Bow, wow!

And so…

Went to the appointment for my shoes. Talk about trepidation! I know they’re built for me, but my orthopedics have caused me so many blisters and so much pain I grew scared of putting them on. Haven’t had them on all summer, as a matter of fact, because they’re leather, and ankle boots, and hot. Plus, aforesaid problems. Tried the shoes on before my appointment and GOT them on, which proved to me once and for all that yes, my feet swell up during summer, it’s not my imagination. Had a bit of luck at the shoe shop; not all shop help are created equal! Some know their stuff better than others. Got someone who really understood shoes (and my terrible Dutch with English interjections) and in less than 20 minutes I walked out with shoes that no longer hurt my feet. Glorious! Better still, I made it to the first corner on the street without pain. Yippee! Then the rain picked up, so I quickened my pace – still no pain.

I wore those shoes all day yesterday without incident one. YES! They’re finally what they claimed to be in the ads.

Made an appointment for my second pair. Asked for (and was shown) softer material. Picked out a sneaker type of style they had on file. Asked for (and was shown) a thicker tread for winter ice. Will I be able to wear these at the gym? I asked. Yes, I was told. They’ll be just like sneakers, only better. In fact, we’ll make them wider right away, so you won’t have any problems, and you should be able to wear them year ’round…

Hot damn!

Chose to NOT run errands in the rain yesterday. Plenty to do, but…I’m worried about my health. It’s cooling down quickly, and people have a nasty habit of continuing to wear T-shirts on days like today because they’re unwilling to give up summer. Then they get sick, I get exposed, and that’s it. My bro understood, and picked up some slack for me. Thank you!

Want to get back to the gym today. Still beat from my all-out on Thursday, so I won’t even try to equal that. But I need to move. Also need to do a full ‘dress rehearsal’ here at home, and video myself. Trying out this new take on my role, and I want to be as tight as I can be on Monday when I spring it on everyone. Plus, I gotta put in some practice time with these false eyelashes. It’s the first time I’ve ever tried them, and they’re a little tricky to put on. And I’m still not sure of my accent, so filming myself should give me an objective view (and hearing) on what I’m trying. Then there’s housework: dishes, hoovering, laundry, and the dreaded (ugh) cleaning of the bathroom.

Been perfectly happy the last 24 hours to sit still and do nuthin. Watching tv, playing games, sometimes just staring off into space. My mind has truly gone blank; I’m not thinking about writing or my stories – at least, not consciously. Who knows what’s being whipped up in that kitchen sink in the back of my brain? Allowing it. The last thriller was only half-cooked when I looked at it, so it needs more time. All the ingredients are correct, and the heat is on low. The chef can take a coffee break.

Feels like I’ve been on a manic streak again. Still got that over-riding positive attitude. My stuff will be discovered and produced! It’s good! I question my own reactions. Toyed with the idea of utter failure (again). Imagined it – the long waiting, the silences, the incessant beating down of rejection after rejection. Can’t honestly see myself keeping my positive attitude if I don’t get a tiny bread-crumb trail of hope. I try to prep for failure, but it’s almost impossible right now. I’m as quick to discount the negative possibilities when I’m manic as I am to discount the positive possibilities when I’m depressed. Doing my best to see all the alternatives and keep my feet on the ground.

…*sigh* And can’t some shrink just read this blog to analyze me? I’d really like some prescription medicine around this time…

Because I’m scared of the fall. I know it’s coming; it always does.

And I do my best to not be scared of the fall, because fear always makes a situation worse. I’ll get through it; I always have. That’s what I tell myself. But there have been times I’ve not been sure I’d make it. Black times, hard times. Down the well with no light times. I’m as scared of that as I am a full blown RA flare up. I’ve lived through both, but I never want to go back there. I mean never. Both extremes had me begging for death.

…Doesn’t help that I know (I know!) this conundrum of worry is a by-product of my mania. It’s not happening now; you’re getting stuck in the future again! Yeah, yeah. But once you start chasing your own tail, it’s difficult to stop.

Bow, wow!

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Crack

Been really jonesing for that endorphin rush I get off of hard exercise. So I hit the gym yesterday with the purpose of letting myself go. Held back on my Tuesday exercise, because I expected an active Wednesday (which didn’t happen due to shitty weather), so I was rested and ready.

The first time I was actually able to use the cross trainer for a full thirty minutes, I struggled (and failed) to reach one kilometer. Yesterday, I blew past my first kilometer at 9 minutes and 9 seconds. My second kilometer flew by at 18 minutes. And yes, I topped three kilometers plus a bit extra by my thirty minute mark.

WHOOHOO!!!!

I actually found it difficult to get off that machine and not punch the air with a whoop (I’d add in dancing a little celebratory jig, but…three kilometers; I was bushed!).

And I’m still tired. My muscles and bones are feeling it. But I’m also elated, and not just because of the endorphins. I’m more than three times as fast as I was. That’s in just a few short months of work, too, because it took several months of work to build up strength just to get ON the cross trainer. And if I’m honest, I’ve a nagging worry on me quite often over my smoking/toking. I know it’s not healthy, and I’m no longer a young woman. But now I can keep my heart rate at 150 bpm or higher for an extended period of time. I’m not gasping for breath, either. I’m grinning like a mad eejit. Oh, my face is red as a beet, and I sweat bullets. The first ten minutes I regret going to the gym and getting on that machine. But then…then, I fall in love with the process. I want to go faster, and faster, and faster (and I actually do pick up speed ). The harder my body works, the better I feel.

