Many better, smarter and wittier blog-posts are simmering about in my cranial cavity, however after a day at work and a walk in a cemetery (what? It's quiet there, and nobody bothers me while I'm thinking, and it's closer than the woods,) today, you just get this:
Leo chocolate bar (the original) by Milka
It is, as I suspected, better than the Leo GO. The chocolate-to-stuff ratio is better, the texture is finer, and to me it all passes off as more refined. The same elements in better harmony. Not remarkable, but not bad. I still can't really tell what the wafer-filling is supposed to taste like though. Not praline, not chocolate either. What is it then? Kit-Kat lite.
Mmmm, you know what wafer-based delight I'm going to eat in Canada?
Mmm, Coffee Crisp. I hope you are still as crispy and pleasantly coffee-y as I remember.
Today was a good day. Was. I was a regular domestic goddess, making boeuf bourguignon, bread, doing laundry, washing floors (on hands and knees no less, because it's more effective,) and figuring out more Toronto-trip things. And now I am making one of the last three Nablopomo entries. Something I've held onto doing, whether it was a good idea or not in the end... I can be so stubborn sometimes, possibly even at the expense of what is good for everyone in the bigger picture. It's always easier to see things as they are though, after we hit that extra illumination that comes as we near the end of a tunnel. Like they say, "Hindsight is 20/20."
After dinner, we went for crêpes. And the... accountant... made an appearance on the way home. I caught scent of the ruse, and avoided placing myself in 'debt' after a few well placed questions indicated that it was, indeed a trap laid out before me. I was also clear about my feelings how the accountant seemed not to understand the difference between generosity, and exchange. The accountant asked me if I am generous. Never mind the bourguignon, the bread, the floors, the laundry. Never mind all of those little things... they are all the sorts of generosity that don't count for the accountant, despite that one of us does them much more than the other. "Necessary, you live here too" says he.
Ahah, here I am, eeking an entry out in the last hour of the day.
I almost went to bed, but then while I was brushing my teeth I set my eyes on my poor, often neglected spool of floss.
And then I made the connection and realized that it almost happened. I almost lost out on my Nablopomo commitment to blog every day this month. I would have been so pissed off tomorrow morning had that happened. Not because it's a big deal, but because there are now all these, ahem, entries of splendidly high quality hanging around in my blog, as a result of trying to say something every day.
Today was FULL of productive tedium. Much of it was a little less tedious though because it was centered around our trip to Toronto in a few weeks. It seems I may have to try and haul myself out of bed at 2am to call my sister in the effort to hammer out some details. Half asleep. I wonder how (actually, if) that will work. I wish she was a little more active in her internet use and skills. Keeping in touch would certainly be easier that way.
Also, I vacuumed. I should get a gold star for this. I hate the vacuum as some of you know. It gives me rage, and with good reason. I washed the dishes, I made sure all was in place for tomorrow's dinner involving 12 hours of marination, however despite all of this, I did not floss. And I won't. Too tired.
I flossed. Ok, I know it was a day later than you or I figured, (actually I think we both knew it wouldn't happen the day I said I might actually do it,) but trust me when I tell you that it's still impressive it happened so soon, even if it did happen out of internet related guilt. Hey, I do brush my teeth twice a day, ok?
I did laundry. Always exciting. Do you know that before coming to Belgium I was absolute crap at ironing/pressing clothes? Now I'm terribly good, quick and efficient. This comes of working in a hotel, where I must look all starched and pressed (which means I must press my clothes at home,) and where occasionally it befalls me to press the garments of clients. (Oh the interesting garments I've seen!)
I browsed apartments and jobs in Brussels online. I saw a nice apartment, in a nice area, at a nice price, and pointed it out to Boyfriend, who scrunched up his face and tried to say something which I believe was designed to make a move from here to there sound as though it would be as difficult logistically as a move to the moon. I should add as well that in his thinking about this, we both somehow magically became unemployed prior to moving, which made it that much more impossible and risky.
*scratches head with puzzled expression*
I suffered a horrible caffeine withdrawal headache, and insomnia. Because I had been all throw-uppy the night before, I tried to be very kind with my stomach yesterday. Which meant one incredibly diluted latté in the morning. By nightfall, while trying to sleep, I had a raging headache. I believe I only slept about 4 hours last night. *growl*
Le sigh. And that was yesterday. *bows*
But you know what? Today someone reminded me that it's less than 3 weeks until I'm off to Canada, and that made everything seem a little less tedious. Perhaps you sense the silver lining on my cloudy kind-of-complaints? Maybe?
Well, I'm trying. *Thinking about things today at work I realized that my post-tags for "whining" must be beginning to outpace other, happier tags, like "chocolate", and that is just rather wet-blanket of me, isn't it? And do you know what? I am not a wet blanket. I may be an unwilling drama-queen, but I draw the line at becoming a wet-blanket. THAT is not me. So, it's time to take action! To kick my own arse into another gear! To begin to dig my claws into this ground, to strategize, and to do better! Even floss more often!
I should have known. I guess I kind of did, but I tried, really TRIED to take all precautionary measures to deal with what we had to do last night.
I have mentioned before that my stomach doesn't seem to have adapted very well to the later-at-night Belgian dinner-time. This, without fail, makes me very, very ill. I normally eat around 5:30, 6. I do so because at that hour, I'm already STARVING, and it seems to placate my body when I feed it at that time. Given that I sleep earlier than many (and wake earlier than many due to my working hours,) I have no problems to speak of should I follow the biological signals my body sends me about when to add more fuel to the metabolic furnace, and when to stop. Things go smoothly when I respect my own biology. When I don't, they go about as well as hell on wheels.
Again last night I made the sacrifice for the sake of being social, and went and ate dinner. And, despite my incredible siesta earlier in the day, I ended up (yet again,) sheet-white, dizzy, shaking, clinging to both a bucket and the toilet. Disgustingly sick.
