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January of this year: I tucked myself deep under the covers, with my feet against the hot water jar. I had put on an extra sweater and one glove, holding one arm up from underneath the covers, to hold my umbrella high and keep me dry from the rain that poured through the ceiling.



This was it. This was finally the point, where I was ready to leave this house. I always told myself these flaws were the charms of this house. Not the leakage as it now has become off course, but the fact it is poorly isolated for one. So wind is blowing through every nook and cranny, whistling its same song over and over again like Mariah Carey during Christmas time. The fact it has only one stove to warm the entire house, which means the kitchen in wintertime is around 10 degrees Celsius. But with an extra sweater on, and take a few extra hot showers throughout the day, I thought it was just the perfect excuse to bake more cookies, and to let stews bubble all day on the gas stove. (imagine our energy costs….) Every part of this house has something we made ourselves, to make this house our home. And the fact it is so light because of the many big windows overlooking the water, and little New York when it’s nighttime, and the spacious rooms; I always wanted this house to be our forever home. And for a few moments in our lives, it almost was for me.


But now, with monthly rents going up-up-and away, and the fact that the housing corporation lacks their job to fix anything for real, or take complaints seriously, not to mention the gigantic energy costs; everything has now turned into frustration. There is nothing charming with this house anymore. It is the perfect house that is suffering from utter negligence, which makes the glittery sparkle I always saw reflecting from this old house, nothing more than the stains left by a soupy deuce.


So from there on, I was ready to join Ramon on the adventure that is called Funda, to search for our new potentially forever home.



My God!!! There is nothing fun about it.


Every time we picked a few houses that looked good on the web, they were already sold once I called for a house visit. And the ones we actually got to see, appeared to be in terrible condition. A corpse wearing a Chanel outfit. But because of the shortage of properties, the emotional manipulation of the estate agents to push you, putting in an offer the next day, almost makes you doubt walking away. And even though I was told again and again, not to make it so emotional; it’s the only way I can look at a house. It is not just a house, it will become so much more. It will be our new treasury holding our deepest memories.  And when there is even the slightest chance of one being just potentially that, my hopes and dreams of getting that house, becomes overwhelming.


It happened four times, which actually made me more sick than I already felt due to the chemo injections. But one of the four, actually was in perfect condition, so no major renovations needed. It has the location we were looking for, spacious rooms, big windows, and a quirky layout. Room to store our sidecar, a bathtub, huge kitchen area, and a sizable terrace facing north, which is perfect for the doggies. And it immediately felt like home when we walked through the house when we visited it.


So last week, we decided to make an offer on this house. Again, I felt sick. My energy was drained, and I was out of breath nonstop. But this time it had the right vibe. It even made me superstitious in lucky numbers and funny similarities that this house was meant to be. So to calm my nerves and distract myself, I started to paint. I never painted portraits with oil paint before, because I was convinced I couldn’t. But I imagined oil painted portraits of my nephew and nieces hanging on the walls of our guestroom to be, that I tried it anyway. And guess what?







It went great!



And when they were finished, so was the anxiety. Because our offer was accepted!!!



Out of pure joy I painted another one. This time little Malha.



And when that one was finished, the blood results came in good, so the chemo injections are finally doing their job!!!


This is becoming almost like a dream. We have to pinch each other frequently, to see if it’s not.






Today it’s Kuzco’s 12th birthday. We celebrated it last Sunday, on Kuzco’s (and mine as well) favorite place to be; the beach.

And like almost every single birthday of Kuzco we celebrated, it’s like the angels tucked away every cloud there is, in their magical knapsack, so the warm sunny rays of God himself can shine on the sweetest puppy-boy ever born.

Okay okay, a bit overdone… but it ìs always sunny on his birthday, and he ìs the sweetest puppy-boy to me.

It couldn’t be more of a happy offset, to all the disappointments we had last week. One of the greatest, being the chemo injections aren’t working as well as they let on to be. The white blood cells amount had dropped again, just as it was going so well. So to be on the safe side, I couldn’t proceed the injections for another week. First I have to gain a minimal safe level again, which would probably be in a weeks’ time, to go ahead with the next injection. There seems to be some kind of a pattern. One I feared before we started. The medication I take for my seizures, is most likely the one that doesn’t work well with the chemo. Thank God I don’t feel very sick, only more tired quickly than usual, so it’s manageable. The only thing that really doesn’t agree with all those chemicals adding up and cutting down, is my skin and hair. My curls have a hard time being their bouncy self.

