I’m not going to fool myself that many people read this blog, but I hope that if there are people who read it, maybe those people might know of someone who is looking to adopt a pet, and if that’s the case then I have the most perfect dog for you.
Zazie is a one year old German Shepherd mix from Belgium. Recently, her owners- friends of mine- have been put in the unfortunate situation of having to find a new home for Zazie. This is one of those rare and unexpected events, and if there were any way that they could keep Zazie they would, but unfortunately they can’t. It’s really breaking their hearts. I can’t bear the thought of having to give up either of my own dogs, so I can only imagine what they are going through.
So, I offered to throw this blog up there in the hopes of maybe finding a family who would like to adopt her. Hopefully there is someone out there who wants the companionship of a lovely dog that they will welcome into their home like a member of their own family. Not someone who will leave her outside, use her as a guard dog, or neglect her.
She is a sweet dog, very smart and people-oriented. She gets along well with children and even cats. Her owners have gotten pretty far with training her, but she is just a year old so she still has that puppy enthusiasm about her.
So please, if you know of anyone looking for a family pet, can you maybe send them this link and ask them to get in touch with me? Then I can put them in touch with Zazie’s owners and they can take things from there. Anywhere in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, etc- really nowhere is too far to find her a loving home!
I often think like that in terms of my financial state.
I say to myself, “Self, This Is Why You’re Broke”:
Berlin, Germany (November)
Cliffs of Moher, Co Clare, Ireland (January)
Prague, Czech Republic (September)
London, England (September)
Glasgow, Scotland (July)
This is Why You're Drunk ...oh wait sorry- wrong blog post.
Basically what I’m saying is that I have no one but myself to blame for this wretched state of (financial) affairs I’ve been in this year. I wish I could boo and hiss at the recession, but really it’s my own damn fault. I get a chunk of change in my pocket and immediately start thinking of how far I can get with it.
Can you tell it’s nearly payday???
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Four Years Ago Today I was lamenting the fact that I can’t dance anymore. Case in point: the other week when Alexandra and I went to the Passion Pit concert, we started dancing to the DJ afterwards. I looked up and saw a girl pointing and laughing at us. (In fairness, we do dance like spastics.)
Excuse me while I stream of conscious all over you for a minute. It’s just past 3 am and I’ve been trying to sleep for hours because I had to be up- sorry HAVE to be up- at 6 am this morning. After 5 hours of trying every trick in my insomnia book (those sheep ain’t countin’ themselves you know), I just thought I’d better cut my losses and give up on the sleep thing for tonight.
This wasn’t an easy decision to come to; Amanda without sleep is like a zombie without brains. I just know I’ll stagger around all day bleary-eyed and moaning (maybe not “BRRRAAAIIINNNSSS” but more like “CCCOOOFFFFFEEEEEEE”), but what can you do. If I had gotten to sleep for just 3 hours, it would be more like a tease than anything. Like, the tiniest taste of what wonderful sleep you could have if you had just fallen asleep FIVE HOURS AGO. Like, here’s one lick instead of a whole blow job- thanks for stopping by!
After 3 hours sleep I’d wake up still tired, so why not blog instead?
3 am is a perfect time to let the crazy out!
Which brings me to the point of this blog post. Yes, there is a point. Surprisingly.
Are you living? Do you live? Do you feel? I mean really, really feel? Have you explored all the emotions that your body is capable of….um….emoting?
I’ve been giving this some thought lately. I’ve had the misfortunate fortune of experiencing some unsettling emotions of late, and also the fantastic experience of having some of those really good conversations with friends that get the mind-wheels turning. And this is the conclusion that I’ve come to.
(am coming to)
(don’t worry I’ll get there eventually)
There are a lot of locked doors within the human psyche. I have a strong feeling, although I hope this isn’t the case, that many people can sail through their lives without ever opening most of these doors. Which is fine and all, if that’s your thing. To play it safe. To make happiness your one goal. To tread lightly and not step on toes.
Having had one of these doors of mine unceremoniously opened for me, and living through the shitstorm that followed, has opened my eyes. I had emotions that I never knew I was capable of having. I drowned in these emotions, came up choking for air, and sank again. And again.
And now that black period for me is, for the most part, past. As all things eventually do.
