Saturday, November 30, 2013

Because I don't want to...

The speed with which I try to fall asleep sitting here behind the computer, is equal to the strength of the new medication I took tonight for the pain in my knee and my hip. When the highest dose didn't work, I took a dose and a half and that is almost working perfectly, but it is making me a bit sleepy. It is making me a bit stupid too, because I have to search high and low for something sensible and witty to write and I don't think I am succeeding yet.
It is a pain medication with morphine in it and I thought when I took it, that I was going to feel pretty darn good quickly, but no, I didn't. I waited at least two hours before I took more of it, not wanting to overdose. I think I need not have worried about that at all. Apparently, I can take a lickin' and keep on tickin'.
My GP wouldn't write the prescription for it without having seen me, so I had to walk over there this afternoon. I wasn't quite hobbling. The Exfactor was kind enough to pick it up from the pharmacy. I do have to say that it is a relief to be almost pain free and I am taking full advantage of it by staying up. I want to enjoy this sensation as much as possible. It has been a long time since I have felt this good.
I had not planned on being out of commission and did not get to do the groceries. The Exfactor is going to do them in the morning and the animals and I had to improvise our dinner tonight. We made do with what there was in the cupboards and refrigerator and freezer and we actually managed alright, but I think Gandhi got the short end of the stick because she had to eat dried kibbles for the first time in a long while and she does not deal with them very well. Tyke had some of my pasta, although that is not his favorite food. I am sure we will all be glad to get back to our normal diets tomorrow.

Friday, November 29, 2013

It's not working!

I always thought coffee was good at waking me up no matter what time of day or night it was, but the cups I am having now work more like a sleep elixir than the wide awakening embrace the caffeine is supposed to be, so I am having toast instead. Yes, I am having toast to get animated and happy, although I now think it may make me more sleepy and I will have to quickly drink more coffee or go back to bed, silly me.
Life can get complicated in the middle of the night when you are stubborn and single-mindedly want to stay up at all costs. On top of that, I am having a hot flash and had to take off my good old bathrobe to get comfortable and cool. Thank goodness that works immediately and I don't have to take anything else off. I do want to stay presentable in case of an emergency and not have to run out of the apartment half naked. One always has to be prepared and never loose one's decorum.
I have the pleasurable task of doing the week's groceries to look forward to, although my list is on the short side. That is because the Exfactor is getting all the fresh vegetables for me, including the potatoes which I am planning on eating most of the week instead of pasta. I discovered a great way to fix the Italian style vegetables with the potatoes and eat like a queen. The only problem is, that you start to look like a queen too and almost have to start counting your calories, but I said 'almost.' I have not yet lowered my eating standards to include this activity.
Gandhi has evolved to eating less delicate and more ordinary canned food, although it still has to be of a good quality, but would I feed her anything less? At least now she does no longer have the most exquisite of tastes and she has been eating so well that she is actually putting on weight. This is a good thing because she was too skinny. Someone who is definitely not skinny is Tyke and I am going to put him on a diet again and hope it works this time. I do worry about his health and I hate to think what the consequences can be of his overweight. I think it is ignorance on my part and mollycoddling him that has brought us to this. I have not thought this through well enough before and have been in denial.
My yoga teacher has been kind enough to send me a set of exercises that I can do while sitting in an upright chair. That way at least the top half of me stays in shape. I thought it was a kind thing of him to do and I am planning on going back to yoga as soon as I have the surgery and the recuperation period behind me. Hopefully this time I will get more guidance in that. I heard from my Tai Chi teacher who told me I was missed and so was my particular brand of humor, which is a nice thing to hear. I didn't realize it caught on, being so subtle.  
I looked into Aqua Gym for 55 Plusses, but it costs 45 Euros a month and that is just a bit too much for me. I will look up You Tube videos on the hand and arm movements of Tai Chi and learn to do them well. I will also do the morning exercise program on television, but not do the exercises I have trouble with now and concentrate on the top half of my body, while not completely neglecting my legs.
I am not even going to say that these are my intentions, because the road to where is paved with them? 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

What's the protocol?

I saw my GP yesterday, about the continuous pain in my left knee I have had since I tried to lift Tyke on the examination table at the vet in August and nearly passed out from it. At the time, I saw the orthopedic surgeon to ask him if I had hurt my newly operated on meniscus, but he said no, I had just contused my knee. I told my GP the history of my knee and she examined it carefully, and very quickly came to the conclusion that I had a torn meniscus, maybe one on each side of my knee. She then looked up my medical file in her computer and found the orthopedic surgeon's notes on the surgery and saw that he had operated on both meniscuses in my knee, which is something he had not told me.
This means I have to go through the whole process of getting a MRI scan and seeing a new orthopedic surgeon and having surgery again, but this time I will not go to the clinic I went to the first time and get helped sooner. I will probably go to the University Hospital here and deal with a waiting list, or go to one of two hospitals close by in the region.  If my sister is willing to drive me there, which I think she is, then I will do the latter.
I did the yoga class, and the Tai Chi, because I thought I was just dealing with osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia and could not figure out why my problems were getting worse. Both my hip and my knee were constantly bothering me and a lot after I had been to those classes. Now I realize, of course, that these exercises were the worst I could have done and I will have to stop going to those classes immediately.  I am upset about this because I really felt that I had found something very good for my body and mind to do, but this turns out not to be the case.
I am now looking into Aqua Gym, which is something especially for people over 55. The only problem is that it involves buying a pass to the indoor swimming pool complex and I am not sure of the rates yet. I have to find that out today. I am also looking into a Mindfulness training which also involves some yoga, but more of the meditative kind. At least I would get to use my yoga cushion and yoga mat.  
I have got to consider my options carefully and Rome was not built in one day. I am sure I will find the right thing.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A different world...

Since I have quit smoking tobacco and switched to an electronic cigarette, the way I experience reality has changed a bit and I find it difficult to write a post for this blog. I don't really know what, at any given moment, is the most true about me and what are the most important things to write down. In the end, I think nothing much really is and, unless I have some sort of a big adventure one of these days, I don't see me sharing a heck of a lot. All the little details that I always went on about, don't seem to really matter anymore.

I have to adjust to life with less nicotine and no tar and other chemicals. My brain doesn't know what is happening to it. My body is getting used to it also.

This is no longer a roller-coaster ride.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Starting a new day.

Unbeknown to me, I had bought a different blend of Douwe Egberts coffee the last time I went to the store. All I knew was that I liked the coffee I was drinking since then very much and I just took the trouble of looking on the package to find out what it actually was. It is called 'balanced and round' and those are the perfect names for it I feel like I finally have the perfect cup of coffee without any of the bitterness that regular blends have. It makes a mild yet satisfying pot of coffee and I feel that I can drink it all day long without getting jittery. And no, I am not a spokeswoman for Douwe Egberts. I just like this coffee very much and I feel that you should try it if you get the opportunity. I think life is finding out all about what your pleasures are and then taking care that you satisfy them. Within reason, of course.
This morning I have Tai Chi and, after missing last week's class, I am very much in the mood for this one. I think Tai Chi bothers my hip less than yoga does, so I am less reluctant to go do the exercises wholeheartedly. I have a bit of a problem doing the exercise where I have to balance on one leg, so I have to hold on to something, otherwise I topple over. Standing on my toes is another tough one, but I am getting better at it every week. I think that is both a physical and mental ability. I grow more sure of myself every time I go there and am less afraid of making a fool of myself. Laughter is the best medicine and the best you can do is laugh at yourself when you don't quite make it.
The Exfactor was kind enough to bring over another book for me to read after I finished the one I borrowed from him before. Most of my books are novels and I am not really in the mood for reading them. He brings me whatever library book he has of the many he thinks I might find interesting and his interests are broad and coincide with mine. When it comes to that, we are a nearly perfect match. The last book I read taught me a lot about early Roman culture and Celtic life and I am now a fountain of information. I am now reading one which has the background stories on the big issues that made the news over the past decades, which is also very enlightening and in turn makes me want to pursue all sorts of other things. Reading arouses my curiosity.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The pleasures of life.

There is almost nothing quite as nice as having the pleasure of sitting down with a cup of coffee, despite claims I may have made to the contrary in the recent past, but I think what enhances that pleasure is that my hip hurts much less when I sit down. The pain that I do feel now is so much smaller in comparison to what I felt before, that I laugh at it and say to myself. "Is that all?" But having had to do without coffee for nearly 24 hours, does make me appreciate that beverage and double the pleasure with which I drink it.
I also had the pleasure of eating pasta with four kinds of vegetables for dinner without bacon cubes, which I have stopped adding, because with the amount that I did, I was steadily gaining weight. I didn't mind gaining some weight, but I was in danger of becoming chubby and my down jacket was getting a bit tight on me. Since that is my favorite jacket, I couldn't allow a situation like that to develop and I had to do what I dreaded doing and that was pay attention to the fat content of what I was eating. But I suppose that is only sensible if I want to prevent clogged arteries and not die of a heart attack.  A person can be in denial for only so long.
Because of my relative bad eyesight, I had been wearing my varifocals inside all the time, but always took them off when I went out because I was too vain to be seen with them in public. Although my glasses are very modern, or maybe because of that, I always felt that my face was hidden behind them and that you first saw my glasses and then you saw me. I also felt that I was looking at the world as if I was behind bars and constantly felt that I had to take them off. Sometimes I did take them with me if I knew I would have to read the small print on a label in the store, but I very seldom buy packaged food, so that didn't happen very often.
A few days ago, I suddenly remembered the existence of a pair of glasses I got when I had the same problem with the modern pair I had before this. My sister helped to pick that modern pair out and I was influenced by her taste, which is more daring than mine. I wore that pair reluctantly also, or not at all, and one day I got fed up with it and the Exfactor and I went to Specsavers and picked out a more modest pair, which I was happy with, but which my sister did not like at all. I ended up having very ambiguous feelings about this pair of glasses.
I got this modest pair out of the drawer they were in and put them on and liked them immediately, so it goes to show you that I should have listened to my own instincts all along. I put them on in the morning and don't take them off until I go to sleep at night and my eyes are thankful for it. I suppose you have to say, "What the hell!" to fashion and wear what you are most comfortable with. These glasses are not quite the right prescription, but they will do for now until I can get some new ones. I will take the Exfactor with me when I go to pick out the new pair because I trust his judgment. I have to have my eyes checked once a year because I have cataracts and it is possible that I will need to have stronger ones.
And that was the saga of my varifocals.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

All the breaks in the world.

Early this morning I did the grocery shopping and I came home with both carrier bags and two big shopping bags filled with groceries. I was literally out of everything and really needed to stock up on a lot of things, but by shopping carefully, I managed to stay within the budget. The Exfactor had done me a big favor and bought the fresh vegetables I needed at another store yesterday that always gets awards for the quality and relatively low prices of its produce. I put four kinds of vegetables in my pasta and have a delicious and nutritious meal that way. I don't ever feel the need to eat anything else because this kind of food agrees with me so well. That is saying something after all the trouble I went through.
I also bought some pastries that were on sale and the Exfactor is coming over to help me eat them later this afternoon. I did think we deserved an award for always being so good and conscientious about everything we do. I mean, we are ecologically aware people who treat mother earth well and pick our food carefully and always recycle and use our bikes. We do deserve a treat every once in a while.
I had run out of coffee yesterday afternoon and, although I didn't turn into a grouch, I was not performing at my best level either and was glad that I could make a pot of it when I came home from the store. That goes to show you that I can't quite go without coffee completely, although I may need less of it. I actually thought I could do without it completely and was ready to start drinking tea exclusively, but that turned out to be a false assumption, because tea doesn't do a thing for me, not even when I put sugar in it. At the same time, I can't say that the caffeine in the coffee is making me so energized that I'm climbing the stairway to heaven. It is not as bad as all that.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fooled again...

I always think I am wide awake when I get up in the middle of the night after a few hours of sleep, but as usual, I am fooled again tonight. Once I sit behind the computer, all my best intentions about what I was going to do there fly out the window and I start to nearly fall asleep slumped in my chair. This happens even as I drink my first cup of coffee, and if I'm really in bad shape, I can forget everything and go straight back to bed to continue sleeping.
That is not really what I want as a rule, because I like being up in the middle of the night. It is when I am in the best mood and when I feel that I have the best opportunity to be most like myself without all the restrictions that the daylight brings. I guess I do have to hide my light under a bushel, or is that not how the saying goes? I suppose what I want to say is, that I feel safe in the darkness and more at ease with who I am and less worried about what anyone else thinks about that.
I know, it is silly and it should not bother me at all as a finely tuned adult, but I do admit to some weaknesses in my character and this is one of them. The other ones I can not think of right now, but I am sure that they lie within my grasp in my memory if I really want to get a hold of them. I will not try too hard for now, lest I damage my ego too much. Egos can after all be fragile things and we don't want to put them at risk unnecessarily.
While I sit here and write this, I still am not completely coherent and the strangest thoughts enter my head and threaten to take off with me. They are like having mini dreams happen in a few seconds time and  getting me on the wrong train of thought. I must say that I do some very imaginative thinking then and wonder about the problems I solve and if they are worth remembering and putting to use? Or is it just like when you are smoking weed and they just look like they are really insightful? I think the latter may be the case.
I have just shocked myself into wakefulness and comprehension when the computer made a funny noise and I thought, "Oh my god, what if I have to buy a new one!" It has been making funny noises these past few weeks and I hope to shout that it doesn't mean it is about to break down. I do have a little laptop as a backup and could easily use it once I figure out how to get it online. I suppose I really don't have anything to worry about and should not do too much of it ahead of time. Each problem has a solution if you think about it logically and stay calm. If I can't work it out, there is bound to be someone else who can.
That goes to show you that there is nothing like the fear of a real life problem to wake you up out of a semi-slumber and that a rush of adrenaline will chase away any last vestiges of sleep. It is nice to know that, when called upon, I can function in case of an emergency. The only problem I have now, is that I feel like eating cake with fresh fruit and freshly whipped cream, and where am I going to find something like that at this hour? A craving like that must be the result of the adrenaline rushing through my body. I am glad that the supermarket is closed, though, to prevent me from gaining any more weight than I already have. I would not be so foolish as to crave this and go buy it during the day when it is open.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

What a relief!

My GP must have been right about me having bursitis in my hip, because since I have had the shot in it, it has steadily gotten better to the point that I now only feel about half the pain that I did before. It is such a pleasure to be able to move around so much more easily. To celebrate that fact, I had a lazy day yesterday, but in reality, it was a Saturday like any other and it was only vacation time in my head because of my attitude. I still had a nice enough day and I felt like I lazed around when I actually got a bunch of things done, but I did them with so much nonchalance, that it seemed that they weren't at all important. I think it is an attitude that I should adopt more often, and as a matter of fact, I think I will make it my mode of operation from now on. It is a much easier way to exist and function.
Since I have switched from real tobacco to electronic cigarettes, I have been living in a different reality. I am now not inhaling as much nicotine or all those other nasty chemicals and it is a whole new experience for my body and brain. I could tell you the multitude of benefits this has, but you can well imagine them yourself. Not only that, but I smoke very little and go for long periods of time without even taking a drag, and I think in a couple of days, I will switch to the nicotine patches. I have noticed that my mood is a lot more steady, but that I also spend more time daydreaming, not that this is necessarily a bad thing. Before this, I was very alert and very much on the ball, and I am not so now. Maybe that is for the best and I just have to accept it. This is how I originally was to start out with and why not go back to my original self?
As a result of not inhaling all that nicotine and tar and those other chemicals, I am also drinking a lot less coffee, although I am not used to that yet and still fix too much when I make a new pot in the coffeemaker. Needless to say, I end up pouring out a lot of coffee, because I do not like it heated up. I already drink it half decaf and I think it may be better if I get off it completely, or maybe just have one cup in the morning and let that be it. I will see what I want to do about that. I will probably let that take its natural course while my desire and need for it lessen.. I think that I am even to the point now that I prefer drinking ice cold fruit juice. I suppose I am really learning first hand the lesson about putting chemicals in your body or not. Your body is your temple.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Taking a chance...

I think I can safely start to write this blog post and know that I will finish it in a timely manner and not do a rushed job like I did yesterday when I was overtaken by pain in my hip. By now the shot that I got in it yesterday seems to have done its job and I really do have less pain in my hip and I am able to sit behind the computer for a longer time. It is not just a wishful thought that I have that will not come true, but just to be sure, I took a paracetamol with codeine just now. I do want to make my position secure and not have to bale out half way through.
Because I was starting to wake up feeling cold and sore in the middle of the night, I put the extra summer duvet on my bed last night on top of the regular one and I must say that it made a heck of a difference. I didn't feel that the cold damp weather from outside was creeping into my bones and I woke up toasty warm inside my cave of bedcovers.
It was the Exfactor, who was here yesterday, who gave me that idea. I had tried to get warmer by putting the gray blanket on top of the duvet, but found that it only helped a little bit and that I was still waking up in the middle of the night feeling cold and uncomfortable. With my aching joints, I feel I have to get all the heat I can get and I was proved right and found out that the extra heat really does have comforting qualities.
I had thought about getting an electric blanket, but I like the weight of the extra duvet on top of me, and I think that is one of the things that was missing all along. I wanted to feel that I was encased by something that had its weight pushing down on me, making me feel safe and secure besides feeling warm. I very well remember the heavy, quilted, green bedcover that I slept under when I was a kid and how much I liked its weight and warmth.
I am slightly stoned from the codeine that just hit my system and I will drink some extra coffee that ought to straighten out my head because I do not like this feeling. It was the last pill like it that I had and maybe that is for the best. I do dislike mind altering drugs, although with that I do not mean recreational drugs. I think if you want to take those, you are welcome to. I just don't like something mind altering as a side effect of a medicine.
There, I have written a whole blog post and survived it with only a limited amount of pain in my hip. I think that is pretty darn good.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Per chance...

It is possible that I am going to be able to sit here for a while and actually write a blog post, which I have not been able to for these past two days because of my bum hip. I went to the GP with it this morning, and after examining me, she gave me a shot in it, which was a mixture of anti-inflammatory and pain medicine. It has started to work to the point that I am a bit more comfortable now, but just to be sure I have also taken a paracetamol with codeine along with my regular paracetamol. I think I am also sore from where I had the shot, so it is hard to keep the different kinds of pain apart.

On Monday I have to have an X-ray made of my hip to see if I have osteoarthritis in it, and feeling the way I do, I bet that I do. Sitting behind the computer still is the hardest thing to do and I will keep this short. I think I am going to have to lie down as a matter of fact, because that will be the only way I will really be comfortable.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


It took several cups of coffee and two slices of bread with Nutella to get me in a functioning mode, but now that I am, I can finally write that blog post that I have been putting off. I started writing one several times, but always deleted it because I thought the subject matter was not really important enough to finish the post and save it and publish. I'll have to see if it is in any way different now. The proof will be in the pudding, which will be the final product.
Yesterday morning I did not feel at all like going to yoga and I had to really motivate myself to get on my bike and go there. When I was almost there, I felt like turning around and going back home where it was cozy and warm. Once I walked into the gym, I decided to change my attitude and make the best of it and to be as positive as I could be. There is no sense in being somewhere and not taking full advantage of what is offered.
Luckily, yoga's first attempt is to relax you and get you into the proper state of mind as soon as possible, and that is what happened. One of the warm up exercises is called 'greeting the sun' and until yesterday I had never been able to complete it because of my bum knee. Yesterday, to my great surprise, I was able to do the whole exercise and not once, but several times in succession. I had taken extra paracetamol before I left at the suggestion of my GP, and this may have helped.
I was so proud of myself, that the rest of the class seemed as easy as pie, even though it wasn't and new exercises were introduced that were tough. Sometimes my shoulders hurt so bad, and then the instructor said, "Hold it 20 more seconds," and I did, but don't ask me how. There are always one or two exercises that I am unable to do, but that is not bad for a class that lasts an hour and a half.
I can't sit behind the computer for a very long time like I used to. I get pain in my left hip if I sit here for a while and it is very uncomfortable. I do take extra paracetamol for that also, but the best thing to do is to go lie down in bed when the pain gets to that point. It's the main reason why I have stopped spending so much time on the internet.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

I'll have some of that.

I fell asleep over my book with my glasses on my nose and the bedside lamp on and woke up several hours later because I was aching all over. It's not a good idea not to settle into a comfortable position first before you go to sleep. I felt like a crippled old woman when I got up out of bed, but now that I have been up for a bit, I must say that my body is almost regaining its 'youthful suppleness.' I did have to take a paracetamol because I didn't trust the process to quite happen naturally and did feel that I had to help it along. I really think a soak in a hot tub is warranted, but since I only have a shower, I'll have to forget about that idea.
I must say that I am hooked on taking showers and letting the hot water run over my body. I have it as hot as I can stand it and love how it makes me feel like I have no aches and pains anywhere. I am loathe to get out from under it, but do have to think about the energy bill and not stay in there longer than I have an excuse for. Despite all the different shower gels and bath sponges, I love how an ordinary bar of Dove soap and a plain washcloth get me clean and good smelling, although I do want to go to a good shop and investigate some other bars of scented soap. I like how they don't require me to wear any perfume at all.  
I haven't had any kind of perfume in almost a year and I can't say that I miss it very much. When I did still wear one, it had gotten to the point that I couldn't tell myself if I was wearing one, although the clothes in my closet always did smell like it. None of them do anymore because they have all been washed since that time and now they just smell like freshly washed laundry, which in the end, I really prefer. Which reminds me that I have to go to that extreme discount store on Monday and buy laundry detergent and fabric softener and whatever other kind of good deal I can get. Buying these things at the supermarket is always too expensive.
I am going to my sister's house for coffee in the afternoon and later we are going to an exhibit of different artists in a church not too far from here. I don't know if I should get my hopes up, because my sister didn't know if these artists were professionals or amateurs. Maybe I better look up something else to do instead in case it turns out to be a disappointment.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Privileged problems...

By 6 o'clock this morning, I was already in the shower soaping my hair, and ten minutes later I had a load of laundry started in the washing machine. By 7 o'clock, I realized that the anti-inflammatory pill I had taken instead of the usual one I was out of, was not working and I called the doctor's post at the hospital and asked them to fax a prescription for the usual ones to the nearest pharmacy to me that was open. They promised to do so and said I could pick the pills up in an hour. In the meantime, I walked Tyke in the early morning chill and wind, and had whatever vestiges of sleep there were left in me, blown out of my head. The day was starting out well anyway.
I got dressed very warm and hopped on my bike for the trip to the pharmacy where I also bought a box of paracetamol with scraped together coins that I found all over the place. I took an anti-inflammatory pill when I got home and settled down with a cup of coffee and waited for the pill to work while I watched some early morning television. Some time later, I stopped worrying about the pill working and I realized that it was and hung up the laundry and stripped the bed so I could put the next load in the machine. Tyke 'helped' me put clean sheets on the bed.
I also had to go to my GP for my flu shot and went there at the appointed hour and there was a steady stream of people going in and out and the two doctors stood at the ready with the flu shots. I bared my arm and the doctor jabbed it and out came a trickle of blood. "Oh," she said, "are you on blood thinners?" "No," I said, "I always bleed profusely." I told her that it was okay and that my blood had been checked and she frowned when she heard that, but the next victim was already standing behind me with a bare arm, so that was the end of that.
I had a day of household chores, interesting television programs, and an enormous afternoon nap. All were equally enjoyable and necessary and I found out about two older Dutch poets that I want to know more about. If only I was rich, I would buy every book I hear discussed on television on the weekends and I would soon need another bookcase. Not that it would be such a horrible thing and I already know where I would place it. Besides, isn't there always room for another bookcase? It's the books that are so costly and best gotten second hand if you can find them. Luckily, at they sell second hand books and they have a good selection.
I think Tyke wants my attention and he can't come sit on my lap like Gandhi does. He is trying in all sorts of other ways to get it and I am going to have to spend some time with him. He is just like a little kid who needs his quality time with his 'mom.'

Friday, November 08, 2013

That's what I am planning.

I am planning on sleeping through the night and that is not all. I also aim to sleep late in the morning because there is no good reason to get out of bed early. I don't have to be at the doctor's office for my flu shot until 11 am and Tyke is always slow getting started and doesn't mind what time I get up. I think it is an excellent plan to go straight back to bed when I have gotten up to go to the toilet in the middle of the night, and I hope I have enough sense to do it because I feel that I need lots of sleep.
I have put one of the hand woven gray blankets on top of the duvet and am extra warm now. As a matter of fact, I have to sleep with less bed clothes on and that is very comfortable. Tyke and Gandhi both like the fact that the extra blanket is on the bed en enjoy sleeping on top of it. The bed is crowded, but cozy.
I had my usual hour of Tai Chi this morning and tried to be graceful and coordinated again, although I have a heck of a time being so. We had to walk the length of the gym using certain steps, while moving our hips a certain way, and at the same time gracefully move our hands about. Doing three things well is two too many for me and I constantly got mixed up and only did one well, or sort of adequate. I am going to have to look up the You Tube video of how to do this walk well and practice a lot at home.
I went to visit the Exfactor afterwards, but he had forgotten that I was coming and was still at the library, so I went home. I did ask him if he wanted a lot of slices of cheese in trade for a jar of Nutella and he agreed and some time later showed up with one. I haven't tried it yet and hope it agrees with me, because there may be too much lactose in it, but it is worth the try. One of these days, I am going to buy lactose free milk and buy a package of Dr. Oetker instant banana pudding and make that for myself. I am already looking forward to it.

Stirred, not shaken.

It's hard to believe it's November already, though we do indeed have true autumn weather with very dreary skies and much rain. The temperatures aren't too bad right now and yesterday it actually got up to 14 degrees Celsius, so I can't complain about it being too cold. I still have the bedroom windows slightly open and have not had to turn the thermostat up except for the occasional hour when it got a bit colder at night. I am trying not to use the heater at all so I will stay under the estimated energy use and get money back at the end of the year. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this will be so.
Having had to walk Tyke in the rain, has me drying him off with a big towel every time we get home and he absolutely loves this. I think he doesn't want me to stop rubbing him all over with it at all and would like me to do it for about an hour or so every time. Yesterday evening, when I was sitting in my armchair, I decided he was not dry enough yet and much to his delight got the towel out again. He was in seventh heaven while I proceeded to finish drying him the best I could. His fur needs to be trimmed, so it is a bit harder to dry, especially his paws, which like with any spaniel look humungous now.
I borrowed a book from the Exfactor that he got from the library, and in it the historical and archeological facts of the Asterix and Obelix strips are investigated in a very thorough but easy to read way, so you can enjoy finding out about them. Real research has been done into checking the facts, so you really do learn something about the Celts living in France in 50 BC and the Romans that conquered them. It turns out that the writer and the cartoonist of the strips were really very accurate in portraying that part of history. It's an interesting book to read, but it would be better if I didn't fall asleep so quickly over it at night in my bed.
I have had my after effects from eating toast with cheese and can't eat it again until after I have been to Tai Chi this morning. I keep telling myself they were worth it, but I am only half convinced and think I should eat something different on my toast. I am seriously considering buying a jar of Nutella.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

What I am not...

One thing I am not, and that is hypomanic, but like my psychiatrist says, "whatever that is supposed to mean," because he is not one for using labels. It is maybe one way to quickly describe a state of mind, but it does put you in a box that is very restrictive and may be difficult to get out of. Let's just say that I am not in an excited state of mind and feeling pretty calm and settled. At least I don't have to live up to some description and rules that label my present attitude. It suffices to say that I am. Period.
Yesterday was my daughter's birthday, but when I was at the grocery store, I was so busy sticking to the shopping list, that I didn't think about getting myself a pastry in honor of her birthday. It would have been the perfect excuse to and now I have let that opportunity go to waste. I will have to wait to eat a piece of pie until the first week of December when it is my sister's birthday. I will try to have two pieces then, if she will let me get away with it.
I did make myself an excellent dinner and I am so happy that I can fix whatever I want to eat without having to take anyone else's wishes into account. Although if I did live with someone, I would probably make them eat whatever I wanted to fix, or have them make their own meal. I am the kind of person who, when I like something, can eat it over and over again and never get tired of it. I will improve on the dish and it will evolve, but basically it will stay the same. This is especially true when it agrees with my stomach.
For some reason that I can not fathom myself, I bought two packages of slices of 48+ cheese, not giving one thought to my lactose intolerance until I got home. I simply had a hunkering for toast with cheese and gave into the urge to buy the cheese because it was inexpensive. I now have a dilemma, but I think I will eat the cheese anyway and make sure I don't eat it on days that I have to go to yoga or Tai Chi, because that would be a bit of a problem. Of course, if I ate it on the day before, I would still have a problem. It's an awful thing when I am not thinking straight.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Getting over the blues.

I had a bad case of the blues on Monday after a couple of days of being emotionally wobbly. I felt a bit better by Tuesday after talking it over with the Exfactor and my sister and also being allowed to cry on their respective shoulders. I felt a lot better today and almost canceled the appointment I had with my psychiatrist because I thought I was in such good shape that I didn't need it. I felt that I could take on the world again, but was smart enough to know that therein lurked the danger of ending up in the opposite mood and that soon I'd start feeling like I was the Empress of my own realm.
Luckily, my psychiatrist knew what to do and had me participate with him in a metaphorical story in which all the different aspects of me got to play a role. Soon the side of me that was the most sensible, and resided in the middle ground, came to the foreground and that's the one that has been in charge since then. My psychiatrist showed me that I don't have to flee into extreme behavior, but that I can take little bits of each and still hover somewhere in the middle where it is comfortable. The real art of being me, will be to one day do that without medication.
I didn't wake up until 8 o'clock this morning, although I tried to be briefly coherent last night after I went to bed real early. I was so surprised when I looked at the alarm clock and saw what time it was, but I felt real good and hardly needed the coffee to wake me up. I had it anyway, don't get me wrong, because what would life be like without caffeine? I got a refill on my melatonin tablets and they were a different brand than usual. It may be my imagination, but I think they work better than the ones I had before, because I slept much better and sounder than I usually do.
I checked my bank account and saw that I had just enough money to go grocery shopping one more time, so I did that after I very carefully made a shopping list so I wouldn't spend too much money. I decided not to wait until Friday in case the money would no longer be there. It was raining steadily when I went to the store, but I was going for a good cause, so it was worth it. I stuck very close to the list and got everything I needed, and when I had to pay the total at the cash register, it came within 12 cents of what there was left in my bank account. I thought that was pretty darn good.
And now I have to make dinner because I am very hungry. I could eat the proverbial horse. If there is one thing I have, it is a good appetite. It is a good thing that my stomach is so agreeable to the food I eat now.  

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

A bump on the road.

I had, what you may call, a bad day yesterday, when I felt that my life really had no purpose and that in the end, it didn't amount to much. I had lost my usual cheerfulness and could only see the negative side of things and it suddenly seemed that I had no goals to live for. I wondered why I was doing my best all the time if this was what it came down to, and if there was not a lot of futility to my life. I didn't see much reason to continue with the whole thing, because I could not see much light at the end of the tunnel.
I don't know if I feel very different right now, but I seem to be sort of numb at the moment and unable to care a heck of a lot. It may be that I have shut off some of my feelings because they are too intense and too bothersome. I can not make what I wish for happen and what I face does not please me. I do feel that I have to straighten my shoulders and pick up where I left off and make the best of things because nobody is going to come by with a magic wand and make the changes in my life that I wish for.
I suppose acceptance is the magic word, although I do feel that I have to fight for what I want even if the outcome is not at all in my hands. But that means I would go down kicking and screaming and that is not the kind of scenario I have in mind either because in the end, it would only hurt myself. I suppose after having stated my case, graciously accepting my fate is the only solution. Maybe I don't own enough Buddhist qualities yet to be able to do that unconditionally. I do have a streak of stubbornness running through me that is a mile deep.
I have unresolved issues that I am going to have to work on that probably have not seen the light of day enough. These unresolved issues are kept in their place by a lid that I hold down with all my might while I normally keep up my cheerfulness, but come to a boil when I feel down. The pressure cooker like strength with which they try to escape gives me lots of cause for grief and awakens old feelings of guilt and shame, and they are obviously issues that need to be addressed. Because I am changing therapists right now, I don't know who the person is going to be who will have the pleasure of guiding me through that.

Monday, November 04, 2013

In a funk...

There have been times when I have been happier than I have been lately and I have to admit, when I stop and think about it, that I am in a bit of a funk. I have noticed it especially these last few days, when a nagging little voice keeps telling me that something is not quite as comfortable emotionally as it should be. This nagging little voice is an almost constant companion now and I find it hard to ignore like it tried to do at first. I think I will have to acknowledge its presence and pay attention to what it has to tell me. I do hope that it is not the harbinger of the black dog that is lurking in the background.
Maybe writing about what makes me feel down will help me feel better, although exactly what is making me feel down is a mystery to me and would be hard to describe. There isn't anything in particular that is making me feel so, but just a general sort of malaise and a feeling of unease. I feel that I have shifted off center and that I am not in balance and that I am wobbly at the base. My foundations haven't been shaken, it is nothing as serious as that, but I am not solidly walking the middle ground anymore.
Walking on firm ground is what I always try to do because it is the safest route for me, what with my easily upset equilibrium. I have drifted off to a very soft shoulder and am in danger of toppling over or simply getting stuck. I want none of that and have to get back to the middle of the road and I aim to get me there through some very logical thinking. I will try to reason my way back to safety by being as objective as I can be.
It is very possible that my feeling down now is a reaction to me having been hypomanic before and that I am like a pendulum swinging between two extremes. This is called 'rapid cycling' and something my psychiatrist warned me about the last time I saw him. The thing to do, is to be aware of this tendency and to prevent the extremes from getting out of hand, which I think I am more capable of on the depressive side than I am on the manic side. If you look at it as a purely mechanical process, it is not so complicated and somehow makes sense.
I wonder how much I was walking the middle ground before this anyway and have to air my suspicions that I probably wasn't very much. I have been off kilter one way or the other for a while and walking on a tightrope, so there wasn't really very much of a solid base. The trick is to create that now by incorporating a schedule and structure into my life and by not doing anything out of the ordinary, while at the same time not creating such a boring and predictable life that it will drive me nuts with boredom.
You see, I thought there was a logical answer, or at least an explanation that I was able to understand and work with. When it comes to psychological solutions, I am a craftswoman and not an artist. I don't need the finesse and the lofty inspiration, but the patience and the basic skills.  

Sunday, November 03, 2013

The whimsy of nature...

Judging by the weather it is now, I will not be going anywhere in the morning because it is pouring rain outside and the wind is blowing quite a bit too. Even Tyke didn't want to stay out there too long when he had to go out back to do a piddle. I had to do a piddle myself and was too stubborn to go back to bed and continue sleeping. It seemed like a very boring way to spend the wee hours of the night and I wanted to do something else with my time that would amuse me more.
I always try to convince myself that not sleeping is more exciting than sleeping, and maybe it is so, but I do hope that I am in as good a mood in the morning as I am now. Of course, I do have that god awful pain in my knee and maybe it would be better if I did go lie down in my bed, but I am mentally not quite ready to. I am trying to get as comfortable in this chair as I can, and that means adjusting my weight from one bun to the other very often and stretching and bending my leg a lot. Not that these measures help. It would be too simple if they did.
I was planning on going to the St. Jan's church in the morning, where I also tried to go last weekend, but was thwarted because of the weather, which it looks like I will be again. If you want to look at it critically, you would almost think that my higher power is preventing me from having a religious experience. I will assume that three strikes mean I am out and that I am supposed to approach this area of interest in my life in another way. It could be that I am on the wrong track and that I am not meant to go to a protestant church, no matter how pretty and old it is.
I got some very good stickers in the mail from Greenpeace that I sent away for and I am planning on putting some of them on my suitcase so that I will recognize it easily when I next go some place on an airplane. Having said that, it is my wish that I do soon, but it looks like I will be home for the holidays. I have not yet been invited anywhere, but it is early days and maybe that will change. Just to be sure, I am keeping in mind that I will have to decorate the apartment somewhat for Christmas and one of these days soon, I am going to check what decorations I am going to need.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Pure comfort...

This fresh cup of coffee I am having is doing me much good and little by little, I am recuperating from the nap I just woke up from. Telling myself there is no need to be grumpy does not help much and I really need the caffeine to straighten me out. Until that is the case, I can't pay too much attention to my feelings or my general attitude to life or to myself, for that matter. I know enough to ignore those kinds of emotions, but the fact is that I have them anyway and they are very dominating. The time it takes for the coffee to get done seems very long when I feel that way. This struggle to survive happens every afternoon, so I'm becoming very familiar with the process. Nevertheless, it can be quite intimidating.
The grocery shopping was done early this morning almost as soon as the store opened at 8 o'clock. The fact that there were many trolleys available, and that the aisles were nearly empty of shoppers, made it a pleasant and easy experience, and even though I took my time, I was done quickly and breathed a sigh of relief when I heard what the total was at the cash register. I had managed to stay within the budget and packed my groceries up happily when I got to my bike. I had even found the jar of chopped garlic that I had been looking for for months and that I had even asked help with trying to discover. but that no one could point me to. I found it in the Japanese food section quite by accident. It was as if a higher power led me to it.
I fixed my hot lunch with the usual ingredients, except that I added sieved tomatoes this time because I had a package of that left over. I was not sure how my stomach was going to react to that, but it seems that it was no problem. I am growing a bit uncomfortable with putting bacon cubes in with the fresh vegetables, although I find them delicious, but while I eat them, I have to ignore their source.  I have decided that, after this week, I am not going to eat them anymore and exchange them with mushrooms, which I also like and which also have lots of protein. The bacon cubes are the only meat I eat anymore, so I may as well quit it completely. Besides, they are fattening also and I am already at the right weight.
Having quite forgotten that I have clean laundry in the washing machine, I have to go and hang that up to dry in a minute. Obviously, I will not be hanging that on the clothesline outside because it is pouring with rain. In autumn you can't very well complain about the weather, although I would love to do so and wish for sunny and crispy cold weekends. This is the first of two low pressure systems that reaches us courtesy of England, but it also means that when they come from the west, they aren't awfully cold. I would very much like for it not to freeze and snow this winter, but with the weather as unpredictable as it is nowadays, we can have winter when the season for it is over.
It is awfully dark in the living room with the sky as overcast and gray as it is now and I am going to have to turn on some lights. These are the kind of days that make your energy bill go up. As it is, I have temporarily closed the windows and turned up the heater a little, but that is a short lived luxury and I will soon turn the thermostat down again. It's enough to take the nip out of the air.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Drink a cup of cheer...

In my case, that cup of cheer is a cup of coffee, which I am in desperate need of after just waking up from an afternoon nap. Life sure can be tough when you are in need of caffeine and you are waiting for the coffeemaker to get done dripping and subsequently for the caffeine to enter your system. Any moment now, it should hit my brain cells and start agitating them. I imagine myself turning into a cheerful, witty woman who can't get enough of life, instead of this sad sack of bones that I am now. I sure as heck need help this afternoon, and that never is the best time of the day for me.
I was in much better shape this morning when I went to my Tai Chi class, but as usual had a hard time being graceful and coordinated. It is really funny when I try that, but I do a great job with the warming up exercises and do better than half of the class with hanging in there. At the start of them, I look like I am going to cave in, but then I get my second wind and make it all the way through to the end. And the warming up exercises are not for sissies. You've got to be a tough broad in order to do them and I am surprised that with my osteoarthritis, I do them as well as I do.
I went and had coffee and cookies with the Exfactor afterwards, since I was in his neck of the woods anyway, and found out that he was planning on going to the open air market. I asked him to buy yellow peppers for me and onions, since they are relatively expensive at the supermarket. Not too long after I got home, he was already there with the purchases and I was surprised at how little money he spent on such good looking vegetables. I am going to ask him to buy more for me next week, because I also want garlic and those long red peppers that are spicier. I love the taste of peppers in my pasta and would like to eat as many of them as I can afford and then some.
I eat a hot lunch at 2 pm and then don't need to eat again for the rest of the day. I really eat a large amount of food that can sustain me until it is time to eat breakfast the next morning. I get so hungry during the day that I can't wait until dinnertime to eat a big meal, but I do usually have to take a nap afterwards and sometimes I sleep a bit longer than I had planned and wake up discombobulated. This is a state of affairs which can only be cured by a cup of very strong coffee.
I am awfully thirsty now and am going to have to drink several glasses of ice cold lemonade. My mind is balanced now, but my body is out of whack. It is also time to watch the news and find out what is going on in the world. Not that I will be able to make much difference, but it's good to be well informed.