a deep sleep.

Instead of soundly sleeping, I'm trying to pay extra attention to my writing and trying to follow the exact rules of it. That means I write and read and edit, which is not something I normally do, but I have plenty of time for it now. I've made changes in every sentence I've typed, except this one. I don't have an education in writing literature and I don't know anything about grammar. All I know is what I've learned from reading many good novels. I'm an autodidact and writing in a second language (not the language of my childhood, and not the language I speak during the day).

In a little while, I'm going to do some painting and drawing. The Exfactor brought me another box of acrylic paints and he didn't want me to repay him for them. I though that was awfully kind of him. He does like to do me small favors like that and I appreciate them and let him know that too. I don't get all gushy, but thank him man to man, the way he can handle it.

Anyway, I'm going to do some painting and drawing and I think I have one that I have to finish still and I will start on a new one. I really want to make a real doodle, one that is completely abstract and that does not depict anything but shapes and forms, but somehow will look like something organic that is alive and could have come out of nature. Something like Sue's Doodles here. You have to have a lot of imagination and free association to be able to draw something like that and I am going to give it a try. It will be a test to see how loose I am in my artistic abilities to just let something emerge without forcing it to.

I have creative therapy again today and I don't know yet what I will do there. Several options are running through my head. I may just ask the therapist to give me an assigment. That way I will end up doing something I haven't done before. Which would be the smartest thing to do, of course. I am there to learn, after all, and to pick her brain, but I also have ideas of my own that I want to try out, so it's a toss up.

The things that have fallen completely by the wayside are the chores, but I'm not really concerned about them, because they will wait for me until tomorrow when I have the whole day off. I have to do the grocery shopping this afternoon and I'm not looking forward to that one bit. For some reason that causes me to feel stress and I don't like it. I'm trying to work my way around it and to figure out what the problem is exactly, but all I can come up with is a general unease about the whole thing and wanting to put it off indefinitely.

I think I feel very uncomfortable on my bike with it loaded down with all the groceries, but that's not the whole reason. There's more to it than that. I think that I don't feel entitled to be on the street and in the store and I'm afraid that someone will approach me and challenge my presence there, as if I'm not allowed to be there. As if I am a secondary citizen who doesn't have any rights and who so far is getting away with stuff, because she hasn't been caught yet. That's how it feels to be a person with a mental disability in a "normal" world.

Well, with that big confession I leave you. I must go draw and paint.

Have a good day once you wake up and find this. Feel free to share your thoughts with me.

Ciao,
Nora

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Another one for posterity...


This afternoon, after I took the dog for a walk and took my noontime medications, I also took a sleeping pill and settled down on the sofa and took a nap of nearly three hours. It was wonderful and when I woke up, I felt all warm and fuzzy and sleepy headed, but contend. After I had been up for about ten minutes, there was a struggle between me and the force that wants me to feel self hatred and self contempt and loathing, but I cut it off at the pass and didn't give it any room to step over its boundaries and sent it back to where it came from, into the deep dark recesses of my soul. Every time it rears its ugly head, I will continue to do this, until it gets tired of showing up and sees it is futile to.

The Exfactor was here this morning, after I came back from my SPN, and he had brought a clear plastic cat flap that he screwed in place over the cat door opening, because Toby had broken the one that was there last winter when it had gotten frozen shut. The problem is that the cats are used to there just being an opening and they can't seem to get used to this cat flap. They eye it with much suspicion and haven't gone out yet. It's a little bit thicker and heavier than what used to be there, which is good for the draft, but the cats seem to think it is unmovable and I may have to help them through it the first couple of times. Those daft cats! They're normally so smart. I can't believe they can't figure this one out.

When I went to see my SPN this morning, I didn't really have a clear subject in my head that I wanted to discuss, except for the panic attack on Friday. I think I very often live in denial, because how could I not want to discuss those episodes of self hatred and self contempt and loathing? Yet I approached them as if they were a side issue and not the most important one, but once I started talking about them, a whole barrage of grief came pouring out of me and I cried something awful and smeared my make up all over my face.

It all has to do with my childhood and the awful messages I got about myself and everything I did, and how I heard them constantly and started to believe them, and internalized them and made them mine, so they became a belief system in my own head that I've carried with me my whole life. And although I say the opposite, deep down inside I believe those messages still and every once in a while, when I am vulnerable, they get the upper hand and I start believing them very much, to the point that I want to self destruct.

Now that I know this, and who is behind it, I know who my enemy is and who I am fighting. Now I can do something about it and at the very moment those thoughts start popping up in my mind, I can crush them with all my might and send them back to where they came from. I dispel them completely and take the truth out of them. Of course, subconsciously, I have believed these things always and have been fighting them all along, I have just not been so aware of it, but I know that its true and that it lies in my nature to think this way about myself. I just have a big mouth and outshout them a lot of times, but I didn't always have a big mouth and I had to overcome a lot of insecurities.

I won't share with you the journey I had to make to become a human being. It is too long and arduous. I will tell you that I started out with almost nothing and a lot in the negative balance and that I had to work my way up from scratch. That's enough.

I mustn't become bitter. I must look at where I am now and what I have achieved. I'll be damned if I am going to let a ghost that haunts me take that away from me.

Okay, that's enough of that! I will end on a positive note. The church bells are ringing and that is good. That's always a joyful sound. I must go and walk the dog again and eat some dinner. Then I'm going to wait for the 8 pm news to come on and see what sort of hideous things my government has come up with to fight the economic crisis. Something's rotten in Denmark.

Have a good evening.

Ciao,
Nora.

Another cup of coffee to hit the road with.


Yes, it pleases me to write another post at this early hour of the morning. Let's face it, there's nothing else left to do. I've spent all night behind the computer and have just about exhausted all the possibilities of what I can do with it. At least the kinds of things that are of interest to me and it is possible that this excludes all sorts of activities that other people could think of. Please don't tell me what those could be. I don't want to know. If I don't do it, I don't want to know about it. I do want to keep my life simple and rarefied. I don't want to clutter it up with activities such as buying second hand books at Amazon or shopping for bargains at Ebay. Every penny spent is a penny I don't have and I doubt I have the smarts to resell at higher prices. I am not a business woman, I am a writer and an artist and you know they have no financial sense.

It's still dark outside, so I can't say it is morning, but according to the clock it is, and I am glad of it. The night took long enough to be over, though I managed to fill it well with my own amusements and although the time didn't speed by, it didn't crawl by either. It wasn't as bad as all that. Somewhere around 2:30 it seemed to stagnate for a bit, but once it was past 4:30 things moved on quickly. It is funny how time goes by in fast and slow segments and I wonder if that is the case for everybody or if that is just our own individual experience of it. I suppose the latter would be the case, as it would be true if you are waiting for something to happen desperately and five minutes seem like half an hour. Or if you sleep and your dream seems to have taken a long time, when in reality it was over in seconds, just like a thought is.

Right now, it seems like the time is speeding by, because I feel rushed and I want to finish this post before I have to get dressed and walk the dog and go see my SPN. In reality, I have some time, but I keep estimating it wrong and I can't get the right scenario in my head. If I would just slow down and think for a minute, I would realize that I have time to do all the things I have to do and I would still get where I have to be at the right hour. It's strange how you can make yourself spin in circles when there is no need, except your exaggerated sense of responsibility that tells you that you always have to be on time, if not early, and that it's worthy of punishment or ridicule to be late.

The dog has already been hungry and begged for a treat an hour ago, so the next time he wakes up, I will feed him. That will get us ready on time to go for a walk and give him some time to digest his meal a bit. The cats have been sleeping in the bedroom despite the fact that I wasn't there. It is a habit, I guess, that is hard to break. Toby has just come into the living room looking a little bit confused. It's like he doesn't quite know what to make of the whole situation and is pondering it over. I have to make sure that there's fresh milk for them to drink and throw the old milk from last night away.

I may have been awake all night, but I don't feel like it at all. I am as bright eyed and bushy tailed as if I've had a whole night's sleep and have been up for a while. I'm in no danger of falling asleep on my bicycle, that's for sure. It would be highly irregular if that happened. I've never heard of it, though I know there are plenty of drunk bicyclists and you can get a ticket for that too. You are taking part of the traffic, after all. No, I feel hyper alert and very much awake and ready to start a whole day's worth of chores, but you may want to check with me later to see how I am doing then.

