Thursday, January 31, 2013

Things to do when idle.

I have downloaded the latest free AdAware Anti Virus program in the hope that it would find and take care of all the cookies that I had picked up and that I thought were slowing down my PC. I did a scan after I installed it, but it did not find any, so I think there must be a hitch in the system. I already had the free Avast Virus Scanner, so maybe it has been doing the job all along. 

I also downloaded and installed the latest version of Google Chrome because I was tired of Firefox not remembering my tab pages and taking much too long to open. I suppose I was ready to be a bit more assertive when it comes to the operation of my PC. When you can not be successful in one area of your life, you have to try and be it in another. 

I do like this browser, also because I installed it in English and now it is not spell checking all my words as wrong. That is how simple this problem turned out to be and another mystery is solved. I never could figure that out before. 

Although today was officially a work day, I did not get sent any work to do. Of course there are jobs that I can not do on my PC that will have to be done on the future office Mac. I feel very frustrated sitting at home not doing anything because I would really like to know what my job is all about. I really wonder what sort of a Mickey Mouse operation I have landed in. Whatever my boss was, she was not ready for an assistant. 

I am taking two tranquilizers a day and they are keeping me on an even keel. I did not get them for that reason. They were only to be used occasionally when the need was high. I will discuss my use of them with my psychiatrist tomorrow and hope he approves. Right now, I do not know of another comfortable way to get through the day. I do so appreciate the calming influence of them. 

I have had belly cramps all afternoon and it has been like I am in early labor without relief in sight. I feel that I should have a hot water bottle and curl up with it on the sofa but I have no such thing handy. It would be a good thing to get the next time I am in the drugstore. My stomach and belly are definitely sensitive areas when it comes to being influenced by stress, although I guess it is better than having a kink in your neck and shoulder. 

Before the day starts again.

Three days worth of dishes are sitting on the kitchen counter waiting for me to get them done and, because of my horrible state of mind, I never did get around to them. It is my intention to do them this morning as soon as I can gather myself together. The last thing I want to happen is for me to be intimidated by them. If I rinse them first and stack them neatly, they will not look so unsurmountable. When you do get around to doing something finally, you do have to have a good method of attack. 

I do have to nostalgically look back on the weekend now when doing any kind of chore was a piece of cake. I did not have to sit here and contemplate doing any of them beforehand, but without giving them much thought just went ahead and did them. Now it seems that I am agonizing over them and I am not proud of that attitude. I have to find the motivating factor and I think I will invite the Exfactor over for coffee and get things done before he gets here. That will be like a stick behind the door. 

 I am not going to pretend that I am happier than I am. I feel fairly down in the dumps and the worst thing I can do is act like that is not the case. That does not mean that I am going to wallow in my misery, but that I am acknowledging that things could be better than they are. I do not feel helpless because I assume there is a solution to my pasrticular difficult situation. I just have to go through the process of finding out which one it is and I do have to keep in mind when the days were better than this.

At least I do not have the awful stomachache I had yesterday, although I do have some discomfort and have stopped drinking coffee and have switched to ice water. In my misplaced frugality, I have been using the same tall glass for three days and I think it is about time that I start using a clean one. It is possible to take things to an extreme. Luckily, or should I say, unfortunately, I have not used all the same dishes for three days which has caused the big stack of them. 

I think before I do anything, I will go back to bed and sleep some more to get a better start. The morning is young atill and there is no need to rush.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


I have come to realize that the stomachache I have been having is caused by stress and I think it is directly related to the fact that I have started to work. I do know that I worry a lot about my job and the responsibilities and having to anticipate what is expected of me. I have been on a somewhat downward slope since I started working, but it was not until early this morning that I saw the writing on the wall and the whole situation became clear to me. 

One thing I do have to anticipate is what this is doing to my mental health and I can not watch myself get depressed about this. I do have to take a positive action before it gets to that point. I called my therapist late this morning because I thought it might be good to have a talk with her, but I was told that she was sick. I then asked for my psychiatrist to call me and in the meantime wrote him an email to tell him what I wanted to talk to him about. 

He called me a while ago and we made an appointment for Friday afternoon because he thought we should not wait to discuss this. He had some concern about my state of mental health also and was worried about how I would deal with my job and wants to help me do that. We have to get me off the downward slope.

I do know that I want to sleep a lot and in my case that means I want to escape. Sleeping deep and hard is an escape mechanism and I can do it at the drop of a hat. Very often, I think with longing of being safely under the covers of my bed. I suppose that is one way of dealing with things for now. Just for now.

Those middle of the night hours.

I am sitting here with a stomachache that I woke up with and I am not sure what to do about it. I feel that maybe I should eat something, but nothing that is easy to make seems like the right thing to eat and I am afraid that I will only make it worse. I did just take a stomach tablet and I hope that will bring some relief. I suppose that my stomach needs rest after the misadventures with the dairy products, or so I reason with myself. I do try to make some sense of it.

Despite the fact that it is officially still winter, I have not yet closed the bedroom windows and went to sleep with them open last night. It was pleasantly chilly when I got under the covers. I thought this might help me sleep better, but that turned out not to be the case and I am up as usual. I do not mind, except for my stomachache, and it is nice to sit here in the silence of the night. The animals are sound asleep and can not be woken up for any reason. 

Tyke is a wooly, furry monster at the moment because he really needs to be trimmed, but I have been reluctant to have that done because of the cold weather. I think his fur keeps him nicely warm right now and I do not know what sort of weather is in store for us yet. When he is lying down on the area rug, and is asleep, it is hard to tell what is the front end of him and what is the back. He just looks like one great big furry mess.

Gandhi, on the other hand, is short haired and very sleek looking. I think that is why she does not like to go out in the cold that much. It is probably more difficult for her to keep warm when the temperatures dip down to freezing. When she does go outside, she comes back in with very cold paws that she wants to warm on my stomach. Her ears are also always very cold.

I have taken a mild tranquilizer in order for my stomach to relax. The only thing is, that it is making me slightly drowsy, although that is a bit of a pleasant efffect. I do not say no to that. It will help me sleep when I go back to bed in a while and I do look forward to that. It is a bit of a surprise to realize that I had been that tense without really being aware of it and I wonder how often I am? 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hugely optimistic.

Late this afternoon, I took a very long nap. Not because I was so very sleepy, but because I felt my mood slip down into a big dark crater. "Oh," I said to myself, "I think I am getting depressed," and I decided to just give into the feeling and let it happen if that was the kind of mood I was going to be in. But after I slept for a long enough time, I woke up in an excellent mood and all the dark clouds had drifted away. What I had needed simply, had been enough sleep and my subconscious had taken care of it. 

Now I feel very full because I just ate two slices of breakfast cake with butter on them for dinner (the irony does not escape me). I think my eyes were bigger than my stomach, as usual, and I am in some discomfort, but I will ignore that and get over it in a little while. 

I had the butter in spite of the fact that I had told myself that I would not eat dairy products any more. I momentarily forgot that. After eating all that yoghurt, I have gotten a very swollen belly and I have gained two kilos. I have also got a very sore throat and swollen glands and I do not think that it all is a coincidence. I better get back to my diet of vegetables and soups and potatoes because I am a lot healthier when I eat like that. 

Tomorrow morning I am going to be fitted for my ankle/foot brace and I sure as heck hope it will not be raining as much as it has today when I have to ride my bike to the appointment.  It is over by the hospital and just far enough away to get drenched if it is raining. Today, Tyke only got to go out for little walks because we had to cut them short when it really started to pour. He did find the bigger puddles when we were out there and got his great big paws soaking wet.

