Insomniac Diaries

Hello. My name is Trish and I am an insomniac. I've been an insomniac for as long as I can remember. I can remember lying awake at night in my pink-and-white candy stripe bedroom and staring up at the ceiling, trying to find "constellations" in the glitter embedded in the acoustical popcorn ceiling texture. Who ever heard of a child who can't sleep?

The sad part of my problem is that nothing is keeping me awake. I don't lie there and worry, unless I really have something to worry about. I'm not wakefully considering my Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, or solving for y, or contemplating a cure for cancer. My mind wanders around like those Family Circus cartoons. You know the one where Mom tells Billy to put the hammer back in the tool shed, and you see Billy's path (by the dotted line behind him) and he goes to the tree house, the dog house, the out house, around the house, over the swing, through the car and under the porch in a squiggly path of distraction. THAT, in a nutshell, is my wakefulness. It doesn't make a bit of sense and accomplishes nothing.

Let me take you on a brief tour. Two nights ago, I stretched out with my eyes wide open, and thought about the first day of class. The instructor reviewed the rules, one of which was "no food or sweetened drinks in the computer lab room". No big surprise there...we all know what a Dr. Pepper can do to a keyboard. Uh oh. Here it comes. I see a bunny trail of foolish wakefulness coming on. What would I do if I spilled something on my keyboard? I've had to clean out keyboards before. (I eat at my desk a lot.) But a big spill? And I am NOT going to drink unsweetened coffee, so don't even go there.

I turn on my side and look out the window and notice the way the moonlight makes the red hummingbird juice look like a gem, my mind still on a sticky keyboard. The only way to clean it would be to unplug it, remove all the keys, and get started with a bottle of alcohol and a pile of cotton swabs.   Don't even bother to point out that it would be far simpler to cough up the $15 for a new one.  Logic is not in the driver's seat here.

Could I remember the order of all the keys to put them back correctly? I know where all the letters go, thanks to six years of training in "touch typing". Do you remember touch typing? What about the tilde? Where does that go, again? I'm not sure about the brackets and slashes, either. The cursor keys would be easy, but what about that mess above, with the "insert", "delete", etc. keys? Oh, and the number pad! Are the numbers laid out like a phone, with the 1 in the upper-left position? Or a calculator with the 1 in the lower-left? Pretty sure it's like a calculator. What about all the other things that are there? Num lock, +, - and few others. What were the others?

Let me think... what else is on the number pad? And thus begins round 2 of my mental bunny trail.

And this is the useless, silly drivel that cranks out of my brain when I should be dreaming.

You know what is worse? At some point in my mental meandering, I ask myself the question, "what started me thinking about this?" and I BACKTRACK through all this silliness, trying to figure out why I'm thinking about it.



I Love.....

The smell of onions when you saute them in butter.

The way my high TC sheets feel in the early morning...soft, warm, like a caress from my bed.

Lavendar soap.

The words, "Hi, Mom."

Roasting whole, fresh green chilis on the barbecue.

Bluegrass music.


Cooking dinner with good friends.

The angle of the autumn sunlight. It's so full of promise!

When the sun is low in the late afternoon, I close the shade in the dining room. And when the hummingbirds come to visit the feeder, there is a shadow play on the shade for me to watch while I cook. Should probably watch the cooking instead, but what can I say?

The curve of my hub's biceps.... yummy!

Watching my old blue dog try to cram a ball too big through the balusters so that I'll throw it for her.


Puppy breath.

A great book.

A good joke.

The smell of a clean baby.


Empty hampers. Completely empty. It's a very ephemeral thing so I have to look quick to enjoy it.

So much more. Ever so much more.

Never Too Old To Learn

I'm taking a class at the local college, and it isn't Knitting 101...although maybe it should be.

School is interesting, don't you think? About 22 other people, 16 of whom are far younger than I, all sit in a room together so we can learn the same things. How we plan to use that information is as different as we are. How quickly we grasp the information being thrown at us is also widely varied. As usual, I fall in the middle range.

It seems like there should be some great power in all those minds focused at once on the same thing. Of course, if that could be so, being a professor would be very dangerous. You might just evaporate in a puff of steam, with all that cerebral attention on you.

OK, to be quite honest, I'm not sure everyone in the room is completely focused. I was not a particularly focused, attentive person in my teens, and that trend seems to remain popular. There are also a couple of very nice people who might need to start with a more remedial course. They aren't focused, either. They're floundering. My heart goes out to them because I know that there, but for the grace of God, go I.

I'm not as old as the seniors taking personal enrichment classes. I'm not as young as the normal college crowd. I'm not wearing a track suit and orthopedic shoes, and I'm not wearing a belly shirt and Skechers. I think I am the only one on campus in a pencil skirt, blouse and stilettos.
A kid shouted at me from across the campus, and who was it? One of my youngest son's friends.

Let me repeat that. ONE OF MY YOUNGEST SON'S FRIENDS. My friend tells me I'm a hottie, but I'm still one of the Moms. I'm having an identity crisis. Or maybe I'm just embracing the many sides of ... me.