It's possible that by not sleeping for one night, I'm going to force myself into a different mood, the same as they do in sleep deprivation when they try to get people out of a depression. I would have to stay up for the rest of the day to see if it would work, although I will tell you now that if I get tired and sleepy, I will go to sleep and not force myself to stay awake. I think that would be a very foolish thing to do, considering I'm all on my own and there is no one to monitor me. I will just see what happens as the day unfolds and not worry about it. I'll take it as it comes.

Now I must go and get dressed and do all the other things. I've put down the dog's food, but the cats are eating it. The dog is not at all interested.

Again, have a good day and enjoy all the things you need to do. Even the things that aren't any fun and that you balk at.

Ciao,
Nora.

Sleeping on the sofa...


I fell asleep on the sofa at 8 pm and woke up at midnight. I felt like I was wide awake. At least I wasn't in the mood to go to bed, so I turned on the computer and made myself a cup of coffee. I so dislike drinking decaf, that I made regular coffee. Since I've discovered the brand of coffee I drink now, I've come to dislike the old brand of coffee very much, especially the decaf, but the new brand of coffee doesn't have decaf, so I'm forced to buy that in the old brand. I never drink it. I save it for when the Exfactor comes over, he seems to like it just fine. I think it is awful and can't believe I used to drink it. That's what you put up with when you don't know better.

So anyway, to make a long story longer, I'm drinking my coffee from a mug that my sister gave me this afternoon and she got it while she was in Greece last week from a place called Mykonos. It's a wonderful touristy mug and I'm very happy with it, because I like receiving coffee mugs and I can always use more of them, and I like it especially if they are from some place special, which this one is. It's where she met her Italian boyfriend one year ago and they went back there to celebrate and also to Santorini. I saw the photos today and they were beautiful, just as you imagine it to be.

So, that's where my new mug came from and, of course, I had to drink from it right away, because you know how I am with new mugs. I only want mugs that have special meaning to me and so far almost all of them do. Well, not that I have a cabinet full of them...

It's been a most pleasant day, because I've only done things that were pleasing to me. That's how I ease myself into the week. Mondays are for the most part pleasant days. I had creative therapy this morning and worked on my third painting and added second and third layers of paint. Luckily, the acrylics dry fast and I can add the next layer of paint quickly. It's turning out alright and I think I will be done with it next Friday. I'll take photos of it then and post the rest of the photos of the other paintings too.

When I came home, I walked the dog and then decided that I no longer wanted to use Ubuntu, which was a tough decision to make, because I really like it, but there were some drawbacks to it, such as listening to my music easily, downloading my emails quickly, reading blogs in a easy to read print, accessing my digital camera and some other minor irritations. So, I uninstalled Ubuntu and went back to Windows, which freed up a lot of space on my computer.

I did, however, have to set new tabs for all my favorite sites, so they would open up automatically when I open up my browser, and my email program started to download all the emails I had received since I started using Ubuntu two months ago. There were more than 3,000 emails that I had to get rid off and I had to sort through them and save some of them. That was a lot of work.

At 3:30 I went to my sister for tea and cookies, or biscuits as the English say, and to see her photos of her vacation. She had bought cookies that were developed especially to have with a cup of tea and I had never had them before and they were delicious, so I had four of them. They were wafer thin and flavorful. They should ask me to do the advertising for them.

My nephew came home from school with a flat bicycle tire and when I left, my sister was getting ready to fix it. She found a piece of glass in it. I never fix my own flat tires. I've always had the Exfactor do it, but it's been a while since I've had a flat tire. I suppose I must learn to do it myself if I really want to be an emancipated woman. How badly do I want to prove that?

I had left the dog at home, so he made a big deal out of seeing me and pretended that he had to go out immediately, but I chose to ignore that and fed him his dinner first. He gobbled that down and then took a short nap to help him digest that. I had turned the computer on to check my emails and to see if I could get rid of any of the pictographs that were clogging up my computer screen. I wanted it to look neater than it did and removed a bunch of them that I thought were unnecessary. I don´t think I will come to regret it, but you never know. A lot of them belonged to stuff the Exfactor used to do. Games and things. I think he´s been gone long enough now for me to do that. Isn´t that silly? I almost felt like I had to ask for permission.

Today, because it is now today, I have to do some serious chores. There will be no dilly dallying around. First I have to go see my SPN and when I get home I will dust and vacuum and mop the kitchen floor. Then I will clean the bathroom and do a load of laundry or two. I will just have to prove that it is at times possible for me to be a diligent housewife. I don´t know who I will be proving it to, but only to myself. That should be good enough then, but it is better if there is someone to be witness to it when it is done. I can´t even show off my haphazard housewifely skills.

Well, alright then. This was not my most exciting post, but for one written in the middle of the night it´s not bad. I´ll try to be more entertaining the next time. Just tell me what you want. More drama, more irony, more humor? It´s yours for the asking.

Have a great day. I hope you get the weather you wish for and the events you hope for.

Ciao,
Nora.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The early morning...


I woke up to the same scene this morning as I did yesterday. The dog and Gandhi on the pillow and Toby next to me on the bed, very cozily, and I hate to upset the idyllic little scene, because everybody thinks they need to get up when I do. The cats think I will do interesting things in the kitchen, which I do, because if their milk dish is empty, or if the milk has gone sour, they get new milk straight from the refrigerator and they love that. The dog wants a treat, but he only gets one if he has gone out back for a piddle, so he does a small one to satisfy me and then gets his treat and goes back to sleep. I should know by now that this is our routine, but every morning the animals need to remind me that this is what we do. Well, I can't be expected to perform flawlessly first thing in the morning. I need to have some coffee first.

Yesterday afternoon, at around 3 o'clock, the same feelings of loathing and despair started sneaking up on me as they had the day before. I tried to outwit them for a while, but realized that I needed to go to sleep. I laid down on the sofa in a meditative position and closed my eyes and tuned out everything around me and inside of me and very soon afterwards, I fell asleep and slept for nearly two hours. I felt much better when I woke up, but I felt that I could have slept more, and later in the evening fell asleep watching TV. When I woke up, I took my medication and went straight to bed and slept until 4 o'clock this morning.

I think I need to remember that it is this time of year again, when I always have a harder time and I'm a little bit crazier than I am the rest of the time. It's when the leaves start changing color and start falling from the trees when I do, the same as I do when in the springtime the leaves start coming on the trees. Those are my crazy periods and my father had them too. It is more noticeable now that I live in a country with four seasons, where before in California I don't remember being so aware of that. I think my crazy periods were more haphazard, though they may have been seasonably bound, but I don't remember, because, like everything in my past, it is all very fuzzy and hard to recall.

I do know, for instance, that traveling to the United States makes me depressed and traveling back to Europe makes me hypo manic. That has something to do with the time difference, so I don't like traveling to the States, because I arrive there feeling very down and unable to get over it for the relatively short time that I'm there. When I get back to Europe, I'm full of energy and I have no jet lag and can adjust to the local time with no effort at all. I hate to disappoint my daughter by not going there, but that is the real reason. I'm not much fun when I'm depressed and I feel like a ball and chain around her leg, unable to cheer myself up, try as I might.

That's just a bit of information I thought I'd throw in gratuitously. The rhythm of the days and nights, and the hours of daylight, make such a difference in your mood. If you are susceptible to that. I being a Northern European am. By all rights I should be going into hibernation now, or moving to a sunny southern country. Many Northern Europeans move to Spain in the wintertime, especially people who live in Scandinavia where it really gets dark in winter.

Shortly we're going to have daylight saving time and that is really going to throw me for a loop. It will get so dark so early in the afternoon and I will always get up much too early in the morning. It will take a while before I get used to that. I wish we'd do away with it altogether, but I am just a lonely voice who can't make a difference. If there were a petition, I would sign it, but would it stand a chance?

Well. that's all very well, but now I have to get dressed and get the show on the road. I have creative therapy this morning and I'm going to be working on my third painting. The second one is done and I need to get the first two home with the help of my sister and her car. I can't transport them by bike. The wind will catch them and blow them to smithereens, that is if I were to take them one at the time.

Have a good morning. No doubt you will see me here again later today. I have an award to give away.

Ciao,
Nora.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A cup of coffee...


I had another good night's sleep and didn't even read my book ahead of time, but just turned the light off and pushed my head into the pillow and pulled the duvet over me and went to sleep. It's the loveliest thing in the world when that happens, when I'm so tired that I fall asleep the moment I lie down in bed. I don't remember getting up in the middle of the night, though doubtlessly I did, but I must not have registered it very well. I do remember seeing Gandhi and the dog lying on his pillow together, with Gandhi taking up more than her equal share of it. The dog tolerates her reluctantly. He hasn't figured out a way to get her off his pillow yet and growling doesn't work. She's not the least bit intimidated by that and just stays put. When I woke up this morning, the situation was unchanged and Toby was lying beside me on the bed, huddled like a warm little stove against my body. Thus we celebrate togetherness here.