I trimmed my own hair today after first considering making an appointment with the hairdresser. I decided that it was not yet long enough for that and that I could easily cut it myself. I was only able to do the front and the sides being unable to reach the back, but in the past I used to do that with the help of two mirrors. I had a lot more courage in the past. 

My hair turned out fine, especially after I have brushed it into place and I will not have to go to the hairdresser for a couple of weeks. I am saving myself some money this way and today I got the pleasant message that I am getting back an extra hundred Euros from Social Services for the costs of my Internet connection. I had forgotten all about that and really need the money. 


Monday, January 28, 2013

Simple souls are welcome too.

Last week I was number ten on the waiting list for the 55+ apartment and today I am number seven. I sure traveled up that list in a hurry and I would almost think that fate is trying to tell me something. Maybe, in spite of the lack of money, I am supposed to move anyway. Is it possible that there will be some sort of a solution? I do play in the lottery now, so it is possible that I may win some money. Not that I am holding my breath.

I talked to my niece on the phone today and she told me about her daughter's birthday party. Her daughter turned sixteen and there had been a lot of people at the party, but my niece said that much to her grief, none of them had been family of hers. There are so few of us left and we are spread apart all over the globe. If I moved to Emmen, it would be an opportunity to be close to her and be her family. 

Now all the snow and ice are gone, although it is not that warm outside yet. Later this week it is going to be 11 degrees Celcius and it will feel like springtime to us who are not used to anything anymore. It is going to rain, so it is not going to be all perfect, but I do not mind.  At that temperature it will not feel bad at all. I doubt very much that I will even have to wear my gloves or scarf.

Tyke is discovering all sorts of things that had been covered by the snow and that have now come to the surface. Some of them are edible, or so he thinks. We do disagree on that and get into arguments. He does bring home the most interesting items, one of which was a half frozen children's sock which he chewed on for the rest of the afternoon. I have now thrown it away and he does not even miss it. 

Gandhi is glad because she can comfortably go outside again. She did dislike the snow and stayed inside as much as possible and I think she must have great bladder control. I do think she is turning into a bit of an old lady because what she likes to do more than anything is snuggle up some place and sleep. One of her favorite places to snuggle up is my lap, but anybody's lap will do. Every night she still shares my pilow with me and we are both comfortable with that. We each get half of it. 

The cowboy boots that I am wearing fit me very well as long as I wear thick socks with them. My left boot does not want to slide off my foot no matter how manky I am walking and believe me, that makes a difference in how well I get around. I never paid attention as well as now as to how my footwear fits me. I think I was a bit nonchalant about that before. I will do a much better job buying new shoes from now on and try them on very carefully with the right kind of socks. 

I have got to make some dinner and I still have those gnoccis with the tomato sauce, so I suppose I will have them. As if that is a punishment.

Go dream instead.

I woke up because I was perspiring so much and I had to get up and change the sheets. This, of course, caused me to be awake to a point and I made some coffee and turned on the computer. I do not know if that was a smart thing to do, but there you have it. In spite of the coffee, I still feel a bit sleepy and the best thing for me to do would be to go back to bed, but there is a stubborn streak in me making me stay up a while longer. It is still early in the night and there is lots of time left to sleep. 

The weekend is over again and I can get down to the every day business of life during the week which is so much better, although I have appreciated these two days off. I never do think that I have both feet completely on the ground during the weekend and that is why I like the realism of the week days so much. The weekends are too unstructured and too abstract, even though I do have my chores to keep me grounded somewhat. 

I thought the eco-friendly fabric softener that I had bought on sale hardly added a good smell to the laundry, but I was wrong. The clothes and the sheets that have been washed in it do have a pleasant odor and the amount I have to use is smaller than the other brands. I do not know if I will be lucky enough to get it on sale the next time and I will end up buying whatever is the most affordable. That does keep the excitement in doing the laundry because you never know what the result will be the first time you use a new product. Basically, they all do a good job, unless you buy something very cheap.

I am not a fan of buying the cheapest possible product because I think that some of them just are a terrible quality. I think some of the store brands are as good as the better brand names and I do not mind getting them, but there are some things you have to buy the better brand names of because you know that those are the best quality. One of them is coffee and I do not believe in cheating myself out of a good cup. Another one is washing powder. Good quality tea is another thing I will not cheat myself out of. because I do love a good cup of tea.

I am interested in making my own yoghurt and have to start looking around for a yoghurt maker. Someone suggested to me to use organic milk to make the yoghurt with and I will if it is not too expensive. What I did not know is that there are natural bacteria in yoghurt that are good for your intestines and I thought they were only present in those special small containers that are advertised as such. I guess those are a major rip off for how much you pay for them. They never did work for me anyway. Home made yoghurt does sound awfully good and I can not wait to try it. 

I will go back to bed now and finish sleeping for the night. There is the call of the clean sheets.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Gone with the wind.

I am happy to report that most of the snow and ice has melted and it is not because we had such an awful lot of rain. Actually, it just got warm enough for it too and there was also the strong wind that helped it melt. It is very nice to see my street again and the sidewalks around it and to feel steady ground beneath my feet. I am no longer in danger of slipping and breaking my neck. Tyke is a lot more steady on his feet also. He did slither occassionally which was funny to see since he is on four paws and not in much danger of falling over. 

Now that the snow is gone, I have found out that there are some shoes and boots that I just can not wear because they want to slide off my left foot. It seems I have lost the ability to keep the left one on. Maybe my foot has gotten smaller. I walked around and looked like an idiot this afternoon. I already drag my foot, but I was also dragging my left boot. I took those boots off immediately when I got home and will not be wearing them anymore. I will have to start paying better attention to what size shoes I wear. 

I am wearing a cute jacket that I bought two months ago and that has been hanging in the closet ever since. For some reason I resisted wearing it because I thought it was too dressy for me. Now that I have put it on, I do not know why I had that idea. It is perfect for a Sunday and the rest of me is wearing all black so the contrast could not be better. The jacket has red and white and silver speckles. It is a joyful jacket. I bought it when I was feeling good, but then I usually do. 

I have had my portion of food today and I feel very full and have the stomach to prove it. I have gnoccis and tomato sauce and goat cheese that I am supposed to eat for dinner, but I do not know if I have room for them. I may have to leave them to eat for another day. At this point, all I have room for is ice water and it tastes great too. 

I had a can of fruit in syrup and tried some of that, but I can not say I enjoyed that a heck of a lot. It was much too sweet and the fruit tasted like it had been soaking in the syrup for ages. Tyke thought he wanted it,, but I would not let him have any. I put the can in the refrigerator and it will gather mold there eventually, at which point I will be forced to throw it out. I may as well flush the contents down the toilet right away and be done with it. What a simple solution that is. 

There is a rough haired greyhound up for adoption and his name is Sam. I am very tempted, but I would have to meet him first to see if there is a click and then Tyke would have to meet him also. I have seen several photos of him and he is a beautiful animal. My feelings are very torn and I do not know what is the best thing to do. I will have to think about it long and hard.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Found that out!

My doctor told me to eat only whole fat products because I had lost so much weight and should not lose any more. I had already gotten real butter and today I also got enough whole fat yoghurt to last me the rest of the week. After I had put all the groceries away, I immediately had some for lunch and I have to tell you that it tasted wonderful and that it agreed with my stomach very well. 

I had become so used to how thin low fat yoghurt was, that I was surprised at how thick the whole fat kind was when I poured it into the bowl. And it tasted much creamier too. It was almost, well, almost, like eating a dish of ice cream. I had to tell myself not to eat more and to only have a certain amount every day so I can make it last for the rest of the week. It certainly is tempting to have around. 

