Sunday, February 28, 2010

Back to the old template.


As you can see, I've gone back to the toad. I decided in the end that it was really me after all. I also like the layout and the colors and how easy it is to read the text. But I tell you, I feel an affinity for that toad. I really feel like that´s a bit me sitting there on that rock with those wise bulging eyes and that little fat body. I connect with that toad.

I've just come back from walking Tyke in the not so cold morning and I've fed him his lunch. I have to sit very close to him when he eats, otherwise he will not finish eating. As it is, he takes a couple of bites and comes and sits with me until I tell him to go eat again. Or until a cat dares to come close to his bowl. He beat up Toby the other day for daring to eat from his bowl. I don´t think Toby will ever try it again.

Right now Tyke and Gandhi are running through the apartment like Tasmanian Devils and I fear for everything that is standing upright. And just as quickly, Tyke is sound asleep on the floor beside me. Go figure! I think it is because Gandhi is now sitting on the dining table grooming herself. The animals are as unpredictable as the weather.

In spite of the fact that I slept well last night, I took a nap on the sofa this morning. I slept for 2 hours and it was very nice. I'll not worry about it today, since it's Sunday and a day of rest, but, of course, I'm not supposed to be asleep during the day, especially not in the morning when I've just gotten up. I don't want to spend what are supposed to be my waking hours asleep on the sofa. There are other things that I can do with my time.

I do have to say, though, that Tyke is great when I'm asleep. It seems that all he does is sleep also. I never wake up from any racket that he and Gandhi are making and he never gets into things he's not supposed to when I'm taking a nap. I'm now going to knock on wood really hard three times lest I call bad luck out over myself.

The wind just picked up hard outside and I think it is going to rain. Showers are predicted. It promises to be a cosy afternoon here. I'll have to turn on some lights, because it's dark in here. Still, it's 11C (52F), so it's not cold. I can say for certain that there's no chance of snow. Lord, I am so grateful for that. If I never see another snowflake I'll be so happy. Do you think it's time that I immigrate to another climate? At least it's already staying lighter later in the evening. That's something. I really do appreciate that. I love it when the sun starts going down late and the day lasts longer. It makes me feel like I have more time to do things.

Today is the last day of February. Good riddance to it. Not that March is not an unpredictable month, but it does bring us close to springtime. You do get your reward if you're patient enough. Someone wrote about the darling buds of May, but here we can speak of the darling buds of March. He must have lived in a different geographical area. I'm talking about the buds on shrubbery and trees. I can't wait to see that green haze on those bare branches or am I running ahead of myself? I do remember this correctly, don't I? It's a mystery and a surprise every year over again.

I think have to find a new home for Gandhi. Tyke won't leave her alone. He misinterprets everything she does as playful behavior and he is constantly chasing her around the apartment and bothering her. He doesn't give her one moment of rest, like a typical puppy, and follows her wherever she goes. He nips at her and shoves her around and paws at her and he thinks that whatever she does in return is playful feedback. Gandhi is going nuts and I have to correct Tyke all day long. That lasts as long as it does and then I have to start all over again. It's maddening. I called the Exfactor and asked him if he wants her and he is going to think about it and also ask among his friends if anyone wants her. In the meantime I'll have to sit on Tyke. I guess I didn't knock on wood hard enough.

Gandhi has scratched Tyke in the eye and damaged his lower eyelid. It's swollen and red and it looks terrible. I'm putting an antibiotic cream on it, but I'll have to take him to the vet tomorrow just to make sure that his tear gland isn't damaged. Oh, it's always something.

I want to end this on a happy note, so let's see what I can write about. It has started to rain, but that is not really something to be happy about, although it is cosy when you're nice and dry inside. You must see the glass half full. I'm wearing a sweater that I had quite forgotten about and found another one that I had forgotten about too. It now is in the laundry, which I will do as soon as I'm done here.

The sweaters were laying on the top shelf of my closet where I don't have a look very often. It's a neglected area. Actually, my whole closet is kind of neglected and I'm wearing the same clothes over and over again. I put them in the laundry and when they're dry I put them on. I have no imagination when it comes to dressing up at the moment and I haven't worn any make up in a long time. I'm about the dullest woman in the street and it hardly bothers me.

Gandhi is now peacefully sleeping on the sofa and Tyke is lying beside me chewing on a rawhide bone. Temporary peace!

Have a good rest of the day. It is Sunday, so I hope you do only nice things for yourself.

Ciao,
Nora

Midnight...


What better time to sit down and write a post than at midnight when everybody else has gone to bed and the neighborhood is silent and the world around me seems to be at peace? That is, my own little piece of the world. I'm well aware of the fact that the world at large is not at peace at all, but I don't want to depress myself by thinking about how much of this is actually true, so I'll skip over that whole discussion and stick to my own little corner of it. I feel quite helpless at the moment to do anything about the world's larger problems and conflicts. Well, I usually do. I find recycling hard enough to do.

I napped a lot today. This was to offset yesterday when I didn't nap as much and was busy doing chores and other important things. It was also to make up for that half a night of sleep I missed. I napped in the morning, the afternoon and the evening on the sofa with the TV on for company. I'm quite good at sleeping with the TV on and incorporate the sound into my dreams. Of course, it's not normal the amount of sleeping I do during the day. I seem to exist in a constant state of sleepiness, but I blame that on the medications and you all know my decision about those.

It seems to me that sometimes I am more than frank in my posts and afterwards it bothers me to no end that I was. I think there is such a thing as sharing too much of yourself and maybe sometimes I cross the line. I seem to get into a delirium and unload whatever is on my mind, however intimate my thoughts are. I don't delete these posts afterwards, because by then I have usually already received comments on them and it seems cowardly to pretend that I haven't written them. That's the danger of blogging like you write a diary. You put your thoughts out there and hope for the best, but I have yet to receive a nasty remark and I owe that to the kindness of my readers.

My own discomfort, though, does want me to moderate my words, but I know in the end that I will share my life with you again when I feel the need to unload, because I find that writing about it here is after all the best therapy. It helps me put my thoughts in order and get my priorities straight.

-------------------

In the meantime it is morning, because I had to go to sleep after I wrote all of the above. I'm having my first cup of coffee and it tastes mighty fine. Definitely worthy of a repeat.

I seem to be filled with some amount of quiet despair and I have to try and find out where it comes from. I think it has to do with me going to quit my medications and the daunting task that is going to be, because I'm not at all naive enough to think it's going to be easy. I suppose what bothers me is that I have not had a chance to discuss this with my SPN and my psychiatrist and I won't be able to properly until March the 11th when I have an appointment with both of them together. I see my SPN before that, but only for a half hour appointment and I won't have much time to explain my point of view to her. That's always very frustrating.

I'm just thinking that I can send her an email explaining my take on things now, so that she will be prepared when she sees me on Tuesday. That may be a good idea, but even that fills me with a certain amount of dread, because how do you get such an idea across and sound sane and reasonable at the same time?

I've decided not to take the paracetamol with codeine anymore lest I get hooked on that. I was allowed to take it 4 times a day and was obediently popping those pills, but this morning I didn't take one. I will only take one if it is absolutely necessary and I don't think that it is right now. I won't take them just because I'm allowed to. I can just see me developing a problem with those pills. I did take all of my other medications and won't start reducing anything until I have properly discussed it with my psychiatrist. It's tempting to start now, but I won't do it.

I can breathe through my nose again and my throat is hardly sore. I'm really not coughing anymore, just occasionally, so I think I am much better. That antibiotic is working. As far as I'm concerned, I declare myself healed, though I will finish the antibiotic, of course.

Okay, I'm going to write that email now. I hope you all have a great day.

Ciao,
Nora





Saturday, February 27, 2010

Medication...


I have been on psychiatric medication for about 16 years now. I take antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, tranquilizers and sleeping pills. Of some of these, I take massive amounts. The reason that I started taking these pills is that I had one enormous, completely full blown, nervous break down in the complete sense of the word and that it wasn't pretty and that it took me a long time to get over it. In the course of this, a diagnosis was made of my symptoms, as a diagnosis is made of everyone who enters into psychiatric care and is observed for any length of time. My diagnosis is Bipolar Disorder Type II, complicated with Borderline Personality Characteristics. That's what's written down in my electronic file and that's what I'm labeled as.

The first years I started taking the medication a lot of it didn't work, so it was always a trial and error of trying to find the right medication in the right doses and the right combinations until we finally found the ones that seemed to work the best. Now, it would be nice to assume that these medications brought me back to my former self before I had that huge breakdown,but that is not the case. The medications made me less depressed and less suicidal and less morbidly preoccupied with obsessive thoughts and less anxious and nervous, but they never returned me to the person I used to be who had been fun and adventurous and outgoing and extroverted and socially adapt. I never regained that person.