Been doing abdominal exercises – the old fashioned kind. They’ve got a dozen machines and benches at the gym for sit-ups and push-backs and all sorts of tummy exercises. Me? I get down on the floor, on my back, lift my legs up, and hold. The dreaded double lift (both legs, with your back pressed down into the floor) and single lifts (one leg and opposite arm up, for lateral muscles). I’ve never been able to fall in love with abdominals. In fact, I hate doing them. That’s why I do them first, after stretching. Get them out of the way.

Speaking of stretching…reached my forehead to my left knee (which is the bad leg, and always tighter than the right) yesterday. Another reason to celebrate.

And free weights…began with the one kilograms, now on the four kilograms. Seeing some real definition come in. Damn! I might conquer those bat wings yet.

My only regret in this is that I’m not strong enough to do it every day.

…Yet.

Language class yesterday in our new hall. It’s smaller and noisier than the last place. Meh. However, my patience with the system paid off. Was told that next week we’re having a field trip to the library, where we’ll be instructed on how to use the facilities. We’ll also have an opportunity to grab a free three month library membership. Now THAT’S worth it! …And honestly, while I’ve been to the library, I’ve no idea how to look something up in their system, so the instructions are welcome too.

Called for my orthopedic shoes and have an appointment today. Not thrilled to wake up to cold temps, wind, and rain. But I need to get the shoes adjusted; they rip up my left foot in three places. So I’ll go out there, and once out there, I’ll probably run a few more errands.

Read an article that Europe should expect a particularly bad flu season this year. I’m thrilled (stated with utter deadpan sarcasm). Asked my bro to get a shot this year because he usually doesn’t, but I really want to take every precaution I can, and that includes keeping him healthy so he doesn’t pass crap on to me.

*sigh* Better buy some more hand soap, too.

Heard from the director, who started to read Taman. He’s made some notes on what he’s read so far, and may I say I’m honored with how nit-picky he’s getting with my work. Shows he takes it seriously. Show he thinks it’s worth his time. Both are nods to me as a writer, and although he’s part of that group that can drive me mad with their insensitive talk, I still am heartened by it. …I guess anybody taking me seriously feels good, which (for the thousandth time) sadly points to how poorly I was treated by my family.

Watched one of those home video programs last night while waiting for another program to come on. Saw parents playing with their kids. And I thought: how strange. I remember my parents pushing me in swings when I was very little, or giving me piggy-back rides. But by the time I was six, that stopped. My mother never played games with me. I remember asking her to play dolls or one of the dozens of board games she bought me (so often left to gather dust because my siblings wouldn’t play with me and I didn’t have many friends), but she always said no.

I was so lonely as a kid.

…And I guess I took all that as an unspoken message: I’m not worth the time. Add in my sister’s bullying and I’ve a real self-confidence issue going that, at 51, I’m still struggling against.

But it’s starting to crack.

That’s life

Life has returned. My memories are back in the closet, not forgotten, but filed away. Time to move on.

Writing is going well. Not enough time to do it lately. Seems it’s all run this errand, pick that up, and of course the ever present necessity to get to the gym and move so I don’t hurt so much. Haven’t even cleaned the house in I don’t know how long, and it shows it.

Today I’m keeping to my life commitment. Heading out with my brother to the comic book shop. Say hi to the guys. Hang out. Talk. Be a part of the world. Got to keep in practice with that, at least a little bit, or I’ll forget how to do it.

Been feeling very alone and lonely. The two don’t always go together, but right now they do. In the wake of my reaction to the news about L, I feel friendless. Want to change that, but I find my physical condition works against me. Last time I tried to schedule a get together with potential friends I woke up with laryngitis. Shit happens. Just the excitement of looking forward to getting out and meeting people can make me ill. Do that enough times to a potential new friend and they lose interest in pursuing a friendship. Seen it happen.

And I don’t like this double life I live. The reality is, my health isn’t good. I do fall ill very easily. I’m not strong. But then there’s my gym life: the nods and notice I get while working out. Maybe they’re not all dyin’ to do me, but they do acknowledge I work hard (beginning to think that most of the smiles I receive are ‘she’s a tough old bird’ type of thing). Most people drop out after an hour of exercise. Most people are shocked and think two hours is extreme. Oh, god, I could never make it for two hours! Then they look me up and down, decide that maybe not all physical strength translates into slim, tight bodies, and put me in that ‘healthy as hell’ category, which I do not deserve to be in.

…At least my physiotherapist understands.

Speaking of, looking forward to seeing him next week. Realized a long time ago our sessions are half physio and half talk therapy. Why can I do that? Why am I so open with someone like him, yet so closed if I see someone called ‘therapist’? One of those mysteries about myself I’d like to solve. …I need him on both levels right now. Despite my physical movement, I’ve got some pain building up. And although I don’t know what I’m going to say, I do know I’ll probably bring up L.

Been a few months since I’ve been able to get my hair done. Upshot is, I’ve got grey showing. Maybe for the first time in my life. A couple of silver hairs by each temple. I’ve looked at it closely in the mirror. It’s not unattractive. In fact, I find myself more distressed by the shaggy outgrowth look I’ve got right now than those grey hairs. …Don’t think I should wear my hair this long. It looks strange on my face. A 20 something tousled hair style on a 50 something woman. But what am I supposed to do? That’s my hair. It just looks that way, naturally. Hope to get it all spruced up before September.

Have not worn my orthopedics, despite the cooler weather. Do not want to wear my orthopedics. My cheap tennis shoes (with added insoles) are lovely: they give me plenty of support, and they don’t bite my feet at all. Plus they were a quarter of the cost of my orthopedics. But I’ll need to get back on that. No use in doing it in August; this entire country goes on holidays. Another thing to write in for September.

Bought some cheap eye gel and dark circle remover. Cosmetics that promise the impossible. But I figure any improvement is an improvement. And I’m guessing it helps to just go through the motions. Applying lotions, massaging them in – that’s a form of self love. I care enough about myself to do this, it says. Or at least that’s how I see it. So, I’m doing it, and hoping it will buy me a few years of looking not so tired and worn out.

Have let myself off the hook for tomorrow’s exercise. My bro is on me to read the final chapters in his book, one of the comic book guys leant me a run of stories by George Romero, and of course I have my own writing to get to. Today will largely be shot, between traveling to and fro and all the time spent visiting. Tomorrow is my make-up day: do the writing I should be doing today, finish up those comics, and start reading my brother’s work.

Wish these things didn’t always pile up on me.

…Wish I could just say no like so many people have said to me. I’m too busy with my own shit. Deal.

And that takes me right back to who I want to be. Do I want to be that person who’s always too busy for friends? Do I want to show the people I care about that I care about them, or will I just perpetuate that lip service shit my family gave to me? It always comes up for me at times like this. And I get angry, and pout, and whine that it isn’t fair, isn’t fair, isn’t fair…

But that’s life.

Sated

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I am no Wilbur Force. I do not seek out purposefully painful dental work. I am, in fact, on the terrified side regarding dentists and dental work: too much pain too many times to feel too comfortable in that chair.

So when I say I had the best ever dental experience this morning, I want to be fully understood. No genie could have magicked up a dental hygienist more compassionate, more careful than the one I met today. In 40 minutes of deep cleaning, I experienced only one flash of discomfort, and it was over almost before I could register it.

Another pleasant surprise: I was greeted back to my Friday lesson with an enthusiasm that really touched me. So many smiles, so many happy faces, wanting to talk to me, to say hello. Understanding and compassion when it came to my hearing problem, as well.

I feel so full up of compassion I don’t quite know what to do.

Makes me feel bad about going off on the world, and thinking every single person on the planet is a fuck-wit.

Here’s the weekend again, two days without much to fill them. I’ve got the normal stuff; cleaning, writing, fresh air and walking. But I’m wishing I had another meeting, something else to get me out of the house and into a group of people.

Damn! Did I just say I want to be social?

That’s what I get after so long in the house, waiting to feel better. Any little thing, any show of friendliness or just human decency sets me a-spin. When your only input is the news or television, you begin to forget that there are just people out there, too. Normal people, living normal lives. They’re not out to take everyone, to use and abuse; just to live. Part of that is smiling, nodding, saying hello and thank you – and when you don’t get that for an extended period, it’s amazing what it does.

It’s like daffodils blooming in my chest – a bright burst of sunshine, rainbows, and lollipops right where I needed it.

Update: Wishing the ringing in my left and right ears was at least in harmony. Unfortunately, it’s slightly dissonant. The more my the sound in my left ear diminishes, the more I hear the right. If I ever get my full hearing back, I’ll create something based on how I hear right now (I promise, promise, promise – now please make it stop). Dizziness is the same. Wore my orthopedics outside yesterday, gave them the best chance possible to NOT hurt my feet. That was a failure. Gotta make an appointment to go in and have them adjusted again. Checking FB every day for a new post from the theatre group regarding auditions. Wondering how long “soon” is. Wrote a letter to my bro’s friend, R, who might be able to arrange a room for me to use to workshop my script. Pitched an English-speaking theatre workshop to him. Decided I’d step slowly with all that; my bro’s brought up a performance poetry class, and R himself has discussed me teaching English as a language – all of which interests me. I just don’t want to stretch myself too thin, particularly with my health issues.

For right now, though, I am happy and satisfied. My soul ate a big meal of human compassion and kindliness this morning, and I hadn’t quite realized how hungry I’d been.

*Burp*

My compliments to the chef.

Kuiper Belt

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Loneliness. It’s beating down on me today. My own damned fault, of course. Just got off Fuckbook Facebook. Looked at all the posts my family and friends have been putting up for the last week. The bullshit memes. The angry declarations. Oh, there were one or two people I checked who were still the sane and thinking individuals I remember them as. But many were not. And it occurred to me that maybe they were never really the sane, thinking individuals I perceived them to be in the first place.

That thought made me feel lonelier than ever.

My first reaction was an old one: rock. I rock in my chair. It’s a comfort thing. Did it a LOT as a kid; I mean almost all my spare time. Tried to hide it as a teenager. Closed the curtains, did it in secret – like I was masturbating or something. Did my best to rid myself of the need to rock. Yet…Yet I still need it, time to time. Still need to hold myself in my arms and bang my back against a chair. Don’t know quite why.

I should be feeling pretty good. Got out on a walk today for fresh air. Joined the gym. Finished formatting the script. Even thinking about trying some Dutch language drills later on.

But I feel like a lost little girl. Like my family has forgotten about me. Like I’m in one of my nightmares from childhood, when my family denied they were my family.

I don’t know these people.

I realize that’s partially my fault. Certainly, I haven’t kept up my side of communications. Then again, I make no secret of the fact that my family often triggers me, and usually it’s in my best interests to NOT communicate with them. Double bind. Talk, and get triggered. Don’t talk, and feel left out.

Naturally I won’t even consider that they should get off their asses and try to communicate with me.

…*sigh* So. The play. Found an online cloud based formatting software for free, so I tried it out. It’s…formatted. To some standards. I’m not sure it’s theatre standards. But it’s something. The formatting took it down to 24 pages. Don’t know if that’s going to be enough. May have to bulk it out. But I checked and double checked, thought, checked some more, and decided I’ve just got to bring it to the group at this point. Find out how long it is with a read through. See what everyone thinks.

And of course I have the play material based on my dysfunctional family on one hand and my real live dysfunctional family on the other. Synergistic disparity. That’s what I’ll dub it. My ability to allow my play family to have epiphanies about their lives – I can’t do that with my real life family. I can’t make my oldest brother understand how disgusted I am over Trump (yes; he supports that asshole). I can’t snap them out of their ingrained, narcissistic reactions. I want to. Desperately. So I take my longings and give them to my writing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t change anything in real life. And sometimes I wonder if my flights of fancy don’t feed this unsettledness that creeps up on me regarding my family. If my continued investment – at least in my mind – of “saving” my family from themselves doesn’t keep me stuck.

That rubs raw.

Almost like my shoes rubbing my feet raw. Yes, I wore them out walking. Yes, I warmed them up before I walked and I walked carefully and not too fast or forcefully or anything else that could, in any way whatsoever, make me wrong or responsible for the raw spots on my feet. Goddamn it! My trial pair gave me none of this gripe. I wore them out of the shop the first day and never bloody took them off. But these! From day one, they’ve been hurting me here or there. Wear them in. Break in the leather. Allow them to stretch. I have HAD it. I think after THIS long and so many fucking adjustments to the fucking things that I can say that. Fix ’em, make ’em right. What, did you mix things up and make these for someone else’s feet? Sometimes that’s what I think: that they used the wrong moulds. And naturally it’s up to me to call the shop, get in there, convey all of that without blaming anyone too much or coming off like a bitch.

Fuck.

I don’t like being grown up. Can I say that? Well, tough, I just did. I don’t like having to take the high road. I don’t like having to do things that make me nervous or make me feel bad about myself. I don’t like feeling like I always have to keep putting myself out there, time and again, no matter what the fucking consequences and never lose it, never cry, never give up.

And yes, all of that is being grown up to me. And keys. Lots of keys. ‘Cause grown ups have lots of locks to open because they own lots of stuff.

I don’t have a lot of keys.

And I usually don’t feel very grown up.

…And I’m having a real hard time today. Don’t want to cut myself any slack.

This is the point where I should turn it around, right? Find something to calm myself. Find something to reach for. Problem is, I am reaching. Too far. To Jupiter, and beyond. Can’t stop the manic fantasies. Which unsettle me even more when I force myself to come down and frankly assess my own life. Ugh! The crap I find there!

I’m hanging on. Kinda. Asked a friend to tell me I’m not a terrible person. Telling myself I’m not a horrible person. That I’m a little out of whack because I haven’t exercised properly on a regular basis this last week. That I’m a little fried from writing so much.

Hard to hear when you’re out beyond the Kuiper belt.

I been caught

[Disclaimer: I have NOT been caught stealing. That’s not why the song is here. I’m just a punk.]

Where the hell am I and what am I doing? Oh, yeah. Tuesday, post-swim. Always seems to do a number on my brain. Don’t know if it’s the early morning start, the smoking – or lack thereof, or just my reaction from pushing my body so hard, but Tuesdays are just damned difficult for me to remember.

Did my shopping yesterday, and spent a whopping €49.95 (could I have gotten closer to €50 without trying?) at a department store. I am now the (not so) proud owner of probably the ugliest pair of sneakers they had in the place. Don’t really care; just so happens they fit my feet the best, were in my size, and 30% off to boot – tho I must admit I find them really, really ugly. I have two new pairs of sweatpants (side query: why do we say PAIRS of pants in English?) that don’t fit me too terribly. Two new T-shirts, so pristine they’re gonna shove some of my older T’s into work-out gear, and a pair of gloves that I needed for cold weather.

I was in and out of that store in 30 minutes. Now THAT’S what I call shopping!

Had another appointment to tinker with my orthopedic shoes. I hope it’s the last. So far, so good, but we’ll see how I feel after the first two to four hour walk I take them on.

Today was swim time, lovely, lovely, swim time, with the lights on just so that they sparkle under water. Didn’t want to get out. Just wanted to keep swimming, back and forth, watching the lights. Goddess, I love the water. I pretend to be a ninja in class, punching and kicking out with all my might. Then I am a mermaid, gliding through the water. A fish, diving. A sea lion turning and splashing just for the sheer joy of it.

Some days I think I’m gonna grow gills.

And now: quiet time. My brother has left the house for a few hours, the tv is off, and even the downstairs neighbors are silent and still. It’s welcome after the music at the pool and the general noise of people talking and not drowning. I can hear myself again. Hear that voice in my head. Hear the words begin.

I’m NOT a fast typer. When I worked as a secretary I think I topped out at 50 words a minute. But when I write I guess I forget to type slowly. My fingers fly, the keys clack, and I’ve been threatened on more than one occasion to have a mic set up to record the noise I make. I don’t hear it. All I’m aware of is the words appearing on the page, the thoughts coalescing out of nothing. But it might be nice, once, to record me while I write. I always think I’m so damned slow!

Writing. The script is going well. Very well. Still basically writing itself. Did a little research on formatting; I’ve only written one other script and it was for the British publication 2000 A.D. so it was for comic books, not actors. A little different. I know a word count and page total to shoot for. My head’s already divided it into three distinct acts: before the meal, during the meal, and after the meal. And I guess it’s a black comedy. Two marriages are going to break up and someone will try to commit suicide; that’s not standard ha-ha material. Still. I can’t stop writing it as a comedy. Can’t stop with the jokes, inside and completely upfront. Can’t stop with any of it. The weirdest thing is – and it IS completely weird – I’m having deja vu through the entire thing. Every. bleeding. word. Like I’ve already written it a hundred times over. The core idea is true to life; I saw my family disintegrate in a very short period of time. And some of the lines the characters say are right out of my personal experience. But the fictional side of the story, the jacket I’m dressing it all up in, if you will, is also very familiar to me. I don’t have to think about who does what, or what anyone says. It’s all right there. It’s almost as if I’ve dreamt this a million times, and now I’m just pulling it out of my subconscious.

Freaky!

And yes, my head is off in orbit. Dreaming of fame and fortune. Padding out my inner ego. I keep pulling my feet back to the ground. Remembering that first I must finish this. Everything else comes later. Knowing I still have 16,000 words to write is a sobering thought. Then someone has to DO it. I’m crossing my fingers the theatre group I’m working with will perform it, but my flights into hypomania are no guarantee that I’ll get what I want. Still…I enjoy letting my mind run free, feeding my ego from the inside. Sometimes that’s what gives me the confidence to actually put myself out there. And that can’t be all that bad.

Because yesterday I heard the words from my brother: she’s got no confidence. His friend, R, had stopped by; they’re still working on taxes and immigration. R speaks Dutch fluently, but he’s rarely heard me speak the language. I rolled some sentences out on him and as usual got that very surprised look followed up by the ‘you speak Dutch very well’, which then prompted the statement from my brother on my lack of confidence. My bro was very specific on his meaning; he stated I’ve got no confidence in speaking Dutch but I know more than I think I do. I heard all of that, and acknowledge it. And my head still walked away with just ‘she’s got no confidence’ because it hit me. Just that right time and place, you know? Went straight down to the core of me.

Every once in a great while, we’re gifted with short bursts of understanding. Yesterday, in my brother’s words, I saw me as probably many people see me: lacking self confidence. It was illuminating. It threw a spotlight on my quietness, my holding back, my lack of participation that I hadn’t expected. It’s true, too. I thought I was passing it off as shy, but I’m not.

I been caught.

Here’s hoping

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Someone please stop me next time I say I look forward to any challenge.

I should be getting my shoes taken care of right now. Instead, I’m sitting here at my computer. Somewhere between yesterday and today I lost my OV chip card, the vital little piece of plastic that allows me to use public transport. I retraced my steps. I used what Dutch I have to enquire at every place I went yesterday. All to no avail. A whopping sixty euro out the window. Had to use my language skills again, this time to cancel my appointment this morning.

And you know what? I succeeded. Everyone understood me, and I understood what was said to me. But my victory today came at the expense of my inner calm. For 40 minutes this morning I sweated, berated myself, and generally felt pretty damned shitty for being such a dunce as to just lose the damned thing.

Last straw was to realize that the grocery shopping had never been done yesterday, and we had no milk for breakfast and no water for the day.

My mind was quick to jump to the absolute worst thoughts I have. I am worthless. Worse; I cost extra money when I do things like this. I am a drain. People (my brother) would be better off without me around, doing shit like this. I cried some tears, just to release the pent up emotions that I felt were overwhelming me.

As usual, my brother jumped to the rescue. He’s modified his schedule for today to include a downtown stop to buy a brand new chip card for me, as well as doing the grocery shopping and running his own errands. I’m sitting here, typing away. He’s out on his bike, doing stuff. Stuff he HAS to do now, because I fucked up (just can’t let that go completely yet).

Yes, of course. I’ve said it all to myself. It’s a bleeding mistake. I’m not the first person to lose their card, and I won’t be the last. It’s not the end of the world.

I find it real hard to just own up to my mistakes without bearing the guilt of EVERYTHING. You name it. I’m guilty, somehow.

Right. That’s my problem. Good enough wasn’t ever good enough, and my mistakes were to blame for everything. That’s a mind set forced on me by narcissists. I refuse to let it rule my life anymore. Am I hearing myself? No. fucking. more. This is it; the end of that attitude.

The world isn’t held ransom for sixty euro. I haven’t tipped the scales of the Netherlands into bankruptcy. Nor have I tipped my own economic scales into red. It’s a shame to have lost it. And it’s certainly not something I can continue to do every month. Lesson learned; I’d been carrying my card in a separate billfold so I could carry it in my pocket and use it easily. No more. Into the main wallet the next one goes. I’ll force myself to fumble for it each and every time I use the metro so I don’t lose the damned thing again. It’s terribly unfashionable to do that. But I’ve put fashion into the backseat more and more often as I age.

That’s not always been an easy task. I look at my face now in the mirror and see the sags and wrinkles. Don’t know that I would have ever called myself beautiful. Attractive. Handsome, maybe. I think it’s hard to watch your face age, whatever you think of yourself. Or maybe that just shows how shallow I once was (or am), to even spend time thinking about these things. Hard to say – and I sure don’t want to think of my younger self (or me, now) as shallow, no matter what the evidence points to. I certainly don’t spend hours thinking these things, or shed any tears over my appearance. But when I DO glance at my reflection I see all these signs of aging, and it makes me sigh. Sigh for that youthful ease of simply looking your best no matter what. I don’t think I ever fully appreciated it when I had it.

*sigh*

But that’s nothing to mope too long over; not when I fumble I screw up in so many other ways. I’ve got bigger things to make myself feel bad over. That’s half honest sarcasm, and half joke.

At least I can muster up HALF a joke.

Reshuffle, rethink. Now that I know I’ll have a new card by tonight, I can call the shop (again) for another appointment. It would be great to just get my shoes done. Not quite mentally up to it yet. I still haven’t had breakfast on this topsy-turvy morning. No rush. I’d rather call later in the day than have to explain that I need a new appointment tomorrow and not today because my brother hasn’t yet returned with my new card. Too many words and ideas for me right now. And unnecessary. I said I’d call back after I had a new card. Just stick to my words. No reason to attempt something I’m not ready for.

Yikes. I guess it’s too late to go back to sleep and pretend it’s a brand new day when I wake up, right?

Better not. I might dream of seeing giant chip card like the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. And then who knows where I’d end up? Next thing you know I’d see myself on my death bed and hear a voice saying ‘I’m sorry, Beeps, I’m afraid I can’t do that..’ while aggravated monkeys surround me and beat me with dead fish.

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Me and my chip card, oh my

I don’t want THAT to happen.

Back to mundane tasks: dishes, laundry, language drills. Today will be what it is, and if I don’t waste it feeling bad over a simple mistake it might actually turn out okay.

Here’s hoping.

Orthopedic Shoe Poster Woman/Child

After all my waiting, planning, and anticipation, I was shocked – SHOCKED – yesterday when the appointment to pick up my new shoes came and went with nary a notice. Wonderful to realize you’ve missed something 15 minutes after the time you were supposed to be there. Lucky for me they had time later in the day. So here they are:

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There’s been loads of compromises on these shoes as well as indulgences in exactly what I want. I think they turned out pretty damned cool. I need to go back to the shop today; one heel is too tight and I didn’t notice it until after I’d been walking with them for half an hour. But I’m confident that they’ll fit me in for a simple adjustment like that. Because I have become

Orthopedic Shoe Poster Woman/Child.

Yes. They snapped pics and asked me to come back for a special meeting of rheumatologists, headed up by my own rheumatologist, to discuss orthopedic shoes in general for RA sufferers. I’m back Monday evening to be a model and a spokesperson. Guess I’m that perfect blend of chronic sufferer, optimist, and affable person for them. I don’t mind. If every person who suffered from RA got a pair of these shoes, I think there’d be less of those damned chairs that zoom around. Who wants to sit and ride when they can walk? Wait…that’s just me again, isn’t it? Whatever, man. Get that heel adjusted and I might not take these shoes off all summer long. They don’t even make my feet look big.

Ah, I’m at that point again. I’ve let things slide long enough that now I’ve a mountain of work. Writing to people, cleaning, following up on notifications from this and that. I must like it. Like the challenge of tackling a lot of stuff at once. Because I do it all the fucking time. *rolls eyes* And damn me if it doesn’t come at times when I’m busy with life. There’s 50 things I WANT to do before rolling up my sleeves and tackling the bleeding HOUSEWORK. Meh.

Today I’ve a huge…why am I typing this? I’ve got my camera. THIS is what I’ve got:

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Flowers. Yes. More than that. These flowers were picked up at my local market. Outdoor market, not supermarket. Three large bunches for five euro. That’s less expensive than at the stores, and these blooms are much fresher. The guy wrapped them all up in brown paper, so I walked home with this HUGE bouquet in my arms. I’ve never won anything like a beauty contest and I KNOW these aren’t roses, but walking home with them wrapped up made me FEEL like I was wearing a crown.

I now believe every woman should, once in her life, walk down the street with a huge bouquet of flowers in her arms. Sounds silly, I know. But it really is quite an experience.

Since my camera is out and ready, I’ll share with you some of the other things I’ve been excited about. My new dining room table (remember – it was FREE) with green and purple chairs:

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Ignore any clutter. The place isn’t finished.

And here’s one of my new chairs:

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A comfy seat and probably the one you’ll be sitting in if you visit.

Pretty cool, right? It feels good to have a few items of furniture that don’t look like I’ve had them for 20 years. It feels even better to know we got everything at a good price. I mean, how can you beat FREE?

I’m doubly glad for the flowers and few nice items considering the state of the world. Things are shaky again, and just to be safe we need to quiet down and save money this summer. Currency exchange rates have gone haywire since Trump’s been announced the presumptive Republican candidate. Every country in the world is selling off dollars and US assets. If it keeps going like this, the dollar will be the same as a junk bond – worthless, and risky to invest in. Americans better start to think for once in their lives.

But when has THAT ever happened?

Ach! No. more. politics. It’s hard for me at times because what’s happening politically has a huge impact on the day to day here. Very different from the states, where a federal law or decree can be issued but nothing much changes in people’s lives. Here it has real consequences.

What I can tell you, without grousing over politics, is that I’ve got a lot of new neighbors these days. None of them are Dutch. None of them look Dutch, speak Dutch, or act like the Dutch. Case in point: the downstairs neighbor had a full on fight a few days ago, complete with screaming and bloodied participants. The entire building turned out to find out what was going on. One guy left with his shirt ripped off, his pants almost down, and blood dripping down his face. Not really what you think of when someone says ‘Holland’.

And hey! I don’t expect these people to be in good shape. They’ve all suffered through a lot, and undoubtedly all of them need PTSD counseling. The clothing doesn’t bother me, the language doesn’t phase me. What DOES phase and bother me is the culture clash. The Dutch are open, friendly. When you walk around your neighborhood it’s kind of expected that you greet other walkers with a hello and a smile, or at least a nod. The newcomers don’t. Not even the women; let’s not get started on the men who, at times, won’t even look at you if you’re female much less acknowledge that you just spoke.  And no, it’s not ALL of them. Many are open, friendly, willing to learn and make friends. Just. not. all. It’s those few who are closed down and refuse to integrate that stand out and cause the problems. And yes, those few make me feel a wee bit unsafe. It doesn’t even seem like they WANT to be here.

I want to be here. The next decade may be a very trying one on the European continent. Hell! It’ll be trying no matter where you live on this planet. But I’ll stay where I am, be a patriot – YES, a patriot – for my new homeland. After all, how could they cope without Orthopedic Shoe Poster Woman/Child?

C’mon, Jackpot!

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Ah! Back to my preferred order in life: wake up, coffee, and blogging. I can do those other days but they’re just not the same.

Big, big plans today. Whirlwinds of cleaning. We’ll see how long my body can keep going. Dust sucking might just knock me out; there’s still a lot of moving and bending and maneuvering involved even with the new shelves and new storage spaces. Then there’s window cleaning and getting out on the balcony (might need to wear hazmat clothing for THAT job). And of course, the inevitable dishes that need doing.

Or maybe my brother will wake up and say ‘Hey! It’s a great day. Let’s let the housework sit and go do something’, in which case I won’t get anything done around the house. I never know.

And it IS supposed to be nice weather…

The longer I contemplate it, the more I think I should let all the ‘work’ I usually reserve for weekends go. Get outside today. Go somewhere different. Have fun.

Been saying that a lot lately – have fun. Maybe it’s my mortality creeping up on me. Seize the day, have a laugh, because tomorrow you may die.

Fuck. I’m a cheery camper, aren’t I?

Okay… I’ve deliberately shorted myself on a cup of coffee this morning. That’s a damned good reason to get out and have a cuppa somewhere public. Be social. See and be seen.

Do something.

Stop. Right now. You just made it sound like you sit on your ass doing nothing all day long. That’s not true. Want to back up and restate that?

I want to do something different today. Outside. In the nice weather.

Better.

Finally got all the print outs of the paperwork I need to renew my passport. AND the letter to Heike. Got to sign that sheet and dump it in the post. Today. Get it off my back, good-bye, sayounara, so-long.

I might be paranoid, BUT…It sure seemed to me that my rheumatologist was taking an awful lot of notes, clacking away on her computer during my visit. And I think she was mirroring me deliberately, testing my mood. Of course I was excited about my shoes, chattering away non-stop. She slipped a comment in, something along the lines of ‘It’s so much easier to be energetic and happy when your feet don’t hurt so much’. That just makes me go Hmmmmm. Medical files are very integrated here; the fact that I was seeking help at Addiction Central as well as any notes like ‘depressive’ or ‘bipolar’ would have come up when she pulled my info.

Well. So be it. I never said I was anything but what I am. Maybe if someone compiles all the notes from all the doctors visits they’ll see it.

Been thinking less lately. lol! Not that I’ve been acting like a ditz; Beeps don’t do that (unless I’ve been drinking, then it’s a different story). I just haven’t spent every minute lately analyzing myself, trying to figure out why I’m feeling this way or that way. Of course I can only DO that because I haven’t had any strong negative emotions come up in the past 24-48 hours. Odd. I let myself be happy to just be happy. I won’t let myself be sad to just be sad. No. Sadness needs ‘fixing’. Anger needs ‘fixing’. Anxiety needs ‘fixing’. The only emotion that doesn’t need fixing is happiness.

There’s a flaw in that thinking.

So let me take a minute here….

Okay. I’m happy because I’m looking forward to J’s visit. I’m really getting excited about it. I’m happy because I’ve still got my trial pair of shoes, which means my feet are protected and I can walk. I’m happy because my custom shoes are getting worked on, and to have all that effort and money spent on my feet makes me feel special. I’m happy because I feel I’m making progress with the language. I’m happy because flowers are blooming and the trees look like they have lace hung on them and I LOVE everything that spring brings. I’m happy because finances are getting a bit better, the house is looking neater and cleaner, and I don’t look so scruffy some of the time.

Sounds like logical, real life reasons to be happy. While my thoughts still get ahead of me – stuff like thinking I’ll be able to clean the whole house, top to bottom, in one day – I’ve been able to realize that thinking is ultimately destructive to me, and take a more leisured pace. I haven’t wanted to push myself physically, so I’ve not hurt myself. Just the opposite. When I find myself walking briskly I check my step, pull back a bit to ensure I don’t hurt myself.

Good days, in other words. Drink them up to the last drop.