It started to snow after I got back from doing the groceries, so my timing was excellent. I had not slipped on the ice either, even though there had been treacherous patches in places. I bought Tyke anotther huge rawhide bone and when I walked in, I told him that I had something for him, which he understood. He did not stop running around in circles until I unwrapped it and gave it to him.

I forgot to get candy mice for Gandhi because I was so busy looking for a flea collar for her. I saw a flea on her the other day and I want to prevent her from contaminating Tyke. She does roam around the neighborhood and pick things up from other cats. 

I am enjoying the fact that it is Saturday, which is really, I think, my favorite day of the week. I really always do have that idea that it is a day off to spend as I please, but I always end up doing chores such as the laundry or the dishes or the groceries. Still, I feel an enormous sense of freedom on Saturday. I suppose throughout my whole life it has been the day that I liked best. Even when I was in kindergarten and I still had to go to school in the morning on Saturdays.

I remember my father having to go to work on Saturdays when there was still a six day work week. Sunday was the only day of leisure and even then, you weren't allowed to enjoy yourself a heck of a lot. There were all these laws and unwriiten rules that you had to keep to. We certainly have better and easier lives now. If there is one thing I am not, that is nostalgic. For me there are no good old days and I really and truly do not believe that anyone would want them back. 

I have to go hang up a load of freshly washed clothes.I can not hang them up outside because of the snow. Tomorrow a low depression system will be here and it will rain. I do wonder how long it will take for the snow and the ice to be gone. I can not wait to see the sidewalks again.


It is going to snow today and I feel I must protest against this independent action of the weather because on Sunday it is going to be warmer and the snow is going to turn into a blubbery mess that will be hard to negotiate. The good thing is that the icy layer inderneath it will melt too and we will no langer be in danger of slipping and sliding and breaking our necks. 

It will make riding my bike so much easier, but today I have to ride it to the store to go grocery shopping and I do not look forward to returning home with two shopping bags and my bike carrier bags filled with shopping when there is new snow.

I have been feeling better because I have not been eating grilled cheese sandwiches and quesasillas, but fried in olive oil potatoes instead and they seem to agree with my stomach better. I will have to find a use for the flour tortillas I still have and not buy any more cheese. I will buy lots of vegetable soup because I am not going to make any myself. I am not in the mood for cooking right now. Heating things up is all the effort I want to make. 

What seems to agree with me most is ice cold water. It is such a neutral thing to drink that there is no way it can harm me and it is the greatest thirst quencher. I must drink six or seven tall glasses of it a day if not more. The water from the faucet is just fine when it is very cold and I am not going to invest in bottled water which is more expensive than a bottle of milk. I hate the thought of the fuel wasted on all the bottled water being transported all over Europe.

I am going back to bed because I must sleep some more before the day gets properly started. I am coming to see my bed more and more as a pleasant place to be, especially during the seconf phase of my sleeping relay. That is when I get down to business and have the most interesting dreams.

Friday, January 25, 2013

What you do when you are not working.

Tyke is lying as flatly spread out on the linoleum in the hallway as is possible and is sound asleep. He did not even hear two dogs bark at each other outside a while ago although they were quite loud. I took an afternoon nap and he did too and it always seems to put him sound asleep until dinnertime. At least he made it halfway to the living room from the bedroom where he started off. I guess it was too much effort to make it all the way over here. I could scoop him up with a shovel, but I will let him sleep for now. 

The Exfactor was here this morning and made a very easy contraption to fix my walking stick to the frame of my bike so I can take it with me wherever I go. Actually, I think as long as I wear comfortable, flat heeled shoes and boots, I will not need the stick. When I was looking on the shelf system in the guest bedroom, I discovered some boots with flat heels that I had forgotten about and I will be able to wear them soon, although they are not nearly as pretty as my high heeled ones. 

I have misplaced my digital camera and have looked in every possible spot in the apartment twice already. Every place that I could conceivably think of has been checked and I have sat and pondered over it several times. I remember putting it some place safe before I went to Houston, but I do not remember now what that safe place was. I suppose that this is the first sign of advanced age.

The Exfactor had gotten me a memory card reader because I had lost the cable to connect the camera to the computer and it is, of course, the perfect solution and all I have to do is find the camera. The apartment is not that big and I am a pretty organized person so you would think that this would be not so hard to do. I am going to find it in the one spot where I repeatedly have not looked and that is the place that I am trying to think of now. 

The first 100 km marathon on natural ice was skated today. I only watched part of it because it took forever. I will have to watch the most exciting parts of it on the sports news (the start, the middle, the finish). And all the times they fell down because of the big cracks in the ice, of course.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

More hay on my pitch fork.

My boss sent me an email yesterday in which she said that she had no work for me for a while because there was as yet no second Mac at the office and its arrival depended on what funding the foundation would be able to get. I thought that was a really bad omen and that I was about to lose my job. I wrote her back and told her that it was very important that she sign a form that Social Services neeeded, stating that I officially had a job and had started work already.

We met at noon today and got the situation sorted out to the point even that she asked my advice about a few things. She can indeed not afford a second Mac and it is the computer she wants to work with because everybody in the art world does. I found out for her where a second hand one with a 12 month guarantee can be had for a good price and she will get one there as soon as the foundation has the finances to do so. 

I think by seeing me and talking to me, she wanted to remind herself that she can rely on me and was reassured in those feelings. She must have had a moment of doubt due to her experience with another worker who turned out to be a major disappointment. By asking me for advice and hearing what she thought was sound advice, she must have felt better about me if she doubted me at all. 

I am going to be working at home for now until we get the second Mac. I do not mind one bit now that the weather is so bad, although it is supposed to get a bit better this Sunday. That is when it should thaw and all the snow and ice should disappear. I will rely on that weather forecast anyway because it has been repeated often enough. 

When it comes to my job, I am going by my instincts and by assuming that what I want to happen, will actually happen. I picture the outcome completely in my mind and shape the words that accompany it there too. That way all the events have already taken place in my head and all that has to happen is for them to come to fulfilment. Very often in my life, things that I wanted to take place, have done so because I imagined them into being. This has also worked out negatively a few times because you may not always end up happy because of that. 

The eagerness with which I start the day.

You would think the sun had already risen and that outside it was a lovely, warm Spring day instead of the dark, cold, icy morning that it really is. That is how eager I am to start the day.  It is a little bit easier to ignore reality when you sit inside by the light of the desk lamp with the curtains drawn and the heater on. If I manage this until the sun really does come up, I can live with this illusion a few hours longer and be perfectly contend.

The start of anything is always easy, it is maintaning the same strong surge forward that is the problem. The initial brilliant idea tends to start to slip from your fingers and you get less secure the further away you get from your starting point. It is very important to, in your mind, return to it and the initial idea, and focus on them and remind yourself of exactly what you had in mind.

Today I want to strictly focus on the facts of life and not get caught in the muddied swamp of my emotions. It is a day to take inventory and find out exactly where I stand. 

I have a tendency to want to approach everything with logic because I think that the emotional approach is too subjective and not so reliable. I must admit, though, that more and more I have come to rely on my instincts and that very often they do not point me in the wrong direction. The thing is that I do not know if instincts are subjective or objective, but I almost think that they are the most primieval objective part of us.

So I must live and draw my conclusions accordingly and not ignore them because my instincts may be a very quick, subconscious calculation of the facts. 