Some Belgians have implied to Boyfriend that my occasional avoidance of their dinners has caused them worry that I don't like being with them. It's not that I'm antisocial, or that I don't like these folks, it's just that I'm anti-dinner-at-10-followed-by-horrible-sickness. Invite me out for lunch, breakfast, brunch, tea, late night drinks... I'll happily accept. People don't seem to do this here though because... breakfast and lunch just aren't 'special', or something? Not worthy of socializing over? I don't know. My foreign mind perceives that it's really not an occasion if there isn't a middle of the night meal involved. The more special the occasion here, the later the meal, it seems.
Not even Boyfriend's mom seemed to believe that a person could become sick simply because they eat 'too late', despite our telling her it happened like clockwork with me. Here I think there isn't even the concept of eating too late. I realize that this makes me the uncivilized one, with my antisocial early-dining tendencies, and I've tried to adapt. Finally, Boyfriend's mom is starting to get it. After 10 months of my graciously trying to eat late (resulting each time in my being sick later,) she actually tried meeting us halfway by placing the food on the table at 7pm the last time we visited. She was truly pleased to hear from boyfriend when she called him the next day that finally, something she'd fed me for dinner had stayed down. Of course, Boyfriend's mom is one of the few who actually knows that eating late causes me problems. We've been very nice up to this point and not told other people that their dinners are painful for me.
Think about this for a second - this means I've been sick, regularly, for 10 months now... purely for the sake of being nice and not seeming demanding or antisocial, and of trying to give myself the chance to adapt. There are limits. After last night, I'm getting dining-anxiety. How can I be relaxed and socialize knowing what horror is to come later in the evening for me? I'm about to give up on social dinners with the natives. I don't think I'll even be able to be guilted into them anymore. Let them think I'm antisocial, I don't care. There are plenty of other social activities one can do other than dining late. I could have been doing one of those last night even, if it weren't for our stupid obligation.
I think I'm just going to get stubborn about it and tell people the truth. Let them deal with it. Although they may be perfectly nice people, it's still not worth it to me to see them if our chosen social activity results in my feeling like death in a housecoat in the wee hours of the morning. Other social activities will be welcomed, or other earlier meals of the day.
It's 5pm, and I'm still in bed. I did get up to have breakfast, shower and wash my hair, and then again to eat lunch, but not really for anything else other than those bare necessities.
I am convinced I may actually floss later today however, out of guilt for my admission yesterday.
It's rainy, and windy in our little Liègeois corner of Belgium today, and so I feel no real need to get out and do anything. Not to mention I have missed sleep to catch up on, what with the Faithless show and recent flare-ups of insomnia. That, and my shoulder is nothing but pain today, so I'm not terribly inclined to activity, really, of any sort.
Faithless, by the way, was great. Despite the god-awful djs we had to endure before Faithless came onstage, it was still worth the ticket-cost for the show they put on. They did not play "Mass Destruction" (the song I linked to a few posts ago,) but it was still a good show. After the show, we spent a good 10 minutes trying to push our car, along with the cars of other party-goers out of the mud. We received 7cm of melting snow that night, and most of us had parked on ground that had been frozen, but that became rather swamp-like during the party thanks to the rising temperature and moisture from the snow. It fell in giant feather-like flakes, as though the heavens were having a pillow-fight. Boyfriend claimed he had never seen anything like it.
In one of my waking moments today I read that a German court has ruled that children in Berlin are now allowed to make noise. Apparently, prior to this ruling there was some sort of issue with the noise children were making in schoolyards and such? (As in, they weren't allowed to do what I thought children quite naturally did while playing?) Now, the German courts have protected their right to act like children by stating it is considered fundamentally important as a natural part of their development process. What kind of crochety neighbour issues a noise-complaint because little kids are playing in a schoolyard, anyways?
Hm. Brain-stall. I believe this means it's time to put the laptop on the bedside table, and make like my spirit-animal of the day, shown here:
Nablopomo, you are the guest who is overstaying your welcome.
All the ideas I can think of go nowhere due to a lack of brainpower. I'm sleep deprived, and dehydrated, and... dehydrated. I can't think. I can't write anything serious, or funny, or terribly coherent.
I can't wait until you are done, nablopomo. I have learned (or rather had my suspicions confirmed,) that it is a waste of everyone's time for me to try and write when my brain feels all shriveled as it does now, all that comes out is crap. Though it's true that there was also a banana one time.
God knows there are other things more important than you, Nablopomo, that I'm supposed to do daily, that I don't. Like flossing. Or drinking water. Or eating vegetables. These should be easy too, but sometimes they just don't happen.
I just realized I said I was dehydrated twice in a row. See, no brain today.
What a great entry, and finished just a little before the day is done. Haha nablopomo. One can barely call this CONtent, but still it's an entry, so suck it.
Well, things have been better, for sure. They are not terrible, but they are a little tense.
Valentines went by unmarked here, with the exception of my giving a gift to Boyfriend's mom. She is a stellar pseudo-mother-in-law, and like most good moms is terribly thoughtful and kind. There had been plans to visit Antwerp on Saturday, but I nixed these because I preferred to spend a weekend quietly here doing my own stuff and chilling with Boyfriend. Unfortunately, he nixed this by going out Friday with the aforementioned somewhat-crazy friend, allowing himself to be pressured into drinking more than he wanted (so says he,) the result of which was him staying in bed and not being able to keep food or water down for most of Saturday. Nothing says romance on Valentine's more than a house with a faint bouquet of vomit.
Fortunately I am not the kind of girl who expects something for Valentine's. In fact, I am more touched by romantic gestures any other time of year I think, simply because the likelihood that they were made out of a sense of obligation is less likely when they are not on Valentine's, and therefore it's easier to trust that they come from an honestly loving intention.
But wait... You thought perhaps that Amsterdam was a reset, or that because I described my love as a large strange-attractor-like-thing that all was sailing smoothly again? No, no. It's never been the love that has been the problem with us, ever. It's always been communication.
