Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer in the city

Isn’t it amazing what a haircut and a bit of sunny weather can do? Throw in some new Tommy Hilfiger shorts* (size 26, whoopee!), and a new bottle of the best smelling Rituals body lotion at a ridiculous discount, and N has all the ingredients to feel happy.
Also helping: great students in my morning group at school ( one of them an INSEAD partner of J ’05!), mom out of hospital, and the sweetest cleaning lady on earth who has ironed all of P’s shirts.
Yep, summer’s in the city – and in my head. Let’s see how long it will last (both of them).

* : no! That's not me! Just a random pic I took in the park - and right at the moment I pressed the button, the girl took off her shorts!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Girly Gym : update

Time to give you an update on the Girly Gym.
It’s so girly.
Example 1: they organize an open-door, and of course this cannot be done without a theme. So the theme is “Bretagne”. And that’s why, every day this week, I can work out, and dig into a pile of pancakes afterwards.
Example 2: five big flatscreens – no sport channels, but every imaginable daily soap (oh, and MTV)
Example 3: Dove shower gels.
Example 4: no competition going on. Except for the best smelling body lotion in the changing rooms.
Example 5: 30 girls going completely wild, dancing and singing, during some class called BodyJam
Example 6: yoga-class with music from City Owls and candles
I love it. But right now, I do need a bit of testosterone after all this girly business. So, if you’ll excuse me, Spain is playing against Portugal, and I don’t want to miss one more minute of it!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Third year in a row

That my dad spends his birthday in a hospital room with my mom.
23 June 2008 : mom in hospital for chemo
23 June 2009 : mom in hospital for surgery
23 June 2010 : mom in hospital because of bad reaction to chemo + infection
It seems that the beginning of summer is not such a happy time for our little family.
Today, for the first time in months, I also had the opportunity to hear what her doctor has to say. In other words: the real facts, instead of the embellished version I always get to hear through my mom or dad. The cancer is very aggressive. The chances of completely curing it are very small. We just have to find the right chemo that keeps it under control, and that doesn’t make her life too miserable. Right.
In the meantime, hair is falling out rapidly – and the disease is making itself very visible again. 6 kilo’s less in one week, probably completely bald by next week.
Why, why, why, why, why? I know: it’s useless to ask that question. But, damn it, it’s so unfair. I have a friend who will spend part of the summer in Spain. She’s pregnant, and she’s going to relax there in the beautiful summer house her parents have bought to enjoy the rest of their lives there. My parents will spend their summer in Belgium, with regular visits to the hospital – and I think that my child (if I ever have one) might never get to know his or her grandmother.
All the “focus on the positive” sounds like such empty “blah-blah” right now. Yes, I know, there are always people who are worse off. Yes, even the smallest chance is worth fighting for. Yes, my mom is still here – she’s not dead yet. And all that is supposed to make me feel better? Well…no. It doesn’t.
Tomorrow she can go home again. No hospital for one week. Normal food. Only one nurse, twice a day. Her own bed. The cats. Seeing how happy all that makes her, that makes me feel a bit better.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What's smurfing?

Hello everybody! Just to let you know that my “writing tools” have changed! That’s right, I have a new laptop. A gift from my daddy (sweet, isn’t it?). Office 2010 still confuses me, and I haven’t discovered yet what’s so awesome about Windows 7; fifty percent of my pictures seem to have disappeared, and I desperately want all my “favorites” back in place when I go online – but all in all, I’m happy! The fact that the new laptop is smurf-blue doesn’t play a small part in this. Also, I found the perfect compromise between my everlasting doubt between a 15 or a 13 inch screen : a 14 inch! When I ask P what he thinks about my new laptop, the answer I get is “it’s blue” – so as for its quality, I’m afraid I can’t say a lot. The reviews online are ok, and it does everything I ask it to do.
Of course, being N, I also miss my old laptop – even if it drove me crazy. But it was my very first one. I started this blog on it. It was the first and only computer I had in my first apartment. It went to Fonty with me. I found my new job on it. I started PC-banking on it. That’s why, as for now, the old laptop is still “in the house”. That heavy, big, boring grey, super slow thing holds so many memories, and (also important) …. ALL of my pictures.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

After the anger

Something happens when you try to control your emotions for days and days. When you don’t try to feel the pain, because it’s just too big. When you don’t try to feel anything in fact, just because you have to keep on going. When you don’t want to feel the anger that’s starting to boil up inside again, because it’s all so damn unfair. And when you feel very, very alone.
What happens is that, sooner or later, you’ll explode.
I wish I could just break down and cry – that would be so mush easier. People understand sadness. People comfort you. They say “here here”, and give you a Kleenex and a cup of tea. But when you feel really angry, people just look at you as if you’re a freak. As if you’ve done something wrong. So on top of all the shitty feelings you already have, you can feel guilty for being angry as well. Because no matter how you twist and turn it : when you’re angry, you do and say things you’ll regret.
So here I am. Angry. Angry because for more than two years, my life is being overshadowed by that illness of my mom. Angry because I don’t know how much longer this will last. Angry because I feel so useless. Because I’m so damned alone, because it’s just me. Angry because I’m fed up of being surrounded by shiny happy people, who’s life is revolving around new life and future – instead of around sickness. Angry because I’m taking care of everybody, but no one’s taking care of me.
At my parents’, I’m the strong one. I have to. I look after my dad (who’s at the end of his wits), I look after my mom (who’s both emotionally and physically exhausted). I tell my dad to eat, I bring him croissants in the morning. I keep a happy face, even when I have to wear mouth masks and god knows what else if I want to see my mom.
And then when I come home, I have to take care of myself. And that’s where it all goes wrong. I can’t anymore. I need someone who takes me out for a walk, who puts me under a hot shower, who feeds me, and who puts me in front of a happy movie, wrapped in a blanket, who tells me that yes, indeed, my life is shit at the moment, and they understand how I feel.
Tonight, instead of all the above, I ended up at Mc Donalds with my favourite six-year old. Whose happy face and kisses were as good as a blanket. Afterwards, his mom spoiled me with tea, popcorn, and icecream. And girly movies. I didn’t have to ask for any of it. She just did. She took care. Of me.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The girly gym

Some people find male sweat arousing. I’m not one of them. Especially not when the smell of about 20 different men hits you at the same time. Don’t worry, I haven’t tried group sex. I’m talking about my regular (mostly male) gym. My gym without airco, or any other ventilation system. My gym that was slowly, but steadily undermining my motivation to work out (just imagine standing on a tread mill in 24°C, with “I love tons of garlic” on your left, and “no time for morning shower” on your right)
So today, I went to check out the “girly gym”. The gym where no men are allowed. The gym that has airco, a sauna, a hammam, private showers with fancy bath products, hairdryers, and tons of group courses (from Yoga to Zumba). And of course, the gym that will cost me three times more than my old one. But: I think that I’m allowed some luxury at the moment. As of tomorrow, it’s GIRLPOWER :-) !

To end, I'll give you P's reaction:
P : So this gym is full of chickies !!!??
N : Well, yes - that's the point. It's a "Ladies Only".
P : Can I join???
N : ...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The sparkle

If you’ve seen Sex and the City 2, you probably already know what I’m talking about. Carry is scared that she and Mr Big are loosing *the sparkle* in their relationship – especially when Big has declared watching TV on the couch the ultimate romantic experience, and has bought a big flatscreen as an anniversary gift (and not the hoped piece of jewellery).
Somehow (as with all the SATC episodes) all this felt alarmingly familiar. If C and I had nudged each other every time we recognised ourselves during those 120 minutes, we would have walked out with each a blue arm.
Anyhow, *the sparkle*. In an attempt to make my own marriage a bit more glittery and shiny, I invited P today on a real date. We would meet in one of our favourite little restaurants in town, where we used to go a lot when we were still really dating. After work, I even put on some more lipstick and perfume. I was waiting, and there came P. Dead tired from work, hardly able to smile; checking his last mails on his blackberry. We compared our calendars to see when we could go to Amsterdam for a weekend to see some friends. We ate our meal in less than 30 minutes. P went back to work. I came home. No, I’m not exactly swept off my feet.
Candle light dinners (even surprise barbeques!), a new haircut, an entire wardrobe of new lingerie, a little present, miniskirts (yes, I’ve gone that far!), the highest heels in my lifetime, and now a real date.....God knows I’ve tried the past few months. But whatever I do, the new Blackberry and its games always seem to win from me. Solitaire beats pink (and even black) lace. Maybe I should buy bunny ears as my next move, just to emphasize that “the hunt” is never really over – regardless of any piece of jewellery on my hand.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Everybody who’s running is either a) running away from something or b) running towards something. Yes, even if you’re standing on the boring thread mill in the gym, going nowhere. Just admit it.
Speaking for myself, I cannot deny it. Running is escaping.
The first time I ran more than 10 km in less than an hour was on my 30th birthday. I had the feeling that I had achieved nothing, absolutely nothing in my life of those things I wanted to achieve, so I thought: well if I run until I drop today, at least I’ve done that. After an hour, I sat sweating and crying in the changing rooms.
When P decided to do an MBA, again I ran – a lot. If you count all the kilometres, I must’ve run all the way to Fonty and back (and probably more).
Last year, when I lost my job, I felt so relieved, that I effortlessly ran with a smile on my face. Off course, being at home, I also had all the time of the world to run. It felt like I was running towards a new life.
Now, running is again fleeing – at high speed. From a list of things.
So you see: the best is if I don’t run. Because that means I’m perfectly happy with where I am – even if it is with a few kilo’s extra.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

5 minute-break

Mom is finally asleep. The last four days have been hell. My dad is exhausted. He has carried her around the house, up and down the stairs, he has washed, fed, dressed her; and yesterday he drove around to get medical help simply because he didn’t know what to do anymore. The nurse is coming again tonight, thank god.
In the mean time, dad is getting a bit of time off, working in the garden, while I keep an eye on her. Throwing up, sweating, cold shivers, fainting, pain, …it hasn’t stopped. Until now; she’s asleep.
She rests, I rest.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The point

I’m sorry – I just haven’t got any inspiration whatsoever. The last few weeks have been...”full”, for lack of any better word. Then finally, two weeks ago: a wonderful long weekend in London. Finally at peace with everything, finally just happy again. It didn’t last long. I got smacked in the face again. Bad news after mom’s scan, and again we’re facing months of chemo, and maybe surgery. I’ve gone from angry, to sad, to numb, to just very very tired.
I can’t help but wondering: is this really what “life” is all about? Is this what every body faces? Battle after battle? Then what the hell is the point of it all?