Monday, 24 May 2010

Important People !

After having practically begged for some 'followers' I decided it is not me, but a whole other group of people who should get praise and thanks for all they've done and for all they mean to me !!

About 4 years ago, I entered the world of single-hood...scared to death and helplessly wounded I found myself doing everything alone for the first time in 17 years. It was horrid and so very painful. I used to walk/drive around with a 'pain' in my stomach that would just never leave or subside...I felt extremely dismantled and somewhat like an entire body mass had been removed from me, yet I still seemed to be experiencing 'ghost pains'. I remember the weekends, sometimes driving around with the kids to visit my parents, I'd encounter cars full of 'complete' families (of course that is all you see, when you feel 'incomplete' yourself)...and I'd get that awful nasty feeling in the pit of my stomach all over again. Always feeling the odd one out, always feeling alone, always wondering why, always asking myself for how long. I think this lasted for nearly 3 years and then all of a sudden I noticed that I no longer felt lonely and sorry for myself, but independent, happy and free.

In those 3 years, I cried full rivers, felt the heartache literally disable me physically at times yet at each worst moment, someone was there. Always a friend. Always a smile, and a hug.....words of care and wisdom....friendship in it's purest form. To this day, it has amazed me what compassion and empathy people can give you when you need it most. I got letters from people I hardly knew, telling me how sorry they were and how unexpected it all was to them. Words of encouragement and praise for (seemingly) handling 'it' all so well and with dignity. Each and every time I was touched, yet felt the need to explain that I was not blameless in it all, I too had my part, and I too did my share of damage....there is never just one side to blame when two parties are involved.

I received books, cards, emails, visits, invitations to dinners, lunches, coffees, anything....and my children were loved and cuddled and listened to by all of these hero friends. At times it was hard to hear them say some of the things they said, for it was not always what I wanted to hear, but I tried my best to listen, to grow, and to evolve from the 'lost' person I had become. I learnt to have my own opinion again, to laugh again, to enjoy all the littlest things, I even did some things I never expected I could do. (Once I found a dead dove on the balcony and I had to pick it up to discard it, it took all my courage to do so. Death seemed an ongoing theme, for I found a dead squirrel, two dead doves, dead mice, and even a dead cat in those days. One day even a live bat in my bathroom !! All of which I must say, I survived, often with a bit of help lots of laughter and sometimes tears, joined by my heroic helpful friends).

It seems a miracle that I did. Each day was a huge task to get up, and keep going. Each day, I was grateful to have 3 wonderful children, and loving friends and family. Yet each day I wanted to try it alone. I never was alone. There was always a guardian soul somewhere. At times I even wondered how it was possible that so many people could care so much, and do so much, just for me....

Each and every person in a different way, yet still so touching and so effective. Never growing tired of  'being there' for me, for us. Never.

Even now, finding myself perfectly capable of living and enjoying life to the fullest again, there is always a person hiding round the corner, surprising me with affection, kindness, and most importantly unconditional friendship. THANK YOU. Thank you for having been there, for being here and for showing me that no matter what, you will always be there.

(You all know who you are....and I love you to bits, my most important people !!!)

Saturday, 22 May 2010


It has begaffled me (sounds nicer than baffled, even though it's non-existent-as-far-as-I-know) that there is an option 'followers' on this blog system. That means that if someone is actively a reader of your blog, they have the possibility to 'enroll' as a 'follower'. I find this fascinating. I, myself am a curious 'follower' of a few blogs and must say that it always surprises me to see how popular others are, just judging from the amount of 'followers' they have !

So....since I have exactly ONE follower, and a lovely one at that, I am feeling a little left out of the 'in-crowd'. I'm hoping it's not a reflection on my writing skills or crazy story-telling-talent. ;-)

I'm thinking that probably...some readers would rather stay anonymous. You see, just because I bare MY soul, it doesn't mean others will do the same and join. Everyone is different, I know, but I have often wondered if life wouldn't be easier if we would just open up ourselves a little more to others and not be so afraid of getting 'trampled'. However hurtful that could turn out to be....
It broadens our emotional scope you see, you become more vulnerable, yes...but in return, your heart and soul open up and kindness and empathy start seeping out. The world seems happier, and life much easier....well, until or unless you are confronted with the brutes around us. Those who live by their own rules and no one else's...taking only their own feelings and wishes into account ....thinking themselves better than others just because.