After years of sailing in choppy and uncertain (though lovely) waters, I'm feeling a bit queasy, occasionally eyeing the lifeboats while reminding myself it is my choice to be here, and my choice to stay or go. I wonder if maybe I just don't have sea-legs, I remind myself that almost all worthwhile things require work, and try to hold myself up against all the boat-rocking. I'd really like to be able to feel like I know what'll happen, but for the moment I can't quite make starboard from stern.
It's true that Boyfriend has an amazing heart, and when he listens to it honest and beautiful things result... it's just a true shame he spends most of his time existing exclusively in his head. If only head would take the time to hear heart out more often, I think to myself. And so this is where we are: me wondering where the line between tenacity and devotion turns into stupidity and self-harm all while trying to hang on to a great love, be supportive of Boyfriend's efforts, make my own efforts, and keep a clear head. You'll understand now maybe why I compare it to sea-sickness. Someone else, meanwhile, has been given the homework of "taking a picture of their nervous energy".
I've met The Help. My guess is that he really likes granola, tye-die, and Birkenstock sandals. There is nothing wrong with this of course, (I have many friends who fit in this category,) except that it seems to me that as far as communication goes, the match might go a little like one between a Teletubby and HAL 9000.
Let's just contemplate the utility of that interaction for a moment, shall we?
Me, I have a foot in both worlds. I went to art school, so I'm used to tackling people and their requests to express my empathy for a chair, show my feelings about modern democracy using only cocktail cherries, and so on. As well, I take interest in mechanical things, logical things, and programmable things. What fascinates me is the place where these two worlds intersect. It does not melt my logic-circuits to have someone ask me to take a picture of my nervous energy. This is not the case for everyone however, and I have nothing but sympathy for that. I do wonder where The Teletubby is trying to take this and how helpful in the end it may be. We are suspicious of the Teletubby and of how effective it's methods may be, HAL and I.
Sadly, my experience and practice in dealing with odd requests is of incredibly limited use, I cannot seem to assist the HAL unit, other than to tell him to try to roll with it, not worry about 'being wrong', and to not be afraid to question The Teletubby. That, and to tell him that if The Teletubby offers him any space-cake or asks him to chain himself to a whale or do interpretive dance, I'll completely understand and support his inclination to say "I'm sorry, Teletubby. I'm afraid I can't do that." and "this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye."
So we're kind of wait-and-see, but beginning to wonder if a switch in helpers mightn't jive a little better for our life-aspirations, maaan.
That is of course, if we still have any. Though I'm trying to treat my other-half in a way that is less directly exposing, something tells me that this attempt, with the 3 indirect-direct (no name, just relationship as a label) mentions in this post (one factual, one complimentary, and one referencing the fact that he is trying) are too many... as are any allusions, even ones that try to obscure the matter into being even less directly traceable (back to ahem, someone,) through the use of fictional computers, Birkenstocks and Teletubbies (shall we call the Teletubby Laa-Laa, just to bury things further?) We'll see. There needs to be a balance we can find between my frankness and the other's support for positively Orwellian measures. I'm trying... does it show or am I still committing horrible thoughtcrimes?
There is of course another stellar body/physical phenomenon that can be applied.
In the meantime, while I'm figuring out which gravitational phenomenon it is, I'll say that for you handful who've been around awhile, the missing photos are an extension of my attempt at respectful compromise, they got sucked in. All that remains of them is Hawking radiation.
Of course it's true that we all do. In North America we let a large rodent decide whether or not Spring is coming earlier or later. This, despite all of our weather scientists, meteorological models, and so on.
Here in Belgium however, I am learning a whole new set of bizarre rituals.
Tonight we ate potée aux choux. This, on this particular day, so there will be no infestations of flies in the coming summer.
What did I do yesterday? Well, to start, I got up at 3am. I thought it was insomnia, or perhaps it was a little bit of worry since boyfriend was out drinking with an old friend, who just happens to drink like a fish, and be a little bit (ok, more than a little bit) crazy. But, perhaps I have just a bit of a psychic link to my people in Canada. Many of them were, at that very same time, spending their Friday night watching the Olympic opening ceremonies.
Naturally, I went online to see what was going on in the world. If it weren't for facebook, I wouldn't have realized that my fortuitous wakeup-time allowed me to watch this as it was happening back home. Upon seeing this, what did I do? Like any good Canadian living on Belgian time & soil, I went to the fridge, cracked open a beer, and sat down to take it in. :)
I'll say before going further that I, and many other Canadians have issues with these Olympics in Vancouver. I'm glad these issues are getting press at home too, and even a bit of international media attention. Did you know that the city has suffered severely due to the financial crisis dropping funding out from the games? The people in Vancouver should be warmly thought of even if they aren't smiling right now because they've paid hundreds of millions more than they were told they'd have to, and this has resulted in cuts in educational funding, healthcare jobs, other aspects of city infrastructure thanks to that. You won't mind if they find it a little harder to welcome the world than they originally thought they would when they voted to make a bid for the olympics.
Thoughts on the ceremony:
-I would like a pair of Azerbaijan pants for my winter-sport doings. Sadly I cannot find a picture. If I can I'll post it. ***EDIT: A-hah!
-Stephen Harper (The current Prime Minister of Canada) caught on camera struggling to unbutton his suit jacket while waving to the Canadian team as they entered the Stadium. Who did you think was coming, smart guy? The host-country team always enters last. Not prepared to greet your own country in the style you'd prefer? *sigh* Oh Stephen, you are SUCH a dissapointment. And yes, either way (jacket open or closed,) we will see your belly bulging over your belt.
-Countries: Ghana? Ethiopia? Mexico? Really? You have winter olympians? How awesome is that? Clearly this trend got started when the Jamaican bobsled team took a shot at things in Calgary. Or I'd like to think so.
