Gracias, madre!

“I’ve had an incident with Quentin,” I breathe heavily down the phone the moment Bakerman answered my call that evening.

“What?” he stammers back in surprise. “Did he have a meltdown?”

“Yes,” I say doing my best to fight back the tears. “He shouted at me because I told him to call his dad back later and do his homework first. He pushed me. He raised his fist at me. He threw his mobile phone on the floor. He told me to ‘fuck off bitch’. And that he hates me like I hate my mother. He’s only 11.”

“Wow,” Bakerman utters in astonishment.

“I have sent him to bed,” I say resolutely to show I still have matters in hand. “His phone is confiscated. And the playstation too.”

“Ok,” Bakerman encourages me to continue calming my thoughts.

“I’ll call for an appointment with the child psychologist tomorrow,” I resolve. “I’m broken hearted. A ‘sorry’ won’t be enough this time.”

“Would you like an alternative thought?” Bakerman speaks up finally.

“Yes,” I confirm that this is actually my real reason for calling upon him. “This is karma right? Or Picasso’s influence. What’s the alternative thought? I’ve screwed up.”

“Would it be possible to step into a different role?” Bakerman suggests.

“Which one?” I ask him in surprise. “Not being mommy anymore? Then who am I?”

“No,” Bakerman corrects me soothingly. “Being mommy is perhaps what is needed here.”

“I am not a mommy?” I ask him rather annoyed that he is questioning my mothering skills. “Okay so I’ll make a hot chocolate and take it up to his room? Then what?”

“Who knows but you,” Bakerman retorts. “Consider for a moment that something is really bothering him. Have you stopped to ask him? Are you able to have a warm conversation with him about him instead of about you?”

“He is closed on certain aspects,” I start searching my memory for profound conversations lately.

“Ok,” Bakerman urges me to dig deeper.

“I do try to talk to him often,” I say in my defense, failing to find anything significant being said of late. “He doesn’t open up.”

“Now is the time to pretend you care about him,” Bakerman knows how to get me going.

“I don’t pretend. I do care,” I snap back at him. “He’s worried about big school.”

“Oh ok that’s good,” Bakerman confirms we’re onto something here.

“About bullies and not being able to defend himself,” I remember how my eldest son told me these things apparently in passing, but which obviously have more weight than I originally attributed.

“I see,” Bakerman is making sense of what has been going on. “What about big school? What school is this?”

“That’s all I can think of,” I sigh as I desperately continue racking my brains in search of any other clue of what might be going on in my teenage son’s life. “In Turnpoint Mountains. Where he has always been.”

“Which one?” Bakerman points out there are numerous schools in our area.

“The Atheneum, by the lake,” I inform him. “I’m taking up warm cocoa. Feels a bit like rewarding bad behavior.”

“Try reassuring him all will be ok,” Bakerman says in his soft hypnotizing voice. “Tell him that his behaviour is not acceptable and when he is worried he needs to talk to you so you can help. Please avoid putting your shit on him.”

I put down my phone without turning it off or ending the conversation. My mind is worried and I am feeling it deep within me to be a mother now. To be nurturing and understanding of my child in need. When I return back downstairs five minutes later, I am amazed to find my best friend still present on the other side.

“He’s tired and almost asleep so no talk,” I sight. “I did tell him it was unacceptable but he’s asleep.”

“Tomorrow is good too,” Bakerman reassures me that tomorrow is a new day.

“I don’t put my shit on him,” I snap defensively. Then I correct my tone as I do realize that Bakerman is trying to help. “Problem is Picasso. We had words last night when Quentin was there.”

“Ah,” Bakerman pipes up.

“Picasso can do nothing wrong in Quentin’s eyes. He’s very defensive of his dad,” I complain. I hadn’t brought up the incident earlier as my dealings with my ex-husband are not the kind I am fond to remember. “Picasso started having a go at me so I finally ignored him and walked off. Picasso followed me of course with all comments and insults in tow.”

“No I mean don’t make him feel guilty,” Bakerman advises. “Not the right time for that. As for the idiot Quentin’s father, that’s a different story.”

“Don’t make him feel guilty about what?” I ask not sure of understanding his clear words of wisdom.

“When will you learn to teach your moron he is welcome to talk about kids,” Bakerman scolds me as he has many times before. “Anything else to write you a letter.”

“He pushed me and raised his fist. This will have consequences,” I burst out a little too loud. “He came along to the school for enrolling Quentin. We queued for three whole hours. Three hours is too much for Picasso.”

“Yes it should,” Bakerman acknowledges. “But first find out what is going on, then punish accordingly.”

“Three hours is too long to spend confined with Picasso,” I ponder on.

“I guess you asked him to come and keep you company?” Bakerman mocks me openly now.

“I will try,” I nod more to myself, wondering how I am going to get my boy to confide in me what’s bothering him so much. “No he wants to be co-parent and be involved in all this stuff. I should have let him leave. I was outraged that he wouldn’t make the effort to queue along with all the other parents.”

“Yes you should know better by now,” Bakerman laughs gently to diffuse the tension. “Picasso has the IQ of a fish for God’s sake.”

“I don’t know how I’m going to understand what’s going on with Quentin,” I sigh reluctantly and already feel the first tinges of wanting to give up before I’ve even started.

