Friday, December 18, 2009

Days of September (part 5)

Here are the last pictures of the pages of my 'September Journal' that I made following an online class at Everyday we were sent a prompt to think about and to record it with photographs and text.
After the first two prompts or so, I just noted down what happened that day, or captured a moment and made a page about it. I used to be such a good student when I went to school, but nowadays I might be the teacher's nightmare. Always going astray. And often getting lost. Well, the latter did not happen in this project.

This page is about the day Yoga classes started again. It seems so simple: breathe in, breathe out. Move slowly and concentrate.
Concentrate. Don't think about other things. Forget about the ToDo list. Better still, don't think at all. And that is hard. My brain does not like to be shut up. It loves to wonder off. And off. Again. It is December now and I think I am able to learn this. Give me another year or two!

We hate traffic jams, hubby and I. They are just plain boring. And annoying. So we kind of make it a sport to avoid them and use the smaller country roads to get back home. Hubby has a thing with ferries. And he knows most of them on the Rhine, Lek and Maas river. So here in land which is divided by many rivers, the solution is to use a small ferry instead a large bridge on the highway.
And as a bonus you get to step out of the car for a minute or two and enjoy the fresh air!

This is a page about just a horrible day. There is not much to tell about it. These kind of days are the days you just want to avoid. Way too stressfull. Too bad you can't avoid these awful days, they are just as much part of life as the happy ones!

Another way of relaxation for me is sewing by hand. Doing a bit of patchwork, or in this month, making a quilt. The soft texture of the cloth, the movement of the needle putting it all together. There is something magical about it. Or maybe it is not magical, but so simple, easy and relaxing. After all these years I am still trying to figure this out!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Yesterday the temperature dropped below zero (Celsius) and the cyclamen and winter pansies dropped their colourful heads.
This morning we woke up in a true Winter Wonder land with snow everywhere! And it doesn't even melt. Can you believe that? Melting snow is what we normally have here in the Netherlands.

So I went outside, cleaned out the bird feeding houses - the birds had quite some trouble getting to the feed, man they are sometimes fighting to get some seeds - and took some snapshots of objects covered in snow.

And the blue bistroset in front of the house (don't you love that splash of colour in winter?) seems to be totally out of place!

The garden, which is normally a big mess, looks even beautiful today! Snow covers all the flaws. And the mess... You've got to love snow!
Unless you have a perfectly manicured garden maybe?

The christmas tree is still outside and covered in snow as well. I was planning to take it inside and start looking for the boxes with the lights and ornaments. But I think I will delay the decoration for another while. No decoration can match that snow on its branches. Way too beautiful!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Days of September (part 4)

More pictures of the little journal that I made during September. First I tried following the prompts of, but life caught up and I decided to forget the prompts and make a page about my days.
Let's start with one of my addictions: book stores and art material stores.
I admit it - I am addicted to these stores. And when I enter, all my common sense is left by the door.

I truly need that marker, or that colour paint is exactly what I am looking for. And does one ever has enough paper? Of course not!
Books? You need books cause they make you smarter, isn't that so? And if it turn out to be a boring one, I can always alter it anyway...

Dyeing fabric yourself is a fun process: you can never predict the outcome of the results. I like that. Well, at least sometimes: not knowing where you are going. Untill I am lost, but that is a different story.
Back to the fabrics!
Patience was what I really needed when I started rinsing the fabric. You have to rinse it untill the water runs clear. Several times, after hours of rinsing, I thought the pieces of fabric were ready. But by laying them aside, they started to loose more dye. Arrrggghhh.

The Lesson I learned? I like dyeing the fabric - just not the rinsing... I don't have that kind of patience.

This day a small miracle happened. Nothing that changed the world though, but something ordinary turned this normal day into a great day. My mother said my name out loud.
I know, most mothers talk to their daughters. But this was special.
Very special.
Two weeks after the major CVA which left her even more handicapped than before, my mother knew who I was. Not just a stranger next to her bed, but her daughter.
When she said it, I realised that saying that one word meant the world to me.

Driving around in the Netherlands can sometimes be a great and boring adventure. In September lots of roadwork was going on and we sneaked to Breda using smaller roads and thinking we were so smart to duck the traffic jams.
We managed to escape two major traffic jams but in the end we drove into other (smaller though) traffic jams. It was a hot day and I was frustrated. I did not want to spend the whole day in the car.
I got a bit irritated. Especially when we were so close to the end point and drove right in another one. I looked in the rear window and saw Ashley enjoying the ride and being relaxed as one (dog) can be.
Sigh, sometimes I wish I was a dog.

I think this page needs no explanation. Under pressure: these two words say it all.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Days of September (part 3)

As promised, more pictures of the little art journal that I made about my life in September. This page was about the spiders that I scared away (in other words plainly killed) when cleaning the shutters outside. I know, spiders do a good job by catching all kind of insects. But I needed to do my job too!

I don't know why I was so upset when someone said that I was a chaotic. Maybe because I do my best to organise and structure life in my family. So for this page I rescued some of my ToDo lists from the waste basket and tacked them messy on this page. As proof that I am not? Convincing myself? Anyway, every time I see that page I have to smile!

Painting class started again in September and I was eager to get some serious painting done. But starting up again after a long summer was not that easy. I started with a painting of flowers, then changed my mind, covered it in gesso and started on a bird in the sky. And changed my mind again... And to this day the painting is still not finished! :D

I enjoyed the warm and glowing days of September so much that I did not notice the changing colours untill I went out with Ashley, our dog, to one of our favorite places! Time really flies.

I captured Coco in a crazy, lazy position on the couch. She was not feeling well and I took her to the vet (miauwing all the way down there). One shot of antibiotics was needed, because Coco does not do pills!
I have tried several times before getting her to take tablets: wrapped in liver, grounded and wrapped in ham. But whatever trick I try, it always ends with me being scratched by a very determined cat to spit out tablets as soon as possible. So now instead of getting scratched by her every day, the lady gets one (expensive) shot of the vet... Well, at least I don't get caught in her nails!
Special cat food should prevent more trouble...

On this day a telephone call that seemed so unreal. My mother had a cerebrovascular accident: a severe haemorrhage in the brain. I was told that she was blind according to the doctor and her blood pressure over the top. It seemed impossible to get well and we prepared for the worse.
But against all odds she did survive! Later that day she reacted on my hands in front of her face - her (poor) sight came back. And the next day she could take her medication again because the 'swallow reflex' came back. She did not recover fully and I feel like I am loosing her bit by bit.
On this day I learned that letting go was harder than I ever thought.