Holle time day 11: hiding in a hole

Around this time Frau Holle retreats into her well, taking with her all the souls of new and old life of this year, to be reborn in the next.

During the year she transforms from a Spring Maiden into a Fertile Summer Woman who reaps the fruits (and souls) from the land in the Fall. Come Winter she becomes a Snow Queen.

pic by Belovodchenko Anton
pic by Vatik
pic by Ayhan Yildiz
pic by Joseph Hoban

But when the wheel of time turns the year, just around these days, she is ageless. Timeless. Shapeless. She has taken all the life of the land to a safe haven, under her skirts, into her house at the bottom of the well, in a deep dark hole where no winter cold or humans can reach.

pic by Katinka Kober

I too would like to crawl away into a hole like that. Start sleeping. Healing. Only to emerge when the first promises of a new year are showing.
(Perhaps they are already here, these promises? Today was a bright winters’ day, with crisp light and some small birds already chattering. I see from behind my window.)

Yes I want to hide. Because today, and also yesterday, I am battling against stress. It’s been building up for a few weeks now but today it is particularly bad. It shouldn’t be, I have no stress, there’s nothing in my life threatening me. (Well, except the x-mas cards I didn’t send, to 5 people who really NEED to get some sort of hello from me)
really, need, desperate, hello

… I’ve got no words and I’ve got no energy. I should at least let the know this, if nothing else…

My body is twisted and cramped. My heart is pounding. I’m wearing my shoulders around my ears once again. Gone is the freedom of movement and fluidity the AtlasProfilax provided. I’ve stuffed it all away under tensed up muscles and startling responses.

Fifty times a day I realize I’ve slipped into a twisted posture. Sitting askew, not really relying on muscles to keep me upright but more on cushions and fatflaps.
I find myself leaning deep into the computer, squinting my eyes, and realize I’ve been sitting like this for an hour.
I can’t sleep. My breathing is shallow. I am in stress.

This is out of the ordinary. I’ve left this habit of stress behind when I moved to the cabin. It took a few months (or years) to grind it into omission. Now it’s back! This is how I was for 35 years. This is how my body was 35 years… it is not how I truly am.

Something in my body is whipping up stress.
It could be a number of things:

  • my period just started. Usually I take no progesterone for a couple of days to allow for my period. Today I cannot be without progesterone, my body is screaming for it.
  • something could be frustrating the clean-up of excitatory neurotransmitters. It’s already hindered by the MAO A mutation but it now seems it doesn’t get done at all. I’ve got no idea what that could be and I haven’t got the braincells or rest to study it online.
  • something could be egging on the production of these neurotransmitters. Could it be the mB12 and the Folinic Acid, releasing too much toxins in the system?
  • I had quite a bit of commercial chocolate at my sister-in-law’s the other day because we were there longer than expected and I was so going down the drain. I’d think it would have left the system already but you never know
  • I have quite a lot of bleeding “in the pyama region” (euphemism I heard today), this is adding to the bodily stress. I thought I was taking enough cortisone to deal with it but who knows? Sitting and lying doesn’t help it heal, that’s for sure. Of course, sitting and lying is all I want to do…
  • is the breakfast I had today? I went back to my usual two egg yokes.
  • is it the rice-gingerbread cookies I’m eating these days? are cinnamon and clove building up, messing with my brain?
  • I’ve been eating fish with kerry and fresh koriander all week, is that you nutmeg-in-the-kerry?

I can’t figure it out at the moment.

So I better approach it from an other angle. If I cannot reason my way up from the cause, I better start at a remedy and work from there.

What might help in this case is movement. If there’s toxin in the blood moving around will help it clear up. Yes, I should move…

Ha! you know how that is. You should. But you don’t.
The trickery part is that the longer I postpone it the more difficult it becomes.

Really, I should get up and get out there. Be a snow queen.
pic by Alfred Borchard
(I should also take a shower. Probably won’t happen either)

If I don’t move this mood will wreck my sleep tonight for sure! These things have a way of effecting the future. Move your butt!
pic by Thibaut Monot

I wrote this post last night. I then went to sleep and slept from 22.30 untill 8.30. That’s the longest I’ve slept in…… EVER.
This body, it really has advanced humour.

pic by Nate Brelsford

I didn’t go outside.
I didn’t take a shower (it’s just not logical on day 2 of a period, I’ve got more waste to shed, day 3 is a glorious day for showering because then the period has drawing to a close.)
I did do some felting which involves standing at the sink and pounding. I didn’t watch tv and didn’t take my iPad to bed. I tried to relax my eyeballs because I think I’ve caused double vision by staring too intense at iPad and knitting. I skipped any x-mas cookies or nutmeg. I ate very light (= chocolate ganache and whipped cream which may be fat heavy but are not heavy to digest)
And I took echineaforce for the first time since september, when my liver needed a rest.
Now I’m back to my original suspicion that my night time waking has to do with allergies (dust mite) and a disproportionate reaction to that (neurotransmitters).

oh, I don’t know! It doesn’t make sense at all. I need to keep my body calm, that’s all I know. And it has a weird sense of humour.

I just woke up with a zit on the inside of my eyelid. The inside. Of the upper eyelid. The part that touches my eyeball.
pic by Sheldon Pickering


Holle time day 8: cats singing songs

Merry x-mas day!
The churches is this Catholic city have been chiming for hours. We got up early (this may be related to the church bells or BECAUSE I SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT) and this morning will be spend in restfull bliss in our sitting room:

Hey, there’re two cats in this picture!

Frau Holle is all about cats. And celebrating the season.

You probably spotted the white one on the red couch fast.
But on the utmost left, there’s a dark blob snoring… a dark blob on a purple cushion…

mrs Dark Blob! mrs Dark Blob!

Are you awake?
Aw, Pookie, hello. Can you sing us a x-mas song? Pleeeeeease?


…. thank you, Pookie….
And what about mrs White Blob?

Hello? Lillepoes?

Would you please sing a little song for us, Lillepoes?



“mumble bells… mumble bells…”

Holle Time day 7: Cats and Knitting

Today was all about cats and knitting.


Tinkerbell was here and we knitted on the couch, sharing cat stories. She laughed at Lillepoes a lot. For making strange sounds when walking, sleeping, meowing. Lillepoes spend lots of time cuddling. Between us.

When Tinkerbell left Lillepoes wasn’t done cuddling. She butted in while I tried to take a pocture of my new hat, “Devonshire Cream”.

I spend the evening on the (other) couch knitting my little heart out, watching four episodes of Victorian police series Ripper Street. I love the attention to detail in this series. And the amount of flakey paint.

Cat on lap the whole time.

Holle Time Day 6: s(h)itting dog, dancing lady

I keep planning to tell you about the Atlas Profilax experience but things get in the way. Fun things!

So let me get the fun thing out of my system first, then I’ll jot down some fast things about my experience.

Frau Holle time for me means going with the flow. As long as I keep my rest schedule and manage to enjoy my social calendar I pretty much get to do what I want. All of the Grown Up Things To Do seam to be taking a back seat.

In stead of sewing up curtains for the three bare windows we have I find myself researching wool spinning colour theories and playing with roving. Those windows really need curtains! They’re single plated glass and the rooms are COLD! But no: colour study! Wool!

Instead of clearing the table where my husband spend his workdays and which I showed you yesterday I find myself bending shawl pins that I’ve been postphoning for ….oh…well…. 8 months now?

Luckily my husband has eye blinders for my clutter. They’re one of the pillars of our marriage.

But those pins, let me tell you!
As you know I’m handy with my hands. And I have a thing or two for letting things evolve in the moment, when it comes to art or design.

Now I haven’t been able to bend pins for over a year now because I want it too bad. There are a couple of people I want to bend pins for and this amount to such pressure -in my own head- that I’m unable to let things flow or enjoy the process. It’s the same reason I won’t knit for anybody nor make art for anybody. Or create things with the intention of selling them.

