Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Quality time.

I had to get up early this morning and sneak in some quality time of my own. It is all very nice to have a guest you get along with well but you can't be around each other non stop or you'll get tired of each other's company. It's good to sit here all by myself with a cup of coffee and a barely awake mind and perform my morning rituals whch consists of checking in on Facebook and leaving comments and reading blogs and doing the same thing.

Slowly but surely the caffeine will start to work and I will turn into a semblance of myself who is functioning well and who will be able to eat breakfast and make another pot of coffee. And after a while, dawn will catch up with me and it will get light outside and the day will genuinely get started. I am looking forward to that moment because it means that I will be able to do a much needed load of laundry and do a pile of dishes and some chores are just fun and familiar to do. 

We had a good day yesterday and walked all the way downtown and did some necessary shopping alternated with sitting on heated café terraces where we had good things to eat and drink and partook of the national pastime and watched the people walk by. We had the soup of the day at Café Monopole on the big square and it was delicious and very fortifying and prepared us for the next round of shopping. It was homemade vergatable soup with meatballs and big chunks of vegetables in it in a strong broth. 

At Café Charlemagne on the Our Dear Lady Square we had strong cups of coffee after lighting candles in the Star of the Sea chapel and saying a prayer that will guaranteed come true because all of mine so far have so you have to be careful of what you wish for.

Café Monopole and Café Charlemagne are my two favorite spots to hang out at and a visit downtown is not complete without going there. I will miss them when I move but no doubt I will find new spots in the new place I am moving to and they will become equally important. I just hope they have heating in the awning like these two places have so it makes sitting outside at this time of year possible.

I bought three push up bras for the price of two and those were very reasonably priced so my lingerie drawer is now properly filled. We stopped at the coffee and teas shop and I bought a package of loose Irish Breakfast Tea and I can't wait to try a cup or two. We went to the downtown drugstore and they had my favorite deodorant on sale and I bought three cans of it. I also discovered the shamppo that my hairdresser had recommended for light blond and silver hair and that will lighten my hair when I wash it with it. 

We went to the Bijoux Shop and admired all the jewelry with mineral stones in it and my friend Judy finally ended up buying a very pretty silver ring. I could have bought many rings and bracelets but managed to restrain myself. I don't always have to be greedy and that day had decided to restrict myself to what was necessary and on sale.

I did decide to look for a "cloche" type hat in black but was unable to find one and it is possible that they are not "in" this year and that I missed the boat. It will be a mission anyway and I will have fun looking for one. No doubt we will be downtown again in no time at all. 

My friend Judy is a small eater and between the two of us, I have to prepare small meals. I had prepared myself for a hearty eater and got a lot of food in the house but it will last twice as long as I had planned but Tyke does the honors too. 

Gandhi has decided that she likes to sleep with Judy at night and generally likes her very much and sits on her lap a lot. Some people are cat people and cats know that. Tyke also wants to sit on her lap but is a little bit too big.

Yesterday evening I had a craving for ice creams and walked to the nearest supermarket and bought Magnums which are vanilla ice cream bars coated in chocolate and we had fun eating those. I will have to get some more today. We are on a vacation of some sort anyway and have to do fun things. 

I will now make some tea with the new loose tea in an egg and hope it tastes as good as I am anticipating. It will be fun to make anyway.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

As things go, rather slowly.

I thought it was a Hispeed train that was supposed to take me to the airport in Brussels yesterday but nothing much like it happened at all. For part of the journey I was on a very rickety old train and the part that I spent on a modern train was not done at rapid speed at all. Nevertheless, little by little, I did get to my destination after what seemed like a rather slow journey and I even got there early by being able to carch one train earlier than I had expected too. 

That turned out to be a good thing because when I got to the arrivals at the airport it turned out that my friend Judy's plane had already landed and disembarked and she was waiting for me by the exit. She was unsure of whether or not the person she saw was really me and did not want to approach me until she was really sure. After all, we had not seen each other for 20 years. I did recognize her from the photo she had sent me and we quickly made the connection.

So started our long journey back on the train and we did finally after enough patience arrive in Maastricht where it was cold and drizzling and where we took a taxi to get home. By this time I for one was in desperate need of a cup of coffee because it had been a while and I made a strong pot full and I have to tell you that we were much revived subsequently and got our second wind. Good old caffeine does do wonders for a weary traveler.

Since then we have done an awful lot of talking, while Judy did need some time to rest and catch a couple of hours to sleep to come to her senses after not sleeping on the plane. But the rest of the time we have spent talking about every subject under the sun because we have a lot of catching up to do. Luckily, we have the same political and sociological leanings so we do pretty much see eye to eye. She is not a middle of the road American and has a very broad point of view. I am well informed enough to talk about anything at all. 

We watched television in the evening and since the coalition parties have come to a governing agreement, there was a lot of that being discussed and I had to do a lot of translating and explaining which led to more discussion. It is interesting to explain your political system to an outsider and it makes you re-examine a lot of things you take for granted and you do realize that you are lucky living with the system that you do.  

Going to the airport by train is one way of getting there but I prefer getting there by car because it is much quicker and it would cost you the same amount of money in gas and parking fees. You never do feel like you hurry up and get there quickly by train although everything is very well run and logical and the stations are new. I sippose going up and down in one morning is a little bit too much of a good thing too. 

Today we will go downtown and make that area unsafe with our presence. Judy has only seen the biggest square on television during a preformance of a show of André Rieu. That is where Café Monopole is and I am sure we will strike down on the terrace there for something good to eat and drink.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

What I intended to do.

I meant to write a much more interesting post than the one I wrote about the toasted goat cheese sandwuches. but I was not in a daring enough mood to do it. I think that now I am and I will give it a try. 

I wanted to write about my sister Marianne again and the fact that I think about her so much and that her death influences my behavior so much on all levels. I had this happen to me before with deaths of other close family members but I was then less acutely aware of it as consciously as I am now. Now it feels as though I am making it a choice to let it influence me that much and undergo it willingly. 

I want all sorts of traits that were typically Marianne's to become my traits and they were basically innocent idiocyncracies that caused no one any harm but that defined how she was and that set her apart from the rest. I want them to be mine even if she was slightly unconfortable with them herself and had not gotten them down to a fine art and was slightly awkward with them. 

She had a slightly vulgar taste when it came to accessories like jewelry and purses and belts and that sort of thing. She liked bling and gaudiness and leopard prints. During her marriage, she very much developed a "noveaux riche" taste. It wasn't my taste but I appreciated the effort and her need for flair and drama. I will not go as far as decorating my apartment in her style but I will adopt some of her ways in which she decorated herself and be on the look out for leopard print leggings as a tribute to her.

I also liked her attitude to not change her desire for oppulence when the going got tough and there was really  no money to support her life style any longer. Instead of not liking the best brand of coffee creamer and ground coffee, she kept buying them because nothing else existed for her and it would have been impossible for her to buy a lesser brand. She bought the best of everything and dined well even though she had enough physical discomfort to make this difficult. 

You may say that she went though life with blinders on but I say she made her uncomfortable life as comfortable as possible and decorated it with pleasant things the way you would a bare christmas tree so that every day would be a holiday. It involved bling and gaudiness and brand awareness to give shine to the very ordinariness and to soften the blows that life dealt her. 

Considering her life was cut short, I would have wished for her to indulge in even more bling and gaudiness and opulence. Yes, I would have wanted her to make a regular feast of it and because she did as much as she could when she had the chance, I am going to continue some of that myself and make my own life as much of a feast as I can and indulge a bit also.

Marianne will be my shining example in this quest and I will do whatever she did over lightly. I do not know what my future holds for me and I may be run over by a bus tomorrow. I think I have to live every day as if it is going to be my last while still making plans for a wonderful future and making the present as pleasant as I can make it.  I do buy good ground coffee and enjoy it very much and I think I will get the rest right too. 

