Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What is there not to like?

My stomach is protesting loudly at the cups of coffee I am having, so I suppose I will stop drinking them and switch to lemonade instead. I am a one woman orchestra right now, making all sorts of noises. I suppose Tyke is used to hearing them and that is why they are not waking him up out of his sound sleep. Although I must say that he is snoring himself and between the two of us, we could make the building shake on its foundations.
Today is the day that we get our new king after not having had one for 123 years. We have had queens all that time. The country has gotten itself ready for a huge celebration and everybody is ready for it. For the most part, we do love our royal family, so this is going to be a very special occasion. Even the socialists will pledge their oath to the new king. The new king, in turn, will pledge his oath to the constitution and to the people of the kingdom.
The Exfactor will come here and together we will watch the investiture on television this afternoon. The abdication of queen Beatrix will take place in the morning, which means that she will put her signature to the act of it. From that point on, Willem-Alexander is already king and his oldest daughter, Amalia, will then carry the title of Princess of Orange. One day she will be queen. I have to live a long time if I want to see that happen.
Now I have to go back to bed to sleep a few more hours because it is not quite dawn yet. The Dutch Railways will already be carrying lots of people to Amsterdam on all their extra trains that will run late into the night. There are many tourists there too and news crews from all over the world. There are one million, or maybe as many as two, visitors  expected in the capitol.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Like a newly born lamb...

I have not finished my first cup of coffee yet and already I am attempting to put my thoughts to the metaphorical paper. What courage I have. I must be willing to go out on a limb if I am brave enough to try that. No actually, I think I am just enough in a stupor not to quite realize what I am doing and for all I care, I stay that way for a while. It is another way of approaching things and I really do not mind that for a change. Soon enough I will come to my senses and then I will pick my words more carefully.
Feeling naked and vulnerable, I must admit that I feel a certain amount of sadness and that I have a great longing to feel happiness and joy in overwhelming amounts. I would like for them to wash over me like a great wave of the ocean and not quite drown in them, because drowning in them would be fatal. I think the sadness is a result of everything that has happened in life and has come to the surface now that I have decreased my medication, because I am noticing it more and more these past few days.
Since I do not want to live with it, I have to make the decision to go back to the original dose and consider the experiment as failed, with which I do not mean to imply that I am a failure, because I feel far from it. I had been on the original dose for a long time and there must have been a reason for that and it was possibly not such a great idea to start messing about with it, but it was worth a try. Having made the decision to go back to it, I already feel a lot better and I have just taken the extra 1 mg. I should start feeling improvement shortly.
On a totally different subject: my American ex is going to be here June the 12th and will be staying for a month. He is flying into Amsterdam, because on his way back, he wants to spend a couple of days there, no doubt to also visit the Rijksmuseum, which has turned out beautifully and has already had a record number of visitors. The Exfactor and I want to go there when the excitement has died down an bit and when it is not so crowded, maybe in the fall.
I have had enough coffee and will start drinking lemonade. That is usually a signal that I start winding down my activities behind the computer and get myself ready to go back to bed for those last hours of sleep. I am not stubborn enough anymore to stay up all night to come to regret it later. I do realize the importance of some sort of a schedule, however odd it is. What is funny is, that Tyke is totally in tune with me and has completely adapted himself to the hours I keep. Gandhi is a whole different matter and sticks to het own schedule, but that is why she is the cat.
Goodnight and good morning.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Looking for the fun parts.

When I went grocery shopping yesterday, I managed to stay under the budget, this despite the fact that I bought some items that I seldom do. It is always a trick and a half to do this, but if I stick to the shopping list, I usually make out okay. There was only one item I got that was not on the list and that was a box of moist tissues to clean my glasses with. It was a chance discovery while I was looking for something else, and now I can finally get my glasses properly cleaned after having tried everything else. Let's just say that I can see clearly now.
I also got two big pieces of apple pie because the Exfactor will be over today for a cup of coffee to help me celebrate the fact that I am a perfectly healthy human being. We really should be drinking champagne, but since any bubbly alcoholic beverage goes straight to my head, that may not be such a good idea. I do actually have a very good bottle of bubbly wine gathering dust in the kitchen and if I leave it unopened long enough, it may become a collector's item.
I am for the first time in my life going to try a liquid laundry detergent and I am doing it because it will allow me to wash at a lower temperature. That is because my monthly estimated energy bill has gone up quite a bit and I do want to be as frugal as I can. Now, I hope that this new detergent will do the job and smell nice too, because I was happy with the powdered one. When doing laundry is one of your more fun chores, you do care about it turning out well.
The lemonade I am drinking is cold and thirst quenching. I am really drinking it because I was a little bit hungry, but if I eat anything now and go back to bed, my stomach will get upset and I will not be able to sleep well as a result. I do speak from experience and it is not very pleasant.
Tyke has already gone to sleep on the bed and I suppose I will follow him. I hope he left some room for me so I can get under the covers comfortably. I usually have to push him out of the way a bit so I can also get in there. He only complains a little bit.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


I am actually very undecided if I want to do any contemplating at all, because, to tell you the truth, I think it is a risky thing to do. I do not know if I should delve too deeply into my thoughts and accompanying emotions and hold them up to the light for closer examination. That may all be good and well when you do so casually while walking the dog and idly letting them pass the revue, but it may not be such a good idea when you sit down and make a serious attempt at them.
I think that feeling all of my emotions more, and being more aware of them, is a direct result of lowering the antipsychotics and I do have to keep that in mind so I do not draw all sorts of conclusions about myself and my inner life that may turn out not to be correct. I do not know if this effect is permanent or just a temporary condition. Time will have to tell and I will have to be patient and wait it out.
In the meantime, I will have to deal with my feelings and thoughts and examine them to some degree, because they are, to a point, very interesting and make me think of subjects that I thought I had dealt with a long time ago and did not spend much time thinking about anymore. It is a fascinating thing to see how I deal with them now that I am confronted with them, because instead of ignoring them, or pushing them away, I face them and try to give some shape and form to them and react to them in the most honest way I can, even if that makes me feel uncomfortable.
The fact is that I have to deal with a reality and undergo its process until I get to a satisfactory end that I can live with, and that is not always done very easily. It sometimes takes four or five tries before I am done with it and have it solved, and in the meantime I go through all the discomfort of having to relive it. Owning up to my own share of whatever I am trying to resolve is probably the most important thing I can do and then, after that, forgiving myself for it is.
I do not know if this is a better reality than I was in before, but it is a different one anyway. Maybe I should not speak in terms of 'worse' or 'better.' It is a state of mind I have to try out and of which I have to see if I can manage it. Not everybody gets that opportunity.

What isn't there...

