Skip to content

Lilac, poem, and giving my blog a new direction

Lilac

 

Lilac blossoms blending with twilight:

Purple passionate scent of eternal,

Feeling of everything fading away.

 

Being beautiful without a purpose.

 

Lilac scent melts in the night air,

Twilight calm will fall down very soon

To end this moment with a period mark.

 

The day is so tired, too, time to rest.

 

The night sky uses blush, a lot of it

And the purple scent becomes a shadow.

It is always twilight in some places.

 

It is so complete with the lilac scent.

 

Morning finds birds sipping the morning dew

From tiny cups filled with sunlight pearls.

I paste this moment in my good memories folder.

 

Scents will evaporate, just like us.

 

My personal recovery experience

People, who read my posts, are aware that I had a surgery a bit more than a week ago. I was much better prepared this time.

I have learned a lot from my past experiences with Canadian healthcare: patient has to check everything, prepare for everything and make sure that the health care professional follows the protocol and puts in place prevention measures, such as prevention of bleeding or infection after the surgery. Sounds funny, but that is what I experienced.

I am doing much better because I rely on myself and I make sure that every smallest component of recovery is taken care of.

Blog repurposing: how to stay young

I have intended to put my efforts towards the exploration of wide variety of topics that relate to staying young and fit for as long as one lives themes.

I am 60 this summer. Apart from the bad accident in 1992 and chronic pain because of that, I have been quite fine so far.

I pay special attention to these 5 most important aspects:

  • healthy weight and excellent body mass index;
  • effective metabolism and well-performing digestive system;
  • daily and hourly stress relief and efficient coping mechanism;
  • natural, simple and rich nutrition that takes minimum time;
  • excellent memory and impeccable cognitive function.

How nature is always our best advisor and supporter

Whenever something goes wrong, the easiest way to fix this problem is turning to the nature.

I have written already about that and I will be writing even more.

Gardening is a huge part of it. People sometimes say, they do not have enough space, yet, all the backyard and front yard consists only of grass and a few flower pots. Every vegetable and herb one grows in their own garden is about 100 times better than we can buy at a grocery store. Even with organic produce, we get vegetables, fruit and herbs which have been sitting on a shelf for a while. You will always know what your vegetable is consuming if you grow it. Tiny and small gardening does not require any weed killers and pesticides. We can live extremely well using just some natural things to get rid of bugs. However, they rarely happen in a small garden because you can prevent bad things from happening quite easily.

 

Nature is always on standby for our mental comfort and stress relief

No gym can ever compare to gardening and walking in fresh air. Many people take exercising way too far and cause premature wear and tear of their joints, tendons, muscles and ligaments. Our heart is also a very specific muscle that takes loads with its own attitude.

Upset mood and over-excited brain can be always fixed with breathing in fresh air and simply walking amidst the beautiful natural surroundings. Your brain loves bird songs instead of loud music; your thoughts get organized and are easy to sort out when the brain has enough oxygen.

 

How we look and how we dress

Aging does not mean one gives up the good looks they had when they were younger. Daily facial and body routine is a must. I am naturally blonde, so I have been using make-up from its early days, for about 45 years now. I do use some make-up even if I am alone at home. I do that to keep myself satisfied with the way I look.

Make-up helps to prevent skin diseases nowadays. There are wide choices and huge selection out there.

I learned sewing when I was 12. I did so because I always wanted to wear clothes that suit me, fit me and make me stand out. There have been periods when I have been sewing a new outfit every day, and there have been times when I have sewn something just a few times a year.

I am returning to more sewing and dressmaking again because the things one can buy at a store do not satisfy my demands and they are generally very low quality. It is also much more practical. We can recycle everything, but fast and cheap fashion is one of the biggest polluters on the Earth.

 

Artistic living for brain health and pleasurable life

If you read and follow my art website, you know that I have been a passionate art instructor for about 40 years, and I am as passionate about my own creativity. I started drawing at a very young age, and gradually added to that watercolor, acrylic and pastels. I became sensitive to oils, so, I had to forget about painting with oils. Drawing is a part of my excellent memory maintenance process. Having very well-performing visual memory definitely makes life easier. It always has: studying was easy, learning was easy and starting any new thing was easy.

Art, writing, journaling, outdoor drawing and painting: that is a daily feast for our soul. One can always find a suitable artistic way of self-expression. Art gives one the time for self-care. We forget about any problems while drawing and painting. We immerse ourselves into eternal and limitless.

Lilac, how to stay young

Due to surgery, I missed my Angel’s Day. The Angel my mom gave me is always watching over me.

Apple blossoms, how to stay young

I missed the very brief Canadian spring because of surgery.

How to stay young, nature, blossoming apple trees

I will definitely miss this old apple tree after we move to another place.

These are the themes I will be mainly focusing on.  Please follow me on Facebook

I will start a new artistic community page soon. This page will be primarily devoted to keeping our brain young and flexible with daily artistic challenges.

Please also check out my art website:  http://inesepogagallery.com/  It offers my own art and also numerous articles with advice on how to start and keep drawing and painting.

I will miss the old lilac tree, as well, because the new place has tiny backyard and no old trees.

Lilac, poem, giving blog new direction

My plans are huge. I hope my health cooperates, especially because we have to move soon to another place and that involves insane packing and unpacking.

