Monday, December 31, 2012

The last day of the old year.

This year seems to have gone by awfully quick but I know it does not seem that way just to me. I know it seems that way to most everybody because I hear it all around me. Maybe we have been caught in a time warp and the days and nights are actually going by much faster than they did before. Maybe it is a sign of these modern times and it has nothing to do with getting older and having life pass you by quicker.

 I do wonder if my parents experienced this and I am sorry that I can not ask them this now because what a source of information they would have been. I better make sure I stick around for a long enough time for my daughter to ask me when she is curious enough to.

Yesterday, my ex and I went to Ikea while our daughter spent her time on the sofa wrapped up in a scarf and a blanket trying to get over her cold. She has a nasty cough and is quite congested but she does take good care of herself. She does not need me to hover over her. She is very self sufficient.

Is it not wonderful how you can have the same shopping experience all over the world and all that changes is the language that is spoken there? Actually, I do think there were a few items in the store that may not have been available in the Ikea that is closest to me because local tastes do differ.

I bought some variegated, gray blankets that I will be able to put on the sofa and the armchair at home so that Tyke and Gandhi can lie on them and be comfortable and snug. They will not get soiled quickly and will be easy to wash. My daughter has them for her animals and they have turned out to be very handy to have. The animals know their spot to lie down on and the furniture is saved from wear and tear. 

Yesterday, I also had a cheeseburger and fries from McDonald's and, although it did not agree with my stomach, it was a fun experience for old time's sake.I do not have to have that again now for another twenty years because I am completely over my longing for it. 

I do not know what we are going to do tonight to ring out the old year. I know we have a bottle of champagne in the pantry so I suppose we will pop the cork on it. I am only here for a few more days so we will have to make the most of it and start the new year off right. At least I am saved from the barrage of fireworks that go off at midnight at home and last for an hour so that you can not go to sleep. It will be a lot more quiet here. 

I want to wish you all the best for the year 2013 and I hope that all your wishes for it come true.I am looking forward to it very much and have high hopes. I think it will be a good year because I learned an awful lot this one. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Counting the days.

You may not believe this, and I am having a wonderful time, but I am somewhat looking forward to going home again mostly because I miss Tyke a bit. I am somewhat compensated for this by the presence of my daughter's dog who is a real sweetheart but there is nothing like the company of your own trusty dog. The Exfactor sent me a photo of Tyke yesterday and I was glad to see him but it did tug at my heart strings. When I get home again, there is going to be an unbelievable reunion and I will not be paying attention to anything else around me for a while but Tyke.

My daughter caught a bit of a cold and, being a sensible person, applied home remedies and stayed away from over the counter medicines. So far, my ex and I are just dealing with our allergies and haven't caught her bug yet. I felt quite a bit off color yesterday afternoon but it turned out to be a case of low blood sugar that was remedied by a extra tall glass of orange juice. It must have been brought about by all the chocolate that I had indulged in. My ex was an aide and abettor in this. He likes to spoil me and I can ask for anything I want.

The sun is shining this morning but it is a bit cold and at night it gets down to freezing. I had to put an extra blanket on my bed because I was literally shivering under the comforter. As a result of putting the blanket on, I was much warmer immediately when I went to sleep last night and slept for a long time. I am still the first person up in the morning and make the first pot of coffee and have the house to myself for the first hour or so. That is perfect because, although I am not grumpy, I do like to start the day on my own. That is the same way here as it is at home. 

I now remember why I married my ex because he is simply a very nice and kind person. I see all his good points, although I am not blind to his less positive sides. I do appreciate who he is and also the fact that he puts up with me and my eccentricities. He just laughs at whatever I do and say and never takes me seriously when I get on my high horse. It is good to see that I had picked such a positive person to get married to. I had become ignorant of all that was good about him over the years and it is really good to spend this time with him. 

Everything happens for a reason and no, we are never too old to learn.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

A path of roses.

These weeks, I am living life like God  in France as we say in the Netherlands, meaning that it is very good and that I luxuriate in it. I will make sure that the time I have remaining here is spent in the best possible way so that I can look back on it with complete satisfaction. I don't think that is too much of a difficult thing to do because it happens as if by itself. I am in good company in a very good place.and all good things come naturally. 

I am so impressed with Houston and it is not at all what you would maybe expect a Texan city to be. It is very cosmopolitan and international and you see all sorts of people all over the place. I am so pleased with this America that I had not experienced for twenty years. It has very much changed and become a very dynamic and  modern place where even I can learn a lot. A whole new generation has stood up and made its voice heard. 

I am very happy for the experience because now when I think of Americans, my picture of them will be different and much more up to date and realistic and I will think of most of them with a lot of affection and understanding. 

My ex will be coming to stay with me in Maastricht in May for an extended time. He is planning on bringing his touring bike so he will be able to make long trips in the surrounding countryside. Since we for the most part get along so well, his staying with me should not be a problem and I am looking forward to it. 

My trips to Houston will become a regular event and I will always have them to look forward to. They will add a lot of interest to my ordinary life and add a lot of variety. Now that I know what to expect, I will be well prepared each time and become a routine traveler. I will also now how to pack my suitcase well and what presents to bring. This first time was really a trial run. 