“Picasso is all talk no action,” Bakerman reminds me. “You know this.”

“He’s a plant. He’s a spoiled brat. Oh my God, poor Picasso had to queue for three hours. Fucking idiot,” I spit out letting my anger and frustration rip. “How will I get through to Quentin? Why does he hate me so much?”

“Quentin is easy,” Bakerman reassures me. “Be kind, attentive, loving, warm and understanding. But most important ask questions and listen listen listen.”

“And when he starts shouting?” I want to know. “What then?”

“You tell him you love him so much,” Bakerman replies matter of factly. “Keep your voice calm and firm. Ask how he is feeling and what is he thinking about.”

“Ok, but I do stay calm and firm most of the time,” I reply rather annoyed that his answers aren’t shedding more light on the matter. Well apart from the fact that I should remember to be a mother more often. “Thanks for listening.”

“Ok don’t worry too much,” Bakerman continues to tend to my emotional wounds. “Persist and he will come around. He is old enough to understand what’s going on. So tell him the truth about your relationship with Picasso.”

“Which is?” I ask him as my interest goes soaring through the roof. “He doesn’t want to know. His dad is sacred and I am mud.”

“Picasso was not right for you,” Bakerman continues to spell it out for me step by step. “But he made two beautiful children who you love. Picasso is angry that you left him. Picasso is not always right and is teaching Quentin bad manners.”

“Yes true,” I admit relieved. “Picasso still talks about me as his wife. He did that yesterday.”

“It will work out,” Bakerman lets me know it will all be alright again soon. “Quentin needs to know the basic truth.”

“And the truth I explain as you just told me?” I insist.

“Yes,” I can hear Bakerman smiling warmly now.

“Ok. That’s easy and clear and low drama,” I am feeling instantly so much better. “Thanks.”

“Ok,” Bakerman’s warm voice echoes down the phone.

Being a mother is a nurturing, selfless role. To me, being a mother is a well of unconditional love. Or at least that is my aim most of the time. Sometimes it’s easy to lose touch of our motherly role, especially when we’re feeling depleted. Yet it’s these qualities that I love most about being a mother. Reminding myself to step back into this role is a life changing realization.

* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.

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Chosing for yourself which habits are healthy

“Hello hello!” I chime as I step into the bakery one fine spring lunchtime. I have been working from home all morning and feel like I deserve a treat to reward myself for reaching targets and being productive.

“Hi,” Bakerman smiles at me. “How are you?”

“Feeling happy,” I smile back at him as I sit down at a little round table near the window. “Wanted to say hi.”

“Why what’s wrong?” Bakerman teases me as he heads over to my table with two cups of tea.

“Have enrolled Winston in big school,” I beam proudly. “Hahahaaa. Nothing wrong. Bad man.”

I wink at him naughtily as I take a sip of the fresh hot brew. “Need to finalize my offers. I have 4 big hot leads to follow up. The one I told you about, I will send tonight with Mechelen as a reference. Exciting. Would be good if I land them all. Or is that greedy?”

I gaze over to the counter and become all big-eyed. “I’ll have chocolate cake today.”

“No give it your best shot,” Bakerman answers as he gets up slowly from our little table. He heads over to his counter to cut me a nice serving of the deliciously looking chocolate cake.

“Mmmm? Why no?” I question him, my eyes on the cake and my mouth watering. “Spring is in the air.”

“It’s not greedy,” Bakerman clarifies as he places the chocolate cake before me presented on a dainty little dish I’m sure Debbie has made in her pottery classes.

“I love spring,” I repeat again gazing out the window dreamily. I’m good at pretending I’m not dying to dig into that cake immediately. I have self-restraint, I do. “Good then I can go and have more cake. I am addicted to chocolate cake. Smoke free for more than 4 weeks now.”

“Yes me too,” Bakerman watches me with a twinkle in his eye. I forget all about good manners and eating lady like. Chocolate cake isn’t made to be eaten daintily. “I love rebirth and lots of growth.”

“Rebirth?” I question him with my mouth full of cake. “It must be interesting being you. I wonder how your thoughts tick.”

“Wow! Congratulations,” Bakerman applauds. “You only need to overcome the psychological side effects only.”

“I still love smoke and cigarettes,” I continue gazing out of the window dreamily. My eyes glaze over. “Only they tasted horrible in the end. Smells awful, stink! And my body doesn’t like it. But I love to smoke. Havent smoked in 4 weeks. How about you? Are you smoking now?” I pause to look at him and to take another sip of tea. “I’m going to get fat. Soooo? Are you smoking?”

“Yes sadly I am,” Bakerman admits shaking his head. “But very little. I hate it. I gave up giving up.”

“I know, it really is horrible. Yet really delicious,” I sympathize. “I think it’s the smoke that twirls all around you. The deep inhaling. And the fire. Caveman like.”

“I guess so,” Bakerman shrugs his shoulders and looks out of the window for anything worthwhile capturing my attention as it seems. He soon concludes it’s just one of my avoidance tactics though.

“Oh yessss,” I smack my lips enthusiastically. “It would be great if I could limit myself to three a day. But sadly I smoke like a maniac. All or nothing.”

“Better nothing,” Bakerman holds my gaze intently.

“My BNP contract is up for renewal end of June,” I offer a little worried as I finish off my cake. “I would like to ask for a raise. How’s the best way to ensure I get it?”