Advertisements

Spring: gardening for everybody

Waking up after a very long winter

We’ve got spring finally! It is the second spring-like day with sunshine and warm air. It feels so good!

I mentioned that in my previous posts: if you have a severely manifesting seasonal affective disorder, this is the time of the year you live for. This is the time when I wake up. All my vitals normalize: blood glucose becomes perfect, energy returns and mood goes up. This feels as if somebody opened a curtain to a previously hidden scene where everything happens. Life is beautiful once again.

The only sad note is the upcoming surgery in May. I am trying to work every day because I need everything done by that date: everything planted, watered and myself prepared. I could not walk for a long time after 2016 surgery, but I certainly believe I am much better prepared this time. I know by now that with the health care we have in Canada, the patient has to double-check everything. So, I have already prescriptions for post-surgery medications, I have a home-care nurse who never stopped attending me anyway, but it is going to be much more frequently. I usually cut my hair shorter because it is sometimes impossible and sometimes difficult to wash it.

Garden is awake, too.

Any place is good for gardening

This place is not what one could call a splendid living space. It does not have many of very necessary things to live easily and get chores done without problems. We do not have practically any storage and the place is also overloaded with my paintings. They are everywhere. I could fill up a few big galleries or at least sell some to be financially prepared for the post-surgery no income period. The wonderful thing is this garden, however. It wasn’t here before I arrived. I made it from scratch. I am good at making gardens and I have started at least some 10 of them, maybe more, because I moved a lot in Latvia and it is the fourth place in Canada. I always make a garden wherever I go. I do it always myself: prepare for hard work, find the best spots with the most suitable soil: less roots, good sunlight; get the shovel, remove the sod, and ahead I go. The rest is the easy part; digging can be a problem, especially with my previously broken joints and other fractures. It can be hard. I was walking around and working in the garden with infusion pump and its tube inserted in my vein the year before. However, I am extremely happy afterwards.

Gardening is a Latvian thing. I would say I do not know anybody back in Latvia who does not do some gardening: big or small. This means providing oneself with the best things possible: clean fruit and vegetables and also getting a lot of exercise in fresh air. In my opinion, that is the biggest plus: air smells like flowers, grasses and trees, sunshine, birds are literally pouring themselves out in songs, extreme beauty and such a pleasure to watch how everything grows.

Starting from seeds

I am seeding everything this year. I used to buy plants before, but it makes no sense. It is a lot of money, however, that is just one side of buying quite big plants. We did not have a good summer last year and I had to replant literally most of my garden. The plants that I bought at garden centers died off after I tried to rescue and revive them for numerous times, they got plant diseases and were doing simply bad. All plants I started from seeds, were doing extremely well, it felt the bad weather was not affecting these. I think: wherever money is made, something will be off. Basically, my own plants were much stronger and much more resistant to bad environmental effects. Therefore, I am starting from seeds everything.

How to place seeds in a seed starting container

I would advise to get some packs of early spring vegetable and herb seeds and put them in tiny containers in a very light and warm place whether that is already outside or inside. We seed one to tops 2 seeds per container. It can be difficult with small seeds, use plastic or metal tweezers. I do reuse all my seed starting containers from previous years (I have very many) or when I am still too short, I cut wrapping paper in longer slices and roll them around a small bottle or glass or any cylindrical object. Fold and press together the bottom and as you add seeding mix or soil, its weight will create pressure enough to keep the container just fine. It is ok to start in plastic containers (small yogurt containers or similar), but paper is better. Also: the parsley plants I started from seeds last year, survived winter and they will be just fine, so, I do not need new ones. They are already up. Chives are also up, although, it is just 2 days after freezing temperatures.

Nature awakes

Well, and the newborn rabbit had crawled out of the rabbit hole. It seemed it went back after a while, but I don’t know what to do with it because I will dig up that part of the garden, as well. It’s good I noticed the hole; otherwise I could accidentally injure somebody inside it. Even though rabbits, just like squirrels here destroy quite a lot of what I am growing, they are still so nice. What’s a little bit of lettuce compared to how nice they look! Squirrels can be nastier, but I discovered a way to plant so that they do not get to dig up roots. It is inexpensive and simple way and I wanted to sell this stuff after testing it last year because it is very safe, easy to apply and it doesn’t involve any chemicals and any substances, but did not get to that part.

Baby-rabbit looking for adventures

Everybody can do gardening

Gardening is so easy, absolutely everybody can do it. Think about the great healthy and clean things you get with a little bit of work! It is not a rocket science. Use common sense and planting instructions. Things like herbs grow on their own, literally, just plant or seed them. Choose the least sensitive plants at first. However, tomatoes and cucumbers are just fine if the plants are good quality and healthy and the weather does not do any absurd things. Good luck!

Did you know WordPress can block you from following?

I have been blogging since 2012.

I experienced some kind of disaster when I decided to move my art blog to a website last year or maybe a year before. Why did I go for all troubles which are associated with moving a large numerous pictures containing art blog to a self-hosted website?

Well, WordPress makes it account. It does not matter whether you have 1 blog, 2 blogs, 3 blogs or a website and blog: it is going to be one account. I had the art blog since 2012 and I started a lifeschool blog some time in 2014 I believe. I did not want to mix up my art, art classes and other artistic articles with the conclusions and observations I have made doing my medical research and writing for more than 3 decades. I thought it was a great idea. It actually wasn’t. Why?