My neighbor was walking his daughters to school today. The youngest girl held Daddy's hand. Her blonde hair pulled up into pigtails high on her head and she skipped along. Have you ever seen a child walking along holding a helium balloon: the way it bounces and boings within its confines? That was little pigtail girl. She was an adorable balloon bouncing on the end of Daddy's arm.

There is something especially cute about a girl in pigtails, isn't there? I suppose I'm susceptible to that because I have sons, and they don't look so cute in pigtails.

Their older daughter was reading as she walked along. I guess she is past the years of skipping. Her pretty blonde hair was brushed into a smooth ponytail: far more dignified. She is very stylish in a cute skirt and flats and already very "put together". The two girls are only a few years apart, but what a difference a few years makes in the growing of child.


How Would You Feel?

I have decided I am guilty of a sin. At the very least, I haven't been kind.

All this time, I've been whining about Monday. I wake up on Monday morning and groan. "Oh, no. Another Monday." I've even been heard to say (out loud, even!), "Monday bites."

Poor Monday. Unloved. Mistrusted and unappreciated. Does anybody ever say, "Monday is my favorite day of the week"? No. I'm just as guilty of this as anyone, if not worse. But I have seen the error of my ways and I am rethinking Monday.

How could we ever have a happy Monday if all we do is insult it? From here on out, I'm going to tell Monday it's a good little day. I'm going to admire Monday just like I admire Friday. Monday shouldn't have to be the redheaded stepchild.

The reason Monday is different than the other six days is that it marks the time of the week which doesn't belong to me. OK, I like "me" time. But I also like my job, and let me tell you: my job is a blessing. I'm going to start treating Monday like the first day of a blessing.

Wish me luck.


A Day In The Life

Mondays really bite. But even so, it's a good day.

I woke up this morning, not to the alarm clock which was blaring earlier, but to the sound of my dog having conniption fits outside my window. You see, the sweet Hubs walks her early every morning. Hubs is an early riser anyway, and never a procrastinator, so the old blue dog knows that when the light comes on in the kitchen, a walk is near. She can't contain herself and starts to whine and 'talk' and otherwise remind him she's out there, waiting.

We had the windows open all night, so the room was chilly and fresh, but the bed was warm and cozy and oh-so-comfy. I was good and dragged my butt out of bed and stumbled in to take a shower. It was still cool enough to wear a fuzzy robe this morning, and let me tell you...THAT is exciting. The first time you get to wear a fuzzy, soft robe after the hottest part of summer is a delight.

So, anywho. I slept well. I rose from my bed unaided, feeling well and strong and sleepy. The water heater is working, spitting out hot water just like planned. I didn't nick my legs shaving, and I didn't get soap in my eyes. Sweetened coffee greeted me when I got out of the shower.

My teenage son woke up in a good mood, which is more rare than the Hope Diamond. My car started right up, the garage door worked and I didn't get into an accident on the way to work. So even though Mondays BITE, what do I really have to complain about?


A Wayward Wind

Have you ever heard Patsy Cline's version of "The Wayward Wind"? Yeah, I admit it. I'm too young for that kind of music, but I can't help it! I know all the words to "The Rivers of Texas" and "Git Along, Little Dogies". That's DOGIES, not doggies.

It's rodeo weekend here in our rural Southwestern town. Flatlanders flock to our little mountain community to gawk at the rednecks. Real cowboys come here to compete in a sport that is older than the territory. Musicians and concessionaires and photographers arrive to try to glean a few greenbacks from the sidelines.

Rodeo weekend is a good time to hear some whoopin' and hollerin', some fiddle music and some good old-fashioned cowboy poetry. Oh, and a few sirens. Rodeo is not for the fragile.

I love the tradition of the west. I love cowboy poetry and old western songs. I bet I know the lyrics to more old cowboy songs than anyone my age has a right to know. But you know what? I don't go to the rodeo. You don't get to go and sit on the opry seat among your friends anymore. Crowds are just a little too much for me, so I avoid the snarled traffic and the flatlanders who drive up to ogle the quaint ruralites.

Now, I like to think of myself as a friendly person so I'm ashamed of myself for scowling at you city slickers. Maybe it would help me if you kind people were aware of some of the rules of small town living. Let me trot those rules out for you, and see if you can lasso any of them:

