Fire side Chat with blogger Sheen

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Fireside Chat.”

I have read a lot of posts by blogger Sheen of Flowers and Breezes and would love to meet her in person and know her story. Her life seems interesting and each little post she writes is a story on its own. Her blog posts make me realise that every incident in our lives can be a story and a lesson in itself, if we choose to understand and learn from it.

If I could, I would invite her over to my house and we would have a chat over a cup of tea. We would talk of past lives and of future plans and perhaps about plans together.

Perhaps our lives will cross some time.

Of routines and rituals- the clockwork of life

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Two Right Feet.”

What are the things you need to do within 30 minutes of waking up to ensure your day gets off on the right foot? What happened the last time you didn’t do one of these things?

I got up early today to see what I would do within 30 minutes of waking up. The first thing I did was to wonder why I couldn’t sleep in longer. After all my daughter had a holiday today and as miraculously, the traffic isn’t so bad these days, my husband does not have to go so early to work, I could afford a lie-in. But I couldn’t of course. Pictures of an unmade breakfast and its accompaniments shook and woke me up in a jiffy. I need to wake up fresher and readier for a new day than usual.

Once I got to the kitchen, I saw my hungry cat rubbing his tummy as though he had a rumbly. This reminded me to feed him. I tried to remind him that we were running out of cat food and he needed to economize but of course, it didn’t work. He needed his food all the same.

I tried to think of what would happen if I started off from home a half hour late- would the traffic be too bad, would I be late for work, or would it be okay?

After cooking breakfast and ensuring my family of four ate it, I went to shower and lazed in the hot water for a good 10 minutes after my bath was over. It was bliss- again, I was wondering about many things and one of the things that I thought about was- how different animals were from human beings- they would never ever contemplate taking their own lives. They were grateful for whatever small life they had and they lived them to the fullest. I imagined my three out door kittens- whose very days were numbered. I never knew if I would see them the next day when I went to bed. But each of them seemed happy in his/her own worlds. All they needed was some food and a good belly-rub. A leg to head bonk would be good too.

So it seems most of my first 30 minutes of waking is spent in wondering and in dreaming about things that cannot happen and things I wished would happen.

It seems as if there wasn’t a day in recent years that I haven’t done any of these things but I can imagine what would happen if I didn’t wake up early or make breakfast or feed the indoor cat or forget to feed the outdoor cats or water the plants on the roof. It doesn’t happen at all because I do all these things as if by clockwork but if I stopped doing these things, what would happen.

For instance, if I stopped waking up at 4 am and making food, my family would remain hungry. If I did not feed the cats or the flowers, they would dry up or die. So with so many lives dependent on me, I would not dare to stop doing the things I usually did within 30 minutes of waking up.

I realize that our lives go on with amazing regularity and with preciseness and that lives around us are dependent on our own clockwork mechanisms. If any of us stops, the entire machinery may collapse, and perhaps even lives may be lost.

So I dare not ” not perform” the rituals I usually do.

Weight loss struggles

Since my 10th year( 35 years ago), I have been conscious of my weight. It started off with my father once telling me that I was putting on weight. Until that year, I had been encouraged to eat well and drink a lot of milk to grow “tall and strong”.  From this time, I have been on diets off and on. In modern parlance, we might call it yo-yo dieting. I have never been at terms with my weight or my body size since that time.

Obesity -3

In school about 4 years later, I remember being told off by one of my classmates that I was one chubby girl. I was tall for my age, much taller than the group average but yet someone told me I was chubby and I became ever more conscious of my size since then. When a teacher asked once” who is the fattest student in this group?”- I remember standing up. I still remember the look of surprise on my teacher’s face. Perhaps I was not the ” fattest student”.

When I went to college, during my first year, I remember scoring lower marks than I could ever remember in all my major subjects. It was then that I consciously remember taking resort and comfort in food. I remember gorging on peppermint candies( one of my favorite sweets) dozens at a time. I was addicted to them. I remember also indulging in cream buns by the dozen. Needless to say, these sweet pleasures affected my waistline. But the constant stress of medical school and the stress of being away from home ( a midst strangers), made me delve into more food. I remember starting off on various diets at this time. Sometimes they were ” egg diets” , sometimes ” milk diets”. I cannot remember ever eating normally or at decent times during my college days.

Obesity

After I left college, I had a normal sort of relationship with food for sometime. This lasted only about a year, until my marriage. And again I started off on various up and down cycles of weight gain and loss. Every time, I felt sad, I indulged in food and every time I felt happy or confident, I had normal relationships with food.

There was a time when I had to take about 10 years off from my career to take care of my little ones. I fell behind my group mates from college in my academic career. And again my self- confidence took a beating. I was on and off the ” food band wagon”.

At the height of my obesity I weighed 95 kgs and stood above 3o on the BMI scale. It was about 10 years ago that I started developing xanthalesma ( the white patches) around my eyes. I was now sure I had hypercholesterolemia. True enough, my blood results confirmed my diagnosis.

Obesity -2

Then I knew I had to take life under my control- I couldn’t let external factors control my life. This was the turning point of my life. I knew I had to love myself before any body else loved me. How I took control of my life is another story.

Why am I here ?

I sometimes ( no these days it is often) wonder why I am on this earth.

What is my purpose here ?

Am I doing good to any one ?

Will I be missed when I leave or will it be ” good riddance”?

Everyday I am reminded of how hopeless and futile living is

Life is too short for some and too long for others,

For those for whom it is too short, they wished they lived longer

But for those who live long, they wish their lives were shorter.

How can we find out the purpose of our lives ?

I guess we can only guess why we are here .

Sometimes it might be to provide a comforting shoulder

For someone to cry on.