-Very happy to see the opening ceremony involved all first nations clans, incorporated the traditional native welcome right from the get-go, and did not try (at all) to continue pushing the idea that the inukshuk (an inuit symbol being used in the logo for these games) is actually a good representation of Vancouver or the native peoples of the area. This is a start at better recognition of our native peoples. Now if only we could do a little more about the fact that we stole their land, abused their children in the residential school system, and continue to do not a hell of a lot to help improve the horrible socio-economic mess that colonialism in Canada has placed them in.
-The Canadian beat-poet Shane Koyczan 'defining Canada' with a slightly pared down version of his poem "We are more". Beautiful.
-Really? We had singers like Nelly Furtado and Bryan Adams lip-synching? How lame. Bryan seemed particularly bad at it since he normally performs live. Nelly seems very good at it. Quelle surprise.
We will not speak of the technical glitch in lighting the olympic flame. How very embarrassed Wayne Gretsky looked. I knew something was up, but really... it is the OLYMPIC FLAME. That hydraulic system should have been tested a zillion times. That's all I'm saying. That, and atheletes need to learn how to keep better poker-faces. Erm, I mean, "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."
Well will you look at that... I've been sent a blogging award by Efrutik!
I'm terribly bad at knowing what to say when people do something nice like this, so I'll just say I'm a little humbled and certainly grateful, and I guess that kind of goes along with the task that accompanies this gift, since the beautiful things in life are certainly things to be grateful for. I must list 7 beautiful things around me (literally or figuratively speaking.) So here goes:
7 beautiful things (according to Jessica.)
Being alive. Anyone who doesn't think that the experience of being alive is a beautiful one needs to get off their couch and live a little harder! There is a board-game called "Life" and while I think the game is terribly narrow-minded, I do think life is a little like a game, or an obstacle course that you 'play at' yourself. Being alive is absolutely your own little project of trying to find what is amazing in your existence. It's true that sometimes it's very difficult, and sometimes it's gut-wrenchingly sad, but the more effort you put into it, to grow, to hone your attention, and to see what's possible, the more it opens up worlds of possibility to you. What a cool thing!
Honesty. I don't know exactly how to explain this, but I'll say this: Honesty isn't always easy, but is entirely worth it. Life becomes simpler when the matter isn't about what to say, but only how to say it tactfully. Life is more enjoyable when you know that those around you are telling you what they really think, not what they think you want to hear. When we are honest with each other and ourselves, we actually come to know each other and ourselves. It is easier to trust, and to respect a person who is honest, even if sometimes they tell you something that isn't pleasant to hear. Honesty, when delivered with tact, is a gift.
Kindness. Of strangers and friends. Kindness is the effort we don't need to make, but want to. Kindness is something given that expects nothing returned. I am always pleasantly surprised by the goodness in other people, and by who extends kindness to others, and in what situations. Though technically one could say kindness is a donation, and therefore a loss, I think we all gain, rather than lose when we are more open to giving or accepting kindness.
Food (& drink.) So many possibilities for expression; colours, textures, tastes. A way that cultures capture and dialogue about what is beautiful and nourishing about the lands they are from or have passed through. It is a sensory expression of history, culture, and geography. This intimate message is sent from the person preparing, the the person eating, all without a word needing to be said between them. Food is a language and an ever evolving dialogue. It is an elaborate worldly pleasure that has been developed by people all over, and it has gone so far beyond the basic and primitive need of refueling, and that's pretty darn special.
The internet. I think it's awesome how much is available to us thanks to the internet. There is a wealth of information, varying viewpoints, discussion, and insights. It connects people with other people and ideas, with education. It gives substantial access to those who may otherwise have been in very limited situations. What a beautiful new(ish) media we have to use.
Time. Getting older is really a fascinating experience (though yeah, sometimes it's one that calls for pain killers!) The fact that we DO have to make decisions IN the moment and then take responsibility for them/deal with the repercussions forever after. We don't often get do-overs in life, which makes time a lovely tightrope to walk on. Not to mention, I find it terribly cool how time is relative. For a tree, your life is but a few breaths. For a fruit-fly, your life is an eternity.
Isn't she adorable? Here she is chilling in Toronto with her 'dad'. She is the most beautifully tempered and well behaved animal I've had the pleasure to be around. There isn't even a slightly mean bone in her body. She is love, and loves love, and to top it off is terribly, luxuriously soft. Like a bunny :) . I've missed her very much this past year, and I can't wait to see her again!
Now, speaking of beautiful things, I'd like to recommend Tea Party Crasher. She is all about beautiful things and I'm hoping she'll accept the award and list "7 beautiful things" according to her.
So, this whole someone coming across my blog as a result of google searching my name got me thinking. I'm pissed off with google, since the only place my name appears is in my PERSONAL information used to create my google account. That information is private, or is supposed to be.
If anyone knows what I might do about this, please let me know. Google help is very unhelpful in this matter. Either this or I totally flubbed and put my last name somewhere I shouldn't have. ...I haven't actually mentioned my last name anywhere that you've noticed, have I? EDIT: I don't think I have, I just checked.
While I can take responsibility for my own words, I realized as well that this is absolutely Karma's way of making me realize the discomfort boyfriend feels about having some of his personal matters 'exposed' on the interwebs. Fortunately the visit from the search of my name was very brief and it appears that the person who inputted my name as a google search was looking for another Jessica *********. But, I realized that if someone had been looking for me by name, and found this... well, it could be someone I worked with, and having been a manager of many, I didn't really like the idea of Joe Q employee having such an easy route-of-access to my gut-spilling. People who don't know me and who are objective, or people I know and trust, that's cool, but the people in between, that's dicey.
I can deal with exposing myself, and even if someone I used to manage, or an ex, or even a current colleague did find this, ok... but they should at least have to dig a little harder than googling my first name and last to find it! I realized that at the very least I needed to give boyfriend a little more anonymity and respect his privacy concerns a little more, because while it's my choice how much of myself I spill, I haven't been giving him much say in the matter. Not to mention, he is making the effort to try and address my concerns a little more seriously.