On the other end of the spectrum, because this isn’t just about sadness, I have experienced exhilirating times of soaring emotions. Extreme happiness so that I thought my heart wouldn’t be able to take it. Happiness that made me cry, made my throat close and my heart thump. Sometimes this happiness happened during the above mentioned times of extreme sadness, to make things extra confusing.
There have also been times of absolutely shit-stinking, mind-numbing boredom so that I’ve wanted to grab my ears and pull them off the sides of my head. Wanted to scream, smash a window, kick a door in. Anything to rid the tedium, anything to entertain me from the exhausting work of being bored beyond belief.
I have spoken with friends who have been deep, deep into depressions, and some into psychosis, and some into their own personal versions of hell, I’m sure everyone has at least one. All of which fascinates me. These are all doors that they have opened that many of us never will.
So, the point I am trying to get to (long-winded as though it may be) is…..are you feeling? Have you explored every corner of that pandora’s box of emotions hiding away within you? Have you ever been so low that you gave up, threw in the towel, and just had to fucking laugh at the idiocy of everything and everyone because there is literally nothing else to do? Have you screamed? Really, truly screamed until your neck muscles bulge and your face turns red? Have you had your heart torn out and stamped upon? Have you laughed so much you felt sick to your stomach? Have you loved more people than you should at the same time, and let those emotions fuck with your daily routine? Have you lost it, in any way that you can “lose it”? Have you ever been so shit scared that you feel that flash of cold over your entire body all at once? Have you (like me) ever wanted to pull your own ears off just because?
I am gaining a new respect for those people who have climbed to the highest heights of happiness that they can reach, or dove to the lowest depths of whatever version of hell they may have been to, and are still alive. Can still laugh about it. Those who raise a little hell, or cause a little ruckus, all because it’s more fun and more funny than sitting quietly and obeying the rules.
Because right now I can’t see that there is very much more to life than what’s inside us, waiting to be unleashed (if only we let it). We are born with this veritable treasure trove of emotions, and when we die, can we really say we’ve experienced them all?
I think most people spend their whole lives avoiding certain emotions, scared that these things will ever surface in their lives. They work to keep these doors closed at all times, the keys hidden far away where no one can find them.
I say bring it on. Bring it all on. Open all of the fucking doors. I can take it. I want it. I don’t want to tread lightly. I want to stomp.
Tomorrow I’m off for the week to Germany, somewhat of a last-minute trip to cram in before my new contract officially starts at the hotel.
The plan is to drive on over and up and stop in Hamburg, Berlin, Dresden and Leipzig. Other than that, there is no plan. No specific route, no hotels booked, no sights on the to-do list*. Just an open road and a general idea on some good old-fashion sightseeing and maybe some history learning while I’m at it.
I’ve been to Germany loads of times, first as a backpacker when I came to Europe before I lived here, and then as an occasional weekend visitor when I lived in Brussels. When my mother moved to Spangdahlem I had more reason to visit, but I would only go to see her, not really to see Germany the country.
I don’t remember ever really seeing Germany, if that makes any sense. (Although I confess that that could very well be my way of walking around with my head in the clouds all the time.)
It’s been awhile since I went to Germany, the last time I think was in 2004 when I graduated from university and my graduation ceremony was held in Heidelberg. For being my neighboring country for the past 9 years (first in Belgium and now here in the Netherlands) I haven’t really given Germany much thought.
So this time I’m going to see what I’ve been missing. I’m going to do Germany like I’ve never done Germany before, as if it were my first time, with my eyes w-i-d-e open.
Wish me luck and have a great week everyone!
*OK that’s not entirely true. I marked pretty much every vegan place of interest that Melisser of The Urban Housewife recommended in Berlin. Did you know that there are vegan cupcakes in Berlin? WELL DID YOU?! I have a feeling this trip is going to make me fat. …Fat and extremely happy.
When I was hitchhiking back to Brussels from the south of France, a French man named Dominique picked me up. At the time my French was still at the baby-stage (and has since returned to the baby-stage, I might add) so I was having trouble explaining to him just what exactly an American girl with no money was doing on the side of a highway in France in the rain.
