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In process: sleep, learning leisure

It’s almost the end of the first week of my leave to work on sleeping problems. There has been some promising progress. In the process, I have been trying to stay awake by doing all sorts of engaging activities.

Staying awake during the day is sometimes a struggle. It is a good thing I took time off. I am making so many mistakes that I think if I were working, my work would be a shambles!

Sleep

Before starting this new therapy, I had many issues trying to fall asleep. It would take hours. Now I am so exhausted at night I fall asleep within half an hour! Yay! I have a very strict bedtime routine and bedtime. Right before I go to bed, I go downstairs and read for about half an hour. Though I am going through a lot of books, I can’t say I remember much of what I read! There are times my head almost falls forward as I am reading.

A huge celebration is I no longer have to take sleeping meds. I can now successfully fall asleep at night!

Staying asleep, however, still has a ways to go. There have been improvements from the initial 3 hours of sleep the first night to now I am sleeping 5 hours a night. There are no naps allowed during the day, though, which means I am getting progressively more and more tired. 5 hours of sleep a day really is not enough. I guess that is how this is supposed to work.

After 5 hours, I wake up, wide awake (mentally), but totally tired and wanting to go back to sleep. It is a bit hard to describe… so tired yet unable to sleep. I have learned to wake myself up by staring at my phone and playing some games to wake my brain up. It really works!

Learning

In my lucid moments, after drinking lots of tea, I try to keep my brain awake and engaged by learning stuff.

Interior Design

I am taking an Academy of Art Course, Design of the Built Environment, Part A. In this class, we learn about interior design, design principles and process. I have been a little surprised at how easy this class is compared to the last one I did on construction documents. The first part of this class has had surprisingly little drawing. The only real creative drawing we have had to do so far is create a space that used one or more design approaches. I made a totally impractical and fanciful space (drawn freehand).

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We have had to look at other people’s work and write analyses. Now we are finally starting our final project, which is designing a custom residence for a property in San Francisco for clients who have an unlimited budget. Ha ha — love these projects! So real to life. 🙂

Anyway, I am enjoying this class. It is a lot of fun and the teacher is great!

Bible

Just about every day, I am also alternating reading two commentaries and learning a lot of really good stuff. I am reading a commentary from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament. I really like this series of commentaries because it delves into historical and theological aspects of the passages without being too technical. Then there is an application part that talks about how it applies to present day life. It is funny how I am more of a feeler than thinker in the Meyers-Briggs, but there is something about studying the Bible that is worshipful and helps me be more connected to God. 🙂

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Brain

I’m also reading a book on the human brain, just for fun! The Human Brain Book has lots of diagrams and pretty pictures. That’s very helpful, as large blocks of text are a bit hard to digest these days. And, not being a medical person, terms like anterior cingulate cortex, fusiform face area, posterior temporal sulcus, and temperoparietal junction go in one ear and out the other. And those are just a few of the words from one page spread!

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Drawing

I was super excited to discover a website, Artist’s Network University, that offers online art courses that I might take some day. I’ve also been reading online art blogs and watching videos and ran across this amazing artist, Marcello Barenghi, that makes drawings that look very realistic. He has videos that show the entire drawing. These drawings use a million markers, pencils, and even a little paint. The videos are cool because they show the art being drawn but you can also see what pens or pencils he uses, so they are instructional in a way.

For his drawing of a folded dollar bill, he used a mere 47 pens/markers/paint (according to his supplies list), and that was not including the general “120 set of colored pencils.” 🙂 Anyway, I love hyper-realistic art. This guy is good.

Stage Lighting Design

I was super excited to discover that the MIT OpenCourseWare had free Theatrical Design classes online!  I have been a bit frustrated at not being able to take classes, either due to location or time. This is an actual class taught at MIT and the syllabus and readings are listed online! It’s a bit of a bummer not to have any videos, but since this is a hands-on class I get why there is nothing available. For now my learning will have to be all book learning, but that is better than nothing.

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I am currently reading Stage Lighting Handbook, and learning that, sadly, half of our church’s lighting is all the wrong kind (they are meant to flood the stage, but we need focused lights with our stage sets). We have about 12 (?) lighting instruments to replace. At our current rate of our budget only being able to handle replacing two instruments a year, it means it will be about 6 years before we can have correct lighting, and that is even buying the old-fashioned non-DMX lighting — a real lighting upgrade to get us even close to up to date is $30,000+. Ah well. It’s fun to learn anyway.

Leisure

 Writing

I am also in the process of revamping my book, The Christian Conference Planner, which, believe it or not, was published back in 2003! Since it has been 10 years since I have updated it, it is long overdue for a revamping. Good timing too… I am down to one paper copy. Once that sells, the book is going to be out of print. I am going to go to Print on Demand so that people can order it and it will be printed and shipped directly to them, thus reducing all the time I have to spend packing books up and shipping them.

Crocheting/Knitting

Crocheting sure goes quick when you are using hefty yarn! Using Lion Brand’s Homespun yarn, I am crocheting a blanket. I am also knitting my very first sweater!

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Weaving

I started a project weaving Tencel towels. I weave 16 feet of fabric at once and cut them down to towels. However, lately Daniel has had major sleeping problems due to the light coming through the top and edges of his window, so it might turn into a fabric drape to cover up those light cracks! This is my first time weaving with Tencel and I really like the soft, silky feel. I am also keeping track of every step in my weaving notebook so that I do not have to reinvent the wheel on how to tie up my loom every time I weave!

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Video Games

As I mentioned above, video games help me wake up. The neurologist told me that iPad/iPhone light is very disruptive for sleep. So now I am taking advantage of it and play a few minutes in the morning. Two cool games I found recently:

Strata is a puzzle game of ribbons. You have to overlap ribbons so that the top ribbon is the color of the box underneath. It’s really beautiful, simple but makes you think, and also has beautiful seamless music that also serves as sound effects. It’s amazing how hard it is to do a simple puzzle when your brain is still half asleep! It was only 99 cents!

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Jacob Jones is a really cute puzzle game that is in 3D. It’s super cute and has a variety of puzzles, including one of a totem pole flattening cheerleaders (yes, the games are a little odd at times!). Also only 99 cents. I suppose these two games are probably about as opposite in look from each other as you can imagine!

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Besides that, I am doing cooking, laundry, cleaning, bills, errands, house stuff and reading random fiction library books. It is a bit weird not to work. Had the doctor not ordered me to take time off I probably would be struggling to work and stay awake at the same time. I am thankful for this opportunity to try to get the sleeping thing straightened out — if it is, I think all the other health issues will go away!

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