Artist Date -first week of December

Per Julia Cameron’s book ” Its never too late to begin again”, I started writing the morning pages 6 days ago. The second item recommended by her in the process of knowing oneself is to have an artistic date with oneself. Take off on something that brings out the child inside a person. Its easy to wish an artist date and think about things I did as a child but have not been doing for a long time now.

Smiling, feeling free, no burdens or very few, jumping for joy when a happy something happened( I find it very difficult to jump now with my creaking knees) and so many more things. 

Feeling overwhelmed with the artist date, I decide to google it and look for ideas and there are so many sites that give out ideas- most of them doable. 

Started the clock at 12:15 pm yesterday and decided to stop at 1:15 pm- one hour. I took off to my office garden where  I keep a few plants on the balcony of the third floor which is the only outdoor space on the floor. Cut off a few withered rose flowers, trimmed some plants and cleaned up some flower pots. This is a date without social media or a phone- so I went without any electronic media to document my date. Fifteen minutes later,  I was done. 

What would I do for the other 45 minutes  ? I thought of the stacks of yarn sitting under my office desk and decided to start a crochet project. I have not been able to crochet for more than a year now- I can’t think of starting a project with an unhappy frame of mind. So I took up the book which I got a couple of years back – All American crochet Afghans- edited by Laura Scott and started off on a beginner project- by the time two rows were done, my 45 minutes had passed and without a care in my mind.

This artist date stuff seems to work. 

My inner censor

I am reading ” It’s never too late to begin again” by Julia Cameron recommended by a blogger whose writing I love so much- Molly Stevens.

I have had at least 3 blog posts started but not completed. I have carted all my yarn to my office, so I can keep my fingers busy and not stress over what might have been ( readers will know what I mean). In many unknown ways, my not going to do my Master’s has affected me- the first being my weight gain of over 10 kilos( 22 pounds) and my don’t care less attitude. There have been other stresses all of my own creation and nothing seems to count any more. I don’t have that positive attitude I used to have before that said I can do anything. Everything I try an inner censor comes and says – Oh, what’s the point ?”

Julia says that during work, there have always been colleagues who were critical of our work but as we near retirement, there is another stronger critic, our inner censor. In the chapter two, she says, when we say

” I’d love to design clothes” 

Censor says ” You can’t -you are too old to learn fashion design.

“I’d really love to design clothes”

Censor ” You are not fashionable. 

I’d really like to try, says you. 

Censor : ” What a terrible waste of money”.

” I can afford it”

Censor : You really are a fool

From Julia Cameron’s ” Its never too late to begin again”.

I have an inner censor too. The conversations in my head go on like this :

“I really want to study further, become somebody, make a few publications, become famous. I want to be able to go to my college reunions or school reunions as “somebody”.

Censor : You can’t do it. See what happened last time- you tried to get the visa and the visa woman rejected you. You had all the documents, the money everything in place, but she rejected you. You can’t do anything right. 

” I think I should try again. After all, they are holding my admission for me. Or I should apply to Harvard this time. If someone wants something strongly, the whole universe conspires to give him that said somebody famous. So I should try again.

Censor: No point trying. Even God is not in support of this venture. Your husband will be alone when you go.

” I’ll try to go for the summer course and come back after the summer”.

Censor: Even that won’t work. Just watch how you bungle even such a small thing up.

This weekend, I picked this book up again. I didn’t complete the first reading, though the book has been with me for ages, ever since the library bought it for me. Even reading a book has become a chore these days. If you ask me, am I depressed? Not outright but inside there is a deep, gnawing hurt that doesn’t seem to be going away. I pretend everything is ok and the tears don’t fall anymore but it is there.

Julia tells us to “shrink one’s censor”- describe it, how old is it, what does it look like, what are some of its favorite remarks, or even sketch it. Julia recommends that we name our Censor and this way, we can have conversations with a real named person and make a joke of it, if you will. 

I like this strategy. Over the weekend, an old senior plagued my dreams- her stinker and the way she bullied people around our hostel as Hygiene Secretary came back to me. I decided to name my censor ” Banani” and it is an apt name for my censor is not one- there seems to be a multitude of them, a veritable forest. “Banani” means forests. 

From the book :

“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced”. -VINCENT VAN GOGH

What are things I cannot do ?or says Banani?

Banani says : 

” You cannot crochet again. Your left thenar area hurts so much.

” You cannot lose weight. You cannot control your appetite, even gluttony.”

” You daughters will not get married.”

