Barbara: Little things

Fairy Tale Series by

Fairy Tale Series by

Long time, no see!*

Traditionally, we all want to make big sweeping changes in January.  Out with the old, in with the new–so you toss out all the pasta and the cookies and resolve to work out four times a week and walk 500 miles per month.  Anyone who belongs to a gym dreads the January crowds and endures, knowing everything will be back to normal by February at the latest.

One of my spiritual teachers is a Native American healer who advised us to observe nature and follow the wisdom of the natural cycles. In winter, the daylight hours are short, which means we should be sleeping more, resting more, storing up energy for the coming spring.  Because of that natural cycle, it’s quite difficult to actually make big sweeping changes in January.  We want to rest, and we should rest.

This was never an easy thing for me to hear.  I’m a resolutions kind of gal–make plans, set goals, work hard, that’s me. I like having lists and goals and direction. But I do believe in the wisdom of nature. I do believe in the wisdom of the body and the cycles of the year, and I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how to make small, easy changes.  Here are a few I’ve come up with for myself.

1. Sleep more, just until spring. I’m going to aim for a whopping ten hours, because I’ve noticed that my joints feel better, my skin looks clearer, and I’m much more productive when I actually sleep that much. It’s a lot, I know. In America, that’s kind of a lazy amount of sleeping, but I don’t care. My body likes it. In truth, I probably only sleep around 8 1/2 to 9, because I take a book to bed with me and read for a long time before I sleep.

2. Swim more.  I keep saying I’m going to blog about my experiences with swimming and haven’t done it. This is another teaser. I like swimming and it has given Christopher Robin impressive muscles in his chest and shoulders. It doesn’t hurt my knees and feet. It makes me sleep like a lazy log. More swimming. Eventually, someday, I’d like to be able to swim a leisurely mile without stopping.

3. Be consistent with my little changes.  Consistency was a word that showed up for me at the end of last year, and it’s been helpful.  Every long time writer knows that showing up is the real battle, not the actual writing. We learn, early on, to show up and write even when it’s not exactly the thing we’d choose to do right that minute. Same thing with good habits. I might not want to haul myself out in the wind to walk the dog, but I’ve promised myself to be consistent, so I do.

4. Do more of the things I love. We went snowshoeing in Breckenridge last week and I had one of the best days I’ve had in ages (even though I was coughing through my scarf much of the time). I love hiking and snowshoeing and I haven’t been doing enough of them. I’m going to add in a really good hike or snowshoeing day at least once a month, more when summer comes.

5. Be loving toward my tender, lovely body. Feed it as if it were my toddler grandchild–good food, healthy food, nourishing food, and a few little treats. I sometimes give up wine and beer for January or February, and I’m doing that this month.  Clean eating and drinking.

That’s it for my resolves for this month.  This year, I’m trying something new by taking the seasons one at a time, seeing how it goes, listening, and making the next ones.

Can you come up with a few minor things to try this month? Maybe adding something like sleep or some new sweet habit that makes you feel happy? 

*Sorry to be so absent. I was knocked absolutely sideways by a flu that has been very hard to kick, followed by the Christmas joy/madness. Just now getting back on my feet. Promise to be here every other week for the coming season.

