Monday, March 31, 2014

A wish come true...

My daughter and I have decided that I will go live in Houston when I turn 65 and receive my state pension. I am very excited about this and can't wait now for the intervening years to pass. I will have to be patient and finish living my life here, but in my mind I am already packing my most precious possessions. Knowing that I am only going to be here for about another five years, puts everything in perspective and suddenly I don't worry about a whole lot of things so very much anymore. It is like I have gotten a new lease on life. This is really what I wanted all along.
It is very easy to get lost in all sorts of plans already when I talk about going there, so I have to be careful not to talk about it too much. I have all sorts of time to take care of whatever needs to be taken care of and to think about the sort of life I want to live there. I know it will involve lots of yoga and being a vegetarian and very little politics.
We have set the clock forward one hour and I am glad that we did because I seem to wake up at the proper time in the morning now. I would really like for it to always be summer time, but then I am not in charge of things. The moment I am, I will let you all know and I promise you all easier lives and a chicken in every pot. At least for those of you who eat meat.
Because they were making me so somber and overtired, I have stopped taking the tranquilizers. I think they served their purpose when I needed them, but they were past their function. I took one last one yesterday morning, but felt awful as a result and had to go back to bed out of sheer misery. With a bit of luck, I won't have to take them again for a long time. Luckily, I never get addicted to them.
The weather has been beautiful and will be for a couple of more days. I am already wearing my summer clothes and am expecting a package on Tuesday with a new summer dress. I do have to be kind to myself sometimes.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

On a tropical island

I had a hot flash a while ago that made me wish I was on a windswept tropical island on a white sandy beach with gently lapping waves under the shade of a palm tree with a cocktail in my hand. It is only lack of funds that makes me unable to make this fantasy come true, so looking at it like that, not much stands in my way. Yes, I do always have to stay optimistic and act like anything I want to do is within easy reach. In this way I can allow myself to have any kind of daydream and assume it will come true some day. If it doesn't, it is because the time is not ripe yet.
Until I have that cocktail in my hand, I am having a tall glass of ice cold lemonade and that will do just fine too. It cools me off to the point that I can put my bathrobe on again and that is the whole purpose. That does not mean that I would not like to have some vanilla ice cream, but because it has lactose in it, I will not spend too much time daydreaming about that. It would be a futile activity.
I did just remember to take the next tranquilizer on time before I got in too bad a shape. At least I had the sense not to challenge the reason for taking it and then regretting having done so. At times my talent for illogical thinking even amazes me.
The Exfactor brought over a salmon moat as a surprise for me yesterday and I fixed that for dinner. Tyke and I enjoyed it very much and also the fried potatoes I fixed to go with it. He had bought the salmon on the open air market, but that is not something he will be able to do next week because he works the daytime shift then at his new job. It is an amazing thing that the Exfactor managed to get a job at his age in this time of high unemployment. He is very lucky indeed.
I sleep with less covers over me and the window open so I will overheat less quickly. I have also stopped wearing anything that resembles pajamas. Less is more.

Friday, March 28, 2014


I saw my GP today because lately I have been bothered by night sweats so badly, but I thought it was a bit late in life for me to be in the menopause. Besides, I had a complete hysterectomy when I was in my late 30's because of a bad case of endometriosis. Things just did not add up. I also got hot flashes during the day if I was in a place that was not ventilated well enough and too crowded. 
My GP was a bit puzzled too and called the gynecologist and he explained that some tissue of the endometriosis is probably still in my body and that it is causing hormonal changes and making me now finally be in the menopause. There is not much that can be done about it, but because my hot flashes are so bad at night, the GP will consider giving me a hormone treatment. She will let me know her decision next week.
I wonder if the fact that I am now in the menopause is also the reason why I am having more emotional problems and why I am now having to use tranquilizers. I suppose that is anybody's guess.
Having the night sweats makes sleeping through the night impossible because the sheets and my pajamas get drenched. It is another reason why I get up for a while because I have to deal with the situation.
This is emotionally draining and I am going to bed early. I am tired of there always being something wrong.

The "S" word.

I have waited too long with taking my tranquilizer and now I am all in a tizzy. I am applying all the relaxation techniques that I know, but they pale in comparison to what a tranquilizer can do. It is my sincere hope that the one I just took is going to work quickly and woe is me if it doesn't. What I dislike most about this condition is how insecure I get, but it is also true that this disappears the moment the tranquilizer starts to work, so it has a lot going for it. I have to take one about every six hours in order to feel in the best possible state of mind. They really are a god sent and right now I can't do without them.
I had an odd day yesterday and felt very strange for a large part of it. The world seemed unreal to me and I felt disconnected from it as if I was living in a dream. I felt as if I was floating about a foot off the ground and could not get back down to earth no matter what I tried. I did try to reconnect to everything that was real, but it seems that I needed to go to sleep for a few hours before I could achieve that. Sometimes I exist in a haze and in a world all of my own that has little to do with reality. I think it is a good thing that I don't have any large responsibilities then.
I went to bed early forgetting that I was expecting a package, and I was just dozing off when it arrived. I had to take delivery of it dressed in my tank top and underwear because I was completely caught unawares. The delivery man averted his eyes when he handed the package over in order not to embarrass me. I was so sleepy that I did not open the package but went straight back to sleep and now I still have not opened it. I know what is in it, so it is not going to be too much of a surprise. The only question will be if it fits. There are two summer dresses and capri style leggings in it.
I am a few sizes bigger than I was last year and have had to buy new clothes. I am making my sister and my cleaning lady happy with the clothes that do not fit me anymore because I doubt I am ever going to be that little again. I very much enjoy being able to eat and don't mind being this bigger size. I have stopped growing and settled at this weight and am comfortable at it. I am not poofy or bloated and still am attractive enough. The most important thing is that I like myself.
I have uninstalled Ubuntu because it was nothing but a pain in the neck. I don't know why I had the silly idea to install it in the first place. Windows 8.1 is more than good enough.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Dark chocolate...