I was sleeping real well, but then I thought I heard someone say, right beside my left ear, "Hallo Irene," and that woke me up and slightly unnerved me. I thought someone was lying in the bed with me. I had thought earlier in my sleep that I heard the doorbell ring but had ignored that and it did not ring again. I must be having auditory hallucinations, which I think is a whole new ballgame for me. I hope it does not happen again because I do not like things that have no logic or rhyme or reason. I do like things to be explainable and have a completely natural cause.
I do not believe in spooks and ghosts, but anyone can scare me with them if they try hard enough because deep inside me there is enough of a basic fear left over from my childhood when my oldest sister used to scare the s**t out of me. I purposely never let my imagination run rampant and reject anything that has to do with the ethereal. I know that there are things in real life that are much scarier and I have decided not to worry about them, having already experienced the worst. I could not live on my own if I were to worry about those kinds of things.
It is true that I do feel safer because I have a dog, but just as often as not he barks totally unnecessarily. Maybe that does act as a deterrent and prevent the bad guys from breaking in. I am sure that if there were any spooks or ghosts, he would be totally useless. I think it must be cats that are more sensitive to them, but at the same time I think that is an old wife's tale. It is amazing the stuff you carry with you from the past that is totally useless information.
My great-grandparents believed in that sort of thing and held séances and tried to make tables levitate. I hardly know what sort of an odd family I come from on my father's side. I think that particular part of the greatly researched family wasn't an especially good branch of the family tree. It is at least not the one that brought forth respectable church ministers. As far as I know, my branch was atheist, although we do have French Huguenots in the family going back to the 1700's.  
I am really and truly starting to yawn now but have no desire to go back to bed yet. I am feeling perfectly fine sitting here and want to keep doing it a while longer, at least until it is time to take my morning dose of medicines. Because it is Saturday, I will no doubt have a fun filled morning with cultural programs on the television. That is a very good way to stay connected to the here and now and at the same time feed my curious, creative mind.
I think I can make the groceries last until tomorrow afternoon, but if not, I will have to go shopping today. That is not such a punishment, of course, because everything I will get will taste good.  

Friday, April 26, 2013

And sometimes it rains...

The good news is that all my test results came back normal, so apparently I am a very healthy woman and I think that is worth a celebration. When I go to the grocery store Sunday afternoon, I will buy something very decadent to eat and have a party all by myself while watching sports on television. Is that not a good idea? I thought so, and I think I know what I want to get, but that is going to stay a secret. I will tell you about it when I have actually bought and consumed it.
The other good news is that Tyke's new red collar arrived in the mail, and that he looks splendid in it, but that may be because I made a real big deal out of it. I praised him mightily and he thought that was just wonderful and made him stand proud. You must always make your dog feel good about himself.
Gandhi was less thrilled about the new flea collar that I had to put on her and it took some effort because she has me all figured out. She sees me with the box and runs in another direction when I call her name. There is a lot of trickery involved to get the darn thing on her, but I succeeded in the end. If only she knew what a favor I am doing her.
All of this effort was preceded by a huge hot flash that lasted a long time and made me feel quite emotional. My raging hormones have not calmed down yet and they still bother me at night too. Having them during the day is like having a sudden fever attack and all I can do is wait for them to pass. I think if you doused me with cold water, steam would come off me and the windows would fog up.
I do know that when I have one of these hot flashes, I can not do any sort of rational thinking or make any important decisions. My emotions have the overhand. Thank goodness that it is only a temporary condition and that I do not permanently walk around in this state. It would be a real pain in the neck to be constantly bothered by them and not be capable of rational thought for long periods of time.
I have now been on the new dose (3 mg) of my antipsychotics for almost a week and I think I am making it work. I feel my emotions more, but I suppose that is a very human condition and something that I have to be willing to accept. One thing I must not be and that is afraid of my emotions. I only have to worry if I feel them to extremes or obsessively. I am sure that one of you will warn me if you see signs of that.

When you don't have a clue.

Tyke is sitting here beside me looking at me very expectantly, but I do not have a clue as to what he wants and the whole situation is rather unnerving because now I can not really relax. There are a lot of times when I wish he possessed at least the rudiments of speech so we could communicate a little easier. Many times now I have to guess if it is something very specific that he wants and out of the ordinary.
I suppose the easy part about it  is, that usually, in the middle of the night, his needs consist of either having something to eat or having to go out for the umpteenth time. I just wish his clues were a little bit clearer and that his body language was not so vague and that he was satisfied with whatever need I think I fulfilled. His accusing look and disappointed attitude do set me on edge. Maybe he does not know himself what he wants.
Tyke and I do have quite a nightlife that we do not spend quietly asleep. We are awake for part of it, so some of our activities take place at night. It is like we really do have a long cycle of 24 hours with the occasional session of sleep at whatever time. It is no wonder that he is all topsy turvy when it comes to eating and sleeping because I am too.
I am looking forward to the day, even though it is going to be a chilly and rainy one. That means it is going to be all that more cozy inside. It also means that I am going to have to close all the windows that are still open now. The cold front has not yet moved in. I am supposed to go to the pharmacy, so I suppose I will have to wait for an opportune moment to do that. I am not looking forward to getting rained on, but if I plan it right, I just may escape it.
I have hardly had to look in my agenda this week because hardly anything was going on, and this while last week was such a busy one. In spite of this, I have not been bored and always found a way to amuse myself. Next week is going to be a little busier and we will have the crowning of our new king, which will be celebrated throughout the country. We have had three queens in a row, so having a king is a novelty in itself. I am sure I will be glued to the television.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Laundry and dishes and other fun things.

The washing machine is churning away making the sheets fresh and clean again. I have changed the bed and am looking forward to getting between the covers tonight. If I leave that kind of thing to the domestic help, it would only happen once every two weeks and that is not nearly often enough for me.
The dirty dishes are soaking in very hot soapy water and as soon as I am able to put my hands in it safely, I will wash them. You may get the impression that I do not like this chore, but that is not true. As long as I do not let them stack up for too long a time, I do not mind doing them at all.
The new dress is in the washing machine also because I thought it was a little bit too loose and I am washing things this time on 60 degrees Celsius, so hopefully it will shrink a bit. It is possible that it will not because the materials that clothes are made of nowadays do not seem to shrink in the wash.
Tyke and I have to change the route that we walk because the ground underneath a hedge that we pass has been weeded and some very small weed killing pellets have been sprinkled there all along the sidewalk and Tyke is trying to eat them. This morning he was throwing up out back so he must have eaten some of them without me noticing it.
It is a beautiful day outside and the sun is shining like mad. You would not think that tomorrow it is only going to be 10 degrees Celsius, but that is the sad truth. Even this morning, when we went for our first walk, I did not need a jacket. Tyke's fur certainly got cut at the right time.
The washing machine is on its spin cycle and very soon I will be able to hang the laundry outside, even though there is the small threat of rain. It will smell fantastic if it dries out there and the sheets will even be better to sleep between.
I think I will make a pot of coffee and have some toast with cheese before I tackle the rest of the chores. I do need some fortification. Working on an empty stomach has never been a good idea.

Idle time...

It is lovely to sit here in the middle of the night and to not have one worry on my mind because it is simply not the time to have any. There is, after all, a time and a place for everything and now is not the time to get bogged down in anything that I might be concerned about. Not that I have that much to worry about anyway, although I am not going to claim that my life's path is all that smooth and without obstacles. I simply choose not to let them spoil my mood and especially not right now.
That new brand of lemonade I talked about in my last post, is artificially sweetened and only has three calories per glass. I am not sure how I feel about the artificial sweetener because you hear so many negative things about it, but like I said, it does taste good. Maybe the price when it is not on sale is so prohibitive, that I will not buy it anyway and look for something else. It is difficult to find something that has not had something odd added to it. You have to read the labels well before you buy the product.
I am certainly hooked on toast with cheese and the toaster is getting quite a work out, especially now that I have found the perfect setting to make the perfect toast. If I am going to be a veganist, I am going to miss eating cheese very much and I am already thinking that I am going to cheat and not give it up at all and be an imperfect veganist. I would also miss the vanilla custard and the goat's yogurt that I have once a week as a treat to myself, so I suppose I can not be that militant about it, and yes, I will fail. But being imperfect is one of my more charming qualities.
Like everybody else in my time zone, I have a brand new day ahead of me and I am going to make the most of it. It is going to be a warm day and the temperature is going to get up to 23 degrees Celsius. We will all have to take advantage of this because after today, it is going to plummet down. Spring is trying to be here, but not really succeeding yet. The hedge at the elementary school has turned completely green and the rest of the shrubbery is also. Things look so much better now, but it is more difficult for Tyke to dive into the bushes to look for half eaten apples, although he does manage it somehow.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Creatively uninspired.