I mourned over that woman and it took me a long time to come to accept the person I had become instead and for a long time I didn't. Over time I thought, well this is the best I am going to be and that's what I'm stuck with, so I may as well accept it and at least to some point I have a certain amount of peace and quiet. Of course, in reality I don't, because I'm still the victim of depressions and mood swings and I never know from one day to the next what my day is going to look like.

I live a very precarious life that constantly needs to be fine tuned with medication. I suffer from anxieties and agoraphobia and unnamed fears and terrors and sheer nerves. I have an untold amount of suffering and every day seems to be a battle, even on my good days. I suffer from highs that are too high and lows that are too low. I never seem to be in balance.

Instead of being the great solution to the problems I had and returning me to my former glory, the medications seem to prolong my suffering and add to it and never allow me a normal day. Therefor lately, I have lost my faith in them and I am very seriously considering getting off them and once again becoming the woman I was before all of this got started. I will just be older and wiser now.

My recent statement, that I wanted my life to end, was based for a large part on the fact that I could not see myself grow old on the medication and envision a quality of life that I have now with the medication until I die of old age. I thought, there have to be better ways to grow old. I think my quality of life is so low now that I can't accept it as a standard of living.

I talked to my daughter yesterday, from whom I have become practically estranged these past years and she told me that she felt that she had lost me to the medication. That the real me that she knew to be her mom was no longer there and that I had become someone else that she felt no bond with and that she could not get close to. I was unreachable to her and off somewhere in another reality away from the real life one. She wanted me back, but she felt it was impossible under the circumstances and I know what she means, because I feel the detachment too and I feel that about a lot of people.

I somehow have to get myself back. I have to get the joy and the life back into me and not be this drug induced person. My daughter talked of a detox program, but I don't know if something like that is available for me. She wants to get in touch with my psychiatrist and voice her concerns and be my advocate. She rues the fact that she lives so far away from me, because she wants to help me become me again. I want me to become me again.

I'm seriously going to discuss this with my SPN and psychiatrist and see what we can do. It's a possible way for me not to have to end my life. There may be light at the end of the tunnel.

Ciao,
Irene

Friday, February 26, 2010

It's working well!


I've decided not to watch any Olympics this evening, but instead to catch up on my blog reading, which I was very behind on. I'll get my pajamas on in a while and make myself comfortable on the sofa and watch some Olympics then. They are broadcast all night because of the time difference. I don't know what I'm going to do when the Olympics are over. Life will be so boring when everything gets back to normal. Well, maybe not. There was life before the Olympics, after all, and somehow I managed. I know I read a lot more books then.

I'm taking my medicines for my airway infection and I must say that the codeine works very well. I'm allowed to take it 4 times a day and it completely takes away the pain, making it a lot easier to breathe, allowing me to do things as if there is hardly anything the matter with me. So, needless to say, I did some chores today.

First I cleaned up that torn bag of cat litter. I was a ten kilo bag and when I tried to pick it up, the bottom fell out and all the cat litter dropped on the ground. I swept it all up and put it in a different bag and then swept the whole room which was covered in dog hair and debris from outside that the cats and the dogs had tracked in and other dust and soil. It hadn't been properly cleaned in a while and it is where the back door is, so you can imagine what it looked like. It looked like the great outdoors.

Since that was done so successfully, and since I was hardly out of breath, I vacuumed the apartment next. I didn't rush the job, but did it nice and easy, as if I had all the time in the world, which I did. I vacuumed up the last of Jesker's hair that was stuck beneath the furniture and now that is all gone. Tyke doesn't shed any hair. His fur is thick and curly, but I have yet to find any laying around.

Now I have to mop the floors, which is going to be a lot of work, so I saved that job for another day. I have a sponge mop and I think it is more work than a rag mop, though I am still undecided which of the two I like better. I know I will feel a lot happier once the floors are clean, because they are mucky now. I do want to pick the right moment to clean them, when I have a lot of energy and I know I can get the job done. I will do them in stages and take little breaks in between.

My nose is still plugged up and I can't blow it now. Everything is stuck. It causes me to talk funny. My throat is slighty sore and hoarse, and my chest is rattly, but it doesn't hurt thanks to the codeine. I know that in a few days I will feel a lot better. I'm already glad that I'm able to do chores so much easier and that I'm not just lying on the sofa being sick. That's a great relief to me.

Lately I've been having regular crises over the value of the purpose of my existence. I very much miss having a reason to go on living for other than Tyke, and before that it was Jesker. I think of how tough it has been to survive this past winter and how very much I don't want to have another winter like it and that I'm not happy with the prospect that I'm going to have winters like that for the rest of my life. I wonder about the true purpose of my life and what it really is all about and I don't see much reason for it, other than to just get up in the morning and somehow make the best of it until I go to sleep. It doesn't seem like a very fruitful and useful life.

I wish there were an option to step out of your life when you think it has been enough. That you've lived the life you've wanted to live and that you don't see much purpose in going on living. When the negatives of life outweigh the positives and there's not enough happiness left in it. I find myself in that position now and I very gladly would have followed Jesker into his eternal sleep. I'm quite envious of him to have died such a peaceful death. Just one little injection of sleep medication is all it took.

Well, that's all I have to say about the subject for now. I'm sure I'll talk more about it later. It's open for discussion.

Ciao,
Nora

Silly Woman!


After having written my cheerful post, and at 6 o'clock this morning, I got dressed and very optimistically took Tyke for a walk. We had been cooped up inside for a few days, after all, and it was time we got out. I thought I felt well enough to do it, so I was more than willing to go and when Tyke saw me get my hiking boots on, he was more than willing to go too.

We didn't go very far. I didn't want to push my luck, it being my first outing since I got sick, and we walked for only twenty minutes or so. Imagine my surprise when I was completely out of breath when we got home and I didn't feel so good. My chest hurt and I had a pain between my shoulder blades. I took off my hiking boots and laid down on the sofa to rest and catch my breath, but I stayed out of breath and the pain didn't go away. I was mighty uncomfortable.

Finally, at 8:30, I called the doctor's office and told the nurse what my problem was and she told me to come in at 9 o'clock. I went over there when it was time, which is only a 5 minute walk away from here, and soon saw my doctor. He listened to my lungs and said that I had a lower airway infection. He prescribed an antibiotic and paracetamol with codeine for the pain. I had the nurse fax the prescription to the pharmacy and the Exfactor is going to pick it up for me on the way over here.

I had so many plans for today. I wanted to take Tyke for several walks and I wanted to do some chores, but now I know that I'm unable to do those things, because the least little thing causes me to be completely out of breath and it hurts. I will have to be dependent on the Exfactor to get some things done around here and maybe walk Tyke one more time.

It sure is a bummer. I have to use up all the medication and if I'm not better then, I have to go see the doctor again. I was so upbeat this morning, because I thought I was getting better, but now I'm looking at a longer recuperation time. Of course, with the antibiotic I will get better fast. I just don't want to get down because of this. I do want to keep my mood up and it's not really good if I am forced to be so inactive. Physical health and mental health go hand in hand.

So, it's a good thing I went to see the doctor, otherwise I would have walked around with this forever. Now I'm going to lie down again and wait for the Exfactor to bring the medicines that will make me better.

Ciao,
Nora

Getting Better...


I still have a head cold and I am somewhat congested in my chest, but I really think I'm getting better. At least I don't feel like a wrung out dishrag and my body doesn't ache all over the place anymore. I think the worst of the flu is over now and that I'm mending, and I tell you, that's not a day too soon, because yesterday I became pretty disgusted with it. I saw all the things I had to do and felt my inability to do them and was very frustrated.

I also felt bad about not being able to take Tyke for a walk and now I think that is one of the first things I will do this morning. I will not go for a real long walk, but long enough for both of us to get some exercise and fresh air, which we both need, because we've both got cabin fever. It will be wonderful to be outside in the cool morning air and to stretch my legs and get some exercise after being immobile for the last few days. I think yesterday afternoon was the turning point and I started getting better from that moment on.

Now I'm sitting here with a glass of cold milk after I've had my obligatory cup of coffee. I've been drinking a lot of cold milk lately, because the fruit juice made my stomach sour. The cold milk quenched my eternal thirst really well and I drank it greedily. I know it's not supposed to be the thing to drink when you have a cold because of the mucous build up, but it doesn't seem to hurt me and it sure has quenched my thirst these past days. I've never been so thirsty and the fruit juice upset my stomach.

