The Dueling Dutch Woman

The Adventures of a Middle Aged Dutch Woman

Archive for September, 2010

>Amazing grace…

>

Much to my amazement, I managed to sleep for eight hours when I went to bed after writing my post last night. It was an incredible thing and when I did wake up, I did so because I had to and not because I was really done sleeping. I could have stayed in bed longer and slept some more. My personal helper could not make it on Friday and her regular replacement was going to be here this morning instead. I got up just in time to have two cups of coffee and several cigarettes and welcomed her in my bathrobe. See, I seem to be making a habit out of that. I know no shame.

That was alright, though, because one of the deals is that she sees to it that I take care of myself well personally and taking a shower regularly is one of those things. I´m more motivated when I know somebody is keeping track if I do that with any regularity, though I´m a very clean and good smelling person and am never actually dirty. I don´t perspire a lot and use a good deodorant. I´ve told you about the ordeal it is to take a shower in my apartment with the gaping shower curtain and the wet bathroom floor and all the wet towels.

So we had a cup of coffee together and I took a shower and washed my hair, which was sticking up despite the good haircut, and I had such nice and squeaky clean hair afterwards, it was a joy. It fell into place all by itself and hardly needed any combing and was dry in no time. I put on some very nice and comfortable clothes and applied no make up, because I´ve decided that it makes no difference whatsoever and that it´s all nonsense and that I don´t have the patience for it. I did put in my earrings and thought I looked good enough. I was a reborn woman and had on a new deodorant that smelled fantastic.

We took Tyke for a walk and he was his normal enthusiastic self, running from one end of the sidewalk to the other and having to lift his leg on every bush and hedge. He´s not very well disciplined on the leash and I give him all the space he needs. I figure it´s his outing and he has to enjoy it. He´s like a little kid completely lost in his own thoughts and activities. If I lived out in the countryside, I would let him off the leash. I would have him neutered first, though. He´s a little bit macho.

After my personal helper left, the Exfactor arrived and had a few cups of coffee with me and made a big deal out of a tiny little cold that he might be getting. Lots of people are walking around with colds right now and I´ve had several in my apartment and haven´t gotten sick yet. The Exfactor likes to be made a big deal of when he is a little bit stuffed up and goes into great detail about his symptoms and his inability to do things. Maybe he´s just a typical man. They do like to be fussed over. I had a huge amount of snot in my nose this morning, but just got a tissue and got rid of it.

After he left, I was enormously tired and laid down on the sofa and took a huge nap. It could have been emotional tiredness in reaction to the Exfactor. Maybe he has that effect on me. When I woke up, I had a cup of coffee and felt halfway normal soon enough again. I took Tyke for a walk and he got on the scent of something and dragged me through the neighborhood at high speed. We were done quickly with our walk. He´s a strong dog for an American cocker spaniel. He looks little but he´s got a lot of muscle power.

Overall it´s been a good day. I do have my low moments, but I make myself a cup of coffee and get over them. My moods are always precarious things and can be very momentary and change quickly, so I know very often I just have to out wait them and not panic and despair. The only things I don´t seem to be able to do right now is read and I miss that. I can´t concentrate on a book and I´m right in the middle of one. I´m too distracted to pay attention. My mind wanders.

I have to take Tyke for his last walk. He´s waiting impatiently. I wonder if it will be another high speed chase. I hope we can do it leisurely this time.

Have a good evening.

Ciao,
Nora

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>In the nighttime…

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I’ve walked Tyke for the last time and I really should put on my pajamas and bathrobe now, but I like my outfit so well that I think I will keep it on a little longer and on top of that, it is very comfortable and I also like to think that a stranger may come upon me now and be completely smitten by me. Right! I am even wearing earrings that match my clothes and I bought those along with another two pair this morning and apparently I’m not allergic to them, because I haven’t started to itch yet. It didn’t say hypo-allergenic on the label or anything, so I took a chance. I took great care in choosing them, because there were a lot of earrings that were, shall we say, cheap looking and I didn’t want them. I do have my standards. 

There were bins with sale items going at ridiculously low prices and I got a gray scarf, a lavender camisole, a multi-colored top to go over it and a leather wallet that’s bright red. On the way to the check out stand, I added two chocolate bars, because I was hungry. 

I had a lot of fun, when I got home, cleaning out my old wallet, and putting all the loose change in a jar. There were many odd bits of paper that I threw out and old business cards that I had no use for. I put all the good stuff and the pictures of my kids and grandson in my new wallet and was much pleased. Now I don’t have to be embarrassed when I pull out my wallet in the store. The old one was worn and stained, but I had gotten so used to its decrepit state that I hardly noticed it. Until I saw that nice red wallet. I put my California driver’s license in the place where my Dutch one would go if I had one. For sentimental reasons and to remind me that I once also drove a car. It shows nicely through the clear plastic window. 

I put on the lavender camisole and put the thin multicolored top over it. It matched well. Then I took my purple light weight long sleeved cardigan and put that on and had an ensemble along with my black harem pants and the lavender earrings. I always think of thick knitted things when I say cardigan, but I don’t know what you call thin light weight things that have long sleeves and are open in the front. Is there a name for them? I have several of those. 

Suitably attired, I walked Tyke and when I came home I made cigarettes and left to go to creative class. I wore the gray scarf and my black leather jacket, because it was chilly outside, though there was watery sunshine. I had an espresso when I got to the clinic and sat in the depressing smoking area with two rather depressed looking people. There are burn holes in the furniture and the strangest people walk in and out. It’s not very exclusive.

In the creative room I got out the books on Henri Moore and tried to find a good photo of a sculpture that I had not done yet. It was tough to find one that I could make of clay and that was not too complicated, but I thought I finally did and went to work. After an hour and a half I gathered the whole mass of clay together and dropped it back into a big lump, because my efforts were in vain. I could not do it anymore. I was like a little kid in kindergarten and could not make anything that looked like the photo. I was very discouraged and ready to call it quits and go to work on something else. 

The therapist intervened, however, and told me to start with something very simple and work my way up from that. He said to pretend I was beginning from scratch and had never worked with clay before. He suggested I make a flat base and start building on that with strips of clay and make shapes with them and see what would come out of it. So that’s what I did, but I’m afraid that I have an acute shortage of imagination and that I just don’t see the possibilities. I feel so dull witted. I’m trying to penetrate to something deeper inside myself, but  there’s a huge road block.

Socially it’s not going well. There’s a tight group of four women and one man and they are very exclusive. The other few people there don’t count. They don’t exist. I don’t exist either, although I make every effort to be noticed. I’m completely ignored and not even greeted. They don’t acknowledge my existence, not in the creative room, nor outside of it. So, I’m not going to be there for the socializing part of it. I will have to be there purely for the creative part. That has to be successful and I have to make it work. I will have to ask for all the help I can get from the therapist.

Oh, I forgot, I was only going to write about the positive things. Well, if I am smart and I look around me at what other people do and look in some art books and make some drawings, I am sure that I will come up with some ideas and all I have to do is experiment and try things out. If something doesn’t work out, I just start over again. I mustn’t get discouraged. And I do get to wear nice clothes, for all it is worth, but I am going to ask about that music therapy class, because I think I’m going to need it. I need a friendly environment to move in. 

It is now past midnight and I’m not ready to go to bed. I want to be in a good mood before I go. Not that I’m in an incredibly bad mood now, but I am bothered and I have to get that out of my system. It’s gnawing at my soul and I have to straighten that out. I’m having a tall glass of lemonade to help me feel better. A nice sugar high is what I need. My brain will appreciate it. 

I suppose I thought I was such a friendly and likable person, that I would have no trouble making contact and that it would all go very easily. I’m surprised at the resistance I’m meeting. It does make me feel lonely and that I need to look for another place to get my social needs met. I will have to discuss this with my SPN next week. She must know of places where that can be done. A more user friendly place where people are welcoming and embracing. 

Well, I had better go to bed. It’s no good discussing this endlessly. I must get some sleep. Hopefully things will look better in the morning. 

Have a good night, or rather, a good morning when you get up. 

Ciao,
Nora

 

   

>Yawning in the early morning…

>

You’d think I was tired or something the way I’m sitting here yawning, but all I really need is a cup of coffee to wake me up properly. Well, it may take several cups, but since there’s no shortage of ground coffee, that’s not a problem. As a matter if fact, I have a whole new supply of  # 4 filters as well, so I can make many pots full if I need to. Always look at the bright side of life. Waking yourself up with coffee may be an artificial onslaught to your body, but it sure as heck works. I have yet to see a cup of coffee I don’t like. 

I’m very cozily and contentedly sitting here in my bathrobe having an absolutely peaceful moment and I sure treasure it, because I don’t know how long it’s going to last. It may be very fleeting in nature and be gone like a puff of wind in no time. So, it’s like they say, enjoy the moment and hang on to it. I’ll try not to let anything disturb it and make it a very long moment. That means I have to ignore Tyke who thinks he’s bored and wants attention. Luckily, he’s now distracted by a rawhide bone. Phew, that was a close call. I don’t know if I’m off the hook, though. He can be very persistent.

Yesterday morning I was rudely awakened out of a sound slumber by the telephone. It was the household manager of the Green Cross who said he had a domestic help for me right that moment and that she could be at my place in ten minutes. I was taken completely off guard, because I had been expecting one in the afternoon. So here I was in my bathrobe, half asleep and in dire need of a cup of coffee and in no shape to get dressed yet. I decided that having the coffee and a cigarette were the most important things and I welcomed the domestic help in my bathrobe and didn’t get dressed until I had to vacate my armchair when she vacuumed the living room. I don’t care what people think.

She was a very talkative domestic help and smoked three cigarettes while she was here. She cleaned house the French way, in other words, with a lick and a promise, so it’s a good thing that my regular one is coming on Friday. When the Exfactor got here when she was done, she decided to stay a while and join in the conversation. It was an awkward situation and I’m glad she was just temporary and that she won’t be back. I will go through several temporaries now until I get a steady one. It will be a pain in the neck, but I’ll have to put up with it.

The Exfactor and I chatted over a cup of coffee about his work and about my state of mind, which needed discussing, and then I made a shopping list, which I kept down to the most basic necessities. I want to spend some money on myself this month and cut out any ‘luxuries’ from the grocery store, so I will have some extra money. I can be very frugal if I have to be and live on bread and water.

I walked Tyke while the Exfactor did the groceries and we were home at the same time and unloaded them together. Tyke was very excited, as usual, because he thought everything was for him. He does get underfoot and there’s some danger of shutting him into the refrigerator.

I talked to my psychiatrist over the phone and he increased my antidepressants. He wants to get to the root of the problem, though, by talking about it and is going to call me this morning to make an appointment with either him or my SPN, who’s been on vacation and sick, so she’s not been available up to now. She may be back today, however. 

I’ve got my outfit picked out for today and I’ve decided to tone it down a little bit and not look so very dressed up. I won’t look like I’m going to have tea with the queen. I’m only going to creative class, after all. I mustn’t make too big a deal out of it. Everything is very relative and, although I want to look good, I don’t have to look splendidly smashing. 

I feel better today. 

Have a good morning.

Ciao,
Nora

>The end of the day…

>

It is really not officially the end of the day. It is already the middle of the night, but I’ll act like it is the end of the day for me, because I haven’t gone to bed yet, except for a short nap earlier today. I’m not ready to go to sleep yet, because just now, at this moment, I feel that I’m relaxed enough to enjoy the peace and quiet around me and that I can organize my thoughts and not be distracted by the busy world around me. It seems that everybody within hearing distance is asleep and so are the animals. Gandhi is asleep in my armchair and Tyke’s asleep on the carpet beside my chair. They are a peaceful couple. 

For the sake of vanity, I wore the wrong earrings today and now I have a swollen and bleeding ear. It is my own fault, because I knew I was taking a chance. I didn’t know what material those earrings where made of and apparently they weren’t nickel free. I don’t even remember how I got those earrings and I found them in my jewelry drawer. Of course, I wanted to look pretty and put them in. Now it’s going to take my poor ear some time to recover, but it did put me in mind to go to the store and buy some earrings that have anti-allergenic hangers. With my new haircut I want some fun earrings and I know just the style I want to get. I know which store to go look in too. There’s a good clothing store not too far away from here and they may just have what I’m looking for. It’s just a five minute ride on my bike from here. 

Creative class went fine, except that I had to redo my sculpture, because the proportions were wrong. This was pointed out to me by the therapist who was watching me from a little distance. He very diplomatically told me, but I can handle that. I was more than willing to redo it rather than end up with a baked sculpture that was out of proportion and that I would be embarrassed about. I cut off the lower half and redid it and it did look better afterwards. It is tough making a sculpture on your own without an example and for the next one I´m using Henri Moore again. 

I think the other people think I´m a lady and that I´m not approachable. One even addressed me as Ma´am. They mistake my shyness for aloofness and think because I´m dressed well, I´m not one of them. And, of course, I don´t speak dialect. I did strike up a conversation with the gentleman across from me, but it petered out. He seemed very civilized, but I can´t seem to make contact. I´m going to try my best again on Wednesday. I can´t be having doubts about myself now. I have to act like I´m okay. 

I have to act like everything is okay in my life and only concentrate on the positive things, no matter how small and insignificant they are. Earrings, clothes, boots, the animals, drinking coffee. Especially the things I have some control over, like how I look. The minute I start losing control over that, I know I will be in trouble. I have to make the small things be alright and make them count. They have to be important to make me feel secure and in charge. That´s why I write about them so much. I don´t want to write about the things that are not alright. I think it´s better not to dwell on them. That´s the conclusion I have come to after some thought. So I will only write about these small insignificant things for a while. 

The colors of my outfit yesterday were red and gray, just like my interior. I felt very colorful and bright. I was dressed warm enough for the cold day and on the way home from creative class it rained just a little bit. I barely got wet and when I got home, I didn´t even have to dry off my hair with a towel. Tyke didn´t hear me come in, so I found out where he slept while I was gone. He was lying down in the rattan chair in my bedroom on top of my green scarf. I always suspected that he slept in the bedroom, but it´s kind of endearing that he slept on something that belonged to me. It´s got the smell of my perfume in it and that probably made him feel secure. 

I´ve got to go to bed. A person does have to get some sleep some time. It´s a small inconvenience. 

Have a good morning.

Ciao,
Nora

>All dressed up…

>

I’m all dressed up waiting for it to be time to go to my creative class. I stood in front of my closet this morning and managed to put an outfit together that I’m very pleased with. I could describe it to you, but I’m sure you’re not waiting for me to go into detail about that. I tried on a few combinations before I found the right one. Of course, everything revolved around the neat leggings that I had discovered and I put together an outfit with them in mind. I also wanted to wear my Esprit boots and I happened to find a dress that matched the leggings and the boots. After that, the rest was easy. Since I have also lost weight, my clothes fit me a lot nicer, so that’s a bonus. 

Since I had my hair cut, I’ve also started wearing make up again. Not very much. Just some eyeshadow and mascara. It takes me just a few minutes to apply it. I liked myself well enough without the make up, but I realized that with the make up, I look just a bit better. I think I got vain and want to make the best of it. I am getting older and want to look younger. I also bought a pack of cleansing tissues, so the make up is wiped off easily. Witht the depression looming, I want to take special care of myself.

I’m glad that I can order clothes on line and that I don’t have to go into town to try things on in dressing rooms. Although there is one store that I really like and their sizes are very dependable, You can actually buy things off the rack without trying them on. But I like shopping on line. I know my size and things are delivered the next day. It’s very exciting to open the package and get out the item of clothing that you’ve ordered and try it on. On the rare occasion that it doesn’t fit, you send it back and get a different size at no extra charge the next day. Service with a smile. 

It’s cold outside and it’s time to start wearing my winter coat. The long one with the hood and the buttons and the zipper. It’s really autumn now. The nights are cold and in the daytime it doesn’t get much warmer. Rain was predicted for today, but it doesn’t look as though it is going to, much to my relief. I’d rather not ride my bike in the rain. No matter how easy my haircut is. 

For practical reasons, I’ve put my watch back on today and I hope I don’t break out in a rash again. I do want to be able to keep track of the time when I’m away from home. I really need to get a leather band for it and I’m going to ask the Exfactor if he will get that done for me one of these days. He goes into town more often than I do and it will be a simple thing to do for him.

Now that the weather has changed, my eczema is really acting up and I need to get a new prescription for the ointment from my GP. I have to remember to call them tomorrow morning for it. I’ll put that down in my agenda so I don’t forget. 

Okay, I have to go. I need to go and be creative. Wish me luck. 

Ciao,
Nora

>The empty white page.

>

I will have to jump in the shower shortly and wash my hair, because it has not survived the onslaught of the pillows well last night. It is rather crooked and dented in places. But hey, I’ve got easy hair to style, so it won’t be any problem to get it looking good again and I’m going to use my best shampoo, the one that picks up all the highlights in my hair. Won’t I look snazzy? 

I’ve decided not to wear what I was wearing yesterday, because it was a boring outfit after all, and I’m going to look for something completely different. The only thing I really liked was the necklace I was wearing, but if I’m going to wear it again depends on which clothes I pick out to wear. I think I may actually wear a sweater today, it’s a possibility, but I have to have a good look in my closet and use my imagination. I found some really neat leggings in one of my closet drawers that I have to put to use somehow and I’m going to try and put an outfit together with them. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I think that the possibilities are endless. I can’t wait to start looking.
Well, as is usual, you can see what I get excited about in my little limited life. It’s almost pathetic, isn’t it? My love affair with my closet. I’m sure there are more important things in life to care about. They just escape my line of vision. I’m so encapsulated in my own little world. I’m ensnared by my own tiny little trappings. I’m most certainly not part of the bigger picture. I’m not a hero. I don’t stand on the ramparts. I don’t have any causes.

Having established that I’m an egocentric person, I will continue to talk about myself. Today I have my creative class. It starts at 1 pm and lasts until 4 pm. That will keep me out of trouble for the afternoon. It’s the highlight of my day. It’s what everything revolves around. I know I’m capable of so much more, but I’m afraid to make commitments. When I least expect it, I’m a psychiatric patient again. Still, there must be more to life than this. I must also contribute. Participate somehow. I can’t just be a useless woman whose main daily event is dressing up well. 

This requires some soul searching, because now I’m not at all satisfied with myself. 

I’m going to jump in the shower and wash those troubles right out of my hair. 

Have a good morning.

Ciao,
Nora

>A succesful night…

>

After I wrote this rather upbeat post last night, I did manage eventually to go to bed, although I was a bit reluctant, because I was worried about waking up in the middle of the night and getting up and having another crazy session behind the computer. So, I postponed going to bed until I was really tired and then fell asleep quickly. I did get up once to go to the toilet, but rather than stay up, I went back to bed and continued sleeping and slept until 6 am this morning. I think that’s some sort of a new record and I am much pleased with it. 

There was some doubt in my mind when I got up in the middle of the night about going back to sleep, but the memory of the night before was fresh in my mind and I didn’t want a repeat of it. What I really want is a normal sleeping schedule and I must abide by some rules if I want to achieve that. That means going to bed at normal times and sleeping at normal times, just like other people do. The night is there for a reason, after all. I can’t sleep whenever I feel like it and wake up whenever I feel like it and keep myself awake artificially with coffee. I mess with the natural order of things and that does me no good in the end, as has been made very clear to me. I will take a nap sometime today so that I will be able to stay up tonight until it is a decent time to go to bed. That should take care of things. 

I’m happy to report that my hair has survived the night of sleep well too. It is barely out of place. I think I have to brush it a little bit to get it looking just right again, but it is hardly necessary. It really is easy hair. Now that I don’t have wax or gel or hairspray in it, it doesn’t feel sticky and stick up in odd places or get squashed down in others. That was always a problem with the funky haircuts I had before. I’m so ready not to be funky anymore, though this haircut is fun too and it doesn’t show my bald spot, which is a definite improvement. I’m afraid I inherited that from my mother who had thin hair herself.

I’m very happy that it’s Sunday and that it’s very quiet outside. Not even the church bells have sounded yet, except to ring the time on the hour and half hour. The world is still asleep and will be fairly quiet for the rest of the day. 

I’m looking forward to picking out the clothes I’m going to wear today. They will be my Sunday clothes, but I’m going to wear them tomorrow too when I have to go to creative class. So, great care must be taken to look especially nice. And to be warm, because it’s only going to be about 13C. 

I hope you all have a nice Sunday morning. 

Ciao,
Nora