I have not felt the need to be creative in a long time. I have not wanted to make a collage or a drawing or a sculpture, nor do I feel like there is anything in me like it that needs to come out. I do not even feel like writing a poem or a short story, which is something I have tried my hand at in the past. I absolutely have no creative urges within me, except to write these blog posts, and that does not take much creativeness.
In a way, I feel it as a relief because the pressure is off my shoulders and I do not have to perform and come up with a good result. And I am not even claiming that the results were all that great and that I was a good artist. I was at most a somewhat talented one. I certainly do not have the urge to have to prove myself and show that I can make something wonderful and in the process run into all sorts of frustrations.
I should, of course, have gone to an art academy when I was young and learned the proper techniques. Secretly, that was my desire, but coming from the kind of environment that I did, that was out of the question, although my talent was acknowledged. I think the people around me lacked all sorts of courage and imagination and could not think out of the box and I was a prisoner of them at the tender age of sixteen.
I am not sad that I am not creative anymore now and vicariously live through the creativeness of other people, many of whom do such a terrific job at making the most wonderful art. That to me is a joy to see and I love the fact that they exist and that it is possible. If I had the money, I would collect their work. I do not think to myself, "That should have been me." I am not that small minded.
I think if I lived under different circumstances, and had the money and the opportunities, that I might try to get involved with making art again, but then strictly as a student. The way I look at it now, this is something I am going to do in my next life along with some other things I did not get around to in this one. I sure hope I have the smarts and the luck and good fortune to do them. And the talent, of course.
It is at least 20C outside and 22.5C in the living room because the sun is shining straight through the windows. I had to pull the shades down a bit because Tyke was looking for a cool spot to lie down in. I think Gandhi is in the back of the apartment where it is a lot cooler, but Tyke has to stick close to me, of course. I am drinking a new brand of lemonade that was on sale and I have to say that it tastes very nice and I hope it stays on sale a while longer. It is less sour than the other one without being too sweet.  I could really get hooked on it, but then I like lemonade a lot anyway.

For the goodness of it.

It is with some amount of muted happiness that I sit here in the middle of the night with my glass of cold lemonade after I have had my cup and a half of coffee. I say it is muted happiness because it is not the moment to be outright joyful. That emotion is better saved for other occasions that are more appropriate for it. I do feel pretty good, though, and am already looking forward to the moment when I will go back to sleep, which is not always the case. As a rule, I have a bit of reluctance to and have to talk myself into it.
Tyke very thoughtlessly woke me up by barking at meaningless noises he heard outside, but no doubt he thought he was fulfilling his job as guard dog and felt very good about himself. It always does mean that he decides that he wants to go hang out on the patio for a while and then have something to eat. When we have that complicated ritual behind us, I can sit and relax and concentrate on what I want to do behind the computer before I am ready to go back to bed. In the meantime, Tyke makes himself comfortable and goes sound to sleep in my armchair.
One thing I am looking forward to, is getting dressed in the morning, because yesterday that dress I ordered on line was delivered and it turned out to be even nicer than I had anticipated. I usually do have good luck and things I order on line turn out to look good and fit well and that is because I have an easy standard size and know which colors I like, red being an especially favorite one. Maybe that is why I refuse to give up my red bathrobe, even though it is much too big on me and getting a bit worn.
I have a craving for toast with cheese and I think I will have some before I go back to bed. Next to the coffeemaker, the toaster is perhaps the handiest gadget that I have in the kitchen. Toasted bread is easier for me to eat than fresh bread and it passes my gastric band almost without a problem. The thing is not to let your eyes be bigger than your stomach and attempt to eat too much of it. The pasta with tomato sauce and cheese is trickier because I have a tendency not to chew it well enough and then I can only eat a small portion of it. That big pan full will last a while.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

When the sun refuses to come out.

It is a chilly gray day and you would not think it is late April. Nevertheless, I have the windows open and I am drinking lemonade with ice cubes in it to quench my thirst. This does make me feel a bit cold and I am almost shivering, but I have decided that it is worth it and to tough it out. In a little while I will make a fresh pot of coffee and get warmer again. I look forward to that already, proving my point that it is the little things that you can get the most happy about.
The Exfactor was here this morning and our conversation covered a large number of topics and together we set the world right. At times we are very good at this and have the best ideas on how to go about it. It would be nice if they let us be in charge of the country for a while, but for some reason we have not been asked yet. The Exfactor is a bit of a rebel and likes to bend the rules. I, on the other hand, am a model citizen with many principles. He needs me to keep him on the straight and narrow.
Tyke has almost outgrown his collar, because he gained weight, and I have ordered a new one for him in the color red because it will look good with his black fur. I think and imagine that he enjoys getting a new collar because he is always very eager for me to put them on. According to me, he likes to look good. The fact is, that I like for him to look good and I like to show him off. I am sure that it has nothing to do with vanity at all.
I am sure that this is along the same line as my mother making new clothes for my sisters and me when we were kids and sending us outside to show them off to the neighborhood. Of course, we did this gladly because we were proud of them.
I am reheating some of the pasta that I had for dinner last night. I made a big pan full of it and reheated is always the best. My mouth is now already watering at the thought of eating it. I still have grated cheese to put over it too. Then I have to go out in the chilly wind to walk Tyke, but I know my fate is not as bad as some people's who live in the northern Americas where it is really cold and snows. Thank goodness we are spared that here.

Aiming for a higher goal.

According to my stats, I need to be done writing about mediocre subjects and really tackle something more controversial and maybe I would like to, but there are no controversial things happening in my life and that is pretty much all I care to write about. I try to stay away from politics and other socially loaded subjects like that, although I do have definite opinions on them. I think it is best if I do not share them too much lest I cause an uproar. Besides, I do on occasion change my mind as I become better informed on something and that would cause confusion.
I should not worry too much about the stats and not let them influence my writing. All I can really do is say what is on my mind. I do use this blog as a diary for me to look back on and remind myself of how I managed a particular period in my life. It is not written for the purpose of getting a Pulitzer Price.
I just got an email from my first ex-husband who wrote that he will be here some time in June if that was convenient for me. Of course, I have no big plans beside the ordinary, everyday ones and he can come whenever he likes as long as he lets me know ahead of time. I did tell him that, while he is here, he has to pay for his own groceries, as I eat quite differently than he does and I do not have the budget to pay for his American eating habits. It will be an amazing thing to go grocery shopping with him.
I got a letter from the radiology department at the hospital with the time and date my gastric band is going to be emptied some more and that will be in three weeks from now. That is a long enough time to wait, I think. I will very patiently eat small portions and avoid irritating foods until that time. I very much look forward to having it done and am going to ask the doctor to remove two units so the band will be a lot looser. I hope this will suffice. I can always have more removed if it does not. I waited too long to have it done this time.
My drop foot has improved quite a bit. I not only walk without the brace, I can also wear the ankle boots that have heels. It seems it was not really a permanent condition after all, and I can only assume that it will keep improving. My ankle is a lot stronger and less sore and does not give away on me so much anymore. I am pretty thrilled about this, because it gives me a bigger choice of footwear. I will never wear anything with real high heels again, but at least I will be able to wear shoes and boots that will be somewhat fashionable.
And now to have the money to pay for them...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Enjoying the moment.

