Like the butcher who backed into his meat grinder

I have gotten a little behind in my work. Not only am I a couple of days shy of my quota, but I haven't posted the mandalas I have done - it's been almost a week since I last had the time to write. My painting class, while exhilirating, has been very time-consuming. In addition, I've had a lot of paperwork for C's upcoming year in Savannah and Z's planned homeschooling/community college year.

N, meanwhile, has wanted to read as much as possible for the local library's reading program, so we've been busy with that as well. In addition to reading library books, this week we've revisited our shelf of "very favorite authors" in our home library, and it occurs to me that I haven't mentioned this, so I thought I'd talk about it this evening before moving on to mandalas.

I consider myself a bibliophile - perhaps even a bibliomaniac. Yes, we patronize the library heavily! but books are the gift of choice in both my and my husband's extended families. One of the many things we love about our house is the room that I suppose was intended as a livingroom but which we use as a library.

One long shelf contains children's books by our family's three favorite authors. The first, Daniel Pinkwater, I have enthused about before on this blog (see my entry on his latest novel, The Neddiad, from a month or two ago). Currently, N & I are rereading his Werewolf Club series, of which we own only one (the library has all the others, so we only needed to buy the one the library lacks). He has read several of his own books on tape (both children's and adult books); if you ever get a chance to hear him read, I highly recommend it, as his reading is full of very dry, droll humor that both kids and grownups appreciate.

When C was in 3rd or 4th grade, he wrote to some of his favorite authors, including Pinkwater. Almost all of them responded. He still has the postcard from Pinkwater, with a lovely self-portrait sketch and sweet personal note, and treasures it greatly.

The second author on the shelf is James Stevenson. Like Pinkwater, he illustrates his own books. The humor is somewhat different, drier and with a little sharper tang to it, but they have a lot in common under the skin. We first got to know him through his "Grandpa and Wainey" books, and when C wrote to Stevenson it was to ask if Grandpa was modeled after Stevenson's own grandfather, or after Stevenson himself, or just made up. Stevenson responded with an original drawing of Grandpa and the words "Grandpa is . . . just Grandpa!" The letter is stored in a plastic sleeve next to Pinkwater's. I think it says a lot about a person when (s)he takes the time to write to a child.

Anyway, Stevenson has several other series, including one about a little witch named Emma (beleaguered by two mean, older witches), another about the inhabitants of Mud Flats, and my special favorite series, the ones about The Worst Person In The World - a mean old man who cultivates poison ivy and is rotten to everyone. While I would have a hard time limiting myself to just one of these, I think the absolute best in the series is The Worst Person in the World at Crab Beach. The humor is so dry you're thirsty by the third page, but if you read it slowly and deliberately, with the right amount of sarcasm, kids pick up on almost all the jokes, although grownups appreciate them, too. And the ending is just lovely. I don't mean to make it sound mean-spirited, because it isn't at all! For a mean old grouch, he's quite lovable, and he doesn't teach children to be rotten. Anyway, for information on Stevenson, click on the title link.

The third author on our very favorites shelf is Demi. We love her in part for the many Chinese legends she brings to life, and for the legends, myths and biographies from other countries and religions that she tells. But most of all, we adore her gorgeous, stunning illustrations. She paints tiny, detailed people, animals and plants with such luminous and glowing colors that even very young children with relatively short attention spans just want to sit and stare at the pictures. I have never seen an illustrator to rival her, ever. Neither C nor Z ever wrote to her, simply because we never could find an address. It was only recently that I was able to track down her full name; for a long time the publisher was very secretive about that! Perhaps when N is a bit older she will want to write to Demi, as she is quite taken with her books.

I don't even remember any more which mandala came when, except for the most recent of all. So the first one I will post here is one I am counting even though it is not strictly a mandala - well, it's not round, anyway. It was an assignment for painting class - we were to do a modulated background with an object floating in it. I chose to paint my bobbing buddha, without his spring. I had to draw the buddha 10-15 times on paper before I felt comfortable trying to paint him, but it really did help to do that, so I'm glad I did.
The gold fans in the background were made by a fan brush. Z showed me how to do that. Everyone in the class was wowed by that use of a fan brush, & then I had to admit that that is the only way I know how to use a fan brush - apparently there is some other use for them! The canvas is 11x14.