Because WordPress makes it one account.

That means one blog is primary and visible and regardless of all my efforts, nobody knew the other blog existed, as well. The art blog had about 4 thousand followers by the time I moved it to a website because I was so tired of publishing articles which nobody ever saw.

The move was terrible since my files were huge, and, no, it did not go smooth as some instructions made me believe. Partially, that was because I chose the wrong host (based on a blogger advice, oh yes!). They sold me free theme and then I had to wait until refund rolls in since I wasn’t having much money. They tried to sell all kinds of things which I did not need or require, but having a website is expensive anyway: there are so many small parts that all cost. I am using the free theme and many free plugins, but I still have to allocate quite a lot of money for it. That is the history, so I have a blog, my lifeschool blog and my website, my art website.

Some time ago, I started to notice that I cannot follow anybody. I clicked once, I clicked twice, I clicked on like, that worked, but when I returned to the main website of somebody, I could see that I am not following them.

I believed it was some kind of a glitch. Probably temporary glitch, I assumed.

I let it slide since I was busy and that wasn’t the most important issue on my plate.

I found some really interesting website and a few blogs a while ago, and I got really angry that I cannot follow them. I copied the URLs here and there to find them again. Anyway, I asked the “happiness engineers” what was wrong. Oh well! I found out that I have been spotted by the system as somebody abusive follower last October. They told I was trying to attract attention and instead I should be writing a good content. That was very offensive. I believe these people who have read my stories, poems and articles, people, who check out my paintings, art instruction and advice for beginner artists definitely know that this is a unique content which takes me long time to create. I have actually never tried to follow somebody obsessively.

We all know that: system is system. System thought I was somebody trying to find followers and, thus, boost the visibility of my website and blog, and I do not believe that is true. WP said it was. I had last October followed many blogs in a short period of time. I tried to figure that out but couldn’t. I may have returned from Europe and after not seeing my blog and website for a long time, I could have responded to lots of comments and maybe followed some new fellow bloggers. I don’t know. Basically, nobody ever told me that. I never received any notification, any warning or anything. I believe you are not aware of that either.

I mean, I would have appreciated some notice, some suggestion or something. I am guessing that happened because I’m not that often reading the Reader, publishing posts, commenting, etc. since my health issues started 5 years ago. I might be doing all the commenting, following and liking job once or twice a month. Life is life. System isn’t human and it does not know that I have 1 hour only once or twice a month to do the following among other parts of blogging. Most likely, that’s how I got blocked out of following. Well, if I were so obsessed with following I most likely had noticed that sooner, not 7 months later.

I still remember how 6 years ago when I started blogging, I was advised to like, comment and follow other bloggers. Well, I take it personal and I felt upset. I’m not a new blogger; I’ve been on WordPress for 6 years. I am almost 60 and somebody who always follows rules and meets obligations. Always. I am aware that system is not informed about that.

I have to apologize to bloggers who may have thought I was ignorant or something. I lost some interesting blogs due to this for sure. Maybe we will meet again.

It also seems that system cannot get rid of definitely fake followers such as those who are ….outlook.com. I have deleted quite a few recently.

I wish, there was some advice for those who blog infrequently, just for a few hours a month and who try to do everything during these few hours instead of just blocking them out of following.

WordPress causes some problems

It does not feel right. We are sort of made to believe that website is a place where we can have a freedom to do things which we deem necessary, one of them being following other bloggers. Apparently, it is not the case. I believe before blocking somebody out of anything, especially if they pay money for their website that happens to be on WordPress platform, one deserves at least some warning or message, whatever. My personal situation is worse because I have a website and a blog. People who follow the art blog are not the same as these who follow the lifeschool blog. So, number becomes double. Dear system, you should be way more human! Other bloggers: be aware! System is watching, and God help if you follow too many people! I am afraid to follow anybody, to be honest. I believe a wrong person was punished here. They fixed it for now. They do not let one know what number indicates you are exceeding the normal following range: might be 5, 50 or 100. Who knows? I know that I never acted weirdly or obsessively.

Link to my art website for these who did not know I had it: inesepogagallery.com

From the past to the future

We all come from our past and we all are going to our future. The small while in between is our present where memories and dreams meet. That is also the short, sparkling moment when the art is born, poem is written and story told.

Our creative potential is huge and very often extremely neglected. It is quite often that people leave their artistic intentions to the moment when house will be paid off, kids have gone to study, garden is planted, retirement has started, recovery has happened and so on. It is supposed that only these things that cost a lot of money or pay a lot of money are worth doing and everything else can wait.

How many of you have advised your kids and your spouses or parents to pick a pencil or brush and pursue something simple and rewarding like drawing or sketching? Even if you have, how many of you have helped them with suitable and supportive environment for creativity to blossom? Kitchen table isn’t the place when the best art is done. In order to return to drawing and painting, art requires a specifically designed space. Basement is a bad choice if there is no daylight. Drawing and painting needs daylight, bright and undisturbed, just as we do.

I have seen the statistics for the recent years: the potential of keeping memory flexible and brain active is not in favor of most people, especially these over 50.

