Headaches, bathroom breaks, and reading for pleasure

I would love to tell you this weekend was positively perfect since I finished my genre paper a day early and therefore started my week-long school break Friday afternoon, but I am going on Day 3 of a headache and I quite literally want to punch myself in the face, just to see if that will help it go away.

Also, Chuck fought a stomach bug nearly all of Saturday and most of Sunday, so that wasn’t particularly pleasant either. We took his father to Tupelo Honey Cafe last night for a birthday dinner (Happy Birthday, Bill!) and Chuck wasn’t able to enjoy the food like usual for fear that the bug would resurface.

To top it off, my insomnia came back to visit me Saturday night. It was like the insomnia of 2011 when I’d lay away for four hours, doze for 20 minutes, then lay awake until giving up on sleep altogether.

The weird part is that I wasn’t even fretting Saturday night. I genuinely have no imminent worries that keep me in limbo or in a state of potential catastrophe. Life, in general, is good. But my brain refuses to shut off because it prefers to think about what might happen on Season 5 of Downton Abbey, what clothes I should donate to Goodwill, and whether or not I’ll ever lose ten pounds. Stupid nonsense nothingness that should not keep a person awake at night.

See, I stopped taking Ambien in May. My prescription ran out and I thought it would be good to wean myself off the drug and save whatever memory I have left. (Have you taken Ambien? Has it wrecked your memory or made you do weird stuff?) I’ve been sleeping mostly well all summer, taking the occasional Melatonin or Advil PM if I wanted to ensure myself a few good hours of shut-eye.

But Saturday night scares me. Insomnia is no good. It wrecks my mood and mental capacity, and with another semester starting next Monday, I’m not willing to risk it.

BeautifulRuins_small-330The only good that came out of not sleeping is that I finished Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. That’s right. I read for pleasure. It didn’t matter that I was reading for pleasure at three in the morning. It wasn’t theory or philosophical drivel or some book I had to read for class. It was a thoughtful, well-crafted story of a wishful love affair between a young Italian man and an almost-movie star. Jess Walter takes you from the coast of Italy in 1962 to present day Hollywood through a series of mistakes, lies, and starry-eyed daydreams. His writing is impeccable.

It’s a book I wish I’d purchased instead of borrowed from the library.

Yesterday I started The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes, and after that, it’s likely I’ll finally get to The Signature of All Things by Liz Gilbert. However, if I don’t get to that it’s because I’ll be full swing into my novel again.

Y’all, my stomach is all jittery just thinking about it.


“You may not remember you did anything…”

Insomnia is slow torture and, since I have reoccurring bouts of it, I started taking Ambien last year to help me sleep. On the rare occasion, I’ve skipped the pill and tried to sleep on my own, but so far that’s not worked out to my benefit.

So I carry on with the memory erasing pill because without sleep I’m a bear. Chuck picked up my prescription the other day and for the first time I read the medication guide. So hilarious and TRUE. While I don’t get out of bed and drive to Walmart in the middle of the night, I’ve most certainly done things post-pill that I don’t remember, and looking through my late-night internet searches can confirm that. Examples include images older men with excessive chest hair and the practice of witchcraft in modern times.

Just so you know, I do not have an attraction to older men with excessive chest hair nor am I a practicing witch. And I have since learned to put down the iPad each night after taking my sleeping pill, lest I purchase a paddle boat online or start FaceTiming new friends in Finland.

Busy as Bees

With all of our recent travel, family responsibilities, and work, we haven’t happened upon a day where we just. sit. still. It’s just as well because I don’t do very well with still. I become very bored with still, even though still sounds so lovely. Bravo to all of you who know how to pull off still.

Yesterday we brought home a new mattress, which no doubt sounds very unexciting but I was THRILLED. The last time I remember sleeping on a new mattress was when Mom and Dad bought bunk beds for Becky and me in the mid-80s. Since then it’s been hand-me-downs from relatives, which is why Chuck can barely bend over to put his shoes on each morning. With his back screaming at him and my insomnia making a regular appearance, we decided to amend these issues with a new mattress.

He slept fine last night. I laid awake until 1 a.m., dozed for a while, woke at 3:30 when Jackson had a nightmare, and dozed again until 6 a.m. However, I choose to look on the bright side. At the very least, I was quite comfortable while I laid there willing myself to fall asleep.

Yesterday I received in the mail a proof of the book, so I’ll spend the next few days thumbing through it to find glaring errors. It’s too late for major changes now since 50 copies have already been printed for an event the author is attending next week, but perhaps I’ll find something incredibly wrong and fixable before the next batch is made. I have to say, it was really nice to see the [mostly] completed project sitting on my kitchen counter. It was especially nice to see my name on it.



Insomnia, You’ve Done It Again

What’s more fun than laying awake in bed for two hours trying to fall asleep? How about waking up at 1 a.m. and laying awake for two hours trying to fall BACK to sleep? Yeah. That’s SUPER FUN.

That’s right, my faithful foe Insomnia has set up residence again in my bedroom. Of all the things I inherited from the Treadway side of the family, including my stubbornness, this is the one thing I could do without. (Sorry Dad, Gloria, and Mamaw.) It’s 8:15 p.m. and all I want to do is go to bed. It’s been days since I’ve had a good night’s rest, even with all of these wonderful trees around me. Instead, I read and pin creative things to my Pinterest board.

Creative things like this:

Sweet dreams to all of you non-insomniacs. Dad, Gloria and Mamaw, I’ll be thinking of you at 3 a.m.

Insomnia, My Old Friend

My old pal Insomnia has returned in full force. After giving me a few months reprieve from nighttime restlessness, he’s come back to my bed to taunt and haunt me.

Sunday night was the worst. After a week of little sleep, I deliberately kept the evening quiet and dimly lit. I read for a while and was in bed by 10:30 p.m. By 12:30 a.m., after two hours of tossing, I gave up, flipped on the light and continued to read until 2 a.m. As a result, I was a horrible monster yesterday trying to function on 4.5 hours of sleep.

Sidebar: Chuck insisted I try a book by one of his favorite authors, Chuck Palahnuik (author of Fight Club). Since he humored me four years ago by finally reading the entire Harry Potter series, I agreed to try Survivor.  Let me just say this – If you’ve seen the movie “Fight Club,” then you probably have a good idea of how twisted a mind has to be to come up with such a bizarre story. Though “bizarre” is not my genre, Palahnuik is an imaginative writer and does well to stretch a reader’s brain. His writing dark, mordent and satirical. I found myself thinking about the story long after I’d go to bed, which naturally didn’t help the going-to-sleep process. I’ve since moved on to Eric Weiner’s Geography of Bliss.

But back to insomnia.

Last night, I tried to be even more quiet and calm. No TV, no computer. Only a long bath followed by reading. I took a melatonin pill at 8:30 p.m. and flipped off the light by 9 a.m. Though I fell asleep quickly, I was awake every three hours and woke up ten minutes before the alarm went off. I HATE when that happens. Grouch.

Right now, all I want to do is lay my head down on the keyboard and sleep.

But I shan’t. Instead I will do the usual: treadmill, book design, packing, feeding kids, book design, packing, bathing kids, book design, put kids to bed, book design, reading, attempt to sleep. Repeat, repeat, repeat. With much to do before we move, there is little time to rest.