I bought a vellum pad the other day, as I so much enjoyed using the small pieces of vellum for those chakra mini-mandalas at the beginning of the month. Onto one piece I glued some of the flowers N & I had pressed earlier this summer: Queen Anne's Lace in the center, surrounded by thistle, a ring of lavender and then some tiny daffodils and assorted other tidbits. I backed it with pale yellow paper, but that did not really come through in the photo.
I'm going to have to play around with flowers some more - this is kind of pretty, but rather uninspired. I think there's a lot more that could be done with flowers. My problem is that I'm too engrossed in the realm of paint right now. (But oh! the box in which the dried flowers are kept smells very nice!)

I said I'd post what N had been working on last time while I was mandala-ing. I gave her free rein with the glitter and glue, and much to my surprise and pleasure, she was extremely careful and didn't make nearly as much of a mess as I had feared. Here are her three creations - I think the second or third one would be fun to make into something with different fabrics, a sort of quilted piece to hang on the wall, some time when I am not in the middle of a painting class!
This next picture does not count as a mandala, either, but given how many hours and how much energy I spent on it, how VERY much I learned from doing it, the fact that I never thought I could do anything remotely approaching something like this, and the fact that it kept me from working on mandalas, I'm giving myself credit for a mandala with this. Since one of my primary reasons for creating mandalas is that the act of creation is a form of meditation for me, and the act of painting puts me in pretty much the same space, that doesn't feel like cheating.
I felt very self-conscious about this painting, esp. knowing that most of the other students in the class had taken painting and/or drawing courses before, and that most of them were art majors. But then when all the paintings were set up across the room from us, and I got to compare mine to everyone else's, I saw that mine really wasn't half bad - and that there were actually some that were not as good as mine! By the way, the distortions you see (the celadon vase and the cream pitcher being skewed) are artifacts of the photo - I couldn't get far enough away to take the picture & have it be straight. I actually didn't paint them crooked.

It's not masterful, but WOW! I learned a LOT!

Finally, another mandala on vellum. This was this week's "Mandala Monday." I took the design and placed it underneath the vellum, then colored it. Vellum is a little tricky to work on, in that gel pens don't stick well to it, so you have to color over with them a few times, and colored pencil must be pressed fairly hard - which makes shading a little difficult. But the translucence makes it all worthwhile. Whether it is backed with colored paper, or just left on its own (as in this mandala), it is so delicate that it positively glows, and I just love it! There is no metallic pen or pencil on this one, just the shading working with the vellum. Nice, eh?
So, as of 21 I was caught up. With these today, I make it 25. As of tomorrow morning, I will be three behind, which is do-able. I have a HUGE assignment this weekend for painting: another still-life, 18x24, as well as the complete plan for my final project, a mandala 24x24! I figure I will be painting that still-life all weekend in order to finish; the one above, also 18x24, took about 10 hours in 3 sessions. Oy. Vay, even.



Not About Harry Potter Post

Yes, Z went to the party at Borders and C went to one of the many parties at bookstores on Union Square last night. Yes, we went this morning bright & early and picked up the book and the audio. Yes, Z's had her nose in the book all day and we listened to the tape all the way home.

But this post has nothing to do with that. I did something magical of my own today. I painted a mandala for the first time! Well, I've done watercolor mandalas, but never an acrylic one, and this is precisely what I've been taking this course to learn how to do! Today's was a simple one, though it took me nearly four hours. By the time I was finished, I felt pretty comfortable with some of the techniques I'd been practicing, and I am very happy with the result.
I have been reading about the root chakra, so I made a simple root chakra design after a happy discovery of a pad of canvas paper in the basement. I began by scrumbling yellow and ochre, then drew on the design when it was dry. I didn't really plan the colors; I just knew that I wanted to use predominantly reds, the color of the root chakra. Yet the blue sky seemed to want to be there on the perimeter, so I put it there, and the night sky appeared on the inside of the circle as well.

The little gold strokes in the background were made with a fan brush. Z taught me to do that - isn't it cool?

If you click for a close-up, you will see that I tried to give some texture to the gold square in the center. I'm not too practiced at this yet, but I liked the result. I plan to take the painting along to the next class to ask Ro for some pointers.