” You will never return to your home country”.


Now may be best

A friend of mine from another university has been on the line a couple of times trying to contact me. I missed her calls a couple of times and didn’t call her back, when I could, always finding excuses to not call. She is one who has been following my journey about leaving this university to pursue my education. And now I am embarrassed to face her. When my visa was rejected, I told her but have been sort of restricting my communications with her to emails.

My mother, who is recovering from two cancer surgeries had her yearly check up last week. There is a small fatty lump in her abdomen still, which doesn’t seem malignant but one doesn’t know if it is residual tumour from the original mass or a new growth. It has been a year or maybe two years since she went to church. What with the hair falling off and the loss of weight and the sudden aging all her illness took their toll and she couldn’t attend church in a while. Today was a landmark day and she went to church and even had communion. For her it was a true red letter day.

I have a chance to go to church either every week- often I don’t take it and blame the weather or something else to keep away. For people who can’t go, the ability to go and stand through a service is such a blessing. I have heard the thrill in my mother’s voice as she narrated her experience being in church after a long time. One learns the value of small pleasures when one is denied that pleasure for a time.

I talked to my friend a few minutes back. I thought I should not put it away any more for now is best. There is no time like now.

The last summer holidays for the season

This summer has been fraught with short holidays- official ones. That is good, so our leaves are just the same as when summer started off. Thank goodness for compensatory offs for working on official holidays’. Thank Goodness also for being the only one around when others go off on vacations. It makes one feel good to be someone important for a change.:)

So the last summer holidays started or will start on Monday but since it is the weekend, we can count the weekend days too. Plus the fact that a very important leader has died has brought its own compensation. Also family travelling from home has left me to my own devices.

These days I am quite into cleaning and seem to be doing good too. Growing up, my mum  did all the cleaning and I used to watch her cleaning, never offering to help as I knew I would never reach her very finicky standards. Result is for all to see- I can’t clean – for nuts. I can’t even see dust or dirt till it is quite a layer high. Such is my sense of cleanliness. And dust mites don”t bite me- so I know until very late about the layers of dust that need peeling off. Today was a cleaning day. I have been watching youtube videos- particularly ones on Cleaning and dusting to start off my cleaning muse. Plus having an empty nest does help.

Last week, I started going to a school gym for 45 minutes of vigorous exercises- the first day it was weight lifting, the second- boxercise and the third it was fitness challenges, something like HIIT. With my 90 kg frame, it was difficult but I managed to keep going. Also remember, I was probably the oldest one in the group. The trainer was a woman who was in her last two weeks of her pregnancy- she did every exercise. I am inspired to go on.

Gratitude

Waking up early this morning. Feeling fresh and refreshed. It has been a good night. One in which I woke up only once to go to the bathroom( that is a big plus for me).

  1. For the computer, internet and wi-fi that are available 24 hours a day and let me have a virtual world apart from the real world. The virtual world helps me escape from reality for a good while.
  2. For ability to get access to books that help me improve my knowledge of things I thought I knew but actually didn’t and new things I learn every day. For recipes I am learning, creating and perfecting through these readings.
  3. For lowered blood sugars and blood pressure readings and the joy of seeing my husband happy and relaxed. The blessing of seeing this can’t be described in words. I never imagined my life to be so run by the happiness of another person but it is so, it has come to be so after 25 years of being in another person’s life. It comes to me that I have lived more years with this one person than with my parents.
  4. For 20 hungry cats that wait at my door each morning and evening and sometimes just hungry for a pat or a word from my mouth( I talk to animals). For each day I have with them though the thought that they won’t be much longer with me does bother me, I am determined to live in the moment.
  5. For a supervisor who has cooled down and is able to take time off from her worries and enjoy life at work. Her happiness transfers to us too and it is a blessing not to hear the tap of her shoes on the stone floors outside our rooms as she runs to get things done. For the slower pace of things this summer.
  6. For the ability to look at the better side of things at least when it involves others. I am trying to incorporate this in my life too.
  7. For smiles- for the smiles I see each day, for the smiles that remain in the world still. For people who give their smiles freely still. For people who don’t expect anything in return.
  8. For smart world leaders who do their job in their own characteristic way in spite of all the obstacles in their way. For the leader of a certain party who went out of his way to give a bear hug to his bitter critic opponent in parliament and who is ridiculed for it- for his guts to do so and not to keep grudges.
  9. For two legs that allow me to walk at will and that are under my control. I need to appreciate this ability more when I have them rather than wait for when I don’t.
  10. For eyes that see and ears that hear and a skin that heals fast even when injured. For a body that keeps me in one piece despite all the injuries I inflict on it.