When it is Saturday.

I had two toasted sandwiches with goat cheese for lunch and it was only the size of my stomach that prevented me from eating another one because that is how good they tasted. It is a darn shame that the price of goat cheese is so high or I would eat it for every meal in large quantities. Now I can just buy it once a week for a special treat and try and make it last as long as possible and even that is not financially responsible. 

As you can probably tell, I went grocery shopping today and I had the usual good time that I always do. It must be that I like to acquire things and that the ancient gathering instinct is alive and well inside of me. I do enjoy walking through most of the supermarket and looking at nearly everything possible.  After all, I never do know what I may discover that I absolutely can not do without. In this way, I am getting to know the store intimately and can plan future forages. 

I did discover thinly sliced chops on sale that will be done quickly and that I can prepare with onions and apple slices. I will fix those the first night my friend Judy is here. I also bought freshly made raviolis filled with spinach and others filled with meat and some good sauce to pour over them. I do have to think creatively and avoid cow milk products at the same time.

Last night the temperature dropped below freezing and when I took Tyke out for his walk this morning, I needed both my winter coat and gloves although the sun was shining in a bright blue sky. I do like this kind of weather if I am dressed for it and I so prefer it to rain which is okay if you decide to stay indoors. Not having that choice, I would rather have a bright winter day. 

It turned out that I had my smart phone's signal turned to silent so that if anyone had tried to call me, I would not have known about it. Hardly anyone has that number so it is no great disaster and if it is really that important it is very easy to call me on my land line. There really is no need for me to always be available. I only got the smart phone so I will be in reach when I am away from home for any length of time like when I go to the States and have to leave Tyke and Gandhi behind. 

Tyke is telling me not so subtlely that it is time to go for a walk so we have to leave the warm apartment and go out there in the cold. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

The rain keeps pouring down.

I was lucky enough to be able to take Tyke for a walk earlier this morning because it is raining hard now and it doesn't look like it is about to stop. The sky is very overcast and gray and it is also on the cold side so it is a good idea to wear a warm winter coat. Luckily, Tyke's fur has grown back enough for him to be warm so I don't have to worry about him being cold when we are out there. Gandhi is curled up very cozily on Tyke's pillow in my bedroom so she doesn't suffer from the weather at all.

The handmade collars arrived in the mail yesterday and I put them on Tyke and Gandhi right away. They are very well made and colorful and look very good. Gandhi had a bit of a hard time getting used to hers and it also has a little bell so she thought that was very odd. Tyke thought this was interesting and kept following her around wherever she went. He looks very handsome in his collar and it is like he knows it because he acts very proud. I suspect him of strutting but I am not sure. 

I am expecting a domestic help in a while and I wonder what sort of a person I am going to get today. I sure hope it is going to be an agreeable one. If it isn't, I will send her or him away. I am not going to stand for an insolent cleaning person today. I will call their manager if that is the kind of person I have to deal with.

The Exfactor is coming by later this afternoon. I have started to buy "wit bier" and he has gotten into the habit of coming by  at the end of the afternoon to have a glass. That way we can have a nice and relaxed conversation and the end of the day before either one of us has to fix dinner. I do not drink the beer myself and have some coffee or orange juice instead because I will stand on my head from one bottle. I just do not handle the stuff very well. 

I have been taking photos with my smart phone because I can not find the small cable to connect my camera to the computer to upload the photos I have taken with it. I have no idea where I put it and am going to have to look everywhere. The camera of the smart phone takes good photos and the nice thing is that you do have them handy wherever you go. I suppose I am truly digitalized now. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

On the journey to nowhere in particular at all.

Losing a sister is a reality that you really don't want to accept and that you fairly consciously try to avoid and cover up in your mind as not having happened. You really only glance at this reality with a sideways look and hardly ever stare right in the face because that would be too shocking. I only think of my sister Marianne as being alive and animated and talking and that is how she lives on. I choose not to think of her in any other way. She IS my sister. It is not, she WAS my sister.

I don't think of her in an after life after death. She goes on living right here and now because I keep her alive and well through my words and my thoughts and my actions. I have no plans to stop doing that because I am perfectly comfortable with it and have very pleasant feelings when I do. Genetically, siblings are closer related than any other people on earth so I figure a big part of her is in me also. The things I do for me, I do for her. Whatever she didn't get to do, I do for both of us.

I have never had this feeling with anyone who died who was close to me before so it must be because she is my sibling that I feel this. I think it must also be because we were very close in our early childhood that this is so. We have a very common past and I think we are going into a very common future. I feel that she is very close to me and that I am looking at the world through her eyes also. 

I hope this doesn't spook you. It is out of a feeling of pure unadulterated love for her that I speak. 

On the journey to nowhere in particular at all, there are many stations and some of them you know about because you planned them on your schedule, but many of them you don't know about ahead of time. That's a good thing too because otherwise you would stay in the waiting room and never get aboard the train. The frightening ones are the ones you learn a lot from, though, and remember, that what doesn´t kill you makes you stronger.

What is there not to like?

I love having a glass of orange juice after my first cup of coffee in the morning because by that time I am usually very thirsty. Actually, make that two glasses of orange juice to really get my energy level up and my thirst quenched. That's when I realize that I should also eat something and I have some breakfast making that all together a good start to the day..Don't tell me my body works in mysterious ways because it is all very plain and simple. Put food and liquids in and get energy and a good mood in return.

Of course, the thing is firstly to get enough sleep amd I sure got that last night.. I slept until I started to dream about an old lover and I thought to myself, "Well, that's enough of that. Now it's time ro wake up."  He simply has no business getting into my dreams after all these years and I refuse to spend precious time on him. Some people and memories are best left in the past where they belong and don't need to see the light of day. This particular person caused me a lot of grief and I am all done dealing with him. 

I got word yesterday that Tyke and Gandhi's handmade collars have been put in the post and should arrive today or tomorrow. I can't wait for them to get here and to put them on. I was asked to take a photo of them with their collars on and send it to the artist who made them so I am going to have to install the camera program on my computer. It will be a trick and a half to take the photos because Tyke always wants to look straight into the camera and I don't know if that will give me the best shot. I'll give it a try anyway. 

I have pulled a muscle behind my knee simply by walking rapidly with Tyke when he was in a hurry.. It actually feels like I have a permanent cramp there and that I should eat bananas to get over it.  I really do think that I have pulled a muscle, though, because it gets worse when I stretch my knee and use it to walk on. Well, I am sure I'll survive that minor inconvenience. It won't stop me from doing anything and more than anything it is just irritating.

It is time to get the day started. The early bird catches the worm.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Glasses of tea with lemon.

There are two trout tucked away in the freezer waiting for an opportune moment to be cooked for dinner. Until that time, I can only think of them with longing in my heart because it has been a while since I have eaten trout. I must say that I am looking forward to that moment very much so I will not wait too long before I fix them. 

I will cut off their heads with their glassy, beady eyes first because I do not like them looking at me from the frying pan while I prepare them. I know it is the right thing to leave their heads on but in my kitchen those get cut off before the trout are cooked. I am an expert at dismantling fish beause I used to catch and clean them myself in another life. These are from the supermarket. That is less romantic, isn't it?

I have also bought the best brand of whole grain breakfast cake there is and I have to say that it tastes ever so much better than the cheap kind that the Exfactor  used to get. I had two slices of it already and there is no arguining about the quality. As a rule, it does not pay to buy the lesser brand. You can taste the difference and also notice it in the texture and how well it fills your stomach. 

I bought a very sharp kitchen knife because the one I had was just a bit dull  and I wanted one that I barely would have to use force on. There is nothing worse than a knife that is not sharp. The new one cut Tyke's sandwich in little pieces in no time at all. That is what I call efficiency. I hate to struggle with things that don't work right.