It was just one of those frustrating times when language acts as a barrier to conveying slightly more complex ideas than “Hello how are you I am fine thank you I like potatoes goodbye“.
His English was as bad as my French, but he asked me to write down what I was trying to say and he would get his wife to translate it for him later, as her English was better.
In case your French is a little rusty, ‘wife’ is femme, which is also ‘woman’. So he kept saying “My woman” instead of “my wife” and because of his accent it came out sounding more like “my oooman“.
Which was just tickling me on the inside, although I didn’t laugh out loud. I loved it; it was so basic and crass. So neanderthal to call one’s wife My Woman and even better when it came out sounding like My Oooman.
And it is something that has stuck with me for these past 8 years. Instead of saying ‘wife’ or ‘woman’, sometimes I’ll just say OOOMAN, only I make it sound more like a caveman than Dominique did.
Which brings me to the point: I put on funny accents all day. Sometimes French, sometimes Indian, sometimes Jersey, sometimes Japanese, sometimes Boston, sometimes Dutch, sometimes Eastern European. I’m crap at it, but that’s kind of what’s so funny.
At least….it cracks me up.
But now that there is a French person living in the flat, I kind of have to keep myself in check now. At least with putting on a fake and overdone French accent. And there’s nothing like having to NOT do something to make your brain automatically DO that very thing.
And so ai find myself talking in zee franch accent all day long. Ai cannot halp eet, eet juss ‘appens. Ai cannot make eet stop, and so mon dieu ai sink ai might be in trobull.
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It seems I don’t blog much in the month of November, but when I do, as I did three years ago today, I blog about trying to stop ‘cussing’ and drinking so much. Look at me, ma! Three years on and still no closer to either of those gold medals!
The Hotel has taken me back like the bastard step-child* who keeps trying to run away (this is the 3rd time that they’ve taken me back). So I’m there fulltime as of the beginning of December. They asked that I at least commit to 6 months there and then we can see if we’re a good fit. Sounds fair to me! It’s a lovely place to work, and all of the people are fantastic, so I know it’s going to be a good 6 months (maybe, hopefully, possibly more?).
(*I can say that because I am a step-child. Several times over in fact. It’s not as bad as some might think. Who needs one father WHEN YOU CAN HAVE THREE?)
Also The Good:
The Passion Pit concert that was delayed waaaaaay back in June was rescheduled for this past Wednesday at Paradiso. I went with Ms Trouble Herself, Alexandra. Because this concert was originally scheduled for the day I returned from Glasgow, and because all during my trip I listened mostly to Passion Pit, it was a great reminder of that trip and what good it had done for my heart and soul. More on the concert in another post.
Also The Good:
I spent yesterday meeting newfriends and drinking hot beverages by roaring fireplaces with alreadyfriends. And in between that I even worked a little bit! And it all gave me such a warm fuzzy feeling, and made me realize where the balance of life should lay.
Life should be a very small percentage of working for the paycheck, and a very large, overwhelming percentage of cultivating these friendships that give me so much energy and happiness. DO YOU HEAR THAT POTENTIAL FUTURE EMPLOYERS? I’d much rather be hanging out with new and old friends than doing your dirty work! PUT THAT IN YOUR PIPE AND SMOKE IT.
The Post-Apocolypic Hangover from the concert. YOWZA. Nothing like a 24 hour hangover to set your priorities straight again.
Also? 29 years old is WAAAAYY too old to stand next to the speaker. Please speak into my right ear only.
Not-so-skinny boys in skinny jeans. Big thighs, tiny ankles.
I won’t even explain that here, because you know. YOU KNOW.
Well I totally forgot to mention two things about that trip.
This is all I brought with me, everything in this photo (plus I swear I had pants on too, although you can’t see them).
This was a major feat for me, and a very freeing exercise in travelling lightly. No extra pair of shoes (just my kickass boots), no outfit for “what if” scenarios (“What if it’s colder than I realize? Maybe a sweater.” “What if it’s rainy? Maybe extra socks.” etc), just exactly the amount of clothes and toiletries that I needed for the trip. And my laptop.
How funny is the name of this pub?
I had to take a photo. Call me a tourist, I don't even care. Worth it.
