The Astromaid Chronicles

Slow Travel, Creative Living, and Speculation

Category: Woman Things (page 1 of 3)

Jorge Ditches Winter and Sandusky Discoveries

Well folks, the husband has officially left the country! On January 18th, he set off for Argentina, where he’s already relaxing in pools, drinking Fernet, visiting all his friends and family, and probably becoming tanner by the millisecond….while I’m left to wither and grow brittle in the Ohio winter.

*sigh* Jerk.

(Just kidding, Jorge. I love you and approve of your southern hemisphere tanning and soon I’ll be there to participate as well. Except I won’t be as deliciously bronzed as you, just mostly lobster red.)

I’ll be joining him in a couple weeks. But right before my spouse’s sudden departure, two of my good friends arrived in their RV for a couple of weeks of shenanigans with the Sandusky crew. We’ve been participating in all sorts of goodies, including a trip to Chicago, lots of shared dinners, and good quality friend time.

I’m definitely not one to feel lost without my significant other by my side. But it does take an adjustment period, and it always stings in the beginning. Time apart is nothing new for us–in our roughly three year relationship, we’ve spent up to six weeks apart three times already. So four weeks in Argentina before I arrive won’t be the worst.

But the first few days are always the saddest..and where I’m reminded how cold a queen bed can be without someone else in it. And how strange those creaks and rustles are throughout the house without the ability to scream for Jorge. (Is the gutter scraping the house? Or is someone knifing their way through the front window? I’m not sure.) And how much I maybe actually relied on him to handle certain tasks like disposing of the cooking oil and making our bed.

Since his departure, I found out something unexpected about Sandusky: there’s a weekly meditation group. Converging Paths Meditation Center meets every Tuesday at 7pm at the old Knights of Columbus building. We all went a couple weeks ago because we heard there was a kirtan. The group was so lovely that I have decided to make this part of my routine in Sandusky.

The group has been around for years. I’m shocked that I didn’t find it until now, but in a way, I’m also not surprised. Though I’ve had a daily yoga practice for years, it wasn’t until a Buddhist meditation event in Nashville that I even realized the power of intentional meditation outside of my yoga practice.

Ashtanga is considered a moving meditation; and I definitely count it as my form of daily meditation. But since my trip to India a year ago, I’ve had one resounding echo within: meditate more. As in, outside of my yoga practice. Additional meditation. Intentional meditation.

So this group found me at the right time, it seems.

It’s a weekly meet-up that feels both nourishing and restorative. I’m not a person who likes to make too many plans. If I have a couple extra-curricular things in my schedule during a week, even if they’re things I WANT to do, they can feel cumbersome or overwhelming. There’s just something about the looming  date and time of an event that has a compounding dread effect inside me.

But this meditation group doesn’t make me feel that way. If there’s one thing that I can commit to, it’s a weekly group of people that meet up and sit in silence. Hell yes.

Anybody wanna join me? 

Juice Cleanse Log, Days #3 and DONE

WEDNESDAY, DAY #3:

9:00AM: Up and at ’em! No yoga this morning since I have a doctor’s appointment first. I slug back one of my favorite juices, carrot-apple-ginger, but somehow it tastes less delicious after two full days of vegetables juices. Still, it’s not bad. I look fondly at the Keurig.

10:00AM: At the doctor’s office. The nurse readies the cuff to take my blood pressure. “I’ve been juicing,” I blurt out, feeling a little crazed. “Will that affect any of the readings?” She takes my blood pressure, I don’t pass out. “I expected it to be a little lower,” she says. It’s 120/80. Maybe it’s the stress of missing food.

10:03AM: I get weighed. I’m a couple pounds lighter than the last time I weighed myself, which might have been six months ago. I thought drinking nothing but liquefied kale plantations would have shown more on the scale.

11:00AM: Time for errands! I flit around the city for a couple hours for a  variety of tasks, but one of my most important goals: buy miso soup. This will pair nicely with the tofu I bought yesterday. A friend at the health food store asks if I feel amazing from juicing. “Ehh…I feel good,” I tell her. “Not bad, but not crazy awesome. I thought it would be more sparkly than this.” I do mention the heightened sense of smell. There is at least one superpower that comes from juicing.

