Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How I Find Comfort at Night & Seek Joy in My Step by Day

I finally got my act together in time to participate in Le Professeur Gothique's Monthly Homework Assignment, & December's is about comfort & joy. As she explains: "My assignment for you this month is to feature the ways that you, my darlings, take a well-needed TIME OUT. How do you unwind? What gets you through the holidays and exams? A bubble bath? Running five miles? A steaming bowl of chicken soup? Also, what kind of comfort clothes/accessories do you go to during this time of high stress? Do you have a favorite Woobie (sweater, scarf, blanket, etc.)? Please feature whatever it is that helps you feel well-needed COMFORT AND JOY during the season of "gimme gimme" and cranky shoppers at the mall. How do you infuse your life with the true meaning of the season -- peace, rest and reflection."

First, the comfort with a backstory ... I don't get too stressed out by the winter holiday season. I have tried & true systems for doing what needs to be done. My family & I have stripped down Xmas to what we love best -- a few gatherings to see all the people we care about (who are within about an hour's drive of each other), some good food (but nothing fancy or complicated), & a few handmade &/or charity gifts.

But what *does* stress me out is sleep! I have been an insomniac since childhood. Getting to sleep is often difficult, but sometimes sleeping thru the night is the problem. No matter what, when I don't get a full 8 to 9 hours of sleep, I am one CrankyTrystan the next day. I'm also no good at napping (when you have trouble falling asleep, napping is pointless), so I can't "catch up" on sleep in the afternoon.

Solitaire with Hampton Court Palace
in the background
Finding things that soothe my brain into sleep-mode has been a lifelong quest. One thing that always helps is having the radio on as I'm trying to fall asleep. I particularly love listening to NPR, my local station KQED, for the news & intelligent talk shows about science or the arts or local issues. It's calming & relaxing. I not only listen to the radio live, I download NPR show podcasts to my iPod, & this year I bought a new alarm clock with an iPod dock so I can listen to recorded shows (the ones I miss while I'm at work :-). Next, I'm considering getting one of these soft fleece sleep headphone headbands so I can easily listen to podcasts when I wake up in the middle of the night.

An more recent addition (or maybe, addiction!) has been playing Solitaire on my iPad. Tapping out a half-dozen games is mindless but not totally mindless, just distracting enough to tease my brain away from the hamster-wheel of thoughts that can keep me awake for hours. Combine this with NPR, & I may be fast asleep in a half hour! Weird, but true.

Toulouse on the couch, trying to avoid the camera
For the ultimate comfort, especially in the evening, I gotta turn to my kitties. OK, my husband is great, but the keetons are the super-cozy! Specifically, our boycat, the tabby Toulouse.  We've had our girlcat Melusine, a Maine Coon mix, longer, but she's a cranky old lady (heh, like me), & let's face it, she likes to cuddle with my husband most. While Tully is my baby boy & cuddles with his momma. Awwwwwww. Pity he's not a very photogenic cat -- he shies away whenever I try to take a pic.

For a little joy, I wore these fabulous black & pink shoes today. I always feel happier wearing pink, & these shoes specifically put a spring in my step, remembering when & where I bought them, plus knowing how fantastic they look (seriously, every time I wear them, *someone* compliments them!). I can peek down at my feet throughout the day for a pick-me-up.

What I'm wearing:
Black knit dress, Target | Grey & white waterfall hoodie cardigan, Forever 21 | Pink & black stripe scarf, Express | Grey herringbone tights, Calvin Klein | Black & pink pumps, Irregular Choice, bought in London on my 40th birthday | Large silver filigree earrings, random accessory store | Grey flower hair pin, random accessory store


  1. The shoes are super-cute but I likecthe cardigan even more. :-)

    I had trouble falling asleep for years, too. Fortunately, it is much easier nowadays (getting up at 5 in the morning after only 5-6 hrs of sleep does the trick for my; negative side-effect: I am constantly tired).

    Back then, I used to listen to John Williams' "You Are The Pan" on endless loop to fall asleep. Or to the last instrumental track on the Pocahontas movie score CD... :-)

  2. OMG! Those shoes are absolutely gorgeous! Have you tried aromatherapy along with the other methods you are using to calm down and fall asleep? I find having a soothing plug in from Bath and Body or Yankee Candle in the bedroom makes all of the difference in my state of mind.

    KITTY! Awwww ... Tully is extremely adorable. :) Thanks for participating, darling!

  3. Those shoes are totally awesome!

    I too have insomnia issues. What seems to be important is to follow a strict bedtime routine, which happens at the same time every single day (traveling for the holidays really messes me up). Last night hubby tried to liven up the routine by switching my usual podcast with Rachel Maddow, and as a result it took an extra two hours for me to knock off (plus weird dreams). I almost banished him from the bedroom.

  4. LOVE the shoes! I would have guessed Tuk as the brand, due to the shape of the toe, but I like Irregular Choice as well.

    I am also a chronic insomniac. One Benadryl per night during the worst of the allergy season (right now for me) helps, as does reading in bed. Watching TV and playing on the computer keep me up.

  5. Toulouse has the cutest nose!!

    You are the second blogger I've seen using grey and bright plum recently (your pinks read as bright plum from a distance, with the black interspersed), and I love it!

    I use Melatonin supplements when I have trouble sleeping. I wouldn't call mine insomnia, but I am a night person so I can be drowsy alllllll afternoon and suddenly wide away at 10 pm. :/

  6. Sal Kaye - I forgot to mention, the cardigan is representative of how sweaters are *always* my comfort faves!

    Le Professeur Gothique - Unfortunately, scents can trigger migraines for me, so I have to be careful. I've even stopped wearing my beloved Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs perfumes regularly :(

    Velvet Cat - Thanks!

    LovleAnjel - Yep, a regular bedtime routine does help. Travel can be tough, but at least I can take my sounds with me. Shame on your hubby for mixing up your nighttime noise! My guy knows now to never mess w/my podcasts or NPR :-)

    lazysubculturalgirl - I had to stop reading in bed bec. I'd get too involved & stay up later. Maybe I should read more boring books?

    VictorianKitty - I do love grey w/pink, plum, & burgundy shades right now (even if I can't get the colors to photograph right or show up right on the monitor!).

  7. Shelia - Thanks, you can see why they're faves!