Work in Progress

Maandelijks archief van januari, 2018





After those dreadful months, I want to celebrate just about anything and everything. I just want to want to do exactly as in Rita Ora’s “Your song”. Every time I hear it, I tear up on the part where she sings; I don’t want to sing sad songs anymore, only want to sing love songs, don’t want to sing mad songs anymore, just want to sing your song…


So yesterday morning, I held up to the promise I made to myself. I didn’t sing sad songs, nor mad songs. I was extremely happy.


Malha finally is in her first cycle. And that was good cause for a celebration!


We often joked about it, to celebrate Malha’s first cycle, because my mom did so when I had my first cycle. And I hated her for it at the time. Going out to celebrate eating cake. How could she do that to me? When I sat at the table of the pastry shop, my mother was the only one who expressed just a little too much joy and happiness for my taste. I was so scared people knew the reason why we sat there eating the bloody cake. But despite the fact I hated it when I was a young girl, I appreciated the thought behind it more and more when I grew older. So yesterday, I jumped from joy when I spotted a tiny drop of blood. I texted Ramon, he could stop worrying about Malha’s health, because after 14 months, she finally had her first cycle.


‘Yay!!!’ he texted back, ‘Time for cake and a bottle of wine to celebrate!! Oh, and we’re eating fries off course, because you always eat fries on a kids party.’


‘What?? A kids party? This is no kids party! This is Malha her Bat Mitzvah. A celebration of her female spiritual maturity.’


‘Okay’, he texted with a winking smiley, ‘A Bat Mitzvah, with steak and cake it is!’


I smiled my biggest smile when I read his text. He is just as silly as me, and I love it!! I almost skipped to the attic to find a piece of plywood I could use to make a huge decoration sign with the letter M of Malha and Mitzvah. I gathered all the yellow balloons I could find, and used the prop I made last year for a photoshoot when the puppies were only 6 weeks old, to frame a photo of Malha from last week.



Ramon and me were in a super festive mood, a little too much for Malha her taste, but there was steak….



And cake….



All day long she just didn’t know what to do with herself. She was sleepy, a little moody, and needed lots of cuddles.



When she made her ‘being annoyed face’, I had to laugh so hard, my belly ached.



I saw my own little annoyed face when I ate my celebration cake at the pastry shop, feeling moody and strange, listening to my mother’s exuberating joy telling me I’m a young woman now, instead of a babygirl. ‘Jeez, mom…. What’s the deal?’



Bat Mitzvah. That’s the deal.



I feel it now. Even though I know Malha is a dog, I was so happy I could celebrate this exactly the way my mother did. Our little puppy-girl is no puppy no more. She a little lady-dog now.



I could shout from the rooftops!!! I am so relieved, and so very happy at the moment.


I got the results back from the blood results of my kidney values. I was so terribly nervous. For days actually. I hoped and prayed the values would be stablized, but I was scared to death it might have dropped again.


But nothing of a sort. Something has happened, even the doctor was amazed about. This was something that shouldn’t be even possible. My values have increased!!!  She couldn’t explain how this could have happened. It’s all a great mystery. Values thàt low, aren’t likely to improve.


This was the best news ever!!!


We so needed something this good for a change. I couldn’t wait to call Ramon. He would be home on time, so we would go to Haarlem. Two weeks ago he told me, that on the 18th, when I get my results back, no matter the outcome, he would take me to Haarlem and surprise me with a special gift. That way, it would serve as a nice distraction to focus on a happy evening together where the tears would be suppressed if the results were negative. But on the other hand, if the results were positive, it would serve as a celebration.


And now I couldn’t wait for him to get home! We finally could really celebrate something good. Even though I was warned by the doctor, this could be just of a temporary kind, and the values could drop at any time, I didn’t want to hear that for now.


For now, I am granted more time. And whatever the reason, I don’t care at the moment. That is something of a later concern. Because the values have increased, I will have to come back in four months instead of two. And these four months, I am going to stick my head in the sand. I don’t want to think about the what ifs and maybes for change. I just want to make plans and look forward to spring.


When Ramon came home, I burst into tears. I had built up so much stress and fear, that when I saw Ramon’s face, the idea I could kiss his beautiful face a lot longer than we were told, was just too much for a second. A thousand kisses and a wrestle kind of hug, and then we were off to Haarlem.