“Be honest,” Bakerman’s answers are always short. “Show added value.”

“Haha,” I laugh tossing my head back. “That’s a poopy answer. I want a magic solution.”

Even the most logical persons amongst us seek to create some kind of magic to help with setting intention and manifestation. First thing in the morning is an ideal time to set intentions. Writing down your goals and desires can make your intentions all the more powerful. My advice to you is to release anything blocking you to achieve your dreams. And use your passion to plant seeds for new opportunities. My passion is storytelling. It helps me to use my writing to support growth in my daily life. What about you? Maybe your passion is singing, or painting. Wherever your passion lies, use it to support change and transformation.

* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.

Go big or do nothing at all

I pop in to see Bakerman after work to cheer him up and to check on how sick he really is. Het is not going well at all, temperature running high and a vague expression on his face. His body and his entire being is clearing his energy field of all the negativity that has accumulated. What I am about to hear is going to call the beginning of a brand-new era in our lives.

“Oh hi,” I greet him as I bustle into his bakery atelier. “My conf call turned out to be postponed. And I’m a bit late.”

“Better than never,” Bakerman smiles meekly, happy to see me.

“So my mother, positive evolution?” I ask him cutting straight to the chase.

“I am going to have a slice of cake and a big cup of tea now,” Bakerman skuttles around his workplace slowly gathering deliciously smelling items. “Do you want some?”

“Yesss please. Chocolate cake?” I am looking around at all the tempting things he has concocted. “Wim is going to start a blog too now. Fun huh.”

“I don’t know,” Bakerman has his back to me as he is shaking and trying carefully to prepare two big mugs of fresh tea. “My job is to help you look at alternatives instead of a single point of view that may or may not be correct.”

“Mmmm lost me,” I sigh as I take a big bite of the chocolate creamy cake he just placed in front of me. “Great cake though.”

“What was the whole reading for your mom?” Bakerman turns to face me now holding out a hot steamy mug of tea. I accept his offer quickly afraid he might spill half of the hot brew in his clumsy sickness.

“She’s financially well off but can’t see it,” I start recounting what the story of my wild unknown tarot cards. “She reaps what she sows with me and my brother. Too much in control. A big change is coming, sudden. And she’ll be upset. But it’s a blessing in disguise. In two years she will meet a new love interest. I told her to do AirBnB for extra income. Or English conversation. Or cake workshops. How to make a blue cake for instance. Hope renewed. Connect to the force within.”

“Was she not an accountant or something?” Bakerman asks as he slowly stirs his tea with a small dainty spoon.

“No she was an administrative assistant at the army,” I tell him. That translates into less than a secretary. “She liked to pretend she was very important.”

“Oh,” Bakerman shrugs as he takes a first sip of his tea.

“And she liked to copy the military,” I could go on forever on details regarding my mother. “She said she never saved for her pension. Can anybody really be so reckless?”

“Yes sure,” Bakerman nods at me unblinkingly.

“She says she only has one income,” I go over the inconsistencies with my best friend. “Does this mean my brother doesn’t contribute to paying the costs of living at home?”

“Of course not,” Bakerman laughs. “Your mother should have put him in a special nursing home years ago.”

“Haha,” I enjoy a good laugh. “Yes she should. I think he only works part time. Lazy sod.”

“The best way to treat your brother is to get him help in finding a job and keeping it then throw him out,” Bakerman eyes me coolly from his puffy red face.

“My mother will never throw him out,” I shake my head looking down at the tea mug resting in my lap. “I told her she should get him to move on. But always excuses.”

“She knows he can’t survive on his own,” Bakerman mocks.

“Yup,” I sigh.

“Make sure you teach your kids the value in achievement,” Bakerman warns me.

“I do all the time,” I smile back at him. “And they do chores.”

“Discipline is very good for kids,” Bakerman confirms.

“Yes I dont want morons like my brother,” I pull a funny face as I think of that genetic failure.

“Does he know he is the village idiot in Turnpoint Mountains?” Bakerman hears all the gossip in town as people come and go in his bakery. “There is another one very similar in Emelo Woods too. Guy is 40 and never worked a day in his life. Lived at home from birth.”

“I don’t think so,” I go on thinking deeply. My mother would have said something if it were the case. “Some call him ‘bambi’. My mother thinks that’s endearing somehow.”

“You should tell him,” Bakerman urges me. his fever clearly rising inside of him. “The whole village knows about him and laughs at him.”

“The village thinks he’s a little old man,” I tell him about the rumours I have heard. “They think he’s my mom’s boyfriend. Nobody believes me when I tell them he’s my brother. They laugh when I say he’s my younger brother. Incredible.”

“It was suggested once that I should offer free treatment for him,” Bakerman is holding my gaze. I remember him offering to talk to my brother last year, but that was the other brother.

“Yes you should,” I push him a little. I’m starting to wonder how much of the fever is actually doing the talking.

“No,” Bakerman shakes his head resolutely. “Incest cases are not my thing.”

“How is he involved in incest?” I am shocked to my core. Is there a simple way to talk to a man delirious with fever? “You mean with my mother? Now it is weird how they live together. Go on vacation together.”

“Who knows the truth,” Bakerman shrugs. “Such is the rumour.”