Yesterday afternoon I fell asleep on the sofa and when I woke up in the early evening, I felt very bad. I felt self hatred and a loathing that was so strong that I wanted to self destruct. I fought very hard not to give in to those feelings, but it was very difficult and I thought about harming myself and taking many pills to make the feelings go away. I was trying to remind myself that the feelings were temporary and that they would be gone again in the morning after a good night's sleep, but somehow that didn't want to penetrate my thick skull and I was only one big bunch of negative emotions that didn't know what to do with herself.

I sat unable to make up my mind about what to do. I thought about writing about it, but realized it would make for a very dramatic and negative piece of writing that would upset all of you. I wanted to share my feelings, but I didn't know who to share them with. I wanted to divert my attention, but didn't know how. All I could think was how very much I hated myself at that moment and how very much I wanted to somehow reflect that hatred. Nevertheless, I kept myself from committing any desperate deeds, and that was a struggle inside myself.

Right then, I got an email from Maggie May with a list of books that I had asked for, that she had enjoyed very much and that I could look up at Bookmooch and at Bol.com. Somehow this came like rain on a desert plain and my mind latched onto it as something useful to do and to take it off the negative thoughts and onto something more productive. Do you believe in providence? It was meant to be, so I busied myself with looking up books and that got my mind on a completely different track. By the time I was done, my medication was working and I no longer felt self hatred and loathing. I was saved by Maggie's list of books.

I wonder what in the world the function is of feeling self hatred and loathing? I can't for the life of me figure out any sort of useful purpose for it. It is only plain and darn right dangerous. Why would you, when you are at your most vulnerable, have these god awful thoughts play in your head, that will lead you on a self destructive path? I can only think it must be a glitch in the system that messes up your thinking so badly. I think sleep resets your thought processes to a more normal basis and certainly the medication does. It is unbelievable that your own mind turns itself against you and wants to harm you in any way and that you have to fight those thoughts and somehow persevere in spite of them, when the easiest thing is to give in to them and go along with the self destruction.

I have to remember to go to sleep when I have feelings like these. I have misplaced my sign that tells me so. I must try to find it, but I have no idea what happened to it. I will will rummage around some of my papers today. It's a well known fact by now that sleep saves me from my worst feelings and that if I get enough of it, I will do well and not fall apart as easily. The worst thing that can happen is to be woken up in the middle of a deep sleep and to try and function, like what happened yesterday when I woke up from the alarm clock that went off to tell me it was time for me to take my medication. I was befuddled when I woke up and unable to place myself in the right context.

Well, I lived through another experience of how not to take care of myself with the timely intervention, however, of the email from Maggie. She's the one who told me to read The Secret Scripture, so you can imagine that any book she recommends is bound to be a good one. I think I'll try The God Squad next, by Paddy Doyle. It's bound to tear my heart apart, but that's what great literature is all about. It makes you want to read it, no matter how painful it is, if in the end there is hope.

That's the story of my life, you know. No matter how downright frustrating it gets, in the end there's always hope, every time, over and over again. Each day is a new day full of possibilities and the day before is left behind as a tale to tell, to no longer dwell over, but to move on from. A lesson learned, hopefully.

Now I will go and read some blogs, but most importantly, eat some brunch. I've had my glasses of fruit juice and now I'm ready for something solid.

Have a good day. The sun is shining here and the sky is blue. An Indian summer day after all. Tomorrow there will be rain.

Ciao,
Nora

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The second cup...


I've just made myself a second cup of coffee and I think that it will properly waken me. I've had a long night's sleep, nearly eleven hours, and it's taking me a little bit to wake up to the point that I'm completely firing away on all cylinders. Not that I'm not making sense yet, but I still feel a little sluggish and my head feels like it's insulated from my body by cotton wrappings. Which is not such a bad state to be in, I suppose, as long as there are peepholes for my eyes.

I feel hungover after yesterday's incident and I wonder if that is the natural conclusion to an anxiety attack? Or am I feeling hungover from all the sleep I've had? I feel I should have a cold beer as a cure for it, but I won't go that route in case I decide I want more than one. Then I'll really be far from home. So, instead I'm drinking this deliciously strong, extra dark roast coffee and making the best of it. And sitting in my pajamas on top of that, because it is Saturday morning, after all, and I get to be lazy. The dog knows this and is very patient and does his piddles out back, until he really has to go for a walk to do his bigger business.

Did I tell you that I finished reading Secret Scripture? Oh, it was such a wonderful novel and I've just been informed that it was based on a true story. It was so well written and with such compassion and careful thought and eye to detail. I can highly recommend it if you haven't read it yet.

I've now started reading Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan, which is a completely different novel and is taking me a while to get into, but I usually like the books she writes, so I assume I will like this one also.

I've taken to sitting in my armchair in the afternoon with my book and my reading glasses, and my coffee and cigarettes, and reading for a few hours. I only sit in the armchair when I read, so that makes it a special place for that purpose and I don't fall asleep over my book there. It's a real ritual to get ready to sit there and have all my paraphernalia there, so it really is a very special place. By rights I should drink tea there, but I prefer coffee. The dog keeps me company. Of course, I did none of this yesterday when I was preoccupied with something completely different, but I intend to sit there this afternoon.

I am trying not to think beyond today. I am very much trying to live in the moment. I think that's the best defense against anxiety. I think I mustn't anticipate too much, but just let things happen as they come and not worry ahead of time too much. I will avoid doing anything complicated for a while and I will judge each situation for its complexity and make a decision based on it. I think I take after one of my grandmothers who lived in the same house her whole life and who didn't go farther from home than the shops around the corner. Compared to her, I'm quite adventurous. She lived to be ninety four, but she was a very anxious person, I am very laid back in comparison. Jeez, really?

I've just had to get dressed and walk the dog, because he could not wait any longer and much to my surprise it is very nice weather outside, when yesterday it was so cool and autumn like. Mother nature continues to surprise us. The sun is shining and there is no wind and the sky is blue. Wait! Didn't I like overcast skies and a drizzle? I thought so, but actually, today I don't mind this weather too much. As long as it doesn't get too warm and I do assume this is the last of it, so we must enjoy it while we can. I just don't want the weather to remind me of California. As long as it doesn't do that, and I don't make those associations, I'm okay.

My poor boots are falling apart. I need to glue the sole of the other one now and keep it going for a while longer, but they are on their last legs. It's a shame, because I've enjoyed wearing them a lot, but I am hard on my footwear and as a rule it only lasts one season, unless it is incredibly well made and where do you find shoes or boots like that anymore, unless they cost a fortune? I will have to start wearing my other boots that belong to this season more, which is fortunate. I call those my shit kicking boots, but they are lady like, they're just tougher. Actually, they are tough broad boots.

I haven't been a tough broad consciously for a while. It was always my ambition to be one and very often I was very much aware of trying to be one. I haven't felt it that much in a while. Maybe I should concentrate on that desire again. It is why I bought those tough leather jackets that I like to wear so much. I figured tough broads wear tough leather jackets. They also wear tough boots. I want to have some cowboy boots. I've wanted a pair for a while now and just haven't found the right ones for the right price yet. I must look around for some. I think cowboy boots are as tough as you can get, unless they're motorcycle boots, but I'm not going to wear those. I think I can wear cowboy boots on my bike, don't you think so?

I have to mosey along now and check out some blogs. My medication, that I took two and a half hours ago, is working now and I feel much better. Thank goodness for small favors. It has to build up in my system and then I'll be alright. Soon enough I get to take my next dose and I'm looking forward to that.

Have a nice day, all of you, whichever kind of weather you have, be it drizzly or sunny.

Ciao,
Nora

Friday, September 25, 2009

In a panic...


I was getting ready this afternoon to go and meet my friend Von downtown at the café on the Our Dear Lady Square. I had changed into something suitable and had pulled on my nice, long, black cardigan with the two big buttons and was all ready to leave the apartment, when I was suddenly hit by a huge panic attack. It hit me out of the blue and it was like the air was squeezed out of my lungs suddenly and a fist was squeezed around my heart. All of the sudden I was immobilized and could not leave the apartment. I felt like something terrible was going to happen to me if I did.