So, while I'm all for brutal honesty and openness, I will be revising certain parts of my blog to give a little more respect to his concerns. I mean, I'm fine walking around in translucent clothing myself, but realizing that I and my loved ones could be "naked-on-demand" to people I know/have known who, for whatever bizarre reason may be googling me, well, that was less enjoyable. A bit chilling, actually.
But now dinner, and beer. Lots of beer. It's been a hella-strange day and because of that there is lots more to tell, but I will leave this for later. Beer must dull the edge first.
Any tech-nerds or people with tech-nerd friends... know how I can make my blog NOT get hits as a result of a search using my first + last name? I'd love to know.
Someone did a google-search for my name (first and last), and actually got this blog.
Which is funny, because I'm pretty sure my last name doesn't appear anywhere in this blog... and there has to be a million other Jessicas who ought to be getting more google hits than this here blog for whatever it is they've done.
Will have to sort this out after work. Will feel mildly naked until then.
It's not that I'm not willing to be accountable for what I've written... I just don't like the idea of being •that• easy to find.
Do you know that poem "A red, red rose?" You know it, or at least the beginning: "My love is like a red, red rose,"
This flitted across my mind as I sat in a tiny waiting room last night, while Boyfriend, upstairs, was involved in consultation with a professional.
What does my love compare to?
My love is definitely big. Perhaps it's an elephant? A majestic creature with a deep and beautiful soul we haven't quite figured out how to care for, let alone how to make real and lasting space in our lives for. The elephant is always in the room, waiting for more than just temporary accommodation. I think sometimes we forget to feed it, water it, take it for a walk. Hell, neither of us is even terribly good with green plants, so thank god it's been patient with us.
Maybe it's some sort of large machine that neither Boyfriend or I have figured out all the controls for. The kind of device where one person has to push the pedals while the other person steers. We are so uncoordinated sometimes. Every once and awhile we get an idea of what a great machine we have though, when in the midst of pushing buttons and arguing about who gets to do what, we get the machine to take a graceful leap forward.
We have compared our love to a house before. We are still working out the foundation in the drawings, I think. But you know, it's a bit of an elaborate structure we have in mind, given that it will span two continents, and I don't think we've found the ideal terrain yet, and there are still things in the plans that could be made more to our satisfaction. But I'm happy that neither of us thinks it's worth investing in a poorly constructed house, just for the sake of having one.
Whatever I could compare our love to, the fact is that it's bigger than either of us and our easily bruised egos. It is broader than our separate narrow visions, and it holds more weight than either of us, even when we're throwing ours around. It has a momentum of it's own, and the older it gets, the more there is beauty evident to us in it's evolution. Even when we deviate from each other, swirling around in our issues, it's gravity always pulls us back close to each other in the end; the gravity of this thing, this love, which keeps evolving, quite organically, of it's own accord.
The horde and my sluggish internet connection has usurped any energy I had remaining.
I have tried to think of something brief yet worthwhile to post today. Yet again I have parts of other 'complete' posts that I could offer (which I don't want to,) or something terribly hollow.
I don't have the time to upload pictures today, and it's time to sleep so I can go back and face the horde tomorrow. I will need my energy tomorrow. I will be waving goodbye to them. I'm sure they'll eat extra, just to tide them over for the voyage home. Bastards.
What to do when you are supposed to make an entry every day in a situation like this?
Me, I choose to present my excuse as dialogue, and leave it at that.
We've just arrived home, and I cannot believe how SLOOWWWWLY my internet is running. I am so very non-enthused at the idea of uploading pictures with my connection crawling along at snail's pace as it is.
So for now, I will be brief, and then try to sort out a proper post while decompressing from dealing with the horde tomorrow.
Why Amsterdam?- I've never been there, and figured I should see it. It seems pretty. It's only a 2.5 hour drive from here.
Really...no drugs or red light district visit? - As for the drugs and prostitutes thing, whatever. If I really wanted drugs I could go to Maastricht which is a 20 minute drive, and we have window-prostitutes in Liège, so not exactly new thrills. We did walk through the red-light district however, since it's also China-town, and we wanted asian food for lunch today. (FYI - "Tasty Asia" on Amstelstraat gets two thumbs up.
Good Hotel? - We were pretty pleased. We stayed at Hotel V, a nice little boutique design-hotel which is about one kilometer away from the centre. For Amsterdam, very good pricing too, including a varied and nicely put together breakfast. Would not hesitate to stay there again.
Buy anything? - A lovely pair of earrings. And a crazy fuzzy earflap hat I have given a ridiculous name. Because I don't need drugs to be ridiculous. ^_^
I promise you, I really can draw. I will make you a better drawing in the future, more than a simple psychedelic banana scrawled onto a post-it square using a fat sharpie pen. I did go to art school, after all. Given that I was fairly exhausted after dealing with the horde, and that as a result 'making dinner' consisted of our waiting in line at Quick (think McDonalds, but much slower service,) you should just be glad I stuck to the bargain.
I suppose you don't have to be glad, you can be outraged if you like. Boyfriend found the whole thing amusing though, because along with banana came drawings of 'vacant monkey' and other silliness. But I'm a little shy, so I just flashed you the banana. If you would like other drawings, I'm open to suggestions. Either comment, or email me at my shiny new blog-email address sitting over there on the sidebar. Actually since I'm not yet sure how to get it on the sidebar (I bet you it's not there right now... give me time,) I'll just tell you for now that it's firstname.lastname@example.org. Yes, that's ymail.com and not a typo. Y? Because I already have a gmail address I use for other things, and because maybe you're a little shy and don't want everyone seeing what you have to say in the comments, and because email feedback and suggestions can be fun. Plus, I have future plans where I may be needing this email address *rubs hands* Good things I tell you. *narrows eyes* Good things lurk on the horizon. *tents fingers.*
(That may sound a little omninous, but just think daisies and glorious sunrises, and... fluffy kittens. There. That's more the feeling I was going for. Unless you have allergies in which case, think of uh, a completely sterile but pleasantly coloured room. Yes.)