For our final project in the painting class, we're to choose an artist to study and emulate, and then do something of our own in that artist's style. I'd planned to do Rousseau, as I love his lush jungles, but I think I may do Georgia O'Keefe - the lotus petals of this chakra remind me a little of one of her flowers, and since I'm going to do a mandala for my final, I'm thinking a really wild challenge would be to do the whole thing emulating her flower style, if I can pull it off. I've been working hard on color modulation with colored pencils for the past couple of months, and now am struggling with it in acrylics, so O'Keefe is a natural one to study.

I'll have to show you N's creations tomorrow, however, as the battery on my camera has just run down and I can't upload any more this evening.



20 of 49

It's day 20 of Project 49, and here is my 20th mandala:
The colors, which aren't reproduced too well here, are blues, black and silver, with an occasional touch of red. (I find myself using red and orange in almost every mandala now. Color theory/psychology is another direction my reading will have to take at some point . . . .)

Z&I were listening to Daniel Pinkwater's Chicago Nights, Hoboken Days on tape (read by the author) while doing art today. We originally listened to the recording years ago with C&Z during family art nights, so I associate it with those times; but now, with two kids about to head off to college majoring in the arts, hearing Pinkwater's adventures as an art student in college was all the more meaningful.

I didn't have any special plans when I started this mandala; a piece of wood sitting on the table caught my eye, so I started by tracing the end of it twice just as something to do in the center. But as my doodles took form, I realized that my current reading was influencing my direction, and I ended up making a series of spinning wheels. I'm reading Anodea Judith's Wheels of Life, an introduction to chakra theory recommended by my cousin (thanks, K!). I'll blog about it another, time, though, as I need to head off to pick up N from Camp Gan Israel (have to blog about that some time as well - that's been an interesting and very positive experience for her).


The Process

Every so often, a mandala creates itself. This happened Wednesday-Thursday when, after fashioning the bindu (center) precisely the way I intended it, my pen burped up a huge gold blot and "ruined" everything.

I just sat there, staring at the mess for a few seconds, then ran for a paper towel and tried carefully soaking up as much of the liquid as possible. Once the puddling was absorbed, what was left was a perfect circle of gold, just at the right corner of the bindu.


So I made another circle opposite this one, at the left corner. And then I just let the mandala sort of take over from there. I got as far as the lotus circle (the nesting circle of pink, black and gold petals) and left it for the night.
In the morning, it finished itself easily without any conscious help from me.

Ro, my painting teacher, would say I'd gotten completely into my right brain when working on this (she's always telling us to "get out of our left brains"). Anneke Huyser, in Mandala Workbook, suggests that we finish a mandala without thinking about it; only after it is finished, she maintains, should we go back to it and analyze its symbolism and meaning. Well, sometimes there are symbols I actively choose to incorporate - that I set out to use before I even begin the mandala. So I don't always take her advice.

But I call this "letting the mandala create itself." I know that it comes from somewhere inside myself, but . . . well, it's rather akin to the Taoist concept of wu-wei: non-interference. I just step back and let it happen, instead of trying to force it. And sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.

In preparation for my first painting project, I've been doing sketching studies of my bobbling buddha, so for yesterday's mandala I did a buddha mandala. Here's a good counter-example to the previous mandala: one full of conscious choices. I left the inner circles open to each other on purpose. I just had fun with this, making my little friend into a mandala.


Dutch Mandala Association

Do by all means be sure to click on the title link, select "foto galerie" and scroll down to see the marvelous mandalas created by the members of the Nederlandse Mandala Vereniging, or Dutch Mandala Association, even if you can't read the text. Notice the counted cross stitch pieces, which were created "free-hand" - that is, without patterns.

I learned of this organization, and the practice of free-hand counted cross stitch mandalas, from Anneke Huyser's Mandala Workbook For Inner Self-Discovery. It's an absolute gem, the best book I have yet read on mandalas. In just 112 pages, Huyser presents a brief cross-cultural history of mandalas, a beginner's guide to their creation (in the widest variety of media I have ever seen anywhere), and a selective but thorough annotated resource list (including inspirational music).

Because it is translated from Dutch and a foreign import, Huyser's book is rather pricey for such a slim volume, but every page is packed with information and inspiration. Where larger, flashier books offer many big color plates that may only serve to intimidate, Mandala Workbook gives comfortable, informative text and plenty of b&w illustrations (as well as a few color plates). Huyser's instructions for beginners are particularly clear and appealing.

In short, if you're only going to buy one mandala book, this is the one to invest in. It's a great introductory text, and it will continue to serve you well as a reference text when you become more proficient in your mandala endeavors.

