Lazy Sunday

Sketch (7/60)

Lazy Sunday: pigment liner, gouache, gold ink
Lazy Sunday: pigment liner, gouache, gold ink

Walking Down Memory Lane (31-day writing challenge 7/31) (748/500)

There are days I really miss having a cat, or a dog or a rat or some kind of feline company.

Lazy Sunday sketch: black pigment liner 0.05
Lazy Sunday sketch: black pigment liner 0.05

I used to have a cat named Mikki. She was a very special one. But I suppose everybody feels like this about their pet friends.

Mikki was the result of a beautiful, long-haired Persian cat mama and a scruffy, short-haired street cat papa and this is the story of how she came to me.

One day, a school friend announced that their family was giving away three kittens and whether anybody was interested in adopting one. Of course, I was interested, but I knew I needed to ask my parents for permission first.

The next day, after getting the ok from my parents, I approached my friend: ‘Are you still giving away kittens?’ I asked.

‘Sure,’ my friend replied, ‘we’ve got a red tiger, a grey kitten and a white one with big black spots. Which one would you like?’

‘Oh, can I have the black and white one?’ I said without hesitation.

‘Sure! Shall I bring her to school tomorrow?’ my friend asked me.

The next day my mum came to school with me to pick up the cat. I still can remember how my friend and her mum approached us on the street right next to the school building with a paper bag.

As we reached them, they handed the paper bag to us. I looked into the bag and saw this cute and tiny white kitten with black markings on her head, a big black spot on her back like a saddle, and a black tail. In the bag were also three cat food cans, to give us a headstart with feeding her. Her eyes were so big and she meowed out of the bag. I was in love. It was love at first sight.

I’m not sure if I was able to focus on school lessons that day. Probably not. What I do remember, though, is that a long-term and very close friendship began on that very special day.

Mikki and I were so tuned into each other. She knew exactly what my mood was. And, if I was sad, she would always come to sit close.

Despite being an absolute sweetheart, she could also be a terrible grumpy pants. She would get totally annoyed when I would pick her up and carry her around.

Also, I could always read when she was up to no good:

Let’s say, she was not supposed in to go in the kitchen. When I would notice her sneaking past the door in direction kitchen out of the corner of my eye, I would just say: ‘Mikkiiiii!’ in a low but assertive voice. I knew she heard me as she would cough at me in protest. Then I would get up and point with my finger in the direction she came from without saying anything. Believe it or not, she would indeed turn around and head back to where she came from, but not without giving me another couple of coughs in protest. This ritual was often continued back and forth until one of us got tired. It was our little ‘how to outsmart the other’ game.

Mikki’s favourite place to sleep was under freshly made bedsheets. When I would notice a little lump in my bed, I would gently poke her. She would then make this cute cricket-like sound. Gee, I’m smiling widely as I write these few lines.

When I moved out of my parent’s home to go to university, I did not get to see her so much anymore. But on one occasion, my parents were gone for two weeks and brought Mikki to my apartment so I could look after her. Looking back, I am so grateful that I was able to spend this precious time with her, because, shortly after, she passed of old age. She was 16 years old.

Since then, I could never get myself to get another cat. No cat would be Mikki. Even today, I sometimes have dreams in which she appears. In my dreams, I am thinking to myself, ‘oh, Mikki is here! I must enjoy our time together before she leaves again.’ And I do. These are always feel good dreams. Mikki will always have a special place in my heart.

Lazy Sunday: close up
Lazy Sunday: close up

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Home Spa

Sketch (7/60)

Last night, I did as I said I would and took my Epsom salt bath that made me sleep like a grizzly.

Bath Time: pigment liner, gouache, gold ink
Bath Time: pigment liner, gouache, gold ink

 


Home Spa (31-day writing challenge 6/31) (1112/500)

I truly love taking baths. And I’ve experimented with all sorts of baths. From bubble baths to milk baths to sodium bicarbonate baths to oil ‘baths’ to my all-time favourite bath: the Epsom salt bath.

So, let me share my bath evolution with you:

The bubble bath: not really sure how effective or healthy bubble baths are. But, they were always fun to get in and they filled the bathroom with a loving aroma.

I do not take bubble baths anymore because I had become suspicious of the chemical contents inside the bottles. I wondered whether a bubble bath was indeed a good thing for my body as well as how environmental friendly it was.

