Third Person Lara

Lara is staying up too late.  It is her own damn fault; she fell asleep with her infant at about 6:30 in the evening and slept until almost 9.  Bad idea.  Bad idea, indeed.  Now Lara is awake.  But Baby finally fell asleep at half past midnight, so Lara can go to sleep too, after she brushes and flosses her teeth.  Poor tired Lara. Let’s hope her infant doesn’t wake up at the butt crack of dawn.

Lara thinks she should change her name, but she doesn’t know what name to change her name to.  She doesn’t like the name Lara.  It is such a wimpy name.  Plus no one can pronounce it properly in the United States. It’s always LORuh or LAIRuh, not LARuh, like car, or bar, or far, or tar, or mar, or even the letter R.  It’s not hard (or the word hard), or difficult even, but people here can’t do it.  And even when she spells her name for people, they still stick in the damn U.  What the hell, people?  There isn’t a U.  It’s not the same name.  Laura is the feminine of Lawrence.  It is a Latin-based name.  Lara is a Slavic name.  It is not related to Lawrence.  But try telling that to the morons who refuse to call her by her proper name, dang it.  Annoying.

Okay, awake is going to win if Lara does not head to her bed.  First to the bathroom sink and the toothpaste and the toothbrush, then to the bed.  Sleep.  Sleep.  Ahhhh…

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How Do I Love Thee

Ah, sleep.  My lovely friend, you are my blissful savior.  For months you have evaded me, trickling in and out like a stealthy lover.  Yet tonight you arrived on my doorstep to spend the night, lolling beside me on my bedsheets, holding me close to your bosom.  Each time you have graced me with your spiriting presence you removed my mind, carrying it off to unknown vistas.  Your visit has restored my thoughts, revived my spirit.  Please do not leave me again–my heart and mind will break without you.

In Som Ni A

I hate not being able to sleep. For most of my adult life, I have manifested stress as insomnia.  It’s worse when I have something pending the following day, like an early appointment, or even work.  Sometimes though, when there is really no reason to have to get up early (or at all for that matter), I will awaken in the middle of the night or too early in the morning and not be able to go back to sleep.  Then when I do, the second sleep is usually too sound, or I have to wake up in the middle of its too-soundness, and end up feeling like a slug all the next day.

Last night’s insomnia was the result of being just too warm. We had a houseguest who slept in Milla’s room, so Milla slept with us.  In addition, we kept the bedroom door closed.  I wakened at 2:57 a.m. broiling like a roast chicken.  I opened the windows, but then couldn’t sleep because even with the earplugs I never sleep without, I could hear the noisy street (I have mentioned how much I hate this apartment, haven’t I?).  I also had to get up and go to the bathroom twice.  Then the brain started worrying about money, and arguing with the student loan lenders I had to send a letter too, and wondering how we are going to make the sublet request go through, and forget it.  Sleep wasn’t happening.

I was finally able to stop the brain from spinning on each of my worrywart topics, but even after changing to new earplugs, the windows were too loud.  After lying there uncomfortably, I finally opened the bedroom door and closed the windows.  That seemed to do the trick and I fell back asleep.  I woke again once to go to the bathroom (pregnant woman’s bane), but was able to fall back asleep.  Damn, I hate insomnia.

Sleepy

I’m sooooo tired.  Somehow adding the extra o’s makes it more.  I like that, that adding a few extra letters means emphasis.

When I first arrived here, my insomnia returned with a vengeance, mostly because I missed my boyfriend and sleeping with him.  Then a couple of weeks ago I started sleeping a bit better, actually making it through the night.  Of course, it helped that I figured out to close the windows to the noisy roosters, put up curtains to keep out light, as well as remembering to wear my usual eye pillow and ear plugs.  These things helped immensely.  Plus I think I just settled down or something and was able to sleep.

Yet the night before last I woke up and could not go back to sleep even though I knew I could sleep in the next morning (for some reason knowing I have to get up the next morning makes insomnia worse for me).    I was tired and grumpy most of the day as a result.  Last night I was so tired and fell asleep quickly when I went to bed.  Only this did not stop me from waking up too early this morning.  Goddamned insomnia.  I hate it.

Yuck.  I know the experts don’t call it insomnia if it doesn’t last 2 weeks.  Whatever.  It’s all not sleeping.  Last night I fell asleep sooner than the night before, which is good, but I’m still pooped this morning so I am going back to bed.  Hopefully I will be able to get over this hump or I’ll turn into a monster and it won’t be good.

Brain Robber

Insomnia is cruel.  Like an invisible burgler it crawls through the window of your brain robbing you of sleep.  The parts for sleep may all be there, but insomnia has stolen them.  You can try the tools, valerian root, guided imagery, good hard exercise during the day, earplugs, white-noise machines, eye covers, making certain not to drink any liquid before 8, but they operate like an average casino against Danny Ocean.  They just don’t work.

I manifest stress as insomnia.  I have for years.  Sometimes it feels as if I have spent as much time staring at the walls and ceiling in the dark as I have during the day.  I have learned to manage stress and all the techniques for its alleviation.  Above all, I have learned not to sweat the small stuff because it’s the small stuff that makes the big stuff even bigger.  Because I have had insomnia off and on for years, I have of course read all about it, in books and on the internet.  I have swapped stories with my other insomniac friends.  I learned there are two primary types of insomnia:  one in which the insomniac cannot fall asleep and the other where the insomniac has little difficulty drifting off, but awakens in the middle of the night and cannot go back to sleep, then finally falls into a deep sleep right before it is time to get up.  This makes getting up and getting moving extremely difficult.  I have the second type.

I recognize different facets of insomnia.  If my brain is running in circles, I hear the same song over and over and over like a broken record, and I know I have to find some way to break the cycle to get back to sleep.  An insomniac friend told me of a technique whereby you roll your eyes back and forth while closed, mimicking REM sleep. This works in some instances, but only for the brain running kind of insomnia.  Other times my brain isn’t running in circles, it is just awake, moving from thought to thought.  In this instance, I try to focus very heavily on where I am:  the pillow, the blankets, being comfortable, being warm.  The only problem with this method is that if I have to go to the bathroom, it becomes immediately obvious.

I normally have a vivid, photographic and strong audial memory, but it disappears when I have not been able to sleep.  I turn into a zombie after a few days of this misery.  Staring into space, missing words, forgetting things.  It’s terrible.  Because I knew this about myself, I knew that if I was able to sleep while taking the bar exam, I would pass.  If I did not sleep, I would not pass.  It was as simple as that.  I had the experience of hundreds of tests prior to go on, as well as horse show competitions.  I knew my performance depended on my ability to sleep.  Because of this, I went to a hypnotist three times before taking the bar exam.  It worked.  I slept.  I passed.

Insomnia has not been nearly as big a problem for me for some time as it used to be.  I think my body just became so used to outside stressors it gave up even bothering to respond to them.  I’m sure my cortisol levels were through the roof.  But at some point, stuff really didn’t bug me anymore.  Some person pulls in front of me in their car.  Ah well, it’s not me, it’s them.  The dog tracked in poop?  Okay, guess I’ll clean that up.  I don’t know.  I suppose it just did not seem worth it to ruin a moment getting all worked up about something meaningless, something that would increase my stress level, and ultimately impede my ability to sleep.  I have even learned to relax about insomnia, and that step alone seems to have been the biggest contributor to ridding myself of it.  I wake up in the middle of the night.  Okay, fine.  Guess I’ll lie here.  I’ll be fine tomorrow.  And so it’s been.

Only now I have insomnia again and it is different.  First of all, I can’t go to sleep.  Falling asleep has never been so consistently difficult for me.  Then once I do fall asleep, it’s fitful.  I awake easily and also awaken at my old insomnia wakening time of 3 or 4 a.m.  And it is like I have multiple facets of insomnia manifesting at the same time.  The brain is running in circles and active.  Plus I have been getting anxious about having insomnia, and I haven’t been anxious about insomnia in years.  Last night for instance, I finally reached that relaxed point between sleep and wakefulness when my brain interceded with the thought, What if I don’t fall asleep? With that, I was instantly awake.  Damn brain.  Shut up already!  What is that?  Why did it do that to me?  And so it went for what felt like hours.  Time always feels longer when you are trying to go to sleep.  I finally did fall asleep, but I woke up several times.  This morning when the alarm went off it was torture to struggle out of bed.

So here I am.  I know what is going on.  I have a pile of bills and I can’t pay them.  I have dozens of outstanding job applications, even for mundane positions, and no one is calling.  My house is for sale and I need for it to sell so I can leave here.  I try not to get too excited about leaving, but it is hard not to want to escape when it feels like nothing works.  It doesn’t matter if the approach is to lay low for a while or go gung ho for a while or somewhere in between, nothing works.  Maybe I have been cursed.  But I don’t go around feeling that way.  I figure life hands you stuff, you deal with it.  It doesn’t help to go all martyr and negative and lament a lousy life.  I can want to leave more than anything and see if it’s better somewhere else, but I’m not going to ruin this moment hating it.  Only it seems my body hasn’t gotten the message.  It’s freaking out on me even as the mind says no.

I asked my counselor about this.  Why is it, I say, that my body is rebelling?  My mind is cool with this.  I’m getting these trials to become a stronger person.  I’m growing. I’m fine.  She says it is an enormous amount of stress not to be able to pay your bills because it goes to fundamental security.  Okay, fine.  I get that.  But if I’m not stressing about it when I’m awake, I don’t need to when I’m asleep either.  What is the point of getting to the point where you don’t sweat the small stuff when you are awake if your body freaks out when you’re supposed to be asleep?  I suppose it is something to do with the stress not necessarily being small stuff, but I just don’t want to sweat that either.  It’s not fun.

So I’ll keep on keeping on.  I’m sure this is a rambling incoherent post because I am kind of like a drugged person, I’m so tired.  I stop periodically and stare at the lamp.  I pause because I’ve forgotten a word.  I actually had to spell check thief.  That’s sad.  For me it’s sad. And then I come to the end and have nothing further to say.

Truly Random Thoughts of a Stream of Consciousness Insomniac

My brain is normally overflowing with words.  I can hardly exist sometimes with all the words leaking out my ears and nostrils.  But for the last few days, my brain has been remarkably quiet.  I’ve thought of a few things, but nothing like usual.

Okay, non sequitur here.  But I’m sitting and typing this and my little dog, Piper, is lying down next to me with his funny little back legs stuck out straight behind him and he’s licking his front paws.  Oh!  Now the greyhound started snorting (she does that periodically, kind of gags and snorts like she has something caught in her throat) so Piper just jumped up to warn her with a couple of throaty little barks that he’s here so that snorting better not come any closer.  Oh she’s warned all right.  She’s lying across the middle of the floor taking up that half of the room.  I’m sure she plans to trip anyone who wants to come after me.  Dogs.  They are so present.

So anyway.  Last night I was pondering the fact that my brain has not been very active recently and I had a few interesting thoughts I wanted to write down, but I was too tired.  The brain wanted to sleep.  Sitting here, I almost wonder if it’s the insomnia that’s shut down my brain.  I have not been sleeping well.  It’s been over a week.  I know why.  I have no job.  I’m not making much on the contract work I’m getting.  I’m not sure how I’m going to pay the mortgage next month.  I got a shutoff notice from the city for water.   So I lie there in the middle of the night when I wake up and force myself into the moment, try not to worry about the future, try not to plan how to bring in cash.  I keep focusing on the pillow or the comforter or my dogs snoring or Milla’s arm across my head.  Bonk.  That brought me back to the present all right!

It’s funny how difficult living in the moment can be.  But I find that my days are much more stress free than they used to be, even if I’m not the best living in the moment person.  Compared to how I used to be, I really shouldn’t be so hard on myself.  Now I have to figure out how to stay in the moment at 3 in the morning when my brain wants to consider all the possibilities having no money brings.

So sitting here contemplating this now I am certain that the empty brain is just trying to sleep.  It does not function well without rest.  It loses its verve.  I yawn a lot.  I know this place.  Stress has always manifested as insomnia for me.  Insomnia makes it hard to be awake, in every sense of the word.  It is kind of nice for stream of consciousness, useless blogging though.