“Sleep in same bed on vacation,” I go over the weird evidence accumulating under my unbelieving eyes. “It is the rumour, I know. But it can’t be true.”

“Why not? I had a case like this long ago,” Bakerman remembers sourly. “Father and son were fighting all the time. Fist fighting and father couldn’t figure it out. Son was fucking mother and became possessive. Mother preferred fucking son. Son is now living in a mental institution as he is screwed up from this. Both parents are dead now. He has been a basket case for years. Hated having to submit a report to the authorities.”

“Oh my that sounds bad,” I shake my head. I know I can’t cope with even hearing about such things. I’d rather live in my peaceful little world, without drama and terrible stories only my birth family could come up with. “I couldn’t cope with cases like that.”

“Yes,” Bakerman nods solemnly. “Who is your brothers father?”

“I can’t even read the newspaper without getting upset,” my head is spinning now and I’ve lost track of the plot. Are we talking about my brother in the UK and the abuse he put up with from Graham? Or my brother here in Belgium? “My stepdad? Fwa-fwaaah.”

“Yes I know,” Bakerman nods mysteriously.

“Frank is his real name,” I go on. “He looks the spitting image of him.”

“Is he in touch with your brother?” Bakerman asks inquisitively.

“Yes but not often now,” I tell him only what I have heard. “He’s drinking again. And very involved with his new Philippino wife and her lot. He never bothers with me and my kids. Sometimes my brothers but not often.”

“Sounds good,” Bakerman smiles.

“Does it?” I pull up my eyebrow at him.

“You don’t need the added aggravation,” Bakerman points out.

“I don’t,” I sigh.

“Your brother just needs to meet a bitch like his mother and he will be off,” Bakerman lets me know it will all be okay.

“Hasn’t happened yet,” I point out the obvious flaw in his statement. “Don’t think he ever will.”

“There must be loads of them in Belgium,” Bakerman has told me before that there are a million more fish in the sea.

“Mother won’t allow it,” I snort. “There are. But what, come home, be quiet for mom?”

“I understand my elder sister is also crazy,” Bakerman reveals part of his story. “She has a boyfriend who is 30 years her junior. He is a paid companion. A gigolo I guess. Fat and useless. Worked six months in his life so far. Yet she hangs onto him as though butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. Maybe women go crazy when they hit menopause or 60. Maybe they think it will dry up. Even a dog that likes to lick is an option.”

“But he’s her son!” I am starting to feel defensive now. I hate horrible talk and even though I don’t like the lot of them, I won’t stand for nasty talk. “I don’t understand this. I want my children to live full lives. Adventures of their own. Not extensions of myself. Ugh my mom has cats. This is all very dirty, very scary and not healthy.”

“Ah but your autism is different from hers,” Bakerman continues in the same monotone voice. “She see things as possessions. If she can’t own you then you are the problem.”

“I am the problem,” I repeat for myself. “Oh dear, that’s psychopathic.”

“If you blog this please make up names and cities that protect your family,” Bakerman looks at me alarmed.

“Haha,” I laugh as I can’t for the life of me imagine to ever repeat what I have just heard. “Yes true. Like which names? Tweedledum is pretty good.”

“Sure it’s always the same pattern,” Bakerman nods. “Your mother needs to own everyone she is close to. The concept if love is very distant to her. Sex equals love.”

“And the Old-Woman-in-a-Shoe,” I burst out in hysterics now. This conversation has clearly gotten under my skin.

“Yes something like that,” Bakerman is eyeing me with growing concern.

“Ugh disgusting,” I curl my nose. “Now I know where my weird behaviour comes from.”

“Yes,” Bakerman confirms.

“Or how I thought I had to do,” I go on seeing the light. “And it never felt right. So she is doing it with him. Yuk disgusting.”

“My next point. You can change it,” Bakerman always offers options.

“That will never stop,” I give up before I have even started. “I can? That’s the death card. How?”

“Yes you can change your behaviour only,” Bakerman explains the rules to me.

“Ah but I’m fine,” I say firmly. “How do I save my mother and my brother?”

“Fiona you must not put your filters in when reading tarot,” Bakerman scolds me. “You don’t know what’s in her future. You can’t.”

“What do you mean?” I ask him desperately.

“You can’t save them only they can,” Bakerman looks at me with sorry eyes. “You can help them achieve the desire to change.”

“So my blog will expose them and force them to change?” I ponder as anxiety creeps further up my spine.

“No it will just bring a new law suite,” Bakerman sighs looking into his empty tea mug.

“Public shaming does work,” I speak up. “Will it? Even if I talk about Tweedledum?”

“You need proof,” Bakerman puts his cup down and moves over in a conspiratorial fashion. “Have a few mini bugs placed in their house and record them for a month. Then you will have evidence.”

“Okay sounds fun,” I wink at him. “I’ll get their place bugged next time I’m in there. Or get the kids to do it. Or I know people who know people.”

“I am going shopping now,” Bakerman gets up slowly. “You could just ask her to clarify the rumour which she will deny but might think about.”

“Ok will do,” I say reluctantly as I can’t see myself ever having this conversation ever again.

“Ok have fun,” Bakerman waves after me as I make my way out of his atelier, back into the fresh spring air outside. I will always marvel at Bakerman’s ability to match his coaching strategies to each client for maximum success. His fever seems to have left together with the negativity he just spun out. I could almost visually see him releasing it all as he exhaled. I inhale the fresh spring air and take in the fresh energy of the sun, allowing it to light the way to a brand-new era.

* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.

A journey of conscious reactions

“Good day,” I smile at the Wizard as I am speeding down the highway this Tuesday around noon. “How are you? Did you sort your electricity problem?”

I look over at the Wizard cat as he lands his pink cloud softly on the passenger seat next to me. I had been dying to discuss various things with him yesterday, but his foul mood had prevented me from telling him all the good stuff going on. The cat looks a lot happier so I decide to spill the beans: “I had a weird day yesterday, full of strange messages. Want to hear? I also have my video try-out in a minute. I’m nervous as hell.”

“Hi. Yes the electric is temporarily solved,” the Wizard evades to be too specific as what has actually been sorted. “Tell me about your messages. Nervousness is good. Keeps you sharp if you can relax.”

“First a message from the Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe,” I tell him. I then fumble around in my handbag, pull out my phone and hand it to him displaying the message I had received. I keep my eyes on the road so cannot gauge him for an immediate reaction.

The Wizard stares at my screen for what seems like a long time. Before I know it, I have arrived at my destination and find myself maneuvering into a parking spot.

“Haven’t replied,” I call after the Wizard as I climb out of the car and off to my appointment.

Today I am going to my first meeting about creating online video trainings with other Belgian entrepreneurs. This is the moment I have been waiting for an entire year. It is the song and dance I have desired. I have visualised it, tasted it. Yet here I am on the brink of realizing my dreams in a different way than I had expected, granted, but still… This offer seemed to be made specially in response to my dreamline. To describe the feeling in one sentence: it’s like I am connecting to my dreams, my desires and the entire universe in slow motion.

“Nice message,” the Wizard picks up the thread when I get back into my car an hour later. “Read it in a positive light if you can by looking at her finances through her eyes. Put away the anger. No reply is needed so you can just let it go for now. She will let you know her calculation in good time. How was your shoot?”

“Scary and stiff at first, but a true diva after 4 takes,” I smile a little tired from spending so much energy in such a short time. “So I got a ‘yes’. We shoot the first video in March!”

“Well done,” the Wizard is looking me over very pleased for me, and a little pleased with himself for obtaining such positive results on his continuous coaching efforts.

“Second message, a peanut bringing in another peanut,” I am quick to pick up the thread again where I left off. “Third message, a peanut getting fatter. And fourth message is a bit poop. In December, before I realized how severe my situation was, I had applied for a Women in Analytics conference in Ohio. They just replied that they have selected me and will pay for my plane ticket. Which would be good news but it’s on March 14th and I have 3 kids, no sitter, no Star… so I can’t go I don’t think.”

“Meaning,” the Wizard is looking puzzled trying to make sense of all the news I have told him.

“Good news is that the videos should start around March 14th,” I look on the bright side always. “Win some lose some?”

“I guess,” the Wizard answers unconvinced.

“Ok… but things seem to be looking up right?” I ask him having picked up on his questioning undertone.

“Where is your au-pair?” the Wizard wants to know.

“She won’t be here till end of March or begin April,” I inform him of the red-tape administration we have to go through. “Take the baby with me to Ohio? No, none of this makes sense financially.”

“Suck up to the Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe?” the Wizard offers.

“And final message… I reached out to another successful single travel mom,” I go on ignoring the Wizard’s last suggestion. “I got on her newsletter list of course and apparently she gives away a grant of 1.000 each month to a mom she has selected with a good cause or a great career idea or a product or a plan. Whatever. I want to win this. What would be my best foot forward?”

I know immediately as I’ve said this that the idea is not a good one. So I decide to answer to the not-so-good-suggestion the Wizard made previously: “No way, the Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe hates me. She has no time for the kids and Willem doesn’t know who she is. Besides on a Wednesday she takes care of Tweedledee’s little girl and his ex-girlfriend’s son… So she does have time and attention for kids who aren’t even hers. The Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe is a bad idea. I mean, what about the fact that she wants to sue me again?”

“Ok,” the Wizard answers as he immediately realizes the response he has provoked.

“Interesting though. She has plenty of money but too stingy to spend it,” I go on. It’s useless, once I’m on this rant, I just go on and on and on. “Old Mother Goose told me she would leave money to all the grandkids in her will because she knew her two other kids would give to theirs but that the Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe wouldn’t give a cent. And she was right. When Old Mother Goose passed away the other two gave to their kids. The Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe didn’t. The others are lucky. The Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe’s brother Jack takes his kids, grandkids and his wife’s daughter on a yearly vacation somewhere sunny. He rents a villa with swimming pool in Portugal and Mallorca and stuff. The Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe almost dropped dead when she once and only once invited her three kids out for a meal. Oh well, that’s just money I guess.”

I inhale deeply as I remember the Wizard’s words earlier to see things more positively. So I inhale and leave my first response for what it is and go on to my second response, the one on which I will base my future actions: “Her message was positive, kind of. First time in years she hasn’t addressed me with ‘hallo Fiona’. I don’t know why she always started it in Dutch but there must have been an insult there somewhere though. Also first time she ended with ‘have a nice day’. She has never ever written that before.”