2:00PM: Errands run long, and I’m just getting home to drink my mid-morning coconut water! I slam it as fast as I can, irrationally happy that I have no more of these pink bottles of tasty-yet-unsettling coconut water. Then comes the lunch juice. I make the Green Lemonade again, which goes down easily. I feel good. It’s okay. It’s less than 24 hours until I’ll eat miso soup.

4:00PM: Gentle yoga with Jorge. I feel surprisingly powerful. But some of those wide-legged forward bends didn’t feel so good in the head/dizziness area. He does part of the Primary Series with me, and then we switch to gentle yoga poses. Om! As in…ommmm, nom nom. Food is happening tomorrow!

5:00PM: I have a late juice snack, this time a new mixture of beets, carrots, celery, oranges, lemon and basil. It’s great–much more delicious than the other beet juice.  Husband fries an egg in the kitchen. I slink away, glaring at him.

7:00PM: Dinner juice time! I have leftovers from lunch. It’s fine. It’s green. It’s full of kale. Just trying to imagine those nutrients massaging my stem cells, or whatever the hell they’re supposed to be doing in there.

9:00PM: Jorge cooks dinner now, and it smells so delicious I can’t bear it. Freaking heightened sense of smell. Someday…I will eat again. Though I might break the seal with miso soup tomorrow, I probably shouldn’t rush straight into a dinner like this.

10:00PM: Is my skin glowing? I think I look slightly more radiant. I’m not sure. It might be juice haze in my eyeballs. Or maybe the fascinating array of nutrients being slam-dunked into my DNA. Again, not sure about the scientific gears behind this. I drink a herbal tea and settle down for the night…and this time, my belly is HUNGRY!

 

THURSDAY, DAY #4:

9:00AM: Good lord, I’m hungry. Despite this, I start my regular Ashtanga practice, slowly and carefully. I make it to standing postures and then I have to abandon in search of hot water with lemon and a breakfast beet-mix juice. After making it, I notice my fridge is considerably less full. Like, I actually have a little bit of space in it now, after barreling through thirteen pounds of produce in three days.

11:00AM: It’s almost miso time. I will definitely eat miso soup for lunch. I cannot wait. I’ve never made miso soup at home before; hell, I’ve only had miso soup a handful of times in my life. But I have never BEEN. MORE. EXCITED. FOR ANYTHING.

12:30PM: IT’S TIME. I’M MAKING THE MISO SOUP. HERE I AM, STIRRING THE GUNKY MISO PASTE INTO THE WATER.

12:32PM: THIS IS GONNA BE SO GOOD. I cut scallions, and cube the tofu. It is so firm and ready. What lovely tofu. It’s gonna be so nice to eat. With my teeth and my jaw and mastication.

12:35PM: I think it’s ready. I can’t let the miso boil once the tofu is in, I read that. I wait a few minutes for everything to warm. My stomach has very nearly burst through skin to get a taste of this broth.

12:40PM: This is momentous. MOMENTOUS. I call my best friend Brian to tell him about the fact that I’m about to eat this soup. He doesn’t pick up. I leave a voicemail of my first slurp of soup. GOD, IT’S SO GOOD.

1:00PM: Bloated with miso, looking at my empty bowl, pondering another one.

1:30PM: Yeah, I’ll have a second helping. Bet your ass I will.  Brian calls me as I’m preparing the soup. He gets to hear the first slurp of the second bowl this time.

2:00PM: Juice fast complete.

 

That wraps up my first ever juicing log, folks! Overall, it was a fun experience, but it didn’t blow my mind. I’d definitely do it again, but probably a longer cleanse next time. However, not anytime soon.  I know this was a shorter duration, so maybe days four and five of the next juice cleanse will bring more interesting results.

Transitioning back into regular food took an additional three days, so it felt like this juice cleanse actually lasted longer since I continued with juices AND ate mostly soups (hello, miso!) for about two full days afterward. Even though during the transition I fantasized heavily about all sorts of foods I wanted to eat…thinking about how my body might feel and react to said foods caused (and still causes me) to weigh these options more heavily. And I think that’s a good thing!

In summation, I can safely say one thing: I really love food. I love preparing it, I love pairing it, I love eating it. I’ll probably do this cleanse (or even another one) again next year or whenever I’m feeling particularly unhealthy or unbalanced. Until that time though…viva la comida! 