The Exfactor was evil enough to bring an orange flavored dark chocolate bar with him for me today, and needless to say, I had to eat the whole thing in about 5 minutes flat right after he left. At least I could contain myself until that time, but I did not want him to see how greedily I ate it. Dark chocolate is my downfall and not any of it lasts for any time at all if it is around me, because it will all be eaten immediately by me until it is all gone. Thank god it was only one chocolate bar and not of whole box of it. I think I have to hang a sign on the front door that says, "Do not bring any chocolate into this apartment." I will just assume that this is it for a while and that my American ex is not going to get any silly ideas like he did last year. 

I thought I was going to have a very serene and non active day, but it turned more interesting than I had planned because I downloaded the latest version of Ubuntu on my computer, but in such a way that I now have both it and Windows 8.1. I felt so good because of the tranquilizers that I was ready to add some excitement to my day. Of course, once I downloaded it, it took all sorts of fiddling and fine tuning with before I was happy with it and I wasted a few precious hours. Not that I had anything else to do. I do try to keep my life somewhat exciting as long as it is within the limits of what is still safe enough and not too crazy. I have no real good reason to do something like this other that that it is possible and it brings a new element into my life.

The Exfactor also did the grocery shopping with a carefully wrought list by me. I put red skinned potatoes on the list because I thought they were on sale, but apparently they were not. They will taste good anyway. My ex mother in law used to make a terrific potato salad with red skinned potatoes, but I am sure they will taste good with my vegetable stew also. Oh yes, that reminds me that I still have to do the dishes before I can cook dinner. My cup runneth over. Oh, the joy of household chores. 

Tyke is ahead of schedule and thinks it is time to go for a walk, but I am not fooled for one little bit. It is true that the weather is nice out there and the sun is shining. I think he is bored with me because I have been preoccupied for such a long time and have been neglecting him. 

I have to get back with my feet on the ground because right now I am floating a foot above it. I think the chocolate is partly to blame. I have to get back in touch with my surroundings and I will have to sit in my armchair for a bit and do nothing but contemplate my navel and visit with myself. Maybe petting Tyke for a while will ground me. A dog is a woman's best friend and there to remind her of what is important. We will go for a walk when I am solidly put back together again. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

In my own damn good time...

Because I am so mellow now, and don't have much of a worry on my mind, I want to take the opportunity of this peaceful hour that I have to spare before I walk Tyke, and write a blog post. It is not that I suddenly have all sorts of subjects to write about, but that I feel like being communicative in a cozy sort of way like when you talk to your best friend over a cup of coffee. I do happen to be drinking one of those and this time with milk in it, which makes it taste extra good and makes my stomach happy too because it is lactose free. All I need now is a chocolate to go with it and I would be real happy, but that is a lot of wishful thinking.
I did have a cup of coffee briefly with my friend M. this afternoon when she took a break between chores, but I did not stay there for a long time because I really wanted to be home in my own environment where I am happiest right now. I am so very much a homebody at the moment, but I give myself permission to be and enjoy sitting in my armchair doing nothing very important at all. That is hard to explain when people ask me what I am doing, but then again, I owe no one an explanation. The fact that I feel at rest and peaceful is good enough for me and that's what they will have to do it with.
It is a bit of a chilly day today and I have the heater on and my bathrobe over my clothes. Needless to say, I am not very much looking forward to taking Tyke out for a walk in a while because it means getting colder than I am now. Of course it will be great to get inside again and I do have that to look forward to, and dinner, which will make me feel nice and warm and full. There are pleasures like that several times in the day. I never mind fixing dinner because the result is so satisfying and I love how I feel afterwards, which is sleepy and full and not at all uncomfortable like I used to when I ate the wrong things.
Tyke is already looking at me longingly, but he is a little bit early and I have to ignore him for now. Going for walks is his favorite activity no matter how often we walk the same route. He just keeps marking the same spots along the way and he always finds some half eaten apples to eat. I am sure it is all very entertaining to him and I do get my outings too and a bit of fresh air. That is why I am so sure that I will always have a dog because I always want to have an excuse to regularly go outside and I don't think I will do that as easily on my own.
Right chilly world, here we come.

To try and try again...

Because I was (and have been) such a stressed human being yesterday morning, I decided to take a tranquilizer and after an hour I felt much better. I thought it was better to inform my psychiatrist and ask him if he objected to me taking one a few times a day because I was always so overwrought. He had been witness to this at our last appointment, so he agreed much to my relief. I ended up taking three of them yesterday and they make a difference between night and day.
I will never again say that I will never take tranquilizers because they are showing their benefits now without any of their bad side effects. I only reap the rewards at this point. I am glad that I don't have to fight the battle of keeping up appearances of sanity anymore, but that I now feel sane. It is such a huge load of my mind that I can't even begin to explain to you. I do indeed have a tranquil mind and it is very welcome after all that awful turmoil.
I also told him of my decision to quit the sessions of the course for bipolar people and he had no objection to that. I would not have changed my mind if he would have. I think I am pretty autonomous in that. I now face an immediate future that is much more manageable and less complicated and I am much more comfortable with it. But that is of course because I take the tranquilizers. Everything is easier with them. I do realize that.
Someone drew my attention to the fact that I may be a Highly Sensitive Person and actually, I have no doubt about that after doing some reading up about it.  It is not a disorder, but something that is part of your character and that you are born with and become more or less of as you grow up. I recognize myself in the description and found the helpful hints useful. The fact that I am, is something that I can keep in mind when dealing with my daily life and the people and events I encounter.
I suppose more than ever it is true that I come with an instruction booklet that especially I have to know by heart. But it is better than having nothing to go by at all.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I am not half the woman I used to be...

I don't know if I have a good enough excuse for it, but I am not going to the course for bipolar people anymore. I already told my psychiatrist yesterday that I might quit it, and by the time I came home, I had made up my mind for sure. After I made the phone call to let the secretary of the person in charge know that I was not going to be there for the next session, I felt a lot better than I have lately and like a load of stress had shifted off my shoulders.
The sessions were too intense for me and confronted me with myself and things of my past that I did not want to be confronted with. This had a major impact on my daily life and I was highly uncomfortable as a result, and that is an understatement. I also do not deal well with changes in my daily schedule and this course was too much of a change to it. It disrupted my life too much, especially because it took place in the afternoon when I do not perform at my best.
I think I like my life back to the dull roar that it is in which everything is predictable and in which I am not exposed to a lot of triggers. I still, in many ways, feel that I am suffering from a burn out and I don't deal well with lots of busyness. I can not cope with a heck of a lot of emotional input. Maybe that is just in my nature and the way I am put together and I will always be that way. It is possible that my life will always have to be lived on a low burner. That is okay, as long as I am aware of that.
I very much feel that I have to come to grips with who I am and I am trying to discover who that is exactly. My psychiatrist says that I worry about that too much and that I should leave that idea alone. Maybe he is right because I do work myself up into a tizzy sometimes.
No, I am not doing all that great right now and I have to try to find my equilibrium again. I feel as though I need to recover from an illness. I will have to wrap up myself in everything that is familiar and comfortable and heal myself.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

When in doubt, drink coffee...