There’s no great surprise for me in finding that having something to look forward to, feeling less in pain and more mobile, feeling more confident with the language, and feeling less financially restricted all makes me happy. I’d think anyone would feel happier.

Where will the future take me? Don’t know. Had a long talk with my bro last night about a cordial I make. His kickboxing instructor was ill, so my bro took him a bottle of this stuff. It’s my own recipe. Amazing drink; clears your throat like you wouldn’t believe and it tastes great, too. ANYway, his instructor is a big fan of it (as are most people who try it) and he thinks we should get it out on the market. The great thing is that his instructor is a business man first, well versed in the ins and outs of Dutch business practice. He also is a very sociable person, and has many connections. So who knows what will happen? I may just get introduced to someone who wants to license the recipe from me. Ka-ching! That’s money in the bank with zero effort. I’ll take that.

I’m feelin’ lucky. And today is a lotto day. C’mon, jackpot!

Underneath, the same

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I’ve never been much of a shoe person. If it fits and doesn’t kill my feet, it’s okay in my book.

I guess it’s no surprise in some ways, then, that when I was told the shop could do ANYTHING I let my imagination run wild. The multi fabric look I want is very custom, and the shop is emailing their suppliers to see if they have anything in stock that might work. My soles will be custom as well; if I wanted red soles on my feet no problem but me? I asked for purple. The down side of all this custom work means two things: one, I have to wait a bit longer because samples need to be looked at and two, if I don’t see what I want they can still do it – but it will cost extra. Hopefully next week I’ll have samples to look at and an estimate on the work.

Good news is they let me keep my trial pair. The guy was a bit shocked that I wore them all day, 9 to 10. I told him how fast I could walk, how secure I felt on a ladder. I also told him my bunions ached a bit late in the day and he responded that he’d adjust the shoe a little to make it better (they can make them BETTER?!?!). Had to ask how my heels are supposed to sit – like I said, I’ve NEVER had a pair of shoes like this. My left heel needs a little adjustment, the right more so.

He pulled all the pictures I took along. I hope I’m not throwing in everything I want and creating a Homer.

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I’ll take my chances.

Clean-up is going on as I type. New shelving units are up and my bro is securing one to the wall so it doesn’t tip over. I popped by a shop and picked up two ‘designer’ boxes to put stuff in. Okay – to hide stuff in. All that clutter that’s just laying haphazardly on the shelves. Leave it to the Netherlands to offer stock shelving units and stock designer boxes that fit the stock shelving units perfectly. Any other country and there’d be a 1-2 inch discrepancy that wouldn’t work.

And we FINALLY found some pigeon scarers for the balcony. Which is a good thing, because my bro said there’s a pile of shit out there that looks like Gyaos came for a visit.

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Ugh.

So we’re scheduled for a warm up. Supposedly 19C by Sunday. The windows will get thrown open and for a day or two at least, summer will be declared. I’ll bet you won’t be able to walk for five minutes in any direction before smelling a BBQ.

My friend J is coming for a visit near the end of April. Just got his and his boyfriend’s flight info. The timing is perfect; we can catch the metro out in front of the house in the morning and be at the airport by the time his flight is landing. We’ll help the two of them find their hotel and all that. Make sure we get some three day unlimited passes for them so they don’t have to worry about that. Help them with luggage. I can’t wait. Got to say I envy J a bit right now – seeing the Netherlands for the first time. I remember my culture shock the first time I came. Amsterdam is particularly seductive. It’s easy to run your feet into the ground by just wandering down one street and then the next canal to simply see the sights. Pretty soon you realize you’ve been doing that for three hours, your feet are killing you, you need a drink, and you’re now on the opposite side of town from where your hotel is. [Can you tell I took a few holidays here?] We’ll be able to get them to the fastest and easiest public transport. Help with Dutch. And have fun, too. Let’s not forget that.

My teacher gave me a signed copy of the book he co-wrote. He ran a publication for Sarlooswolfhond lovers and he has three at home. Beautiful dogs.

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It’s a bit above my reading skills, but I get a thrill each time I figure out a sentence. So I’ll work on it, slowly. And I’ve got the author right there to ask anything – words, ideas, concepts, history. It’s actually a great incentive for me. The people pleaser wants to let him know I appreciate his kindness and that I’m genuinely interested in his writing. I’m guessing I’ll learn more deconstructing his book that I will just reading the subtitles on the tv (tho that’s STILL a great method for picking up words).

And I’m having freaky deja vu. Many years ago my paternal great grandfather immigrated from Germany to the states. He didn’t speak any English. Nor did he have any money! He ended up camping out in a public library to get some sleep. A kind librarian noticed him, and helped him learn how to read. That’s how he taught himself the language. And he went on to become a great orator, journalist, and author. I feel like I’m doing that in reverse. Going from the states to Europe. Wanting to learn Dutch well enough to write in it. Already having people listen to me as I speak.

Doesn’t help that I always felt I was a man in previous lives. Nor do my ideas of karma and hamingja. But hey! If I was my paternal great grandfather in another life, I guess I’m doing exactly what needs to done. I gave comfort and love to my grandson/father, the lone survivor of the family line I disregarded. I’m returning to the area I came from [okay – not exactly the area I came from, but the general vicinity]. I’m writing. I’m making music. I’m doing all the things I did before.

Can an entire life be a deja vu? Fresh eyes, fresh body, fresh expression, of course. Yet…underneath, the same.