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.
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.
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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
I have been wanting to share inspiration from the book I am reading now for a while. It is a book that is available in many book stores and many would have read it and been inspired by it over the decades since it was first written. It is ” How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie.
Yesterday at work, we had an issue. As we vet reports for our funding agency, we need to look through the report to see if things are done correctly. Technically we don’t or can’t understand the report so no one bothers to read it through those technical sections but we go through the personnel and expenditure to see if all of those sections are filled in. In the personnel section, they report all the researchers who worked on the project since the last report and account for their work. Some of our investigators, the people to whom the grant agency gave the money to conduct research, have a habit of bringing professors and academicians from universities from around the world, into positions like post docs, or research assistants or other such for a few months at a time. They are paid off the project in this capacity, though they contribute to the project as investigators. Yesterday the grant agency found out that in some cases people were reported as investigators and the very same people were reported as post docs or research assistants in other reports- they questioned my supervisor about this discrepancy.
As I left office yesterday, my supervisor still hadn’t returned from her emergency meeting with the Research head because she needed to provide an answer to the grant agency and she feels her head is on the block now. Today we will all meet to see how to report to the grant agency in a way that does not jeopardize the fund and the project.
One of the first things is to ask us who work as coordinators about why we didn’t look more carefully to see if people were in dual roles- one as investigator and the other as researcher. There might be some passing the blame around during today’s meeting.
I have been reading this first chapter of the book and the first principle mentioned is “don’t criticize, condemn or complain”- all three words are applicable to me. I am trying to apply it during our meeting today. A person of true strong character is one who ” has the self-control enough to be forgiving”. Whining, complaining and condemning are easy to do. Self-control over words is the most difficult of things to do.
” I will speak no ill of no man and speak all the good I know of everybody”- the book quotes this from Benjamin Franklin.
” A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men”, the book quotes Carlyle.
” God himself does not propose to judge man till the end of days- why should you and I ?” Dr. Samuel Johnson
It is a slow Sunday again. I am up at 2 am probably because of my diet which makes me very active, very early.
Carbohydrate intolerance and insulin resistance- two words commonly thrown around these days. Research seems to show that almost all of the metabolic diseases are attributable to insulin resistance probably stemming from deposition of fat in the liver and cycles of highs and lows through years of consuming more sugars/starches than necessary. High blood pressure, edema around ankles, blood sugars, gout, fatty liver, gall stones, insulin resistance are all supposedly related to this.
Last week, my husband had high blood sugars( post prandial above 200 mg/dL),which led to a minor panic situation here. He agreed to go zero carb too to see if that would help . So starting two days back, the two of us are on the low carb diet. Day 1 was tough as it involved 24 hour fast. For most of us who have never fasted, completely giving up food is unthinkable. It was the same for him. I have done it before, so I fasted with him. Probably because I have more to lose than him and probably because I have done it before, it was a lot easier for me than him. At hour 18, he almost gave up as he was seeing stars, had a headache and felt horrible. At this time, he broke his fast and indulged in some cheese and olives. Then he continued for the rest of the 6 hours and called it an almost 24- hour fast.
Day 2 was four meals of only vegetables. This was a difficult proposition- most of our bodies are conditioned to automatically reach out for sugars and something starchy throughout the day. Fruits, even healthy ones, were out. The better half confessed that he had been snacking through the day even while at work When food is found all around you, what does one do when he is hungry ? Eat. And that is what he had been doing.
Day 2 helped him and me realize that though he often said, he hadn’t eaten anything since our hearty breakfast, in actuality he was eating sugars. Day 2 cleared successfully for both him and me.
Day 3- today we can add protein back to the diet. For two meals, lets see how it goes.