I thought I bought a solid airfreshener but they turned out to be sticks to put in the bag of the vacuum cleaner. Instead, I opened the seals of  one of the packages and put it on the bottom of my closet hoping it will give it a fresh smelling odor. I am going to check in a while to see if it works. When given lemons, make lemonade.

I have washed a load of laundry and am looking forward to hanging it on the clothing rack because I know it is going to smell nice. Is there anything better than clean, good smelling laundry? Well yes, dishes that sparkle. God, don't I sound like a housewife from the 1950's? I take pleasure in having the small details of my life turn out well. I love a glass that is smudge free. It takes so little to make me happy.

Starting out with lots of courage.

I'm very cozily drinking my second cup of black coffee here on this still very dark Wednesday morning. If I had chickens, they would still be roosting but I am ready to start the day. I think I'll need some more coffee than these two cups but that is not because I'm still half asleep. I literally jumped out of bed in a good mood and was ready for anything that might come my way. The coffee just tastes very good going down and does make me extra alert. 

The coffee I had at the café yesterday was very good and I think it must have been made stronger than I make it so I have to do some experimenting. I have a very good brand of coffee so that can't be the problem. It must be that I add too much water per spoonful of coffee.With the next pot I make, I'm going to try out some different amounts of ground coffee and water. I must be able to get it right because there's nothing like a cup of coffee that makes your mouth pucker.

This morning I really am going to do those groceries that I have been putting off doing for the past couple of days now. I've simply not been motivated and deprived enough to do them but today is the day and nothing will distract me. There always was some reason and excuse not to go on the other days but I am running out of supplies now and the worst thing is that I've run out of liverwurst for the animals. We can't have that situation of course and it must be remedied as quickly as possible. 

The grocery list on the white board did grow longer with each day that I put off going to the store and pretty soon I will have caught up with myself and be close to my regular shopping day. I have to also get extra groceries for when my friend Judy is here because I will be cooking for two people instead of just one and having to plan my meals more carefully and with more variety. I don't mind so much repeating myself when it's just me I'm cooking for but now it will be different. 

It will be another exciting day at the Ponderosa Ranch where never a dull day goes by. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Saving bucks.

I went to the very cheap household goods store downtown this afternoon and bought all those little things that I needed and even some that I didn't know I was in need of. I had a lot of fun looking at everything because it had been literally years since I had last set foot in that store. I don't know why I don't go in there more often, except that it is a little off the beaten path. 

After everything is said and done, though, I did forget to get potholders and I can't believe I didn't think of them because I must have stared them right in the face. I did spend a third of what I would have spent if I had gone to the usual household goods store. 

With the money that I saved, I was able to buy a new leather band for my watch and had the shop assistant put it on too so I could wear it right away. I kept looking to see what time it was on my bare wrist and that just didn't work. All I did was see the remains of the rash that was there. 

I was downtown with my friend Lucienne who had to shop for a winter coat and we had a good time looking for one and in the end succeeded. We did see some that looked good on the hanger but turned out not to be all that great when she put them on and had hard to close buttons and non flattering collars. All you can do is try on one after the other and pray a lot. 

The weather was great and the café terraces were filled but we did find a table for two to have our coffee at. I also had a glass of orange juice which turned out to be freshly squeezed and very good to drink. It was just the pick me up that I needed. Each coffee came with a cookie and a chocolate but I decided to be wise and not eat either of them although I was very tempted by the chocolate.

When I got back to my bike the strap of my purse broke and I had to hang it lopsided on my handlebar and hope for the best. I also had my bike in the wrong gear and had a heck of a time getting over the bridge. I finally got it in the right gear when it wasn't necessary anymore. Talk about doing things the hard way. I did make it home in quick time and was glad to be there because it's nice to be greeted by the animals and be in my own place. 

There was no exciting mail, much to my disappointment, and now I'm expecting it tomorrow. I'm waiting for the beautiful collars for the animals, which should be here any day, and I'm expecting the case for my mobile phone. I rarely get a bill because everything  is withdrawn from my bank account electronically. I like it that way. An empty mailbox is as a rule a good mailbox.

I'm having mackrel for dinner and I still haven't shopped for groceries yet.


First of all, let me clarify something. I do not like t-shirts with slogans boldly printed on the front. I do not wish to inflict all sorts of silly opnions of mine onto unsuspecting citizens of the world. I think there are other ways to get my message across and to stand for a point of view and that is by actively getting involved in a cause and supporting it. 

The t-shirts I am talking about are tastefully printed with artistic images interwoven with lines of prose printed in a pretty font that don't blazingly shout out their message to the world. They are more subtle. You would really have to stop and carefully read what they say and your attention would be caught in the first place by the nicely printed arrangement of the image and the text. So I hope we got that straight. 

I am not a walking advertisement for any cause or beer company unless I am taking part in a special event. I think yu will agree with me on the general ugliness of t-shirts with slogans on them and you know how fashion conscious I am. 

People will insist on interpreting what they think they read and many misunderstandings are a result of that. Any time you tell anything personal about yourself, there are a myriad of interpretations that you have to set straight. Because of that, I have no idea of what sort of picture you have of me in your head but it probably has nothing to do with reality.

I had to get a case for my smart phone and the Exfactor was kind enough to go look for a nice one in the phone shops for me yesterday. His mission was a frustrating one, however, because nothing that he found came at all close to anything I had seen on line and that I had described to him. He had taken a photo of one that maybe came close and it did not even.

The on line shop I had been to had a slow delivery time and I needed the case rather quickly, but after seeing the best one that was available in town, I went looking some more on line. I found one website that promised quick delivery and looked for something that I liked there and found it. There were many kinds of cases to choose from but luckily I knew by now the difference between them so I could pick the right one.

I chose a very feminine case and one that my sister Marianne would have chosen because I had told my niece that I would do that in honor of her. From now on I am picking all my accessories with Marianne in mind. It is my little tribute to her. I really wanted one with a leopard print but it was not available. That would have been her first choice.

The guest bedroom is all cleaned up and just about ready for my friend Judy. All I have left to do is make the bed and I am going to wait with that until the last moment.. I have to remove some empty boxes that are stacked on the bookcase in there and did not know what to do with until yesterday and then I got a brilliant idea. In anticipation of my moving, I will start putting the contents of the drawers of the dresser that is in the living room in them and then put the boxes in the drawers because they will just about fit in there. 

I have also got to go to the household goods store this week and get new potholders and some more tall tea glasses that are so nice to drink coffee from. It is like money grows on trees the way I spend it without a worry in the world.  I have got a real "laissez faire" attitude about it. I know that in the end everything will turn out alright because in the back of my mind I keep track of everything. There really isn't a euro spent without me thinking about it. 

I wish I knew where the Recycle Shop had moved to and I would go there.  Maybe it is very close to here. I do have to look it up.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Drinking coffee is a pleasant distraction too.

It has been a nice enough day and I have been able to go outside only in my jeans jacket and not been a bit cold. The autumn sun was not very bright, and oh so gentle, but it was cheerful enough anyway. Tyke and I scrunch through the fallen, dried leaves and bring them home on the bottom of our feet unintentionally. I have to get a better doormat and remember to wipe my feet when I come inside. It will save me all that work of getting on my knees and picking up the leaves one by one from the area rug. 

As is usual, I had a replacement domestic help and I never have the same one twice. The Green Cross seems to have an endless supply of them. I really do not mind it and it is always a surprise to see who is going to show up. Usually, it is someone nice enough and as a rule I get along with all of them. 

Today, however, they sent a woman who must have gotten out of bed on the wrong side. She was not very approachable when she came in and decided that she was going to find something to bitch about and establish her position before she was going to be at least a little bit kind to me. Luckily, I realized what she was doing and did not take it personally, so when she bitched, I just ignored it. I thought to myself, "At least she got that over and done with."