While everybody knows all the risk factors for absolutely any disease which there only exists: overweight and obesity, heart and blood vessel damage, high blood pressure, diabetes (these are all body stressors), lack of exercise or any movement, bad, highly chemical or modified food, especially if it has been already processed, artificial food, food with added or removed ingredients, GMO sources of food, contaminated water and air, alcohol and drug use, smoking either tobacco or cannabis because of toxins that occur in burning process, abnormal stress levels with zero coping ability, long-term stress without a rescue plan and social isolation and self-removal from any social activities and mental states that involve huge anxiety, severe depression and severe, systemic disorders, very few people ever pay any attention to the brain fitness and brain cell exercising. Meditation is fine, but it is supposed to make one rather stress-free than activate the brain to the impossibly high activity level. We are talking about an active brain involvement, the state when we would say: the brain is steaming.

If you are doing everything right, but you rather think it is better not to worry about learning and studying or scientific research after you are out of school, you are so wrong. Only very active brain which is used to  tackle challenges and make thousands of decisions, as well as resolve problems is able to create new brain cells, at any age actually.

In one of my previous articles I wrote about the trial that compared physical exercise group, group which did crosswords and similar brain games, and the group that started doing drawing, although, students did not even seem to like or be interesting in drawing from reality. The drawing group excelled and outdid both other groups in all target indicators.

Why is that? It is because when we look at some object and try to recreate it with all dimensions on a flat paper or canvas we use all of the brain. We use all kinds of mechanisms and synaptic pathways to get the job done. While it is something meditative and pleasurable, it is also very challenging and a very active process. If you do it in a group, you add socializing to this activity.

Healthy brain

We all come from the past and we are all heading to the future. This is done much better by maintaining our cognitive abilities, memory and brain flexibility. The one thing that means a lot more than all the money and power on the Earth is our brain. Losing our brain, we lose everything. Therefore, let us do something useful and keep it flexible, sharp and well-performing. You do not know how to get started? Please find all kinds of advice on my art website which is solely devoted to art, creativity and learning drawing, sketching and painting: http://inesepogagallery.com/

Becoming an observer

It sometimes feels as if everything is simply flowing by.

There are lots of small distractive things to deal with, and they pretty much keep me away from doing something more meaningful.

Then, there is a feeling of pointlessness.

At a young age we are under impression that we have enough time to do whatever we will choose, to achieve whatever we have decided to and to engage in all kinds of undertakings that eventually lead us to the goal: a good, honest, happy and abundant life. This includes different things for different people. Some want children and some do not, some love studying and some would rather not, some of us see the importance of roots and family and some believe that family is holding them back.

When I was twenty, it felt like 60 years is eternity away: it seemed I have plenty of time to enjoy, to explore, to pursue real life goals and to correct mistakes which everybody makes.

My life involves much unexpected turns, very bad accident that changed everything 25 years ago and after that all a completely unexpected relocation across the ocean. I might not been ready for that. However, I am somebody who goes for an adventure or opportunity if there is one.

Years between 2004 and 2010 were wonderful, so full with life, so full with discoveries. I had huge expectations.

When I got health issues in 2013, lots of things slowed down and became hard to continue. I realized suddenly that nobody can ever regain the energy and the willingness to jump onto new beginnings we do so naturally at 20 when we pass the 50 line. That was the time when I had to push myself extremely hard to accomplish just simple everyday routine tasks, yet, I managed that.

I have become more an observer than an active participant.

I have always been a creator of situations, much engaged in the social scene. I was a high school teacher and college lecturer meeting literally hundreds of people every day. I loved my role as a smart, intelligent and well-educated person.

The one thing that matters to me is learning, studying and keeping the brain extremely busy and active.

I have always admired the brain power, the ability to think and find solutions, to make decisions and to act upon them. I do that still, I learn every single day. The medical writing job requires that. I am certainly thankful for the huge knowledge in any health-related matters due to this.

However, I miss the social engagement. I feel lost. Once you see that nobody actually needs you, you start to experience feelings of being abandoned. It seems that the big goals are also getting crashed. I have become a stranger in my native country and I am still a total stranger in the country to which I immigrated to.

This might be an issue of acceptance. I am quite frequently unable to accept some things here. I will never understand how mediocrity gets to the top because of their wealth. I will never understand how it is possible to idolize and adore some fancy person to the extent that people want to dress like that person and look and speak like that person.

I will never understand over-consumption which is the cause of most of our issues. I will never understand how people are lied to and cheated because of somebody making bigger profits. They get even praise for poisoning other people. That is awkward.

I am for fairness, truth and open-mindedness. Truth is not loved. Truth is frequently escaped using different means, would these be drugs, alcohol or convincing oneself that everything is great while it is far from that in reality.

I used to be a fashionista. I learned sewing very early: at 12. Ever since, I have designed and sewn plenty of designer-quality outfits not only for me, but for hundreds of other people, as well. I stopped doing that also because of pointlessness. How much does one really need? When I paint, I cannot wear anything good because it will have paint spots all over anyway. Fast fashion made it impossible to buy any good quality shoes or jeans or similar things. I just simply refuse to buy more low quality, made in China outfits. They are made of bad materials, they do not last and they do not fit either.

One more aspect became meaningless. So, most of them have.

It is more difficult to stick to the true you when there is no actual demand for being the top you. I am currently an observer. I will wait for a while yet until the troubles settle down to figure out the next steps. Where do I go from there? I don’t know yet. It is a process of re-inventing me. Will that be a better me? I do not know that either.