Oh, I have the apartment back to myself and I am happy. I say that no matter how kind and good my domestic help is. When she pulls the front door closed behind her, I do feel a sense of relief that I am alone again. Well, alone with Tyke and Gandhi, but we three do form a unit.
And now it also just happens that the sun is shining into the living room, making it toasty warm in here and bright. I had the windows open earlier, but it was just a bit too chilly for that. The apartment does have to be aired regularly, though, and I have to take the opportunity when there is not too much wind.  
I donated 7 vials of blood this morning at the diagnostic center at the hospital and I thought that was an awful lot. I was a good sport about it and did not complain when the needle went into my vein. My psychiatrist will get the results in 3 to 5 days and he will let me know them also. At the end of the week, I should be somewhat wiser.
He approved of me decreasing my antipsychotics by 1 mg as long as I keep him informed about how I am doing. I think that will be no problem. This is only the second day on this dose and I do not notice any difference and probably will not for a few days yet. Maybe I feel a bit more lively, but that may be all in my imagination.
Even though I am very broke, I ordered a new summer dress on line that was on sale. I have to start thinking about what clothes to wear this summer, although if summer is ever going to happen is a big question. Spring is barely here and it is pretending to be very shy and demure. Most of the summer dresses that I have are too big on me and I can not only wear leggings. The two skirts I bought last summer are too big on me too. This dress was a necessary purchase.
I think I will have pasta for dinner tonight with an organically made tomato sauce and grated cheese on top. That is something I can really look forward to and I hope it agrees with my stomach. I will make enough to last for a couple of meals and it does not matter when I eat them. No doubt Tyke will sit drooling, but I am not going to share any of it with him. It will be mine, all mine!
I have to take him for a walk now before I start on my dinner. He has been waiting patiently and I can not make him wait any longer. And darn it, I will not be back on time for the 6 o'clock news.

Yes it is, it is Monday again.

Today will be the day I will finally go to the diagnostic center at the hospital to donate those vials of blood for the tests my psychiatrist ordered. I had not got around to that because on the other days I had not been sober the way I was supposed to. I am making darn sure that I am now. Fortunately, that does mean that I can drink cups of black coffee, so I do not have to suffer too much.
Thank goodness that I have learned to drink my coffee black and did not find a suitable substitute for milk, although god knows I tried. That soy milk was a regular horror and the powdered creamer was not much to write home about either. Black coffee is very good all on its own once you get used to the taste and then you do not want it any differently.
Besides the vanilla custard, I also had goat milk yogurt yesterday and I enjoyed it a lot, although my stomach did protest a little bit. Custard and yogurt are pure comfort foods and I enjoy the texture and the taste and have myself a little party when I eat them. Those are moments of pure bliss and I suppose I will always have that one day in the week when I indulge in them. I would not want to eat them every day because they fill me up too much to eat anything else and that is nutritionally not very sound.
When I switch to a strictly vegan diet, I will have to give them up, but no doubt there will be other comfort foods that I will discover instead. I have to look more closely into it and see what the possibilities are and I am very curious what I will find out about it.
It is a good thing that I have my clothes picked out so I will be able to get dressed on automatic pilot in the morning. I do have to set the alarm clock and get up at a decent hour because I want to get to the hospital on time. There is always a long line of people with the same mission and there will be much waiting. There will be much opportunity to "people watch" which is a hobby of mine anyway.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Porridge for you brain.

I have a bump on my stomach that is quite obvious when I wear something tight. It is the opening to my gastric band and it lies just under my skin. Before I lost all that weight, you could not see it, but now it is clearly visible. It looks very odd and I wonder what people think it is when they spot it. Maybe they think I am "The Bionic Woman." Or that I have a special button to open up my stomach with. The skinnier I get, the more visible it is and I can even feel the tube that runs from it to the gastric band itself. Is that not eerie? It gives me something to fiddle with when I am daydreaming.

I went grocery shopping this afternoon and stuck to the shopping list and stayed under my budget, which is very good. I did buy the vanilla custard as a treat and already had that, but for a change did not go comatose from it and have to take a nap. I was just very pleasantly full. I did experience a little dip a while ago, but that was easily taken care of by making some fresh coffee, a cup of which I am drinking now. It is better if I save all my sleep for tonight, providing Tyke will let me. He is a monster and does wake me up prematurely.

My sister picked me up this morning to go see the house that she and my brother-in-law have bought. It is in a village close to here, on top of a hill, and it has its own golf course and restaurants and shops, so it is no hardship to live there. The house is being renovated and walls have been torn down and some others are being put up. A new bathroom and kitchen will be put in also. You have to envision it as it is going to be and it will be wonderful and it is on a lovely street too. They have a good team of workers doing the job on it. I can not wait to see it when it is done.
I talked to my daughter on the phone after I had not for quite a while, so that was a lovely experience. We very easily pick up where we left off and talk up a storm. One of the things we talked about was a vegan diet, which she follows and she gave me some tips on which foods to use a lot of instead of dairy. She carefully watches that she gets enough protein and iron and calcium in her meals. When I get my stomach sorted out, I will be able to eat more along those lines too. I am more than halfway there already.
Today I started to reduce my antipsychotic medication with 1 mg because I thought I could be a bit more lively than I am just now. I did send my psychiatrist an email informing him of this. It is a trial to see if it is possible without becoming hypomanic. If I do, I will hopefully catch it on time and go back to the original dose. I have been better about monitoring my moods and being able to tell the differences in them right when they start, so I have to have some faith in myself. I do not like being hypomanic enough to allow it to get out of hand. I much prefer serenity.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Faithfully recorded...

The sun is shining into the living room, but I have still turned up the thermostat a bit because there is a cold wind blowing and the temperatures are not that high for how bright and sunny it is outside. And let's face it, you know how I feel about being chilly. I try to avoid it as much as possible and do like being toasty warm. I have enough clothes on, so that is not the problem, but the thought of going outside to walk Tyke in a little while really does not appeal to me.
I will try to find all the stretches of sidewalk where the sun shines and avoid all the shady places, even if it means that I have to catch some wind. I really want to feel the beneficial sunshine on my face and I think Tyke will like it too. Besides, seeing life from a sunny perspective is so much better than seeing it from the shady side. I just crave sunshine.
I have done the few chores I had to do and am undecided if I am going to change the bed. I did it recently, but am tempted to do it again because clean sheets are so nice to sleep between. Oh, I have already talked myself into doing it and will put the duvet cover with the little red roses on and that will make me feel cheerful. What nicer way to go to sleep tonight.
I am postponing going grocery shopping until tomorrow afternoon. If I am smart, I can make supplies last until that time and not have to go sooner. I prefer to shop on Sundays because it is never busy then and I can take my sweet old time and wander through the store at ease. That does mean that I am also postponing the moment I can eat vanilla custard, but it is a sacrifice I am willing to make and it will taste all that much sweeter when I do get it.
I have to change my clothes and make an interesting choice of what is available to me, which is not really a problem, of course. I just have to make sure it is warm enough. I feel like wearing something colorful and cheerful, preferably in the color red and I think I have several things that will do. I have to have a good look in my closet and remind myself of what is there. Hopefully, there will be no ironing involved.  
The three live plants that I have in a cute wooden container are actually doing well. They get whatever sun there is in the afternoon, and every Saturday I give them the same amount of water. I think these plants must be very hardy and willing themselves to live for me. I may also be doing something right. I am tempted to get more live plants, but almost do not want to push my luck.

Isn't it wonderful?