But who cares about good hair, fair skin, or flashing energy, when there is so much to look forward to. I needed this joyful weekend that was to come.

First we started with the official birthday picture. Malha got a beautiful girly-girl dress for her birthday from my parents, just as Kuzco got his fancy suit once. Only for special occasions off course, this one being the best occasion I believed.

No smiles from Kuzco and Malha, only an annoyed look and a big sigh. ‘Are we done yet? This isn’t the fun you were talking about….’

No my dear puppies….. thìs is the fun we were talking about!



special birthday cake,

eating cake,

kids to play with,


running and digging holes like crazy,

loved ones to cuddle you warm and dry, because they love to cuddle soaking wet dogs…..

Is there anything more fun than this? Besides putting your butt on the birthday cake when you’re acting like you don’t see, hear, or know you’re supposed to sit the other way ‘round for a group photo.

It was such a heartwarming day to spend together celebrating Kuzco’s and Malha’s birthday. Having a picnic on the beach, with no wind, sun shining, with 17 degrees Celsius in the midst of winter. What an absolute blessing this day was…

I teared up so many times. Nothing hits harder than the evanescence of a dogs life.

Even though he still is the bouncy little puppy in my heart, he really has grown into a happy grumpy grandpa.

He is almost blind and deaf, his nose has turned all grey, and he hasn’t got the energy anymore like Malha has. But this beautiful happy Sunday afternoon, there was nothing old or grumpy about him.

He was a 12 year old bouncy puppy, celebrating his birthday with his mega bouncy-sweet as pie-daughter, and a loving group of humans.


Let me begin this story by telling you, I never wanted any fish swimming in a bowl, let alone a tank, ever.


But then came Bruce, which we saved out of the pond of the garden of my mother in-law. Clinging on for life in the last bit of moist mud that was frozen of the dried up pond. He was a true survivor, and that appealed to me. So, we took him home, and thought we would give him a nice warm life, for as long as he would live. Never, ever expected him to stay alive for this long.



He changed from a variety of accommodations, with the last one being a fish tank holding 100 liters of water.


All for his lonesome. Because he grew out of his last one. Did I tell you already he is about 25 cm long, and probably is about the same age as his length? And he is very domestic.



So my Brucy is my special little goldfish.


But now comes the part where it all went so terribly wrong. Well….not wrong, but I told you earlier, I never intended to own a fish…


Bruce his new fish tank had enough space to plant some greens and a piece of decorative wood, to make it feel extra homey. But after a while, an algae started to bloom. Up to a point, that I really got annoyed with cleaning the fish tank almost daily, because of the turbidity. I even got scared Bruce would be tangled up, panic, and then, maybe, even drown!!! Well… not actually drown off course, but you smellin’ what I’m sellin’, right?


After a huge search on the web, we decided to go for the most bio friendly way to deal with this particular kind of algae. We would purchase some platy fish. They eat the algae, and can coexist with a goldfish.


We went to the local store, and we were advised to buy three platies. Two girls, and one boy. That would be the ideal combination. I was amazed how tiny they were, and bought a tiny English bus for the safe side; where they could hide if they got scared of Bruce.


When we let the platies in with Bruce, I sat with my knees together, back arched, and bottom tucked. What if Bruce decides he loves Sushi. Then we have served him a dream platter…..

And then I really need to make a new appointment with my psycologist….



It seemed to go very well. The algae stayed clear, and Bruce didn’t like Sushi, thank God. We named the platies Bobbette, Bobbine, and Bobbère.


And they all lived happily ever after.


Except for Bruce…


The Bobberts enjoyed their new home a little too much, and dominated the fish tank and harassed Bruce by continuously poking him. And to make matters worse, Bobbette was pregnant….. of at least 40 baby platies……



What the fuck!!!!