I have drank very little coffee, just a cup now and then, and I haven't missed it very much. I certainly did not go through withdrawal symptoms. I thought about drinking tea, but for some reason tea doesn't seem to settle in my stomach well and I don't know if that is because I take sugar in it. I have to try it without the sugar sometime.

While I was asleep, Tyke completely tore apart the hyacinths that my sister had bought me and broke one of the pots. The soil was spread all over the place and I had to sweep it up in the middle of the night. I have to replant them later this morning and find a new pot for one of them and then place them on the windowsill in the kitchen where he can't get to them. He had no sense that he had done anything wrong when I scolded him, so that was an exercise in futility. He was very curious when I cleaned everything up.

The hyacinths themselves are okay. He didn't bite them to pieces. I suppose this is what life is like with a pubertal dog. There will be another year of this before he has completely outgrown this kind of behavior. I have to have an awful lot of wits and patience in the meantime. A dog like that dares you to love him in spite of everything. And you do.

In comparison, it's so much easier to have cats, although they have a tendency to shred your furniture, but they usually stick to one piece. They do it no matter how many scratching posts you have. They are very good at ignoring those, even if they are quite appealing. I'm afraid to get a new sofa, or I should say, the sofa of my choice, because of what Gandhi will do to it. I think I will not get a new sofa until I have no more cats. That should be in another 6 years or so. I hope my sofa lasts that long.

Having been sick, and nearly being over it, sure makes me appreciate my health very much. I can't wait to start doing some ordinary things like hanging up the laundry to dry. That was still impossible yesterday, but I think I can manage it today. I won't be able to hang it outside, because we're expecting rain, even though the temperature is going to be nice at 9C. That would be warm enough to dry the laundry.

We're expecting rain for the next few days and it really doesn't bother me that much, as long as it's not cold and it doesn't turn into snow. There's no chance of that, however. I think we've left all of that behind us. I keep focusing on the idea that we're moving towards spring now and that nothing can stop that movement. It's the law of nature.

Tyke is very innocently sleeping by my feet. You'd think he'd never done a bad thing in his life, that he was the best puppy ever, that's how adorable he looks, all rolled up in a ball. Puppies look adorable so we forgive them their evil deeds. It works the same way with little kids. We love our children in spite of the fact that they drive us nuts, because they are so adorable. We don't understand that other people think our children are spoiled brats. Luckily, they get over this stage and turn into normal children.

Okay. I'm going to do some useful things now. I think I'll sweep the junk room and find a bag to put the cat litter bag in to. More and more cat litter is spilling out. I hope I'm not being overly optimistic as to my capacity to do things. I do so want to get the show on the road. And you know what they say: where there's a will, there's a way!

Ciao,
Nora

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The flu, part two.


I just woke up from a long afternoon nap on the sofa and it seems to have done me some good, except that I've woken up with a very sore throat, but I can live with that. I do feel like eating a big bowl of vanilla ice cream and I don't have any of that handy, so that is kind of sad. I'm drinking a cup of coffee now and will have a cold glass of milk next. I just didn't want to neglect my caffeine intake. I'm still plugged up and it feels like there's an elephant sitting on my chest and I generally feel like a wet dishrag, but I do feel a bit better. I think that nap was good for me and helped me feel better.

I'm afraid that Tyke is becoming awfully bored with me, because except for cuddling and petting him, I'm not much fun to him right now. I don't do anything interesting, because I just don't have the power to. It wears me out to do anything exhausting. He has his toys and Gandhi and they do play together and this morning they were galloping through the apartment like half broke horses. I was afraid of the furniture getting smashed. This was after I caught him chewing on the remote control of the TV, which now only partially works. Oh well... Every once in a while he drags one of my shoes out and I've been able to catch him on time every time. So there are no casualties there yet.

The weather was great today, but, of course, I didn't get to enjoy it. It was 10 degrees Celsius outside and that's practically springtime weather. I did stand by the back door on occasion when I let Tyke out back and felt how nice it was. I do dare think that winter is over now and that we are on our way to spring.

In the meantime, I keep watching the Olympics and have the TV tuned to it almost non stop. I watch whatever they show, even ice hockey. In a half delirium I watch Canada play Russia and I can't keep track of where the puck is, because it moves so quickly across the ice. What I really like to watch is the new sport called Ski Cross. That's so much fun. I could watch that for hours. I do fall asleep while watching the TV and wake up at odd hours, but it doesn't matter if it's night or day, I just sleep whenever, though I do sleep more at night, I think. It must be habit.

While all of this is going on, our government has fallen and we will have new elections on June the 9th. We're all very curious to see which parties are now going to gain the most followers and the most votes. The city council elections are in March and will be a good reflection of the political climate. Of course, political campaigning is going on like crazy. It started the minute the government fell. Everybody climbed on their platform and soapbox quickly. I've never heard such a bunch of nonsense being propagated. Where in the world do they get their screwed up ideas? They must be desperate to talk in sound bites to get on TV and not think about what they're saying. There are many loads of bullshit heard, mostly pronounced by semi-muscular he-man lilliputians. I am glad, though, that I get to vote for the party of my choice twice. Voting is such a privilege.

The Exfactor is coming here tomorrow to get some groceries for me and to walk Tyke and to help me clean up the apartment a bit. Well, help me? I won't do much. My sister is so sweet. She came by with two potted hyacinths today because I am sick. I've set them on the windowsill and will watch them grow and bloom.

Have a great evening! I've got to watch the Olympics.

Ciao,
Nora

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Flu...


I've been lying on the sofa under the red fleece blanket for most of the day, because I've come down with the flu. I'm coughing and sneezing and I have an aching body and I can't be far from a box of tissues. It is very ironic that I should get sick at the end of the winter, because I never get sick (hardly ever) and I certainly wasn't expecting it now when it is nearly springtime. I don't know how I caught this bug, but I'm not happy with it, because I generally feel miserable.

I'm not a very good patient and like to complain, but there's nobody here to complain to. I also like to be made a fuss over, but that's not possible either, so I'm being as nice as I can possibly be to myself and I'm drinking lots of cold drinks and keeping myself warm. The runny nose is the worst, because it leaks pretty much non-stop and I have to have a tissue handy all the time and make sure that Tyke doesn't tear apart the used ones. That's so gross!

I wish I could add a microscopic image of a virus to this post, but I'm too sick to go look for one. Instead I'll add something nice.

Have a good day, be on your guard against those invisible germs!

Ciao,
Nora

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rain...


It's been raining non stop since I woke up this morning and even Tyke can't be fooled into going out into it. He'll quickly go out back, but looks at the sky to try to figure out what this wetness is that's sprinkling down on him. I let him out often, because he comes in so quickly that I get the impression that he hasn't done what he's supposed to do. To be on the safe side, he goes out every hour or so.

This morning his special puppy food was delivered that I ordered on line at my favorite pet shop. I ordered a 10 kilo bag and I'm curious to see how long it will last. Tyke has a good appetite and has been eating Jesker's left overs, but now I want him to eat more specialized food. He is growing, because I've had to move his collar up two notches. It was too tight. I noticed that when I was giving him an extended petting session yesterday. I don't want him to get fat and am constantly checking his belly for leanness. He doesn't get any food if his belly still feels a bit round. If it's empty, and it's time to eat, he gets food. I feed him in the morning and the evening and he gets a little snack in between as a reward if he has gone outside and done his business.

He's pretty easy to distract from negative behavior. I don't have to get cross with him, but just call him over and get his mind focused on something else. He really does do his best, although some habits are hard to break, such as wanting to dominate Gandhi over and over again. Gandhi is giving out very mixed messages and goes to look for him and parks herself right under his nose, so it's very confusing to Tyke who thinks she wants to play with him. He thinks it's all a game and that she is willing. He doesn't realize that she's a reluctant participant and confused herself. Tyke thinks they're married for life.

It just stopped raining and I went for a quick walk around the block with him. We met one of our neighbors with her dog and her dog was quite taken with Tyke and made advances. It was a girl dog at the ripe age of 12. She put all of her charms into it and Tyke was quite amused and flattered. He longingly looked after her when she went on her way with her owner. He would probably jump her if he got the chance. He's not as innocent as he looks, that feisty little thing.

