- Housework… I decide that I absolutely must do some housework. Usually something that can wait, or that has been on my list for months. I get this sudden ridiculous desire to clean out the fridge.
- Family… I decide that someone in the family needs me to take care of them in some way or another. Cooking, taxiing, supporting, you name it, I’ve used it as an excuse not to write. We’re not talking broken limbs here.
- Facebook… I mess around on Facebook or YouTube and use up all of my qwt (quality writing time). Such a dumb choice, except when I’m reading about blogging, writing, editing or other useful stuff.
- My dog, Sally… I absolutely adore my labrador. She is gorgeous and such a temptation when I should be writing. She happily sits beside me while I write, with lots of opportunities for pats. So, no excuse for slacking off my writing to play with Sally.
- Cooking… which I no longer truly love doing. I have been a good cook most of my adult life and I’ve enjoyed cooking in the past but now, really, I do it so we can eat good yummy food, not because it’s loads of fun.
I’m still doing the 5:2 fasting way of eating. This morning I weigh 94.4 kg, down from 67.6 kg at the start 9 days ago. I’m on a fast day today, so I should drop some more weight soon. Fasting is not as hard as I thought it would be. Today is the first day I’ve woken up keen for my fast day and not scared at all. Being a foodie, I was afraid before that I’d be so hungry I’d get ‘hangry’ which is the word for hungry angry, when you want to do an impression of the Hulk if you see food and you can’t eat it because you’re hungry.
As it turns out, the fast days are easier than the non fast days because I’m still struggling with how many calories to eat on a non fast day. Believe me, there are a variety of opinions on this topic. Some people follow the 500/2000 method. Others do a calculation using their BMI to get to the number of calories they should eat on their non-fast days. This number is usually around 2000 if you’re pretty overweight like me, but it can be much less if you’ve already lost a lot of weight. I know, I’m not being very precise. Some people in the Facebook groups eat only 1200 calories on non fast days, saying this helps them lose regularly. Others say if you eat too few calories you won’t lose weight. Then there’s the clean eating, the fat eating to lose weight, the vegan way, oh wow, everyone has an opinion.
Here’s what I’ve eaten so far, just the dates and the calories: 30/6 500 – 31/6 1594 – 1/8 2072 – 2/8 650 – 3/8 1415 – 4/8 388 – 5/8 1467 – 6/8 1894. It’s easy to see how I keep wavering between wanting to eat 1500-2000 calories. Make a decision, woman, and stick with it!. I did notice someone in one of the groups was eating 1500 some days and 2000 other days. Maybe I’m one of those. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe I need a cup of coffee. I’m hungry. It’s almost time for lunch.
My head is officially in lala land. The flu started it I think and now a crisis in my greater family. Teeth grinding. Crazy sleepy. Random unhelpful thoughts taking hold. A desperate feeling that I need a new project to pour myself into in a manic way. Dizziness. Moodiness. Shame blame and more shame blame.
The trick is to relax into the calm the meds are trying to give me, journal the crap as it rises to the surface, try to remember I am the one who decides what I do and when I do it and who I do it with.
I’ve closed my Facebook down for a while. Logged out for the foreseeable future. That has helped a bit already. I’m spending time with my dog and trying to stay active. Playing happy music. Watching happy dvds. Gardening, which is like a magic health balm for my soul. Eating fresh mandarins from my tree. Keeping away from junk foods almost entirely.
Most importantly I’m trying to remember it’s okay to tell friends and family that I need help. Even if that help is to accept my silence without judgement. Yeah. It’s complicated.
This year I have really given myself to visual art. I always promised myself that in my 50’s I would do some art and learn as much as I want to about art techniques. I’ve done a lot of canvases with acrylic paints and found mixed media bits like a disassembled printer and offcuts from the local fabric store. My favourite ones are abstract mechanical pieces on square canvases.
My art area is in the corner of our little lounge room. We plan to pull up the carpet soon, so I don’t have to worry if I get some little splashes of colour on it. My space is small, but that forces me to cull the crap, the bits and colours I don’t use soon after I acquire them. Some things I don’t get rid of, even though I haven’t used them. These are mostly found, small metal objects. I love to collect lids and the pull bits off cans of drink.
I’ve made some great discoveries. Like ordinary cotton string can be coloured easily and used so many different ways because it can make any shape I want. Also, sticky fibre mesh rolls from the paint section of the hardware shop. Those things are great to colour or to use, either as a stamp or as a texture layer.
My walls are getting a bit crowded with canvases. This is okay except that I am trying so many different styles and techniques, it looks like a crazy random bad art gallery. I think once I find my style, my preferred style, I might paint over the randoms. Redo them, use them to make my real kind of art.