I do realize that these feelings might be caused by late and delayed spring. It has been a very long winter, and that can affect anybody with the seasonal affective disorder. I remember me hating winter ever since I was a tiny kid. That never went away. I cannot live normally in winter. I have lost many years of life due to winter. I believe these of you who also experience strong seasonal affective disorder know this very well: one only regains energy and willingness to be active once the weather turns warm and sunny again.

To trust and to rely on

One of the most human features is to trust somebody until they do not prove it otherwise. We want to trust things that we believe are fair; we want to rely on services that we assume are honest.

The recent Facebook issues while they are losing a lot of faces which were relying on and trusting their promises about keeping our personal information safe clearly show that we have been very silly and to reliable. Most likely, not all of us have done that, but the natural feeling of trust and reliability has fogged our eyes.

It was hilarious how Mark Zuckerberg tried to convince everybody in his speech that he had no idea about what was going on. They believed the personal user data were deleted. They just take somebody’s word for it and live happily ever after. It is like as if they do not deal with a huge number of people, but just have some school kid’s site that is running on its own. He literally looked like a kid who has not grown up yet, but he has certainly learned how to say sorry with an innocent look. He was sorry about allowing selling off and giving to whoever access to such data. We are so sorry. We hear that so frequently, way too frequently.

Well, we also hear about people deleting their profiles and pages from Facebook.

Basically, while it may help one in the future, the harm has been done. If you were using many apps and sharing all kinds of attractive images with unknown origin and these hearty “if you have a daughter …”, “if you have a mother …”, “if you have a sister or brother…” texts or images, you are already in. You’ve been tracked big time. The truth is that software that is intended to mask its real intentions is designed to appeal to people who do not have time or enough insight in order to realize what they are really doing. Some people are really hooked on this. I told one lady: could you please stop sending me these attachments, I told a lot of people: could you please stop inviting me to strange games and sites and activities that I am completely not interested in, but they ignore my requests. They believe everybody is in silly games and sweet attachment sharing.

It is not that I really love any of the social media sites. In fact, I’d rather not be on any of them, but just like everybody else I simply need access to larger audiences while being quite isolated in the real life. For me, it feels quite frequently like a duty: if I do not post any announcements or any updates of my studio, I become 100% invisible. It is not that I am extremely visible right now. I do not have time to be obsessed with posting even on my blogs, not to mention I could ever have enough time to review or read everything on Twitter or on Facebook. I limit my presence there to approximately 5 minutes a day or 10 minutes every three days. I do sometimes disappear completely from blogs and social media when I am having some large writing job, do not feel well enough or when I am struggling with my current pain attack.

I never understood people who congratulate their children or spouses who live together on Facebook. My question always was: cannot you say this personally?

Lots of people use such social media sites to show off, to get some “oh, my God you look so beautiful” when they actually absolutely do not, “you are so talented” when that is not the case at all, “your kids are so wonderful and gifted” when your kids are just simply kids and do everything normal what a kid should.

I am wondering how people are not alarmed or worried when they post all of their life on social media. They check in during the day and even night in all places they visit or stay, or work, they take numerous selfies and make everybody aware about what exactly they are doing and when. What a wonderful tracking experience that must be for companies that sell you lots of junk and useless things, as well as ask you to sign up for anything and register with anything! Plus, anybody can spy on your whereabouts.

If you think that deleting Facebook profile or business page is enough and you do not want to be there, you still cannot undo the past and take back your data from tracking and malware inserting sites that spy on you, your activities and are present in every step of your life. Instagram is owned by Facebook. You Tube along with multiple companies is owned by Google which is owned by Alphabet. As you watch You Tube somebody could be watching you. We all use Google maps, we are all certainly aware that somebody also knows where we are at all times.

Every time when you sign up for a new app on your smart phone, you should really think who you are allowing into your house, into your family and into your personal life. Tracking is not only what Facebook apps do. Every app has a potential to steal your data and use your data in the way they find necessary.

It might be a good moment to clean up the social profiles or to at least clarify what does what and where things you share go.

The more connected you are, the bigger threats you actually are facing. If you are an obsessive internet shopper, these tracking and spying apps adore and love you. Even if you just send a few messages and e-mails here there, even if you have signed up for a few sites that you believe have nothing to do with spying on you, you still cannot trust everybody and blindly rely on their promises.

I personally think a good principle is this: if you can show the content that you are posting or letting to appear on the internet to anybody including your children, parents, teachers, boss or coworkers, as well as law enforcement agencies and it does not disclose too much of your sensitive information, why not? It is just so that one has to really decide who and what they should trust and to what extent they are able to rely on their agreements about not selling out your personal information to third parties. Trust is something that must be earned. Do not give it out as added value to what you are already paying for the services some social or other online site provides you with. Trust, but check meticulously. Rely only on these who have proven to be worth your trust.

As I was typing this, Facebook’s stock was on a downtrend, it was down quite a lot actually, somewhere in the range of 150 US. Well, there were mentioned also other internet giants who pose a big threat to your privacy: Yahoo being one of the most affected in the past and the potential vulnerabilities of You Tube. When something is so big, there is always potential to miss some harmful bad guy and anybody unfair will use that. Therefore, maybe it’s time to switch your trust to somebody more reliable, such as the real people in your real life.