Juice Cleanse Log, Day #2

TUESDAY, DAY #2:

8:00AM: Early morning, and we’re off to Cleveland! I take the leftovers from my dessert juice in a jar, and the leftovers from my lunch yesterday since we’ll be out of the house until 1pm. Oh, and don’t forget the glowing pink coconut water! There is an important meeting this morning, and I can’t be wilting in front of lawyers because I didn’t nourish myself properly. I nurse my hot water and lemon until almost 10AM. I am scared to drink the beet juice from last night again.

10:00AM: The meeting with the lawyer begins. She appraises my vivid red beverage and nods knowingly. “Are you juicing?” “Yep,” I reply. “This is a beet juice for breakfast.” She laughs. “I do that in the mornings, too. Disgusting, huh?” She understands me.

NOON: I shudder as the last of the breakfast beet juice goes down. There were little chunks of beet greens in it and for some reason it made me wanna puke. I reluctantly begin my coconut water and then lunch juice not long after. It’s gonna be a long ass day.

4:00PM: I skipped the post-lunch juice because I wasn’t hungry. How could that be?  I have consumed the equivalent of two meals through yesterday and today combined. But I’m just not. I lay down in bed because there’s a headache creeping in. Oh, god. They said this could happen. My body is rejecting the juice! Or maybe this is the cleansing process. 

6:00PM: I wake up, feeling a little better than before. I have my dinner juice, a hefty mixture of cucumber and, you guessed it, an entire crop of kale. It’s good but somehow not appetizing. Maybe the cucumber is too heavy. Maybe I’ve only drank juice for two days. Maybe I’d really like some of that fucking pasta my husband is making right now.

6:30PM: Fantasies about tofu commence. And tempeh. And vegetable soup. And more tofu. I can practically taste pan-seared tofu. I would give almost anything to eat it. ANYTHING.

7:00PM: Husband is cruelly using the oven again to cook food. Except is that a gas leak? I open the back door to let in some air. Man, it smells like something went wrong with the oven. He has no idea what I’m reacting to. Jamie tells me your sense of smell is heightened during fasts. This is what pregnancy will be like. Jesus God, save me already.

9:00PM: We go to Kroger to buy emergency apples for my juicing…and a package of tofu. Just in case. Just in case.

10:00PM: Oh, sweet herbal tea! There’s only one more day of juicing ahead of me. Just one more day of cucumbers, apples, carrots, kale, ginger, and lemons in liquid form. What is it like to chew? Will I even be able to after another day of juicing? What if your jaw works only from constant practice? I cannot wait to eat tofu. 

10:30PM: Belly rumbles, but still not really hungry.  Feeling sort of unsettled, somewhere between nauseous and bloated. Maybe I’ll never drink juice again. It’s time for bed. Only one more day left of this…and then I can eat tofu.

Juice Cleanse Log, Day #1

In a fit of wild-eyed optimism, I made the decision to do a juice cleanse as of the first Monday of the year. My regular routine is that I take breaks every so often from caffeine and alcohol, but to start this year off I felt inspired to take it a little further– give a juice cleanse a try. It was an idea I had toyed with for several years and the timing never felt right.

Until 2016, that is. So last weekend I spent some time arranging the necessary implements–I laid out the reboot juicing plan, made sure my juicer was ready and shiny, and spent *too much money* on the 55 lbs of produce needed.

Here. You'll need this for just one juice. [Photo Credit: www.cambridgeincolour.com]

Here. You’ll need this for just one juice. [Photo Credit: www.cambridgeincolour.com]

Monday came. I was ready. By Monday evening, things had deteriorated so far that I needed to start an hourly log, just in case I didn’t make it to the other side and people were curious about my final hours.

JUST KIDDING! But I did start a log, and here it is. 

MONDAY, DAY #1:

Noon: I’ve technically started my juice cleanse today, but nothing is different yet because I don’t normally eat breakfast until after I finish practicing Ashtanga yoga. Also, I binged on roasted vegetables last night because hey, I’m not gonna be eating for three days! Still, I feel empowered by the difference of this Monday! Juice Cleanse, You’re Great!

1pm: I’ve drank the standard hot-water-and-lemon, as well as my breakfast juice, Carrot-Apple-Ginger. Both of these also constitute my regular waking routine some days, so I am winning hardcore.

