On Changes and Learning

The fact that I haven’t written for ages is rather obvious to those of you who attentively read my posts, so I won’t have to spend any of your precious time stating the obvious. During the past month and a half or so, I have undergone some rather interesting and almost surprisingly benefitial changes in my daily routines. This post is a bit of an update so you too can understand what has been going on for the past little while.

Suffice it to say that my da was hospitalized on June nineteenth and had to stay there for about three and a half weeks. While certainly concerning and at times a bit disheartening for both of us, it ended up being something with which we could open a door to a whole lot of changes for the better.

In order to help facilitate the healing process, Da is required to eat a whole lot of calories each day. This means three healthy meals, at least. Well, Da and I are a lot alike, including within our eating habits. Our metabolisms in addition to our “ability” to go for long periods of time without feeling hungry results in very little body fat and very little desire to eat even one meal per day, let alone three.

I personally was beginning to notice small things which, until I did some research, I was unaware were related to nutritional deficiencies. For example, I could stand in sixty-degree weather and be cold enough to shiver. I noticed that my hair was, well, not staying where it belonged. I was beginning to feel like I was getting more hair on my clothes than was on my head. Of course, that is an exaggeration, but still another sign that was related to a nutrition deficiency. I was always tired, which resulted in the rather broken sleep schedule that I have mentioned more often than not in my posts. There were other small things as well, all of which told me that something was wrong.

So, with the aid of Da’s illness, I have been able to change my lifestyle completely around. The required caloric intake that Da needs to fulfill forces me not only to eat three times a day, but to eat healthily. I was skeptical at first, but you’ll never believe some of the glorious things I’ve been able to actually say I enjoy, including fruits and vegetables (which until now I just could not get myself to like.)

The whole food business introduced a complete daily routine that has helped me feel really quite healthy along with the facilitation of Da’s recovery. I can’t believe how much of my physical problems have nearly, if not completely disappeared.

Da was released from the hospital on Tuesday June twelfth and walked in the door between eleven in the morning and noon straight up. He slept some and we later discussed the possibility of a weekly menu around which we could base our eating schedule. By the time two days had passed, we had everything worked out.

We now get up every day between five and six in the morning, after going to bed between nine and midnight. We usually talk for a few minutes before throwing on our shoes and freshening up a little before we step outside. We then walk to the nearby park which is perhaps a ten-minute walk if you are casually strolling along the way. I usually swing, while Da walks a couple laps around the park itself, until the sun comes up over the mountain and is bright enough that we can feel it on our faces. We then walk home and arrive at about quarter to seven in the morning. Times vary somewhat on if I get lost on the way, or how much we talk and I end up not paying attention to where I’m going, ha ha.

We usually end up eating breakfast at around half past seven. Monday through Friday, we eat either oatmeal, cream of wheat, or toast with peanut butter and jam or honey for our main dish. Along with that we have a bit of fruit. Lately it’s consisted of strawberries, grapes, apples, oranges, peaches, or bananas and cream. We can of course choose what we want, but we always eat some kind of fruit with it and wash it down with a glass of milk.

Lunches consist of either a meat and cheese sandwich or a peanut butter and jelly if we feel a bit like humoring the inner child. There is always fruit to go along with that, too. I usually eat apples or apple sauce, but sometimes I’ll eat grapes or strawberries. I’m not much for oranges during lunch for some reason, but fruit is fruit, and I have found myself enjoying these fruits more than I expected, given that I never have been a huge fruit person but for apples.

Dinner is usually a little less strict to schedule, but it is just as healthy as our other two meals. The highlight for me has been the discovery of couscous. I actually thought it was a dessert until I looked it up on a whim after seeing it on one of Da’s hospital menus. Did you know that couscous is the healthiest thing you can eat in the rice and pasta department? There are six grams of protein in every serving, and it tastes good to boot. Traditionally it is cooked with some kind of meat and cream sauce, but we don’t always follow that tradition. We actually did tonight, though. We had catfish, couscous with cream sauce, grapes, oranges, and for dessert, we had strawberries with homemade whipped cream.

