The 40 Year Old Bat Mitzvah

Salem’s Lot

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on April 25, 2012

So I’m sure you ran right over to see whether I was able to have a good night’s sleep by breaking my routine.

You know what?  It worked.  I was asleep by 10:30 and woke just before 6 a.m.  I felt refreshed all day long.

It’s not realistic for me to be in bed that early every night, but I can do it a couple of nights each week.

One thing I really missed, though, was snuggling on the couch with Mo.  The weird thing is he looks like he’s getting taller (even though he is supposedly fully grown.)  I really notice it when he bends down to eat or pick something up off the ground.  He  has that baby foal look where his front legs have to splay out to the sides so he can reach the ground.

He waits for me to pull my special couch blankets out of the ottoman, then he jumps up on me, gives a couple of deep, releasing breaths, and he is out.  It’s fantastic, especially on cold nights.  (If it’s warm, he periodically jumps down onto the Pergo floor to cool off.)

Last night I had to catch up on Sunday’s Amazing Race (sad about the outcome!) but I was in bed  by 11:30.

Improving…improving…improving…

I plowed through two thirds of Salem’s Lot in two days and I think I’ll bring it up to bed with me again tonight for another TV-free, early-to-bed evening.  Eva is having a slumber party this weekend so I need my strength!

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Defensive Busyness

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on April 23, 2012

I am TIRED!  I am limp like a wrung-out rag.

I have not been sleeping well.  Part of my problem is (self-diagnosed) nighttime defensive busyness.

This is a condition I just made up this evening while out walking the dog.  (In my pajamas with a sweatshirt over it to make it more of an “outfit.”)

I fear just sitting down and doing NOTHING for a few minutes or an hour or even an entire evening.  What if I get bored?

So instead, I hoard several days’ worth of classifieds with their New York Times crosswords and word scrambles and Sudokus.  I always have a book or three.  A notebook and a journal.  Fun projects and work projects.  Kids’ homework assignments to supervise and the mail to sort.  And of course there is my Droid phone on which I can do everything including read a book.  (You know, in case one of the three I brought with me explodes or something.)

I was thinking about this defensive busyness as I walked Mo, and something interesting occurred to me:  I should try bypassing ALL of my busyness to cure my nagging insomnia.

(I have had insomnia on and off for most of my life.  The current form I have is a bad pattern where I fall asleep on the couch at about 9:30 or so, laze there for a couple hours drifting in and out of awareness until Scott wakes me to go to bed, which I sometimes do easily but other times I re-wake and watch TV for an hour or so, sometimes until 12:30 or 1 a.m., then I get into bed and CANNOT FALL ASLEEP.  Very frustrating.  And all my life, no matter if I’ve gone to bed at 9 p.m. or midnight, I’ve always woken up without an alarm clock by 6 a.m.  I can’t make up lost sleep on the other side of the clock.)

So anyway…

I was thinking about how when we’re on vacation and we deviate from our usual boring couch pattern, I love sitting up in bed reading for an hour or so before shutting out the light and getting to bed at a decent hour.  Say, 11 p.m. or 11:30.  It is heaven, I tell you!  And I never have insomnia in a hotel, ever.  I wake up feeling refreshed and ready to see the sights.

So I’m going to give it a go.  I’m not going to stop watching TV (heaven ferfend!  Or whatever that word is.  Forfend?  Forfent?)  But at least a couple of nights a week I am going to try heading up to bed with a cup of (herbal) tea and a good book.  Tonight I have an updated edition of Salem’s Lot which hopefully won’t defeat the purpose of relaxing by giving me nightmares.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

It’s Our Monday

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on April 20, 2012

When you have kids in your temple’s religious school, Sunday is the real Monday.

By the time the minivan sputters back to Temecula on Tuesday night, I am flattened.  By Wednesday, I’m ready for happy hour.

We are all just too damn busy.  Last week the parents of the kindergarten and first grade students were invited to a special program.  We did side-by-side projects with our children.  Then it was song time.  After songs, the kids had a lesson with their own teachers while we had a parents-only lesson with the cantor.  Finally, we re-joined our kids in the sanctuary for the service.

I kept trying to find a few minutes to slip away to just sit doing nothing, talking to nobody, and being responsible to no one, but the time just would not come.  I pick our carpool kids up most weeks at 8:30 a.m. (ish) and most Sundays we are not back home until close to 2:00 p.m.  That is a chunk of time otherwise known as “all day.”  Or “all the usable or best parts of a perfectly good weekend day.”

Add to this the fact that while Eva sincerely enjoys it, has made some nice friends and likes singing in the choir, Jane really doesn’t like Sunday school.  Any novelty or charm wore off sometime between the High Holidays and Chanukah.  And even with liking religious school in principle, I still have an uphill battle with Eva regarding doing her required Hebrew reading (just 60 minutes per week, but she tends to procrastinate and her teacher actually rolls over undone minutes from week to week so a not-diligent-enough student could find herself facing 87 minutes or 212 minutes or whatever, to theoretically be done in a single week.

I am not alone.  A little over a year ago, I made a concerted effort to unplug us from over-scheduling.  Even so, we have an activity for one kid or the other on most days.  It’s rare to have a weekend that isn’t booked from end to end with activities.  And we’re all tired.  Just so very tired.

The cantor’s lesson was about shabbat.  At one point, she talked about being too scheduled, and how we, as parents, need and deserve time too.  We were sitting with our chairs arranged in circles “encounter group” style.  Suddenly a woman across from me started sobbing.  These were loud, heaving sobs.  It was really wrenching.  The women to both sides of her helped to comfort her. The cantor said in her wonderful, matter-of-fact way, “She needs a hug,” then moved on.

I have no idea why she was crying, but I imagine it had to do with being too busy, and too tired, and feeling an incredible outpouring of emotion at being told, “You are allowed to want and need to take TIME for yourself.”

Which is an incredibly ironic lesson for a Sunday, which after all is our Monday.