It's been a few days since I last updated my mandala work. I am plugging away on my painting homework, and feeling somewhat intimidated by the assignments - every piece I work on seems to scream "RANK AMATEUR!" But I am having fun with it, and I keep reminding myself that it is the act that counts, not the product.

In addition to painting (and to the pre-painting sketching), however, I have continued to create mandalas. I am one day behind, but here are the mandalas I have done so far. I made this one on some scrapbooking paper I bought at Michael's because I wanted to see what the swirls would look like when incorporated into the design. It did not turn out at all the way I wanted it to, and I had to white-out some mistakes. Ah, well, here it is, anyway:
This one began as a stylized Star of David but very quickly turned into a simple yantra pattern. So it's both - Stars of yantras. I enjoyed making it very much.
This third one I made today. It is actually blue and purple (and a bit of silver & red) on black, but I could not get the colors right with the camera.
I am in the middle of yet another one, but too tired to finish it tonight. I painted and sketched a great deal during today's D&D game, run by nephew C.

Here are two pieces that Z did in her Drawing I class, one last Thurs.:
and one last night:
Incredible, eh? I bow to her superior ability to reproduce reality. She and C are amazing in that regard. I stumble along wretchedly, doing my own funky thang. ;-)



The Little Book of Letting Go

I want to talk to you this evening about Hugh Prather's Little Book of Letting Go - but first I have to explain why. Every time we come around to Jainism, Buddhism and Taoism in my religion class, we discuss the ideal of non-attachment, and I have my students do a little exercise in "letting go." What would be the most difficult material, non-essential item for you to give up forever? Why would it be so difficult to give up? What does that tell you about yourself - about your needs and desires? Having pondered this question for a bit, do you feel it would be good for you to let go of it, or to keep it?

There are always a couple of students who don't read the directions carefully (or don't understand them) and say that the most difficult thing for them to give up would be their families. But of those who do the exercise properly, I get a wide range of answers, from cell phone and iPod (very popular answers) to music, clothing (other than basic) and even housing. Many students take this exercise very seriously, particularly in my online classes where we have lots of discussion.

This spring I determined that in order to bring more tranquility to our home (a major goal of mine this summer), I needed to let go of a great many of our material possessions. All of us except Z are packrats, and the clutter has gotten so bad that I just can't stand it any longer. Fortunately, I have Goodwill, Re-cycle, and Freecycle to donate to, and they have already taken many things off my hands.

But you know, it's not just a house that can become cluttered. And that's where Hugh Prather comes in. (You can click on the title of the post to learn a bit more about him - I'd never heard of him till I picked up the book, but apparently he's quite well known.) I picked up the book for $4 on remainder at Barnes & Noble, after looking through it a bit, and it was money well spent.

Prather may be a Methodist minister, but he's obviously studied Buddhist psychology. This wise little book (whose misleading tagline, A Revolutionary 30-Day Program Blah Blah Blah, was most likely added by an editor, since it doesn't really fit the book) offers a kind of mental dejunking that I found both helpful and comfortable. It's written in a chatty, conversational style, too - easy to read when one is up worrying in the middle of the night.

And worry, not incidentally, is one of the topics the book covers extremely well. I've struggled with worry for decades, probably as a result of taking everything on my own shoulders. I've known at an intellectual level just how pointless it is to worry, just how much energy it drains, and how much happier I would be if I spent less time doing it - but none of that has helped me let it go.

Prather breaks worrying down into bite-sized pieces so that one can examine them easily, comfortably and rationally (imagine looking at your fears rationally!). After each bite, he gives an exercise, which he calls a "release" (because it enables you to let something go). Some of these are more helpful than others. Most of the releases he suggests should take 1-2 days; I found that spending a day pondering the discussion itself as I went about my daily business was usually more fruitful than doing the actual releases, but to each her own.

I learned several things from this book, but the absolute most valuable thing I took from it was the understanding that most of my worrying came from my attempts to control people or situations. Letting go of that control-impulse makes the worry just melt away. You're probably nodding and thinking, "FINALLY she's figured that out!" So I'm a slow learner. Here's my favorite sentence in the book:

"The next time you think there is some situation you can control, try doing it when you have diarrhea."

Come to think of it, that applies pretty well to dealing with small children, too.