I’m sure you’ve all probably heard this before, it’s not exactly new. But if I trip and fall under a tram tomorrow, I want the world to know that this is one of the sweetest songs my ears have ever heard.
Just for the record.
Love of mine
some day you will die
But I'll be close behind
I'll follow you into the dark
No blinding light
or tunnels to gates of white
Just our hands clasped so tight
the hint of a spark
If heaven and hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the no's on their vacancy signs
If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark
I’ve been a long-time fan of Etsy, but have never actually bought anything, just sort of “window-shopped” on the site and got inspired by all the lovely handmade things.
However tonight I stumbled across this amazing ring. It’s been awhile since I bought anything for myself (recession, shmecession! I don’t care! Let’s consider this my congratulatory gift to myself for scoring a new job!*), so I thought why not? and added it to the shopping basket.
It’s made from those recycled security envelopes that your bills come in! How clever!
And then while flipping through the seller’s other items, I saw the story of her cat, Quasi (also dubbed “The Ugly Kitty”). I have a particular fondness for things that are so ugly they’re cute, and Quasi fits that bill! Look:
Quasi: A Face Only a Mother Could Love
It turns out that the Etsy seller, Renee, is taking donations for the no-kill animal shelter from which she adopted Quasi. To think that this little sweetheart could have been euthanized had he found his way into almost any other shelter just because he doesn’t look like most cats is a sad close call! I love that she is using Etsy for such a great purpose, animals always being close to my heart, so of course I had to donate a little bit.
And then the kicker. This pin:
It's funny cuz it's true!
It turns out that Renee is also a Jersey Girl! This was too funny not to buy.
So there you have it. I wandered onto Etsy completely not intending to buy and instead made my first purchase. And here was me just a few days ago griping that I didn’t have enough dough for Halloween…
So anyway, Renee has just taken the Seat of Honor as The First Person that I Have Purchased Things From on Etsy. I think that may be too long for the little plaque on a trophy, though.
Thanks, Renee! And if you get a chance, check out her store. Lovely things!
I’ve been wrestling with this for quite awhile now, because it seems that my life is all about the safety nets, all about keeping all my doors open.
Just in case.
Plan B’s to cover my Plan A’s. Plan C’s in case the B’s fail.
I can’t decide if I’m being smart and cautious, or stubborn and wimpy.
There are a few particular doors I think I should slam shut. Safety nets that I should throw away. But those same doors and nets have allowed me to live this life that I have been living so far, so it’s a difficult decision to make and live with, to know that by getting rid of these things in my life I may never be able to come back to this particular way of living again. And this particular way of living gives me a lot of freedom, to be frank.
But I can also see that this way of living is keeping me in a holding pattern, neither moving forward nor falling back. Just circling merrily above, going round and round and round.
But maybe that’s just part of the growing process? We live, we learn, we move on, we grow?
2004, Somewhere between Mexico and Jamaica on the Atlantic Ocean: I’ve been on two cruises in my life. Once to the Bahamas when I was very young and it was a family vacation and I don’t remember too much. The other was with my then-boyfriend while we were on a trip Stateside. We took a week-long cruise through the Carribbean. It was nice and all, but I don’t think that I’ll be taking any more cruises in my lifetime. Just not my style.
At the time I had a generic mp3 player that held a maximum of 20 songs (I know! At the time I was amazed but now it’s like pffff. ONLY 20 songs?) Anyway I had chosen those 20 songs with great care, and I think maybe half of those songs were by Modest Mouse.
Now, I’m prone to motion sickness, so I had come on the cruise armed to the teeth with motion sickness medicine. Not so much for the cruise ship itself, but more for the small boats that we would be taking when we went scuba diving at each port of call.
One afternoon I was laying on the deck in the sunshine, eyes closed, feeling one too many pina coladas and this song came on my mp3 player. The laid back mellow sound of this song was particularly relaxing, and I was enjoying the feeling of floating on the deck as the large ship crested over the waves. The sun, the sound of the ocean, the music in my ears- it was all just sooooooo nice. I felt like it was just me alone, floating in the middle of the great big Atlantic, bobbing along to the sounds of Modest Mouse.
And then I realized the name of this song and had to laugh- “Dramamine“. The very same motion sickness medicine that I had packed for this trip.