The Dueling Dutch Woman

The Adventures of a Middle Aged Dutch Woman

Archive for December, 2010

>Ain’t singing the blues now…

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It’s too early in the morning to sing the blues. Besides, who sings the blues in the morning? Nobody in their right mind would, would they? The morning is still full of promise of things to come. The day is unfathomable and can’t be measured until the end of it.  The possibilities are endless, at least, so I tell myself. But then I’m an optimist and I very much do see the glass half full. Except when it’s full of ice cold milk and I’ve been drinking it, but in that case it’s quickly filled again. 
Yesterday morning I was at first grumpy when I got up out of bed and thought the day would be endless and boring, but a cup of coffee helped get me over my initial dislike of the day and the day itself got me over my wariness of it. There were enough diversions to make it a worthwhile day and one that was enjoyable, although nothing very special happened at all. It was just ordinary life taking place, but that was good enough. Ordinary life can be very satisfying if you stop and appreciate the little things and are grateful for them. 
Like walking through the snow that is slowly melting, but that is still deep to the point that I sink into it and that makes Tyke have an awful lot of fun. He’s hard to move from one place to the next, because apparently many interesting things hide under the snow and he has to investigate them all and finally pee on them. That outing is a whole adventure by itself. 
It’s made better now by the new boots I ordered with a much better profile in the soles and that arrived yesterday. I tried them on immediately and much to my relief they fit. I ordered them one size smaller, because on the website it had said that they were a bit large for their size. When I wore them in the snow and on the ice, I was a lot steadier and didn’t slip once. I’m still a bit scared, but I’m sure I’ll gain confidence with experience. I’m so used to almost falling over, that I can’t believe that now I’m not.
I got a huge pile of mail from the mailbox, but when I sat down and looked through everything, most of it turned out to be unimportant, regardless of the seriousness of the sender. It all looked very official, but turned out to be so many storms in glasses of water and I soon had it reduced to a pile of recyclable paper. There was not one bill in there and that certainly made me feel good. There were a couple of Christmas cards which made me feel even better. I considered all of that a piece of good luck.
I slowly got chores done, although I have some left to do today. I have very clean laundry to hang up and another load to wash. I must do the dishes, but first I have to find some interesting clothes to wear. I hope something magically appears from the closet. If not, I’ll have to go in search of it. This will not be a problem, as I’m bound to find something I like. The only thing to worry about is to dress warm enough. 
The Exfactor is supposed to be here today and I will send him to the tobacco shop, although I still have a bit of a supply. It’s better to be safe and have extra over the holidays. It’s New Year’s Eve and tomorrow the stores will be closed. Tonight at midnight the whole town will set off fireworks and there will be no going to sleep until 1 am. That’s how long it takes for the whole spectacle to end. It would be impossible to sleep through the noise, much as I’d like to.
I wish you a Happy New Year and all the best wishes for 2011. 
Ciao,
Nora

>Early in the morning…

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It’s with some amount of pleasure that I sit here drinking my coffee and smoking my cigarettes. It’s early in the morning still, but I am wide awake and ready for the day to start. I went to bed on time last night and slept well. I was more than ready to go to sleep, because there was nothing on television that I was interested in after I watched the Dutch speed skating championships. They weren’t even that exciting to watch and I was only pretending they were. The commentary was almost more interesting than the races themselves. Sometimes you have to fake an interest and act like it matters. I wasn’t for any skater in particular, especially since Sven Kramer didn’t participate. He was out because of an injury. 
After that it was really time to shut off the television and call it a day. I postponed going to bed for a while, because it was awfully early, but after some time I went ahead and changed into my pajamas. I listened to an interview with a well known architect on the radio and thought that some of it was bullshit. I think people make themselves and their methods and motivations look better than they are. They are asked for explanations and suddenly have to come up with them when they really do things for reasons even unknown to them and not well thought out and planned at all. They are put on the spot and have to look good.

