Sunday, January 31, 2010

Drinking coffee...


I'm sitting quite cozily by the desk lamp drinking my coffee after having just finished a tall glass of fruit juice for the thirst. This time I was smart enough to buy two large cartons of fruit juice, so I have enough left, although I may come to find out that I need three to last me the week. The stuff is so good when you are thirsty and nothing else will do to quench that thirst. Not even cold milk, which I used to think was the best cold drink when I was diabetic and didn't know it and was always thirsty. I would drink a liter of it in one go. Now I just drink tall glasses of juice and I love the slightly sour taste of it, because the juice is not too sweet. I like mixed yellow fruits better than plain orange juice, and no matter how well I shake it, the best is always at the bottom of the carton, because that's where all the pulp is. I could write a treatise on good fruit juice probably.

Jesker is lying right beside me and has tried to get me to get dressed because he wanted me to take him out. He got me to follow him to where me clothes and boots were and then looked at me with sorrowful eyes. Of course, I'm not going for a walk now, he just had to go out back, but he was not quite happy about that. He complained a little bit and then grudgingly went to sleep, but I'm sure I haven't heard the end of it yet. I'm sure in his little brain he's just waiting for the next moment to come along when he can try and lure me outside again. He never forgets.

It snowed during the night and there are a few centimeters. I'm wishing for it to be gone, although it looks quite pretty, but I'm not fooled by the beauty of it and remember very well how slippery it can get if it stays and freezes. It's supposed to get up to 2C today, so it should melt, but there aren't any guarantees. It never did get that warm yesterday either and it snowed in the afternoon, although it was supposed to be 2C then also. In the north of the country there is more snow, so I'm glad I live down here in the south. Those few hundred kilometers do make a difference and we are less influenced by the sea, which makes it a bit dryer and warmer here. It's a good place to live, as climates go, but that's not the only reason. I live in the Dutch mountains.

I finished Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver and have now started her novel Pigs in Heaven. I've read this novel before and also the one that came before it, but it's been long enough since I read it that it will be like reading a new book again. As I read it, I remember bits and pieces of it, but it's still fun. Animal Dreams was an interesting book. There was a lot of sadness in it, but very realistically in that tragedy happens to people in the most bizarre ways and that we have to learn to live with that. There was also joy in the book underneath it all and it does have a satisfactory ending. I don't say a happy ending, because no such thing exists. Well, endings don't exist, do they? One person or the other dies, but the rest of the people go on living. They have to, that's their fate. To carry on the story endlessly until someone can come along and write it down again.

Jesker has given up on me and has gone to sleep on his pillow in the bedroom. I'm surprised he didn't try to change my mind again. I suppose he realized his timing was off.

I just looked outside and see that there are already footsteps in the snow and tire tracks. I'm surprised, it being Sunday. I wouldn't expect anyone to be up that early, or to be out that late. Of course, the cafés don't close until 3 am, so it could be people coming home from a night out. I think some places stay open even longer, but I think that's in the summertime when you can get home when the sun is up. I'm not a party animal, so I don't know much about these things. I haven't stayed up to party all night since I was 26 and it was New year's Eve and I saw the morning coming. That's a long time ago.

It's very nice here with my bathrobe on. I have no desire yet to go back to bed. I am wide awake. I think I will stay up and visit some blogs that I've been neglecting, because I visit them, but very often lately I haven't been leaving any comments and I feel like that's just a bit antisocial. It's like peeking in, but not letting anyone know you've been there. Of course, lately I haven't felt like I know what to say, I've been so empty of words that are cheerful and it's been an effort to say anything at all.

Have a good Sunday you all. I hope your snow melts if you have any.

Ciao!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

In the middle of the afternoon.


I've done my share of sleeping for the day, I think. I slept in my bed early this morning and I slept on the sofa after that. It was very pleasant, but there does come a time when you have to rouse yourself and get dressed and join the living. The dog had been waiting ever so patiently for me to take him for a walk and when I did, he dutifully did all his big business all at once. He's a very economic dog and knows when to take advantage of the opportunity.

There was still a little bit of snow out, but the sun is shining and there is no rain at all like they had promised, nor does it seem like there is going to be any. I think they just make it up as they go along. They predict the weather that is already here. The snow is dry and powdery and no good for making snowballs, but like I said, most of it has melted already.

I'm sitting at my computer desk that needs to be dusted, which means I'll have to take off all the things that crowd it and get a cloth to wipe it with. That's my least favorite and most frustrating job, because it reminds me that I have too many things here that should have another place. It would be good if I spent some time finding a proper place for them. I need to put things away in such a way that they are out of sight, but not forgotten and lost. When I have more energy I will do that. I have a cabinet that I can organize to put all those things in and it's only two steps away from the computer. When I'm at my best, I'm very good at organizing myself and I can demolish an old system and reconstruct a new one easily.

I'm slowly replacing my older, worn out books on the bookcase with the newer books I have been receiving and putting the older books on my bookcase in the bedroom. They are too good to toss out and I may want to read them again, or so I tell myself. I may end up putting them out with the recyclable paper. I have to give it some thought. I don't think I've ever tossed out a book, unless it was falling apart and these are not nearly to that point yet. They just aren't as pretty anymore as the newer books with their clean covers and colorful bindings. So far, I've resisted buying any books this month, although I have expanded my wish list and it has been tempting to order new ones, showing you again what an addiction the acquirement of books really is.

In the meantime, I'm trying to get all the laundry done. I'm washing a lot of sheets and pillow cases and bath towels. I had gotten behind in washing those and they had really piled up. I'm hoping to have a whole set of bed linen dry by this evening so I can change the bed. I have a detergent that smells very nice and it will be good to go to sleep in a bed that smells good. Actually, I would like to have clean sheets on the bed every night, but that's too much work and I couldn't handle the laundry and get it dry on time. That would be the nice thing about having a tumble dryer. I do miss little conveniences like that in the wintertime when I can't hang up the laundry outside to dry. There's nothing like the fresh smell of laundry that's been dried outside. Soon enough it will be time for that again, said the optimist.

Well, I just about made it through another day. The afternoon is coming to an end and it has started to snow again. I'm not thrilled. I thought we were done with that. I will just ignore it and hope it melts as quickly as it falls down. It's time to get out my gray cardigan again. I must be warm and toasty, although I have no problem with that when I lay in bed at night.

Jesker wants my attention, so I have to be a good owner and see what he wants.

Ciao,
Nora

In the wee hours again.


As is usual, I'm having my second wind in the middle of the night after being woken by night sweats, but as is also usual, I don't mind one bit, as this is that time in my 24 hour cycle that I function well and that I like being up and passively active, because, let's face it, I'm not doing gymnastics here, but very quietly sitting behind the computer in the silence of the night. It's only my head that's performing tricks and that's not too much effort right now. I always seem more than lucid at this time of the night. I'm more clearheaded now than I am at any other point during my circadian cycle, though I don't know exactly why that is. I'll accept it as a given and not argue with it and take full advantage of it. It seems that's the way I'm put together right now, so that's what I'll work with.

Finding out that I have an overactive thyroid, I looked up the symptoms for it and found out that I have a bunch of them, such as over-tiredness, muscle weakness, (night)sweating, fears, emotional instability and depression. Imagine my relief when I read those things and the realization hit me that I had been suffering from these symptoms for at least the past six months to one extent or the other. I suddenly felt like I was not doomed anymore and I know that with an adjustment of the medication I will get better. All the hopelessness fell off my shoulders and suddenly the sun started shining again. I am not going crazy, I am just not hormonally adjusted well. What a relief. My GP was right to check my thyroid, although it was the furthest thing from my mind. If I could throw a party for myself right now, I would do it.

Well, that doesn't mean that I suddenly feel better now, because I've still got the symptoms, but at least I know the reason why.

Emotionally I'm not stable at all. I fluctuate too much for that. I very quickly go from a hallelujah mood to an agitated downward mood. It can happen within a few minutes and suddenly everything looks very different and I think the opposite of what I was thinking just before. My needs change and what I want to do changes. I want to find my safety somewhere else and no longer be exposed. I have to wait for that mood to change and for the other mood to return. It's a guess as to when that will happen. It's a very confusing thing. It's frustrating to think that there are hormones at work in my body that influence so many of my systems and that right now there's nothing I can do about them.

I'm sitting here in my bathrobe and my slippers and outside it is 0C and it's snowing just a tiny bit. There's supposed to be rain or snow today and that certainly brings us a lot of joy. At least it's not as cold as had been predicted, but next week we are supposed to get colder temperatures again and it's going to be freezing during the day also. Let's hope the weather forecasters get that completely wrong.

For me it means dressing in layers again and I don't mind that, but it does require some planning on my part. It means that I have to do some serious digging through the closet again and that's always such a frustrating job, because things slide off their hangers to the bottom of the closet. Luckily, all my clothes are clean, so I have a lot to choose from. Unfortunately, I have gained some weight and not everything will fit well or look good, but if I run fast nobody will notice it.

Well, it's time for me to go eat breakfast and take my medicines and find my bed again. There's nothing nicer to do on a cold morning.

Ciao,
Nora

Friday, January 29, 2010

Getting somewhere...


I'm momentarily in a very clear state of mind. All my synapses are working in good order and I can think straight. It's a temporary condition due to having gotten enough rest and seeing the forest for the trees again. I rested the whole morning until about one pm, when the Exfactor showed up to clean house for me like he had promised that he would. You have no idea what a godsend he was when he grabbed the vacuum cleaner and proceeded to vacuum the whole apartment and very thoroughly too. It was wonderful, because it needed to happen so badly and I could not do it myself. While he did that, I hung up a load of laundry and put another load in the machine, so I was not completely idle.

We then had coffee together and an interesting discussion about public transport and rush hour traffic and the solutions to that and then the Exfactor tackled the kitchen and the dishes and it was with so much relief that I saw him do that, because it had seemed like an impossible job to me. I dried the dishes and put them away, but he did all the hard work, thank goodness. He´s coming back next week to do the rest of the jobs and I am so glad about that. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Now I can enter the weekend with peace in my heart and not feel like I have all of this hovering over my head. He´s a great guy.

I had to call my GP´s office today to get the results of the blood tests, but all I know so far is that my thyroid levels were too high, which surprised me, because I was expecting them to be too low, explaining my extremely low energy, but you do get symptoms from a too high functioning thyroid too and mentally it effects you also and makes you more nervous and edgy. It may have been this way for quite a while, because it´s been two years since it was last checked and I should have it done every year. I´ll have to look up the symptoms for a hyperactive thyroid.

My GP wants to discuss the rest of the blood test results with me personally, so I have an appointment with him Monday afternoon. So, I´m still in the dark about that, but maybe there´s something there that´s going to explain my extreme tiredness. Now I´ll have to wait a whole three days, which I don´t like, but that´s the way it is. The more I think about it, the more I think there´s something physically wrong that can be put to rights and that this is the reason why I have been feeling so bad and slowly going downhill, because it´s my body that refuses to function and that is dragging me down, although that maybe wishful thinking on my part. At least I know my thyroid isn´t functioning properly.

I just took the dog for a walk in the rain and it was refreshingly nice. It wasn´t raining hard, but it was a bit cold and it put some color on my cheeks. Jesker wasn´t too enthused about walking in the rain, but did what he had to do and we only made our small walk. That was enough for now. We weren´t heroes today. He´s doing well and is eating his normal amount of food again and he´s not acting demented anymore, so that really was because of the illness, so if that happens again, I´ll know to take him to the vet immediately. That means he´s got a fever and is delirious. Oh, how awful that I didn´t know that.

Well, that´s all the exciting news I have to tell you for right now. That as long a post as I can handle for now. I have to go and check my emails and visit some blogs. I haven´t done that in a while. You must all think that I´ve deserted you.

Ciao,
Nora

Where have I been?


I didn't realize it had been two days since I last posted until someone pointed it out to me. I have started many posts these past few days, only to delete them as being to depressing. I certainly don't want to write unless I can see the glass half full and not empty the way I have been seeing it lately. So, I will try it again and find some amount of optimism in myself and try to complete this to my satisfaction.

I haven't been doing a heck of a lot, but taking many naps on the sofa during which I have many interesting dreams. I don't do anything in between these naps, but maybe walk the dog or make myself a cup of coffee and smoke a cigarette. Then I lie down again and doze off. So I spend my day in an almost continuous state of sleep. I find it the most pleasant way to get through the day right now. It's a way to escape the unbearable heaviness of being awake.

Being awake means facing all the things I find myself incapable of doing. The things I absolutely don't have the energy for and the awful tiredness I feel constantly when I think about having to do these things. I seriously hope there's something wrong with me physically that can be put to rights with some medication, because I don't know what I'm going to do otherwise. I feel totally worn out.

Last night I went grocery shopping with my sister and it was almost more than I could bear. I felt like I had to run a marathon unprepared. When we arrived in the parking lot, I wanted to say to her to just take me home again, that I just couldn't do it. Regardless, I got all the shopping done and then faced unpacking it at home and putting everything away with a dread. It all got done one way or the other, but I don't want to go again until I feel better.

Something good happened yesterday too. Friend of the Bear sent me 8 books and they arrived yesterday. Yes, 8 books, under which A Room with a View, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant. Needless to say, this was a very welcome package and I couldn't wait to unwrap it and look at the books and give them a place on my bookcase. I think I will read A Room with a View first.

Now I will go to bed and try to get some more sleep. I'll see you all in the morning.

Ciao,
Nora

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Here we go again!


I just took Jesker for a walk around the block and although he walked slowly and stumbled once, he did a good job and much better than I had expected him to. The good part was that he asked for his walk himself. He sat beside me me his big questioning eyes and was more than ready to go when I got up. He had to do a tiny little poop, which is not surprising when you consider that he has hardly eaten anything lately. Today he did eat some canned food and after his walk he ate his treat. He's also back to trying to dig holes into the area rug to make a comfortable place to lie down in. So I would say that he's getting better. There is the worrying fact that he's drinking a lot of water and this could possibly point to diabetes, but I hope it's a side effect from the medicine, because he's not peeing a lot. It's something I have to keep an eye on this week and take him to the vet for if it doesn't change.

I'm back to having bad agoraphobia and being unable to go anywhere and I have had to cancel both my appointment with my SPN and with my psychiatrist. I was supposed to go to the post office today and also pick up some milk and a birthday card, but I was unable to do it. I fretted about it a lot and was in a huge quandary about it and felt bad about not doing it, but in the end I had no choice. The Exfactor is going to be here tomorrow and I'm going to ask him to do it for me instead. No doubt it has to do with not going out all that time while Jesker was sick. That got me used to being inside a lot and not being out there. It is an irrational fear. I feel safe inside, especially at night. I also feel safer outside at night. At least then I know what to be scared of.

The book I'm reading (Sullivan's Island) is a thorn in my side. I'm not sure if it's bad enough to stop reading, but it is not good enough to make me enthusiastic about it. It is not something that I especially look forward to. I feel like I'm reading someone's dramatized memoirs and I don't enjoy that. I don't know what is fact or fiction and I wonder how much of the book reflects her own life. I suppose in this case it would help if I knew a little bit of background about her so I could dispel the notion that I'm getting an intimate look into her life. I suppose I should Google her and see what I can find out about her. That might be helpful (I looked, it hasn't been helpful yet). I think I may do what I thought I would not, and that is stop reading that book. It's not what I had expected of it. I need to sink my teeth into something heftier.

I'm going to put my pajamas on and have something to eat. I haven't had dinner yet, but I haven't been hungry yet up to this point. Sometimes I feel full all day long from having eaten breakfast. I will watch TV for a while if there is anything worthwhile on. If not, I'm off to bed with a Kingsolver. Animal Dreams, I think.

Ciao,
Nora

As is usual....


As is usual, I find myself wide a wake again in the middle of the night and this time I was up very early because of the time I went to bed. It was just after 8 pm when I crawled under the covers with my book. I don't know what it is, but lately I have not felt like staying up at night and I have felt like getting into bed early and I look forward to that very much. It is always my plan to read for a long time, but I fall asleep fairly soon. Unfortunately, I wake up 4 or 5 hours later, ready to see some action. That means turning on the computer and reading any emails that are there and answering those and downloading photographs from Foxsaver for my blog, amongst other things. I have to look through a lot of photographs to find the ones I like and even then I'm in doubt and after a while I can't see the forest for the trees and I have to stop searching.

The book I'm reading, "Sullivan's Island," is so different than "Prodigal Summer," that it is taking me some effort to get into it. I'm not taking it quite seriously and I think I have to regard it as 'light' reading. I'm going to persist and read it and not put it aside as being unworthy of being read, but it's not the kind of book I was in the mood for reading. I wanted more of an intellectual challenge and this one is too easy coming after "Prodigal Summer." I hate to leave a book unfinished, though, because it may be good in its own right, in spite of the fact that I'm not in the right mood for it. It got good reviews, so there must be some merit to it. I guess I'm a very picky reader.

Jesker and I very slowly and carefully took a little walk last night. It took him some effort and he drank a lot of water when we got home. He did eat three slices of salami, one with a pill in it, so that was something. He didn't eat the Bonzo bone that I gave him. He took that in his mouth and dropped it. I tried to give him some of his regular food, but he's not interested. He's lost a lot of weight, but he can stand it and is now starting to look like a normal sized dog.

Well, I'm off to eat some breakfast and then I'm going to tackle that book again in my bed. Hopefully I'll be fascinated by it this time. Brrr... it's cold. It's -3C outside.

Have a good morning!

Ciao,
Nora

Monday, January 25, 2010

It's so easy...


I just finished that most interesting novel, "Prodigal Summer" and I'm so impressed with it that, although I've picked out my next book, "Sullivan's Island" by Dorothea Benton Frank, I will not be able to start it for a while, because I have to let the former book sink into my whole being really well and mull it over in my mind for a bit. It was so tremendously good, that I want to savor it like the aftertaste of a good meal and let it digest inside of me in it's own good time. I'm almost afraid to chase the memory of it away from me with another novel, that's how deeply impressed I am with it.

Barbara Kingsolver must have 'lived' that whole novel. She must have a keen knowledge of the things that happen in it. She observed what she describes, there's no doubt about it. She's a master story teller. I can only hope that Dorothea Benton Frank is too. Her book was on the New York Times Bestsellers List, but that doesn't say everything, although I do have a sparkle of hope. I will start it tonight when I go to bed and hope that it grabs my attention as well as "Prodigal Summer"did.

So what do you do? You waste a whole afternoon, just about, finishing a book you can't put down, because you have to know how it ends, but it seems like it is a never ending story and it could go on forever. Everything gets left undone, except the most necessary jobs and they don't amount to a hill of beans (that's an Americanism, isn't it?). My only excuse is that reading broadens the mind and keeps me out of trouble, literally. An occupied mind is a peaceful mind.

I was over at my sister's a little while ago and she told me how she had cleaned the walls of her long corridor with a scrub sponge and made them all white again. I stood flabbergasted at such boundless energy and had a vague memory of having been that way myself one time. Now she's a gazelle and I'm a slug.

Actually, one of the things I hope to find out on Friday, is that my thyroid is working to slowly and that my medication for it will have to be increased. That would explain my almost constant lack of energy and my weight gain. It would be an answer to some things anyway. Another thing I may find out, is that I'm anemic and that would explain my lack of energy also, although I should not be with the vitamins I'm taking, unless those vitamins are not what they claim to be and it is all a scam. You never know on the Internet.

Alright, I have to eat. My stomach is protesting. It can't live on the written word alone.

Ciao,
Nora

Early Monday Morning...


It's in the wee hours of the morning and as usual I found it necessary to be up and sit behind the computer when I ought to be in bed sleeping. But hey, there is enough time left for that. I do want to take advantage of the quiet hours before dawn and enjoy the stillness of the night. Already I look forward to the part that comes after this, when I will take my medicines and have breakfast and crawl back into bed with my good book, the end of which I am nearing. I went to sleep very early last night. I was completely done with the evening and ready to call it quits before it was even 9 pm. It was great to get under the covers with a cat by my feet and Jesker on his pillow. I didn't have a snack, which was kind of a shame, and I have to plan my grocery shopping better the next time, but it felt good to lie down anyway.

I was gone from this world in no time at all and slept like a log until I woke up in a sweat and had to get out of bed to cool off and go to the bathroom. Then I went and turned on the computer and made myself a cup of coffee and the rest is history. I do enjoy myself from that point forward, although it is amazing that I can go back to sleep after I have had those cups of coffee that I drink while I am up. I am also out of fruit juice, so I really have to plan my grocery shopping better, because I would be having a glass of that now.

Last night I prepared those packages of books I still have to send. I'm also sending a book to my daughter that I accidentally ordered twice. I lost track of all the books I had, there were so many coming in at one point. I'm going to try and not order any new books this month, because I have enough to read, but it is difficult, because I have so many on my wish list and I'm always discovering new ones. I literally have an itch in my head to go to Bol.com and order a book, but I must contain myself. I first have to read a bunch of the books I already have and then I can order more. You are all witness to me stating this, now watch me break my own rule in the shortest amount of time. I have an addiction. I'm keeping track now off all the new books I have in a notebook. That way I won't make the mistake of ordering the same book twice. The most important thing is to not run out of money.

It's going to be 3C today and you know what? Any time it is not freezing and there is no strong wind blowing, it is pleasant outside. That shows you how quickly you can be happy with the least improvement in weather and how miserable it is to have freezing temperatures and wind. 3C is only 37F, so it's not very warm, but it feels good and so much better than -3C.

I've just had a glass of cold milk and now I will get a plugged up nose, but I was so thirsty for something cold to drink, that I couldn't resist the temptation. That's why I needed that fruit juice. The milk is already making my eczema itch. I can have it boiled in porridge but not cold in a glass. It makes me itch all over. Maybe it was not really worth it. Oh well...

I just offered Jesker a treat, but he walked away in disgust and went to sleep at the other end of the room. He still doesn't want to eat, but he's drinking a lot of water. I have to keep checking his water bowl to make sure there is fresh water in it and not the slobbered kind. He's moving around a bit easier and he's a little more alert. I will try and take him to the field again today and see if he walks a bit better.

Okay, it's time for the next part. I'm going to take my medicines and have breakfast. Yippee!

Have a good morning, you all.

Ciao,
Nora

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Improvement.


Jesker slept a lot today and I thought it was going to be a repeat of yesterday. I napped on the sofa beside him and woke up every once in a while to check on him. Suddenly he got up and drank a lot of water, so I took him by his collar and guided him out back to do a piddle. He was so weak that he didn't even lift his leg and went straight back to sleep. Some time later he started walking around a bit and I thought that was the perfect opportunity to put him on the leash and take him to the edge of the field for a poop, which he had not done in three days. We very slowly zigzagged over there and he did do a poop and we walked back home again, so it was a very tiny outing, but it was an outing nevertheless and when we were inside he went straight to his water bowl and drank more water. I tried to give him his pill wrapped in a slice of salami, but I've been unsuccessful so far. He refuses to eat and spits out everything I shove down his throat (I just tried it again and was successful). He's losing weight, but he can stand it, because he was overweight, so I'm not too concerned about that yet.

So, there was a little improvement today, although he's gone straight back to sleep again. His breathing is not as labored, so that is good. He's paying a bit more attention to his surroundings and the cats. He grumbles at them, like he's always done.

I feel that I can breathe a little easier and get on with normal life again, almost. We're not out of the woods yet. I do want him to start eating again and to be able to walk a little distance. I will take him back to the vet on Wednesday, when he is done with his antibiotics, unless there is a major improvement.

There are things that I need to do that I have been putting off and that I need to get around to now. It's back in the saddle for me. Enough of this loafing about in this half asleep state. Back to work.

The first things I have to do is get some packages ready to send and fill in some important documents. Oh, ho hum, when not in the mood, you have to make yourself.

Ciao,
Nora

A middle of the night update.


Last night Jesker followed me to the bedroom and even asked to be petted. I thought that was a major improvement. He went to sleep on his pillow, but when I got up, he was no longer there and I found him lying on the linoleum right by the living room door, which must be a very uncomfortable place for him to sleep, but I guess that's all the energy he had. Now he's not really reacting again and lying there as if he's miserable. He makes little sounds of discomfort every once in a while. I don't know what to make of it and there's not much I can do. I petted him, but he is sound asleep.

For those of you worrying that I'm up in the middle of the night, please don't, because I'll go back to bed shortly and sleep some more. I do get more than enough sleep as it is, napping during the day as I do.

Oh, Jesker just got up to be petted by me and has gone to sleep right beside me.

