The Dueling Dutch Woman

The Adventures of a Middle Aged Dutch Woman

Archive for books

Poppies and such…

I’ve decided not to read in bed anymore. It was disturbing my night’s sleep and upsetting my schedule because I got too caught up in the book and didn’t go to sleep when I was supposed to. So now I only read during the day in my armchair whenever I have a spare moment and I do have enough of them. I don’t read non stop because I don’t completely want to lose myself in the book to the exclusion of everything else. It is so easy to lose track of everything and time and forget the world around me. So I do put a limit on how much time I spend reading at one stretch. Every once in a while I have to put down the book and do something completely different.

It’s not like it was in the olden days when I could let myself go and spend a whole afternoon doing nothing but read and completely shut out the world around me. I don’t feel comfortable doing that anymore. I would feel too disconnected. I do feel that I regularly have to stay in touch with reality and be reminded of it and even take part in it. I also have to do the ordinary things like the dishes and walk the dog and watch the news on TV. The last is especially important because it makes me feel connected to the here and now and that’s very important to me.

I suppose that’s why I like listening to the radio so much when I lie in bed at night. The programs deal with current events and I always feel up to date and I hear a lot of the news on the radio. I hear more of the details that I don’t hear on the news on TV.  There are a lot of background stories and interesting guests on the talk shows. The same goes for when I take my nap in the afternoon because I go to sleep listening to political discussions about some current issue. I’m better informed now that I listen to the radio than I was before and all sorts of points of view are represented, though they all are sensible ones and well thought out. There’s no idiotic shouting just to make noise and intimidate. Everything is very civilized.

The fields have been mowed and the wildflowers have been cut down. Except for in the flowerbeds, there are no poppies left. All the chamomile has been cut down too. Now I’ll have to wait a while and see what comes up next. It’s still raining regularly, so hopefully that will help with whatever is going to decide to grow. It’s a shame to see everything gone, but it can’t be helped. Beside the street, on the stretches of grass that have not been mowed, there is wild yarrow growing and I hope to see more of it. There’s always hope for new plants.

Today is going to be a peaceful day. The Exfactor will be here to do the groceries, thank goodness, because I’m almost out of milk. I don’t have any appointments. I didn’t think it was necessary to make one with my psychiatrist and my SPN is on holiday until the 27th.  I will see her next week but I don’t have any pressing problems. I don’t consider the issue of the ‘Black Dog’ serious enough. He is slowly slinking away. I do have to have some amount of self sufficiency and to be able to get myself through these spells. It’s good for my ego if I do. I do have to show some amount of inner strength.

It’s going to rain again today and it will be for the rest of the week. I don’t mind it too much as long as I get the chance to take out the dog regularly. It’s quite cozy inside when it’s raining. I still have the bedroom windows open and it’s not cold inside, though outside it isn’t all that warm. I just have to make sure that I wear enough clothes. My black leather jacket is coming in real handy, although it’s getting a little big on me.

I haven’t been on the bathroom scale, but I think I’m losing weight because my latest skirt is getting a bit big on me, even after I washed it. I’ll have to try and remember to get on the scale when I get up again this morning and I’m in my underwear. That’s always when I weigh the least and that’s the weight I go by. I do want to weigh myself at the most opportune moment.

I’m going back to bed. It will be nice and warm in there under the duvet.

Have a good morning when you get up.

Ciao,

Nora

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A new book…

I’ve been laying in bed for a couple of hours reading a new novel (The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving) but I was not able to fall asleep. I got very caught up in the story and was unable to put the book down. It’s another one I’ve read before, but this time it’s long enough ago that I’ve forgotten a lot about it and it’s like reading a brand new book in a lot of ways. I do remember certain events as I read them, but not in great detail. It must be at least 25 years ago since I read this novel first.

As a result, I have to pay attention better and it’s taking me longer to read it. I can’t very smoothly get through it. The sometimes shocking things that happen in it do trip me up. It maybe is not such a good idea to read it in bed before going to sleep because it keeps me awake. I’m too unaware of what’s going to happen next and expect the worst. In John Irving’s novels the worst does happen.  I finally put the book away, but I was too wide awake to go to sleep. I’m hoping that sitting here for awhile will make me sleepy so I can go back to bed. I think that will happen sooner rather than later.