We went into a store yesterday where they had the most adorable clothes and household accessories which were exclusively made for their brand. I fell in love with a lot of it and wanted to take many things home with even if that was impractical but even their sale items were not affordable. Darn, and they knew they had a niche in the market.  It was a frustrating experience and I obviously was too poor to shop there although I looked the part and like I belonged there. 

Looks can be very deceiving, but that is half the fun of it. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

When you get spoiled.

For my Christmas present, I asked my daughter for a pedicure because my feet had been the most neglected parts of my body. I had a lot of callouses and one in particular under the ball of my left foot that hurt when I walked on it. I had suffered with it for quite a while and grinned and bore it. It was a case of me being stubborn and ignoring the pain and becoming used to it as being part of my daily life, which is silly, of course.

My daughter made an appointment with what she said was the best place in town for this sort of thing, and she knows best, and yesterday morning we went there full of anticipation, At least, I was because my daughter had many pedicures and manicures there before. 

When we got there, the first thing I got to do was pick out the nail polish I wanted my toe nails painted with and of course I picked out the brightest red I could find because I wanted my toes to be happy and bright and a surprise for all to behold and was told I could take the nail polish home with me.

The actual treatment involved hot whirlpools with scented water, hot wraps with heated towels, massages with scented creams, a complete do over of my toenails that was very thorough, and the complete removal of all of my callouses which took quite a bit of elbow grease.

My feet and toes haven't felt and looked so good since I was in diapers and, except for the nail polish, I have virgin feet  and am pain free for the first time in a long while. I will tell you that this was an experience worth repeating and I can highly recommend it to anyone. If you want to be pampered and feel really great, then this is the way to do it. Oh yes, while this was going on, I sat in a massage chair which added to the comfort. 

Afterwards, we went out for lunch in a funky Indian restaurant where only the "hippest" people eat and had some authentic food that was somewhat adapted to the American palate. By this time, I was having low blood sugar and just about to keel over because I had had a breakfast of mango lemonade and fruit. I was just a bit spaced out and having trouble following the conversation. After having the grilled fish and spicy french fries, I was in much better shape and cup of coffee really put me back into the picture.

We are supposed to go see the film "les Miserables"  tonight. I saw the original musical in San Francisco and it was a delightful onslaught of action and color and sound and I will never forget it. I saw the trailer of the film and I think it will be very good. Hopefully it will live up to our high expectations. Yes, we do have to take care of our cultural needs as well. We haven't been to a museum yet like we had planned. There are not enough hours in the day. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Taking the canary home.

I am sitting at the breakfast bar, using my ex's laptop, and my view is of the fruit bowl on the kitchen counter which is so full of a variety of fruits that it is spilling over onto the counter. We are all eating it as quickly as we can, keeping a healthy diet in mind, but almost every day more gets brought in than we can eat. I think this morning I will make a serious effort to only eat fruit for breakfast and watch the supply dwindle a bit. The oranges look more than ripe enough and I will tackle them. 

The house is very silent other than the quiet noises that the animals make and the occasional creak in the woodwork. I do like that about this house because it makes it feel like it is alive. I would never attempt to fix that if it were my house and I do have to tell you that in my imagination, I have moved this house to downtown Maastricht and moved into it. I like it that much.

My daughter's dog has taken to me right away but her cats eye me with suspicion and will not come close. The only time they want anything to do with me is when their food dishes are empty and there is no other human around to fill them.

 I automatically speak Dutch to the dog and it makes no difference whatsoever to him because he understands me perfectly. He has not looked at me strangely yet. Of course, I understand that it is the intonation of my voice that he reacts to and that is the same in any language, He understands kindness and love even when it is spoken in strange words. Sometimes I call him Tyke because he is on my mind regularly. 

My ex and I did the grocery shopping at Whole Foods yesterday and because we did not know the lay out of the store, it was sort of a slapstick experience. We lost track of each other regularly and then found each other again somewhere in the middle. We each had to do our own shopping and the general shopping so that was lots of fun because we had to look three times for everything. 

We are both equally stubborn and both think we know how to do something best so we have to remember that and not get into an uproar when we clash because of that. When you think about it, we actually get along well because we tolerate a lot from each other and bite our tongues at the right moment. 

I finally managed to find a new address book, which took me a couple of months, and wrote all the pertinent addresses down in it yesterday evening. My old one was filled with crossed out addresses and obsolete ones of people I hardly remember. Now that all the pertinent addresses are written down in the new book, I feel so much more organized and up to date and I immediately felt like sending cards with "Season Greetings" to everyone which I had not done yet. 

I promise I will send you all Easter cards. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

How to take care of that!

The sun is shining outside although it is definitely a bit chilly. Last night a cold front moved in with high winds that whipped the trees around. There is no need to turn the air conditioning on now and we will be wearing our winter clothes. The weather changes quickly here in Houston and it goes from hot to cold in no time. 

I am grateful for the sunshine and the blue sky and I do not care much about the outside temperature as long as the wind does not blow hard. I packed clothes for any kind of weather so I am well prepared.