I was in a hurry to go to sleep last night and could hardly wait to finish watching the news. I was impatient for the news reader to say goodnight and switched the television off immediately. All I longed for, was to lie in my bed under the warm duvet with the lightweight blanket on top and Tyke by my side.
It was a relatively cold day yesterday and there was a strong wind blowing, which was bad if you had any kind of a decent hairdo. My hair was parted on the wrong side by the wind and I did not notice it until some time later when I happened to look in the mirror. I had just washed it, so it had no staying power whatsoever.
But it was relatively cold and I even had turned the thermostat up for part of the day and the thought of being tucked away in a warm bed was very appealing. I think I was looking forward to the weekend too and wanted to sleep as late as I possibly could, because that is what weekends are for.
I had forgotten about Tyke, who always finds a reason to wake me up in the middle of the night and this night was no exception. With my warm body wrapped in my bathrobe, I stood by the open back door and waited for him to get done with whatever he needed to do out on the patio. It takes him a while to make up his mind and to get around to do whatever he has to do. He dawdles.
Knowing that he has taken care of business now, I also know that when I do go back to bed, I can sleep as late as I want, because he will not be in any hurry to go for a walk in the morning. Of course, first I have to get into the right frame of mind to go back to bed, but I know that will happen eventually. All I have to do is quit drinking this cup of coffee and switch to ice cold lemonade.
I can not eat a cheese sandwich that is made with mayonnaise. My stomach revolts and I get sick. I thought I would give it a try and bought a small jar of mayonnaise, but it is futile. Instead, I had a sandwich with margarine yesterday and that was fine. I even think that the margarine makes the bread go down easier. At any rate, cheese sandwiches are not something I have to forego. The cheese I bought is very good, so I am happy about that.
I will have to go grocery shopping this weekend, because the animals are almost out of food, and I can not wait to buy some vanilla custard. It has become my once a week treat. I stuff myself with it and have to lie down afterwards and usually take a nap to recuperate. But it is all worth because I am probably making a childhood dream come true: to have all the custard to myself.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Being all alone is virtuous too.

Well, I am not actually all alone. Tyke is lying within an arm's length away from me snoozing. The Exfactor was here a while ago for a quick visit, so I did have a social contact today, but I am more than ready to be on my own and enjoy some silent hours. It has been a busy enough week for me to completely appreciate that. And I do always very much like the last hours in the afternoon before it starts getting dark and I have to think about what I am going to eat for dinner. It is when I enjoy my cups of coffee the most.
I had some chicken and pasta soup for lunch, because I thought it was going to be easy to digest, but it made me absolutely sick to my stomach. I think someone is trying to tell me not to eat meat, because whenever I do, it does not turn out well for me. There must be a guardian god of all the animals who is preventing me from eating them and enjoying it. I think by now I have gotten the message, but it is very difficult to buy any ready made soup without meat in it. I will have to skip that from now on and lead a more honest life.
In the meantime, I have decided to eat fried potatoes with Herbes de Provence for dinner. I have not had that in a long time and am completely in the mood for it. I am already getting happy in anticipation of it and even peeling the potatoes will be a fun job. See how easy it is to lift my spirits? It is the little things that make it all worthwhile.
There was no mail today, nor was there any yesterday, and in a way I am happy about that because it means less paperwork to deal with. It usually has a tendency to come all at once and I think the mailman plans it that way. I think he saves it up for days when I am in danger of being bored. Truly, that does not happen very often, but it is also true that I really do not get that much mail. Most of my monthly payments are withdrawn from my bank account automatically and I do prefer it that way. I so dislike paying bills and always used to put it off.
I did get a very pretty postcard with redwood trees on it from a blogging friend of mine. She lives on the Northern California Coast where there are many of these trees. I love getting postcards, and in the end, after I have admired them from up close enough, they end up on my refrigerator door. I never throw any of them away. Which reminds me that I must start sending some myself.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Patience is a virtue.

I am waiting for the domestic help to get done in the kitchen so I can make myself a sandwich. I am very hungry and my stomach is going to start growling any minute now. I already had one earlier today, but that was some hours ago and al I have had since then is some coffee.
It is hard to share the apartment with someone else who is constantly pointing out things to me she wants to do differently, especially when I have to tell her that there is a reason why they are done the way they are. And she is stubborn too and hard to convince and very sure that she is right. We have our little battles every time she is here. I am still in charge of my household and things really will go the way I say they will.
Tyke just looks adoringly at everything she does while he tries to stay by my side as much as possible. That does bring conflicting situations and sometimes he has to choose what to do. Stay by my side or follow her around. I do think he likes staying by me better in the end.
I am also terribly in the mood for a nap but I am not going to have the chance to take one. I am waiting for a phone call from the doctor who is in charge of my gastric band. He is supposed to call me sometime this afternoon so I will not be able to go to sleep. If his phone call woke me up, I would be completely discombobulated and not be able to talk to him in any sensible way.
I think the reason that I am so sleepy, is that events of the last week or so are catching up with me and I need a day of real rest and not just a day off during which I do all sorts of things anyway. I think I will make that day tomorrow and take it easy and try not to get involved in any projects other than taking Tyke for walks. I say that now, but it will probably not work out that way.
I keep getting distracted by my domestic help and her theories about dirt and how it comes about and how to prevent it. I just say, "Yes, no and amen," and do not argue too much. I do things my own way anyway. It is very tiring.
I am off to make a sandwich.

Beware of the leftovers!

Like I said I would, I had the left over Bami Goreng for dinner last night with two fried eggs sunny side up on top, because that is the way you are supposed to eat it. But apparently, the two very good cheese sandwiches I had during the day had been more than enough food, and I could not finish what was on my plate and ended up sharing it with Gandhi and Tyke. That was a bit of a disappointment, but I was very full and there was no way I could get more food into my tiny stomach.
I have to plan my meals differently and make sure I get enough variety, although the bread I make the sandwiches with is very good and wholesome. I also have some very good soup and I must not forget to eat it. It will be easier to eat and fill me just as well. The specialty cheese I got on sale is very tasty and I put two large slices of it on my sandwich and thoroughly enjoy my meal. Now I can only hope that it is on sale more often.
I have so completely stopped worrying about which foods I eat and if I have an intolerance for them. Now I just pay attention to how much food I eat at one sitting and how often during the day. So you see, a lot of my worries have dropped away.
Oh yes, I must not forget that I am not supposed to eat anything before I have to donate some vials of blood in the morning. My psychiatrist did say that I could have cups of black coffee, so that's okay then. I will not be completely deprived. I would hate to have to ride my bike all the way over to the hospital without being fortified with caffeine. It is a tough enough ride having to go over the bridge across the railroad tracks. If I put my bike in the smallest gear, I can just about make it, but it is pushing it.
I have to Google some important information so I will keep this short. The nice thing about the internet is that anything at all is at your fingertips, although that can be a mixed blessing.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What kind of a day was this?

Well, I got to the eye clinic right on time early this morning, only to be told by the assistant that my appointment was not at all today but in two weeks from now. You could have knocked me over with a feather. I could have sworn that I wrote the right date down in my agenda.

Anyway, I had to ride my bike home again because it was another hour until my appointment with my psychiatrist. I did that very gladly because I really wanted another cup of coffee. I had not had enough of it yet when I had gotten ready after I got up.

Tyke was happy to see me back so soon again. He was not expecting me. It was his lucky day and he sat on my lap while I had a cup of coffee and finished waking up. But soon enough it was time to leave and I hopped on my bike for my next mission.

It was good to see my psychiatrist and I got him up to date on my life in so far as I had not done that by email yet. He wants me to have a bunch of blood work done to make sure I am healthy and to check the medicine levels in my system. He is also going to check my vitamin B's and my folic acid. I think he just about checked every box on the form, so I am going to be donating a few vials of blood tomorrow. I am glad he is doing this and am curious what the outcomes will be.