However, I did not give the bubble bath completely up until I discovered the milk bath. Since my first milk bath experience, I left the bubble bath once and for all behind me.

The milk bath: No woman lesser than Cleopatra herself, the queen of ancient Egypt, inspired my milk bath phase. After reading that she used to bathe in milk wanted me to get to the bottom of it.

My first milk bath got me hooked, as it was indeed quite special. Not only did my skin smell as sweet as a baby for hours after the bath but during the bath, I felt as if I was staying in a 5-star hotel presidential suite. For a good hour, I felt like a queen myself. It was a taste of paradise.

Surrounded by candles and burning incense, I would shut out the world and dive into bathing bliss. But after a while, it did not feel quite right to use milk in my bath for ethical reasons and I stopped after I discovered the Sodium Bicarbonate bath that had the ability to restore the acidic/alkaline balance of the body.

The Sodium Bicarbonate (SB) bath: this bath is really great if you have skin irritations, pimples or are suffering from acne. It is also beneficial to take these baths if you have a high ‘pitta’ dosha (‘fire’ constitution – Ayurveda) as it cools the body down.

I’ve never tried this but – thinking about it now – it may also be helpful to bring a fever down.

A ‘thing’ of mine with the SB baths: I loved to lay flat on the bottom of the tub and open my eyes and listen to the sound waves that were carried through the water. Quite the underwater world experience and it had a cooling effect on my eyes after hours spent in front of the computer.

Having said that, I would not necessarily recommend SB baths on a regular basis if you have a high ‘vata’ dosha (‘air’ constitution – Ayurveda) as it might cool you down and dry you up too much as it did with me. When I noticed that the Sodium Bicarbonate bath was not the best for my constitution on a regular basis, I discovered the Epsom salt bath!

The Epsom salt bath: these baths are heaven! Seriously, I love taking Epson salt baths. For a starter, because Epsom salts warm the body as they permeate the skin, even though the water is cooling down the body is heating up! What an awesome effect!

I also came once across a research paper that stated that giving the body magnesium through the skin was remarkably more effective than taking magnesium tablets orally. So while relaxing in the bath, I am giving my body the magnesium it needs! It also makes my skin as soft as silk.

And, Epsom baths are the antidote to insomnia. I am wondering why doctors prescribe sleeping pills when the most effective sedative is an Epsom salt bath?! Because of its sedative quality, I need to make sure I schedule the Epsom salt bath wisely or else I may not be able to get up in time the next morning. Bathing in Epsom salt makes me so tired that I fall into a such a deep sleep that lasts an hour or two longer than usual.

Last but not least on my bathing rituals list is the oil bath: Well, it is not so much a bath as it is an oil massage followed by a hot shower or bath. There are many articles online about treating yourself to Abhyanga (Ayurveda self-massage) at home and its benefits.

So let me just share my personal Abhyanga experience with you:

I mainly use coconut oil (as suggested by my Ayurveda doctor) that I warm up in a bain-marie. To create a relaxing atmosphere in the bathroom, I put instrumental background music, light candles and burn some incense. Then, I focus on my breath (abdominal breathing) and massage the oil deep into my skin from head to toe. Once I am done, I take a hot shower. I only use very little Dr. Bronner’s Baby Unscented Pure-Castile Liquid Soap to wash the excess oil off. After Abhyanga, I feel light, refreshed, and energised.

Even after showering, there is always a pleasant, thin layer of oil left on my skin to prevent it from drying out. But, especially in winter, I will add an extra layer of an aloe-vera-gel-coconut-oil mix after bathing. This way, all year round my skin stays firm, well moisturised and elastic with a healthy glow.

Another good thing about coconut oil is: it does not stain clothes!

 

For all those who have noticed that the illustration is fashioning a facial mask: indeed, I’ve also had my fair share of experimentations with facial masks leaving me with two favourites. But, I’ll share this in another post with you.


Do you have any bathing rituals or home spa you’d like to share and can recommend?


 

Floral Pattern

Today’s sketch (6/60) is a really quick one.

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Floral pattern: gouache and gold ink

 


31-day writing challenge 5/31 239/500

As for my 500 words today – it’s not going to happen.