We had a wonderful lazy day yesterday and it was the best day I have had here yet. It was the best way to celebrate Christmas and I could spend the rest of my stay here the same way. We enjoyed each other's company and were not bored for one minute. 

We went out for our Christmas dinner to a very nice Asian restaurant where the prices of the dishes were not on the menu. That just left you with the option to pick out the thing that you really wanted. Luckily there was a wide variety of food and even for me with food intolerances there was enough to safely choose from. I had spicy grilled salmon with thinly sliced vegetables and it only bothered me afterwards for a tiny bit. 

I opted not to drink any wine but to stick with ice water and I think that was a wise choice. I was in a much better mood for the rest of the evening. Drinking a glass of wine here is a very expensive business, by the way, but then again, going out for a meal is anyway. 

I ate a whole box of chocolates. My daughter said that I could eat it if I wanted to and because I had not had chocolate in a very long time, I thought I would eat one or two every once in a while. The first time I ate five of them before bedtime and they did not disagree with me at all. The next day I ate the rest of them all in one sitting and felt very happy for the rest of the afternoon. There must be a happiness ingredient in them. I rarely tasted anything so good. 

I hope you all had a very merry Christmas of your own in whatever way you celebrated it. I am ever so grateful that I did not have to spend this time on my own. It is an experience worth repeating.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

As usual.

I am sitting here early on Christmas morning with my usual cup of coffee as if it were any other day, except that I am in Houston and that, once everyone gets up, I will be opening presents. In the Netherlands we do that on December the 5th in celebration of Saint Nicholas' birthday. 

I have to say that I do sleep well here and I do not know if that is due to the quality of the beds or because I am in the company of my loved ones. I sleep at least eight hours and in the evenings I am so tired that I am sound asleep the moment my head hits the pillow. 

The weather was beautiful yesterday and I had to get what summer clothes I packed out of my suitcase. We went to a an arboretum and I expected a park, but this being Texas, it was of course a large forest with all kinds of trails running through it. I am sure that all sorts of animals live there but because we had the dog with us, we only saw turtles in the natural ponds and squirrels. 

There are an awful lot of really rich people here and I do have to get used to that. It is awkward to see so much opulence and outward appearance of wealth and money spent. I do have my opinions about that but I will keep those to myself. You all know that I am a socialist. 

I made dinner last night and used as many things as I could find in the refrigerator which had an abundance of food. I made up two dishes by using my imagination and they were well received. I enjoyed them myself too because I made them lactose and gluten free. As long as I do not eat too much for my gastric band to handle, I do fine. 

We are going out for authentic Japanese food for our Christmas dinner. We are not in the mood for turkey and all the trimmings. There is a tiny Japanese restaurant not too far from here that is run by an old Japanese couple and my daughter has eaten there before and says it is worth it. 

It promises to be another lovely day out and what better way to celebrate Christmas. I wish you all the best one ever and if you do not celebrate it, remember to be extra good for yourself anyway. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

These things also happen here.

I guess the nicest thing that happened is that the waiter asked for my I.D. when I asked for a glass of wine when we went out for lunch yesterday. I was totally shocked but my daughter said that he was just flirting with me, which I am equally shocked about. 

I know one thing, I am not going to drink a alcohol during the day anymore because it made me completely unfit for further use for the next couple of hours. I think it does not really agree with me all that well and I like myself better sober. Whatever kick other people get out of it is absent with me. 

We were in a huge shopping center. It had three stories and an ice skating rink. It looked like a futuristic city and no matter how long you walked, there was always more to it. It was busy there and the sound of the crowd echoed through the building.

When, after a long time, we got to our store, it felt like my head would burst and as if I was in a living nightmare. I knew I had to leave or otherwise have a nervous breakdown. I told my ex and my daughter and they immediately got me out of there as quickly as they could. 

When we got home again, it took me several hours before I felt back to normal but I really was not completely myself for the rest of the day. It took a good night's sleep to take care of that and this morning I was chipper and cheerful again and ready to take on the world. I guess I got an overdose of mega-sized Texas.

This morning my daughter and I got up early and went to a very good department store that I am very familiar with before it even opened and beat whatever crowd there is going to be this last day before Christmas. We had such a good shopping experience and got it done in no time at all without the least amount of stress. I successfully bought the presents that I needed to get for the people back home and some itemms for my own use.

The 90 minute yoga class that my daughter taught yesterday went well. She is a great teacher and I was not bored for one minute. It was not beginner's yoga and I could not keep up with everything but I tried as well as I could. I will go to next week's class also. It is a challenge and I am up for it. I did find out that I am not in too bad a shape because of my walks with Tyke and my bike rides.

I am unable to access my regular email account because I seem to have the wrong username and I can't for the life of me think of what the right one is to log in with. Whatever emails you may be sending me will go unanswered. If you do want to get in contact with me, you can do that at Or if you know me well, on my Facebook page. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Texas Morning.

This morning I am going to take a yoga class taught by my daughter because beside being an attorney, she is also a certified yoga teacher. It is a class where beginners are welcome too so I should feel right at home, although I have done yoga in the past. I do not not know how supple and bendable I am anymore and it is all going to be a big surprise I will try not to embarrass her too much.