Boy! This felt so good. The energy was sparkling. We almost seemed like we were skipping through the streets. No thought what so ever of a grim future was dominant for once. We even laughed and giggled and held each other tight. Chatted with intense enthusiasm about the how, the what, and when we start to make sidecar ride again. And then we entered the store where Ramon wanted to surprise me with a very precious gift.



I couldn’t believe he thought of this. He bought me a delicate golden necklace, for my tiny little golden star of David. Something I only wear when I need it the most. As my talisman of hope of survival to overcome any difficulty that crosses my path. And I needed it very much of lately, only to have  a silver necklace left to put it on. But I didn’t care, I would even have used a thread if that was all I could find. I needed my star near me.

I rarely wear jewelry. It’s nice to wear on some occasions, but I don’t care for it much. Worse still, I would have been angry and walked out of the jewelry store, for spending so much money on something I feel is absolutely not worth it. But this is a totally different circumstance, and I could understand Ramon’s need to do this for me. And I was overwhelmed by his thoughtfulness and his ever so great love for me. I immediately put it on in the store, didn’t mind some stupid little box to come with it. I felt radiant when we walked out of the store, and hated the large comfy and warm sweater of Ramon I put on today. Because I wanted everyone to see my beautiful gift. Now my talisman is made even more strong and more special with this beautiful gift. Now I wear my hope of survival together with my greatest and indestructible love. Talking about Superhero boost much??



To top it all off, we continued our very special festive mood, in a restaurant we ate at our wedding.



It was not only me who was glowing brightly in the middle of the dimmed lights of the restaurant at a table for two.



This was a fantastically good ending of a high strung day.



5 Nice and quiet days ahead…. I hope…

After spending a whole week in my bed, recovering from our amazing time in Paris, you would think I would hate this upcoming week to spend mostly inside, but I don’t.



Malha had her surgery yesterday to correct her cherry eye. The surgery went well, and Malha turns out to be a real Wonder Puppy. We are so used to Kuzco, whom always is so very pitiful, and convinced he is breathing his last dying breath, whenever he is the least bit out of balance. But Malha was already jumping against the bars of her bench, making her high pitch scream-barking to upset the entire recovery room at the vet, when she just barely opened her eyes from her sleep, to come and take her home.



She looked terrible this morning,



even worse than yesterday after the surgery.



But she is just as energetic as always, and really réally hates her comfy-cone. But where she was super irritated yesterday evening, because that stupid thing around her head, made it impossible to even chew on her favourite bone, let alone to scratch that horrible itch away, the amazing thing happened this afternoon, when we were napping together. Kuzco crawled under the blanket, to take his well-earned nap, from worrying about having to look at the recovering cone Malha is wearing. It is just so very upsetting to look at you know….  Malha jumped onto the bed holding her favourite bone, and when she let her body fall onto the cushions next to me, I had to laugh at her ingenuity. She twirled the bone around in her cone, just until it was stuck between the inside of the cone and her mouth. No paws needed at all, it seems.

She is the total opposite of Kuzco. We really have to get used to this. Kuzco, thank God, is doing much better. He hasn’t walked like a walking rainbow for a week now, even without his painkillers. But he sure likes to be carried up and down stairs still, if it’s up to him. But Malha finds a challenge in everything, thus hitting every step of stairs with the edge of her cone while she is bouncing to get outside.

She has to keep a slow pace for five days to ensure her eye heals well. Minimum walks, leashed only, no jumping, running, or playing. I wonder if she can make it through, because she is already bursting out of her skin.

So it’s a good thing I am still not quite myself. Big sores on my tongue as deep as craters on the moon, because of a crushed immune system due to overly exhaustion. Total relax mode is coming easy on me, so I hope my relaxing aura will be of great influence on Malha her energy these upcoming days, and make her eye heal up nicely.






Magically wonderful…



I already was in awe with the city’s charm when we arrived late in the evening. We checked in at a lovely hotel in the heart of Paris, where we stayed in a tiny but well maintained little studio.



Ramon was so very disappointed when we were told at the check in, the doggies weren’t allowed to stay at the soundproof studio alone, which was the main reason Ramon chose this hotel.