You let a stranger in to help a hand, and then they take over your home, steel your food, harass the local, and multiply like crazy. Poor, poor Bruce…. What have we done??



Bruce showed signs of severe stress. So I bought a scoop-net, and had a good talk with the Bobberts. I showed them the scoop-net, and threaten them to remove them from the fish tank if they keep harassing Bruce. I told them Ramon wanted to kill them even, by putting them in a bowl of cold water and a drop of oil. So they’d better behave!!!


But they didn’t.


And Bruce got in worse shape. But I couldn’t get myself to allow Ramon to kill them. I can’t kill three fishes and a baby!



Baby Bobby was born. But all the others were still in Bobbette her belly. That is just mass murder!!


I will never ever go past Peter if I die….


So, the Bobberts have their own little villa now. Along with their own little warmth regulator, so it’s a nice continuous 24.5 degrees Celsius. Just the way they like it. Because they complained they had it rather nippy at 21 degrees Celcius up with ol’ Bruce.



And when we bought the new villa for the Bobberts, we also bought a new goldfish to keep Bruce company. Because in our read-up on Google, we read that a goldfish doesn’t like to be alone. So now Brucy has Lucy as a companion. And we couldn’t have chosen a better one. They are so graceful and polite to each other.



And so we have 6 little fish…..


And 39 more coming…..


I never ever want a fish, I once said….



Yesterday was our 15th anniversary, and we celebrated it John Lennon and Yoko Ono style. The entire day spend in bed. Even though it was not planned, this day of cocooning together was everything we needed. After two and a half weeks of recovering, and actually feeling stronger and energetic as each of those days gone by, I should be feeling a bit like my old self, minus the whole kidney failure thingy. So I would have enough energy to celebrate our anniversary.


But instead I had such a terrible night before our anniversary, where I practically spend the entire time on the toilet. Apparently, subconsciously, I was a nervous wreck.


The following night I would start again with a new med that would in time, take over the Prednisone for my Crohn. But that is exactly the reason why I have been offline for so long. The new meds didn’t go so well. And now, on the very night of our anniversary, I would start and try again. But I am scared for a repeat of the last couple of months, which can easily be so.


Thus the John and Yoko style anniversary….


Ever since June of last year, after almost three months of suffering terrible diarrhea 24/7, I finally got a colonoscopy which proved my suspicions. A few very big ulcers, and a bad inflammation; which meant Crohn’s was thriving again. I got back on Prednisone again, and after 4 weeks, I started feeling better again. I had a talk with the doctor, and was told to try a new med that showed a very positive treatment for Crohn’s disease, with way less side effects than Prednisone. I was very surprised to hear that the new med, was one that is used for chemo treatment for Leukemia. How on earth can chemo show less side effects than Prednisone? Especially when the instructions said when one has taken these meds, one have to rinse the toilet three times with bleach, and Ramon can only touch the pills wearing latex gloves, and I even have to wash my hands after I have taken them.


I had to strongly be monitored by taking blood samples each week. Mostly to check the amount of white blood cells.


Within a week after I started the new med, the diarrhea returned. I felt weaker and exhausted with each passing day. And to make matters worse, the white blood cells dropped like crazy. This was not supposed to happen. After it went dangerously low, I had to stop immediately, and start take the Prednisone again. This was in December, just before Christmas. We decided to stop a little longer than the doctor suggested, and to start the new meds again after the 7th of January. We wanted to be able to enjoy the holidays as much as possible, and not wanting to worry when or if something would go terribly wrong. And maybe even to strengthen up a bit, before entering the new tryout.


So today is the first day being back on the chemo meds. I still feel okay, and even though I am scared, I will have a song in my heart. It would be wonderful if it relieve the Crohn’s symptoms, and even have less side effects so my kidneys can keep this pace.


I am up to my ears with creative ideas I want to work on. For months I couldn’t get myself doing anything but keeping household on track, and sleep. I felt so guilty for being this “lazy”, especially when my father (aka probably my biggest fan) asked me when I am finally going to write something on the website again. ‘Can’t you just write that you’re under construction or something like that?’


But even that, was just too much. I was completely empty, or rather, I overreached myself on the emotional level. This was all just too much.