  1. It's no use to complain about the long lines at the grocery stores. The lines are long because of you, not because the stores are so backward. Smile. Be patient. And remember that you're on our turf now.
  2. Another grocery story tip: generally speaking, we do NOT park right in front of the door in the driving lane. You folks seem to think that if you're just "running in" you can do that. Please don't. God gave you legs. Use them and park out in the lot with the rest of us.
  3. Restaurants also become overrun with visitors. You simply must understand that it would not behoove us to enlarge the restaurant, hire more waitstaff and kiss your ass just for a couple of days a year. Just so you know.
  4. If you think that slapping a straw cowboy hat on your head makes you blend in with the locals, I'm sorry to disappoint you. You still stand out like a sore thumb. There's a good reason we wear boots in the corrals and stalls. Don't come crying to me if you get manure on your Mia Suri embellished wedges.
  5. You're going to see people riding horses around town. Don't honk at them. That ain't funny. By the way, it is also unwise to sneak up behind a horse.
  6. Study up on the events you might get to see at a rodeo. Learn the vocabulary. You'll get a lot more out of it. Find out how to pronounce words and what they mean. There's a status structure to rodeo, too. A good rule of thumb is, the bigger the belt buckle the girl has, the more vaulted a position in the Rodeo Royalty she holds. If she's wearing a belt buckle as big as her hair, you better be ready to bow. Mutton busting is great fun, and if you show up on a Sunday afternoon, you might get to see three preachers trying to put bloomers on a calf.
So we're holding a rodeo, folks, and you're all invited. I hope you enjoy yourself, and I hope you behave in such a way that we enjoy having you as our guests. On that note, I'll leave you with a favorite cowboy poem--not mine, I'm sorry to say.


The devil, we're told, in hell was chained,
For a thousand years he there remained.
He never complained, nor did he groan,
But determined to start a hell of his own
Where he could torment the souls of men
Without being chained to a prison pen.

So he asked the Lord if He had on hand
Anything left when He made the land.
The Lord said, "Yes, I had some land,
But I left it down on the Rio Grande.
The fact is old boy, the stuff is so poor,
I don't think you could use it in hell any more."

But the devil went down to look at the truck,
And said if it came as a gift, he was stuck;
For after examining it careful and well
He concluded the place was too dry for hell.
So in order to get it off His hands
God promised the devil to water the lands.

For he had some water, or rather some dregs,
A regular cathartic that smelled like bad eggs.
Hence the deal was closed and the deed was given,
And the Lord went back to His place in Heaven.
and the devil said, "I have all that is needed
To make a good hell," and hence he proceeded.

He began to put thorns on all the trees,
And he mixed the sand with millions of fleas,
He scattered tarantulas along all the roads,
Put thorns on the cacti and horns on the toads;
He lengthened the horns of the Texas steers
And put an extension on the jack rabbits' ears.

He put little devils in the bronco steed
And poisoned the feet of the centipede.
The rattlesnake bites you, the scorpion stings,
The mosquito delights you by buzzing his wings.
The sand burrs prevail, so do the ants,
And those that sit down need half soles on their pants.

The devil then said that throughout the land
He'd manage to keep up the devil's own brand,
And all would be mavericks unless they bore
The marks of scratches and bites by the score.
The heat in the summer is a hundred and ten,
Too hot for the devil and too hot for men.

The wild boar roams through the black chaparral,
It's a hell of a place he has for a hell;
The red pepper grows by the bank of the brook,
The Mexicans use it in all that they cook.
Just dine out in Texas and then you will shout,
"I've a hell on the inside as well as without."


My First Poem In 30 Years.

Quiet, in the still of night
Or dark of early morning
Contented notes of tender joy
Infuse a new day dawning.

Grandma’s words come back to me
Patient, kind and wise.
She taught me how to look at life
With clear and joyful eyes.

I used to really enjoy writing poetry in school. I even made a few side dollars by writing poems for other kids to turn in. Yeah, I know. I was bad.

What happened to that creative, open girl who felt so inspired?


Was That Necessary?

I have a question. This is a serious question, with profound implications. Hold on to yourself, because the way you answer this could rock you to your very core.

Why do teachers make shy children speak in front of the class?

I'm serious!! What good comes from this barbaric practice? If you're shy, did your evil teacher's enjoyment of your discomfort actually help you conquer your shyness? I challenge you to find a person who can honestly say that they'd be a recluse today, were it not for Mrs. So-and-so forcing him to stand before the class and make a spectacle of himself. I bet you'll find many more who will not speak before an audience to this very day, thanks to the remembered agony of being made to do so as a child.

Is there a glib, charismatic person out there who was a painfully shy child? I want to talk to you.

And what is so very wrong with being shy? Teddy Roosevelt admonished us to "speak softly and carry a big stick". We are always told that we have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. Well, I am here today to defend the quiet child.

Shy children are not stupid children. Some of the very smartest people I know are the quiet type. You can learn a lot by watching and listening, and very little by talking. Teachers, if you ask a shy child for an answer to a question without making it painful for them to answer, you might be amazed at the intelligence and insight of their answer. I think teachers should cease and desist immediately the debilitating practice of trying to force a shy child "out of their shell". It doesn't work that way, it doesn't help and it certainly hurts. Now and later, too.

Take heart, shy kids. I'm on your side. I trust a shy person far more than the loud ones. Let the class clowns gather all the attention, because I have it on very good authority that blessed are the meek.

What I See--Alita

Oh, Alita! What can I say? We've known eachother for so many years! Alita and I became acquainted first because our husbands worked to...