A few soft words of advise : Pay attention to what events trigger your emotions throughout the day. These are clues to issues that are better addressed from within yourself rather than blaming external circumstances for your emotional reactions.

 

* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.

Charity for a spiritual sponge #PeaceOfMind

The next lunchtime the Wizard finds me in a disgruntled mood. He hovers around me observing my overall attitude.

“Good day,” I say to the Wizard with a voice that conveys I am not in a happy place right now. “The Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe is still harassing me about money. She is adamant I still owe her 289 Euros. Shall I just ignore her?”

“No. Pay it,” the Wizard says matter of factly.

“What really?” I say in disbelief. “But I don’t agree. Her calculation is wrong. At the most I might still owe her the 89 Euros. Seriously? Why? Why can’t I ignore her?”

“Fight if you want to,” the Wizard sighs. “Cheap price for peace.”

“There will never be any peace,” I say angrily. “Ignoring isn’t fighting.”

“Once she has nothing left to harass you about cut her off as much as possible,” the Wizard advises.

“Why can’t I do it now?” I want to know. “And what about her calculation being wrong?”

“You can,” the Wizard reassures me. “But there is a discrepancy in the amount so this will go one forever. Plus don’t be cheap. Money will come back to you. See it as charity.”

“Charity…,” I trail off. “For the poor little Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe.”

“Yes,” the Wizard smiles.

“Stupid Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe,” I snap.

“Yes,” the Wizard nods.

“Pffff what a scam,” I roll my eyes at him. “What a cheap excuse of a mother. She’s a piss-poor mother. Will this ever come back to her?”

“No you gain the upper hand,” the Wizard starts laying out the big picture for me. “Tell her you disagree with her calculation but you give her the benefit of the doubt out of sympathy. You tell she needs it more than you do, so she can have it with pleasure.” He waits a moment to make sure I have understood that part, then he continues: “Yes it already has. The punishment has already begun.”

“I am telling you this will never stop,” I say bewildered. “She will find something else. Oh yes, which punishment?”

“Yes she will but you can negotiate it or ignore it as she no longer has any power over you,” the Wizard says calmly. “Punishment, old and bitter. Maybe in time lonely too.”

“Old, bitter, dried-up, single, horrible Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe,” I snap again.

“Yes with no grandchildren to spoil,” the Wizard goes on in a monotonous tone. “In short ‘zero value’.”

“Well one. She has Tweedledee’s little girl,” I point out. “She doesn’t know how to spoil.”

“Until he too gets tired of the bitterness,” the Wizard predicts.

“Too anally retentive,” I mock.

“Ok I got to go,” the Wizard’s ears start twitching as his cloud starts humming to take off again to the warm white sands of Cuba.

I blow him a kiss but still want to set the record straight on the so-said discrepancy: ” I did pay it, but just one payment from a different account. I have an SMS text message of her proving receipt of this payment. If I go proving everything, then I am the one counting Euros in a plastic bag. If I pay it, she will have had her interests like she demanded. I will never get the upper hand and the pestering will never stop. So I draw the line here. I am not paying the Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe a single cent more. And I am not communicating or answering her anymore either. It has to stop somewhere.” That was my first response, but reason soon sets in. “But you’re right. I’ll pay her off. With disdain. And I am going to be soooo successful. Watch me.”

“I am not watching,” the Wizard teases.

“Poop. How am I going to be successful then?” I sulk. “Okay I won’t be big, successful or famous. I’ll just remain sweet little me forever.”

“I expect you to succeed,” the Wizard looks at me intently with his big blue eyes. He then pulls out a tea pot and a chocolate muffin on a dainty little plate from somewhere in his pink fluffy cloud.

“Oooh I love that,” I say with radiating warmth and comfort. “Looks delicious and the pottery is just so cozy and beautiful. Really wow. Well done both of you.”

“Thanks,” the Wizard beams with pride. “Still a few small hurdles to overcome and then sales begin. Plus I have a teaching post. My partner wants me to also do conversations in English on Sunday evenings. Busy busy boy.”

“That’s good!” I cheer him on. “And great to see you complement each other.”

“Yes we do but only on Sundays,” the Wizard winks at me mysteriously.

“Not sure I get this,” I ponder which double meaning he could be hiding in that simple phrase. “You and Debbie are always together… or you only speak English on Sundays?”

“Always speak English on Sundays,” the Wizard corrects me.

I smile at him for the comfort his friendship brings me and fondly wave him off as he takes off on his cloud.

 

* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.

Come clean #politicallyincorrect

I am distracted as I sip my macchiato at BNP’s work café. The Wizard has floated up quite discreetly and has joined me in my booth. His ears twitch as he assess my mood.

“Hmmm hmmm hmmm,” I blow my coffee absent mindedly wondering how I can word what is going on in my mind. “It has been several times in the past few weeks now that the Knave of Hearts’ name has been mentioned in meetings. I hope they’re not bringing him back.”

“Wait and see,” the Wizard smiles at me keeping his keen blue eyes locked on my body language.

“So men are penis driven,” I repeat after him. “Why would that stop him from wanting to see his son? And I am really still very desirable. Hmmm strange.”

“Questions I can’t answer,” the Wizard tells me softly.

“Stranger still,” I look at him in surprise. The Wizard knows everything surely. “Why can’t you answer it?”