I thought I had an appointment immediately afterwards with my therapist, but it turned out not to be on the schedule for another hour later. I went to the pharmacy instead and home again for a while so that I could surprise Tyke again. He sat on my lap some more while I had some more coffee and a sandwich. The sandwich was great and filled my stomach and stilled my hunger.

I went to my therapist, but once I was there, I realized it was only a formality because I did not really have anything to talk about. She and my psychiatrist keep each other up to date about me, so two visits are kind of redundant unless something really important is going on in my life. But according to the protocol, I am supposed to see both of them every three months and it is really a luxury problem.

I am yawning something awful and I assume it is because I need the cup of coffee I just made for myself. I think I will have the left over Bami Goreng for dinner because I had another sandwich this afternoon and still feel pretty full. I am daring to eat more varied now because I know there is nothing seriously wrong with my stomach. That knowledge does make a huge difference in how I approach food. I have seen the inside of my stomach and I know it is okay.


The restless dog.

Tyke has had his fur trimmed and his nails cut, and ever since then he's been traipsing all around the apartment like he can not find a place to lay his egg. To put it this way: he is very restless. A sense of renewed vigor seems to have got a hold of him and he doesn't want to relax for any length of time. I have already let him out back three times tonight and he basically does nothing there but sniff around a lot. Needless to say, I am not letting him out again.
He is also convinced that he is hungry non stop and tries to get me to feed him all the time. He likes the contents of the pouches for the cat the most and just about inhales those. I have had to put a stop to that after I gave him some as a special treat. He also thinks the dental sticks are a snack to permanently chew on. He looks at me with his big brown eyes and besieges me to please give him one and I have to be very tough to withstand it. He is already overweight and we are going to have to take many long walks to take care of that.
I went grocery shopping yesterday and took my time choosing things that I might like to try and eat. One thing that I bought was Bami Goreng, which is an Indonesian noodle dish. You are supposed to eat that with shrimp chips and pickled vegetables and a portion of satay, but I decided not to push my luck and to just try the noodles. I also bought soups and delicious, freshly baked bread and a specialty cheese that was on sale. I even bought a small jar of mayonnaise and some lunch meat. Well yes, I have big plans.
Surprisingly enough, the Bami Goreng agreed with me very well and I had two plates full of it. How this is possible, I do not know, but I did enjoy it. It had been a very long time since I had it and I thought it was going to be impossible, so imagine my surprise when it turned out that I could easily eat it. I think next time, I will buy the accoutrements too. There is no need to deny myself all the fun.
I have appointments in the morning and I am especially looking forward to the first one, which is at the eye clinic. At the end of the day, my eyes are so worn out that my glasses hardly do me any good. Of course, it does help to clean them regularly as you can see a lot better then.  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Well, I can sit here staring at the screen until the sun comes up, or I can write something. Actually, I am a bit flabbergasted because I just heard through the social media what happened at the Boston Marathon. The news is very sketchy so far, and very incomplete, so I do not want to be the one that reports anything about it. I am sure that the various news websites can do a better job at that. I do not even know if we are talking about bombs or gas explosions, so at this point, that is anybody's guess.
I am affected only from a humane standpoint, in that I care about what happens to other people at an event where any kind of violence and injury and death is least expected. I do not personally know anyone who ran in this marathon. I do know, however, that I do not want to get caught up in the huge drama that it is being made of in the social media before the facts are gathered. I think by all means that everybody should keep a cool head and I hate to see knee jerk reactions.
That is all I have to say about it for now.
I am not quite completely awake, but am trying to be so with the help of some cups of coffee. I also had a tall glass of lemonade too to help me quench my thirst. I had  two big bowls of vegetable soup last night and no doubt those have made me so thirsty. The soup was from a package and, even though it was a good brand, I think those are always a bit saltier than home made soup. I added extra vermicelli for volume and to help fill my stomach, but I still needed a couple of slices of breakfast cake to really feel full.
I have the bedroom and living room windows open, so Tyke hears every sound outside at night and now he is extra alert. His barking woke me up and I was concerned about going back to sleep in case he did that again. Of course, I can not stay up all night and I hope he will get used to the fact that there are unusual noises now and not worry about them so much. At least he does his job as a guard dog and I am safe.
I want to write: I have miles to go before I sleep, but that is not true. All I have to do is walk from one room to the other and go lie down in bed.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Feeling like Mighty Mouse...

I took a serious afternoon nap and I am still trying to recuperate from it, although I am not feeling grouchy. I am still yawning and need to wrap my mind around the fact that it is not nighttime yet and that there are some hours of daylight left. I am having my necessary cups of coffee and for once they are not upsetting my delicate gastric system. Soon enough the caffeine will start working and my mind will be working as good as if it were brand new.
I have not made it to the grocery store yet, although I am running low on food. I had planned to go this afternoon, but then it started to rain and I did not feel like riding my bike in it. Hopefully tomorrow it will be dry and I can get the foods I want because I am looking forward to eating something different than just yogurt and custard. I heard about a new soup that is supposed to taste good and be chunky and filling, so I think I will give it a try. Word of mouth advertising is still the best.
I rediscovered a big envelope of old photographs that I inherited from my paternal grandmother when she passed away. I took a good look at them this morning and I am afraid that most of the people on them are unfamiliar to me and on almost none of the photographs is there a description on the back of who is in them. Now I have one heck of a mystery on my hands because there is nobody left to ask it of. I think I recognize some people here and there, and some faces look familiar, but I can not be sure. I will put them in an album and let it go down in history as an unsolved mystery.
That is something I have to do anyway: put photos in albums. I have many of them lying around (well, neatly put away in envelopes) and I need to prepare them for posterity. I am sure my daughter would rather inherit them neatly arranged in albums with descriptions. It is going to be a bit of a job to do this and will keep me busy for a while, but first I have to buy the photo albums.
The sun has come out and now it looks beautiful outside and perfect to take Tyke for a walk. It is not really cold and the temperature inside with the windows open is pleasant also. I think Spring is really happening now. There are all sorts of flowers blooming and the hedges are turning green. It is a real pleasure to walk outside and see it all.


Almost too sleepy to care.

If I wrap my mind around some simple ideas, I am sure it will be functioning well in no time at all. I have already had three cups of coffee, but I feel as sleepy as when I got up. It is because Tyke was barking at, to me, imaginary noises that I woke up prematurely or I would have still been asleep. I do so dislike it when he does that and upsets my schedule, but he is only a dog and does not know better. He commits his misdeeds out of ignorance and I have to forgive him instantly. My love and like for him are unconditional.
In the morning I have a very early appointment with my GP, too early if you ask me. I have to bring him the letter and the photos that the doctor who did the gastroscopy gave me. I am sure that it will be a very uncomplicated appointment and I will tell him about my plans with the gastric band, I am sure that it is going to solve a lot of my problems. Taking the stomach tablets twice a day instead of just once helps too and I want to continue doing that.
I should be back on time from that appointment to see my personal helper who will be here an hour later. We can walk Tyke together and that will take up some of our time. Tyke is usually not ready first thing in the morning to go out. He likes to sleep late.
My domestic help is not going to be here today and that gives me the perfect opportunity to go grocery shopping. I do have to think carefully about the foods I want to buy. I want to add a little variety, but do not want to get things that turn out to be impossible for me to eat and that I will end up giving away to the Exfactor. I do not have to feed him, after all.
I got my spring jacket out of the closet yesterday because it was a nice enough day to wear it and I think it will be the rest of the week too. It was a pleasure to put it on after all that time. I can not even remember when I wore it last. It may have been in the fall when the weather was halfway decent.
I think my drop foot has improved. I have not been wearing the brace and my flat heeled cowboy boots a lot. I think my ankle is a lot stronger and I do not twist it as often as I used to. If I do not wear any sort of heel, I seem to do alright. That ankle-brace contraption was not a thing of beauty anyway and made me look like a handicapped person, which is fine if you really are, but I am not.
I am not washing my hair with the Silver Shampoo every time. I decided to use it just every once in a while. In between I use an every day shampoo that is kind for my hair. I do not want to damage my hair by exposing it to chemicals too much. It is already dry and thin and I want to take good care of it. It is light enough after I wash it because of the gray in it and it sparkles a lot. I try not to use any hairspray on it, but sometimes I have no choice. It is best to wash it as quickly as possible after that.
I will think about going back to bed even though I am not sleepy anymore. That is what happens when you use your brain.  

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Stubborn is as stubborn does.

Or is that not the way the saying goes? Maybe I have it mixed up with another one. It does not matter, I will let it stand anyway. I am not going to worry about whether or not I got it right. If not, it will give you all something to smile about. I do get my English and Dutch sayings and expressions mixed up and that can cause confusion. Especially when I want to sound really astute and then really mess it up.
I am undecided if I am going to take a Sunday afternoon nap. I am not in the least sleepy, so I do not really have a good reason to go lie down in bed. I can also spend it reading that very good novel I told you all about and that may be a better pastime. At least I would be intellectually challenged, which at my age is a very necessary thing. Now that I do not do crossword puzzles anymore, I need to train my mind in something.
Remembering which groceries to get at the supermarket is not one of them because I always make a list. I am sure I would forget half of what I was supposed to get without one. I am really supposed to go shopping this afternoon, but I am not at all in the mood for it. I think if I am careful with what is in the refrigerator and the kitchen cabinets, I can postpone going to the store until tomorrow afternoon, when I will hopefully feel more like it. My excuse is that it is Sunday and an official day of rest, although this usually does not stop me.
It is all about convenience and having the right attitude and making things work for you. When it comes to that, I am a typical Western European woman and very spoiled. I assume just about anything is possible when I want it to be. If not immediately, then at least soon. With that comes the adaptability to always be ready for anything at all to happen at any moment. You can not rest on your laurels and have to always be prepared for everything. Pauses and times out happen less and less.
I have a somewhat busy week ahead of me, but I do have to be honest and say that I do not mind that one bit. It is so much better than having a string of empty days ahead of me, which I would manage to fill anyway. One important thing that is going to happen, is that Tyke's fur is going to be trimmed and I think he is going to be happy about that because he seems to be a bit bothered and hot. I am also going to the ophthalmologist and am curious what she will have to say. Hopefully, there will be nothing seriously wrong with my eyes and I will just have to get new glasses.
In spite of everything, I seem to be a lucky woman when it comes to that. Nothing really horrible is ever wrong with me, just the usual illnesses and breakdowns. I may worry ahead of time, but it always turns out well.

A celebration.

To celebrate the fact that there is nothing seriously wrong with my stomach, I had a liverwurst sandwich without the crusts and I have to say that it was pretty much a success. I gave the crusts to Tyke and he was happy with them. I figure it is my gastric band that needs to be adjusted and that this will allow me to eat easier and more varied and I will try to get that done as quickly as possible. I could see on the photos that were made during the gastroscopy that it was still gathered pretty tight and that there was definitely room for improvement.
I look forward very much to being able to eat more and more varied food and that will mean that I will also eat healthier than I do now, because now I eat a limited variety of food and it is mostly semi liquid. It is a good thing that I take my vitamins every day or I would be very short of them in my diet. I would like to eat a cheese and ham croissant, for instance. For some reason I have had a longing for that, but there are all sorts of foods that I miss eating. I can't wait to get back to a more normal diet. The gastric band has been both a blessing and a curse.
The book that I am reading, and find myself caught up in, is called 'A Woman of Salt' by Mary Potter Engel. She holds a Ph.D. in Christian Theology and this novel is her first fictional work. She has since written another one. I think the one I am reading dates from 2003 and I picked it up when I was in the States once. It must have been on the bestseller list because I think I bought it at Target, which is not exactly the place where you expect to buy great literary works.
This novel is enough of an intellectual challenge while at the same time being completely entertaining and I hope to find more like it on my bookcase. I do not think you can indiscriminately read any female writer and expect to be challenged, although maybe comforted in your senses, but I do not want that. I do not want feel good stories with happy endings. Since I emptied my bookcase of two boxes full of books, I have not paid very much attention to what is left there and am ready to be surprised. The books are now arranged in alphabetical order so there is a system.
I can not really afford to buy any new books now and have to make do with what is on the bookcase, but I think there is enough there to keep me happy for a while, providing they are of enough interest to me. I do not mind reading a much loved novel for the second or third time, so that is not a problem.
Having talked about food, I now have to get something to eat because my stomach is growling.  


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Pleasing things to do.

Writing is such a pleasant occupation, and drinking coffee is such a pleasing thing to do, that I could spend much of my time doing nothing but. Whenever the mood strikes me, I can be found behind the computer with a cup of coffee in my hand. Of course, since I live alone, not many people take the time to come looking for me and I am glad about that because I can go about my business undisturbed. To me that is the ultimate pleasure.
Tyke lies contentedly by my side because we have already been out for a walk in the cold wind. It was not as warm as I had anticipated and I missed the scarf that I had optimistically not worn. I had also not worn my gloves, but could put one hand in my pocket. I saw a daffodil and I might have seen more if I had been paying better attention, but I am always paying attention to Tyke, so I miss a lot. I have to make sure that he does not eat anything too weird off the ground.
My plan to start reading books is not working out well. I have tried two so far and have not enjoyed either one and now I do not know what to do. I suppose I should try another one and I do have several books of Margaret Drabble that I have not tried yet. I attempted to read her when I was still quite young and immature and did not understand her novels then, so I really must try them again. I am sure that I am grown up enough now to understand the deeper meaning of them.
I tried to read in bed, but the problem is that I fall asleep with my glasses on and it is most uncomfortable. I will try it again this afternoon when I take a nap and see if I can somehow make it work out without damaging my face. Reading in bed used to be my favorite thing to do and something I looked forward to every day. It prolonged the evening and postponed the time I fell asleep. It was also very cozy.
I went through a long period when I read women writers exclusively, but I think that is behind me now. I care about reading intellectual writers that go beyond emotional issues and female feelings and who write about the rougher stuff and they can be men and women. I think I needed to feel emotionally bonded with the things that occupied women for a while and what kept us busy, but now I have other needs. I want a more all encompassing point of view and not just read about the finer points of relationships.
Maybe that is what keeps me from reading, this distaste to fall into repetition and the sense that I have read it all. It may be a good idea to start reading the recommendations of some critics and the reading lists of other people whom I trust to have good sense and good taste. I can check out several newspapers on line n the weekends and see what sort of novels are talked about in the literature sections.
It would also not hurt if I started reading more Dutch language books because, although my Dutch is good, there is always room for improvement and I still make mistakes. This can be very frustrating when I want to talk about a specific issue and I don't know how to use a word and completely blow it. It does hurt your credibility. There are expressions I get wrong too or things I translate straight out of English that lose their impact in Dutch and sound silly.
Are you bilingual and get your languages mixed up?

Half asleep but getting there.