I pulled off my cardigan and threw it in the closet and pulled off my tunic and threw that in the closet too, and pulled on a T-shirt in order to get some air. The panic didn't lessen and I felt like I was going crazy, but I knew what was happening to me and I also knew that I had to try and stay as calm as I could. I got my phone out and tried to call my SPN, like our agreement is when I run into any sort of trouble, especially after lowering the anti psychotics. My SPN wasn't in, but the secretary connected me with my psychiatrist and we discussed what was happening.

He asked me what I was afraid of about going into town and I told him it was the traffic, the buses, the trucks, the cars, the scooters, the traffic lights, everything. It all seemed highly intimidating and too much to deal with. He said that I probably felt very vulnerable and unable to deal with what I perceived was chaos, and I said, yes, that's what it was, it seemed like chaos to me and I didn't want to be in the middle of it for fear that something would happen to me. He said for me to spend some time thinking about the origin of this fear this weekend and to discuss it with my SPN at the next appointment, and in the meantime to increase the anti psychotic medication again for a while.

All I know is that I had these anxiety attacks when I was a child too, especially when I was traveling with my family by train across the country and I thought we were going to not make our connection, but I was really little when that happened. I think I felt a lot of anxiety when I was a child and I always felt that I had to be hyper alert to prevent something awful from happening. Apparently I felt it was a big unpredictable and dangerous world out there and I didn't think my parents were capable of keeping me safe from it. That's one thing I'm sure of, and that is the incapacity of my parents to make me feel safe.

Now it seems, that I don't quite trust myself to keep me safe in what I perceive is a chaotic world. There are too many things that I assume can go wrong in it, and rather than take the chance to possibly face those things, I choose to stay home safely and make sure I'm not exposed to anything unpleasant or harmful. That is, when an anxiety attack gets a hold of me and takes over my normal functioning, although I have that tendency anyway. To be fearful of the world at large. I guess under certain conditions, your tendencies become magnified and immobilize you.

So, I took my anti psychotic medication and started to wait for the panic attack to ease up, when the Exfactor drove up on his motorcycle. He had not counted on me being home and had come to get tools from the shed and motor parts. It was very fortunate that he came, because I needed some things from the store and, of course, I was in no state to get them. Luckily, he was more than willing to go get them for me and I made him a short list and he was back in no time at all. In the meantime I did breathing exercises and waited for the medication to start working, which it has by now. As a matter of fact, I feel sort of sleepy, but I think that is in reaction to the stress.

The mind is a crazy thing and it will throw you for a loop. Suddenly it does a nosedive and decides to go in another direction than you were going when you least expect it. Of course, it all happens subconsciously for a reason and mine is to figure out why.

My psychiatrist said to think back on the thoughts I had while I was getting ready to leave this afternoon. I thought of the stain in my cardigan that I had a hard time removing and I thought about stopping by the cash machine and taking out money and how dear it was. I also thought I might stop by my favorite store to see if they would have anything on sale for ten Euros, because I would allow myself to spend that much, even though I could not even afford that.

Innocuous thoughts, no? I sometimes don't even understand myself how my mind works. How there is a bogey man in my head who scares the living daylights out of me sometimes, while they are really my own scariest thoughts that do me in. A misfiring or shortage in my synapses or my neurotransmitters? A chemical imbalance that the medication restores to normal? A ricocheting memory?

Anyway, I'm safe inside the apartment and brave enough to go walk the dog in a few hours. That's a very uncomplicated task. It's one of the simplest and safest things I do during the day. Have dog, will go outside around the field. I just must make sure I always have a dog, otherwise I will become a recluse. The danger lurks in a small corner. Having a dog is one of the best things I ever did. Not discounting the fact that he's a super nice dog. He gets me out of the apartment three times a day.

Well, it's just been a blast writing all of this down. It's taken me forever to do it. I had to stop and think about it quite a bit and ponder over things and read and reread what I had written to make sure I didn't sound like a mad woman. Well, if I do then that's what I am. It can't be helped. There has to be at least one in every crowd. Let me be your gratuitous mad woman.

Have a good rest of the day. I'm going to try and normalize myself as much as possible. I think I will eat some food and drink some coffee. That sounds like a good idea.

Ciao,
Nora

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The second time...


Now that I'm up for the second time, I'll try to write another post again. I went to bed at seven o'clock this morning and slept for a few hours and now I feel well rested and mostly awake. Of course, my cups of coffee are helping me tremendously and I'm making them very strong. I have to run a bottle of vinegar through the Senseo machine in a little while and I'll be curious to taste the difference in the coffee once I'm done with that. It usually gives me a much better cup of coffee, so I can't wait. It's the little pleasures in life that make me happy. A good cup of coffee makes me happy. By all rights I should have a cookie to go with it, but then I'd eat half the package, so it's a good thing that I don't.

When I go grocery shopping, I don't put anything on the list that's bad for me and I only shop off the list. That way I'm not tempted to wander down the aisles to look for things and get distracted by food that looks especially good and that wants me to put it in my basket. Every once in a while I get tempted and add something that was not on my list, but mostly I stick to it, and that is for financial reasons too. Money doesn't go as far as it used to. It does save me from buying ready made puddings and that sort of nonsense that's all fattening stuff. Because, let's face it, I have a sweet tooth just like anybody else and I see things I want to eat constantly. Luckily, the sweets and the cookies are contained within their own aisles and I don't even have to walk down those. I just give them a passing glance on my way to the coffee pads. It's very smart of the supermarket to arrange things this way.

I painted a field of flowers this morning that I'm mildly happy with and I started on another landscape painting, but then I got this terrible desire to lie in my bed and read my book, so that's what I did. It was very cozy and I'm making headway in my book, which is still Secret Scripture. I am coming toward the end of it now and am completely wrapped up in it. I will read it during the day today too, because I can't wait to see how it ends. It is so well written that none of the sentences bother you in their structure and that is saying a lot, because sometimes you can stumble over something like that. It all just flows naturally. Sebastian Barry is a very good writer and he must have also had a very good editor. I wonder if he had to do many rewrites? You can't imagine that when you read the book. You feel that he wrote it down like that in one fell swoop.

I've mooched 23 books through Bookmooch. That's how many novels I have to read and there are more on their way. I've sent 11 books so far and I have 5 left to send. I send 5 to 6 books a month, that's all the budget can bear. I think for now I will have enough to read and I'm not going to change my inventory right away, because that will mean more moochers and more books to send and, of course, I will want to spend my points on books as well. First I have to make a dent in this pile of novels. There are some really interesting ones there that I can't wait to read. Then there is my wish list at Bol.com where I want to order books that I can't get at Bookmooch. At Bol.com you can get the paperback editions at a discount price. As soon as I have the money, I will be ordering my next book from them. And I think a new bookcase too.

Oh, but then I forgot about the shelves in the bedroom where there is lots of room to add books. I just need to rearrange some things to make space. Some of my sculptures will have to be moved and the three pieces of soapstone will have to go back into a box. I'm not going to be working on them anyway. That was an ambition I've thrown overboard, although I made one sculpture once and gave it to my ex in the States. I do kind deeds like that sometimes. I haven't got the proper tools to work on the soapstone and I'm not very interested in it anymore. My friend Joost likes soapstone and I'll give my pieces to him.

Guess what? The Exfactor just came by for a cup of cofffee and he brought a whole large package of cookies with him. I haven't opened it yet and I think I will keep it unopened, so I will not give in to the temptation and keep them for special occasions, whatever they may be. The dog hasn't spotted them yet, which is good, because he likes these very much also. The Exfactor is always bringing me cookies. You can draw your conclusions from that if you wish.

I've walked the dog and the weather is overcast but not at all cold. It was pleasant enough to just go out in my sweater. It rained earlier this morning, which was nice and the world smells fresh and clean. This is my kind of weather and it pleases my very much. I feel my mood lifting because of it.

I've also run vinegar through the Senseo machine and it doesn't make as much noise now when it makes a cup of coffee. I think that the coffee tastes better too, but that could be all in my imagination. Wishful thinking, sort to say. I think that today I will really get some chores done instead of just talking about it. I feel up to the task. I won't do that many things and some of them will even be pleasant. Like arranging books on the shelves in the bedroom.

I think lowering the anti psychotic medication has been a good move. It took a few days to get the extra medication out of my system, but I feel better now and instead of taking it spread over the day, I take it all at once before I go to bed, like I used to. That way the maximum side effects happen at night when I'm asleep, or I should say, when I'm supposed to be asleep. It's supposed to make me sleepy, but I haven't noticed that. Like I said, when you take a large a dose of it, it has a tendency to make you feel depressed, that's why it's so important to get back to you regular dose as soon as possible.

I'm wearing lavender leggings, a blue denim skirt, a gray and blue striped sweater, and much to my embarrassment no necklace yet. How could I forget such an important attribute? I am nearly naked! I'll have to remedy that situation immediately and find the proper necklace to wear quickly before anyone else sees me. I can't be seen in polite company this way.

Well, I'll go and do some work now. Maybe I'll even play some music to accompany me. That will be a change! I, who like solitude and silence.

Have a good day, even, or especially, if it rains.

Ciao,
Nora

Another middle of the nighter.


Well now, what do you think has happened? I was very tired early in the evening and went to bed at 8:30 pm, only to wake up at 12:30 am and find myself wide awake as if it was morning already and time to get up. Of course, I got up, because there is no sense lying in bed looking at the ceiling and ruminating over the past day, so I carefully stepped over the sleeping dog and went to the kitchen to make myself a cup of decaf. Since then, I've been sitting here behind the computer trying to keep myself entertained, and in a little while I'm going to sit down at the dining table and paint. I may as well make a productive night out of it.

It's really funny when you get up so early that it's barely even tomorrow yet. You look at the alarm clock and think to yourself that the time can't be right, but then you look at your watch and see that it is and you think, what am I going to do with this whole long night ahead of me? Of course, there are always numerous ways to entertain yourself on the Internet and I don't quickly run out of things to do.

Nowadays I even go to Facebook every day and that is something I used to neglect to do for long periods of time. I am a much better networker now than I used to be, although I don't use it to its full advantage, but I see people who do and I admire their enthusiasm and stamina. I like to see the artists and the pieces of art they create and I always hope there is new work to look at. Some of them are most excellent and the more abstract the art, the better I like it, because I am a primitive figurative painter myself. I always try to befriend artists and when I browse through suggested friends, that's what I look for. Many people have their artwork as their ativar.

Of course, I also read all the new posts of all the blogs I follow and leave comments there. I don't actually visit many artists blogs, because I like to read stories and I'm interested in how people tell them and use the language and get their point across and how a story unfolds. I also like the various subjects people write about and that make me think about things in my own life, although I also read a lot of Mommy blogs and I am certainly past that stage. I read those for the humor and the human interest and to remember my own experiences and to know I was not so unique in them. They're very eye opening.

So anyway, slowly the hands of the clock are moving toward the morning hour. It's becoming a more and more decent hour to be up as I feel the day creeping towards me. I want it to stay nighttime a little while longer, because I do want to paint for a while and I want to do that before I have to get dressed and walk the dog and get started on my chores. I do have those chores waiting for me and I think today might be the day that I tackle some of them.

I have an almost total lack of interest in how clean my floors are. I mean I sweep and vacuum them, but I hardly get around to mopping them. It just doesn't turn me on. The thought of bringing out the mop and the bucket is almost more than I can bear to think about. Isn't that silly? And I know that when I make a bucket full of suds, I will have those floors done in no time at all. It is just a matter of getting over the initial inertia.

It must have to do with the fact that by nature I'm not a good housewife at all and it displeases me to have to do it. I like things to be organized and picked up, but I don't like the actual cleaning and scrubbing. It's that my mother taught me how to clean house, otherwise I might not have liked to do it at all. We girls had to help clean the house from top to bottom every Saturday and we weren't dismissed until it was all done. We weren't allowed to complain about it either. And we had to dust all the baseboards, something I don't do now and it shows. My knees don't allow baseboard cleaning. They are too knobby and bony for it on the hard linoleum. Some day...I must keep my chin up and remember that one day the whole living room is going to be painted and that will include the baseboards.

Well, now I'm going to paint before it's too late to get started on it. This was just a wee hours of the morning ramble. I'll try to write something decent later on in the day. Maybe I'll be mightily inspired and write an epic story. Yeah!

Have a good day. It's supposed to rain here, so it should be very cozy inside and I'll get to wear layers of clothes when I go out.

Ciao,
Nora

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Melancholy...


I slept well last night. I fell asleep at eleven o'clock and didn't wake up until the alarm clock went off at seven this morning. It felt so good to have slept so well. I was very much rested and I noticed the difference when I got up. There was a bounce in my step when I walked to the kitchen to get my cup of coffee and I needed only one to get going. I was functioning well before eight o'clock and ready to take the dog for his walk.

It was cool outside and overcast and there was a bit of a cold wind blowing, but I like that, so I was quite happy with the turn in the weather. It feels good when the exposed parts of my body get just a bit colder than they ought to and it's nice to be inside again. You appreciate the relative warmth of being inside. I had bare legs, while I should have worn leggings, but I was too much of an optimist and thought it might become warmer. It never really did, though.

After I'd made myself a pack of cigarettes, I got on my bike and rode to the clinic for my first creative class on Wednesdays. I was quite excited about going, which is an amazing thing, because I haven't gotten over my melancholy yet and am as deep into it as I was yesterday. Still, the anticipation of doing some new things artistically was enough to make me peddle my bike quickly and I was there in five minutes time.

I sat on the deck with a cup of espresso, catching all the wind that blew and feeling just a bit cold in my short leather jacket. It was nice, though, and such a relief from feeling too hot in the Indian summer sun that had been shining. There were only a few people out there at first and the stragglers came out at the last minute and all complained about the cold. Nobody was properly dressed for that kind of weather yet. We've all got summer on our minds still.

When the class started, I got all the colored inks out and a large sheet of paper and a large piece of cardboard to tape the paper on. Then I splattered different colors ink on the paper and tilted it upwards to make the ink run downwards. This made it look like blobs with long stems on them that went all the way to the bottom on the sheet of paper. Then I made abstract looking flowers of the blobs with the same colors ink and then with green ink painted lots of green grass upward toward the flowers. Next I got a pen and dipped it in ink that was a shade darker than the colors of the flowers a drew the outlines and the heart of them.

It turned out pretty well, especially since it was the first time that I had tried this and I'm going to do this again next week, now that I know how it works and what to watch out for. I know how to paint the grass better, for instance, and how to paint the flowers better, but all in all I'm happy with the outcome.

I also tried this process on wet paper, but it turned into a fiasco. At first it looked good, but applying multiple colors soon turned it into a blackish mess that I had to throw away. I did make a small version of the first painting on shiny paper to see what the effect would be and it turned out okay, but the ink dried in a much lighter shade and it didn't dry as well and bled at the bottom. It was easier to paint the grass.

Well, that's how I learn things and now I can't wait to buy a set of colored inks of my own and start experimenting at home. The inks are all water soluble and fun to work with. You do get them all over your hands and arms, at least I do, and I make a right mess of it.

I had to go see my SPN straight after class and I rode my bike over there. It was only a fifteen minute ride at most. I had to wait for some traffic signals, or I would have been there sooner. I always try to read the magazines in the waiting room, but I never have my reading glasses with me, so I only read the headlines and look at the pictures of whatever style rooms are supposed to be decorated in now.

I told my SPN that I had lowered the dose of my anti psychotics and she asked me what we should be aware of if things went wrong because of it, and I said that I would become suspicious and see a murderer behind every tree. She asked me how she would find out about that and I said that I would tell her about it.

I also told her I was melancholy, but that I was not really depressed and that I was also not really unhappy, but that I wanted to be safe and secure and that I felt a great need to take extra care of myself. She asked me how I did that and I said, by taking on as few challenges as I possibly could. I told her that it was only a temporary condition and that it was not going to last forever and that I didn't think it would get worse.

She noticed I was withdrawn within myself, and it is true, I was not easy to reach and our session only lasted a short time, because I was unable to share very much, but that is just the condition of me right now and it is really nothing to worry about. I feel I need to rely on my own resources and be my own advisor and my own guide. I have to help myself through this stage. Nobody else can come in here and do it. I can only make them aware of it.

It's good to be home again with the animals. I'm going to have to put on some more clothes, though. A pair of leggings, at least, and maybe some sock and boots. It will be nice and warm.

Have a great day, or what's left of it. Unless it's still ahead of you, that's possible too, of course.

Ciao,
Nora

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Just not doing it...


Well, the first thing I did after I wrote my post this morning was to go lie down on the sofa and fall asleep for about two hours. I still had my pajamas on and had not even walked the dog yet. He did not complain and just slept beside me and when I woke up, I took my time and smoked a cigarette while I got my bearings. I was befuddled and not feeling all that great and I was a bit confused about my mood, which didn't seem to be all that happy, but I blamed it on the effects of the nap.

I finally did end up getting dressed and taking the poor, patient dog for a walk and he was very relieved about that, but when I got home, I did not speed to the post office and the tobacconist like I was supposed to. I made myself a cup of coffee and sat down behind the computer and told myself that I could finish the coffee before I had to leave, giving myself a bit of time to gather my courage together.

Why I had to do this, I do not know, but for some reason it seemed difficult to run errands and I was trying to get out of it, though I could not and needed to do them. I was short of a great deal of enthusiasm and I knew I was not in a good mood the way I had been when I had gotten up earlier in the morning, when the world had been dark and quiet and safe.

I smoked three cigarettes and drank my coffee slowly. Actually, it was cold when I took the last sips of it. Then I got up and picked up the packages that I needed to mail, and grabbed my purse before I could change my mind, and wheeled my bike outside. With some amount of trepidation I rode it to the little post office in the grocery store and mailed the packages. It was not nearly the painful financial burden that I had anticipated it would be and that was a relief. Then I rode my bike over to the tobacconist and got my supply of tobacco and filter tubes and with a relieved heart rode my way home. I wanted nothing more than to be inside the apartment and to not go out again, except to walk the dog, and to be safe and sound within the four walls of the living room.

In my effort to understand myself and my moods, I'm trying to figure out this current one, but I'm unable to pinpoint the cause of my need to hole myself up and to not want to do anything, but to be safe and practically immobile. I feel like I have to nurture myself and protect myself from the world at large and to not do anything upsetting, however small a deed that is. I am living with all my chores undone and don't have any of the motivation or the drive or the necessity to get them done and I don't feel bad about it, because I know that they will get done when I'm done feeling this way. All I can think is that somehow I must make myself secure and find as much peace and quiet as I possibly can and in no way make anything complicated at all. It's as if I'm in the waiting room of a large train station, that is well insulated against the noise around me, and I'm going to have to wait a long while for my train. It's possibly The Orient Express and I'm going on a long journey past the point of destination.

I don't know why I am melancholy. I must be over yesterday's meeting by now. As far as I can see everything has been clearly settled and there are no unknowns. It may be the weather that's influencing me. We are having an Indian summer, but the sunlight is shining at a different angle and makes the world look forlorn and lonely, as if it is giving up its last good days before fall really starts. I think I would feel more normal if the sky was overcast and gray and if some rain would fall out of it. Now it is as if we are waiting for the Second Coming and the world is holding its breath. Actually, this best could be described as earthquake weather and it would be, if I still lived in California. Maybe this is what it reminds me of.

Yes, I'm sure that's it. California in the fall. One of the seasons that I could never get used to, because there was no cold wind and there were no trees changing colors or bulky sweaters to wear. I always felt there was something wrong and felt very alienated from my environment, as if I was in the wrong place. That's how it feels now. I suppose people have a seasonal clock inside themselves and anticipate certain kinds of weather, at least the kind they're used to growing up with. I suppose I long for cold weather now and bulky clothes and warm socks and boots. Remind me to not complain about these things later on in the season. It's not true that sunlight always makes you happy. I can be very glad with overcast days and drizzling rain.

I need to go take a nap. I feel it in my bones. There is a certain kind of weariness. The sofa looks awfully inviting and I think I will go lie down there with my book.

Have a good rest of the day and enjoy your weather, especially if you happen to have a nice shower right now.

Ciao,
Nora

At long last...


I went to bed at seven o'clock yesterday evening, because I was so tired from having been up all night, and I slept until four o'clock this morning, so I would say that I got enough sleep.

After I wrote my post yesterday morning, I slept on the sofa for a few hours and missed creative therapy, but my need to sleep was greater. I think I know now why I could not sleep that night. I had a therapist-patient meeting at the clinic yesterday afternoon, with my SPN also, and I was worried about that, because we were going to discuss my ending date for the therapies and what I was going to do afterwards.

I always have a tendency to not think these sort of things bother me, while subconsciously they do very much and I worry about them quite a bit, but I don't allow myself to feel that. This effects my emotions and my mood, without me immediately being aware of the cause of it. Of course, if I were to stop and think, I would see the cause and the effect, but I don't allow myself to do that soon enough, so I sit around feeling bad without knowing why. It isn't until afterwards that I realize how much something like that meeting had been bothering me and how much of my nervous energy had been used up in anticipation of it.

During the day I thought I was getting depressed, because my mood was very low and I found it impossible to do the things I was supposed to do. I had to do the grocery shopping and go to the post office and the tobacconist and I couldn't for the life of me motivate myself to go to these places. All I wanted to do was stay inside and be safe there. I wanted to hide inside and not come out. I was all out of milk, though, and I needed dog food, so I called the Exfactor, who was supposed to come by, and asked him if he would go to the grocery store for me, which he gladly did. The man is such a peach and I can always count on him to help me out in a jamb.

At least the groceries were taken care of and the rest of the errands could wait until today. I didn't know what my mood was going to be like, but I assumed it would be better and that I would at least make sure that I got enough sleep, because that always seems to help a lot.

The patient-therapist meeting went well and I must say that I got a lot of praise about my progress. The therapists were very satisfied with me. I also got the okay to start with the creative class on Wednesdays and I'm very happy about that. My last day of therapy will be December the 18th. In the meantime, my SPN has to put in an application for me to join the classes in the downstairs area of the clinic, where I can do creative and other activities, but where there is no therapy, only a specialist who helps you with the specific activity. This is all fine with me as long as there is structure and busyness in my week. It was deemed important that I get out of the house and amongst people and I couldn't agree with that more.

So, today I will go to the post office and to the tobacconist. Those are just simple errands and things I can oversee. I will also clean the apartment a little bit. Luckily, Jesker isn't shedding a lot right now and it must be the time of year. I have to vacuum, but don't I always, and I have to dust. I think I'll change the sheets on my bed again, because the ones hanging on the rack in the bathroom are dry. I am just going to do whatever odd job there is to do and not make a big plan. It will be hit and run chore day. That way it won't seem so intimidating. Some days there's nothing worse than having a list of chores that you have to work your way through, while on other days that might be perfect.

It's time for me to get dressed and walk Jesker who has just eaten a bowl of food. No doubt he has some unloading to do. Have a terrific day. It is overcast here and I don't know what the weather is supposed to be like today. I forgot to watch the news yesterday. Oh yeah, I was busy sleeping.

Ciao,
Nora

Monday, September 21, 2009

A new look...


Yes, you will think you have arrived on someone else's page, but you really are in the right place. I was tired of my old look and wanted something radically different and chose this, because I liked the font and the plainness of the page. Right now I like having no picture and just the title and the simple dots. Sometimes I want change, because I get tired of what I always look at and I need something new to invigorate me. Blogger doesn't have many templates to choose from and this is the best one I could come up with. I think it will do nicely.

I have been up most of the night. I woke up very early and had no sleep left in me. There was no sense in staying in bed, because all I would do is lay there and think about stuff that would bother me, such as my past sins and other evils. No, I'm joking, but only partly so. I don't know what would happen if I laid awake in bed at night, because I never do. I avoid that at all costs. In the past I used to think about very sad things, but I haven't given myself the opportunity to do that in a long time, because I get up the minute I wake up and I don't go back to bed until I'm literally keeling over from sleep.

Past sins are the thoughts that come and haunt you in the middle of the night when your defenses are down and when you are at your most helpless and not able to fight a good fight and resist the harshness of your most cruel memories. And everything you think is tainted by the deepest color black and honed to the sharpest cut to make the deepest wounds. It's an onslaught of negative memories that make you cower under the covers and want to hide your whole being in shame.

The worst thing you can do is lay there like a helpless victim and let it wash all over you. My tactic is to get up and escape the darkness and the thoughts and to find the light and some distraction for my mind. Now I've gotten to the point where the negative thoughts don't even have a chance to enter my head, but I open my eyes and am beside my bed and the next second I am in the living room with the lights on and then in the kitchen to make myself a cup of coffee and to light a cigarette. Immediately my thoughts turn to the upcoming day and the things I will do in it and how exciting those will be, no matter how small and simple, and I don't spend a moment pondering over my past and the "evil" deeds I've committed in it.

You can either forgive yourself or put your deeds in the context of the time and place and circumstances in which they happened and learn to live with them and I think I have done the latter. It was not so much a question of forgiveness as of understanding. The understanding it takes to only take your share of the responsibility and not a portion more than that. To leave the rest for the other people involved, whether they accept it or not. You can't make people accept their responsibility, you can only take on that bit of it that is your own and learn to live with that.

It can be infuriating to see how people avoid taking the blame in a drama in which they played a major role and in which they had many of the most important scenes, even after you left and they continued to star in their version of the story. In the end, you can only feel pity for them, because as you grow and gain understanding and insight and wisdom, they stagnate and flounder in their repetitive motions and scripts and scenarios, bound to make the same mistakes over and over again. Not that you are suddenly faultless, but at least you try to improve and discover somebody else than who you were when it wasn't working.

Life seems to be a long journey leading up to graduate school. I am now studying for my master's degree in living well. Which is the best revenge, isn't it? Living well is the best revenge.

Now, I'm not claiming that I'm living the optimal life, far from it. I have a way to go yet. There are many things I'm not doing yet, adventures I'm not having, chances I'm not taking, places I'm not visiting. journeys I'm not making. But it will all come in its own sweet time. I'm playing it safe right now. Exploring minimal ground, just base camp and its immediate surroundings. I'm not going anywhere where I can't retreat quickly inside the walls of my apartment. Even more so now that I'm single and this place is so dear to me.

I should add, for all clarity, that what I talked about here is not my second marriage, but my life in the States that lasted 22 years and that was a very important time during which I had two children, a house, 2 cars, a dog, a cat, many friends, a husband, and a heartache. I have divorced that husband, remarried, left the States, lost my son, and gotten divorced again. Now I am single like I ought to be. Finally, I'm on my own. A single, solitary human being. Autonomous and independent and not yet lonely.

Ciao,
Nora

Sunday, September 20, 2009

When in doubt....


It's that time of the evening again. The time just before sunset and the time when I don't know what to do with myself. I've walked the dog and had my dinner and read my emails, so there's nothing left for me to do but write a post. Oh sure, I hear you, I could sit down and make a drawing, but I am absolutely not inspired right now. I have no picture in my head that I want to put down on paper. The only things that remain are words and you can read some of them here.

Sometimes words are the easiest things to come by when all else fails. When I can't draw or paint or clean house or water the plants or make my bed or do the laundry, I can always write. It takes the least amount of effort and is as easy as breathing or drinking coffee and smoking my cigarettes. It comes as easy as that and I never get bored with it, and why should I? In how many places do you get to sit down and write about the things that interest you and that revolve around you? It's like I'm constantly writing my autobiography without an editor to correct me.

Of course, there's writer's block and the moment you say you don't suffer from it, you have it and don't know what to write about. That's when you have to put your mind on the middle distance gazing view and let it take over your command of the keyboard. You will notice that very rapidly the words come rolling out of your head without you consciously having to think about them, and that they find their way to the screen effortlessly. You wouldn't believe the amount of monologue you can produce this way, unhindered as you are by a responding typist.

Yes, the moment blogging was invented was a great moment for people like me who like to ramble on about nothing in particular at all and about everything under the sun in general. There is no subject that I will not discuss, but the subjects that I do discuss are always those that are closest to my heart, without giving away too much of myself and disclosing everything I am about and my deepest, darkest secrets. I pick and choose through the skeletons in my closet and choose the fleshiest ones that do not rattle too much and don't tell too horrid a tale.

Of course, everybody thinks that a blog is like a confessional and that you need to tell all and keep no secrets from your loyal readers, and in a a way that is true and very often I give in to this notion and share my daily haps and mishaps and my general embarrassments as if I know no shame and I have no privacy to consider. I want to share freely and give you a decent idea what it is like to be me in this world I inhabit, but lately I have become a little bit more weary and more sparse with my announcements and I speak in riddles more than I ever used to. I purposely do that and I am like an animal circling the watering hole, watching for crocodiles to snatch it into the dark water.

I guess I want to add an element of mystery to my, up until recently, very public life. Then again, this whole monologue could be an exercise in creative writing and tomorrow I will return to my usual normal, cheerful self without any misgivings at all. It all depends on how true to the core I'm writing now and how close these thoughts are to what I actually feel, or if they are pulled out so deep from my subconscious, that they will seem alien to me in the morning and I will distance myself from them completely. It is very possible that there are two people sitting here behind this computer, one being the creative writer who dramatizes the thoughts into words and sentences, and the other being me who allows it to happen.

There, now I've completely confused you, which is not a bad thing to do, because it makes you think and that makes you not accept everything so easily and complacently.

With those words I'll leave you and say goodnight to you and go turn on the television for a while.

Ciao,
Nora

Another early morning...


I got up so early, that it was almost yesterday. That is because I fell asleep on the sofa last night while watching television, and dragging myself to bed at 11 pm, after I had taken my medicines, and going straight to sleep without even turning the light on to read my book. I'd say I got a lot of sleep and when I woke up in the middle of the night, there was no doubt about getting up and making a cup of coffee.

Needless to say, I didn't work on a collage, because after I had showered and eaten dinner, I just didn't have the energy or inspiration to start one. I slept instead on my weekend sleep schedule that's always out of synchronization with the rest of the week. That's the joy of living alone, that you can decide your own hours to be awake and to be active in, without bothering anyone else. The sound of me tapping on the keyboard used to wake the Exfactor up and I know it bothered him tremendously. Maybe as much as his snoring bothered me.

It's really funny how a person can be awake at the most unusual hours and perform as if it is the middle of the day and have her complete brain function without any problem. You would assume that there would be a sort of jet lag effect, but nothing could be further from the truth. When I wake up in the middle of the night, it only takes me a little while to get my wits about me and to be as sharp as a tack. I can easily do a number of tasks well and probably sit for exams as well, as if it was any time during the day. Providing I had studied for them.

I don't think there is much difference in my mood during the morning or the nighttime, but I am more awake and aware in the morning, or I should say, whenever I just get up. I'm usually full of excitement to start the day and I wonder what it will bring and it doesn't have to be anything big, but at night I am ready to start winding down and I get sleepy and tired and I don't want to start any big projects that require a lot of my attention, unless it is a weekend night and I stay up longer than usual.

I'm not grumpy at any time of the day so I am not specifically a morning or an evening person. I guess when it comes down to it, you could say that I'm a middle of the night person, or a wee hours of the morning person. That's when I'm happiest. I like being up when the rest of the world is still asleep, or so I imagine, and I don't hear anything outside yet. I like the darkness all around me that's only punctuated by the few lights that I have on, specifically the desk lamp that points at the keyboard. I feel like I'm in my own little world and that I'm the only person in it and I only share it with the dog and the cats occasionally.

I suppose I like being at the center of my own universe, where I feel safe and solitary and where complications seem very far away and other people's influence can not be felt. I feel invincible and cocooned inside a well lighted cave, where no other creatures live but those that I invite. It's dry and warm in there and I suppose I'm like a bear waking up from her winter sleep. Alert and aware, but safe and sound.

I don't like other people's complications in my life and I keep them at bay as much as possible. That is, when I became aware of this dislike. I used to be a good Samaritan and wanted to help out everybody, but somewhere along the line I learned a lesson not to do that and to not unnecessarily complicate my own life with the problems of other people. I am a good listener and a good advice giver and I do that often and freely, but I do keep my distance and don't pull other people deeply into my life with the idea that I'm going to rescue them from their fate. My help and involvement always end at my doorstep. Of course, in being a good Samaritan there was also a question of pride involved, to assume I knew better and had all the solutions, while I had the biggest mess in my own hands that I was blind to.

You often see that with people who over involve themselves with the lives of other people. Very often they have a mess on their own hands that they can't solve or are even consciously aware of and go around fixing other people's lives. Very often they project their own problems onto the other person and in reality try to solve their own problems through solving the other person's problems, but they are unaware of this.

Anyway, I sit here and let my mind wander from one random thought to the next and see where it will take me. It's almost like creative writing and I take the words as they come and hardly change them. Just like I do when I write for one of my writer's websites. It's a stream of consciousness writing, but the person who talks is the adult me, who is the one who creates. Which means it's not unabashed writing, but writing with a certain amount of control and inhibition, because writing without inhibition would be spilling the beans and I don't know if I'm up to that, although you may think I've spilled the beans already.

It's one thing to appear open and honest with your words, it's another to conceal all the things that you also could have said, but didn't for the sake of propriety. There are always lots of things left unsaid, that we will only say when we are mean old ladies who no longer worry about what impression we will make and who's feelings we are going to hurt. When flattery is an alien concept to us. My intention is to become such a mean old lady and I hope I make it.

