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i can’t sleep

Scary Movies

February 24, 2010

in random

The boys and I are still awake.

We went to bed at around 10:30 pm. Or rather, we started getting into bed at around 10:30 pm. When my husband is out of town, both boys like to sleep in the big bed with me. I let them. You know why? Because I am scared. I want to keep both of them in the same room with me, with the bedroom door locked. If I remember, I’ll have my Blackberry with me in case the phone line is cut off.

THAT is always the first thing to go.

You know what I am talking about. The movies. The scary movies.

I never watch them. Except the few movies I watched when I was younger before I knew better. I stay away because I know my brain will choose to replay the scenes at the most inconvenient moments. Even the ones that are not billed specifically as scary movies, the thrillers, now add to my psychological burden.

Just as we were finally settled down, after I had threatened hundreds of times that I would send the boys back to their rooms if they didn’t go to bed, RIGHT NOW!, we heard a noise. Something had fallen.

No. Some object was knocked down.

There is a difference, isn’t it? Inside my head. Fallen vs. Knocked down

The heater started up at the exact moment. Ok. So maybe it was just my overactive imagination. Wouldn’t be the first time. I decided to ignore it.

“What was that?” My oldest sat up. “Did you hear that?”

“Yup. I did.” Resigned to a restless, probably sleepless night. Again.

He lied back down. Thank goodness. I waited for the deep breathing that signals their drifting to sleep. In the mean time, I became more and more alert.

I am so exhausted, I thought. I really should try and fall asleep. That was probably nothing. Yup. It was NOTHING. Go to sleep, you crazy woman.

As on cue, all of the movie plots involving home invasion rose up to my consciousness, scenes after scenes played themselves out behind my tightly squeezed-shut eyelids. The consequences became more and more dire because my kids would be in the movies. I am ashamed to admit this, and I was shocked by myself, but at that moment, as the plots unfolded in my frenzied mind’s eye, each one worse than its predecessor, I thought to myself, “I wish I had a gun. I wish I had bought a gun and practiced at a firing range,” because I would do anything, anything, including something that’s so against my ingrained beliefs, to protect my boys from harm. All of a sudden, I couldn’t wait for them to be all grown-up and no longer living with me. They’d be in their own apartments. Safe and sound asleep. Exactly how I like them.

“Mom? I am still thinking about the noise.” Great. I don’t need to pass on my neurosis to my children. Is it too late?

“It’s probably nothing. Just go to sleep ok?”

But we both knew we wouldn’t be able to get any shuteye, thinking that there was someone in the house.

“What are you doing?” My oldest was alarmed as I got out of the bed.

“I am going to check it out.” I checked the cordless phone for a dial tone. Still working. GOOD! I handed him the phone, “Dial 911 if anything.”

“I am coming with you!”

“No. You are staying here with your brother!”  I searched the bedroom for a likely weapon. Both the steel Samurai sword and the steel Excalibur are too heavy for me to wield with any convincing malice. The wooden Samurai sword would have to do.

I opened the door and turned on all the lights from the light switches by the door. No scuttling of footsteps. GOOD! The downstairs of the house looked exactly the way we had left it. Messy. Perhaps we should have deliberately left Lego pieces on the floor as deterrent. I surveyed their bedrooms upstairs first. Nothing out of order. Internal sigh of relief.

“Are you really going to whack the bad guy with the sword?” My oldest appeared beside me.

“What are we doing?” Mr. Monk caught up with us.

“I am just going to check downstairs.”

“I am coming with you!” My oldest handed me the phone while he took the sword away from me.

“Me too!” Mr. Monk shouted.

The next ten minutes we searched the house, trying to locate the cause of the noise.

“Ah I know. It is THIS.” “No. Not it.” “Ok. It must have been THIS.” “No. Not it.” “Could it be THIS?” “No. Not that either.”

(Wouldn’t you know that as we walked around the house trying to solve the mystery, I was picking up the house along the way! I seriously need help!)

Finally, I saw a picture frame lying on the floor by a bookshelf.  “Here’s what happened…” As the real Mr. Monk on TV would have said: The books next to it had apparently toppled and knocked the picture frame to the floor.

Mystery solved.

Back to bed for the boys. My oldest insisted on staying by my side “To guard you!”

“Please go to bed with your brother. He needs to be in bed.” For once, he left with his younger brother without arguing.

As I conclude this post, they are both sound asleep. I hope they were not traumatized by this incident. As for me? Well, when I picked up my Blackberry to bring it to bed with me, Never again without! I saw that my boss had sent out an email marked URGENT. Sleep is overrated anyway. At least in my neurotic world.

And I will never, ever, ever, watch another scary movie in my life. I scare myself enough.

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It is 2:03 am. I am all of a sudden wide awake.

Note to self: Listening to PRI Selected Shorts podcasts while cleaning the house is a sure way that your mind will become overactive and that you will have trouble falling asleep.

I will pay for this indulgence: lying down on my Therapy Couch and talking to you all, my imaginary friends, (I am going to start calling you Soren Lorensen I think…) soon since I have a 6:30 am flight to catch and I have not packed yet. Coming here has clearly become a serious addiction. I carry this urge at my throat to write something down all day long. I am afraid to open my mouth lest a scream may come out.

I often panic when I am made aware of this since it feels so similar to Narcissism…

Someone very wise, probably wiser than Confucius since she is female (and Confucius was obviously not) and women rock because of our uterus, that I have had the privilege of meeting through this little patch of heaven I call my Therapy Couch (or hell on some bad days I won’t lie to you) told me that she could tell that “blogging is both a creative outlet and just outlet” for me.

She was right. When I first started doing this, I really did not expect anybody to come by and get into a conversation with me. I saw this as a different medium of talking to myself since I have been doing that inside my head for a long time. Why not? I simply jotted down whatever came to my mind. No self-censorship. And no editing either, to be very honest with you.

It felt like liberation from Facebook. From the potential for censure by family, friends, colleagues. It felt like liberation from Twitter. From the bondage of 140 characters. And it felt like the earth after rain. It felt good.

When I began to have supportive friends who stop by on a regular basis, to check me out and make sure that I am still operating in a socially acceptable manner, I was flattered yet incredulous. “Surely they have mistaken me for someone else, or something else.” With that self-congratulatory realization of “OMG I have fans” came the burden to please. Or at least, since I have no mental filter once my mouth starts running, the fear for offense. The desire to please everybody, nay, the compulsive need to please everybody is one of those soul-killers that I am trying to escape. I am afraid I may have lost my way.

At the risk of sounding like I am trying to recast myself as the cliche in I’ve Never Been to Me… I am getting back on my journey to understand myself better. The peeling of the onion. What is more important though, is that once I find myself, I really need to just be myself. Perhaps the being and the finding happen at the same time.


Dear Soren Lorensen,

I hope you will stay. But if you outgrow me or the other way around, I wish you the very best.

As always, a pretentious rambling such as this will not be complete without a quotation from a famous, yet just a tad out there, writer. Preferably by e. e. cummings. Here it is.

To be yourself

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For days I thought I may have had IT. Not because I had any telltale symptoms because, well, so far, after I scoured the Interweb, I can’t find any statement on Telltale Signs for Swine Flu.

I watched the CDC video with an obsession, “Symptoms of H1N1” at 2 am in the morning one night when I woke up with a bad cough. Was that a sniffle? Did I feel slightly hot? COMPLETELY USELESS. You can watch it for a laugh if you wish:

“The symptoms of 2009 H1N1 flu virus in people include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.”  (Copied and pasted directly from the CDC website)

So what we are told is that the symptoms are exactly like any other common flu. Why? Because Swine Flu is just another flu!

The rational part of my mind keeps on telling me THAT. The irrational part of my mind, which is not surprisingly a lot bigger, made me stare at the mirror at 3 am in the morning examining myself to make sure that I didn’t look bluish, because the only ONE symptom that makes H1N1 stand out is that it may turn your skin bluish, and when that happens, you need to seek medical attention IMMEDIATELY.

Wow.  Really.  I didn’t realize I should PANIC when I find my kid looking like a Smurf!!!

Since I couldn’t tell Swine Flu from any other animal, I started hoping that what I had was a COLD.  At least with a cold, my kids and I would not be forced into a “house arrest” and be the laughing stock behind the doors in the neighborhood. (ADMIT IT! You would totally make fun of someone you know if they’ve caught it. That is, of course, if they recover with no other damage to their health) And my kids would NOT have gone down the school history as THOSE KIDS WITH THE SWINE FLU.  (You know how brutal children can be.  THIS is easy fodder, let me tell ya…)

I curse the person who came up with this name!

So I started searching the Interweb for differences between a cold and a flu:


  • Stuffy nose
  • Congestion
  • Body aches
  • Growing cough
  • Symptoms last 3 to 5 days

  • H1N1 or Seasonal Flu:
  • Fever
  • More painful body aches
  • Dry cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Severe fatigue
  • Respiratory problems
  • Dehydration

This was when I started waiting for “the other shoe to drop”.  I willed myself to have a stuffy nose.  A bad cough.  Congestion.  Come on!  Give it to me!!  Let me HAVE it!!!  So I can be reassured that what I have right now is NOT a flu!

Yes.  In case you are wondering, I have had 20+ years of education.  No.  I don’t watch Jerry Springfield or Maury on a regular basis, nor do I aspire to be a guest on their show.

I was elated when my nose started running, my chest felt congested, and my cough felt WET.

Don’t judge me. And I will not make fun of you if you catch IT.

Update 1: I finally gathered myself up to see a nurse practitioner this past Sunday.  She was utterly convinced that 1) I’ve got Sinus Infection 2) I spent too much time on the Internet.

Update 2: I went to see another doctor today because the antibiotics are not making the cough go away.  I seriously cough like an opium addict.  He was utterly convinced that I’ve got a bad case of allergy, which was part of the result of Global Warming.  So I am now on Steroid.  Oh, and the best part of all this?  I am also on Codeine.


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Tea cosies, French Press cozies, vacuum cleaner covers, oh my. (Patented)

October 11, 2009 random

Tweet I can’t sleep.  I have either a cold or a flu.  And if I have a flu, I probably have the dreaded H1N1 virus.  So since flu symptoms include severe fatigue, I figured that if I can wake up at 2 am and writing on my blog at 3:30 am, then I probably don’t […]