Krissie: Sleep

Ah, sleep. Knits up the raveled sleeve of care, right? I have a million things to do, right? So on Sunday I nap from 5 to 8 pm. Get up, groggy, watch a few hours of the Olympics, then go back to bed, taking a couple of tranks (I’m supposed to but I never do) to make sure I sleep. To my surprise I do, immediately. Wake up at 7 the next morning, figure I already had a shit load of sleep, I’ll get up and get a lot of work done. Wrote my blog, checked email, went into my office and began revisions. They were going well, but I was feeling sleepy, so I had a cup of green tea (Tazo Zen — yum!) Fell asleep in my chair.
Woke up with a crick in my neck, took my revisions out onto the porch. Worked a little, then lay down on the futon out there and napped for another two hours. By twelve-thirty it was time to go see the gravestone maker. Richie and I went, got a quote (half the other ridiculous one!), came home, I worked, then treated myself with a long float in the pool listening to an audio book. (A Sara McCarty — we’ll see how kinky she gets). Got out got back to work.
And fell asleep again.
Woke up an hour later. Had dinner (Richie made it, bless him — salmon), watched Olympics, went to bed at 10:30 and slept immediately, even without the tranks.
Sigh. And it’s not like I’ve been losing sleep. I was working so hard with TSOM that I was exhausted and sleeping like a rock.
Sleeping too much is a sign of depression, and I’m not particularly depressed. Grieving, yes. Depressed, no.
I really can’t spend the day sleeping, not when I have so many things to do. Unfortunately coffee and caffeine don’t work.
Maybe get up and move around for a little while when I feel myself falling asleep? I’ve tried that, but I could try a little harder. One nap is acceptable. Three is ridiculous.
No napping today – Alex is coming. It’ll be warm and we can be in the pool. I won’t accomplish anything, but it’ll make me happy.
Ooooh, Alex is here! Yippee!

Krissie: Sleep

233.5. I was so freaking wasted yesterday. Hadn’t had a good night’s sleep all week, my stomach felt weird, I was worried about my mother. I took her out three times this week, and yesterday she was so frail I had to use a wheel chair. She’s got a fever, and she’s in a lot of pain, and they can’t figure out what’s wrong. And she flat out said she wouldn’t go to a hospital.
We’ll argue that when and if the time comes.
But anyway, I came home and went to bed and slept about three hours. Richie came back (he’s doing so well the doctor only wants to see him once a year now — he’s doing better than any of her patients! Hurray!!!!!!!!!!!!) He made dinner (salad with chicken — limited craisins, no egg, fat free croutons, limited almonds so it wasn’t a 900 calorie one). I went to bed and my stomach felt weird and I was restless, so I got up, drank some ginger ale, ate some pretzel goldfish (someone told me eating pretzels before she went to bed solved her reflux. She had the same surgery Mary Stella had and the GERD had become a problem). Also took the trank I was supposed to take. Went to bed and finally had a decent night’s sleep, and today I have energy. I did nothing yesterday. Not having enough sleep can make you feel physically sick.
Also, my stomach has been weird, which worried me. But it’s a lot emptier than it used to be, and it’s not filled with nice cushy carbs, so stuff is going to have a stronger effect, like salad dressing (Paul Newman’s Lite Balsamic is my current favorite — fortunately I don’t use much).
So I think I need a new ritual. Ginger ale or ginger tea for the stomach, that or Sleepytime as someone mentioned. A cup of pretzel goldfish (55 of them fit in a 5 oz cup). The clonazepam I’m supposed to take. And limit the iPod to an hour.
I’ve also got some melatonin I can experiment with.
I think part of the problem is I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with sleep. When my sister died I started listening to audiobooks when I went to sleep, so I wouldn’t think too much, and I’m absolutely addicted. I can read again! I love it so much I check Audible every day for new releases and I go up to bed as early as 8:30 just so I can listen to the current book. I avoid the clonazepam, just as I haven’t tried melatonin, because I want to hear the book.
I set the iPod to automatically shut off, and in the best of times it puts me to sleep, and when I listen the next day I just have to back up about half an hour.
But more and more I keep resetting so I can hear more. And even if I put a familiar book on, as a comfort read, if I fall asleep and miss my favorite scene and then wake up I’ll put it back on and rewind.
So. I need to figure another way to listen to audio books. Go back to physical books more (that video about supoortin’ bookstores like a bra inspired me). And be stricter with a bed time ritual.
Because I feel so much better and more energetic today. I can do things. Bottom line is a girl needs sleep.
But you know, it’s hard to choose between sleep and a good book. I just need to remember there’s plenty of time for both.

Jenny: Guilt-Edged Bonds

I feel guilty.

I feel guilty because Lani’s driving me to all my doctor’s appointments even though she’s swamped right now.

I feel guilty that I didn’t put an interview up on Argh today.  Lani’s swamped because she’s launching her first Lucy March book, A Little Night Magic (which is out today so you should go buy it right now.  Thank you) and I was supposed to do an interview with her and I didn’t get to it. Continue reading