Midnight Rainbows

Insomnia plagues some of our family members. Bouts of sustained sleeplessness come and go with no discernible pattern. Deeply asleep for the earliest part of the night and then suddenly wide awake with no hope of more restorative hours. Attitude suffers right along with energy levels that drop steadily. How I dreaded the first sign that the cycle was beginning.

One of my sons decided it was because there were periods when we could not switch off our minds. Darting from one thing to another, the mind would not quiet enough to allow sleep. So…I tried boring my mind into giving way. Not exactly counting sheep, but all sort of convoluted math activities designed to force sleep out of frustration. End result was I did get faster at subtracting multiple numbers from 999–over and over and over. Tiny benefit for prolonged effort.

A simple solution might have been and OTC sleep aid, but I tend to research every thing I swallow and usually decide that the side effects sound worse than the current problem.

My new plan is discovering midnight rainbows, memories of the people and the times of our lives together.  It isn’t a substitute for sleep but it is comfort and appreciation.

My grandmother had a saying cobbled and convoluted from her sense of life: “Don’t waste your time trying to make a silk purse from that sow’s ear.” Always makes me smile…and I sometimes do wonder if Grandma had it right.  Surely a midnight rainbow is silk  from insomnia.



When Awake Is Better: Night Musings

Insomnia is a plague, a terrible affliction of mind and body but there are times when the mind is so filled with good things that extra hours of thought are a blessing.

Last night’s reasons to be awake….

Yesterday we did the garage sale search looking for those elusive wood and metal toys. After a morning of zero finds, I am convinced that wood and metal toys gather dust in the attics of antique stores or are touted in high dollar green-catalogues.

While driving in a beautiful lake community, we saw our neighbor’s truck and trailer loaded with rock and pipe.  Steve was ankle-deep in mud, bent over a loaded shovel.

Steve is one of those naturally gracious humans ready to smile no matter what the interruption.  Bob’s “How’s it going?” brought a typical Steve answer. “Great.  Just enjoying my life.”

Further conversation explained that he was doing drainage repairs to the house as barter for some equipment the home owner was willing to trade.  Barter.  What a great way to handle parts of the struggling economy.  And what an unusually nice man.

Thursday was Sam day, the highlight of every week.  Sam is close to 3 1/2, tall, thin and filled with wonder.   Taking advantage of a break in the rain, we were playing outside when a pick-up pulled into the driveway.  For over a year, this man has come multiple times wondering if we wanted the driveway sealed for a really good price.   Sam watched and listened as the man sat on a step and began the sales pitch while Bob kept shaking his head.  “Not now.  Maybe later in the summer.  We just don’t have the money now.”

Sam jumped up, ran to the toy room, opened his cash register and counted out eight pennies.  Hurrying back, he handed the man the fist full of money and said, “I will pay for Papa’s driveway.”   What a beautiful little boy.

During the past two months our family has experienced multiple health challenges.  Many things about the health care system are miracles of restoration and comfort.  Some are frustrations of the most maddening sort.   “Too big to fail” was one of the justifications for the financial bail-out.  “Too big to be transparent-to big to admit mistakes” might be applied to health care.   How I hope the evolving situation will prove me wrong.

And now the last chapter of wakefulness.

Why is it that so often it is easier to handle a loved ones physical problems than to handle the mental and emotional problems?  Why do so many of us reach out to alleviate physical pain while dismissing emotional pain as weakness?  How odd we are.

We profess to love but can withhold that love if the beloved needs on-going support for mental, behavioral and emotional sickness.  For some of us, there is no question that we would help a loved one fight cancer with every ounce of determination.  But let a loved one fight depression, and we bail.  We can sit by the physically dying for weeks on end, but we pass on the emotional dying calling those symptoms weakness or craziness.    Wonder why the boot-strap mentality is so difficult to shake.


by Pat Antonopoulos

What Keeps Me Awake At Night is the title of a chapter in our book. This blog probably qualifies as a revisit-ramble. Last night was a 1:32 AM to 4:58 AM time of fractured sleep. Made perfect sense to get up, inhale some coffee and work on a blog. Trouble is that a daily blog does tax my brain and three hours and 32 minutes of mental blogging does not guarantee a coherent piece of writing. But then I have never been known for, or even guaranteed, coherent blogs. Rambling. Just might be my travel of choice.

One of my tangents was focused on how we make decisions as to when it is time to quit…accept and move on…be at peace with…quit.

“Quittin’ Time”
was a beer promoted by a convenience store. The advertising pictured hard working folks earning that six-pack to ease the day…a brew to move away from the stress and into the calm.

Strictly on the QT.
Isn’t that an old expression that means something like quiet tip? Probably a bit of gossip that was meant to be passed on but had to maintain the escape clause for the whisperer. And, as with most gossip, a way to promote self. Odd how so much of gossip is prefaced with, “Bless her heart, she just….”
As if blessing her heart cleanses our spite.

“Quick Trip”
stores still around? Might be the same a convenience store that sold the brew. Fill the tank, grab the milk, a pack of M & M’s and maybe a lottery ticket and move on…in and out…get what is needed and out the door.

My favorite QT is quiet time…even if it does come in the dark and fracture that sleep. More often than not, quiet time is a time of balance and perspective. A ramble though all the reasons to justify quitting leads to the same destination.
Don’t quit.
Don’t quit on a relationship…or a project…or a belief…or whatever gritty bit of irritation is wearing at the moment. Little is accomplished by a quick trip or a premature quitting time. Nothing is accomplished by mean-spirited QT exchanges.
Sorry to be corny, but the pearl only grows from the grit and irritation. And wasn’t it Hemingway who used Aristotle’s thought and wrote about healing to strength from the broken places?