But I was glad when she was done and that she left when she did and I hope to never see her again because she was just a plain unpleasant person and obviously not the right woman for the job. I think she was kind of pissed off because she could not figure out why I neeeded the help and she could not peg me down. I did catch her looking through my file to see if she could find any information about me. Nosy tart!

I am looking forward to my walk with Tyke and making dinner. These are pleasant activities to enter into the evening with and like I said before, they both have meditative qualities. I think the walk is going to be especially nice because the sun is low on the horizon and the light is very pretty right now. It is also shining straight into the kitchen window making the place by the counter a pleasant spot to be in. Timing is everything in life!

I have just discovered, quite by chance, that the bread I have been eating these past two days has corn meal in it. I was wondering why my stomach got so upset. I thought I couldn't eat bread anymore. I'll give the rest of it to Tyke to eat. It seems to agree with him okay.  Him and his liverwurst!

Defining the night.

I have got a terrible rash from my metal watch band on the inside of my left wrist and I won't be able to wear my watch for a while. I have got an awful urge to scratch the rash but I am only doing it with the palm of my hand so as to not make it worse. I put a soothing cortisone creme on it and that does help but very often I don't remember to use it on time. 

I will have to have a new battery put in the watch with the leather band even though I like that one less because the face of it is smaller and it is harder to see where the hands are pointing without wearing my glasses. And yes, I am still too vain to wear my glasses all the time except when it is really necessary like when I sit behind the computer.

I had the tilapia filets for dinner and the fish was so well done that it fell apart when I put it on my plate. I still have a bit of a hard time judging how long I should cook it and overcook it to be on the safe side. It didn't hinder out eating pleasure and Tyke and I ate it as quickly as we could, being absolutely certain that there were no bones in it to choke on.

I used to do the dishes after dinner being under the mistaken impression that I disliked waking up to them in tje morning. I now know better and I stack them up and get around to them when I am ready to face the day. I find it a good way to start the day's chores. 

The laundry that is hanging to dry on the clothing rack in the bathroom smells very good and I push my nose into it whenever I have to be there. That's one chore I will have to do in the morning. Fold and put away the dry laundry and it will be a pleasure. 

I have decided to start wearing only T-shirts with very artistically printed images and texts on them. This limits me in what I can buy because it makes me very picky. I read the texts carefully and decide if I agree with the statement and if I want to walk around proclaiming that. The images have to be very well done and look like they are prints that you would hang on your wall if you were so tacky.

I found one yesterday out of a possible hundred or so that I thought was good enough and had long sleeves. There are more with short sleeves but I can't wear those now. .It is a new hobby and something to keep me occupied with. No doubt I will be on the look out for them wherever I go. 

I want one that says, "Life is but a dream..."

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sundays are cool days too.

Without wanting to be too specific, I do have to say that this has been a pretty good day for a Sunday as they tend for the most part to be boring days but maybe because I counted on that, this one turned out okay. And it isn't finished yet because I still have to walk Tyke and fix dinner and I am looking forward to those two chores very much.

Without me really planning it that consciously, I've made it so that my days for the most part are filled with things I like to do most. I like to do the dishes and I like to do the laundry and I like to cook dinner and I like to walk Tyke. These are all meditative sort of jobs and I don't need to rush through them and can take my time doing them. 

I never like to do anything in a hurry but like to contemplate the process as it takes place and pay attention to what I am doing. I enjoy thinking about each movement and act and watch myself and my hands at work. There is a lot of peacefulness in that and it quiets me down. I do not like being rushed through something.

Tyke enjoys his liverwurst sandwiches very much and when I say, "Do you want bread with liverwurst?", it causes quite some excitement here because Gandhi also knows what it means and rushes to the kitchen ahead of Tyke. I think she is really the smarter of the two, we just don't pay enough attention to her so it goes unnoticed. 

I didn't go to the supermarket because the ones of my chain of stores weren't open and I also piddled away my time doing a hundred other little unimportant things  that made me happy. All those thing that you do to fill a Sunday with. I'll have to go tomorrow because I am all out of orange juice and I have decided that I like drinking it very much. It's great in the morning and the evening when you need some quick energy. 

I am having two tilapia filets  for dinner because I have decided to eat more protein and less carbohydrates. I had toast today and two pieces of it didn't agree with my stomach well. I was uncomfortable afterwards and still am to some degree. I always feel better after eating protein and I always eat my chicken or fish first at dinner time. 

Tomorrow the Exfactor will be here to drink coffee and hopefully he will have gone to the phone shop to buy a protective case for my smart phone so I can start carrying it with me. I gave him instructions on what to get and I´m sure he´ll do a great job choosing something. He can always call me when he´s in the shop and he´s stumped. I hope he remembers to do that and doesn´t come home first like he did when he was in the grocery store and couldn´t figure it out. 

So cool and refreshing.

I think I've got it figured out now. After I get up, I need caffeine to get my brain cells in working conditon and then I need orange juice to perk up my sugar levels. Between the two of these beverages, I become a whole person with a complete personality. If I have two cups of coffee and two glasses of orange juice, I'm in great shape. 

See, you learn something new every day and a person is never done with that. If you pay close enough attention to what the heck is happening to you, you can take care of the minutest details and not be uncomfortable. If you have a tender stomach, it is especially important to pay attention to them.

After I ate chicken sausages for dinner last night, my stomach wasn't happy at all. It wasn't the sausage meat that I had a problem with but the casings it came in. I'm afraid those are just a little bit too undigestible for me. That was another wise lesson learned and I won't try them again but what I can eat is all a big trial and error experiment anyway. 

Being able to drink the orange juice, and having the liverwurst be such a success with Tyke and Gandhi, does mean that I have to go shopping again sooner than I had expected and I'll have to see which supermarket is open today. It will be another huge adventure if it is a store other than my usual one. I do enjoy these forays into the unknown as long as it is one of a chain of stores I am familiar with.

I am in need of some very good expensive perfume but lack the money to buy it for myself. The reason I want it to be expensive is because I've got the cheaper perfume now and it seems like the smell doesn't last very long after I have put it on. I never do smell it on myself anyway. I would really like about a liter of some very good stuff and douze myself with it every morning so that even I can smell it. The little bottles are always empty so quickly. 

I do have to say, though, that when I pull clothes out of the closet that I have worn before, they do smell good and like perfume. .I suppose I must smell like that when I wear them too. My mother always smelled like Chanel no. 5 and for a while I wore this perfume too out of sentimental  reasons. I did get over that stage, although I think it is a good perfume.  I also used to wear something by Oscar de la Rente but that was in the States and I think it's not available here. I may try to look for it when I am in Texas for the holidays.

I had forgotten that I bought a big bottle of laundry softener and not put it in with the last few loads of washing. I did use it yesterday and while the machine was churning away, it did smell very good in the bathroom. I haven't taken the laundry out yet to hang it up to dry but I have high hopes. You know how I am about good smells now and I would love laundry with the smell of springtime in it as is promised by the label on the bottle. I am a sucker for good advertising. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Lining up my ducks.

The first thing my psychiatrist noticed about me was that I had lost so much weight and also being a medical doctor, he immediately started questioning me about how that had happened. I think I was able to reassure him that I am alright and eating healthily and that I am not on my death bed and I do appreciate his concern. He is a caring person and very much involved with how wel I do on all fronts. 

In the course of the conversation, I got him up to date on the latest state of the affairs in my life and I did this in a very matter of fact way. There was no need to do it in any other way and I left all the drama out. 

He wanted to hear a bit more about Marianne's death, of course, and how I was dealing with that and I told him that I was going through all the normal stages of the process of grief but that I was actually doing well. 

I also told him about my decision to break off the relationship with my younger sister and my reasons for that and how satisfied I feel about that. He quesrioned me a little further about that but didn't seem to think that I had made a mistake. It does feel like a natural result of a long series of events with the dramatic ending being the ones that involved Marianne's death. 

