Work in Progress

Maandelijks archief van december, 2016


This Christmas we were royalties. At least, that’s how it felt.



We were invited by Ramon’s brother and sister in law to celebrate Christmas in a fancy hotel in Roermond together with my mother in law.

I was glad the puppies decided to come early, so I could fully enjoy this wonderful gift. It was so elegant and stylish. It held a perfect balance between modern and classic with sometimes surprising deliciously tacky elements.



When we entered the room, we actually entered a house. The bathroom was just as big as our bedroom at home, holding a huge rain shower. There was a Christmas tree in the room that made the elegance of it all, finished with a touch of cosiness. I loved the colours and smooth touch of the different wallpapers that was used, and the rich heavy silk of the curtains, and the shutters against the windows. I loved how they cared for every little detail like the lights and hidden wires and well placed media-connection, the Nespresso machine, and the velvet bed runner with the golden embroidered monogram and tassels on each end.



Kuzco was home. The first thing he did when he entered the room was to wonder around, leaving his stuffed animal friend Jaap somewhere on the ground, completely absorbed by velvet runner where he could lay his royal butt upon.



We don’t call him our Little Prince for nothing, you know?

We had dinner like Kings and Queens. The second time this month. But this time a 5 course dinner by choice, accompanied with lots and lots of good wine. We talked and laughed, bringing up memories. It was a Christmas how it was intended to be. The five of us together, which the four of us would hold dear in our hearts and never forget. I surely won’t, that’s for sure.




We held each other’s hand, that was the only earthly thing I felt when we walked home. The rest was floating in the air, as if wings carried us home. We almost sounded like birds  twiddle-dee-doo-ing  while we spoke. So now we can speak bird apparently, because I could understand each word that was said. I was so tired, and so extremely excited, that all the things around me felt like a fairy-tale.



At three o’clock in the midnight, I received an app, that two puppies already decided to arrive 4 days early. I was like the Flash, jumping out of bed, putting my trousers, sweater, and shoes on at the same time. Didn’t even brush my hair, nor teeth. Utter waste of time. Ramon obviously locked his super speed behind lock and key, because it felt like aaaaaaaaa-ages when he was ready.

When we finally arrived…

The only way I can describe this whole experience, is ….




I could swear I saw tiny little fairy godmothers fluttering around Maya, and each time a puppy came out of her, fairy-dust was sprinkled over them, making them look like heaven-sent  puppy angels.



After Maya wanted to walk around a little after puppy number five, she jumped on the couch to snuggle next  to me. I was honoured she wanted to take a rest  besides  me, so I laid my hand on her belly and gently petted her, whispering how wonderful she was doing. When suddenly I felt strong contractions emerge. Before my mind could make sense of it, puppy number six was halfway out into this world. It all went so fast.

Thank God for the leather couch……

Marja helped Maya push through, and when the puppy was out of its sack, she guided Maya back into her nest, where she could give birth to the last three.



Seven girls, and two boys, of which seven red and two black. In only four hours, she gave birth to nine healthy puppies.

It was a magical, magical night…..




I am overwhelmed with emotion right now. If it wasn’t so dark because of nightfall, I probably would have gone to draw. I need to get it out of my system you see.



Marja texted me that she felt the puppies move in Maya her belly, ever since we got back from the vet for an X-ray to count how many puppies  to expect,  and I must come to feel as well. I was so stoked. I went this evening, when I would be alone with Marja and the doggies, without any disturbance, so I could sit with Maya, and gently rub her belly. I didn’t feel much at first, but when Marja took my hand and guided it to a specific spot on Maya her belly, I felt it. My breath stopped for a moment, and I could barely hold my tears down. It was amazing! There it was, underneath the palm of my hand….tiny little puppies already arguing with each other who wants to lie where and how. Rumbling and tumbling all over each other. At first I felt something as a bubble of air passing through the bowls, but then I could almost hold a tiny head in my hand. It was gone before it even hit me, and I lifted my hand immediately, afraid I might have done something to startle it. But it was me who was startled! But I couldn’t wait to touch her belly again to feel what I just felt before. And I did!



I have thanked Marja probably a thousand times, explaining how grateful I am for her to be so understanding and really sweet to give me a chance to experience this in a way as if I was to have a child of my own. Because it so very much feels like it. There have been many, many occasions where I could have experienced this  with humans amongst us whom have had babies, hell….. my sister is having one now who is even going to carry its second name after me…. But I always try to push it away from me as much as I can. It confronts  me too much with something I will never have, but my heart so very much aches  to want as well.

And even though I know this is a dog, (some might say just a dog…..) and there are 9 (!) puppies that will have to be sold….. there is one puppy in there that will be ours. A puppy from Kuzco, baring Kuzco’s genes. Kuzco, who after almost 10 years, have become my furry soulmate…my baby I will never have. But who will die sooner  than I will, most likely. That’s why I loved the very special gift we got from Kuzco’s groomer last Monday. A Christmas ornament containing Kuzco’s hair.



I can’t imagine a life without him, and I really don’t want to actually. He simply is my everything. Ramon often yokes  about my love being greater for Kuzco than for him, and if it comes down to a point of choosing, I would probably choose Kuzco over him. And he is probably right in a way, that I love them both as much. I think I’d rather kill myself than choose between the two of them. They both are truly my everything. So now there will be a little baby-puppy. One I have got the pleasure to get to know from the very first start. The mating dance between its parents, the actual conceiving, and the growing in its mommies belly. Soon there will be the birth, and the opening of its eyes, seeing his mommy for the first time instead of only smelling, and then seeing its human mommy….me.



Because there will be 9 puppies, there would probably be a need of helping Maya feed all of the puppies. Marja already bought powdered puppymilk to be prepared. It already contained a bottle, but she bought one extra  bottle so I could help her with feeding the puppies….. my puppy. I again was so overwhelmed with her kindness, and thoughtfulness. This is going to be our baby. Our second baby. But now we have the chance to experience it all the way.



And tonight I have felt you my lovely, and I can’t wait to meet you. My beautiful little baby-puppy from my beautiful little furry soulmate. I can’t wait to cuddle you together in my rocking chair, and see all the tiny little resembles  emerge that you inherit  from your daddy, and teaching  you all his mischiefs we rather don’t see, and his beautiful caring soul he contains. So there will be a new character with literally containing little pieces of my precious  Kuzco inside. I feel so blessed. Blessed for our puppy to come, but also for people as Marja who understands the pain of the inability of having children and reflecting  those mommy-feelings on a dog…… a very special dog.


Ramon received a gift early this year. A voucher to have an all-expenses paid dinner with four, at Tante Koosje in Loenen aan de Vecht, a well-known star-awarded restaurant.

We haven’t had the time yet to collect, until yesterday. We went with our friends  whom joined us at our holiday to Italy last June. We really didn’t know what to expect. But our evening couldn’t go wrong anymore, after I called the restaurant to ask if they would allow a dog to lie under our table. Without a single hesitation, they agreed, and would arrange a table for us where he wouldn’t be bothered or considered a nuisance. We booked a dog friendly hotel in the vicinity, and packed our bag.



I had never before been to Loenen aan de Vecht, and now that I’ve been, I am in love. My painters heart went crazy. All the houses I so loved to paint, when I still was a professional house painter. Old houses and manors, all still in perfect condition. And with all the Christmas wreaths hanging on the doors and fences, the warm light of Christmas trees coming from inside the houses, and the chill that made my nose drip, made me feel like we were walking in a Charles Dickens story.



When it was time to enter the restaurant, my feeling was made complete. The interior was so beautiful, so cosy and yet so elegantly rich. Again it was like we went back in time. I was already in love with this tiny town, but now I was head over heels.



This was truly an unique experience. Something  we would never have experienced, if it wasn’t given as a gift. It is so very expensive, but looking back, so very worth it. Something I never thought I would say. I always believed that you pay way too much for a posh dinner with way too little on your plate, and leave still hungry, to stop at the MacDrive on the way home. But it was nothing of a sort.



We were treated like kings and queens; napkins neatly folded when you pardoned the table, water for Kuzco was brought in a polished silver bowl, exquisite tastes that were combined together to cause an ultimate mouthgasm, which made us sigh of delight after each bite. Each plate they served was an artwork by itself, but one so deliciously looking, you couldn’t wait to put your fork and knife into it. Even though you knew this jewel to the eye would then totally be ruined, no matter how careful you sliced the littlest piece. Every single wine they chose to complete each different dish, was a mouthwatering sensation. Together with the charming ambience, and terrific company, this was a most delighted evening.

Our friends drove us back to the hotel, where Kuzco made our hearts melt even more than he already did that evening by being such a well-behaved good little boy. Instead of jumping on the bed, he snuggled in the trolley, and within minutes, he was fast asleep.



The next morning we had a long early morning walk back to our car, which was still parked at the restaurant. We talked and laughed along the way, and couldn’t get over the fact how amazingly wonderful our evening before had been. If there would ever be an extraordinary special occasion to celebrate, I might even want to save for it, to do it all over again.




There has been a calm over IJmuiden these last few days. It was like the elements couldn’t penetrate the shield of fog. Little rays of sunshine could eventually touch the inner layer of the shield, but never pierce through. No wind, which made the water look so serene. Ships appeared and disappeared like they were passing through a maze of a time dilation field. It even felt like the everyday noises were muted.

And so did my mind. It was calm, my thoughts were muted, and I just felt happy. My body’s protests appeared and disappeared like the ships, so I could waltz over my lack of energy and pain, and enjoy precious moments.

I spend two days with my sister. Just the two of us. I was helping her with little things that needed a touch of paint in the house, and meanwhile we talked and laughed. It was exactly like the car rides we made in August. Intense, with some jokes in between. I may have hugged her a bit too tightly when we parted, but I wanted to squeeze her in my imaginary box of happiness.

I had finished a drawing of the second dog of Marja, so I went by to give her and her husband the drawings of Maya and Dushy. Something I really wanted to give, because I am so grateful for the opportunity they presented us, for having a puppy from Kuzco. And allowing us to experience the birth of our puppy so up close and personal.



This was also the week that our payday finally arrived. And that can sometimes feel like opening a present that you really, really wanted, and felt like waiting for it for an eternity. That’s exactly how it felt this week. And to make the euphoria complete, we bought a Christmas tree and take out dinner. Fuck it….



I loved the calm of these last few days. I loved sitting in the middle of the night, rocking myself to ease the pain that kept me from out of my sleep,  and staring at our beautiful, beautiful tree, with its lights look like stars in the night sky. Just letting the fog still covering my mind, and just feel the happiness. It won’t be long until I sit in this exact same chair, rocking and humming while holding my puppy….. most likely two puppies. One 10 year old, and one only 8 weeks.

I smile, and softly rock myself to sleep.


I have a love/hate relationship with the month December. I love the superficial jolliness, and everything being  festively decorated. I love all the special foods you suddenly can buy everywhere, and stuff your face with way too much sugar. I love to watch people buzzing like bees  through the streets, collecting their finest nectar, and as many as possible in the shortest amount of time. Bags filled with brightly wrapped presents, which I always make it a game in guessing what’s in it. Store windows treating the potential customer’s eye, with the most beautiful cloths and shoes and other products  you really want to have, but not really need. And off course the smell of Christmas trees  you can buy on every corner of the street.



But what I absolutely hate about December, is that it’s the time of year, bills that have piled up, are coming to bite you in the ass, making your bank account  seem like a dried well. It is taking all of your selfcontrol not to be seduced to stray from your carefully chosen grocery list, and buying all kinds of extras, that again, are biting you in the ass at the end of the month, if you did. I hate the indoctrination of the commercial world that you need to be surrounded by the people you love. And that it’s kind of a no-no of acting the way you did the rest of the year, but being a perfect representation of a holy person. Not to mention all the emotion triggering advertisements,  to donate your money so you can buy yourself a place in heaven.

I can imagine why the death rate of people is rising when come December. And lonely, depressed people are becoming even more so, because everywhere they look, they are being confronted with something they don’t have, but feel they need to, because you’re supposed to. And being poisoned with the idea  that everyone else around you is carelessly happy, having a jolly good time with family and friends.

But I am a sucker like most people, so I like the holiday season more than I despise it. So I was really enjoying my time at the Christmas fair yesterday, shuffling my feet  between the compressed crowd, hoping to get a glance at the Christmas booths selling all kinds of Christmassy stuff, and smell the sweet warmth of spices of the mulled wine that is offered on every second booth on a row. Hearing the beautiful tunes of Christmas carols, and watching the people dressed in Charles Dickens styled clothes. The smell of pinewood, real and artificial, tickles  my seasonal mood, and I let myself feel everything you’re supposed to during this time of year. I had a lovely afternoon together with Ramon, and even though we have to carefully weigh up the need of every purchase we make this month, I could buy something totally useless  today,  but oh so fun.



Because we couldn’t believe our eyes  when we saw the price tag on a frame with 12 separate windows and a bag of plaster powder added, to make an imprint of your puppy’s paw. When we celebrated Kuzco’s first birthday, we got something similar from my niece and her wife. We made an imprint in the plaster of Kuzco’s paw, to keep as a lovely keepsake. So it was only logical that we should buy this……

Off course….



We asked the seller if the price was right. One Euro for all that!?


That’s a bargain we couldn’t refuse. So now the whole commercial Christmas spirit was made complete. I carried a bag with cheerful colored wrappings, holding something we absolutely don’t need, but really wanted to have.

While walking past the rest of the Christmas booths, we were happily chattering about our new puppy that will be born soon, and all the photo’s we’ll be making to maybe fill the frame with, and discussing about what to name the puppy when it’s a boy or a girl. This was really the finishing touch of a wonderful day, and I even think I will decorate the house with stuff we have lying around, even though I didn’t feel like decorating at all. I will keep the frame in its brightly colored wrapping, so it truly will begin to look a lot like Christmas…..


There is a crazy long cold that’s knocking me down. I still suffer a little fever, but I promised I would come to help my sister and her best friend, to give some pointers in painting the house.

So naturally … I went.



And I had an extremely lovely time, even though I dreaded at first because I felt lousy. But once I entered her house, and saw my wonderful paintjob from the entry, I couldn’t wait to start. I kept a low pace. I helped out a bit, which always makes my hart shine. I love paint so much, every aspect of it. I still love my old profession so very much. Even though I can’t paint anymore like I used to, I still am better than most.

So when my little niece watched us buzzing around, she really wanted to help as well. So when she asked her mama if she could join, I said; why not?

While my sister and her best friend had their doubt this would be a great idea, I knew there was nothing she could do wrong. I could solve everything that would be seen as a mistake to others. In painting, there are no huge mistakes, they only need a little more effort in making the ‘ mistakes’ right again.



So there she stood.

A little sassy four year old, helping us in painting the walls and the cabinet. She was so proud of herself. Especially after all my encouragements and praising on a job well done.

‘ You see mama, I am a big girl! I can do this!’

I love the fact that I could stimulate my little niece in believing there are no mistakes, only little accidents that can be solved if only you stay focussed. All the things I explained to her, stayed with her, and that made me so proud. She was feeling good about herself, feeling confident, and wasn’t scared to make mistakes, because she knew they could be solved, with just something as simple as swipe with a damp cloth. I loved to see her sassiness, and her little body working her best of job. I could barely contain myself in hugging and kissing her soft little cheeks, her little hands all covered in paint, and her gorgeous little legs placed as ballerina hitting those high spots she really wanted to reach ….

Because she a really big girl you know!…

Asking all sorts of questions, showing  the eagerness to learn, she became tired after an hour of really giving her very best. With her little thumb sticking in her mouth, and the other hand stroking the paint with her little brush, my sister gently persuade her to take a break. To snuggle on the couch wrapping herself in a warm cozy plaid and a nice cup of tea. After a while she asked if I was ready soon, so I could snuggle with her under the plaid, and read a book with her.

‘Please have some tea with me aunty Joyce. I think you are very sweet. Not pretty. No, not pretty at all….’ She made a little wrinkle between her eyebrows, thinking of the right words to express her feelings. ‘But you are really a very sweet aunty.’


Kids really say the darndest things… ( big smile on my face)

Really??? Was this for real? Because it felt like a dream come true.

I finished what I was doing and snuggled next to her on the couch. I read a book with her, and she read one to me, and then we watched a little bit of a movie while my sister walked the dog. I felt so blessed, so utterly happy. The kind of happy that warms you right through the core. I need to do this more often. With my health failing me bigtime at the moment, moments like these are so important. This upcoming week, I will see them again, hoping it will be just as blissful as it was today. I love my family so much. With these, to others maybe, insignificant moments…to me they are just a proof of how much they mean to me.





It was a busy, but wonderful day.




We had a photoshoot with Kuzco and Maya. I saw a post on the Country Living website, with a dachshund couple expecting puppies.  And I got stoked. I really wanted to do this as well, but I didn’t know how Marja would react to this level of silliness. There are so many people judging the way we treat our dog. ‘A dog is an animal, so treat it accordingly!’

Although I respect this opinion, I like to do it differently. But just to be safe, I made a tie and bow for Maya and Kuzco, instead of the married-couple-outfit the dachshunds were dressed in.  I went through the roof when Marja agreed on the photoshoot, and even made a beautiful veil exactly like the post from Country Living.


happy couple


So there we were. In the gardens of a historical mansion here in Velsen, sun shining, frost still covering the leaves on the ground, three happy doggies bouncing around two women carrying a bag full of props, and a camera. I had baked cookies earlier that morning, to use for Maya to sit still. Not thinking of the level of yumminess, which made Kuzco only see the bag of cookies and did every trick in the book, but sit and look at me.




The third dog who joined us, Dushy, photobombed as an expert, and all the other dogs that walked through the gardens, suddenly lost their owners, because they were here, trying to steal the cookies  from Marja’s coat.


happy couple


Still I managed to make some great photo’s. But the time I spend with Marja and the doggies, was even greater. I laughed so much that I didn’t even feel how much my hands hurt from the icy cold. Even when I had to pick Kuzco from out of the pond, because he thought he could walk over the thin layer of ice that covered the water. He proudly walked away from us when I gave him a cheer on his job well done when I shot the last picture, when suddenly there was no Kuzco anymore. It clearly didn’t mind Kuzco at all, because he shook himself ‘dry’, and went all tough and flirty, playing again with his two lady friends.




After a nice hot cup of tea afterwards, I went home, and quickly wrapped my DIY presents I made last weekend, to bring to the party later on.




We were invited at my sister’s dear friend, to celebrate Sinterklaas with each other. I have known her for quite some time, but ever since the loss of my brother in law, she and her husband have taken my sister, nephew and niece, under their wing. Being so amazing, wonderful, warm, and loving. I have never in my life had the privilege to know a friendship such as theirs. These last few weeks, I experienced it from up close, and I truly love those people even more. I have become a huge fan, and it even feels a bit like family.


zwarte piet




So with the party being great surrounded by loved ones, and the photoshoot being great, spending time with Marja and the dogs… I can truly say, this was a good day.


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Joyce Kleine – Work in Progress