2:30PM: It’s time for my snack, 16oz of coconut water. I bought the most expensive kind imaginable, the kind that a friend swore tastes like the coconut water she drank out of actual coconuts in Brazil. For some reason it is pink. They say it’s because of antioxidants but when I think about it, I don’t even know how antioxidants work. I am not a huge fan of coconut water, but this beverage is heavenly delicious. It’s almost so good it makes me feel weird. The pink is disconcerting.

3:00PM: Lunch juice! “Joe’s Mean Green”, a juice that requires 16 pieces of kale and subsequently, about $15 dollars to make. Whatever. It’s so fresh and maybe just a little bit too sour! I can practically feel the nutrients washing through my cells and snapping my DNA into shape.

5:00PM: Time for another snack! Man, they don’t give you any time to get hungry on this plan. I make a juice with pineapple and yellow bell pepper. It is so awesome, I’m definitely making this one when I eat regular food again–if that time ever comes? I can’t believe how smart this juice plan is! Good god.

6:30PM: Dinner Juice is upon us. I make a “Green Lemonade”, which again uses 16 kale leaves (which is essentially just one whole bunch), celery, apple, spinach, and cucumber. It’s very green. Like, extremely green. It’s good…I suppose.

6:45PM: Still drinking dinner. Flip through facebook as I drink. Belly is rumbling.

6:50PM: Stumble across a taco meme posted by a friend. Oh, god! Tacos! That sounds SO GOOD.

6:55PM: I wonder what I’ll make for dinner–stop it. Stop it right there. You’ve got this great juice and that’s your dinner, now drink it and like it.

7:00PM: I wonder what I’ll make for dinn–nope. NOT AGAIN. You are not eating today, nor for the following two days. Get used to it.

7:30PM: Still drinking the juice. Man I’d love to go make some dinner right now.

8:00PM: Still drinking dinner juice. Finally make a herculean effort to swallow the rest in a huge gulp. I shudder. It’s down.

9:00PM: Welp, it’s time for dessert. More juice. Yay. This time, I make a beet-carrot-orange juice. It looked so refreshing on the menu plan, but this is just not nearly as tasty as I hoped for. I hope it doesn’t give me nightmares. But think of all these nutrients! It’s so worth it. I struggle to choke it back. My cells have to be rejoicing somewhere inside me.

10:00PM: Time for my nightly herbal tea. Though what I’d really like is a slice of bread that Jorge just finished baking….GOD. THE SMELL. I need to escape into the bedroom. Time to hope this chamomile does its job. I fall asleep, belly moaning and visions of tacos dancing through my head.

 

Day #1 had its ups and downs…and in retrospect, every day of the cleanse was different from the rest! I’ll post more from my log soon!

Have any of you done juice cleanses? What was your first day like? 

Feeling Centered…about the Centerpieces (Wedding Woes & Wonders Pt. 5)

I’ll be honest, I don’t really know what the hell I’m doing when it comes to planning this reception. My main MO is to make it as cheap as possible, as I’ve mentioned before, while not compromising the basic essentials of what I want this celebration to be.

That said, it’s coming together extremely well. It kind of feels like wandering into the forest for a routine camping trip, and then something happens and all of your important gear goes up in flames, and you have to figure out how to survive really quickly because it’s getting cold at night and there might be bears. At first, it really sucks to learn how to survive in the wild and forage for your berries and keep the fire going, but then you get the hang of it and by the time the rescue helicopter comes you leave the forest feeling like a legit survival expert.

That’s the only apt analogy I can come up with for how this reception planning process feels to me.  I’ve been doing things mostly my own way (which is also sort of just the way that my best friends suggest it to me). I don’t have a robust arsenal of survival skills–I mean, party planning skills–and sometimes I feel like the bears have sniffed out my location and will tear us to shreds. While this  means overseeing a lot of extra details (like, furnishing my own table covers, and making all my decorations from scratch, and figuring out real quick whether these leaves are poisonous), it also means that I am a little out of touch with what the rest of the world is doing when it comes to wedding/reception planning.

And after a visit to my local craft store the other day, I realized I’m actually way more out of touch than I realized.

After some very goal-oriented browsing at the store, I stumbled upon their bridal aisle. Ah yes, I thought. Most craft stores have these! I wonder what treasures they hold? I took a gander for posterity’s sake. And to see if there was anything I might “need” for my current mission.

To wit, there was not. But I did stumble upon this:

The $6.50 bouquet cover!

The $6.59 bouquet wrap!

Holy shit. Hang on. A bouquet wrap? I don’t know if my consternation upon viewing this has to do more with the wedding industry or just consumerism in general. A bouquet wrap is, to me, a useless product, as I’ll explain below. But at the same time, I can see lots of brides out there really getting into the details, all the way down to the color of the lace on the bouquet cover. So, hey. To each his or her own bouquet. 

On my wedding day, I used a bouquet of hand-picked flowers from my friend’s garden. I went to her house and we picked them out together. Then, I took the bunch of flowers to my house in a mason jar full of water. When the time came, I picked up the flowers, grabbed a rubber band, and tied that sucker around the stems.

Before we left for the courthouse, one of my friends said, “Do you have anything to wrap around the flowers? So it looks nicer.”

The question dumbfounded me. The flowers didn’t look nice enough already? I said, “Uh…no, actually.”

So someone in my intimate friend’s group looked around the house, and snagged a piece of ribbon attached to godknowswhat laying around.

There you have it. Bouquet wrap. On-the-go. Last-minute. Totally free.

did not know prior to that moment that bouquet covers were even a thing I’d have to think about when preparing for my “big day”. In fact, I still maintain that it is NOT a thing one should think about. Having a rubber band around some flower stems is totally fine. Because who actually cares?

I was grateful that my friend thought to snag the ribbon and tie up the flowers. It did look nicer. And I think that most people, if given the opportunity, could find some subtle, easy replacement for these “necessities” as posited by the wedding machine.

If I could save close to $7 on a bouquet cover that is, by all rights, unnecessary, what else could I save by looking around my house and using things more readily at my disposal? Instead of buying pre-packaged solutions that aren’t “solving” as much as creating a false problem?

The limits of this approach are totally self-defined, especially in an arena such as wedding and reception planning. How far can I take it? Well, I won’t be furnishing my own tablecloths by sewing together worn-out leggings, that’s for sure. Nor will I be only using recycled paper for my craft projects, or borrowed cutlery, etc. I’m buying lots of things new, and receiving lots of used things as well. Each bride/person is responsible for deciding what the important parts are, what deserves a higher percentage of the budget.

My centerpieces are a good example of this. I wanted 1.) attractive 2.) personal 3.) cheap, in that order. Being that our party centers around travel, I decided to make centerpieces that reflect places Jorge and I have traveled together–a way to showcase our travel photos, share information with guests, and create a unique table naming system.

Here’s the cost breakdown:

$1.87 per sheet of poster board needed to create the centerpieces. Each sheet makes 3 centerpieces, and we need a total of 16-17. So, we’ll get 6 sheets of this stuff. TOTAL: $11.22

$0.50 per print of 4×6 photos. I’ve printed about 40 photos for this centerpiece project. TOTAL: $20.00.

$0.10 per copy of black/white documents, printed at the library. I was doing this to print out the copy used for the centerpieces, but then switched to a printer I already owned but was at my father’s house. I made about 15 copies of various things. TOTAL: $1.50

$0.25 per copy of color documents at Staples. I printed a large variety of maps, which were used as part of the centerpiece design. TOTAL: $3.75

CENTERPIECE COST TOTAL: $36.47

Like I said, I’m pretty out of touch with what things cost and how other people are doing their parties. But this seems like a pretty good deal to me, especially since this accounts for 16-17 guest tables AND blends function with personal meaning. It doesn’t count for labor, but let’s just say it’s free, because I enjoy doing it, and I’ll only have to put in this time once in my life.

What do you guys think? Anybody know what regular centerpiece prices are? What do other people even use for centerpieces? Am I crazy, spot-on, or something else? 

Planning The Reception (Wedding Woes & Wonders Pt. 4)

Here’s how the story goes.

One day, as my girlfriends and I were unamusedly browsing the consumer-bereft Sandusky Mall for a wedding-appropriate dress for my upcoming ceremony, one of my best gals, Annessia, suggested a venue. She’d attended a friend’s wedding at a place called Vermilion on the Lake. I had never heard of such a wildly-hyphenated locale, but after her eloquent and vivid description, I fell in love.