But instead of feeling choked by guilt, the crazy feeling of being just a lazy ass, which made me even more blocked creatively, I felt inspired by a quote from the movie Christopher Robin.


‘Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing. Nothing leads to the very best something.’


So this time I know what to expect from the tryout, and act more on hands when it goes south ways. Don’t want to fall back that far in my energy and health again. I have too much I want to do, with the limited amount of energy I already contain. I want to create, write, draw, paint and be happy!


I wipe the sweat off my face, and sit down on one of the dining-room chairs I just carried down the stairs. Still two more chairs and a lamp to go, and then everything I put in storage on the attic last Friday, is back where it belongs.

It didn’t seemed so much work on Friday. As I think back, the entire dining-room was empty in a blink and a nod, just like Barbara Eden in ‘I dream of Jeannie’.


But there was a slight difference off course in comparison with today. Last Friday I was high on adrenaline, wanted to do any and everything to make this sleepover we were about to have, a very special one.


I was so excited!


My nephew Dante was coming for a sleepover. Our first sleepover tryout was with his sister Angel in August. And when he heard she could come, he immediately said to his mom; ‘I wanted to sleepover at aunty Joyce and uncle Ramon for a-aaaaages, and you said it couldn’t! And now Angel is going first!’

My heart made little jumps of joy to hear he wanted to be with us so badly, but it also made me a little sad, we weren’t able to do this all these years earlier of his life.


But when I told him a few weeks back, we set a date with his mom for the next sleep over, and it was going to be with him, he jumped around my neck and hugged me tight. ‘Really aunty Joyce?! I am so happy!!’ And when I asked if he would like to join us to Lego World when he comes for a sleepover, he said the cutest thing ever. ‘Lego World?? Really??? That’s my biggest dream and greatest wish. Oh, aunty Joyce…. How many nights do I have to sleep until we go?’


It was way too many nights and days of waiting. Even for me. But now it finally was there. We wanted to do something completely different than we did with Angel. And the best idea hit me when I talked to my mother on the phone a couple of days prior to the sleepover.


We haven’t got a guestroom. So the best place to put a bed is in the dining-room. That’s where Angel slept as well. But Dante is a totally different kid, and likes to be on his own to relax. So… we set up a tent in the dining-room.



And to make it complete, we made an indoor campsite.



I couldn’t wait to see his reaction. Maybe he would think this was completely deranged. Mental even. He ís nine years old after all.

What are you going to do if he doesn’t want to sleep in the tent?’’ Ramon asked.

Ha!! Then I will sleep in the tent!!! Have you seen how immensely cool this is??? How could anyone nót want to sleep in here??? Super-duper cozy, with the garlands of starry lights hanging above your head, and the soft bed with new linens. Just like my fantasy tent I always wanted to build with blankets when I was a little girl.



Dante’s face was a little tense when we picked him up. He clearly was a bit nervous. But when he saw the tent in the empty dining-room, his face lit up. ‘Oh my gosh, this is so cool!!!! Just for me??’ He zipped it open, and immediately lie down. ‘I love it!!!’



But what he loved even more was the Logo World event. For four hours straight, he walked, gazed,



and build all kinds of creations at the many pools of Lego-blocks.



His cheeks glowed brightly red. After three hours he only once said he was tired, but when we told him we just wanted to see the Star Wars section, he stretched his back, and showed us the way after he and Ramon checked the map.



We got to enjoy the most beautiful little boy.



We got to experience his silly dance-moves when he was happy, we got to experience his gratefulness, his awareness of the value of money, how unbelievably concentrated he can be for hours to build his Lego dragon all on his own. (But really wanted Ramon to join him as ‘The Page-turner’ while he was building.)



How he loves to have moments all by himself;




talking, humming songs, retrieving in his own little world…



just like I did when I was a kid. I loved how he wanted to help me with any and everything, even baking the bread together the next morning.

And I loved to hear him laugh, even his fake laugh when he pretended to crack up at some of our jokes that were obviously ‘old-people’ jokes, but he didn’t want to hurt our feelings.

I loved the interaction between Ramon and Dante, as two guys doing their thang, but still a little boy when he asks for a hug because he feels so happy.

And I love how he poses in character for my one-hundred thousand billion gazillionth time I ask him for a picture I want to take of him, even though he hates it.



This really was a weekend to remember, and I can’t wait to do it over and over again. Even with paying the price of this f***ing exhaustion and immense pain in every part of my body. I’m just so very thankful I still can enjoy these moments and this beautiful little boy that is my nephew.








Ever since we started fixing the office space from a very bad water leakage, my creative mode had been turned on again.



Especially when we decided to make a workspace covering the washing machine and dryer.



Ramon suggested it would be a perfect folding space and the shelves above will serve as a great place for storing our linens. He could even make an ironing board on it that hangs on hinges set on the outside of the workstation. That way I could swing it up when I need to iron, and no fuzz when the ironing board needs to be stored.


Even though I loved the housekeeping-think-along, I kinda freaked out…


Nononooooo… That would mean all the linens would have to match color. But the bedroom has a totally different color than the shower or the kitchen, so I could never match them to store neatly folded on the shelves, unless everything is white. But I hate white, cause it never stays white with pets.


So, no. However brilliant the idea, this was not going to happen.


Then it struck me. It would be a perfect drawing desk. The light is perfect there for drawing and painting. And the shelves would be the perfect show case for some of my work, and drawings I get from kids as a gift. Not to mention all my crayons, paintbrushes, ink and feather. Oooh, how I can already picture myself at work.


But we have to save some money to make it happen, so I will have to wait at least till December. But my creative frontal lobe has been activated. It itches like crazy. I want to sand down, paint, and pick out the most beautiful wall paper for my side of the room, and then cover the wall. I want to install my materials. Hell, I want to draw! Oil paint even!!



I have scratched the itch for a bit, which feels great!



I have painted the most beautiful family together scouting the dunes. I still want to write and draw the story of Kuzco Maya, and Malha, but I haven’t felt the inspiration yet to do so. But this picture was stored in the back of my brain. I wanted this picture either on paper, or canvas. So apparently, canvas it is.



It didn’t took me long to paint. After a week it felt good, finished. So I signed the painting, and now it stands to dry.



I want to paint more!



But with no canvas on reach at the moment, I got a splendid idea this morning. I am going to decorate the frame of a mirror I got from my sister al long time ago. It is stored at the attic. I took it over from her at a time the mirror held sad memories for her, plus she found it hideous.



I turned the mirror on its side, and topped the frame with a larger piece.



Now I am going to paint it fairy like. I know exactly what I want to paint. A starry sky on the left, and sunny sky on the right. Maybe an ivy along the side, with some butterflies, and maybe a guard on each side at the bottom. One asleep, and one standing guard.

Yes-yes, I can see it so vividly, I can’t wait to start.



But first, a proper ground to work, and that is something I like just as well!


Ever since we received an invitation to attend an 12.5 years wedding anniversary party, I was looking forward to go. Exited even.


I knew exactly what I wanted to wear when I read the dress code. The bride would wear her wedding dress again, and it would be fun if all the married women who are invited, would wear it too. Provided that it still fits off course.


I loved the idea!! How many other times do you wear your wedding dress? Seeing I don’t have mine anymore, I thought of my special dress. The one I wanted to wear at their wedding day as well. But due to my starting days of Crohn’s disease, I felt terrible that day, and wanted to wear something safe to run to the toilet, and change if needed. So I didn’t wear the dress. But now, 12.5 years later, I get a rematch!



I took my dress out of the closet, and checked for any wear or tear. The dress is 20 years old, and we had suffered some unwelcome family of moths in our closets, a couple of years back. But it still looked great. I took my wedding shoes out of their box, and smiled. At least one authentic item.


Ramon had a barbeque with his work on Friday, and Saturday would be the anniversary party. I would have loved to join the barbeque, and see everyone again, but I had to choose between the two. With a limited amount of energy, I couldn’t do both. So I followed my heart.


I wanted to make them a wedding cake. A small version at least. After a whole day of sleeping and taking it slow on Friday, I wanted to make the cake in the evening. Ramon was still at the barbeque, so it was a perfect time for a little Chopin and Debussy to accompany me in the kitchen. I put on my Wonder Woman shirt for some extra boost, and started pottering about.