I’ve had one cup of coffee and am now drinking milk. A tall cool glass of it. I had the coffee to straighten out my head, it was so filled with images of that novel. It was like I had been immersed in a film and disconnected from reality. That’s the hard part about reading novels. You do need to reattach yourself to the real world around you. I always feel separated from it. I suppose I dislike that. I don’t like to be out of touch with reality and lost in make believe. Some books really do that to you.

It’s not been a bad day when you consider that ‘The Black Dog’ is still lurking in the background. He’s keeping a bit quiet, but he is there and growling occasionally to remind me of his presence. I’m doing much better than I was two days ago, so whatever I’m doing is the right thing.  That’s treating myself as kindly as I possibly can and not letting myself get pulled down by negative thinking. I don’t analyze myself or my situation. I find distraction helps the best.

I’m going back to bed. I hope you’re all having a good night.

Ciao,

Nora

 

Joviality…

Last night I started rereading ‘The Secret Scripture’ and I’m already halfway through it. Although I know the plot and the ending, I find that reading it the second time allows me to enjoy the beautiful language it is written in and to really let me enjoy all the wonderful details. It reads like very well written poetry and there’s a definite voice in it when the main character speaks. It’s like I’m listening to someone tell a well crafted story. So I’m not at all bored reading it another time, as a matter of fact, I enjoy it more and the story is penetrating better because I do know the outcome and I’m picking up more nuances now.

Rereading this novel is all in an effort to get me excited about reading again. I have not been able to finish any new book I’ve started and thought I had lost my love for reading. Luckily, I’m being proved wrong now and I may for a while reread other novels I’ve enjoyed a lot. They’re all on the bookcase or easily ordered, so that’s no problem. And because I can read them relatively quickly, I feel that I’m actually accomplishing something and have a lot to look forward to.

I even read in bed at the danger of falling asleep with the book in my hands and my reading glasses on my nose. The dog would have demolished both during the night if I had. Luckily, I remembered to put them away before I fell asleep. It was a good way to spend the early hour or two in bed. I don’t really know how long it took me to get sleepy. I was so wrapped up in reading and so comfortable that I lost track of time. I didn’t look at the alarm clock when I shut off the reading light. I very happily went straight to sleep.

I did wake up in a sweat again and had to stand outside by the back door while the dog did his thing out on the patio. It was lovely to be out in the cold night air and cool off. I stood there until I was properly chilled. Now I need my bathrobe because I’m getting a bit cold. That’s a luxurious problem too. I have the choice between being a bit cold and comfortably warm. I do appreciate my privileges.

In the meantime, it has become dawn and the birds are singing their early morning songs. They sound very cheerful and I hope they are not caught unawares by an eager cat. My own cat is sound asleep on the sofa, so at least I know they’re safe from her. It’s time for me to take my medicines and to go back to bed. I will read before I fall asleep again.

I hope you all have a nice Sunday.

Ciao,

Nora

 

 

 

When I have something to say…

It’s in the middle of the night and I’m sitting here with my cup of coffee and my cigarettes. I don’t actually know if I have something to say, but I’ll give it my best shot. I feel that I have to be somewhat productive in the nighttime, as I always claim that this is when my head is most clear. And it it is, but I just may be short of subjects to write about. Not that many things happen in my life so I always have to think very hard about what I will discuss. The tiniest details matter.

Yesterday went by in a flash just like Saturday did. The day was over before I knew it. Of course, I slept late in the morning and took about an hour to wake up properly in my armchair with several cups of coffee while I watched a literary program on TV. What used to be one of my favorite writers was on, but that was in a former life when my tastes were a little different. However, he discussed a book of travel stories he had written that sounded interesting and I do love travel stories if they are told well and no doubt he did. His name is Cees Nooteboom and he is translated in many languages. I can recommend him heartily. His novel ‘In the Dutch Mountains’ is very good.

My sister called and invited me over, so I had to get ready and walk the dog before I could leave. Luckily, the weather was nice enough, although it wasn’t especially hot. I did have to wear my cardigan, but I also had to wear sunglasses. I rode my bike over there in a stiff breeze, but in my sister’s garden things were pleasant and warm. I drank cappuccinos and had some Italian cookies and we ate a bowl of cherries. I admired the growing things and saw how much good the rain had done to the garden. Some plants had completely perked up and started to flower.

My sister very animatedly told me the complete plot of an Italian movie they had seen and she did such a good job that I feel that I’ve seen the movie, but also that I feel that I want to go see it myself. She’s made me very curious.  The name of the movie is ‘Mine Vaganti.’

When I got home, I watched the last two quarters of the field hockey game for the European championship and the Dutch club won. It wasn’t a very exciting game and they won with a penalty shot. After that, I took the dog for a walk because he had been waiting patiently. It looked like it was going to rain, but it didn’t. It is going to today, however. We’re going to have showers anyway, which is too bad for a holiday. There are several cultural festivals going on around the country and they sure can’t use the rain.

Today will be a nice and quiet day at home. I have nothing special planned and it is a relief to me. I look forward to the peacefulness.

I’m going back to bed.

Have a great day you all.

Ciao,

Nora

>Kindheartedness…

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I suppose that’s best to describe the benign feelings I have right now about the world  in general, though not about all things in specific, but I’ll not let myself be bothered about them right now. I want to have nothing but benign feelings, pushing away the effects of the less happy news items I watched on television last night. If they are all true, they make me feel very jaded indeed and I want none of that right now. 
I do want to enjoy my few hours of peace and quiet in the darkness and silence of the night and believe in the general goodness of mankind, though it is hard to pull the wool over my own eyes. It requires a state of oblivion that even I don’t know I’m capable of. I’m going to give it my best try, though. 
The face of one man is etched in my mind right now and that is the face of Dominic Strauss-Kahn and I wonder how he is doing in his single prison cell on Wicker Island. I want the allegations to not be true, but I’m afraid they are and I’m ever so sorry about that. It bothers me to no end that a man in his position would steep so low.  I suppose I feel an enormous amount of disappointment. This isn’t about having extra-marital affairs anymore. This is about rape and it’s very serious. 
Enough said about that. I have to find something equally true and honest in its place. Something to offset it. Something of beauty and elegance. That’s hard to come by in this world. I suppose I’m looking for a hero and I can’t find one at this moment. I need a Nelson Mandela.
I suppose that I don’t feel as benign as I thought I did, though I wish to. I worry about men in power abusing their privilege. It’s been shown that the brain activity of people in power changes and that they take bigger chances and do things ordinary people would not. They are risk takers. This goes for women in power as well as men. Women are more subtle, though. They don’t have a penis in their pants with which they have to assert themselves. 
I’ll gently return to the night and it’s peacefulness. If I sit here so silently, it’s hard to imagine that there’s a big complicated world out there. I can make my own world as small as I like. I can make it as small as the light of my desk lamp reaches. I can forget about yesterday and the day that is to come. All I have to do in a while is go back to bed and sleep. I don’t even have to dream about unpleasant things, at least, I hope not. 
On another subject, the book I’m reading, ‘Loot and other stories,’ is not fascinating me at all, but then again, not many books are lately and I never seem to be able to finish one. I will have to go in search of another book that will hopefully grab my attention well enough. I do still have enough to choose from on the bookcase. It’s a shame to leave all these books unread, but maybe some day in the future I will go back and finish them.
Today actually brings nothing complicated with it. It is a day of no consequence at all. I can make it as simple as I want and I am grateful for that. I will do some simple chores and generally take care of my mental health, which has for the most part been good. I’m not going from one extreme mood to the other, but am mostly positioned somewhere in the middle range. You have no idea what a relief that is. I’m not in the bouncy castle.
I hope you’re all having a good night and that you’ll have a good morning when you get up. We’re actually going to have good weather. 
Ciao,
Nora

>Being perfectly normal early in the morning…

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Being perfectly normal doesn’t happen very often anymore, so I do have to give it a special mention. Besides, I don’t know how long the feeling is going to last. It may be very fleeting, but I hope it is solidly settled into my psyche for the rest of the day. I certainly welcome it and am very happy with it. It’s been a long time since I have felt this way. 
I never know what ingredients make up the feeling and I hope to keep getting them right as I guess at them. I’m drinking coffee and have read other people’s blog posts. They were for the most part cheerful, even the ones that were more introspective. Maybe that was just the take I had on them from my own point of view which is more rose colored. 
I’ve had at least 5 hours of sleep, that’s pretty good by my standards. I had a very nice phone conversation with my daughter last night. I think that put some weight into the balance. It was about a positive subject and one I could advise her on using all my maternal instincts which are intact and alive and well. You never do stop being good at that, do you? It doesn’t matter what age you are or what age your daughter is.
I’m seeing my psychiatrist today for the second time this week and I’m going to set something straight which has been bothering me very much. It’s a problem I had which I’ve since resolved and I want to help it out of this world and never talk about it again. It’s an embarrassment to me now to even think about it. I will make short shrift of it. It’s a reflection of how low I can get and had gotten. 
Being sound of mind has improved my point of view of life in general and my life in specific and suddenly everything looks a lot brighter than it did. All the little details that seemed so complicated now all look resolvable. I can’t say that the world’s problems seem less big by comparison, but I’m less burdened by them, if only in the smallest degree. Maybe my shoulders have become a bit stronger. 
I’ve always remained a realist about them anyway and never did think there was an easy solution or a solution at all. It’s easier to look at my own life and take care of the details there. All I can do is manage my own life well. 
It’s with some amount of relief that I start the day. Feeling unburdened for the most part has improved the way I’ll enter the fray. It’s not much of a fray anyway. At least, I don’t look at it that way. Except for some minor complications, it all seems rather simple. All I have to do is stay as honest and as upfront as I can be and do my best. With a little bit of goodwill and a continuing good outlook, I ought to be able to do that.
And I still say, thank god it’s Friday. The week has lasted long enough and it has been intense enough with lots of conflicting emotions that I’m more than ready for two days of nothingness. Of only watching cultural television and walking the dog and taking naps. And worrying about nothing else but which clothes I’m going to wear depending on the weather. That’s as complicated as it’s going to get. That’s just about the level of excitement I’m willing to handle. 
No doubt I’ll find some interesting elements to add to the mixture as I go along. One thing I have thought is that maybe I’m not really enjoying the book I’m reading and that I ought to start reading a different one, although I’m always loathe to leave a book unfinished. This one is not grabbing me, though. I don’t really care enough about how it’s going to end and I have been uninterested in reading it. I’m two thirds of the way through it and, although I like the characters, I don’t care what happens to them. So I may be looking for a different book. 
I’ve got to take my medicines and check my emails. It’s not quite time to get the day started. It is rather early still. I’ll have to do some chores because the domestic help is going to be here today and I don’t want her to walk into a messy apartment. I do still have my housewifely pride. 
I hope you’ll all have a good day.
Ciao,
Nora

>It wasn’t working…

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I didn’t achieve my goal of sleeping six hours last night. I had really imprinted it in my mind before I went to sleep and had picked the time that I should have woken up at, but alas, it didn’t work out. 
First I woke up because I had to go to the toilet, which isn’t too bad because I can usually go back to sleep. Then I woke up from a cacophony of noise emanating from the radio instead of the usual gentle nighttime sounds that come from it. After I got over that shock and tried to get back to sleep, I was alerted by the dog who had taken one of my boots off the third shelf of the bookcase and was just planning on having a good chew on it. 
I gave up trying to get more sleep then because I was perfectly awake, but had slept only four and a half hours. I decided that would have to do and got up reluctantly not having achieved my goal. I’m going to try again tonight and every night and get as close as I can get. It must be doable if I have my mind set the right way. I will always aim for six hours. 
My psychiatrist thought my way of dealing with my sleep problem was the right way and he was glad that I didn’t want any new sleeping pills because he would have been very reluctant to give me any. I think I would have had to beg for them. He likes this approach much better and he was about to suggest it to me himself. 
We’re also going to not do anything with the rest of my medication, so there are to be no reductions for awhile. It is thought better to let me be in balance for now and have a steady time before we do any more of that. I’ve been bouncing up and down enough. It’s time for some peace and quiet. I can only agree to that.
My visit with my SPN went fine. She said she was glad to have the old me back. She was genuinely pleased about that. I was a reasonable woman again. I know I am because I feel that way myself.
Now I’m yawning again. I think I will sit in my armchair for a while and read my book and then go back to bed. I have lots of sleep to catch up on. 
Have a terrific day.
Ciao,
Nora