Back to last night. I watched a documentary about how almost all of the world's down jackets, duvets and pillows are made using feathers removed from living geese and ducks, as in someone just picks the goose up and proceeds to rip all it's feathers off, neck to tail, save the wings. Poor guys get the full body waxing treatment every 6-8 weeks, and after about 3-5 times, head for the chopping block. It's a largely uncontrolled industry, so even though there are regulations in place in the EU saying down should only be collected from dead birds, it is sooooo not the case. I felt a little conflicted as I laid my head on my recently purchased down pillow for my night's sleep after learning about that.
Today I had to do something that may (or really may not) be of interest, or at least practicality. Many people I've worked with in kitchens haven't known about this little trick, and it's a secret worth sharing: how to show a little TLC to a gunked up stainless steel pot.
So, I rightly messed up one of my pots the other day. At one point I let the temperature get a little too high and I was definitely negligent with other aspects of technique (because hey, I was at home and probably reading or something when I should have been paying attention... And because my stove here in the alcove of doom does NOT provide that most lovely and immediately responsive heat of gas *sniffle*, being that it is a vitroceramic stove *sob*.)
Right, so my pot looked like crap after. Even after a go in warm soapy water with a pot scrubber, it looked like this:
Here is what you do to fix this ugliness: Take some oil, some salt, and some baking soda. Plop those into the dry pot like so:
Smush and smear the mixture around using your hand. Yes, your hand. Incidentally I hear this method is also good for the skin. Don't look at my skin, it's a bad example. You may need to use a little "elbow grease" if your pot is rightly messed up. Focus on using the clumps of oily-salt and the pressure of your fingers above them to scrub the stained areas.
When you are bored of this or you feel the job is done, rinse in warm water. Thennnn, using salt and lemon or lime juice, follow the same instructions as above.
If your pot is being a little more stubborn, or you have a perfectionist streak and want your pot to look like it's sterile and polished, olive oil and baking soda only (smaller grains = extra polish) for a last go.
Realize in the process that you have unidentified liquid staining your shirt. Swear like a sailor because you like this shirt, while wondering if the stain is oil or water. Ask yourself if you should treat the stain immediately? Wait to see if it dries and is only water? Strip in a panic and throw the shirt in the washer? Make yourself a cup of coffee to calm down while you wait and think about it? Realize that coffee will probably not calm you down? Consider adding alcohol to the coffee because you have chocolate flavoured rum in the house and it may help counteract the caffeine (while being delicious)? Realize that's not a good idea considering it's only 10am? Do none of these and start writing this blog entry?
(I did the last one.)
Realize after several minutes of blogging (and evaporation) that the stains are only water (phew). Back to the pot. Wash and dry as normal. Tadaaaaa. Better. Not perfect but what can I say, I ran out of elbow grease, and I care less about the bottom of the pot than the cooking surface. Future efforts, of course, will improve the situation. This technique also works with cloudy residues left by things like rice, oatmeal and so on, fyi. I know, fascinating stuff I'm offering you so far, in the name of nablopomo.
Now, It's 3:30 in the afternoon, (I did mention that I become easily distracted, right? Yeah...I wandered off, a lot, before getting to this point in the post,) and I still have to choose and book a hotel, pack and figure out where we'll park the car should we head out on our flight of whimsy city-trip tomorrow. That, and make dinner. Where might we be going (if I get my act together)? Let's just say the psychedelic banana served as inspiration...
I got nothing, er, not much. But I'm taking a stab at nablopomo, so here goes:
Do you know what was my last thought before sleeping last night?
This guy. Teddy Ruxpin. A (kind of creepy) talking bear toy that popped up in the mid-late 80's. Every time he'd "wake up" he'd say something like "come dream with me toniiiiight."
In fact he was probably designed to give yuppie parents a break from having to read stories to their kids. You'd just pop a cassette in his back, press play and do up his vest again, and away his little eyes and mouth would go, as he came to life and told a story. My little brother had one. I never liked Teddy Ruxpin. How many of these bears do you think future societies might find in landfill?
As for why Teddy made an appearance in my pre-sleep thoughts last night?
I have no idea.
During the night I dreamt that ... oh wait, crap, now it's fuzzy. Wait, that wasn't meant to be like "bear fuzzy." This isn't working out very well, this entry now, is it? New subject?
Uhhh. (It's 5:15am... my brain is slow.) *sips coffee desperately willing brain to function* Maybe later? Anyways, I have to go and deal with the horde shortly. Perhaps a day with them will inspire me... If not I'll draw you a picture to make up for it.
Boyfriend is angry about my blogging of personal things to do with our problems. He would prefer I had spoken with him about personal things. I tell him I've tried, and that he hasn't heard me. I *wish* that I could share these things with the person who is closest to me (him,) but since the listening and understanding thing isn't working so well right now between us, these things go here, to what has become more recently a sad little outlet. My "little pretty virtual life" as he calls it. :(
Boyfriend doesn't get blogging, and resents it. Does not like my typing things about him to the whooole internets. I have tried to explain that for me like many, blogging is sometimes cheap entertainment, and sometimes cheap therapy, which beats costly kinds of stressed out or crazy any day. I have also mentioned that the whole internet is likely about 3 people as far as this blog goes. I've mentioned the fact that writing a journal is one of the best self-help methods you can use to work through troubles, according to many psychologists tying this into my explanation of one of the many reasons why I blog. I cannot keep myself bottled up, and as I haven't made a bevy of French friends here to feebly try and talk to about these things. Even if I had, would I want to burden them with my woes? Hell, I feel guilty knowing that some of you may not have clicked away after the 'old people fighting for meds' picture and are walking along with me through these darker posts. Grateful, but guilty as well. At any rate, there are many good reasons for me to blog, including that it helps me to sort myself out.