I'll leave you with one last quotation, rather long, in which he discusses his relationship with his wife. I think I would like these people:

"Thirty-five years later we have three wonderful sons. We have five wonderful pets. This is our fifteenth book. We serve a church that did not ordain us. We live in a city that can get above 115 degrees in the summer. And in the last four nights, we have killed ninety-three adult scorpions in a tight circle around our house. (We don't talk about what happened to their babies.)"

In other news this evening, here is a mandala I colored after supper, from Julie Keefe's Mandala Mondays:
And here is Z's homework assignment for her drawing class. The perspective looks a little odd because she was looking down into a mirror, but if you think of her from that angle, it's a good likeness. I was amazed at how fast she dashed it off, too!

Painting Class!

I am very psyched! I had my first painting class last night (6 to 10 pm, though the time flew), and boy was it ever fun! We learned how to mix all kinds of cool colors, and of course color mixing is one of the best ways to play that I can think of.

I'm a bit intimidated by the notion of painting a landscape, a portrait and a still life - all in class - as well as doing three paintings at home on my own, all in 6 weeks, but I look forward to the challenge. After discussing it with Ro Geseck, the teacher, I plan to do all the assignments but to modify the final project to make it into a mandala. More on that, anon.

I discovered that there's a student in the class who will be going to Drexel in the fall to work on her PhD in art therapy, and she says she'll be delighted to talk to Z about that. That was exciting, too!

Yesterday, I completed the 8th chakra assignment for my Goodwin lesson, incorporating all the colors and symbols of the seven chakras in my own way. I mounted it on what I'm increasingly thinking of as my current color, orange. Here it is:
And then, because N had asked me to make a mandala for her while she was at camp, and wanted me to use sparkles, I cut some slivers and circles from paper, added some more swirls and the words "Niko's mandala" in lots of places with gel pen, and made the following:
It's light & airy & kind of frou-frou, just a silly little thing, but it was fun to make. It was glad to have found some small, very slender scissors - they made the cutting of those tiny swirls of paper much easier. So those were my two mandalas for yesterday.

Today I did a painting exercise in mandala-form; at first I wasn't going to call it a mandala, but it was restful, right-brained and when I was done I felt as relaxed and at peace as I do when I do other mandalas, so I think that counts. Last night in class we'd done shadow color mixing - taking two complementary colors and mixing them in stages to move from one to the other in seven steps. I hadn't felt I'd mastered this, so I did it again.
After looking at it, I felt it needed something still, so when it's dry I think I may go back & add something. Not sure yet - I'll wait & see what my mood indicates. I'll let you know tomorrow!



The Seventh Chakra

Today was pretty exciting! Z & I visited Arcadia Univ., a small liberal arts school in a northern suburb of Phila.. I think Z is ready to enroll right now: they've got majors in both art therapy and scientific illustration (two hard-to-find majors), a fabulous study abroad program, and the freshman dorm is an honest-to-gods CASTLE! In fact, it's modeled after the castle where the Harry Potter movies are shot, which is why everyone who sees it for the first time exclaims "Hogwarts!"

What more could anyone want?

N, meantime, had her first day of Jewish day camp, and loved it. She did mention that they had to read something in Hebrew, which I seriously doubt since she doesn't read a lick of it, but other than that, she says, there were no prayers & nothing Jewish about it - which I also doubt. Most doubtful of all, she insists that they served meatballs as big as her head. Anyway, it was a success, which is a good thing since it lasts two weeks.

I have one mandala to offer this evening. I did not work on any mandalas yesterday, as I was in the throes of the eighth day of a migraine (let me tell you, this makes me feel very grey and bleak when it carries on so long), and was attempting to avoid focusing my eyes much.

Today I completed the seventh (last) chakra mandala and began the eighth of Goodwin's chakra assignments, a combination mandala, but it's not done yet so I will have to wait till tomorrow to see how it will turn out. I rarely plan my mandalas ahead of time, and these chakra mandalas are no exception. I have begun each of them with a general idea of what I will do: I look at the symbol for the chakra and pull out my colored pencils and gel pens of the appropriate color (and maybe a contrast or blending color), get one or two ideas, and then begin from the bindu, the center. As the mandala develops, the rest of the design just appears naturally.

On the rare occasions when it just doesn't work - when it looks wrong, or when I get "artist's block," it means I'm not in the proper frame of mind. Which I think means that I'm in my left brain rather than my right, because this is very much a right-brain, meditative activity.