I thought I had slept for a long time when Tyke woke me up, but it turned out to only have been a nap once I could figure out what the real time was on the alarm clock. I was very disappointed, but the worst thing was that I was very discombobulated and could not get my head straightened out. I felt awful and was filled with all sorts of negative feelings that bore down on me heavily and I wanted to be dead for the first half hour that I was up.
Luckily, I had made coffee and drank a couple of cups of it and after a while the caffeine started to work. Now I am not suicidal anymore, although I am not quite back to normal yet, but who's to say what is normal? Let's just say that my thoughts are not so odd that I am doubting my sanity. Maybe it's because I am in temporary fear of losing my sanity that I want to be dead. Having seen my father go mad, it must be something that I am very much afraid of. How is that for a bit of analytical thinking?
I had been having hot flashes while I slept and am having them again now. I am continually taking off my bathrobe and putting it back on again. I have an appointment with the female GP next week to find out if anything can be done for them. I looked them up on the internet, but found no solution. I think it's awfully late in my life for me to be having them and that is why I am going for advice. I really hope I will be given a hormone treatment like I did when I was in my 40's, but I doubt that I will. I think hot flashes in themselves are not enough of a problem for that.
After putting it off for a week, I finally got my paperwork done and visited my online bank account. I had much unopened mail and had become more averse to opening it the longer I put it off. I did that yesterday morning after giving myself a good internal talking to. There are two hitches in the system that I need to take care of in the morning and one of them may take a bit of effort to solve, but I have no doubt that I will. I am after all an optimist when it comes down to it and I do have to keep that in mind.
Speaking of optimism, I assume that I will sleep through the night and wake up to the sound of birds chirping in the morning. They start as early as 4 am and that is way before the sun comes up. I suppose you could say that birds are optimists also.

Things you do for your cultural needs

My sister and I went to the world famous Tefaf Art and Design Exchange yesterday afternoon and I have to say that I got my cultural needs satisfied for the next couple of weeks anyway. Probably longer than that, but the problem was that seeing all that art has made me want to go to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and get another dose of it. There were so many well known artists represented yesterday, that it has made me hungry for more, and now I want to see them organized according to category so I can enjoy them better.
Of all the paintings we saw, there were two that I wanted to take home with me, but I was prohibited from doing so by their large prices. If I could have afforded them, I would have decorated my whole apartment around them and it would have ended up looking a lot different than it does now. It seems that my taste for esthetics has changed overnight by the exposure to good art and I suddenly realized what else could be done if I had the money. It's too bad that no billionaire took interest in me yesterday. I would have been very appreciative of his wealth.
I suppose that you always have to have dreams and wishes in the odd chance that they are going to come true. When I think about the interior of my apartment, I have to remember that I wanted it this way some years ago and didn't think I would end up with it looking the way it does now. A lot of my dreams and wishes did come true. You have to keep in mind how you want something to be and slowly work towards that and keep your final goal in mind. It would help an awful lot if I won the State Lottery, but I guess it is not going to be that easy.
I do think a trip to a good museum is warranted and I will have to talk to the Exfactor about it because he is the perfect person to do this with. He is well enough appreciative of art to spend a day in a museum with and to have a good conversation about it. A person can actually be starved for art and want to wallow in the presence of it. I felt like doing that yesterday, but got an overdose of it and things were not organized in a way that I could get a good enough impression of it.
The most fun we had, by the way, was looking at the paintings of Pieter Brueghel the Younger through a magnifying glass and catching all the tiny details that he had seemed to have painted with a one haired brush. It was an amazing experience.  

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Caring for the imbecils.

I don't want to rehash the details of my life over the last few days, so I will pretend nothing important happened at all, except for what I may mention off hand. I have my sights set on the future, although for now that only involves this weekend, but that is thinking ahead a little bit anyway. It isn't something I do much usually at all, so this is an exception to the rule, living as I do in the moment. I have decided to change my habits a little bit and start anticipating things so as to prepare me better for that which is ahead of me. I don't want to land in the middle of things emotionally unprepared like I have been. I found out that this is one of my pitfalls.
I found out that it is better to anticipate at least up to some point what may possibly happen to you over the next few days or so. To the point that this is known to you anyway. It is all very well to live in the moment, but you do have to have enough awareness of what is coming up in your life. You need to do this in order to mentally and emotionally prepare yourself for whatever situation you are going to face and whatever difficulty this may bring with it. To avoid doing this is to be in denial and to ask for trouble. You don't anticipate to scare yourself, but to arm yourself against unexpected hitches in the system.
Not to change the subject (but really), I have a huge craving for dark, pure chocolate, but I don't have any in my possession. I have been brooding about this for about an hour now and hoped I would get over it, but that has not happened yet. I am going to have to search the cupboards for something sweet to eat to satisfy this craving, because I am sure I just need something sweet. This afternoon, I had a mango-passion fruit smoothie courtesy of the Exfactor, and I found that it took care of my sweet tooth very well. I had just woken up from a nap and discovered that it got me over that low that I always feel afterward just as well as a cup of coffee.
It is my believe that your body tells you what it needs and that you, up to a point, need to listen to it. It usually tells you that it has a shortage of something and that it needs a refill of that. That doesn't mean you should grab a candy bar or a cookie when you need something sweet. The other day I felt a strong need to eat a barbecued T-bone steak, but then I had a delicious tasting dish fixed with chick peas and that took care of that. I probably just needed some protein. When I make the shopping list, I let my instincts guide me when I pick out the food I have to buy. Usually that turns out to be exactly what I need.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Stuff also happens...