Or it may be to provide some food to a hungry, cold bird

Or it may be that I can provide shelter to a shivering cat

My human mind can find no human need for me to be on earth.

But there seems to be always someone who wants me here,

And perhaps that is what keeps me living and my life going on.

Is it wrong to wish for our lives to be shorter ?

Is it wrong to think that we are of no use to any one ?

I wonder whether i will ever get an answer.

Till such time, I have no option but to live life as it comes

And hope that tomorrow will than today be better.

Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea

In recent days, my family has noticed that I snore a lot when I sleep. The funny thing is I know that I am snoring too- perhaps I am in that part of the REM sleep, when I am semi- conscious but conscious of sounds that I make. Anyway, I have been told that snoring can lead to obstructive sleep apnea,which can lead to day time tiredness.

Now daytime tiredness is something I am familiar with. I have had it for about 7 years, if I remember right. But I thought it was because of my tiring job and stress at work that made me tired and not refreshed after my night’s sleep. And getting up at 4 am to prepare breakfast and lunches would make a person tired, wouldn’t it ?

Who knows ?

I went to the ENT doctor yesterday to get my “snoring” checked. It seems I have a very narrow respiratory tract and that is probably caused by my obesity. Great !

After years of yo-yo dieting and watching what I ate, now I am told that I need to lose weight urgently or I have the risk of dying in my sleep. I really don’t know what I can do about it. I think I have tried everything in the book. The one thing I don’t do regularly is exercise. I work at a desk and  I prefer to sit for more time than walk around. Also being in my mid 40s does not help.

I need to start a diet journal and watch my calories. I also need to exercise regularly and diligently.

I am now scheduled to have a polysomnography test.

I don’t really care what the results of the test show – I just wish I could sleep better and be welcoming of a new day like others are.

Guests to stay over

Over the weekend, we had a school friend of my daughters’ staying with us because there was no one at her home to keep her company.

It was just one person, but the family had to make some adjustments to make her stay comfortable. For one thing, everyone had to regulate their bathroom habits- no more than 10 minutes could be allotted per person to ensure that everyone got to use the bathroom before they left for school or work.

I cook for a few days at a time and make new dishes when the left overs are all consumed (there is no wastage of food in our house) but after the guest’s arrival, I make sure that every meal is prepared fresh and served hot on the table. I realised that when new people come to stay with us, I often put on a facade or a new face so guests don’t think too badly of my housewifely trends.

The children gave up their study room to the guest so she could study and sleep in peace and I gave up my reading room so she could read her books with the concentration her books required. It has been a couple of days since I sat at my computer.

I took her for her extra coaching classes and even helped her cross the road, holding my hands.

I am thinking how we all have changed over these few days.

I am reminded of the Greek mythological story of Jupiter and Mercury in the house of Baucis and Philemon and how Baucis went out of her way to make things comfortable for her guests, even going without her dinner.

On a personal front, i do not enjoy having guests over because of all the changes I have to make in my routines- perhaps I am a product of the modern generation, who prefers to live in her own shell and zone of comfort.

I need to think about how some parents actually thought our home worthy  and safe for their daughter’s stay. The hot meals I made for my family have really satisfied my soul and thanks to this guest my family was able to enjoy meals together at the table.

Guests serve as binding forces for the host’s family- during their stay both the guests and their hosts have to adjust with one another – it is a learning experience and perhaps as the good book says, while entertaining guests, we may be blessed enough to entertain angels. Who knows !

What show from childhood would I like to bring back ?

I read a writing prompt on http://selfpublishingteam.com/105-author-blog-prompts/ and decided to respond to this prompt.

I watched the movie ‘Sound of Music” when I was in my 10th year of school, about 30 years back. A group of us girls from our class decided to watch the movie together,with only ourselves as chaperons. It was a totally new experience for us 13- 14 year old girls but we did it.

We reached the movie theater in a group and stood in line to get our tickets which were way cheaper those days ( I can’t remember what I paid though). All of us were in our Sunday  best – those were the days of school uniforms and all of us had ” color dresses’ to wear for special occasions, like visiting relatives, or going to the movies or to churches or to the park. We bought the tickets and went into the theater.

As Maria came singing ” The hills are alive with the sound of music”, our hearts were thrilled and we silently vowed to one day visit the ” hills” Maria raved about. We sang along with her and our hearts missed beats when we heard the church bells ring out and found Maria on the hillside and late for her mass. We ran with her and lost our hats ( imaginary) as she lost her hat in her run to get to the monastery.

We could sympathize with her, as her co- nuns sang about her ‘ behind her back” so to speak. ” Many a thing you know you like to tell her , many a thing she ought to understand- but how d’you make her stay and listen to all you say–”

When the Captain sang ” Edelweiss”, though none of us knew what Edelweiss was, we wanted to be ‘ greeted by the Edelweiss every morning”. Years later when I went to Austria and made it a point to see the Edelweiss, their national flower, I could understand the song and its meaning a lot better.

When the von Trapp family made their final journey over the hills into Switzerland, we wondered where their journey would lead them too. We wanted to know if there was a part-2 to ” The Sound of Music”, so we could share the onward journeys of the von Trapps.

As a child every thing seems so dreamy and possible but as an adult, when most of our dreams have been fulfilled, we wonder where our life is leading us and where it will end. There are no definite dreams or ambitions any more but just a calm acceptance of today and an anticipation of what tomorrow will bring.

With each phase in life, things change, dreams have come true but the one thing that stays on is ” hope”.

The Sound of Music is a show from childhood that I would like to bring back but even more would I like to bring back the golden era of the last years of the 1930s, the years before the second world war.