I fell asleep after a while and slept without remembering my dreams. It was just a long dark night. Tyke woke me up because he had to go out. He gently growled at me. I let him out and made coffee. The coffee was most welcome. The first cup tasted like the elixir of life and gave me a kick. The second cup I drank for good measure. There isn’t going to be a third cup this morning. I don’t need it. 
The snow is very slowly melting as the temperatures are above freezing. There are supposed to be some rain showers today. I wonder if they will be enough to melt the rest of it? It will probably just turn into a big slush, I think there’s too much snow and ice. Actually, at this point I wouldn’t mind if all of it was gone, because it’s no fun to walk in any more. It’s downright dangerous. 
My Wednesday personal helper is coming this morning at 8:30. I have to make sure I’m ready before that time. I want to strip my bed and put clean sheets on and run the washing machine. I’ll have two loads to do, but I like doing laundry. 
I have to keep in mind that Saturday will be a holiday and that all the stores will be closed. The Exfactor was here yesterday to do the groceries, but he said he would be here on Friday again in case I needed anything else. My shopping list was so short. I keep thinking I’ve forgotten something crucial. I may need tobacco before the weekend is over, that’s something I always have to calculate in. 
Look, I’m just writing down a bunch of nonsense. It’s basically to keep you up to date. I’m not planning on doing anything special with my day. If I’m lucky, I won’t need a nap. I’ve completely stopped taking the tranquilizers during the day, so they’re not something that make me tired anymore. All I can think I’m doing now is hibernating, although it’s possible that the anti-psychotics make me tired. They do have that side effect. I’ll know once I decrease them more. 
Have a nice day, everyone. Don’t let the weather get to you too much. 
Ciao,
Nora

>Slipping and sliding…

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Today it is Second Christmas Day in the Netherlands, which is also an official holiday, so even if it weren’t Sunday, all life would have still come to a halt. Luckily, it is Sunday, so I won’t notice anything of it. That’s the fortunate thing about having the holidays on the weekend. 
Still, it does give you a little bit of a festive feeling and that isn’t half bad. It does put you in a special mood, you can’t help yourself, and you do feel as if you’ve got something to celebrate. 
Besides, it’s hard not to notice all the Christmas specials on television, although they do get awfully sentimental and people get so carried away by them. I suppose that some of the broadcasting networks feel the need to reassert that we’re a Christian nation. It’s just an observation I’m making. It’s not a judgment. A whole theological and social debate could be held about that. It’s not an idea to dismiss so easily. 
My sister and I made the town walk yesterday afternoon with the guide and a small group of people. It was cold outside and very slippery in the streets. I had to hold on tightly to my sister so as to not fall down. My boots were absolutely useless, they gave me no grip whatsoever. She prevented me from falling over quite a few times. She was wearing snow boots which worked quite a bit better.
The walk was interesting and we found out all sorts of little details that we had no idea of. We trekked all through downtown and had a break at a cafe halfway through, where I was even allowed to smoke, because they were officially closed to the public and only open to tour groups. I had a delicious cup of coffee there, that warmed my stomach and gave me the energy for the rest of the walk. There was also an opportunity to eat thick slices of raisin bread, filled with almond paste, with real butter on it, but I decided better not to try that. 
We visited the two oldest basilicas and the crypt of the oldest bishop, but we found out that it was empty, because all of his bones had been taken out to be used as relics. He was considered that holy. The stone threshold to this crypt had been completely worn down into a hollow over the centuries by pilgrims visiting it.
The terraces of the cafes were open, but they were all heated and on each chair there was a blanket to keep the customers warm. Unfortunately, we didn’t sit down there. I would have enjoyed that very much. I’m a real terrace visitor. I do enjoy watching the people come by while sipping a beverage. 
My sister and I had taken the car downtown, although none of the streets had been cleaned. I think they’re running out of salt. There were tracks in the snow to follow where enough traffic had passed. The car has front wheel drive, so there really was no problem. There was a true winter landscape all around us, though. It really was pretty if you didn’t have to walk in it. On that slippery ice downtown. 
I had a nice time the rest of the day with the animals and took it easy. I talked to my daughter in the evening and it was good to hear her happy voice. I went to bed on time, tired as I was from my afternoon out, and I fell asleep quickly. Tyke greeted me this morning with much enthusiasm, but that was because he needed to go out, although it’s possible that he loves me a little bit too. 
I don’t have any plans for today. I’ll just let it unwind and see where it goes. I have some chores to do, so those will keep me occupied for a while. I’m not worried about being bored. There will be enough to occupy me (I’ve got that book to read).
The first thing I’m going to do is go back to bed. I have more sleep in me. It will be quite cozy there. 
Have a good morning!
Ciao,
Nora

>Gently falling snow…

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I’m drinking my second cup of coffee while outside it is still snowing. It has been since forever, but it is very fine snow now and accumulates slowly. Still, there’s quite a bit of it out there and it looks wonderful and white and pristine. No one has walked in it yet and there are no tire tracks. It’s too early in the morning for that. Every once in a while, I go to the window and push the shade aside and look outside to take it all in. I seem to especially like this round of snowfall. It fits the upcoming holidays, doesn’t it? A white Christmas is something special. 
I woke up very happily with a head of short hair and ran my fingers through it. Every hair was in place and that pleased me very much. I must remember to go to the hairdresser on time, because obviously it makes me very happy. There’s nothing better than waking up with a decent hairdo. The only thing that bothers me is the terribly itchy skin that I have on my scalp. I scratch it subconsciously and make it worse. There must be a good solution for it.
Today I have a day off, The domestic help isn’t coming, because she is sick and there is no replacement. I didn’t want a complete stranger in the apartment and they couldn’t tell me who was going to come instead, so I begged off. I don’t mind if just for once there isn’t anyone here. It gives me a little break. 
The Exfactor is going to try and be here in spite of the weather. He’ll probably not make it on his motorcycle, but will take the train instead. The buses aren’t driving. All services are canceled and the police are only coming out for emergencies. It’s even a question if the trains will run. 
I do hope the Exfactor will make it, because he will bring the spare mobile phone that he’s got  to replace the one that Tyke demolished and that’s left me incommunicado. I feel very primitive without a phone, but at least I’m able to email when I want to reach someone. It’s just a little bit slower if they’re not behind their computer at that moment. 
I have to go to the tobacco shop to buy supplies and also buy a new cigarette case, because I’m using old cigarette packages now and they fall apart after a while. Besides, I can never get enough cigarettes in them and I’m always running out. They have nice sturdy cases at the tobacco shop and I will pick one out in a pleasant color. It will be an accessory, so it has to look good. I don’t want to go around with ratty looking cigarette packages anymore.  I do have to show more class than that. 
I want to go wash my hair with the blond lightening shampoo. I think the girl at the hairdresser’s didn’t use it this time. It does make a difference with how well your hair looks and it brightens it up just a bit. It’s early in the morning still and I have lots of time to do all sorts of things. I can dawdle for a while before I have to get the show on the road and get serious about anything.
Have a nice day.
Ciao,
Nora

>Affectionately yours…

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It’s not so early in the morning for a change, because I actually managed to sleep a little later than usual. How I did this, I don’t know. I’m surprised myself, but I do feel well rested now and I won’t have to go back to bed to sleep some more. I won’t have a chance for that anyway, because my Wednesday personal helper is going to be here this morning and I do have to be dressed and ready before she gets here. 
I’m having my coffee now and have just about used up the last of the milk. The Exfactor didn’t make it over here yesterday to do the groceries because of the weather, but he will be here today instead. The conditions have grown somewhat milder and the snow is even melting a bit. 
I’ve had to make things last and was down to the last of the milk and out of juice and completely out of rawhide bones for Tyke, which he always gets at night when we go to bed. They keep him occupied and out of trouble. At least, they are supposed to. It doesn’t always work. Sometimes he devours them in a hurry and has spare time left to go look for ways to entertain himself. 
Luckily, I had lemonade left, so when I was really thirsty, as I am so often, I could drink tall glasses of that, but I miss drinking cold milk and can’t wait to have that in the refrigerator again. I have it set on the coldest temperature so the milk will be extra cold.
I went on the bathroom scale this morning and had lost another 2 kilos and am now just about the weight I’m supposed to be. I’m one kilo over, but I’m sure I’ll lose that too. Especially now that I’ve cut back on the anti-psychotics, because that’s the medication that makes you gain weight, no matter how well you watch what you eat. You can eat like a bird and still gain weight. It’s very frustrating. 
I have to call the hairdresser today and make an appointment to get my hair cut. It’s gotten completely unruly and only looks good when I’ve just washed it. It’s about time that I go to the hairdresser. It’s a treat I enjoy and I haven’t been for a while. I’ve been short of money and had to wait for the right opportunity. It’s presented itself now. It will be nice to have my hair cut into a decent style again. Something I can easily manage and that is back into shape in no time after I’ve washed it. You do have to maintain your short haircut. You can’t neglect it. That’s the one drawback of having short hair. 
I have to get dressed. It’s time to get the day started. Several chores await me. It will be nice to get some things done before my personal helper gets here. I’m terribly thirsty and need to drink several glasses of ice cold lemonade before my thirst is quenched. Off I go. 
Have a nice day.
Ciao,
Nora

>Don’t tell me it’s Monday already!

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Yes, you can get used to the lazy days of the weekend it seems. Even I, who usually dislikes the weekends, can get used to them. It’s nice to hardly have a care in the world, like I did yesterday when I pretended I was snowed in. I had gotten up early and written a post for another blog and gone back to bed. When I got up, it started snowing and it snowed all afternoon, adding a fresh layer to the snow that was already there. I dare not guess how much snow there is now, but it’s a lot by our standards.
I must say that I kind of like it. I like the snow, but I don’t like the ice that’s underneath it, that’s the drawback. The snow is lovely and for all I care it keeps snowing, but then I really don’t have to be anywhere far away from here. The furthest I have to go this week is the office of my SPN and I can walk there. My poor sister has to fly home from Milan and I hope she will make it, because the weather is bad everywhere in Europe and where will she land? 
If you’re not  on the road, the snow is nice. It makes you feel that the world has gotten a lot smaller and it has in reality, because your radius of action becomes more restricted. You really do stick close to home. I did anyway, but I feel that I have a legitimate reason now. Nobody expects me to go anywhere far away and far away could be as close as downtown. I’m happy in my little world. I would have made a good villager if I had lived a long time ago. 
It’s early in the morning and I’m having my coffee, but I’ve just about had enough of it. I’m very thirsty and I need to drink something very cool and refreshing. All the juice is gone, so I’m thinking of a glass of lemonade. The Exfactor is going to be here tomorrow to do the groceries. He already sent me an email to tell me that he would be here. He isn’t bothered by the weather, but it looks like it isn’t going to snow anymore. As a matter of fact, there is rain in the forecast. That’s a bummer. The temperatures are going to rise and the snow and ice will melt. Oh well, clean streets are nice too. We had those for a little while before. At least the ice will be gone. 
I’m expecting my personal helper and the domestic help today, so I must do some chores. I never did get around to those yesterday. I had a completely lazy day and didn’t do a thing. I truly did have a day of rest. I have lots of time to putter around this morning. The first thing I will do is take a shower and get dressed in a brand new outfit. I will have to look through my closet and see what’s there. I’m sure I’ll find something of interest that’s warm enough. It has to be something at least mildly exciting. Something that I will be happy to wear. 
I’m going to be reading a new book by a blogging friend of mine. Her name is Laurie Hertzel and the name of the book is: News To Me, Adventures of an Accidental Journalist.  It’s a book I’ve been looking forward to reading and I just received it in the mail this weekend. Knowing Laurie’s way of writing, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it very much. I’m not a literature critic, but I’ll let you know what I think of it when I’m done with it. I can only read it during the day. It is too dangerous to take to bed with me at night, because Tyke will get a hold of it and destroy it. I sure as heck don’t want that to happen, although Laurie suggested that maybe he could nibble around the edges for Toby’s sake. Toby was her first dog and is pictured on the back cover. 
Okay, I’m getting the show on the road. I’m off to pick out an outfit. 
Have a nice day, everyone!
Ciao,
Nora

>The weekend.

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It’s Saturday, the first day of the weekend, but I’m not going to let that bother me. I’m going to act like it’s a day like any other day and not give it a different connotation. I will get dressed in a little while and take Tyke for a walk, even though he’s already done all of his business out back. It will get me in the proper mood for the rest of the day and I do have to go out this morning and go to the tobacco shop. I will be ready and in the starting blocks.
It hasn’t snowed any more, despite the predictions, and even though it snowed a lot in the west of the country, we are left with the couple of inches that we already had. I found out that my boots are snow proof, so that’s a relief, and they are warm enough. I just mustn’t walk around in wet slush with them. I also found out that if I wear thin socks in my hiking boots, they fit a lot better and I don’t get a blister on my toe that turns into a permanent sore spot. Of course, I haven’t tried them on long distances yet and will not. I’d rather not tempt fate. 
I think I will watch a lot of cultural programs on television today, because Saturday is the day for it, and there will be the news on. There will be sports later on in the day, but a lot of football matches got canceled because of the snow. The cultural programs are about art and literature and architecture, amongst others. They’re usually quite interesting, although not always to my taste, but challenging nonetheless. A person does need to be keeled out of his comfort zone sometimes. It gives you an opportunity to think about certain expressions of art and understand them better, even if you don’t take to them or are even repelled by them.

Well, I’ve just taken my medicines and I have to get the show on the road. It’s still dark and quiet outside and it will be a perfect opportunity to walk Tyke. We will have the world to ourselves. 
Have a good day!
Ciao,
Nora