It's been a long time since I've felt happy. It's been many months, but the last two days I sometimes feel little pinpricks of it. They are so tiny that they are hardly noticeable, but they are there nevertheless. I hope these pinpricks become larger and that they will turn into seconds and minutes and hours, but I'm afraid to hope for too much. I miss being happy. You don't know what you miss until you start feeling it again and now that I do on occasion, I want more of it. I long for it very much. It is a state of mind that I miss as much as blue skies and sunshine. It's awful to always feel like the colors black and gray and to never feel yellow and red. I don't know how I've lasted through all these winter months. It's been such a hell. All that's kept me hanging in there was the thought that there would be an end to it one day and the end is coming in sight now. I´m plain worn out from it.

The fact that there are the tips of leaves of plants showing up in the dark wet ground now gives me hope. Some shrubs have buds on them. It´s all full of promise and soon I will put this dark period behind me. Next year I´ll be smart and use the sunlight replacement lamp again, though I did not really believe in it. I´ll have to believe in it if I´m going to survive another winter. But I can´t think about that now. First I have to get ready for spring and thoroughly enjoy that and come back alive. I can start sitting on café terraces with my friend Yvonne again and take photographs of the world. I feel like I´m about to be let out of jail and join the human race again.

Well, so much for those ponderous thoughts. I´ve felt so trapped inside myself and inside that entity called winter that loomed so large around me with it´s darkness and cold and snow and ice and rain. I´m ready to be liberated from it.

This is the end of my epistle. While I´m typing this, I´ve been liberating Gandhi from Tyke´s amorous hold many times. I do want to break him of the habit.

Have a good day! Wish the rain away.

Ciao,
Nora

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sensibility.


I didn't realize that all that walking I did with Tyke on Saturday would wipe me out so much on Sunday, but it did. I'm not used to so much exercise anymore, so I was very worn out the next day and did a lot of sleeping. It's really silly when you think that three long walks should tire me so much, but they did. You would have thought that I had trekked through a jungle all day and had suffered terrible hardships.

I did manage to go for a walk with Tyke in the afternoon on Sunday and I paid attention to people's gardens and noticed that all sorts of green things were happening. Bulbed plants were popping out of the ground, but there were also other plants coming up green and some ground covers were showing new growth. This all makes me feel somewhat joyful and gives me hope. Spring is near and I see the signs of it. There is irrefutable proof. Later on in the afternoon we made a short outing to my sister's house so I could borrow some milk. Any outing is fine with Tyke. As long as it has bushes and trees to sniff and pee on he is happy. I've got me another one of those dogs that needs to mark his territory.

It's raining outside like was predicted and we will not be going anywhere soon. We'll have to take a short walk in between showers. I don't know how Tyke feels about getting wet, Jesker never liked it very much. He didn't like to go out at all when it rained. Maybe Tyke hasn't quite caught on to that fact yet.

I slept late this morning. I was up briefly earlier, out of habit, but I really wasn't awake properly. I slept some more on the sofa and the animals slept with me. When I finally woke up, I thought I wasn't going to be able to get up, my body felt so heavy and tired, but once I got up and had a cup of coffee I was okay. Sometimes you just have to cross that threshold between sleep and wakefulness.

The sun has come out, so I am going out with Tyke now before it starts to rain again. Today I have to do some household chores. I have to be a little bit like a good housewife. At least act like one.

Have a good day, you all.

Ciao,
Nora

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sleep!


After I wrote my post early this morning, I have done nothing but sleep on the sofa under the red fleece blanket. It felt as though a cloud of sleepiness settled over me and I couldn't get out of it until just now. I'm having a cup of coffee to try and get the last bit of sleepiness out of my system, but I'm still yawning and the sofa still looks awfully appealing to me. I have one blind pulled halfway up and Toby is lying on the back of the sofa looking out the window. Gandhi is asleep on the sofa where I had been lying. Tyke is asleep by my feet and I want to go back and join Gandhi.

I always seem to alternate one active day with one inactive day. I was full of plans this morning, but I don't know yet if I will make a big walk with Tyke today. I have to see how I get out of this sleepiness first. The best thing to do, of course, is to put on my hiking boots and go for a walk. It doesn't have to be a big walk even. Just long enough to wake up and get my brain cleared up. I will tentatively plan on that then and do that as soon as I've written this post.

There's nothing nicer than lying on the sofa with the red blanket pulled over me and the sound of the TV in the background. I don't even know what's on and what programs I'm missing. It doesn't matter. It's just chatter in the background of my sleep. I dream a lot when I sleep on the sofa and I work out all sorts of things in my dreams. They are little analytical sessions that I have in symbolic language, but I understand the symbolism usually. I always dream about my children and my exes and the life I had in California. These elements repeat themselves in different stories over and over again.

It's cloudy and 4C outside, so it's not too cold. I see that no rain is expected now, though it rained and snowed during the night. Tomorrow it's actually going to be 9C, that's practically springtime weather. I did see green tips of bulb plants poke out of the ground yesterday. They must have been daffodils. I forgot to look if the snowdrops were still there. I'll have to do that today. If I get that far. I have a sore spot on my little toe. The same one that bothered me so much last year and I'll have to put a band aid on it to prevent it from getting hurt by my hiking boot. Maybe that's what happened last year and I just imagined I stubbed it. It may have been because of my hiking boots all along.

My eyes are getting better for close up such as working behind the computer, but they are getting worse for faraway. The one lens is not good enough for reading the subtitles on TV anymore, though if I look through both lenses it is okay. I suppose that's what matters in the end. It's just a curiosity I noticed when I was watching TV from a distance. I was watching text TV and couldn't read it very well and was wondering why. I suppose I'll blame it on old age.

My sister just called and we're going grocery shopping tomorrow afternoon, which is good, because I'm just about out of everything. We were supposed to go yesterday, but she had a 24 hour stomach bug. Unfortunately, the supermarkets are closed on Sundays, so we can't go now. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could? There's an ordinance against it.

Well, I suppose I'll take the four legged critter on a walk now. He's still sound asleep, but he'll notice the second I get up to put my boots on.

Have a good afternoon!

Ciao,
Nora

Walks!


It was cold yesterday and in the morning it very briefly snowed. I dressed myself appropriately and at 7:30 took Tyke for a half hour walk. I was planning on going for a longer walk, but I had forgotten my gloves and after a while my fingers were freezing, so I had to go home again.

At 8:30 we walked to the tobacconist, me with my gloves on, and that's when it snowed, much to my surprise. I was wearing a double layer of clothing, so I was warm enough, and I dropped off my purchases at home and continued on with Tyke in the cold for a longer walk. This time we walked for an hour on a route that I had not taken before and Tyke had a ball. There was so much to see and smell. We walked past the graveyard and the hardware store and over the path through the wild field and back through the old part of the neighborhood. There was no traffic where we walked, but luckily, Tyke understands the concept of a sidewalk and stays on it.

At 1 pm we went for another walk on another route we had not taken before in a totally different direction. We walked all the way to the children's farm, which is like a petting zoo, but the animals are all penned up, so you can't actually touch them. The first thing we saw on the path walking towards it were two big peacocks that got out of the way quickly when they saw Tyke, but Tyke was quite excited about them. Then we got to the meadow where the sheep were and Tyke stood in amazement at so many strange animals. There were more peacocks that moved to the top of their shelter when we got close and then we got to the chicken coops and Tyke was mesmerized by the chickens and the roosters that behaved just like they ought to have. They all clucked and the roosters strutted. Tyke thought it was great and we stood for some time watching them. Then we moved to the rabbit hutches which interested him not at all, and the horse which he thought was pretty neat. He was just a bit scared of it. He was not scared of the big ducks in the next meadow and wanted to chase them, but the ducks kept moving out of his range. They were very big ducks and would have made a nice meal. Peking duck... mmm! After that we circled our way back home and when we came back I saw that we had been gone for an hour and 15 minutes. So that was not bad.

You see how Tyke is getting me out of the house and into the world without me even realizing that he is. It happens without me thinking about it. I just do it. Before I know it I'm a few kilometers away from home. I do have to add that all these walks are followed by long naps on the sofa by the both of us and when we wake up he greets me as if he has not seen me for a long time. He's so full of love.

It is now very early in the morning and it is snowing just a bit, but it is nothing to worry about because it will be 6C today and whatever stays on the ground now will melt. We're going to have rain showers today and I hope there aren't too many because I do want to go for more walks with Tyke. There are more routes we can take that we have not been on before. I want to take him to the woods that are a few kilometers from here where the pond is and where dogs are allowed off their leash. I'm not going to let him off his leash yet, but it's a nice walk, albeit somewhat muddy at this time of the year.

Well, I'm going to sleep some more.It's too early to stay up. You all have a good day!

Ciao,
Nora

Saturday, February 20, 2010

In the middle of the night again.