I have encountered those a few times I'm afraid to say. Those who do not care what maelstrom is caused by their actions or words. The type that bulldozer themselves through life, leaving trails of devastation, yet not once looking back to see the damage, and on the rare occassion that they DO look back, it will never occur to them that they mlight have had anything to do with it.

Nothing wrong with trying to educate some sense and sensibility into them, trying only to find a balance which suits us all. Is that possible ?!

Can we all just be a little kinder and more loving ?! Instead of so judgemental and opinionated ....I wonder...

Oops, side tracked ....

Back to 'followers' point being....if you enjoy reading this 'stuff' and feel no shame to admit to it...please feel free to start filling up my 'followers' box that looks so utterly lonely and pathetic with just the one devoted friend follower !!

I, on my side promise to keep you entertained and up to date on the latest of life's happenings...all twists and turns, the good and the bad, the funny and the sad....

Next topic is ..... 'complicated'...;-)

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Men in Trees

Men in Trees happens to be one of my favourite shows on tv. I have the feeling it's not a very popular series, probably due to the late broadcasting hour.

I love it though.

It's about a relationship guru who moves to Alaska after a very humiliating break up in New York. She finds herself in a tiny town for her book promotion and decides to stay and learn more about men, as she realises there is a 10  to 1 men to women ratio there. It touches on  fashion, relationships, family bonds, and life's usual dilema's...Marin, the writer always knows the right things to say, she seems to 'feel' what path to take, yet she too sometimes wonders if she's on the right track.

Love is complicated. It doesn't seem so when you're in your 20's but as life is lived, and love is learnt, you realise it's not an easy venture. I have come to understand that being who I am today, and carrying with me all my treasures and spices that I aquired in the past decennia, makes me extremely un-everything in the present available-men-market.
It has become clear that men who are around my own age and have no children, run from me as fast as they can. Those a bit older without children, usually have some sort of psychological reason why they do not, yet have kids. Most of these men have worked long and hard, and have given their career priority for years, hoping that there would still be enough time at some point to have a family. (This is of course possible due to all the willing young ladies, who fall for the charms of an older man...;-)) Single men, with kids, I have not yet dated, as they seem far too happy to finally be 'free' again ...!!

A man whom I had only had email contact with, and had met via online dating, reacted very keenly to me. He seemed lovely, caring, and very interested. The fact that I have children was no problem to him but a wonderful gift. He wanted to do anything and everything for me. Having found out who my favorite singer was, he would have gotten me tickets to the concert in NY if he could have (they were sold out...). One of my favourite TV show's is Top Gear and it was going to be filmed in Holland in January of this year, and he was allready planning to get us tickets. He wanted to send me chocolates and gifts, but something in me kept holding off the boat.

He was too generous, too nice, too kind, too accepting, too willing and too desperate.

Apparently that was not good enough for me...actually, it scared the hell living daylights out of me. So I stopped all contact with him.
I chose the guy who didn't have time for me, who was always too busy to get together, who had told me he didn't want a woman with children and that he could not offer me any kind of serious commitment or relationship. I was smitten.

Yes, I was nuts too. But I didn't see that at the time. I just enjoyed the few and short times we planned our dates. Thinking of course he would fall head over heals in love with me as time passed and he got to know me better. Nope, none of that happened. The dates became fewer, the phonecalls stopped, all contact was lost....a few times it seemed that it was rescusitable...fresh new air was blown into a tiny linger of hope...only to make it's point even more clearly. It was over. No chance of survival. Dead.

That left me with again huge questions and no answers about relationships. Just like Marin in Men in Trees, I've tried to figure out how it 'works'....but there does not seem to be a guide for these type of life's challenges. You just need to live them, love them and survive them.