I was having a blast!



But by the time Ramon came home, I think I was having a blast too many. We both looked at my creation, and the only sound that filled the room, was the wind created by Ramon his eyelashes when he blinked.


‘Hmmmm…. Yes, you have been busy I see. It’s nice. But you have made more impressive ones in the past…’ he said carefully, not to upset me much. I brushed some icing powder from my nose, and took a deep breath… which made me sneeze. ‘Yes, I think you are right… I think I got a little carried away with all the sugar and the music. Maybe I can write something on a card saying; This cake represents marriage. Not perfect, but a lot of love and energy has gone in it to make it work.’ I put it in the fridge, and told myself not to be such a perfectionist. It looks fine…. and will taste fantastic.


To be honest, it looked terrible.

(Very conveniently I haven’t made any pictures of it.)


And I just couldn’t let it go. I tossed and turned all night, and finally decided I couldn’t give them this horrible piece of cake. It would seem like I didn’t care for them and just ruffled something up. So I got out of bed at the crack of dawn, and made a new one.



Five hours later, I woke Ramon for breakfast and coffee, and showed him the newest version. I was exhausted, but I was finally content with the result. Later that day we shopped for some final details and a platter to put it on, and we were ready to go.




I felt beautiful wearing my dress and wedding shoes again.



We found a sweater to wear over it, that still looked nice and would keep me warm, as it was held in the garden. I put my make up on, and smiled at my “looking-good” face. It’s been a while since I looked at that face, and it felt good.





Last week I got the results back from the colonoscopy. I know I should be happy the results turned out to be exactly as I told the doctors from the beginning, because now I finally got something that makes me feel better soon.


But I am not. I am angry.


Angry for not being taken seriously and listened to once again. It’s not only my personal experience and knowledge over the past years they willingly ignored, but all the information in my medical files as well. All they had to do, was look back to the dates I gave them, when my physical symptoms were exactly the same, and act with quicker pace to state  if my ailments correspond with previous cases. I feel I have been put through these past miserable months on purpose. Because there was no need for them to just let me hang out to dry like this. A couple of ulcers and a bad inflammation in the small intestine, made  four months of chronical diarrhea, crazy amount of pain in my stomach, complete exhaustion, and a total of almost 40 pounds, loss of weight. And the reason why, was just as I thought; my Crohn was acting up again, and not even a ‘sorry, it seems you were right’. But thank God I did get the Prednisone.


So now I have been feeling quite ill the last week, but this time it’s okay. I will have to get used to the Prednisone and the dosage of it, so I will feel better soon.


It’s crazy how knowing I was right all along, and that I do know my own body by listening to it, and all the experience I’ve gathered throughout the years, makes me roar like a lion in my mind. I still feel physically exhausted, but in my mind I feel I can take any and everything. And it is within my reach, to start doing the things I like, with a little more energy in store again. I can’t wait.


To celebrate the “good” news, and stay with the positive happy side of things; I want to show you some delicious happy pictures I took yesterday.



There was doggy swimming at the local swimming pools. On the last day of the season, they allow dogs to swim in the outdoor pools. It would be too much impulses for Kuzco, so we only took Malha.



It was great to see her exuberant enthusiasm, and her enormous amount of love and devotion towards Ramon.




They are like two peas in a pot. Just like me and Kuzco. She had a wonderful time.



Playing and swimming with other doggies and Ramon.



When she became tired of all the new impulses, she was clinging to Ramon for comfort and safety like a child. It was just too adorable to watch, so obviously there were a lot of Aaaawhs made by people who saw them together.



Next year, we have to stay on top of all the different dates the nearby swimming pools set on their closing the outdoor season. Because we have to do this again and again!!!! This was so much fun!








We went for a little ride on the sidecar, without the doggies. I had filled a bag with snacks, coffee and rosé for a picnic. The weather was good enough for a ride to the beach, and just chill out on a blanket to enjoy this beautiful day.



I just love it so much, to sit next to Ramon and enjoy the rough and noisy ride the sidecar makes. And because it can’t go any faster than 60 km per hour, you can really enjoy the surroundings while driving.



