The Joys of Insomnia

Not that I really want to have two complain-y posts in a row, but my word was my sleep last night bad. I got home from High Council at 10:40, and I was starving, since I’d skipped my nightly shake. (When you’re only eating around 1,500 calories a day, and 500 of those calories come from your nightly shake, you really notice when you haven’t eaten it.)

Since I don’t think it’s healthy to just eat 1,000 calories in a day (when you’re 6’2″ and over 180, at least), I made my shake when I got home. I knew in the back of my head that I had to get up at 5:25 to take Tomas to seminary in the morning, but I also knew I wasn’t feeling tired, having just gotten out of the car after a 1.5 hour ride.

So I had my shake and then tried to convince my brain it wanted to go to sleep.

It had other plans.

I read for a while, and then it was 11:45, and I was feeling a fair bit of pressure to get to sleep, seeing as how I had to get up in less than six hours. I know my body, and I know I can make do with seven hours of sleep just fine. Six is when I start to lose some functionality. Knowing that I was already under six hours . . . it didn’t do any wonders for my ability to get to sleep, especially since I was already an hour and a half past the time I typically fall asleep.

I used to have insomnia pretty bad. Back when Tomas was a baby, I’d regularly be awake until 2am or so, just because I couldn’t fall asleep. I’ve conquered that primarily by having a regular sleep schedule, avoiding naps, and getting up each morning before 8am, no matter what (for the most part). That’s great for almost all occasions, but every now and then, I take a significant departure from my sleep schedule, and things get difficult.

Usually, it’s when I know I can sleep in a bit extra the next morning. Going to bed at midnight and knowing I can sleep until 7:30 makes a big difference. But trying to sleep when each minute that passes makes you further concerned you’re going to be exhausted the next day?

Not easy at all.

I think I finally drifted off around 1am. MC showed up in our room around . . . 2? 3? She’d had a nightmare. I woke up and couldn’t fall asleep again for another half hour or so.

Suffice it to say, I’m on the sleepy side today.

So to all you people who suffer from chronic insomnia, I just wanted to take a moment and say I remember what it’s like to be one of you, and I’m sorry for what you’re going through. Reminders like these are no fun at all.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Pain in the Shoulder

Back in July, give or take, I was out playing (losing at) tennis. I like to play tennis. I took a few years of lessons growing up, and it’s a fun, low-impact sport. Except I’m also competitive, and I don’t do a whole ton of physical activity. So of course, when I’m behind, I play harder.

I remember thinking, “This time, I’m really going to serve it well. Hard.” So I put all my oomph into it.

Something snapped in my shoulder. Not that it fell off or anything, but I felt it give way. It hurt some, and I knew it probably was a bad thing, but I played through the pain, and it seemed to improve.

Except it didn’t.

It came back, slowly but surely. While I was in Europe, I was driving stick, using my right hand all the time, the same hand that was attached to that shoulder. The pain got worse and worse, to the point that when I came back from Europe, it was really bad. Bad enough I wasn’t using the arm for anything. Bad enough that if I stuck it out in front of me, it wasn’t really bearable.

I had a physical therapist friend look at it, and he said he thought it was impingement syndrome. Part of the tendon was rubbing the wrong way against the shoulder bone. He gave me a few exercises to do to get over it. I did those more or less faithfully. It hurt at first, but the pain eventually subsided.

Except it’s still been there, lurking in the shadows. And here we are more than 5 months later. I finally decided it wasn’t going to go away on its own. Rather than ask a friend for a favor again, this time I went to my doctor and got an official referral.

When I showed up at my friend’s office, he kind of laughed it off, telling me we’d be able to do some more exercises, and chances were I wouldn’t have to come back again for another paid visit. Of course, then he actually did some tests. I didn’t think my shoulder was any different than my working one. But once we did those tests, I saw it’s not as flexible, and it’s not nearly as strong.

It’s got some real issues. Not serious ones, but ones that will need some work to improve. I’m glad I didn’t continue to ignore it.

So I’ve got a slew of exercises to do again, and I’ll be going back weekly for at least the next month or so. Fun times, but I’m thankful for insurance and modern medicine. Having shoulder pain isn’t fun, and I’d rather be rid of it than not.

Wish me luck.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

When Pellets Attack

I noted yesterday how busy I’ve been feeling. Imagine the joy I felt, then, when I came home from work yesterday to find two tons of pellets stacked in front of my garage door, blocking my entrance. There was nothing to be done but get to stacking them. Thankfully, Tomas and Denisa were on hand, and we churned through the stack in about a half hour. A few thoughts:

  • Stacking two tons of pellets is much, much easier than stacking two cord of wood. Or even one cord of wood. A ton of pellets is 50 bags, each of which clock in at 40 pounds. When you divide that up by three people, even two tons is just around 33 bags a person moved. There’s no need for a wheelbarrow, each person can take a bag on every trip, and that stack almost as easily as legos.
  • We bought the nicer grade of pellets this time, after using the cheaper ones for two years. I loaded them into the stove last night, and I can’t tell any visual difference between the two. Supposedly these burn hotter and create less ash, but I’m skeptical. Not skeptical enough not to try them for a year, but we’ll see. In the end, it was only like an extra $50 a ton, or something like that.
  • Running a pellet stove is much, much easier than running a wood stove. There’s less maintenance, and less moving the combustibles. You bring in a bag once a day and fill up the hopper. End of story. There’s no mess from having dirt and leaves and pieces of wood tracked all over the place, either. You can set the stove to keep the room at a certain temperature as well, so you automatically use fewer pellets when it’s warmer outside.
  • Why, then, do we not just switch out our wood stove to a pellet stove? A number of reasons
    • Pellet stoves need electricity to run. If we want our house to be warm in a power outage, we either need to get a generator, or we need a wood stove. When the power goes out and the pellet stove is running, smoke has a tendency to go into the house. That’s a bad thing, in case you were wondering.
    • I like the look and feel of a wood stove. A real fire with logs just looks more homey. Plus, the heat feels stronger and more pervasive to me. It’s a much, much bigger flame.
    • I can’t help thinking wood stoves are cheaper. Pellets are $250 a ton, give or take, and we go through 2.5 tons to keep our addition warm. Wood is like $200 a cord, and we go through around 3 cord to keep the rest of our house warm. I think we’d have to get at least 4 more tons to keep the house going.

In any case, the pellets are in now, and we should be good for the rest of the year. Yay!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Christmas Crazy

Each year, I forget just how insanely busy the holiday season can be. Maybe some of that is because it gets even busier each year. As my kids grow up, their schedules begin to fill up. When they were little, it was easy to just say “They’ll do anything Denisa and I want to do.” We had complete control over the scheduling and agendas. But as kids get older, they have these things called “expectations.” They want to do things they like, not just whatever you want.

This affects even simple things like getting presents. As kids get older, the things they want get more elaborate, expensive, and particular. Gone are the days when I could just waltz down the toy aisle in the store, grab something off the shelf, and wrap it up when I got home, confident and secure in the knowledge that my kid would think it was the Best Toy Ever. (Well, they’re gone for Tomas. They’re still very much there for MC, thankfully. DC is somewhere in the middle these days . . .)

But that’s not all. Denisa is teaching three writing classes, which is a whole ton of work more than even a typical class. (Writing classes, surprisingly perhaps, mean students do a lot of writing. And when they do that writing, they expect to have it graded. Grading writing involves reading and evaluating writing. And that takes a lot more time than correcting a multiple choice test.)

And I’m the library director now, which means I have more responsibilities at work. It’s the sort of thing that just creeps up on you year after year, and sometimes you don’t notice all these extra obligations until they all come crashing around your head at times when you’re already stretched thin.

Like the holidays.

So if I seem a bit more terse than my usual self, or if I seem otherwise distracted, it’s because I’m trying to keep all these balls in the air, and they each keep getting closer and closer to the falling to the ground before I can grab them and fling them up again. Which is perhaps why when I got an email from the pr department of my church asking me to get ready to “Light the World,” my response was perhaps not as delicate, spiritual, or polite as it ought to have been. (Especially with this whole time of year being connected to honoring the Savior.)

What can I say? I’m like a rubber band. Pretty darn stretchy, until you stretch me too far and I snap.

If you’re feeling like I am, know you’re not alone. Keep on juggling, and good luck with it. I still love this time of year, and I’ll love it even more once the presents are bought and wrapped (and I can get this @$@#! grant application off my plate).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Book Review: Skyward

SkywardSkyward by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am not, as a rule, a cryer. Call me emotionally stunted, call me cold, but tears seldom try to trickle from the corner of my eyes. (I can’t even remember the last time I cried, honestly.) And yet when I got to the climax of Brandon Sanderson’s latest book, I got choked up. No, I didn’t cry, but I got the closest I’ve come in several years at least.

It’s that good.

Brandon has always excelled at writing satisfying endings of books. It’s been a strength of his for as long as I can remember, going right back to the days I was in his writing group and hanging out in his basement each week. His beginnings are solid. His middles are fine. His magic systems are awesome, but I really feel that his endings are what set him apart from the crowd. Managing a really satisfying ending is no small feat. Getting your readers to really invest in a character or group of characters so that when it all comes together, it feels right? That’s tough.

Usually, you can see a good ending coming in the distance. “Ah,” you’ll say. “That’s how the author could get the hero out of this mess.” And it’s no shame when that actually happens. But really incredible endings leave you guessing right until the end, and then when it all comes together, you’re stunned that you didn’t see that loophole of a happy ending to begin with.

Skyward is the sort of book that makes me want to go back and rerate other books I’ve rated, just so I have space at the top of the scale for me to give it a better rating than anything else I’ve read this year.

It’s not a literary book. I don’t mean that. Does it hold up against The Handmaid’s Tale, another book I gave a perfect 10/10 to this year? Well, no. But it’s not fighting in the same ring, so you can’t hold that against it. Skyward is a YA Science Fiction book about a girl who dreams of being a pilot, even while her entire society is telling her she can’t be. It’s post apocalyptic. It’s fast moving. And it has flat out the best ending I’ve read in a long time.

I don’t know how I can recommend it any more to you. I don’t think I need to describe the characters and the premise. Pick it up and read it. Give it to your friends as a present. Anyone who’s remotely interested in Sci-Fi would love this, I think.

10/10. Must read.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

View all my reviews

%d bloggers like this: