The Hillhouse

The Journey of a Mother and Son

Senza Sonno May 2, 2013

It’s back. Only now I can’t even get to sleep much less stay asleep. The recent loss of my father’s voice on my answering machine is a low-fi backdrop to a constant stream of worries that plays relentlessly through my head… And each night it seems we get to bed later and later… Phone calls, unexpected visits from friends, desperate final games on the DS before bedtime, more dishes to wash than it seems we could have possibly used just to make dinner for the two of us… various things thwart our plans to retire at a sensible hour. And the later the hour, the more stressed we both are about hurrying up and falling asleep. It took Elihu close to an hour before I heard his breathing shift. He tossed and turned until past 10… Me, I napped for an hour but am back up again, wide awake and awaiting the effects of one of my few precious remaining sleeping pills. I try to go without any pharmaceutical assistance – I really do, but it seems no matter how much I may yawn during the day and yearn for my bed, I cannot depart this waking consciousness on my own… I awake tired each morning after just an hour or two of true sleep. And as I embark on a long, full day, I look forward to little landmarks to keep me going, culminating in that glorious relief my bed will bring…. yet it when I finally get there…. there aint no relief waiting for me.

I’ve shared my love of sleep before. I no longer find shame or embarrassment in my need for a good eight or nine hours of the blessed stuff. I’ve come to believe my body needs it. I feel refreshed and ready when I’ve had a good long night’s sleep. I can go a day or two on scant nighttime naps, but by day three I’m not happy. And tomorrow morning will be such a day. I’d fix it if I could, I’d call a doc friend and ask as humbly as I could for some help, only even if she does help me out, I still can’t afford the full-on, mainstream price tag of the sleeping pills without benefit of insurance. Why do I even mention this? I came to learn recently that my Medicaid has lapsed. Not good. Not even sure how it happened. I’m usually on top of that stuff… (Makes me wonder if they’ll cover my colonoscopy from a while back. Ich. One more thing to stew over while I’m busy not sleeping.)

Not much to do now, think the little pill is fuzzing me down now. That’s better. Maybe now I can drift away. Only four hours left… Here comes the game of the sleepless night; the constant readjusting of one’s justifications – I can do it on three hours if I have to… it’ll be ok… it’s just one more day… how hard could it be?… ok, I’ve got just over two hours. That’s better than nothing, right?

Yes, I’m getting the heavy lids. Thank God! Shoulda just done this hours ago. Better late than never. Better ‘con‘ than ‘senza’. !

 

T Minus 29 April 8, 2013

I know I’m making far too big a deal of this. My fiftieth birthday is one month from yesterday. Most of my friends have already been there, done that and most likely can’t get too worked up yet again about another person’s 50th. For those who’ve passed the mark, it’s simply their reality. It’s history, old news. Some like to tell you to ‘get over it’ or admonish ‘it’s just a number’… But it’s not so easy for me. I’m getting sentimental about it; I’m missing an era in my life that is quite definitely over.

To be more specific, there are two main reasons I’m ticking away the moments of my final forty-something year with a mild sense of ill ease: one is, of course the obvious; the irrefutable evidence that my body has passed its aesthetic prime. It’s a for-sure thing now. There’s no going back. Like Nora Ephron, I too have begun to hate my neck. I pinch the skin under my chin and rather than see it spring back to its resting form, it stays pinched. This is quite shocking to me. This is the crepe-y sort of skin that belongs to an ‘older woman’ –  my mother, or one of her peers… but certainly not me. This new discovery isn’t making me feel very good ‘in my skin’ as they say. It feels like someone else’s neck is on my body. It’s a new phenomenon, it’s disturbing, and I don’t see it getting any better with time. That’s sadly the truth.

The second reason for my ill ease: I’m not in Chicago at the time of this event. Rather, I’m here in Greenfield, where I simply haven’t got a whole lot of friends with whom to mark the day. I’d like to throw out a post on Facebook and have my Chicago peeps meet me at Dave’s Italian Kitchen and call it a day. The way I did when Fareed and I had our rehearsal dinner. The way we did when our son was born. The way we did for my fortieth. And so many other celebrations throughout our lives… Yeah. I wish I felt that I was home for this big one. But I suppose in a way, I am.

It is of course because of my parents that I’m even here to celebrate. And they’re just next door. So maybe I’ll just call the few friends I do have here and have em over to my parents. My dad never gets out, he might enjoy it. Mom’s a natural host with few opportunities to do so these days… It’s worth considering I suppose. I just feel like the date’s coming closer and closer and I have made no preparations – none mental, emotional nor logistic. (It’s my son’s 10th birthday on April 28th which takes priority!)

I just finished watching a movie called “Melancholia” in which a planet collides with Earth and ends everything. It was stunning how the film created that reality… one moment the planet looks like a benign second moon lighting the sky, the next day it’s a huge orb taking up half the horizon… And it sorta feels like my fiftieth birthday is that rogue planet, looming closer… nothing much one can do to prepare. But at least it might be worth having a really good party. Right?

 

Atkins, Six Weeks In March 4, 2013

Could it be only six weeks? My immediate impressions are thus: I feel like I’ve been on this ridiculous, low carb diet for years (yes, it gets very boring), and secondly? I am pretty happy with my success. So onward I go…

I have lost ten – maybe even eleven – pounds so far. My scale’s not terribly accurate, nor can I quite see the needle from five feet above. Several people have told me this week that they can see a difference in my face. These unsolicited remarks have given me just the bit of evidence and morale-boosting I needed. That, plus the ability to finally get into, zip up and actually wear a pair of my ‘in between jeans’ (from my collection of not quite fat, yet not quite skinny clothes). I’m wearin’ em now, in fact. And I’m sitting in them too – that, for me, is the true test of whether I’m truly in the next size down or not. Yup, last night I was finally able to zip up three new pairs of pants that I haven’t been able to even consider wearing since shortly after I moved here, four and a half years ago. One might then go on to question the fashionable relevance of these garments in 2013, but not to worry. It’s all kind of era-neutral stuff that will work just fine. I think.

What might not work fine a month down the road are my bras. Whoda thunk? I guess I never really and truly believed that I’d get smaller again – I’ve just been doing the old ‘fake it til you make it’ thing these past few weeks. Now that there’s proof that I just might get into the old ‘skinny’ clothes after all – I’ve got a few things to address. I don’t need to run out and spend money I don’t have just yet – I’m still doing fine in my old undertogs. But they are a decade or more old (buying things for me virtually came to a stop when Elihu was born). Regardless of weight, my spirit seems to crave a few nice, new underthings. All part of this chrysalis thing. Slow and steady…

Although I really miss crunchy, salty snacks and some good, hard-core sweet stuff now and again, I’ve learned something pretty amazing for me: a very tiny amount of the craved foot can really hit the spot. ! Just two potato chips, for example. I know, I know! You don’t believe me! Hell, I wouldn’t believe me! But just a bite or two sates me, calms me. It reminds me of the flavor and crunch. And just two dark chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds can take the edge off a sweet craving. In eating less of these foods, when I do have them, they’re much ‘punchier’; saltier, sweeter somehow… Plus now that my goal seems closer, it’s easier still to keep it to just a quick taste. Course I can then enjoy a burger pattie for supper, so that takes the sting off. Yeah, for as boring as this Atkins thing is, it does make dieting so so much easier. And in the future, when I disembark from this carb-less routine, I will be so much more aware of what I eat. Much more aware of gratuitous eating and empty calories.

All of those carbs are going to taste so much better ten more pounds from now, I just know it. And hopefully, I’ll be able to enjoy my life just fine with fewer of em.