“Desire is in the eye of the beholder,” the Wizard looks at me amused. “I can’t speak for others. What are you thinking?”

“I don’t understand how he could not be thinking about little Willem,” I open up to him. “Why doesn’t he feel the pull to see and hold his son. I am not sure what I would feel if I saw him again. Or what I should feel. I didn’t like him ignoring me. He’s been ignoring me for the past 2 years now. No reason that would change if he came back. And what if he comes back and in the meantime he is married with children? How will I feel then? Will Willem never see his father? Will he never know him? And what about Wim? Wim is being a fine father figure for Willem. Maybe better than the Knave of Hearts ever could have been. I always had visions of the Knave of Hearts playing and spoiling the little boy. I don’t understand why that’s not happening. I also don’t understand why I still feel so confused and attracted and angry. Well no yes, I understand why I am angry and hurt.” I let out a deep sigh at the tangle of my very politically incorrect thoughts. “Strange… Maybe they’re not bringing him back and it’s just a big coincidence that the boss and others have mentioned him several times now. Just a coincidence. Nothing will happen.”

“I see the pattern of your thoughts is still the same,” the Wizard tells me disgruntled. “I understand you always only think about yourself. I have to point out, you are not the center of the universe. You don’t have the power to control or change other people’s lives to suit your need. The Knave of Hearts rejected you completely as someone untestable and a liar by your own doing and now you think after two years he must repent and forget what you did. Children suffer for the wind of their parents.”

I laugh as the Wizard’s cloud had started making little jolty movements. The Wizard corrects himself very annoyed by the incidence as he pats the cloud repeatedly with his back paw. “Oh this cloud. Untrustable. He rejected you as someone untrustable. And kids suffer for the sins of their parents.”

“I understood,” I laugh playingly at his discomfort. “And I am sorry for Willem. I don’t agree though. I rejected the Knave of Hearts because he did nothing, always arrived late in the evening, and the only thing he wanted to do was go out dancing. We had an argument once and he stormed out leaving me pregnant and to beg for him to come back. He was no husband or farther material. I chose what was best for me and all three of my kids. Winston and Lilly both told me they didn’t like him. Those are all red flags that count. I know it was a terrible lie and it was designed to be one. I think I did my best at making sure that he would never come back. I cried and begged and made it all very unappealing. While inside I wasn’t that bothered at all. It’s all very strange I know. I still believe my subconscious picked up on something and wanted him out.”

“Well what ever happened happened,” the Wizard advises me to let bigons be bigons. “Let it go. Have a good cry and blow your nose. William will grow up anyway and be who he will just the same. Stop worrying about it. Job well done.”

“Okay Willem is doing fantastic,” I smile at him and blow him a kiss back as he floats discreetly through the window.

* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.

The coins you’ll never forget #fystatements

I had a fantastic evening laughing and chatting with the Dormouse. The Wizard had slept almost all the way through our funny interlude. He only awoke at the end to tell me to pay off the Old-Woman-who-lived-in-a-Shoe. He told me to be sure to do this with disdain.

“Good morning,” I smile at my friend. “Buenos dias Doc Oz. Okay I’ll do that. How can I do it with disdain? Do I just think it?” I ask him puzzled. “What worries me most is what is next? I’m scared she will sue me to see Willem next. She has never shown any interest in the little fellow so you can’t tell me she’ll treat him right. My guess is she didn’t like something on my blog recently and needs to retaliate. Pester me for a reaction. Sad old woman.”

“How much do you owe her?” the Wizard wants to know.

“She says 2.769 Euros but I have noted down 2.500 Euros with all other payments I made,” I confess.

“If you can afford to pay her, do so in fifty cent pieces or ten cent pieces,” the Wizard says with a keen twinkle in his eyes. Mischief is brewing, I can sense it.

“In cash? Really?” I cry out in amazement. “Wim was going to transfer the money to me and I will transfer it this weekend. In cash is better? What about 5 Euro notes? Or 10 Euro notes?”

“Yes. One cent would be best but can be heavy to carry and off load,” the Wizard continues developing his devilish plan. “You tape her when you bring it in case she wants to reject your payment. She must count it in front of you and give you a signed receipt.”

“Seriously?” I can hardly keep my poise. Haven’t had so much fun in a long time. “Okay… So I record her. That’s what I don’t agree with.” I remember giving the White Queen quite a hard time for recording one of our last conversations.

“Well if you don’t want to be unconvinced do a telex transfer,” the Wizard rolls his eyes at me. “That way you have a paper trail. If you want to make it inconvenient for her do it in coins.”

“I openly film her?” I am in utter amazement at the genius behind this plan. “I will think about it. Love the idea.”

“What if she says take it back? I don’t want cash? What will you do?” the Wizard pushes me to think further. Consider the consequences.

“Yes what will I do?” I stop in stupor.

“Do you need a script?” the Wizard asks me annoyed.

“Yes,” I sigh as I fumble with my rings. “Unfortunately I do.”

“Really?” the Wizard’s eyes are popping and he is at a loss with my hopelessness.

“Really,” I insist. “What do I do if she doesn’t want the cash?”

“If she rejects cash you state she doesn’t want you to pay her back at all,” the Wizard smiles a full grin at me.

“Ok,” I confirm I see where he is getting at.

“If she does then she must take the cash coins,” the Wizard states with false modesty.