I am sitting here half asleep and I know that if I write something it will be the cure to wake me up completely. I have already had two cups of coffee and they have not done their job yet. I was on Facebook  and could not make sense of it at all and leave no comments that were sensible. Usually, if I do such an inwardly turned thing as write a blog post, I do much better, and quickly gather the scattered bits of my mind together to form a cohesive whole. I can do a job that requires no immediate interaction and is of a solitary nature.
Outside it is stormy, but I think it is because we are about to have a change in the weather. It is supposed to be much nicer this weekend. On Sunday it will even almost be like a little bit of Summer, but just very briefly. Everyone in the country is looking forward to this day and I hope our hopes are not dashed.
I read the letter from the doctor who did my gastroscopy that I have to take to my GP. It was in an unsealed envelop and clearly not meant for me not to read. There were also color photographs of the procedure. In it, it says that I have mild hemorrhaging gastritis (irritation of the stomach lining) and I can see that on one of the photos. I can also see the three polyps of which one was removed for a biopsy. In the letter it also says that other tissue was taken for a biopsy and to await the results of this.
I thought that was all very interesting and I am clearer on what is wrong with me now. The fact that I have gastritis does not come as a surprise to me, but I thought it had been ruled out. I think that doctor downplayed the facts to me in the talk she had with me after the procedure. She probably thought I was just an ordinary sort of woman who would not understand medical terminology. I understood everything in that letter and will let my GP know this too.
There, I am wide awake now and fully functioning, though not wanting to be disturbed by Tyke who constantly wants me to retrieve his tennis ball from underneath the sofa or the armchair. I think he puts it there on purpose to get attention. I never claimed he was not a smart dog. At least I am awake enough to immediately get the walking stick and get the tennis ball out from underneath before he starts barking. It is not the time of night I want the neighbors to wake up.
It is Saturday and I am oh, so happy about that. I can do as I please again. I have a couple of chores to do and, of course, cultural television to watch in the morning. I must not neglect the intellect.  It needs to be fed like my body does.  

Friday, April 12, 2013

What a relief...

I slept very badly last night because after midnight I was not supposed to eat or drink anything because of that darn gastroscopy. I did wake up in the middle of the night, but it was no fun sitting here if I could not have a cup of coffee so I went back to bed. I spent the night burping up unpleasant things and was surprised because my stomach was empty.
Finally it was late enough in the morning to get up, but I sat in my chair like a mindless creature who could not get her day started at all. In the end I said to myself, "The heck with that, I am having a cup of coffee," and proceeded to make one. That was the saving moment of the day and as I drank it, I became quite normal again and was ever so happy. I could function!
Later in the morning, my sister picked me up and we drove to the clinic and waited until it was time for me to get called for the procedure. I had to put on one of those silly hospital shirts and got an IV needle in my arm. I was asked if I was sober and I lied and said I was, yes, and was wheeled to the room where the procedure was going to be done.
I thought I was really going to be knocked out by the anesthesia, but no such thing happened. I was alert for the whole thing and perfectly aware of what was going on. It really was not the big deal that I thought it was going to be and the whole thing was over in a few minutes. I had not worried about it ahead of time, nor should I have because it was unnecessary.
Back in my room, I got a cup of coffee and something to eat and my sister was soon there. Because it turned out that I was not drowsy at all, I could soon get dressed and we could go to the waiting area and wait there to speak to the doctor.
She told us that there was some inflammation of my stomach lining, but nothing serious and that she had removed a polyp, but that she had not seen anything to be concerned about. She thought my problems were the result of my gastric band because she had seen many people with stomach problems as a result of their gastric bands. She told me to see the doctor who was in charge of that.
Armed with a report for my GP, we left the building and I was greatly relieved that there was nothing seriously wrong with me. It takes a whole load of my shoulders. I have already made an appointment with my GP and the doctor in charge of the gastric band is going to call me on Thursday to discuss it and how I am doing and set a date to have it emptied out more.
That is my story and I am sticking to it.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Living on the edge.

I was in dire need of a cup of coffee,, but didn't realize it, and I sat here slowly collapsing into a helpless heap of woman until I realized that I had to quickly brew a pot. I have had my first cup now and feel a lot more cheerful and energized. I felt so energized that I even walked Tyke and fed both the animals their dinner, which they are chomping down now with much appetite.

The Exfactor and I went to the Russian Exhibit at the museum this afternoon and were pleasantly surprised. The paintings covered two decades of art before the Russian Revolution, and represented a huge movement away from Realism toward a world of Symbolism and Neo-Primitivism and Abstract and Analytical Art. I didn't like everything I saw, of course, but with some of the works I was really taken, especially those of Aristarkh Lentulov and Pavel Filonov. I would hang the work of the first one in my apartment and the work of the second one in a cathedral.

I had forgotten how much I liked going to special exhibits at museums, especially when you've already seen the regular collection, and I want to make it a point to go to more of them. I will have to bookmark the webpage of the museum and sign up for their newsletter. I really can't afford to go, but it is something I will just have to fit into my budget. I think I like it better than going to the movies and I like walking through an exhibit at my own pace and deciding for myself what I think is good. I didn't look at the accompanying literature until we had left the exhibit because I didn't want to be influenced by it.

It was an afternoon well spent and now I can't wait for the next occasion. I will have to wait a bit, of course, because I'm sure there will not be another one right around the corner. At least it will be something to look forward to and I can also keep an eye on exhibits that are put on in museums in other cities not too far away from here that I can reach by train. It's cheaper to travel in the weekends.
Tonight, at midnight, I have to fast until after I have had my procedure done at 11 o'clock in the morning. I know I will have a big stomachache from the hunger and that I will be in dire need of caffeine, but it is all for a good cause.  


It's no shouting match yet...

I am very glad that tonight is not the night that I can not eat or drink anything after midnight, although I do keep thinking that this is. It must be on my mind very much and I have to say that I dread the whole thing and am already fretting about how to best deal with it. I suppose I should not worry about it too much ahead of time, but I do want to be prepared as much as possible. I want to take advantage of every hour that I can eat and drink something and be asleep when I can not, but it will probably not work out that smoothly.
I am dreading this more than the actual procedure itself because I understand that I am not going to remember much of that, nor be aware of it, because of the anesthesia. That is fine and dandy with me because the only thing I am worried about is the outcome. At the same time, I feel that I ought to totally relax because I have no control over it and there is nothing I can do but roll with the punches. That really does feel like the better option and I think that is the attitude I must adopt. Of course, that does not mean that I am a willing victim being led to the slaughter.
I must not worry so much and now is the time to talk myself out of it. Worrying is not going to change anything, nor the outcome, and it will only waste precious time that I could use instead enjoying myself. This is not a 'stiff upper lip' attitude which the Dutch are also good at because that is being in total denial. My grandmother was a perfect example of this and I will not be like her. She was completely out of touch with her feelings. Great Dutch Reformed Christian that she was.
I do have to add that, in spite of her stand offish attitude toward her children and grandchildren, I did love my grandmother and could see her finer points. When I was alone with her, which I regularly tried to be, she was a very friendly woman who loved to talk about the past and told me stories about her early courtship with my grandfather who died when he was in his thirties. This left her with three young daughters to raise and a small widow's pension and the pressure of society to marry again, which she duly did.
I may be more like her than I admit to and that would not necessarily be such a bad thing because she was a tough woman and a survivor, but always a lady. I get my high opinion of myself from her. She felt the same way about herself and I am grateful for that.  High self esteem is a good thing to have.
Right, that was a bit of a sojourn but was it not interesting?
I must go back to sleep now.