Sweet Sleep in an App

Sleep is often my fickle friend. She’ll visit three nights in a row and then not again for a week. It doesn’t matter how I’ve spent my evening or what I’ve eaten for dinner or watched on the evening news. Sometimes, though, there is a correlation between my late evening internet usage and my ability to fall asleep, so I do try to put my phone away an hour or two before bedtime. Even then sleep isn’t guaranteed.

Staying in strange hotel rooms adds to the likelihood that I won’t sleep, and last week when I traveled to Austin from Doright Manor I spent a sleepless night in a Drury Inn in Lafayette, Louisiana. Now, that’s when my gastric pain started, but even once it tapered off I could not fall asleep, instead tossing and turning until the sun rose.

I wearily went about the business of getting ready to travel on to Austin, showered, and turned on the morning news to keep me company as I packed. Lo and behold the panelists on one of the morning news shows were discussing sleep apps. I listened and jotted down some notes before leaving the room.

When I got to my Austin hotel I read over my notes and picked one of the apps to try. It’s called “Calm” and I’m here to tell you it’s working wonders in my life. I slept beautifully both nights in Austin, and only struggled with sleep one night afterwards–and that was most likely because I took a nap that same afternoon.

I chose the “Calm” app for a couple of reasons. First, because it’s also a meditation app, and I seem to respond well to meditative exercises. But the main reason was that in addition to offering calming music and white noise, the app has different narrators read excerpts of books as bedtime stories for grown ups.

Studly Doright laughed at me when I told him about the app, but now he’s noticed a change in my sleeping habits that’s resulted in me being a happier spouse. Even dealing with whatever is going on in my digestive tract, I’m able to fall asleep listening to these stories.

I was afraid the narration would bother Studly, but he claims he can’t hear anything other than my breathing. That’s an unexpected perk of growing old, I suppose. I tuck my iPhone under my pillow and most nights I fall asleep within just a few minutes of the story’s beginning.

So far I have some favorite stories: Matthew McConaughey reads a piece called “Wonder” that I still haven’t heard the end of. Astronaut Terry Verts tells of seeing earth from space, and his words are beautiful and peaceful.

There are many stories I haven’t gotten to listen to yet, but right now I’m sticking to a few tried and true tales.

I tend to find the deeper male voices more calming, or maybe the women’s voices just make me want to listen longer. Regardless, this app has made a huge difference. (Hoping I’m not jinxing my progress by typing this).

The initial week of “Calm” is free, but it costs right at $60 for a year’s subscription. That almost turned me off, but after the week was over I was convinced the app was worth it. If you’re struggling with sleeplessness, you might want to give it a try. Let me know if you do. I’d like to compare notes.

Peace and good sleep, people!

A Little Light Reading

Digestive problems are sapping my energy and creativity, not that I had immense reserves of either prior to becoming ill. And, yes, I’m a bit of a wimp with tendencies towards hypochondria and hyperbole, but I’m also a curious wimp, so I ordered a book from Amazon to help me address the issues plaguing me.

Until I am able to go through diagnostic testing I’m supposed to follow a Low-FODMAP diet. When I looked that term up on the internet I just got lists of foods that were either low or high FODMAP. The acronym stands for Fermentable Oligo-Di, Mono-saccharides And Polyols. Simply put, FODMAPs are a type of carbohydrates not easily processed by some people.

The book suggests eating only low-FODMAP foods for a full seven days before slowly introducing foods on the high-FODMAP list back into one’s diet. Fortunately I’ve never been a picky eater, so I should be able to follow the prescribed diet fairly easily. The biggest bummer is that I can’t have yogurt for 7 days.

I felt really good today (Saturday). I even ventured out to some garage sales in Tallahassee while Studly Doright played golf. I bought a book on writing to replace the copy I lost several moves ago and a pretty glass dish because I liked the way the sun shone through it.

It’s been a good day at Doright Manor.

Peace, people.

Tide Table

Bare toes, blue water

Minutes stretched thin across time

Watching tide’s return

Sand pipers scurry

Shy of ripples’ foamy touch

Dashing to safe shore

Footprints on the beach

Now you see them, now you don’t

Magical sunset

(Note: I’m tired of being sick and writing about being sick, so I went to the beach in my mind. The photos are all from Pinterest.)

Like a Kid in Detention

It’s not often that I find myself on the receiving end of a scolding finger, but that’s exactly where I was today. When I told my doctor of my gastric distress and the accompanying symptoms, she gave me “the look” and began gently scolding.