I told him that I will be moving back to my hometown and when that most likely will happen and he immediately thought of the practical medical side of it for my sake. It's very important that I get a good psychiatrist who has good knowledge of the medication that I use and who doesn't so much want to give me psycho-therapy but just support me and give me practical advice and who has good knowledge of bi-polarity..

He already told me the process which I will have to go through and it doesn't seem too complicated. I know where to go in Emmen and which department to contact. I don't think I'll really run into any problems. Everything will resolve itself. 

I have an appointment with him in another 3 months but am of course free to see him before that time if it is necessary and I can always email him with whatever question I have. I never do feel that I am out there on my own without any help.  I have felt differently in the past when I had another psychiatrist who was supposed to be very responsive but turned out not to be. 

Thank goodness for competent help in the medical profession. It does exist and I am going to miss my psychiatrist but doubtlessly will find another as competent.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Not just any old Friday will do.

I went grocery shopping this morning and didn't have to wear a jacket because for some mysterious reason the weather has turned beautiful. We are having an Indian summer. I very leisurely rode my bike to the store in the pleasant morning sunshine and enjoyed the mild temperature very much. I'm ever so grateful that the weather is like this and would give a lot to keep it this way but I think that is a lot of wishful thinking. 

I didn't have a very long shopping list but I took my time anyway and walked all through the store in case I forgot to put anything on the list. I did say that I liked shopping at the other smaller store the other day but that was just a temporary delusion and I really do like shopping in this bigger store because there is so much more choice and I feel I can really shop for the best price. 

Besides, usually at least one of the meats is on special and if I'm lucky, it is fish or chicken and I can stock up. I wasn't that lucky today unless you count the salmon steaks and they were very expensive and not for me to buy. Those are better got at the market downtown. I did discover chicken sausage and decided to try that but I did get the ones made from free range chicken although they were a bit more expensive. 

Because Tyke refuses to eat his very good kibbles and would rather go hungry, I decided to buy him some very good liverwurst after I heard on the radio what the meat in canned dog food is made of. I won't tell you here what it is. When I got home, I made him two sandwiches with whole grain bread from the "warm baker" and the liverwurst and cut them in bite sized pieces. 

I've never seen a dog as happy with his food as Tyke was and he very delicately ate it too. When he was done, he looked all over the place for more but I thought that was more than enough. I cut up some of the liverwurst in little pieces for Gandhi, so it was her lucky day also. To say she liked it would be an understatement.

I had also bought some goat cheese and assumed I would be able to eat it because a goat is not at all related to a cow. I had slices of it on toast and it agreed with me very well and I then had more of it until I was very full. What a joy that was. And I have no problems at all.

For dinner Tyke and I will be eating chicken and potatoes and baby carrots. I know that I for one am looking forward to it very much. I almost like nothing better than fixing dinner. I think that's because everything turns out well and I eat it with a healthy appetite. It's fun if you also cook for your dog and then pick out the best morsels for him while he very obediently sits beside you at the table. He does have good manners.

Past midnight.

This afternoon I'm going to see my psychiatrist for the first time in about 3 or 4 months time. When we made the appointment back then, it was basically just for a check up and to see how I would be doing on my mediaction. A few thing have happened since then, one of them being my sister Marianne's death and the other one being the fact that I've changed a lot for the better. I don't know if he is going to notice the latter that much because I don't know how I come acrosss in a relatively short conversation. It's not like I'm suddenly a force of nature to be reckoned with.

I haven't seen my therapist in an equal amount of time and am not planning on seeing her either, being completely done with her. I never did feel that she was much of a help to me and, as a matter of fact, always felt worse after I saw her. I now very much question the role of all these so called "therapists" in my life and their usefulness and I would not necessarily recommend for people to go to them. 

I think you may as well talk to any sensible and sober minded person in your environment and discuss your probelms with them and possibly solve them much quicker. Being honest with yourself and having a bit of self knowledge helps you on your way too. If you don't have those things, going to a therapist won't do you much good either. 

I am having a very good cup of black coffee after having a tall glass of Spa Lemon Cactus to quench my enormous thirst. Surprisingly,. it agrees well with me but then I've noticed that anything with lemon in it does and the tea with lemon that I drink every afternoon is very soothing also. I drink two big tea glasses full of it. Black coffee also settles in my stomach well, all things considered. 

This morning, when I go grovery shopping, I'm going to buy orange juice because I did end up drinking the mandarin juice and it is a great thirst quencher and really terrific when you need a low sugar pick me up. I am going yo try to ignore the fact that the orange juice may possibly cause me problems and will drink it anyway and think of all the pulp in it and the vitamin C. 

Tyke and I ate the other moat of salmon yesterday and I was very expert at avoiding what bones were in it. I knew where to expect them anyway and got them all out instead of chomping down on them. I sure as heck don't want Tyke to get a bone stuck in his throat. 

I'm falling asleep be hind the computer so I'll have to go back to bed for a while. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Trying that again.

I wrote a totally ridiculous post during the night while I was half asleep and under the influence of a sleeping pill. so I just now deleted it. I should have done that sooner but I was busy up to now and didn't have a chance to get around to it. When I reread it, I was horrified and couldn't believe I had written so much drivel. 

Well, a person does make the occasional error once in a while and is hopefully still liked well enough. I suppose I really don't have to make up for it so I won't try to do that. I'll relax and just write down what I've done so far today, which really isn't all that important either come to think of it.

I had my hair cut and because so little of it really needed to be cut, I only had to pay ten euros for it even though it was also washed and blow dried. I call that good service. I don't remember the last time I paid that little for a haircut. 

It was left longer than the last time and falls into place naturally and no hairspray was used. That's good and now my hair will get less dirty quickly.. I don't want to wash it too often as I was always told that this was not good for your hair. I think shampoo manufacturers would have us believe differently. 

I went to see my GP about that large bump on my head and was told it is some sort of cyst and it will be removed on the day he has small surgeries when there is an opening next. Apparently it is a quite common cyst and no big deal. I could leave it on my head too but frankly I don't want to walk around with it on there. It's like an alen is sitting under my skin. 

The substitute domestic help came and it was a student from the medical school so we had an intelligent conversation. I do enjoy these kinds of substitutes who know how to speak General Civilized Dutch while they expect an ailing old woman and get me instead which requires some explanation at one point. 

I'm going to eat a whole lot of chicken for dinner tonight because it agreed with me so much yesterday and my stomach is so happy today. I've taken a heap out of the freezer to thaw and will start fixing it as soon as I am done writing this. I am full of happy anticipation.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A day of the highest order.

Well, I'm happy to say that the problem with my new mobile phone is solved. While I was on the phone with customer service, I found out that I had solved the problem myself and that right at that point the thing started to work, so I am a bit brighter than I thought I was. This does great things for my self esteem and I now have the fullest confidence that I am quite capable of tackling most things that come my way, even if they do involve the latest technology. I'm certainly not a helpless middle aged woman anyway. Nowadays, who can afford to be? 

I had the nicest salmon moat for dinner yesterday. It was one that the Exfactor had bought at the market downtown and there is another one in the freezer. I pan fried it in a little olive oil and it turned out perfect and both Tyke and I enjoyed it very much. I think I could eat one every night but then again, I might get tired of it after a while. I do like the strong flavor of it and love the texture. It's really something to bite into.

I also had a vey good visit with my former domestic help who had the brain embolism right at the same time that my sister ended up in intensive care. Her name is Margo and she is doing well now and has made a good recovery. She's in therapy and taking medicine and generally being kept an eye on. It will be a while before she's allowed to work again and it will only be part time. 

We've become great friends and get on like we've known each other all our lives. We talk an awful lot about anything at all and all the things women talk about in specific and never fall silent. The hours that she was here sped by.. I really do like her a lot and there is all kinds of room for her in my life. 