“I want this place,”I told her. “I want it now!”

We pulled up pictures on a cell phone and gawked at the gorgeousness. It seemed perfect. Almost too perfect. Like, this is exactly what I’ve been dreaming of and didn’t know it actually existed perfect.

Vermilion-on-the-Lake, OH.

Vermilion-on-the-Lake, OH.

And then I pulled up the calendar of available dates. My original pair of dates, either of the middle weekends of November, were already booked. And with no surprise! Who can call only five months prior to a reception date to reserve a locale that is one of the most desired locations in the region for weddings and gatherings?

Apparently, it turns out I can. By a stroke of luck, the first weekend in December was open, only two weeks after my originally-planned reception date. And the next day by noon, I had that sucker reserved.

“You sure scooted in at the last minute,” the raspy-voiced volunteer told me on the phone that day. “It’s only July, and we’re already accepting reservations for through 2016!”

Damn straight.

Before Jorge and I got married, one thing was certain. We wanted a big ass party on both ends of the world, and both parties would feature live music, awesome food, and red wine.

Those were basically the only stipulations. But then other factors entered in, like money. Our venue alone rings in at the cheaper end of the scale (or so I’m told) at over $1,200. Throwing a big ass party anywhere involves a hefty chunk of change. And if you want to avoid hefty chunks of change, you need to either have immaculate planning capabilities, extremely wealthy investors, and/or best friends/family members involved in all the businesses you plan to hire.

Of course, Jorge and I don’t have immaculate planning capabilities, nor do we have any wealthy investors (BUT IF ANYONE WOULD LIKE TO APPLY FOR THE POSITION…), or even family members that work in any related industries. The deeper I delved into planning the reception, the more I realized there exists a  sharply inverted relationship between low cost  and level of involvement in planning.

As in, for someone like me who doesn’t really like to get messy in the details of planning an event of this size, saving money means that I’d have to oversee every detail myself. Instead of relying on hired companies to connect the dots for me, I’d have to bring my own pen and coloring book and fill in all the spaces on my own. 

But things have been working out spectacularly well. And it has a lot to do with the amazing friends and family in my life.

Painting Planes and Taking Names

Planes…planes…and more planes.

My best friend Becky and her husband have become my wedding reception planners, helping me with all manner of details from centerpieces to even cooking for the event. Other friends have stepped up with decoration help, especially in the detail-focused areas that pain me most (*cough cough* painting those damn airplanes). My best friend Jamie is arming my bridal party (yes, I needed to outsource that), my mother has offered to take on the role of in-flight captain announcements (more on that later),  and my friends from within the community have cut me quite a deal for their super-talented performance at the party.

Other details swirl in the background; my dad’s recommendation to make the invitation a boarding pass, and the miraculous discovery of such a design online weeks later; another friend’s recommendation to stop by a graphics place in town to have a project dream realized, which may save me $400.

I could go on and on.

It turns out, I have a lot more help and creative input than I originally imagined. I am not doing this on my own. Not by a long shot. And between all of my friends, family, and community at large, we are arming one helluva party that will be, at the very least, a fun and  tasty time.

When asked how things are going and I answer with an honest, “Oh, a little stressful”, a couple people have responded with the following:

I wish I could tell you not to stress about it, but you will anyway! So just know that it’s gonna be fine.

I love that response. It’s true, it’s real, and it’s a direct nod to the feelings that are very inevitable and wrapped up in this whole experience.

It’s been stressful to plan the thing in the first place, and more stressful to oversee so many details that I wish I actually did have the money to just outsource. But at the end of it, I know it’s gonna be great, and worth all the stress.

And then…we’ll have a second one to plan. Except that time, Jorge’s gonna be the one behind the wheel. Just as most of the planning duties fall on my shoulders here since I’m the native gal in this region, he’s the one who will know how to navigate the system down yonder. And that means I can just relax and enjoy the February summer in Argentina…sipping red wine and wearing all my dresses for their second go-around.

#LifeHack: Go To Bed…With A Calculator

My whole life I’ve been a night owl. During the middle and high school years, I would hit my creative groove somewhere around 10PM and sit hunched in my bed, scribbling furiously into notebooks until 1 or 2AM.