I am accused of spending my day online, of having little human contact. This is not true, and though I'm definitely not proud of how much time I spend online some days, but I know for a FACT that my internet consumption isn't actually huge (which means I'm not ashamed of it either.) Boyfriend doesn't like the interwebs. He is mildly old-fashioned and finds them creepy. He works with computers for a living, but does not own his own personal computer (!) He watches TV, not much, but more than me. I prefer to read the news online than to watch it on TV, I do my banking online, keep in touch with friends back home, research all manner of things I find interesting online, and, well, I happen to like the internet and think it's a pretty crazily fabulous tool. Entire nations agree with me (Finland has made access to internet a human right!) So I use it enough. Mind you, I do not have a blackberry, and do not use twitter. I would have to admit I may have a problem should I begin tweeting. I judge not you tweeters and crackberry users out there... I just haven't found a good enough reason to personally justify my being *that* connected. The internet is not an escape, but it is certainly a support for me, and more so since I'm here, a wobbly-kneed baby expat, feeling stumbly, less secure, and trying to find my footing in all manner of things.
Anyhoo, ironically, (since he says he wants to know what I'm thinking, and I say he doesn't pay attention/listen,) when he decided to pop in on my blog, he didn't even read the entire post and missed out on the parts where I explain why he is so dear to me, and why this whole situation causes me anguish.
On the subject of where we are, we don't want to lose each other, but it seems that each suspects it may be easier for both of us as individuals in the end. Boy doesn't believe a professional can help with his nervousness, and seems to think I believe a professional is actually a superbeing who will magically make my boyfriend into someone else. I don't want someone else, and I certainly don't believe a professional is a superbeing. I just want someone who is a little more aware of what they are doing/saying/hearing, and believe that sometimes a trained professional can help us do the work we need to do to arrive at a desired point with a little more efficacy than we could were we feeling around in the dark, grasping for a solution on our own.
I tell boyfriend he hasn't even tried to see about getting help, and I can see that for his own internal reasons, he doesn't want to. Boyfriend says he thinks I want him to go see someone so that I can feel superior... like it's *him* who has the problem. Boyfriend doesn't in fact, think he has a problem, he tells me. I tell him it's a problem because it's causing a problem with his personal relationships. Meanwhile I WISH I could afford a professional to talk to right now. I freely ADMIT that I have problems at the moment, and that the support a professional could offer me would be for my benefit. My GOD, it should be PART of the REQUIRED package of becoming an expat, that you HAVE TO do at least, like, a quarterly visit with a shrink who can make sure you're at LEAST dealing with your day to day and adjusting ok. I am not proud of how I'm dealing with day to day right now. Rum was part of how I dealt with yesterday.
After spending much of the day lying in bed, trying not to be swallowed by a black pool of truly terrifying thinking, I realized that I am weaker each time this happens. I have less strength to be composed, to try and remain rational. I realized this because I haven't had to deal with the black pool for quite some time. It's a morbid and damaging place, that dark pool of thought, and I'd prefer it kept away. Also I realized yesterday that under intense mental pressure, I suffer from vertigo. Half of yesterday was spent very uncomfortably dizzy. My body is just no good under pressure, it freaks out whenever bad things are happening in my mental spheres. I become more panicked and more nervous each time I sense a nervous irrational argument on our horizon, and less and less able to deal with the aftermath. In a word or two: I'm falling apart, my reserves of self esteem are failing, I can't do this, or deal with this by myself. I'm just not that strong. Realizing this makes me feel corralled into accepting that if I stay here, with this continuing the way it is now, I'll only be hurting myself.
In the interests of my own sanity (the black pool of horrid thinking is a *very* scary thing,) I put it out there. I admit my weakening state to boyfriend and say that this is not something I can deal with forever, or even for a lot longer. I think it has to be said because I realize that to many people in my life, I seem much stronger than I actually am. I point out that we have talked about this before, that I have been clear in saying this is a situation that needs to get better because it hurts me. And now, the seeming lack of change (or perhaps it's so slow I can't really see it) is obviously wearing me down. I say I need the support of hope in order to try and stay strong while we work on this, I need to see something getting better. I have nothing supporting me right now other than myself, and I see that support weakening in this situation, because there is no hope for me to hold onto if boyfriend thinks he can fix this on his own, because even if he could, it's not going to happen fast enough for me to be able stick around to see it.
Finally I say that if my ability to support my own health and sanity seems much more threatened than it already is (I am under strain, already, and visitation by the black pool of dispairing thought yesterday is enough to terrify the crap out of me) then I will have to remove myself from a situation that is more than I can bear. I need to see change, and time is running out for me. I have already been waiting, and boyfriend has decided to do nothing during that time while I waited, and wilted. I say that I am considering not returning from our visit to Canada if I feel that nothing is happening for the better, and that perhaps a period of distance between us while he works on his issues and I on mine might be best. I am terribly sad to have to say this. Even worse, boyfriend thinks it's an ultimatum. But it's the truth. I know my limits, and I feel myself reaching them. Trying to hold onto hope and patience in a strange place while nothing about this problem has really changed for the better has taken a significant toll on me. And I know that I will *certainly* need a professional if it comes to that, because I will be so broken and such a mental mess should the day arrive where I leave a man whom other than this, I find so very wonderful.
And that's how it is with my problems.
EDIT*** Evidently I'm not the only one in Belgium with problems. The Bulletin informs us today that Belgians are among the highest users of sedative pills. In related news, I am now accepting surplus Xanax donations.
Have you ever been given something, but not realized that in fact it wasn't given to you... that it was a "loan?" which would at some point need to be "paid back" in the future? This happens too often here. There is a history. Boyfriend will do something, or offer to pay for dinner, whatever. I'll ask him if HE'S SURE ABOUT THAT (remember... there is a history,) and he'll say yes. Touched by what seems to be a gesture of generosity I'll cautiously accept.