I desire a long Epsom salt bath and wish to get to bed early for a change. Been sleeping like five hours max a night all week. The rest of the hours in my typical day are filled with a plethora of things to do. One task after the other. I’m either writing, painting, illustrating, planning, reading, coaching, etc.

In winter, with its limited sunlight, not sleeping enough can have negative effects on my health. Maybe, I’m related to bears that need their winter sleep for survival… I sure love honey as much as they do.

I certainly need to work out a better schedule and will probably need to ‘purge’ a couple of tasks, projects, and goals so that my attention is better focused on what is essential to me. I’ll study my planning thoroughly on the weekend.

Anyways, today is not even about not knowing what to write. After all, it was quite an eventful, interesting, and inspiring day.

But, I feel my mind, body, and soul need to shut down and stay shut down for a while – at least longer than 5 hours – the three can reboot tomorrow.

So, today is my official writing 500 words time-out day. I hope you had or are having a lovely Friday. Catch you tomorrow!


xoxo


Slug

Slug was on my mind today and made it into my sketchbook as well as into my 500 words contribution for today:

5th sketch in my sketchbook: slug
5th sketch in my sketchbook: slug

Slug messenger (31-day writing challenge 4/31)

The Golden Slug Trail
The Golden Slug Trail

Slug turned out to be one of my five spirit animals for this year because, just before the new year I had three encounters in a row. Slug crossed my path washing salads.

The first slug I encountered was a small one. I immediately put it outside. Temperatures were still above freezing point and – as far as I could estimate – fine for slugs to find a new home.

The next day, again while washing a salad, I found another slug. This one was slightly larger. The weather outside was still fine to put the second slug immediately outside, too.

Another day passed and while washing yet another salad for dinner (not the big salad eater, but in the past few weeks I had this strong craving and am indulging in many salad side dishes). This time, I discovered an even bigger slug that almost got flushed down the drain!

I do not like the idea of being responsible for the death of an animal. You may be guessing that I am vegetarian. You’re right. It’s just another one of my ‘things’. I am neither judging anyone for eating meat nor am I interested in converting anyone to vegetarianism or veganism. I have no interest in getting into an endless ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ conversation. Everybody needs to figure the meat/nomeat thing out for themselves.

So, uhm, where was I again? Ah yes: the third slug.

Upon seeing the slug in the sink, I quickly picked it up to prevent it from flushing down the drain. Then, together with some salad leaves I put it in a previously moistened cup and covered the cup in a way that air could get through but the slug not. I decided to bring it outside after dinner.

But after dinner, it was already late and the weather had dropped to minus temperatures. I thought it was probably smarter to keep the slug indoors overnight and set it free in the daytime when the temperatures were milder and it could find its way into the soil.

The next morning, I was devastated to find an empty cup! The slug was gone and as you can imagine, I felt terrible. ‘Why did I not bring it out immediately!?’ I thought to myself. I turned out to be the one thing I did not want to be: responsible for the premature death of a slug!

Somehow during the night, the slug slipped out and went wandering off through the apartment. I guessed the slug would loose too much moisture to survive in the apartment climate. I searched everywhere for the slug and hoped to find it alive so I could bring it immediately outside. But there was no trace of it. It did not even leave a trail to follow!

So I pondered the message slug was trying to send me and came to the conclusion: no matter how comfortably safe and ‘well-fed’ I may be: freedom is the most valuable asset of my human existence. I should never let attachments to things hinder my journey nor let myself be bribed by comfort to give up my freedom (from attachments to things, thoughts, etc.) for anything. Despite the danger, slug set out on its destined journey. It did what it instinctively needed to do.

But two days later, I found the slug. Unfortunately, my worries were confirmed: the slug was all dried up. I was sad, felt guilty and thought to myself: ‘If I had just brought the slug outside, then nature would have taken its natural course.’ I realised that for the same price, I could have never found the slug again. Either, it could have made it out the window or I would have vacuum cleaned its remains unknowingly. But it reappeared before me and was brought back into my awareness.

Under the new circumstances, slug’s message called for a revision of my above-made conclusion and so I pondered further. This time, slug’s message dawned on me quite clearly: now is the time to take things slow. It’s not the time to take risks and leave your safe environment. The consequences of such action could do more harm. Be patient and don’t rush things.

Thank you my little spirit animal guide.


May my little messenger rest in peace.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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