I fell asleep on the sofa at about, oh, I don't know, 9 pm or something like that, and I just woke up again and find myself temporarily wide awake. There is nothing of interest on the Olympics right now (cross country - classic style), so I have to entertain myself in an other way. Well, I'll be darned if there wasn't that computer sitting right there waiting for me to use it. It's true that the computer has been my best friend many times in the many nights that I've found myself awake, but you know how I feel about them now, so it is with a certain amount of wariness that I turned it on and started writing. I don't want to be seduced by its charms and suddenly be strangled by it in a choke hold of anxiety and stress. I'll just assume it's not going to happen and merrily go on my way. I can't write with the idea that I'll be doomed half way through this epistle.

So anyway, I took the cute little fur ball to the vet last night. Partly to get a little check up and make sure that everything was okay, but also to have him look at his eyes, because Tyke had surgery on his tear ducts prior to being put up for adoption. His lower eyelids had been red and his eyes had teared and I wanted the vet to look at the state of them.

To Tyke it was a whole new adventure and he checked out every corner of the waiting room and was very curious about all the people who came in with their animals who all turned out to be cats in baskets, so there was not one interesting dog to interact with. Suddenly he spotted a huge poster of a cat's head on the wall and he started barking at it very loud as if he was scared of it, so I walked him over to it to get a better look. He approached it with much trepidation.

The vet checked him over well and looked at his eyes and said that he had especially droopy eyes and that they were a little bit inflamed and gave me a tube of antibiotic ointment to be applied twice a day. I got the impression that the vet really liked him and thought he was a good dog. He gave him a denta stick as a treat, which Tyke appreciated very much.

I asked him about having Tyke neutered and he said, why would you want to do a thing like that? I told him that he kept pestering Gandhi all day long and he said not to worry about it, that it was just part of his youthful exuberance and that he would outgrow it soon enough. He said he did not like to neuter cocker spaniels unless it was absolutely necessary, because they tend to get fat and he had some very overweight ones in his practice. He said that Tyke was not an aggressive dog and that he really didn't see the need for it at this point. So, I'll take his word for it, because he knows best in the end after all. Tyke gets to keep his family jewels.

I have been walking Tyke on a short leash, which has been an exercise in frustration, because he nearly pulls my arm out of my socket and he doesn't have any room to wander from one spot to the next and really check things out. Yesterday I started walking him on the roll out leash and that is so much better. He has room to explore his surroundings and is not constantly pulling at the leash and he is getting more exercise, because he is doing a lot more running around. I don't constantly have to suddenly stop and go and have my arm dislocated. It is a much better system and I can reel him in if I need to. I always had Jesker on that leash and I don't know why I didn't put Tyke on it right away. He enjoys it a lot en generally goes in the right direction. Ach, you live and learn.

I'm getting sleepy now and will head to bed after I eat something. I will watch a little bit of the Olympics and hope there's something interesting on. I like cross country - free style, I hope they show that and I hope there is some speed skating on.

Have yourself a wonderful night!

Ciao,
Nora

Friday, February 19, 2010

I spoke too soon.


Well, when I told you Tyke had not been naughty for three days, he was probably already planning his next move in his screwy little brain. While I was asleep on the sofa last night, he tore apart my leather cigarette case and left it in pieces, so I had to throw it away. As I was picking it up, he thought I was also playing and he was darting around me trying to get the pieces of leather out of my hand, so I had to give him a good scolding. I don't think I impressed him very much. Luckily, there was only one cigarette in it and he left that untouched, so he's not going to die of nicotine poisoning.

This morning he came into the living room dragging Jesker's pillow with him and he was about to have a good chew on it. I prevented that from happening and told him to go lie down on it and petted him when he did and told him he was a good boy and that was what the pillow was for. He seems to have gotten the message, because he's left the pillow alone for now. So I guess now we are going to have three days of naughtiness, which means that I'll have to be one step ahead of him all the time.

He's behaved well the rest of the day and seems to want to make a good impression on me now. As I write this, he is lying by my feet sound asleep.

He has figured out that when I speak on the intercom, it means that someone will come to the door, but he doesn't bark yet. This morning the Exfactor came by and was greeted with much joy by him. He just really likes company and when it is a man, he is on his best behavior. I do have to sit on him when it's a woman. His male hormones make him misbehave.

Tyke's fur is cut short and it is very curly, so today I decided to brush it to get the kinks out. He thought it was very strange at first, but after a while he decided he liked it and let me get on with it. I got to brush all of him and got some tangles out. He looked very nice once I was done and I will do this more often as his hair grows longer and he gets the coat of a real cocker spaniel. I will have to trim the fur by his paws and hopefully he will be patient enough for me to do that. I can't wait to see what he will look like. If he allows me to brush him regularly, he should look great. Jesker always disliked getting brushed, so we always kept him trimmed short, but Tyke will get used to it from the beginning.

I'm still spending the least amount of time behind the computer and turning it off the minute I have any kind of unpleasant feelings such as stress or anxiety. No matter what I'm doing, the computer goes off. I'm learning that the computer is not my best buddy, but just a tool that needs to be used sparingly when I really need to do something. It's not a thing to linger over like a good meal or a cup of coffee with a friend. The computer is not my friend.

Having said that, I'm going to turn it off and spend some time with my four legged friend. It's very good for my mental health, as long as he doesn't do anything destructive.

Have a good rest of the day!

Ciao,
Nora

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Good boy!


I think Tyke hasn't been naughty in three days now. He's done dumb things, such as knock over a glass of juice, but he hasn't been naughty and he's really listening to me. That makes me feel good, because I get the feeling that he's trying to please me, so when I say "no", that really means "no" to him. Of course, I have to knock on wood now just to be on the safe side, because he may get it into his head to do something any minute now and put me to shame. No, he's been great. He sleeps when I sleep and when I'm behind the computer he amuses himself with Gandhi or he sleeps beside me. Housebreaking is going well too, he's not having any accidents anymore and comes to warn me when he needs to go out. Of course, these warnings are very subtle and could be mistaken for signs of affection, but I'm tuned into him well enough to know what they mean and I'm usually right.

His favorite places to lie down are on top of the coffee table and the back of the sofa in front of the window where he can watch the world go by. I've removed just about everything from the coffee table, because he gets on it as easily as if it were any other piece of furniture and he walks onto it from the sofa as if he was walking onto the sidewalk. No amount of saying "no" has made any difference. I can say it 100 times and he will get on it 101 times. He has no sense of decorum. The back of the sofa is perfect for him, though, and I love to watch him watch life in the street. He likes it when I open the blinds in the morning and he can look outside, just like the cats, so I have a whole menagerie sitting there.

Okay, that's enough about that dog now. I do carry on, don't I? Goodness, you'd think I was the proud parent of a toddler.

Because I was out of money and out of supplies, my sister was a good sport and bought me some groceries today and I was much relieved. I should get my money tomorrow, but that is a day too late. It's because I spent so much money getting Tyke that I ran out this month. He was an unplanned expense. That happens sometimes and he was too special not to get out of the shelter. I couldn't leave him there. That cute little monster.

I took a long nap this afternoon and you would think that I'd be all done sleeping now, but I'm already looking forward to getting into my pajamas and bathrobe and getting ready for bed tonight. First I'm going to watch the Olympics on TV and see how badly the Dutch are doing with our one gold medal.

Have a good evening!

Ciao,
Nora.

To write or no to write?


Here I am sitting behind the computer again early in the morning with my empty coffee cup and my just lit cigarette. I am contemplating making a mug of tea, because I'm almost out of coffee pads and I have no plans to go to the store yet. I have to get paid first and that should be tomorrow. I have Gold Tea from Lipton, or Green Tea with Lemon, or Red Bush Tea. I have to decide which I want. I think right now I'm in the mood for Gold Tea with a spoonful of sugar. Okay, that's coming right up! I can't wait to drink it.

I don't drink tea at home very often and I really don't have a good reason why not, except that I seem so hooked on coffee. So, maybe this is a good time to start drinking more tea. It certainly tastes good if you don't put too much sugar in it, otherwise it tastes like sugar water. The next one I'm going to try is Green Tea with Lemon and then I'll have the Red Bush Tea. I also have Rose Hip Tea, but I don't like it at all and it has been sitting on the shelf for over a year now. I have to remember to buy a tea egg, because I also have lose tea that I have to use up one of these days and they are some nice flavors, Irish Breakfast being one of them.