‘All my plans for tomorrow were based on the fact we could visit all the things I know you love. We would first visit the museums of Rodin and D’Orsay, then we would lunch at Laduree, go back to walk the doggies, and for you to rest up a bit, and then we would see the Eiffel tower and have dinner in a fancy restaurant at the Seine. Now, the only thing we can do of my to-make-Joyce-glow-list, is see the Eiffel tower.’


He suddenly looked so small, sad, and exhausted from all the disappointments, I gave him the biggest hug and kissed him.


‘Ramon, I am here! In Paris! That was the main goal. And yes, it is mayor setback, because it was said to be possible when we booked. But there are plenty of other things we can do with the doggies, I bet.’


Then he showed me something he had been working on straight for the last three weeks. A carefully chosen to-do list, four pages long, with all sorts of things he thought I would love to see or do, added with many dog proof options, all written with a little intro and added links.


I stood frozen.  My eyes locked on his. The only thing that showed sign of life were my tear ducts, which started to water up.


Oh my gosh, he worked so hard just for me to have an unforgettable magical wonderful time in Paris. Without having done anything yet, this was the best time in Paris ever!!! Nothing was going to bring it down.


First thing I chose from his list, was to visit the largest flea market of the world. I had no idea what to expect, and it really blew my mind.



This was flea market heaven, which never seemed to end.



Stores and stalls in narrow alleys and side streets of the main road, got us lost within seconds.



Antiques and vintage aka. old junk as Ramon likes to call it, covered in a seven hectare wide maze.



I loved it!


When I became too tired to keep on strolling, we went back to the car, so I could take a miniature rest before we would visit Haussmann Boulevard to watch the amazing store windows of Lafayette,



and Rue de Madeleine to visit Laduree,



and the Whiskyshop.



He wanted to buy a Tomatin Single Malt Whisky Personalized for The Whisky Shop.


It had a picture of the Eiffel tower on it, and it would be a great momentum for our time in Paris. ‘Is this a smooth drinking whisky that will only last one month?’ I asked him with a smile and a wink.  ‘Nope’, he said with a very serious look on his face, ‘We will only drink one small glass together, and then I will store it to only drink one glass every year on your birthday, to remember you and our love together. That’s why I wanted this one.



Again, I stood frozen. And I cried.


We walked back to our studio, hand in hand, and after a moment of silence, Malha started pulling backwards on her leash. The silence was broken by laughter. While Kuzco is already a well experienced travelling dog, Malha is still new at this. Kuzco stood like Marilyn Monroe on the air grid, his ears flapping wildly on the warm wind that came out of it. And because he noticed the laughter was on his behalf, he made his smiley face and walked back and forth over the grid hoping people would pet him. But Malha was only freaked out by this strange  occurrence coming from out of the street all of a sudden, so she twisted like an eel on a fishing line.


Sunday was our 14th anniversary, and we all slept in. I was already so extremely exhausted when I woke up, but this was the main reason for our Paris trip.



We decided to visit Tour Eiffel, and then hop into the car to go see the Temple Romantique, which sits on an island in the middle of a lake in the Bois de Vincennes, the largest public park in the city. It would be fun for the doggies as well. I hoped I could fake Ramon into believing I was full on energy, but I was a fool for even thinking so.



So we only went to Tour Eiffel, and just stroll, and take plenty of stops along the way.



It was truly a wonderful day, with lots of good food and lots of wine.





We even walked past the Rodin museum to catch a glimpse of the garden.


Just being surrounded with all the beautiful memories of every single time we went to Paris, made it the best day ever.  Easy and relaxed, and lots of laughter.



I couldn’t have wished for a more beautiful day to spend with my handsome husband and very best friend.



And even though the doggies exhausted me much more and faster than I would have been, without them coming along, I wouldn’t have want to trade this weekend in the world!




We were like two teenagers snuggling on the couch, tucked under a blanket, listening to music, staring into the nothingness only to be disrupted by an occasional kiss or two.


This was so nice.


This was the end of a horrible day. No better way to end it like so. Something even so gloriously wonderful, I’m going to keep in my heart to remind me life can be so good.



I had to go to the LUMC for a follow-up of the last two months, and to discuss how to proceed. Apparently I still had some kind of hope there would be something else to try, because I was a little nervous when we stepped into the car to our appointment. I even told Ramon the night before, that if something else is there to try, with again zero to nothing percent chance of any change, but only to nurture the hope, that already spreads so thin…. It is worth it for me. I will go through it, just for him. He only would have to give me a sign if such a proposal might come on the table. I just want to see him smile, and be his strong self again.


But there was nothing. Only the, ‘I’m sorry’. Not even a word spoken about other medications, just that nothing is left, this is it. And nothing is coming as well. So all we talked about was how I would like to be supported in the time to come. And that they sympathise and hope the kidneys will hold on for a long long  time.


Handshake…. And something of a smile to thank politely….


Nope…. No smile on Ramon his face.


But then again, neither on mine anymore.


In silence we drove to an animal store in Den Haag. We needed to find something of a solution to keep Kuzco and Malha separate when they are left at home when we are not there. It’s only for the time being, just until Kuzco starts to feel better, and the chemical castration has finally settled down. Twice now, he reacted more aggressive to Malha than needed to, and we had to pick them apart. So just to keep our hearts at ease for when we are not there to intervene, we had to find something to keep them from a potential fight.


It ended up to be a nice distraction from the thoughts and feelings that were so very present. It turned out to be a Zoo and store in one. They even had a doggy-bar!!!




….And real life flamingos!!!



We found something that would hopefully do the trick, so Paris would still be a nice time to spend this weekend. There will be an x-ray of his spine the 17th of January, instead of tomorrow. He has to go under for the procedure. And he always gets very sick of the antistatic afterwards. Everything has really conjured up to make it as difficult as possible to still to go to Paris. Our Paris budget has extremely run dry due to the vet, Kuzco still is ill, all Ramon his efforts to make this a magical last time in Paris to celebrate our anniversary, has been counteracted by the most unbelievable events possible. Which made him lost his spark for Paris along the way.


We still are going, and even though I as well have a hard time finding joy and anticipation today, there is still a spark in me for Paris.


So Paris, here we come!




Woohoo…. New year….


I almost felt bad for not feeling the exuberating  joy of wanting to toast, laugh and kiss for a happy new year, until I saw Ramon his face.


His was exactly the same as mine.


I started to cry.


I’m sorry I am crying, I can’t get the words ‘Happy new Year’ out of my mouth. It doesn’t feel like it’s going to be a Happy new year. I hate this new year to come. It will be desperately trying to keep our heads up, staying positive and fight like hell. No deranged resolutions to make and brake to start all over again next New Year’s eve, no sunny funny holiday to plan, only despair. When will I stop living this new year, or when will I stop living? Both feel equally frightful. Don’t want to die, but don’t want to lose living and enjoying life as well.  And I already dread the first days of January, where I gracefully have to thank people for their wishes of a Happy new year, and  especially the Good Health wish. I know it’s meant well, it has become some kind of a automaticity to say, because it’s written on all the Hallmark cards. And they are like written on the stones of Moses, so you have to obey. But it’s so mean saying it to someone where you know there isn’t any Good Health. Why don’t they say ‘Stay Strong’ instead? That is a wish more wanted than something you can never obtain.


Fuck Happy New Year!!!



And I don’t want to make a toast on this fucking year to come! Also.


All these words got stuck in a tear. Didn’t say them out loud. I raised my glass to clink, when the same tear rolled down Ramon’s cheek. I didn’t have to say them out loud.




We said to each other while we clinked our glasses, letting out a big sigh. In the background the night sky was lit up by beautiful fireworks, and through the loud bang you heard laughter and happiness from the people outside. It all was so loud, and yet so far away.


We hugged each other real tight, and many tears that we had built up this day, started to mingle between our cheeks, and provided some comfort.


‘Let’s watch another episode of Heroes.’ We smiled and nodded at each other, and filled up a new glass of wine.


We made a good day for ourselves. This was not to be a jolly one to share with others. So we stayed at home, unplugged the phone, played World of Warcraft, and puttered around in the kitchen. We even went to the beach to unwind some of Malha’s energy, she had built up in her puppy skin, all of these days doing exactly as much as sick Kuzco.



It was cold, stormy, and it was raining, not your average nice walk,



but somehow this was the nicest part of the day. Maybe it was just happy little Malha, who turned the sharp icy whippings of the wind hitting our faces, into a nice distraction of the already much to many words of desperation, fear and sadness, bottled up in the tear that was pressing in our eyes.



This was a good day, under the circumstances. Maybe today, the first day of 2018, will be another one. I will just take it one day at a time.







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Joyce Kleine – Work in Progress