Another slow Sunday

True to its name, it has been a sunny day. The sun seems glaring at us from every direction. Even the plants seem to have given up. The ground is parched and cracked even though it is watered twice a day. It can’t seem to win against the evaporation.

As my car’s insurance had expired and we hadn’t noticed until the weekend, I was advised by the car’s owner( my husband) not to drive it till this issue was settled. The funny thing is I have been driving the car from the 3rd of July when the insurance expired until Saturday in ignorance but ever since I became aware and its owner aware, we are trying to be extra careful and follow rules.(sic). So today I called up work and told them I wouldn’t be able to come since I had no car. They advised me to call up an Uber and come to work, rather than take a day off. About 10 am, I took a risk and drove the car as usual. But with extra caution and with a nagging feeling that something untoward was going to happen. Thankfully nothing did and my supervisor was shocked when I told her I drove without insurance. Anyway all’s well that ends well and I am back home, safe and sound and the insurance is all bought and ready.

Elder daughter called me this way and wanted to know why I had stopped messaging her  the past two days. Its true. I have been going slow with the messages since she doesn’t respond often and she is busy and I didn’t want to disturb her routine. Seems like she wanted to talk this Sunday, so I called her and we talked for about an hour.

Husband’s blood sugar is 90 mg% which is 5.1 and this is very normal for fasting levels. It now remains for the blood pressure to be controlled. His serum insulin came up as 10 and that is at the upper limit of normal- so he seems to be getting his insulin levels under control too. All the beef he’s eating has not activated any episodes of gout- yet. That is another symptom of metabolic syndrome. All in all doing well. There is a 24 hour fast scheduled for Wednesday and I rather dread the excuses he might come up with. It is difficult for people to starve in the midst of plenty.

Friday Foibles

It is a time when there is so much to write about but so many things hold one back-have you ever experienced that ? Doubts, should I put it all down or should I ruminate over them in my mind?

First there are reports of rapes and more rapes and atrocities against women. All over, repeatedly. What can women do ? What should we do ? Should we look the other way ?

Then there is a girl and her sister who want to come to our house to work as our own helper man has gone on his annual vacation. She has a day job at our university and wants to make a little money on the side by working at houses. I would have liked to have her but she would only come with another woman. They work together. For me, it was rather difficult – being the shy, withdrawn person that I am to have one too many people at home. But we did it- I relented and they came.

It was great to have someone ( though two) clean the house for me. I never can do it right-mopping the floor would leave water all around that I would slip on myself. Sometimes I leave my footprints on freshly mopped floors and have to do it over. So I was glad to have help but as they were new- I needed to be with them to show them the ropes. So half of my weekend day was expended in this supervisory role(:)). After they were done, I dropped them at a mall where they could get a cab to their work camp.

The house is clean but I think I will be doing the house myself again- that is feasible and workable.

My daughter has learnt a new dance move and she was showing it to me so I joined in. She woke up after 14 hours of sleep – she had come to the mall to drop the two girls yesterday and she got food from the Cheesecake factory- after eating which( perhaps??) she got a migraine, from which she recovered at 10 am today( Saturday)- a nice long nap or sleep she had.

Husband’s sugar is almost under control and without any medications- he is adapting with the lifestyle- no carbs at all- at least none that I could identify. But he took two days of the hypertensive medication which has Thiazide in it and so his blood sugar was a little higher than when it was without any medication. Thiazides are known to affect the liver and cause increased blood sugars. The blood sugars were still in normal range. He planned to get his fasting insulin and hs-C-reactive protein levels done today to confirm hyperinsulinemia and inflammation of the liver but he didn’t make it to the laboratory this morning. Early in the morning on Saturday, his car went to get the annual road worthiness check up and it failed the test- he had bumped the side of it parking in our shed- so that failed the car. Now he needs to get it fixed before the car can go the test again. So one car is out of service again as it has no third party insurance until it passes the test.

Otherwise, today is Saturday and the woman who helps with the cooking is there, preparing healthy meals for us for today- when today I will be fasting and my husband can add one carbohydrate to one meal today- the other meals continue as before( protein 25gms and two cups of above  the ground veggies). It is day 9 today and apart from a few complaints yesterday, he has done well on this diet. Am bent on getting him to a normal lifestyle with no medications if possible.