We went to Zandvoort. There was still a nice spot left on the beach that was downwind. Even though a lot of people thought it was a good idea to go to the beach on such a nice September day as well, it felt like we were all alone in a cocoon, observing all the people around us. It was nice and quiet, and the sun was actually quite warm, which made the cold rosé taste even better.



We laughed and yoked about a young seagull, which was rather bold, and almost joined us on our blanket begging for treats.



‘Really, this is a true personal reflection I’m having right now. Seeing Kuzco and Malha are just as audacious in their begging for treats.

Hmmmm….I wonder if we just look so easy to manipulate for food… I just have to look more strict, I’ve just learned.’



‘You mean be more strict.’ I got as reply with some sturdy looking eyebrows.



I laughed, because the seagull was sitting closer to Ramon winking its left and right eye alternately at him. That by itself said enough…


When we drove back home, we decided to get a Chinese take-out first. I had to laugh so hard during the ride, it almost hurt.


When you drive a sidecar, it means you physically have to work really hard. Especially when the road has many sharp turns. You don’t just wiggle the steer left or right, you have to put in all your weight pushing it left or right. So often times I hear a loud caveman-like moan coming out of my earpiece when it’s a heavy turn. But this time, when we crossed a second roundabout short after another, the tire slipped, and made a squeaking sound while turning. I’ve never heard this before, and it made me think of those ‘chasing the bad guys’ scene, in old movies. With squeaking tires and me flying up in the air, to then hit the ground with no suspension of any kind, shaking my helmet back into the right position, and grabbing the bar tight keeping my head low behind the windscreen. We are going super-duper fast you know!!!!

In the split second this scene was playing in my head, I looked at Ramon and laughed so hard. And I knew he laughed at the same thing. This was so cool!



But my limits of excitement were reached when Ramon wanted to proceed this old time movie ride, by going up, almost vertically on a paved dike. At least, that’s how it felt like. A nice short cut, he said…. I screamed like a pig. Oh my God!! When you already suffer severe diarrhea, it is not advisable to scare your pants off. And when he didn’t succeed the first time, he tried again, and again!!! Maybe it was the sheer paleness of color that was left on my face, or the bewildered look, or the fact I almost bended the bar; in any case, he gave up. And I stepped out of of my bin with my knees still wobbling, telling him I will walk to the Chinese restaurant instead. I’m almost certain he will try again when he takes the sidecar by himself for getting a Chinese take-out, and that’s fine by me.


I’m just glad he first have to order what-cha-ma-call-it to install on something-something, before we can take the sidecar to the sandpit, he really wants to go to. I have agreed to come along. Would be/could be cool I said…. But after this vertical paved (!) disgrace, I wonder how hard I will scream going up and down the sandpit….


Please take your time with ordering and installing…..











It was bliss. Complete and utter bliss.



Angel was coming for a sleep over, and all week long I was planning and scheming. Recently she is crazy about horses. When she asked a while back if I had any books that contained horses, I was all smiles when she sat on the floor “reading” my old horse-magazines. She is a true fantasist, and likes to tell us stories that “really” happened. So when she was done looking at the pictures of a circus girl doing tricks while riding on a horse; it was only logical she also had done this before. On her very own horse even. Sure-sure, it was quite a difficult trick to master; she had fallen off her horse once while performing, but she wasn’t scared at all. She jumped right back on her horse, and everyone applauded….


That’s what made me call several horse-riding centers in the neighborhood. I thought she might be surprised if we told her she could actually learn to ride a horse. I found a horse-riding center nearby, which sounded very easygoing and unpretentious for a little girl of six years old. I was so excited!


We had to do some shopping before we would pick her up. We already had a spare bed, but no pillow or blanket, let alone a cheerful children’s duvet cover and pillowcase. I don’t know which one had a greater glow on the cheeks, while searching the duvet covers, Ramon or me. Ramon found a perfect one holding a unicorn. We were so happy. We knew she would love this! We walked to the cash register, and ‘bumped’ into a huge stuffed unicorn. All though I’m convinced Ramon had already spotted it long before I did…



‘Look! Isn’t this fantastic!!! Malha would lo-ooooove this!’ He grabbed a medium sized one off the shelf, after he looked at my frown knowing I would think it’s rather undue to buy a stuffed animal that is three times the size of Malha. I smiled. Yeah, why not. Angel would love it just the same, as a similar unicorn is printed on the duvet cover. We almost skipped to the car, ready to pick her up.