Our local elections for city councils are today nation wide and I voted this morning for my second favorite party because the party I wanted to vote for was not running in this local election. Still, I feel good enough about the party I did vote for because they are more than competent enough to do a good job representing my point of view and wishes. I can't wait to find out how well it will do. The outcome and voter turn out will be shown on television tonight and I will be keeping track.
I went to the voting place with my personal helper and Tyke, because it was a good outing at the same time and Tyke still needed his walk. Because I was so hopelessly depressed this morning when I first got up, I had gone back to bed and was still asleep when the personal helper came to the door at 9 am. I was not in any sort of shape to have a conversation at that point, but because of her presence, I did perk up a bit quicker than I normally do. Lately, as a rule, it takes me all morning to come out of my depression and it isn't until about noontime that I am back to 'normal.'
Yesterday, the Exfactor and I went to the course for bipolar people and as usual, it took its toll on me. I think that was the reason why I was especially in such bad shape this morning. I seem to not deal with the after effects well. They weigh heavy on my mind and I ruminate about everything that was talked about and that I brought to the discussion in disproportionate amounts. This drives me to worry and feel shame and guilt and these are feelings that I thought I had dealt with a long time ago.
This afternoon, I had a lunch date with one of the women I met for International Women's Day at my friend M's house. I was in good shape by that time and perfectly capable of carrying on a good conversation and eating at the same time. It turned out that this woman and I had a lot of interests in common and we talked nonstop for two hours. Her name starts with an M also, so I'll call her M2. It was definitely a date worth repeating, so we will be seeing more of each other in the near future. I can't wait until the next time.
Later in the afternoon, Tyke and I went to M's house, and for the first time that day, M's dog got up from her pillow and drank some water. That is because of Tyke's presence. He makes her come to life. M. and I had some coffee and that did make me wiry, so when I got home, I had to switch to lemonade in order to come down to earth again. In just a moment, I am going to fix dinner, and despite a very good lunch, I am more than ready to eat again. I will never not have a good meal.
It is still the little things like a good meal and good company that make life worth living and that is what I have to keep in mind, although it is hard to remember that in the morning when I am so very depressed and don't want to live any longer. It is a good thing that a pill to end it all does not exist because I would take it then and, although I would not live to regret it, it would be an awfully sad thing.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The need for resolution

I am afraid that I am in danger of becoming depressed and I am doing whatever I can to prevent this. Already more than half of the time, I think I am and I spend that time struggling with my not so happy feelings. I have to tell you that they literally hurt as if they are a physical phenomena, and they are very unwelcome indeed. I do not know which pill to take for them and I am sure that paracetamol is not going to help one bit.
Sometimes, the only thing I know to do is drink cups of coffee and often the caffeine does help put me in a better mood, but it is only a temporary measure. There is only so much coffee you can drink after all, no matter how much you like it, and it does make me more thirsty than I already have a tendency to be because of the medicines I take. Sooner or later I have to start drinking tall glasses of ice cold lemonade, although I think they have some healing powers too.
I had a good talk over the phone with my therapist yesterday and we tried to find the source of some of my feelings. The thing is that I am probably being challenged on the course for bipolar people and that this is upsetting me to some point. I have also stopped being the Good Samaritan that other people can call and tell their story to, and I am probably having some feelings of guilt about that. It is not easy to be tough and not play that role anymore.
There are other issues from my past that I have not dealt with yet that I am going to have to give their place and maybe the time has come to do that. One of those is the role my mother played in my life and her subsequent death. In my own convoluted way I have dealt with that, but I know I have given it only a temporary solution and that I need to permanently resolve it. Up to now, I have been pulling the wool over my own eyes.
This afternoon, I have another session of that course for bipolar people, but I think I will be better prepared than I was last week. I didn't know what to expect then and came out somewhat wounded. Well, not even somewhat, let's say a lot. More wounds got opened than I had anticipated or even expected at all. The Exfactor is also going to be there this time and that ought to help a bit. I won't be facing the music on my own.
I did not expect to become depressed and am surprised at the intensity of my feelings. I can only assume that a lot must lie behind them and that this all must be resolved. Depression weighs a lot and hurts. It does wear me out.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Leave it to me...

I had a delicious dinner last night and I think that is partly because I have decided not to be strictly vegetarian anymore. I was concerned about getting enough protein and vitamin B12 in my diet and have decided to also eat chicken and fish. I have also decided that I can't be perfect and that a strictly vegan diet is very luxurious and a first world choice that I can't afford. I am surrounded by people who are very conscious of what they eat, and I feel rather guilty if I make different choices, but I am an adult and must be able to do so. It is when I try to please everyone else that I get into trouble with my diet.
I steamed several kinds of roughly cut vegetables with chunks of chicken and herbes de Provence. I also fried chunks of potatoes in sunflower oil. When all was done, I loaded them on my plate and had a wonderful meal and felt very satisfied and what was left over of the vegetables, I gave to Tyke and he liked them too. I am turning into a big vegetable eater this way and I think that is a good turn of events. As long as the Exfactor is able to go to the open air market and buy them for me, I can have a good choice at a good price. I will ask him to get several other kinds the next time because the sky is the limit and they are so cheap.
I am eating much healthier now than when my gastric band was tighter and I was skinnier. I was skinny because I was not eating enough food and therefor not getting enough nutrition. Now that I am heavier, I am much healthier and in much better shape, so I don't mind being a bit bigger. The day that I had the opening of my gastric band widened, was a good day. It was a big relief to be able to eat a regular meal again.


Sunday, March 16, 2014


I read on Facebook that someone was insecure about if they had done a good job raising their kids  and I thought that sounded just like me because I am insecure about that too. This person wanted to be reassured by her kids that she had, but of course you can't expect such a thing. Out of kindness, your kids are never going to tell you the truth that yes, you have screwed up here and there because which parent hasn't.
I have probably done some major screwing up, but I could only ask one of my children if I dared because the other one has died ten years ago. I am smart enough not to do that because I don't want to put her in the uncomfortable position of having to give a diplomatic answer. Or worse, having her be brutal and telling me the truth that I would subsequently have to deal with.
I think I have not forgiven my mother for being an imperfect parent and therefor do not expect to be forgiven myself. It would be good if I got around to forgiving her, but I have not yet been able to and I don't know if I ever will. The wounds go deep and I don't know if I am even to the point that I can say there is scar tissue. I realize just now that this is something I may need to work on with my therapist. It is definitely an unresolved issue.
I hope whatever issues my daughter has with me will also be resolved and that she won't harbor a grudge. I have no idea with what sort of feelings about me she walks around with and I can only have my suspicions. I hope she takes care of whatever wounds I have inflicted on her and that a healing process can take place. She is a tough cookie, but I hope she takes proper emotional care.
It has taken me a long time to heal emotionally as well as I have so far, and I am not done yet. I have learned to deal with the things I have not closely examined yet, but I know some of them need to be looked at closer. I am in denial about some issues that I don't have quite the right explanation for. They would not hold up under close scrutiny anyway. Not all of my reasoning makes sense and would fail in a court of law. I should be glad that I don't have to take an oath.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The discussion turns to food

Because of various commitments, my friend M's husband was unable to eat dinner at home for most of this past week and I have been taking his place instead because M. had, for one reason and another, an overabundance of fresh vegetables. I have had a variety of meals and some of those were cooked in a genuine black iron wok and I think I liked them best. I was very attentive when M. cooked the food in it and carefully watched what she did and I am now sure that I want a wok of my own. I will have to look around online and find out where I can get the best deal and see how much money I need to save up.
Much to our surprise, Angie, M's almost 17 year old dog, is still hanging in there and really comes back to life when I bring Tyke over. It is almost miraculous and a sight to see. She scrambles back to her feet and becomes interested in her environment again and M. says, "A day without Tyke, is a day not lived."
This afternoon the Exfactor did the groceries for me, but he had gone to the open air market and bought fresh vegetables and a salmon moat for me first because those kinds of things are so much cheaper there. I have put the salmon moat in the freezer to save for a special day, but the vegetables I will use as quickly as possible. I am looking forward to cooking for myself tonight, not having done much of it lately. I do always have a good appetite and enjoy food a lot and never mind making a meal or having a meal fixed for me. M. always cooks for me keeping my food intolerances in mind and I do appreciate that. I do so much better on the diet I follow now.
I have been using sunflower oil when I cook instead of extra virgin olive oil because it is so much cheaper and I like my food just as well cooked with it. The sunflower oil is only a quarter as expensive and I use it every day. I do notice that the food doesn't burn as quickly, so that is a nice side effect.
As to my burn out, I do notice when I begin moving in dangerous territory because stress immediately builds up and wants to find a release somewhere in my body. It feels like my throat tightens and I have to gasp for air and a dark cloud moves over my mind. I have to pay attention to these signals and heed the warning, although I don't always know what to do instead.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The darn burn out...

As if I had not alluded to it before and had not been in danger of it, I have to tell you that I now officially have a burn out and that I have to take it easy for a while. It is not so serious that I do not see the light at the end of the tunnel, but one of my medications has been increased and I am going to be seeing my therapist more often. It was an accident waiting to happen and all the stress that I had been walking around with for quite a while, finally got to be too much and I could not deal with it anymore. I am emotionally worn out and did nothing but cry when I had my appointment with my therapist yesterday afternoon.
I felt like I ought to sit and cry like that a hundred more times about all the sad and traumatic things that have happened in my life as if I have never had the opportunity to do that. I really want to grieve and I think the stress from this past year and a half has made the need come to the surface. I have been trying to act like a tough broad, but I am actually not that tough. I act tough and like I am a cynic and eternally optimistic, but inside I am little and scared very often and I want a big shoulder to cry on.
Since I am surrounded by professional people, I have finally decided to take advantage of that and cry on their shoulders since they are made for it. This is not something I have allowed myself to do before because I was acting like I could handle things all by myself and that I should not be a complainer. I do not like people who whine about things. But then I realized that sometimes it is not whining but grieving about all the sad and painful events and that there comes a time when it needs to get done.
I have decided to, at least for now, eliminate all the stress from my life and to only allow in the more pleasant details and events. I am seriously going to draw my boundaries and protect myself from harm. That means I will have to stick up for myself, but I think I am capable of doing that.
I do have one ally at least, and that is my friend M. who, now that she is no longer manic, is turning out to be one heck of a supportive person who knows the meaning of giving and taking.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Not a good idea...

On the recommendation of a psychiatrist not my own, I took a sleeping pill last night because I had not slept well the night before and there was some danger of me becoming hypomanic. It was thought that this would be prevented if I had a good night's sleep. I don't think taking a sleeping pill was a great success because I woke up in the middle of the night bathed in sweat and could not go back to sleep. I remembered that this was a problem I had before when I still took them. Now that I am up, I am slowly cooling down, but I feel groggy and not at all pleasant and well put together like I usually do when I get up.
I won't be taking any more sleeping pills as a result of this because all in all it isn't worth the trouble. It isn't as if I slept better all that much and I am going to have to change the bed and take a shower before I can get in it again. I also don't like the feeling of grogginess and much prefer to be clear minded when I sit here gathering my thoughts. There was a reason after all why I quit those sleeping pills. It is good to be reminded of why I did before I get into the habit of taking them again. 
As to me becoming hypomanic, I will have to see how today turns out. I have an appointment with my therapist at noontime and we can assess the situation then. Maybe thinking that I was becoming hypomanic was a result of the unusual way my day started yesterday when I could not get in touch with myself quite so easily. I may have a totally different start to the day today.
The cups of coffee I am having are sobering me up and that is a great relief. It has taken two of them to get me to the point that I think I am making enough sense to be sure of any statements I make. But I am sure that I have been making sense through the fog all along. Some common sense does shine through no matter how groggy I was to begin with. Inside all of us, no matter what, there is always that sane person present who speaks for us. It's the one who saves us out of the more prickly situations.
I have broken out in hives, but on my left arm only. It's funny how very selective that is.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Quick witted as I am...

I had a hard time staying asleep last night and was up twice, so slept in three stages. There was nothing in particular that woke me up, I did that all on my own as if I was done sleeping, but common sense told me that I had not had enough. Each time I went back to bed to get another hour or so of sleep until I thought I was done with it and felt like I could tackle the day properly. Somewhere along the line, I ate a big bowl of oatmeal because I thought it would help me sleep and soothe my protesting stomach. When I was finally up, I forgot to take my medicines first thing and could not figure out why I was not feeling better. That small problem was quickly taken care of.
I had forgotten that my personal helper was going to be here this morning instead of Monday morning because I had not looked in my diary and she rang the intercom when I was just getting dressed. Because of this, I got off to a wrong start and it has taken me all day to get caught up again and I am just now getting the idea that I am somewhat myself. This proves the point that I don't do well with unexpected situations. I need to know ahead of time what my day will look like and I would have, if I had only looked in my diary last night. I need careful planning and the solid structure of an organized day.
Because I had some business to take care of at my old bank, we rode our bikes to the nearest local office, but when we got there, found out that is had closed as of January while it was still listed in the new Golden Guide that I had just received. The next nearest office is somewhat close to where I have to be tomorrow for my appointment with my therapist, so that's when I will go there. I think there are only two offices of that bank open in the whole town now and that's to do with cut backs. There are more ATM's and less service desks, but you can't take care of things over the phone. You have to go to your local office.
I have to fix dinner now because I am ravenously hungry and I look forward to what I am going to make, which is pasta with fresh vegetables and Herbes de Provence. A good meal cooked and partaken of is the best way to end a day.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The forest for the trees...

My friend M. fixed the most delicious tomato soup yesterday and it really was the best I have ever tasted. I am not normally such a big fan of tomato soup and very often find it too acid, but this one agreed very well with me and my stomach is still happy from it now, many hours later. The basic recipe was not that complicated, but she added some Indonesian spices to it which I have forgotten the names of now and will have to ask her about again. She also added a lot of garlic and I think that was one of the things that made it taste so good. I will try to make this soup myself when I have people over. It is bound to be a success if I get it right.
I enjoy watching someone cook and like to see how they go about fixing the different dishes and how calm and organized they stay while they are also carrying on a conversation. You learn a lot from observation and pick up new methods on how to go about preparing things. You see that it is possible to fix dinner and entertain guests at the same time. Not everything needs to be done ahead of time, and although you do get distracted on occasion, this is not the end of the world. M. never got so flustered that she lost track of what she was doing completely, no matter how much we talked. And the result spoke for itself.
Tyke loves going over to M's house even though M's dog is now on her last legs. Tyke gathers all the balls and rawhide bones and other toys together in one place and acts like he owns them all. He is very well behaved and listens well and really wants to be a good boy. He is so very much aware of M's dog's condition and is very careful with her. It will be a great loss when she is gone.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Does it have to be Monday again?

Since I have stopped taking my sleep medication, and I sleep better, I have the most interesting and fanciful dreams that I would only be able to describe details of because they are so complex. It is like whole epic movies are shown to me during the night in Kodak Color with sound effects and everything. I try to remember as much of them as I can after I have woken up, and little by little I do the longer I am awake, but they boggle the mind and sometimes I can't make sense of them at all. I know that sometimes they are filled with pure symbolism and that I shouldn't take everything literally, but other things are straight to the point and very funny. The characters are the same, the circumstances are new and awe inspiring, and I like how much fantasy is involved. I am very creative during the night now that my mind is no longer dulled.
But now it is Monday and I am not really ready for it to be because a shopping list needs to be made and it needs to be made frugally. Making a shopping list under those circumstances is certainly challenging, but then again, I am sure that I am up to the task. I think I will be eating a lot of pasta this week because it is cheaper than buying bags of potatoes, which I really prefer. Luckily, I can get very creative with pasta and vegetables and they do agree with me. It is bread that I have a problem with, although I have not worked out why this is so. If pasta agrees with me, it can't be the gluten.
Tyke tried to drink from my glass of lemonade that was on the nightstand and tipped it over in the middle of the night. I heard the lemonade drip on the floor but was too sleepy to mop it up. I secretly hoped that Tyke would take care of it, but when I got up, the whole puddle was still there. I wish he had not developed this taste for lemonade because now the glass of it is not safe anymore. I have even seen Gandhi drink from it and I thought that was really odd. Maybe I have very strange animals. Gandhi is very happy with the lactose free milk and has a saucer of it every day. She is to the point now that she asks for it. Who says she is not a smart cat?
My body is aching and I got up that way. I usually do and have to take the pain medication first thing. It's a familiar pain now and I am getting used to it. It would be strange if it were gone. I suppose I would even miss it and it would be an odd sensation not to have it. Not that I do not look forward to that day, although it will probably never come.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Womens' Day.

I heard yesterday, that if you make mashed potatoes and you mix cubes of cumin cheese in with it, you get a very tasty dish. The cumin cheese melts and you get very creamy and hearty mashed potatoes. I was told that people from India did this. Now I can't wait to try it, of course, and I will have to have people over for dinner to test it on. I am sure the whole trick is to buy the best cumin cheese available and not the kind straight from the supermarket shelves, which is not the best quality.
I heard about this at a party I went to in honor of International Women's Day at my friend M's house. I met a lot of her women friends and had a very good time. We sat around the big table in her garden and chatted up a storm all afternoon until it got too dark and chilly and we had to disperse. It was the nicest afternoon I had in a long time and the most women I had been with in a long time too. I had forgotten what good company they are and what likable people women are.
There are two types of women. The kind that feel the need to compete with each other and the kind that feel secure enough with themselves to not feel that need at all. I hope I belong to the latter. I suppose the same thing is true for men, but maybe they go about it more boisterously.
The anniversary of my mother's death could not have been celebrated better, but I didn't mention it once yesterday. I didn't want to spoil the ambiance and I felt it was not necessary to bring it to anyone's attention. I built a good memory yesterday and I think it is important to do that on any kind of anniversary like that and I have a couple of them. I will make it a point to find reason to celebrate each one of them. Maybe I can organize something with my sister for the next one. She does not make it a point to remember anniversaries, so I don't even have to explain why I am organizing something.
I guess I am the elephant in the family.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

A real life experience...

Today, on International Women's Day, it has been 25 years since my mother died. It doesn't seem to me like it has already been a quarter of a century since that shocking day, yet at the same time, it feels like it happened in another lifetime. I suppose in a way it did, because my life has certainly drastically changed since then in an unrecognizable way. But then again, I knew almost from the moment I heard that my mother had died, that my life would change and never be the same again. I just didn't know at that time what form it would take on and where it would all take place. Never, in my wildest dreams, could I have imagined any of the things that have happened since my mother died.
I don't think, if my mother had lived, that I would have taken the first very bold step that set into motion the series of events that eventually brought me here to this destination. I would not have been shocked out of my complacency and I would have gone on with my predestined life in the Californian suburbs. The circumstances of my mother's death were so extreme, that they could not help but cause a strong reaction on my part and that is indeed what happened. All the false fronts that I had put up, and all the misinformed things I had vainly believed in, stopped being true and I was faced with a different reality. My life became unhinged and I had to find a new one.
I, amongst others, became the casualty of my own misguided attempt at setting myself free. Other tragedies took place and it was as if we had all been in a terrible car wreck for which I was to blame. To deal with the extreme guilt that I felt, I made sure I was among the most extreme wounded and the last to recover, although one of us really did not survive.
A lot is said about a butterfly fluttering its wings in China and the chain of events that sets in motion. I can tell you that one deed can set off a chain of event that affects a whole family and changes the course of many lives in unimagined ways. Life is a journey that should take place without sudden screeching halts and derailments. One should not walk away from the scene of the accident, especially not after having pulled the emergency brake. Having said that, the act of forgiveness also counts for yourself.

Thursday, March 06, 2014


I am emotionally stretched to thin at the moment because I have been providing first aid in emotional need for a few people in my life for quite some time as if I am a professional caretaker. I woke up this morning and realized I no longer wanted to do that because I felt so worn out from it. I also knew that I had to take care of me first and no longer play the role of savior in other people's lives. When the first person called in for the day, I made that clear immediately and told her that I would call her back after I had talked to my own therapist and that I did not have any answers to her problems.
I had an appointment with my therapist and decided to take advantage of the opportunity and talk about what I had discovered and how to deal with it and how to take care of myself in the best possible way. I filled the whole hour with a very useful conversation with her in which I did not waste one minute and when I was done, I had really discussed the whole problem inside and out. When I got home, I realized I was emotionally worn out and that I needed rest and self care and that from this point forward, everyone would have to take care of themselves.
Because I have a natural tendency to act like a professional caretaker, I will keep falling into this trap and I will have to keep drawing my boundaries. I also know that in the end, it wears me out to act like one and that it is not good for me to try and come up with the answers for everybody else's problems. People ought to figure out their own lives. I am too often, too patient and too long suffering. I have to remember that this is not my career and that I am not getting paid for it. It is not a 9 to 5 job.
I really feel tired and as if I want to sleep for a long time. I hope I do tonight.

Try that one more time...

After having been on the waiting lists for an apartment up north for a year and a half, I got a letter in the mail yesterday offering me one now that I have decided not to move. Timing is everything in life, isn't it?
Enough time has passed since I applied for an apartment that I have been able to consider the consequences of a big move, and I realized that it could possibly be much too upsetting for me. I would have to leave my whole support system behind me and try to build up a new one up there and that could be difficult and leave me in a rough spot for a while. This could have all sorts of possible effects on my mental wellbeing and I don't mean very positive ones. I have too many people in place here making sure I do well, to easily replace somewhere else, and that would make it difficult to just up and move.
I had just come to the conclusion that I would not and had started to concentrate on fixing up this apartment and making it the place that I really want to live in. It is tempting to move into a new place and making it into the showplace I want it to be, but with a little bit of effort this apartment I already live in can be also. It needs paint and wallpaper and some loving decorative touches, but they are not impossible to apply. Now that I can wrap my mind around that, I can see that it is a job I can tackle with a little bit of help from my best friends.
As it is, I found an inexpensive solution for a window treatment in the living room yesterday after thinking I was going to have to spend all sorts of money that I did not have. I do love it when I have my Eureka! moments and come up with an imaginative way to solve a problem. When you're forced to think creatively, you always find a way in the end.
So, I am not moving up north but staying in this pretty town in the south instead. It is not so strange, after all, because I have lived here for 20 years and the place has grown on me. Maybe if I had gone up north a few times since I was there a year and a half ago, the decision would have been harder, but now I have peace with it. I don't feel such a huge connection with it right now that my heart strings are pulled. I am not torn in two. That may also have a lot to do with my state of mind lately. I think being steady has done me a lot of good.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Forget the blog busters...

I actually managed to sleep eight hours last night with several interruptions to go to the toilet. That's what you get when you have the habit of drinking a lot of coffee and lemonade. I did manage to go back to sleep immediately the moment my head hit the pillow, so I think I am making sleeping during the night another good habit. I think this is a direct result of having quit the sleep medication and isn't it funny how that works? If you are on it long enough, it works contradictory. It will be a hot day in hell before I go back on it again. If I have anything to say over it, I will never use tranquilizers or sleeping pills again.
I haven't done anything worth mentioning today and I am not ashamed of that. To me a day is good when I have managed to get along with myself well enough and I did today almost from the moment I got up. I was only a mess for a little while and hardly disliked myself and I knew it would not last long, so I could outwait it. Even before I finished drinking the first cup of coffee, I could see the forest for the trees and by that time the sun was up already too, so things weren't bad at all. When the time came to get dressed, I even found a totally new outfit to put on, that's how innovative I was.
Because I have single pane windows in the bedrooms, I either have to keep the heater on during the night, or sleep with the windows open. So much condensation builds up on the windows, that it collects in huge puddles on the windowsills and then drips down the walls. I put in a request today with the housing corporation for double pane windows because I know this will take care of the problem. I hope that they are as quick about it as they were about the windows in the living room. Work needs to be done to those rooms, but the conditions need to be better than they are now.
I have to rob Peter to pay Paul in order to do home improvements. I am determined to, little by little, get things done and really make the place look like a picture in an interior design magazine. I think now that I know I am not moving, I want to put all my effort into this place and get the most out of it that I can. I realize that I have to care and put that care into action. Now that I have got myself straightened out, it is time to tackle the apartment.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Over the rainbow...

I took a nap this afternoon and when I got up from it, I was in such bad shape, that I was ready to kill myself. I made some coffee hoping that that would set me straight, but it almost made no difference even after I had two cups. Tyke had to be walked and that saved my skin because the gentle, spring like evening air turned my whole mood around and by the time we came home again, I no longer wanted to be dead. The cup of coffee I had after that hit the spot and I now function quite like the reasonable person that I usually am. Or at least pretend to be.
I was at least in a good enough mood to pet Tyke and Gandhi at the same time and keep them both happy until my arms wore out. They are now both sound asleep until they think of the next maneuver to get my attention. They don't also have to share it with Angie who went home with my friend M. yesterday afternoon and did not protest about it this time. She had perked up quite a bit from having spent some time here and I got the feeling that she was no longer at death's door. Maybe all she had needed was a little break from her surroundings. I hope she lets M. know when she needs another one.
I did not, like I usually do, get up in the middle of the night to sit behind the computer and write a blog post. I went to bed late and, except for getting up twice to go to the toilet, I slept all night long. Even when I woke up in the morning at 6 o'clock, I realized that was too early and managed to sleep for another two hours almost. I did enjoy this very much and am going to try to repeat it this coming night. All I have to remember to do, is go back to bed immediately after I have gotten up. I am almost instantly sound asleep again the moment my head hits the pillow. I used to think that was not possible, so you see that I really do sleep better without that sleeping pill.
I sure as heck do not get hypomanic anymore and I am very sure of that now that I have adjusted to not taking the sleeping pill. I try to be as animated as possible, but sometimes I am a bit dull. It is not me who is bothered by that, so I guess I really should not break my head about it. I am finding that a dull, but peaceful existence does have its benefits and one of them is the security of knowing that I will basically always be more or less the same.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Being nurturing...

Yesterday afternoon, my not so manic anymore friend M. asked me to take care of her dog Angie while she took another friend to the train station. Angie is 16+ years old and M. does not like to leave her home alone. Every so often, I take care of her while M. is out running errands. Angie doesn't do much anymore but sleep and stagger around, but she does like Tyke's company and it enlivens her a bit. She is deaf and does not see so well anymore, but her sense of smell is still good and she is aware enough of her surroundings and every once in a while comes over to be petted.
When M. came to take her home yesterday, Angie would not go with her and even snarled at M. when she tried to get her to stand up. She absolutely did not want to be bothered and wanted to be left in her place. We speculated on what this meant, and we both came to the conclusion that Angie may be close to meeting her maker. I told M. to leave her with me and that I would continue to take care of her, although that involves very little work.
She has basically stopped eating and drinks very little water which I bring to her. She is incontinent, so I have to clean up after her, but that is not much of a problem. Her piddles are small. She is happiest if she can lie down wherever her tired aching body takes her and is left in peace. I can tell that she likes our company, because often her eyes are open and they follow us while we go about our routine. I think she likes the relative serenity of the apartment.
I felt sad for my friend M. because she felt a bit dejected and lost going home without her dog, but I told her that Angie was making her own choice and that we had to respect it. No doubt Angie has a reason for wanting to stay here for now. Maybe she will change her mind in the morning, although she is welcome to stay here.
I felt an enormous sense of peace when I was watching her sleep yesterday evening and I thought that whatever happens, it will be alright. She is choosing her own time and place and we have to accept that. It will be the most natural thing in the world.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Hurrying up slowly...

It is a good thing that I have decided to take the day off because the weather has turned bad and it is raining cats and dogs, although if it really were, that would be quite a sight. At least I get to find out if the new double windows in the living room are sealed properly or if rain water is going to get in them like it did in the old ones. The new windows were placed there yesterday and I hope this resolved the problem and that there is not something wrong with the wood that surrounds them.
The new windows still need to be washed, but I am not allowed to for a few days because the sealer has to dry. It will be a good job for the domestic help to do when she is here on Tuesday because she is the best at getting windows really sparkling clean. It will be a joy to have clean glass that will look as if there is no glass there at all, which was not the case with the old windows. The glass was damaged by the hard rain water that got between the two layers.
Like I said, I have decided to take the day off instead of doing chores, and the reason for that is that I was a bit worn out still from the intense week that I had. I started off thinking that I would get some things done, but when the day got a proper start, I realized how much I wanted to be a bit lazy and that all I felt like doing was take Tyke for walks. My fibromyalgia had also been bothering me more than usual, but now that it is raining, I understand why.
Because the air is so nippy and drafty, I turned on the heater and it is nice and warm in here. Keeping it warm in the apartment is one habit I have had to get into since I have developed pain in my joints. I do not deal well with damp cold anymore and have to turn the heater on sooner or I am miserable. Most people will have a low energy bill because of the mild winter and I will be the exception to that. The final total is going to be painful at the end of the year.
I remembered to water all of my plants and all but one of them are doing well. I have taken down the sheer half curtains in the living room and more light is coming in, which the plants like a lot. The two latest ones I got had to acclimatize a bit, but they are now showing signs of new growth and perked up real well when I watered them this morning. I may have to water one of them more often than once a week.. They are just like children with an instruction booklet. I am waiting for the spider plant to get its babies. That will be the real sign of success.

An attitude of gratitude...

Instead of eating the expensive lactose free yoghurt and muesli, I will switch to the less expensive lactose free milk and oatmeal. I will still be able to add all the extra ingredients to them and it will also be a very healthy meal. I have heard about all of the benefits of oatmeal, although I would have to look them up again to remember what they are. I have forgotten if oatmeal has gluten, but I can find that out quickly enough and it is still the question if I have a problem with that. With a bit of luck, I don't and I will be able to eat it without my body protesting.
I think the hemp seeds that I add to my yoghurt make me just a bit high, although it was said that they would not. After I have eaten them, I am just a bit disconnected from reality and I don't think it is my imagination. I don't know how I feel about this because I don't necessarily experience it as something pleasant. I assume that over time the effect will wear off and that I won't notice it anymore. I also assume that it can change on a daily basis depending on my own chemistry.  
Yesterday, I needed a refill of medicines from the pharmacy and my psychiatrist needed to fax a prescription to them. He wrote me an email to compliment me on the fact that I had reduced my medicine use down to three basic ones and on reasonable dosages. He said that it was a job well done, and I suppose that this is something that I can be a bit proud of when you consider how many sorts of medicines I used to take. At least I can add this to one of my accomplishments.
There is a bit of a thrill in realizing that it is officially Saturday, which it now is. I aired the duvets and changed the bed yesterday, so I have one of my chores done already. The others will get done little by little over the day as I think of them. I hope for a carefree day and will be grateful if that is accomplished.