A Tip to Fall Asleep Quickly

A firestick plant at a neighbor’s house. They are beautiful but toxic succulents.

Lying in bed each night, Andy Buelow often finds himself thinking one thought over and over: How awesome it was to ride the ferry across Lake Michigan as a kid.

Mr. Buelow pictures himself back on the ship, imagining the whir of the engines, the smell of steam, the rushing water and the cold spray on his face.

“When I remember the feeling, I am asleep within minutes,” says Mr. Buelow, 61 years old, the chief executive of a symphony orchestra in Muskegon, Mich. 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-happy-memory-can-help-you-fall-asleep-if-you-know-how-to-use-it-11674527348?mod=life_work_lead_pos4

That is the opening of a story from the Wall Street Journal by Elizabeth Bernstein called “A Happy Memory Can Help You Fall Asleep, If You Know How to Use It.”

According to the article, sleep researchers say what we think about before we fall asleep is as important as having a relaxing routine, turning off our screens, etc.

Here’s another excerpt:

They recommend that as we prepare to drift off, we practice something called savoring, which is imagining a positive experience we’ve had in great detail.

Savoring is well-studied as a strategy to improve our general well-being. A considerable body of research shows that it can boost mood and help reduce depression and anxiety. Now, psychologists believe it can help us fall asleep and have better sleep quality, and are starting to study its effectiveness.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-happy-memory-can-help-you-fall-asleep-if-you-know-how-to-use-it-11674527348?mod=life_work_lead_pos4

So here’s the question, if you choose to try “savoring” what memory will you be thinking about?

More good news

Sunrise
Sunrise in our backyard.

When I went to lunch last week with a ladies group I recently joined, I sat at table with three of my neighbors. One is a board member for the group and the other two are my friends and new members also.

This group is fundraising for The Phoenix Dream Center, which is a facility to rescue and help victims of human trafficking. I wrote about that HERE.

The board member/neighbor at our table said “You’re the one with a background in PR.”

I thought to myself, “Did I really need to share that on my membership application?”

She slipped a spreadsheet and a press release across the table to me. “Can you help me get out our press release?” It was for an upcoming fundraiser.

“Sure,” I said.

“I just need you to fill in the blanks on the spreadsheet. I haven’t been able to find the contact information for some publications.”

The next morning I googled the publications with missing contact info. I was able to find some of them and I either filled out online forms or sent emails to them with the press release.

Within 30 minutes I got a response from a magazine publisher who has high end magazines for high end neighborhoods.

“I’m sold. I love The Dream Center. Can you take a call in two hours?” his email said.

I quickly texted the board member/neighbor to ask if she’d take the call. I’ve been to two meetings in two months and don’t know much about this group — like how long it’s been around, how many members there are, if they have a budget to buy ads, etc.

“I’ll be at the dentist,” she texted.

“Okay. I can do it,” I replied.

Later I got a phone call from the president of the group who said she’d take the call. Whew!

Fast forward and the president called me back to say they had an excellent call and then had a meeting the next day. They are getting free advertising from now on each month! They are getting a VIP listing and perhaps a feature article.

I’m so thrilled I helped open the door. I’m also relieved I didn’t have to take the initial phone call. I was smiling the rest of the day.

What has made you smile recently?

Dilemma from a dream

Olive cat
Olive giving me that look before she jumps in my lap.

I had a weird dream last night. It was short, but got me thinking.

In my dream I was at Costco. I was standing up front where they have electronics. I watched as a young woman in her 20s, got a display camera unattached and put it under her arm and walked towards the exit.

I pointed at her and yelled to a nearby employee “She’s taking a camera.”

The employee ran after her.

Another employee came up to me and told me to mind my own business. “She’s not hurting you or anybody else,” he scolded me.

“Yes, she is. It’s wrong to steal and it makes everything cost more for us,” I answered.

“Costco can afford it. Besides they have insurance for theft.”

Then I woke up.

I wondered about it.The dream me did what I feel is right. Would the awake and out of bed me do the same if I was standing in a store watching someone shoplift?