“Cash coins,” I repeat as my eyes light up and mischief dances through my mind.

“It’s either or,” the Wizard points out there is no in between.

“I still prefer the notes,” I play out the scenario in my mind. “Thanks. You’re brill as usual.”

“Do as you like,” the Wizard sighs.

“Absolute genius,” I confirm ignoring his changing mood.

“Notes means nothing,” the Wizard won’t let it go. He wants me to see the big picture.

“Do you think she will come after Willem?” I ask him anxiously. “Why do notes mean nothing?”

“No inconvenience to count or bank,” the Wizard tells me. “But coins out of the bank wrapping is a major pain in the butt. You just unwrap them and put them in a plastic bag. 2.500 in notes fits in your pocket. Coins is a big fuck you statement.”

“It is a big fuck you statement indeed,” I think rather pleased as that exactly matches the message I want to convey. “You are brilliant. How do you think up things like these?”

“I am sure you could too if you try,” the Wizard for some reason still believes I am no idiot.

“The old hag could think something like this,” I tell him. “Nothing quite as brilliant as this. But equally good. I am useless. I am really too nice and too good.”

“You need to decide what your aim is,” the Wizard winks at me. This means the real clue is coming. “Instead of being PC and emotional about her wanting to see and influence William.”

“PC?” I question him.

“Politically correct,” the Wizard replies. He has told me over and over the past couple of years that I need to ditch being politically correct. It doesn’t serve me.

“I want to keep her away from Willem,” I say resolutely.

“Why?” the Wizard wants to know.

“Because she is nasty?” my voice is nearing a sarcastic tone again.

“Winston and Lilly are still alive,” the Wizard throws back at me.

“Especially with little children,” I emphasize. “Winston and Lilly have a daddy.”

“Really. So what?” the Wizard retorts.

“The old hag is scared of David, and she wants to please men,” I go on explaining how different the Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe reacts to men opposed to women. “She will hurt him to hurt me.”

“So Wim can play that roll,” the Wizard raises an eyebrow.

“She was nasty to me as a baby and as a little girl,” I tell him part of the story he already knows. “She would shake me and slap my face, hit me silly, also with sticks.”

“You still grew up just the same,” the Wizard says kindly.

“Yes and look at me,” I am using my sarcastic voice again. It annoys me.

“I think those days have past,” the Wizard gazes off into the distance for a moment.

“Oh ok. So not worry about her taking me to court?” I ask in utter disbelief. “If she wants the baby she can have him. Why do you think those days have passed?”

“You have to learn how to overcome the difficulties you face,” the Wizard coaches me. “Not run away from them.”

“Ok,” I take a deep breath. “So just give her the baby.”

“Wow the first thing you need is to suppress the bitch that lurks just under the surface,” the Wizard signals me not to jump the gun so fast. “No stop trying so hard to convince me you are brain dead. There are many solutions. I am talking about you not William or the Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe. Most of your battles are because you don’t have a strategy, a clear picture of what is going on, how to deal with it for the good of all parties. You behave like a narcissist sometimes.”

“Oh shit. That’s bad,” I exclaim. I can’t believe I am turning into my worst nightmare myself. “But it’s true. I don’t know how to deal with things, or what’s going on, or how to win-win.”

“The Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe is your mother,” the Wizard points out the obvious. “You know her and how she reacts. Pay her off so she has nothing left to talk about. Then just ignore her.”

“Ok,” I sigh again.

“You need to try other methods to see which one works best,” the Wizard lectures me. “The key is to stop being right and to look for ways that work for you that will bring you success. Once you find that just repeat it over and over.”

I smile as I find his words comforting and healing.

“She can Skype with the kids, see them some tea for an afternoon,” the Wizard continues to spell it all out. “Not more than 3 to 4 hours as she will loose interest after that.”

“She’s not interested in the kids. She never asks to see them,” I say with open disgust. “I always say yes when she asks. Last weekend when it was her court ordered Saturday she refused to see the kids because I had the flu. The only thing that interests her is pestering people.” I take a deep breath and decide to solve the issue at hand: “Should I give her the coins with or without the kids?”

“Without,” the Wizard replies without batting an eyelid.

“Ok,” I have heard him loud and clear. “So you think it’s going to be messy.”

“Yes,” the Wizard nods.

“Oh,” I sigh again. “I hate scenes with the old hag. She’s nasty.”

“My true advice is just transfer the money and let things work out,” the Wizard looks at me with a broad smile and he pats my forearm gently at the same time. His touch is warm and very soothing.

“Okay I will,” I smile relieved. “The idea was brilliant though. Just transfer then ignore.”

“If you want to fight then give her coins,” the Wizard points out that the alternative is still an option.

“Phew I really like that,” I smile as I feel light and warm, as if a heavy burden is being lifted off my shoulders.

“Yes just transfer and ignore or cut it down to a minimum,” the Wizard gives my arm another rub and a pat just to be sure I received all kind energy.

“No I’ve had enough,” I say as I jump to my feet and stand tall. “That’s her life. Her way of doing things. Pestering people and fighting. I just want peace. Little house on the prairie.” I stretch out my back and my arms taking on a few power poses I have learned in yoga class. “Okay I can do that. Thank you very much.”

“Ok,” the Wizard blows me a kiss as he floats loftily towards the door.

* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.