Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The bliss of solitude

"You can find me when the light is changing."

I've been having trouble sleeping. I dread going to bed because I know it will be hard to get sleepy. Even if I can hardly keep my eyes open during some TV program I'm trying to watch, the minute I get in bed I'm wide awake.

I have my bedtime rituals. A hot bath, which used to reflex me and make me feel drowsy, until it became part of my scenery, just one more thing I do. I brush my teeth and lay out my morning meds and take my bedtime meds. There's something about this that underscores the brevity of life. As I do it, it seems like no time at all since I went through the same motions the night before.

I put anti-wrinkle, anti-blemish cream on my face, tea tree oil on my toes, hand lotion on my hands and talcum powder on my legs which seems to keep them from itching, I have no idea why. I put my night guard under my pillow and assume the position. The one on my side with a pillow between my knees. And I settle in for the time it takes to drift off to dreamland, which varies but is rarely brief.

That's not even the most annoying part of my sleeplessness. I can't stay asleep. I wake up from one to five times during the night. Most of those times I get up, go potty, get a drink of water, not because I need to, but just because it's a habit. About 3 am I put my night guard in. I can usually fall back to sleep with it in.

I get up earlier and earlier too. I go to bed between 11 pm and midnight and by 6:30 am I'm rolling out of bed. I was a night owl who spent a 35 year career longing to be able to sleep in, at least until 8, and now I can't sleep.

I do enjoy mornings. I think my first cup of coffee, sometimes with a cat on my lap, is my favorite part of the day. I drink one cup of full caff and two cups of half caff. I check things on my ipad, email first and then in random order, eBay, Etsy, Facebook and Lampwork Etc. Sometimes I check my blog roll, and of course i follow whatever links on Facebook interest me.

There is a sameness about my days right now, a sort of grayness. I eat breakfast if I'm hungry or I remember to. I gather yesterday's beads from the kiln and put them to soak. I dress. I go out to make beads from 9 am to 1 pm when it gets too damn hot. Which is OK because 4 hours of bead making eviscerates my creativity and taxes my neck, arm and hand.

I come in and notch down the AC whic still runs a program that assumes I work somewhere besides home Monday through Friday. I eat breakfast if I forgot to earlier. I re-check email and all the websites I checked earlier. I change into workout clothes and drive over to the community fitness center. I walk on the treadmill for one hour, listening to an audiobook or watching reruns of PBS shows on my ipad. There are always other people there but no one talks, hell, no one makes eye contact. I go to the post office if I have any beads or glass to ship. I go to the bank.

I vary my routine on some days. I may get my hair cut or my nails done, or a massage (strictly for my work-related pain of course). I pick up milk and groceries. Sometimes I go to Lowes for propane or a craft store for beading stuff. Sometimes I shop for clothes or shoes or things for the house, although there is little I really need. Every couple of weeks I go to the library and check out mostly movies, an occasional book.

I clean yesterday's beads. Maybe I take pictures and list things on Etsy or eBay. I check the usual websites again. Obsessive much?

By this time it's pretty close to the time Neil gets home, so I think about dinner, which is one of the following:

Boiled eggs, with bagels or English muffins. Or egg salad
Tuna Mac. Kraft macaroni and cheese with a can of solid white mixed in, a quickie tuna casserole.
Soup. With English muffins, or bagels if I remembered to get some. Cream of chicken mixed with chicken noodle. Or tomato.
Frozen pizza. No comment.
Ravioli. The refrigerator kind, with spaghetti sauce for me, butter for Neil.
Baked sweet potatoes.
Hot dogs and buns.
Leftovers of the above.

It suits us.

Unless like tonight when Neil has early softball and I won't see him until 9 pm. So I'll eat when I get hungry, tortillas with melted cheese and deli turkey or tomatoes. If I remembered to get some.

Lately, now and then, I bake. I make yogurt cake, or banana bread or cupcakes from a box. I'm not very good at it, but I try.

If Neil is home, we usually watch something together. A TV show if we can find anything good, or a DVD.

If Neil isn't home, like tonight, I'll watch one of the movies I checked ou of the library.

So the days fly, but I worry that something is missing. I feel like I should crave more human interaction. Which isn't the same thing as actually craving more human interaction. I feel like so much solitude isn't good for me, yet I don't really mind it. And I'm not sure what to do about it anyway. I'm still thinking about a part-time job, or volunteering with the Sugar Land animal rescue, if I can ever find it. Certainly getting out and doing some social service work would put me in the world more and make me a more interesting person.

It might even give me something more interesting to write about.

Last summer was different. I took an art class twice a week for 7 weeks. I made several multiday trips to Keller to spend time with my new grandchild. I visited my mom. We took a trip to Seattle and to Glacier National Park, followed by a trip to New Jersey, the latter memorable mainly because I was sick the whole time.

We have some fun things on the horizon. This weekend we're going to Ryland's first birthday party. Neil is going on to Oklahoma on business and I'm staying with my daughter for a couple of days. In July I'll visit my mom again. In August we're going to Yellowstone Park, and we're talking about trips to North Carolina and New Jersey too. Neil is going to coin camp in Colorado and also going to Chicago with his kids for a few days, but I'm opting out of those two events. They're too close in time to our other trips and I really don't like to be away from home that much.

I mean, if I can't sleep, I'd rather do it in my own bed.

"I have a need
For solitude
I'll never be
Safe in crowded rooms
I like the sound
Of silence coming on
I come around
When everyone has gone

I have a need
For cool verdant spaces
Beneath the trees
Secret empty places
Nobody knows
So no one will intrude
I have a need
For solitude

But you can find me, when the light is changing
At that time of day when there's
Little day remaining
You can find me where I've been waiting
Waiting here for you."

(Mary Chapin Carpenter)

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Thanks for your comment! I will post it as soon as I receive it. Liz