Taking my bag for a spin.

Today me and my bag are going on a trip. We will be visiting a friend who lives near Amsterdam, the capital of our country.
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I have a very stylish house, my bag feels much at home:

So, what’s a stylish lady such as myself taking with her in her bag?

Have a looksee:
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There seems to be a lot of wool in there. And wooden brake discs?

Clever girl, never leave home without it!

So what’s all this? What does a typical city girl carries in her purse?
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from left to right you see: a gift for a friend (two mug tail cat mugs!), a phone in a brazeny lying felt cover, a little hand crocheted bag with necessities (salt, hydro cortisone, progesteron creme, keys, bankcard, chocolate), the power juice thingie for the iPad, reading glasses, a candy bar, two sewing patterns for summer dresses and a piece of knitting with the ball on its wooden spool.

The iPad travels in a separate bag with a cute little catty purse holding small change and my personal travel card. Because I’m going by train!

Second class, quite comfortable:
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I love going by train. It’s a great way to see the country.

I knitted on the train, having my wool spool in full display. People tried not to stare… or where they avoiding the other item on my little table? Dutch people might recognize what else I was bringing my friend….. Bossche Bollen!

A Bossche Bol is a puff pastry as big as two fists, chocolate covered and filled with whipped cream. The real ones come from Jan de Groot:

My friend REEEEEAAAALLLY likes them.

But I’m still in the train, looking out over Holland. Holland is flat:
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The Netherlands are very flat pretty much all over. We are the part of Europe where a two big European rivers run into the sea: the Meuse and the Rhine with all their bigger and little rivers and canals. They furnished the swampy delta lands with the soil they brought with them all the way from Germany, France and the Alps. This makes for very fertile land, being it a bit soggy.

We fixed soggy.

We pumped away all the water, with windmills. We keep the water out with dikes. And we planted all the land with tulips. And grass for cows to graze on.

Because it is all man made land we organized it into straight lines right from the beginning. It is in our nature, to spatially organize and to optimize.
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There is not much nature or frivolity in my land. Pretty much every square centimeter has been planned, designed, optimized.

They say that the Dutch look up into the sky to experience nature. We are used to broad horizons and great cloud formations. On the ground, a height difference from just a meter of few feet will get us all excited.

I love going by train and looking to the horizon and into the sky. Today I saw lots of birds who love this wet flat country: various breeds of geeze, swans, scholekster and a stork trying to land in a tree. The stork was impressing and I made a movement to alert my fellow travelers to the sight. But I refrained. They were under enough pressure as it were, with the knitting and the Bossche Bollen and the iPad photo taking. Better be civilized.

I enjoyed the trip, even if I was a bit of a spectacle. I had my favourite things around me, I had something useful to do (knitting) while I looked out the window and I felt the joy of joining the online community. So many women blog! It is quite special, when you think about it.

Just like there’s a special kind of joy in wearing a nice dress and nice shoes. I cannot explain it unless you’ve tried it. The same pleasure is felt when blogging about the nice things in your life. There are many nice things to be seen in a day and many nice things thought. It is a special pleasure to mark them with a pic or a word and share them on a blog.

Of course, lots of editing goes into showing nice things. Nothing is all good. Nobody is all fine.

Even Holland. Holland particularly! It is not fine. Space and nature are confined more and more. The pictures I showed you can only be made in certain parts of the country. Most parts pretty much look like this:
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Full. No harmony. Noise.

But nothing to get stressed about. Because there’s little you can do.

In a next post I want to share some thoughts about how to cope with foreseeable futures such as loosing all space to breath, as a country. And as a citizen of that country. A citizen then needs that space and that quiet and that harmony.

But not today. Today I focus on the spring in my step with my shoes, dress and bag and in the loud squeel my friend will make when she sees the Bossche Bollen!

PS guess what?

the train officer looked at my bag and said: “Is that an ‘Hester van Eeghen’? It is isn’t it? Those stand out! Beautiful. Enjoy.”

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City Girl

 

Nice shoes, handknit socks, marvellous bag. Ready to go into town in a Summer Dress!

bag by Hester van Eeghen

shoes by Durea

socks by Bloem, made from Wollmeise Petit Poison nr.5

vintage woodstove by Harrie van Gennip

even if you can’t go into town, surround yourself with nice things.

Sewing as a woman.

Preparing to sew my first garment I find I’m getting ready to join in a long queue of skilled artisans. I’m researching fabrics, techniques and tutorials while I wait for my patterns to arrive. There is so much knowledge! So much eye for details. So many skilled hands. From this place all over the world. From my time all the way back in time to the first time someone covered themselves up.

There is so much more to discover than the clothes I know from my life thus far. I’ve never looked beyond cheap clothes form the stores (that never fit perfect) or ridiculous clothes on the fashion runways. Now I find there is a world of women who know how to fit a piece of cloth to the human form.

My personal line is going from my mother in the ’70s who made expressive garments to my grandmother in the ’30s who sewed spiritual dresses for her dance performances in colonial clubs in the East Indies, accompanied on the piano by the love of her life whom she met on the voyage getting there.

To the centuries of farm women before her who knew their measurements and made everything from scratch while abiding and expressing social messages in their Dutch traditional clothes. They knew how to make cloth from a sheep, from a plant or from leather. It was as common and great a skill as was making fire from a tinder box. Just because modern people haven’t been exposed to it doesn’t mean we don’t have a knack for it.

Dutch traditional dress from various regions, all different, all hand made:

Each region had their own silhouette, their own colours, their own customs. Their own head attire. This is just a very small selection.

There’s remarkable thing about the traditional clothes you see above. There are clothes from about 8 different towns and there’s a lot of black to be seen. The reason there is so much black is that black was added to a costume to indicate sorrow or grief. There are various rules for this: how long you had to wear black, how subdued the overall colours had to be. All depending on who died and how close related you were to them.

As these traditional ways of dressing were dying out only the elder people were still wearing it, with lots of reasons to wear black. Their spouse might have died. Or an adult child. That’s why the memory that still remains in our culture of these dresses is that they are often black or dark coloured. But they are not.

In truth they were brightly coloured and very elaborate. Colour indicated richness. (although dark coloured woolen skirts are very practical in use)

Young girls in Marken dress from around 1910, via wikipedia. The girl in the back is grieving for a distant relative, her sleeves have more dark in them and her hat and bodice darker/more subdued too.

Traditional dress from Spakenburg, photograph by Guus Herbschleb. The flowery fabric occurs in a lot of traditional dress, it echoos the rich fabrics that were brought in from the East Indies back in the 17th century. That was called ‘the Golden century’. Rembrandt, tulips and trading spices and slavery…

dress from Hindeloopen, by dagjeuit.nl

I’m looking forward to have non-black dresses. Black may be safe for a lot of people, it is bit too hard for me. It makes me look stern. Cold. Besides, I don’t need the safety.

lets end with a print by Paul Berthon, 1872-1909 (artist); L. Prang & Co. (publisher)

you know tulips aren’t original from Holland, yeah?

being a Copperhead….

Taking Zinc releases excess Copper into the bloodstream. Or: already free floating Copper cannot bind to receptors because Zinc is wrestling it for them. This causes Copper toxidity symptoms: madness, fatigue, liver pain. Caused by skewed brain chemistry, an overtaxed body, detoxifying efforts. Copper is toxic in high doses. As are all things.

But Copper is invigorating also. There’s something like ‘a copperhead’, a type of person that shows behaviour coherent to high levels of Copper. As I am shedding the last of this unexpected Copper overload my Copper induced fatigue has now gone and I am riding the Copperhead wave: my mind races, I’m thinking a 100 grand things at once, I’m witty, full of plans. No time for sleep, I’m a genius! (I also exhibit behaviour my friends more readily recognize as autistic.)

you see, Copper is like cafeïne. It pokes around in the neuro transmitters. Altering who you think you are. Just like estrogen does. And MSG. And LSD. And Nicotine. And sugar. (how about their antagonists? The stuffs that sooths the mind such as Zinc, Magnesium, Progesterone, kittens. Do they too alter who I think I am? a question for another day, when I’m not running around in my own head!)

Since the treats of ‘a copperhead’ pretty much describe how people know me I may have had high Copper levels all my life… I do know I’ve had low Zinc for years.

And as the symptoms this excess Copper gave me this week look ridiculously like my symptoms as they occured from 2009 untill 2011 I wonder if Adrenal Fatigue is rooted in high levels of Copper.

hmmm, I wonder…

PS: here’s what happened to me for the past 7 days:

Took the Zinc pills (Biotics, 23 mg) for 3 days in a row. This released surplus Copper I had stored in all nooks and crannies inside. Copper floated through my blood, poisoning my tissues and my brain. Basically I was thrown back three years healthwise and was severely brain fogged, mentally impaired (PMS to the extreme, not able to make decisions or even simple choices) and extremely fatigued. Laid on the couch, had only two spoons left for a day.

‘Luckily’ it also brought back my cortisol peak in the middle of the night. After 5 hours of sleep I awake with a racing mind (and a body craving more sleep). The peak enabled me to surf extensive on what was happening. I found out about the Zink releasing the Copper. I found a lot of Adrenal Fatigue patients who have experienced this same reaction. They all listed the same symtoms. People warned that this reaction will cause people to stop with the Zinc pills. It’s what I did, a few years ago.

But really, we shouldn’t. We should shed that excess Copper because even stored in nooks and crannies it is not good to have. I suspect I may never recover to an acceptable level of health if it’s still there. There needs to be a healthy balance between the Zinc and the Copper. So I set my mind to detoxing in the near future. But not in the way it was going on now. I never want to go back to how I was two or three years ago!

I was fairly scared I had already undone the good work because I felt utterly rotten. But I decided to give it some time. I  stopped all Zinc, went back to absolute healthy basics in foods and activity and wanted to help my body to get rid of the Copper floating around now as much as possible. I laid on the couch. Took my cortisone and progesterone. Cheered on my liver. Took a bit of fibery meat to add some gristle to the digestion track. Took 1000mg of vit.C. And I drank lots of nettle tea. I have one brand (Jacob Hooy) that agrees with me very well. Better than other brands. (You just have to find out what works for your body. Without letting your mind run interference or telling you what should be working. I’m not arguing with my body anymore.)

After three days of despair and fatigue I slowly started to feel a bit better. The fatigue was still there but during the day I now felt more like myself, more cheerful. But in the evening the doom and gloom would start coming in again. On the fifth day I could take a shower. On the sixth day I smelled awful (must be waste leaving my body). I still wake every night and this is exhausting during the day. I’m now where I was a year ago, I think.

I am VERY PLEASED to notice that my body recuperates. And so fast too! It only took 7 days. It was a scary episode. The despair was so black…. The disappointment with being sick and canceling nice meetings was heart breaking. The grieve over my brother was scary. But that all has passed now. I’m back to being fairly optimistic. Still brittle though. The wind outside tires me, I’m wearing earplugs all the time, I can only knit simple knit stitches. And I have not taken a second shower. But I’m here again. Found myself a new puzzle to solve for distracting my racing mind, as you’ve seen in my previous post. (I’m not thinking about writing, jobs or bacteria at the moment. It would make me cry. Ambition has creeped in there you see.)

I now feel I can take Zinc in a controlled way and shed the excess Copper. As a matter of fact, I took 5 mg of Zinc today. Even though I’m still hyper from the previous pills. I still wake up every night.

There’s an anomaly in that pattern, btw.

So normally it goes like this:

  1. go to bed, fall asleep as soon as you smell the pillow (ew! it’s just figure of speeeeech)
  2. wake up after five hours
  3. lie awake for an hour and a half, surf.
  4. get drowsy again and sleep for another 2 hours
  5. wake up groggy, take hydrocortisone
  6. wait for hydrocortisone to kick in (45 minutes) before getting up

only that’s not happening!

it now goes like this:

  1. go to bed, fall asleep as soon as you smell the pillow (ew! it’s just figure of speeeeech)
  2. wake up after five hours
  3. lie awake for an hour and a half, surf.
  4. get drowsy again, put the dimmed light out, close eyes……
  5. after 30 minutes decide you’d rather read some more than wait for sleep to come
  6. after another hour of reading decide the night is lost and take hydrocortisone to start the day
  7. wait  for hydrocortisone to kick in…
  8. in 30 minutes fall fast asleep!
  9. wake two hours later, remarkably refreshed.

???

I’ve got two guesses working theories:

1. my body is overstressed by something (like free floating Copper) and is producing cortisol. This wakes me up and as the stress continues so does the cortisol. As I have a shortage of natural cortisol this induces stress and the demand for more cortisol which my body does not have. The moment I insert hydrocortisone into my system there is enough cortisol to meet the demand and the system relaxes. I fall asleep. (HPA-axis)

2. it’s like an insuline reaction. It does feel like one (meaning I cannot fight it. Well, I could if I wanted too but I really don’t want to. I want to go to sleeeeep. It feels like an addict reaction. I even get a happy smile on my face as I give in.) The hydrocortison directs all kinds of stuffs (sugar?) from the bloodstream into my cells, much like insuline does, and I fall asleep because of a lack of energy/stimulant. Untill the reaction has subsided and some energy is hustled back into the bloodstream and my brain. I awake and because I still have a bit of cortisol help from the pills I don’t feel too shabby.

1. is good. 2. is very bad. I am worried. But I cannot think my way out of this at the moment because I’m busy being a genius! Also, I forget to go to the bathroom all the time.

…two long posts in two days…is my hyper showing? To be clear: only my mind is hyper, my body is pretty fatigued.

Oh, and I’m not saying I’m autistic. I know it’s all fashionable to be autistic and we do lack a quirky female tv-detective with autistic treats but no, I am not autistic. (House, Sherlock, Elementary, Hannibal…wouldn’t it be interesting to see how a real autist would solve a murder case? I bet parents of an autistic could paint a good picture of how that would pan out. Not a viewing hit amongst the masses, I’m guessing)

photo credits for the copper heads: Michael Grunow, Sam Rusling, Penny Mathews and Nathan Bauer

the Sewing Bug

starting a new project: sewing a dress. There’s a sewing bug going around. It’s buzzing on Ravelry. It’s busy on the BBC in the competition The Sewing Bee. And face it, modern women have been stung by it for years now.

pic by Bartek Ambrozik

It is so very satisfactory to make something with your own hands, using your wit. Loving materials and skills. If you can make it fit your own body than you’re feeling like a hero! Taking victory over all the clothes in stores that only flatter store models, not real people. Blowing a raspberry to all advertisements and childhood insecurities they sparked. This is real people, people!

Anyway, for me it’s a distraction from having to lay down more than usual and wanting a puzzle to solve. I’ve got enzyme pathways to study, knitting to do. And I like to sew a dress. Now I need a place to gather some info since I’m scribbling away on snippets and keep losing them. Also: my cat eats snippets for fun.

So I need a safe place. A place my fogged up brain can find again. This is it. Here we go:

Patterns purchased: Butterick 6582 and Butterick 5603:

pics by Butterick

now don’t get distracted by the colour, the models or their bridal tendencies. The trick to patterns is to look for the lines they are sewn with. The long lines. The short lines. Where and how they decrease fabric to suggest a waist or hip. How the neckline falls. Where the lines are to make the flat fabric round a curve.