And then, true to the ancient pattern, (history, wow, it repeats itself!) I'll hear at some point in the future on a day where boyfriend is feeling nervous, about how he does all kinds of WONDERFUL things for me and how ungrateful I am. How I'm act like a spoiled child, and don't do anything in return, and so on, and so on. It got pretty verbally ugly this morning, people. The f-word got involved. There were pure insults, which in my mind brings us down to the level of just fighting, not even arguing. This is a level I loathe to arrive at. I do not want to be in a relationship where this kind of thing happens. I recall that before the whole thing took a swan-dive over the edge this morning, I said I didn't feel like having a nervous conversation at 7am as I was waking up... but on it went, right. over. the. edge, and off to crazytown.
This, in itself, is a whole other can of worms... the getting nervous and taking it out on others thing. He was supposed to be seeing someone to help him learn to deal with his nervous energy... except he's been "meaning to call them" for like, the past 5 months? Priorities here become more obvious as time goes on, I'd say. Boyfriend has hours and hours extra to give to work for free on the weekends, but picking up the phone for a few minutes during the week to book an appointment with a professional who may be able to help him deal with his anger issues, potentially helping to salvage a relationship before it implodes due to the intolerable nature of these outbursts? Second priority, it seems.
Hell, I suppose if improving this problem were really a concern to him, he could have even used a few of those hours donated on the weekend to his employer to read a little self-help material instead... but I don't think that's happened either.
Anyways, according to how things shook down this morning, it's me who has a problem, and I can leave if I want. Oh yeah, and it's also my fault, apparently.
I don't even know how to explain the kind of pain and internal conflict I'm feeling as a result of this morning, this thing that ever so slowly, just keeps building on itself. I know that each time this sort of thing happens, it hurts me more and more, because the more I see it, the more it looks like something that is just a pattern, that shows no signs of going away, no signs of changing. I am utterly unequipped to deal with it, which I suppose logically would mean I should be considering not dealing with it anymore. And if Boyfriends efforts to contact the professional who could help him, or even to try and be a little more attentive to the problem in general are any indication... he doesn't want to deal with it either.
What's sad is that there is so much good, and wonderful heart, and delight attached to this person I love, who just happens to have this unfortunate f-ing-creepy-little-nervous-accountant-tumor. And I know now that in the end, it's the accountant or me who'll have to go.
Today's fight got rolling along because I didn't want to share a box of oatmeal. Which he bought. Which makes it his. Isn't me NOT eating his oatmeal more generous in fact, than me EATING his oatmeal? If I were to eat his oatmeal... wouldn't that make me the kind of person I'm accused of being right now, which is a "taker"?
Moving along, according to the creepy-accountant, I was fine to take HIS beer the other night (this was in fact beer that he had said he would pay for & that I did not have to pay for which we both knew we would be drinking later on a visit to his sister.)
Let me remind you before we go any further that I am in a place I would never choose to be in were I solo. I am here bearing that place and all the stupid games it plays with my sense of self and esteem out of love for someone who has a crazy (and very biased) accountant living in their head. I am the one who makes dinner most frequently. I am the one who does most of the housecleaning, and more of the grocery shopping. I often assist crazy-accountant-in-the-head-person by moving his dirty laundry along through the washer and dryer. I don't like ironing shirts, and I sometimes even iron his while I'm ironing the ones I wear to work. I pay for my groceries, my travel, my cosmetics, my clothes. I pay for everything I need or want, and I NEVER EVER ask boyfriend to pay for something for me, because I'm just fine paying my own way. When it comes to shared groceries, more often than not, I'm eating about 4 tenths, and crazy-accountant-in-the-head-person eats about 6 tenths, though I always pay for half. Ditto for consumption of non-food items in the house (he is mildly wasteful.) I'm *happy* to pay my own way because it's simple and responsible and there is nooo risk of someone feeling taken advantage of. But, when I'm offered something, and I check that the person is SURE they want to give it to me and they say yes... one would think it would be safe to accept right? HAHA! I should really learn my lesson on this one! One must always check first for any signs of a malignant crazy-accountant-tumor lurking within the giver.
The fact is we've had a fight over oatmeal and beer. How very very lame. Clearly the larger issue isn't being addressed correctly, and I'm not sure that it ever will be. If I have a problem sharing with my partner sometimes, it's because I am mildly territorial about certain things, but much more-so because I know there is a creepy little accountant that works away in that head of his, only accepting CERTAIN currencies of gesture or purchase to do the books. The books are fixed, and in this way it will always look as though I am the taker to him.
History. Repeats. Itself.
People. Rarely. Change.
These are two lessons I think I need to learn. I am, at this point, a hair's width from giving up on all that is great and wonderful with him, because when this happens this is just as equally terrible, and while feeling nice is nice, feeling terrible is well... to be avoided. And feeling terrible in a situation where you are already away from all other familiar comforts of home results in a very special, very alone kind of sorrow. Loved ones should not repeatedly make eachother feel terrible, because that is not what exemplifies the act of "being loving".
In the meantime, while I try to figure out if I've got any try left in me, I've decided to stop taking *anything*. Even if it is offered, it obviously can't be trusted.
In fact, it's a whole other issue, but not accepting things offered (again part of the 'history') has lead in the past to crazy-accountant-in-the-head-person feeling shunned or something. Like I don't want what they have to give or whatever. This may even have been the very illogical starting point with the whole "no I don't want to share your oatmeal with you" this morning. Maybe the accountant has rage that there is no currency to use for leverage later, I don't know. But I've gotten sick of it before, and said that I don't want to share anything because of this "problem". Love, and groceries CAN be mutually exclusive. It's nicer when they aren't, but really if there seems to be a problem stemming from a BOX OF FRIKKIN OATMEAL, it seems to me that the love should stay, and the sharing of groceries should be put on hold.
Which is where we are at at 7:30 on this most lovely of mornings.