I wasn't quite truthful yesterday when I said that I swam Tuesday night in order to help myself sleep well. It did help that way, and that's what I told the staff at the sleep center. However, when I originally found out that there was a pool at the hotel where the sleep center is located, my first thought wasn't a practical, "This will help me sleep." My first thought was, "Hey, a pool I haven't tried yet! I'll probably never have a chance to swim there again - I've got to!" - even though I missed one of my favorite Zumba classes to do so.
I called earlier in the day just to make sure that I could put my stuff somewhere while I was sleeping since I wasn't scheduled to get there until 9 pm. When I got there, the lady who let me in didn't really know how to get to the pool: "Just go downstairs and follow the signs... or ask someone." It didn't seem like patients at the sleep center go swimming there much. When I came back from the pool, I got a very strange look from the guy who let me in the center - "Can... I help you?" I guess not that many people in bathing suit and towel come to the door (so I explained again that swimming helped me sleep). It turned out that he was the sleep tech that I'd be working with.
As I mentioned yesterday, he's a composer. At one point, he asked if I liked Stravinsky, and when I said that I love Stravinsky, particularly the rhythms, he said that I'd like his music because his rhythms are similar to Stravinsky's, and we went on to discuss Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. Later on, when I was having a difficult time going to sleep, I was tempted to tap out rhythms from the Rite of Spring on the pulse monitor attached to my finger.
Well, the sleep study was both better and worse than I expected. The sleep techs were really nice. While they were putting all the wires on me, I had a wonderful, musical-geek conversation with one of them. He was a composition student at ECU, but then he switched to studying the brain. We discussed Stravinsky, rhythms, Prokofiev, Mozart, jazz, harmonies, etc. It made a long process go by quicker. The sleep center is in the top of a hotel so I got there early to swim laps in the indoor pool and sit in the hot tub (at night, the pool room is not nearly as light as it is in this photo). Swimming usually helps me sleep well, and I knew that I would need all the help I could get. The rooms are good-sized hotel rooms so it doesn't seem very clinical... until they start hooking you up to the machines.
What I realized, last night, is that sleeping is a nice peaceful time for me. Sleeping at the center was more like work. Turn on to your back, turn on to your side, they need to make sure the wires are plugged in, they need to replace one of the wires, etc. Using the bathroom while trailing lots of wires around is tricky. I'm not used to having someone else arranging my sleep. I was surprised to find that I was out of sorts for a good bit of the day because I felt like I lost the time to myself while I was sleeping. I also was exhausted, had a bad tension headache, and was nauseous for a lot of today so younger son had a peaceful, quiet day. I perked up in time to go to choir this evening.
I almost forgot to mention that, near the end of the study, I started having lots of anxiety dreams. In one of them, a nurse kept asking me, during a very long examination, for the order of the sons in one of the opening songs for "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." In my dream, I was really frustrated because I couldn't remember. After they took the wires off in the morning, I took a shower to get the glue out of my hair. While soaking my hair, one of the first things I did was mentally review the lyrics: "Reuben was the eldest of the children of Israel/With Simeon and Levi the next in line..."
I went into the evening, yesterday, with lots of energy, and I was so glad to go home in the morning. On the way, I drove west on the highway toward a beautiful full moon listening to the Indigo Girls singing and wathcing the sun rising over Durham in my rearview mirror.
While You Were Sleeping: Article about the sleep center (although, as I was told, they don't normally store lots of soda there. Someone working there just had bought a bunch to bring home).
When I lived up north, particularly in Detroit, November, basically, was winter. Not so in the piedmont of North Carolina. On November 1st, the leaves are still pretty, heavy raking is still in the future, and there are usually a number of warm, sunny days to go. There's plenty of time for planting pansies and bulbs. For us, it's a relatively peaceful month.
Thanksgiving, however, usually signals the change from fall to the shopping season. Black Friday is gradually oozing its way into Thanksgiving. More and more days of the week have shopping names. Black Friday is followed by Buy Local Saturday, and Cyber-Monday. Oh, and for those of us non-holiday shoppers, the Feast of Christ the King was on Sunday. Also, on another note, today is Giving Tuesday.
Shopping was a major focus of Facebook discussions last weekend. One site I follow even asked what was the best deal I got on Black Friday.
Having daughter home for five days was the best deal, of course. My sister and her family were also here over the holiday - there was no way I was doing any shopping over Thanksgiving. Though, really, now that I think of it, spending time with family, doing things outside, and maybe taking in a new movie (I loved Rise of the Guardians) have been the ways we've celebrated the Thanksgiving weekend for years. I can't see ever replacing that with shopping.