For those of you who were wondering - my name is pronounced "Ee-ray-nuh" the Dutch way. That is not that hard  is it? You are actually supposed to roll the "r" but a half way effort  is much appreciated. I do so like being addressed this way.

We went out for dinner last night and I had about half of a very nicely grilled filet of beef. That was almost more than my gastric band could handle but I appreciated the taste of it oh so much. It had been ages since I had one of them. I had roasted rosemary potatoes to go with it and spinach. All of us had more food than we could handle and we took it home in doggie bags which is a good American custom. 

I even had a glass of the Sauvignon Blanc house wine and it agreed amazingly well with me and did not make me stand on my head but made me mellow out sufficiently.

We are trying these two weeks to keep me on a gluten and lactose free diet. My daughter thinks that is the problem and she could be very right. I am also taking pro-biotics to keep the flora in my intestines healthy. I have increased my stomach tablets to one twice a day and that is helping a lot. If I follow this diet very strictly, I should be doing much better soon.

We are going Christmas shopping later today because neither my daughter nor my ex are done with it. I suppose they get a thrill out of waiting till the last minute. It does men that I can have some influence hopefully on what they get for me. Ha ha! 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

At long last.

Well, I am here in these United States in the great state of Texas and feeling right at home like a fish in water. I did not have one bit of culture shock and took to Houston right away with its busy downtown and its spacious freeways. Actually, I think this would be a very nice place to retire to and I very easily can see myself do it. We've done a bit of driving around and I like what I have seen of the different neighborhoods, though I must say that I am on the nice side of town. That does make the views a lot more pleasant to the eye.

I am completely enjoying the company of my small family in every way and every moment of the day that I can and this is even better than I anticipated. It all happens so naturally and without effort and constraint. Yes, being related to people in whatever way possible does make a difference in how you approach them. You do have an instantaneous bond with them. Especially when they also look like you.

I have forbidden everyone to pronounce my name the English way, because that is not who I am. They have to pronounce it the Dutch way and introduce me that way to other people too. It turns out that no one has any problem with this at all and that nobody trips over the pronunciation of my name. If I had only known this sooner. I never liked going through life as Eye-reen.

This morning my daughter and I went to the Soto Zen Buddhist Temple which is located in a beautiful Craftsman's house in an old renovated and upscale neighborhood in Houston. We did a twenty minute meditation session and listened to a talk by the Sensei which was wise and humorous. During my meditation session I had a talk with God and asked him some questions and after awhile got the answers. I was very grateful for that. It made me straighten my shoulders and my back.

Yesterday, my ex and I went to a very exclusive shopping mall which was enormous and in which all the shops and department stores were very expensive. Even so, the people who shopped there were not very well dressed but I was one of them being European. I guess there is a difference in what we consider dressing casually at both sides of the globe. I did get a very nice Christmas present from my ex in the form of a wonderful watch because mine got trampled on and broken during the security check in Atlanta, which is something I did not notice until I got to Houston.

No doubt I will enjoy myself very well here and I will report this as I get the opportunity. We are going Christmas shopping later today and then out for dinner. Hurray!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I am almost gone now.

At the last minute, I thought to bring a sleeveless maxi dress in case I have to go to a dress up affair, which no doubt I will have to while I am in Texas. Luckily, although it is completely lined, it is very light weight and hardly takes up any room in my suitcase and does not wrinkle easily. 

I am going to have to take out a pair of open shoes that I had packed in order to make room for my toiletry bag with my hairspray and deodorant in it because I can not take those on board with me in my backpack. I am counting on my daughter having enough shoes for me to borrow from because we do wear the same size.

I did not buy the larger suitcase thinking that the somewhat smaller one would be more than big enough. Of course, I had not counted on also bringing bulky presents for three people and misjudged how much space I really had. It is a good thing that I did not wait until the last minute with packing because now at least I could put some thought into it and not panic when I ran out of room. 

I have now got a really good itinerary with all the information I could possibly want on one page. It even shows what sort of meal I am going to have on which flight and the numbers of all my seats, which are all on the aisle. I do prefer it that way so I can easily get up and reach my backpack in the overhead storage. The only thing it does not show is which movies I am going to see so I will have to let myself be surprised. 

If anyone was ever ready to go on a trip, it certainly is me.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Taking it easy.

I am leaving the day after tomorrow and I have decided that today I will take it easy and only do little incidental tasks as I think of them. I have done most of the preperatory work for my trip and there is not much left that I can do right now. I also am expecting a package with two more presents that I ordered at the last minute and it may get here today and I hope by tomorrow. I am tracking it on line. 

I am amazingly calm and collected because I have decided that there is no reason to get bothered about anything at all. That very decision determines my attitude for the next couple of days until I arrive in Texas and then I will see what happens. Doubtlessly I will be full of joy at that point and too excited to sleep when it is time.

At least the weather is co-operating and it is mild this week with only some occasional rain and I will not have to worry about icy roads that would make it hard to get to the airport in Brussels.

I think I have worked out what causes me to have so many physical problems but in the end I will need the help of the dietician to determine if I am right. I think I may have a histamine allergy and I found this out after a lot of detective work. I have downloaded and printed a list of foods I should avoid and have started doing so as of yesterday and will do so until I see the dietician in January.

When I look at the foods on the list that I should avoid and I check that against the foods I have problems with, it does all seem to add up. It certainly does explain how wide ranged my problems are because that is something that puzzled me very much. 

I found the list from a Dutch website to be the most comprehensive and the most helpful and this website also recommended an allergy medicine which I ordered from the pharmacy yesterday and which I will pick up tomorrow. It also recommended a multiple vitamin that is especially designed for people with this kind of allergy and I have started taking it today. It supports the special diet that I will be on. I certainly hope that this is the solution.

The package I was waiting for just arrived and I will now attempt to find room for the presents in my overfull suitcase. Where there is a will, there is a way.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Sunday Post.

The coffee tastes especially good this morning and the cafeine has set my head straight after initially waking up kind of befuddled. Tyke had to go out back first thing and standing by the open back door, I let the cold morning air wash over me to help wake me up. That is not a bad thing to do as long as I am wearing my bathrobe. 

A pot of coffee was quickly made and I drank a tall glass of lemon water to quench my thirst while I was waiting for it to get done. This doesn't help wake me up but it is a very pleasant experience drinking it so ice cold and the lemon flavor is just strong enough to please my taste buds. I think I am hooked on it after having to give up milk and I could actually drink liters of it. 

After not wearing my amethyst jewelry for a while I have put the necklace, the ring and the bracelet back on in the belief that it will help me gain some extra peace and quiet and good luck.This may be a superstition and a lot of wishful thinking on my part but I think I do not want to tempt fate and want to gain as much of an advantage as I can. 

I had been wearing some red coral jewelry and, although it was very pretty, I had a feeling that it was not doing a thing for me in the sense of gaining extra peacefulness. Now that I am wearing the amethyst jewelry, I imagine that I feel the energy of the stones passing through my body and my psyche making all sorts of good things happen. Yes, I know, this is the one absurdity that I allow myself and I do think it works. 

I am going to do a final load of laundry today and whatever gets soiled after that will just have to wait until I get back even though doing laundry is almost like a hobby to me. I do want to leave the apartment clean and picked up when I leave so I will not come back to things left undone and needing to be taken care of in a hurry. There will be enough mail to see to. 

The quiet of the early morning reigns here and only the humming of the refrigerator breaks the silence. As is typical for a Sunday, the whole neighborhood is still asleep but it is time for me to get the day started.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The possibilities.

I must be doing something right because I slept for nearly ten hours last night and had the same amount of disbelief when I woke up and looked at the alarm clock that I had yesterday morning when I slept so long. I could really make this a habit because it makes my subsequent day such a nice and well rested one during which I do not have to lie down in the afternoon to take a nap. That saves me the trouble of waking up in a fog and having to revive myself with cups of coffee so I can function again and finish the day. 

Yesterday was a nice enough day during which I took care of little details such as making sure I had enough medicines packed to last for my whole trip. I am bringing a backpack on board the plane with me to carry the most precious things that should not get lost in a suitcase that may not make it to its destination on time. That happened to me once and the suitcase and I did not reunite until I was back home again.

I am, in the meantime, receiving Christmas cards in the mail and I had forgotten all about that possibility. I had not planned on sending any this year but so far have been able to send return cards with what I had left over from previous years. Luckily, I do have stamps and have been able to mail them right away and make daily trips to the mailbox with Tyke. At least this year I am in the proper spirit and send them in the true meaning of Christmas. 

Oh yes, I got my hair cut and it turned out well. Beside it being a nice outing I have the hairdo I want as well. It is shorter on the sides and in the back and easier to manage and I can now wear my knitted hat without it ruining my hair too much. In the end I always like easy to manage hair the best as long as it is also flattering.

I am aware as of this morning of the shooting that has taken place in Connecticut. It is of such a horrible nature that I hardly know what to say about it but I know that much already has. Words fail me and I can not do justice to what I feel inside of me. It is too enormous to comprehend. I hope there will be drastic reforms in the United States but I fear for the worst. God bless the little children.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Small miracles are possible too.

I managed to do the impossible and sleep for eight hours straight and this is so unusual that I had to look at the alarm clock, and my watch, and the clock in the living room, to convince myself that I really had. Of course, I was still so befuddled that the truth hardly dawned on me and that I needed to drink a cup of coffee before I could properly appreciate just how wonderful that was. Now that I have come to my senses, I can say that I am so glad that I slept so long because It will make the day all that much more enjoyable. 

I packed my suitcase yesterday, as far as that was possible, and found out that I have just enough room to bring all the clothes that I had planned on bringing. There will not be an inch of space left over once I am really done. Nothing is crammed in there, I did not get as desperate as that, but it may get a bit tricky if I also try to pack my bathrobe. That is an item that will get last minute consideration. 

Actually, the presents are taking up a lot of room and I did not want to jam them in there because I was afraid of tearing the wrapping paper and revealing the contents. They do have to remain a surprise and get properly placed under the Christmas tree that my daughter told me she has already put up. It turns out that my grandson is getting the most presents from me and I had not planned it that way but clearly he was on my mind the most when I bought everything. This in spite of the fact that it is hard to please a teenager. 

I am getting my hair cut this afternoon and I am looking forward to it very much because with it being as cold as it has been, I have been wearing my knitted hat and it does not eaxactly do wonders for my hairdo. My hair is just a little bit too long for it to bounce back in shape easily when I take my hat off. It does require a little effort te get it to look good again. I am hoping that this haircut will take care of that problem.

I am expecting the Exfactor for coffee this morning and it will be good to see his smiley face. He will be taking care of Gandhi while I am gone and I know she will be in good hands. 

Now I have got to try on the pair of jeans I discovered in my wardrobe yesterday and had no idea of the existence of. When you have a tendecy to be absentminded, these  sort of surprises happen.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Getting the day started.

I am sitting here early in the morning trying to think of the things I have to do in the week remaining before I leave for Texas to see my daughter. Of course, during that week, life goes on as usual and I will have to go grocery shopping because the animals and I will have to eat. I will do that first thing this morning as soon as the store opens. I have already made a list of the most necassary things and I also have to make sure there is some food in the apartment when I return from my trip. 

I am getting ready to start packing my suitcase to find out how many clothes I can actually fit into it. My daughter told me to pack for all sorts of temperatures because apparently they can be unpredictable at this time of year. I have to pack for hot and cold weather. I better not wait until the last minute before I start making my choices in case I start running out of room. Crucial choices may have to be made. I do want to look like a picture of fashion while I am there. 

I am having a delicious cup of coffee and am glad for the cafeine because it is making me feel quite perky which is just what I needed this morning. I have lots of plans for today because I also want to try and get an  appointment with the hairdresser to get a  minimal haircut so my hair will look decent. I do want to look at my possible best and make a good impression when I get off the plane. First impressions count the most, after all. 

I enjoy being busy and having all these little things to do to keep me occupied so I will not have time to get nervous about the trip and why should I after all? I am sure the plane is not going to fall out of the sky. It is still the safest way to travel. It is the horrendous long time that you have to sit in the plane until you get to your destination that is the most bothersome and I do hope they show a good movie or two on board. I also have my two new books to keep me from getting bored and a miracle may happen and I may sleep some. 

I am full of optimism anyway that all will go as planned and that there will not be any hitches in the system. Attitude counts for a lot and you always have to assume the best and that your suitcase will arrive at the same place where you are.

Monday, December 10, 2012

My old self, only better.

I am sitting here in the middle of the night with my second cup of coffee which I did need after waking up feeling sort of drowsy and hung over but not willing to go back to bed to sleep some more. I've already done enough of that because I went to bed early afetr I had my dinner and walked Tyke for the last time. There is nothing better than going to sleep on a full stomach after having gotten some fresh air. 

I do have to say, thank goodness there is coffee when you wake up drowsy from your sleeping pill. Hopefully my psychiatrist will agree on the lower dose and I will have it tonight so I will not be so stupefied when I wake up in the middle of the night like I always do.

I sent him an email because I need a refill on all my medicines before I go to Texas but I asked him if I could reduce my anti-psychotic also from 3 mg to 2 mg. because I am obviously taking too much of it after quiting smoking. When I take the 2 mg tablet in the afternoon, I feel my spirits dip and that means it is working too well. I will be taking 1 mg twice a day and who knows what will happen in the future? Maybe I will be able to reduce it even more and do without completely. 

In the past, when I have tried to quit smoking, I have always used nicotine patches so I have never been without nicotine the way I am now. This is a whole new experience and all of the nicotine is now out of my body. It was after 2 or 3 days. I find that my mind works better without the nicotine once it got over having to do without. I mean that I am emotionally healthier and steadier. 

I had suspected that before but experience the truth of it now. I was fooled into thinking that the nicotine reduced my stress and calmed me down but it does nothing at all to improve my mood. The nicotine, and all those other chemicals that you inhale, mess with your mind and make you think and behave differently. I want nothing to do with them ever again.

Any place that I will live in from now on will be smoke free and there will be no exceptions. There will be no ashtrays available, not even outside on the balcony at my next place. I will become a fiend of tobacco and tobacco smoke. I think it is bad enough that my furniture smells like it.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

That's what the touble is!

I seem to be doing a bit better tonight compared to yesterday but I think that part of the problem is the sleeping pill I take before I go to bed at night. I think it is a little bit too strong and it may be a good idea to start cutting down on it. When I wake up from it, I am very much under the influence of it but I mean more so now that I don't smoke anymore. I will have to call my psychiatrist on Monday to get the lower dose capsule. He will be glad about that anyway because he thinks the less medicine, the better, especially the kind like sleep medication which is addictive. 

The Thought Field Exercises are helping me very much get through the slightly tougher moments, although I have to say that those aren't really all that bad. I only had a really bad moment when the Exfactor was here yesterday and he got on my nerves. At that point the craving for a cigarette became big but I managed to suppress it amd do my exercises after he had left and I also took Tyke for a walk and that normalized me very quickly again. 

After that I busied myself with making dinner and that took enough of my time to get my mind on something else all together. I fixed some fish to see if quiting smoking had improved the state of my stomach but I am afraid that it has not. Tyke appreciated the fish very much, though, and ate at least half of it. I ate enough of it to know I should not. but I can eat lots of potatoes and vegetables and also had bananas and rhubarb compote. Oh yum!

Drinking coffee is much less interesting when you do not smoke and only very briefly serves a function. It is to wake you up a bit but that is where its usefulness ends. Well, coffee and cugarettes do go together, I suppose, and if you take one of these away, the other one doesn't have much reason to keep existng in your life either. One mug is really more then enough to get the show on the road. I do not need multiples of it now anymore.

Yes, I always say these things with much conviction until I do not manage anymore and need to adjust my life style again. And I will be able to justify that as much as well and make it sound perfectly rational and resoanable. 

Do not let me get away with it this time!

Friday, December 07, 2012

What was I saying again?

Since I stopped smoking 38 hours ago I have become very absent minded  and a bit scatter brained because of the lack of nicotine. It is not that I actively miss the nicotine, or crave it, but it seems to be taking my brain some time to get used to functioning without it. It is a very funny experience because I am usually so focused and on the ball and now I am more like I was when I was a kid when I was daydreaming a lot and forgetful and oblivious of time passing.

I am sure that I will get over this in a couple of days, at least, I am planning on it. I don't want to stay like this forever because it is a bit of a bother. I don't feel that I can gather my thoughts together well enough to have a decent conversation. The hypno-therapist had told me that there would be some adjustment of the chemicals in my brain but I did not know what to expect. 

Our session went very well and without going into too many details, I can tell you that the exercises that I learned are very helpful and that I apply them a lot any time of the day I feel like because they are easy and quick to do and they really help whenever I feel a liitle stress.  They are called Thought Field Therapy and really work for me.

The hypno-therapy also went well but I will not say anything about that except to say that it helped me a lot. This experience is too personal and, I am sure, different for everybody. It is not something scary that happens to you and you do remember everything that happens and nothing will happen that you do not want to. It is a perfectly alright process. 

You would not believe how long it has taken me to write this little bit of text. Now I remember why I did not get things done in school on time. 

I better quit this post but at least you are all up to date.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The transformation.

Today will be the last day that I smoke and I have been very consciously aware of this day coming up for a week and looking forward to it. I think I am more than ready to quit this addiction and can not wait for my hypno-therapy session tomorrow morning. I will smoke my last cigarette before I go to sleep tonight and fill a plastic bag with the remains of the tobacco and filter tubes. For good measure, I am also going to toss in the little gadget that helps me make the cigarettes because I will not be needing it anymore. 

I will be airing out the apartment immediately by opening all the windows during the night and getting as warm as possible under the duvet in the cold air. Of course that will be after I have cleaned all the ashtrays and put them away. I have thought all of this through and am mentally well prepared. I have made the announcement that I am going to quit smoking with the help of hupno-therapy to whoever wanted to hear it so I am completely committed. If I fail to do this now, it will look very bad for me. 

The new winter coat I ordered was delivered yesterday evening and it turned out to be a very fashionable one which should not have surprised me considering the brand it is. It is actually kind of sexy, if winter coats can be that, and it looks quite alluring when I wear it with my jeggings and my ankle boots with high heels. I had not really counted on that look but I am quite pleased with it and I think it will be perfect to wear when I am in Texas where it will be autumn like weather while I am there. 

 For a minute or so I panicked because I thought there were no pockets in it and I just could not imagine that and started to think that I would have to send the coat back. Then I discovered them well hidden with zippers on them but big enough to keep all sorts of stuff in. I guess a fashionably made coat has hidden pockets so as to not spoil the design. 

I am more than ready to go to Texas but I suppose I will use the time that is remaining before I go to take care of the last minute details. However, there really is not that much left to do because I am very organized and have taken care of most of the things I had to do.

I ordered two books that I want to read on the airplane. They are by a Flemish writer who just won the Dutch Art of Letters Award that was awarded by the queen. He is a writer and a poet and a journalist and I have a book of poetry and a diary. that should be interesting to read. I, in my ignorance, had never heard of him so this is going to be a whole new experience for me that I am looking forward to. His name is Leonard Nolens. 

I have to go see my contact person at Social Services this morning and let him know the state of affairs of my life and if I am still deserving of my monthly allowance or if I should be having a full time job by now. Considering the jobless rate fro people over 55 and age driscimination, which is rampant, this would make for an interesting situation. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

That is also worth shining your light on.

Winter has truly arrived and yesterday it snowed for a long time although it did not stay on the ground. I was glad about that because that would have meant ice and a slippery sidewalk to walk on and boots with profiled soles to wear and those are not at all fashionable. Yes, I am vain. 

The snow did stay on the ground in the hills and my personal helper, who lives there, took the bus into town because she does not trust her her station car to take her safely up and down the windy roads. She arrived here dressed as if she was ready for a polar expedition.

I do have to say that I get very cold also and I have come to the conclusion that my winter coat is not at all warm enough because I shiver in it. I think this is due to the fact that I am so skinny now and have no fat on my bones to insulate me. 