“You really should’ve gone to an emergency room,” she said, in her no nonsense tone. After giving me more details of what my symptoms indicated she ended with, “you’re lucky it wasn’t much worse.”

Jokingly I said, “You mean I might’ve died alone in room 230 of the Drury Inn in Lafayette, Louisiana?”

She didn’t crack a smile, only shook her finger at me and began ordering tests. Thoroughly chastened, I listened to every word she said. For now I’m on a restricted diet, and an acid blocker. It could be awhile before I can get in to have the procedures, but believe me, I won’t hesitate to go to the ER if need be. I hated having a finger shaken at me!

Peace, people!

Home and Miserable

My trip has come to an end. Thank goodness! I loved seeing my son in Dallas and his family, and my niece and her children in Austin. I enjoyed seeing Michelle Obama and Rachael Ray at “The Drum” on Thursday night. It was a great trip.

But, (you knew there was going to be a but, right?) I was so sick the whole time. Don’t worry, I wasn’t infectious. I’m having stomach issues similar to what I experienced almost a year ago, and even though I started on antibiotics two days before departing I was plenty miserable most of the time.

The drive was awful. Usually I enjoy odd sights along the way, but this trip I was too focused on finding the next clean rest stop to pay attention to oddities. Oh, and I was as annoying as a guest can be. The words “I can’t eat that,” came out of my mouth more times in a week than they have in my entire life. I’ve never been a picky eater, but literally everything causes me gastric distress right now.

I have an appointment with my doctor tomorrow. This has to come to an end. One has to be firm with one’s stomach, right?

Peace, people.

My Great-Hedgehog

Bandit is the beloved pet of our oldest grandchild, Dominique, so I suppose that makes Bandit my great-hedgehog.

Above, Dominique with Bandit.

Aren’t they adorable?

Bandit even allowed me to cuddle her. I’m kind of smitten by this prickly baby.

I had to say goodbye to the Texas bunch today, and I’ve stopped for the night in Meridian, Mississippi. I’m about halfway home. My body sure doesn’t travel as well as it once did!

Peace, people!

Lazy in Dallas

I didn’t post anything yesterday morning because I was hanging out with my son and grandson going to estate sales around Dallas. None of us bought a thing, but we had fun looking at stuff we didn’t need or want.

After a light lunch some of us napped. I’m not saying I was one of the nappers, but about two hours of my life passed without my knowledge, so chances are I was.

We had a pleasantly low key evening watching television. The guys watched the movie, “Tag” in one room, while my daughter-in-law, granddaughter, and I watched the British series, “Safe,” until my eyes would no longer stay open.

Not sure what’s in store for today, but whatever it is will be just right. Tomorrow I’ll start driving home to Doright Manor.

Peace, people

All That and Rachael Ray, Too

It’s well past my bedtime on Thursday night, so I’m not going to write much. Those of you who follow my blog know that I’m in Austin, Texas, visiting my niece and attending an Evening With Michelle Obama.

If seeing Michelle Obama wasn’t exciting enough, the moderator for the evening was Rachael Ray. Neither my niece nor I had an inkling that Rachael would be introducing and interviewing the former First Lady, and our faces lit up like kids on Christmas morning when Rachael walked onstage.

Michelle was candid and honest, charming and feisty. Rachael was her usual adorable self, and she pulled off a great interview with the former First Lady. It was a great evening, but I’m really tired right now and going to bed.

Peace, people!

It’s Pronounced “Byuda”

I made it to Buda, Texas, yesterday afternoon after wandering on back roads because my car’s gps and I had an argument. It wanted to take me on toll roads and I wanted to avoid them, so we compromised. As a result I was an hour later arriving in Buda than I’d planned. Oh, and Siri on my iPhone doesn’t do well with the name “Buda” and kept telling me there was no town called Butor in Texas. I might have yelled at her a time or two. Yes, the war between woman and machines has begun.

I hadn’t slept much on Tuesday night, so I tried to take a nap when I got into my hotel room. No luck. I think in spite of being super tired I was too excited about seeing my niece and her kids. We went to dinner last night, and I enjoyed talking with them so much. It’s hard to fathom that they’re both high schoolers. When I get tired, I get a little weird, so I’m sure I talked way too much. Today I vow to do better. It helps that I slept last night.

Today my niece and I are just going to hang out, then we’ll drive into Austin for our evening with Michelle Obama. Of course my fantasies involve her pointing us out in the crowd and having us come to the stage for a quick hug. I’ll settle for a wave, though.

I’d better hit publish so I can get this day started. Can’t keep Michelle waiting.

Peace, people.