I’m selling my house.  I am moving somewhere warmer.  Or at least sunnier.  Milla’s dad wants us to move to Boulder where he lives.  He says it is sunny there 300 days a year.  I have a friend here who is from Denver.  She says it is sunnier there too, even though it’s cold.  I’m curious whether the sun alone will cure me.  I long for heat as well.  In the heat I can wear wispy dresses and flip flops.  In the heat I can pull on a t-shirt and cutoffs and I’m ready for the day.  In the cold I have to go searching for layers that won’t be terribly uncomfortable but will keep me warm.  And the choices!  It’s overwhelming.  So today, I can wear a maroon turtleneck, or hmmm….a black turtleneck?  How about grey?  And let’s see, should I wear the Levi’s for when I’m bloated or am I sufficiently watered that I’m not retaining anything and can wear the skinny ones?  Gee.  I’m not sure.  I could wear khakis, but that would require ironing and I really don’t feel like ironing.  So Levi’s it is.  There are those who tell me it’s because I’m so skinny that I’m cold all the time.  I don’t have enough padding.  So I should just gain a bunch of weight then I won’t be cold?  Not sure that would work.  I’m not the sort who gains weight easily.  And too much sugar makes me insane.  So I could try eating a lot more than I do, add sugar, and I’ll be chubby and meaner than hell, but I’ll be warm.  You know?  I think I’ll move instead.

Well off I go to try and earn some money so perhaps I can sleep.  That would be nice.  At the moment, I would really like a nap.

Piper Killed the Snooze Alarm Button

010.jpg61,872 new posts today!  I’m going to hurry and post this before writing more and see if it goes up to 61,873.  No!  It didn’t!  Bummer.  I actually thought it would flip ahead like 8000 or something.  But no.  Neither.

My daughter woke up early this morning.  Fidget. Fidget.  Then that woke up Piper. Piper is an I’m AWAKE now! sort of dog.  I don’t want to suffer through four snoozes on the alarm.  The alarm went off.  It’s time to get up.  Feed me NOW!  He jumps off the bed with his short little legs and starts to whimper.  And whimper.  And whimper.  And whimper.  And whimper.  And…Piper!  Shut UP!  That only makes it worse because he then knows you are awake and only faking it.  I’ve tried just picking him back up and putting him back in bed, but then he plods around on it trying to get comfy but he can’t because he’s hungry (at least that’s what I think is going on) and possibly because his legs are so short that walking on the bed for him is like crossing rough terrain for us, so he jumps off the bed again and the whole thing starts over.  Somewhere in the middle of all this the alarm goes off again making it all a moot point.  Yes, Piper killed the snooze alarm button.  That sounds like a cool title for a song.  Piper killed the snooze alarm button (gettin’ jiggy wit it in my chair).

So this morning, Piper didn’t kill the snooze alarm button because it is Saturday and the alarm was not on.  HOWEVER, this did not stop Milla from wakening early and starting to fidget which woke Piper up.  I’m lying there trying very hard not to move and acknowledge to either of them that I am awake.  Unfortunately, Milla is the sort that thinks that if she is awake, everyone else must be awake too.  She’s not loud about it.  She tries to be sweet, I recognize this.  Only it’s SATURDAY and there is NO ALARM so can we please lie there blissfully for a little time anyway?

No.  No, we can’t.  Because Milla is awake and Piper is awake.  Mama, I have to go potty.   Really bad.  I feel like my bladder is going to explode.  Okay, well.  So go then.  But it’s so full. Well, then go pee.  But I want you to come with me.  Milla, I do not want to come with you.  If I get up, then I will have to pee too and then I’ll be awake and I don’t want to be awake yet.

Whimper.

Uh oh.  There goes Piper.  Our voices got him started.  Uh oh, Milla. Now you did it.  Now you’re going to have to take Piper potty too and give him food and water or he won’t stop.  I know this.  So then we went back and forth and back and forth, Milla telling me she had to go potty, me telling her go ahead and get it done, and Piper whimpering. Then me telling Milla to feed the dog too and Milla telling me no and me telling Milla since she woke up Piper she gets to deal with Piper.

Finally, finally Milla’s bladder couldn’t stand it any longer so she got up and went pee.  Piper followed her.  She came back to bed.   Piper followed her.  She did not feed or water him.  Piper grew much more insistent.  I mean, that little girl was up.  She was OUT of bed.  She even walked into the room where the food dishes are, and she didn’t feed me?  What the hell is up with that?  Hey, who can blame him?  I would have been annoyed too.  So I pointed out that Milla not feeding and watering Piper was cruelty and that the devil would dance on her bones for starving a poor, defenseless little dog, and how could she be so cruel?  Piper in the meantime has not stopped whimpering.  In fact, his plaintive little noises could be characterized as whining now.  Full blown whining.  And Edna and Molly heard the words “puppy chow” so they are up too, Edna shaking and making her tags rattle and Molly dancing around like it’s a party in 1999.

Blissful, comfortable, drifty Saturday morning?  Nah.  I don’t think so.