 My contact person at Social Services wants me to look for another volunteer job and I didn't tell him that I was getting a visitor from the States and that I was going there myself for the holidays. I very sincerely told him that I would look and I will  and chance would have it that while I was out walking Tyke, I discovered the local office of the Labor Party right in my own neighborhood. Guess where I'll be going to look for a volunteer job?

I slept fantastically well last night and in a stupor, in the middle of the night, let Tyke out to do a piddle out back. I hardly remember stumbling back to bed and into it. All I knew was that I had to finish sleeping because I was clearly not done yet. I do have the most amazing dreams and seem to be working out all sorts of old issues symbolically. Or maybe they are new issues dressed in old coats. Dreams are part of your working life and have a valid existence. It's good to have them even if you consciously don't always understand them.

It's time to eat breakfast.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Ready for the week to start.

It's a nice thing when you are having a low sugar dip and you are smart enough to drink a glass of mandarin orange juice and very quickly feel yourself perk up again. It would be great if all things were that easily fixed. That's what I'd like in life: straight forward solutions to plainly stated problems and when you get down to it, most of life really is like that. You just have to reduce everything down to the basics and answer the core questions.

My watch band has made me break out in hives again and I had to take my watch off and have a good scratch. Except for the mandarin orange juice, I haven't had anything different to eat or drink and if that's it, I'll gladly itch. My ears are also itching and there's starting to be some eczema on them and I'll have to start using the ointment again. Orange blossoms give me terrible headaches and I wonder if that has something to do with it? We had two orange trees in our garden in California. 

I made some very good coffee this morning and I needed it because I had not quite come to my senses when I got up, which is unusual. As a rule, I practically jump out of bed.  I think the fact that I didn't do the dishes yesterday is not making me happy because I don't like to walk into a messy kitchen first thing in the morning. I am going to do them at the first opportunity I get, which will be right after I am done writing this. The coffee is bringing me to my senses and making me think happier thoughts. Douwe Egberts does rule!

The mobile phone company I bought my touch screen phone with subscription from, turns out not to be a network operator in my area. Yesterday I was in a nice conversation with a computer at customer service. We got the problem sorted out as far as we were able to and I will be contacted by a live person today. Hopefully there will be a simple solution and I will not have to return my phone. I've got the whole thing figured out so it would be a shame if I would have to.

Today is going to be a lovely day with a visitor in the morning and one in the afternoon and I have to go to the pharmacy to pick up some of my medicines. That's why I did the groceries yesterday because I knew I would not get the chance today. The weather is even going to be good, although it's only going to be 12 degrees Celsius amd no, I don't know what that is in Fahrenheit. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Full of contemplation.

I went shopping this Sunday afternoon in one of the supermarkets that was open and it happened to be one that was not too far from the apartment. It was one of the same in the chain of supermarkets I always shop in, so it wasn't a completely strange experience. As a matter of fact, I kind of enjoyed it because this one was a bit smaller and more intimate yet everything was there that I needed. 

I may seriously consider going there from now on always. After all, a shopping expedition has to be an overall pleasant experience. I wasn't overwhelmed by the number of articles that were available but there was enough choice. It was fun to figure out where everything was because the store was entered at a different side. I'm going to have to walk to the other side of it first when I go next. That's where all the heavy items are. 

I looked for juice but learned my lesson and knew to look for apple juice as one of the ingredients. I found a bottle of pure mandarine orange juice in the cooler section and it turned out to be very good although I only allow myself to drink small glasses of it because it's so expensive. I did find the Spa Lemon Cactus and am still suprised that it's relarively cheap. 

I am spending more money and buying the better brand of coffee which is Douwe Egberts. I like coffee so much, that it is worth it to drink a good cup full and it does make a difference.I also had to look for another brand of dog food because Tyke didn't like his kibbles. He just refuses to eat if he doesn't like something well enough. I bought him some that was expensive and hopefully he will like it a lot. The jury is out.

When I got home, my stomach seriously hurt because it was empty and I decided to fix dinner as soon as I had put away the groceries. After an hour I was sitting at the table, with Tyke on the chair beside me, eating a good meal. That tasted so nice, and made me feel so full, that I had to go to bed afterwards and take a nap. I needed the sleep because I got up too early this morning being eager to get the day started as always. 

I find myself being contemplative these past few days and more quiet and introspective. I think about my sister Marianne a lot and wish I could have one more conversation with her. I am sure I am going through all the different mourning stages and I think I have been in denial and have now left that behind me. I am not worried about myself because I am going through a natural process and this is something everyone goes through who has to deal with the death of a loved one. I do feel an overwhelming amount of love for her. 

Reducing my medication is going well and I am not much bothered. I cut the dose in half  but I was only on the increased one for three weeks. I do need the dose that I still take when it is time. I can tell the difference after I have taken it. It works quickly and does the job. 

It's time to walk Tyke again. Maybe he will want to eat after we get back. Of course, he is spoiled now eating dinner with me at the table like a human being. He does know what "Sit on the chair" means. 

Believing you're a hero.

I made some chicken last night that was so moist and tender that it fell off my fork when I tried to eat it. I found a lid that fit exactly over the frying pan so the chicken simmered in a bit of olive oil and its own juices. I thought, "Yes, this is what it is supposed to taste like." I was most pleased with myself and in the end dropped my knife and fork and picked up the bones with my hands and sucked them clean. It was finger lickin' good. 

It had been a while since I enjoyed a meal so much but now that I make them more interesting, I look forward to cooking every evening and it's done in a flash . I even don't mind peeling the potatoes and I used to think that was such a chore. I have special spices for everything, and although I think they hurt my tender stomach a bit, I do sprinkle them on generously because it's worth it for the taste and the pleasure. 

Just before I was ready to make dinner, I got what I thought was an enormous sugar dip and I quickly drank three glasses of Spa Lemon Cactus which revived me quite a bit. I slowly came to my senses and could sit for a while and feel more normal and not think I was going to pass out. I guess nobody can do completely without some sugar and it is nice to have around for a quick pick me up. I was able to prepare dinner in a normal state of mind and not burn the food in an effort to get it done as fast as possible to still my hunger. 

I didn't like the way my hair looked and sharpened the very dull scissors by cutting up in very small srtips a piece of rough sandpaper. Then I cut my own hair and it turned out well and I look ever so much better now. I look like I can be taken out in public and not embarrass anyone. 

My new mobile phone arrived yesterday and while the battery was loading, I read the downloaded instruction booklet very well. I did make some sort of a mistake because I can't get an internet connnection and I don't know yet how to fix it. As a result, I can't make any phone cals yet. I tried to solve it in a few ways but I have no result yet. I may need to call on a brighter mind than my own. I do handle the touch screen well. You barely have to touch it and that's the whole trick.

I have been eating easy to make soups for lunch  from packages that are done in ten minutes. I eat two bowls full and they do revive me. There are actually real ingredients in this soup and no artificial coloring or preservatives. I couldn't eat the home made soups anymore with the roughly cut vegetables because they sent my intestinal system into an uproar.

I've got to take my medicines and eat breakfast. I also think I've come up with a solution to the internet connection.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Early morning rituals.

When I step out of bed in the morning, my first feeling is to be excited about the coming day and about the world and everything in it. This feeling only gets enhanced when I walk into the kitchen to make a  fresh pot of coffee and subsequently turn on the computer on the desk in the living room. As far as I am concerned, all the possibilities of what is to come lie open and anything at all can happen if I give it a chance. I'm ready to be surprised and it doesn't even have to be only pleasantly. I'm ready for a challenge too. 

Of course, there have been enough possitive experiences now to make me anticipate the best and I know there are lessons to be learned to my advantage out of whatever sad and tragic event comes my way. That's why it is important to undergo each event thoughtfully and very consciously and realize the importance of it always. You mustn't underestimate anything that happens because it all happens for a reason and you want to store and process it very well. And in all of this you are your own best analyst and advisor. 

Things you must never do are escape in your joy and drown in your sorrow.. You can take flight and you can lie low but you must always in some way stay grounded and keep your eyes on the horizon and stay on a steady course.  

My sister Marianne's sudden death was such an earth shattering event, that it touched me, and subseuently my life, in a lot of ways. Some of the effects I felt right away but others are showing themselves just now, some weeks later. I know that I'm in some ways a different person now with a different attitude and it will take some time to make all the necessary adjustments, although a start has been made already. She didn't so much leave a gap as fill me with a whole new set of feelings and a change of attitude about a lot of things. I never would have thought that her death would have such an impact on my life. 

With the approval of my psychiatrist, I had temporarily increased one of my medications at the beginning of this tragedy but now that things have settled down, I have decreased it again because it is no longer necessary to take the increased amount. It is a hinder if you take more than you need and you start to not function optimally. The less I take the better and I'd like to keep it that way and be myself in the truest form possible.  I hate to think of all the people who are on large doses that have never been changed over the years and who may not need them. 

Tyke tells me it is time for his morning outing. I will finish my cup of coffee and get dressed and go out there in the cold morning air with him.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Lovely inside and out.

I accidentally took the wrong pill this morning and as a result I was overly subdued for the first half of the day. It's the first time that I've ever done that and I had no idea what to expect, and as a matter of fact, I wasn't expecting anything at all. I realized soon enough that I couldn't get the show on the road in my usual upbeat way. I even started pondering the meaning of life and we certainly can't have that! I have no real desire to answer that question. Thank goodnes I realized it was only a matter of too many chemicals and all I had to do was wait for them to leave my system. 

The fact that I took the wrong pill does say something about my state of mind and the fact that I was preoccupied when I took it and had other things on my mind. I had just ordered a new mobile phone with a touch screen and a million Mbs. I was in need of one because I still had a very primitive one without a subscription and I missed one very much when I was in Emmen three weeks ago and practically incommunicado. The new one is going to be delivered tomorrow morning and I'll spend some time reading the instruction booklet because I'm a nerd and want to do these things right. 

I took a lovely nap this afternoon that was just long enough to reset all the controls. I still don't sleep that many hours at night and usually have to catch up about once a week or so in the afternoon.  As a result of that nap, I am now running late and should be fixing dinner and Tyke is looking at me as if he's trying to levitate me out of my chair and into the kitchen to peel the potatoes. He thinks dinnertime is the most exciting time of the day and I just can't imagine why. He is too short to counter surf so it must be the end result that he is interested in. 

I rarely get down but if I do I must remember "the unbearable lightness of being." I finally understand the title of that book although I had been catching rare glimpses of the meaning in the past. It is lightness with an ache in your heart but lightness nevertheless. When I think of it, I am instantly a light weight, downy feather floating in a soft breeze in the lazy afternoon sun.

There are happy endings all over the place.

I may be doing a lot of wishful thinking, and maybe I am walking around the apartment with blinders on, but since Tyke had that hormonal chip-like device implanted under his skin, he has not bothered Gandhi once. He shows a little interest in her when she walks by but that's just the usual kind for a fellow creature and room mate. 

If this is really the way things are, and nothing happens while I am asleep, that implant is working faster than the vet told me it would and peace and tranquility will reign here. I can't begin to tell you how well worth it was to spend the money on that injection because Tyke is for the most part a very manageable dog. 

As a matter of fact, I had noticed that as he became more and more obedient  and easy to handle to me, his behavior to Gandhi became more dominant so he was clearly compensating. 

I do notice that if I give him a relative amount of freedom in which he thinks he has the option to make certain decisions, and to take responsibilty, he actually does the right thing and is a better behaved dog. He listens well and is eager to do the most logical thing and what is expected of him. He wants to please and appreciates me giving him the chance to do so without really making him.

No doubt me being a much more happy and well rounded and assertive person also has a lot to do with it because dogs do read people like open books and pick up on any nuance. I'm sure Tyke feels much more secure and safe now. 

As to the weather today, it is really a shame but after some very beautiful autumn days, it is now raining and it will come pouring down for the next couple of days, putting a severe limit on how long the walks will be that Tyke and I will make this weekend. I had planned to do some serious exploring and to see if he marked less trees and bushes now that he has the implant. It would have been a whole new experience to walk with him in new territory.

The Exfactor is coming over this morning after he has been to the open air market on the square downtown  where he will buy some very reasonably priced salmon steaks for me to put in the freezer for a treat. I must actually go to the market myself and stock up on some fish but since he's going there anyway, I'm taking advantage of the opportunity. Besides, he's more rain proof than I am.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

On this bright and beautiful autumn day.

Early this afternoon I went and took the non-suspecting dog to the vet and had him chemically castrated. I thought that would shock you but I was at my wits end because he was badly molesting the cat for the umpteenth time and the cat didn't have enough sense to just make a run for it. It was not a pretty scene.

Of course, I am the top dog in this household and Tyke in turn wants to assert himself by lording it over Gandhi who is so sweet that she wouldn't hurt a fly. As a matter of fact, she comes back for more and hardly ever beats a safe retreat. I don't know why she is so non-assertive. 

Before Tyke got his injection, he was put on the scale and I'm happy to report that he'd lost a whole kilo but the vet warned me that any kind of castration has a tendency to make a dog gain weight. He may not lose any more weight and I have to make darn sure that he doesn't gain any, so I have been duly warned.

To show he didn't care one bit about food, Tyke ignored the treat that the vet offered him and only wanted to be petted by him. I think after the trauma of that very big injection, he wanted to make sure that the vet still liked him. Almost every time Tyke goes to see him, he gets a shot. 

Chemical castration is supposed to last for 6 months but the vet told me that it can in reality work for as long as a year. I will notice in Tyke's behavior when it starts to wear off. Because Tyke is not an aggressive dog, we should have the benefits of the shot for a long time. I should start noticing it work within a week. I'm sure Gandhi will be very happy but I will be too. 

Tyke has done nothing but sleep all afternoon and I'm sure that is the effect of his big adventure. It must have been emotionally tough on him,. and you know, sleeping is the most restorative thing any creature can do. He'd probably like to pull the wool over his eyes and forget the whole thing ever happened. 

It sure set me back financially and it's already been an expensive month. I really am robbing Peter to pay Paul. but I'm an optimist and know that things will always work out somehow. Or my name isn't Polly-Anna. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The sensibilities and the joys.

It´s been a most amusing day so far and I really can´t give you the exact reason why except that today I seem to see the humor in everything and can only look at life from the bright side. That does not mean that I´m blind to the tragedy of it but would you expect that of me of all people? 

I suppose that sometimes you get a break and get a day like this that´s completely lighthearted and in which nothing weighs heavy and anything at all brings a smile to your face. You feel like that person who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Or is that a Dutch expression? You do know my meaning, don´t you?

I am not going to bother to try and find the reason for my good humor but just accept it as a given and enjoy it as I have been doing all day long. It has certainly made doing all of today´s chores a breeze. And to tell you the truth, it has made sitting around and staring off into the middle distance every once in a while a lot of fun too. 

I´ve been walking Tyke as if I was a woman on a mission and there was a pot of gold waiting at our destination. Never was there so much purpose to my stride. I would have run over anyone who tried to share the sidewalk with me. I automatically managed to keep Tyke moving in the right direction without really paying attention. I jubilantly thought of ten other things I could be doing. 

I translated all my soup recipes into English so my daughter would be able to make them too. I got stuck on the word `courgette` and for the longest time didn´t know the English word for it without looking it up. I wanted to write down ´eggplant` but I knew that was wrong. When I finally did figure it out, I didn´t know how to spell it. I think my daughter will forgive me this lapse. It won´t hinder her in making the soup. 

The Exfactor had fixed a hook to the door of the guestroom so that it would stay open on a gap to allow Gandhi to get through but Tyke to stay out. This way Gandhi can get to the cat flap that´s in the patio door that´s in that room and Tyke can´t jump on the bed. 

We thought the gap was too small for Gandhi to fit through. This afternoon she was in the guestroom and I put the door on the hook and took Tyke for a walk. When I came back, Gandhi was in the living room which meant that she had managed to make her way through that little gap anyway and the Exfactor won´t have to replace the hook. I think cats can make their way through any opening at all. They must be made of bendable rubber and adapt their shape. 

It´s also good that Gandhi has a room to eascape to where Tyke can´t come because sometimes he is a little bit too much adoring and won´t leave her alone. What he really tries to do is show her that he´s second in line in the hierachy and that she comes last and she very good naturedly doesn´t argue with him. 

I´ve gotten completely used to drinking black coffee and can´t even imagine drinking it with milk anymore. I think I qualify as a real tough broad now and I enjoy saying, `I´ll have a black coffee, please.` If they ask me if I want sugar with that, I give them a very scornful look. Who do they think they´re dealing with?

Yes, I do not go hungry...

Even though I eat my three square meals a day, and then have something extra to eat too if I get that silly idea in my head  in the late evening, I haven't gained an ounce no matter how often I check the bathroom scale to see if it is really accurate. It seems like eating food regularly is good for my body weight. 

I must admit that most of the food I eat is good for me and very healthy but I'm also capable, just like anyone else, of stuffing myself. . I like to do that with slices of toast made with whole grain bread and margarine made from olive oil and I do slather that on thick. I feel totally sinful when I eat that and completely filled up when I'm done. 

I have to literally contain myself from eating more because I can't keep going to the "warm baker" for more bread but I do have several loaves in the freezer compartment. I swear I'm a bread and potatoes woman. I must really like carbohydrates and thrive on them. . At least I don't top my potatoes with evil concoctions like gravy, or make mashed or scalloped potatoes out of them. That would be truly decadent. 

I like them lightly sprinkled with herbs and fried in a little oilive oil in a very good non stick pan. The quality of the pan makes all the difference in how well and how quickly the potatoes brown, so if you have one of which the surface is a little damaged, I suggest you go out and get a new one. You will be glad you did because a bad surface will make the potatoes take twice as long to get brown.

I have one pan that is really too small for the burners of the stove and the other day, while I was holding one of the handles of it while I was cooking, I saw smoke rising and it turned out that the potholder was on fire. That was an interesting development. Now I have to get a new set of matching potholders, but it was really time to get some new ones anyway and I have written that down on the list on the white board of things to get before my friend Judy gets here. I don't want her to think that I'm a Kamakaze cook prone to set things on fire. 

Because of the high cost of the other fish, I bought pangasius filets and had some of it for dinner last night. Because I thought it might not have the distinguished flavor that the usual fish does, I did end up buying the premixed spices for fish and I generously sprinkled those on the filet before frying it gently in olive oil.  I think it was the spices that made the fish edible and all in all it wasn't too bad. It filled my stomach and I got my proteins in. I think the next time I have to cook it a while longer. It was hard to judge the time it needed and some of it may have been slightly under done. I did have to chew a bit. 

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Another merry Tuesday...

It feels like I had a very busy day today but that is just a general sort of vague impression because in reality I didn't really do all that much. Still, the day did pass awfully fast and I feel like I accomplished an awful lot. I do have to stick to the facts and recall what I've really done and admit that it is not all that much. Apparently this was supposed to be my day off or at least a low performance day. 

I washed the cushion covers on the Ikea arm chair with the wooden frame and I thought it was going to be another exercise in frustration to get the damp covers back on the cushions. I was all ready to do battle anyway and inwardly calmed myself before I did the job but the covers went on easier than I had aniticipated and they got very clean too and I could tell you which washing powder I used in my very old washing machine but I won't do any advertising for free this time. 

I found out by trial and error that I have to wait to feed Tyke until later in the day when he's had enough exercise and opportunities to unload because he doesn't want to eat after his first walk in the morning. It's something that has developed as he has gotten older. I actually think it may be better to wait until the end of the afternoon but now I feed him after his noontime walk and he seems to be hungry enough then. I think it would be best if he really worked up an appetite and asked for his food. He knows best when he's hungry.

The people from the recycle shop are coming to pick up all the bags of clothes tomorrow afternoon. I was going to have the Exfactor take them to the depot one by one but this is a much simpler solution of course. The idea to do this had not even crossed my mind. I do believe my head's not quite screwed on right and the Exfactor had to think of it. People who don't have cars do have to think creatively. 

I can tell that I have no fat on my bones because although it is not all that cold, the nip that's in the air is enough to make me want to wear my biggest winter coat. What does that mean for when it  really becomes winter? I have a feeling that I'm going to be freezing my buns off a lot. I even already sometimes close all the windows and turn the heater on for a while. That's a complete outrage! 

Monday, October 08, 2012

Lickity split....

My daughter had send me a birthday card that came with a little necklace that had an amethyst as a pendant and I put it on immediately, but because I was with my thoughts on other subjects, I soon didn't remember the name of the stone and it's healing properties and I'm not even sure anymore if she even told me what they were, although I think she must have. All I knew was that, because it came from her, it was very important that I wear it always and never take it off. 

This morning I had a substitute domestic help and we started talking about all sorts of things and it turned out that she was taking a course in minerals and gems and their healing properties, so I asked her what was on my necklace and what it was good for. She told me it was an amethyst and that it gave you peaceful feelings and that someone who was very stressed and needy could actually drain the amethyst of its energy and it would lose it color. 

I thought that was an interesting thing to hear because ever since I've been wearing the necklace my peace of mind has been greater without me knowing that this was the amethyst's purpose. You could say that I am now absolutely open to the idea of minerals and their healing properties and am willing to look into it a bit deeper. I'm more than openminded enough to give it an honest try. 

She also told me that to compliment the amethyst, I should get a mountain crystal and rose quartz. I immediately decided to go to the bijoux shop downtown to look and see if they had anything like that worked into some jewelry and luck would have it that my friend Lucienne called me right then to ask if I wanted to meet her downtown, which I of course said yes to. 

She had some errands to run and when we were done with them, we went to the bijoux shop to inform if they had jewelry with the stones that I was looking for. There was some very gaudy looking stuff with mountain crystals that I did not like, but there turned out to be a selection of stuff with amethysts worked into it and they were pretty stones. 

I tried on a few pieces and managed to find a ring and a bracelet that I liked and I didn't even look at the price, I was so determined to have it. At the cash register, though, it turned out to be not expensive at all and I thought it was a reasonable little gift to myself. 

Now I will be on the look out for pieces of jewelry with mountain crystal and rose quartz in it and I've got a whole new hobby to keep me occupied. Luckily, there's always some new interest that catches my imagination especially when it turns out not to be such an expensive thing..

Because Tyke is such a handsome dog, and so beautifully black, I decided that he needed a special collar. Something that was very unique and that would make him stand out from the rest. I googled dog collars and first got all the usual sites that sold dog collars by the hundreds, but I knew that if I kept looking long enough I would run into the more unique ones. 

I found the website of an artist who hand makes collars to order in different designs and different widths with a complimentary colored suede lining. The collars are very colorful and I've already been in contact with the artist and told her what I want. The collars take about one to two weeks to make. Tyke will be a real dandy with his on and will be the talk of the town. It will be especially appropriate since lately he's throwing all of his charms into getting to know other dogs and being successful too. He will be even more so with such a beautiful collar on. Besides, I do want to show off my dog.

Gandhi doesn't like to wear a collar and will do whatever it takes to take one off if you dare to put one on her. I may try it again with a cheap one first and see if she will tolerate it, but I have no high hopes. I would love for her to have a pretty collar also because people always compliment me on what a pretty cat she is and it would look nice. Maybe she'll appreciate my effort and co-operate this time.