International Woman’s Day: history gets revised

Since the International Woman’s Day March 8, resonates with Me too and Time’s up movements in North America recently, this day has become more visible and more important by now.

It wasn’t actually this way before. I have been writing March 8 articles every year, and they quite often didn’t get much response. I believe it is because the day as such did not feel very important for many women or they associated it only with socialism and political movements, thus, it wasn’t widely popular.

While general articles mention North American and British suffragist movements as origin of this day, it is not entirely true. It is quite visible that the contribution of women fighters for female equality, such as Clara Zetkin, Inessa Armand, Alexandra Kollontai, the first soviet woman ambassador, and Nadezhda Krupskaya, Soviet Union’s Deputy Minister of Education and women’s rights advocate has actually not been acknowledged globally. I would think it is because they were all socialists, to some extent representing communism, and it is assumed that nothing good came out of all this movement and their personal fights. They actually addressed issues such as sexuality, abortion, marriage, divorce, morality, sexual relations between genders, family relationships, motherhood and role of mother, getting rid of male dominance in any area of life and physical abuse about 100 years ago in Russia and Western Europe at a time when nobody dared even to speak out about these issues. One has to remember that the state of education wasn’t really the same what it is right now, in 2018. Only the richest women would be able to obtain good education and it was rare they would have important political and executive positions, hence woman’s role was mostly understood as the one of a family member and mother.

The United Nations began celebrating International Woman’s Day on March 8 only in 1975.

This day was celebrated always in former Soviet Union as far as I can remember, and I am 60 this year. To me and many soviet era women from former soviet republics this day felt as one of the most wonderful days in the entire year. White and pink tulips, bright yellow daffodils and mimosa, as well as any early spring flowers were given to every woman. It was always celebration of a woman. This tradition continues in the independent Republic of Latvia, and it still goes very strongly.

What are the achievements due to the highly recognized role of a woman during the soviet and post-soviet era? There are actually many, although, we do not want to admit that. First of all, it was free education for everybody from the nursery school to the University. I had only excellent grades also while studying at the University, so, the government actually paid me monthly which was a huge financial aid. That means that the higher education was not only free, but also promoted in any possible way. The female dominance in higher education was absurd. I was studying foreign languages, and among students of many departments there were just very few male students with about 90% being female. This sounds crazy, and so it was. Male students would be choosing the Technical University and similar establishments, but still at a much lesser rate.

The aspect that was definitely promoted was female participation, equality and recognition of female achievements. It went way beyond that.

The period after the World War II was dominated by women in Latvia. First of all, there were more women who survived the war, and secondly, more women were well-educated. It went way too far in regard that women lost their female side and became work heroes: woman, the tractor driver and heavy machinery operator, the “rifle woman”, woman, the chair of an industrial plant who deals exclusively with work matters, denies make-up and fashion, denies any weaknesses and puts their political and social role above anything.

People who have seen the great movie of that era: Office Romance by Eldar Ryazanov (1977) certainly can recall the boss Ludmila Kalugina who is described by her subordinate employee as “dry, heartless and inhuman”. The actress portrays this image extremely well. Although, she is a very successful at work and managing the Statistics Bureau, she has lost absolutely all female attraction, she wears terrible, old fashioned clothes, her hair isn’t done and she looks at least 15 years older than her actual age. She is single. During this comedy, she gets transformed into a very attractive woman who has it all: excellent work position, beauty, love and family.

Office Romance, part 1 with translated subtitles

This image realistically depicts the overworked woman who neglects all other aspects of her life, and, therefore, she is single and replaces love and family with reading scientific literature and watching TV. The movie had huge success because it was true. Lots of women were so much in work and they had such highly responsible positions that there was no time or opportunity for them to address personal matters and their personal life.

Office Romance, part 2 with translated subtitles

You Tube

The scientific sector is dominated by women in Latvia: it is at 51% which is the highest rating among all European Union countries. It is not surprising, because traditionally and historically women have always been at the top due to excellent education, devotion and intelligence in Latvia. I mean, while living in Latvia I never felt any restrictions, any discrimination to me as a woman. It was, in fact, the opposite: starting with elementary school and ending with University, my success was always much acknowledged and I was always sitting in the first row when students were receiving yearly awards for state competitions in essay writing, geography, math, physics, foreign languages and visual art. Latvian women have also always been socially very active. It is pretty well-known that the Canadian Latvian Vaira Vike-Freiberga became a president of the Latvian Republic not that long ago.

 

The list of women high-achievers in Latvia would be very long and large. I suppose the roots and origins of female dominance in such countries as Latvia is somewhat historically and traditionally related to our life style and way of thinking. Latvian women have been and still are extremely independent and mentally strong.

I do miss a lot of that Latvian free spirit here in Canada. I’ve become invisible and I do not enjoy the social recognition I had back there. Well, I am kind of newcomer to Canada also, and I have been here for only 14 years yet. Ones efforts become much diluted in such a big place like Canada, and I feel that anything I do goes unnoticed to a big extent.

Well, this day is referred to in Latvia as simply Women’s Day, and it is celebrated in every family, at any workplace, at every school and at every office. It is a beautiful tradition which comes with spring flowers and feeling that spring and woman are synonyms.