If for some reason we aren’t feeling very hungry, or perhaps we are still not quite full but could use a little extra nutrition, we’ve discovered how to make these really great milkshakes. Frozen yogurt, a little heavy whipping cream, a little half and half, and your favorite flavor of what’s called Carnation Instant Breakfast, which is a really great-tasting powder usually put in milk that has a whole bunch of healthy stuff in it from B vitamins to protein. For a little extra dose of protein, we put a little bit of powdered whey in it. Surprisingly, you can’t taste that part of it. It doesn’t ruin the drink at all. Imagine being able to have a shake that tastes like the most delectable chocolate shake (or vanilla if you are a vanilla kind of person) but have the thing be healthy for you at the same time.

While I admit it may not be the best diet for everyone, with Da’s and my metabolisms and low body fat, it works wonders. Since the routine took hold on Thursday June fourteenth, I have noticed a few really big physical changes. Firstly, I’m not getting nearly as cold as quickly or easily as I used to. I’m pulling less and less hair off my clothes. I am able to stay awake for longer periods during the day. I have better circulation in my hands, which means my hands aren’t always cold. I can feel myself becoming physically stronger with my walks to the park every day, and my sleep schedule has been consistent every single night. While the routine includes grabbing a couple hours of sleep right after breakfast, I always wake between half past eleven and twelve noon so that I can begin a flute practice session. I practice usually for two or three hours, and then I enjoy the rest of my day without being overcome by the urge to sleep.

Oh, but I forgot to tell you about our weekend routines! They are the same but for the food choices. On Saturday, when we get home from the park, we have what I like to call a Swiss breakfast. It consists of several different cheeses of both the strong and mild varieties. I’m not talking just cheddar cheese, either! These are the kind of cheeses one would see in Europe. Cheese made of goats’ milk and several others whose names I sadly haven’t been able to commit to memory yet. With these cheeses, we have toast in addition to a type of cereal which is composed of granola with milk or sometimes cream. We also have yogurt, and a little bit of fruit, and of course a drink of our choice—usually milk or juice as neither Da nor I are really big soda drinkers. Who’d drink soda for breakfast anyway? Ha ha.

Sunday is usually a little less strict to the usual routine, but we still have the choice of walking to the park if we so desire. If we don’t feel like it, we don’t. Sunday is the day of rest, after all. I have made it a point to not touch my flute on Sundays, because taking a break can be a good thing. Many musicians take one day per week and make it a point to not touch their instruments, and in turn they are able to get back to the things they were working on with renewed energy. Just one day a week isn’t hard to do, actually.

I’ve also made it a point to have at least one of those awesome milkshakes a day. I’m hoping to get enough protein in my system to allow me to start exercising a bit more frequently so I can start building a little bit of muscle in my arms. I’ve noticed that since I am no longer in school, carrying around a huge backpack every day, my arms have gotten significantly weaker. When I last weighed myself, just before we got the whole food routine going, I clocked in at seventy-nine pounds. I am hoping to have put on just a little more weight by the end of this month. While I don’t need to worry too much about the weight factor, I do need to be careful not to let myself suffer from malnutrition again. Our current schedule will of course help with that, but it’s always good to keep it in the back of my mind for when Da recovers fully and goes back to work.

Well, at the end of every post, I try to put in a little advice that I’ve learned along the way from one post to another. Here’s the one I’ve found so far.

Sometimes, while walking to the park, or around the park itself, I get a little turned around and make a mistake because I get distracted and don’t pay attention for whatever reason. I have discovered through the correcting of these mistakes that it’s not exactly efficient to know how to get from one point to another, or how to do something like playing a piece of music. Don’t just learn how to do something. Learn how to do something to the point of being able to correct your own mistakes so you can continue on your way. You haven’t completely learned how to do something until you get lost and can correct your own mistakes and continue on your way with just that much more confidence in your abilities.

Now, I think I shall close. It’s almost ten and I am finding myself becoming tired. I will write again at some point!

Forever Steadfast,