At any rate, here is my Crown Chakra Mandala.


Chakras Again!

I moved into the greens and blues today with my chakra mini-mandalas. Amidst driving of daughters to visit their friends, I managed to complete three more of these, beginning with the Heart Chakra. For some reason, my pictures didn't come out too well this evening, but I am too tired to reshoot, so here they are anyway. In the center of this one is the Chinese character for "heart," though I think next time through the chakras I will have to write the Sanskrit for aum, since this chakra is also called the anahata, which means "unstruck" - in other words (little pun there, heh heh), the unstruck sound. Remember that koan about "what is the sound of one hand clapping"? Well, it refers to aum, which is the only sound that does not require two things striking each other to be produced.

Anyway, here is my Heart Chakra Mandala, associated with the color green. It has no pink in it, but for some reason it came out looking as if it's tinted pink, darn it; it's actually green and gold (my old high school and college colors - why can't I remember my students' names, but I'll never forget such a stupid thing as team colors?!):
The second one is associated with light blue (in case you can't make out the colors from the photo). It is the Throat Chakra, and it took me forever to complete, but I loved every second of it. I finished it at precisely 7:07 pm, which was pretty cool since today is 07/07/07! I think that's darned auspicious.

And then I mounted it upside-down on the card, dagnabbit! So much for my hard-earned meditative tranquility, once I discovered what I'd done. This shows the proper orientation.
The last one I did is the Third Eye Chakra. It didn't take me nearly as much time to complete. R, Z & I spent a couple of hours together after N fell asleep, all working on art together while listening to a Vangelis cd. Very calming.
And now it's time for bed. My count now stands at 9 mandalas, at the end of Day 7. I plan to make at least one tomorrow, but I don't know if I will be able to do any on Monday, so it's good that I'm a bit ahead for now.



A Mandala a Day for 49 Days

In honor of my being 7 squared, I have decided to color or create an average of one mandala a day for 49 days, beginning with July 1. Some days I may do more and some days I may not do any, but at the end of the 49 days (which will be August 18, I think - correct me if I am wrong!) I will have completed 49 mandalas of one sort or another. I think I can do it.

I began by coloring in some mandalas from Julie Keefe's Mandala Mondays contest website. N did one with me the first day, and when we uploaded them, she wrote back to say we were the first ones ever to participate, so I'm trying to spread the word about her mission. Visit her site and try out one of her lovely designs. It's a very relaxing activity. Here are the ones I've colored so far, beginning with "Luminosity":

This one is N's:
Here are two more I did yesterday. I call the first one "Golden Atom" and the second "Desert Yantra." It's the first yantra I have attempted in any form.

My sister-in-law C did this one and titled it "Chocolate Truffle." I love it!
And this one's by my niece S. "Starry Flight." We enjoyed coloring together!
Z and I went to Dick Blick this afternoon and bought the materials for our summer courses. She's taking Drawing I and I am taking Painting I. We had a whole lot of fun - it's not often we spend that kind of money on art supplies, but we had to this time, right? ;-) Good thing my class was free, since I spent over $100 in supplies, geez!

I've skipped two of the lessons in Clare Goodwin's course, and gone on to her lesson on chakras. I know very little about chakra theory, and after coloring these three today I have determined that I need to find a book on chakra theory. I'll finish this series of mini-chakra mandalas, most of which will become cards to send to people, and then I will do a more elaborate, creative, expressive series. I find that I really like doing the small, close work of these miniature pieces; I think doing more elaborate ones this small would be a challenge I could really get into. Here are the first three, starting from the base and working upward:

The root chakra, which is traditionally associated with red:
The sacral chakra, associated with orange (I plan to keep this one, as orange is my color right now - the color of movement, change and experimentation):
The solar plexus chakra, associated with yellow:
I did these on vellum with colored pencil and gel pen (mostly gold and silver), then mounted the vellum on colored paper. The rubber cement shows, and you can't see the vibrancy of the yellow, but you get the general drift. I'm having a good time with it.

So it's the end of Day 5 and I've done 6 (yes, I know I started early - I'm letting myself cheat; it's all part of the "be kind to myself" plan, thanks to my cousin K). I plan to go out tomorrow to buy a book on chakras, and then to do at least a couple more in the series. And yes, I've fixed the date on the camera - it reads day/month/year. Very European. So it's correct - it just doesn't look it to folks in this country!