This is a contribution to all women who are trying to be and feel equal in any walk of life. You certainly deserve all the most beautiful spring flowers that exist!

Being a freelancer: the tough ride

My work requires huge knowledge and insight in medical matters, conduction of clinical trials, knowledge in chemistry, biology, physiology, anatomy, as well as lots and lots of understanding of human genetics, brain function, including cognitive function and any mental disorders, pharmaceutical mechanisms of action and all kinds of dosing rules, medical interaction of pharmaceutical ingredients and things that apply to clinical indications, such as contraindications and also exceptions when using medication off-label.

Read more

Mysteries of cold weather, type I diabetes and insulin resistance

It is a mystery for me. The mainstream medical theories deny such a thing as the ambient weather impact on complex diseases such as type I diabetes and prescribe blood glucose fluctuations and insulin resistance to less exercise or more food intake. I actually can and want to argue with that. Whenever the outside temperature drops to minus 15 to minus 30, the insulin injections I take stop working. I keep insulin in a proper place, I double the dose, I drink excessive amounts of water, I take a walk whenever possible. No change. There is practically no change. I keep taking more insulin until the dose reaches scary amount and then it would slightly lower the blood glucose. That would be using three times the normal dose. This also means a lot of finger sticking and using a lot of test stripes, up to 15 times day, so that finger tips become very painful after a while.

As soon as the outside temperature returns to minus 5 to zero Celsius, I have no problem with my insulin. I return to a normal dose and everything returns to normal levels. That is my ongoing problem with the terribly low temperatures during Canadian winter. The biggest issue that comes with it is damage to the body, fatigue and an absolute lack of energy. Doctors say: you are doing something wrong. Well, I am not. I am doing all the same. The only variable in this equation is very low temperature outdoors.

Seasonal menu as a factor?

I have simplified my menu to the point that it does not take too much time for me to cook and it doesn’t play too hard into my blood glucose sensitivity. I am having oat porridge every morning whether it is summer, spring, winter or fall. I cook it while doing something else and eat it with some butter. It isn’t sweet. I am somebody who always prefers salty dishes to sweets or desserts. I was always that way. I do not have cravings for chocolate or ice cream; in fact, I have chocolate very rarely and in very small amounts. I simply do not like it too much. I can still remember the wonderful taste of the 100% real and chemically unimproved and unprocessed ice cream while I got it rarely in summer when I was a kid, some 50 years ago. This ice cream cannot compare to that one, so, I pretty much do not consume any.

I keep my lunches very simple: some eggs, some cheese, some cottage cheese (the Latvian type of it which is available as unprocessed blocks of half a pound), berries or vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, avocado and similar. I do consume lots of onions and garlic. I am adding garlic and onions to practically anything I cook. I love onions and garlic.

For dinners, I would mostly have potatoes (Latvian style, whether with skin or peeled and boiled in salted water with some garlic or as mashed potatoes) with simple salads and fish, meat or chicken. We rarely have rice or pasta. Very rarely. I always cook from scratch, practically every single meal, 3 times a day, every day of the year. I do that because I know that way what is on my plate and what it contains.

I personally cannot eat more than 3 times a day; I cannot eat snacks between my meals because I am simply not that hungry. If I would not have to take injection with my meals, I could easily survive on 2 meals a day. I still do sometimes, but skipping one meal and one injection isn’t that great, that affects the schedule and overall blood glucose level. I do not put food first, it usually comes after to whatever I have to do, and food is just something inevitable for me.

Food as fuel and 3 meals seem like a lot

I am trying to use only such foods that are practically not processed. That is the reason I am only using real butter (I always was) and 35% whipping cream because the sour cream isn’t a cream in Canada, it is something which has a lot of ingredients, a lot of added and free stuff, which means it is heavily modified. I am almost 60, and I haven’t ever been overweight. In fact, my weight and size haven’t changed since I was 21. I do not go to the gym (I simply cannot for the most time) and my exercise is physical work, work in the garden or walking. I frequently cannot walk at all, and there have been periods like after a surgery when I am totally unable to cross even the room.

I am listing this to simply show that my menu is pretty much the same throughout the year. I grow my own greens, herbs and vegetables, so, I would have these in summer and fall. I use herbs and greens a lot regardless of season because parsley, dill, green onions, water cress sprouts, rosemary, celery and basil are available now all year round.

Physical exercise and workload

My blood sugar does not comply with my good intentions. After having some very harsh and very cold winters in Canada, I came to conclusion that when the weather reaches some certain minus temperature, I get insulin resistance. I take walks or shovel snow when I can and, strangely, that does not affect the blood glucose. In summer, if I am not really cautious with physical loads, even walking to the store, my blood glucose is always low and frequently drops like a stone, so, I have to use pure sugar or glucose pills, a lot of them to bring the blood glucose level up to normal.

My workload is also mostly the same: typing at computer medical research works and translations, painting and giving art classes. That is the same regardless of season.

Medical and non-medical causes of insulin resistance

I have been researching this phenomenon a lot, but it was mostly attributed to drinking less water, exercising less (I don’t do it ever, not in summer, not in winter or in any other season) and eating more or eating comfort foods. As I mentioned before I do not eat more in winter. I never change my meal schedule when I am at my place, and it keeps my condition pretty stable. The only exception is a very cold weather. For this to happen, the temperature has to drop below minus 10 or so. We have had recently minus 24 to minus 27 for a few weeks and I have been in a lot of trouble.