My son’s first job in San Francisco was with a retailer he worked part time for during his college days. He got robbed and was instructed to let the shoplifters take the clothing. This was one of those stories where my husband told my son, “Don’t tell mom. She doesn’t need to know.” There’s been a few of them and guess what? Mom (me) always finds out.

What would you do if you witnessed a robbery or shoplifting? Would you report it, let it go, or get involved another way?

And now there’s weather

View from Indian Rock
View of San Francisco from Indian Rock park I enjoyed on an earlier visit to see my kids.

It’s my son’s surgery. I’m mentally preparing for the day ahead by visualizing what the day will bring. Go to the surgery center with my son. Buy him congee after surgery for a light easy-to-digest meal, buy ice, and help him get comfortable (FYI, I’m writing this on the morning of Jan. 4).

But then I got an email with friends who know I’m in the Bay area.

Here’s an excerpt from Yahoo News:

San Francisco is about to be hit with a ‘brutal’ storm so severe that a meteorologist says is ‘one of the most impactful’ he’s ever seen

The National Weather Service’s Bay Area office issued a frank and dire warning to citizens in a statement, saying the storm, which is currently forecast to begin peaking Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, could bring about flooding and the loss of life.

“To put it simply, this will likely be one of the most impactful systems on a widespread scale that this meteorologist has seen in a long while,” the warning read. “The impacts will include widespread flooding, roads washing out, hillside collapsing, trees down (potentially full groves), widespread power outages, immediate disruption to commerce, and the worst of all, likely loss of human life. This is truly a brutal system that we are looking at and needs to be taken seriously.”

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/san-francisco-hit-brutal-storm-155156145.html

Yep. This storm may make my caregiving duties more challenging than I was expecting. I’m hoping the news is over-hyping the storm and danger. But you never know.

Keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I get through the next few days.

What is your weather like this week? Do you have storms headed your way?

The final post of 2022 and it’s embarrassing

Olive the cat
Olive the cat is very introverted.

We boarded Olive the cat for our vacation in Palm Springs. I got a call from the boarding place three days into our trip. Olive wasn’t drinking, eating, peeing or pooping.

It’s the first time she’s been at this boarding place, because the one we went to before closed. I was impressed with this new outfit. It was spanking brand new, had huge two and three level kitty suites complete with climbing towers and TVs! Cats can climb up and down through the suite through large holes cut in the platform levels.

I had left Olive with her Rx laxative, kitty soup and dry Friskies. She even had an old smelly t-shirt of my husband’s to make her comfortable. After a few phone calls, the boarding place said they’d take Olive to the vet if she didn’t settle down. They also put her in an empty bathroom, where she’d be all alone.

Our Olive isn’t exactly neurotic, but she’s a loner and trembles and gets frightened of new people and places. You’d think having a friend take care of her in our house would be the ideal situation rather than boarding her. But no, you’d be wrong. As long as my friend’s daughter took care of Olive she was fine when we lived in Palm Springs. The friend’s daughter got scared of Marco — our homeless guy who believed our house was his — so her dad took over Olive duty.

Olive doesn’t like strangers, but really doesn’t like men. The end result of the father taking care of Olive was a urinary tract infection — plus me purchasing two new comforters, sheets and mattress toppers.

I got a call five days into our trip that Olive was doing fine.

Now for the embarrassing part.

On our way home we stopped at the boarding place to pick up Olive.

They gave me her meds, foods and handed me her soft carrier. I insisted it was not the right one. Hers was black, I swore — and the one they tried to pawn off on my was gray with blue piping.

I had four frantic employees opening up every cupboard shelf searching for the black-sided carrier.

Finally, 25 minutes later, we came to the agreement that I’d take Olive home in their hard cased carrier and they’d deliver Olive’s carrier to our house once they figured out what happened to it. Maybe it went home with the wrong cat? Maybe the manager who was trying out new spaces to make Olive comfortable had placed it in a safe place?

Once home I decided to check on Amazon for my purchase of the carrier. This is what I discovered:

I had bought a gray carrier with light blue piping. Not black. I bit the bullet and called and apologized for being totally insane and a pain in the behind. Then I had to drive over there and exchange carriers and apologize profusely.

I realized my error. Waffles the pug and his carrier I bought six years ago. This is what I thought Olive the cat had too. She doesn’t get out much and Waffles get in his carrier daily.

Waffles the pug in 2016 with his black carrier.

Here’s to a New Year and sanity! What are your hopes for 2023?

Conflicted about Christmas

Christmas in Palm Sprigs
Christmas decorations in our Palm Springs home.

In a couple days, we’ll be leaving to have Christmas with my kids, dad and our son’s girlfriend’s family. Our kids suggested Palm Springs, where we moved from exactly two years ago this week. Last year we gathered in Santa Barbara, which was a fun — if not rainy and cold adventure.

I’m conflicted over Palm Springs. After leaving, I don’t have a strong desire to return. I don’t know if it’s an emotional response. If it brings up too many memories. If I miss it, or if I don’t miss it. It makes me feel things I don’t want to feel.

For the kids, who never wanted us to move from Palm Springs, my husband agreed to rent an Airbnb a few blocks from our old home. It’s all for them, not us.

What I’m looking foward to:

Seeing our big extended family.

Walking around my old park.

Swimming in my former city pool.

Going to my old favorite restaurants for a taste of Mexican food and Italian. We haven’t found any good spots here.

Do you think it’s true that you can never go home again? Why or why not?

Wreath on our old wooden gate
The wreath I made on our gates at the Palm Springs house which was built in 1937.

Time Flies!

It’s official. We left California for Arizona two years ago! I can’t believe how quickly our years flew by — and in some respects how long it has seemed.

Here’s what I thought about moving two years ago today:



Moving van
The moving van arrived.

Friday was moving day. Our movers arrived at 9 a.m. and we thought it would be a couple hours and we’d hit the road. No, we were wrong. By 5 p.m. the movers realized their truck was full and we still had a bunch of stuff in the garage like bikes, a wheelbarrow and my daughter’s desk. Plus the STORAGE UNIT where we’ve been squirreling away boxes and stuff for months.

Yikes! The movers had to rent a U-Haul and we gave them the keys to our storage unit. Of course there weren’t any U-Hauls in town and they had to drive to San Diego or some place to find a U-Haul. They said they’d come back to our California house the next morning and pick up the rest of our stuff in the garage when our housekeeper and dear friend Delia would be cleaning.

We drove to Arizona and our new home, minus our furniture that night. We thankfully packed suitcases and bedding. Our fellow swim team parents and close friends drove one of our cars packed to the hilt, plus their car complete with all the stuff from our freezer and fridge. Now, those are true friends who volunteer to drive an 8-hour round trip to make our move easier!

I have driving anxiety and panic attacks driving on freeways. I couldn’t face the four-hour drive on Interstate 10. Our daughter promised to fly down from SFO and drive one car and help us unpack. Then California went into lockdown. Our daughter didn’t feel good about flying. So our friends volunteered to help us out and meanwhile our daughter’s supposed flight was cancelled. It all worked out in the end.

moving boxes in house
Our new living room. So much work to do!

We got to our Arizona home at 10:30 p.m. We unpacked our suitcases, settled into bed around midnight exhausted beyond comprehension. Thank goodness we bought the furniture in the casita from the sellers. Otherwise, we’d have been on the floor. We never saw our friends who drove our car for us. They not only drove our car, but they filled our fridge with all our condiments, frozen foods and perishables — before heading back to California.

The next day, the moving van and U-haul arrived at 2 p.m. We worked throughout the weekend to get the kitchen in order and our closet organized. Kitty is stressed and hiding under the bed in the casita, where we’ve been living.

pink skies at sunset in Arizona
My new backyard as the sun begins to set.

I don’t recommend moving after living in one house for 28 years. It’s an unusually hard task, mentally and physically. But, when we’re more settled the sunsets will make it all worthwhile.

Cactus Arizona sunset
Sunset and saguaros in the neighborhood.

What’s the longest you’ve lived in one place? How did you handle packing and going through years of stuff when you moved? Did you think of moving during the COVID shutdowns? A lot of people did move.