As an adult, it’s not much different. Though I might not be writing until 1 or 2 AM every night, I certainly get my second-wind around 10PM. Once midnight hits, creativity blooms. I want to finish all the random tasks I’ve left undone from throughout the day; I want to start a new story; I want to finally organize all those pictures I’ve been meaning to consolidate for years. I want to purchase plane tickets and start a family. I CAN DO IT ALL IN THE WEE HOURS!

It’s like my To-Do list in the wee hours is a single-celled organism multiplying endlessly, simply by dividing in half and floating off to find more of its newly-spawned kind.

My To-Do list is floating somewhere between the ribosoom and cytoplasma.

And for as long as I’ve hit the creative stride in the nighttime hours, is as long as I’ve struggled with waking up in the morning.

Some people are natural morning people. I am NOT.

Let me repeat this–I DO NOT ENJOY WAKING UP EARLY.

I’m not one of those crusty colleagues who rolls into work at 8AM, bleary-eyed no matter what, and denouncing the fact that “mornings exist”. Trust me–I’m not that type of averse to mornings. I can make it to early morning obligations just fine.

The problem is the waking up part. Like, it physically PAINS ME sometimes to wake up if I haven’t snagged a solid 7-8 hours of sleep. But if I’ve gotten my fair share? Totally fine to wake up…provided it’s not before 7AM.

But these days it’s been more of the painful kind of waking up, and it’s been downright confusing. I listen to my body, and when it tells me to sleep more even though I’m getting what I assume is good sleep, I listen. I notice. And I wonder what the hell is going on.

International travel tends to take a certain toll on me. Multiple late nights/early mornings tend to require a solid sleep-in day somewhere down the line.

But recently? I’ve been getting to bed by 12:30AM most nights, and struggling to wake up by 9AM. What’s the deal here?

It’s a perplexing situation that makes me feel like a total loaf. One of my best friends, Heather, and I frequently update each other on the status of various bodily functions and biological systems, so this came up in a conversation recently.

I mentioned that despite allowing myself seemingly enough sleep time, my body still wanted to sleep way past 9AM, even though I was getting into bed around 1230AM. It seemed like, if left to do its own thing, my body would wake up (and crawl out of bed and leave my head behind, because the way I’m describing my body sounds like it acts of its own accord) at 11AM. WHY DO I NEED MORE THAN EIGHT HOURS OF SLEEP?

I also mentioned that every day, I get woken up with Jorge at 7:30AM as he prepares himself for work.

Upon reflecting further, I realized that historically, when I get woken up before my proper wake time, I seem to then sleep much longer than I wanted or even planned. But if I can sleep all the way through, I’ll only need roughly 8 hours.

Was there something to this? Heather did a little savvy internet searching and came back with this: THE SLEEPY TIME CALCULATOR.

This site will calculate what time you should wake up, based on your bed time (or vice versa) in order to obtain full sleep cycles and wake up feeling more refreshed.

What I found out from this calculator is that if I’m going to bed at 12:30AM, I should be waking up at either 6:30AM or 8AM. Waking up at 7:20AM, like I have been with Jorge, is kind of smack dab in the middle of a sleep cycle. And, as it says on the site…

sleepyti.me works by counting backwards in sleep cycles. Waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle leaves you feeling tired and groggy, but waking up in between cycles wakes you up feeling refreshed and alert!

Ah-ha! This may be the reason for my extra-sleep-needing, and not, as I had feared, a strange and pernicious symptom of an upcoming rare disease that manifests by total morning sloth. 

I don’t mean THIS sloth, but rather the deadly sin sloth. [Photo Credit: www.worldwildlife.org]

Armed with knowledge and a buoyant sense of wellness, I checked the calculator to see what time I should go to bed from now on. If I want to wake up with Jorge in the morning so that my sleep cycle is not interrupted, and then catch one more cycle just for shits and giggles once he’s off to work…Sleepy Time Master recommends that I go to sleep at 11:50PM OR 1:20AM.

Perfect.

My night owl innards are rejoicing, and science supports my need to stay up later. See, world? I can’t go to bed at 12:30AM. Pff! I’ll interrupt my sleep cycle in the morning!

And if there’s one thing I don’t want to do as I’m nearing 30…it’s fuck with obtaining my 5-6 recommended sleep cycles per night.

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