It's funny how little inventory you take of yourself when you are worried about something else. It's like I've suspended all that takes place inside of me and there is only room for my concern for Jesker. I have no idea how I am doing myself, except that I think I'm doing okay. I just don't pay attention much to myself and what goes on with me. I take care of what is necessary, but that's about it. I'm not worried if I feel up or down or happy or sad. Everything has been put on hold. I'm not even concerned about my health.

I just got sidetracked by LibraryThing. I started doing one simple thing there and before I knew it I was doing multiple things, such as adding favorite authors and favorite novels. It does get addictive over there, because there are all kinds of things I haven't done yet there, such as make a wish list of books I want to read. That may not be necessary, though. I know what I want to read still, but if you click on an authors names, you get a list of all the books they've written and it is mighty tempting to want all of them. Greediness gets a hold of me.

Well, I have to go back to bed now. First I have to eat some breakfast and take my medicines. The usual ritual in the morning, and then sleep. Blessed sleep from which not to wake up for a long time. I hope Jesker follows me again. I will feel better if he's lying beside me.

Have a good morning.

Ciao,
Nora

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The third day...


Jesker did two important things today. He walked over to his water bowl and drank a lot of water and he made it outside, with a lot of encouragement from me, and did a piddle. It all seems to wear him out very much, though, and he seems as befuddled as he was before. He spends hours lying in the same spot not moving much and I can hear him breathe across the room.

The cats have been very subdued ever since he's been sick. It is as if they know that something is wrong. I have been pretty subdued myself. I spend many hours napping on the sofa and waking up and checking on Jesker. I did give myself a break and walked to the tobacconist and it was good to be out in the fresh air. I also bought a chocolate bar as a treat to myself. As if I needed that, right? Some calories are deliciously rich and make you feel good.

I was looking at my hair in the mirror today and realized that most of the color has pretty much disappeared out of it. It has been cut several times since I colored it and even with the special shampoo and the conditioner, it didn't keep that brown color that I had completely. I have a box of hair coloring in the bathroom and I have to make a decision if I'm going to color it again. I think I will, because I never did have that problem of my roots showing. I'm just waiting for the right moment to do it. In the meantime, I am using the shampoo and the conditioner to give it that sheen that I want. It's kind of a reddish brown, though to be honest, it's more of a reddish dark blond now. Not a bad color.

We were supposed to get a lot of frost tonight, but luckily it isn't going to happen and we're only going to get rain in the next couple of days, not snow. I'm glad the weather forecasters got it wrong, because if there's one thing I don't want it is snow. I've never felt so claustrophobic as when we had snow and ice.

It's been impossible for me to read during the day. I lay on the sofa and drift off into sleep and have strange dreams. I do read at night before I go to sleep in my bed. Somehow that's easier. I'm looking forward to that already and I can't wait to put my pajamas on.

Jesker doesn't follow me to the bedroom at night. He stays put wherever he is and doesn't have the energy or the awareness to get up. I try not to bother him too much, as I just want him to be comfortable wherever he is and he doesn't like to be picked up. I'm afraid of hurting him. It would be easier if he were a little dog, but he isn't.

I'm calling it a day and going to bed now. Maybe there will be a lot of improvement tomorrow.

Ciao,
Nora

It's been a while...


It's been a while since I have written, but that's because Jesker has been so very sick. His illness has taken the wind out of my sails. All he does is sleep. Sometimes he gets up and stumbles a few feet, but then plops down again and is sound asleep in a second. He doesn't eat or drink or go out. I just put the water bowl in front of him and he drank a little bit of water, but then got up to get away from the bowl. I force the antibiotic pills wrapped in salami down his throat, because he doesn't want to eat them. He breathes shallowly and rapidly, especially after he has made any effort. So almost all day long I lay on the sofa and nap and when I wake up, I check on him to make sure he is still alive. Oh, I do other things, but not many.

Yesterday morning I donated 3 vials of blood at the doctor's office and I'm supposed to call next Friday for the results. I had been up half the night before that, so I took my book and laid down on the sofa and went to sleep there with Jesker beside me. Every once in a while I got up and turned on the computer and tried to read some blogs and answer my emails, but my mind was not on it properly and I always ended up shutting it off without doing very much.

In the evening I got a little bit more active, although quite passively so, and listened to Andrew Sachs read Alexander McCall Smith's novel "The Dog Who Came In From The Cold" here. I'm only up to chapter 17, so I have quite a bit of listening left to do. It's a very pleasant way to pass the evening and it's a good novel. You quickly get hooked on the story and all the characters.

Twain from Eye in the Sky directed me to these two websites here and here, where you can download free audio books. Try those on for size, you may find something there you'll really like.

I feel like I'm living in suspended animation now that I don't know what's going to happen to the dog. I've tried to get him to stand up, so he will go out back and do a piddle, but it's like getting a sack of potatoes to stand up and walk. He just won't do it. I may have to carry him out there.

I did, I carried him out there and he did an enormous piddle and with some help made it back inside. He was a little bit grumpy, but alas...

I'm going to lie down on the sofa now and see if I can sleep some more, while Jesker sleeps too.

Have a good morning.

Ciao,
Nora

Thursday, January 21, 2010

In the early evening.


I just took poor Jesker to the vet. He was doing so poorly, I just couldn't stand it any more. Luckily, the vet lives close by, so we very slowly walked over there. Jesker almost didn't make it. It's a good thing I went, because it turned out that he was running a high fever and that he has a stomach infection. The vet gave him two shots of antibiotics and some pills to take home too. The vet says because Jesker's getting so old that he's susceptible to these kinds of things. His immune system is weakened. According to the vet's records, Jesker is going to be 14 in May, so I don't know who's got it right now. I'm going to have to look it up. I thought he was going to be 13. Somebody had the wrong date.

My hairdresser appointment this morning went well. I was the first and only customer there and that's just the way I like it. I have to do that more often, go early in the morning like that. It gets the day started just right. The girl cut my hair well too. I said for her to just cut it short with a fringe and that's exactly what she did. It is perfect now. I have "no bother hair" again, thank goodness. Why do I always forget to go to the hairdresser on time? I should know better by now, instead of wondering why I can't do a thing with my hair.

My doctor's appointment was inconclusive so far. He listened carefully to me and wrote down what he heard in the computer and examined me and then ordered a bunch of blood tests. So I have to go back there tomorrow morning at nine and donate some blood. He's looking at several different things which I didn't all catch, but some of them are my hemoglobin and my liver function and my thyroid. Whoopee! I will know the results in about a week.

Now I have to go and eat and watch the news, because I've been up forever and a day and I'm hungry and tired and I want to go to bed as soon as I can.

Ciao,
Nora

Smoking!


After I wrote my last post yesterday and stubbed out my cigarette in my overfull ashtray. I decided that I was probably killing myself with my smoking and that I should quit. I sat down on the sofa and analyzed my feelings about that for a bit and looked at the overfull ashtray that was sitting on the coffee table there and I realized what a very disgusting and dangerous addiction smoking really was. I had only an inkling of an idea what it was doing to me physically, and I suspected that it was doing a lot to me emotionally and not necessarily in the good way that I always associated with it. I thought about what all those chemicals were doing to my body and my brain and I pictured them as poisons invading me and causing great damage, and maybe even death in the end, and I knew I didn't consciously want be continue inhaling the smoke of cigarettes anymore.

I started off by going around the apartment and emptying every ashtray that I could find and then putting them all in a plastic bag and tying it closed and putting it on the shelf in the kitchen closet. All except one little mini ashtray that I kept out for emergencies. I was being realistic and aware of my own capacities. I sat down on the sofa and would normally have lit a cigarette, but now didn't, of course, and I thought about what I would do next. I decided to just enjoy a little bit of time not smoking at all and see what that was like.

After I had done that for a while, I went to the dining table and cleaned up the tobacco crumbs and put away the pack of tobacco and the filter tubes and the little machine to make the cigarettes with. There were some cigarettes already made left, but I decided not to worry about them and put them away in the cabinet along with the rest of the stuff. Then I sat down on the sofa again and enjoyed another non-smoking session. I noticed that not smoking wasn't nearly as horrible as I thought it was going to be. As a matter of fact, it was almost pleasurable.

I got up and opened the top windows in every room in the apartment so that the nasty smelling air would get a chance to escape. I turned the thermostat down low so the heater would not go on. Then I took the dog for a walk and breathed in the cold evening air very deeply, as if I was smoking it. After I came back, I had my dinner and it was after that, that I felt like smoking a cigarette. I put it off for a while, but finally lit one, but it didn't taste as good as I had hoped it would and made me cough something awful. I didn't smoke all of it, but stubbed it out before I was done with it and that was it for me for that night. I didn't smoke again and went to bed on time and didn't even have my before I go to sleep, last one of the night, cigarette.

I got up very early in the middle of the night, because I was having night sweats something awful, even though the windows were still open, and turned on the computer and went and made myself a cup of coffee. More out of habit than anything else, I decided to have a cigarette and it made me cough again something awful. One hour later, I had another one, but then visited a website about quitting smoking and the ingredients in cigarette smoke and I did some very interesting reading that was very helpful and educational. It also gave all sorts of good tips on how to quit and stay quit and what the warning signals are for when you want to light up. I haven't had a cigarette now in quite awhile and every time I think I want one. I do breathing exercises that help a lot. Normally between now and yesterday I would have smoked up to 20 cigarettes already, so 3 is not bad at all.

I have somehow convinced myself that cigarette smoking is detrimental to my mental health, besides being bad for me physically. There is an enormous amount of chemicals in cigarettes, and more so in the smoke we inhale, and I don't know what that does to my mind. It is a poison, that's for sure. A cigarette is a poisonous substance and you take a risk with every one you smoke. You actually inhale this poisonous stuff into your lungs and it takes only 7-10 seconds to get to your brain. What does it do there, besides pretending that it makes me feel better? It makes me feel different, but does it really make me feel better? It's my premise that it actually makes me feel worse than I do, but that I have to kick the nicotine addiction, which I will.

So that was my story about the cigarettes.

The story about Jesker is that he is walking very slowly, as if it is causing him effort and that he stumbles a lot. He also seems confused. I gave him some pain medication to see if it would help him, but I see no improvement yet. I'm assuming it's old age, but I'm keeping an eye on him and will probably end up taking him to the vet. He gets stuck in little corners as if he's temporarily unaware of where he is and needs to be redirected. He leans into them and doesn't move. He just stands there. I am concerned. If anybody has any experience with aging cocker spaniels, then please let me know, or any other aging dog for that matter.

It's slowly becoming morning and today is the day that I go to the hairdresser and to my GP. My hairdresser appointment is at 9 am, so there will be no going back to bed for me. Not that I am in the mood for that. I'm in the mood to get my hair cut.

I hope you all have a wonderful (smokeless)day.

Ciao,
Nora

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What I said I was...


What I claimed earlier was merely a suppressed and contemplative mood, actually turned into a major funk this afternoon after I had gotten up from my morning sleep. Suddenly I was not so confident about my own peace of mind anymore and appreciative of the silence and I felt oppressed by my feelings that all came crowding in, shouting at me all at once for equal attention. I had trouble pushing them away from me and became nervous and unsettled and had little anxious sounding melodies running through my head to keep my mind going in some kind of rhythm. My right leg was shaking quickly to the beat, as I drank my coffee and smoked my cigarettes while I sat on the sofa, trying not to be intimidated by the rest of the day.

What was so oppressive about it? Why did it suddenly loom so large and why did I suddenly feel so incapable? I started to name to myself the things I thought I ought to do and I numbered them in order of importance and then made a decision about whether or not they really were so important and if they were worth worrying about so much. I came to the conclusion that nothing very much was worth having a little nervous breakdown about and that I had to go about things in a logical manner.

I called my friend Lucienne to have someone to talk to about nothing important at all. Purely as a distraction from my own mind and not to discuss worries with. That put me in a different frame of mind. Then I decided to get dressed and walk the dog, even though I was trying to get out of it and I didn't want to go and he wasn't asking for it. I made myself do it and do the longer walk, even though for me the shorter walk would have sufficed. I needed to do the longer walk, because I was chickening out of doing things, it was that kind of day.

When I got back, I very reluctantly checked my bank account balance and saw that all was well and paid some bills. That made me feel better and I'm glad I didn't put if off any longer. That was preceded with opening what looked like was going to be a big bill that I would have to pay all at once, but that is going to be written off my bank account in 5 easy installments. So that was a bit of luck today. I do try to see the glass half full.

So slowly, by doing these things, I'm getting more of a grip on myself again and I don't feel so anxious anymore. Where before I briefly felt despair, I now feel some amount off calmness and I am not nervous anymore. Although you can ask yourself to what degree I subconsciously am nervous all the time and how much stress I generally walk around with that I keep suppressed as much as possible, but that is there beneath the surface all the time. I may seem like a mellow person, but I think deep down inside I'm not. I hold the reigns very tightly. I'm a typical Virgo when it comes down to it.

Now I'm feeling very tired and I think I will go lie down for a while, though I hate to upset my equilibrium. It's hard nowadays to figure out what to do, what the right thing is. I think a nap may be just the right thing, though.

Ciao.
Nora

Up early and then wat?


I woke up at 4 am and was done sleeping, but even after one cup of coffee I felt none of my usual enthusiasm. So, I had another cup of coffee, figuring that's what I needed, but it's not working very well. Instead, I feel very introspective and quiet and like I need to be very low key today and not undertake any major tasks. That's alright, because I did not have any planned and today I can just be a woman in an almost empty space with not much going on, except ruminating my own thoughts and keeping myself somewhat occupied with odd jobs. I find perfect comfort with that, and won't worry about it not being good enough to get me through the day. Sometimes it's good to be very quiet and let the silence speak for itself. I think I need that after the chaos of yesterday and the busy day I'll have tomorrow, because I have to go grocery shopping too, besides getting my hair cut and seeing my GP.

I don't mind these introspective, quiet times, because I don't associate them with a depressed feeling, more a suppressed feeling, but not to the point that I have no emotions at all, I just have fewer of them and they don't matter as much and I don't let them hurt me or worry me. I suppose it is a little bit like going in retreat and not being caught up in the details of life. Being aware, but not being upset or impassioned or otherwise greatly effected.

So it is in this dissociated mood that I sit here and drink my coffee and smoke my cigarettes in the silence of the morning. In a little while, I will go back to bed and sleep a few more hours, or I may sit on the sofa and stare into the middle distance and meditate about life and let my mind drift into nothingness. That's the nicest place to be. Silence can have such a good quality about it. It's when you literally think you hear nothing, although there probably is always some noise in the background that doesn't quite penetrate your mind or that you've learned to ignore.

It's a day on which you realize which things don't matter and which things you shouldn't get excited about. It would be good to have more days like that, but it's nice enough to have a day like that sometimes. If I were a true Buddhist, I would be able to meditate myself into a state of mind like this more often. I think that's what it's all about. I suppose my normal self is too stressed to be able to do it, though I should try it and see if it works.

That's really all I have to share with you this morning. I'm going to eat breakfast now and see where my path leads me next. There is a very good book to read and it had my name on it.

Ciao.
Nora

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Of thoughts and other things...


When I was asleep this morning, the doorbell rang and I went to answer it with my sleepy head, hair sticking up, in my pajamas. It was the maintenance man from the housing corporation who came to check the apartment for any repairs it might need. I was incoherent and he asked me if it was a bad time. I said, yes, it was, and asked him to come back later and he said he would come back in the afternoon and I went back to bed and slept another hour. I'm as cool as a cucumber, aren't I? Then I thought I had better get up and drink a slew of coffee so that I would be properly awake when he came back, because I also had to get dressed, of course, and walk the dog. I downed two cups of coffee and smoked a bunch of cigarettes and then I was ready to get the show on the road.

The dog and I made our longer walk, which is going to be our normal walk from now on, as it seems to be just the right distance for him to be able to handle with his old legs. He likes it very much, because there are very many interesting spots to sniff, many hedges and trees and bushes and walls. You do have to do an old dog a favor at his age. He has to lay claim to as much of the neighborhood as he can.

Just as we got back to the apartment, the Exfactor got there and came to have a cup of coffee, and right after he showed up, the maintenance man returned and put a new faucet over the kitchen sink. He said the one I had was leaking and I hadn't even noticed it. Maintenance men have special talents for these defects, they spot them quicker than the average housewife.

I discussed my growing nodules with the Exfactor and decided right then and there to call my GP and make an appointment. I'm going to see him Thursday afternoon. After I had done that and discussed it with the Exfactor, I became very anxious and worried, because it has been easier to ignore the problem and acknowledging it causes stress.

After the Exfactor left, I tried to call my hairdresser, but got a busy signal. An hour later I still got a busy signal, so I decided to walk over there and make an appointment. It turned out that someone there had not put the phone down properly and that's why I kept getting the busy signal. I made an appointment for Thursday morning. My hair will be very happy.

When I got home, my psychiatrist called and we made an appointment for me to see him next week. He is also sending a prescription for some new medication to the pharmacy. He has a very soft voice over the telephone, so I'm constantly saying, "Pardon?" I do have to point that out to him when I see him next.

I am now in the process of trying to get a hold of the woman who trims and bathes the dog, but I'm unsuccessful so far. I have two numbers for her, but I get no answer. The dog really needs a haircut and he really needs a bath.

So, it's been a crazy day, a very unsettled day, I guess, and I don't know what to make of it. I am ready for it to come to an end, I think, but it's awfully early still and not yet time to go to bed. I will get something to eat in a little while and watch the news and slowly start winding down, as I feel just a bit hyper at the moment and I feel that I have to relax and unwind. Here I'm going from almost no activity, to a lot of activity and it's taking its toll on me. I do feel physically tired, though, so that is good. I mean, I don't feel like changing the furniture around or changing my blog template. I'm too wiped out for that.

I have walked the dog, twice in an hour. The second time I don't know what was going on, but he insisted that he had to go out, although he walked very slowly and stumbled once. We did our little round and maybe he just wanted to go by his old spots.

Alright then, food it is and my pajamas on. Have a good evening, everyone.

Ciao,
Nora

Let's go at it again...


Before I do anything, I want to send you to a list of books. They are all the novels that The Wise Web Woman read in 2009. I went through the list myself and found quite a few books that I'm interested in reading and I added those to my ever growing wish list at Bol.com. The Wise Web Woman is a very good friend of mine and I happen to know that she has good taste in books, because she wasn't born yesterday and she is critical enough not to read anything trashy. As to my own wish list... well, I sure hope I find a benefactor soon, because the list grows faster than I can afford to buy the books, but I'm sure you're all dealing with the same problem, because, my God, we are greedy, aren't we?

Now that I think of it, I remember seeing another list just recently and I want to point you to that one also. It is Babaloo's list of novels that she read for 2009 and you can count on there being many good books on it, because I happen to know that she has very good taste in reading material and is hooked on good novels. I haven't looked through her list yet, but that's the next thing I'm going to do and I'm sure that will add many more books to my ever growing wish list, although I think I've read some of them already. As a matter of fact, I've mooched books from Babaloo. I sure hope you have some time to spare to look through these lists. I copy the title and the author and then paste them in the search box of my favorite on line bookstore. That saves me a lot of work.

It's like I speak of treasures, isn't it? As if I'm giving you the pirate's map to where the loot is buried. That's what it feels like to me. I can hardly think of a greater pleasure than the ownership of a good novel. I would bring a great big chest full of them with me if I had to go live on a deserted island.

Although I lacked the energy to do a lot yesterday, little by little I did get some things done and in the evening I took the dog for a longer walk. Accomplishing these things made me feel better and I look forward to today and getting more chores done. I'll just do them slowly with lots of breaks in between. It doesn't have to get done all at once. I have been so immobilized and unable to do much of anything that I'm happy to be more active now. Even if it is on a low level. It is an improvement and that is the main thing.

Well, this was just a short post about lists of books. It is that time of the morning again for me to take my medicines and to eat breakfast and to go back to bed for awhile.

I hope you all have a nice day with lots of good things happening in it.

Ciao,
Nora

Monday, January 18, 2010

Where's my energy?


I just scrubbed the kitchen counter with scouring powder and dusted two tables and I'm completely worn out. I was planning on doing more jobs, but I don't have the energy. I have to sit down for a while until I move onto the next job and it can't be a big one, because I won't last that long. I'll water the plants next and hang up the laundry. I'm really tired, though. It feels as if I've done a lot of work. I'm not that old, for God's sake. I feel like I'm coming down with something and my body won't co-operate. I'll have to do my work in little chunks and stop when I can't do anymore. I'm not even going to try to vacuum, I'll sweep instead. It's such a bother to drag that vacuum cleaner around and sweeping doesn't require as much energy. So I tell myself.

I was supposed to have gone grocery shopping with my sister today, but when she called I was still in my pajamas and not yet in a frame of mind to go out, so I will go on Wednesday, as I think I can make my supplies last that long. I just have to be careful that I make the milk last, as I don't like the artificial creamer in my coffee. It has a...well, artificial taste. Still, it's better than drinking my coffee black.

I've just watered the plants and it was high time too, as some of them were quite dry and I hope they forgive me and don't decide to die on me. I can't hang up the laundry yet, because the washing machine isn't done. It fakes me out, because I think I don't hear anything, but it's just sitting there between movements, humming quietly to itself. I don't think I'm going to be able to hang the laundry outside. It would take forever to get dry. As it is, I have three loads to do and only one rack to dry them on and one load fits on the rack exactly and takes at least a day to dry. I'll be doing laundry for the rest of the week, unless I can figure out a way to get it dry quicker. I could turn up the heat higher, but that's a wasteful way to get the laundry dry. It's too bad that I don't have a wood stove to heat the apartment with. I could get it real warm in here.

My dog thinks he's all done going out for the day and has settled down on his blanket like he is never going to move again. He wanted to go out at 4 o'clock, so I took him for a walk, but I think he's confused and thinks that's it. He's going to have to go out one more time, though. I'll have to convince him to go go with me later in the evening. He's down to eating 400 grams of food and that is enough for him. I have been buying him the Bonzo meals and he likes them very much. He never dawdles when he eats those. Now that the snow and ice are gone, we will be able to take longer walks and I think he will enjoy that. As long as it's not too cold I don't mind being out there.

I have to go to the hairdresser, because I can't do a thing with my hair. All it wants to do is stick up in the wrong direction and it is too long to get it to lay down flat in the right way. It is a pain in the neck and needs to be cut short. I don't realize how quickly my hair grows and how long it has been since I've been to have it cut and before I know it, it has lost its shape and it doesn't look like anything at all. I will call tomorrow and make an appointment. I also have to call the doctor to make an appointment about those nodules on my throat. I think I had better not postpone that anymore now, because I has been several months and they are getting bigger. I also have to take Toby to the vet, because he's sneezing again and he needs a shot of antibiotics. Oh, ho hum. Just what I like to do. Going out...

I have hung up the laundry and put the next load in the machine. I have also put the dishes in the sink to soak and will wash those as soon as I am done writing this. There weren't really that many, especially not after I washed and dried the porridge bowls separately. There are mostly coffee cups and juice glasses and teaspoons. I need to wash the dog's bowls separately, but they need a good soak and a scrub.

Ah, the dog's come back to life. Maybe he will want to go out now. He's doing an awful lot of stretching and yawning. First I need to do the dishes and then I'll take him out. A little bit of fresh air will do me good as well, especially now that I don't have to worry about breaking my neck. I realize now that I really felt like a prisoner with all that snow and ice. It's like being let out of jail now that it's all gone. I sure didn't appreciate that. I hope no more comes our way. I wouldn't like it one bit. I would curse it and move to a warmer climate.

Have a nice evening.

Ciao,
Nora

About books...


It's early in the morning and I woke myself up, because I was talking out loud in my dreams. I was making an inventory of a house full of furniture and the Exfactor was taking notes. I was putting a value on all the different pieces, because they were all antiques and very precious. I was discussing the old pine furniture and how you couldn't just polish it with any kind of wax, because it was so valuable. There was some confusion on the Exfactor's part as to what was the old pine furniture and I was explaining it to him. I woke myself up saying, "Okay, and now we can move to the next batch." No doubt I was taking inventory of my marriage there.

Before I do anything else, I have to tell you about a place called The Book Depository. It is an on line bookstore where you can buy books at a major discount and they ship them worldwide free of charge. You should really check them out, as you can save a lot of money buying books and they have a large selection. All you need is a credit card.

I got another book recommendation from Connie Rose. She is quite a reader and I trust her judgment on what is a good book, because I know the kinds of novels she reads. This time the author is Wallace Earle Stegner and the name of the book is Angle of Repose. If you follow the links you'll find out all about it.

Babaloo told me that Until I Find You is not John Irving's latest novel. Last Night In Twisted River is. I went to Bol.com and found out that it is only available now in hardback, but the price is not bad, so I put it on my wish list. Soon enough it will come out in paperback anyway.

Another author I want to recommend is Anita Shreve. I have eight of her novels and I have read her in the past. I haven't read any of the novels that I have by her now, but she also came recommended again this time by several people. Strange Fits Of Passion is a good one to start with.

Then there is an author I enjoyed very much and that is Julia Glass. I've only read one novel by her and that was Three Junes, but it was an excellent book. If you want to read an intelligent book about an interesting family than this is it. She's a completely believable and convincing writer.

If you think Joyce Carol Oates is unapproachable, you have to try and read Missing Mom. It is such a wonderful and heart wrenching novel about love and death and mothers and daughters. I've read it twice now and will no doubt read it again.

Last but not least I want to mention Sebastian Barry, because his novel The Secret Scripture made a huge impression on me and I still have to think about it, months after reading it. It is a treasure. It is so well written and the subject is so interesting that I can't get it out of my mind. Some books stick with you and this one does. Maggie May recommended that book to me and I'm grateful to her for it.

This was just a short post about books I've read or am going to read. I'm going to eat breakfast now and go back to bed with my more than interesting book. I hope you all have a good day and that you're all keeping warm and cozy.

Ciao,
Nora

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Staying up late...


Like I've said before, I have to take advantage of the times in my circadian cycle when I feel best and perform then, and be awake and enjoy myself and and not look at the clock and do what it tells me to do or what I think I ought to do. There is no ought to, there is only this minute and this moment on which I feel good and when I don't want to do anything else than what I am doing. Namely sit here by the light of my desk lamp with a cup of coffee and a cigarette and write my thoughts down, whatever they amount to. Soon enough I will get tired and find my way to the bedroom. There's no amount of built in guilt that's going to make me feel different about that. I hear a chorus of warning voices, but it's just an echo that has been repeated many times over and I'm becoming deaf to it. I'm listening to my own voice now, stubborn and foolhardy as I am. I've got my own survival mode and it's working. I know more happy moments now than I do in any other way. I'm glad I've got it all figured out. There's a method to my madness.

Quite coincidentally two separate people asked me about the same author. Both Angie and Connie Rose asked me if I had read anything by Diana Gabaldon. I had never heard of this author and looked her up on Bol.com and found out that she had written a whole series of books of which the 'Outlander' is the first one. It seems to be worth a try, especially when two people recommend her on the same day. Babaloo also recommended a book by John Irving called 'Until I Find You.' She says it's another one of John Irving's really good books, so I added that one to my list of books to get. So you see how this discussion about books leads to recommendations of other books and that is exactly what I want to happen. Please feel free to recommend a book if you've read a good one. I'll be happy to look it up if I haven't read it yet, or mention it here if I have. This can slowly turn into a book blog if I read fast enough. or if you people come with enough recommendations.

I cleaned up the apartment the French way, as we say here in the Netherlands. That means I got rid of everything that could be put in the trash and slightly organized things that were unorganized. It doesn't mean that I did any real cleaning. I closed my eyes to that and I wished for a better day to come along when I'll be struck by the cleaning genie. I know it will happen, it's just a matter of having patience. The chaos is under control and I know exactly what I have to do to set it right.

Except for an individual patch here and there, the snow and ice are all gone. I can see the streets and the sidewalks again and not be in danger of breaking my neck when I walk the dog. It is such a relief. The temperatures are good right now and it's not going to be freezing anymore, so hurray! It's darn near balmy now when I go outside. I don't have to wear my snow hat or my gloves and it feels like it is going to be springtime. What an optimist I am. It's still January, anything can happen. It's so nice to be liberated from that snow and ice. It was a real bother. It suddenly disappeared very quickly. I hope that's all the winter we're going to have for this season, but we're not out of the woods yet. We still have to get through February and March and they are unpredictable months.

I did make it through the bad weather without falling down once, though, although all the while I had visions of myself with a broken leg in a cast and no way to walk the dog and all the problems that would bring. I also worried about the dog slipping and hurting himself because of his osteoarthritis, but he did real well. He was pretty steady on his feet. He slipped a little now and then, but he didn't hurt himself. That's the advantage of walking on all fours.

I think I need to go to bed now. It's late enough and I am going to be up soon enough again. It will be nice to get my pajamas on and to get something to eat and have a glass of juice to drink. The dog is already sleeping on his pillow in the bedroom. I think that's where the cats are too.

Have a good night. Sleep tight. It is 5C here.

Ciao,
Nora

Yes, I know...


I'm up in the middle of the night. I woke up at 2:30 am and was wide awake and not a bone in my body thought about going back to bed. All I could think of was getting up and having myself a cup of coffee and a lovely solitary time behind the computer. It doesn't make any difference anyway. I slept all night the other night and yesterday I napped on the sofa almost all day, in between reading my book, and felt grouchy most of the day. The only time I felt good was later in the evening, after I had some cups of coffee and wrote this post, which you really shouldn't miss, because it's so upbeat and interesting if you like books.

So, I guess I am not that impressed with the positive effects of a whole night's sleep. I think an interrupted sleep works just as well, if not better, and I seem to get through the day in a more positive way too. It is like some of you said, as long as I get my sleep, it doesn't matter when I get it and I do want to take advantage of the periods in my 24 hour cycle when I am most happy, such as right now. I wasn't happy during the day yesterday, but saw everything with gloom and doom and only my book and my naps saved me from sinking into a deep hole. I suppose I don't handle the daytime well. I think it's the worst time in the 24 hour cycle.

It's lovely to be up now and have my coffee and cigarettes and see the dog appear every now and then, who comes to see what I am doing and then retreats back to the bedroom to sleep. The cats are also so occupied.

It's actually not freezing outside. It's 4C and raining and more of the ice has melted, although it still looks like a big mess out there. It's not going to be freezing anymore for the next couple of days, so maybe we will get rid of all this slush. Everyone who loves to skate will not like it, but the rest of us will breathe a sigh of relief when all the ice is gone. The Exfactor used my bike the other day and it has left a dried up puddle of mud in the hallway. It's another one of those chores that needs to get done.

I've finished the first chapter of 'Prodigal Summer' and started on the second one. I already love the book. It is so full of interesting bits of information and so well written without any awkwardness in the sentences. You never have to read a sentence twice to make sure of what you just read. It flows like a stream in a meadow, very naturally and smoothly. It's a narrative tale and it's just like somebody is telling you a very fascinating story. It's written with love and attention to detail.

Well, I'm sitting here sunk away in my own thoughts and remembering all the books I've read and how many of them I'd like to read again. I will get to that point sooner or later. There are so many novels to read still and so many new ones coming out each year in paperback. I've got plenty of catching up to do. I'm not worried about running out of reading material and there are always people telling me about authors they've read and loved. Because of a friend of mine, I read the novels of Garcia Marquez and really enjoyed them, but when I started to read his autobiography I didn't like it, because I thought he was an exaggerator who made things up, which is really the power of his novels, the fact that he can make up the most fantastical things. I suppose I just didn't want him to do it about his real life. At least, that's the impression I got.

I was into reading (auto)biographies for a while, but have since lost interest in them. There were a few people I was curious about and I read their's and maybe in the future I will read more, but I almost think it is better not to know too much about the people whose work you admire and let the work speak for itself, at least until you're done with it, otherwise you'll never approach it with the same unbiased feelings again. There's a lot I don't want to know. I don't need to know about the private lives of these people.

In the meantime, between being lost in thoughts and answering emails and writing this post, it has become morning and I have to eat breakfast and go back to bed. I am more than looking forward to it. The alarm clock has gone off already, so I won't be awakened by it. I have taken my medicines and I am ready to go read my book.

I wish you all a very nice Sunday and lots of pleasant weather and many good books to read.

Ciao,
Nora

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Self indulgence.


I just walked the dog and it was raining. It melted a lot of the snow, but many places were still very icy, so you can imagine how it was to walk there. It was like taking your life in your own hands. I ended up walking in the middle of the street, because it was the least slippery there, but the dog couldn't figure out why we were walking there. We got very wet. My boots are soaked and so was the dog, but he loves to get rubbed dry with a towel. He comes back for more and stands there patiently while I get him as dry as possible.