Having stated that, and thinking about it just now, I believe that and think I am on to something. I have gained another wisdom thinking out loud behind the keyboard, although I did not really speak the words that clearly into the air. I only whispered them softly as I do when I write anything down.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ignoring the call of duty.

Because I was so conscientious yesterday, and went to work when I was not expected there, I decided to play hooky today and call in sick. I was supposed to have gone to a meeting with the web designer and two other people including my boss, but I think it was really not crucial that I was there and I will hear about what was discussed later. 

I did have a stomach upset because I ate a creamy mustard soup that did not agree with me at all. Unfortunately I could not make more vegetable soup or I would have had that instead, but when I go grocery shopping this weekend, I will make sure that I can eat it all of next week. 

I slept late this morning and did not get up until allmost ten o'clock. This was such a pleasant surprise that I sat around in my bathrobe for another hour. I do so enjoy allowing myself some laziness and the first cups of coffee always taste so good and need to be lingered over. After that, I always need a few glasses of ice cold water and then I can get started. I suppose I need the right mixture of fuel to get on my way.

I just defriended someone on Facebook whose posts had been mildly irritating me for some time. I had been trying to ignore them but finally made a comment on one of them, although I knew I would get some sort of angry reaction. When I did, it was so mean that it made me blush. I deleted it and will forget it and carry on. It did bother me and I guess that is why I mention it. I guess she had not liked me all along. 

I am learning a lot about human nature and that there is really no one out there who is normal, however you define that term. I think we all have an idea of what we expect a normal person to be like. They do not exist, but that does not mean that there are no funny or agreeable people, or admirable ones for that matter. 

I like lots of things about all sorts of people, but that does not mean that I want to be best friends with them. I like the distance I have between the people I admire now and appreciate the few close contacts that I have. I always thought that when I grew up (about now) I would have lots of friends and be intimate with at least a few. Imagine my surprise when this turned out not to be the case at all and I find that I am my own best friend.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Is there anybody there?

I went to work today but when I stood outside on the sidewalk and rang the door bell, the building sounded empty and no one came to open the door. I rang a few more times just to make sure the door bell worked but it was all in vain. I waited on the sidewalk for a while and watched the boats go by on the river of which the water was choppy. There were birds swimming against the current not getting anywhere. 

After I waited for what I thought was a long enough time, I called my boss on my mobile phone and found out that she was at home and had assumed that I would not show up today because we have a meeting tomorrow which is officially my day off. I do think she assumed too much and does not know about my loyalty yet because I always show up when I say I will. 

I rode my bike home again and found out that my gloves are not warm enough and when I got there and inside, I warmed my hands on Tyke's cuddly body. It is that winter is almost over or I would bother to get better gloves but I think I do not need to now. Going to my job is the furthest distance I travel and I will survive that. Or maybe I can get some mittens to wear over my gloves.

I have decided, while petting Tyke today, that I am also going to call him "Madelief" which is really a girl's name and what we call a daisy. The second part of the name (lief) means "dear" or "sweet." I do call him "liefje" all the time. He thinks the endearments I call him are all names for him and he reacts to all of them and becomes immediately very docile and mellow and ready to be petted. 

I made a pan of vegetable soup today and ate it while it was still almost too hot to. It was the kindest thing for my stomach that I had eaten in a long time, which goes to show you that I do best if I stay away from proteins. If my stomach is happy, I am happy. It is as simple as that. Yesterday I blew it by letting my eyes be bigger tham my stomach and eating two quesedillas. I was so uncomfortable afterwards that it was not even funny and I had to go to bed with a stomachache.

I have got to drink two enormous glasses of ice water to quench my thirst. No doubt that is from eating the soup. The cups of coffee I had probably did not help much either although they did put me in a chipper mood. It is so nice to feel cheerful. I do not ever take that for granted.

No time for vanity.

It is impossible to wear a boot or shoe with any kind of heel anymore. I must wear the most sensuble ones or twist my ankle every other step I take. I have taken to just wearing my hiking boots and that seems to be the most sensible solution for now. I think the days of wearing pretty high heeled shoes are behind me. When the snow is gone, I will be wearing my cowboy boots again with their flat heels and I am going to have to invest in some new shoes. It is a darn shame but there is no other choice.

The walking stick I ordered finally got here yesterday morning and it is a great help, but I really can not use it when I walk Tyke because it just is not handy. I have my hands filled with his leash and his full poop baggy and get off balance too easily. I will be able to use it when I go some place on my own and have my hands free.

There is a constant ache in my lower leg and my ankle hurts. I suppose I want to complain about that and I should not. I had rather be glad that I can still walk on my own two legs and get around. 

I had to go back with the form that the GP gave me for the insurance company because they will not pay for the ankle/foot brace if I do not need it longer than six months. The assistant took the form to him while he was seeing patients and came back with it and he had written "chronic" on it. I guess that seals my fate. 

When the domestic help is here on Monday afternoon, it is my job to dust the whole apartment and I must say that I do a thorough and good job. That is because I had proper traning when I was a child. It was one of the first jobs I had when I started helping in the household and I learned to dust every nook and cranny. My mother was very strict and would not let me get away with a job badly done. It does pay off now. 

We also changed the bed so I slept between clean sheets last night. I can not tell you enough how much I like that and I want a clean bed at least once a week. The hormones are screaming though my body and I do perspire an awful lot at night so clean sheets are not a luxury.  I wash the used sheets right away and they only take two days to dry on the clothing rack. It will be great when I will be able to dry them outside again because they will smell so good. 

It has stopped snowing and yesterday it actually was a little bit above freezing so some of the snow started to thaw. It is said that by next week all of it will be gone and that is fine with me because I will get around much easier. 

Today I have to go to work and I am looking forward to tjat. I hope I can make myself useful again but that I do not have problems with my ankle riding my bike to get there. Oh, this is dominating my life too much.

Monday, January 21, 2013

It's possible.

It is possible to be perfectly satisfied without having accomplished anything worthwhile all day long as long as you managed to amuse yourself and stay out of trouble. I did just that because for most of the day it snowed and Tyke and I did not go out much, although I did force the issue and make us go out when I started to develop cabin fever from having been cooped up too much inside the warm apartment. 

It had snowed all day long but later in the afternoon it turned to sleet and that created an icy layer on top of the snow which made it fun to walk on. We crunched our way through it and sometimes it even supported Tyke's weight. 

Luckily, it also meant that the sidewalks were not too slippery and could be safely walked on which was a bit of a relief. Some kind people had even shoveled the snow and sprinkled salt so that the ground was visible. Huge packs of rock salt can be bought at the store for this very purpose. I am always grateful when I see the bare tiles of the sidewalks and know I am safe for a bit. 

I so do not appreciate the cobblestones downtown where I have to go now for my job. They are always tough to walk on but when there is a layer of anow on them, they become very treacherous and you slip and slide on them. You really have to think about what footwear you are going to put on and when you are dressed nicely for work, this can be a bit of a problem. Not all of you may look like a picture of fashion.

I see that I need to paint my toe nails again and luckily I have the polish to do it. I hope I can do as nice a job as the pedicurist did and I will have to polish them very carefully. I do enjoy having good looking toe nails. You feel that you never have to be embarrassed about them should you ever have reason to take your shoes and socks off. 

My nails wer cut and filed and buffed to precision but I doubt I will get them in such nice condition again. It will require another pedicure and I will have to treat myself to one. I also need to have riches beyond my wildest dreams. 

I ate too much food over the weekend and feel like a sloth. I think I will drink a lot of tea on Monday and cleanse my system that way. I will also drink a lot of ice water. I bought the neatest ice cube trays when I was in Houston. They are made of rubber and the ice cubes pop right out. I was in need of them because I was drinking water from the faucet that was not cold enough and left me very unsatisfied. 