I just looked in the kitchen drawer and found the tea egg and I am now brewing myself a nice mug of tea the flavor of which I do not know, because the label is no longer on the pot. I think it is Irish Breakfast, though, because I think the Exfactor took the other flavors, because I don't see them anywhere in the kitchen cabinet. I've been divorced for nearly two years and I'm still discovering what is not in the cupboards. Well, I've got myself a nice mug of hot tea. You can't beat that.

The little bit of sugar I put in my tea is going straight to my head and I'm getting a little high from it. It's like I've had a bit of alcohol. No wonder I get drunk so easily. It's the strangest experience. I never noticed it as much as now, though I've noticed something similar in the past. If this is the experience I get from sugar in tea, I'm going to drink more tea. I wonder if it is possible to get off the coffee completely and to only drink tea from now on. Would my body go through caffeine withdrawal, or is there enough of it in the tea? Does anyone have experience with this? If so, please let me know.

Tyke is sleeping on the floor beside me. Every time I get up, he follows me to the kitchen. Wherever I go, he goes. I have a total lack of privacy, but I'm used to that by now. I've always had animals follow me wherever I go and watch whatever I do unashamedly. They even "help" me get undressed. Gandhi claws at whatever dangles from my clothes and hangs on tight and Tyke helps me pull off my socks and leggings. He then also wants to take off with them, but that's another story. I usually catch him on time.

I'm going to take my medicines now and lie on the sofa for a while under the red fleece blanket. It's that time of the morning again when I can catch a few more winks of sleep. Oh, how glorious!

Have a good morning, you all.

Ciao,
Nora

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Reluctancy!


Because I am reluctant to spend too much time on the computer for fear that it will take over my life again to the point that it will start stressing me out, I am also reluctant to write a post for fear that I will have nothing interesting to say and that whatever I write will be a boring repeat of the previous one, and that causes me to have writer's block and lose every little bit of imaginative thought I might have had in my head to begin with. Nevertheless, I have to start writing sooner or later, although I do start and then delete and I have done this four times today already, only to shut off the computer with some distaste and to go do something else entirely different.

Tyke is sleeping beside me on the floor where Jesker would have been laying normally had he still been here. It is amazing how one dog so easily took the place of another dog, though it was not that easy for me, but to Tyke that's the place he has to be. I'm teaching him now not to be so subservient when I pet him and to not go lie down on his back with his belly up. I want him to stand or sit when I pet him and he is catching on. I can't stand a subservient dog and I don't want him to show that behavior at all. I know it's normal for young dogs to do it, but I don't have to like it.

It's been slightly raining all afternoon causing the snow to start slowly melting, which is good. The temperatures are going to be higher during the day for the rest of the week, so the rest of the snow will melt and I'm glad about that, because this morning things were slippery. Tomorrow it's actually going to be 6C. Isn't that wonderful? Maybe this is a harbinger of Spring. I hope so. I want to go around and watch green thing pop up. I have to have a good look in people's gardens. Maybe I will discover the beginnings of Springtime there. If all goes according to plan with the snow disappearing, I can go for a longer walk tomorrow and have a good look around. I'll see if those snowdrops are still around and if there are any crocuses coming up yet. I must have faith in that Spring will be here soon. I hang up my hope on that idea. I know I will feel a lot better emotionally once it is here.

Because it's so important that I don't feel any stress, this is just going to be a very short post. I do want to watch the six o'clock news and then watch the Olympics. I will do that nice and cosy on the sofa. I do want to take Tyke for another walk, though, and I'll have to squeeze that in before I do anything else. He's so funny on the leash. Hurry up and stop and hurry up again. Sometimes I almost trip over him.

Have a good evening!

Ciao,
Nora

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I really did...


I really did have the computer turned off for a long time today. As a matter of fact, I watched television and snuggled with Tyke and took a nap on the sofa, therefor I'm feeling very good right now. I've taken to sleeping under a red fleece blanket and it is very cozy and keeps especially my lower parts nice and warm. It's exactly what the doctor ordered and I go sound asleep in the shortest amount of time and stay asleep for quite a while too. That's because I'm so nice and warm. Before I would just lie on the sofa in my clothes with nothing to cover me and I would get chilly after a while and that normally woke me up. I never thought about pulling the red fleece blanket over me that has been lying on the armchair all this time and what better use for it?

Tyke likes it too and lies in the hollow behind my knees and makes himself a little nest there where he chews on his rawhide bone. There's usually at least one cat that comes and joins us, so we are quite a crowd on the sofa and it's not that big. It's a two and a half seater, so you can imagine the room we take up. If I lie with my head on the pillow of the armrest, my feet just make it to the end and then there is just room for some animals on the side and on top of me, but I prefer to lay on my side with my knees pulled up a bit. One cat can lie on my ribcage and one on my thigh if they are feeling very communicable. If not, it's just one cat and one dog and if Tyke gets too feisty, it's no cat at all.

I have been watching the Winter Olympics at night, or did I already tell you that? They are also on in the middle of the night, because of the time difference, so I watch them then too. Luckily, they are uninterrupted by commercials and we get to see a lot of what is going on, even the non-action of broken down ice cleaning machines. You're not supposed to call them Zambonis, because they're not. They're sending over a Zamboni to replace all the malfunctioning ones, none of which is a Zamboni, all the way from Calgary. Makes you think that's what they should have started with all along.

The Netherlands have only managed to win one medal so far and that was a gold one in speed skating, done by Sven Kramer in the 5 kilometer race. We all expected him to win and would have been mighty disappointed if he hadn't. He's our speed skating king right now and frankly, we expect a few more from him. No, the pressure on him is not big at all. Only the whole country is watching him and counting on him. No pressure whatsoever.

I watched ice dancing for couples and thought that was lovely, especially since the choice of music was so good. The couple from China that won the gold medal was very good, though I thought the couple from Germany that came in third was lovelier and their music was too. It was from the movie Out of Africa. Very beautiful and heartbreaking, if you've seen the movie and it calls up those associations for you. Streep and Redford, what a pair!

Now it's time to shut off the computer and get ready for bed. Sleep tight, all you people. It's still only the beginning of the week. We've got a long haul ahead of us yet.

Ciao,
Nora.

Finally!


I ran into computer problems a few days ago and have been off line since then. My mouse stopped working and just as I was investigating the reason why, I noticed that Tyke had chewed through the cable of my keyboard, which was very frustrating to say the least, because it was carnival and all the stores were closed and would be for a while, so I could not buy a new one. I called the Exfactor to see if he had an extra mouse and keyboard. He did not, but he promised to try and solve my problem as quickly as possible. He couldn't do anything until today, when Media Mart opened up and he could buy a new mouse and a new keyboard and deliver them to me. It turned out that the portal into which the mouse was plugged was defective and now the mouse is plugged into one of the portals in the front of the PC. I taped the cable of the mouse into place so it won't be a temptation for Tyke to play with. The keyboard works great and I like it better than my old keyboard, so I'm moving up in the world. We've tied the cable of the keyboard to the desk so it won't be a temptation either. At least, I'm naive enough to think it. If I ever am off line for any period of time again, you'll know it is because Tyke chewed through a cable.

The first day I was without my PC, I was rather frustrated and went through withdrawal. I thought it was one of the worst things that could happen, but at the same time I realized that that was exaggerating the importance of it and that I shouldn't let it get to me that much. So, I tried to do other things to take up my time, which I was not very good at, at first.

After that it got easier and I realized that I got more relaxed from not sitting behind the computer and that my mood improved and that I was more even tempered when I was not sitting behind the computer at all hours of the day and night. That was an important observation and one I must not ignore. It seems that the computer causes me stress and I have to keep an eye on how much time I actually spend behind it and how much is actually necessary.

On those days that I couldn't sit behind the computer, I contemplated my own navel a lot and did household chores. I also watched the Winter Olympics on TV. All of these things were quiet activities that didn't cause me a lot of stress, not even the chores did, because I just took my time. I had nothing else to do, after all. I spent a lot of time in peace and quiet not doing anything very important, but hanging out with Tyke and lying on the sofa with a cat on top of me. It seems to have done me a lot of good, because my mood has vastly improved and I aim to keep it that way.

Since my mood has improved so much that even I notice the difference, I want to limit the time I spend behind the computer, tempting though it is to keep lingering here. For my own sake, I must turn it off on time and walk away from it and shut if off and keep it off until a long enough time has passed before I go back to it. I must spend time in quiet contemplation, because it's good for me. I do need to be free of stimuli and distractions. I never realized that as much as I do now.

Tyke is naughty at least once a day. Once a day he gets into something that I have overlooked as a potential naughtiness for him to get into. Everything in the apartment is getting moved up or put away. I thought things were safe on the dining table, but he's even managed to get on top of it when a chair was left pulled out. Other than that, he's his most adorable self almost all the time and a most kissable and hugable little bundle of joy.

Have a lovely day!

Ciao,
Nora.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Oh, no...


I ran out of oxazepams yesterday. My psychiatrist was supposed to fax a prescription to the pharmacy yesterday afternoon, but I found out at 5:30 pm that he had not done so and by that time it was too late to reach him. I called up this morning and made sure that the prescription was faxed today, but in the meantime I'm starting to notice that I've been going without and I'm having withdrawal symptoms. One of them is feeling very low and the other one is being unable to concentrate well, so I'll be glad when the delivery person from the pharmacy gets here with the pills. I've taken a temazepam instead, but it's very hard to do without the oxazepam.

I thought writing a post would keep my mind off it, but I'm not sure if it's going to work. It's a little bit difficult to keep focused and not be distracted by what's going on outside, like the neighbor shoveling snow and Tyke being very interested in that on the sofa by the window. I don't know if I'm making any mistakes in the structure of that sentence. I can't think about it well enough. It's like there are ants digging pathways in my head.

I don't recommend this to anybody. Whatever you do, don't run out of pills. It's so easy to get blasé about it and think you will have your next box of pills in no time, but you see what happens. One little mistake and you're screwed. My psychiatrist probably thought I still had some pills left and that I didn't wait till the last minute to order more.

The Exfactor was here this afternoon to pick up a package that was delivered here for him. He was only here for a little while, despite my plea for him to stay longer. I made it clear that I did not feel well, but he said he had too much to do. I couldn't think of another person to call to keep me company. My sister is out of town and I don't know anyone else who is suitable.

The thing is, that I'm still depressed to some extent and I don't know how much of that is because of Jesker or how much of that is just the way I am right now. I'm clearly not functioning well and don't know how to get out of the deep valley I'm in during the day. I even find it difficult to read right now and my book is lying untouched beside my pillow for days. If I can't read, there's clearly something wrong and all I do is lie on the sofa and drift in and out of sleep and cuddle with Tyke, the dearly beloved.

The temazepam has now started to work and I'm calming down a bit. The ants have stopped crawling in my head. It's really a sleep medication, so it will make me feel like taking a nap, but there's nothing wrong with that. Tyke amuses himself with empty plastic cola bottles. He chases them around the living room and crushes them in his jaws. They make a terrible racket and that's what makes them so attractive to him. He thinks he's got a prey and is killing it. He naps in between attacks. He lies beside me on the sofa with his head on my stomach. Very sweet.

Oh, I'm glad I'm relieved of the symptoms of no medication. It was really tough. I still don't feel quite normal, but it's a bit better. The "pams" all work very similar in that they all calm you down to some extent. I think I will go lie down for a little while now and may be get a little bit of sleep until the delivery person gets here.

Have a good day.

Ciao...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Destruction!


I had a stack of magazines on the coffee table and while I was asleep on the sofa, Tyke pulled them to the floor and shredded them to pieces. I didn't notice a thing, but woke up to chaos. It was actually very funny, because he stood there wagging his tail as if he had done something very wonderful. When I cleaned everything up, he wanted to "help" and got in the way every time I picked up another piece of paper. He thought we were having a great time. I guess we were, in a way. We were bonding over an activity. They weren't important magazines and he left the Ikea catalog unmolested, so I can easily forgive him, but I do wonder what's next. I've put everything that's important out of reach, but I may have overlooked some things.

Other than that, Tyke is my little lovable ball of fur that I kiss all day long and just want to squeeze and hug. He's so darn adorable. The house training is going very well and he hasn't had any accidents lately and he lets me know when he needs to go outside. He wants to please me and do the right thing and I make a big deal out of it when he does. He sure came into my life at the right time. It couldn't have been more perfect.

Yesterday it was snowing and there are a couple of centimeters on the ground. It was predicted and there will be more today and Friday. It's coming from the cold North where such things are a common occurrence, although they appear to be here too, nowadays. I saw a lot of snowdrops in someone's garden the other day and I wonder if they will still be there when the snow melts. Next week I'm going on a special mission to see if there is anything green poking out of the ground yet.

I slept an awful lot yesterday. I wandered in and out of sleep all day long. It's very healing, though, and it feels like a balsam to my soul, although many poets have said it before me. It is true and it really does work that way and I think people should be given sleeping cures when they deal with something especially difficult. You would have small wakeful periods during which you dealt with the problem you're facing and then sleep for a long time.

Now I'm sitting here in the middle of the night with my cup of coffee and my cigarette and it isn't even my good coffee, because I ran out of that and I'm drinking an inferior coffee that I had left over from a previous purchase. I sure can tell the difference, though, and it is not nearly as enjoyable. You wonder why people buy it at all. Because they don't know any better, I guess. This coffee I drink should be advertised better. Oh no, that would drive the price up, better leave it as it is then.

I've slept on the sofa, preferring that to my bed and I slept in my bathrobe and slippers with Tyke by my feet. It was very cozy. Sometimes I like sleeping on the sofa better. It seems like my bed is just a lonely cold place to go lie down in and not at all comfortable and cozy. I think it has to do with the temperature of the room, because there is only single glass there in the window and it has a tendency to get damp in there. The sheets feel cold when I get into bed. It's better in the summer time when I have the window open and it's nice and warm and dry in there. I'm hard to please.

I'm going back to the sofa now after I eat some porridge. I will turn on the TV for repeats of the news. I missed it last night because I fell asleep during it. Tyke is snoring up a storm. It sounds very funny coming from such a little dog.

Have a good night, I'll see you in the morning.

Ciao...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Early in the morning on a Wednesday.


It's early in the morning again and I have been up for a while. I thought I would take the opportunity when I felt rather good and write a post. That is, if my little dog is going to let me. He is playing with Gandhi right now, but wants to involve me in the game also. Oh, he's decided to lie down by my feet now and be quiet. That's good, it helps if he doesn't jump on the keyboard. It does enable better writing, technically speaking.

I didn't sleep well during the night. My stomach was upset and that bothered me quite a bit. I had a slice of salami before I went to bed and that did not sit well. My gastric band wanted to reject it. The best thing to do was to get up and have things settle down there. A vertical position helps, so does drinking something. A cup of coffee works as good as anything, because it isn't about acid, but about mechanics.

I have to clean house today, because my friend Yvonne is coming over tomorrow afternoon for a cup of tea. That's a good motivation to get some things done around here. I'll gladly clean the apartment if a friend is coming over. I can't think of a better reason to. Well yes, if the queen were to come for tea, but she has yet to let me know if she is. Though why that should matter so much is beyond me. I am a republican, after all, and I don't mean that as opposed to a democrat.

I'm also going grocery shopping with my sister tomorrow afternoon, even though I'm not out of supplies yet, having lived very frugally this past week. I don't know how that happened, but it just did and I have made everything last. I do have to buy special puppy food for Tyke, because he's been getting regular dog food now and I'm sure he needs the special nutrients that are in puppy food. He has a fantastic appetite and would eat nonstop if I allowed it and he likes everything. I'm not used to that.

I've not been reading much these past few days and am still stuck in the same book. I'm nearing the end, though, and will try to finish it today. Then comes the hard choice of what to read next, because I have so many unread books to choose from. I'm thinking of trying Anita Shreve next. I have quite a few of her novels. I was thinking of reading "The Pilot's Wife." Does anyone know that one?

Well, I'm going to take my medicines and lie down for a while. I may even eat some breakfast now that my stomach has settled down again. I'll watch the repeat of the news while I do that. It pays to stay informed.

Have a good day!

Ciao...

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Delete everything...


I've tried several times today to write a post, only to stop after a paragraph or two and to delete what I had written because I was unhappy with it. I turned off the computer each time and retreated to the sofa where I napped all day long in between attempts at writing a post. You all know that sleeping is my way of dealing with emotional upset, so I suppose this is my way of dealing with Jesker's death, which really does bother me in many more ways than even I am consciously aware of. I guess I am in mourning.

I did make it to the tobacco shop and I brought Tyke with me, which was a treat, because it was hurry up and run to the next interesting place and stop suddenly by the succeeding good smelling spot. I had to hit the brakes many times or drag him with me against his will. He does provide recreational entertainment.

And here is where I freeze up and don't know what else to write. A great tiredness falls over me and all I want to do is sleep and it seems like so much effort to keep on writing. So you'll have to excuse me if this is all I write, because I'm not going to delete this also. I'm going to put on my pajamas an bathrobe and pretend it's very late at night.

Ciao...

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Late Jesker.

I called the vet this morning at 8 o'clock and told him that Jesker was not doing well at all and that I thought the time had come to put him to sleep. We agreed that I would bring him in at 9 o'clock and I called my sister to let her know. After that I spend some time in silent communication with Jesker who was merely sleeping and breathing very rapidly.

When the time came to go, I woke him up and put his leash on and luckily he reacted to that and got up and walked to my sister's car unaided. I picked him up and put him in the back and he didn't make a sound.

When we got to the vet, he was very subdued and he laid down in the middle of the examining room as if he was completely worn out. The vet said that he could see that there was no discussion necessary about if this was the right time for him to be put to sleep. That it was obvious that it was.

I sat beside Jesker and my sister sat at the other side and the vet gave him an injection to make him fall asleep before he could give him the narcotic that would end his life. We had to wait about 10 minutes for it to take effect. I petted Jesker and talked to him and talked to the vet and my sister. It was all very peaceful and not the least bit anxiety ridden.

After 10 minutes the vet came to lay Jesker on his side so he could give him the final injection and imagine our surprise when Jesker at that very moment shuddered and died. Just like that from the sleep medication only. The vet said that he rarely saw that happen and that Jesker must have been in bad shape for it to have happened at all.

I cried and kissed him goodbye a dozen times and then finished my business with the vet. We left with one last good look at Jesker and nearly dry eyes.

It wasn't horrible at all. It was a good thing, because obviously Jesker had been very sick and had been suffering. He had been a stoic dog all along. I'm not going to cry about it anymore, because Jesker is in a better place now where he is not in pain and where he can breathe freely. Someone told me that all dogs go to heaven and as far as I'm concerned that's where he is.

It was strange to come home with his collar and leash and not have him be there, but Tyke was there and the cats were and that made up for a lot. Tyke was so enthused that I was home, he was beside himself. The cats were their usual aloof selves, although Tyke and Gandhi are now playing. They get along very well.

Jesker died at about 10 minutes after nine o'clock Amsterdam time, so if you noticed anything unusual, you know what that was all about.

Ciao...

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Another long walk...


This afternoon Tyke and I went for another long walk together and it was much more successful than yesterday's walk, because this time I wore my hiking boots. These made all the difference in the world and I walked with what seemed the greatest of ease. We did roughly the same walk we did yesterday (just a little bit longer) and cut a considerable amount off our time. I also didn't wear my warm sweater and I wore my short leather jacket instead of my winter coat, even though it was colder today. I didn't feel like such an worn out middle aged woman going there having no business attempting to walk a couple of kilometers at a fast pace.

When we left, Jesker had shown no interest in going out with us and when we got back, he was still lying on his blanket, sound asleep and barely acknowledging the fact that we were home again. He had to go out, but I didn't know how to get him outside. I opened the back door and tried to get him to stand up. Well, I got the front of him up, but not the backside. So, I picked up his back side with Tykes help, because he was trying to get Jesker to stand up too, and finally managed to get him into a standing position. Jesker protested by growling. Then I had to lead him outside, which Tyke also helped me with, and I managed that and Jesker did an enormous piddle and a poop, after which he hobbled back inside to lie down again, showing no interest in the snack I offered him as a reward. He's just not interested in eating. He just wants to sleep and be left alone today. He's not even coming over to lie down beside me.

I don't know when enough is enough. I just don't know when to make that call. Part of me wants to say it is now, but the other part of me says, no not yet. So, I really don't know. I'm having such a hard time with this.

I just called the Exfactor and he's no help to me whatsoever and right now I am crying and I can hardly see the keyboard. I didn't realize how much sadness I have been walking around with inside of me about this. This is just one of those things that is so hard to do. I know I have to make the decision now and that it is time, but I hate that.

Okay, I just called my sister and she was a big help. I know what I have to do now. Tomorrow morning I will call the vet and make an appointment with him and then my sister and I will go there together with Jesker and see it through. That's the best solution. Women need other women, don't they?

Tyke is so smart. He was trying to get Jesker to stand up by pulling him by his fur and then he was trying to get him to walk by pulling him by his ears. He's a real little helper. What a funny dog.

I'm drained, so I will keep this short. Tyke is trying to get into the dog cookies and Jesker finally made it over here and is lying beside me. It cost him quite a bit of effort.

Have a good evening!

Ciao...

In the long run...


Late yesterday afternoon, Tyke and I went for a longer walk, because many of you agreed that he needed more exercise than he was getting on his little short walks with Jesker and I couldn't agree more. We left at about 4 o'clock and as it gets dark at 6, I figured we had enough time to wander around the neighborhood and pick the best route to follow. He thought it was great and couldn't move quickly enough from one interesting spot to the next, That meant moving from hedge to hedge and from tree to tree and from one blade of grass to the next. He set the pace and it was fast. He was just not quite pulling my arm out of my socket.

Unfortunately, I had misjudged the weather and wore my warm sweater under my winter coat and after a while I was very hot. It was much warmer outside than I had anticipated. I was also wearing the wrong boots and had sore feet about halfway through the walk. So I lasted 50 minutes and had to call it quits. Tyke easily could have walked another hour or two. Also, my condition isn't what it used to be. I have gotten used to the relatively short and easy rambles with Jesker and they are nothing compared to a long walk with Tyke.

Today I'm going again, but I'm not going to wear my warm sweater and I'm going to wear my hiking boots in the hope that I will last a little bit longer. I'm going to try and make two longer walks, but it depends on how much sleep I need and how much time that leaves me. I'm up in the middle of the night now after sleeping a few hours. No doubt I will go back to sleep later, but I may be up on time for a morning walk with him that's a bit longer.

Jesker gets exhausted moving from room to room, so I'm not going to bother taking him for walks anymore, as they seem to wear him out too much anyway. I will let him do his business out back and just take Tyke for walks and make them longer ones, because there is no sense in making these tiny little walks with the three of us. They don't do any of us any good, least of all Jesker.

I'm worried about Jesker and I don't think he is going to hang on much longer. I guess what I'm really saying is, that soon I will be faced with the difficult decision that I have to make and that is so hard. But I hear his breathing as he is lying here beside me and it is short and shallow, as if it requires effort. I want him to hang in there a while longer, but really I want to postpone the decision until there is no other choice. Until it is the only obvious thing to do, but I don't want him to needlessly suffer either. It is tough. I've had to had cats put to sleep and I felt bad enough about that. This, however, is my companion and my friend. He's more than just a dog.

I've turned the thermostat down one degree so the heater won't keep going on and it does make a difference, but I imagine that I'm much colder now, while one degree should not matter all that much. A cup of hot coffee sure tastes good then. I think I'm going to get my end of year bill in June, because that's when I became a customer of this energy company and I will find out how much extra I will have to pay on top of the monthly payments that I have been making. They've calculated me for a one person household, but the winter has been cold, so I may have used more gas than was predicted. I've also used the computer a lot, so I may have used more electricity, in spite of my energy saving light bulbs and the fact that I hardly watch TV. So it's all going to be a big surprise.

I just got two blue envelopes in the mail from the tax office and I thought that maybe they wanted more money from me because of the end of the year calculations, but luckily zero Euros were due. It's such a relief when the tax people let you know that you don't owe them anything else. It would be like plucking a naked chicken. There's no more to go around and they ought to know best. You never know when you get a blue envelope in the mail. It can be good news or bad news. This time it was semi-good news. It would have been better if they had owed me money. That would have been my lucky day.

It's only going to be 3C today and cloudy. We've had such nice weather these past couple of days, that you could almost imagine spring had arrived. Alas, it was of short duration. Next week we're going to have wintertime again with freezing temperatures and more snow, believe it or not. Such rotten luck! I do hate that and I sincerely hope that's the last of it, but that's what I hoped the other week too. Drats! In the north of the country they haven't been without snow for at least 7 weeks, so that's much worse. Thank goodness we're spared that.

Both the dogs are amicably sleeping at my feet as if they've never done anything else. There's room for both of them. Sometimes Tyke snores. It's very funny to hear such a little dog snore. Every time I get up to go to the kitchen, he follows me in the hope that something exciting will happen and I have to disappoint him every time. It's not nearly time for him to eat, but he does gobble down his food when he gets it. He acts like a starving person who hasn't had anything to eat for days or weeks. It's gone in no time. Jesker is not the least bit interested in eating.

Well, I'll go and read blogs. I'm behind in that and now is a good time to catch up.

I hope you all have a wonderful day when you get up.

Ciao...