Well, those are enough thoughts for today. I don't want to overwhelm you. I could go on and on, but to what purpose when you have zoned out?

I hope you'll all have a lovely day with sunshine on top of it. As an added extra.

Ciao,
Nora

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The almost laziest day of the week.


I can't say that it was the laziest day of the week, because tomorrow I may be even lazier than I was today, but the real laziest part was when I took an afternoon nap on the sofa and slept for two hours. This was after I cleaned up the kitchen and the dining table and ate lunch. I scrubbed the kitchen counter, which is made of stamped aluminum and always is dirtier than I can imagine why. I'd do anything for a tiled counter. Well no, not anything. I do draw the line at some things, but I would like a tiled counter very much.

I organized my felt tip markers by size and wrapped colored rubber bands around them. Then I got an artist portfolio out and put my painted drawings in it, along with my smaller collages that I made at some other time in my short artist life, and that I still like very much, and they will inspire me to make more, as soon as I get some ordinary sketch paper. I don't want to use the watercolor paper for them, as it is too precious. My second drawing is all done and it turned out well.

I'm sometimes to impatient to wait for the paint to dry, but the sun was shining through the windows and I laid the drawing in it so the wet paint could dry quickly. I finished it with the black felt tip marker and you will get to see it when I have my second canvas done and I will take photos of everything.

I also organized my brushes and am pleased that I have so many of them. I have skinny ones and thicker ones, so one for every job and I clean them very well when I am done with them. I think these are brushes that the Exfactor bought, because they are good quality, and I must have pinched them at some time and made them my own. They were in a kitchen cupboard and I had overlooked them until just very recently and didn't even know they were still there. Lucky me.

I have colored paper and some other white paper and maybe I will make a collage tonight. There is never that much on television and I can have it on as background noise. I don't need to see what is happening. I can imagine that. I haven't made a colored paper collage in a long time and all I need to do is find some glue, and I think I even have some of that, and a good stiff brush to apply it with. It's very important that I am inspired, so I hope one of the muses will be with me anyway.

Needless to say my arms and hands have splotches of paint on them and I haven't taken the time yet to wash them off. I will hop in the shower shortly and do that. At least you can tell which colors I've been using. The colors red and green dominate today. I must buy larger tubes of acrylic paints, because these little tubes will be gone in no time. I try to use them sparingly, but sometimes it is hard to judge how much I will use of a color and I squeeze out too much.

There's a good store close to where the Exfactor lives that sells all sorts of artist supplies cheaply and I will send him there with some money and have him pick up some things for me. It's a better store than the one close to me and has a better selection. I know I would go crazy in a store like that and I better not be set lose in it or I would spend the household budget, such as it is.

Next week, I will be doing creative therapy on Wednesdays as well and I'm looking forward to that very much, because I will be learning techniques that I don't know now. I want to absorb as much as I can in the time I have left and try out whatever I can. Which reminds me that I also have to buy an old fashioned pen and a pen holder to draw with and a pot of ink. I see I have to make a list of things I need.

Anyway, the therapist in the Wednesday class knows a lot of things that I want to know and I need to tap into her brain and get as many ideas out as possible. How to work with Arabian gum, for instance, and how to work with wet watercolor paper and colored ink.

I should have gone to the Art Academy. I would have been happy there. Maybe itś not too late and I can still go. Nah, it's a pipe dream. I'm doing well on my own and I will just keep going this way.

Now I'm off to take a shower and put on my pajamas. Then I'm making a collage. Wish me luck with it. I will need some. Like I said, it's been awhile since I made this kind.

Have a great evening.

Ciao,
Nora.

A new day...


Well, I did as I said I would do last night and slept on the sofa to the sound of the television turned down low, so it did not interfere with my sleep. It was rather pleasant, except for that part when I woke up with a very sore arm and hand, but I am getting used to that and know how to deal with it. I pick up my arm and lay it in the proper position and open and close my hand until the pain leaves and the feeling comes back into it and my arm.

I got up at nine and immediately made myself a cup of coffee. Then I turned on my computer and checked my emails, which take forever to download for some reason. Th emails are always the most fun part of the start of the day, because they contain the comments to my latest post and I get to answer those. There are also comments from Facebook and comments from the writer's websites I write for. They keep me busy and off the streets. Sometimes it's a bit overwhelming and I postpone answering some of them until later, when I've had my second cup of coffee and I am properly awake.

If I'm smart, I take my medicines right away and feel the soothing effects of them quickly. It's like a blanket of serenity gets draped over me, although that may be a psychological effect as much as a physical one. Because I feel calm, I feel even calmer, and so on.

Of course, this morning's wake up belongs to the weekend, because I have nowhere to go and no obligations other than to walk the dog, which I eventually do when I'm good and ready and he can't wait another minute, but he is very patient and lounges around on his blanket and by my feet, under the desk. Jesker is the most patient dog of them all.

The dining table is a mess. There are my cigarette making paraphernalia and bills that have been paid. There's my watercolor pad and my brushes and paints and felt tip markers. There is a stack of packages that has to be sent in the mail, and everywhere there are cat hairs and tobacco crumbs, because the dining table is the favorite hangout of the cats and my favorite place to sit also and make cigarettes and look out the window. I will have to clean and organize it in one fell swoop. I also have to clean up the kitchen again and the bathroom. Aarghhh!

Not now, now I'm sitting here writing this nonsense, that has no other purpose than to keep me from doing the things that I ought to be doing, like watering the poor plants and I do want to finish painting that second drawing, so I must clean the apartment first. I do have my priorities. There has to be work done before the fun can start. I won't be able to relax otherwise and concentrate on painting.

I think before I do anything, I will eat. If you ask me, that is vastly underrated. I always seem to do it as an afterthought. Oh yes, I need to eat too! I usually forget and then try to get caught up the rest of the day, although you can't tell by my body shape that I do this. I'm round in all the right places. I have love handles.

The weather is beautiful outside. It's going to be 25 degrees and the sun will be shining most of the day. No leggings and boots today and no long sleeves. Just milk bottle white legs and brown feet in ballerina slippers, because, of course, my feet have a tan.

Have a good day. Enjoy your Saturday very much. I hope it's a good one for you.

Ciao,
Nora.

No desire to go to sleep...


Sometimes it is late at night and I don't feel like going to bed, because I am perfectly happy where I am and in a very good mood and I have no wish to change my situation by doing anything as dull as going to sleep. I want to postpone bedtime as long as possible and find any excuse to stay up and when I start to run out of excuses, I can always write a post, even if I don't have a subject in mind to write about.

But really, has that ever stopped me? You know that I can write about the most trivial things and find interest in the smallest details of life and that anything at all seems important to me. Right now I can tell you, for example, that my cup of decaf does not taste very good at all and that I will finish it, but that I would rather have a real cup of coffee. My God. I have been drinking such good dark French roast that this decaf tastes like dishwater. I hardly ever drink it anymore and I'm reminded of why now. It's also a different brand from the dark roast, so that maybe a part of the problem.

It makes me wonder why people put up with inferior quality products and why manufacturers think they can get away with it. I suppose it all has to do with money, although my very good dark French roast is cheaper than the lousy decaf by 70 cents a pack. Go figure!

My trusty dog has settled down for the night, but no doubt he is wondering why I'm not in bed. He was a bit unsettled earlier and didn't know where to go to sleep. On his pillow in the bedroom or on his blanket under the coffee table. He has opted for the corner by the sofa. Not the most comfortable of places, but how can I get that clear to him? The cats are sleeping on the bed. I think I will sleep on the sofa tonight and have the television turned on for company.

Someone suggested to me to cut the juice I drink in half by adding mineral water to it, because juice is so concentrated and high in natural sugar. I think that is a good idea and I think I will add sparkling mineral water and get some tomorrow and a new 2 liter container of juice. I do go through that stuff like it is water and I'm sure it is very fattening on top of it. There are many calories in it, besides the many vitamins that I know are good for me.

So far, I've only had one beer of the six pack I had bought last week, so you see how I am not at all interested in getting a buzz. I have no idea when I'll have the second bottle and may just save them for when I have company. Suddenly it doesn't seem so important to have a beer on my own. It's more for when I sit at an outdoor café with my friend Von, which I didn't get to do this afternoon, due to the diabetes fiasco. Well, it wasn't really a fiasco, I guess, it had a happy ending for me.

My sleeping pill is starting to work, so I have to bring this to an end before I fall asleep on top of the keyboard.

I hope you all have a happy night and sleep tight. I'll be seeing you in the morning.

Ciao,
Nora.