Me, I am a short, curvy person. Fairly petite were it not for a set of big boobs and broad shoulders to support them. I have no waist, no hips, no buttocks. I would look ridiculous in any poofy ball gown you can imagine. Or in ruffles. Or in Grease-type Rock and Roll skirts.

pic by Sarah Lewis

I will look good in slender long lines that elongate me. I’m “a goblet”. I need ‘prinsess lines’. They run from the top into the skirt. A V-shaped neck will elongate. A skirt that flares below (like a mermaids tail) looks fab on me.

So I did not purchase the patterns for the dresses above. I purchased the line in their patterns:

pattern and pics by Butterick.com

Now you see the lines: long ones. No poofy skirts. No ruffles. Each dress has three variants.

My size: a mystery.

Size converters on the internet throw me off because in the Netherlands I’m a 36, a Small (providing I get a bit of extra room for ‘the ladies’). The converter says that a (German) 36 is a US 8, Medium. A US Small is a German 34 which is way too small for me. Than there’s vanity sizing where clothes companies suddenly called an M an S or the other way around. Has to do with making the customer feel they are smaller than they are? Or guilting them into buying more? I don’t know, I’m a hermit in a sheep’s fleece.

pic by Markus Biehal

Size is all about the frame. Your garment has to fit the back of your shoulders and the waist should be about the height of your waist. But you can amend the position of the waist easily (I think). You cannot amend shoulder width easily. Your shoulders is where the garment hangs from, get that size right.

So: I based my ‘size’ for sewing patterns on my frame and plan to adjust the rest. I measured my upperbust and I think for Butterick I’m a 16 with hips going to 14.

(Converter says a US16 is an Xtra Large and a German 44. They are mad. I’d swim in a 44!) Yay, Butterick and Vogue don’t do vanity sizing, they are consistent in their measurements. I’m a 16 in sewing patterns and an 8 when buying of the rack. Mystery solved.

my measurements:

upperbust: 92 cm/ 36″

bust: 97 cm/ 38″

waist: 76 cm/30″

hip: 96 cm/ nearly 38″

neck to waist: 40 cm/ 15,75″

bra: 70FF (don’t get me started on bra size converters!)

at 1.61cm/ 5′ 4″ I’m a Miss Petite to Vogue and Butterick patterns. Waist to hip is standard 18 cm/ 7″ in their patterns.

pic by Ariel da Silva Parreira

Things I do not know yet:

Lining. It is important. I believe this is a separate dress you make from the same pattern. You ‘hang’ it in the dress and you attach it to it. It is there to give the outer dress some stability and prevent seeing through and make the outer dress swirl around your body and not cling to it. I think.

O no! I have to learn about ease all over again! knitting stretches and I’ve got a basic of understanding knitting ease now. But sewing!

And seams! There will be seams!

and fabric…. which has bias. And grain. I can’t have grain, I don’t like gluten.

so much more to learn.

A few things to remember:

– make a dummy dress first. This is called a twirl or a voile I believe. Or a toile?

– my sewing machine is a vintage foot treadle. It goes to and fro. No fancy stitches. No fraying fabric. Just keep it simple.

– there’s a lot of hand sewing involved in sewing a garment. That machine is a workhorse. The fine print is done by hand.

– this is a multiple day project (think weeks). Make sure to put your stuff away in an orderly fashion (with notes would be splendid) so you know where to pick it up again. No need to invent the wheel every time you get out the project. A box of its own would be perfect.

– I plan to perfect one pattern, fit it perfectly to my body measurements. Than use that for future dresses.

It will be fun. And for once I showed up on time to participate in a trend!

pic by Zsuzsanna Kilian

Now for fun: go google some pictures of the patterns (try one and try two, not sure these links work), it’s amazing what different dresses these patterns yield. Dresses on real people! I’m already learning so much! Burdastyle.com and PatternReview.com and many more sewing platforms have a lot to offer. So many women generously share their knowledge and experience. I love it and feel part of it, while reposing and reclusing.

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btw, I have started a new blog to keep track of this sewing project. Have a look over at BumbleSews.wordpress.com. The first post is a virtual copy of this one so there won’t be much interesting to see in April 2013.

Zinc, sunk, sunken.

pills to rectify my Zinc deficiency are releasing Copper into my bloodstream. This is poiseneous and my body reacts to that. I’ve had a couple of bad nights and now i’m back at 30% functionality.
I’ve managed to cook foods, vacuum the living room and do one laundry. I had to cancel all apointments this week including a test drive for a small car for me to combat the isolation I live in in this cabin. I’ve not been able to take a shower for quite some days now. And it is 4 AM at night and again I am awake, burning the cortisol I need to awake in the mroning.

It is a logical reaction to the Zinc. A healthy one too, as Copper excess is not good. So are “they” saying.
I’ll continue to take Zinc but at a much lower dosage.

For now I have to consent to this set back. I’ve had a big cry over it.
Brainfog is here again too, I’m carrying around my books but have not opened them.

Two, no three good things:
1. I’ve found two sites whit forums where people have the same reactions. Curezone.com and risingphoenix or phoenixrising. There has been new information since I last searched for fellow ill people and I am happy to see there are now people listing the same weird symtpoms as I have and interesting discussion about them. One about why showering can be debilitating (low functioning thyroid can’t cope with change of heat) and a few other people who have my sleep pattern (awake with cortisol peak after 5 hours of sleep)
2. I have ordered a genome typing kit. Knowing about some genes might tell me about some enzyme pathways that are not fuctioning properly. I already found zomeone who’s done this and has earily similar symptoms and a falthy gene code to account for it. Look for Gestalt’s info at risingpheonix. It is a COMM (cont?) sequence. In a couple of weeks time I can use my nightly energy peak for some enzyme puzzle research.
3. Having to cancel appointments released me of the need to take a shower for social benefits,..
(There was another third reason but I forgot it)

Ps. O yes this was it: I did some gardeing. Plans are still on their way. I have not lost the battle against ground elder in one particular spot of geranium this year.

Frustration Foxtrot

slept for 12 hours straight. All the food I took in yesterday drained my energy. Is one factor.

Today I feel better mentally. I understand that sometimes one has off-days. A day in which nothing goes as planned and things don’t make sense and reliable solutions do not work. You’re just having a crappy day.

I made the mistake of not recognizing it and I kept believing I could and should fix it right untill the very minute I stepped into my bed. Can’t fix crappy days. Just endure and see what tomorrow brings.

Part of my frustration comes from continuously having to comply with a very slow pace. I still can only do two things on a day. Sometimes three. Ever since I regained some of my mental functions last August I am eager to DO more and bigger things however and I fail at taking things slow. I forgot about two steps forward, one step back.

I forgot about crappy days and I forgot about having to take time off (one week, two weeks) after a busy week or after travelling and I forgot how few things I used to be able to do. I now say: I can two things on a day. But those two things have grown bigger than the two things 3 years ago. Back then it was two small things. Get a shower, make dinner. Nothing more.

These days I somehow manage to vacuum the house once a week, to put away things I’ve used, plan ahead for food and generally manage my health all day (keep track of pills and moods). I’ve been to more wool parties and I recover fairly quick from them. In a matter of days instead of weeks.

I should not be surprised when once in a while I have a crappy day. Still, I was.

pic by Lida Österman

But today I’m back on schedule: only doing two things. Took a shower and I’m going to prepare for a trip I’m taking tomorrow. I remembered to lay on the couch to allow digestion (I’m writing this with the laptop on my belly, laying flat, at the moment), remember to stay warm, take hydrocortison.

Writing is not in the books today. However, I did find a very funny written science blog which I enjoy reading while not writing. It’s In the Pipeline by Derek Lowe, especially the categorie “things I won’t work with”. He’s an molecule engineer. I knew of his blog because my husband is a big fan of tv series Breaking Bad and Lowe is a drug discovery chemist. His writings about discovering nasty molecules is hilarious while still understandable for non-chemists.

(I post phoned thinking and deciding about getting me to a specialist. I have all the paperwork but I cannot yet muster up the courage to face unwilling people. Another day will come.)

Selfdoubt

having a few nasty days, I’m sitting on the couch all day. It’s not until late in the afternoon that I get going. This is physical in cause.

I did do a few administrative things each morning, it’s where ‘the golden hour’ went. Writing a few mails, making an appointment, it took all my energy. I had nothing left for writing.

Now self doubt has taken hold of me. Am I a procrastinator? Am I willingly sabotaging this writing job I have put my mind to?

I know I am good at making plans and thinking up kingdoms. Doing the actual work is not something I particularly like unless it involves an interesting proces. Which is what writing is. But I’ve been non-writing for weeks now, ever since I figured out I’d do five jobs. Writing is the job that got tossed all the time. Why? Do I do that consciously? Is it too big a task? Too much ambition? Have I got my wires crossed?

Have I talked too much about it? Have I jinxed it? I didn’t think so because I’ve only used general terms, I have not let anybody actually read anything. And you all have been very supportive in not asking about it. For which I thank you. Because inquiring after creative processes often kill them.

Now I’m afraid I am sabotaging myself. That it is me. Clearly every day I find something more urgent to do than sit at my desk and write. Lots of days I’m too ill to do anything at all and I feel guilty for making the sound decision to not work that day.

Today and yesterday are particularly nasty. My body is missing something, I can hardly sit up. I have to be extra careful when moving around the house, take care not to tumble down the stairs. Luckily I have my habits: put your hand here, there and there. No talking on the stairs. A hand at the barrister at all times.

Things my doctor said are tumbling through my mind. He was positively shocked when I talked about my life, my days. He thinks it is unacceptable, to live a life like this. Something needs to be done. But he doesn’t know what.

Yesterday he found out I have a Zinc deficiency. This is odd because I take a mineral supplement every day. Perhaps it’s related to my low vit. D levels? Other levels are all right though (B12, thyroid, kalium/sodium etc) so I am stumped. Confused about this too.

Today my body was in a panic. I was clearly missing a nutrient but noting I took helped. Vit.D, multivitamins, zinc, lithium, echineaforce, cortisol, progesteron, food, vegetables, salt, wakemé. Nothing.

All I could do was lay on the couch, speak softly to my body, wait for my stomach to sing and watch tv for distraction. So many questions, so many uncertainties. And no writing, perhaps as a conscious decision. It made me lose courage. I really have no idea any longer what is going on.

The few sane snippets left are: doctor says sink pills don’t work, gotta have tablets you suck on. Taking the extra vit. D makes me hungry. The guy who did my meridians agrees my energy system is fluent and untroubled, the cause of my illness must lay in a physical problem (or in an environmental one but I cannot see how that could be since I live in two different places and am ill in both of them. still, I’m open to anything).

it also doesn’t help that I’ve just spend two weeks in the city and really need to rest now for two weeks but am making apointments anyway. I feel pressured. By people. And by myself.

Also, next week it will be 20 years since my brother died unexpectedly of heart failure (not heridetary). That period started the spiral that ended me on the couch. This strange anniversay adds to my confusion because I have never learned how normal people act on such days. I want to visit the grave (it is in the forest too) but it’s a logistical nightmare. If I manage to rest up enough before that day. I want to talk to my family but they do not care for that it seems. Perhaps for the better because talking has not helped us before.

yes I’m a proper mess these days. Can’t hear myself think with all those contradicting thoughts going thrhough my head.

sorry for the spelling errors, really I’m too tired to find out the correct spellings of the few words that remain at fault.

today’s job: landscape designing on the couch

Whenever returning from the city to the cabin, I always have a fresh eye for the surroundings and its possibilities.

Today an idea emerged for the piece of meadow that lies adjacent to our patch of forest. When we just purchased this land we stripped away the fertile soil and put it into ridges (it holds apple trees and nettles in which birds nest). The non-fertile part sprouted all kinds of herbs that usually do not get a chance on rich nutritional soil.

Unfortunately the meadow is surrounded by willows and birches, they scatter their seeds around. Both of them are pioneer trees, born to populate a piece of barren land. Each year we mow away the sproutlings – we should carry off the waste to preserve the poor quality of the ground but it is too much work for us at the moment. Slowly the poor ground regains nutrition and grass is coming back. Herbs are retreating.

these were the emotions that washed trough us over the years:

1. hope and happiness when we first landscaped the patch

2. joy when the first herbs bloomed

3. frustration when we couldn’t keep up with the maintenance.

4. denial and hiding of the problem. Ending in defeat and sadness.

5. bravery and tranquility when aknowledging the ‘new’ points of references

6. surprise at the new possibilities

7. new hope.

Now our ‘new’ point of reference for the meadow are:

  • Willows and birches will grow. We will mow them. But will not take away the waste. The ground will enrich. There still will be various micro climates and hopefully some sort of variety in plants will remain.
  • The meadow grows very wet in winter. Ducks will live there, bobbing on the water.
  • In Summer it is dry and Very Hot on the meadow. This is good for brambles and apple trees and dragon flies and all kinds of wildlife. However, it is not very fun to be out on the meadow in midday in Summer, it is too hot. A pity because we both like to explore between the ridges and look at the different species of dragon flies and butterflies.

 

The new idea that sprouted in my head while I lie here on the couch resting: build a construction of living willow on the meadow.

A place to sit and cool in the Summer heat. A green, leafy place.

these are the creations by Annette Rehle, a willow specialist from Germany: Natur in Form.

oohoo, imagine such a sofa, with a felted sheep fleece on top. Comfy! And hidden amongst the green.

oh! I could make a maze of willow tunnels near the road, where we couldn’t scrape away the top soil because of the oak trees and their root systems. Wouldn’t that be fun.

I also dream of a traditional Dutch row of willows next to the sleat. It is part of our cultural heritage. You do maintanance every other year. Lots of birds and bugs love to live in these trees.

ps. In Germany the Willow is called ‘Weidenbaum’ = “meadow tree”. So true!

ps2.  I’m still grateful for that moment when I wrapped my brain around the patch of land instead of trying to make the land obey my brain possibilities loom and bloom.

get to work:

I just spend two weeks in the city and have not found time to work.

I enjoyed the city and our city house tremendously. I took several walks (ok, two) and took some trains and enjoyed the urban people with their smart clothes and their plans. I enjoyed how the city operates, how everything is organized and how people work together.

I did not feel the need to participate and run along and be smart too and be succesfull. Well, not much anyway.

I did manage to change pace quickly and do things and then rest up on the couch and later on do another thing. I remembered how I took up knitting for when I have to lay down because I am so bored then (but not bright enough to write). So I knit when I lied down. I visited a lot of friends (compared to what I’m used to). Did a lot of doctor things. I did not shower much… also, I frequently forgot to change my socks.

Now I’m looking forward to go back to the cabin. Be amongst wool and handmades and nature. And Spring running away from me. I’ll never get that patch of land formed in the way that I envision….

well.

well. Just keep readjusting dreams and ambitions to the hours and the energy I have in a day. I’ll bring the notebooks back to the cabin. This weekend is for cleaning up (the cabin and myself)(and my socks), getting rested and preparing food for next week. First thing Monday: sit at desk and write. It will start with a prelude this weekend when I’ll read up on a bit of the materials, get that vibe singing. I love that phase: the anticipation fun.

(I may have plans to take a car trip to a rose nursery tomorrow and buy roses which then have to be planted around the cabin and the patch of land. This will thwart all other plans)

 

pic Den Bosch by Michiel Verbeek