I will go back to bed now and finish sleeping. Much as I would like it to be morning, it is not nearly so.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A woman's got to grab the bull by its horns.

I went to the drugstore and had a good look around and found a neat gadget for the calouses on my feet because, although the pedicurist in Houston took care of most of them, there is some residue left and I want to be able to keep the situation under control myself. The callous bump under the ball of my foot was nearly gone but it started to bother me a bit again and I do not want that to happen because I have enough problems with that foot.

I never knew they made such neat gadgets to take care of these kinds of problems and I was surprised because I thought I was the only one who had these particular kinds of problems. It is not a subject that people discuss easily in their daily discourse, of course, and it has never come up in a conversation. In this way you do miss out on important information and I would have been in the dark if I had not had a good look around the drugstore. 

I did the grocery shopping too, after braving the cold wind on my bike, and had a heck of a good time looking at sale items that I could really use and had a need for. I did find a big bottle of fabric softener of a brand I never tried before that was on sale and is supposed to be eco-friendly too. I will have to find out how well it works and then decide if I want to use it again. Most likely I will aways go for the brand that is on sale because it is saving money that really lures me. 

I bought goat yoghurt and vanilla pudding and the first thing I did when I got home was try the pudding but it made me almost sick ro my stomach because I was too greedy and ate too much of it. I think I like it so much that I can not eat small portions of it. A certain kind of madness comes over me when I have it in the refrigerator and I want to eat it all in one sitting.  That stuff is just plain dangerous to have around and it is a good thing that I only go grocery shopping once a week because I would be tempted to buy the pudding each time I went.

Because it was so cold, I had a hunkering for something hearty and I bought a big can of peasoup of the best brand I could get. I had that last night and it was chunky and so filling that I could only eat one bowl of it and Tyke was in luck and made very happy with the left overs. He does have a very good life here. 

I entered the English language text onto the old work website and  think I did a fair job at that. I even added some appropriate illustrations and I hope I got them right. What I think are great ideas may not be what my boss thinks is but eveything is open for improvement. There is no final end product and everything can be changed. I am not so single minded that I do not think that is possible. 

I had to wear my hiking boots when I walked Tyke because it was slippery and icy on the sidewalks and I had been in danger of breaking my neck. The hiking boots have good profiled soles and are a lot safer to wear than any of my otther boots. They are kind of clunky and I feel like a farmer walking his fields when I wera them. Of course, my one foot slaps down hard and that does make for a funny gait and a lovely sound effect and I am very conscious of that. I doubt other people really notice it. 

Except for the nice winter coat that I have, I wish for it to be springtime. I am not at al enamored with the wintertime and its effects. Temperatures above frezzing, even if just a few degrees above, seem very nice to me now and I do so long for them. I can only assume that sometime in the near future we are going to have them.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

How do you do that?

Well, I know a lot about how to edit a website now. That is another mystery that has been unveiled to me. It certainly was very interesting but it was not completely an alien experience to me being somewhat familiar with templates and layouts because of this blog. 

I spent quite a bit of time with the man who is putting together the company's new website and because I have to enter information, I did have to know something about how that is done. I think he unintentionally told me more than I have a need to know. You know how enthusiastic people get when they talk about their favorite subject. 

Anyway, it was a chance to get to know him better also and that is always a good thing. And I did learn a lot and am happy that I still have the capacity to. My middle aged brain is not so lame that it is incapable of learning new things and it is able to focus on issues without wanting to fade out. 

I have got a very nice spacious bag with a zipper that has now become my office bag and in it I keep all the things I need for work that do not fit in my purse. It is perfectly handy and fasionable too. I would not want to be seen with anything less than that. Because my handbags are so pretty, but not necessarily practical, I do need something with more room in it to put in all the bulky things.

I have decided to get the ankle/foot brace regardless of the price because I kept twisting my ankle and especially so on my bike whenever I got on or off or had to get going on it and banged my knee on the frame because of a minor mishap.I do have a bruise as a result of that. 

I called the orthopedic company that I had been told to call by the insurance company and made an appointment to be fitted for a brace. I did not know it was going to be quite so involved. I am very willing to go along with the program because I do want to stand steady on my feet and not have to worry about my ankle giving out. 

Last night I had gone to bed early and had just fallen asleep when the doorbell rang. It was my neighbor with two packages for me that she had received while I was at work in the afternoon. I had totally forgotten what could have been in them and it was as much a mystery to me as it was to Tyke who busied himself sniffing them.

There turned out to be a very lovely handbag and a pair of very nice summer shoes in them and I had a vague recollection in my sleepy head of having ordered them. I better not look at my bank account balance because I think I am more than broke although  I have gotten everything on sale so far. 

I tried on the shoes but could not walk on them properly and I hope I will once I have the brace. The handbag is more than lovely and I think it is going to be my favorite for a while. I have got it hanging over the  back of the chair of the dining table so I can look at it regularly and that makes me want to hold it and play with it all the time.

It is darn cold here because it is not only below freezing,  there is also a cold wind blowing and you have to be very brave to go out on your bike and have it hit you in the face. It helps if you are wrapped up properly. My new winter coat has a thick high collar that nearly chokes me when buttoned up but it does keep me warm. It is a twist of fate that I should have it now right at this time.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Honey, I'm home!

I can only call that out to Tyke when I get home from work in the late afternoon and he is more than ready to greet me but so is Gandhi. They both stand behind the front door when I walk in and I hurriedly have to park my bike in the corner of the hallway so I can greet both of them extensively. I do have to say that I have to cuddle Tyke a bit more than Gandhi because Tyke needs more of it. He is like my child, after all, and has missed me the most.

I have downloaded a program with which I can read and work on PDF documents and it was about time too and I do not know why I did not think of this sooner. Better late than never and it works great and now I am compatible with whatever documents I get from my boss. That is that little problem solved and it was so easy to. We were more or less compatible in a very round about way before this. 

I finished the translations this morning and I must have been very wide awake and perky because I got the last one done very quickly and easily. There was some terminology that I thought I was going to trip over but when I carefully read the paragraphs, and in my head rephrased the sentences, it all started to make sense to me. This middle aged head is still capable of pulling off a stunt or two.

I arrived at work ready to start off and we dug right in. I like my boss and we hit it off real well. She is a no nonsense woman just like me and she is smart. I do appreciate her way of working and her whole approach. She liked my translations and only changed a few things in accord with me who made no objections. She does know enough English. 

Tomorrow I will be working on the temporary website in English that will be up until the permament new one is. I am looking forward to that. My boss think I am intelligent and takes me seriously and gives me responsibilities. I have lots of jobs waiting for me and will be tackling those one by one. 

When I got home, I saw that my overgrown trees and bushes on the patio had completely been trimmed down to the ground and I was so relieved about that because it had been bothering me for quite a while. The housing corporation had promised me that they would send by a crew but that had been some time ago and I had heard nothing about it since. Now I will prevent anything from growing there again because there simply is no space. I do not need that much greenery where my laundry should dry. 


I finally received the texts I have to translate for my work in a format that I can open and I started to translate them last night and will have to finish them this morning. They are not difficult to do but I do need a bit of imagination and sense of creativity. In other words, I do have to think like a writer and  determine what makes the most pleasant sentences to read. 

I have not needed a  Dutch-English dictionary up to now and frankly, do not own one so I have to translate from the top of my head. Luckily, I do have enough grip on the language to be able to do that. Writing this blog all this time and reading other blogs has helped keep my English up to par. This especially counts for the more inetlligent blogs. 

After putting some thought into it, I realized I was not dealing well at all with my "foot drop" and decided that I needed to accept my situation and go back for another talk with my GP. I did that yesterday afternoon and although he was suprised to see me again, he did understand the purpose of my mission. 

One thing that we have decided to do is for me to try the ankle/foot brace which is a very simple contraption which fits inside a shoe and is barely visible and will give me some stabilty when I walk Tyke or do any kind of walking for a longer distance. This is partially paid for by my medical insurance if it is a condition that will last longer than six months. If it is too expensive, I will not get it and rely on the walking cane. 

The really nice thing, speaking of priorities, was that the winter coat that was on sale arrived yesterday and it turns out to be even prettier than I thought it was going to be. It is a real good quality coat and it shows in every way. It fits me prefectly and I wore it almost right away when I took Tyke for his afternoon walk. I felt like a picture of fashion and that is not easy to achieve at my age.

I expect the walking cane to be delivered today but I hope it gets here on time because I will be at work later in the day. I do look forward to my first day at work but have the feeling I have already started because of the translating work. 

I do not know how I will actually feel about using the cane. I may feel a bit uneasy at first but I hope it will help me walk better. It will be difficult to use now that there is so much snow and I will wait until that is gone. I have to be careful anyway right now because it is a bit slippery outside. The streets are turning icy because of the cars driving on them and the friction of the tires making them so.

Oh, by the way, My GP calculated my BMI and it is 20 and I am not supposed to lose anymore weight. I have been told to use whole fat products and to use real butter on my bread.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Oh. darn it!

I had been having trouble walking for a while but I thought it was because of the bad callous under my foot and when I had it taken care with a pedicure while I was in the States, I thought my troubles would be over. Imagine my surprise then when this turned out not to be the case. Not only were my problems not over, they slowly got worse and the last few weeks they increased in seriousness. 

My left foot seemed to not want to co-operate any longer andI could not make it obey me and make the moves with it that I wanted to make. I also started to twist my ankle when I walked Tyke and several times was at danger of falling over completely.  I had trouble putting my jeans and socks and shoes on and getting into my pajama pants. I started to feel unsure when I moved around and felt increasingly uncomfortable when I was out and about. 

I finally decided to make an appointmant with my GP and I saw him yesterday morning. I told him my story and about the pain and loss of feeling in my lower leg and the pain in my ankle. He had me partially undress and did a series of tests which I did not do well on. His conclusion was that I have a classic case of "foot drop." 

I have lost control over the end part of my left foot and he thinks it will not come back. It could get worse. My first reaction was that I did not want all sorts of scans and neurological tests done and that I did not want an orthopedic ankle/foot brace. I want to not get caught up in the medical rat race and I do want to live my life as normally as possible.

My GP said that the choice was up to me but that if it got worse, I did have to promise to return to him and I said I would. Since then I have been trying to get used to the idea of this medical reality and I have been highly pi**ed off about it. I just do not know who to be angry with. I have a hard time accepting that this is so but I have to face the truth.

I had a good talk about it with the Exfactor last night and got some of my frustrations and worries out. I want to not become dependent on the help of other people and keep doing as much as I can for myself as I do now. And that also means going for my regular walks with Tyke, albeit a little slower and more carefully.

I do realize that I need some help walking and I discussed this with the Exfactor also. I ordered an adjustable walking cane and he is going to fit some clamps on my bicycle so that I will easily be able to take the cane with me when I go anywhere. 

I am not enjoying this at all and it will take time.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Remembering the obvious.

The first impression I am making on my new boss is not a good one. She sent me some texts to translate into English and no matter how many programs I downloaded in order for me to open them, it turned out to be impossible and I can not do my job. I tried hard enough but she owns an Apple and I have a PC and I think we are not compatible. I finally had to admit defeat and let her know. I do not like to do this but I had no other option. 

I will have to do the translations in the office on Thursday when I start my first day and I really do not think that will be a problem because I have the feeling that I will have them done in no time. Translating and writing a text is easy. It is what I was practically born to do. This little inconvenience will be taken care of.

Another matter I took care of was the fact that I had to cancel my domestic help for Thursdays in the afternoon. It took some doing and some phone calls but I have it arranged that Monday's domestic help is going to stay an extra hour and do all of the work then with the provision that I help her and dust the whole apartment thoroughly. That is no problem and I will do it gladly and did yesterday. I must say that I enjoyed doing that. I did break a vase but that was the only casualty. 

The nice designer shoulderbag that I had ordered arrived yesterday afternoon and it was a real pleasure to unwrap it and I took my sweet old time doing that to savor the moment as long as I could. This is not a Louis Vuton bag, or something like that, because everybody has one of those and that is not exclusive enough. I do want it to be more special than that. 

I sat with that bag in my lap for quite a while and had a good time looking at it and fondling it. I adjusted the strap and opened and closed it and zipped the zippers and checked out the little compartments. I feel just like my mother with all of her bags but I do not know if she ever had such a nice one. Is it possible to be in love with your shoulderbag? I can take the strap off and use it just as a handbag and thinking about it now, I will do just that.

I ordered another winter coat for 2/3rds of the price off at a very nice place called Kolibri's, which is a company in Germany. It is an Uchi coat, if that has any meaning to you. It did not to me until yesterday but I do know that it is a very good brand. All my other winter coats, except for the last one I bought, are too big on me.

I am most definitely developing my own style by leaps and bounds. A whole metamorphosis is taking place and it is not influenced by anyone or anything but my own instincts.

You could call this, the Birth of a New Woman.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Bright eyed and fairly bushy tailed.

Yes, I am up and the charm of the early morning is not lost on me. I do appreciate the silence before life has really started in the neighborhood and here, even the animals are still asleep. They are more sensible than I am and do know what this time of the early morning is meant for and that is not for dtinking coffee and sitting around in your bathrobe. 

I have to go to the store early today and to the pharmacy as well. I only bought one package of tortillas and I am eating them rapidly. I find them a good alternative to bread and think they are delicious folded over with cheese in them and heated up in the microwave. I have to buy at least four more packages if I want to last the week.

I also have to pick up some medication, one of them being my stomach tablets which I absolutely can not do without. I have to be back on time before my personal helper gets here. Although there really no longer is a reason for her to come here, I do enjoy having a cup of coffee and a chat with her. We are just putting off the inevitable and that is that she stops coming here. 

I went on the bathroom scale this morning and saw that I have lost three kilos since last month. I do not do this on purpose, so it is a surprise to me also. I really do think that I have lost enough weight and I do not need to weigh any less than I do now. For how tall I am, this is perfect and within reason. The portal to my gastric band is sticking like a big bump from my stomach. 

I am glad that the weekend is over, although I did not experience it as something bad to get through. I am excited about getting the week started because good things will happen. The best part about this weekend was that we did not get any snow, although some was promised. I can easily do without it and would not mind not hasving any this winter. 

I am expecting a shoulderbag to be delivered later this afternoon and I can not wait for it to get here because it will be the nicest one I will have owned until this time. I have decided to concentrate on bags and shoes for now because I have enough clothes that fit me. I remember my mother going through a phase like this and I must be taking after her.

I must eat and take my medicines now. My stomach is growling.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

That did not quite work out.

I had several midnight appointments with the toilet because I had decided to try to eat several bowls of low fat yoghurt. I had not eaten that for quite a while and decided to try it to see what would happem. I sure enjoyed eating it and thought I had died and gone to heaven but it is usually the food that you like the most that causes you the problems. I had sugar in it to sweeten it up and it went down very easy but that's all I will say about it. 

Luckily, I am able to eat grilled cheese sandwiches, so all is not lost, and I do get my small share of milk products. I also bought some wheat flour tortillas and am making quesedillas with them in the microwave and they taste very nice too. 

I did the grocery shopping yesterday but decided to go to the drugstore first to avoid the expensive prices for deodorant and hairspray that the supermarket charges. Luckily, I ran into a two for one sale and my choices were quickly made. I also got some eyedrops for Tyke because he got some dirt and dust in his eyes that had made them irritated and red. I had flushed them out first but that had not helped enough. 

He was good about me putting the eye drops in which have a natural herbal extract and I will use them until his eyes are better. He is such a trusting dog and assumes that I will not do anything to harm him. 

The weather has finally turned colder here after it has been very mild for the time of year. The temperature lies around freezing now and I do need my hat and scarf and gloves when I go out. Luckily, the sun has been shining in a bright blue sky and that does cheer you up, although it is quite cold in the shady spots but if the wind does not blow, it is quite bearable.

I have discovered several good websites on which designer shoes and boots and purses can be bought and they are not imitations but the legitimate brands. You have to look for the sale items there and sometimes you can find very interesting things. You feel that you are buying products that have quality and class and are not made from imitation leather that are shoddily stitched together.

I found a pair of shoes for this summer that have a unique design and that were very low priced. I am sure I will see no one else wearing them. I also found a bag that was 50% off and that I normally would not have been able to buy. It has style written all over it. Now that I have a legitimate job in the art world, I feel that I have to dress the part.

I will take my medicines now and eat breakfast. Tyke will be ready to go for his walk soon. We may get some snow today but I really hope not because chances are that the sidewalks will get slippery and I will have to wear unflattering boots. I do so dislike that.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

By George, I got it!

I was very self assured yesterday afternoon before I went to the interview for the job and there was really no doubt in my mind that I would get it. Why I was so sure of this I can not really tell you, except that I thought I was cut out for the job and that it had my name written all over it. So I got very nicely dressed, but not overly so, and rode my bike over there.

The minute afetr I rang the doorbell and shook hands with the owner of the advisory agency for modern art and culture, I knew we would get along and that the whole thing would work out. We proceeded to have a very productive and enlightening talk and we came to the conclusion that she really needed a personal assistant who could take over her myriad of tasks while she busied herself with organizing exhibits and artists and art courses. 

I assured her that I was the perfect person for that and that I was a good organizer and loved taking charge of things and could work well independently. I will also be translating the website and the press releases. 

The agency is in its beginning stages and this is a very exciting time to come in. There is a group of people involved each of whom has a specialty to help get it started. I will be learning the process as it grows. The agency is in the large building where the Ridder Brewery used to be downtown right on the river. It has a lot of space for exhibits and the first one will be by European artists in March.

I am startting the job next Thursday but will be doing some work at home before that and that will be translating the new website in English. I don't think that will be a problem and I am looking forward to it. 

I should have a small party this weekend to celebrate the fact but I think I will wait until after the first real work week when I have really shown what I can do. I must not jubilate ahead of time. I will have to let go the domestic help on Thursdays or try to make a different arrangement but I think it is not going to be possible. Well, there are worse things in life. 

I knew there was a reason why I needed a decent wardrobe and I have it now. You can not be a career woman in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. My brand new, bright red, high heeled shoes have brought me luck.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Exciting times.

I am after a very interesting 20 hour a week volunteer job that is much better than the one I had before. I have an interview for it tomorrow afternoon and will be able to divulge more about it after that. Social Services wants me to do volunteer work in order for me to earn my monthly allowance and there was some pressure on me to find something suitable quikly. I can not believe I found this job because it is too good to be true but of course I have not got it yet. I must be patient.

My mind has been a bit in overdrive this past week and I have had to increase one of my medications to try to get it to slow down a little. No doubt that is the result of all the excitement that has taken place over the last weeks and this is my delayed reaction to it. In my case, this always happens after the fact. I am usually fine when things are actually happening, it is the little aftershocks I have to deal with intensely. You can not tell by looking at me that this is so, it all takes place inside. 

I have just made a pot of hot lemon tea and had the first glass with sugar in it and it tasted so delicious. It was just the thing I needed right now because I was about to have a sugar dip. It is that time of the day for it when it is almost time for dinner but not quite. The hot sweet tea perks me up enormously and warms my stomach and gives it something to do until I eat.

The domestic help was here this afternoon and I told her that I am really going to need her if I get this new challenging job, although it is possible that it will not wear me out physically as much as the old one did. It will be mostly all mental work. She enjoys cleaning my apartment, it is not a tough job. Besides, she needs her job too and is waiting to get a new contract for this year. There are cut backs in all sectors so she is not even sure of her job like nobody is nowadays.

I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich maker because I like eating the sandwiches so much. I fry them in a pan now but that makes them so greasy. I expect it to be here tomorrrow or the day after and I can not wait because since I discovered that I do tolerate cheese, I have enjoyed adding it to my diet. 

Tomorrow morning I am going grocery shopping and I am going to buy regular yoghurt and try to eat that for a few days to see if I tolerate that. I am thinking about buying the organic kind because possibly it may be better to eat  for me and easier to tolerate. I am looking forward to that and I hope it works out well because I miss eating yoghurt. 

I have got to take Tyke for a walk and feed him his meager evening meal. He is on a diet because he has gotten a bit hefty. I was shocked when I saw him when I came back from Houston. I did not remember him being quite that big. He does look like a lovable stuffed animal and he is all mine!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

It is a heck of a ride.

The Exfactor and I rode our bikes to the Recycle Store yesterday and it is a good thing that he did not tell me ahead of time how far away it was because I would have refused to go that distance. It was way out in the boonies and I do not know why they chose that location because it seems highly illogical when you consider that the clientele has to get there without any form of public transportation.

I was looking for a wardrobe but we looked at a lot of other things in the store too, partly out of curiosity but also because we had come all that way and did not want to feel like we had wasted the effort. This actually turned out to be not such a good thing to do because as we walked around, the accumulated dust that was present there attacked me and gave me an allergy attack with swollen up hands and a sore throat and closed up ears. 

We looked at the wardrobes, most of which were out and out ugly, and for which outrageous prices were asked. This really surprised us because we were under the impression that this store existed for the benefit of giving people on a low income the opportunity to purchase thinngs for a very reasonable price. All the items there were donated after all. A new wardrobe could be bought for less money than they asked for theirs. 

I also took a very brief look at their clothes but it all looked rather poorly and frumpy and I decided that I would rather not take anything of the racks and buy new clothes instead. I really could not imagine trying on anything of which I did not know the origin. 

Going to the Recycle Store was not the experience I had imagined it would be and I doubt very much if I will ever go back there. I thought it was all rather depressing. I am on a low income and I am a member of the public who ought to be able to shop there but I almost feel insulted by the very notion. I said to the Exfactor that it was almost like a criminal organization that took advantage of people by making outrageous profits on donated items.

I went on line and saw new and better wardrobes for better prices and when the time comes, I will order one of them.

Everything in life is a learning experience and this certainly was one. The cost of it was not too high (one long disappointing bike ride and an allergy attack). The weather was nice enough and we did not get rained on and I got the romantic notion about recycling stores out of my system. I will find a smaller recycle shop that does not make such huge profits and donate to them instead in the future.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Keeping the loose bits together.

Because of my low income, I am exempt from paying city taxes and another benefit of that is that I get 20 free trash bags which normally cost 1.50 Euros a piece. I think that is a kind enough gesture not to pass up. They will last me 20 weeks and that is a long time. I also do not have to pay the dog tax for Tyke and he wears his tag for free which goes to show you that nice things also do happen.

Another good thing is that I get a 100 Euros every year toward the costs of my Intenet connection.  I must mention these kind of things more often because something like this is the little bit of extra income that makes the difference. Once a year I also get an extra bonus for people who are on the lowest income permanently. I do have to appy for that, because if you do not know about it, it may escape you completely, but this will be the second year that I get it.

Because I permanently use medication, I also get a sum of money to offset the cost of that every year. This anount of money has very often saved me out of a dire financial situation coming as it does at the end of the expensive time of the year. Then of course there is the vacation money that you get at the beginning of the summertime and which you have saved up for all year round and that is taken directly out of your monthly check. That is another extra that you are usually in dire need of. 

In this way, I make ends meet because I put all the extras in my savings account and use whatever I need for unforeseen situations such as getting Tyke trimmed and whatever else comes along. He will, for example, have to be permanently fixed this coming summer and I will have the money for it. 

Speaking of money and spending it frugally, this morning the Exfactor and I are going to the Recycle Store which has moved locations, and we are going to see if there is a closet for the spare bedroom that my American ex will be able to use when he comes to stay here in March so he will be able to unpack his suitcases and put his clothes away safely without the danger of having Gandhi lie down on them.

I hope to find something similar to what I have in there now for my clothes which is a wardrobe from the 1920's which has a mirror in the door and that I painted a glossy black with green trim. It may be hard to come by, though, and a bit expensive. In that case, plan B will apply and any closet will be bought and painted in the proper colors. 

It is nice to pretend that you are organized and that you have your s**t together. It makes you feel so virtuous. If you pretend long enough, you actually are. 

Monday, January 07, 2013

Maybe, just maybe.

For the past 36 hours, I have felt very sick, as if I had the flu that is going around, but it is possible that it is over now and I do thank the gods for that. The cup of coffee I am having is agreeing with me anyway and my body does not feel like it has been beat up anymore. I think the good night's sleep that I had has helped it a lot. 

I really felt miserable and all I could do was lie down on the sofa and take many naps. I tried to sit behind the computer now and then trying to force myself into a better state of health but that just did not work out. I suppose when you are sick, there is nothing else to do but be it and wait for it to be over. 

I am ever so happy now that I can sit here and write this without feeling like a limp dishrag. My whole mood has perked up. I did force myself to eat while I was feeling so miserable, even if it meant  putting in the effort to prepare the food. I think the fact that I did not starve myself, has helped me to feel better now.

Now I am to the point that I am looking forward to the day and to the rest of the week. I can feel my every day optimism returning. My life will be taking on its normal routine again and I will be able to take Tyke for a refreshing walk in a while. I do look forward to that after not having been able to go out at all. 

There is nothing like a good streak of optimism to help you get your feet back on the ground again. As a rule, I get a good portion of it every day and I have come to count on it and I was very sad when it was missing this weekend. When you are sick, all you can think about are miserable things that make you feel depressed. Luckily, I had the sense not to give in to this state of mind and recognize it for what it was.

When it comes down to it, what you really have to be grateful for is your good health. You realize that when you feel better after having been sick. When you feel better, it is like you can take on the world. 

I think I will very happily get dressed now and start my day.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

The proof is in the pudding.

If there is any indication that I am almost back to normal after my return from Houston, it is the fact that I got so much done yesterday and I got it done so painlessly. Before I got back, I had thought about these chores and worried a bit about achieving them all but I need not have worried at all. Without really making any sort of a plan, I got them all over and done with without a hitch and the least amount of stress. As a matter of fact, I did not feel any. 

Except for paying some bills, I did not really have a deadline. I jist did not want there to be a heaping up of things left undone that would loom over me for days to come. I also had to make a state of affairs of my budget and find out how much money was really coming in and how much was going out. I thought that might be a smart thing to do at the beginning of the new year. The outcome of this was not as horrible as I had expected, although it is nothing to shout about. But I will survive somehow.

The gray blankets I bought at the Ikea in Houston are coming in real handy. One of them is covering the seat cushions on my dark gray sofa and it matches it really well as if it was meant to be. The animals do like to lie down on it and do not fuss with it too much. I have put the other one on the foot end of  my bed and Tyke enjoys sleeping there at night and is hard to move from that place. 

To compliment the other color in the living room, I have put a red blanket that I already had in one of the armchairs. Unbeknown to both of us, my daughter and I have the same colors  in our interiors with red being the accent color.

I went grocery shopping yesterday morning and came home with a hoard of food because I was out of everything. I bought a huge rawhide bone for Tyke that looks like it was made for a Great Dane and he could not believe his eyes. He has been chewing on it ever since but has made little headway. 

I also bought a pint of goat yoghurt and successfully ate it.  I call that the recuperation of my stomach. The pro-biotics were delivered in the afternoon and I will be taking those every day just like I did when I was staying with my daughter. I think they play a large part in me doing so well.

I bought some loaves of thinly sliced bread made mostly of rye flour because I had a good experience with that in Houston. I will be making grilled cheese sandwiches with them because I think I can handle them. At least now I will be getting some proteins in my diet. 

It is really amazing how quickly you readjust to being in your own environment again after being away for a while. That really must mean that you do feel at home there and that is something to ponder over.

Friday, January 04, 2013

And so the wind blows.

I now know that life is back to normal because I am up to my usual shenanigans in the middle of the night after having slept a couple of hours. My usual joy for life could not keep me in bed and I had to sit behind the computer with a cup of coffee to indulge in all my regular activities like I always do when the people on the most Western hemisphere are active. Now that I have been in Houston, I have come to appreciate them so much more. I look at them with a whole  new fresh set of eyes.

I suddenly have become more cosmopolitan myself and I guess it was about time because, although I am Dutch and well informed, it was good to step outside my little sphere of influence and be exposed to another kind of lifestyle and point of view. It certainly loosened up my mind and made me much more relaxed and brought me back here with a whole new attitude. Believe me when I say that I needed that. There is nothing worse than being embedded in your own little world, viewing life from just one angle. 

I would like to be exposed to other, more international  points of view more regularly because I think it is enriching but I do not know a way to do this yet. There are lots of international students in town but they move in the kind of circles I do not move in. The best thing is to go to another country and be submerged in that culture and I can only hope that with a lot of luck something like that will come about in my life. I have found out that I am a good traveler so that is  good reason to do it. 

I have unpacked my suitcase and, because I am basically an organized person, it was a job quickly done and now the suitcase stands empty in its regular spot in my bedroom ready to be packed again at a moment's notice.  Some of my short jackets came out a bit wrinkly but I have hung them up on hangers and hope that this will take care of the worst of it. I do not have enough summer clothes yet so wherever I would go next would have to be a temperate zone until I have taken care of this. Do you see how I assume there will be a trip in my future soon? Optimist that I am. I have a lot of patience.

If you are open to other kinds of experiences, it very often happens that fate will bring them on your path and I will not force the issue too much and wait and see what will happen with a little help from my part. This past year all sorts of things have come about without me directly influencing them but by only being flexible enough to deal with them as they happened. Life is full of unexpected twists and turns and all you have to do is enable it for it to take place and not be unmovably stuck in a corner some place. 

I now realize that it is not enough to identify myself with only being a Europeasn but that I have to think in a larger scope than that and think of myself as a world citizen. At least one of the Western and developing kind and that does include a lot of people. It will encompass more as I get more enlightened. Growth is a step by step process.