Looking at the calendar on November 1st made me grumpy. Thanksgiving was the earliest it can be this year - November 22. Only three short weeks of November fall enjoyment, and then the focus is on shopping. I'd lost beautiful days of November.
I've decided not. I usually start my shopping on the first Monday of Advent. Often, that's the Monday after Thanksgiving. This year, there's a week between the two. I don't have to start shopping just because Thanksgiving is over. Advent starts next Sunday. I have another week (almost) of non-commercial November left. Younger son and I are going to rake leaves every day, and dear husband and I are going to plant bulbs. It looks like next weekend will be good weather for that.
Next Monday, I'll start a frantic round of preparations (while trying to make time for exercise and for relaxation exercises). For better or worse, I'm going to be done by December 12th. Older son will be done with exams that week, and we'll go up to Asheville to bring daughter home from college - after wandering around Asheville to look at decorations.
Older son is a senior in college. This is his last long Christmas break at home. I absolutely will be done by the 12th.
I didn't want a super-Christmas-y photo for this post, but I did want to post something from our Asheville trip last year. This photo is of a decorated, espaliered tree in the Biltmore House Conservatory.
Next year, however, Thanksgiving is on November 28th - the latest it can be.
The last two weeks have been busy - with wonderful things, but busy all the same. I was looking forward to this week being calmer.
Not so. I won't be staying home any evening this week. I usually like to have at least one or two evenings during the work week at home.
I'm still getting caught up on all the things I didn't do last week, taking care of financial things, and trying to get to Zumba at least three times this week - along with homeschooling, of course.
I'm still trying to get my blood pressure down normally, although I almost totally fell down on the things I've been trying to do last week. I did do some eating that I didn't really want, but, overall, I ate less than during past Thanksgiving weeks. All the de-stressing and learning how to relax stuff went totally out the window. The bright spot, blood pressure-wise, was Zumba. I went four times, which, last winter, kept my blood pressure the lowest it's been since I started having trouble. I've been doing Zumba 4X/week for the last few weeks, and, so far, I haven't had any Achilles tendinitis or plantar fasciitis, which is what derailed my exercise last winter. Up until last week, I'd been really working on the physical therapy exercises for my heel.
I realized a few weeks ago that working on reducing my blood pressure during the holidays would be difficult. The holidays are like a sprint from Thanksgiving on. One evening, I started feeling hopeless. Working on my blood pressure is getting in the way of all the rushing around that people are supposed to do. Does one deserve to exist if one doesn't rush around?
Thank goodness for Zumba! It cheered me up and made me determined again. After class that evening, I decided that, even if I only got gift cards for people, I was still going to work on my bp.
Back in October, when I was having really bad allergy problems, I had a difficult time falling asleep because my body wouldn't breathe in when I was lying down. I had to sleep in a chair or propped up on a pillow for a week. The doctor recommended me for a sleep study. She'd asked about that back when I started having high blood pressure, but I didn't want to look into it because I didn't want to find out that I'd have to wear an ugly CPAP mask at night.
However, after all the drug reactions I've had the last few years, I'm not as worried about that anymore. There are worse things than a machine.
My sleep study is tomorrow night, and I'm dreading it. I have a difficult enough time sleeping as it is, much less in a strange place hooked up to machines.
I hadn't heard this song before it was used on Glee recently. I went and looked it up right away - it's such an energetic and fun song. The official video is... strange, and has nothing to do with the words:
Here's the Glee version (for as long as it actually stays on YouTube):
Two of my favorite Zumba teachers have used this song recently. It's a wonderful song for dancing. The first few weeks, I didn't really listen to the lyrics. One day, however, I heard it on the radio while I was driving, and realized that the lyrics were... stupid. He's trying to attract a woman at a bar, with some really awful pickup lines. Or maybe they're normal pickup lines. I've never been in that sort of bar. Anyway, the music for this song is great, but the words are rather stupid. I refer to it as "Relax, and just slap his face."
The official video is rather boring, although there's a bit of dancing at 2:45. I did a bit more searching and found this hip hop video:
It seems like this song is on the radio every time I turn it on - which made me think that it must be the current top song. I looked it up, and, it's only #16 on the Billboard top 100 (it peaked at #5).
The official video is well done, but the action is very slow and graceful, which doesn't really reflect the energy of the song. I prefer this live video:
Younger son and I heard this while running errands today. Even in the "clean" radio version, you can tell what she's singing. Younger son said that the words to this aren't nearly as offensive as the words to another recent hit. I'll post that one on Friday - the music to that one is really good; I just wish the words weren't so stupid.