Keeping this in mind, I went on line to look for winter coats on sale and found one of a brand of clothing that I like very much and ordered it and it will be here tonight. I hope this coat is a lot warmer and that I ordered the right size. The drawback is that it has no hood to pull over my head when it snows or rains.

I will have to go out and buy a fashionable hat now anyway to keep my head protected and one that does not easily get blown off. I have a snow hat but I do not like to wear it because it ruins my hairdo. I will only wear it in the most dire of circumstances. 

I had an enormous appetite for dinner last night and made extra food and found out that I can eat lots of green beans which I like a lot. After I had three plates of food, I discovered I had room for more and had a banana and a tall glass of fruit juice. I can only assume that my metabolism is back to normal because this is how I have eaten most of my life and never gained weight with.

In a previous life, I went out to restaurants a lot at any time of the day and never worried about what I ordered from the menu. I had whatever meal I wanted and did not count calories. However, I never ordered dessert and I never ate between meals. I never ate cookies or chocolate or any other kind of junkfood. 

I think I am still sleepy enough to go back to bed for a while. Today is not going to be an awfully exciting day. It will be what I make of it myself. I am in charge of it.

Monday, December 03, 2012

What does not hurt you.

It has pretty much been a lazy weekend but for some reason it did go by quickly and I was never bored. I rediscovered some of my old CDs and listened to them and was both amused and impressed by what I used to think was great music. Of course this stuff is ancient because I hardly have bought anything new in a long time. I did forget how much I like Johnny Cash and am planning on getting more of his CDs and will try to make them recordings of live concerts because I think those are the most exciting. He did have such a nice voice and rapport with the audience. The music of Johnny Cash has been around as long as I can remember. 

There was speed skating on and I was a bit more excited about it this time because I have got to know the skaters a bit better and now have expectations and can actually start rooting for them. I even enjoyed watching the 10 K which is an awfully long race but there is a new generation of young skaters that is doing amazing things and needs to be kept an eye on. 

Of course, the most exciting thing that was on was the program showing the highllghts of the honor's division football games and that is a very exciting battle also with several teams fighting for first place and things changing all the time depending on games played and lost and won.

I had thought about taking Tyke for a long walk on Sunday but it was actually too cold to do so. There was a strong wind blowing and it was best to stay sheltered by buildings as much as possible. Maybe I do not have a warm enough winter coat. I will find that out when it gets even colder. There was snow in the hills but we did not get any down here yet much to my relief. It was the first snow of the season in the country and news worthy. It made me feel extra cold just to watch it being reported on the news but I do not have any fat on my body to keep me warm. 

I am more than ready for the coming week and all that it will bring. I will move into it with grace and serenity and be prepared to do whatever I need to do. I am ready for the challenge. I am also ready for another jar of rhubarb compote.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Allow me to indulge.

There is a true pleasure in indulging in cups of coffee and cigarettes early in the morning but I do have to keep in mind that very soon I am going to give up one of these. I must not lose sight of that goal and mentally stay prepared for it and keep having the right attitude. Right now I am enjoying myself so much that it feels that I could do these two things endlessly but of course that is not true. Another sort of reality will soon be my share. 

I do have to keep in mind that I will trade one reality for another and that it will not be the battle I sometimes imagine it will be. It will just be another way of getting through time and of drinking a cup of coffee and the coffee will taste just as good and have the same effect. I will not be a poor, forsaken woman who has had to give up one of her pleasures. I will be a liberated human being who is set free of a bad addiction and who will move freely through life without having to carry out a subversive activity.

The problem is that I associate smoking a cigarette with moments of contentment and I have to get that deep seated idea out of my head. I have lots of moments when I do not smoke that are equally happy and I have to keep them in mind. I must not associate smoking with happiness because the reality of smoking is actually much more dire than that. The reality is easily swept under the carpet but if I am honest, it would put the fear of God in my heart. Because really, on all fronts, what am I doing to myself?

Yesterday, when I was at the grocery store in the canned and jarred  fruit and vegetable section, I discovered jars of rhubarb compote and I thought they might be a good alternative to apple sauce which I can not eat. I took a small jar home with me and had it for lunch and I have to say that it tasted delicious and agreed with me very well. I guess I have found another food to indulge in every now and then. It helps if you take your time and look around when you are doing the groceries. My mother used to fix rhubarb compote when I was a kid all the time and I had forgotten how much I liked it.

I did not have my glasses with me and could not read the labels on the other jars of fruit compote but I will bring them the next time to make sure there is no apple in them and try some of them also. I have a big desire to indulge in them to satisfy my sweet tooth and get some other vitamins and minerals in at the same time. I think it is an excellent way to eat and have an enjoyable time too. When I look back on my lunch, I feel hungry for it all over again. 

Vegetables I balked at when I was a kid, but now like very much, are Brussel sprouts. I remember sitting over a plate of cold ones having to eat every one of them and physically being unable to. I do not know if that made me overcome my dislike of them but I do enjoy eating them a lot now. I like their shape and their texture besides liking their taste. A little nutmeg on top of them makes them even better. I bought a jar of them too yesterday and will have them for dinner tonight even though they give me gas. It is a musical vegetable for me. 

The day is starting bright and early and full of promise. Anything that can go right, will go right. That is a rule.