National Pet Day

In honor of yesterday as National Pet Day, I wanted to write a post that shared the furry friends who have been part of our life over the years.

We started with a stray cat we found under our car in our first apartment. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any pictures of Jenny before she was reclaimed by the local drug dealer in our complex!

Next came Maggie, who we had before we had children. She was our first baby, and I think she thought she was human. She was with us for 16 years.

Then we had Alex – a kitten who hid in Chris’ underwear drawer, and who was an awesome companion to Maggie.

Next came Allie.

We found Bob when he’d been hit by a car. “Bob bites” might have been our daughter’s first sentence.

Then Arthur. The opposite of Bob. Our son learned to stand by pushing off of Arthur’s belly. He was so tolerant!

Then we got Abbie and Archie, who we had for 15 years.

Next came Ella, a hound dog who stopped listening whenever she caught a great scent.

Finally, we acquired Annabelle and now Henry. They have bonded well, and keep us company all day – and night – long!

We love our fur-babies!

Mid-night waking

It’s 2:27am on Friday morning as I start to write this. This is the third out of four nights I’ve been awake in the wee hours of the morning. And it happened a couple of nights/mornings last week, too.

It’s starting to feel like a pattern.

I wake up some time between 1-2am, and can be awake for 2-3 hours. Last night, I laid in bed for the whole time. Tonight, I tried to sleep for an hour before just getting up and having tea.

I remember having trouble with sleep when I was fighting off depression last time. I seem to fall asleep pretty quickly, but when I wake up in the middle of the night, I can’t get back to sleep. I know I’m not the only one in my family with this pattern, so perhaps it’s partly genetics. Maybe partly age – I hear insomnia is common in menopause. We could form a club and have 3am meetings! What’s on the agenda this morning, girls?!

When I’m lying in bed and trying to sleep, my body falls into the groove of the gel foam bed topper. A couple of times, I’ve gotten up because I can’t get comfortable – the gel won’t adapt quickly enough; I’m too hot (the ceiling fan is on); my back hurts. Or, I’m just awake. This morning, I think a bowl of Cheerios might ease my tummy growls.

I’m not feeling tired right now – I’m awake and alert. I’ve scrolled through my emails, read a devotional, added to my to-do list, and printed a journal. I like blogging in the quiet of the morning hours – this is often when I write.

I have a book to read for next week’s book club – I could start that. Or I could quietly watch Netflix. Or knit. I’m not quite sure what to do with myself in these very early hours of the day!

The cats aren’t sure what to make of me being up, either. Last night, I think they knew I was awake even though I was still in bed, and I could hear them running through the hallway and wrestling in the bedroom. They even pounced on me a couple of times, without waking my husband. This morning, they both blinked at me as I disturbed their quiet. At first, they moved around me slowly, like they weren’t sure that they wanted to be up. But as our early minutes have turned into an hour, they’ve played in the cardboard cat house and grabbed a quick bite of kibble. The kitten is searching for a toy to chase across the floor while the lady is following me from room to room. It seems they’re accepting my mid-night roaming around the house.

I’m starting to feel a little sleepy, so maybe I’ll go back to bed. The problem is that the sheets are now cold. I could just curl up here on the couch under the cozy new throw blanket.

It always surprises my husband when he finds me in the living room in the morning. When his alarm goes off, he gets up very quietly so as not to wake me, not even noticing that I’m not in the bed! Then he comes out for breakfast and flips on the lights, and I’m awake again. Sometimes, I crawl back into bed and other times I stay on the couch and listen to him rustle around the kitchen, making toast or eggs. Sometimes, if I’ve slept well on the couch, I get up and eat breakfast and start my day, too. But not usually. I’m typically still tired from the middle-of-the-night hours of being awake, and sleep calls to me as the rest of the day awakens.

Trapped with Insomnia

For many weeks now, I’ve had occasional bouts of insomnia. I’m not alone in this, by any means. Many women I know are awake for some hours during the night. Comes with age, I suspect, or hormones changing. Maybe that’s the same thing!

Anyway, it’s usually no big deal. I quietly put on my bathrobe and slippers, and the cats and I leave the bedroom, gently closing the door behind me, and head to the kitchen, where I make a cup of chamomile tea and fill their food bowls if necessary. Then we all perch in our places in the living room – the little boy on the couch with me, the female cat often on the pet climber where she can survey the room. I grab the throw blanket and put it on my lap – it’s very snuggly. Then, I sip my tea as it cools, and I read or write or sometimes knit. I often find myself blogging at this hour – seems like a typical time for me to write. The tea makes me a little sleepy, so I’m usually only awake for one or two hours. I’m very cozy and sometimes I fall asleep on the couch instead of going back through the cold house to the bedroom.

For the next few days, I’m trapped. We’re staying in an AirBnB, and there’s someone sleeping on the couch in the living room. So tonight I’m awake with no place to go! It’s too noisy to make a cup of tea in the kitchen. And the light there will shine brightly into the living room. Plus, where will I sit?

So I’m trapped, awake, in our bedroom. I have my phone screen on nighttime mode, and pointed away from my husband in bed, so as not to wake him, if possible. It seems like writing my blog on my phone is an option! Should I try to read my Kindle on my iPad – can I adjust that intensity to nighttime lumens? But what do I do with myself without my chamomile? I really want that cup of soothing tea and my cozy blanket!

It’s uncomfortable to just lay here. I might try sitting up in bed, but there aren’t really enough pillows to prop me up and support my back like a chair would. The room is tight, with space to get around the bed but none additional – no room to bring in a chair.

I guess I’ll stay in bed and read until I get sleepy again. Maybe I’ll have tea for breakfast!

It’s been awhile…

I didn’t really intend to take the summer off from writing. But it seems like that’s exactly what I did. My last post was June 13th, which is a season ago! Sorry for being incommunicado – let me catch you up.

Summer was good. My mood has been up – it seems that the cocktail of antidepressants I take is working to keep my depression in submission. Yay! I meet monthly with a therapist – I believe medication is more effective with regular talk therapy, and statistics support this fact.

The highlight of the summer was a two-week vacation – I’ve never taken two weeks before. It’s a wonderful feeling to get to the end of the first week, realize vacation is usually ending… but this time, it’s not! There’s a whole other week left!

A museum/home on Lake Maggiorie

The first few days were just my husband and me, connecting with a colleague of his is Lugano, Switzerland. We stayed in a five-star hotel (wow!) and enjoyed a boat excursion around Lake Maggiorie and a furnicular ride to the top of the mountain. We sat in bistros and watched people, and drank delicious champagne and ate great food! That part – all by itself – was a fabulous vacation.

Then we traveled to Germany, where we connected with another of my husband’s colleagues, and at this point, our kids joined us. So we had a family vacation, complete with a monestary-stay and an enormous hike around a mountain. A second vacation – full of family, food, and new friends.

Beautiful German architecture in Gelnhausen

But then, just when the fun should have been ending, we spent a week in France with two long-time-friend-families. We rented a beautiful home in Normandy – saw the beaches and museums, ate delicious food and shopped and relaxed and laughed. Another memorable vacation!

Relaxing in France with friends and food

When we came home, I went back to work part-time. I’ve also been doing volunteer work all summer at an adult care center – I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the residents and staff.

I got hearing aids – that’s a topic for another blog post.

And now it looks like a dream of mine is coming true – the start of a peer-led depression support group at our church. We’re just in the infancy of getting the process rolling, but I’m thrilled. This has been a heartbeat of mine for several years, and it’s exciting to see it start to come together – all in God’s perfect timing. He is bringing the facilitator team together – it’s awesome to see Him working!

I’m still missing my kids, as they are each living many miles away. But I treasure the memories and pictures we made in France. Until I see them again, it’s just me, my hubby, and the cats. Life is good! And it feels really good to say that!

The kitten, Henry (front), is almost as big as Annie!