This month, and next month, I’m doing #ICAD2015 and having fun with index cards. Limiting myself to index card sized art is fun and challenging. Two months, 61 days, of mini art. So far I have used my favourite colours. Next month I’m going to step outside my comfort zone and see what I can produce. This might mean some imitation of other artists, especially some of the big names. Unless I chicken out and go back to the safety of my preferences. I’m 50 and yeah, I’ll do whatever I damn well want.
It’s Christmas time and here’s what I’m thinking; being an empty nester can be fun, but not so much at Christmas time. My sons are living happy lives, and I love that. I’m enjoying doing things I haven’t made time for in years, I’ve even started back at creating art, I’m writing a great book I’d love to read, I’m cooking up a storm when it suits me, eating cereal when it doesn’t. But in these weeks leading up to Christmas, I haven’t even put up a tree.
I’ll probably create something resembling a tree before the day itself, when one of my boys and my brother and his wife will come for feasting, gift giving and our traditional darts tournament. I’m hoping we can all Skype with my son and his girlfriend in Beijing. It’ll be a fun day. But I’m an anticipation girl. I like the lead-up to an event almost as much as the event itself, and with no kids at home, I just don’t get to share that with them now. That part of Christmas was always so much fun in the past.
I think I’m not finished creating new traditions around Christmas. It seems I need a new way to enjoy the prelude to the day. Maybe with my husband, or maybe on my own. I’m a creative person, I’m good at thinking up fun ways to enjoy my small, happy life.
Merry Christmas, Happy Saturnalia, Seasons Greetings. I hope you have a good one. I also hope that you enjoy December for what it is; the lead-up to a special day we make your own as we share it with friends and family.
It always takes my breath away, that moment when I pick up the book I’ve chosen to read next and the first line gets me. It is so much like meeting someone and instantly knowing you and they will be friends or lovers or for that matter, enemies. That quickening, the slow deep breath I take after unconsciously holding my breath as I open that book and find the first page. It happened to me this morning, over my first coffee of the day. I picked up Carte Blanche by Jeffrey Deaver and held it, feeling definite stirrings of scepticism. The New James Bond Novel, it says on the front cover, which is all white with a waft of brown smoke, red lettering overlaid. I’ve never even read an Ian Fleming Bond book. I have read plenty of Deaver books, though. I love the dynamic, intelligent, human writing of Jeffrey Deaver and that’s why I picked up this book at a local second hand book shop.
He had me at the first line, but reading it again, I can’t really tell why; just that the way he puts words together gets me excited. I can tell, already, that I have chosen well. I’m going on another, very human adventure with Jeffrey Deaver. He’s going to show me a world of characters and places I’ve never visited and never dreamed of placing together, in my mind or on the page. He won’t let me down, and he never has. It’s no wonder we readers become so attached to our favourite writers, they give us such rich gifts. We feel as though we journey with them through the pages of their books, we feel so deeply all of the emotions their stories stir in us, only tearing ourselves away for a bathroom break or to slap some food together.
Time now for me to make another cup of coffee, have some breakfast, check my emails, check Facebook, write some of my own book. I know that at the end of all of this, Carte Blanche will be waiting for me, with some lunch, with my mobile switched to silent, with my laptop closed and silent. For an hour or so, I will pour myself into that other world and I will live inside that book.
It’s been so long since I blogged here. I have been writing my novel, and it is shaping up, but to be honest that is just writer-speak for I’m going more slowly than I want to in the actual writing of hundreds and hundreds of words department. I love my main character, she kicks ass, but I am not happy with her name. I don’t think my inner muse will really let me fly until I get the name right.
So, what to call her? I think I have it. It came to me while I was doing the dishes a couple of days ago. In between scrubbing the sticky bits off an oven tray and disinfecting the sink, a much better name came to me. I can’t write it here, because of course that would jinx it. Of course. I’ll keep it tucked up inside and have a play with it writing the next scene of the book. If I look down and start writing and when I look back up many words have been written, I’ll know for sure that my inner muse approves. Hell, she’ll pretend she gave it to me. I don’t mind, as long as I get back to prolific me.
Left Handers Day
So, apparently yesterday was international Left Handers Day. I’m not Left Handed but I do like those ‘international days’. I wonder who decides these things? Maybe now we’re all on social media, all that is required is an online announcement that hey, it’s International [fill in the blank] Day! Makes me want to put it out there that August fifteen is International Rachel Day. A day for everyone named Rachel? Why not? We’re just as awesome as left handers and they have their own day. Only, it must only be for the ones called Rachel who spell their name that way. We can’t have the Racheal, Rachael, Raychel crowd getting in on our day. They can have another day. Maybe August sixteen?