I just finished reading 'Superior Women' by Alice Adams and now I have to choose a new book. I'm completely undecided yet and will just walk to the bookcase and let my instincts guide me. As a matter of fact, I'll go do that right now.

I've picked 'Prodigal Summer' by Barbara Kingsolver and now I can't wait to get started on it. I think it's something completely different than Alice Adams. I tell you, a good book can save your life. I would give up a lot of things before I gave up books, especially now that I'm feeling so very low and reading seems to be one activity that I can still do easily. Well, it's almost the only thing I still do.

Three books arrived in the mail today, two of which I ordered at Bol.com. They are 'My Sister's Keeper' by Jodi Picoult and 'The Almost Moon' by Alice Sebold. The other book that came is 'Ellen Foster' by Kaye Gibbons. I also have 'A Virtuous Woman' by her. I haven't read that one yet either. I get very excited when I have an unread book in my hands and when I look at all the unread books on my bookcase. I also feel very good about putting a finished book back on the bookcase, knowing that one day I will maybe read it again, but also knowing it is there and looking at it with fondness because of the good memories.

I feel very proprietary about my books. That was one of the hard parts about Bookmooch, giving up your own books to get other ones, yet you got three books for every two that you gave away, so there was a reward system and I did end up with a lot of books. But there was a big price to pay in the form of postage. Now I get to keep every book I own and I feel good about that and I will fill my bookshelves in the living room and in the bedroom. The books that I will get rid off are the beat up and discolored ones, but I think I already mentioned that.

There's a book called 'Ecotopia' by Ernest Callenbach and I have a very old and beat up edition, but I hate to get rid of it because it's such a good book. I want to try and get a new edition to replace this one and read it again, or have other people read it, because the idea behind the book is so novel. Northern California and Oregon and Washington declare independence from the USA and become isolated and mysterious. Wonderful things happen there and finally a visitor is allowed who makes a report about it to the President. It's a real eye opener and completely up my alley.

I just went to Bol.com and saw that it is still in print and I put it on my list of books I want to get. The ever growing list of books to which there is no end and which will always keep growing no matter how many books I get. It's possible that I care about books even more than I care about clothes, at least at the moment I do. That may be because I have enough clothes to wear, although you could argue that I have enough books to read also, but I can't get enough of them.

I had a library card when I was a kid and my kids had one also. When they were growing up, we were lucky, because the library was just at the end of our street. We went there often and came back with arms full of books. My son ended up reading a lot of fantasy books, but my daughter read everything she could lay her hands on. For a long time I was indiscriminate in my taste and read whatever was on the New York Times bestseller list. Tom Clancy and John le Carré and John Irving. When I came to the Netherlands I decided to focus on female authors and I've been doing that almost exclusively ever since, except for a long period when I was not doing well and couldn't read at all. That was a miserable time in my life. There's nothing worse than not being able to read.

I still like John Irving, although some of his books are to thick and too laborious, but I loved 'The World According To Garb' and 'The Hotel New Hampshire' and 'A Prayer for Owen Meany,' which I reread not too long ago. I also want to reread 'The Hotel New Hampshire.' 'A Widow For A Year' was good also. Oh, and of course, 'The Cider House Rules.' He's a quite talented man.

I read Isac Asimov for a while and Stephen King, but then I decided I didn't want to scare myself half to death anymore and science fiction lost my interest too, because as far as I'm concerned I'm living in it. I read all of the 'Dune' books. I was fascinated with them for a while, especially the first one. It spoiled it when they made a movie out of it. When I was younger, a teenager, I read Ray Bradbury, but it was very pessimistic. Science fiction was very pessimistic back then. And of course I read Arthur Clarke and I love that movie, '2010, A Space Odyssey.' Funny that we should be living in that year now.

I'm sticking to my female writers now, although I make an exception now and then and include a male writer. I have some books by two male authors I have yet to read, David Guterson and Michael Cunningham. I haven't tackled them yet, I'm waiting for the right moment. I suspect David Guterson of being too soft and Michael Cunningham of being too intellectual, but I may be completely wrong. I need a little bit of extra courage to get started on them. I don't have that much capacity right now.

It's time for me to get my pajamas on and to get something to eat. I haven't had dinner yet, but just a glass of juice. I've had two cups of coffee that helped me get out of a terrible dip that I was in. I probably got that way because I didn't have my quota of caffeine for the day. I hadn't had a cup of coffee since early this morning and that is too long to go without for me. I was going through withdrawal. I'll also take my medicines and get ready for bed. I have a new book to read and I am looking forward to that. There are clean sheets on the bed too, so that's nice.

I hope you're all having a wonderful Saturday and that all your books are enjoyable. Suggestions are always welcome.

Ciao,
Irene

Made it!


Knowing what I know now about my sleeping pattern, I managed to sleep from 10 o'clock last night until 6:30 this morning. I did wake up three times during the night, but forced myself to go back to sleep until I thought I had slept a decent enough time. Each time I woke up, I stood beside my bed, but managed to get back into it, even when I was having night sweats. I don't know if I'm done sleeping now, time will tell. It is possible that I'll still find myself napping on the sofa, but at least I had a fairly good night's sleep. Each time I woke up, it only took me a minute to get back to sleep. I probably could have slept longer this morning, but I thought it was a good time to get up and that I had slept long enough. I'll try to sleep longer tomorrow. I will make it a sport to see how long I can sleep in the morning, while still going to bed at a decent time at night. It will be a challenge.

Sometimes it's good to pay attention to the things that lie hidden in your subconscious. It takes a little bit of work and a little bit of reasoning, but after some deep analysis you can sometimes get to the root of the problem if you allow yourself to look at unpleasant memories and facts that you're hiding from. And then you say to yourself, "If it looks like a horse and it acts like a horse, it must be a horse." I'm very good in denying myself some obvious reasons for why some things in my life don't go smoothly, because I only look at them on the surface and not deep down, three dimensionally. I think therapy doesn't help me get there either, because nobody knows how deep to dig and how safe that is. It's up to me to do that work.

I always have major breakdowns on the anniversary of my son's death, but each time they take me by surprise, because each time I don't make the link and deny myself the pain that I feel about it and how traumatized I really am. So, I look for other reasons for why I'm falling apart and it isn't until days later that I realize what's really happened and why I felt the way I did. That's how very much I don't look beneath the surface so many times. It's obvious that the most traumatic events are the ones that are going to impact you the most for the rest of your life, yet we don't calculate them into our reactions to certain moments and important times and days or the subconscious memories we're having that are triggered by something or someone around us.

I must remember that I'm wounded and that those wounds aren't healed. I don't have scar tissue. I have wounds. And there are always moments and days and periods when those wounds hurt like hell. If I deny that, I will have breakdowns that take me by surprise every time, or other problems that seem unsolvable.

Well, that's it for my psychological insights for today. I don't want to completely get bogged down in them. There are other things in life too. Like this delicious glass of juice I'm drinking, because I was so very thirsty.

It's going to be 5C today and it's going to rain and hopefully that means that all that ice in the streets and on the sidewalks will disappear. I can't wait for it to happen. I hope it just comes pouring down. At the moment the sun is shining, though, and it is 0C. I haven't walked the dog yet, so I have no idea how the sunshine feels today, but I will go out there shortly and get a taste of it before it's all gone. The dog did an enormously long piddle out back, so I have time.

The Exfactor was here yesterday and kept me company for a while. I was feeling a little bit lonely and asked him to stay for a while and I discussed some of my theories with him. He's a good enough listener, although he's not as good as a licensed psychologist. He does his best, though, and it does feel good to talk about some things. To get them off my chest when there is no one else to discuss them with. His collarbone is all healed and he can ride his motorcycle again, much to his relief. He even went to the tobacconist for me to get my weekly supply, which saved me a trip over there on the icy sidewalks. He has to park his motorcycle at the beginning of my street, as it is to icy to ride here. The main roads are clear of ice and snow.

Well, I'm going to take the dog for a walk while it is still nice out. No doubt he'll appreciate that, although he's gone back asleep on his pillow in the bedroom. I guess he isn't in any sort of hurry at all.

I hope you all have a nice day. I'll wish for all your snow to be gone, or do you like it?

Ciao,
Nora