I have removed the 'please use or abuse me' sign off my forehead, and hope that the new sign  'Treasure me and my spices' will attract a better crowd ! ;-)

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Spring Cleaning

Apparently it brings order to the mind to do a bit of spring cleaning once in a while. Having spent three weeks in Bahrain, feeling like the Queen of Sheba, I decided upon return to my own castle that it was time for some serious cleaning and clearing.

I had the will, but no idea where to start, you see, once you begin re-organizing stuff around, it looks and feels like an atomic bomb just hit the insides of your house. Everything has lost it's place and awaits a new spot with great anticipation. Every item is strictly judged and it is decided whether it earns a place in the great fort or if it gets an honourable spot in a grey bag, destined for the garbage container. Every useless item hit me with amazement as to why I had kept hoarding all this insignificant junk. Years of accumulation and impulsive shopping spree's are the culprit of this mess, I'm afraid. Why we humans feel the need to collect and keep so much is a riddle to me.

I decided to be ruthless.

Everytime I ploughed through a room of chaos and disorder and slowly but surely reorganized it, I felt a little bit of uncluttering in my cerebral space too. Funny how that works. It's a load off your schoulders. A breath of fresh air. A move in the right direction. In short, ORDER.

Like a puzzle which at first seems juggled and mixed up, slowly but surely structure appears and it becomes apparent what the (big ) picture is. So, as I created order, room by room, I slowly uncluttered my mind of all the useless mess it was stuffed with. It became clear to me that I was going about things the wrong way. Not only was I now taking care of my household, but I was also letting go of many emotions that had gotten stuck or just stowed away. What a relief and what a sense of 'clarity' appeared.

Just like you realize that some old stuff is just really never going to be used ever again, you realize that letting go and moving on isn't scary but a wonderful enlightment !!

So my castle is now nearly spic and span, at least until the next spring cleaning frenzy ! ;-)

Monday, 3 May 2010

Slightly Mad

You know you're going slightly mad when you lie in bed, tossing and turning, unable to sleep because only thoughts of what you'd like to write about next keep bulleting through your mind yet you know the clock says 1:35am. You should actually be asleep by now, as the morning is always there a lot sooner than expected. Yet here I sit, laptop on my lap (I guess that's where you should have it, according to what they named the thing...) and typing away...

Tonight was a night to remember.

A few months ago, I had a birthday party of a friend who's crossed the bridge into his forties. It was a disco party and we were all dressed up accordingly. After a few good drinks a group of us sat in the kitchen and a great idea was born ...we were going to celebrate Queensday (a very very Dutch festivity, held anually to commemorate the birthday of the Queen - in actual fact it is Queen Juliana's birthday we still celebrate and not the present Queen's). The celebrations were to take place at our local bar/pub and I was in charge of promoting it within the local Dutch community here in our town. It was a wonderful idea.

As April neared, I had not heard much about the whole initiative anymore, so I assumed the plan was far too ludicrous to introduce to our local bunch of friends.
But, whilst 'stranded' in Bahrain, and having only the computer as my link home, it became apparent that the party would most certainly be held ! So, it was all set in motion, invitations made and sent per electronic-cyber-space-links and pages, dress code, and the place to be were promoted...

Let's get this party started ....!!!

I dressed up in an orange T shirt and jeans, and wore my trademark Living la Vida Loca - orange view sunglasses ! When I got there I could see that some people had really made an effort and it inmediately put me into party-mode ! It was a lovely warm spring evening and it was still great weather to enjoy the terrace, so we did. Until we were literaly blown into the party.
So many people turned up, it was unbelievable, most of them wearing something orange, although I can't blame the non-Dutch people as they decided orange was too outrageous a colour to wear....Afterall you have to feel great in your skin to be mad enough to wear orange right ? Well I did, and so did many others, and it brought about exactly what it's supposed spirit !!!

And I guess that's what the Dutch are good at....Team Spirit...we have great hockey players, football players, and the whole country seems to follow them around in clouds of orange. We are proud of our fellow country men whenever they achieve the seemingly impossible. We are a tiny country that thinks in huge terms...and, even if  I say so myself....we are Grand at it !!!

So....back to the clock, that has now ticked way past 3am...this barking mad Dutch woman is off to get some beauty sleep.... !!!