I have found that there are more people complaining about this issue. The only advice they are given is: move more and eat less. In my case, the blood sugar level stays high even if I skip a meal and eat nothing. It stays high even if I go outside and do a lot of snow shoveling (our sidewalk is very long, it is a huge lot) or walking fast. When it is really bad I am trying to eat more proteins, especially eggs and drink a lot of water. That slightly helps; however, I would not say it helps significantly.

In a very hot weather, I sometimes have to eat lots of sweet things to keep the blood glucose level up and proceed extremely carefully with physical activity. If I have taken insulin at a normal dose, but I suddenly have to walk somewhere, the blood glucose drops heavily and I have terrible low blood sugar symptoms from which it is hard to recover.

Therefore, I tend to disagree with the fact that the ambient temperatures and weather conditions have no impact on us and on diseases such as type I diabetes. Well, type II diabetes is very different in many ways, so I am not talking about type II diabetes which is also most often not-insulin dependent while I live on 2 insulins: the basal and the fast acting.

Seasonal affective disorder

I am very sensitive to anything, however.  I feel a lot of pressure on joints which were fractured (that is a lot of joints: left shoulder, left hip, left ankle and right wrist plus vertebrae fracture) in rainy weather; my low blood pressure goes even lower when it is cloudy and foggy, I do experience lack of energy and fatigue with cold and hot weather: I would say I can relate a lot the seasonal affective disorder. Does that explain the insulin resistance in very low temperatures? It is hard to say because all scientific advice tends to make everybody the same: if 100 people eat too much and do not move at all one must be the same and that explains their high blood sugar levels. I do disagree with that also. There are many type I diabetics who are rather skinny, who have low and very low blood pressure like me, but there is definitely something within my body which causes my blood sugar and insulin metabolism and its release react the way they do. Maybe that is a slow-down of any metabolism? Maybe that is less active immune system altogether? Or over-active immune system? Maybe that is a leftover of a genetic phenomenon which most medical specialists absolutely disagree with?

Globalization of medical treatments

Well, we are all so different. Therefore, one treatment, one advice and the same drugs will never help a condition which has the same name, but occurs in different people with distinctive genetics and many variables in their personal and medical history, as well with different places of origin, race, gender and life style. The general medical approach misses that. We are evaluated by using clinically studied results and values which are STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT. When somebody does not fit in any statistically significant category, their doctor will say: that cannot be. That’s exactly what they will say. Why? It cannot be because it cannot be. Don’t we know other things which cannot be, but they are?

With globalization of everything, treatments tend to become global, too: if this was working in 100K people, it must be working in you, as well. Is it? No, it frequently isn’t working.

I find that the individual aspect of any condition and disease is the one that is neglected and missed most often. It is so easy to go by the text-book. It takes a lot of courage and extraordinary thinking to get beyond that and start treating every patient as an individual which we are.

Therefore, I am very sure there are more people whose blood glucose levels ARE AFFECTED by the ambient weather and temperature. It could be a more sensitive immune system, their personal metabolism, metabolism of minerals, vitamins, salts and water, sensitivity of blood circulation and blood composition, as well as glandular activity, hormonal balance and genetic settings which play a role.

Individual differences in clinical conditions

The only different article which reviews the insulin resistance in extremely cold weather was this one: https://www.healthline.com/diabetesmine/diabetes-and-the-ice-age#3

Comments under this article showed that most people either did not read it carefully, or did not understand what this article was about. As I mentioned before, type II diabetes is very different from type I diabetes, and methods of treatment and ways of maintaining healthy glucose levels are different, too. Plus, etymology of type I diabetes should be taken into account also, but nobody ever does that. I find that most doctors will view a patient as one of many similar cases. It is very rare when individual specific issues are addressed because the excuse always is: it just cannot be! It sometimes is, even when the cause is unknown or unclear. If there is somebody type I diabetic reading this who has experienced something similar, I’d love to hear from you!

It is terribly cold still. The weather forecast promises milder week ahead, so, I’m very much looking forward to it. I cannot even keep sitting at computer because I am frozen stiff. If I do not respond right away it is because it is too cold to stay on the first floor.

The soothing Sunday thoughts: peace, love and joy

I hope we are all at peace with each other

Since we are still sharing the candlelight

And a hug, a kiss and I love you

Whether you have just one slice

Of bread and a glass of wine

Whether you are in a castle

And you would never know

How much suffering is out there

I hope we are all at peace with the world

The fighter, the lover and the loser

The dreamer, the angry and the doubtful

The smart, the holy and the simple

I hope we are all at peace with our heartaches

Since we can still send our love

To those who are desperate, hungry and forgotten

I hope you can see some snowflakes

Dancing down and falling from the sky

The promise, the hope and the wisdom

Of someone who we all know

I hope you can see how snowflakes

Cover the graves, the streets and the cities

So that we all could have peace and joy

Like white, untouched and pure snow

At least in our thoughts

And the soft warmth of this calming candlelight

For I hope we are all at peace with ourselves and others tonight

Merry Christmas! Peace, love and joy to every home and family! Happy holidays blogging friends!

%d bloggers like this: