Thursday, February 28, 2013

Facing sadness.

We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.

As I sit here in the middle of the night with my usual cup of coffee, I do not want to say that I feel depressed, but I do feel an infinite amount of sadness.That is because I am now in mourning finally about Marianne's death, of course, but I think I am sad about some other things as well that I have been bravely, I thought, not facing up to. It is time to deal with all of them, because when you are infinitely sad about something big, you may as well tackle all the other issues also.

I can tell that my attitude has changed because when I am on Facebook, I do not get one bit excited about the optimistic and inspirational messages that are posted there. Now, as a rule I think they are overly sentimental, but now even the best ones do not really move me. I do not feel that I want to be optimistic and inspired at all right now. It is time for introspection, but of a very personal nature that can not be expressed by a cheerful statement on Facebook. 

This sadness that I feel is not a pleasant feeling, but I do feel that it is appropriate. I do not want to end it by raising up all sorts of barriers and pretending that there is nothing wrong and feel happy again. There really is a time and place for everything and now is the time to feel grief. I used to be afraid to feel sadness because I equated it with depression, but now I know that these things are two different modes of existence. 

I will take good care of myself and not allow myself to slide down some deep, dark hole that I can not climb out of. I expect positive things to come out of this process. It has to be a learning experience and one that will make me wiser. You do get wiser from feeling pain also. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.

It is now, five months after the fact, that I can finally mourn about the death of my sister Marianne. It is as I I have all this time been living in a rat race, seizing the day and  acting as if there were no tomorrow.  Being endlessly optimistic and cheerful and trying to ban any negative thoughts from my mind. And now I realize how very sad I am about her death and how very much I miss her and I am left with so many unspoken words. 

I talked to my therapist about this today and had a good cry, which surprised even me. My therapist had contacted me and asked me if she could be of any help at this point in my life and I thought, yes, she could be, and I made an appointment. I thought I had all sorts of different things on my mind, but right from the start, it was the loss of Marianne that was the most important issue. It was the avoidance of the pain that had driven me all these months. 

All my unspoken words that I did not get to say to my sister will have to be given expression some way and I have two weeks to think about how I want to do that. That is when I see my therapist again. It is going to be a difficult task to do this because it will require me to dig deep inside and express my most sincere feelings. I feel I have to do it as a closing ritual and an acknowledgement to the special bond we had growing up together. 

My therapist also thought it was a ridiculous idea of Social Services to expect me to do volunteer work in order to keep my monthly income. She is going to take care that this pressure is going to be taken off my shoulders. I had just been accepted for the job as volunteer for the service desk at the library, which is something that used to be a regular paid job, but for which they now only hire volunteers. She says that my situation is much too unstable and fragile for that kind of pressure. 

You learn something new every day.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Starring myself.

I'm the nicest goddamn dame that ever lived.

This morning the sun was shining brightly in the clearest, bluest sky and when I walked Tyke, everywhere there was the sound of melting, dripping snow. The streets are as good as clean and most of the sidewalks are also, except the ones that are mostly still in the shade. 

I saw snowdrops that were about to burst open where the snow had completely melted in someone's front garden and that thrilled me to pieces. I felt like I had made a big discovery and later this afternoon I will have to look for more of them,  because more snow will have melted. I also have to see what happened to those sprigs of daffodils and crocuses I saw emerging from the ground before the snow fell.  I am pretty optimistic and sure that they will have survived. 

The big snowmen that had been built everywhere have been vandalized and broken into pieces, which is sad to see. It must have taken quite some effort to do this as they were built very solidly. One single small one survives with a hat on and a scarf and a carrot nose with a pipe in his mouth. Tyke has his daily confrontations with it and always approaches it very carefully. He feels very brave when he has yet again managed to circle and face it and, of course, I praise him into heaven. 

He is telling me now that it is time to go out for a walk and he is very insistent, so I can not ignore him. He probably has an urgent matter to take care of. I am just at this moment having a bit of an afternoon dip so it will be just the thing for me to go out in the fresh air.  I should return as a rejuvenated woman. 

Monday, February 25, 2013


Darling, the legs aren't so beautiful, I just know what to do with them.

Boy, I sure needed that pretty strong cup of coffee that I just had. To celebrate the fact that I have regained my happiness because of it, I am having a second one, although I think it is completely unnecessary, but I would rather be safe than sorry. 

I was experiencing a minor dip when I said goodbye to the domestic help, who completely reorganized my bathroom for which I am very grateful. Of course, she came with a whole new look on the situation and a willingness to tackle it, because she wants to set my whole life back on the rails. At least on the domestic front, because no matter how organized I think I am, she feels it can be done better. 

I do not think that this knowledge was the cause of my minor dip. I had not had any caffeine for a long while and I was obviously going through withdrawal. The domestic help and I drank tea during her break and, although it is a tasty beverage, it is not as uplifting to my spirit as coffee is. Let's face it, whatever caffeine is in it does not do a thing for me. If I went to a cake and tea shop, I would order coffee. 

Now that I have this very neatly organized bathroom, I feel that I am getting closer to my ultimate goal, and that is having this apartment ready for the move up north, whenever that may be. This domestic help does open my eyes to the fact that there are other things I can do that will bring me closer to that state of existence. She infects me with her drive and enthusiasm to tackle things. She must be a special gift sent especially to me at this time of my life. 

Timing is everything in life and sometimes you have to let the hand of fate determine that. If you try to force things, you end up getting an ulcer. 

Getting a grip.

The story of a love is not important-what is important is that one is capable of love. It is perhaps the only glimpse we are permitted of eternity.

As is usual on the night before Monday, I am having a hard time sleeping and I think that is always because I am in slight nervous anticipation of the day. I am so relaxed in the weekends, and so much the mistress of my own time and space, that I hate to give up that power and share it with anyone else. 

In the morning my personal helper will be here and, although she is the nicest of women, I always feel that I have to mentally prepare for her presence as if I am facing an exam and I have to pass it with flying colors. Of course, that is total foolishness and I am really not under any kind of pressure to live up to any kind of standard at all and whatever pressure I feel is totally self imposed. 

We do discuss the kinds of things I have been up to in the week previous and I can, of course, tell her as much as I please, but I do want to stay honest up to some point. I usually give an abbreviated version of what life has been like, and what I did about it, and leave out the messier details. I figure that I am quite capable of taking care of the loose ends myself.  

But I do have to say, that when I run into a problem, she does come up with good ideas. I then sit and think about them and develop my own course of action on how to use them to my advantage and deal with them in the best possible ways. I do not mindlessly follow every suggestion she makes. I do want to feel some form of independence. 

Right after she leaves, my domestic help shows up and she is the most dedicated domestic help I have ever had. There is not a single detail having to do with anything in my household that escapes her attention. As she sees it, I am quite incapable of doing anything and she is there to take care of all of it. I have to be very assertive and assure her constantly that I am capable of independent action and can change the bed even when she is not there and hang up the laundry too. 

I am glad most of the time that she is such a stickler for detail, because the apartment gets cleaned properly and that is a job that the other domestic helps did not do well. They mostly gave it a lick and a promise, it turns out. I do have to especially stay on my toes now and not neglect to keep it looking good for the rest of the week and always prepare the place before she comes over. I always keep her sternness in mind with whatever I do and follow through on whatever tips and hints she gives me. 

I will go to sleep now and and catch up on a few more hours of it before the day officially starts. I will not do well on the few hours of sleep that I have had so far. I will seize the day when the sun comes up. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Catchy title.

We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers - but never blame yourself. It's never your fault. But it's always your fault, because if you wanted to change you're the one who has got to change.

Although it is almost time to take Tyke for his walk, I will take a little time and try to think of something sensible to write about today. I have been out with Tyke several times already, and that has been lots of fun, because Mother Nature has dumped a load of snow on us and it is still snowing as I write this. Tyke thinks it is all just wonderful and plows though it as if he is a bulldozer.This causes the snow to collect in big clods on his fur and his ears and they stick to him until we get home where they start to melt and drop on the floor, creating little puddles everywhere.  

Gandhi thinks this is all very interesting, because she goes outside as little as possible. In fact, I wonder when she does? Sometimes I think hear the sound of the cat flap, but I can not be certain and suspect her of having enormous bladder capacity. 

I have sat behind the computer, and when I got temporarily bored with that, I did a chore, because there are always chores to do if you want to keep a household running. Even if it is a one person one like mine. I find that there is always something to clean or organize or toss out or wash. As it is, I just noticed that I have to wash the inside of the living room windows, because Tyke has been breathing on them heavily. They get really bad when he also feels compelled to bark at a passing dog. 

There is a certain kind of glee in walking  in heavily falling snow and now I wonder why I did not appreciate it that much earlier in the season. I think possibly it has to do with the fact that I am fairly certain that this storm is the last of the winter weather, so in a way I am taking the opportunity to say my farewells. My heart is full of Spring anticipation and nothing can convince me that it is not around the corner. I am the eternal optimist and have seen the first crocuses sprout. 

Tyke has been waiting very patiently beside me, but now he is letting me know that it is high time for a walk. He is starting to pace and I need to put my warm outer layer on. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Seeing the light of day.

Being sensible and sage agrees with me much better than being willful and stubborn and trying to make a dream come true at all cost and being reckless in the process. That is one great insight I gained over the last couple of days. It is like I finally came to my senses and can see the forest for the trees again and see that I was about to make some desperate moves that were not at all in my best interests. 

I was desperately in search of money to finance my move up north, because I thought that the quicker I moved, the better it would be for me. I was just about ready to sell my first born to finance the project and thought of all sorts of schemes to get the money together.  I think I became very unrealistic in my quest as I saw myself moving up quickly on several of the waiting lists and thought that my time to arrange it all was running out. 

I have stepped out of the rat race and realize that by careful budgeting,  I am going to have to save the money for the move myself and that it is going to take longer than I initially thought was necessary. I have taken myself off the lists of apartments that I was very close to the top of and now am only on waiting lists that are still relatively long.

The truth of the matter is, that now I am on the lists for apartments that I really like better than the ones that would have been available quickly. And they are not 55+ apartments, which somehow also makes me feel better. I think I was not ready to be surrounded only by senior citizens, because I am myself too young at heart still. 

Friday, February 22, 2013


Today I was able to function like a healthy human being and the only thing I was bothered by were several instances of hot flashes, which I have been having lately, and which I am trying to blame on a late menopause. I do not think they are quick, short lasting attacks of fever, because I get them especially at night and that seems to be a very typical symptom. My hormones must be unsettled and to me that means that I am at least young enough for them to be. I will not complain about raging hormones and proudly proclaim the fact, because it puts me more in the category of early middle aged women. 

The only symptom I have left of my illness is a slightly sore body, but to tell you the truth, I hardly notice it at all and if I keep moving around, there really is no problem and I have not taken an ibuprofen all day. Now, does it say something about the strength of my body that I recuperated so quickly, or does it say something about the power of the antibiotic? 

I got all the chores done , because by being ill, some things had been left undone and gotten rather messy. That is the way it goes when you live by yourself and there is no one to clean up after you. It would have been nice to have been taken care of, but I think I got well quicker because I had to take care of myself and there were things I had to do that could not wait. Paperwork and emails and phone calls. 

At least I came out of being sick more sensible than I went into it, so it was good for something. I have gotten a completely different look on a few things in my life and am approaching them differently. I am not operating at a fevered pitch anymore. Every experience in your life is a lesson you can draw some wisdom from. 


Yesterday, in the course of the day, which was the 4th day on the antibiotics, they finally seemed to have done their work and I suddenly started to feel a lot better. I got a huge desire to go outside in the cold, fresh air and walk Tyke myself, and I bundled up in my jacket and scarf and hat and gloves and did just that. It was so lovely to be outside again after having been stuck inside all those days and the cold air felt wonderful. I did not mind that it was cold, to me it felt great. And Tyke was pretty excited about being out with me also. 

That walk put a whole new breath of life into me and I really felt that I had turned the corner on being sick. I decided not to be it anymore and to try to ignore whatever minor symptoms I still have. An ibuprofen every now and then will take care of the worst of it. I am going to finish the antibiotics and act like I am well again. 

In the evening we took another walk and this time it was snowing, which I thought was just wonderful. I can not tell you how much I enjoy the elements of the weather just now, having to do without them for four days. I wanted to make the walk much longer, but I am not quite yet in good enough shape to. Maybe I will manage that today. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Aiming for a good day.

If only we'd stop trying to be happy we'd have a pretty good time.

I think the thing to do today is to just be sick and to not concern myself with all the nagging details of my life that I lie awake worrying about. It's bad enough that I am uncomfortable in bed because I am in pain,  or that I am either too hot or too cold, but it is really no good if I lie there and let all these different scenarios run through my head constantly. It does get out of hand and I am not getting the proper amount of rest and peace of mind to get well again. Today I am going to concentrate on only that and take a huge time out from my concerns. 

I have changed from my pajamas to a pair of leggings and a proper top so I do not look like a patient so much. It does give me a bit of a different attitude and I look more presentable, although not many people will see me. The Exfactor has already been here and to Tyke's great joy, took him for a walk, but Tyke is still not back to his normal self and does not have his usual appetite or playfulness. However, Gandhi more than makes up for that. She is happy as long as there is that good food in her saucer. 

That shows you that cats are much more self centered and independent. It is not an attitude I disapprove of, because I think I am much more like a cat than I am like a dog. Although it is also true that I love Tyke more than I love Gandhi. And Gandhi loves Tyke more than he loves her. Try to make sense of that. 

It's time to go lie down in bed again. I am worn out. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The silver lining.

Our patience will achieve more than our force.

The hardest moments are that time between getting up out of bed and settling down behind the computer with a cup of coffee. That is when my chest and back hurt the most and I have the hardest time catching my breath. I suppose the few things I have to do before I actually get to sit down, are still enough of an effort to wear me out and I think that is a clear enough sign that I am not at all better yet. 

I know from other people that this flu hangs on for a while and is not over in a few days time, but I would like to be better by next week when I am already planning all my appointments. I do take a lot of naps, but when I feel up to it, I am on the phone or behind the computer arranging the details of my life.

 Today was a disappointing day, because I got news that two possibilities to help me pay for the costs of moving were not going to work out at ll. I took that really hard, because I had really counted on them, but just as quickly, I gathered my wits about me and started looking at the other solutions and I am working on them really hard. I will, if it is determined by fate, solve this problem. 

Tyke had a good day today, because my sister took him for walks twice along with her own dog. Both times he came home very happy and my sister said that he had a very good time and enjoyed himself a lot. She is going to take him out again tomorrow. The Exfactor had to go up north to Friesland today and could not come over, but I expect to see him in the morning. 

I am getting awfully worn out now and am going to have to go back to bed. I will have to eat something first because, although I am sick, I have not lost my appetite. 


Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.

I have resorted to taking ibuprofen because it helps against the pain in my chest and my back and makes it easier to breathe, which means that I get less exhausted and can move around a little bit easier. This small amount of perking up on my side, has perked Tyke up also and we are both a bit livelier now. Tyke has even gone in search of his tennis balls and managed to get two of them stuck under the sofa already. This meant, of course, that I had to get the African walking stick to get them out from under, but at least I was able to get down on my knees to do that. I would not very easily have managed that without the ibuprofen. 

It makes me very happy to see Tyke perked up and behave in a more normal manner, even if it means me having to endlessly retrieve the tennis balls. Gandhi is doing very well too and was complaining when I got up because all the food on her saucer was gone and she obviously was hungry. I never knew she had such an appetite and very willingly opened up another small container of cat food for her of which she ate half. She is a much more contented cat now and spends a lot of time just sitting around staring happily into space. 

Tyke is jealous of the food she gets, but can not get to it because she eats on the kitchen counter and it is completely out of reach for him, although he always makes an attempt to get to it. It is as if he hopes that, by some miracle, his back legs have grown tall enough for him to finally reach it. I think he will never give up trying and it is not as if he does not get delicious food himself. 

I am living on yogurt because I do have some of an appetite, but so far I have only wanted cold things to eat. I think that today, though, I will try to fix myself a more regular meal for dinner. If I keep taking the ibuprofen, I should be able to manage that. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Getting the mail.

It's all in how you arrange the thing... the careful balance of the design is the motion.

Well, a little trip to my mailbox turned out to be quite an undertaking and all I have to do is put my bathrobe on and open the front door and cross the community hallway to the outside door where all the mailboxes are. It was like I had been in a very exhausting footrace when I sat down in my chair again with the mail in my hands. My body is so absolutely protesting at any kind of effort it has to make, it does not really want to cooperate at all with anything I have in mind. 

I want to inhale the antibiotics so as to get well very quickly, but as of today I am only supposed to take one pill a day. I have to trust the directions on the box and believe that that one pill a day is going to cure me, but to tell you the truth, I have some doubts about it. I think you are supposed to take a lot of something if you want to get well fast. The next time the GP will have to prescribe me an antibiotic that I will have to take three times a day and that way I will think I am getting better quicker. 

Tyke is in sympathy with me and thinks he is sick too. All he does is lie around and sleep. He hardly wants to eat or drink and he is not playing with his rawhide bones or his tennis balls at all. He is not his normal chipper self, so I hope I am so myself soon, if only to cheer him up. 

Gandhi likes it when I sit in my armchair with the red fleece blanket over me, because she thinks that is the perfect place to curl up and take a nap. The Exfactor had brought the wrong cat food over for her yesterday and she stood on the kitchen counter, complaining very loudly whenever I walked in. Luckily, the Exfactor rectified this terrible error this morning and she is now full and happy. 

Day two of the antibiotics.

Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.

I felt like someone had beat me on the upper part of my back with a solid hard stick when I woke up this morning. I had a bit of a hard time getting up and moving around for the first little while, but now I have figured out how to do it with the least amount of pain. That means I have to do as little moving around as possible and basically remain upright in one position and only move  the lower parts of my arms. And not breathe. 

There is something in me, though, that is very stubborn and that refuses to give in to this illness and I really want to act like there is nothing the matter with me whatsoever. I find that if I do not try to do anything too complicated, I can get away with that. I am sure that the antibiotics that are meant to cure an elephant, are helping me feel better. 

I have not taken an ibuprofen yet, for fear of an upset stomach, and I will try to avoid them, unless I get so sore that I really can not move around any more. I think avoiding lying down in bed is the better thing to do right now, although I may come to think about that differently later in the day when I have worn myself out breathing again. 

I will try To walk Tyke this morning, although that sounds like a huge undertaking that I may come to regret, but I can try it anyway. The cold frosty air may even make me feel better and kill the germs I am harboring. I think I will just make the assumption that it is the best thing to do. 

Of course, I am saying this after having sat here for a long time not doing anything but type and scroll down the page on Facebook. It may actually be really hard to get up and try to do anything. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

That horrible flu.

If you press me to say why I loved him, I can say no more than because he was he, and I was I.

I have that awful flu that everybody else has already had and that I thought I was not going to get because I was already sick that one weekend not too long ago. I have pain on my chest and in my back between my shoulder blades, because I have an infection there and I am taking an antibiotic for it. I think it is so strong that it would cure an elephant of whatever ailed it and I think I will be better in no time at all, but that is just me speaking optimistically. 

I go from being too cold to being too warm and I do not know which temperature to dress for. I have just taken off my bathrobe and my socks and turned the heater off and the coolness feels a lot better, but this afternoon I was shivering under the covers in my bed. 

Luckily, the Exfactor came to the rescue and picked up the antibiotics and the cat food for Gandhi that I was all out of, and he also walked Tyke who had only been out early in the morning when I still felt reasonably fit. He will be back tomorrow morning to do whatever needs to be done. I sure am going to miss him when I move up north. He is practically irreplaceable. 

This morning the orthopedic clinic called out of the blue to say that my ankle/foot brace was ready to be picked up, and I had forgotten all about it, because they had to get permission from the insurance company first as it was quite expensive. 

I did not really think it would go through and had put it out of my head completely. Well, I did think about it briefly this weekend when I went through my ankle when I was walking on the grassy field with Tyke, even though I was wearing my flat soled cowboy boots. I can only walk on even surfaces, it seems. 

I am supposed to try on and  pick up the brace on Wednesday, but I think I will call them up and make an appointment for next week when I am all better. I do not think I can quite manage riding my bike over there this week.

I think I also found another job working in the main library. My contact person at Social Services will be so happy. I want to stay one step ahead of him and find one before he feels called upon to remind me of my duties. I hope I feel well enough tomorrow to pursue this. 

I am drinking tall glasses of ice cold lemonade and they have cooled me down enormously. I think that now I need something hot to drink. You see how it is always from one extreme to another. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sprigs of daffodils.

Imagination and fiction make up more than three quarters of our real life.- Simone Weil.

When I took Tyke for his walks today, I looked in the gardens that fronted the road we were walking beside, and I saw sprigs of daffodils and crocuses poking out of the ground and I think I even saw something blue, but I'm not certain of what it was, because Tyke was in a hurry at that particular point. I will have to go back tomorrow and have another look and try to identify it. 

I had almost forgotten what an exciting time of year this is with plants reappearing out of the ground where you do not really expect them at all in very barren places. It is amazing what has been lying under the ground all this time waiting for the proper moment to pop up again. The growing phase will go very quickly now that it has started and in the shortest amount of time there will be all sorts of things to see. That is why I will have to pay attention on a daily basis and be a watchful witness to this process. 

Of course, Tyke is, as far as I know, completely unaware of this and only sees bushes and plants and hedges as places where food possibly can be found and he regularly finds half eaten apples and sandwiches there. He is constantly checking out the spots where he has the most success, because that is where school children ride their bikes and dispose of their half eaten food. If only their mothers knew. 

Tyke has the most success with apples and I have stopped buying them for him, because he gets plenty of them in the wild. I used to buy a bag of apples for him every week and peel one for him once a day, but since he finds his own, he has lost interest in them. 

I had the most delicious cuts of beef for dinner, simmered for four hours in the enamel pot on a low fire. All these different cuts of meat have names, but I would not know how to translate them out of Dutch. There is just enough fat on them to make them extra tender and moist and the cooking process does the rest. I hardly have to chew the meat and it melts on my tongue, as we so delicately put it here. I have not enjoyed eating meat this much since I was a child and my mother fixed it, but I think I do a better job, because I have more patience. 

It takes Gandhi all day to finish her saucer of meat, but in the morning she is ready for her next helping and practically dives onto it. I do think that this is the solution to her eating problem and maybe she will even turn into a chunky cat and match Tyke. They will be the plump couple and I will be the odd woman out. 

Lying low at night.

Reading about some early flowers popping their heads out of the still cold ground made me suddenly wish very much for springtime and I decided to start looking for signs of them myself when I next take Tyke for a walk. There is a stretch of road with enough gardens in it to look for early life so that I may get some sense of hope that the season is near. I should, I hope, see some daffodils or crocuses  If not those, then at least little grape hyacinths. 

I know, I am an optimist and probably hope for too much, but I have a real sense lately that winter is coming to an end and that we have seen the worst of it, and it has not been all too bad. We did not truly suffer very much compared to what people had to go through in some other parts of the world. As far as winters go, this one was rather mild, although some skating on natural ice did take place, much to the joy of the many real enthusiasts who even dared to skate on thin ice and risk falling through.

 I am also very much looking forward to this coming day, which is of course Sunday and the day of leisure, although I am sure that I will find enough to do to keep me occupied and out of trouble, because a woman of a certain age should never have too much leisure time on her hands. It is a very fortunate thing that I have the animals to always take care of even when convention dictates that today is a day of rest. They are the replacement of the children I do not have around any more. 

I do in fact want to change the bed, because I am in need of clean sheets for the umpteenth time and that will mean that I will run another load of laundry though the machine. One of the sounds I really enjoy is the washing machine going through its cycles, because it makes me feel industrious, although I am not doing much of the work myself. I normally get a whole lot of satisfaction out of doing simple household chores because they are opportunities to be momentarily meditative, and hanging up the laundry to dry is one of them.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Being sensible on a Saturday.

Part of the reason [motherly advice] bugs us as daughters is because our mothers are so powerful in our lives. They loom like giants. The reason mothers keep at it is because they're so powerless. They cannot get you to do what is so obvious to them you should do.
- Deborah Tannen. 

I managed to get generous portions of meat at the grocery store, along with the rest of the groceries, and still stay under my budget. I thought that was a feat worth repeating next week. I divided up the meat in 7 portions and had two helpings of pork tonight which I had let simmer over a low fire the whole afternoon so that they practically fell apart when it came time to eat them. 

I certainly did enjoy that and it agreed with my stomach well, because it was just enough food. I think without really intending to, I have started on a diet that is rich in protein and which is totally different from how I was trying to eat before. I also had whole fat yogurt earlier in the day and that filed me up plenty and I rarely have a feeling of real hunger. The way I am eating now is very fulfilling. 

I do put plenty of sugar in my yogurt and I drink lots of tall glasses of lemonade, and it has sugar in it, so I am not dieting. I never worry about how much of something I eat or drink. I just have it until I have had enough and I am full. 

I do think I was having a shortage of proteins, and possibly iron, that I was not getting compensated for in my diet before. My arms and legs were wasting away and I was worried about that. I was starting to look like a stick figure and I was losing some of the strength in them. I think I am going to be alright now, thanks to the amazing heavy enamel pot that I can simmer the meat in. 

I bought some small containers of meat for Gandhi, because lately she does not seem interested in her kibbles anymore. When I put the contents of one on a saucer, she nearly attacked it, but it was too much for her to eat all at once and she has been going back and forth to it all day. She does like it very much, so I think this is a success. It is such a nice feeling to make an animal happy and especially Gandhi who has such few demands. 

I got the rest of my chores done this morning too and could take the rest of the day off with a peaceful heart and I even took a nap that was very pleasant and of which I awoke in a good mood and not too confused about what time of the day it was. Tyke slept on the bed with me, his new "Danish Dog" bone close by in case he wanted to gnaw on it. He is always prepared to be amused under all circumstances. 

One way or the other.

One of the best ways of keeping your temper in an argument, as most of us know only too well, is not to listen to anything the other person has to say.
- Alice Miller.

In this process of getting the money together to be able to move, it is very important not to lose hope and to very much be like a bull terrier and to not let go of whatever possibilities there are. I am very persistent and do not look at the problem as something that I am not going to be able to solve. I will find a way, but sometimes it does set my nerves on edge and I am glad that I take the tranquilizers 3 times a day.

 Last night, my stomach was upset and I think it was stress related, but happily, everything seems back to normal now and I can even drink glasses of ice cold lemonade. I had gotten a complicated email from one possible financial source right at dinnertime and I had to read it 3 times before I understood it properly and could write a response to it and even then I had my doubts. 

2013 Seems to be the year in which everything is harder than it originally looked. It is the year that is going to test my patience and my wits and my staying power. I suppose that everything that has happened so far before this, has been a test to see if I would be able to withstand it. But if you want something badly enough, you will do anything to make your dream come true, and that means that you are capable of performing under high pressure (with a little help from your medicines). 

Deadlines of waiting lists for apartments will approach and because I do not know the times on which I will achieve my financial goals, I may have to let some of them pass and go to the back of the line. I may see this as the course of fate and end up in the apartment that I am really supposed to live in, but it is not my intention to take such a passive attitude.  If I can help the process along somehow, I will do so. After that I will patiently wait. 

I know that I must not be willful and force the issue against its natural flow and that I have to let some things take their own time. I must trust the process and the good intentions of other people, but not to the point that I could be accused of being naive. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

A day off.

By engaging in a delusive quest for happiness, we bring only suffering upon ourselves. In our frantic search for something to quench our thirst, we overlook the water all around us and drive ourselves into exile from our own lives. 
- Sharon Salzberg.

Instead of waiting for the weekend, I have decided to take the day off today and do almost nothing but sit behind the computer very leisurely with cups of hot coffee and glasses of ice cold lemonade. Which ones of these I have, depends on my energy and thirst levels. I carefully balance them out and know exactly what I need at which time of the day. 

I slept reasonably well last night, with only a small break in between shifts of sleep, and I got up rather late this morning and hung out for a long time in my bathrobe, because I needed at least two cups of coffee to get my engine started. 

I decided that it was going to be a lazy day after I finally took Tyke for a walk and did some little chores with a lick and a promise. There really was not that much to do that required my immediate attention and that could not wait until tomorrow when I will feel more active and when I will also have to do the groceries. 

I am looking forward to doing them, because now that I have stopped being a vegetarian, some kind of meat has become the main ingredient of my meals in the evenings and I do look forward to picking out the the different cuts and the best deals I can get. I repackage everything into separate portions that are large enough for me to eat at one sitting. 

Eating meat has done wonders for my intestinal system, which I had a huge problem with, and this has come as a great relief. I also braise all of the meat long enough in the heavy enamel pan so that it is moist and tender, and almost falls apart, so that it is easy to eat and I do not run into any problems with my gastric band. This way I can eat fairly large portions of it. 

I just realized that It was getting cold in here because the bedroom windows were still open. I was airing out the place because it was actually not that awfully cold outside today. The temperatures were above freezing and that might be called mild. I have closed the windows and turned on the heater because I was starting to shiver. 

It snowed yesterday, but today it is all gone and I say, "Good riddance" to that. I am all done with winter and I am very happy that I do not live in the harsh climate of some of the more extreme places of this earth. 

Making things clear.

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
- Buddha 

Yesterday evening, I measured the rooms of my apartment, because when I looked at the floor plans of the apartments I am on the waiting lists for, I got no sense of their size and all the rooms looked small to me. Of course the measurements were in centimeters and I think I must still be thinking in feet and inches.

Once I had done my measurements and made a floor plan of my place, I could compare it to all the other floor plans and get a true sense of their size and it turned out that those other apartments were not small at all. All of them were at least comparable to mine and now I feel much more confident about being offered any one of them.

All the apartments I am on the waiting lists for, are in the center of town and everything that I will want or need to go to will be within walking distance, so I will seldom have to use my bike. I am looking forward to being right in the middle of where the action is and not out in the suburbs where it tends to be too quiet. 

Half of downtown is a pedestrian area and the streets around it are for one way traffic only, so it is a very user friendly place. I can not wait to walk around there with Tyke. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013


The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.
- Hubert H. Humphrey.

Last night, to help digest the delicious chicken, I went through the books on the bookcase and took out all the ones that I had read several times already, and the ones I knew I would never read in the first place. I also took out the ones with less than pristine spines. I was ruthless and did not think twice when I made my choices. I only wanted to be left with the books I still really wanted to read, or that were precious to me.

As a result, I now have 7 empty cubbyholes of the 25 in total that there are, and the books I do not want are packed away in boxes ready to be picked up by the people from the Recycling Center. In the empty cubbyholes, I will artistically place objects of interest, which I am sure I have enough of stowed away in this apartment. That may be a very optimistic expectation of me, but I hope for the best. 

This was all brought about by the Exfactor, who in a conversation about moving, helped me go through the items in the apartment that would actually have to be moved. We were trying to simplify the process as much as possible, and the bookcase is one of the major things to move, let alone the contents. 

In the meantime, I have to try and get even more organized than I already am and really get things down to the absolute basics. I am not going to move anything that is unnecessary to. Depending on where I end up, I may have more or less storage space and besides, it is silly to hang on to obsolete items. I will have to get things in pristine condition here before I move, but it will not be that much work, because most of it has already been done.