Yesterday Pippi was here! And we were sitting on the couch, chatting away, knitting. Pippi is the kind of person who doesn’t mind that I hadn’t removed the protective fleeces from the couch -because cats- nor that my hair is weird -because no time/energy to cut but have hat so there.

And it suddenly was there: that free time and free mind to bend some pins. I’m looking to make two pins for two friends who love dogs.

First one was a sketch. Second one was a success. Still a try-out.


Third one was a real one, in silver wire. Turned out ok. It still needs to be hammered down, this will give the wire character, more like a brushline with variation in thickness.


I was on a roll! I moved on the the fourth one. Oops!


This one looks more like it’s pooping…


I’m sure there are people who appreciate a pooping dog shawl pin. Just add a brown bead!


That’s when I rolled of the couch laughing, taking Pippi with me.

So there you have it. Holle time Day six is about poo and laughter.

Now: AtlasProfilax!

I briefly explained what it is. Reading back I don’t think I can explain it any better. But let me emphasize that in now way are the bones manipulated. All that is done is that the muscles keeping your head in place are nagged untill they relax a tiny little bit. In that split second the skull assumes its natural position, sitting comfortably and straight on the two little bone parts of that top vertebrea that are made for supporting the skull.

This is a shift of millimeters, you cannot see or feel it happening.

You can see and feel the results though. At the back of your ears, a bit downwards, left and right feel the exact same now, when you stroke and poke there with your fingers. That’s also where the muscles are located that the practitioner is harassing.


Only takes 5 minutes. 2 minutes prodding on one side, 2 minutes on the other and one again on the first site.

The prodding is done with a prod. A handheld little jack hammer (or that’s what it feels like). Yes, a monkey can hold the prod. But it takes a clever person to know where to prod exactly and to come up with the idea in the first place.

I found the treatment painful. Not extremely but it was quite annoying.

“Annoying” is also how my body experienced it. During the five minutes it started to panic a bit. My palms became sweaty and my body entered Fight or Flight, preferably the last one. I tried to talk it down, calm it, soothe it. It was like soothing a child while you overpower it so the doctor can give it a painful but well meant treatment. It wasn’t fun. But I overruled my body and submitted it to the treatment.

Five minutes over we sat on the chair for a bit, my body and me. We noticed no difference from before. My body grew extremely annoyed with me. It was positively insulted that I had submitted it to this uncomfort.

I’ve never experienced anything like this, it was like there are two entities in this body. Me and my body (which is also me ofcourse). I pleaded and apologized and mentally cuddled my body but it was having none of it.

I stood up, still no difference.

Then I stood with my toes on one of the lines of the floor tiles and I looked down. I could see the top of my breasts. They were facing forwards. This is novel.

I looked up and asked the practioner what he saw. “level shoulders” he said. This is new too.

Untill the treatment I was skewed. My left shoulder was in front of my body, my right behind. I compensated by holding my head tilted so I can look straight ahead.

My hips are not level either, usually. Right is about three centimeters higher.

I usually wear my shoulders around my ears, I’m that much stressed. This is also where my RSI comes from.

Five minutes later I was at the front desk, paying the man. There was an ache coming up in my back. Muscle ache. It grew and grew. My right shoulder too, man, it started to hurt.

My body was still insulted and wouldn’t talk to me so I figured it might be some kind of punishment. However, I didn’t have a vegetal reaction and there was no other pain or ailment. I felt comfortable leaving the building, walking down the street towards the busy Amsterdam street where the tram and the traffic and all the noise was. So I did.

While walking I felt freedom coming down on me. I felt so souple. I could turn my head all the way to the right (haven’t been able to for years). I could move my arms any way I wanted too. I felt so … tall. It was as if I was stretching without effort. I walked tall and proud. That’s why I decided to linger in the city and enjoy it. Also because movement would help the muscle ache which was now severe, all over my shoulders and upper back. And moving will help my body explore its new soupleness and possibities.

There was a bounce in my step.


Since then, two full days later, the muscle aches are diminishing. There’s only a bit left in my right shoulder. I’ve felt like dancing constantly. And have been doing so, in the kitchen. I naturally take on a straight position when I stand or sit. There’s no effort involved in this. My shoulders are level and I wear them low now.

Somehow my intestines have found a better nesting position in my pelvis. They don’t blob over it like they used to. I had a muscle ache in my buttock for which Robert had a probable explanation: my pelvis has naturally tilted. I’m “tucking my butt under”.

I’ve been out of the house every day since. First day I went to the organic farmer’s market. Haven’t been there for years! The noise and people, I could cope with. And again: I was walking tall. And hungry. I’m so hungry! But not for my usual foods. I crave fish and vegetables. So I bought two kinds of trout -my totem animal- and celery root and made myself dinner. Twice. Ate the lot of it too!

The other day me and Pippi went out to get sushi and I didn’t mind one bit to take a detour to get something at another shop too. Noise and people, where?

Now I’m getting down from my fluffy cloud I feel. The first honeymoon is over. Old habits and old postures are creeping back, I found myself wearing my shoulders for earmuffs again last night.

So now the working part of the treatment has started: I have to actively work on keeping my muscles loose and long. Having a nice posture. Not overeating.

Today I am going for a yoga lesson. Because yoga is specifically recommended for this treatment. As are massages but on these days right before x-mas I couldn’t find a masseuse.

Also: this is not a cure all. I still need my pills and hormones, I still need my rests. But boy, has there been a lift of body burden for me!

Last night I have slept through the night.


This week I entertain the thought that the body is a natural habitat for pathogens, just like any environment hosts critters. I have visions of a pond in the woods; the wild plains with big beasts and biofilms in the shower. All environments where there are conditions, food, critters trying to hold on, trying to survive, altering their environment, the environment altering them, other organisms hunting them. Why not the body too?

White blood cells are the predators of these critters. It’s that video I showed before that keeps popping up in my head. The hunted bacteria and the hunting blood cell are in their element, their environment, they know all the ins and outs and hiding spots, they are at home.

In systemic illnesses there’s an overburden and the environment is overwhelmed. Poisoned. It cannot function properly anymore. I’m thinking… medicine might be more like environment management than something else…


Sorry for the many words, few pics. Pics take time with me… Now I’ve gotta run, yoga starts in a bit. (I can run! yay!)


Sleep: tracking my hours

I’ve been tracking my hours the last month. Here are the hours I was in my bed asleep, in Elderberry purple:

sleep hours tracking

You see that as a rule I don’t sleep through the night. Most nights I lie awake for a couple of hours. On two nights when I did get a full nights sleep I had had a very short night the previous one.

Now for my next trick…

sleep hours quantity

Hocus Pocus Holy Quantity, Batman!
I forgot about the actual time I went to bed and just lined up the hours I slept.

There’s a clear pattern here. It doesn’t matter at what time I’m going to bed, on most nights I sleep 4,5 hours and then I wake up.

I have had this sleeping pattern all my life. I remember as a child, under the age of 10, calling for my parents. Every night. So this pattern of mine is unrelated to my CFS or ME. It does wreck havoc in my illness as I do not recuperatie sufficiently from the day before.

Lately I’ve been reading up on neurotransmitters that are involved in the various sleep stages. It seems something is happening to me after the last stage of Deep Sleep. Something in the transition makes my body react, seemingly with neuro-exitatory molecules. Could be cortisol (main suspect due to the half time of it that co-incides with my time awake before I can go back to sleep) but it can easily be any other.

I have some info on them, the neuro transmitters, but I’ll come back to that another time.  I also found some other people with this pattern, on the ME forums over at phoenixrising.me. They battle it with sleeping pills and benzo’s and anti-histamines. Which all take effect on neurotransmitters. But I’ll try and sort that out later.

For now I just wanted to park the tracking graphs here.

PS. Elderberry is the plant of Hulda, Frau Holle. Sambucus, full of vit. C.
The juice of the berries will stain your white summer clothes forever! But when you try to dye wool with this rich colours, they will fade in the sun over time.