We took her to a second hand store two blocks from our home, after we first played shortly at a playground. ‘Why are we going to a store? You had already shopped before you picked me up. I would really like to play with you a little while longer aunty Joyce.’ But when we told her we were going to a shop where they sell all kinds off horsy stuff, she was already skipping 10 skips ahead of us.


Her cheeks went all rosy when she saw horse-pictures on the wall, boots, caps, competition clothing and prizes on the shelfs.



We made her fit some boots and a cap, and when she saw a hobbyhorse, she immediately ran around the store pretending she rode a horse. ‘What do you think about we actually going to a horse-riding center and you ride a real horse?’



She made a funny face, and thought I was yoking. ‘No really. We are taking the cap and boots with us, and mommy already put a legging in your bag. So what do you think…you want to rush home to change cloths, and then head to the horsies?’



It was wonderful!!!!



Her smile was up to her ears when she saw all the horses. Without hesitation she ran up to a horse, and pet it’s nose. ‘Hello horsy, I’m going to ride you.’ She said with a big smile. We were welcomed by the proprietor, and were showed around the stables and horses.



Angel immediately was taken in, and when she was introduced to ‘her’ horse, she had to help with brushing and cleaning,



and to saddle up her horse.



When she actually got up on her horse, her little face was intensely focused.



Ramon and me were like two Japanese snapping pictures and filming, feeling utterly proud and overrun by emotion.



We thought she would be exhausted by all these new impulses, and probably wouldn’t want to help make spaghetti anymore, as she requested when we picked her up. But there was nothing of a sort. She couldn’t wait to help me when we got home.


My day couldn’t get any better than this. I felt I was living my dream. And I wasn’t the only one. I could see Ramon was taken just as much as me, by this little girl laughing and tittle-tattling about, in our house. Oooh, how we longed for this sound to fill our house for ourselves.



Angel and me pottered around in the kitchen, letting her knead, chop, smell, and taste.





After a lovely dinner, all three of us walked the doggies. Angel ran and played with Malha, and then she picked flowers for me and Ramon. ‘Will you put them in a vase aunty Joyce?’ ‘Off course I will. I will put them in our most beautiful and special vase we have, because we love how you picked the flowers especially for us.’ And I gave her a big kiss. She gave us a beautiful smile in return, and picked a hundred flowers more.



When we lay in our bed to sleep, Ramon held me tight. We lay silent for a while, and then I felt a tear fell from his face on to mine. I couldn’t hold mine back anymore either. ‘Can we keep it?’ he said softly. I laughed through my tears. I knew exactly how he felt. ‘It is such a mixed feeling. I feel so much joy having Angel around, but on the other side, it grieves me so, for us not being granted this for ourselves.’ I gave him a kiss, and hugged him even tighter.



The next morning Angel and I made croissants together, and set the table. She watched how Kuzco and Malha jumped around the bed to wake Ramon, and the laughter started to fill our house again. I loved how she wanted to try each and everything there was on the breakfast table. ‘I can’t eat all, that’s too much. But I can’t choose. Everything looks and smells so nice!’ I told her she could have small bites of everything, and she did.



We went to the park to walk Kuzco and Malha, and then went to the petting zoo.



She was definitely stalling to go home, but after we got an ice-cream, she really wanted to tell her mommy all about the things she had done. Especially about her horse riding experience off course, and show mommy her super-duper cool riding boots which are never coming off her feet anymore.



I was exhausted when we came home after bringing Angel back to my sister. My body hurt like hell, and my seizures were pushing with great frequency. I was amazed Angel wasn’t bothered by them. Off course I had explained all about it, but still, I thought it would make an huge impression on her. But all she was on about, were all the things we did together, and how funny Uncle Ramon is. She really had to laugh so much about his silly things. Well, isn’t that a huge compliment?



My recovery days are filled with happy memories.








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Joyce Kleine – Work in Progress