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.

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.

Thoughts for Tuesday

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

Day 27- argument

June 10, 2018

A hot day. The weather seems to be the same day after day. How i wish there was some other hue to the sky than blue. The blue is beautiful but the shimmer and the haze through which one sees it is monotonous. It is boring. A little grey would be good. Or black. Sunsets are beautiful though, if one can get to observing them. They are like orange and red and blue mixed together.

It is surprising how animals and birds survive this weather outdoors. I sprinkle water out in the garden a couple of times a day, so the cats have a cool bit of space to sit themselves down but their panting pains me. The sultriness of the atmospher is too much for humans- what can we say about poor little animals and plants and birds?

Called my mom today. The call started off well and mom sounds upbeat. Somewhere along the way, the conversation wandered to my sister who stays with my parents and what  she advised my elder daughter about her future life partner. There is no life partner in vision but my youngest sister told my daughter to ask any potential partner if he reads the Bible and prays. My daughter who is all of 25 thinks she knows her own mind and was most upset about her young aunt( my sister who is 30) advising her about marriage. She thinks my sister should just behave her age and not give ” old women” advice. They grew up together though they are aunt and niece with just 6 years of age difference between them. My mom takes sides. She says she tries to be with the daughter who she feels is the underdog- in this situation- my sister is the underdog according to my mom.

I told my mom to accept my children as they are- with their aims of not ever getting married, living life independent and not be judgemental about their choices in life. My mom’s voice changed as I said this and she said, I don’t want to want to talk to people who don’t accept my daughter as she is. As it is, daughter( my sister) feels like an in between always- she is 30 and belongs to my generation but in age she is closer to my children.

It is  difficult to deal with mom who takes sides and who almost always is and has been judgemental about me and my children( at least that is what I feel). I have had the best deal in life according to her. I have the best husband, the best job, the best education and all through it, I am totally unworthy of all the blessings I have. Through my school and college life, I was less than ideal. I would not conform to the norm of my family and be an obedient child. I have never strayed or done anything traditionally considered unacceptable in my family but yet, I was never quite there. I would not stay in my college- I always wanted to quit my medical course as I found the college where I studied “too artificial”, too bullying, too interfering and too suffocating. Running away or not completing a course or changing direction mid way is and has been a “no-no” in our family.

We, each of us, husband, me and children are trying to deal with life as it comes. We have problems and deal with them when they pop up. Our life is not ideal- we argue, we fight, we pout, we wrestle, we disagree- but to people who look at us from outside they think we have it all- we are ideal, we have everything- but no one knows the real us.

Spirit of power

” For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  2 Timothy 7

All through the Bible there are instances of people who have been fearful. Moses when he was called to call and wake up the Israelites from Egypt, protested and had to be convinced by God.

So it was with Jonah- who did not want to go to Nineveh and preach repentance but rather chose to go a difficult route away from the hardships of public speaking.

Over the days of preparation for the exam, I did go through periods of fear, when my daughter feared wondering whether we would get through all the lessons in time. But I was led to this verse today and it embodies all that I went through the last year and also that I might go through.

All of us have in us the spirit of power that if we would harness, we can overcome any trouble that comes our way. Every day as we sat reading our lessons together, my daughter had a new illness that took off her study time- one day it would be a migraine, the other day pain from a callus on her foot and another day it was pain from sinusitis. Till we realized that these are attacks from negative powers that don’t want us to achieve our goals. Once that realization came, the rest was easy. Holding hands and praying not for cure from illnesses but power over negativity and anything that stood in the way of our goals.

It so often happens that when we have set goals for ourselves, so many things happen that seem to sabotage our path to success. Haven’t you felt like there are unknown powers in the universe that don’t want you to reach your goal ?

But if we see those for what they are, there is an illuminated path that can be seen through the dark clouds, that is set there for us, if only we would look for it- I saw it. And it can be seen if we harness the power inside us.

Once we get the power out, we can banish fear to where it rightfully belongs- in the underworld.:)

 

 

My 48th Birthday

This must be a frivolous read. June 20. I had a couple of phone calls reminding me that it was my birthday.

For me time had stood still. It was the day after my mother’s double surgery. I was in shock. That it was my birthday didn’t seem real at all. The day was rainy.

My mom was in the  ICU.  My father and I spent the night before in the hospital room where my mom had been the previous night, before the surgery.

Tomorrow( my birthday) we would need to vacate the room. The hospital rule said that if patients were in the ICU, relatives needed to vacate to a lodge or find a guest room or accommodation outside.

Early in the morning we visited my mother in the ICU as soon as the ICU was open to visitors- at around 7 am. She looked so small and emaciated in the blue hospital gown. She gave me a smile and beckoned to me. I went to her side- she asked me to get her her dentures and a comb for her hair.

That was the best birthday gift I had received. My mother was herself again. The long surgery of the previous day did not seem to have dampened her spirits. She was worried about how she looked ! I knew then that she was strong and my birthday was made.

I seemed to have gone through life in reverse. My mother would have rejoiced to see me smile or make a milestone as I was growing up but I had seen my mother smile at me and show me her spirit and it gladdened my heart. I was 48 but my mother’s request for her dentures and a comb sent a thrill through me. I could see she wanted to look her best before the doctors came on rounds. No one would have guessed that she had gone through a grueling 8 hour surgery just the previous day.

She is my mother and I am proud of her.

Birthdays seem to have lost their importance for me and even birthday gifts. To have a dear one near by is one of the best of life’s gifts, even more than one’s own life.

 

This is what I learnt …..

” The only difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is the way in which we use them.” – Anonymous

Last night I was driving home with my younger daughter after her evening classes. She needed to go shopping to get things for her travel later next week. We tried to get to the nearby mall, which was on the other side of the road from our house.  The road was three lane with fast moving vehicles in both directions; there was no way I could cross across the lane and then turn left into the road that led to the mall.

As there were cars behind mine, I had to move forward in the extreme right lane and looked for a turn to the right to go back to the place where I could try to cut across the multiple lanes to get to the mall again. The road back led me through some deserted lanes through which I have perhaps not driven before- I can’t say.

I followed a big white Land Cruiser. It moved slowly almost purposefully. It looked like it was not going to let me pass it by. At a road bump, it abruptly stopped. The driver’s door opened and a young gentleman came out. He looked like he was approaching my car. Against my better judgment I opened the window. The man approached me, and without hesitation told me ” Switch off the light”. And he walked off.

Mystified, I looked at my daughter and she looked at me, equally wonderingly. What did he want ? Drive without my lights ? At night ?

Soon he moved out of the way, turned into a house and I went along the road. This time I got to the cutting on the road, could cross the three lane highway and make my way across to the mall, where we did our subdued shopping.

Through the night, I lay thinking about this incident. My approach to surprising incidents these days is , ” Thank you, God- Praise God”. I must confess – this time it was rather half-hearted but I did it repeatedly till I meant it.

This morning, the thoughts were once again harassing me. As usual, it was why did this happen to me ? What if he had attacked me ? What did I do ?

And then it struck me a few minutes after my daily meditation- I am not very proficient at night driving. I don’t use the headlights and the dim lights well- not having learnt driving at night from an expert. I have been learning from the few times I drove at night by myself. The young man was instructing me about how to dim light when driving, so that energy could be conserved or was teaching me how to drive better.

Immediately I felt better and have been feeling better throughout this day.

And then I chanced upon this inspiration – the difference between ” stumbling blocks” and ” stepping stones” is the way we use them or choose to look at them. Last night this experience was a stumbling block; today it is a stepping stone for me to become a better driver. 🙂