Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

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Getting Back to My Life

It's been odd, this last week.

Since about Monday, after I'd finished turning everything over to the team, I've been getting back to my life.

The physical portions haven't been that good. I have actually made both my shoulders go mildly out of joint, and my chiropractor keeps popping them back into place every couple of weeks. The bones in my left hand were getting displaced, and he's been putting them back too. And, of course, the tension in my shoulders and neck were displacing vertebrae. He did that today and we both sighed at how loud the pop was for my right shoulder, but the left didn't have nearly as much of an adjustment.

I was playing, on average, about 40 hours a week. I did only ten this last week, and he was grateful that it was easier to get everything back into place again. My massage therapist was quite hopeful, and telling me that I need an extra session to get on top of the pain.

The good things that I've been getting back include my art, my cooking, my garden, my family, and my reading. That's been pretty amazing. *laughs*

And I picked up bullet journaling, so I have a fully chronicled set of lists of what I've been doing, plus I started using Google's Keep for tracking projects and their to do lists. The hierarchies possible with that thing are really good for me.

I've been sketching and starting to plan several paintings. That's been exciting to get back into it. The flowering trees around here and in LA have been inspiring to me. The bonsai in Huntington Gardens are amazing models for some of threes I want to paint. The wisteria were flowering when we were there, all over the Caltech campus, so I got a lot of wonderful shots amid all the old memories of the place. Best of all I've been all excited about plum blossoms again... with the juxtaposition of old trees and new branches and the flowering fruit trees around the neighborhood have been amazing.

I've also bought several rolls of single shuen paper. The thinner stuff is more responsive, less forgiving of mistakes with water management; but it also shows colors so brilliantly and really draws the paint so that it does the multicolor strokes with impressive variation. I'm both nervous and excited about using it.

The garden is going to have bees at the end of the month. I ordered a new 3lbs of workers and a queen, so they'll be here, and I now have the hive completely set up again in the backyard. There have been two swarms wandering through the neighborhood, so if they happen to find the ready box, they might move in, too. That's something. It was so cool to see actual swarms here! I wonder who lost them. I also seeded and have grown about seventy tomato seedling and John bought a new portable greenhouse for them. I have to repot them now, and for two days the weather has gone rainy and deeply cold at night. But I've also seeded a bunch of things I want, lettuce, spinach, basil, thyme, green onions, and nasturtiums. The garlic is up from mid-winter, when I planted all the sprouting bulbs out in the garden. There's also the carrots from last fall, which have frozen, gone sweet, and are still coming up. We're pulling them up and eating them, big, fat, and crunchy as they are.

I'm actually playing with my family, too, in the evenings. Card games, watching them play Ratchet and Clank or Crash Bandicoot while I ice my wrists, hands, and arms, or board games of various types. I cook more often as well, making preserved mustard pork, scallion pancakes, or various types of curries. There's a local Asian market that sells a lot of Thai curry pastes, and I've been making Massuman and Red curries from them. They also had a paste for Tom Ka Gai, and it's been amazingly good, a sweet coconut soup that usually has chicken, mushrooms, and spinach in it, and it's been so very good. I've made quiche modeled on the beautifully silky tart we had in LA, Eggs Benedict, French toast from the farmer's market's bread, chocolate cake, and marinated eggs. Jet remarked, the other night, "You haven't cooked this much in ages."

Sadly, he's right.

I've also been reading. Thich Nhat Hanh's No Mud, No Lotus has been an interesting treatise on the prizes that pain or tragedy can bring, and most of the rest of the book is about the various Buddhist practices and strictures that are also in many of his other books. But the introduction on how to transform suffering into compassion was really well stated. The practices, as always are quite easy to understand, but with that understanding comes the knowledge that it probably takes a lifetime to practice well. I think that a lot of the basic tenants are true, though, that happiness is a state of mind, and particular to the person seeking it and their expectations.

And I also bought and read Patricia McKillip's Kingfisher, which is a retelling of the Grail quest of the Arthurian knights, and a more hopeful one than the originals. I really enjoyed it a lot, and the things that McKillip left out as well as the things she kept were what I loved the most about it. Le Morte de Arthur has always been one of my favorite stories, but I've never loved the tragic aspects of it, especially those that stemmed from Original Sin biases of the day. McKillip seems to also take fresh ground with it, as several of her last few novels have left me flat in ways that this one didn't. And her ability to tie all threads is entirely evident in this one, which made me giggle when I saw Stephenson's endorsement of her storytelling abilities. He never finishes any of his books, really.

So I'm gradually stepping back into my reality, away from the gaming world that had me spellbound for a while. I'm keeping some of the real relationships that were built there. Those that will last will last...

One thing I haven't been doing is knitting or spinning. The hands are definitely too bad for that.

One of the intriguing things, though, after getting out of the captaincy was that I retook several Meyers-Brigg's clones, and I may well be edging into new territory, as they've shown that I'm more of an ENFP, still with both E/I and F/T pretty well even. However, I'm now far more comfortable being the center of attention, being the captain of the team, being the moderator of my church; and I don't always edge into a room on the side rather than stepping to the center. I'm also frighteningly comfortable standing and speaking in front of a crowd; and quite happy to talk with people for no other reason than to interact with them.

People still tire me to a certain point.

But doing things is still my strong suit it seems... all that in just five days. We'll see what happens when I'm less enamored of this life of reality. But for now, I'm here and I'm aware again.
Tags: books, cooking, gardening, painting

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